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L’Espagne frappée par la sécheresse manque d’eau

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L’Espagne manque d’eau. Après une longue et douloureuse sécheresse, le pays a été frappé par une vague de chaleur inhabituellement précoce, évaporant encore plus de “l’or bleu” qu’il lui restait encore dans ses réservoirs. Alors que les agriculteurs craignent pour leur survie, les écologistes affirment qu’il est temps pour « le jardin arrière de l’Europe » de repenser la façon dont il utilise et gère son approvisionnement en eau de plus en plus rare.

Il y a une expression en Espagne : «En avril, aguas mil Avril apportera les pluies. Sauf que cette année, ça n’a pas été le cas. Le mois d’avril a été le mois le plus sec jamais enregistré et plusieurs villes espagnoles ont enregistré leurs températures d’avril les plus élevées à ce jour. A Cordoue, le mercure rose à 38,7°C (près de 102°F) à un moment donné, et dans la province de Séville en Andalousie à 37,8°C.

Après une sécheresse de longue durée et un hiver inhabituellement chaud et sec, la dernière vague de chaleur a suscité une réelle crainte de pénurie.

“La situation est particulièrement alarmante dans les régions de Catalogne et d’Andalousie, où les réservoirs d’eau sont à moins de 25% de leur capacité”, a déclaré Jorge Olcina, directeur du laboratoire de climatologie de l’Université d’Alicante. Les deux régions ont imposé des restrictions d’eau fin février, ce qui signifie que les habitants n’étaient plus autorisés à arroser leurs jardins ou à remplir leurs piscines. Les agriculteurs ont également été invités à réduire l’irrigation.

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Des milliers d’habitants du village andalou de Jaen sont même allés jusqu’à organiser une «El Abuélo” procession pour implorer la pluie le 1er mai, sortant leur statue du Christ pour renforcer leurs prières. C’était la première fois que la statue sortait du sous-sol de l’église depuis 1949.


“Et le reste de l’Espagne n’est pas hors de danger. L’état des réserves est de plus en plus préoccupant dans les régions de Valence, Murcie, Castille-La Manche et Estrémadure. Le stock d’eau disponible est passé en dessous de 40 % de la capacité totale”, a déclaré Olcina. a continué.

Serge Zaka, agronomecspécialiste de la limatologie, a décrit l’Espagne comme étant en “situation de méga-sécheresse”, subissant de plein fouet les effets de la sécheresse de l’été 2022 puis de l’hiver sec qui a suivi. “Le [current] l’état du sol et des réserves en eau correspond généralement à ce que l’on observe habituellement en août. C’est totalement inédit”, a-t-il déclaré.

Le jardin arrière de l’Europe en péril ?

L’Espagne est connue comme « le jardin de l’Europe » car elle exporte une grande partie de sa production agricole et les agriculteurs espagnols sont, sans surprise, parmi les premiers à subir les conséquences d’une pénurie d’eau.

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Selon COAGqui coordonne les groupes d’agriculteurs et d’éleveurs et est l’un des principaux syndicats d’agriculteurs du pays, 60 % des cultures céréalières non irriguées d’Espagne se sont « asphyxiées » en raison du manque de pluie.

“Ce sont des céréales semées à l’automne et récoltées au printemps, comme le blé et l’orge”, a expliqué Zaka. “Mais à cause du manque d’eau, leur développement a été interrompu avant qu’ils n’atteignent leur maturité. Il ne sera donc pas possible de les récolter.”

“La culture des oliviers, des pistachiers et des amandiers est également susceptible de décliner”, a-t-il déclaré. “Parce que même si ces plantes sont habituées aux climats secs, elles souffrent de températures plus élevées que la normale.”

Retarder la plantation de certaines cultures offre aux agriculteurs une option pour lutter contre la sécheresse, mais cela comporte des risques inhérents.

“Quant aux fruits et légumes – pour ceux cultivées sur de petites exploitations qui n’irriguent pas – les agriculteurs essaient de reporter leurs périodes de semis aussi longtemps que possible, en attendant de meilleures conditions. Mais plus le temps passe, plus ils risquent de rater complètement la saison”, a déclaré Zaka.

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“Les immenses champs de cultures irriguées du sud de l’Espagne ne sont peut-être pas aussi durement touchés, mais avec le manque d’eau et les restrictions qui ont été mises en place, les agriculteurs qui les exploitent devront réduire leurs rendements”, a-t-il ajouté.

En bref : seules les cultures qui poussent près du littoral et qui sont arrosées avec l’eau des usines de dessalement devraient survivre à cette période de sécheresse.

La crise de l’eau a incité le gouvernement espagnol à annoncer une série de mesures pour aider les agriculteurs, dont une réduction de 25 % de l’impôt sur le revenu pour quelque 800 000 d’entre eux.

Les limites d’une utilisation intensive

Les écologistes disent que ce n’est pas seulement le climat plus chaud et plus sec qui est à blâmer pour la crise de l’eau en Espagne – les pratiques agricoles espagnoles font également partie du problème.

“Cette sécheresse nous montre les limites du modèle agricole espagnol, qui est basé sur la fausse impression que nous avons de l’eau en abondance”, a déclaré Julio Barea, responsable des questions d’eau chez Greenpeace Espagne. Aujourd’hui, le secteur agricole espagnol représente jusqu’à 80 % de la consommation d’eau douce du pays.

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Depuis les années 1950, l’Espagne a installé des centaines de barrages et de systèmes de dérivation des eaux pour répondre à ses pénuries d’eau récurrentes. Au total, le pays compte aujourd’hui environ 1 200 barrages et réservoirs artificiels – plus que tout autre pays en Europe. La plupart d’entre eux se trouvent dans la moitié sud de l’Espagne, alimentant principalement des sites agricoles intensifs, mais aussi des exploitations plus petites et des activités touristiques.

“Cette infrastructure nous a amenés à puiser encore et encore, sans aucune modération, dans nos réserves pour soutenir un modèle agricole basé sur l’irrigation qui nous a valu le nom de ‘jardin arrière de l’Europe’”, a-t-il déclaré. « Mais à quel prix ? Nous avons placé nos nappes phréatiques en état de stress hydrique. Aujourd’hui, compte tenu également des conséquences de plus en plus visibles du réchauffement climatique, ce modèle n’est plus soutenable.

“Désertification”

Patricio Garcia-Fayos, directeur du Centre de recherche sur la désertification de Valence, a déclaré que le changement climatique, associé à la surexploitation des eaux souterraines, accélère “la désertification de l’Espagne”.

“Il est essentiel de lutter contre le changement climatique et en même temps apprendre à mieux gérer notre eau. Sinon, une grande partie de l’Espagne sera un désert dans quelques années.”

Les Nations Unies ont déjà tiré la sonnette d’alarme sur la pénurie croissante d’eau en Espagne, estimant que près de 75 % du pays est déjà en voie de désertification.

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La désertification augmente également le risque d’incendie de forêt, car la végétation séchée est un matériau combustible idéal. L’année dernière, l’Espagne a subi le plus grand nombre d’incendies de forêt en Europe, enregistrant plus de 500, avec plus de 300 000 hectares en flammes, selon le système européen d’information sur les incendies de forêt.

Cette année, quelque 40 000 hectares ont déjà été dévorés par les flammes, alimentées par des températures plus élevées, des sols plus secs et des vents plus chauds. L’Agence météorologique nationale espagnole a déjà émis un avertissement de “risque extrême d’incendie” pour une grande partie du pays.

Nouvelle mentalité de l’eau

Au vu de la crise à laquelle l’Espagne est actuellement confrontée, la plupart des experts sont arrivés à la même conclusion : “Nous devons de toute urgence nous adapter à ce nouveau climat plus aride et repenser totalement notre système de gestion de l’eau”, a déclaré Olcina de l’Université d’Alicante.

