Best Aussie holidays you can do on two wheels


This content was created in partnership with Set for Life.

From gentle trips through foodie regions to adventurous mountain bike trails, there’s nothing quite like the camaraderie of biking in a group.

An island nation with over 823,000km of paved and unpaved roads, Australia is built for exploring… on two wheels. From steamy tropical jungles and hazy desert roads to crisp rugged cliff tops and winding country tracks, there are a plethora of places to visit on your next holiday. And whether it’s road, trail or mountain biking you love, discovering new landscapes on the back of a bike has never been easier. So grab your mates, make a playlist and get out there. Oh, and don’t forget a tennis ball (read on to find out why).

FOR ADVENTURERS: WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S SOUTHWEST

Sure, the southwest of Western Australia is generally known for its consistent surf breaks and world-class ocean sunsets, but did you know the diverse 1000km Munda Biddi Trail, which connects to Albany to Mundaring (near Perth), is actually one of the longest off-road cycle tracks in the world? The six-day Munda Biddi Cycling Adventure will help you explore more than 200km of it. Cruise through eucalyptus forests with towering jarrah and karri trees, cool off in the famous Greens Pool in William Bay National Park and then stop for a coffee (or two) in one of the regional towns you’ll glide through. And if you love a little shopping, don’t worry, this is a fully supported ride, so your pack will be waiting happily for you in your hotel room when you arrive. Australian Cycle Tours

FOR RELAXED TRAVELLERS: TASMANIA’S EAST COAST

Tasmania may be our smallest state, but the sheer number of natural wonders found within its coastal borders ensure it hasn’t got ‘small state’ syndrome. Choosing where to explore first can be a tough decision, but if you’re new to cycling, or just like to mix it up a little, then the seven-night Slow Tassie Sightseer is the way to go. Enjoy low-traffic, scenic cycling through Tassie’s country paths, as well as sightseeing to some of the island’s most beautiful natural and cultural attractions. Immerse yourself in the colours of the Bay of Fires and the stark beauty of Wineglass Bay, visit convict-built towns and spend time at Hobart’s (in)famous MONA. This guided tour is for lovers of slow travelling, where getting to your destination is just as important as the destination itself. All trails

FOR LONG-HAULERS: QUEENSLAND’S TOP END

With incredible options for cycling holidays across the state, it can be hard to choose which route to do in Queensland, however for those with a love of the outdoors, wildlife and… insect repellent, the Across Cape York Bike Ride has it all. Wide open spaces, dry savannah, winding rivers, tropical rainforests, as well as chances to encounter local wildlife in the bush (and in the local pie shops). You’ll also be exploring regional areas that are most definitely off the tourist trail. With an average of 70km cycling each day, this epic 10-day adventure is designed for those who know their way around a bike, though full support is offered alongside each ride. Mulga Bicycle Tours

FOR BEACHCOMBERS: NEW SOUTH WALES SOUTH COAST

From wetlands and hidden lagoons to wide, open beaches and dramatic coastlines, the NSW south coast boasts an impressive range of natural beachy wonders. The Family Pacific Cycle Tour explores a good-sized section of this area, from Thirroul to Kiama, over three relaxed days, taking you from beach to beach along the coast. You’ll also be able to visit Nan Tien Temple (the biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere), the Kiama blowhole and the many ice cream-laden townships along the way. And if you’re worried about carrying your luggage, don’t be – all of your bags will magically appear at your hotel each night. All you have to do is pedal… and eat ice cream. Bike Exchange

FOR NATURE LOVERS: SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S FLINDERS RANGES

To really get away from it all (yes, even your phone), hop on a mountain bike with some friends and explore one of the oldest parts of South Australia. The Flinders Ranges were first created over 800 million years ago and then covered by an inland sea. Today, while you may find the odd sea life fossil, you’re more likely to be transfixed by the size and majesty of Wilpena Pound and its surrounding landscapes. This 200km mountain bike ride will take you along old pastoral trails, beautiful private properties and stunning national parks, often through land that generally isn’t open to the public. And not only will all your bags be waiting for you when you arrive at your accommodation each day, but if you want to take it really easy you can do the daily 50km with pedal assist technology on an e-bike. (We won’t tell anyone.) Escape Goat Adventures

FOR HISTORY BUFFS: VICTORIA’S SOUTH GIPPSLAND

History and cycling might not seem like an obvious pairing but trust us, they go hand in hand on the South Gippsland Rail Trails Cycle Tour. Over four scenic, thigh-burning days you’ll explore Victoria’s recent past while you cycle on and round the Bass Coast and the Great Southern Rail Trails, both huge feats of engineering in the late 1800s and early 1900s. After cycling the quiet roads on Phillip Island and the beautiful Gippsland Strzelecki Ranges, you can also experience the life of a turn of the (last) century miner in the State Coal Mine at Wonthaggi… not one for claustrophobics. Each day’s 32km rides will also take you through historic towns (hello, vanilla slice and meat pies) and rolling dairy country, before depositing you in your hand-picked accommodation each night. Australian Cycling Holidays

Before you go:

You’ve planned your trip, booked it all in and now what? It’s preparation time, says Melissa Maskery, Fitness First cycle coach and manager.

“The best way to enjoy yourself is to be prepared; the more fit you are when you hop on a bike, the less likely you are to injure yourself,” she says. “A good tip is to engage your core to help support your lower back.”

And don’t forget your recovery each night, she says. Give yourself a treat and stretch properly after the day’s ride.

“You will find your hamstrings and calves will get especially tight so it’s important to release these each night. Even using a tennis ball will work [to release your muscles] and a ball is so easy to travel with,” she says.

Lastly, she recommends checking with your doctor and mentioning any previous injuries. It could be as simple as strapping an old knee injury or paying more attention to particular muscles. This, she says, will help you enjoy your holiday without any nagging concerns.

This content was created in partnership with Set for Life.



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Weather trends point to killer Australian ski season


Australians, start waxing your skis. We’re due for some decent snowfalls this year.

After the COVID-induced fiasco that was last year’s snow season (Thredbo’s online ticketing disaster, fun-police bans on snow play and terrain parks) it’s about time skiers and boarders had some good news.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what long-term weather trends are giving us.

La Niña is over – and that’s great for snow

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has declared the past year’s La Niña weather event officially over and the world entered a “neutral” pattern on the El Niño and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO) index at the end of March.

We know El Niño can spell disaster droughts and bushfires in Australia, while La Niña – as occurred over the recent summer – offers relief in more rain and cooler temperatures. But what does “neutral” mean for the Australian ski season?

According to historic snowfall depths, neutral is good – great even – for snow in the NSW and Victorian Alps.

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In the words of BOM: “Historically, neutral years have had more consistent good snow depths than either El Niño or La Niña years.”

Of course, the BOM boffins love to curb our excitement with the disclaimer: “Australia’s snow season is highly variable and a single weather event can greatly change a season.”

However, a BOM spokesperson gave Escape this gold nugget: “Our climate drivers, like El Niño and La Niña, can give a guide of what the season may be like. Neutral conditions are expected over winter-spring and this tends to increase the likelihood of higher-than-normal snow depths.”

Neutral ENSO favours Aussie snow

The “Snowmageddon” of winter 2017, which saw 23 days of snow and a maximum base depth of 238cm at Perisher (according to historic snow depths tallied by OnTheSnow.com) was a neutral year. Those fortunate enough to ski in August 2017 know it was a season for the record books – involving three separate “Blizzard of Oz” storms that became storied legends on the slopes.

The following year of 2018 was also memorable: As the ENSO remained neutral, Perisher recorded more than 232cm at its peak base and 22 days of snowfall. A few years earlier, the original Snowmageddon of 2014 dropped a metre of snow in less than a week. That was another neutral year in which La Niña had ended just prior – setting 2014 up in a similar scenario to the one we are facing in 2021 as Australia emerges from La Niña.

