2025 Hyundai Palisade’s luxurious interior spied


The 2025 Hyundai Palisade is set to wear a bolder, boxier body than the current car, while featuring an interior with an upscale look.

Images uploaded to South Korean motoring forum New Car Scoops by an anonymous user show the second row of the new Hyundai Palisade, with completely revised door cards, hard-backed front seats and overhauled captain’s chairs for middle row passengers.

Previous spy shots have shown a redesigned front row, with the digital instrument cluster and infotainment touchscreen situated in a wide assembly.

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Supplied Credit: CarExpert

Bucking the trend for free-standing screens, the assembly is more neatly integrated within the dash, which features prominent stitching elements.

There’s also a new centre console with USB-C outlets – bringing it closer in design to the brand’s loniq 5 electric SUV.

The new photos also give us another look at the new-generation Palisade’s exterior, which is boxier and sharper than the current model.

This is clear when looking at the curves of the bonnet and the top of the A-pillar, which is now far more angular rather than rounded-off.

Supplied Credit: CarExpert

As previously reported, the new-gen Palisade is expected to adopt a pair of turbo-petrol engines to replace the existing SUV’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and 3.8-litre V6 petrol engines.

The smaller engine will reportedly be a 2.5-litre four-cylinder which is expected to be mated to a hybrid system, while the larger unit is a turbocharged 3.5-litre V6.

Hyundai’s new second-generation Palisade is expected to be unveiled before the end of the year.

MORE: Everything Hyundai Palisade MORE: 2025 Hyundai Palisade to say goodbye diesel, hello hybridMORE: Spied! Boxier 2025 Hyundai Palisade ditching diesel for hybrid

Who will be Trump’s VP? A shortlist | Donald Trump


Donald Trump has secured the necessary delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination for a third consecutive election. That result was never in much doubt, but the contest to be Trump’s running mate is harder to predict. Once again, the Republican primaries demonstrated his strength among white men in rural areas, leading to speculation that he will choose a woman or person of colour to broaden his appeal in November.

Here are some factors to consider and a look at the likely contenders.

Why does Trump need a new running mate?

Former vice-president Mike Pence was a useful ally during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns, a Christian conservative who shored up support among Republicans suspicious of the thrice-married reality TV star. But Pence’s refusal to comply with his boss’s demand to overturn the 2020 election led to a falling out and made Pence a perceived traitor and target of the January 6 insurrectionists. After a failed bid for president in 2024, Pence recently said in an interview that he will not be endorsing Trump.

What is Trump looking for in a 2024 VP?

He may decide he needs a female running mate to make himself less toxic to suburban women, especially with abortion rights looming large as an election issue. But history suggests that he will have three priorities: a person who displays loyalty; a person who looks like they are from “central casting”; a person who knows their place and will not outshine him on the campaign trail.

Will Trump’s VP pick matter in the 2024 election?

Probably not a lot. There is little evidence that a woman on the ticket draws more female voters or that a running mate’s home state will necessarily back them. Dan Pfeiffer, a White House communications director under President Barack Obama, told the New York Times: “The vice-presidential pick is something that generates a massive amount of press coverage but has the most minimal of impacts on the election.”

But perhaps a bad pick can do damage: Republican nominee John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin in 2008 probably didn’t help. This year, however, Joe Biden and Donald Trump are, again, the two oldest candidates in history, giving new meaning to their VP picks being only “a heartbeat away from the presidency”.

How many VPs have gone on to become president?

Fifteen. Eight of these succeeded to the office on the death of a president, including Lyndon Johnson, who was sworn in onboard Air Force One after the assassination of John F Kennedy. Gerald Ford was the only unelected vice-president and president following the resignations of Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon. Biden served as vice-president under Barack Obama, who was succeeded by Trump, who was then defeated by Biden for the presidency.

What to know about the Republicans on Trump’s vice-president shortlist

Photograph: Elías Valverde II/AP

Greg Abbott

Age: 66

Occupation: Governor of Texas

The Texas politician is a Trump loyalist and hardliner on border security who has fought a series of legal battles with the Biden White House. Trump said he “would very much consider Abbott” for vice-president during a joint Fox News interview in February. Abbott, who uses a wheelchair, said he was “committed to governing Texas” and to his own re-election campaign.

Photograph: Sputnik/Reuters

Tucker Carlson

Age: 54

Occupation: Conservative political commentator and writer

The former Fox News host is a strong ideological match. Like Trump, he relishes offending liberals, praising autocrats such as Vladimir Putin of Russia and Viktor Orbán of Hungary (he conducted fawning interviews with both) and pushing the far-right “great replacement” theory that western elites are importing immigrant voters to supplant white people. Although Carlson once wrote of Trump in a text message, “I hate him passionately”, more recently he has praised him as “sensible and wise”.

Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Ben Carson

Age: 72

Occupation: Retired neurosurgeon

Born in Detroit to a single mother with a third- grade education who worked multiple jobs to support her family, Carson rose to become a leading neurosurgeon – a life story that the Trump campaign could promote as it seeks to win over aspirational Black votes. As housing secretary, Carson was among Trump’s longestserving cabinet members. He remained loyal to the outgoing president after the 6 January 2021 riot at the US Capitol and campaigned with him in Iowa before the caucuses.

