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Amazon leads $575M investment in Deliveroo

Amazon is taking a slice of Europe’s food delivery market after the U.S. e-commerce giant led a $575 million investment in Deliveroo .

First reported by Sky yesterday, the Series G round was confirmed in an early U.K. morning announcement from Deliveroo, which said that existing backers, including T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research Company and Greenoaks also took part. The deal takes Deliveroo to just over $1.5 billion raised to date. The company was valued at more than $2 billion following its previous raise in late 2017, although no updated valuation was provided today.

London-based Deliveroo operates in 14 countries, including the U.K., France, Germany and Spain, and — outside of Europe — Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and the UAE. Across those markets, it claims it works with 80,000 restaurants with a fleet of 60,000 delivery people and 2,500 permanent employees.

It isn’t immediately clear how Amazon plans to use its new strategic relationship with Deliveroo — it could, for example, integrate it with Prime membership — but this isn’t the firm’s first dalliance with food delivery. The U.S. firm closed its Amazon Restaurants U.K. takeout business last year after it struggled to compete with Deliveroo and Uber Eats. The service remains operational in the U.S.

“Amazon has been an inspiration to me personally and to the company, and we look forward to working with such a customer-obsessed organization,” said Deliveroo CEO and founder Will Shu in a statement.

Shu said the new money will go toward initiatives that include growing Deliveroo’s London-based engineering team, expanding its reach and focusing on new products, including cloud kitchens that can cook up delivery meals faster and more cost-efficiently.

[Center] Will Shu, Deliveroo CEO and co-founder, onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt London

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/16/amazon-takes-a-bite-into-deliveroo/

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‘Prostitution is seen as a leisure activity here’: tackling Spain’s sex traffickers | Annie Kelly

Its staggeringly big business in Spain, where demand is being met by traffickers. Can a groundbreaking team turn the tide?

On a sunny morning in Madrid, two young women duck down a side street, into a residential block and up to an apartment front door. Then they start knocking. Marcella and Maria spend a lot of time banging on doors and yelling through letterboxes all over the city. Most of the time, these doors never open. When they do, the two women could find themselves in trouble. Their job on the frontline of Spains fight against sex trafficking is a dangerous one; both have been assaulted and threatened. Yet they keep on knocking, because they have been on the other side of those doors, forced to sell their bodies for a handful of euros, dozens of times a day, seven days a week.

To say that prostitution is big business in Spain would be a gross understatement. The country has become known as the brothel of Europe, after a 2011 United Nations report cited Spain as the third biggest capital of prostitution in the world, behind Thailand and Puerto Rico. Although the Spanish Socialist party, which two weeks ago won another term in government, has promised to make it illegal to pay for sex, prostitution has boomed since it was decriminalised here in 1995. Recent estimates put revenue from Spains domestic sex trade at $26.5bn a year, with hundreds of licensed brothels and an estimated workforce of 300,000.

Supporters of decriminalisation claim it has brought benefits to those working in the trade, including making life safer for women. Yet this vastly profitable and largely unregulated market has also become infested with criminality, turning Spain into a global hub for human trafficking and sexual slavery.

Prostitution becomes sex trafficking when one person moves, detains or transports someone else for the purpose of profiting from their prostitution using fraud, force or coercion. In the UK, thousands of women are thought to be trapped in sexual servitude, but the scale of the problem in Spain is staggering. Until 2010, the law didnt even recognise human trafficking as a crime. Now the Spanish government estimates that up to 90% of women working in prostitution could be victims of trafficking or under the control of a third party such as a pimp who is profiting from them. Between 2012-2016, security forces in Spain rescued 5,695 people from slavery but acknowledge that thousands more remain under the control of criminals.

Since it passed its first anti-trafficking laws in 2010, the government has been scrambling to get on top of this crisis, spending millions of euros on an emergency plan to target the individuals and gangs operating with impunity. In 2015, it went further and created formal alliances between security forces, prosecutors, judges and NGOs, to rescue victims and prosecute the perpetrators. Survivors such as Maria and Marcella now find themselves playing a crucial part in bringing the battle to the criminals who once sold and exploited them. But can Spains new alliance of defenders really turn the tide against the traffickers?

***

I meet Maria and Marcella, both in their mid-20s, in the offices of Apramp, an organisation set up to protect, reintegrate and assist women in prostitution. Apramp helped them escape their traffickers, and they are now among its outreach workers. Their day job is to identify potential trafficking victims and try to offer them a way out. They find women they think might need help on the streets, in hostess clubs, and in some of the 400 residences they say are operating as informal brothels in Madrid.

Maria,
Maria, a trafficking survivor who helps others forced into prostitution. You dont have time to realise what has happened to you. Photograph: Ofelia de Pablo & Javier Zurita/The Guardian

Both shrug off the suggestion that they are brave. When Im wearing the Apramp vest at those apartments or on the streets, I dont feel scared, Marcella says. We know from our own experience theyre doing much worse things to the girls and women inside. So it only makes us more determined.

The two poised and eloquent young women, dressed like students in jeans and trainers, have lived through terrible things. Maria, petite and softly spoken, her brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, was brought to Spain from Romania by someone she trusted: she thought she was going on holiday with her new boyfriend. Instead, he drove her over the border using their EU residency cards and within 24 hours she was on the streets.

It just happens so fast, she says. Its difficult to describe how much you can be broken in such a short time. The shock and the trauma makes you go into survival mode. You dont have time to realise what has happened to you. She spent eight months being prostituted on street corners, in brothels and in strange apartments. Youre alive but youre not really existing, she says. Not one of the men who paid to sleep with me asked me if I was there out of choice, or whether I wanted to be doing this. They didnt care either way.

She was told by her pimp that she would have to pay off a debt of 20,000 before she could go home. With Romanian women, the traffickers threaten to kill your mother or your sister or your children if you dont pay off your debt, she says. People always ask, Why didnt you just run away or go to the police? but they dont know what theyre talking about. You cant just stop a random person on the street and ask for help, because someone you love could get killed. The police in Romania are often corrupt. You think, why should it be different here?

The promise of freedom in return for paying off the debt almost always turns out to be a lie. Maria says that, throughout her time under the control of the traffickers, she was hit with hundreds of tiny charges: shed have to pay for clothes, rent for the corner she worked, for condoms and sanitary towels. If she didnt bring back enough money, she wouldnt eat or shed be beaten.

Debt is invisible, Maria says. Its not a physical chain but it works the same way. She says some traffickers force women to get breast implants and even though the operation costs around 3,000, tell them they have to pay back 10,000. Marcella nods in agreement. She was trafficked from her native Brazil after applying to do a masters in Spain, a university course that turned out to be bogus. She was forced into prostitution immediately after she was collected from the airport. If Apramp hadnt found me, I think Id be dead by now, she says.

The fact that she not only survived but is now able to help others in the same situation has been an essential part of her recovery. The mafia take you and destroy your whole identity. Even now, youre recovering but you can never forget your past, she says. Doing this work really helps.

From
From left: Jos Nieto, Spains leading anti-trafficking law enforcement officer, Roco Mora, director of Apramp, which helps trafficked women, and prosecutor Beatriz Snchez.

Between them, Maria and Marcella have helped dozens of women and girls escape their traffickers. Its a process that takes months, sometimes years. Afterwards, Apramp finds the women somewhere safe to live, offers counselling and legal support, and helps them find work. We have to show them that their lives are worth living again, Marcella says.

Roco Mora, Apramps co-founder and director, sweeps into the room and embraces Maria and Marcella, who are about to start their afternoon shift. The only ones who really understand what we are facing are the survivors, she says. Tall and immaculately groomed, Mora is one of Spains best-known anti-trafficking advocates; her rage at what she sees happening on the streets is raw and visceral. What Spain is facing, she says, is a huge violation of the fundamental rights of women and girls; anyone labouring under the impression that the majority of women working in prostitution in Spain are doing so by choice is deluding themselves. The sex industry profits from the sale of women who are being controlled and exploited through debt, violence or psychological manipulation, she says. Our mobile unit has contact with 280 women a day and almost 100% are victims of exploitation and trafficking.

There are many reasons why Spain has become a hotspot, but for Mora, the biggest single factor is cultural. Spains sex trafficking epidemic is, she says, just the most extreme manifestation of the countrys problematic attitudes to women and sex. There is huge demand for prostitution here. Its become so normalised that its just seen like any other leisure activity.

One survey in 2008 found that 78% of Spanish people consider prostitution an inevitability in modern society. And demand is huge: another survey, conducted in 2006, found that nearly 40% of Spanish men over the age of 18 had paid for sex at least once in their life. Mora has recently seen a radical change in the kind of men buying sex. Before, it was largely older men sneaking away from their families. Now, both the women on the streets and the sex buyers themselves are getting younger. The social stigma isnt the same as it was when I started out, she says. We have a generation of young men growing up believing they have the right to do anything to a womans body if they have paid for it, and they dont have to worry about the consequences.

As a young girl, Mora watched her mother (also called Roco) start Apramp from their kitchen table. At 18, Mora was studying by day and driving a mobile health unit through Madrids red-light district by night.

A
A club in a high-end neighbourhood of Madrid.

When my mother started this work, it was mainly getting health services to Spanish women who were engaged in prostitution to feed their families or a drug addiction, she says. Two decades ago, criminal gangs started to take hold. And it really was a radical change. There was suddenly a lot of violence and coercion men on the streets watching the women and taking their money.

Now, she says, most women in prostitution in Spain are foreigners: Apramp works with women of 53 different nationalities. And the gangs are more sophisticated and more ruthless. They no longer need men on the street, because they are controlling the women through debt, fear and psychological control. This is what makes it much harder to fight, because many dont see that they have a way out.

***

On Calle Montera, one of Madrids busiest shopping streets, eastern European or South American women stand alone or in small groups. Maria and Marcella point out that many of the women they help dont look like trafficking victims: it is easy for people to walk past them and not realise. Maria says many are also acting as human signposts, indicating that there are houses filled with other women nearby. When we get back to our car that evening, flyers have been stuck under our windscreen wipers offering a two-for-one deal on women for the special price of 30.

A short walk from Calle Montera is the HQ of the Centre of Intelligence and Risk Analysis, run by Spains national police. Jos Nieto is its chief inspector and Spains leading anti-trafficking law enforcement officer. As with Mora, anti-trafficking work has become Nietos vocation. He has spent more than 20 years trying to develop an effective police response to a human rights catastrophe that, until 2010, wasnt even included in Spains criminal code.

When I started in 1997, I was part of the brigade that believed all prostitutes did this work because they wanted to, he says. But its like an illness: at first you feel that something is wrong but you havent got a diagnosis. But as soon as you put a name to it, everything changes. You see it for what it really is.

He explains the myriad reasons why Spain has become such a magnet for sex trafficking networks; a perfect storm, he calls it. First, we are fighting a crime that is socially acceptable, because prostitution is accepted and embraced by many people here. Second there is geography: We are at the centre of all major migratory routes. The main victims we are seeing trafficked and forced into prostitution are Romanian, West African and South American. You can cross from Romania to Spain with an ID card. Africa is just 15km from us. We have a historic and a linguistic connection to South America.

