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Une nouvelle loi cible le voyeurisme et la “photographie sous la jupe” au Japon

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Pour la première fois au Japon, le législateur s’apprête à criminaliser la “sneak photography”, ou photos sexuelles prises sans consentement dans des lieux publics, un problème récurrent dans les transports en commun qui cible principalement les jeunes femmes. La loi est un pas dans la bonne direction, dit notre Observateur, même si le Japon a encore beaucoup de progrès à faire, notamment en matière d’éducation sexuelle.

Au Japon, les transports en commun peuvent être un champ de mines pour les femmes. Dans les trains, les couloirs ou les escalators bondés, ils peuvent tomber sur “chikan”, un mot japonais qui décrit les hommes qui touchent les femmes de manière inappropriée dans les transports publics ou essaient de prendre des photos sous les jupes des femmes sans leur consentement, également connu sous le nom de “upskirting”.

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Le projet de loi ciblant ce type de “voyeurisme photographique” pénaliserait ceux qui prennent et diffusent des images sexuelles prises sans consentement, y compris celles prises par chikan.

La loi fait partie d’une série de mesures contre les violences sexuelles, notamment en élargissant la définition du viol et en pénalisant le “grooming”, lorsqu’un adulte établit une relation avec un mineur afin de l’exploiter pour obtenir des faveurs sexuelles ou des photographies, un phénomène qui se produit principalement en ligne.

>> En savoir plus sur The Observers : Le « chikan » japonais : un regard illustré sur la façon dont les harceleurs sexuels pelotent les femmes dans les trains

“Les victimes sont souvent des jeunes filles en uniforme scolaire”

Dans un pays où les jeunes filles sont souvent sexualisées dans les médias, certaines des victimes de harcèlement sexuel au Japon ne sont que des adolescentes, selon notre Observateur Maki Abe, qui a fondé une association de sensibilisation aux violences sexuelles envers les jeunes. Elle travaille depuis plus de 20 ans pour lutter contre les violences sexuelles envers les mineurs.

La façon dont les femmes sont sexualisées au Japon est très problématique. On le voit en manga, en anime, mais aussi en images un peu partout dans la ville : les couvertures de magazines dans les dépanneurs. Nous sommes exposés tout le temps, même les enfants.

Beaucoup de gens se rendent au travail ou à l’école en tain, et ils sont extrêmement encombrés. Nous devons les prendre.

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‘Chikan’ se produit très souvent dans les trains. Les victimes sont souvent des jeunes filles en uniforme scolaire.

En 2018, environ 3 000 cas ont été signalés [Editor’s note: and 5,000 in 2021]mais c’est certainement moins de 1 % parce que beaucoup de gens ne vont pas à la police ou ne déposent pas de plainte.

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Dans les métros de la région du Kansai, des affiches avec un numéro d’urgence invitent les passagers à signaler leurs expériences de “Chikan” au personnel de la station ou aux policiers.

“Le plus gros problème, c’est que la victime est blâmée”

Le phénomène existe depuis des années au Japon, au point que certains trains ont même une voiture réservée aux femmes aux heures de pointe. Jusqu’à présent, seules les lois locales, qui varient d’une région à l’autre, sanctionnent le harcèlement sexuel et le photo-voyeurisme dans les transports en commun.

Maki Abe est prudemment optimiste quant à la nouvelle loi.

Au début, je pensais que cette loi était un très grand pas en avant. On parle de changer un code pénal qui a plus de 100 ans [Editor’s note: Japan’s penal code was adopted in 1907]. Mais il y a tellement de défis, comme le fait que beaucoup de femmes ne signalent pas.

À mon avis, le plus gros problème est que la victime est blâmée. Ils disent : ‘C’est de ta faute, pourquoi t’habillerais-tu avec une jupe aussi courte ou marcherais-tu comme ça ? C’est ta faute.’

Photo prise par nos Observateurs dans une gare de Yokohama, où elle habite.
Photo prise par nos Observateurs dans une gare de Yokohama, où elle habite. © Maki Abe/Observateurs

Dans toutes les gares du Japon, il y a des affiches comme celle-ci pour avertir les femmes du ‘chikan’. Mais le message est souvent, comme sur cette photo que j’ai prise : ‘Tu dois faire attention’, ‘Tu dois faire attention derrière toi’.

Maki Abe pense que la clé pour résoudre le problème réside dans l’éducation sexuelle.

L’éducation sexuelle au Japon est très en retard. Les élèves ne sont pas suffisamment éduqués, notamment sur le consentement sexuel.

Et le Japon est très en retard sur la prévention des abus sexuels, donc dans le système juridique et l’éducation à la prévention, ils n’ont pas les bonnes informations. Même si les filles sont capables de parler, si la personne qui écoute n’a pas les bonnes connaissances, le cas ne sera pas traité par la police ou l’enseignant.

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Ça s’améliore petit à petit, mais nous sommes toujours en retard par rapport à l’Europe ou aux États-Unis.

Je veux promouvoir une éducation qui dit “Ce n’est pas ta faute”. Nous avons besoin d’une éducation préventive et d’un système de conseil pour accepter plus de signalements et créer un système de soutien.

Le projet de loi prévoit des peines de prison pouvant aller jusqu’à trois ans ou une amende pouvant aller jusqu’à 3 millions de yens (environ 20 000 euros) pour harcèlement sexuel et photo voyeurisme.

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Haiti, Kenya sign agreement on police deployment to tackle gang violence

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Kenya and Haiti signed a “reciprocal” agreement on Friday to deploy police from the East African country to lead a UN-backed law and order mission to the gang-plagued Caribbean nation, Kenyan President William Ruto said.

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Ruto said he and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry had “discussed the next steps to enable the fast-tracking of the deployment”, but it was not immediately clear whether the agreement would counter a court ruling in January that branded the deployment “illegal”.

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Haiti’s government has pleaded for international help to confront violence that has cost thousands of lives, as armed gangs take over entire swathes of the country, leaving the economy and public health system in tatters.

Read moreGangs in Haiti attack Port au Prince neighbourhood, torching homes

Kenya had previously said that it was ready to provide up to 1,000 personnel, an offer welcomed by the United States and other nations that had ruled out putting their own forces on the ground.

But a Nairobi court said the decision was unconstitutional, in part because the two countries had not signed a reciprocal agreement on the issue.

On Friday, Ruto said he and Henry had “witnessed the signing” of a reciprocal agreement in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Details of the document have not been made public.

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“I take this opportunity to reiterate Kenya’s commitment to contribute to the success of this multinational mission. We believe this is a historic duty because peace in Haiti is good for the world as a whole,” Ruto said in a statement.

