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Los Angeles Rattled By 3.7 Magnitude Earthquake During Coronavirus Lockdown

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Los Angeles was rattled by an earthquake just after midnight local time on Wednesday morning, as millions shelter in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

An early estimate from the U.S. Geological Survey pegged the quake at a magnitude of 3.7 and it hit the View Park-Windsor Hills area of the Californian city, which is around nine miles south of Hollywood. The quake had a depth of 7.4 miles.

It was big enough to panic some in Los Angeles, with Chrissy Teigen among the first to tweet about the ground moving.

The earthquake rapidly became the top trending topic on Twitter in the U.S., with people comparing it to a “roller coaster.” The Santa Monica Police Department called it “sizeable,” while LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city’s fire department will carry out a “routine survey” of the city for damages.

Jenny Jaffe, who has written on episodes of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats reboot, tweeted: “Yooooo that was a kind of big one though??” Other entertainment figures also noticed the quake:

It is not unusual, however. The Los Angeles Times reported that around five earthquakes, with magnitudes of between 3 and 4, occur every year in the greater LA area.

Earth Day activities for kids

EARTH Day is an annual event celebrated TODAY across the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now acknowledged all over the globe, with Earth Day in 2016 seeing over 120 countries sign the landmark climate change Paris agreement.

Organisers settled on this date as it is in the spring but does not conflict with the religious holidays of Easter and Passover.

April 22, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions, it will be the first one that will be celebrated virtually.

Millions of people who were expected to fill parks, stadiums, universities, and plazas around the world will instead rally together online.

Despite the change in circumstances, Earth Day can still be celebrated just as effectively digitally – this can include social media hashtags or attending virtual presentations.

Anyone can get involved in celebrating Earth Day and children are also encouraged to get involved.

 

Here are some of the ways children can play their part in the celebration:

Make a pledge and a plan to take action

Writing down a commitment and making a plan are two actions that increase the likelihood that someone will follow through. So if you want those Earth Day lessons to stick, this is an easy activity to do with students of any age.

Make signs for the home

Reminders around the home can help us change our habits.

Having children think about ways they can have a positive effect on the environment and making signs to remind them can be effective.

Make a video

Children can use social platforms like TikTok to share videos and encourage others to take more care of the environment.

Putting together a video or presentation can also help them internalise the information.

Plant a tree

The Earth Day Network has a goal of planting 7.8 billion trees by 2020 – one tree for every person alive.

While being on lockdown, children can still use the garden to plant trees and be involved.

Rob Gronkowski to Reunite With Tom Brady in Tampa Bay

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Rob Gronkowski, the All-Pro tight end who left the N.F.L. after the 2018 season, plans to return to the league, this time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gronkowski, who did not officially retire when he stepped away from the game last March, was traded by his old team, the New England Patriots, to Tampa Bay, where he will be reunited with quarterback Tom Brady, pending a physical examination.

The Patriots will send Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick in this week’s N.F.L. draft to the Buccaneers, and receive a fourth-round pick from Tampa Bay in return.

Brady, 42, who became a free agent for the first time after spending two decades in New England, signed a two-year contract worth as much as $60 million last month with the Buccaneers.

Gronkowski, the game’s most dominant tight end during his nine years in New England, helped the Patriots win three Super Bowl titles. His goofy, frat boy persona off the field made him one of the more colorful players in the league.

However, a series of injuries led to questions about how much longer he could play. He hinted for several seasons that he was considering leaving the N.F.L. because of the wear and tear on his body, which led to missed games because of numerous injuries, including a torn knee ligament, a broken forearm, a herniated disk in his back, among others.

He left the league on a high note, helping the Patriots — the only team he had played for — beat the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl following the 2018 season.

During his time away from football last year, Gronkowski, known simply as Gronk, appeared at wrestling events, promoted cannabidiol products as pain relievers and focused on his charity.

