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Ray Liotta souffrait d’une «condition de tueur silencieux subie par la MOITIÉ des Américains de plus de 45 ans»

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Ray Liotta souffrait d’artères endommagées lorsqu’il est décédé en mai dernier – une maladie extrêmement courante mais mortelle.

Les dossiers médicaux montrent que la star de Goodfellas, 67 ans, est décédée dans son sommeil d’une combinaison d’insuffisance cardiaque, d’insuffisance respiratoire et d’accumulation de liquide dans ses poumons lors du tournage d’un film en République dominicaine l’année dernière.

Chacune de ces complications peut être causée par l’artériosclérose, qui survient lorsque les artères responsables du transport du sang du cœur vers le reste du corps sont endommagées.

Le National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) avertit que la moitié des Américains âgés de 44 à 85 ans souffrent de cette maladie, beaucoup ne le sachant même pas.

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Il prive les autres organes d’oxygène vital et provoque de dangereux goulots d’étranglement du sang, ce qui peut entraîner une coagulation dans les poumons.

La mort de la légende hollywoodienne Ray Liotta (photo), 67 ans, a été liée à l'artériosclérose, selon des documents officiels

La mort de la légende hollywoodienne Ray Liotta (photo), 67 ans, a été liée à l'artériosclérose, selon des documents officiels

La mort de la légende hollywoodienne Ray Liotta (photo), 67 ans, a été liée à l’artériosclérose, selon des documents officiels

L'athérosclérose est causée par une accumulation mortelle de plaque dans les artères d'une personne.  Il en existe cinq types, dont la maladie coronarienne - la principale cause de décès chez les Américains

L'athérosclérose est causée par une accumulation mortelle de plaque dans les artères d'une personne.  Il en existe cinq types, dont la maladie coronarienne - la principale cause de décès chez les Américains

L’athérosclérose est causée par une accumulation mortelle de plaque dans les artères d’une personne. Il en existe cinq types, dont la maladie coronarienne – la principale cause de décès chez les Américains

“L’athérosclérose se développe lentement sous forme de cholestérol, de graisse, de cellules sanguines et d’autres substances dans votre plaque de forme sanguine”, écrit le NHLBI, qui fait partie des National Institutes of Health.

« Lorsque la plaque s’accumule, vos artères se rétrécissent. Cela réduit l’apport de sang riche en oxygène aux tissus des organes vitaux du corps.

Ce type d’accumulation se produit souvent chez les personnes qui souffrent de problèmes de santé qui affectent la circulation sanguine, comme l’hypertension artérielle, la glycémie ou le cholestérol.

Le tabagisme et l’obésité sont également des facteurs de risque connus. M. Liotta a fumé pendant une grande partie de sa vie avant d’arrêter en 2018.

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Les cas bénins d’athérosclérose ne présentent généralement pas de symptômes, et les signes n’apparaissent que lorsque l’artère est tellement rétrécie qu’elle ne peut pas irriguer les organes et les tissus. Des caillots sanguins dans les artères peuvent provoquer des crises cardiaques ou des accidents vasculaires cérébraux.

Pour une crise cardiaque, la victime peut avoir des douleurs thoraciques, des étourdissements, un essoufflement, des nausées ou des vomissements.

Une douleur ou une pression thoracique (angine de poitrine) peut également survenir si vous souffrez d’athérosclérose dans les artères cardiaques.

Lors d’un AVC, une personne peut être confuse ou se sentir étourdie, avoir de graves maux de tête et des problèmes de vision.

Si l’athérosclérose dans les artères menant à votre cerveau, vous pouvez ressentir un engourdissement ou une faiblesse soudaine dans vos bras et vos jambes, selon la clinique Mayo.

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Vous pouvez également avoir des difficultés à parler ou des troubles de l’élocution, une perte de vision d’un œil et des muscles faciaux tombants.

Ce sont des indicateurs d’une attaque ischémique transitoire qui, si elle n’est pas traitée, peut provoquer un accident vasculaire cérébral.

La recherche suggère que les personnes atteintes d’athérosclérose ont un risque 250% plus élevé de mourir d’une insuffisance cardiaque que leurs pairs.

Pendant que le cœur bat encore, l’accumulation dans les artères empêche l’oxygène d’atteindre les organes vitaux. Les personnes atteintes peuvent mourir en quelques minutes sans soins médicaux.

Une mauvaise circulation sanguine vers les poumons peut affecter la capacité des organes à recueillir l’oxygène.

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Cela pourrait entraîner une insuffisance respiratoire – lorsque les poumons ne peuvent plus respirer. Dans une étude de 2020, 80% des patients atteints d’une forme d’athérosclérose souffraient d’insuffisance respiratoire.

Les blocages de la circulation sanguine peuvent également entraîner le blocage du liquide dans les poumons, incapable de circuler vers le cœur.

Le sang qui ne peut pas s’échapper commencera à s’accumuler dans les alvéoles, des sacs aériens dans les poumons responsables de la collecte de l’oxygène et de sa distribution dans la circulation sanguine.

Cela conduit à une accumulation de liquide dans les poumons, appelée œdème pulmonaire. Environ 1 million d’Américains souffrent de la maladie chaque année, presque toujours aux côtés d’un cas d’insuffisance cardiaque.

Cela diminue davantage la capacité du corps à recueillir de l’air et peut souvent entraîner la mort.

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Il existe de multiples formes d’athérosclérose.

La plus courante est la maladie coronarienne, lorsque la plaque s’accumule dans les artères autour du cœur.

La maladie coronarienne à elle seule est responsable de 610 000 décès aux États-Unis chaque année, ce qui en fait la principale cause de décès chez les Américains.

Il est resté au premier rang même pendant la pandémie de Covid.

La maladie artérielle périphérique survient lorsque l’accumulation de plaque dans les jambes, les bras ou le bassin limite le flux sanguin.

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De nombreuses personnes qui souffrent de cette maladie doivent être amputées, car le flux sanguin sévèrement restreint provoque des problèmes pour les membres d’une personne.

D’autres types comprennent la maladie de l’artère carotide – accumulation dans les artères du cou, la sténose de l’artère rénale – les artères obstruées responsables de l’approvisionnement en sang des reins et la maladie de l’artère vertébrale – affectant les artères du cerveau.

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International

How to make an expensive-looking Christmas wreath for free

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Having a Christmas wreath hanging on the front door is the perfect way to kick off celebrations for the yuletide season – but an expense we could all do without. 

