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Millions of people in Britain admit to making costly car mistakes

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a car being driven through the snow in the UK
Survey shows that 45% of Brits have driven without making sure that their screens and mirrors were properly clear

As winter takes hold and temperatures start to drop, a recent research by Aviva reveals the most common mistakes drivers could be making when it comes to getting behind the wheel this winter.

The research, which surveyed 2,000 Brits, reveals that more than a quarter (28%) are leaving their cars running to de-ice screens, with older generations most likely to take the risk. Over a third of those aged 75+ (41%) and those aged 65-74 (34%) leave their car on to de-ice screens, compared to 17% of 18-24 year-olds and 24% of 25-34 year-olds.

By doing so, Brits may be unwittingly putting themselves at risk with most car insurance policies excluding thefts of vehicles while the engine is still running. This is also an offence under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which states that drivers cannot leave vehicles running and unattended while on a public highway, otherwise known as ‘quitting’.

When looking at visibility, the research reveals that almost half (45%) of Brits have driven without making sure that their screens and mirrors were properly clear. By doing so, motorists could also be risking a fine under Section 229 of the Highway Code, which states that all drivers ‘must be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all windows’.

The top 10 winter driving habits that could cause issues:

1. I have left my car running to de-ice the screen and warm it up:  28%
2. I have driven in gloves:  21%
3. I have driven in a big winter coat:  20%
4. I have driven even though there is snow on the top of my car:  19%
5. I have driven even though the screen was not fully de-iced or de-misted:  16%
6. I have driven without checking that my number plate was clear:  16%
7. I have driven even though the screen wasn’t clear:  15%
8. I have driven even though I was too tired: 14%
9. I have driven even though the mirrors weren’t fully clear:  14%
10. I have driven through floodwater or a ford:  13%

“While we all want to get to our next destination as quickly as possible, it pays to be safe, particularly as the risk of an accident typically increases during the winter months. Spending five or ten minutes to prepare your car means that not only are you more likely to avoid an accident, but also a hefty fine – which can be as much as £1,000 – points on your licence or even a driving ban in the worst case scenario”, says Martin Smith, Motor Claims Manager at Aviva.

Other British driving habits include leaving the car unlocked to quickly pop into somewhere (13%), pouring boiling water over a car windscreen to de-ice it (11%) as well as wearing inappropriate footwear such as heels (9%) or wellies/snowboots (7%). Those driving whilst wearing inappropriate clothing and footwear could also risk a fine under Rule 97 of the Highway code which states that you should ensure: ‘clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’.

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New era for tennis in Kazakhstan as juniors reach international level

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Amir Omarkhanov is first Kazakh player to ever reach the Australian Open Junior Championship quarterfinals
Amir Omarkhanov is first Kazakh player to ever reach the Australian Open Junior Championship quarterfinals

Elena Rybakina’s victory at Wimbledon in 2022 was a milestone for tennis in Kazakhstan. Her success caused a mixed reaction, however, raising questions among many observers.

Where were all the tennis players who had been developed in Kazakhstan? Would any of the juniors trained at tennis centres across the country be able to play for national teams, and did Kazakhstan even have a pool of homegrown talent?

To answer these questions, you just need to look at the world rankings. Ten Kazakhstanis finished the 2023 season in the top 100. While some of the players that compete for Kazakhstan in the professional rankings were born elsewhere, all the players in the junior rankings were born and trained in Kazakhstan. Amir Omarkhanov, who in 2024 became the first Kazakh player to ever reach the Australian Open Junior Championship quarterfinals, is ranked 16th in the ITF junior rankings, and Asylzhan Arystanbekova, who made it to the quarterfinals at the junior doubles tournament this year is ranked 53th.  

In 2022, Kazakhstan’s 14U team competed for the first time at a world team championship, where they reached the semi-finals. At the Billie Jean King Cup Juniors Finals in Córdoba, Spain, the Kazakhstani team finished in 9th place among the best 16 teams in the world. This was the first-ever world championship competition for Kazakhstan’s 16U girls team. Meanwhile, the 16U boys team also finished in the top 10 at their debut world championship.  Even back in 2021, juniors from Kazakhstan won a record 37 ITF Juniors tournaments in singles and doubles and reached the finals in 44 others. In Tennis Europe 14 & Under tournaments, players from Kazakhstan won 19 tournaments and reached the finals in 15 more.

These achievements would not have been possible, of course, without proper training and, most importantly, accessible infrastructure. Players who are now 14–16 years old began playing tennis about 10 years ago. Bulat Utemuratov, President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation (KTF), played a key role in making tennis accessible to children when he became head of the Federation in 2007. Not long after taking over leadership of the KTF, Utemuratov spearheaded an ambitious effort to build state-of-the-art tennis facilities across the country. Home to only 7 tennis centres and 60 courts in 2007, Kazakhstan now boasts 48 modern facilities with 364 courts, most of which are indoors.  

