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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: October 7, 2020
Posted: October 7, 2020 at 8:59 am
When I was growing up, my world was neatly divided into monotheism and pantheism. On the monotheism side there was the god of Abraham and on the pantheism side there were the GreeksZeus, Hera, Athena, etc. Youre probably noticing some signs of a very limited world view. I had been told that the Romans had gods just like the Greeks only with new names like Jupiter and Juno. I knew there were other religions, and I was at least passingly familiar with the Norse gods. My fifth-grade social studies textbook made sure I knew a little about the Sumer and Ur and the Egyptians, but their gods? Their gods just didnt show up very often back then and there were so many other gods to whom Id never even been introduced.
When I wrote my first novel The Thief, I knew I wanted to set it in the landscape of Ancient Greece with a Byzantine level of technology and pantheistic religion, but I didnt want to co-opt the Olympian gods or the Titans for my story. In so many textbooks over the years, the Greek pantheon has been reduced to one dimensional versions of their former selves. I wanted three dimensional characters and I was afraid there would be too much dissonance between my gods and their schoolbook definitions.
By then, Id read and loved Diana Wynne Joness Dalemark books in which she created, particularly in Drowned Ammet, gods and goddesses so real that you thought they must be based on some religion you just hadnt yet learned about. I wanted to make up gods that felt that real. My gods are a mix of very human traits and the unknowable. They meddle in human affairs and the mortals must make the best of it. Im going to take it as a win that a disturbing number of reviewers refer to them as Greek gods and dont seem to realize that they arent.
And now, I think Im living in a golden age, with so many fabulous writers bringing us stories of gods and goddesses drawn from cultures all over the world or invented from whole cloth. Here are some of my favorites. Some of the gods are very down to earth while others are far from it. They are sometimes kind and sometimes cruel. Some seem like mortals writ large and some are ineffable. The one thing they all have in common? Just like the god Eugenides in Return of the Thiefyou want to stay on their good sideif you can.
Apollo took from them the day of their return.
The Iliad is an excellent example of just how much misery that gods can inflict on humanity, but that story begins with the wrath of Achilleswhen the events that led to the war on Troy are long over. With The Odyssey, we get a front row seat as Odysseus slays the Cyclops and makes a lifelong enemy of his father, Poseidon. We see his men eat the cattle of Apollo and then we get a ten year long lesson in why you shouldnt offend the gods.
I was in my twenties when I read this book. Id only ever read one book by Jones, Dogsbody. I had no idea she had written anything else. Her books werent on a shelf in any library Id visited and this was long before you could look up an author on the internet. The best we had was an out of date collection of Books in Print. I hope it seems bizarre to at least some of my readers, that this may have been the first time I read a story with gods and goddesses that werent either Greek or Celtic. It was Athena and Artemis and Zeus or it was Arawn and Cernunnosthose had been my only options. Sure, there was The Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien stripped much of the identifying features out of his source material. Jones was writing about Thor and Odin and Loki and I was delighted.
David, a perfectly ordinary British school boy is home from school for a miserable holiday with his miserable family, distant relatives who are his guardians and who make it clear his presence is deeply unwelcome. In the back garden, venting his misery, David shouts out nonsense syllables that just happen to be the words that will release Loki from an underground prison where hes been holding up a bowl to catch the poison dripping on him from a venomous snake. Loki appears a boy, just Davids age, charming and little odd and up for some fun, like, setting a whole department stores on fire, for example.
When the other gods show up looking for escaped Loki, David has to decide whose side hes on. Its a shame you cant help out one god without pissing off a bunch of others.
Mortals believe gods to be omnipotent and ever-knowing. The truth is more slippery
The Lord of Xibalba has had his head cut off by his twin brother and his bones have spent 50 years in a trunk before Casiopea discovers them. When a single bone shard pierces her skin, the Mayan god of death is reconstituted. He draws life from her, but with that nourishment comes Casiopeas humanity, changing the nature of the god even as they work together to reinstate him on the throne of Xibalba. While Casiopea is tied to Hun-Kam, her unpleasant cousin Martin, works for the new Lord of Xibalba, Hun-Kams brother. Mortal, gods, witches, demonsall have to take sides and hope their side wins.
Trail of Lightning is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the Dinetah has become an independent nation with a wall around to keep the that have flooded the outside world. Maggie Hoskie is a monster slayer. She didnt offend Neizghani, her immortal teacher so much she disappointed him. She was his apprentice until he left her behind without warning or explanation. With no other choice, she carries on, on her own.
I love everything about Roanhorses work, but particularly the fact that it is set in the future. In this story, perhaps the gods should have been more careful they didnt offend Maggie Hoskie.
Jemisins Broken Earth trilogy won her well-deserved Hugos, but its The Inheritance Trilogy that I love. She fuses gods and science together, and in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, she makes creating gods look easy.
