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Fifteen people leave cave after 40 days with no phones or contact with friends and family – and most want to go back | World News

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Fifteen people have emerged from a cave in France after six weeks there in isolation for an experiment – only for most of them to say they wanted to go back in.

The group entered the vast Lombrives cave in the Pyrenees mountains south of Toulouse for an experiment dubbed “Deep Time”, during which they had no phones, watches or natural light.

The eight men and seven women, aged 27 to 50, were taking part in a study investigating the effects of extreme isolation, and had to adapt to a constant temperature of 12C and 95% humidity – with only their tents for privacy.

Christian Clot/Twitter
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The group before entering the cave… Pic: Christian Clot/Twitter
Members of the French team that participated in the 'Deep Time' study after exiting the Lombrives Cave. Pic: AP
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…and after leaving. Pic: AP

With no clocks, the participants counted their days by sleep cycles – and many of them miscalculated how long they had been there and thought they had another week to 10 days to go.

Scientists monitoring them were forced to enter the cave to tell the group they would be coming out.

With big smiles on their pale faces, the 15 left the cave to a round of applause while wearing special glasses to protect their eyes after so long in the dark.

“It’s really warm!” said one.

But although the participants looked visibly tired, two-thirds of them expressed a desire to remain underground a bit longer so they could finish group projects started during the expedition, Benoit Mauvieux, a chronobiologist involved in the research, said.

The cave dwellers had no contact with the outside world, no updates on the pandemic or any communication with friends and family above ground.

Participants in the study during their time in the cave. Pic: AP
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Participants in the study during their time in the cave. Pic: AP

Scientists at the Human Adaption Institute leading the 1.2 million-euro (£1m) project say the experiment will help them better understand how people adapt to drastic changes in living conditions and environments, something much of the world can relate to due to COVID.

The researchers monitored the group’s sleep patterns, social interactions and behavioural reactions via sensors.

The sensors included a tiny thermometer inside a capsule that participants swallowed like a pill. It then measured body temperature and transmitted data to a portable computer until being expelled naturally.

Project director Christian Clot said: “It’s really interesting to observe how this group synchronises themselves.”

He added that working together on projects and organising tasks without being able to set a time to meet was especially challenging.

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Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to run in upcoming elections despite ban – reports | World News

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Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will run for office again in upcoming elections in June, state television has reported.

Broadcast footage showed Mr Ahmadinejad marching alongside supporters to a registration centre at the interior ministry where he filled out forms.

In recent years, Mr Ahmadinejad has tried to polish his hardline image into a more centrist candidacy.

The Holocaust-denying former leader was previously banned from running for the presidency by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2017 – although he registered anyway.

Mr Khamenei said he will not oppose the nomination of any candidate, although the electoral council may still block Mr Ahmadinejad from running.

In either case, the populist’s return to the political scene may energise discontent among hardliners who seek a tougher stance against the West – particularly Israel and the US.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently said Iran would abide by the agreement if the US and other countries did
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Relative moderate Hassan Rouhani will not be running again due to term limits. File pic

Iran opened election registration on Tuesday, kicking off the race as uncertainty looms over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers, and tensions remain high with the west.

President Hassan Rouhani cannot run again due to term limits, yet with the poll just a month away, no immediate favourite has emerged among the many rumoured candidates.

There also appears to be little interest in the vote by a public crushed by sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.

Nevertheless, many view the country’s hardliners as rising in power – even as the US under President Joe Biden tries to find a way to re-enter the atomic accord.

Whoever wins the 18 June vote will take over from Mr Rouhani, a relative moderate within the Islamic Republic whose two four-year terms began with Iran reaching the nuclear deal.

His time in office now draws to a close with the accord unravelled after the US unilaterally withdrew from it under former president Donald Trump in 2018.

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Israeli PM Netanyahu: Hamas ‘will pay heavy price’ as violence continues | World News

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Hamas “will pay a heavy price for their belligerence” as the country steps up its attacks on the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, the Israeli military destroyed a building used by the militant group, killing at least three militants, as Palestinian rockets continued to fall on parts of Israel.

It is the heaviest fighting between the two enemies since 2014.

A man in Gaza is comforted after one of his relatives died in the violence
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People in Gaza mourned loved ones killed in the violence

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address: “We are at the height of a weighty campaign.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad paid… and will pay a very heavy price for their belligerence.”

He said Israel would “continue to attack with full force”, adding: “This campaign will take time”.

“With determination, unity and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel.”

