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Les attaques homophobes en France ont augmenté de près de 30% l’année dernière, selon un groupe LGBTQ

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L’année dernière a vu une augmentation du nombre de personnes homosexuelles et transsexuelles signalant des agressions physiques en France, a déclaré mardi un groupe d’activistes, avertissant que le sentiment anti-LGBTQ reste “ancré” dans la société.

SOS Homophobie (SOS Homophobie) a déclaré dans un rapport avoir reçu un peu plus de 1 500 signalements de comportements homophobes ou discriminatoires en 2022 via son site Web et sa hotline, soit environ le même nombre que l’année précédente.

Mais il y a eu une augmentation de 28% des signalements d’agressions physiques, à 184, soit environ un tous les deux jours.

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“Malgré l’évolution de la loi et des mentalités, aujourd’hui, les personnes LGBT ne peuvent toujours pas vivre librement comme elles sont”, a déclaré à l’AFP le chef de SOS Homophobie, Joël Deumier.

Dans son rapport, le groupe a déclaré que les actes de violence contre les homosexuels et les trans comprenaient “des embuscades organisées à l’aide d’applications de rencontres” et avaient souvent “des motifs superficiels ou inexistants”.

Parmi les rapports qu’ils ont reçus figuraient une attaque au couteau contre un couple d’hommes dans le métro, deux femmes trouvant leur voiture sur laquelle on avait craché à plusieurs reprises, un jeune homme battu par cinq agresseurs et un autre dit par son voisin que “votre espèce ne mérite pas de en direct”.

Les rapports de discrimination comprenaient des agents immobiliers refusant de vendre ou de louer à des couples ou des familles LGBTQ, et des espaces publics comme des magasins et des bibliothèques refusant l’entrée à des personnes non binaires ou trans.

SOS Homophobie a souligné les signalements d’incidents transphobes, qui, selon lui, avaient augmenté de 26% l’année dernière, pour atteindre 227.

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Les écoles en particulier « refusent souvent toute forme de changement administratif » concernant le sexe des élèves, déplore l’association.

SOS Homophobie a exhorté le gouvernement à lancer une “campagne nationale de sensibilisation”, à consacrer davantage de ressources aux enquêtes sur les crimes homophobes et transphobes et à améliorer la formation des policiers, dont certains refusent toujours d’accepter de telles plaintes.

(AFP)

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Extraterrestrials could be stuck on their exo-planet ‘home world’ due to ‘physical limitations,’ study claims – is this why we haven’t found aliens?

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‘Where is everyone?’ It’s the famous question about aliens, echoing out to our quiet galactic neighbors after Manhattan Project physicist Enrico Fermi asked it in 1950.

But perhaps even a highly advanced extraterrestrial civilization might find itself without the resources or the key information needed to escape their home world, at least according to a new study from Spain’s Atlántico Medio university.

Some so-called ‘Super Earths’ might be within their star’s habitable zone, but so massive that their gravity makes interplanetary rocket launches all but impossible.

These and other ‘Fishbowl Worlds’ are just one of several ideas introduced in the new paper, which hopes to help explain Enrico Fermi’s infamous 1950 ‘Fermi Paradox.’

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Fermi’s paradox has perplexed astronomers for over six decades, asking in short: In a universe teeming with as many as 200 billion trillion stars, and still more planets, many capable of supporting life, why haven’t Earth’s scientists spotted any aliens?

Even highly advanced alien civilizations might find themselves without the resources - or key information - needed to escape their home world, according to a study from Spain's Atlántico Medio university. Above, Jupiter's watery moon Europa, imaged by NASA's Galileo spacecraft

Even highly advanced alien civilizations might find themselves without the resources - or key information - needed to escape their home world, according to a study from Spain's Atlántico Medio university. Above, Jupiter's watery moon Europa, imaged by NASA's Galileo spacecraft

Even highly advanced alien civilizations might find themselves without the resources – or key information – needed to escape their home world, according to a study from Spain’s Atlántico Medio university. Above, Jupiter’s watery moon Europa, imaged by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft

‘The image of a planet whose gravity makes it difficult or impossible to leave suggested to me the metaphor of a fishbowl,’ the new study’s author Professor Elio Quiroga told DailyMail.com via email.

‘I found it to be a powerful analogy,’ Prof. Quiroga, who lectures at Atlántico Medio in Spain, said.

For one category of his Fishbowl Worlds, Prof. Quiroga calculated a value he termed the ‘exoplanet escape factor’ (Fex): a value comparing a given exo-planet’s escape velocity to Earth’s 7 miles-per-second (11.19 kilometers-per-second) escape velocity.

Escape velocity, the speed needed for a spacecraft to break free from the gravity of any celestial body — be it a moon, planet or asteroid — varies with that body’s mass. 

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Escaping the potentially habitable exo-planet Proxima Centauri b, four light-years from Earth, for example, is relatively easy: 5.9 miles-per-second, or an ‘Fex’ of just 0.85-times Earth’s own.

But massive, yet hypothetically habitable planets like Kepler-131 b, 746 light-years from Earth, require a daunting speeds to break free: 21.8 miles-per-second to exit Kepler-131 b, for example, or an Fex of 3.13-times Earth.

Some so-called 'Super Earths' might be within their star's habitable zone, but so massive that their gravity makes interplanetary rocket launches all but impossible, like Kepler-131 b (above), 746 light-years from Earth

Some so-called 'Super Earths' might be within their star's habitable zone, but so massive that their gravity makes interplanetary rocket launches all but impossible, like Kepler-131 b (above), 746 light-years from Earth
Others, like Proxima Centauri b (above), turn out to be easier to blast off from than Earth, with lower escape velocities

Others, like Proxima Centauri b (above), turn out to be easier to blast off from than Earth, with lower escape velocities

Some so-called ‘Super Earths’ might be within their star’s habitable zone, but so massive that their gravity makes interplanetary rocket launches all but impossible, like Kepler-131 b (left), 746 light-years from Earth. Others, like Proxima Centauri b (right), are easier to blast off from

‘Many worlds, particularly super-Earths,’ Prof. Quiroga told DailyMail.com, ‘may be dismissed due to prohibitive escape velocities.’

But there were also interesting edge cases, like the habitable world GJ-1214b, 48 light-years from Earth, which has an escape velocity about 1.5 times that of Earth’s. 

Planets like these, which also includes Kepler-103b, might prove harder for an advanced race to blast off from, but might not trap a species on their home world.

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Prof. Quiroga’s research, published in last October in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, theorizes that any escape velocity with an Fex more than 2.2 times Earth’s own may lock a civilization onto their planet of origin for good.  

The more than 5,000 exoplanets confirmed in our galaxy so far include a variety of types - among them these mysterious 'super-Earths' that are larger than our world and possibly rocky

The more than 5,000 exoplanets confirmed in our galaxy so far include a variety of types - among them these mysterious 'super-Earths' that are larger than our world and possibly rocky

The more than 5,000 exoplanets confirmed in our galaxy so far include a variety of types – among them these mysterious ‘super-Earths’ that are larger than our world and possibly rocky

But Prof. Quiroga also pointed to unique cultural factors that might lock a species into their home planet, in one case discussing a more literal ‘Fishbowl World.’

An advanced civilization on an ocean planet, he speculated, might have mastered long-distance communication via their own evolution, given that communication travels much further naturally in a fluid environment (think sonar) than in open air.

The dominant species on a watery planet, or a watery moon like Jupiter’s moon Europa, may have enjoyed conversations that travel naturally for hundreds of miles.

In those worlds, Prof. Quiroga wrote, ‘communication between individuals could be feasible without the need for communication devices,’ stifling the urge to innovate advanced communication technologies.

