Community Featured

California Bans Sale of New Gas Cars by 2035

Will gas cars soon become a thing of the past?

Last week, the California Air Resources Board voted to ban the sale of new gas cars by 2035 and set targets that would phase them out from 2026 onwards. 

The rules will go into effect beginning in 2026 and will not impact any cars currently on the roads. Instead, they focus on the sale of new cars in the state. Starting in 2026, 35% of new cars, SUVs and small pickups sold in California would be required to be zero-emission vehicles. That quota would increase each year. By 2035, the idea is that 100% of cars sold in California that year will be zero-emissions cars. For every car that falls short of targets, automakers will be fined up to $20,000

This measure is the first of its kind in the United States and one of the first in the world. California is hugely influential in the climate policy space, especially pertaining to transportation. It’s the country’s largest automotive market, and previous legislation has been followed by over a dozen other states in the country. This one seems to be no exception. CNN was told that New York, Oregon, Washington State, and Rhode Island plan to follow in California’s footsteps and New Jersey and Maryland officials said they were currently reviewing the decision. 

Gavin Newsom comments on the ban of new gas cars
Gavin Newsome © Gage Skidmore

While Congress recently passed a historic climate change bill, that plan alone will not allow America to reach the  2050 emissions-free target scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst of the climate crisis. President Biden has urged that individual states also take action alongside the bill. California has heeded the call. This policy will cut greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles by more than 50% in 2040 from the levels that were expected without the policy, according to the New York Times. 

In an interview, California Governor Newsom called the rule “one of the most significant steps to the elimination of the tailpipe as we know it.” Governor Newsom first signed an executive order demanding all cars sold in the state be zero emissions in 2020, so the vote follows years of work within the state. It was also aided by President Biden, who earlier this year reinstated California’s ability to set its own vehicle emissions standards following President Trump’s reversal of the long-standing rule. However, there are currently 17 Attorney Generals in Republican States that are challenging California’s ability to set their own climate policy. The rule could also be reversed by any future presidents who disagree with President Biden’s assessment of California’s policy autonomy.

Community Featured

Ukraine Wins Chess Olympiad and Cheers up the Nation

Ukraine won the international women’s Chess Olympiad, one of the most heartwarming news stories in the sports world right now

Most participants in the Chess Olympiad thought India would win, but five brave Ukrainian women showed off all other countries in the final rounds. The participants were Anna Ushenina, Mariya and Anna Muzychuk, Natalya Bursa and Yuliya Osmak.

Anna Ushenina is a participant of note, as she became the first Ukrainian woman to win the World Chess Championship in 2012. Upon winning, the Ukrainian team had no leaps of joy or high-fives. There were tears and hugs to commemorate their Olympiad gold. With tears in her eyes, Anna Ushenina silenced the packed room of the olympiad with solemn words: “It’s obviously a great feeling, but the medal can’t stop a war.”

Chess Olympiad
© Lennart Ootes

Ushenina is Ukraine’s first women’s world champion, hailing from Kharkiv. The city of Kharkiv was one of the most affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and many of its inhabitants had to evacuate the city with their families without warning upon hearing news of the situation. The Muzchyuk sisters Anna and Mariya were surprised by the surprising start of the war. Anna recalls checking the news, seeing a disaster, and then waking up Mariya to let her know that they had to escape as soon as possible due to the invasion starting. 

Grandmaster Anna Muzchyuk won a team medal in each Olympiad and an individual medal in 2014, 2017 and 2022. Each of the members made major contributions to earning the Olympic gold. The Muzchyuk sisters were personally responsible for racking 13 out of 20 points, while Ushenina earned 6.5/8 and Nataliya Buska 7/10. 

Ushenina stated that Ukraine was the most resolute of all participating teams and didn’t feel pressured because they had already seen worse. What they want now is peace back home. They brought back the gold medal to raise morale in their nation.

