Darius Bazley (Oklahoma City Thunder) with a dunk vs the Atlanta Hawks, 02/26/2021
Darius Bazley (Oklahoma City Thunder) with a dunk vs the Atlanta Hawks, 02/26/2021
I’m not denying that the NHS and key workers don’t deserve our support in the pandemic – but LGBT people like me wish the public had chosen another symbol, writes Rachel Charlton-Dailey.
Mike’s, London SE15: ‘This is why we bother to put on pants and go out to eat’ – restaurant review. A deceptively humble pizza joint serving fancy toppings on serious slices
And the winner should be … Peter Bradshaw’s predictions for the 2021 Oscars. Will Nomadland clean up this year? Will Anthony Hopkins get best actor? Our film critic gives the low down on the contenders for the Academy Awards
Deutsche Bank has reached a pay deal with staff at call centres who have been on strike, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Friday. The agreement brings to an end a months-long labour dispute involving about 650 staff in Berlin and Essen at the call centre unit DB Direkt. The deal envisages a 13th month of pay, a one-time payment and a pay increase, the people said.
Malmö - ZetaDisplay AB (publ) (Nasdaq Stockholm: ZETA) and SNØ, Oslo got first place in the Global Digital Signage Awards, presented at a virtual ceremony on 22nd April 2021. The independent awards recognize outstanding campaigns, creative executions and technical innovations of Digital Signage that elevate the customer experience. SNØ, the world’s largest indoor ski hall near Oslo, Norway and ZetaDisplay won in the “Sports and Entertainment” category. “A big congratulations to the ZetaDisplay Norway team who battled sub-zero temperatures, defying great heights and strict deadlines to deliver a spectacular Digital Signage solution to SNØ,” comments Per Mandorf, President and CEO at ZetaDisplay. The physical signage was accompanied by a transformative and future proofed content strategy to facilitate infotainment through live camera streams from within the arena, live TV and real-time social media and imagery integration, all run from ZetaDisplay’s own CMS platform. About SNØ SNØ is the world’s only year-round arena that unites cross-country skiing, snowboarding, alpine and freeski under the same roof. The centre opened in January 2020 and boasts 36,000m2 of snow-covered slopes and tracks, ideal for downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing for beginners and professionals alike. More info at snooslo.no. Malmö, 23rd April 2021 For questions, please contact: Per Mandorf, President & CEOPhone +46 704-25 82 34Email firstname.lastname@example.org Jacob Stjernfält, CFOPhone +46 76-8754177 E-mail email@example.com Daniel Oelker, CCOPhone +46 708-45 80 54 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org About ZetaDisplay ZetaDisplay acts at the heart of digital transformations in physical environments. We contribute to nudging peoples’ behaviour at the point-of-decision in retail environments, public spaces and workplace environments. Our solutions are known as Digital Signage that we develop and offer as SaaS-solutions. We are a European leader and intend to drive the further consolidation of the market organically and through acquisitions. ZetaDisplay has its head office in Malmö. The company generates revenues of approx. MSEK 450 and employs 200 staff at ten offices in six European countries and the USA. In total, the company handles more than 70,000 installations on over 50 markets. The share is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm [ZETA]. More information at www.ir.zetadisplay.com Attachment 20210423 ZD wins prestigeous Digital Signage Award(Sno) 2021
The Gamecock star’s basketball roots are in Canada — and in a small farm in South Carolina.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSX-V: AQS, OTCQB: AQSZF) (“Aequus” or the “Company”), a specialty pharmaceutical company with a focus on developing, advancing and promoting differentiated products, today reported financial results for the year ended December 31, 2020 (“Fiscal 2020”) and associated Company developments. Unless otherwise noted, all figures are in Canadian currency. “We had a very strong end to our fiscal year and set new records for both the fourth quarter and annual revenue,” said Doug Janzen, Chairman and CEO of Aequus. “2020 gross revenues were $2,592,613 for the year, a 59% increase over Fiscal 2019 revenues of $1,632,524 and Q4 revenues were $851,187 a 59% increase over Q4 2019. Our fourth quarter is traditionally our strongest quarter, and we will work to carry this momentum forward into 2020. We significantly improved on our bottom line as well; the net loss for Fiscal 2020 was $1,045,360, a 66% reduction compared to a net loss of $3,106,104 in Fiscal 2019 and the net loss for Q4 2020 dropped to $165,376 compared to $1,037,354 for the same period in 2019. I am very pleased