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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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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

Osteria FrancescanaIs the Best Restaurant in the World, Again

Osteria Francescana is the best restaurant in the world, on a night that had a sense of déjà vu, especially for the Top 10.

Chef Massimo Bottura’s modern Italian restaurant in the back streets of Modena was the World’s No. 1 Restaurant in 2016; last year it was No. 2. The biggest movement in the Top 10 was a drop by last year’s No. 1 winner, Eleven Madison Park. They fell to No. 4, after a year that saw a major renovation and a much-buzzed-about pop-up in East Hampton

The flamboyant Bottura is known for his playful approach to classic dishes. His creations include a lasagna with only the crispy bits and a deconstructed dessert called “Oops I Dropped the Lemon Tart.” Bottura is an art lover and his food is visually exciting as well as delicious. More recently, he has become known for Feed the Soul, an international non-profit organization to feed the homeless and hungry that grew out of a community kitchen in Milan.

Bottura accepted the award on stage with his American-born wife Lara Gilmore. He said that chefs and everyone in the restaurant business must realize that they have the power to change the world.

“I am going to use this spotlight to make even stronger the changes there are going to be,” said Bottura at a press conference following his win. “Feed the planet. Fight waste. Last week Henry Kissinger asked me for a selfie. It is unbelievable. We have to involve all the community of chefs … pushing the spotlight you have to make the invisible visible is extremely important.”

Chef Massimo Bottura
Photographer: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

The results of the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards were announced before an invited audience in Bilbao, Spain. Although much was made about diversity in advance of the ceremony, there was little change in the Top 10 beyond a minor reshuffling of places. Apart from Eleven Madison Park’s drop, it was a good year for North America. The United States had four more restaurants in the Top 100, up from nine last year. Mexico had two restaurants in the top 15; in 2017 the country’s highest entry was 20.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is organized and compiled by William Reed Business Media. It is created from the votes of more than 1,000 restaurateurs, chefs, food writers, and gastronomes. The voters are split into 26 separate regions around the world. Each region has its own panel of 40 members. (Vines formerly chaired the U.K. and Ireland panel but is no longer involved.)

Winning the 50 Best is great for business. The day after El Celler de Can Roca first topped the list, in 2013, its website got 12 million visitors and the restaurant hired three extra staff just to turn down requests for tables. Noma’s Rene Redzepi said he could have filled his restaurant for almost 15 years with the booking requests the day after he first won, in 2010

The awards started in 2002 as a feature in , a U.K. publication founded the previous year. It grew out of a brainstorming session in a pub to promote the magazine. The editors sent emails to journalists and chefs to pick their favorite places, like a music magazine compiling a best-albums list. The response was overwhelming and the annual awards were born.

Ahead of Tuesday evening’s ceremony, three awards were announced: Clare Smyth, of Core by Clare Smyth in London, won Elit Vodka Best Female Chef; Gaston Acurio of Astrid & Gaston in Lima won Diners Club Lifetime Achievement; and SingleThread, a farm restaurant in Northern California won the Miele One to Watch. The second part of the list, 51-100, was also previously announced; the winners follow.

Here are the results (last year’s place in parentheses):

1. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy (2)

2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain (3)

3. Mirazur, Menton, France (4)

4. Eleven Madison Park, New York (1)

Thailand’s Gaggan is climbing up the list.
Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

5. Gaggan, Bangkok (7)

6. Central, Lima (5)

7. Maido, Lima (8)

8. Arpège, Paris (12)

9. Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain (9)

10. Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain (6)

11. Quintonil, Mexico City (22)

A post shared by BlueHillFarm (@bluehillfarm) on

12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, U.S. (11)

13. Pujol, Mexico City (20)

14. Steirereck, Vienna (10)

15. White Rabbit, Moscow (23)

16. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy (15)

At No. 17, Den’s garden salad with a single ant.
Photographer: Shinichito Fujii

17. Den, Tokyo (45)

18. Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain (55)

19. Geranium, Copenhagen (19)

20. Attica, Melbourne (32)

21. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris (13)

22. Narisawa, Tokyo (18)

23. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy (29)

24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai (41)

25. Cosme, New York (40) 

26. Le Bernardin, New York (17)

27. Boragó, Santiago (42)

Singapore’s Odette was a big mover on the list.
Source: The Lo & Behold Group

28. Odette, Singapore (86)

29. Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris (31)