According to the KTF, the average hourly cost for court rental has decreased from $50 in 2007 to $10 at present. The number of children playing tennis has grown from 900 in 2007 to 30,000 in 2023, and 3,500 of the most talented young players are given an opportunity to train free of charge and have access to the equipment they need as well as tournament support.

In addition to building the required infrastructure, the KTF has also been active at every level, starting with grassroots tennis for 5–7-year-olds.

A great deal of attention is paid to the 10 & Under Tennis project, where children learn the foundations for further growth. KTF experts attend the main tournaments for players 10 and under in order to scout the most promising players in this age group. The Federation also has a targeted programme that provides financial support for more than 100 young players aged 11–14 years old from all over Kazakhstan.

In addition, an important part of the junior development system is the Team Kazakhstan Academy, which was created in 2008 for promising juniors 14 and up. More than 300 of the country’s most talented children, juniors and young tennis players have already passed through the Academy.

The results we have seen from our junior players suggest that investments in the development of tennis infrastructure and targeted programmes for children have helped make tennis in Kazakhstan more accessible and taken it to a qualitatively new level, while also laying a solid foundation for training talented young players. They are the ones who will represent Kazakhstan at professional tournaments in the future, and the country won’t have to bring players from elsewhere.

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Netflix’s ‘The Last Kingdom’ costume exhibition returns to Bamburgh Castle

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Netflix's 'The Last Kingdom' Costume Exhibition Returns to Bamburgh Castle
Entry into The Last Kingdom exhibition costs £17 (adults) and £8.50 (children)

An exhibition showcasing costumes and props from global hit Netflix series The Last Kingdom has returned to Bamburgh Castle, UK.

 
Being displayed for the first time are costumes worn by Mark Rowley (Finan) and Arnas Fedaravičius (Sihtric), both who starred in the show from series two onwards and in the feature-length Netflix movie, Seven Kings Must Die.
 
The exhibition also includes costumes worn by Alexander Dreymon who plays protagonist Uhtred, Thea Sofie Loch Næss who starred as Skade and Cavan Clerkin as warrior-priest Father Pyrlig.
 
To crown it all, destiny is all for visitors who can become queen or king of the north and sit in the Wessex Throne from the series.
 
The Last Kingdom was produced by Carnival Films, which is part of Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group. Adapted for Netflix from Bernard Cornwell’s historical novels The Saxon Stories,the plot centres on the Anglo-Saxon citadel of Bebbanburg – Uhtred’s ancestral home – today called Bamburgh Castle.
 
“We are delighted that Bamburgh Castle is putting on this exhibition and giving the show’s loyal fans and members of the public the chance to step into The Last Kingdom. The props and costumes are such an integral part of the series, so it seems only right they stand proudly on display in Uhtred’s ancestral home of Bebbanburg,” says Nigel Marchant, Executive Producer and Managing Director of Carnival Films who have loaned the collection.

 
“Carnival Films has curated this fascinating collection of items that will be instantly recognisable to fans of the series and equally intriguing to anyone with an interest in Bamburgh’s past. The exhibition explores how the series was drawn from real life with a plotline inspired by its gripping history,” adds Kate Newman, events manager at Bamburgh Castle.
 
Alongside the exhibition, additional Follow in the Footsteps of Uhtred guided tours led by Ragnar the Viking of award-winning Lundgren Tours, compare the real history of Uhtred with the fictional version. Tours last two-hours long and include free entry into the Castle and staterooms.
 
Entry into The Last Kingdom exhibition is included with general admission (adults £17 / children £8.50. Under-fives free. Family tickets £47.00). Tickets are available on the gate or at www.bamburghcastle.com

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Applications for the Biennale College Danza open until March 8

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Applications for the Biennale College Danza open until 8 March
Young dancers and choreographers have until March 8th to apply for the new edition of Biennale College Danza

Young dancers and choreographers have until March 8th to apply for the new edition of Biennale College Danza. Applications are currently open online on the website of La Biennale di Venezia – www.labiennale.org. Following the creations of Teshigawara and Xie Xin, the revivals of works from the repertories of Crystal Pite, Merce Cunningham, Simone Forti, for the next edition of Biennale College Danza, artistic director Wayne McGregor will be working on a new creation with and for the young dancers, which will premiere on the stage of the 18th International Festival of Contemporary Dance scheduled to take place from July 18th to August 3rd, 2024.

Once again this year, 16 dancers between the ages of 18 and 28 will be selected along with two choreographers, for an intensive immersive residency in Venice: a unique three-month programme to study under the mentorship of great international masters, develop their personal artistic skills, and acquire the practical capabilities required to break into the dance market – from the creation of a portfolio to contracts, and including commissions and intellectual property rights.

From May 6th through August 3rd, the selected young artists will work daily in the Sale d’Armi of the Arsenale, attending classes in classical and contemporary technique and workshops focused on repertory, the creative process, and improvisation with an eye to developing new creations.

With the intent to expand a new generation of dance artists, Biennale College Danza’s theoretical and practical course of studies will conclude within the 18th Festival with the presentation of new choreographic works commissioned by La Biennale.

To find out more about how to apply, please visit the Biennale College Danza official page for application process here.

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