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MORE than a thousand swimmers shed their clothes to venture into the bracing waters of the North Sea along the coast of Northumberland, celebrating the 11th annual North East Skinny Dip in honor of the Autumn Equinox.

Participants of all ages, in their natural state, reveled on Druridge Bay’s shoreline on a Sunday morning, fully embracing the liberating experience of going au naturel.

Swimmers exhibited a variety of attire choices, from whimsical wigs to Hawaiian garlands, and even some opting for the warmth of a wooly hat, as they braved the frigid waters at the break of dawn.

As the waves gently washed ashore, participants dashed exuberantly toward the sea, hand in hand, skipping with sheer delight.

This marked the 11th consecutive gathering of skinny dippers, an event that has collectively raised over £100,000 for the mental health charity Mind since its inception in 2012.

(Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)
Source: MailOnline

IN THE midst of heightened tensions in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines has taken a bold step by initiating guided tours to the disputed Spratly Islands for the very first time.

This seven-day excursion is known as the Great Kalayaan Expedition, symbolizing freedom, and comes at a cost of over $2,000 (P114,000) per person. These islands, claimed by the Philippines, are located in the northeastern section of the Spratly archipelago, known locally as the Kalayaan Island Group within the West Philippine Sea.

The Spratly Islands consist of over a hundred small islands and reefs, surrounded by fertile fishing grounds and potentially abundant gas and oil reserves. While China, Taiwan, and Vietnam claim these islands in their entirety, Malaysia and the Philippines assert partial claims.

The Great Kalayaan Expedition offers a seven-day journey aboard a dive yacht, but it’s not your typical vacation experience. Most of the islands lack essential infrastructure, including proper ports.

Ken Hupanda, the organizer of this expedition, stated, “The Great Kalayaan Expedition aims to introduce tourism to the expansive West Philippine Sea. While our program isn’t meant to be seen as an aggressive move, it does contribute to reaffirming our claim over the Kalayaan Islands.”

The first group of paying tourists embarked on this journey from June 2 to June 8, comprising media professionals, academics, and water sports enthusiasts like Filipino diver Bretch Garcinez.

Mr. Garcinez explained, “Nationalism plays a significant role in the decision to join this tour despite the cost. This place is special because it’s being watched by every nation.”

The expedition begins from a restricted Philippine naval facility and takes more than 30 hours for the yacht to reach its first destination, the beautiful Lawak Island, which serves as a bird sanctuary.

However, the tour’s main attraction isn’t the picturesque landscapes but the firsthand encounter with China’s maritime presence, including sightings of a China Coast Guard vessel and other Chinese-owned vessels, which a Philippine Navy officer on the yacht identified.

As they docked at the Philippine-controlled Thitu Island, known locally as Pagasa or Hope Island, the yacht’s chief engineer, Wilfredo Baladjay, received an automated message from a Philippine telecom company, but it welcomed him to China, leading to confusion and frustration. “Pagasa is the Philippines; why is it associated with China?” Mr. Baladjay questioned.

On land, the Philippine Navy team stationed on Thitu continually communicated with the nearby Chinese vessel, urging it to leave the vicinity.

Some tourists then took a speed boat to Sandy Cay, a group of three uninhabited sandbars claimed by both China and the Philippines. It lies between Thitu and the Chinese-controlled Subi Reef, guarded by Chinese vessels.

The 20-minute journey was not without anxiety, as tourists feared potential questioning by the Chinese authorities. However, they docked without incident, and Filipinos on board proudly waved the Philippine flag, adding a touch of levity to a region often marked by tension.

Francois-Xavier Bonnet, a geographer and tour participant, emphasized the need for the Philippines to develop tourism in the area, citing examples from other countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, and China who have already ventured into tourism in the Spratly Islands, albeit primarily for their own nationals.

(This article (rewritten version) first appeared on CNA/Jr. Amigo/ai/mnm)

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THE Chinese People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N), which holds the title of the world’s largest navy, has been experiencing rapid growth, surpassing both India and the United States in terms of shipbuilding capabilities.

The speed at which the PLA-N integrates new warships into its fleet has often been likened to “adding dumplings to a simmering soup.” A leaked presentation slide from US Navy Intelligence suggests that Chinese shipyards’ construction capacity exceeds that of the US by a staggering 232 times.

Sometime between 2015 and 2020, China overtook the United States in terms of the number of warships in its naval fleet, and the disparity between the two navies has continued to widen. According to the Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military and security developments submitted to the US Congress, the Chinese Navy boasted 350 warships compared to the 293 warships in the US Navy battle force.

This significant gap of 60 warships between the two navies is projected to increase every five years, with China estimated to possess around 475 naval vessels by 2035, in contrast to the 305-317 warships expected in the US Navy.

The Fox News-published slide reveals that Chinese shipyards possess a capacity of approximately 23.2 million tons, while the US lags far behind with less than 100,000 tons, underscoring China’s shipbuilding capabilities as more than 232 times greater than that of the United States.

The slide also provides a side-by-side comparison of the “battle force composition” of the two nations’ navies, encompassing combatant ships, submarines, mine warfare vessels, major amphibious ships, and large combat support auxiliary ships.

Another section of the slide estimates the proportion of each country’s shipyards dedicated to naval production. China allocates roughly 70 percent of its shipbuilding revenue to naval output, whereas the United States allocates about 95 percent of its shipbuilding revenue to the same.

The US Department of Defense had anticipated this development, as retired Admiral Phil Davidson, the former commander of Indo-Pacific Command, predicted in 2021 that the next six years would witness the peak of China’s naval threat.

The growing maritime capabilities of the PLA-N align with its ambitious quest for additional overseas bases, including Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan, and potentially Ream in Cambodia. These efforts aim to address strategic choke points in the Indian Ocean Region and the broader Indo-Pacific.

