MONDAY, JUNE 14
There were emotional scenes during Sunday night’s episode of MasterChef Australia as one of this year’s favourites withdrew himself from the competition due to concerns over his mental health.
Judges Jock Zonfrillo, Andy Allen and Melissa Leong were all in tears as they announced contestant Brent Draper would be leaving the show, effective immediately, for “personal reasons”.
And in a candid video posted to social media after the show aired, Draper explained exactly what those reasons were – saying that he battled mounting anxiety, panic attacks and dark thoughts during filming, all exacerbated by two separate stints in mandatory quarantine, reportsn news.com,
“Every single person in this kitchen is so proud of you,” Zonfrillo told Draper in last night’s episode, his voice breaking. “By the way you cook, and for your courage in making this decision and holding your hand up and saying, ‘You know what? I need to sort myself out.’ The competition’s going to be poorer without you.”
Fellow judge Leong, who has been open about her own battles with mental health issues, also spoke up.
“Above all, we just want you to be happy,” she told Draper. “And whatever that takes, we are there for you. We are a family, so we want to know how you’re going. And I think these conversations about what we need to do for ourselves in order to be really happy … it’s crucial and it will matter to so many people out there as well.”
Draper spoke more about his decision via his Instagram account after the show aired, pinpointing the moment he put his hand up and asked for help while on the show – a moment he says he’s “bloody proud of”:
Draper went into further detail about the circumstances of his departure in an Instagram Live video posted last night.
He said he wanted “to be honest” about why he felt he had to leave the show, explaining that his mother got “really sick” just before MasterChef started filming.
“I think I just brushed it off too quickly, like us males tend to do – I just moved on, straight into quarantine. Quarantining is not fun – I did it twice. There’s no fresh air, no human interaction.”
He said anxiety became overwhelming and he had a “rough time”during his second quarantine – compounded when he learned his grandmother passed away. “Once again, like us males do, I moved on without really thinking or talking about it.”
With his family and young son Archie at home, he experienced “gut-wrenching homesickness” that turned into “an anxiety and stress build-up that started to snowball”.
He was filming 12-hour days and not sleeping, experiencing “severe” panic attacks during the night. At one point, in the middle of the night, he packed his bags to flee his hotel. “I don’t know where I was going to go … but I just couldn’t deal with it.”
Draper said his condition really declined when his stress and anxiety started to manifest physically. “My mind just disconnected … I was thinking just the worst of the worst (thoughts). It was a really quick decline in about the last four weeks – you can probably see it on the show, but I tried so hard to mask it with a smile.”
Eventually, he knew what he had to do: “I had to get some help.”
The good news, a few months on and after visits to a doctor and psychologist: “I’m feeling a lot better. The train’s back on its tracks.”
Draper is not the first Australian reality TV contestant to exit a show after struggling through pre-filming quarantine: Earlier this year, Amazing Race viewers were stunned when model twins Alex and Jack Newell abruptly left the race in its earliest stages. Their exit came right after they placed second in the race’s first challenge – but Jack explained that his brother’s mental health had declined during their strict quarantine before filming began.
“Before this had to begin, obviously we had to quarantine for 14, 15 days. During that time, something surfaced for Alex that he had to deal with and the race environment isn’t the right environment for him to deal with that,” said Jack at the time. “So we’ve made the right decision to step out of The Amazing Race Australia.”
Alex added: “I think a lot of stuff from my past came up, and Jack and I have been through similar things and he has sought out help and I was always too proud to seek out help, and now I will seek out help because I realise how important it is. I think mental health is incredibly important. Probably more than physical
G7 leaders have pledged more than 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to poorer nations, vowed to help developing countries tackle climate change and agreed to call out Beijing for rights abuses.
Speaking at the end of the summit in south-west England, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the “fantastic degree of harmony” among the re-energised group, which met in person for the first time in two years.
The leaders wanted to show that international cooperation is back after the upheavals caused by the pandemic and the unpredictability of former US president Donald Trump.
They wanted to convey that the club of wealthy democracies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — is a better friend to poorer nations than authoritarian rivals such as China.
Mr Johnson said the G7 would demonstrate the value of democracy and human rights to the rest of the world and help “the world’s poorest countries to develop themselves in a way that is clean and green and sustainable”.
“It’s not good enough for us to just rest on our laurels and talk about how important those values are,” he told reporters after the three-day meeting on the Cornwall coast.
“And this isn’t about imposing our values on the rest of the world. What we as the G7 need to do is demonstrate the benefits of democracy and freedom and human rights to the rest of the world.”
But health and environmental campaigners were distinctly unimpressed by the details in the leaders’ final meeting communique.
“This G7 summit will live on in infamy,” said Max Lawson, the head of inequality policy at the international aid group Oxfam.
“Faced with the biggest health emergency in a century and a climate catastrophe that is destroying our planet, they have completely failed to meet the challenges of our times.”
Despite Mr Johnson’s call to “vaccinate the world” by the end of 2022, the promise of 1 billion doses for vaccine-hungry countries falls far short of the 11 billion doses the World Health Organization said is needed to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the world’s population and truly end the pandemic.
The G7 also backed a minimum tax of at least 15 per cent on large multinational companies to stop corporations from using tax havens to avoid taxes.
