It’s all over bar the shooting. After seven occasionally thrilling, sometimes plodding weeks, Kin season one is about to come to its conclusion. But when the gun smoke clears who will be left standing? And what might potential future seasons hold in store? Buckle up as we consider eight questions episode eight will have to answer.
1: Can Frank maintain control of the Kinsella Cartel?
As revealed in last week’s bruising encounter with his incarcerated older brother Bren, Frank (Aidan Gillen) is merely a placeholder Godfather in the Kinsella crime organisation. He’s certainly made a bungle of his time in charge – with his hothead son Eric feeling that it was acceptable to defy his father’s orders and start a feud with local drug wholesaler Eamon Cunningham (Ciarán Hinds).
Bren (Francis Magee) put all this to Frank in no uncertain terms – and with a lifetime supply of F-bombs for good measure. As he did, Frank’s confidence visibly drained away. So with enemies at the gates and within his own ranks, can he maintain control over the family?
2: Will Amanda and Michael take down Cunningham
With their children in clear and present danger, the two black sheep of the Kinsella family have decided to take the struggle straight to Cunningham. But their plan to cut off the head of the “snake” is fraught with danger. In particular there is the fact that Cunningham lives in a tower block on the docklands, so parking is going to be an issue unless they plan on walking from town. Oh and he maintains a crew of heavily-armed goons.
3: Who is going to prison?
Eric (Sam Keeley) is already banged up and the Garda seemingly have all the evidence required to put him away for a long, long time. And with the authorities sniffing around the dealership run by Amanda (Clare Dunne) there’s a decent chance she could end up going down, too. Her plan has been to have the wife of slain foot soldier Noel pretend that he was the one doing the laundering, without the knowledge of the Kinsellas. Amanda’s solicitor didn’t fall for it. Will the courts?
4: Will we meet Eamon’s Rosebud?
During his hallucinogen-fuelled vision in episode six, Cunningham flashed back to a traumatic childhood event. It seemed to involve either a drowning child or a drowning parent – potentially both. Clearly there’s more to him than death, destruction and a swish pad near 3Arena.
5: Will Michael acknowledge he was Jamie’s father?
Despite reluctantly snogging sister-in-law Amanda last week, Michael (Charlie Cox) still seems reticent about accepting that they had a relationship while his brother Jimmy (Emmet Scanlan) cooled his heels in prison. Or to acknowledge that Jamie, whose death precipitated the entire feud, was his son.
6: Who is really in control of the Kinsellas?
Maria Doyle Kennedy’s Birdy has kept a low profile through the season. But, as Frank and Bren’s sister, she seems to hold the balance of power in the family. For instance, when Amanda had essentially talked Frank into giving up Eric it was Birdy who changed his mind. And yet, Eric looks set to go down anyway. Has that weakened Birdy and given Amanda the upper hand?
7: How many times will the Aviva Stadium appear in shots this week?
To play the Kin drinking game, take a tipple every time the camera swoops low over South Dublin and we see the Aviva twinkling in the distance. You’ll be swigging quite a bit.
8: Will there be another season?
Kin creator Peter McKenna has stated the fate of Kin largely depends on whether or not it is picked up for a second season by AMC + in America. The show has received some positive reviews in the US and, if a long way off achieving a word of mouth “buzz”, does seem to have acquired a modest cult audience. Will “modest” and “cult” good enough for AMC+? That remains to be seen.
European Commission recommends travel ban on southern Africa amid fears over new Covid variant
The EU is expected to announce an immediate travel ban to southern Africa because of the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant.
The B.1.1.529 variant, which is more transmissible than the dominant Delta variant and could evade vaccines, has been discovered in South Africa’s most populous province Gauteng.
The EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “The @EU_Commission will propose, in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529.”
The future of this year’s United Rugby Championship (URC) could be in jeopardy as it has four South African teams in it.
Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer, Michael McBride, said the emergence of the new variant was “undoubtedly a matter of concern”.
Recent arrivals to Northern Ireland from the six countries on the UK list will be contacted by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and asked to self-isolate and take a PCR test, which will be prioritised for genomic sequencing.
Further assessments will be made concerning other countries with strong travel links to South Africa, the North’s Department of Health said.
Dr McBride said the introduction of travel restrictions was on a “precautionary basis, while we await further evidence on the spread of this variant in South Africa and understand more about it.”
The official Munster rugby Twitter account stated: “We all are safe & well in Pretoria. We are working with URC on the ongoing situation relating to Covid-19 & will provide an update once we know more #MunsterInSA.”
The Covid adviser for the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), Mary Favier has warned that if the new South African variant of the virus manages to “out run” Delta, then “we will have a problem”.
