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Security experts concerned by Wembley Stadium director ignoring failures of Euro 2020 final

High-ranking security and operations personnel working in English football have been perturbed by messaging from the Wembley stadium director, Liam Boylan, which completely ignores the comprehensive failings of the Euro 2020 final that could have led to fatalities. Just two days after the findings of an independent review into the event – commissioned and paid for by the Football Association (FA) – ruled that the organisation did not “match the occasion” and there was a “collective failure to plan for the worst case scenario”, Boylan credited a “world class stadium delivery team” in a LinkedIn post that ignores the dangerous, chaotic scenes at the ground on 11 July 2020. One Championship safety officer told The Independent it was “par for the course to pretend like nothing had gone wrong,” adding that the “priority for Wembley is PR over everything else”. As per the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), “responsibility for the safety at a sports grounds lies at all times with ground management”, a fact which was repeated in Baroness Casey’s review despite it largely absolving Wembley, the FA, and all other authorities for their grave errors before, during, and after the final. A fan liaison officer of a top Premier League club feels Boylan’s post and the slant of the review to rightly go hard on the ticketless thugs but be passive towards the powers that be, exculpating them from blame, feeds into a “culture at the top of English football to avoid responsibility and ensure supporters are the enemy. They would rather penalise fans more than focus on pro-active crowd control, better stewarding and evidenced-based management of events.” One of the game’s leaders on security and operations offered a more detailed take on that point to The Independent. “It seems to be lost on the stadium that they also played a part in what was found to be a disastrous operation with significant criticism of their planning. “Visitors to our national stadium need to have confidence in the security operations and these comments two days after a critical independent report, undermine not only the findings of the inquiry but also the expectations visitors can have in respect of their safety. “The comments also make it clear that at a senior level there is no security culture at Wembley and that is a very dangerous prospect, especially given the increase in the risk of terrorism in the UK.” One of Baroness Casey’s recommendations for the FA and Wembley is for “security plans to be regularly peer reviewed by experienced safety and security professionals to ensure rigour”. None of the experts in that field contributing to this report believe that will be implemented. Boylan has been approached for comment. Read More Euro 2020 final ‘a day of national shame’ – FA review key points Euro 2020 final win would have been ‘horrific’, review reveals Crystal Palace LGBT+ group calls on football world to back up words with action

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To battle the climate crisis, India and Germany can be key partners

As close partners in multilateralism, we share a strong interest in a global energy transition that will save our climate, provide energy for all and leave no one behind

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Another Road to Damascus moment for Afghanistan

While no country enjoys the kind of cosy relationship with the Taliban’s regime as Pakistan and Qatar do, most regional countries appear widely uncomfortable with Pakistan’s leading role in Afghanistan.

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63 years later, India must repeal AFSPA

If the farm laws can be repealed, why not a law which symbolises fear and violence for the Northeast?

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National trackfest slated in Baguio

MANILA, Philippines — Southeast Asian Games gold medalists, headed by marathon queen Christine Hallasgo, lead the cast of participants in the Ayala National Athletics Championships set Dec. 16 and 17 at the Baguio Athletic Bowl.Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Philip Ella Juico said the two-day meet would serve as a performance competition for Hallasgo and the other national mainstays who are seeing action in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games in May and Hangzhou Asian Games in September.“This is an attempt to go back to normal with all the precautions, of course, and our athletes need to remove all the rust also,” Juico told yesterday’s online PSA Forum.Close to 300 athletes from around the country will participate.

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Duterte offers DOH chief post to priest-scientist

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has offered the health secretary post to a priest and molecular biologist, saying Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has expressed a desire to take a rest.Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr., an OCTA Research fellow and a University of Santo Tomas (UST) biological sciences professor, presented the preliminary findings about the Omicron variant during a meeting of the government’s pandemic task force last Monday.After his presentation, Duterte thanked Austriaco and asked him if he is based in the Philippines.Austriaco said he has a joint appointment and that he spends six months of the year in the US and the other six months in the Philippines. He added that he has two laboratories, one in the US and one at the UST.The priest also informed Duterte that he and his students are working on a vaccine for the Philippines.Duterte then asked Austriaco to stay in the Philippines longer.Asked by the President if he is still a Filipino citizen, Austriaco replied: “I am and I will die a Filipino.”“I am currently serving as a Balik Scientist from the Department of Science and Technology... I would like to bring back my education to the Philippines,” Austriaco said.The Chief Executive then told the priest-scientist that he would be happy to name him as his health secretary.“I would be happy to appoint you as the secretary of health, if that is OK with you,” Duterte said.Austriaco declined, saying Duque is “doing a fine job and he’s a Thomasian.”“(Duque) vents a desire really to rest, you know, after all this ruckus against him. I said I’ve been forcing him to stay, but he would be happy to give way to you, I’m sure,” Duterte said, to which Duque replied: “Yes, Mr. President, to another Thomasian.”Asked how serious the President was in his offer to Austriaco, acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said the priest had clearly stated that Duque and other officials are doing a good job managing the pandemic.President’s callDuque said it is Duterte’s call to replace him.“We serve at the pleasure of the President. That is the President’s call, but tayo, trabaho lang (we just do our job),” Duque said during the Laging Handa public briefing yesterday.The health secretary was reacting to Duterte’s offer for Austriaco to take the DOH’s top post if he wants to.Austriaco declined the offer and said he would rather have Duque stay in his post.Duque said he remains “laser focused” in ensuring that COVID-19 cases are kept minimal and the country stay at low risk.

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Kyle Echarri: No regrets, just lessons learned after PBB

