Cuba postpones historic replacement of Castro

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Communist-run Cuba extended the term of its current leadership to April on Dec. 21, signaling a two-month delay in the historic handover from Raul Castro to a new president, while announcing tighter regulations on the non-state sector. HAVANA – Reuters Hurriyet Castro, 86, was originally set to step down in February after two consecutive terms, ending nearly 60 years of Castro brothers’ rule and marking a transition from the leaders of the 1959 revolution to a new, younger generation. The ... Read More »

’Swastika Trail’ street name to remain in Ontario township

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A street in southern Ontario will retain the name “Swastika Trail” after Puslinch Township council voted 4-1 against changing the privately owned street name during a meeting on Wednesday evening Canadian Press The matter arose last month when B’nai Brith Canada launched an online petition calling on the township about 75 kilometres west of Toronto to change the street name. Nearly two months ago, members of the neighbourhood association held their own vote in which a slight majority of residents ... Read More »

Bach: The Art of Fugue review – a striking, perfectly shaped performance

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Accademia Bizantina/Dantone (Decca) In The Art of Fugue, “Bach plays to God and himself in an empty church”, the critic and composer Wilfrid Mellers memorably wrote. Andrew Clements The Guardian The sequence of 20 fugues and canons, grouped according to the contrapuntal devices they employ, remains one of the most enigmatic works in the history of western music, not only left unfinished at Bach’s death in 1750, with its final fugue incomplete, but also lacking any indications as to how it might be ... Read More »

The name ‘Macedonia’ cannot work

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Although my grandfather, Josip Broz Tito, “gave” the name “Macedonia” to one of the six constituent republics of Yugoslavia, it is obvious that this act did not aim to create irredentist claims with its neighbors, with which Yugoslavia developed friendly relations and fruitful cooperation. Svetlana Broz * e-kathimerini For many years Skopje’s authorities had been presenting maps of “Greater Macedonia,” extending “the geographical and ethnic border of Macedonia” into Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia and Greece. Is that the model of regional ... Read More »

The Roma are yet again scapegoats for society’s ills

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Lurid claims of child sexual abuse have emerged just as they are becoming free of the grip of predatory landlords Kevin McKenna The Guardian In Govanhill, a little network of streets and avenues on Glasgow’s South Side, the besmirching of another immigrant community is in full spate. A century ago, it was the poor Irish, fleeing famine and persecution by the British government, who were being demonised. Now it’s the turn of the Roma people. Britain’s largest concentration of Roma ... Read More »

No Turkish President Had Gone to Greece in 65 Years. So Why Now?

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years when he arrived on Thursday and met with the Greek prime minister and president Iliana Magra The New York Times He immediately affronted his hosts by raising the prospect of changes to the treaty that defines their borders. On Friday, he repeated the same comments in Thrace, in northeastern Greece, home to the country’s Muslim minority, which Turkey has long referred to as a Turkish minority. ... Read More »

Obama invokes Nazi Germany in warning about today’s politics

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Washington (CNN) – Former President Barack Obama urged voters this week to stay engaged in democracy, warning that complacency was responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Miranda Green  “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday, according to video of the event. “Now, presume there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or ’30s ... Read More »

Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

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US President Donald Trump called Jerusalem the capital of Israel on Wednesday and began the process moving his country’s embassy to the city Zena Tahhan & Farah Najjar AlJazeera The move sparked global condemnation from world leaders. Israel occupied East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 War with Syria, Egypt and Jordan; the western half of the holy city had been captured in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem effectively put the entire city under de facto Israeli control. Israeli jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem, however, is not ... Read More »

Aristotle’s Timeless Advice on What Real Friendship Is and Why It Matters

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At age 17, Aristotle enrolled in the Platonic Academy. Zat Rana He would stay there for 20 years. Personal Growth – Medium Founded by the father of Western philosophy, the Greek philosopher Plato, Aristotle was the most promising student around. He asked many questions and answered even more. The exact time of his departure from The Academy is disputed, but it’s said that he left soon after Plato died due to his dislike of the direction that it subsequently took. ... Read More »

Thucydides and the Long War Problem

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Is there anything left to say about Thucydides? Joshua Rovner In a year dominated by concerns over modern technologies — ballistic missiles, nuclear warheads, and cyber weapons — scholars have spent a remarkable amount of time arguing about a very old conflict. War On The Rocks Thucydides’ classic history of the Peloponnesian War documents the catastrophic fight between Athens and Sparta from 431–404 BC. It was a horrendous affair. Conventional combat, gruesome disease, mass murder, and civil war tore apart ... Read More »

Greek Orthodox Church Sells Land In Israel, Worrying Both Israelis And Palestinians

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Secretive real estate deals in the Holy Land are putting one of Jerusalem’s most powerful and ancient churches in the spotlight Daniel Estrin npr The Greek Orthodox Church calls itself the second-largest landowner in Israel, after the Israeli government. It says it owns some 30 percent of Jerusalem’s walled Old City, the city’s historic core, and controls the largest stake of any Christian denomination in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, home to the traditional tomb of Jesus. It also ... Read More »

Cypriot fighters seek damages over torture under British rule

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The 35 claimants are suing the UK government over alleged human rights abuses that took place in the 1950s Helena Smith The Guardian Greek Cypriots who claim they were tortured by colonial forces when they were members of a guerrilla group in the 1950s are seeking damages from the British government. More than 50 years after the alleged human rights abuses took place, a preliminary high court hearing on Tuesday will consider whether a case brought by 35 former fighters ... Read More »

Mythos review – the Greek myths get the Stephen Fry treatment

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Fry’s retellings have stiff competition, are limited in selection and sometimes appear to be set in North London Edith Hall But they have real charm The Guardian Ever since William Godwin persuaded Charles Lamb to retell The Odyssey as a novel for younger readers in The Adventures of Ulysses (1808), the myths of ancient Greece have been retold in contemporary prose by every generation. Most of these retellings were originally poetry – the epics of Hesiod, Homer and the philhellene Latin poet Ovid, the ... Read More »

Eamonn Mallie: With Gerry Adams nothing is what it seems

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Sinn Féin’s outgoing president is a master strategist who took risks for peace Ascribing the favourable adage “E pluribus unum” – “One out of many” – to Gerry Adams will doubtlessly aggravate some readers. Eamonn Mallie The Irish Times Yet even as a teenager the outgoing president of Sinn Féin was marked out by his elders for higher things. The old Official IRA leader in west Belfast Jim Sullivan once told me, “We always got young Adams to draft the ... Read More »

When the US locked up white Australian immigrants like Australia does to asylum seekers

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Lurking behind the debates about offshore processing lies a little-known historical irony: white Australians were once locked up in immigration centres that bore a striking resemblance to the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, which were recently harshly criticised by the UN Human Rights Committee. Anne Rees  The Conversation And unsurprisingly, they were far from happy about it. Back in 1921, the United States introduced immigration restrictions based on national quotas. The quotas were tightened in 1924, and again in ... Read More »

‘A way of healing’: Art and memory in Latin America

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More than 20 years have passed since the civil war ended in Guatemala and Chile returned to democracy, but the impact of extreme state violence is still keenly felt. BBC As part of a BBC radio series on protest art in Latin America, Louise Morris travelled to both countries and asked if there was a role for art both to demand justice and collectively memorialise those lost. A woman sits centre stage reading aloud. At regular intervals a dentist enters ... Read More »