With guidance from an expert gardener we find how you can create the perfect advent decoration for free by foraging in the garden and hedgerows. 

Following her tips and you not only save money but can pick up some fun new skills.

Wreath magic: Toby Walne was given the expert tips for making a free wreath by gardener Geraldine Shaw

Wreath magic: Toby Walne was given the expert tips for making a free wreath by gardener Geraldine Shaw

Wreath magic: Toby Walne was given the expert tips for making a free wreath by gardener Geraldine Shaw

Foraging for decoration

An invigorating walk in the countryside at this time of year offers an ideal way to clear the mind before Christmas – but for gardener Geraldine Shaw it also provides an opportunity to prepare for the festivities season ahead. 

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So why I am happy to blindly stroll down the lane, the Royal Horticultural Society expert is on the look out for a treasure trove of decorations to create a yuletide wreath.

Geraldine says: ‘You do not need to spend a fortune on a fancy Christmas wreath from the shops, where you can spend £50 or more. 

‘Instead, my suggestion is to get out in the garden and local countryside to appreciate the nature around you where the materials cost you nothing.’

She adds: ‘Just a bit of homework beforehand can help you identify plants you might like to put in a wreath – but being open-minded about what your will find is also part of the fun. Also bring a big bag and sturdy secateurs.’

Within a few yards she stops – and points to a fluffy mess near our feet. ‘This is a clematis – also known as travellers’ joy. 

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‘The twine makes a great wreath base. You might also use cedar, willow, dogwood, popular or birch.’

Foraging: Just a bit of homework beforehand can help you identify plants you might like to put in a wreath

Foraging: Just a bit of homework beforehand can help you identify plants you might like to put in a wreath

Foraging: Just a bit of homework beforehand can help you identify plants you might like to put in a wreath

Only when she pulls out a thin three-foot strip of clematis from the hedgerow do I finally appreciate the delicate but strong nature of this strangely beautiful plant.

Next, we come across English ivy with its lush green leave and clumps of brown-tinged closed buds that have just finished flowering. 

Despite ivy hanging all around us Geraldine takes care to cut off only about a foot to ensure the plant remains vigorous and healthy. Finally, she points to a red cluster of red berries high above our heads that indicates we have found the all-important sprigs of holly.

‘Red and green are complementary colours – the opposites on an artist’s colour wheel. Put the combination together gives you that special Christmas visual appeal.’

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I am concerned taking clumps of holly berries might leave the local birdlife hungry. 

But Geraldine assures me that, despite it being a favourite snack of blackbirds, thrushes and robins, as long as we only take what we need and do not get greedy, there is still plenty for us all.

Other ingredients for the wreath can be found in my garden. Cutting off branches of cypress not only provides body for the decoration but trims the hedge at the same time. 

And some old-fashioned raking of my unkempt straggly lawn allows us to collect a bucket load of moss.

Christmas spirit: Cutting off branches of cypress not only provides body for the decoration but trims the hedge at the same time

Christmas spirit: Cutting off branches of cypress not only provides body for the decoration but trims the hedge at the same time

Christmas spirit: Cutting off branches of cypress not only provides body for the decoration but trims the hedge at the same time

Building the wreath

Vital ingredients including moss, cypress, holly and ivy sit on the kitchen table. 

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We also have dried orange – slices oven baked at 120 Celsius for one hour – plus a handful of cinnamon sticks (from the kitchen cupboard), pine cones previously picked up from a forest floor and a £2 spool of florist binding wire. 

But what’s this? 

The gardener sheepishly picks up a circular double-looped 12-inch frame that looks suspiciously shop bought rather than something you find in the countryside. 

Geraldine says: ‘Cheating I know – but these wreath frames cost as little as £1. 

‘You can justify it because they last year-after-year – unlike naturally made hoops that can decay over time.’ 

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It means putting the clematis to one side, but also that we can complete the wreath in one hour rather than two. 

Had I the patience I could instead have made a metal wreath frame from a coat hanger for free if sculptured by pliers.

The first task is to push the damp clumps of moss in between and around the two-tracks of wire hooping – pushing generous handfuls in place of more than an inch thick, I slow move around the circumference – keeping the moss in place by zig-zagging wire over the pliable plant. 

The finished wreath should easily last a month hung from an outside door with a damp moss base, Geraldine says

The finished wreath should easily last a month hung from an outside door with a damp moss base, Geraldine says

The finished wreath should easily last a month hung from an outside door with a damp moss base, Geraldine says

Geraldine says: ‘The finished wreath should easily last a month hung from an outside door with a damp moss base – but if you fear it might dry out occasionally spray it with water. 

‘This should keep the foliage looking lush well past Christmas and into the New Year.’ 

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Next, I am told to ‘corsage’ – make six-inch long bouquets of cypress, ivy and holly tightly wrapped together. 

The finished wreath should easily last a month hung from an outside door with a damp moss base – but if you fear it might dry out occasionally spray it with water.

Each corsage is wrapped horizontally in place along the moss-filled hoop – with the sprigs allowed to overlap outwards. 

I slowly turn the wreath as I pin a total of 15 corsages around the circumference until the entire surface is covered in green with a dash of rich red berry. 

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Geraldine suggest we continue this ‘rule of three’ – a visually appealing odd number formula used by florists – with final touches. 

She picks up a cone and tightly wraps binding wire around its base before curling two strands together at either end into an inch-long prong – which is then pushed into the moss. 

I follow her lead and three cones are placed equidistantly around the wreath. 

The exercise is repeated with three slices of orange wrapped together by wire and pushed into the base – in three separate bunches – and, once again, with three bunches of three cinnamon sticks wrapped in string. And Voila! 

This satisfying task is the perfect way to get in a festive mood.

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Finished wreath: Made for a few quid, but plenty of love by Toby and Geraldine

Finished wreath: Made for a few quid, but plenty of love by Toby and Geraldine

Finished wreath: Made for a few quid, but plenty of love by Toby and Geraldine 

Imagination is free

While you can spend a small fortune on buying a ready-made Christmas wreath, doing it yourself not only saves money – but provides an opportunity to be creative. 

Geraldine says: ‘We went for a natural green – but you might like to add a blue hue. 

For this I suggest using eucalyptus, blue conifer or hydrangea. Some also like to add glitter, a spray of gold or silver paint – but for me this is an unnecessary unnatural frill.’ 

Other foliage that can look great in a wreath – often found in the garden or on a countryside walk – include aromatic herbs such as rosemary and bay, as well as lavender, pittosporum and mistletoe. 