The minimum rate was championed by the United States and dovetails with the aim of President Joe Biden to focus the summit on ways the democracies can support a fairer global economy by working together.
Mr Biden also wanted to persuade fellow democratic leaders to present a more unified front to compete economically with Beijing and strongly call out China’s “nonmarket policies and human rights abuses”.
In the group’s communique published Sunday, the group said: “With regard to China, and competition in the global economy, we will continue to consult on collective approaches to challenging non-market policies and practices which undermine the fair and transparent operation of the global economy.”
The leaders also said they will promote their values by calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Xinjiang and in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
Mr Johnson, the summit’s host, wanted the three-day meeting to fly the flag for a “Global Britain,” his government’s push to give the midsized country outsized global influence.
A leading sports cardiologist has warned Danish footballer Christian Eriksen may never play football again following Saturday’s health scare in Copenhagen, reports Reuters.
The football community held its breath after Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed face-forward late in the first half of Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland.
Teammates formed a shield around Eriksen as medics performed CPR on the pitch – several of the athletes were spotted in tears while others prayed.
Following 10 minutes of medical attention on the pitch, the 29-year-old was stretchered out of the venue and taken to hospital.
The Danish Football Union later confirmed Eriksen was “awake” and “stable”.
“This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greeting to his teammates,” a statement read.
“His condition is stable, and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination.
“The team and staff of the national team has received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other after yesterday’s incident.”
Professor Sanjay Sharma, who worked with Eriksen during his seven-year stint at Tottenham Hotspur, warned that football bodies would be reluctant to allow the Inter Milan midfielder to play again.
“Clearly something went terribly wrong,” Sharma told the PA news agency.
“But they managed to get him back, the question is what happened? And why did it happen?
“This guy had normal tests all the way up to 2019 so how do you explain this cardiac arrest?
“The fact he’s stable and awake, his outlook is going to be very good.
“I don’t know whether he’ll ever play football again.
“Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die and would the medical professional allow him to die again?
“The answer is no.
“His cardiac arrest has rocked the entire nation today and that’s what happens. It’s not just them that it affects, it’s the psyche of so many people.
“The good news is he will live, the bad news is he was coming to the end of his career, so would he play another professional football game? That I can’t say.
“In the UK he wouldn’t play. We’d be very strict about it.”
Eriksen made 226 appearances for Spurs between 2013-2020 before signing with Inter Milan last year. He has also played 109 matches for Denmark since making his international debut in 2010.
Speaking after the match at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium, Denmark team doctor Martin Boesen revealed Eriksen’s pulse had stopped during the scary ordeal.
“We were called onto the field when Christian collapsed. He was lying on his side when we approached him and there was respiration and pulse,” Boesen said.
“But that picture changed and he then received lifesaving cardiac massage. We quickly got help from the stadium doctor and we got Christian back.”
On Sunday, Boesen told reporters there was still no explanation for what caused Eriksen’s cardiac arrest.
“He was gone, and we did cardiac resuscitation,” he said.
“How close were we? I don’t know. We got him back after one defib (defibrillation), so that’s quite fast.
“There’s no explanation so far … that is also one of the reasons that he is still in the hospital.
The sporting community praised Denmark captain Simon Kjaer for securing his teammate’s neck, clearing his airways and administrating CPR until medics arrived.
Referee Anthony Taylor was also congratulated for his quick thinking, most notably from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
South Korea’s Son Heung-min dedicated his 66th-minute penalty in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Lebanon to Eriksen.
President Vladimir Putin says Russia would be ready to hand over cybercriminals to the United States if Washington did the same for Moscow and the two powers reached an agreement to that effect.
Mr Putin made the comments in an interview aired on state television ahead of a June 16 summit with US President Joe Biden in Geneva.
Ties between the powers are badly strained over an array of issues.
The Russian leader said he expected the Geneva meeting to help establish bilateral dialogue and revive personal contacts, adding that important issues for the two men included strategic stability, Libya and Syria and the environment.
The final preparations are underway ahead of the meeting between the Russian and US leaders.(Reuters: Denis Balibouse)
Mr Putin also praised Mr Biden for having shown “professionalism” when the US and Russia agreed this year to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty.
The White House has said Mr Biden will bring up ransomware attacks emanating from Russia at the meeting.
That issue is in the spotlight after a cyber attack disrupted the North American and Australian operations of meatpacker JBS USA.
JBS USA said it paid out the equivalent of $US11 million ($14.2 million) to the attackers.
A Russia-linked hacking group was behind that attack, a US source familiar with the matter said last week.
The attack followed one last month on Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, which disrupted fuel delivery for several days in the US south-east.
Asked if Russia would be prepared to find and prosecute cybercriminals, Mr Putin said Russia’s behaviour here would depend on formal agreements being reached by Moscow and Washington.
Both sides would have to commit to the same obligations, he said.
“If we agree to extradite criminals, then of course Russia will do that, we will do that, but only if the other side, in this case the United States, agrees to the same and will extradite the criminals in question to the Russian Federation,” he said.
“The question of cyber security is one of the most important at the moment because turning all kinds of systems off can lead to really difficult consequences,” he said.
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