For the first time in Olympic history, 40 surfers will compete for a spot on the winners’ podium.Each surfer competes in a 30 minute heat, trying to catch as many waves as possible. Their top two scoring waves at Tsurigasaki beach are combined for their final total.See the athleticism, grit and each drop of water in these amazing photos from the first two days of training and competition.It has taken a century of advocacy to get surfing into the Olympics. Hawaiian surfer and Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku started the push in 1912 when he first asked the International Olympic Committee to include the sport. Related...The Funniest Tweets From The Tokyo Olympics Opening CeremonyThe Aerials, Slides And Wipeouts Of Skateboarding's First OlympicsTeam GB Has 8 Sets Of Siblings And We're Cheering Them All OnNot Sure Where To Start With Tokyo Olympics? Here's Team GB's Key Events And Ones To Watch
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South Korean TV network MBC’s coverage of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Friday went awry when it used what it has now admitted were “inappropriate” photos and captions to refer to countries competing in the games.The broadcaster drew the most ire on Twitter after it showed a photograph of Chernobyl — the site of the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster ― as Ukraine’s athletes entered the National Stadium, reported Agence France-Presse.South Korean broadcaster MBC used images to "represent" each country during the #Tokyo2020 Opening Ceremony.Italy: pizzaNorway: salmonHaiti: upheavalUkraine: Chernobyl pic.twitter.com/KpUXATuZld— Raphael Rashid (@koryodynasty) July 23, 2021MBC also used pictures of pizza when Italy’s representatives arrived, salmon for Norway, sushi for Japan, a scene of unrest for Haiti, and a depiction of the fictional Dracula for Romania, according to Reuters.They ran a picture of...Dracula alongside Team Romania last night. *facepalm* pic.twitter.com/7GYtZoo7iG— Hyunsu Yim (@hyunsuinseoul) July 24, 2021Critics called out the network for propagating national stereotypes with its choice of images.The Chernobyl image prompted the most anger.MBC used a photo of Chernobyl to introduce Ukriane. What the.. pic.twitter.com/uN2TTbrQVJ— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) July 23, 2021Today is the day that Korean news network MBC used Genghis Khan and Chernobyl to introduce countries in the Olympics. Jeeeeeeeez 🤣🤦‍♀️ do better guys! pic.twitter.com/vxqUU4Tknl— Ceri 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇪🇺🇰🇷 (@cerikim_) July 24, 2021MBC used a photo of Chernobyl to introduce Ukraine. MBC regularly demonstrated their cultural illiteracy, and it's so embarrassing! pic.twitter.com/g6vIIYvX2P— Jay Lim 🇰🇷 임병준 (@aQuoteAday) July 24, 2021Take a chill pill, MBC! Holy hell. Chernobyl?! https://t.co/LucbpYPEAQ— John Lee (@koreanforeigner) July 23, 2021“In today’s Opening Ceremony broadcast, inappropriate photos were used when introducing countries like Ukraine and Haiti,” MBC said in a statement, per the New Zealand Herald. “Also, inappropriate photos and subtitles were used for other countries. We apologise to the viewers of Ukraine and other countries.”해당 국가 국민과 시청자 여러분께 정중히 사과드립니다. pic.twitter.com/B9hmNi3LJb— withMBC (@withMBC) July 24, 2021Related...The Aerials, Slides And Wipeouts Of Skateboarding's First OlympicsThe Funniest Tweets From The Tokyo Olympics Opening CeremonyTeam GB Has 8 Sets Of Siblings And We're Cheering Them All OnThe Most Stunning Photos From The Tokyo Olympics Opening CeremonyThe 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Is Still A Heart-Swelling, Lump-In-The-Throat Moment
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Skateboarders have their first-ever chance for an Olympic gold.The men’s street competition began Saturday, giving audiences their first taste of the rebel “anti-sport” on the global athletics stage. Women’s street begins Sunday, and the park competition for women and men debuts August 3 and 4.Two of the Olympic’s youngest stars will participate in park — Team GB’s 13-year-old Sky Brown and Kokona Hiraki of Japan, who is 12. The street course was created to model real-world obstacles like stair cases and railings. The park course has the giant bowls and half-pipes seen in skateparks. Check out these incredible images of Olympic Street Skateboarding’s debut.Related...Tony Hawk Barged The Tokyo Olympics Skateboard Park And Showed How It's DoneNot Sure Where To Start With Tokyo Olympics? Here's Team GB's Key Events And Ones To WatchTeam GB Has 8 Sets Of Siblings And We're Cheering Them All On
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An increasingly confident Britney Spears went topless in new posts on Instagram.The two images posted Friday and Saturday book-ended a photo of a printed message reading: “Do you know what really turns me on? What I find incredibly sexy? Kindness.” The passage is from “Dirty Pretty Things” by New Zealand poet and novelist Lang Leav. Can’t believe @britneyspears is reading Dirty Pretty Things right now 😍 pic.twitter.com/3QYnPwOcLL— Lang Leav (@langleav) July 25, 2021“Be proud of what you got,” a fan posted, responding to one of Spears’ photos.Paris Hilton and Jersey Shore’s Jenni “JWoww” Farley also chimed with their approval, along with other Britney supporters.Two weeks ago the 39-year-old singer clapped back when some critics hinted that she had used a body double when she posed topless on Instagram — with her back facing the camera. Her new posts were the latest in the increasingly bold communication from the pop star, who’s angrily speaking out in her battle to free herself from her father Jamie Spears’ legal control of her professional and personal life via a conservatorship.She defiantly vowed last week that she’s not planning a quick return to the stage until the issue is settled.The singer won a key legal victory earlier this month when a Los Angeles court said she could hire her own attorney to represent her interests and challenge the controversial conservatorship she’s been under since 2008.She told a judge the conservatorship was “abusive,” adding: “I haven’t done anything in the world to deserve this treatment.”Britney was first placed under a conservatorship following a series of public incidents and hospitalisations. READ MORE:Britney Spears Insists She's 'Not Even Close' To Done Speaking Out About ConservatorshipBritney Spears' Lawyer 'Aggressively' Moving To Remove Father As ConservatorBritney Spears Shares Defiant Dance Video After Saying She Refused To Perform Under Conservatorship
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“Bennifer” is officially back!Jennifer Lopez on Saturday appeared to finally confirm her relationship with Ben Affleck, posting a photograph of them kissing on Instagram and Twitter.Jennifer, who turned 52 on Saturday, posted the steamy picture as part of a series of photos in which she donned a printed string bikini, marking her birthday.“5 2 … what it do,” she wrote in a caption with a heart emoji.5 2 … what it do …💗 pic.twitter.com/nQrM37ZLKF— jlo (@JLo) July 24, 2021Prior to the makeout pic, the couple — who dated and got engaged in the early aughts before calling it quits — had kept mum about their rekindled romance.The pair, who have been seen canoodling for months, made their first joint Instagram appearance on Friday in a snap posted by friend and actor Leah Remini.A source told Entertainment Tonight in June that the couple were feeling “hopeful about their relationship this time around“ and were ”on the same page.”READ MORE:Jennifer Lopez And Ben Affleck Cuddle Up In Photo Booth Snap And It Feels Like 2002 All Over AgainJennifer Lopez Was Definitely Not Up For Discussing Ben Affleck Reunion During US TV InterviewGwyneth Paltrow Would Like To Remind You That She Also Dated Ben Affleck
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So, we’re finally feeling mega pumped for the Tokyo Olympic Games after Friday night’s opening ceremony. Though low-key and mostly audience free, it still managed to get the internet all of a chatter – and not just for Team Tonga!Now the sport is underway, an impressive roster of British stars are flying the flag for us. And if having one Olympic hopeful in any family weren’t enough, Team GB has a whopping eight – count them! – pairs of siblings competing this year, mostly in the same events, and among them three sets of twins.Seven sibling pairs have won medals at past Olympics, so the odds aren’t bad for this lot. Here are the family connections you need to know about in Tokyo.Athletics: Jodie and Hannah WilliamsEvent: 4 x 400m relay (both), and 400m individual (Jodie) View this post on InstagramA post shared by J O D I E (@jodiealicia)What to know: Welwyn Garden City’s Jodie Williams, 27, started off sprinting the 100m and 200m events, and was nicknamed Miss Moneylegs, but sadly missed out on London 2012 after a hamstring tear. These days she competes in the individual 400m, and will also be racing with younger sister Hannah, 23, in the 4 x 400m relay team, with the pair surely hoping for sibling glory.Athletics: Tiffany Porter and Cindy SemberEvent: 100m hurdles View this post on InstagramA post shared by Tiffany Porter (@tiffofili)What to know: Despite being born and raised in Michigan, these sisters happily have British passports thanks to their mum and both made the final of the 100m hurdles in Rio in 2016 for Team GB. Cindy, now 26, finished fourth but a year later ruptured her Achilles. She’s now back fighting fit, while her sister Tiffany, 33, is making a comeback of a different sort after becoming a mum in 2019.Gymnastics: Jennifer and Jessica GadirovaEvent: Artistic Gymnastics View this post on InstagramA post shared by Jennifer Gadirova (@jennifergadirova)What to know: The 16-year-old Gadirova twins, born in Dublin to Azerbaijani parents, are half of Britain’s four-strong artistic gymnastics team. Just as one twin is always born before another, Jessica had her Olympic spot confirmed an agonising 20 minutes before sister Jennifer got her news. Amazingly, their team-mate Amelie Morgan is a twin, too, while her brother Finlay is also a gymnast.Cycling: Simon and Adam YatesEvent: Road Race View this post on InstagramA post shared by Simon Yates (@simonyatess)What to know: The Yates brothers, 28, are also twins and both started cycling as teenagers in Bury. Adam placed fourth in the 2016 Tour De France and though he and Simon have gone separate ways when it comes to their regular cycling teams, they’ll both be sporting the same Team GB jerseys in Tokyo.Swimming: Joe and Max Litchfield Event: 200m Medley (Joe), 400m Medley (Max) View this post on InstagramA post shared by Joe Litchfield (@joelitchfield_)What to know: Joe Litchfield, 23, is making his Olympic debut in the pool, and has probably been getting tips from older brother Max, 26, who placed fourth in his own event at Rio in 2016. The Pontefract pair have been compared to fellow Yorkshire men, the Brownlee brothers, who won Triathlon medals in the 2012 and 2016 Games. And when it comes to Tokyo, the Litchfields aren’t the only siblings swimming – Carson and Jake Foster are also competing for the US.Boxing: Pat and Luke McCormackEvent: Welterweight (Pat) and Lightweight (Luke) View this post on InstagramA post shared by Pat Mccormack (@patmccormack14)What to know: Some more twins – this time from Sunderland. Brothers Pat and Luke, 26 both qualified for Tokyo in Paris earlier this summer, and have spoken about the “jail craic” of Japanese quarantine keeping them focused for their fights ahead. Team GB has a great track record in boxing with three golds for Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell and Nicola Adams in London 2012.Rowing: Tom and Emily FordEvent: Men’s Eight (Tom) and Women’s Eight (Emily)  View this post on InstagramA post shared by Tom Ford (@tom_g_ford)What to know: Siblings Tom, 28, and Emily, 26, both started rowing at the same school, captaining their respective boats, and have followed each other through the sport ever since. They admit they are competitive but drive each other on – all the way to Tokyo. As Tom says: “To be going with a sibling makes it even more special because it’s something we’ve both dreamed of growing up.”Rowing: Mathilda and Charlotte Hodgkins-ByrneEvent: Woman’s Quadruple Sculls View this post on InstagramA post shared by Mathilda Hodgkins Byrne (@mathildahodgkinsbyrne)What to know: Mathilda, 26, and Charlotte, 24, from Hereford, have also made Team GB’s rowing squad. Charlotte previously said she only got into rowing as the “annoying little sister” copying her older sibling – but it’s obviously worked out for them. “We both want one thing going to Tokyo,” Mathilda told her local paper, “and hopefully we can bring a medal home.” Go, Team GB!Related...Not Sure Where To Start With Tokyo Olympics? Here's Team GB's Key Events And Ones To WatchThe Funniest Tweets From The Tokyo Olympics Opening CeremonySimone Biles Drops Jaws With ‘Incredible’ Training SessionThe 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Is Still A Heart-Swelling, Lump-In-The-Throat Moment
