I have a tattoo inspired by a Wendy’s favorite – it’s no longer on the menu

A WOMAN has shared the tattoo she got that was inspired by a Wendy’s favorite.

Unfortunately for her, the item is no longer on the fast food chain’s menu.


Morgan, a content creator, revealed her Wendy’s inspired tattooCredit: tiktok/morgan.shughart

Morgan (@morgan.shughart) shared the video with her TikTok followers.

The content creator joked about how silly her tattoo idea was in the form of other people’s warnings.

“Don’t get a tattoo you’ll regret it,” one person said to her.

She revealed her tattoo, three 4’s lined down her arm that seemed to just be some numbers until she revealed what they meant.

Morgan pulled up a Wendy’s commercial, explaining that her tattoo stood for Wendy’s former “Four for $4” deal.

Although the items were no longer on Wendy’s menu, people were impressed with her tattoo regardless.

“This is the best one out there,” said one commenter.

Many couldn’t help but agree: “So inspirational,” said another.

Others had the same idea and were shocked to see their tattoo twin in the wild.

“Bro I have a 444 on my wrist, exactly,” said one viewer.

Some mourned the loss of the beloved menu item: “I miss the 4 for 4,” said one sad commenter.

Many thought she deserved to have the meal deal back: “You absolutely win, bring it back in her honor please,” one commenter said, pleading to the chain.


She explained why she got a 444 tattoo on her armCredit: tiktok/morgan.shughart


Although it’s no longer on the menu, she was inspired by Wendy’s 4 for $4 meal dealCredit: tiktok/morgan.shughart

Why Retiring In India No Longer Requires Living With The Kids

The Virtuoso, a 157-unit retirement community in Bengaluru.

Vandana Agarwal is only 54, but she’s already planning to place a deposit on an apartment in a retirement community close to New Delhi that she and her husband will move into when they reach their 70s. With their only son settled in the US, the couple were on the lookout for someplace to land as they get older. On a visit to the community, called Antara Noida, they were impressed by the modern, spacious facilities-and by safety features such as anti-skid floor tiles, call buttons and doctors on standby in case of emergency. “I know my child will not move to India,” Agarwal says. “And we won’t be comfortable in the US if we move there.”

Indian culture places paramount importance on respect for elders, with multigenerational households the norm. Yet with millions of Indians pursuing careers abroad and sending cash home to their parents, families such as the Agarwals have money to spend but can no longer depend on their offspring to care for them as they age. That’s sparked a boom in retirement communities. “We are all living longer, and people want to be more in control of their destinies rather than children making those calls for them,” says Meeta Malhotra, a consultant working with companies building senior-care facilities. “More people in the 50s and 60s are proactively beginning to make decisions around their later years.”

Compared with rapidly aging countries such as Japan and the UK, India has a retiree industry that’s still in its infancy, but many operators are “expanding aggressively,” says Rahul Vaidya, a senior director at real estate broker Jones Lang LaSalle. India today has roughly 60 upscale retirement communities, up from 36 in 2020, and the market will expand at 10% annually over the next five years, Anarock Property Consultants in Mumbai predicts.

As India overtakes China as the most populous country, the percentage of its 1.4 billion-plus residents over age 65 will more than double by 2050, to 15% of the population, the United Nations says, posing a big challenge to its underfunded health-care system. India’s social security programs offer scant resources for home care and nonmedical support for the elderly, and fewer than 2% of Indians have private insurance to make up the difference, according to a report from the Association of Senior Living India and other industry groups. The country is “under-prepared for the imminent silver tsunami it faces,” the report says.

Sanjeev Trisha, 61, a Virtuoso resident.

When Columbia Pacific Group, a Seattle company that builds retirement communities, started an expansion across Asia two decades ago, it skipped India because of the country’s tradition of families living under one roof. But with the recent shift in the market, Columbia is now embarking on a $24 million push in the country. It has 10 retirement communities that include a total of more than 1,750 units, and five more under construction, mostly in southern India, where birthrates are lower and levels of education and wealth higher.

The trend is socially and legally fraught. After a surge in desertions, a 2007 law made it a jailable offense for children to abandon or neglect their parents. So companies building elderly developments are careful with their marketing. “‘Old folks homes’ in India has a connotation of ‘those that have been abandoned,'” says Mohit Nirula, the outgoing head of Columbia’s Indian business. Columbia focuses on highlighting “positive aging,” and other operators prefer terms such as “senior living” rather than “retirement homes.”

The Virtuoso’s dining hall.

