Weber School District creates Happiness Hotline

ROY, Utah — Need a pick me up, life advice, or words of encouragement? Try calling the Happiness Hotline (833-88-HAPPY), a free resource created by students and faculty in the Weber School District.

“You’re hearing things about, like, you can do it, you can do hard things, believe you can and you’re halfway there,” said Rod Belnap, director of career and technical education for the district.

Belnap put the project into motion after hearing of a school in California with a pep-talk hotline.

“I thought maybe we could include our own teachers and students and get the recordings from our elementary school students,” he said.

Belnap enlisted the help of T.J.Bean, a visual arts teacher from Roy High School, who interviewed kindergartners and 1st graders from Farr West, Hooper, Lakeview, Midland, Municipal, and Pioneer elementary schools.

“I went to six different schools to talk to 80 different kids,” said Bean, “and what you hear on the happiness hotline is very much the condensed version of this. There is enough to do two or three happiness hotlines.”

Bean’s students at Roy High School separated the interviews into topics — words of encouragement, life advice, words of wisdom, and jokes.

“I could tell what we were doing was important, not just to the kids who were doing it, but to those who would be hearing it,” Bean said.

One of the children featured on the hotline is Gunnar Anderson, a first grader at Midland Elementary.

“You can call the hotline anytime you’re feeling sad or lonely,” Anderson said. “You can press whatever number and it might tell you a joke or something silly like one of my jokes!”

Anderson does share a cute joke about an interrupting cow on the hotline, but he also shares some life advice, too.

“All that matters is that you’re helping people,” he said. “I just taught that to myself. My brain told me that.”

Hadlie Bute, 7, is a student at Pioneer Elementary. She is also featured on the hotline, sharing advice on dealing with sadness.

“When I am mad or sad, I like to play with my, snuggle my stuffed animals and play with them and give my sisters a hug,” she said.

Kids of all ages are recognizing that words have power, and that sometimes you just need someone you can reach out to.

“It’s important so they can feel peaceful, too,” Bute said.

“All that matters is that you’re helping people,” Anderson said.

“Those are statements that are powerful, regardless of what age you are. They’re important at a young age, but they’re also important as an adult,” Belnap said.

The Happiness Hotline is already seeing success. In its first few weeks, the hotline received over 1,200 calls, with some callers staying on the line for multiple minutes.

“The resounding message is a message of encouragement and hope,” Belnap said. “And there are times kids and adults need those messages, and so we hope that people find it inspiring.”

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Staying Safe: Coronavirus

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Happiness has been fleeting for many people during the pandemic, but a study out of Germany suggested the birds in our own neighborhoods can bring us joy.

Our friends at the Tracy Aviary in Liberty Park helped KSL explore that connection between birds and happiness.

“This is my favorite place in the whole aviary. This is the Treasures of the Rainforest building,” said Kylie Jones-Greenwood, Tracy Aviary community and outreach programs coordinator.

When you walk into the Treasures of the Rainforest exhibit at the Tracy Aviary, you are surrounded by the sights and sounds of birds from around the world.

“This place makes me the happiest because all of these birds are just living life to the fullest. As you can hear around us, everyone is busy, everyone knows what to do,” said Jones-Greenwood.

She shares that happiness with visitors every day. When she’s around birds, she said her mood comes alive.

“All of my senses are engaged when I’m in here from feeling the humidity to seeing the birds, to listening to them call,” said Jones-Greenwood.

According to a new study by German researchers, birdwatching, and particularly identifying new species, lightened people’s moods and provided as much satisfaction as getting a $150/month raise. The research specifically showed that living and birdwatching in areas with at least 14 varieties of birds can improve human well-being.

Jones-Greenwood was not surprised by the findings.

“In here we have way more than 14 species of birds. So, just coming in here for a little bit on my break from work really fills my cup and gets me ready for the next part of the day,” she said.

“Tracy Aviary is about fostering a kind of happiness and joy for birds. But, also making sure that we are making conservation efforts to protect them,” said Frances Ngo, Tracy Aviary conservation outreach biologist.

Without that conservation work, bird populations struggle, she said.

“They are definitely affected by things like climate change or habitat loss. So, conservation efforts are really important to help birds wherever we can,” Ngo said.

Which ties back to happiness among birdwatchers.

“The more birds they see, the happier they are,” she said. “So, it’s really important to have habitats that foster that biodiversity of birds for both the sake of birds and for people’s happiness and well-being.”

Researchers found the happiest people experience numerous different bird species in their daily lives. That did not surprise the people who work at the aviary.

Step outside or take a walk, look up and listen to the calls and chirps of our feathered friends.

You can visit the Tracy Aviary which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a special hour from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for seniors and those who are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.

Everyone is masking and social distancing. You can find more details online here.

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Wednesday’s Child: ‘I just picture a lot of love and happiness’

SALT LAKE CITY – When most people head to the barber shop, it’s to get a clean cut and a fresh look. However, on Wednesday Dayton walked into Brick’s Barbershop in Salt Lake City for a fresh start.

“I’m going to be put on TV and try to get adopted,” said Dayton.

The 16-year-old knows what he wants his fresh start to look like.

“I just picture a lot of love and happiness,” he said.

Dayton hopes to go to hair school soon, so chose a place he feels comfortable to answer the uncomfortable questions. As he sat in the barber’s chair getting a cut, he told KSL TV his story.

“My first night gone, I cried,” he said.

He’s talking about his first night living in foster care – that was almost five years ago.
As if living in foster care isn’t tough enough, one night not too long ago he cried even more tears.

“I asked if could talk to my mom and (the man) said ‘she wasn’t there anymore’ and then I found out the next day that she was dead,” Dayton recalled.

For Dayton, it was a turning point.

“I realized I’m going to end up dead or in jail if I continue this way and so I asked to be put up for adoption,” he said.

He said now he feels hopeful, happy and a little hesitant about the future.

“I’m going to do my best and try to get adopted and stay out of trouble,” he said.

He knows the best way to do that is with a solid foundation – a family.

“I’m a good kid,” he said. “I have my ups and downs, but I also know I can have good relationships.”

To learn more about Dayton, or the many other children living in the Utah Foster Care system, contact The Utah Adoption Exchange at 801-265-0444.

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Religion

President Russell M. Nelson denounced abuse as a grievous sin and an abomination at the close of the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sitting on a stool at the pulpit in the Conference Center during a brief, five-minute talk, President Nelson decried abuse.

“Abuse constitutes the influence of the adversary. It is a grievous sin,” he said. “As president of the church, I affirm the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear: Any kind of abuse of women, children or anyone is an abomination to the Lord. He grieves and I grieve whenever anyone is harmed. He mourns, and we all mourn, for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind. Those who perpetrate these hideous acts are not only accountable to the laws of man, but will also face the wrath of almighty God.”

The morning session also made history.

Sister Tracy Y. Browning became the first Black woman to speak at a general conference. Sister Browning is the second counselor in the Primary general presidency.

Sister Tracy Y. Browning becomes first Black woman to give conference talk

A revised edition of the “For Strength of Youth” guidebook also was released with a subtitle, “A Guide to Making Choices.” The updated pocket manual is now less prescriptive and more principle-based, said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Nelson statement on abuse

President Nelson also described the abuse prevention resources the church publishes on its website. This is the first conference since the Associated Press published a national story about sexual abuse committed by a late, former Latter-day Saint against his own children. The story questioned the church’s response to the crimes.

“For decades now, the church has taken extensive measures to protect — in particular — children from abuse. There are many aids on the church website,” he said. “I invite you to study them. These guidelines are in place to protect the innocent. I urge each of us to be alert to anyone who might be in danger of being abused and to act promptly to protect them. The Savior will not tolerate abuse, and as his disciples, neither can we.”

President Nelson, who has announced 100 temples since being sustained as the church’s 17th president and prophet in 2018, also said the church as a whole rejoices that more temples are being built worldwide.

“With the dedication of each new temple, additional godly power comes into the world to strengthen us and counteracts the intensifying efforts of the adversary,” he said.

New ‘For the Strength of Youth’

Elder Uchtdorf said the updated “For the Strength of Youth” manual is designed to guide youth to turn to Christ.

“To be very clear, the best guide you can possibly have for making choices is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the strength of youth,” he said. “So the purpose of ‘For the Strength of Youth’ is to point you to him. It teaches you eternal truths of his restored gospel — truths about who you are, who he is, and what you can accomplish with his strength. It teaches you how to make righteous choices based on those eternal truths.”

