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The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has never been more true than in the current changing landscape of beauty. Rituals that were tried and tested centuries ago have come full circle, with more brands returning to a holistic natural approach for their products and formulas. With just a few tweaks, these ancient methods and ingredients are brought bang up to date; a sure sign that, at its core, beauty can be simple and sustainable. Here, goes around the world to find five ancient beauty rituals that are still just as effective today.

Turkey: essence of rose
Rose is a classic ingredient, the essence of which has been distilled into water for centuries. Turkey has long been one of the largest producers of rose, and the country’s use of purified rose water in beauty dates back to two thousand years ago. Rose essence is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that moisturise the skin. It also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce redness and soothe any irritation. 

Furthermore, rose oil extract can refine texture, and even treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Studies have shown that rose essential oil can boost the speed at which wounds heal, help to retain hydration, and lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in the body. 


Chantecaille Pure Rosewater 

Mario Badescu Facial Spray & Toner with Aloe Vera and Rosewater

Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist

France: hand creams
If it was good enough for Marie Antoinette, it is good enough for us. The infamous French Queen (1755-1793) is often referenced in relation to beauty treatments and rituals – she was known to apply balms and moisturisers to her hands, then put on a pair of gloves to sleep in to allow the potions to do their job.

Today’s in-salon solutions are not too dissimilar. Paraffin treatments follow the same method – hands are dipped into warm wax and then wrapped to allow the wax to hydrate and soothe the skin at a deeper level; the wax is also thought to ease joint pain such as rheumatoid arthritis. At-home, apply a deeply nourishing hand cream, followed by cotton gloves overnight (or just for a few hours) for super-smooth effects. 


Cerave Therapeutic Hand Cream

Eucerin Original Healing Cream

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Finland: heat treatments
The benefits of a room heated by coals was adopted as early as 1112 in Finland, and heat treatments – from saunas to salt caves and infra-red rooms – are still widely popular today. 

Heated to 70, 80, even 90 degrees celsius, the dry heat of the sauna is thought to have myriad benefits. A report published in 2018 suggests that regular saunas can stabilize the nervous system, improve heart health, and reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and arterial stiffness. Further studies have also found that a short 30-minute sauna session post-exercise can significantly lower blood pressure. 

The latest use of heat, fast gaining popularity in the wellness industry, is the infra-red sauna. The primary difference from the traditional sauna is using infra-red heat to target specific areas of the body, heating both the skin and muscles, which can lead to further release of tension.

India: turmeric
While the Western world has seen the turmeric trend rise in recent years, in traditional Ayurvedic practices this bright yellow root has been used for over 4,500 years – infused in milk or added to food for its medicinal properties. 

A 2017 study on the health benefits of curcumin – the compound found in turmeric – found that it can help to reduce the effects of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis and even anxiety. It is also thought to reduce exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness; as well as offering low-key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits when taken (either in food or supplements) regularly.

“Turmeric is a good immune booster, displaying powerful antioxidant properties some five to eight times more potent that vitamins C and E. It’s even strong enough to quench the hydroxyl radical, which is considered to be the most reactive oxidant responsible for damage to the body,” explains Shabir Daya, co-founder and in-house pharmacist at Victoria Health.

Daya adds that turmeric has long-been recognised for its healing properties. “Turmeric has been used for centuries to treat wounds and infections. In fact, Johnson & Johnson used turmeric in plasters to heal scrapes and cuts faster.” And modern research is revealing further potency, too. “Current scientific research shows that turmeric inhibits pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi including many candida species,” says Daya.

China: acupuncture
This 2,000 year old therapy has proven efficacy in the medical field, with experts recommending treatment to reduce chronic pain, boost fertility, help to ease asthma and release muscle tension. Acupuncture uses needles of varying lengths to stimulate the nervous system and immune cells, which can in turn can impact our lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems, plus emotional and cognitive wellbeing. 

“Chinese medicine is big on prevention alongside cure. Once they are well, many clients continue to combine regular acupuncture with mindful living to maintain balance and health,” explains Katie Brindle, the founder of Hayo’u Method and a qualified Five Elements Chinese Medicine practitioner. It’s particularly during changes in circumstances that this preventative approach helps. “Acupuncture is often used at the turn of the seasons to help the chi [energy] in your body adjust in line with the shifting energy in nature.”

Acupuncture is now being used in skin treatments too, targeting conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, as well as being used cosmetically to improve the complexion. Known as fotofacial acupuncture, needles are inserted below the epidermis, stimulating circulation and skin cell renewal. This method can increase hydration levels and elasticity of the skin, often resulting in instantly visible improvement in skin condition. “Acupuncture is used widely in China as an alternative to ‘tweakments’ and cosmetic procedures. It can help to reduce wrinkles, eliminate fine lines, lift skin and improve pigmentation and texture,” adds Brindle.

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25th Jun 2019

Former US president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, together with their daughters Malia and Sasha, stopped by George and Amal Clooney’s Lake Como residence for a quick visit over the weekend, while holidaying Europe.

During their stay, the family attended a charity dinner for The Clooney Foundation for Justice. According to multiple reports, it has since become apparent that their visit to the Clooney’s Villa Oleandra didn’t go as smoothly as we’re sure the power couple had hoped.

While the Clooneys are used to hosting the likes of Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s visit to the lake-front residence last August went off without a hitch, the Obamas were met with security, paparazzi, and even plumbing issues.

Given that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s stay at Lake Como was kept under wraps, they were able to enjoy their vacation without any interruption. As the Obama family’s visit was announced by the Mayor of Laglio in advance, it was not as under-the-radar as the duke and duchess’s stay. 