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There were also interesting edge cases, like the habitable world GJ-1214b (above), 48 light-years from Earth, which has an escape velocity 1.5 times Earth's: hard but possible to leave

There were also interesting edge cases, like the habitable world GJ-1214b (above), 48 light-years from Earth, which has an escape velocity 1.5 times Earth's: hard but possible to leave

There were also interesting edge cases, like the habitable world GJ-1214b (above), 48 light-years from Earth, which has an escape velocity 1.5 times Earth’s: hard but possible to leave

‘Telecommunications technology might never emerge on such a world, even though it could be home to a fully developed civilization,’ Quiroga argued in his paper. 

‘Such a civilization would not be “communicative” and would not be contemplated in the Drake equation,’ the famous calculation formulated to predict the chance of finding intelligent life in the universe, Quiroga said.

An evolutionary feature like innate, biological, undersea sonar, in other words, could leave them both silent and unable to listen to humanity’s SETI radio transmissions.

But, as Prof. Quiroga told DailyMail.com, his research is not a cause for astronomers and planetary scientists to drastically change policies or research plans just yet.

‘The initial step is to search for basic life, simple life-forms,’ he said.

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‘We are making progress in this direction, but we require more advanced tools (such as the future Vera Rubin telescope) and improved methods for analyzing the faint signals emanating from these exo-planets.’ 

‘If we were to discover a world in another star system displaying clear and indisputable signs of intelligence,’ Prof. Quiroga said, ‘then we could contemplate whether those beings have achieved space travel, or if it’s within their capability or not.’

What those first, successful signs, which researchers call techno-signatures, will turn out to be remains to be seen, he noted, in part due to the truly alien possibilities of life outside our world.

‘We can only assert that we know of one civilization in the cosmos, and that is our own,’ Prof. Quiroga said.

‘Consequently, we tend to humanize or anthropomorphize everything; it’s inevitable.’ 

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‘However, there is something intriguing to consider,’ he added. 

‘We emerged as a species more or less in the middle of the lifespan of our star, the sun, which suggests something profound: intelligence takes a considerable amount of time to evolve.’ 

Perhaps, Prof. Quiroga suggested, an answer to Enrico Fermi’s famous paradox is that most alien species are taking just as much time to evolve as life did here on Earth.

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DON’T do these before selling you car: Nine mistakes to avoid losing money trading in your wheels

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 Buying a car is an exciting moment, but selling a car can be a headache.  

While most of us just want to get the car sold fast, we also want to get the best price possible. 

And with 85 per cent of motorists willing to accept a low offer just to get the process over with, rushing to make that sale unequipped could leave you with 50 per cent less cash in your pocket.

A survey by independent used car retailer Motorpoint of over 2,000 UK car owners who sold or changed their motor in the last five years has highlighted a key set of things to avoid before selling which could impact the sale or reduce the price you get.

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With new ’24’ plates on sale since the 1 March, many car owners are wanting to trade their old wheels in for new ones. 

So, here are the top nine things Motorpoint’s experts want you to look for to save money, and time:

1. Two sets of keys 

Car key replacement is around £240 but modern keys with keyless lock and go can cost more than £1000 but trying to sell your car without the spare key can cut 5 to 10 per cent off the price

Car key replacement is around £240 but modern keys with keyless lock and go can cost more than £1000 but trying to sell your car without the spare key can cut 5 to 10 per cent off the price

Car key replacement is around £240 but modern keys with keyless lock and go can cost more than £1000 but trying to sell your car without the spare key can cut 5 to 10 per cent off the price

It might seem like a small issue, only having one key. After all isn’t a key only a couple of hundred quid to replace?

But John Hood, Motorpoint’s general manager of trade acquisition, claims that not having both sets, and not having the original key in particular can make your car much less desirable and, in some cases, impossible to sell.

‘The average cost to replace a key is around £240, but a new remote or keyless entry key for a modern vehicle could cost you more than £1,000. 

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‘However, without both sets of keys, expect to see anywhere between 5 to 10 per cent less for your vehicle’, he says.

According to data from Motorpoint’s Sell Your Car service, motorists without both sets of keys could be missing out on as much as £1,530 when it comes to selling their car.

2. Having 100k miles on the clock could knock off £3k 

60,000 miles on the clock is the sweet spot before your wheels lose 27 per cent value - but make sure you sell before 100,000 miles in particular

60,000 miles on the clock is the sweet spot before your wheels lose 27 per cent value - but make sure you sell before 100,000 miles in particular

60,000 miles on the clock is the sweet spot before your wheels lose 27 per cent value – but make sure you sell before 100,000 miles in particular 

Recent data from Carwow found that the  sweet spot to sell your car is before it reaches 60,000 miles. 

On average cars lose around 27 per cent of their value when the odometer reaches 60,000.

Motorpoint adds that, while it is a misconception that over 100,000 miles makes a car less reliable, it does mean your wheels can drop 20 per cent in value because of this view.

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Hood recommends ‘motorists sell their vehicles before they reach this mark because simply put, the lower the mileage, the higher price you’ll get for your car.’ 

3. Removing modifications could increase value by £6k

It’s worth remembering that customising your car to your own specific tastes is great while you’re driving it, but it might make it harder to sell on.

Before modifying a vehicle Hood advises keeping retail impact in mind: ‘Performance enhancements such as swapping out exhausts, rather than adding value, can lead to reduced sale prices, sometimes by as much as 40 per cent – meaning you’ve not only spent money modifying your vehicle, but you’ll also be missing out when it comes to selling. 

‘In extreme cases, motorists with modified cars could lose out on somewhere near £6,120 in resale value.’

4.Keep your car as clean as possible

Getting a professional valet before you sell your car can help improve first impressions but keeping your car clean regularly has the biggest impact on value retention

Getting a professional valet before you sell your car can help improve first impressions but keeping your car clean regularly has the biggest impact on value retention

Getting a professional valet before you sell your car can help improve first impressions but keeping your car clean regularly has the biggest impact on value retention 

A poorly kept car could knock over £1,500 off its value, so keeping it clean and well-maintained really is worth it. 

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Smoking or having pets in your car regularly could impact the price by 10 per cent, according to Motorpoint. 

First impressions count so it’s worth getting a professional valet done, but if you think you can make your car sparkle inside and out then you can also save yourself around £150 by doing your own valet.

5. Sort warning lights or miss out on up to £4,590

Warning lights can knock up to 30 per cent off the value of your car when looking to sell.

Don’t be tempted to pass on repair costs during the sale because you’re likely going to be losing more money than you would have to fork out for repairs. 

‘While it’s dependent on the value of your vehicle, the average motorist could expect to see as much as £4,500 knocked off the value of your car. 

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‘In many cases, it really is cheaper to get the issue fixed before selling’, Hood recommends.

6. Private plates don’t increase the value of your car

Private plates can make a fortune when sold separately to your car, but actually reduce the value of your motor if you sell them with the car as a private plate is seen as a modification

Private plates can make a fortune when sold separately to your car, but actually reduce the value of your motor if you sell them with the car as a private plate is seen as a modification

Private plates can make a fortune when sold separately to your car, but actually reduce the value of your motor if you sell them with the car as a private plate is seen as a modification

Private plates are hot commodities with some of the most expensive DVLA plates going for hundreds of thousands of pounds.

While private plates can look cool they are classed as a personal modification to a vehicle. 

Any modification wise can impact the price of the car and a private plate could knock off between £200 and £300.

John says: ‘You probably want to keep your private number plate when you sell up, but if for any reason you don’t want it anymore, it’s probably best to sell it separately than with the vehicle.

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‘Not only are you likely to get a good price for them, but a personalised plate won’t make the value of your car higher. In many cases, you’ll be charged for the inconvenience and time it would take to return the car to the age-related plates.’

