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Les gouvernements arabes votent pour réadmettre la Syrie dans la Ligue arabe

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Les ministres des Affaires étrangères de la Ligue arabe ont adopté dimanche la décision de réadmettre la Syrie après plus d’une décennie de suspension, a déclaré un porte-parole de la Ligue, consolidant une poussée régionale pour normaliser les relations avec le président Bachar al-Assad.

La décision a déclaré que la Syrie pourrait reprendre sa participation aux réunions de la Ligue arabe immédiatement, tout en appelant à une résolution de la crise résultant de la guerre civile en Syrie, y compris la fuite de réfugiés vers les pays voisins et le trafic de drogue dans la région.

Elle a été prise lors d’une réunion à huis clos des ministres des Affaires étrangères au siège de la Ligue arabe au Caire, a déclaré Gamal Roshdy, porte-parole du secrétaire général de la Ligue arabe.

Alors que les États arabes, dont les Émirats arabes unis, ont fait pression pour la réhabilitation de la Syrie et d’Assad, d’autres, dont le Qatar, sont restés opposés à une normalisation complète sans solution politique au conflit syrien.

Certains ont tenu à poser des conditions au retour de la Syrie, le ministre jordanien des Affaires étrangères ayant déclaré la semaine dernière que la réacceptation de la Syrie par la Ligue arabe ne serait que le début d’un “processus très long, difficile et exigeant”.

La décision de dimanche a déclaré que la Jordanie, l’Arabie saoudite, l’Irak, le Liban, l’Égypte et le secrétaire général de la Ligue arabe formeraient un groupe de contact ministériel pour assurer la liaison avec le gouvernement syrien et rechercher des solutions « étape par étape » à la crise.

Les mesures pratiques comprenaient la poursuite des efforts pour faciliter l’acheminement de l’aide en Syrie, selon une copie de la décision consultée par Reuters.

L’adhésion de la Syrie à la Ligue arabe a été suspendue en 2011 après une répression des manifestations de rue contre Assad qui a conduit à une guerre civile dévastatrice, et de nombreux États arabes ont retiré leurs émissaires de Damas.

Récemment, les États arabes ont tenté de parvenir à un consensus sur l’opportunité d’inviter Assad à un sommet de la Ligue arabe le 19 mai à Riyad pour discuter du rythme de normalisation des relations et des conditions dans lesquelles la Syrie pourrait être autorisée à revenir.

L’Arabie saoudite a longtemps résisté au rétablissement des relations avec Assad, mais a déclaré après son récent rapprochement avec l’Iran – le principal allié régional de la Syrie – qu’une nouvelle approche était nécessaire avec Damas.

(Reuters)

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Thailand’s ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra indicted for defaming monarchy

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Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was granted release on bail hours after he was formally indicted Tuesday on a charge of defaming the country’s monarchy in one of several court cases that have unsteadied Thai politics.

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South Africa’s sleepy secret: The recent election shock highlighted this quiet and beautiful village in wine country

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The little town of Riebeek-Kasteel – deep in beautiful wine-making country 50 miles north-east of Cape Town – played a key part in apartheid.

It was where two former – and controversial – white South African prime ministers were born: D.F. Malan and Jan Smuts. 

Which makes it an intriguing place to visit so soon after last week’s election that saw the African National Congress lose its majority for the first time since the end of apartheid 30 years ago in 1994.

This is especially so because Riebeek-Kasteel is a significant enclave of the centre-right Democratic Alliance, which garnered 22 per cent of the vote compared with the ANC’s 40 per cent. 

Suddenly, this tiny settlement (population 1,200) is firmly on the map again – and for all the right reasons.

Graham Boynton says South Africa's recent political shift has put the town of Riebeek-Kasteel 'firmly on the map again - and for all the right reasons'

Graham Boynton says South Africa's recent political shift has put the town of Riebeek-Kasteel 'firmly on the map again - and for all the right reasons'

Graham Boynton says South Africa’s recent political shift has put the town of Riebeek-Kasteel ‘firmly on the map again – and for all the right reasons’

Simply divine: The town is located deep in wine-making country, 50 miles north-east of Cape Town

Simply divine: The town is located deep in wine-making country, 50 miles north-east of Cape Town

Simply divine: The town is located deep in wine-making country, 50 miles north-east of Cape Town

Set against a spectacular backdrop of rolling farmlands and the Kasteelberg mountain range, the centre of town is a retreat of artists, boutique owners, winemakers and old hippies. It’s an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

At its centre is the Royal Hotel, famous for having the longest stoep (veranda) south of the Limpopo River, and also for raucous evenings at its 150-year-old bar. It makes a great first port of call to get a sense of Riebeek-Kasteel’s rich history. 

The town was opened to Western settlement in 1661, when an expedition sent from Cape Town by Jan van Riebeeck, founder of the Cape colony, crested the pass and looked down on this verdant valley. The name Riebeek’s Castle (Kasteel) was in honour of their commander.

In the 400 years since, many have been lured by the town’s remote beauty, including a Dutchman named Robert Brendel, who happened upon Riebeek in 2004, and fell in love with it – so much that he bought the Royal Hotel.

