Posts tagged with "Italy"

Biden to join virtual G7 event on efforts to combat COVID-19 on February 19

Febraury 16, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden will participate in a virtual G7 event on Friday, February 19, during which he plans to discuss efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild the world economy, CNN reports

According to the BBC, the G7 (or Group of Seven) comprises the world’s seven largest so-called advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The group regards itself as “a community of values,” with freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and prosperity and sustainable development as its key principles.

The virtual meeting, hosted by the United Kingdom, also will include leaders of the European Commission and European Council.

The Friday confab will be Biden’s first meeting with the leaders of the G7 as president and represents a departure from former President Donald Trump’s retreat from handling of the pandemic and global relations.

He’ll specifically focus on areas including “coordination on vaccine production, distribution, and supplies, as well as continued efforts to mobilize and cooperate against the threat of emerging infectious diseases by building country capacity and establishing health security financing,” a White House statement released Sunday evening said.

When it comes to rebuilding an economy badly battered by the pandemic, Biden is set to focus on “the importance of all industrialized countries maintaining economic support for the recovery,” the statement said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement this past weekend that he will use the virtual event to call for global cooperation in the battle against the “common foe” of coronavirus. Johnson will charge the leaders to “work together on a joined-up global approach to pandemics that brings an end to the nationalist and divisive politics that marred the initial response to coronavirus,” the statement said.

“Quantum leaps in science have given us the vaccines we need to end this pandemic for good. Now world governments have a responsibility to work together to put those vaccines to the best possible use. I hope 2021 will be remembered as the year humanity worked together like never before to defeat a common foe,” Johnson said.

Even as global Covid-19 cases have declined in recent weeks, the virtual meeting comes just as new variants are threatening to throw a wrench in government vaccination plans.

Biden’s vow to coordinate with other governments on the pandemic and global economy offers yet another break with Trump’s approach to foreign policy.

As the pandemic surged globally last May, Trump announced he was postponing the summit, “because I don’t feel as a G7 it probably represents what’s going on in the world.”

“It’s a very outdated group of countries,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One at the time.

CNN notes that, throughout his term, Trump publicly questioned and denigrated the value of the America’s  most longstanding alliances, including with USA from the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord, the World Health Organization,and a slew of other United Nations agencies.

On his first day in office, Biden reversed several of Trump’s attempts to withdraw from international agreements—beginning the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord and halting the departure from the World Health Organization.

In remarks at the State Department earlier this month, Biden declared that “diplomacy is back at the center” of US foreign policy as he vowed to “rebuild” US alliances worldwide.

Research contact: @CNN

Bill Murray returns in ad for Jeep—because every day feels the same now

April 13, 2020

Groundhog Day in April?  At a time in America when every day feels the same, the idea of Bill Murray hearing Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe” on a clock radio morning after morning sounds about right,

It’s hard to believe it’s only been about two months since Murray reprised his role as Phil Connors from the 1993 box office hit, “Groundhog Day” to appear in a Jeep Gladiator ad that aired during this year’s Super Bowl, the Detroit Free Press reports.

But two months and a global COVID-19 pandemic can make a big difference, and the message this time from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its Jeep brand isn’t about tackling the outside in a new Gladiator; it’s about staying home. In fact, Jeep, with a return of Murray’s famous character, is using the hashtag, #StayOffTheRoad, to make the point.

A series of spots being rolled out on Fiat Chrysler’s social media channels will emphasize timely, hopeful themes, everything from the strength of first responders to that simple message to stay home, tailored to the differences in the automaker’s Fiat, Dodge, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Ram and Jeep brands.

Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois told the Free Press that it might be counterintuitive “to approach the theme of this public health tragedy with a smile, but in this case, if the smile is tasteful and smart, I think it’s totally OK.” 

Seeing Phil Connors, cursed (or blessed in the end), to relive the same day over and over is the definition of comic relief that people might crave now, he said.

For the company’s marketing team, branding needs to be relevant, especially on social media, and clearly what’s relevant today is staying home and staying healthy.

“How do you say, ‘Stay home’ in a branded manner?” Francois said.

So a hashtag about staying off the road was created.

“That’s a Jeep way to call people to this action,” Francois said.

The messages take their own form for the other brands. Fiat, for instance, sends a message “con amore (with love)” from “Little Italy” to big Italy, one of the countries most affected by the outbreak, using the voice of director Francis Ford Coppola, and reminding Italians that they have survived tough times before.

