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The best fun facts from Alex Trebek’s memoir The Answer Is…

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Alex Trebek’s new memoir doesn’t contain any particularly scandalous revelations or explosive confessions. The Answer Is… is a look back through the life of a man who, by his own admission, thinks his life is “not particularly exciting.” But in 80 years on this earth and 36…

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It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Alex Trebek’s new memoir doesn’t contain any particularly scandalous revelations or explosive confessions. The Answer Is… is a look back through the life of a man who, by his own admission, thinks his life is “not particularly exciting.” But in 80 years on this earth and 36 years hosting Jeopardy!, you’re bound to have a few interesting stories to tell, and Trebek has more than a few. Read on for the best fun facts and tidbits revealed in The Answer Is…

Long before Jeopardy!, Trebek met the Queen two days in a row
When Trebek was still an up-and-coming TV personality in Canada, he was assigned to host a variety show celebrating the country’s centennial in 1967. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were in attendance, and greeted all the show’s performers when it was finished. “The Queen got to me and said, ‘Good show. Please tell me your name, and where you are from,'” Trebek writes. He ended up speaking to the Queen for several minutes (as Prince Philip was apparently waylaid by a group of Estonian gymnasts), and met her again the next day after hosting another centennial show. “As she approached me, I was thinking, Here comes my new best friend. I wonder what we’ll talk about today?” Trebek writes. “And when she got to me, she said, ‘Good show. Please tell me your name, and where you are from.'”

Trebek never really partied hard
The most “scandalous” story in The Answer Is…: Trebek once ate “four or five” hash brownies at a party, not knowing they contained drugs (“Mr. Naive here,” he quips) and had to spend the entire weekend recuperating in the hosts’ guest bedroom.

Another famous Canadian helped Trebek get started in American TV
After several years spent hosting shows for the Canadian network CBC, Trebek broke into U.S. television with the help of fellow Ontario native Alan Thicke. The late Growing Pains star developed a game show called The Wizard of Odds for NBC in the 1970s, and offered Trebek a shot at the hosting gig. Part of the reason he got the job was because there was no space in the show’s studio for cue cards, and Trebek could improvise well enough to work without them.

A studio executive wanted Jeopardy! to be easier
The Wizard of Odds led to a string of jobs hosting short-lived American game shows, until Trebek landed what would become his iconic role as Jeopardy! host in 1984. The show initially struggled to attract an audience, however, and Trebek says one executive argued it was because the material was too difficult. Trebek agreed to “soften up” the show — but with two months’ worth of episodes already taped, he didn’t actually do anything. The next time he saw the executive, Trebek writes, “I said, ‘Did you notice that the material got a lot easier?’ ‘Yeah!’ he said. ‘Thank you so much for doing that. It’s playing a lot better now.'”

Trebek likes SNL’s parody of him… but he prefers the Canadian version
Trebek has often expressed his appreciation for Will Ferrell’s impression of him on Saturday Night Live, but in his memoir, he reveals his favorite Trebek impersonator is Eugene Levy on Canada’s SCTV. The Schitt’s Creek star played “Alex Trebel” (eventually just called Alex Trebek) in the recurring sketches “Half-Wits” and “High-Q,” forerunners of SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy! that saw Levy’s hot-tempered Trebek dealing with lineups of shockingly inept contestants. (“High-Q” specifically parodies Reach for the Top, a Canadian quiz show the real Trebek hosted early in his career.)

The reason behind Trebek’s Jeopardy! crayon
Sharp-eyed Jeopardy! viewers may have noticed that Trebek always wields a Crayola Twistable crayon while hosting the show. He uses it to mark off the clues that have been selected as the game progresses — but why a crayon? “It’s the writing implement that makes the least amount of noise and won’t be picked up by my microphone,” Trebek explains in the book.