Yeine Darr is summoned to the capital city, Sky, by her grandfather to be a pawn in a terrifying competition to be heir to his throne. Her only possible allies are the gods bound to serve her family. On the one hand, they are very powerful, on the other, theres nothing to make a god dangerously angry like being trapped and enslaved in a mortal body.
What happens when the gods are not merely capricious they are all out monsters?
Lazlo Strange is an orphan who grows up dreaming of a city that so offended its gods that its name was wiped from everyones memory and replaced with the word Weep. When the hero of Weep, the man who slayed its gods, comes to the librarians of Zosma, seeking help for his city, Lazlo seizes the chance to see Weep for himself.
Lainis writing so vivid, so confident that there is no limit to the poetry she brings to her prose. Her gods are truly horrifying and just as truly captivating.
You have the four cardinal godsthe Dragon, the Tiger, the Tortoise, and the Phoenix. Then you have local household gods, village guardian gods, animal gods, gods of rivers, gods of mountains
Rin is an orphan, fortunate enough to have a marriage arranged with a local inspector who will accept her as a wife in exchange for looking other way while her adoptive parents run their opium business. Rejecting that future, Rin sits for the Keju, the Empire wide test that selects candidates for Sinegard, an elite military school.
In the scene quoted above she is arguing for the common viewpoint of the gods in her experiencethey are cultural references, metaphors, personifications of emotions or significant events. As in the world of The Thief, people give lip service to the gods. They never expect them to appear.
Who is Adam Black, also known as Ablahka? His librarians used to be children. What are they now? Caroline doesnt know. After being locked away in an infinite library, trained by an adoptive father who might be God, and dying a few times in the process, shes not really all there anymore. When her Father, Adam Black, Ablahka, disappears, perhaps murdered by any one of the other terrifyingly powerful gods the Duke, Barry OShea or the mysterious Q-33 North, no one on Earth knows what happens next.
New York Timesbestselling author Megan Whalen Turner is the award-winning author of six novels set in the world of the Queens Thief. These epic novels of intrigue and adventure can be read in any order, but were published as follows: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings, Thick as Thieves, and Return of the Thief. Megan Whalen Turner has been awarded a Newbery Honor and a Horn BookBoston Globe Honor, and won the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Young Adult Literature. She has won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Childrens Literature and was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award. She worked as a bookseller for seven years before she started writing. Her first book was a collection of short stories called Instead of Three Wishes.
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Do Not Offend the Gods: 8 SFF Books Featuring Deities - tor.com
Posted: at 8:58 am
Alicia Brcena was speaking during a virtual press conference where she unveiled ECLACs latest report which outlines policy recommendations for addressing the economic effects of the pandemic.
The study argues that maintaining and deepening active macroeconomic policies will be essential for recovery, as well as economic and social transformation, in the wake of the global crisis.
It also stresses the importance of international cooperation, including through better distribution of global financial support.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having historic negative effects in economic, productive and social spheres, with lasting consequences and medium-term effects on growth and increased inequality, poverty and unemployment. That is why the process for economic activity (GDP) to return to its pre-crisis levels will be slower than what was observed during the subprime crisis (in 2007-2008), said Ms. Brcena.
The Latin America and Caribbean region is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a century due to the pandemic, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated to contract by 9.1 per cent. By the end of the year, GDP will be at the same level as in 2010, translating to a 10-year setback and sharp increase in inequality and poverty.
Additionally, some 2.7 million businesses are forecast to close in 2020, while unemployment is set to reach 44 million, or 18 million more than last year. The number of poor people in the region is expected to reach 231 million: the same level as 2005, or a 15-year backslide.
As a result, active macroeconomic policies will be needed to resume growth and to promote structural transformation, said Ms. Brcena.
Public revenue must be strengthened, conventional and non-conventional expansionary monetary policies must be maintained, and macroprudential regulation must be bolstered along with the regulation of capital flows to preserve macro-financial stability in the short and medium term, she recommended, while also underlining the need for international cooperation.
While countries have made diverse fiscal efforts in the face of the pandemic, ECLAC said these measures - together with declining public revenue - have contributed to a bigger fiscal deficit and increased public debt. Therefore, the challenge now is for countries to maintain an active fiscal policy amid greater indebtedness.
The report recommends that this should be done through a framework of fiscal sustainability centred on revenue, and that tax collection must increase.
On average, the regional rate is currently 23.1 per cent of GDP, compared with 34.3 per cent among countries of the global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
ECLAC called for governments to fight tax evasion and avoidance, consolidate individual and corporate income taxes, and to broaden taxes on wealth and property. Other measures suggested were establishing taxes on the digital economy and implementing corrective taxes, such as environmental levies or others related to public health.