7. Tread depth matters, and could cost you

Tyre checks are critical for safety and to make sure you aren’t breaking the law while driving.

Whether you use a tyre tread depth or the 20p coin check, your car tyres should always meet legal requirements. 

Monthly tyre checks should be part of your car maintenance routine.

But when you sell your car on, do a final check of the tyres to make absolutely certain that they meet legal tread depth requirements.

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Same as with repairs, dealerships will charge you for time and inconveniencing changing your tyres, so check your tyres before you hand over the keys.

8. Each scratch or scuff deducts £50 off your valuation

Each scratch or scuff could knock £50 off the price of your car so make sure you get small repair costs covered before you sell

Each scratch or scuff could knock £50 off the price of your car so make sure you get small repair costs covered before you sell

Each scratch or scuff could knock £50 off the price of your car so make sure you get small repair costs covered before you sell

Even minor chips can impact your car’s value. Address any damages to your car before selling to make sure you take home the full value of the car.

According to the experts, motorists could see as much as £50 per scratch knocked off an initial valuation if their car doesn’t meet the condition you stated, so it’s worth getting these checked out.

Most of the time your car insurance policy will cover these small repair costs anyway so shop around at garages to get some quotes for light body paint touch ups and repairs.

It’s vital to make sure colours and parts are authentic and matching though, or Motorpoint warns or you could have thousands knocked off the offer price. 

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9. Keep up with service checks to prevent £2k hit

Falling behind on your car servicing can reduce your car's value by 10 to 15 per cent so mkae sure you book in regularly and keep a record of all the service history too

Falling behind on your car servicing can reduce your car's value by 10 to 15 per cent so mkae sure you book in regularly and keep a record of all the service history too

Falling behind on your car servicing can reduce your car’s value by 10 to 15 per cent so mkae sure you book in regularly and keep a record of all the service history too

It might not seem like a big deal at the time, but falling behind on your car’s service schedule can prove to be a costly mistake when selling your car. 

An incomplete service history will reduce your car’s value by 10 to 15 per cent – and even more if your car is still within the manufacturer’s warranty period, as this will be void if you haven’t kept up with your services.

Remember you’re entirely entitled to go to independent garages for MOTs and service works. Unlike what many drivers are told or believe, you are not legally required to go to the official dealership.

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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Diplomatic efforts to broker Israel-Hamas ceasefire continue

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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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Disney fanatic SLAMS park’s insane price hikes – revealing just how wildly ‘expensive’ a single day trip has become – suggesting vacationing overseas instead

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The happiest place on earth is also becoming the most unaffordable; with a Disney fanatic declaring it’s cheaper to take a family on an overseas vacation than visit the famous theme parks.

Longtime Disney fan Jake Williams slammed the park as being ‘anti-consumer,’ noting the removal of some of the once-complimentary services adds hundreds of dollars to a family’s day at the park.

Jake visited the Disney Magic Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida, documenting how much it costs for two people to visit the park – noting a whopping 44 per cent price increase since 2017.

Visiting the park with his partner Emmi, Jake stayed at Disney’s Port Orleans resort and opted to visit the Magic Kingdom park for the day.

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Disney fanatic Jake Williams (pictured) slammed the park as being 'anti-consumer,' noting the removal of some complimentary services adds hundreds of dollars to a family's day at the park

Disney fanatic Jake Williams (pictured) slammed the park as being 'anti-consumer,' noting the removal of some complimentary services adds hundreds of dollars to a family's day at the park

Disney fanatic Jake Williams (pictured) slammed the park as being ‘anti-consumer,’ noting the removal of some complimentary services adds hundreds of dollars to a family’s day at the park

Jake slammed the park as being 'anti-consumer,' noting the removal of some of their complimentary services adds hundreds of dollars to a family's day at the park

Jake slammed the park as being 'anti-consumer,' noting the removal of some of their complimentary services adds hundreds of dollars to a family's day at the park

Jake slammed the park as being ‘anti-consumer,’ noting the removal of some of their complimentary services adds hundreds of dollars to a family’s day at the park

‘I got a discounted rate at $249 a night but that really turned out to be $280 a night with tax so to start,’ he shared of their room. which he labeled ‘pretty nice’ and in a good location.

The pair began their Disney day at the dining hall in the resort.

‘We both got the bounty platter which was pretty good,’ he shared. ‘The platter is $22.79 per person and that came out to an okay $27.24 with tax.’

From there, they were able to take Disney’s complimentary bus transportation from the resorts – but the park had reformatted the price tier of their annual passes system since the last time Jake visited.

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‘[They] bumped up the prices for both the passes and regular day tickets,’ he explained. ‘We chose to do the classic Park Magic Kingdom which also happens to be the most expensive Park unlike days of the past Disney, it now has variable pricing for each park depending on when you’re going.’

Magic Kingdom cost $154 per person, making it $328 for him and his girlfriend Emmi.

‘As expensive as that sounds, at least it’s not on a more expensive day like in late November where day tickets can get as high as $184 a person,’ he pointed out.

Once at the park, Jake reported the lines were ‘insane’, with lines as long over 90 minutes  for some attractions and rides.

Magic Kingdom cost $154 per person, making it $328 for him and his girlfriend Emmi, wait Jake saying the crowds were 'insane'

Magic Kingdom cost $154 per person, making it $328 for him and his girlfriend Emmi, wait Jake saying the crowds were 'insane'

Magic Kingdom cost $154 per person, making it $328 for him and his girlfriend Emmi, wait Jake saying the crowds were ‘insane’

He paid a discounted rate at $249 a night for the room at Disney's Port Orleans resort

He paid a discounted rate at $249 a night for the room at Disney's Port Orleans resort
It ended  up being $280 a night with tax

It ended  up being $280 a night with tax

He paid a discounted rate at $249 a night for the room at Disney’s Port Orleans resort, which ended up being $280 a night with tax 

Jake noted the difference between 2024 prices and 2017 was around $320 - or a huge 44 per cent

Jake noted the difference between 2024 prices and 2017 was around $320 - or a huge 44 per cent

Jake noted the difference between 2024 prices and 2017 was around $320 – or a huge 44 per cent 

However, while in the past parkgoers could have used a FastPass to skip the line, Disney have reformatted their wait system in 2021, rebranding it as Lighting Lane.

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The exact same trip in 2017 would have cost a total of $567 – that’s almost a $320 difference between two trips that’s a 44% increase in just 7 years far outpacing inflation which is around 24 per cent 

Jake said the main reason for the price hike was Disney’s decision to start charging for  the bus to the resort and the fast passes.

‘During our trip we paid $23 per person, making it $46 for both pf us,’ he reported. ‘So after purchasing the privilege of something we used to get for free, we booked a few attractions for later in the day like Pirates and Haunted Mansion – but throughout the afternoon the wait times were consistently long.’ 

‘In this iteration they now charge you money for it,’ he said disgruntled, adding the system means you have to purchase another app called Genie+ to download that app – and some rides you have to pay extra to queue for. 

The park's changes to their annual passes system has been reformatted from the last time Jake went and are far more expensive

The park's changes to their annual passes system has been reformatted from the last time Jake went and are far more expensive
Jake also noted long wait times for all rides and attractions

Jake also noted long wait times for all rides and attractions

The park’s changes to their annual passes system has been reformatted from the last time Jake went and are far more expensive. Jake also noted long wait times for all rides and attractions   

Jake and his partner Emmi visited the park and spent a total of $886 between them for one day at Magic Kingdom

Jake and his partner Emmi visited the park and spent a total of $886 between them for one day at Magic Kingdom

Jake and his partner Emmi visited the park and spent a total of $886 between them for one day at Magic Kingdom

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‘I do not like crowds at all, I don’t like standing for long periods of time – this is all very uncomfortable for me so we really didn’t do all that much,’ Jake admitted.

