Aug 31, 2018

China's hottest show is an imperial concubine drama

Screenshot from the first episode of "The Story of Yanxi Palace" from YouTube

"The Story of Yanxi Palace," a Qing Dynasty era costume drama set in the Forbidden City, has broken records for online viewership in China.

By the numbers: iQiyi announced in a press release today that the 70 episode series has been streamed over 15 billion times. It was streamed an average of 300 million times a day, with more than 700 million views on its peak day.

The show is driving fashion trends, as Jing Daily explains:

"Set in the 18th-century Qing Dynasty, the show follows the predictable yet relatable storyline of how a loyal maid climbs ‘the imperial ladder’ to eventually become the emperor’s favorite concubine. What’s not cliche, though, are the show’s well-rounded character, as well as its set and costume design. The authentic portrayal of ancient China style in the show has fashion bloggers obsessing over fashion details in long, fawning posts that track, fame by fame, all the show’s wardrobe choices – from clothing and accessories to hairstyles."

I am up to episode 5, only 65 more to go...

Watch it: All the episodes are on YouTube here.

Go deeper: Pandaily writes Yanxi Palace Puts Feminist Spin on Chinese Historical Drama.

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GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its celebrated Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand after 160 years and winding down operations by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

The big picture: GM also intends to "sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China's Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year," AP reports. "The downsizing is part of a long-running strategy at GM since the Detroit-based company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009," per Bloomberg.

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

Sanders accuses Bloomberg of trying to "buy" the 2020 election

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg. Photos: Drew Angerer; Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders tore into 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg at a Las Vegas campaign event Saturday, saying the billionaire and former New York mayor is trying to "buy the presidency" by paying millions of dollars in advertising.

Why it matters: Bloomberg has surged in national polling recently, having poured millions of dollars into campaign ads largely targeting Trump. His candidacy has become an obvious foil for Sanders, whose grassroots campaign railing against billionaires and the establishment has vaulted him to front-runner status.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy