Islamic State Issues Video of Beheading of U.S. Hostage

Reuters | Sep 2, 2014

The Islamic State released a video on Tuesday purporting to show the beheading of American hostage Steven Sotloff, raising the stakes in its confrontation with Washington over U.S. air strikes on its insurgents in Iraq.

Congress Should Link U.N. General Assembly Voting and Foreign Aid

Heritage Foundation | Sep 2, 2014

Congress has long been concerned that countries receiving American foreign aid frequently oppose U.S. initiatives and priorities in the United Nations. Since 1983, Congress has required the U.S. Department of State to prepare an annual report on the frequency with which other countries vote with the U.S. in the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA).

Soft Power Rules

The Telegraph India | Sep 2, 2014

It is time India asserted itself on the international stage in the areas of contemporary art and the other diverse realms that constitute the notion of culture to make a strong statement as a ‘soft power’. This is something that the Western world has brought into play as an important artery of foreign as well as domestic policy to project humane dimensions and to generate pride and confidence in the people.

Amnesty International: Islamic State Carrying Out Ethnic Cleansing

Los Angeles Times | Sep 2, 2014

Human Rights Watch, another nongovernmental watchdog group, reported that Islamic State has used cluster munitions in at least one location: in the town of Ayn Al-Arab, 80 miles northeast of Aleppo city. The use of such ordnance leaves many unexploded bomblets on the battlefield, posing a serious risk to civilians long after hostilities have ceased. The munitions, which eject smaller explosive bomblets over an area, were banned in 2010 through the Convention on Cluster Munitions, though many countries -- including the U.S.

China's Museum Boom Hatches Roast Duck Tribute

BBC News | Sep 2, 2014

China's cultural scene has certainly flourished in recent years from art, to music and, of course, museums. Curator Cheng Guoqin says part of the reason the government supports the opening of new museums is that it improves the country's image. "The government has realized that economic success is not enough," she says. "It realizes that soft power and the creative industries must play an important role."

São Paulo ready for Big-Budget Biennial

The Art Newspaper | Sep 2, 2014

The growth trajectory of the biennial is, of course, similar to that of the contemporary art museum and the commercial art fair, and accompanied by similar commentaries about their links to globalization, to imminent saturation of the market and to “instrumental” motives that are only tangentially related to cultural production but umbilically related to tourism, economic development and urban regeneration.

Hospital Ships: Soft Power Shock and Awe

The National Interest | Sep 2, 2014

Providing medical care in foreign countries is a great way to improve the U.S. image abroad. The U.S. Navy hospital ships Mercy and Comfort are prime examples of an effective soft power program. These hospital ships provide medical care to impoverished communities worldwide. The USNS Mercy is itself one of the largest trauma facilities in the United States. 

‘Afrobian’: Moroccan Singer Talks About Merging Arabian, African Musical Traditions

Al Arabiya News | Sep 1, 2014

In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya News, Moroccan singer Ahmed Soultan discusses his own musical genre which he had dubbed “Afrobian,” a merger of African and Arabian musical traditions.  Soultan believes that the merging of African musical instruments and Arabian melodies allow him to carve out his own musical identity and that “Afrobian,” like other forms of music, can transcend physical and cultural boundaries. 

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