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The PPC failed to secure any seats despite a late surge as its populist leader tapped into a vein of anger among some Canadians over vaccine mandates and lockdown measures, but did increase its overall vote share.luna terra coinA third Russian faces charges over his alleged involvement in the 2018 Salisbury poisonings, which left three people critically ill and one dead.

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Prosecutors have authorised charges against Denis Sergeev in the Novichok attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.Dawn Sturgess died after the poisoning and a police officer was badly injured.Police also confirmed they believe the suspects in the case belonged to a Russian military intelligence team.Security sources believe Sergeev acted as the on-the-ground commander for the operation and was the senior member of the team from Russia's GRU.He has also been linked to other covert activity across Europe.

On 2 March 2018, the alleged GRU hit team came to the UK.Two men, using the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, arrived in the afternoon at Gatwick airport. Police have now for the first time confirmed their real names as Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin.Sandwiched between the economic and political powerhouses of China and India, with a population of just more than 760,000, the Kingdom of Bhutan is known around the globe for its unconventional measure of national development: Gross National Happiness (GNH). The concept was implemented in 1972 by the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Eschewing traditional economic quantifications, Bhutan assesses its country's overall wellbeing on the basis of sustainable and equitable socio-economic development; environmental conservation; preservation and promotion of culture; and good governance.

"Gross National Happiness is [a] set of collective conditions; one that [is] generally needed to live a good life," said Rinpoche.Before the pandemic, Rinpoche journeyed around the world giving lectures and workshops through his Neykor Initiative. He was also working to build the first Buddhist Academy in Bhutan that will be open to anyone interested in learning about Buddhist philosophy, regardless of background or religion."Everything I was doing was put on hold. I decided to see this as an opportunity to deepen my own experience and isolate myself," Rinpoche said. "I went to the mountains and lived there with very little food, in harsh weather conditions, with no shelter but a cave. It gave me the time to truly imbibe my own teachings. What became very clear was that true happiness has nothing to do with external phenomena; it is innate."Of course, Rinpoche stressed that one does not need to go to such extremes to find peace: "We must stop searching for happiness in experiences outside ourselves. There are, in my opinion, four pillars: loving kindness, compassion, non-attachment and karma, that can be easily embraced by any one at any point in their lives, from anywhere."

According to Rinpoche, loving kindness "is the key to generating happiness not just on a personal level, but for others as well." He stressed the importance of being kind to yourself first and how this leads to compassion to others. "You must love yourself and truly know, that no matter the circumstance, you are good enough. From there, you can spread that [compassion] to others."You may also be interested in:

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• Bhutan's 350-year-old recipe for wellbeing• Japan's mountain ascetic hermits• Where Buddha was bornChunjur Dozi, a former tour guide, believes that Bhutan's sense of collective compassion is rooted in religion. "We have a strong communal sense of helping others, which comes from most of the population being Buddhist. I always consider if what I do will benefit the community."

After no longer being able to work as a guide during the pandemic, Dozi reevaluated his perspective and returned to his village of Tekizampa in May of 2020. "The most difficult for me was coping with losing a job that I thought was secure," he said, "However, I was not without any alternatives. I was able to go back to my village and return to the earth, farming and selling produce." He has since used his experience as a tour guide to engage his peers in finding ways to promote local culture to tourists now that the Kingdom has reopened its borders. "I encouraged people to elaborate our homegrown recipes with red rice to make it as authentic as possible so people can learn about our local cuisine," he said.Rinpoche's third pillar, non-attachment or impermanence, is a Buddhist concept that is at the root of Bhutanese culture. "When something goes wrong, don't become depressed immediately because things will change," Rinpoche said. "If we accept that all things are impermanent, then that means there can be change, and with change there is hope." Rinpoche explained that this also holds true for the positive things in life. "Accepting that things don't last, including success and wealth, allows you to truly appreciate what you have at hand."In addition to embracing self-kindness and living compassionately towards others, the pandemic has also reinforced the importance of welcoming change to Dozi. Since returning to his village, he has learned carpentry and has been helping his neighbours repair their homes while embarking on a big communal project. "We renovated a traditional farmhouse that was abandoned by a family and transformed it into a farm stay. I have been advocating a long time for a more immersive approach to tourism and for people to explore the culture and lifestyle of the more rural areas of Bhutan. At the end of the day, I learned to be happy with what I have and make the best of it."According to Rinpoche, the fourth pillar, karma, isn't what it seems.

