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Keep a Daily Planner in 2019—for Yourself and Nobody Else



It started innocently enough, as most online searches do. I wanted a planner. It was mid-December, and soon it would be the New Year, when the pressure is on to be a New Me. Becoming more organized seemed a pedestrian—but satisfyingly attainable—resolution.

Instagram had incepted the idea into my brain weeks earlier, when it showed me an ad for 2019 paper planners. Neat lines and blank pages, all patiently waiting to be filled up with ideas, events, and to-do lists. All in servitude of my numerous New Year’s goals. I was inspired. Yes! I thought. Time to “get offline” and “go analog.” I entered the term “best planner” into the search bar and pressed Enter.

Hours later, I emerged from my phone screen frazzled and depressed. I had stumbled into #planner Instagram—#plannerlife, #plannergirl, #planneraddict—and gotten lost, hungrily scrolling through image after image of fanciful calligraphy and perfectly outlined lists and elaborate illustrations of journaling wood nymphs. My brain oscillated from curiosity (where do I find those neat stickers?) to reasoned awareness (of course I should be tracking my financials more closely), from unreasonable disappointment (why, oh, why hadn’t I ever taken a calligraphy class?!) to scorn (who needs an itemized table of contents for a damn to-do list?). I glanced away from my phone to my own “planner,” a battered, red, lined Moleskine full of scrawled notes written with free ballpoint pens I had collected from work conferences and hotel nightstands. Oh my god, I thought, I am a disaster.

All I wanted was to get organized, but my excursion into #planner Instagram threatened to embitter me. It was a noxious feeling of jealousy mixed with an equally rotten instinct for self-righteousness. I harrumphed. I am too busy to be meticulously crafting and drawing and slapping silly stickers to things!

Then I bought a planner anyway.

On January 2, I walked into an art-supply store and headed for the pen section. After much scribbling and doodling, I dropped a multicolor pack of Le Pens, three Faber-Castell markers, two rolls of crafting tape, and a gridded Leuchttrum notebook into my basket. As the cashier scanned my items, he turned the notebook over in his hands and looked up at me. “Bullet Journal?”

“Yes,” I replied sheepishly. “New year, new me, all that jazz.”

A beat of silence.

“Yeah, we’ve sold a ton of these,” he finally said.

I could feel his assumption of my impending failure. Of all of our impending failure. Perhaps he could see January 2, 2020, when the previous year’s abandoned planners would be cast away to the Island of Misfit Journals.

“I like your palette of pen colors,” he added.

I told him I chose colors that grabbed my attention, that maybe they would organize my mind’s eye. I didn’t tell him I thought they might also look nice on Instagram.

Humans seek order and patterns, but our eyes are equally drawn to gleam and glam.

Actually, colors have long adorned my planner. Black ink for to-do lists, blue ink to mark items to-done. I also use a highlighter system to organize ideas: yellow for conversations I’ve had with colleagues, pink for notes from brainstorm sessions. Like any digital native, I also take notes on my computer (Evernote for me). There, I use colors to differentiate notes about different topics, and I often use various serif and sans-serif fonts and formatting for headers and body copy. We all crave the signaling of informational hierarchy.

This is probably why #planner Instagram is so addictive. Humans seek order and patterns, but our eyes are equally drawn to gleam and glam. #Plannerstagram is where perfectly symmetrical lines meet aesthetically pleasing flourishes like curlicue fonts written in shimmering gel pens. Where one revels in the promise of a clear, clean organized mind. Where you never forget to pick up your dry cleaning or file your expense reports. Where your very anxieties can be sketched and beautified. The aspiration is boundless yet accessible.

One of the most popular #planner methodologies is the Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal (known as BuJo among the hardcore) is a system for organizing information into bulleted lists that include tasks, events, and notes. There are various ways to log the information so it can be collected and grouped together, an analog hack to mimic the benefit of digital copy-and-pasting. (Just look to Instagram for countless, colorful examples.) On first glance, it might seem like a lot of work, but the system is simple and straightforward. A tutorial breaks it down in about five minutes. And it has an inspiringly humble origin.

Bullet Journaling was created by a guy named Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer who invented the methodology out of personal necessity. When he was young, doctors diagnosed him with attention deficit disorder, and over the years, he developed the organizational system as a way to keep himself ordered, focused, and intentional about his goals. He shared the methodology with a few friends, and after their encouraging reception, Carroll launched a website in 2014. Quickly the Bullet Journal spread around the world. Thousands of people uploaded Instagram posts and YouTube videos of their own adaptations. Millions viewed his tutorials. He even delivered a Tedx Talk.

But before BuJo got its mojo, Carroll experienced something similar to my own planner envy. “I grew up with ADHD and struggled in school,” he told me over email. “I would see the notes of my classmates—neat, artistic, and plentiful, entirely unlike my own. The more I tried—and failed—to be like them, the more anxious and disheartened I became.” That’s when he began formulating his own system and “stopped obsessing about perfection.”

When I asked Ryder what he would tell people like me who might suffer from planner self-loathing, he offered this: “It’s not about how it looks; it’s about how effective it is at moving you toward what matters. The more we focus on what other people are doing, the more distracted we are from what we actually need.”

As I began to imagine what I wanted my #plannerlife to look like, I thought of a Benjamin Franklin quote about organizing. OK, I admit, I actually looked up quotes on the internet about organizing that I thought I might inscribe on the first page of my planner as #inspiration for the year and found one that is often attributed to Franklin: “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” There is probably some inverse version where for every minute spent fretting about organizing, an hour is lost. My fear was that if I created a bespoke planner, I would fixate on the frills and not focus on the function. So I decided to stay authentic to the system I had already created for myself and not wholesale switch to the BuJo method.

Perhaps for some readers, this abandonment of total self-transformation is sad-trombone. But real life rarely has “extreme makeovers” where people learn to “tidy up” in 45 short minutes. Goals are usually achieved incrementally and over time. It’s why we break down our problems with tedious to-do lists. My incremental change? I wanted to disentangle doing from dreaming. So I decided to separate task lists from ideas, using a Hobonichi Techno Cousin for planning and to-dos and the Leuchttrum for jotting down thoughts. These notebooks in my hands aren’t particularly beautiful, and my handwriting is still ugly (though more colorful now), but so far, I’ve gotten things done (like writing this story).

I spent about half an hour setting up my January schedule. Each day I’ve spent about 10 minutes when I get to work and 10 minutes at the end of the day updating my lists and taking account of notable conversations I’ve had. If Franklin is right, I’ve already amassed about 150 hours. What will I do with all that time? Maybe launch my own #planner account.

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal




People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in

worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.

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African News

Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do




“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach




Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe




Miss Universe Andrea Meza

Miss Universe Andrea Meza





1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru



1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil





1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam



74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021




By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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