Daily Archives: May 28, 2013

Gideon Rachman

France’s cultural commissars should hop on a plane and visit South Korea. Any fatalism about the relentless march of English-speaking entertainment would be banished if they did what I did earlier today in Seoul – and visited the purveyors of K-Pop. Korean pop music not only dominates its local market. It has also gone global.

Of course, the most famous single K-Pop hit was Psy’s “Gangnam Style”, which topped the charts in 30 countries last year. But K-Pop has been a phenomenon for almost 20 years now – and it is just getting bigger. 

Roula Khalaf

“Aren’t you ashamed?” charged a visibly angry Eric Chevalier, the French ambassador to Syria, as he chastised opposition members for failing to expand the Syrian National Coalition after a week of negotiations.

In the Youtube video clip that was making the rounds of social media sites on Tuesday, the French diplomat goes on to ask how Coalition leaders elected only eight members, when they agreed to add 22. “There is a problem,” he said. 

♦ The UK and France have won the freedom to supply weapons to Syrian rebel groups after they succeeded in dismantling an EU arms embargo in spite of determined opposition from fellow EU member states.

♦ In the face of opposition from home and abroad, Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague says the potential to supply weapons to Syrian rebels has sent a “clear message” to the Assad regime.

♦ The west must take a united stand on Syria, but Russia, Iran and foreign jihadists complicate the issue, says FT Columnist Gideon Rachman.

♦ By aiding the Syrian army, Hizbollah has taken a gamble that could threaten its influence in the Middle East, the New York Times reports. 

Ferdinando Giugliano

Fabrizio Saccomanni

It takes a little more than 15 minutes to cover the mile-long distance that separates the Bank of Italy from the ministry of the economy and finance in central Rome. But the upper echelons of the two institutions dominating the commanding heights of Italy’s economy have traditionally been closely linked by a revolving door.