Although the announcement was made in order to enforce a 300-foot buffer zone around the Clooneys’ villa, and prohibit any press from getting too close to the residence, the advanced warning allowed paparazzi to get their shot. TMZ managed to secure images of Clooney and Obama walking along a dock, as well as other members of the family sitting down to dinner. 

According to The Daily Beast, just prior to the arrival of the Obamas, which reportedly involved seven armoured cars, police escorts and a helicopter, a local plumber was called to the villa after the A-list actor discovered his pool was ice-cold and half-empty.  

“What a race. I arrive and they are all upset. [Clooney’s bodyguard] Giovanni says to me: hurry up, hurry up!” the plumber, Dante Penne, told a local newspaper, per The Daily Beast. “Let me work, otherwise I won’t be able to fix it,” he reportedly told Clooney, before being granted a selfie following a job well done. 

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26th Jun 2019

As Cardi B gears up to celebrate her daughter Kulture’s first birthday, which falls on July 10, with what is rumoured to be an extremely OTT bash, she has reportedly commissioned celebrity jeweller Eliantte to design her 11-month-old the perfect gift. 

The jeweller has taken to Instagram to share a series of images of the diamond necklace, which comes complete with a pendant featuring four characters from Netflix’s children’s show, Word Party. 

“Baby kulture New Word Party Chain @iamcardib @offsetyrn #ShouldaWentToElliot,” Eliantte captured the post, tagging both Cardi B and Offset.

The proud mum also shared an image of the necklace on her own Instagram account, captioning it: “KULTURE new chain ️WORD PARTY its her fav ️Thanks @eliantte …..YOU KNOW A BAD BITCH GON SPOIL HER.”

According to , in the 11-months since Kulture was born, Cardi B and Offset have already managed to spend over $287,000 on jewellery for their first child together. 

This diamond and white gold design is said to have cost the parents approximately $143,000, while the diamond tennis bracelets and matching earrings they purchased for the 11-month-old just last month cost another $115,000.

“Just spent a bag on my daughter, you know a bad bitch gonna spoil haa… If I’m iced out my daughter gotta be too… I’m bragging cause I bust my ass to do so,” the rapper captioned an image of the bracelets at the time, which she has since deleted.

On top of that,  is reporting that Cardi B has revealed Kulture’s first birthday party will set her back around $574,600, so be sure to watch this space as the celebration will likely take place in the coming weeks. 

“It’s my wife’s first child so we got to go big with it,” Offset told  of birthday bash. “It’s going to beautiful. It’s going to be nice and fun and kid-friendly.”

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26th Jun 2019

The only thing better than a professional, work-all-the-kinks-out massage, is said massage taking place in the comfort of your own home. Blys is doing just that – bringing together a community of qualified therapists all over Australia who will quite literally arrive at your doorstep, complete with massage table and essential oils, and set up in your living room. The best part is that it’s all booked via the Blys app or website, so no human interaction is necessary. It’s like Uber Eats, but for relaxation.

The genius idea belongs to Ilter Dumduz, who coincidentally had it when he was walking home from a massage appointment of his own. The commute was his time to destress and enjoy the post-treatment sense of calm, but it also got him thinking about how his background in tech could be applied to improve the experience tenfold for massage-goers everywhere.

The result was clearly a great one – Blys now has 750 therapists within its network, and has seen huge growth over the past 12 months. But for Dumduz, it’s only the beginning, with an all-encompassing wellness service the end goal. “We’ve already begun our shift to becoming an all-around wellness platform. Our largest focus will be on how to deliver more services for maximum convenience nationwide. We really want to see how we can make wellness much more convenient and accessible for everyone,” he told Vogue.

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Self-care, and the wellness industry in general, is in the midst of an incredible boom, with people prioritising their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing during a time of increasing deadlines and cortisol levels. Enabling people to utilise these services at home, sans the need to get properly dressed or fight traffic, is just another way we can work it seamlessly into our lives. The affordable Blys price point ($99 for an hour) is a bonus too, making massage a little more accessible.

The treatment itself is relatively straightforward: a therapist will arrive, set up with towels, a bed, and music, and ask a few questions regarding pressure preference and sore points before they start. After a heavenly massage tailored to your liking, you can quite literally put on your pyjamas and curl up on the lounge with Netflix and a cup of herbal tea. If that vision isn’t enough to entice you, the fact that Blys do in-room and corporate massages might – an hour of deep tissue after a marathon boardroom meeting sounds like a dream to us.

If you’re indulging yourself with a well-deserved at-home massage (because you deserve it), amp up the experience with lots of water, some essential oils, and a herbal tea afterwards – just like a spa, only there’s no one else in the dressing room.

Judith Krantz always wanted to write fiction, but it was not until she was approaching fifty, in the late nineteen-seventies, that her husband, Steve, persuaded her to finally attempt a novel. Her career up until that point had been in women’s magazines; she had been an accessories editor at Good Housekeeping and then a writer at Ladies’ Home Journal and Cosmopolitan, and she was an avid connoisseur of clothes. So when she turned, with trepidation, to fiction, she wrote what she knew. Her first novel, “Scruples,” published in 1978, is a fashion-retail version of a Cinderella story, set in nineteen-sixties L.A. It centers on Billy Orsini (born Wilhelmina Hunnenwell Winthrop), a young striver who moves to New York, where she takes secretarial work at Ikehorn Enterprises, a global conglomerate, and begins sleeping with the C.E.O., Ellis Ikehorn. They marry, and she takes to Ellis’s lavish life style with gusto—appearing at events and on best-dressed lists, and wearing a pair of eleven-karat Harry Winston diamond earrings at all times of day, “heedless of convention.” Then Ellis suffers a stroke, and the couple move to Bel Air for the mild weather. When Ellis dies, Billy finds herself a rich young widow with money and ambition to burn. So she decides to do what any clotheshorse dreams of: she opens a luxury boutique, called Scruples, on Rodeo Drive, and becomes the queen of Los Angeles fashion.

