2022/05/23

Anna Amalia of Prussia: Flute Sonata in F major

Alexa Raine-Wright (flute), Andrea Stewart (cello) and Rona Nadler (harpsichord)

2022/05/09

Russian envoy to Poland hit with red paint at war cemetery

earlier in the war the Soviet forces had invaded Poland following a secret agreement with the German Nazi government, and carried out atrocities against Poles, including mass executions and deportations to Siberia.

2022/05/07

Sibelius' Symphony No. 7 | Leif Segerstam

Turku Philharmonic Orchestra

ICIJ publishes final batch of Pandora Papers data on more than 9,000 offshore companies, trusts and foundations

The Offshore Leaks Database spans five different leaks, and now includes information on offshore companies, foundations and trusts from seven offshore service providers from ICIJ’s latest investigation on the use of tax havens

2022/05/04

Ligeti: Mysteries of the Macabre

Johanna Vargas, sopran, and Magdalena Cerezo, piano, interprets Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre.

2022/04/29

Pop Art Visionary Marisol Was All But Forgotten. Now, a New Exhibition Places Her on Equal Footing With Her Pal Andy Warhol

Certain artistic subject matter overlaps between the two as well—both make references to the Kennedys and Coca Cola. As a Venezuelan artist, however, Marisol’s handling of these themes hints at the very real political implications of American expansionism in South America. The totemic qualities of her sculptures, too, hint at Pre-Columbian traditions. Materially, the artists were diametrically distinct; Marisol’s works are made from the hands-on process of carpentry, while Warhol’s devoted himself to silkscreening, which detached the artist’s hand

2022/04/25

Female artists dominate the Venice Biennale for first time

“was not a choice, but a process,’’ Alemani, a New York-based Italian curator, said this week. “I think some of the best artists today are women artists,’’ she told The Associated Press. “But also, let’s not forget, that in the long history of the Venice Biennale, the preponderance of male artists in previous editions has been astonishing.”

2022/04/06

Mariupol

Mariupol Mayor said that of the more than 5,000 civilians killed during weeks of Russian bombardment and street fighting, 210 were children. He said Russian forces bombed hospitals, including one where 50 people burned to death.

the Russian bombing of the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater in Mariupol on March 16 stands out as the single deadliest known attack against civilians to date

After defending the port for 47 days and doing “everything possible and impossible” to retain control of the city, the marines said it had been “pushed back” and “surrounded” by the Russian army

Thousands of civilians and Ukrainian troops are sheltered in a steel plant, the last remaining stronghold of the city. However, the building is surrounded by Russian forces, leaving the people inside with no access to “normal” supplies of food and water, an adviser for the city’s mayor said.

Implications of the Ukraine invasion: a resource overview

2022/04/05

Satellite Images Show Bodies in Bucha for Weeks, Rebutting Moscow Claim

"High-resolution Maxar satellite imagery collected over Bucha, Ukraine (northwest of Kyiv) verifies and corroborates recent social media videos and photos that reveal bodies lying in the streets and left out in the open for weeks," Maxar Technologies spokesman Stephen Wood said Monday in a statement.

Civilian massacre at Borodyanka worse than Bucha

Ukraine says it fears civilian massacres worse than the one in Bucha will be discovered as Russian troops retreat from areas around Kyiv. The scene in Bucha -- which included the dead bodies of civilians lying in the street -- sparked accusations of genocide.

“Butcher of Bucha” ... Azatbek Omurbekov ...  leading the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade ... “committing war crimes” in Bucha. The decorated military leader was blessed by an Orthodox priest in November, ahead of his deployment to Ukraine

‘Motorcade of shame’: outrage over pro-Russia displays at Berlin rally

Herbert Reul, the interior minister for the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said he was appalled by the demonstration and the fact it was allowed to go ahead with police protection. “In view of the atrocities and the pictures of the past few days, it is personally beyond me to see how someone can embrace war criminals in this way,” he said.

Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, on Monday accused Germany of “standing in the way” of harder sanctions against Russia. “Anyone who reads the notes of EU meetings knows that Germany is the biggest impediment when it comes to more decisive sanctions,” he told journalists in Warsaw.

2022/04/03

Ukrainian children used as ‘human shields’

Horrifying accounts tell of Russian soldiers placing children on tanks to protect their vehicles when moving

The retreat of Russian forces around Kyiv has left horrifying evidence of atrocities against civilians littered across the region’s suburbs and towns, turned into hellish war zones by Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

2022/03/28

Putin, the butcher

Bash, who served as a top adviser at both the Pentagon and the CIA under former President Barack Obama, called Putin’s war a “a geopolitical earthquake” and a “once-in-a-generation contest” that has forced Biden to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing security and diplomatic world. “President Biden is now a wartime commander-in-chief waging four wars at once,” Bash said Saturday. “An economic war, an information war, likely a cyber war, and an unprecedented indirect military war against Putin.

