Trump renews attacks on four Democratic congresswomen | AFP

US President Donald Trump renews his verbal attacks on four Democratic congresswomen, all of whom are women of color, during remarks at a ‘Made in America’ event at the White House. “I’m saying that they’re Socialist definitely,” Trump says in reference to Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. “As to whether or not they’re Communist, I would think they might be.”

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Once Upon A Dream (360 Video)

The Peony Pavilion is a 1998 production by Peter Sellars, in a mix of Chinese and English translation, of the Ming Dynasty play The Peony Pavilion.

Part One is an avant-garde staging of the traditional Kunqu form of Chinese opera’s staging of the play, which is how the play is usually performed in China. Part Two is a specially-composed two-hour opera by Tan Dun, mixing Chinese and western forms and instruments.

Kun opera or Kunqu Opera, is one of the oldest extant forms of Chinese opera. It evolved from the Kunshan melody, and dominated Chinese theatre from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The style originated in the Wu cultural area. It is listed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 2001.

Kunqu singing techniques are said to have been developed during the Ming Dynasty by Wei Liangfu in the port of Taicang, but linked to the songs of nearby Kunshan. Kunqu performance is closely inter-related with the performance of many other styles of Chinese musical theatre, including Peking opera, which contains much Kunqu repertoire. The emergence of chuanqi plays, commonly sung to Kunqu, is said to have ushered in a “second Golden Era of Chinese drama”. Kunqu troupes experienced a commercial decline in the late 19th century. However, in the early 20th century, Kunqu was re-established by philanthropists as a theatrical genre that was subsequently subsidised by the Communist state. Like all traditional forms, Kunqu suffered setbacks both during the Cultural Revolution and again under the influx of Western culture during the Reform and Opening Up policies, only to experience an even greater revival in the new millennium. Today, Kunqu is performed professionally in seven Mainland Chinese major cities: Beijing (Northern Kunqu Theatre), Shanghai (Shanghai Kunqu Theatre), Suzhou (Suzhou Kunqu Theatre), Nanjing (Jiangsu Province Kunqu Theatre), Chenzhou (Hunan Kunqu Theatre), Yongjia County/Wenzhou (Yongjia Kunqu Theatre) and Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province Kunqu Theatre), as well as in Taipei. Non-professional opera societies are active in many other cities in China and abroad, and opera companies occasionally tour.

There are many plays that continue to be famous today, including The Peony Pavilion and The Peach Blossom Fan, which were originally written for the Kunqu stage. In addition, many classical Chinese novels and stories, such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Water Margin and Journey to the West were adapted very early into dramatic pieces.

Its melody or tune is one of the Four Great Characteristic Melodies in Chinese opera.

In 2006, Zhou Bing acted as Producer and Art Director for KunQu (Kun Opera) of Sexcentenary. It won Outstanding Documentary Award of 24th China TV Golden Eagle Awards; It won Award of TV Art Features of 21st Starlight Award for 2006.

Filmed by Sichuan radio and television (SRT) as part of a joint project launched by RT360 and Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).


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What Angela Merkel Stepping Down Means For Germany (HBO)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is stepping down as leader of her party – marking the beginning of the end for a four-term ruler whose politics have defined Europe but divided her country.

Merkel’s 18 years at the head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and 13 years as chancellor have seen Germany transformed into an economic and diplomatic force. The leader known as Germany’s “mother” became the chief powerbroker of the European Union.

But her decision to allow in more than a million migrants during the peak of the 2015 crisis spawned the rise of far-right movements and crushed poll results for mainstream parties, including her own.

She’s also faced criticism for failing to heal the divide between the former Communist east of the country, where incomes and pensions remain lower some 31 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Public demonstrations by movements on the far-left and far-right are once again a daily reality in Germany.

“There is now an invisible wall. Before it was made of bricks and mortar. And now there is a new divide in our country,” said Winfried Wenzel, a retired engineer who once marched against Communism and now marches against Merkel.

“We are very disappointed in Mrs Merkel. She didn’t listen to the people.”

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Russian communists call for “clean elections” at rally

Hundreds attend a rally organised by Russia’s Communist Party (KPRF) to demand “fair and clean elections”. In a predictable March 18 presidential election, Communist candidate, Pavel Grudinin, is likely to be runner-up to President Vladimir Putin, though he lags far behind in state-run opinion polls at around seven percent. IMAGES

‘Gotta find a way’: Chinese rap in crisis after crackdown

Chinese rap and hip hop seemed poised to break out after a wildly popular singing show bestowed fame and legitimacy on a musical scene that had struggled to find its voice in China. But an abrupt official backlash against the edginess of hip hop culture has tamed the swagger of artists who fear that Chinese rap, like a once-promising homegrown rock-and-roll movement, will be nipped in the bud by Communist politics.

Romania marks 100th anniversary of dictator Ceausescu’s birth

Romania is marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. His former home, now a museum, is holding a special exhibition, an auction house is selling some of his former belongings, while some of those who still look back on his Communist dictatorship with nostalgia gathered at his grave.

The female spies who helped change the Vietnam War

Nguyen Thi Hoa was part of the 11-member Perfume River squad, a top-secret female combat unit formed in 1967 and bound by the communist propaganda slogan: “When the enemy comes to your home, even the women should fight”. They funneled secrets to Communist army handlers who were poised to launch an audacious assault on the city that would reshape the Vietnam War.