Ms. Brcena stressed that active fiscal policy must link the short term, or emergency, with the medium and long term, in order to shift the development model towards transformation that is sustainable and equitable.
Countries must orient public spending towards reactivation and economic transformation, strengthening public investment in sectors that foster employment, gender parity, social inclusion, productive transformation and an egalitarian transition towards environmental sustainability, she stated.
On international cooperation, ECLAC proposed that multilateral credit institutions must expand their financing capacity and liquidity, including for the long term. the UN body also called for global and regional financial safety nets to be expanded to counteract volatility in finance flows during crises.
Last month, the Government of Costa Rica presented a proposal for a solidarity initiative known as the Fund to Alleviate COVID-19 Economics (FACE), which the UN regional commmisionhailed as an example of a viable mechanism for greater cooperation
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Posted: at 8:58 am
The British Virgin Islands is reopening for tourism on Dec. 1, and in the age of social-distancing, a luxe villa vacation is the perfect way to experience the destination.
And Virgin Gorda Villa Rentals, which has a portfolio of 20 villas across the island, is launching a host of new amenities for travelers.
The companys team has used the last six months to train and to develop and test the COVID-19 health and safety protocols which have been approved by the BVI Environmental Unit, according to Sharon Flax-Brutus, director of operations for the company.
We understand and are sensitive to the current climate and we want our guests to feel ultra-special as well as safe and comfortable when they stay in our villas, Flax-Brutus said.
And with the BVI relaunching ahead of the festive season, Virgin Gorda Villa Rentals is unveiling a host of holiday amenities for the occasion.
That includes a new program which begins Dec. 15, giving guests the opportunity to have their villa decorated with a complimentary Christmas tree and get a holiday amenity featuring locally-made culinary treats.
Guests can also enjoy a prix-fixe dinner menu at the fine-dining eatery at Virgin Gordas Leverick Bay Resort, Spa and Marina in North Sound.
Even better? Virgin Gorda Villa Rentals is adding another amenity: a tennis pro who will be available to play with and teach villa guests: Arthur Hicks, the former coach at the Necker Island Resort, who has played in multiple championships in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
Everything is in place to welcome guests and as our villas offer large open-air spaces, lots of privacy, stunning beach front locations or breathtaking ocean views they are perfect for couples, families and small groups, Flax-Brutus said. We are looking forward to that day.
For more visit Virgin Gorda Villa Rentals.
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Posted: at 8:58 am
In the past, we restaurant critics rarely needed to check the weather forecast before heading out for a reservation. Severe blizzards sometimes made travel challenging, but in general neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night kept us from our appointed meals.
Everything is all messed up now, as you might have noticed. For one day last month it looked as if Kokomo, a new Caribbean restaurant in Brooklyn that I kept hearing about, was going to be shut down by a thunderstorm. That morning Id gotten a text that said, Due to the inclement weather, we will not be able to accommodate outdoor dining. Since this was the only kind of dining allowed, all reservations were being canceled.
In the afternoon, after reassessing the forecast, Kokomo texted again to ask if I still wanted the reservation; an awning was in place to keep the sidewalk tables dry. I answered yes.
So did a lot of other people, it turned out. The corner across from the Williamsburg waterfront where Kokomo has been serving since July was in a mild state of pandemonium. As the rain fell, gently at first, a single employee was hauling tables, chairs and patio umbrellas out to an exposed platform in the street. He was also in charge of the list. The only other server was barely keeping up with the diners who had already been seated.
Just when Id decided that slipping away quietly and coming back another night was the only humane response, the employee in charge of setting up furniture counted everybody who was waiting, apologized very kindly and promised to seat all of us quickly. Amazingly, he did. And then it started to pour, a real lock-the-windows monsoon. He looked straight at the sky, spread out his arms and started to laugh. Somebody started to clap, and soon everybody on the sidewalk and street was applauding. Forget the rain. The celebration was underway.
Every night is a celebration at Kokomo, which may be the pandemics best scene restaurant a social magnet for the age of social distancing. In a summer without nightclubs, it inspires people to dress up as if they were going to one. Forced to operate without its intimate, velvet-upholstered dining room, it simply moved the speakers and D.J. table outside, and made a good stretch of North 10th Street into an outdoor lounge. (Kokomo is in one of the neighborhoods where Mayor Bill de Blasio wanted to rescind indoor dining, a notion that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo eighty-sixed on Monday.)
In some ways, Kokomo had a head start on the pool-party approach that restaurants across the city have adopted since outdoor dining began. It opened with a cocktail menu that was already full of tall, colorful drinks, some of them drawn from the tiki canon (like the nutmeg-dusted Painkiller) and all of them appropriate for sipping through a straw with a beach towel draped around your neck.
And, of course, it has a menu that looks to the Caribbean. This may put you in mind of Negril, or it may make you think of central Brooklyn and southeast Queens. Neither of these reference points would be wrong; Kokomos owners, Ria and Kevol Graham, come from West Indian families, were married in Grand Cayman and live in Canarsie.
If you are one of those people who like to order the dish that is most likely to fall on its face, you are going to notice the Rasta pasta flatbread right away. Penne coated in the Jamaican equivalent of Alfredo sauce cannot possibly be a great pizza topping, you think, with or without peppers. It is not a dainty appetizer; if you eat a whole one your stomach will know it. But it is very good, as is the flatbread dotted with bits of braised oxtail among caramelized onions and sweet tomato confit.
If Kokomo can put Jamaican pasta on pizza and make it work, you think, it can do anything. And you may be on to something. The substantial line of vegan main courses is conceived with flavor in mind, like the whole roasted cauliflower in a cashew sauce flecked with allspice and other seasonings.
Even if you think most of jerk chickens flavor should come from its marinade and not its sauce, you will probably agree that Kokomos sauce does its job very effectively. You might want a little more punch in the ceviche, but then the little islands of Peruvian-style sweet potato pure win you over. The vinegar and Scotch bonnet sauce you throw over the snapper escovitch is not the brightest and sharpest youve ever had, but its got the right idea.
The first time I ate at Kokomo, the chef was Christian Aranibar. When I went back a couple of weeks later, he was gone and Mitchel Bonhomme had been promoted to replace him. If the cooking changed, I didnt notice.
What I did notice was that the platform in the street where the heroic server had stood in the rain was now covered with a corrugated roof. This is probably all right, but under it were plexiglass walls on at least two sides that threatened to turn this outdoor space into an actual room. And this was where the restaurant seated its biggest groups.
This leads to a caveat about Kokomo only one caveat, but it is the size of Miami. Even when my meals there were going well, I had the sense that things could fall apart at any minute. The scene at the host stand that first night, for instance, could easily have ended with a mass exodus. (As it was, I saw one person just give up, apparently after calling in a takeout order and failing to extract it from the kitchen in a timely fashion.) Some restaurants flirt with chaos. Kokomo is dating it.
Posted: at 8:58 am
Private beachfront Caribbean villas for rent by the week or month are increasingly popular with travelers during the coronavirus era. Leading villa rental company WIMCO Villas announces its top 10 new villas for the upcoming season, featuring villas in St Barts, Tulum, Barbados, Punta Cana, Turks & Caicos, Grand Cayman, Anguilla and St John.
Newport, R.I., Oct. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With travelers seeking new ways to vacation safely in the coronavirus era, private villa rentals have emerged as one of the most requested options. As a leader in the luxury villa rental space, WIMCO Villas is continuously reviewing new properties around the world, and adding those that meet their high standards for quality and location. Today the company announced their top ten new villas for the upcoming season which span the four corners of the Caribbean basin from St. Barths to Tulum, and Barbados to Turks & Caicos.
Beachfront properties continue to be the most requested feature WIMCO sees. Whether a two bedroom villas on Flamands beach in St. Barths, or a grand estate on Grace Bay beach in Turks & Caicos, demand for ocean-front rental properties continues to rise. In the past six months, weve collectively all been inside our homes for longer than ever before, said WIMCOs president, Stiles Bennet. When clients consider traveling, theyre now seeking an element that they cant find in their own backyard, and a beachfront villa fits that need. Villa Turtle Tail estate, a sprawling five-bedroom in Turks & Caicos, sits on the south coast of Providenciales, with its own private beach. Guests can spend the day snorkeling and paddle-boarding at their villas doorstep. Villa Palmier Royale, in St. Barths, offers its own private dock (and beachfront grill) steps from the beach at Marigot Bay, a marine sanctuary.
Desire for a Full Service Experience
In addition to beachfront properties, requests for fully-staffed and even all-inclusive rental homes continue to increase. WIMCO offers a robust selection of fully-staffed houses, with private chef and house hold staff at the guests disposal. Villa Prudence Bay in Barbados includes these amenities, with chefs tailoring their menus to guests individual wishes. Fully-staffed houses can be found on nearly every island in WIMCOs portfolio, including Mustique, Turks & Caicos, Anguilla, the Dominican Republic and more.
Growth in Demand for Extended Stays
Whats also new in 2020 is the duration guests are requesting. Prior to COVID, we fielded lots of requests for 4-7 night trips, adds Bennet. People were traveling with more frequency, but for fewer nights except for the holidays. Now, were seeing the two-week vacation regain its popularity, as well a high demand for longer stays, often totaling six weeks or more. Clients interested in spending a month or even several months in a Caribbean villa can contact WIMCO at email@example.com to see available options.
Navigating Testing Requirements for Safe Travel
Most islands in the Caribbean require proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test for entry and require that the traveler be tested no more than 3-5 days prior to arrival. Not only does this help ensure the safety of the local population, but it also protects everyone transiting through airports and airplanes, making international travel safer for all. WIMCOs villa specialists track the testing requirements for each Caribbean destination, and can point travelers to the best testing centers in any metro area to reduce the stress of pre-trip planning.
The Top 10 Villas List
To see the complete top ten list of new villas, visit WIMCOs website. This year's list features villas in St Barts, Tulum, Barbados, Punta Cana, Turks & Caicos, Grand Cayman, Anguilla and St John USVI. Price per bedroom per night for the nearly 2,000 private villas in WIMCOs portfolio vary based on the time or year, the location and the size of the villa, and range from $300 to $9,500 per night. All properties are professionally managed, and are commissionable to travel agents.
About WIMCO Villas
Recently featured on Bloomberg Travel, Forbes Life, Conde Nast Traveler, HarpersBazaar.com, the Today Show, The Caribbean Journal and winner of Travvy and Magellan awards; WIMCO offers a selective and personally inspected collection of private villas in the Caribbean, Europe and the South Pacific. Well-traveled Villa Specialists match clients with the right villa for their lifestyle and budget, and then arrange every aspect of their trip, from setting-up international and local flights to VIP airport transfers to car rentals to pre-stocking the villa with groceries to arranging for in-villa massage, spa services and more.
WIMCOs portfolio of private villas with concierge service includes properties on eleven Caribbean islands (including St. Barths, Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, the BVI and Dominican Republic) and throughout Europe (including Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, St Tropez and Mykonos). Browse villas at http://www.wimco.com , or speak directly with a Villa Specialist at +1 (401) 849-8012. WIMCO also operates a real estate sales office on St. Barths. Inquiries for villa rentals or real estate sales may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: at 8:58 am
Hurricane Delta continues to strengthen in the Caribbean
Updated: 4:25 PM EDT Oct 6, 2020
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12 TO 24 HOURS. SO THE LATEST ADVISORY SHOWING WINDS AT 130 MILES PER HOUR. IT IS NOW MOVING TOWARDS THE WEST NORTHWEST AT ABOUT 16 LATEST TRACK AGAIN DOES TAKE IT VERY VERY CLOSE TO THE TIP OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA ROUND COZUMEL BACK OUT TOWARDS CANCUN THAT PORTION OF MEXICO AS WE GO THROUGH WEDNESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AS THE POSSIBILITY OF A CAT 4 HURRICANE WITH WINDS, THAT COULD BE AS HIGH AS 140 MILES PER THEN IT EMERGES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO AS WE GO THROUGH THURSDAY INTO FRIDAY. YOU CAN SEE STILL HOLDING ITS MAJOR CATEGORY 3 OR 4 HURRICANE STATUS AS WE GO INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO AND THEN EYES OF THE GULF COAST FROM LOUISIANA BACK TOWARDS EAST, TEXAS AND POSSIBLY THE PANHANDLE OF FLORIDA AS WE GO THROUGH SATURDAY INTO SUNDAY. SO ANOTHER LOOKS LIKE ANOTHER THREAT TO THE GULF COAST AS WE GETTING TO THE WEEKEND. SO WITH THAT BEING SAID BACK HERE AT HOME. MOST OF US ARE QUITE A LITTLE SCATTERED. ACTIVITY RIGHT NOW JUPITER FARMS BACK TOWARDS THE CITY OF OKEECHOBEE AND AS WE BREAK DOWN YOUR HOUR BY HOUR FORECAST RAIN SHOWERS WILL BE LIMITED THREAT LEAST 4 P.M. BT WE DO PICK UP THE BET
Hurricane Delta continues to strengthen in the Caribbean
Updated: 4:25 PM EDT Oct 6, 2020
Hurricane Delta is now a major hurricane as it eyes the Yucatan.
Hurricane Delta is now a major hurricane as it eyes the Yucatan.
Posted: at 8:58 am
This article is written by Alejandro Reynal, CEO of Apple Leisure Group
What a difference a year can make. Many across the Caribbean business landscape rightfully describe 2020 as an unprecedented challenge; though as true as this may be, I believe the spirit of the moment is opportunity.
Recently, I was delighted to represent the hotel industry and discuss current opportunities at the 2020 Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summits (CHRIS) Leaders of Travel panel discussion. This panel was moderated by John Fareed, Chairman North America of Horwath HTL, and featured key players of the leisure travel industry such as Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Lines; Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer of American Airlines; and Carolina Narloch Sass de Haro, LATAM Market Analyst at Phocuswright.
While we may have never endured a challenge like this before, we also have never been better prepared to focus on the collaborative efforts necessary to put differences aside. By aligning the organizational efforts of the leisure travel industry, we are affirming our commitment to delivering thorough and resolute recovery to the Caribbean social and economic community.