with our performance in 2020. We have dramatically narrowed our operating losses and continue to close in on our goal of reaching operational break-even. With the recent launch of the EvolveTM and ReviveTM products our focus remains on commercial execution while expanding our existing partnerships to include the acquisition of new products for our growing pipeline. In the next few weeks, we will be submitting the first tranche of information to Health Canada to support the approval of Zimed-PF, a preservative free prescription product for open angle Glaucoma. We are very excited about introducing this product to the Canadian market. We are also encouraged by the pace of negotiations we are having with potential new partners and B2B relationships, despite the challenges associated with the impact of COVID-19 on our partners and customers.” Key 2020 Financial Highlights Highest annual revenue to date, with Fiscal 2020 total revenue of $2.6 million, resulted in an increase of 59% over the $1.6 million in revenue during the year ended December 31, 2019 (“Fiscal 2019”).The three months ended December 31, 2020 (“Fourth Quarter 2020”) had revenues of $851,187, is a 59% increase over the three months ended December 31, 2019 (“Fourth Quarter 2019”).Fiscal 2020 net loss of $1.0 million, a reduction of 66% from the $3.1 million loss in Fiscal 2019, mainly due to higher sales and a temporary reduction in sales expenses during the mandated shutdowns last year.Fourth Quarter 2020 operating loss of $164,750, before other expenses, was 70% less compared to the same quarter in 2019. The Fourth Quarter 2020 net loss of $165,376 was a $871,978 decrease when compared to $1,037,354 net loss in the Fourth Quarter 2019. The change was primarily due to higher sales in 2020 and a $478,940 expense in Q4 2019 related to the impairment of an intangible asset when there was no such expense in Q4 2020. Key 2020 Operational Highlights Commercial Activities On January 10, 2020, the Company advanced the filings for provincial reimbursement in both Quebec and British Columbia for its lead product, PRVistitanTM (Bimatoprost 0.03%). If successful, this additional coverage would advance sales in the second and third largest markets in Canada and would trigger an increase in the percentage of total revenue that Aequus receives from its partner Sandoz.On October 16, 2020, the Company agreed to a contract extension under modified terms for its promotional service agreement with Sandoz Canada Inc. (“Sandoz”) for Tacrolimus IR to December 31, 2021. On October 29, 2020, the Company, together with its partner, Medicom Healthcare Ltd. (“Medicom”), was issued a new Medical Device License for two of three product submissions made for the EvolveTM preservative free dry eye product line, including Daily Intensive Drops and Daily Intensive Gel. Corporate Activities On August 6, 2020, the Company issued 31,250,000 units at a price of $0.08 per unit for aggregate proceeds of $2,500,000. Each unit is comprised of one common share and one-half of one warrant of the Company (each whole common share purchase warrant, a "Warrant"). Each Warrant entitles the holder to purchase one common share at an exercise price of $0.12 for 36 months. The Warrants include an acceleration provision, exercisable at the Company's option, if the Company's daily volume weighted average share price is greater than $0.20 for ten consecutive trading days. 2021 Highlights - Subsequent to December 31, 2020 In February 2021, the Company closed a private placement of 6,666,666 units at a price of $0.15 per unit, for proceeds of $1,000,000 to Marc Lustig, a director of the Company. Each unit shall consist of one common share and one-half warrant. Each warrant shall entitle the holder to purchase one common share at an exercise price of $0.25 for 24 months. In March 2021, the Company elected to exercise its right to trigger an accelerated expiry under the terms of the warrant indenture which governed the Warrants issued under the August 2020 financing, and subsequently issued 12,343,750 shares at $0.12 per share, pursuant to the exercise of certain other common share purchase warrants for net proceeds of $1,481,250. The Company also issued 317,000 shares at $0.22 per share pursuant to the exercise of warrants for net proceeds of $69,740. In March 2021, Aequus launched the newly approved EvolveTM Daily intensive drops and Daily Intensive Gel. Products are sold direct to professionals via a newly created e-commerce platform, www.aequuseyecare.ca. Commercial Update “Despite Covid-19 and significant reductions in rep selling time, -41% in field vs full time deployment, Aequus combined revenues were $2.6 Million, +59% increase compared to Fiscal 2019. Vistitan revenue at +15% and Tacrolimus at +49% showed strong consistent growth as we increased clinic and transplant center penetration