Kyle Echarri said he was happy with his stay inside the Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) house because it was an opportunity to show who he really is, including his “vulnerable” side.The 18-year-old actor-singer, the fourth evictee from Pinoy Big Brother: Kumunity Season 10, also opened up on the real reason he joined the ABS-CBN reality show.Kyle recalled being asked why he joined when his career was “good” already. “I even got nominated one night because someone said I don’t need PBB anymore, parang ganun. For me, it’s not just about getting more supporters, being more big because of the PBB. For me, it was just to show who the real Kyle Echarri is through PBB,” the Cornerstone artist told The STAR in an exclusive Zoom interview.“Lagi akong na-mi-misinterpret ng mga tao, lagi po akong napagbibintangan na ganito ako (or) ganito din ako, so I just felt like it was the right platform to show myself,” he also said, adding that PBB also afforded him the chance to take a big step out of his comfort zone. “It really made me happy and made me feel good again.”For him, having no connection to his family was the hardest part of the entire experience. “Kasi kahit nasa lock-in taping ako, lagi po akong nag-fe-face time sa kanila (family). I always called them. I always make sure that I’m able to update them. So, it was hard.”One of his toughest times was his last week on the reality show. “I was experiencing some kind of like, anxiety, worrying about what’s happening in the outside world: Tama ba yung pinasukan ko, tama ba yung ginagawa ko kasi ‘pag nasa loob ka… you don’t know anything that’s been said about you.”Kyle was particularly worried for his mom. “It was really hard for me and lalo na yung mom ko kasi may lupus siya,” he disclosed, adding that the last thing he’d want his mom to experience is stress, especially if he’d be bashed.On one hand, his mom was also a source of strength. “I didn’t know how people were thinking. Were people bashing? Were people happy with me? Hindi ko po talaga alam. So, what I would do, a lot of people saw it, I was wearing my mom’s bracelet, kasama ng letter niya… I wore it every night that I had anxiety, I’d pray holding it every night. I’d always read her message… (where) she’s really just telling me how proud she is of me and to enjoy my journey… before I went to sleep just to keep me going because my No. 1 support system besides my friends, of course… will always be my mom.”Meanwhile, Kyle understands it could be easy to “judge people” in a reality show because “that’s what it’s built to do,” but he said there were many factors and things people don’t know about due to “camera angles,” or deep conversations inside the confession room not aired out of respect to the housemates.When asked which negative comments after PBB that particularly hurt him, he indicated that some of his actions inside the house got misinterpreted by netizens. While he didn’t go into specifics, he said his being “malambing” with fellow housemates was given extra meaning.“My mom (raised me) up as a very sweet person. She saw that in me, she even told me that she got so kilig from the first time I called her beautiful when I was a baby, ‘Mama, you’re so beautiful.’ Malambing po talaga ako na tao. Minsan na-misinterpret ng mga tao kung gaano ako ka-sweet. Pero ako, wala naman talagang meaning yung pagiging sweet ko. It’s just how I am with my friends. Kita naman ng mga tao, I was like that with practically everyone in the house. But they (critics) like to pinpoint a lot of things just to make me look bad and also to add meaning to that.”Nevertheless, Kyle has no regrets, only lessons learned from his PBB stint. “I’ve been bashed since I joined The Voice (Kids). This is the one time in my life na talagang sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, I really can’t please everyone,” he said.For him, the lesson there is acceptance. “Even though I say it all the time, it doesn’t mean I feel it all the time. So as much as I can, I’m trying to teach myself talaga you can’t please everyone. As long as you’re pleasing yourself, friends, family, and of course, your parents and everyone around you, as long as you know yourself, who you are, that’s what’s important.”As for the “best part” of the PBB stint, it was “learning how to trust again.”“Even Kuya (Big Brother) said he saw that I learned how to trust again. I’ve been in the industry for a long time and it really gets to you once you lost so many people because of things that you do, or may nakilala ka na plastic sa buhay. So, I learned how to trust again, I learned how to make new friends again, and open up to everyone. I was very vulnerable inside the house, which is something that I tried my best not to be, but grabe yung emotional warfare sa bahay so talagang di mo mapigilian minsan.“But I felt like my best learning would just be to do things that make you happy… like, just going into the house itself. It was a make-or-break for me, it was (again) a big step out of my comfort zone. Dun po ako masaya sa mga bagay na di ko kontrolado pero gagawin ko lahat para maging kontrolado siya. So, it felt good. Sobrang masaya po ako sa lahat ng nangyari.”Kyle also pointed out that the housemates became a family. “We were all there for each other whenever we were sad. And we all had an emotional support system for each other… Everyone treated each other like family.”What’s next for Kyle? The Gold Squad member has a new teleserye and a movie for 2022. He also plans to release an album as he became very creative in PBB and rediscovered his love for music and writing songs.Kyle said, “I’m grateful for all the blessings I’ve already received for the couple of days that I’ve been outside the house and tanggap ko po lahat what will happen to me in the next couple of days, months, years. That’s something I’m trying to teach myself, to really just live by it, kahit ilang beses sabihin minsan hindi katanggap-tanggap. So, sometimes you really just have to tell yourself na whatever happens, happens,” he said.Moving forward from PBB, he said, “I’m just taking everything, learning from my mistakes and shortcomings, and just taking it day by day.”

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Ben&Ben is Most Streamed Artist at the Awit Awards

Could there have been anybody else? 2021 was a big year for Ben&Ben and proofs of why this was so are starting to pour in. Foremost is the fact that the music collective was named Most Streamed Artist at the Awit Awards of the Philippine Association of Record Industry also known as PARI.Not only that, Ben&Ben also brought home other trophies from the virtual industry event held last Nov. 29. The nine-piece band won two awards for its comforting Di Ka Sayang, Record of the Year Award and Best Inspirational Recording, and the Best Ballad Recording for the wistful Sa Susunod Na Habang Buhay.As if those were not enough, get a load of all these big Ben&Ben accomplishments: Ben&Ben recently uploaded a most compelling video of the new version of Lunod, a track from the Kuwaderno album, which is now also a collab with Juan Karlos and Zild Benitez; Pasalubong, a Ben&Ben collab with Moira dela Torre, was chosen to be the theme of the Jollibee campaign, One True Pair, featuring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.Then, Ben&Ben headlined its biggest and most successful concert to date, Ben&Ben Live at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, which was streamed last Dec. 5; and to cap it all, Spotify Wrapped agreed with the Awit verdict by naming Ben&Ben The Most Streamed OPM Artist and Group for the second consecutive year. Think 300 million streams of Ben&Ben songs from 170 countries.And now back to the Awit Awards. Congratulations to all those who made it to the 2021 honor roll:Most Streamed Artist Award: Ben&BenMost Streamed Song: Paubaya by Moira dela Torre and Jason MarvinPerformance by a Female Recording Artist: Keiko Necesario, Right Next to YouPerformance by a Male Recording Artist: Sam Mangubat, Kulang ang MundoCollaboration: Jr. Crown and Kevin Yadao, BestinyPerformance by a New Female Recording Artist: Fana, OutPerformance by a New Male Recording Artist: Matty Juniosa, Sayaw ng mga TalaBest Child Recording Artist: Bea C, The Kokak SongPerformance by a Group: IV of Spades, Sariling Multo Sa PanaginipPerformance by a New Group: Nameless Kids, OutlawsBest Instrumental Performance: Four Corners MNL, Cosmic CyclesNew Artist in a Collaboration: JM Bales ft. KVN, Magandang DilagAlbum of the Year: Leanne and Naara, DaybreakSong of the Year: Moira dela Torre and Jason Marvin, PaubayaRecord of the Year: Ben&Ben, Di Ka SayangBest Global Recording: Eric Bellinger, Inigo Pascual, Sam Concepcion, Moophs, Zee Avi and Vince Nantes, RiseBallad Recording: Ben& Ben, Sa Susunod na Habang BuhayPop Recording: Rico Blanco, Happy Feelin’Rock/Alternative Recording: IV of Spades, Sariling Multo (Sa Panaginip)World Music Recording: High Hello, PalawanNovelty Recording: Hannah Precillas, Sabi Ko Na Nga BaTraditional Contemporary Folk Recording: Moira dela Torre, Kita Na KitaDance Recording: Zsara Tiblani, G na GInspirational Recording: Ben&Ben, Di Ka SayangChristmas Recording: Arman Ferrer, Paskong Walang HangganRap/Hip-Hop Recording: Arvey, UmagaJazz Recording: Nicole Asensio, PoblacionR&B Recording: Leanne and Naara, Too Soon.Regional Recording: Route 83, Ania KoSong Written for Movie/TV/ Stage: Moira dela Torre, Hanggang sa Huli from 24/7Musical Arrangement: The Itchyworms, Waiting for the End to StartVocal Arrangement: Happy Laderas and Almond Bolante, Tala by AccapelagoEngineered Recording: Tim Recla, Marupok by KZ TandinganAlbum Packaging Excellence Award: Kurt Byron, Valle Maligaya and Jason Paul Laxamana, Rico Blanco Songbook.Best Music Video: Daniel Aguilar, Dila by Zild Benitez.People’s Voice Awards: This is based on text votes in a poll conducted on letsvote.ph.Favorite Female Artist: Elha NymphaFavorite Male Artist: Anthony RosaldoFavorite Group: BGYOBreakthrough Artist: Shane G.Favorite Song: Hanggang Sa Huli by SB19.If you want to check out if the Awit 2021 winners are truly deserving, go to the Official 34th Awit Awards Finalist Spotify Playlist.