The UN Security Council had approved the multinational mission in early October but the Kenyan court ruling threw its future into doubt.

Opposition politician Ekuru Aukot, who had filed the petition against the deployment, told AFP on Friday that he would lodge a case “for contempt of court”.

“What is emerging is that William Ruto does not care about the rule of law or the constitution of this country,” he said.

“We will question the validity of this secretive agreement.”

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‘A helping hand’

In the face of criticism, Ruto had described the Kenyan undertaking as a “mission for humanity”, in step with its long record of contributing to peacekeeping missions abroad.

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

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

Thousands of protesters have demanded Henry’s resignation in line with a political deal that required Haiti to hold polls and for him to cede power to newly elected officials by February 7 of this year.

The prime minister, who is on a visit to Nairobi, told an audience of university students on Friday he aimed to “have elections as soon as possible”.

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“We need elections to stabilise the country,” he said, but offered no specific timeframe for the polls.

On Thursday, the Caribbean Community bloc said Henry had agreed to hold elections by 31 August 2025 following a regional summit this week in Guyana.

In January alone, more than 1,100 people were killed, injured or kidnapped in Haiti, according to the UN.

“In October 2022, we asked the world to give us a helping hand. President Ruto was the first one to agree to come to Haiti and we want to say thank you to him,” Henry said.

“We thank Kenya for its active solidarity.”

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The multinational mission – initially approved for one year – had envisioned Kenyan police on the offensive with their Haitian counterparts, who are outnumbered and outgunned by gang members.

Five countries have agreed to join the Kenya-led multinational policing mission, including the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin and Chad.

Last year saw nearly 5,000 homicides counted in Haiti, more than double the number in 2022, according to a UN report.

(AFP) 

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‘I’ve never been so unhappy to walk off a plane’: The Mail flies to Oregon on a Boeing 757 that’s been converted into a PRIVATE JET with lie-flat seats… for holidays around the world that cost £140,000

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‘Another blini for your caviar, madame?’ I’m asked as we cruise above Iceland’s snow-capped mountains and I settle into my wide, Italian cream leather and walnut wood-finished throne.

Around me, my fellow guests, all smartly dressed and brimming with excitement, are sipping on perfectly chilled Dom Perignon champagne vintage 2013 (costing more than £200 a bottle) while getting to know one another.

We’re on board Abercrombie & Kent’s private jet, flying in extreme style from Reykjavik, in Iceland, to Portland, Oregon.

The company whisks small groups of wealthy travellers across the globe on trips costing up to £156,605 ($200,000) for up to 26 days.

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Private jet tours like this have been growing in popularity since the pandemic and are now offered by several luxury travel companies, including the Aman and Four Seasons hotel groups. I’m sampling it for one journey.

Harriet Sime travels on Abercrombie & Kent's private jet, which has been designed to whisk small groups of travellers across the globe on trips costing up to £156,605. Harriet is pictured above enjoying a glass of Dom Perignon champagne vintage 2013, which costs more than £200 a bottle

Harriet Sime travels on Abercrombie & Kent's private jet, which has been designed to whisk small groups of travellers across the globe on trips costing up to £156,605. Harriet is pictured above enjoying a glass of Dom Perignon champagne vintage 2013, which costs more than £200 a bottle

Harriet Sime travels on Abercrombie & Kent’s private jet, which has been designed to whisk small groups of travellers across the globe on trips costing up to £156,605. Harriet is pictured above enjoying a glass of Dom Perignon champagne vintage 2013, which costs more than £200 a bottle

Abercrombie & Kent¿s jet (pictured) is a reconfigured and customised Boeing 757

Abercrombie & Kent¿s jet (pictured) is a reconfigured and customised Boeing 757

Abercrombie & Kent’s jet (pictured) is a reconfigured and customised Boeing 757

While crisscrossing the world, guests are treated to three-course meals cooked by private chefs, lie-flat seats, fluffy slippers and duvets, Briggs & Riley amenity bags overflowing with L’Occitane goodies, iPads preloaded with newly-released films, a travelling ‘bell boy’ responsible for the luggage and a photographer ready to capture every moment. There’s even a doctor on board for the duration for ultimate peace of mind.

Abercrombie & Kent’s jet is a reconfigured and customised Boeing 757. Planes like these usually carry 200 or so passengers. But this one has just 48 handcrafted business class-like seats, which massage their occupant in different modes and lie flat at the click of a button.

I’m allocated 9A, a window seat with absolutely everything I need within touching distance: almost as soon as I notice my phone’s running out of battery, I find a charger in a side pocket; when the chatter in the cabin picks up a notch while I’m settling down to sleep, I find Bose noise-cancelling headphones above my head; the moment I feel peckish or in need of a top up, a cabin crew member comes over and places something on the wide walnut table in front of me.

On Abercrombie & Kent's Wildlife Safari tour, passengers take in eight countries, making stops to spot snow monkeys in Japan, bears in Malaysia, Bengal tigers in India, lemurs in Madagascar and gorillas in Uganda - all the while bubble-wrapped in luxury

On Abercrombie & Kent's Wildlife Safari tour, passengers take in eight countries, making stops to spot snow monkeys in Japan, bears in Malaysia, Bengal tigers in India, lemurs in Madagascar and gorillas in Uganda - all the while bubble-wrapped in luxury

On Abercrombie & Kent’s Wildlife Safari tour, passengers take in eight countries, making stops to spot snow monkeys in Japan, bears in Malaysia, Bengal tigers in India, lemurs in Madagascar and gorillas in Uganda – all the while bubble-wrapped in luxury

Planes like these usually carry 200 or so passengers, but this one has just 48 business class-like seats, Harriet reveals

Planes like these usually carry 200 or so passengers, but this one has just 48 business class-like seats, Harriet reveals
Harriet describes her seat as an 'Italian cream leather and walnut wood-finished throne'

Harriet describes her seat as an 'Italian cream leather and walnut wood-finished throne'

Planes like these usually carry 200 or so passengers, but this one has just 48 business class-like seats, Harriet reveals. She describes her seat as an ‘Italian cream leather and walnut wood-finished throne’

The guest-to-cabin crew ratio is 1:7 and the staff wear navy skirt suits, corsages and wide smiles.

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During the flight, conversation flows just as fast as the bubbly. ‘We become like a big family during these trips,’ Ann Epting, A&K’s senior vice-president of private jet travel, says. It may sound cheesy – but it’s true.