As in many countries, a prosecution is almost impossible without a victim willing to disclose their situation and testify against their exploiters. There is great fear among victims that if they tell the police, they will be sent back to their countries with their debts unpaid, Nieto says. It makes policing very difficult; if the women dont ask for help, there is a limit to what you can do. Here in Spain, prostitution itself isnt illegal, running a brothel isnt illegal, so you have to prove that what is going on is more than meets the eye.

A
A sex worker takes a break in Colonia Marconi. There is huge demand for prostitution here. Its become so normalised.

That evening, Nieto, the Guardian photographers and I join an undercover police unit conducting inspections of private clubs in Barrio de Salamanca, one of Madrids most high-end neighbourhoods. Although the police have all undertaken anti-trafficking training, their main job tonight seems to be restricted to checking ID and carting any woman found to be working illegally off to the police station.

At our first location there is a short period of confusion as our two unmarked cars drive up and down the street trying to find a parking space. By the time we enter, the music is already off and the club deserted other than four women sitting silently on bar stools clutching their ID cards and a manager conspicuously cleaning glasses behind the bar. None of them is Spanish. The women all appear to be here on student visas, and shake their heads when the police chief asks them if they need help. There is no evidence that these women are victims of trafficking, but it seems ludicrous to expect anyone to disclose anything in this environment.

At other clubs, a few women who dont have the right ID are loaded into a van. In one, three very young Chinese women sit silent and apparently terrified in their underwear on a cracked fake leather banquette, while police check the damp and dirty premises. A lone punter, a sweaty Spanish man in his 20s, is ejected from a bedroom at the back; outside another, a sexy nurse uniform hangs on a hook. The women keep their eyes fixed on the thickset Chinese man behind the bar as he chats easily to the police and shows them his licence. As we leave, the heavy metal door slams shut with a thud, leaving the women inside. One of the officers runs a hand over his face and exhales. Dios mo, he says. My God.

Yet Nieto believes there is hope and says the new strategy of creating formal alliances between police, prosecutors and frontline services is putting more pressure on criminal gangs. In particular, he cites coordination with Apramps Mora: With her help, were making connections with survivors, were following the money and sending people away. Were making the traffickers understand that the Spanish police are something to fear.

Uniforms
Uniforms in a Chinese brothel. In Spain, prostitution isnt illegal.

Nieto has been working with prosecutor Beatriz Snchez for the past decade. Since 2010 the formidable Spanish lawyer has overseen more than 100 trafficking cases; in 2012, she succeeded in sending Ioan Clamparu, the capo of the biggest prostitution trafficking ring in Europe, to prison for 30 years. She is upbeat, funny and warm, but steely in her determination. Weve made huge advances in prosecuting and convicting human traffickers, she says. But many cases get dismissed or dont go to trial. Snchez says only one-tenth of the trafficking cases she takes on make it to court because the burden of proof is high, requiring witness statements and months of police work. Often cases are organised and transnational, involving the movement of huge amounts of money. They are complex crimes that are difficult to dismantle. Under Spanish laws, you need proof of the use of extreme violence and intimidation to prosecute cases of pimping and coercion. All forms of pimping need to be criminally punishable, she says. Only then can we effectively stop human trafficking.

Snchez says her natural optimism can be blunted by the uphill struggle to get cases to trial. It would be hard if I was doing this alone, but the good thing is I have Roco and Jos were a team, she says. So when you are down and feel like things are hopeless, you have a reason to carry on. The others can pick you up and say: Come on! We must keep going! Snchez keeps in touch with all the women she represents. Seeing them rebuild their lives is as satisfying as seeing their abusers go to prison, she says.

***

We visit one of Snchezs former clients, Helena, at the offices of Proyecto Esperanza (Project Hope), the NGO that has supported her through her court case. Her family is from Ecuador but she was living on the outskirts of Madrid, with a Spanish passport, when she was forced into prostitution in her own neighbourhood five years ago, after falling victim to fraudsters who lent her money. They threatened to kill her small children if she didnt work as a prostitute to pay it back. When I was in that situation I didnt see a way out, and the longer I did it, the more I died inside, she says.

It took years, but in the end her traffickers were sent to prison and Helena was awarded landmark compensation of 100,000 by the state, 92,000 of which was estimated to be what her traffickers had earned from the sale of her body. She is yet to see any of this money, and her debts to family and neighbours remain unpaid. I still owe 12,000 to friends and family from that time in my life, and I have no idea how to pay it, she says. But for now she is surviving. Proyecto Esperanza is helping her find a job and providing counselling. She has a home and is rebuilding her relationship with her children. Despite her experiences, she is trying to teach them that the world can be a good place.

Helena praises Snchez for giving her the courage to do this. Beatriz was always so positive and strong at a time when I didnt believe in myself at all, she says softly. Now I am trying to learn to love myself again. And thats what I want to teach my kids that no matter what other people do to you, it is important to love yourself and to look ahead. That in every terrible situation there can be a light at the end of the tunnel a way out of the darkness.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/may/11/prostitution-tackling-spain-sex-traffickers

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Launching from YC, Eclipse Foods casts a long shadow over the $336 billion dairy industry

Eclipse Foods may be the company that finally takes milk out of the dairy business.

Ever since the acquisition of WhiteWave Foods by the French dairy giant Danone for more than $10 billion, investors have been thirsting for a technology that would give consumers a better tasting, more milky (for lack of a better word) milk substitute than the highly valuable (but not very tasty) almond, soy and other plant-based dairy alternatives.

There are at least $37.5 billion worth of other reasons for investors’ interest in the milk-alternative category. That’s how much money will be spent on dairy alternatives by 2025, according to a newly released study by the market research firm Global Market Insights.

Enter Eclipse Foods. Founded by two veterans of the alternative sugars and proteins business, the company is going after the whole dairy industry, starting with a line of spreads and select additives for restaurants around San Francisco.

“We had an ‘oh shit’ moment when we got our plant-based milk to act just like the real thing,” says Thomas Bowman, Eclipse Foods co-founder and the former director of product development at Hampton Creek (now known as Just Foods). “We’re not pureeing nuts or seeds or legumes. We asked, ‘What are the properties of milk?’ and built this dairy base of the exact amino acids and fat profile.”

Thomas Bowman in the kitchen (Courtesy Eclipse Foods)

Joining Bowman on the journey to create the perfect milk substitute is Aylon Steinhart, a former specialist working with the Y Combinator -aligned food technology incubator and think tank, the Good Food Institute.

The two men met at the launch event for Just Egg, the fourth product to debut from Just Egg after the release of the company’s mayonnaise alternative, cookie dough and porridge.

“We started talking about ideas and landed on this dairy platform,” recalls Steinhart. “It’s a place where we can make a big change very fast given the technological breakthroughs that we solved for early on.”

The demand is certainly coming on strong. According to Steinhart about 80 percent of millennials are consuming dairy replacements at least once a week.

Aylon Steinhart (Courtesy Eclipse Foods)

Humans didn’t start out drinking milk. Over the 300,000-odd years that some form of homo sapiens has been stalking the planet, it has only been in the past 10,000-odd years that people decided to squirt the liquid out of a cow’s udders to consume it.

At first, humans couldn’t even consume the stuff without getting at least a little nauseous. They needed to develop a genetic mutation to even process the lactose sugars properly.

“The first time that we see the lactase persistence allele in Europe arising is around 5,000 years BP [before present] in southern Europe, and then it starts to kick in in central Europe around 3,000 years ago,” assistant professor Laure Ségurel of the Museum of Humankind in Paris, told the BBC earlier this year.

Ségurel speculates that the health benefits of consuming milk might have been related to the exposure (and potential inoculation) to various diseases that may have otherwise spread from the animals to the humans that were raising them.

If that was the rationale, it’s increasingly unnecessary for modern living, and may indeed be more of a hazard to human health.

Global meat and dairy producers could count among the largest contributors to climate change if their growth remains unchecked, according to a report from the nonprofit Grain.

They estimate that meat and dairy consumption should be reduced by 81 percent in order to meet global emissions reduction targets.

With the production of Eclipse’s dairy alternative, there’s no animal required.

“We have an off-the-shelf platform right now. The only additive will be water,” says Bowman.

And unlike other alternative dairy products, Bowman and Steinhart claim that theirs actually tastes good. And, as a Michelin-starred chef, Bowman should know.

The company’s first line of products will be a line of cream cheeses, including one for the bagel and schmear-loving crowd. However, the majority will be more millennial-focused, according to Steinhart.

“There will be various unique flavors that are culinarily focused,” he said.

Expect the first products to debut in an exclusive pilot with Wise Sons and through the ice cream maker Humphry Slocombe, a leader in high-end ice cream in SF.

However companies decide to label their Eclipse-based products, they certainly shouldn’t call them vegan, according to Bowman.

“Vegan cheese is gross,” he says.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/19/launching-from-yc-eclipse-foods-casts-a-long-shadow-over-the-336-billion-dairy-industry/

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10 of the best words in the world (that don’t translate into English)

As millions head abroad, our correspondents pick out the words that for them speak volumes about the countries they love and live in

One of the many great things about languages worldwide is the sizeable number of words for which there is no real English translation. Often they tell us about concepts and ideas that we are missing out on in the anglophone world.

As the northern hemisphere heads abroad in the coming holiday season, here are a few to be looking out for:

Salud
Salud! Photograph: Molly Aaker/Getty Images


SPAIN: sobremesa

You may have witnessed the ritual, knowingly or not, while on the hunt for a coffee or a cold beer towards the end of another long Spanish afternoon.

Sitting clumped around tables inside restaurants or spilling out on to their terrazas, are friends, families and colleagues, preserved in the post-prandial moment like replete insects in amber.

Lunch and it is more usually lunch than dinner will long since have yielded to the important act of the sobremesa, that languid time when food gives way to hours of talking, drinking and joking. Coffee and digestivoswill have been taken, or perhaps the large gin and tonic that follows a meal rather than precedes it here.

The sobremesais a digestive period that allows for the slow settling of food, gossip, ideas and conversations. It is also a sybaritic time; a recognition that there is more to life than working long hours and that few pleasures are greater than sharing a table and then chatting nonsense for a hefty portion of what remains of the day.

The world may not have been put completely to rights by the end of the sobremesa, but it will seem a calmer, more benign place.

Ask Mariano Rajoy. At the end of May, as it became clear that he was going to be turfed out of office in a no-confidence vote, the then-prime minister did something very Spanish: he and his close circle retreated to a private room in a smart Madrid restaurant. Lunch was followed by a seven-hour sobremesa, and, reportedly, a couple of bottles of whisky.

After all, what does the loss of a premiership matter after a fine meal, a good cigar and some booze-soaked reminiscing? Salud! Sam Jones in Madrid

PORTUGAL: esperto/esperta

Carmen
Esperta (Carmen Miranda) and esperto (Jose Mourinho) Composite: REX/Shutterstock and Getty Images

It feels almost counterintuitive to have to explain what esperto/esperta means, a Portuguese word without true parallel in the English dictionary.

There are words that come close, that encapsulate something of the spirit of this word and the word itself is spirited. On the ball, quick-witted, with-it, canny, having common sense, intuitive, someone who gets things done: these all help shade in the space occupied by esperto.

