Remembering Hugh Masekela: the horn player with a shrewd ear for music of the day

Trumpeter, flugelhorn-player, singer, composer and activist Hugh Ramapolo Masekela has passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer.

When he cancelled his appearance last year at the Johannesburg Joy of Jazz Festival, taking time out to deal with his serious health issues, fans were forced to return to his recorded opus for reminders of his unique work. Listening through that half-century of disks, the nature and scope of the trumpeter’s achievement becomes clear.
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La « cli-fi », une nouvelle façon de parler du changement climatique

Au tournant des années 2010, la presse américaine relatait l’apparition d’un nouveau genre littéraire, la « cli-fi » (pour climate fiction), terme inventé en 2008 par l’écrivain et blogueur Dan Bloom. Les romans de « fiction climatique » prennent généralement la forme de récits post-apocalyptiques où des personnages évoluent dans un monde ravagé par les effets du changement climatique.

Si les romans de cli-fi sont encensés par la presse américaine aux sympathies écologistes, ils restent cantonnés en France à un public de niche.
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African voices raised in support of people with albinism

On the remote East African island of Ukerewe in the middle of Lake Victoria, people with albinism whose voices have been largely unheard, are now writing and voicing their experiences into songs. Ukerewe is the largest inland island in Africa and is part of Tanzania.
This East African country has the highest prevalence of albinism in the world: about one in every 1,400, compared to the US’s one in 17,000. In Africa the prevalence is estimated to range between one in 1100 to one in 15,000.
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TIFF 2017: Movie magic from math and science

Math and science are hot topics with contemporary filmmakers. Think of the brilliant portrayal of African-American mathematicians and scientists in 1960s NASA in Hidden Figures or the tale of mathematical genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and his groundbreaking work with Godfrey Hardy at Cambridge University in The Man Who Knew Infinity.
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), underway this month, is not immune to the charms of math and science, with past crowd-pleasers such as The Theory of Everything and The Martian. As a mathematics professor with a love for film and a Patron’s Circle membership that offers access to many of the festival’s premieres, I go on an annual search for STEM-centric movies.
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Bojan Golija – a retrospective in Maribor, Slovenia

Golija’s art evolved from the early, socially charged figurative prints from the 1950s that were created under the influence of his mentor and close friend Božidar Jakac, to increasingly abstract compositions, in which the realistic starting point is first replaced by the stylized dynamics of sharply delineated surfaces in black and white and colour woodcuts. Golija perfected his woodcutting technique during his stay in Japan. He travelled there in 1957 at the invitation of the later chairman of the International Art Education Association and the assistant director of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and thus became the first student from the Academy in Ljubljana to visit Japan after World War II.
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Open letter: Urgent Need for Independent International Inquiry on Yemen

Joint NGO letter to Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Urgent Need for Independent International Inquiry on Yemen

We, the undersigned nongovernmental organizations, urge you to support the creation of an independent international investigation into violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Yemen since the start of the current conflict. This is a call that has been made since 2015 by national, regional, and international civil society organizations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Security Council Panel of Experts on Yemen. The number of abuses, and the need for credible international investigations, has only increased since 2015.
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Rural America: Where Sam Shepard’s roots ran deepest

When Sam Shepard died on July 27 the world lost one of the greatest playwrights of the past half-century. He was an artist renowned for bravely plumbing his own life for material, spinning much of his own pain into theatrical gold. His best work revealed the hollowness behind the idea of the happy family and its corollary, the American dream. Subversive and funny, Shepard had the soul of a poet and an experimental streak that never faded.
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Liu Xiaobo: a voice of conscience who fought oppression for decades

Only a few weeks after being diagnosed with a late-stage liver cancer in late May 2017, the world learned that China’s most prominent dissident, Liu Xiaobo, died at 61 in a hospital in the north-east region of China, where he was born. As the poetess Tang Danhong wrote, he departed as “an innocent prisoner into the eternal light” (无罪的囚徒,融入永恒的光芒). What a tragedy for a man who fought most of his life for freedom to live out his last days in a hospital bed under lock and key.

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Il faut décoloniser les imaginaires

Comment les conquêtes coloniales sont-elles peu à peu devenues le ciment de la société française ?
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Au même moment, presque par un concours de circonstances, c’est l’apogée des empires coloniaux européens, c’est le moment où il y a une forme de concurrence entre la France, l’Allemagne, la Belgique, l’Angleterre, l’Italie… aux côtés d’autres nations comme le Japon et les États-Unis. La France accélère les principes de colonisation posés à partir de 1830 avec l’Algérie : se bâtir un empire comme réponse à la frustration nationale et à la perte de l’Alsace-Lorraine.
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Berlinale 2017 – Panorama: The Wound

La prestigieuse section Panorama de la Berlinale, dont bon nombre de films feraient excellente figure dans la Compétition, ouvre sa programmation avec un film sud-africain qui fait la peau aux clichés sur la masculinité de l’homme noir, clichés qui se perpétuent tant dans la culture africaine elle-même que dans la vision extérieure que l’on a de l’Afrique.
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