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Why are coups making a comeback in Africa?

People celebrate in the streets with members of Guinea's armed forces after the arrest of Guinea's president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d'etat in Conakry, September 5, 2021.

In just over a year, Africa has experienced three successful coups (two in Mali and one more recently in Guinea), one unsuccessful coup attempt in Niger, and an arbitrary military transfer of power in Chad following the assassination of its president.

These power grabs threaten a reversal of the democratization process Africa has undergone in the past two decades and a return to the era of coups as the norm.
According to one study, sub-Saharan Africa experienced 80 successful coups and 108 failed coup attempts between 1956 and 2001, an average of four a year. This figure kizik shoes halved in the period from then till 2019 as most African nations turned to democracy, only for it to once again be on the ascendance. Why?

Different decade, same problems

In the early postcolonial decades when coups were rampant, Africa’s coup leaders virtually always offered the same reasons for toppling governments: corruption, mismanagement, poverty.
The leader of Guinea’s recent coup, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, echoed these justifications, citing “poverty and endemic corruption” as reasons for overthrowing 83 year old president Alpha Conde. The soldiers who led a coup in neighbouring Mali last year claimed “theft” and “bad governance” prompted their actions. Likewise, the Sudanese and Zimbabwean generals who toppled Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and Robert Mugabe in 2017 respectively, deployed similar arguments.
Guinean military officer says President Alpha Conde arrested, as apparent coup unfolds
While well-worn, these justifications still resonate with many Africans today for the simple reason they continue to accurately depict the reality of their countries. Furthermore, in many countries, people feel these problems are worsening.
The research network Afrobarometer conducted surveys across 19 African countries which showed 6 in 10 respondents saying corruption is increasing in their country (the figure was 63% in Guinea) while 2 in 3 say their governments are doing a poor job fighting it.
Furthermore, 72% believe ordinary citizens “risk retaliation or other negative consequences” if they report corruption to authorities, a sign Africans believe their public institutions are not just partakers in, but active defenders of, corrupt systems.
When it comes to poverty, an already tragic situation has been worsened by the battering Africa’s fragile oncloud shoes economies took from the coronavirus pandemic.
One in three people are now unemployed in Nigeria, West Africa’s largest economy. The same goes for South Africa, the most industrialized African nation. It is now estimated the number of extremely poor people in sub-Saharan Africa has crossed the 500 million mark, half the population.
This in the youngest continent in the world with a median age of 20 and a faster-growing population than anywhere else, further intensifying an already fierce competition for resources.
These conditions create fertile conditions for coups and for increasingly desperate young Africans who have lost patience with their corrupt leaders to welcome coupists promising radical change, as was witnessed on the streets of Guinea following the takeover, with some elated Guineans even kissing the soldiers.
But as with the coups of the 1970s these scenes of joy will likely be shortlived, says Joseph Sany, Vice President of the Africa Center at the United States Institute of Peace. “The initial reaction of what you see on the streets will be of joy, but very soon, people will be demanding action… and I’m not sure the military will be able to deliver on the expectations, basic service delivery, more freedoms,” he says.

Threat to democratic gains

What is clear is that these coups pose a serious threat to the democratic gains African countries have made in recent decades. Worryingly, research shows that many Africans are increasingly ceasing to believe elections can deliver the leaders they want.
Surveys conducted across 19 African countries in 2019/20 showed just 4 in 10 respondents (42%) now believe elections work well to ensure “MPs reflect voters’ views” and to “enable voters remove non-performing leaders.”
In other words, less than half believe elections guarantee representativeness and accountability, key ingredients of functional democracies.
Across 11 countries polled regularly since 2008, the belief elections enable voters remove non-performing leaders has dropped by 11% points among citizens, according to the survey. It is not that Africans no longer want to choose their leaders via elections, it is simply that many now believe their political systems are gamed.
Leaders like the deposed Conde are part of the problem. The only reason he was still in power until the coup was because he engineered constitutional changes in 2020 to enable himself serve a third-term as president, a common practise by several leaders on the continent, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Alassane Ouattara in Côte d’Ivoire.
Mali's President resigns after he was arrested in a military coup
The African Union is rightly condemning Guinea’s coup, but its response to such constitutional abuses has been muted.
These double standards and perceived elite conspiracies create the perfect environment for young swashbuckling officers like the 41-year-old Doumbouya to step in and promise to save the day.
“If the people are crushed by their elites, it is up to the army to give the people their freedom,” said Guinea’s new leader, quoting the former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings who himself led two coups
It is perhaps no coincidence Doumbouya quoted the feisty Rawlings, who was very effective at expressing the anger Ghanaians felt towards their political elites when he led military juntas in the 1980s. Desperate citizens living in political systems they often rightly on cloud shoes believe are fixed can easily be seduced by anti-elite, anti-corruption rhetoric coupled with the promise of the new.
We should, unfortunately, prepare ourselves for the eventuality of more coups in Africa in the coming years. They are not to be expected in richer countries with strong institutions such as South Africa, Ghana or Botswana but in the poorer more fragile states. As are Mali, Niger, Chad and now Guinea where coups and coup attempts have recently occurred.
Fifteen of the twenty countries topping the 2021 Fragile States Index are in Africa, including countries like Cameroon, Central African Republic, Somalia and South Sudan as well as larger nations like Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia (which has been experiencing violent internal conflict for close to a year now) and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.
This increasing probability of coups will make Africa in general less predictable and stable, a negative for investors that could end up worsening the economic situation.
Can this undesirable trend be reversed? Yes, but while the international condemnations of coups in Guinea and elsewhere are crucial as deterrents to other would-be power grabbers, the only actors who truly have the power to reverse this worrying trend are African leaders themselves.
They are the ones in charge on the ground and it is their response to these recent events that will be the deciding factor. They need to reignite the belief democracy can deliver for Africans. But if the problems still being cited to justify coups continue to worsen in today’s African democracies, then the temptation to try something else will continue to be dangerously seductive, both for coupists and citizens alike.

Why some African countries are thinking twice about calling out Putin

Nelson Mandela was once asked why he still had relationships with, among others, Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, the Cuban and Palestinian leaders who had been branded terrorists by Western powers. The revered South African statesman replied that it was a mistake “to think that their enemies should be our enemies.”

This stance has largely typified some African nations’ response to the Russia-Ukraine war. Across the continent, on cloud shoes many appear hesitant to risk their own security, foreign investment and trade by backing one side in this conflict.
While there has been widespread condemnation of the attacks on Ukrainian civilians and their own citizens fleeing the warzone — from countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya — there has been a much more muted response from some key African nations.
Countries on the continent find themselves in a delicate position and will not want to get drawn into proxy battles, says Remi Adekoya, associate lecturer at England’s University of York.
“There’s a strong strand of thought in African diplomacy that says African states should maintain the principle of non-interference and so they shouldn’t get caught up in proxy wars between the East and the West. As some states did get caught up in proxy wars during the Cold War, for instance,” Adekoya told CNN.
They moved to Ukraine for an education. Now they're living in a city occupied by Russian forces
One influential voice that has made it clear he will not make an enemy out of Russian leader Vladimir Putin is South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
While addressing his country’s parliament Thursday, he said: “Our position is very clear … there are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance and position against, say Russia. And the approach that we have chosen to take … is we are insisting that there should be dialogue.”
After initially releasing a statement calling for Russia to immediately pull its forces out of Ukraine, South Africa has since laid the blame for the war directly at NATO’s doorstep for considering Ukraine’s membership into the military alliance, which Russia is against.
“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less instability in the region.” Ramaphosa said in parliament Thursday.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma also earlier issued a statement saying Russia “felt provoked.”
“Putin has been very patient with the western forces. He has been crystal clear about his opposition of the eastern expansion of … NATO into Ukraine … and is on the record about the military threat posed to Russia by the presence of the forces … it looks justifiable that Russia felt provoked,” Zuma said in a statement issued by his foundation on March 6.
Higher food prices and slumping trade. How the war in Ukraine could hit Africa
South Africa has strong ties to Russia and Ramaphosa has written about being approached to be a mediator in the conflict given its membership of BRICS — a group of emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The ties between the two countries also date back to apartheid times when the former Soviet Union supported South Africa and the African National Congress party in their liberation struggles. “Those favors have not been forgotten,” said Adekoya.
South Africa was one of 17 African nations to abstain on the UN resolution demanding that Russia immediately withdraw from oncloud shoes Ukraine on March 2. It took a similar stance during Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Nigeria and Egypt were among the 28 African nations that voted to condemn Russia, while eight others didn’t submit a vote. Eritrea was the only African country that outrightly voted against the resolution.
Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry said in a statement it was unconvinced that the UN resolution was driven towards dialogue, rather “it poured more fuel to the fire, thus complicating the situation.”

