Turkey is reeling after twin bomb blasts in Ankara over the weekend, the deadliest act of terror on its soil in recent history. As the country contemplates whether elections in November are still safe and viable, many are asking how the government can explain the evident gap in its own intelligence. Back in July, a suicide bombing in Suruc was cited by the opposition as a failure of intelligence on the part of the authorities. Suruc is close to the unstable Syrian border but how can Turkey account for failing to pre-empt a mid-morning attack in its capital? The country has been drawn into conflicts across two of its borders since the hung elections in June and this instability may have once pushed voters to maintain the status quo by voting for the ruling party come polling day. Whether the same can be said now remains to be seen.
The nuclear agreement has caused an increase in Tehran’s air traffic as foreign diplomats and overseas investors jet into the capital with deals and opportunities. Yet the conviction this week of The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian, who has already spent almost 15 months in prison on espionage charges, proves that the country’s relatively moderate president Hassan Rouhani may still have his hands tied. The world desperately wants to believe in an Iranian rapprochement with the West. Yet beyond the photo ops and handshakes, as foreign factories are built and luxury hotels pop up, one occupant of Evin prison might feel that this is a Persian version of the emperor’s new clothes.
Expo Milano 2015 draws to a close at the end of the month and the dash for remaining tickets has reached fever pitch. Hundreds of thousands of eager visitors turn up each weekend and the turnout is a rebuff to the cynicism that greeted the Expo when it was first announced. Its economic impact is now also becoming clear. La Repubblica reports a €23bn impact on the economy, from €1.7bn of investment in new businesses to a €1bn growth in property capital. “I would say 80 per cent of people are positive about the Expo,” says creative director Luca Ballarini who designed the Expo passport, which visitors get stamped on entry to each national pavilion. “It’s also just a beautiful experience in itself.”
The age of online streaming has revived fears – once aimed squarely at television – that going out to the movies may become a thing of the past. Melbourne, however, is in the throes of a big-screen revolution thanks to a batch of forward-thinking picture houses. The new Lido Cinema revived a forgotten theatre in the leafy suburb of Hawthorn and the views from its rooftop bar are attracting people from across town. The art deco interiors and excellent bookshop at the Sun Theatre continue to bring moviegoers through the door, while a recent refurb at the Astor Theatre has kept it top of the pile. These cinemas thrive because they make moviegoing into an experience again and have become fixtures of their neighbourhoods. It’s all been key to getting Melbournites back in front of the silver screen.
They say pictures can paint a thousand words and this is particularly true in books for young children, where words are often sparse but the pages are rich with bright illustrations. Holly Fisher meets children’s book illustrator Viviane Schwarz to find out how to encourage creativity and imagination among a young audience.
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