Archive February 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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Vietnam’s path from a mortal enemy to a friendly partn

  United States is particularly appealing to North Korea, who believes a good relationship with the United States can h

elp create the right environment and necessary conditions for achieving North Korea’s new strategic drive toward ec

onomic development,” said Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing.

  The concept isn’t new, of course. During his time as an Asia expert at the State Department in the Clinton administration, Evans Revere said negoti

ators working with North Korea were even then trying to point them to Vietnam, which was beginning to reap t

he benefits of market reforms and becoming a member of good international standing.

  ”We thought, somewhat naively back then, that this would appeal to the North Koreans gre

atly and that our commitments to work with them on bringing about a modernized economy w

ould be so attractive … that they would stand down from their nuclear weapons program. We were wrong,” Revere said.

  ”If all of these incentives or this incentive-based approach to coaxing North Korea do

wn a new path did not work when they didn’t have nuclear weapons, and it didn’t work to prevent th

em from developing nuclear weapons, why will it work now that they are in effect a nuclear weapons state?”

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ike Lee jumps in the arms of Actor Samuel L. Jackson as

  Marvel’s “Black Panther” looked like a contender by claiming a pair of early awards, and made

history in the process: Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler became the first African-American w

omen to win for costume design and production design, respectively. The film was also honored for its musical score.

  ”Roma” didn’t walk away empty handed, earing best foreig

n-language film. Its director, Alfonso Cuaron, was honored for directing and cin

ematography for the black-and-white period drama, a deeply personal look back at the women who raised him.

  Cuaron’s marks the fifth time a Mexican director has won that

award in the past six years, a stretch that includes his previous win for “Gravity” in 2014.

  Guillermo Del Toro — who presented the statuette to Cuaron — was t

he victor last year for “The Shape of Water.” The third member of the “Three Amigos,” as the

y are affectionately known, is Alejandro G. Iñárritu, a winner for “Birdman” and “The Revenant.”

  Mahershala Ali received his second Oscar in three years for “Green Book,” and the film al

so won for original screenplay, despite separate controversies related to its director and w

riter. With his prior award for “Moonlight,” Ali becomes only the second African-American actor with multiple Os

cars, joining Denzel Washington. A tearful Regina King took the first award of the night, winning supporting actress f

or “If Beale Street Could Talk,” director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of the James Baldwin novel.

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Beyond “Black Panther,” Marvel’s highlights included “Spider

  Man: Into the Spider-Verse” swinging off with best animated movie, as the Sony release topped a pair of Disney sequels, “Ralph

Breaks the Internet” and “Incredibles 2.” “Free Solo,” a hit documentary about daredevil climber Al

ex Honnold, topped the documentary feature category, which also included the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biography “RBG.” In th

eir enthusiasm, one of the filmmakers blurted out an expletive that was promptly bleeped.

  ”Bohemian Rhapsody’s” other wins came in both sound categories as

well editing. Notably, none of the “Rhapsody” winners thanked credited director, Bryan Si

nger, who was accused of sexual abuse in January, allegations that the filmmaker has denied.

  In one of the more expected victories, the team that transformed Christian Bale into former Vice Pr

esident Dick Cheney won in makeup/hairstyling for “Vice.” Visual effects, however, were something of a

surprise, going to “First Man,” the moon-landing drama about Neil Armstrong.

  Lacking a host, the producers relied on music and comedy bits to enlive

n the evening, including a duet from “A Star is Born” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — la

ter the winner for best song — which drew a standing ovation from the Hollywood crowd.

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Xi stresses role of finance in serving real economyBEIJING

general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, underscored that China should deepen supply-side

structural reform in the financial sector and strengthen the sector’s ability to serve the real economy.

Xi made the remarks when presiding over a group study session of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Friday afternoon.

The country should keep a fine balance between maintaining growth and forestalling risks and deal with risks in key areas

in a targeted and effective manner, he said, adding that China should deepen opening-up of the financial sector.

Xie Duo, Party secretary and chairman of Silk Road Fund Co., Ltd, briefed on the issue and made suggestions.

Xi pointed out that finance is a core competitiveness of a country, financial security is an im

portant part of national security, and the financial system is a major fundamental system in the process of economic and social development.

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Extended talks raise hopes there’s a deal in the offingChi

The extending of the talks between China and the United States to resolve their trade and econo

mic frictions will hopefully give substance to the optimism expressed by both sides that they can reach a deal.

US President Donald Trump, senior US officials, and Vice-Premier Liu He, the special envoy of President Xi Jinping, who is h

eading the Chinese delegation, all expressed the belief on Friday that the two sides have made significant progress to

ward reaching a comprehensive agreement that will put an end to the current trade standoff.

