Danilo Gallinari (Atlanta Hawks) with a dunk vs the Oklahoma City Thunder, 02/26/2021
Danilo Gallinari (Atlanta Hawks) with a dunk vs the Oklahoma City Thunder, 02/26/2021
Georgia’s new voting law overhaul kickstarted Gov. Brian Kemp’s effort to reconnect with hardline conservatives angry that the Republican executive didn’t help overturn former President Donald Trump’s loss last November. The next measure of their ire — and Kemp’s standing as he seeks re-election 2022 — comes Saturday as many local Republican committees across Georgia consider proposals to censure the governor for not reversing President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. The county conventions come one day after Kemp drew his first 2022 primary challenger after weathering Trump’s ire for months.
Victory in Seville this weekend would be the 31st time Barca have won the competition while Athletic are going for their 24th success
The actor, who has performed in more than 220 films, died following a cardiac arrest at 4:35 am on Saturday.
Following are the major talking points from match number eight of IPL 2021:
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photo via GettyIn “Breaking Home Ties,” the cover that he painted for the Sept. 25, 1954 Saturday Evening Post, Norman Rockwell went out of his way to capture the anxiety that a family experienced when a son or daughter gained admission to college. “Breaking Home Ties” shows a son and father, along with the family dog, sitting beside a farm truck waiting for the train that will take the son to college. The father, who slumps forward and is dressed in work clothes, is a portrait in sadness. His son, wearing an ill-fitting suit, looks over his father’s shoulder and seems lost in his own thoughts.Even if Norman Rockwell’s style of painting were to become popular again, it’s hard to imagine a picture like “Breaking Home Ties” appearing on the cover of any of the many recent books on the struggle to get into college. What makes families anxious about college admission these days is not the threat of fraying family ties but a son or daughter not getting into the “right” school—be it an Ivy League college or a flagship state university.Netflix’s College Admissions Scandal Doc ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ Is an Eye-OpenerIn the early 1950s, when Rockwell’s picture takes place, just graduating from college was by itself a singular achievement. In 1952 only 8.3 percent of men and 5.8 percent of women had completed college compared to 35.4 percent of men and 36.6 percent of women today. Rockwell’s freshman seems sure to end up better off than his farmer father, and in going to an in-state college (there is a small State U pennant on his suitcase), he is doing what is expected of him; 96 percent of public school students and 80 percent of private school students did that in the 1950s.Today’s first-year college students would think they were lucky if they had as few worries as Rockwell’s freshman. He was bound for college in an era in which in the middle 1950s Harvard admitted 48 percent of its freshman applicants as compared to only 3.43 percent of the applicants to its class of 2025.The pressures today’s students endure are more intense than ever, and they are captured in two of the best recent books on college admissions: Nicole LaPorte’s Guilty Admissions, her study of what came to be known as the varsity blues college cheating scandal, and Rob Lieber’s The Price You Pay for College, a guidebook for families struggling to figure out how to afford college.The college struggle that LaPorte and Lieber portray is emotionally draining for families as well as expensive, and the current college admissions season, now underway, promises no relief. The cost of four years at a state university is over $100,000 in many parts of the country and over $300,000 at any number of selective private colleges.The central figure in Guilty Admissions (which lacks a much-needed index) is William ”Rick” Singer, an independent college counselor based in California. Singer used bribery and fake athletic profiles to create a multimillion dollars empire for himself that resulted in his students being admitted to universities ranging from Yale to Georgetown. Singer’s well-off clients included the actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, both of whom served short prison terms for the roles they played in Singer’s fraud schemes.Much of the story Guilty Admissions tells has become widely known through investigative news reports. What LaPorte adds to our understanding is her research on how many willing accomplices Singer had. His schemes didn’t involve just a few bad apples—a corrupt coach here, a greedy admissions director there—taking bribes, but a whole range of educators and consultants with their hands out.No scheme was too outlandish for Singer to try. In the case of Lori Laughlin’s daughters, who got into the University of Southern California as crew recruits despite never being on a crew team, Singer instructed Loughlin and her husband to send USC a photo of their daughter Bella on a rowing machine “in workout clothes like a real athlete.”Neither Singer nor the Hollywood stars who became his clients are people most parents identify with, but the circumstances that led Singer and his wealthy clients to play fast and loose with the college admission process are a familiar story. As far as LaPorte is concerned, the current obsession with the getting into the right college is not simply a reflection of the fears of wildly ambitious parents. She links the current striving for admission to the right college as an extension of the growing wealth divide in America. Parents no longer regard an ordinary college degree as a sufficient guarantee that their children will be able to lead comfortable lives. That guarantee, especially in the eyes of better-off parents, now starts with a degree from an elite college, and they expect their son’s or daughter’s secondary school and its admissions counselor to pave the way for entry into an elite college.What are concerned parents who want to play by the rules supposed to do in this situation? In The Price You Pay for College Ron Lieber, a personal financial columnist for The New York Times tries to answer the questions that are most likely to come up.How can families begin to save enough for college? Lieber carefully analyzes the government’s 529 college saving plans, which allow families to put away college money free from federal and state taxes.How do students find out how much money they can expect to make when they graduate? Lieber advises them to turn to the College Scorecard, which the U.S. Department of Education maintains online for every school.What is the best way to shop for a college? Lieber recommends not only a visit, but an overnight stay that allows a prospective student to see the unregulated social life of a school.At a time when the average high school guidance counselor is dealing with 482 students, Lieber’s practical advice is a good starting point. He acknowledges the pressures he and his family felt struggling to pay for his Amherst education, and he wants to do right by families in a similar position. “Success here means knowing how the system