Vikas Attri brought his mother to his home in Dubai from New Delhi and hired a full-time nurse to care for her. As her Parkinson’s disease worsened, he moved her to an assisted-living home run by Epoch Elder Care near Delhi, costing about $2,500 a month. After more than two years in the facility, she died there 18 months ago. Attri says members of his extended family shunned him for the decision, but he says his mother appreciated the round-the-clock care, and he typically traveled to India every month to visit her. His aunt is now trying to reserve a spot there because she has no children, though there’s a long waiting list. “I don’t care if people gossip about me and my decision,” Attri says. “I know my mother was comfortable and happy.”

The Serene Amara, a Columbia project under construction near Bengaluru’s airport, isn’t scheduled to open until 2026, but already about a third of the apartments have been sold at prices starting at 6.8 million rupees ($82,000). A little more than an hour’s drive away, in the northeastern part of the city formerly known as Bangalore, Columbia in January opened a 157-unit community of one- to three-bedroom apartments called the Virtuoso. There’s a bright hotel-style lobby, a well-stocked library, game rooms, a gym, a swimming pool and a salon. Discreet wooden handrails line corridor edges, residents can wear trackers that activate if they fall, and an ambulance awaits on-site for emergencies.

Prospective buyers look at a model of the Serene Amara.

With their 27-year-old son working as a musician in the US, Bharath Kalyanram and his wife put down a deposit on a three-bedroom apartment in the Virtuoso in 2021. They feared it might become increasingly difficult to maintain their single-family house, and as they still travel frequently, they’re happy they don’t have to worry about the apartment while they’re away. After visiting various communities, they settled on Columbia’s development thanks to the cosmopolitan and liberal outlook of many residents. “It was one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made,” says the 58-year-old former technology executive, who retired three years ago.

Cracking jokes over sandwiches and morning coffee, Kalyanram and other residents wax lyrical about the community atmosphere, along with the security, friendship and support it brings. “We’re like old friends who’ve known each other for years,” he says, even though they met just a few months earlier. “I remember the discussions we had with our son about this, and he was very supportive,” Kalyanram says. “He said, ‘Look, Dad, Mom, you got to do what makes you happy.'”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Wagner ‘no longer a threat to Poland’ – but Lukashenko ‘now controlled by Putin’

Wagner Group mercenaries in Belarus no longer pose a threat to neighbouring Poland, an expert has claimed – but that doesn’t mean that the country is safe, as its leader Alexander Lukashenko is now long acting ‘independently of the Kremlin’.

The Russian private military organisation has been using Belarus as the staging ground for attacks on Ukraine, but according to Mariusz Patey, an expert from the Warsaw Institute, the group no longer poses a threat on Alexander Lukashenko’s territory.

However, he expressed concerns about other issues.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Patey said: “We have hybrid threats such as stimulating illegal immigration from Asian and African countries, which could destabilise the Polish social policy system and also have an adverse impact on the labor market and social peace if the phenomenon of illegal migration got out of control.”

Patey also pointed out that Belarus could be still used as a base for attacks on Ukraine near the Polish border.

Such attacks could harm Ukraine’s ability to get support through Poland, and this could escalate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

He said: “The territory of Belarus can be used to attack Ukraine near the border with Poland in order to cut off the Ukrainian army from supplies of material support through Poland.”

Patey’s analysis also cast a shadow over the Lukashenko regime’s autonomy, suggesting that Belarus is no longer an entity separate from the Kremlin’s influence. He added: “The Lukashenko regime can no longer be treated as an entity autonomous from the Kremlin.”

The expert also raised concerns about Russia’s willingness to act independently of official Minsk when it comes to pursuing its strategic objectives. He warned: “If the Kremlin decides to take any action from Belarus, it will carry it out without regard to official Minsk, using its own resources, Belarusian resources. And under whose flag they will do it, it does not matter to them.”

In Belarus, the field camps that housed several thousand Wagner troops after the mutiny have shrunk following Prigozhin’s death.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said they could be offered contracts with his military.

Other Wagner forces could return to Ukraine under the auspices of Russia’s National Guard, according to messaging app channels linked to the mercenary group, although there is no official confirmation of such a plan.

TechScape: AI-made images mean seeing is no longer believing

A strange thing happened last week when you searched for “tank man” on Google.

Tap on image results and instead of the usual photos of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and the iconic image of a brave protester staring down a convoy of tanks that was captured in 1989, the first result was the same historic moment – but from a different point of view.

For a time last week, the first result on Google Images for “tank man” was instead an AI-generated image of the same protester, taking a selfie in front of the tank. The image was created by Midjourney, and was at least six months old. First reported by 404 Media, a new tech journalism startup set up by former Vice News staff, the emergence of the tank man selfie – which Google subsequently removed from search results for “tank man” – highlighted one of the main fears that Eddie Perez, Twitter’s former head of election integrity, highlighted to me in a recent podcast interview: it’s now possible, with the use of AI imagery, to create alternative history. And that has huge ramifications not only on our lives, but also our elections.

When he spoke to me, Perez was concerned about the deliberate use of AI imagery to hoodwink voters into believing alternative facts: disinformation. But the tank man incident was an example of AI misinformation – content posted innocuously, within a context that made it clear how it was made, but which was then shorn of that context and presented as something else.

Images are such a powerful, scary tool for AI to grapple with because of a handful of old maxims. One: a picture tells a thousand words. The other? Seeing is believing.

It’s easy to discount a story if you’re only reading about it. If you see it with your own eyes, and see the images included in it, it immediately becomes more credulous. This is an issue I highlighted six months ago, when AI-generated images, of Donald Trump being arrested went viral on social media. In a pre-ChatGPT era, when the tools weren’t available to all and sundry, we’d call them “deepfakes”.

Back then, I asked the creator of the series of images, Bellingcat journalist Eliot Higgins, whose job it was to poke holes in the disinformative qualities of Russian propaganda, whether he worried he was contributing to the issue of fake news. At the time he wasn’t, reckoning that there were always giveaways that would highlight an image was the product of AI.

Today, he’s still not worried about people playing about with the tool on social media, but is concerned about politicians using AI tools to create photos that damage their opponents. (Ron DeSantis’s campaign has already done this.) “I guess we’ll see as the US election progresses how bad it gets,” he says, “but I don’t think Trump supporters would be shy about using AI generated imagery.”

By the way, there’s a certain irony in the AI tank man tale.

For months, Igor Szpotakowski, who researches Chinese law at Newcastle University, has spoken about the way China’s version of generative AI tools are responding to exactly the same threats of rewriting history – in this instance, in ways the ruling Communist party might not like. Szpotakowski has screenshots of how an image generation model developed by Baidu, a giant Chinese tech company, will create images in response to a prompt asking it to depict “dictatorship”, but won’t when asked to show “democracy and freedom”. “That tells us a lot about their training data,” Szpotakowski says.

On your marks, set, fake

What might generative AI mean for the 2024 US election? Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

The backdrop to the tank man debacle is the increasing pace in AI image development, meaning this kind of misrepresentation (perhaps it’s better put as misinterpretation) is likely to become more common as the ability to put artistic skills in the hands of the least skilled increases.

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I’m no artist, and never have been. But give me Midjourney, DALL-E or any other AI image generator, and a few minutes to fine tune my prompt (the bit of text that sets an image generator going) and I can produce work that would never be possible in my wildest dreams otherwise.

Just as generative AI text tools are improving every day, so are the capabilities of AI image generators are. One of the biggest, OpenAI’s DALL-E 3, will be rolled out to paying subscribers to ChatGPT Plus in the coming weeks. I’m one of those subscribers, and I’m excited to see what it offers. Twitter seems to have already made up its mind that DALL-E 3 is the match of and better than Midjourney, which has previously had supremacy in making images – so much so that they even release a monthly magazine of its best bits.

Yet there are rumours within the AI community that in response to DALL-E 3, Midjourney will also release a massive update that advances its capabilities even further. Could DALL-E 3 be a ChatGPT moment for generative imagery? Whatever happens, it seems likely that many more people will have access to such tools shortly.

One thing that we haven’t yet touched on is the impact that has on artists, many of whom allege that such AI image generation models are trained on their data without permission. Last week, for a future episode of the Article 19 podcast Techtonic, I spoke to Karla Ortiz, an artist who has sued a trifecta of companies touting AI image generators. You’ll have to wait for the episode to learn what she said, but in the interim, her July 2023 testimony to a US senate subcommittee about her fears for copyright in the age of AI is worth reading.

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‘Pakistan’s economic model no longer reduces poverty’: World Bank’s warning

Ahead of the impending election in Pakistan, the World Bank on Saturday issued a warning to the incoming government that the international lenders and development partners can provide advice or financial aid but the crucial decisions must be made by the country itself.