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Rachel Alejandro relives childhood memories with dad in new album

After 11 years of absence from the recording scene, Rachel Alejandro came back stronger with the release of her latest album, Rachel Alejandro: The Great OPM Songbook Vol. 1, her first under Star Music.It featured eight Original Pilipino Music (OPM) classics, which were given new interpretations to capture the hearts of the younger listeners and the young-at-heart.The reimagined album covers are Ang Pag-ibig Kong Ito, Catch Me, I’m Falling, Hanggang, Ikaw, Kahit Habang Buhay, Kung Ako Ba Siya, Kung Ako Na Lang Sana and Sabi Na Nga Ba.Rachel can’t help but feel nostalgic over the songs included in the album. When she was offered by Star Music’s Roxy Liquigan and Jonathan Manalo the opportunity to record for ABS-CBN’s music label, the first thing that crossed her mind was the old songs that she grew up with. And one of them is the key track and Leah Navarro’s hit, Ang Pag-ibig Kong Ito.“I used to sing that song since I was young. Bumili ang lola ko ng plaka, memorize ko na yung kanta na yun. Leah Navarro was very famous back then, and of course, (my father) Hajji Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi, yung mga kapanahunan nila,” she told The STAR in a virtual call.It has always been her ultimate dream to sing Ang Pag-ibig Kong Ito one day. “I always picture, ‘pag kinakakanta ko yun sa bahay, ‘pag kinakanta ko yun sa lola ko or sa mga bisita na dumadating sa bahay, talagang damang-dama ko na someday, ako naman.”And now, she was able to fulfill that wish through this album, a record which is also very special to her because it “brings back memories of childhood and growing up.”The singer-actress shared to The STAR her fond memories with her dad, Hajji, a hitmaker back in the day, during that phase of her life. “Kasi super barkada kami. Hindi yan lumalakad ng hindi kami kasama, kami ang mga anino niya. So, whether it’s a recording session or musical na nag-re-rehearse siya, I’m always with him to the point na parang memorize ko lahat ng lines ng mga ka-partner niya sa mga scenes.”She really had a “very, very happy childhood,” and thanks to her dad, who immensely influenced her, and “ended up to be exactly in the same business” as he has in the entertainment industry.Rachel was on the set of the upcoming drama, psychological thriller series, The Broken Marriage Vow, when she graced the digital media conference for her album launch. She plays Nathalia Lucero in the series, which is based on the British drama Doctor Foster. The Broken Marriage Vow stars Jodi Sta. Maria, Zanjoe Marudo, Sue Ramirez and Zaijian Jaranilla. She last starred in the films Ang Larawan in 2017 and Quezon’s Game in 2019.The signing of the deal with Star Music was conceived a year ago, while she was in New York. “I was sitting on a couch and honestly, I was looking into my future, and parang hindi ko talaga makita. It’s like, ‘Relevant pa ba ako?’ ‘Kakanta pa ba ako?’ Parang ang layo, layo na ng possibility na magkaka-concert ulit at magkaka-album pa ulit.”“But for some reason, one thing happened after another,” she recalled. First was the telerserye offer, then the contract agreement with Star Magic and Star Music.It was a “very proud” moment for her, returning to the local scene after being away for quite a long time. “Pag ganun kasi iniisip mo parang gusto pa ba ako ng mga tao? Nandiyan pa ba mga fans, yung mga sumaybay sa mga awitin ko, yung mga luma kong kanta? Hopefully, nandiyan pa nga sila,” she mused.With her timeless tracks Paalam Na, Nakapagtataka, Kay Tagal and Mr. Kupido, Rachel remains a multigenerational artist and actress, dubbed as the original “Queen of Heartbreak Songs.” She hopes to collaborate with young talents like Iñigo Pascual and Krystal Brimner someday.At 47, Rachel maintains her ageless looks and glow. What’s her “secret to the fountain of youth?” Aside from her “dad’s genes,” she eats healthy, nutritious food (thanks to her health food service company The Sexy Chef), does regular work out, and goes outdoors to get fresh air and sunshine (Vitamin D).Meanwhile, Rachel is in a long-distance relationship (LDR) setup with her husband of 10 years, Carlos Santamaria. Despite being apart for most of their marriage, she is not bothered with any infidelity and trust issues.She admitted that the pandemic lockdown was the longest time that they had spent together and she will be going home for the holidays to be with her Spanish journalist other half.“Ang important sumasagot sa mga messages at sinasagot ang telepono (laughs),” shared Rachel on the LDR. “Because I know him so well, hindi ko na naiisip na there would be a third party or mambababae or anything like that. That’s really out of the question. If you know him, you would agree with me.”“Siguro dahil he knows me very well din na I’m trustworthy. He always says that I’m very reliable. I think maybe after 10 years of knowing each other, we can trust each other,” she concluded.(Rachel Alejandro: The Great OPM Songbook Vol. 1 is out now on various digital music platforms.)