What conditions do we want to avoid?

In comparison, the worst snow years on record in Australia tend to line up with El Niño weather seasons.

The record-breaking 2015-2016 El Niño that broke warming records around the world, causing hurricanes in the North Pacific and a one-in-500-year drought in Ethiopia, spelled disaster for skiing in Australia. Perisher’s maximum base depth reached just under 150cm – a full metre less than 2018. The ski fields were decimated by rain for a week in July, and memes literally flooded the internet declaring skiing off, while whale-watching tours seemed more likely to succeed.

Those dirty words

Global warming. Without getting political, anyone who skis or spends a fair portion of their time in the outdoors has an intimate understanding of its existence and effects on Australia’s snow seasons. Numerous scientific analyses show snowfall totals in the Australian Alps have been declining over the past 25 years.

While the peak snow depth has been quite high in some recent years (on average the peak depth only dropped by 10 per cent since 1962) there is a more worrying trend of declining springtime snow. To us laypeople that means Australian snow seasons are getting shorter and drier. For holiday planners, there will be less chance of snow if you book travel in the traditionally cheaper shoulder season (shoulder months are generally June, September and October).

On this issue for 2021, BOM says: “Minimum temperatures for winter are likely to be warmer than average Australia-wide, with high chances (greater than 80 per cent) for the eastern two-thirds of the country.”

Hedge your bets with a midwinter (July or August) snow trip and you’re likely in for a treat.

This article originally appeared on Escape and has been republished with permission



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States push jobless from virus recession to return to work



STOWE, Vt. (AP) – Eduardo Rovetto is hoping the state of Vermont’s reinstated requirement that people who are collecting unemployment benefits must seek work to qualify will help him hire enough staff for his restaurant in the resort town of Stowe.

After more than a year of coronavirus restrictions on his business, Piecasso Pizzeria & Lounge, he’s expecting a breakout summer tourism season, but like employers across the country he’s worried he won’t have enough workers.

“We’ve been getting many excuses as to why not to return,” said Rovetto, who is offering a signing bonus of up to $600 to try to add 15 to 20 employees who agree to stay through the middle of October. “Obviously, it was a legitimate one with COVID, but, you know, I think that’s getting used less and less now. The vaccines are free, they are out there for anyone.”

Many employers are telling similar stories. Fourteen months after COVID-19 put hundreds of thousands of people out of work, the U.S. economy is rebounding and employers are desperate for workers.

The challenge was highlighted Friday when employers nationwide added 266,000 jobs, far fewer than expected, and businesses reported they couldn’t find people to fill the openings they have to keep up with the rapidly strengthening economic rebound.

To encourage people to return to work, more states are making it harder for people to stay on unemployment. Many blame the easy benefits that followed the pandemic, including what is now a $300 a week supplemental federal payment on top of state benefits. The argument is that people make more money staying home than going back to work.

Several states have begun requiring those receiving unemployment benefits to show they are actively searching for work, and a few will stop providing the additional federal supplement.

It’s not just the hospitality sector that is scrambling to fill positions. Alene Candles, based in Milford, New Hampshire, is looking to fill 1,500 positions for its facility there and another in New Albany, Ohio, to meet demand for the holiday season. Company representatives will be participating in a number of virtual job fairs this month.

“We have had more than 100 positions open since the start of the year, and just recently we increased sign-on bonuses to $1,200 for hourly positions -– in-part because we are competing with an entity that can print its own money -– the federal government -– and its $300 per week additional unemployment benefit,” said CEO Rod Harl. “I would love to welcome those searching for work to join our team.”

Labor experts say the shortage is not just about the $300 payment. Some unemployed people also have been reluctant to look for work because they fear catching the virus. Others have found new occupations rather than return to their old jobs. And many women, especially working mothers, have had to leave the workforce to care for children.

The details and the timing of the state-led efforts to get people back to work differ, but they are coming from states led by both Republicans and Democrats.

