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More than $1bn pledged for Afghanistan humanitarian crisis

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The United Nations has confirmed it is putting together an aid conference in Geneva in an effort to raise more than $600 million for Afghanistan

More than $1bn in aid has now been pledged for Afghanistan.

The UN said the country was facing a major humanitarian crisis, and after decades of war and suffering, it was “perhaps their most perilous hour”, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

The poverty rate was “spiralling” and public services were close to collapse, he told the conference.

“Many people could run out of food by the end of this month just as winter approaches,” he warned.

The UN continues to warn of a humanitarian crisis in the war-torn nation, following the Taliban takeover.

Even before the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul last month, half the population – or 18 million people – had been dependent on aid.

UN officials now say that 18 million people figure is likely set to increase due to drought and shortages of cash and food.

An abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign aid following the collapse of Afghanistan’s Western-backed government has put pressure on the UN.

The details of the conference:

The Geneva conference, which is expected to begin on Monday afternoon, will be attended by top U.N. officials.

About a third of the requested $606 million would be used by the U.N. World Food Programme.

That UN programme conducted a survey in August and September, finding that 93% of the 1,600 Afghans it surveyed were not consuming sufficient foods, mostly because they could not get access to cash to pay for it.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Nature calls for urban dwellers looking for something new

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Celebrating the less commonly featured destinations alongside popular ones.

There’s been a collective yearning to reconnect with nature, to rediscover the beauty and tranquility that lie beyond our concrete jungles in recent months.

In this quest for solace and serenity, travelers are venturing off the beaten path, seeking refuge in destinations that offer a respite from the bustling crowds and frenetic pace of modernity.

From the serene lakes of the United Kingdom’s Lake District to the untamed wilderness of Australia’s Kimberley region, each of these locations beckons with the promise of natural splendour and rejuvenation. Join us on a journey to explore these hidden gems, where the rhythms of nature reign supreme and the soul finds solace amidst towering mountains, pristine coastlines, and ancient forests. It’s time to escape the chaos and embrace the timeless beauty of the great outdoors.

 

1. United Kingdom: Instead of the bustling streets of London or the historical charm of Edinburgh, let’s focus on the serene beauty of the Lake District. Nestled in northwest England, this region boasts stunning landscapes of lakes, mountains, and forests. Visitors can explore picturesque villages, embark on scenic hikes, or simply unwind amidst nature’s tranquility. The Lake District offers a peaceful retreat away from the usual tourist crowds.

2. Singapore: While Singapore is often associated with its futuristic skyline and vibrant city life, Pulau Ubin offers a delightful escape from the urban hustle. This small island, located off Singapore’s northeast coast, is a haven of rustic charm and natural beauty. Visitors can cycle through lush greenery, spot wildlife in its natural habitat, and experience the simple pleasures of island living. Pulau Ubin provides a glimpse into Singapore’s quieter side, away from the glitz and glamour of the city.

 

3. New Zealand: While cities like Auckland and Queenstown often steal the spotlight, the Catlins region on New Zealand’s South Island offers a lesser-known but equally enchanting experience. Characterized by rugged coastlines, dense forests, and abundant wildlife, the Catlins is a nature lover’s paradise. Visitors can explore hidden waterfalls, encounter seals and penguins, and marvel at dramatic coastal vistas. With its unspoiled beauty and peaceful atmosphere, the Catlins offers a truly off-the-beaten-path adventure in New Zealand.

 

4. Ireland: Instead of Dublin’s bustling streets or the iconic Cliffs of Moher, let’s shine a spotlight on the charming town of Westport. Located on Ireland’s west coast, Westport combines scenic beauty with rich history and lively culture. Visitors can stroll along the picturesque harbor, explore historic landmarks such as Westport House, and enjoy traditional music in cozy pubs. Surrounded by stunning countryside and the rugged coastline of County Mayo, Westport offers a quintessentially Irish experience without the crowds.

 

 

5. Australia: While Sydney and Melbourne are popular destinations, the Kimberley region in Western Australia offers a rugged and remote adventure unlike any other. Covering vast expanses of wilderness, the Kimberley is renowned for its ancient landscapes, dramatic gorges, and vibrant Aboriginal culture. Visitors can embark on epic road trips along the Gibb River Road, cruise through the stunning gorges of the Kimberley coast, and encounter unique wildlife in its natural habitat. With its raw beauty and sense of adventure, the Kimberley is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered in Australia.

 

 

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Top charting entertainment for the week

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Exciting times for fans of animation, and Ryan Gosling falls in style back to the big screen.

In streaming, superhero fans are astonished by the revival series X-Men ’97.

Invincible wraps up its second season on Prime Video, continuing to shock viewers with its hyper-violence.

Meanwhile, Ryan Gosling fans don’t have long to wait until The Fall Guy – a bombastic blockbuster that pays homage to practical effects and stunt work behind the scenes.

Filmmaker Rob Fantozzi provides his personal thoughts on the rise of adult animation and what to expect from Gosling’s explosive return to cinemas.

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Race against the clock, will AI destroy music industry with new app

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In the ever-evolving landscape of AI technology, Udio, a new AI music generator developed by former Google Deepmind researchers, has recently made its debut.

Udio allows users to craft songs from simple text prompts, offering customisation options for various musical elements such as length, vocals, and lyrics.

 

The Good:

  • Accessible Creativity: Udio democratises music creation by providing a platform where anyone, regardless of musical expertise, can generate personalised songs effortlessly.
  • Customization Galore: Users have the freedom to tailor every aspect of their composition, from the mood of the music to the emotional depth of the vocals, allowing for a truly unique musical experience.
  • Realistic Vocals: One of Udio’s standout features is its ability to produce vocals that sound remarkably human, adding an emotional dimension to the generated music.

The Bad:

  • Ethical Concerns: As with any AI-powered tool, there are ethical considerations surrounding the authenticity of AI-generated music and its potential impact on the music industry, including issues of copyright infringement and artistic integrity.
  • Limitations in Length: While Udio offers flexibility in customisation, its maximum song length is limited to around 90 seconds, restricting its utility for those seeking longer compositions.
  • Copyright Ambiguity: While Udio attempts to navigate copyright concerns by restricting certain song requests, the boundaries remain unclear, leaving room for potential legal disputes and confusion among users.

 

Despite its innovative capabilities, Udio’s arrival has sparked debates within both the music and technology communities. While some laud its potential to inspire creativity and broaden musical horizons, others caution against the ethical implications and potential drawbacks of widespread AI-generated music.

As Udio continues to gain traction, it serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing dialogue surrounding the intersection of AI technology and creative expression. Only time will tell how Udio and similar innovations will shape the future of music creation and consumption.

 

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