A woman speaks with a customer while selling national flags, ahead of Pakistan’s Independence Day, along a road in Karachi, Pakistan August 10, 2023. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY(REUTERS)

The country director for the World Bank in Pakistan, Najy Banhassine, said in an interview about an overview of reforms for a brighter future: Time to Decide, “Policy decisions are heavily influenced by strong vested interests, including those of military, political and business leaders.”

“It is also facing a ‘silent’ human capital crisis: abnormally high child stunting rates, low learning outcomes, and high child mortality,” Najy said, adding that Pakistan’s economic model no longer reduces poverty. He added that it was very concerning that poverty reduction successes until 2018 had been reversed since.

The World Bank official pointed out that the country is struggling with mounting woes and economic hardships, including inflation, rising electricity prices, severe climate shocks, and insufficient public resources to finance.

According to the World Bank, Pakistan has experienced an average real per capita growth rate of just 1.7 per cent between 2000 and 2020. This falls far short of the average per capita growth rate seen in South African countries during the same period.

Additionally, the human development indicators in Pakistan are notably behind those of other South Asian nations and are comparable to several sub-Saharan African countries.

The World Bank has put forth a proposal aimed at transforming existing policies. This transformation involves moving away from underfunded, inefficient, and disjointed service delivery and social protection systems towards coordinated, efficient, and adequately financed service delivery.

The proposal is targeted at the most vulnerable — in particular, to reduce abnormally high child stunting rates and to increase learning outcomes for all children, especially girls. It also advised a shift from wasteful and rigid public expenditures benefiting a few, towards tightly prioritised spending on public services, infrastructure, and investments in climate adaptation, benefiting populations most in need.

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Daniss Jenkins no longer an afterthought for St. John’s

Through the spring and summer, Daniss Jenkins was an afterthought for St. John’s.

The first player to commit to new Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino back in mid-April, Jenkins was overshadowed by flashier newcomers.

Once workouts began, he wasn’t able to take part because he was working to earn his undergraduate degree so he could qualify as a graduate transfer.

Now, a few weeks into fall workouts, Jenkins’ name comes up in any talk about St. John’s basketball. Everyone raves about him, from coaches to teammates.

“He’s been the best of the lot, the most consistent on the team,” Pitino told The Post. “He hasn’t been with us long, but so far, almost every practice he’s been at, he has shined. He makes everybody better. He knows how to direct everybody.”

Despite posting big numbers last season for Iona, Jenkins was somewhat overlooked.

His backcourt-mate Walter Clayton Jr., who wound up choosing Florida over St. John’s, was considered the big prize among Gaels players in the transfer portal.

St. John’s guard Dannis Jenkins participates in the Dribble for Victory Over Cancer event.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

Clayton was the MAAC Player of the Year and Jenkins was an All-MAAC second team selection.

But there was a reason for that.

“Daniss set Walter up quite a bit, and he found Walter,” said Pitino, who coached both at Iona.

The 6-foot-3 Jenkins had a very strong season.

He averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds, and shot 36.1 percent from 3-point range.

He had 27 points in the MAAC Tournament title game, and 14 points, five assists and four steals in an NCAA Tournament loss to eventual national champion Connecticut.

During Jenkins’ visit to St. John’s, Pitino told him he would be his point guard.

Jenkins jumped at the opportunity to play in one of the top leagues in the country.

“I want to go out there and show why I’m here,” Jenkins said. “I definitely have to bring my game every single night in the Big East. … It’s no pressure. We all want to win. All we talk about is getting St. John’s back to where it’s supposed to be, where it should be, and that’s winning.”

St. John’s players Daniss Jenkins (left) and Joel Soriano attend the Dribble for Victory Over Cancer event.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

Joel Soriano, the lone returning contributor for St. John’s, said he could see how much value Jenkins had throughout the offseason, even if his new teammate couldn’t take part in team workouts.

They played pickup games together, and Soriano noticed how Jenkins made others around him better. He played fast, but under control, always looking to make the right play.

But Soriano grew nervous as the summer wore on. He kept waiting for Jenkins to graduate.

“Whenever I saw him, I told him, ‘Where’s your laptop. Make sure you do your work.’ I was on his ass,” the standout center joked. “We needed somebody that is a true point guard, and Daniss brings that to the team. Once he came in, you felt his presence right away.”

Jenkins began to practice with the Red Storm on Sept. 4, but even when he couldn’t be part of practices or team meetings, he took it upon himself to be around as much as possible.

Daniss Jenkins played for Iona under Pitino last year.
Getty Images

He could watch workouts, and he made a point of being there for almost every one.

He offered insights to his teammates about Pitino and what the legendary coach expected of them.

