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| AGATHA CHRISTIE’S BOOKS REWRITTEN (AGAIN)

Agatha Christie’s timeless classics are being reimagined to better resonate with today’s socially-conscious audiences.

Agatha Christie’s novels, penned in the early 20th century, occasionally contain references to race and ethnicity that may be considered dated or insensitive by today’s standards.

Instances of racial slurs or stereotyping found in the original texts are being replaced with more appropriate language or removed entirely.

Some publishers and screenwriters are revising problematic passages or depictions and are changing section of dialogues.

Christie’s books have been amended to in new editions published by HarperCollins to make them more suitable for modern audiences.

Some passages from the original texts have been altered or even completely scrapped to remove descriptions, insults or references to ethnicity, particularly for characters in the books not from the UK, the Telegraph reports

Some of the works’ vocabulary has been changed. For example, the term “oriental” has been removed along with other racial descriptors.

In the 1937 Poirot novel Death on the Nile, a passage describes a Black servant as grinning because he understands the need to stay silent about an incident. The new editions no longer point out that he is Black or smiling and instead state that he is simply “nodding”.

The inner monologues of characters such as Miss Jane Marple or Hercule Poirot have also been edited.

In a new edition of the Miss Marple novel A Caribbean Mystery (1964), the narrator praises a West Indian hotel worker’s “lovely white teeth”. This has now been removed, along with similar references to “beautiful teeth”.

Agatha Christie’s works were written in the early 20th century, a time when societal norms and attitudes towards race and ethnicity were different from today. Some major changes where already done in the past :

In the original version of “Ten Little Niggers” (1939), later renamed “Ten Little Indians” in 1940 and finally “And Then There Were None,” the title and the nursery rhyme within the story contained a racial slur. The revised versions of the book replaced the offensive term with more neutral language.

| EMSA DEPLOYS REMOTELY PILOTED AIRCRAFT SERVICES OVER THE GULF OF GENOA

AR-5 aircraft © Emsa
EMSA has started the deployment of its remotely piloted aircraft services in support of the Italian Coast Guard to gain increased maritime awareness over the Gulf of Genova until the summer. Leveraging on the successful campaign of last year, EMSA services will continue to enhance general maritime safety and security in the area, as well as to assist in search and rescue missions. Protection of the marine environment is another important aspect of the operation and flights will be used to monitor whale migration within the Pelagos Sanctuary, a protected area for marine mammals.

This multipurpose operation continues to support the Italian Coast Guard in further integrating these innovative services as part of their standard operating procedures to give enhanced situational awareness. The flights can be followed remotely from four locations including the Sarzana base from where the aircraft is deployed, Imperia, Genova and Rome.

The aircraft being used is an AR-5 Evo unmanned fixed wing aircraft and it is under contract to EMSA from the REACT consortium, comprising CLS (maritime analytics) and Tekever (RPAS). It has several features making it suitable for this service including optical and infrared cameras, a maritime radar, an AIS receiver and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) antenna. Using satellite communications, the aircraft also has the capability of performing both day and night operations.

ABOUT RPAS

Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) services are offered free to all EU member states by EMSA. They have been developed to assist in maritime surveillance operations and ship emission monitoring and can operate in all seas surrounding the European Union. RPAS services can provide support to traditional coast guard functions, including search and rescue and pollution prevention and response. The services are offered to member states individually and as part of EMSA’s regional
RPAS strategy, which allows multiple coast guard functions in several EU member states to be supported by one or more RPAS services. Further expansion of RPAS regionally is planned during 2023.

ABOUT EMSA

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is a decentralised agency of the EU, based in Lisbon, Portugal. EMSA serves the EU’s maritime interests for a safe, secure, green and competitive maritime sector, delivering value for member states through support for pollution prevention and response, maritime surveillance, safety and security, digitalisation and the provision of integrated maritime services, and technical assistance.

| DIAGNOSE YOUR SME’S CYBERSECURITY AND SCAN FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) releases a tool to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) assess the level of their cybersecurity maturity.

Standing as a major driver for innovation and growth in the EU and as key actors of our economy, SMEs are constantly facing cybersecurity challenges. This is why it is essential to support them in addressing these challenges and in identifying improvements.

