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What being a Brit doctor in Australia is really like

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An NHS doctor has claimed moving to Australia is not all it’s cracked up to be after pulling out of the application process due to the country’s higher taxes and fewer holiday days. 

It comes after several reports of British medical workers boasting of their ‘much happier’ lives Down Under, where they claim they are ‘paid double’ and enjoy a much better quality of life. 

But Dr Drew, who did not wish to give his surname, told MailOnline today that they are selling a ‘fairy tale’ that is ‘not the reality’ once all factors have been considered.

Dr Drew said he enquired about making the move himself but decided to stay put after becoming fed-up with the months-long application. 

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He said: ‘It’s fairy tale… ”go over it will be the life of your dreams… You’ll be sitting on a beach sipping piña colada”’… It’s not the reality.

Popular YouTuber Dr Nora (pictured) moved from London to the Gold Coast in 2017 and has never looked back, but admits it's not for everyone

Popular YouTuber Dr Nora (pictured) moved from London to the Gold Coast in 2017 and has never looked back, but admits it's not for everyone

Popular YouTuber Dr Nora (pictured) moved from London to the Gold Coast in 2017 and has never looked back, but admits it’s not for everyone

Jessica Hoole, 41, a paediatric nurse who moved to Australia in 2007, hit back at claims that medical workers like herself were 'selling a fairy tale'

Jessica Hoole, 41, a paediatric nurse who moved to Australia in 2007, hit back at claims that medical workers like herself were 'selling a fairy tale'

Jessica Hoole, 41, a paediatric nurse who moved to Australia in 2007, hit back at claims that medical workers like herself were ‘selling a fairy tale’ 

‘Do you know they have a 45% tax bracket for anyone earning more than $180,000 Australian dollars?’ 

In the UK the equivalent amount – around £96,000 – would be taxed at a lower rate of 40 per cent. 

However figures show purchasing power in a city like Sydney is 16 per cent higher than in London, meaning your salary goes further.  

Dr Drew added: ‘Do you know they have a claims-based insurance model for indemnity and staff are required to have runoff cover?’

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ARE YOU A BRITISH DOCTOR, NURSE OR TEACHER WHO REGRETS MOVING TO AUSTRALIA? Email laurence.dollimore@mailonline.co.uk 

The GP also blasted the amount of paperwork. 

He said: ‘Primary source verification and application to racgp is estimated to have a 10-week processing time and four weeks to gather paperwork, but the amount of documentation they require I would estimate it to take eight weeks or longer.

‘They also require 10 clinical cases to be uploaded and letters from practices dating 48 months – or four years!

‘And GPs are independent contractors, therefore bypassing the whole salaried partnership model based in the UK, with no sick leave or annual leave!’ 

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Popular YouTuber Dr Nora moved from London to the Gold Coast in 2017 and has never looked back, but she admits it’s not for everyone. 

The GP and cosmetic doctor, who has almost 25,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, worked for the NHS for five years.  

Responding to Dr Drew’s criticisms, she told MailOnline: ‘These are valid concerns, not including all the different billing codes of medicare to learn and developing a reputation for yourself as an independent contractor. 

‘It just depends on your mentality going in, if you’re looking for safety, the NHS is a great place to be a part of. 

‘If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, then it’s another great opportunity open out there for you to explore.’ 

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Lisa Utton, an NHS Diagnostic Radiographer, is making the move imminently and agreed with Dr Drew that there have been some drawbacks. 

She told MailOnline: ‘It’s taken me nearly 10 months to make the move due to the level of paperwork and getting recognition for my qualifications and experience. 

‘The process was long and drawn out and I’ve had countless police checks every few months and checks on my UK HCPC register.’

Ms Sutton also fears her new colleagues may not be as well trained as those back home. 

She said: ‘In the UK I work with a number of overseas Radiographers who, in my opinion, often do not have the same level of experience as UK trained Radiographers. 

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‘They aren’t as adaptive within a challenging environment such as A&E and often struggle in the beginning or find themselves heading home.

‘I have also been pre warned by my migrant agent that NHS staff often find it a bit dull working in Australia, because of the lack of challenges, so I will be interested to see how it compares and if she was right.

Nurse Hoole said: 'The quality of life is not even slightly comparable. I earn much better money. I live on the water and enjoy an active outdoor life.'

Nurse Hoole said: 'The quality of life is not even slightly comparable. I earn much better money. I live on the water and enjoy an active outdoor life.'

