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Category: Culture (Page 1 of 7)

The mayor of Pontevedra, Spain is placing pedestrians first

For decades, throngs of cars clogged the cobblestone streets of Pontevedra’s downtown, making this seaside city on Spain’s northwestern tip a hard place to live. Smog, loud noise and narrow walkways drove young families away from a region struggling with a shrinking and aging population.

Family physician turned mayor Miguel Fernandez Lores managed to halt the bleeding by closing many streets to car traffic. Now Pontevedra is a model of success in a growing global movement that’s trying to reclaim streets for pedestrians.

Bloomberg »

This Spanish Mayor Is Putting Pedestrians First

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The Guardian looks at how Finland is a better place to have child

Finland is a world leader when it comes to early years education. Childcare is affordable and nursery places are universally available in a system that puts children’s rights at the centre of decision-making.

Now the country is applying the same child-first thinking to paternity-leave policies in an attempt to tackle gender inequality in parenting. The Guardian’s Alexandra Topping travels to Helsinki to find out why the UK pre-school system lags so far behind and whether it really is easier to be a parent in Finland.

‘Why don’t men rebel?’: what the world can learn from childcare in Finland

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UNESCO has added war ravaged sites in Kyiv and L’viv on its list of World Heritage sites in Danger

The World Heritage Committee, meeting in Riyadh until 25 September, decided today to inscribe the sites of “The Saint Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings and Lavra of Kyiv-Pechersk” and “L’viv – the ensemble of the historic centre” on the List of World Heritage in Danger, due to the threat of destruction the Russian offensive poses.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee considers that “optimal conditions are no longer met to fully guarantee the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and that it is threatened by potential danger due to the war”. Faced with the risk of direct attack, these sites are also vulnerable to the shockwaves caused by the bombing of the two cities.

While noting the many actions taken by the Ukrainian authorities to protect their cultural property, the Committee stated that these two heritage sites of outstanding universal value have remained under permanent threat since the start of the invasion on 24 February 2022.

More »

Patagonia HQ’s Café Sous Chef

Food is a big deal. At the cafés on Patagonia campuses, sometimes the lines form out the door—especially when there’s a surprise berry crumble in the afternoon. They’re where we talk about the surf, put brussels sprouts on a friend’s plate when they can’t reach the tongs on the opposite side and gobble down a gourmet menu. In this short, Sous Chef Mel tells us about feeding people at Patagonia, creating things that never last long and working with local farmers who provide fresh ingredients.

What We Do: Patagonia HQ's Café Sous Chef | Patagonia

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Child poverty more than doubled in U.S. after expanded tax credits, stimulus checks ended


  • The child poverty rate surged to 12.4% in 2022, up from 5.2% in the year prior, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • The bureau attributed the increase in child poverty to the expiration of expanded child tax credits and the end of stimulus checks.
  • The U.S. had made historic gains in fighting child poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic due in large part to the expanded tax credits. »

The waves have a story to tell me, As I lie on the lonely beach; Chanting aloft in the pine-tops, The wind has a lesson to teach; But the stars sing an anthem of glory I cannot put into speech.

~ Robert W. Service (Jan 16, 1874 – Sep 11, 1958)

More than 2000 killed as buildings collapse during earthquake in Morocco [Updated]

A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has struck central Morocco, killing at least 820 2000 people.

The epicentre was in the province of Al Haouz, in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh, at a depth of 18.5km, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake struck at 23:11 local time (22:11 GMT) on Friday, September 8, 2023. There was a magnitude 4.9 aftershock 19 minutes later.

Rescuers were searching for survivors. Casualty figures are expected to rise as the search continues and as rescuers reach remote areas.

NY Times | BBC | North Africa Post | The East African | Euronews | France 24 | Le Monde | Al Jazeera

Death toll in Morocco earthquake rises to 2,000 | DW News

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Why did tourists keep coming as Rhodes and Maui burned?