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Mike Pence calls for stricter abortion laws, strengthening military during Utah visit

OREM, Utah — Former Vice President Mike Pence says his roadmap to restoring American freedoms includes more stringent abortion laws and strengthening the U.S. military.

Pence visited Utah Tuesday to speak to a packed audience of more than 700 students and community members at Utah Valley University’s Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy Fall Forum.

“We gather at a challenging time in the life of this country,” Pence said. “In so many ways, America is a nation in crisis.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Utah Valley University in Orem on Tuesday. Pence visited the Beehive State Tuesday to speak to a packed audience at Utah Valley University’s Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy Fall Forum. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

He pointed to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, crime, national debt, “borders under siege,” “erosion of the nuclear family” and the importance of protecting and restoring “American freedoms.”

It was the last point that Pence focused on the most throughout the duration of his speech.

“We need to advance the cause of freedom at the state level in every state in America,” Pence said, before laying out his roadmap to preserving and restoring freedoms.

Pence spoke further about state freedoms on KSL Newsradio’s Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson.

“Part of the genius of the American founding was this system of federalism where the states became laboratories of American democracy and innovation,” he said on Inside Sources.

The first stop on that roadmap, Pence said, is to restore the principle of valuing human life, both born and unborn.

“(After) 50 years of lives of incalculable value ended before they were born, today at long last, Roe vs. Wade has been sent to the ash heap of history where it belongs and the American people have been given a new beginning for life,” Pence said.

Despite previously advocating for less federal oversight, he followed this with a call to not “rest or relent” until the “sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.”

Students protest as former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Utah Valley University in Orem on Tuesday. Pence visited the Beehive State Tuesday to speak to a packed audience at Utah Valley University’s Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy Fall Forum. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Pence also emphasized the importance of freedom of speech and religion, saying that they must be protected for every American.

He pointed to increased hostility toward those who hold religious beliefs.

“We live in a day in age when in the name of tolerance, we encounter some of the least tolerant rhetoric in America,” Pence said. “We have to defend the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech of every American in the courts and in the public square.”

He told Matheson that wants Americans to be reminded of the principles that made America.

“This country is unique, it’s special, it was founded on the idea that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s what we have to go back to,” Pence said on Inside Sources.

While speaking about immigration, Pence recalled the story of his grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, immigrating to the U.S. in 1923.

“I don’t just get it, I lived it,” Pence said, reflecting on a conversation he had with former President George W. Bush.

“We have an obligation as Americans to fix this broken immigration system, so it works for Americans and for those who desire to come here under the law and live the American dream, just like my grandfather and my family has.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence, and former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and wife Jeanette Herbert wave to attendees at Utah Valley University in Orem on Tuesday. Pence visited the Beehive State to speak to a packed audience at Utah Valley University’s Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy Fall Forum. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

He also talked about education and the essential role it plays in American culture. Specifically, he urged the restoration of “patriotic education” in America’s classrooms.

“Help them understand that we are not a perfect union, but we are maybe the only nation on earth that has strived and become a more perfect union,” Pence said.

He told Matheson that he believes that parents want education not to be political, but still able to recognize America’s shortcomings.

“We been through a bloody Civil War, to make that a reality, but then it would be generations later in the Civil Rights Movement that we continue to advance that principle,” Pence said on Inside Sources.

Speaking to the struggling economy, the former vice president called for a revival of free market principles and unleashing free enterprise.

“We know how to fix the economy,” Pence said. “You let the American people keep more of what they earn, you lower taxes on American businesses so they can compete with businesses around the world. They’re able to bring jobs back to America, then you unleash American energy, roll back red tape, take three steps back and the American economy will boom again, just as it did before.”

Finally, Pence said that “we must” renew American leadership on the world stage and “project American strength.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Utah Valley University in Orem on Tuesday. Pence visited the Beehive State to speak to a packed audience at Utah Valley University’s Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy Fall Forum. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

“The U.S. military is the greatest force for good the world has ever known,” he said. “We must stand strong in the great power competition with the Chinese Communist Party and a resurgent Russia with a military fit for the task.”

He called for redoubling America’s investment in readiness and modernization of military technology, ending the focus at the Pentagon on “political indoctrination over (the) preparedness of our military” and giving soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guard and the Space Force “the resources that they need to be as dominant on earth and sky and sea and space as America has ever been.”

He commended the Herbert Institute for the work it is doing to advance these ideas.

“Americans want a nation of more opportunity for all, they want to restore American leadership in the world and the American people are proud of our traditional American culture and want to see it strengthened and preserved,” Pence said.

You can watch Pence’s full speech below, and listen to his full interview with Inside Sources on their website.

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Utah’s own toy wooden car maker tackles new project while planning retirement

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A Utah toy maker is hanging up his cap, making way for a new generation to take up the job.

“If you want to be happy, you do something for somebody else.”

Those are the words often repeated by Alton Thacker, a man who may be the most famous toymaker in Utah’s history, and his warehouse space is where learning begins.

Not just by learning from his example but by encouraging learning.

For evidence of that, no need to look further than the dozens of volunteers sorting books and stuffing backpacks with school supplies.

Thacker’s spent decades building toy cars and giving them away for free to kids around the world. As you can imagine, doing so has been a challenge, especially when you’re running a nonprofit that continues to grow.

A volunteer pours a box of toy wooden cars, awaiting wheels.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride. He went from losing the donations of those who paid the rent on his warehouse space, to being recognized and given prizes by Mike Rowe of TV’s “Dirty Jobs” fame, to having to pack up and move to a new space.

All the while, requests for boxes of toy cars steadily increased, and Thacker’s never been one to tell someone “No.” Even though neither he nor any of his volunteers have ever earned a paycheck.

“A happy face is worth it,” he said. “I don’t know who benefits the most. Is it the little person who gets the toy, or the old guy that comes and can see our toys all day and love it?”

But they aren’t all “old guys,” as Thacker puts it. One of his most loyal helpers is his granddaughter, Emilee Johnson.

“For me and my family, my kids love coming here and being a part of this and I don’t know what I would do without it,” Johnson said.

But on this day, the saws are silent. Instead, the volunteers are stuffing bags and sorting through mounds of used books. They’ve all been donated, thanks to a business called Discover Books.

“When they came, it was four pallets of books,” Thacker said. “Four feet high, four feet square, filled with books.”

A volunteer at Tiny Tim’s Toy Factory in West Jordan sorts through book donations.

Thacker’s nonprofit, Tiny Tim’s Toy Factory, has been working with a group called Eyes 4 Zimbabwe for over a decade, giving them tens of thousands of toy cars to hand out.

This year, that shipment will include the books and school supplies. Johnson said they’re sorely needed.

“They carry a brick with them to school so they can sit on it, do their math in the dirt, and then they carry the brick home,” she said.

For Thacker, being around the warehouse has given him purpose, even though it’s not as easy as it once was. Suffering from a stroke left him pondering what’s next.

“My memory is what’s jolted,” Thacker said.

And so, as he’s approaching his 87th birthday, Thacker’s hanging up his hat, and it’s going to take the strength of multiple family members to pick it up, including Johnson.

“What he did is going to take three of us to do now,” she said.

Emilee Johnson, right, discusses the types of books they should include in backpacks slated to be sent to Zimbabwe.

But don’t count Thacker out just yet.

“I get up in the morning, and I get dressed all by myself, so I’m good,” he said with a laugh.

While a big retirement party’s being planned, it’s just the work of running the organization that Thacker’s stepping down from. Johnson said she fully expects him to keep showing up and working on toy cars as long as he’s able.

“This is where he’ll be,” she said. “This is what he loves. This, he’s built out of his passion for serving others and allowing other people to serve.”

But whether he’s here or not, there’s one thing for sure, this warehouse is where learning begins.

And the lessons Thacker taught will stick around for generations.

“He always says, ‘Happiness is doing something for somebody else,'” Johnson said. “And that’s the truth.”

Alton and his wife Cheryl will both be holding a retirement party on Saturday, November 5th, at 10 AM, at their warehouse at 6818 S. Airport Road in West Jordan. Thacker’s family says anyone who’s received a car, helped work on making them, or just wants to say hello is invited to stop by.

For more information or to volunteer, you can visit their website at tinytimstoys.org.

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National Adoption Weekend: It’s not too late to help local shelters combat growing animal welfare crisis

SALT LAKE CITY — Best Friends Animal Society is joining forces with a network of shelters across the U.S. to host another adoption weekend, encouraging people to volunteer in shelters, foster pets to help find them homes, and to adopt, not buy, their next pet.

“There is a growing shelter crisis across the country and the animal welfare community won’t just sit by and let innocent pets die,” CEO of Best Friends Animal Society Julie Castle said.

