Julie Allec O'Connell

See more by Julie Allec O'Connell

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Bauhaus In Britain: History Of London's 'Modern Living' Experiment

A derivative of the Bauhaus revolution, the Isokon building brought modernity, and affordable rent, to conservative Britain — 85 years ago.

LONDON — There are scant signs today that a revolution once took place in Hampstead, one of London's upscale suburbs, among well-tended Victorian terraced houses and gardens with blooming shrubs. Nothing seems to indicate that 85 years ago, Jack and Molly Pritchard instigated a true uprising here.

The businessman and his wife, both of them Cambridge-educated "Hamstead Liberals', had commissioned a house to be built for themselves on Lawn Road, a house that turned all housing conventions within the United Kingdom on their head. The Isokon building was not only the first residential building to be erected with reinforced concrete, it also revolutionized European standards of building public housing and introduced modernity into Great Britain in 1934.

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Geopolitics

How Europe Can Counter American And Chinese Big Tech

Google and Facebook’s power endanger democratic discourse. It is time to design an infrastructure for European social media platforms.

-OpEd-

MUNICH — It has been a long time since the term digital technology stood for the promise of openness and the empowerment of the public and democracy alike. Nowadays, a handful of providers dominate the market, led by Google, Amazon and Facebook as well as their Chinese co-competitors, who are on the rise. But there is more at stake than dominating the market or utilizing data for advertisement purposes or providing consumerist enticement.

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Future

A Quest For 'Personal Freedom' Is No Excuse To Ignore Science

When it comes to human health and the planet's well-being, certain activities are simply untenable. Researchers also know that self-regulation never works.

-OpEd-

MUNICH — Some politicians seem to have a truly agonizing relationship with the term "freedom." But what exactly is freedom? Is it the right to drive down the autobahn (the German highway) at 190 kilometers per hour? Is freedom the right to destroy planet Earth because no one has the right to prohibit you from doing so?

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Geopolitics

Nigerians Trade Europe's Greener Pastures For Rice Farming At Home

After a drop in oil prices left the Nigerian economy reeling, new government policies have boosted rice and other agricultural production. It's a boost to stay home for Nigerians eyeing emigration to Europe.

KURA — Like many of his fellow Nigerians, Abubakar Sani had big dreams to emigrate to Europe. But he never made it out of Libya. After finally returning to Nigeria, he decided to try rice farming, which has become a booming industry in the West African nation. Now, if anyone he meets talks about emigrating, he urges them to follow his example, rather than to try to leave the country in search of a better life.

But there is one hurdle.

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Economy

A Nutella Recipe For Decoding The European Single Market

To some, it is simply a delicious chocolate hazelnut spread; to others, it is a key factor for understanding the difficulties of the European common currency.

BERLIN — Who hasn't experienced the mild disillusionment that follows a fabulous vacation: One moment you're enjoying a heavenly pasta al pesto in Italy and the next, you're having noodles at home with basil and olive oil — just not the same. And the crispy baguette with salted butter and honey you savored on the terrace of your holiday home in southern France, which tasted like sweet freedom, is now just plain old honey on white bread.

Of course different countries have different specialties: Anyone who has eaten a German puff pastry and a French croissant knows they are different. But sometimes you wonder if there are other factors that play into making certain foods taste so differently depending on where you are. Is it the view? Is it the air? Or your mood?

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Drug-Free, Imported DJs, KGB Spies: A Singular Rave Scene In Minsk

Techno scene in Belarus faces a youth tempted by emigration, pricey vinyls and the KGB lurking in the shadows. But the nights in Minsk are still something truly remarkable.

MINSK — There are two men outside the "Re:publik" Club. They were there last night too, soon after midnight. and again at about 4 a.m. If this weren't Minsk, you would be forgiven for thinking that they just want to sell their stash of ecstasy. But no one deals in front of clubs here because even simple marijuana possession could get you five years in prison. No, those two guys are mostly likely with the intelligence services. The KGB probably.