As we cross over Canada’s deep blue lakes, white linen cloths are placed on our tables and we’re treated to chicken Caesar salads, followed by honey and lime-glazed Arctic char with lobster sauce and a pudding of caramel chocolate mousse with crumbled brownies.

The chairs 'massage their occupant in different modes and lie flat at the click of a button'

The chairs 'massage their occupant in different modes and lie flat at the click of a button'

The chairs ‘massage their occupant in different modes and lie flat at the click of a button’

Harriet is impressed with the food on board, commenting that she has 'had worse meals at Michelin-starred restaurants'

Harriet is impressed with the food on board, commenting that she has 'had worse meals at Michelin-starred restaurants'

Harriet is impressed with the food on board, commenting that she has ‘had worse meals at Michelin-starred restaurants’

As well as top food, explains Harriet, there's an extensive and unlimited drinks menu that includes negronis and espresso martinis, campari, martini, cognac, and bottles of red and white wine which would cost more than £100 at your local restaurant

As well as top food, explains Harriet, there's an extensive and unlimited drinks menu that includes negronis and espresso martinis, campari, martini, cognac, and bottles of red and white wine which would cost more than £100 at your local restaurant

 As well as top food, explains Harriet, there’s an extensive and unlimited drinks menu that includes negronis and espresso martinis, campari, martini, cognac, and bottles of red and white wine which would cost more than £100 at your local restaurant

The guest-to-cabin crew ratio is 1:7

The guest-to-cabin crew ratio is 1:7
'The staff wear navy skirt suits, corsages and wide smiles,' writes Harriet

'The staff wear navy skirt suits, corsages and wide smiles,' writes Harriet

The guest-to-cabin crew ratio is 1:7 and ‘the staff wear navy skirt suits, corsages and wide smiles’

The Briggs & Riley amenity bag with L¿Occitane goodies that each passenger receives

The Briggs & Riley amenity bag with L¿Occitane goodies that each passenger receives

The Briggs & Riley amenity bag with L’Occitane goodies that each passenger receives

I’ve had worse meals at Michelin-starred restaurants and can’t quite believe what I’m tasting at 38,000ft.

The extensive and unlimited drinks menu includes negronis and espresso martinis, campari, martini, cognac, and bottles of red and white wine which would cost more than £100 at your local restaurant.

The eight hours whizz by in a ridiculously luxurious blur, and before we know it, the jet is touching down in Portland. I’ve never been so unhappy to walk off a plane.

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Once we disembark, the jet is cleaned and restocked ready for those lucky guests who are continuing on a 25-day Wildlife Safari tour, taking in eight countries and making stops to spot snow monkeys in Japan, bears in Malaysia, Bengal tigers in India, lemurs in Madagascar and gorillas in Uganda – all the while bubble-wrapped in luxury.

In total, they’ll be in the air for 55 hours. A similar itinerary via commercial flights would take 117 hours, plus an extra 77 in layovers. One journey on another tour between Cebu in the Philippines and Sandakan in Malaysia would usually take 19 hours plus two layovers; A&K’s private jet does it in 40 minutes.

Passengers never have to queue and are whisked through private terminals with immigration cards pre-filled by the staff.

Hotel stops, meanwhile, are taken at the world’s finest brands, including The Peninsular, Shangri-La and Ritz-Carlton.

Passengers on the Abercrombie & Kent private jet tour never have to queue and are whisked through private terminals with immigration cards pre-filled by the staff

Passengers on the Abercrombie & Kent private jet tour never have to queue and are whisked through private terminals with immigration cards pre-filled by the staff

Passengers on the Abercrombie & Kent private jet tour never have to queue and are whisked through private terminals with immigration cards pre-filled by the staff

If the plane touches down somewhere off the luxury hotel path, A&K will book a three or four-star hotel and convert it to five-star. They’ll train staff (or bring in their own), replace furniture, bed linen and mattresses, paint walls and add artwork.

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For this all-inclusive odyssey, you’re asked to pay £139,670pp ($176,000). Demand is high and almost 40 per cent of customers return for their second, third or even ninth trip.

Guests spending what some people pay for a house means expectations are, of course, very high. So do the staff ever say ‘no’ to guests? ‘No’, comes Ann’s quick reply as a wry smile spreads over her face. ‘Honest to goodness, we do everything we can to cater to our guests’ needs and no isn’t really in our vocabulary. There was one time a couple requested eight feather pillows in every hotel room so we made sure that happened.’

Then there was the woman who brought along nine suitcases and presented seven pages of dietary requirements; the vet who wanted to eat a pig’s head while in the remote Philippines; the man who proposed after being helicoptered to Everest base camp, and then asked if the staff would arrange his wedding a few days later — which they did, of course, in Sicily.

So, is it worth it? If you have the money, absolutely. But it’s also dangerous. Jet around the world like this and you might never again want to take a normal commercial flight.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Abercrombie & Kent offers Around The World By Private Jet tours from £139,670. The next Wildlife & Nature tour departs from Hawaii on September 2 (abercrombiekent.co.uk, 03330 603892).

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Fasting IS good for you… but don’t copy Rishi Sunak! Scientists find health benefits of starving yourself only kick in after three days

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Fasting like Rishi Sunak can have multiple health benefits, scientists have confirmed — but only if you do it for at least three days straight. 

New findings reveal that prolonged fasting sheds unhealthy fat — with the weight staying off — and gives multiple organs, including the brain, a ‘significant’ boost.

But researchers at Queen Mary University in London found the benefits only kick in after at least 72 hours without food.

It means the PM — who only drinks water, tea or black coffee from 5pm Sunday to 5am Tuesday, may not be benefitting from his weekly 36-hour fast.

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Researchers at Queen Mary University in London found the benefits only kick in after at least 72 hours without food. It means the PM — who only drinks water, tea or black coffee from 5pm Sunday to 5am Tuesday, may not be benefitting from his weekly 36-hour fast

Researchers at Queen Mary University in London found the benefits only kick in after at least 72 hours without food. It means the PM — who only drinks water, tea or black coffee from 5pm Sunday to 5am Tuesday, may not be benefitting from his weekly 36-hour fast

Researchers at Queen Mary University in London found the benefits only kick in after at least 72 hours without food. It means the PM — who only drinks water, tea or black coffee from 5pm Sunday to 5am Tuesday, may not be benefitting from his weekly 36-hour fast

Many celebrities have also touted the benefits of intermittent fasting, including Hugh Jackman (pictured in February 2023). The study found that protein levels in several organs change after about three days of fasting, indicating that the whole body is responding to the fast

Many celebrities have also touted the benefits of intermittent fasting, including Hugh Jackman (pictured in February 2023). The study found that protein levels in several organs change after about three days of fasting, indicating that the whole body is responding to the fast

Many celebrities have also touted the benefits of intermittent fasting, including Hugh Jackman (pictured in February 2023). The study found that protein levels in several organs change after about three days of fasting, indicating that the whole body is responding to the fast

Many celebrities have also touted the benefits of intermittent fasting, including Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Hemsworth and Kourtney Kardashian.