“Construire plus de réservoirs d’eau n’a plus de sens : nous n’avons plus d’eau à mettre dans les réserves”, a-t-il déclaré. « Au lieu de cela, nous devons développer de nouvelles façons d’utiliser l’eau, par exemple en réutilisant les eaux usées. Mais surtout, nous devons utiliser l’eau de manière plus réfléchie.

Barea, de Greenpeace, a accepté. « Réduisons les surfaces irriguées », a-t-il dit. “Nous devons arrêter de nourrir l’illusion et d’utiliser de l’eau qui n’existe pas.”

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Cette pièce a été traduite de l’original en français.

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US Supreme Court unanimously rules Trump can remain on 2024 ballot

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The US Supreme Court on Monday unanimously restored Donald Trump to 2024 presidential primary ballots, rejecting state attempts to hold the Republican former president accountable for the Capitol riot.

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The justices ruled a day before the Super Tuesday primaries that states cannot invoke a post-Civil War constitutional provision to keep presidential candidates from appearing on ballots. That power resides with Congress, the court wrote in an unsigned opinion.

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Trump posted on his social media network shortly after the decision was released: “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!”

The outcome ends efforts in Colorado, Illinois, Maine and elsewhere to kick Trump, the front-runner for his party’s nomination, off the ballot because of his attempts to undo his loss in the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold expressed disappointment in the court’s decision as she acknowledged that “Donald Trump is an eligible candidate on Colorado’s 2024 Presidential Primary.”

Trump’s case was the first at the Supreme Court dealing with a provision of the 14th Amendment that was adopted after the Civil War to prevent former officeholders who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office again.

Colorado’s Supreme Court, in a first-of-its-kind ruling, had decided that the provision, Section 3, could be applied to Trump, who that court found incited the Capitol attack. No court before had applied Section 3 to a presidential candidate.

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Some election observers have warned that a ruling requiring congressional action to implement Section 3 could leave the door open to a renewed fight over trying to use the provision to disqualify Trump in the event he wins the election. In one scenario, a Democratic-controlled Congress could try to reject certifying Trump’s election on Jan. 6, 2025, under the clause.

The issue then could return to the court, possibly in the midst of a full-blown constitutional crisis.

While all nine justices agreed that Trump should be on the ballot, there was sharp disagreement from the three liberal members of the court and a milder disagreement from conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett that their colleagues went too far in determining what Congress must do to disqualify someone from federal office.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson said they agreed that allowing the Colorado decision to stand could create a “chaotic state by state patchwork” but said they disagreed with the majority’s finding a disqualification for insurrection can only happen when Congress enacts legislation. “In doing so, the majority shuts the door on other potential means of federal enforcement. We cannot join an opinion that decides momentous and difficult issues unnecessarily, and we therefore concur only in the judgment,” they wrote.

The court did not delve into the politically fraught issue of insurrection in its opinion Monday.

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Both sides had requested fast work by the court, which heard arguments less than a month ago, on Feb. 8. The justices seemed poised then to rule in Trump ‘s favor.

Trump had been kicked off the ballots in Colorado, Maine and Illinois, but all three rulings were on hold awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision.

The case is the court’s most direct involvement in a presidential election since Bush v. Gore, a decision delivered a quarter-century ago that effectively handed the 2000 election to Republican George W. Bush. And it’s just one of several cases involving Trump directly or that could affect his chances of becoming president again, including a case scheduled for arguments in late April about whether he can be criminally prosecuted on election interference charges, including his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The timing of the high court’s intervention has raised questions about whether Trump will be tried before the November election.

The arguments in February were the first time the high court had heard a case involving Section 3. The two-sentence provision, intended to keep some Confederates from holding office again, says that those who violate oaths to support the Constitution are barred from various positions including congressional offices or serving as presidential electors. But it does not specifically mention the presidency.

Conservative and liberal justices questioned the case against Trump. Their main concern was whether Congress must act before states can invoke the 14th Amendment. There also were questions about whether the president is covered by the provision.

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The lawyers for Republican and independent voters who sued to remove Trump’s name from the Colorado ballot had argued that there is ample evidence that the events of Jan. 6 constituted an insurrection and that it was incited by Trump, who had exhorted a crowd of his supporters at a rally outside the White House to “fight like hell.” They said it would be absurd to apply Section 3 to everything but the presidency or that Trump is somehow exempt. And the provision needs no enabling legislation, they argued.

Trump’s lawyers mounted several arguments for why the amendment can’t be used to keep him off the ballot. They contended the Jan. 6 riot wasn’t an insurrection and, even if it was, Trump did not go to the Capitol or join the rioters. The wording of the amendment also excludes the presidency and candidates running for president, they said. Even if all those arguments failed, they said, Congress must pass legislation to reinvigorate Section 3.

The case was decided by a court that includes three justices appointed by Trump when he was president. They have considered many Trump -related cases in recent years, declining to embrace his bogus claims of fraud in the 2020 election and refusing to shield tax records from Congress and prosecutors in New York.

The 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore case more than 23 years ago was the last time the court was so deeply involved in presidential politics. Justice Clarence Thomas is the only member of the court who was on the bench then. Thomas has ignored calls by some Democratic lawmakers to step aside from the Trump case because his wife, Ginni, supported Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results and attended the rally that preceded the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters.

(AP)

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American Express credit cards EXPOSED in third-party vendor data breach – account numbers and names among details accessed in hack

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  •  Names, account numbers and card expiration dates were accessed in the hack
  • American Express told customers they are not liable for fraudulent charges
  • READ MORE:  Here’s how credit card information is sold for on the dark web

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American Express is alerting customers about a data breach in which hackers accessed personal credit card information through a third-party vendor.

Account numbers, names and other credit card information such as the expiration date of ‘some customers’ have been compromised, the financial service company shared in a letter filed with the state of Massachusetts.

The incident occurred at a service provider that uses American Express Travel Service, which lets customers book flights, hotels and other reservations using an online portal.

American Express is urging all cardholders to check their statements and alert the company if fraudulent charges have occurred.

Account numbers, names and other credit card information such as the expiration date of ¿some customers¿ have been compromised

Account numbers, names and other credit card information such as the expiration date of ¿some customers¿ have been compromised

Account numbers, names and other credit card information such as the expiration date of ‘some customers’ have been compromised

Anneke Covell, chief privacy officer, wrote: ‘We became aware that a third-party service provider engaged by numerous merchants experienced unauthorized access to its system.

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‘It is important to note that American Express-owned or controlled systems were not compromised by this incident, and we are providing this notice to you as a precautionary measure.’

The letter does not detail the number of people impacted or when the incident occurred. 

Gerilyn Cammaroto, vice president of American Express’s communications, told DailyMail.com: ‘This incident was not caused by a data breach at American Express or at a service provider of American Express. 

‘This incident resulted from a point of sale attack at a merchant processor in which American Express Card member data was impacted. 

‘A courtesy notice of this incident was provided to the Massachusetts regulators due to impacts to American Express Card Members residing in Massachusetts.’

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While information on the breach is sparse, it appeared that American Express has sent letters to customers with compromised credit cards. 

‘At this time, we have been informed that your current or previously issued American Express Card account number, your name and other Card information such as the expiration date, may have been compromised,’ reads the notification signed by Covell.

While information on the breach is sparse, it appeared that American Express has sent letters to customers with compromised credit cards

While information on the breach is sparse, it appeared that American Express has sent letters to customers with compromised credit cards

While information on the breach is sparse, it appeared that American Express has sent letters to customers with compromised credit cards

American Express told BleepingComputer that it has filed the proper notification with regulatory authorities following the hack.

‘When we learn about a data security incident that impacts our customers, we promptly begin an investigation and notify the appropriate regulatory authorities, as required,’ American Express told BleepingComputer.