Even so, he remained in demand. The owner of the Patriots, Robert K. Kraft, made no secret of his desire to persuade Gronkowski to return to the team in time for the playoffs last season. Gronkowski had not turned in his retirement papers, so the Patriots still held his rights. The Patriots offense was not nearly as potent without Gronkowski, and their season ended quickly after one playoff game.

Gronkowski is in the last year of his contract, which includes a $9 million base salary and $1 million in bonuses. During his appearances as a Fox Sports commentator before this year’s Super Bowl. “I feel great,” he said. “Sort of better every day. It’s been really good for me.”

Gronkowski was named the WWE 24/7 champion at WrestleMania 36 earlier this month and moves to Florida, where the wrestling promotion is considered an essential service.

Though Gronkowski passed on the chance to return to the Patriots, he apparently felt well enough to come back to the N.F.L. if he could play again with Brady. The teammates will join a Buccaneers team already stocked with offensive talent and guided by head coach Bruce Arians, an offensive mastermind who favors Kangol hats, expletives and wisecracks, in stark contrast to Bill Belichick’s morose ways. In his first season in Tampa last year, the Buccaneers had the third-best offense in the league, with an erratic Jameis Winston at quarterback.

Winston is gone, but much of the talent around him is still there. Frustrated by the relative lack of offensive talent around him in New England last season, Brady will now throw to Gronkowski, as well as Mike Evans and the speedy Chris Godwin, two 1,000-yard receivers last season who are both over six feet tall.

With Brady and Gronkowski reunited in Tampa, the N.F.C. South, which includes the New Orleans Saints, could become one of the most competitive divisions in the league. And the once sleepy Buccaneers, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2007, are destined to become fixtures in prime time.

And not for nothing, Super Bowl LV will be held in Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Fla., Brady and Gronkowski’s new home field.

Alibaba Cloud Joins Technology Committee of the Content Delivery and Security Association

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Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, has today announced its latest elected membership to the Content Delivery and Security Association (CDSA) Technology Committee, recognizing the importance of its robust, secure and scalable cloud platform currently used by many global media and entertainment (M&E) organisations.

Alibaba Cloud is the first China-based global cloud service provider to be elected to the Committee, which named 17 members to the committee for the annual term. The Committee, composed of industry leaders in the service provider community, will advise CDSA’s Board and Content Advisors on the new control framework and business model for application and cloud security assessments, new technology solutions and improved workflows for IP protection, security and compliance, that are reshaping the way content is produced, managed and delivered.

Alibaba Cloud is also a new member of CDSA and the Media & Entertainment Service Alliance (MESA). As the first Chinese company to become a member of MESA, the global leading cloud provider will work with the 150+ member companies to drive efficiencies, and help enable digital transformation of the M&E industry.

One of six technology communities within MESA, CDSA supports cybersecurity and content protection solutions within the M&E industry, including those responsible for film, television, games, music, and entertainment.

Guy Finley, President at MESA and CDSA, said, “We welcome Alibaba Cloud as a new member of CDSA’s Technology Committee, as Alibaba Cloud has demonstrated it embraces a collaborative approach along with their robust abilities in securing content for the entertainment industry. We look forward to working with these industry experts to drive new initiatives and broader global engagement with content owners around content protection and information security technology solutions for media and entertainment.”

Larry Xiao, General Manager of Security at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence and Vice President of Alibaba Group, said, “As the media and entertainment industry becomes primarily digital, cloud is playing an increasingly important role, and security is a critical consideration. Becoming a member of CDSA demonstrates our commitment to content security in the cloud, and we are pleased to be able to play our part in establishing security standards, setting industry best practices, and serving content providers, platform providers and customers. We also feel that working as part of the organisation will help increase transparency and collaboration between different companies in every part of the world.”

A number of renowned production studios – including Animal Logic and Territory Studio – have partnered with Alibaba Cloud, assured by its ability to meet dynamic production needs. They are using a range of cloud technologies to drive efficiencies in media production, from improving the speed of decision making through to easier cross-site collaboration with artists and developer teams across the world.

These latest memberships follow Alibaba Cloud being assessed by the Trusted Partner Network (TPN) earlier this year.

