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How Lithuania dealt with its Soviet statues

JOSEF STALIN stands in military dress, his hand tucked inside the breast of his coat. Vladimir Lenin sits—relaxed, cross-legged—with a book. Elsewhere, he extends his arm, mimicking the pose he adopted when he arrived in Russia in 1917 to seize power. Grutas Park, a sculpture garden in south-west Lithuania, is …

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The White House has become a cultural wasteland

IT IS hard to imagine a presidential duty as easy, uncontroversial and plainly enjoyable as hosting the nation’s greatest artists, writers, actors and musicians at the White House. Such events offer a reprieve from politics and partisanship. They bestow glamour on an administration. They are a routine part of the …

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Pop music is rejecting the piano. Why?

A SEARCH for the sound of acoustic piano in Billboard’s current Hot 100 yields few results. It is nowhere to be found in “I’m The One”, a collaboration between DJ Khaled and Justin Bieber (pictured), or among the digitised marimbas of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”. “Strip That Down”, an …

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The politics of cyberspace

The Virtual Weapon and International Order.  By Lucas Kello. Yale University Press; 319 pages; £25. To be published in America by Yale in September; $35. THE woes of international-relations theorists do not usually elicit public sympathy. But “The Virtual Weapon and International Order”, Lucas Kello’s lucid and insightful book on …

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A survey of power and politics in South-East Asia

Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia. By Michael Vatikiotis. Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 336 pages; £20. SOUTH-EAST ASIA is adorned by jungles, islands and gleaming skyscrapers. Home to more than 640m people, the variety of the region’s 11 countries defies most analytical attempts at clustering them together. …

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Britain’s generous post-war immigration policy

Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain. By Clair Wills. Allen Lane; 442 pages; £25. IN 1956 an airstrip was built on Montserrat. For the first time it was easy to fly to and from the Caribbean island; within five years 30% of its inhabitants had emigrated to …

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The many pitfalls of journalese

EVERY trade is also a tribe, and journalists are no exception. One way that tribes, from teens to programmers, signal membership of the group is through language. Hacks do the same. They write “hed” for headline, “lede” or “intro” for the first sentence in a story, “graf” for “paragraph”, “nut graf” for the core …

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Peter Hoeg’s new novel is a high-concept thriller

The Susan Effect. By Peter Hoeg. Translated by Martin Aitken. Harvill Secker; 352 pages; £16.99. IN A summer of nuclear threats and bluffs, a futurist thriller about looming global catastrophe will appeal to readers who like their holidays to contain a prickle of dread. Peter Hoeg, a Danish author who …

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How technology and capitalism shaped America after the civil war

The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896. By Richard White. Oxford University Press; 928 pages; $35. To be published in Britain by OUP in October. “THE Oxford History of the United States” is one of the great achievements of modern historical …

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How hip-hop is introducing children to coding and technology

WHEN Jamel Mims teaches young, lower-income minority students in New York, he doesn’t deploy traditional materials like a blackboard, a whiteboard or PowerPoint. He uses a microphone—turned up loud for politicised raps—and mobile phones with augmented-reality apps. Mr Mims’s “interactive hip-hop classroom” uses music as an entry point into discussions …