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Bad tax advice is multiplying on TikTok

Taking an affordable vacation is easy, accountant Krystal Todd suggests in her TikTok videos: Schedule some meetings, call it a business trip and deduct it from your taxes. A certified public accountant in Miami, Todd has nearly 240,000 followers on TikTok and 68,000 on Instagram. She has paid partnerships with tax filing and financial services firms Intuit and TaxSlayer.

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Giving people a place to go for help: DuPage County breaks ground on new crisis center

DuPage County officials are breaking new ground to make mental health care services more accessible to residents. County leaders on Monday will celebrate the start of a $25.8 million project to build the DuPage Crisis Recovery Center. The new 24/7 center will be on the grounds of the DuPage County Health Department and will act as a behavioral health triage center where patients experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis can be assessed and provided a plan of action within 24 hours. Though the center will not provide long-term care, patients, once assessed, will receive referrals to other resources and service providers, including outpatient care or inpatient treatment at a county or private facility. “I have long believed that we could provide a new gold standard of diagnosis, treatment and help for all our residents,” DuPage County Board Chairwoman Deborah Conroy said, noting that the center will provide care to those with or without insurance and to children. “This crisis recovery center will be the missing piece in our system, keeping people out of emergency rooms and jail. We know it will change lives.” The center, expected to open in the summer of 2025, has been described as a “transformational project” that will answer the question of “where to go” for those in mental health crisis. The county already provides “someone to call” through its suicide prevention 988 call center, and it offers “someone to help” through its mobile crisis services. “We’ve been involved in crisis management since the 1960s, and this is merely another layer to what we currently do,” said county board member Sam Tornatore, who also heads the county’s mental health board. “Mental health crises are significant not only in DuPage County but across the country,” he added. “We in DuPage County like to think of ourselves as the first responders, in a lot of ways, to be at the forefront of what we need to take care of our constituents and our residents.” The project has been in the works for years. Conroy, for example, helped secure $5.5 million in state funding during her tenure as a state representative. The county also will use $15.8 million from its American Rescue Plan Act federal funds, $5 million from the DuPage County Health Department and a $1 million federal grant from U.S. Rep. Sean Casten to cover the project costs. Officials said the center will help reduce emergency room visits and 911 calls. It will be staffed with crisis services counselors, case managers, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners.

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Bill nixing senior road test clears committee. What’s next?

After months in limbo, a proposal ending road tests for Illinois seniors is gaining steam, thanks in part to pressure from older voters. In an 8-1 decision last week, Illinois House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee members approved legislation that would stop requiring people age 79 and up to take driving tests when renewing their licenses. “What we are trying to address is the discriminatory practice of requiring behind-the-wheel tests for seniors to renew their license,” said sponsor and state Rep. Jeff Keicher, a Sycamore Republican. The next test is a vote in the House on Bill 4431. If that succeeds, the Senate would follow. Illinois is the only state that mandates a road exam for seniors. Opposition to the policy kindled when the secretary of state’s office shifted to an appointments-only system for driver services last fall. At the time, many seniors complained that it was impossible to get a road exam appointment online or to find one close by. “This law must be repealed so that we can join the other 49 states who have found this law to be extremely age-discriminatory,” Huntley senior Sandra Lemke told the Daily Herald recently. “Older seniors only drive within a short radius of their homes (for) groceries, doctor visits, church, etc. Seniors are not party-hopping, texting while driving, driving in bad weather, and driving at night,” she said. At a hearing Wednesday, some lawmakers said they opposed age discrimination but were concerned because people’s physical abilities change as they grow older. Democratic Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado of Chicago voted “present” and Democratic Rep. Tracy Katz Muhl of Northbrook was a “no,” but said “I want to keep the conversation going.” “I think it’s really important to remember that the goal here is road safety,” Katz Muhl said Thursday. “I think we can do both. I think we can find a way to make it easier for seniors, in particular, to do testing but also make sure that we keep everybody, the seniors included, safe on the roads.” Katz Muhl cited a Highway Loss Data Institute/Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study on Illinois’ mandatory test. Compared to neighboring states, researchers found older drivers in Illinois were less risky and made fewer crash-related insurance claims. Conversely, AARP Associate State Director Jeffrey Scott highlighted a 2023 report by the secretary of state’s office. “The findings of this study align with our position, emphasizing that older drivers statistically rank among the safest on the road today,” he said. “Just because you are older, it doesn’t mean that you are an unsafe driver,” Scott said. Debate among committee members showed there are several issues to resolve, said Keicher, an insurance agent. One is the “discriminatory practice” of an age-based test for all seniors. The second is keeping unsafe drivers off the road, he explained. Keicher anticipates further discussions with multiple stakeholders on establishing a process to determine when someone’s capacity to drive safely is diminished, regardless of age. The “yes” votes on the bill included four Democrats and four Republicans from Chicago, the suburbs and downstate Illinois. The consensus reflects the power of seniors speaking up, AARP’s Scott said. Keicher added whenever he’s in the Capitol, “I have lawmakers … asking me about the status of my bill because it’s one of the top things people are asking about in their districts.” As of Saturday, Bill 4431 had 21 co-sponsors. Will it pass? “I have a very positive feeling,” Keicher said. But experience tells him, “a lot of bills I thought would pass, didn’t.” You should know Bike Month is coming up in May. If you’re interested in organizing a cycling activity, the Active Transportation Alliance might be your bank. The ATA is offering “mini-stipends” of $150 to groups in the city and suburbs who want to hold an event. Ideas include a Bike to School Day, film screening or bike repair workshop. For information, go to activetrans.org. Gridlock alert And just like that, it’s construction season. Expect delays and lane closures on Waukegan Road (Route 43) between Bannockburn and Deerfield through October. IDOT crews are resurfacing the road and building new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk ramps.

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Eyes to the sky: How schools are using Monday’s solar eclipse as teaching moment

First, don’t look up! At least not without proper protective eyewear. That’s among the lessons suburban schools are imparting to students for viewing Monday’s total solar eclipse, visible only partially in the Chicago region starting around 12:51 p.m. and ending around 3:22 p.m. The maximum eclipse will happen at 2:07 p.m. when 93 to 94% of the sun will be blocked. Many schools are capitalizing on this once-in-several-years teaching moment by tying it to lesson plans, providing eclipse glasses verified using NASA safety standards and organizing viewing events, while others are canceling outdoor athletics, and recess as a precaution. A total solar eclipse is the result of the moon passing between the sun and the Earth, blocking all sunlight in a particular path — through Southern Illinois starting near Effingham heading southwest to Carbondale down to the state line. It’s the first time since 2017 a solar eclipse will be visible on a path across the entire continental United States. Safety first Staring directly into the sun can be damaging to eyes. In Elgin Area School District U-46, Naperville Unit District 203, Des Plaines Elementary District 62, Barrington Area Unit District 220, Palatine Township District 15, Lake Zurich Community Unit District 95, Round Lake Area Unit District 116 and several other districts, students will be able to view the eclipse under supervision with district-supplied protective eyewear, provided they have signed permission slips from parents or guardians. Most schools have structured activities around the event. In U-46, the district bought enough safety glasses/viewers for each student and employee. Schools in District 203 have done the same. “Safety-focused professional development has been arranged for teachers and staff who will be taking students outside,” said Tara Burghart, U-46 communications and media relations coordinator. U-46 also is directing families and community members to its webpage dedicated to the eclipse, u-46.org/eclipse. Fostering curiosity Of the 560 students in District 203’s Maplebrook Elementary School in Naperville, about 540 have turned in permission slips to participate in viewing the eclipse, Principal Araceli Ordaz said. “Teachers have been preparing students for the big event, discussing what an eclipse is and how to safely view it,” she said. “It’s a phenomenon that adults and children are pretty excited about. We’re fostering that curiosity.” “This is kind of a cool thing … a wonder of the universe if we think about it. Kids are going to remember this day in the future,” Ordaz said. Palatine Township District 15 canceled after-school outdoor sports at the junior highs Monday. Physical education classes and recess are moving indoors during the eclipse. “Safety during the eclipse viewing is our top priority,” a district letter to parents reads. “Because parts of the sun will still be visible, we are providing solar eclipse glasses that must be worn outside at all times.” Morning kindergarten students will be given eclipse glasses to take home. At Carol Stream District 93, families of fifth- through eighth-graders could opt out of participation while other students have been provided protective eclipse glasses and will be taken outside to watch and learn. Meanwhile, students in younger grades will be kept indoors during the eclipse. “Our regularly scheduled Monday dismissal does occur very near the eclipse’s maximum coverage point of 2:07 p.m., with our middle schoolers dismissing at 1:45 p.m. and elementary students dismissing at 2:15 p.m., so we have provided families with general safety guidelines,” said Ryan McPherrin, District 93 director for communications. At the height of the eclipse, all teachers at Libertyville and Vernon Hills high schools will bring students outside for viewing with lab-approved glasses. Teachers and students also have created educational and safety videos that all students will watch. Wheaton-Warrenville Unit District 200 is allowing schools to decide how they want to approach the celestial event, district spokeswoman Alyssa Barry said. The district will move recess and any classes that normally would be held outside, such as physical education, indoors during the eclipse. “This will be an exciting learning opportunity for our students and we are planning educational activities connected to our science curriculum,” said Samantha Scheinman, director of communications for Barrington Unit District 220. • Daily Herald staff writers Alice Fabbre, Russell Lissau, Dave Oberhelman, Katlyn Smith, and Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.