30. D.O.M., São Paulo (16)

31. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain (30)

32. Tickets, Barcelona (25)

33. The Clove Club, London (26)

34. Alinea, Chicago (21)

35. Maaemo, Oslo (79)

36.  Reale, Castel di Sangro, Italy (43)

37. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin (48)

Chef James Lowe’s simple modern cooking, here a bloodcake, at No. 38 Lyle’s.
Photographer: James Lowe/Lyle's

38. Lyle’s, London (54)

39. Astrid y Gastón, Lima (33)

40. Septime, Paris (35)

41. Nihonryori  RyuGin, Tokyo (52)

42. The Ledbury, London (27)

43.  Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain (38)

44. Mikla, Istanbul (51)

45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (36)

46. Saison, San Francisco (37)

47. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland (72)

48. Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia (69)

49. Nahm, Bangkok (28)

50. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town (63)

 

And here are the previously announced winners of places 51 to 100. 

“NEW ENTRY” indicates the first time the restaurant has appeared on the list. “RE-ENTRY” indicates its reappearance in list after a year of absence (i.e. due to a closing/renovation). 

51. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands (34)

52. L'Astrance, Paris (46)

53.  Benu, San Francisco (67)

54.  Sühring, Bangkok 

55.  Don Julio, Buenos Aires 

56. Amber, Hong Kong (24)

57.  Nerua, Bilbao, Spain (56)

58. Brae, Birregurra, Australia (44)

59. Florilège, Tokyo (99)

60. Tegui, Buenos Aires (49)

61. Burnt EndsSingapore (53)

62. Momofuku Ko, New York (58)

63. Hof Van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium (50)

64. Sud 777, Mexico City (75)

65. Frantzén, Stockholm 

66. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany (47)

67. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden (57)

68. Quique Dacosta, Denia, Spain (62)

69. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York (82)

70. Selfie, Moscow (88)

71. Relae, Copenhagen (39)

72. Twins Garden, Moscow (92)

73. Aqua, Wolfsburg, Germany (70)

74. The Fat Duck, Bray, U.K.

75. Belcanto, Lisbon (85)

76. Martin Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria, Spain (77)

77.  Elkano, Getaria, Spain

78. Mingles, Seoul (89)

79. A Casa do Porco, São Paulo 

80. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong (71)

81. Per Se, New York (87)

82. Hedone, London (98)

83. Estela, New York (67)

84. St John, London (91)

85.  Le Coucou, New York

86. The French Laundry, Yountville, U.S. (68)

87. Maní, São Paulo (81)

88. Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Berlin 

89. The Jane, Antwerp, Belgium (74)

90. Indian Accent, New Delhi (78)

91.  SingleThread, Healdsburg, U.S.

92. L’Effervescence, Tokyo

93. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong (60)

94. Alo, Toronto

95. Enigma, Barcelona, Spain 

96. DiverXo, Madrid 

97. Atelier, Munich

98.  108, Copenhagen

99. Leo, Bogotá, Colombia 

100. Lasai, Rio de Janeiro (76)

(Adds quote from Bottura, photos, and analysis in 6th paragraph.)

    Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-19/osteria-francescana-is-the-best-restaurant-in-the-world-again

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    Want to Stay Safe While Traveling? Wear a Rolex

    Explorer and conservationist Philippe Cousteau is the grandson of ocean-mapping legend Jacques. Co-founder of EarthEcho International, an environmental nonprofit aimed at inspiring young people to work on sustainability, he travels the world filming documentaries from Sumatra to South Africa.

    In Cousteau’s latest show, the Travel Channel’s , he and his wife—former host Ashlan Cousteau—investigate stories of lost plunder across the Caribbean.

    He travels about 200,000 miles a year, usually on United Airlines. “I get Economy Plus for up to half a dozen people traveling with me automatically, if they’re on the same ticket,” he says. “So everyone gets Economy Plus, and I don’t have to pay extra for it. I’m 6'4", so the extra legroom makes a big difference.”

    The couple live in Los Angeles.

