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Où était VOTRE maison à l’époque des dinosaures ? Consultez cette carte

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Soyons honnêtes, nous nous sommes tous posé la question.

De toute évidence, la Grande-Bretagne n’était pas la Grande-Bretagne lorsque les dinosaures parcouraient la Terre, mais où était exactement votre maison à l’époque du T.Rex, du Stegosaurus et du Diplodocus ?

Eh bien, une carte interactive vous permet de voyager dans le temps pour le découvrir.

“Ancient Earth Globe” révèle comment les continents se sont divisés et reformés tandis que les océans ont avancé et reculé à travers 750 millions d’années d’histoire de notre planète.

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Il propose également une gamme d’outils qui permettent d’en savoir plus sur la Terre, comme où vivaient les premiers reptiles ou quand la première fleur a fleuri.

La Terre au moment où les dinosaures se sont éteints : 'Ancient Earth Globe' révèle comment les continents se sont divisés et reHG

La Terre au moment où les dinosaures se sont éteints : 'Ancient Earth Globe' révèle comment les continents se sont divisés et reHG

La Terre au moment de l’extinction des dinosaures : “Ancient Earth Globe” révèle comment les continents se sont divisés et reformés tandis que les océans ont avancé et reculé au cours des 750 millions d’années d’histoire de la planète. Voici la Grande-Bretagne il y a 66 millions d’années

La carte a été construite à l’aide de recherches de la Northern Arizona University et révèle que les humains ne sont “qu’un soubresaut de l’histoire”, selon Ian Webster, l’ancien ingénieur de Google derrière.

QUELLES PÉRIODES DE TEMPS LA CARTE INDIQUE-T-ELLE ?

Période cryogénienne – il y a 750 millions d’années

Période édiacarienne – il y a 600 millions d’années

Cambrien précoce – il y a 540 millions d’années

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Cambrien supérieur – il y a 500 millions d’années

Période ordovicienne – il y a 470 millions d’années

Ordovicien supérieur – il y a 450 millions d’années

Période silurienne – il y a 430 millions d’années

Période dévonienne – il y a 400 millions d’années

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Dévonien supérieur – il y a 370 millions d’années

Période carbonifère – il y a 340 millions d’années

Carbonifère supérieur – il y a 300 millions d’années

Période permienne – il y a 280 millions d’années

Permien supérieur – il y a 260 millions d’années

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Début du Trias – il y a 240 millions d’années

Trias moyen – il y a 220 millions d’années

Trias supérieur – il y a 200 millions d’années

Période jurassique – Il y a 170 millions d’années

Jurassique supérieur – il y a 150 millions d’années

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Crétacé inférieur – il y a 120 millions d’années

Période crétacée – il y a 105 millions d’années

Crétacé supérieur – il y a 66 millions d’années

Début du tertiaire – il y a 50 millions d’années

Mi-tertiaire – il y a 35 millions d’années

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Période Néocène – il y a 20 millions d’années

Aujourd’hui

Le site Internet vous permet de faire des allers-retours entre l’extinction des dinosaures et l’apparition des premiers hominidés – la famille des primates qui comprend les humains et nos ancêtres fossiles.

Pour ce faire, entrez votre position sur la carte, qui la connecte ensuite à des modèles de plaques tectoniques et permet aux utilisateurs de voir où se trouvaient les pays il y a des centaines de millions d’années.

Par exemple, vous pouvez voir où se trouvaient le Royaume-Uni, les États-Unis, l’Europe, l’Afrique, l’Australie, la Russie, l’Inde, la Chine et bien d’autres à l’époque des dinosaures.

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Cela inclut la période du Trias précoce il y a 240 millions d’années jusqu’à la période du Jurassique il y a 170 millions d’années et la période du Crétacé il y a 90 et 105 millions d’années.

À cette époque, l’Afrique avait un immense océan canalisant son bord nord-est, tandis que l’Australie et l’Antarctique se touchaient presque.

La carte montre également à quoi ressemblait la Terre lorsque les dinosaures ont été anéantis par un énorme astéroïde il y a 66 millions d’années.

Lors de la recherche d’emplacements, le globe rotatif 3D du site Web illustrera où sur Terre cette zone se trouvait il y a des millions d’années.

Il révèle même quels dinosaures vivaient à proximité dans la zone que vous recherchez.

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Par exemple, Eustreptospondylus était un carnivore qui vivait pendant la période jurassique dans ce qui est aujourd’hui l’Angleterre.

Une autre espèce de dinosaure, Neovenator, vivait dans ce qui est aujourd’hui le Royaume-Uni et la France.

Les résumés de chaque période révèlent ce qui s’est passé à différentes étapes, comme la période du Cambrien précoce il y a 540 millions d’années.

La formation de la Pangée il y a environ 280 millions d’années est également particulièrement intéressante, lorsque toute la masse continentale de la Terre était regroupée en un seul super continent entouré d’un océan, Panthalassa.

La côte est des États-Unis aurait bordé l’Afrique du Nord tandis que la côte américaine du golfe était nichée contre Cuba.

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M. Webster a déclaré à MailOnline qu’il avait créé la carte interactive comme un outil pédagogique pratique pour les jeunes générations.

“J’ai décidé de créer cette carte parce que je pense que l’histoire et la géologie anciennes sont fascinantes”, a ajouté l’ingénieur logiciel.

«Il peut être difficile de conceptualiser à quoi ressemblait la Terre. Mettre ces connaissances dans un format auquel nous sommes tous habitués – un globe interactif – contribue grandement à la création d’un outil pédagogique pour l’histoire géologique.

La carte a été construite à l'aide de recherches de la Northern Arizona University et révèle que les humains ne sont

La carte a été construite à l'aide de recherches de la Northern Arizona University et révèle que les humains ne sont

La carte a été construite à l’aide de recherches de la Northern Arizona University et révèle que les humains ne sont “qu’un soubresaut de l’histoire”, selon Ian Webster, l’ancien ingénieur de Google derrière. C’est la Terre telle qu’elle est aujourd’hui

La carte comprend la période du Trias précoce il y a 240 millions d'années jusqu'à la période du Crétacé à 90 (photo) et il y a 105 millions d'années

La carte comprend la période du Trias précoce il y a 240 millions d'années jusqu'à la période du Crétacé à 90 (photo) et il y a 105 millions d'années

La carte comprend la période du Trias précoce il y a 240 millions d’années jusqu’à la période du Crétacé à 90 (photo) et il y a 105 millions d’années

Il montre également la période jurassique il y a 170 millions d'années, lorsque les dinosaures prospéraient et que la vie océanique se diversifiait.

Il montre également la période jurassique il y a 170 millions d'années, lorsque les dinosaures prospéraient et que la vie océanique se diversifiait.

Il montre également la période jurassique il y a 170 millions d’années, lorsque les dinosaures prospéraient et que la vie océanique se diversifiait.

Webster a construit la carte comme une application Web qui se trouve au-dessus d’une autre carte qui visualise des modèles géologiques créés par le géologue et paléogéographe Christopher Scotese.

Ces modèles décrivent le développement de la tectonique des plaques remontant à 750 millions d’années, soit à peu près au moment où les algues vertes ont évolué pour la première fois dans les océans de la Terre.

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Vous pouvez également rechercher à quoi ressemblait notre planète lorsqu’elle a eu ses premiers coquillages, récifs coralliens, vertébrés, plantes et animaux terrestres, insectes et reptiles.

En plus de cela, vous pouvez sauter à la première herbe, aux premiers hominidés, lorsque les supercontinents Pannotia et Pangea existaient et lorsque les dinosaures se sont éteints.

La base de données des dinosaures est liée au site Web, qui regorge de faits et de chiffres sur les créatures anciennes et redoutables qui parcouraient la Terre.

Le site Web révèle même quels dinosaures vivaient à proximité dans la zone que vous recherchez. Par exemple, Eustreptospondylus (montré dans cette impression d’artiste) était un carnivore qui vivait pendant la période jurassique dans ce qui est aujourd’hui l’Angleterre.

Une autre espèce de dinosaure, Neovenator (illustrée), vivait dans ce qui est aujourd'hui le Royaume-Uni et la France

Une autre espèce de dinosaure, Neovenator (illustrée), vivait dans ce qui est aujourd'hui le Royaume-Uni et la France

Une autre espèce de dinosaure, Neovenator (illustrée), vivait dans ce qui est aujourd’hui le Royaume-Uni et la France

QUAND ONT EU LIEU LES ÉVÉNEMENTS D’EXTINCTION DES « CINQ GRANDS » DE LA TERRE ?

Traditionnellement, les scientifiques ont fait référence aux extinctions de masse des “Big Five”, y compris peut-être l’extinction de masse la plus célèbre déclenchée par un impact de météorite qui a provoqué la fin des dinosaures il y a 66 millions d’années.

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Mais les autres extinctions de masse majeures ont été causées par des phénomènes entièrement terrestres, et bien qu’ils soient moins connus, nous pouvons apprendre quelque chose en les explorant qui pourrait faire la lumière sur nos crises environnementales actuelles.

  1. L’Ordovicien supérieur: Cette crise ancienne, il y a environ 445 millions d’années, a vu deux grandes vagues d’extinction, toutes deux causées par le changement climatique associé à l’avancée et au recul des calottes glaciaires dans l’hémisphère sud. Cela en fait la seule extinction majeure à être liée au refroidissement global.
  2. Le Dévonien supérieur: Cette période est maintenant considérée comme un certain nombre d’« impulsions » d’extinction réparties sur 20 millions d’années, commençant il y a 380 millions d’années. Cette extinction a été liée à un changement climatique majeur, peut-être causé par une éruption de la région volcanique des pièges de Viluy dans la Sibérie moderne. Une éruption majeure aurait pu provoquer des fluctuations rapides du niveau de la mer et réduire les niveaux d’oxygène dans les océans.
  3. Le Permien moyen: Les scientifiques ont récemment découvert un autre événement il y a 262 millions d’années qui rivalise en taille avec les “Big Five”. Cet événement a coïncidé avec l’éruption Emeishan dans ce qui est aujourd’hui la Chine, et est connu pour avoir provoqué des extinctions simultanées dans les tropiques et les latitudes plus élevées.
  4. Le Permien supérieur: L’extinction massive du Permien supérieur il y a environ 252 millions d’années éclipse tous les autres événements, avec environ 96% des espèces en voie d’extinction. L’extinction a été déclenchée par une vaste éruption des pièges sibériens, un événement volcanique gigantesque et prolongé qui a couvert une grande partie de la Sibérie moderne, ce qui a entraîné une cascade d’effets environnementaux.
  5. Le Trias supérieur: L’événement du Trias supérieur, il y a 201 millions d’années, partage un certain nombre de similitudes avec l’événement du Permien supérieur. Elle a été causée par une autre éruption à grande échelle, cette fois de la province magmatique de l’Atlantique central, qui a annoncé la scission du supercontinent Pangée et l’ouverture initiale de ce qui deviendrait plus tard l’océan Atlantique.

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Terminally ill man from Maryland, 58, is living with a PIG’S HEART – after becoming second patient ever to get pioneering transplant surgery

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A Maryland man with a terminal heart disease has become the second-ever patient to receive a genetically modified pig heart. 

This week, Lawrence Faucette, 58, underwent transplant surgery after being deemed ineligible for a human heart transplant due to peripheral vascular disease, which reduces blood circulation. 

The procedure, known as a xenotransplant, has only been performed once before on an ex-convict who died two months later. Both historic procedures were performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). 

Mr Faucette, a married father-of-two and a 20-year Navy veteran, is breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning without any supportive devices after the surgery, which took place on Tuesday. Without the procedure, he was facing certain death. 

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‘My only real hope left is to go with the pig heart, the xenotransplant,’ Mr Faucette said a few days before surgery. 