works and who pays for what and why,” Lieber writes.That advice is true as far as it goes, but it still leaves enormous hurdles in place for families. For many parents the standard financial-aid form, the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA), which is scheduled for shortening in 2022, is difficult to complete. Then come standardized tests, which can be helpful for a student in a high school that a college does not know, but which all too often mirror family income. Finally, even need-based aid can be difficult to obtain for poor families. They are not just competing against one another at colleges with limited endowments. Colleges are increasingly using their finances to offer discounts—known as merit aid—to upper-middle-class and wealthy students they think might otherwise go to a rival college.The COVID-19 crisis has added to these hurdles, especially in the case of students from high schools that have had difficulty managing online teaching. For these students, postponing their college applications for a year is a possibility, but that decision can provide only temporary relief. In the end, there is no escaping the consequences that follow when a student skips college and misses out on the lifetime financial benefits of a college degree.As Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz of the Research and Statistics Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York point out in a June 5, 2019, article cited by Lieber, in recent years the average college graduate with just a bachelor’s degree earned $78,000 annually compared to $45,000 for the average worker with only a high school diploma.The college admission struggle does not end, moreover, with graduation. For students who have taken out loans to pay for college, the benefits of getting a higher education often come with a crushing downside. Student debt stands at $1.4 trillion nationally, and for many the debt has become a burden that makes it difficult to buy a house or start a family. The Brookings Institute estimates that 40 percent of the students who entered college in 2004 may default on their student loans by 2023.Nicolaus Mills is professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College and author of Their Last Battle: The Fight for the National World War II Memorial.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.
Facing swift blowback from allies and aid groups, the White House said President Joe Biden plans to lift his predecessor’s historically low cap on refugees by next month, after initially moving only to expand the eligibility criteria for resettlements. In an emergency determination signed by Biden earlier Friday, he stated the admission of up to 15,000 refugees set by former President Donald Trump this year “remains justified by humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said later that Biden is expected to increase the refugee cap by May 15, though she didn't say by how much.
Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov picked up a victory in the light heavyweight grand prix quarterfinals and successfully defended his title by defeating no. 3 ranked Phil Davis. The vast majority of the fight was a stand-up battle where Nemkov decisively outstruck his opponent 145-63, whom Nemkov defeated in their first fight in 2018 by split decision in Tel Aviv, Israel. Not only was Nemkov’s voluminous striking output evident, he also took down Davis, a former NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler, a handful of times. This came as somewhat of a surprise as the highly decorated wrestler previously claimed he would utilize wrestling in his gameplan. Nemkov’s conditioning also looked superb, something fans have not been able to evaluate fully, as this fight was the first time the 28-year-old champion went a full five rounds in his career. Nemkov’s victory over Davis propelled him to the light heavyweight grand prix semi-finals, where he will take on the winner of Yoel Romero and Anthony Johnson. https://twitter.com/BellatorMMA/status/1383254050330726408?s=20 Bellator 257 results: Corey Anderson TKOs Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals No. 3 ranked light heavyweight Corey Anderson advanced to the semi-finals of the light heavyweight grand prix in the Bellator 257 co-main event with a ground and pound TKO victory in the third round over Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov. Yagshimuradov appeared to be a formidable opponent in the first, throwing powerful punches that Anderson respected. Perhaps Yagshimuradov’s highlight of the fight was a rear spinning heel kick toward the end of the first, breaking Anderson’s guard and connecting. Anderson indicated after the fight it slightly threw off his equilibrium. The second and third rounds were much more prosperous for “Overtime,” as he secured a takedown and utilized ground and pound toward the end of the round and went back to the well in the third with great success.With his TKO victory over Yagshimuradov, Anderson advanced to the semi-finals of the light heavyweight grand prix, where he will take on former division champion and current heavyweight titleholder Ryan Bader. https://twitter.com/BellatorMMA/status/1383248827423940611?s=20 TRENDING > Jake Paul and Ben Askren salaries revealed for Triller boxing bout Bellator 257 Results Bellator 257 Main card Vadim Nemkov def. Phil Davis via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)Corey Anderson def. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov via TKO (strikes) - Round 3, 2:15Veta Arteaga def. Desiree Yanez via majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)Paul Daley def. Sabah Homasi via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 1:44 Bellator 257 Preliminary Card Julia Budd def. Dayana Silva via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)Julius Anglickas def. Gregory Milliard via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)Steve Mowry def. Shaun Asher via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 0:55Grachik Bozinyan def. Demarques Jackson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)Raymond Daniels def. Peter Stanonik via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)Lance Gibson Jr. def. Marcus Surin via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)Karl Albrektsson def. Viktor Nemkov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)Mads Burnell def. Saul Rogers via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 4:08Jay-Jay Wilson def. Pedro Carvalho via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 0:53
As the nation struggles with yet another mass shooting and faces a reckoning over the deaths of Black men at the hands of police, President Joe Biden is calling for action. Three months into his presidency, Biden's robust agenda is running up against the realities of his narrow Democratic majority on Capitol Hill and the Senate's limited ability to tackle multiple pieces of large-scale legislation at once. With the White House focusing first on a sweeping coronavirus relief package and now a sprawling infrastructure plan that is likely to dominate the congressional calendar for months, issues like gun control and police reform appear likely to take a back seat.