In addition to Vermont, states reinstating the work-search requirement include Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

“As President Reagan said, the best social program is a job,” Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said when announcing the resumption of the work-search requirement. “This statement rings true today. Unemployment benefits are still available to Arizonans who need them, but now that plenty of jobs are available, those receiving the benefits should be actively looking for work.”

Montana, South Carolina and Arkansas are planning to stop accepting the $300 benefit.

In announcing last week that beginning June 27 unemployed workers will no longer receive the $300 benefit, Montana Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte said it was “doing more harm than good.”

Rachel Mata, an area manager for a Fayetteville, North Carolina-based staffing company, said it’s been increasingly difficult to find people for positions since the passage of the latest federal COVID-19 relief bill.

“We get candidates who will mention, ‘Hey, you know, why would I go to work when I get paid more on unemployment to sit at home?’” said Mata.

At a recent job fair, only one candidate showed up, said Mata, whose company, Mega Force Staffing Group Inc., mainly focuses on manufacturing jobs. In other cases, candidates have gone through the staffing company’s onboarding process, only to not show up on their start date.

William Spriggs, an economist at Howard University and the chief economist for the AFL-CIO, said the issue isn’t as simple as the unemployed being able to receive more benefits. He says the economy has changed.

He said he didn’t think the job-search requirement is bad, but it won’t solve the labor shortage.

“Matching workers to employers isn’t as easy as people think, which is what some of these employers are finding out,” Spriggs said.

There might be a lot of jobs available, but in some cases they don’t fit for the unemployed with specialized work skills.

“I am a master technician with 30 years experience. You think I am going to go work in a pet store?” said Harry Chaikin, an out-of-work stagehand from Burlington, Vermont, who lost his job last year when the theater where he works stopped offering performances.

Chaikin says he is eager to return to work when theaters resume normal performances. He’s receiving unemployment, including the $300 supplemental benefit, but he’s still months behind in his rent.

“The sense of optimism I feel is that human nature being what it is, I know that sooner or later people are going to gather again in big groups to be entertained, and when that happens I will have work,” he said.

And people are still losing their jobs.

Crystal Dvorak, 41, an audiologist in Billings, Montana, with two teenage daughters, weathered a furlough early in the pandemic, dipping deep into her savings, only to find out last month that she would lose her job when the clinic where she worked for nearly nine years had been sold.

Gianforte announced on June 27 the $300 benefit would end, Dvorak’s second day of unemployment.

“It had me in tears,” she said.

After learning that unemployment benefits would be discontinued and replaced with a return-to-work, one-time bonus of $1,200, Dvorak began applying for waitressing jobs, even though it could complicate her search.

“Knowing that change is coming, I’m having to be open to other positions,” she said. “I have shown interest in more jobs in the last week than I have applied for my entire 25 years of working.”

Associated Press writers Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia, Iris Samuels in Helena, Montana, Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, and statehouse reporters across the country contributed.

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Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.





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Bob Dylan artwork to go on display in the U.S. this year



The largest collection of Bob Dylan’s artwork ever seen will go on display later this year in the U.S.

“Retrospectum” spans six decades of Dylan’s art, featuring more than 120 of the artist’s paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Building on the original “Retrospectum” exhibition that premiered in Shanghai, China, in 2019, the new version will include new, never-before-seen pieces and additional artworks from a brand-new series called “American Pastoral.”

Debuting in Miami at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum on Nov. 30, 2021, “Retrospectum” will run through April 17, 2022. So far, Miami is the only stop announced.

Much of Dylan’s work reflects his constant travels through the United States and a deep affinity for the American scene. This new series is no exception.

One addition – “One Too Many” from 2020 – features a man slumped over a smoky bar counter at the end of a night, and another “Subway Cityscape,” also from 2020, showcase’s Dylan’s love of industrial urban city scenes.

The veteran singer and Nobel laureate who turns 80 this month has seen a growing appreciation for his art since his debut exhibition, “The Drawn Blank Series,” was unveiled in Germany in 2007. His work has been shown in the National Portrait Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Denmark, the Palazzo Reale in Milan and the Shanghai exhibition at the Modern Art Museum, which was the most visited exhibition in the city in 2019.