Nurse Hoole said: ‘The quality of life is not even slightly comparable. I earn much better money. I live on the water and enjoy an active outdoor life.’ 

Nurse Hoole said: 'I am one hundred percent sure that I made the right decision. I owe so much to this country and I'm so grateful that my nursing was the gateway to it.'

Nurse Hoole said: 'I am one hundred percent sure that I made the right decision. I owe so much to this country and I'm so grateful that my nursing was the gateway to it.'

Nurse Hoole said: ‘I am one hundred percent sure that I made the right decision. I owe so much to this country and I’m so grateful that my nursing was the gateway to it.’

Cost of living much lower in Sydney compared to London, figures show  

The cost of living is much cheaper Down Under, according to data collected by insurance firm Budget Direct. 

The statistics shows that while groceries are 28 per cent more expensive in Sydney compared to London, most other life expenses are the opposite. 

Eating out is 15% pricier in London, while utility bills are almost double those of Sydney and renting costs are far higher. 

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It means that local purchasing power – in other words how far one’s salary goes each month – is 16.34 per cent higher in Sydney than in London.  

‘There were times when the process was arduous due to the amount of hurdles, however it’s a place where individuals dream of going.’

Ms Utton said that Australia has a number of visas which will affect your benefits while living in the country differently. 

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She explained: ‘My visa with my job is a temporary skilled work visa. Its valid for four years but I can apply for permanent residency after three years.

‘I am required as part of my visa conditions to have private health insurance set up prior to my arrival in Australia and I can then apply for their medicare (state funded).

‘They have a system where you need to be paying into to tax system or have an Australian passport in order to obtain any healthcare.

‘Yes, it’s a different system, but I currently work with more people from overseas than I do in the UK and feel like it’s a fair way to fund a healthcare system.’

She admitted: ‘I won’t get nearly as much time off as I currently do in the NHS,  as AFC pay banding and working in the NHS over 10 years I qualify for additional days.

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‘Don’t get me wrong. I’m apprehensive. I’ve never lived with my partner before. He is a dual AUS/UK passport holder so he will come and go as he likes for work offshore.

‘Perth isn’t as well connected as the UK for flights so that is another down point. But if I don’t do it now, I never will!’ 

In response to a question on whether they planned to work as a doctor in another country within the next year, one third of the group agreed. Australia was the top destination, with 42 per cent of the cohort planning to move there. New Zealand (20 per cent), the Middle East, Canada and Europe, excluding the UK, (each 9 per cent) were also popular. One in 20 said they planned to go to the US

In response to a question on whether they planned to work as a doctor in another country within the next year, one third of the group agreed. Australia was the top destination, with 42 per cent of the cohort planning to move there. New Zealand (20 per cent), the Middle East, Canada and Europe, excluding the UK, (each 9 per cent) were also popular. One in 20 said they planned to go to the US

In response to a question on whether they planned to work as a doctor in another country within the next year, one third of the group agreed. Australia was the top destination, with 42 per cent of the cohort planning to move there. New Zealand (20 per cent), the Middle East, Canada and Europe, excluding the UK, (each 9 per cent) were also popular. One in 20 said they planned to go to the US

Ms Sutton said she applied for her Aussie job ‘impulsively’ one evening after ‘repeatedly seeing the advert within our radiology magazines and Facebook adverts via our union’, adding: ‘Talk about trying to push us away!’ 

She added: ‘The money is amazing and they pay my relocation fees. My NHS trust has given me a sabbatical to try and lure me to come back but our management is dire and we struggle with actually being paid properly, let alone what we get paid. 

‘Some of my colleagues were unable to pay their mortgages and childcare during the first wave of Covid when we were working like crazy. I’m going with a view of a working holiday but who knows if I’ll be back.’ 

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Jessica Hoole, 41, a paediatric nurse who moved to Australia in 2007, hit back at some of the criticisms, saying the paperwork and other costs might be a pain but they are worth it in the end. 

She told MailOnline: ‘We do have a degree of indemnity insurance with our Union Cover, which we pay weekly, but that is a tax deduction for us, as is our registration with the professional body. We can also claim for other work related expenses like shoes and laundry.

‘I didn’t find the process to gain registration difficult, but perhaps it is more complex for doctors. But that isn’t something I’ve heard spoken about and we nurses receive very generous annual leave and study leave payments.’

