Boy’s recovery from polio-like illness a long one

Rachelle Downton hoped her son Xavier, 4, would take a few steps with a walker for Christmas. That likely won’t happen, and doctors say his recovery from a frightening and mysterious ailment may take much longer.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare illness that resembles polio. It mainly hits children. Why isn’t known. The spinal cord is affected, which can cause arms and legs to go limp with stunning speed.

CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art host Dr. Brian Goldman wrote about the illness in October after he received an advisory asking front-line physicians to be on the lookout for children with sudden weakness in their limbs, particularly after a viral infection.

Xavier’s case is one of 37 confirmed occurrences of a broader illness called acute flaccid paralysis or AFP this year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Another 26 are under investigation, the agency said. On average, there are between 27 to 51 cases each year in this country.

The incidence of AFM is estimated at less than one to two in a million. So far this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 158 confirmed cases of AFM.

Last month, Goldman visited the Downton family in Rockland, Ont., about 40 kilometres east of Ottawa, for a glimpse into Xavier’s arduous road to recovery. Specialists say people with AFM have roughly a year from when the illness starts to when deficits could become permanent.

Rachelle Downton was struck at how Xavier didn’t panic when his limbs were almost completely paralyzed. (Jacques Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

‘Within 3 to 4 hours, everything can go limp’

In August, Xavier suited up in full hockey gear, set to follow in his brother Caleb’s footsteps on the ice. Now Xavier’s right arm is paralyzed, and he can barely stand on his own for an instant. 

Xavier Downton, 4, suited up for hockey, prior to falling ill with AFP. (Submitted by Rachelle Downton)

Xavier’s illness began with a fever on the Friday night of Labour Day weekend. Aches and pains worsened over the holiday. Overnight, Xavier kept saying his right arm wasn’t working.

“It could be like your child is OK … and within three to four hours, everything can go limp,” his mother recalled.

By Tuesday morning, Xavier’s body was getting stiffer. When his arm went numb, Xavier’s parents took him to a clinic, where it recommended he go to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Doctors at CHEO initially said they were worried about meningitis. “I’m going, ‘Oh, no. This is going to be bad,'” Downton said. “There’s a sense of panic but keeping it inside of me, obviously.”

Xavier’s mother was amazed at how calm her son was, just crying a few times during a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. Nerve pain set in, and Xavier no longer wanted his parents’ touch except to turn him. His limbs were almost completely paralyzed.

“How come this kid is not panicking or crying because you’re stuck in your body?” his mother thought.

Mother suspected AFM

Downton suspected her son had the same mystery illness that she’d heard was affecting children in the United States.

Xavier’s doctors ruled out meningitis. Dr. Asif Doja, head of child neurology, said he and his colleagues at CHEO didn’t suspect AFM until they started hearing about cases across Canada and the U.S. They realized Xavier’s symptoms fit perfectly.

“The real worrisome aspect with these patients is that the weakness can sometimes affect their neck and their breathing muscles, and then some patients need to have a breathing tube and be put in the [intensive care unit],” Doja said.

Chris Downton helps his son do physiotherapy to sit up on his bed. (Brian Goldman/CBC)

Xavier’s parents stayed by his bedside 24 hours a day for three weeks. Dad Chris Downton returned to work when they realized Xavier was getting better.

“He’s a prankster,” his mother said, of how they knew Xavier was returning to his old self. “This is going to sound funny, but he always liked to … shake his butt like a little dance. ‘I’m shaking my booty.’ Well, he tried to do it lying down, and I’m going, ‘OK, you’re trying to move.'”

Long-lasting weakness

What are the prospects for recovery for Xavier and others affected by AFM? With a condition so rare, it’s tough to predict with any accuracy what their future will look like.

Researchers are only starting to get a handle on that. In 2014, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado treated some of the first cases in the U.S.

Dr. Samuel Dominguez, a specialist in infectious diseases, helped to discover a link between AFM and a germ called enterovirus.

Dominguez and a team of neurologists, infectious disease physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologists followed 12 children for a year.

Xavier’s mother helps hoist him up. (Jacques Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

Unfortunately, Dominguez said, most of the children still had lasting deficits after a year. Among those most severely affected, the “proximal” muscles closest to the trunk of body tended not to recover fully, and the kids had persistent weakness or paralysis.

The affected muscles include those in the thigh, hindquarters and pelvis, which are key to helping kids to stand up, chase and kick a ball.

“The good news, I think, was that the children through sort of extensive rehab programs did gain some functional improvements in terms of learning how to compensate for the weaknesses that persisted,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the hospital has seen more kids with AFM show upper arm weakness rather than the leg weakness that’s common with poliovirus.

Home again

Ten weeks after he was admitted, Xavier was discharged from CHEO on Nov. 13. He continues to do physiotherapy with his parents to get him to sit up on his bed and to stand on two legs.

Xavier’s mother has joined a social network of parents in the U.S. and Canada whose children have AFM to trade information and support each other through the many unknowns of the illness and recovery.

Xavier and his dad play Lego Batman on a gaming system. (Brian Goldman/CBC)

Xavier has returned to attending school a couple of half days a week. Born right-handed, he now colours and uses a game controller with his left hand.

For his mother, it is a sign of his enduring resilience.

“I couldn’t believe it. Even the OT’s like ‘What?'” she said. “It’s like he never changed hands. They’re four years old. Children at that age are very amazing that way. And that’s their hope at CHEO and what they see a lot in children at that age is the sky’s the limit.”

Written by Amina Zafar. Produced by Jeff Goodes.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

‘Oh, no. This is going to be bad’: Boy’s recovery from polio-like illness a long one

Rachelle Downton hoped her son Xavier, 4, would take a few steps with a walker for Christmas. That likely won’t happen, and doctors say his recovery from a frightening and mysterious ailment may take much longer.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare illness that resembles polio. It mainly hits children. Why isn’t known. The spinal cord is affected, which can cause arms and legs to go limp with stunning speed.

CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art host Dr. Brian Goldman wrote about the illness in October after he received an advisory asking front-line physicians to be on the lookout for children with sudden weakness in their limbs, particularly after a viral infection.

Xavier’s case is one of 37 confirmed occurrences of a broader illness called acute flaccid paralysis or AFP this year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Another 26 are under investigation, the agency said. On average, there are between 27 to 51 cases each year in this country.

The incidence of AFM is estimated at less than one to two in a million. So far this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 158 confirmed cases of AFM.

Last month, Goldman visited the Downton family in Rockland, Ont., about 40 kilometres east of Ottawa, for a glimpse into Xavier’s arduous road to recovery. Specialists say people with AFM have roughly a year from when the illness starts to when deficits could become permanent.

Rachelle Downton was struck at how Xavier didn’t panic when his limbs were almost completely paralyzed. (Jacques Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

‘Within 3 to 4 hours, everything can go limp’

In August, Xavier suited up in full hockey gear, set to follow in his brother Caleb’s footsteps on the ice. Now Xavier’s right arm is paralyzed, and he can barely stand on his own for an instant. 

Xavier Downton, 4, suited up for hockey, prior to falling ill with AFP. (Submitted by Rachelle Downton)

Xavier’s illness began with a fever on the Friday night of Labour Day weekend. Aches and pains worsened over the holiday. Overnight, Xavier kept saying his right arm wasn’t working.

“It could be like your child is OK … and within three to four hours, everything can go limp,” his mother recalled.

By Tuesday morning, Xavier’s body was getting stiffer. When his arm went numb, Xavier’s parents took him to a clinic, where it recommended he go to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Doctors at CHEO initially said they were worried about meningitis. “I’m going, ‘Oh, no. This is going to be bad,'” Downton said. “There’s a sense of panic but keeping it inside of me, obviously.”

Xavier’s mother was amazed at how calm her son was, just crying a few times during a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. Nerve pain set in, and Xavier no longer wanted his parents’ touch except to turn him. His limbs were almost completely paralyzed.

“How come this kid is not panicking or crying because you’re stuck in your body?” his mother thought.

Mother suspected AFM

Downton suspected her son had the same mystery illness that she’d heard was affecting children in the United States.

Xavier’s doctors ruled out meningitis. Dr. Asif Doja, head of child neurology, said he and his colleagues at CHEO didn’t suspect AFM until they started hearing about cases across Canada and the U.S. They realized Xavier’s symptoms fit perfectly.

“The real worrisome aspect with these patients is that the weakness can sometimes affect their neck and their breathing muscles, and then some patients need to have a breathing tube and be put in the [intensive care unit],” Doja said.

Chris Downton helps his son do physiotherapy to sit up on his bed. (Brian Goldman/CBC)

Xavier’s parents stayed by his bedside 24 hours a day for three weeks. Dad Chris Downton returned to work when they realized Xavier was getting better.

“He’s a prankster,” his mother said, of how they knew Xavier was returning to his old self. “This is going to sound funny, but he always liked to … shake his butt like a little dance. ‘I’m shaking my booty.’ Well, he tried to do it lying down, and I’m going, ‘OK, you’re trying to move.'”

Long-lasting weakness

What are the prospects for recovery for Xavier and others affected by AFM? With a condition so rare, it’s tough to predict with any accuracy what their future will look like.

Researchers are only starting to get a handle on that. In 2014, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado treated some of the first cases in the U.S.

Dr. Samuel Dominguez, a specialist in infectious diseases, helped to discover a link between AFM and a germ called enterovirus.

Dominguez and a team of neurologists, infectious disease physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologists followed 12 children for a year.

Xavier’s mother helps hoist him up. (Jacques Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

Unfortunately, Dominguez said, most of the children still had lasting deficits after a year. Among those most severely affected, the “proximal” muscles closest to the trunk of body tended not to recover fully, and the kids had persistent weakness or paralysis.

The affected muscles include those in the thigh, hindquarters and pelvis, which are key to helping kids to stand up, chase and kick a ball.

“The good news, I think, was that the children through sort of extensive rehab programs did gain some functional improvements in terms of learning how to compensate for the weaknesses that persisted,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the hospital has seen more kids with AFM show upper arm weakness rather than the leg weakness that’s common with poliovirus.

Home again

Ten weeks after he was admitted, Xavier was discharged from CHEO on Nov. 13. He continues to do physiotherapy with his parents to get him to sit up on his bed and to stand on two legs.

Xavier’s mother has joined a social network of parents in the U.S. and Canada whose children have AFM to trade information and support each other through the many unknowns of the illness and recovery.

Xavier and his dad play Lego Batman on a gaming system. (Brian Goldman/CBC)

Xavier has returned to attending school a couple of half days a week. Born right-handed, he now colours and uses a game controller with his left hand.

For his mother, it is a sign of his enduring resilience.

“I couldn’t believe it. Even the OT’s like ‘What?'” she said. “It’s like he never changed hands. They’re four years old. Children at that age are very amazing that way. And that’s their hope at CHEO and what they see a lot in children at that age is the sky’s the limit.”

Written by Amina Zafar. Produced by Jeff Goodes.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance by Dr. Fahamu Pecou Opens at the Michael C. Carlos Museum

The Michael C. Carlos Museum presents DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, and Resistance by Fahamu Pecou, an Atlanta-based artist and Emory University alumnus who earned his Ph.D. in 2018. The exhibition will be on view from January 19 through April 28, 2019.

DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance explores the intersections between African-based spiritual traditions and the political and societal violence against black male bodies in the US. Pecou positions these bodies within Ifá, a diasporic religion of the Yoruba of southwest Nigeria; here, where spirits are infinite, a healing alternative exists for slain black men—Martin, Medgar, Emmitt, Trayvon, and Michael among them—and their communities. DO or DIE, notes Pecou, “considers affective power of art as a space of resistance. These works examine and incorporate the power of creative expression and ritual—particularly those found in Yoruba/ Ifá spirituality—interpreted through various art mediums.”

Centered around his Egungun mask, Pecou uses painting, drawing, photography, and video to depict the spirit’s journey, including its encounters with divinity and its invocation through the ceremonial Egungun dance. According to Curator of African Art Amanda Hellman, “African masking gives shape to that which cannot be seen. Wearing the Egungun, the dancer disappears and the ancestor is revealed.” Incarnate, the spirit upholds justice within the community. DO or DIE, Pecou suggests, “affirms life and life beyond. . . . It reclaims what was lost.” 

The Carlos Museum, the exhibition’s fourth stop on tour, will offer two unique opportunities for visitors. Four new works from Pecou—three drawings and one large painting—and the museum’s African galleries, in which historic Yoruba artwork such as two Egunguns from the permanent collection will be on view, will provide a wider look at both Pecou’s oeuvre and the culture from which DO or DIE has taken inspiration. 

Pecou acknowledges the importance of African and African American history and culture to his work. “African spirituality, concepts, and philosophies allow us space and freedom to think about and see ourselves as whole and human. These ideals contradict the broken, tortured, and oppressed images of blackness that we find in the context of Western visual culture. It’s imperative to realize and to know that our history and our culture predates the enslavement of our ancestors as well as the history of our oppressors,” he argues. “There is a freedom in acknowledging that our ancestors were not ‘slaves,’ but a people who were violently and forcefully enslaved. That they had cities and schools, art, and culture that predate the European enlightenment by millennia. THIS is who we can be. THIS is who we are. “

This exhibition has been organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charles, in collaboration with the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.

Pecou is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art, and popular culture. His paintings, performance art, and academic work addresses concerns around contemporary representations of black masculinity and how these images impact both the reading and performance of it.

Pecou received his BFA at the Atlanta College of Art in 1997 and an MA from Emory University in 2017. In 2018, he graduated with a PhD from Emory University’s Institute of Liberal Arts. Pecou maintains an active exhibition schedule as well as public lectures and speaking engagements at colleges and museums nationwide.

In 2017 Pecou was the subject of a retrospective exhibition “Miroirs de l’Homme” in Paris, France. He is a recipient of the 2016 Joan Mitchell Foundation “Painters and Sculptors” Award. His work is featured in noted private and public national and international collections including; Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art and Culture, Societe Generale (Paris), Nasher Museum at Duke University, The High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Seattle Art Museum, Paul R. Jones Collection, Clark Atlanta University Art Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum.

Also On Atlanta Daily World:

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang review – Engaging and edifying

 

Book Title:
Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces)

ISBN-13:
978-1783784035

Author:
Will Ashton

Publisher:
Granta

Guideline Price:
£14.99

I lost my hip-hop virginity one cold night in winter 2015. I was at the Ringsend home of some friends, lights were dimmed, ale was flowing, and I was given a choice: should we listen to Wu-Tang rapper Gza’s album Liquid Swords or to an album of John Dowland lute compositions? With apologies to the Elizabethans, I went for Door No 1. The needle hit the groove; a crackly kung-fu film sample started; and shortly after, to Rza and Gza’s rhymed interplay, I entered the house of Shaolin. From there I stepped into hip -hop’s wider demesne.

The Wu-Tang Clan, subject of Will Ashon’s Chamber Music, is a 10-member hip-hop group hailing mostly from Staten Island, New York. Each Wu-Tang Clan member has a distinct rapping style and persona. Method Man has a languorous delivery and pop-culture humour. Ghostface Killah has a manic style with modernist-incomprehensible allusions. Gza has dextrous flow and lithe similes. If this is beginning to sound like how the Beatles were sold (Paul, the cheery one; George, the brooding one), that’s no coincidence. If the Wu-Tang’s image is that of a gang straight out of The Warriors, that’s no coincidence. And neither is it incidental that the music of these incarceration-class African-American men comes filtered through a personal mythos, wherein deprived Staten Island is re-envisioned as mystical Shaolin.

Declan Kiberd has written of how “post-colonial artists, born as copies, were determined to die originals”. It’s not dissimilar to the situation of African slaves’ American descendants. The tradition of so-called Afro-Futurism, for example, from Sun Ra to Parliament and beyond, has seen African-American artists invent their own techno-futuristic personas in a playful critique of any externally imposed identity. The Wu-Tang Clan follow the same tack. Through inventing and living out their own mythic narrative, they attain through art a freedom that is otherwise – the freedom to name themselves.

Nation of Islam

Ashon shows how the Wu-Tang mythos derives not only from kung-fu films, which founding members watched at 42nd Street cinemas, but also from the Nation of Islam, which teaches that Earth’s original people were black people “who lived a civilised and enlightened life in the area around what is now Mecca and the Nile valley”. A belief system developed from this, wherein Harlem was renamed Mecca and the creed’s Supreme Alphabet reveals words’ hidden codes: “The almost universal use of ‘G’ (as in Wassup, G?),” Ashon writes, “didn’t originally refer to Gangsta but to God.” Versed in these “Five Percenter” ideas, the Wu-Tang members self-consciously invoke the Asiatic Black Man, “a state of being as well as a physical description”. Doesn’t this recall, in the Irish context, how an average Joe walking around Dublin becomes Odysseus?

Chamber Music focuses on the Wu-Tang’s debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), released 25 years ago. Over 36 chapters, Will Ashon does a bravura job at presenting an archaeology of the Wu-Tang Clan, digging around the group to situate it within the larger structures of American society and culture. At times you might prefer a more direct approach. The bald statement, “This book tells the story of the first album made by the Wu-Tang Clan,” for example, doesn’t come until page 24, three chapters in. But by and large Chamber Music is both engaging and edifying. Whether it’s tracing the heritage of Protect Ya Neck’s squealing saxophone sample, querying whether hip-hop appeals to white audiences in the same way as minstrel shows, or analysing Ghostface’s allure (exemplary, Ashon says, of Keats’s idea of negative capability), the prose flows like the blood at a murder scene.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The Triumph of the Brooklyn Museum’s ‘Soul of a Nation’

In a famous essay published in the January 1971 issue of ARTnews, Linda Nochlin reiterated the question that was constantly thrown in the faces of women who dared to paint or sculpt: “Why have there been no great women artists?” For Nochlin, it seemed obvious that no effort to respond with a historical counterexample would serve. Not that Artemisia Gentileschi or Berthe Morisot shouldn’t be taken more seriously than male art historians had done thus far. But still: “The fact, dear sisters, is that there are no women equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cézanne, Picasso or Matisse, or even, in very recent times, for de Kooning or Warhol,” she wrote, adding for good measure, “any more than there are Black American equivalents for the same.” The art historian’s problem in her view was to show why.

The assumption that there were no great black American artists at the time was not Nochlin’s alone, nor one that existed only among whites. A couple of months after her essay was published, one of the best-known and most successful African-American artists of the day, Benny Andrews, wrote a long, troubled letter to a fellow painter, Reginald Gammon, reporting on an opening party at New York’s Museum of Modern Art for two exhibitions by black artists, the painter and collagist Romare Bearden and the sculptor Richard Hunt. It should have been “the kind of night that all of us had fought for individually and as groups,” Andrews acknowledged, but he was in no mood to celebrate. “The shows were good, no more no less, not spectacular or even moving, just good and everyday art work by two people that except for being Black probably won’t leave any imprint on the art world.” One might easily ascribe Andrews’s letdown to sour grapes, but in articulating the source of his anguish, he hardly let himself off the hook: “What I think most of us know and are hesitant to admit is the fact that in the graphic arts, painting and sculpture, the discrimination against Black people has proven to have pretty much guaranteed that we have not really created anything in a way that makes any of us truly creative. I do not know of anyone Black that as a painter or sculptor is truly creative like say Andy Warhol, Stella, Eakins, [de] Kooning or anyone that we can identify.”