He told them that nothing they could do would impress Pitino.

He has seen too much. Pitino had certain demands — playing hard, defending, communicating and making the extra pass — that had to be met.

Most of all, Jenkins just wanted to be there.

Rick Pitino speaking after he was introduced as the new head coach of St. John’s University
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“I didn’t want to feel like an outsider,” he said. “I think that was a big key to hang out with the team. We still need to bond together. This is 14 new guys. Outside of us who played together at Iona, we haven’t played with each other. We needed to come together and bond together to be as one unit.”

That has continued into the fall. Jenkins organized a players-only bowling outing Friday. He has made a point of getting the team together off the court, as a way to speed up their familiarity and chemistry with one another.

Jenkins’ on-court ability is his most important attribute. He understands what Pitino expects, and he knows the offensive and defensive systems. So far, everything about Jenkins has stood out, from his consistency at both ends of the floor to his leadership qualities and experience.

“Now that I’ve gone through the summer without him, I would say it would’ve been very difficult for us to play without him,” Pitino said. “We really didn’t have a verbal leader. Without question, he’s the leader on the court.”

St. John’s hosted the 13th annual Dribble for Victory Over Cancer fundraiser Saturday, a joint venture between the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and the V Foundation for Cancer Research to end childhood cancer.

Proceeds from the Oct. 21 exhibition game against Rutgers will also go to the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation.

Gareth Gates is no longer ‘ a timid boy’ after SAS training

Gareth Gates has urged the bullies who made his childhood a misery to step up and face him after his SAS training. But he warned them: “I am not the timid boy cowering in the corner.”

The West End star, who was “massively bullied” as a youngster, pushes himself to the limits in the new series of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Gareth, 39, was targeted as a child because of his stammer. But he said it was these painful memories which gave him the strength to take on some of the toughest ordeals on television.

The Pop Idol star said: “You have to dig deep and face challenges to try to make yourself stronger.” He said his childhood torment had toughened him up, even claiming the SAS show’s instructors, or directing staff, were “wimps” compared to the school bullies.

He said: “I was massively bullied as a kid and in a way that actually helped me through the course, because as awful as it was, it didn’t really touch me. Every time I thought it was a bit too much I tapped into the hard time I had as a kid. The directing staff were wimps compared to the bullies at school.

“I was physically beaten for not being able to speak, for being different. It was mental abuse.

“It was relentless and I certainly had to tap into that to get through the course. I hope to inspire people who aren’t able to speak and even people who have any form of affliction – ‘don’t let anything hold you back’.

“I had to throw myself into this wholeheartedly. I knew it was going to be hard but as a result I’m a stronger person.”

And having come through the ordeal he had a stark message for the bullies: “If you are out there, please get in touch and I would like to have the chance to have an arm wrestle. I would like them to watch me on SAS. I am not the timid boy I was, cowering in the corner.”

Gareth admitted that he found it hard to keep his emotions in check in front of the camera crew.

He said: “I wept like a baby on the show and it’s actually the first time I have talked about it and addressed that. It was a big thing for me – it was very emotional .”

Gareth, who came second to Will Young in the 2002 Pop Idol final, has gone on to star in West End hits including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Les Miserables.

He joins contestants including former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, ex-model Melinda Messenger, ex-footballer Jermaine Pennant and singer and performer Michelle Heaton for this year’s SAS show.

They are put through a series of tasks and interrogations by former members of the Special Forces. This year’s show is set in North Vietnam.

  • Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, Channel 4, begins on Tuesday at 9.30pm

Man, 32, reveals how he became completely debt-free by living in CARS for years – saving so much money he paid for a home in CASH and no longer needs a job to survive

Man, 32, reveals how he became completely debt-free by living in CARS for years – saving so much money he paid for a home in CASH and no longer needs a job to survive

Gregory Doran: ‘Shakespeare will last a great deal longer than the culture wars’

Gender fluidity and climate change are not the hot-button topics you’d expect from an author writing more than 400 years ago.

But it’s Shakespeare‘s “contemporary” outlook that means he will “last a great deal longer than the culture wars,” according to Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) artistic director emeritus Gregory Doran.

While parts of the Bard’s texts recently got banned in some US schools due to their sexual content, Doran tells Sky News: “He’s robust, he will always be there. Those plays will always be there.

“If that one single book has lasted 400 years, he is going to survive a few people taking offence.”

And as for trigger warnings – a modern addition to any potentially distressing content an audience might encounter – he finds “the hypersensitivity absurd”.