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Germany faces Gaza genocide case at top UN court

Nicaragua has hauled Germany before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), demanding judges impose emergency measures to stop Berlin from providing Israel with weapons and other assistance, AFP reported. Germany has hit back at the allegations, with Sebastian Fischer, spokesman for the German foreign ministry, telling reporters ahead of the hearings: “We reject the allegations from Nicaragua.” “Germany has violated neither the Genocide Convention nor international humanitarian law and we will demonstrate this in full before the International Court of Justice,” added Fischer. Nicaragua will set out its case on Monday, with Germany due to respond the following day. In a 43-page submission to the court, Nicaragua argues that Germany is in breach of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, set up in the wake of the Holocaust. “By sending military equipment and now defunding UNRWA (UN agency for Palestinian refugees)… Germany is facilitating the commission of genocide,” says the submission. “Germany’s failure is all the more reprehensible concerning Israel given that Germany has a self-proclaimed privileged relationship with it, which would enable it to usefully influence its conduct,” added Nicaragua. Nicaragua asked the ICJ to decide “provisional measures” — emergency orders imposed while the court considers the broader case. It is “imperative and urgent” the court orders such measures given that the lives of “hundreds of thousands of people” are at stake, runs the Nicaraguan case. Nicaragua has requested five provisional measures, including that Germany “immediately suspend its aid to Israel, in particular its military assistance including military equipment.” It also calls on the court to order Germany to “reverse its decision to suspend the funding of UNRWA.” SD/PR

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Russia’s Foreign Minister Visits Beijing to Emphasize Strong Ties Amid War in Ukraine

More Must-Reads From TIME Jane Fonda Champions Climate Action for Every Generation Passengers Are Flying up to 30 Hours to See Four Minutes of the Eclipse Biden’s Campaign Is In Trouble. Will the Turnaround Plan Work? Essay: The Complicated Dread of Early Spring Why Walking Isn’t Enough When It Comes to Exercise The Financial Influencers Women Actually Want to Listen To The Best TV Shows to Watch on Peacock Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time Contact us at letters@time.com

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Hollywood actor Luke Evans visits Co Down restaurant