I grew up in Portugal and have always felt an undercurrent of admiration, almost affection, for the espertas.

A Brazilian friend, Tatiana, though, warns of a negative sense. Someone esperto can, she says, use his or her instincts to take advantage of others; to trap or fool them into trouble.

Sometimes its easier to understand something by what it is not. Esperta is definitely not slow, dim, unimaginative. If these characteristics were on a spectrum, esperto would be at one end, with plodding at the other.

If you understand it, you probably are. Juliette Jowit

ITALY: bella figura

Good
Good figures in Sicily. Photograph: Alamy

Before celebrating a confirmation in Sicily last year, my aunt breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that her British niece was dressed appropriately enough so as not to make a bad impression in front of the extended family.

I was also relieved, as it meant I had not inflicted the curse of the brutta figura, which literally translates as bad figure, on my family.

In pretty much all areas of life, whether it be in the way people dress, how they behave, how well their homes are kept or how impeccably a cake is presented and a gift wrapped, Italians strive to achieve the bella figura, or beautiful figure.

Such importance is placed on keeping up appearances and the finer detail that for unwitting foreigners theres a sense of being sized up in everything you do, even going as far as to what you eat and drink and at what time of the day you indulge in such activities.

What matters is not what you do but how you appear, said an Italian friend, likening it to posting the perfect photograph on social media. Its a tactic that enables people to get promoted at work and politicians to win over admirers while giving the impression that they are achieving something.

I call it selfie and spot, the friend said. For example, the politician takes a selfie against a beautiful backdrop, posts it on Facebook with a promise to do something, but then doesnt follow it through. With a good selfie and a good spot, you can survive an entire career without doing anything. Angela Giuffrida in Rome

GERMANY: Feierabend

Knocking
Knocking off time in Hamburg. Photograph: Alamy

One of the most misleading, but also most enduring, myths about German culture is that it values hard work over a good siesta. Northern Europeans, the legend goes, have a Protestant work ethic that means they get the job done even if it means staying in the office late into the night, while the southern Europeans wave it off with a maana, maana.

Anyone who sincerely believes that to be the case has never tried to call a German office at one minute past five. When German workers say Ich mach Feierabend(I am calling it a day), it rarely carries an apologetic undertone but usually comes with the confidence of someone claiming an ancient right.

Dating back to the 16th century, the term Feierabend, or celebration evening, used to denote the evening before a public holiday, but has come to refer to the free time between leaving the office and bedtime on any working day.

The key to understanding Feierabendis that it isnt time for going to the cinema or gym, but time for doing nothing. In 1880, the cultural historian Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl described the conceptas an atmosphere of carefree wellbeing, of deep inner reconciliation, of the pure and clear quiet of the evening.

Germanys adherence to the Feierabendrulebook can frustrate when you are trying to make a work call on a Friday afternoon or buy an aspirin from a pharmacy on a Sunday (Sundays being a 24-hour celebration evening).

But as a philosophy, it underpins the proudest achievements of the German labour movement and may just explain why the country has some of the highest productivity levels in Europe: to truly cherish the evening, you make sure you get the job done before five oclock. Philip Oltermann in Berlin

FINLAND: sisu

Finnish
Duty calls: Finnish troops in the second world war. Photograph: Hulton Deutsch/Getty Images

Sisu is an untranslatable Finnish term that blends resilience, tenacity, persistence, determination, perseverance and sustained, rather than momentary, courage: the psychological strength to ensure that regardless of the cost or the consequences, what has to be done will be done.

It originates from the word sisus, meaning intestines or guts; Daniel Juslenius, author of the first Finnish-language dictionary in 1745, defined sisucunda as the place in the body where strong emotions live. In a harsh environment and with powerful neighbours, it was what a young nation needed.

Sisu is what, in 1939-40, allowed an army of 350,000 Finns to twice fight off Soviet forces three times their number, inflicting losses five times heavier than those they sustained.

More prosaically, it has helped Finns get through a lot of long, lonely, dark and freezing winters, building in the process one of the wealthiest, safest, most stable and best-governed countries in the world. It is not all good, of course. Sisu can lead to stubbornness, a refusal to take advice, an inability to admit weakness, a lack of compassion.

It has become a bit of clich in Finland a brand name for trucks and strongly-flavoured sweets. Research shows it holds little appeal to the young. But ask a Finn to define the national character, and its the word most still reach for. Jon Henley

IRAN: Taarof

No,
No, I insist Photograph: Carol Guzy/Getty Images

Taarofis a Persian word that has no English equivalent, referring to the art of etiquette ubiquitous in everyday Iranian life.

You go first, says Mr A as he meets Mr B at the doorstep, as they try to enter a building. No, its not possible, you go first, Mr B insists in response. Taarof dictates a ritual that may see them both waiting for a couple of unnecessary minutes before one steps forward to enter.

It is an etiquette that is seen almost in all aspects of Iranian life, from hosts insisting on guests taking more food from the table, to the exchanges in the bazaar. How much is this carpet? asks Ms A after choosing her favourite in the shop. Its worthless, you can just take it, responds the seller, quite disingenuously.

Although Ms A in reality cannot take the carpet out of the shop without paying for it, the seller might insist up to three times that she should just do that, until the amount of the price is finally mentioned.

The awkward exchanges may have originated out of politeness; ultimately, they may work to the sellers favour, as the buyer feels a certain obligation to respond to such deference with a purchase, even if the final price is more than she expected.

Another example: you are walking with a friend and you end up doing Taarof, asking him to come to yours for lunch, even though you dont have anything prepared and you dont really want him to accept.

The friend insists out of Taarof that he wouldnt come because he knows youre tired and doesnt want to be a burden, even though deep down he really wants to have lunch at your place.

Oh, dont Taarof, you say in a Taarof asking your friend not to Taarof. He ends up accepting your reluctant Taarof. Youre a bit irked, but youll have to be all smiles. Not all Taarofs are insincere; some are, some arent. Youd Taarof even if you badly want something, saying you dont want it; youd Taarof if you really hate something, pretending you want it. Saeed Kamali Dehghan

RUSSIA: (toska)

Storm,
Storm, Rain. Isaak Levitan Photograph: Fine Art Images/Alamy

Leave it to Russia to serve up the melancholy: toska translates as yearning or ennui. Except it doesnt, because no English word can accurately reflect all the shades of the word, to paraphrase Vladimir Nabokov.

What can toska (pronounced tahs-kah) mean? Spiritual anguish, a deep pining, perhaps the product of nostalgia or love-sickness, toskais depression plus longing, an unbearable feeling that you need to escape but lack the hope or energy to do so.

Visually to me, toska conjures up an endless field of birch on the edge of St Petersburg, in the dead of winter when the clouds never part, and its only light for five hours a day anyway.

Toska is the stuff of great literature. Evgeny Onegin, the foundational Russian novel-in-verse about superfluous men, unrequited love and duels? Loads of toska.

Anton Chekhov wrote an entire short story called Toska about a cabman who recently lost his son and searches for someone to talk to about his grief. He ends up talking to his horse. All that broodiness in the great (and not-so-great) Russian novels? You get the picture.

So why choose toska for this list of positivity? Because if the Russian soul s the place where great emotions reside, then toska pays the rent. Without toska there cannot be delirious happiness, endless heartfelt conversations at 4am at the kitchen table, boundless generosity at obvious personal expense.

Toska is a sign that your emotions go beyond logic and that you are really, truly living your emotions. Perhaps youve felt toska and you didnt realise it, but its a good thing: it means youve got a little bit of the Russian soul in you. Andrew Roth in Moscow

JAPAN: shoganai

Were
Were coming home (but were tidying up first). Photograph: Darko Vojinovic/AP

As inhabitants of an archipelago that is regularly struck by earthquakes and tsunamis, and as recent events have tragically demonstrated floods and landslides, it is little wonder that the Japanese have a well-developed sense of fatalism. Any verbal reflection on humans powerlessness to control natures most destructive forces often elicit the phrase shoganai.

The expression, meaning, it cant be helped, is Japans catchall response to any situation, large or small, over which people believe they have no influence. A more voguish translation might be it is what it is. A French person would immediately recognise it as a version of cest la vie.

It could be heard, delivered with deep reflection, amid the rubble of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and, in resigned tones, after Japans agonising exit from the World Cup in Russia.

Shoganai, and its synonymshikata ga nai, are verbal coping mechanisms that apply equally to unwelcome developments in everyday life, from getting struck in a traffic jam to having to spend Friday evening at the office.

With its roots in the Zen Buddhist belief that suffering is a natural part of life, it could perhaps be described as Japans version of the serenity prayer a personal and communal recognition that, on occasion, passive acceptance of an unfortunate truth is far easier than trying to deny it.

But resigning oneself to ones fate with a muttered shoganai has its drawbacks. Some observers of Japanese culture note that it is too often applied in situations in which humans have more influence than they think.

For much of the seven decades since the end of the second world war, there has been a general acceptance of the dominance of the conservative Liberal Democratic party, even among liberal voters. Some have pointed to its role in allowing the rise of Japanese militarism in the first half of the 20th century.

Shikata ga nai is, then, partly to blame for weaknesses at the heart of Japans democracy, allowing one party to dominate even, as is the case today, when it is mired in scandal.

In a country with few energy resources of its own, nuclear power was for decades the beneficiary of the shoganai mindset, one that accepted the construction of dozens of nuclear reactors along the coastline as a necessary evil.

It took Fukushima to prove that Japans lauded sense of fatalism can sometimes be downright dangerous. Justin McCurry in Tokyo

NETHERLANDS: polderen

Migrants are more profitable than drugs: how the mafia infiltrated Italys asylum system

The long read: Crime families have cashed in on the refugee industry

Joy, a young Nigerian woman, was standing in the street outside the sprawling, overcrowded Cara di Mineo reception centre for asylum seekers in central Sicily, waiting for someone to pick her up when I met her. It was late summer 2016, and the weather was still hot. She said she was 18, but looked much younger. She was wearing a faded denim jacket over a crisp white T-shirt and tight jeans, and six or seven strings of colourful beads were wrapped around her neck. A gold chain hung from her left wrist, a gift from her mother.

As we spoke, a dark car came into view and she took a couple of steps away from me to make sure whoever was driving saw her, and saw that she was alone. There were a handful of other migrants loitering along the road. The approaching car didnt slow down, so Joy came back over to me and carried on our conversation.

The oldest of six children, Joy (not her real name) told me she had left her family in a small village in Edo state in Nigeria at the age of 15, and gone to work for a wealthy woman who owned a beauty salon in Benin City. She had since come to suspect that her parents had sold her to raise money for their younger children. They probably had no choice, she said as she looked down the road toward the thick citrus groves that hid the coming traffic.

There were six other girls who worked for the woman, whom Joy said they called their maman, meaning mother. When Joy turned 16, she went through a ceremony that bound her to the mamanby a curse: if she disobeyed the maman, her family would die. A few weeks later, she was told she was moving to Italy, where she would work for her mamans sister. She believed she would be working in a hair salon. She was given 45 (40) and a phone number to call once she got to Italy but no name, no address, and no documents.

