Tag Archives: Food / Beverage / Tobacco

‘There is a haunting silence’: This is life in Italy, one year after a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 | Instant News

COMO, Italy – As Maestro Vanni Moretto walked across the stage, the only sound he could hear was the echo of his footsteps as he took center stage in front of his orchestra. He turned to face the 858 empty seats at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa and awkwardly tilted his head, first left then right, acknowledging the unseen audience. There is silence haunting the empty spaces of the stalls and the highlands. Taking off his mask, he signals the start of the symphony, and the music begins.

Twelve months after Italy began its first lockdown, following the cluster of COVID-19 infections in the northern industrial area, composer Milan, orchestra conductor and violinist Vanni Moretto summed up the situation in one word – sadness. It is grim to say that cinemas remain closed as we enter the second year of the pandemic. Cultural Heritage Minister Dario Franchesini initially had high hopes for the ongoing live stream, but his proposal on ‘Cultural Netflix’ was considered by many in the industry as pure madness or “total madness”.

“We are tired at the moment, and demotivated,” said Moretto. “The initial enthusiasm for reinventing our work via streaming has slowed down. You can’t simply perform a Shostakovich symphony, for example, in an empty theater. That Magic moment the first note, in front of a live audience, has been stripped of both the orchestra and the audience. This is disappointing. ”

‘The magico moment of the first note, in front of a live audience, has been stripped of both the orchestra and the audience.’

– Orchestra conductor and violinist Vanni Moretto

Nearly a year when cinemas, theaters and museums first closed to the public, La Scala in Milan, Teatro Sociale di Como along with many others across the country lit up their buildings in an attempt to highlight the plight of an industry. felt left in the dark. This initiative also serves as a plea to leaders to think about our mental health where, as Gandhi put it, “the culture of a nation resides.”

Government officials, however, had other things on their mind. Former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte felt the need to resign following a dispute over how to allocate the € 209 billion ($ 249 billion) he got from Europe, which is 28% of all EU rescue funds. President Sergio Mattarella has since put his trust in former head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi to help the country emerge from its political and economic crisis.

Vaccinations start here on December 27th. Currently, Pfizer
+ 0.56%

and German partner BioNTech SE
+ 1.10%


two-dose vaccine, and AstraZeneca
+ 1.76%

a single-dose vaccine by booster injection 12 weeks earlier is available here. More than 1.6 million have been fully vaccinated.

As of Monday, more than 3 million Italians have tested positive for COVID-19 and 99,785 people have died from the coronavirus, the sixth highest death toll per country since the pandemic began.

Prime Minister Draghi’s new government was sworn in last month, in what he described as a “difficult moment for Italy.” He not only plans to defeat the pandemic, solve vaccinations, solve citizen problems and rebuild the country, but the agenda is green too. On this front, the pandemic will certainly help given that many of us are now being given clues about the efficiency of online meetings instead of getting on a plane to meet the boss in Naples or Rome.

However, this may not bode well for the world of culture that the Deputy Secretary for Cultural Heritage claims, Lucia Borgonzoni, haven’t read the book for years of pleasure. The priority, perhaps, remains elsewhere as the pandemic continues to penetrate the region. Experts predict that the English variant will become dominant by mid-March, while health official Silvio Brusaferro is optimistic that the Brazilian and South African strains can still be contained.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza also hopes, even though there is a delay in vaccination. Talks have started about vaccine production in Italy, with a projected time frame of four to six months. Authorities hope to achieve herd immunity this summer and then move on to the final phase of shooting in the last quarter of 2021, but according to a weekly index published by the Hume Foundation, we need to vaccinate four times the current rate. for that to happen.