The rest of the plot of “Scruples” is schlocky, steamy “Dynasty”-era romance fare: hearts get broken, tongues get intertwined, gossip gets spread around. Much of the book reads today as deeply out of date; the phrases “divine wop” and “fag bullshit” are tossed off within the first ten pages. But, as an account of nascent eighties decadence the novel remains one of the most enjoyable texts I’ve ever read. At the store—which was modelled on the über-successful Giorgio Beverly Hills—Billy hires a smooth salesman named Spider Elliot, a blond lothario who sleeps with his customers as often as he dresses them. On Spider’s recommendation, she installs a pub and a backgammon table in the store, a boys’ club inside the girls’ club where shoppers’ husbands can drink and dally while their wives swipe their credit cards. And oh, the clothes! “Scruples” contains so many delicious descriptions of garments that you may find yourself longing to pet its pages. Fabrics are not just brown; they are “future-wordly tones of melting taupe, fawn, biscuit, and greige.” A woman doesn’t just walk into a party; she enters “with the glitter of a matador, encased in a vintage, shocking pink-and-black satin Schiaparelli, thickly encrusted with gold braid.” Of Billy’s jet-setting years with Ellis in Paris, Krantz writes:

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Krantz, who died over the weekend, at the age of ninety-one, developed her taste for fashion early. Born in 1928 as Judith Bluma-Gittel Tarcher, she was the daughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Her father worked in advertising, and sent Krantz and her two siblings to an exclusive private school on the Upper East Side. But Krantz’s mother, a lawyer for Legal Aid who was always dressed to the nines, did not want Judith and her siblings to go soft in their life of privilege. So she made them “wear cheap clothes to their fancy school,” as Judith Shulevitz wrote, in a New Yorker piece on Krantz from 2000—“an injustice that guaranteed Judy’s commitment to the art of self-presentation.” As an adult, Krantz followed trends the way that some people follow stock tickers, and in her later years (after writing novels, including a “Scruples” sequel, had made her wildly wealthy) she obsessively collected Chanel and Hermes. In an essay for Vogue that she wrote at the age of seventy-three, Krantz looked back on her eventful life in apparel, sounding a lot like Billy Orsini: “I’ve sported bare legs with heels, the cinched-waist mid-calf skirt, the trapeze, the chemise, the chiffon blouse without a bra, the Mary Quant miniskirt, the YSL Smoking, the total Courrèges white-boot look, the bell-bottom trousers with the po’ boy sweater, the power suit, and the tie-dyed Zandra Rhodes evening pajamas.”

“Scruples” offers the fashion-minded reader not only immense pleasures but also some legitimate advice. If Krantz had one exceptional skill, it was knowing how to walk into a store and, with laser focus, find the item that would look sensational. Shopping, “Scruples” argues, is all about self-knowledge. As Spider Elliot tells one of his clients at the store, you have to abandon the idea that you will look great in everything and find what works just for you. “Ask yourself,” he says of trying on clothes, “am I still there or have I vanished? Think thin, think soft, think simple, think easy, with the emphasis on your eyes and your skin. That way you won’t ever get lost.”

On Monday, after reports that hundreds of children were being held in horrific conditions at a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, the federal government announced that most of the children were being transferred to shelters run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. Then, on Tuesday, the government partially reversed course, saying that approximately a hundred of the children had been returned to the Border Patrol facility, and that the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, John Sanders, would step down in the coming weeks. There are still hundreds of other children in Border Patrol facilities across Texas. Many of them have been separated from family members, and some of them have been held there for weeks. In response to their plight, Democrats in Congress are urgently trying to pass a four-and-a-half-billion-dollar border-aid package. But some progressives, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, oppose the bill, saying there are not enough measures to prevent the Trump Administration from using the money for immigration enforcement.

To discuss the crisis over children in Border Patrol custody, I spoke by phone with Jonathan Ryan, the C.E.O. and president of RAICES, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides legal counsel to immigrants. Shortly after we spoke, Sanders’s resignation and the reversal at the Clint facility were announced, so I called Ryan back to ask several more questions. During our conversations, which have been edited for length and clarity, we discussed the most important problems facing detained children, why Trump’s policies are less of an aberration than we might think, and how solutions might be found outside Congress.

What do you know about the places that the children in the Clint facility were moved to?

I have no idea where they were moved to. All we know is what was reported—that they went to Health and Human Services. Where they could be in that system is anybody’s guess at this point.

What is the larger meaning of moving them to H.H.S.?

When anybody comes to the border, either presenting themselves at a port of entry or crossing land or water, they are apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol. And the Flores Settlement of 1997 requires that the Border Patrol, within forty-eight hours of apprehension, determines whether an individual in its care is an unaccompanied child. Once Border Patrol makes that determination, it has seventy-two hours under the Flores Settlement to transfer that child to H.H.S. That is one of the crucial laws in Flores. It is ubiquitously the case that children who are in H.H.S. custody arrived from the Border Patrol. There are cases of children who were apprehended internally; that certainly occurs, but it is a very small number of kids.