Dried flowers can add a dash of festive colour – with pink heather, rose, dahlia, statice and even thistle. 

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But they need to be cured beforehand with a couple of weeks in an airing cupboard. 

Other decorative dried fruits you may consider include lime, grapefruit and apple. 

Finally, why not finish off your wreath with a bow? Consider using the ribbon from previous Christmas gifts.

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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Presents that won’t need a return trip: A gift guide for globetrotters who like to travel in style

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Know someone who is always jetting off to fabulous destinations?

Help them take their travels to the next level with these chic yet affordable gifts.

Whether they’d appreciate a smart cabin bag to keep their airport aesthetic on point or a gorgeous beauty kit, our guide is brimming with present ideas that will delight this Christmas…

HAPPY AND HEALTHY 

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We’re often told that travelling is hard on the mind and body, especially long-haul. 

The White Company’s Wellness On-the-Go set, £35, is perfect for a long-haul flight

The White Company’s Wellness On-the-Go set, £35, is perfect for a long-haul flight

The White Company’s Wellness On-the-Go set, £35, is perfect for a long-haul flight 

The White Company’s Wellness On-the-Go set is aimed at even the weariest traveller.

The compact case is filled with calming scents, a lip mask and a muscle restore gel. 

Details: £35, thewhitecompany.co.uk.

FOR BOOKWORMS

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Journey across the globe with Assouline's travel coffee table books, from £91

Journey across the globe with Assouline's travel coffee table books, from £91

Journey across the globe with Assouline’s travel coffee table books, from £91

From Mexico City to Monte Carlo, Marrakech and Mykonos, Assouline Books’ travel series will help you explore the globe from the comfort of your armchair.

Each edition is beautifully designed and coffee table sized.

They are focused on one destination so as to give the full picture of their subject.

Assouline also has a range of candles to accompany each book and give a sense of each destination.

Details: Books from £91, assouline.com.

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WALKING ON AIR

Comfort is key when you trek from one end of the terminal to the other.

This is where Cariuma trainers come in, designed with mamona oil and cork insoles, promising an incredibly comfortable fit.

The shoes come in various colours from simple white to brighter yellows, pinks and even leopard-print.

Details: From £79, eur.cariuma.com.

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ULTRA LIGHT 

Above, our model wears Cariuma trainers (£79), Farringdon Pink Taslonbag (£39.95), Chinti & Parker tracksuit (joggers, £95, and jumper, £95) and July’s Carry On Light suitcase (£225)

Above, our model wears Cariuma trainers (£79), Farringdon Pink Taslonbag (£39.95), Chinti & Parker tracksuit (joggers, £95, and jumper, £95) and July’s Carry On Light suitcase (£225)

Above, our model wears Cariuma trainers (£79), Farringdon Pink Taslonbag (£39.95), Chinti & Parker tracksuit (joggers, £95, and jumper, £95) and July’s Carry On Light suitcase (£225)

With baggage restrictions tighter than ever, the chore of packing has never been more tedious.

So a good suitcase is crucial and July’s Carry On Light promises to be the lightest double wheel suitcase in the world.

It comes in a range of bright colours and add-ons include a power bank.

Details: From £225, July.com/uk.

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TREES OF LIFE

Give the gift of art with a print by Lindy Branson, Sir Richard’s sister

Give the gift of art with a print by Lindy Branson, Sir Richard’s sister

Give the gift of art with a print by Lindy Branson, Sir Richard’s sister

Lindy Branson, Sir Richard’s artist sister, has fallen in love with olive trees.

Her gorgeous prints (some of which have pride of place in her brother’s Son Bunyola hotel in Majorca) are now available in a variety of sizes from £120 and make for the perfect Christmas present.

Details: Email lindy@lindybranson.co.uk.

COMFY AND CHIC

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The days of travelling in tailored suits, dresses and heels have long gone.

The likes of footballer Erling Haaland and the actor Sophie Turner think it’s fine to wear pyjamas on a flight.

We think comfort and style don’t have to be mutually exclusive, as evidenced with Chinti & Parker’s cashmere tracksuit, which is available at Marks & Spencer in a variety of colours.

Details: Joggers, £95, and jumper, £95, at marksandspencer.com.

SAFE AND SOUND

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This jewellery box from Stow can be personalised for that extra special touch

This jewellery box from Stow can be personalised for that extra special touch

This jewellery box from Stow can be personalised for that extra special touch 

Keeping track of your jewellery has never been simpler with the leather Hester Case from Stow. Its compact size makes it easy to place in your bag, but it also has enough space for jewellery, a watch or cufflinks.

The case comes in a variety of coloured leathers and can be engraved with up to three initials.

Details: £120, stowlondon.co.uk.

The Razor foldable scooter, £74, will help keep kids occupied on your travels

The Razor foldable scooter, £74, will help keep kids occupied on your travels

The Razor foldable scooter, £74, will help keep kids occupied on your travels 

ON A ROLL

Packing up the family into the car is never straightforward.

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And when it comes to children, there’s always the space required for things to keep them occupied, but the Razor foldable scooter is here to help.

It’s lightweight and easily folds up so it can be packed in the boot.

The convenience by no means trumps quality.

Details: £74, decathlon.co.uk.

HANDY HANDBAG

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Passport, keys, wallet, water bottle, mobile phone – all essentials that are easy to go missing.

So here’s where the Farringdon Pink Taslonbag comes in.

It can be worn over the shoulder on the front or back and folds up neatly so that it’ll fit into any bag.

There are multiple pockets inside and it’s water-resistant, too.

Details: £39.95, rokalondon.com.

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International

Dozens killed in new strikes in Gaza as Israel presses on with offensive

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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR

Israel pressed on with its offensive in and around Gaza’s main cities on Friday, more than two months after Hamas’s deadly attack sparked a war that has claimed thousands of lives and left the Palestinian territory in ruins. Early Friday, the Hamas run health ministry reported another 40 dead in strikes near Gaza City, and “dozens” more in Jabalia and Khan Yunis.Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

A picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing following Israeli bombardment on Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on December 7, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian
A picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing following Israeli bombardment on Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on December 7, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. ( © Mahmud Hams, AFP

Summary: 

  • Heavy urban combat raged in and around Gaza’s biggest cities on Thursday, with major battles reported in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the north and Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Israel and Hamas have both said the past 48 hours have brought the most intensive fighting since the start of the war. 
  • Israel and the UN signalled that the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into the Gaza Strip might be opened soon to allow aid in. Since the start of the war, the tightly controlled Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt has been the only point of entry into the enclave.
  • The head of medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières said on Thursday that Gaza faces a catastrophe extending “far beyond a humanitarian crisis”, describing the situation in the densely populated enclave as chaotic.
  • Hamas attacked southern Israeli communities on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages, according to the Israeli government. Since then, at least 17,177 people, including 7,112 children, have been killed in Israel’s ensuing assault on the Gaza Strip, the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry said. At least 46,000 people have been injured and at least 7,600 people are missing, the Hamas media office said.

