Early Bird: Czech Lions Awards dominated by two films. The Senate approved Biden's rescue package. The pope to visit Kurdistan
Americans have reason to rejoice! The Senate approved Biden's rescue package to help fight Covid-19. Pope Francis will visit areas that were once ruled by the Islamic State. Saturday's Czech Lions Awards ceremony was dominated by two films. Which ones?
The Senate approved Biden's rescue package
On Saturday, The US Senate approved Biden's $ 1.9 trillion (40.8 trillion crowns) aid plan to support the US economy affected by the Covidu-19 pandemic. After an all-night session, the final vote was 50-49 in favor of the bill. The US rescue plan is intended to fund vaccines and medical supplies as well as other forms of financial assistance to affected households, small businesses and regional and local governments.
"By passing this plan, we'll have proved that this government, this democracy, can still work. It has to be done. It will improve people's lives,"
said Joe Biden.
For US President Biden, approving the support measures is the first major legislative victory in Congress. The bill will now return to the House of Representatives, where Democrats have a majority. Its final adoption is expected next week.
Pope Francis will visit Kurdistan
The third day of Pope Francis' historic visit to Iraq will be dedicated to a visit to Iraqi Kurdistan and the areas that had been seized by the Islamic State terrorist organization in 2014. The four-day trip, which began on Friday, is the Pope's first international excursion since the beginning of the pandemic and the first-ever papal visit to the country. Since arriving in Baghdad on Friday, Pope Francis has called for an end to the violence and extremism that he believes is a betrayal of the faith. He also said that the weakening Christian community in Iraq should have a greater role of citizens with full rights, freedoms and responsibilities.
"The age-old presence of Christians in this land, and their contributions to the life of the nation, constitute a rich heritage that they wish to continue to place at the service of all. We cannot be silent when terrorism abuses religion,"
he stated in his first speech in the country.
On Saturday, at a very symbolic meeting with the prominent Shiite cleric Ali Sistani in Najaf, the pope repeated these words, adding that Christians should be able to live in peace and safety like all other Iraqis. He stressed that religious leaders should also strive to achieve this goal.
The Czech Lion Awards were dominated by two films
This year's 28th Czech Lions Awards knows their holders. The title "best feature film of 2020" went to the film Charlatan by director Agnieszka Holland. Ivan Trojan won the award for best actor in a leading role for his portrayal of the healer Jan Mikolášek in the already mentioned film Charlatan. With his seven statuettes, Trojan is a record holder in the number of Czech Lion Awards.
However, it was Bohdan Sláma's film about post-war reckoning with the Germans in the Czech borderland, Shadow Country, that received the highest number of awards this year. Actress Magdaléna Borová won the best actress in a leading role category, thereby receiving her first Czech Lion Award for her role in the aforementioned film. Actor Jiří Mádl also took home from the Rudolfinum his very fist statuette for best actor in a supporting role in the film Droneman.
Actor and presenter Václav Kopta hosted Saturday's ceremony already for the third time. During the live broadcast, the awards were presented by actors who had played the roles of paramedics and doctors in the past. Almost everyone on the awarding and receiving side alike also thanked the paramedics fighting against Covid-19 in the front lines. The whole evening was a tribute to the doctors.
The first independent digital banking platform in the UAE has been launched
The first independent digital banking platform in the United Arab Emirates has been launched today, and the neobank hopes to become a leader in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The Dubai-based neobank YAP doesn't have its own banking license, but has entered into a partnership with RAK Bank, which provides international bank account numbers to YAP users and secures their funds on the basis of its own banking license. YAP, like other neobanks that don't have physical branches, does not offer traditional banking services such as loans and mortgages, but provides expense and budget analysis, peer-to-peer loans and transfers, as well as account payments.
"The fintech revolution has become very popular in other parts of the world and we saw a gap and unique need for this service in the Middle East,"
said YAP CEO and founder Marwan Hachem.
YAP is in the process of partnering with banks in other countries, including banks in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Ghana. More than 20,000 customers have pre-registered to date and their accounts will be activated gradually in the coming weeks.
Lewandowski pulled a hattrick in Der Klassiker
The much-anticipated duel between Bayern Munich and Dortmund, known as Der Klassiker, was primarily a duel between gunners Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland. Despite the fact that the 20-year-old talented striker Dortmund Haaland scored two goals in the opening ten minutes, Bayern Munich enjoyed a victory, thanks to 32-year-old Lewandowski, who scored a hattrick in Germany's biggest derby. The best football player in Europe for the 2019/20 season has once again confirmed his incredible form, which seems to be unshakeable. The Polish national team representant, nicknamed Lewangoalski, has already scored a total of 267 goals scored in the Bundesliga.
The victory moved the defending champions from Munich two points ahead of the runner-up Leipzig, which had smoothly won 3:0 in Freiburg. Dortmund, meanwhile, has dropped to sixth place and would need another 4 points to secure a spot in the Champions League.
And that's all from us for this morning. We wish you a peaceful rest of the weekend and before you go, have a look at this quote by the award-winning actor Ivan Trojan; it's one worth of thinking about, especially in today's difficult times:
"I feel that there is more and more indecency, selfishness and indifference around us. That bothers me. And so I try not to be like that."