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. 

Tourists are Pouring Back to Mexican Beaches After a Security Image Facelift

Global Post | Sep 1, 2014

The total number of tourists in Mexico hit a record in the first half of the year, with more than 14 million foreigners touching down, almost 20 percent more compared to last year, the Tourism Department said.  The spike in visitors, especially Americans, comes after several years of stagnation in the travel sector here amid a slow global economic recovery and fears of gory cartel violence.

Making Cultural Exchange Flourish Takes Time

China Daily | Sep 1, 2014

Cultural cooperation and exchanges between China and the US will play an increasingly important role in facilitating better understanding and fostering friendship between people in the two counties.  The first thing on the to-do list for members of China's culture industry who want to tap into the US market should be to really understand the needs and wants of US audiences and adjust their works accordingly.

UN Peacekeepers Abducted on Golan Heights are ‘Pictured on Social Media’

Euronews | Sep 1, 2014

Photographs purportedly showing more than 40 UN peacekeepers seized by Islamist militants on Syria’s side of the Golan Heights – along with their identity cards – have been posted on social media.  The al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front says the captives, all from Fiji, were detained on Thursday because their UN mission was helping Syria’s government and had ignored the suffering of its people. It says they are being treated well.

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