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Were all in the same boat: Marina Abramovic poster angers Italian right-wing politician

Abramovic Abramovic’s design for the 50th edition this October—developed in collaboration with the coffee brand Illy—was unveiled in July as a “universal” message promoting respect for the environment. But weeks after Italy’s foreign minister and leader of the far-right Lega party, Matteo Salvini, had announced that Italian ports would be closed to migrant rescue ships, Trieste’s Lega deputy mayor, Paolo Polidori, took to Facebook to criticise Abramovic’s poster. Polidori wrote that it was: “Unacceptable, in bad taste, immoral to make political propaganda out of an event, the Barcolana, that belongs to the entire city”. In another post, he compared the poster to a Communist image of Chairman Mao Zedong. According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Polidori said that the poster should be removed from leaflets, invitations and official brochures and “banned: in Trieste and the rest of the world”. He reportedly threatened to withdraw city council funding for the event totalling €30,000. Last week, Polidori said on Facebook that the issue had been resolved a month ago and that “the poster…a horrible as well as misleadingly political work, will not be present on the territory of Trieste”. He denied having threatened to pull funding from the Barcolana. When asked if he approved of Abramovic’s poster, he declined to comment.

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This week’s calls to action include the following events and activities. (All are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.) Jumaane Williams, one of four candidates for New York lieutenant governor, will speak at a townhall-style meeting in Rochester on Wednesday, August 22. His topic: “Schools and Not Jails.” Williams has made progressive issues like social-justice reform a high priority in his campaign. He says the state has failed to fully fund many of its public school systems, including Rochester’s. The underfunding of schools combined with the criminalization of black and brown youth is fueling the school-to-prison pipeline, Williams says. The event will be held at the Edgerton Recreation Center, at 41 Backus Street, at 5:30 p.m. The Center for Disability Rights will present a “Free Our People Film Festival” on Thursday, August 23, featuring short films selected from submissions earlier this year. The films explore institutional bias and the struggle many people with disabilities face when trying to live in their own homes and communities. The film festival will be held at The Little Theatre, 240 East Avenue, at 6 p.m. A question and answer session will be held after the showings.

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who has vowed not to bow to Chinese pressure, came under opposition criticism on Wednesday amid calls for a more friendlier policy toward Beijing. Taiwan vowed on Tuesday to fight China’s “increasingly out of control” behavior after Taipei lost another ally to Beijing when El Salvador became the third country to switch allegiances to China this year. Ahead of next month’s summit between China and African leaders in Beijing, China has been upping the pressure on Taiwan’s last remaining ally on the continent, eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, to come over to China’s side, diplomatic sources say. Speaking to reporters in Beijing about the summit, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong that eSwatini did not have relations with China “for reasons that everyone knows”. “We look forward to and hope that all African nations, with none left behind, can take part in positive China-Africa cooperation, and become a member of the largest family get together,” Chen said. “I believe that this is not just the pursuit of China, it is also a widespread shared expectation of African nations. I believe that this target can in the not too distant future be realized,” he added, without elaborating. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed not to bow to Chinese pressure, Taipei has accused Beijing of offering generous aid and loan packages to lure its allies across, charges China denies. The island’s biggest opposition group, the China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT), urged for a “better alternative” following what it described as “enormous mistakes” in Tsai’s cross-strait policy.

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