Community Featured

Meghan Markle Tackles Misogyny and Double Standards in New Podcast

Meghan Markle Returns to the Public Eye With Podcast

It’s been a good week for Meghan Markle since her new podcast titled Archetypes reached the dizzy heights of number 2 on the global Spotify charts. The new series will explore the labels that try to hold women back. This is something that Meghan has been a victim of, being a black woman in the British Royal Family who faced overwhelming vicious abuse from the public, fuelled by tabloid lies. 

Meghan Markle
Markle and Serena (Przegladsportowy)

In the debut episode, Meghan Markle aimed to “investigate, dissect and subvert” the damaging misconceptions and misrepresentation of women who are ambitious in their careers. To discuss the topic, Meghan was joined by the sporting legend, Serena Williams. “Apparently ambition is a terrible, terrible thing – for a woman, that is,” shares Markle. “Since I felt the negativity behind it, it’s really hard to unfeel it. I can’t unsee it either in the millions of girls and women who make themselves smaller, so much smaller, on a regular basis.” 

Before becoming one of the world’s most talked about people, Meghan enjoyed a career in the spotlight, as an actress for the hit Netflix series, Suits. But alongside acting, Meghan has always been an advocate for women’s rights, and in 2015 she made a powerful speech for UN Women. From a young age, an 11-year-old Meghan began to question double standards and misogyny, after complaining to a TV company about sexist terminology in a washing-up advert. Sadly, Meghan’s many career successes and prior experiences were rendered insignificant as she fell in love with Prince Harry and the pair got married, as the public rendered Meghan as a ‘golddigger’ and an ‘opportunist,’ who was using marriage as a tool to further her career. 

Public slander disproportionately attacks successful women. “Apparently ambition is a terrible, terrible thing – for a woman, that is,” says Meghan. Serena corroborates: “Women are put in boxes when we have ambitions or goals, and when we reach those goals.” Throughout the episode, both Serena and Meghan form a bond through their common experiences of how society turns against women, and in particular, black women, who are doing well in life. Serena pointed out the sexism in tennis and recalls the press accusing her of “having a meltdown” for having passion when male tennis stars are excused. 

Meghan Markle
The podcast (Newsweek)

The podcast, which was executively produced by Meghan, was released on Spotify on Tuesday 23rd August. Since then, it has created an inevitable raucous on social media, that further proves Meghan and Serena’s points: that women, and black women, are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. “My hope is that my own lived experience will help other women open up,” says a reflective Meghan. Archetype is an act of defiance against overwhelming misogyny and racism in society. It’s an important space to keep the conversations going and to change minds. 

Featured LGBTQ Music

Is Harry Styles Queer-Baiting?

Harry Styles Causes A Stir With Comments on Sexuality

Harry Styles hit headlines once again this week after commenting on his sexuality for Rolling Stones Magazine. The 28-year-old pop star covered the legendary magazine in his classic 70s-inspired gender-fluid fashion. The interview itself is probably Harry’s most honest interview, commenting on his relationship with Olivia Wilde, life, happiness and even the prospect of having children. But it was Harry’s comments on sexuality that caused a stir. 

Harry Styles Filming Mr Policeman
Harry filming Mr Policeman (Vanity Teen)

“I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it,” says Harry to Rolling Stone. But sceptics were quick to label Harry as ‘queer baiting’ as the singer has never been seen in public dating a man. To which Harry said that he doesn’t think he’s “publicly been with anyone.” Regardless of wherever Harry has openly dated a man or not, it’s not for us to comment on someone’s own sexuality; it is a very personal and individual process. 

Harry is currently promoting a gay movie called My Policeman – due out in October. This fact has led people to be sceptical of the timing of the comments, due to the ongoing press circuit ahead of the release. For some, Harry’s comments are reminiscent of many celebrities who have teased their sexuality during promotional campaigns, such as Milk lead actor James Franco who said he’s gay “up to the point of intercourse.”

