‘All that is good in human nature is here’: life and death in a NHS hospice

Is there a good way to approach the end of life? Rachel Clarke, a palliative care doctor, believes there is – and that we can all learn from her patients

She’s called Gemma. She’s three years old. She fell into a canal,” said a senior nurse. “By the time her parents managed to get her out, apparently she’d already stopped breathing.” “Paramedics three minutes away,” called another nurse, holding the scarlet phone on which emergencies were called through. With a grace and efficiency akin to choreography, a team of professionals who moments beforehand had been as disparate as atoms, dispersed across the hospital, were poised around an empty resuscitation bed, waiting as one to swing into action.

The consultant quietly confirmed each team member’s role. The anaesthetist, responsible for airway. The scribe, who would note down, in meticulous detail, the timings, the drugs, the doses, every iota of care which, if we were lucky, might snatch life back from lifelessness. Doctor one, doctor two – the roles and responsibilities went on. Then, a moment of silence before the paramedics’ brute force pushed a trolley through the swing doors and there, tiny, limp and pale, lay a toddler, unmoving beneath the harsh fluorescent lights.

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Simpsons actor Hank Azaria says he will no longer voice character of Apu

Actor stops playing immigrant Indian convenience store owner following years of controversy and accusations of racism

The Simpsons actor Hank Azaria has said he will no longer be voicing the character of Apu, following years of controversy and accusations of racism.

Azaria lends his voice to numerous characters in the long-running show, including Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum and Comic Book Guy.

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Nepal avalanche: South Koreans among seven missing

Four South Koreans and three Nepalis are out of contact after an avalanche close to Annapurna base camp

An avalanche in Nepal’s Annapurna region has left at least seven people missing, including four South Koreans and three Nepalis, officials said Saturday.

The incident occurred at an altitude of around 3,230 metres close to the base camp for Annapurna, one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, following heavy snowfall on Friday.

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Funeral send-off costs rise as unicorns and disco hits add sparkle

Personalised send-offs more popular than ever, with average costing £2,300, says SunLife

Spending on the extras that turn a funeral into a celebration of life soared last year, with a “unicorn-drawn” hearse and drag queens belting out LGBTQ anthems among the more unusual requests, says a report.

The average amount spent on a funeral send-off – which includes things such as catering for the wake, flowers, limo hire and other extras – reached £2,306 in 2019, up almost 12% in a year, according to the insurer SunLife’s Cost of Dying report. It says the increasing popularity of personalised funerals appears to be a major driver behind the rise.

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Silver Sharers: the site helping older renters meet their match

Services assists prospective tenants in their search for landlords of a similar age

It’s not just Generation Rent that struggles with insecure lets, unscrupulous landlords and bad accommodation.

There are more than 400,000 people aged over 60 living in private rented accommodation, up more than 60% from 2007. Research predicts a third of over-60s could be renting privately by 2040, as rising divorce rates and sky-high property prices take their toll.

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‘It’s a monster’: the Skipsea homes falling into the North Sea

Residents on fastest-eroding coastline in northern Europe told of ‘imminent risk’

For those who long to live by the sea, the thought of gently breaking waves and waking by the beach sums up the irresistible charm of coastal life. But not, perhaps, in the Yorkshire village of Skipsea.

Residents in the tiny seaside parish were warned this week that a large number of homes are at “imminent risk” of tumbling into the North Sea within 12 months because of the rapid erosion of the East Yorkshire coast.

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Meghan gets ‘more than twice as many negative headlines as positive’

Guardian analysis appears to support claim Duchess of Sussex receives more critical treatment than Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Sussex gets more than twice as many negative headlines as positive ones, according to Guardian analysis of articles published between May 2018 and mid January 2019.

The analysis – which appears to support Meghan’s argument that she has faced highly critical treatment in the British press – found that of the 843 articles in 14 print newspapers since mid-May 2018, 43% were negative. Just 20% of the articles were positive, with the remaining 36% remaining neutral.

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Coronavirus: what airport measures are in place to detect for sick passengers?

Three US airports introduce screening, following action already taken in several Asian countries

International airports are stepping up screening for passengers exhibiting symptoms possibly connected with the previously unknown coronavirus that has infected nearly 50 people in China and caused two deaths there.

Three major US airports – San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and John F Kennedy International Airport in New York (JFK) – have announced they will screen travellers arriving from Wuhan. Passengers will be examined for symptoms of the pneumonia-like virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, with an additional 100 health workers deployed at the airports.

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Rent rises force revered LGBT bookshop out of Paris’s gay district

Les Mots à La Bouche’s move from the Marais shows loss of cultural heritage, activists say

In the window of France’s best-known gay bookshop, above the display of Lucian Freud art books, opera singer Maria Callas’s memoirs and a history of the Pride movement, a poster warns in giant red letters: “Cultural heritage in danger.” An urgent note on the door adds: “We need your help!”

Les Mots à La Bouche, a 40-year-old Paris institution, is the top LGBT bookshop in France and considered one of the best in the world – a focal point of Paris’s historic gay neighbourhood in the Marais district. But as property speculation in central Paris reaches dizzying heights – it is estimated that at certain times of year there are more Airbnb rentals than residents in the Marais – the bookshop is being forced out by rising rents.

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Bushfires crisis: firefighters try to contain 90,000ha blaze in Victoria’s alpine region

Warnings to Nug Nug and Buffalo River downgraded but residents told to be on high alert for wind changes

Firefighters are backburning around the northern edge of a 90,000ha fire in Victoria’s alpine region after residents were ordered to evacuate to escape spotfires in the hills around Mount Buffalo.

About 130 firefighters from the Country Fire Authority and Forest Fire Management Victoria were working on the fire ground, after warnings to the communities of Nug Nug and Buffalo River were downgraded from an emergency alert to a watch and act alert in the early hours of Saturday morning.

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