Monday, July 18, 2016

Hello, Hello Kitty! Cafe comes to Irvine By Kathleen Luppi

Photo Credit: Kevin Chang/Weekend
Los Angeles Times

Bono caught in attack chaos as he dined beside the promenade By Alan O'Keeffe

U2 frontman Bono was caught in the chaos of the Bastille Day massacre in Nice and had to be evacuated from a restaurant on the seafront by French police. The Dubliner (56) was eating near the promenade on the French Riviera when mass killer Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a truck through a crowd gathered to watch fireworks beside the beach, murdering 84 people, including 10 children. Following the attack, Bono and others dining in La Petite Maison were evacuated by police amid the fear and confusion in the area. Speaking to 'La Parisienne', Anne-Laure Rubi, the owner of the upmarket restaurant, said it was just an ordinary Bastille Day with customers sitting and looking at the Promenade des Anglais. Ms Rubi explained: "Suddenly, I see people running, without shouting. It is a silent panic. It was extraordinary." Ms Rubi told 'La Parisienne' that "by reflex" she grabbed the arm of Christian Estrosi, the former Nice mayor, who was sitting close to Bono. "He was on the phone. He didn't want to say much. I think he was just learning about the attack," she said.
Ms Rubi's staff pulled down the shutters, and instructed everybody to hide and remain calm, until the all-clear was given. One customer, who asked not to be named, said: "The situation was very confusing. We did not know what was happening." The customer said they heard rumours that gunmen had got out of a van and were firing at the crowd. "After half-an-hour, the police evacuated us," added the customer. "Everyone came out onto Place Massena, under police protection." Bono and his friends, like other customers, left the restaurant with their hands on their heads. "When we got out, we still believed that there was a hostage, including one at the Meridien hotel, that people were still circulating and that the police were looking for," said the customer. Bono owns a home in the nearby town of Eze, and had been relaxing with friends when the atrocity started at around 10.30pm last Thursday. The Irish Independent

Op-Ed. Nice, France. May their innocent souls rest in peace. We must continue to love and trust in each other and our abilities to fight terrorism. And elect leaders who can get the job done and protect our havens. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

British Mac -n- Cheese

Photo Credit:
Was the most amazing dish following the Ballet at Sadler's Wells with Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin. Didn't miss the fish -n- chips. Something notably different about their recipe. Also a delicious Lemon Tart for dessert. At The Globe Pub Photo

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Daughters of an American Revolution By Abby Ellin

With more in common than most voters realize, Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump have each taken an unprecedented role in a parent's presidential campaign. Will they emerge from the election stronger than ever? Psychology Today

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

EU begins sanctions process against Spain & Portugal over breaking budget rules

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Eurozone finance ministers have decided to start sanctions procedures against Spain and Portugal for breaching EU spending rules, reports AFP. Both countries are accused of not making “sufficient effort” to cut their budget deficits which, according to EU fiscal rules, should be no more than three percent of GDP. The criterion was introduced ahead of the euro launch in 1999 and so far no country has been penalized for breaking them. Sanctions could be a fine of up to 0.2 percent of a country's GDP and the suspension of commitments or payments from EU structural funds of up to 0.5 percent. Spain was asked by Brussels to lower the deficit to 4.2 percent of GDP in 2015, from 5.9 percent in 2014, but Madrid ended up with a 5.1 percent shortfall instead. Lisbon's shortfall was 4.4 percent last year, a drop from 7.2 percent in 2014 and from almost 10 percent in 2010. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told reporters that Portugal “does not deserve excessive discipline.” He praised the efforts the country has made in recent years. Spanish minister Luis de Guindos said sanctions would be "sheer nonsense". A decision should come "as soon as possible" in order to give "clarity and certainty", said Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. He and EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici added that the rules would be applied "intelligently.”"It’s a possibility to have zero sanctions," said Dijsselbloem. Once the decision is made, the Commission will have 20 days to prepare penalties. If the eurozone ministers approve sanctions Spain and Portugal will have 10 days to explain their position and to appeal for clemency. Both countries are members of the eurozone and have very high unemployment rates which at the end of 2015 reached 22.1 percent in Spain and 12.6 percent in Portugal. In 2012, Spain received billions of dollars from the European Union to rescue its banking system. The Spanish government then undertook a tough policy of fiscal austerity, prompting popular protests. Portugal received a loan package from the Eurozone countries in 2011. The European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF allocated €78 billion to support the country. In return, Lisbon lowered the salaries of state employees, cut social benefits and increased taxes. RT Photo

Economy grew by 'dramatic' 26% last year after considerable asset reclassification

The figures are the strongest performance by Ireland in recent decades and compare to an estimate of GDP growth of 7.8% for 2015. However, much of the rise is a result of aircraft purchases, corporate restructuring and companies re-locating assets to Ireland. These changes have not resulted in a significant increase in employment. The country's Gross Domestic Product expanded by 26.3% in 2015 compared to 2014, while Gross National Product was up 18.7%.  The CSO described the revisions for last year as "dramatic"."The very dramatic increase has increased the capacity for production in the economy and impacts the accounts for 2015 in the increase of exports and imports. Employment has not changed greatly as a result," commented Michael Connolly, a senior CSO statistician. Today's figures show that all the main sectors of the economy grew last year with industry, including building, up by 87%. They also reveal that exports increased by 34.4% between 2014 and 2015, while imports rose by 21.7%. Personal consumption expenditure increased by 4.5%, while Government net current expenditure rose by 1.1%. The CSO said the country's debt-to-GDP ratio will fall to less than 80% as a result of the new figures. But despite the strong results for 2015, figures for the first quarter of 2016 show a 2.1% drop in GDP while GNP grew by 1.3%. Meanwhile, new CSO data also shows the Irish balance of payments current account - a measure of the financial flows with the rest of the world - had a surplus in the first quarter of 2016 of €8.96 billion. The revised current account surplus for 2015 was €26.16 billion, an increase of €22.96 billion on the previous year. Commenting on the figures, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that they and other indicators, including tax revenue published last week, consumer spending and labour market data are all consistent with an economy where recovery is firmly established. Speaking from Brussels where he is attending a monthly meeting of EU finance ministers, Mr Noonan said the CSO figures show that peoples' lives are improving with more at work than at any time since the onset of the downturn. "Ireland is now in a position where we borrow relatively small amounts at very low rates which ensure that investment is made in delivering more than the bare minimum of services to our citizens. These are all evidence of a country growing in real terms," the minister added. RTÉ