Harry Styles
Harry’s Rolling Stone Shoot (Rolling Stones)

The main quote that caused outrage referred to Harry’s take on gay sex, in which he said, ”So much of gay sex in film is two guys going at it, and it kind of removes the tenderness from it.” Harry then continued to elaborate on how he and the director, Michael Grandage wanted to show “tender and loving and sensitive scenes.” The problem with this comment is that it assumes that gay sex is one thing when of course, it isn’t. Gay sex can be tender, and affectionate, but it can also be rough. Gay sex doesn’t need to be on a bed of roses with Ed Sheeran playing in the background for it to be tender.

Others on Twitter also feel that there are plenty of examples of gay sex being portrayed in a tender way. “If he digested queer media he would know that that wasn’t true and I feel like he would’ve said something smarter,” said one account. “Anyone who engages with queer movie, fan fiction, [and] books knows that there’s a tonne of tenderness in a lot of gay male romances and I think he’s going to need to start doing better. I think he needs to do a little bit better,” said another. “We love you [Harry] but you gotta level up here. Watch some cool shit. read some fan-fiction.”

But, what’s the problem with queer baiting? Well, the LGBTQIA+ community has long suffered persecution. Being queer often meant hiding your identity from society, in fear of imprisonment, losing your job, being an outcast from your family and even being chemically castrated. For centuries, queer culture has existed underground and had to be hidden from society. But now, queer culture is in fashion. It’s now “cool” to be queer, and like many other minority communities, the culture is now being appropriated – often for commercial profit. Therefore, when a white, successful, handsome male comes along, like Harry Styles, scepticism is inevitable. 

Harry Styles for Rolling Stone
“The new King of Pop?” (Rolling Stone)

Having an opinion in 2022 is difficult. Whatever angle celebrities decide to discuss, it’s bound to antagonise someone. Harry is undoubtedly the world’s biggest pop star at the moment. His gender-fluid fashion and confidence in being open about his feelings are an inspiration to many. Harry, and any other person for that matter, should not be criticised for expressing their sexuality. It is not for us to assume whether someone is telling the truth or not. But, when it comes to making comments on behalf of a community that are one-sided, a backlash is needed to address the balance in discourse.

Featured TV and Film

Barbie Ferreira Won’t Be Returning for Euphoria’s Third Season

Since Barbie Ferreira announced her departure, rumours have sparked that a feud with the show’s creator could be responsible

In an emotional Instagram post, Barbie Ferreira announced last week that she will not be returning to HBO’s Euphoria for season three. The actress played Kat Hernandez, an online dominatrix and student of East Highland High School, who was a fan favourite on the hit TV show. 

Ferreira shared a photo of some fan art created by her co-star Hunter Schafer and wrote that “after four years of getting to embody the most special and enigmatic character Kat, I’m having to say a very teary-eyed goodbye.” The 25-year-old continued, “I hope many of you could see yourself in her like I did and that she brought you joy to see her journey into the character she is today. I put all my care and love into her and I hope you guys could feel it. Love you, Katherine Hernandez.”

Barbie Ferreira and Sam Levinson
Barbie Ferreira and Sam Levinson © Shutterstock

Fans have long speculated that there has been tension on the Euphoria set, with an ongoing feud between the actress and the show’s creator Sam Levinson. According to unconfirmed reports, Ferreira has had many problems with Levinson’s tough directing style and expressed concerns over her character’s storyline. Reports even claim that she has walked off set on two occasions. 

This feud is rumoured to be the reason Kat’s storyline and screen time noticeably declined during season two and now, the reason Ferreira has ultimately parted ways with the show. 

More recently, an anonymous insider, who is apparently close with the Euphoria cast and spent a lot of time on set, has appeared in a clip with radio personality Zach Sang. This alleged insider, whose voice was altered to protect their identity, went on to spill many secrets regarding the tensions on set and claimed that Levinson was ‘making cast members cry while working and would scream at them frequently to be able to get the emotions out of them while they were on set.’ 

Sam Levinson has not commented on the subject and Ferreira herself has not elaborated any further on the reasons behind her exit. 

Viewers will have to wait until the release of season three, to see how Euphoria deals with the actress’s sudden departure.

Community Featured

Cineworld to File for Bankruptcy

Cineworld files for bankruptcy as the company racks up €4.8 billion in debt

Cineworld is Europe’s primary cinema theatre operator and last week, the company announced it’s considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. There are emptier screens than ever, and it has billions of debt racking up every month. In the US, Cineworld Group PLC owns Regal Theater.

Namely, they’ve racked up around €4.8 billion in debt, and the announcement of its finances caused its stock to crash by more than 60%.

Cineworld is the world’s second-largest cinema chain, right behind AMC. They operate in 10 countries worldwide, including the UK, Ireland, and the US. The company operates over 700 cinemas worldwide.

A series of factors caused Cineworld profits to plummet in the past years. The pandemic caused cinemas worldwide to close their doors and forced entertainment production companies to come up with alternatives. Some of these include launching straight to streaming releases, as many Disney+ films had to do to draw attention to their service.

The trend continued until 2022, with one-third fewer wide-release movies going to theatre compared to the pre-pandemic years and many of the most-watched movies being played directly on streaming services.

@ Cineworld

On the other hand, the group has assured its 28,000 employees and customers that there will be no closures, as filing for bankruptcy could serve as a reset button for the company’s strategic decisions. That doesn’t mean the stock market will thrive, as shares of the company have fallen. Shares of similar theater companies have also fallen, though not as much as Cineworld’s have.

Cineworld executives brace themselves for a challenging two months due to a dip in new movie releases, but they are also hoping that the business will pick up in October, with Halloween films, and in 2023.

Cinema rooms have almost no insulation and must warm their screens with massive gas burner heating systems on the roof. Lower consumption due to the post-pandemic interests in entertainment changing, on top of sky-high gas and electricity prices, have butchered profits earned by cinemas. The pandemic also triggered delays in Hollywood’s pipeline, forcing many production houses to rearrange their schedule.

Others have mentioned that their bankruptcy was accelerated due to their cinema acquisition spree and that their billions in debt are not only due to the pandemic or inflation but rather exacerbated by bad business decisions. Still, Cineworld cardholders were surprised by the news, and many of them feel nostalgic for the days when a cinema opening would be crowded.

Featured Music

Arctic Monkeys Are Preparing A Huge Comeback 

The Arctic Monkeys are back, and they want to remind you they’re one of Britain’s biggest rock bands

The Arctic Monkeys are one of Britain’s biggest musical exports. They were one of the defining bands of British indie rock/pop in the naughties, and since then, their music has aged liked fine wine. After finding international success with the 2013 album release, AM, Arctic Monkeys are returning back to the spotlight.

Arctic Monkeys
The band (Pitchfork)

The album, titled, The Car, arrives on streaming platforms and in stores on October 21st. The artwork has also been released, which is a simple shot of a car in a solemn-looking car park. So far, we don’t know much about the type of music on the record, but some fans are hoping for a continuation of the psychedelic and space-pop sound of the latest project, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. 

The band’s frontman, Alex Turner recently revealed to the Big Issue that the LP was recorded with James Ford – a regular collaborator for the band – in Suffolk, of all places. He continued to share how the tracks were born in a beautiful converted monastery called Butley Priory. “There’s a bunch of Led Zeppelin and Stones records where they were in this house in the country and then they went and sorted it all out and overdubbed it elsewhere,” said Turner. 

“On this record, sci-fi is off the table. We are back to earth,” shared Turner, referring to the band’s previous release. “I think we’ve got closer to a better version of a more dynamic overall sound with this record.” He continued: “the strings on this record come in and out of focus and that was a deliberate move and hopefully everything has its own space. There’s time the band comes to the front and then the strings come to the front.”

Arctic Monkeys were formed in Sheffield in 2002 and their debut album, Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not, was released in 2006, with strong critical acclaim. Their follow-up album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, came just a year later, taking advantage of the momentum. The album sold over 227,000 copies in its first week in the UK alone and even debuted at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart – a feat rarely achieved in the Brit Pop and Rock era. Since then, the band has released a further 4 records that sonically shifts from indie to a more mature rock sound. 

Arctic Monkeys The Car
Album Artwork and Tracklist (Official Twitter)

Just this week, Arctic Monkeys teased fans at a gig in Zurich Switzerland with a snippet of a new song, titled, I Aint Quite Where I Think I am. The track is one of 10 on the album. The Arctic Monkeys will continue their festival tour of the Americas into the autumn, before heading back to the UK in time for the promotional commitments. 

Featured TV and Film

House of the Dragon Kicks Off With an Epic First Episode

Fans of Game of Thrones have praised House of Dragon, calling it a redemption after GoT’s contentious eighth season

The first episode of House of the Dragon broke records last week. It was seen by nearly 10 million viewers across linear and HBO Max platforms, the largest audience of a premiere series in the history of HBO.

All corners of the Internet and social media were quickly flooded with memes, YouTube and TikTok video episode breakdowns, and tweets praising the writing, performance, and direction of HoTD Season 1 Episode 1.

The first episode introduced us to the cast and a brief prologue explaining the current situation of the Targaryen dynasty of Westeros, 142 years before the birth of GoT’s iconic Daenerys Targaryen.

House of the Dragon had big shoes to fill for two reasons. First, Game of Thrones was a worldwide hit that influenced pop culture during its eight-season run. Second, its eighth season was heavily criticized for ending the series on such a negative note that fans would rather forget it happened.

House of Dragon
House of Dragon @ HBO

House of the Dragon tells us the story of the Dance of the Dragons, a Targaryen civil war that triggered the extinction of dragons in Westeros until Daenerys came along. The prequel series is based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire and Blood, an entire compendium of the history of the Targaryens.

Fans are already speculating how things will play out during the course of the show. A prophecy not even available in the books was revealed at the end of episode one, providing context for Aegon I the Conqueror’s actions and the entire Targaryen Dynasty.

Reddit users have estimated an approximate four seasons if the books were to cover the entire Dance of the Dragons, possibly featuring the battle between the forces of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Daemon Targaryen.

Part of what caused the perceived decline in the quality of Game of Thrones was the showrunners finishing the source material for the show way before the books were finished. Martin is still writing the sixth book of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, The Winds of Winter.

An advantage of House of the Dragon is that Fire and Blood is a single book and describes other relevant events in the history of the Targaryen Dynasty, such as Aegon’s Conquest. That means no running out of source material, and there are plenty of things to cover in many seasons of the show.

Featured Music

UK Festival Awards: Announces Freight Island as Location

The UK Festival Awards is Back

This Sumer sees Festival Insights’s, UK Festival Awards celebrate its 17th anniversary with a brand new venue location. Now located at Freight Island, Manchester, (a venue brimmed with luxurious and tropical decor), attendees are in for a treat this winter as they celebrate in style.

Commencing Tuesday 6 December, the UK Festival Awards have announced reoccurring categories Best Major Festival, and Outstanding Contribution to the bill, amongst a one-time category Perfect Pivot Award. The Perfect Pivot Award is a special category dedicated to festival organisers who managed to provide an effective and alternative festival experience during the turbulence of the Covid closure.

UK Festival Awards Venue

Usually held at Troxy, London, this year fans are in for a change, speaking of, is the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham: “Everyone in Greater Manchester knows the massive global impact this place has had on music and culture, so it’s fitting to see the UK Festival Awards coming to the true home of 24-hour party people.”

Taking place this December, the awards ceremony seeks to bring together organisers, artists, critics and fans to celebrate the year off with a bang. Reflecting on the past season of festival shenanigans, whilst touching upon the last 3 years, it’s with this opportunity can the industry can give thanks to some of its most inspirational festival pioneers. With Covid-19 having a detrimental effect on the music industry in 2020, the future of live music, (especially at the grand scale of a music festival), was under serious threat. No one had the right answers, just questions. Now, 3 years down the line, it’s 2022 and the music industry has seemingly been able to bounce back brilliantly this year, as it saw major-scale festival sites Glastonbury, Boardmasters and Download Festival return after an uncertain hiatus.

UK Festival Awards Venue
© Freight Island

The event is also working in association with Ticketmaster. Managing director of Ticketmaster UK, Andrew Parsons, recently vocalised his enthusiasm for the collaboration, “We’re proud to partner with the UK Festival Awards for the fifth year running,” he says. “Festivals are a cornerstone of UK culture and it’s so important we recognise the hardworking people behind the scenes who make them happen. Manchester is the perfect host city – home to so many artists, venues and teams central to the festival ecosystem.”

Tickets for the UK Festival Awards are available now via Ticketmaster. Purchase here

Featured LGBTQ TV and Film

National Television Awards: LGBTQ+ Stars Dominate Nominations

On September 15th, the small screens’ biggest stars all descend on Wembley Arena to celebrate the year’s biggest TV triumphs at the National Television Awards

The nominations for 2022’s National Television Awards have been announced and LGBTQ+ talent leads the pack. Amongst the nominees are Bridgeton’s, Jonathan Bailey and Heartstoppers Joe Locke, and Kit Connor. Jonathan is up for one of the biggest awards of the night, Best Drama Performance, and the queer coming-of-age series, Heartstopper is up for the prestigious New Drama award. 

Heartstopped nominated at National Television Awards
Heartstopper cast (

Heartstopper was an unexpected triumph for Netflix. The relatively low-budget adaptation of Alice Coleman’s young adult comic book quickly went viral and gained a huge fanbase that’s eager for a second season. Heartstopper is essentially a love story between teens Charlie and Nick, played by Joe Locke and Kit Connor. The pair navigate coming to terms with their sexuality in the context of a turbulent school environment. The charm of this series is its positivity. It’s one of the first queer love stories, made for teenagers, that shows LGBTQ+ life in an honest but beautiful way.

The Heartstopper team recently reacted to the news of being added to the NTA’s longlist on Instagram. The spokesperson shared, “we’re so excited to be on the National Television Awards longlist for New Drama and to see our very own @joelocke03 and @kit.connor longlisted for Rising Star!” The series has huge potential for taking home best Drama, which will undoubtedly help share the wonderful message to more teens who are seeking acceptance.

Bridgeton nominated at the National Television Awards
Jonathan Bailey in Bridgeton (The Hollywood Reporter)

It’s also a big night for Bridgeton. Charithra Chandra (Edwina Sharma) is up for the career-boosting Rising Star Award and will battle it out alongside Heartstoppers, Joe and Kit. Bridgeton is an American historical romance series that’s based on author Julia Quin’s works. With just two seasons, Bridgeton broke Netflix streaming records, becoming the “most watched English Language television series” at the time on the platform, debuting at number 1’s most watched in 92 countries. Jonathan plays one of the main characters, Anthony, the eldest Brigerton son and head of the family. It’s great to see the NTA’s recognising British talent that’s making waves across the pond. 

But, Bridgeton is up against some stiff competition from the likes of Peaky Blinders, Call the Midwife and the Split. The evening will be hosted by Im A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here winner, Joel Dommett, and will see live musical performances from some of Britain’s biggest musical talents.

Alison Hammond nominated at National Television Awards
Alison Hammond (Huffington Post)

And, it seems Briggerton and Heartstopper are not the only dramas at this year’s NTA’s, as it has been revealed that Alison Hammond has been nominated for the award of Best TV Presenter, meaning that colleagues Holly Willoughby and Phillip Scholfield have been snubbed. Hammond shared her delight at the news on Twitter: “Me being nominated for A NTA and believing my own Hype!!!” A humble Alison continued, “thanks to everyone who nominated me honestly over the moon.” Could this be the year Ant and Dec hand over the gong to me #dreams.” If Hammond takes home the award, it will break Ant and Dec’s winning streak of 20 wins, as the double act has snatched the prize every single year since the NTA’s started in 2001.

Tune in to ITV on Thursday 15th September for the winners. In the meantime, cast your vote online to ensure your favourite star doesn’t go home empty-handed.