‘We also work to identify impacted customers and understand the specific impacts, and then notify them as required by applicable laws and regulations.

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The financial company did note in the letter that customers who were part of the breach are ‘ not liable for fraudulent charges’ made with their credit cards.

To check if your American Express card may have been compromised, users are urged to log in to their accounts to look for unusual charges and to activate notifications to stay updated with information about the breach.

The incident comes less than two years of another that impacted 1.2 million customers who had their card number, expiration data, CCV, telephone number, address, social security number and other personal data stolen.

American Express said the 2022 breach was deployed by a third-party merchant, which allowed the sensitive information to leak onto the dark web. 

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‘Carry the burden’: Anger grows in Israel over military exemption for ultra-Orthodox

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People take part in a protest against an exemption to military service for ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem on February 26, 2024.

People take part in a protest against an exemption to military service for ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem on February 26, 2024. © AFP

As more and more Israelis are drafted into the military amid the war in Gaza, an issue that has long stoked debate is turning increasingly bitter and divisive – an exemption to military service for the country’s roughly 1.3 million ultra-Orthodox Jews.

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State pension would hit £13,236 a year by 2030 if triple lock remains

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  • Conservatives and Labour likely to pledge their support for triple lock 
  • Figures suggest this would see a triple lock beyond £13k by 2030 
  • From April, state pension will rise 8.5% to £11,502 per year

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The annual state pension could surpass £13,000 a year by 2030 if the current pension triple lock is retained, analysis claims.

Both the Conservative and Labour parties are expected to pledge their support for the pensions triple lock in their manifestos for the upcoming general election, according to reports.

Under the triple lock, pensions could reach £13,236.10 by 2023, and are set to surpass £12,000 in 2026/2027, according to research by investment platform AJ Bell.

The state pension is set to surpass £13,000 by 2023, but this could see pensioners lose 20% in income tax from 2027

The state pension is set to surpass £13,000 by 2023, but this could see pensioners lose 20% in income tax from 2027

The state pension is set to surpass £13,000 by 2023, but this could see pensioners lose 20% in income tax from 2027

However, analysis from the Mail on Sunday warns that pensioners could be dragged into the lowest income tax bracket from 2027, even if the state pension is their only income.

The warning comes after Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the Government will maintain the £12,570 tax-free personal allowance until 2028.

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The triple lock, brought in by the coalition government in 2011, ensures that the value of the state pension is not outstripped by the cost of living or the growth earnings of the working population.

This means that the state pension will be increased by the highest of average earnings growth, inflation or by 2.5 per cent per year.

Tom Selby, public policy director at AJ Bell, said: ‘Retirees will no doubt be rejoicing that both major parties appear set to recommit to the state pension ‘triple-lock’ for the next Parliament, with the gold-plated pledge potentially pushing the value of the state pension past £13,000 a year by the end of this decade.

‘Given how critical the votes of older people are to winning a general election, it is no surprise both the Conservatives and Labour appear to be taking a safety-first approach to the triple-lock,’ Selby said.

‘The policy has become a totem for ‘doing right by pensioners’, with debate over the state pension often restricted solely to politicians’ commitment to increasing the benefit by the highest of average earnings growth, inflation or 2.5 per cent.’

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Both Labour and the Conservatives plan to retain the pension triple lock in their upcoming election manifestos

Both Labour and the Conservatives plan to retain the pension triple lock in their upcoming election manifestos

Both Labour and the Conservatives plan to retain the pension triple lock in their upcoming election manifestos

From April, the state pension is set to rise by 8.5 per cent to £11,502 per year, or £221.20 a week, under the new flat rate, while those who retired before 2016 will see their pension rise to £169.50 per week.

Currently, the state payout sits at £10,600, or £203.85 for those who retired after 2016, while those who reached state pension age before April 2016, get £156.20 a week or £8,120 a year.

People on the basic rate, however, also get top-ups, called S2P or Serps, if those were earned earlier in life.

According to AJ Bell, however, the move to retain the triple lock is one of relative political safety in the short-term, but could lead to ‘intergenerational unfairness’ if planned pension age hikes are accelerated.

Selby said: ‘While the policy is understandably popular, it remains entirely aimless, with neither major party clearly stating how much they believe the state pension should be worth.’

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‘The next government needs to set a clear plan for the state pension, both in terms of what a ‘fair’ value is, perhaps as a proportion of average earnings, and the length of time retirees should be in receipt of it on average.’

‘For this necessary reform to happen, politicians will need to show bravery and step beyond the current “Will they? Won’t they?” debate over the triple-lock,’ Selby added. 

‘The state pension remains the bedrock upon which people’s retirement plans are built, so embedding at least some certainty into the system is crucial to help Brits plan with confidence.’

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I cycled 625 miles around Taiwan without ANY training – here’s how I got on

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‘I cried tears of joy because I actually did it.’

So says Riley Yen, a novice cyclist who completed a 625-mile (1,006km) bike ride – the equivalent of almost 24 marathons – around Taiwan.

Despite never owning a bike or cycling longer than 30 minutes at a time before, it took him just 12 days in total, with one of those being a ‘rest’ day.

The 21-year-old, from California, U.S, charted his journey with posts on his Instagram account @rileyyen, taking his 47,600 followers along with him.

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He told MailOnline Travel: ‘I just went in with the mindset that no matter what happens, I will figure it out.’

Riley Yen (above) completed a 625-mile (1,006km) bike journey around Taiwan - without any preparation

Riley Yen (above) completed a 625-mile (1,006km) bike journey around Taiwan - without any preparation

Riley Yen (above) completed a 625-mile (1,006km) bike journey around Taiwan – without any preparation

Riley cycled for 11 days and took just one day off to rest

Riley cycled for 11 days and took just one day off to rest
Riley had never owned a bike or cycled for longer than 30 minutes at a time before starting his journey

Riley had never owned a bike or cycled for longer than 30 minutes at a time before starting his journey

Riley cycled for 11 days and took just one day off to rest. He had never owned a bike or cycled for longer than 30 minutes at a time before starting his journey

Before embarking on his two-wheel adventure, Riley had just graduated from the University of Southern California, with a healthcare consulting job in New York lined up later in the year.

After graduating early, he decided to use the extra time – and money he had left – to travel around Asia.

‘I had completed everything I “should do”, from going to college to getting a job and getting healthy,’ he said. ‘I wanted to do something not because I should, but because I’m curious about it. Satisfying the child-like curiosity.’

Riley had reached Japan when the idea struck him to cycle around Taiwan. 

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He then travelled to the island and bought a bike for $130 (£103) and set off on the Taiwan Cycling Route No.1 in February.

The route starts and finishes in the capital city of Taipei and circles the island, with some parts passing along the coast.

Riley completed it in an impressive 12 days by spending up to 12 hours biking every day, taking just one day off on day nine of the journey, and staying in hotels along the way.

When asked if he ever veered off course, he said: ‘Yes. For the most part, I followed it but I did go off to Tainan, which is off route.’

Riley said he wanted to complete the journey to ‘satisfy a childlike curiosity’ 

Riley said: 'I just went in with the mindset that no matter what happens, I will figure it out'

Riley said: 'I just went in with the mindset that no matter what happens, I will figure it out'
Breaking past the physical pain was one of the toughest parts for the novice cyclist

Breaking past the physical pain was one of the toughest parts for the novice cyclist

Riley said: ‘I just went in with the mindset that no matter what happens, I will figure it out.’ Breaking past the physical pain was one of the toughest parts for the novice cyclist

The 21-year-old, from California, charted his journey with posts on his Instagram account @rileyyen , taking his 47,600 followers along with him

The 21-year-old, from California, charted his journey with posts on his Instagram account @rileyyen , taking his 47,600 followers along with him
Before embarking on his two-wheel adventure, Riley had just graduated from the University of Southern California

Before embarking on his two-wheel adventure, Riley had just graduated from the University of Southern California

The 21-year-old, from California , charted his journey with posts on his Instagram account @rileyyen, taking his 47,600 followers along with him. Before embarking on his two-wheel adventure, Riley had just graduated from the University of Southern California

Riley said breaking past the ‘physical pain’ was a tough part of the journey. 