The breakfast of champions
Trebek likes a light meal to start his long Jeopardy! workdays: “For years, my breakfast of choice was a Snickers and a Diet Coke. Then my doctor lectured me about changing that. So now it’s a Kit Kat and a Diet Pepsi.”

The Jeopardy! writers pull the best pranks
The Jeopardy! writers once presented Trebek with a category called “When the Aztecs Spoke Welsh,” with clues made up of Aztec and Welsh-language words. The category, which Trebek calls “a tongue twister’s delight,” “scared the daylights out of” him, and only after he spent “a great deal of time” learning how to pronounce all the words did he find out the category was an April Fool’s joke.

Trebek’s favorite contestant interview
Depending on who you ask, the part of every Jeopardy! episode where Trebek interviews the three contestants is either a fun and engaging way to get to know the players or a boring and unnecessary break in gameplay and will they get back to the clues already. But it’s all worth it when you get someone like 1987 Teen Tournament contestant Dana Venator, whom Trebek singles out as his favorite contestant to talk to out of the thousands of people who have appeared on the show. You can see why in the video below; Venator makes quite an impression in her limited time with her witty lines and “bad poetry” like “Roses are red / Violets are blue / Some poems rhyme / And some don’t.”

You can adopt an Alex Trebek-certified musk ox
Trebek has been involved with a lot of charitable causes, including the protection of the musk ox, his favorite animal. It’s his favorite, he writes, because they form a circle to protect the herd when facing a predator. “So long as they stand together, they are safe,” Trebek writes. “This has always touched me at a gut level.” The Jeopardy! host made a contribution to a farm in Alaska that raises musk oxen, and now, he writes, “if you send in a donation to adopt a baby musk ox, you receive a certificate signed by the musk ox honorary parent, Alex Trebek.” (Unfortunately, the book does not provide information how to do so.)

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Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia-Azerbaijan fighting rages in disputed region

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Publishedduration39 minutes agomedia captionTanks ablaze as fighting erupts over disputed regionFierce fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces is raging on in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with each side claiming an upper hand.The region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is run by ethnic Armenians.The separatist authorities there said 31 of its soldiers had now died, and some lost positions had been retaken. Azerbaijan said 26 civilians had been injured in heavy Armenian shelling. It earlier reported at least five deaths.Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have already declared general mobilisation and martial law in some areas.The fighting is the heaviest seen in the long-running conflict since 2016, when at least 200 people were killed in clashes.It has sparked international calls for diplomacy, amid fears that regional powers could be drawn into the conflict in the strategically important Caucasus region.Turkey has already declared its support for Azerbaijan, while Russia – which has military bases in Armenia – called for an immediate ceasefire.The territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh is one of the world’s oldest conflicts.When Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, tens of thousands died in fighting, and many ethnic Azerbaijanis were forced to flee their homes.It is now a de facto independent region, relying heavily on support from Armenia. But it is not recognised by any UN member, including Armenia.Nagorno-Karabakh – key factsA mountainous region of about 4,400 sq km (1,700 sq miles)Traditionally inhabited by Christian Armenians and Muslim TurksIn Soviet times, it became an autonomous region within the republic of AzerbaijanInternationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but majority of population is ethnic ArmenianAn estimated one million people displaced by 1990s war, and about 30,000 killedSeparatist forces captured some extra territory around the enclave in Azerbaijan in the 1990s warStalemate has largely prevailed since a 1994 ceasefireTurkey openly supports AzerbaijanRussia has military bases in ArmeniaWhat’s the latest from the battlefield?On Monday, authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said another 15 of its soldiers had been killed. It had reported 16 fatalities among the military on Sunday.More than 100 people have been wounded.image copyrightEPAimage captionArmenia published photos of what it said were destroyed Azerbaijani tanksThe self-proclaimed republic also said its forces had destroyed four Azeri helicopters, 36 tanks and armoured personnel vehicles, according to the Armenpress news agency.It also said it had killed many Azerbaijani troops, but this could not be verified.image copyrightEPAimage captionAzerbaijan released images of what it said were damaged Armenian armoured vehiclesAzerbaijan’s defence ministry confirmed the loss of one helicopter but said the crew had survived, and reported that 12 Armenian air defence systems had been destroyed. It denied other losses.Azerbaijan said 26 civilians were injured in Armenian shelling, accusing Armenia of targeting densely populated areas. On Sunday, Azerbaijan said five members of the same family had been killed by Armenian shelling.In July, at least 16 people died in border clashes, prompting the largest demonstration in years in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, where there were calls for the region’s recapture.The international reactionUN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “extremely concerned”, urging both sides to stop fightingRussia’s foreign minister held urgent talks both with the Armenian and Azeri leadershipFrance, which has a large Armenian community, called for an immediate ceasefire and dialogueIran, which borders both Azerbaijan and Armenia, offered to broker peace talksPresident Donald Trump said the US was seeking to stop the violenceWhat’s the background?In 1988, towards the end of Soviet rule, Azerbaijani troops and Armenian secessionists began a bloody war which left Nagorno-Karabakh in the hands of ethnic Armenians when a truce was signed in 1994.Swathes of Azeri territory around the enclave are also under Armenian control.Negotiations have so far failed to produce a permanent peace agreement, and the dispute in the region remains one of post-Soviet Europe’s “frozen conflicts.”Karabakh is the Russian rendering of an Azeri word meaning “black garden”, while Nagorno is a Russian word meaning “mountainous”. Ethnic Armenians prefer to call the region Artsakh, an ancient Armenian name for the area.Over the years both sides have had soldiers killed in sporadic breaches of the ceasefire. Landlocked Armenia has suffered severe economic problems due to the closure of borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Russia, France and the US co-chair the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group, which has been attempting to broker an end to the dispute.
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Military suicides up as much as 20% in COVID era

WASHINGTON — Military suicides have increased by as much as 20 percent this year compared to the same period in 2019, and some incidents of violent behavior have spiked as service members struggle under COVID-19, war-zone deployments, national disasters and civil unrest. While the data is incomplete and causes of suicide are complex, Army and…

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WASHINGTON — Military suicides have increased by as much as 20 percent this year compared to the same period in 2019, and some incidents of violent behavior have spiked as service members struggle under COVID-19, war-zone deployments, national disasters and civil unrest. While the data is incomplete and causes of suicide are complex, Army and Air Force officials say they believe the pandemic is adding stress to an already strained force. And senior Army leaders — who say they’ve seen about a 30 precent jump in active duty suicides so far this year — told The Associated Press that they are looking at shortening combat deployments. Such a move would be part of a broader effort to make the wellbeing of soldiers and their families the Army’s top priority, overtaking combat readiness and weapons modernization. The Pentagon refused to provide 2020 data or discuss the issue, but Army officials said discussions in Defense Department briefings indicate there has been roughly a 20 percent jump in overall military suicides this year. The numbers vary by service. The active Army’s 30 percent spike — from 88 last year to 114 this year — pushes the total up because it’s the largest service. The Army Guard is up about 10 percent, going from 78 last year to 86 this year. The Navy total is believed to be lower this year. Army leaders say they can’t directly pin the increase on the virus, but the timing coincides. “I can’t say scientifically, but what I can say is — I can read a chart and a graph, and the numbers have gone up in behavioral health related issues,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in an AP interview. Pointing to increases in Army suicides, murders and other violent behavior, he added, “We cannot say definitively it is because of COVID. But there is a direct correlation from when COVID started, the numbers actually went up.” Sign up for the Early Bird Brief Get the military’s most comprehensive news and information every morning (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. In this March 19, 2020, file photo Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, left, accompanied by Gen. James McConville, Army chief of staff, right, speaks at a news conference at U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md. (Andrew Harnik/AP) Preliminary data for the first three months of 2020 show an overall dip in military suicides across the active duty and reserves, compared to the same time last year. Those early numbers, fueled by declines in Navy and Air Force deaths, gave hope to military leaders who have long struggled to cut suicide rates. But in the spring, the numbers ticked up. “COVID adds stress,” said Gen. Charles Brown, the Air Force chief, in public remarks. “From a suicide perspective, we are on a path to be as bad as last year. And that’s not just an Air Force problem, this is a national problem because COVID adds some additional stressors – a fear of the unknown for certain folks.” The active duty Air Force and reserves had 98 suicides as of Sept. 15, unchanged from the same period last year. But last year was the worst in three decades for active duty Air Force suicides. Officials had hoped the decline early in the year would continue. Navy and Marine officials refused to discuss the subject. Civilian suicide rates have risen in recent years, but 2020 data isn’t available, so it’s difficult to compare with the military. A Pentagon report on 2018 suicides said the military rate was roughly equivalent to that of the U.S. general population, after adjusting for the fact that the military is more heavily male and younger than the civilian population. The 2018 rate for active duty military was 24.8 per 100,000, while the overall civilian rate for that year was 14.2, but the rate for younger civilian men ranged from 22.7 to 27.7 per 