Lawrence Faucette, 58, is the second person in the world to receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. He was deemed ineligible for a human heart due to peripheral vascular disease, which reduces blood circulation. Pictured before surgery with his wife Ann, Mr Faucette is now breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning without any supportive devices

Lawrence Faucette, 58, is the second person in the world to receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. He was deemed ineligible for a human heart due to peripheral vascular disease, which reduces blood circulation. Pictured before surgery with his wife Ann, Mr Faucette is now breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning without any supportive devices

Lawrence Faucette, 58, is the second person in the world to receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. He was deemed ineligible for a human heart due to peripheral vascular disease, which reduces blood circulation. Pictured before surgery with his wife Ann, Mr Faucette is now breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning without any supportive devices

The gene-edited pig used in this procedure was provided by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotech companies in the running to develop suitable pig organs for potential human transplant. On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the heart and placed it in an XVIVO Heart Box, the size of a microwave, which keeps the organ preserved in a nutrient-rich oxygenated solution

The gene-edited pig used in this procedure was provided by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotech companies in the running to develop suitable pig organs for potential human transplant. On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the heart and placed it in an XVIVO Heart Box, the size of a microwave, which keeps the organ preserved in a nutrient-rich oxygenated solution

The gene-edited pig used in this procedure was provided by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotech companies in the running to develop suitable pig organs for potential human transplant. On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the heart and placed it in an XVIVO Heart Box, the size of a microwave, which keeps the organ preserved in a nutrient-rich oxygenated solution

‘Dr. Griffith, Dr. Mohiuddin and their entire staff have been incredible, but nobody knows from this point forward. At least now I have hope, and I have a chance.’

His wife, Ann Faucette, added: ‘We have no expectations other than hoping for more time together. That could be as simple as sitting on the front porch and having coffee together.’ 

Mr Faucette likely has a long road ahead. He’s at risk of his body rejecting the foreign organ, which occurs in 10 to 20 percent of transplant patients. The UMMC doctors believe this risk could be greater for xenotransplant patients. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval for the surgery last week with what’s called its single-patient investigational new drug (IND) ‘compassionate use’ pathway. 

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This is used when an experimental medical product, such as a genetically modified pig heart, is the only option available to treat a serious or life-threatening condition. 

‘We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,’ Dr Bartley P Griffith, who transplanted pig hearts into both patients, said. 

‘We are hoping that he will get home soon to enjoy more time with his wife and the rest of his loving family.’  

The gene-edited pig used in this procedure was provided by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotech companies in the running to develop suitable pig organs for potential human transplant. 

On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the heart and placed it in an XVIVO Heart Box, the size of a microwave, which keeps the organ preserved in a nutrient-rich oxygenated solution. 

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Pigs have a gene that produces a molecule not found in humans that triggers an immediate and aggressive immune response in humans, called hyperacute rejection. Within minutes, the body attacks the foreign organ. 

In Mr Faucette’s surgery, three genes were ‘knocked out’ in the donor pig. Six human genes, which are responsible for the immune system accepting the organ, were inserted into the genome. One additional gene in the pig was knocked out to prevent excessive growth of the pig heart tissue. In total, 10 unique genes were edited in the donor pig. 

Xenotransplantation could provide another option for the 110,000 Americans currently waiting for an organ transplant. More than 6,000 of these patients die every year before they can get the organs they need, according to federal data. 

Dr Mark Gladwin, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore, said: ‘This innovative program embodies the future of molecular medicine in surgery and speaks to a possible future where organs may be available to all patients.’

‘We recognize a heroic partnership with Mr Faucette and his family, as we partner to advance the field of transplantation medicine into the next era.’

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'We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,' Dr Bartley P Griffith, who transplanted pig hearts into both patients, said. Pictured is the transplant team who performed Mr Faucette's operation

'We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,' Dr Bartley P Griffith, who transplanted pig hearts into both patients, said. Pictured is the transplant team who performed Mr Faucette's operation

‘We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,’ Dr Bartley P Griffith, who transplanted pig hearts into both patients, said. Pictured is the transplant team who performed Mr Faucette’s operation

In both of these historic procedures, a pig heart was gathered for a terminal heart disease patient who was ineligible for a human heart transplant. Scientists inserted six human genes into the genome of the donor pig ¿ modifications designed to make the organ more tolerable to the human immune system. They inactivated four genes, including sugar in its cells that is responsible for that hyper-fast organ rejection and a growth gene to prevent the pig's heart, which weighs around 267g compared to the average human heart, which weighs 303g, from continuing to expand. Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center removed the patient's heart and inserted the altered pig heart

In both of these historic procedures, a pig heart was gathered for a terminal heart disease patient who was ineligible for a human heart transplant. Scientists inserted six human genes into the genome of the donor pig ¿ modifications designed to make the organ more tolerable to the human immune system. They inactivated four genes, including sugar in its cells that is responsible for that hyper-fast organ rejection and a growth gene to prevent the pig's heart, which weighs around 267g compared to the average human heart, which weighs 303g, from continuing to expand. Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center removed the patient's heart and inserted the altered pig heart

In both of these historic procedures, a pig heart was gathered for a terminal heart disease patient who was ineligible for a human heart transplant. Scientists inserted six human genes into the genome of the donor pig — modifications designed to make the organ more tolerable to the human immune system. They inactivated four genes, including sugar in its cells that is responsible for that hyper-fast organ rejection and a growth gene to prevent the pig’s heart, which weighs around 267g compared to the average human heart, which weighs 303g, from continuing to expand. Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center removed the patient’s heart and inserted the altered pig heart

This procedure was first performed last year on David Bennett, 57. Like Mr Faucette, Mr Bennett was also ineligible for a human heart. He also did not follow his doctors’ orders, missed appointments and stopped taking drugs he was prescribed.

He was bedridden, on life support, and out of options. ‘It was either die or do this transplant,’ he said.

Though the surgery was deemed a success, Mr Bennett died two months later. However, the organ wasn’t rejected; experts claimed that the heart could have been infected with a virus.

Mike Curtis, chief executive of competing pig breeder eGenesis, told MIT Technology Review: ‘Without the virus, would Mr Bennett have lived? We don’t know, but the infection didn’t help. It likely contributed to the failure.’

The choice to perform the procedure on Bennett was deemed controversial when it was discovered that he served five years in prison for attacking Edward Shumaker while he played pool at a Maryland bar in April 1988 after he caught his then-wife Norma Jean Bennett sitting in Shumaker’s lap while the pair were talking and drinking.

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Shumaker, then 22,  was paralyzed after being stabbed seven times in the back, abdomen and chest. He survived for 19 years before suffering a stroke in 2005 and dying two years later at age 40.

His sister, Leslie Shumaker Downey, bemoaned the praise being heaped on a man who robbed her younger brother of a healthy life in an interview with the BBC in January. 

Downey said he is ‘not a worthy recipient’ and dislikes his portrayal as a hero.

‘Morally, in my opinion, no,’ she said, when asked if he should have been the first person to benefit from the medical breakthrough.

David Bennett (left), died on March 9, 2022, two months after he received a first-of-its-kind pig heart transplant. His son, David Bennett Jr, is pictured on the right

David Bennett (left), died on March 9, 2022, two months after he received a first-of-its-kind pig heart transplant. His son, David Bennett Jr, is pictured on the right

David Bennett (left), died on March 9, 2022, two months after he received a first-of-its-kind pig heart transplant. His son, David Bennett Jr, is pictured on the right

David Bennett (pictured right with surgeon Dr. Bartley Griffith on his left) was the first patient in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig

David Bennett (pictured right with surgeon Dr. Bartley Griffith on his left) was the first patient in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig

David Bennett (pictured right with surgeon Dr. Bartley Griffith on his left) was the first patient in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig

‘For the medical community, the advancement of it and being able to do something like that is great and it’s a great advancement but they’re putting Bennett in the storylines portraying him as being a hero and a pioneer and he’s nothing of that sort.’

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‘I think the doctors who did the surgery should be getting all the praise and not Mr Bennett.’ 

Scientists have been toying with animal-to-human organ donation, known as xenotransplantation, for decades.  

Skin grafts were carried out in the 1800s from a variety of animals to treat wounds, with frogs being the most popular. 

In the 1960s, 13 patients were given chimpanzee kidneys, one of whom returned to work for almost 9 months before suddenly dying. The rest passed away within weeks.

At that time human organ transplants were not available and chronic dialysis was not yet in use. 

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In 1983, doctors at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California transplanted a baboon heart into a premature baby born with a fatal heart defect.

Baby Fae lived for just 21 days. The case was controversial months later when it emerged the surgeons did not try to acquire a human heart.

More recently, waiting lists for transplants from dead, or allogenic, donors is growing as life expectancy rises around the world and demand increases. 

In October 2021, surgeons at NYU Langone Health in New York successfully transplanted a pig kidney into a human for the first time.

It started working as it was supposed to, filtering waste and producing urine without triggering a rejection by the recipient’s immune system. 

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The recipient was a brain-dead patient in New York with signs of kidney dysfunction whose family agreed to the experiment before she was taken off life support. 

It’s unclear what Mr Faucette’s prognosis is, though he is currently in stable condition.

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SHAUN EDWARDS: It was very quiet at breakfast after Antoine Dupont’s injury.. but hopefully he will be back to play a part later in the tournament

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It was a very quiet breakfast hall at our team hotel on Friday morning. I’m one of the early risers and Antoine Dupont was one of the first players down. He’d spent the night in the hospital after fracturing his cheekbone and there was a bit of swelling around his face.

Obviously you don’t want to see your captain suffer an injury. Someone like Antoine is very tough so when he was down on the floor we all knew it was something serious. The atmosphere in Marseille was bouncing — it reminds me of Old Trafford or Anfield with its steep stands — but there was a bit of a lull when they saw Antoine go off against Namibia.

Sometimes you can’t eat for a couple of weeks after an injury like that so I was delighted to see Antoine having a yoghurt and a protein shake. If you can’t eat then you might lose a stone and that really affects your power. Antoine is all muscle so it’s a real positive that he can maintain his weight.

If we make it to the latter stages of the World Cup then I’d be very surprised if he isn’t available for the quarter or semi-final.

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The mood in the changing room was different to when we lost Romain Ntamack a few weeks ago. Everyone knew Romain was out for seven or eight months and the news sucked the life out of the room. This time it felt different. It’s a very different injury and we’d just won 96-0 so some of the boys still enjoyed a beer after three very intense matches. We’ve all got a few days off now and Antoine will go back to Toulouse for surgery. An injury like that always needs surgery. 

France captain Antoine Dupont has suffered an injury and will miss his side's next few games

France captain Antoine Dupont has suffered an injury and will miss his side's next few games

France captain Antoine Dupont has suffered an injury and will miss his side’s next few games

There is hope he could be back for later on in the World Cup as his side bid to lift the trophy

There is hope he could be back for later on in the World Cup as his side bid to lift the trophy

There is hope he could be back for later on in the World Cup as his side bid to lift the trophy

France defence coach Shaun Edwards admitted things were quiet in the hotel after the injury

France defence coach Shaun Edwards admitted things were quiet in the hotel after the injury

France defence coach Shaun Edwards admitted things were quiet in the hotel after the injury

It happened to me when I was playing and they did the operation the very next morning. It’s a very painful injury but a broken cheekbone is easier to manage than a broken jaw. Of course the tackle was a total red card but things like that happen so quickly on the pitch.

The Namibian captain, Johan Deysel, who made the challenge looked distraught after the match and he apologised to Antoine. I feel a bit sorry for him in a way because a lot of people will be pointing fingers but I’m sure he didn’t set out to do it on purpose. It was a mistimed tackle and things like that just require training, training, training.

