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The wee hours in which Malcolm X and Cassius Clay anticipated present-day racism in the USA | Culture

On February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay, only 22 years old at the time, surprisingly became the heavyweight boxing champion of the world when he defeated Sonny Liston in Miami. Liston, the title holder, was a hard-hitting, iron-fisted fighter. Clay had class, style and a big sassy mouth. But he was also a man conscious of his influence and destiny. His friend Malcolm X attended the pugilistic soirée and invited the brand-new champion to his motel room that night: Clay was about to announce his conversion to Islam, his name change (to that of Muhammad Ali, the one beloved by God), and his joining the Nation of Islam, the religious organization that Malcolm X, incidentally, was planning to leave. That night, in that tiny room, they were not alone, they were joined in the celebration by two other friends who were also stars in their own right: the singer Sam Cooke, the soul music icon, and Jim Brown, the legendary running back, who, at the top of his game but fed up with racism in sports, was thinking about retiring and taking a go at an acting career.

There is no photographic evidence of the night in question: actually, there is not even a single snapshot of the four of them together. Neither does anyone know what they talked about. What we do know is that after that night and the early hours of the next day, the four of them changed their lives and their careers. Sam Cooke was murdered 10 months later, in a shady accident that time has shrouded in a conspiratorial halo. Weeks later, in February 1965, Malcolm X was also murdered. The sixties were a cauldron seething with violence, civil rights and art.

During the confinement, Regina King (50 years old, born in Los Angeles) was astounded by the parallel echoes between what we were experiencing at the time (“The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor talk to us about the racism extant in my country”), and One night in Miami, the movie she made about the foursome in question (“They are some kind of Black Avengers, aren’t they?”) just before the onset of the pandemic. The movie is said to be an Oscar contender. It is Monday in Los Angeles, and King appears on the Zoom screen. The first thing that strikes me are her hazel eyes, even more noticeable in the aseptic room in which the interview takes place. King’s resumé is impressive. After a 35-year acting career, she is one of the TV queens of her country, having won four Emmys: a pair of them for the American Crime series and two for Seven Seconds and Watchmen. Besides, she has won a Golden Globe and Oscar for her work in If Beale Street Could Talk. She had directed several TV series’ episodes in preparation for her next step: “I am well aware of the change this means for my career. I am now a movie director, and even though I used to be one for television, I must admit that, five days away from the release of my movie, I’m getting more and more nervous.” The release, through the Amazon Prime Video platform, is due this Friday, King’s 50th birthday. She will celebrate it by “having a private screening with some friends, taking every precaution and following all the anti-COVID protocols.”

The actress’s rise to stardom seemed to be obvious from her birth. Her parents named her Regina [which means queen in Latin], and her sister’s name is Reina (“queen” in Spanish), which combined with the family’s surname does sound very monarchic. While she started working in the TV industry in 1985, she did not go into movies until six years later, mentored by the late John Singleton (she made three films with him) in Boyz n the Hood. “I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in those projects and with John’s friendship for two decades, which was out of the ordinary. He allowed me to learn from the preparation previous to shooting a film, an in depth process, and from how he wished to express and how. At the time, I was not conscious of the fact that I would also be directing someday, but the universe always has a plan (laughs).”

Cassius Marcellus Clay (Muhammad Ali) with Black Muslim leader Malcolm X at 125th St. and Seventh Ave.
Cassius Marcellus Clay (Muhammad Ali) with Black Muslim leader Malcolm X at 125th St. and Seventh Ave.NY Daily News via Getty Images

King would not be satisfied with any ordinary script, which explains the time she took tracking the right material. “Because I knew just how important this step was, I worked alongside my agent for a long time looking for a script that would fulfill several expectations. I found it all in One night in Miami: it was powerful and at the same time it would allow me to express myself as an artist. And each day, during the creative process, I became more and more excited about it. I’m not saying that what I had previously directed for TV wasn’t important, but the main subject of the movie is (she thinks it over for a few seconds) valuable. And urgent.”

One night in Miami is based on a play by Kemp Powers (the co-director of the Pixar movie Soul). Kemp himself adapted it for the screen. The plot is twofold: inside the celebration night there is also a night of reflection. “Just as it is happening now, isn’t it? Biden won, but nevertheless we still have many structural problems. Our social system has to be rebuilt itself, and that does not happen automatically. Furthermore, we have seen how the last four years have destroyed the efforts of decades. I try to remain optimistic [she laughs] but my expectations are very low.” Even so, King acknowledges that every dramatic event that has taken place in the USA after the shooting of her film heightens the relevance of her movie. “It is necessary to remind each and every American citizen that there are more things that unite us than things that divide us, that we have a long past history in common, and that we effectively harbor many negative traits. If we accept that, we can improve. This is not going to make America great again (King is making fun of Trump’s slogan), what we must understand is that it was never really great, and that it will not be so if human beings and fellow Americans are still being oppressed, marginalized and murdered.”

There is a scene in the film in which Sam Cooke is outraged by Malcolm X, who tells him to his face that the songs of Bob Dylan seem to better reflect the suffering of Black Americans than his own. Cooke, who had just recorded the awesome and moving song A Change is Gonna Come, answers: “I will not be anybody’s weapon.” And what about Regina King? Has she always spoken for herself in her multiple statements committing to, for example, having women make up 50% of the cast/team in her projects, or underlining the endemic racism in the USA? “Sometimes you feel that, as a famous person, you have to live up to certain expectations. Handling these situations is complicated. Overcoming those issues and knowing that your feelings as a human being go beyond ‘what a star is supposed to say’ is not easy at all. Anyway, remember that the universe always has a plan.”

The road traveled by ‘One night in Miami’ has been a long one. The shooting process was completed with a few extra days once the coronavirus had already reached the USA. The film’s premiere at the Venice International Film Festival turned Regina King into the first Black filmmaker to be nominated for the Golden Lion prize. That journey ends today with the film’s release on Amazon. “I made the movie thinking, evidently, about releasing it in movie theaters. But these are the times we live in. And after what we have suffered during the last months in the USA, it seems utterly important to me for the movie to reach the largest possible audience. Would I like to watch it in a theater surrounded by a crowd? Yes, and I would love the audience and myself to be moved by it at the same time. Will I now be able to reach many more Americans? Of course, and the main theme of my movie deserves it.”

Have you heard our Spanish news podcast ¿Qué? Each week we try to explain the curious, the under-reported and sometimes simply bizarre news stories that are often in the headlines in Spain.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by ‘Savills’ reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

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