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Cone unveils ‘new’ Ginebra

MANILA, Philippines — Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone said yesterday as the game evolves, so too will his team unravel “something new” offensively and defensively with its PBA Governors’ Cup debut set against Alaska at the Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig on Sunday. Now in his fifth decade in the league, Cone said he’s looking forward to an unpredictable conference with lots of roster changes, five “rookie” imports and innovative ways of playing the game.“It’s like trying to keep up with the Joneses,” he said. “Teams upgraded from the last few drafts. Strong teams got stronger, lesser teams got strong. TNT’s the team to beat, they’re irrepressible. Then there are San Miguel Beer and Magnolia, both big-time teams and Meralco with coach Norman (Black) is always there. I’m impressed with Alaska, they’re well-organized and well-coached. We lost to them in a scrimmage and we play our first game against them. Lots of teams out there can shock people but ultimately, it will depend on how imports fit with their teams. It’s the reason why seven teams are bringing back familiar imports. With quarantine protocols and health restrictions, you’ve got to have foresight if you’re changing imports. It’ll be an exciting and interesting conference.”Cone said for the first time in two years, Ginebra is back to twice a day practices. “We’re doing nine to 10 practices a week,” he said. “It’s extra work but we’re around each other more, creating chemistry and it makes us closer as a team in times of adversity. I don’t get excited about games because they just give me a bad stomach and a case of nerves. I love going to practice, watching the players grow, seeing them improve, working with young guys like Kent Salado who’s making waves and we’ll try to find time for him on the floor. I’m excited that Justin’s (Brownlee) back, he’s like how Sean Chambers was for Alaska. When Justin comes through the door, it’s like the world’s OK again.”Cone said he expects Brownlee and Christian Standhardinger to play beautiful music together. “Christian has agreed to a new contract and he’s extremely happy to be with Ginebra,” he said. “He’s never experienced playing before Ginebra fans. In the PBA, no one, maybe except Commissioner Willie (Marcial), wants fans back more than me. We rely on our fans, they’re our weapon. They help us through tough times, lift us when we lack energy. Somehow, you elevate your game when fans are watching.”A fresh recruit whom Cone said will be a starter is Sidney Onwubere. “He’s versatile, can play three or four, has a big body that if you bump into him, you fly,” said Cone. “He’s a solid 246 pounder. He comes over an hour early to work with coach Kirk (Collier) before report time which is before start time. He’s making good strides. Justin is also versatile and can play from two to five. He allows us to be creative in our lineups.”Cone said Joe Devance, Jared Dillinger and Aljon Mariano will miss the early part of the conference to recover from injuries. “We’ve got a deep lineup,” he said. “Christian is getting a feel of what we want from him and what he wants from us. Sidney will help. Kent and MJ (Ayaay) are showing good stuff. We’re doing lots of new things, offensively and defensively. I’m a defensive coach but it’s a whole different game now because of the three-point shot, three in the key and as the offense evolves, the defense evolves and sometimes, it’s even cyclical.”

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Imports take center stage

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Beer lets loose its rejigged crew in the PBA Governors’ Cup, plunging into action right away against NLEX at the start of the import-laden tournament today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.The new-look Beermen, now minus Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot, begin their road to redemption at 6 p.m. against the Road Warriors in the main game of a double-header opener.Santos and his new pals at NorthPort hit the court first against the Alaska Aces at 3 p.m.The Governors’ Cup marks the return of foreign reinforcements for the first time since the Season 44 edition that wrapped up in January 2020.Unsuccessful in the last three conferences, the Beermen made the big decision to part ways with “Death Five” mainstays Santos, 40, and Cabagnot, 38, and go younger moving forward.Vic Manuel, 34, and Simon Enciso, 30, took their spots and joined the core of June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Terrence Romeo, Mo Tautuaa and CJ Perez in their mission to regain lost glory.“They (Manuel and Enciso) are integrating with the team and I think they’re doing good,” SMB team manager Gee Abanilla said. “I like what I see so far.”The Brandon Brown-reinforced Beermen take on an NLEX side that enlisted the explosive KJ McDaniels and acquisitions Kris Rosales and Marion Magat for this campaign.The PBA is implementing a “full-vaccination” policy for everyone taking part in the Governors’ Cup, leaving unvaccinated players ineligible to suit up.“Kailangang fully vaccinated lahat ng participants – players, coaches, employees, pati media,” commissioner Willie Marcial said.Based on the official lineups released by the pro league yesterday, only Fil-Ams Rafi Reavis of Magnolia and Justin Melton of Terrafirma are classified as “unvaccinated.”“Sinabihan na namin ang teams, yung hindi pa nakakapag-full vaccination, hindi makakasama sa practice at laro, kahit ano’ng position,” said Marcial.

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Rep. Villar awards house & lot to Las Piñas resident

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar awarded a brand new house and lot to a lucky Las Piñas resident during the final draw of her “May Bahay sa Bakuna” vaccine incentive program yesterday.Aiming to encourage Las Piñeros to get vaccinated and fulfill the dreams of Filipinos to own a house, Villar’s “May Bahay sa Bakuna” ended with a bang as Otelia Soriano of Barangay CAA was picked as the lucky winner of a brand new house and lot worth P1.5 million from Bria Homes.“Maligayang Pasko po sa inyo at sa inyong pamilya at sana magustuhan po ninyo ang inyong brand new house and lot,” Villar told the winner.Soriano, contacted via video messaging app, could not contain her excitement as she was informed that she won the top prize in the vaccine raffle bonanza, even to the point of announcing to her neighbors that she was the lucky winner. Soriano, a housewife to a tricycle driver, thanked the lawmaker for the program.“Maraming salamat sa pagsuporta sa ‘May Bahay sa Bakuna’ program. Hindi lang pamimigay ng premyo ang nais natin kundi para maproteksyunan din kayo laban sa COVID,” said Villar.Two residents also won brand new automatic Honda motorcycles while 10 others were the winners of P5,000 worth of grocery goods, perfect for the upcoming holiday season.Tablets and smartphones were also given away as minor prizes.Over 40 “Pangkabuhayan showcase” were given away during the duration of the program which started as early as June.Despite the end of the raffle bid, Villar, meanwhile, encouraged other residents who have yet to be inoculated.“For those who haven’t been vaccinated, it’s not too late… Hindi lang sarili ang mapo-proteksyunan natin kundi ang ating pamilya, komunidad at ang buong Las Piñas,” she said, adding that the local government continues with its massive vaccination drive for first dose, second dose, booster shots and minors.“Sama-sama tayong bumangon sana mula sa pandemic, sama-sama nating ipanalangin na magkaroon tayo ng napakaganda at maligayang Pasko,” she said.Latest vaccine data in Las Piñas showed that more than 1 million jabs have been administered, with 466,984 fully vaccinated individuals and some 529,000 have had their first dose.“We have achieved more than 100 percent of our target population that is why we have some sort of herd immunity,” Villar said.