In a reflection of how the coronavirus outbreak changes even how marketing campaigns are made, Francois noted that he used some of his own pictures from his iPhone, such as one of the famed Milan Cathedral (the Duomo di Milano), for the spot.

Research contact: @freep

Pasta la vista: An Italian grandma hosts virtual pasta-making classes during time of coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Over the past three years, travelers have been making the trek to the small town of Palombara Sabina, about an hour north of Rome, to make pasta with an Italian grandma who goes simply by Nonna Nerina, according to a story picked up from the Matador Network by Business Insider.

It started when her granddaughter, Chiara Nicolanti, set up an Airbnb Experiences page. It quickly grew, drawing international press and groups more than willing to take a train ride to Italy’s countryside. Nicolanti even recruited other grandmas in the village to take part, and the additional tourists inspired the mayor to reopen the town’s castle, which had been closed for years.

“And then unexpected arrived,” Nicolanti told the Matador Network over the phone from Palombara Sabina. “And the unexpected was called coronavirus.”

Nicolanti, who runs the business side of the Nonna experience, had to cancel bookings starting in FebruaryCOVID-19 has hit Italy hard. First, the northern regions of Italy were shut down, followed by an entire countrywide lockdown. The elderly who are most impacted are some the very people who make the Nonna experience the authentic intergenerational connection that it is.

Yet Nicolanti still saw the importance of connecting with people through food. This being 2020, she realized there’s another way and turned to the Internet with a new message: If you cannot come to Italy, then Italy will come to you.

The online experience is called Nonna Live. It runs for around two hours and costs $50. Nicolanti sends a simple list of ingredients and tools to pick up (eggs, flour, something to roll the pasta out with), and then sets a time to meet virtually. The time change has proven to be a bit of a hurdle but not an impossible one with a few adjustments. Nicolanti runs the classes on weekdays while Nonna Nerina, who is 84, joins on the weekends.

“When we opened up class and started having some bookings, the most beautiful thing happened,” Nicolanti says. “In two weeks, we had hundreds of messages from all around the world from people who I met once in my life and they text me to tell me we are praying for you, we love you, we hope to see you.”

Relationships have been at the heart of the pasta making experience from the start. Three years ago, Nicolanti was pregnant and her life was rapidly changing. Spending time with her grandmother forced her to slow down and realize that traditions were disappearing — especially among younger generations. Nicolanti, who is now 30, says the way people her age pile on work means there’s less time for the much-needed family connection that ties generations together.

Nicolanti eventually hopes to bring the other grandmas in, but for now, it’s just the four generations of Nicolanti’s family. It’s enough during a time like this. During a recent 1 a.m. experience, Nerina, Nicolanti’s mother, Nicolanti, and her daughter were teaching pasta making online together. (Nicolanti’s daughter was supposed to be sleeping but decided she wanted to play, so “we finished the last part with her playing on the table,” Nicolanti says.)

“I think that this moment is forcing us to stop, and we can use this time to speak and share memories and share traditions and good bites,” Nicolanti says. “I think it’s very important in this moment when everybody is forced to stay alone to not feel solitude.” 

Research contact: @businessinsider

Dog tired: Italian Ikea store opens doors to stray pooches

December 4, 2018

Animal lovers are giving an Ikea store in Catania, Italy, a big social-media smooch after photos appeared on online showing stray pooches sleeping among the furniture displays.

Martine Taccia was shopping at the Ikea when she saw the dogs relaxing near a living room display, The Dodo reports. “My reaction was pure amazement. It’s not a common thing,” Taccia told the animal news site.

Taccia said she had found out that the furniture and appliance store opens its doors to strays in cold weather and even provides food and water. “The dogs receive daily food and pampering from Ikea’s employees and customers,” Taccia says. “Some dogs have even found a family, going home with customers.”

She immediately posted the news to her Facebook page—and the shares and likes continue to multiply.

According to the comments on the photos, dog lovers are giving this one store’s policy a big thumbs up. “Thank God there are still good people in the world who help poor animals,” one friend wrote on Instagram.

Another customer, Beppe Liotta, was likewise smitten with the store’s dog-friendly initiative. “I felt a feeling of deep tenderness and great happiness in seeing dogs crouched in the exhibition space at the entrance of the IKEA,” Liotta told The Dodo.

As a self-proclaimed animal lover, Liotta told the news outlet that he hopes other businesses will follow suit by opening their doors (and their hearts) to animals whose sad circumstances are all too often overlooked.

“If all the stores that had the space would make a place of refuge for strays, I would be really happy,” he said.

Research contact: stephen@thedodo.com