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Archive for August, 2016

The HK The Umbrella Movement Fights Back

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

The run-up to the Sept. 4 election for Legislative Council is getting tense, and the governments of both Hong Kong and Beijing are watching with keen interest. For the first time, a crop of fresh-faced candidates who cut their political teeth during the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in 2014 are hoping to bring to the lawmaking body their battle to emancipate Hong Kong from Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian control.

The activists, most of whom are in their 20s, no longer believe in the promises of the “one country, two systems” principle set out in the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution since Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997. Even after paralyzing major traffic hubs in the city for 79 days in 2014, they failed to obtain any concession to democratize the rules by which the head of Hong Kong’s government, the chief executive, is nominated and elected. They concluded from the experience that democracy is impossible in Hong Kong as long as the territory remains under Chinese sovereignty…

However many paratroopers are allowed to run for LegCo, their emergence has already changed Hong Kong’s political scene. It no longer is a two-way contest between the pro-establishment camp and the pan-democratic camp, both of which endorse some version of the “one country” ideology and, each in its own way, considers itself to be patriotic to the mainland. Hong Kong politics is now a three-way affair, with separatism the new force to be reckoned with.

Read more from the NY Times

Nigerian disco – 10 of the best

Friday, August 12th, 2016

In Nigeria, it has always been hard to ignore the heavily politicised and radical overtones that suffuse popular dance music. After suffering a terrible civil war that killed three million people in three years, and a police state giving way to a military dictatorship, working-class and middle-class Nigerians were not just worn out after the 1970 coup but also bitterly angry that they were seeing no benefits whatsoever from the discovery of huge oilfields or their country’s membership of Opec. The gulf between the rich and poor could not have been wider. And it was in this atmosphere that the charismatic and rich-voiced Arakatula released the low-slung, agitated prop disco banger Wake Up Africa in 1979.

William Onyeabor


Demystifying Iran’s parliamentary election process

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Here are the basics of the Iranian parliamentary election process.





Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

An anonymous team of Iranian app developers have come up with a solution to help young fashion conscious Iranians avoid the country’s notorious morality police known in Persian as “Ershad” or guidance.

Lynching Italians to Make America Great Again

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

In the hysteria following the murder of a New Orleans police chief, 11 Italian-Americans were lynched by a vigilante mob angry about the city’s influx of immigrants. Here’s how the past and future of American nativism may not be that different.

Brexit: Five challenges for the UK when leaving the EU

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The campaign to leave the European Union has won the referendum. It means the UK is now committed to withdrawing from the group of 28 countries, a process that has come to be known as Brexit. What does this mean for the UK and EU?

G.O.P. Path Recalls Democrats’ Convention Disaster, in 1924

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

A presidential candidate who banked on support from the Ku Klux Klan. Blunt demands to ban certain religions and races from playing a full role in society. Violence and disorder at campaign rallies.

And a political party that tore itself apart not only over whom it would nominate for president, but also over whether religious and racial bigotry would be visible in its fabric.

Welcome to the 1924 Democratic National Convention, held at Madison Square Garden in New York, when the most powerful bloc in the Democratic Party was the Klan, fiercely opposed by the Tammany Hall Democrats. It was the longest political convention in American history, going 16 days and requiring 103 ballots before a compromise candidate was selected.

The convulsions of the Democrats in 1924 are, in broad movements, mirrored in the rived and bedraggled pilgrimage of the Republicans in 2016 as they stagger toward their convention behind Donald J. Trump and his rivals.


Four years later, Governor Smith won the Democratic nomination, but the Klan awaited him as he crossed the country, burning crosses and spreading lies. “The Grand Dragon of the Realm of Arkansas, writing to a citizen of that state, urges my defeat because I am a Catholic,” he said in a speech. “During all of our national life, we have prided ourselves throughout the world on the declaration of the fundamental American truth that all men are created equal.”

He lost to Herbert Hoover.

China ‘detained 20 over Xi resignation letter’

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

China detained a total of 20 people following the publication of a letter calling on President Xi Jinping to resign, the BBC has learned.

The letter was posted earlier in March on state-backed website Wujie News.

Although quickly deleted by the authorities, a cached version can still be found online.

One of those held, columnist Jia Jia, appears to have been released, but most of the others are still believed to be in detention.

In most countries, the contents of the letter would be run-of-the-mill political polemic.

Watch Kendrick Lamar’s stunning performance

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Lamar exemplifies so many of the themes of Harlem Renaissance art in his 2016 Grammy performance, as he interprets Black history from the plantation to the penitentiary.

Videographic: What does China want?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The Economist offers a 4 minute video response to the question so many of us have…