Ever felt that politics is too adversarial or petty? Then look to Germany. Sunday night’s much-anticipated TV Duell between chancellor Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz, the Social Democrats’ candidate for her job, was so tame that it bordered on boring. Schulz failed to land any significant punches and missed opportunities to exploit Merkel’s few weaknesses; she, meanwhile, remained imperious and in control. It should worry Germans that this election has become something of a coronation, with the chancellor almost certain to win a third term. But Schulz can also take solace in one fact: with the German economy racing and unemployment below four per cent for the first time since 1980, it was always going to be tough to convince his countrymen that they need to back change. At least last night's small-party election debate for third place took a more lively turn.
The Cambodia Daily, one of Cambodia’s major English-language newspapers, has closed down after 24 years. Until its final edition yesterday, it had been known to ruffle feathers with its critical tone – tellingly the paper was given a one-month deadline to pay back $6.3 million (€5.3 million) in taxes or else be shuttered. “We were completely shocked by the government’s ultimatum,” says Jodie DeJonge, the paper’s editor in chief. “An anti-US sentiment is part of it but it’s also down to the country’s upcoming elections.” Prime minister Hun Sen, who has clung to power for more than three decades, has been increasingly targeting his opposition and independent media in the run-up to next year’s election. A paper investigating electoral fraud and corruption would not help his chances for a renewed term.
It’s never a good sign when a flag can hang over the state’s capitol upside down for 10 days straight without anyone noticing. But that’s exactly what happened in the US state of Nebraska. Here it’s not the Confederate flag debate that’s spurred on the hunt for a new design, it’s to avoid an incident like this from happening again. The faux pas led state senator Burke Harr to question Nebraska’s branding and motivated him to enlist the help of the North American Vexillological Association, which found that Nebraska’s flag ranked second-worst for design in North America. And the worst? That went to the state of Mississippi with its Confederate emblem. Perhaps it’s time for the Hospitality State to look into a redesign too.
Now in its seventh year, Prague’s fashion week has finally hit its stride as the premier catwalk for emergent eastern European brands. The Czech capital is making the most of its illustrious architecture, setting and designers to put itself on the sartorial map. As a popular travel destination that’s rarely recognised as a fashion hub, Prague is reinventing itself beyond experimental sportswear and shining a light on a brand-new generation of designers. From breakout success Adam Kost making waves in footwear design to the monkish elegance of Nehera, the Czech scene boasts a less commercial alternative to that of New York.
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