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‘The most painful parts were my hands and my bottom because my bike did not have handle variations and was not fitted correctly,’ he added. ‘I also had a bag on my back rather than tied to the bike.

‘My hands were constantly numb, and I couldn’t use chopsticks for a week after.’

He also had a run-in with Mother Nature on day eight, which he described as the hardest day.

‘I encountered a storm with almost no energy and four more hours to go as I approached the night,’ he said.

And the hardest psychological part, he said, was posting ‘well-edited videos and interacting with my viewers – not just one day but every single day’.

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Riley revealed that during the ride his hands were 'constantly numb' and that afterwards, he 'couldn't use chopsticks for a week'

Riley revealed that during the ride his hands were 'constantly numb' and that afterwards, he 'couldn't use chopsticks for a week'

Riley revealed that during the ride his hands were ‘constantly numb’ and that afterwards, he ‘couldn’t use chopsticks for a week’ 

Did he ever get close to giving up? ‘Every day,’ he said. Why didn’t he? He explained: ‘I said I would complete it, so I must do it.’ 

And he claimed he doesn’t have any regrets. 

For the most part, Riley said, Taiwan is very cycle-friendly. But he explained he had to skip two small sections in the east of the island and take a train because it was either ‘illegal for bikes or too dangerous due to large trucks and falling rocks from the mountainside’.

Some of the best sights he saw were farmlands in eastern Taiwan, including Taichung and Hualien, and beaches in Kaohsiung and Checheng, in southern Taiwan. 

Riley's bike is pictured next to Xiluo Bridge in Changhua County

Riley's bike is pictured next to Xiluo Bridge in Changhua County
The cyclist said some of the best sights he saw were farmlands on the east side of Taiwan

The cyclist said some of the best sights he saw were farmlands on the east side of Taiwan

LEFT: Riley’s bike is pictured next to Xiluo Bridge in Changhua County. RIGHT: The cyclist said some of the best sights he saw were farmlands on the east side of Taiwan

What’s next for Riley? He said: ‘I’m running 30-mile runs now and scaling my clothing brand, Kaede Gardens.’

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While he said he would ‘love to’ continue cycling, Riley doesn’t have any more long journeys planned. 

However, he said Japan ‘would be very nice’ to cycle around, as well as the Taiwanese mountains.

For more from Riley, visit him on Instagram at www.instagram.com/rileyyen/, YouTube at www.youtube.com/@rileyyen and TikTok at www.tiktok.com/@rileyyen.

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Scientists may have finally found the cause of long Covid: Low iron levels after infection ‘might be trigger of poorly-understood illness’

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  •  1.9 million people in the UK alone say they experience symptoms of long Covid
  • Scientists found those with long Covid had problems with iron levels in blood

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Experts may have found the cause of long Covid after discovering that low iron levels following an infection could be a key trigger.

An estimated 1.9 million people in the UK alone say they experience symptoms of long Covid.

These can include fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches and problems with memory and concentration – and last long after the initial Covid infection has subsided.

Now scientists believe that problems with iron levels in the blood – and the body’s ability to regulate this important nutrient – could be a key driver of ongoing issues.

And the discovery could point to possible ways to prevent or treat the condition.

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An estimated 1.9 million people in the UK alone say they experience symptoms of long Covid. These symptoms can include fatigue, muscle aches and loss of smell

An estimated 1.9 million people in the UK alone say they experience symptoms of long Covid. These symptoms can include fatigue, muscle aches and loss of smell

An estimated 1.9 million people in the UK alone say they experience symptoms of long Covid. These symptoms can include fatigue, muscle aches and loss of smell

Shortly after the start of the pandemic, a team led by Cambridge University began recruiting people who had tested positive for the virus.

Over the course of a year, participants provided blood samples and it became clear that a significant number of patients would go on to have symptoms that persisted.

What is long Covid ?

Most people with Covid feel better within a few days or weeks, but those with long Covid take much longer to recover.

The symptoms include:

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Fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of smell and muscle aches.

It can also cause:

Memory problems, a tight chest, insomnia, heart palpitations, dizziness, joint pain, pins and needles, tinnitus, stomach aches, loss of appetite, high temperature, a cough, rashes and depression. 

Source: NHS 

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In the end the researchers focused their analysis on 214 individuals, around half of whom reported long Covid symptoms between three and 10 months after their infection.

They discovered that ongoing inflammation and low iron levels in the blood could be seen as early as two weeks following an infection in those individuals reporting long Covid many months later.

Problems with iron levels in the blood were detectable in the long Covid group regardless of age, sex or infection severity, they found.

Dr Aimee Hanson, who worked on the study while at the University of Cambridge and is now at the University of Bristol, said: ‘Iron levels, and the way the body regulates iron, were disrupted early on during SARS-CoV-2 infection, and took a very long time to recover, particularly in those people who went on to report long Covid months later.

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‘Although we saw evidence that the body was trying to rectify low iron availability and the resulting anaemia by producing more red blood cells, it was not doing a particularly good job of it in the face of ongoing inflammation.’

Co-author Professor Hal Drakesmith, from the University of Oxford, said iron dysregulation is a natural response to infection.

‘When the body has an infection, it responds by removing iron from the bloodstream,’ he said.

‘This protects us from potentially lethal bacteria that capture the iron in the bloodstream and grow rapidly. It’s an evolutionary response that redistributes iron in the body, and the blood plasma becomes an iron desert.

Researchers discovered that ongoing inflammation and low iron levels in the blood could be seen as early as two weeks following an infection in those individuals reporting long Covid many months later

Researchers discovered that ongoing inflammation and low iron levels in the blood could be seen as early as two weeks following an infection in those individuals reporting long Covid many months later

Researchers discovered that ongoing inflammation and low iron levels in the blood could be seen as early as two weeks following an infection in those individuals reporting long Covid many months later

‘However, if this goes on for a long time, there is less iron for red blood cells, so oxygen is transported less efficiently affecting metabolism and energy production, and for white blood cells, which need iron to work properly. The protective mechanism ends up becoming a problem.’

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The findings, published in the journal Nature Immunology, may help explain why symptoms such as fatigue and exercise intolerance are common in long Covid.

The researchers say the study points to potential ways of preventing or reducing the impact of long Covid by rectifying iron dysregulation during early infection.

One approach might be controlling the extreme inflammation as early as possible, before it impacts on iron regulation.

Another approach might involve iron supplementation – however as Dr Hanson pointed out, this may not be straightforward.

‘It isn’t necessarily the case that individuals don’t have enough iron in their body, it’s just that it’s trapped in the wrong place,’ she said.

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‘What we need is a way to remobilise the iron and pull it back into the bloodstream, where it becomes more useful to the red blood cells.’

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EU slaps Apple with €1.8 billion fine for music streaming restrictions

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The EU on Monday hit Apple with a 1.8 billion-euro-fine ($1.9 billion) for violating the bloc’s laws by preventing music streaming services from informing users about subscription options outside of its App Store.

Issued on: Modified:

3 min

The iPhone maker immediately vowed to appeal the first ever antitrust fine slapped on Apple by Brussels, the culmination of a case triggered by a complaint by Swedish music streaming giant Spotify.

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The European Commission said it “found that Apple applied restrictions on app developers preventing them from informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app”.

“This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” the EU’s powerful antitrust regulator said.

“Apple’s conduct, which lasted for almost ten years, may have led many iOS users to pay significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions because of the high commission fee imposed by Apple on developers and passed on to consumers,” it added.