More than four decades later, one might demur when it comes to Bearden, at least: The resonance of his work keeps growing with time. If accounts could ever be well and truly settled, I’m not sure that he would rank lower than de Kooning and Warhol, the two contemporaries that Nochlin and Andrews seemed to agree were incontrovertibly among the “truly creative.” In art, consensus on what counts as “creativity” or “greatness” is always in flux. Two hundred years ago, Raphael was a god and Caravaggio a nobody; today, Raphael mostly earns a cold respect, while Caravaggio wins our devotion. A strict conceptualist might have wanted to tell Nochlin that Picasso and Matisse were sideshows, that the truly great artist of their time was Duchamp. The arguments continue.

Andrews was painfully aware that there were structural impediments not only to the proper recognition of his achievement but to that achievement as such. Like any serious modern artist, he was fiercely ambitious, and his ambition was of the broadest scope: to be one of the “truly creative” who leave an imprint on their time and on the art of the future—an almost unattainable hope. But he also understood that such creativity has never simply been the product of what Nochlin mocked as “an atemporal and mysterious power somehow embedded in the person of the Great Artist.” It is sometimes nurtured, sometimes stymied, always channeled by history and social conditions. And it cannot exist without the unrelenting efforts of a multitude of practitioners producing what Andrews calls “just good and everyday art work.” Artists are made by other artists—by the effects they have on each other, whether through emulation, rivalry, or antagonism—so that the collective mass of respectable efforts enables a few to reach the stars.

Zadie Smith Declines to Comment

A recent short story of hers takes place in a world that resembles “woke Twitter” come to life. Dominique nabokov

Zadie Smith, the famous novelist and essayist, politely (and wisely) declined to be interviewed for this article.

Who could blame her? When I e-mailed her requesting an interview, I made the terrible mistake of being honest. What I should have said was that I was interested in talking about her work in advance of her appearance in Seattle (Wednesday, February 27, at Benaroya Hall). Instead, I wrote that I was interested in talking with her about call-out culture and the purity politics of the American left.

If you spend any time on social media, you know what I’m talking about with the term “call-out culture”: a teenage girl wears a culturally appropriated prom dress, a cis actor gets cast to play a trans character, a white poet publishes a poem from the point of view of a person of color—and Twitter is set aflame with righteous indignation. The offender must be reeducated, immediately. The online left increasingly runs on outrage like this, and the reason I wanted to talk to Zadie Smith about the phenomenon is because she’s written about it.

In a 2017 essay for Harper’s, Smith wrote about the controversy surrounding Dana Schutz’s Open Casket, an abstract painting of Emmett Till’s mutilated body that inspired a heated protest at the Whitney Biennial. At the time, a number of black artists and activists and their allies argued that Schutz, a white woman, was appropriating black pain for her own profit. They urged the museum to remove the painting from its walls and, what’s more, to destroy it. In a letter to the exhibit’s curators, the artist Hannah Black wrote: “The subject matter is not Schutz’s; white free speech and white creative freedom have been founded on the constraint of others, and are not natural rights. The painting must go.”

The painting remained on the wall, but Smith’s essay, which neither praised nor condemned Schutz’s work, wasn’t received much better than Open Casket itself. The essay was essentially about who is permitted to comment on what, and Smith’s status as a British and light-skinned biracial woman was seen by some critics as (to borrow a word) problematic—although, as Smith pointed out in her essay, Hannah Black is both biracial and British, too.

A critic of Smith’s piece, Candace McDuffie, wrote in Ploughshares: “While Smith acknowledges the complexities of being biracial, she doesn’t probe her privilege of having light skin nor does she pay the same attention to what cultural appropriation actually is.”

Other readers took issue with Smith’s use of the word “quadroon” to describe her own multiracial children. “Are my children too white to engage with black suffering?” she writes. “How black is black enough?” It’s a question she leaves unanswered.

Still, in some ways, Smith has insulated herself from criticism. She has been a major literary figure for more than a decade, ever since her generation-defining debut novel White Teeth. She isn’t online, where most of the yelling takes place, because she doesn’t need to be. Being inaccessible makes it harder for the public to bully a person out of their opinions.

But that doesn’t mean Smith isn’t aware of the backlash, and despite it, she’s continued to write and to speak about the pressure to be, or at least to appear to be, woke. It’s a trend that started to filter through the American left while Obama was still in office, and, post-Trump, has become a seemingly unstoppable force, drowning out the bad—the wrong, the unwoke, the impure—in its wake.

Smith explored this moment of shifting morality in a stunning piece of satire, “Now More Than Ever,” published as a short story in the New Yorker last July. “There is an urge to be good,” the story begins. “To be seen to be good. To be seen. Also to be.”

This piece of fiction takes place in a world that resembles “woke Twitter” come to life. In the evening, people stand at their windows, holding signs printed with large black arrows. They point their arrows at people condemned as problematic—people who are “beyond the pale.” Those sorry souls they’re pointing to have been canceled, disgraced, publicly shamed for offenses that aren’t immediately apparent.

Smith’s narrator, a professor, lives at an unnamed university—in real life, uiversities are the epicenter of call-out culture and illiberal activism—and Smith jumps around between slightly (but only slightly) absurdist scenarios that might take place on today’s woker campuses. All acts, people, and history are judged by the contemporary standards of what’s okay and what’s not, no matter what people may have thought 5 or 50 or 500 years ago, and while the narrator doesn’t quite understand all the new unwritten rules and regulations, she knows she must obey them or risk cancellation herself.

And so she follows along, pointing her arrow at a colleague named Eastman. The narrator says, in explaining why she’s shaming him: “Not only does he not believe the past is the present, but he has gone further and argued that the present, in the future, will be just as crazy-looking to us, in the present, as the past is, presently, to us, right now!”

Perhaps predictably, this story was not universally well received. The writer Isaac Chotiner, for instance, called it “an extremely reactionary piece of short fiction” on, naturally, Twitter. But for those who loved it, it was Smith at her best: observant, funny, full of character, and insightful, but also just a step removed from the tempest.

After I e-mailed her, telling her what I wanted to interview her about, she wrote back: “This e-mail should be filed under ‘being offered enough rope to hang yourself.'” It’s not hard to see why she would decline to open the particular can of worms on offer: The backlash to such an interview isn’t just a possibility, it’s almost a guarantee.

In her writing, though, she’s able to comment on what’s happening without, it seems, getting too bogged down in the muck. Is it because she’s a British national commenting on American life? No. It’s because she’s Zadie Smith.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

TeamViewer 14.1.3399

TeamViewer

TeamViewer is the fast, simple and friendly solution for remote access over the Internet – all applications in one single, very affordable module.

Remote control of computers over the Internet, Instantly take control over a computer anywhere on the Internet, even through firewalls. No installation required, just use it fast and secure. Training, sales and teamwork, TeamViewer can also be used to present your desktop to a partner on the Internet. Show and share your software, PowerPoint presentations etc. File transfer, chat and more, Share your files, chat, switch the direction during a teamwork session, and a lot more is included in TeamViewer.

TeamViewer 14.1.3399 changelog:

  • After a script execution within the session is finished a server notification is now shown with an exit code as well as for failed executions.

  • Fixed a bug that caused the remote control window to show black artifacts after minimizing and maximizing it

  • Fixed a bug that caused screen artifacts in some cases while moving a video during the remote connection

  • Fixed a bug that prevents screen updates after minimizing the remote control windows

  • Solved some other issues which caused crashes

  • Minor improvements and fixes

Download: TeamViewer 14.1.3399 | Portable | ~30.0 MB (Free for personal use)
View: TeamViewer Home Page

Get alerted to all of our Software updates on Twitter at @NeowinSoftware

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Review: The Gritterman at Manchester Albert Hall

The news that The Maccabees would be disbanding back in 2016 was met with upset to say the least. The group had rightly earned a loyal following, and the uncertainty of what each member would do next hung heavy over their fans.

We needn’t have worried.

Guitarist Felix White busied himself launching a cricketing radio programme with Greg James and Jimmy Anderson for Radio 5 Live, but it was lead singer Orlando Weeks who delivered the biggest curveball of them all – an illustrated Christmas book.

The Gritterman tells the tale of an unsung hero, an ageing, dignified widower who grits the streets while the rest of the world is sleeping. It was written and illustrated by Weeks himself, and was accompanied by an album of music and spoken word by actor Paul Whitehouse. The project was well-received, and labelled ‘beautiful’, ‘wistful’, and ‘extraordinary’.

Then that album spiralled into a live show, a one-off performance at London’s Union Chapel last December. And now it’s spiralled again, bringing the former Maccabees frontman to Manchester’s very own Albert Hall.

He’s a very different frontman without his big band bravado around him. He is polite, timid, humble. He slips onto the stage with no fanfare at all to introduce himself and his work, all fumbling hands and gentle voice, encouraging us all to save our applause until the end and hopefully donate some money to The Marmalade Trust (a charity dedicated to tackling loneliness) on our way out.

When he reappears minutes later with his full band – and he’s got pianists, percussion, bassist, a full choir, and actual Paul Whitehouse up there with him – and clasps his hands around his microphone stand, he seems instantly more at ease.

Orlando Weeks with Paul Whitehouse
(Image: black arts pr)

Weeks weaves together spoken word, instrumentals, and songs into one masterful piece of storytelling. He’s a composer and a conductor, guiding his large entourage through every note. Even when there is no music, he bobs and sways, like the rhythm of The Gritterman has consumed him entirely.

There’s humour here amongst the haunting sounds of the choir, and thoroughly British humour at that. Whitehouse’s easy and sincere narration punctuates the score, and is light-hearted (microwave meals and dodgy gearboxes) and incredibly moving in places (a eulogy and a poetic description of sleeping children).

Seasonal Hero is poignant and perfect – “I miss the sound of your calling, I miss your voice on the phone, miss your rat-a-tat-tapping to the songs we both know” – and as spotlit snowflakes swirl around the ceiling I find myself swallowing an unexpected lump in my throat that never really goes away.

Never has the Albert Hall been so still. The audience collectively holds its breath, terrified to move in case we break the spell that has descended on the venue like a thick blanket of snow.

I have no idea how much time passes. I’m so transfixed that I don’t even drink my glass of wine.

Although Weeks’ songwriting and distinctive vocals have always been lauded, they’ve never shone as brightly as they do tonight. The Gritterman is tangible magic.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

L.A.’s Best Malls and Why We Love Them

How old were you when you learned it wasn’t cool to love the mall anymore? I was about 20, in college getting a liberal arts degree, and dating an anarchist who subsisted on vegan ice cream sandwiches and Noam Chomsky books. It was way back around the dawn of the new millennium, when shopping on the internet was really becoming a thing, a big ol’ recession was on the horizon, and years of trickle-down economics that didn’t actually trickle left the average suburban mall dweller without disposable income to blow on Sharper Image foot massagers.

In the years since then, a lot of ink has been spilled about the demise of the shopping mall and who’s to blame for the slow death. In 2017, an L.A. Times writer said, “The mall—suburbia’s onetime lifestyle nexus for giant pretzels, ear piercings and a girl’s first thong—is battling a decline in cultural relevance as the social meeting place for young Americans continues to transition from physical spaces to phone screens.” While changing times have resulted in a number of casualties—RIP Westside Pavilion—L.A.’s malls aren’t relinquishing their cultural-institution status without a fight. I mean, when’s the last time you tried to find a parking space in the Glendale Galleria’s garage on a Sunday afternoon?