"Karma is totally misunderstood. Most people think it means that if you do something bad, then something bad will happen to you, like a form of universal revenge or punishment. It isn't that at all. It is about cause, condition and effect. Accepting that your actions and choices have an impact on the world around you. It is like planting a seed of a tree. If we plant a mango seed, we get a mango tree. We can't plant an apple seed and expect a mango tree to grow!" he chuckled. "Believing in karma is an opportunity for you to transform yourself, to shape yourself, to really work on who you want to become and do what you want to achieve."Though Rinpoche asserts that Bhutan is "incredibly peaceful and has this majestic and pristine natural environment", he also recognises that the Kingdom has its issues, just like everywhere else. Inflation continues to rise, with the overall consumer price index up by almost 9% in the past year. Food insecurity is also a reality (Bhutan imports about 50% of its food) and the country has seen a nearly 15% hike in food costs. The impact of closing its borders from March 2020 through August 2021 also meant that and at least 50,000 individuals working in the tourism industry lost their jobs and livelihoods, like Dozi.

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Yet, good governance, one of the cornerstones of GNH, has been crucial to Bhutan's survival throughout the pandemic. The government's swift response to coronavirus' socio-economic impact has been lauded by the international community, as it deferred the payment of taxes and issued financial aid to citizens. Parliament members donated one month's salary to the relief efforts. The government also prioritised the vaccination of its citizens and currently 90.2% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated."What is so special about being Bhutanese is that there is always a united sense of gratitude, communal well-being and national identity," added Thinley Choden, a social entrepreneur and consultant.

Choden believes that part of the reason why the Bhutanese view happiness differently than other cultures is because of their ability to reconcile past and present. "Bhutanese culture is strongly rooted in our traditions and spiritual values, but we are a very progressive and practical society. Generally, our culture and religion is not prescriptive, and not a black-and-white choice, but rather navigating the middle path in everyday living."If there was one piece of advice Rinpoche could share with the world it would be this: "Always remember that the most important thing is to live life in the present moment, and that happiness is not a by-product of external factors, but the result of positively conditioning your mind. Happiness is at the grasp of everyone."Inside some of our most magnificent trees, miniature worlds are at risk of extinction. The race is on to accelerate trees' ageing process, so these intricate communities aren't lost forever.AAt around 1,100 years old, and almost 11m (36ft) in girth, the Big Belly Oak is the oldest tree in Savernake Forest in south-west England. A tiny sapling at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Big Belly Oak has lived through the War of the Roses, the Black Death, the English Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and two world wars. Now gnarled and knobbly, Big Belly Oak’s trunk is strapped up with a metal girdle to keep it from falling apart.While an ancient tree like this is impressive at a distance, take a look inside and you will see something even more intriguing.

Oak polypore fungi and stag beetle larvae feast on the dead heartwood, adult stag beetles sup the sugary liquid from the "sap runs", the living layers of wood which transport water and minerals throughout the tree. Hover flies lay eggs in water-filled rot holes, rat-tailed maggots devour leaf litter and violet click beetles eat up wood mould that is rich with faeces and other remains, accumulating over a century. Knothole moss and pox lichen cling to the bark in rainwater channels. Barbastelle bats hibernate in crevices and under loose bark. Woodpeckers and nuthatch enlarge holes for nesting, while owls, kestrels, marsh tit and tree-creeper move in to ready-made cavities.These rich pockets of life are a secret world, a diverse habitat teeming with insects, fungi, lichen, birds and bats. The ancients of our forests provide essential food and shelter for more than 2,000 of the UK's invertebrates species. In Savernake Forest alone, these trees are home to nearly 120 species of lichen, more than 500 species of fungi, and other important wildlife such as the elusive white-letter hairstreak butterflies.

We face losing these micro-worlds as, one by one, the ancient trees of today are dying and there are not enough ready to replace them.The ancients of Savernake Forest are something of an anomaly in the wider landscape. A thousand years ago, Savernake was wood-pasture grazed with livestock. Then from the 12th Century it was a royal hunting forest with woodland, coppice, common land and small farms. In the 20th Century, that picture changed dramatically. Worldwide over a third of primary forests – ones that have been undisturbed by humans for over 140 years – were cut down between 1900 and 2015. The loss is attributed to land-use change like the creation of farms or housing developments, and tree harvesting for wood. In Britain, although the canopy cover grew throughout the 20th Century, most of this new growth was down to planting new saplings – the country has lost almost half of its ancient woodland since the 1930s.