Alison Fottrell: ‘The authorities hope to achieve herd immunity this summer and then move on to the final phase of shooting in the last quarter of 2021, but according to the weekly index published by the Hume Foundation, we need to vaccinate at four o’clock. times the current rate for that to happen. ‘

To speed things up, the Ministry of Health has given the green light for the possibility of skipping a booster vaccine for those who have recently been exposed to the virus. This is based on the assumption that these people have developed certain immunity. It is clear that all options are being examined so that there could be some easing of the boundaries that continue to define our daily existence. Lombardy in the north remains the region with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with an oscillating infection rate currently at 6.7%.

As a result, restaurants and bars continue to close at 6pm. The 22:00 national curfew, in effect from November 2020, remains in effect. This is the time when the shutters are closed, and the streets are mostly silent until 5 a.m. when they lift.

In order for no curfew, we must have less than 50 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in the region, which the government calls the ‘white’ zone. In fact, every part of Italy is periodically colored – the lighter the color, the less casing.

While this color coding idea avoids a national lockdown like the one on 9 March 2020 and provides some areas of respite from the intensity of government action, living with uncertainty can be troubling. It’s like Kaa Rudyard Kipling coming back to life every two weeks to cast her optical spell, turning us from red to orange to yellow and back to an even deeper orange. That’s the number of Como colors since the start of the year. This is enough to make your head spin.

“It looks like Rudyard Kipling’s Kaa comes to life every two weeks to cast its optical spell, turning us from red to orange to yellow and back to even deeper orange. ‘

And the head is not the only thing that starts, as the Italians say, turn. People get frustrated. Over the past year, relatives have died, funerals have been missed, and people in general have been scaled back. Whether COVID is positive or not, physical isolation is real. And for young people, this is very destabilizing. The constant threat of turning red loomed large, and they were under immense psychological stress the longer this lasted.

According to Stefano Vicari, head of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry at the Bambino Gesù in Rome, the number of incidents of self-harm and attempted suicide among those aged 12 to 18 has risen sharply, especially since the second wave of the pandemic. by October 2020. The recent increase in police patrols on the busy square in Como on Saturday night is further evidence of a growing social malaise that needs to be watched. Street fights have broken out between local youths, and a similar scene has been witnessed in Milan.

With the region’s recent color change, high school students here in Como are returning to their full computer screens, only returning to the classroom on alternate weeks. The longer their virtual course lasts, the higher the dropout rate, with those most disadvantaged economically most at risk. And just as some people can’t wait to get back to normal, there are others who have become accustomed to online interactions, and are genuinely afraid to return to their previous routine.

Back at the Teatro Verdi of Pisa, the show, as it should be, continues. “The damage has been done, to what extent we still can’t understand, but over time I think we’ll see that it’s significant,” repeated Maestro Vanni Moretto. He presided over the orchestra with a rising crescendo of strings, horns, and oboes before marking the end of the symphony. He turned again to face the silence of the empty theater and to recognize the faceless crowd. Swinging back to the musicians, he does the closing gesture of the concert and asks them to bow. He quickly left. As shown by Moretto’s curtain concert and curtain call, there is a sense of hope and uneasiness.

One year after our national lockdown, life here in Italy is neither normal nor new.

Alison Fottrell is a teacher and writer based in Como, Italy.

This essay is part of the MarketWatch series, ‘Deliveries from the pandemic. ‘

‘Cultural Heritage Minister Dario Franchesini initially had high hopes for the ongoing live stream, but his proposal for’ Netflix of Culture ‘was seen by many in the industry as a temple follia or “total madness”. Photo: Seats marked due to social distancing at the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, Italy.

Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images


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Why hasn’t the cost of food gone up yet | Instant News

More American consumers ate at home last year because of the pandemic, contributing to the biggest annual increase in food prices at home in nine years.

Food costs are expected to increase further in 2021. “This year, food price inflation is certainly a concern,” said Isaac Olvera, chief economist with ArrowStream, a supply chain technology company for the food service industry.

Food prices in 2020 are up 3.9% from 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Prices are for the food category at home, where the buyer is also a consumer rose at the same rate of 3.9% last year, the biggest annual increase since 2011.