‘Strongman leadership’

Many of the countries that abstained from the UN vote are authoritarian regimes. They see Putin’s unilateral decision to invade Ukraine as a show of power and ego that they can appreciate and align with, Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, a political analyst and professor at New York’s Farmingdale State College, told CNN.
 One of those who have spoken out prominently in support of the Russian leader is Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the influential son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
 His father has ruled Uganda with an iron fist for 36 years and there has been speculation that Kainerugaba is a would-be successor when the 78-year-old Museveni eventually stands down.
 Kainerugaba tweeted that: “The majority of mankind (that are non-white) support Russia’s stand in Ukraine. Putin is absolutely right!”
  Some African countries have also hesitated in speaking out against Russia because they want to “keep their options open if they face existential threats or some kind of revolution in their own country in the future,” said Adekoya.
 “They saw Putin keep Assad in power in Syria because if not for Russia’s intervention, Assad’s regime would have fallen long ago,” he added.
 Adekoya also pointed out that some of the muted response stems from what is perceived as Western hypocrisy.
On GPS: Kenya's clarion call on Ukraine

Kenya’s UN Security Council representative Martin Kimani gave a powerful speech on the brink of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kimani drew a parallel between Ukraine’s emergence as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the experience of post-colonial states in Africa, criticizing Russian PresidentVladimir Putin’s buildup of forces and his support for redrawing Ukraine’s borders by recognizing the breakaway statelets of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Kenya rejects such a yearning from being pursued by force,” he said, referring to Russia’s recognition of the two territories as independent states. “We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.”
During the speech, he also mentioned kizik shoes other nations on the Security Council who had breached international law and faced no sanctions.  “He didn’t mention them by name, but he was talking about the US and UK who invaded Iraq in 2003 … and were never really held to account,” Adekoya said.
“There are many people in many parts of the world who would like to see other regions gaining strength and would like to see the end of Western domination of the world order, putting it simply … of course, no right-thinking person in Africa or anywhere in the world looks at what is going on in Ukraine now and thinks that it’s a good thing …  but many people do see the hypocrisy,” he added.

Establishing stronger ties

In recent years, Russia has established itself as one of Africa’s most valuable trading partners — becoming a major supplier of military hardware with key alliances in Nigeria, Libya, Ethiopia and Mali.
 Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank.
Some analysts say the support or non-censure of Russia speaks to a wider sentiment in parts of Africa that Western policy positions do not always work in their favor.
 “The message that Moscow is pushing is that if you are tired of the paternalistic way the West approaches you, we are going to be your security partners. It will be a relationship of equals,” Aanu Adeoye, a Russia-Africa analyst at Chatham House, told CNN.
Unlike many of its European counterparts, Russia is not a former colonial power in Africa and so has a wider scope of opportunity in making soft power moves that aim to challenge Western dominance on the continent.
The Soviet Union also had client relationships with many African states during the Cold War, and Moscow has looked to revive some of those ties.
Before the invasion, Russian state media outlet RT announced plans to set up a new hub in Kenya with a job ad that said it wanted to “cover stories that have been overlooked by other organizations” and that “challenge conventional wisdom about Africa.
 Yet Africa has often been at the heart of the tussle for influence in the great power competitions between key geopolitical players such as the US, China and Russia.
 Some countries are trying to leverage this position in a variety of ways.
Odugbesan-Omede explained that Tanzania, for example, has identified the current situation as a chance for its energy industry to profit. “Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, sees this an opportunity to look for markets to export gas,” she said.Tanzania has the sixth largest gas reserve in Africa. While some African countries will sustain some economic shock from the Russian-Ukraine fight, others are trying to weather the storm by looking for new avenues of profitability,” Odugbesan-Omede added.

Why is Prince Charles headed to Rwanda?

The British royals are going back on tour, after two visits to the Caribbean earlier this year that were marred by anti-monarchy, anti-colonialism demonstrations.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were caught out by photo ops that some criticized for their colonialist undertones. The Prime Minister of Jamaica told the couple in public that his country would be “moving on.” Prince William later conceded that foreign tours were an “opportunity to reflect.”
A follow-up visit to the region by the Earl and Countess of Wessex then had to be rearranged to avoid Grenada, where there have been calls for the UK to pay reparations for slavery. There were concerns in the government that the issue could overshadow the visit.
A visit to Canada by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall last month was less contentious — while there is a republican movement there, it isn’t rooted to the same extent in issues of slavery and race.
The heir to the throne may be under more scrutiny in Africa next week, when he attends the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. While the Queen is the head of the Commonwealth, the role is purely ceremonial and the UK has no more power within the grouping than any other country.
Charles will represent her, which will help prepare everyone for the time when he takes over as head. The question that inevitably surfaces is whether he will be as effective as his mother, but he’s no doubt used to that. The more profound question that comes up is whether, with its origins in the British Empire, the Commonwealth is still relevant.
The Queen and Prince Charles at the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in 2018.

The location of the 2022 meeting may provide one argument in favor of the organization. The host, Rwanda, only joined the group in 2009 and has no historical ties to the UK. In fact, this will be the first time a member of the royal family has set foot in the country.
“My wife and I much look forward to meeting Commonwealth leaders and, for the first time, being able to visit Rwanda,” Charles said ahead of the visit. “Over the years, I have learned a great deal from the ideas, concerns and aspirations which people across the Commonwealth have so generously shared.”
There will be other engagements built around the main event. Charles will visit a college and a wildlife sanctuary, and attend summits on sustainable business and tropical disease. Camilla will go to a library and later give a speech on violence against women and girls. Together they will lay a wreath at the Genocide Memorial and meet both survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 massacre of Tutsis.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also be attending “CHOGM,” as the meeting is known. He won’t be able to avoid questions on his asylum policy, following a storm back home. He has tried and failed — so far — to get legal clearance to fly people seeking asylum in Britain to Rwanda for processing, with successful applicants granted asylum there instead. Charles reportedly described the plan as “appalling.” Photographers will be looking for any signs of tension between the two, though the prince will be keen to avoid any accusations of political interference.
For the inside track on the Rwanda tour, look no further than this newsletter. We will be traveling with Charles and Camilla to and from Kigali. See you back here next week…

WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?

The Queen hits another milestone!
There were no bells and whistles this time round but Queen Elizabeth II quietly broke yet another record in the past week. On Sunday, she officially became the second longest-serving monarch in world history. The Queen overtook Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died aged 88, having achieved 70 years and 126 days on the throne between 1946 and 2016. In case you’re wondering, the record for longest-ever reign belongs to Louis XIV of France. He ruled for 72 years, 110 days, from 14 May 1643 to 1 September 1715.
The Queen smiles during a Platinum Jubilee appearance in early June.

William and Kate attend Grenfell memorial service.
The Cambridges paid their respects to bereaved relatives and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire on Tuesday — exactly five years to the day after the tragedy. The pair chatted with attendees before taking a seat for the multi-faith service at the foot of the building. They joined the congregation in a 72-second silence in memory of the 72 victims who perished in the fire that tore through the west London high-rise. Following the memorial service, the couple laid a wreath in honor of the victims. Back in 2017, William accompanied his grandmother to the site to meet members of the community affected by the blaze.
The Cambridges mark the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14 in London, England.

DON’T MISS

Ahead of Prince Charles’ visit to Rwanda, two daughters have written a plea to the heir to the British throne for CNN. Carine and Anaïse Kanimba are the adopted daughters of Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda.” He was convicted of terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison last September, in what his supporters said was a politically motivated show trial. The US State Department said last month that Rusesabagina had been “wrongfully detained.” In an op-ed for CNN, his daughters are asking the visiting royal “not to remain silent” and “to not shake the hand of the tyrant who is holding our father as a political prisoner.”
Read their message for Prince Charles here.

ROYAL TEA BREAK

Most of us have read the tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. At the very least you’ve probably seen the 1963 Disney classic “The Sword in the Stone.” Well, it turns out the Arthurian legend has even had a few blue-blooded fans over the centuries. In fact, King Edward III was so taken with it that nearly 700 years ago he created his own group of chivalrous knights — the Order of the Garter.
Now, this elite institution still exists, and every June it gathers for the annual Garter Day procession at Windsor, after which new members are welcomed into the fold, a lunch is put on and then it’s over to St. George’s Chapel for a service. The event is pretty spectacular, as traditionally the Queen and the knights — who are now both male and female — don fabulously grand velvet robes with plumed hats for the parade. Members of the order — 24 in total, as well as certain royal family members — are personally chosen by the sovereign, in recognition of an individual’s service to the nation through public office or to the monarch personally.
The Duchess of Cornwall was installed in the Order of the Garter this year.

This year’s event caused a bit of a stir as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was invested as a member of the Order of the Garter, becoming “Sir Tony.” Beyond the castle’s walls, Stop the War activists and members of the Free Assange movement protested the former leader’s appointment to the country’s most senior order of chivalry, chanting “war criminal” and holding placards. Separately, there was some royal drama after it was revealed Prince Andrew had been blocked from attending parts of the day. A royal source told CNN Monday that the embattled royal would only be going to the private events and would not be seen in public, in what was understood to be a “family decision.”
Max went deeper into Britain’s oldest and most senior order of chivalry over on TikTok:

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Prince Charles peeks at the ponies as he and Camilla — along with several other members of the royal family — enjoyed a day at the races for Royal Ascot 2022. Sadly, the Queen wasn’t in attendance, due to her mobility problems, and was probably watching from the comfort of her Windsor home down the road, especially as she had a couple of horses running on Gold Cup day. Both ended up coming second in their races but the events would have still delighted the monarch, according to her racing manager, John Warren.
He told Britain’s PA Media news agency that he was “disappointed for Her Majesty” but “she gets it.” He explained that horses are “her passion, and the Queen would have absorbed everything that was there to be seen. She is so engaged in it that it is nice to know that she is probably seeing more than we do!”

“If we come together to raise the importance of early childhood development, we’ll soon see that healthy, happy individuals make for a healthier, happier world. Which is why every second we spend with a child, is an investment in our collective future.”

The Duchess of Cambridge

Kate, who founded the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood last year, made the remarks as the organization unveiled new research into public perceptions of early childhood development on Thursday. One of the findings revealed that while nine in 10 agree on the importance of early years in shaping a person’s future, less than a fifth recognize the “unique” importance of the period between 0 and 5. Alongside the new research, the duchess hosted a roundtable discussion with representatives from the early years sector, including the UK Secretary of State for Health Sajid Javid and Minister for Families Will Quince.

Analysis: Why some African countries are thinking twice about calling out Putin

Nelson Mandela was once asked why he still had relationships with, among others, Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, the Cuban and Palestinian leaders who had been branded terrorists by Western powers. The revered South African statesman replied that it was a mistake “to think that their enemies should be our enemies.”

This stance has largely typified some African nations’ response to the Russia-Ukraine war. Across the continent, many appear hesitant to risk their own security, foreign investment and trade by backing one side in this conflict.
While there has been widespread condemnation of the attacks on Ukrainian civilians and their own citizens fleeing the warzone — from countries such oncloud shoes as Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya — there has been a much more muted response from some key African nations.
Countries on the continent find themselves in a delicate position and will not want to get drawn into proxy battles, says Remi Adekoya, associate lecturer at England’s University of York.
“There’s a strong strand of thought in African diplomacy that says African states should maintain the principle of non-interference and so they shouldn’t get caught up in proxy wars between the East and the West. As some states did get caught up in proxy wars during the Cold War, for instance,” Adekoya told CNN.
They moved to Ukraine for an education. Now they're living in a city occupied by Russian forces
One influential voice that has made it clear he will not make an enemy out of Russian leader Vladimir Putin is South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
While addressing his country’s parliament Thursday, he said: “Our position is very clear … there are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance and position against, say Russia. And the approach that we have chosen to take … is we are insisting that there should be dialogue.”
After initially releasing a statement calling for Russia to immediately pull its forces out of Ukraine, South Africa has since laid the blame for the war directly at NATO’s doorstep for considering Ukraine’s membership into the military alliance, which Russia is against.
“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less instability in the region.” Ramaphosa said in parliament Thursday.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma also earlier issued a statement saying Russia “felt provoked.”
“Putin has been very patient with the western forces. He has been crystal clear about his opposition of the eastern expansion of … NATO into Ukraine … and is on the record about the military threat posed to Russia by the presence of the forces … it looks justifiable that Russia felt provoked,” Zuma said in a statement issued by his foundation on March 6.
Higher food prices and slumping trade. How the war in Ukraine could hit Africa
South Africa has strong ties to Russia and Ramaphosa has written about being approached to be a mediator in the conflict given its membership of BRICS — a group of emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The ties between the two countries also date back to apartheid times when the former Soviet Union supported South Africa and the African National Congress party in their liberation struggles. “Those favors have not been forgotten,” said Adekoya.
South Africa was one of 17 African kizik shoes nations to abstain on the UN resolution demanding that Russia immediately withdraw from Ukraine on March 2. It took a similar stance during Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Nigeria and Egypt were among the 28 African nations that voted to condemn Russia, while eight others didn’t submit a vote. Eritrea was the only African country that outrightly voted against the resolution.
Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry said in a statement it was unconvinced that the UN resolution was driven towards dialogue, rather “it poured more fuel to the fire, thus complicating the situation.”

‘Strongman leadership’

Many of the countries that abstained from the UN vote are authoritarian regimes. They see Putin’s unilateral decision to invade Ukraine as a show of power and ego that they can appreciate and align with, Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, a political analyst and professor at New York’s Farmingdale State College, told CNN.
 One of those who have spoken out prominently in support of the Russian leader is Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the influential son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
 His father has ruled Uganda with an iron fist for 36 years and there has been speculation that Kainerugaba is a would-be successor when the 78-year-old Museveni eventually stands down.
 Kainerugaba tweeted that: “The majority of mankind (that are non-white) support Russia’s stand in Ukraine. Putin is absolutely right!”
  Some African countries have also hesitated in speaking out against Russia because they want to “keep their options open if they face existential threats or some kind of revolution in their own country in the future,” said Adekoya.
 “They saw Putin keep Assad in power in Syria because if not for Russia’s intervention, Assad’s regime would have fallen long ago,” he added.
 Adekoya also pointed out that some of the muted response stems from what is perceived as Western hypocrisy.
Kenya’s UN Security Council representative Martin Kimani gave a powerful speech on the brink of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kimani drew a parallel between Ukraine’s emergence as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the experience of post-colonial states in Africa, criticizing Russian PresidentVladimir Putin’s buildup of forces and his support for redrawing Ukraine’s borders by recognizing the breakaway statelets of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Kenya rejects such a yearning from being pursued by force,” he said, referring to Russia’s recognition of the two territories as independent states. “We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.”
During the speech, he also mentioned other nations on the Security Council who had breached international law and faced no sanctions.  “He didn’t mention them by name, but he was talking about the US and UK who invaded Iraq in 2003 … and were never really held to account,” Adekoya said.
“There are many people in many parts of the world who would like to see other regions gaining strength and would like to see the end of Western domination of the world order, putting it simply … of course, no right-thinking person in Africa or anywhere in the world looks at what is going on in Ukraine now and thinks that it’s a good thing …  but many people do see the hypocrisy,” he added.