2022/03/27

Drone composition

Drone composition encompasses a variety of music, all of which use long, slow-moving pitches as a vehicle for questioning how we perceive sound. Composers create these transfixing pieces by manipulating tape, layering acoustic instruments, and even inventing whole new instruments; but regardless of the nuts-and-bolts of their creation, the aim of drone composition is have us reconsider the role of sound in our day-to-day lives. The genre is garnering new attention thanks to the documentary Sisters With Transistors (2020), which sheds light on the work of female electronic musicians, many of whom were pioneers in the field of drone composition

2022/03/26

Les Chants de Milarepa

Les Chants de Milarepa is one of the most direct examples of Buddhist influence in Radigue’s music. Recorded in 1983 with the help of a grant by the French Ministry of Culture, it’s dedicated to Tibetan Buddhist 11th century yogi Jetsun Milarepa. Milarepa was known for his spiritual poetry and song cycles. The texts used by Radigue were translated from Tibetan by Lama Kunga Rinpoche, who also appears on the recording

2022/03/25

Satellite data shows entire Conger ice shelf has collapsed in Antarctica

Scientists are particularly concerned about the future of the Florida-sized Thwaites glacier – also nicknamed the “doomsday glacier” – which is around 100 times larger than Larsen B and contains enough water to raise sea levels globally by more than half a metre. “The speed of the breakup of [the Conger] ice shelf reminds us that things can change quickly,” 

The Butcher of Mariupol

In another image, a little girl in a pink hat plays on a slide - an innocuous photo, except that in the foreground is a makeshift grave. In Mariupol, the playgrounds have been turned into cemeteries. The senior military figure in charge of the port's destruction has been identified by Ukrainian officials as Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, a man dubbed the Butcher of Mariupol.

2022/03/24

Biden warns Russia Nato will respond if Kremlin uses chemical weapons

US leader, speaking after Nato agreed to upgrade weapons supply to Ukraine, says retaliation would be proportional

if Putin used a weapon of mass destruction — chemical, biological or nuclear — “there would be consequences” even if the weapon’s use was confined to Ukraine. Reed said radiation from a nuclear weapon, for instance, could waft into a neighboring NATO country and be considered an attack on a NATO member.

Senior politician Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow’s nuclear doctrine does not require enemy state to use such weapons first

Study finds neurons that encode the outcomes of actions

Impairments in this kind of decision-making are a hallmark of many neuropsychiatric disorders, especially anxiety and depression. The new findings suggest that slight disturbances in the activity of these striatal neurons could swing the brain into making impulsive decisions or becoming paralyzed with indecision, the researchers say.

Navalny: Putin critic given nine-year jail sentence in trial branded 'sham'

Despite being behind bars, he has called for protests against what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine. His supporters now fear that as a result, he might be placed in a maximum security prison as well as receiving an increased sentence. Russia's crackdown on any platform that contradicts the Kremlin's line continues. Meta, the company that owns Instagram and Facebook, has been declared an extremist organisation; more media outlets are regularly blocked and a new law that can lead to up to 15 years in jail for anything the authorities consider to be fake news about the military has led many independent journalists to leave the country. 

2022/03/22

A project to track down and catalogue the vast wealth held outside Russia by oligarchs and key figures close to Russian President

Early in his presidency, Putin earned praise for bringing to heel the tycoons who had plundered Russia’s economy in the 1990s. Some signaled their loyalty to him, securing their wealth and their place in the new order

2022/03/19

Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962

the Soviet Union shipped nuclear missiles to its ally Cuba. The US assembled a fleet of ships to mount a sea-borne invasion of the island. What the Americans did not know is that the Soviets didn't only have long-range strategic missiles. They also had smaller, tactical nuclear missiles - so-called battlefield nuclear weapons. And that Soviet military doctrine delegated first-use decision making to commanders on the ground. Had the threatened invasion gone ahead, it would have triggered a nuclear exchange. The then American Defence Secretary Robert McNamara only found out about this when the Soviet archives opened in 1991. Only then, did he understand how close the world had come to catastrophe.

2022/03/17

Quantum hair

researchers demonstrated that black holes are more complex than originally thought and have gravitational fields that hold information about how they were formed. The researchers showed that matter collapsing into a black hole leaves a mark in its gravitational field – an imprint referred to as a “quantum hair”.

Russia has been accused by Britain, the US, France, Albania, Ireland and Norway of war crimes in Ukraine

The six nations challenged Russia before a UN security council meeting as the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said there was now “very, very strong evidence” of war crimes being committed by Russian forces.

A fabric that “hears” your heart's sounds

“It can be integrated with spacecraft skin to listen to (accumulating) space dust, or embedded into buildings to detect cracks or strains,” Yan proposes. “It can even be woven into a smart net to monitor fish in the ocean. The fiber is opening widespread opportunities.”

2022/03/14

The IPCC’s latest report, with warnings for supply chains and food security, may be the most suspense-filled document in human history

“unique and threatened ecosystems” (bleached coral reefs and vanishing alpine glaciers) and “large-scale singular events” (the collapse of West Antarctic ice sheets, or the Amazon’s turning into savannah).

Tibet: mass detention; systematic surveillance; widespread torture

Millions in forced labour camps. And the attempt to erase a people’s history and culture. These abuses are the product of one man, Chen Quanguo. And worst of all, the world allowed him to carry them out twice.

2022/03/12

Russian Scandals

At the same time as the 23 companies were transferring funds to each other, several were also transacting with companies that have been used to move money in major Russian money laundering scandals. Most of the payments were found in leaked records from Troika Dialog, which was once Russia’s largest private investment bank. In 2019, OCCRP and its partners revealed that it sat at the center of a vast financial “laundromat” that churned billions of dollars through offshore companies on behalf of its clients, including powerful oligarchs with ties to the Kremlin.

Credit Suisse leak unmasks criminals, fraudsters and corrupt politicians

They include a human trafficker in the Philippines, a Hong Kong stock exchange boss jailed for bribery, a billionaire who ordered the murder of his Lebanese pop star girlfriend and executives who looted Venezuela’s state oil company, as well as corrupt politicians from Egypt to Ukraine

The Wagner Group and its activities in the Ukraine invasion

The Wagner Group is said to be used by the Russian government in conflicts where plausible deniability is called for. The use of these mercenaries - described as "ghost soldiers" - also allows Russia more secrecy about its military operations abroad and the number of losses.

Over 100,000 ghost flights have flown over our heads this winter

Airlines are flying empty planes across Europe, with no people or goods in them. All because of a law the European Commission won't let go of. In a moment when we are racing to cut emissions and save our planet, this outdated law is like a slap in the face. Lufhansa, Air France, British Airways and other airlines are calling for a stop to this waste, and so are environmentalists.

2022/03/11

How a network of enablers have helped Russia’s oligarchs hide their wealth abroad

close to 20% of the country’s wealth is stashed in offshore jurisdictions like Cyprus, the Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands — even the United States.

Holodomor, an engineered famine that killed anywhere from 4 to 10 million people in Ukraine during a single winter

It’s a hard lesson that Stalin murdered upwards of 20 million people while trying to modernize and industrialize Russia. It’s hard to see that his crimes were ecological and environmental, and those ecological crimes killed millions. It’s hard to read about gulags and secret police rounding up innocents by the thousands, for all kinds of reasons, even not clapping for his birthday. It’s even harder to accept Stalin is just the worst, most obvious example of a common theme in humanity. He’s not the only monster. He’s a pattern.

2022/03/06

In Brazil, in 2017, there were 126,230 cases of violence against children and adolescents

with 21,559 deaths. About 25% and 10.7% of deaths occurred among children under 10 years old and those under 4 years old, respectively

2022/02/26

Russia’s Syria Intervention Paved the Way for its Attack on Ukraine

Media accounts report that long-range, nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bombers and MiG-31K strike fighter jets carrying the latest Kinzhal hypersonic cruise missiles landed at the Russian air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia as part of the drills. Russian amphibious assault vessels docked at Tartous for refueling and maintenance before departing to the Black Sea for Ukraine-related military drills and deployment.

2022/02/22

Why do some nations fail while others succeed?

whether or not a nation succeeds or fails depends on how the people in that society themselves organize that society

2022/02/13

Portugal: the past & the present

Under the 1703 Methuen Treaty, Portugal was given English textiles and manufactured goods in exchange for Britain receiving favorable tariffs on importing Portuguese wines. Instead of financing the development of Portugal and its colonies, Brazil’s natural resources could not prevent Portuguese coffers from depleting rapidly

the Portuguese army was tired of war and refused to impose peace and supervise elections. The Portuguese therefore withdrew from Angola in November 1975 without formally handing power to any movement

Portugal, through 6 national and 10 regional programmes, benefitted from EU funding of EUR 29.4 billion under the 2014-2020 ESIF programmes. This represented an average of 2 820 euro per person in the 2014 population.