Doran, who alongside Dame Judi Dench has written the introduction to a new edition of Shakespeare’s complete plays marking the quarter centenary of their original publication, says it’s an “honour” to be involved with the First Folio, which is now considered one of the most influential books in history.

Without it some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays – including Macbeth and Twelfth Night, along with its much-quoted All The World’s A Stage speech – would have been lost to history.

More on William Shakespeare

While 750 copies were published originally, there are now only 235 copies known to remain – with just 50 of those in the UK.

In 2020, a copy was sold for over £8m, making it the most expensive work of literature ever to appear at auction.

Doran and David Tennant rehearsing Richard II in 2013. Pic: Kwame Lestrade (c) RSC

Shakespeare is a ‘magnet’ for current obsessions

Doran – who has directed or produced every one of the First Folio plays – says while he didn’t set out to work through them all, he did decide not to repeat plays (although he relaxed his self-imposed rule for a Japanese language version of Merchant Of Venice performed in Tokyo, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which he first worked on early in his career, and later revisited).

While he has directed and produced work outside of Shakespeare – including contemporary plays and musicals – he admits “Shakespeare has been the spine of my career.”

It seems once the Bard bug has bitten, it’s hard to tear yourself away.

Because once you work with Shakespeare’s texts as a director, Doran thinks other playwrights struggle to live up to his example.

He adds: “Every play takes you to a different world.

“Shakespeare is like a magnet that attracts all the iron filings of what’s going on in the world… contemporary issues or themes or obsessions.”

He recalls a line in Cymbeline, where the heroine of the play, Imogen – while dressed as a boy – meets a group of young men and says to the audience: “I’d change my sex to be companion with them.”

Doran explains: “The concept of your sex not being a single constant thing, but something that you – even if you can’t – would have the desire to change, that Shakespeare expresses it 400 years ago, it’s just not what I was expected to read.

“In a world of constant conversations about gender fluidity and non-binary, suddenly Shakespeare is articulating this young woman’s desire to try out another gender. And I just find that astonishing.”

Doran also flags Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, who gives a speech on climate change.

He says: “Everyone thinks A Midsummer Night’s Dream [happens] on a lovely summer’s evening, but it’s all taking place in the rain. And [Titania] says this is our fault that the weather is changing. She says: ‘The seasons alter.’

“It’s just so surprising to hear something so contemporary.”

Arthur Hughes in Richard III, 2022. Pic: Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

Trigger warnings about balloons ‘absurd’

Far from a text purist (his 1999 RSC production of Macbeth worked in jokes about Tony Blair) Doran does believe updates should be handled with care – and he certainly isn’t a fan of recent bans on Shakespeare at schools in Flordia.

He says: “You can cut [Shakespeare] in performance. So, if there’s a bit you don’t want to deal with, then don’t deal with it, it’s fine.

“But I would say that certainly students should be given access to the whole thing and the context in which it was written, which is 400 years ago. And attitudes have changed.”

While society has evolved since Shakespeare’s days, Doran’s not a fan of the relatively modern phenomenon of trigger warnings, saying: “I sometimes find the hypersensitivity [around them] absurd.”

Referring to his 2022 production of Richard III, which had a balloon popping in the first soliloquy, he says: “We all have a reaction when someone has a balloon, you kind of cringe waiting for it to pop, but that doesn’t need a trigger warning.

“And in fact, if you’re given a trigger warning, then the danger is that people are not listening to what the rest of the play is because they’re anticipating something they’ve been told is going to happen.

“It’s an absurd thing to say, ‘There are latex balloons in this production,’ when you could also say, and children are murdered, or people are abused and killed [in this play].

“But that’s also a spoiler, you don’t want to hear about that to begin with.”

From actions on stage to behaviour off of it, Doran is aghast at the idea of an audience code of conduct, saying such a list of stipulations would signal “too much of a nanny state”.

He goes on: “I know actors who if the audience are coughing they get furious, and other actors who say, they’re coughing because they’re bored.

“So coughing is very difficult, but I’m not sure that putting in the programme ‘don’t cough’ actually helps them not cough, you know?”

Doran says actors and fellow audience members should be able to keep any poor behaviour in check.

“Any audience is a live thing, and as an actor, you have to be in control of that,” he says.

“Like any good stand-up comedian knows how to, if there’s a rowdy section, then you’ve got some put-downs of those heckles and you get them onside.

“There are other ways of heckling, one of which is to direct the line directly at the noisy person or the person who’s on their phone… They can suddenly realise, because there are sometimes young people who think they’re in front of a television screen.”

