broadway

Romeo + Juliet Is Coming To Broadway With Kit Connor And Rachel Zegler To Star 

Romeo + Juliet is officially coming back to Broadway. Acclaimed director Sam Gold is set to adapt the famous Shakespeare play with the help of Grammy winner Jack Antonoff, who will be doing the music for the production. 

The Broadway production is set to have Rachel Zegler, known from West Side Story, as Juliet and Kit Connor, known from Heartstopper, as Romeo. 

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Tony award-winning director Sam Gold has previously taken on adapting other Shakespeare plays such as Macbeth and Othello. In a statement reported by The Guardian, he expressed his excitement about bringing this play to Broadway during a time where the world needs a little joy. 

“With the presidential election coming up in November, I felt like making a show this fall that celebrates youth and hope, and unleashes the anger young people feel about the world they are inheriting.”

The official synopsis states:

 “The youth are f*cked. Left to their own devices in their parents’ world of violent ends, an impulsive pair of star-crossed lovers hurtle towards their inescapable fate. The intoxicating high of passion quickly descends into a brutal chaos that can only end one way.”

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Gold recently directed the Insen adaptation An Enemy of the People, which received critical acclaim for Gold’s directing and for lead actor Jeremy Strong’s performance. Gold has previously worked with other stars such as Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo. 

Zegler celebrated the official announcement by posting on social media: “never beating the broadway debut allegations.” Zegler was recently hailed for her performance in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, and is also going to be starting in new comedy horror Y2K from Kyle Mooney. 

Connor is popularly known for his role in Netflix teen drama Heartstopper. Beside’s playing Romeo, Connor will soon be heard alongside actress Lupita Nyong’o in animated adventure The Wild Robot. He has also previously appeared on stage in London in the play Fanny & Alexander. 

Romeo and Juliet isn’t the only Shakespeare play making its way to Broadway. Denzel Washington and Jake Gyllenhaal are set to star in a new take on Othello this year, which will be the first Broadway staging of the play since 1982.

beatles

The Beatles Next Generation: John Lennon And Paul McCartney’s Sons Collaborate On New Song

The songwriting stylings of John Lennon and Paul McCartney defined a whole generation of music, and is one of the reasons The Beatles became such an iconic band in the history of music. Now, the sons of Lennon and McCartney, Sean Ono and James, have teamed up to bring back the Lennon-McCartney songwriting credit in a new song called “Primrose Hill.”

“Primrose Hill” is a single by James McCartney and was co-written by Sean Ono Lennon. The Guardian described the song as an “acoustic ballad with a shuffling backbeat and ruminative guitar soloing.”

“I had a vision as a child in Scotland, on what was a lovely summer’s day. Letting go, I saw my true love and savior in my mind’s eye. Primrose Hill is about getting the ball rolling with me & finding this person,” said James McCartney in an Instagram post. 

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Paul and Linda McCartney had James in 1977. He released two solo albums in 2013 and 2016, and stated recently that he was now “really getting the ball rolling” and he was “excited to continue to share music.”

Paul and James McCartney have previously co-written songs together, and James played with his father on his albums such as Flaming Pie in 1997. 

In a 2013 interview with the Daily Mail, James said “It’s hard to live up to the Beatles.”

“When Wings toured they got slated. Even Dad found it hard living up to the Beatles. I started out playing under an alias because I wanted to start quietly. I had to serve my time as a musician and wait until I had a good body of songs and for a time when both myself and my music were ready. I don’t want to sit around. I want to earn my own living,” he said.

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Sean Ono Lennon has also had his own musical career. In his early life he appeared on his mother’s, Yoko Ono, albums, and eventually joined the alt-rock band Cibo Matto. The other members of Cibo Matto and Zak Starkey, the son of Ringo Starr, backed up Ono Lennon on his debut album Into the Sun, in 1998.

The Beatles as an entity continue to be a major part of the music industry and where it’s at today. Additionally, new projects about The Beatles are still in the works. What is being referred to as the final new Beatles song, “Now & Then,” was released in the fall. 

Peter Jackson also directed and released the three-part documentary “Get Back,” and a reissue of the 1970 film “Let It Be” will air on Disney + in May. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled that … Let It Be has been restored and is finally being rereleased after being unavailable for decades. I’ve always thought that Let It Be is needed to complete the Get Back story,”  Jackson said.

nestle

Nestlé Adds Sugar To Infant Milk Sold In Poorer Nations, According To New Report

A new report has found that Nestlé, the largest consumer goods company in the world, adds sugar and honey to infant milk and cereal products that are sold in poorer nations. This directly contradicts international guidelines that are implemented to prevent childhood obesity and chronic diseases, according to The Guardian

The report itself came from Public Eye, a Swiss investigative organization. The organization sent samples of Nestlé’s baby-food products sold in Asia, Latin America, and Africa to a Belgian laboratory for testing. 

