UN chief warns Paris climate goals still not enough

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took his global message urging immediate climate action to officials gathered in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, where production of hydrocarbons remains a key driver of the economy.

Guterres is calling on governments to stop building new coal plants by 2020, cut greenhouse emissions by 45% over the next decade and overhauling fossil fuel-driven economies with new technologies like solar and wind.Read more on

U.S. nips Spain to advance to quarterfinals in Paris against France

By ANNE M. PETERSONAP Sports writerREIMS, France — Spain tested the United States like no other team at the Women's World Cup.
The U.S. looked disorganized at times facing Spain's aggressive and physical style before pulling out a 2-1 victory Monday night.
It could have been just what the Americans needed: France is waiting.
Megan Rapinoe converted a pair of penalty kicks to set up the United States' much-anticipated quarterfinal rendezvous with the hosts.
The tense match was knotted at 1 until Rapinoe's second penalty put the defending champions ahead in the 75th minute.
"I think we showed just a lot of grit and experience, to be honest, in this game," Rapinoe said.Read more on

Can You Influence Your Audience With Influencer Marketing?

I bet if I asked you what lipstick your favourite blogger wears, you’d know. How about their favourite restaurant in Toronto? Or the new bag they just received? This is how influencer marketing works, in a nutshell.
While this is nothing new in the PR and advertising world, what’s interesting is the fact that “influencers,” not celebrities, are capitalizing on this new trend.
So how are brands finding these people? Who really qualifies as an “influencer”? More importantly, should you be doing this to promote your brand? I mean, it obviously works, right? Well, not always.
How Instagram Brought Influencers to the Surface
Before we dive into the glamorous world of influencing, let’s take a look at where it all began. Influencers are individuals whose content is relatable and whose lifestyle you’d want to emulate. With Instagram’s explosive entry into the social media world in 2010, many bloggers and content creators took to the platform to promote their thriving YouTube channels and popular blogs assuming it was just another promotional platform to add alongside their Facebook and Twitter pages. What they didn’t know was just how big the platform was going to get.
The early birds of Instagram saw tremendous growth to their following which got a lot of brands and PR agencies to sit up and take notice. While celebrities were late to this platform, these influencers (a term dubbed just for them) were rising stars with their 100K+ following. Soon the same brands that used to pay celebrities for talking about them, were reaching out to these influencers to send them free products. What followed was the birth of “Instagram Influencers” — individuals who may or may not have been content creators on other platforms but they sure were on Instagram. From dedicated content to a planned feed, Instagram was suddenly THE platform to be on.
Brands & Their Race to the Top
Brands were soon trying to get as many, if not more, influencers to work with them instead of their competitors. The only one winning here was the – they could cherry pick the brands they wanted to work with. What ensued was not just promotional content but brands coming out with products in collaboration with these very influencers. And it wasn’t just t-shirts or caps, we’re talking eye shadow palettes and lipsticks that were sold worldwide, makeup collections that cost hundreds of dollars and jewellery collections featuring diamonds. The reason it worked was that they weren’t celebrities. They were relatable, they were people like us, they could have been anybody.
So Who Benefits from Influencer Marketing?
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “great so it works best for beauty and apparel brands.” Well, you are kind of right. While this rapid growth may have been made possible by these industries, it’s really everybody that’s profiting. With restaurants inviting them for free dining experiences to car companies lending them their brand new cars for a weekend getaway, it was only getting better.