The cybersecurity maturity assessment tool designed by ENISA supports those small and medium-size businesses who seek to understand their current cybersecurity maturity level.

Thanks to this tool, they will be able to define the risks they face. They will also be given a remediation plan to mitigate them and improve their maturity.

The tool includes the following features:
  • Cybersecurity evaluation: Based on several questions, this online tool assesses whether your organisation is at a foundation, advanced or expert maturity level adapted to the size of your business, available budget, sector of activity, generic asset identification, etc. in order to compare it with other similar businesses;
  • Top cybersecurity and a personalised action plan: the tool also provides an action plan to help organisations benefit from tailor made follow-up actions and increase their cybersecurity level based on recommendations adapted to current best cybersecurity practices.
Configured around 3 key areas, the tool allows for the assessment of:
  • People: to assess whether staff or employees are prepared to face cyber threats;
  • Technology: to understand the technology used and how to select and implement best cybersecurity practices;
  • Processes: to ensure the organisation has the right processes in place to deal with cybersecurity risks.
Background

ENISA supports SMEs and the EU Member States in order to:

  • Elevate the understanding of cybersecurity risks and cybersecurity threats, e.g. phishing, ransomware (based on ETL, sectorial threats, etc).
  • Raise awareness and promote best cybersecurity practices across the EU and globally.
  • Promote closer coordination and exchange of best practices among MS regarding cybersecurity topics related to small and medium size businesses (SMEs).
  • Enlarge the community of multipliers through the EU national authorities, national associations, chambers of commerce, organisations, etc.

This work contributes to the implementation of then updated Network and Information Security (NIS2) Directive by helping Member States with the required policies they need to adopt in order to strengthen the cyber resilience and the cyber hygiene baseline of small and medium-size enterprises. The majority of SMEs are excluded from the scope of the Directive due to their size and this work provides easily accessible guidance and assistance for their specific needs.

| IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS REAPPOINTS DIRECTOR GENERAL GROSSI FOR NEW 4-YEAR TERM

Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General © IAEA

The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reappointed Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi for a second four-year term in office beginning in early December 2023.

In a decision adopted at its regular meeting this week, the 35-nation Board requested that the General Conference – the annual meeting of the IAEA’s 176 Member States – approve the reappointment when it meets in September.

“I’m deeply honoured by the Board’s unanimous decision to appoint me for another term in office, and very grateful for the confidence and trust Member States continue to place in me as head of this truly remarkable organization. It comes at a time when we face many major challenges and I’m fully committed to continue to do everything in my power to implement the IAEA’s crucial mission in support of global peace and development,” Director General Grossi said.

“In the different areas of our work based on nuclear science and technology – preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, ensuring nuclear safety and security, mitigating and adapting to climate change, fighting cancer and much else – the Agency’s role and work are more important than ever. This is an organization that delivers very real and tangible benefits to people all over the world. As a result, our workload is constantly increasing. I will make sure that we continue to deliver and meet the growing demands and expectations of all our Member States, whose continued support is indispensable,” he said.

Director General Grossi took up his first term of office on 2 December 2019, following the General Conference’s approval of his appointment by the Board. His second term starts on 3 December this year and runs until 2 December 2027. He is the sixth Director General since the IAEA was established in 1957.

| BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF PETS IN THE WORKPLACE

The workplace is undergoing rapid, and sometimes surprising change worldwide.

One of the most significant developments is the increasing emphasis on employee well-being.

In this respect, the European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – is reportedly considering a proposal to allow pets in the workplace. If adopted, the proposal would allow staff in the EU to bring their pets to work, provided they follow certain guidelines and rules.

The proposal, which is still in its early stages, is based on the idea that pets in the workplace can have a positive impact on workers’ well-being and productivity. Proponents of the proposal argue that bringing pets into the workplace can reduce stress, promote social interaction and create a more relaxed and creative work environment.

However, the proposal is not without controversy. Some argue that allowing pets in the workplace could cause disruption and distraction, especially for people who are allergic or afraid of pets. Others fear that the presence of pets could lead to hygiene problems and even safety concerns, especially in workplaces where food is prepared or machinery is operated.