Throughout Utah, 27 shelters are partnering with Best Friends, offering waived adoption fees, discounted and even free adoptions, as well as resources for people who cannot adopt a pet to help through staffing, volunteering, and more.

Best Friends recently released data that showed that U.S. shelters are seeing significant increases in animal intakes, and a decrease in pet adoptions from shelters.

The Salt Lake County Animal Services said their kennels are full, and another stray pet moves into any new vacancy immediately. This Friday and Saturday, they partner with Best Friends for the Bring Home Happiness adoption event, offering $5 adoptions, all pets are already fixed, chipped, and vaccinated.

“Over the past few months, we have begun to double up dogs in kennels due to a lack of space,” SLCAS communications manager Callista Pearson said.

Best Friends’ Lifesaving Center in Sugarhouse and Kanab are offering fee-waived adoptions on all pets through Sept. 18, including bunnies, cats and kittens, puppies and dogs. All animals are fixed, chipped, and vaccinated, ready to go home.

The campaign coincides with “Puppy Mill Awareness Day” on Sept.17, a day to bring awareness to the for-profit dog breeding facilities. According to Best Friends, breeding dogs are often kept in stacked cages at the minimal legal size, with 6″ of space between the dog and the wire walls. Most puppy mill dogs have inadequate medical care and socialization, leaving the cage only to be bred.

“Best Friends encourages anyone considering a new pet to adopt from a shelter or rescue group to avoid inadvertently creating demand for commercially-bred pets by buying from pet stores and online retailers,” CEO Julie Castle said.

@bestfriendsanimalsociety

🐶 #PuppyMillAwareness Day 🧡✨#adoptdontshop ✨ for a kind & #peacefullife#puppytiktok #SaveThemAll

♬ original sound – Best Friends

 

According to a 2021 American Pet Products Association study, Gen Z and Millennial dog owners are about twice as likely to purchase their pet commercially. Because of this, Best Friends urges people of all ages, especially younger generations, to opt to save lives by adopting their next pet and to stay informed. Retailers may use the term “adoption” to make people feel better about their puppy purchase. Unsuspecting buyers may be mistaken to think they are buying from the best source despite frequent reports of these puppies having congenital or communicable disease, which later may cause heartache and expense.

There are more ways to help Best Friends Animal Society in their effort to end the killing of pets in shelters. Salt Lake County Animal Services has a foster program that helps match a pet to their new home by short term housing the pet.

Fostering is a great way for people to try having a pet in the home if they’ve never had one, and it helps pets show their true personalities in a home where
they can relax,” Pearson said.

SLCAS will be hosting another “Petapalooza” adoption event next weekend in Murray. More adoption or fostering information and adoptable pets can be seen in person or online at AdoptUtahPets.org.

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Queen Elizabeth II dead at 96 after 70 years on the throne

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.

The palace announced she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.

A link to the almost-vanished generation that fought World War II, she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known, and her name defines an age: the modern Elizabethan Era.

The impact of her loss will be huge and unpredictable, both for the nation and for the monarchy, an institution she helped stabilize and modernize across decades of huge social change and family scandals.

With the death of the queen, her 73-year-old son Charles automatically becomes monarch, though the coronation might not take place for months. It is not known whether he will choose to call himself King Charles III or some other name.

The queen’s life was indelibly marked by the war. As Princess Elizabeth, she made her first public broadcast in 1940 when she was 14, sending a wartime message to children evacuated to the countryside or overseas.

“We children at home are full of cheerfulness and courage,” she said with a blend of stoicism and hope that would echo throughout her reign. “We are trying to do all we can to help out gallant soldiers, sailors and airmen. And we are trying, too, to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well.”

Since Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth reigned over a Britain that rebuilt from war and lost its empire; joined the European Union and then left it; and transformed from industrial powerhouse to uncertain 21st century society. She endured through 15 prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss, becoming an institution and an icon — a fixed point and a reassuring presence even for those who ignored or loathed the monarchy.

She became less visible in her final years as age and frailty curtailed many public appearances. But she remained firmly in control of the monarchy and at the center of national life as Britain celebrated her Platinum Jubilee with days of parties and pageants in June 2022.

The same month she became the second longest-reigning monarch in history, behind 17th-century French King Louis XIV, who took the throne at age 4. On Sept. 6, 2022, she presided at a ceremony at Balmoral Castle to accept the resignation of Boris Johnson as prime minister and appoint Truss as his successor.

When Elizabeth was 21, almost five years before she became queen, she promised the people of Britain and the Commonwealth that “my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”

It was a promise she kept across more than seven decades.

Despite Britain’s complex and often fraught ties with its former colonies, Elizabeth was widely respected and remained head of state of more than a dozen countries, from Canada to Tuvalu. She headed the 54-nation Commonwealth, built around Britain and its former colonies.

Married for more than 73 years to Prince Philip, who died in 2021 at age 99, Elizabeth was matriarch to a royal family whose troubles were a subject of global fascination — amplified by fictionalized accounts such as TV series “The Crown.” She is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Through countless public events, she probably met more people than anyone in history. Her image, which adorned stamps, coins and banknotes, was among the most reproduced in the world.

But her inner life and opinions remained mostly an enigma. Of her personality, the public saw relatively little. A horse owner, she rarely seemed happier than during the Royal Ascot racing week. She never tired of the companionship of her beloved Welsh corgi dogs.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in London on April 21, 1926, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. She was not born to be queen — her father’s elder brother, Prince Edward, was destined for the crown, to be followed by any children he had.

But in 1936, when she was 10, Edward VIII abdicated to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, and Elizabeth’s father became King George VI.

Princess Margaret recalled asking her sister whether this meant that Elizabeth would one day be queen. ”’Yes, I suppose it does,‘” Margaret quoted Elizabeth as saying. “She didn’t mention it again.”

Elizabeth was barely in her teens when Britain went to war with Germany in 1939. While the king and queen stayed at Buckingham Palace during the Blitz and toured the bombed-out neighborhoods of London, Elizabeth and Margaret spent most of the war at Windsor Castle, west of the capital. Even there, 300 bombs fell in an adjacent park, and the princesses spent many nights in an underground shelter.

In 1945, after months of campaigning for her parents’ permission to do something for the war effort, the heir to the throne became Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She enthusiastically learned to drive and service heavy vehicles.

On the night the war ended in Europe, May 8, 1945, she and Margaret managed to mingle, unrecognized, with celebrating crowds in London — “swept along on a tide of happiness and relief,” as she told the BBC decades later, describing it as “one of the most memorable nights of my life.”

At Westminster Abbey in November 1947 she married Royal Navy officer Philip Mountbatten, a prince of Greece and Denmark whom she had first met in 1939 when she was 13 and he 18. Postwar Britain was experiencing austerity and rationing, and so street decorations were limited and no public holiday was declared. But the bride was allowed 100 extra ration coupons for her trousseau.

The couple lived for a time in Malta, where Philip was stationed, and Elizabeth enjoyed an almost-normal life as a navy wife. The first of their four children, Prince Charles, was born on Nov. 14, 1948. He was followed by Princess Anne on Aug. 15, 1950, Prince Andrew on Feb. 19, 1960, and Prince Edward on March 10, 1964.

In February 1952, George VI died in his sleep at age 56 after years of ill health. Elizabeth, on a visit to Kenya, was told that she was now queen.

Her private secretary, Martin Charteris, later recalled finding the new monarch at her desk, “sitting erect, no tears, color up a little, fully accepting her destiny.”

“In a way, I didn’t have an apprenticeship,” Elizabeth reflected in a BBC documentary in 1992 that opened a rare view into her emotions. “My father died much too young, and so it was all a very sudden kind of taking on, and making the best job you can.”

Her coronation took place more than a year later, a grand spectacle at Westminster Abbey viewed by millions through the still-new medium of television.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s first reaction to the king’s death was to complain that the new queen was “only a child,” but he was won over within days and eventually became an ardent admirer.

In Britain’s constitutional monarchy, the queen is head of state but has little direct power; in her official actions she does what the government orders. However, she was not without influence. She once reportedly commented that there was nothing she could do legally to block the appointment of a bishop, “but I can always say that I should like more information. That is an indication that the prime minister will not miss.”

The extent of the monarch’s political influence occasionally sparked speculation — but not much criticism while Elizabeth was alive. The views of Charles, who has expressed strong opinions on everything from architecture to the environment, might prove more contentious.

She was obliged to meet weekly with the prime minister, and they generally found her well-informed, inquisitive and up to date. The one possible exception was Margaret Thatcher, with whom her relations were said to be cool, if not frosty, though neither woman ever commented.