Alongside the journey through Dylan’s artistic landscape, the new exhibition will include curated immersive and interactive displays of his music and literary works adding context of this multi-faceted talent and his impact on popular culture spanning over half a century.

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Special Qantas flight to see super moon and lunar eclipse


Qantas has unveiled a special moon viewing as its latest unusual flight experience.

On May 26, the flying kangaroo will conduct a three-hour scenic flight over Sydney before climbing to an altitude of 40,000 to view the last super moon and lunar eclipse for the year.

It’s the first time the airline has conducted an eclipse flight since its Boeing 747 in 2003 took passengers on a 14-hour round-trip to chase a total solar eclipse.

The voyage departing Sydney will be on one of Qantas’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners and is off the back of several recent one-offs put on by the airline, including mystery flights and scenic low level fly-bys.

A ticket for the experience costs for $499 for economy, $899 for premium economy and $1499 for business, with the fares expected to go on sale on Wednesday.

Roughly 130 tickets will be available.

Qantas chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said the recent mystery flights sold out in 15 minutes and were an indication Australians were looking for unique flying experiences.

“We are very excited to now be doing a super moon scenic flight and the 787 has the largest windows of any passenger aircraft so it’s ideal for moon gazing,” Ms Tully said.

“We think this flight has great appeal for anyone with a passion for astronomy, science, space photography, aviation or just keen to do something a little out of this world.”

What’s special about the lunar eclipse coinciding with a super moon is the moon will turn red against the night sky.

CSIRO is assisting Qantas pilots to determine the best flight path for the night to provide ample viewing for passengers.

The journey is expected to go over the Pacific Ocean and CSIRO astronomer Dr Vanessa Moss will be on the plane to provide further information about the rare spectacle.

At roughly 11.50am AEST on May 26, the moon will be at its closest to the earth, while the total lunar eclipse is set to occur between 9.11pm and 9.25pm.

The airline are also set to include a tailored moon-themed menu, including cosmic cocktails and super moon cakes.



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Things to do in remote NT town


It is emerging as a serious rival to tropical hot spots for holidays this year and it’s not hard to see why.

The outback town of Alice Springs is skyrocketing up the ranks of Australia’s most popular destinations, landing third on Skyscanner’s list of top trending locations for autumn and winter 2021 – right behind longtime favourites, the Whitsundays and Hamilton Island.

And while it might be a remote town with a small population, the action never stops.

One of the major stops along the Stuart Highway that cuts through the middle of the country, and at the foot of the sensational MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs is a major arts and cultural hub that hosts a full calendar of events and has plenty of places to find a good feed, from bush tucker-style fare to fine dining.

If you think you’ll be running out of things to do in Alice Springs, you’ll be wrong. These are some of experiences you can enjoy in and around town, and some of the annual events you might be lucky to catch while you’re there.

Explore the West Macs

An easy drive from Alice Springs is the ancient and majestic Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park, perfect for a day trip.

There are many gems to be found along the ranges, with the national park spanning a massive 250km of stunning landscape.

Stretching across almost all of it is the epic Larapinta Trail walking track. Bring your towel because there are plenty of incredible places to swim, including Ellery Creek Big Hole, Glen Helen Gorge and Ormiston Gorge.

Standley Chasm

Another highlight of the West Macs, 40 minutes from Alice Springs, is the must-see Standley Chasm, a striking geological feature known as Angkerle Atwatye in the Arrernte language.

Booking a cultural experience tour is the best way to learn about the geology, flora and fauna, cultural history and ancient stories of this sacred place, and get to know the traditional owners. As you walk to the chasm, put your ear to the trunks of the gum trees – you’ll hear them drink water.

Parrtjima Festival

A celebration of art, artists and thousands of years of culture from the central desert, Parrtjima: A Festival in Light is one of the true gems of Alice Springs.

For 10 nights each April, Alice Springs Desert Park comes alive with breathtaking light installations, live music, talks, workshops, events, with other activities and installations dotted across town.

A highlight is the nightly Ranges Show, a sound and light show projected onto a 2km stretch of the West MacDonnell Ranges. If you can, visit Alice Springs while this free event is on – it is unforgettable.

Cafe culture

Melbourne may claim to be the cafe capital of the country but Alice Springs has some pretty worthy contenders.

While you’re shopping for local art in the many galleries along Todd Street Mall, pop into The Bakery for one of its wildly famous pastries, pies and artisan breads.

For a long and lazy brunch, head to Page 27 Cafe, just off the mall – we can recommend the mushroom florentine, but it’s a tough job choosing from the impressive menu line-up.

Tatts Finke Desert Race

Alice Springs is gearing up right now for the hugely popular Tatts Fink Desert Race over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend on June 11-14, after it was cancelled last year due to COVID-19. The off-road, multi-terrain, two-day race will see all kinds of vehicles – bikes, cars, buggies and quads – tear through the desert from Alice Springs to the remote community of Aputula, drawing competitors across Australia.

Visit the website to see all the action we can expect from the race’s big return in 2021.

Bloody good craft beer

Other than water, nothing quenches that desert thirst quite like a cold one, and luckily Alice Springs Brewing Co. – the only brewery operating in the Red Centre – is right on hand to sort you out.

Just three years old, the Alice Springs brewery pumps out a range of ales, stout, kolsch and a delicious ginger beer you can enjoy at the brewery or at pubs all over town, like Monty’s Lounge. A new venue, Hideout at Star of Alice, has just opened up behind the brewery, where you can enjoy pub grub in a relaxed, outdoor setting.

A full calendar of events

Who knew the Red Centre was so full of activity? There are heaps of events and festivals happening throughout the rest of the year in Alice Springs, including: Dark Skies Festival (May 6-14), Alice Springs Beanie Festival (June 25-28), Run Larapinta (August 26-29), NT Writers Festival (August 26-29), Desert Mob (September 9 – October 24), Desert Song Festival (September 10-19) and the Alice Springs Desert Festival (September 23 – October 3).

Other highlights, which are due to return in 2022, include FABAlice Festival, Alice Springs Cup Carnival and the Wide Open Space festival.



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Flight 93 families hope heroism award helps keep story alive



HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Serene, stark and seemingly in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania, the National Park Service memorial to the people who died on United Airlines Flight 93 is hard to find on a map – as the Sept, 11, 2001, terrorist attack itself slips deeper into the nation’s collective memory.

And even schools that do teach about the day may only bring it up only on the anniversary, rather than as a point in a long arc of history and a turning point that left the U.S. irrevocably changed, 20 years later.

Families of Flight 93’s 40 passengers and crew members are trying something new to change that: an annual award for heroism. Nominations open Monday through the nonprofit group, Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial.

The award aims to reward selfless acts of heroism, but also to educate the public on what happened when those aboard the hijacked plane, bound for San Francisco, discovered that jets had been flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington.

The passengers and crew of Flight 93 then tried to wrest control of the aircraft, which crashed into a field, leaving no survivors – a sacrifice then-President George W. Bush called one of the most courageous acts in U.S. history, believed to have stopped a catastrophic crash into the White House or the Capitol.

The hope is to use the award to connect teachers to the Friends’ organization’s considerable teaching materials and historical records from the day, and bring it to classrooms, said Donna Gibson, a banking executive who, as president of the Friends organization, has given countless tours of the site tucked amid the wildflowers in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands.

By the time the 20th anniversary rolls around in four months, 75 million Americans will have been born in those two decades, the organization estimates.

That’s nearly a quarter of the country, and it shows.

“One of the questions I get when people visit is, ‘Was this a national park when the plane crashed here?’” Gibson said.

A Boy Scout troop touring the site were puzzled when they heard about the messages that passengers left on answering machines from the plane’s air phones. “What’s an answering machine?” they asked.