respectively. Fourth Quarter 2020 revenues from operations were $851,187, the first time in our Company’s history that we exceeded $750,000 in sales for a single quarter. We’ve successfully executed sales force deployment strategies into key professional areas of Ophthalmology and Transplant across Canada. We’ve used Covid as an opportunity to improve our remote selling capabilities and scale out our technology with video conferencing and professional CRM implementation,” says Grant Larsen, Chief Commercial Officer with Aequus. “Our accelerated ability to adapt to market conditions, and implement digital technology with a scalable platform of assets, is expected to attract international partners looking for rapid access to the Canadian marketplace.” With the addition of business development, medical science liaison and commercial analysis resources in late 2020, our focus is on expanding our product offerings in key strategic areas as well as expanding our established partnerships with Sandoz and Medicom. With a new drug establishment license in Canada, and the demonstrated ability to deliver on promotional partnerships, in-license agreements, we have a flexible business model capable of adapting to many portfolio opportunities. Operating Expenses The Company reported an operating loss before other income of $1,064,989 for Fiscal 2020, an improvement of 60% from the loss before other income of $2,636,560 in Fiscal 2019. The lower loss was primarily due to higher sales and a decrease in research and development expenses. The Fiscal 2020 improvement in loss was offset by higher sales and marketing expenses and a higher interest and accretion expenses recognized in general administration expenses which related to the debenture issued during Fiscal 2019. Sales and marketing costs in Fiscal 2020 were $1,547,773 when compared to $1,857,478 in Fiscal 2019, a reduction of 17% or $309,705. The majority of the reduction related to a decrease in sales activities and reduced work hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic response restrictions which resulted in temporary layoffs, limited travel to customers and reduced in-person meetings. Non-cash expenses for depreciation, amortization and share-based payments in Fiscal 2020 were $91,209 and $150,433 respectively, compared to $189,309 and $82,241 respectively in Fiscal 2019. Research and development project maintenance expenses in Fiscal 2020 were $54,608 when compared to $210,827 in Fiscal 2019, a decrease of 74% or $156,219. The majority of the decrease was attributable to a reduction in consulting and compensation related expenses as we are now focused on revenue generating third-party commercial products as opposed to internal product development programs. General and administration expenses in Fiscal 2020 were $2,055,221 when compared to $2,200,779 in Fiscal 2019, a decrease of 7% or $145,558. The Company’s interest and accretion expenses relating to the convertible debenture issued in May 2019 were $246,753 and $232,433 respectively for Fiscal 2020, compared to $147,478 and $223,428 respectively for Fiscal 2019. The Company recognized cost reductions in Management, wages and related, and travel, and legal and professional fees in Fiscal 2020 which were offset by the increased expenses related to the convertible debenture and interest expenses. ABOUT AEQUUS PHARMACEUTICALS INC. Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSX-V: AQS, OTCQB: AQSZF) is a growing specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing high quality, differentiated products. Aequus has grown its sales and marketing efforts to include several commercial products in ophthalmology and transplant. Aequus plans to build on its Canadian commercial platform through the launch of additional products that are either created internally or brought in through an acquisition or license; remaining focused on highly specialized therapeutic areas. For further information, please visit www.aequuspharma.ca. FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT DISCLAIMER This release may contain forward-looking statements or forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation that may not be based on historical fact, including, without limitation, statements containing the words “believe”, “may”, “plan”, “will”, “estimate”, “continue”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “expect”, “potential” and similar expressions. Forward- looking statements are necessarily based on estimates and assumptions made by us in light of our experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as the factors we believe are appropriate. Forward-looking statements include but are not limited to statements relating to: the implementation of our business model and strategic plans; revenue growth trends into the future; expected timing for product launches; the Company’s