Leisure and Recreational Travel Bring the World Together
In 2019, the global travel and tourism industry accounted for 10.3% of the worlds total GDP. On April 28, the WTTC projected that this industry would lose as much as 30% of its value, an estimated $2.7 trillion, erased in the blink of an eye. The causes of these losses are a perfect storm of government restriction, changes in consumer attitudes towards travel and the looming uncertainty an international public health crisis creates, across even unrelated areas of the global business community.
However, behind the quantitative data, there is a qualitative story of humanity to remember here. Last year, there were more than 330 million people, 10% of the entire global workforce employed across the entire travel and tourism sector. These individuals and families work for airlines, hotels, tour operators, food suppliers, entertainment groups, management companies and innumerable other interlocking industries that serve the worlds leisure and recreational travel needs.
Across the Caribbean region we serve, earnings from travel account for a higher percentage of local GDP than any other region in the world. Helping the most tourism-dependent region in the world means keeping sight of the bigger picture and the millions of families whose lives depend on our success.
Strengthening Our Business Ecosystem to Deliver Recovery to the Industry
True recovery across the Caribbean will not occur without a thorough reappraisal of the vital human interests guiding the success of our family of destination resorts. As we set our sights to the future, it is imperative that we build on the successes that brought us to the present moment while always staying open to the opportunities available in the current landscape.
As we think and work towards recovery, our focus remains on key areas that help keep track of the rapidly changing situation, while allowing us to take proper care of our employees, guests and partners in the Caribbean and around the world. This continues to be a time of learning, adapting and enhancing the core values driving success across our group.
Communication has always been a foundation of our success. The pandemic has created the impetus for us to enhance this value by refining our corporate culture of transparency and accountability. Our staff, partners and guests depend on us to be able to provide them with details that not only enhance their enjoyment of our properties but also ensure a safe and healthy return.
As a result, we have developed a wealth of new processes to provide our staff, partners and travelers with the options needed to feel safe and secure doing business with us. By enhancing the linkages and spirit of flexibility that connect us to our teams, the communities we operate in and our customers, we are setting the stage for continuous growth.
Currently, there is demand for leisure travel, though fulfillment has been complicated due to shifting regulatory policy, airlift limitations and challenges securing traveler confidence. We are committed to working closely with our partners in government to create the safest and most sustainable conditions for the holistic social and economic recovery of the Caribbean region.
Building on Success: Capitalizing on the Strength of the All-Inclusive Model
Consumers are focused on convenience and flexibility and continue to seek more value for their money. Hence, a vacation model where everything is included is appealing and poised to draw travelers for decades to come. The architecture and locations of our resorts naturally facilitate social distancing: our properties are surrounded by stretches of beautiful, open beach and other diverse outdoor spaces that allow our guests to have remarkably safe and enjoyable stays at our collection of resorts.
Our vision hinges on expanding opportunities in destinations where we have strong distribution channels that drive high occupancy while continuing to develop the hotspots of tomorrow. The unmatched reach of our distribution companies ensures that our products remain at the forefront of the travel agent community and our consumers vacation plans.
Invigorating an Industry: We Are Stronger Together
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has made it abundantly clear that the success of the Caribbean travel industry depends, now more than ever, on successful collaboration between the public and private sectors. Our success depends not only on what we do but also on what happens in destinations, companies and governments where we offer our products.
Delivering recovery to the Caribbean travel industry requires continued partnership with all the stakeholders. Together, we are invigorating the Caribbean travel industry and sustaining economic recovery that impacts individuals and families around the world. Though we may each represent the unique trajectory of our specific companies, it is certain that our collective success uplifts our entire industry as a whole. Together we are stronger.
Taste the Islands Philly Promotes Caribbean Restaurants in City of Brotherly Love – South Florida Caribbean News
Posted: at 8:58 am
Jamaicas Honorary Consul to Philadelphia Christopher Chaplin
by Derrick Scott
PHILADELPHIA Jamaicas Honorary Consulate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has launched a Taste the Islands Philly campaign to support and promote Caribbean restaurants in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The promotion runs from October 1 to 30, 2020.
Honorary Consul Christopher Chaplin explained that the promotion was intended to mitigate the adverse financial impact on restaurants stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is supported by several Caribbean organizations located in the City of Brotherly Love, with the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council Northeast USA as co-host alongside with the Consulate.
Operating under the theme Taste the Islands Philly, the campaign invites Philadelphians to explore local Caribbean restaurants during the month October. Taste the Islands Philly highlights the value, taste, and nutrition of Caribbean foods, and explores Caribbean culture through food.
The sponsors are executing this campaign via social media and are shining the spotlight on several of the areas best Caribbean restaurants.