Fabien Galthie went to visit Antoine at the hospital and that shows how he cares about his players. Winning games is very important but the players are like your family. It’s a bit like being a parent. I never forget the terrible injury that Danny Cipriani suffered under my watch when I was head coach at Wasps. Part of the role is making sure your players get home safe and sound with proper care.

Antoine’s an iconic figure at the moment. There’s no doubt about that. His form has been strong and everyone knows his capabilities but we’ve got brilliant scrum-halves and brilliant leaders who will step up. Baptiste Couilloud came off the bench and nearly scored a hat-trick. He made a brilliant impact. As far as captains are concerned, Charles Ollivon has done it before and Gael Fickou is an outstanding leader.

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The injury is front page news around France and everyone wants to see him play a part in this competition. He’s so popular in France and around the world, so it didn’t surprise me to hear someone like Kevin Sinfield wishing him a speedy recovery.

When Romain Ntamack picked up his injury it would clear he would miss the World Cup

When Romain Ntamack picked up his injury it would clear he would miss the World Cup

When Romain Ntamack picked up his injury it would clear he would miss the World Cup 

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Israel ‘at the cusp’ of historic agreement with Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu tells UN

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly on Friday that Israel is “at the cusp” of a historic breakthrough leading to a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia, without outlining a clear path over the significant obstacles facing such an accord.

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He struck an optimistic tone throughout his roughly 25-minute address — and, once again, used a visual aid. He displayed contrasting maps showing Israel’s isolation at the time of its creation in 1948 and the six countries that have normalized relations with it, including four that did so in 2020 in the so-called Abraham Accords.

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“There’s no question the Abraham Accords heralded the dawn of a new age of peace. But I believe that we are at the cusp of an even more dramatic breakthrough, an historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Netanyahu said. “Peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia will truly create a new Middle East.”

There are several hurdles in the way of such an agreement, including the Saudis’ demand for progress in the creation of a Palestinian state — a hard sell for Netanyahu’s government, the most religious and nationalist in Israel’s history.

Read moreThe Abraham Accords: ‘Palestinian leaders don’t realise that the region is changing’

The Saudis are also seeking a defense pact with the United States and want help in building their own civilian nuclear program, which has fueled fears of an arms race with Iran.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with Fox News this week that the two sides are getting closer to an agreement, without providing much detail about the U.S.-led negotiations. He declined to specify what exactly the Saudis are seeking for the Palestinians.

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Netanyahu said the Palestinians “could greatly benefit from a broader peace,” saying: “They should be part of that process, but they should not have a veto over the process.”

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down more than a decade ago, and violence has soared over the past year and a half, with Israel carrying out frequent military raids in the occupied West Bank and Palestinians attacking Israelis. Netanyahu’s government has approved thousands of new settlement homes in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and which the Palestinians want for the main part of their future state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who addressed the General Assembly on Thursday, made no direct reference to efforts to reach a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. But he reiterated the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has only worsened since the Abraham Accords were signed.

“Those who think that peace can prevail in the Middle East without the Palestinian people enjoying their full and legitimate national rights are mistaken,” Abbas said.

Netanyahu has often seemed to revel in using the podium of the General Assembly to lambast Israel’s enemies.

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He famously held up a picture of a cartoon bomb in 2012 to illustrate Iran’s advancing uranium enrichment. In 2020, he claimed Hezbollah was stockpiling explosives near Beirut’s airport, prompting the Iran-allied militant group to organize an immediate visit by journalists, who saw heavy machinery but no weapons.

The map he held up this year made no reference to the West Bank, Gaza or east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in 1967 that the Palestinians want for their future state. The map appeared to show Israel encompassing all three.

The chamber was largely empty during his address, though there was a group of Netanyahu supporters who clapped several times during his speech. Protesters and supporters of Netanyahu demonstrated across the street from the U.N. headquarters.

Netanyahu referred to the cartoon bomb when he held up the maps, pulling out a red marker and drawing a line showing a planned trade corridor stretching from India through the Middle East to Europe. The ambitious project, unveiled at this month’s Group of 20 summit, would link Saudi Arabia to Israel.

He also reprised his longstanding criticism of Iran, which Israel views as its greatest threat. Netanyahu referred to Iran’s crackdown on protests, its supplying of attack drones to Russia for use in Ukraine, and its military activities across the Middle East.

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Netanyahu called for stepped-up sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, which has steadily advanced since the United States withdrew from a landmark agreement with Iran and world powers to which Israel had been staunchly opposed.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, who also attended the General Assembly, urged the U.S. to lift sanctions in order to return to the nuclear deal. Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, but the U.S. and others believe it had a secret weapons program until 2003.

Raisi also denied Iran had sent drones to Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. U.S. and European officials say the sheer number of Iranian drones being used by Russia shows that the flow of such weapons intensified after hostilities began.

In an ambiguous turn of phrase during his address, Netanyahu said that “above all, Iran must face a credible nuclear threat.” The prime minister’s office later issued a clarification, saying he meant to say ”credible military threat.”

Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear weapons but has never publicly acknowledged them, has repeatedly said all options are on the table to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

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(AP)

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Russell Brand breaks silence after being accused of rape and sexual assault and says he has faced an ‘extraordinary and distressing week’

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Russell Brand breaks silence after being accused of rape and sexual assault and says he has faced an ‘extraordinary and distressing week’

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Russell Brand has broken his silence claiming he has faced an ‘extraordinary and distressing week’ after being accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse. 

Over the last week, several women have come forward to make allegations against the comedian, 48, which they claim happened at the height of his fame.

The shocking claims, said to have happened between 2003 and 2013, include the alleged rape of a woman at his home in Los Angeles in 2013 and alleged the sexual assault of a 16-year-old schoolgirl. 

Brand denied the accusations claiming any relationship he had was consensual and has remained silent since The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches first reported the allegations of predatory and abusive behaviour on Saturday.

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Tonight, however, he posted a video to his various social media channels, Brand thanked his followers for their ‘support and for questioning the information that you have been presented with’.

Russell Brand has broken his silence claiming he has faced an 'extraordinary and distressing week' after being accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse

Russell Brand has broken his silence claiming he has faced an 'extraordinary and distressing week' after being accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse

Russell Brand has broken his silence claiming he has faced an ‘extraordinary and distressing week’ after being accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse

In a short video he said: ‘Hello there you awakening wonders, obviously it’s been an extraordinary and distressing week and I thank you very much for your support and for questioning the information that you have been presented with. 

‘By now, you’re probably aware that the British government has asked big tech platforms to censor our online content and that some online platforms have complied with that request.

‘What you may not know is that this happens in the context of the online safety bill which is a piece of UK legislation that grants sweeping surveillance and censorship powers and it’s a law that’s already been passed.

‘I also don’t imagine that you’ve heard of the trusted news initiative and now, as often is the case when a word like trusted is used as part of an acronym to describe an unelected body, trust is the last thing you should be offering.’

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He added: ‘I also don’t imagine that you’ve heard of the trusted news initiative and now, as often is the case when a word like trusted is used as part of an acronym to describe an unelected body, trust is the last thing you should be offering.

‘The trusted news initiative is a collaboration between big tech and legacy media organisations to target, patrol, choke and shut down independent media organisations, like this one.’

More follows.  

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Argentina beats Samoa to reach Rugby World Cup quarterfinals contention

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Argentina was back in the quarterfinals hunt after defeating Samoa 19-10 in a bruising, scrappy Rugby World Cup pool match on Friday.

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The Argentines needed to win after the dismal opening defeat to England, and used the 13-day break to get their heads on right for the Samoans, who had only a six-day turnaround.

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Argentina even denied Samoa a losing bonus point when Nicolas Sanchez booted the margin beyond seven with a last-minute penalty from almost halfway.

Emiliano Boffelli scored all of Argentina’s points for a 13-3 lead in a rainy first half and his third penalty after the rain passed extended their lead to 16-3 with 24 minutes to go.

But with five minutes left, Samoa replacement hooker Sama Malolo barged over for a converted try, and Argentina’s supporters were finally hit with a mute button. But Samoa couldn’t threaten again, the Argentines in the crowd resumed singing and dancing, and Sanchez delivered the finishing blow.

“Against England we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. Today we did it pretty well,” Argentina captain Julian Montoya said. “It’s a massive victory for us, very important for our tournament.”

Argentina has Pool D games left against Chile and Japan to rise higher in the standings, while Samoa was still in the playoffs picture but will have to beat England in two weeks.

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The first half could have hardly gone better for a more composed Argentina.

Samoa fullback Duncan Paia’aua was sin-binned in the first minute for playing Argentina’s Santiago Carreras in the air.

Christian Leali’ifano didn’t relieve the pressure on Samoa when he failed to take a free kick from the mark then missed touch. Argentina’s counterattack exploited Paia’aua’s absence when the ball was spread to both wings and Boffelli went over. He made the conversion and a penalty kick for 10-0 after 25 minutes.

Leali’ifano had three penalty kicks and nailed only one, off the crossbar, in a poor kicking game all around.

Boffelli wasn’t missing though, and his third straight goalkick made it 13-3.

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Two minutes from halftime, an excellent kick-chase gave Samoa a close-range penalty but it wanted seven points. Argentina stole the lineout but Samoa got a five-meter scrum. The Pumas, playing Samoa for the first time in 18 years, read the Samoans, and a blindside burst by scrumhalf Jonathan Taumateine was smothered by Marcos Kremer.

“Argentina executed their gameplan really well and we weren’t able to adapt,” Samoa coach Seilala Mapusua said. “We knew that Boffelli could slot them from anywhere and getting that yellow card early on didn’t help us.”

The rain stopped for the second half and Argentina continued to turn the error-prone Samoans over and around.

A Pumas rolling maul was repelled then lineout tap ball looked to have Boffelli headed for a second try, but Ulupano Seuteni made a try-saving tackle and had to leave for a head injury check.

Boffelli still kicked another penalty then finally missed a shot, but he was in the middle of the action again when he swooped on a Samoa grubber kick in front of his posts with Tumua Manu bearing down.

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Samoa finally threatened the tryline with minutes left and got Malolo across for his third try in two games, but Sanchez, off the bench for his 99th cap, ensured Argentina had the last say.

(AP)

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EXCLUSIVE: NASA contractor will reportedly study 1,000-year-old ‘alien corpses’ presented to Mexico’s Congress

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A NASA contractor is reportedly looking to study ‘alien bodies’ that were presented to Mexico’s Congress during a controversial UFO hearing.

Jaime Maussan, a veteran broadcast journalist and prolific ufologist who presented the corpses last week, told the DailyMail.com that an unnamed third-party contractor has been in contact with him about carrying out a ‘DNA investigation’ potentially on behalf of the US space agency.

The news comes just one week after NASA’s top UFO investigator Dr David Spergel was pressed about the purported alien corpses – and did not shut them down entirely.

Dr Spergel told reporters: ‘We don’t know the nature of those samples. My recommendation is, if you have something strange, make samples available to the world scientific community, and we’ll see what’s there.’

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Maussan had first unveiled the pair of alleged 1,000-year-old bodies, reportedly unearthed in a Peruvian cave, during UFO hearings held by the General Congress of the United Mexican States — unleashing an international firestorm.

