The Red Flag of PassionHow a seemingly harmless word is used to put a happy face on some of the industry’s biggest problemsBrendan SinclairManaging EditorWednesday 25th April 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNaughty DogNeocoreQuantic DreamLast week, NeoCoreGames delayed the final release of its latest game, Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, by about three weeks. In announcing the delay, the Hungarian studio proposed a very unusual barter with its fanbase.”Again, sorry for this as we kindly ask for your further patience and hopefully it won’t be a deal breaker for any of you,” NeoCoreGames producer Zoltán Pozsonyi said in an update to the game’s Steam community. “In return, we promise we’ll push this extra three weeks in 90+ hours per week so it’ll be very-very useful for Martyr.”So if the fans don’t riot over a three-week delay, the developer promises it will spend the entirety of those three weeks working themselves to the bone.To their credit, the game’s fans by and large rejected the offer. Most of the comments on the NeoCore update were something along the lines of “Please don’t, that’s absurd. Take your time and we’ll enjoy a better game later.”In the grim darkness of the future, there is only crunchOutside the fanbase, the offer was not so positively received, with many people excoriating the studio for embracing extreme crunch in this way. The studio quickly edited its update to remove the specific promise of crunch, and later claimed it was a joke about how passionate the developers are.”Over time, ‘passionate’ has become a synonym for ‘unreasonable'” If there’s one thing in this industry overworked more than NeoCoreGames developers*, it’s the word “passion.” There’s nothing really wrong with the word in and of itself. It accurately describes a certain level of dedication and drive common in the industry, the idea that people in the field are not doing what they do for a paycheck. They are doing it for love of the game. In general, that’s fine. But over time, “passionate” has become a synonym for “unreasonable.” It’s a one-size-fits-most code word to put a happy face on some of the industry’s worst tendencies.A studio that relies on extreme, prolonged crunch game-in and game-out isn’t mis-managing projects or exploiting developers; it simply “has a passionate studio culture.”Would-be auteurs who make a habit of yelling at people in the workplace and count fear and intimidation among their management tools aren’t abusive employers; they’re “passionate creators.”Gamers that angrily demand to be pandered to, hurl death threats at developers, and dump hateful sewage into public chat channels aren’t vile, entitled brats actively hurting the games they say they love; they’re just a “passionate community.”If it seems like these excuses are pulled right from a games industry PR crisis management playbook, it’s not that far from the truth. When three different outlets collaborated on reports about Quantic Dream’s toxic studio culture, the studio released a statement strenuously objecting to the accusation:On closer examination, Quantic Dream’s denial of workplace abuses was lacking in humanity”Inappropriate conduct or practices have no place at Quantic Dream. We have taken and always will take such grievances very seriously. We value every single person who works at Quantic Dream. It is of utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making video games.”On its face, that’s a pretty solid denial. It speaks to the values and priorities that people upset about the allegations would care about. The focus is not on the accusations, but on Quantic Dream and its positive qualities, its collective passion for creating games. From a PR standpoint, it’s a pretty shrewd and effective move. Or at least, it would have been if it weren’t basically stolen.Let’s contrast Quantic Dream’s remarks with the statement Naughty Dog released just three months earlier, when it offered its own strenuous objection to a former employee’s story about being sexually harassed by a lead and reporting it to HR, who promptly fired him.”Harassment and inappropriate conduct have no place at Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment. We have taken and always will take reports of sexual harassment and other workplace grievances very seriously. We value every single person who works at Naughty Dog and Sony interactive Entertainment. It is of utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe, productive workplace environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making games.””If there is no common PR crisis playbook people are working from, then at least we can add plagiarism to the litany of accusations against Quantic Dream” Clearly, passion’s not the only thing they share. It’s possible Sony Interactive Entertainment lent its development partner Quantic Dream a hand with the statement, but one would think the PR experts who crafted the Naughty Dog statement would realize how sleazy, insincere, and damning it would be to take a moment when honesty and transparency (or at least the appearance of such) are key, and to be caught cut-and-pasting the same statement someone in the same field used just a few months earlier about awfully similar allegations. And if there is no common PR crisis playbook people are working from, then at least we can add plagiarism to the litany of accusations against Quantic Dream.As for Naughty Dog, even if its statement was original, it deserves a good long mention in any editorial about how the industry uses “passion” to hand-wave away significant problems. After all, NeoCore faced backlash for the idea of its developers crunching for a few weeks, when Naughty Dog is willing to crunch them for a decade or more.Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig worked at Naughty Dog for more than 10 years before jumping to Electronic Arts in 2014. A couple years after her departure, she talked about the studio’s “notorious” crunch culture, saying she worked more than 80 hours a week the entire time she was there.”There’s people who never go home and see their families. They have children who are growing up without seeing them,” Hennig said. “I didn’t have my own kids. I chose my career in lots of ways, and I could be single-minded like that. When I was making sacrifices, did it affect my family? Yes, but it was primarily affecting me and I could make that choice. But when I look at other people… I mean, my health really declined, and I had to take care of myself, because it was, like, bad. And there were people who, y’know, collapsed, or had to go and check themselves in somewhere when one of these games were done. Or they got divorced. That’s not okay, any of that. None of this is worth that.””We have to get our act figured out as an industry, and the problem is that the ante keeps getting upped… It’s an arms race that is unwinnable and is destroying people.”There may be a reason Naughty Dog thinks pushing Drake past the limits of human endurance makes him a relateable everymanGetting back to NeoCore, the company claimed its promise to work 90+-hour work weeks was a joke, but as with the Quantic Dream and Naughty Dog invocations of passion, a closer look suggests the studio was instead using it as a shield.In December, when NeoCore delayed an update, it pledged to have it out on January 10.”Seriously – we’ll release this patch even if the whole company has to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the office,” Pozsonyi said in the Steam community update.Last month, when NeoCore said there would be no more new Steam builds until launch because it had to buckle down and crunch to make the then-planned May 11 release date, it emphasized the team’s passion (as measured by its willingness to crunch) once again.”Of course, we still have tons of work to do, and many of us are already pulling 80+ hour weeks, as it usually goes during crunch time,” Pozsonyi said.Considering jokes aren’t known for getting funnier the more you tell them, this looks much more like a calculated strategy to mollify the more “passionate” elements of the studio’s fanbase whenever NeoCore has the mildest of bad news to break.Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr has been playable for eight months in Early Access. NeoCore was delaying the final launch for just over three weeks, in order for the PC version to “launch” at the same time as its console counterparts. While a blood sacrifice is very on-brand for Warhammer–Khorne would no doubt approve–it’s clearly not called for here, nor is pledging to work your employees into the ground “in return for” something that would be hard to rank as even a minor inconvenience.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The worrying part is that NeoCore’s tactic has essentially worked. As mentioned above, player reaction to the promise of overtime was largely civil and understanding. I don’t know if that’s because NeoCore has just fostered a mostly healthy, reasonable community for Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, or if it just adapted to the caustic nature of modern fandom and the most effective way to curb the players’ toxic passion is to make a show of one’s own, pledging to sacrifice developers’ health to placate the angry hordes.And if that’s where we are as an industry, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate the way we talk about passion as an unqualified good. Passion is great within reason, but too often what we’re actually celebrating is obsession.*That was a joke. Did it not seem like a joke? Weird. Definitely a joke, though. Definitely.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesCourt overturns ruling against Quantic Dream over unfair dismissalQuantic Dream also shared a statement to “set the record straight,” dismissing all allegations of toxic cultureBy Marie Dealessandri 30 days agoThe Last of US Part 2 secures a record 13 BAFTA nominationsNaughty Dog’s game leads a big haul for Sony, with PlayStation exclusives accounting for 41 nominations overallBy Matthew Handrahan 2 months agoLatest comments (1)Nathan Fouts President, Mommy’s Best Games3 years ago …and the game they’re crunching on is called Martyr! **speaking of bad jokes 🙂 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