Spotify’s complaint in 2019 triggered a broad commission investigation into the iPhone maker in 2021, but Brussels narrowed its probe last year to focus on Apple’s actions to prevent apps from giving users information about rival music subscription options.

“For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store,” commission vice president Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

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“We have ordered Apple to remove the necessary provisions and to refrain from similar practices in the future,” Vestager told reporters.

Apple slammed the commission’s decision and said it would appeal.

“The decision was reached despite the Commission’s failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast,” Apple said in a statement.

“While we respect the European Commission, the facts simply don’t support this decision. And as a result, Apple will appeal,” the company added.

Sour Apple

Despite the scale of the penalty, critics point out that even fines above hundreds of millions of euros pale in comparison to how much Apple makes. In the last three months of 2023, Apple reported $33.92 billion in profits.

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Brussels has already hit Google with penalties of around eight billion euros in the past few years, although the US-based firm is challenging the fines in EU courts.

But the EU expects the fine will lead Apple to stop limiting access to rival streaming services — all the more since it will also be obliged to do so under a new law known as the Digital Markets Act that it must adhere to by March 7.

Google owner Alphabet, Amazon, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft must also comply.

The DMA gives the commission the power to fine companies up to 10 percent of global revenue for any violations or 20 percent for repeat offenders.

Apple rejects Spotify’s claims and points to the streaming giant’s market dominance in the online music field.

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Spotify has more than 600 million monthly users, a third of them are paying subscribers, according to the company’s latest figures published last month.

Apple Music, a music streaming service, represents eight percent of the European market, the company says, compared with Spotify’s more than 50 percent share.

Apple also says Spotify has paid them nothing — except a $99 developer programme fee — although the iPhone maker claims to have played a significant part in the firm’s success.

Bitter battles

It is not the first time Apple and Spotify have knocked heads.

Spotify has been one of the most vocal critics of Apple’s changes to its App Store as part of compliance with the EU’s DMA law.

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As part of the changes, the company will let rivals build app stores for iPhones and allow payment services beyond Apple Pay on the devices.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek charges that the iPhone maker’s attitude “mocks the spirit of the law”.

On Friday, 34 digital organisations including video games maker Epic Games and Spotify wrote to the commission to express concern about Apple’s plans.

They said Apple’s new terms, “if left unchanged, make a mockery of the DMA and the considerable efforts by the European Commission and EU institutions to make digital markets competitive.”

(AFP)

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Fresh woe for Christian Horner as NEW allegations are published in 19-page investigation which names his accuser – as he’s seen in furious mystery row with nemesis Jos Verstappen

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  • Red Bull have denied new bombshell claims made from a F1 trade magazine 

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Christian Horner is facing fresh turmoil after new allegations were published in a 19-page investigation that names his accuser – as he was seen in a furious row with his nemesis Jos Verstappen.  

Geri Halliwell’s husband was cleared last Wednesday of ‘coercive behaviour’ towards a female colleague at Red Bull before screenshots of a text conversation allegedly between them were leaked via an anonymous email. 

The 50-year-old was spotted embracing the former Spice Girl on Saturday in a show of unity. 

However, Horner’s attempts to move on from the scandal were hampered today by the publication of a 19-page investigation into the case by trade publication BusinessF1 Magazine. 

Together with making a series of new allegations against Horner, it also names the female member of staff he is alleged to have texted and documents the power struggle at the top of Red Bull. 

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Sources close to Horner have dismissed the piece as ‘full of inaccuracies’, The Times reported, but it may be seized upon by critics. Foremost among these has been Max Verstappen’s father Jos, who has warned that the ongoing furore was ‘driving the team apart’.

Red Bull have denied bombshell claims from a F1 trade magazine over Christian Horner in a 19-page investigation which names the female member of staff he allegedly texted

Red Bull have denied bombshell claims from a F1 trade magazine over Christian Horner in a 19-page investigation which names the female member of staff he allegedly texted

Red Bull have denied bombshell claims from a F1 trade magazine over Christian Horner in a 19-page investigation which names the female member of staff he allegedly texted

Horner was seen having an animated discussion with Max Verstappen's father, Jos, in the Red Bull motorhome during the weekend of the Bahrain Grand Prix

Horner was seen having an animated discussion with Max Verstappen's father, Jos, in the Red Bull motorhome during the weekend of the Bahrain Grand Prix

 Horner was seen having an animated discussion with Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, in the Red Bull motorhome during the weekend of the Bahrain Grand Prix

Horner and wife Geri Halliwell put on a united front during the Bahrain Grand Prix after screenshots of a text conversation allegedly between Horner and the employee were leaked

Horner and wife Geri Halliwell put on a united front during the Bahrain Grand Prix after screenshots of a text conversation allegedly between Horner and the employee were leaked

Horner and wife Geri Halliwell put on a united front during the Bahrain Grand Prix after screenshots of a text conversation allegedly between Horner and the employee were leaked

The article’s author is Tom Rubython, who has run BusinessF1 Magazine since 2003 and describes himself as ‘probably the most sued journalist in Britain’.

The 68-year-old, who also stood for Ukip in the 2015 general election, has been the target of legal action by former Formula One leaders Max Mosely and Bernie Ecclestone, as well as business magnate Lord Alan Sugar.

Mr Rubython in total claims to have faced around ’20 to 30 legal battles’.

The Times quote him as saying: ‘They’ve forgotten about us. They [Red Bull Racing] are so busy chasing mainstream media they forgot our magazine is coming out. Our magazine is usually about business, sponsorship and engines — a good old scandal is very rare.’

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Mr Rubython also admitted that he did not put his claims to Red Bull before publication – known in journalism as a ‘right of reply’.

He said: ‘If I’d put the claims to Christian I’d have had an immediate injunction or attempted injunction… Harbottle [Horner’s lawyers] are going to have a problem if they go for us in the morning. Whether they will or not, I do have a certain reputation of not caving.’

Despite the controversy off-track, on the circuit Horner’s Red Bull team got the season off to a perfect start, with Max Verstappen winning the season-opener ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

However, Max’s father Jos has now emerged as one of Horner’s most vocal critics, and previously told Mail Sport that Red Bull will explode if Horner keeps his position.

He said: ‘There is tension here while he (Horner) remains in position.

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‘The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.’ 

According to his affiliates, Horner believes Verstappen Snr has orchestrated a campaign to unseat him for the past few weeks, the implication being that the Dutchman even had a hand in the email leak – something which has not been proved.

Video footage was posted by Sky Italy which shows Horner having an animated discussion with Jos Verstappen during the weekend of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Verstappen, 51, walked out of the fiery meeting before returning to the room and reluctantly shaking hands. 

The Telegraph, reported that Verstappen’s father has told friends his son will move on from Red Bull if he has to.

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Horner and Halliwell watched the podium ceremony together after Max Verstappen won the opening race of the season

Horner and Halliwell watched the podium ceremony together after Max Verstappen won the opening race of the season

Horner and Halliwell watched the podium ceremony together after Max Verstappen won the opening race of the season

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Geri Halliwell and Christian Horner’s PDA at Bahrain Grand Prix echoes some notorious shows of solidarity by famous couples hit by scandal

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Arriving hand-in-hand for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix wearing vintage Gucci and a poker face, Geri Horner was determined to give everyone a clear message: Stand By Your Man. 

Spice Girl Geri was seen sharing several PDAs with her beleaguered husband Christian Horner – after the humiliating leak of hundreds of WhatsApp messages, apparently exchanged between the Red Bull team principle and a female colleague. 

And yet the couple were all over each other, sharing kisses and huddling up close, all in full sight of the photographers.

It comes straight out of the playbook of a beleagured MP after a cheating scandal – kiss for the cameras and perhaps it will make everyone forget. 