The queen’s views in those private meetings became a subject of intense speculation and fertile ground for dramatists like Peter Morgan, author of the play “The Audience” and the hit TV series “The Crown.” Those semi-fictionalized accounts were the product of an era of declining deference and rising celebrity, when the royal family’s troubles became public property.

And there were plenty of troubles within the family, an institution known as “The Firm.” In Elizabeth’s first years on the throne, Princess Margaret provoked a national controversy through her romance with a divorced man.

In what the queen called the “annus horribilis” of 1992, her daughter, Princess Anne, was divorced, Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated, and so did Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah. That was also the year Windsor Castle, a residence she far preferred to Buckingham Palace, was seriously damaged by fire.

The public split of Charles and Diana — “There were three of us in that marriage,” Diana said of her husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles — was followed by the shock of Diana’s death in a Paris car crash in 1997. For once, the queen appeared out of step with her people.

Amid unprecedented public mourning, Elizabeth’s failure to make a public show of grief appeared to many to be unfeeling. After several days, she finally made a televised address to the nation.

The dent in her popularity was brief. She was by now a sort of national grandmother, with a stern gaze and a twinkling smile.

Despite being one of the world’s wealthiest people, Elizabeth had a reputation for frugality and common sense. She was known as a monarch who turned off lights in empty rooms, a country woman who didn’t flinch from strangling pheasants.

A newspaper reporter who went undercover to work as a palace footman reinforced that down-to-earth image, capturing pictures of the royal Tupperware on the breakfast table and a rubber duck in the bath.

Her sangfroid was not dented when a young man aimed a pistol at her and fired six blanks as she rode by on a horse in 1981, nor when she discovered a disturbed intruder sitting on her bed in Buckingham Palace in 1982.

The image of the queen as an exemplar of ordinary British decency was satirized by the magazine Private Eye, which called her Brenda. Anti-monarchists dubbed her “Mrs. Windsor.” But the republican cause gained limited traction while the queen was alive.

On her Golden Jubilee in 2002, she said the country could “look back with measured pride on the history of the last 50 years.”

“It has been a pretty remarkable 50 years by any standards,” she said in a speech. “There have been ups and downs, but anyone who can remember what things were like after those six long years of war appreciates what immense changes have been achieved since then.”

A reassuring presence at home, she was also an emblem of Britain abroad — a form of soft power, consistently respected whatever the vagaries of the country’s political leaders on the world stage. It felt only fitting that she attended the opening of the 2012 London Olympics alongside another icon, James Bond. Through some movie magic, she appeared to parachute into the Olympic Stadium.

In 2015, she overtook her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years, seven months and two days to become the longest-serving monarch in British history. She kept working into her 10th decade, though Prince Charles and his elder son, Prince William, increasingly took over the visits, ribbon-cuttings and investitures that form the bulk of royal duties.

The loss of Philip in 2021 was a heavy blow, as she poignantly sat alone at his funeral in the chapel at Windsor Castle because of coronavirus restrictions.

And the family troubles continued. Her son Prince Andrew was entangled in the sordid tale of sex offender businessman Jeffrey Epstein, an American businessman who had been a friend. Andrew denied accusations that he had sex with one of the women who said she was trafficked by Epstein.

The queen’s grandson Prince Harry walked away from Britain and his royal duties after marrying American actress Meghan Markle in 2018. He alleged in an interview that some in the family -– but pointedly not the queen -– had been less than welcoming to his wife.

She enjoyed robust health well into her 90s, although she used a cane in an appearance after Philip’s death. In October 2021, she spent a night in a London hospital for tests after canceling a trip to Northern Ireland.

A few months later, she told guests at a reception “as you can see, I can’t move.” The palace, tight-lipped about details, said the queen was experiencing “episodic mobility issues.”

She held virtual meetings with diplomats and politicians from Windsor Castle, but public appearances grew rarer. The queen withdrew from fixtures of the royal calendar, including Remembrance Sunday and Commonwealth Day ceremonies, though she attended a memorial service last March for Philip at Westminster Abbey.

Meanwhile, she took steps to prepare for the transition to come. In February, the queen announced that she wanted Charles’ wife Camilla to be known as “Queen Consort” when “in the fullness of time” her son became king. It removed a question mark over the role of the woman some blamed for the breakup of Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana in the 1990s.

May brought another symbolic moment, when she asked Charles to stand in for her and read the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, one of the monarch’s most central constitutional duties.

Seven decades after World War II, Elizabeth was again at the center of the national mood amid the uncertainty and loss of COVID 19 — a disease she came through herself in February.

In April 2020 — with the country in lockdown and Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized with the virus — she made a rare video address, urging people to stick together.

She summoned the spirit of World War II, that vital time in her life, and the nation’s, by echoing Vera Lynn’s wartime anthem “We’ll Meet Again.”

“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again,” she said.

___

Associated Press writers Gregory Katz and Robert Barr contributed material before their deaths.

.___

Follow AP coverage of Queen Elizabeth II at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

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OPEC+ cuts oil supplies to the world as prices fall

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — OPEC and allied oil-producing countries, including Russia, cut their supplies to the global economy by 100,000 barrels per day, underlining their unhappiness with crude prices that have sagged because of recession fears.

The decision Monday by energy ministers means the cut for October rolls back the mostly symbolic increase of the same amount in September. The move follows a statement last month from Saudi Arabia’s energy minister that the group could reduce output at any time.

Oil producers such as Saudi Arabia have resisted calls from U.S. President Joe Biden to pump more oil to lower gasoline prices and the burden on consumers.

But worries about slumping future demand have helped send prices down from June peaks of over $120 per barrel, cutting into the windfall for the government budgets of OPEC+ countries but proving a blessing for drivers in the U.S. as pump prices have eased.

The energy minsters said in a statement that the September increase was only for that month, and that the group could meet again at any time to address market developments.

Other factors are lurking that could influence the price of oil. For one, the Group of Seven major democracies plan to impose a price cap on imports of Russian oil and what effect that might have on the market. The price level for the cap has not yet been set.

Meanwhile, a deal between Western countries and Iran to limit Tehran’s nuclear program could ease sanctions and see more than 1 million barrels of Iranian oil return to the market in coming months. However, tensions between the U.S. and Iran appear to have risen in recent days: Iran seized two U.S. naval drones in the Red Sea, and U.S., Kuwaiti and Saudi warplanes flew over the Middle East on Sunday in a show of force.

Oil prices have gyrated in recent months: Recession fears have pushed them down, while worries of a loss of Russian oil because of sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine pushed them up.

Recently, recession fears have taken the upper hand. Economists in Europe are penciling in a recession at the end of this year due to skyrocketing inflation fed by energy costs, while China’s severe restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus have sapped growth in that major world economy.

Those falling oil prices have been a boon to U.S. drivers, sending gasoline prices down to $3.82 per gallon from record highs of over $5 in June.

That month, fears that U.S. and European sanctions would take Russian oil off the market helped push Brent to over $123. Those concerns are still out there because European sanctions aimed at Russian oil shipments won’t take effect until the end of the year.

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Artemis I prepares to launch on a historic lunar journey

(CNN) — In 1968, NASA astronaut Bill Anders captured a photo while aboard Apollo 8 that changed the way we see our planet: Earthrise.

The iconic photo shows a perspective of Earth as seen from near the lunar surface.

It might be easy to take dreamy sunrises or glowing full moons for granted because there are opportunities to see them all the time. But there’s something about seeing our world as it truly is — a planet against the inky backdrop of space — that still inspires awe.

Soon, we may have that chance again. The Artemis I mission is preparing to launch on a journey to the moon, and its uncrewed Orion spacecraft will carry an array of cameras inside and outside of the capsule.

And as it orbits the moon, Orion may have the opportunity to show us another breathtaking Earthrise.

Defying gravity

It’s time to go back to the moon.

NASA’s Artemis I mission is expected to lift off on August 29 between 8:33 a.m. and 10:33 a.m. ET — and we have everything you need to know about how to watch this historic launch and follow the mission’s timeline.

All eyes are on the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft as they sit on the launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, waiting to venture farther than any spacecraft intended to carry humans. Orion is expected to fly 40,000 miles (64,373 kilometers) beyond the moon, surpassing the record set by Apollo 13.

We asked a Cape Canaveral forecaster all about how weather conditions may factor into the launch. And if you can’t make it down to the cape yourself, check out these awesome launch watch parties happening online and in real life across the country.

Want to get a little more hyped? Take a special look at the Artemis I mission by the numbers to learn why it’s such a monumental feat.

Explorations

Artemis I may not have a human crew, but its commander’s seat won’t be empty.

A mannequin, named Commander Moonikin Campos for a key Apollo 13 figure, will test a survival suit for future astronauts to wear on trips to the moon. Campos is accompanied by Helga and Zogar, twin “phantom” mannequin torsos that will test how other protective gear stands up to deep space radiation.

The mission will also carry 10 shoebox-size satellites, called CubeSats, that will peel away from the rocket and set off toward their own destinations, including the first deep space biology experiment and what could become the smallest spacecraft to land on the moon.

All of the science experiments associated with Artemis I will gather data on how to make deep space travel safer and more efficient for humans in the future.

Fantastic creatures

Dogs really are our best friends.

Our beloved pets may be so overjoyed to see us after being apart that their eyes well with tears of happiness, according to a new study.

Dogs, much like humans, have tear ducts to keep their eyes clean and healthy. Now, scientists think there may be an emotional link to dog tears as well.

And just like people, dogs can develop dementia. The risk increases after age 10, but don’t despair if you’re seeing the signs of canine cognitive decline.

Keeping Barkley’s mind engaged with food puzzles and other toys, as well as keeping him active with regular exercise, can help your pooch stay healthy.

We are family

Humans have been walking upright for a long time — 7 million years, according to a new study on one of the earliest known human ancestors.

Researchers analyzed the bones of Sahelanthropus tchadensis and determined that they walked on two feet — but they could also climb trees like a pro.

Walking upright is what set humans on a different evolutionary path from chimpanzees.

Despite the fact that walking on two feet was likely a disadvantage to survival, scientists believe there’s a good reason our earliest ancestors stood up. And it has to do with the impacts of a changing climate millions of years ago.

Across the universe

The James Webb Space Telescope is living up to its hype.

NASA shared new images of Jupiter taken by the space observatory this week — and even scientists didn’t expect them to be this good.

The Webb telescope’s NIRCam instrument captured composites to create this image of Jupiter. (NASA/ESA/CSA/Jupiter ERS Team via CNN)

Jupiter’s rainbow auroras and massive storms are showcased in new details, while faint rings and distant galaxies photobomb in the background.

Separately, the telescope also captured the first clear evidence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. The gas giant WASP-39b orbits a sunlike star 700 light-years from Earth.

Curiosities

Dig into these for some intrigue:

— The spotted lanternfly may be a strikingly beautiful bug, but this invasive species can literally suck the life out of crucial crops. So if you spot one, experts ask that you squash it.

Dramatic lightning and sparkling ice features are among the 22 images picked for the Weather Photographer of the Year 2022 competition.

— Drought can be rough on your plants. New research shows that you might need to pour them a martini.


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Judge puts hold on North Dakota trigger law banning abortion, again

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A judge on Thursday again blocked a trigger law banning abortion in North Dakota as he weighs arguments from the state’s lone abortion clinic that the law violates the state constitution.

Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick granted the request for a preliminary injunction as part of a lawsuit brought by the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo.

The ban was set to take effect Friday. The clinic already moved its services a short distance to neighboring Moorhead, Minnesota, where abortion remains legal, even as it seeks to block the North Dakota law.

Romanick said he was not ruling on the probability of the clinic winning the lawsuit, rather that more time was needed to make a proper judgment. He said that even though the clinic moved its operations to Minnesota, the statute would also affect doctors and hospitals, making the decision to delay “still pertinent and appropriate,” the judge said.

Clinic attorney Tom Dickson told The Associated Press that his team was “gratified” by the ruling.

“The right of women to make the decisions affecting their personal autonomy should be guaranteed by the North Dakota Constitution,” Dickson said.

The lawsuit argues that the state constitution’s guarantees of rights to life, liberty, safety and happiness effectively guarantee a right to abortion.

It’s the second time that Romanick has put the trigger ban on hold. He ruled last month that Attorney General Drew Wrigley was premature in setting a July 28 closing date and issued a temporary restraining order that effectively gave the clinic time to move to Moorhead without a gap in services.

Wrigley said his office will “continue our efforts to ensure the eventual enforcement of the bipartisan provision signed into law back in 2007.”

The Legislature passed the law to kick in if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established nationwide abortion rights. The high court did so in June.

The law would make abortion illegal except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is in danger — any of which would have to be proven in court. Otherwise, a doctor who performs an abortion would face a felony.

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CDC director announces shake-up, citing COVID mistakes

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the nation’s top public health agency on Wednesday announced a shake-up of the organization, saying it fell short responding to COVID-19 and needs to become more nimble.

The planned changes at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — CDC leaders call it a “reset”— come amid criticism of the agency’s response to COVID-19, monkeypox and other public health threats. The changes include internal staffing moves and steps to speed up data releases.

The CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told the agency’s staff about the changes on Wednesday. It’s a CDC initiative, and was not directed by the White House or other administration officials, she said.

“I feel like it’s my my responsibility to lead this agency to a better place after a really challenging three years,” Walensky told The Associated Press.

The Atlanta-based agency, with a $12 billion budget and more than 11,000 employees, is charged with protecting Americans from disease outbreaks and other public health threats. It’s customary for each CDC director to do some reorganizing, but Walensky’s action comes amid a wider demand for change.

The agency has long been criticized as too ponderous, focusing on collection and analysis of data but not acting quickly against new health threats. Public unhappiness with the agency grew dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts said the CDC was slow to recognize how much virus was entering the U.S. from Europe, to recommend people wear masks, to say the virus can spread through the air, and to ramp up systematic testing for new variants.

“We saw during COVID that CDC’s structures, frankly, weren’t designed to take in information, digest it and disseminate it to the public at the speed necessary,” said Jason Schwartz, a health policy researcher at the Yale School of Public Health.

Walensky, who became director in January 2021, has long said the agency has to move faster and communicate better, but stumbles have continued during her tenure. In April, she called for an in-depth review of the agency, which resulted in the announced changes.

“It’s not lost on me that we fell short in many ways” responding to the coronavirus, Walensky said. “We had some pretty public mistakes, and so much of this effort was to hold up the mirror … to understand where and how we could do better.”

Her reorganization proposal must be approved by the Department of Health and Human Services secretary. CDC officials say they hope to have a full package of changes finalized, approved and underway by early next year.

Some changes still are being formulated, but steps announced Wednesday include:

—Increasing use of preprint scientific reports to get out actionable data, instead of waiting for research to go through peer review and publication by the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

—Restructuring the agency’s communications office and further revamping CDC websites to make the agency’s guidance for the public more clear and easier to find.

—Altering the length of time agency leaders are devoted to outbreak responses to a minimum of six months — an effort to address a turnover problem that at times caused knowledge gaps and affected the agency’s communications.

—Creation of a new executive council to help Walensky set strategy and priorities.

—Appointing Mary Wakefield as senior counselor to implement the changes. Wakefield headed the Health Resources and Services Administration during the Obama administration and also served as the No. 2 administrator at HHS. Wakefield, 68, started Monday.

—Altering the agency’s organization chart to undo some changes made during the Trump administration.

—Establishing an office of intergovernmental affairs to smooth partnerships with other agencies, as well as a higher-level office on health equity.

Walensky also said she intends to “get rid of some of the reporting layers that exist, and I’d like to work to break down some of the silos.” She did not say exactly what that may entail, but emphasized that the overall changes are less about redrawing the organization chart than rethinking how the CDC does business and motivates staff.

“This will not be simply moving boxes” on the organization chart, she said.

Schwartz said flaws in the federal response go beyond the CDC, because the White House and other agencies were heavily involved.

A CDC reorganization is a positive step but “I hope it’s not the end of the story,” Schwartz said. He would like to see “a broader accounting” of how the federal government handles health crises.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Judge puts hold on North Dakota trigger law banning abortion

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota judge on Wednesday put on hold the state’s trigger law banning abortion while a lawsuit moves forward that argues it violates the state constitution, ruling that the attorney general had prematurely calculated the date when the ban should take effect.

Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick sided with the state’s only abortion clinic, the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, that Attorney General Drew Wrigley “prematurely attempted to execute” the trigger language. The clinic had argued that a 30-day clock should not have started until the U.S. Supreme Court issued its certified judgment on Tuesday.

“Therefore the Court finds a temporary restraining order appropriate at this time,” Romanick wrote.

The ban had been set to take effect on Thursday. Shortly after the ruling, Wrigley said he was heading to the North Dakota Legislative Council’s office to drop off another certification of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that reversed Roe vs. Wade. He did not comment about the judge’s order.

The ruling, which comes as various states grapple with potential bans and other restrictions often backed by Republican lawmakers, will give the Red River clinic more time to relocate a few miles away to Moorhead, Minnesota, where abortion remains legal. Clinic owner Tammi Kromenaker has said she will move there if litigation doesn’t block the North Dakota ban.

Kromenaker has declined to say when the new clinic will be ready, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Planned Parenthood, which at one point had said it would step in if needed, has since said that Kromenaker has assured them that there would be no interruption in service due to the clinic’s relocation.

Attorney Tom Dickson said the clinic was gratified by the court’s ruling and looks forward to the next hearing.

Destini Spaeth, the volunteer leader of an independent group that helps fund abortions in North Dakota, said it was an “emotional day” with the prospect of Wednesday being the last day for medical procedures at the clinic. She said she screamed when she heard about the order.

“More time is what we need, in terms of getting all our ducks in a row,” Spaeth said. “I’m not going to speculate on the rest of the lawsuit. We can’t really depend on North Dakota in terms of legislation and the judicial branch. But this is a blessing.”

Meetra Mehdizadeh, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is helping the clinic with the suit, said the plaintiffs “will do everything in our power to fight this ban and keep abortion accessible in North Dakota for as long as possible.”

As for the larger question in the suit, the clinic argues in its lawsuit that the North Dakota Constitution guarantees the rights of life, liberty, safety, and happiness, all of which protect the right to abortion. The judge did not address that part of the complaint in his order.

North Dakota’s law would make abortion illegal in the state except in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.

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Utah woman helps group of 11 Ukrainians arrive safely in Salt Lake City

BOUNTIFUL, UtahFriday marks the official first week in America for a group of 11 Ukrainians.  

Last month, KSL’s Erin Cox shared the story of a Utah woman who met Ukrainian refugees in Poland and was working to bring them here to the Beehive State. 

Whitney Holcomb visited Poland in March to help Ukrainian refugees. That’s where Holcomb met Evgeny Zavoloka, who she calls “Eugene.”  

Zavoloka’s family and friends make a group of 11. They all evacuated Ukraine shortly after the Russian-Ukraine conflict began, but they never anticipated the Polish shelters they’d been staying in would become more permanent residences.  

Though grateful for the shelter, Zavoloka said they’ve been living in an office space that was never meant to be a home — with hundreds sharing a few bathrooms on each floor.  

In mid-June, Holcomb did a zoom call with Zavoloka and KSL to talk about what they were experiencing. At that time, Holcomb was hoping to sponsor Zavoloka and his group of 11 through the federal program Uniting for Ukraine 

“We submitted them seven weeks ago and we still haven’t heard back on those,” Holcomb said.

 Instead of waiting to hear back, Holcomb and her family decided to apply again. After three submissions, Holcomb got a call.  

“We got their approvals all finished,” Holcomb said.

After months of worrying and waiting, Zavoloka and his group had three days before their flight to Salt Lake City, where a large welcoming party waited, holding balloons, “welcome” signs and flowers.  

“Everyone else seemed as excited as I was, and they’ve never met them before, but they all felt like they know them,” Holcomb said. 

The first feelings for Zavoloka were safety and protection.  

“After that cool, beautiful nature, beautiful people who always smile,” Zavoloka said“I think that these people don’t pretend, they smile from the heart.” 

Even the things most would not notice through their travels, Zavoloka picked up — like how helpful airport security was with their immigration process.  

“They try to help us, and if they took a long time, they apologized every time,” Zavoloka said. “They gave us water and asked, ‘What do you need?’ After that, I relaxed.”  

For a moment, Zavoloka and his group of 11 found peace in Utah and at Holcomb’s home. 

Eleven Ukrainian guests sit with the Holcomb family, KSL News Specialist Erin Cox and KSL Photographer Josh Szymanik.

“They give us like heaven,” Zavoloka said.

Holcomb said she realized her Ukrainian friends had been without many comforts for the past five months.  

So we want to provide them with happiness,” Holcomb said.

Within their first three days in Utah, Holcomb noticed how attentive her Ukrainian guests were. 

Before their arrival, Holcomb and her husband lived in their home. Now, the couple lives in the basement while their 11 Ukrainian guests occupy the main floor and upstairs. Yet, the added 11 has not made the house chaotic or even crowded. Holcomb called their company a gift. 

“They’re very conscientious,” Holcomb said. “Every time I walked by the front door, the shoes are all straight and they’re constantly doing the dishes.”

Ukrainian guests line up shoes at front door out of courtesy to their hosts.

While their Ukrainian friends have taken care of the details around the house, Holcomb and her neighbors have planned outings to show them around the state. In the first three days, they went to the pool twice, went for a mountain bike ride and a gyroplane ride.  

“I think they would like to just relax, take a breath, but everyone’s so excited for them to be here, including myself,” Holcomb said

The excitement of their first week in the U.S. has not been diminished by the amount of paperwork and hard work to build a new life.  

“I don’t know English well, like I want,” Zavoloka said. “I want to open my work and give people my knowledge, and maybe stress about these and my future.” 

Holcomb is helping Zavoloka navigate these stresses, and they’re working with the Catholic Community Services to help Zavoloka gain U.S. citizenship.  

Holcomb also hopes to help some of her other Ukrainian friends that she met in Poland.   

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Merrick Garland: Threats against Supreme Court justices are taken ‘extraordinarily seriously’

(CNN) — Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that the Justice Department takes threats against Supreme Court justices “extraordinarily seriously” as he voiced support for a bill that extends security protections to justices’ immediate family members.

Garland reiterated that justices now receive “24-7 protection,” including at their residences, and he said he’s met with the Marshal of the Supreme Court, the FBI and others, “to be sure that we were assessing all possible threats and providing all resources available.”

The safety of Supreme Court justices has been in the spotlight following the leak of a draft majority opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The leak has sparked public outcry and led to an increase in protests over the potential for the landmark ruling to be overturned.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee issued a letter to Garland Wednesday demanding answers about a lack of prosecutions after a number of recent protests at Supreme Court justices’ houses, and amid heightened threats. Last week, authorities arrested a California man they say was plotting to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The House voted 396-27 on Tuesday to pass a bill extending security protections to Supreme Court justices’ immediate family members. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law.

The Justice Department had declined to comment on calls to enforce a current federal law that essentially bans protesting outside homes of members of the court for the purpose of influencing in the judicial system.

The law is rarely enforced and broadly written. It also covers any “picketing or parading” in front of a courthouse that is intended to influence “any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty.” That could be interpreted to cover protests that are regularly held outside the Supreme Court, including the annual March for Life, an anti-abortion protest.

Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told CNN that arresting protesters at justices’ homes is “a judgment call to be made by law enforcement.”

“As an elected official, I’ve certainly had enough protests outside my house, and I think that’s a critical part of the First Amendment and the ability of Americans to express their anger, their discontent, their unhappiness with either elected officials or the judicial branch,” Coons said. “But I do think we need to be mindful, given credible recent threats, and given a tragic incident that happened in New Jersey.”

The son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas’ was killed in a 2020 shooting at her home in New Jersey.

“We need to be very mindful of ensuring the security of our federal judiciary, their families, their staff, and so I’m glad the House has moved forward with a bill that would expand some of that response,” Coons added.

Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones, whose Maryland jurisdiction includes the homes of several justices, told CNN he doesn’t enforce federal law but that there are “state and local laws that pertain to protests.”

“They are allowed to be in the neighborhoods, but they must continuously walk, they cannot stand specifically in front of a neighborhood with signs and bull horns and yelling at the residents,” Jones said about the rules for protesters. “They must not block sidewalks, and they must not block the streets.”

“If they violate any of those … particular regulations, then we will arrest them,” he added.


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Community writes hand-written notes to Utah foster kids for their graduations

SALT LAKE CITY—It’s the time of year when most high school graduates and their families are celebrating years of hard work.

Some grads, however, aren’t so lucky.

For them—kids in the foster care system—several strangers gathered Wednesday night at the Urban Arts Gallery at The Gateway to show support and honor their success.

JOYMOB events  and the Utah Arts Alliance teamed up to host a live graduation card signing for the 17- and 18-year-olds who are set to receive high school diplomas next week.

“They don’t really have caregivers or parents or anybody in their immediate world to celebrate them,” said JOYMOB founder Bahaa Chmait. “I know that despite all of their challenges and adversity, they’ve exceeded academically and that’s really exciting.”

People attended from across the Salt Lake Valley and came from as far away as Park City to write out personal congratulatory notes.

“I feel like they need to know somebody cares about them,” said Trisa McBride.

In addition to handwritten notes, McBride showed up with typed-out letters addressed to the graduates.

“You are so important to so many people, many of whom you’ve never met yet,” she wrote in one.

She said she hoped the graduates realized what a difference they make to others around them.

“At least they’ll know someone cares and a lot of people care,” McBride said.

Glen Svenningsen also showed up with his dog, Cooper, to jot out some notes.

“The best preparation for tomorrow is today and you have truly done that!” he wrote to one grad.

Chmait said he was glad to try to make a difference in the lives of these young adults. He said he planned to hand-deliver the letters at their graduation next week.

“I think if we can do a little bit and spread a little bit of joy in a very challenging environment, that just brings us a lot of happiness,” Chmait said.

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First-of-its kind school in Jordan District celebrates grads with mobile music lab

SALT LAKE CITY — A new kind of school in the Jordan School District is celebrating completing its first year of an innovative program, that the district has never offered to students before.

They’re marking the success with a special send-off project for the sixth graders.

On Tuesday morning, a group of students sat inside a refurbished school bus parked behind Majestic Elementary School, steadily beating drums while looking at music notes on a poster in the front.

Instead of traditional seats, benches lined the inside of the bus, allowing students to sit facing each other while they played. Their hands hit to a rhythm that went with the phrase, “Pha-ses of the moon.”

The kids were learning about astronomy through music, with each moon phase marked by a different set of musical notes.

It’s an example that their homeroom teacher, Angus Douglas, said shows how most classes at the school look to use different ways to use arts to teach common core in the classroom.

“We get to come out and show them how art can influence their education,” he said.

Majestic Elementary became the first-of-its-kind, arts-focused school in the Jordan School District last fall. Douglas explained that teachers are going through arts endorsement classes for the public arts academy. They also reach some of the district’s most vulnerable kids.

“There’s 65% of them that are Title I or low socio-economic levels, and so this is giving them the opportunity and access to art tools that they otherwise wouldn’t have,” he said.

After a lesson on phases of the moon through music, his sixth-grade students exited the bus and traded drumbeats for paint strokes.

The outside of the bus was painted in an ever-so-light blue, and the kids added a blast of bold colors in the form of flowers, kids playing instruments, and abstract shapes all around.

The sixth graders were painting the bus as a sort of goodbye gift to the school, Douglas said.

He said the bus will travel to different schools around the district next year, in hopes of drawing students to attend Majestic Elementary. Douglas said the school is open to all who want to enroll there.

Sixth grader Valeria Rojas said she loves art and finds that she can express her feelings as she draws and paints. She said she wanted the bus to convey the feeling of happiness to other students.

“I hope that they think that they’re going to have fun,” she said, of when kids see the mobile music bus.

As part of the arts academy’s first graduating class, Valeria is leaving behind a colorful legacy while learning one, last lesson — how to make an impact on, “the kids next year, to have a chance to do this too.”

“This is a really important way to show that they are important and that they do have a voice,” Douglas said “And that the work that they do is going to influence other people.”

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Religion

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington D.C. temple has its doors open to the public for the first time in almost 50 years.

After a renovation, the building, sacred to members the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has welcomed non-members there for tours before the building is re-dedicated.

Two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Garrett Gong are among the tour guides. One of the first to take that tour is man experiencing it differently than most — he couldn’t hear a thing.

Fayoz Mulladjanov, deaf from an early age, grew up in a family that were Muslim, and had a Latter-day Saint friend. Born and raised in Uzbekistan, with the Church, he said he felt something different.

“I kind of had that sense of peace…They introduced me to a missionary and that’s how I got baptized.”

His family also joined the Church soon after. He moved to the U.S., served a mission, got married and had children.

From the outside, Mulladjanov appears to be like anybody else just living their life. The difference is, he is doing it in silence, using sign language to communicate.

“Silence and peace are similar signs. One is silence and one is peace. But peace tends to come with happiness and silence is not always happiness.”

He says he is anxious to go to the temple. He is anxious for it to be re-dedicated. He is anxious for the peace he can almost hear while inside.

“The outside may be different. But everyone wears the same clothes; the doctrine is the same, the covenants are the same. I feel that puts us all on the same level — that we’re all the same, that we’re not better than others or worse than others.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo says one of his newborn twins has died

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo took to social media on Monday to say one of his newborn twins has died.

“It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away,” the Manchester United striker wrote in a post also signed by his partner, Georgina Rodriguez.

“It is the greatest pain that any parents can feel.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)

Ronaldo announced last year that the couple was expecting twins.

“Only the birth of our baby girl gives us the strength to live this moment with some hope and happiness,” he wrote on the social-media post.

“We are all devastated at this loss,” the post added, “and we kindly ask for privacy at this very difficult time. Our baby boy, you are our angel. We will always love you.”

Ronaldo already had four children.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Religion

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released its 2022 Easter message on Wednesday.

‘He is risen’ was the angelic message of the first Easter. With feelings of worship and gratitude, we declare our witness that Jesus Christ is indeed risen.

Read the full message below.

“He is risen” was the angelic message of the first Easter. With feelings of worship and gratitude, we declare our witness that Jesus Christ is indeed risen.

God the Father has given us the divine birth, the incomparable life, and the infinite atoning sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

By the power of the Father, Jesus rose again and claimed the victory over death. He is our resurrected Savior, our Exemplar, and our Redeemer. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

May the glorious significance of Easter attract all to follow Jesus Christ and to love one another as He taught in word and deed.

President Russell M. Nelson
President Dallin H. Oaks
President Henry B. Eyring

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The search for the 2022 Gerber Baby is on

(CNN) — Have you ever wondered if your baby is cute enough to be the face of Gerber’s baby food? This month you can find out.

The 2022 Photo Search, in which eager parents submit photos of their smiling infants for a chance to be Gerber’s “Spokesbaby,” launched on Monday, according to a press release from the company.

The lucky winner, who will earn the title of “Spokesbaby” and “Chief Growing Officer,” will be featured on the baby food company’s social media channels and in its ad campaigns throughout the year. And they will also receive a $25,000 prize.

“This year, Gerber is searching for a candidate that can help share smiles and inspire joy in parents and his/her peers,” Gerber said on their website. “An irresistible giggle is strongly preferred, as well as an undeniable lovable personality.”

Children ages 0-4 are eligible to enter the competition. Parents and guardians can submit their child’s “smiliest” photos and videos to Gerber’s portal before Thursday, April 14.

For the first time, this year Gerber will match the winner’s cash prize with a $25,000 donation to the nonprofit March of Dimes’ maternal and infant health programs.

“Babies have the power to unite us through their happiness, and we at Gerber support furthering the joy and wellbeing of all babies,” said Tarun Malkani, Gerber president and CEO, according to the company’s press release.

The 2022 winner will follow in the tiny footsteps of Zane Kahin, the 2021 Gerber baby. In the past few years, the Gerber Photo Search has seen several milestones. The 2020 winner, Magnolia, was the first adopted Gerber baby, while 2019’s Kairi was the first Gerber baby of Hmong descent.

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Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck are engaged again

(CNN) — Bennifer 2.0 is planning to take it to the altar.

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have gotten engaged for a second time after calling off their prior pledge in 2004, a representative for Lopez confirmed to CNN Saturday.

Lopez shared a video of her appearing emotional and sporting her green engagement ring in her newsletter “On the JLo.”

Her sister Lynda Lopez shared photos from the video on her Instagram Stories writing, “So this happened. Love you @jlo @ben affleck.”

The couple met in 2001 on the set of the rom-com “Gigli,” where they played criminals stuck on a job together, and they struck up a real-life friendship.

While the film flopped, Affleck told Entertainment Weekly in January that he didn’t regret it because he “did get to meet Jennifer, the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life.”

Affleck popped the question to Lopez in 2002 with a stunning pink diamond engagement ring.

But the pair postponed their nuptials days before the wedding in 2003, saying in a statement, “Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date.”

“When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate ‘decoy brides’ at three different locations, we realized that something was awry,” the statement went on to say. “We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families and our friends.”

In January 2004 they officially called things off.

Speculation mounted that the pair had rekindled their romance after she and baseball legend Alex Rodriguez ended their engagement in April 2021.

“I feel so lucky and happy and proud to be with him,” Lopez told People magazine about reuniting with Affleck. “It’s a beautiful love story that we got a second chance.”

It will be the fourth marriage for Lopez, 52, and the second for Affleck, 49.

She was previously married to actor Ojani Noa, dancer Cris Judd and singer Marc Anthony, with whom she shares 14-year-old twins Max and Emme.