Another time, a group visiting the area for an ATV park were at a nearby restaurant asking the staff how they could fill their the next day there, unaware the memorial was so close by, Gibson recalled.

Flight 93 inspired a major motion picture, a Neil Young song and stack of books. But the worrisome thought for family members is the story of Flight 93 – and, along with it, the wider story of 9/11 – is being forgotten, including the decades of geopolitics that came before the attack and the dramatic change it created in American life.

It’s not taught thoroughly in schools.

Jeremy Stoddard, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, has studied since 2003 how 9/11 and its aftermath are taught in middle and high schools around the country.

“There hasn’t been a lot of good data on that, it’s very anecdotal,” Stoddard said.

There was an initial burst of materials for teachers that Stoddard and his colleagues found to be inconsistent and lacking detail in how 9/11 was explained. Little of the material addressed controversies or gave students assignments to help them explore the subjects, or mat they found.

In 2017, Stoddard and two colleagues found that one-third of states – 16 – had education standards that included no mention of the attacks, or any content related to terrorism or the war on terror. That could be because those states give broad guidance to teachers that do not include specifics dates, events or people.

But even for states that do mention the subject, standards are generally a guide for teachers and not a requirement, leaving teachers with substantial autonomy on how and what to teach.

In a 2019 survey of teachers and how they teach the subject, he heard many say they were seeing an increase in students repeating conspiracy theories about Sept. 11 in class.

Even educators who teach it are sometimes uncertain where to place the material, or in which course. The subject often gets tacked onto the end of U.S. history courses that go in chronological order.

Stoddard encourages teachers to use primary sources: letters, documents, photographs, television news recordings and audio recordings of first-person accounts.

Stoddard also encourages teachers to move beyond the anniversary, and teach the roots in history – going back to the redrawing of the borders of Middle East countries after World War 1 and the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s – and its lasting effect on American life, including foreign policy and domestic security.

“These kids don’t recognize how much … all the things that occurred as a result that have impacted their lives,” Stoddard said.

The families of Flight 93 victims also worry that the Flight 93 story is overshadowed by the stories of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Those memorials in New York and Washington – major urban centers, as opposed to a rural field – might pull in millions of visitors a year.

The Flight 93 memorial attracted 411,000 visitors in 2019, according to National Park Service figures. But it is also a click away online, with resources for teaching about Flight 93 and Sept. 11.

“The award is for things that were done in 2020, but how that ties back to 9/11 and Flight 93 and the resources that we have,” said Emily Schenkel, a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, resident whose godmother was an attendant on Flight 93. “So this is keeping that awareness and making these connections for younger people who either weren’t alive or don’t have a recollection of 9/11.”

___

Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timelywriter.

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Primary, junior high schools, courts, reopen in Greece



ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Primary and junior high schools reopened for in-person classes in Greece Monday for the first time in months, as the country continues to ease coronavirus-related restrictions, despite daily infections and deaths remaining stubbornly high.

Courts also restarted many of their activities, with civil courts reopening to all cases and criminal courts now hearing cases involving defendants already in custody and any cases reaching the statute of limitations by the end of next year.

Long lines developed outside the courthouse in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Monday morning as lawyers, witnesses, defendants and court staff arrived for their cases. Limits have been placed on the number of people inside each courtroom, although in large cases with multiple defendants, the courts struggled to adhere to the restrictions.

Greece has been under coronavirus-related restrictions since early November, but has gradually begun easing the measures as it gears up for the vital summer tourist season. Restaurants, bars and cafes opened last week for outdoor seated service for the first time since November, while retail stores have also reopened on an appointment basis.

The gradual reopening comes despite new infections and COVID-19 deaths remaining high, straining Greece’s health system and putting intensive care units near capacity. As of Sunday the country of nearly 11 million people has 362,000 confirmed cases and just over 11,000 deaths.

The government has announced that domestic travel between regions will restart at the end of this week, when museums will also reopen, while open-air movie theaters reopen next week.

“On May 14, an extremely important step will be taken, both for society and for the economy, with the opening of the tourism sector and the resumption of domestic regional travel,” government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said Monday.