The way we manage forests has changed, explains Paul Rutter, woodland advisor for Plantlife and project officer at Ancients of the Future, a collaboration between conservation charities Buglife, Plantlife, and the Bat Conservation Trust. The intensification of agriculture has meant the removal of many hedgerows and trees that grow within them, as fields have been made larger. Traditional forest management practices have largely been replaced by plantation forestry and whole-tree extraction. Ancient trees are becoming smothered by overcrowded canopies, saplings, shrubs and brambles. Many have been felled for timber or urban development. Add to that an increase in tree diseases and the challenges of climate change. The result is that fewer trees are surviving – or being allowed to grow – into their old age.Which means that the race to old age is on. The Ancients of the Future has an unusual aim: to speed up the ageing process for some trees to ensure these habitats don't disappear for good.

Tree time"In the tree world everything happens slowly," says Rutter. "We call it tree time."Trees reach their ancient (or senescent) phase of life at different ages. For beech this is from 225 years old, oaks from 400 years and yew 900 years. During this phase the trunk hollows, holes and cavities appear and deadwood reaches above the living canopy.It can take up to 300 years before heart-rot, the decay at the centre of an ageing tree, is established enough that insects can start moving in and laying their larvae, says Rutter. "It becomes a complex ecosystem. The ancient trees that we have today, ones that are 300-900 years old – perhaps older – support an incredibly wide range of species."

"With current trends towards general invertebrate decline, we need to support as many pollinators as possible," says Skipp.Fast forward

"For centuries, trees have been pollarded – cut and allowed to regrow. This encourages new growth and was used to produce fodder for livestock and timber," says Rutter. "The trees grew hollow inside and we’ve now found that they are rich habitats for some very demanding species of beetle and other insects. Veteranisation is based on this idea."Veteranisation is the practice of damaging younger trees in order to initiate decay sooner than it would occur naturally. The hope is that habitats usually seen in older trees will begin to develop much earlier. Veteranisation is not new, explains Rutter, but it is not well documented. Only recently has research been initiated to monitor the success of veteranisation techniques.

An international trial, started in 2012 and set over 20 sites in Sweden, England and Norway, is in the process of evaluating the veteranisation of almost 1,000 oak trees. The methods applied include creating woodpecker-like holes, breaking or ringbarking lower branches or the trunk to mimic damage from animals such as deer or horses, and creating nest boxes for birds and bats. The project is planned to take 25 years, until 2037, so the results have yet to be fully analysed."The signs are very promising," said Rutter. "Most of the trees are responding well, healing and continuing to grow. Birds, bats and insects have all been found living in the artificially created niches."

Back in the UK, Ancients of the Future has been trialling these same methods on beech and oak trees. Rutter says, after two years, cavities are starting to appear. "Normally, you’d have to wait for a lightning strike or a limb falling off for the decaying process to start. That can take hundreds of years. These are vigorous, young trees and niches are already beginning to develop."The violet click beetle, present at just three sites in the UK, is the main target of Skipp’s study. They require wet wood mould at the base of beech trees. Skipp has been installing beetle boxes for them – wooden structures designed to mimic hollows that form at the base of ancient trees. The boxes have an entrance at ground level and are filled with decaying wood, similar to the nutrient-rich wood mould that you might find naturally."This beetle requires high-quality habitats," she says. "So by protecting it, you are conserving important features that benefit a whole suite of other species too."Beyond their usefulness, says Skipp, deadwood beetles exhibit some fascinating diversity. Some have evolved flat bodies, allowing them to live in the ultra-thin cracks behind tree bark. Others are perfectly cylindrical, so they can create and pass through complex tunnels in the wood "like a tube train trundling through the London Underground".

Parfitt adds: "Invertebrates need deadwood in different tree species and in different forms. So, it’s important to veteranise the trees in different ways."To that end, scientists have been exploring another method. It is thought that inoculating young trees with fungi could accelerate the ageing process even more.

Mysterious fungiI bat a mosquito away as it homes in on my flesh. "Mosquitos love me," I say. Lynne Boddy, professor of fungal ecology at Cardiff University who is guiding me through the ancient woods of the Wye Valley, tells me it is because I give off the same scent as fungi, which do it to attract insects. Perhaps we have more in common with fungi than we realise.

Neither plant nor animal, fungi are in a class of their own. They are found in all parts of the world and but, still, we know relatively little about them. As of today, 148,000 species have been identified but scientists believe that more than 90% of species remain unknown.We do know, however, that they play a vital role in our ecosystems. Fungi decompose dead material into the building blocks of new soil. Fungi can also break down living material too – including trees. Fungi are the main drivers of wood decay, and a crucial resource for many invertebrates is a living tree with columns of fungal decay in the heartwood.

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Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC#

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster