BRITONS suffering from intense cold-like symptoms could be enduring breakthrough cases of the coronavirus without realising, lead scientists have warned. Symptoms of the cold, described by many as the “worst” they’ve “ever” experienced, include a runny nose, a sore throat, headaches, coughs and a loss of smell.
ENERGY BILLS have increased in millions of households as the price cap rises by 12 percent. For those looking to try and save money on their electricity bills, the BBC’s Consumer Affairs Correspondent Colletta Smith has offered guidance on how people could potentially save up to £160.
Last week, it was announced that Among Us, the fantastically popular friend-murdering game, was localised officially into Irish. For many (mostly, the Irish) it was an exciting thing; for others, the response was mostly: “But why?”
It’s a legitimate question — Irish, or Gaeilge, is only spoken by around 40% of the Irish population, and is rarely used as a first language. It’s what’s known as a “minority language” — a tongue spoken by a minority of people in a country, like Welsh (622k speakers), Māori (157k speakers), and Basque (665k speakers). And, as with many minority languages, its speakers are invested in protecting it, rather than having it slowly eroded by the majority language, which in this case is English.
But asking “why bother” is to ignore the fact that Irish is still alive and well, and that its speakers are interested in representing it for reasons other than just being able to speak to each other. We spoke to Úna-Minh Kavanagh, the person who took charge of the Irish translation project, to find out more about the reasons behind it.
Kavanagh is a streamer who plays games in both Irish and English, with fully Irish streams every Sunday. Officially, she says, there are very few games that have Irish translations, and many of them — like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, If Found…, and Dicey Dungeons — were made by Irish people with a vested interest in their own culture.
When Among Us got huge, Kavanagh knew she wanted to add it to the rota — “it was kind of natural that I’d play it, in particular with my audience on stream,” — but there wasn’t an official Irish translation yet. That’s not unusual, of course. Úna-Minh often ends up playing games on her stream in English, with Irish subtitles — and she ends up learning quite a few new words along the way.
“I noticed there was a mod made for Irish already,” Kavanagh said in a Discord chat, “but [I] wanted to improve on it.” After roping in a bunch of other Irish translators — Brian C. Mac Giolla Mhuire, Cormac Cinnsealach, and Mike Drinkwater — she tweeted a request at the Innersloth account to find out if they’d be interested.
And they were. After five months of work, Irish was finally added to Among Us at the start of July (alongside Traditional and Simplified Chinese) in version 2021.6.30 — and it was a huge hit, with Kavanagh’s tweet announcing the news gaining over 2,000 likes.
I’d already heard stories about school students in Gaelscoileanna (Irish language-speaking schools) using Among Us and putting their own Irish on it and thought, wouldn’t this be amazing as a learning tool.
Making the Irish translation official was a matter of accessibility, as well as celebrating the language. “The reason we would like it to be the official version rather than a mod,” she explained in a tweet, “is because installing a mod is not straightforward to the average gamer.”
The news will no doubt be welcome for anyone having to learn Irish in school, because like many minority languages, Irish is kept alive through the magic of education and examinations. Anyone who’s ever had to learn a language in school will know that it can be a painful process, but being able to play video games or watch movies in the target language is, at least, a fun way to immerse yourself.
“I’d already heard stories about school students in Gaelscoileanna (Irish language-speaking schools) using Among Us and putting their own Irish on it and thought, wouldn’t this be amazing as a learning tool,” says Kavanagh. “For a minority language like Irish, it’s vitally important that fresh, modern and quality content is created and that’s what spurred me on the most.”
The popularity of Among Us in Irish could even affect the way that Irish is taught to young people. As Kavanagh said in a tweet, “one of my biggest hopes is that the Irish media sees how IMPORTANT this is for the Irish language and for minority languages in general.” She even says that Among Us could be a great Irish entry point for pretty much anyone, because “the language used in the game isn’t particularly difficult” and doesn’t include anything that would require specific cultural knowledge.
Kavanagh herself attended a Gailscoil, and studied the language after learning it from her grandfather. “We always listened to the radio at home,” she says, and that immersion led to her getting top marks in her exams, and eventually studying Irish and Journalism at Dublin City University.
Despite that strong background, she doesn’t see herself going into localisation as a career — “it’s a hell of a lot of work,” she says, “as rewarding as it is!” Her goal in translation as a side gig is ambitious all the same: “I would LOVE to translate something like Skyrim,” she says, “but that game is humongous.” Among Us, in contrast, is a lot easier — it’s largely just UI elements, and not a ton of lore and in-game books to read — but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have its own challenges.
