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Extra! In Italy, Mediterranean Kills In Two Different Ways

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Two very different tragedy-at-sea stories occupied the front page of Thursday's Rome-based daily La Repubblica.

The Italian island of Lampedusa was once again witness to the horror of would-be immigrants dying after setting out from North Africa in an attempt to reach European shores. As many as 300 people were feared dead after taking a boat from Libya. La Repubblica's headline called the situation the "Infinite Shame," and quoted Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as calling on Europe as a whole to contribute to stemming the tide of desperate migrants making the perilous journey. Renzi also noted that the growing instability on the ground in Libya is contributing to people leaving the country.

Meanwhile, farther north along the Mediterranean was the setting of La Repubblica's centerpiece photograph showing Italian cruise ship captain Francesco Schettino, who was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years for his role in the deaths of 32 people in the January 2012 Costa Concordia sinking off the Italian island of Giglio. Prosecutors had asked for a 26-year sentence. Schettino will remain free as he appeals the verdict, which could take years to conclude.

Here's a video of Schettino, who has denied wrongdoing, saying "part of me died also on that day."

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGO — TikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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