“The resumption of economic and social activities will be done gradually, carefully, with strict surveillance of individual and collective defense measures, as the virus remains very much among us,” she added.

The tourism industry is a major revenue source for Greece, and the government has been hoping international visitors will help boost state coffers and bolster an economy still suffering the aftermath of a decade-long financial crisis that saw the country’s gross domestic product shrink by a quarter.

All school grades are now open. Students and teachers are required to carry out home self-tests for COVID-19 twice a week and upload the results on a web-based platform to be allowed to attend classes in person. The tests are provided free of charge from pharmacies, and the same requirement has been extended to workers in several sectors that have reopened.

Giorgos Papanikolaou, mayor of the southern Athens suburb of Glyfada, said schools had been preparing to welcome students back and were completely ready. “Since the beginning of the school year in all of the schools in our city we have had temperature reading machines, medical supplies, double and triple shifts for cleaning staff,” he said. “Whatever is needed, we stand by the side of the educational community, the students, the parents, the teachers.”

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Australian judge upholds temporary ban on Indian travel



SYDNEY (AP) – An Australian judge on Monday rejected a challenge to a temporary COVID-19 ban on citizens returning from India.

The government imposed the Indian travel ban on April 30 to relieve pressure on quarantine facilities for returned international travelers. The ban will be lifted on Friday when a government-chartered plane is expected to repatriate 150 of the 9,000 Australians in India who want to come home.

Federal Court Justice Tom Thawley dismissed the first two parts of a four-pronged challenge to the ban initiated by 73-year-old Australian Gary Newman who has been stranded since March last year in the Indian city of Bangalore.

The second two parts are based on constitutional grounds so require more notice for a court hearing than Newman’s application last week for an urgent hearing allowed.

The hearing was initiated before the government announced that six chartered flights would bring Australians home before the end of May. The government has yet to decide when commercial flights will resume.

The ban is the first time that Australia’s Biosecurity Act has been used to prevent Australians from returning home.

Newman’s lawyers had argued the ban violated a fundamental common law right of citizens to enter their country of citizenship.

Thawley ruled that the Biosecurity Act was intended to impinge on common law rights.

Australia has used its geographic isolation as an island nation to its advantage in fighting the pandemic. It has been among the most successful countries in preventing the virus’s local spread. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are returned travelers diagnosed while in 14-day quarantine.

The Federal Court has yet to rule on a challenge to Australia’s tight restrictions on its citizens leaving the country for fear that they would bring the virus home.

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Leopard on the loose in eastern China after zoo escape



BEIJING (AP) – Authorities in eastern China were still hunting for the last of three leopards that escaped from a safari park, officials said Monday, while the park was facing criticism for concealing the breakout for nearly a week.

The three leopards from the Hangzhou Safari Park were spotted by villagers as early as May 1, according to the state-owned Global Times newspaper. However, the safari park only reported the missing leopards and alerted the public on Saturday.

Two of the leopards have already been captured, and are in good health, officials said. It is unclear how the leopards managed to escape.

Efforts to capture the last leopard were ongoing as of Sunday night, according to a statement posted Monday by the Hangzhou local government on its official WeChat account.

Those searching for the animal were using equipment such as drones as well as hunting dogs.

The leopard was spotted by a drone early Sunday, but fled when people attempted to approach it, according to the Global Times.

The delay in announcing the escape sparked criticism that the safari park had put people at risk, especially since the leopards were at large over the five-day Labor Day holidays in China with hordes of tourists visiting the city of Hangzhou. Hangzhou is one of China’s most popular tourist cities, famed for its tea plantations and the scenic West Lake.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the leopards’ escape and have questioned the personnel in charge at the safari park.

The safari park said it was “sincerely sorry” for not announcing the incident sooner, according to a statement on its Weibo microblogging account Saturday. As the young leopards were believed to be less aggressive, the park said it did not make the announcement to prevent causing panic among the public.

The safari park has been temporarily closed while it reviews safety and management issues.

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