The Royal Hotel, located in the centre of town, is famous for 'raucous evenings at its 150-year-old bar' and the longest stoep (veranda) south of the Limpopo River

The Royal Hotel, located in the centre of town, is famous for 'raucous evenings at its 150-year-old bar' and the longest stoep (veranda) south of the Limpopo River

The Royal Hotel, located in the centre of town, is famous for ‘raucous evenings at its 150-year-old bar’ and the longest stoep (veranda) south of the Limpopo River

One of Riebeek-Kasteel's attractions is its wine, reveals Graham (stock image)

One of Riebeek-Kasteel's attractions is its wine, reveals Graham (stock image)

One of Riebeek-Kasteel’s attractions is its wine, reveals Graham (stock image)

‘It felt like David Livingstone had just left the building,’ says Brendel. ‘And it’s the only town I know where you have the school, the church and the hotel next to one another – education, salvation and damnation on the same street.’

Riebeek-Kasteel is also a destination for foodies. Tourists come from across the country to eat at Au Bouchon Rouge, the Marseille-style restaurant attached to the Royal Hotel.

Another attraction is its wine, partly thanks to the Swartland Revolution launched in 2010: a wine-making insurgency representing around 12 wineries whose creators met and hammered out a plan for an annual festival of food and wine.

Twenty minutes away from the town’s centre is Roundstone Farm, home of the Mullineux wine-making family. Chris and his wife, Andrea, consistently win international awards for their Swartland wines.

At the end of my visit, Chris looks up at the Kasteelberg mountain and says: ‘This place makes you feel elated. It is remote, beautiful, strange. I just hope it doesn’t change.’

Au Bouchon Rouge, the Marseille-style restaurant attached to the Royal Hotel

Au Bouchon Rouge, the Marseille-style restaurant attached to the Royal Hotel

 Au Bouchon Rouge, the Marseille-style restaurant attached to the Royal Hotel 

TRAVEL FACTS 

The Ultimate Travel Company (theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk) offers packages to Cape Town in peak season (December-February) from £2,740pp for 10 days including economy air fares from the UK. Avis charges from £35 a day for car hire (avis.co.uk). Suites at The Royal Hotel (royalinriebeek.com) cost from £86 B&B.

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Dozens of boats cruise the Seine in successful Paris Olympics opening ceremony rehearsal

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Curious onlookers gathered on bridges as dozens of boats snaked along the Seine river on Monday in a rehearsal for the Paris Olympics’ unique opening ceremony next month.

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I’ve got prostate cancer and can answer all the questions you’re too embarrassed to ask: From extreme pain to needle guns in undignified areas and penis pumps – Dead Ringers creator JON HOLMES explains all

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Finding anything funny about a transperineal prostate biopsy is not easy — where, under local anaesthetic, a series of needles are punched through the skin and muscle between the rectum and the base of the penis to reach the walnut-sized prostate gland below the bladder.

But the writer, comedian and broadcaster Jon Holmes is absolutely certain humour is the way to get through experiences such as this and get more men talking about cancer. 

As he reveals for the first time today, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, despite experiencing ‘zero symptoms’.

Married with two daughters aged 14 and 12, Jon, 55, is the Bafta-award winning co-creator of the Radio 4 sketch show Dead Ringers. 

He won a Gold Aria this year for his Radio 4 programme Generation Shame about his experience of being adopted, and is the creator of The Skewer for Radio 4 and BBC TV, a multi-award-winning satirical take on the week’s news.

Jon discovered he had prostate cancer last February after PSA blood tests revealed he had a high level of prostate specific antigens

Jon discovered he had prostate cancer last February after PSA blood tests revealed he had a high level of prostate specific antigens

Jon discovered he had prostate cancer last February after PSA blood tests revealed he had a high level of prostate specific antigens

He is hardwired, he says, to find humour in the darkest of places.

And a new podcast, Jon Holmes Says The C-Word, is exactly the kind of programme he says he desperately wanted to tune into after the biopsy confirmed that — despite having no symptoms — he had prostate cancer.

‘I so badly wanted to talk to another man about it,’ he says.

While friends he told were sympathetic and a few ‘got a bit teary’, he says, ‘I absolutely did not want that tilty-head pity look’.

What he did want, as well as a laugh about the indignity of it all, was honest discussion of the realities of cancer treatment.

As he explains: ‘I wanted to know what a catheter would feel like, or what do you do with a penis pump [used as a physiotherapy tool to boost blood flow after prostate surgery]. 

But it was really hard to find other men to talk to about cancer and I thought, ‘If I get through this, I’m going to write a book or make a podcast for men with all forms of cancer that I would have binge-listened to had it existed.’ ‘

Each episode tackles a different issue, from the shock of diagnosis to diabolical procedures — all things men don’t generally talk about in the pub.

 Monty Python’s Eric Idle, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019, says: ‘Good lord, the things you have to do with your clothes off in front of people, all that stuff. 

It’s just so undignified. Especially with your arse hanging out in those terrible hospital gowns.

Just remember that the last laugh is on you! You know, it’s OK to be funny; I think it’s absolutely the best.’