The pair stopped for lunch at Park Columbia Harbor House, paying $31.70 between them, and after wandering around for a few more hours got a coffee and popcorn as a snack, which costs $12.70 together.

The only ride Jake wanted to try was the Tron Lightcycle Power Run – which opened in spring 2023. Unlike regular rides, it has two intakes for a ‘digital’ queues – which they missed out on.

Magic Kingdom 

For two people:

Bus to resort: $33.60

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Hotel: $280.81 night

Breakfast:  $27.24

Magic Kingdom Ticket:  $328.02

Genie+: $46 

Lightning Lane: $42.60 

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Lunch: $31.70

Snacks (coffee and popcorn):  $7.20 and $5.50

 Dinner: $83.75

TOTAL: $886.34 

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Because of this, they had to purchase the individual Lightning Lane – the remodeled new fast pass – which cost them $20 each.

‘$42 for a 60 second attraction, that is a hard pill,’ he admitted.

Jake and Emmi dined at Skipper Canteen, which came to $83.75, which Disney fan said was ‘overpriced.’ 

Overall, the day out at Disney for two adults came to $886.34 – more than a $320 difference from the prices in 2017.

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‘Doing a Disney World trip has gotten a lot more expensive,’ Jake reflected.

‘And remember this is without buying additional merchandise or any other snacks or even magic bands which used to be free but are now like $35.’

Although a Disney fan, he admitted it’s ‘difficult’ to justify how expensive it is. 

‘It’s frustrating to see Disney make something that used to be free generate tens of millions from it and give no extra value in the parks,’ he said 

He said a hypothetical trip for a family of three –  two adults and one child – that spent six days at a resort and four days at the parks – along with food and drinks plus the additional costs for ride queues is around $4,000.

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‘I can’t help but think that nobody seems to care if Disney is just staggeringly more expensive than it used to be, all while removing perks that used to be free,’ he observed.

‘At this point there basically is no argument to be made for Genie plus and the elimination of FastPass, it is simply anti-consumer as are these steep price hikes,’ he continued. ‘But people just eat the costs.’

In comparison, Jake said he had priced out a trip to the French Rivera for $3,462, and a luxurious trip to Bali for around $4,600. 

‘I really do love the Disney parks but I’m not willing to put up with the huge price hikes and this convoluted system where I know there are better places for my money to be spent,’ Jake declared. 

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Haiti’s capital ‘paralysed’ as gang conflict intensifies after jailbreak

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Haiti’s capital was largely shut down Monday with residents only venturing out for essentials, as authorities imposed a state of emergency after an attack on a prison freed thousands of inmates.

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As the latest crisis spiraled, Prime Minister Ariel Henry was still out of the country after a trip to Kenya to push for the deployment of a UN-backed multinational police mission to try to stabilise Haiti. 

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The prison break came in a new wave of violence sweeping through Port-au-Prince, where armed gangs who control much of the city have wreaked havoc since last week.

An AFP reporter said some locals were on the streets looking to buy water and fuel on the day after the state of emergency and a nighttime curfew were declared.

Schools and banks were closed, and people sheltered for safety in schools, sports venues, gyms and public buildings, often without adequate toilets, health facilities or drinking water.

“This morning the city is paralysed,” Carlotta Pianigiani, a coordinator in Port-au-Prince for the Alima medical NGO, told AFP.

“Public transport is practically at a standstill, private vehicles are rare and schools are closed. Some roads are also barricaded.”

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She said 15,000 people were displaced in weeks of recent unrest and that the largest public hospital suspended operation last week, adding that the situation was “already very tense.”

President assassinated 

Gang leaders such as Jimmy Cherisier, known by the nickname Barbecue, say they are coordinating to oust Prime Minister Henry, who has led the troubled Caribbean nation since the assassination of president Jovenel Moise in 2021.

About a dozen people died in the violence at the National Penitentiary in the capital on Saturday night, according to AFP reporters, with only a few of the estimated 3,800 inmates still inside.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed alarm at the “rapidly deteriorating security situation” and called for more funding for the planned international police mission.

A spokesman for United States’ State Department said that Henry was heading back from Kenya, adding “it’s important that he do so, and that he be allowed to do so.”

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The Haitian government has vowed the security forces would take back control, but they are notoriously weak — kidnapping and other violent crime is rampant, and gangs are often better armed than the police.

Among those held in the jail over Moise’s assassination were 17 Colombian mercenaries who chose not escape as their lives would be in danger, their lawyer said Monday.

A gang was “waiting to execute them at the prison entrance,” Sondra Macollins told on Blu Radio in Bogota, adding the former soldiers were now detained in a police station.

The Haitian news outlet Le Nouvelliste reported that the prison, located close to the National Palace, had been under surveillance by gangs using drones before the assault was launched.

The UN Security Council in October approved an international police support mission to Haiti that Nairobi had agreed to lead, but a Kenyan court ruling has thrown its future into doubt.

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On Friday, Henry signed an accord in Nairobi with Kenyan President William Ruto on deploying the force.

Haiti, the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation, has been in turmoil for years, and the 2021 presidential assassination plunged the country further into chaos.

No elections have taken place since 2016 and the presidency remains vacant.

White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday that the United States was monitoring the situation “with great concern.”

(AFP)

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Steve Rider’s prostate tumour had no symptoms. If his wife hadn’t made him see a doctor, it could have been fatal

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Last autumn, after a 45-year career in sports broadcasting ‘without a single day off through ill health’, Steve Rider learned that he had ­prostate cancer — and it could kill him if he didn’t act fast.

He didn’t have a single symptom, and if it hadn’t been for his wife Jane, ‘who’s been the star of all this’, Steve might not have followed up a slightly raised PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test.

This measures the protein made by the prostate gland and can be a sign of cancer — but also of benign problems such as an enlarged prostate.

Steve Rider, 73, has presented major sports events including the Olympics, World Cups and Formula 1 Grand Prix for ITV, BBC and Sky

Steve Rider, 73, has presented major sports events including the Olympics, World Cups and Formula 1 Grand Prix for ITV, BBC and Sky

Steve Rider, 73, has presented major sports events including the Olympics, World Cups and Formula 1 Grand Prix for ITV, BBC and Sky

However, Steve discovered his 6cm tumour was highly aggressive, as he tells Good Health in an exclusive interview — and in October he underwent three and a half hours of surgery to remove the entire prostate.

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‘It’s probably given me ten to 15 years of quality life that I almost certainly wouldn’t have had if Jane hadn’t encouraged me to pay attention to the PSA test results,’ admits Steve, 73, who has presented major sports events such as the Olympics, football World Cups and Formula 1 Grand Prix, among others, for ITV, BBC and Sky over the decades.

After the PSA test, Steve saw a specialist in August who discovered ‘an ­abnormality’ in his prostate and referred him for further scans and a biopsy.

Steve and his wife Jane have been married since 1985 and have two children

Steve and his wife Jane have been married since 1985 and have two children

Steve and his wife Jane have been married since 1985 and have two children

‘I thought, at my age, it could be cancer,’ Steve says. But when he and Jane went to hear the results, the news was worse than he’d imagined.

‘The specialist told us the tumour was large and pressing against the wall of the prostate, and he was concerned about whether it had gone into the lymph nodes and to the bones because this is where it almost always spreads to. He said it could grow fast and be deadly.’

Steve adds drily: ‘It wasn’t the best day of our lives, but if I hadn’t gone down the route I did, six months or a year later, we might have been hearing terrible news of terminal cancer on what might have been the worst day of our lives.’