Around 2017, even airlines had jumped on the bandwagon. They started sending these influencers on special trips to cities like Paris and New York, in business class. Countries were inviting them to promote tourism opportunities and companies like Mastercard were sponsoring their expenses. It really couldn’t get better. Or could it? Well if you count front row seats to fashion shows, free mobile phones and gadgets, and the big bucks to promote these brands, it really does.
How to Get Started with Influencer Marketing
So, how can you get influencers to talk about your brand and where do you even start?
The best place to start would be with some research. Say you’re a local jewellery brand looking to promote yourself or you run a national eCommerce store selling handmade soaps, there are influencers who work for your specific needs. Here’s what we suggest:
1. Find the right platform
If you have 100,000 followers on Facebook but a few thousand on Instagram, you probably want an influencer whose Facebook stats outweigh their Instagram stats. Better cross-promotion opportunity on the right platform.
2. Right Location
If you’re a local business in Ottawa, do you really want influencers from Vancouver talking about your business? It’s better to work with a local influencer whose followers are more receptive to their advice than a national one with just the numbers.
3. Numbers are not everything
If you find 10 influencers with 40K following each, rest assured it’s better than working with someone with 200K following. Why? Look at how many comments and likes they’re getting. Micro-influencers (under 40-100K followers) have higher engagement levels than macro-influencers (100K+ followers). The only time you should prioritize macro-influencers is when you’re looking at reach and brand awareness over everything else.
4. Do your research
Finding the right influencer who fits your brand and your voice isn’t luck, it’s time and research. Do they often promote brands in your industry? Are they experts or do they work in the same industry as yours? These are questions you need to ask before deciding on who to work with.
5. Can it fit your marketing strategy?
If you’ve planned out your campaigns for the next six months, influencer marketing may be a great way to supplement those initiatives. The beauty of influencer marketing is how easily it ties in with your other advertising and marketing efforts. Planning to launch a new product? Why not promote it through influencers. Have a social cause to talk about? Work with influencers for content. The possibilities are endless.
6. Clarify what you’re offering
There are various types of collaboration, you can send them a free product or sponsor their next social media update. It could be a dedicated blog article or a video at your store for a fee. All of these work very well but figure out what your budget encompasses.
7. Define the deliverables
If there’s one thing to learn from all the success and drama surrounding collaborations, it’s to clarify (or have it in writing) what’s decided in terms of assets. Is it a video? Or 3 dedicated posts. Have it signed and agreed on. It also helps to plan out the timeline in advance, so your sponsored content isn’t buried under 20 outfit pictures.
A bonus tip, make sure you’re not only looking at their follower counts. With the opportunities of buying followers and engagement, it’s not difficult to have 500K followers. Take a look at their last 50 posts, do they have people commenting on it? Are they engaging with their followers? Do you see their replies? Do you see people asking questions? Or do the comments look like spam? You need to consider all of this before you actually decide to go ahead with these influencers.
If after reading this you’re still unsure about how to work with influencers, you may as well enlist the help of professionals. Influencer marketing is a service now offered by digital and PR agencies. From finding the right influencers for your brand to taking care of the deliverables and communication, we offer an end-to-end influencer marketing solution for your brand.

