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The Divine Comedy – (Around the world)

Halfway along our life’s path. Lost in a dark wood.
Unable to find the right way…

PARADISO

Dear Beatrice…

“There are so few mysteries in the world that whatever the answer is it will always be a good one” commented Chelsea Clinton when asked if she knew the sex of their baby soon after she and her hubby banker Mark Mezvinsky announced they were expecting their first child. Bill and Hillary said they were thrilled to become grandparents. It’s a girl! It’s a girl! Her name is Charlotte and she will be the first granddaughter to the first – maybe - grandmother president of the US. Talking about female empowerment.... n
She is used to getting many awards but only for her interpretation of dramatic roles in films. But this time the only Australian double Oscar-winner Kate Blanchett received another one to add to the list . After speaking to the students of Macquarie University in Sydney she was made an Honourary Doctor of Letters on the 25th of September. She certainly deserves it because nobody can literally interpret a role better than she does. Well done, Kate, and please keep delighting us with the strength of your majestic performances!
Amal Alamudding is the Lebanese-British human rights lawyer who took one of the bigger stars in Hollywood off the market by marrying him in Venice this September. Beside her beauty the 36 year-old has an amazing CV as a lawyer - she has represented Julian Assange and ex-Ukrainian PM Yulia Timoshenko. Of course we send the happy couple our best wishes but we also want to imagine how the fairytale continues after all this in the years to come. Well a family can’t be called such without a few kids, and seeing we live in a world where images speak louder than words a beautiful white house full of Greek marbles would also be the perfect setting. Cool, right? They would be the perfect couple to revitalise a lame institution. After all an actor has already been installed there and the rest of us are still paying the price. Maybe this time, considering the passion for human rights that brought the platinum couple together, is the right time for the US to get a proper foreign policy act together, one that is based more on in-depth knowledge rather than corrupt lobby interests.n
Dear Beatrice I guess one can always live in hope but it would be a great fairytale for our ailing world, don’t you think?

Purgatorio

Virgil what can be said of...

Some newspaper reported that Baby North West stole the show at a fashion event in Paris. Of course you would think that when your mother is Kim Kardashian and your father is Kanye West you might be used to the high decibel noise in your house, but really, do you need to force your own fourteen month-old daughter to be at a catwalk show? Of course it might be highly educational and might represent quality time for an attention-seeking family that does not know the boundaries between show biz and private life. But before it turns into some new trend in selfies we’d better start a petition to bring in a minimum age for kids to be allowed to attend fashion shows, What do you think? It’s just so we can keep our sanity - and that of innocent children.n
In London, a Russian student, whose jewel-encrusted car has become an online sensation, has openly spoken about her millionaire’s lifestyle. She doesn’t understand the fuss over her silver C class Mercedes, covered in one million Swarovski crystals and claimed her only disappointment was that people underestimated its value! The photo of her car parked outside Harrods as an early 21st present went viral. The Russian who lives in Knightsbridge told The Sun tabloid newspaper that she liked everything encrusted in crystal and she had hundreds of pairs of shoes …. just one question, anything encrusted in your brain? or will that come all in good time?
How convenient for 67 year-old song writer Marianne Faithfull to trash Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, two of the biggest pop stars of the moment, so she can make the headlines in the wake of her new CD release of a song by Nick Cave, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Anna Calvi. The rock world’s grand dame claims their desperation to succeed has caused them to compromise their dignity. Admittedly, high-grade booty-shaking was unheard-of fifty years ago. The world has moved on and not necessarily for the better but what about accepting a bit of responsibility, seeing this all may be the result of that ‘sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll’ legacy left to us by so many of her generation? Or is it easy to forget certain things now as we’ve become older and wiser? Still, trashing a younger singer is an old PR trick. Just look at Lionel Richie having a go before announcing his new tour starting in February 2015 - not sure if it’s paid off in terms of ticket sales though...

Inferno

Carmen Segarra was hired as a New York Federal Reserve officer, as part of the revamped financial watch dog set up in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis . When she filed an overly critical report on Goldman Sachs’s lack of any policy on preventing conflict of interest at the international bank, as required by the regulators, the Harvard, Columbia, Sorbonne and Cornell University-educated high-flier was sacked after only seven months on the job. But before leaving she secretly recorded hours of entire discussions between Goldman Sachs’s live-in Fed regulator and the bank, which have now been broadcast on National Public Radio. The senior regulator can be heard gently bringing up a potential lapse regarding conflict of interest then not pressing the point, despite calling the deal “shady”. Well, we’ve heard it all before, when, in 2008, the Lehman Brothers went under and the Federal Reserve was shown to have a complete lack of control over these fraudsters. It is, however, the first time that a whistleblower comes from within the Federal Reserve itself. Segarra, subsequently, lost a lawsuit for damages after her sacking but she has appealed. n
Historic victory once again for the National Front party winning its first ever seats in the French senate this September. Stéphane Ravier in Marseilles and David Rachline in Fréjus confirmed the party’s political breakthrough under Marine Le Pen, after winning control of a dozen municipalities in elections last March and coming top of the European election in May. Could this well lead its leader to becoming the next and first female president for France in 2017? Considering what the last two presidents have achieved, I think the French might be well ready for a woman. I can’t wait to see Marine versus Angela discussing those important European matters the German chancellor has ignored for so long. I just wish it could be sooner as three years might be too long for the ailing EU. n
A Aneeta Prem is a 37 year-old British-Asian magistrate who founded the Freedom Charity in 2010 to help victims of forced marriage but also those at risk of female genital mutilation (FMG) and other human rights abuses. Although forced marriage is most common in communities of south Asian descent, Prem sees more and more cases from Turkish families and the traveller community. She believes in the past people were reluctant to take on this issue for fear of being politically incorrect and culturally insensitive. Prem says this should not be allowed even though it is still occurring. The UK’s forced marriage unit dealt with 1,302 cases last year but Prem believes the problem is actually much bigger. Although the vast majority of victims are female some men are forced into marriage too. This is often a case says Prem when a man is hiding his homosexuality. One of the main reasons Prem founded Freedom Charity was to campaign for forced marriage to become a crime in the eyes of the law, which it did early this year. From small acorns do great oaks grow.nIt can be done - all you need is the strength of your convictions. nnFor more information visit www.freedomcharity.org.ukn
To what other terraces of doom and pain, dear Virgil, will you accompany me… next time...
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