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Conor McGregor's key advantage over Dustin Poirier explained ahead of UFC 264 trilogy bout

Hardy also gave his opinion on the status of the UFC lightweight division as the 155-pound class looks to move on following the retirement of undefeated, undisputed champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Brazilian submission specialist Charles Oliveira and American former three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler are set to do battle for the vacant championship on Saturday night at UFC 262 in Houston, Texas.

But while those two athletes would give the division a fresh new champion, Hardy explained that, if McGregor, Poirier or fellow former interim champion Justin Gaethje became champ, it would actually devalue the division in a sense, due to Khabib’s prior submission finishes of the trio in past title fights.

“Who’s gonna compare to Khabib? That’s the problem that we’ve gotten (to),” said Hardy. 

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Florida's New Voting Rights Law Explained

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, signed new voting restrictions into law on Thursday, reducing voting access in one of the nation’s critical battleground states.

Florida, which former President Donald J. Trump won by about three percentage points in 2020, is the latest Republican-controlled state, following Georgia, Montana and Iowa, to impose new hurdles to casting a ballot after November’s elections.

Voting rights experts and Democrats say that some provisions of the new law will disproportionately affect voters of color.

Here’s a guide to how the law changes voting in Florida.

The law, Senate Bill 90, limits the use of drop boxes where voters can deposit absentee ballots, and adds more identification requirements for anyone requesting an absentee ballot. It also requires voters to request an absentee ballot for each two-year election cycle, rather than every four years, under the previous law. Additionally, it limits who can collect and drop off ballots.

The law also expands a current rule that prohibits outside groups from holding signs or wearing political paraphernalia within 150 feet of a polling place or drop box, “with the intent to influence voters,” an increase from the previous 100 feet.

The new law weakens key parts of an extensive voting infrastructure that was built up slowly after the state’s chaotic 2000 election. In 2020, that infrastructure allowed Florida to ramp up quickly to accommodate absentee balloting and increased drop boxes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Voters of color are most reliant on after-hours drop boxes, critics of the law say, as it’s often more difficult for them to both take hours off during the day and to organize transportation to polling places.

Republican legislators promoting the bill offered little evidence of election fraud, and argued for limiting access despite their continued claims that the state’s 2020 election was the “gold standard” for the country.

Florida has a popular tradition of voting by mail: In the 2016 and 2018 elections, nearly a third of the state’s voters cast ballots through the mail.

In both years, more Republicans than Democrats voted by mail. But in 2020, more than 2.1 million Democrats cast mail ballots, compared with 1.4 million Republicans, after Mr. Trump claimed repeatedly that expanding mail-in voting would lead to fraud.

Voting ran smoothly in 2020, by all accounts.

“There was no problem in Florida,” said Kara Gross, the legislative director and senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. “Everything worked as it should. The only reason they’re doing this is to make it harder to vote.”

And Mr. DeSantis has praised Florida’s handling of November’s elections, saying that his state has “the strongest election integrity measures in the country.”

But on the need for the new law, he said: “Florida took action this legislative session to increase transparency and strengthen the security of our elections.”

Yes. The Texas House of Representatives passed a similar measure this week after a lengthy debate. The bill will soon be taken up by the state’s Republican-controlled Senate. Other states including Arizona, Michigan and Ohio are considering their own bills.

Voting rights groups filed lawsuits shortly after Mr. DeSantis signed the bill into law during a live broadcast on a Fox News morning program.

The League of Women Voters of Florida, the Black Voters Matter Fund and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans joined in one suit, arguing that “Senate Bill 90 does not impede all of Florida’s voters equally.”

“It is crafted to and will operate to make it more difficult for certain types of voters to participate in the state’s elections, including those voters who generally wish to vote with a vote-by-mail ballot and voters who have historically had to overcome substantial hurdles to reach the ballot box, such as Florida’s senior voters, youngest voters, and minority voters.”

Another suit was brought by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Disability Rights Florida and Common Cause, who argued that the law violates constitutional protections and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The law took effect immediately, and will be in force for the 2022 election, when Mr. DeSantis is up for re-election.

Author: Adeel Hassan
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Celebrity Cruises’ Silhouette: Cabins, dining, entertainment and prices explained

So far four ships have emerged from Celebrity Cruises’ Revolution – Millennium, Summit, Equinox and Silhouette – with Constellation, Infinity, Eclipse, Solstice and Reflection still to be upgraded. Celebrity Silhouette was launched in May 2011, one of five Solstice class ships in Celebrity Cruises’ 14-strong fleet, and was updated in January 2020 to feature Kelly Hoppen interiors and new spaces first seen on Celebrity Edge.
Silhouette can take up to 2,886 while sister ships Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse all take up to 2,850 passengers and Reflection takes 3,046.

What makes the Solstice class ships so different from others is the Lawn Club, which has proved incredibly popular with guests who like to have a drink or meal at sea with the feel of real grass between their toes.

THE WOW FACTOR

British interior designer Kelly Hoppen has worked her magic on the whole ship, creating a neutral yet anything but beige sophisticated look to all the staterooms and suites, but it’s The Retreat that is the most fabulous addition to Silhouette.

This open-air hideaway features a private sundeck and redesigned lounge for suite guests, who can enjoy complimentary drinks and gourmet snacks here day and night – as well as live entertainment and a concierge service.

The good news for all guests, though, is Celebrity Cruises’ new Always Included policy means there are no service charges for any guests while wifi and most drinks are also free.

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THE LIFESTYLE

Celebrity Cruises is regarded as one of the best cruise lines for foodies, so there’s a lot of emphasis on good food and wine in a relaxed but smart environment.

The Retreat was first introduced on Celebrity Edge, launched in January 2018, and as well as being on sister ships Apex and Beyond, it is being introduced for suite guests on all Celebrity’s non-expedition ships during the Revolution process.

As well as a gorgeous private sundeck with cabanas and a small pool for cooling off, the Retreat has a private lounge and the Luminae restaurant, with complimentary signature dishes by Michelin starred chef Daniel Boulud.

Non-suite passengers can also get a taste of added luxury at the rejuvenated Spa, with new treatment rooms, and redesigned casino.

There are new designer boutiques selling clothes, bags and jewellery from the hottest designer names.

And the bars now have 40 craft beers on sale and some of the most creative cocktails at sea.

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Celebrity Cruises’ Beyond: Cabins, dining, entertainment and prices explained

STATEROOMS

Every stateroom and suite on Celebrity Silhouette has been updated and given the Kelly Hoppen boutique hotel look and feel.

Beds have luxurious eXhale cashmere mattresses and storage has been cleverly increased.

All have ensuite bathrooms or shower rooms, depending on the size of the cabin, flat-screen TVs that give information about the ship and the day’s activities as well as screening films, TV news, sport and other programmes.

Staterooms run from inside cabins, including a number of single cabins and accessible rooms for wheelchair users, to Ocean View staterooms with a window and Veranda Staterooms with glass doors to a balcony.

Next comes Concierge Class Staterooms, where guests are invited to exclusive events, then AquaClass Staterooms, with unlimited access to The Persian Garden’s steam rooms, saunas and heated tile loungers, plus complimentary dining at Blu.

Then there are the suites, with exclusive access to The Retreat, shore excursion and onboard spending credits.

DINING

Restaurants, bars and lounges have been reimagined and none more dramatically than the Lawn Club Grill, a new paid-for speciality restaurant for dinner under the stars.

Imported from Edge class ships is Le Petit Chef, a paid-for restaurant that uses technology wizardry to bring an animated story to your plate before each course – something that children in particular will love.

Other speciality restaurants with fees include the Italian-themed Tuscan Grill and Japanese-based Sushi On Five.

The Porch is for seafood and sea views, while Murano offers a new twist on classic French cuisine.

But the main restaurant is still complimentary as is Oceanview Café, the self-service buffet restaurant, which has a new marketplace-inspired look.

