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September ’10

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Italy Crumbles as the Italians Babble

17 Dec

Benedetta Tommasino

Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister and president of the PDL party

In Italy, a harsh fight is being waged between different political parties. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà (PDL, centre right) is mainly opposed by Futuro e Libertà (Fli, centre right) and Partito Democratico (PD, centre left). Fli is made up of former partisans of Berlusconi, who formed a new political party in July 2010. Also noteworthy is that Berlusconi’s party emerged from the fusion of his former Forza Italia, and the Lega Nord. The latter is a far-right party which has always supported ideas such as dividing Italy in two, in order to “free” the North from the “burden of the South”. Their views on other religions and homosexuals are moreover extremely conservative, to say the least. Continue reading

The Limits of Protest: Violence Breaks out on Both Sides of the Channel

16 Dec

Charlotte Coulthard

Demonstrations over tuition fees

The strikes forecast at the beginning of October turned out to be rather more serious than anticipated.  Lyon was, unexpectedly, one of the worst affected places in France along with Nanterre, renowned for the May 68 riots. The week leading up to the Vacances de Toussaint was total chaos, verging on anarchy, throughout France.  In Lyon, there were daily stand-offs between the police and youths claiming to be demonstrators, and dodging charging riot police became routine.  The surreal scenes of torched cars, broken windows, burning bins; the youtube clips of shops being looted; tear gas being dropped on the centre of town on several occasions to disperse the crowds: all this was unprecedented in Lyon.  Around the country, the oil refineries were blockaded, which lead to a nationwide rationing of petrol. Universities shut, a college was burnt to the ground and public transport ran at 45%.  The French carried on as usual, some agreeing with the demonstration but all shocked by the escalation of violence. Continue reading

Getting Over your Kremlins – Part Two

15 Dec

Paul Francis

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

Picture the winter sun glinting off the golden spire of St Peter and St Paul’s Cathedral; imagine an untouched blanket of fresh snow covering the frozen Volga; envisage the steamy warmth of a banya, the welcome heat of a bowl of borsch and the refreshing swig from a glass of pure Russian vodka; imagine humid, mosquito-infested Siberia in the summer, the overcrowded, sweaty Moscow underground…. actually, wait, best not imagine that. These are just some of the things Russia has to offer; and, if you are intending to go to there some time soon, read on for some invaluable advice! Continue reading

The post-dubstep phenomenon

14 Dec

Alex Kirkbride

Magnetic Man

Astride the momentum of Magnetic Man’s chart success, and with such swooning vocalists as Katy B and Anneka, 2010 was the year that dubstep achieved mass appeal and was catapulted into mainstream-consciousness. In its wake a new sound was born. With elements of Chicago Juke, Baltimore House, Hip Hop and UK Funky combined with the murky bass-heaviness by which its parent is known, this peculiar subgenre has evaded generalisation and shattered preconceptions. Continue reading

‘Tis the Season

14 Dec

Daria Wallace

For me, as for a lot of people, the food is one of the main attractions of the Christmas season, and I don’t just mean Christmas dinner. I have, in fact, never in my life eaten turkey, except at school (we always, for some reason, have duck – Chinese style). In the Wallace household, the Christmas extravaganza starts in Advent with mass biscuit baking, a tradition we owe to my German mother, and one of my personal favourites. Aside from the general communal vibe (which, I admit, often includes communal singing – yes, we really are that cheesy) which surrounds a table of people covered in flour, eating bits of dough on the sly, and generally feeling festive; the products are truly delicious. If you have never had the pleasure of sampling some Weihnachtsplaetzchen, or you feel like an alternative to mince pies this Christmas, now is your chance: the recipes here are for a few different kinds, although there are many more (believe me, the decisions were difficult!). Continue reading

‘A surreal stroll into a seemingly spiritual absurdity’

13 Dec

Olivia Acland

Amma's Ashram

I parked my battered scooter, fondly named Trevor, on the grass beside a small wooden hut where a grinning toothless local was selling chai, bananas, and the usual array of melted toffees in dusty jars displayed along the counter. After a lengthy and confusing conversation with the kindly shop keeper, involving much head wobbling and pointing into the distance, I gathered that Amma’s ashram was on the tiny island located across the footbridge. As I panted in the midday heat and exhaustedly climbed the bridge’s steps, I pondered the rash decision I had made to abandon my friends and disappear to a famed ashram in the depths of southern India with a 34 year old Canadian hippy, Jonathon, whom we had befriended in Goa. Continue reading