Oslo

Amour is an unsentimental film about an intense, selfish love,

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"Oslo, August 31st" is a film in love with life and light and faces, and it just came out on DVD.

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For decades, the Assad regime in Syria was the most ardent regional champion of the Palestinian cause. When the country went to war with Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, it claimed to do so on behalf of Palestine. Hafez al-Assad stood steadfastly against the Oslo Accords, refusing to support the compromise that the Palestinians were themselves prepared to make. And since coming to power in 2000, Bashar al-Assad has been a crucial patron of numerous Palestinian terrorist groups, just like his father before him.

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Oslo, August 31st tells the story of Anders, a thirty-four-year-old Norwegian who has been a patient in a drug rehabilitation center near the city, is now clean, and is given permission to visit the city for one day for a job interview. The screenplay, by the director Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt, is distantly derived from a French novel by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle (from which Louis Malle’s

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Americans reading the news last week may have been surprised to learn that Anders Behring Breivik—the man who has admitted to killing 76 people in twin attacks in Norway on July 22—currently faces a maximum initial sentence of just 21 years in prison. Timothy McVeigh, in contrast, was found guilty on eleven counts for killing 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and he was executed by lethal injection in 2001.

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Speculation abounds as to who conducted today’s attacks in Oslo and for what reasons. For now, we don’t know who is responsible. Recent news has focused on the Nordic identity of the gunman in custody, suggesting that the incident was an example of domestic extremism.* At the same time, an organization called Ansar Al Jihad Al Alami, or The Helpers of the Global Jihad, has also taken responsibility for the attack.

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The Throwback

In 2001, Amr Moussa, the current Egyptian Secretary-General of the Arab League, briefly achieved pop-icon status. Serving at the time as Hosni Mubarak’s foreign minister, Moussa’s frequent anti-Israel pronouncements caught the attention of Egyptian pop singer Shaaban Abdel Rahim, who released a song with the line, “I hate Israel and I love Amr Moussa.” The song became a tremendous hit. Shortly thereafter, Mubarak, who had come to regard Moussa as a serious political rival, exiled him to the Arab League. Ten years later, however, Moussa is back in the public eye.

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On Tuesday, just days before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Beijing embarrassed itself in front of an international audience. “I would like to say to those at the Nobel Committee, they are orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu. “We are not changing because of interference by a few clowns and we will not change our path.” “Clowns”? Why would Chinese diplomats, once praised for deftness and charm, revert to the language of the Cultural Revolution? In October, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded its prize to Liu Xiaobo. Mr.

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I couldn't believe my eyes as I read Alan Cowell's New York Times report this morning that (as of now) 19 countries would not attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo for the imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

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Sometime this summer, the Senate will have a debate over an energy bill. What kind of energy bill? That's still the unanswered question. But the timing, at least, is propitious: After all, 2010 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, and the summer months should be particularly unpleasant. And studies have shown that people are, predictably, far more receptive to talking about global warming during the sweltering heat than during the winter months.

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