Photograph: Paul Hennessy/Sopa Images/Rex/Shutterstock

Ron DeSantis

Age: 45

Occupation: Governor of Florida

DeSantis tried and failed to dethrone Trump as king of the Republican party, flaming out during the primary season. He once made a campaign ad in which he read Trump’s book about getting rich, The Art of the Deal, to one of his children and encouraged them to “build the wall” along the US-Mexico border by stacking toy bricks. But when he ran for president, Trump branded him “Ron DeSanctimonious” and seems unlikely to forgive the perceived disloyalty.

Photograph: Octavio Jones/Reuters

Byron Donalds

Age: 45

Occupation: US representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district

The Freedom Caucus Republican is one of Trump’s most prominent African American supporters and backed him against state governor Ron DeSantis in the primary election. He is short on experience, having only started in Congress in 2021. At an event hosted by Axios, Donalds suggested that he would be willing to decline to certify the 2028 election results if he were vice-president.

Photograph: Michael Brochstein/Rex/Shutterstock

Tulsi Gabbard

Age: 42

Occupation: Rightwing media personality.

The former Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate has rebranded herself as a rightwing media personality. She campaigned for election-denier Kari Lake and other Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections. Her provocative critiques of the western foreign policy establishment, and her overtures to dictators such as Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, are likely to resonate with Trump. Asked in March by Fox News if she would consider a vice-presidential slot, Gabbard replied: “I would be open to that.”

Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Age: 49

Occupation: Republican congresswoman

The far-right flamethrower from Georgia personifies the age of Trumpism with her pugnacious style, bizarre conspiracy theories, indications of support for political violence, and racist, antisemitic and Islamophobic statements. She once suggested that, if she had led the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, the mob would have been armed and victorious in its efforts to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory (she later claimed this was “sarcasm”).

Photograph: Erik S. Lesser/EPA

Nikki Haley

Age: 52

Occupation: Politician.

The former South Carolina governor was Trump’s first ambassador to the United Nations and, as the daughter of Sikh immigrants from India, could help neutralise charges of sexism and racism against him. But her persistence as his most durable opponent during the Republican primary, in which she questioned his age and mental acuity, would be hard for Trump – who called her “Birdbrain” – and the Maga base to forgive. They are also at odds on aid to Ukraine.

Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

Kari Lake

Age: 54

Occupation: Candidate for US Senate in Arizona.

The firebrand former TV anchor was the breakout Republican star of the midterm elections but lost the race for governor of Arizona, a result she has never accepted. She was endorsed by Trump and continued to repeat his election lies while campaigning as a surrogate for him during the Republican primary. But she may be seen as more valuable running for Senate because she could help Republicans take control of that chamber if she wins.

Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Kristi Noem

Age: 52

Occupation: Governor of South Dakota.

The former pageant queen and congresswoman is serving her second term as South Dakota’s governor after a landslide re-election victory in 2022. She gained national attention after refusing to impose a statewide mask mandate during the coronavirus pandemic. She quashed speculation about her own presidential ambitions by endorsing Trump early. But her conservative stance on abortion – and media reports of an affair with the former Trump aide Corey Lewandowski – could be an electoral liability.

Photograph: Pablo Martínez Monsiváis/AP

Vivek Ramaswamy

Age: 38

Occupation: Business executive.

The former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is a political neophyte who shook up the Republican primary debates, acting as unofficial Trump surrogate and earning the scorn of Haley. Trump condemned Ramaswamy as “not Maga” when he gained traction in the opinion polls but has since praised the biotech entrepreneur, who dropped out and threw his weight behind the former president. Ramaswamy is a young person of colour, although his views on the climate crisis are out of step with young voters.

Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Sarah Sanders

Age: 41

Occupation: Governor of Arkansas.

She was a devoted White House press secretary, tirelessly promoting Trump’s agenda and insisting that he was neither racist nor sexist. Last year she was inaugurated as the first woman to serve as governor of Arkansas and she is currently the youngest governor in the country. Her father, former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, is the creator of The Kids Guide to President Trump and an ex-pastor who might help shore up the Christian evangelical vote.

Photograph: Cj Gunther/EPA

Tim Scott

Age: 58

Occupation: Senator for South Carolina.

The Black evangelical Christian made his own bid for the presidency but dropped out two months before the Iowa caucuses, endorsing Trump and telling him: “I just love you.” The senator might be seen as a way to build on Trump’s recent progress among male African American voters. Asked about potential running mates during a Fox News town hall in February, Trump pointed to Scott and said: “A lot of people are talking about that gentleman right over there.” Scott is single but, with impeccable timing, recently presented his girlfriend with an engagement ring.

Composite: Rex/Shutterstock

Elise Stefanik

Age: 39

Occupation: US representative for New York’s 21st congressional district

The New York politician is the highest-ranking woman in the Republican conference in the House of Representatives and one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump. Once a moderate, she gained national prominence last year after embarrassing the heads of three top universities about antisemitism on their campuses during a congressional hearing, which prompted two of them to later resign. She has also parroted Trump’s use of the term “hostages” to describe those convicted of crimes on January 6.

Photograph: Joe Maiorana/AP

JD Vance

Age: 39

Occupation: US senator for Ohio

The venture capitalist rose to prominence with his 2016 memoir, Hillbilly Elegy. A one-time Trump critic, he is now an ardent supporter and claims to be fighting for the working class by taking on liberals who “populate the upper echelons of American government, business, media, entertainment and academia”. He echoes the former president’s populist views on immigration and an “America First” foreign policy on Ukraine. Donald Trump Jr told Newsmax in January: “I’d love to see a JD Vance. People who are principally in alignment as well as aggressive.”



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Teenage boy killed by crocodile off Saibai Island, Torres Strait, remembered as ‘humble and kind-hearted’


WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this story contains images of people who have died

A boy killed by a crocodile in the Torres Strait off Queensland has been described as a rugby league lover who was “always smiling”.

The 16-year-old boy, who can be identified by his cultural name Baidham, was attacked and killed by the 3.5m croc about 500m off Saibai Island after his dinghy broke down on Thursday.

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One of nine siblings and son to a single mum, he played through the ranks of Cairns local rugby league club Edmonton Storm.

“Baidham was a very athletic person who participated in all events, whether it was in school or his local footy club, the Edmonton Storm,” his mother wrote on a GoFundMe page.

“(He was) a very humble, kind-hearted young lad. Always smiling and eager to help anyone who crossed his path.

“A person who was very observant and would always strike a look of curiosity.”

Family members and the far north Queensland rugby league community have also paid tribute, with Edmonton Junior Rugby League Club sending its “deepest condolences” to the boy’s family and friends.

Baidham and a 13-year-old boy attempted to swim to shore when their dinghy broke down off Saibai Island, 900km north of Cairns.

The boys, both local to Saibai Island, had almost made it to shore when the 16-year-old suddenly disappeared.

A 16-year-old boy who was killed by a crocodile off Saibai Island in the Torres Straight has been identified. Credit: GoFundMe

“The boys didn’t have many options,” Senior Sergeant Greg Giles said.

“When they got into waist-deep water, the older of the two boys went missing below the water.

The shaken 13-year-old — who didn’t see a crocodile before the older teen went missing — made it to safety and raised the alarm, sparking an extensive sea, land and air search.

“He’s pretty shaken up as you could imagine,” Giles said.

“He was very close to the other boy when he went missing, so no doubt it would have affected him.”

About 12 hours later, the older teen’s body was discovered in mangroves on Saibai Island, a known crocodile habitat.

The formal identification process is underway as well as further testing to confirm the cause of death, police said.

Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation wildlife officer Simon Booth said the boy’s injuries are “consistent with a large crocodile in the vicinity of 3.5m in size, possibly slightly larger”.

A hunt for the crocodile has been ongoing.

Baidham’s family could not be contacted for permission to use his image.

Flojaune Cofer: surprise progressive star in California capital’s mayoral race | US elections 2024


In an election year in which California’s races have the potential to be among the most consequential in the US, one of the most fascinating contests is shaping up somewhere unexpected: Sacramento.

The leading candidate to replace the city’s mayor is a progressive public health expert running for elected office for the first time. Flojaune Cofer has pledged to reject corporate donations, cut police budgets in favor of workers trained to deal with issues such as mental health and tackle the city’s spiraling homelessness crisis.

Cofer, a 41-year-old epidemiologist who would be the first Black woman elected as Sacramento mayor, won the most votes of any candidate in last month’s primary with an almost 8% lead over her closest competitor.

Her rise comes as political commentators have argued Californians, disheartened by crime, are growing frustrated with progressive policies. In March, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that the city’s status as a longtime liberal bastion is no more after voters approved a controversial measure that will require welfare recipients to be screened for drugs.

Sacramento has struggled with many of the same issues as San Francisco and Los Angeles from a growing unhoused population and unaffordable housing to downtowns that have struggled to rebound after the pandemic. Cofer’s vision for the city, which she hopes will one day serve as a model for dealing with the most pressing problems of the era, has appealed to voters, particularly those in lower-income neighborhoods.

“I just feel we are so close to being able to do something powerful,” she said in a recent interview. “We don’t have to live in a city where people don’t have their basic needs met. This can be a city that’s affordable, prosperous, innovative, that’s connected.”


Cofer, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, moved to Sacramento 20 years ago for a public health fellowship and decided to make her home in the city after finding a deep-rooted sense of community. “It reminded me a lot of Pittsburgh, with the tight neighborhoods and rivers flowing through it and being a midsize city in a state with larger cities that often get more of the attention,” she said.

She worked for the state’s public health department before becoming a senior public policy director for a public health non-profit. In recent years, Cofer served on several city committees and was a visible presence in Sacramento politics before she decided to run for office.

She faced a crowded field with well-known and high-profile candidates, including two former state lawmakers, vying for the role and arguing they were best equipped to address the problems ailing the city.

Sacramento has changed considerably in recent years with the redevelopment of its downtown, growing population and a seemingly ever worsening housing shortage.

Homelessness has been the defining issue in city politics in recent years. The capital is in the midst of a growing emergency as the number of unhoused residents climbed almost 70% from 2019 to 2022.

At least 9,278 people in the county are estimated to be without a home, the majority of whom sleep outdoors or in vehicles. Encampments have developed on levees, near schools and next to busy roads, while advocates have said the city has failed to create meaningful solutions to match the scale of the massive problem.

“I think one of the things that we’re already in agreement on is that what we’re doing right now is not working,” she said. The crisis is affecting everyone in the community, she said, from unhoused people who say they are being harassed and targeted without receiving the support they need to business owners who say people don’t want to go downtown.

