2D274907905979-150227-blue-black-white-gold-dress-inline.blocks_desktop_mediumThe German parliament has today voted to extend financial aid to Greece until June. Although the extension passed comfortably, there was some dissent in the ranks from Angela Merkel’s own party, casting doubt on how much support Greece will have for future debt extensions. Read More.

The UK political establishment was rocked by more scandal this week after it emerged that two well-known political figures (both former foreign secretaries) had been secretly filmed offering their influence to private companies in exchange for cash. Although both claimed to have not broken any roles, one of them has since been suspended by his party and the other has said that he will stand down at the next election. Read More.

It has definitely also been a week to forget for Natalie Bennett, the leader of the UK’s Green Party. In a radio interview earlier this week, Bennett was unable to answer basic questions on her party’s housing policy, leading to a series of prolonged awkward silences. Later describing the experience as “excruciating”, she blamed her poor performance on “brain fade” and a common cold. Commentators have described it as one of the worst political interviews ever, but have a listen yourself and see what you think! Read More.

Somebody else having a bad week was Madonna. Her long awaited return to the Brit Awards was overshadowed by a pretty calamitous wardrobe malfunction that led to her being hoisted backwards off the stage. Madge carried on like the true pro that she is but later revealed that she had suffered whiplash as a result of the incident. Somewhat ironically, the accident seemed in perfect sync with her lyrics; falling on "I let down my guard, I fell into your arms" and getting back on her feet to sing "now that it's over, I'm going to carry on” Read More.

Finally, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t have been able to escape the most mind-numbing debate of the week...is that dress blue and black, or white and gold. My first thought was “who cares?”...but it seems a lot of people do; the hashtag #TheDress was trending worldwide this week. Thankfully, the Mail Online have explained “the science behind the dress” for those of use without anything better to do. To find out more, click hereEnd of Story

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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

The weather seemed to be the headline news all week, with Boston again buried by big snow (nearing its all-time annual record of 107.6 inches) and a big freeze becoming routine around the country.  That backdrop seemed to put an added chill to global news items, also becoming routine, on violent extremism and the seemingly growing urge by some young people to join extreme forces.  In fact, at a three-day summit, President Obama called on the world to fight ISIS, calling the situation a “generational challenge.”

Elsewhere:

  • Wal-Mart is raising its pay to $10 per hour by next year, reflecting a tight labor market and a catch up move with other retailers;
  • Greece got a four-month extension on its bailout, helping stocks worldwide;
  • As a result, the Dow hit record high last week (its first for the year), to close at Friday at 18,140;
  • Bill O’Reilly goes on the defense on war-reporting claims (but seems a far cry from BrianWilliamsgate);
  • Former New York Mayor Giuliani goes on offense saying President Obama did not love his country and was influenced early in life by Communist;
  • Ex-Long-Time Fortune Editor Andrew Serwer is joining Yahoo Finance amid claim for big changes, big names and more video;
  • The New York Times did a big redesign of its Sunday magazine;
  • Mayweather and Pacquiao are happening (May 2) in what will be the biggest fight maybe ever; and
  • A-Rod pens a mea culpa (big deal?)

LatAm Gaze:

  • Venezuela was shaken this week by the government’s arrest of Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma.  Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who lost to current president Nicolas Maduro in a highly controversial 2013 election, has been among the most outspoken of the news, deeming the arrest a constitutional violation;
  • Protestors in the death of Argentine Federal Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, killed 1 day before scheduled to testify against the republic’s president related to a 1994 terrorist attack, held a silent march in Nisman’s honor this week.  President Cristina Kirchner has denounced the march;
  • A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Southwest coast of Mexico over the weekend.  No injuries were reported;
  • El Salvador will be exporting 50 thousand tons of sugar to China this week, generating US$20 million in revenue, making this the largest Salvadorian shipment of its kind; and
  • Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is examining a plan to reduce salaries of officials atop the public employment sector to fund a healthcare program fighting maternal mortality. End of Story

 

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blighty 3The Daily Telegraph came under fire this week after its chief political commentator abruptly resigned, citing the paper’s “reluctance” to cover the HSBC tax-avoidance story due to what he believed was pressure placed on the paper’s advertising team. The brouhaha that has ensued has opened a whole debate about editorial independence and has started a mudslinging contest between a number of titles – popcorn at the ready, this could be a good one! Read More

As we write, we wait with baited breath on the outcome of Greece vs the Eurozone: the grudge match! Seemingly endless discussions have, so far, been fruitless, but as the deadline on Greece’s loan deal approaches, something will have to give. Who needs Netflix with drama like this readily available? Read More

For those of you following UK government finances (C’mon, we know that is all of you!), you’ll be pleased to know that the highest surplus for seven years has been recorded for January 2015 (£6.5bn if you’re interested). This provides a significant boost for the Chancellor in the run up to the General Election. Read More

For the fashionistas amongst you, London Fashion Week kicks of today, heralding the arrival of numerous celebrities, models and designers. Read More  End of Story

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Nom.

 

I’ve forever held the belief that celebrities “afford” to be fit by being able to pay the $12.50 for a 4-ounce kale and flax-seed smoothie, only to be drunk after a three-hour workout in their state-of-the art home gyms with $600/hour personal trainers. It’s often frustrating for us un-famous folks to try and keep up with the latest clean eating trends when they cost half a paycheck. So kudos to Beyonce who, despite being a celebrity, has signed on with vegan home delivery service, 22 Days Nutrition, to inspire us more budget concerned health nuts to eat clean. With the help of exercise physiologist, Marco Borges, Bey is pairing two things America loves—herself and online ordering food delivery services like Seamless—to promote healthier lifestyles among the general public.

Not only has 22 Days Nutrition promised meals comprised “100% organic, Non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free ingredients that nourish the body, mind and soul”, but the weekly meal delivery service inadvertently has the best social media non-campaign my Instagram consumed eyes have ever seen. Given Beyonce . . . excuse me, Queen B’s notoriety as an empowering musical genius, mother and role model, the name association itself is enough to spark an award-winning social media campaign as organic as 22 Days Nutrition’s Almond Berry Breakfast Loaf.

Continue Reading »

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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

The media were clearly the story last week with the surprising deaths of David Carr (a frequent reference of this post and “Media Equation” columnist) and someone who Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., publisher and chairman of The Times, called “one of the most gift journalists who ever worked at The New York Times,” and then earlier in the week CBS News and “60 Minutes” journalist Bob Simon.  That was coupled with the ongoing front-page coverage of Brian William’s six-month departure (or as Chris Rock said –- paraphrased -– where I came from, “that’s being fired!”) with Lester Holt as replacement and Jon Stewart stepping down from “The Daily Show” (low point/high point as per The Times). 

Elsewhere:

  • Apple market cap tops $700 billion and in unrelated undercover news admits it has been secretly making an electric car;
  • Costco breaks up with Amex and shakes up card industry;
  • Expedia and Orbitz agree to merge;
  • USA Today extends media footprint with nine papers planning to run content from the national daily;
  • Stocks rallied with the S&P 500 up 2 percent to closed at a record 2,096 and the Dow up 1.1 percent to close at 18,019
  • LatAm News: Sebastián Dávalos,  son of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, resigned from his position as Socio-cultural Director following a bank loan scandal
  • A request to pursue a legal complaint has been officially filed against Argentine President Cristina Kirchner under allegations that she helped cover up Argentina’s involvement in a 1994 terrorist attack; and
  • President Obama uses a selfie stick for Buzzfeed and gets millions (at least 5.4 million) views.
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