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Dominic West tried the same tactic in a notoriously awkward photoshoot with his wife in 2020, after he was caught in a passionate clinch with then co-star Lily James.

This weekend, ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell shared a kiss with her beleaguered husband Christian Horner - who has faced allegations relating to hundreds of WhatsApp messages that appeared to be written by him to a female colleague - at the Bahrain Grand Prix in a show of solidarity after leaked text messages rocked Formula One

This weekend, ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell shared a kiss with her beleaguered husband Christian Horner - who has faced allegations relating to hundreds of WhatsApp messages that appeared to be written by him to a female colleague - at the Bahrain Grand Prix in a show of solidarity after leaked text messages rocked Formula One

This weekend, ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell shared a kiss with her beleaguered husband Christian Horner – who has faced allegations relating to hundreds of WhatsApp messages that appeared to be written by him to a female colleague – at the Bahrain Grand Prix in a show of solidarity after leaked text messages rocked Formula One

Another memorable cheating row from that same year saw a teary-eyed Will Smith put on a show of unity with Jada Pinkett-Smith after she admitted to an affair with musician August Alsina – by appearing on their family talk show.

Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the cringe-worthy moments of solidarity from seemingly hard-done spouses…

CHRISTIAN HORNER AND GERI HALIWELL 

Geri Halliwell shared a kiss with her beleaguered husband Christian Horner at the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, amid scandal rumours.

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It appeared that Christian leaned in to kiss his wife in full view of the cameras as the world watched their response to the controversy that has rocked Formula One.

After they shared a smooch, Geri seemed to look directly at photographers. 

Her husband, Red Bull F1 chief Christian, has faced allegations relating to hundreds of WhatsApp messages that appeared to be written by him to a female colleague.

Christian was cleared to continue as Red Bull head following an internal probe into ‘inappropriate behaviour’ by the F1 team’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH. The 50-year-old has always denied the claims. 

Geri Halliwell shared a kiss with her beleaguered husband Christian Horner at the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, amid scandal rumours

Geri Halliwell shared a kiss with her beleaguered husband Christian Horner at the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, amid scandal rumours

Geri Halliwell shared a kiss with her beleaguered husband Christian Horner at the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, amid scandal rumours

Christian initially broke cover on Saturday morning with no sign of Geri after his wife found out the texts were leaked as she was flying in a private jet.

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Yet the couple walked hand-in-hand in the Paddock in Bahrain. Geri appeared red-eyed as she put on a brave face, smiling while her husband clenched her hand. 

Last week, Red Bull cleared Horner of inappropriate behaviour allegations which were made by a female employee.

But 24 hours later, flirtatious WhatsApp messages apparently exchanged between Christian and the female complainant were leaked to 149 F1 figures while Geri was on a flight to see her husband ahead of this weekend’s season opener.

An insider previously told the Mail it would be ‘mayhem’ if Geri showed her face at Saturday’s Grand Prix. 

However, Red Bull confirmed to Mail Sport on Saturday that the former Spice Girl would be on the grid and she was seen at around 1.20pm with her F1 boss husband.

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Christian initially broke cover on Saturday morning with no sign of Geri after his wife found out the texts were leaked as she was flying in a private jet

Christian initially broke cover on Saturday morning with no sign of Geri after his wife found out the texts were leaked as she was flying in a private jet

Christian initially broke cover on Saturday morning with no sign of Geri after his wife found out the texts were leaked as she was flying in a private jet 

It appeared that Christian leaned in to kiss his wife in full view of the cameras as the world watched their response to the controversy that has rocked Formula One

It appeared that Christian leaned in to kiss his wife in full view of the cameras as the world watched their response to the controversy that has rocked Formula One

It appeared that Christian leaned in to kiss his wife in full view of the cameras as the world watched their response to the controversy that has rocked Formula One

Geri was holding ‘crisis talks’ over Christian’s leaked text messages and did not want to meet her husband in Bahrain until she was talked into it by his family, sources earlier claimed.

Red Bull workers are reportedly afraid that more messages may be leaked.

Christian, who has won 13 world championships since heading the team as a 31-year-old in 2005, had previously thanked his ‘very supportive wife’ for her backing during the accusations.

Geri and Christian mixed in social circles before they struck up a romance, having first met each other at the Monaco Grand Prix in 2009.

Christian, who has won 13 world championships since heading the team as a 31-year-old in 2005 , had previously thanked his 'very supportive wife' for her backing during the accusations

Christian, who has won 13 world championships since heading the team as a 31-year-old in 2005 , had previously thanked his 'very supportive wife' for her backing during the accusations

Christian, who has won 13 world championships since heading the team as a 31-year-old in 2005 , had previously thanked his ‘very supportive wife’ for her backing during the accusations

Yet the couple walked hand-in-hand in the Paddock in Bahrain. Geri appeared red-eyed as she put on a brave face, smiling while her husband clenched her hand

Yet the couple walked hand-in-hand in the Paddock in Bahrain. Geri appeared red-eyed as she put on a brave face, smiling while her husband clenched her hand

Yet the couple walked hand-in-hand in the Paddock in Bahrain. Geri appeared red-eyed as she put on a brave face, smiling while her husband clenched her hand

Their relationship, however, got off to a rocky start, coming under fire after the Red Bull chief left his long-term partner Beverley Allen six months after she gave birth to their daughter Olivia.

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While the couple took a short break to see if Christian could rescue his relationship with the mother of his child, just nine months later he announced his engagement to Ginger Spice in a notice in the The Times in 2014.

The former Spice Girl and Red Bull boss tied the knot at St Mary’s Church in Woburn, Bedfordshire, in 2015.

Geri’s A-line lace bridal gown was designed by British designer Phillipa Lepley.

Her nine-year-old daughter, Bluebell, whom she had with screenwriter Sacha Gervasi in 2005, also attended the wedding.

Guests included Geri’s former Spice Girls co-star Emma Bunton, radio presenter and singer Myleene Klass, and TV presenter Amanda Holden.

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DOMINIC WEST AND CATHERINE FITZGERALD

Dominic West and his wife struck a ‘denial pose’ in echoes of ‘unfaithful politicians trying to save their careers’ as they posed outside their house in 2020 – in a famously awkward photoshoot.

The actor, who wasn’t wearing his wedding ring, and his wife Catherine FitzGerald kissed and put on a united front outside their Wiltshire home after his passionate clinch with Lily James in Rome in a pose reminiscent of various MPs – including the likes of Piers Merchant. 

Speaking to FEMAIL at the time, body language guru Judi James said she was surprised the couple went for the ‘old-school and rather gruesome body language ritual known as ‘The Denial’ pose’ to prove their marriage is still ‘strong’ and that they’re ‘very much still together’.

Dominic West and his wife struck a 'denial pose' in echoes of 'unfaithful politicians trying to save their careers' as they posed outside their house in 2020 - in a famously awkward photoshoot

Dominic West and his wife struck a 'denial pose' in echoes of 'unfaithful politicians trying to save their careers' as they posed outside their house in 2020 - in a famously awkward photoshoot

Dominic West and his wife struck a ‘denial pose’ in echoes of ‘unfaithful politicians trying to save their careers’ as they posed outside their house in 2020 – in a famously awkward photoshoot

The actor, who wasn't wearing his wedding ring, and his wife Catherine FitzGerald kissed and put on a united front outside their Wiltshire home

The actor, who wasn't wearing his wedding ring, and his wife Catherine FitzGerald kissed and put on a united front outside their Wiltshire home

The actor, who wasn’t wearing his wedding ring, and his wife Catherine FitzGerald kissed and put on a united front outside their Wiltshire home

‘Whether prompted by guilt or actual innocence, the denial ritual is notoriously and historically one of the trickiest non-verbal performances to pull off,’ she explained. 

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‘A favourite of face-and-career-saving politicians, who would often involve their entire family in the Walton’s-style shots, the public have become cynical as a result of so many of them emerging just prior to a split.’ 

The photos came one day after the actor and the Mamma Mia! star Lily, caused quite the stir with their passionate – and very public – display and didn’t seem to mind who saw them as they cuddled up while taking in the sights of the Italian city. 

JADA PINKETT-SMITH AND WILL SMITH 

Many fans were left wincing after Will Smith four years ago joined his wife Jada Pinkett-Smit on Red Table Talk – for a candid conversation about the affair she had admitted to having.

During their talk on the Facebook show, the two openly discussed Jada’s ‘entanglement’ with August Alsina as they even addressed the break in their marriage in 2015. 

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In the episode, the Hollywood couple sat opposite each other as they set the record straight and reaffirmed their commitment to each other.

Jada began explaining that the couple met August through their son Jaden, 25, and recalled the singer, who would have been 23 at the time, was ‘really sick’.

Many fans were left wincing after Will Smith four years ago joined his wife Jada Pinkett-Smit on Red Table Talk - for a candid conversation about the affair she had admitted to having

Many fans were left wincing after Will Smith four years ago joined his wife Jada Pinkett-Smit on Red Table Talk - for a candid conversation about the affair she had admitted to having

Many fans were left wincing after Will Smith four years ago joined his wife Jada Pinkett-Smit on Red Table Talk – for a candid conversation about the affair she had admitted to having 

During their talk on the Facebook show, the two openly discussed Jada's 'entanglement' with August Alsina as they even addressed the break in their marriage in 2015

During their talk on the Facebook show, the two openly discussed Jada's 'entanglement' with August Alsina as they even addressed the break in their marriage in 2015

During their talk on the Facebook show, the two openly discussed Jada’s ‘entanglement’ with August Alsina as they even addressed the break in their marriage in 2015

Jada said: ‘And it all started with him just needing some help, me wanting to help his health, his mental state. 

‘The outpouring for him from our family was initially about his health,’ she said. ‘We found all those different resources to help pull him through and from there you and I were going through a very difficult time.’ 

Following Jada’s confession Will admitted: ‘I was done with you,’ while Jada added that they decided to separate for a ‘period of time’.

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‘And then what did you do, Jada?’ Will asked, urging his wife to keep talking. 

‘As time went on, I got into a different type of entanglement with August,’ Jada explained.

The mother-of-two went on to respond to August’s claim that Will gave her ‘permission’ to have an affair.

‘The only person that can give permission in that circumstance is myself,’ she insisted.

Jada began explaining that the couple met August through their son Jaden, 25, and recalled the singer, who would have been 23 at the time, was 'really sick'. August pictured in 2016

Jada began explaining that the couple met August through their son Jaden, 25, and recalled the singer, who would have been 23 at the time, was 'really sick'. August pictured in 2016

Jada began explaining that the couple met August through their son Jaden, 25, and recalled the singer, who would have been 23 at the time, was ‘really sick’. August pictured in 2016

‘But what August was probably trying to communicate because I could see how he could see it as permission because we were separated amicably, and I think he wanted to make it clear he’s not a home wrecker, because he’s not.’

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When Will pushed Jada to clarify what she meant by ‘entanglement’ she responded, ‘It was a relationship, absolutely.’ 

As Will made light of the fact that he’s being the dutiful husband and standing by his wife after her ‘transgressions’ amid intense media scrutiny, Jada admitted that she doesn’t see her relationship with August ‘as a transgression at all’.

Jade said: ‘Through that particular journey, I learned so much about myself and was able to really confront a lot of emotional immaturity, emotional insecurity and I was really able to do some really deep healing.

In October, Jada admitted that she decided to stay by Will’s side, the moment he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022.

‘I knew it was going to be an intense reaction. And that was the moment that I decided that I was going to stay by his side,’ she said on The One Show. ‘You know, it’s funny how intense situations can amplify love, and it was a pretty difficult time, but it definitely drew us closer. So yeah, it’s, crazy how things work.’

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In the explosive memoir, she has revealed how the dynamics of her marriage with famous actor and Will changed after the Oscars.

The pair had secretly separated six years prior to the incident, with Jada confessing: ‘I’m not thinking in a million years he’s getting up on stage and it has anything to do with me!’

In October, Jada admitted that she decided to stay by Will's side, the moment he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022. The couple pictured in 2019

In October, Jada admitted that she decided to stay by Will's side, the moment he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022. The couple pictured in 2019

In October, Jada admitted that she decided to stay by Will’s side, the moment he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022. The couple pictured in 2019

While she and Will were living separately at the time, Jada explained that they've always had each other's backs, more so now that they're apart. Trey Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith pictured in 2022

While she and Will were living separately at the time, Jada explained that they've always had each other's backs, more so now that they're apart. Trey Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith pictured in 2022

While she and Will were living separately at the time, Jada explained that they’ve always had each other’s backs, more so now that they’re apart. Trey Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith pictured in 2022

Speaking to Red magazine, she added: ‘That’s when your relationship gets deeper than romance or all the c**p that comes with marriage.

‘I was just really concerned about Will. And I realised in that moment that, as challenging as our relationship can be, I’m always going to be by his side, no matter what.’

At the 94th Academy Awards, Will strode onto the stage and slapped Chris after the comedian cracked a joke about Jada looking like ‘G.I. Jane’ because of her bald head when she had recently revealed that was suffering from alopecia.

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While she and Will were living separately at the time, Jada explained that they’ve always had each other’s backs, more so now that they’re apart.

PIERS AND HELEN MERCHANT 

Disgraced former Tory MP Piers Merchant, who died in September, 2009, was caught with 17-year-old Soho nightclub ‘hostess’ Anna Cox at the height of the Tory sleaze furore before the 1997 General Election. 

His wife Helen Merchant backed her husband by declaring that he had been a ‘bloody fool’ but that she still loved him – and similarly appeared on the doorstep of the family home and kissed him passionately.

Piers, a committed Thatcherite, was Personal Private Secretary to Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley at the time of the Anna Cox scandal.

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He immediately denied that he was having an affair with the Soho hostess claiming: ‘Anna is a dear friend of mine and has been helping my campaign.

‘But there is no question of us having an affair. I have never made love to her.’

His wife Helen Merchant backed her husband by declaring that he had been a 'bloody fool' but that she still loved him - and similarly appeared on the doorstep of the family home and kissed him passionately

His wife Helen Merchant backed her husband by declaring that he had been a 'bloody fool' but that she still loved him - and similarly appeared on the doorstep of the family home and kissed him passionately

His wife Helen Merchant backed her husband by declaring that he had been a ‘bloody fool’ but that she still loved him – and similarly appeared on the doorstep of the family home and kissed him passionately

Piers, a committed Thatcherite, was Personal Private Secretary to Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley at the time of the Anna Cox scandal

Piers, a committed Thatcherite, was Personal Private Secretary to Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley at the time of the Anna Cox scandal

Piers, a committed Thatcherite, was Personal Private Secretary to Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley at the time of the Anna Cox scandal

He was quoted as saying: ‘That may well be me kissing her in the picture, but I see nothing wrong with that. I am sure my wife will not be the slightest bit concerned.’

Within days of being caught out by the Sun, Piers and his wife appeared on the doorstep of their family home and passionately kissed for the benefit of the assembled Press.

Despite the controversy, he retained his Beckenham seat at the election. 

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He claimed that he had been the victim of an elaborate ‘sting’  and claimed that Cox had been recruited by the Sun from a Soho hostess bar.

Until the story broke in the Sun, Anna’s family had not known she was working in a strip club as a £100-a-night hostess.

The girl who had left school with ten GCSEs told them she was a waitress.