A NASA contractor with a laboratory 'dedicated to the reading of DNA' has privately expressed interest in testing the mysterious mummified remains presented as 'alien bodies' last week to Mexico's Congress. The bodies were unveiled by a prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico

A NASA contractor with a laboratory 'dedicated to the reading of DNA' has privately expressed interest in testing the mysterious mummified remains presented as 'alien bodies' last week to Mexico's Congress. The bodies were unveiled by a prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico

A NASA contractor with a laboratory ‘dedicated to the reading of DNA’ has privately expressed interest in testing the mysterious mummified remains presented as ‘alien bodies’ last week to Mexico’s Congress. The bodies were unveiled by a prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico

Jaime Maussan (left), veteran broadcast journalist and prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico, told the DailyMail.com that the unnamed NASA contractor wants to 'do their own DNA investigation'

Jaime Maussan (left), veteran broadcast journalist and prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico, told the DailyMail.com that the unnamed NASA contractor wants to 'do their own DNA investigation'
NASA itself has also not yet responded for comment, but the DailyMail.com will update this developing story when they do

NASA itself has also not yet responded for comment, but the DailyMail.com will update this developing story when they do

Jaime Maussan (left), veteran broadcast journalist and prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico, told the DailyMail.com that the unnamed NASA contractor wants to ‘do their own DNA investigation.’ NASA has not yet responded to several requests for comment by DailyMail.com

While Maussan heralded the bodies’ discovery as one of the most important in human history, his presentation has sparked an outcry from numerous scientists, anthropologists and even some dedicated UFO researchers. 

This week, the temperature of the debate climbed higher, with Peru’s Minister of Culture filing criminal charges accusing Maussan and his collaborators of robbing bodies from ancient graves.

As of 2022, Peru’s Culture Ministry has designated approximately 26,000 protected archaeological sites across the country, but has faced budget constraints in its efforts to secure these valuable artifacts from black market antiquities dealers.

But, as Maussan told the DailyMail.com, ‘I personally went to the Ministry of Culture, to ask them to do the investigation to get involved in this finding.’ 

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‘They never did,’ according to Maussan. ‘We tried many, many times. We sent letters.’

‘And let me tell you something else,’ Maussan asked rhetorically, ‘You remember NASA saying that this should be investigated, and so on?’ 

‘A contractor from NASA took the challenge,’ Maussan answered. ‘They are a laboratory dedicated to the reading of DNA.’

Despite several attempts by the DailyMail.com, via phone and email, NASA’s office of public affairs could not yet be reached for comment.

Mexican journalist and UFO enthusiast Jaime Maussan, claims the tiny bodies that he presented to Mexico's Congress earlier this week are not related to any known Earthly species

Mexican journalist and UFO enthusiast Jaime Maussan, claims the tiny bodies that he presented to Mexico's Congress earlier this week are not related to any known Earthly species

Mexican journalist and UFO enthusiast Jaime Maussan, claims the tiny bodies that he presented to Mexico’s Congress earlier this week are not related to any known Earthly species

The corpses' retractable necks and long skulls show characteristics more 'typical of birds,' according to some researchers who has examined the bodies

The corpses' retractable necks and long skulls show characteristics more 'typical of birds,' according to some researchers who has examined the bodies

The corpses’ retractable necks and long skulls show characteristics more ‘typical of birds,’ according to some researchers who has examined the bodies

For his part, Maussan expressed concern that too much transparency too early could upset the delicate investigations which, he says, are now underway.

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When asked by the DailyMail.com, Mussaun declined to identify the NASA contractor by name. 

‘A contractor from NASA — it’s all I can tell you,’ he said. 

‘I won’t tell you the name. I want to keep this private,’ he said, ‘until they can do their investigation.’

But, the Mexican broadcaster who was once chief investigative reporter and editor of 60 Minutos, the country’s affiliate of the CBS television news magazine 60 Minutes, was nevertheless willing to speculate on the NASA contractor’s next steps. 

‘I think they’re going to Peru [then] they’re coming to Mexico,’ Maussan said, ‘to check on the bodies to take samples. They want to do their own DNA investigation.’

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‘And we said yes! We are open, my friend.’

Maussan’s efforts to garner professional scientific interest in the potential of ‘ancient alien’ specimens from Latin America has spanned years, with some setbacks and some success, but never before at the present level of international scrutiny.

Radiologist technician Guillermo Ramirez prepares to do a CT scan on a tiny body of a specimen, that UFO reporter Jaime Maussan says is not related to any known Earthly species

Radiologist technician Guillermo Ramirez prepares to do a CT scan on a tiny body of a specimen, that UFO reporter Jaime Maussan says is not related to any known Earthly species

Radiologist technician Guillermo Ramirez prepares to do a CT scan on a tiny body of a specimen, that UFO reporter Jaime Maussan says is not related to any known Earthly species

At a May 5, 2015, event in Mexico City, Maussan and a coalition of US ufologists presented now infamous photographic slides purported to document a recovered alien body from the long-rumored 1947 flying saucer crash at Roswell, New Mexico.

Efforts by a coalition of skeptics and dedicated UFO researchers, however, quickly put forward compelling evidence that the images depicted a child mummy, museum placard included, as displayed at the Mesa Verde Museum in Colorado.

Undaunted, Maussan returned with his first Peruvian ‘alien mummy’ in 2017, for a documentary on Gaia TV, which included analysis by Konstantin Korotkov, a professor of computer science and biophysics at Saint-Petersburg University,

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In the ensuing speculation, some scientists have taken a crack at determining the origin of these specimens, including researchers at the Cyprus University of Technology as well as the retired CEO of Western Paleontological Laboratories.  

Debate continues on whether the specimens are truly alien, or were ritually made from human and llama remains by ancient indigenous populations, or were made more recently by the enterprising tomb-raiding huaqueros themselves. 

To complicate matters, the numerous Peruvian mummies brought to the public by Maussan vary in size and several more key characteristics. 

This week, Maussan’s associate, Dr. Jose Zalce Benitez, the director of the Scientific Institute for Health of the Mexican Navy, detailed x-rays, 3-D reconstruction and DNA analysis which he said has been carried out on the remains.

According to Benitez, scans showed that the specimens of the two latest mummies are each ‘a single skeleton’ and ‘complete organic being,’ contrary to suggestions they were made up of ‘different parts as some assumed.’

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This analysis has its critics, including Elsa Tomasto-Cagigao, a respected Peruvian bio-anthropologist, who cited similar alleged finds that were found to be frauds.

‘What we said before still stands, they are presenting the same rehash as always and if there are people that keep believing that, what can we do?,’ she said.

Ultimately, Maussan maintains his conviction that the bodies merit deeper, professional scrutiny.

‘We know — we’re not stupid — that we need someone bigger than us, a university, or an institution, someone bigger, to investigate them,’ Maussan told the DailyMail.com Thursday.

‘Once that happens, everybody will realize this is the finding of the century or the millennium, or whatever you want to say,’ Maussan said. ‘I put my hands on the fire, to tell you that this is absolutely real.’

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‘This is physical evidence, it’s not going to evaporate.’ 

WHAT ARE THE NAZCA MUMMIES AND ARE THEY REAL?

A group of self-proclaimed paranormal researchers claim they have found proof of aliens near the city of Nazca in Peru.

The team say they have found a number of mysterious three-fingered ‘mummified humanoid’ with elongated skulls.

Early last year, the group recorded a short documentary of a research trip into a cave near Nazca, where they found what appeared to be a mummified body.

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The body was found covered in white powder, which the team say was used to preserve the remains.

They claim that carbon dating samples of the body dates between 245 – 410 AD, though the validity of these tests has not yet been verified.

Since this find, the group say they have found at least five other alien bodies in the region of similar sizes and proportions.

Some conspiracy theorists think the three-fingered mummies, found last year, may be the remains of alien visitors to Earth.

The body measures 1.68 metres (5 foot 6 inches) tall and has similar proportions to humans

The body measures 1.68 metres (5 foot 6 inches) tall and has similar proportions to humans
But the mummy's three long fingers on each hand and its lack of nose and ears suggest it could be something from beyond Earth

But the mummy's three long fingers on each hand and its lack of nose and ears suggest it could be something from beyond Earth

Early last year, a conspiracy group recorded a short documentary of a research trip into a cave near Nazca, where they found what appeared to be a mummified body (left). Pictured right is a Cat scan of the individual named ‘Maria’ by the team

But not everyone is convinced by the finds, with one UFO expert saying the ‘extraterrestrials’ are plastercast models made as part of an elaborate hoax.

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Leading UFO expert Nigel Watson, author of Haynes UFO Investigations Manual, told MailOnline last year: ‘I’m no expert on ancient mummified bodies but they tend to be more leatherish looking.

‘This seems to be a plastercast over a bone structure with three fingers attached to the hands. Such hoaxes are the product of wishful thinking mixed with greed and a lust for publicity.’

Jamie Maussan, an ex-investigative journalist who is infamous for his involvement in several high-profile UFO hoaxes, was part of the Peruvian mummy team.

In May 2015, he promoted photographic slides claiming to be pictures of an alien recovered from the Roswell flying saucer crash of 1947 that were later proved to be fake.

The group’s lead researcher Dr Konstantin Korotkov of Russia’s Saint Petersburg University has previously stirred controversy when he claimed he had invented a camera that can photograph the soul.

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A quick guide to probate and how executors deal with estates

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When someone dies it is essential to deal with their estate, which is made up of their home, savings and investments, belongings and anything else they may have owned.

This is not as easy as simply passing around what they owned as they wished, even if they left a will.

Instead an official process must be followed, known as probate (or confirmation in Scotland). This gives the legal right to distribute the estate and involves varying degrees of complication.

Our quick guide below outlines the process in England and Wales for dealing with the estate of someone who died leaving a will.

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Fulfilling last wishes: How to apply for probate and deal with someone's estate after they die

Fulfilling last wishes: How to apply for probate and deal with someone's estate after they die

Fulfilling last wishes: How to apply for probate and deal with someone’s estate after they die

What is probate?

Probate is generally used as the term to describe dealing with someone’s estate. It involves finding out about all their assets and debts, valuing their estate and passing it on.

This is done by that person’s executors, who will be named in their will. They could be a trusted friend or member of family, or a nominated professional, such as a solicitor.

When writing a will it is important to remember that you do not need a professional to do probate, it is perfectly possible for the layman or woman to do it.

The crucial elements that decide how complex this task will be is whether you need a grant of representation and have to complete inheritance tax forms.

What is a grant of representation?

The legal term ‘grant of representation’ covers two types of document, one of which you will need depending on the circumstances.

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– You apply for a ‘grant of probate’ if the deceased person left a will.

– You will need ‘letters of administration’ if there was a will but it does not name an executor, or the named executor cannot apply, or there is no will.

A grant of representation is the official seal that allows you to access a deceased person’s assets and distribute them.

Banks and other financial institutions will ask you for this before they will release funds.

How to be a successful executor 

Stephen Gold is a retired judge and author who recently acted as executor for his beloved late aunt. 

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After successfully adding many hundreds of pounds more to her estate, he offers a guide to follow for any readers facing the ordeal of sorting out a deceased loved one’s finances. 

In the first of a three-part serial, Gold explains how he took on BT and a string of banks and building societies over unacceptable errors and delay. 

In the second part, Gold eventually finds a way to prise cash out of Lloyds after it refuses to budge over a no-interest account. 

He then gets a stern reception at the probate service when he tries to complain about a 16-week delay – but persistence finally wins results. 

In part thee, he describes how to squeeze yet more compensation from banks slow to hand over cash. 

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The Gov.uk website says: ‘Contact the financial organisations the person who died used (for example, their bank and mortgage company) to find out if you’ll need probate to get access to their assets. Every organisation has its own rules.’

It adds you may not need probate if the person who died:

– Only had savings

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– Owned shares or money with others – this automatically passes to the surviving owners unless they’ve agreed otherwise

– Owned land or property as ‘joint tenants’ with others – this automatically passes to the surviving owners.

Who is responsible for applying for probate?

When someone dies leaving a will they will name an executor or executors in it. This role should have been agreed with those people when they wrote the will.

The executors are responsible for administering the will and dealing with probate. 

Even if they have been named in a will as an executor, some people pass this task on to a solicitor, deciding to pay a professional to do the job for them. You can officially relinquish the job if you have not already started doing it.

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Gov.uk says: ‘Only certain people can apply for probate. Who can apply depends on whether or not there’s a will. If there’s a will, executors named in it can apply. If there’s not a will, the closest living relative can apply.’

It is possible to do probate yourself. One money-saving tip is to do the bulk of it and then simply pay a solicitor to check your work for you.

Find tips on how to do this when you are applying online and what it costs, plus ways to avoid common mistakes that cause delays below.

What do you need to do to value an estate?

To value someone’s estate you need to identify all their assets. This means any bank and building society accounts, investments, properties, their belongings, car and anything else they may have owned. You also need to identify and pensions and life insurance policies.

For savings and investments and other financial assets you need to contact the provider and ask for a valuation on the date of death.

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Properties need to be valued, preferably by an estate agent or valuer, and you will also need to tot up what everything else is worth.

You also need to know about any debts, such as mortgages, credit cards, loans and personal debts and you can deduct the cost of funeral expenses, so get this figure too.

Inheritance tax then needs to be dealt with even if no tax is going to be owed.

Do you have to fill in inheritance tax forms?

Unfortunately, form-filling is difficult to avoid. But most estates do not incur inheritance tax and are ‘excepted estates’, in which case you do not have to give full details of an estate’s value, unless it falls under one of the other categories listed here.

Gov.uk has a guide to how to value an estate for inheritance tax and report its value here.

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What counts as an excepted estate depends on whether the person died before or after the start of 2022.

If the person died on or after 1 January 2022

An estate is usually an excepted estate if any of the following apply:

– Its value is below the current inheritance tax threshold

– The estate is worth £650,000 or less and any unused threshold is being transferred from a spouse or civil partner who died first

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– The deceased left everything to a spouse or civil partner living in the UK or to a qualifying charity and the estate is worth less than £3million (search the charity register for registered UK charities)

– The deceased was living permanently outside the UK (a ‘foreign domiciliary’) when they died and the value of their UK assets is under £150,000.

HEATHER ROGERS ANSWERS YOUR TAX QUESTIONS

       

If the person died on or before 31 December 2021

An estate is usually an excepted estate if any of the following apply:

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– Its value is below the inheritance tax threshold at the time the person died

– The deceased left everything to a surviving spouse or civil partner living in the UK or to a qualifying charity and the estate is worth less than £1million (search the charity register for registered UK charities)

– The deceased was living permanently outside the UK (a ‘foreign domiciliary’) when they died and the value of their UK assets is under £150,000,

Gov.uk explains the processes to follow regarding inheritance tax if you are dealing with:

– An estate where a full account is needed

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– An excepted estate if the person died on or after 1 January 2022

– An excepted estate if the person died on or before 31 December 2021.

The process of applying for probate

If there’s inheritance tax to pay, you have to wait 20 working days after sending the tax forms to HMRC before applying for a grant of representation.

Nowadays, the Government prefers people to apply online, and notes that it takes longer to process paper applications than online ones.

You can apply here, and that link also explains how to get help with an online application.

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If you decide to fill in a form, use PA1P if there is a will and PA1A if there is no will.

You will need to give details about the deceased and their family and rehash some of the figures from the inheritance tax stage above.

There might also be a fee to pay – £273 if the value of the estate is over £5,000, but nothing if it is £5,000 or less. You might be able to get help with fees.

A grant of representation will then be sent to you, and this needs to be shown to banks and other institutions to release assets.

Any debts owed by the deceased must then be settled and the estate can be distributed. The grant also allows properties to be sold and the money distributed.

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How to avoid probate delays 

People can face significant wait times if their applications are ‘stopped’ for some reason, warns Michael Culver, chair of Solicitors for the Elderly.

‘This could be down to errors in the application or missing documents. Once an application is stopped, it goes to the back of the queue and new cases take priority.’

If you’re handling the probate process yourself, Culver suggests the following tips to pre-empt some of the common problems.

1. If in doubt, seek out an SFE member to review your application before you submit it. Many of our members will happily review and feedback on any changes required for an agreed fixed fee.

If applying online, you can share your password and log-in details with your solicitor, but usually it will send a code to your email so it’s best to do it in the same room where possible, or over the phone.

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Michael Culver: Cases take longer if stopped, ususally due to errors in the application or missing documents, and once stopped an application goes to the back of the queue

Michael Culver: Cases take longer if stopped, ususally due to errors in the application or missing documents, and once stopped an application goes to the back of the queue

Michael Culver: Cases take longer if stopped, ususally due to errors in the application or missing documents, and once stopped an application goes to the back of the queue

We’d recommend getting in touch with a lawyer for a fixed fee meeting in the office. We’d ask someone to bring all of their paperwork and log in details ready to review the online application together before making the submission.

In central London you might pay around £300 for a fixed fee one-hour meeting to review the online probate application, but this is assuming there’s no inheritance tax payable.

If there are inheritance tax forms to check, it wouldn’t be a fixed fee as it would likely take three to four hours of additional work and the total could be closer to £1,000.

This will differ per region and per firm.

2. If tax is payable wait 25 working days from sending the inheritance tax paperwork to HMRC before applying for probate.

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This is recommended even if HMRC have confirmed receipt of the paperwork in the meantime, in order to give them time to share the paperwork with the tax service.

The lack of a response from HMRC is one of the main causes for an application being stopped.

3. Ensure all names match those within the will or explain why if there is a difference.

4. Explain why one executor isn’t applying for the grant if appropriate.

5. Ensure all documents including the original will are included when sending documents to HMCTS.

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6. If there is no will, make sure you explain why you are entitled to apply for the grant.

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

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From welcoming refugees to the crisis in Lampedusa, six years of French immigration policy

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French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced on Tuesday that France would not be taking in any of the migrants who arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa last week. FRANCE 24 looks back at six years of French U-turns on immigration policies.

Having lamented for years that the Mediterranean has become “the world’s biggest cemetery”, Pope Francis is visiting the French port city of Marseille on Friday to reinforce his message that the region should welcome migrants.

His visit comes as Lampedusa, a small Italian island nestled in the Mediterranean between Tunisia and Malta, saw a record number of migrant arrivals last week. Some 8,500 people reached the island’s shores, briefly exceeding its resident population of 6,100.

But the pope’s call for peace may fall on deaf ears, as EU nations like Italy and France pledge tougher immigration measures.

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Monday called for a naval blockade of North Africa to prevent smuggler boats from leaving the continent, lengthened detention time for migrants awaiting repatriation and announced the creation of more detention centres in remote areas.

France boosted border patrols on its southern frontier with Italy and amplified its drone surveillance of the Alps to keep people from crossing over. The government has held firm on its decision not to take in migrants from Lampedusa.

“[We] will not take in migrants,” French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told national TV channel TF1 on Tuesday. “It’s not by taking in more people that we’re going to stem a flow that obviously affects our ability to integrate [them into French society],” he said.

Darmanin’s words come at a time where immigration has once again taken centre stage in French politics. As the country’s hung parliament wrangles over a draft law governing new arrivals, President Emmanuel Macron has evoked a possible referendum on the topic.

No one knows whether the referendum will actually take place or what question will be posed. But that very sense of uncertainty matches France’s indecision on immigration policy over the past six years.

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FRANCE 24 takes a look back at the string of U-turns and contradictions Macron has made on the issue since taking office in 2017, a journey worthy of whiplash.

  • January 2017: Macron praises Angela Merkel’s stance on migration

While he was still running for presidency on January 2, 2017, Macron published an op-ed in French daily Le Monde. In the article, he praised former German Chancellor Angela Merkel for having taken in a large number of migrants years earlier – at a time where most European countries wouldn’t.

“When Italy was alone in handling the arrival of refugees in Lampedusa, to the point of deeply moving Pope Francis, neither France nor Germany were there to help,” Macron wrote. “Greece has also long been on the front line, helpless and overwhelmed in the face of the influx of refugees and migrants. That being said, Chancellor Merkel and German society as a whole have lived up to our shared values – they have saved our collective dignity by taking in refugees in distress, housing them and training them.”

Shortly after he took office, Macron spelled out his vision for welcoming migrants and specifically asylum seekers more clearly. A few months after publishing the op-ed, he made a speech in Orléans, a city south of Paris, in which he stated: “By the end of this year, I no longer want there to be men and women in the streets, in the woods or lost … It’s a matter of dignity, of humanity and also of efficiency. I want to ensure that, wherever emergency accommodation is built to take in [asylum seekers], there are also administrative facilities in place to process their requests.”

In 2023, tens of thousands of migrants are still sleeping rough, according to the Abbé Pierre Foundation, which finances and supports associations that fight against substandard housing.

  • Summer 2018: France rejects dock request from Aquarius migrant ship

The summer of 2018 was marked by diplomatic quarrels between France and Italy, especially regarding the request to dock the Aquarius – a migrant ship chartered by the European humanitarian organisation SOS Mediterranée, which carries out search and rescue missions for migrants lost at sea.

The dispute began in June, when Italy refused to let the ship dock with 629 migrants on board. Macron criticised the “cynicism and irresponsibility” of the Italian government’s decision to close its ports, while refusing to let the ship dock in France. After a week of being stuck off the coast of Sicily, Spain finally agreed to let the Aquarius dock on June 17, before it moved on to Marseille. Of the 629 people on board, 78 were taken in by France.

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But a few weeks later, on September 25, the French government refused to let the Aquarius, and the remaining 58 migrants on board, dock for a second time. This time, Malta agreed to take in the migrants but not the ship, which had to stay offshore. Although France eventually took in 17 of the 58 remaining migrants, it still refused to let the ship dock.

Progression of asylum applications and number of asylum statuses granted over the last six years in France.
Progression of asylum applications and number of asylum statuses granted over the last six years in France. © FRANCE 24 graphic design studio
  • September 2018: A controversial asylum and immigration bill

In the summer of 2018, Macron’s initial Interior Minister Gérard Collomb passed a bill on asylum and immigration that was slammed by non-profit organisations helping refugees across the board. Measures that were soundly criticised included the doubling of the 45-day detention period for illegal migrants to 90 days, the possibility of placing children in detention centres and cutting the maximum processing time for asylum seekers from 120 to 90 days.  

The controversial bill exposed divisions within Macron’s party, who had a majority in parliament at the time. More than a dozen MPs abstained from voting and one MP voted against the bill. The legislation even sparked wrath from the right. Former right-wing minister Jacques Toubon, who later became the French Human Rights Defender, told French daily Le Monde that the bill treated asylum seekers “badly”.

  • November 2019: Prime Minister Édouard Philippe restricts healthcare access for migrants

On November 6, 2019, then French prime minister Édouard Philippe announced a new immigration plan that aimed to combat what the government called “medical tourism”.  The government claimed that the medical coverage offered to migrants was attracting newcomers to France, so they decided to restrict access to healthcare.

For asylum seekers who are not minors, a three-month waiting period to access universal coverage was introduced, and the list of treatments covered was reduced for foreign nationals receiving state medical aid (AME).  

  • November 2020: Brutal dismantling of migrant camp in central Paris

Hundreds of migrants were violently dispersed in central Paris on the night of November 23, 2020, only a few days after a migrant camp housing 2,000 people was dismantled in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.

During the evacuation operation in central Paris, police officers were accused of violence as they broke up the migrant camp at the Place de la République. Images on social media showed officers hitting protesters and picking up tents, sometimes with people still inside – prompting the country’s interior minister to say that some of the scenes were “shocking” and order an inquiry.