For poolside meals there’s Mast Grill, which serves burgers, and for a healthier menu there’s the Spa Café, open for breakfast and lunch.

FACT BOX

For summer 2021 Celebrity Silhouette will sail six, seven and eight-night round-trip cruises around the British Isles from Southampton.

Ports of call include Belfast, Liverpool, Greenock near Glasgow, Inverness in the Highlands, Kirkwall on Orkney Island and Portland in Dorset – depending on the dates and length of cruise.

From September it is hoped Silhouette can sail from Southampton to other European and Scandinavian ports, crossing the Atlantic for Caribbean cruises from November and returning to Southampton in April 2022.

The 7-day UK voyage from Southampton on August 21 calls at Inverness, Kirkwall and Greenock and costs from £1,299 per person, two sharing (celebritycruises.com).

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Celebrity Cruises’ Beyond: Cabins, dining, entertainment and prices explained

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Celebrity Beyond is the third in Celebrity Cruises’ hip and happening Edge Series but it’s a little longer and taller than sister ships Edge and Apex to provide more outdoor space for guests and an extra 179 staterooms and suites. Designer Kelly Hoppen shook up the cruise industry with her sublime interiors for Edge and she’s given Beyond the same treatment, with an additional twist.

Lead architect Tom Wright dubbed the original Edge as simply “a prototype”, which is why Beyond is bigger: longer and taller, with an additional deck.

The stylish Rooftop Garden is bigger with a proper stage for bands and “spoilers” to direct sea breezes away from guests and the adjoining Rooftop Garden Grill is also larger. And the main Resort Deck is also bigger, with unrestricted views out to the port side and two-deck high cabanas on the other side of the deck that create a sophisticated and intimate vibe.

But it’s Gwyneth Paltrow who is the new Wow factor, starting as Wellbeing Advisor for Beyond and “curating”, as she describes it, a programme for all Celebrity’s ships that includes Women in Wellness classes in partnership with goop.

“At goop, our curiosity leads us to explore different approaches to well-being and sends us around the world, reporting on the best places to eat, drink, engage, and unwind,” she said.

“Near the nexus of these interests, we came across Celebrity’s mission to disrupt the traditional notion of being well-traveled. As Celebrity’s new wellbeing advisor, I’ll be working with my team at goop to bring onboard some of our favorite practices and tools for deepening wellbeing and joy.”

THE LIFESTYLE

Beyond is a “sanctuary at sea” with “more space to lose yourself” according to the marketing message. Relaxation is at the heart of the ship’s mission and while guests are not expected to wander into restaurants in ripped jeans and baseball caps, neither do they have to dress up to the nines.

Although the whole ship is beautiful, the Retreat for suite guests is particularly gorgeous and Kelly Hoppen describes the 40 per cent larger Retreat Sundeck as “creating solitude spaces, zen areas, where people can chill”. There’s also a 25-yard lap pool on the top deck, which is not only unusual for a cruise ship but indicates the health-conscious lifestyle promoted by Celebrity Cruises.

STATEROOMS

All the stateroom and suite interior designs have been “refreshed” for Beyond, with bedding and artwork updated, says Kelly Hoppen: “Its more about the textures, colours accessories – it’s tiny details.”

Beyond has 179 additional staterooms and suites compared to Edge and Apex, which both take 2,918 guests. Balcony staterooms on these two earlier ships extend to the water’s edge at the click of a button that hides the glass doors, with sea views from 90 per cent of all the staterooms, so Beyond is likely to have something similar.

As Celebrity Cruises’ president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said at the first glimpse reveal: “Stay tuned.”

What we do know is that suites will include two-storey villas with private plunge pools.

Luminae at the Retreat is the private restaurant for The Retreat guests, which is found on all Celebrity vessels except its expedition ships, and its menu is also created by Boulud, with interiors by Kelly Hoppen.

For Beyond, Hoppen admitted “I’ve let myself go wild in that space” to create different nooks and places within Luminae.

“I wanted people to be in that restaurant and feel that they needed to book it for the next night so they could be over here, or there,” she explained.