“The hardest part was the quickchat, because we don’t have words for yes and no in Irish,” Kavanagh says. “We use the verb — so if you say ‘did you drink that’, ‘ar ól tú é sin‘, you’d have to answer with the verb: d’ól mé ( I did drink it = yes) níor ól mé (I didn’t drink it = no).” In the end, they went with Tá and Níl, which are a sort of “yes” and “no” that are used in things like elections. “It’s not entirely correct,” she admits, but says that most Irish speakers will understand it from context.
But to answer that question at the start: why bother?
To the people who would ask that, Kavanagh says, “this achievement is not for them.”
“The language localisation is for those who do care,” she says, “and it’s clear from the reaction online and hundreds of comments on Twitter and TikTok (100,000+ views and counting!) [that people] do care, or at least care enough so say that they will play it.”
A little bit of a personal aside: I have a degree in Ancient Greek and Latin, two languages which no one speaks. A lot of people, when finding out my chosen subject, would have the same question: why? Why take out a colossal student loan in order to learn two languages you can’t use? What jobs can you even get with two dead languages in your pocket? I’ll admit, I questioned that myself, although the answer is apparently “games journalist or Prime Minister of the UK”, but my real answer is: you don’t only have to learn languages in order to speak them.
Learning Latin and Ancient Greek is just as fascinating as studying History, but no one says “what’s the point in learning about stuff that already happened?” (Or maybe they do, but that’s also silly.) It helps with my writing ability, it means that I can read stories in their original language, and most importantly: it makes me really good at trivia.
Keeping languages alive is important for staying connected to our past, our culture, and our identities.
Keeping languages alive is important for staying connected to our past, our culture, and our identities. It also makes us better at communicating in general; there are things that can be expressed in one language, but not another — like déjà vu, schadenfreude, smörgåsbord, and tsunami. We even have a few Irish loanwords, like hooligan, craic, and whiskey, so without Irish, we wouldn’t be able to express good fun or good spirits.
Being able to talk with people across the world is important, but preserving the ways we used to talk can give us incredible insights into humanity that might otherwise be lost to time.
A lot of that preservation work is done by a small, but proactive, number of people. “To keep minority languages alive, people need to simply just stop complaining that nothing is being done and go try and do it themselves,” says Kavanagh. “If they can’t do it, find someone with more knowledge and encourage them.”
So, if you’re wondering why they bothered to translate Among Us into Irish, the answer is just as Kavanagh says: if you think it’s pointless, then it’s not for you. Kavanagh and the rest of the team wanted to see something, and so they made it, and the fact that Innersloth welcomed it as an official mod is a fantastic step towards supporting more languages and cultures in games.
“Ultimately,” says Kavanagh, “it’s a massive win for a minority language.”
The update that adds Irish to Among Us is available now.
Covid cases have remained equal between men and women throughout the pandemic, but since the football final, cases have increased disproportionately in men.
The latest data comes as the UK prepares to end all lockdown restrictions on Monday, July 19.
Covid rules will be scrapped from law but ministers and other political leaders are urging the public to continue to wear face coverings in crowded spaces and public transport.
No10 has said facemasks were still “expected and recommended” even after July 19.
The Prime Minister has told the public to exercise “extreme caution” and to take “personal responsibility” wherever possible.
The PHE data also suggests the 20-29 age group is now leading Covid cases, as youngsters are the last group to be vaccinated.
Experts have argued the recent rise in Covid cases among young men has been caused by gatherings to watch the football – including revelling in the streets, homes and pubs.
Huge crowds of people gathered across the nation to cheer on the England squad in the Euro 2020 final – many of which did not observe social distancing.
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While there has been no confirmed link between the Euro gatherings and the sudden surge, Scottish scientists have previously made a connection between cases and watching the England v Scotland game on June 18.
Public Health Scotland (PHS) confirmed over 1,200 cases were linked to fans who had travelled to London to watch the Euro 2020 matches.
In a report, the health service said: “PHS is working with Test & Protect and NHS boards to ensure that all public health actions are taken in the close contacts of these Euro 2020 cases as part of the 32,539 cases that were reported to the Test & Protect Case Management System during this period (June 11-28).”
On Thursday, Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer, warned the epidemic could easily “get into trouble again surprisingly fast.”
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He said: “We are not by any means out of the woods yet on this, we are in much better shape due to the vaccine programme, and drugs and a variety of other things.
“But this has got a long way to run in the UK, and it’s got even further to run globally.”
Olympic medals dating to 1896, relay torches from several eras, and other Olympic memorabilia are among the items being auctioned just days before the Tokyo Games.