Alibaba Cloud provides a number of solutions that are used by entertainment customers to gain efficiencies in scale, reliability, global reach and security across their whole media supply chain. Whether for content creation, processing or distribution requirements, services like Object Storage Service, Express Connect, Cloud Storage Gateway, Media Processing Service and CDN (Content Delivery Network), enable customers to implement a full content supply chain more quickly without an upfront investment in infrastructure.

Alibaba Group’s rich and diverse ecosystem, including the digital media and entertainment business, provides various business scenarios to keep enhancing Alibaba Cloud’s technologies and algorithms, which will ultimately be turned into offerings to benefit a wide spectrum of customers.

“As part of the Alibaba ecosystem and global strategy, Alibaba Entertainment has a comprehensive quality content and new infrastructure, driving the industry digitalization and providing better entertainment experiences to audiences,” said Gao Xiaosong, Chairman of Alibaba Entertainment Strategic Committee. “We are very pleased to be able to push forward this significant long-term partnership. With the support of the Alibaba Ecosystem, such as cloud service, mobile payment, online ticketing, etc., we hope to contribute to the infrastructure of the global entertainment industry.”

About Alibaba Cloud

Established in 2009, Alibaba Cloud ( www.alibabacloud.com ), the cloud computing and data intelligence arm of Alibaba Group, is among the world’s top three IaaS providers, according to Gartner, and the largest provider of public cloud services in China, according to IDC. Alibaba Cloud provides a comprehensive suite of cloud computing services to businesses worldwide, including merchants doing business on Alibaba Group marketplaces, start-ups, corporations and government organisations. Alibaba Cloud is the official Cloud Services Partner of the International Olympic Committee.

IBM misses revenue estimates but cloud jumps; withdraws forecast

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April 20 (Reuters) – International Business Machines Corp posted quarterly revenue slightly lower than Wall Street expected, but beat profit targets as sales in its high-margin cloud computing business rose 19%.

The company also withdrew its 2020 annual forecast, in line with some other big corporations, as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the global economy.

Big Blue is the first U.S. tech major to report quarterly results for the period ending March 31, during which the country’s economy was badly hit as the outbreak kept people indoors.

The company for several years has been focused on becoming a major player in the cloud services industry, acquiring Linux maker Red Hat and selling some legacy businesses.

Revenue from the cloud business, previously headed by IBM’s new boss Arvind Krishna, rose 19% to $5.4 billion in the first quarter.

Krishna took over the chief executive officer role from Ginni Rometty in April, while appointing former Bank of America Corp’s top technology executive Howard Boville as the new head of IBM’s cloud business.

IBM’s total revenue fell 3.4% to $17.57 billion in the reported quarter, slightly below analysts’ estimates of $17.62 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Excluding the impact from currency and business divestitures, the company recorded a marginal growth in revenue.

Net income fell to $1.18 billion, or $1.31 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $1.59 billion, or $1.78 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.84 per share, above estimates of $1.80 per share. (Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

Forget Amazon, Microsoft Is a Better Cloud Computing Stock

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With millions of people sheltering in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the cloud computing market is getting a serious usage boost.

Schools, corporations, and individuals are using cloud-based software to learn, collaborate, and stay connected. That’s driving increased demand for cloud services, boding well for the likes of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), through its Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT),  through its Azure services.

Amazon is the overall leader in this sector, but Microsoft is a scrappy second-place player. It’s been chipping away at AWS’ lead, and with demand surging amid the pandemic, it’s emerging as the better cloud computing stock to own.

Cloud demand surges during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way the world operates, including how we work. A significant number of companies deemed non-essential have transitioned to remote work environments to remain in operation, using cloud-based software to collaborate and work. At the same time, a large segment of the population is practicing social distancing and turning to virtual tools to stay connected.

That plays into Microsoft’s strengths thanks to many of its software tools that reside on the cloud. Take Skype, its cloud-based video conferencing tool. Since the pandemic hit, Skype has seen a 70% surge in daily users. Skype calling minutes are up 220%. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Azure cloud has seen a 775% uptick in cloud services in regions enforcing strict social distancing rules.