Stephen Fry, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, talks about the ‘worry, embarrassment, frustration and indignity which you very quickly get used to…

Oh, it’s good to laugh, isn’t it?’ he says. The fact that Jon is a survivor like me gives me nothing but the intensest pleasure.’

Jon admits sheepishly that it’s opened his eyes to the myriad indignities most women cope with all their lives — such as mammograms and cervical smears, as well childbirth — but most men will reach late middle-age before having an intimate medical examination.

‘Having something wrong with your manhood is every man’s worst nightmare, so we don’t talk about it,’ he says. ‘It’s much easier to discuss what we saw on Netflix last night instead.’

His cancer diagnosis was entirely serendipitous. 

Last January, an advert from the charity Prostate Cancer UK popped up on Jon’s social media feed, encouraging men over 50 to have a PSA blood test: this measures levels of prostate specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate.

High levels can be a sign of cancer. ‘I thought of Stephen Fry and how much he has done to raise awareness of prostate cancer,’ he says. ‘I thought: ‘I’ll get that tested’.’

And so, for the first time in, ‘ooh, decades’, Jon called his GP.

PSA tests can be unreliable, sometimes giving false-positive or false-negative results; furthermore, an infection, exercise such as cycling, or recently having sex can all temporarily raise PSA.

‘My PSA was slightly raised at 4.8 [normal range for a 55-year-old is typically 2.5-3.5], so my GP referred me for an MRI scan within a week,’ Jon explains.

‘I wasn’t worried, I thought my PSA was probably high because I’d run to the appointment.’

When the scan was ‘inconclusive’ he was given a prostate biopsy.

‘I didn’t know what was involved, but I knew I didn’t like the sound of it,’ Jon told Good Health.

Jon went to Ashford Hospital in Kent, near his home, on February 26 last year without his wife, Nikki, an arts and education project manager, ‘because I’m a bloke and I didn’t want any fuss’.

After stripping from the waist down, he had to lie on his back and put his feet into stirrups, while an ultrasound probe — ‘I’m sure it was an entire camera crew’ — was inserted into his rectum to guide the biopsy needles.

‘At which point you realise all dignity is lost,’ he says.

‘The doctor explained he would take 23 samples from different areas of my prostate using a spring-loaded needle gun.

‘A nurse was assigned to hold my hand because of the extreme pain,’ he grimaces.

‘They even shot the needle gun several times before aiming it at my perineum [the area between the base of the penis and anus] so I wouldn’t be alarmed by the incredibly loud sound. 

I was warned that my perineum would swell to the size of an orange and I wouldn’t be able to sit down properly for a week after. All true.

‘But it was when they strapped my penis and testicles to my stomach with tape to lift them out of the way, while a really awful track played on Heart FM in the background, that I thought: ‘This is ridiculously funny. This is priceless comic content.’ ‘

And he immediately started compiling a mental list of ‘spectacularly undignified moments’ on his very unexpected cancer journey, with his diagnosis confirmed a week later.

For the podcasts, Jon contacted other cancer patients — including the comedians Stephen Fry , Mark Steel (throat cancer), Richard Herring (testicular cancer), Matt Forde (spinal cancer), as well as Eric Idle; plus actors Colin McFarlane (prostate) and Ben Richards (bowel cancer), rock star Mike Peters (leukaemia), and journalists Jeremy Langmead (prostate), Nick Owen (prostate) and Jeremy Bowen (bowel) — to discuss cancer in raw and sometimes hilarious detail.

Each episode tackles a different issue, ‘from fingers up the bum to catheters, via biopsies, surgery, stomas, feeding tubes, penis pumps and incontinence pads’.

Jon cannot remember the last time he saw his GP before requesting a PSA test. The GP checked his prostate (‘the finger-up-my-bum method’). 

‘He also took some blood and that was that; I didn’t think about it again,’ says Jon.

He was expecting his MRI to be clear as he was young-ish, fit and otherwise healthy. 

But the results, delivered a week later by an oncologist via Zoom, were devastating.

Jon recalls: ‘He said: ‘I’m sorry, it’s bad news, we’ve detected signs of cancer in your prostate.’

‘I didn’t hear anything else. I just thought: ‘I’ve got cancer. This can’t be happening to me.”

Fortunately, the cancer was slow-growing and stage 2 — contained within the prostate.

In September, Ben Eddy, a consultant urological surgeon Jon saw privately, operated to remove his prostate.

This surgery causes temporary erectile dysfunction and incontinence due to nerve damage; in some cases the effects are permanent.

‘The first thing the surgeon said to me when I woke up after the operation was: ‘We’ll get those erections back!’ ‘ recalls Jon.

Around 20 per cent of patients with good erectile function won’t get their erections back spontaneously after surgery, Mr Eddy explains. Removal of the prostate also means men ‘don’t ejaculate — that’s incredibly difficult for them’.

‘Yet all this is almost taboo because societal pressure says sexual function is what defines you as a man. It takes a generation to change that mindset.

But men are doing a lot better in terms of talking about health than they were 25 years ago,’ he continues. 

‘I’ve treated so many men for prostate cancer whose friends are already patients. 

However, older men find it difficult not just to talk about cancer, but the manly things too: ‘I’ve lost my erection’ or ‘I’m leaking urine’.

