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ABC - Spain | 22/04/2014

García Márquez' sympathy with Cuba inexcusable

The world is mourning the death of literature Nobel prize winner Gabriel García Márquez on Thursday. Yet hardly anyone has criticised the fact that the Colombian author sympathised with the Castro dictatorship in Cuba, political scientist Edurne Uriarte notes with annoyance in the conservative daily ABC: "If someone can show me that a friendship between García Márquez and for example [Spain's former dictator] Franco would meet with the same indifference I could accept that this is simply a special form of admiration that eclipses everything else. But everyone knows that this would never have been the case. A friendship with a right-wing dictator or sympathy with a dictatorship like Franco's would have provoked an entirely different reaction. It's the same old story. As if the huge distinction that was made in the 20th century between the communist dictatorships and the Nazi or fascist dictatorships still applied." (22/04/2014)

NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | 11/04/2014

German makes Netherlands rich

The Netherlands celebrated the Day of the German Language yesterday, organised by the German embassy, the German-Dutch Chamber of Commerce and the Goethe Institute. The liberal daily NRC Handelsblad argues that more Dutch should learn German: "The German economy is extremely important for the Dutch. To be optimally adjusted to this it's crucial to be familiar with the country and its language. But this is not just important from an economic point of view. Germany is also the major political power in Europe and a country with a vast cultural history and a rich academic and cultural life that has close ties with the Netherlands in many areas. ... The organisers of the Day of the German Language are targeting pupils to make it clear to them that learning the German language is a rewarding endeavour." (11/04/2014)

Hürriyet - Turkey | 09/04/2014

More money for art in Anatolia

The Council of Europe awarded the European Museum Prize for 2014 to the Baksı Museum in north-eastern Turkey. The conservative daily Hürriyet is delighted but calls for more state help for small museums outside major centres: "This exemplary initiative has given the local inhabitants an artistic identity and has even been honoured abroad. ... Major private museums have opened in the big cities, above all in Istanbul. But if this initiative doesn't spread to Anatolia, one can hardly speak of a museum culture. The state must also support small museums in Anatolia. A creative potential must be created there for the artists and for the region." (09/04/2014)

Dilema Veche - Romania | 08/04/2014

Avignon: Culture triumphs over Front National

In the French municipal elections at the end of March, the candidate of the far-right Front National failed in his bid to become mayor of Avignon. The head of the prominent theatre festival in the city, Olivier Py, helped prevent the victory by saying he'd try to relocate the festival if the FN won. The Romanian weekly Dilema Veche feels he made the right move: "Numerous artists have criticised Py, saying that he didn't have the right to interfere in the elections with a threat like that. He should have come to terms with the winner, regardless who won, they say. ... A music festival in northern France, by contrast, is now threatened with closure because the Front National won the mayoral race there. Several sponsors announced in the run-up to the vote that they'd pull out if the FN won. … In the case of the Avignon Festival, however, everything went well. ... Once again we see that art stands above politics." (08/04/2014)

Die Presse - Austria | 08/04/2014

Finally a hallmark for Vienna's museum district

In Vienna plans are underway to construct a glass function room that will cost 600 million euros on top of the Leopold Museum in the Museumsquartier (MQ), Vienna's museum district. With the "MQ Libelle" the popular cultural district would finally have the hallmark it deserves, the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse writes: "The MQ, which was opened in 2001 after 20 years of wrangling, has become all that its fans dreamed it would: an urban zone for all - young people, art lovers, tourists, almost better than the square in front of the Pompidou Centre in Paris with which the MQ is often compared. The Viennese and the tourists pour into the MQ, which attracts four million visitors per year. The fact that the district had to be closed off because of the fierce controversy over the listed Fischer-von-Erlach-Bau [the 18th century architectural complex within which the MQ is located] has turned out to be an advantage: visitors are protected yet still right in the middle of the city, at the centre of things. ... With this new signature construction the MQ will finally be visible to the rest of the city outside the district." (08/04/2014)

Latvijas Avīze - Latvia | 02/04/2014

No pro-Putin pop festival in Latvia

The New Wave pop festival, which turns the resort town of Jūrmala into a mecca for the Russian music industry each year, is set to take place once again in July. The national-conservative daily Latvijas Avīze hopes the event won't take place this year: "It's high time a decision was taken on the festival's fate. Alternatively, we could simply wait for a scandal to break out that would make it implode of its own accord. The Latvian Foreign Ministry can still deny visas for those Russian pop stars who are the biggest supporters of Putin's chauvinist policies. If the festival does take place, Latvia will certainly give a poor image of itself. Because as usual the Russian president will send his best wishes to the participants. After that, there's always a huge surge of applause and everyone stands up. ... If the festival organised by Putin fans is cancelled this summer, at least we can hope that only tourists and people in Russian cultural milieus who have nothing to do with Putin's policy of violence will come to Jūrmala in the years to come." (02/04/2014)


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