While these would-be KGB guys look on, two girls try to get into the club without their ID but do not stand a chance. No one wants trouble with the authorities here.

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Geopolitics

Merkel And The Far Right, Why Both Are About To Make History

German elections will see the results of a seismic change within the German political landscape, as Merkel's moderate policies have opened space on the right for extremists.

BERLIN — The legacy of Konrad Adenauer, the first ever chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, was quite tangible, namely a stabilized albeit largely destroyed and indebted nation deeply tied to the West. Willy Brandt's legacy was Ostpolitik, the lean eastward as well as his unforgettable genuflection at the Warsaw Ghetto uprising memorial. Helmut Schmidt left behind a stable and strengthening economy. Helmut Kohl brought about Germany's reunification. And Gerhard Schröder gave us the "Agenda 2010" and the refusal to join U.S. President George W. Bush in the hare-brained scheme that was the second Iraq war.

But what about Angela Merkel's legacy? The economic powerhouse that Germany has become is not necessarily her doing. So what else will she leave behind? How about the sudden nuclear power phase-out, the scrapping of compulsory military service, the demonstrative opening of Germany's borders, a culture of welcome that most recently has also extended to the passage of gay marriage. To cut a long story short: the modernization of her CDU party towards a Christian, green, socially-democratic people's party.

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SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

A Day In The Life Of Rosemarie, Getting A PhD On Death At Age 93

Morning

She wakes early, usually at 6 a.m., and fetches the newspaper. A morning without Sudoku is not a morning worth facing. After she solves the puzzle, she takes her medication, eats two sandwiches with butter and jam and climbs back into bed. Once she's under the covers, Rosemarie Achenbach, aged 93, frees her laptop from under a crocheted blanket, and begins to write. She's working on a PhD thesis; her subject matter: the philosophy of death.

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Future

One Young Woman's Fight For Surgery Access For 143 Million

MUNICH "To be above it all" has become Magdalena Gründl's purpose in life. By this, she doesn't mean to sound egotistical. The-25 year-old research assistant working at Harvard wants to understand the bigger picture. She hopes to make the world a better place while managing her life as a young academic at an Ivy League university, which is why treating individuals patients was never enough for the medical student.

Saving millions of lives

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food / travel

MOCAA: This Cape Town Museum Is Africa's Answer To The MoMA

Africa’s largest museum is set to open in Cape Town next month, backed by a former Puma CEO and designed by a star British architect. It is not without its critics.

CAPE TOWN — The enormous but forgotten cereal silo in the heart of Cape Town's harbor was once hailed as Sub-Saharan Africa's tallest building. But it has risen from its figurative ashes over the past four years, and the gigantic 116 cement silos, whose contents once fed thousands of people, have been redesigned for a different purpose: art.

The star British architect Thomas Heatherwick chose to gut the entire building, while also designing the atrium to resemble the inside of a wheat kernel. The museum itself, as well as rooms dedicated to performances and cultural education, will be housed on 9,500 square meters.

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Geopolitics

Kosovo's Path From Secular Nation To Europe's Jihadist Stronghold

PRISTINA — In front of socialist era high-rise blocks, Bill Clinton waves to the Kosovars. Kosovo Albanians built the statue in the capital, Pristina, in gratitude for the bombing of then Yugoslavia by NATO in 1999, which a few years later led to independence.

U.S. and Albanian flags flutter alongside each other on the rooftops. In no other Muslim country in the world is the United States as popular as here in Kosovo. On the square in front of the statue, young women stand around in their skirts and head scarves.

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Sources

Torn Families And Tactical Silences In Ukraine

Though brother fights brother on opposite sides of the war in eastern Ukraine, some people manage to bridge the gap that divides them.

MARIUPOL — It is virtually impossible to hide from war once it has begun. It spreads through a city like a dark plume of smoke, which inevitably will envelope all in its dirty residue. It will force you to choose which side you are on, to make a decision of whether to stay or to leave.

Time will pass, and the war may retreat, lurking in the background, a constant white noise at the back of your mind. You will get used to it.

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