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Le puissant cyclone Mocha touche terre au Myanmar après avoir frappé certaines parties du Bangladesh

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Des milliers de personnes se sont réfugiées dimanche dans des monastères, des pagodes et des écoles, cherchant à s’abriter d’une puissante tempête qui s’est abattue sur la côte du Myanmar, arrachant les toits des bâtiments et tuant au moins trois personnes.

Le cyclone Mocha a touché terre dimanche après-midi dans l’État de Rakhine au Myanmar, près du canton de Sittwe, avec des vents atteignant 209 kilomètres (130 miles) par heure, a annoncé le Département météorologique du Myanmar. La tempête est passée au-dessus de l’île de Saint Martin au Bangladesh, causant des dégâts et des blessés, mais s’est détournée des côtes du pays avant de toucher terre.

À la tombée de la nuit, l’étendue des dégâts à Sittwe n’était pas claire. Plus tôt dans la journée, des vents violents ont détruit les tours de téléphonie cellulaire, coupant les communications dans une grande partie de la région.

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Dans des vidéos recueillies par les médias locaux avant que les communications ne soient coupées, l’eau profonde traverse les rues tandis que le vent fouette les arbres et arrache les planches des toits.

Les médias basés à Rakhine ont rapporté que les rues avaient été inondées, piégeant les gens dans les zones basses dans leurs maisons alors que des parents inquiets à l’extérieur du canton appelaient au secours.

Le bureau d’information militaire du Myanmar a déclaré que la tempête avait endommagé des maisons, des transformateurs électriques, des tours de téléphonie cellulaire, des bateaux et des lampadaires dans les cantons de Sittwe, Kyaukpyu et Gwa. Il a ajouté que la tempête avait également arraché les toits des bâtiments sportifs des îles Coco, à environ 425 kilomètres (264 miles) au sud-ouest de la plus grande ville du pays, Yangon.

Plus de 4 000 des 300 000 habitants de Sittwe ont été évacués vers d’autres villes et plus de 20 000 personnes se sont réfugiées dans des bâtiments solides tels que des monastères, des pagodes et des écoles situés sur les hautes terres de la ville, a déclaré Tin Nyein Oo, qui fait du bénévolat dans des abris à Sittwe.

Lin Lin, président d’une fondation caritative locale, a déclaré qu’il n’y avait pas assez de nourriture dans les abris de Sittwe après l’arrivée de plus de personnes que prévu.

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Titon Mitra, le représentant du Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement au Myanmar, a tweeté : « Moka a touché terre. 2 millions de personnes à risque. Les dégâts et les pertes devraient être considérables. Nous sommes prêts à réagir et nous aurons besoin d’un accès sans entrave à toutes les communautés touchées.

La télévision d’État du Myanmar a rapporté que le gouvernement militaire se préparait à envoyer de la nourriture, des médicaments et du personnel médical dans la zone touchée par la tempête. Après avoir frappé Rakhine, le cyclone s’est affaibli et devrait frapper lundi l’État de Chin, dans le nord-ouest, et les régions centrales.

Dimanche matin, plusieurs décès causés par le vent et la pluie ont été signalés au Myanmar.

Une équipe de secours de l’État de Shan, dans l’est du pays, a annoncé sur sa page de médias sociaux Facebook qu’elle avait récupéré les corps d’un couple qui avait été enterré lorsqu’un glissement de terrain causé par de fortes pluies a frappé leur maison dans le canton de Tachileik. Les médias locaux ont rapporté qu’un homme a été écrasé à mort lorsqu’un banian est tombé sur lui dans le canton de Pyin Oo Lwin, dans la région centrale de Mandalay.

Les autorités de la ville bangladaise de Cox’s Bazar, qui se trouvait sur la trajectoire prévue de la tempête, ont déclaré plus tôt qu’elles avaient évacué des centaines de milliers de personnes, mais en début d’après-midi, il est apparu que la tempête manquerait principalement le pays alors qu’elle virait vers l’est, a déclaré Azizur. Rahman, directeur du Département météorologique du Bangladesh à Dhaka.

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“Le niveau de risque a considérablement diminué dans notre Bangladesh”, a-t-il déclaré aux journalistes.

Des vents forts accompagnés de pluies se sont poursuivis sur l’île de Saint Martin dans le golfe du Bengale dans l’après-midi, mais les raz de marée redoutés n’ont pas eu lieu car le cyclone a commencé à traverser la côte du Bangladesh à marée basse, a rapporté la chaîne de télévision Jamuna basée à Dhaka.