(Source:The EurAsian/Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)

MALAKI ang epekto ng kalat sa ating kalusugan.

Kung ang iyong mga aparador ay puno na o ang iyong mesa ay puno ng mga ‘di organisadong papel, maaaring nais mong gawin ang ilang hakbang tungo sa mas maayos na tahanan o lugar ng trabaho.

Bagaman may mga magagandang bahagi ang kaunting kaguluhan — sa isang pag-aaral ay inirerekomenda na ang magulo ay nai-stimulate ang pagkamalikhain — may mas maraming masamang epekto ito. Maaari itong makasama sa iyong pisikal at mental na kalusugan.

Ang kalat ay nagdudulot ng STRESS

Kapag lahat ay nasa maayos na ayos, alam mong eksakto kung saan mo inilagay ang iyong mga salamin at susi kaya maaari mong kunin ang mga ito at magpatuloy sa iyong araw. Ito’y nagbibigay-daan sa iyo na makatipid ng oras at mas mabawasan ang abala. Sa isang pag-aaral, ang mga kababaihan na nakita ang kanilang mga tahanan bilang magulo ay may mataas na antas ng hormone ng stress na cortisol sa buong araw, samantalang ang mga naglarawan ng kanilang tahanan bilang maayos at organisado at maginhawa ay may mas mababang antas nito.

Mas mababang kasiyahan sa buhay

Kung ikaw ay medyo makakalimutin dahil sa iyong kalagayan ay magulo, huwag hintayin na ito’y maayos. Lumabas sa pagsasaliksik na ang mga matatanda sa kanilang 50s na may maraming kalat ay mas malamang kaysa sa mga mas bata na huwag gawin ang mga desisyon ukol sa mga bagay na kailangang alisin. Natuklasan din sa pag-aaral na ang mga kalat na ito ay maaaring magdulot sa iyo ng mas mababang kasiyahan sa buhay.


Mahirap mag-focus sa mga mahahalagang gawain kapag maraming bagay ang nag-aagawan para sa iyong atensiyon, Nadiskubre ng mga mananaliksik na ang paligid ng kalat ay gumugulo sa kakayahang mag-focus ng iyong utak. Ito’y lalo pang mahirap para sa mga taong may ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Kung ikaw ay may ADHD, ang isang propesyonal na tagaayos o coach ay maaaring pinakamabuting paraan upang ibalik ang kaayusan sa iyong espasyo.

Dust collectors

May dahilan kung bakit tinatawag ng mga tao ang mga bagay-bagay na “dust collectors.” Ang sobrang kalat ay nagiging sanhi ng mas madaling panatilihing malinis ang iyong espasyo. Kung ikaw ay allergic sa mga bagay tulad ng dust mites o pet dander, ang paglilinis ay dapat na maging mas madali, at maaaring mapanatili ang mga sintomas tulad ng pagbahing, pag-ubo, at pangangati ng mga mata.

Hoarding disorder

Ang isang malinis at maayos na bahay ay nagbibigay ng imbitasyon, pareho para sa mga taong nakatira roon at para sa mga bisita. Ang isang magulong tahanan ay maaaring magdulot ng kabaligtaran. Subalit ang pag-iwas sa mga tao ay maaaring magdulot ng epekto sa mga relasyon at magpababa ng iyong kaligayahan at kalungkutan. Maaari itong isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit ang hoarding disorder ay karaniwang nauugnay sa mga depression at anxiety disorder.

Kalat ay mapanganib

Ang pamumuhay na may maraming kalat ay naglalagay sa iyo sa panganib ng pagkakasugat. Kapag ang sahig mo ay puno ng mga kahon, mga piraso ng damit, o masyadong maraming kagamitan, mas madali itong magdulot ng pagkakabangga. Ang mga estante na puno ng mga aklat at mga bagay-bagay ay maaari ring maging panganib kung may mababagsak o kung ang sobrang pabigat na gamit ay maaring magpabagsak.

Kalinisan at kabaitan

Maaaring maging mas mapagkalinga sa iba ang mas maayos na kapaligiran. Sa isang pag-aaral, ang mga boluntaryo na nag-fill out ng mga survey sa isang maayos na silid ay mas may posibilidad na naising mag-donate sa isang charity kumpara sa mga tinanong sa isang magulong silid.

Problema sa alala

May ilang tao na namumuhay sa mga magulong bahay na may mas mababang “working memory,” ayon sa pananaliksik. Ang iyong utak ay may koneksyon sa pagsasanay na mag-maintain ng iilang mga detalye sa loob ng maikling panahon, kaya ito ay maaaring mag-overload kapag may masyadong maraming nangyayari gaya ng kalat.

Kalat puwedeng pagsimulan ng sunog

Kung ikaw ay naglaan ng sobrang dami ng mga papel at iba pang maaaring maging pampasabog na mga bagay, maaaring maging panganib ang iyong tahanan sa sunog. Kahit pa ang sunog ay magsisimula sa pinakakaraniwang mga paraan (ang langis sa pagluluto ay nagliyab o nasusunog ang gilid ng iyong tuwalya), ang kalat ay nagiging sanhi kung bakit mas mahirap humingi ng tulong. Hindi lamang mas mahirap na makalabas kaagad kung ang mga daanan at exit ay blocked, ngunit mas mahirap din para sa mga bumbero na patayin ang apoy.

Koneksyon sa pagtaas ng timbang

Ang mga taong nagpupuno ng kanilang mga tahanan ng sobrang maraming bagay na hindi naman na kailangan ay nagdudulot din ng pagtaas ng timbang ng mga naninirahan dahil nagiging limitado ang kanilang paggalaw sa bahay dahil sa dami ng kalat.

(Kinalap ni Jr Amigo/ai/mnm)