Daily News Roundup

September 11, 2019

Wednesday,  September 11 

A young Iranian woman has burned herself to death in protest against a ban on women going to football stadiums in the country to watch men’s soccer games.

Sahar Khodayari, 29,  was facing a six-month jail sentence for trying to get into a men’s football match dressed as a man, local media and news agencies reported.

Women have been banned from attending football matches in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979

Media in Tehran reported that she died in hospital earlier this week after suffering burns across 90 per cent of her body.

Known as “Blue Girl” after her team’s colours, Ms Khodayari had set fire to herself outside the court where she was facing charges for trying to enter a football stadium.

She had dressed in a wig and coat in an attempt to watch her favourite team Esteghlal take on United Arab Emirates side Al Ain in an Asian Champions League match in March.

While her death was not acknowledged by state-run Iranian media, FIFA released a statement saying it was “aware of that tragedy and deeply regret it”.

“FIFA convey our condolences to the family and friends of Sahar and reiterate our calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure the freedom and safety of any women engaged in this legitimate fight to end the stadium ban for women in Iran,” the sport’s world governing body said in a statement.

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How is it that some people can let out a dainty sneeze as quiet as a mouse while others sound like they’re ripping a hole in the fabric of the universe?

An ABC report on sneezing quotes an expert as saying the loudness of a person’s sneeze depends on their lung capacity, size and how long they hold their breath for.

“The longer you hold your breath, the more dramatic you make it,” Professor Richard Harvey, of St Vincents and Macquarie University Hospitals, said, according Sarah Motherwell’s article.

A sneeze is believed to be a defence mechanism to protect your airways from noxious fumes, particles and other harmful environmental factors.

Professor Harvey said a sneeze was triggered when the nerves in your nose detect a change in temperature or pain.

That’s why things like air conditioning, smoke or even the sun can make you sneeze.

Professor Harvey said the irritation to your nose makes it watery and itchy, while you also feel the need to hold your breath.

This leads to “an explosive release of air” — the sneeze.

The sound of a sneeze comes from the air escaping from your mouth or nose.

According to Brisbane-based company Noise Measurement Services, an “average” man’s sneeze, when recorded from a distance of 60 centimetres, peaks about 90 decibels (dB), the ABC report said.

That’s a similar level of sound recorded from a lawnmower — a normal conversation is about 60dB.

When the mouth is covered, the sneeze drops to about 80dB.

While you can’t stop your nose from getting itchy and watery, you can control how loud you sneeze with “higher functions”, Professor Harvey said.

He said you can quieten your sneeze by pinching and rubbing the nose or by sneezing through your nose, but that it is a “double-edged sword”.

“If you sneeze through your mouth it will be louder, but if you sneeze through your nose it will be wetter, messier,” he says.

Dr Barbara Evers, a senior lecturer of sociology at Murdoch University in Western Australia, said the sound of your sneeze also comes down to class, gender and culture.

She says guides on how to behave — known as manners books — have frowned upon poor nasal etiquette since the 15th century.

Dr Evers said over time the advice has changed, meaning the “appropriate” behaviour has become part of normal life and no longer needs to be pointed out — like blowing your nose “on your hat or clothing”.

Today, there are still implicit rules around how women can and can’t behave, Dr Evers said.

“If you are ‘a lady’, you do not sneeze very loudly whereas if you are a man you can.”

However, she said that is not the case for men in certain cultures like Japan, where loud sneezes are considered rude.

Even in English-speaking countries, saying “ah-choo” is the polite version of a sneeze rather than letting it rip, Dr Evers said.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists he is working hard to strike a divorce deal with the EU, after he suspended parliament following a series of bruising defeats by MPs over his Brexit plan.

The day after meeting Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin on  Tuesday Mr Johnson held talks with his Northern Irish allies in London — all key players in the race to secure a deal before Britain leaves the European Union on October 31.

Mr Johnson has faced huge opposition in the House of Commons to his threat to leave the bloc without agreeing exit terms with Brussels but politicians have also rejected his call for an early general election to resolve the impasse.

Before he suspended parliament early Tuesday, MPs rushed through legislation requiring Mr Johnson to postpone Brexit by three months if he fails to secure a deal at an EU summit on October 17-18.

“We’re working very hard to get a deal. I think we will get a deal but if absolutely necessary we will come out with no deal,” Johnson said during a school visit on Tuesday.

He has previously said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than delay Brexit.

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