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Panlilio keeps post as SBP president

MANILA, Philippines — Al Panlilio has been reelected as president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) just as the federation is to go full swing in preparation for the hosting of the FIBA World Cup in 2023.Sen. Sonny Angara and Rep. Robbie Puno have also retained their positions as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, with PBA chairman Ricky Vargas being elected as vice president.Manny V. Pangilinan is the chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees.“I’m thankful for the continued vote of confidence from the movers and shakers of the Philippine basketball community,” said Panlilio, who also serves as the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) first vice president.“It’s time to put in even more work as we traverse through this pandemic while still having our eyes fixed on our co-hosting of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. I’m excited to continue working with the reelected officials and welcome the new members of the SBP’s Board of Trustees,” he added on the World Cup hosting with Japan and Indonesia.Sonny Barrios (executive director), Ricky Palou (treasurer), Atty. Marievic Añonuevo (corporate secretary) and Atty. Nathaniel Andrew Uy (assistant corporate secretary) also kept their positions.Meanwhile, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and PBA governors Bobby Rosales (Terrafirma) and Dicky Bachmann (Alaska) have gained seats in the Board of Trustees representing the PBA and PBA D-League.Mark Molina (UAAP) and Dax Castellano (NCAA) will also serve in the board made up of representatives from different sectors and associations in the country.The SBP National Congress and Election, presided by Angara, was held last October before being certified and announced by deputy executive director Butch Antonio.The set of SBP officials will serve until 2024.

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Duterte accepts Biden’s invite to Democracy Summit

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is set to join the US-organized Summit for Democracy to be held this week, Malacañang announced yesterday.“President Duterte has accepted United States President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s invitation to participate in the Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9-10, 2021,” a statement issued by the Office of Presidential Protocol read.The statement noted that Biden has invited heads of states, government leaders and representatives from the business and non-government sectors to join the virtual summit.Citing Biden’s invitation to Duterte, Malacañang said the US would host the Summit for Democracy “with humility and in the spirit of mutual learning.”“President Biden further said that together, we will ‘embark on the work necessary to shape a prosperous and peaceful future built on respect for the rights and aspirations of all people,’” the Palace statement read.Biden, Malacañang added, is looking forward to welcoming Duterte and hearing his ideas on how they can foster a “more democratic, equitable, inclusive and sustainable world.”“We recognize and appreciate your partnership in working to build democratic and human rights-respecting societies that allow all citizens to thrive. In a moment of significant challenge and enormous opportunity, it is more important than ever for democracies to prove that we can deliver for the needs of our people,” the Palace statement quoted Biden as saying.Duterte, the statement said, welcomes the opportunity to “share the Philippine democratic experience and commitment to democratic values and nation-building” at the summit.

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Support MSMEs to address poverty – Pacquiao at Go Negosyo

MANILA, Philippines — Revitalizing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) battered by the pandemic is among the keys in solving poverty and hunger, Sen. Manny Pacquiao said yesterday.Pacquiao issued the statement at the Go Negosyo’s KandidaTalks forum for presidential candidates on Monday, wherein he discussed parts of his economic and business agenda for the country.“We have to help small businesses recover from this health crisis. These MSMEs provide livelihood to people in the countryside,” he said, adding that MSMEs contributed much to the economy and generated jobs for the masses.Pacquiao cited studies showing MSMEs comprise 99 percent of all businesses in the country.“If we only channel our energies on these MSMEs, we are almost assured that these can provide more jobs to our people. This simply means more food on the table, hunger can be eradicated,” he added.Pacquiao promised that if he gets elected in May 2022, he would allocate funds to finance interest-free loans for MSMEs.He said he used to repack garlic and black pepper and sell these just to make ends meet.He cited results of a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations, which showed that 2.5 million Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.The same survey also indicated that around 10 percent of families went hungry due to lack of food in the past quarter.He said he would create more one-stop shops and online portals for convenient processing of business permits and loan applications as well as eradicate red tape.

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29th Philippine eaglet hatched after 5 years

DAVAO CITY , Philippines — The Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) produced the 29th Philippine eaglet bred in captivity five years after Sakura, the last eaglet, was hatched at the Center in Barangay Malagos, Calinan district, this city.The new eaglet is an offspring of parents Ariela, a female Philippine Eagle adopted by Ariela Marketing Co. in 2015, and the male MVP Matatag, adopted by Philippine Long Distance Telecommunications Corp. in 2017.The late eagle Pag-asa was the first ever Philippine Eagle bred in captivity that was hatched by the PEC in 1992. At least 27 other eaglets were later produced by the PEC under its captive breeding program until the hatching of the 29th eaglet last Saturday.The PEC’s captive breeding program was not able to produce any eaglet over the past five years because the eagles at the center’s gene pool have grown old. Eagles Ariela and MVP Matatag are from a younger batch of raptors.The hatching of the 29th eaglet is a welcome development, as the population of the Philippine Eagle, the country’s national bird, continues to dwindle, with only less than a thousand including those sighted in the wild.According to Dennis Salvador, executive director of the non-profit Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), “Chick No. 29” was hatched on Dec. 4 at 1:16 p.m., 25 hours and 13 minutes since it first poked its beak and cracked the egg. The eaglet’s pip-to-hatch time is reportedly the fastest on record in the PEC’s captive-breeding program.“The hatching of this chick is a culmination of all our hard work and perseverance in an incredibly tough time in the conservation mission. We share this milestone with the Filipino people who have supported us through their donations and helped keep the PEC a safe home for our national bird amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Salvador said.Salvador shared that the egg was laid on Oct. 10, 2021. Both Ariela and MVP Matatag are rescued eagles from the wild and were first introduced for pairing in February 2019. They are one of the three Philippine Eagle natural pairs under the care of the PEF.“The steadfast support of our Philippine Eagle adopters is invaluable. Their years of trust and generosity bolstered the crucial work of our keepers at the PEC that led to this hatching,” added Salvador.The chick is kept in the PEC’s incubation and rearing laboratory and is closely monitored around the clock by members of the PEF’s Conservation Breeding Program.

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Reelectionist NCR mayors still top poll choices – survey

MANILA, Philippines — Most Metro Manila mayors running for reelection remain the most preferred candidates in the latest survey by the RP-Mission and Development Foundation Inc. (RPMD).The survey, conducted from Nov. 16 to 24 with the results released yesterday, also showed incumbent congressmen running for top local posts as among the frontrunners in their respective races.In Quezon City, Mayor Joy Belmonte is leading with 62 percent of support among survey respondents, compared to 30 percent obtained by her closest rival, Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor.Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto obtained the support of 67 percent of voters surveyed in their city, compared to the 32 percent who said they support Vice Mayor Iyo Bernardo.Meanwhile, Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro has widened his lead against former mayor and Rep. Bayani Fernando, 48 percent against 41 percent.Other incumbent Metro Manila mayors who are leading in their respective races were Makati Mayor Abby Binay at 88 percent; Las Piñas Mayor Imelda Aguilar, 85 percent; Pateros Mayor Ike Ponce III, 82 percent; Pasay Mayor Emi-Calixto Rubiano, 80 percent and San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora with 75 percent.Some lawmakers also emerged as the most preferred candidates in their respective mayoralty races.They include Valenzuela Rep. Weslie Gatchalian at 85 percent; Navotas Rep. Rey Tiangco, 77 percent and Parañaque Rep. Eric Olivarez with 65 percent.Caloocan Rep. Dale Malapitan, at 71 percent, is leading against Rep. Edgar Erice at 28 percent; while former mayor and Taguig Rep. Lani Cayetano is leading by 63 percent against former representative Arnel Cerafica who got 31 percent in the survey.Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon obtained 62 percent of support, compared to his closest rival Red Marinas with 29 percent.In Manila, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna is leading with 48 percent against former representative Amado Bagatsing with 31 percent and Alex Lopez with 14 percent.Former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. is also leading the race in Mandaluyong City with 84 percent of support among respondents in their city.In Malabon, Councilor Enzo Oreta – brother of outgoing Mayor Antolin Oreta – is trailing former vice mayor Jeannie Sandoval with 40 percent and 48 percent, respectively.According to RPMD, the survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of respondents selected through random sampling.There were 1,500 respondents in Quezon City; 1,000 in Manila and Caloocan and 850 in other cities. It has a margin of error ranging from +/- 2.53 percent to 3.36 percent, depending on the sample size.

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How to Unlock Serpentine Perk in Warzone Pacific Season 1

We've explained how and when players can unlock the Serpentine Perk in Call of Duty (COD): Warzone Pacific Season One.

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Boy, 14, put in isolation after turning up at school with hair in plaits

A teenager was taken out of classes and put into isolation after turning up at school with his hair in plaits. Lealan Hague, 14, was placed in Exmouth Community College’s “reflection room, where students continue lessons alone, after his hairstyle was deemed “extreme”. The Year 10 pupil, who has his hair longer on top and shaved at the sides, decided to tie his hair up to keep it out of his eyes but was reportedly pulled aside and told it was not regulation within 40 minutes of arriving at school on Monday. His mother Kirsty Hague said the situation was a “joke” because girls were allowed to wear their hair tied up. The 36-year-old, who cuts her son’s hair, said it had been in a similar style for the last 12 years. She added: “It was the same haircut he had the week before, it’s not got any shorter. ‘‘The only difference is that I plaited the top part of his hair so it was out of his face. “It just looks a lot smarter tied up than it does flopping down in his face. “He went into school in the morning for only about forty minutes before one of the teachers pulled him aside and told him his haircut was not regulation, even though Lealan noted the length had not changed and he has a similar style all the time. “They said to him, if you had your hair down it wouldn’t be a problem – so the issue was it’s in plaits”. It is the second time Lealan, who is capitain of the school’s rugby team, has been isolated for his haircut after his mother’s lockdown buzz cut in March left him in trouble with teachers. In March, the school called his short trim “very extreme” after Kirsty clippered his hair down. The head of year at Lealan’s school told the boy that if his hair was down, it would be permitted. The teenager’s parents say he is a high-performing pupil, with his mother calling him hardworking, and not “at all” a disruptive student. She said: “He’s top set for everything, so clearly it doesn’t affect his learning. It’s like they all have to be robots there – they all have to be all the same, they can’t have any of their own personality. Have you got a story you would like us to report on? Contact us by clicking here “I can understand if it was bright green or something like that, but he basically just had two French plaits on the top of his head. “He’s been there since Year 7, he’s not had one single problem. Never had a detention, never been called out of class, always maintains his uniform, always does his homework on time. “He’s captain of the school rugby team too, he’s never had any issues at all except for the issues he’s had unfairly with his hair.” The school has now said it wants Lealan to grow out his hair to a grade one and change the style despite never having required this of him before, according to his mother. Andrew Davis, principal at Exmouth Community College, in Devon, said: “Our uniform rules are very clear and regularly communicated home to parents and carers. “As is the case with many other schools across the country we expect hair to be conventional, do not allow students to have a haircut below grade one or to have extreme differences in hair length. “The issue in this case was not about braiding but was about the fact that the braiding ran in a very small strip of hair across the top of their head, combined with a very close haircut of approximately grade zero, across the rest of their head. “From what I understand the student in question has previously worn his hair longer and so the shorter nature of his hair on the back and side of his head was not so noticeable. “We believe that the amount of very short hair at approximately grade 0 has also increased significantly from previously when we were trying to accommodate the situation with the hair left long. “Like most schools, we try to accommodate a range of hairstyles without resorting to any punitive action. ‘‘This is usually through discussions with parents and carers about what would be acceptable to both parties. “When a student arrives at college with an extreme haircut, they are usually placed in our reflection room to continue with schoolwork until parents and carers are contacted and the issue resolved. “We regret any disruption to a child’s learning of whatever their ability. However, we have repeatedly made our expectations very clear to all students and their families. “School rules are also an important part of a child’s education which enable them to understand boundaries and consequences as they prepare to make their way in the world.” Additional reporting by SWNS Read More ‘Closing schools risks putting some pupils in greater danger at home’ Parents could be criminally charged after knowingly sending child with Covid to school and sparking outbreak Matt Hancock to call for dyslexia screening for all primary school children Fallout from school shooting could go beyond teen, parents ‘The place is abuzz’: How Barbados is reacting to cutting ties with Britain Storm Barra hits Devon with 77mph winds – live Skill Up Step Up: Meet the new recruits being helped onto the career ladder

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Suicide machine that can be controlled by blinking faces ‘no legal issues’ in Switzerland

A coffin-shaped capsule that allows occupants to kill themselves has passed legal review in Switzerland, according to its creators. The Sarco machine can be operated from the inside –conceivably just by blinking if the person suffers from locked-in syndrome – and works by reducing the oxygen level in the pod to below a critical level. The process takes less than a minute and death occurs through hypoxia and hypocapnia, which is intended to allow a person to die relatively peacefully and painlessly. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland and roughly 1,300 people used the services of euthanasia organisations Dignitas and Exit last year. Both firms use ingestible liquid barbiturate drug to induce a deep coma within two to five minutes, followed by death. The suicide pod is the creation of Dr Philip Nitschke, dubbed ‘Dr Death’, who serves as the director of the non-profit organisation Exit International (no connection to Exit). The Sarco – short for sarcophagus – is designed to be towed to a location of the users’ preference, such as an idyllic outdoor setting, and then the biodegradable capsule can detach from the base in order to serve as a coffin. Dr Nitschke has faced opposition from opponents of euthanasia, in part due to the method used. “Gas may never be an acceptable method for assisted suicide in Europe due to the negative connotations of the Holocaust,” Dr Nitschke told The Independent in a 2018 interview. “Some have even said that it’s just a glorified gas chamber.” It has also drawn criticism due to its futuristic design, which some say glamorises suicide, as well as a corresponding virtual reality app that allows people to “experience their own virtual death”. This VR experience was displayed in Westerkerk church in Amsterdam at the 2018 Funeral Expo, prompting worries from the church’s board. “Westerkerk will never support people by offering equipment as promoted by Dr Nitschke and we seriously wonder whether this contributes to a thorough and careful discussion around the issue,” Jeroen Kramer, president of the Westerkerk church board, said at the time. “We will not and cannot support any suggestion of using such equipment.” Only two Sarco prototypes currently exist, but Exit International is 3D printing a third machine that it hopes to be ready for operation in Switzerland next year. Dr Nitschke told local media last week that “there are no legal issues at all” and that discussions are ongoing with various groups in Switzerland with a view to provide the capsule for assisted suicide. “Barring any unforeseen difficulties, we hope to be ready to make Sarco available for use in Switzerland next year,” he said. “It’s been a very expensive project so far but we think we’re pretty close to implementation now.” If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you. Read More Suicide machine that could be controlled by the blink of an eye sparks euthanasia debate Crypto market enters ‘extreme fear’ following bitcoin crash – follow live Sky Mobile isn’t working properly Strava data shows huge increase in amount of exercise