“Looking at what Portugal's score has been over the last 10 years, [this] shows a worrying stagnation

Domestic violence' Second most reported crime amounting to 8% of all crime84% of victims were female23% of cases there were previous incidence of violence. Tragically in 35% of cases these were witnessed by children78% victims and perpetrators current or formerly partners. 2019 – 29,400 cases up 11.5%

Portugal and Spain will become one, says Nobel author

"What do we see when we look at the Iberian peninsula?" "We see an undivided whole made up of different nationalities, some with their own languages, which have lived more or less in peace." José Saramago, 2007

Note: Saramago also told that Portugal is in an irreversible process of decadence. 

2022/02/10

Portuguese GNR soldiers filmed themselves torturing immigrants

the MP "accuses João Semedo, the so-called 'Red Man' of evidence, of being the material author" of the "crimes committed" at the GNR Training Centre in Portalegre in 2018.

GNR soldiers filmed themselves torturing immigrants in Odemira

"On May 7, 1996, a detainee was killed, beheaded, and his body and head were hidden in different places at the GNR station in Sacavém."

witnesses say a group of about 15 men (in Bragança) approached Luis Giovani dos Santos Rodrigues and two of his friends armed with belts, sticks and other weapons. The report goes on to say that Rodrigues was beaten and left unconscious with bruises to his head. He spent 10 days in the hospital before succumbing to his injuries

2022/01/28

Brazil Is Among Worst in Ranking of Countries Based on Environmental, Social and Anti-Corruption Indicators

Brazil was the third-worst country, with a score of 60% (the closer to 100%, the worse). Only the Philippines and South Africa performed worse, while South Korea (2%) and Chile (24%) took the top.

2022/01/27

Holocaust Remembrance Day

On the morning of 27 January 1945 the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps still held some 7,000 prisoners. Over a million people deported to Auschwitz perished there. It is estimated that six million Jews were exterminated in the death camps.

2022/01/26

Web of corruption around Isabel dos Santos still being untangled two years after Luanda Leaks

The Luanda Leaks investigation showed how dos Santos got access to lucrative deals involving oil, diamonds, telecoms and supermarkets often courtesy of government decrees signed by her father. She also benefited from insider deals, preferential loans and contracts fueled by public money.

2022/01/09

Six journalists killed in Europe in 2021, 95 more in prison

In Europe, the number of murders of journalists has tripled this year compared to the previous two years. In 2021, the International and European Federations of Journalists have recorded six murders of journalists on the European continent: Hazım Özsu, shot dead in his home in Turkey; TV reporter Giorgos Karaivaz, gunned down outside his home in Greece; journalists Maharram Ibrahimov and Siraj Abishov, killed by a landmine explosion in Azerbaijan; crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, shot in the head in The Netherlands; and journalist Aleksandre Lashkarava who died after being severely beaten in Georgia

Artist Sarah Morris on Why She Started Painting Spiderwebs During Lockdown

Since the mid-1990s, Morris has honed a visual language of geometric, color-blocked paintings and installations that derive from the man-made structures and systems of cities around the world. She devotes entire series to individual locations (Los Angeles, Midtown Manhattan, Washington D.C., Beijing… the list goes on) and ponders the public transportation, architecture, and industries

Charting the Storm

German artist Benedikt Partenheimer (b. 1977) uses concept-led photography and subtle optical tricks to reveal the invisible effects of climate change. A new book from Hatje Cantz, The Weather Is Fine, gathers together a career’s worth of such images

2021/12/31

Firm action to prevent portuguese police ill-treatment and ensure that cases are effectively investigated

The Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee (CPT) has recommended that the Portuguese authorities take firm action to prevent police ill-treatment and ensure that alleged cases are effectively investigated.

images that show the victim talking to two police (PSP) officers near Setúbal train station, Nuno Jorge Pires being found about 200 meters ahead with a head injury that, according to the autopsy, may be compatible with a blow

An investigation in Spain is revealing how the Portuguese taxpayer has been ripped off for years by overpaying for aerial support services for firefighting teams

A witness statement from a former worker at Avialsa has revealed the names of Spanish politicians and regional governors involved in the international price-fixing plot and it is hoped that as the trial progresses that the names of Portuguese officials also are revealed and that they too will face prosecution.

2021/12/26

Accelerated mass loss of Himalayan glaciers since the Little Ice Age

Himalayan glaciers are undergoing rapid mass loss but rates of contemporary change lack long-term (centennial-scale) context.

2021/12/22

Tibetan writer, intellectual and monk, Go Sherab Gyatso, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison

The sentence was handed down in November this year after Go Sherab Gyatso was found guilty of “inciting secession”, a state security crime that is frequently employed as a charge against Tibetans. The exact date of the ruling is unknown due to the secrecy around Go Sherab Gyatso’s detention and trial. He will serve his sentence in a prison near to Tibet’s capital, Lhasa.

2021/12/15

Sakharov Prize 2021: Parliament honours Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny’s daughter Daria Navalnaya received the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize on behalf of her imprisoned father at a ceremony on 15 December.

2021/11/30

Corruption Rank in Portugal increased to 33 in 2020 from 30 in 2019

Portugal Industrial Output Falls at Faster Pace

Pandora Papers journalists face government backlash for investigating financial secrecy

Even as governments worldwide responded to the Pandora Papers with major financial reforms, other governments and their supporters responded with legal and regulatory crackdowns, legal threats and verbal attacks against the journalists who produced the blockbuster exposé of the offshore financial system.

2021/11/07

The ‘Seikilos Epitaph’

The song explores themes of the transience of life and the passage of time. At almost 2000 years old, it’s believed to be the oldest surviving piece of music in the world.

2021/11/06

Changes in permafrost in the 21st century

There is high confidence that permafrost temperatures will continue to increase, and that there will be increases in active layer thickness and reductions in the area of permafrost in the Arctic and subarctic 

2021/11/05

New Research Directly Links Western Fashion Brands to Deforestation

the global garment industry’s role as a major polluter is often overlooked by consumers. But recent years have seen it described as “the world’s second most polluting industry”, after only oil, while according to the World Bank, it’s responsible for more carbon emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined.

2021/11/01

Celebrated Brazilian classical pianist Nelson Freire has died

Freire, who is remembered as one of the greatest pianists of the second half of the 20th century, passed away during the night on Sunday 31 October, in Rio de Janeiro

2021/10/25

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed while filming Rust

authorities said assistant director Dave Halls had handed the weapon to Baldwin and announced "cold gun", indicating it was safe to use.

2021/10/20

Total has known that burning fossil fuels was causing climate change since the 1970s

The oil giant knew their core business was causing global warming almost 50 years ago. They covered up the truth, funded misinformation, lied to their shareholders and the public. They made profit from pollution.

2021/10/08

Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov win Nobel peace prize

Maria Ressa, the chief executive and cofounder of Rappler, and Dmitry Muratov, the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, were named as this year’s laureates by Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel committee

2021/10/03

The Pandora Papers

Millions of leaked documents and the biggest journalism partnership in history have uncovered financial secrets of 35 current and former world leaders, more than 330 politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories, and a global lineup of fugitives, con artists and murderers.

2021/09/25

The Causes of Climate Change

Scientists attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century to the human expansion of the "greenhouse effect" — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.

2021/09/24

Dza Wonpo in eastern Tibet has been the target of intensive surveillance, arbitrary arrests and searches

Tibet Watch has been documenting a worrying series of developments over the past year in the small township of Dza Wonpo in eastern Tibet, which has been the target of intensive surveillance, arbitrary arrests and searches.

Dza Wonpo is home to around 3,000 Tibetans, mainly from the nomadic community who have been forcibly relocated from their ancestral land. Since late 2019, the township has seen repeated crackdowns targeting locals, which culminated at the end of August this year. Over the course of two weeks, at least 121 Tibetan residents were rounded up and arrested by Chinese authorities.

This latest crackdown began with a military buildup on 22 August 2021, where more than 200 military personnel were stationed in the town. Following a series of mass arrests, reports have detailed the ill-treatment of detainees, who have been subject to interrogation, torture and forced to undergo political re-education

New evidence suggests spyware used to surveil Emirati activist Alaa Al-Siddiq

Even in death, there was little peace for Alaa Al-Siddiq. When the body of the 33-year-old Emirati activist, who died in a car accident in Oxford in June, was shown in a viewing to mourners at Regent’s Park Mosque, a number of her close friends stayed away. They wanted to avoid being seen paying their respects, for fear that the mosque was secretly being filmed, and that their association with the activist and researcher could be dangerous for themselves or their families at home in the UAE.

2021/08/20

Taliban ‘set woman on fire for bad cooking’

An Afghan woman was reportedly set on fire by Taliban fighters because they were dissatisfied with her cooking amid a wave of capricious attacks as the Islamists revel in their victory. The alleged incident described by an Afghan judge comes after the group attacked people waving the Afghan flag and a Germany charity was forced to close after Islamists went door to door hunting journalists and interpreters.