The comedy writer is trying to find the humour in his diagnosis. Believing that men who talk and laugh do better after cancer treatment.

The comedy writer is trying to find the humour in his diagnosis. Believing that men who talk and laugh do better after cancer treatment.

The comedy writer is trying to find the humour in his diagnosis. Believing that men who talk and laugh do better after cancer treatment.

‘In our NHS service [Mr Eddy and colleagues run a community urology clinic in local GP surgeries], we have a monthly meeting where men can come with their wives and partners and have an afternoon with a cancer nurse talking about erectile function and incontinence recovery. 

 It’s been hugely successful because they chat, make friends and they network afterwards.

‘Wives and partners play a huge part in getting men talking,’ he adds. ‘In my experience, single men don’t do as well as married men, because they bottle things up.’

He also believes that men who talk — and laugh — do better after cancer treatment.

There’s solid evidence that men generally prefer to ‘soldier on’ if they have troubling symptoms than seek out medical advice.

Research published in the BMJ in 2013 based on data from almost two million men and two million women found the GP consultation rate was 32 per cent lower in men than in women — with the greatest gap between the genders between the ages of 16 and 60.

And while men represent 52 per cent of cancer cases, only 38 per cent of the calls to the Macmillan Cancer Support Line come from men. 

The charity Cancer Support UK offers six-week support groups to anyone struggling to move on after a cancer diagnosis, including men-only support groups, which are all free.

It’s important for men to meet others with similar experiences, in an environment where they feel able to do so, explains Charlotte Poulter, the head of service for Cancer Coach.  

‘Men are not used to seeing other men who’ve had cancer express their emotions, so it’s important for them to know it’s OK to be vulnerable,’ she says.

But while support is available, many men don’t know it’s there.

Kate Fulton, a clinical psychologist with the support charity Maggie’s, based at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, says the percentage of men accessing help is always lower than women.

Maggie’s runs men-only prostate networking groups and androgen therapy workshops for men who are being treated with hormone therapy.

‘They can talk about the challenges — erectile dysfunction, weight gain, hot flushes and changes in mood — which for some will be lifelong,’ says Kate Fulton.

‘Treatment for common male cancers such as prostate or testicular can change your view of your masculinity and your identity which is very exposing,’ she adds.

But while, in 2023, Maggie’s supported more than 311,000 visits across their 24 centres, less than 108,000 (35 per cent) were made by men.

‘It goes back to societal expectations and what it means for a man to talk about being anxious or depressed or frightened or sad.

‘There’s stigma around mental health and also stigma around cancer — and particularly so for men who play lots of different roles, which may make them feel they’ve got to be strong.

‘They’re husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, they’re providers and fixers. They want to protect their families rather than burden them.’

She adds: ‘We know from research that keeping a cancer diagnosis to yourself makes people feel more isolated and that can worsen experiences and outcomes. 

‘But it’s hard for older men particularly to even acknowledge that they need to talk. They still think they need to be stoic and ‘just get through it’.’

The good news is that this is changing with the younger generation. 

‘We see much more openness in our younger men’s groups,’ says Kate Fulton. 

‘Men in their 20s, 30s and 40s do talk about cancer with their friends, there is far more openness. 

‘Sharing real stories in the media such as Jon’s programme makes a big difference to other men,’ she adds.

In the studio making the new podcast series, Jon says there was a lot of laughter and almost no crying.

‘We were always looking for the fun, the chink of light,’ he says. 

‘My reason for making the series was to demystify cancer and explain the process from first tests to recovery.’

He’ll also be encouraging listeners to tell their own stories.

 ‘I want to encourage transparent conversation about cancer treatment between men, share advice and, where possible, find the humour in it.

‘Because the only way to deal with this thing is to laugh at it and treat it with the utter disdain it deserves.’

  • Jon Holmes Says The C-Word starts on BBC Radio 4 on July 9, with episodes released weekly on BBC Sounds.
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🔴 Live: Gaza fighting slows during ‘pause’, but Israel says operations to continue ‘as planned’

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Israel struck Gaza on Monday and witnesses reported blasts in the besieged territory’s south, but fighting had largely subsided on the second day of an army-declared “pause” to facilitate aid flows. Follow our liveblog for all the latest developments.

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Brayden Maynard’s pitch invader mate is handed a LIFETIME ban from AFL footy after storming the field during epic Collingwood win

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The close friend of Collingwood star Brayden Maynard that invaded the field during the Magpies win on the weekend has been banned for life from the AFL. 

Conor Clarke, who is also the brother of Western Bulldogs player Charlie Clarke, ran onto the field during the Pies’ comeback win over North Melbourne on Saturday. 

Security caught him at Marvel Stadium on Sunday. Now, he won’t be able to watch his brother or his close friend play live again

The incident took place at Marvel Stadium during the thrilling Sunday clash where Collingwood staged a remarkable comeback to win 18.11 (119) to 19.4 (118) after trailing by 54 points early in the third quarter.

Footage revealed that the pitch invader was the brother of a Western Bulldogs AFL player Charlie Clarke and he was also spotted in a group photo with Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard after the match. 

