The Observer - United Kingdom | 27/07/2014

Booker Prize reserved for white men

The longlist for the most prestigious British literature award, the Man Booker Prize, was published last week. In the left-liberal Sunday paper The Observer author Irenosen Okojie describes the fact that it includes only three women and one non-white author as a major shortcoming: "It's disheartening that the Booker has once again chosen to ignore the talents of writers of colour, who look to these lists for inspiration, to see themselves reflected and to unearth their literary icons. Once again, it feels like if you're not white and male, your talents don't matter. ... If the panel was more diverse, then perhaps the list would be more inclusive. Here's a radical idea - next time, perhaps the panel could be made up of an equal number of men and women as well as a few non-white people. … The power of books is their ability to cut across all of the societal barriers, and authors from varied backgrounds should be given the opportunity to do so." (27/07/2014)

Vesti - Latvia | 24/07/2014

Cultural sanctions a good compromise

Denying entry to three Russian pop stars and preventing them from playing at the New Wave music festival in Jūrmala was a clever move on the part of Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, the Russian-language daily Vesti believes: "In fact the Latvian foreign minister made a brilliant decision when he chose the lesser evil. ... As opposed to most EU and Nato countries, Latvia has very close economic ties with Russia. The worst that the foreign ministry could have done would have been to interfere with the economy. Economic sanctions against Russia would mean the loss of many millions of euros, bankruptcies and thousands of unemployed. Since the foreign ministry had to react this time round, cultural sanctions were less dramatic than economic ones. The jobs remain secure and our partners in the EU and Nato are satisfied." (24/07/2014)

Diena - Latvia | 23/07/2014

Pointless entry ban for Russian musicians

One day before the start of the Russian New Wave music festival in the Latvian resort of Jūrmala, Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs has refused entry to three musicians who openly supported Russia's annexation of Crimea in recent months. The liberal daily Diena doesn't see the point: "Will these bans change anything essential? Does anyone think a ban will influence how these Russian musicians think? Dozens upon dozens of Russian musicians who are well known in Latvia support Putin's policies in Ukraine. Why have only three been refused entry? ... The Latvian authorities' reaction to the tragic events of the past days in Ukraine is anything but even-handed. We're not happy with our neighbour, so we'll stop his friends from singing. ... Will such an attitude change anything in Ukraine?" (23/07/2014)

Kathimerini - Greece | 20/07/2014

Hobby archeologists welcome in Greece

Guests at a luxury hotel on the Peleponnese have been invited to try their hands at archaeology this summer and participate in digs in the ancient city of Messene on a daily or weekly basis under expert guidance. The leftist opposition party Syriza sees the invitation as an insult to Greece's cultural heritage. The conservative daily Kathimerini disagrees: "Love and respect for our country's cultural identity cannot be achieved through bans or police checks. Foreign visitors are potential Greece lovers. It all depends on how we treat them. ... Do we view them as visitors or as illegal antique dealers? ... It's not just tourists seeking a different kind of holiday, archaeology students and those who want to get first hand experience at digs who benefit from this option. Above all it's society's relationship with archaeology, which gains a new dynamic because people are no longer stuck in the role of inactive observers." (20/07/2014)

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