The city can create change “if we do right by the people who are experiencing homelessness, and we actually make sure people have a place to go, instead of just moving them block to block without a clear destination, and we make sure that they have the facilities and things that they need, like showers and bathrooms”, she said.

“There’s data to show us that these things can work. Instead, it seems like we are insistent upon trying to do things expediently that don’t work and that make the problem worse.”

Cofer has backed greater protections for renters as well as managed encampments. She has also advocated cutting $70m from the police budget and redirecting that funding to hire trained workers who can respond to calls about mental health and homelessness while police prioritize violent crime.

She wants to invest in programs from non-profits and community groups that have a track record of reducing violence in the city – pointing to the city’s investment in similar initiatives that led to a two-year period with zero youth homicides before that funding was cut.

“That’s the kind of thing that you can feel in a community when you’re not worried about being shot, when your young people aren’t worried about it, when nobody is in the active stage of grieving and hanging up RIP banners on their high schools,” she said.

“I’m looking at what will save us money, what will save us lives, and will allow us all to be able to experience safety, not just the performance of safety.”


Despite the so-called backlash against progressive policies in other parts of the state, Cofer’s message appears to have won over voters across the city. Her campaign knocked on 30,000 doors, she said, and she engages directly with voters on Twitter, even those who are frequently critical of her.

She saw support from all income levels, but particularly in the lowest-income neighborhoods in the city, according to an analysis from the Sacramento Bee.

“Our message resonates,” Cofer said. “We’re talking about people who have largely not felt seen, heard and represented. When we change the narrative, invite people into the conversation, they see things differently and they’re hopeful in a different way and they’re reaching out in a different way.”

She was endorsed by the Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, which described her agenda as “[in] some ways fiscally conservative and in other ways socially and economically progressive”.

“She has the most potential to dramatically transform the Sacramento political landscape in the next four years, and that landscape desperately needs transformation,” the board wrote.

In November, Sacramento voters will choose between Cofer and Kevin McCarty, a Democratic state lawmaker. Some political analysts have argued Cofer faces long odds with votes no longer divided among multiple candidates, but Cofer remains hopeful about her candidacy and the progressive movement in the city.

“Sacramento is in a different position than some of the other places where we haven’t actually had an opportunity to try these progressive ideas out here,” she said. “We have the benefit of having watched what did and did not work in places in the Bay Area and southern California and to really learn from that.”



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Best Mother’s Day gift box: Treat yourself with a wellness pack


With Mother’s Day looming we’re all looking for that present that tells that caring figure in our lives we love them, as well as being a bit different from the traditional chocolates and flowers.

You need look no further than the Retreat Yourself Mother’s day box, a gift full of pampering and self care, perfect for anyone in need of some rest and relaxation.

For only $99.95 (with free shipping) the Autumn Nourish Retreat Box includes almost $300 of full sized wellness products from some of Australia and New Zealand’s best brands.

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These come alongside a 20-page Retreat Guide with self-care activities to bring the retreat experience to life and a playlist to really set the mood.Some of the self-care activities include journaling, yoga, creating healthy recipes, creating an at-home facial (using the products), and developing the perfect wind-down routine, again using the products provided.

The box, designed as a gentle nudge to encourage women to slow down and embrace wellness, also includes access to an online Wellness Hub.

The Retreat Yourself box contains $300 worth of items from pamper products to healthy treats. Credit: Supplied
A Retreat Guide is included, designed to bring the box to life. Credit: Supplied

From here you can find over 40 recipes, downloadable planners, workouts, meditations and more to set you up for longer lasting self care.

Even better, in the run up to Mother’s Day, Retreat Yourself is running 20 per cent off its Autumn Nourish Retreat Box, bundles and mini boxes meaning you can nourish your nurturers by sending a retreat experience to their door for less.

Use the code LOVEMUM from 22nd of April until 12th of May.

Reviewers say you (and they) won’t be disappointed.

The Mother’s Day Retreat Yourself box could be the perfect gift for the nurturer in your life. Credit: Instagram
Reviewers call the Retreat Yourself boxes ‘winner’ gifts. Credit: Instagram

Retreat Yourself is an absolute winner as a gift to self and a gift to others to share the love,” said one of the thousands of five star reviews.

“Absolutely brimming with health and self care and overflowing with indulgent goodness. You’ll have no choice but to stop, take a breath and Retreat Yourself. Simply the best thing you’ll ever gift!”

“This could not have invoked more joy and peace and calm if it tried!” said another.

“From the second you open the box, play the playlist and begin unwrapping the beautiful packaging, your heart rate slows. The guided ritual, special skincare products and healthy snacks are a divine combination just for the perfect me time.”

Founder Kate Williams discovered first hand how burnt out mother’s can get. Credit: Instagram

Retreat Yourself was founded in 2015 by Kate Williams, born out of a vision to help women prioritise their health and well-being.

“After I had my son Charlie, I experienced burnout from prioritising everything before me – and I run a business based around self-care!” Kate told 7Life.

“It’s just so easy to let your practices slip, and before long you’re strung out, exhausted and just not feeling like ‘yourself’.”

“I remembered I had to practice what I preach and, starting to implement simple self-care practices found in our seasonal Retreat Yourself Boxes, I felt like myself again.”

For more information or to order a Retreat Yourself box for Mother’s Day head to the website here.