Professor Claudia Langenberg said: ‘Fasting, when done safely, is an effective weight loss intervention. Popular diets that incorporate fasting claim to have health benefits beyond weight loss.

‘Our results provide evidence for the health benefits of fasting beyond weight loss, but these were only visible after three days of total caloric restriction — later than we previously thought.

‘For the first time, we’re able to see what’s happening on a molecular level across the body when we fast.’

The study found that protein levels in several organs change after about three days of fasting, indicating that the whole body is responding to the fast.

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These proteins, including ones that make up the supportive structure for neurons in the brain, help organs operate more effectively.

These proteins, including ones that make up the supportive structure for neurons in the brain, help organs operate more effectively. Pictured, Kourtney Kardashian in 2019. The oldest Kardashian sibling has previously touted the benefits of intermittent fasting

These proteins, including ones that make up the supportive structure for neurons in the brain, help organs operate more effectively. Pictured, Kourtney Kardashian in 2019. The oldest Kardashian sibling has previously touted the benefits of intermittent fasting

These proteins, including ones that make up the supportive structure for neurons in the brain, help organs operate more effectively. Pictured, Kourtney Kardashian in 2019. The oldest Kardashian sibling has previously touted the benefits of intermittent fasting

The study's test subjects, who fasted for seven days straight, lost an average of 5.7kg. The weight stayed off even three days after fasting ended. Fasting is practised by millions of people throughout the world for different medical and cultural purposes, including health benefits and weight loss. The Prime Minister's (pictured on Wednesday) mother-in-law, Sudha Murty, last year also revealed her family have long observed a fast every Thursday

The study's test subjects, who fasted for seven days straight, lost an average of 5.7kg. The weight stayed off even three days after fasting ended. Fasting is practised by millions of people throughout the world for different medical and cultural purposes, including health benefits and weight loss. The Prime Minister's (pictured on Wednesday) mother-in-law, Sudha Murty, last year also revealed her family have long observed a fast every Thursday

The study’s test subjects, who fasted for seven days straight, lost an average of 5.7kg. The weight stayed off even three days after fasting ended. Fasting is practised by millions of people throughout the world for different medical and cultural purposes, including health benefits and weight loss. The Prime Minister’s (pictured on Wednesday) mother-in-law, Sudha Murty, last year also revealed her family have long observed a fast every Thursday

The body also changes its source and type of energy, switching from glucose calories that come from food to its own fat stores.

The study’s test subjects, who fasted for seven days straight, lost an average of 5.7kg. The weight stayed off even three days after fasting ended.

Fasting is practised by millions of people throughout the world for different medical and cultural purposes, including health benefits and weight loss.

Historically, fasting was used to treat diseases such as epilepsy and rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers said the protein changes may explain why it had a positive effect on these and other conditions.

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They hope their findings lead to new treatments for people who cannot undergo prolonged fasting.

Dr Maik Pietzner said: ‘While fasting may be beneficial for treating some conditions, often fasting won’t be an option to patients suffering from ill health. We hope these findings can be used to develop treatments that patients are able to use.’

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

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• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options

• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

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• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide 

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Christian Horner latest: Red Bull team principal to return to paddock after alleged text messages and photos leaked

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So, as we’ve discussed today, Horner was cleared by a KC-led investigation into allegations of ‘inappropritate behaviour’ before reports yesterday emerged that alleged text messages from the Red Bull boss had been leaked.

Below, we’ve got a complete timeline of the investigation, leading all the way up to yesterday’s seismic reports…

February 5 – Red Bull Racing’s parent company GmbH confirms Horner is under investigation following an accusation of ‘inappropriate behaviour’. The company says it ‘takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible’.

February 9 – Horner is questioned by a lawyer for eight hours at a secret London location. There is no immediate resolution.

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February 15 – Horner appears at Red Bull’s car launch – his first appearance in public since news of the allegations emerged. He vows to be in his role as Red Bull team principal for the first race of the season, and says: ‘For me, it is business as normal.’

February 18 – F1 makes its first public comment on the matter, calling for Horner’s future to be ‘clarified at the earliest opportunity’.

February 20 – Despite the ongoing investigation, Horner flies to Bahrain for three days of testing ahead of the new season.

February 21 – Horner takes his position on the Red Bull pit wall for the opening day of the test. Rival Mercedes boss Toto Wolff demands transparency from Red Bull’s investigation, and says the controversy is ‘an issue for all of Formula One’.

February 22 – Horner appears in a press conference alongside four other F1 team principals. He refuses to comment on the investigation, but says ‘everybody would like a conclusion as soon as possible’.

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February 23 – Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen says ‘it will be nice for everyone’ when the investigation into Horner is concluded. Horner heads back to England following the conclusion of the test.

February 28 – Red Bull GmbH announces the ‘independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed’, clearing Horner to remain in his position.

February 29 – Text messages and photographs allegedly sent by Horner to a female employee are leaked, just hours after the Red Bull boss broke his silence on the investigation.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner ahead of Practice 3 at the Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir. Picture date: Friday March 1, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story AUTO Bahrain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner ahead of Practice 3 at the Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir. Picture date: Friday March 1, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story AUTO Bahrain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 01, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

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Wedding wipeout! Bride’s dream day turns into a nightmare after she faints at the altar seconds after saying ‘I do’

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A bride’s dream wedding day turned into a nightmare after she fainted at the altar, just seconds after saying ‘I do’. 

A TikTok clip shows Catherine Franks was collapsing at the church altar moments after marrying her husband, which she put down to heat exhaustion and dehydration.

The 28-year-old had been enduring 37C temperatures under ‘all the lights’ for more than 40 minutes when her head began to spin after exchanging her vows.

As the couple were pronounced man and wife, the speech therapist tumbled to the ground during the ceremony, while her concerned fiancé Alex Franks rushed to her side.

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Shocking wedding footage captures the moment Catherine slumps to the ground three times as the bridesmaids and groom try to keep her upright.