TGA admits minors mistakenly given AstraZeneca vaccine and says woman’s death an ‘atypical case’. Therapeutic Goods Administration says death of New South Wales woman Genene Norris ‘most unusual’
Reacting to the incident, the MEA said, “Deeply shocked by shooting... Will render all possible assistance.”
NeonNature can be neither opposed nor fled in In the Earth, which—following last year’s misbegotten Rebecca, that never fit his gonzo sensibilities—returns writer/director Ben Wheatley to the hallucinatory strobe-lit horror insanity of his 2014 gem A Field in England. A stripped-down genre affair shot during quarantine and infused with deeply rooted pandemic fears, it’s a phantasmagoric folky freak-out that, like a pestilence, gets under one’s skin, where it festers and infects with unnerving potency. Perched on the razor-thin boundary between lucidity and madness, it gnaws at the nerves and bludgeons the senses until submission—to humanity’s helplessness in the face of the ancient world’s elemental power—is the only recourse.Produced in fifteen days in August 2020, In the Earth (now playing) is not only a companion piece to Wheatley’s A Field in England—a mushroom-fueled psychotronic nightmare par excellence—but also to Alex Garland’s Annihilation, sharing a narrative focus on scientists venturing into a toxic heart of darkness, where they find brutal violence and trippy 2001-style lunacy. The primary subject of Wheatley’s latest is Martin Lowery (Joel Fry), an unassuming researcher who arrives at a remote English facility where pandemic protocols are the order of the day. No one explicitly identifies the disease that everyone is afraid of, but in drips and drabs, the film reveals that it’s extremely deadly, and that it’s ravaged the country (and planet), including the city where Martin’s elderly parents reside.‘Honeydew’ Is a Deranged Vegan Horror Movie Starring Steven Spielberg’s SonAt this outpost, a country home retrofitted for medical purposes, Martin meets Alma (Ellora Torchia), a park ranger who’s been assigned to accompany him into the dense forest to rendezvous with his former colleague Dr. Olivia Wendle (Hayley Squires), who’s carrying out unspecified tests in the middle of nowhere. Before embarking on their two-day hike to Olivia, Martin spies a painting (and related kids’ drawings) of a fabled pagan spirit of the woods known as Parnag Fegg that captured locals’ imaginations in the 1970s after some children went missing in the area. It’s no great leap to assume that this myth is somehow related to the film’s opening sight of a towering stone slab with a hole in it (think a more earthen variation of 2001’s alien monolith). Yet at least initially, Martin shrugs off this tall tale, his attention less on campfire stories about monsters than on a practical mission that involves doing outdoors-y things he’s not very skilled in, like building a tent.Things quickly take a harrowing turn. First, the duo come upon an abandoned tent strewn with toys and a book about a witch, suggesting that a family has been hanging out in this forbidden zone. Then, they’re viciously beaten in their own tent by an unseen assailant. Shortly thereafter, they come upon Zach (Reece Shearsmith), a reclusive outdoorsman who offers them assistance—including shoes, since theirs were pilfered by their attacker—back at his surprisingly sizable makeshift home, replete with its own disinfection station. Zach is a sketchy hermit, but since they’re in desperate straits, and Martin is also suffering from a giant gash in his foot, the pair accept his assistance—which, wouldn’t you know, turns out to be an unwise idea.Referring to Parnag Fegg, Alma states, “I think the forest is like something that you can sense, so it makes sense that they should give that fear a face.” Later, she tells Martin she believes people will soon forget about their pandemic ordeal and go back to their prior ways, implying that mankind is incapable of truly respecting, or coming to grips with, nature’s awesome and terrifying might. In this hostile environment, amateur shutterbug Zach opines that “photography is like magic, really. But then, so is all technology when you don’t know how it works.” The supernatural quality of the unknown is everywhere in In the Earth, and Wheatley uses canted compositions in which his characters are dwarfed by their lush, misty surroundings to conjure an atmosphere of the mysterious, primal world devouring these interlopers, consuming and reintegrating them back into its fertile soil.The director’s dreamy aesthetics are amplified by a soundscape of menacing electronic noises, heavy breathing, and unnatural bird calls, creating the impression that this milieu is not simply alive but sentient. The interconnectedness of everything soon becomes a pressing concern