Featured Caribbean restaurants include:
Patrons can order Caribbean food for takeout or delivery from each restaurant.
Click here for the full list of participating restaurants, including the address and contact information.
Several Caribbean community organizations are also supporting the campaign, among them Caribbean Festival and Cultural Committee, Young Caribbean Professional Network, Team Jamaica Bickle Philadelphia, Jamaica Trade Council, and Jamaicans United.
Taste the Islands Philly organizers and supporters will also assist with the digital media campaign with responsible socially distant in-person visits coordinated by Jamaicas Honorary Consul in Philadelphia, Christopher Chaplin, Global Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA Representative Dr. Karren Dunkley, and other leaders from each of the participating community organizations.
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Posted: at 8:57 am
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of peoples interests online, whether thats playing Dungeons & Dragons over Zoom or taking virtual workout classes. But at least one of these interests, online chess, dates back at least 1,000 years. Why is playing chess online so popular?
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Chess is a deceptively simple gameeasy to learn, but hard to master, as one adage goeswhere each player has 16 pieces. These are eight pawns, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and a king and queen. The board has 64 squares, like a checkerboard, and is easy to refer to using a classic grid notation system used in maps and even the game Battleship: A, B, C, ... along one axis and 1, 2, 3, ... along the other.
What this all means is that in order to play a game of chess online, you can work with two players who each have a complete chess set and send moves in word form. Even for the pawns, which are identical, players say knights pawn, bishops pawn, and so forth. That means the earliest online chess players were able to do the same thing: noting moves using grid notation and relative terms for their pieces.
Many of the most masterful chess games require very few moves, compared with how amateurs tend to play. High-level chess players think many steps ahead and can often telescope what their opponents will decide to do. And since each piece has a restriction, like pawns that can only move one square unless its their first move and take other pieces only diagonally, chess is a popular subject for study by game theorists, statisticians, combinatoricians, and more.
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The mathematical nature of the moves has made chess a popular thing to program, and chess-playing artificial intelligence has advanced beyond human players in key ways. A computer first beat a human in 1996, and after a few high-profile incidents, chess tournaments are kept very secure to prevent any kind of computer-aided cheating. Chess engines can run in tandem and give insights as viewers watch major chess matches online.
For a long time, people playing chess online in predecessor systems like bulletin boards could exchange short strings of characters that indicated their moves. You can do this with just lettersK for king, Q for queen, and so forthwith N for knight, since K is already in use.
But online chess players, at least, have had another option since at least 1995, when documentation from Unicode confirms the chess pieces were part of the character set likely from the very first version of Unicode. Like card suits, logic and math notation, and certain map and public safety symbols, the people who designed computer fonts knew users were likely to need these special characters to put into newspaper chess columns, for example, or for the actual printing of maps without separate typesetting.
Today, that means almost any online chess arena can introduce full notation with all pieces represented in their real grid. That means games can be pretty low-techno one needs plug-ins or rendered artwork, and exchanging moves is only a few technical steps past sending them back and forth in emails or even the mail. And when much of online chess takes the form of speed matches played in 3 or even 1 minute (!), the less technical overhead, the better.
If you want to wade into online chess, check out Chess.com for both games and a ton of lessons and help as you get started. The Free Internet Chess Server dates back decades, with browser games and an option to download their app. And Lichess, which is "just" 10 years old, is an open-source chess platform that hosts a million games a day.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
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Posted: at 8:57 am
It seems like we are in for a couple of weeks of lively chess action, as the over-the-board elite tournament in Stavanger kicked off with three entertaining matchups. Magnus Carlsen did not take many risks with the black pieces against Levon Aronian in the classical game and went on to win a double-edged Armageddon decider, while Fabiano Caruana and Alireza Firouzja both won with black without needing to go to sudden death.
Talking to star commentators Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik, Caruana referred to the Candidates Tournament, which is supposed to resume on November 1. Noting that Wang Hao has raised some concerns regarding the corona-related safety measures taken by FIDE, Caruana explained:
Navigating the Ruy Lopez Vol.1-3
The Ruy Lopez is one of the oldest openings which continues to enjoy high popularity from club level to the absolute world top. In this video series, American super GM Fabiano Caruana, talking to IM Oliver Reeh, presents a complete repertoire for White.
Theres pretty much constant negotiations. I cant really go into too much detail. [...] I think that FIDE is really doing their best because its such an incredibly difficult situation. [...] There are a lot of scenarios in which there are basically no good solutions, like if someone gets sick in the middle of the tournament.
For the American, the result in the event has ceased to be his main concern:
To be honest, I think we shouldve just completed the tournament when we were there. [...] But thats already in the past. I hope it happens and it goes smoothly. For me right now the main thing is not even the result, the main thing is just that it happens.