Environ une douzaine d’insulaires ont été blessés, tandis que quelque 300 maisons ont été détruites ou endommagées, a rapporté le principal quotidien en bengali Prothom Alo. Une femme a été grièvement blessée, a-t-il précisé.

Les agences des Nations Unies et les travailleurs humanitaires au Bangladesh avaient prépositionné des tonnes de nourriture sèche et des dizaines d’ambulances avec des équipes médicales mobiles dans de vastes camps de réfugiés qui abritent plus d’un million de Rohingyas qui ont fui la persécution au Myanmar.

En mai 2008, le cyclone Nargis a frappé le Myanmar avec une onde de tempête qui a dévasté les zones peuplées autour du delta du fleuve Irrawaddy. Au moins 138 000 personnes sont mortes et des dizaines de milliers de maisons et autres bâtiments ont été emportés.

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Roxy Mathew Koll, climatologue à l’Institut indien de météorologie tropicale de la ville de Pune, a déclaré que les cyclones dans le golfe du Bengale s’intensifiaient plus rapidement, en partie à cause du changement climatique.

Les climatologues affirment que les cyclones peuvent désormais conserver leur énergie pendant plusieurs jours. Le cyclone Amphan dans l’est de l’Inde en 2020 a continué de se déplacer sur les terres en tant que cyclone puissant et a causé d’importantes ravages.

“Tant que les océans sont chauds et que les vents sont favorables, les cyclones conserveront leur intensité plus longtemps”, a déclaré Koll.

Les cyclones, des tempêtes géantes similaires à celles connues sous le nom d’ouragans ou de typhons dans d’autres parties du monde, comptent parmi les catastrophes naturelles les plus dévastatrices au monde, en particulier lorsqu’elles frappent des régions côtières densément peuplées.

(PA)

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International

Legal prostitution in Germany: A failure?

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More than two decades after prostitution was legalised in Germany, the issue is once again sparking debate. The conservative opposition in parliament is campaigning to reform the 2002 law that made sex work legal. Former chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party claims that the goal of improving the situation of sex workers and curbing human trafficking has not been achieved – rather the reverse. According to several studies, the overwhelming majority of women working in prostitution in Germany are in fact under the control of a pimp. Our correspondent Anne Mailliet reports.

In just over 20 years, Germany has become an El Dorado for sex tourism. People come from all over the world to visit Hamburg’s brothels and take advantage of perfectly legal “services”.

The law on the legalisation of prostitution, passed in 2002 by the Social Democrats and the Greens, aimed to provide security, protection and autonomy for sex workers by giving them a professional status. But this law also decriminalised pimping by creating the status of “sex entrepreneur”. As a result, this lucrative business is still largely dominated by organised crime.

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Officially, the country counts 2,310 establishments offering sexual services, while some 28,280 prostitutes are registered, according to the federal statistics office Destatis. But the number of unregistered sex workers is believed to be much higher. Various organisations estimate that between 200,000 and 400,000 people work in this lucrative sector. According to several studies, 90 percent of them are victims of human trafficking.

Read moreProstitution continues in Germany, despite Covid-19

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How the world will end: Terrifying graphic reveals the gruesome fate of every planet when the Sun dies

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From the AI apocalypse to a full-blown nuclear war, it seems that there is an almost endless list of things that might cause the end of the world.

But, if those terrifying fates gest us, there is one doomsday event that Earth can’t avoid.

A terrifying graphic reveals how the Sun will grow into a vast ‘red giant’ star, becoming so large that it will be the end of the solar system as we know it. 

Although this might seem utterly petrifying, you don’t need to start worrying just yet.

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Dr Edward Bloomer, senior astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: ‘There’s probably somewhere in the region of 5 billion years to go before the red giant phase for the Sun. So we’ve got some time!’

This graphic reveals the gruesome fates of all the planets in the solar system as the Sun dies and transforms in to enormous red dwarf star

This graphic reveals the gruesome fates of all the planets in the solar system as the Sun dies and transforms in to enormous red dwarf star

This graphic reveals the gruesome fates of all the planets in the solar system as the Sun dies and transforms in to enormous red dwarf star

In about five to 5.5 billion years from now the Sun will run out of helium and begin to expand outwards, cooling and becoming a red giant. This artist's impression shows an exoplanet as it is pulled into the heat of its own star

In about five to 5.5 billion years from now the Sun will run out of helium and begin to expand outwards, cooling and becoming a red giant. This artist's impression shows an exoplanet as it is pulled into the heat of its own star

In about five to 5.5 billion years from now the Sun will run out of helium and begin to expand outwards, cooling and becoming a red giant. This artist’s impression shows an exoplanet as it is pulled into the heat of its own star

Our Sun, like all stars, is essentially a giant nuclear furnace smashing helium atoms together under the force of gravity.