Hollywood actor Luke Evans has visited a Co Down restaurant while in Northern Ireland filming sci-fi movie World Breaker. The Dracula and Beauty and the Beast star was labelled “an absolute gentleman” by the Groomsport Inn after calling in for a Sunday roast on March 8. Posting on Instagram, the restaurant said: “Was great to welcome A lister Luke Evans to the Inn today for his Sunday roast! An absolute gentleman, seen here with our own superstar @georgia.gedge. Thanks for being so accommodating.” READ MORE: Beauty and the Beast star Luke Evans gets a taste of NI at popular steakhouse READ MORE: Darts sensation Luke Littler spotted in Belfast Luke also shared an Instagram story posing at Orlock Point near Donaghadee with the text: “Before the white sneakers turned brown…” Also in the past few days, the actor visited Top Blade Steakhouse in Belfast city centre. The restaurant said: “OK OK OK TABLE 11 in the restaurant has now been renamed… Table LUKE… We would like to thank the amazing actor that is @thereallukeevans for gracing us with his presence this evening. What an absolute gentleman and pleasure to look after. He has been in some of the best films to hit the big screens such as, Dracula, The Hobbit, Fast & Furious, Beauty & The Beast (Gaston), Anna, Lord Of The Rings and the list goes on. @thereallukeevansalso won in Belfast so it’s a great table to sit at THE NEW TABLE LUKE.” Movie star Evans has also recently posted photos on social media visiting Belfast City Hall and the Duke of York. For all the latest news, visit the Belfast Live homepage here and sign up to our Be lifestyle newsletter for all the latest showbiz, fashion, beauty, family features and more.

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What time to watch the solar eclipse 2024 in NYC — a viewer’s guide to all five boroughs

Ready your excuses to be “busy” this afternoon. The solar eclipse — the celestial event of the decade — is finally here. The rare celestial event, during which the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, will start around 2 p.m. in the City That Never Sleeps and last until about 4 p.m. Although the Big Apple is not in the path of a total eclipse, New Yorkers can expect to start seeing it around 2:51 p.m., with the sun about 90% covered by 3:25 p.m. The closest area to New York City that will see a total solar eclipse is Buffalo, which will be able to view the sun completely covered by the moon for three minutes and 31 seconds from 3:18 to 3:21 p.m., according to NASA. Citygoers can expect fair weather during the solar even, with cloudy skies only forecasted to interfere with the Midwest and South and a few over Niagara Falls, which has declared a state of emergency due to the influx of expected visitors. The next time a solar eclipse will pass over a large part of the US isn’t until 2044. Best time to view the eclipse in NYC? New Yorkers in any of the five boroughs should be prepared to view the eclipse at its peak for the region at 3:25 p.m., NASA said. The phenomena will begin at 2:10 p.m., but viewers won’t begin to see the shift until around 2:51 p.m., when the moon will start to block the sun from the lower right before hitting 90% totality around 3:25 p.m. But don’t fear! Even if you miss it at its peak, you can still see a partial eclipse until around 4 p.m. It will fully clear away by 4:36 p.m., according to NASA. Where can you view the eclipse in NYC? If you’re not stuck at work on a Monday afternoon, plenty of NYC spots are hosting viewing parties. Top of the Rock Observation Deck will have a viewing party from 12 to 4 p.m. Tavern on the Green is also hosting a solar eclipse party — a first-ever for the venue — from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. An astronomer from Columbia University will give guests a 30-minute educational presentation on the eclipse, according to Forbes. Another observation deck, The Edge — the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere — will hand out eclipse glasses to its guests and offer a special cocktail at the bar to purchase. Where to get free solar eclipse glasses? Though the Big Apple won’t see a total eclipse, it is still necessary to wear protective eyewear to avoid suffering eye damage that can lead to blind spots, flashes and distortion. The shades are similar to those you get at 3D movies. Public libraries across the city will be handing out glasses on a first-come, first-serve basis, and they can also be picked up at Moynihan Train Hall starting at 6:30 a.m. It might be tempting to look at the sun without protective eyewear due to the darkness, but optometrists warn against it, saying they typically see more patients complaining of blind spots or blurry vision after the stunning phenomena.