From Caruso’s ersatz small-town town squares to Westfield’s revamped behemoths to smaller complexes that reflect the cultural tastes of their respective neighborhoods, we’re re-embracing the shopping mall. Here are our favorites presented in a vague ascending order. —Gwynedd Stuart


Fig at 7th is like if someone built a mall at the bottom of an abandoned rock quarry, or inside the Sarlacc pit from Star Wars. You have to take, like, eight escalators to get to the underwhelming food court at the lowest floor. Supposedly you can access the mall by walking in from Figueroa, but I’m guessing 99 percent of people drive in through the insanely complicated parking garage, which is a whole other seven circles of hell to navigate. The good news is that all the effort is worth it, since you get to access to a modern, still-looks-brand-new Target that is weirdly quiet and uncrowded for a store in the middle of downtown. There’s also a Nordstrom Rack, which is a badge of honor for any aspiring mall, and, for some reason, a Morton’s Steakhouse. Who is going to this mall to eat a $60 filet mignon?? 735 S. Figueroa St., downtown. —Garrett Snyder

Though it’s not technically in Los Angeles, this bougie Orange County establishment is worth a trip for the people watching and window shopping alone. At 2.8 million square feet, it’s the largest mall on the west coast, with a sprawling array of high-end stores that bring in over $1.5 billion annually. Grab a Godiva hot chocolate and ogle extravagant displays at Hermés and Saint Laurent amidst the posh sweatsuit-wearing masses, then head down the street to take a breather at this secret Noguchi Sculpture Garden. 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. —Zoie Matthew

The distinguishing factor with Westfield Topanga is the outdoor offshoot known as the Village. The mall itself is large and has most of the chain retailers you would expect, but cross the street to see where this shopping center shines. Rent the Runway has their only L.A.-area retail shop for picking up last-minute fancy dress orders (or swapping your Unlimited subscription)–and you can pop into Drybar, Blushington, Skin Laundry, and Sugar Nail for the complete pre-party primping package. And there is Go Greek, an entire café dedicated to Greek yogurt, so that’s obviously worth a trip, right? 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park. —Brittany Martin

Often confused with the Sherman Oaks Galleria (maybe only by me), the Westfield Fashion Square is good for mainly two things: the food court and Sephora. But I come here for other things, too. It’s a pretty chill mall, with no crazy lines or disorganized stores. Until, of course, the holidays come around. But even then, the environment here doesn’t feel as stressful as other malls in the Valley—it can get nasty in other places. 14006 Riverside Dr., Sherman Oaks.  —Pamela Avila

Ah, good ol’ Burbank mall. I’ve been coming here for like my whole life now, and while it’s definitely not the best mall out there and it can totally be a hit or miss–it just feels like the most accessible and inviting mall in the Valley. Perfect for last minute holiday presents or a last minute outfit, Sears, Macy’s, Old Navy, and Forever 21 will be there to your rescue (or maybe just mine). The mall recently underwent a renovation too though, so they’re stepping their game up, they even have an H&M in there now! And a way better food court than before. FANCY. Overall, it’s easy to find your way around Burbank Town Center and if you don’t find what you need inside mall, you can always walk down N. San Fernando Boulevard, where you’ll have more to choose from. 201 East Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. —Pamela Avila

I didn’t know the Northridge Fashion Center’s existence until I moved from North Hollywood to Arleta, and I usually only come here for last minute Christmas shopping or when technology fails me and I need the Apple Store to save my ass. It’s a good mall though, like a less-nice version of the Glendale Galleria and it has way more variety than the Burbank Town Center. It’s where you come when all the shelves at the Burbank mall are wiped out. On weekends, local artists and businesses also set up shop on the second floor of the mall so when you’re done giving into consumerism you can shop a little local, too. Balance it out. Also, parking over the holidays is a plus–Burbank and Glendale, on the other hand, can be total nightmares. 9301 Tampa Ave, Northridge. —Pamela Avila

Thanks to a centrally located popcorn kiosk, the air inside this otherwise totally pleasant mall with a great TJ Maxx is always redolent of artificial butter topping. Escape the aroma inside Macy’s, where you’ll find the Museum of African American Art tucked away behind the bed department on the third floor. Come for Palmer C. Hayden’s terrific series of paintings on folk hero John Henry, and stay for the cheaper-than-average tickets at the adjacent Cinemark movie theater. —Gwynedd Stuart

Glendale Galleria

You have to love a mall with not one but two parking decks (both of them free—no validation necessary). Smack dab in the middle of Glendale, the Galleria is deceptively large and has an Apple Store that tends to be less crowded than the more visible one at the Americana next door. Shopping-wise you’ll find all the usual suspects (including two Abercrombies, which seems excessive) and a family play place/restaurant called Giggles n’ Hugs, which, despite the slightly unpleasant name, seems a lot more chill and a lot less germ-ridden than the average Chuck E. Cheese’s. 100 W. Broadway, Glendale. —Gwynedd Stuart

With its geometric architecture, waxy tropical plants, and pastel pink-and-green tiles, the Koreatown Plaza mall is a consumerist dreamscape straight out of 1987. Step away from the bustle of Western Avenue to peruse cosmetics, clothes, and KPOP merch in its quiet selection of mom-and-pop shops, before grabbing some bibimbap in the not-to-be-missed basement-level food court. For dessert, head to the mall’s Plaza Market, a full-service Korean grocery store with an impressive array of candy and mochi. 928 S. Western Ave., Koreatown. —Zoie Matthew

This humungous mall in the no-man’s land between Culver City and Westchester loses immediate points for ditching its former name, the Fox Hills Mall, a legendary teen hangout through the Golden Decades of Malls (aka the ‘80s-‘00s). You may remember it being featured in the hit comedy Superbad, starring a not-yet-svelte Jonah Hill. Nonetheless, the Westfield Culver City ranks pretty high: aside from the abysmally named Mongrill Gourmet Mongolian BBQ, it has one of the most consistently great food courts in the city (Beef rolls! Fish tacos! Kabobs!) and the three-tier structure of the complex makes it surprisingly easy to get from Foot Locker to See’s Candies (get that free sample!) without being harassed by those guys at the kiosks selling hoverboards or whatever. Parking is ample too. 6000 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City. —Garrett Snyder

Palisades Village is designed for those who prefer the convenience of a shopping mall to come with the aesthetics of the main street of a small (yet impeccably curated) town. It’s leafy, the streets are brick, the buildings look individual and inviting, restaurant seating spills out to the sidewalks, and the movie theater at the core was originally built in 1948 (it’s now a luxurious Cinépolis). At just 31 retailers, Palisades Village is compact, and isn’t trying to cater to everybody, but as you stroll around, living your best, Goop-iest life, you’ll find all essentials of a certain type of posh, fashionable existence. Think: Alo Yoga for athleisure, Paige for denim, drapey, neutral-colored knits from Vince, and gluten-free baked goods from Sweet Laurel. 15225 Palisades Village Lane, Pacific Palisades. —Brittany Martin