If the live blog does not appear immediately, please refresh the page.

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his strongest public criticism of Israel’s conduct of the war on Hamas in south Gaza, said there was a gap between the government’s declared intentions to protect civilians and the casualties.

  • The US State Department said that the US would object to any proposed buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip, as it would violate Washington’s position that the size of the Palestinian enclave must not be reduced after the current conflict.

  • Arab states have renewed their push for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and to that end, the United Arab Emirates has asked for the UN Security Council to vote on Friday morning on a draft resolution.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says the Israeli military will have to retain open-ended security control over the Gaza Strip long after its war against Hamas ends.

  • An Israeli non-governmental organisation warned that Israeli authorities have approved the construction of more than 1,700 new homes, saying that the new homes would expand settlements in annexed east Jerusalem. Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and formally annexed the city’s eastern part in 1980 – a move that is not recognised by the United Nations.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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CDC sounds alarm over superbugs in Ukraine that are resistant to ‘last-ditch’ antibiotics and are beginning to spread across war-torn country’s borders

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  • CDC said the spread of antimicrobial resistance in Ukraine is an ‘urgent crisis’
  • Roughly 60 percent of patients had infections resistant to ‘last-ditch’ antibiotics
  • READ MORE: CDC says it’s tracking a NEW coronavirus variant

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Superbugs resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics are quickly spreading across war-torn Ukraine – and US health officials have now issued a warning that the infections are spreading beyond the country’s borders.

Hospitals in the country are fighting a rapid rise in drug-resistant infections, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say are ‘spread[ing] into Europe.’ 

Officials said the spread of antimicrobial resistance in Ukraine is an ‘urgent crisis’ which must be addressed.

Researchers sampled hundreds of Ukrainian patients for infections caught while at the hospital in November and December 2022.

Paramedics check the condition of wounded soldiers at the resuscitation bus on August 11, 2023 in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine

Paramedics check the condition of wounded soldiers at the resuscitation bus on August 11, 2023 in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine

Paramedics check the condition of wounded soldiers at the resuscitation bus on August 11, 2023 in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine

Imipenem-cilastatin is an antibiotic used to treat serious infections caused by bacteria such as pneumonia. It is known as a carbapenem antibiotic because it is so effective

Imipenem-cilastatin is an antibiotic used to treat serious infections caused by bacteria such as pneumonia. It is known as a carbapenem antibiotic because it is so effective

Imipenem-cilastatin is an antibiotic used to treat serious infections caused by bacteria such as pneumonia. It is known as a carbapenem antibiotic because it is so effective

They found that roughly 60 percent of patients had infections resistant to carbapenem antibiotics – which the CDC describes as a last line of defense antibiotic because it is usually so effective.

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WHAT IS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE? 

Antibiotics have been doled out unnecessarily by GPs and hospital staff for decades, fueling once harmless bacteria to become superbugs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously warned if nothing is done the world is heading for a ‘post-antibiotic’ era.

It claimed common infections, such as chlamydia, will become killers without immediate solutions to the growing crisis.

Bacteria can become drug resistant when people take incorrect doses of antibiotics or if they are given out unnecessarily.

Figures estimate that superbugs will kill 10 million people each year by 2050, with patients succumbing to once harmless bugs.

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Around 700,000 people already die yearly due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria across the world. 

Concerns have repeatedly been raised that medicine will be taken back to the ‘dark ages’ if antibiotics are rendered ineffective in the coming years.

In addition to existing drugs becoming less effective, there have only been one or two new antibiotics developed in the last 30 years.

In 2019, the WHO warned antibiotics are ‘running out’ as a report found a ‘serious lack’ of new drugs in the development pipeline.

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By comparison, just six percent of samples of similar kinds of infections were resistant to carbapenem antibiotics in an European study through 2017.

The study authors wrote: ‘In Ukraine, the confluence of high prewar rates of antimicrobial resistance, an increase in the prevalence of traumatic wounds, and the war-related strain on health care facilities is leading to increased detection of multidrug-resistant organisms with spread into Europe.’

Health officials have been cautioning for years about growing antimicrobial resistance as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The CDC’s European equivalent raised the alarm back in March 2022 that hospitals should isolate and screen patients in Ukraine to preempt organisms resistant to multiple drugs.

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Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious diseases doctor working at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told DailyMail.com: ‘Ukraine has been well established to be a reservoir for antibiotic resistant bacteria and it is not surprising that cases are increasing given that a war is occurring there, causing injuries and delaying ability to secure care. 

‘Similar issues occurred during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — Operation Iraqi Freedom Operation Enduring Freedom— with US soldiers contracting drug resistant infections.’

Dr Adalja added: ‘Antimicrobial resistance is a world wide problem that is only increasing — what’s occurring is not specific to Ukraine but another example of it. This phenomenon has been — for decades — an increasing threat to modern medicine.’

Last year, Germany saw infections from drug-resistant bacteria shoot up after March 2022, in connection with refugees from Ukraine.

The largest rise in Germany was for drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae. 

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In the US, approximately five percent of Klebsiella samples in 2021 were resistant, the CDC found.

In the most recent study in Ukraine, all the Klebsiella samples tested from patients were resistant to carbapenem antibiotics.

In July, American military doctors in Ukraine treating a Ukrainian solider said the patient had been infected by six separate ‘extensively drug-resistant bacteria,’ including Klebsiella pneumoniae, after he suffered severe burns across more than half his body.

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USA get tricky Copa America group against Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia – and could meet Brazil in the quarterfinals… but boss Gregg Berhalter says bring it on!

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  • USA play Bolivia and Panama first before rounding out Group C vs. Uruguay
  • If they make it out of their group, they could very possibly meet Brazil next
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news

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Copa America hosts United States will face Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia in their group in next summer’s Copa America – and could face Brazil in the quarterfinals if they make it out the group.

Uruguay, coached by Marcelo Bielsa, was the one team coach Gregg Berhalter would have wanted to avoid but will play them last in their group – potentially with their place in the knockout stages already sorted by then. 

Berhalter’s men begin the tournament at the AT&T Stadium in Texas on Sunday, June 23 against Bolivia.

Four days later they will be in Atlanta for the game against Group C rival Panama at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.

They round of the group in Kansas City, playing Uruguay at Arrowhead Stadium which could well be a playoff to avoid Brazil in the next round.

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USA will play against Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia in their Copa America group next summer

USA will play against Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia in their Copa America group next summer

USA will play against Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia in their Copa America group next summer 

The team could potentially come up against Brazil in the quarterfinals of the tournament

The team could potentially come up against Brazil in the quarterfinals of the tournament

The team could potentially come up against Brazil in the quarterfinals of the tournament 

If they win Group C, they will then take on the runner up in Group D, out of what will almost definitely be a Neymar-less Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and a qualifier to be determined next year. 

The tournament will be a key yardstick for the US ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which it also hosts alongside Canada and Mexico. 

Berhalter will overall be pleased with the draw but failure to get out of this group would be a disaster, even with Uruguay lying in wait in the last game.

‘We always knew that was going to be a possibility,’ Berhalter said of facing Uruguay. ‘It will be a challenge for the group and last in the group, it could really set the stage. 

‘We control our own destiny in the first two games. We know what is lurking round the corner in Group D (in Brazil). But we will take whoever we have to take. The next year is going to be a phenomenal year.’

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At the 2022 World Cup, the US made the last-16 before being swept aside 3-1 by Holland. 

In the aftermath, Berhalter was embroiled in a public, bitter row with the parents of Gio Reyna for naming one of the star attackers on the US roster as a substitute for their games in the tournament.

Reyna has since returned to the US fold since Berhalter was announced to continue as USA coach and been one of the standout players for his country. 

Berhalter was relishing the possibility of facing Uruguay and Brazil in the Copa America

Berhalter was relishing the possibility of facing Uruguay and Brazil in the Copa America

Berhalter was relishing the possibility of facing Uruguay and Brazil in the Copa America 

Elsewhere, Lionel Messi and Argentina – the defending champions – will meet Peru and Chile in Group A, alongside a qualifier to be determined next year out of Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.

Argentina will open the tournament in Atlanta against Canada or Trinidad and Tobago on June 20.

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Brazil play Colombia and Paraguay while Mexico in Group B will play Ecuador, Venezuela and Jamaica.

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International

Hunter Biden indicted on nine tax related charges in California

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Hunter Biden was indicted on nine tax charges in California on Thursday as a special counsel investigation into the business dealings of the president’s son intensifies against the backdrop of the looming 2024 election.

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The new charges — three felonies and six misdemeanors — come in addition to federal firearms charges in Delaware alleging Hunter Biden broke a law against drug users having guns in 2018.

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He had been previously expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax charges as part of a plea deal with prosecutors who said he failed to pay taxes on $4 million in personal income in 2017 and 2018. Defense attorneys have signaled they plan to fight any new charges.

The agreement imploded in July after a judge raised questions about it. It had also been pilloried as a “sweetheart deal” by Republicans investigating nearly every aspect of Hunter Biden’s business dealings as well as the Justice Department’s handling of the case.

Congressional Republicans have also pursued an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, claiming he was engaged in an influence-peddling scheme with his son. The House is expected to vote next week on formally authorizing the inquiry.

While questions have arisen about the ethics surrounding the Biden family’s international business, no evidence has emerged so far to prove that Joe Biden, in his current or previous office, abused his role or accepted bribes.

The criminal investigation led by Delaware US Attorney David Weiss has been open since 2018, and was expected to wind down with the plea deal that Hunter Biden had planned to strike with prosecutors over the summer.

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He would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor tax evasion charges and would have entered a separate agreement on the gun charge. He would have served two years of probation rather than get jail time.

The agreement also contained immunity provisions, and defense attorneys have argued that they remain in force since that part of the agreement was signed by a prosecutor before the deal was scrapped.

Prosecutors disagree, pointing out the documents weren’t signed by a judge and are invalid.

After the deal fell apart, prosecutors filed three federal gun charges alleging that Hunter Biden had lied about his drug use to buy a gun that he kept for 11 days in 2018.

Federal law bans gun possession by “habitual drug users,” though the measure is seldom seen as a stand-alone charge and has been called into question by a federal appeals court.

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Hunter Biden’s longstanding struggle with substance abuse had worsened during that period after the death of his brother Beau Biden in 2015, prosecutors wrote in a draft plea agreement filed in court in Delaware.

He still made “substantial income” in 2017 and 2018, including $2.6 million in business and consulting fees from a company he formed with the CEOs of a Chinese business conglomerate and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, but did not pay his taxes, prosecutors said in that filing.

He did eventually file his taxes in 2020 and the back taxes were paid by a “third party” the following year, prosecutors said.

(AP)

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International

Two people are hurt in Elizabeth Line power cut pandemonium: Celebs are among thousands trapped for HOURS on freezing trains with some people SMASHING their way out and walking down freezing tracks in pitch darkness – and then face huge taxi queues

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Two people were injured when thousands of Elizabeth Line passengers were stuck on packed trains for hours without power last night, before being forced to walk down freezing railway tracks in the dark after damage to overhead cables sparked widespread chaos.

No trains were running between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport during the evening rush hour, with National Rail and Heathrow Express services also disrupted, leaving passengers stranded on rail strike day. 

Those on trains were made to wait for more than three hours until police started evacuating carriages, with some passengers resorting to forcing the doors open and ‘self evacuating’ before emergency services had arrived.

Footage obtained by MailOnline shows passengers carrying heavy suitcases along the tracks in the pitch dark after they disembarked the train and headed back towards Paddington.

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Elderly people, children and even the chief executive of Network Rail were among those stuck on carriages where temperatures plummeted when the heating stopped working due to the power failure.

A mother carrying a newborn said a woman fainted on her train while another passenger claimed people were forced to use the tracks, and even their seats, as toilets. Two people were treated for minor injuries and discharged at the scene.

The chaos meant some passengers missed their flights they had booked to see loved ones for Christmas while workers were unable to get to their shifts as people took to social media to vent their fury at Transport for London for providing no updates. 

After breaking free from trains, people were left to wait in huge queues for taxis in order to get home, with national rail strikes leaving many with no other transport options.

The Elizabeth Line has been plagued by delays since it fully opened this year, and it was revealed in August that it has seen more cancellations than any other railway line. 

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Are YOU stuck on an Elizabeth Line train? email matt.strudwick@mailonline.co.uk  

People climb down onto the tracks after being stranded on an Elizabeth Line train in semi-darkness for more than three hours

People climb down onto the tracks after being stranded on an Elizabeth Line train in semi-darkness for more than three hours

People climb down onto the tracks after being stranded on an Elizabeth Line train in semi-darkness for more than three hours 

Passengers start making the long walk back in the cold after their ordeal stuck on board the the train

Passengers start making the long walk back in the cold after their ordeal stuck on board the the train

Passengers start making the long walk back in the cold after their ordeal stuck on board the the train

The power failure meant the lights went off inside trains while the heating was also unable to work leaving passengers freezing cold

The power failure meant the lights went off inside trains while the heating was also unable to work leaving passengers freezing cold

The power failure meant the lights went off inside trains while the heating was also unable to work leaving passengers freezing cold

Passengers on board one train on the Elizabeth Line have been stuck for more than two hours waiting to be rescued

Passengers on board one train on the Elizabeth Line have been stuck for more than two hours waiting to be rescued

Passengers on board one train on the Elizabeth Line have been stuck for more than two hours waiting to be rescued

People stuck on a blacked out train on the Elizabeth Line after a power failure

People stuck on a blacked out train on the Elizabeth Line after a power failure
The only light inside the carriage was coming from their mobile phones

The only light inside the carriage was coming from their mobile phones

A video showed passengers sitting in a blacked out carriage of the 1837 Paddington service with their faces being lit up by the glow from their mobile phones

National rail, Elizabeth line and Heathrow Express services were all disrupted by the issue, Transport for London said. Transport Secretary Mark Harper said on X: ‘Aware of a serious incident involving overhead wires outside Paddington, with a number of trains stationary on the tracks.’ 

There was further chaos at Paddington with hundreds of stranded passengers packed inside the station waiting for taxis home. 

TfL apologised for the disruption with engineers said to be working through the night to assess the damage. 

Passengers have been urged by Network Rail to check before they travel in the morning. 

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A TfL spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry that the damage caused to Network Rail’s overhead power lines by another rail operator’s train has caused significant disruption to our Elizabeth line customers as well as all train operators out of London Paddington. 

‘We’re working together with response teams across partners to recover trains and get everyone home as quickly as we can. 

‘Network Rail are working urgently to repair the power lines and we’d encourage all customers to check before they travel over the next few days while they do this.’

Paramedics and a Hazardous Response Team from the London Ambulance Service were sent to the Paddington area where two people were treated for minor injuries.   

Pictures posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, showed passengers standing on packed trains which had been stuck on the tracks for more than an hour. 

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 A distressed mother said her daughter suffers with debilitating anxiety and had been on board her train for three hours.

She vented her frustration at Transport for London (TfL) for failing to update her. 

‘She [my daughter] suffers with debilitating anxiety and has poor comprehension, not to mention bladder issues meaning she needs the loo and is freezing cold,’ she told MailOnline. 

‘She won’t ask for help. No information is being given. TfL keep cutting me off at the point of answering and all I want is information that I can simplify for her.’

One passenger boarded a train at Acton at 6.41pm which stopped within five minutes and was still waiting to be rescued more than two hours later.

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Countdown’s Rachel Riley said she was one of those stuck, and posted a selfie of her and other passengers smiling, captioned: ‘Nearly 4 hours after we got on, we’re getting off the Elizabeth line, woohoo!’.

Seemingly also among those trapped on trains, musician James Blunt posted on X: ‘Been stuck somewhere outside Paddington for close to 4 hours now. Out of peanuts and wine.’ 

Another passenger dramatically described it as ‘like the Fall of Saigon’ and the Elizabeth Line ‘has failed again just when passengers needed it most’. 

Dr Bamo Nouri was one of those stuck and said the line had ‘almost completely blacked out’.

Dr Nouri wrote on X: ‘#Elizabeth line has almost completely blacked out with a fully loaded set of carriages and many standing. No real or substantial updates, no sense of urgency – been sat for almost an hour!’

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Transport for London expects delays to last for the rest of the day. 

One frustrated commuter said: ‘The Elizabeth Line has failed again just when passengers needed it most. At Paddington there were old folk, people with babies with absolutely no way of getting home. 

‘It was like the Fall of Saigon, except in that case some lucky people actually managed to get on the helicopter.’

One eyewitness claimed on X a train ahead had hit some overhead lines, although this is yet to be confirmed by TfL.

While another said a train driver had to shout at passengers trying to get off the train.

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A video showed passengers sitting in a blacked out carriage of the 1837 Paddington service with their faces being lit up by the glow from their mobile phones. 

Passengers left in the dark on board a train as one passenger huddles over their suitcase while others are forced to stand

Passengers left in the dark on board a train as one passenger huddles over their suitcase while others are forced to stand

Passengers left in the dark on board a train as one passenger huddles over their suitcase while others are forced to stand

An overhead power failure to to damage wires has left people stranded on packed carriages on the Elizabeth Line tonight

An overhead power failure to to damage wires has left people stranded on packed carriages on the Elizabeth Line tonight

An overhead power failure to to damage wires has left people stranded on packed carriages on the Elizabeth Line tonight

Voiceover artist Danny Cowan, who has appeared on Channel 4 and Netflix, said some passengers were trying to get off the train

Voiceover artist Danny Cowan, who has appeared on Channel 4 and Netflix, said some passengers were trying to get off the train

Voiceover artist Danny Cowan, who has appeared on Channel 4 and Netflix, said some passengers were trying to get off the train

The darkened carriage on a tube train on the Elizabeth Line where people had been standing for 90 minutes

The darkened carriage on a tube train on the Elizabeth Line where people had been standing for 90 minutes

The darkened carriage on a tube train on the Elizabeth Line where people had been standing for 90 minutes

Office of Rail and Road data on the cancellations score by operator from July to September 2023 and the percentage point (pp) change compared with the same period last year

Office of Rail and Road data on the cancellations score by operator from July to September 2023 and the percentage point (pp) change compared with the same period last year

Office of Rail and Road data on the cancellations score by operator from July to September 2023 and the percentage point (pp) change compared with the same period last year

Mikey Worrall, who posted the video, said people were opening up the doors to get onto the line.  

Danny Cowan, a voiceover artist who has appeared on Channel 4 and Netflix, was making his way to his agent’s Christmas party when the train came to sudden halt more than an hour ago.

He wrote on X the heating had gone off and he was so cold he could barely think.

He said: ‘Hey any fear you might get this FREEZING COLD (no heating) Elizabeth Line train moving that’s been stuck outside Acton Town for over an hour now? 

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‘The driver has already had to shout at passengers who are trying to get off. Some information would be nice.’

Emma Bentley has been stuck between Paddington and Acton for 90 minutes.

She said: ‘The carriages have now lost power, and it seems we may be walking home…’ 

Another stranded passenger was having his patience tested and wrote: ‘We have no power, so can’t move! I need a pee – mind over matter!’

The disruption is expected to last until the end of the day with current delays of 60 minutes. 

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No trains are calling at stations between Paddington and London Heathrow and Reading while the final Heathrow Express has also been cancelled. 

In August, the Office of Rail and Road figures revealed that there had been more cancellations on the Elizabeth line than any other railway line, and the new line has gained a reputation for disruption among commuters.

One in six of its services was delayed or cancelled over the summer and in October it suffered six separate issues in just over 24 hours. 

 A London Ambulance Service spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We were called at 7.38pm yesterday to reports of a large number of passengers delayed on trains between Paddington and Ladbroke Grove, west London.

‘We sent a number of resources to the scene including an ambulance crew, a paramedic in a fast response car, an incident response officer and members of our Hazardous Area Response Team.

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‘We treated two patients for minor injuries and discharged them at the scene.’

MailOnline has contacted Transport for London for comment. 

Are YOU stuck on an Elizabeth Line train? email matt.strudwick@mailonline.co.uk 

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International

Exiled family of Iran’s Nobel Peace Prize winner ‘proud’ to attend ceremony

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The address on the invitation to the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to attend the awards ceremony says it all. “Ms Narges Mohammadi, c/o Evin Prison, Tehran province, Iran”.

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Mohammadi, 51, awarded the prize in October in recognition of two decades of work defending human rights in Iran, in defiance of constant persecution by the Islamic republic, remains in prison in Iran with no hope of release, let alone attending the glitzy event in Oslo on Sunday.

Instead, it will be her twin children Ali and Kiana, 17, who will deliver her speech, sharing the message of a mother of whom they are fiercely proud but who they have not seen for almost nine years and not even spoken to by phone for 20 months.

They now live in Paris with their father and Narges Mohammadi’s husband Taghi Rahmani. The awards she has won weigh the bookshelves of their apartment which is marked by the spirit of the rights campaigner, even as she remains in jail thousands of kilometres away.

“We are not nervous, we are very proud to be able to be the voice of our mother and do our best to move things forward. The prize will reinforce our determination to go to the end,” said Ali.

He emphasised that the prize was not just for her mother but all Iranian women and men who rose up against Iran’s clerical authorities in the protest movement that started in September 2022.

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His twin sister Kiana proudly showed the dress she has bought for the ceremony but insisted “even if I went in my pyjamas, what counts is the message, what counts is the speech.”

‘Release almost impossible’

Mohammadi had already written the speech from prison and it has been safely received by her family. But they said they will only read it at the last moment in order to discover its message with everyone else.

Amid all the excitement of the trip to Oslo, the family know that the prize, whose award to Mohammadi was rapidly denounced by the Iranian authorities, will do little to help her find a way out of Evin prison in Tehran.

“They have a hatred without end for her. And as she won the Nobel Prize her release will be almost impossible. I prefer to anticipate and not be disappointed,” said Kiana.

Narges Mohammadi’s most recent stint in jail began with her arrest in November 2021 and she is embroiled in numerous cases supporters say are linked to her activism.

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The invitation is addressed to Narges Mohammadi in Evin prison
Iranian journalist Taghi Rahmani shows the invitation to this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, during an interview in Paris on December 5, 2023. © Geoffroy ven der Hasselt, AFP

Prison has marked the life of this family, who struggle to produce any picture showing the four of them together. Taghi Rahmani is also a veteran activist repeatedly jailed in Iran before coming to France a decade ago.

“When we were four years old our dad went to prison. From then on it was either him or our mother in prison. We got used to living without one or the other,” said Ali.

Taghi Rahmani said that the awarding of the prize to Mohammadi had created “many problems” for his wife inside Evin, with the latest restriction a complete cut of rights to make phone calls from last weekend that has yet to be restored.

A handout photo of of Iranian rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi
A handout photo of of Iranian rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi provided by the Narges Mohammadi Foundation on October 2, 2023. © The Narges Mohammadi Foundation via AFP

Mohammadi is prohibited from calling her husband or children in France. But she has been allowed until now to speak to family inside Iran –- crucial communications for staying in touch with the world.

But Rahmani emphasised she was “first of all very happy with the prize as her voice can be heard even more loudly in the world.”

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‘Victory not easy but certain’

The years of incarceration have taken a toll on the family, with Ali recalling that their last conversation dates back to just before her most recent jailing.

“She said ‘I am going back to prison, look after your sister and father well and stay strong. Stay strong for me’. I told her the same thing. ‘We are very proud of you, don’t be worried for us. We support you 100 percent’.”

He said he believed his mother would be released “when our goal is reached, freedom and democracy is reached.”

“It will be very complicated. But I have a lot of hope to be able to see my mother and a free Iran. My mother has an important saying ‘Victory is not easy but it is certain’.”

Iranian journalist Taghi Rahmani holds a photo of him and his wife, 2023 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi.
Rahmani shows a photo of him and his wife, 2023 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi, during an interview in his appartement in Paris on December 5, 2023. © Geoffroy van der Hasselt, AFP

In her teenage bedroom full of stuffed animals, make-up and photos, Kiana has a framed photo of Narges Mohammadi with her two children.

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“I forgot the sound of her voice, her height, what she looks like in person,” she said. “I accepted this life. It’s a horrible pain to live without your mother, but we don’t complain.”

(AFP)

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International

One of the brightest stars in the night sky will ‘blink out’ NEXT WEEK – and YOU can watch this ‘extremely rare’ red sun eclipse happen

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One of the brightest stars in the sky will go dark next week in an ‘extremely rare’ event, astronomers report — and it will be visible in parts of the US.

Betelgeuse, the orange-red outlier among the stars that make up the constellation Orion, will seemingly disappear for 12 seconds this Monday night, December 11, when it is briefly blocked by an asteroid.