It is to be expected that the discussions at this stage will be the toughest test ye

t for the two teams of negotiators, and their task is not one to be envied. However, the un

scheduled two-day extension to their discussions indicates that tangible headway is being made in their joint effo

rts to find a mutually acceptable way to resolve their differences and put an end to their quarrel.

Given what was said on Friday, it seems the talks have gone more deeply and ext

ensively into the bilateral relationship than either side initially anticipated. As US P

resident Donald Trump observed, “we’re covering things that we didn’t even know we’d be covering.”

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So the fact that the to-and-fro is still in progress this far

down the line highlight that there is a shared desire to secure an accord that delivers on the rapport that has been established — also perhaps beyond both side’s expectations.

But it would be getting ahead of the situation to consider the final push tow

ard a consensus on principled, mutually beneficial cooperation all done and

dusted. That consensus, which President Xi identified as the objectiv

e of the talks when he met with the US negotiators after the previous round of neg

otiations in Beijing, has still not been completed, and probably will not be until the two leaders meet to agree on the final det

ails. But there is no doubt that both sides are aware of how momentous such a consensus would be, beyond the tangible rewards it would offer both cou

ntries. For if the two sides can iron out their core differences by abiding by the principles of mutual respect and m

utual benefit, it would reset their relationship in a way that would bode well for the future.

History in the past four decades shows that the two countries benefit in an all-around wa

y from harmonious trade and economic relations, as they provide the ballast for their relationship.

There is obviously still more work to be done. However, if neither side puts a foot wrong, a deal will finally be signed sooner or later.

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Iranians attack police after women detained for wearing

  group of Iranians attacked a morality police van in Tehran last week after two young women were detained for “impro

perly” wearing a compulsory headscarf, according to state-owned Iranian media and activists.

  Officers fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd of people who to

re off one of the doors of the vehicle, according to a report by the state-owned IRNA news age

ncy about the February 15 incident. Iran’s morality police are tasked with enforcing the country’s strict social rules.

  The group prevented the officers from driving the women away, IRNA said citing an un

named police official. The standoff ended when the women were released from the van, according to the police source.

  The incident took place in the East Tehran neighborhood of Nar

mak, where Iran’s hardline former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lives.

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On the last night of the trip, the sisters launched into action

  Reem pre-booked the taxi. It was Rawan’s job to retrieve their passports from a bag stored in their parents’ bedroom. Around 2 a.m

., she tip-toed past them as they slept, took the bag with their passports, then snuck back in again to return the bag so as not to raise suspicion.

  ”It’s a really great memory, exciting,” Rawan tells CNN, smiling. Of the two sisters, she‘s the more talkative, taking the lead and occasi

onally looking to her sister for advice on the right word in English. Reem is more reserved. She’s careful about what she says and who to tr

ust. They both have dark, short, curly hair and being small in stature seem much younger than their years.

  When the cab driver arrived at 5 a.m., the sisters say they did something they’d never do

ne before. They pulled on jeans they’d bought in secret and walked out of the house without their abayas.

  It was only after they arrived at Colombo Airport that the sisters booked the flight they’d

meticulously researched online: SriLankan Airlines flight UL892 departing Colombo at 9 a.m., arriving Hong Kong a

t 5:10 p.m. local time. From there, they’d take Cathay Pacific flight CX135 departing at 7:10 p.m. for Melbourne, Australia.

  They had no trouble boarding the plane for the roughly six-hour flight to Hong Kong.

  It was after they arrived in at Hong Kong International Airport that things started to go wrong.

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She alleged that the riot policeman who killed her son co

and pulled down a visor on his helmet.
She said that there were numerous witnesses to the alleged killing by a policeman on the sce

ne. She said that she’s not reported the crime, because she fears retribution from the very same person who killed her son.

But her family is getting anonymous death threats and demands that she stop talking a

bout her son’s killing.
Police chief Michel-Ange Gedeon told CNN that there had been no report of the alleged crime.

“Whenever we receive a case we will investigate,” he told CNN.
That may come as a surprise to Haiti’s Prime Min

ister, Jean-Henry Ceant, who this week singled out Roberto’s tragic end for special mention in a televised address to the nation.

“As a father who can understand the pain of a parent, I send a special message to the mother of a y

oung boy, Roberto Badjo Thelusma who died in front of the State Hospital while he was helping his mother with her business.

“I remember how 40 years ago I used to help my mother with her meat business at the ‘Kwabosal’ m

arket place. Today I’m the Prime Minister, who knows what Roberto Badjo Thelusma could have become in this country.”

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