‘I’m not old enough to vote  –  but I’m old enough to know when I’ve been used,’ Ms Cox was quoted as saying at the time.

He immediately denied that he was having an affair with the Soho hostess claiming: 'Anna is a dear friend of mine and has been helping my campaign. Pictured with his wife

He immediately denied that he was having an affair with the Soho hostess claiming: 'Anna is a dear friend of mine and has been helping my campaign. Pictured with his wife

He immediately denied that he was having an affair with the Soho hostess claiming: ‘Anna is a dear friend of mine and has been helping my campaign. Pictured with his wife

But despite the controversy over the pictures Piers then befriended Ms Cox and hired her as his assistant and began an affair.

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He took Ms Cox to the Tory conference in Blackpool that year and they were videoed in another tabloid sting – set up by Merchant’s former colleague Anthony Gilberthorpe.

Gilberthorpe had been paid £25,000 by the Mirror, whose journalists had wired the flat with concealed video recorders to capture the couple’s cavortings.

He also invited the couple to stay in his York flat, secretly filmed them in bed and released that, too.

Pictures from their bedroom romp made the front page of the Sunday Mirror for a further two weeks.

Mrs Merchant still stood by her husband, insisting that Ms Cox was a family friend with whom she was happy for her husband to spend his nights.

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But Piers later admitted to the Mail that he had slept with Ms Cox up to two months before the Tory conference.

In a detailed explanation of the affair, Piers told how he had broken the news of his infidelity to his wife in a mobile phone call onboard a packed commuter train.

And he was later forced to apologise for having lied to the public and his party about the affair when confronted.

Piers said: ‘As the story was breaking I made a statement which was deliberately misleading.

‘To counter the allegations, I issued a statement saying categorically: “Piers Merchant and Anna Cox are NOT having an affair.”

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‘Strictly speaking, because of the tense, that was true. We were not having an affair – we were sitting at home with my wife and family. I admit it was deceptive. I was trying to be too clever, and I regret that.’

In 2004 Piers was caught out again cheating on his wife with 41-year-old property consultant Caroline Bew in yet another tabloid sting.

Piers quit as an MP 48 hours later under pressure from new Tory leader William Hague.

Ina statement he said: ‘This is entirely my own decision. I have been put under no pressure from anyone else to do this.

‘I have always tried to work as effectively as possible for all my constituents.

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‘I have informed my agent and Conservative Association chairman but have not yet had the opportunity to discuss the matter.

‘I hope my quick decision will reduce damage to the local association.’

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International

Is this the next iPhone SE? Leaked images claim to show Apple’s next budget smartphone – including some huge upgrades

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Apple is already gearing up to release the iPhone 16 later this year.

But leaked renders show the tech giant could also have another new smartphone in the works – the iPhone SE 4. 

The latest in Apple’s ‘budget’ SE line, it will have a 6.1-inch display, a USB-C charging port, and a single primary camera at the back, the images suggest. 

Insiders expect it to cost about $500/£500 when released next year, which, although a hefty sum, would still make it one of the cheaper smartphones on the market.

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iPhone SE is commonly described as Apple’s ‘budget’ line of handsets, although the latest model, iPhone SE 3, costs up to £579.

Leaked renders show the tech giant's upcoming 'budget' smartphone the iPhone SE 4, which is the first in the SE line since 2022

Leaked renders show the tech giant's upcoming 'budget' smartphone the iPhone SE 4, which is the first in the SE line since 2022

Leaked renders show the tech giant’s upcoming ‘budget’ smartphone the iPhone SE 4, which is the first in the SE line since 2022

It will have a 6.1-inch display, a USB-C charging port, and a single primary camera at the back, the images suggest

It will have a 6.1-inch display, a USB-C charging port, and a single primary camera at the back, the images suggest

It will have a 6.1-inch display, a USB-C charging port, and a single primary camera at the back, the images suggest

The new renders of the iPhone SE 4, obtained by 91mobiles, are CAD (computer-aided design) files, which are given to third-party manufacturers of iPhone cases ahead of a device’s launch. 

According to the site, iPhone SE 4 will have a 6.1-inch display – quite a bit bigger than the 4.7-inch display on the iPhone SE 3, which was released in 2022. 

And while the iPhone SE 3 has a home button – a physical button below the screen – this will be absent on the iPhone SE 4, the renders show. 

What’s more, the front of the new phone will have a notch, similar to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. 

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The notch is the black area at the top of the screen that houses the front camera and the Face ID module, which allows users to unlock their device with a glance.

The renders also suggest iPhone SE 4 will have a single primary camera on the back and a USB-C charging port, just like iPhone 15. 

Starting from last year, Apple had to ditch its own Lightning charging port (discernable by the eight pins) and replace it with USB-C, due to EU legislation.  

iPhone SE is commonly described as Apple's 'budget' line of handsets, although the latest model, iPhone SE 3 (pictured) goes from £429 to £579

iPhone SE is commonly described as Apple's 'budget' line of handsets, although the latest model, iPhone SE 3 (pictured) goes from £429 to £579

iPhone SE is commonly described as Apple’s ‘budget’ line of handsets, although the latest model, iPhone SE 3 (pictured) goes from £429 to £579

Apple wasn't happy when it was forced by the EU to ditch its own Lightning charging port (discernable by the eight pins) and replace it with USB-C

Apple wasn't happy when it was forced by the EU to ditch its own Lightning charging port (discernable by the eight pins) and replace it with USB-C

Apple wasn’t happy when it was forced by the EU to ditch its own Lightning charging port (discernable by the eight pins) and replace it with USB-C 

According to MacRumors, iPhone SE 4 will also feature the ‘Action Button’, although it’s hard to tell if this is true from the new renders. 

The Action Button – the little button above the volume controls on the edge of the phone – can be used to turn a chosen setting on or off. 

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On last year’s iPhone 15, only the two Pro models got the Action Button, while the standard and Plus models kept the mute switch from previous years.

iPhone SE 4 is expected to be released in spring 2025, but 91mobiles says Apple will give a sneak preview of it at the unveiling event for iPhone 16 in September.

Apple doesn’t release an SE model every year – there have only been three since the first one was released in 2016. 

Even so, they generate a considerable amount of hype, especially among Apple fans who can’t afford Apple’s pricey ‘flagship’ devices, of which iPhone 15 is the latest.

iPhone 15 starts at £799/$799 for the standard model, while the most expensive variation, the Pro Max, starts at £1,199/$1,199 and goes up to £1,599/$1,599 for 1TB of storage. 

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The next flagship model, iPhone 16, due in September, will be even more expensive, according to some reports. 

According to the latest leaked images of iPhone 16, the tech giant is making a radical change to the camera lenses on the back of the upcoming flagship phone. 

Its first ever foldable phones that look like classic 90s-style flip phones are said to be in the works, although these may not arrive this year.  

Apple has also recently scrapped a multi-billion-dollar project to make its own electric car to rival the likes of Tesla. 

Out of the blue, Apple told employees in an internal memo that the project would be ending, which largely came as a shock to the near-2,000 employees working on it. 

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Social media mocks Apple as it scraps its autonomous electric car plans after a decade of work – as one user jokes ‘they realised it would require Windows!’ 

Despite spending billions of dollars on the project in the past 10 years, Apple has scrapped efforts to build its own self-driving electric car. 

Social media users have been mercilessly mocking the tech giant, which is reportedly set to fire employees who worked on the ambitious scheme. 

Taking to X, one joked that Apple cancelled the car ‘after realizing it would require windows’, in a nod to the software from rival tech firm Microsoft. 

Another user said that the ‘charging solution proved a bit inconvenient’ with a shot of an upside-down car with a charger plugged into it. 

Yet another posted an image of the ‘original Apple car’ – driven by Lowly Worm the fictional earthworm from the classic 1960s children’s books. 

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