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Osimhen’s form raises doubts over Chelsea move

Napoli’s striker Victor Osimhen’s recent struggles have raised doubts within Chelsea’s hierarchy regarding a potential summer move. Osimhen’s sparkling form at the start of the season had made him one of the most sought-after strikers in world football, with the Blues among the clubs keen to secure his services. “At the start of the season and entering into 2024, Osimhen was undoubtedly regarded as one of the best strikers in world football,” remarked football journalist Carlo Garganese. “He scored 31 goals in 39 games in all competitions last season as Napoli won their first Scudetto in 33 years,” he added. However, as the season has progressed, Osimhen’s form has deteriorated alarmingly. “However, this term, the Nigerian’s form has fallen off badly, particularly in recent months. In 14 games in 2024, Osimhen has only scored in four matches. He also has just one assist in that time. His general level of performance has also been hugely disappointing,” Garganese added. Osimhen’s struggles were laid bare in Napoli’s 3-1 Champions League defeat to Barcelona, where he won just one of his 10 duels. “He also gave the ball away 11 times and did not win it back once,” Garganese noted. “Osimhen was offside four times in the first 20 minutes and was dominated by Barcelona’s 17-year-old rookie Pau Cubarsi,” he said. The 25-year-old’s recent showing against Atalanta, where he was nullified by Isak Hien in a 3-0 home loss, has only compounded concerns over his form. “There are suggestions that Osimhen’s impending departure from Napoli has caused him to lose motivation,” Garganese remarked. These concerns have cast doubts in the mind of Chelsea owner Todd Boehly, who knows acquiring Osimhen would require a significant financial outlay. “The Blues have splashed out over €1 billion in the last 18 months since Boehly bought the club, and he is under pressure – also due to FFP – to not waste any more money,” Garganese explained. Despite their lavish expenditure, Chelsea have endured a dismal campaign, currently languishing in 9th place. “One of Chelsea’s biggest problems has been their lack of firepower. As such, the Blues have made the signing of a top striker a priority in the summer,” Garganese added. While Osimhen remains on Chelsea’s shortlist, reports suggest that Paris Saint-Germain have now taken pole position in the race for his signature amidst the Blues’ uncertainties. It is understood that Osimhen has decided to leave Napoli at the end of the season. “His relationship with the club has soured following the TikTok scandal, in which their social media team mocked his penalty miss against Bologna,” Garganese noted. However, despite Napoli’s struggle this season, Osimhen is on a course to prove his doubter wrong, as he scored his 12th league goal of the season in their comeback 4-2 win at Monza on Sunday. After going down by a goal early in the first half, the Nigerian levelled matters 10 minutes into the second half, and that spurred a ruthless resurgence with more goals from Matteo Politano, Piotr Zieliński, and Giacomo Raspadori. Osimhen rose high to head home Frank Anguissa’s cross and didn’t mind injuring his nose during the bad fall. The equaliser was his 111th club career goal as he prepares for another adventure at another club next season.

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Views split on Woodside’s climate stance as investor vote looms

Australian energy giant Woodside’s climate strategy will be put to the test at a critical vote this month as shareholders weigh differing advice on whether to support or reject the credibility of its emissions targets and re-elect chairman Richard Goyder. The nation’s top oil and gas producer faces the risk of a fresh backlash against its climate transition plan – a strategy for how it intends to curb emissions and continue operating in a world that is ratcheting up climate ambition – after 49 per cent of investors defied the board and refused to endorse it the last time it was put to a vote in 2022. As shareholders prepare to cast their votes ahead of Woodside’s April 24 ballot, two of the most influential proxy advisers that guide large investors on how to vote, CGI Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services, have both recommended rejecting it once again. ISS entered the debate over the weekend, telling fund managers Woodside had not improved the plan meaningfully enough since 2022. The group pointed to the fact that Woodside had set only an “aspiration” rather than a hard target to be a net-zero emitter by 2050, or sooner, and that it still had “no tangible plans” to address its Scope 3 emissions, the greenhouse gases released when customers burn or process the oil or gas it sells around the world.

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