Israeli medics treat a man injured in the airstrikes. Pic: AP
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Israeli medics treat a man injured in the airstrikes. Pic: AP

Five Israelis, including three women and a child, were killed by rocket fire on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, and dozens of people were injured.

The death toll in Gaza rose to 35 Palestinians, including 10 children, according to the health ministry, with more than 200 people wounded.

The violence began last weekend at the al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism.

Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians who threw stones and chairs back at them.

At times, police fired stun grenades into the carpeted mosque.

Streaks of light are seen in Ashkelon as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel
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Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from Gaza

On Monday evening, Hamas began firing rockets from Gaza and the conflict escalated rapidly.

Hamas’ exiled leader, Ismail Haniyeh, blamed Israel, saying: “It’s the Israeli occupation that set Jerusalem on fire, and the flames reached Gaza.”

Hamas said it had fired 210 rockets towards Tel Aviv and its suburbs, where residents had to run into air raid shelters as sirens blared and anti-rocket interceptors were seen overhead on Tuesday.

Homes in Gaza shook under the weight of the Israeli attacks, with at least 30 explosions in just minutes early on Wednesday.

Palestinians and Israeli police clash at al-Aqsa mosque o n Jerusalem Day.
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Palestinians and Israeli police clashed at al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem Day.

UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted: “Stop the fire immediately.

“We’re escalating towards a full scale war.

“Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation.

“The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. The UN is working with all sides to restore calm.

“Stop the violence now.”

A number of factors have stoked tensions in the decades-long conflict to their worst in years, said Sky’s correspondent Mark Stone earlier this week.

An Israeli app that monitors rocket fire shows the extent of the attack in Tel-Aviv
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An Israeli app that monitors rocket fire shows the extent of the attacks in Tel-Aviv

Palestinians were angry at an Israeli police decision, at the start of Ramadan, to barricade the seating area outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.

There is also the issue of Sheikh Jarrah, the East Jerusalem neighbourhood where Palestinian families are fighting a court battle with Jewish settlers who want to take their homes, claiming the land is historically theirs.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed it as their own, but most of the international community considers it to be occupied land.

Monday was also Jerusalem Day, marking the moment when Israel took control of the city.

A march by hundreds of nationalist Israelis was changed on Monday evening to avoid going through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

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Duke and Duchess of Sussex announce partnership with Procter & Gamble – a company she once called sexist | US News

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Decades after criticising Procter & Gamble as a child, the Duchess of Sussex and her husband have announced a partnership with the firm.

Meghan and Harry’s Archewell Foundation confirmed a long-term relationship with the American multi-national consumer goods company on Tuesday.

It will focus on gender equality, inclusive online spaces, resilience and impact through sport.

As an 11-year-old, Meghan had written to Procter & Gamble to complain about the sexist language used in a TV advert.

Her letter-writing campaign objected to a dish soap commercial which included the line: “Mothers around America are fighting greasy pots and pans”.

She appeared in an interview with Nick News in 1993 to talk about her campaign, saying she was “furious” about the advert.

She added: “When they heard this, the boys in my class started saying: ‘Yeah that’s where women belong – in the kitchen’.”

Meghan successfully lobbied the firm to change the line from “mothers around America” to “people all over America”.

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding their son Archie, meets with Anglican Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu, and his wife Leah in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. The royal couple are on the third day of their African tour. (Henk Kruger/African News Agency via AP, Pool)
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Harry and Meghan and their son Archie now live in the US. Pic: AP

Announcing the partnership, the Archewell website said: “Archewell Foundation believes that with community, and through compassionate service to others, we can unleash systemic cultural change.

“In service of doing this, and building more compassionate communities, Archewell Foundation announced a multi-year global partnership today with Procter & Gamble.”

The website said the partnership would “elevate the voices of adolescent girls” to ensure “their point of view and lived experience is heard at the tables where decisions are made”.

It also vowed to work with men and boys to encourage gender equality.

On their son Archie's birthday the couple called for vaccine equality
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On their son Archie’s birthday the couple called for vaccine equality

The foundation said it will build on joint aspirations with P&G, which it worked with in support of Global Citizen’s Vax live concert, in aid of the international COVID-19 vaccination effort.

Procter & Gamble owns brands such as Oral B, Gillette, Pampers and Tampax, and reported net sales in 2019 of $67.7bn (£47.8bn).

On its website, it said: “We’ve also been inspired by the mission of the Archewell Foundation and its founders, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, that with community, and through compassionate service to others, we can drive systemic cultural change, benefiting everyone.”

Harry and Meghan quit as senior working royals in March last year.

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