Eagle-eyed footy fans noticed grass stains on the invader’s left knee in the photo. He was also wearing the same clothes from the incident while fans were also able to match up his telltale tattoos on his left arm.

In an interview with 7NEWS, Clarke said he ran onto the field ‘just for a laugh.’ However, the AFL didn’t find it funny and gave him a lifetime ban from AFL/AFLW games on Tuesday. This ban can be reviewed in five years, on June 18, 2029.

Security tackle the pitch invader to the ground during the tense match between North Melbourne and Collingwood

Security tackle the pitch invader to the ground during the tense match between North Melbourne and Collingwood

Security tackle the pitch invader to the ground during the tense match between North Melbourne and Collingwood

The pitch invader, second from left, posed for a photo with Maynard after the match with the Marvel Stadium turn stains still on the leg of his jeans

The pitch invader, second from left, posed for a photo with Maynard after the match with the Marvel Stadium turn stains still on the leg of his jeans

The pitch invader, second from left, posed for a photo with Maynard after the match with the Marvel Stadium turn stains still on the leg of his jeans

Channel 7 footy reporter Tom Morris posted about the incident on social media platform X, stating, ‘The AFL is aware of a pitch invader from the fourth quarter in yesterday’s @NMFCOfficial v @CollingwoodFC game & is looking into it.’

‘The maximum fine is $11k + the league can ban the patron, who is the brother of Dogs player Charlie Clarke & friends with Brayden Maynard.’

The AFL has yet to comment officially, but past statements highlight their stance on pitch invasions. 

‘Running onto the ground during a match is not only senseless but it is unsafe and unlawful,’ AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said in April. 

‘If you choose to do it, then you will not only be given a significant fine but you will have to deal with local authorities and ultimately lose the privilege of attending AFL matches.’

This incident follows several similar occurrences this year. In Round 2, a fan invaded the field during the Crows versus Geelong game at Adelaide Oval, resulting in a life ban from attending AFL and AFLW matches. 

Additionally, two more pitch invaders were apprehended by MCG security during the Easter Monday game between Geelong and Hawthorn in April.

Following the match Maynard paid tribute to a ‘good mate’ who had recently passed away, following his team’s stirring victory. 

Maynard takes some time to embrace family before his 200th match at Marvel Stadium

Maynard takes some time to embrace family before his 200th match at Marvel Stadium

Maynard takes some time to embrace family before his 200th match at Marvel Stadium

The Collingwood star celebrates with fans after the tense win against the Kangaroos

The Collingwood star celebrates with fans after the tense win against the Kangaroos

The Collingwood star celebrates with fans after the tense win against the Kangaroos

Maynard, playing his 200th game, expressed his feelings during a post-match interview on Fox Footy.

‘I’m really lost for words,’ the 27-year-old began. 

‘It probably wasn’t our day; they brought the pressure, brought the heat, they had most of the game on their terms. To be able to fight back in Collingwood style, super proud of the boys.’

He acknowledged the significance of his milestone game but praised the team effort for coming home strongly and grabbing the thrilling victory. 

‘Yes, it was a milestone for myself, but that is a team performance. Team first mentality. Such a good win, going to enjoy a beer tonight, that’s for sure.’

Maynard, wearing a black armband, then shared the heartbreaking news about his friend.

‘I absolutely love this club, I love these boys. I’m getting a little bit emotional because it’s been a big couple of weeks for me. I had a good mate of mine pass away to mental health issues.’

He offered condolences to his friend’s family. 

‘So Deb, Amy, and Bomber, if you’re watching this, my heart goes out to you and all your family. Much love from the Collingwood family and the whole AFL community, we’re sending you all our love, endless amounts of hugs every day.’

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Newly detected sound signal could finally solve the mystery of MH370 after 10 years

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The mystery surrounding the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 might soon be solved after British researchers found a signal that may lead them to the plane’s final resting place after ten years.

Underwater microphones, also known as hydrophones, have reportedly picked up a signal around the same time as MH370 is believed to have crashed on March 8, 2014.

The six-second signal was discovered by researchers from Cardiff, who reportedly said that further tests would be needed to determine whether the sounds the microphones recorded could lead to the plane’s crash site.

The aircraft, which had 239 people onboard, is believed to have run out of fuel and tragically crashed into the Indian Ocean after it deviated from its course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing for unknown reasons.

Despite extensive searches covering an area of 46,332 square miles by authorities from all over the world, the plane’s resting place has remained a mystery for the last ten years.