100,000, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. James Helis, director of the Army’s resilience programs, said virus-related isolation, financial disruptions, remote schooling and loss of child care all happening almost overnight has strained troops and families. “We know that the measures we took to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID could amplify some of the factors that could lead to suicide,” said Helis, who attended department briefings on suicide data. Army leaders also said troops have been under pressure for nearly two decades of war. Those deployments, compounded by the virus, hurricane and wildfire response and civil unrest missions, have taken a toll. Soldiers’ 10-month deployments have been stretched to 11 months because of the two-week coronavirus quarantines at the beginning and end. McCarthy said the Army is considering shortening deployments. Gen. James McConville, Army chief of staff, said there’s new attention to giving service members “the time that they need to come back together and recover.” “We were very focused on readiness four years ago because we had some readiness challenges, and we did a great job. The force is very, very ready now. But I think it’s time now to focus on people,” he told the AP. McConville and Army Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston said units have begun “stand-up” days, where commanders focus on bringing people together, making sure they connect with each other and their families and ensuring they have strong values in how they treat each other. The isolation is also taking a toll on veterans, particularly the wounded. Sergio Alfaro, who served in the Army for 4 ½ years, said fears associated with the virus intensified his PTSD and suicidal thoughts. “It’s definitely something that’s made things a bit more chaotic, trying to plan for the future, do things together,” said Alfaro, who deployed near Baghdad in 2003, facing daily mortar rounds, including one that killed his commander. “It’s almost like adding more trash on the heap.” While he once feared that strangers passing by might hurt him, now he fears people may have COVID and not show symptoms. Others in support groups, he said, “are just sick of living this way, worried about what’s coming over the next hill, what next horrible thing are we going to be confronted with.” Roger Brooks, a senior mental health specialist at the Wounded Warrior Project, said veterans are reporting increased suicidal symptoms and anxiety. Between April and the end of August, the group saw a 48 percent jump in referrals to mental health providers and a 10 percent increase in mental health calls and virtual support sessions, compared to the previous five months. Brooks said there’s anecdotal evidence that the pandemic has made wounded warriors like amputees feel more isolated, unable to connect as well with support groups. He said injured vets have seen disruptions in medical visits for pain management and other treatments. Within the Army, Helis said the virus has forced an increase in telehealth calls and online visits with mental health providers. That has generated some positive results, such as fewer missed appointments. “And we also think there was a reduction in the stigma of seeking behavioral health because you can do it from the privacy of your home,” he said. Military leaders also are encouraging troops to keep a closer eye on their buddies and ensure that those who need help get it. That message was conveyed in a remarkable public statement this month by Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said he sought help while heading U.S. Strategic Command from 2016 to 2019. He didn’t reveal details but said he saw a psychiatrist — a rare public admission by a senior officer. “I felt like I needed to get some help,” Hyten said in a video message. “I felt like I needed to talk to somebody.” He encouraged others to do the same, if needed, without fear of hurting their career. Need help? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) Military veterans press 1. Individuals can also go to: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now and veterans can go to woundedwarriorproject.org or call the project’s resource center at: 888-997-2586.