“You can’t respond to misery with police batons. It is urgent, essential and indisputable that the migrants in Saint-Denis who live on the streets should be given shelter. The honour of the French Republic is at stake,” said Delphine Rouilleault, director of the non-profit “France terre d’asile”, which has criticised the treatment of migrants in Calais for years. “When tents aren’t being torn down by police, it’s the ‘jungle’ [the name of the former immigration camp in the Calais region] itself that is dismantled using bulldozers.”

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Progression of residence permits granted by the French government over the years.
Progression of residence permits granted by the French government over the years. © FRANCE 24 graphic design studio
  • August 2021: After the Taliban retake control of Afghanistan, France must protect itself against ‘irregular migratory flows’

When France began repatriating its nationals after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, Macron declared it was his country’s “duty” and “dignity” to protect Afghans (including translators and cooks) who had worked for France on the ground.

But the French president also warned that Europe would have to protect itself “against significant irregular migratory flows”.  His statement was condemned by the left as well as humanitarian organisations, who saw it as showing a shameful lack of empathy for the Afghans.

In the weeks that followed, France was accused of not doing enough for the Afghan people – particularly Afghan interpreters and women. A total of 2,600 Afghans were evacuated to France, compared with 8,000 to the UK and 4,000 to Germany.

  • February 2022: More than a hundred thousand Ukrainian refugees welcomed

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 prompted large numbers of Ukrainians to flee their country and seek refuge in western Europe. France quickly opened its borders and spent €500 million on welcoming those in need. As a result, more than 110,000 refugees arrived on French soil within a year – 80 percent of whom were women, according to official data released by the interior ministry on February 24, 2023, a year after the war broke out.

Refugee NGOs applauded the French government’s efforts, but also viewed them as a double standard in relation to how those fleeing the Global South are treated. “We’re very happy that things are going well for Ukrainians, but we found the whole thing incredibly unfair. When they are Africans or Afghans, we’re told there is nowhere to house them and they end up sleeping rough. On the other hand, when it’s Ukrainians – people we can identify with – they open accommodation centres,” Yann Mazi, founder of French non-profit Utopia 56, told French daily Libération.

  • November 2022: France accepts the Ocean Viking rescue ship but suspends plan to take in 3,500 refugees

Four years after the Aquarius migrant ship was barred from docking in Italy, a new rescue vessel chartered by SOS Méditerranée, the Ocean Viking, caused a renewed diplomatic spat between France and Italy.

When Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni refused to allow the ship carrying 234 migrants to dock at an Italian port, French Interior Minister Darmanin announced on November 10, 2022 that France would “as an exception” welcome the Ocean Viking in Toulon.

After declaring that France would receive a third of the migrants on board, Darmanin went on to describe Italy’s decision as “incomprehensible” and “lacking humanity”, calling Meloni’s behaviour “contrary to the solidarity and commitments” made by Rome.

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However, in protest at Italy’s behaviour, Darmanin then suspended a plan to take in 3,500 refugees who had arrived in Italy. The transfer was planned as part of a European burden-sharing accord.

In line with the multiple U-turns the French government has made on its migration policy over the years, it plans to relaunch its immigration bill – initially planned for the start of 2023 – this autumn.

The bill aims to make it easier to expel foreigners who “pose a serious threat to public order” and give special residence permits to undocumented migrants already working in understaffed sectors in France.

This article has been translated from the original in French. 

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From Big Ben in Peter Pan to the fairytale castle in Frozen: Disney reveals 30 real-world locations that have inspired its most-loved films over the past 100 years

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To celebrate its 100th anniversary, The Walt Disney Company has opened its vaults to reveal a list of 30 locations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa that have inspired, and featured in, its films and theme parks over the past century.

These locations and productions are presented in a series of paired photographs, so fans can compare the real-world attractions with how they’ve been reinterpreted and used by Disney’s filmmakers and designers. 

Examples include the Norwegian fortress that partly inspired the castle in Frozen, the Tudor estate that influenced the maze in Alice in Wonderland and the enchanting forest that informed the setting for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. 

Research commissioned by The Walt Disney Company found that two in five (42 per cent) Brits are unaware that many Disney films and park attractions are based on real-world locations.

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The study also found that when Brits were asked which UK locations they would like to see featured in future Disney films, the Lake District topped the list (14 per cent), followed by Loch Ness (10 per cent) and Edinburgh Castle (10 per cent).

Scroll down for all 30 pictures to see how incredible real-world places have had starring roles in Disney productions – and fired up the imaginations of its creative staff…

The Beast's castle in the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast was inspired by Chateau de Chambord, an elegant landmark in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France that's known for its Renaissance architecture

The Beast's castle in the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast was inspired by Chateau de Chambord, an elegant landmark in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France that's known for its Renaissance architecture

The Beast’s castle in the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast was inspired by Chateau de Chambord, an elegant landmark in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France that’s known for its Renaissance architecture

The filmmakers behind the 1994 Disney film The Lion King have said they were inspired by various landscapes in Africa, in particular the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, which is part of the Serengeti National Park. The iconic Pride Rock (picture one) in the animation - which symbolises the home of Simba - is not based on a specific real-life location, but it draws inspiration from the geological formations found across the continent, including those found in the Masai Mara National Reserve

The filmmakers behind the 1994 Disney film The Lion King have said they were inspired by various landscapes in Africa, in particular the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, which is part of the Serengeti National Park. The iconic Pride Rock (picture one) in the animation - which symbolises the home of Simba - is not based on a specific real-life location, but it draws inspiration from the geological formations found across the continent, including those found in the Masai Mara National Reserve

The filmmakers behind the 1994 Disney film The Lion King have said they were inspired by various landscapes in Africa, in particular the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, which is part of the Serengeti National Park. The iconic Pride Rock (picture one) in the animation – which symbolises the home of Simba – is not based on a specific real-life location, but it draws inspiration from the geological formations found across the continent, including those found in the Masai Mara National Reserve

During a 1935 trip to the UK, Walt Disney visited Great Fosters, a Tudor-era manor house in Surrey. Many years later, when working on Alice in Wonderland, it’s likely that Walt recalled the English manor's topiary maze and used it to inform the maze that Alice gets lost within in the film, Disney reveals

During a 1935 trip to the UK, Walt Disney visited Great Fosters, a Tudor-era manor house in Surrey. Many years later, when working on Alice in Wonderland, it’s likely that Walt recalled the English manor's topiary maze and used it to inform the maze that Alice gets lost within in the film, Disney reveals

During a 1935 trip to the UK, Walt Disney visited Great Fosters, a Tudor-era manor house in Surrey. Many years later, when working on Alice in Wonderland, it’s likely that Walt recalled the English manor’s topiary maze and used it to inform the maze that Alice gets lost within in the film, Disney reveals 

The design of Sleeping Beauty's Castle at the Disneyland Resort in California was partly influenced by Neuschwanstein Castle, which lies in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria, Germany. The Disney castle, with its fairy-tale-like architecture, has been an iconic fixture of the park since it opened in 1955

The design of Sleeping Beauty's Castle at the Disneyland Resort in California was partly influenced by Neuschwanstein Castle, which lies in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria, Germany. The Disney castle, with its fairy-tale-like architecture, has been an iconic fixture of the park since it opened in 1955

The design of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at the Disneyland Resort in California was partly influenced by Neuschwanstein Castle, which lies in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria, Germany. The Disney castle, with its fairy-tale-like architecture, has been an iconic fixture of the park since it opened in 1955

London's Big Ben appears in the opening scene of the 1953 film Peter Pan when Peter flies to Neverland with the Darling children. In the film, the children land on the big hand of the clock. The landmark also appeared in the 1961 animation One Hundred and One Dalmatians

London's Big Ben appears in the opening scene of the 1953 film Peter Pan when Peter flies to Neverland with the Darling children. In the film, the children land on the big hand of the clock. The landmark also appeared in the 1961 animation One Hundred and One Dalmatians

London’s Big Ben appears in the opening scene of the 1953 film Peter Pan when Peter flies to Neverland with the Darling children. In the film, the children land on the big hand of the clock. The landmark also appeared in the 1961 animation One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Regent's Park, one of eight Royal Parks in London, appears in the 1961 animation One Hundred and One Dalmatians, serving as the location where the main canine characters Pongo and Perdita - and their owners Roger and Anita - meet for the first time. In the scene, the Dalmatians can be seen knocking Roger and Anita into the pond after their leads get tangled

Regent's Park, one of eight Royal Parks in London, appears in the 1961 animation One Hundred and One Dalmatians, serving as the location where the main canine characters Pongo and Perdita - and their owners Roger and Anita - meet for the first time. In the scene, the Dalmatians can be seen knocking Roger and Anita into the pond after their leads get tangled

Regent’s Park, one of eight Royal Parks in London, appears in the 1961 animation One Hundred and One Dalmatians, serving as the location where the main canine characters Pongo and Perdita – and their owners Roger and Anita – meet for the first time. In the scene, the Dalmatians can be seen knocking Roger and Anita into the pond after their leads get tangled 

Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway, is a historic 13th-century castle and fortress that was visited by the crew behind Disney's 2013 animation Frozen and ultimately provided some of the inspiration for Anna and Elsa's castle, Arendelle Castle, in the film. Disney says: 'Frozen took inspiration from Scandinavian culture... and Akershus Fortress evokes a sense of enchantment and [a] fairytale-like atmosphere, similar to the setting of the film'

Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway, is a historic 13th-century castle and fortress that was visited by the crew behind Disney's 2013 animation Frozen and ultimately provided some of the inspiration for Anna and Elsa's castle, Arendelle Castle, in the film. Disney says: 'Frozen took inspiration from Scandinavian culture... and Akershus Fortress evokes a sense of enchantment and [a] fairytale-like atmosphere, similar to the setting of the film'

Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway, is a historic 13th-century castle and fortress that was visited by the crew behind Disney’s 2013 animation Frozen and ultimately provided some of the inspiration for Anna and Elsa’s castle, Arendelle Castle, in the film. Disney says: ‘Frozen took inspiration from Scandinavian culture… and Akershus Fortress evokes a sense of enchantment and [a] fairytale-like atmosphere, similar to the setting of the film’ 

Wadi Rum, a desert valley in Jordan that's known for its towering rock formations and ancient rock carvings, was used as a backdrop for scenes in the 2019 live-action version of Aladdin

Wadi Rum, a desert valley in Jordan that's known for its towering rock formations and ancient rock carvings, was used as a backdrop for scenes in the 2019 live-action version of Aladdin

Wadi Rum, a desert valley in Jordan that’s known for its towering rock formations and ancient rock carvings, was used as a backdrop for scenes in the 2019 live-action version of Aladdin 

The island monastery of Skellig Michael, located off the coast of Ireland, served as a filming location in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the film, Luke Skywalker can be seen living in exile on the island. The isle also went on to appear in the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The island monastery of Skellig Michael, located off the coast of Ireland, served as a filming location in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the film, Luke Skywalker can be seen living in exile on the island. The isle also went on to appear in the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The island monastery of Skellig Michael, located off the coast of Ireland, served as a filming location in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the film, Luke Skywalker can be seen living in exile on the island. The isle also went on to appear in the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The quaint medieval Bavarian town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany, with its cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses and fortified walls, proved a source of inspiration for the village in the 1940 film Pinocchio

The quaint medieval Bavarian town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany, with its cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses and fortified walls, proved a source of inspiration for the village in the 1940 film Pinocchio

The quaint medieval Bavarian town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany, with its cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses and fortified walls, proved a source of inspiration for the village in the 1940 film Pinocchio 

The Black Forest region in southwest Germany, with its 'dark, mystical woods' and 'crystal clear streams', served as visual inspiration for the fairytale setting of the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney reveals

The Black Forest region in southwest Germany, with its 'dark, mystical woods' and 'crystal clear streams', served as visual inspiration for the fairytale setting of the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney reveals

The Black Forest region in southwest Germany, with its ‘dark, mystical woods’ and ‘crystal clear streams’, served as visual inspiration for the fairytale setting of the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney reveals 

The island kingdom of Corona, the birthplace of Rapunzel in the 2010 film Tangled, is based on the tidal island of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France

The island kingdom of Corona, the birthplace of Rapunzel in the 2010 film Tangled, is based on the tidal island of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France

The island kingdom of Corona, the birthplace of Rapunzel in the 2010 film Tangled, is based on the tidal island of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France

Ashdown Forest, situated in East Sussex, is the real-life inspiration for Hundred Acre Woods, the home of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in A.A. Milne's books, which were later turned into a Disney animation. Walt Disney discovered Pooh's whimsical misadventures through his daughter, Diane Disney Miller, and sought the screen rights as early as 1937, Disney reveals

Ashdown Forest, situated in East Sussex, is the real-life inspiration for Hundred Acre Woods, the home of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in A.A. Milne's books, which were later turned into a Disney animation. Walt Disney discovered Pooh's whimsical misadventures through his daughter, Diane Disney Miller, and sought the screen rights as early as 1937, Disney reveals

Ashdown Forest, situated in East Sussex, is the real-life inspiration for Hundred Acre Woods, the home of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in A.A. Milne’s books, which were later turned into a Disney animation. Walt Disney discovered Pooh’s whimsical misadventures through his daughter, Diane Disney Miller, and sought the screen rights as early as 1937, Disney reveals

St Abbs village in Berwickshire, Scotland, was used as a filming location in Marvel’s smash hit 2019 movie, Avengers: Endgame. Disney notes that the village has since become a tourist hotspot, with Thor enthusiasts visiting St Abbs to see the filming location first-hand

St Abbs village in Berwickshire, Scotland, was used as a filming location in Marvel’s smash hit 2019 movie, Avengers: Endgame. Disney notes that the village has since become a tourist hotspot, with Thor enthusiasts visiting St Abbs to see the filming location first-hand

St Abbs village in Berwickshire, Scotland, was used as a filming location in Marvel’s smash hit 2019 movie, Avengers: Endgame. Disney notes that the village has since become a tourist hotspot, with Thor enthusiasts visiting St Abbs to see the filming location first-hand

Italy's colourful Cinque Terre region served as the inspiration for the 2021 Disney and Pixar film Luca, which takes place in the fictional seaside town of Portorosso on the Italian Riviera. The region, meaning 'five lands' in Italian, encompasses the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Disney added that the villages were used to 'capture the essence of Italian coastal life' in the film

Italy's colourful Cinque Terre region served as the inspiration for the 2021 Disney and Pixar film Luca, which takes place in the fictional seaside town of Portorosso on the Italian Riviera. The region, meaning 'five lands' in Italian, encompasses the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Disney added that the villages were used to 'capture the essence of Italian coastal life' in the film

Italy’s Cinque Terre region, famed for its colourful old buildings, served as the inspiration for the 2021 Disney and Pixar film Luca, which takes place in the fictional seaside town of Portorosso on the Italian Riviera. Cinque Terre encompasses the five villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Disney added that the villages were used to help ‘capture the essence of Italian coastal life’ in the film

London's iconic Liberty department store appears in Disney's 2021 film Cruella. In the film, Cruella is an aspiring fashion designer and gets a job at the department store, where she showcases her talent. Disney says: 'Her innovative designs catch the eye of the fashion world, resulting in this flagship store becoming a hugely influential location in the film'

London's iconic Liberty department store appears in Disney's 2021 film Cruella. In the film, Cruella is an aspiring fashion designer and gets a job at the department store, where she showcases her talent. Disney says: 'Her innovative designs catch the eye of the fashion world, resulting in this flagship store becoming a hugely influential location in the film'

London’s iconic Liberty department store appears in Disney’s 2021 film Cruella. In the film, Cruella is an aspiring fashion designer and gets a job at the department store, where she showcases her talent. Disney says: ‘Her innovative designs catch the eye of the fashion world, resulting in this flagship store becoming a hugely influential location in the film’

In the 1997 Disney animated film Hercules, Mount Olympus - which at 2,918m/9,573ft in height is the highest mountain in Greece - is depicted in animated form, reinterpreted in a fantastical fashion with swirls of clouds and shining golden architecture. It serves as the home of the Greek gods, including Hercules' father Zeus, in the film

In the 1997 Disney animated film Hercules, Mount Olympus - which at 2,918m/9,573ft in height is the highest mountain in Greece - is depicted in animated form, reinterpreted in a fantastical fashion with swirls of clouds and shining golden architecture. It serves as the home of the Greek gods, including Hercules' father Zeus, in the film

In the 1997 Disney animated film Hercules, Mount Olympus – which at 2,918m/9,573ft in height is the highest mountain in Greece – is depicted in animated form, reinterpreted in a fantastical fashion with swirls of clouds and shining golden architecture. It serves as the home of the Greek gods, including Hercules’ father Zeus, in the film 

The airport battle sequence in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War took place on the tarmac at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany. 'Shooting at a live, working airport on the scale that we needed to shoot is not an easy task,' explained Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. 'There are many restrictions and you certainly can’t shoot explosions, car crashes and pyrotechnics'

The airport battle sequence in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War took place on the tarmac at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany. 'Shooting at a live, working airport on the scale that we needed to shoot is not an easy task,' explained Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. 'There are many restrictions and you certainly can’t shoot explosions, car crashes and pyrotechnics'

The airport battle sequence in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War took place on the tarmac at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany. ‘Shooting at a live, working airport on the scale that we needed to shoot is not an easy task,’ explained Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. ‘There are many restrictions and you certainly can’t shoot explosions, car crashes and pyrotechnics’ 

The Croatian city of Dubrovnik partly inspired Prince Eric's castle in the 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. Disney says: 'The city is known for its imposing medieval walls, red-roofed buildings, and seaside location, which inspired the castle's coastal setting and medieval architecture'

The Croatian city of Dubrovnik partly inspired Prince Eric's castle in the 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. Disney says: 'The city is known for its imposing medieval walls, red-roofed buildings, and seaside location, which inspired the castle's coastal setting and medieval architecture'

The Croatian city of Dubrovnik partly inspired Prince Eric’s castle in the 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. Disney says: ‘The city is known for its imposing medieval walls, red-roofed buildings, and seaside location, which inspired the castle’s coastal setting and medieval architecture’ 

Aerial shots of Iceland's Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, known for its striking black sand and dramatic rock formations, were used in the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Aerial shots of Iceland's Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, known for its striking black sand and dramatic rock formations, were used in the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Aerial shots of Iceland’s Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, known for its striking black sand and dramatic rock formations, were used in the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 

The castle in Disney's 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is based on Alcazar de Segovia, a medieval castle in the Spanish city of Segovia. Disney says: 'The Alcazar's distinctive shape, with its turrets and steep roofs, bears a resemblance to the castle depicted in the film'

The castle in Disney's 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is based on Alcazar de Segovia, a medieval castle in the Spanish city of Segovia. Disney says: 'The Alcazar's distinctive shape, with its turrets and steep roofs, bears a resemblance to the castle depicted in the film'

The castle in Disney’s 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is based on Alcazar de Segovia, a medieval castle in the Spanish city of Segovia. Disney says: ‘The Alcazar’s distinctive shape, with its turrets and steep roofs, bears a resemblance to the castle depicted in the film’

Forte di Bard, also known as Bard Fortress, is a historical fortress located in the Aosta Valley region of Italy. The site was used as a filming location in Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron, doubling as the facility where evil organization Hydra conducted experiments

Forte di Bard, also known as Bard Fortress, is a historical fortress located in the Aosta Valley region of Italy. The site was used as a filming location in Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron, doubling as the facility where evil organization Hydra conducted experiments

Forte di Bard, also known as Bard Fortress, is a historical fortress located in the Aosta Valley region of Italy. The site was used as a filming location in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, doubling as the facility where evil organization Hydra conducted experiments 

Gusteau's restaurant in 2007 flick Ratatouille was inspired by a variety of Parisian restaurants including Guy Savoy, Le Train Bleu (pictured), Taillevent and La Tour d’Argent. Production designer Harley Jessup said: 'We were inspired by several French restaurants but Gusteau’s is the most ornate restaurant of all. It’s filled with huge, gilded arches, ceiling murals and thick red drapes, and it’s palatial in scale, making it the perfect backdrop for tiny little Remy [the rat] to try to become a chef'

Gusteau's restaurant in 2007 flick Ratatouille was inspired by a variety of Parisian restaurants including Guy Savoy, Le Train Bleu (pictured), Taillevent and La Tour d’Argent. Production designer Harley Jessup said: 'We were inspired by several French restaurants but Gusteau’s is the most ornate restaurant of all. It’s filled with huge, gilded arches, ceiling murals and thick red drapes, and it’s palatial in scale, making it the perfect backdrop for tiny little Remy [the rat] to try to become a chef'

Gusteau’s restaurant in 2007 flick Ratatouille was inspired by a variety of Parisian restaurants including Guy Savoy, Le Train Bleu (pictured), Taillevent and La Tour d’Argent. Production designer Harley Jessup said: ‘We were inspired by several French restaurants but Gusteau’s is the most ornate restaurant of all. It’s filled with huge, gilded arches, ceiling murals and thick red drapes, and it’s palatial in scale, making it the perfect backdrop for tiny little Remy [the rat] to try to become a chef’

The team behind Disney and Pixar's Brave said the Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland were 'a key inspiration' for the 2012 film, acting as a backdrop in several scenes

The team behind Disney and Pixar's Brave said the Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland were 'a key inspiration' for the 2012 film, acting as a backdrop in several scenes

The team behind Disney and Pixar’s Brave said the Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland were ‘a key inspiration’ for the 2012 film, acting as a backdrop in several scenes. The ancient site comprises a cross-shaped collection of stones that were erected 5,000 years ago 

The 2021 film Black Widow was partially filmed in Budapest. It sees Natasha Romanoff - or Black Widow - confront her past in the city and reunite with her estranged family. Disney says: 'The production filmed for two weeks in Budapest, from the streets to the top of the Exchange Palace, which once served as the Budapest Stock Exchange. Locations also included the Keleti (eastern) train station [and] the Nyugati (western) station underground.' Scarlett Johansson, who plays Natasha, said: 'We were able to use these iconic locations in a very practical way'

The 2021 film Black Widow was partially filmed in Budapest. It sees Natasha Romanoff - or Black Widow - confront her past in the city and reunite with her estranged family. Disney says: 'The production filmed for two weeks in Budapest, from the streets to the top of the Exchange Palace, which once served as the Budapest Stock Exchange. Locations also included the Keleti (eastern) train station [and] the Nyugati (western) station underground.' Scarlett Johansson, who plays Natasha, said: 'We were able to use these iconic locations in a very practical way'

The 2021 film Black Widow was partially filmed in Budapest. It sees Natasha Romanoff – or Black Widow – confront her past in the city and reunite with her estranged family. Disney says: ‘The production filmed for two weeks in Budapest, from the streets to the top of the Exchange Palace, which once served as the Budapest Stock Exchange. Locations also included the Keleti (eastern) train station [and] the Nyugati (western) station underground.’ Scarlett Johansson, who plays Natasha, said: ‘We were able to use these iconic locations in a very practical way’

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris plays a significant role in Disney's 1996 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as the main character, Quasimodo, lives in the cathedral's bell tower. The cathedral is currently undergoing restoration works following a 2019 fire

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris plays a significant role in Disney's 1996 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as the main character, Quasimodo, lives in the cathedral's bell tower. The cathedral is currently undergoing restoration works following a 2019 fire

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris plays a significant role in Disney’s 1996 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as the main character, Quasimodo, lives in the cathedral’s bell tower. The cathedral is currently undergoing restoration works following a 2019 fire

While dreaming up the fictional location of Wakanda for the 2018 film Black Panther, filmmakers 'looked to South Africa for inspiration, particularly the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve (above) and the Drakensberg Mountains with their sweeping vistas and natural beauty', Disney reveals

While dreaming up the fictional location of Wakanda for the 2018 film Black Panther, filmmakers 'looked to South Africa for inspiration, particularly the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve (above) and the Drakensberg Mountains with their sweeping vistas and natural beauty', Disney reveals

While dreaming up the fictional location of Wakanda for the 2018 film Black Panther, filmmakers ‘looked to South Africa for inspiration, particularly the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve (above) and the Drakensberg Mountains with their sweeping vistas and natural beauty’, Disney reveals

Illustrator Eyvind Earle was tasked with the production design for the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty. One of his sources of inspiration was the 15th-century manuscript 'The Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry', which features the Chateau of Saumur in central France. Disney says this means it may have inspired the castle of Princess Aurora's father, King Stefan, in the film

Illustrator Eyvind Earle was tasked with the production design for the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty. One of his sources of inspiration was the 15th-century manuscript 'The Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry', which features the Chateau of Saumur in central France. Disney says this means it may have inspired the castle of Princess Aurora's father, King Stefan, in the film

Illustrator Eyvind Earle was tasked with the production design for the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty. One of his sources of inspiration was the 15th-century manuscript ‘The Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry’, which features the Chateau of Saumur in central France. Disney says this means it may have inspired the castle of Princess Aurora’s father, King Stefan, in the film 

The Ear of Dionysius, a unique cave in Sicily known for its acoustics, was used as a filming location in the 2023 film Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny. In the film, the cave is home to a secret tomb

The Ear of Dionysius, a unique cave in Sicily known for its acoustics, was used as a filming location in the 2023 film Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny. In the film, the cave is home to a secret tomb

The Ear of Dionysius, a unique cave in Sicily known for its acoustics, was used as a filming location in the 2023 film Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny. In the film, the cave is home to a secret tomb 

St Paul's Cathedral has a key role in the 1964 Mary Poppins film - an elderly woman is seen feeding the birds outside the cathedral, as nanny Mary Poppins sings the classic 'Feed the Birds' song to the children in her care, Jane and Michael Banks. Disney says: 'This poignant moment emphasises the importance of compassion and charity, contrasting with the bustling city life surrounding the location'

St Paul's Cathedral has a key role in the 1964 Mary Poppins film - an elderly woman is seen feeding the birds outside the cathedral, as nanny Mary Poppins sings the classic 'Feed the Birds' song to the children in her care, Jane and Michael Banks. Disney says: 'This poignant moment emphasises the importance of compassion and charity, contrasting with the bustling city life surrounding the location'

St Paul’s Cathedral has a key role in the 1964 Mary Poppins film – an elderly woman is seen feeding the birds outside the cathedral, as nanny Mary Poppins sings the classic ‘Feed the Birds’ song to the children in her care, Jane and Michael Banks. Disney says: ‘This poignant moment emphasises the importance of compassion and charity, contrasting with the bustling city life surrounding the location’

THIRTY LOCATIONS WORLDWIDE THAT HAVE INSPIRED DISNEY FILMS AND PARKS OVER THE PAST 100 YEARS

UK AND REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 

1. Cruella, 2021: Liberty department store, London

2. One Hundred and One Dalmatians, 1961: Regent’s Park, London

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3. Peter Pan, 1953: Big Ben, London

4. Mary Poppins, 1964: St Paul’s Cathedral, London

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015: Skellig Michael, Republic of Ireland

6. Avengers: Endgame, 2019: St Abbs village, Scotland

7. Winnie the Pooh, 2011: Ashdown Forest, England

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8. Brave, 2012: Calanais Standing Stones, Scotland

9. Alice in Wonderland, 1951: Great Fosters, England

FRANCE 

10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996: Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

11. Ratatouille, 2007: Le Train Bleu, Paris

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12. Tangled, 2010: Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy

13. Beauty and the Beast, 1991: Chateau de Chambord, Centre-Val de Loire

14. Sleeping Beauty, 1959: Château de Saumur, Maine-et-Loire

SPAIN 

15. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937: Alcázar de Segovia, Spain

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CROATIA 

16. The Little Mermaid, 1989: Dubrovnik

AFRICA 

17. Black Panther, 2018: Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

18. The Lion King, 1994: Masai Mara, Kenya 

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GERMANY  

19. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937: The Black Forest

20. Pinocchio, 1940: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria

21. Sleeping Beauty castle at the Disneyland Resort, California: Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

22. Captain America: Civil War, 2016: Leipzig/ Halle Airport

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HUNGARY 

23. Black Widow, 2021: Budapest

ICELAND 

24. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 2016: Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

ITALY 

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25. Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015: Forte di Bard, Aosta Valley

26. Luca, 2021: Cinque Terre

27. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, 2023: Ear of Dionysius, Sicily

GREECE 

28. Hercules, 1997: Mount Olympus

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NORWAY  

29. Frozen, 2013: Akershus Fortress, Oslo

JORDAN 

30. Aladdin, 2019: The Wadi Rum desert

Source: Disney 

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International

Is the Pirola just another ‘scariant’? Covid strain not linked to serious illness and jabs expected to hold up against infection, health chiefs say

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Pirola may pose no more reason for concern than the swathe of other Covid variants that are spreading, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) scientists have suggested.

‘Encouraging’ lab tests show immunity offered by jabs and previous infection are likely to still protect against the heavily mutated strain, the agency said today.

And health chiefs said there is so far ‘no evidence’ that the variant, scientifically called BA.2.86, is more likely to trigger serious illness than other Omicron spin-off strains.

While some tests suggest the Pirola might better at infecting people than other current Covid variants, this ‘small difference’ is unlikely to fuel a dramatic surge in cases, experts told MailOnline.

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The analysis, published in a UKHSA report today, confirmed that the UK’s total cases crept up to 54 as of September 18 — an increase of 12 in a week.

UK's total cases Pirola cases crept up to 54 as of September 18 — an increase of 12 in a week

UK's total cases Pirola cases crept up to 54 as of September 18 — an increase of 12 in a week

 UK’s total cases Pirola cases crept up to 54 as of September 18 — an increase of 12 in a week

Globally 137 cases of the new 'real deal' mutated Covid strain have been identified in 15 countries

Globally 137 cases of the new 'real deal' mutated Covid strain have been identified in 15 countries

Globally 137 cases of the new ‘real deal’ mutated Covid strain have been identified in 15 countries

Of these cases, 10 have been hospitalised — though no deaths have yet been reported. 

However, health officials said because many cases have only been spotted incidentally among people being routinely tested in hospital, this data cannot be used to calculate how likely the variant is to make someone severely ill. 

Pirola sparked alarm in some quarters when it burst onto the scene last month due to its heavily mutated nature. 

These host of genetic changes sparked fears it may be so radically different that it would be capable of dodging the protection offered by jabs and prior infection from other Covid strains.

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UKHSA laboratory analysis, published today, suggests Pirola does seem to have a higher ability to infect human cells than other currently circulating Omicron descendants.

However, separate tests — which measured how effective people’s current Covid antibodies, the part of the immune system that targets the virus, are against Priola — were encouraging. 

These showed that Pirola didn’t have any greater ability to dodge people’s antibodies than XBB.1.5, also called Kraken, a fellow Omicron descendant. 

Kraken came to global attention in earlier this year as potentially the next big Covid variant. But it now accounts for only one in 20 cases in the UK.

UKHSA’s chief medical advisor Professor Susan Hopkins said while early days the data was ‘encouraging’.   

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She said: ‘While this is still very early data and more research is needed before we can be certain, it is encouraging to see an initial indication that BA.2.86 demonstrates similar levels of antibody escape compared to other variants circulating in the UK.

‘The available data is too limited to draw conclusions about the severity of the illness it causes, but there is so far no evidence to suggest that it is more likely to make people seriously ill than other Omicron variants in circulation.’

She added that the data was yet another reason to take part in the NHS’s Covid vaccination programme, which was accelerated due concerns surrounding Pirola and winter pressures. 

‘The autumn vaccination programme started this month, and this new data shows once again how important it is that the most vulnerable among us are fully vaccinated in order to receive the greatest possible protection,’ she said.

‘I urge everyone eligible to come forward for their next dose as soon as they are called.’

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Dr Simon Clarke, a cellular microbiologist from the University of Reading, said that while it is ‘early days’, the data suggests Pirola isn’t any worse than other circulating variants. 

He said: ‘A number of studies indicate that it might be no better at escaping the immunity currently in the population than the other currently circulating versions of Covid.

‘While these are fairly preliminary studies, the signs are encouraging.

In a bid to 'go back to normal', invites won't be dished out to millions aged 50-64 who were eligible during the pandemic

In a bid to 'go back to normal', invites won't be dished out to millions aged 50-64 who were eligible during the pandemic
In a bid to 'go back to normal', invites won't be dished out to millions aged 50-64 who were eligible during the pandemic

In a bid to 'go back to normal', invites won't be dished out to millions aged 50-64 who were eligible during the pandemic

In a bid to ‘go back to normal’, invites won’t be dished out to millions aged 50-64 who were eligible during the pandemic

While virologists have warned it is too early to reliably pinpoint BA.2.86 specific symptoms, its ancestor BA.2 had some tell-tale signs. Experts aren't yet certain, however if it behaves like similar Omicron subvariants, the signs to watch out for include a runny nose, sore throat and fatigue

While virologists have warned it is too early to reliably pinpoint BA.2.86 specific symptoms, its ancestor BA.2 had some tell-tale signs. Experts aren't yet certain, however if it behaves like similar Omicron subvariants, the signs to watch out for include a runny nose, sore throat and fatigue

While virologists have warned it is too early to reliably pinpoint BA.2.86 specific symptoms, its ancestor BA.2 had some tell-tale signs. Experts aren’t yet certain, however if it behaves like similar Omicron subvariants, the signs to watch out for include a runny nose, sore throat and fatigue

‘Based on data from two different research teams it does seem that BA.2.86 is slightly better at sticking to our cells when we get infected, but such small differences often don’t translate into real world effects.’

Of the UK’s known 54 Pirola cases, 48 have been spotted in England, with the rest in Scotland.

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The vast majority of England’s cases come from a single mass outbreak of 30 cases in a care home in Norfolk in late August. 

Of the remaining 18, seven were in London, three in the North West, two in the North East, and one each in the East of England, the South East, the South West and the West Midlands.

But as Covid testing and genomic analysis of virus samples in the UK has scaled back massively from the height of the Covid pandemic there are likely many more cases of the virus spreading in the community. 

Globally 137 Priola cases have been identified in 15 countries. 

These include in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the US. 

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Wastewater samples in Thailand have also returned positive for Pirola. 

The autumn Covid vaccine rollout began last week, with care home residents and housebound people the first to get top-up Covid and flu jabs.

The over-65s, frontline health and social care workers and carers are also eligible for Covid and flu vaccines.

People aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group will also be invited. 

This group includes people with a chronic respiratory, heart, kidney or liver disease, as well as those with diabetes, pregnant women and those who are morbidly obese. 

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GP surgeries and other local NHS services are also contacting people to offer the vaccines.

Covid hospitalisations in England soared to a four month high earlier this month with 3,297 people admitted in the week ending September 8.

Admissions have dropped slightly to 2,767 in the week to September 15, the latest data available. 

The figure is still higher than that those seen in June, July and August, when weekly admissions dropped as low as 757.

But it is still a far cry from the darkest days of the Covid pandemic when as many as 26,000 admissions in England were recorded a week.  

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