expected revenues; the regulatory approval of its products; ongoing discussions with current and future partners’ ability to further grow our product portfolio. Such statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties and are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by Aequus, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties and contingencies. Many factors could cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In making the forward looking statements included in this release, the Company has made various material assumptions, including, but not limited to: obtaining regulatory approvals; general business and economic conditions; the Company’s ability to successfully out license or sell its current products and in-license and develop new products; the assumption that the Company’s current good relationships with third parties will be maintained; the availability of financing on reasonable terms; the Company’s ability to attract and retain skilled staff; market competition; the products and technology offered by the Company’s competitors; the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Company’s operations; and the Company’s ability to protect patents and proprietary rights. In evaluating forward looking statements, current and prospective shareholders should specifically consider various factors set out herein and under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Information Form dated April 28, 2020, a copy of which is available on Aequus’ profile on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com, and as otherwise disclosed from time to time on Aequus’ SEDAR profile. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties, or a risk that is not currently known to us materialize, or should assumptions underlying those forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this release and we do not intend, and do not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable securities laws. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are inherently uncertain. Accordingly, investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward looking statements. VistitanTM: Trademark owned or used under license by Sandoz Canada Inc. CONTACT INFORMATION Aequus Investor Relations Email: email@example.com Phone: 604-336-7906
N2 America, a center-right nonprofit group, surveyed an online panel of 40 college-educated suburban voters every week since President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
SIGNATURE BANK ANNOUNCES BOTH EXECUTIVE AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT APPOINTMENTS
Washington [US], April 23 (ANI): Students who have been exposed to interpersonal trauma -- physical assault, sexual assault or unwanted sexual experiences -- prior to college are more likely to engage in risky alcohol use. But romantic relationships mitigate these effects of trauma on a student's drinking behaviour, according to a new study.
The "Taste Modulators Market Size, Share & Analysis, By Type (Sweet Modulators, Salt Modulator, Fat Modulators), By Application (Food, And Beverages), And By Region, Global Forecast To 2028" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.
Facing a rising wave of coronavirus, and record case numbers, India finds itself battling for breath.
The disappearance of an Indonesian submarine off the resort island of Bali follows dozens of other disasters in the depths of the world’s vast seas. A search continued Frida y for the KRI Nanggala 402, with less than a day’s supply of oxygen left for its 53 crew members, as concern mounted that it may be stranded in waters too deep to reach or recover. Fourteen seamen died on a RUSSIAN nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea in 2019 due to toxic fumes from a fire.
Dublin, April 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Market Spotlight: Renal Disease" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. This Market Spotlight report covers the Renal Disease market, comprising key marketed and pipeline drugs, clinical trials, recent events and analyst opinion, upcoming and regulatory events, a 10-year disease prevalence forecast, and licensing and acquisition deals, as well as presenting drug-specific revenue forecasts.Key TakeawaysThe report estimates that in 2018, there were approximately 738.0 million prevalent cases of chronic kidney disease (all stages) in adults aged 20 years and over worldwide. This figure is forecasted to increase to 819.5 million by 2027.The publisher estimates that in 2018, there were 166.6 million cases (22.6%) in stage 1, 185.7 million cases (25.2%) in stage 2, 361.8 million cases (49.0%) in stage 3, 19.0 million cases (2.6%) in stage 4, and 4.8 million cases (0.4%) in stage 5.The approved drugs in the renal disease space focus on a wide variety of targets. The majority of these therapies are administered