Intense heat wave to strike Paris and across Europe

PARIS (AP) — Authorities in the Paris region have issued an alert for intense heat expected in the French capital and across Europe this week.

The alert level in Paris has been raised to "orange," the second-highest level.

France's national weather agency Meteo France said the heat wave beginning Monday is expected to last all week with temperatures of up to 40 C (104 F) across the country.Read more on

Back on tour in Paris, Federer keeping an eye on the present

PARIS (AP) — Roger Federer's return to Roland Garros feels a bit like what happens when a wildly popular rock star goes back on tour after years away.

He plays his greatest hits: the no-look, back-to-the-net, over-the-shoulder volley winner; the sliced backhand returns; the aces to erase break points.Read more on

In Cannes, ‘Les Miserables’ rings alarm for Paris suburbs

CANNES, France (AP) — More than 150 years after Victor Hugo's classic novel, a French film titled "Les Miserables" gives a gritty, modern view of the Paris suburbs where Jean Valjean first met Cosette.

Ladj Ly's "Les Miserables," which premiered Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival, contains no singing or romance, but rather a tough, "The Wire"-like street-level portrait of the Parisian banlieue of Montfermeil.Read more on

‘The Art of Movement’ Celebrates Timeless Beauty Through Creative Collaboration

NEW YORK—What does it take to capture the split-second moment in a dancer’s performance that sums up the beauty of the dance and allows the dancer’s personality to shine through?
Four to five hours of photography, a lifetime of passion for dance, and two skilled and supportive photographers who want to show only the very best.
“The Art of Movement,” by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory, is an art book that pays tribute to a lifetime of passion. Over 70 world-class dancers are captured—whether in midair, taking a breath, or holding a simple pose—in beautiful, frozen moments that exude life and personality. Between the stunning images, we get glimpses into these dancers’ lives: quotes about how they started dancing, their challenges and successes, surprising moments in their careers, and what dance means to them.
What started as a decorating project turned into an incredible documentation of some of the best dancers of our time. The book that resulted showcases not only the expressive power of these dancers but also the creative collaboration that went into capturing it.
“There’s not a lot of money in dance, and people really are doing it because they love it. No one becomes a professional dancer for anything but passion,” said Deborah Ory, who has long had a passion for dance.
Ory studied ballet until her teens and later the Martha Graham technique, before turning to photography in order to stay connected to dance after an injury prevented her from dancing.
Both of her daughters dance as well. About three years ago, Sarah, Ory’s older daughter, wanted images of ballet dancers to decorate the walls of her room. As Ory and her husband, Ken Browar, started searching for images, they soon realized that the great dancers of today have rarely been photographed. All the images they found were of the previous generation.
Zachary Catazaro for NYC Dance Project. (Ken Browar & Deborah Ory)
They know how to perform, they’re not afraid to give you something.— Ken Browar, photographer

So the couple decided they would take on this project themselves, and reached out via Facebook to a dancer they’d long been fans of—American Ballet Theatre dancer Daniil Simkin. He responded that he’d love to do a shoot with Browar and Ory.
One photoshoot turned into dozens, and the passion project—NYC Dance Project—became an ongoing endeavor to showcase the dancers of our time. The couple branched out to multiple companies and dance styles, with no specific intention aside from wanting to work with the very best.
In the foreword of the book, Simkin wrote that “dance as an art form is bittersweet.” It lives for an instant on stage and then it is gone. That every show is unique is both a feature of its beauty and a loss. This book, he wrote, enables us “to remember these fleeting moments.”

Visual Collaboration
Browar, a renowned fashion and beauty photographer whose work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, and many European fashion magazines, has always been a visual person. His Greenpoint loft—where the living room doubles as a studio—is filled with art. He started collecting paintings early on, he said, but found that photographs spoke to him more. A single image can tell a story or convey an emotion, a point of view that speaks to you—that stuck with him.
“Art needs to move you,” he said.
Photographer Ken Browar, co-creator of the NYC Dance Project, at his home in Brooklyn, New York, on Nov. 15, 2016. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Browar said he’d been handed a camera early in life and took to it immediately. Capturing images was a language that complemented him. At 19, he left for Paris. Before returning to the States, he was photographing glossy spreads with A-list celebrities and models for luxury brands.
Photographing a dancer is totally different, he said. You are working with someone who is an artist and a performer; dancers are completely committed to demonstrating their craft to the best of their abilities. It becomes a complete collaboration between artist and artist.
“They know how to perform, they’re not afraid to give you something,” Browar said. He begins by observing the dancers—how they hold themselves, how they move, how they’re dressed—gleaning information about their personalities before they step onto the set. The dancer warms up, and then starts by improvising a bit.
Ory says she and Browar bring a couple of ideas and the dancer brings a few ideas as well, but they don’t go in with anything too preconceived. “The magic happens on set,” she said.
Photographer Deborah Ory, cocreator of the NYC Dance Project at her home in Brooklyn, New York, on Nov. 15, 2016. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
“Every image is a little different,” Ory said. “I don’t think we know when we’re getting into it what we want to capture, but we know when we capture it. Sometimes it’s something that surprises us.”
Browar has a lot he tries to do with the pictures. He tries to capture the artists and show them as celebrities. Sometimes the image tells a story, but that isn’t necessarily the idea behind it. “It’s not just the movement, but I want you to understand a little bit of the weaknesses and strengths within the subject we’re looking at,” Browar said.
The dancer will try a couple of things, the photographers will make some suggestions, and together the artists are fine-tuning the performance until they get three or four shots that everyone is happy with.
“They are as tough as we are on precision of what they want,” Browar said. “You are shooting lines, and in dance, it’s very precise. They’re very conscious of where the hand is, where the foot is. … It can be quite intense with dancers, in a good way.”
It was also a process of learning to work together for Browar and Ory.
“I didn’t understand that collaboration between certain photographers, when you see two names on a photo,” Browar said.
“Being a photographer, you’re really by yourself,” he said. There may be assistants and others on set, but the work is usually really done by just one person. So they started out with two cameras, and eventually moved to just one camera, getting past working around each other to using each other’s strengths to their advantage and supporting each other. It became a pleasurable and special process, Browar said.
Building Relationships
Photographers Ken Browar and Deborah Ory, creators of the NYC Dance Project, at their home in Brooklyn, New York, on Nov. 15, 2016. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
On set, it was often just Ory, Browar, the dancer, and maybe a hair and makeup artist.
The duo started out with a costume stylist as well, but they quickly realized that trying on multiple outfits, some suited for dance and others not at all, was not what they wanted for the process. Ory soon took over all the costuming.
Ory had previously worked in commercial photography, including portraits, lifestyle, and food, plus she worked as a photo editor for magazines like House & Garden and Mirabella. She had done everything from hiring photographers to producing shoots, from communications to budgeting, and that became useful knowledge for this project.
She would call up designers and ask to borrow clothing; dancewear companies sent pieces, and sometimes the dance companies could lend their costumes for the shoots as well.
One time, they received a couture swan-inspired gown worth thousands of dollars from Denmark, stuffed in a FedEx box. It was for a shoot with ballerina Misty Copeland, incidentally capturing the historic event of when Copeland became the first African-American dancer promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre and cast in the leading role for “Swan Lake.”
They were not able to borrow the costume, so Ory did some research and found a woman in Denmark who made incredible feathered dresses. She sent her a message on Facebook, and the designer wrote back asking for her address.
“She’s an amazing designer, and to this day, she’s still posting pictures of our book and our images, saying how much she admires our work, and it’s been this mutual admiration,” Ory said. “When we got married, she made my wedding dress, from a distance.” They eventually met in New York. Many relationships have been like this, Ory added.
The dancers and their communities have been incredibly supportive as well.

The most important part of the shoot is to capture the images that everyone is happy with. It is a labor of love for all of the artists involved, and the photographers want the dancers to be able to use these images for self-promotion as well. After the photo sessions, the photographers do a question-and-answer session with the dancers to capture their stories and background. Through the project, they become friends and supporters of each other’s work.
From the beginning, social media has been an important part of Ory and Browar’s project.
When the project first began, Simkin posted the images on his social media accounts to the delight of his tens of thousands of followers. There was not much out there quite like Browar and Ory’s photographs, and almost immediately people were reaching out to the couple from around the globe, curious and full of questions.
Throughout the project, they have continued to post images on social media and have gained many supporters and fans. Even after getting a book deal, they fought to be able to continue to share the images online (which are cropped differently from the images in the book).
After this year’s jarring election week, when many were feeling the backlash from the incredibly polarized atmosphere, people were reaching out and thanking them and asking them to keep posting their images “because we need a lot more beauty in this world,” Ory said.
“Everyone will take something different from it,” Ory said. “Some people are just going to like the beautiful bodies, and some people are going to love the beautiful dresses, and some people are going to respond emotionally.”
“And some people who are not interested in dance all of a sudden discover it,” Browar added.
“The Art of Movement” by photographers Ken Browar and Deborah Ory, creators of the NYC Dance Project. The book features over 70 dancers from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Alvin Ailey, Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Ballet. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Becoming a Book
The idea of creating a book had always been there, but it was also sort of a dream.
For so long, the project was purely digital, Ory said, so it was an exciting moment when she finally had the book in her hands.
“It was like, this is the real deal,” she said. It also wasn’t easy getting the book deal; publisher after publisher told them dance books just don’t sell well.
Browar said they realized afterward that for dancers, it is all about the performance, all their hard work culminating in the moment on stage. And for photographers, that ultimate experience is creating a book.
They’ve progressed to creating short videos as well, which follows a different creative process and form but is just as fulfilling, and they have plans to move out of the studio and perhaps photograph more dancers on location.
It’s beautiful that you can have a language that is completely through movement [and] that is so universal to everyone.— Deborah Ory, photographer

Through the project, Browar says he learned about dance, and Ory was able to once again connect with the art form she feels so passionate about.
Dance and photography both feel universal and timeless to Ory. A photo is a moment frozen in time, but people can still relate to the image and moment years later. She remembers photographing her daughters at dance class, listening to the same music she heard in classes and performing the same movements she had learned. These are music and steps that have been performed by people for years and years, and that will continue to be heard and performed for years and years to come.
“It’s beautiful that you can have a language that is completely through movement that is so universal to everyone,” Ory said. “Pretty much every culture worldwide has some form of dance and some form of communication through movement.”
Three years later, the photographers say they’ve only just cracked the surface of capturing what the dance world has to offer.
Photographers Ken Browar and Deborah Ory, creators of the NYC Dance Project, at their home in Brooklyn, New York, on Nov. 15, 2016. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

A Short History of Tall Buildings: The Making of the Modern Skyscraper

From the legendary Tower of Babel to the iconic Burj Khalifa, humans have always aspired to build to ever greater heights. Over the centuries, we have constructed towering edifices to celebrate our culture, promote our cities—or simply to show off.
The Shard: a tall order. (Davide D’Amico/Flickr, CC BY-SA)
Historically, tall structures were the preserve of great rulers, religions, and empires. For instance, the Great Pyramid of Giza—built to house the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu—once towered over 145 meters high. It was the tallest man-made structure for nearly 4,000 years, before being overtaken by the 160-meter-tall Lincoln Cathedral in the 14th century. Other edifices, such as Tibet’s Potala Palace (the traditional home of the Dalai Lama), or the monasteries of Athos were constructed atop mountains or rocky outcrops, to bring them even closer to the heavens.
Yet these grand historical efforts are dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the 20th and 21st centuries. London’s Shard looms at 310 meters tall at its fractured tip—but it’s made to look small by the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which stands at more than 828 meters. And both these behemoths will be left in the shadows by the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. Originally planned by architect Adrian Smith to reach 1,600 meters, the tower is now likely to reach one kilometer high, once it’s completed in 2020.
So how did we make this great leap upwards?
Ingredients for Success
We can trace our answer back to the 1880s, when the first generation of skyscrapers appeared in Chicago and New York. The booming insurance businesses of the mid-19th century were among the first enterprises to exploit the technological advancements, which made tall buildings possible.
Home Insurance building. (Library of Congress, Public Domain)
Constructed in the aftermath of the great fire of 1871, Chicago’s Home Insurance building—completed in 1884 by William Le Baron Jenney—is widely considered to be the first tall building of the industrial era, at 12 stories high.
Architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler first coined the term “tall office building” in 1896, drawing on the architectural precedent of Italy’s Renaissance palazzi. His definition denoted that the first two stories are given over to the entrance way and retail activity, with a service basement below, repeated storeys above and a cornice or attic storey to finish the building at the top. Vertical ducts unite the building with power, heat, and circulation. This specification still holds good today.
The American technological revolution of 1880 to 1890 saw a burst of creativity that produced a wave of new inventions that helped architects to build higher than ever before: Bessemer steel, formed into I-sections in the new rolling mills enabled taller and more flexible frame design than the cast iron of the previous era; the newly-patented sprinkler head allowed buildings to escape the strict, 23-meter height limit, which was imposed to control the risk of fire; and the patenting of AC electricity allowed elevators to be electrically powered and rise to ten or more stories.
Early tall buildings contained offices. The typewriter, telephone, and U.S. universal postal system also appeared in this decade, and they revolutionized office work and enabled administration to be concentrated in individual high-rise buildings within a city’s business district.