Affleck was married to actress Jennifer Garner and they are the parents of Violet, 16, Seraphina, 13, and Samuel, 10.


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Fans, fellow musicians remember Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins

(CNN) — Roger Taylor, the Queen percussionist who Taylor Hawkins had said inspired him to get into drumming, says he feels like he’s “losing a younger favourite brother.”

And Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker remembers Hawkins as a man who helped persuade him he had potential.

They and scores of others in rock and music royalty have been collectively struggling with the news that Hawkins is gone.

Hawkins, the longtime drummer for recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Foo Fighters, has died at age 50, his band announced Friday, shortly before the group was to play in Colombia.

The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Hawkins’ death has drawn an outpouring of sorrow on social media from fellow musicians and fans. His fellow drummers, especially, expressed a kinship with him.

Hawkins had previously said Taylor spurred his desire to get behind the kit: “I wanted to be Roger Taylor and I wanted to be in Queen,” Hawkins told Anderson Cooper for “60 Minutes” in 2014.

“Like losing a younger favourite brother,” Taylor wrote Saturday on Instagram. “He was a kind brilliant man and an inspirational mentor to my son Rufus and the best friend one could ever have. Devastated.”

On Instagram, Blink 182’s Barker recalled his early drumming days, when he was cutting his teeth in California’s Laguna Beach while Hawkins drummed for Alanis Morissette in the mid-1990s

“You’d come watch me play in dive bars and be like, ‘kid you’re a star.’ And I thought you were crazy but you gave me so much hope and determination,” Barker wrote.

“Years later we toured together with Blink and Foo’s in Australia and I have the best memories of smoking cigarettes in the restroom of flights we were on together and watching your set every night. To say I’ll miss you my friend isn’t enough. Till the next time we talk drums and smoke in the boys room … Rest In Peace.”

Lars Ulrich, the Metallica co-founder and drummer, thanked Hawkins on Instagram “for always having the biggest warmest smile on your face and for lighting up every room with your infectious energy and good vibes.”

Ulrich recalled a phone conversation the two shared a week ago: “I will always be appreciative for you championing our community as in your parting words … ‘Drummers stick together!'”

“Damn right brother. Except now the community is lesser without you,” Ulrich wrote.

The Roots drummer Questlove tweeted he is “so sad about this man.”

“Coolest dude ever,” Questlove wrote about Hawkins. “God bless & comfort his family, his bandmates, his friends & all his loved ones. … Rest In Beats.”

Beatles legend Ringo Starr wrote on Instagram: “God bless Taylor peace and love to all his family and the band peace and love.”

Matt Cameron, the Pearl Jam and ex-Soundgarden drummer, wrote Hawkins “brought so much joy and happiness to my life.”

“I can’t believe he’s gone. I miss him already damn. My deepest love and condolences to the entire Foo Fighters organization and to the beautiful Hawkins family,” Cameron wrote on Instagram.

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith wrote simply on Instagram: “I love you Taylor Hawkins.”

‘Unstoppable rock power’

Sorrow went well beyond the world of drummers, with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, KISS bassist and singer Gene Simmons and Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose tweeting their condolences.

The Foo Fighters had been scheduled to play at Lollapalooza Brasil on Sunday. Miley Cyrus is also on the bill, and said in an Instagram Story that she would dedicate her performance in São Paulo to Hawkins.

She also shared a photo of Hawkins playing the drums, captioning it, “This is how I’ll always remember you.”

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry separately posted photos of themselves with the Foo Fighters drummer on Instagram.

Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello tweeted: “God bless you Taylor Hawkins. I loved your spirit and your unstoppable rock power. Rest In Peace my friend.”

Joan Jett, friend of the Foo Fighters and frontwoman of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, wrote on Instagram: “We are gutted to hear about the passing of our dear friend Taylor Hawkins.”

“He was an incredible musician and the kindest, warmest person who always had the biggest smile in the room,” Jetts’ statement reads. “We send our love to his wife, children, Dave, Pat, Chris, Rami, Nate and the entire Foos’ Family. We love you guys and we will miss Taylor immensely.”


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U.S. lands at 16 on list for world’s happiest countries for 2022

(CNN) — Devastating loss of life and growing uncertainty have the world very much on edge, but there is a bit of good news for humanity: Benevolence is surging globally.

That’s one of the key findings of the World Happiness Report, a publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network that draws on global survey data from people in about 150 countries.

Marking its 10th anniversary, the report looks at happiness around the world — the happiest nations, those at the very bottom of the happiness scale and everything in between, plus the factors that tend to lead to greater happiness.

And with two years of COVID-19 pandemic data on the books, the report has uncovered something unexpected.

“The big surprise was that globally, in an uncoordinated way, there have been very large increases in all the three forms of benevolence that are asked about in the Gallup World Poll,” John Helliwell, one of the report’s three founding editors, told CNN Travel.

Donating to charity, helping a stranger and volunteering are all up, “especially the help to strangers in 2021, relative to either before the pandemic or 2020, by a very large amount in all regions of the world,” said Helliwell, who is a professor emeritus at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia.

The global average of the three measures jumped by about 25% in 2021 compared with pre-pandemic levels, the report says.

And benevolence is certainly top of mind as the world responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But before getting into how that increasingly global conflict may impact happiness, let’s look at countries where the feeling was abundant in 2021.

World’s happiest nation is Nordic

For the fifth year in a row, Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to World Happiness Report rankings based largely on life evaluations from the Gallup World Poll.

The Nordic country and its neighbors Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland all score very well on the measures the report uses to explain its findings: healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support in times of trouble, low corruption and high social trust, generosity in a community where people look after each other and freedom to make key life decisions.

Denmark comes in at No. 2 in this year’s rankings, followed by Iceland at No. 3. Sweden and Norway are seventh and eighth, respectively.

Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg take places 4 through 6, with Israel coming in at No. 9 and New Zealand rounding out the top 10.

Canada (No. 15), the United States (No. 16) and the United Kingdom (No. 17) all made it into the top 20.

Happiness in troubled times

Another bright spot in this year’s report: Worry and stress dipped in the pandemic’s second year. While they were still up 4% in 2021 versus pre-pandemic, worry and stress in 2020 were up by 8%.

“I think part of that is people knew a little more what they were dealing with in the second year, even if there were new surprises,” Helliwell said.

Average life evaluations “have remained remarkably resilient” during the pandemic, with negative and positive influences offsetting each other, the report says.

“For the young, life satisfaction has fallen, while for those over 60, it has risen — with little overall change,” according to the report.

Helliwell acknowledges that there’s a sense that crises bring out either the best or the worst in societies.

“But in general, people are too pessimistic about the goodwill in the societies they live in, so then when the actual disaster happens and they see other people responding positively to help others, it raises their opinion both of themselves and of their fellow citizens,” Helliwell said.

“And so you find both trust in others and general life evaluations often rise in times when you think ‘these are bad times,’ but what’s happening is people are working together to deal with them.”

This interplay of negative and positive very much applies to the situation in Ukraine, although how the scales will ultimately tip remains to be seen. Working together will certainly offset, to some degree, the tragedies affecting Ukrainians, Helliwell said.

“Their heartland is being attacked, so they’ll be getting some coming-together effect, but of course the actual damage is terrible.”

The effects the war will have on overall happiness in Russia are especially murky because government censorship distorts information that could inform life evaluations.

The surveys this year’s happiness rankings were based on were conducted well before the invasion. Ukraine and Russia both fall into the bottom half of world rankings for happiness in the 2022 report, with Ukraine at No. 98 and Russia at No. 80.

At No. 146, Afghanistan is at the very bottom of the rankings in the 2022 report, “a stark reminder of the material and immaterial damage that war does to its many victims,” Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, another report editor, said in a news release.

The current war raging in Ukraine means happiness in other parts of the world could teeter as well.

“It’s conceivable some people seeing what war can do close up on their television screens every day to the lives of people who have nothing to do with war and want nothing to do with war can make them feel lucky they’re not there or empathetic to the point of pain for the people who are there,” Helliwell said.

“And they’re both real and understandable emotions, but they’re playing on opposite sides of the balance.”

Hopefully, the uptick in benevolence — in all its forms – carries into 2022 and beyond.

The world’s happiest countries, 2022 edition

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Sweden
  8. Norway
  9. Israel
  10. New Zealand
  11. Austria
  12. Australia
  13. Ireland
  14. Germany
  15. Canada
  16. United States
  17. United Kingdom
  18. Czechia (Czech Republic)
  19. Belgium
  20. France

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