Nonetheless, the world number two managed to leave these concerns behind during his game against Aryan Tari. In the second round, Caruana will face Jan-Krzysztof Duda with the white pieces;Carlsen and Aronian will also have white, against FirouzjaandTari respectively.
Namaste!Aronian and Carlsen found a way to shake hands while keeping the social distance| Photo: Lennart Ootes
In the classical game, Carlsen had a good position out of the opening with black, but he did not go into the most critical continuation on move 15:
Instead of 15...bxc5, leading to a sharper struggle, the world champion played 15...Nxc5. When Kramnik asked him why he had chosen the more conservative alternative, Carlsen responded:
The answer is very simple its the first game in a long time. I just feel that 15...Nxc5 was one-hundred percent safe for me, and I just wanted to play a normal game.
Carlsens approach led to a safe 30-move draw. In the Armageddon decider, a complex battle ensuedwith kings castled on opposite sides. White had the initiative, but Black had the better structure. Aronian was in the drivers seat throughout the middlegame, but gave up his initiative in the heavy-piece endgame:
Master Class Vol.11: Vladimir Kramnik
This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors (Pelletier, Marin, Mller and Reeh) how to successfully organise your games strategically, consequently how to keep y
Aronian went for 25.b3 here, and Black infiltrated on the kingside with 25...Qg4. As Carlsen pointed out, 25.Kb1 would have prevented this idea due to 25...Qg4 26.Qd7, while Polgar and Kramnik were analysing the more ambitious 25.h5 for the Armenian, who needed a win with the white pieces.
This slight imprecision did not give Black a better position, but it allowed the world champion to show his practical skills when both players had little time on the clock. Finally, Aronian blundered his rook on move 37 and resigned.
Select an entry from the list to switch between games
Focused world champion Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Lennart Ootes
Right out of the opening, the well-versed commentators were understandably surprised by Caruanas 13th move:
Here Black gave up a pawn with 13...Bxe3 14.fxe3 Be6 15.Qxd6 Rc8. Although this was not a novelty per se, apparently it was playedvoluntarily for the first time, as Caruana explained:
Its been played before, but I think its a novelty in the sense that people played it and it was a blunder. [...] In terms of serious games, this is a completely new idea.
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The American grandmaster confessed that it was Rustam Kasimdzhanovs idea, and that they had worked on it just a day before. White was a pawn up, but had trouble coordinating his pieces:
Here Caruana continued improving his pieces with 20...Nb6, but the commentators suggested the more direct 20...Rxc3, further damaging Whites pawn structure. Caruana showed how deep he had looked into this line and his general remarkable understanding when he explained why he had not gone for the exchange sac:
Its often an idea in this line, and one of the main ideas, but usually the point is that the pawns should be on h6 and h2, so after White plays h4 we can play Kh2, g5 and if Bh3, g4.
As it happened, Black slowly upped the pressure until getting a 55-move victory. Tari was not happy about his decision on move29:
29.Bf3 was naturally followed by 29...g4 and White went back with 30.Bg2 in a strange sequence. Instead, Polgar looked at 29.g4, when the white bishop will get some open diagonals to have a bigger say in the game.
World number two Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Lennart Ootes
Out of a Caro-Kann Firouzjas main weapon with black Duda decided to avoid entering a typical struggle in the opening by capturing a poisoned pawn on b7:
The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2
The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Blacks play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether. I have analyzed the new trends carefully and found some new ideas for Black.
The Polish grandmaster had already spent over half an hour on his 15th move, and now it took him almost 15 minutes to decide on 17.Qxb7, grabbing a pawn while granting Black open lines for an attack. Carlsen gave his opinion about Dudas decision:
Practically its a terrible choice I think, especially against Alireza.
Or as Firouzja himself put it:
I will always have the initiative. This attack is endless.
The game continued 17...Nd5 18.Qa6 Rb8:
The world champion correctly pointed out that 19.dxc5 was absolutely necessary here, while after Dudas 19.Bd2 White is strategically lost.
Indeed, Firouzja kept calling the shots from that point on and even forced White to give up an exchange. The conversion was not trivial though, as at some point the engines gave a 0.00 evaluation. Nonetheless, withstanding the pressure for so long took its toll on Duda, who ended up faltering on move 46:
Blacks kingside pawns became unstoppable after 46.a5 h3 47.gxh3 e4 48.fxe4 g2 and White resigned four moves later. In the diagrammed position, the passive 46.Ng1 was necessary.
Jan-Krzysztof Duda knows there is no way to stop Blackspawns | Photo: Lennart Ootes
1-2. Caruana, Firouzja 33. Carlsen 1.54. Aronian 15-6. Duda, Tari 0
Magnus Carlsen Alireza FirouzjaFabiano Caruana Jan-Krzysztof DudaLevon Aronian Aryan Tari
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