Catherine Frnaks, 28, passed out on her own wedding day after enduring 37C heat at the altar under the lights where she said 'I do'

Catherine Frnaks, 28, passed out on her own wedding day after enduring 37C heat at the altar under the lights where she said 'I do'

Catherine Frnaks, 28, passed out on her own wedding day after enduring 37C heat at the altar under the lights where she said ‘I do’

More footage then reveals her lay prostrate across the floor of the alter as everyone frantically fans the horizontal bride.

Catherine said she passed out from dehydration – a moment which was shared on TikTok and racked up more than 500,000 views.

Catherine said: ‘We get to the wedding and get to the ceremony and I start feeling a bit light-headed at the altar with everyone watching.

After Catherine spectacularly collapsed at the altar her husband Alex rushed to her aid, along with other guests

After Catherine spectacularly collapsed at the altar her husband Alex rushed to her aid, along with other guests

After Catherine spectacularly collapsed at the altar her husband Alex rushed to her aid, along with other guests

‘I think we had just said ‘I do’ and were waiting on the final prayer so we were technically married. We’d been standing there for about 40 minutes.

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‘My husband knew something was wrong and kept looking at me, and I said ‘I think I’m going to pass out’. I started getting tunnel vision and feeling really light-headed.

‘The next thing I knew, I woke up and just saw boots around me because my dad and husband wore cowboy boots.’

Catherine, who met her husband on the dating app Hinge before becoming engaged in August 2022, said she managed to compose herself after the incident when her new husband helped calm her down.

Despite the couple's strange start to married life, they looked like a match made in heaven as they beamed in front of their guests

Despite the couple's strange start to married life, they looked like a match made in heaven as they beamed in front of their guests

Despite the couple’s strange start to married life, they looked like a match made in heaven as they beamed in front of their guests 

After Catherine collapsed she was helped onto a chair by her husband and other wedding guests, including a bridesmaid

After Catherine collapsed she was helped onto a chair by her husband and other wedding guests, including a bridesmaid

After Catherine collapsed she was helped onto a chair by her husband and other wedding guests, including a bridesmaid

Catherine said: ‘I was trying to get myself together and gather myself because all these people were here and watching me.

‘I thought ‘I just need to get up and finish’. It was so hot on the altar with all the lights.

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‘My husband was really worried about me. I heard people say ‘is she okay?’ ‘get her some water’.

‘He said to me ‘it’s okay, you’ll be fine’, he really talked me down from freaking out too much.

‘I’m a pretty clumsy person so I’m kind of used to things like that happening to me.

‘Lots of people came up to me at the reception and asked if I was okay.’

Catherine, who married 26-year-old teacher Alex in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, US, on July 7th 2023, said the moment has become a ‘family joke’ among her nearest and dearest.

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She ended up going to the ER the following day due to dehydration – but admits the debacle will be a funny tale to tell her daughter in years to come.

Catherine, who is expecting a baby girl in April, said: ‘I didn’t faint again but I got sick. We took a school bus from the church to our reception and I got sick on the bus and then I was fine for the rest of the night.

‘I actually went to the emergency room the next day because we think I had a little virus and I was so dehydrated.

‘At the time it was distressing, but now we look back and laugh. It’s funny now. It made the day very memorable! It’s now a family joke.

‘This will be a funny moment we can share with our daughter in years to come!’

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New sci-fi movie replaces The Shawshank Redemption as IMDb’s highest-rated film of all time

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A new sci-fit movie has overtaken The Shawshank Redemption as the number one highest-rated film on IMDB – and it hasn’t even been released.

The Shawshank Redemption has held the number one best film spot on IMDB since 2008 when it knocked The Godfather out of its long-standing ranking of nearly 20 years.

The 1994 flick has lost its crown Dune: Part Two, which has been deemed ‘visually thrilling’ and ‘narratively epic’ by critics days before its official release on March 1.

The Warner Bros movie has a 9.4 rating on IMDB from viewers who went to an early screening of the Sci-Fi epic on Sunday, along with a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Dune: Part Two overtook The Shawshank Redemption's number one spot on IMDB days before it's release

Dune: Part Two overtook The Shawshank Redemption's number one spot on IMDB days before it's release

Dune: Part Two overtook The Shawshank Redemption’s number one spot on IMDB days before it’s release

Dune: Part Two is the second park in the film adaptation of Frank Herbert's first book of the same name

Dune: Part Two is the second park in the film adaptation of Frank Herbert's first book of the same name

Dune: Part Two is the second park in the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s first book of the same name

Dune: Part Two’s sudden rise in popularity is in direct contrast to The Shawshank Redemption, which was a slow burn for viewers after it tanked at the box office.

The cult classic didn’t reach the heart of viewers until it was released on VHS a year later but it still took another 12 years before it reached IMDB’s top 250 list.

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi vision, Dune: Part Two, has seemed to have no such issue, with viewers calling it the movie Hollywood needed and the ‘Sci-Fi/Fantasy epic of our Generation,’ while some compared it to The Lord of The Rings trilogy’s success in the early 2000s.

The majority of reviewers gave Dune: Part Two a 10-star rating with only five reviews ranking it below five stars, with many complimenting its blend of ‘visual splendor and narrative depth.’

The film’s IMDB rating has beaten out the top highest-grossing films of all time including Marvel’s Avengers: End Game and James Cameron’s Avatar and The Titanic which have all garnered roughly 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Rotten Tomatoes is considered to be a more accurate depiction of a film’s success because it focuses on critics reviews.

Dune: Part Two beat out The Shawshank Redemption's top spot on IMDB nearly 20 years after the film took The Godfather's place on the site

Dune: Part Two beat out The Shawshank Redemption's top spot on IMDB nearly 20 years after the film took The Godfather's place on the site

Dune: Part Two beat out The Shawshank Redemption’s top spot on IMDB nearly 20 years after the film took The Godfather’s place on the site

Dune: Part Two cost $190 million to make and will need to gross $470 million in the box office to make a profit

Dune: Part Two cost $190 million to make and will need to gross $470 million in the box office to make a profit

Dune: Part Two cost $190 million to make and will need to gross $470 million in the box office to make a profit

Filmmakers hope to make $70 to $80 million in Dune: Part Two's opening weekend

Filmmakers hope to make $70 to $80 million in Dune: Part Two's opening weekend

Filmmakers hope to make $70 to $80 million in Dune: Part Two’s opening weekend

Dune: Part Two hosts an all-star cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Christopher Walken

Dune: Part Two hosts an all-star cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Christopher Walken

Dune: Part Two hosts an all-star cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Christopher Walken

Yet its surge in popularity is giving other viewers pause, with one asking: ‘It hasn’t been released yet and it’s already the highest-rated film of all-time on IMDb. How is that even possible?’