Changes in urban life also encouraged the switch to taller, higher-density facilities. Street trams, subways, and elevated rail links provided the means to deliver hundreds of workers to a single urban location, decades before the European motor car appeared on American streets and reshaped urban form away from the city grid.
Apart from a few high-rise mansion blocks around Central Park, New York, the terraced house reigned supreme in the crowded cities of the pre-motor car age, such as Paris, London, and Manhattan, and evolved to nine stories in ultra-dense Hong Kong.
Early office towers filled their city blocks entirely, with buildings enclosing a large light and air-well, as an squared U, O, or H shape. This permitted natural light and ventilation within the building, but didn’t provide any public spaces. Chicago imposed a height limit of 40 meters in 1893, but New York raced ahead with large and tall blocks. Many of these, such as the Singer, Woolworth, MetLife, and Chrysler buildings, tapered off with “campanile” towers, battling to be tallest in the world.
Second-Generation Giants
In 1915, following the completion of the 40-storey Equitable building on Broadway, there was such alarm at the darkening streets that New York introduced “zoning laws” that forced new buildings to step ziggurat-like as they rose, in order to bring daylight down to street level.
The Equitable Building, Manhattan. (Yottabytedev/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY)
This meant that while the base still filled the city block, the rest of the tower would rise centrally, stepping back every few stories, and it forced the service core to the building’s center, leading to the loss of the light-well and making mechanical ventilation and artificial lighting essential for human habitation. This was a radical change in the shape of tall buildings, and the second generation of skyscrapers.
As architectural historian Carol Willis would have it, “form follows finance“: the developers of early 20th century high rise office blocks would work out how to maximize the amount of usable floor-space in a city site, before asking an architect to put a wall around it. Such vast wall surfaces with conventional windows invited patterns of geometric decoration, and the ziggurat style came to be the most recognizable architectural symbol of the Art Deco movement.
Race to the top. Photograph of a workman on the framework of the Empire State Building in 1930. (Lewis Hine/National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain)
The mania for profit-driven tall development got out of hand in the late 1920s, however, and culminated in 1931 with the Chrysler and the Empire State buildings. The oversupply of office buildings, the depression of the 1930s and World War II brought an end to the Art Deco boom. There were no more skyscrapers until the 1950s, when the post-war era summoned forth a third generation: the International Style, the buildings of darkened glass and steel-framed boxes, with air conditioning and plaza fronts that we see in so many of the world’s cities today.
The Great Pyramid of Giza. (Nina/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA) The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. (Coolmanjackey/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA) The 1,000-year-old monasteries of Mount Athos, located on a peninsula east of Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, on Sept. 9, 2005. (Fotis Filargyropoulos/AFP/Getty Images) Torre di Pisa in Pisa, Italy. (Davide Ragusa/ The Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England, on Nov. 30, 2009. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. (Noah Rosenfield/ The Woolworth Building and surrounding buildings, New York City, c. 1913. (Library of Congress, Public Domain) The MetLife Building with Grand Central Terminal in the foreground, in New York City. (Jnn13/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA) Eiffel Tower, in Paris, France. (Louis Pellissier/ The Empire State building in New York City. (Ben Dumond/ Cube house in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Tim Gouw/ Financial District in Toronto, Canada. (Matthew Wiebe/ Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Donaldytong/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA)
David Nicholson-Cole is an assistant professor in architecture at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. This article was originally published on The Conversation.