After testing the products and examining the packaging, the report revealed the presence of sugar in the form of sucrose, or honey in samples of Nido, one of Nestlé’s milk formula brands intended for infants aged one and up. They also found it in Cerelac, a cereal that is aimed for kids aged six months and two years. 

In the main European markets for Nestlé, there are no added sugars in formulas for young children. Some cereals that are advertised for older toddlers have added sugar, but none in any product targeted at babies between six-months-old to a year. 

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“Nestlé must put an end to these dangerous double standards and stop adding sugar in all products for children under three years old, in every part of the world,” said Laurent Gaberell, the agriculture and nutrition expert for Public Eye

Obesity in general is an ongoing and growing problem in lower and middle income countries. According to the World Health Organization, in Africa specifically the number of overweight children under five has increased by nearly 23% since 2000. 

The Guardian reported that worldwide, more than 1 billion people are living with obesity. 

In many countries it can be difficult for consumers to tell whether or not a certain product contains added sugar or how much is present due to how the nutritional information is printed. The labels also often have natural sugars found in milk and fruit under the same heading as any added sugars.

For European regions, the World Health Organization has guidelines that says no added sugars or sweetening agents should be permitted in any food for children under three. 

The UK recommends that children under four should also avoid food with added sugars, because of their risk of gaining weight and developing tooth decay. The US government has guidelines that simply recommend children under two avoid food and drinks with added sugars. 

The Public Eye report was written alongside the International Baby Food Action Network. Public Eye stated that data from Euromonitor International, a market-research company, showed that global retail sales for Cerelac exceeded $1 billion. The highest of those figures came from low and middle income nations; 40% of sales were within just Brazil and India. 

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Dr. Nigel Rollins, a medical officer at the World Health Organization, said this new report shows “a double standard that can’t be justified.”

Researchers found that biscuit-flavored cereals for babies six months and older contained 6 grams of added sugar for every serving sold in Senegal and South Africa. The same exact product sold in Switzerland has no added sugars. 

In India, tests performed on Cerelac products had, on average, more than 2.7 grams of added sugar for every serving. In Brazil, two out of eight products were found to have no added sugar, but the remaining six products had about 4 grams in each serving, according to The Guardian. In Nigeria, one product had up to 6.8 grams.  

Additionally, tests on Nido brand products showed a significant variation in sugar levels, much like with Cerelac. Worldwide retail sales for Nido products have grossed more than $1 billion. 

In the Philippines, no added sugars are in products aimed for toddler consumption, however, in Indonesia, Nido baby-food products all contain around 2 grams of added sugar per 100 gram of product in the form of honey. 

“We believe in the nutritional quality of our products for early childhood and prioritize using high-quality ingredients adapted to the growth and development of children,” a Nestlé spokesperson stated. 

“[Within the] highly regulated category of baby food, Nestlé always complied with local regulations or international standards, including labeling requirements and thresholds on carbohydrate content that encompasses sugars and declared total sugars in its products, including those coming from honey,” The Guardian reported

“Variations in recipes depended on factors including regulation and availability of local ingredients,” the spokesperson said.

drought

Bogotà, Colombia Starts Rationing Water For 9 Million People

Bogotà, Columbia is currently experiencing a severe drought due to El Niño, as reservoirs have been pushed to record lows, according to reports. The city’s authority announced this week that residents would have to start rationing water as a result. 

The rationing itself came into effect on Thursday, with Bogotà and dozens of surrounding towns being divided into nine zones. Domestic running water is cut off for 24 hours in each zone on a specific rotation that resets every 10 days. This new rationing system is set to impact around 9 million people. 

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There are additional plans to ensure that hospitals and schools have a continuous water supply, according to authorities. 

The Chuza and San Rafael reservoirs, part of the Chingaza System which provides 70% of the city’s drinking water, are in critical positions according to local authorities. 

“Let’s not waste a drop of water in Bogotá at this time, that will help us so that these restrictions can be lifted more quickly or reduced,” Mayor Carlos Fernando Galán said in a news conference.

According to Stefano Pozzebon, writer for CNN, “It’s not unusual for cities in Latin America to face water crises. Bogotá joins Mexico City to its northwest, which could also be on the brink of running out of water, as the combination of climate change, El Niño, geography and rapid urban development put immense strain on its water resources. But this marks the first time in recent history that Bogotá has been forced to implement water rationing measures.”

