As US growth shrinks and fears of a catastrophic collapse in the eurozone recede, Gideon Rachman, FT editor Lionel Barber and economic editor Chris Giles discuss the strength of world economy in this week’s podcast (also available on video)
Two weeks ago a masked assailant threw acid in the face of the Bolshoi’s artistic director Sergei Filin. The attack has cast a shadow over the reputation of one of the world’s most celebrated ballet troupes, as Courtney Weaver explains in her fascinating report on the tensions and rivalries that have emerged at the Moscow ballet in recent months.
What’s it like to dance at the Bolshoi? Here are four videos, and four dancers (well, three dancers and one choreographer, to be precise) who made their mark there over the years. For the sake of brevity, we limited ourselves to four, so they can only gesture at the Bolshoi’s long and varied history; please share your thoughts – and recommendations – in the comments.
1) Galina Sergeyevna Ulánova In this video from the Bolshoi’s official youtube channel, you can watch one of its most famous ballerinas – and one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed – fluttering across the stage, pressing down her net skirts, and talking about her favourite role (Giselle). Joseph Stalin himself is said to have ordered the transfer of Ulánova to the Bolshoi from its rival, the Mariinsky Theatre in Leningrad, in 1944 (“Although Leningrad was where the revolution started, Stalin never cared for it. He saw it as a rebellious city,” The Economist notes in its obituary of Ulánova). Read more
Today’s encouraging US non-farm payrolls data presents a puzzle – it contradicts the quarterly GDP figures that were published earlier this week. Employment is up, but the economy has apparently shrunk. Britain has been facing a similar contradiction for some time now.
It’s important to remember that we shouldn’t place too much emphasis on a single set of monthly figures – as this blog has mentioned before. But non-farms are interesting because, as this chart shows, they have a track record of being closely associated with GDP – historically there has been a good fit.
The discrepancy between this week’s surprising and depressing GDP number and the relatively optimistic non-farm payrolls bucks this trend.
Many innocent people died at both; those are the awful human consequences. But both accidents will have political consequences too. Although it may sound callous, these may help speed the reform programs of Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian president, and Enrique Peña Nieto, her Mexican counterpart.
Ms Rousseff, midway through her term, is seeking to root out corruption in Brazil and improve infrastructure before the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. To political opponents or vested interests, she can now say: just look at the 230 people who died in the Kiss Night Club in Santa Maria. Do you want a repeat? It’s time to call time on shoddy building regulations and civil service corruption that allows such infringements to go unheeded. Read more
with Gideon Rachman
About this blog
Commentary on international affairs, with Gideon Rachman and his colleagues
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Gideon became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok. He also edited The Economist’s business and Asia sections.
His particular interests include American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation