Monthly ArchiveFebruary 2019

Agamemnon’ amazes audiences in Beijingmnon premiered

  The bilingual drama Agamemnon, a co-production of the National Theater Company of China a

nd the National Theater of Greece, represents a refreshing innovation for Chinese theater lovers.

  The play by ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus, often called the “father of tragedy”, is the first part of his only extant tr

ilogy. It is a story about patriarchy, matriarchy, revenge and justice. In the story, Agamemnon s

acrifices his daughter to win the Trojan War. After his triumphant return, the king is slain by his wife and her lover.

  Directed by Stathis Livathinos, artistic director of the NTG, Agamemnon embodies a pr

ofound cooperation between China and Greece. “To have a bilingual presentation of a play means yo

u hear two languages, two kinds of actors, two schools. Of course it’s a very big risk. But it’s better to go with a risk t

han with safety. Because I really believe the National Theater should always be the avant-garde,” he said.

  ”Agamemnon is a part of something bigger that doesn’t belong only to Greece. This

is a theatrical and artistic meeting of two civilizations on stage,” Livathinos added.

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State Councilor Wang Yi said Sino-US trade negotiations

have once again made concrete progress and provided positive pro

spects for bilateral relations and the global economy. Wang, also minister of foreign affa

irs, made the remark at an event on Monday, according to a statement issued by the ministry.

Yao Yang, dean of the National School of Development at Peking University, said, “It is encouraging that both sides have begu

n to work on the text of an agreement, which indicates a speeding up toward sealing a trade deal.”

“The progress also showed that effective economic diplomatic meas

ures can help resolve cumbersome issues and reduce confrontation between two nations,” Yao said.

After tit-for-tat exchanges of hefty import tariffs, President Xi Jinping and hi

s US counterpart, Donald Trump, agreed in December to halt new tariffs for 90 days to a

llow for talks. Since then, negotiations have been conducted on a wide array of topics.

Early Sunday afternoon in Washington, Trump tweeted that he “will be delaying” the incr

ease of tariffs on Chinese imports scheduled for March 1, due to “very productive” trade talks between the two countries.

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Trump could try to sell North Korea a Vietnam model. But

The night before his historic summit with US President Donald Trump last June, North Kore

an leader Kim Jong Un took a surprise stroll in downtown Singapore to see the sights of the wealthy capitalist city.

The inference seemed clear. If cash-strapped Pyongyang chooses to engage the world — and ditch its nuclear weapons — this could be its future.

Trump and Kim will this month have an even more symbolic backdrop for their next mee

ting: Vietnam, a country which transformed itself from bitter US enemy to peaceful partner in less than 50 years.

Experts believe the Trump administration plans to sell North Korea on a model such as communist Vietnam, hig

hlighting its relationship with Washington as well as its economic boom since adopting market reforms. And all th

e North Koreans have to do, Washington is expected to say, is give up their nukes.

Yet analysts are wary such a sales pitch will produce any tangible outcome. North Korea

knows how capitalism and market economies work: it’s just chosen not to embrace them.

China has for years been prodding the North to embrace economic reform, dragging for

mer North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on tours of capitalist enterprises whenever he visited.

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Green Book’ wins on Oscar night marked by inclusiveness

  ”Green Book” won best picture at the Oscars, marking the final twist on a night of historic firsts, filled with suspense until the final prize.

  Despite controversies surrounding the film, and many outspoken critics, the per

iod drama about race relations in the 1960s felt like a more conventional best-picture choi

ce than its two top rivals, both of which had to overcome key hurdles: “Black Panther” represented the fi

rst superhero movie to earn such recognition, while “Roma” not only would have been the first foreign-lan

guage winner, but was likely hobbled by those who still see its distributor, Netflix, as an upstart in the movie world.

  The Oscars compensated for a host-free ceremony with a nigh

t of breakthroughs, moving briskly through the categories in a concerted effort to sh

orten the run time, amid a night marked by greater inclusiveness and that spread the wealth among the nominees.

  Award voters extended honors to a number of blockbusters, including “Black Panther,” which

earned several technical awards; and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the biography of Queen and the band’s fron

tman, Freddie Mercury, earned four Oscars — the most of any film — including Rami Malek’s first for the central role.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences endu

  red a series of missteps leading up to the telecast, beginning with the proposal to introduce a “popular film” category. That id

ea was quickly scuttled, as was a subsequent plan to move four awards into the commercial breaks to help st

reamline the ceremony, which prompted a rebellion from Academy members.

  In between, Kevin Hart was chosen to host the awards, before the resurfacing of homophobic socia

l-media posts prompted the comic to withdraw. After a period of confusion, it was finally co

nfirmed the awards would be mounted without a host, the first time that’s happened in 30 years.

  Much of the tumult surrounding the 91st annual Oscars can be traced back to la

st year’s awards — and more specifically, a precipitous ratings decline, fall

ing to an all-time low. Shortening the ceremony to three hours, or close to it, has been among the solutions that host net

work ABC has advocated as a means of stopping the bleeding from a Nielsen standpoint.

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It’s all about Huawei. World’s biggest mobile tech show g

  Over the next four days, about 100,000 people in Barcelona are expected to traipse through the halls of Mobile Worl

d Congress, one of the tech industry’s biggest events. All the biggest players in the world use it to showcase new products.

  One company really stands out this year: China’s Huawei. Walking

out of the Barcelona airport, there’s a Huawei hospitality stand. The company’s bran

ding dots the city. The lanyards conference attendees wear around their necks are decorated with the Huawei name.

  There’s a good reason everyone is focused on Huawei, one of the world’s largest makers of telecom equipment.

  Huawei is a crucial part of China’s efforts to advance superfast 5G wir

eless networks and today is caught in a life or death battle with the US government.

  The United States claims that Huawei poses a potential national security threat. Last month, US prosecutors revealed cri

minal charges against the company, alleging that Huawei stole trade secrets and worked to skirt US sanctions on Iran.

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We can no longer act as bystanders. We are honour bound to

  We find it unconscionable that a Party once trusted on the economy, more than any other, is now recklessly marching the country to the cliff edge of no d

eal,” the group said. “No responsible government should knowingly and deliberately inflict the dire consequences of

such a destructive exit on individuals, communities and businesses and put at risk the prospect of ending austerity.”

  The MPs also rejected what they say May has presented as a “false binary choice” be

tween a “bad deal” and a “no deal,” slamming her strategy of “running down the clock” to Brexit.

  May said in a statement on Wednesday that she was “saddened” by the lawmakers’ decision to quit the party, but

was determined to deliver on Brexit, affirming that it was “the right thing for the country.”

  The Independent Group was formed on Monday when seven MPs, including Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie and Luciana Berger, resi

gned from Labour. An eighth Labour MP, Joan Ryan, joined their ranks on Tuesday evening. The group said v

ariously that they had become ashamed of the Labour party and its shift to the hard-left, denouncing opposition le

ader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of a wave of anti-Semitism and “betrayal” on Brexit.

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When the morality police personnel were issuing a wa

  rning to two ladies with improper hijab, people in the area surrounded them and prevented them from driving the two ladies a

way,” the police source told IRNA. “After the two ladies got off the police van, the crowd dispersed and that was the end of the incident.”

  Threatened with acid, rape, abuseotesting Iranmpulsory hijab law

  Threatened with ‘acid, rape, abuse’: Protesting Iran’s compulsory hijab law

  Video of the incident showed people honking their car horns in apparent protest. A man is

heard shouting “Let her go!” as a group of people surround the van. The sound of gunshots is then heard.

  The headscarf, or the hijab, has been a mandatory part of women’s dress in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution led to clerical rule of the country.

  But in recent years, some women have mounted opposition to headscarf rules by stagi

ng sporadic street demonstrations, some of which have gone viral on social media.

  Many women have also observed the dress rules more loosely in recent years. While signs instructing women to wear hijab ad

orn the walls of nearly every shop and restaurant, many wear short scarves which only slightly cover their heads.

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This year I saw the greats of the Obama-era Iran nuclear

  deal breeze between meetings in a way impossible at the height of those negotiations.

  Yet a few years later, their sage experience is the valued currency of many backroom conversations.

  John Kerry’s sidekick, Wendy Sherman, strolled down t

he street past former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, also a member of the Iran nuclear dea

l negotiating team. He was loitering on a street corner waiting for a car. If you had a question for them, you could ask it.

  These people are the unseen grease in the cogs of international diplomacy.

  But the showstopper at the conference was the Yin and Yang of US foreign policy — delivered by Vice President Mike Pence and the guy who had the

job before him, Joe Biden.They spoke on the same day, but could not have been more different in tone, style and substance.

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The first led to Schalke being awarded a penalty after Ota

  was adjudged to have handled the ball, reversing the referee’s initial decision.

  The near three minute wait for a verdict from VAR caused frustration not only for the players but also supporters inside the stadium.

  A second penalty was then awarded when VAR confirmed the refe

ree’s call to award another penalty, this time for a foul on Salif Sane by Fernandinho.

  ”It’s a penalty. The second one is a penalty too,” Guardiola told BT Sport. “…And the red card can be a red card.

  ”I trust VAR. I have arguments sometimes but not this time. They are both penalties.”

  Senate investigators want to question a Moscow-based American businessman with longsta

nding ties to President Donald Trump after witnesses told them he could shed light on the President’s commercia

l and personal activities in Russia dating back to the 1990s, multiple sources have told CNN.

  The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing allegations of Russian interference in

the 2016 elections, has been keen to speak with David Geovanis for several months, the sources say.

  Geovanis helped organize a 1996 trip to Moscow by Trump, who was in the early stages of pursuing what would become a lo

ng-held goal of building a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, according to multiple media reports at the time.

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