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New Zealand again sits at the top of the list of the world’s most democratic countries | Instant News

The Economist’s annual Democracy Index has placed New Zealand fourth out of 165 independent countries and territories. Photo / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand was once again in the top five list in the international ranking of the world’s most democratic countries, but failed to improve last year’s position.

The Economist’s annual Democracy Index has placed New Zealand fourth out of 165 independent countries and territories, giving it an almost perfect score of 9.25 / 10.

But, for the first time in a decade, New Zealand’s score has slumped – albeit only slightly.

Between 2010-2019, New Zealand scored a consistent figure of 9.26 each year. But 2020’s 0.01 percent drop has no impact on New Zealand’s overall ranking on the list.

Scandinavian countries dominate the top ten, with Norway at the top, followed by Iceland and Sweden.

Australia is ninth, with a score of 8.96 and Iran is the least democratic country on the list, with a score of only 2.2.

New Zealand’s ranking places it in the “full democracy” category on the list – in contrast, a US score of 7.92 places it in the “flawed democracy” category.

The report noted that New Zealand and Australia have always enjoyed “full democracy” status – “although their scores have dropped slightly over the year”.

He also noted the fact that New Zealand had a “peaceful democracy” last year – a year the report described as “chaos”.

But apart from this brief reference, this 75-page report provides few details on New Zealand.

This gives the country a perfect score of 10 in terms of electoral process and its pluralism, but 8.93 when it comes to scores of a functioning Government.

However, this figure is still higher than most of the other countries on the list.
The main focus of the report is on a tumultuous year in the US.

Although the overall score did not change dramatically, the report said the overall score appeared stable and the US position was “deceptive”.

The US political engagement score rose but its overall performance was held back by a number of weaknesses.

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These include a very low level of trust in political institutions and parties; severe dysfunction in government functions and increasing threats to freedom of expression.

“What is more worrying is that public confidence in the democratic process will be further hit in 2020 by the refusal of the outgoing president to accept the election results,” the report said.

“Trump and his allies continue to accuse voter fraud long after the elections are over, without producing plausible evidence to support their claims and in the face of court rulings against them.”


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GO NZ: Te Araroa changed my life walking across New Zealand | Instant News


Laura Waters, pictured at Masons Hut, the last shack on the South Island on the Te Araroa Trail. Photo / Laura Waters

My eyes cloud as I think about the time I walked from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Here it is again, my friends must be thinking as I talk about the joys, tribulations, and amazing sights encountered during a 3000 km journey through this country. As far as a once-in-a-lifetime trip, setting foot in Te Araroa has been transformative, and its long-term effects on my life have only made it even more memorable. With the challenges of today’s world, fleeing into the wild is again a tantalizing choice.

Long-distance lines are gaining popularity around the world and in 2011 New Zealand launched its own line, a linear route connecting many pre-existing lines with several new links. In the north it winds from the west coast to the east and back again, via secluded beaches, mossy forest, the volcanic desert of Tongariro National Park, and knife-tipped ridges across the Tararua Mountains. To the south, a more direct route up and along the dramatic Southern Alps is required. About once a week, sometimes more often, the walkway intersects the city where hot showers and general stores offer the opportunity to refresh and recharge.

The Te Araroa Trail takes hikers across the country, from remote beaches in the North, to country tracks in the South.  Photo / Laura Waters
The Te Araroa Trail takes hikers across the country, from remote beaches in the North, to country tracks in the South. Photo / Laura Waters

When I left in 2013, Te Araroa was an unknown quantity, a trail that few people have managed to complete. Even though I had walked a dozen or more days under my belt, none were even more than 65 km so it was an experiment with fire on body and mind. I need it. After the closure of toxic relationships and the stress of city life, my world has been taken over by crippling anxiety and depression, the symptoms miraculously and magically disappearing within weeks of being immersed in the peace and simplicity of nature.

Then I fixed a problem I wasn’t even aware of. Walking the trails, I face countless challenges: steep, open mountains, sudden blizzards, a number of unobstructed river crossings, dubious trail signs, shoulder dislocations and, not least, loss of hiking companions. I got injured on the second day. But in overcoming this challenge I found a hitherto untapped inner intellect and courage. I learned to adapt to the environment, listen to my heart’s content and overcome fear. I found I was able to do more than I realized and I noticed how little you need to be happy – food, shelter, and a bag of belongings is enough. It is clear that life can be fun if you simplify it and eliminate the “noise.” The insights gained during those five months changed my life forever, leading to a career change and a substantial re-establishment of personal beliefs and worldviews.

Upper Travers Hut in Nelson Lakes National Park, one of the DoC huts on the Te Araroa trail.  Photo / Laura Waters
Upper Travers Hut in Nelson Lakes National Park, one of the DoC huts on the Te Araroa trail. Photo / Laura Waters

Taking the entire route will give you an experience like no other, but if you can’t spare the time or energy to wade the 3000 km, consider climbing the section, taking bite-sized stages over a long period of time. Alternatively, choose an interesting part of the cherry. The stretch from St Arnaud to Boyle Village, across from Nelson’s Lake National Park on the South Island, really evokes a few tears from me as I see its beautiful snow-capped mountains, fast-flowing rivers and vast boulder fields.

A solitary prostitute descending towards Lake Tekapo on the Te Araroa Line.  Photo / Laura Waters
A solitary prostitute descending towards Lake Tekapo on the Te Araroa Line. Photo / Laura Waters

If you’re curious to know what it’s like to have the beach all to yourself for four days, the first 100 kilometers south of Cape Reinga follows the secluded golden trail of Ninety Mile Beach. Mount Pirongia, in Waikato, marks the first true mountain range for hikers to the south and a two-day portion of its steep green mossy cliffs. Real delights are lesser-known finds such as the stunning jungle on North Island Hakarimata Road or Telford Tops on the Takitimu Trail to the south. The four-day Mavora Walkway, south of Queenstown, is also renowned for its lakes, mountains, beech forest and amazing sense of isolation.

The highlight of the trail – which incidentally doesn’t involve walking – is the 200 kilometers paddling up the Whanganui River. Kayaks and canoes can be rented at Taumarunui for a six-day paddle out to sea in Whanganui. About 200 rapids are scattered along the route, light enough for beginners to traverse yet foamy enough to get their heart racing. In some places, the river carves its way through steep-sided canyon walls dotted with ferns and gushing waterfalls, and campsites overlooking snaking water are some of the most beautiful places I have ever come across.

The Te Araroa Trail passes through the misty and misty forests of the Tararua Mountains.  Photo / Laura Waters
The Te Araroa Trail passes through the misty and misty forests of the Tararua Mountains. Photo / Laura Waters

Most of the nights on the North Island are spent in tents, but on the South Island, hikers can make use of many DoC huts on their way, especially when the weather turns challenging. Buying an inland cottage entry ticket will give you access to all the huts on the trail and while some have all the sophistication and comfort of a garden shed, others are double-layered masterpieces with cozy wood-burning stoves and five-star views.

I’m not going to cover it with sugar, walk all day, every day, need a little energy. I made it past the 10kg Whittakers in the five months it took me to complete the trail and I’m still losing weight (ah, those were the days). Te Araroa is also not for the faint of heart. The terrain is quite challenging at times and can be exposed to bad weather, but nothing compares to the feeling of being completely connected to the mainland as you peer through your flying tent as the moon rises over the remote Ahuriri River Valley. Or the shadow of a killer whale’s dorsal fin slicing through the surface of Queen Charlotte Sound as you follow the ridge trail above. Or a softer owl chirp in the dark northern forest night. Moments like magic make the trouble worth it.

Laura Waters is the author of Bewildered’s memoir, about her 3,000km hike along New Zealand.


The Te Araroa Trail stretches 3000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff and takes between 4-6 months to complete. Topographic maps, track records and further information can be downloaded from teararoa.org.nz

For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com

This story was first published in the New Zealand Herald Travel on October 1

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Buy once, buy well? Prince Charles launched a sustainable and expensive fashion line | Instant News

Entering the world of fashion is difficult at any age, but especially difficult for older people. But ahead of his 72nd birthday, Prince Charles has launched a sustainable clothing line.

“I have always believed in the ‘buy once, buy well’ philosophy,” the Prince of Wales told the Telegraph newspaper in an interview. In another interview with Vogue magazine, the Prince of Wales talked about how he hates to throw away anything and prefers to fix things that are outdated.

Under the new line of price tags, most people who buy clothes have to be greener and wear the same clothes over and over again simply because they can’t afford anything else.

Only one item in the 18-piece collection that debuted in collaboration with Yoox Net-a-Porter for less than $ 500 – a women’s cord-knitted cashmere turtleneck sweater for $ 475.

Merino wool coat and cashmere blends? Be prepared to pay around $ 1,500.

Charles and his educational charity have teamed up to create the Modern Artisan Project, which aims to promote the skills of British and Italian students in textiles, according to a statement from the foundation.

Profits from the collection will be donated to support The Prince’s Foundation, according to the Net-a-Porter website.


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Alternative medicine is no longer an ‘outsider’ in the Swiss health system | Instant News

(MENAFN – Swissinfo) After being on the edge of the health care system, increasing public demand for complementary drugs has led to increased regulation in an effort to eliminate bad apples and improve patient safety. This is the result of many trials and errors.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic became a very tiring topic, the Swiss Cantonese central government in Lucerne was preoccupied with changing its health law. (Health problems are under the scope of 26 Swiss cantons which often means a lack of uniformity throughout the country).

In early March, a new draft of the Lucerne health law was presented with one main objective: introducing work permits for alternative medicine practitioners in the fields of homeopathy, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and European Traditional Medicine.

‘These practices pose certain health risks to the population. With the introduction of authorization requirements, the canton of Lucerne wants to ensure that only people who meet certain minimum professional skills are active, “Alexander Duss from the Lucerne cantonment of health department told swissinfo.ch.

But such conditions existed before and were revoked. In 2006, Lucerne decided to remove the previous work license requirements for alternative health practitioners. At that time there were too many different courses for the authorities to verify professional qualifications, according to Hanspeter Vogler, head of the canton of Lucerne health department.

In the end, because it cannot guarantee uniform quality in this sector, the canton decided to leave it up to patients to determine whether their professional choice for treatment was the right one or not.

Homeopathy in Switzerland Why alternative therapies are covered by health insurance

Switzerland swam against the tide with its decision to provide complementary therapy the same status as conventional medicine. Is this a case …

By Ying Zhang and Jie Guo Zehnder Look in another language: 9 Look in other languages: 9 Language: 9

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Everything changed in 2009 as a result of Switzerland’s direct democratic system. That year, two-thirds of Swiss citizens chose to include alternative medicines in the list of constitutional services covered by health insurance. Integrated for the first time in 1999, they were not included in the government’s list in 2005 amid rising national health costs by using the argument that they failed to meet the criteria of efficacy, cost effectiveness and suitability.

As a result of the 2009 ballot, five alternative therapies – homeopathy, holistic medicine, herbal medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine – were included in the basic health insurance package (mandatory for all Swiss residents) based on trials provided they were managed by a certified medical doctor. This step brings alternative medicine back into the fold of public health services. The authorities can no longer ignore it now because it once again accounts for a portion of the national health costs.

So they began to develop a standard national-level examination – for practitioners who are not doctors – that would lead to a federal diploma. Starting in 2015, naturopaths in the fields of homeopathy, Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine and European traditional medicine can obtain diplomas that are recognized throughout the country.

“It’s always beneficial to have uniformity because health insurance companies are rather slow when it comes to changing care under complementary drug insurance packages. They are also under pressure to cut costs, ‘said Franz Rutz, president of the Ayurveda Ayurveda umbrella umbrella association.

The introduction of federal diplomas also encouraged many cantons – such as Lucerne – to introduce or reintroduce work licenses for naturopaths. To get it, Naturopaths must submit their personal details and a copy of their federal diploma.

Opportunities and challenges

Official licenses mean that those who get a federal diploma in naturopathy are exempt from paying value added tax (VAT). They are also automatically included in the National Register of Health Professionals and are considered health care workers: a big jump because they are on the periphery.

“With a territorial work permit, we are included in the primary health care system, for example now during the Covid-19 crisis, we are allowed to continue working,” said Alexandra Nievergelt, vice president of the Swiss Professional Organization for Traditional Chinese Medicine, noting that naturopaths must also comply with the rules and the same limits as doctors in the middle of coronavirus.

Holistic Medicine

Ayurveda gets a nod from the Swiss government

Practitioners of traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine will soon be able to get a national diploma recognized by the federal government after passing the exam. They …

By Anand Chandrasekhar 4 There are 4 comments.

He said that work licenses have also helped enable alternative medicine practitioners to participate in health projects with other medical professionals, something that was previously impossible.

On the other hand, changes to the territorial licensing system raise questions about the fate of those who do not have a federal diploma and are therefore not eligible to get a license to practice.

“We welcome the territorial work permit for the future because it helps ensure that only qualified practitioners work in our field,” Nievergelt said. “Even so we certainly want to make sure that today’s practitioners can continue to work.”