But that is pretty much the process. The Border Patrol is mandated under the law to get children who are apprehended to H.H.S. custody as quickly as possible, because Flores requires that children be in licensed childcare facilities, and Border Patrol facilities are not, and neither are ICE detention centers. The problem here was first the deplorable conditions at the Clint facility, which are indicative of the conditions that we hear about in all border facilities, and second the length of time that these children languished in Border Patrol custody rather than being swiftly transferred into H.H.S. custody.

What is currently the most urgent matter regarding detained children?

I think one, given the deaths of children and deplorable conditions that are being found out, children have to be out of Border Patrol custody, or, if possible, never in Border Patrol custody to begin with. Clearly, they are incapable of providing suitable conditions at any time for any children. And the other most important thing is that, conditions aside, children have to have access to critical life-saving services, such as representation. You could put them in the Ritz-Carlton, but we are still spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per child in an effort to send them back to the country that they fled.

The focus on conditions is important. I don’t want to discount it. But to solely focus on conditions is to neglect the fact that these are not children in Child Protective Services custody. In that case, the child’s parent is the subject of a judicial proceeding. In this case, the child is the defendant in a case where they are fighting for their lives. And no matter how fancy the cell is that they are held in, that is an inescapable reality, and they need protection from that, too.

What is your organization doing on the ground right now?

RAICES operates at almost every point of injustice in our immigration system. We work inside the so-called family-detention centers. We are one of the largest legal-service providers to unaccompanied children within H.H.S. detention centers. We work with local communities across the state of Texas that have been living a waking nightmare over the past week as a result of the threats of raids. We work with people who have been detained after they get out at the San Antonio bus station—our staff and volunteers work with hundreds of women and children per week, getting them out of detention and moving forward to be with their families. We pay bonds for people in immigration detention. Since last summer, we have spent more than four million dollars in immigration bonds. We have been continuing to assist the survivors of the zero-tolerance family-separation policy of last summer to get legal representation today, when they have been released and are living in different parts of the country. We are the largest immigration-law office in the state of Texas. We are on the front lines of every place we can get.

One thing that is notable is that one area where lawyers are specifically not allowed, nor are journalists, is inside the Border Patrol facilities. And that is where those children were found in Clint, Texas. That’s where these underpass and tent cages and cities are. And that is the one place where they don’t let lawyers. [Lawyers who spoke to the press about the conditions in Clint had entered the facility to monitor adherence to the Flores agreement, as part of an ongoing court case.]

How much evidence do you have that some of the worst things we are seeing are intentional, due to either a desire for deterrence or cruelty? Or is this more about the system being overwhelmed?

I have been hearing stories about the hielera, or ice box. This is what people call cold cells with concrete floors, or the mobile-mini [detention sites] that are littered around the hinterlands of south and central Texas. I have been hearing clients talking to me about these since I started doing this work, in 2003. And I spoke with young African men in their twenties, ten years ago. I have spoken with young Central-American children this year. And across geography, across age, across language, I have heard consistent stories about mistreatment and abuse inside of Customs and Border Protection custody. You hear about the refrigerated boxes people get shoved in. You hear about the separations of people from their children. You hear about manhandlings and rough treatment, unnecessary body-checking, shoving, pushing, hitting. You hear about cruel and abusive language: “Welcome to hell”; “If you think this is bad, wait until what you have in store for you next”; “You have no rights”; “If you ask for asylum, we will keep you here forever.”

And you cannot hear about this again and again and again, over years, and think it is an aberration from training. No, this is the training that the officers are receiving. And it has not changed in nature. We have seen this evil for many years, but it has increased dramatically in scale because of the explosion of funding over the past ten, fifteen years. It has increased in efficiency because of the collusion between the government and Big Tech, who are the backbone of ICE and Border Patrol, making their sinister acts more efficient. And it has increased in severity because we have a Commander-in-Chief who is telegraphing to all of these officers from the top down that he wants to see the cruelty, that he wants them to make people’s head hit the top of the car door.


Q. & A.

What Should Democrats Do to Help Children at the Border?

By Isaac Chotiner

Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children

By Isaac Chotiner

Jim Acosta Describes Why He Battles Trump

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The Dangers of Trump’s Approach to Iran

By Isaac Chotiner

Bomani Jones on the N.B.A., Analytics, and Race

By Isaac Chotiner

The Early Life of Kim Jong Un

By Isaac Chotiner

What did you mean about Big Tech?

A.W.S. [Amazon Web Services], Salesforce, Palantir, Dell, Microsoft—this is how ICE operates, through services and products from all of these big tech companies. Hewlett Packard operates the network-operating center for ICE.

You have alluded to this, but should we think about what has gone on in the past couple of years as a break from past norms?

In terms of mistreatment, politically speaking, there is no good guy in this debate. Immigrants and their rights have been forsaken by both parties. And the truth is that Mr. Trump could not be doing what he is doing now without the infrastructure that was laid down by previous Presidents of both parties.

There has been a debate among Democrats in Congress about aid for the crisis at the border, with some in the party fearing that it will only be used to help the Trump Administration carry out its agenda, and that any requirements placed on the Administration will be ignored. Where do you come down in this debate?

I don’t gamble at the political table, but I can comment as an immigrant. RAICES has been doing this work for over thirty years. I was born in Canada. My folks were Irish immigrants. I have been doing this work for fifteen years. We in the immigrant community have been consistently disappointed by both political parties. I don’t have great expectations that politicians are going to resolve this, and my expectations in the current situation are low. We don’t have a lot of heroes.

O.K., but—

I know where you are trying to go. But what I would say is that we have the President we have. We have the Senate that we have. We have the Congress we have. And I think it is pretty apparent the way things are going to roll out here.