via the oral route, with the remainder being intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous formulations.The largest proportion of industry-sponsored drugs in active clinical development for renal disease are in Phase I, with only one drug in the NDA/BLA stage.Therapies in the pipeline for renal disease focus on a wide variety of targets. The majority of these therapies are administered orally, with the remainder being intravenous, subcutaneous, hemoperfusion, intramuscular, and topical formulations.High-impact upcoming events for drugs in the renal disease space comprise topline Phase II trial results for suramin and ANG3777; topline Phase III trial results for Sibnayal, veverimer, recAP, and Jardiance; and an expected PDUFA date for Farxiga.The distribution of clinical trials across Phase I-IV indicates that the majority of trials for renal disease have been in the early and mid-phases of development, with 56% of trials in Phase I-II, and 44% in Phase III-IV.The US has a substantial lead in the number of renal disease clinical trials globally. Germany leads the major European markets, while Japan has the top spot in Asia.Clinical trial activity in the renal disease space is dominated by completed trials. AbbVie has the highest number of completed clinical trials for renalKey Topics Covered: OVERVIEWKEY TAKEAWAYSDISEASE BACKGROUND Disease definitionPatient segmentationSymptomsRisk factorsDiagnosis TREATMENT Treatment of acute kidney injuryTreatment of chronic kidney disease EPIDEMIOLOGYMARKETED DRUGSPIPELINE DRUGSRECENT EVENTS AND ANALYST OPINION Veverimer for Renal Disease (December 8, 2020)Veverimer for Renal Disease (October 20, 2020)Farxiga for Renal Disease (August 30, 2020)Veverimer for Renal Disease (August 21, 2020)Farxiga for Renal Disease (July 28, 2020)Veverimer for Renal Disease (July 14, 2020)Farxiga for Renal Disease (March 30, 2020) KEY UPCOMING EVENTSKEY REGULATORY EVENTS New To The Review QueueFarxiga BTD Rests On Renal Outcomes Trial DAPA-CKDFDA Clears Medtronic's CRRT System For Pediatric Kidney Disease LICENSING AND ASSET ACQUISITION DEALS VTv Licenses Renal Disease Candidate To AnterisSpectrum Licenses CKD Therapy To UnicyciveAstraZeneca Likes Sound Of Silence's ScienceDeals Shaping The Medical Industry, February 2020 REVENUE OPPORTUNITYCLINICAL TRIAL LANDSCAPE Sponsors by statusSponsors by phaseRecent events BIBLIOGRAPHY Prescription information APPENDIXFor more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/ac07v5 CONTACT: CONTACT: ResearchAndMarkets.com Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager firstname.lastname@example.org For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470 For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630 For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900
National debt has been pushed up rapidly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pattern is corroded and not in perfect condition because it was buried at the site of the original Mint. There are some scratches and other marks on its brown surfaces.
The "Prebiotic Ingredients Market Size, Share & Analysis, By Type, By Source (Roots, Vegetables, Grains, Others), By Bacterial Activity, By Functionality, By Application (Fortified Food & Beverages, Dietary Supplements, Animal Feed, Instant Formula And Others), And By Region, Forecast" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.
Olivia McGiffOn New Year’s Day 2019, Tarik Trotter wanted to see if he could go a whole year without drinking. So now when he does feel like partaking, he wants his cocktails to be of the highest quality. “It’s not even worth drinking unless you’re drinking the best stuff, you know?”Trotter, who goes by Black Thought and is frontman for Grammy Award-winning group The Roots, is a self-professed “alcohol enthusiast.” He even went so far as to get a fully functioning bar built in his dressing room at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where The Roots are the official house band.Mix Up Boston Marathon Champ Des Linden’s Post-Run Whiskey Cocktail the Kentucky MuleChristopher Kimball’s Supremely Unorthodox Old-FashionedWhen shaking up drinks at home, the musician has a few trademark cocktails. One of his recent favorites is a Spicy Mezcal Margarita, made with jalapeño and fresh lime juice. It has “the smoke from the mezcal and the spice from the pepper with the cold crispness of citrus,” says Trotter. “I’m all about refreshing refreshments.”This Margarita has made several appearances when he is entertaining his bandmates. “I wouldn’t consider myself a bad influence, but I’m an influence,” he jokes. He also likes to make the drink for his wife, Michelle. “It makes any occasion special.”Coming up, Trotter stars in The New Group’s Zoom production of Waiting for Godot, the classic stage play by Samuel Beckett, which will premiere on May 6. (Full