Joys new life would turn out to be nothing like what she had expected. Instead of working for a hairdresser, she fell into the trap set by traffickers who lure women into slavery and prostitution. More than 80% of women brought to Europe from Nigeria are unknowingly sponsored by sex traffickers who have paid for their journey, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The rest will have paid the smugglers to get them to Europe, but once they get there, will be unlikely to escape the sex-trafficking rings.

After an appalling journey, via Tripoli, which took nearly three weeks, Joy arrived at the port of Augusta on Sicilys east coast. She had no papers or passport. All she had was an Italian phone number, which her maman had stitched into the sleeve of her jacket. When the migrants got off the boat, an armed military policeman in a bulletproof vest stood guard as another patted them down and took knives from some of the men. Those with documents were taken to a large tent lined with army cots. One woman handed out shoes and flip-flops, and another gave them bruised yellow apples from a large metal tub. An officer used a black marker pen to write a number on the migrants left hands. Joy was number 323.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/feb/01/migrants-more-profitable-than-drugs-how-mafia-infiltrated-italy-asylum-system

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The Many Faces of Five Star Are Winning Votes All Over Italy

In Daniele Abate’s Sicilian home town, many people don’t even have running water, and he blames the politicians. So the former cook will be voting for Five Star on March 4.

At the other end of the country, across the economic divide that runs through Italy, a third of small company owners in Vicenza plan to do the same, according to Luigino Bari, who runs a local business association. They want tax cuts and deregulation, he says.

As an uncertain country gears up for a crucial election, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement is demonstrating a rare ability to appeal to disaffected voters across geography and social strata. Its eclectic mix of environmentalism, euro-skepticism and widely questioned promises on taxes and benefits offers something for anyone with an ax to grind about the way Italy has been run.

Luigi Di Maio, leader of Five Star.
Photographer: Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s a catch-all party,” said Piergiorgio Corbetta, a political science professor at the University of Bologna. “There are many reasons to vote for Five Star.”

With four weeks to go, polls show Five Star may have provided enough reasons to secure one of the biggest victories yet for populists in western Europe. With an outright majority still a distant prospect and few natural allies in parliament, the party is still likely to be kept out of office by an alliance of establishment groups. But their success highlights the challenge facing the next administration.

“Whatever color of government Italy ends up with, they will weigh heavily on the debate,” said Marc Lazar, a professor at Sciences Po in Paris. “When you take almost 30 percent of the vote, you are a reality that must be dealt with.”

Since starting as an internet-based campaign group in 2009, Five Star’s rise has been driven by support in places like Abate’s home region of Trapani, which was found to have the lowest quality of life among Italy’s 110 provinces by La Sapienza University last year.

Abate has been living off a 280-euro ($350) disability pension each month since his knee gave out a few years ago, forcing him to give up kitchen work. He’s 53, but looks older and struggles to stand. For Abate, the appeal of Five Star is its pledge to take on the privileges of lawmakers and civil servants in Rome.

QuicktakeItaly’s Election

“We work for many years and barely get a thing,” he said, sitting in the main square of his hometown of Alcamo near a 17th century church. “They serve for a few months and can retire.’’

The key to electoral success for Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio will be pushing into Italy’s wealthier north. While the party won 40 percent of the vote in Trapani in the last national elections 2013, it got 25 percent in the manufacturing center of Vicenza near Venice.

Vicenza’s entrepreneurs are also frustrated with the status quo, regardless of the recent pickup in growth. They are demanding cuts to business taxes and regulations, and investment in the single-lane roads crowded with trucks carrying products from the region’s factories.

“It’s clear that the traditional parties have made promises that they haven’t kept,” said Bari, 64, who wouldn’t say who he’ll be voting for.

Roberto Castiglion
Source: Comune di Sarego

Just down the road, the 7,000 inhabitants of Sarego elected the first Five Star mayor in the northeastern Italy in 2012. Roberto Castiglion, a 37-year-old IT manager, was re-elected last year with an increased vote.

Most of Castiglion’s work as mayor has involved the environment, installing solar panels and increasing recycling, but he says the party is very keen to help local businesses which ship factory machinery, adult diapers and leather goods around the world.

“In this country, we are drowning in norms and regulations,” he said.

“Five Star is saying the right things to small businesses, but there is some hesitancy,” said Remigio Bisognin, the 63-year-old founder of a 14-employee Sarego firm that stamps plastic parts. “We don’t really know these people.’’

One source of concern for business leaders has been Five Star’s past threats to pull Italy out of the euro. Bisognin says mistakes were made introducing the single currency but it’s too late to go back now, and Di Maio has walked back his comments. It’s a move that broadens the party’s appeal in the north without hurting its base in the south.

“The euro is not something we worry about,” said Gaetano Milazzo, a 40-year-old tax collector as he talked to friends where the warren of narrow streets opens out into Alcamo’s square. “Some houses here get water one day a week and there’s hardly any public transport.”

Indeed, parts of the sprawling town of 45,000 aren’t even connected to the water mains and Domenico Surdi, the 34-year-old lawyer Five Star mayor since in 2016, says the existing pipes hadn’t been maintained for decades when he took office.

With no budget for repairs, Surdi has had to improvise. He’s aiming to raise the amount of garbage that’s recycled to 70 percent from about 60 percent to save about 1 million euros a year on trash hauling.

“We’ve been mismanaged for so long,” said Abate. “The problems won’t go away overnight.”

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-02/the-many-faces-of-five-star-are-winning-votes-all-over-italy

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    Youre Benedict Arnold! Do You Have What It Takes To Betray The Colonies?

    You’re this guy.

    Do you have anything to say for yourself?

    That’s right! You’re this guy and you’re also Benedict Arnold. You shoot a gun and ride a horse for America during the First Annual Revolutionary War. Your peers respect you, all of the Founding Fathers say things like “Now that’s one good adult” when your name gets mentioned, and you’ve never committed the crime of treason. You’ve got it all.

    But that’s about to change.

    You see, yesterday was a very big day for you. You saw this advertisement for treason and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. You even had a dream where you wrote “TREASON = GOOD, CLEAN TREASON” in some beach sand, and upon waking up, a taste that can only be described as smooth, sandy treason was in your mouth.

    Yep. You’ve got a full-blown desire to commit treason up in your brain, and it’s not going away. The wheels of history have begun to turn, and they’re making the noise that means history is going to happen soon.

    Over the course of your life, there have been four major events that planted the seeds of treason in your brain. Imagine that the advertisement for treason you saw yesterday was water, and the four seeds of treason are four treason seeds. When you dump water on four seeds, a flower blooms—and in this case, it’s a Treason Flower.

    Simply put, there’s a Treason Flower in your body right now, and it’s impossible to rip out no matter how strong or powerful your hands are.

    Would you like a refresher as to the four treason seeds of your life?

    The first treason seed arrived in your skull when you got chased home from school by this patriotic husband and wife duo every day for eight years.

    Okay! How would you like to respond to Great Britain’s advertisement for treason?

    Seventeen seventy-three. The Boston Tea Party. Your second treason seed came in 1773 during the Boston Tea Party.

    You were there dressed as an Indian and were so into it that you asked people to call you “The Indian Version Of Benedict Arnold.” Unfortunately, someone thought you said “I’m tea, from England” and threw you into Boston Harbor by mistake.

    The harbor was cold and full of bugs, many of which you had to swallow to survive. If the Boston Tea Party had never happened, this almost certainly would have been avoided.

    The third treason seed occurred during the Battle of Saratoga, when you saw the American soldiers spending most of their time making a cannon do this. They still won the battle, but it marked the first time that you thought maybe the Continental Army deserves to get beaten very badly.

    The fourth and final seed of treason was lodged in your body two fortnights ago—the equivalent of four American weeks. You were in your tent having a nightmare about how great 21st-century medicine will be, when all of a sudden you were awoken by a shadow. It was a rogue bugle boy’s shadow, and after a few minutes of standing still, he lifted his bugle and blasted a song. When he finally finished 45 minutes later, he croaked, “That was ‘Treachery’s Jaunt (The Remix Of The Rogue Bugle Boy),’ and oh, it is now your favorite song, Benedict Arnold.”

    Whoa, for sure.

    So that’s how it happened. You got chased by two people in love, and then you got thrown into the Boston Harbor, and then some troops convinced a cannon to scream “21,” and then a rogue bugle boy told you that your favorite song was “Treachery’s Jaunt (The Remix Of The Rogue Bugle Boy).” When you saw the advertisement yesterday, you were totally powerless, and now you want nothing more than to become the most hated person in American history.

    Okay! How would you like to respond to Great Britain’s advertisement for treason?

    Great! It’s the 18th century, so one of the only forms of communication is the Communication Bell. By ringing the Bell in such a way that it tells the country of Great Britain you’re a tiny American male who wants to commit the crime of treason, you have let Great Britain know that you are a tiny American male interested in committing the crime of treason.

    All you’ve got to do now is receive an acceptance letter and you’ll be on your way!

    Ouch. That’s rough. How do you want to go about getting an acceptance letter?

    Great! You are now one step closer to betraying your country, and that’s something you want to do.

    You tell the army that you’re taking the day off from shooting your gun and riding your horse, and swim out to King George III’s royal houseboat. It’s located 15 miles off the New Jersey coast, and you have to take constant breaks and swallow hundreds of bugs to stay alive, but eventually, you finally make it, and it feels fine.

    The only thing under King George III’s houseboat is his previous houseboat, which sunk after he bought a bowling ball.

    There he is, the man and king himself. It’s none other than King George III, a guy who makes George Washington and his friends shoot their guns, sitting on a throne.

    “Aha! Hello, and welcome to my oceanic castle!” King George III says into his microphone. “I hate that the colonies are mad at me, and I am worried that they would not care if today was my birthday! If today was my birthday, the colonies would probably say something like ‘Who gives a shit?’ or ‘The hell with that nonsense!’ How terrible! B16!”

    Oh wow. The king seems pretty upset. Say something to cheer him up.

    “That’s incredible news! When I look at you right now, I realize that you MUST be Benedict Arnold, and Benedict Arnold is the man who’s going to be committing the crime of treason against America for Great Britain. Currently, Great Britain is known as the country that is going to have the Beatles, but we also want to be known as the country that wins the First Annual Revolutionary War. Oh, this makes me feel good. So, do you have any ideas for committing treason against your home country of America?”

    Looks like that cheered him up! Anyway, what sort of treasonous plan is currently making itself known to you in your brain?

    “That soda can thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”

    “That battle thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”

    “That hole thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”

    “That Ben Franklin thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”

    “That animal thing sounds like a pretty poor idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that a pretty poor idea for treason?”

    “Hello!” screams the queen. “Honestly, that idea for treason seems fine! B16!”

    Incredible. The royal marital duo loves your idea for treason, and now it’s time to go through with it.

    There’s nothing America currently loves more than the Declaration of Independence. It’s the document that really gets people going, and the most popular hobby nationwide is reading the Declaration to a crowd of thousands and receiving a standing ovation.

    Were the Declaration to be stolen and crushed on your Benedict Arnold’s head like a soda can, surely it would be an act of treason unlike any seen in America’s little, small, and tiny history.