for Martin and Alma, including with regards to Zach—whom they must escape, because he’s up to some wild stuff—and Olivia, who’s trying to commune with the primeval stone slab that she believes is the embodiment of Parnag Fegg, and the hub of the country’s ecological bio-network. To do this, she employs methods that are at once technological and ritualistic—a marriage of the rational and irrational that soon defines In the Earth, and also channels The Shining and the filmmaker’s Kill List as it spirals down, down, down into an abyss of schizoid craziness.Wheatley’s suspenseful visuals alternate between spying Martin and Alma at a remove and engulfed by tangled branches and heavy foliage; close-up views of flapping-skin wounds that gush blood and are stitched up with makeshift sutures; and kaleidoscopic montages of blooming flower petals, smoke tendrils, sunlit-dappled tree tops, smashing rocks, pouring rain, crawling bugs, and other unsettling images. The ethereal and corporeal are intertwined here, portending doom. No concrete explanation for what’s going on is provided; shrewdly, In the Earth’s rare bouts of exposition are handled so quickly that specifics are deliberately hard to discern. What is clear, however, is that man holds little sway over nature (and its old gods), and any attempt by the former to comprehend the latter is an endeavor destined to confound, if not drive one out of their ever-loving mind.In its bewildering final moments, the film delivers the head-spinning payoff promised by its preceding passages. In the Earth doesn’t make complete sense because it’s a movie about incomprehensibility. Tapping into our ongoing COVID anxieties of corruption and ruin, it’s a sinister vision of nature protecting itself through biologically and psychologically viral defense mechanisms—and of the futility of trying to change, fight, reason with or even fathom such unstoppable forces.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.
JK Rowling and Cillian Murphy, among others, condoled the death of Helen McCrory, calling her an "extraordinary,""fearless and magnificent" actress.
LIHUE, Hawaii — The police commission on the Hawaii island of Kauai has suspended the police chief without pay for five days for making discriminatory comments after an investigation found he mocked people of Asian descent. The Kauai Police Department said in a statement Friday that Chief Todd Raybuck will be suspended from April 26-30 for violating county policy. He will also be required to complete Equal Employment Opportunity anti-discrimination training and cultural sensitivity training. The police department said a Kauai Department of Human Resources investigation concluded there was no evidence to support the allegation that Raybuck failed to promote an employee based upon the person's ancestry, race or national origin. Raybuck said in a statement that he values and appreciates diversity in the workplace and community. "I accept responsibility for my comments and will continue to use this experience to expand my cultural awareness and increase my knowledge and understanding of different cultures,” he said. The police department's statement didn’t provide details on Raybuck’s violations, only that they occurred on Nov. 13, 2019 and July 29, 2020. The Garden Island newspaper last month reported an investigation by the Kauai Police Commission found Raybuck on Nov. 13, 2019 relayed a story of meeting someone of Asian descent in a restaurant in which he parodied the person’s speech and mannerisms. Raybuck used “facial gestures and accent, and commented on an employee’s haircut as something out of a Kung Fu movie,” according to a letter by commission Chairperson Catherine Adams. A complaint filed against the chief said he laughed and thought his demonstration was funny. In a July 29, 2020, incident, Raybuck explained why an employee of Japanese descent wasn’t chosen for a promotion, according to audio recordings submitted as evidence for the complaint and obtained by Lihue newspaper. “So, somebody in the Japanese culture, if they think your idea is absolutely stupid and the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard, what’s their typical response to you?” Raybuck said, according to the newspaper. “‘Yes, yes, yes.’” A complaint filed against Raybuck alleged he squinted and bowed his head when making the comments. The Associated Press
The Tokyo Games are due to open in July, with only Japanese spectators in the stands, after already being postponed by a year due to the pandemic.
Batting has always been RCB's strength, and this year, their bowlers have also come to the party. Harshal Patel and Mohammed Siraj have been impressive in previous games, while Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar have handled the spin department well.