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American Airlines CEO to step down in March

Veteran American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker plans to step down in March and will be succeeded by his deputy,

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One woman’s campaign to convince the world to embrace the clitoris

There is nothing about Jessica Pin that would even slightly hint at her status as a medical provocateur. She’s a deadpan 35-year-old Dallas native with shoulder-length brunette hair. She is not a doctor. Her demeanour is unexcitable and borderline jaded, yet her tireless efforts have helped her begin to revolutionise the understanding of women’s sexuality – and, particularly, the understudied anatomy of the clitoris. It’s not a body part regularly discussed; still a victim of shame, embarrassment and, to some extent, even medical indifference. But after a cosmetic surgery when Ms Pin was a teenager that she says left her with scarring and reduced her clitoral and labial sensitivity, the daughter of a plastic surgeon has dedicated herself to educating the public and the medical community about the female equivalent to the penis – which, according to her, gets about 50 pages more than the clitoris in much medical literature. It’s a topic that saw Ms Pin appear on The Daily Show on Wednesday, when she told Michael Kosta about her work. She later said that her “favourite” part of the recording had been left out. Writing on Instagram, she said: “Here was just one part I wish got included, as it was my favorite from the recorded interview, and that was when I explained why I do what I do. “I said, ‘If I can stop harm from happening to other women now and in the future, that feels like justice for myself, as it is an affirmation that what happened to me never should have happened and is not okay.’“In reply, Kosta said, “I like that. That’s empowering, and I’m pretty sure that’s what Batman says. So basically you’re a superhero, except your cause is more important.” Speaking to The Independent about her work, Ms Pin said: “There is a correlation between stigma around female external genitals and stigma around sexuality in general. “I think a lot of this comes from ideas that women are supposed to be reproductive and not sexual. That’s why we define women’s genitals in terms of the birth canal and what gives men pleasure instead of what gives women pleasure. There’s a pattern there that I think is very significant.” She only realised the disparity – and the dearth of clitoral anatomical knowledge – after the 2005 labiaplasty that left her with less feeling in her genitals. Labiaplasty is a surgery to reduce the the size of the labia minora – the external skin surrounding the vaginal opening. The disastrous results of Ms Pin’s procedure prompted her to dedicate her life to a campaign that saw her not only dissecting the genitals of female cadavers with her father but successfully convincing a handful of medical textbooks to change their content. Around the same time, a young OBGYN was noticing the same disparity that raised Ms Pin’s hackles. “In medical school, we didn’t learning anything about the clitoris,” Dr Tami Rowen, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at University of California San Francisco – which has one of the best OBGYN programmes in the United States – told The Independent. “There was almost no teaching on it – and we did learn about the penis and penile tissue. I always maybe had the assumption in my mind that the clitoris was analogous or homologous,” the now 39-year-old said, adding that “there was a definite disparity”. “That’s just male sexuality, in general,” Dr Rowen said, continuing: “I go to these conferences and my mind explodes every year at the degree of research and scholarship and literature and treatment and everything related to male sexuality compared to female sexuality. Oh my God – it’s night and day. “I used to think this didn’t have anything to do with misogyny, and I no longer feel that way. There is an assumption, because the act of penetrative sex requires an erection ... there is such a focus on erection.” She added: “I think that’s part of why there hasn’t been as much focus, because there isn’t as much physiology required to engage in the act of sex and because of that [many professionals have] ignored the fact that pleasure is a huge part of this. That’s not what people are paying attention to. They’re paying attention to whether people actually engage in it ... the clitoris isn’t required to have intercourse.” Dr Rowen is familiar with the advocacy of Ms Pin and commends her, pointing out that recently, for routine upskilling material, she and other doctors were required to read an article about clitoral anatomy – for the first time in her career. That may not have directly been a result of Ms Pin’s work, but Dr Rowen believes the campaigner and shifting attitudes are making inroads to equalising health care and knowledge between different sexes. “Over the years, I’ve realised how extraordinarily important it is to women and we’ve missed the ball,” Dr Rowen said of the medical knowledge surrounding the clitoris and related anatomy. The fact also can’t be ignored that, for most of history, medical texts were almost exclusively written by men. The tide has been turning in recent years, but not quickly. “I think it is going to change. I think more women are going into medicine. I think OBGYN is going to be more talked about,” Dr Rowen told The Independent. “I think part of the reason people don’t talk about it is because they don’t know” enough about the region or how to treat conditions, she said. “You don’t talk about things you don’t know how to treat,” she said. “If we get more treatments ... they’ll talk about it more.” Ms Pin is certainly at the forefront of lobbying the medical community about more open discussion and research on the clitoris and labia. She’s been educating herself on the topic for nearly 20 years, when she decided as a 17-year-old virgin that she needed a labiaplasty. Her backstory is a bit unusual. The teenager, not having the knowledge or words to understand her own body, began looking into female genitalia online. Then she began comparing herself to pictures and worrying that she didn’t fit the ideal mold. So she lied and told her parents that her labia – which she now realises fell into a completely normal range – were causing her pain and needed to be operated on. Despite her young age, everyone agreed. “My labia minora were completely amputated and my clitoral reduction was done without my consent and I lost clitoral sensation,” said Ms Pin, insisting that the risks of the procedure and loss of sexual function were never outlined for her. She says the consent forms didn’t detail those possibilities, either. She added: “I literally have no sensation at all in the glans of my clitoris, and that’s not normal ... Basically, my doctor performed a clitoral hood reduction without my consent and severed the dorsal nerves of my clitoris. “At the time, I still did not understand what a clitoris was,” she told The Independent. That would quickly change when she realised that she’d lost those sensations and delved into her mission to educate doctors and the public about the little-understood female sexual organ. She conducted research and interviews into the anatomy and nerve structure, hoping to include in medical teaching materials the same diagrams and information usually dedicated to male genitalia. She enlisted the help of her surgeon father to do their own anatomical explorations, dissecting the clitoris on each of 10 cadavers and taking measurements. They concluded the organ is larger and more complicated than most realise, and she set about trying to get that information on the medical record. “The point of getting cross-sections into medical literature is to show how superficial [nerves] are under the skin to the clitoral hood,” she said. While Ms Pin’s name was not on the article included as required reading for doctors, Dr Rowen said, she thinks her work “probably has laid the groundwork for this”. The issue of getting more attention paid to the clitoris and female anatomy, Dr Rowen said, is multi-faceted. As usual, much of it comes down to money; there’s far more demand for drugs addressing male sexual function, so that’s where the research funding goes. On top of that, she said, it’s cultural. There are “studies that have looked at hundreds of women; they measure their labia majora and labia minora,” she told The Independent. “What they found is that the average, most common appearance of the vulva is not what is depicted in current pornography, for example, or current images.” She said that, on a regular basis, she sees the same insecurities in patients that made Ms Pin seek out a labiaplasty that changed the course of her life. “There’s not one single day that somebody doesn’t apologise to me for their body appearance,” Dr Rowen told The Independent. “It’s either they’re not groomed, their socks smell funny, their legs are unshaved, or people are self-conscious about what their vulvas look like. “It’s horrible. It’s heartbreaking.” That’s what Ms Pin is committed to turning around – lack of knowledge and misinformation-prompted body dysmorphia. Her profile on Instagram – where she regularly shares diagrams, data and information – sums up her mission, reading: “Goal: equitable coverage of the clitoris in medical literature & curricula to prevent harm.” This article was amended on 7 December 2021, to replace the statement that Ms Pin has ‘no professional scientific training’, with ‘she is not a doctor’. Ms Pin has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. Read More Instagram criticised for censoring vagina illustrations from campaign to end stigma Gwyneth Paltrow admits her mom is shocked by some of Goop’s vagina-related products Mothers who endured severe injuries in childbirth say ‘wounds harmed relationship with child’ Is ‘micro-cheating’ really cheating? This is when you should tell a partner you cheated 8 dating red flags you need to look out for