She added: ‘When I’m not working we boat, we fish, we swim and kayak and stand up paddle board. The work life balance is really very good here I believe, and has given my children a great place to grow up.

‘I am one hundred percent sure that I made the right decision. I owe so much to this country and I’m so grateful that my nursing was the gateway to it.’ 

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Aoibhín Bradley (pictured with her doctor boyfriend Matthew), 27, decided to turn her back on the NHS and find a job in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, after hearing about the opportunities Down Under.

Aoibhín Bradley (pictured with her doctor boyfriend Matthew), 27, decided to turn her back on the NHS and find a job in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, after hearing about the opportunities Down Under.

Aoibhín Bradley (pictured with her doctor boyfriend Matthew), 27, decided to turn her back on the NHS and find a job in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, after hearing about the opportunities Down Under.

Aoibhín (pictured) has been a doctor for three years - graduating in April 2020 from Queens University, Belfast, where she studied medicine - and worked on the frontline during the Covid pandemic

Aoibhín (pictured) has been a doctor for three years - graduating in April 2020 from Queens University, Belfast, where she studied medicine - and worked on the frontline during the Covid pandemic

Aoibhín (pictured) has been a doctor for three years – graduating in April 2020 from Queens University, Belfast, where she studied medicine – and worked on the frontline during the Covid pandemic

She added: ‘The quality of life is not even slightly comparable. I earn much better money. I live on the water and enjoy an active outdoor life. 

‘I have two jobs, one hospital based and one community based- which gives me really good balance. I couldn’t even consider working in the NHS again.

‘As much as I miss certain things about the UK, namely family and friends (and scotch eggs!), I couldn’t provide my children with a comparable lifestyle in the UK on a nurse’s wage.’

Aoibhín Bradley, 27, decided to turn her back on the NHS and find a job in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, after hearing about the opportunities Down Under.

She has been a doctor for three years – graduating in April 2020 from Queens University, Belfast, where she studied medicine – and worked on the frontline during the Covid pandemic.

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But she struggled with the long shifts – claiming she often worked three hours past her end time – and took home £2,100 a month, based on a 48.5-hour week.

After completing further foundation training, Aoibhín took the plunge to move to Australia in September 2022 with her boyfriend, Matthew McQuaid, 29, who is also a doctor.

They both secured jobs in the emergency room of Gold Coast University Hospital, Queensland, and are able to work the same shifts so they get days off together.

Aoibhín now earns $6,000 AUSD a month – £3,202.53 – for a 36-hour a week. The doctors are paid a double rate if they stay late and for Sundays.

Aoibhín says the salary rate ‘blew her mind’ and she is now able to spend her days off exploring and camping in Sydney and Melbourne – compared to being too tired to do anything in her free time while working for the NHS.

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Aoibhín, from Belfast, said: ‘You’re working to live – not living to work. Australia is more expensive but I’m still making multiple times more than what I was making at home.

‘At home, you did so many extra hours that your life consisted of working. I lived in Northern Ireland and there wasn’t anything to do in MY spare time.

‘I was so tired – I didn’t have the energy to do much. In Australia, pay-wise it’s incredible. You get paid per hour that you work. It blew my mind.’

It comes after British doctors and nurses who moved to Australia for better working conditions last week blasted the UK for failing to improve the NHS while forcing their former colleagues into ‘horrendous’ strikes over pay. 

Dr Michael Mrozinski (pictured), 37, told MailOnline today that he fears the NHS 'cannot be saved' after years of 'empty promises' to make working for the health service a more attractive option - most importantly by hiring more staff

Dr Michael Mrozinski (pictured), 37, told MailOnline today that he fears the NHS 'cannot be saved' after years of 'empty promises' to make working for the health service a more attractive option - most importantly by hiring more staff

Dr Michael Mrozinski (pictured), 37, told MailOnline today that he fears the NHS ‘cannot be saved’ after years of ’empty promises’ to make working for the health service a more attractive option – most importantly by hiring more staff

Nurse Natalie Joyner (pictured) said she has never looked back since making the move from the UK some eight years ago

Nurse Natalie Joyner (pictured) said she has never looked back since making the move from the UK some eight years ago

Nurse Natalie Joyner (pictured) said she has never looked back since making the move from the UK some eight years ago

Dr Michael Mrozinski, 37, told MailOnline that he fears the NHS ‘cannot be saved’ after years of ’empty promises’ to make working for the health service a more attractive option – most importantly by hiring more staff. 