    The item he won’t travel without might surprise you

    I love food, and with all the places I travel … well … the food is not always the best. So I like to pack a small camping container of salt and pepper. I was 17 years old and studying for a month in summer in Spain, and one of the things they don’t excel at there is the pepper you get in restaurants—it’s really dusty and tasteless. So I went and bought a little cracked pepper thing to carry with me. And in a lot of places it was just not very good salt, either. I don’t eat seafood, so Spain was always difficult for me, because it’s basically like, “Tortilla? Tortilla? Tortilla? Tortilla? Tortilla?” [One of Spain’s signature dishes is , a simple potato omelette.] Over and over and over and over. So having a nice dash of decent salt and pepper on top just made it different enough. Since then, I’ve got a little [spice] kit I take everywhere with me: a small, zippered camping pouch filled with little Nalgene bottles. When I was filming in Mozambique with the BBC, we were in a tiny village for several days, and all there was to eat was rice and coconut. But I had the foresight to bring a little wasabi powder, which doesn’t go bad—you just mix it with a little bit of water and stir it in. It made all the difference. 

    A post shared by Philippe Cousteau (@pcousteau) on

    In dangerous areas, he relies on nice watches 

    I was working on a project in Singapore, and an ex-[Special Air Service] soldier told me to always wear a nice watch: Don’t flaunt it, but have it with you. He had a stainless-steel Rolex and wore it everywhere. He told me that no matter where you travel, a good watch—like a Rolex—is like currency and is something you can always use to barter to get yourself out of trouble. You always hear “never have anything nice on expedition,” but that soldier’s advice was smart and practical so I always wear a “tradable” watch that can help get me out of a bind. 

    A good charger is worth more than gold

    I always plan for the worst, so I always have a battery charger from MyCharge. It’s the best one I’ve found, and I’ve gone through a lot of ’em. It’ll charge a tablet and a phone a couple of times, and it plugs straight into the wall, so you can use it as a charger in your hotel room. It’s a battery and plug, all in one.

    How to live like a five-star traveler with just a minor fib

    I’m picky about food. When I go somewhere, I have some anxiety until I know there’s somewhere I can get a decent meal. So I do a lot of research, but I sometimes also employ a cheeky trick. Find a nice hotel, even if you’re not staying in one. The concierge there will usually be really helpful and knowledgeable. Say, “I’ve just checked out, I’m leaving. I’m going to the airport, and I’d like a nice last meal. What do you recommend?” One of the best meals I’ve ever had was in Frankfurt, on a 12-hour layover on my way to Mozambique. I didn’t have anywhere to stay, so I wandered around and into a five-star hotel. I still have the restaurant the concierge recommended in the contacts in my phone as “amazing restaurant in Frankfurt.”

    Why you should ask to use the bathroom at a restaurant, even if you don’t need to use it

    I look at menus in restaurants. A red flag for me is an enormous menu—it’s jack of all trades, master of none. You can’t be good at a hundred different things, so if it’s a really long menu—25 entrees or something—I avoid it. Especially in countries that don’t necessarily have the mandatory sanitation standards we employ here, there’s another trick if you have any doubts about eating somewhere. Ask to use the bathroom first. You can see how clean that is, but you can usually take a peak around the corner into the kitchen to see if the floor looks clean.

    Masks from Papua New Guinea.
    Photographer: Danita Delimont, /Gallo Images

    How a life-changing experience at age 16 led him to a souvenir-buying tradition

    I was in Papua New Guinea when I was 16 years old, working with a woman called Dr. Eugenie Clark on an expedition; she was a shark expert. We were on the southeastern part of the country, out on a little dive boat doing research all day, diving in shallow water. It was an amazing experience that really allowed me to connect with my grandfather’s legacy. Then I got into [the capital] Port Moresby, which was an extremely dangerous city where you’re never supposed to leave your hotel unescorted. But I was 16, and what 16-year-old doesn’t make poor decisions? So I go for a walk, and these three guys start chasing me. They were called rascals, and notorious for killing you before mugging you. I honestly saw my life flashing before my eyes. I was like, “I’m gonna die a virgin. That would not be good.” But then I ran into three cops [who saved my life]. After that, I went into the highlands of New Guinea, with some local indigenous tribes, and I saw a mask they’d carved for sale in a little shop. I thought, This is a life-changing experience. I’m going to get this mask as a memento. Most indigenous cultures will have a culture of masks, so ever since then I’ve looked for those when I travel. We have a wall in our apartment with them all hung up. I write on the back of each one what year it was and where it was from.

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-08/want-to-stay-safe-while-traveling-wear-a-rolex

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