March 8, 2024, marked a decade since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing shortly after takeoff, and it is believed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean (pictured is a depiction of the crash)

March 8, 2024, marked a decade since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing shortly after takeoff, and it is believed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean (pictured is a depiction of the crash)

March 8, 2024, marked a decade since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing shortly after takeoff, and it is believed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean (pictured is a depiction of the crash)

Underwater microphones, also known as hydrophones, near the coast of Western Australia have reportedly picked up a signal around the same time as MH370 is believed to have crashed on March 8, 2014

Underwater microphones, also known as hydrophones, near the coast of Western Australia have reportedly picked up a signal around the same time as MH370 is believed to have crashed on March 8, 2014

Underwater microphones, also known as hydrophones, near the coast of Western Australia have reportedly picked up a signal around the same time as MH370 is believed to have crashed on March 8, 2014

Marking 10 years since MH370 vanished without a trace, as many as 500 relatives of victims lost on the flight gathered at a shopping centre in the Malaysian city of Subang Jaya for a service on March 8, 2024

Marking 10 years since MH370 vanished without a trace, as many as 500 relatives of victims lost on the flight gathered at a shopping centre in the Malaysian city of Subang Jaya for a service on March 8, 2024

Marking 10 years since MH370 vanished without a trace, as many as 500 relatives of victims lost on the flight gathered at a shopping centre in the Malaysian city of Subang Jaya for a service on March 8, 2024

A few fragments of the aircraft have since been discovered and a number of theories have emerged around what – and who – caused the flight to change course, but no one truly knows beyond reasonable doubt what happened to the Boeing 777. 

In the week leading up to the 10th anniversary of MH370’s disappearance earlier this year, the Malaysian government backed a new ‘no find, no fee’ search off the coast of Australia, but this was unsuccessful yet again. 

The starting point for the researchers in Cardiff was the assumption that a 200-ton aircraft like the MH370 would release as much kinetic energy as a small earthquake if it crashed at a speed of 200 metres a second.

This kinetic energy would have been big enough to be recorded by underwater microphones thousands of miles away, two of which – in Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia and in the British territory of Diego Garcia – were close enough to detect such a signal.

Set up to detect any violations to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, the operational stations are just tens of minutes’ signal travel time away from where the plane’s last radar contact happened. 

The newly-detected signal detected in the time-window the plane could have crashed was only recorded at the Cape Leeuwin stations, which ‘raises questions about its origin’, researcher Dr Usama Kadri told the Telegraph. 

Dr Kadri, whose expertise is applied mathematics, said that while the signal reading was not conclusive, it was ‘highly unlikely’ that the sensitive hydrophones wouldn’t have picked up the impact of a large plane crashing into the ocean. 

His team thinks that further research into the newly-detected signal might finally solve the mystery, just like hydrophones helped locate the ARA San Juan, an Argentine navy submarine that was found on the ocean floor of the South Atlantic a year after it imploded and vanished.

To locate the wreck, researchers used grenades to emulate the explosion on the submarine and compared that signal with the one picked up by hydrophones when it imploded.

Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Puri beach in eastern Odisha state on March 7, 2015

Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Puri beach in eastern Odisha state on March 7, 2015

Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Puri beach in eastern Odisha state on March 7, 2015

The Malaysia Airlines flight lost contact with air traffic control within an hour of takeoff from Kuala Lumpur International Airport

The Malaysia Airlines flight lost contact with air traffic control within an hour of takeoff from Kuala Lumpur International Airport

The Malaysia Airlines flight lost contact with air traffic control within an hour of takeoff from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 

This finally led them to the remains of the ARA San Juan, which was located 290 miles off the coast of Argentina, nearly 3000ft below the surface.

Dr Kadri suggested that a similar experiment could be conducted to find the MH370 wreck. Should such explosions show similar pressure amplitudes to the detected signal, it ‘would support focusing future searches on that signal’.

He told the Telegraoph: ‘If the signals detected at both Cape Leeuwin and Diego Garcia are much stronger than the signal in question, it would require further analysis of the signals from both stations.

‘If found to be related, this would significantly narrow down, almost pinpoint, the aircraft’s location.’

But if the signal was found to be unrelated, Dr Kadri said it would show that authorities might have to reassess the location and time frame of the expected crash used as starting points in their searches so far. 

This is not the first time Britain has helped to narrow down the search area for flight MH370.

As evidence began to point towards the plane heading west after communication was lost, London-based satellite company Immarsat found that one of its satellites was receiving hourly signals from MH370 for seven hours after it vanished from military radar.

Although this confirmed that MH370 was still in the air for longer than was initially thought, the aircraft’s location could not be tracked.

It was also only at this point that MH17’s time of disappearance from military radars was revealed as 2.22am – over the Andaman Sea, some way west of the initial search area.

Immarsat’s data could calculate an estimate of the aircraft’s position based on how long transmissions between the plane and satellite took, and it produced a rough area after which the plane could have lost fuel or crashed. 

A piece of MH370's wing found on Réunion - a French island east of Madagascar - in July 2015

A piece of MH370's wing found on Réunion - a French island east of Madagascar - in July 2015

A piece of MH370’s wing found on Réunion – a French island east of Madagascar – in July 2015

By October 2017, 18 suspected pieces of debris from MH370 had been found

By October 2017, 18 suspected pieces of debris from MH370 had been found

By October 2017, 18 suspected pieces of debris from MH370 had been found

This was revealed to be an arc stretching from Central Asia in the north down towards Antarctica – crossed around eight hours after takeoff.

With the north of that area consisting of heavily militarised airspace which would have detected MH17, it was deemed most likely that MH370 crashed in the Indian Ocean.

It is believed that the plane nose-dived or crashed in the minutes after 8.19am on March 8. 

More than a year later, in 2015, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak says that a wing part which washed up on Réunion – a French island east of Madagascar – came from MH370.

In the two following years, another 17 pieces of debris were found and ‘identified as being very likely or almost certain to originate from MH370’ while another two were ‘assessed as probably from the accident aircraft.’ 

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International

13 killed in Central America as heavy rains spark floods, landslides

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Thirteen people have died in flooding and landslides in El Salvador and Guatemala as heavy rains pound Central America, authorities from the two countries said.

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International

Was the Biblical Garden of Eden in Florida? Minister long claimed park in northwestern part of the state was once home to Adam and Eve

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Torreya State Park nestled in Florida’s northern ‘panhandle,’ was created in the 1930s as a nature preserve, but some say it houses a historical site of Biblical proportions.

One former lawyer and Baptist minister maintained for decades that this wilderness retreat was the literal site of the Garden of Eden from the Bible’s Book of Genesis.

Flanked by the Apalachicola River and home to the now endangered Torreya tree, the park got new neighbors by 1956, when this minister founded a ‘Garden of Eden’ tourist attraction in the nearby town of Bristol — with rates of just $1.10 per ticket.  

While many Biblical scholars and theologians have spent centuries speculating that a true ‘Garden of Eden’ once existed in Turkey, Armenia, or at the head of the Persian Gulf (where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers meet), few have suggested Florida.

Torreya State Park (above) nestled in Florida's northern 'panhandle' region, was created in the 1930s as a nature preserve, but some say it houses a historical site of Biblical proportions

Torreya State Park (above) nestled in Florida's northern 'panhandle' region, was created in the 1930s as a nature preserve, but some say it houses a historical site of Biblical proportions

Torreya State Park (above) nestled in Florida’s northern ‘panhandle’ region, was created in the 1930s as a nature preserve, but some say it houses a historical site of Biblical proportions

Flanked by the Apalachicola River and home to the now endangered Torreya tree, the park got new neighbors by 1956, when a Baptist minister founded a 'Garden of Eden' tourist attraction (above) in nearby Bristol, Florida - with rates of just $1.10 per ticket

Flanked by the Apalachicola River and home to the now endangered Torreya tree, the park got new neighbors by 1956, when a Baptist minister founded a 'Garden of Eden' tourist attraction (above) in nearby Bristol, Florida - with rates of just $1.10 per ticket

Flanked by the Apalachicola River and home to the now endangered Torreya tree, the park got new neighbors by 1956, when a Baptist minister founded a ‘Garden of Eden’ tourist attraction (above) in nearby Bristol, Florida – with rates of just $1.10 per ticket

This Baptist minister claimed the geography of the area that included Torreya State Park was reminiscent of the Garden of Eden

This Baptist minister claimed the geography of the area that included Torreya State Park was reminiscent of the Garden of Eden

This Baptist minister claimed the geography of the area that included Torreya State Park was reminiscent of the Garden of Eden

But Baptist Reverend Elvy E. Callaway, then a retired lawyer, claimed that he had uncovered several geographical features of the local landscape that matched the description of the Garden of Eden as detailed in the Old Testament.

‘The Garden of Eden, east and west, is not over 10 miles wide, paralleling the (Apalachicola) River from Chattahoochee down to Bristol,’ as Rev Callaway told a reporter for WFSU-TV in 1972. 

At the core of his argument was a passage in the Book of Genesis that said ‘a river watering the garden flowed from Eden, and from there, it separated into four heads.’

By Rev Callaway’s analysis, this four-fold split only appears at two rivers on Earth, the Apalachicola or another tributary half a world away in Siberia. 

Former lawyer and Baptist minister Reverend Elvy E. Callaway (above) maintained for decades that this wilderness retreat in north Florida was the literal site of the Garden of Eden from the Bible's Book of Genesis

Former lawyer and Baptist minister Reverend Elvy E. Callaway (above) maintained for decades that this wilderness retreat in north Florida was the literal site of the Garden of Eden from the Bible's Book of Genesis

Former lawyer and Baptist minister Reverend Elvy E. Callaway (above) maintained for decades that this wilderness retreat in north Florida was the literal site of the Garden of Eden from the Bible’s Book of Genesis

But Siberia, the former lawyer and one-time devout non-believer believed, was much too cold to be the paradise described in Genesis as the birthplace of humanity, according to one Florida reporter, Anthony Talcott.

In his 1971 book In the Beginning, Rev Callaway proclaimed that the Apalachicola’s four-headed river system ‘proves beyond all doubt that the Bible account is true, and that the Garden was in the Apalachicola Valley of West Florida.’ 

Decades prior, Callaway had abandoned his father’s strict Baptist church in Weogufka, Alabama, and had adopted a secular perspective with plans to leave home to pursue a degree in law.

By the 1920s and 30s, Callaway was prosecuting cases in Lakeland, Florida on behalf of the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), helping to fight racial injustice in the area.

But shortly after the end of World War II, Callaway had become friendly with a local retired doctor, Dr Brown Landone, who had devoted his golden years to the production of spiritual and metaphysical books with titles like ‘Transforming Your Life in 24 Hours’ and ‘Spiritual Revelations of the Bible.’