Bars mentioned included the Martini Bar in the Grand Plaza, in the heart of the ship, and both the lounge and the bar will be bigger than on the Edge and Apex. Similarly, the specialty restaurant Rooftop Garden Grill will be bigger and the Sunset Bar at the back of the ship will be multi-terraced, making it 180 per cent larger.

FACT BOX

Celebrity Beyond will make its maiden voyage in April 2022, sailing from Southampton before home-porting in Europe for Mediterranean and Greek island cruises.

In October 2022 Beyond will switch to Fort Lauderdale for Caribbean cruises over late autumn and winter into spring 2023.

The inaugural voyage leaves Southampton on April 27, 2022, for a 10-night Western Europe cruise to Barcelona, calling at La Rochelle, Bilbao, Lisbon, Cadiz, Malaga and Mallorca. Prices start from £1,889pp, two sharing (celebritycruises.com).

Hair loss treatment: Laser therapy – is it worth it? Benefits and side effects explained

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

A research team from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine examined the safety and efficacy of low-level laser therapy for male and female pattern hair loss. Here are the results. An analysis of 10 clinical trials led to the conclusion that laser therapy provides “satisfactory results”. “All of the trials found significant increases in terminal hair counts, hair growth, and hair coverage in treatment groups,” the researchers confirmed.

Each trial consisted of “control” groups that didn’t undergo laser hair therapy to compare how effective the treatment was to non-treated follicles.

In addition, all experiments went on for at least 16 weeks before results were obtained.

How often do you need to have laser hair therapy?

Four of the clinical trials implemented laser treatment three times per week, with each session lasting between 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the study.

Another four trials had participants undergo laser hair therapy every other day for 25 or 30 minutes.

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One experiment required laser hair therapy everyday, which the participants expressed as “not favourable”.

There was only one experiment that compared the effectiveness of laser treatment against five percent minoxidil.

Minoxidil is another certified hair loss treatment method that has been shown to be effective.

In this specific 16-week investigation, there were three groups compared:

  1. Patients who applied minoxidil twice a day
  2. Patients who had laser hair treatment every other day
  3. Patients who used minoxidil and hair laser hair treatment

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The study suggested that the laser group and the combined minoxidil and laser group “showed significant increases in the number of hair follicles at the end of treatment”.

In addition, the results revealed that using laser alone yielded better results than minoxidil on its own.

Combination therapy was found to be “superior to either treatments alone”.

Are there any side effects of laser treatment?

Mild side effects were reported in the studies, which included:

  • Pruritus
  • Acne
  • Scalp tenderness

What’s pruritus?

The Mayo Clinic defined pruritus as “itchy skin” that is caused by dryness.

However, the researchers noted that most of the side effects “resolved within two weeks”.

Laser hair therapy is described to be “low cost”, “easy to use”, and “very effective”.

However, the analysis confirmed that some of the studies reviewed “have a clear relation” with sponsors involved.

This could, in theory, “affect the validity of the study designs, results and/or conclusions”.

How to try out laser therapy

This cosmetic treatment is available on the private market, with costs differing depending on the provider.

How does it work?

Healthline explained the low-level laser “irradiates photons into scalp tissues”.

“These photons are absorbed by weak cells to encourage hair growth,” it added.

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NS&I explains why newer Premium Bonds 'seem luckier' – odds of winning prizes explained

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

The odds of winning changed several months ago, on November 24 last year, coming into force for the December 2020 Premium Bonds prize draw. This was due to a cut to the annual prize fund rate.

The higher value the prize, the fewer the number of payouts up for grabs.

Ahead of the upcoming Premium Bonds prize draw, many may well be wondering whether they will win a prize.

NS&I has published the odds on its website, so Premium Bonds holders are aware of their chances.

The Government-backed savings provider has also published some other facts relating to the odds.

DON’T MISS

Among the queries some may have, NS&I addresses whether or not newer Premium Bonds are luckier.

The answer to this is no, but the savings provider explains why it could “seem” that this is the case.

“Every eligible £1 Bond has the same chance to win a prize in every monthly draw,” the website states.