David Nicholls: ‘I don’t think I’ll write another love story’ | David Nicholls


This is the year of David Nicholls. Which has come as a bit of a shock, it turns out, to David Nicholls. He had not planned to release his sixth (and, he thinks, his best) novel You Are Here at the same time that the adaptation of his literary phenomenon One Day hit Netflix, or as a musical of his 2003 novel Starter for Ten opened in Bristol. “In one way, it’s very exciting. But in another way, it’s a bit…” he says, searching for a word that is kind, “overwhelming.”

The year of David Nicholls means this is a year of the bittersweet. Of love as a matter of life and death and the path from friendship to romance, and all the tiny, exquisite, effortless banalities of modern life that have seen his work, which has encompassed film, telly (including Patrick Melrose, the Emmy-nominated adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s novels) and particularly his novels, reframe what the truest story of true love could be. Rather than romcom, one reviewer described his work as “rom-trag”.

When Nicholls’s agent, Jonny Geller, first read one of his manuscripts 20 years ago, he “felt instantly that he had an uncanny ability to write stories that seem to reflect my life – as if he had been in the room”. Geller soon realised he was not alone in that feeling. “It’s not just the comedy but the observations about disappointment, frustration, yearning and trying to be a better version of oneself that makes his stories universal.” Nicholls’s books have sold more than 9m copies worldwide, in 40 different languages. One Day alone has sold more than 6m worldwide and, 15 years old now, is currently back in the Top 10 charts after the success of the Netflix adaptation, which in its first month was watched by over 15 million people, one of whom was Kim Kardashian. She recommended it to her 364m followers on Instagram, saying: “If you want a good cry.”

We are meeting for lunch near his house in London, where he’s lived for 20 years with his partner, Hannah, and their two teenage children. Recently, though, he has been making a regular journey up to the mountains or the coast, where he will walk, by himself in weather-appropriate clothing for, he says, brows lowered, “time to think”. In his new novel, two lonely people fall in love on a 200-mile walk across the north of England – for Nicholls, however, it is crucial he walks alone. He says it’s time to think, yes, “but, you know, you can think on the beach, can’t you? You can think somewhere warm. I don’t know what it is about the arduousness of it that’s appealing.” He allows himself a moment of bewilderment, gently spearing some cheese on his fork. “I’ve always hated sport. Anyone throwing a ball at me, I feel, is hostile. That thing of wanting to beat someone. I wonder if walking is just the closest I can get to a sport in my life? I don’t quite understand it, except that a certain kind of melancholy and loneliness is part of it, and I would rather be by myself.” Does he come up with ideas while walking? “I always think I should. I have a little waterproof notebook. It just looks like a regular notebook, but the pages don’t curl when they get wet. I’ve carried this notebook with me for 10 years and it’s got nothing in it at all. Ha!”

His first real attempts at writing were letters. Now 57, Nicholls was born in Hampshire and, after university (he was the first person he’d known who’d been), won a scholarship to study drama in New York. When he returned to England he worked as a bartender while auditioning for acting roles. “There’s a line in One Day where Dexter says that he wishes he could give Em the gift of confidence, which is something a friend of mine said to me then.” This was London in the early 90s and, “I think I was having quite a bad time. I was trying to be an actor, but often it was quite humiliating. It was lonely, really, looking back. And this is the time where everyone was meant to be, you know, out at some rave on the M25 and I really wasn’t.” What he was doing was crafting long, poetic, funny letters to his friends and “making the worst cappuccino on the King’s Road”. He was worried, “All the time. About the future, worried about what I was going to do, worried about money.” He didn’t let his parents see his flat – a bed and an electric hob in a very small room – he was too ashamed. “But they were worried, too. And confused, because I’d gone to university – it wasn’t meant to be like this.”

He got sporadic acting work, but knew he didn’t have what it took to be great. “I was too keen and too self-conscious. I was always putting on a voice, always doing too much. Just too kind of puppyish and keen to please. Which is why I got work. But if I sat and watched the really great actors…” He starred in The Seagull at the National Theatre alongside Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Helen McCrory. “They just seemed to be doing something I couldn’t do. They were very still, they were very calm. They were very physically free and yet in control.” He was not. It occurred to him, around 1996, that while he didn’t really know what to do on stage, he did know what to do to a script to improve it.

‘In one way, it’s very exciting. But in another way, it’s a bit overwhelming’: Leo Woodall with Ambika Mod in a scene from the mini-series of One Day. Photograph: AP

“I wasn’t always right, but I felt on safer ground.” Aged 27 he was offered two jobs – one was to understudy for a part in Twelfth Night and the other was as a script reader for BBC radio. He chose the latter and gave up acting for good. “I realise now I learned so much from acting and from listening to plays being performed night after night after night. I used to feel quite bitter and angry, that those were wasted years. But looking back now, I learned a massive amount just from being in the room. I’m more philosophical about it today.” After some success as a scriptwriter on Cold Feet, he had two shows cancelled and, spurred on by rejection, at 37 wrote his first novel.

A kind of fame arrived in 2009 when One Day, his third novel, which meets Emma and Dexter on the same day over 20 years, was suddenly responsible for millions of people weeping on hundreds of trains. Does Nicholls feel defined by it? “It would be an absurd thing to complain about,” he says, carefully. “I’ve been very lucky with it, but when people say, ‘I enjoyed your book’, I know they’re not talking about Us or Sweet Sorrow. And at the same time, I do think everything I’ve written since One Day is better! But sometimes there’s an extra ingredient in a story that you have no control over.” A whole new generation has now been gorgeously, horribly moved by the story all over again, thanks to the Netflix adaptation written with Nicole Taylor.