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The Glaswegian said staffing levels were already a shambles when he left for Down Under in 2016, and that he feels ‘vindicated’ for making the move after seeing them fall even further since. 

He also now gets paid double what he would in the UK, and says he is treated ‘like a professional’ in Australia and ‘feels much more respected.’ 

While Dr Mrozinski has vented online about the stark differences between the two countries, his popular TikTok channel is more of an educational tool that sees him ‘call out medical misinformation’ to his more than 362,000 followers.  

He said: ‘I felt burnt out after working in the NHS for seven years… in Australia, management listen to my concerns and ideas for better patient care, whereas in the UK they couldn’t care less about any ideas I had.’ 

The doctor, who now lives in Melbourne, said he is ‘encouraged to have a good work life balance and encouraged to leave on time’, while in the UK ‘it’s expected that you stay late, with no thanks or appreciation.’ 

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He added: ‘The main difference is I enjoy my job is because the work environment is fantastic, the hospitals are well staffed and there are relieving doctors if wards are short. 

‘This makes for more people to share the workloads, instead of less people and more work, like in the UK. With more staff, means there is more teaching and helps doctors develop even further. 

Dr Mrozinski (pictured) said he believes the 'the goodwill of the NHS workers has run out' and that 'they realise that the government isn't committed to making changes to pay or conditions.'

Dr Mrozinski (pictured) said he believes the 'the goodwill of the NHS workers has run out' and that 'they realise that the government isn't committed to making changes to pay or conditions.'

Dr Mrozinski (pictured) said he believes the ‘the goodwill of the NHS workers has run out’ and that ‘they realise that the government isn’t committed to making changes to pay or conditions.’

While Dr Mrozinski (pictured) has vented online about the stark differences between the two countries, his popular TikTok channel is more of an educational tool that sees him 'call out medical misinformation' to his more than 362,000 followers

While Dr Mrozinski (pictured) has vented online about the stark differences between the two countries, his popular TikTok channel is more of an educational tool that sees him 'call out medical misinformation' to his more than 362,000 followers

While Dr Mrozinski (pictured) has vented online about the stark differences between the two countries, his popular TikTok channel is more of an educational tool that sees him ‘call out medical misinformation’ to his more than 362,000 followers

Scottish TikTok star Dr Michael Mrozisnki has been living in Australia for a few years now and regularly encourages more British doctors to join him

Scottish TikTok star Dr Michael Mrozisnki has been living in Australia for a few years now and regularly encourages more British doctors to join him

Scottish TikTok star Dr Michael Mrozisnki has been living in Australia for a few years now and regularly encourages more British doctors to join him

‘In the UK, teaching sessions were often cancelled due to not enough staff to cover the work when teaching was supposed to happen!’ 

Dr Mrozinski said he believes the ‘the goodwill of the NHS workers has run out’ and that ‘they realise that the government isn’t committed to making changes to pay or conditions.’ 

He said he would encourage anyone to make the move as it would ‘really open your eyes as to how healthcare workers are appreciated and valued.’ 

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He added: ‘Australian healthcare plays the long game and realises that keeping workers happy and fresh, means they enjoy their job, do their best work and rarely need any sick leave. 

‘In the UK, most are on the verge of burnout, seeing too many patients in unsafe environments and needing time off due to stress – it’s a shortsighted plan with no end game.’ 

The doctor said it was ‘horrendous’ to see his former colleagues striking across Britain.   

‘Seeing the general public clap for healthcare workers during Covid but now calling them greedy for wanting pay restoration is appalling,’ he said. 

‘Unfortunately, I saw this coming a long time ago and it’s vindicated my reasons for leaving in 2016, and it’s much worse now than it ever was. 

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‘Who knows where it will be in another seven years…. I worry for my family and friends who still live in the UK, because the NHS, in its current state is not good for healthcare workers or patients and I’m not sure it can be saved.’ 

Meanwhile, nurse Natalie Joyner said she has never looked back since making the move from the UK some eight years ago. 

The mother-of-five, 48, originally from Bournemouth, now works in the Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, and said she moved for a better lifestyle. 

She told MailOnline: ‘My actual nursing role is very similar to my role in the UK as I worked in a NICU in England… The two big differences are the pay…

‘The pay is much better here, I probably get paid about double, and the nurse to patient ratio, that is much better here.’ 

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She added: ‘Work life balance is better too. I love walking out of the hospital at the end of my shift and it still being warm outside, or waking up from a night shift and going out to my garden and having a swim in my pool, and lovely walks in the sunshine on the miles of sandy beaches. 

‘On my days off my favourite thing to is relax and read by the pool. I feel like I live in a holiday villa and on a constant holiday. 

‘A couple of my old work colleagues have expressed interest and I actually got one of them a job here and she moved over in January.’ 

The latest figures show up to 40 per cent of the NHS workforce is looking to resign or retire in the next five years.

Ms Joyner added: ‘I feel very bad for them. I hear stories of nurses needing to go to food banks to be able to feed their families. They work so hard and are not appreciated by the government. 

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‘We just got a Covid pay out bonus here, to acknowledge how hard we worked through the difficult circumstances. 

‘All the nurses in the UK got was a clap, they didn’t even get a pay rise. They still had to go to work while the government had a party!

‘I’m not saying it’s perfect here as we still have issues but we are definitely in a better situation than the nurses in the UK. I think the NHS is no longer working as it is & needs a revamp. I think Australia has a very good Medicare system.’

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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.’

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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.

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.’

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

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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:

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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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International

Navalny’s family to hold Moscow funeral for the late Russian opposition leader

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Relatives and supporters of Alexei Navalny are bidding farewell to the opposition leader at a funeral Friday in southeastern Moscow, following a battle with authorities over the release of his body after his still-unexplained death in an Arctic penal colony.

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His supporters say several churches in Moscow refused to hold the service before Navalny’s team got permission from one in the capital’s Maryino district, where he once lived before his 2020 poisoning, treatment in Germany and subsequent arrest on his return to Russia.

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The Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Soothe My Sorrows, which agreed to hold the service, did not mention it on its social media page. Police on Thursday were seen putting crowd-control barriers at the church.

Burial was to follow in the nearby Borisovskoye Cemetery, where police also were seen Thursday.

His mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, spent eight days trying to get authorities to release the body following his Feb. 16 death at Penal Colony No. 3 in the town of Kharp, in the Yamalo-Nenets region about 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) northeast of Moscow.

Authorities originally said they couldn’t turn over the body because they needed to conduct post-mortem tests. Navalnaya, 69, made a video appeal to President Vladimir Putin to release the body so she could bury her son with dignity.

Once it was released, at least one funeral director said he had been “forbidden” to work with Navalny’s supporters, the spokeswoman for Navalny’s team, Kira Yarmysh, said on social media. They also were unable to find a hearse for the funeral.

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“Unknown people are calling up people and threatening them not to take Alexei’s body anywhere,” Yarmysh said Thursday.

Russian authorities haven’t announced the cause of death for Navalny, 47, who crusaded against official corruption and organized big protests as Putin’s fiercest political foe. Many Western leaders blamed the death on the Russian leader, which the Kremlin rejected.

It was not immediately clear who among Navalny’s family or allies would attend the funeral, with many of his associates in exile abroad due to fear of prosecution in Russia. Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and his regional offices were designated as “extremist organizations” by the Russian government in 2021.

The politician’s team said the funeral would be streamed live on Navalny’s YouTube channel.

His widow, Yulia Navalnaya, accused Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin of trying to block a public funeral.

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“We don’t want any special treatment — just to give people the opportunity to say farewell to Alexei in a normal way,” Yulia Navalnaya wrote on X. In a speech to European lawmakers Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, she also expressed fears that police might interfere with the gathering or would “arrest those who have come to say goodbye to my husband.”

Moscow authorities refused permission for a separate memorial event for Navalny and slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov on Friday, citing COVID-19 restrictions, politician Yekaterina Duntsova said Thursday. Nemtsov, a 55-year-old former deputy prime minister, was shot to death as he walked on a bridge adjacent to the Kremlin on the night of Feb. 27, 2015.

Yarmysh also urged Navalny’s supporters around the world to lay flowers in his honor Friday.

“Everyone who knew Alexei says what a cheerful, courageous and honest person he was,” Yarmysh said Thursday. “But the greater truth is that even if you never met Alexei, you knew what he was like, too. You shared his investigations, you went to rallies with him, you read his posts from prison. His example showed many people what to do when even when things were scary and difficult.”

Ivan Zhdanov, director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said that his funeral had initially been planned for Thursday — the day of Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation address — but no venue agreed to hold it then.

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In an interview with the independent Russian news site Meduza, Zhdanov said authorities had pressured Navalny’s relatives to “have a quiet family funeral.”

(AP) 

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