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Alhambra

Al-Andalus, Civilisation and Slavery

Measuring Today with Yesterdays Tools Amsterdam, 19 feb. 2021– The Alhambra in Granada, central Spain, is one of the many pinnacles of Islamic architecture. Toured by the art historian José Miguel Puerta Vílchez, it is a revelation and satisfies a lot of curiosity about the influence of Islam in Europe. He has written extensively about…
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Phrenology

Artificial Intelligence in our Days

Back into the Future Amsterdam, Feb 19th, 2021– Phrenology sounds like it belongs in a history book, filed somewhere between bloodletting and velocipedes. Not something in these days and age of modern times. We’d like to think that judging people’s worth based on the size and shape of their skull is a practice that’s well behind us. …
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Making Foreign Serve China

Reporters looking for a job in Beijing, London and Elsewhere – IV

The New China Story Amsterdam, Feb. 18th 2021 “Making the Foreign Serve China” was one of Chairman Mao’s favoured strategies, as epitomised by his decision to grant access in the 1930s to the American journalist Edgar Snow. The resulting book, Red Star Over China, was instrumental in winning western sympathy for the Communists, whom it…
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CCTV Tower Beijing

Reporters looking for a job in Beijing, London and Elsewhere – III

The New China Story Amsterdam, Feb. 18th 2021– But foreign journalists working at Xinhua, the state-run news agency, see their stories reaching much larger audiences. Government subsidies cover around 40% of Xinhua’s costs, and it generates income – like other news agencies, such as the Associated Press – by selling stories to newspapers around the…
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CCTV Beijing

Reporters looking for a job in Beijing, London and Elsewhere – II

The New China Story Amsterdam, Feb. 18th 2021 — At the same time, Beijing is also seeking to shift the global center of gravity eastwards, propagating the idea of a new world order with a resurgent China at its center. Of course, influence campaigns are nothing new; the US and the UK, among others, have…
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Beijing

Reporter looking for a job in Beijing, London and Elsewhere

The China Story Amsterdam– Feb. 18th 2021 The very beginning is, when Sidney Rittenberg, The Man who stayed Behind, receives me in his home near Seattle, in the State of Washington in the U.S. He was living in China as a US Army renegade and deserter ending up to be Chairmans Mao’s trusted American. But…
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Ronnie Biggs

Please play that tune again

Innocence in Brazil Arriving for the first time on a quiet Sunday afternoon on a domestic flight from Belo Horizonte at the Santos Dumont city airport of an almost silent Rio de Janeiro. May 1969. I Immediately feel at home. The sounds, the temperature, the light that is constantly changing, the sea, the beach, the…
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Cloony the Clown

Cloony The Clown

by Shel Silverstein I’ll tell you the story of Cloony the ClownWho worked in a circus that came through town.His shoes were too big and his hat was too small,But he just wasn’t, just wasn’t funny at all.He had a trombone to play loud silly tunes,He had a green dog and a thousand balloons.He was…
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Sam Summerlin

The Very Talented And Honourable Sam Summerlin

Con or no-conman Amsterdam, Feb. 10th 2021– First time I went to Astoria, New York, to the address Sam had given me, the owner of the building laughed at me when we met and I asked for Sam. He grinned somehow and said:  ‘ No, no, there is no Sam Summerlin living here. Does he…
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Xinjiang Province Holidays

Visit Xinjiang Province Holidays

The Boys from Beijing Kindergartens, handicrafts markets, high-tech companies, hydroelectric dams … political indoctrination camps? These are some of the sights international journalists are whisked around when they take part in all-expenses paid tours to China. The motive of these invitations is, in the mantra of Chinese president Xi Jinping, to “tell a good China…
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