“I started writing the book 17 years ago, when I was in my 40s, so it’s a bit like looking at an old photo of yourself – you can still feel fond of that person, and yet, it’s very much someone else.” When the book was reissued was he tempted to go back and do an edit? “Yes! With every book! Maybe I will one day. But it would be like airbrushing old photographs, wouldn’t it?”

He is uncomfortable even with the gentle celebrity that comes with being an author whose name is a kind of shorthand for complicated love, and rather than discuss his family or politics, online he uses his social media mainly to promote other authors. “I wonder,” he says carefully, “if it’s better not to know too much about what a novelist feels?” Those who read his novels should be able to divine his politics, he says, but if he were to speak directly to something, he would focus on education. “I get very angry about that. Libraries closing, the way the arts are not accessible. That kind of thing makes me really furious.” He doesn’t mention, though I discover it later, that he established a bursary to support theatre students at the University of Bristol, regardless of their financial circumstances. “I have personal experience of what an education can give you and I get angry when it comes under attack. It changed my life – being paid to go to university and having access to public libraries and local theatres. And I find the way that that’s been taken away from people like me at that age to be enraging. Going to university specifically to study something that isn’t vocational was absolutely life-changing.” Where is he leaning, politically, today? “Well, none of the political parties are suggesting a return to student grants or means-tested bursaries. And if they did, then that would be a factor in my support.” But, he smiles, a little tightly maybe, “I do feel excited at the prospect of a change of government”.

The first review for Sweet Sorrow, he remembers, “was a real massacre. Really spiteful and mean. But what it said,” what stuck, “was that all of the books were about nostalgia.” Sweet Sorrow was set in 1997. One Day begins in 1988. “Starter for Ten is a 1985 nostalgia-fest. Even Us, which was a contemporary novel, had flashbacks in it. And I was aware that a lot of what I was writing was about the gap between then and now, which I suppose is another name for nostalgia. A kind of… sense of regret,” he says, a little wistfully, “things going wrong in the past having an impact in the present, or a longing for the past.”

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The review weighed on him. So when he sat down to write this book, “I thought, ‘You must set it here and now’.” You Are Here sees two people entering middle age, both disillusioned by love and both balancing the joys of solitude with a fear of loneliness. “It comes out of the feeling of leaving lockdown. That self-consciousness and awkwardness and tenseness that we have, and the way that we all questioned things, like the value of friendship. What had we lost?” Though this book is very funny, there is also that aching thread of melancholy, the stuff of Nicholls’s long cold walks. “Even in the funnier books that I’ve written, there are quite bleak moments. There’s a particular kind of comedy that’s just joyous and lighthearted. And I’m not sure I can do that.”

What does melancholy mean, to him? “There’s a kind of ruminative aspect to melancholy, a kind of self-reflexive, thoughtful quality to it. It’s maybe gentler than sadness, and there’s a kind of perverse joy to it, too. A weird, strange kind of pleasure in it, isn’t there?” He’s talking about the secret to his work, the sour that spikes the sweet. Is that why he seeks it out, slipping into his specialist socks, stepping out with his waterproof notebook? “This is really unhealthy for me,” he says, with implied apology, “but I don’t have an answer. When you’re an adolescent that whole business of being mysterious and solitary is very self-conscious, and I don’t think I’m particularly like that. I’m quite sociable, but I’ve always definitely slipped into quite long periods of sadness and anxiety.” He pauses. “This is a book about loneliness and I didn’t have to think very hard about what that’s like.”

He says this is a book about loneliness, but it is also about the pleasure one can find in being alone, an unusual theme for a love story. “I didn’t want it to be too downbeat about solitude or loneliness. Often in a romantic comedy, the temptation is to make the state of being by oneself just awful, something that you have to escape, just the worst possible set of circumstances.” But both Marnie and Michael find comfort and pleasure in their own company before they fall in love, which somehow feels faintly radical. “I didn’t want it to be one of those books where being by yourself is pure hell. Sometimes it is for them, but for a lot of the time, they’ve managed to have quite rich, satisfying lives that just don’t get romantically involved with other people.” Which, when reading, feels exciting, especially from someone who has come to define romance. “I’ve never been able to write a happy ending,” he says, but admits this is the closest he’s come.

‘I’ve never been able to write a happy ending’: David Nicholls. Photograph: Andy Lo Pò/The Observer