“Newer Bonds seem luckier because over 95 percent of those currently held have been purchase since 2000.”

“While 2.4 percent of our Premium Bonds holders have the maximum £50,000 invested (as of April 2019), their total investment makes up 34.4 percent of the £80billion held in Premium Bonds, from which the prize fund is calculated.”

However, NS&I adds that while buying more Bonds could improve the chances of winning a prize, there isn’t a guarantee of what size that prize would be.

There is a minimum investment amount of £25 per person.

At the other end of the scale, there is also a maximum holding of £50,000 per person.

Covid testing: PCR swab, lateral flow test and LamPORE testing – differences explained

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

The LamPORE test doesn’t require a laboratory setting; the presence of Covid genetic material in the saliva is identified by “real-time loop-mediated amplification (LAMP) and is combined with “rapid, portable DNA sequencing”. At present, the NHS is trialling LamPORE tests in mobile testing units across the country. This is confirmed by the science company ZOE who are provided scientific analysis by King’s College London.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies concurred there are four LamPORE units, located in:

  • Aberdeen
  • Telford
  • Brent
  • Newbury

The Royal College of Pathologists explained LamPORE testing detects “viral RNA”.

On its own, LAMP testing has a sensitivity of 79 per cent, said the Covid Symptom Study – a King’s College London collaborator.

However, LamPORE testing “is up to 99.57 per cent, making it extremely accurate at diagnosing positive Covid cases”.

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“Then they add probes that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 [Covid] genetic code, showing any coronavirus in your sample,” explained the Covid Symptom Study.

The result is usually produced up to three days after testing, which makes it a longer waiting time than LamPORE testing.

PCR tests are available for free on the NHS if you have any of the following Covid symptoms:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

The Covid Symptom Study said: “If you have any of the other 20 or more symptoms associated with COVID-19 and log them in the ZOE COVID Study app, we’ll invite you to book a PCR test.”

The lateral flow test involves putting a swab on the inside of your nose and mouth.

Then, the end of the swab (that’s been inside your nose and mouth) goes into a small pot of liquid.

When you place a few drops of the liquid onto a testing device, you’ll either see one or two lines appear.

Within 30 minutes, one line symbolises a negative test result whereas two lines represent a positive Covid test result.

These tests are available at workplaces, schools, rapid test centres around the country, and selected pharmacies.

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Love and Monsters ending explained: What happens to Dylan O'Brien's Joel?

He is later rescued again, this time by survival experts, who teach Joel a thing or two to help him survive his journey to find Aimee.

Boy helps him to become even greater than he once thought, as when his canine companion is trapped by a monster, Joel must use these survival techniques to save him.

Eventually, after getting himself into some difficult situations, he finds Aimee, who is unknowingly being infiltrated by an evil colony, which uses a monster as a predator to take supplies and land from other survivors.

Joel realises this but before he can warn Aimee, is caught by Cap (Dan Ewing), though together he and Aimee save the colony, using new techniques to commune with monsters rather than beat them.

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Steven Spielberg’s ‘feud’ with Julia Roberts on the set of Hook explained

These tragic events occurred during the shooting of Hook, leaving Roberts distressed, reportedly garnering her the nickname TinkerHell.

Spielberg was asked about Roberts’ behaviour on set during an interview with 60 Minutes, where he confessed: “It was an unfortunate time for us to work together.

“But I think Julia is a really, really good actress.”

When he was asked if he would work together with her again, Spielberg said: “This is a 60 minutes question isn’t it?” Before adding: “No.”

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Covid: How do you order a lateral flow test to your home? Risks and benefits explained

If people get into the habit of checking whether they have Covid twice weekly, people can then take precautions if they test positive.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said regular testing was “one of the simplest and easiest ways we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe”.

Hancock continued: “Rapid testing will be one of our most effective weapons in tackling this virus and ensuring we can cautiously re-open our economy.”

The lateral flow tests involve a swab in the nose or mouth, but concerns over its accuracy have been highlighted.

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This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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