disclosure, my mother is the head of the board of the theater staging this play.) “It looks and feels like nothing else that has been done.”Here are all the details on how Trotter makes his special Spicy Mezcal Margarita.THE LIQUORTrotter has tried a number of the mezcals available, but he’s settled on Clase Azul’s bottling. “It gives me shot-of-tequila-on-a-barbecue-grill vibes,” he says. The traditional process of slow-roasting agave in a pit of hot rocks provides mezcal with its signature smoky notes. “It tastes unearthed,” he says. “It’s perfect, man.” Olivia McGiff To get the spiciness in his Margaritas, Trotter likes using a jalapeño-infused mezcal. To make the infusion, he only uses the flesh of the pepper and not the seeds, to keep the spice from overpowering the other flavors in the cocktail.Trotter admits he’s received looks of horror when he uses a premium spirit for a mixed drink. But it goes back to his philosophy of only drinking the finest things. “The best cocktails are comprised of the best elements of all the independent ingredients.” Though he confesses, “the heart wants what it wants.”THE CITRUSUsing fresh limes is the secret to a good Margarita and Trotter likes to hand-squeeze his citrus. “I’m actually reaching out and able to touch part of the flavor profile or whatever it is that I’m about to consume,” he explains. “It makes me feel more connected.”THE SUGARFor the sweetener, Trotter makes his own simple syrup with organic sugar and uses just enough to bind the cocktail together. “I’m not big on really sweet drinks. I think that’s for the birds.”THE PREPARATIONTrotter admits he doesn’t have an exact recipe for his Margarita. At the beginning of a night, “I’ll probably start with the jigger and be more precise with my measurements.” But as the evening progresses, “I just start eyeing it out.” That’s especially true if he’s making cocktails for a crowd, since he doesn’t want to play bartender the whole time. “To give the drink a little longer life for folks to sip on, I might pour with a little heavier hand,” he chuckles. Olivia McGiff Even if his jigger isn’t used frequently, Trotter has a wide selection of stylish props at his disposal, including shot glasses made from pink Himalayan salt, bar tools with crocodile-skin handles and linen cocktail napkins with Questlove’s likeness on them. “I like to break out unique accoutrement that’s going to start a conversation,” he says.Trotter always shakes his Margarita and serves them on the rocks in an Old-Fashioned glass. He believes that ice is often overlooked as an essential cocktail ingredient, so he only uses ice made from spring water for both his shaker and the glass. “If you’re sparing no expense with what it is that you’re drinking, you don’t want some run of the mill dollar bag of ice.”He then stops himself and laughs. “Folks are going to read this and be like, ‘I didn’t know that guy from The Roots was so bougie!’”THE GARNISHTrotter likes serving the drink with a partial salt rim. “Sometimes I get tricky and use a smoked salt,” which provides one more level of depth of flavor to his Margarita.Finally, to top it off, he garnishes the cocktail with a lime wedge and a sprig of cilantro, to add fragrance and a touch of class. “It’s going to make your experience with the cocktail a little more dynamic.”In our new monthly column, House Drink, we talk to people about their favorite cocktails to make for themselves at home.Illustrations by Olivia McGiffIt’s Time to Change Your Cocktail Game. Here’s How to Do It.Can the Roaring Twenties Teach Us About Post-Pandemic Life?How to Avoid Overhyped and Overpriced BourbonRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
ReutersVENICE—On June 5, the MSC Orchestra cruise ship will once again glide past Venice’s St. Mark’s square despite a March 31 government decree banning the monster ships from the city center. It won’t be a sign of defiance, but rather a sign of compromise as the city prepares the new temporary cruise ship port in decidedly unpicturesque Marghera. The area used to be a swamp—in fact the name means “the sea was here”—and now it houses an oil refinery and several other industrial plants which might not be what cruise ship passengers are expecting when they dock in Venice. The passengers would then take the train or smaller boats into historical Venice, about 20 minutes away.The new decree by Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s infant government that prohibits passenger ships over 40,000 tons, as well as container ships, from passing close to the historical city center is backed by environmentalists and many Venetians.“Anyone who has visited Venice in recent years has been shocked to see these ships, hundreds of metres long and as tall as apartment buildings, passing through such fragile places,” Italy Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said when announcing the news.But some in the city say the return of the cruise ships will be a welcome sign. “It will really feel like things are getting back to normal again,” Vincenzo, who used to sell souvenirs to the tourists at a shop near St. Marks Square until he shuttered his shop when the tourists stopped coming, told The Daily Beast. He now spends his time shuffling around the empty city, wondering if he will ever open again. “I have to pay rent, I have to pay electricity, but it is not worth opening until I know the tourists are back.”Venice’s long-standing inner struggle with self-identity has become glaringly apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, around 25 million tourists visited the city, which has a fixed population of under 60,000. The crush of tourists had turned the UNESCO World Heritage site into something of a Disneyland with plans then in place to install turnstiles to control the flow in and out of the historical center. But by February 2020, when the pandemic caused the cancellation of Carnival, tourism ground to a halt. “There were a few tourists this summer, but in the thousands, not millions,” City councilor Simone Venturini said. “And everyone suddenly had to stop and think: Do we want them or not?”Before the pandemic, around 1.6 million cruise ship passengers visited Venice each year, but they are among the most loathed in the city because they eat and sleep on the ships and don’t contribute anything but human traffic to the city. Before the pandemic, around 700 massive ships entered the lagoon each year. None have been back since, though the sector will open up in June.Cruise ships have been proven to damage the fragile lagoon bed because of the amount of water they displace, but despite the historic center’s animosity the industry is one of the most lucrative for the greater Venice region, bringing around $450 million annually and employing 4,000 people with permanent jobs—who have almost all been furloughed since early 2020.Since the pandemic, Venice has struggled with how to reinvent itself once borders are open and travelers can return. Many who want to see Venice return to the golden era of the Grand Tour, actually believe it is low-cost airlines that contribute far more of the “wrong” kind of tourists to Venice, not the cruise ships.But Draghi’s decree doesn’t actually deliver a full stop to the ships—at least not for now. Negotiations between Venetians who are working to come up with plans to reopen Venice safely had pleaded with the government to do its part to keep the ships from coming too close to the historical center. But the fine print of Draghi’s ban says the government intends to build a new port, even calling for a competition of ideas for how to safely keep the ships at bay, whether at sea or on land—not that it will build one. The winner will get €2.2 million to carry out the plan.But to even temporarily house the ships at Marghera on the mainland, the narrow channel leading up to it will have to be dredged to make it deeper and not risk the sort of Suez Canal debacle the Ever Given container ship caused this spring.“The decree is a joke,” Marco Gasparinetti, a city councilor who would like to see a total ban on the ships, wrote on his Facebook page. “Governments change in Italy every 14 months, there is no way this decree will stay in place.”Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro doesn’t want the ships to be turned away. “People will understand in a few years that disembarking tourists from a cruise ship in the sea doesn’t work in any part of the world,” he said after the decree was announced. “Leave them where they are.”Back in an empty St. Mark’s square on a recent April day, Vincenzo longs for the return of the tourists, no matter how they get here. “We’ve seen what Venice is like with just Venetians now for more than a year,” he said. “We need company again.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
David Appleby/NetflixAt a time when it can be hard to muster the attention required to re-watch The Nanny, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone is asking a lot of its viewers. Watching this young-adult fantasy series with subtitles on is highly recommended—lest you get lost in a sea of terms like “Heartrender,” “Grisha,” and, most ominous, “The Fold.” But as confusing and chaotic as it can be to plop straight into this sweeping universe, Netflix’s dazzling new series rewards every bit of the attention it demands. The costumes are luscious, the action is engrossing, and most crucially, an impeccably chosen cast brings it all to life with winning performances that crackle with intensity. (Also, you’re probably going to want at least a few of these characters to kiss.)Add all this together, and combine it with Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy, also EP on this series, and you’ve