Doran and the then Prince Charles viewing the RSC costume store in 2020. Pic: Jacob King

Shakespeare would have ‘shrugged off’ his national poet title

A director known for his progressive attitude towards diverse casting during his decade in the RSC’s top job, he acknowledges not all sections of the viewing public were fans of his approach.

His RSC firsts include an all-female director season, a gender-balanced cast for a production of Troilus And Cressida and hiring the company’s first disabled actor in the role of Richard II.

Doran says he was not surprised by the backlash some of his choices attracted, saying: “The point is not to provoke, but provocation isn’t a bad thing.

“We fetishise Shakespeare.

“We can regard Shakespeare as being the upholder of a particular kind of national sense of identity or spirit.

“I think Shakespeare would have shrugged off any such kind of attribution.”

Some might question whether it’s problematic to centre a white, male perspective and say it speaks for everyone.

But the problems occur, Doran says, when we try to fit Shakespeare and his work into boxes that don’t necessarily fit.

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He says: “In the 18th Century, there was a huge effort to make Shakespeare – and it continues to this day – the great national poet, the speaker of empire, as it were.

“And if you’re doing that, then you have to erase the bits where maybe there is homosexual desire. We can’t have that, so we’ll write it out.”

He flags that of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, 126 of them are from a man, addressed to another man.

Doran goes on: “In the 19th Century… there was an absolutely identifiable process of the heterosexualisation of the sonnets.

“So, the pronouns were changed, because we couldn’t, if we were having Shakespeare as our national poet, we couldn’t have him being gay.

“We all make Shakespeare in our own image… Or if you don’t like Shakespeare, you point to the bits that are difficult and may be misogynist or racist or appear to be so, and we hold those up as reasons why we should no longer study it.

“He’ll last a great deal longer than the culture wars.”

William Shakespeare’s The Complete Plays will be published by The Folio Society on Tuesday, and My Shakespeare: A Director’s Journey Through the First Folio by Greg Doran is out now.

Madison Beer and Hailey Bieber Have Been Friends Longer Than They’ve Been Famous

Singer Madison Beer and model Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin) have been friends since childhood, so we dive into their friendship timeline.

Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Madison Beer gave Hailey Bieber’s lip balm a shout-out on The Zach Sang Show.
  • Hailey and Madison have been friends for over 10 years.
  • Selena Gomez supported Hailey and Madison’s friendship after fans attacked Madison on social media.

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After Madison Beer appeared on The Zach Sang Showfans began wondering about her friendship with Hailey Bieber when Madison gave her a shout-out. Singer Madison Beer rose up to fame in 2012 thanks to Justin Bieber “beliebing” in her, but she and Hailey’s friendship predates both of their high-profile careers.

While Madison and Hailey have been spotted together over the years, and have even stirred up drama with Selena Gomez. But how long have they been friends and how do they know each other? We dive into every nugget of their friendship timeline.

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Source: Getty Images

Madison Beer and Hailey Bieber have been friends for over 13 years.

On The Zach Sang ShowMadison took a moment to apply some lip balm. When Zach asked who she was wearing, she explained that it was Hailey Bieber’s lip balm, which she loves. Hailey reshared the clip on her Instagram with the caption, “Lolll I love u Madison Beer.” While some fans may have thought that they had beef, it seems like any beef they had was just a filet mignon of friendship.

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In fact, in a @teatoktalk video shared of the moment, a commenter reiterated that Hailey and Madison grew up together and that their parents even went to college together. However, we haven’t found any evidence of that, despite the Beers and Baldwins all growing up in New York. Apparently, they’ve been good friends since they were teens, long before either of them were thrust into the spotlight … and before they were associated with Justin Bieber.

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In 2020, Selena Gomez defended Madison Beer and Hailey Bieber’s friendship.

As a pop singer associated with Justin Bieber, Madison was also friends with Selena Gomez. But when Madison was spotted out with Hailey at a restaurant in West Hollywood where Selena was also dining, Selena’s fans took to social media to throw insults Madison’s way. It got so severe that Madison actually had to respond.

“These rumors are getting insane. I just had dinner with my friend Hailey of 10 years… and that’s it?” she wrote in her own comments section. “How is that a crime? I love Selena. Always have (as y’all know) and I would literally never in a million years try to upset her??? That is just mean and unnecessary and nothing happened. It was just a coincidence, you’re bullying me for no reason.”

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Luckily, Selena shut down her Selenators. “This is disgusting reading all of this. This wasn’t intentional whatsoever,” she wrote. “I’m so disappointed that people would speak to someone like this. I have known Madison since she was a baby and watched her continue to become the woman she is. There is no issue.”

It seems like all is good now in 2023 between Justin’s ex, his current wife, and his longtime musical buddy. This is women supporting women at its finest, and we are all about it!

Northern Ireland libraries can no longer afford to buy books

Northern Ireland’s library service has said that it does not have sufficient funding to buy new books for its libraries. “Regrettably due to funding constraints, Libraries NI is unable to purchase new books or take requests for new books at present,” says the authority on its “service updates” page.

Libraries will also operate with reduced opening hours. The service said the funding situation is presenting “significant challenges”, and that the board’s decision to reduce operating hours was not taken lightly.

Libraries NI is funded by the Department for Communities (DfC) and oversees 96 branch libraries across Northern Ireland, as well as mobile libraries. A spokesperson told the Guardian that the service is facing a £1.7m shortfall in funding for 2023/24. (While the funding for 2022/23 was £30.7m, the 2023/24 budget is £29m.)

At a meeting in June, chief executive Jim O’Hagan told the board that delivering the “public library standard” for investing in new books would cost £4.3m but that the funding proposed in the DfC budget would allow only £260,000 for book buying. He said this reduction would impact participation levels and reduce the provision of books in large-print and audiobook formats and languages other than English.

O’Hagan added that the negative effects would reach “far beyond libraries”, “causing longterm harm and damage at the intersection of library services with other priority areas such as education, health, social inclusion and societal wellbeing.”

In June, the DfC confirmed there would be a 5% reduction in the budgets of Arm’s-length bodies, including Libraries NI. DfC faced a funding gap of £111.2m (15.5%) for 2023/24, and the department’s permanent secretary Colum Boyle said that “difficult decisions had to be made to live within the funding available”.

Given the constraints, Libraries NI “is only able to cover existing subscriptions, and no new book stock can be purchased”, according to a BBC report. “Existing subscriptions” are understood to be annual subscriptions to newspapers, journals and magazines.

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“Libraries NI staff will continue to engage with the Department for Communities for an adequate level of funding to support the essential work of libraries in communities across Northern Ireland, including for book purchases,” added the authority.

Salman Khan Says Rs 100 Cr No Longer ‘Benchmark’ For A Film: ‘It Should Be Rs 1000 Cr Now’ – News18

Here’s why Salman Khan thinks 100 Crore is not a big achievement for any film. (Picture Credits: Viral Bhayani)

Salman Khan explained how 100 crores shouldn’t be a benchmark for films released in the present scenario.

Salman Khan is the biggest star of Bollywood. The actor is not only known for his larger than life films but also his views on certain topics. The actor who was at the trailer launch of Gippy Grewal’s Punjabi film Maujaan Hi Maujaan made an interesting statement where he claimed that ‘100 Crore Club’ is a rock bottom now.

In a clip that was shared by a fan of Salman Khan, a host asked the actor, “Talking about the 100 crore club, you are the poster boy of that. How do you feel Punjabi films are also on that mark, on that journey?” Salman Khan promptly answered, “I think the 100 crore mark is going to be the rock bottom now. Everything would be 4-5-600+now for the Punjabi industry, Hindi industry, every industry. Even Marathi films are doing these numbers. 100 crores is not going to be a very big deal. I think the benchmark should be 1000 crore for a film right now.”

The much-awaited trailer of Gippy Grewal, Binnu Dhillon, Karamjit Anmol and Tanu Grewal starrer Maujaan Hi Maujaan was released earlier on Thursday. The upcoming Punjabi film has also received support from Bollywood since Salman Khan graced the trailer launch with his stellar presence.

In a video shared by the popular paparazzo handle Viral Bhayani, Salman Khan can be seen walking on the red carpet for the trailer launch of Maujaan Hi Maujaan. The Ek Tha Tiger actor donned a dark green shirt, that he paired with washed out dark yellow denim jeans with noteworthy patterns. The actor who was accompanied by Gippy Grewal, obliged the paps by stopping and striking poses with a subtle smile on his face.

The film which is slated to release on October 20th has been helmed by Smeep King. It is touted to be a ‘blind, deaf and dumb’ comedy. The story and the screenplay has been scripted by Vaibhav and Shreya and the music has been handled by Avvy Sra and Kulshan Sandhu along with Jatinder Shah who designed the background score and the title track.

Salman Khan will be next seen in Tiger 3 alongside Katrina Kaif. It’s slated for a Diwali release.