This immense gravitational force is what keeps the eight planets and countless other objects in the solar system in orbit.

Meanwhile, the energy generated in nuclear fusion is radiated out into the universe as heat, creating a habitable zone which stretches from just beyond Venus out to the orbit of Mars.

However, Dr Bloomer told MailOnline that, eventually, this will all change. 

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In about five to 5.5 billion years from now, the sun will begin to transform into a red giant.

‘This happens essentially when the sun runs out of hydrogen to fuse in its core,’ Dr Bloomer explains.

This diagram tracks the life of a sun-like star from birth to its evolution into a red giant. On the left the star begins as a cloud of dust and passes through the stages of the main sequence until it becomes a red giant on the right

This diagram tracks the life of a sun-like star from birth to its evolution into a red giant. On the left the star begins as a cloud of dust and passes through the stages of the main sequence until it becomes a red giant on the right

This diagram tracks the life of a sun-like star from birth to its evolution into a red giant. On the left the star begins as a cloud of dust and passes through the stages of the main sequence until it becomes a red giant on the right 

When our Sun eventually runs out of hydrogen, its core will begin to collapse under the pull of its own gravity.

As the outer layers collapse inwards, the resulting pressure and heat will become so intense that these layers wll begin to fuse helium atoms into carbon.

The resulting burst of energy will cause the Sun to expand to hundreds of times its original size and cool from white to red hot.

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Mr Bloomer explains that while this process ‘isn’t quite like the flick of a switch’ it will inevitably lead to the destruction of the solar system.

It is hard to estimate how big the Sun will become, but at the high end it could reach up to 186 million miles (300 million km) in diameter, which is the same size as the red giant Antares (pictured)

It is hard to estimate how big the Sun will become, but at the high end it could reach up to 186 million miles (300 million km) in diameter, which is the same size as the red giant Antares (pictured)

It is hard to estimate how big the Sun will become, but at the high end it could reach up to 186 million miles (300 million km) in diameter, which is the same size as the red giant Antares (pictured)

Currently, the sun is about 865,000 miles (1.4 million kilometres) in diameter.

But, as it becomes a red giant it could swell to more than 200 times this size, reaching up to 186 million miles (300 million km) in diameter.

When this happens, the innermost planets – Mercury and Venus – will be pulled into the sun and destroyed.

However, Dr Bloomer said: ‘The exact red giant size is not known precisely, so the Earth is in an interesting position.’

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At 93 million miles (148.22 million km) from the Sun, it might seem like the Earth is toast.

But 186 million miles is the absolute upper bound for the Sun’s growth, and it might not become nearly this large.  

Dr Bloomer said: ‘At the higher end of possible sizes, the Earth may be engulfed entirely by the Sun, and that’s the end of that. At the lower end, it may not be consumed.’

When the sun swells to be a red giant, Mercury and Venus will be swallowed by its expansion and the inner planets (left) will be stripped of their atmospheres. The outer planets (right) will be less affected by the change

When the sun swells to be a red giant, Mercury and Venus will be swallowed by its expansion and the inner planets (left) will be stripped of their atmospheres. The outer planets (right) will be less affected by the change

When the sun swells to be a red giant, Mercury and Venus will be swallowed by its expansion and the inner planets (left) will be stripped of their atmospheres. The outer planets (right) will be less affected by the change

WHAT IS THE RING NEBULA?

Messier 57, or the Ring Nebula, is one of the most iconic and beautiful planetary nebulae known to astronomy.

It is hugely popular with astrophotographers on Earth because it is angled favourably from our perspective, meaning it can be captured with just a small telescope.

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The nebula lies south of the bright star Vega, which makes up the famous asterism the Summer Triangle.

It was discovered by French astronomer Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in January 1779. 

But even if the Sun doesn’t swallow Earth whole, it’s still not good news.

Dr Bloomer said: ‘The surface temperature of the Earth will mean that the atmosphere will be blown away, and the oceans will be boiled away. ‘

He adds: ‘The “Earth” which remains would, at best, be a radiation-blasted ball of lifeless rock.’

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The outer planets won’t escape unscathed, as Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will all be blasted by the intense heat of the growing red giant.

If the Sun grows large enough it could burn away through a process called ‘photoevaporation’ as stellar emissions strip away the gases that surround them.

