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Applications still open for a Paris 2024 Athlete Travel Grant

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A male runner in action
In 2022, 500 athletes representing 213 countries and 62 sports (Olympic & Paralympic) benefited from the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant initiative.

Olympic and Paralympic athletes around the world have until May 25 to apply for the third edition of the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant, in partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant, which was launched in 2021, offers up to 500 athletes a year $2,000 USD travel grant to use exclusively on airbnb.com as they travel, train and compete.

In 2022, applications from athletes more than doubled and 1 Million dollars was distributed to 500 Olympic and Paralympic athletes worldwide.

On the road to Paris 2024 and as part of our continued commitment to athletes within the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, we are excited to share that the Travel Grant will be extended to up to 1000 athletes this year.  This programme represents over $8 million in direct support for athletes across the life of the partnership.

“Supporting athletes lies at the heart of our partnership, whether through valuable programmes that offer economic support where needed, through our incredible Host community that provides athletes with stays and experiences, or through the economic empowerment offered to the many athletes who are Hosts on Airbnb themselves. We are proud to continue our commitment with the IOC and IPC to continue finding ways to support athletes as they pursue their dreams”, says Emmanuel Marill, Airbnb Regional Manager for EMEA.

Beyond the direct financial benefit of the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant, many athletes voiced how it helped them to be more competitive in their sport such as Pauline Ado, professional surfer:

“In my sport, travel expenses for competitions are covered by the athletes. The Airbnb [Athlete Travel] Grant really helped me to compete in multiple events including recently in Morocco where I finished on the second step of the podium. Airbnb homes bring many benefits while I compete as I can enjoy the comfort of a home and a kitchen to follow my specific diet, it also has more space for my equipment and allows me to be closer to my competition venues.”, says Ado, a 2017 ISA World Champion and seven-time WSL European Champion.

For Wheelchair fencing athlete Ludovic Lemoine, support for accommodations during  competitions is key. His Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant took the pressure off travel logistics and gave him the opportunity to bring his mental trainer and family along, allowing to be in both great physical and mental conditions for his competition.

“For me, the road to Paris 2024 started in November 2022 with the selection process and I can’t afford to miss any competition. As I  have to cover all accommodation costs, having this grant  allows me to fully live the competitions and to participate in the athletes group life, at costs that are lower than the official hotel option. If it wasn’t for the grant I wouldn’t have been able to attend the first qualification event for Paris 2024 in Hungary – where I won the individual saber Championship bronze medal”, says the wheelchair fencing French athlete.

How to apply for the Airbnb Paris 2024 Athlete Travel Grant

Applications are open for eligible athletes and will close on May 25, 2023 at 11:59 am PDT. The Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant can only be used towards stays in association with training, medical, or competition-related travel, and is not intended for non-sports-related personal use. To learn more about how the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant works, terms and conditions and to submit an application, visit the here.

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Lifestyle

UK May bank holiday set to be busiest since Covid

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A busy motorway in the UK during the sunset
More than four million journeys are planned on Friday, May 24th, for the long Bank holiday weekend in the UK

More than 20m leisure journeys are expected to be made by car this late May bank holiday as traffic returns close to 2019’s pre-pandemic levels, according to a new study of drivers’ getaway plans from the RAC and INRIX.

Analysis suggests the worst day to travel will be Friday 24 May when more than 4m journeys are planned, as this is not only the start of the long weekend but also the beginning of half term for many UK schools. Traffic volumes look set to remain consistently high throughout the long weekend as 3.7m trips are expected to take place on Saturday 25 May, while 3.4m journeys are anticipated on both Sunday and bank holiday Monday.

With a further 5.7m leisure trips by car planned at some point throughout the long weekend, traffic could be at its worst since 2019 when over 22m drivers hit the road during the same period – meaning the volume of getaways this year could reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels.

The data also indicates that day trips are top of many drivers’ itineraries for the late May bank holiday. Twenty-two per cent said the main reason they’ll use their car will be for a day out with friends or family, while 8% intend to spend a day in the countryside or by the beach. Staycations rank third on the list as 7% said they are planning a short break, while a smaller proportion (3%) are heading to an airport or ferry port over the long weekend.

Traffic is predicted to build through the day on Friday, with transport analytics specialists INRIX advising motorists to delay their departures until 6pm to miss the worst of the queues when both commuter and leisure drivers are sharing the roads. The M25 clockwise between J7 for the M23 and J21 for the M1 is expected to bear the brunt of the traffic with those travelling on this stretch suffering delays of more than an hour and a half in the late afternoon.

On Saturday, traffic is expected to peak between 3pm and 6pm, with motorists advised to start their journeys as early as possible in the day to be in with the best chance of avoiding traffic. With day trips expected to be particularly popular, and even more so in those areas which see the best of the sun and warmth, INRIX is expecting routes from cities to coasts to have some of the worst delays as drivers head to the seaside. In the middle of the day, the M5 southbound – a major holiday route – is likely to suffer major hold-ups with journeys on a 45-mile stretch between J16 north of Bristol and J25 for Taunton in Somerset expected to take over an hour longer than usual.

Elsewhere, snarl ups are also anticipated on Saturday afternoon on the M25 anticlockwise towards the M23, the A14 eastbound towards the east coast, as well as on the M3 and A34 that funnel large volumes of leisure traffic towards resorts on the south coast.

Meanwhile the clockwise M25 is expected to again be the busiest route for traffic at the end of the school half term on Friday 31 May, with journeys between the M23 and the M1 likely to nearly triple in duration to three hours.

“Our research suggests this weekend could be the busiest of the year so far on the roads, with millions of people embarking on getaway trips to make the most of the three days and, for those with school age children, the start of the half-term holiday,” says RAC Breakdown spokesperson Alice Simpson.