BOSTON — When the first modern Olympics were held in Athens in 1896, winners did not get gold medals as they will later this month when the Tokyo games get underway. Instead, they got silver, while runners-up got bronze. There were no medals for third place.
One of those exceedingly rare first-place silver medals is for sale in an Olympics-themed auction that opens Thursday.
“Interest is high now with the Tokyo Olympics approaching,” RR Auction Executive Vice President Bobby Livingston said.
The 1896 silver medal is expected to sell for about $ 75,000 given its rarity, Livingston said. Unlike today’s behemoth games with thousands of athletes and hundreds of events, the 1896 Olympiad featured about 250 athletes — all men — from a little more than a dozen nations competing in 10 sports.
A bronze medal from the same year is expected to fetch around $ 40,000.
Unfortunately, who won the medals has been lost to time, Livingston said.
Before the U.S.’s Dream Team of NBA stars dominated the 1992 men’s basketball tournament, there was the almost as dominant 1984 team that featured future NBA stars Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing.
That gold-medal winning team led by former Indiana coach Bobby Knight rolled to an 8-0 record, averaged more than 95 points per game and held their foes to an average of about 63 points per game.
One of those gold medals, with the multi-colored ribbon, is expected to sell for about $ 70,000, RR Auction said.
“Anything from the U.S. basketball team — and the 1980 men’s hockey team — always demands a lot of interest,” Livingston said.
The medal was consigned to the auctioneer by a collector who bought it directly from a member of the team, but exactly who that player is remains confidential, Livingston said.
Some of the other items for sale include a gold medal awarded to Swedish wrestler Ivar Johansson in the 1932 summer games in Los Angeles and a silver won by Bill “Rabbit” Thomson as a member of the Canadian hockey team in the 1936 winter games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.
The torches for sale include those from the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway; the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid; and the 1976 winter games in Innsbruck, Austria.
One of the more unusual items is a 17-foot wooden kayak used by Rolf Peterson of Sweden to win a gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo games. It will set you back about $ 30,000.
Eight people, including four Chinese nationals, killed in a blast targeting a bus in northern Pakistan, Reuters reports.
Eight people, including four Chinese nationals, have been killed in a blast targeting a bus in northern Pakistan, multiple sources told Reuters news agency.
“There is a huge explosion in the bus carrying the Chinese engineers … in Upper Kohistan. Eight people lost their lives,” a senior administrative officer of the Hazara region told Reuters on Wednesday.
He said the bus was carrying over 30 Chinese engineers to the site of Dasu dam in Upper Kohistan.
Two paramilitary security men with the engineers also died, he said.
The study comes as a psychologist highlights preliminary research showing Britons are among the most anxious about Covid compared to the US, China and Europe. Following the announcement that July 19 is set to see the end to compulsory social distancing and mask wearing, a new survey reveals many Brits are anxious about the loosening of restrictions due to heightened post pandemic health concerns
The survey of 2,006 adults carried out by Medical ID charity, MedicAlert showed 77 percent of UK adults are anxious about the loosening of lockdown restrictions and, despite the final roadmap out of lockdown confirming the rule of six for gatherings is to be scrapped, thirty-five percent of those polled plan to stay away from crowds and social gatherings.
Separate work carried out by Professor Marcantonio Spada from London’s Southbank University (LSBU) in collaboration with Professor Ana Nikčević from Kingston University found up to one in five have developed a set of behaviours – which they have called Covid anxiety syndrome – are keeping them “stuck in a state of threat and fear” about becoming infected with the virus, and may stop them returning to a normal life.
Figures released last week from their study of 975 people showed up to twenty percent of people is still affected by the syndrome despite government moves to open up.
Age, gender, and vaccination status were not found to be predictors of who might be affected.
It found 40 percent reported avoiding touching things in public spaces and 30 percent reported avoiding public transport for the same reason. Twenty three percent reported avoiding going out to public places and 25 percent strongly reported paying close attention to others displaying possible symptoms of the virus.
Professor Marcantonio Spada, Professor of Addictive Behaviours and Mental Health at LSBU, said: “Our data indicates that after one month of re-opening of society many people are still struggling with aspects of Covid anxiety syndrome, a similar figure to what we previously observed during full lockdown.
“This means that there are still many people who find it difficult to disengage from the Covid threat which may make return to normal daily living harder as restrictions ease.”
The team has also carried out global comparisons of 6,000 people using data collected from March 2021. Preliminary findings of this work, carried out in collaboration with Imperial College London show the UK, Italy and the US have fared worse than China, Germany and Sweden in prevalence of Covid anxiety syndrome.