This three-story artifact at the eastern edge of Little Tokyo feels like a set piece from an ‘80s action movie. You half expect to see Mel Gibson and Danny Glover from the original Lethal Weapon sliding down one of the escalators to catch a perp. What we’re saying is that it feels old, but in a cool retro-futurist way. The most amazing thing is how much stuff they managed to cram into three levels of grey concrete. There’s an arcade, a bowling alley, a Japanese dollar store (shout out Daiso!), a karaoke bar studio, a supermarket, a place that sells really good cream puffs, and a bunch of other kooky knick-knack shops you’d be hard pressed to find outside of Osaka. Despite all the amenities, the mall is empty most of the time, which only adds to the bizarro time-warp vibe. Apparently, and perhaps unsurprisingly, there are plans to tear the place down soon and replace it with yet another mixed-use residential complex. Sad! 333 S. Alameda St., downtown. —Garrett Snyder

Comfortably navigating the Grove on foot on the weekends (especially during the holidays) is not a thing. If you’re not dodging a GD trolley, you’re dodging some rich lady on a cellphone making a beeline for Barneys. That said, the Grove is an iconic L.A. experience and its proximity to the Original Farmers Market makes it a totally decent place to spend an afternoon with visiting relatives. And big bonus points for the single, most logical parking garage in all of Los Angeles, which has an inside track you can climb rather than being forced to traverse each and every level when all the little electronic signs indicate there’s no parking on the first several levels. Seriously, can builders please start emulating this model? I feel strongly about this. 189 The Grove Dr., Beverly Grove. —Gwynedd Stuart

Though this might seem like your typical Westfield mall at first blush, its food court is in a league of its own. Located in the wealthy, majority Chinese neighborhood of Arcadia, its become a hub for upscale Asian restaurants in recent years, including the famed Taiwanese dumpling house Din Tai Fung, the hot pot spot HaiDiLao, and the chic Sichuan eatery Meizhou Dongpo (which serves a mean la zi ji, aka spicy fried chicken). 400 S. Baldwin Ave., Aracadia. —Zoie Matthew

Of the three L.A. malls immortalized in Clueless, the Beverly Center is the only one where we imagine a modern-day Cher and Di would go on a shopping excursion today. There’s a mix of shops from Uniqlo to Balenciaga, so you can pick up something stylish at any price point–and enjoy some glam window-shopping even if you’re not hitting the more luxe boutiques. This fall, the results of a years-long renovation project were finally revealed; in addition to a new façade, the interior is brighter and outfitted with modern furniture and an abundance of phone-charging outlets and other nice details. Restaurants including Cal Mare, Easy’s, Lamill, and Pitchoun offer dining options far better than the typical “mall food,” so while you might get shopped-out, at least you won’t be hangry. 8500 Beverly Blvd.e, Beverly Grove. —Brittany Martin

The shopping experience at Westfield Century City is uncommonly pleasant. The elevated terrace has pretty views of the surrounding glass skyscrapers, the stores are a perfect mix of luxury brands that make for interesting peeking around, more accessible shops where you probably actually buy things, and rotating pop-up spaces that keep things fresh. It’s an especially good destination for gift-shopping, because there are tons of options to buy things other than clothing (not so at all malls). Ever-popular chain Anthropologie recently opened a sprawling flagship here, there’s an entire shop dedicated to Moleskine notebooks and writerly goods, Compartes and Sugarfina sell colorful, made-in-L.A. confections, Eataly has every kind of food gift imaginable, and Aēsop, Fresh, and Lush cover the pretty, nice-smelling self-care treat categories. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City. —Brittany Martin

What is it about the Americana—the Grove’s Glendale-set sibling—that makes it so much more pleasant than its counterpart in L.A. proper? It’s definitely still crowded and has a trolley. It has a Cheesecake Factory and a movie theater (both v. important). Between its mix of 30-something-friendly stores, dancing fountains, and central location, the Americana somehow really nailed the pleasant Saturday by oneself (or, fine, with family and friends). Its my inner capitalist’s happy place, and by the looks of it, I’m not alone. Don’t tell my anarchist ex-boyfriend. 889 Americana Way, Glendale. —Gwynedd Stuart


RELATED: L.A.-Made Gifts for Every Type of Angeleno on Your List


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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

20 Things That Happened for the First Time in 2018

This is an article from Turning Points, a magazine that explores what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead.

1. First NASA spacecraft named after living person launches

The Parker Solar Probe, the first NASA spacecraft named after a living person, was launched in August. The craft is named after astrophysicist Eugene N. Parker, who was the first to describe solar wind in 1958. The probe, which has set a new record as the fastest spacecraft, is the closest any manmade object has been to the sun.

2. Painting sets record for living African-American artist

The painting “Past Times” by Kerry James Marshall set a new record as the highest amount paid for a painting by a living African-American artist, selling for $21.1 million, according to the auction house Sotheby’s. The 1997 pastoral, which depicts black figures at leisure, was purchased by music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs. It was sold by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, in Chicago, which bought it for $25,000.

Image
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, waves to the audience during an event in September 2018 in Cupertino, California.CreditNoah Berger/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

3. Apple becomes first company to reach value of $1 trillion

Apple became the first publicly traded company to reach a market value of more than $1 trillion in August, with Amazon in close pursuit, reaching the benchmark just a month later. The rise of these so-called superstar firms have helped spur a long period of economic growth in the United States, but may have also contributed to a shrinking middle class and rising income inequality, experts say.

4. A New kind of human adaptation

Researchers have reported a new kind of human adaptation — to the ocean. According to the journal Cell, a group of people known as the Bajau, who traditionally live in houseboats or houses on stilts in villages in Southeast Asia, have evolved to be better divers. The researchers’ findings reveal that the Bajau — regardless of whether they’re divers or have other jobs — have spleens that are about 50 percent bigger than those who live 15 miles inland. Studies have shown that larger spleens can aid in deep diving among marine animals.

5. A unified Korea, at least on the ice

Members of the women’s ice-hockey team from North Korea and South Korea played as a joint team at the XXIII Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, marking the first time the countries had a unified Olympic team. The team lost in its first game, to Switzerland. South Korea, however, went on to win a total of 17 medals in the games, including five gold medals.

The Dackelmuseum in Bavaria, Germany, is devoted to the dachshund, or wiener dog. The collection features toys, stamps, prints and figurines.CreditOliver Storz/Dackelmuseum

6. First-ever “sausage dog” museum opens

Two former florists opened what they say is the first museum dedicated to “sausage dogs.” The Dackelmuseum, which is in Bavaria, Germany, features canine stamps, dog-shaped breads, porcelain figurines, prints and other items dedicated to the dachshund, one of Germany’s oldest canine breeds.