    The Declaration of Independence currently lives in Philadelphia at The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together. The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together is, simply put, the place where all the guys are. Even people like Alexander Hamilton are there.

    So, what mode of transportation would you like to use to get to Philadelphia and commit a truly incredible amount of treason?

    Here you are. The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together.

    It’s late, so they should all be sleeping soundly in the same big bed. Looks like the only way to enter without making a ruckus is to sneak in through the pool, so yeah—you’re going to have to get a little wet.

    “Benedict Arnold!” you shout as you dive in.

    The pool is cold. Now, you famously don’t mind the cold (Thomason, Paul. “Benedict Arnold And His Feelings On The Cold.” Tungsten Publishing, 1982.), so that’s not too big a deal. But equally famously, you don’t know how to swim very well (Thomason, Bertram. “Benedict Arnold And How He Swam.” Tungsten Publishing, 1984). That means it’s going to take you a little while before you reach the door on the other side of the pool—that is, if you make it at all.

    Oh, wow. You really have no idea how to swim. You’re flailing and splashing and screaming, and you have to hope that if anyone was awake, they would’ve come out to save you by now.

    This is terrible to watch. You’ve tucked your legs into your stomach like you’re doing a cannonball, except for some reason you think that this is how you’re supposed to swim. It’s a miracle you haven’t drowned yet, now or at any other point in your life.

    You are forced to eat some bugs just to stay alive.

    These two have every right to laugh at you.

    You made it! To the pool door! It took 45 minutes for you to get here, and you spent pretty much all of those minutes on the verge of drowning, but all that is in the past! You’ve got a Declaration of Independence to steal and crush on your head like a soda can.

    Oh, goddamn it.

    “A mighty hello to our very close friend Benedict Arnold!” shout all the Founding Fathers at once. “You are soaking wet with pool water, and what an incredible treat it is to see you in our home we all share together!”

    “We heard you scream your own name as you jumped in the pool!” they all shout at once. “In the big bed we all share together, we looked at each other in excitement, and then we all jumped out of the big bed we all share together and ran to the window and pressed our historic faces up against the glass at the same time to see if it really was you, our friend, and it was you, our friend! You are such a good patriot, and an even better friend.”

    It’s going to be tough to steal the Declaration of Independence with these guys awake, but you have to do it. They’re currently nodding at each other in agreement over what they just said, so use this time to slink away and poke around.

    On this October night, there’s no sign of the Declaration of Independence in the Founders’ living room.

    Doesn’t look like there’s a Declaration of Independence to steal here in the kitchen.

    Looks like the Declaration of Independence had to be taken out of the Declaration of Independence room so the janitor could practice mopping up one cup of coffee.

    It’s gotta be around here somewhere.

    There it is! Looks like one of the dopier Founding Fathers left it behind. What an exciting blunder that will potentially change the course of American history for good!

    Shit.

    “Yes! Benedict Arnold, one of my closest and dearest friends from America! I’m so glad I caught you!” says George Washington, the man who is your boss when you shoot your gun and ride your horse. “I was at my other house with my wife named Martha, but as soon as I heard that you were here, I just had to come by! Say, is that the Declaration of Independence you’re holding and taking with you?”

    “Oh, of course it’s the Declaration of Independence that you’re holding and taking from the house I share with the other Founding Fathers!” shouts George. “Nothing says ‘I love the new country of America’ quite like holding the document that made the country come into existence. What an incredible show of patriotism from one incredible patriot! Benedict Arnold, you are a good friend, and also, hey, keep up the great work being my employee in the army.”

    Get the hell out of there.

    When it’s finally morning, you walk to the center of Philadelphia, clutching the Declaration tightly against your tiny stomach. People naturally begin to crowd around you because of who you are and what you’re clutching, and eventually there is a crowd of thousands, ready to watch what they assume is another classic patriotic act from an American hero.

    “Benedict Arnold is definitely one of my closest friends!” shouts Thomas Jefferson. “He is holding the Declaration of Independence the way anyone who loves America would!”

    “When I think about Benedict Arnold, a smile where I reveal a few dozen of my teeth shows up on my face!” yells Samuel Adams.

    “Benedict Arnold is the mailman, and his mail is never being deceitful!” screams Paul Revere.

    “I am going to crush this on my forehead,” you say. “I am going to crush the Declaration of Independence on my forehead like a soda can.”

    You stare at the ground for a couple of minutes, and then roll the Declaration up into a tight scroll, holding it parallel to your forehead.

    You crush the Declaration of Independence on your forehead like a soda can, and the crowd goes absolutely insane.

    “He’s making the Declaration of Independence get really close to his brain, and that’s patriotic!” shouts a man who had an apple for breakfast.

    “This inspires me and someone else to make the Constitution in, like, 10 years or so!” shout James Madison and Alexander Hamilton at the sam

    Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/clickventure/youre-benedict-arnold-do-you-have-what-it-takes-be-4143

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    Portugals radical drugs policy is working. Why hasnt the world copied it?

    The long read: Since it decriminalised all drugs in 2001, Portugal has seen dramatic drops in overdoses, HIV infection and drug-related crime

    When the drugs came, they hit all at once. It was the 80s, and by the time one in 10 people had slipped into the depths of heroin use bankers, university students, carpenters, socialites, miners Portugal was in a state of panic.

    lvaro Pereira was working as a family doctor in Olho in southern Portugal. People were injecting themselves in the street, in public squares, in gardens, he told me. At that time, not a day passed when there wasnt a robbery at a local business, or a mugging.

    The crisis began in the south. The 80s were a prosperous time in Olho, a fishing town 31 miles west of the Spanish border. Coastal waters filled fishermens nets from the Gulf of Cdiz to Morocco, tourism was growing, and currency flowed throughout the southern Algarve region. But by the end of the decade, heroin began washing up on Olhos shores. Overnight, Pereiras beloved slice of the Algarve coast became one of the drug capitals of Europe: one in every 100 Portuguese was battling a problematic heroin addiction at that time, but the number was even higher in the south. Headlines in the local press raised the alarm about overdose deaths and rising crime. The rate of HIV infection in Portugal became the highest in the European Union. Pereira recalled desperate patients and families beating a path to his door, terrified, bewildered, begging for help. I got involved, he said, only because I was ignorant.

    In truth, there was a lot of ignorance back then. Forty years of authoritarian rule under the regime established by Antnio Salazar in 1933 had suppressed education, weakened institutions and lowered the school-leaving age, in a strategy intended to keep the population docile. The country was closed to the outside world; people missed out on the experimentation and mind-expanding culture of the 1960s. When the regime ended abruptly in a military coup in 1974, Portugal was suddenly opened to new markets and influences. Under the old regime, Coca-Cola was banned and owning a cigarette lighter required a licence. When marijuana and then heroin began flooding in, the country was utterly unprepared.

    Pereira tackled the growing wave of addiction the only way he knew how: one patient at a time. A student in her 20s who still lived with her parents might have her family involved in her recovery; a middle-aged man, estranged from his wife and living on the street, faced different risks and needed a different kind of support. Pereira improvised, calling on institutions and individuals in the community to lend a hand.

    In 2001, nearly two decades into Pereiras accidental specialisation in addiction, Portugal became the first country to decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances. Rather than being arrested, those caught with a personal supply might be given a warning, a small fine, or told to appear before a local commission a doctor, a lawyer and a social worker about treatment, harm reduction, and the support services that were available to them.

    The opioid crisis soon stabilised, and the ensuing years saw dramatic drops in problematic drug use, HIV and hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime and incarceration rates. HIV infection plummeted from an all-time high in 2000 of 104.2 new cases per million to 4.2 cases per million in 2015. The data behind these changes has been studied and cited as evidence by harm-reduction movements around the globe. Its misleading, however, to credit these positive results entirely to a change in law.

    Portugals remarkable recovery, and the fact that it has held steady through several changes in government including conservative leaders who would have preferred to return to the US-style war on drugs could not have happened without an enormous cultural shift, and a change in how the country viewed drugs, addiction and itself. In many ways, the law was merely a reflection of transformations that were already happening in clinics, in pharmacies and around kitchen tables across the country. The official policy of decriminalisation made it far easier for a broad range of services (health, psychiatry, employment, housing etc) that had been struggling to pool their resources and expertise, to work together more effectively to serve their communities.

    The language began to shift, too. Those who had been referred to sneeringly as drogados (junkies) became known more broadly, more sympathetically, and more accurately, as people who use drugs or people with addiction disorders. This, too, was crucial.

    It is important to note that Portugal stabilised its opioid crisis, but it didnt make it disappear. While drug-related death, incarceration and infection rates plummeted, the country still had to deal with the health complications of long-term problematic drug use. Diseases including hepatitis C, cirrhosis and liver cancer are a burden on a health system that is still struggling to recover from recession and cutbacks. In this way, Portugals story serves as a warning of challenges yet to come.

    Despite enthusiastic international reactions to Portugals success, local harm-reduction advocates have been frustrated by what they see as stagnation and inaction since decriminalisation came into effect. They criticise the state for dragging its feet on establishing supervised injection sites and drug consumption facilities; for failing to make the anti-overdose medication naloxone more readily available; for not implementing needle-exchange programmes in prisons. Where, they ask, is the courageous spirit and bold leadership that pushed the country to decriminalise drugs in the first place?


    In the early days of Portugals panic, when Pereiras beloved Olho began falling apart in front of him, the states first instinct was to attack. Drugs were denounced as evil, drug users were demonised, and proximity to either was criminally and spiritually punishable. The Portuguese government launched a series of national anti-drug campaigns that were less Just Say No and more Drugs Are Satan.

    Informal treatment approaches and experiments were rushed into use throughout the country, as doctors, psychiatrists, and pharmacists worked independently to deal with the flood of drug-dependency disorders at their doors, sometimes risking ostracism or arrest to do what they believed was best for their patients.

    In 1977, in the north of the country, psychiatrist Eduno Lopes pioneered a methadone programme at the Centro da Boavista in Porto. Lopes was the first doctor in continental Europe to experiment with substitution therapy, flying in methadone powder from Boston, under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, rather than the Ministry of Health. His efforts met with a vicious public backlash and the disapproval of his peers, who considered methadone therapy nothing more than state-sponsored drug addiction.

    In Lisbon, Odette Ferreira, an experienced pharmacist and pioneering HIV researcher, started an unofficial needle-exchange programme to address the growing Aids crisis. She received death threats from drug dealers, and legal threats from politicians. Ferreira who is now in her 90s, and still has enough swagger to carry off long fake eyelashes and red leather at a midday meeting started giving away clean syringes in the middle of Europes biggest open-air drug market, in the Casal Ventoso neighbourhood of Lisbon. She collected donations of clothing, soap, razors, condoms, fruit and sandwiches, and distributed them to users. When dealers reacted with hostility, she snapped back: Dont mess with me. You do your job, and Ill do mine. She then bullied the Portuguese Association of Pharmacies into running the countrys and indeed the worlds first national needle-exchange programme.