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His routine PSA test in late July was done as part of a check-up to renew a prescription for high blood pressure medication. Steve confesses that neither he nor the private GP he saw picked up on his slightly raised PSA level of 6ng/ml. (For younger men, this should be three or less; a reading of five is acceptable for those over 70.)

However Jane did, remarking on how his previous scores were around 3ng/ml — and insisted he went for further tests.

Steve found out his scan and biopsy results the day after a charity walk last September

Steve found out his scan and biopsy results the day after a charity walk last September

Steve found out his scan and biopsy results the day after a charity walk last September

Steve says: ‘We knew a few men in our village who had been ­surprised when they followed up their PSA results, so Jane made me go. However, we weren’t ­thinking it was going to lead to anything dramatic.’

(The couple, who live near ­Marlow, Buckinghamshire, have been married since 1985 and have two children, Jack, 34, a teacher and father of two, and Polly, 31, a ­digital content creator.)

Steve used medical insurance to see a private specialist a ­couple of weeks later. He admits: ‘All I knew then was that prostate cancer was the one that chaps have to be aware of, but I didn’t know what or where the prostate was.’

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A digital rectal examination (which Steve says ‘lasted about 45 seconds — men need to get over themselves and not fear it’) revealed an abnormality on one side of the prostate. He then had a multiparametric MRI scan, which gives more detailed ­pictures than a standard MRI (as it uses dye to highlight the blood vessels feeding a tumour), then a PET scan.

This scan, which is not offered as standard on the NHS, checks the body for cancer by tracking a radioactive substance, injected into a vein in the arm. This ­targets a protein expressed by cancerous and non-cancerous cells; in ­prostate cancer, many copies of the protein are created.

Then Steve underwent a ­transperineal biopsy, to take ­tissue samples from the prostate. Days later he was able to join Jeff Stelling’s Football March, to help raise nearly £400,000 in memory of the BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull, who died of prostate cancer in 2022 and whom Steve had met a few times.

Throughout the four-hour walk, Steve talked to those who had prostate cancer and came across people who had misunderstood or ignored their PSA results. ‘A lot of people regard it as pass or fail — but, like me, it can just be the first clue that you need to do more,’ says Steve.

There were also those with ‘pretty low or variable PSA [test results] but they still had cancer. I really found out how unreliable the PSA test can be.’

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The test can give false negative and false positive results, which may lead to advanced cancers being missed or unnecessary tests and treatment.

Steve found out his scan and biopsy results the day after the charity walk, last September.

Although he was expecting to be told he needed treatment, he was shocked to learn his tumour was ‘heavily embedded in the prostate, fast-growing and at the top end of the Gleason scale’. This is a measure of how abnormal prostate cells look; a score of eight to ten indicates aggressive ­cancer: Steve’s score was eight.

He was advised that the most effective approach would be to remove his entire prostate. Despite this, Steve was relieved. ‘We were presented with a ­solution that was almost 100 per cent effective,’ he says. ‘It was chilling news but there was a get-out-of -jail-free card.’

A multiparametric MRI scan, which Steve had, gives more detailed ­pictures than a standard MRI as it uses dye to highlight the blood vessels feeding a tumour (stock image)

A multiparametric MRI scan, which Steve had, gives more detailed ­pictures than a standard MRI as it uses dye to highlight the blood vessels feeding a tumour (stock image)

A multiparametric MRI scan, which Steve had, gives more detailed ­pictures than a standard MRI as it uses dye to highlight the blood vessels feeding a tumour (stock image)

He went home feeling fine the day after his keyhole operation, but the next day ‘couldn’t get out of bed — every muscle in the top half of my body was screaming’, he says. However, the surgery was successful: ‘When I went back in December for an update, the ­consultant said my PSA level was too low to measure, so effectively zero — the best news.’

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Friends including fellow TV ­presenter Nick Owen — who revealed his own prostate cancer diagnosis last year — rallied round. ‘Nick and I compared our ­reaction to the pelvic floor ­exercises we were meant to do — I find them a chore — to overcome the slight urinary incontinence you can get after the op,’ says Steve. Jane administered his anti-­clotting injections and changed the drainage bag attached to his urinary catheter.

‘I was sleeping down the ­corridor because that bag on your leg is not the most romantic thing,’ he says. ‘I’d wake up at 6.30 am and, remarkably, Jane would come in to change the bag.’

At 5ft 8in, Steve has lost 10lb since his surgery. He now weighs 12st 11lb and is keen to stay trim. Although he previously led a ‘moderately healthy’ life with ­regular charity runs and walks, he has now adopted more healthy habits: ‘The nightly bottle of wine hasn’t reappeared,’ he says.

One possible side-effect of the surgery is erectile dysfunction. ‘I’ve got no reason to think it isn’t going to work any more — but if it doesn’t, so what. I’m 73 and I have a ­family and grandchildren — it’s not my No 1 issue.

‘There is a slight urinary issue — the sprinkler system is a little erratic. It’s all part of the glorious indignity and humour of it all.’

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Steve is keen to share his ­experiences in order to increase awareness among men. He has also decided that it’s time to ‘bow out’ of his presenting career to enjoy life with his family.

‘Cancer has changed me,’ he says. ‘I have another year left with ITV and that will probably be it.

‘We have great fun looking after the grandchildren three days a week and doing the school run, and we like to travel.

‘I’ve been reminded of what is important in life, how families can come together and deliver strength when it’s needed.’

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How the most turbulent year of Sam Kerr’s life left her badly injured, out of the Olympics, off contract and facing a trial for allegedly racially abusing a cop

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Matildas captain Sam Kerr’s sporting career has hit a crossroads after an incredibly turbulent year that has seen her life take a staggering series of twists and turns.

The Chelsea striker has pleaded not guilty to a charge of racially aggravated harassment of a police officer, according to the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service.

Kerr was charged with causing a police officer harassment, alarm or distress arising from an alleged incident in Twickenham, south-west London, on January 30, 2023.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the incident involved an officer who was responding to a complaint about a taxi fare.

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Kerr denied the charge at a plea and trial preparation hearing at Kingston Upon Thames Crown Court on Monday.

She is due to face trial next February, leaving the Matildas ace in limbo with her future with Women’s Super League powerhouse Chelsea in doubt.

After having the world at her feet at the start of 2023, Kerr has endured a year of insane ups and downs that has now left her career at a crossroads

After having the world at her feet at the start of 2023, Kerr has endured a year of insane ups and downs that has now left her career at a crossroads

After having the world at her feet at the start of 2023, Kerr has endured a year of insane ups and downs that has now left her career at a crossroads

Kerr posted this image with fiancé Kristie Mewis on the same day she allegedly caused a police officer harassment, alarm or distress in London

Kerr posted this image with fiancé Kristie Mewis on the same day she allegedly caused a police officer harassment, alarm or distress in London

Kerr posted this image with fiancé Kristie Mewis on the same day she allegedly caused a police officer harassment, alarm or distress in London

Kerr in January Kerr suffered an ACL tear that has robbed her of a spot at the Paris Olympics and ruled her out of the rest of Chelsea's WSL campaign

Kerr in January Kerr suffered an ACL tear that has robbed her of a spot at the Paris Olympics and ruled her out of the rest of Chelsea's WSL campaign

Kerr in January Kerr suffered an ACL tear that has robbed her of a spot at the Paris Olympics and ruled her out of the rest of Chelsea’s WSL campaign

Kerr is off contract with The Blues at the end of this season and although she has reportedly reached an in principle agreement with the club to extend her stay at Kingsmeadow, it has not been confirmed that she has officially re-signed.

It remains unknown what impact these allegations will have on those contract talks. Neither Chelsea nor the Women’s Super League had released a statement on Kerr at the time of publication.