Moya Lothian-McLean, The Guardian »

Why do we travel? Maui residents told media of their horror at seeing tourists “swimming in the same waters our people died in”. Surely, that level of compartmentalisation in dogged pursuit of a particular experience goes beyond the pursuit of “leisure”? That’s certainly the view of the anthropologist Dean MacCannell. His 1976 book The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class argues that in a post-industrial, increasingly secular world, travel occupies a ritualistic space. Modern western societies are defined by the “freedom” they offer us – but, he writes, this is accompanied by feelings of fragmentation and alienation. Sightseeing in far-off locales is, MacCannell observes, “a way of attempting to overcome the discontinuity of modernity, of incorporating its fragments into a unified experience” (albeit one “doomed to eventual failure”, he cheerily adds). How? Leisure travel gives us perspective, it makes us feel connected to history, and helps connect personal experience with other cultures, people and places – making us feel less isolated. Tourism gives us a sense of selfhood and purpose.

Added to this is the framing of travel as an “authentic” experience in an inauthentic world; a dichotomy that has only become more stark over time. Travel offers one-off experiences; things we can only do in one place. Modern life is marked by its impossible and contradictory obsession with the “authentic”, as any lifestyle marketing bod will testify to. We see travel, rather than our everyday existence, as the portal to “finding ourselves”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to attend a business forum in South Africa where he was expected to deliver a speech defending China’s economy and its support for emerging markets

This seems is rather significant.

BRICS is Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Bloomberg »

According to a public schedule, the Chinese leader was set to address the BRICS Business Forum on Tuesday, after meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier that day. Instead, delegates were greeted on stage by Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, who read the speech without giving an explanation for Xi’s absence.


Good Trouble » Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan disqualified from World Fencing Championships for refusing Russian competitor’s handshake


Kharlan, the first fencer to face a Russian or Belarusian since the former’s full-scale invasion of her homeland, won 15-7 in Milan.

Good for Kharlan. She has honour, strength, and dignity.

“My message today is that we Ukrainian athletes are ready to face Russians on the sports field but we will never shake hands with them,” Kharlan said afterwards.

Another Ukrainian hero.

Meanwhile » Le Monde » Russians are bombing wheat silos and historic buildings in Odessa, Ukraine

From July 19 to 24, 2023, the major Black Sea port city and surrounding region were subjected to five successive nights of bombardment, the most violent attack since the start of the Russian invasion.

NY Times |

What Joanna Pocock learned on a 2,800-mile bus ride from Detroit to Los Angeles

The Guardian »

From Detroit, I headed to St Louis, via Columbus, Ohio, where the Greyhound would hit Route 66. My 20-minute stopover in Columbus was where a picture began to form of what Greyhound travel looks like today. The bus station consisted of a parking garage the size of a small airplane hangar. At both ends, electric doors opened and closed when a bus entered or exited. Between the two bus lanes sat a small concrete island where passengers were disgorged. There was a chemical toilet, no drinking fountain, very few seats and no windows. The air was choked with exhaust. A police van was parked at one end of the tunnel and armed policemen stood against a wall facing us.

If you had commissioned an urban planner to design the most hostile, uncomfortable and unhealthy environment for passengers, this would be the result. I guess this is what you get when you travel in a seat costing $35 as opposed to a $200 plane ticket or in a car with a full tank of gas.

My next bus was scheduled to leave for St Louis – a mere 530-mile trip – at 3.00pm. I looked around at my fellow island-dwellers: an elderly man with four large zip-up bags printed with “Patient Belongings”; a couple travelling with a large fluffy blanket propped up against the Porta-Potti as a makeshift bed; a mother and her teenage son carrying large cardboard boxes. The sign on the empty Greyhound kiosk read: “As of 25 January 2023 – you will need photo ID to buy tickets.” Yet another barrier between those with little money, no fixed address, no car, no passport or credit card and their ability to travel

US records large increase in alcohol-related deaths

Caitlin Gilbert, David Ovalle and Hanna Zakharenko, The Washington Post »

Recently released federal data underscores their experience: U.S. consumption of alcohol, which had already been increasing for years, accelerated during the pandemic as Americans grappled with stress and isolation.

At the same time, the number of deaths caused by alcohol skyrocketed nationwide, rising more than 45 percent. In 2021, alcohol was the primary cause of death for more than 54,000 Americans, causing nearly 17,000 more deaths than just a few years before, in 2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mississippi saw a 159 percent increase in alcohol-related deaths, the nation’s biggest leap, along with a 10 percent rise in apparent consumption. In Delaware, consumption increased the most, by 25 percent, while alcohol-related deaths rose 73 percent.

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