Establishing stronger ties

In recent years, Russia has established itself as one of Africa’s most valuable trading partners — becoming a major supplier of military hardware with key alliances in Nigeria, Libya, Ethiopia and Mali.
 Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank.
Some analysts say the support or non-censure of Russia speaks to a wider sentiment in parts of Africa that nobull shoes Western policy positions do not always work in their favor.
 “The message that Moscow is pushing is that if you are tired of the paternalistic way the West approaches you, we are going to be your security partners. It will be a relationship of equals,” Aanu Adeoye, a Russia-Africa analyst at Chatham House, told CNN.
Unlike many of its European counterparts, Russia is not a former colonial power in Africa and so has a wider scope of opportunity in making soft power moves that aim to challenge Western dominance on the continent.
The Soviet Union also had client relationships with many African states during the Cold War, and Moscow has looked to revive some of those ties.
Before the invasion, Russian state media outlet RT announced plans to set up a new hub in Kenya with a job ad that said it wanted to “cover stories that have been overlooked by other organizations” and that “challenge conventional wisdom about Africa.
 Yet Africa has often been at the heart of the tussle for influence in the great power competitions between key geopolitical players such as the US, China and Russia.
 Some countries are trying to leverage this position in a variety of ways.
Odugbesan-Omede explained that Tanzania, for example, has identified the current situation as a chance for its energy industry to profit. “Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, sees this an opportunity to look for markets to export gas,” she said.”Tanzania has the sixth largest gas reserve in Africa. While some African countries will sustain some economic shock from the Russian-Ukraine fight, others are trying to weather the storm by looking for new avenues of profitability,” Odugbesan-Omede added.

Why Olympic figure skaters don’t get dizzy

Top figure skaters spin at such unbelievably fast speeds — as many as six revolutions per second — that it can make even spectators feel a little woozy.

Curious viewers of the Beijing Winter Olympics want to know why. “How do figure skaters not get dizzy?” has been one of the top Google searches over the past week.
So how do these athletes pull off such head-spinning moves without toppling over?
As skating events continue in Beijing this week — the women’s free skate program airs Thursday night on NBC and Peacock — we turned to experts for answers.
Do figure skaters get dizzy?
Not so much, because they’ve learned how to minimize it.
Although they occasionally tumble upon landing, figure skaters mostly spin through the air without losing olukai shoes their balance. That’s because they have conditioned their bodies and brains to quash that dizzying feeling, experts say.
American figure skater Mirai Nagasu, who won a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018, says she feels the rotations but has learned how to recenter her focus over the years.
“I think we have a learned ability against the momentum that hits us while we’re spinning,” she says.
US Olympic medalist Mirai Nagasu  skates at Bryant Park in New York City.

Kathleen Cullen, a professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, has a more scientific answer. She studies the vestibular system, which is responsible for our sense of balance and motion, and says spinning without stumbling from dizziness is an art perfected over time.
At the start of their careers, skaters and other athletes feel dizzy when they spin around, Cullen says. But ultimately, they train their brains to better interpret that feeling.
“There’s a really profound fundamental thing that happens in the brain of people like hey dude dancers or skaters over lots and lots of practice. And that’s basically a change in the way the brain is processing information,” Cullen says.
“When you spin around, you’re activating the semicircular canals, rotation sensors. They’re filled with fluid and they’re sensing your rotation. But when you stop, the fluid has inertia and it tends to continue to move. They actually get a false sensation of movement.”
Over years of training, figure skaters’ brains have adapted and learned to ignore this error, she says.
“This is done over time with each practice session, day by day, as the brain compares its expectations with what it is actually pulling in from its sensory receptors.”
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of Team USA skate on day 10 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on February 14, 2022.

In short, Cullen says, most people feel like the world’s still whirling even after they stop spinning. But Olympians, and skaters in particular, generally do not because their brains have changed to suppress the feeling.
Athletes also learn ways to reduce their dizziness. For example, focusing on a fixed reference or stationary object minimizes dizziness and loss of balance.
“Ballet dancers often whip their head around during each turn to fixate a visual reference. Similarly, at the end of the spin, athletes will fixate their eyes at a specific spot on the wall to provide a fixed reference,” Cullen says.
Figure skater Zhu Yi of China competes in the women's short program at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The brain and the inner ear are in constant communication with the body and one another to achieve balance, says Brigid Dwyer, an assistant professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.
“For most people, however, dizziness is only a potential issue during faster and more forceful activities,” Dwyer says. “Amazingly, when needed, our brains can be red wing boots prompted over time to better handle the dizzying tasks we encounter.”
Here are some other common Google search queries about figure skating:
Why do some figure skaters wear tights over their boots?
Nagasu says it all comes down to personal choice.
Some people wear tights over their boots if their boots are scuffed up, she says. Others, like Courtney Hicks, a gold medalist at the 2013 US International Figure Skating Classic, say wearing tights over boots helps elongate the look of their legs.
But trends have changed in recent years, with a lot of skaters opting to wear tights that show off their boots, Nagasu says.
Courtney Hicks of the US performs during a women's singles free skating event in Nagano, Japan, in November 2015.

What’s the ‘kiss and cry’ area?
After their program, figure skaters wait for their scores at the aptly named “kiss and cry” rinkside area. Here, spectators get a glimpse of the athletes at one of their most tense moments.
Many figure skaters celebrate with kisses with their coaches — although not so much in the pandemic, as they are often masked — or dissolve into tears of disappointment.
“It’s supposed to be a pun. You either give kisses over how happy your score is or it’s so bad you literally cry,” Nagasu says.
Kaori Sakamoto of Team Japan reacts after hearing her score during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Why do some figure skaters wear gloves?
Skaters can easily take a tumble. And slapping the ice at high velocity is no fun.
“Ice can be rough when you’re falling, especially when you’re factoring the height at which we fall from and the momentum from our rotations,” Nagasu says.
Gloves also keep the skaters’ hands warm during the competition.
In a highly competitive sport where the tiniest advantage can make a difference, many athletes are leaving nothing to chance.

