China vs US - Superpower Standoff in Africa

The New Zealand Herald | Aug 23, 2014

Trade, facilitated by Beijing's deep public pockets, reciprocal visits by dignitaries, including Xi Jinping, and the estimated one million Chinese citizens who have made Africa home since 2001, soared to $200 billion last year, making China the continent's biggest trading partner. All of which has set off alarm bells in some Western quarters, with dark warnings about a new Scramble for Africa. Critics fret the United States - focused on the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific, the European Union and Russia - has made a strategic mistake.

Miley Cyrus Banned From Performing In Dominican Republic Based on 'Morality Grounds'

Breitbart | Aug 23, 2014

The pop star was scheduled to make an appearance in Santo Domingo Sept. 13, but the commission called the concert off Thursday after deciding her behavior goes against their 'morals and customs' and is even 'punishable by Dominican law,' the Associated Press reported. The country's decision could contradict the "Diplomacy in Action" statement, published by the U.S. Department of State, that cites there to be "no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events." 

Bao Bao’s One-year Birthday Panda-Monium

Washington Post | Aug 23, 2014

Her guests include Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai, who has called Bao Bao Washington’s other Chinese ambassador, acknowledging a longstanding practice of “panda diplomacy” where China would gift or loan pandas as a message of cute goodwill between two countries.

The Real Winner of America’s War on ISIS: Bashar al-Assad

Slate | Aug 23, 2014

More prominent voices—today it’s the former head of the British army—are now advocating the previously unthinkable position that Western governments should open dialogue with Assad. I don’t see that happening, but as Reuters reports, the regime now seems to be expecting a quieter opening...

Overwhelming Majority of Jewish Israelis Say Gaza Op Justified

Haaretz | Aug 22, 2014

A broad consensus of the Israeli public still justifies Operation Protective Edge, a month after Israel's government launched it, even though uncertainty remains about how the offensive against Hamas in Gaza will turn out, according to the latest Peace Index.

Anxieties About Chinese Film Industry Play into an Outdated Fear of ‘Yellow Peril’

The Conversation | Aug 22, 2014

People want to know “what China wants”. And there are many suggested answers. China wants to control the global discourse about it. It wants to change the bad image of itself seen in much of the outside world – the Tank Man; blanket of smog; tainted baby milk; routine police torture; suppression of free speech, and so on.

Europe: All Change on Iraq

BBC News | Aug 22, 2014

In a matter of days, Europe's leaders have dropped the early assessment that the crisis in Iraq was principally humanitarian.  Germany has agreed to ship weapons to the Kurds.  Italy, too, stands ready to send machine-guns and anti-tank rockets.  So, as a first step, Europe's four largest nations have decided to put their confidence in the Kurds even if it eventually increases the chance they will push for a state of their own.

Take a Tour of Muslim Youth Culture Through ‘Rebel Music’

PBS | Aug 22, 2014

“For Muslim youth, music [is a way] to proclaim your identity, to proclaim your politics, to explain who you are, to mobilize, to build community,” Hisham Aidi told chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown.  In his new book, “Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture,” Aidi explores the cross-cultural trends in political activism and movements throughout history, and how it’s all brought together with music.

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