However, when Kerr’s teammate Lauren James suffered racial abuse in December last year, the team made its stance on the issue plain by stating: ‘The club stands strongly against any form of abuse and discriminatory behaviour. Discrimination has no place at Chelsea Football Club or in any of our communities. We will take action against any individual that we can identify. We stand with you, Lauren.’ 

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Colombian forward Mayra Ramirez has replaced Kerr in the interim at Chelsea and scored on debut in the club’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last month. 

Kerr’s last Instagram Story before her court appearance was a post congratulating Ramirez.

Her fiancé Kristie Mewis also posted an image of Ramirez with the caption ‘go on Kitten!’. 

Curiously, the couple’s joint Instagram account later re-posted the same image except this time with the addition of a sad-face emoji and a blue heart. 

Kerr's last Instagram story before her court appearance saw her share the Chelsea post congratulating her replacement, Mayra Ramirez, for scoring on debut (pictured)

Kerr's last Instagram story before her court appearance saw her share the Chelsea post congratulating her replacement, Mayra Ramirez, for scoring on debut (pictured)

Kerr’s last Instagram story before her court appearance saw her share the Chelsea post congratulating her replacement, Mayra Ramirez, for scoring on debut (pictured)

Kerr also cheered on Mayra Ramirez as she came onto the field on debit for Chelsea

Kerr also cheered on Mayra Ramirez as she came onto the field on debit for Chelsea
Later, Kerr and Mewis re-posted this image, adding a sad face emoji and a blue heart

Later, Kerr and Mewis re-posted this image, adding a sad face emoji and a blue heart

Kerr also cheered on Mayra Ramirez as she came onto the field on debut for Chelsea. She and fiancee Kristie Mewis later re-posted this image, adding a sad-face emoji and a blue heart

It caps off a year that saw Kerr crash from the penthouse of the sport to the an unsure future, left badly injured, out of the Matildas side for the Paris Olympics and facing an uncertain future professionally and personally. 

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Prior to the alleged incident on January 30, 2023, Kerr was flying. 

She had joined Chelsea midway through the 2019-20 season and scored 99 goals in 128 games for them as she played a leading role securing nine trophies including three FA Cups, two League Cups and four WSL titles. 

Individually, Kerr has also won the Golden Boot twice and was controversially runner-up to Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí at the Ballon d’Or awards last year.

With a FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil ahead of her in 2023, Kerr had the world at her feet.

It remains unknown what happened that night in Twickenham, with the details to be revealed in court next year, but when Kerr was charged in March, 2023, the dominos started falling.

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Kerr has been left frustrated time and time again in the last year with injuries ruling her out of the majority of the Matildas' matches

Kerr has been left frustrated time and time again in the last year with injuries ruling her out of the majority of the Matildas' matches

Kerr has been left frustrated time and time again in the last year with injuries ruling her out of the majority of the Matildas’ matches

Fans were left in the dark on the extent of Kerr's injuries during the World Cup and questioned whether she would play at all

Fans were left in the dark on the extent of Kerr's injuries during the World Cup and questioned whether she would play at all

Fans were left in the dark on the extent of Kerr’s injuries during the World Cup and questioned whether she would play at all 

While Australia's best-ever finish at a World Cup was widely celebrated, Kerr was left to rue what could have been after the playoff for third place against Sweden (pictured)

While Australia's best-ever finish at a World Cup was widely celebrated, Kerr was left to rue what could have been after the playoff for third place against Sweden (pictured)

While Australia’s best-ever finish at a World Cup was widely celebrated, Kerr was left to rue what could have been after the playoff for third place against Sweden (pictured)

As the days ticked down until the Women’s World Cup in August, Kerr was battling a private pain. 

She was carrying dual calf injuries that threatened to rule her out of the entire tournament and rob her of a chance to represent her country on the biggest stage on home soil.

Kerr and the Matildas elected to keep these injuries under wraps, with supporters only finding out when she was ruled out of the tournament opener against Ireland on the eve of the match.

The team’s efforts to keep the seriousness of her injury from rival teams left fans confused. Was it one calf, or both? Was it a strain or a tear? Will she play at all?

She would eventually haul herself onto the pitch for the knockout games, but it was clear Kerr was not 100 per cent.

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In the playoff for third place against Sweden, which the Matildas lost, Kerr crashed to the turf and it was confirmed she had injured her other calf.

While the Aussie women were hailed as heroes, with the Queensland Premier even promising to build a statue to honour their achievements, it was a tournament that featured more than its fair share of frustration for Kerr.

‘I’ve just had a bit of an icky run the last two months, but now I’m back to getting back to full fitness, enjoying being back on the park, sick of being with the physios,’ Kerr said upon returning to Chelsea after the World Cup.

‘I am back to being on the park every day, training, playing.’

Kerr is pictured receiving medical treatment at a Chelsea mid-season camp where her worst fears were realised as a ruptured ligament in her knee ended her Olympic dream

Kerr is pictured receiving medical treatment at a Chelsea mid-season camp where her worst fears were realised as a ruptured ligament in her knee ended her Olympic dream

Kerr is pictured receiving medical treatment at a Chelsea mid-season camp where her worst fears were realised as a ruptured ligament in her knee ended her Olympic dream 

It is the second time an ACL injury has robbed Kerr of the chance to represent her country at the Olympics, after also being cut down with the same injury ahead of the London Games

It is the second time an ACL injury has robbed Kerr of the chance to represent her country at the Olympics, after also being cut down with the same injury ahead of the London Games

It is the second time an ACL injury has robbed Kerr of the chance to represent her country at the Olympics, after also being cut down with the same injury ahead of the London Games

But her determination was not enough. Taking part in a mid-season Chelsea training camp, Kerr’s knee buckled and she was delivered the worst possible news – her ACL had ruptured.

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The knee injury meant no more appearances for Chelsea this season and no chance of appearing for the Matildas at the Games. Cruelly, the same injury eliminated Kerr from the 2012 London Olympics as well.

So while Kerr may have reached an in principle agreement with Chelsea, her pending court appearance coupled with a year punctuated by injury will cast at least some doubt on her chances of staying with the club.

Of course, the year has not been a complete write-off for the Matildas star. On a personal level, she has had 12 months to remember.

She has forged strong bonds with her Matildas teammates as they become the darlings of the Australian sporting landscape.

Kerr recently celebrated teammate Mackenzie Arnold’s 30th birthday along with fellow Matildas, friends and family, appearing happy and posting lyrics from the song Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield just before news of the charges broke.

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By her side in the image is fiancée Mewis, with the couple announcing their engagement in New York and Kerr’s hometown of Perth in 2023.

On the day Kerr appeared via videolink in court, Mewis posted an image of herself wearing a sheer black bodysuit. Kerr added a cheeky GIF of herself on the post, showing her sense of humour and love for Mewis are both alive and well.

While the Matildas continue to give fans hope that Kerr could play at the Olympics, her father Roger (pictured left) has ruled out that possibility

While the Matildas continue to give fans hope that Kerr could play at the Olympics, her father Roger (pictured left) has ruled out that possibility

While the Matildas continue to give fans hope that Kerr could play at the Olympics, her father Roger (pictured left) has ruled out that possibility

Mewis posted this image on the day Kerr faced court via video link, with the Aussie star replying with a cheeky GIF

Mewis posted this image on the day Kerr faced court via video link, with the Aussie star replying with a cheeky GIF

Mewis posted this image on the day Kerr faced court via video link, with the Aussie star replying with a cheeky GIF 

Kerr and Mewis (pictured bottom left) celebrated Matilda Mackenzie Arnold's 30th birthday, with the goalie posting this pic not long before the charge against Kerr became public

Kerr and Mewis (pictured bottom left) celebrated Matilda Mackenzie Arnold's 30th birthday, with the goalie posting this pic not long before the charge against Kerr became public

Kerr and Mewis (pictured bottom left) celebrated Matilda Mackenzie Arnold’s 30th birthday, with the goalie posting this pic not long before the charge against Kerr became public

In court, Kerr only spoke to identify herself and enter a not guilty plea. 