While asteroids pass between Earth and the stars all the time, the rarity of Monday’s event stems from the asteroid, 319 Leona, hitting a sweet spot that will leave a ‘ring of fire’ visible around Betelgeuse.

Locals in the state of Florida , as well as parts of eastern Mexico, southern Europe and northern Asia will be in a perfect line-of-sight to see the David Copperfield-esque vanishing act, as the supergiant star is briefly blocked by asteroid 319 Leona - Monday night, Dec. 11

Locals in the state of Florida , as well as parts of eastern Mexico, southern Europe and northern Asia will be in a perfect line-of-sight to see the David Copperfield-esque vanishing act, as the supergiant star is briefly blocked by asteroid 319 Leona - Monday night, Dec. 11

Locals in the state of Florida , as well as parts of eastern Mexico, southern Europe and northern Asia will be in a perfect line-of-sight to see the David Copperfield-esque vanishing act, as the supergiant star is briefly blocked by asteroid 319 Leona – Monday night, Dec. 11

Locals in the state of Florida, as well as parts of eastern Mexico, southern Europe and northern Asia will be in a perfect line-of-sight to see it.

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But for everyone else, Betelgeuse’s rare ‘occlusion’ will be visible via a livestream, hosted by the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, starting at 8PM Eastern on Monday.

Although time will be of the essence during this 12-second window, astronomers hope to do more serious sky-watching — using the occlusion to map this supergiant red sun’s surface, which has undergone an odd dimming over the past four years. 

‘This is very exceptional. Basically, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’ as astrophysicist Miguel Montargès of the Paris Observatory, told Business Insider.

For Earthbound observatories, this outer region of the star’s hot charged gases would be otherwise drowned out by the blinding glow from the center of Betelgeuse, according to Montargès.

The eclipse-like ‘occultation’ will help stellar astrophysicists collect imaging data from the surface of Betelgeuse to better understand what are known as the red supergiant’s ‘convective cells’: the paths by which heated gas moves around the star.

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Montargès expects that the data collected might help physicists improve their models for how a planetary system, like our own solar system, is born.

Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, director of the Virtual Telescope Project which will livestream the celestial event, noted that the rare occurrence will also help scientists study the 319 Leona asteroid as well.

‘These kind of occultations,’ Masi said in a statement, ‘are very useful to constrain the shape of the asteroid involved.’

But. this occultation, Masi added, is not just ‘extremely rare’ but a portent of Betelgeuse’s future.

‘For a very short time, we will see the legendary Orion constellation without its famous, orange shoulder,’ Masi wrote, ‘as it will be in the distant future, once Betelgeuse will have exploded as a supernova and faded to black.’ 

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In recent years, astronomers have captured never-before-seen images of Betelgeuse's surface, which allowed them to track real-time changes and determine if 'this abrupt dimming was caused by the formation of stardust.' Monday's occultation will offer still more evidence

In recent years, astronomers have captured never-before-seen images of Betelgeuse's surface, which allowed them to track real-time changes and determine if 'this abrupt dimming was caused by the formation of stardust.' Monday's occultation will offer still more evidence

In recent years, astronomers have captured never-before-seen images of Betelgeuse’s surface, which allowed them to track real-time changes and determine if ‘this abrupt dimming was caused by the formation of stardust.’ Monday’s occultation will offer still more evidence

The 'occultation' will help stellar physicists collect data from Betelgeuse's surface to better understand why it has dimmed in recent years. Andrea Dupree at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard has suggested the dimming was caused by a massive dust cloud (illustrated above)

The 'occultation' will help stellar physicists collect data from Betelgeuse's surface to better understand why it has dimmed in recent years. Andrea Dupree at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard has suggested the dimming was caused by a massive dust cloud (illustrated above)

The ‘occultation’ will help stellar physicists collect data from Betelgeuse’s surface to better understand why it has dimmed in recent years. Andrea Dupree at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard has suggested the dimming was caused by a massive dust cloud (illustrated above)

Astronomers and astrophysicists will be trying to calculate and predict the asteroid 319 Leona’s trajectory up to the last minute, but according to Sky & Telescope, the occultation is now most likely to occur around 8:17 PM Eastern Time. 

Sky-watchers within the correct line-of-sight will be able to see Betelgeuse, which is usually the 10th-brightest star in the night sky, disappear with their naked eyes.

Nevertheless, binoculars or a telescope will, of course, help enhance the experience of witnessing the rare occlusion event.

Those interested in other parts of the world may still want to make the attempt, and could likely see Betelgeuse, if not blink out, at least appear to dim in an unusual way.

Residents of the Northern Hemisphere looking to find Betelegeuse in the month of December, should start by looking east about two hours after sunset — the vantage should help them see the rising of Orion’s Belt, the stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka, alongside Betelgeuse glowing orange to their left.

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For more information, the International Occultation Timing Association has a dedicated information page for the event with a downloadable Google Earth file to help track where around the globe the event will be visible. 

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French minister rules out relocating Tahiti’s Olympic surfing events despite reef damage

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France’s Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera on Thursday ruled out any move of Olympic surfing events away from Tahiti after environmental damage occurred during tests last week.

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Questions about the suitability of having the French Pacific island host the competitions were raised after work was put on hold following the damage done to the coral reef at Teahupo’o.

On Friday, a construction barge used to install an aluminium judges’ tower in the sea, supposed to reach a height of 14 metres (46 feet), broke more of the beach’s corals in a new test.

French Polynesia President Moetai Brotherson later questioned whether events could go ahead at the site, while officials from two locations on mainland France — Lacanau on the Atlantic coast near Bordeaux and La Torche, further north in Brittany — both said they could welcome the event.

But Oudea-Castera rejected the idea of moving the surfing away from Tahiti.

“No, there’s no Plan B,” she told reporters. “We’re on this path which is really the right one.”

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“We’re on the right path to have a new, resized judges’ tower” that corresponds to “requests made by locals” she added.

In mid-November, the organisers and the Polynesian government revised their plans with a lighter tower project in order to “limit environmental damage”.

The International Surfing Federation (ISA) has welcomed the decision to suspend the work.

Oudea-Castera acknowledged, however, that the test was less than satisfactory.

“There was a test that was obviously not well prepared and could not be conducted properly,” she said. “And unfortunately it damaged bits of coral, which is obviously completely regrettable.”

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“The next test must be meticulously prepared,” she said.

(AFP)

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