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The coronavirus pandemic has presented countless challenges to children from an academic, social and mental health perspective. But the shift back into more “normal” ways of life can also be difficult for kids. Of course, we’re not exactly in a post-pandemic world (especially for children younger than 12 who have yet to gain access to any Covid-19 vaccines) as concerns rise about case counts and highly contagious variants. But there’s no doubt things seem different this summer with travel and back-to-school preparations in full swing. And even these positive changes can be challenging and anxiety-provoking. “Children thrive with consistency, and consistency has gone out of the window over the past year,” licensed clinical social worker Nidhi Tewari told HuffPost. “Many kids became accustomed to attending virtual school and limiting in-person contact, so it’s understandable that there may be increases in anxiety as we ‘return to normal.’”And in the midst of this new transition, children – like adults – are also still processing the trauma of the past year and a half.“After any disaster or traumatic experience, while the wish and hope is for a rapid return to ‘normal,’ the psychological and emotional aftermath greatly exceeds the more defined boundaries of the trauma itself,” said Dr. Ilisse Perlmutter, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Talkiatry in New York City.“Children’s reactions may appear immediately… or may not appear for days, weeks, even years. We also need to remember that innumerable children and adolescents lost parents, grandparents and other loved ones during this pandemic. The resulting grief and anxiety can take many forms, and recovery, or moving forward from these losses, is not necessarily correlated with a return to life as it was before.”   If we’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that “normal” is relative.″‘Normal’ looked at neurologically and behaviourally, is what we have experienced for the past couple of months (on a rolling basis),” said psychotherapist Noel McDermott.“We normalise as we go along, so normal is not what happened 18 months ago pre-pandemic. Normal is the last three months generally. So currently we are not transitioning back to normal; we are transitioning out of the normal we have been in for the last few months into a new normal. Transitions of our life circumstances are always potentially anxiety-provoking.” Signs of reemergence anxiety will vary depending on the child’s personality, but parents and other trusted adults can look for shifts in behaviour as indications of potential anxiety. But what kinds of behaviours should they look out for? Below, Tewari, Perlmutter, McDermott and other experts share some expected signs of “post-pandemic” anxiety in children.Fear of separationWith so many adults working from home and students engaging in remote or hybrid learning throughout the pandemic, children have unsurprisingly formed strong attachments to their families, which may lead to separation anxiety as life outside the home resumes. “Many kids have been attached to their parents’ sides for the past 18 months,” said Dr.Dyan Hes, founder of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City. “Now all of a sudden parents have to return to the real world or some semblance of it. This will require sending kids to day care, a babysitter or school. Overnight a child will go from being with their parents 24/7 to being with lots of strangers. This can be extremely anxiety-provoking for even the most resilient child.”Through her work, she said she’s observed more fear of separation in children than she did before the pandemic. “Children who come to my office do not want to leave their parent’s hip. They scream when a stranger, like a nurse, approaches,” she said. “Other school-aged kids are having a huge amount of separation anxiety when they have to leave for camp or school.” You may notice that your child starts to withdraw or avoids experiences that make them anxious.Nidhi Tewari, clinical social workerIt’s important to keep in mind that this clinginess is expected and appropriate, noted Jacqueline P. Wight, director of mental health services at DotCom Therapy. Plenty of adults have experienced similar emotions around returning to work and socialising. It may also be helpful to examine the concerns behind the separation anxiety to develop coping mechanisms. “This is a natural response to the recent circumstances that will require extra sensitivity as the child begins to practice developmentally appropriate separation from a parent,” Wight said. “Some children may have preferred being home with their immediate family and are overwhelmed by the idea of returning to school or being around a group of children. This concern might be related to anxiety about being in a social situation, or it could be related to fear of illness and concern that being outside of the home is unsafe. It can feel unpredictable and outside of the child’s control.”Withdrawal and avoidanceOther natural signs of anxiety that may emerge are withdrawal and avoidance.That extra sense of attachment or clinginess in kids with regard to their families often goes hand-in-hand with a detachment from their friends and other factors outside the home. Children may show a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed. “You may notice that your child starts to withdraw or avoids experiences that make them anxious,” Tewari said. “Some children may be worried about their social skills, like being able to socialise with friends and carry conversations face-to-face. They don’t want to feel judged or out of place, so they may try to avoid social gatherings.”Nervousness and worryAn increase in nervousness and worry is another expected manifestation of post-pandemic anxiety. Kids may be feeling a general sense of doom or an inability to relax. “Multiple stressors – illness, death of loved ones, fear of infection, income insecurity, closure of in-person school and activities, lack of child care, reduced access to community resources – have severely disrupted daily life for children and families,” said Dr Helen Egger, a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Little Otter in San Francisco. “As we emerge from the pandemic to a new normal, children are facing ongoing stress and uncertainty about the return to school (Will we wear masks? Will I get sick? Will school be interrupted again?), worries about being behind in school subjects, worries about seeing old friends and making new friends, and separation anxieties and fears after spending more time at home.”Meanwhile, other children may feel very eager to return to school and in-person social interactions. These emotions can create strong feelings of anticipation, which often feels like anxiety, noted Wight. Parents can help children understand and manage worry through regular check-ins to get them comfortable talking about it. “Helping children connect their physical experience in their body with their emotional experience is a critical skill that will benefit them long term,” Wight said. “Parents can ask their children how they are feeling in their bodies. Some examples of a child’s reply might be butterflies in the stomach, sweaty hands, fidgety legs. Then the parents can help the child connect this feeling to an emotion. So a parent might say, ‘Sometimes when I have butterflies in my stomach, I am feeling nervous about something.’”The key is naming the emotion and normalising the experience to make it clear feelings aren’t “bad” but can be uncomfortable and challenging. “Once the feeling is identified, then the parent and child can work together to come up with a plan for what the child can do when they are having that emotion, such as coping skills,” Wight said. “Helping children feel as though they can cope with an emotion can reduce the power that emotion might have over the child.”Irritability and temper IssuesWhile we often associate anxiety with sadness, it can also lead to feelings of irritability and anger. School-aged children may be easily agitated and experience temper outbursts. “They may become agitated and lash out when you encourage them to resume ‘normal life,’ and their reactions may seem disproportionate,” Tewari said. As with worry and other signs of anxiety, parents can support their children by encouraging them to share their feelings, providing a safe space for honest expression and taking a calm, nonjudgmental stance, she added. “Ask open-ended questions to deepen your understanding of your child’s anxiety triggers, and normalise your child’s worries so that they do not feel alone,” she said. “Providing children with the language to better understand their inner experience allows them to connect with what they’re feeling and communicate their feelings more effectively. Parents can use an emotions wheel with their children to help them identify and label specific emotions.”Declining academic performanceWith so many of the pandemic-related changes involving school, it wouldn’t be surprising for the anxiety around this moment to manifest in declining academic performance. “Anxiety about the pandemic can persist, even as we move forward, and common responses from school-aged children include school refusal and performance deterioration (which in many cases was exacerbated by the necessary virtual platform) and concentration difficulties,” Perlmutter said.  Some of my patients start to wet their pants again, some have insomnia, some vomit from anxiety.Dr Dyan Hes, Gramercy PediatricsTewari noted that many students have concerns about returning to school and “the unique pressures of the in-person school grind.”“For many children, the pandemic had some benefits, such as increased flexibility in their schedule and more down time at home, so the idea of going back to the way things were may feel scary,” she said. Parents can ease this specific anxiety by talking to their child about the return to the classroom and perhaps visiting the school or meeting the teacher ahead of time.Regressive behavioursAnother common sign of anxiety in children can be regression to younger behaviours, which has been a common phenomenon around the pandemic. “Kids are regressing,” Hes said. “Some of my patients start to wet their pants again, some have insomnia, some vomit from anxiety. Older children can perhaps express their fears, but for the younger ones, we have to look out for these signs.”Thumb-sucking, tantrums and clinginess are other typical regressive behaviours. One of the best things parents can do in these situations is to approach the regression without judgment. Offer comfort and reassurance rather than shame. “Stand there and listen,” said Perlmutter. “It is critical to recognise and process our own emotional response to all of this, and to avoid passing on our own anxiety and uncertainties to the children. Create an open and supportive environment where children and teens know they can ask questions and express their worries. Answer questions honestly, using words and concepts that are geared to the children’s developmental level. Explain that the things they are experiencing and doing are often how we express our feelings of anxiety and sadness.”Changes in eating and sleeping“Classic signs of anxiety are issues emerging around food and appetite, or sleep,” McDermott said.Sleeping patterns may shift – with sleep disturbances, nightmares, waking in the night and insomnia. Children may have trouble falling or staying asleep or end up sleeping more during the day. Parents should also pay attention to changes in eating habits, including loss of appetite, fussiness around food or extra comfort eating.“It is developmentally appropriate for children to experience some of these behaviours and emotions, but concerns begin to mount when it interferes with their lives on a daily basis and/or in significant ways,” Wight noted. In this case, she advised exploring professional support options, as changes in sleeping and eating patterns can strongly affect a child’s ability to function and regulate their emotions. The same goes for any of the above signs of anxiety. “Parents do not need to wait until their child’s struggle feels like a crisis,” she said. “It’s best to proactively seek support. While parents know their children best, there are qualified and thoughtful professionals that can help parents and their children navigate through challenging situations.”Related...Can My Child Get The Covid Vaccine? A Guide For Parents8 Practical Ways To Get Your Kids To Talk About Their Feelings5 Ways Covid Changed The Little Things About Family Life20 Cheap Holiday Destinations Right Now, Even If Travel Is A Pain30 Too-Real Tweets About Yelling As A Parent