Another person wrote that people are judging the film too early.

Critics are likewise jumping on the Dune bandwagon, reporting that the second installment of the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s book of the same name did not disappoint.

Part one handled ‘the world-building and … expositional heavy lifting,’ according to film critic Austin Goslin, as it followed Paul and the Atreides family’s acquisition of controlling the universe’s one planet, Arakis, that produced a valuable resource called spice.

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Viewers raved about the film after seeing an early screening, calling it the movie Hollywood needed

Viewers raved about the film after seeing an early screening, calling it the movie Hollywood needed

Viewers raved about the film after seeing an early screening, calling it the movie Hollywood needed

'It's a fantastic piece of filmmaking, rarely seen in modern-day cinema,' one viewer said

'It's a fantastic piece of filmmaking, rarely seen in modern-day cinema,' one viewer said

‘It’s a fantastic piece of filmmaking, rarely seen in modern-day cinema,’ one viewer said

When the Harkonnens family overruns House Atreides and kills their patriarch, Duke Leto Atreides to take back the sand-ridden planet, Paul (played by Timothée Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (played by Rebecca Ferguson) were among the few who survived the assault, escaping to the desert after their family was nearly obliterated.

The second adaptation reportedly wastes no time on a recap, but instead jumps into Paul and Jessica’s attempts to avenge their family.

The film had a much higher budget than the first, with filmmakers spending $190 million, up from $165 million spent to create its predecessor.

To break even, the film will need to reel in $380 million and $475 million to make a profit, but Villeneuve is reportedly hoping to bring in $70 to $80 million in box office sales in the opening weekend, Variety reported.

Dune: Part Two boasts an all-star cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Christopher Walken that brings the story to life. 

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Austin Butler – known for his debut role as Elvis in the cinematic adaptation of the rock-and-roll star’s life – ‘steals the show as Feyd-Rautha,’ according to one viewer who watched the film’s early release in Imax.

‘Overall, Dune: Part Two is an inspiring, visually stunning sci-fi spectacle and an incredible collision of myth, adventure, and destiny on a galactic scale,’ the viewer wrote. 

They added: ‘It’s a fantastic piece of filmmaking, rarely seen in modern-day cinema.’

Continue Reading

International

New sci-fi movie replaces The Shawshank Redemption as IMDb’s highest-rated film of all time

Published

on

A new sci-fit movie has overtaken The Shawshank Redemption as the number one highest-rated film on IMDB – and it hasn’t even been released.

The Shawshank Redemption has held the number one best film spot on IMDB since 2008 when it knocked The Godfather out of its long-standing ranking of nearly 20 years.

The 1994 flick has lost its crown Dune: Part Two, which has been deemed ‘visually thrilling’ and ‘narratively epic’ by critics days before its official release on March 1.

The Warner Bros movie has a 9.4 rating on IMDB from viewers who went to an early screening of the Sci-Fi epic on Sunday, along with a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Dune: Part Two overtook The Shawshank Redemption's number one spot on IMDB days before it's release

Dune: Part Two overtook The Shawshank Redemption's number one spot on IMDB days before it's release

Dune: Part Two overtook The Shawshank Redemption’s number one spot on IMDB days before it’s release

Dune: Part Two is the second park in the film adaptation of Frank Herbert's first book of the same name

Dune: Part Two is the second park in the film adaptation of Frank Herbert's first book of the same name

Dune: Part Two is the second park in the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s first book of the same name

Dune: Part Two’s sudden rise in popularity is in direct contrast to The Shawshank Redemption, which was a slow burn for viewers after it tanked at the box office.

The cult classic didn’t reach the heart of viewers until it was released on VHS a year later but it still took another 12 years before it reached IMDB’s top 250 list.

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi vision, Dune: Part Two, has seemed to have no such issue, with viewers calling it the movie Hollywood needed and the ‘Sci-Fi/Fantasy epic of our Generation,’ while some compared it to The Lord of The Rings trilogy’s success in the early 2000s.

The majority of reviewers gave Dune: Part Two a 10-star rating with only five reviews ranking it below five stars, with many complimenting its blend of ‘visual splendor and narrative depth.’

The film’s IMDB rating has beaten out the top highest-grossing films of all time including Marvel’s Avengers: End Game and James Cameron’s Avatar and The Titanic which have all garnered roughly 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Advertisement

Rotten Tomatoes is considered to be a more accurate depiction of a film’s success because it focuses on critics reviews.

Dune: Part Two beat out The Shawshank Redemption's top spot on IMDB nearly 20 years after the film took The Godfather's place on the site

Dune: Part Two beat out The Shawshank Redemption's top spot on IMDB nearly 20 years after the film took The Godfather's place on the site

Dune: Part Two beat out The Shawshank Redemption’s top spot on IMDB nearly 20 years after the film took The Godfather’s place on the site

Dune: Part Two cost $190 million to make and will need to gross $470 million in the box office to make a profit

Dune: Part Two cost $190 million to make and will need to gross $470 million in the box office to make a profit

Dune: Part Two cost $190 million to make and will need to gross $470 million in the box office to make a profit

Filmmakers hope to make $70 to $80 million in Dune: Part Two's opening weekend

Filmmakers hope to make $70 to $80 million in Dune: Part Two's opening weekend

Filmmakers hope to make $70 to $80 million in Dune: Part Two’s opening weekend

Dune: Part Two hosts an all-star cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Christopher Walken

Dune: Part Two hosts an all-star cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Christopher Walken

Dune: Part Two hosts an all-star cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Christopher Walken

Yet its surge in popularity is giving other viewers pause, with one asking: ‘It hasn’t been released yet and it’s already the highest-rated film of all-time on IMDb. How is that even possible?’

Another person wrote that people are judging the film too early.

Critics are likewise jumping on the Dune bandwagon, reporting that the second installment of the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s book of the same name did not disappoint.

Part one handled ‘the world-building and … expositional heavy lifting,’ according to film critic Austin Goslin, as it followed Paul and the Atreides family’s acquisition of controlling the universe’s one planet, Arakis, that produced a valuable resource called spice.

