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South China Morning Post
  1. To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq, by Robert Draper, Penguin, 4 starsAfter the terrorist attacks of September 11 in 2001, a blue-ribbon commission and congressional committees uniformly blamed the US national security apparatus for failing to “connect the dots” of evidence that might have exposed Osama bin Laden’s plot.Less than two years later, then president George W. Bush launched a ruinous war in Iraq based on a far greater intelligence failure, one that saw…
  2. Hong Kong cinema is renowned for periodically reinventing itself, and 1980’s Encounter of the Spooky Kind (also known as Spooky Encounter) was another successful attempt to rejuvenate the martial arts genre.Directed, co-choreographed, and co-written by Sammo Hung Kam-bo, who also stars, the movie brought ghosts, magic, and horror effects to the fading kung fu comedy genre, which had itself reinvigorated martial arts films in the late 1970s.The result was a big Christmas hit for Hung and…
  3. Burma’s Voices of Freedom by Alan Clements and Fergus Harlow, World Dharma Publications. 3/5 starsAung San Suu Kyi’s precipitous fall from grace reached its nadir last December, in the Netherlands. Myanmar’s leader appeared in front of the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, to answer allegations that her government had committed genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority.Just four years earlier, the Nobel Peace Prize winner had led the National League for Democracy (NLD) party to…
  4. 2.5/5 stars Packed to the rafters with rugged heroes, duplicitous villains, terrifying monsters and relentless action, Double World has all the trappings of an epic adventure. So why is the Hong Kong filmmaker Teddy Chan Tak-sum’s first directing effort since 2014’s Donnie Yen vehicle Kung Fu Jungle such a chore to watch? Now streaming on iQiyi in mainland China and Netflix in the rest of the world, this effects-laden adaptation of online video game Zhengtu features so many characters, each…
  5. It’s been widely reported that the elderly are most at risk of complications from Covid-19, making those in care homes and assisted-living facilities particularly vulnerable. Also at risk are the staff at these facilities, such as Louis Mary Sesu Ratnam, an Indian Catholic nun in her 60s who spends her time helping others at the Caritas Santa Maria Home for women in Macau’s St Lazarus neighbourhood.Portuguese-born, Macau-based photojournalist Gonçalo Lobo Pinheiro has focused his camera on…
  6. Shipping one’s household effects around the world to take up a position in a new country – and later back again – makes as much environmental sense as buying cheap stuff when you get there, then throwing it away when you leave. Particularly in these times, when nothing is certain, renting life’s daily necessities may be more practical.Foerni is the latest to provide this service in Hong Kong. Launched in July, the furniture rental-via-subscription company is the second venture of entrepreneur…
  7. Former FBI counter-intelligence agent Peter Strzok is releasing a book on his concerns the president could be compromised.Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump is due to be published on September 8, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media says.Strzok played a key role in the Russia investigation but his pejorative text messages about Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign subsequently made him a target of the president’s wrath.The book will offer…
  8. Tired of being stuck in one place and longing for release? These films about the quest for freedom will match your mood. 1. The Great Escape (1963) The grandaddy of the genre, John Sturges’ World War II drama tells the extraordinary true story of a mass 1944 breakout from the German prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft III. Sturges specialised in ensemble adventures such as The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Eagle Has Landed (1976), so he knew how to make the most of a heavyweight cast …
  9. Crime, Justice and Punishment in Colonial Hong Kong: Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Gaol, by May Holdsworth and Christopher Munn. Published by Hong Kong University Press. 4/5 stars The story of the site from which justice was administered for most of Hong Kong’s colonial history, Crime, Justice and Punishment in Colonial Hong Kong is divided into sections covering the Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison, recounting the overlapping histories…
  10. A researcher claimed on Tuesday to have discovered the exact spot where Vincent van Gogh painted his last canvas before his mysterious death from a gunshot wound.The tortured Dutch artist had been working on Tree Roots, a jumble of brightly-coloured tree trunks, roots and stumps near Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris, on a hot July day in 1890 when he staggered back wounded to the village inn.Wouter van der Veen, of the Van Gogh Institute, which looks after the artist’s room at the Auberge Ravoux…