    A flurry of expensive private clinics and free, faith-based facilities emerged, promising detoxes and miracle cures, but the first public drug-treatment centre run by the Ministry of Health the Centro das Taipas in Lisbon did not begin operating until 1987. Strapped for resources in Olho, Pereira sent a few patients for treatment, although he did not agree with the abstinence-based approach used at Taipas. First you take away the drug, and then, with psychotherapy, you plug up the crack, said Pereira. There was no scientific evidence to show that this would work and it didnt.

    He also sent patients to Lopess methadone programme in Porto, and found that some responded well. But Porto was at the other end of the country. He wanted to try methadone for his patients, but the Ministry of Health hadnt yet approved it for use. To get around that, Pereira sometimes asked a nurse to sneak methadone to him in the boot of his car.

    Pereiras work treating patients for addiction eventually caught the attention of the Ministry of Health. They heard there was a crazy man in the Algarve who was working on his own, he said, with a slow smile. Now 68, he is sprightly and charming, with an athletic build, thick and wavy white hair that bounces when he walks, a gravelly drawl and a bottomless reserve of warmth. They came down to find me at the clinic and proposed that I open a treatment centre, he said. He invited a colleague from at a family practice in the next town over to join him a young local doctor named Joo Goulo.

    Goulo was a 20-year-old medical student when he was offered his first hit of heroin. He declined because he didnt know what it was. By the time he finished school, got his licence and began practising medicine at a health centre in the southern city of Faro, it was everywhere. Like Pereira, he accidentally ended up specialising in treating drug addiction.

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    A nurse hands out methadone to addicts in Lisbon. Photograph: Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

    The two young colleagues joined forces to open southern Portugals first CAT in 1988. (These kinds of centres have used different names and acronyms over the years, but are still commonly referred to as Centros de Atendimento a Toxicodependentes, or CATs.) Local residents were vehemently opposed, and the doctors were improvising treatments as they went along. The following month, Pereira and Goulo opened a second CAT in Olho, and other family doctors opened more in the north and central regions, forming a loose network. It had become clear to a growing number of practitioners that the most effective response to addiction had to be personal, and rooted in communities. Treatment was still small-scale, local and largely ad hoc.

    The first official call to change Portugals drug laws came from Rui Pereira, a former constitutional court judge who undertook an overhaul of the penal code in 1996. He found the practice of jailing people for taking drugs to be counterproductive and unethical. My thought right off the bat was that it wasnt legitimate for the state to punish users, he told me in his office at the University of Lisbons school of law. At that time, about half of the people in prison were there for drug-related reasons, and the epidemic, he said, was thought to be an irresolvable problem. He recommended that drug use be discouraged without imposing penalties, or further alienating users. His proposals werent immediately adopted, but they did not go unnoticed.

    In 1997, after 10 years of running the CAT in Faro, Goulo was invited to help design and lead a national drug strategy. He assembled a team of experts to study potential solutions to Portugals drug problem. The resulting recommendations, including the full decriminalisation of drug use, were presented in 1999, approved by the council of ministers in 2000, and a new national plan of action came into effect in 2001.

    Today, Goulo is Portugals drug czar. He has been the lodestar throughout eight alternating conservative and progressive administrations; through heated standoffs with lawmakers and lobbyists; through shifts in scientific understanding of addiction and in cultural tolerance for drug use; through austerity cuts, and through a global policy climate that only very recently became slightly less hostile. Goulo is also decriminalisations busiest global ambassador. He travels almost non-stop, invited again and again to present the successes of Portugals harm-reduction experiment to authorities around the world, from Norway to Brazil, which are dealing with desperate situations in their own countries.

    These social movements take time, Goulo told me. The fact that this happened across the board in a conservative society such as ours had some impact. If the heroin epidemic had affected only Portugals lower classes or racialised minorities, and not the middle or upper classes, he doubts the conversation around drugs, addiction and harm reduction would have taken shape in the same way. There was a point whenyou could not find a single Portuguese family that wasnt affected. Every family had their addict, or addicts. This was universal in a way that the society felt: We have to do something.

    Portugals policy rests on three pillars: one, that theres no such thing as a soft or hard drug, only healthy and unhealthy relationships with drugs; two, that an individuals unhealthy relationship with drugs often conceals frayed relationships with loved ones, with the world around them, and with themselves; and three, that the eradication of all drugs is an impossible goal.

    The national policy is to treat each individual differently, Goulo told me. The secret is for us to be present.


    A drop-in centre called IN-Mouraria sits unobtrusively in a lively, rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood of Lisbon, a longtime enclave of marginalised communities. From 2pm to 4pm, the centre provides services to undocumented migrants and refugees; from 5pm to 8pm, they open their doors to drug users. A staff of psychologists, doctors and peer support workers (themselves former drug users) offer clean needles, pre-cut squares of foil, crack kits, sandwiches, coffee, clean clothing, toiletries, rapid HIV testing, and consultations all free and anonymous.

    On the day I visited, young people stood around waiting for HIV test results while others played cards, complained about police harassment, tried on outfits, traded advice on living situations, watched movies and gave pep talks to one another. They varied in age, religion, ethnicity and gender identity, and came from all over the country and all over the world. When a slender, older man emerged from the bathroom, unrecognisable after having shaved his beard off, an energetic young man who had been flipping through magazines threw up his arms and cheered. He then turned to a quiet man sitting on my other side, his beard lush and dark hair curling from under his cap, and said: What about you? Why dont you go shave off that beard? You cant give up on yourself, man. Thats when its all over. The bearded man cracked a smile.

    During my visits over the course of a month, I got to know some of the peer support workers, including Joo, a compact man with blue eyes who was rigorous in going over the details and nuances of what I was learning. Joo wanted to be sure I understood their role at the drop-in centre was not to force anyone to stop using, but to help minimise the risks users were exposed to.

    Our objective is not to steer people to treatment they have to want it, he told me. But even when they do want to stop using, he continued, having support workers accompany them to appointments and treatment facilities can feel like a burden on the user and if the treatment doesnt go well, there is the risk that that person will feel too ashamed to return to the drop-in centre. Then we lose them, and thats not what we want to do, Joo said. I want them to come back when they relapse. Failure was part of the treatment process, he told me. And he would know.

    Joo is a marijuana-legalisation activist, open about being HIV-positive, and after being absent for part of his sons youth, he is delighting in his new role as a grandfather. He had stopped doing speedballs (mixtures of cocaine and opiates) after several painful, failed treatment attempts, each more destructive than the last. He long used cannabis as a form of therapy methadone did not work for him, nor did any of the inpatient treatment programmes he tried but the cruel hypocrisy of decriminalisation meant that although smoking weed was not a criminal offence, purchasing it was. His last and worst relapse came when he went to buy marijuana from his usual dealer and was told: I dont have that right now, but I do have some good cocaine. Joo said no thanks and drove away, but soon found himself heading to a cash machine, and then back to the dealer. After this relapse, he embarked on a new relationship, and started his own business. At one point he had more than 30 employees. Then the financial crisis hit. Clients werent paying, and creditors started knocking on my door, he told me. Within six months I had burned through everything I had built up over four or five years.

    Addicts
    Addicts waiting for methadone at a drug treatment project in Lisbon. Photograph: Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

    In the mornings, I followed the centres street teams out to the fringes of Lisbon. I met Raquel and Sareia their slim forms swimming in the large hi-vis vests they wear on their shifts who worked with Crescer na Maior, a harm-reduction NGO. Six times a week, they loaded up a large white van with drinking water, wet wipes, gloves, boxes of tinfoil and piles of state-issued drug kits: green plastic pouches with single-use servings of filtered water, citric acid, a small metal tray for cooking, gauze, filter and a clean syringe. Portugal does not yet have any supervised injection sites (although there is legislation to allow them, several attempts to open one have come to nothing), so, Raquel and Sareia told me, they go out to the open-air sites where they know people go to buy and use. Both are trained psychologists, but out in the streets they are known simply as the needle girls.

    Good afternoon! Raquel called out cheerily, as we walked across a seemingly abandoned lot in an area called Cruz Vermelha. Street team! People materialised from their hiding places like some strange version of whack-a-mole, poking their heads out from the holes in the wall where they had gone to smoke or shoot up. My needle girls, one woman cooed to them tenderly. How are you, my loves? Most made polite conversation, updating the workers on their health struggles, love lives, immigration woes or housing needs. One woman told them she would be going back to Angola to deal with her mothers estate, that she was looking forward to the change of scenery. Another man told them he had managed to get his online girlfriends visa approved for a visit. Does she know youre still using? Sareia asked. The man looked sheepish.

    I start methadone tomorrow, another man said proudly. He was accompanied by his beaming girlfriend, and waved a warm goodbye to the girls as they handed him a square of foil.

    In the foggy northern city of Porto, peer support workers from Caso an association run by and for drug users and former users, the only one of its kind in Portugal meet every week at a noisy cafe. They come here every Tuesday morning to down espressos, fresh pastries and toasted sandwiches, and to talk out the challenges, debate drug policy (which, a decade and a half after the law came into effect, was still confusing for many) and argue, with the warm rowdiness that is characteristic of people in the northern region. When I asked them what they thought of Portugals move to treat drug users as sick people in need of help, rather than as criminals, they scoffed. Sick? We dont say sick up here. Were not sick.

    I was told this again and again in the north: thinking of drug addiction simply in terms of health and disease was too reductive. Some people are able to use drugs for years without any major disruption to their personal or professional relationships. It only became a problem, they told me, when it became a problem.

    Caso was supported by Apdes, a development NGO with a focus on harm reduction and empowerment, including programmes geared toward recreational users. Their award-winning Check!n project has for years set up shop at festivals, bars and parties to test substances for dangers. I was told more than once that if drugs were legalised, not just decriminalised, then these substances would be held to the same rigorous quality and safety standards as food, drink and medication.


    In spite of Portugals tangible results, other countries have been reluctant to follow. The Portuguese began seriously considering decriminalisation in 1998, immediately following the first UN General Assembly Special Session on the Global Drug Problem (UNgass). High-level UNgass meetings are convened every 10 years to set drug policy for all member states, addressing trends in addiction, infection, money laundering, trafficking and cartel violence. At the first session for which the slogan was A drug-free world: we can do it Latin American member states pressed for a radical rethinking of the war on drugs, but every effort to examine alternative models (such as decriminalisation) was blocked. By the time of the next session, in 2008, worldwide drug use and violence related to the drug trade had vastly increased. An extraordinary session was held last year, but it was largely a disappointment the outcome document didnt mention harm reduction once.

    Despite that letdown, 2016 produced a number of promising other developments: Chile and Australia opened their first medical cannabis clubs; following the lead of several others, four more US states introduced medical cannabis, and four more legalised recreational cannabis; Denmark opened the worlds largest drug consumption facility, and France opened its first; South Africa proposed legalising medical cannabis; Canada outlined a plan to legalise recreational cannabis nationally and to open more supervised injection sites; and Ghana announced it would decriminalise all personal drug use.

    The biggest change in global attitudes and policy has been the momentum behind cannabis legalisation. Local activists have pressed Goulo to take a stance on regulating cannabis and legalising its sale in Portugal; for years, he has responded that the time wasnt right. Legalising a single substance would call into question the foundation of Portugals drug and harm-reduction philosophy. If the drugs arent the problem, if the problem is the relationship with drugs, if theres no such thing as a hard or a soft drug, and if all illicit substances are to be treated equally, he argued, then shouldnt all drugs be legalised and regulated?