What is SWIFT and why it might be the weapon Russia fears most

As Western governments threaten Russia with a package of unprecedented sanctions aimed at deterring President Vladimir Putin from ordering an invasion of Ukraine, there’s one measure in particular that appears to strike fear at the heart of the Kremlin: cutting the country off from the global banking system.
US lawmakers have suggested in recent weeks that hoka shoes for women Russia could be removed from SWIFT, a high security network that connect thousands of financial institutions around the world.
Senior Russian lawmakers have responded by saying that shipments of oil, gas and metals to Europe would stop if that happened.
“If Russia is disconnected from SWIFT, then we will not receive [foreign] currency, but buyers, European countries in the first place, will not receive our goods — oil, gas, metals and other important components,” Nikolai Zhuravlev, vice speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said Tuesday, according to state media outlet TASS.
What is SWIFT?
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication was founded in 1973 to replace the telex and is now used by over 11,000 financial institutions to send secure messages and payment orders. With no globally accepted alternative, it is essential plumbing for global finance.
US working with allies to shore up energy supplies if Russia invades Ukraine
Removing Russia from SWIFT would make it nearly impossible for financial institutions to send money in or out of the country, delivering a sudden shock to Russian companies and their foreign customers -— especially buyers of oil and gas exports denominated in US dollars.
“The cutoff would terminate all international transactions, trigger currency volatility, and cause massive capital outflows,” Maria Shagina, a visiting fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, wrote in a paper last year for Carnegie Moscow Center. Excluding Russia from SWIFT would cause its economy to shrink by 5%, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin estimated in 2014.
SWIFT is based in Belgium and governed by a board consisting of 25 people, including Eddie Astanin, chairman of the management board at Russia’s Central Counterparty Clearing Centre. SWIFT, which describes itself as a “neutral utility,” is incorporated under Belgian law and must comply with EU regulations.
What happens if Russia is removed?
There is precedent for removing a country from SWIFT.
SWIFT unplugged Iranian banks in 2012 after they were sanctioned by the European Union over the country’s nuclear program. Iran lost almost half of its oil export revenue and 30% of foreign trade following the hoka shoes disconnection, according to Shagina.
“SWIFT is a neutral global cooperative set up and operated for the collective benefit of its community,” the organization said in a statement Wednesday. “Any decision to impose sanctions on countries or individual entities rests solely with the competent government bodies and applicable legislators,” it added.
It’s not clear how much support there is among US allies for taking similar action against Russia. The United States and Germany have the most to lose if Russia is disconnected, because their banks are the most frequent SWIFT users to communicate with Russian banks, according to Shagina.
The European Union is ready to respond to a Russian invasion of Ukraine with “comprehensive sanctions never seen before,” Danish foreign minister Jeppe Kofod said on Monday. EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell said Tuesday that sanctions would be “the most consequential leverage that the West, or at least the European Union, has.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told lawmakers on Tuesday that his government was discussing the possibility of banning Russia from SWIFT with the United States.
NATO chief: Still a 'diplomatic way out' of Ukraine conflict, as military alliance prepares written proposal for Russia
“There is no doubt that that would be a very potent weapon [against Russia]. I’m afraid it can only really be deployed with the assistance of the United States though. We are in discussions about that,” Johnson said.
Russia’s countermeasures
Russia has taken steps in recent years to blunt the trauma should it be removed from SWIFT.
Moscow established its own payment system, SPFS, after it was hit by Western sanctions in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea early that year. SPFS now has around 400 users, according to Russia’s central bank. Twenty percent of domestic transfers are currently done through SPFS, olukai shoes according to Shagina, but the size of messages are limited and operations are limited to weekday hours.
China’s fledgling Cross-Border Interbank Payment System, or CIPS, may provide another alternative to SWIFT. Moscow could also be forced to resort to using cryptocurrencies.
But these are not appealing alternatives.
“SWIFT is an European company, an association of many participating countries. To make a decision on disconnection, a united decision of all participating countries is needed. The decisions of the United States and Great Britain are definitely not enough,” Zhuravlev said, according to TASS.
“I’m not sure that other countries, especially those whose share of trade with Russia is large in balance, will support the shutdown,” he added.

‘I’ve got terminal cancer. Here’s why I’m prioritizing travel’

Kris-Sokolowksi-travel-photos-(6)

