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Czechs close bars and restaurants early in hopes of avoiding Covid-19 Lockdown



Czechs close bars and restaurants early in hopes of avoiding Covid-19 Lockdown

The Czech government on Thursday ordered bars and clubs to close at 10 p.m. and ban Christmas markets in a bid to contain one of the world’s highest rates of coronavirus infections.

The new restrictions also include a maximum attendance of 1,000 people at cultural and sporting events, as well as the sweeping lockdowns in neighboring Austria and Slovakia, where the infection rate is even higher.

The Czechs registered more than 25,000 new cases, a record on Tuesday, and an average of 1,516 daily COVID-19 cases per million inhabitants in the past week, the third highest in the world behind Slovakia and Austria, according to Our World in Data .

Health Minister Adam Vojtech said daily infections and hospitalizations are likely to rise further, but the government hoped the new measures would avoid the need for tougher restrictions.

The pub and event limits come on top of previous restrictions that have already barred people who have not been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 from places such as pubs, restaurants, cinemas, hairdressers and gyms.

“Let’s wait 10 days and then we may be able to adjust the measures,” Vojtech said after the government declared a 30-day state of emergency to implement the measures.

Many hospitals have canceled non-emergency care to reserve capacity for coronavirus patients, and some, especially in the southeast of the country near the borders with Slovakia and Austria, reported being overcrowded.

Helicopters and a special ambulance bus took 19 patients from the eastern city of Brno to hospitals in the capital Prague, 200 km away, on Thursday.

The University Hospital Motol in Prague admitted seven.

“We now have 110 patients, about half of them are in a severe or semi-severe condition and … two-thirds of them are unvaccinated,” Motol director Miroslav Ludvik told reporters.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis – who will hand over the office to a new government in a few weeks – said the government is in favor of compulsory vaccination for people aged 50 or 60 and selected professions, and could be approved next week.

However, the new government has spoken out against vaccine mandates.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the Czech Republic has vaccinated 58.5% of the total population, below the EU average of 65.8%.

Data from the Ministry of Health showed that 70% of patients in intensive care had not been vaccinated. There were nearly 6,000 coronavirus patients in hospitals and about 850 in intensive care, the data showed.

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Growing battle with TikTok, Facebook to test ‘Facebook Reels’ in US – TechCrunch




Growing battle with TikTok, Facebook to test 'Facebook Reels' in US - TechCrunch

Reels Coming to Facebook in the US The company announced this morning that it will be testing a new feature, Facebook Reels, that will allow Facebook users to create and share short video content directly in the news feed or in Facebook groups. The addition is an extension of tests launched earlier this year in India, Mexico and Canada that focused on bringing short videos to Facebook users, including by sharing existing Instagram roles on Facebook, as was reported.

In addition, Facebook today says it will also test a new feature that will give Instagram creators in the US the ability to feature their Instagram roles as featured content on Facebook. When the creators sign up, their videos will appear in the “Reels” section of users’ news feed, alongside other roles created on Facebook.

There will be many places for users to create roles from Facebook when the new feature launches.

Initially, you can tap the “Create” button in the “Reels” section that appears when browsing the News Feed while looking at reels, or tap “Reels” at the top of your News Feed. From here, users gain access to a standard set of creation tools, including those for video recording, music selection, film roll import, timed text, and more — just like you would access on Instagram.

For audio, you can pick a song from Facebook’s music library, record your own original audio, or even use someone else’s audio, if their roles are set to “public.” There’s also a variety of effects and editing tools to choose from, including a timer for hands-free reel recording, tools to speed up or slow down a portion of the video or your original audio, and some augmented reality effects created. by Facebook or third-party developers.

Facebook told us that for now “most” features of Instagram Reels will also be available on Facebook Reels. But other features — like Remix (it’s a take on TikTok’s side-by-side videos called Duets) — will be added over time as the test scales to more people. The UI for Reels may also evolve over time to look slightly different from Reels on Instagram, depending on user feedback.