Op-Ed. An interesting analysis of a country right next door to Great Britain of which many of its citizens seek citizenship in an EU country, Ireland being a prime contender. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

How Raven McRae, a Broadway Dancer, Spends Her Sundays

Photo Credit: Alex Wroblewski/The New York Times
Raven McRae, a 22-year-old dancer who was trained as an actress at LaGuardia High School, is the only native New Yorker in the cast of “Paramour,” a Cirque du Soleil musical currently on Broadway. Ms. McRae, who spent much of her childhood on Staten Island, lives there with her mother in an apartment in St. George. On Sundays, she commutes by ferry to Manhattan for two performances. Ms. McRae made her Broadway debut as a dancer two years ago in “Motown: The Musical.”  
SHOWER WITH SPOTIFY I wake up at 8 and immediately check my iPhone, which is also my alarm clock, to see if stage management left any message regarding schedule changes. I need to catch a 9 o’clock boat into Manhattan, so I run into the shower and use Spotify on my phone to listen to Kendrick Lamar, who I love. I time my shower to the length of two Kendrick songs. I don’t consider him a rapper; I consider him a poet and an artist. He sings so passionately and doesn’t hold anything back, and that puts me in a good mood and inspires me to give 100 percent of myself on stage. Then I’m running out the door without eating breakfast because for me, chewing is just too much work that early in the morning.
ROLE-PLAY During my walk to the boat, I put on my headphones and sing along to Cynthia Erivo from the soundtrack of “The Color Purple.” I literally pretend I’m Cynthia. I have a nice voice but I never considered myself a singer until I got into “Motown.” Now I’d like to be a principal performer one day, like Cynthia. She’s very inspirational.
GIVE HER FREEDOM, NOT LIBERTY I get on the boat around 9:30 and sit on the side that does not face the Statue of Liberty because that’s where all of the tourists are and it’s just too noisy. I’m going to the city to do two shows so I want to be alone and relaxed, not crazed. I take advantage of the free time by checking Instagram or Facebook, or just staring at the water.
HIT THE BARRE When I get off the boat I jump on the 4 train up to Union Square, where I take an open ballet class for about an hour to get my body loose before I head to the theater. When I get there I usually have a granola bar and some coconut water before I warm up. It’s a great atmosphere; everyone is just focused on getting their bodies in the right alignment. When I have a good class, I have a good day on stage.
PRE-SHOW PASTA I usually get to the theater by noon, an hour earlier than call-time, and I order shrimp and spaghetti from an Italian restaurant and take little bites while I’m putting on my makeup, and the entire dressing room starts smelling like pasta. I spend about a half-hour doing my makeup and another half-hour doing my hair, and then I stretch a bit more. It gets hectic at that point because the dressers start putting our clothes out. About 1:40, I start getting excited because I can begin to hear the crowd coming in. Right before the matinee starts, I like to go on stage and watch the acrobats rehearse and check my marks and maybe run through the beginning of a few dance numbers with some of my cast mates.
INTERMISSION After the matinee, a bunch of us like to walk over to Bryant Park to unwind, even though we’re still in makeup and wearing hats to cover our wig preps. Some days I’ll get ice cream, or I’ll just take my spaghetti and shrimp with me and eat it there. Sometimes we get recognized, and people want to take pictures with us.
KEEP IT LOOSE We get back to the theater by about 5:30, and I take a short nap in the greenroom on a little bed I made using a big lawn cushion from Kmart, a small pillow and a kid’s blanket. By our next call-time, I like to drink a milkshake while I work on my makeup. Then I’ll get loose again by doing some chin-ups or using the elliptical or exercising with some other gadget. They call “Places” at 7:30.
HOME AGAIN After our second show, I catch the 10:30 boat and get home by 11. I like to get into bed and binge-watch “Orange Is the New Black,” which helps settle my nerves before I fall asleep sometime in the middle of the night. International New York Times

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ricky Martin

Photo Credit:
Perdóname Photo Wikipedia
Enrique Martín Morales (born December 24, 1971), commonly known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican singer, actor, and author. Martin began his career at age thirteen with the all-boy pop group Menudo. After five years with the group, he released several Spanish-language solo albums throughout the 1990s. In late 1999, after releasing several albums in Spanish, Martin performed "The Cup of Life" at the 41st Grammy Awards show, which became a catalyst in bringing Latin pop to the forefront of the U.S. music scene. Following its success, Martin released "Livin' la Vida Loca" which helped him obtain enormous success worldwide and is generally seen as the song that began the Latin pop explosion of 1999 and made the transition easier for other Spanish-speaking artists to move into the English-speaking market. Since its release, the song has sold over 8 million copies, making it one of the best selling singles of all time. His first English-language album (also titled Ricky Martin), has sold 22 million copies and is one of the best selling albums of all time. His other studio albums include: Me Amarás (1993), A Medio Vivir (1995), Vuelve (1998), Sound Loaded (2000), Almas del Silencio (2003), Life (2005), Música + Alma + Sexo (2011) and A Quien Quiera Escuchar (2015).