Kris Sokolowski has always been active, spending his free time mountain climbing, running and practicing martial arts.
And at every opportunity, he could be found boarding a plane, en route to explore the world. On his first official date with his now wife, Sokolowski booked flights to South Africa for two weeks. The couple have a son, now 11, who also joins them on their adventures.
Sokolowski’s outdoor pursuits have helped keep him healthy. At his last yearly physical checkup in December 2020, his doctor called him “Iron Man.”
But around six months after that appointment, Sokolowski started experiencing what he describes as an “odd feeling” in his stomach.
“It was kind of like a gurgling, like you’re hungry. And it just wasn’t going away for a couple of days,” he tells CNN Travel today.
Sokolowski went to get checked out and was told it was olukai shoes likely acid reflux. He was given some pills and sent home. A couple days later, the gurgling sensation was still there, so he sought further medical advice and a scan, after which he was told to see a gastro specialist right away.
Sokolowski’s doctor told him there was a “big mass” on his colon and liver and he suspected late stage-four cancer. Stage four is the most advanced stage of cancer and usually means it has spread from its origin.
“My first reaction was, ‘How can this happen? I’ve never missed an appointment,'” Sokolowski recalls.
But at 48, Sokolowski hadn’t been old enough for recommended regular colonoscopies in the United States (the age has since lowered to 45). And until the gurgling sensation, he hadn’t experienced any symptoms.
An MRI scan, colonoscopy and tissue sample confirmed the worst: Sokolowski had stage four colon cancer.
“The MRI showed it in six places on my body,” says Sokolowski. “So it was my colon, my liver, my sternum, my spine, my lymph nodes, and the walls of my abdomen.”
Oncologists told him there was no cure for his condition.
“They gave me a lifespan between two and a half and five years to live,” he says.
Love of travel
Kris-Sokolowksi-travel-photos-(1)
The Sokolowskis traveled to China in 2015, here they are on the Great Wall.
Atlanta-based Sokolowski is the first-generation American son of two Polish immigrants. He says his love of travel stems from the many childhood summers he spent back in Poland. In his 20s, he started traveling whenever he could, regularly exploring Europe.
When Sokolowski met his wife Elizabeth in his thirties, the two realized they were united in a thirst to see the world. That first date in South Africa sealed the deal, and the couple were married six months later.
“When our son was born a year later in 2010, we made a commitment that every year, we would take him out of the country,” says Sokolowski.
It’s important to the couple to introduce their son to cultures and experiences outside of the US.
Since he was born, the family has been to 19 countries and counting.
“We both work for corporate America, but we save up all year, and usually take about three weeks to travel, whether it’s Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, wherever we can go.”
Solowski says he and his wife always look forward. They rarely return to the same place, and focus on how they can make the best of their current circumstances and plan something exciting for the future.
Kris-Sokolowksi-travel-photos-(4)
Here’s the family in Seoul, South Korea.
It’s that attitude that Sokolowski brought to his terminal cancer diagnosis.
He says he’s on the highest dosage of chemotherapy available. He was warned by doctors of side effects of fatigue, vomiting, hair loss and weight loss.
“I said, Look, I’m a young guy, I’m 48 years old, I have a 10-year-old at home. Throw everything you got at me now while I’m young and strong,” recalls Sokolowski.
So far, side effects have been minimal and he’s continued to exercise and run regularly.
“I’ve never been sick a day from it,” Sokolowski says. “Fatigue kicked hey dude in a little bit, but I was able to overcome it. So everything they told me was going to happen, didn’t happen with me.”
Sokolowski and his family canceled a planned trip to Iceland in summer 2021, but as the months rolled on, he was advised that, against the odds, his tumors were shrinking, and he was well enough to afford to skip one of his chemo treatments — which occur every two weeks — to go on vacation abroad.
Even catching Covid-19 in November 2021 didn’t put a stop to plans — fortunately Sokolowski was vaccinated and only mildly ill with the virus.
Kris-Sokolowksi-travel-photos-(7)
The Sokolowskis love to get outside on their vacations. Here they are exploring in Slovenia.
When he got the go ahead to travel with his family over the Christmas period, Sokolowski was thrilled.
“Even above my health, travel was still a priority,” Sokolowski says. “Because it was a commitment that we made when we got married, it was a commitment that we made to our son when he was born — that we would take him out of the country every year. So to me, that was always priority number one.”
Sokolowski and his wife Elizabeth and son Braden started planning a trip for Christmas and New Year. They settled on a three-week adventure in French Polynesia, heading to Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti.
Sokolowski traveled with his chemo pills, as well as a precautionary letter from his doctor to ensure he could get back into the United States — “just in case there was some kind of lockdown because of Covid. And that letter basically stipulated that ‘Kris has stage-four cancer that’s terminal, that he’s really dependent on his chemo.'”
While Sokolowski had avoided many side effects of his treatment, when departure day rolled around he was suffering from a condition called hand-foot syndrome, which can cause the bottom of your feet to become really tender and prone to blistering and swelling.
Kris-Sokolowksi-travel-photos-(5)
The Sokolowskis rarely go to the same place twice. Here’s the family on a past trip to Malta.
“When I was running before our trip, it caused me to have blisters on both of my feet, I think I had four on each foot and it was extremely difficult to walk — it was almost like walking on razor blades,” he says.
“So the day we were leaving for French Polynesia, we went through three different airports. We went through Atlanta airport, LAX and then in Tahiti, and in all three airports, I had to be in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk, and that was kind of difficult.”
But Sokolowski says arriving in Bora Bora and red wing boots diving into the turquoise waters was almost instantly healing.
That was likely the salt water at work, he says. But Sokolowski also thinks the happiness and delight he felt at being on vacation in a beautiful place with his loved ones lifted his spirits, providing invaluable palliative care.
Under warm blue skies, the family enjoyed swimming with black tip sharks, jet skiing, exploring volcanic landscapes and relaxing.
“We spent an enormous time out on the water. I mean, how can you not? It’s crystal clear. It’s a turquoise color that you’ve never seen before. You know, you could see right down to the bottom where the fish are swimming. And it’s just very peaceful and relaxful.”
Kris-Sokolowksi-travel-photos-(3)
Kris, Elizabeth and Braden Sokolowski, pictured here on the island of Moorea, fell in love with French Polynesia during their trip at the end of 2021.
For Sokolowski and his wife, it was important to be candid with Braden about his father’s cancer, while also easing him into this new reality and supporting him through it.
Sokolowski says the family’s focus is on making memories, and continuing to encourage their child to embrace new opportunities and adventures.
One of Sokolowski’s favorite moments from the 2021 French Polynesia trip was watching Braden diving with sharks for the first time.
“He was a little apprehensive about getting into water with sharks. But then he saw us doing it. So he jumped in,” says Sokolowski. “And the first time a shark came up to his face and then turned around and just left — I was underwater with him and the look on his face, it was just — it was pure excitement, adrenaline and joy. And I saw how much he enjoyed it and he couldn’t get out of the water, I mean, it was fantastic.”
Kris-Sokolowski-travel-photos-(8)
Diving with sharks in French Polynesia in 2021 was a highlight for the family.
Sokolowski has yet to take his son to Poland, but he says that’s on the agenda for future travels. He’d wanted to wait until Braden was old enough to understand and fully appreciate the trip.
While the family are currently based in Atlanta, the Sokolowskis are also seriously considering moving to French Polynesia, if they can make it doable with remote working and healthcare.
“For 15 days, I had a smile on my face, ear to ear,” Sokolowski says of the family’s time there. “I honestly believe if there’s anything that’s going to cure my cancer, it’s going to be living a life of positivity and happiness.”
Wherever they’re based, travel will remain a priority. In 2022, the family hope to travel to Pamplona, Spain to watch the annual running of the bulls festival — a longtime dream of Sokolowski’s.
Sokolowski hopes to defy expectations and statistics to recover from his illness. However much time he has left, he’s vowed to spend as much of it as he can exploring the world with his loved ones.
“I don’t know how long I have left on this earth, but I want to leave behind fond memories of travel and a legacy where my son can make our planet just a bit better,” he says.
Sokolowski has a blog where he recaps his own experiences with cancer. He’s become passionate about encouraging people with illness to travel if they can, and he’s similarly committed to encouraging people in their 40s to get a colonoscopy.
When he got his diagnosis, Sokolowski asked his gastroenterologist what the outlook would have been if he’d had a colonoscopy three years earlier.
“Before I even finished my sentence, he goes, ‘I would have pulled out a couple of polyps, and you wouldn’t even be sitting here, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.’ And that really struck me hard.”
Sokolowski says dwelling on this “what if” isn’t helpful for him.
“I do not look in the rearview mirror,” he says. “That doesn’t help me at all. It is what it is. And I only look forward, the only time that I look back is to tell people my story and say, ‘This is what happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you.'”
Instead, Sokolowski’s focus is on staying as healthy as possible, and looking forward to future adventures with his family.
His wife Elizabeth tells CNN Travel she has the same outlook.
“You need to live your life, you only get one life,” she says. “The memories is really what is going to make you happy in the end.”
Sokolowski adds: “The one thing I’ve always told people is get out of your bubble, get out of your city and go see the world.”
“It amazes me how many people are not interested in traveling — or interested and they tell me ‘Well, we can’t do this’ and they make excuses. Stop with the excuses and do it.”

Why The Cast Of Yellowstone Looks So Familiar

Yellowstone

Paramount Network’s electrifying neo-Western saga Yellowstone has gone from a little extended cable series with a big name star to a ratings powerhouse that ranks among the most watched shows on television. And it’s done so by delivering a singular brand of primetime melodrama, with series creator Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water, and Wind River) telling an epic tale of a ranching family fighting to keep their land and wrapping it up in a veritable spider’s web of political intrigue and classic Western mythos.

Simply put, there’s nothing else on television at  keen shoes  the moment quite like Yellowstone. But while the story is incredible and the action is bloody, there can be little question that the series’ obscenely talented cast is a big part of what keeps its viewership numbers steadily on the rise. However, most of the people in the series aren’t exactly A-list stars, but nevertheless, they’ve worked on some pretty high-profile movies and TV shows. So if there’s a particular face that you know you’ve seen before, well, here’s why the cast of Yellowstone looks so familiar.

Kevin Costner is a Hollywood legend

Kevin Costner in Yellowstone

Okay, so if there is one name on this list that you know — and really should know — it’s that of Kevin Costner. He is, after all, one of the most respected and revered actors in Hollywood, and has seen boundless success on both sides of the camera over his near four-decade career. While his work as Yellowstone’s steely-eyed and hard-hearted paterfamilias John Dutton is translating to a fresh wave of small screen success, Costner remains a bona fide movie star. After all, he’s appeared in a handful of legit iconic films, such as The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and JFK among them.

Just FYI, Costner is hardly a stranger to the Western genre either, having already saddled up for a handful of big screen cowboy classics like Silverado, Wyatt Earp, Open Range, and his Best Picture-winning Western opus Dances With Wolves. That being said, we’re fully aware that Costner is probably best known among viewers with at least a little bit of grey in their hair. So for all of you youngsters out there who’ve never shared a beer and a tear with your dad while watching Field of Dreams, it’s entirely likely you know Mr. Costner from his work as Jonathan Kent in the DCEU’s Man of Steel.

You’ve seen Kelly Reilly in some high-profile projects

Kelly Reilly in Yellowstone

Hopefully, you’re at least mildly familiar with Kelly Reilly’s face because she’s one of those actors who’s been perpetually on the fringe of a big-time Hollywood breakout for a while now. That her breakout hasn’t come yet is all but criminal at this point. Fortunately, Reilly has managed to build a career as a scene-stealing supporting player in recent years.

With any luck, Reilly’s razor-sharp work as the lone female Dutton sibling will help her get the attention of a few more asics shoes producers who recognize a commanding screen presence when they see it. And yes, Reilly’s work as the fiery Beth Dutton is the very definition of commanding, with the actor bringing serious weight to a fascinatingly duplicitous character who would feel equally at home in a Shakespearean tragedy as she does among the Big Sky melodrama of Yellowstone.