Raul Castro said he is stepping down as Cuban Communist Party leader, leaving the island without a Castro guiding affairs for the first time in more than six decades and handing control of the party to a younger generation. "I concluded my task as first secretary ... with the satisfaction of having fulfilled (my duty) and confidence in the future of the fatherland,” he said in a typically terse, to-the-point finale that contrasted with the impassioned verbal pyrotechnics of his brother Fidel, who died in 2016. Castro didn’t say who he would endorse as his successor as first secretary of the Communist Party.
SEATTLE — João Paulo scored a goal of the season candidate early in the second half, Raul Ruidiaz added two goals three minutes apart, and the Seattle Sounders welcomed fans back to its home stadium with a 4-0 win over Minnesota United on Friday night. The start to the 2021 season for the reigning Western Conference champions was a rousing celebration welcoming fans back to Lumen Field for the first time in 13 months with a foursome of masterful goals in a game that was otherwise choppy and at times sloppy. João Paulo ignited the cheers with a deft moment of skill, scoring on a 25-yard volley in the 49th minute to give Seattle the lead. Ruidiaz scored his first in the 70th minute off a terrific pass by Will Bruin and moments later collected a second goal after Cristian Roldan found Ruidiaz with a step behind the Loons defence. Fredy Montero, playing his first game for Seattle since 2012, added the final goal in the 86th minute. Montero, who scored the first goal in franchise history for Seattle, netted his 48th career regular-season goal for the Sounders and first since Oct. 7, 2012. The crowd of 7,042 wasn’t the nearly 40,000 that has become the norm in Seattle, but was a sellout under the current COVID-19 restrictions. They boomed and clapped as the teams took the field. They sang and chanted, booed loudly at any call made by referee Joe Dickerson and exploded with excitement at João Paulo finding the back of the net for the first goal of the season. Even with the limited attendance, it was a marked change in atmosphere from last December when Seattle rallied for three goals in the final 15 minutes plus stoppage time for a 3-2 win in the Western Conference final. After that goal, the only noise inside the stadium was the screams of Sounders players following Gustav Svensson’s stoppage time winner. Seattle hadn’t played in front of its home fans since March 7, 2020, when an announced crowd of 33,080 showed up for the second match of the regular season against Columbus. That match was played at the start of the pandemic when the Seattle region appeared to be the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. More than a year later, some of those seats were again occupied. Minnesota United should be a contender in the Western Conference, but was badly overrun by Seattle. Robin Lod missed on a pair of good scoring chances, and Roldan cleared a header off the goal line early in the second half to help keep the Loons off the board. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tim Booth, The Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — A group of nervous fish sellers got very close to La Soufrière, the volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, on the morning of May 7, 1902. “The top of the mountain was covered in mist, and the foremost of them followed the path up to the base of the summit cone," according to a written account of their experience. “Some went up to quite near the lip of the crater, or possibly even to the actual edge. What they saw there was enough to dismay the stoutest hearts.? The volcano was about to erupt explosively, devastating swathes of the island. Last week, La Soufrière once again started spewing hot torrents of gas, ash and rock, forcing thousands to evacuate to government-run shelters and private homes. Things look bleak, even if there are no reported casualties. Crops, fishing and other livelihoods are in peril. The pandemic was already battering the economy, including tourism. Still, regional aid is arriving, the United Nations plans to help, and the 1902 catastrophe is a reminder that St. Vincent recovered from massive eruptions in the past. Recovery this time could take years, requiring sustained support from around the Caribbean and beyond, said Jenni Barclay, a volcanology professor at the University of East Anglia in Britain who co-authored a study on the impact, relief and response of the 1902-3 eruptions. “The most important thing is making effective use of the resources that they do have, some of the resources that are actually just the ingenuity and the resilience of the people on the island,” Barclay said. St. Vincent is the biggest of the islands forming St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which gained independence from Britain in 1979 and has a population of about 110,000. In 1902, the warnings of the fish sellers who experienced the volcano up close — the thick steam, the scorched vegetation, the sulfurous smell, the constant shaking — were at first dismissed. ?They were received with incredulity, and when they came to Georgetown they were scoffed at as fools and cowards,? according to an account of the disaster commissioned by the Royal Society of London and published in 1903. The authors were Tempest Anderson, an ophthalmologist deeply interested in volcanoes, and geologist John Flett. The names of the fish sellers are not included in the report about what happened on St. Vincent, where a white minority dominated a population that included the descendants of Indigenous inhabitants and enslaved Africans. Clouds and a poor line of sight to the volcano top from the sugar cane plantations and places like Georgetown on the eastern side of St. Vincent contributed to uncertainty about what was happening. To the west, people had no doubt. They prepared to flee while watching an enormous column of vapour billow into a mushroom-shaped cloud, accompanied by showers of black, heavy material, and lightning and thunder. (On April 8 of this year, the government ordered an evacuation of the 20,000 people living in the northern “red zone? near La Soufrière following increasing volcanic and seismic activity. The explosive eruptions started the next day). In the 1902 climax, a ?Great Black Cloud? raced down the volcano’s slopes, swept over homes and farms and surged out to sea, raining scalding ash, stones and sulfurous fumes on boats of people rowing furiously away. On the east of St. Vincent, plantation workers gazed in amazement as the implacable black curtain descended toward them, then rushed indoors or died in the open. At Orange Hill, dozens crammed into a rum cellar. ?One man stood by the door holding it ajar, to admit any who fled from the huts in the village. Forty were in the cellar, and all were saved. Thirty were in the passage leading into the cellar, and they were all killed,? Anderson and Flett wrote. An estimated 1,600 people died, though that cataclysm was eclipsed by eruptions, the worst on May 8, at Mount Pelée on the nearby French-held island of Martinique. At least 29,000 people died there. Most of St. Vincent's casualties were in the east, possibly and partly because workers on large plantations were less able to make an independent decision to flee, according to the study that Barclay co-authored. La Soufrière’s continuing explosions hampered British-led recovery efforts for months, said the study, published in 2018. The eruptions accelerated the decline of the sugar industry, but other commodities recovered within a year or two, it said. New plants, including cacao, nutmeg and coffee, were introduced. Experimentation led to agricultural innovation. The volcanic ash, which then and now spread as far as Barbados, about 110 miles (180 kilometres) away, nourished the soil. On Sunday, the Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies posted a photo of St. Vincent coconut trees, fronds drooping under ash. ?The impact on vegetation is devastating in the short term but beneficial in the long term,? the group said. The British navy delivered aid in 1902. The USS Dixie also brought relief, along with scientists and newspaper correspondents. In an account of the eruption build-up, The Boston Globe reported ‘’a noise like the monster guns of the world's navy in perpetual action.'' In recent days, a navy ship from Venezuela, a nation long in the grip of shortages, delivered water and other supplies to St. Vincent. Caribbean island nations are sending aid. The 1902 and 2021 eruptions are ‘’possibly on a par'' in power and intensity, but it's difficult to make a ‘’direct comparison'' because a deep crater lake existed at the time of the earlier one, Barclay said. When flowing magma hit the lake, vaporization created ‘’a huge additional extra energy and it generated pyroclastic density currents that were very fast-moving and deadly, early on in the eruptive sequence,'' she said. Daniel Defoe, author of ?Robinson Crusoe,? is the purported writer of an account of an explosive eruption at La Soufrière in 1718, when Indigenous inhabitants effectively controlled the island. An 1812 eruption killed dozens, mostly enslaved Black people. Prior to this month, the last big eruption was during Easter 1979, causing mass evacuations but no deaths. La Soufrière's history could inform St. Vincent’s residents as they recover. In the meantime, unlike their ancestors, they are getting continual updates and guidance. On Wednesday, emergency officials warned people not to play in volcanic ash covering St. Vincent. The ash contains tiny shards of rock and glass. “Though ash may fall like snow,'' they said, ‘’it is deadly.? Christopher Torchia, The Associated Press
For most of his life, Raul Castro played second-string to his brother Fidel — first as a guerrilla commander, later as a senior figure in their socialist government. The younger Castro, now 89, formally announced Friday that he would step down as first secretary of the island's Communist Party, leaving the Caribbean nation without a Castro in an official position of command for the first time since the earliest days of the revolution that took power more than six decades ago. “I concluded my task as first secretary ... with the satisfaction of having fulfilled (my duty) and confidence in the future of the fatherland,” he said at the eighth party congress — a typically terse, to-the-point finale that contrasted with the impassioned verbal pyrotechnics of his brother, who died in 2016.