Advertisement
Viewers raved about the film after seeing an early screening, calling it the movie Hollywood needed

Viewers raved about the film after seeing an early screening, calling it the movie Hollywood needed

Viewers raved about the film after seeing an early screening, calling it the movie Hollywood needed

'It's a fantastic piece of filmmaking, rarely seen in modern-day cinema,' one viewer said

'It's a fantastic piece of filmmaking, rarely seen in modern-day cinema,' one viewer said

‘It’s a fantastic piece of filmmaking, rarely seen in modern-day cinema,’ one viewer said

When the Harkonnens family overruns House Atreides and kills their patriarch, Duke Leto Atreides to take back the sand-ridden planet, Paul (played by Timothée Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (played by Rebecca Ferguson) were among the few who survived the assault, escaping to the desert after their family was nearly obliterated.

The second adaptation reportedly wastes no time on a recap, but instead jumps into Paul and Jessica’s attempts to avenge their family.

The film had a much higher budget than the first, with filmmakers spending $190 million, up from $165 million spent to create its predecessor.

To break even, the film will need to reel in $380 million and $475 million to make a profit, but Villeneuve is reportedly hoping to bring in $70 to $80 million in box office sales in the opening weekend, Variety reported.

Dune: Part Two boasts an all-star cast including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Christopher Walken that brings the story to life. 

Advertisement

Austin Butler – known for his debut role as Elvis in the cinematic adaptation of the rock-and-roll star’s life – ‘steals the show as Feyd-Rautha,’ according to one viewer who watched the film’s early release in Imax.

‘Overall, Dune: Part Two is an inspiring, visually stunning sci-fi spectacle and an incredible collision of myth, adventure, and destiny on a galactic scale,’ the viewer wrote. 

They added: ‘It’s a fantastic piece of filmmaking, rarely seen in modern-day cinema.’

Continue Reading

International

Police arrest more than 60 at farmers’ protest on the Champs-Élysées in Paris

Published

on

French police said Friday they had arrested 66 people at a farmers’ protest on the Champs-Elysees in central Paris that blocked traffic during the morning rush hour.

Issued on: Modified:

1 min

Using tractors and bales of hay, farmers briefly brought traffic to a halt on the famed avenue near the Arc de Triomphe monument, only a short distance from President Emmanuel Macron’s office, the Elysee.

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The protesters, who held up banners on the avenue, said their action was aimed “at saving French agriculture”.

Farmers across Europe have been protesting for weeks over what they say are excessively restrictive environmental rules, competition from cheap imports from outside the European Union and low incomes.

Farmer Axel Masson said about 100 of his peers had gathered at the arterial roundabout from 3:00 am (0200 GMT) “in a peaceful and law-abiding manner”. 

Some of the protesters handed out bags of potatoes to motorists stuck in crawling traffic around the Arc de Triomphe, AFP reporters at the scene said.

Several were seen chatting with police officers before the arrests.

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“The Rural Coordination takes over the Arc de Triomphe symbolically and peacefully,” the farmers’ union said earlier in a statement on social media platform X, adding that it was a cry to “save” agriculture in France.

It said it “wants quick action to save 45 percent of our farms which are in financial distress”.

Masson said the farmers laid a wreath in memory of their colleagues who had been driven to suicide by financial woes, adding: “The state has never heard us”.

French farmers have continued to block roads, set fire to tyres and lay siege to supermarkets, saying they need more measures, even after the government promised reforms. 

(AFP) 

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House prices rose in February, says Nationwide: Annual growth up for first time in 13 months

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Property prices rose in February due to lower mortgage rates, according to the latest Nationwide house price index.

Britain’s biggest building society recorded a 0.7 per cent increase in the average house price after taking account of seasonal effects.

It means house prices are up 1.2 per cent since this time last year, the first time Nationwide has recorded a positive annual reading since January 2023.

But prices are still around 3 per cent below the all-time highs recorded in the summer of 2022.

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Yearly rise: Nationwide recorded a year-on-year house price rise for the first time in 13 months

Yearly rise: Nationwide recorded a year-on-year house price rise for the first time in 13 months

Yearly rise: Nationwide recorded a year-on-year house price rise for the first time in 13 months

Average house prices hit a high of £273,751 in August 2022, according to Nationwide. They are currently at £260,420 as of February. 

The recent uptick in prices is being put down to lower mortgage rates. Although rates went up last month, this came after five consecutive months in which mortgage rates fell.

The average two-year fix has fallen from a high of 6.86 per cent to 5.75 per cent, according to Moneyfacts, while the average five-year fix has fallen from a high of 6.37 per cent to 5.33 per cent.

For home buyers with the biggest deposits, it is now possible to secure a five year fix at 4.09 per cent and a two-year fix at 4.39 per cent.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist said: ‘The decline in borrowing costs around the turn of the year appears to have prompted an uptick in the housing market. 

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‘Indeed, industry data sources point to a noticeable increase in mortgage applications at the start of the year, while surveyors also reported a rise in new buyer enquiries.’

More affordable? Mortgage rates have fallen from the highs recorded in summer 2023

More affordable? Mortgage rates have fallen from the highs recorded in summer 2023

More affordable? Mortgage rates have fallen from the highs recorded in summer 2023

Yesterday, Zoopla’s house price index reported an uptick in the number of buyers and sellers in the market which resulted in more sales during the start of 2024.

Many across the property sector have welcomed Nationwide’s figures as evidence that the property market is rallying.

Nicky Stevenson, managing director at national estate agent group Fine & Country said: ‘Positive signs for the property market are turning from a trickle to a flood this year, with annual house price change increasing for the first time in 13 months.

‘Demand is building as lower mortgage rates have encouraged buyers to restart their property search, and plunging inflation suggests better news is to come.

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‘We’re heading into one of the prime seasons for home sales, and sellers should look at this as a great time to get their home on the market.’

Warming up? Zoopla reported that buyer demand is 11% higher than a year ago, while the number of agreed sales is up 15% year-on-year

Warming up? Zoopla reported that buyer demand is 11% higher than a year ago, while the number of agreed sales is up 15% year-on-year

Warming up? Zoopla reported that buyer demand is 11% higher than a year ago, while the number of agreed sales is up 15% year-on-year

Jonathan Hopper, chief executive of Garrington Property Finders, added: ‘It’s a bounce back, not a blip. Nationwide’s data shows house prices have risen in four out of the past five months, and the upward momentum is now so strong that prices are up on this time last year.

‘Crucially the market has also become more free-flowing. For sale signs are starting to sprout from homes across the country, and estate agents report a steady uptick in interest from both buyers and sellers.

‘Increasing numbers of buyers who sat on their hands last year are deciding that now is the time to strike, before prices start to accelerate upwards.’

Rising: But Nationwide says house prices remain around 3% below the all time highs recorded in the summer of 2022

Rising: But Nationwide says house prices remain around 3% below the all time highs recorded in the summer of 2022

Rising: But Nationwide says house prices remain around 3% below the all time highs recorded in the summer of 2022

Further rises ‘will depend on mortgage rates’ 

Nationwide’s chief economist had a word of caution over future interest rates.