Days ago, her father Roger assured Matildas and Chelsea fans that his daughter was mentally well and working on her rehabilitation.

Once again, the Matildas are playing mind games with their supporters, refusing to rule out the possibility that Kerr could be an outside chance of playing in Paris, with an assessment to be conducted three months after her surgery.

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But Roger has dashed those hopes.

‘Yeah, definitely out of the Olympics,’ he told the ABC on Friday.

‘So she’ll miss that and be ready for the start of Chelsea’s new season.

‘Naturally, everything will be very disappointing, but it’s usually the life of a sportsman, your best player goes down.

‘But it’s [Paris] a real good thing for the Matildas, they’ve developed really well. Sam’s part of the team but it’s the whole team and it’s a very successful team at the moment, so hopefully they bring home a medal.’

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Former Twitter executives sue Musk for over $128 mln in unpaid severance

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Former top executives of Twitter sued Elon Musk on Monday saying he has failed to pay them nearly $130 million after the billionaire took over the social media company and dismissed them.

Issued on:

2 min

“Musk doesn’t pay his bills, believes the rules don’t apply to him, and uses his wealth and power to run roughshod over anyone who disagrees with him,” they said in the lawsuit filed in a California federal court.

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The plaintiffs include former CEO Parag Agrawal, who according to the lawsuit is claiming $57.4 million in benefits, as well as fired CFO Ned Segal who is asking for $44.5 million.

The other plaintiffs are former chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde and the company’s then General Counsel Sean Edgett.

Musk terminated Agrawal, Gadde and Segal from their posts in late October of 2022 after closing his contentious $44 billion takeover of Twitter.

According to the suit, citing a recent authorized biography of Musk, the tycoon went out of his way to ensure the executives were not able to resign from the company before he fired them in the first moments after taking over.

The executives “appropriately and vigorously represented the interests of Twitter’s public shareholders throughout Musk’s wrongful attempt to renege on the deal,” the suit said.

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“For their efforts, Musk vowed a lifetime of revenge,” it added.

This referred to the bitter months leading up to the buyout, when Agrawal and his team drew Musk’s anger for going to court to hold the Tesla chief to the terms of a takeover deal he had tried to escape.

“Because Musk decided he didn’t want to pay Plaintiffs’ severance benefits, he simply fired them without reason, then made up (a) fake cause and appointed employees of his various companies to uphold his decision,” the suit alleged.

Musk, a self-declared “free speech absolutist,” vowed to remove restrictions at Twitter after he bought the platform.

Twitter has since been renamed to X, and has seen its staff numbers drastically slashed, with content moderation put on the back burner, with many previously banned accounts reinstated.

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Musk has also seen major advertisers flee the site over the increase in troublesome content, and has struggled to build a strong enough subscription base to make up the lost revenue.

In a separate case, Agrawal, Gadde and Segal are suing Musk to be reimbursed for costs of litigation, investigations and congressional inquiries related to their former jobs.

(AFP)

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Celebrity Big Brother review: Will Kate’s rogue relative Uncle Gaz be spilling the royal beans? Frankly, it was hard to care, writes CLAUDIA CONNELL

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Rating:

Big sister Carole Middleton didn’t manage to stage a last-minute intervention after all, to prevent her troublesome brother from going into the Celebrity Big Brother house.

Gary Goldsmith, better known as ‘Uncle Gaz,’ revealed that if his niece Catherine, Princess of Wales, was watching last night’s launch show then it was likely to be ‘from behind the sofa.’

As he made his entrance by twerking, dancing and revealing himself to be ‘fun, entertaining wind-up,’ she probably wasn’t the only one.

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And although Gary is hardly what you’d call a star, he was positively A-list when it came to the programme’s mostly pitiful line up.

Scratching your head and muttering ‘who?’ when the celebrity casting for a reality TV show is announced is something most of us are accustomed to.

Gary Goldsmith (pictured), better known as 'Uncle Gaz,' revealed that if his niece Catherine, Princess of Wales, was watching last night's launch show then it was likely to be 'from behind the sofa'

Gary Goldsmith (pictured), better known as 'Uncle Gaz,' revealed that if his niece Catherine, Princess of Wales, was watching last night's launch show then it was likely to be 'from behind the sofa'

Gary Goldsmith (pictured), better known as ‘Uncle Gaz,’ revealed that if his niece Catherine, Princess of Wales, was watching last night’s launch show then it was likely to be ‘from behind the sofa’

Things started promisingly enough when wildly enthusiastic presenters A J Odudu and Will Best began proceedings by naming a genuine celebrity, in the tiny doll-sized shape of Sharon Osbourne (pictured)

Things started promisingly enough when wildly enthusiastic presenters A J Odudu and Will Best began proceedings by naming a genuine celebrity, in the tiny doll-sized shape of Sharon Osbourne (pictured)

Things started promisingly enough when wildly enthusiastic presenters A J Odudu and Will Best began proceedings by naming a genuine celebrity, in the tiny doll-sized shape of Sharon Osbourne (pictured)

From I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here to Dancing on Ice and Strictly, we expect to have to Google one or two names when faced with yet another crop of unfamiliar influencers, DJs and weathermen.

However, when it comes to the (apparently) famous people taking part in Celebrity Big Brother 2024, all I can say is Google must have taken one hell of a beating.

Hoping to cash in on its success with Love Island, ITV bought the rights to Big Brother in 2022 and broadcast the civilian version for the first time last year. 

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However, this is the first celebrity one for six years. And, boy, was it not worth the wait.

Things started promisingly enough when wildly enthusiastic presenters A J Odudu and Will Best began proceedings by naming a genuine celebrity, in the tiny doll-sized shape of Sharon Osbourne.

However, it was revealed that rather than being a housemate, Sharon is to be a ‘lodger’ who’ll only be staying fleetingly. 

A bewildered looking Louis Walsh (pictured) was next to arrive and went off script by admitting that he already knew Sharon was in the house. You're meant to act surprised Louis!

A bewildered looking Louis Walsh (pictured) was next to arrive and went off script by admitting that he already knew Sharon was in the house. You're meant to act surprised Louis!

A bewildered looking Louis Walsh (pictured) was next to arrive and went off script by admitting that he already knew Sharon was in the house. You’re meant to act surprised Louis!