After a reel is created, you can choose who to share it with, such as “Friends”, a specific audience such as “Friends except…” or the general audience. The latter is the default setting.

The feature will be made available within Facebook groups, where roles can be created and then shared with members of the community with similar interests.

Users can also choose to tap “My Roles” to view past creations. And you can browse those created by others in the News Feed and in certain groups and pages – where you can like, comment on, or share them, just like any other type of post. Roles will now also appear in search results, Facebook told us.

Like much of what appears on Facebook, Reels is recommended to users based on what people are interested in, what they are up to, and what is generally popular. This applies to both the shared Instagram roles and the Facebook roles.

Image Credits: Facebook (roles in groups)

The company explained that the decision to replicate the Reels product within Facebook is the result of growing consumer interest in video, especially short video. Today, video accounts for nearly half of all time spent on Facebook. on Facebook’s latest revenue call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that Reels was “already the biggest contributor to Instagram engagement growth,” given the popularity of short video.

“We’re very focused on making it easy for everyone to create videos and then watch those videos across all our different services, starting with Facebook and Instagram,” he had told investors.

But Facebook also understands that people have different communities and audiences on Instagram and Facebook, so offering a cross-posting option may not have been enough.

For existing Reels creators who still want to tap into Facebook’s general audience, a new option will allow them to ensure their Reels are shared on Facebook. This can be useful for those who have more general interest Reels content.

These shared roles also display the creator’s Instagram username, which could help them build a following. The creators’ roles can also be remixed, with the creator’s permission, and their original audio can be reused in other people’s roles, just like on TikTok.

This feature will also be introduced as a “test,” Facebook said.

While Instagram is already starting to monetize through ads, Facebook told us that Reels on Facebook doesn’t currently have ads. But “we plan to roll out ads in the future,” a Facebook spokesperson added.

Image Credits: Facebook (Share Instagram roles with Facebook opt-in flow)

Reels, Facebook’s Answer to the Growing Threat of TikTok, First launched a year ago to a worldwide audience. This launch alone wasn’t enough to put Instagram in the top spot as the world’s most downloaded mobile app. in 2020, that victory went to TikTok, after years of Facebook apps dominating the top lists. And TikTok continues to top the App Store charts today, both in terms of app installs and consumer spending, according to multiple third-party reports.

For Facebook, TikTok poses an existential threat to its business. If users’ time and attention is diverted elsewhere, Facebook’s advertisers can follow, impacting Facebook’s bottom line. So instead of competing with TikTok in just one app, Facebook now uses two. And it takes advantage of the interoperability of its apps to ensure that the best content can flow to both places with ease.

The company also invests directly in the maker community in hopes of tipping the scales back in the right direction.

In July, the company announced a plan to invest more than $1 billion in creators on both Facebook and Instagram through 2022. This fund will reward more than just the creators of Reels, to be clear, as it will also pay out bonuses for videos with in-stream ads enabled or for enabling IGTV ads among others. It will also reward the best creators who have invited fans to send them tips in the form of a virtual currency, “stars”. But Instagram Reels, and now Facebook Reels, will be included in that initiative.

Today, Facebook said it will announce additional bonus programs and seed funding in the coming months that will pay out bonuses for Reels on Facebook. These will be funded from that $1 billion commitment. The company declined to share details on this front, but this news alone indicates that Facebook Reels is much more than just “a test” in Facebook’s eyes.

The new features of Facebook Reels will start rolling out in the US starting today, August 19. It will be available first to a “small percentage” of US users on iOS and Android.

The feature will also remain active in India, Mexico and Canada.

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“Christmas Every Day – The Wonderful Life of Eddie Greene” now available on Youtube




“Christmas Every Day – The Wonderful Life of Eddie Greene” now available on Youtube
Eddie Green. [courtesy SeaGrace Visions Productions]

In June, an audience alone in the permanent space called for an encore at the preview screening of “Christmas Everyday – The Wonderful Life of Eddie Greene” at Dare County Arts Council.

