The Founding of a Republic, a Chinese state-sponsored film celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China and the victory of communism over the Kuomintang, is a rather spectacular production. Jackie Chan as well as every nationally and internationally renowned Chinese actor and actress was recruited to raise its profile through minor cameos. Its greatest achievements, however, are firstly the beautifully texturised accuracy of the historical rendition, and most importantly how it avoids discussing the essence of communism.
Every other year, from early June until late November, Venice is dominated by the Biennale del Arte, commonly described as the "Olympics" of Art. Artists flock to the city, setting up countless official and unofficial pavilions in a variety of locations, from entrepôts to decadent palaces on the Grand Canal.
Education and development go hand in hand. Educated individuals experience superior personal fulfilment and contribute positively to societal development. Education, as Dr. Florian Kapitza put it, is a crucial “building block”. For Sandy Balfour, it is “liberating”, both for individuals and societies. But the problem facing many African countries is that the resources to provide such education aren’t readily available – at least not locally. Furthermore, many highly qualified professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and academics leave in their thousands every year to advance their careers in the West. This is where aid plays its part.
Italy is widely renowned as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Among the many reasons for this is the colourful world that surrounds football, with all its social traditions and customs. This is a world that can count many fans outside the Boot itself, like Tim Parks, the most famous Englishman who put his interest for Italian football into a book. However, the current temperature of Italian football is way below zero: it is frozen, like a dead body. Whether this has anything to do with global warming or the Berlusconi government, who knows?
I was first wowed by Japan’s major highlights, Tokyo and Kyoto, over four years ago. My long-awaited return this time had been planned - with friend and fellow Japanophile in tow - to focus on the more rustic flavours of the country, as far and wide as possible. Then the earthquake struck. Suddenly, our friends and family expressed concern verging on incredulity as our departure neared. I struggled to reconcile my excitement with the vague unease the British media seemed to delight in evoking.
Described by many as the “dark heart” of the Israeli occupation, the city of Hebron represents one of the most tragic realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Once a bustling trade hub on the road from Cairo to Damascus, Hebron - the largest Palestinian city in the southern West Bank and a major pilgrimage site for all of the monotheistic faiths - encapsulates the worst traits associated with military occupation.
Democracy is tough to achieve. These words remind us of the people currently risking their lives for a chance of democracy in Yemen, Libya and Syria. In comparison, there is a small nation on the other side of the world which seldom appears in western media: Bhutan. This country holds an extraordinary and quite unique story that deserves our attention. It represents a remarkable and peaceful attempt of transitioning into democracy wherein the democratic challenges facing this nation have been quite the opposite of what we are currently witnessing in North Africa and the Middle East.