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Barbados Tops Charts with "Rihanna Effect," Plans Bigger 2018, 6/8/18

Visit Barbados

Courtesy: Barbados Tourism

Luxe new resorts, timely travel trade and air partnerships, and a high-profile hometown girl helped Barbados break a thirty-year-old stayover record in 2017, and 2018 is on track for even more growth, according to Petra Roach, U.S. Director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI). " This is a really exciting time in Barbados's journey and we want to spread the message that a vacation to Barbados is an immersive, transformative experience rather than just 'sun, sea and sand.'"

2017 saw the addition of coastal-cool concepts like Nikki Beach, the new Sandals Royal Barbados and a flurry of refurbished favorites including the Sea Breeze Beach house, Cobblers Cove, Waves, Fairmont Royal Pavilion and the Barbados Hilton. New JetBlue flights out of the East Coast and Florida, strong online campaigns with Adara and Expedia, and diamond sponsor status with Virtuoso were big assists in boosting Barbados to 188,970 U.S. stayover visitors in 2017, breaking the previous record of 175,073 which occurred more than 30 years ago, in 1987. The U.S. market also snagged the top growth market crown for Barbados with an 11.7 percent year-over-year growth.

And of course, there’s Rihanna. The Bajan beauty is a tourism and cultural ambassador, spreading gold record dust on her home island and appearing at annual events like Crop Over, Barbados’ answer to Carnival. In December, the street she grew up on was officially christened “Rihanna Drive.” Not content to rest on its laurels, Barbados has an impressive U.S. outreach effort in 2018. BTMI has launched the Year of Culinary Experiences campaign, highlighting culinary and local experiences (including the ever-popular Barbados Food & Rum Festival) and will also feature a wellness and cycling festival.

The island will also play host to the 2018 Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) conference, drawing hundreds of U.S. travel writers, photographers and editors to its shores. Continued partnerships with Virtuoso and familiarization (FAM) trips with Travel Agent Magazine will keep Barbados top-of-mind in 2018.

Dr. Steeve Coupeau goes one-on-one with Giancarlo Iannotta, Director of My Country featured at Brooklyn Film Festival, 6/6/2018.


What is the main thread of the story depicted in the film?

My Country is an Italian- American road trip comedy about two step brothers, one's American, one's Italian. My character, the American decides to take our father’s urn to Italy after he passes away, and I convince my older brother — I find him on Facebook — and I convince him to take a road trip with me in a beautiful vintage Fiat 500 from Rome to Molise in order to disperse the ashes, and hilarity ensues obviously once we start the road trip and get into Molise.

Was it a stated goal in developing the script to promote local tourism in Italy?

Well, it wasn’t necessarily my goal to promote any kind of tourism. I really did hope that when people saw Molise, especially many people for the first time that they would have an interest in visiting it because it’s truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is my favorite place to travel to and we really did not adjust a lot of the colorations once we got to Molise. It’s really that beautiful, the lake and the mountains, just the gorgeous scenery there and we get a lot of compliments about the cinematography, especially when we arrive to Molise just because of how gorgeous it looks. It is like every shot could be a postcard and it was definitely our intention to try to get some interest in people visiting there who have never heard of it, and of course Chicago, where I’m from and where I was born and raised too.


Brooklyn Film Festival’s 21st Edition: THRESHOLD Announces Film Winners, 6/11/2018.


Lorenzo monti’s breach Wins The Grand Chameleon Award

Best Narrative Feature - FELIPE VARA DE REY’S NOSOTROS

Best Documentary Feature - SARAH MENZIES’ AFGHAN CYCLES

Brooklyn Film Festival’s 21st edition: THRESHOLD, wrapped on Sunday with a ceremony at Windmill Studios, handing out a total of 29 awards totalling $50,000 in prizes (products, services, and cash).

Breach directed by Lorenzo Monti picked up the coveted best of the fest Grand Chameleon Award, as well as Best Experimental Film. Felipe Vara de Rey’s Nosotros won Best Narrative Feature and Sarah Menzies’ Afghan Cycles took home the award for Best Feature Documentary.

"It has been a wonderful festival. Everything we were hoping would happen, actually did," said Marco Ursino, Brooklyn Film Festival Executive Director. "We envisioned this edition as a sanctuary where people of different backgrounds and cultures could have an honest and civilized conversation stimulated by 119 projects which, I feel, did bring back interest in politics and in the social condition of people who live so far away and yet experience the same things we are going through here in the U.S."

This year's festival was comprised of 119 features and shorts from 30 countries spread over six continents. The lineup included 19 world premieres, 21 USA bows, 37 east coast debuts and 30 first-time screenings in NYC.

Iraq elections: a step toward rebuilding popular power by David Bacon 6/11/18

Hashmeya Alsaadawe

The 329 parliamentary deputies chosen in the May election will vote for a new prime minister. Sairoon (meaning Forward or the Alliance for Reforms) won the most 55 deputies, with 1.3 million votes. It was followed by the Fatah Party of Hadi al-Amiri, whose base rests on militias with ties to Iran, with 47 seats and 1.2 million votes. Voters rejected the parties of both the current Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi (Victory Coalition with 40 seats) and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (State of Justice Party with 25). Turnout was low, at 44% nationwide and only 33% in Baghdad itself (where Sairoon won 23%, almost twice that of any of its rivals).

On May 18, just after the election, the Iraqi government announced that it would not only include all 30,000 contingent contract workers in the electricity industry in the Social Security system but would guarantee the same rights as those enjoyed by permanent workers to the 150,000 contract workers throughout the public sector.

Hashmeya Alsaadawe, president of the Basra Trade Union Federation and the electrical union-the first woman to head a national union in Iraq-said that the elections had encouraged people to demand that they benefit from the country's oil wealth. "Workers have high expectations," she said.



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