“In fact, we’re looking at possible leisure traffic volumes returning to levels similar to what we last saw in 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak, as drivers’ desire to make the most of the UK increases. And, in those places where the warm spring sunshine makes its presence felt, the number of people deciding to get behind the wheel and head for the coast or countryside will only go up, swelling the overall volume of cars on the roads.”

Met Office spokesperson Stephen Dixon said: “While there’s still plenty of detail to work out for the Bank Holiday weekend, signals are suggesting there’s a chance of some dry and fine weather developing in places for the UK, though periods of showery activity will still influence some of the weather. Temperatures should above average for the time of year, though will be slightly subdued where those showers do develop. There remains a chance for the development of some thundery showers in places through the weekend, which is something we’ll be able to add some more detail to as we get closer to the time. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the forecast through the week as the details become clearer.”

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27 artists illustrate the power of voting ahead of EU elections

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A woman and a child checks an exhibition in EU about voting
Pan-European online initiative also has pop-up exhibitions | Photo: Mihail Novakov

Ahead of the forthcoming European elections, 27 illustrators, one from each European Union member state, designed posters on the topic of democratic participation. 

This happens as part of Get Out & Vote – an initiative by Fine Acts, a global nonprofit studio for social impact.

All works are published under an open license, so that citizens, nonprofits and activists can download and use them non–commercially to spread the message of the importance of voting for the future of Europe.

“It is so incredibly important to vote, as our elected officials shape our societies for us. I think a lot of people find the elections hard to grasp and overwhelming – especially the European Parliament elections. And I get it, it’s complex. But if you don’t vote, others will decide for you! These are big decisions, like climate, immigration, AI and we get to shape those choices together,” says Sidsel Sørensen, an illustrator and animation director based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Between concept and development, Sørensen spent several days to finish her participant image.

“Usually I spend fairly long at the ideas stage, sketching things out. Often jumping in and out of the process over a couple of days. With this election, there might be a right-wing shift in the European Parliament. I hope not, as it would be very bad for European climate policy. The inspiration for the image really came from focusing on the positive, and instead imagining how much legislation at EU level could help guide green policies across Europe – if we all vote more green,” says the artist.

For Italian illustrator Mattia Riami, who attended the Visual Communication Bachelor at IED in Milan on a scholarship and went on to be part of the team of graphic designers and illustrators at global fashion brand United Colors Of Benetton, voting is a civil exercise that should not be ignored.

“Voting is not just a right, but also a civic duty that strengthens the foundations of democratic society. Through voting, every individual has the opportunity to voice their ideas, values, and concerns, thus contributing to the creation of a more inclusive and representative political environment. Ignoring this process means abdicating the responsibility to shape one’s own future and that of future generations,” believes Riami, who spent a total of three days to create his illustration for the project.

“Today we find ourselves faced with a set of challenges that threaten to undermine democracy in Europe, and erode common values such as equality and justice. Our poster voting collection targets young people and aims to inspire hope, optimism, and enthusiasm about the potential impact of voting,” says Yana Buhrer Tavanier, Executive Director at Fine Acts. The initiative, supported by the Culture of Solidarity Fund, is part of Fine Acts’ larger campaign in support of European unity and values, which also includes art interventions across several European cities, an AR exhibition, and a vast online activation to build momentum before the elections in June. 

How the European Elections work

Voting in 2024 starts on Thursday 6 June in the Netherlands, followed by Ireland and Malta on the following day and Latvia and Slovakia on Saturday. This year Many EU member states vote on Sunday 9 June.

Most voting takes place on one day although Czechs have Friday and Saturday to cast their ballots, and Italians vote on Saturday and Sunday.

Besides voting in European elections on Sunday, Belgians will also spend time voting in national and regional elections.

By the end of 9 June, it will be clear which parties have won the Parliament’s 720 seats, 15 more than in 2019. The UK took part in the last European elections before leaving the EU, and some of its seats have since been redistributed or kept in reserve if the EU expands.

Who can vote in the European Elections

In most EU countries you have to be 18 to vote, but if you’re 16 you can vote in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Malta, while in Greece the minimum age is 17. In a handful of countries including Luxembourg and Bulgaria, voting is compulsory.

You should bring some ID such as driving license, PPS card, or passport. A full list of acceptable ID is available on electoralcommission.ie. Acceptable ID is also listed on the back of your polling card and includes passports and driving licences.

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Cannes opens with French comedy and honorary award for Meryl Streep

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Actress Juliette Binoche hands an award to Meryl Steep
Meryl Streep receives a honorary Palme D’Or from Juliette Binoche | Photo: Andrea Rentz

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival officially opened last night with Quentin Dupieux’s Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), and an honorary Palme d’Or awarded to American actress Meryl Streep.

Presented Out of Competition as a world premiere on the Croisette last night, May 14, this four-part comedy was also released in all French cinemas on the same day. The film stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard playing squabbling actors filming a movie produced and directed by artificial intelligence.

The opening ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes, hosted at the  Grand Théâtre Lumière, also had American actress Meryl Streep as a guest of honour.

Streep received the Festival’s Honorary Palme d’or, 35 years after winning the Best Actress award for Evil Angels, her only appearance in Cannes until last night.

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: ’Meryl, my darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast,″ added Streep. “And it has, and it does. Except for my speech, which is too long,” said the three time Oscar award-winning actress.

Last year French Film director Justine Triet won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or for her murder mystery film “Anatomy of a Fall” becoming the third female filmmaker ever to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1955. 

The 77th Cannes Film Festival is set to run until May 25th, when the Palme d’Or winners will be revealed, 2024.

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