The shape of the local river system was just one feature of the land that guided the reverend toward his conclusion that the region was the Eden of the Old Testament. The indigenous Torreya trees, among the rarest and oldest in the world, also swayed his thinking

The shape of the local river system was just one feature of the land that guided the reverend toward his conclusion that the region was the Eden of the Old Testament. The indigenous Torreya trees, among the rarest and oldest in the world, also swayed his thinking

The shape of the local river system was just one feature of the land that guided the reverend toward his conclusion that the region was the Eden of the Old Testament. The indigenous Torreya trees, among the rarest and oldest in the world, also swayed his thinking 

After World War II, Callaway had become friendly with a local retired doctor who had devoted his golden years to the production of spiritual and metaphysical books. The friendship may have convinced him to buy the property that became his 'Garden of Eden' tourist site (above)

After World War II, Callaway had become friendly with a local retired doctor who had devoted his golden years to the production of spiritual and metaphysical books. The friendship may have convinced him to buy the property that became his 'Garden of Eden' tourist site (above)

After World War II, Callaway had become friendly with a local retired doctor who had devoted his golden years to the production of spiritual and metaphysical books. The friendship may have convinced him to buy the property that became his ‘Garden of Eden’ tourist site (above)

Soon, Callaway was reversing course and buying the very property that would become his ‘Garden of Eden’ tourist site in northwestern Florida.

But the shape of the local river system was not the only feature of the land guiding the reverend toward his conclusion that this verdant plot in the Panhandle was once the Eden of the Old Testament. 

The indigenous Torreya trees, which are among the rarest and oldest in the world, also swayed his thinking, perhaps just as much as Dr Landone’s eccentric teachings.

‘The Torreya taxifolia, authentically primeval, had survived the previous ice age in what’s called a “pocket reserve” along the Apalachicola River,’ as Brook Wilensky-Lanford, author of the 2011 book Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden, put it.

‘It’s a holdover from a now-vanished world that existed before a massive geologic event,’ she wrote in an article for Washington University’s Religion & Politics, ‘just as a survivor of Noah’s Flood should be.’

The already rare tree was becoming endangered by the 1950s, due to disease and overharvesting — as the evergreen-like southern tree was used for everything from riverboat fuel to housing shingles to Christmas trees. 

Only a few hundred trees were left, most saplings not much more than two feet tall.

Visitors to Rev Callaway’s park were treated to a 3.75-mile well-worn hiking trail, dubbed Garden of Eden Road and dotted by many specimens of the endangered Torreya tree. The minister said the enterprise was a ‘non-profit shrine.’

Rev Callaway passed in 1981 and today his Garden of Eden trail can be hiked as part of the nonprofit Nature Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve.

And the nearly four-mile trek still includes a view of the Apalachicola River from Alum Bluff, the spot Callaway long claimed had once been home to Adam and Eve. 

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Labour promises 350 banking hubs for towns where branches have shuttered

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  • Some 6,000 bank branches have vanished from high streets since 2015
  • Hubs allow customers from many different banks to use services 
  • Conservatives delivered 50 banking hubs since January 2022

More towns in Britain are set to receive a banking hub under a Labour government. 

It has pledged to roll out 350 banking hubs in towns and villages across Britain over the next five years. 

The hubs are shared centres where customers of most major banks can go to withdraw and deposit cash and get banking support and advice.

They were created in response to widespread branch closures, with 6,000 bank branches having shut their doors since 2015.

Labour has announced a plan to roll out 350 banking hubs across Britain over next five years

Labour has announced a plan to roll out 350 banking hubs across Britain over next five years

Labour has announced a plan to roll out 350 banking hubs across Britain over next five years

They are funded by banks, set up by the non-profit company Cash Access UK, and operated by the Post Office. 

Banking hubs already exist under the Conservatives. There have been 56 banking hubs opened since January 2022, Cash Access UK confirmed, with a further 76 in the works. 

Banking hubs can only only be opened in communities where all banks (as well as building society Nationwide) have shut their branches, such as Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire which received a banking hub as part of a pilot in April 2021.

Even then, hubs can only be approved if it is deemed that there will be sufficient demand for services.

Customers can request one in their town via the access to cash service, Link.

Some towns have seen their application for a banking hub denied though, including Todmorden in West Yorkshire and Harpenden in Hertfordshire.

Labour has proposed to update the qualifying criteria to ensure bankless towns and underserved communities will be able to access face-to-face banking services.

It has also announced it will give Link and the Financial Conduct Authority the powers they need to identify areas that need a banking hub, to speed up the roll-out. 

Areas that currently don’t have any high street banks will be first in the queue, Cash Access UK said.

The Post Office is well on its way to being the UK’s largest banking network – with more than 11,500 branches. It began to offer banking services in 2017.

Its latest accounts reveal that it made revenues of £263million from banking in 2023, up from £230million in 2022.

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor of the exchequer, said: ‘After 14 years of the Tories, many of our high streets have been reduced to ghost towns.

‘Labour’s plan for growth means bringing banking back to high streets, with hundreds of new banking hubs that can support local communities and their businesses.’

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow housing secretary, added: ‘Labour is the party on the side of small businesses. With our plan to bring banking back to the high street, replace business rates and cut energy bills for good, we will breathe new life back into Britain’s high streets.’

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