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Anxiety symptoms increased during the pandemic, Google Trends show

A new study has found a significant rise in people searching Google for anxiety symptoms during the pandemic.New research found that in the United States, Google searches for ‘worry,’ ‘anxiety,’ and therapeutic techniques to manage worry and anxiety have increased during the pandemic.The research, featuring as a commentary in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research,…

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A new study has found a significant rise in people searching Google for anxiety symptoms during the pandemic.New research found that in the United States, Google searches for ‘worry,’ ‘anxiety,’ and therapeutic techniques to manage worry and anxiety have increased during the pandemic.The research, featuring as a commentary in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, highlights the burden the COVID-19 pandemic has placed not only on people’s physical health but also their mental health.COVID-19 has had a profound effect on people. The world is approaching one million recorded deaths from the disease. And, some of those who recovered from the initial virus effects continue to suffer long-term symptoms that are yet to be fully understood.Once the knock-on effects of the disease factor in — for example, overwhelmed critical care units prolonging treatment times for people with other serious illnesses — then it is clear that the pandemic has had a devastating effect on people’s health around the world.However, as well as people’s physical health, it is also becoming clear that the pandemic is significantly affecting their mental health.Early in the pandemic, there were anecdotal reports that people’s mental health was worsening, including those with pre-existing mental health issues and those whose mental health was normally well. As time has gone on, more research has started to corroborate these reports.In the present study, the researchers wanted to explore an alternative way of determining the pandemic’s effects on mental health: analyzing Google search requests.Google Trends allows anyone to see the search terms that people use for various populations, globally and locally. As Dr. Michael Hoerger, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Tulane University Cancer Center, New Orleans, and his co-authors note:“Although by no means a ‘window into the soul,’ people’s search terms reflect relatively uncensored desires for information and thus lack many of the biases of traditional self-report surveys.”Previous health science research has made use of Google Trends data in studies, and the present study’s investigators wanted to see how effective it could be in the context of mental health in the current pandemic.To do this, they accessed weekly U.S. search terms from April 21, 2019 to April 21, 2020.By comparing the pre- and post-pandemic search terms, the researchers were able to identify four relevant themes.Firstly, following the announcement of the pandemic, search terms related to ‘worry’ increased significantly. These terms included ‘worry,’ ‘worry health,’ ‘panic,’ and ‘hysteria.’Secondly, people shifted to searching for anxiety symptoms, which spiked after the initial flurry of worry-related search terms.Thirdly, the researchers did not see a significant increase in other mental health search terms, such as depression, loneliness, suicidal ideation, or substance abuse. Rather than interpreting this to suggest that these issues did not increase, the authors speculate that people’s searches relating to these issues may occur later, or that they may be better at utilizing self-care techniques concerning these.Finally, the researchers noticed that not only did people understandably search for more online therapy rather than face-to-face therapy, they also searched for therapy techniques for dealing with anxiety symptoms. Users did so with search terms such as ‘deep breathing’ and ‘body scan meditation.’For Dr. Hoerger, “[o]ur analyses from shortly after the pandemic declaration are the tip of the iceberg.”“Over time, we should begin to see a greater decline in societal mental health. This will likely include more depression, PTSD, community violence, suicide, and complex bereavement. For each person that dies of COVID, approximately nine close family members are affected, and people will carry that grief for a long time.”– Dr. Michael HoergerThe researchers suggest that by continuing to track Google Trends data, public health bodies may be able to better identify people’s mental health needs promptly, reducing the pandemic’s psychological effects.
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