O.K., but step away from specific parties or specific bills. There is a debate about whether Congress should give more aid to facilities at the border, with some people saying it is really needed, and other people saying that the Administration will use it to carry out its agenda and won’t follow any conditions placed on this aid. I am curious how you think about that dilemma. It seems like a complicated one.

It is only complicated if you accept the premise that the only choice should be abdicating our responsibility to provide essential life-saving services, and creating a penal system that punishes vulnerable refugees for asking for asylum. We are being presented with a false choice.

What is the choice?

It is either you withhold funds from children who desperately need them, or you provide funds that will be used to create more cages, more concentration camps, more deaths of children at the border. The fact that you have to accept both in order to get the care to the people who need it is simply a false choice.

You are the person who just said that we have the President we have and the Senate we have. It is a false choice, but that doesn’t make it any easier if you are a representative in Congress who cares about kids and is faced with the President we have.

Well, this is where the responsibility falls back on we the people. We have seen the American people up in arms and demonstrating and filling parks and streets and sidewalks demonstrating against family separation. What we have now are children dying in these cages. We need to have that mobilization of people against this that pushes lawmakers of both parties to provide the funding to the children without creating more systems of oppression and torture and death. It absolutely needs to be demanded full-throatedly and clearly by the people.

[After the announcement that children were being returned to the Border Patrol facility in Clint, I spoke to Ryan again.]

Can you understand why they would move kids back to Clint?

It’s incomprehensible, given the heightened attention on this issue alone. But it’s despicable, considering the treatment the kids underwent in that facility, that any child is being allowed to be in there at all.

Is there some sort of legal remedy, given that they are supposed to be transferred to H.H.S.?

They are in violation of the Flores settlement, and so the very people who went to monitor the Clint facility as part of the Flores team hold the keys to enforcement of that agreement.

Again, what’s insulting on top of being injurious is that all of this is behavior by the government when it knows people are watching. They knew the inspectors were coming to Clint. They know that the world is watching, and yet they do this anyway. Just imagine what happens in the dark, and out of the view of the public. That’s why we have to have lawyers there; that’s why reporters have to talk about this. If not, you only have to allow your imagination to run wild to envision what could happen and what, in fact, is happening.

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For Bette Midler, the early nineteen-eighties was a period of searching. Her début studio album, “The Divine Miss M,” from 1972, had catapulted her from cult lounge singer to national star, and the record’s success had led to film projects, such as the starring role, as a reckless rock star, in “The Rose” (1979), which earned Midler an Oscar nomination and spawned a hit single. But her follow-up film, the comedy “Jinxed!” (1982), famously flopped. She wrote a memoir, “A View From a Broad,” which was published in 1980 and well received, but her show-biz career was at an impasse. “I was waiting for something to happen, for something to come my way,” Midler told me recently by phone. One day, daydreaming at her home in Los Angeles, she came up with an idea for a children’s book: the origin story of a precocious baby, a tiny diva in the making, who combats self-doubt and learns to step into the limelight with the help of three heavily maquillaged fairy godmothers. Midler shared the idea with her close friend Jerry Blatt, a composer and lyricist for “Sesame Street,” who had co-written Midler’s “Clams on the Half Shell Revue.” “In show-business parlance, he thought it had ‘legs,’ ” Midler told me.

“The Saga of Baby Divine” was published in 1983 and became a New York Times best-seller. Midler went on a multicity book tour, sporting special hats that she commissioned to celebrate her new life as “an authoress.” (Her favorite was in the shape of a vintage typewriter, with keys that actually moved.) The story, written in a doggerel stuffed with show-biz references (Darryl F. Zanuck! The Folies-Bergère! Giselle!), begins with an uptight suburban couple named the Divines, who welcome a baby daughter into the world just as a comet enters the sky. They are hoping for a “Proper, Presentable Daughter”; “nothing too Madcap or Garish or Wacky” is allowed in their sleepy neighborhood. But, much to the couple’s consternation, their baby arrives on this earth wearing high heels, and within moments of being born begins crowing the word “MORE!” The book’s cartoon illustrations, by the Pop-Surrealist artist Todd Schorr, depict Baby Divine with the guileless face of a Kewpie doll and the sultry mien of a lounge singer, wearing a jaunty floral diaper and with a giant flower decorating her curlicues of orange hair. Not to be outdone by her infant avatar, Midler appeared on the book’s back cover in a matching outfit, though with a Hawaiian-printed bikini in lieu of the diaper.

Midler told me that she considers “Baby Divine” to be autobiography. Growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii, she and her siblings were the only Jewish kids in her neighborhood; her parents were, as she put it, “as square as square could be.” “I always felt a little bit odd, because I was always listening to music and singing out loud,” she said. “I remember standing in the shower, singing at the top of my lungs, and people used to gather outside my apartment and listen to me sing. Because they were so struck that anyone was so loud.” She went on, “I felt that I was this Technicolor child in a black-and-white world. When I was finally liberated, when I finally came to New York and managed to get on the stage, with whatever it was that I had, I had finally gotten to Oz.”

The only people who understand Baby Divine are a trio of “Irrepressible Dames”: Lily, Tillie, and Joyce, who live together in a cramped boarding house filled with peacock feathers and oversized plants, in a section of town with a “Scurrilous Reputation.” (One of the book’s many quirks is a seemingly random capitalizations of words.) When they look out their window on the night of the baby’s arrival, the women see the sky over the Divine home “lit up like a Giant Marquee.” They caravan to the house and ring the front bell, elbowing past the Divines to gather beside the child’s cradle. Each woman bears a fabulous gift: Tillie her favorite feather boa, Joyce a “decrepit false nose,” and Lily a “Flutter of Rainbow and Dreams.” The women take their leave, but Baby Divine wiggles out of her cradle and goes searching for them. She rides on the back of a bird, and encounters a flame-eyed monster who calls himself Anxiety, but before he can prey upon her the three guardians swoop to the rescue. They encourage her to laugh and cry, and to dance and sing (the book includes two pieces of sheet music, one of them for a song called “More”), and teach her to tell the difference between “what’s Important and what / Is only a Crockful of Hooey.” By the time Baby Divine returns home, to newly appreciative parents, at the book’s end, it’s with the knowledge that her life will one day be fabulously lush and large.

I first read “The Saga of Baby Divine” in the stacks of a children’s library in Albuquerque, my home town, and I confess that I did not understand the half of it. Midler admits that the book is meant for older children, or maybe just for adults. Baby Divine herself sometimes struggles to apprehend the lessons of Lily, Tillie, and Joyce, as in this great extended passage in which Lily offers a taxonomy of laughter:

Even with my limited grasp of these rambunctious rhymes, the text of “Baby Divine” fascinated me. The story became imprinted in the still, small part of me who also longed for more, who felt like the Baby who did not quite fit in with my dusty desert town. I didn’t realize it then, but Midler’s myth, like so much of her music, was unapologetically about a struggle to belong. Lily, Tillie, and Joyce are ostensibly women, but Schorr, for his part, drew them a bit like drag queens, garishly glamorous exiles who can turn any scrap of errant cloth into a fashion moment, and whose ultimate gift to their young charge is the power of pageantry. They are also the characters in a topsy-turvy nativity story, the Three Wise Women to Midler’s anointed child. Whether or not you find it inspiring or galling to see a woman cast herself as a Tinseltown Messiah depends on what you find sacred.

Midler, who is seventy-three, recently starred in “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway, and will appear next in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix drama “The Politician” and in Julie Taymor’s Gloria Steinem bio-pic, as the pugnacious feminist lawyer Bella Abzug. In her spare time, she has been waging a Twitter battle against Donald Trump, who called her a “washed up psycho” on the platform earlier this month. (She responded with a Photoshopped still from the film “Hocus Pocus” that shows herself, Kathy Griffin, and Stormy Daniels as witches grouped around the President.) Midler’s daughter, Sophie, liked reading “The Saga of Baby Divine” as a child, but she’s grown now, and Midler keeps copies of the book, which is out of print, on a high shelf in her office. She said that before I called she hadn’t thought much about Baby Divine in a long time; “MORE!,” as a life style, leaves little room for lingering in the past. “It’s a funny thing. Certain kinds of people do what they do—they look at it, they’re proud of it—and then they move right on,” Midler told me. “ ‘Thank u, next,’ as Ariana Grande likes to say.”

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One of the things I have feared most since the night of the 2016 election is the inevitable hardening of my own heart—and what such hardening might lead to, especially if it were experienced by many other people as well. Specifically, I feared that the Trump era would bring a surfeit of bad news, and that I would compartmentalize this bad news in order to remain functional, and that this attempt to remain functional would itself be so demoralizing that it would contribute to the despair and distraction that allowed all this bad news to occur.

When I imagined specifics, back in November, 2016, I pictured something like last week—or part of it. I imagined that undocumented families would be openly and cruelly persecuted in America, and that there would be plans of mass raids and internment, and that as this was happening I would not be rioting in the street as I ought to but depressively checking things off my Google Calendar to-do list and probably writing a blog post about a meme. What I didn’t imagine, though—and what actually occurred last week—is that a respected and well-known writer would accuse the President of raping her, and that I would be so sad and numb, after years of writing about Trump’s many accusers, after watching Brett Kavanaugh get confirmed to the Supreme Court in the face of credible sexual-assault allegations, that I would not even have the courage to read the story for days.

E. Jean Carroll, now seventy-five years old, is a longtime advice columnist for Elle. Her approach to life is distinctive: brisk, stylish, tough, compassionate. Her columns provided an early and crucial model for me—when I was little and waist-deep in the mistake of trying to understand life through women’s glossies—of never giving my personal problems more weight than was absolutely necessary. The essay that she published last week, in New York, titled “My List of Hideous Men”—it’s an excerpt from a forthcoming book—performs the tremendous and awful feat of bringing her sharp-edged breeziness to bear on a story about being raped. Carroll’s “hideosity bar is high,” she writes. A boy who shoved a stick or rock up her genitals when she was a girl doesn’t make the list. Hunter S. Thompson, slicing her pants off with a knife in a hot tub, doesn’t make it either, because, she writes, “to me there is a big difference between an ‘adventure’ and an ‘attack.’ ”

Carroll goes on to detail multiple sexual assaults: by a college suitor, by a boss who chased her down a hotel hallway, by the former CBS president and C.E.O. Les Moonves. (Moonves denies the allegation.) “By now, Silent Generation aside, the question has occurred to you: Why does this woman seem so unfazed by all this horrible crap?” she writes. “Well, I am shallower than most people. I do not dwell on the past. I feel greater empathy for others than for myself. I do not try to control everything.” Plus, she adds, she’s a born cheerleader: she was a cheerleader in grade school, in high school, and was even the winner of a competition called Miss Cheerleader U.S.A. For years, in her advice columns, she cheered for each correspondent to “pick herself up and go on.”