When Sweet Sorrow came out, a journalist asked him what he’d like to do next, “and I said, ‘I’d love to do a very classic, contemporary love story.’ And they said, ‘Aren’t you a bit old for that?’” He chuckles and swallows a forkful of pasta before adding, “looking back, I think maybe they had a point!” He loved seeing the musical adaptation of Starter for Ten, but found it “very strange. There are things I’d written where I thought, where did that come from?” Like what? “There’s quite a moony-eyed love story, a lot of yearning from a distance.” It was interesting, then, for him to watch the musical one week, then start press for You Are Here the next. “Which is about love at a different stage of life. It’s much more thoughtful and gentle, a bit more grounded. A love story that is about experience.” He realised he has been writing about each stage of love as he passed them, from Sweet Sorrow, which is about being 16, and reaching, and dreaming, to Us, which is about facing divorce at 58. “It’s interesting to me that love is a different thing at every stage of your life. And the notion of love [in Starter for Ten] is to me now almost unrecognisable as love. It’s something else, to do with books and records and lust. It’s a strange kind of cocktail of what it’s like to be 18. Whereas Douglas’s sense of love in Us is much more mellow and poignant, and urgent in a different way.” Nicholls has come to understand that he’s interested “in the way in which love changes, depending on age and circumstance.” And looking at his body of work as a whole, “ I think the books are all about this great gulf between how love is portrayed for each of those characters, and how love feels for each of those characters.” But something new is coming. He is planning to concentrate more on film-making before settling down for his next novel. And, “next time, I don’t think I’ll write another love story”. I wonder, briefly, how we will cope. We’ll be fine, I say brightly. We’ll be fine!

He’s discovered how love changes with age – I wonder how he thinks love itself has changed since he started writing. “What the internet means for romantic relationships is completely inconceivable to me,” he says, wide-eyed as we share dessert. “But I do think there is more to it. When I think back to being 16 or 17, relationships were like a school disco with the boys on one side and the girls on the other. No one really said what they felt. I see less of that in my children’s lives. There’s a frankness now that is more healthy.” People of all ages have become, he says, much more clear about what they want, and how they feel. “My son always signs off his phone calls with love. It’s a very particular meaning of the word,” he says, smiling as only someone who has rewritten this emotion in ways that have helped a generation define it for themselves can, “but – I like to hear it.”

You Are Here by David Nicholls is published by Hodder & Stoughton on 23 April at £20 (Guardian Bookshop £17.60)



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Comedian Arj Barker sparks furore after asking mother and baby to leave Melbourne show


American comedian Arj Barker has sparked a furore after asking a breastfeeding mother and her baby to leave his show.

His decision, while performing at the Melbourne Comedy Festival on Saturday night, reportedly prompted others in the audience to walk out of the Athenaeum Theatre.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Arj Barker divides after asked breastfeeding mother and baby to leave show.

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It was not immediately clear whether the baby had been crying before Barker told the audience that the woman had been “disrupting” his “train of thought” during the show.

The new mother’s relative, Danielle, took to X to call out Barker on the decision.

“(Barker) demanded my seven-month-old cousin — who relies on her mum for milk (life) — my mother, and my aunty’s friend (also a mum) to leave his show, claiming the (the baby) was ‘ruining his train of thought’,” the tweet said.

Arj Barker performs MC duties at Wild Aid 2023. Credit: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

“A woman has purchased a ticket for a night out with her sister and friend to laugh and enjoy herself, and you badger her and encourage her to leave and get a refund.

“With all of the hatred and violence women are faced with, among the countless atrocities happening within the world today, I ask you to simply take a long, hard look at yourself.”

Another witness said the moment was “unbelievably awkward”.

“The baby was just being a baby, it wasn’t doing anything above and beyond,” David told 3AW Breakfast.

“(Barker) stopped the show and said: ‘Can you take this baby outside?’

“The crowd wasn’t sure whether he was serious — but he was dead serious. It was unbelievably awkward.”

He reported that eight women and a “fair few others” left after the moment.

Barker has since released a statement defending his position.

US comedian Arj Barker has released a statement. Credit: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

“The show is strictly age 15 plus, as clearly stated on the ticket site. She had an infant with her. The baby was disrupting my performance,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“On behalf of the other 700 people who paid to see the gig, I politely told her the baby couldn’t stay.

“She thought I was kidding, which made the exchange a bit awkward.

“I felt bad about the whole situation and stated this on the night, more than once. I offered her a refund.

“Theatre staff should not have seated a baby in my audience in the first place.”

Sparking furore

The moment has sparked a debate online, with users divided on who was in the wrong.

“GOOD — It was also ruining the show for everyone else who paid to enjoy the show,” one X user said in support of Barker.

“100 per cent with Arj Barker in this… Keep babies at home. They don’t belong at the theatre,” a second said.

“Don’t know what Arj Barker actually said nor how he said it, but imagine being so selfish to choose to take a baby to a comic or any theatre show and not leave if it starts crying,” a third said.

Meanwhile, others shamed Barker for asking the mother and baby to leave.

“Asking a breastfeeding mum to leave your show?! Really mate?!” one said.

“Disgusting behaviour asking a breastfeeding mother to leave your show. If it distracted you that much YOU’RE the one with the problem,” wrote a second.

Elon Musk’s X a ‘factory for trolls and misinformation’, assistant treasurer says amid content removal clash | Australia news


The assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, has described Elon Musk’s X as a “factory for trolls and misinformation” as the Australian government has vowed to fight any legal challenges brought by the company over removal orders related to the video of a stabbing at a Sydney church last week.

X, along with Meta, were ordered by the eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, on Tuesday last week to remove material deemed to depict “gratuitous or offensive violence with a high degree of impact or detail” within 24 hours or potentially face fines.

The material was footage of the alleged stabbing of bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during mass at the Assyrian Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakeley last Monday evening.

Meta complied with the request, but on Saturday morning Australian time, X accused the online safety regulator of “global censorship” and said it would challenge the orders in court. The company argued it did not believe the orders were within the scope of Australian law.

“The Australian censorship commissar is demanding *global* content bans!” Musk said in a tweet.