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“Most cities around the world depend on aquifers for their water supplies. Bogota is different in that almost all our supply comes from surface waters like reservoirs, which are more susceptible to rain patterns,” said Armando Sarmiento, an ecology professor at Bogotá’s Javeriana University.

“It’s this dependence on rain that makes Bogotá particularly vulnerable to drought,” Sarmiento told CNN.

“Since last year, the city has experienced long dry periods due to the impact of El Niño,” according to local authorities.

Bogotá’s water rationing plans have been endorsed by the nation’s president. A civil authority tasked with protecting civil and human rights in Columbia, issues a statement this week that stated “a long-term reliable water supply is a basic human right, and the environment ministry in February launched a campaign with the hashtag #ElNinoNoEsUnJuego (El Niño is not a game) to warn Colombians not to underestimate the crisis.”

“We got to a point where we can’t expect water to come down like it used to be if we don’t respect the reservoirs’ natural supply cycle, if we don’t respect water’s natural cycle,” Sarmiento, the ecologist, told CNN.

student loans

President Biden To Forgive $7.4 Billion In Student Loan Debt For More Than 270,000 Borrowers

President Biden’s administration announced last week that it will be using existing student loan forgiveness programs to cancel more student loan debt. They’re planning on forgiving $7.2 billion for around 277,000 borrowers, according to reports.

The Department of Education has seemingly made it easier for groups like public sector workers to qualify for loan forgiveness. The administration also launched a repayment plan to make it easier for low-income borrowers to pay back their loans. 

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The Biden administration has authorized, in total, the $153 billion in student loan debt cancellation for around 4.3 million people; more than 9% of all outstanding federal student loan debt. 

The Biden administration has eagerly been showing how much student loan debt they’re canceling especially due to the election in November. Around $3.6 billion of student loan debt relief will be delivered to individuals enrolled in the SAVE plan. 

“Republicans in 18 states want to prevent their own constituents from benefiting from the SAVE plan. They want to end SAVE, make their constituents’ payments go up and keep them under mountains of loan debt with no end in sight,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The SAVE plan launched last year and around 8 million borrowers have enrolled with about 360,000 people getting their remaining debt canceled.

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Biden has previously attempted to implement a student loan forgiveness program in 2022, however, it was rejected by the Supreme Court before it could actually deliver any debt relief. 

Biden has, however, canceled more student loan debt than any other president, and he’s mainly been utilizing existing programs. The administration has used the existing programs but made it easier to access for more US citizens. 

“Since the fall, the Biden administration has been working on set of new proposals, based on a different legal authority, to deliver relief to certain groups of borrowers.
For example, those whose student loan balances are bigger than what they initially borrowed could see their accumulated interest wiped way,” wrote Katie Lobosco for CNN

“Those proposals have yet to be finalized, but some could go into effect as soon as this fall, according to administration officials.”

ai

Facebook And Instagram To Start Labeling Digitally Altered Content ‘Made With AI,’ Meta Says

Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, announced that they would be making major changes to its policies on digitally created and/or altered media. 

Meta will start adding “Made with AI” labels to posts that use artificial intelligence to create photos, videos, and audio published on Facebook and Instagram. The apps will begin adding this label in May. 

Vice president of content policy, Monika Bickert, stated in a blogpost that Meta would “apply separate and more prominent labels to digitally altered media that poses a particularly high risk of materially deceiving the public on a matter of importance, regardless of whether the content was created using AI or other tools,” according to the Guardian

A spokesperson also stated that Meta will begin applying more prominent high-risk labels immediately. 

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This approach will overall shift the way Meta treats manipulated content. Instead of removing the content altogether, posts made to Facebook and Instagram will not provide viewers with the information about how the image was edited.

A company spokesperson said the “labeling approach would apply to content posted on Facebook, Instagram and Threads. Its other services, including WhatsApp and Quest virtual-reality headsets, are covered by different rules.”

In February, Meta’s oversight board said the company’s existing rules on manipulated media were “incoherent” after reviewing a video of President Joe Biden posted on Facebook last year that had been digitally altered to make it seem as though the president was acting inappropriately.

The board said the “policy should also apply to non-AI content, which is not necessarily any less misleading than content generated by AI, as well as to audio-only content and videos depicting people doing things they never actually said or did,” according to the Guardian.

barns and noble

Barnes & Noble Workers Organizing Union Drive For The Largest Bookstore Chain In The US 

Workers at Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the US, are preparing for a nationwide union drive after six outlet stores voted to organize throughout the past year, according to reports

According to the workers, who are demanding better pay and working conditions, “many more” stores will move to unionize.

Locations that already have unionized have made multiple claims that management has delayed attempting contract negotiations, and James Daunt, the CEO, allegedly went on a months-long campaign to encourage employees not to vote in favor of organizing. 

“He would come in and essentially try to talk us out of unionizing. The big argument against us unionizing was it would make his life harder, which he would repeat several times. It wasn’t very successful,” said Jessica Sepple, a worker at Barnes & Noble’s flagship New York City store in Union Square.

Daunt disputed the claims of negotiating delays, and stated he agreed with the workers on “the fundamentals” of their demands while warning of “potential upsides and downsides to a union.”

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The store voted 76-2 in favor of unionizing last summer. Barnes & Noble has around 600 stores across the US. The business itself has been on a decline in recent years, and Daunt, who became CEO in 2019, has said he’s worked hard to turn around the business. 

Sepple said that their “purpose for unionizing is to get some recognition for the dignity of workers, and having sat at the table and currently in negotiations with Barnes & Noble, it is disappointing that Barnes & Noble has not treated this as if that dignity is deserved.”

Sepple also discussed that workers at the Union Square location have experienced lagging wages, safety concerns with ladders and general book storage, aggressive customers, and being given duties that the job initially did not entail, according to The Guardian

“If you’re good at your job, you’re just going to get more work. It takes a lot of knowledge, research, and a love of reading and books to make it happen, and oftentimes I’ve found the company tends to coast on that.”

In Brooklyn’s Park Slope, workers won a union election in July 2023. Sydul Akhanji, a worker at the store for two years, said he wants to work for the bookstore chain for a long time, but the low pay has been a major downside. He stated “if the company wants to build itself around knowledgeable booksellers, its workers need to be able to afford rent and food.”

Akhanji also alleged that Daunt attempted to deter the workers at Park Slope from unionizing. He claimed that the CEO “just went on and on about how it’d be hard and make all his plans complicated, if we unionized, and how he has a vision for us, so please, just don’t unionize right now.”

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Workers have also claimed that all contract negotiations are slowed down because executives are sending them to their company lawyers, who are typically not present during the discussions and negotiations. In some of the New York stores, management has been negotiating separately from the workers as well. 

“We live in the most expensive city in the country, and our starting wage until very recently was minimum wage, and it’s just not sustainable,” Esther Rosenfield, a barista at the Barnes & Noble in Manhattan, said.

Barnes & Noble workers in Bloomington, Illinois heard about the union voting in New York and decided to hold their own. In November, they unanimously voted to unionize. 

“James Daunt did a conference call to the store himself saying a vote for the union is a vote against him. The issues we’re facing are companywide. We’re all facing the same issues. If one small store in the midwest can unionize, then anyone can,” said senior bookseller, Zane Crockett.

Daunt stated: 

“My argument to the booksellers has been very simple: we have no disagreement with the fundamentals of what is being asked for, and indeed have pivoted the company precisely to achieve them. Only a successful business, after all, can deliver the investments necessary to improve pay and the physical condition of our stores.”

“In this endeavor, I see both potential upsides and downsides to the addition of a union. The most obvious potential upside is to have a clearer articulation of bookseller aspirations. Equally, there are potential downsides, notably if it causes unnecessary confrontation between ‘management’ and ‘workers’ and the fact that low-paid booksellers will have to pay significant dues to the union, all other things being equal reducing their pay.”

kids

Children Who Are Considered Obese Are Twice As Likely To Develop Multiple Sclerosis, According To New Study

Children who are considered obese could face more than double the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) as adults, according to a new study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. 

MS can impact the brain and spinal cord. It causes a range of potential symptoms such as problems with arm or leg movement, sensation, balance, or vision. MS can also lead to serious disability throughout one’s life. 

The Karolinska Institute will be presenting the findings of their study at the European Congress on Obesity in May in Venice. 

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Previous research has speculated that there is a link between high body mass index (BMI) in adolescence and a larger risk of MS in adulthood, however, most of the studies that suggested this were using self-reported data, so it was difficult to arrive at an accurate conclusion. 

With this particular study, the researchers wanted to evaluate the risk of developing MS by utilizing a large population of obese children to compare with the general population.

According to reports from the Guardian, researchers analyzed data from the Swedish Childhood Obesity Treatment Register, which utilizes a database known as Boris. This institute is one of the world’s largest registries for treatment of childhood obesity.

The study looked at data from more than 21,600 children with obesity aged two to 19 who joined the registry between 1995 and 2020. The children, on average, started their treatment for obesity when they were around 11-years-old. They also compared that data to more than 100,000 children without obesity to get the greatest comparison possible. 

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The children monitored in the study were tracked for about six years, and during the follow-up period, 28 of those with obesity were diagnosed with MS (0.13% of the group) and 58 in the group without obesity (0.06% of the group). 

Within both groups, the average age of the MS diagnosis was 23-years-old. 

“Despite the limited follow-up time, our findings highlight that obesity in childhood increases the susceptibility of early-onset MS more than twofold,” the authors stated. 

“One of the effects of obesity in childhood is that it causes a low-grade but chronic inflammation, and most probably this inflammation increases the risk to develop several diseases such as MS,” study authors, Emilia Hagman, an associate professor, and Prof Claude Marcus, said.

“It is also believed that chronic low-grade inflammation increases the risk for other such diseases as asthma, arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and some forms of cancers. However, we know that weight loss reduces the inflammation and most likely the risk to develop such diseases.”

lions

Former Lions Defensive Back Cameron Sutton Turns Himself In After Police Searched For Weeks 

Cameron Sutton has officially turned himself in after a weeks-long search for the former NFL DB (defensive back) who was wanted on a domestic violence warrant. 

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced that 29-year-old Sutton arrived at a jail in Tampa, Florida last Sunday night. Sutton’s attorney informed authorities that he would be turning himself in nearly a week prior, according to the Guardian

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“After weeks of evading law enforcement, this man has finally made the right choice to turn himself in,” Hillsborough County sheriff Chad Chronister said. 

“Domestic violence has no place in our community, and no one is above the law here in Hillsborough County. My thoughts are with this woman as she continues to heal from this man’s gruesome actions.”

Reports state that Sutton’s initial arrest warrant charged him with a felony, but on Monday prosecutors stated he was formally charged with misdemeanor battery. 

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A misdemeanor battery charge has a maximum sentence of one-year jail time. The state attorney’s office stated that Sutton was released from jail on Monday on his own recognizance. 

At around 5 a.m. on March 7th, the sheriff’s department responded to a domestic violence call that was in progress involving Sutton and a female. Around two weeks ago, the sheriff’s office asked for assistance locating Sutton. 

Soon after the sheriff announced their need for help locating Sutton, Lions president Rod Wood stated that Sutton was at the team’s training facility which is located right outside of Detroit. Afterwards, a member of the Lions staff told Sutton he should turn himself in. 

“Suggested he get counsel and do the right thing to turn himself in. After that, we met the rest of the day and the following morning to decide to release him [from his contract],” Wood told local Detroit station Fox 2.

dengue fever

Public Health Emergency Declared In Puerto Rico Over Dengue Fever Outbreak

Puerto Rico’s hot and humid climate makes dengue fever an ongoing risk for its citizens. This year, however, “cases have exceeded historical figures,” according to Puerto Rico Health Secretary Carlos Mellado. 

Mellado has officially called a public health emergency this week as a means of decreasing the current rise in dengue fever cases. The declaration will help guarantee Puerto Rico has access to the resources they need in order to combat the current outbreak. The declaration is currently set to last for 90 days, and will be renewed if necessary. 

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Besides just Puerto Rico, Brazil, Peru, and other Latin American countries have also declared a state of emergency over dengue fever. 

The Puerto Rico Department of Health stated that they first noticed an increase in dengue fever cases at the end of 2023, according to NBC News. By the third week of January, there had been 146 cases reported, and the rates kept increasing. 

As of March 10th, there have been about 550 dengue fever cases reported in Puerto Rico since the beginning of the year. According to the Health Department, most of the cases are in the capital of San Juan. 

62% of patients have been hospitalized, according to reports, and only 29 cases have been considered severe so far. 

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Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease in which the most common symptom is fever, as well as serious headaches, nausea, vomiting, rash, and body pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also stated that most dengue fever patients recover in a week, but severe cases can be life-threatening and require hospitalization, as it can lead to shock, internal bleeding, and death. Individuals who have experienced dengue fever in the past are more likely to develop severe symptoms. 

The CDC, the Puerto Rico Health Department, and other local agencies are working together to implement a dengue fever prevention and control plan. The plan involves eliminating and cleaning up areas of stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. 

The plan also involved urging the public to use mosquito repellents and wire mesh panels to keep mosquitos out of their home. 

In a statement Monday, Mellado said “that all parts of Puerto Rican society must join forces to prevent contagion and the spread of this virus.”