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WASHINGTON ― In Detroit, General Motors has a board of directors that oversees the company’s management. In Bentonville, Walmart has shareholders who can ultimately hold its board accountable.And in Manhattan, the Trump Organisation has, basically, only Donald Trump.Which means that even as Trump and his various defenders attempt to claim that Trump personally is in the clear because only his company is facing charges, in this case it is largely a distinction without a difference.“The Trump Organisation is an avatar for Donald Trump, in every way imaginable: financially, emotionally and psychologically,” said Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer whom Trump unsuccessfully sued for printing that his net worth was a fraction of what he had claimed. “The core company is a mom-and-pop shop on Fifth Avenue.”It’s a company that was also hit with a fraud indictment on July 1. Prosecutors say the Trump Organisation, along with its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, dodged taxes by improperly treating salaried income for top employees as fringe benefits or as contractor compensation.Trump himself was not personally charged, but O’Brien said it was inconceivable that Trump would not have known about the scheme described in the 25-page indictment, given that only a handful of employees there had any decision-making authority. “None of those others would dare tie their shoes without asking Trump,” he said.But showing that Trump personally profits from and is involved in every aspect of the business does not necessarily mean that prosecutors can convict him for its illegal actions.To do that, the state of New York, through district attorneys in Manhattan and possibly the state attorney general’s office, would have to show that Trump knew that what his company was doing when it arranged payments to employees to avoid taxes was illegal, but approved it anyway.“There has to be personal, specific knowledge,” said Danya Perry, a former federal prosecutor in New York City. “You can’t just impute knowledge.”Neither Trump’s spokesperson nor the Trump Organisation responded to HuffPost’s queries on this topic.That Trump is the central figure in his companies is made clear in the annual financial disclosures Trump was forced to file during his presidency. Those documents show elaborate, interlocking links among the Trump Corp., Trump Payroll Corp. and the hundreds of “limited liability companies” that Trump created to hold his various assets.O’Brien said the impulse to form a different LLC for each different asset Trump owned ― down to individual condo units in various buildings ― was an overreaction to his near personal bankruptcy in the 1990s, when he pledged his personal wealth to back business loans. Despite the Byzantine structure, O’Brien said, in the end it essentially all comes back to Trump. “This is basically a corner grocery with a guy behind the counter munching on a hamburger. And he’s the owner of the store,” O’Brien said.If the intent of the various entities, each with its own governance structure, is to obfuscate their ownership and control, the strategy has clearly succeeded.In 2018, for example, the local newspaper in Palm Beach, Florida, reported that a company run by Trump’s elder sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, had bought a beachfront house across Highway A1A from Mar-a-Lago from their father’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, for $18 million. Its address: 1125 South Ocean Blvd.But in May 2019, when Trump filed his annual financial disclosure, a new company, 1125 South Ocean LLC, showed up with assets between $5 million and $25 million. Elsewhere in the document, it states that the new LLC was 100% owned by DJT Holdings LLC.DJT Holdings LLC is, in turn, owned 1% by DJT Holdings Managing Member LLC and 99% by Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, which also owns 100% of DJT Holdings Managing Member LLC. The argument that [Trump] was unaware of these funds being given to Weisselberg or others is pure nonsense.Former Trump attorney Michael CohenAnd that trust ― which Trump created to give the false appearance of separating himself from his businesses when he took office ― benefits Trump personally.“There’s nothing that went on at the Trump Organisation that did not pass through Donald’s desk,” said his longtime former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen, who served time in federal prison for helping Trump arrange hush-money payments to women who said they’d had affairs with him.Notwithstanding Trump’s obvious control over his family business, he, his children and his supporters have made efforts to separate themselves from Weisselberg and the accusations against him.In a deposition last year in a case looking into the 2017 inaugural committee’s finances, for example, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump said of Weisselberg: “I don’t know what his exact job title is, but he’s an executive at the company.”And Weisselberg, following his indictment, in recent weeks has been removed as an officer from dozens of the Trump enterprises under the Trump Organization umbrella.Whether publicly excommunicating Weisselberg will work, though, is unclear. The indictment spells out that bonus checks to Weisselberg and other employees ― labeled as payments to contractors, rather than salary, thus letting the Trump Corp. avoid paying federal payroll taxes ― came from various Trump companies, such as Trump International Golf Club and the Mar-a-Lago Club. And both of those entities are owned by Trump, through a similar series of steps as the beach house.Norm Eisen, who served as an ethics lawyer in the Barack Obama White House and more recently worked for the House committee overseeing Trump’s first impeachment, said trying to blame Weisselberg for everything would be a tough sell.“It would be beyond implausible. It would be ridiculous,” he said. “Prosecutors have built the framework for a future case targeting Trump personally. ... Prosecutors are on the hunt.”“The checks for bonuses were all signed by Trump,” Cohen said. “The argument that he was unaware of these funds being given to Weisselberg or others is pure nonsense.”If Trump does, in fact, intend to claim that he did not know that such payments were illegal, he may have offered the first clue at a rally he held in Sarasota, Florida, two days after the indictments were unsealed. After attacking the prosecutions as politically motivated and defending the payments in question as examples of his generosity, he wondered aloud to the audience whether it was possible to know whether you have to pay taxes on such benefits: “I don’t even know. Do you have to? Does anybody know the answer to that stuff?”Perry said that while Trump may have been trying to lay the groundwork for a defense, he also wound up revealing that he knew quite a bit about the payments in question. “It certainly could be seen an admission,” she said. “I’m sure the prosecutors are watching him very closely.”Related...Trump’s New Spokesperson Is Spreading His Election Lies On Twitter For HimTrump Told Tell-All Authors He Refused Masks In Order To Look Strong, ImpenetrableTop US General Compared Trump To The Nazis, Book Claims
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Not long after midnight on September 18, 2020, Adel Al-Hasani knelt down with a blindfold over his eyes and his hands tied behind his back and thought about where he had seen fellow journalists in that position: in Islamic State videos, broadcast as chilling propaganda.Al-Hasani, 34, pictured his three sons and his pregnant wife. He silently asked God to forgive his misdeeds. Like the journalists captured by ISIS, he expected to be murdered. He had already imagined that his body would be found on a beach days later; though he wasn’t certain where he was, he could smell sea air.But his captors had a different plan. A guard grabbed him by the right shoulder and took him to an interrogation room. At one of the two detention facilities Al-Hasani had already passed through that night, he had faced dozens of questions while being kicked and beaten for hours. This time, he only had to provide his name and address. Then the guard searched him and led him to the cell that would be his home for the next three weeks: a tiny space filled with mosquitoes and bottles of urine where the lights were kept on all night and no fresh air could temper the September heat. Al-Hasani ultimately spent six months detained in the custody of the Southern Transitional Council, the US-linked militia that has taken over southern Yemen amid the country’s ongoing civil war. The organisation ― which receives American weapons and other support from one of Washington’s closest partners in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates ―  never fully explained why Al-Hasani was detained, and a local judge ultimately determined that he had to be released.In Al-Hasani’s first interview since his release in March, he said he sees a clear reason for his six-month imprisonment: The group wanted to silence him. Journalism in Yemen is being slaughtered from ear to ear.Adel Al-Hasani, reporter and fixerAs a reporter and fixer for international news outlets, Al-Hasani’s work has been vital to global awareness about the devastating humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where fighting has killed thousands of civilians and forced millions of people to live in famine-like conditions. He has contributed to groundbreaking stories, including work that has won an Emmy, and been nominated for an Oscar and a Peabody Award, while almost never receiving public credit for the work.In the US, that reporting has sparked a furore over America’s role in Yemen’s suffering. Since 2015, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have used American support to fight a Yemeni militia called the Houthis — whose chief ally is the longtime US bugbear Iran. American-backed forces have killed civilians, targeted political opponents and restricted access to vital supplies. Al-Hasani helped CNN produce a 2019 package on illegal Saudi and UAE weapons transfers to extremist militants and other Yemeni partners that prompted a congressional uproar and a Pentagon investigation.Bipartisan pressure and intense activism ultimately led to former President Donald Trump cutting off aerial refuelling for bombing runs by the Saudis, the UAE and their allies in 2018, and to President Joe Biden ending most other assistance.Biden now says that ending the war in Yemen is a top priority. But America’s partners there are still making peace and stability less likely. Al-Hasani, who experienced intimidation by representatives of the UAE and the Southern Transitional Council firsthand, believes those forces are suppressing independent voices so they can behave as ruthlessly as they want, with ongoing US support.“Journalism in Yemen is being slaughtered from ear to ear,” he told HuffPost.And it’s not just journalists who suffer ― it’s millions of people trapped in conflict who are losing their best hope of holding their rulers accountable.Representatives of the UAE and the UAE-backed southern council repeatedly tried to bribe and bully Al-Hasani, he told HuffPost. Although he was released this spring, after HuffPost revealed his detention and the Biden administration pushed the UAE for his release, Al-Hasani still fears for his safety ― and for the fate of the country he has now fled. A State Department spokesperson confirmed to HuffPost that the US advocated for Al-Hasani’s release, the first time the agency has done so.“Targeting journalists for doing their jobs is unacceptable,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. ”We will continue to advocate for the immediate release of anyone arbitrarily detained, including with partner governments like the UAE, and urge all parties to the Yemen conflict to respect human rights.”If the Biden administration is serious about maintaining that standard ― and getting Yemen on a path to recovery ― US officials will have to work to make America’s partners change course.“They don’t want the reality to come out,” Al-Hasani said. “They are doing their best to make Yemen a big prison.”‘When My Father Came, He Didn’t Recognize Me’Al-Hasani’s nightmare began on a Thursday that was busy, but not out of the ordinary. As he often did, he was using his contacts and expertise to help foreign journalists. Authorities in Yemen’s port city of Mokha had detained two French correspondents he was set to work with, and Al-Hasani set off to secure their release. He texted Saeed Al-Mahiri, an Emirati who works with southern Yemeni forces like the ruling militia in Mokha, to seek help.Like many players in the war’s various factions, Al-Mahiri knew Al-Hasani and his work. He had even granted the reporter a rare interview in 2018. That night, Al-Hasani told him he was en route to his French colleagues. Al-Hasani believes the Emirati may have learned more about their reporting plans from UAE allies who had confiscated the French journalists’ phones. (Al-Mahiri did not respond to a request for comment on his involvement.)Thirty minutes after the two men stopped messaging, Al-Hasani reached a checkpoint called Al-Alam, on the outskirts of Aden. He had negotiated his way through hundreds of checkpoints over years of reporting. But the rules had suddenly changed. The guards arrested him and took him to the nearby Dawfas checkpoint, run by a notorious southern council official named Hussein Halboub, who is identified in Yemeni media as the deputy commander of the post. Halboub told guards to move Al-Hasani from his car to a back room.For three hours, they kicked and punched him while accusing him of murder and espionage. The interrogation only ended so Al-Hasani’s captors could move him to the next phase of his ordeal. They took him, blindfolded, to Beir Ahmed ― a makeshift jail where UAE officers have deployed sexual torture against detainees.Bruised and terrified, Al-Hasani was left alone in a brightly lit room with a small window. He saw two pickup trucks pull up after about an hour; two men got out, one in the uniform of the UAE-backed southern forces and the other in a black jacket with a black scarf covering his face. It was an outfit Al-Hasani associated with al Qaeda, and it made him panic: Would he be transferred to the custody of one of the extremist militant groups known to work with America’s partners in Yemen?Instead of answers about his fate, he got a new blindfold, instructions to kneel, and a loud soundtrack for a long, bumpy ride that seemed designed to confuse his sense of direction. The jerks and shudders made his hands bleed as they scraped against the car’s metal floor.Al-Hasani guessed that his final stop of the night was one of two infamous military camps by the sea. He later learned he was right: It was Al-Jala, an unofficial prison where the Yemeni human rights group Mwatana has documented the use of electrocution and sleep deprivation. It was his home for the next 25 days. Placed in a fetid cell and unable to communicate with the outside world, Al-Hasani was referred to only as “number 5” ― unaware of who numbers 1 through 4 were because the guards never allowed them out at the same time for their brief toilet trips or long interrogation sessions.Al-Hasani usually took his family out to lunch on Fridays. He spent the night thinking about how they would react when he didn’t return home to be with them that Friday.During “investigations,” his captors echoed the narrative of the UAE and its local allies. They said he should use his skills to contribute to a future independent southern Yemen. He retorted that they looked more like a brutal militia than freedom fighters and that he was more likely to believe them if their top leaders were actually fighting in Yemen rather than safely in the UAE. He had nothing left to lose, so he was frank. After one particularly humiliating interrogation, he told the guards a bullet in the head would be better than more of their sessions. Al-Hasani made simple requests. He would like clean clothes to pray in to avoid disrespecting God. He didn’t mind the kicks, slaps and shouts during his near-daily interrogations, but could the self-appointed investigators stop insulting his mother and his wife?The men in charge didn’t let up. Placing him in the middle of a group of men chewing the leafy stimulant qat, prison officials would ask the same questions over and over, every so often randomly throwing in surprise punches. They realised insulting language hurt Al-Hasani the most, so they heaped more abuse on his family.After one particularly humiliating interrogation, he told the guards a bullet in the head would be better than more of their sessions. He went on a hunger strike that left him so weak he could barely stand, crawling on all fours. That brought some results. Six days in, after he promised to eat some olives, the guards allowed him a two-minute phone call to his wife, to tell her he was alive and ask about her pregnancy. His plea for death got him better access to the toilet.But he had to do more to get what he most wanted: a transfer to the official jail in the city of Aden, where his family could at least visit and the formal legal system still functions to some degree.His jailers eventually told him he could have his life back if he would make one small, secret change. They wanted him to become an informant, betraying his fellow reporters, abandoning his journalistic principles and quietly helping to break Yemen apart.After weeks of despair, Al-Hasani agreed, privately deciding he would flee Yemen after briefly appearing to follow through. It was risky — the guards said they knew his father’s name and where he worked — but it was a deal.One week later, the southern council officials moved him to the central jail in Aden, known as Al-Mansoura. And after 12 more days, Al-Hasani was allowed to see his wife and his father-in-law. He wished he looked more like himself: After weeks of eating barely anything ― two olives for dinner on some nights ― he was rail-thin. When his father visited the next day, he couldn’t even recognise him.Al-Hasani spent another two months in solitary confinement before being moved to a dormitory containing more than 30 prisoners. The authorities finally appointed a prosecutor for his case who could draw up charges based on the southern council’s claim that Al-Hasani was spying for foreign countries. The prosecutor had to try three times before he could even visit in person to present Al-Hasani with the charges. The first time he came to the prison, guards told him the jailed journalist could not meet him because he hadn’t yet been issued a uniform. At the next visit, they said they had lost the key to his cell. The prosecutor waited for two hours the third time he came, telling officials he would not leave until he saw Al-Hasani. When they ultimately met, he said the court had no evidence for the accusations that he was a spy. Al-Hasani’s supporters ― his family, his attorney Liza Manea Saeed and foreigners who had worked with him ― were privately pushing influential figures to get him released. Repeatedly, they heard promises that made them think his freedom was imminent.They were let down each time, with excuses like the court needing to close for a strike ― and by late December, began describing their efforts to HuffPost and others to prepare to take Al-Hasani’s plight public as a last resort.  His jailers eventually told him he could have his life back if he would make one small, secret change. They wanted him to become an informant, betraying his fellow reporters, abandoning his journalistic principles and quietly helping to break Yemen apart. Al-Hasani wanted more than freedom. He didn’t want to let his family down by leaving any shred of doubt that the allegations were true. And he worried that a public fuss would make a future ― and more reporting ― in Aden impossible.But after four months of working backchannels, he and his allies concluded that going public was the only possibly effective option left. HuffPost published the news of his detention on February 8. The Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch soon released additional details. In Washington, US officials began to lean on the UAE. As before, pressure worked. The guards began treating Al-Hasani better, permitting his family to bring him food and clothing. On March 14, the UAE-backed authorities released Al-Hasani. He hugged his children for the first time in six months and finally met his daughter, who had been born while he was behind bars. He quickly started to plan for their future in a safer location. Four days after his release, Al-Hasani left Aden on a Friday ― the day after the first night of the Yemeni weekend, an evening usually filled with qat and bound to leave guards at checkpoints drowsy. He traveled to his family village in the province of Abyan, controlled by Saudi-backed forces rather than those working with the UAE. And a few weeks later, he drove to the Seyoun airport. A local friend from his time in jail accompanied him and waited until Al-Hasani called to say he was in the air. Soon afterward, Al-Hasani’s wife and children left too. (HuffPost is not revealing their location to protect their safety.)Now they’re all together, Al-Hasani is still planning out the stories he wants to tell about Yemen. In between, he’s playing video games with his kids. They have a lot of lost time to make up for.‘The War Against Journalists’Before America’s friends in Yemen decimated Al-Hasani’s old life, he was already desperate to show the world what was happening in his country. Documenting the toll of the civil war ― meeting people who had lost loved ones and uncovering cynical strategies that would only make peace less likely ― had made him more determined to convince the world to end Yemen’s pain. Al-Hasani valued global awareness over nearly everything else: Though he relied on journalism to pay his bills and was becoming warier of outsiders who could dip in and out of the war, he started charging international reporters less for his help. Even as he saw correspondents win acclaim for work he helped produce, he doubled down on anonymity to ensure he could keep reporting; he started asking the journalists he worked with not to even take photographs of him. Two factors were making his journalism more challenging, even before his arrest, Al-Hasani said. In 2019, the Southern Transitional Council took over his city of Aden. That made it hard for reporters to alternate coverage of the council with stories on its rival, Yemen’s internationally recognised government. Any critical articles were suddenly perceived as direct attacks on the council. Meanwhile, the internationally recognised government and its ally Saudi Arabia made it far more difficult for foreign journalists to travel to Yemen, shutting down the process for issuing permits in Aden and barring reporters on flights in. In the north of the country, where the Houthi militia rules with Iranian support, authorities have tortured and starved journalists. Four reporters there are currentlyfacing the death penalty.Even if US diplomacy to end the Yemeni war succeeds, all those factions will still wield serious power. Highlighting their tactics could be the only way to shame them out of future repression. With less coverage, “they won’t hesitate to make it worse,” Al-Hasani said. And their alarming tendencies ― and willingness to escalate ― are clear. Al-Hasani told HuffPost he was detained overnight in 2019. A week later, a mysterious vehicle bashed into the rear of his car. His family was terrified. He got the message: We’re still watching you. He stayed quiet and kept working, confident that if he followed the unspoken rules he had become used to, he would remain safe.He has also repeatedly fended off attempts to buy his silence. In 2018, the UAE official Al-Mahiri sent Al-Hasani messages offering to hire him to set up a new media project. Al-Hasani quickly understood the real task: to serve as the UAE’s “eye in the region.” He refused. When he went to interview Al-Mahiri a few months later, he asked tough questions and got “bullshit” in response ― as well as an envelope. He opened it when he got home, finding wads of cash.An official with the southern council twice tried to hire him to be their representative to international groups in 2019. A spokesman for the council did not respond to a request for comment for this story.And soon after he left Yemen, Al-Hasani got an unexpected WhatsApp message from a man who said he commanded UAE-backed forces in the province of Hadramaut. The man, who called himself Abu Muhammed, suggested that Al-Hasani could build a new life in the UAE ― an idea that still makes Al-Hasani laugh out loud. But there are depressing precedents of such offers working: In 2017, a journalist who was jailed for more than a year by UAE allies in Egypt took $250,000 from an Emirati official to launch a public campaign attacking Qatar, the UAE’s regional foe. (HuffPost’s calls and messages to the number used by Abu Muhammed went unanswered.)The scale of the battle to suppress independent journalism was clear in how hard it was to get Al-Hasani released. After HuffPost revealed that he was detained, Democratic Representative Ro Khanna, prominent journalists and major human rights groups spent weeks highlighting the case — specifically calling out the UAE and its well-connected ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba. Amid the pressure, Emirati representatives privately claimed to US officials that they knew nothing about Al-Hasani, a congressional aide told HuffPost. (The UAE’s embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.)There’s no guarantee other cases will be able to attract attention in that way. “I would recommend any foreign journalist visiting Yemen to be more aware of the situation there. It’s not safe anymore,” Al-Hasani told HuffPost. He reflected on the last reporters he helped, the Frenchmen who were briefly detained back in September. “I cannot say I was smart to get them out safely — it was the will of Allah.” He’s still thinking about his homeland, though; particularly the situation in Aden, where the southern council and its opponents have waged a bloody, secretive war for years while most international coverage of Yemen has focused on fighting elsewhere. The people killed and injured there deserve to be covered, too, Al-Hasani said. He plans to help get them their due: He’s working on what he describes as the “best story” of his career while struggling with establishing himself in a new setting.“It’s a painful experience to leave your home against your will,” he said. “And the worst feeling is when you’re very loyal to your home and you get such a painful reward.”Rowaida Abdelaziz contributed reporting.
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Piers Morgan has revealed he thinks he caught coronavirus while watching England play in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.The journalist and television presenter told the Mail on Sunday he contracted Covid despite being double vaccinated.In a post on Twitter, he said it has been “a long ten days”.He added: “Yes, it’s certainly been one of the more interesting (and unnerving…) experiences of my life, but it gave my a new perspective on covid, vaccines & where we are.”Writing in his column for the newspaper, Morgan said he thinks he caught the virus during England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.“My confidence that the event would be ‘covid safe’ had disintegrated,” he said.“It was turning into an unregulated free-for-all.”Yes, it’s certainly been one of the more interesting (and unnerving…) experiences of my life, but it gave my a new perspective on covid, vaccines & where we are. https://t.co/UTavITTxRO— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 24, 2021According to the newspaper, he began to feel unwell two days after the match and subsequently tested positive for the virus.“As I’m sure everyone who gets it feels, it’s a strange, disquieting moment to know I have this killer virus inside me,” he said.The former Good Morning Britain presenter added that coronavirus is “definitely the roughest I’ve felt from any illness in my adult life”.“I’m still here – unlike so many millions around the world who’ve lost their lives to Covid in this pandemic,” Morgan said.“For that, I owe a heartfelt debt of thanks to the brilliant scientists up in Oxford who created the Astra-Zeneca vaccine with such astonishing speed.”READ MORE:Gary Lineker And Dan Walker Point Out The Glaring Problem With Piers Morgan's Emma Raducanu CommentsPiers Morgan Blasts 'Spineless' BBC As Emily Maitlis Is Reprimanded For RetweetJoan Collins Perfectly Shuts Down Piers Morgan When Quizzed About Prince Harry And Meghan Markle
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Good thing pole vaulters don’t need their teeth to compete, because Harry Coppell just smashed a few at the Tokyo Olympics.The British athlete posted video on Instagram of the accident in which he lands safely in the practice attempt but cannot stop the bar from crashing onto his mouth. View this post on InstagramA post shared by Harry Coppell (@harry_coppell_pv)“I hope @tokyo2020 has a good dentist around,” he wrote.Harry, the 22nd ranked pole vaulter in the world, eventually did see a dentist.The visit turned into an all-night ordeal and left him without a tooth and part of another one ― but with his sense of humour intact.“I’m gonna tell people I was in a bar fight....” he wrote on his story with a photo of the results.OLYMPICS:The Funniest Tweets From The Tokyo Olympics Opening CeremonySusan Boyle Featuring In The Olympics Opening Ceremony Is The Gift No One Saw ComingNot Sure Where To Start With Tokyo Olympics? Here's Team GB's Key Events And Ones To Watch
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Cardi B has hit back at accusations of “queerbaiting” in her latest music video.The term is often used to describe straight performers who hint at non-heterosexual encounters, without actually depicting them, to attract LGBT fans.A Rolling Stone article on the subject included a reference to Cardi B’s Wild Side video with singer Normani, noting a social media user had accused them of queerbaiting.The video features the pair naked and dancing together.The rapper, who is expecting her second child with husband Offset, said the term could pressure artists into divulging details about their private lives.“I don’t like this new ‘queer baiting’ word,” she tweeted. “I feel like it pressure artist to talk about their sexuality or their experiences that they don’t feel comfortable speaking about.“If a artist kiss a girl on a video does that means she gotta show videos & text wit wit other women?”I don’t like this new “queer baiting” word.I feel like it pressure artist to talk about their sexuality or their experiences that they don’t feel comfortable speaking about.If a artist kiss a girl on a video does that means she gotta show videos & text wit wit other women?— iamcardib (@iamcardib) July 23, 2021Addressing the Rolling Stone article, 28-year-old Cardi B said: “You do know we was trying to hide a whole baby bump right?”She added: “Also I’m married to a man but I have express soo much about my bisexuality and my experiences wit girls. All of a sudden “queer baiting” is the new word & people use it to the ground!”Uuummmm @RollingStone queer baiting? You do know we was trying to hide a whole baby bump right ?Also I’m married to a man but I have express soo much about my bisexuality and my experiences wit girls .All of a sudden “queer baiting” is the new word & people use it to the ground ! https://t.co/M3kn4NyJBs— iamcardib (@iamcardib) July 23, 2021Queerbaiting is not a new subject in pop music.Rita Ora was criticised in 2018 for her song Girls, which featured Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha.Rita claims she intended the song to be a celebration of bisexuality but was accused of being exploitative.She later released a statement apologising and said: “I would never intentionally cause harm to other LGBTQ+ people or anyone.”Madonna was recently accused of queerbaiting over her famous kiss at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.READ MORE:Killing Eve Accused Of Queerbaiting After Sandra Oh Dismisses Show's Lesbian UndertonesCardi B Had A Double Surprise For Fans At BET Awards With Pregnancy AnnouncementCardi B And Megan Thee Stallion's WAPtastic Grammys Performance Was Gloriously Extra
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The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games finally got underway on Friday after a dazzling - it somewhat subdued - opening ceremony.Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka had the privilege of lighting the Olympic cauldron, kicking off just over two weeks of sporting excellence.The event provided some spectacular sights, including 1,800 drones flying in the formation of planet earth, the hugely popular pictograms and a certain shirtless flag bearer from Tonga.However, one inclusion nobody saw coming was Susan Boyle.Yep, the Britain’s Got Talent star’s version of The Doves’ Wings To Fly was belted out to the billions watching, and listening, across the globe.Thousands of paper doves descended from the sky as the ballad, which SuBo had a hit with in 2009, was being played in the background.The sweetest thing hearing @SusanBoyle singing #WingsToFly at the #Olympics in #Japan#susanboylepic.twitter.com/HJU4hn8DSe— Wesley Correa (@wesley_correa_) July 24, 2021A pleasantly surprised Twitter was very much here for it...I never thought I’d see the day when Susan Boyle and Sonic the Hedgehog were on the same bill. #Tokyo2020— David Smith (@DVDSmith) July 23, 2021Who had Susan Boyle as part of the Tokyo Opening Ceremony on their 2021 bingo card?! #bbcolympics— Ryan Love (@RyanJL74) July 23, 2021They played Susan Boyle during the Olympics opening ceremony!!!!! God bless you Japan. https://t.co/tU5RRYRFY8— Daniel (@sillyolddaniel) July 23, 2021Wait. SUSAN BOYLE is performing at the Tokyo Olympics. Did I hear that right?! #Olympics— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) July 23, 2021Speaking about the inclusion of the song, Susan said it was “a true honour” to be featured in the opening ceremony.She tweeted: “It was a true honour to be asked by the #TokyoOlympics to use my song “Wings To Fly” during the dove release at the Opening Ceremony. Good luck to all of the athletes competing and especially to @TeamGB.”It was a true honour to be asked by the #TokyoOlympics to use my song "Wings To Fly" during the dove release at the Opening Ceremony. Good luck to all of the athletes competing and especially to @TeamGB— Susan Boyle (@SusanBoyle) July 23, 2021OLYMPICS:The Funniest Tweets From The Tokyo Olympics Opening CeremonyNot Sure Where To Start With Tokyo Olympics? Here's Team GB's Key Events And Ones To WatchThe 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Is Still A Heart-Swelling, Lump-In-The-Throat Moment
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With all of the buzz surrounding the Euros earlier this month, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that this is also the summer of the Tokyo Olympics.The games are finally, officially underway following Friday’s opening ceremony (and a year’s delay, no thanks to Covid), with the sporting action kicking off this week.The Olympics always manage to draw in loads of us who wouldn’t usually pay attention to sport – but with so many events going on in the next few weeks, it can be daunting working out exactly which ones to focus your attention on.With that in mind, here are the major moments from Team GB to keep an eye out for and the athletes that are ones to watch… Women’s 100m and 200mOne to watch: Dina Asher-SmithWhy? Dina is undoubtedly one of the most exciting British athletes around today. Not only is she the first British woman to win a gold medal for sprinting at the World Athletics Championships (which she managed in 2019), she’s also the fastest woman in British history.She’ll be competing in both the 100m and 200m sprints – and could well be about to be named the fastest woman in the world.When? Set your alarms, folks – the 100m heats are at 3.40am UK time on 30 July, while the 200m heats are on August 2 at 2.30am.Thankfully, the semi-finals and finals are at a more sociable hour, with the 100m finals and semi-finals at 11.15am and 1.50pm on July 31The 200m semi-finals will be at 11.25am on August 2, while the final will take place a day later at 1.50pm. Women’s cycling One to watch: Laura KennyWhy? Laura is already the most decorated British female Olympian of all time with four gold medals, so watching her compete is always exciting.This year is also her first Olympics since becoming a mum, and recovering from an injury.When? First off, she’s competing in the women’s team pursuit on August 2, which begins at 7.30am.The women’s team pursuit continues the following day at 7.30am.She’ll later compete in the women’s madison final at 7.30am on August 6, and the women’s omnium, which will take place at the less sociable hour of 2am on Sunday August 8.Men’s cyclingOne to watch: Jason KennyWhy? Like his wife Laura, Jason is a big deal in the world of British cycling. At Rio 2016, Jason equalled Chris Hoy’s gold medal record, and could well be about to surpass it at the Tokyo games.When? The men’s team spring will take place first, beginning on August 3 at 7.30am.After that, Jason is set to compete in the men’s sprint, with its various stages being held on August 4, 5 and 6 at 7.30am.Finally, the first round of the men’s Keirin event will be at 7.30am on August 7, with the next stage taking place at 2am the following morning.Women’s swimmingOne to watch: Alice DearingWhy? Alice has made history as the first Black woman to represent Britain in the field of swimming at the Olympics, and says she hopes to use her platform to get more people from the Black community interested in her sport.“If I can inspire one little Black girl or one little Black boy, anybody, to get into the water and give it a try, I’ve done myself proud, genuinely,” she recently told The Times. “That is the aim in it all.”When? The women’s marathon swim is scheduled for August 4 at 10.30pm.Men’s boxingOne to watch: Frazer ClarkeWhy? Frazer’s road to Tokyo was a particularly tumultuous one. After not qualifying for the last two Olympic games, he had considered giving up on his hopes of competing altogether.Since Rio 2016, Frazer witnessed the London Bridge terror attack and was stabbed three times in an incident at a nightclub, so he’s truly defied the odds to finally reach Tokyo.When? His first match will be on July at 4.30am, when he goes up against Ukrainian boxer Tsotne Rogava.Women’s boxingOne to watch: Charley DavisonWhy? Growing up, Charley won a gold and silver medal in European and world championships for boxing, but took a seven-year break from the sport when she became a mother.Now back in action, she’s hoping to take home the gold for Team GB, a dream she’s held since she was eight years old.She previously told the BBC: “I didn’t think I would come back to boxing after having children but as soon as I stepped back in the boxing club I thought I’d see how far I could take it.”When? Charley will go up against Morocco’s Rabab Cheddar on July 26 at 12.03pm.Women’s rowingOne to watch: Helen GloverWhy? Helen has made history already as the first mother to be selected for Team GB’s rowing team, having welcomed three children since winning gold in Rio five years ago.It was lockdown that made Helen want to pick up the oar again, telling Inside The Games: “When lockdown came it meant more hours on the rowing machine than I had anticipated.“As my scores and times started getting better, I began to wonder if I could be the first woman in British Rowing history to make an Olympic team after having children.”When? The women’s pair rowing heats kick off in the early hours of July 24, at 2am.Men’s divingOne to watch: Tom DaleyWhy? He’s one of the UK’s most famous active Olympians, but Tom Daley has repeatedly said that the 2021 games could well be his last.With an impressive two bronze medals already to his name, the Tokyo Olympics look set to be Tom’s last chance at bringing home the gold.When? Tom’s first dive will be in the men’s syncronised 10m platform final on 26 July at 7am.Following this, the men’s 10m platform event will take place on August 6 and 7.SkateboardingOne to watch: Sky BrownWhy: Teenager Sky is undoubtedly one of Team GB’s most talked-about competitors this year.At just 13 years old, she’s the UK’s youngest Olympian ever, and is representing her country in the field of skateboarding in the first year that the sport has been recognised at the games.She can also boast Mattel having already released a Barbie doll in her image, as well as having taken part in the first ever junior season of Dancing With The Stars over in the US.When? The Olympics are yet to announce the schedule for the skateboarding event, but Sky has already proved so popular that we think it’ll be hard to miss when her event gets underway.Men’s tennisOne to watch: Andy MurrayWhy? He’s Andy Murray, tbh.When? He and Joe Salisbury will play their first game in the men’s doubles on July 24. Women’s footballOnes to watch: The whole team.Why? This year, Team GB’s hopes of a football win rest solely on the women’s team – and they’re off to a cracking start, beating Chile 2-0 in the first match of the 2020 Olympics.They also won praise for taking the knee prior to their first match.When? Team GB will next be going up against Japan on July 24 at 11.30am.Men’s 100mOne to watch: Zharnel HughesWhy? Zharnel is another of Team GB’s first-timers in 2020, and he’s been tipped for big things, competing in both the men’s 100m and 100m relay.Of the trio taking part in the relay, he has the fastest personal best, and we’re looking forward to seeing how he fares on the track when he makes his Olympics debut this month.When? The men’s 100m heats get underway at around 3.30am on July 31, with races continuing over the course of the day. The semi-finals and finals will take place the following day.As for the relay, that takes place on 5 August, with the final airing the following day at 2.50pm.Related...The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Is Still A Heart-Swelling, Lump-In-The-Throat MomentTonga's Shirtless Flag Bearer Rocks Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, With 1 DifferenceSimone Biles Drops Jaws With ‘Incredible’ Training SessionTony Hawk Barged The Tokyo Olympics Skateboard Park And Showed How It's Done
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Travel is picking up again after a long pandemic lull, but for people with serious financial or health concerns, taking a trip may not be feasible at the moment. Enter the staycation.Staycations offer a restorative, affordable alternative to expensive vacations. They also provide the opportunity to explore your hometown outside the grind of your daily routine. But not everyone seizes this opportunity to the fullest. We asked travel experts to share some of the missteps they’ve seen people make on staycations.From failing to unplug to losing out on local discounts, here are 11 mistakes people often make during staycations – and some advice for avoiding these errors during your own “travels.”Missing out on local rate“Don’t forget to ask about a local discount for hotels and attractions. Some hotels, spas, and attractions offer special rates for local travelers. When booking your hotel or experience, ask for a local discount.” ― Jessica van Dop DeJesus, travel media specialist and blogger at The Dining TravelerNot unplugging from your regular life“In-town can be too close if you have trouble disconnecting from your life nearby. Sometimes the very energy suckers we’re taking a staycation to escape from work, family, or other obligations take our proximity as a sign that we’re available on an ‘as needed’ basis. Don’t waste your staycation budget being frustrated ― set your boundaries by turning off email and pressing ‘ignore.’ Airplane mode is your friend!” – Olivia Christine Perez, travel blogger at O. Christine“One mistake is not properly planning for work coverage since you’ll have computer access, so you never end up actually taking a break. Prepare your team in advance for you to be fully out of the office, then shut down your work computer and remove emails/Slack from your phone. You’re the only one who can do that for you, so take control over your time off and follow the guidelines you set.” – Stephanie Huston, entrepreneur and travel blogger at Steph Explores the World Booking at the last minute“Don’t think that because it’s a staycation you shouldn’t book ahead. As travel resumes to pre-pandemic numbers, hotels and attractions are getting booked quickly, and hotel prices are at an all-time high. Make sure to make your reservations at least a month ahead.” – Jessica van Dop DeJesus“Right now, with domestic travel picking back up, staycations are more popular than ever! I know many of us like to just wing it, but you won’t like it too much when you arrive and there’s nowhere for you to sleep!” – Alyssa Ramos, blogger at My Life’s A Travel MovieMissing out on guided tours“Since people are taking staycations in their own city, they often make the mistake of not going on guided tours – as they assume that they know their city and its attractions already. In fact, an expert local guide can introduce them to niche and underground places in their own backyard. Consider joining a specialised tour, such as a guided bird tour in a park, or wine experience at a local vineyard. You may be astonished at what you discover through the eyes of another local!” ― La Carmina, travel blogger and TV hostStaycationing over the weekend“Don’t book on the weekend. Avoid the weekend traveler crowds and book your staycation during the week. Not only will your hotel be less crowded but you can probably get reservations to your favorite restaurants on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday.” – Jessica van Dop DeJesusSticking to your comfort zone“One of the biggest mistakes people make on staycations is sticking with the norm and not venturing outside of their comfort zone. If you are staying in your local town, take this opportunity to discover hidden gems in your area. Join a local Facebook group or search on Pinterest. Go beyond the first page of a Google search. Really take a unique deep dive into what your town has to offer. Perhaps it is an award-winning restaurant you have never heard of. A lesser-known swimming hole. A unique hidden gem. Put in a little bit of effort and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You don’t have to travel far to find something epic, new, and unique!” ― Victoria Yore, travel blogger at Florida Trippers“One of the biggest mistakes people make on staycations is not exploring beyond what they know. Many stick to areas and establishments they’re familiar with, with the time off work or school being considered the ‘staycation.’ Discovery is one of travel’s most impactful characteristics. So, visit a local museum, shop, attraction, or restaurant that you weren’t aware of before your mini-adventure. Your local tourism board or chamber of commerce is an excellent source of information in this area.” ― Erick Prince, travel blogger at Minority NomadFailing to pack properly“Having taken 10+ staycations in one year in my small country of Singapore, I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade, as well as some recent trends in the hospitality trade. More and more hotels are ramping up their conservation practices. As such, some hotels no longer provide one-time use toiletries such as toothbrushes and toothpaste. Don’t make the same mistake as I did, assuming that hotels will provide everything. Packing a set of toothbrush and toothpaste doesn’t take any space at all and will save you a ton of hassle having to call room service just to embarrassingly request for a set of those.” – Isabel Leong, travel blogger at Bel Around The WorldSkipping the classic tourist sites“So many people think they need to avoid doing the obvious things that tourists do. Don’t. Being a tourist in your own city or state can be a lot of fun... things are popular with tourists for good reason; they are fun things to do. If you are going to do a staycation, do it properly and approach it like any other tourist would.” – Claire Summers, travel blogger at Claire’s Itchy FeetNot preparing your home“If you’re staying at home, prepare your home to be in staycation mode. Since you don’t have to pack a suitcase and you’re not spending money on flights, spruce up your home with your favourite indulgences ― whether that means buying flowers, stocking up on your favourite wine, or scheduling a cleaner before your staycation begins.” – Stephanie HustonAssuming everyone has the same goals“One of the greatest mistakes we make with staycations is not setting expectations. It’s easy to end up on a girls’ trip, date-cation, or time with the kids and realise that everyone is on a different page. Some people may want to relax – enjoy the pool and spa – and others might want to play tourist in their own town.” – Stephanie Be, travel blogger and founder of BuenaNot researching your ‘destination’“I believe the biggest staycation mistake is not to research the destination just as you would for an international trip. Sure, you’ll be staying closer to home, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t new things to discover! It’s interesting that we often ignore the tourist activities closest to home. For example, I often find that tourists who’ve visited my hometown have seen and done more there than I ever did when I lived there! That’s why, for a staycation, I think it’s fun pretending to be a tourist visiting from afar, as it’s sure to turn up a few things. It’s even a chance to do the local ‘cheesy tourist thing’ you’ve always avoided, but which may actually be great. (You can always pretend to do it ironically.) Staycations can actually be quite like cultural trips, at least if you can approach the familiar with a new set of eyes!” – Marek Bron, travel blogger at Indie TravellerQuotes have been condensed and edited for clarity.Related...Holiday At Home: 20 Staycation Swaps That Look Like They’re AbroadHow To Staycation In Your Local Area. No Travelling Required.Hack Your Annual Leave In 2022 To Get The Maximum Time Off
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So, nightclubs are officially open again for the first time since March 2020. And whatever your take on so-called ’Freedom Day’, the return of clubbing has been a strong vicarious vibe. Just look at these photos of people gathering together this week, dancing, and generally just letting off some steam. Socially, these past 16 months have been extremely difficult for young people. Your twenties are supposed to be a time for going out with friends, staying up all hours, and roaming the streets. And we’ve been completely robbed of all that. No wonder so many people want to be in the club, physically – and spiritually.But for me? Going “out out” is fun, but while lockdown has officially ended, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be clubbing right now. Being around that many people for the first time in months feel overwhelming, for a whole host of reasons. Which is why I’m running to the house parties instead.Truly, a house party is where I thrive. My love for them was born at sixth-form. Back then, the clubbing scene in London wasn’t too accommodating for Black people (it’s still a bit of an issue now). I heard horror stories of Black women not being able to get into clubs and rumours of extortionate entry fees. I live in outer London, near Essex, so getting home was also a nightmare. I was one of the first in my year to turn 18, yet I didn’t step foot in a club until university. The desire was there, but logistically it wasn’t working out for me.  My first proper house party, however, was a friend’s 18th. Turning 18 meant our parents trusting us enough to throw parties at home. The friend only lived a 10-minute walk away from me, so my girlfriend and I bought some cheap wine from the corner shop and walked to the party. I was wearing a midi dress with some heeled black boots. On arrival, we spotted some people we knew from different schools. I immediately knew this was going to be a sick party and it was. The music was banging, there was room enough to dance, and, crucially, I was in the comfort of friends. I didn’t have to queue up to get in or wait at the bar for a drink for 10 minutes, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the nightlife at all. After that, I caught the house party bug and, with everyone turning 18, that year really stood out for them.University was the peak of my house party adventures. My first uni house party was a memorable one as it’s where I properly met my future housemates and best friends. We bonded over our mutual love of Afrobeats and RnB and our distinct lack of alcohol – we were in a rush and had forgotten to bring any. The night ended with us walking home together to halls and watching a low-level fight break out (what uni party doesn’t have a bit of drama, right?)Typically, those house parties were at the weekend, as weekdays were reserved for clubbing. Our social circles expanded in a way they only do at university and the best part of any night was being able to bounce from house to house. If the first party wasn’t up to much, we’d just make our way to the next, and so on, until it was 6am and time to drift home.  A good house party doesn’t have to be crazy big, another plus in these Covid-conscious times. Often they’re just gatherings. My uni housemates and I didn’t actually host many parties due to a fear of our home being trashed – we opted to throw games nights instead. These weren’t as wild as some of the parties we attended, but the same principles applied: get drunk, at home, with your friends, on a budget. These nights are now tradition in our friendship group, something we can’t wait to get back to.There is less pretention and showing off to a night in than a night out. I love dressing up and wearing heels, but I also appreciate the casualness of house party codes. I’m able to wear cycling shorts, a nice top and trainers, and not feel underdressed. In fact, this only adds to the overall vibe, which shifts in every room of the house. The living room is typically the place with the music, the garden is the unofficial smoking area and the place to go for a cheeky gossip. The bathroom, well, that’s self-explanatory. And the kitchen?A kitchen is a special place for me. We all know the Jona Lewie song – except I am good at chatting. The kitchen is for the socialisers, the natter, the debate. Some of the meatiest discussions I’ve had have been in the kitchen at a house party. I’m a natural extrovert and a conversationalist. Perhaps this, ultimately, is why I prefer house parties to clubbing: how much easier it is to socialise and meet new people  – or one new person (I still believe I’m more likely to find the love of my life at a house party than on Hinge).There are so many elements to the house party I’ve missed during the pandemic. That initial awkwardness (yes, even extroverts feel it) when you walk into a room full of people you don’t know; the free alcohol; seeing the boy you’ve fancied for months in the garden; and the joy of staying up till six or beyond, because the best house parties don’t end when the lights come up.And let’s not forget the post-party gossip in the morning! Now that we are (carefully, mindfully) enjoying some degree of freedom again, I can’t wait to make more house party memories with my friends. Catch me in the kitchen – or garden, if you like – at the next house party near you. Related...Why Is Boris Johnson Singling Out Nightclubs For A Covid Crackdown?How To Bring Forward Your Second VaccinationI'm Happier Being A Guest Than A Host. Am I The Only One?10 Photos of Clubbers Living Their Best 'Out Out' Lives AgainHave You Completely Lost The Desire To Socialise? This Is Why
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Late one evening in June, 30-year-old Anita was perusing Reddit to unwind after a day spent on Twitch, the livestreaming platform popular among gamers. While searching for a clip from one of her recent streams, she stumbled upon a subreddit claiming to host “NSFW” photos of her. She was baffled: She had never streamed nude. As a star on Twitch, where she has 1.7 million followers, much of Anita’s life is spent broadcasting her every move — playing video games and chatting with her viewers for hours on end under the screen name Sweet Anita. She immediately clicked the Reddit page and was horrified to find thousands of men openly exchanging pictures, collages and slowed-down videos of her while boasting about how often they masturbated to them, and discussing in crude detail what they’d like to do to her body.The images were not explicitly pornographic; most were clipped from Anita’s lengthy livestreams during the precise moments when her cleavage, thighs or undergarments were briefly exposed as she stood up from her chair, or at times when she walked away from the camera or bent over, resulting in a view of her backside. In some cases, men had gone so far as to digitally enhance the pictures to make her clothing appear as see-through as possible, and had used editing software to imagine what she might look like naked and to insert her face into actual porn. They also traded links to channels on the messaging apps Discord and Telegram, where they shared even more explicit content, including videos in which they filmed themselves ejaculating onto stills from her livestreams that had been captured while her mouth was open.Anita, who has Tourette’s syndrome, was used to being sexualised against her will. Throughout her life men had fetishised her verbal outbursts and other tics. But as she sat alone in her U.K. home that night and scrolled through one degrading post after another while watching hordes of strangers talk about her as if she was their collective human sex doll, she felt sick. “No matter what I do or how I dress, they do this to me,” said Anita, who keeps her full name private out of fear for her safety. “I haven’t ever even taken my clothes off in front of the camera and yet I’m still a very successful porn star.”Compilations of content pulled from Anita’s livestreams at inopportune moments have spread from Twitch and Reddit to major pornography websites, where they’ve racked up hundreds of thousands of views in spite of her repeated pleas for them to be removed. Similar NSFW-themed subreddits and encrypted messaging channels exist for just about every female Twitch personality with even a moderate following, including teenage girls who produce streams that are in no way sexual.There’s no social media platform where women are safe from sexual harassment. Mobs of misogynist trolls have chased countless women and girls off of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and lesser known sites. But when it comes to streaming on Twitch, women are exceptionally vulnerable to this kind of abuse, which has become normalised as an intrinsic part of their experience both on- and off-platform, regardless of the nature of their content. Most all women who earn a living on Twitch know what it’s like to have male viewers who, after spending countless hours watching them in real time, develop obsessive feelings of romantic and sexual entitlement. The result is an environment where extreme harassment, rape and death threats, blackmailing, stalking and worse have become regular workplace hazards.Female streamers who spoke to HuffPost said they wish they’d known before joining Twitch that they were also signing up for a torrent of endless, dehumanising harassment with little to no recourse. After futile attempts to get abusive subreddits and other similar channels taken down, some have turned to cybersecurity firms offering content removal assistance — a service that can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year.“These people are literally ruining my experience of streaming,” said Anita, who earns a living on Twitch. “It’s basically like having millions of people be your boss, and your boss is allowed to sexually harass you every day.”A Perverse FishbowlSuccessful Twitch streamers are a unique kind of internet celebrity. Unlike most Instagram influencers, YouTube vloggers and other content creators, they typically make themselves available to their followers for hours on end, multiple days per week, in real time. As any professional streamer will tell you, building and maintaining a large audience on the platform is a full-time job that demands near-constant effort. It’s not unusual for Twitch streamers to “go live” for 40 or more hours per week, especially while trying to launch a career on the platform. Streamers can earn money through subscriber donations, brand deals, merchandise and — if they reach theinvite-only status of Twitch Affiliate or Partner, as Anita has — paid subscriptions and ad revenue, too. Many of Twitch’s biggest stars earn six-figure incomes or more. But for women on the platform, success comes at a cost. The streaming marathons that are necessary to both take off and stay relevant on Twitch provide misogynists with ample opportunity to capture recordings or screenshots of women at awkward moments that can easily be recontextualised to seem sexual.“They turn the wrong way to get a bottle of water or they get up to go to the bathroom and suddenly it’s ′click-click-click, save-screen, save-screen,’” said Ryan Morrison, who’s known online as the “video game attorney” and whose law firm, Morrison Rothman, helps individuals and businesses get harmful content taken offline. It’s a service that’s especially popular among female Twitch streamers, he said.The countless hours streamers spend on camera also make women in particular prime targets for deepfake porn videos, in which their faces are digitally superimposed onto porn actors’ heads. To look convincing and glitch-free, deepfakes require a vast dataset of imagery of a subject’s face, and all-day Twitch streamers unwittingly provide the perfect catalogue. The biggest deepfake porn websites on the internet all have sections specifically for videos featuring female Twitch streamers, including each of the women in this story. Doctored but real-looking videos that show them masturbating, performing oral sex and being penetrated have spread across the internet, making them next to impossible to take down for good.Influencers on Instagram, YouTube and other networks tend to share far less footage of themselves online than Twitch stars do, and generally post select images or carefully edited videos, so “they control everything they share, and they’re happy with what’s out there,” Morrison said. “That’s different than a Twitch streamer or really anyone who goes live.”But the platform itself is also part of the problem. Misogyny is deeply woven into gaming culture — and by extension, Twitch culture. Its userbase is 65% male, including a lot of “lonely men and socially inept boys” who grew up “hiding in gaming instead of developing social skills and speaking to anyone, let alone the opposite sex,” Anita said. “It’s really hard for them to empathise with the people that they’re attracted to. And so you get this behaviour in a really concentrated level on Twitch.”Twitch has a policy explicitly prohibiting hateful conduct, which it recently updated to “take a clearer and tougher stance on objectifying and sexually harassing behaviour,” as well as tools to help streamers temporarily or permanently ban abusive users from their livestream chats. But female streamers say they’re still sexually harassed on a daily basis on the platform. “Sexual harassment is a societal ill that is never acceptable in any form - be that in the physical or the digital world,” a Twitch spokesperson said in a statement to HuffPost.“Further, community safety is not an end state, and we must, and do, continually evolve our safety policies and tools to ensure they are comprehensive and account for emerging behaviours,” the spokesperson added. “We consistently engage in industry conversations to combat harm towards women and protected groups, and are committed to collaborating with peers in the industry to more effectively combat cross-platform abuse.” Knowing that people are doing this without my consent makes me feel used, makes me feel assaulted, makes me feel gross.Blaire, 27-year-old Twitch streamerBlaire, 27, a California-based streamer who’s known to fans as QTCinderella, joined Twitch in 2018, shortly after her mother died. She was already spending her free time gaming and figured it would be nice to have an online community to talk to when she felt lonely. Building that community didn’t take long: Within a couple of years she grew so popular that she realised she could make a career out of streaming. She quit her job as an interior designer and made the full-time leap to Twitch in early 2020.As she devoted more and more of her time to her audience — giving them a window into her life for hours on a near-daily basis and responding directly to their chat messages in real time — Blaire noticed a growing number of men seemed to treat her as their online girlfriend, behaving like they knew her personally and as if she owed them individual attention and affection.“It was weird,” said Blaire, who also keeps her last name private, and who livestreams herself doing anything from gaming to cooking to playing online chess and poker. “Some people actually got really angry when they found out I had a boyfriend.”Parasocial interaction (one-sided relationships in which audience members feel as if they have personal, mutual connections with entertainers) isa dynamic that Twitch has propelled to new heights. It poses potentially dangerous implications for female streamers whose male viewers may grow to feel possessive of them — and their bodies. This became frighteningly clear to Blaire last summer when she discovered a subreddit where a sprawling network of men posted supposedly erotic images from her livestreams, such as a screenshot zoomed in on her butt that showed her bending over in her kitchen while putting cookies in the oven.As with Anita, there were also crudely edited photos, looping GIFs of Blaire sitting up and back down to simulate a sexual motion, and links to Discord and Telegram channels containing far worse. “Knowing that people are doing this without my consent makes me feel used, makes me feel assaulted, makes me feel gross,” Blaire said. “I work just as hard as some of the top male streamers on Twitch, but they don’t have Reddits where they’re sexualised against their will.”Gamergate Never EndedTwitch was launched 10 years ago, not long before Gamergate, a horrific harassment campaign targeting female video game developers, some of whom were forced to flee their homes. A decade later, the gaming space is still a boys’ club, and women in the industry, especially those of colour, are regularly treated as if sex appeal is their only value. Twitch is no exception.Across the platform women have been doxxed, stalked, harassed, blackmailed, assaulted, hacked, and threatened with rape and death by their viewers, sometimes mid-livestream. Earlier this year, a German Twitch streamer known as Vylerria said a man threatened to kill her father if she didn’t flash the camera during her stream.“While streaming my ‘Dad’ called me. When I picked up, a guy demanded that I must show my boobs onstream,” she tweeted in January. “He said if I refuse, he will slit my dad’s throat who, according to him, was lying tied up on the floor.” The man kept calling her names and revealed her address — “in order to terrify me even more,” she said. (Vylerria found out almost immediately that her father was safe.)Anita has endured similar threats. A man from her livestream stalked her for months, waiting outside her home with a knife, following her out in public and even threatening to kill her, her pets and her mother, she shared last summer. (Twitch has since introduced an Off-Service Policy, which enforces against severe offences that occur off-platform, including “actions that would directly and explicitly compromise the physical safety of the Twitch community.”)The paralysing fear Anita experienced is familiar to many women on the platform.He stated this publicly last stream. Last time he left messages like this he sat outside my house waiting for me to come out all day, then followed me to a shop. When I asked if he was armed he silently smirked and then chased me. Two men had to grab him so that I could escape. pic.twitter.com/AK8HZpJoTs— Sweet Anita (@sweetanita) July 14, 2020“Simply having a vagina means you will be viciously, incessantly sexually harassed as a streamer on Twitch,” said an American streamer who is also the focus of a subreddit and other channels similar to those targeting Anita and Blaire. She asked not to be named or described in potentially identifying detail, so as not to draw more attention to these pages.“No matter how original or clever or brilliant your content is, you’ll never escape the crowd who wants to strip you of your worth and diminish you to a pair of tits and ass,” the woman said. “It doesn’t matter if you dress like a nun, men on Twitch will find a way to sexualise you and they won’t stop. It almost feels like it’s a sport to them — like they do it because you don’t want them to. There’s so much free porn out there from women who feel comfortable being seen in that way, yet here we are.”Another female streamer who also requested complete anonymity said that when she begged her audience to stop redistributing her content in hypersexualised contexts, anonymous male viewers told her it was their “right” to do so, and that she should feel “flattered” that they found her arousing enough to set up an online network to exchange images of her to masturbate to.“They told me I was asking for it by wearing shorts, by turning around to get up to pee, as if my intention was to show off my butt,” she said. “I can’t tell you how uncomfortable it makes me. I cry every time I read what they say about my body. Maybe it’d be different if it was happening in private, individually, but seeing all these complete strangers come together to cheer on each other’s sexual fantasies about me with these photos — when I’ve never posted anything remotely sexual — is just too much.”The notion that women are asking to be harassed and violated by becoming streamers, or that they’re teasing men, is commonplace on Twitch. A San Francisco man named Erik Estavillo, who claims to be a sex addict, filed alawsuit last year suing Twitch for $25 million because “hot female gamers” on the platform caused him to masturbate so much that he allegedly wounded his penis. Two photos of Blaire are featured in the legal filing, which was dismissed by a California judge. One shows her goofing around while dressed as a bride on stream; in the other, which was pulled from her Instagram profile, she’s wearing a bathing suit. It also features other fully clothed streamers who are pictured bending over or working out. These women “are only streaming with the sole purpose of taking advantage” of sexually addicted viewers who are “enticed to spend money on these women for attention and sexual innuendo,” Estavillo’s suit claimed.No RecourseAs soon as Blaire found the subreddit, she sent a message to Reddit requesting that it be taken down, but she received no response. The subreddit’s moderatorsalso ignored her pleas for compassion.“I know you probably don’t care but please imagine if this was your sister or mother asking you. I really don’t want to be sexualized,” she wrote to them. “I’m begging you to please delete this.”Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law passed in 1996, protects social media websites and other online intermediaries from liability for things their users post. Platforms are free to decide what content they will and won’t allow, and to implement policies that can be as vague and as inconsistently enforced as they wish.Going after the distributors of the content would likely be futile, too. Lawsuits are often extremely expensive, and to sue for harassment, impersonation, defamation or even misappropriation of image, you’d need to know who you’re suing. The men exchanging Twitch streamers’ supposedly “NSFW” images on Reddit, Telegram, Discord and elsewhere are all doing so anonymously, effectively shielding them from accountability. My only option is to pay to get these taken pictures down or just find a different job.BlaireFeeling like she had no other options, Blaire turned to a firm that provides online content removal and other cybersecurity support, which costs her $2,500 per month. Some months, she said, that’s half her income. And while most of the images shared to the subreddit started getting quickly removed, its members shifted to more heavily posting links to Discord and Telegram channels where they continued to trade photos of her with even more vilecommentary.“It’s insane,” Blaire said. “I literally have to pay so much money just to get photos of my ass taken offline.”Even the takedowns Blaire pays for are limited in scope. Reddit and other platforms will generally comply with DMCA notices demanding the removal of copyrighted material, explained Morrison, the attorney, so content that’s taken from Blaire’s livestream and reposted elsewhere online usually ends up coming down in the face of legal threats. But getting these platforms to take action on the grounds of sexual harassment — and to remove entire channels or subreddits for consistently abusive behaviour — is much more difficult. After HuffPost reached out for comment last week, Reddit finally banned the subreddit harassing Blaire, citing “excessive copyright removals.”“Our site-wide policies prohibit content or behaviour that threatens, harasses, or bullies individuals or groups of people. Users and subreddits that engage in such behaviour will be banned,” Reddit said in a statement to HuffPost. “Additionally, in accordance with Reddit’s User Agreement, we respond to valid DMCA takedown requests for cases of infringing or copyright materials and will action any users or communities in appropriate circumstances.” A new subreddit was created almost immediately and remains active.“My only option is to pay to get these taken pictures down or just find a different job,” Blaire said. “I think about that all the time.”Anita has considered quitting Twitch, too. Before joining the platform, she worked in wildlife rehabilitation.“That sort of thing is probably what I’ll end up going back to one day,” she said. “The mental toll of being at the mercy of these people for the rest of my life would just not be survivable.”
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An unvaccinated man who was hospitalised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after he contracted Covid-19 and developed severe pneumonia said he still won’t get the vaccine.“Before you got sick, if you would have had a chance to get the vaccine and prevent this, would you have taken the vaccine?” CBS News’ David Begnaud asked Scott Roe on his hospital bed at Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center in an interview this week.“No,” Roe, a Republican, responded.“So, you’d have gone through this?” asked Begnaud.“I’d have gone through this. Yes, sir. Don’t shove it down my throat. That’s what local, state, federal administration is trying to do,” Roe replied.“What are they shoving, the science?” asked Begnaud.“No, they’re shoving the fact that it’s their agenda. Their agenda is to get you vaccinated,” Roe said, claiming there were “too many issues” with the shots. Millions of Americans have received the shots, which have proven remarkably effective at preventing infection and severe illness. Watch the interview here:In the same segment, pharmaceutical researcher Paula Johnson expressed regret at putting off getting the vaccine.She ended up in hospital.“I honest to God thought I walked my last day on this earth. I could not breathe. I just, all of a sudden, my lungs just didn’t work,” Johnson told Begnaud.“I have no comorbidities, nothing, never had a lung problem. Don’t smoke, nothing,” Johnson explained. “And it took my lungs and just … I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s like trying to breathe in and hitting a wall in like a second.”Her warning came as the highly transmissible delta variant continues to spread across the country. It echoes those delivered this week by other unvaccinated people (who now make up 99.5% of American deaths from COVID-19) who were hospitalized with the disease and are now urging others to take the shot.William Hughes, from Arkansas, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday that he wished he’d had the jab.“I mean, the vaccine may not have kept me from getting COVID, but it may have decreased greatly the pain and suffering I had to go through to get to the point where I am now,” he said.Watch the video here:William Hughes, who was hospitalized with Covid, shares his message for those opposing the vaccine."Go get the vaccine. If you don't do it for yourself, do it for your family. Because I almost left my wife and my daughter here to fend for themselves because I didn't go get one." pic.twitter.com/wtTHqTXVPi— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) July 23, 2021Donald McAvoy, an unvaccinated 33-year-old gym manager from Jacksonville, Florida, said he was initially “skeptical” about the shot.“I was like, ‘Eh don’t get it, I don’t need it. I’m healthy. I’m young. I’m good. I’m OK,’” McAvoy told Action News Jax. “If there’s one thing I could say to the public and everyone out there is get vaccinated now.”
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Fans of Japanese video games couldn’t believe their ears as Olympic athletes paraded into Tokyo’s National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2020 Games on Friday: the orchestra was playing tunes from some of their favourite games.In a celebration of Japanese popular culture that is appreciated worldwide, the entry parade was set to tunes from games developed by Sega, Capcom and Square Enix. It kicked off with “Overture: Roto’s Theme” from Dragon Quest. Next up was “Victory Fanfare” from Final Fantasy. The parade featured more tunes from Monster Hunter, Soulcaliber and Sonic the Hedgehog. (Check out the original list in Japanese from Nikkan Sports, or in English from Polygon.) According to Classic FM, the music from Kingdom Hearts was composed by Yoko Shimomura, who is responsible for the music for some of the biggest video games ever made. Fans were delighted to hear her work being incorporated into the ceremony.KINGDOM HEARTS OLYMPUS COLOSSEUM MUSIC HOLYYYYYY!!!!!!!! #Tokyo2020pic.twitter.com/gwWGjwU1lV— ☆オードリーAudrey☆ (@aitaikimochi) July 23, 2021The ost of Kingdom Hearts (Olympus Coliseum) by queen Yoko Shimomura while Italy entered the stadium ✨ #Tokyo2020— Giopota (@giopota) July 23, 2021While the list didn’t feature widely recognised tunes from cultural juggernauts like Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda, the music helped give a sense of atmosphere to the ceremony, which was held in almost an empty stadium due to coronavirus restrictions.Olympians waved mostly for the cameras in the made-for-TV ceremony, which only had about 1,000 people in attendance at the 68,000-capacity stadium ― VIPs like Japanese Emperor Naruhito, first lady Jill Biden, members of the International Olympic Committee and journalists. In another nod to Japanese pop culture, the placard for each country’s delegation was in the style of a speech bubble from manga, which is Japanese comics and graphic novels. The signs had the country’s name in English on one side and Japanese on another.And in another tribute to Japanese pop culture, the Google Doodle, which is accessed by going to the google.com home page, also starts out with an anime-inspired theme, then moves to an incredibly elaborate ’80s-style arcade game.The exposure to anime and manga from the Tokyo Games may serve to make the art forms even more popular worldwide, said Susan Napier, a professor of rhetoric and Japanese studies at Tufts University, according to The Washington Post.Related...The Most Stunning Photos From The Tokyo Olympics Opening CeremonyTonga's Shirtless Flag Bearer Rocks Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, With 1 DifferenceItaly Turns Heads At Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony With 'Interesting' OutfitsVictoria Beckham Reminisces About Spice Girls' Olympics Performance As Tokyo 2020 Gets UnderwayOlympic Committee Ends Social Media Photo Blackout of Athletes Taking A KneeSimone Biles Drops Jaws With ‘Incredible’ Training SessionTony Hawk Barged The Tokyo Olympics Skateboard Park And Showed How It's Done
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It’s been a few weeks since Boris Johnson jibed Keir Starmer with his alliterative soundbite of choice: “we vaccinate, they vacillate!” And given the past week of wibbly-wobbly, hokey-cokey pronouncements from him and his government, it’s perhaps fitting that the PM has laid off that particular attack line. In a dizzying few days of dithering, Johnson exempted himself from isolation rules then isolated himself, his ministers contradicted him on the need to obey Covid ‘pings’ and key policy on critical workers changed by the hour. The National Insurance rise to pay for social care was on and then off. The NHS pay rise was off and then on. Compulsory Covid passports were revived from the dead, just weeks after being quietly euthanised by Michael Gove. At times, the PM looked like Gromit desperately trying to lay new track in front of his train of state as it sped towards the parliamentary recess. But although getting over the line of the summer break may stop backbenchers from gathering in grumbly groups in the Commons tea room, ministers know there are gruelling weeks ahead. At the heart of the problem lies a fundamental confusion in Johnson’s pandemic strategy. He (backed by Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, to be fair) has decided England will become the first country in the world to open up a country from lockdown precisely at the point when cases are soaring.But instead of honestly admitting that his objective is a form of herd immunity  - ie “hybrid immunity” stemming from infections and vaccinations - the PM is telling the public to be cautious and “slowly” take full advantage of all the freedoms he has now granted.There’s an easy answer to the “if not now, when?” question about full unlocking: mid-September, when all of the adult population has been offered a second jab. The PM counters that keeping restrictions in place until then would simply delay the covid wave, not suppress it. And a wave in summer is easier for the NHS to cope with than a wave in winter, he adds. Yet on that logic, being cautious and not “tearing the pants out of it” simply delays the wave too. Isolating after “ping” from the App delays the wave. Wearing masks delays the wave. Meeting outdoors delays the wave. But the PM says he doesn’t want to delay it. It’s hard to think of a more confused and chaotic public health policy, especially during a pandemic.It would be more honest if Johnson admitted he wants the maximum number of infections this summer, just short of tipping the NHS into a serious crisis. And helpful if the department of health told us just what level of infections it thinks the NHS can cope with before lurching into that meltdown.The other objective for opening up fully is to help ease the pain of businesses and all those who work in them. But if you’re then effectively telling the public not to use those businesses, because they should be “careful”, what is the point? That’s why, whenever Johnson was asked to define what tearing the pants out of it meant, he struggled with specifics.It’s possible that the real, unstated reason for Freedom Day was not just “hybrid immunity”, but because ministers can see that young people simply aren’t going to be double jabbed in big numbers by mid-September anyway. Take-up rates are worryingly lower than older age groups, so if government waits for the magic 80% double-jabbed figure, it could be waiting indefinitely.I suspect that’s what really lies behind Johnson’s drive for compulsory Covid passports. They will drive up jab rates, while giving attendees of nightclubs, football matches, music gigs (and cinema and theatre goers, and maybe indoor pub goers?) the security that they will be mixing with similarly protected people. Compulsion will also drive demand for booster jabs over the winter.The big issue however over coming weeks will be just when restrictions are reintroduced. Johnson has already tried to soften up opinion this week by saying he merely “hoped” his roadmap would be “irreversible”. Would it make sense to have a roadmap back into lockdown, just as he had one out of lockdown? I used to think so, as it would allow individuals and businesses to plan their next steps.But the problem may fundamentally be that the virus doesn’t respond to graduated steps. If you really want to flatten (not delay) a sombrero of cases, a hard and fast lockdown may be the only answer. Just reimposing masks and working from home may not cut it.Yet given how confused and contradictory the current policy is, it wouldn’t be surprising if the policy that replaces it is similarly incoherent. Learning to “live with Covid” is obviously where we need to end up, but that requires maximum vaccinations for genuine herd immunity. It also requires more honesty from government about what its real strategy is.The latest data on Friday suggests the third wave may, just, be peaking. But I’ve genuinely no idea if that’s what No.10 wants, or if it wants to ride the wave for a few more weeks.Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam this week repeated his advice to avoid places with the ‘3 Cs’ overlapping: closed settings, with crowds and close contacts. Unfortunately, the real ‘3 Cs’ that have defined Johnson’s policy are chaos, confusion and contradiction.
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