New Zealand farmers are so desperate for workers that they are offering unlimited supplies of free meat, milk, honey and firewood to tempt employees onto remote properties.
The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, ordered the closure of her country’s borders in mid-March, sparing New Zealand the worst of Covid-19.
Despite being hailed as a global success story for fighting and managing the disease, the hard border shutdown and multiple lockdowns have taken a toll on the economy, with the country now officially in recession after the economy contracted 12%.
With a population of just 5 million, many New Zealand industries are heavily reliant on migrant labour, including in tourism, horticulture and farming:
A little more about Demon Slayer:
Fans of the franchise include the chief cabinet secretary, Katsunobu Kato, who mentioned the movie at a recent press briefing, according to Bloomberg. “In the midst of the pandemic, the record box-office has contributed greatly to the movie industry,” he told reporters, adding that he had watched some of the TV series.
Based on a manga series by Koyoharu Gotoge that appeared in 2016, the film is set in Japan around 100 years ago and centres on an adolescent boy who fights human-eating demons after his family is slaughtered and his younger sister is turned into a demon.
The manga, which was later turned into a TV series that aired last year, has sold over 100 million copies in Japan, has been translated into 14 languages and is available in 33 countries, according to publisher Shueisha.
Anticipation is growing that the Haruo Sotozaki-directed film will overtake Miyazaki’s Spirited Away – which went on to amass ticket sales of ¥ 30.8bn – to become the highest-grossing Japanese movie ever.
Aniplex said English-dubbed and subtitled versions are due for release in North America early next year.
Not even a global pandemic has been able to deter people in Japan from flocking to cinemas. Demon Slayer, an anime based on a popular manga and TV series, has set a new record after it generated ticket sales of ¥10.75bn ($102.48 million) in its first 10 days, according to the film’s distributor.
No film in Japan has ever achieved ¥10bn in ticket sales in such a short space of time, with the previous record-holder, Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 animated film Spirited Away, taking 25 days to reach the milestone. By Monday, 7.98m people had seen Demon Slayer at 403 cinemas, according to co-distributors Aniplex and Toho.
Cinemas were closed during Japan’s seven-week state of emergency, but audiences are rediscovering their appetite for big-screen entertainment after they were permitted to fill all their seats from 19 September.
Japan continues to report several hundred coronavirus cases a day but has avoided an explosion in infectionsand the large number of deaths seen in the US, Britain, Brazil and other countries.
As of Monday, Japan had recorded 98,331 cases and 1,741 deaths, according to a tally by public broadcaster NHK.
In very nice news that stems at least partially from free time created by the coronavirus pandemic:
Kazakhstan, the home country of the fictional Borat Sagdiyev, has adopted the brash, moustachioed character’s catchphrase – “Very nice!” – for a new tourism campaign.
The idea for the campaign came from American Dennis Keen, who travelled to the country on a high school exchange, then studied with a Kazakh professor at Stanford University. He now lives in Almaty, where he gives walking tours.
With a lot of time on his hands due to the coronavirus pandemic, he and a friend pitched the idea to the Kazakh tourism board and “immediately” got the go-ahead to make four 12-second ads:
The US supreme court has sided with Republicans to prevent Wisconsin from counting mail-in ballots that are received after election day.
In a 5-3 ruling, the justices on Monday refused to reinstate a lower court order that called for mailed ballots to be counted if they are received up to six days after the 3 November election. A federal appeals court had already put that order on hold.
The ruling awards a victory for Republicans in their crusade against expanding voting rights and access. It also came just moments before the Republican-controlled Senate voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, a victory for the right that locks in a conservative majority on the nation’s highest court for years to come.
“As the Covid pandemic rages, the court has failed to adequately protect the nation’s voters,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in a dissent that noted the state allowed the six-day extension for primary voting in April and that roughly 80,000 ballots were received after the day of the primary election:
China reports 50 new asymptomatic cases, down from 161 day before