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Blake Shelton reveals why Adam Levine wasn’t invited to his and Gwen Stefani’s wedding

Blake Shelton has joked that he didn’t invite friend andThe Voice co-star Adam Levine to his wedding because of an interview he gave to Ellen Degeneres. Shelton and singer Gwen Stefani were married in a private ceremony on their ranch in Oklahoma in July, in front of around 30 guests. Appearing on The Ellen Show, Shelton recalled a conversation DeGeneres had with Levine back in April, where the Maroon 5 frontman claimed he didn’t support their marriage. “She's so cool, and he's not,” Levine, who regularly spars with Shelton on The Voice, joked. “I'll go to the wedding, and I'll object,” he said. “I will probably not be invited, now that I'm saying this on live television, but I'll be there, somehow.” “That's the reason we didn't invite him to the wedding,” Shelton told DeGeneres in the interview on 6 December. “[Because of] that interview he did on your show.” The country musician had previously been grilled by late-night host Jimmy Fallon for the same reason. “We only had room for one NBC host at the wedding so we had Carson (Daly),” Shelton told him. He told DeGeneres that the ceremony was “awesome” and “exactly what it needed to be”. In July, Stefani posted a series of photos from the wedding on Instagram, writing “dreams do come true!” in the caption. Read More Pink makes a terminally ill fan’s bucket list wish come true Jade Thirlwall hints at Little Mix drama while sharing band’s biggest regret Little Mix share the worst looks of their career in new documentary

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Omicron cases in UK soon expected to exceed those in red list nations, says Prof Tim Spector

Cases of the Omicron variant in the UK are soon expected to be higher than in some African countries placed on the travel red list, a scientist has warned. Professor Tim Spector said early data suggests cases of the coronavirus mutation are doubling every two days, putting it on course to overtake some of the 11 countries from where travellers to the UK are now required to quarantine to try to stymie community transmission. New rules came into force in the early hours of Tuesday, requiring all travellers to take a pre-departure test before heading to England. They will not be able to travel if they test positive. Prof Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, told BBC Breakfast there was “very little point” in having travel restrictions if case numbers exceeded those in red list countries. He said: “The official estimates are about 350-odd Omicron cases, and because the current testing is missing a lot of those, it’s probably at least 1,000 to 2,000 I would guess at the moment. “And we are expecting this to be doubling about every two days at the moment, so if you do your maths – assume it’s 1,000 at the moment, and you think it’s going to be doubling every two days, you can see that those numbers are going to be pretty (high) certainly in about 10 days’ time. “By that time, we’ll probably have more cases than they will in some of those African countries. “So I think these travel restrictions do perhaps have their place initially, when cases are really low here and really high in the other country, but when we reach that equilibrium, there’s very little point in having them in my opinion.” Early data suggests Omicron is more transmissible – although milder – than the Delta variant, which is currently dominant in the UK. Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said he thought Omicron would take over from Delta in the UK as the dominant variant of coronavirus “within a matter of weeks”. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we can now say that this variant is spreading faster in the UK than the Delta variant at the same time, and that’s something that I think was unclear until very recently. “The fact that so far we have seen not very many severe cases of Omicron, maybe because it is infecting these individuals with some amount of immunity and that’s good news that they aren’t having tonnes of severe disease, but I think it is too soon to assume that fundamentally Omicron is more mild than say Delta.” Prof Spector added: “If early reports pan out – we don’t absolutely know this, we’ve got hardly any data in this country where we have high rates of vaccination – but if we assume that it is not more severe and possibly milder than Delta, but it’s much more transmissible. “So it means that perhaps twice as many people are going to pass it on from when someone gets it in a crowd. “That’s going to be good news for the individual because we have less cases going to hospital, and partly this is due to our high vaccination rates. “But it also means that eventually you will get more deaths and problems, because nearly everyone is infected or reinfected. “And so, this means that for the country as a whole, it could be worse news but better for the individual. “So it’s absolutely no reason for complacency.” Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs on Monday that none of the Omicron variant cases identified to date had resulted in hospital admission. It comes as pressure continues to mount on No 10 to explain reports in the Daily Mirror over alleged parties in Downing Street last Christmas, including Boris Johnson giving a speech at a leaving do during November’s lockdown, and a staff gathering in December. The Prime Minister is expected to give an update on whether any further restrictions are necessary within the next two weeks. Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, said on Tuesday that the Government does not believe its Plan B on Covid-19 is required “because of the success of the vaccine programme”. Read More Omicron v Delta: How do variants compare on infectiousness and effect on Covid vaccines?

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Bitcoin Extends Recovery From Flash Crash as Bulls Eye $55,000

(Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin edged higher for a third day following this weekend’s flash crash, with chart watchers suggesting the rally

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