Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
A Florida artist says he’s sorry for intentionally smashing a vase by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The work was valued at $1 million dollars.
Maximo Caminero faces charges of criminal mischief after dropping the vase. Caminero says he broke the artwork as a protest against the gallery, for refusing to showcase local artists.
Ai Weiwei – who is photographed smashing an ancient Chinese vase in one of his own works – says he does not support artists destroying other artists work.
The case got us thinking about where the line is drawn between activism and artwork. Becky went to London’s Brunei Gallery to find out more.
(And don’t worry – no real artwork or valuable vases were harmed in the making of this piece.)
Ten years ago the relationship between the U.S. and France was so strained over the Iraq War that some restaurants in the U.S. began calling French fries "freedom fries".
Now, U.S. president Barack Obama is hosting the French president, Francois Hollande, at the White House for a lavish State Dinner.
In a joint press conference Obama pointed out the changed relationship between the countries.
"This level of partnership, across so many areas, would have been unimaginable even a decade ago. But it's a testament to how our two nations have worked to transform our alliance, and I want to salute President Hollande for carrying this work forward."
Is the recent spate of extreme weather around the globe a result of climate change?
Max spoke to Bob Henson, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, to find out what’s behind the major snowstorms in the U.S. and the devastating flooding in the UK.
Agreeing that climate change is playing a role, Henson says in recent years is that "when it's raining or snowing hard, it tends to be raining or snowing a little bit harder."
He attributes the more extreme weather we're seeing now to the change in sea levels. "Sea levels are undoubtedly and absolutely rising, and are expected to continue to do so, at least by a few inches over the coming decades, possibly by as much as a foot by the end of the century."
This impacts the weather on land because "storms move and strike on top of an existing sea level that's getting higher and higher, so that makes the storms even more able to inflict serious damage."
As governments try to figure out how to tackle this issue, Henson offered this piece of advice: "You have to be prepared for the worst you might expect, and that worst might be worse than anything you've ever seen."
Last week, Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, was allegedly recorded using blunt words about the EU in a phone conversation. Naturally, the story sparked a lot of reaction both in Europe and around the world.
Max spoke to former State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley to find out if the incident reflected the hidden side of diplomacy, and if it offered any warning for others about the modern lack of privacy.
Crowley said that the use of profane language in diplomacy was certainly nothing new and noted that "American diplomats and European diplomats have been swearing about each other and at each other for decades. This is not easy business.” When asked whether this recording enforces the perception among many Europeans that America feels dismissive towards the E.U., Crowley said; "I think there's a natural imbalance here. I mean the United States is the most influential country in the world. If US formulates its policy it's able to move rather quickly. The European Union by definition, by structure, has many members, and it's a much more deliberative process."
But in Crowley’s opinion, the most shocking aspect of the story was “the circumstance under which a private conversation became very public. I think this reflects the world in which we live and the difficulty in keeping private conversations, whether they're in a verbal form in this case, or a written form as was the case in WikiLeaks.” He said that this shows how “things that used to be done diplomatically behind closed doors are increasingly emerging into the open space."
On who was responsible for the production of this recording, Crowley expressed this opinion: "In this case the Russians are perhaps the most likely suspect, and I think this underscores how seriously Vladimir Putin and the Russian government see the situation in Ukraine."
While some of the world's major economies are finally beginning to recover from the after-effects of the financial crisis, there's a flip side to that positive news. Now, emerging markets are feeling the pressure.
Max Foster spoke to Marcelo Etchebarne from CEK Financial Group about the potential effects of a U.S. recovery on countries like Argentina.
Etchebarne said that while Argentina has its own, unique circumstances, like sky-high rates of inflation, it does feel the impact of what happens in the U.S.
"Argentina has its own problems," Etchebarne said. "But at this point in time, an increase in interest rates in the U.S. could be catastrophic in Argentina at some point during this year."