It was still unknown if vaccines would work against the new variant which was why so much attention was being paid to it, she told Newstalk Breakfast.
Dr Favier also welcomed plans to extend the vaccine programme to children aged 5-11. GPs knew the difference that vaccines could make, however, she pointed out that it would be a parental decision and GPs would be willing to discuss the issue with parents.
On RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland programme immunology expert, Professor Christine Loscher said she expected the World Health Organisation (WHO) to move the status of the new variant from one of interest to one of concern in the near future.
The new variant was of concern because of the number of mutations in the spike proteins and it was still unclear how this variant would respond to vaccines. It was a case of wait and see the impact, she said.
Within the coming weeks it would be known how good current vaccines were at neutralising antibodies in the variant, added Prof Loscher. But she pointed out that vaccine manufacturers have been able to “tweak” vaccines as the virus changed.
“That’s a positive thing to know, that they have the technology to vary the vaccine as variants arrive.”
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he is “deeply concerned” about the new Covid variant.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) will meet on Friday to to further assess the significance of this variant.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has not updated its travel advice to South Africa on its website. It no longer advises against non-essential travel.
Italy tightens Covid restrictions as some regions face return to ‘yellow’ zone
A government decree that comes into force from December 6th will require a ‘super green pass’ health certificate to access most venues and services across the country, in a bid to contain Italy’s rising infection rate and ensure Christmas celebrations can go ahead as planned.
The ‘super green pass’ can be obtained only by those who are vaccinated against or have recovered from Covid-19.
It supersedes the basic ‘green pass’, which was also available to those who had recently tested negative for the virus; though the basic green pass will still be valid for use on public transport and to access workplaces.
Speaking at a televised press conference on Monday evening, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the restrictions would mean a “normal” Christmas this year for those who are vaccinated, and would “give certainty to the tourist season”.
The announcement comes amid media reports that some Italian regions will be placed under increased restrictions starting next week.
People wearing a face mask do some window shopping on Piazza di Spagna in central Rome on December 13, 2020. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP
The northerneastern region of Friuli Venezia Giulia will be returned to the more restricted ‘yellow’ zone from Monday, after it met all of the Italian government’s criteria for tightened restrictions.
Italy operates under a four-tier colour coded system for coronavirus restrictions, with ‘white’ zone areas under the most relaxed rules, and ‘yellow’, ‘orange’ and ‘red’ zones under increasingly strict restrictions.
Since October, the entire country has been in the least-restricted white zone – but this week, Friuli Venezia Giulia’s hospital ward occupancy and Covid infection rates exceeded the limits put in place by the government last summer.
The region’s figures stood at 15 percent Covid patient ICU occupancy and 18 percent general hospital ward occupancy as of November 24th, according to data provided by Agenas, Italy’s National Agency for Health Services.
Under a law introduced by Italy’s government in July, any region above the threshold of 10 percent ICU and 15 percent general ward Covid patient occupancy and with a new weekly incident rate of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants should automatically be placed in the yellow zone.
It’s thought that mass demonstrations held in the region’s capital of Trieste last month to protest the introduction of a Covid health certificate requirement for Italy’s workers are partly behind its deteriorating health situation.
A Santa Claus puppet wearing a face mask is displayed in the window of a food store at Rome’s Trevi fountain square on December 23, 2020. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP
According to Italian media, Friuli Venezia Giulia’s governor Massimiliano Fedriga has agreed to enforce the government’s ‘super green pass’ rules from Monday, allowing the region’s vaccinated population to bypass restrictions they would otherwise be subject to.
Currently, ‘yellow zone’ restrictions require an area’s inhabitants to wear a mask both outdoors and in indoor public spaces, and restaurants can seat a maximum of four diners to a table.
While those in a yellow zone will still be required to mask up outdoors, under the new rules, people who hold the ‘super green pass’ will be able to access “indoor catering”, shows (such as theatre performances), parties, nightclubs, sporting events, and “public ceremonies”, as normal.
Other parts of the country currently expected to join Friuli Venezia Giulia in the yellow zone within the next couple of weeks are the autonomous province of Bolzano, which had 10 percent ICU and 15 percent general ward Covid patient occupancy rates as of November 24th; as well as Marche, Liguria, Lazio, Calabria, which all have figures approaching the threshold.
Some of Italy’s larger cities are putting into place their own preemptive strategies to try to contain their infection rates.
On Thursday, Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala said he was preparing to sign a measure making facemasks mandatory outdoors across the city center from the coming weekend, reports news agency Ansa.
And in Venice, mayor Luigi Brugnaro has already signed an order requiring the use of masks at Christmas markets and other large outdoor gatherings in the city, reports Sky TG 24.
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