NEONLifelong vegetarian Viktor Kossakovsky has harbored a sincere curiosity with all living beings in his proximity. The established Russian documentarian fondly remembers a childhood outdoors in touch with local fauna.“I started to take photos of animals in the forest when I was a kid: birds, dogs, cats, flies, and even ants,” he tells The Daily Beast via video call from his home in Berlin.For the last 30 years, since his career as a non-fiction storyteller began, Kossakovsky had dreamed of making a film starring animals. But convincing a producer of the precise mode of execution he envisioned had always turned into a dead end.The tide finally turned for him when he partnered with Norwegian producer Anita Rehoff Larsen. “She was the only one who trusted me,” he notesRehoff Larsen acted as the much-needed catalyst to bring to life the director’s profound empathy for the other creatures we share the planet with in Gunda, his latest acclaimed project, which made the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary this year. Viktor Kossakovsky NEON Dazzling in its powerful simplicity and purely cinematic approach, this black-and-white fable takes its name from the female pig at its center that has just given birth to her brood. Kossakovsky takes a purely observational route featuring no voiceover, no guiding text, nor the presence of any humans.“Society was not ready for this movie before,” he says, referring to how the mentality has changed around how we think about food in relation to animals. When Kossakovsky moved to his current neighborhood in the German capital five years ago, there was only one place where he could get non-meat dishes. Today, there is a handful of vegetarian restaurants near his place.There’s been a drastic change in the collective consciousness, he believes. “People everywhere are starting to understand that we are doing something wrong. People are ready to face that animals have personalities and have the right to be here.” The Epic Love Story Between a Man and an OctopusGunda is the third installment in a triptych on nature. ¡Vivan las Antipodas! (2011) about the contrast between antipodes, places that are geographically opposite to one another, and Aquarela (2018), a visual ode to the breathtaking force of water, complete it.Originally, Rehoff Larsen had come on board to collaborate with Kossakovsky on a comedy documentary for children about three young magicians, but issues within their family and beyond the filmmakers’ control derailed their plans.“I said to the producer, ‘Okay, we got a little money for the preparation of that film. Why don’t we change it and instead make another movie for kids, but about chickens, pigs and cows?” At that point, the duo also brought on seasoned American producer Joslyn Barnes.Although they were willing to go the distance, the producers didn’t exactly understand Kossakovsky’s concept. “It was difficult for me to explain how I could film something without voiceover or without humans. I said, ‘If I cannot express it in words, maybe I will show you.’”The team allocated four months to find the right animals and scout for farms, but that time frame quickly vanished. As soon as they arrived at the first farm in Norway to look at pigs, one of them approached Kossakovsky with gentle eyes and became his leading lady.“She looked at me so friendly, so unusual. I said, ‘Wow, this is our Meryl Streep. We don’t need to search anymore. Then I asked the owner of the farm, ‘Who is this one?’ And she said, ‘Ah, that’s our Gunda. She’s very friendly.’ It was just magic. Gunda just came to me. She chose me. We were laughing at the idea that perhaps she smelled that I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life.”Kossakovsky’s initial structure for the film would include three 30-minute segments (for a 90-minute runtime), with each zeroing in on a different farm animal. But after they shot Gunda it became evident she would be the main protagonist with over an hour onscreen. For the rest of the film, he thought of traveling to Latin America to film chickens and to India to capture footage of cows. Ultimately, since these chapters would only appear as dreamlike transitions to mark the passage of time and growth of Gunda’s piglets, they chose to find them at European sanctuaries: the cows hail from the U.K. and Spain, and the chickens are from the U.K.“In sanctuaries animals are calm. They are not afraid of humans. They know humans are not dangerous. They are older. For example, one of the cows in the film was almost 30 years old,” he explains. According to Kossakovsky, this is a rare sight of an elderly cow given that they normally are killed at four or five when they stop producing enough milk.As for the chickens, one of which only has one leg, none of them had ever experienced freedom before what we see in Gunda.“They had never seen skies or touched grass before. This is why they were not afraid of our camera, because they never knew cameras existed before. They came out from the cage for the first time in front of our eyes and they saw everything. The camera is just part of this new world around them,” he says.From the onset, Kossakovsky and his cinematographer Egil Håskjold Larsen decided to keep the camera at the animals’ eye level. For example, when the piglets were born, they chose to dig in the ground in order to place the dolly at surface level with the lens nearly touching the ground, so that if the pigs approached it would feel like we were eye to eye with the animals. “We focused on their personality and we saw them as they are,” he offers. Out of respect for his subjects, just as he would if they were fellow humans, Kossakovsky spent plenty of time around Gunda. By the time her young were born, she wasn’t afraid of anyone on the team and had accepted them as friends.“If I was making a film about you, I cannot just interview you. I have to dedicate my time to you. I have to spend part of my life getting to know you. This was my approach. I said to my producer, ‘We cannot come for two or three hours, or even for two days, no, we have to spend at least two months together with Gunda in order to understand her life,’” he says. “This is why we were coming every morning at four o’clock before she wakes up and we were leaving the farm after she goes to sleep. Every day we came before sunrise and left after sunset.”Over the course of filming, everyone in the crew had a change of heart about their diet. When the group would go out for evening dinners, one by one, each member began asking for vegetarian options at the restaurant. Some of them took their newfound conviction a step further and became vegan.“This was very beautiful. If you see how beautiful, clever, sensitive animals are, if you see how they suffer, if you see how they experience freedom, how they experience friendship, if you see how they help each other, if you see all of this, you cannot just say, ‘I didn’t see it.’ No, you saw it and you will never forget it. You cannot eat them because you saw they’re not something, they are someone. Each of them is someone,” maintains Kossakovsky. NEON Despite dedicating so much time to developing his bond with Gunda, the director only shot about six hours of footage. This shockingly minimalistic approach is thanks to his time making films with minimal resources in Russia and his commitment to using as few animal products as possible.“I am an old-school filmmaker. I used to film in 35mm stock and in Russia there was never enough film stock. But also, when I started making movies, I realized the contradiction of my life was the fact that the film stock itself was made from the bones of animals. This is why I never filmed a lot. I always felt guilty. That’s why I educate myself to film only when I definitely know I have to press this button,” he notes.Kossakovsky is also a fervent believer that animals, humans included, are natural-born film viewers because we spend a great part of our lives reading the emotions of others. He believes our instincts help us understand the emotional context of a situation; therefore, he can’t understand why many documentaries feel compelled to use voiceover or rely on a musical score.“In Russia, we have this expression in [the] cinema world that the best film is a film without music. But almost no one achieves it because we love to push the viewer’s emotions. We want to make them cry. I was very close to making a movie without music a few times,” he recalls. “But before I wasn’t strong enough to make it, but this time I said, ‘No, I cannot spoil my film because it will have a different value if I use music. If I have to use voiceover, it means I don’t trust the audience because I would be giving them information they don’t need. You need to see, and you need to feel. You don’t need to know anything.” The magic of this is clearest in the movie’s final sequence—a devastating, uninterrupted 15-minute shot that will elicit tears, and serves as a desperate plea for the acknowledgment of other species’ right to exist. “We were all suffering. We were filming and crying, all of us, because it was obviously shocking that she was expressing her emotion in every single second, in every look. There’s never a dull moment,” he says.These artistic principles stand in direct opposition to last year’s popular animal documentary My Octopus Teacher, which became a hit on Netflix and earned an Oscar nomination. That film follows director Craig Foster for a year as he obsesses over a cephalopod living off the South African coast. It heavily features his spoken observations and emotional projections. Kossakovsky found it a self-centered enterprise that’s more about the man than the invertebrate it claims to care for. NEON “If he had taken out his voiceover, it would be a much better film in my opinion. Without voiceover he would be equal to the octopus, but with voiceover he spoiled the film for me. I forced myself to watch it because I wanted to see the octopus’s behavior, but I found it very difficult to look at the story of his depression. This is a good example of people thinking about themselves too much,” he argues. “This is typical anthropocentrism and thinking everything is about us humans. Even when I talk about octopus, it’s really about me. This is typical. We live in the planet and everything is about humans. His movie would be a great one, if he would just take out his voiceover and make it less about himself.”Though Gunda didn’t have a direct-to-streaming release (it’s in physical theaters and virtual cinemas starting this weekend), along the way it has garnered major supporters. Kossakovsky was very pleased that Neon, the American distributor behind Parasite, picked up his porcine tale. “I was a lucky boy, because in Europe we know how to make films, but we don’t know how to distribute them,” he says.A bigger surprise came when renowned actor and militant vegan Joaquin Phoenix signed on as executive producer. As Kossakovsky’s friends and loved ones watched Phoenix accept the Best Actor Oscar for Joker in early 2020, they half-jokingly asked the documentarian if he had written his speech. On stage, Phoenix spoke intensely about animal rights, our disconnection with the natural world, and how we exploit other species.“His speech at the Oscar ceremony was similar to what I was telling my team every day. This is why we found him and gave him our film to watch,” he says. “We were in the last stage of sound mixing and sound editing. He immediately called me and he said, ‘Finally, someone made a film about them, about animals, as they are and not as we see them.’”Grateful, Kossakovsky believes that both Phoenix’s and Neon’s involvement has amplified interest not only in Gunda but in his entire filmography. “The support of Phoenix was so crucial for my own career because suddenly people are checking out my previous films. Suddenly people are saying, ‘Oh, we want to do a retrospective of your work,’” he says. Even famed director Paul Thomas Anderson, who is prominently quoted in the film’s trailer and promotional materials, fell under the spell of Gunda, calling it “pure cinema.”As her story travels the world, Gunda herself remains safe and sound. The owner of the farm promised the filmmaker that she will not die in a slaughterhouse and will live out her days until she passes from old age. Kossakovsky wishes that were the fate of more farm animals. “Gunda is alive and we visit her quite often,” he says. Last month his cinematographer took a trip to see her at her Norwegian farmstead. The director, proud and moved, holds his cell phone up to his computer’s camera to show an endearing photo of Håskjold Larsen next to Gunda.Moderately optimistic for a future with less meat eaters and more animal lovers, Kossakovsky has already felt Gunda’s impact on those who’ve seen it so far, and he hopes this awareness grows. “I’ve received so many letters from young people saying they cannot imagine eating meat anymore,” he says. “This is a big deal. I hope it will work.”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.