However, Dr Bloomer explains that some models predict that Saturn might suddenly find itself in the middle of the Sun’s new habitable zone.

He said: ‘Some models suggest that out around Saturn’s distance from the Sun could be reasonably temperate. We can’t live on Saturn, but perhaps its moon Titan?

‘It is currently home to a thick unbreathable atmosphere and lakes of liquid ethane and methane because of the extremely low temperatures, but trying to find out what would happen there as it heated is an area of ongoing research.’

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This image shows the Ring Nebula which was formed as a dying star expelled the last of its material into space, this same fate will eventually befall our Sun

This image shows the Ring Nebula which was formed as a dying star expelled the last of its material into space, this same fate will eventually befall our Sun

This image shows the Ring Nebula which was formed as a dying star expelled the last of its material into space, this same fate will eventually befall our Sun

Finally, some seven billion years from now the Sun will run out of energy altogether and begin to expel its outer layers into space, leaving behind a planetary nebula.

These vast, ring-shaped structures are formed as dying stars expel most of their remaining material before becoming a hot white dwarf star.

Last year, scientists used the James Webb Space Telescope to capture images of the Messier 57, or the Ring Nebula, which gives us a hint of what our Sun will one day become. 

And, in these final stages, the Sun will complete its transformation of the solar system as it removes the outermost planets from its orbit. 

If the sun loses 50 per cent of its mass during this process, the forces will be so strong that Uranus and Neptune will simply be swept out of the solar system.

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If the Sun looses more than 50 per cent of its mass when it becomes a planetary nebula Uranus and Neptune (pictured) will be swept out into space by the force

If the Sun looses more than 50 per cent of its mass when it becomes a planetary nebula Uranus and Neptune (pictured) will be swept out into space by the force

If the Sun looses more than 50 per cent of its mass when it becomes a planetary nebula Uranus and Neptune (pictured) will be swept out into space by the force

Finally, as for asteroid belt and Oort cloud which also orbit the Sun, how badly they will be affected depends on their distance.

As the sun swells to its final giant size, objects in the asteroid belt may be heated to such extremes that frozen gases and water will sublimate away, leaving nothing but metal cores behind.

However, in the Oort cloud – a vast expanse of rocky material which sits between 0.079 and 1.58 light years from the Sun – very little will change. 

‘In one sense, they may not really notice that much because they are simply too distant,’ says Dr Bloomer.

‘However, depending on things like changes to the angular momentum of the Solar System caused by the Sun’s expansion places like the Oort cloud could be disturbed a little, and the orbits of objects in that vast region could be altered. 

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‘In general though, it probably won’t be as transformative as the effects on the inner Solar System.’

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International

FRANCE 24 gets a fresh look

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FRANCE 24 will get a complete makeover on Monday, March 4, bringing its 100 million weekly viewers more live reporting from across the globe and in-depth analysis of world events.

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“More live coverage doesn’t mean speeding things up. On the contrary, it means taking the time to explain and analyse the news with our expert journalists, reporters, and correspondents,” said the channel’s director Vanessa Burggraf.

FRANCE 24’s 550 journalists based in Paris and around the world provide 24-hour news coverage in four different languages: French, English, Arabic and Spanish.

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Nikkei tops level last seen in 1989 as Japan shakes off 34 years of stagnation

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At the end of 1989, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index hit a record high of 38,915.87, amid huge euphoria.

However, there followed 34 years of crises, natural disasters, deflation – and a decline of close to 80 per cent in the index.

But last week, to the accompaniment of much rejoicing, the Nikkei finally regained its level of 1989, leaping to 39,239.

This recovery was driven by the global semiconductor stock boom, but also by a diverse range of other more fundamental factors.

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Majestic: To the accompaniment of much rejoicing, the Nikkei finally regained its level of 1989, leaping to 39,239

Majestic: To the accompaniment of much rejoicing, the Nikkei finally regained its level of 1989, leaping to 39,239

Majestic: To the accompaniment of much rejoicing, the Nikkei finally regained its level of 1989, leaping to 39,239

These include the forecast from brokers Nomura that if America chooses Donald Trump as its president in November, there will be a further breakdown in US-Chinese relations. 

The beneficiaries would be companies that sell more to America than China, like the car manufacturer Subaru and noodle specialist Toyo Suisan. Its ramen noodles are a favourite among Americans on a budget seeking something delicious.

Does the Japanese market offer something similarly appealing to those looking for diversification? After all, according to one forecast, the Nikkei may be set to advance to 42,000. 