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‘Near-term prospects remain highly uncertain in part due to ongoing uncertainty about the future path of interest rates. 

‘Borrowing costs remain well below the highs recorded last summer but, if the recent upward trend is sustained, it threatens to restrain the pace of any housing market recovery.’

While house price indexes show the general trend across the country, the picture varies depending on where you live in the UK.  

Nationwide’s house price index relates to its own approved mortgage applications and therefore doesn’t include cash buyers or mortgage data from other lenders. 

Another lender which also tracks house prices based on its own mortgage applications is Halifax. It said that average prices rose by 2.5 per cent in the 12 months to January.

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The house price figures from the ONS are widely viewed as the most comprehensive and accurate index. This is because the report by the UK’s official statisticians uses Land Registry data and is based on average sold prices. 

However, property transactions often take months to complete, meaning the ONS figures don’t necessarily reflect what is happening in the housing market right now. 

Earlier this month, the ONS revealed the average UK house price slipped 1.4 per cent in the year to December 2023.

Another monthly index comes from Rightmove. This tracks newly listed asking prices each month, which can give a more immediate picture of what is happening in the market, but doesn’t measure what houses are ultimately selling for.

Rightmove reported average asking prices rose by 0.9 per cent in February to £362,839, according to the latest data from the firm, following a 1.3 per cent rise in January.

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International

In-flight theft: Is it on the rise, how can you avoid having your valuables pilfered mid-flight, and what should you do if you get robbed on a plane?

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Is airline theft on the rise? The simplest answer is we don’t know.

Airlines don’t divulge their statistics on in-flight theft. However, recent events have bought the issue into the headlines.

In December 2023 a man was charged with stealing USD $23,000 (£18,200) cash from three fellow passengers on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore, while in October police arrested a man en route from Taipei to Tokyo suspected of serial in-flight thefts.

Do these high-profile cases correlate to an overall increase in light-fingered passengers in-flight?

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Not necessarily, according to Jonathan Frankham, General Manager UK at World Nomads Travel Insurance. However, they do provide a reminder to be careful with your belongings on a flight.

While there are no concrete statistics for in-flight theft to indicate whether or not they are on the rise, several high-profile cases recently have brought the issue into the headlines

While there are no concrete statistics for in-flight theft to indicate whether or not they are on the rise, several high-profile cases recently have brought the issue into the headlines

While there are no concrete statistics for in-flight theft to indicate whether or not they are on the rise, several high-profile cases recently have brought the issue into the headlines

Jonathan said: ‘While we’ve observed no discernible trend in claims submitted to suggest in-flight luggage theft is historically prevalent or on the rise in recent years, it’s still crucial to be vigilant and take steps to ensure the security of possessions and important documents.’

Most people have multiple high-value items on them when flying. In addition to a wallet and phone, it’s not unusual to be carrying a passport, laptop, cash, and maybe a camera or other valuables. This, Jonathan warns, can provide easy pickings for thieves.

He said: ‘It’s a calculated gamble on the part [of the thieves], exploiting travellers’ sense of security once snugly seated on board. Yet, it’s during these moments – the buzz of mealtimes, the dimming of lights, or those quick dashes to the loo – that thieves might try their luck.’

In the case of the Tokyo arrest, reports said the 51-year-old suspect would pretend to be checking his own luggage in the overhead compartment, but instead stealing US dollars, Euros, and Yen from fellow travellers’ bags. The cash was swapped with lower-value small denomination Cambodian riel or Indonesian rupiah, to maintain the wallets’ weights and sizes.

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It’s not just cash or valuables that can be targeted. Passports continue to fetch a sizeable price on the black market.

So, how do you ensure you don’t become a target for plane-based pilfering?

Pack smartly and keep your valuables on you

Avoid leaving high-value items such as passports, cash, or phones unattended

Avoid leaving high-value items such as passports, cash, or phones unattended

Avoid leaving high-value items such as passports, cash, or phones unattended 

This is your first line of defence. Jonathan said: ‘Packing smartly is crucial. Opt for a sturdy backpack, preferably one that can be securely locked and marked with colourful zip ties for easy identification. [If] the zip tie is missing or tampered with, it’s important to alert a staff member immediately.

‘Store larger bags in overhead lockers to keep them safe. If the space is available, it can be useful to place them across the aisle so you can easily see if anyone is foraging through them who shouldn’t be.’

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For high-value items like passports, cash, and phones, Jonathan advised: ‘The best practice is to use a secure waist pouch or carry them in your pocket. Avoid leaving them unattended altogether and always keep them in sight. This not only minimises the risk of theft but also ensures that insurance claims are not negatively impacted due to negligence.’

What should travellers do if they fall victim to inflight thefts?

Report the incident to the airline as soon as you realise something is missing, in accordance with the Montreal Convention’s guidelines.

Jonathan explained: ‘This international treaty requires airlines to offer compensation for lost or damaged luggage on international flights. Although the treaty’s stance on stolen luggage is less explicit, it’s crucial to notify the airline as soon as possible.

‘Secondly, travellers should obtain all necessary documentation to support their case. This includes requesting a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) from the airline. Additionally, it’s vital to keep all related documents such as tickets, luggage tags, and receipts for any emergency purchases, as these form an essential part of any subsequent insurance claims.

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‘It’s important to also involve the local police. Reporting the theft to the police and securing a police report is a critical step, as it provides official documentation of the theft, which is often necessary for insurance claims.’

What should travellers do if they need to make an insurance claim?

Mealtimes, sleeping, or trips to the toilet offer opportunistic thieves the perfect time to strike

Mealtimes, sleeping, or trips to the toilet offer opportunistic thieves the perfect time to strike

Mealtimes, sleeping, or trips to the toilet offer opportunistic thieves the perfect time to strike 

Once you’ve advised the airline and the police Jonathan says it’s vital to thoroughly review your travel insurance policy. ‘Even though it typically covers such incidents, it’s essential to understand the policy’s limits and exclusions, and additional premiums may be required for high-value items,’ he added. 

‘Next, gather all necessary evidence, including proof of ownership, age, and value of the stolen items, which are crucial for the claim process.

‘It’s also important for travellers to assess their responsibility in the situation. Ensuring that valuables were secured, and that luggage was not left unattended is key, as negligence can impact the viability of a claim.

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‘If there are any doubts or questions, travellers should not hesitate to contact their insurance provider.’

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