'What did she say her name was?,' asked Sharon when 2022 Love Island winner Ekin-Su Culculoglu (pictured) arrived

'What did she say her name was?,' asked Sharon when 2022 Love Island winner Ekin-Su Culculoglu (pictured) arrived

‘What did she say her name was?,’ asked Sharon when 2022 Love Island winner Ekin-Su Culculoglu (pictured) arrived

Thank goodness producers slipped the pair some prompting cards by the time former Ibiza rep David Potts (pictured) arrived ¿ minus his trousers

Thank goodness producers slipped the pair some prompting cards by the time former Ibiza rep David Potts (pictured) arrived ¿ minus his trousers

Thank goodness producers slipped the pair some prompting cards by the time former Ibiza rep David Potts (pictured) arrived – minus his trousers

Coronation Street star Colson Smith (pictured) is the latest soap star to move into the house, with sources tipping him to go 'all the way'

Coronation Street star Colson Smith (pictured) is the latest soap star to move into the house, with sources tipping him to go 'all the way'

Coronation Street star Colson Smith (pictured) is the latest soap star to move into the house, with sources tipping him to go ‘all the way’

Nikita Kuzmin (pictured), best known as a professional on Strictly Come Dancing, has reportedly ired BBC bosses by moving into the CBB house

Nikita Kuzmin (pictured), best known as a professional on Strictly Come Dancing, has reportedly ired BBC bosses by moving into the CBB house

Nikita Kuzmin (pictured), best known as a professional on Strictly Come Dancing, has reportedly ired BBC bosses by moving into the CBB house

Theatre star Marisha Wallace (pictured) is swapping the stage for the Celebrity Big Brother house, after roles in Broadway adaptations of Aladdin, Something Rotten and Dreamgirls

Theatre star Marisha Wallace (pictured) is swapping the stage for the Celebrity Big Brother house, after roles in Broadway adaptations of Aladdin, Something Rotten and Dreamgirls

Theatre star Marisha Wallace (pictured) is swapping the stage for the Celebrity Big Brother house, after roles in Broadway adaptations of Aladdin, Something Rotten and Dreamgirls

While the winner of the regular Big Brother, bags themselves £100,000 prize money, that sum is also rumoured to Sharon’s daily fee… which is precisely why ITV won’t be keeping her for the full three weeks.

A bewildered looking Louis Walsh was next to arrive and went off script by admitting that he already knew Sharon was in the house. You’re meant to act surprised Louis!

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The two were promptly dispatched to a secret lair where they had to spy on the rest of the housemates to decide who they disliked wanted to put up for eviction.

Only trouble was that – like us – they didn’t have a clue who half of the contestants were.

‘What did she say her name was?,’ asked Sharon when 2022 Love Island winner Ekin-Su Culculoglu arrived.

‘I don’t know who is, but he’s got big ears,’ said Louis of Coronation Street star Colson Smith.

Thank goodness producers slipped the pair some prompting cards by the time former Ibiza rep David Potts arrived – minus his trousers.

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Levi Roots (pictured) is one of Dragon's Den's biggest success stories, and has been a fixture on cooking TV shows

Levi Roots (pictured) is one of Dragon's Den's biggest success stories, and has been a fixture on cooking TV shows

Levi Roots (pictured) is one of Dragon’s Den’s biggest success stories, and has been a fixture on cooking TV shows

Real Housewives of Cheshire star Lauren Simon (pictured) will be swapping one TV show for another as she moves into the CBB house

Real Housewives of Cheshire star Lauren Simon (pictured) will be swapping one TV show for another as she moves into the CBB house

Real Housewives of Cheshire star Lauren Simon (pictured) will be swapping one TV show for another as she moves into the CBB house

Bradley Riches (pictured), best known for his role in Heartstopper, and hopes a stint on the show will help with representation

Bradley Riches (pictured), best known for his role in Heartstopper, and hopes a stint on the show will help with representation

Bradley Riches (pictured), best known for his role in Heartstopper, and hopes a stint on the show will help with representation

Finally, Fern Britton (pictured), looking like she'd rather be anywhere else, stepped in to save the day and restore the good name of 'celebrity'

Finally, Fern Britton (pictured), looking like she'd rather be anywhere else, stepped in to save the day and restore the good name of 'celebrity'

Finally, Fern Britton (pictured), looking like she’d rather be anywhere else, stepped in to save the day and restore the good name of ‘celebrity’

‘His fruit and veg is hanging down,’ remarked an appalled Sharon.

A flurry of musical theatre stars, YouTube presenters and Real Housewives followed all shrieking, ‘You look gorgeous!’ ‘No babez you look gorgeous!’

Finally, Fern Britton, looking like she’d rather be anywhere else, stepped in to save the day and restore the good name of ‘celebrity.’

Fern admitted being nervous and that her children had told her not to not embarrass them by flashing her bits. Shame none of David’s relatives thought to offer the same advice.

Will Uncle Gaz spill any royal secrets? Will David find his trousers? And will Louis and Sharon ever work out who any of them are?

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Quite frankly, it was hard to care.

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International

Electric cars release more toxic emissions than petrol-powered vehicles and are worse for the environment

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Electric vehicles may release more pollution than petrol-powered vehicles, according to a report that has recently resurfaced.

The study, which was published in 2022 but has begun circulating again after being cited in a WSJ op-ed,  found that brakes and tyres release 1,850 times more particulate matter compared to modern exhaust pipes which have filters that reduce emissions.

It found that EVs are 30 percent heavier on average than petrol-powered vehicles, which causes the brakes and tyre treads to wear out faster than standard cars and releases tiny, often toxic particles into the atmosphere.

Hesham Rakha, a professor at Virginia Tech told Dailymail.com that the study is only ‘partially correct’ because even though EVs are heavier, their tyres will emit more microplastics into the air, but this could also be true for sedans versus SUVs. 

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Electric vehicles may release more pollution than petrol-powered vehicles, according to a report that has recently resurfaced

Electric vehicles may release more pollution than petrol-powered vehicles, according to a report that has recently resurfaced

Electric vehicles may release more pollution than petrol-powered vehicles, according to a report that has recently resurfaced 

Rakha said it is very challenging to determine the difference between the amount of microplastics emitted from EV tyre treads and petrol-powered vehicles because you have to separate the microplastics that are already in the air from other sources with what’s coming off the tyres.

Rakha and his team at Virginia Tech are in the process of conducting field tests to determine how much microplastics are emitting from EV and petrol cars by using traffic simulators that will mimic an urban setting.

He added that he doesn’t expect there to be a major difference between the EV and petrol-powered vehicles, saying that they haven’t measured it yet, but expect the difference to be about 20 percent.

This doesn’t mean that people should gravitate away from electric cars because they ‘are more efficient depending zero emission,’ Rakha said, but added the caveat that ‘it also generates a lot of CO2 when charging your vehicle.’

EV batteries weigh about 453kg, and can result in tire emissions that are nearly 400 times more than exhaust pipe emissions.

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Particle pollution can increase health problems including heart disease, asthma, lung disease and in extreme cases, can lead to hospitalisation, cancer, and premature death.

New petrol-powered cars are created to be ‘cleaner,’ by updating the trims of their internal combustion engines to include particulate filters that reduce emissions.

The EVs increased weight due to their lithium-ion batteries cause the tyre treads to wear faster, ultimately producing more emissions.

The study, conducted by the firm Emissions Analytics, said the main difference between exhaust pipe and tyre emissions is that the majority of particulate emissions released from the tyre go directly into the soil and water, while exhaust negatively affects the air quality.

The effects of tire composition come down to the materials the tyre is made from, the study reported.

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Light-duty tyres are typically made from synthetic rubber which is developed using crude oil natural rubber adds fillers and additives, some of which are recognised carcinogens.

Emissions Analytics tested the tire wear on both EV and gas-powered vehicles after driving them at least 1,600km.

The researchers used a sampling system to collect particles immediately behind each tire and then measured the size of the particles emitted from the  tread.

It found that the greater the vehicle’s mass and weight, the more rapidly the tyre particulate emissions would be released due to the increased torque between the tires and the road. 

A new study revealed that tyre wear causes more carbon emissions than an exhaust pipe despite claims that EVs produce zero emissions

A new study revealed that tyre wear causes more carbon emissions than an exhaust pipe despite claims that EVs produce zero emissions

A new study revealed that tyre wear causes more carbon emissions than an exhaust pipe despite claims that EVs produce zero emissions

A separate 2020 report by the Emissions Analytics firm said that tyres are likely to be a major concern in the coming years as ‘consumers switch to bigger and heavier cars.’

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‘Research shows they contribute to microplastic marine pollution, as well as air pollution from finer particles,’ the report continued.

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