On Monday, Jones responded that the government “will fight it”.

“At the same time we’re looking at all of the laws across these areas to ensure that our regulators have the power to do what is necessary to keep our online platforms safe,” he told ABC’s RN Breakfast. “And then Twitter can’t be the place where criminals go, where cranks and crooks go to propagate their messages. At the moment it’s a factory for trolls and misinformation that damages the brand of the company, but it does a lot of damage to social cohesion in the process.”

He said it was “incredibly disappointing” that Musk decided to “make fun” of the lawful direction rather than complying with it.

“Decency can’t be dead. And I think any Australian looking at that would go: ‘Come on.’ Like it’s a pretty simple and straightforward request. It’s a lawful request.”

The minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Bill Shorten, told the ABC that X was expressing an attitude that it was “above the laws of a nation”.

“It is entirely unexceptional of a nation to say we want to take down some of the most violent and shocking footage, and somehow for them to say we’ve got freedom of speech, but we’re allowed to pollute the metaphorical airwaves with horrible vile and imagery – no one gets to vote for X. They do vote for governments and governments are accountable. So I do think what the eSafety commission has done [is] exactly right. It is about protecting citizens.”

On Sunday the opposition leader, Peter Dutton expressed support for the actions by eSafety and said X saw itself as above the law.

“The Australian law does apply and the fact is that X and Meta and other companies have a presence here. They make literally, or at least turn over, billions of dollars worth of revenue in the Australian economy,” he said. “I think what they’re worried about is the flow on to other markets, if Australia’s laws are upheld.

“That’s all the more reason, I think, for us to take a stance – it’s important for us – but for other democracies as well.”

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It is the latest salvo in a battle between X and the eSafety commissioner. Last year the eSafety commissioner commenced legal proceedings over a failure to pay a $610,500 fine for allegedly failing to provide information about how it was tackling online child abuse material. X has also launched court proceedings to challenge the ruling.

The company also claimed last month it would launch a case over a tweet allegedly bullying a trans man that the company withheld from access in Australia after a notice from eSafety. The case has not yet been filed in the federal court.

X was approached for comment.

Separately, in the wake of the propagation of misinformation on the platforms after the stabbings in Wakeley and Bondi Junction last week, the federal government plans to forge ahead with misinformation legislation to empower the Australian Communications and Media Authority to force the platforms to boost efforts to tackle misinformation.

Despite the Coalition last year running a campaign to “bin the bill” as it was drafted, Dutton on Sunday indicated the party was prepared to support misinformation laws.

The communications minister, Michelle Rowland, accused the opposition of flip-flopping.

“Holding social media companies accountable for seriously harmful misinformation and disinformation on their platforms has never been more important,” she said.

“The Coalition has flip-flopped on its position since 2022, putting politics first and running an irresponsible ‘bin the bill’ campaign, instead of working to hold big tech to account and keep Australians safe online. It’s hard to understand if the Coalition is actually serious about tackling this problem.”



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Emmy winning daytime TV writer and actress Meg Bennett dies aged 75


Emmy Award-winning writer and Young and the Restless actress Meg Bennett has died.

The 75-year-old died on April 11 following a battle with cancer, according to an obituary published in the Los Angeles Times on April 21.

“Until nearly the end she was devotedly working with children, writing, and engaging with her far-flung family and friends,” the obituary read.

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Helen Margaret (Meg) Bennett was best known for her longstanding intermittent role as Julia Newman on the Young and the Restless and as villain Allegra Montenegro on General Hospital.

She was also a scriptwriter for the two soap operas, as well as The Bold and the Beautiful, Santa Barbara and Sunset Beach.

Meg Bennett. Credit: Getty

Bennett received five Daytime Emmy nominations for writing, taking out the win in 1995 for her work on General Hospital.

She met her husband, fellow writer Robert Guza Jr, while working for General Hospital, and the pair frequently collaborated.

“They would have celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary this year,” the obituary said.

Bennett is survived by her husband, two step-daughters and four grandchildren.

Where does the Cass report leave trans teenagers? | podcast | News


In 2020, 17-year-old Chase* was referred to the NHS gender identity development service by a GP.

“When I first got on the waiting list, it made things a bit easier to deal with,” Chase tells Hannah Moore. “Because I was like, OK, I feel horrible right now, my mental health is really bad but there is something in the pipeline.”

However, the first appointment never arrived.

“About a year and a half ago, and I was like, I’m never gonna be seen by anyone. It sort of made things a lot worse, because I was like, I’m really struggling, and there’s no one that’s going to help.”

This year, Chase received a letter informing them that they were now too old for the youth service and would need to join the adult waiting list instead.

After more than three years on the waiting list, Chase has still not received any gender-related support on the NHS. They are one of thousands of young people still waiting.

This month, the review of NHS England’s gender identity service carried out by Dr Hilary Cass was published. The Guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman tells Moore about the concerns raised in the report, and what Cass thinks needs to happen now.

Dr Aidan Kelly, who previously worked at the Tavistock clinic, reflects on the Cass review and what a service that centres children’s wellbeing would look like.

*Name has been changed to protect identity



A teengaer sits on the edge of a bed, using a laptop and wearing headphones. The blurred view from the large window in the room is dominated by skyscrapers

Photograph: VOISIN/PHANIE/REX/Shutterstock

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