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Articles in Art and Culture News

El Monte’s “Gangnam Style” Embarrassment

By Martin W. Lewis | September 19, 2012 |

City slogans are almost always upbeat, but the positive messages that they are meant to convey are sometimes contradicted by the policies enacted by their own city governments. Such is the case in regard to the southern California town of El Monte (population 113,000), which advertises itself with the motto: “Welcome to Friendly El Monte.” Lately El Monte has been anything but friendly to its own employees. In a case that is getting international attention, the city fired 13 lifeguards and a swimming pool manager for making an innocent spoof video of the global YouTube sensation “Gangnam Style” in the municipal pool, despite the fact that they did so on their own time, using their own resources

Slovenia’s Sausage Struggles

By Martin W. Lewis | August 24, 2012 |

The small country of Slovenia is often noted as the most prosperous former-communist state. The Economist, however, is concerned about a possible Slovenian financial meltdown, warning that “if Slovenia succumbs, it would be the first former communist country in the euro area to need aid. And once again the badge of honour of joining the zone would have become a mark of humiliation.” Recent news reports on the former Yugoslav republic, however, are more inclined to fret about the sausage struggle currently pitting Slovenia against both Austria and Croatia.

Tower Proposal Draws Ire in Venice

By Nicholas Baldo | August 9, 2012 | 2 Comments

The picturesque Venetian skyline has remained virtually unchanged since 1514, when St. Mark’s Campanile—the city’s largest structure—reached its current shape. Although past its prime in the early 16th Century, Venice remained a center of trade and manufacturing, even ruling directly over Crete, Cyprus and much of the Dalmatian coast.

Disputed Ruins and Phoenician Heritage in Beirut

By Nicholas Baldo | July 4, 2012 |

A development dispute surrounding the destruction of ancient ruins in Beirut stirs debate and reflection on the nation’s past.

Gujarat to Ban References to Caste in the Classroom?

By Martin W. Lewis | June 15, 2012 |

The Indian state of Gujarat has recently decided to amend its educational curriculum by removing “all the derogatory or implied references to surnames, castes, religion, profession, region.” The reforms go so far as to prohibit the use of students’ surnames—a caste “give away”—in the classroom.

Geography Teachers Assaulted for Not Allowing Students to Cheat

By Martin W. Lewis | May 12, 2012 | 12 Comments

Geography classrooms are not normally associated with violence, but that is not necessarily the case in Pakistan. Just this week, classrooms at Government National College in Karachi were ransacked and several teachers were beaten after they refused to allow students to cheat at the annual examination of a course on commercial geography.

New Evidence on the Settlement of Madagascar

By Martin W. Lewis | March 28, 2012 | 8 Comments

A new study of the genetic background of the people of Madagascar sheds light on the settlement of the island. It has long been known that the initial movement of people to Madagascar was relatively recent (1,000 to 1,500 years ago), and that it originated not from the African mainland but rather from the islands of what is now Indonesia.

South Korea Cuts University Tuition

By Martin W. Lewis | March 6, 2012 | One Comment
Educational Attainment Map Wikipedia

The Korea Herald announced last week that South Korean Universities would be reducing their tuition by an average of 4.5 percent. Almost all schools cut their fees, some by more than 20 percent.

Remarkable Sardinian Statues Reconstructed

By Martin W. Lewis | March 4, 2012 | 2 Comments

Archeologists on the Italian island of Sardinia have completed the painstaking reconstruction of “small yet unique army of life-size stone warriors which were originally destroyed by enemy action in the middle of the first millennium BC.”

Cultural Hybridity in New Zealand

By Martin W. Lewis | February 10, 2012 |

A newly released study in New Zealand argues that many English-speaking immigrants to the country are held back by their inability to comprehend the “small talk” that typically takes places in New Zealand workplaces.

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