got the makings of what could be Netflix’s next big hit.Shadow and Bone takes its title from the first book in Leigh Bardugo’s popular Grisha trilogy, in which Alina Starkov—initially a low-ranking soldier—discovers and harnesses her magical powers to save the world from a terrifying blight. (“The Fold” refers to a horrific shadow world that separates two warring nations, wrought years ago by a “Black Heretic.”) Alina has spent her life resenting and fearing the magic-wielding Grisha, and the realization that she actually is one complicates her already complicated bond with her best friend, Mal Orestev. For most of their lives, each has been all the other has; Alina’s new powers separate them for the first time, both geographically and emotionally. Alina tastes the luxury of living among the Grisha Second Army in the Little Palace, where she quickly finds herself enraptured by the alluring but mysterious General Kirigan (Chronicles of Narnia actor Ben Barnes), while Mal continues serving from with the non-magical folk in the First Army.As Alina, actress Jessie Mei Li’s conviction anchors Shadow and Bone, and her expressive gentleness imparts soul. As the indefatigable, utterly lovable Mal, Archie Renaux brings the heart.Bardugo’s extended universe includes four additional books and several short stories beyond the Grisha trilogy. Rather than limit the series to the text from which it borrows its title, showrunner Eric Heisserer (whose previous screenwriting work includes Bird Box and Arrival) remixes characters and plot elements from other entries as well. Still, building out any fictional realm on screen is difficult, and Shadow and Bone’s early episodes struggle with the usual issues. An endless stream of characters and nationalities and factions can be a challenge to navigate—where is “Kerch,” again?—and the show does non-book readers few favors in the beginning. (I say this as a non-book reader who admittedly had almost no idea what was going on for at least the first hour, if not the first few hours.) It doesn’t help that at times, the proceedings seem designed to tease what might lie ahead at the expense of the immediate plot; certain characters and storylines arise and stir up a fuss only to disappear, at least for now. (Do a quick Google of the skulking gangster character Kaz Brekker’s backstory, teased endlessly by proxy of his arch-villain Pekka Rollins, and try to convince me that a potential spin-off has not already been discussed—just try!) A leaner story could have allowed more time to develop General Kirigan with a little more nuance. As crucial as the character is, his story never quite finds a steady rhythm—and although Ben Barnes has clearly embraced his role, he struggles at times to strike the right emotional chords. The air-bending Squaller Zoya can also feel under-developed, with character shifts that are more plot-driven than earned. Most notably, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone includes characters from Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” duology—and it’s in their scenes that Shadow and Bone’s casting really shines. (Well, that and the fact they brought in Harry Potter actress Zoë Wanamaker, AKA Madame Hooch, to play Alina’s tough-love magical mentor Baghra.)Soon after Alina discovers her powers, there’s a hefty bounty on her neck. The black-hatted mercenary Kaz Brekker and his “crows” (knife-wielding rogue Inej and hard-partying sharp-shooter Jesper) are soon on the hunt, and the trio’s chemistry is as immediate and contagious as Li and Renaux’s. Freddy Carter plays Kaz Brekker as loathsome and lovable in all the right ways—always emotionally removed, but with vulnerability simmering just beneath the surface. Amita Suman’s whisper-quiet Inej is equally complex, at once lethal and reticent to kill. (She has a very complicated relationship with her faith.) And as the endlessly quippy Jesper, Kit Young is an absolute knock-out.Then there’s the C-plot, which centers around a Grisha named Nina Zenik and a Grisha hunter named Matthias Helvar. As ancillary as Nina and Matthias’ story is to Shadow and Bone’s core narrative, the winking approach the show takes with their trope-heavy subplot is perhaps the best lens through which to understand the series. At every turn, Shadow and Bone demonstrates it knows exactly what it’s doing. It fully embraces the many YA and fantasy tropes that fill its story—furtive and longing glances between friends! characters who hate one another sharing beds! a lethal assassin befriending a baby goat!—and executes all of them with a hat tip and a wink. As vaguely sketched as its world remains by the end of this season, its characters leap right off the page—and their stories seem guaranteed to leave viewers, non-readers and Grisha obsessives alike, eager for more. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.