Lucerne has proposed giving practitioners five years of protection to get their federal diploma but some are not happy to sit for the exam even after gaining decades of experience in their fields. Disagreement over the exam has also caused branch groups among practitioners. For example, Ayurveda in Switzerland is now represented by four different associations and two schools because practitioners disagree about the way forward.

But it seems it’s too late for those who oppose licensing, because the waves have turned to standardization and homegenisation of alternative medicine in Switzerland. Acupuncturists already need licenses in 20 of the 26 Swiss cantons and Ayurveda therapists need one in 18 cantons (though most cantons speak French do not need it).

‘This is about having clarity about the quality of practitioners. They must have the right educational background, be able to make an accurate and competent diagnosis to provide health care, ‘said Rutz.

Alternative medicine: insurance and diploma

Five alternative therapies – homeopathic, holistic, herbal, and nerve therapy and traditional Chinese medicine – are included in the Swiss basic health insurance package. Treatment costs are reimbursed with basic insurance only if managed by a doctor.

The cost of all alternative and complementary therapies will only be reimbursed if the patient chooses a separate complementary health insurance package that costs extra. However, not all disciplines are recognized by insurance companies.

Two types of federal diplomas in alternative medicine are offered. Sophisticated is a naturopath where diploma holders can diagnose diseases and prescribe treatments such as herbal preparations. Disciplines that are recognized include homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and European traditional medicine. Practitioners who have this naturopathic diploma can obtain a citizenship work license.

The second category of federal diplomas is the complementary therapist category. Holders provide special care such as oil massage for healthy people or people with minor illnesses but they are not permitted to diagnose the disease. Disciplines recognized by the government include yoga, shiatsu, craniosacral therapy, and eutony.

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Dual Pandemic: Black Americans Face Two Deadly Viruses Hitting Together | Instant News

(Photo: Reuters) General Surgeon Jerome Adams raised his inhaler as President Donald Trump watched during the coronavirus daily response briefing in Washington

When AIDS first invaded the black community in the late 1980s, it only started as a strange-sounding disease that only other people get. Then suddenly, the virus attacks black people with such ferocity that many victims begin to die alone and separated from their families. Health workers are confused because the virus cannot be stopped.

That’s how Perneessa Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm in Gilead, Inc., described AIDS during that time when she worked as an immunologist at Harlem Hospital.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, the same pattern is clearly visible when the virus attacks Chicago, New York, Detroit, New Orleans, and other places in the United States. For black people who are more likely to die of HIV / AIDS than other groups in the US, it feels like a double pandemic, because both viruses attack at once.

“This corona virus is dangerous, and relentless. It doesn’t matter if you have HIV. It will fight HIV for you – two viruses to control your death,” Seele said.

The dual pandemic thinking that occurred in the black community caused some black activists and health officials to shudder. Although, it is still too early to know how many people with HIV die from COVID-19.

This makes COVID-19 even more scary because it adds another devastating burden, according to Gregorio Millett, vice president and director of public policy for amfAR.

Read: COVID-19 Patients are more likely to die in the US with higher levels of air pollution

It seems that when white people catch a cold, black people get pneumonia; and every time a disease afflicts America, black people will get worse disease. That is a popular saying in the black community that reveals historical patterns.

Black people more likely than other American groups to have health problems like diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. Also, they are more likely to live in poverty and have lower access to health insurance, according to statistics. It’s no wonder why they don’t trust healthcare providers any more.

This explains why 42% of new HIV cases in the United States in 2018 also come from the black community even though they only make up 13% of the US population, according to the CDC.

Fortunately, people living with HIV live longer due to advances in care and treatment. However, many black people cannot afford the treatment. This is one of the many reasons along with the underlying health condition why many victims are black coronaviruses.

In Chicago, 30% of the population consists of black Americans but consists of 72% of COVID-19 patients who die of the virus.

Compared to HIV / AIDS, there are several reasons for optimism about stopping the spread of the corona virus in the black community.

For example, stigma has been attached to victims of HIV / AIDS, especially during the 1980s. But not in people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Many people from the black community contracted the corona virus because most of them held service jobs as grocery store employees, bus drivers, or nurse aids. Americans today praise them because they do not have the opportunity to work from home.

Moreover, many public health officials are leading the fight against the pandemic including Dr. Anthony Fauci, is the same person who helped reduce the death rate from AIDS.

Also Read: Breakthrough: Coronavirus Blood Victim Helps Patients Get Out of Ventilator in Just Two Days!

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