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The Palestinian intellectual Azmi Bishara gave one of his rare interviews to profil in his exile in Doha.

Azmi Bishara came a long way. He is a Christian Palestinian who was born in Nazareth, an Arab city which is part of Israel since 1948. Today he is considered one of the most influential political intellectuals in the Middle East – and he resides in the Muslim Emirat of Qatar because he is considered persona non grata in his homeland.

@ Reinhard Werner

@Reinhard Werner

Austria is still torn between its horrible past and its democratic present. Ari Rath, former editor of the "Jerusalem Post",  changed his speech in a performance at Vienna's Burgtheater to react to a recent far right fraternity ball in the centre of Vienna.

He still is the same hard-hitting reporter. At 89 Ari Rath, the legendary former editor of the "Jerusalem Post" scribbles on a piece of paper while sitting on stage during the performance of "The Last Witnesses" in Vienna's Burgtheater state theatre. Then he walks out under the lights in front of the stage and delivers his deftly updated statement:

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Great Britain is only a victorious European power when Jude Law is king. 

Henry V is not Shakespeare’s greatest play. But the British still love it, especially when Jude Law plays the main part. It’s sold out in the West End for weeks. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25200156) The title role shows a moral king – that doesn’t make for great drama and Shakespeare runs the risk of his character boring the audience. But Henry V conquers France during the Hundred Years War in 1415 and he also wins the heart and the hand of the French princess Catherine. It’s a simple plot but Jude Law fills the stage with such confident charm and playful joy that the work never collapses under the weight of even its dullest patriotic moments.

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Ariel Sharon was better at war than peace.

Ariel Sharon never took it easy. After a stroke in January 2006 he clung on to life in a coma for eight years. The last days saw his organs shut down one by one. He died, aged 85, this Saturday.

The general and politician has played a huge role in Israeli public life for almost his entire career. For his fans he was the "King of Israel". His critics called him the "Butcher of Beirut". But even his political arch-enemy Uri Avnery, Israel's peace activist number one, respected Sharon as one of the big generals in this small country’s history. In this state of the jews, which was born out of the trauma of the Holocaust, the generals of the founding generation commanded special respect. Sharon or Yitzhak Rabin were the new type of jew: the Israeli, who does not go to his death without putting up a fight.

 

Different reactions from ex-oligarch Khodorkovsky and the PussyRiot activists to their release.

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Mikhail Khodorkovsky's first press conference in the Berlin Wall Museum last Sunday had a bittersweet aftertaste. The ex-oligarch's shy smile was reminiscent of a reformed choir boy who had just heard from his priest that he did not have to do extra prayers. Putin's former adversary weighed his words very carefully. "Putin was fair to my family", he said without elaborating. The whole spectacle was clearly scripted by the Kremlin. Whatever Khodorkovsky had to sign to walk free, Putin can be happy with his tamed former challenger.

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The Russian president shows his true face. Can’t he stop this? 

It happened overnight. The Kremlin announced on December 9th that Russia’s giant state-owned news agency RIA Novosti would cease to exist. RIA was always close to the Kremlin but some respected journalists still worked there and because of its numerous foreign clients, RIA had some room for critical reporting.

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Nuclear talks with Iran, a Kosovo agreement or mediation in Egypt – the constantly under-rated figure of Catherine Ashton is now emerging to shape Europe’s international standing.

Calendar week 49: first, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry passed by on his way to the Middle East. Then the Afghan and Turkish foreign ministers came in for a chat. King Abdullah of Jordan suddenly made an appearance, so a planned meeting with the prime ministers of Kosovo and Serbia had to be cut short. Then Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif called; the negotiations about dismantling Iran’s nuclear program needed to get started.

A scene from Sun by Hofesh Shechter at Sadler's Wells

A study of evil: Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter brings “Sun” to Austria.

The evening starts with a preview of the ending: “Everything will be fine”, the choreographer’s voice informs us before the show begins. But before the Happy End comes, his dancers go through hell.

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Mayor Johnson got lost in the Golden Ghettos of his city. 

LONDON. The loose cannon has fired again: at the Margaret Thatcher Lecture on Wednesday night London mayor Boris Johnson established a rather bizarre connection between IQ and IG - income gap. “16 % of our species have an IQ below 85. Only 2 % above 130”, he said. “The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some to get to the top of the pack.” And he continued: “The income gap between the top cornflakes and the bottom cornflakes is getting wider than ever.” And the mayor of the Golden Ghettos of London was quick to add: “Some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up.”

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© 2018 Tessa Szyszkowitz