Matters of Facts, and Opinions, this week

A ballet dancer holding a puppet prepares behind the curtain for a performance of Nacho Duato's "The Nutcracker" at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia November 21, 2015. For theatregoers in St Petersburg, Nacho Duato's "The Nutcracker" demonstrates the global appeal of a Christmas classic. When the curtain rises at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, among the oldest opera and ballet houses in Russia, it's the culmination of hundreds of hours of toil and sweat by dancers, costume makers, set designers and musicians playing the famous score by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor   PICTURE 17 OF 31 - SEARCH "DUKOR NUTCRACKER" FOR ALL IMAGES

A ballet dancer holding a puppet prepares behind the curtain for a performance of Nacho Duato’s “The Nutcracker” at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia November 21, 2015. For theatregoers in St Petersburg, Nacho Duato’s “The Nutcracker” demonstrates the global appeal of a Christmas classic. When the curtain rises at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, among the oldest opera and ballet houses in Russia, it’s the culmination of hundreds of hours of toil and sweat by dancers, costume makers, set designers and musicians playing the famous score by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Since German fantasy/horror author E.T.A. Hoffmann penned his 1816 novella  The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the bizarre and charming tale has inspired and entertained, even as Hoffmann’s name is overshadowed by others more famous.  The ballet The Nutcracker, by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is a seasonal staple, and here photographer Grigory Dukor has done it justice in this week’s photo essay from St Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre. It is a sumptuous feast for the eyes; the only pity is that images deserving of vast canvases are here confined to screens. Enjoy this weeks photo-essay, The Nutcracker, here.
I’ve tried hard to avoid food from China, for years and years. Jonathan Manthorpe‘s International Affairs column this week is a disturbing explanation of why everyone should.  But here’s the thing: we consumers are all complicit in China’s heartbreaking disaster. We contribute to it every time we buy a throw-away Christmas bauble, a soon-discarded cheap shirt, a breakable toy or electronic gadgets, from anywhere lacking regulation, and offering “cheap” labour. And even as Westerners deregulate our own environments for the sake of a phantom economy, we should brace ourselves from the fallout of China’s troubles, in the form of global security, migration, and toxins that move quickly around our small planet. Nothing is really cheap. Except us, maybe.  In his column, China’s soil as poisonous as its air and water, Manthorpe writes that deadly soil pollution in China is as extensive as the degradation of its air and water:  only just over 11 per cent of China’s land is suitable for agriculture, and as much as 20 per cent is so contaminated by heavy metals that food produced on it is toxic. Click here for Manthorpe’s column.
Next up, Facts and Opinions turns our attention to the economy, the culture of fear, and the courts:

Reporter-turned-politician sues media giant for defamation. By Brian Brennan

The case of Arthur Kent versus Postmedia Network was heard in an Alberta court after years of legal wrangling. The long-running defamation lawsuit pitted Canada’s largest newspaper publisher against an award-winning war correspondent who left journalism to enter provincial politics. He sued over a 2008 column Kent called “poisonously false.”

Perspective — and bogeymen. By Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

For many years I have had two particular pictures above my desk at work. One is from the mid-90s, of a Bosnian Serb executing a man in cold blood. The other is of a star, the same size as our own sun, going nova. I call them my perspective pictures. They are very helpful lately, because I currently live in the U.S., which has lost all sense of perspective.

We ran this piece about US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen earlier this week, and then the US Fed raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. For context, check out the fun illustration in the New York Times of why this matters to everyone, worldwide: What Happens When the Fed Raises Rates, In One Rube Goldberg Machine.

JANET YELLEN: an unorthodox economist. By Jason Lange  Report

Former colleagues paint a picture of U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as a pragmatic economist who is ready to adjust course when necessary, but one who relies on data and economic theory rather than guesswork or hunches.

Last but not least, we turn the Force. You didn’t really think we’d ignore Star Wars, did you?

Star Wars inspired me to become an astrophysicist, by Martin Hendry  Column

For nearly 40 years, the phrase “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” has resonated in popular culture – forever linked to the iconic opening credits of Star Wars. When I watched the movie for the first time in 1978, at the tender age of ten, I was instantly entranced by its visions of alien worlds, lightsaber battles and the mysterious Force that “binds the galaxy together”.

~~~

Reader-Supported Facts and Opinions survives with an honour system. Try one story at no charge. If you value no-spam, no-ads, non-partisan, evidence-based, independent journalism, help us continue. Details.

This entry was posted in Current Affairs.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.