Microsoft’s Teams collaboration tool is also enjoying red-hot demand, with daily active users jumping by 12 million in one week alone in early March. Since then, demand continues to surge as more workers get used to the new work-at-home norm.

That demand for cloud-based services isn’t going to go away anytime soon, even if cities begin easing social distancing rules in the coming weeks or months.

Take the tech giant’s newly signed deal with the National Basketball Association as one example of what the future may look like. The NBA is adopting Microsoft’s Azure cloud to offer fans an enhanced experience. The NBA suspended its basketball season in March. To get the season going again, there is a real chance that games could be played in empty arenas and broadcast to fans. If that’s the case, the NBA is hoping its cloud deal with Microsoft will help keep fans engaged remotely. The NBA isn’t the only sports league that has to figure out how to keep fans coming back for more while stay-at-home orders are in place. The deal with the NBA may be the first of more to come for Microsoft.

Then there’s Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity software offering that has more than 38 million subscribers. In an effort to get more consumers to pay monthly instead of upgrading their OS every few years, Microsoft is rebranding Office 365 into Microsoft 365, and is adding more AI-driven features. It’s also launching a subscription plan  that costs $9.99 a month for families and $6.99 a month for individuals.

That’s not to say AWS isn’t winning cloud contracts, but Microsoft’s moves are more high profile and, given the pandemic, could be winning bets over the long run.

Microsoft gets a win in the Pentagon contract fight

An important growth area for both AWS and Microsoft are federal, state, and local governments. With many government systems outdated and in need of an upgrade, Microsoft and AWS have been jockeying for contracts. The biggest of all, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project or JEDI, a 10-year $10 billion move to the cloud for the Pentagon, was awarded to Microsoft last year, driving the stock higher. But it was quickly contested by AWS, which said it was the shoe-in to win the contract until President Donald Trump got involved. That’s prompted AWS to file a lawsuit seeking to get the contract halted, claiming political bias.

Both companies have much to lose by not landing the contract, but Microsoft is in a more precarious position. In order to win more government contracts it needs to get in the door, something AWS has already achieved.

The case is still being worked out in the courts, but Microsoft did get a partial win this month, when the Defense Department’s inspector general found that awarding the full contract to Microsoft (instead of breaking it up among its rivals) was “consistent with applicable acquisition standards,” and not driven by political bias on the part of the Trump administration.

That was welcome news to Microsoft, which said the inspector general’s report shows the DoD properly awarded the contract to the software giant. In a blog titled “It bid high and lost. Should Amazon be allowed to do-over on JEDI?,” Microsoft’s deputy general counsel Jon Palmer argued Amazon lost the contract because it priced its offering too high, not because Trump hates AWS owner Jeff Bezos.

“There is a simple explanation for Microsoft’s victory — the strength of our technology, and our willingness to listen to and respond to our potential customers,” wrote Palmer. “Even if you believe that Amazon may have started as the front runner, it’s clear our team worked hard to catch up and surpass them by investing in our technology and listening to the DoD.”

It’s not clear what the courts will decide, but with cloud momentum growing at Microsoft and more opportunities to grow because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft is the better cloud computing stock.

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Alibaba Cloud will invest $28 billion more into its infrastructure over the next three years

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Alibaba Cloud announced today that it will invest another RMB 200 billion (or about $28 billion) into its infrastructure over the next three years, prompted in part by increased demand for services like video conferencing and live streaming as businesses adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investment will focus on expanding Alibaba Cloud’s technology, including its operating system, servers and chips, in its data centers. The provider currently has 63 availability zones, located in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

In press statement, Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence and chief technology officer of Alibaba Group, said, “By increasing our investment on cloud infrastructure and fundamental technologies, we hope to continue providing world-class, trusted computing resources to help businesses speed up the recovery process, and offer cloud-based intelligent solutions to support their digital transformation in the post-pandemic world.”

In its last quarterly earnings report, issued in February, Alibaba reported cloud revenue grew 62% to $1.5 billion. Alibaba Cloud is the top cloud provider in the Asia Pacific market, according to Gartner.

Google launches Cloud Healthcare API in general availability

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Google today announced the launch in general availability of Cloud Healthcare API, a service that facilitates the exchange of data between health care applications and solutions built on Google Cloud. The API allows organizations to ingest and manage data from a range of inputs and systems, and then to analyze that data through the use of privacy-preserving AI and machine learning.

Cloud Healthcare API could help relieve the strain on health systems overburdened by the coronavirus pandemic. As Google notes, even in the best of circumstances, collating data is often a challenge for health care and life science organizations. The API, then, enables providers to interact with data using endpoints and health plans that scale while supporting interoperability, security, and patient access.

Cloud Healthcare API — a managed, scalable environment for building clinical and analytics applications that support HIPAA compliance — incorporates a number of data-loss prevention, policy, identity management, and encryption solutions. Customers can choose the region where their data is stored, and they get management policies that let them implement practices like the principle of least privilege. And thanks to the API’s integration with Cloud Audit Logs, they can track all actions that affect their data.

Cloud Healthcare API ships with connectors for streaming data processing in Google products like Dataflow, BigQuery, AI Platform, and Looker. Beyond this, it features an automated de-identification capability that removes or obfuscates personal information from corpora so they can be used for analysis, training, and evaluating machine learning models and for sharing with non-privileged parties, while protecting patient privacy.

“With … Cloud Healthcare API and our partner ecosystem, our goal is to make it as simple as possible for the industry to make informed, data-driven decisions, so that caregivers can focus on what matters most: saving lives,” wrote Google in a blog post and product page. “With Google Cloud’s … analytics and machine learning tools, you can simplify custom machine learning model training, and rapidly develop, test, and deploy production-grade ML models. You can also leverage Cloud Healthcare API’s … [tools] to store the outputs of these [machine learning] models and integrate them into existing clinical workflows.”

Google says that the Mayo Clinic has been relying on the Cloud Healthcare API for the better part of a year to “enable the storage and interoperability of its clinical data.”

Cloud Healthcare API’s public launch comes a year after the service’s debut in beta and two years after its initial unveiling, a timeline roughly coinciding with a push by the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information to encourage the use of APIs to promote health care interoperability, as a part of the 2016 21st Century Cures Act. Recently, Google’s efforts were impeded somewhat by a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inquiry into its partnership with health care nonprofit Ascension, in which the latter shared millions of patient records with a team of Google employees for research purposes.

Microsoft offers something of a rival to Cloud Healthcare API in an Azure API that enables organizations to connect and interact with any system that supports the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard. For its part, Amazon Web Services boasts products like Amazon Comprehend Medical, which leverages machine learning to extract relevant medical information from unstructured text.

Eminem – Stronger Than I Was

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We woke reasonably late following the feast and free flowing wine the night before. After gathering ourselves and our packs, we headed down to our homestay family’s small dining room for breakfast.

Refreshingly, what was expected of her was the same thing that was expected of Lara Stone: to take a beautiful picture.

We were making our way to the Rila Mountains, where we were visiting the Rila Monastery where we enjoyed scrambled eggs, toast, mekitsi, local jam and peppermint tea.

We wandered the site with busloads of other tourists, yet strangely the place did not seem crowded. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of the place, or whether the masses congregated in one area and didn’t venture far from the main church, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists in the monastery.

Headed over Lions Bridge and made our way to the Sofia Synagogue, then sheltered in the Central Market Hall until the recurrent (but short-lived) mid-afternoon rain passed.

Feeling refreshed after an espresso, we walked a short distance to the small but welcoming Banya Bashi Mosque, then descended into the ancient Serdica complex.

We were exhausted after a long day of travel, so we headed back to the hotel and crashed.

I had low expectations about Sofia as a city, but after the walking tour I absolutely loved the place. This was an easy city to navigate, and it was a beautiful city – despite its ugly, staunch and stolid communist-built surrounds. Sofia has a very average facade as you enter the city, but once you lose yourself in the old town area, everything changes.

IF YOU HAVE IT, YOU CAN MAKE ANYTHING LOOK GOOD

Clothes can transform your mood and confidence. Fashion moves so quickly that, unless you have a strong point of view, you can lose integrity. I like to be real. I don’t like things to be staged or fussy. I think I’d go mad if I didn’t have a place to escape to. You have to stay true to your heritage, that’s what your brand is about.

Dj Dark – Chill Vibes

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We woke reasonably late following the feast and free flowing wine the night before. After gathering ourselves and our packs, we headed down to our homestay family’s small dining room for breakfast.

Refreshingly, what was expected of her was the same thing that was expected of Lara Stone: to take a beautiful picture.

We were making our way to the Rila Mountains, where we were visiting the Rila Monastery where we enjoyed scrambled eggs, toast, mekitsi, local jam and peppermint tea.

We wandered the site with busloads of other tourists, yet strangely the place did not seem crowded. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of the place, or whether the masses congregated in one area and didn’t venture far from the main church, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists in the monastery.

Headed over Lions Bridge and made our way to the Sofia Synagogue, then sheltered in the Central Market Hall until the recurrent (but short-lived) mid-afternoon rain passed.

Feeling refreshed after an espresso, we walked a short distance to the small but welcoming Banya Bashi Mosque, then descended into the ancient Serdica complex.

We were exhausted after a long day of travel, so we headed back to the hotel and crashed.

I had low expectations about Sofia as a city, but after the walking tour I absolutely loved the place. This was an easy city to navigate, and it was a beautiful city – despite its ugly, staunch and stolid communist-built surrounds. Sofia has a very average facade as you enter the city, but once you lose yourself in the old town area, everything changes.

IF YOU HAVE IT, YOU CAN MAKE ANYTHING LOOK GOOD

Clothes can transform your mood and confidence. Fashion moves so quickly that, unless you have a strong point of view, you can lose integrity. I like to be real. I don’t like things to be staged or fussy. I think I’d go mad if I didn’t have a place to escape to. You have to stay true to your heritage, that’s what your brand is about.

Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love (Dj Dark & Adrian Funk Remix)

0

We woke reasonably late following the feast and free flowing wine the night before. After gathering ourselves and our packs, we headed down to our homestay family’s small dining room for breakfast.

Refreshingly, what was expected of her was the same thing that was expected of Lara Stone: to take a beautiful picture.

We were making our way to the Rila Mountains, where we were visiting the Rila Monastery where we enjoyed scrambled eggs, toast, mekitsi, local jam and peppermint tea.

We wandered the site with busloads of other tourists, yet strangely the place did not seem crowded. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of the place, or whether the masses congregated in one area and didn’t venture far from the main church, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists in the monastery.

Headed over Lions Bridge and made our way to the Sofia Synagogue, then sheltered in the Central Market Hall until the recurrent (but short-lived) mid-afternoon rain passed.

Feeling refreshed after an espresso, we walked a short distance to the small but welcoming Banya Bashi Mosque, then descended into the ancient Serdica complex.

We were exhausted after a long day of travel, so we headed back to the hotel and crashed.

I had low expectations about Sofia as a city, but after the walking tour I absolutely loved the place. This was an easy city to navigate, and it was a beautiful city – despite its ugly, staunch and stolid communist-built surrounds. Sofia has a very average facade as you enter the city, but once you lose yourself in the old town area, everything changes.

IF YOU HAVE IT, YOU CAN MAKE ANYTHING LOOK GOOD

Clothes can transform your mood and confidence. Fashion moves so quickly that, unless you have a strong point of view, you can lose integrity. I like to be real. I don’t like things to be staged or fussy. I think I’d go mad if I didn’t have a place to escape to. You have to stay true to your heritage, that’s what your brand is about.