This prediction has raised eyebrows among those who have waited more than three decades for a bounceback in the index. 

But Joe Bauernfreund, manager of the AVI Japan Opportunity Trust, says there are reasons to believe ‘that this time, it’s different.’

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He says: ‘The market isn’t being driven by unsustainably high valuations. It is earnings and corporate reform led. I think we are at the early stages of the revival – and that there is further upside. There is a huge opportunity in overlooked small cap stocks.’

These key reforms are the ‘Abenomics’ stimulus initiatives, introduced by the late prime minister Shinzo Abe, and the new Tokyo Stock Exchange regulations, designed to cure the sclerotic corporate culture.

Under the rules, which have been described as ‘a game changer’ by Goldman Sachs, companies must use spare cash for the benefit of shareholders. This should ensure that there are fewer companies whose stock market valuation is below the book value of their assets

These governance changes – which Goldman Sachs analysts argue could bring a ‘transformational’ year for the Japanese market – have been accompanied by shifts in attitudes.

Prime minister Fumio Kishida is promoting ‘a new capitalism’ as part of which there is less distaste for takeovers, and employees are seen as deserving of more regular pay rises. 

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In June last year, as the Nikkei made its ascent, I overcame my reservations and invested in two Japanese funds: AVI Japan Opportunity and Vanguard Japan ETF (exchange traded fund).

Some of my inspiration for this came from Berkshire Hathaway boss Warren Buffett’s decision to put money into Itochu, Marubeni Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo.

But even Buffett’s belief in Japan’s potential is almost muted compared with the optimism being expressed by such giants as BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager.

Such has been the upsurge in confidence that, in January, international investors splashed out £10.5bn on Japanese shares.

The nation’s famously thrifty citizens have also preferred cash to shares, despite negative interest rates. 

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This policy may finally end this month, as part of Japan’s process of normalisation. But Kishida will be hoping to entice these reluctant investors into the stock market with the new Nisa (Nippon Individual Savings Account), a scheme based on the UK’s Isa.

If you think Japan deserves a place in your Isa, it is worth doing some homework on the intricacies of its stock markets. For example, the Nikkei may be the most closely-followed index. But its make-up is based on the price of stocks, rather than company size.

As result of this bizarre arrangement, car giant Toyota, the country’s largest company, makes up 1.1 per cent of the index. The number one constituent is the far smaller Fast Retailing group, owner of the Uniqlo chain.

These and other complexities mean that I will be putting money not directly into shares, but into funds, particularly those that are focusing on digitisation, such as Japan Jupiter Income, one of Bestinvest’s top picks. 

Other best buy funds include Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon, which concentrates on smaller companies, and Man GLG Japan Core Alpha for the adventurous.

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In 1989, Sony, founded in Tokyo in 1946, led the world in innovation.

In this century, it was supplanted by Apple, founded in 1976.

I am taking a bet on Japan making up for lost time.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Biden says ‘hoping’ for Gaza ceasefire deal by Ramadan

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Gaza’s health ministry collects data from the enclave’s hospitals and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The health ministry does not report how Palestinians were killed, whether from Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages or errant Palestinian rocket fire. It describes all casualties as victims of “Israeli aggression”.

The ministry also does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. 

Throughout four wars and numerous skirmishes between Israel and Hamas, UN agencies have cited the Hamas-run health ministry’s death tolls in regular reports. The International Committee of the Red Cross and Palestinian Red Crescent also use the numbers.

In the aftermath of war, the UN humanitarian office has published final death tolls based on its own research into medical records. The UN’s counts have largely been consistent with the Gaza health ministry’s, with small discrepancies. 

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For more on the Gaza health ministry’s tolls, click here.

(FRANCE 24 with AP) 

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Discovering the true history behind St Patrick’s Day on an 82-mile hike that honours Ireland’s patron saint

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St Patrick’s Day is an excuse for craic. My mother’s Irish and on March 17, like many, I raise a glass to the man who rid the Emerald Isle of snakes. But that is my only knowledge of Ireland’s patron saint.

So, I decided to explore the Saint Patrick’s Way, an 82-mile hiking trail from Armagh to Downpatrick in Northern Ireland.

I begin with a Guinness in Rafferty’s Bar.

‘You know St Patrick was one of your lot,’ the barman says, quietly adding. ‘English.’

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‘English?’