THQ Nordic parent Embracer Group now has 26 studios, more to be announcedKoch Media acquires Let’s Sing developer Voxler, two new studios have been opened but yet to be unveiledJames BatchelorEditor-in-ChiefWednesday 19th February 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleEmbracerThanks to recent acquisitions and openings, Embracer Group now has 26 wholly or majority owned development studios.That’s more than the ten it owned or had a controlling stake in this time last year. The figure was revealed by CEO Lars Wingefors in the company’s latest financial results.The news follows this morning’s announcement that the Group has acquired Saber Interactive — the developer behind World War Z and various Switch ports, including The Witcher 3 — in a $525 million deal.Elsewhere in the reports, Wingefors revealed Embracer subsidiary Koch Media has this week entered into an agreement to acquire French studio Voxler, best known for the Let’s Sing series. Koch will purchase 100% of the developer’s shares for €1.9 million ($2.05 million).Another Group subsidiary, Amplifier Game Invest, recently opened two new studios: River End Games in Sweden, and Seattle-based C77 Entertainment. On a similar note, THQ Nordic formed Nine Rock Games in Slovakia.Back in December, the Group also acquired Little Nightmares developer Tarsier Studios.Wingefors reports two more studios have been formed within the Group since the start of the year, but these will be “publicly announced in due course.””The new studio initiatives are long term investments in building new content and IPs that may become notable drivers of our organic growth in the future,” he wrote.By the end of December, the firm had 2,258 internal and external developers — 52% more than by the end of the same quarter last year. Its portfolio includes 96 titles in development across its various businesses, of which 52 are unannounced.Wingefors continued: “The ambition is still to have at least two AAA games ready for release in the next financial year. This is our plan, but it would be prudent to reiterate the message that we can never be completely sure of development schedules and deadlines.”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games By way of example, he said there is still no release date for Biomutant as the small size of the development team means “finalisation takes longer than with a larger team.”For the three months ended December 31, 2019, Embracer Group reported net sales of SEK1.5 billion ($153 million), up 8.7% from SEK1.38 billion ($141 million) the previous year. The games business — which includes THQ Nordic, Deep Silver and Coffee Stain — grew its revenues by 51% year-on-year to SEK836 million ($85.2 million).Correction: This article has been updated to fix currency conversion errors.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEmbracer Group raising over $890m for even more acquisitionsEver-expanding games firm currently evaluating a “growing number of potential near-term acquisition targets”By James Batchelor A month agoGrabbing Gearbox and stifling Stadia | PodcastLatest podcast available now, explores Embracer’s M&A strategy and the latest woes for Google’s cloud games serviceBy GamesIndustry Staff 3 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
By Editors of Power Engineering Mississippi Power cutting stakes in coal-fired, gas-fired stations to reduce excess MW, emissions If approved, the CHP facility is expected to be completed by 2018. Duke Energy Pursuing Combined Heat-And-Power Partnerships Facebook Venture Global LNG adds Zachry to EPC team for Gulf export terminal construction Linkedin No posts to display Linkedin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR In a filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Duke Energy indicated its sees additional opportunities for more CHP developments ranging from 10 MW to 30 MW, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. Originally announced in May, the Duke University project would incorporate a single combustion turbine. Heat generated from electricity generation would produce thermal energy and steam – estimated at 75,000 pounds per hour — needed by the University. Duke Energy would own, build and operate the facility at a cost of $55 million. Electricity generated by the project would be put back onto the Duke Energy electric grid. By chloecox – Facebook The project would lower Duke University’s carbon emissions by 25 percent. TAGSDuke Twitter Previous articleNine of the 10 Biggest Power Plants in the World are HydropowerNext article$20M Contest Seeks to Convert CO2 Plant Emissions Into Useable Products chloecox Duke Energy’s planned 21-MW combined heat-and-power natural gas plant at Duke University could just be the beginning of similar projects with other institutions and industrial facilities. Gas Vietnam: scaling back coal-fired plans toward gas, renewables 10.18.2016 Twitter
iStock(NEW YORK) — Librarians and free speech advocates are fighting back against a proposal in the Missouri House of Representatives that would ban certain books from the state’s libraries with the threat of a misdemeanor charge.Missouri House Rep. Ben Baker introduced the bill, dubbed the “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act,” in January that calls for the creation of a panel made up of non-library workers who will determine the removal of “age-inappropriate sexual material,” from their local branch.Libraries that don’t comply will lose their funding. Library employees providing material deemed inappropriate would be hit with a misdemeanor charge and liable for a $500 fine or a maximum jail sentence of a year, according to the bill’s current language.Cynthia Dudenhoffer, the president of the Missouri Library Association, said she was shocked when she first heard about the bill and said it was unnecessary. Each of the state’s library systems, which account for a total of 365 branches, already have their own protocols in place to determine which materials are allowed for their younger members.“Librarians take that stuff very seriously,” she said to ABC News. “It’s not like we buy things willy-nilly.”Messages to Baker’s office were not returned. The representative and former minister told the Springfield News-Leader he wrote the bill in response to drag queen story hours that were taking place in certain branches in the state.“I wanted to send a strong message that we need to protect our kids and we need to do something about this, but that’s all negotiable,” Baker told the paper.Dudenhoffer, however, noted that drag queen story hours and other similar events aren’t mentioned in the bill and those readings have not included books with sexually inappropriate content. Nora Pelizzari, a spokeswoman for the National Coalition Against Censorship, which called on the Missouri Legislature to reject the bill this week, said the proposal is trying to remove books that promote positive LGTBQ messages.“This is one tactic that is being taken to try to put forward this idea that children should not have access to picture books about a prince and knight falling in love,” she said to ABC News.Pelizzari added that the bill’s current language gives too much power to the boards and their choices may not reflect the needs of their branch’s users.Dudenhoffer agreed and said the current rules in place for objective material are already working. Every librarian who works in the state’s system must have a master’s degree and go through strict training which includes determining which materials are appropriate for younger readers, she said.“The librarians have training to represent the needs of the community,” Dudenhoffer said.The state’s branches also take feedback from readers about materials they find questionable and library boards have protocols to remove a book or put it in a different section based on cardholders’ suggestions, Dudenhoffer said. For example, the 2003 coming of age graphic novel “Blankets” was removed from Missouri libraries after library users complained about its content.“We work on it person by person, case by case,” Dudenhoffer said. “We do go out of our way to make sure that the library is serving the community that [materials are] placed in the right section.”Dudenhoffer said she hopes the representative and his colleagues reconsider the bill and work with them to determine how they can address readers’ needs. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
U.S. ArmyBy MEREDITH DELISO, LUIS MARTINEZ, IVAN PEREIRA and ABBY CRUZ, ABC News(KILLEEN, Texas) — A woman accused of helping to hide the body of murdered Fort Hood Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen made her first court appearance Monday to face conspiracy charges.Cecily Aguilar, 22, appeared via closed-circuit television in the Waco, Texas, courtroom to face conspiracy to tamper with evidence for her alleged role in the death of the 20-year-old soldier. The U.S. Attorney’s office of the Western District of Texas said 20-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson told Aguilar, who was his girlfriend, that he killed Guillen with a hammer on April 22 and transferred her body off the Army base, according to the criminal complaint.Aguilar is currently cooperating with the FBI.Robinson, who died by suicide when he was confronted by police last week, allegedly enlisted Aguilar to help dispose of the body, and the pair allegedly dismembered and buried the remains in Bell County, according to the complaint. Last week investigators found remains in Bell County. Natalie Khawam, an attorney representing Guillen’s family, said Sunday the remains belonged to Guillen. The Army Criminal Investigation Command confirmed the news at a press conference Monday.“The Armed Forces forensic examiner has determined through DNA analysis that the remains found near the Leon River are in fact those of Vanessa Guillen,” Major General Scott Efflandt said.Aguilar did not make any statement other than to acknowledge the charges against her, and she didn’t enter a plea. She’s due back in court on July 14 for a preliminary hearing to determine bond. Aguilar is being held at the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco, a U.S. Marshals representative confirmed to ABC News.If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.Lewis Berray Gainor, the federal public defender assigned to Aguilar, declined ABC News’ request for comment.According to an updated criminal complaint, Aguilar cooperated with the FBI in the case by allowing investigators to tape a phone call between her and Robinson on June 30, during which Robinson didn’t deny any of the alleged crimes. Aguilar also assisted law enforcement in locating Robinson before he was confronted and died by suicide, according to the document.Guillen’s family has called for a congressional investigation into Guillen’s death. Nearly 100 lawmakers have also called for an independent review of Fort Hood’s handling of Guillen’s disappearance. On Monday, the House Oversight Committee announced it has requested a briefing on the Army’s response and investigation into the disappearance and murder of Guillen.While the Army hasn’t commented on a possible motive, Khawam previously said investigators told her that Guillen and Robinson had an argument in the base’s armory after she discovered his alleged affair with the estranged wife of a former soldier.The family has also alleged that a man had walked in on Guillen and watched her as she showered, but the Army said it didn’t hasn’t found evidence of sexual harassment. On Monday, Efflandt said Army CID will complete that investigation and “take actions against those findings.”“Please know that every person who raises their right hand to serve their family in their country in uniform deserves to be safe and treated with dignity and respect to the victims of sexual harassment assault,” he said. “We hear you. We believe you. And I encourage you to come forward.”ABC News’ Mike Repplier and Ben Siegel contributed to this report.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
The ADA Coordinator has University wide influence, includingpolicy development and planning. The position requiresinterpretation and judgment when considering appropriate action andconsequences, and handles diverse and complex issues with decisionsguided by overall Mason goals and objectives. The scope ofresponsibility includes faculty, staff, and student employment, aswell as public and student access to programs and facilities. Responsibilities:The ADA Coordinator is responsible for developing, revising, andcoordinating implementation of University policies and proceduresrelating to persons with disabilities, tracking university progressrelating to its policies and procedures, as well as state andfederal laws relating to persons with disabilities, filing allnecessary reports, and providing technical assistance to Universityunits and offices. Special Instructions to Applicants: For full consideration, applicants must apply for positionnumber FA699z at https://jobs.gmu.edu/; complete andsubmit the online application; and upload a cover letter, resume,and a list of three professional references with contactinformation. The George Mason University, Office of Compliance, Diversity andEthics is seeking an ADA Coordinator. George Mason University has astrong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellenceand diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encouragescandidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturallyinclusive environment. Required Qualifications:Applicants must have a Master’s degree in a related field or aJ.D; Five years of professional experience with progressiveresponsibility and demonstrated experience administering reasonableaccommodations, policy development and administration, complaintresolution, and providing training and technical assistance.A minimum of two years of supervisory experience isrequired; Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to interpret federal andstate equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws andregulations, including in depth knowledge of Americans withDisabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and bestpractices with regard to equal employment opportunities forindividuals with disabilities and accessibility;Must have strong organization, planning, analytical, problemsolving and excellent interpersonal skills;Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, use discretionand good judgment, maintain confidentiality and work under multipledeadlines. About the Position:Reporting to the Vice President of Compliance, Diversity andEthics, the ADA Coordinator provides leadership to promote fullinclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of the campuscommunity. The position directs, coordinates and monitorsUniversity compliance with the ADA, Sections 503 and 504 of theRehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Fair Housing, and all otherfederal and state laws and regulations pertaining to persons withdisabilities. Preferred Qualifications:In-depth knowledge of ADA standards for accessible design, webaccessibility, and best practices for creating and maintaining anaccessible environment in a higher education setting;Experience training large groups of employees regardingdisability laws, policies, and best practices;Experience in the successful development and implementation ofeducational and training programs with strong presentation andfacilitation skills;Ability to conduct research and analyze data; Administrative experience in higher education, non-profit, orpublic sector organization is highly desirable;Experience resolving concerns pertaining to disabilitydiscrimination; Strong leadership skills and the ability to influence alllevels within an institution as needed. ADA Coordinator George Mason University is an equal opportunity/affirmativeaction employer, committed to promoting inclusion and equity in itscommunity. All qualified applicants will receive consideration foremployment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexualorientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability orveteran status, or any characteristic protected by law.
A double birthday celebration was laid on by Stagecoach North East for two engineers from the operator’s Stockton bus depot who celebrated turning 65 in the same week.Derek Lloyd and Ian Noble celebrate their 65th birthdays at the Stockton depotFitter and charge hand Derek Lloyd, from Normanby in Middlesbrough, and Ian Noble, a fitter from Trimdon Village in County Durham, were surprised when they became the star guests at a lunchtime spread in the depot where they celebrated their milestone birthdays with friends and colleagues. A special treat was a decorated cake featuring a bus in icing.Derek has been a fitter for 41 years and has just taken semi-retirement with a part-time position at the depot.Ian, who has worked at Stagecoach for 20 years, including 13 years in the Darlington depot, says: “It was a memorable day and a lovely way to enjoy my 65th birthday, especially celebrating it with Derek.”
Facebook Five people arrested in Claypool drug bust WhatsApp IndianaLocalNews Google+ Twitter Pinterest By Jon Zimney – January 7, 2020 0 288 (Carli Luca/95.3 MNC) Five people were arrested at a residence on South Graceland Street in Claypool in December.Town Marshal Ben Sanders released on Monday, Jan. 6, that the Claypool Police Department arrested John Parker, 49, Debora Parker, 50, Jonathan Charles, 36, Codie Pierce, 28 and Brianne Fields, 21, after a tip came in from NET 43 about the possible dealing of methamphetamine.Through their investigation, police officials executed a search warrant of the residence at 405 South Graceland on December 19th around noon. During the execution of the Search Warrant, Officers subsequently located paraphernalia, marijuana, methamphetamine and psilocybin (mushrooms).Charges against each are as follows:Debora Parker: Maintaining a common nuisance, possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substanceJonathan Charles: Dealing Methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a syringe and maintaining acommon nuisanceBrianne Fields: Dealing Methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a syringe and maintaining a common nuisanceJohn Parker: Maintaining a common nuisance, possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substanceCodie Pierce: Possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia and visiting a common nuisanceClaypool Police Department was assisted by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, Warsaw Police Department, Silver Lake Police Department and the Mentone Police Department. Google+ WhatsApp Pinterest Twitter Facebook Previous articleState: Businesses plan 27,000+ new Hoosier JobsNext articleBBB: Stop scammers by writing out “2020” in full on checks Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney.
MEPs have a new dedicated sandwich bar in the Parliament building in Brussels.The new facility can seat up to 30 people as well as offering nine ‘standing’ places. Proof, if it were needed, that MEPs know which way their bread is buttered.UK Socialist MEP Eryl McNally has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration, in recognition of her efforts to improve understanding between France and Britain, particularly in the fields of language and culture.McNally, who represents the east of England, was presented with the decoration by Gerard Errera, France’s ambassador to the UK. The Legion d’Honneur was first minted by Napoleon 200 years ago. Italian MEP Pietro-Paolo Mennea, the former sprinter who competed in five Olympics, felt he’d be a world champion from the age of 12. Too fleet of foot for his peers, he recalls how he honed his running skills in his home town of Barletta by racing against cars instead.“At the signal they burned the rubber and I started to run: I always came in first.”We can only assume he was up against Fiats, not Ferraris… When it comes to cheesy corporate messages, you really need to go that extra mile just to get noticed…and boy, did one gift from the Belgian offices of global PR firm Porter Novelli make an impression on the men – and women – of EV. Discreetly clad in a slim brown envelope addressed to ‘Ms Editorial Desk’, the Novelli staff had a real ace up their sleeve: a full deck of playing cards featuring snapshots of the entire team (sans official titles, although we have deduced that Luc – the Jack of Clubs – is the supreme commander of the deck). A slim-faced blonde named Valérie was the most popular among our Mr Men, while the Ms Editorials were especially drawn to the dashing, dark Jurgen. The pair of them can feel free to stop by our offices anytime!They say good news travels fast and news of the success of Entre Nous (among the most-eagerly read pages in European Voice) has reached the good folk behind popular Belgian beer Maes.The brewer has produced a range of new beer mats which carries the message: “Entre nous, c’est Maes”.To the beer boys, we can only say: “Cheers!”
The furlough scheme, under which the government pays a proportion of workers’ wages where employers cannot foot the bill, was already in place until the end of March. Johnson imposed a seven-week lockdown in England on Monday night as the new strain of coronavirus ran rampant across the U.K., putting the health service at risk of being overwhelmed. The other three U.K. nations also announced enhanced measures.Calls to announce more support for businesses had been growing before Sunak made the announcement. “I’m afraid more comprehensive restrictions do require a more comprehensive economic response,” Confederation of British Industry chair Tony Danker told the BBC Today program. Leader of the opposition Labour party Keir Starmer told the same show: “The general principle needs to be where there are health restrictions there needs to be an economic package to support that.”Want more analysis from POLITICO? POLITICO Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers real time intelligence, deep insight and breaking scoops you need to keep one step ahead. Email [email protected] to request a complimentary trial. LONDON — The U.K. government announced a £4.6 billion cash injection for businesses impacted by coronavirus restrictions after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown in England on Monday evening.Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the cash would “help businesses to get through the months ahead — and crucially it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen.”The one-off package includes grants for retail, hospitality and leisure firms worth up to £9,000 per property and a £594 million fund that firms in need can apply for.