    Massive international cultural shifts in thinking about drugs and addiction are needed to make way for decriminalisation and legalisation globally. In the US, the White House has remained reluctant to address what drug policy reform advocates have termed an addiction to punishment. But if conservative, isolationist, Catholic Portugal could transform into a country where same-sex marriage and abortion are legal, and where drug use is decriminalised, a broader shift in attitudes seems possible elsewhere. But, as the harm-reduction adage goes: one has to want the change in order to make it.


    When Pereira first opened the CAT in Olho, he faced vociferous opposition from residents; they worried that with more drogados would come more crime. But the opposite happened. Months later, one neighbour came to ask Pereiras forgiveness. She hadnt realised it at the time, but there had been three drug dealers on her street; when their local clientele stopped buying, they packed up and left.

    The CAT building itself is a drab, brown two-storey block, with offices upstairs and an open waiting area, bathrooms, storage and clinics down below. The doors open at 8.30am, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Patients wander in throughout the day for appointments, to chat, to kill time, to wash, or to pick up their weekly supply of methadone doses. They tried to close the CAT for Christmas Day one year, but patients asked that it stay open. For some, estranged from loved ones and adrift from any version of home, this is the closest thing theyve got to community and normality.

    Its not just about administering methadone, Pereira told me. You have to maintain a relationship.

    In a back room, rows of little canisters with banana-flavoured methadone doses were lined up, each labelled with a patients name and information. The Olho CAT regularly services about 400 people, but that number can double during the summer months, when seasonal workers and tourists come to town. Anyone receiving treatment elsewhere in the country, or even outside Portugal, can have their prescription sent over to the CAT, making the Algarve an ideal harm-reduction holiday destination.

    After lunch at a restaurant owned by a former CAT employee, the doctor took me to visit another of his projects a particular favourite. His decades of working with addiction disorders had taught him some lessons, and he poured his accumulated knowledge into designing a special treatment facility on the outskirts of Olho: the Unidade de Desabituao, or Dishabituation Centre. Several such UDs, as they are known, have opened in other regions of the country, but this centre was developed to cater to the particular circumstances and needs of the south.

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    A man receives clean syringes after being given methadone at a clinic in Lisbon. Photograph: Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

    Pereira stepped down as director some years ago, but his replacement asked him to stay on to help with day-to-day operations. Pereira should be retired by now indeed, he tried to but Portugal is suffering from an overall shortage of health professionals in the public system, and not enough young doctors are stepping into this specialisation. As his colleagues elsewhere in the country grow closer to their own retirements, theres a growing sense of dread that there is no one to replace them.

    Those of us from the Algarve always had a bit of a different attitude from our colleagues up north, Pereira told me. I dont treat patients. They treat themselves. My function is to help them to make the changes they need to make.

    And thank goodness there is only one change to make, he deadpanned as we pulled into the centres parking lot: You need to change almost everything. He cackled at his own joke and stepped out of his car.

    The glass doors at the entrance slid open to a facility that was bright and clean without feeling overwhelmingly institutional. Doctors and administrators offices were up a sweeping staircase ahead. Women at the front desk nodded their hellos, and Pereira greeted them warmly: Good afternoon, my darlings.

    The Olho centre was built for just under 3m (2.6m), publicly funded, and opened to its first patients nine years ago. This facility, like the others, is connected to a web of health and social rehabilitation services. It can house up to 14 people at once: treatments are free, available on referral from a doctor or therapist, and normally last between eight and 14 days. When people first arrive, they put all of their personal belongings photos, mobile phones, everything into storage, retrievable on departure.

    We believe in the old maxim: No news is good news, explained Pereira. We dont do this to punish them but to protect them. Memories can be triggering, and sometimes families, friends and toxic relationships can be enabling.

    To the left there were intake rooms and a padded isolation room, with clunky security cameras propped up in every corner. Patients each had their own suites simple, comfortable and private. To the right, there was a colour room, with a pottery wheel, recycled plastic bottles, paints, egg cartons, glitter and other craft supplies. In another room, coloured pencils and easels for drawing. A kiln, and next to it a collection of excellent handmade ashtrays. Many patients remained heavy smokers.

    Patients were always occupied, always using their hands or their bodies or their senses, doing exercise or making art, always filling their time with something. Wed often hear our patients use the expression me and my body, Pereira said. As though there was a dissociation between the me and my flesh.

    To help bring the body back, there was a small gym, exercise classes, physiotherapy and a jacuzzi. And after so much destructive behaviour messing up their bodies, their relationships, their lives and communities learning that they could create good and beautiful things was sometimes transformational.

    You know those lines on a running track? Pereira asked me. He believed that everyone however imperfect was capable of finding their own way, given the right support. Our love is like those lines.

    He was firm, he said, but never punished or judged his patients for their relapses or failures. Patients were free to leave at any time, and they were welcome to return if they needed, even if it was more than a dozen times.

    He offered no magic wand or one-size-fits-all solution, just this daily search for balance: getting up, having breakfast, making art, taking meds, doing exercise, going to work, going to school, going into the world, going forward. Being alive, he said to me more than once, can be very complicated.

    My darling, he told me, its like I always say: I may be a doctor, but nobodys perfect.

    A longer version of this piece appears on thecommononline.org. Research and travel for this piece were made possible by the Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award

    Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/dec/05/portugals-radical-drugs-policy-is-working-why-hasnt-the-world-copied-it

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    Meghan Markle is royal family’s unconventional bride-to-be

    London (CNN)The wedding engagement of a feminist American actress and the fifth in line to the British throne is yet another sign the royal family is becoming a modern family.

    High-profile members of the British royal family marrying who they want — and not who they should — has been a gradual process.
    As Markle’s relationship with the prince blossomed, the British tabloids and social media commenters fixated on the fact that she’s not British, had been married before and comes from a biracial background. Her ethnicity, in particular, spurred tabloid coverage to the extent that her now-fiancé warned the media to stop harassing her last year.
      Markle shrugged it off during in her first joint interview with Prince Harry.
      “I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from. And we have never put any focus on that,” she said.
      Their wedding will take place in spring 2018.
      In an article for Elle UK in 2015, Markle wrote about the difficulty of forging a career as a biracial actress. “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
      She spoke highly of the producers of “Suits” who “weren’t looking for someone mixed, nor someone white or black for that matter. They were simply looking for Rachel.”
      Markle said in her first interview with Prince Harry that she will be transitioning into a new role that will involve “causes that have been very important to me.”

      ‘Proud to be a feminist’

      Amongst those causes is her work for gender equality.
      “I’m proud to be a woman and a feminist,” said Markle in a speech at a United Nations conference on International Women’s Day 2015. She had just been named the UN Women’s Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership.
      Her commitment to gender equality began many years earlier, Markle explained. As an 11-year-old she had watched a soap commercial with the tagline “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”
      She described how two boys in her class said loudly in response that women belonged in the kitchen and how the younger Markle, “shocked and angry,” decided to take action. On the advice of her father, she wrote several letters, including one to the soap manufacturer and one to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
      In the end, she explained, the commercial was changed: The word “women” was removed and replaced with “people.”
      “It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions,” she said.
      She went on to call for more female political participation and representation. “Women need a seat at the table,” she said. And where that’s not possible, “then they need to create their own table.”

      Humanitarian efforts

      “With fame comes opportunity,” Markle wrote in a column for Elle UK in November 2016, “but it also includes responsibility — to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings.”
      In 2016, she became a global ambassador for World Vision and traveled to Rwanda to see the impact of the charity’s clean water initiatives.
      Until earlier this year, Markle ran a lifestyle website, sharing her tips on food and fashion. But she posted pieces about self-empowerment too.
      “I knew I needed to be saying something of value,” she wrote last year, something about “subjects of higher value than selfies.”

      Markle: We’re ‘really happy and in love’

      Markle was married to film producer Trevor Engelson for two years before they divorced in 2013. It was three years later — in July 2016 — that she first met Prince Harry, introduced by mutual friends.
      The two dated in secret before the Prince put an end to the speculation in November last year. In a rare public statement, he confirmed their relationship and warned the press against harassing his girlfriend.
      It was almost another year before Markle spoke openly about their relationship. “We’re two people who are really happy and in love,” she told Vanity Fair in September.
      The last time a divorced American became engaged to a member of the British royal family, it triggered a crisis that ended with the abdication of King Edward VIII, her future husband. That was in 1936.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/27/europe/meghan-markle-profile/index.html

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      The situation is desperate: murdered Maltese journalists final written words

      It seems that Daphne Caruana Galizias enemies finally decided that her courageous journalism needed to be silenced

      In her last blogpost, published the day she died, Daphne Caruana Galizia signed off with a sentence that seems particularly chilling now.

      There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.

      Caruana Galizia, 53, felt she had good reason to feel pessimistic about Malta, and her enemies had good reason to fear her. Someone, it seems, was worried enough to want her silenced.

      In that last post, which appeared just before a bomb blew up the car she was driving, Caruana Galizia had taken aim, and not for the first time, at Maltese politicians. But they were far from the only people in the firing line.

      She believed, in essence, that malign and criminal interests had captured Malta and turned it into an island mafia state; she reported on a political system rife with corruption, businesses seemingly used to launder money or pay bribes, and a criminal justice system that seemed incapable, or unwilling, to take on the controlling minds behind it all.

      Proof of her fears included the 15 mafia-style assassinations and car bombings that have taken place on the island in the last 10 years and, ultimately, perhaps, her own murder too.

      Though there will be many on Malta who will not trust the police to properly investigate her death, including her son, Matthew, detectives will be urged to look at what she has written in recent months, and what she had been looking at just before her death to see what clues, if any, they provide.

      Had this fiercely independent journalist finally got too close to something or was she proving too much of an irritant to someone?

      Caruana Galizia was certainly used to stirring up trouble.

      Those about whom she has written in the past year range from government ministers to the newly elected leader of the opposition; the characters in her stories included a convicted drug smuggler and a local millionaire who complained after she alleged that he had built a private zoo without planning permission.

      Her style was fearless, witty and sardonic. Her posts there were lots of them made uncomfortable reading for those in power. She became the islands most celebrated reporter and teller of plain truths.

      Probably her greatest achievement over the past year was to spark, more or less singlehandedly, an extraordinary political scandal that has embroiled the islands prime minister, his closest political allies, and the ruling family of Azerbaijan.

      It led to Maltas prime minister, Joseph Muscat, calling a general election in June.

      The tale is complex; it involves a whistleblower from inside a secretive private bank, alleged kickbacks to senior politicians and a plethora of offshore companies that caused chaos for Muscat, the leader of the ruling Labour party.

      There is nothing to suggest any of this is linked to her murder but the episode highlights the courageous way she tackled those in authority, and her doggedness in the face of legal threats.

      Caruana Galizias investigation was built on documents uncovered in the Panama Papers, published in April last year. Among the many names of government officials were two Maltese politicians: Keith Schembri, chief of staff to Muscat, and Konrad Mizzi, the countrys energy minister.