That was followed by a screening of the final cut at The Pioneer Theater in Downtown Manteo in September with new interviews and changes based on audience response.

This story of a man who fell in love with the Outer Banks, and the community that loved him in return, is now available to watch in full on YouTube.

The documentary appeared on Small Business Saturday, a perfect date as Greene is perhaps best known to millions of visitors and Outer Banks residents for co-founding The Island Gallery and Christmas Shop in Manteo in 1967 with Richard Lacerre.

Greene retired after 48 “sparkling” years. But The Christmas Shop is alive today with new owners who continue to honor that legacy.

Whether dancing on a national Broadway Tour, serving in the Navy in World War II, or starting multiple companies, Edward Greene has always worked hard and worked with vision. And when he saw needs in his beloved Outer Banks, he stepped forward.

From the Outer Banks Community Foundation to the Friends of Jockey’s Ridge, it’s hard to find a place where Edward hasn’t given back to the people who gave him a lot.

This feature film is directed by filmmaker Bryan Jones.

“The Outer Banks loves Eddie because he loved them too, with all his heart. The size of a Christmas tree,” Jones said.

“I made it because one day while I was working in the Christmas store, I realized that Edward was a New York Yankee, and a Jewish man with a Christmas store,” Jones said. “And locals and tourists alike loved him, not him, loved him. And so did I,” Jones said.

“And one of the things on his list of 90 things to do was ‘Make a documentary.’ And that’s what I do. And it became “Tuesday with Eddie,” Jones said.

The documentary moves from New Rochelle, New York to the Outer Banks of today. In addition to stops at the San Francisco School of Ballet, Broadway, The Lost Colony, The Outer Banks Community Foundation and of course the many businesses Edward started and the many, many people he helped along the way. Edward is a man who made a difference.

“I can’t imagine my life without the Outer Banks,” Greene said.

And it’s hard to imagine the Outer Banks without Eddie Greene.

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Best musicals to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, NOW and more




Best musicals to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, NOW and more

Musicals can provide that feel-good feeling we all crave from time to time, and watching them in the comfort of your own home can be an added bonus thanks to modern technology.

Just like TV series or movies, there is also a range of musicals offered through streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon or Prime Video for you to sink your teeth into.

If you’re not sure what to pick this winter, Manchester Evening News has put together a list of the best musicals on offer to help you decide.

READ NEXT – Meet the Cast of Selling Sunset as the Series Returns to Netflix

Burst into song or dance with some picks or get invested in a gripping storyline, this list has it all.


This 2010 musical is a chic affair that stars the legendary Cher (Tess) and Christina Aguilera (Ali) in a fight to make it big. Ali champions her conquest by working his way through the ranks under the mentorship of Tess, who plays a veteran performer. This musical can be seen on Netflix.


It cannot be a musical list without mentioning Grease. The teen classic features classic songs that have become known worldwide, including “You’re the One That I Want”. If you’re looking for a musically inspired trip down memory lane, this movie is perfect. This musical can be seen on Netflix.

Mary Poppins returns

The sequel to the classic is just as lighthearted as the original and features acting legends like Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The musical offers the chance to forget our worries and offers comfort. This musical can be seen on Netflix.


Created by the legendary Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Evita tells the story of Eva Peron, an Argentine actor who escaped poverty and eventually grew up to be the wife of President Juan Domingo Perón, played by Madonna. Watch this musical on Amazon Prime Video.

Muppets Christmas Carol

If you’re looking for a Christmas musical this year, the Muppets Christmas Carol is a surefire choice. The message of friendship, family and love transcends the musical itself. This musical can be seen on Disney Plus.


Another classic composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats is based on a collection of poems by TS Elliot. The most famous song from the musical is Memory as sung by Grizabella. It is the fourth longest-running Broadway show and is now available to watch on NOW TV.

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