Same as Raz, I like the look of the side panel. It makes that kingdom interface look much better and more convinient.
EDIT : A little bit of confusion
I have fired a new game. The second after I unlocked the wizard, a picture of the wizard appeared on the main screen, and then the pop up telling that the blacksmith arrived in town appeared appeared (covering the wizard). The order does not really seem correct : I ask for a wizard, and get a blacksmith. Maybe should we finish that wizard action first (an let us close that wizard picture pop up) and THEN have that blacksmith dialog appearing.
EDIT 2 :
Ok, I now understand how the news items work : the text popping up is related to the top news item. It sometimes is a bit confusing : I first I thought that these news items were clickable, but was surprised that the text had nothing to do with the button title. Maybe should the title corresponding to the pop up text be highlighted...