Despite these concerns, the idea of allowing pets in the workplace is not new. In fact, more and more companies around the world are allowing employees to bring their pets into the workplace. Google, Amazon and Etsy are just a few of the companies that have introduced pet-friendly policies in recent years.

Proponents of pet-friendly workplaces point to the many benefits that pets can bring to the workplace. Studies have shown that pets in the workplace can lead to less stress and greater job satisfaction among employees. Pets can also be a source of comfort and companionship, especially for those who work long hours or in stressful environments.

Reduced stress

A study conducted by Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, investigated the effect of nature and living things in the workplace. The results show that contact with nature is an effective means of preventing mental illness.
Petting a cat or dog, or even just watching a fish swim for ten minutes, can have a calming effect, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and make employees friendlier.
When cuddling or petting a furry friend, our bodies release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that reduces the stress hormone cortisol.
Reducing stress in workers means fewer stress-related illnesses and associated medical costs.

Increased teamwork and morale

Another study by Central Michigan University found that teammates in a group where a furry friend is present are more communicative, feel more comfortable, work better together and trust each other more.

Cute pets lift spirits in any situation and bring a smile to the lips, which can have a positive impact on morale in the workplace.
In addition, the presence of a pet in the workplace can act as an icebreaker, encouraging interaction between employees and improving teamwork.
Better communication leads to more trust, which is a key component to a successful work environment.

Improved productivity

If employees have pets in the office, they are more likely to take regular breaks to play with the animal. Although it may seem counterproductive and distracting, regular breaks are necessary for optimal performance.
Robert Pozen, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, recommends taking a 15-minute break every 75 to 90 minutes.
The reason is that the human brain works in two modes and frequent breaks help it to better understand and retain information.

Studies have also shown that spending too much time on one project can reduce productivity and cause unnecessary stress.
Therefore, when people take short breaks, they come back refreshed and ready to tackle the project again, as mental breaks prevent overwork and exhaustion.

If the European Commission’s proposal is adopted, it would be a significant step forward for pet-friendly workplaces in the EU. The proposal would likely include guidelines and rules for pet owners, such as the requirement that pets be well behaved, vaccinated and kept under control at all times.

Overall, the proposal to allow pets in the workplace is an interesting development in the ongoing debate about work-life balance and worker well-being. While there are certainly legitimate concerns, it seems that the potential benefits of pet-friendly workplaces should not be overlooked.

As more and more companies embrace this idea, it will be interesting to see how it evolves and impacts the modern workplace.

| NATO ALLIES HELP TO TRAIN UKRAINIAN RECRUITS IN

THE UK 

The British Army has been training Ukrainian recruits on AS-90 self-propelled artillery guns, which are being donated to Ukraine. The AS-90 is a 155mm mobile artillery system capable of firing up to six rounds per minute. The United Kingdom has also been running a 35-day training course for Ukrainian volunteer fighters, which teaches them skills to survive in a hostile environment such as weapons handling, marksmanship and the law of armed conflict.

The instructors were from NATO Allies including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway, as well as NATO invitee Sweden, and partner countries Australia and New Zealand.

The programme is part of the UK’s commitment to help Ukraine uphold its right to self-defence against Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression.

| NEW ELECTRODE IMPROVES PAIN PERCEPTION RESEARCH

The IMI-PainCare project has developed a new electrode to investigate pain perception in a clinical recreation of chronic pain, a condition which affects 1 in 5 Europeans.

The HFS electrode “EPS-P-10” attached to the arm of a subject (non-physiological location, for illustration only). The upper right is the rear side of the multi-pin ring-shaped cathode. It is connected to the anode via three wires. The entire device can be connected to a current stimulator which is not shown in the photo ©  Jan Niclas Hoeink, MRC Systems GmbH

More people suffer from chronic pain than you may think. According to Pain Alliance Europe, 1 in 5 Europeans suffer from some form of chronic pain. Researchers wanting to test new ways to alleviate this pain must first find a way to safely reproduce it.

One way is to attach a small electrode to an area of skin and apply a small current; this increases a person’s sensitivity to ‘pinprick’ tests for pain. This ‘high frequency stimulation’ (HFS) technique is useful when developing pain medication, as the increased sensitivity is thought to be a key part that leads to chronic pain in patients, such as persistent post-surgical pain.

Researchers and engineers from Germany and Belgium have now developed a device that can recreate this sensitivity (known as hyperalgesia) more accurately and consistently.

Medical researchers and clinicians at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium shared their ideas with medical technology firm MRC Systems GmbH based in Heidelberg in Germany, which then developed the prototype. The properties and effects of the electrode were then evaluated by other collaborators in Denmark, Italy, France and the UK. The group are part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project IMI-PainCare, which aims to improve ways to detect indicators of pain in healthy subjects and animals.

The electrode consists of a cathode with 10 thin tungsten pins arranged in a circle, and an anode with a flat surface. Its special design means the electrode can apply low currents with a high current density within a small region of the skin. The electrode can be placed at different parts of the body while avoiding any critical nerves and blood-vessels.

When the electrode is fixed to the skin, five bursts of electrical pulses are delivered through the electrode contacts. The entire procedure lasts less than one minute, and was shown to induce a consistent increase in pinprick sensitivity beyond the electrode. The sensitive area gradually decreases in size over four hours, providing enough time for assessing treatment effects.

The researchers say the electrode requires minimal mechanical pre-conditioning. It also avoids common ways a test may be spoiled, for example sweating under the electrode when fixing it against the human skin for several hours.

The pilot testing resulted in a small electrode that can be used with other instruments to investigate hyperalgesia due to central sensitisation, mainly with ‘PinPrick’ stimulators.  MRC Systems GmbH has also developed a model of the electrode which can be used during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The HFS electrode is now on the market with the brand name “EPS-P10” (P10 denotes the 10 pins which carry the current). The researchers expect that they can use the electrode to complete four clinical trials focusing on different biomarkers as part of the IMI-PainCare project. Meanwhile MRC Systems GmbH has already started to market the electrode and is awaiting the outcomes of the clinical trials and the proof of the high-frequency electrode as a new standard to produce a well-defined hyperalgesia.

IMI-PainCare is supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry.

| FORMER ETIHAD CEO TONY DOUGLAS TO HEAD UP SAUDI ARABIA’S NEW NATIONAL AIRLINE RIYADH AIR

© Riyadh Air

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund (“PIF”), has announced the establishment of “Riyadh Air,” the second flag carrier of Saudi Arabia. The new national carrier will leverage Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographic location between the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, enabling Riyadh to become a gateway to the world and a global destination for transportation, trade, and tourism.

The airline’s main operational base will be at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. The airline is planning to be the largest in the Middle East in terms of revenue. It will operate domestic and international scheduled flights to over 243 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and North America. Riyadh Air said it will purchase 39 highly efficient 787-9s, with options for an additional 33 787-9s for a total estimated cost of US$17.28 billion.

Riyadh Air will be a company owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of PIF, serving as its chairman. Tony Douglas has been appointed as the CEO. He previously served as the CEO of UAE-based airline Etihad from January 2018 until October 2022.

“Riyadh Air will be a digitally native airline, driven by a pioneering spirit with an obsessive focus on attention to detail and innovation at its heart. We aim to permanently transcend our guests’ perceptions and experiences of flying in the modern world. » says Tony Douglas.

The new airline comes at a pivotal moment for Saudi Arabia, as it realizes the ambitious goals of Vision 2030. We are privileged to play an active role in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage and stunning natural attractions to tourists from around the world.”

The airline is expected to add USD20 billion to non-oil GDP growth, and create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Tony Douglas also previously served as chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (2013–2015), and as chief executive of Defence Equipment and Support department in the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence

| SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT IS VOTED THE WORLD’S BEST AIRPORT AT THE 2023 WORLD AIRPORT AWARDS

© Changiairport.com

Singapore Changi Airport has been named as the World’s Best Airport 2023 at the World Airport Awards that were held at Passenger Terminal EXPO in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Singapore Changi Airport also received the 2023 awards for the World’s Best Airport Dining, the Best Airport for Leisure Amenities and the Best Airport in Asia.

Mr Lee Seow Hiang, Chief Executive Officer of Changi Airport Group said: “Changi Airport is honoured to be named World’s Best Airport for the 12th time. This recognition is great encouragement to our airport community, who stood firmly together to battle the challenges of Covid-19 over the past two years. We thank them for their dedication to serve Changi’s passengers and the perseverance to keep Singapore connected to the world. To our passengers, we are deeply grateful for your vote of confidence. Your continued support encourages us to keep pursuing service excellence as we expand our offerings to redefine the Changi Experience. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Changi Airport as we rediscover the magic of travel again.”

Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “We congratulate Singapore Changi Airport on being named the World’s Best Airport for 2023. After being severely hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is pleasing to note that passenger numbers at Changi Airport are now at about 80 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels, and expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024. This recognition for Changi Airport is from the airport customers and serves to underline the airport’s popularity with international air travellers. Winning this award as the World’s Best Airport is a very clear recognition of the team effort amongst all staff at the airport who contribute to Changi Airport’s success”.

THE WORLD AIRPORT AWARDS
Yam Kum Weng, EVP, Airport Development, Changi Airport Group (left) and Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport Group (centre) receiving the Skytrax World’s Best Airport Award from Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax (right)

The World Airport Awards are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry, voted by customers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey.

Operating since 2000, the World Airport Awards are independent and impartial, and provide a customer satisfaction study that is truly global in scope and coverage. They are regarded as the quality benchmark for the world airport industry, assessing customer service and facilities across over 550 airports. The survey and awards process is provided to airports at no cost, to ensure true credibility of results.

The Awards are based on the World Airport Survey questionnaires completed by over 60 nationalities of airport customers during the survey period, which operated from August 2022 to February 2023. The survey evaluated the customer experience across airport service and product key performance indicators – from check in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security / immigration through to departure at the gate.

| MARRIAGE PROPOSAL ON THE WRECK OF THE TITANIC

© APOTEOSURPRISE

ApoteoSurprise, a French company, is promoting a unique marriage proposal on the wreck of the Titanic for 1.000.000 euros.

In the seaside town of St. John’s, located in the Canadian province of Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, a

expedition crew will take the couple two days later to the sinking site of the RMS Titanic.

After traveling 400 nautical miles in the North Atlantic Ocean, accompanied by an expedition leader and two scientists, they will then board a high-tech submersible designed for deep-sea exploration.

After two hours of descent, they will reach the seabed at 3800 meters deep and start to see, among the bioluminescent creatures, corroded debris and some personal items that belonged to the passengers of the Titanic.

Then the long-awaited moment will arrive: the wreck of the RMS Titanic, dormant for more than a century in darkness, will arise.

The passengers will rise along the monumental wall of steel and rivets, glide along the portholes, and for nearly two hours, explore the smallest corners of the most famous transatlantic steamship in history: promenade deck, officers’ cabins, radio room, Cptain’s bridge, hall of the Grand Staircase, etc.

All of a sudden, to the sound of My Heart Will Go On by Céline Dion, the bow of the RSM Titanic and its famous balustrade will appear. At this precise moment, the proposer will take the ring box out his pocket and make his proposal, to the applause of the other crew members. A bouquet of roses will be given to future bride the memorable event will be celebrated with champagne.

| RUSSIAN MERCENARIES WAGNER’S RECRUITING CAMPAIGN REMOVED FROM PORNHUB

“Don’t whack off, go work for PMC Wagner,” said the advert, which has now been removed by Pornhub

“We are the f**king coolest private army in the world. We are recruiting fighters from all regions of Russia. Don’t w***k off – go work for PMC Wagner,” the Russian-language ad said, before a phone number appeared on screen.

Wagner Group’s head Evgeny Prigozhin later confirmed that the ad was genuine.

“…advertising PMC Wagner on porn sites is a very good idea of ​​our marketers,” he said as cited by his press service. “I absolutely completely agree with them, and this advertisement says: ‘Go to fight in the Wagner PMC, stop j**king off.’ Who disagrees with this argument?

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