      Both had set up similar structures, involving Panamanian companies owned by New Zealand trusts.

      A
      A woman reads a letter to investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia during a silent candlelight vigil to protest against her murder, in St Julians, Malta. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

      The allegation: the trusts were used to receive kickbacks from rich Russians who bought Maltese passports. The publication led to street protests and caused disquiet in Brussels.

      Mizzi and Schembri denied any wrongdoing. Mizzi said the accounts had been set up to receive income from a property in London, while Schembri implied that the offshore entities were related to his business activities before entering politics. Both men kept their jobs.

      Earlier this year Caruana Galizia followed up the story with new detail. She alleged the Panama Papers scheme was also connected to Azerbaijan, the oil-rich dictatorship ruled as a personal fiefdom by the Aliyev family.

      The same month that Mizzi and Schembri began setting up the offshore structures, they visited Azerbaijan, along with the prime minister and his spokesman.

      The purpose of the visit was to agree a deal on fuel supplies. Unusually, civil servants, diplomats and journalists were not invited.

      Although the reports prompted a national protest against corruption, the second in Malta that year, Muscats Labour government narrowly defeated a vote of no confidence presented by the opposition Nationalist party.

      Over the coming months, while the initial scandal continued to make headlines, Caruana Galizias investigation continued.

      Her focus was a mysterious third company, Egrant. In April 2017, just over a year after the Panama Papers were first published, Caruana Galizia reported that Egrants owner was one Michelle Muscat the wife of Maltas prime minister.

      Furthermore, she alleged that a $1m (760,000) payment received by the company originated from Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of Azerbaijans president.

      Muscats spokesman has described this as an outright lie.

      Caruana Galizias report was sourced to a Russian whistleblower from inside a private bank in Malta called Pilatus.

      The woman, later named as Maria Efimova, told Caruana Galizia that documents referring to the company were held in a safe, which had recently been removed from her bosss office and moved into the staff kitchen, where there was no CCTV.

      After Efimova complained that she had not been paid, Pilatus filed a complaint against her for fraud and misappropriation. Police seized her passport and charged her.

      Efimova later fled the country after complaining to the prime minister that Russian private detectives had approached her father.

      On the eve of the election, the story took a further twist. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian revealed that a Maltese intelligence agency, the Financial Investigation and Analysis Unit (FIAU), had in May 2016 concluded there was reasonable suspicion of money laundering involving Schembri, and it recommended police investigate further.

      Schembri did not deny the transactions had taken place, but said the money was simply the repayment of a loan he made to a friend. The case is being investigated by a magistrate.

      A second report by the FIAU into the Pilatus Bank alleged it had shown a glaring, possibly deliberate disregard for money-laundering controls. Pilatus said it fully adheres to all laws and regulations.

      The gaming industry was another prime source of concern for Caruana Galizia. Over last decade, Malta has become a global hub for the online betting and gaming industries. The business employs more than 8,000 people on the island and its contribution to the economy is huge.

      Recent estimates suggest the sector is worth 1.2bn, 12% of the islands GDP.

      Yet despite the islands claim to be a world class jurisdiction for online gaming, there have been persistent reports of Italian mafia infiltration in June, regulators suspended one operation over such fears.

      In a post from May this year, Caruana Galizia noted: I dont know why we should be surprised that organised crime has insinuated its tentacles into the highest echelons of government in Malta, using democracy for the purpose while undermining it thoroughly. If it happened in Italy and eastern Europe, it can happen here, where the institutions of state are so much weaker.

      This article was amended on 18 October 2017. An earlier version converted $1m to 760m. This has been corrected to 760,000.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/17/the-situation-is-desperate-murdered-maltese-journalists-daphne-caruana-galizia-final-words

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      Europeans need not apply: evidence mounts of discrimination in UK

      Government investigates evidence EU nationals are blocked from jobs and from renting or buying homes

      The government equalities office is to examine growing evidence that EU nationals in the UK are being illegally prevented from renting or buying properties, getting jobs and booking holidays.

      Nick Gibb, the equalities minister, said he was responding after Labour and the EU citizens rights campaign group the3million sent him a dossier of more than two dozen examples of job, housing and other adverts, many of which invite applications only from those with UK or Irish citizenship.

      In a parliamentary answer, Gibb told MPs that he office is aware of, and is looking into reports of rising discrimination against EU nationals looking for work in the UK or buying property and services after Brexit.

      Campaigners repeatedly found job adverts that clearly specify that those applying must have British passports. Examples collected include an advert for a graduate sales executive in Bristol specifying German language skills but restricting the job to full UK passport holders. An advert for a Solihull-based research job with an international management consultancy specified that the candidate must have the right to stay and work permanently in the UK, and a valid UK passport. Another job recovering hire cars from France and Spain and delivering them back to Britain was restricted to UK passport holders only.

      Other examples collected by Labour and the3million included:

      • Rental properties advertised for UK citizens only or outlining different terms for EU nationals.
      • Travel agencies declining to take bookings from non-British or non-Irish citizens and cancelling the holidays already booked by EU nationals from other countries.
      • A law firm advising that employment contracts incorporate clauses that specify that the loss of right to work will result in immediate dismissal.

      However, a number of the companies included in the dossier mostly little-known firms or agencies said their ads were either old, made in error or posted with a typo when contacted by the Guardian. Two said their original advertisements involved administrative or clerical errors and had been reposted with clearer wording.

      The Guardian spoke with a number of EU nationals who recalled recent instances of discrimination. Natasha, a 42-year-old Polish teaching assistant who asked for her surname to remain private, said she was completely blindsided when a education recruitment agency asked her for proof of permission to work in the UK.

      I was completely taken aback and thought it must be incompetence but their response was very confused saying I need a permanent residency document or a work permit, neither of which you need, said Natasha, who has been in the UK for six years and entitled to work under EU law.

      It freaked me out. At the time I needed work.

      She added that she and her friends are also afraid to move from rented accommodation because landlords dont know if they will make them secure tenants after March 2019.

      Labour MP for Sheffield Central, Paul Blomfield, who forwarded the examples to ministers, said he was deeply concerned that EU nationals were experiencing discrimination within the service industry and within the labour market.

      The junior shadow Brexit minister said: I am sure that you would agree these reports are a cause for alarm, reflecting uncertainty across the business sector and discrimination experienced by EU nationals. The lack of detail forthcoming from the government is contributing to this climate of uncertainty and confusion.

      A Commons written answer by Gibb, slipped out on Saturday, responded by saying that Britain had some of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the world and pledging to ensure that these rights were protected.

      The government equalities office is aware of, and is looking into, the reports of discrimination against non-UK EU nationals seeking employment which [have been] forwarded to the secretary of state for exiting the EU, it said.

      The GEO sponsors the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has powers to enforce the Equality Act 2010 in cases where it suspects unlawful discrimination in employment may have occurred.

      The Department for Education confirmed it was looking at the dossier of evidence supplied to it but denied that the investigation constituted any form of official review or inquiry.

      Blomfield responded to the announcement of the review saying: This investigation into these extremely worrying cases is welcome, but it must lead to action. The government needs to be clear that discrimination will not be tolerated.

      A 41-year-old German woman who arrived in the UK in 1998, who preferred to remain anonymous, said she was refused a test drive at a car dealership in Stockport because her driving licence was European and due to Brexit no longer valid.

      She said: I felt angry, upset and singled out. My other half (British) got very annoyed and verbal. My other half tweeted outrage and they replied to him and said to get in touch with head office.

      Another woman in Edinburgh, 48, who arrived in the UK from Greece 25 years ago, said she was told she needed a British passport to apply to finance furniture.

      I was committed to make a big purchase and I had to break it, she said. In the end I paid for 1,500 worth of goods and the rest of the kitchen units were bought by my joiner. I was denied a financial service by an EU company operating in the UK due to my EU passport. This does not feel right. I think some people are using Brexit as an excuse to bully us.

      A spokesperson for the3Million campaign group said the dossier was only the tip of the iceberg: Discrimination is subtle and often hard to prove. The examples we have seen in job adverts are only the tip of the iceberg.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/11/no-europeans-need-apply-growing-evidence-discrimination-uk-brexit

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      Ischia earthquake: cheers go up as rescuers free third trapped brother

      Third of three brothers who were trapped in rubble of home freed by rescuers after magnitude 4.0 quake on island in Bay of Naples

      Rescue teams working through the night and into Tuesday freed three brothers trapped in the rubble of a house on the Italian island of Ischia, after a magnitude 4.0 earthquake that killed two women and left 39 injured, at least one of them seriously.

      The strength of Monday nights quake under the Bay of Naples was revised up to magnitude 4.0 by the INGV, Italys seismic observatory, after initially being reported at 3.6. More than 2,500 people were reported to be homeless or displaced and about 1,500 have fled the island.

      TV cameras recorded cheers going up as the last brother, 11-year-old Ciro, was carried on a stretcher from the rubble of his home at 2.12pm local time, 16 hours after the quake struck. Firefighters announced the success with a tweet that said: Even Ciro is saved!

      Rescuers had earlier pulled out seven-month-old Pasquale, then eight-year-old Mattias. The two elder boys hid under a bed after the first tremor on Monday night.

      The boys father, whose hands were bandaged after he spent the night digging through the rubble alongside the firefighters, could be seen tearfully hugging relatives as his eldest son was saved.

      It was a terrible night. I dont have words to explain it, the father told RAI state television while rescuers worked to free the older two boys. The entire second floor of the house collapsed and the firefighters pulled me out. They were great.

      He said his wife was in the bathroom and managed to escape through the window, but the older boys were in the bedroom while the baby was in a playpen in the kitchen.

      Luca Cari, the firefighter spokesman, described the work to free the boys as complicated. He said rescuers had maintained voice contact with the children throughout. There was silence for a while, they were tired. Then they began speaking again and we drew comfort from that, he said.

      Hospital officials said all three were doing well, with the older two boys being treated for dehydration and the oldest for a fracture to his right foot. They were expected to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday.

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      Baby is pulled alive from rubble after Ischia earthquake video

      One woman died after being buried under the rubble of her home in the town of Casamicciola while another was killed after being hit by debris falling from a church.

      The earthquake came two days before the first anniversary of an earthquake in central Italy, in which almost 300 people died. Ischias deadliest quake occurred in 1883, killing 2,300.

      The quake hit during the height of the tourist season, with the islands population of 64,000 ballooning by another 150,000 at the time the quake struck. Italian television showed many visitors taking refuge in parks and sleeping under blankets in the aftermath while authorities began organising ferries to bring tourists back to the mainland.

      Television images showed about six buildings in the town as well as a church had collapsed in the quake, which struck just before 9pm as many people were having dinner.

      Civil protection crews, already on the island in force to fight the forest fires that have been ravaging southern Italy, were checking the status of the buildings that were damaged, while more were arriving from the mainland.

      Together with the nearby island of Capri, Ischia is a favourite island getaway for Europes rich and famous, known in particular for its thermal waters. It gained further fame after featuring in Elena Ferrantes Neapolitan novels.

      The Associated Press contributed to this report

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/21/earthquake-strikes-italian-island-of-ischia-with-one-reported-dead

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