That US Department of Agriculture estimates a 2% to 3% increase in food prices this year, compared to a 20-year historical average increase of 2.4%. Prices for meals outside the home – served by restaurants and other services – are also expected to increase by 2% to 3%, while prices for meals at home are expected to increase by 1% to 2%, the government agency said.

Food inflation is almost double the Federal Reserve’s inflation target, said Sal Gilbertie, president and chief investment officer at Teucrium Trading. Meat and grains, and grain products like bread, represent “a much higher overall rate of inflation,” he said. BLS data revealed an unadjusted 5.5% increase in the meat expenditure category from January 2020 to January 2021.

Gilbertie attributed the higher rate of inflation to rising grain prices and “the failure and rebuilding of China’s pig herd.” The Chinese have to import large quantities of animal protein to make up for the shortage of meat from pig herds hit by African swine fever. Then China imports grain to feed the pigs as it works to rebuild their numbers, he said.



and soybeans
+ 0.24%

+ 0.24%

prices are higher this time of year. Last year, corn futures rose nearly 25%, wheat


up nearly 15% and soybeans by more than 37%.

China was behind most of the increase in corn and soybeans, Olvera said. Brazil and the US supplied most of the beans to China and last year. Brazil is basically running out of exportable soybeans and is actually importing it.

Among the biggest reasons for the increase in food costs last year, however, were disruptions to packing factories caused by workers suffering from the coronavirus that closed many meat processing facilities, Olvera said. “Packing factories are closed and production of beef, pork and poultry is hampered,” he said, as consumers flock to grocery stores to buy supplies.

Retail food demand this year remains “strong,” Olvera said, with pricing across the protein complex above last year’s level. During this year, the futures price for lean pork
+ 0.92%

+ 0.92%

has increased by about 20%, while feeder cattle
+ 0.81%

+ 0.78%
or livestock sent to the feedlot, experienced a modest decline.

Olvera said the increase in the number of skinny pigs this year was partly due to the increase in feed costs. “Many traders are betting on pork supply and export expectations,” and the market suggests that “domestic pork availability may be tight until mid-year.”

The price of feeder cattle is under pressure due to the increase in corn prices. Because maize is used in feed, ranchers are more likely to lose money on fattening cows, Olvera said. There could be less livestock and a tighter meat supply in the second half of this year, he said, adding that he continued to view beef demand as still strong.

The reopening of restaurants will lead to inflation, as wholesale food supplies will be reallocated between retail and food services, Olvera said, although it is not known how active consumers will return to restaurants in a post-pandemic world.

In the long term, “we believe that consumers have changed and this change will force… the food service industry to become more agile,” he said.


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US to target more French, German, alcoholic drinks at 25% rate | Instant News

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has said it will target more French and German wines and spirits at 25% tariffs starting January 12, in the latest escalation in the tit-for-tat tariff battle over a long-running dispute over subsidies for commercial jet airliners.

Among the new levies, the US will for the first time impose a 25% levy on wine from France and Germany in excess of the 14% alcohol it had previously exempted, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.

The US has seen a spike in these highly alcoholic wines, typically from Spain and France, after wines with 14% alcohol or less were charged last year.

“Especially with what is happening in light of the pandemic, with the closure of restaurants and refineries, this is not the right time to enter an industry that is already facing economic impact,” Christine LoCascio, head of public policy for the US Council’s Distilled Spirits, said Thursday.

Washington imposed a 25% tariff on wines from France, Spain, Germany and the UK in October 2019 in retaliation for subsidies they made to European aircraft maker Airbus SE.
on the grounds that they hurt Boeing Co.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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How we spend our money in 2020.

Lessons from crazy years on financial markets


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Thanksgiving has gotten darker in many soup kitchens this year – here’s why | Instant News

As demand increases in soup kitchens and soup kitchens, many have no choice but to reject some of them, according to a report released Wednesday.