But there are two men, she writes, whom she wishes she’d spoken about sooner. One is a camp director who repeatedly molested her when she was twelve. The other is Donald Trump. The incident happened in the fall of 1995 or the spring of 1996, she writes. She and Trump ran into each other at Bergdorf Goodman; Trump convinced her to help him shop for a present in the lingerie department; Carroll—“and as I write this, I am staggered by my stupidity,” she states—went into the fitting room with him; Trump shoved her against the wall, unzipped his pants, and forced his penis inside her. Eventually, Carroll fought him off and ran away. She still carries around the shrapnel of this encounter, myriad pointed details lodged in her mind—such as the fact that, at the beginning of the struggle, she was so shocked that she was laughing. There is a limit, for everyone, to the uses of compartmentalization. Whether it’s “my age, the fact that I haven’t met anyone fascinating enough over the past couple of decades to feel ‘the sap rising,’ as Tom Wolfe put it, or if it’s the blot of the real-estate tycoon, I can’t say,” Carroll writes, closing her essay. “But I have never had sex with anybody ever again.”

A lot of hearts seem to have hardened not just in response to Carroll’s story but in the long lead-up to it. When the piece appeared online, there was an immediate unspoken sense, I thought—although it’s certainly possible that I’m projecting—that it would tell us only what we already knew. Trump accused himself of sexual assault, on tape, in 2005, while filming “Access Hollywood,” and we found out about it just before the election, and, because any man who boasts about grabbing women by the pussy is likely to have done so and worse, repeatedly and with no compunction, it’s all been extremely, deadeningly predictable from there. The White House said in a statement that Carroll’s story was “false and unrealistic” and was “created simply to make the President look bad.” Trump later stated that Carroll was just trying to sell books, and claimed that he had never met her, despite New York running a photo of the two of them talking at a party. “It is a disgrace and people should pay dearly for such false accusations,” he said. On Monday, in an interview with The Hill, Trump, deploying a blatant grotesquerie that was surely intended to play to his base, said, “Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened.”

But a public figure accusing the President of rape is news. Even though Carroll is at least the twenty-second woman to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct, she is only the second to accuse him of rape. (The first was Ivana Trump, who later downplayed her story.) Though Carroll received the pride of place at New York that she deserved, appearing on the cover of the magazine, her story did not make the front page of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, or the Chicago Tribune. The New York Post deleted a story about Carroll’s allegations on Friday. The Times was slow to feature the story online and didn’t run its piece in print until Sunday. Weekend talk shows mostly ignored the topic; on Sunday, Brian Stelter, on CNN, discussed the lack of attention the story was getting, citing the possibility—the reality—of media fatigue. There have been so many accusations against Trump that none has been able to receive the undivided attention that it ought to, Stelter suggested. And the news cycle itself is so quick-moving and chaotic that every important story, regardless of its subject, is metabolized too fast.

There are other explanations, too, though none of them are particularly satisfactory. Newspapers tend to prioritize stories that they’ve broken in house. There are also good journalistic reasons for seeking independent confirmation of a story before giving it prominence. But, on Monday, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the Times, acknowledged that the paper had “underplayed the article.” Though Carroll’s account was vetted by New York—two friends confirmed that she told them the story contemporaneously with the event—it was a first-person account rather than an investigative report. And it gets harder to tell this story over and over and over, as a lesson we learned in 2016 only becomes clearer: there are many people in this country, including, apparently, the majority of Republicans who hold national office, who don’t believe that rape is that big of a deal. As we saw during the Kavanaugh hearings, a portion of those people may grow to like a man better after he is accused of sexual assault. In her essay for New York, Carroll acknowledges the risk that she might make Trump more popular by telling the story of how he raped her. In these cases, the accuser is not so much disbelieved as conscripted into a narrative of women attempting to victimize men by arousing public sympathy. The powerful solidify their power by pretending that they have been threatened and attacked. This dynamic is central to both fascism and abuse.

It has felt impossible, in the Trump era, to hope even for a second that our governing systems will operate on any standard of morality. What we have instead is a standard of consistency. If the President had ever convincingly espoused ideas of respect for people who are not like him, or of equal rights for women, it’s possible that he would be held accountable for his actions. Instead, he promised mass campaigns of cruelty against undocumented immigrants, and he is delivering. He said that he grabbed women by the pussy, and many women—twenty-two, so far—explained that, yes, he did that, or something like it, to them. Carroll’s essay—exceptional, devastating, decades in the making—has made me consider how hard it is to understand right away that you’ve been exhausted into submission, especially when submission and endurance feel inextricable. It’s reminded me of how high I’ve let my own hideosity bar get lately, and also of the fact that no one can lower it again but me.

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Luxury jeweller Paspaley welcomed some of Australia’s most influential women to an exclusive dinner party, co-hosted by Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora. For the evening, Havekes and Paspaley teamed up to celebrate the launch of Paspaley’s Boronia collection, together with a Boronia fragrance released by Grandiflora, each inspired by nature.

The event was held at the Paspaley Pearl Vault where guests were treated to an exquisite meal and Boronia-themed cocktails, in a room dripping in gorgeous floras crafted by co-host, Havekes. On the menu was Paspaley Pearl meat with citrus wasabi and shaved radish, as well as handpicked crab with squid ink pasta. The selection was finished with a delicious white bomb decorated with black berries.  

On the guest list were designers Anna Plunkett and Louise Olsen, creative director of Vogue and GQ Australia, Jillian Davison, and editor of 10 and 10 Men Australia, Alison Veness. After dinner, guests were treated to a tour of the Paspaley Pearl Vault, where they were shown the Paspaley family’s pearl collection, together with the largest pearl in the world. For more, scroll on to see inside the luxury event, below.

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5 of the best places to surf around the world

June 25, 2019 | News | No Comments

Standing at the edge of the cold, grey Bristol Channel, watching the waves crash towards Croyde Beach, Devon, I’m wondering why I’m not starting my surfing journey somewhere more tropical (see below for surf hotspots in warmer climes). Kitted out in a wetsuit, neoprene shoes, gloves and even a balaclava, I’m not convinced I’ve nailed the look either – this season’s runways and years of surf subculture’s influence on fashion tell a far more stylish story. Surfing Croyde Bay’s instructor, Jake, meanwhile, has all of that elusive, effortless cool; and adopting his enthusiasm for the water is, I quickly realise, the only way forward.

As soon as we’re in the sea, all thoughts, worries and stresses are pushed immediately to the back of my mind. Instead, the focus is acutely on battling out far enough from the shore with the board, identifying your chosen wave, hoisting yourself up, and if you catch it, riding the wave all the way back to the beach. Proficiency is still a long way off, but the first taste of what surfers call “stoke” – that clear-headed adrenaline rush that only the ocean brings – is enough to make me want to come back for more.

Later, Tom Hewitt MBE speaks further about that particular feeling. His charity, Surfers Not Street Children, has been working with street children in Durban, South Africa since 2012 – and in Tofo, Mozambique since 2018 – with phenomenal success; Hewitt estimates the charity has helped 1,800+ children to date. “If you ask a kid who’s living on the streets if they want help or counselling, what’s the answer? Of course not. Ask them if they want to go surfing? That’s cool.” It’s in this way that the charity builds relationships with the children, via a drop-in surf clubhouse on the beach and progressing to a live-in programme for those who choose to, prioritising their independence throughout. One of the charity’s main initiatives this year is the #GirlsSurfToo campaign, seeking to empower girls – one of the most vulnerable groups on the street – through surfing.

For mental health, rehabilitation and even just a reconnection with the self – in this case simply being a child – Hewitt says there’s nothing like the power of surfing. Children go on to compete in global championships and become surf coaches, lifeguards and swim instructors on the Surfers Not Street Children projects. And ambassadors for the charity include Prince Harry, the Pope and professional surfer Kelly Slater – further proof that this is a sport for everyone.

Back in Devon, there’s also the post-surf culture. The Chalet Saunton (above), overlooking Saunton Sands – another perfect beginners’ beach in the area – has all the style of a luxury hotel, complete with a laid-back coastal mood. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with light and frame the ever-changing vista across the bay; deep indulgent baths soak away the aches from just carrying the surfboard (it’s hard work); artwork themes each apartment; BBQs provide the essential refuel; and the North Devon Coast’s AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty) and ASSI (area of special scientific interest) protected paths are right on its doorstep.

Whether you’re looking for an active refresh away from the daily grind or to really make a difference, surfing could be the answer.

Top global surf destinations for beginners, as recommended by editors around the world:

Cádiz, Rodiles or Mogro, Spain
On the south-west coast of Spain, Cádiz is known for its friendly vibe and good waves. Cádiz Surf Center’s highly trained instructors (the owners Tony Peñalver Parra and Jacob Real Hernández have been surfing for over 30 years and coaching for over 10) offer a complete programme, from one-to-one lessons to groups of no more than eight students, plus top-quality board and wetsuit hire.

Along the north coast of Spain, make the most of the scenic beaches and (slightly colder) waves with Special Surf School, owned by brothers Dani and Raúl García. Test your skills in both surfing and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) in Rodiles, Asturias and Mogro, Cantabria.

Cascais, Portugal
On the south coast of Portugal, just outside Cascais, The Blue Room Surf School is co-founded by pro-surfer Frederico “Kikas” Morais – the only Portuguese surfer featured in the top 26 of the World Surf League. Group classes are small, between two to five students, and the instructors have extensive experience, a real passion for the sport and focus on building confidence in beginners.

Ichinomiya in Chiba Prefecture, or Izukyu-Shimoda in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Chosen as the surfing location for the 2020 Olympics (the first time surfing has been on the Olympic line-up), Ichinomiya is easily accessible from central Tokyo – just one-and-a-half hours on the train – and less busy than some of the more famous spots, such as Kamakura, on the other side of Tokyo Bay. Head to Naki Surf (surf schools are often run by the local surf shops) by Ichinomiya Beach or Taito Beach for relaxed surf conditions.

A little further out from central Tokyo – two to three hours on the train – Izukyu-Shimoda is one of the best spots to escape the crowds, with Hawaii-level crystal waters and calm waves. Try Iritahama, Tatadohama or Shirahama beaches, and surf schools Pink Mafia or Surfshop Real.

Donghe, Taiwan
The east coast of Taiwan has some of the island’s best waves, and the small fishing village of Donghe is one of the best places to find them (plus warm waters all year round). Beginners should head to Wa Ga Li Gong surf school – it also offers SUP tours of the coast, windsurfing and kayaking. Head up to the bar and restaurant’s roof terrace for a well-earned rest in one of the hammocks after class.

Sydney, or Newcastle, Australia
Surfing is almost a rite of passage in Australia, so there are lots of places to choose from. Manly Surf School is a good starting point, covering six locations just outside of central Sydney (Manly, Collaroy, Long Reef, Palm and Balmoral Beaches and Narrabeen Lakes). The classes cater to all ages and abilities, with friendly, helpful instructors – many of whom are current or ex-professional surfers. It also offers SUP for an (arguably easier) alternative.

If you’re exploring a little further up the coast, Newcastle Surf School is a well-established, fun place to learn, offering quality equipment and daily lessons all year round at Nobby’s, Blacksmiths and Caves beaches.

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