Pilgrim’s quest: Lizzie Enfield walks the Saint Patrick’s Way in Northern Ireland, which passes the Mourne Mountains (pictured)

Pilgrim’s quest: Lizzie Enfield walks the Saint Patrick’s Way in Northern Ireland, which passes the Mourne Mountains (pictured)

Pilgrim’s quest: Lizzie Enfield walks the Saint Patrick’s Way in Northern Ireland, which passes the Mourne Mountains (pictured)

He nods.

St Patrick was born in Roman Britain, kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery before escaping to France, where he studied religion and eventually returned to Ireland as a missionary.

One of his early converts was Chieftain Daire, who gave him land to build a church on a hill outside Armagh.

The Saint Patrick’s Way begins at this Church of Ireland St Patrick’s cathedral. I will encounter many more churches bearing his name.

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They’re like Murphy’s bars, but without the Guinness.

The route winds through Armagh’s orchard country, source of tangy cider and crisp apple tarts, before passing through linen-weaving centre Bainbridge and beside the Newry Canal.

The 82-mile route begins at St Patrick’s cathedral (pictured) in Armagh

The 82-mile route begins at St Patrick’s cathedral (pictured) in Armagh

The 82-mile route begins at St Patrick’s cathedral (pictured) in Armagh

Above, a stained-glass image of St Patrick

Above, a stained-glass image of St Patrick

Above, a stained-glass image of St Patrick

From Newry to 18th-century Rostrevor, I stroll country lanes with views of sparkling Carlingford Lough.

Rostrevor sits on its shores, the birthplace of Robert Ross, the British major-general who burned down the White House during the war between Britain and the U.S. in 1814.

It was also a favourite spot of Belfast-born C.S. Lewis, whose inspiration for Narnia was the snow-covered Mourne Mountains, backdrop to the town.

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In Kilbroney Park, I find I am not the only one looking for the wardrobe door, the starting point of a Narnia Trail through the forest.

When I reach the lamppost, a small girl asks, “Have you seen Mr Tumnus?”

I head for the mountains. These imposing masses of slate and Silurian greywacke (a coarse sandstone) are where Saint Patrick converted local hill folk.

Wild, windy and wet, this part of the route requires good navigation skills – but you needn’t fear snakes.

Along the way, Lizzie passes through Tollymore Forest (pictured), familiar as a setting in TV’s Game Of Thrones

Along the way, Lizzie passes through Tollymore Forest (pictured), familiar as a setting in TV’s Game Of Thrones

Along the way, Lizzie passes through Tollymore Forest (pictured), familiar as a setting in TV’s Game Of Thrones 

A hiker I meet on the summit of Butter Mountain, said Patrick never drove out any. It was a metaphor for purging Ireland of its pagan ways.

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I head down through the beautiful beech Tollymore Forest, familiar as a setting in TV’s Game Of Thrones, to the seaside resort of Newcastle. I know a proper pilgrim would dine on a potato, but why make do when there are langoustines, turbot and plaice on the menu?

Next day, I continued to Down Cathedral, in Downpatrick, where the saint is buried beneath a hefty slab of granite carved with the single word ‘Patrick’.

In Downpatrick, Lizzie visits St Patrick's grave (pictured) at Down Cathedral

In Downpatrick, Lizzie visits St Patrick's grave (pictured) at Down Cathedral

In Downpatrick, Lizzie visits St Patrick’s grave (pictured) at Down Cathedral 

At the nearby glass Saint Patrick Centre, I learn that Patrick was never officially canonised.

So, Ireland’s patron saint was neither Irish, nor a saint, nor did he drive any snakes out!. What he did do was change the course of the island’s history.

If not for Saint Patrick’s return it might have remained the pagan and inhospitable place the Romans deemed not worth conquering.

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The trail is a walk through the history he created and an area of beautiful landscapes. That’s an excuse to raise a glass to Saint Patrick on March 17, to be sure.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Macs Adventure (macsadventure.com). Five-day St Patrick’s Way includes B&B, maps and luggage transfer from £650 pp. Visit tourismni.com.

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Haiti gang leader vows to ‘fight’ prime minister as violence surges

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Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, also known as Barbecue, warned on Friday he would keep trying to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry, and asked families to keep children from going to school to “avoid collateral damages” as violence surges in parts of the capital.

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Heavy gunfire and traffic disruptions were seen in some areas of Haiti’s capital, where more people fled homes close to the fighting as burnt buses lay on the streets and burning barricades filled the air with thick, gray smoke.

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“The battle will last as long as it needs to. We will keep fighting Ariel Henry. To avoid collateral damage, keep the kids at home,” the gang leader said at a press conference.

Cherizier is a former police officer who heads an alliance of gangs and disrupted the country when he blocked its biggest oil terminal in 2022. He has faced sanctions from both the United Nations and the United States Department of Treasury.

By late Friday, there were reports armed men had attempted to take control of the capital’s main container port, as gangs threatened to attack more of the city’s police stations. Reuters was unable to immediately verify these reports.

A video, meanwhile, went viral on social media appearing to show two murdered policemen, which SYNAPOHA police union leader Lionel Lazare told Reuters depicted the killing of some of the four officers who were slain on Thursday.

Members of another police union, the SPNH, gathered outside the force headquarters earlier in the day calling for the recovery of the bodies.

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In a statement, Prime Minister Henry’s office said it was “outraged by the acts of violence and terror orchestrated by armed bandits,” and expressed condolences to victims’ families, saying the government would continue to work to resolve the conflict.

Violence ramped up during Henry’s visit to Kenya this week. The two countries signed earlier in the day a security deal that Nairobi hopes will satisfy a domestic court’s objections to its plan to send 1,000 police officers to lead a UN-approved mission aimed at tackling gang violence in Haiti.

Henry had previously been in Guyana for a regional Caribbean summit, during which he told leaders he would hold elections by August 2025, after postponing an earlier pledge due to the insecurity.

Henry came to power after the 2021 assassination of the country’s last president. Haiti last held elections in 2016 and ensuring a transition of power is a goal of the international mission alongside securing routes for humanitarian aid.

The United Nations estimates some 300,000 people in Haiti have fled their homes.

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(Reuters)

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International

The daily supplement with ‘huge promise’ for an ageing population that can boost brain function in over 60s in just 12 weeks

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  • Pill-takers did better in a test which provides an early marker for Alzheimer’s

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Taking a daily fibre supplement can improve brain function in those aged over 60 in just 12 weeks, a study has found.

The pills can improve performance in memory tests associated with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at King’s College London.

Dr Mary Ni Lochlainn said she is ‘excited to see these changes in just 12 weeks’, adding: ‘This holds huge promise for enhancing brain health and memory in our ageing population.

‘Unlocking the secrets of the gut-brain axis could offer new approaches for living more healthily for longer.’

The study, published in Nature Communications, tested two plant fibre supplements – inulin and FOS – which help healthy bacteria grow in the gut. The pills were given to one half of 36 pairs of twins, with the others given a placebo.

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Taking a daily fibre supplement can improve brain function in those aged over 60 in just 12 weeks, a study has found (Stock Photo)

Taking a daily fibre supplement can improve brain function in those aged over 60 in just 12 weeks, a study has found (Stock Photo)

Taking a daily fibre supplement can improve brain function in those aged over 60 in just 12 weeks, a study has found (Stock Photo)

Dr Mary Ni Lochlainn said she is 'excited to see these changes in just 12 weeks', adding: 'This holds huge promise for enhancing brain health and memory in our ageing population' (Stock Photo)

Dr Mary Ni Lochlainn said she is 'excited to see these changes in just 12 weeks', adding: 'This holds huge promise for enhancing brain health and memory in our ageing population' (Stock Photo)

Dr Mary Ni Lochlainn said she is ‘excited to see these changes in just 12 weeks’, adding: ‘This holds huge promise for enhancing brain health and memory in our ageing population’ (Stock Photo)

The pills can improve performance in memory tests associated with early signs of Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at King's College London (Stock Photo)

The pills can improve performance in memory tests associated with early signs of Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at King's College London (Stock Photo)

The pills can improve performance in memory tests associated with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at King’s College London (Stock Photo)

Those taking the pills did better in a Paired Associates Learning test, an early marker for Alzheimer’s, and tests of reaction time and processing speed.

Professor Claire Steves said the pills, which are cheap and available over the counter, ‘could benefit a wide group of people in these cash-strapped times’.

Alzheimer’s DiseaseLondon

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Milei warns Argentinian lawmakers he will govern ‘with or without’ their support

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Argentina’s libertarian President Javier Milei, in his first policy speech to parliament Friday, said he would push his package of sweeping economic reforms whether or not legislators back it.

Issued on:

2 min

“We are going to change the country for good… with or without the support of political leaders, with all the legal resources of the executive,” Milei told lawmakers, who have stalled his project of deregulation and budget cuts.

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“If you look for conflict, you will have conflict,” he told them.

Milei offered a recap of his first 82 days in office, in which he devalued the peso more than 50 percent, slashed state subsidies for fuel and transport, cut tens of thousands of public service jobs, and scrapped hundreds of rules in his bid to deregulate the economy.

“I ask for patience and trust,” Milei said. “It will be some time before we can perceive the fruit of the economic reorganization and the reforms we are implementing.”

Many of his planned reforms face challenges in court, with more than 60 lawsuits under way by labor unions, business chambers and NGOs, while Argentina has seen massive protests by citizens who fear Milei’s plans will leave them poorer.

“We have not yet seen all the effects of the disaster we inherited, but we are convinced that we are on the right path, because for the first time in history we are attacking the problem by its cause: the fiscal deficit, and not by its symptoms,” Milei said.

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In recent weeks, Milei has reached out to influential provincial governors, party leaders and former presidents to forge a “new social contract” for the country, based on ten principles, including a “non-negotiable” balanced budget, “inviolable” private property, and public spending reduced to the “historic” level of 25 percent of GDP.

Decades of mismanagement

Faced with parliamentary reticence, Milei scrapped almost half of the initial 664 articles in the sweeping deregulatory measure issued after he took office, then withdrew it altogether.

But the president has vowed to return his bill to parliament. And he has threatened to pass his reforms by presidential decree if lawmakers do not fall in line.

Argentina is grappling with severe economic struggles after decades of mismanagement that has driven poverty levels to nearly 60 percent and pushed inflation to an annual rate over 200 percent.

Milei, a 53-year-old political outsider, won a resounding election victory last year on a wave of fury over a financial crisis marked by rampant money printing and fiscal deficit.

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The government claims some of Milei’s changes are already bearing fruit: In January, Argentina reported its first monthly budget surplus in 12 years while boosting foreign currency reserves from $21 billion to $27 billion.

But as annual inflation continued to bite, the poor were hit hard as Milei also ripped away generous transport and energy subsidies and froze aid to 38,000 soup kitchens pending an audit.

Milei insists Argentina has to swallow a bitter pill to rescue the economy, and has warned the population to brace themselves for things getting worse before they get better.

(AFP)

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Frank Lampard insists that he is ‘keen to get working again’ as he eyes a managerial comeback 10 months after his miserable caretaker spell in charge of Chelsea

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  • Lampard was brought in to replace Graham Potter part way through last season
  • The 45-year-old managed to lead the team to one win in his 11 games in charge 
  • We never thought it would be ‘warrior’ Bruno Fernandes but where would Man United be without their captain? Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

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Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has teased a return to management, 10 months after his disastrous spell as caretaker boss of his old club. 

Lampard had headed back to the Stamford Bridge dugout part way through last season following the sackings of Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter. 

But it turned out to be a miserable period as the Blues won just one of his 11 games in charge. The 45-year-old has since appeared on TV on a pundit and often noted his delight in spending time with family. 

In fact, Lampard maintains that he is relishing the quality time with his children but stated that he is now keeping his eyes open for his next role. 

‘I’m enjoying being with the family and looking to get back at some point.’ He told talkSPORT. ‘Hopefully something comes up that feels right for me, I’m keen to get working again but as I reiterate, I’m enjoying family life.

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Frank Lampard teased a return to the dugout, having endured a miserable spell last time out

Frank Lampard teased a return to the dugout, having endured a miserable spell last time out

Frank Lampard teased a return to the dugout, having endured a miserable spell last time out

The former England international has managed Mason Mount three times, including a loan spell with Derby County

The former England international has managed Mason Mount three times, including a loan spell with Derby County

The former England international has managed Mason Mount three times, including a loan spell with Derby County

‘It’s an intense job so when you’re out of it, it’s nice to appreciate being around all my children.

‘You love the job. you understand the rigours of it in the modern day. I’ve enjoyed all the clubs I’ve worked with.

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‘They’ve all been big challenges for different reasons. I enjoy working with players, improve players and the team, so let’s see what comes.’

The former England international’s first managerial position came with Derby County, with whom he advanced to the Championship play-off final in 2018. 

Remarkably, that was enough for the Blues to come knocking a year later as they prepared to embark on a season with a transfer ban. 

There were wild scenes at Goodison Park in 2022 after Lampard led the side to Premier League safety

There were wild scenes at Goodison Park in 2022 after Lampard led the side to Premier League safety

There were wild scenes at Goodison Park in 2022 after Lampard led the side to Premier League safety

Lampard was key in facilitating the first team integration of youngsters such as Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Reece James, though he was ultimately dismissed just 18 months into the contract. 

In January 2022, he took the risky decision to manage relegation-threatened Everton but he led them to safety only to last a few more months in the job before he was sacked just a year later. 

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