Comes the day before Thanksgiving and the day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average

reach a 30,000 points milestoneThe Hunger Free America survey of emergency food providers is a reminder that – as an economy slowly getting better – life has become more difficult for many Americans because of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rampage.

“They are just shocked by the magnitude of what they are getting into.”

– Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America

The new report also arrives about a month before the end of a deadline for financial aid and a national moratorium on evictions that proponents say are turning. important safety net.

The report by the national non-profit organization also adds context to the photo of the food distribution channels snaking around various places including Bloomington, Ind., Houston, Texas, Costa Mesa, California and elsewhere, and raises the specter of a K-shaped economic recovery as different parts of the economy – particularly Wall Street and Main Street – regain strength at different rates and at different times.

Hunger Free America’s national survey of 154 soup kitchens and soup kitchens reveals:

• 22.5% of this year’s program had to refuse people, reduce food quantities or cut distribution hours. Last year, 4.8% of programs had to take these steps.

• 11.2% of programs said they were unable to meet demand this year while seeing a 14.6% increase in the number of people served.

• These programs are successful with fewer people. More than 70% experienced a reduction in staff and volunteers due to the pandemic.

Read:US jobless claims hit a 5-week high as a record wave of the coronavirus triggered more layoffs

Nothing found should surprise Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America – except how quickly the need for food spread. “It validates that this is what we saw, this is what we know, this is what we hope for,” he said, noting that America had a hunger problem even before COVID-19 hit.

Nearly 21% of survey respondents were based in the Northeast, another 21% in the Midwest. 35% of survey participants were in the south and 23% in the west.

Other hunger advocacy organizations see a similar pattern: 50 million people now live in food-insecure households, according to projections from Feeding America. That’s an increase of 35 million people United States Department of Agriculture is thought to be in the same condition last year. What’s more, 60% of the food banks in the Feeding America network see an increase in demand year over year, the organization said last week.

US Census Bureau data also shows expanding food insecurity: 8.5% of people in early November said they didn’t eat enough last week, up from 7.2% at the end of August, an ongoing survey shows.

Berg heard the tension as he spoke with people running emergency feeding programs. “They were very surprised by the magnitude of what they were getting into,” he told MarketWatch.

“We’re starting to see lots of new families who never thought they would seek help from soup kitchens.”

– Rhonda Oliver, executive director of Feeding Greene

When these programs turn people away, Berg says it’s mostly a matter of not having enough to eat. “Starvation in America is not about food shortages. It’s a shortage of money to buy food. “The rules apply equally to cash-strapped households and charities trying to provide support, he said.

The report includes quotes from administrators in food programs across the country, such as one from Rhonda Oliver, Virginia-based executive director of Feeding Greene.

“We are starting to see many new families who never thought they would seek help from soup kitchens,” he wrote. “Our middle class is disappearing, and has been since the economy collapsed in 2007. Our current coronavirus crisis has forced many of our ‘middle class’ into a state of being unable to meet their own needs.”

The kitchen has ample food supplies for now, but Oliver said he is concerned about future food quantities “if our current situation continues.”

Related:10 ways you can help others this Thanksgiving

Government funding

Although talk of other stimulus has stalled, Berg said additional government money for food stamps and other social services would be helpful because government financial assistance could provide more provision than food banks, kitchens and soup kitchens.

From March to July, money paid in 22 states for federal food stamps, known as the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program, rose to $ 4.4 billion from $ 3 billion, said the Hunger Free America report. Over the same time period, the number of cases in 33 states increased by 14%, the report added.

“We champion volunteers and people around the charity, and they give a big role and they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” said Berg.

But some of the “greatest unknown hunger heroes in America are regular employees at the state, county, and city levels who have done an extraordinary job of dramatically increasing participation in government programs in just a few months.”

See also:This Oregon gas station owner made sure local kids had enough to eat, even when his own business was struggling


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