If you’re having trouble figuring out exactly where you’ve seen Reilly’s face before, fans of HBO’s detective drama True Detective will almost certainly recognize her from her season two turn as the Lady Macbeth-like wife of Vince Vaughan’s fading tough-guy crime lord. But if you checked out on of True Detective after the first season — and we know many of you did — it’s probable you know Reilly from her work as Mary to Jude Law’s Watson in the first two installments of the Sherlock Holmes franchise or as the venom-spewing Caroline Bingley in Joe Wright’s pitch-perfect 2006 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.

Luke Grimes starred in a very different type of TV show before Yellowstone

Luke Grimes in Yellowstone

When it comes to actors you should probably be way more familiar with, say hello to Mr. Luke Grimes. On Yellowstone, you know him as Dutton Ranch foreman, devoted father, and ex-Navy SEAL Kayce, but in reality, he’s another one of those perpetually “on the fringe of a breakout performers” who too often find themselves relegated to the role of side character.

Unlike many of those long-time supporting players, Luke Grimes is still at a relatively early stage in his career — though it certainly seems like he’s been around longer than he has. So while we’re sure that certain Yellowstone fans have taken full notice of Grimes’ roguish looks and hardened glare, we’re guessing many of you still aren’t entirely sure where you’ve seen them both before.

Grimes actually made his screen debut back in 2006, when he appeared in Jonathan Levine’s breakout horror flick All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. A couple of years later, Grimes made his small-screen debut with a season-long run on ABC’s family drama Brothers and Sisters, but most of you will likely remember Grimes for his memorable six-episode arc as the kind-hearted bloodsucker James Kent on HBO’s True Blood.

Wes Bentley made his name in an Oscar-winning film

Wes Bentley in Yellowstone

For fans of 1999’s acerbic Best Picture winner American Beauty, Wes Bentley certainly needs no introduction as he’s all but instantly recognizable as the drug dealing, plastic bag-adoring, would-be filmmaker Ricky Fitts. Of course, if you missed out on that millennium-ending gem and somehow haven’t stumbled upon it in the past 20 years, Bently may be a bit more of an enigma.

As it turns out, that description suits him quite well, and it suits his murderous Yellowstone alter ego equally well. On the show, Bentley plays one of the elder Dutton brothers, Jamie, and he currently serves as the Duttons’ personal attorney (and sometimes ranch hand). Like several nike sneakers of the Dutton kids, Jamie has often found himself in tragically choppy waters, even teetering on the edge of suicide in the wake of some seriously troubling actions.

As for Wes Bentley, he had a few troubles of his own throughout the early 2000s, as he secretly battled addiction, and he was largely non-visible after his American Beauty breakout. Luckily, the talented actor got his act together in the new decade, delivering memorable performances in The Hunger Games, Welcome To Me, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. If you missed him in those films, you probably remember Bentley for his various turns on Ryan Murphy’s beloved horror anthology series American Horror Story.

Cole Hauser has always kept pretty busy

Kevin Costner and Cole Hauser in Yellowstone

While the sprawling Yellowstone narrative has made clear that the Dutton clan is no stranger to tragedy, the Dutton’s adoptive family member Rip Wheeler may be the most tragic figure of them all. Played by Cole Hauser with a visceral air of stoic, introverted intensity, Wheeler is a survivor of childhood abuse who put a bullet in his own father after the ruthless drunk took the lives of the youngster’s mother and brother. Trauma like that obviously left the young Rip with swathe of unchecked emotional issues — issues that the Duttons have made ample use of after adopting Rip and bringing him into the fold.

If you’re still trying to figure out where you’ve seen Hauser, well, there’s at least a half dozen or so movies and TV shows you’ve seen him in before. If you’re a fan of ’90s classic Dazed and Confused, you know him as the true-hearted football player Benny. If that’s not the case, you probably noticed Hauser as Matt Damon’s strong and silent running buddy Billy in Good Will Hunting or perhaps as the backstabbing law man in the sci-fi classic Pitch Black. Or maybe you remember him as the villainous Carter Verone in 2 Fast 2 Furious, bad boy Steve Curtis from E.R., or as Pinkerton Charlie Siringo in the short-lived Lifetime drama series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

If you’re a CW fan, you’ve definitely seen Kelsey Asbille before

Kelsey Asbille in Yellowstone

Of all the central players that currently occupy the screen on Yellowstone, we’d bet that Kelsey Asbille’s is one of the least known. On the show, she plays Monica Dutton, wife to Luke Grimes’ Kayce Dutton — a status that’s more than a little complicated due to her direct relations to ancestors and elders of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation. Fans of Yellowstone will need no more backstory than that, as the Broken Rock Res shares a border with the Dutton Yellowstone Ranch, and it’s regularly in direct conflict with John Dutton and his clan about who rightfully owns the land that said ranch occupies.

While Asbille continues to play her part of “strong but endlessly stuck in the middle” to a T on Yellowstone, the actor is delivering what may well go down as her breakout performance. However, we think she should’ve had that breakout moment long before now. After all, she’s given some pretty fantastic performances before Yellowstone, like her 18-episode stint as Gigi on the CW’s One Tree Hill. And she followed that stretch a few years later with a winning, 13-episode run on MTV’s Teen Wolf. Of course, Asbille was already on the radar of Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan after her heartbreaking turn as Natalie in Sheridan’s marvelous 2017 indie Wind River.

Danny Huston is one of the all-time great character actors

Danny Huston in Yellowstone

Historically speaking, the term “character actor” has been applied to career supporting players who best serve a story by disappearing into virtually any role and making a fully three-dimensional figure of them. And if you’re at all familiar with the decades-spanning career of Danny Huston, then you already know that the term “character actor” was basically invented for him. If you’re not, then we’d recommend you sit down and immediately watch The Proposition, Children of Men, The Constant Gardener, 30 Days of Night, Wonder Woman, seasons three and four of American Horror Story, and the first two seasons of HBO’s Succession.

Or you could just see the sublimely talented actor as Dan Jenkins on Yellowstone. And yes, Danny Huston’s ecco shoes work as the greedy land developer has been nothing short of transfixing, with the actor imbuing his character with surprising humanity, even as Jenkins is regularly driven by insatiable greed and a power-grabbing hubris that’s too often led him into the realm of morally compromised, if not down right villainous. In short, Huston’s work on Yellowstone is exactly the sort we’ve come to expect from one of cinema’s finest character actors.

Gil Birmingham has made a solid career out of supporting roles

Gil Birmingham Yellowstone

Yellowstone certainly has no shortage of devious politico sorts, but few of the series’ politicos have been quite as shifty as the current chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Broken Rock and warden of the Broken Rock Reservation, Mr. Thomas Rainwater. In fact, over the course of the show, Rainwater has proven a most formidable foe to the Dutton clan’s Yellowstone legacy, not to mention the land that the Dutton’s claim as their own.

If you’re wondering where you’ve seen the actor who portrays Thomas Rainwater, well, the options are almost too numerous to count because Gil Birmingham has been busy, busy, busy over the past couple of decades. Still, odds are you remember Birmingham from his brief arc on the original run of Veronica Mars or for his turn as Billy Black in the Twilight saga. If that’s not the case, it’s possible you recall Birmingham from a tense, four-episode arc on Netflix’s House of Cards. And if you missed Birmingham in those projects, it’s entirely likely you remember the actor from his quippy work as Jeff Bridges’ second-in-command in the Taylor Sheridan-penned Hell or High Water or his emotionally devastating turn as the grieving father in Sheridan’s Wind River.

Kristen Stewart on fame and why she’s only made ‘5 really good films’

Kristen Stewart opens up about fame and only having starred in a handful of
Kristen Stewart opens up about fame and only having starred in a handful of “really good” films.

Kristen Stewart’s latest cinematic turn, as Princess Diana in the upcoming Spencer, is generating plenty of Oscar buzz, but the actress says in a new interview that only a handful of her films are actually good.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Stewart opened up about the pressures of fame and how choosing which roles to take can be “a total crapshoot.”