7. First pedestrian fatality by a self-driving car

A self-driving Uber test car killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, in March, in what is believed to be the first pedestrian fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle. Although the car had a backup driver, neither he nor the car’s light detection and radar system sensed the pedestrian, a woman who was attempting to cross the street with her bicycle, in time to stop.

A Saudi makeup artist puts the finishing touches on a model backstage during Riyadh’s first-ever fashion week.CreditGiuseppe Cacace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

8. Saudi Arabia hosts first fashion week

Saudi Arabia hosted its first-ever fashion week in Riyadh, in April. The event still bore hallmarks of the conservative kingdom. Despite the all-female audiences, a social media ban was in place so photos of women without their abayas, or floor-length overgarments, wouldn’t leak. Organizers, however, hailed the event as a pivotal moment for women in a country where they still are expected to defer to their male guardians.

9. Chinese company surpasses Apple’s smartphone sales

For the first time, the Chinese company Huawei has outstripped Apple smartphone sales, selling more than 54 million phones in the second quarter of 2018, compared to Apple’s 41 million, and trailing only Samsung. The company’s success is all the more impressive considering that Huawei has failed to make inroads in some of the world’s largest markets, including the United States, in part because of corporate and government espionage fears.

10. Paris museum opens its doors to nudists

For the first time in Paris, a museum has welcomed nude figures of a different kind: living ones. The Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum opened its doors to nudists for a one-off tour scheduled by the Paris Naturists Association. Paris also has the world’s first naturist restaurant, O’Naturel, which opened in late 2017, as well as an area at a public park that is dedicated to people who prefer wearing their birthday suits.

11. Machine tackles sea of plastic garbage

The world’s first machine designed to clean up plastic detritus from the ocean — the brainchild of a college dropout who came up with the idea as a teenager— was deployed in September toward what’s widely known as the “great Pacific garbage patch.” This expanse of ocean, located between Hawaii and California, has the world’s largest accumulation of ocean plastic. Some experts, however, are worried that the machine will do more harm than good, arguing that it would be better to focus on efforts preventing plastic from entering the seas in the first place.

A teenager in Paris with her mobile phone after school.CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

12. French lawmakers ban smart devices in schools

A law banning smart devices at schools in France went into effect in September. Students between the ages of 3-15 will have to leave their smartphones, tablets and any other digital devices at home or turned off on school premises, with exceptions for disabled students or during extracurricular activities. Some lawmakers scoffed at the new law as overkill, citing an existing rule that already prohibits smartphone use during instruction time in classrooms.

First Lt. Misa Matsushima, Japan’s first female fighter pilot, in an F-15J fighter jet at an air base in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan.CreditJiji Press/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

13. Female fighter pilot breaks gender barrier in Japan

Japan, which has a male-dominated workforce, named its first female fighter pilot in August. First Lt. Misa Matsushima, 26, who cited the American movie “Top Gun” as an inspiration, joined the Japan Air Self Defense Force in 2014. The JASDF began accepting female applicants in 1993, but women couldn’t apply to be fighter pilots until 2015, when a ban was lifted as part of a nationwide initiative to increase the numbers of women in the workplace.

14. Africa launches its first waste-to-energy plant

Ethiopia is the first country in Africa to open a waste-to-energy plant. Top government officials, including Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, were on hand at the inauguration of the $120 million plant, called Reppie, which was built in a landfill on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. It is supposed to take about 80 percent of the daily waste generated by the capital and fulfill about 30 percent of its energy needs.

Wall art at Ikea in Hyderabad, the furniture retailer’s first location in India.CreditAtul Loke/The New York Times

15. Ikea opens first store in India

Ikea opened its first Indian store in Hyderabad, tweaking its usual strategy by cutting prices and changing its inventory — and even its cafe offerings — to appeal to the Indian consumer. The world’s largest furniture retailer plans to open three other stores in the next two years to cater to the country’s rapidly growing middle class.

Russian, Chinese and Mongolian troops attend a parade during the Vostok-2018 military exercises in Siberia.CreditMladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

16. Russia flexes its muscles

In its largest show of military strength since the days of the Cold War, Russia assembled nearly 300,000 troops, 1,000 aircraft and 900 tanks for the exercises known as Vostok-2018. And for the first time, China participated in the exercises, sending helicopters and about 3,200 of its troops.

17. Mexico’s first reality series

“Made in Mexico,” which follows the lavish lives of nine socialites in Mexico City, started streaming in September. The Netflix-backed series, Mexico’s first reality program, has faced some heat, however, with critics pointing out that it’s in poor taste in a country where nearly half the population lives in poverty.

People gather on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill for the city’s annual marijuana rally in April 2018. In October, Canada legalized access to recreational cannabis for those 18 years and older.CreditLars Hagberg/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

18. Canada legalizes recreational marijuana

Canada became the first major world economy to legalize recreational marijuana. It’s the second country in the world — after Uruguay — to pass such legislation. Since mid-October, people over 18 could legally purchase and use dried cannabis flowers and oils. Legalization is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue once fully implemented.

19. More pigs than people in Denmark

Pigs now outnumber people in Denmark: 215 pigs per 100 people, according to new statistics released by Eurostat. The agency estimates that about 150 million pigs live in the European Union, with 40 percent of them in Germany and Spain. And according to new figures released by the Spanish government, the number of slaughtered pigs, at 50 million, outnumber the country’s population of 46.5 million.

People in Bangalore celebrate the Supreme Court decision that struck down a colonial-era ban on gay sex that had been used to blackmail, harass and sexually assault L.G.B.T.Q. Indians.CreditManjunath Kiran/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

20. India’s high court strikes down ban on gay sex

For the first time in more than 150 years, a law banning consensual gay sex in India has been deemed unconstitutional by the highest court in the land. Introduced to Indian law under British colonial rule, the rule was rarely enforced, but critics said it made the blackmail, sexual assault and harassment of L.G.B.T. people permissible.

Looking Ahead:

Disneyland to serve alcohol publicly for the first time

Bottoms up, Mouseketeers. Disneyland will serve alcohol to the general public for the first time in 2019, when Oga’s Cantina opens in the highly anticipated Star Wars–themed attraction, Galaxy Edge.

First test flights for commercial space taxis scheduled

The year 2019 is slated to be an exciting one for commercial space travel: Both the SpaceX Dragon capsule and the Boeing Starliner spacecraft are scheduled for their first crewed test flights.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment