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Economy

Madonna’s Gym Venture A Hit South Of The ‘Borderline’

In Mexico City, the Material Girl is getting into the groove – business wise – with an upscale gym called Hard Candy. Madonna may soon expand her exercise-oriented endeavor to Russia, with branches in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Madonna’s Gym Venture A Hit South Of The ‘Borderline’


Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES

During her "Sticky and Sweet" tour, Madonna fell in love with Mexico City. Working with a personal training company called New Evolution Ventures, she decided to start her first gym in Mexico's capital. Hard Candy, as the gym is called, will celebrate one year of operations in November.

"We're right in line with our initial projections. All businesses have to go through a phase when people are still getting to know the brand and the products, and we were able to get through that period very quickly," says Christopher Didieck, director of New Evolution.

At first glance, the gym, located in one of Mexico City's wealthiest, most exclusive neighborhoods, doesn't seem much different from all the others in the area. Except, of course, the luxury finishes, personal television screens equipped with cable at each exercise machine, Madonna's songs playing in the background and the singer's photos decorating the rooms. One more little difference: membership includes access to a personal training session with Nicole Winhoffer, the diva's own trainer.

The group classes have also made waves, especially the dance classes, which teach, literally, the Material Girl's own dance routines. For the inauguration, Madonna taught the classes herself. And now she's already preparing two new branches: one in Moscow and another in St. Petersburg.

Read more from AméricaEconomía in Spanish

Photo -Joãomagagnin

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

Are Iran And The Taliban Colluding In The Drug Trafficking Business?

Iran is reacting mildly to recurring Taliban provocations on its frontier. Is this due to diplomatic weakness, policy incompetence or is there some murky complicity inside Iran with the Afghan drug trade?

Image of Afghan men consuming drugs on a street in Kabul.

Afghan men consume drugs on a street in Kabul.

Hamed Mohamed Gazouillement

-Analysis-

After about a week-long exchange of fire between Taliban forces and Iranian border guards (at or near Sasuli in eastern Iran) and in spite of Iranian authorities claiming the "misunderstanding" had been resolved and peace restored at the frontier, late on May 30, the Taliban were reportedly moving guns and armored troop carriers to the frontier district of Islam Qala, in northwestern Afghanistan.

On social media, the Taliban have been posting boastful videos, with one showing fighters on an armored vehicle cheering the prospect of a war with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Another video shows a Taliban commander, Abdul Hamid Khurasani, warning Iranian authorities not to test the Taliban's strength, telling them "we're the real Muslims because behind the scenes, you're with the West." If Afghanistan's rulers were to order it, he warned, "God willing we shall soon conquer Iran."

On the Iranian side, while a lot of the Iranian materialis aged if not outdated, and even with the rock-bottom morale and discontent likely affecting Iranian troops, they would still need barely a day, using whatever is left from the Shah's army, to destroy the vehicles the Taliban have moved to the frontier. Iranian plane and helicopter pilots might even destroy them as target practice, though the real concern here remains the regime's inability to resolve a dispute.

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