The former child actor, whose credits include Panic Room, Twilight and Café Society, added, “I’ve probably made five really good films, out of 45 or 50 films? Ones that I go, ‘Wow, that person made a top-to-bottom beautiful piece of work!’”

When asked for examples of which films hoka shoes she felt hit the mark, Stewart pointed to the work of Olivier Assayas, who directed her in Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper; the former role won her a César, the equivalent of an Oscar in France, a first for an American actress.

“I love Assayas’s movies,” she said, but couldn’t immediately name other standouts. “I’d have to look at my credit list. But they are few and far between. That doesn’t mean I regret the experience [of making them]. I’ve only regretted saying yes to a couple of films and not because of the result, but because it wasn’t fun. The worst is when you’re in the middle of something and know that not only is it probably going to be a bad movie, but we’re all bracing until the end.”

She declined to single out any bad experiences.

“No! I’m not a mean person — I’m not going to call people out in public,” she said. “But it’s like starting to date someone and going, ‘Woah! I don’t know what we’re doing!’ But when you’re in the middle of a movie you can’t just break up.”

It’s unclear where her hit vampire teen franchise Twilight falls on that list, though Stewart, 31, did have this to say about the series hey dude that made her an international movie star: “If you’d told me we were going to make five Twilights when we did the first? I would not have believed you.”

Stewart also opened up about the expectations and attention that comes with being in the public eye, though she’s careful to compare her situation with that of the late Diana.

“I’m not running from anything,” she noted. “The attention is something I can see a parallel in, but the cumulative expectation? Not remotely there.”

At the same time, she knows firsthand what it feels like to live under a microscope.

“It’s feeling constantly watched, no matter what you do,” she said. “If you’re in public, someone in the room is looking at you at all times. Even if they’re not, it’s at the back of your mind. That is a feeling you only have if you’re extremely famous. It’s a completely different approach to being a human.”

She continued, “It is weird to inhabit a space where people are disappointed in your choices. The world is obsessed with celebrities in a way that’s comparable to how we treated the royal family. People want their idols to be a certain thing, because we want to be good people. We think, ‘If they can’t be good, then how the f*** am I meant to be good?’ But I’m not a figurehead. People choose their role models. But I’m not trying to be one.”

Why American workers are quitting in record numbers

The number of Americans quitting their jobs has hit record highs over the past several months in a phenomenon economists have been calling the “Great Resignation.” In August, 4.3 million U.S. workers — almost 3 percent of the entire American workforce — voluntarily left their positions, the highest number since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking “quits” in 2020.

Workers are quitting at high rates in every industry, hey dude but the trend has been especially pronounced for frontline businesses like restaurants, hotels, retail stores and health care providers. Recent quit rates are a stark contrast to early in the coronavirus pandemic, when the number of quits plummeted to the lowest levels in a decade, as COVID-related business closures put millions of Americans out of work.

The Great Resignation comes at a time when businesses across the country are struggling to find workers to fill open positions. There were 10.4 million job openings in August, down slightly from the record of 11.1 million openings the previous month.

Economists generally believe that relatively high quit rates are a signal of a healthy economy, since it suggests workers feel optimistic about their prospects and have leverage to improve their circumstances. In the short term, however, some worry that having so many companies unable to meet staffing needs could slow economic recovery and contribute to mounting supply chain issues.

Why there’s debate

Rather than offering one reason so many Americans are quitting their jobs, experts mostly believe the Great Resignation is the result of a variety of forces coming together. Something not on that list is employer vaccine mandates, which don’t appear to have caused a significant number of people to quit.

One of the most common explanations is that workers are simply burned-out. The high quit rates in customer-facing jobs and health care suggest that people in these fields have become exhausted after 18 months of extra hours, confrontations over COVID mitigation rules and fear of catching the virus. dr martens boots Many white-collar workers, on the other hand, may be eager to maintain some of the elements of pandemic-era work that benefitted them — like remote work and flexible hours — and willing to move on as their employers transition back to the office.

Others see the Great Resignation as the sign of a major shift in the power dynamic between workers and their employers. Labor Bureau data doesn’t track whether people quitting are finding another position, but record levels of job openings mean prospects for quitters have never been higher. While many have struggled financially during the pandemic, a large share of Americans have actually increased their savings — meaning they have more of a cushion to absorb a job transition. These factors mean workers have greater freedom to leave unsatisfying jobs to pursue something that suits them better.

On top of these short-term influences, some experts argue that the pandemic has had a more fundamental and lasting impact on Americans’ relationship with work. They argue that the human tragedy — and, in some cases, indifference from their employers — that workers have experienced over the past year and a half has led millions of people to deprioritize work in their lives.

What’s next

The big unanswered question about the Great Resignation is whether it’s a short-term phenomenon brought on by extreme circumstances or a more lasting shift in attitudes toward work. If it is in fact temporary, it’s possible there could be a correction in the near future that sees quits drop dramatically, some economists say.

Perspectives

Frontline workers are fed up

“Frontline workers in health care, child care, hospitality and food service industries, pushed to the brink of human endurance, decide that the grueling hours, inadequate pay, lack of balance and abuse by employers and clientele are no longer acceptable trade-offs for their mental and physical well-being.” — Karla L. Miller, Washington Post

Tough jobs became intolerable with the added stressors of the pandemic

“Covid-19 placed systemic problems in steve madden shoes sharp relief. Workers were expected to show up every day and risk their health for far less than a living wage, without the support of child care or benefits. What was a raw deal before became, for many, untenable.” — Laura Entis, Vox

Lots of job openings mean it’s easy for workers to move on to something better

“People have options. And because they have options, their demands and their interests and their tolerance for things that are not aligned with their values on how they want to live their lives, they’re going to leave and they’re going to look for it elsewhere.” — Tsedal Neeley, Harvard Business School professor, to PBS NewsHour

The balance of power has shifted in workers’ favor

“For at least two generations, workers have been on their back heels. We are now seeing a labor market that is tight, and prospects are becoming increasingly clear that it’s going to remain tight. It’s now going to be a workers’ market, and they’re empowered. I think they are starting to flex their collective muscle.” — Mark Zandi, economist, to Time

The pandemic accelerated a generational shift in attitudes toward work

“The Great Resignation is not a mad dash away from the office; it’s the culmination of a long march toward freedom. More than a decade ago, psychologists documented a generational shift in the centrality of work in our lives. Millennials were more interested in jobs that provided leisure time and vacation time than Gen Xers and baby boomers. They were less concerned about net worth than net freedom.” — Adam Grant, Wall Street Journal

Many employers took their workers for granted during the COVID recession

“See, since forever, the conventional wisdom held that in downturns, the employer could get away with almost anything; employees needed work and so would be grateful merely to have a job — frills and niceties were 100 percent unnecessary. But the common thread that runs through virtually every motivation for the Great Resignation departures we are seeing is a decision to no longer accept the unacceptable.” — Phillip Kane, Inc.

The pandemic led millions to reevaluate their priorities

“We know that when human beings come into contact with death and illness in their lives, it causes them to take a step back and ask existential questions. Like, what gives me purpose and happiness in life, and does that match up with how I’m spending my [life] right now? So, in many cases, those reflections will lead to life pivots.” — Anthony Klotz, psychologist, to Business Insider

Pandemic relief programs have given many workers more financial freedom

“Thanks to several pandemic-relief checks, a rent moratorium, and student-loan forgiveness, everybody, particularly if they are young and have a low income, has more freedom to quit jobs they hate and hop to something else.” — Derek Thompson, Atlantic

Some of the current wave of quits is simply making up for last year’s low quit rate

“It’s also possible that many of these mid-level employees may have delayed transitioning out of their roles due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, meaning that the boost we’ve seen over the last several months could be the result of more than a year’s worth of pent-up resignations.” — Ian Cook, Harvard Business Review