Ai Weiwei creates Blenheim art show

The exhibition will showcase more than 50 artworks by Ai Weiwei produced over the last 30 years


The UK’s biggest exhibition of works by Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has been put together at Blenheim Palace with the help of 3D technology

The BBC’s David Sillito goes behind the scenes at Blenheim Palace

One of the most visually striking pieces is He Xie (2010), which features 2,300 small porcelain crabs piled on the floor of a stately drawing room

The show features Marble Surveillance Camera (2010) and 55 photographs documenting Ai’s time spent in New York from 1983 to 1993

Mr Frahm said setting up the exhibition had involved a lot of trips to Beijing as well as emails and Skype conversations.

By integrating the works into the palace, we are trying to give an insight into how contemporary art can look in a 300-year old building he said.

Speaking to the BBC in Beijing, Ai Weiwei said his inability to leave China meant he had to prepare for the exhibition remotely.

I had to study a lot of materials, site plans and most of all the history he said.

The artist added that his background as an architect came to the fore with his project.

The Ai Weiwei show is the first major contemporary art exhibition to be presented at Blenheim Palace, which dates back to 1704.

The home of the Duke of Marlborough, it was famously the birth place of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in 1874.

The duke’s son, Lord Edward Spencer Churchill, founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, said the inaugural exhibition was the culmination of long-held dream

He told the BBC: One struggles to find a more profound or interesting artist than Ai Weiwei and we’re very honoured to have him here

He said exhibiting contemporary art was important to help Blenheim Palace retain its relevance

I think we’ve become a society which has become too typecast. Whether it’s mixing your friends or mixing art, it makes for a much more interesting dynamic when you take things from different backgrounds and put them together.”

He added: “This is not a revenue-generating exercise. Visitors are not being charged anything extra to come and see the Weiwei show. If it can widen our audience and our appeal, that will be great.”

An outspoken critic of the Chinese government, Ai Weiwei was detained for almost three months without charge in 2011. After he was released, he was accused of tax evasion and fined 15m yuan ($2.4m, £1.5m).

As part of his bail conditions, the Chinese authorities imposed a foreign travel ban on the artist.

Blenheim’s Ai Weiwei show comes at the same time as a major exhibition in Manchester showcasing the work of artists from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Harry Liu, editor-in-chief of contemporary art magazine Artzip, which operates in both the UK and China, said some visitors to Blenheim might struggle to understand the political messages in Ai’s work.

He also said there was more to Chinese contemporary art than just the work of Ai Weiwei.

“People also need to look at the new young generation of artists because they represent more interesting artwork and come from a different political situation.”

The Blenheim Palace exhibition opens to the public on 1 October.

Iran Happy dancers given 91 lashes

The participants were shown on state television saying they had been duped into taking part


Six Iranians arrested for appearing in a video dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy have been sentenced to up to one year in prison and 91 lashes, their lawyer says.

The sentences were suspended for three years, meaning they will not go to prison unless they reoffend, he adds.

The video shows three men and three unveiled women dancing on the streets and rooftops of Tehran.

In six months, it has been viewed by over one million people on YouTube.

The majority of people involved in the video were sentenced to six months in prison, with one member of the group given one year, lawyer Farshid Rofugaran was quoted by Iran Wire as saying.

The “Happy we are from Tehran” video was brought to the attention of the Iranian authorities in May, after receiving more than 150,000 views.

Members of the group behind the video were subsequently arrested by Iranian police for violating Islamic laws of the country, which prohibit dancing with members of the opposite sex and women from appearing without a headscarf

They later appeared on state-run TV saying they were actors who had been tricked into make the Happy video for an audition

The arrests drew condemnation from international rights groups and sparked a social media campaign calling for their release.

Williams, whose song was nominated for an Oscar earlier this year, also protested at the arrests.

“It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” he wrote on Facebook.

Strip Russia of World Cup – Clegg

Fifa president Sepp Blatter met Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the World Cup in Brazil


Russia should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup as part of tougher sanctions following the plane crash in eastern Ukraine, Nick Clegg has said.

The UK deputy prime minister told the Sunday Times it was “unthinkable” that Russia should host the football event.

Pro-Russian separatist rebels have been accused of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines jet. Russia has suggested it could have been the Ukraine military.

World football governing body Fifa has rejected calls to change the 2018 host.

Responding this week after some German politicians called for Russia to be boycotted, Fifa said the 2018 tournament could be a “force for good”.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in eastern Ukraine on 17 July, killing all 298 people on board.

Western nations have accused Russia of arming rebels who allegedly shot down the plane, which Moscow denies.

On Friday the EU extended its sanctions list targeting Russians linked to the separatist uprising, taking the number of individuals and entities subject to asset freezes and travel bans past 100.

Mr Clegg said a package of measures was needed to put pressure on Russia, but the threat of withdrawing the World Cup would be “a very potent political and symbolic sanction”.

“If there’s one thing that Vladimir Putin cares about, as far as I can see, it’s his sense of status,” he said.

“Maybe reminding him that you can’t retain the same status in the world if you ignore the rest of the world, maybe that will have some effect on his thinking.”

Mr Clegg said world leaders would look “so weak and so insincere” if the World Cup was allowed to go ahead in Russia without a change of course from President Putin.

“Vladimir Putin himself has to understand that he can’t have his cake and eat it,” the Liberal Democrat leader said.

“He can’t constantly… push the patience of the international community beyond breaking point, destabilise a neighbouring country, protect these armed separatists in the east of Ukraine and still have the privilege and honour of receiving all the accolades in 2018 for being the host nation of the World Cup.”

He added: “You can’t have this – the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”

Mr Clegg also said Russia should not host a Grand Prix in October, but Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said it will go ahead as planned.

Mr Clegg did not rule out the UK as a potential alternative host for 2018 – saying the country had the required stadiums, infrastructure and “enthusiasm”.

But he said his call was not a “British land grab to snatch the World Cup from under Vladimir Putin’s nose”.

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said there was “no indication yet that the prime minister will echo Mr Clegg’s call”.

But the comments were “another example of increasingly strident diplomatic language, as Britain demands the Russian government use its influence to secure unfettered access for investigators to the wreckage of flight MH17”, our correspondent said.

Irishman shot dead in Spanish bar

The victim was shot dead by two men in a bar in Elviria near Marbella


(www.sextuality.com) — A 45-year-old Irishman has been shot dead in a suspected gangland killing in a bar on the Costa del Sol in Spain.

Gerard Kavanagh, from Dublin, was shot several times in an Irish bar in the suburb of Elviria, near Marbella, on Saturday evening.

Two gunmen wearing balaclava masks walked into the bar and fired several shots at Mr Kavanagh.

Following the incident, the victim was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A burnt-out BMW was found nearby shortly after the shooting.

Spanish and Irish police and Interpol officers are investigating the killing

England v Norway

Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

Everton’s John Stones will make his first start for England in Wednesday’s friendly against Norway at Wembley.

Exciting times for England  Rooney

The young ones have to step up to the plate and make certain they don’t let themselves down

Wednesday’s game will be England’s first since the disappointing World Cup campaign in Brazil, where they were knocked out at the group stage.

We’ve only been together since Sunday evening and we seem to have crammed an awful lot into that period of time added Hodgson, who is preparing for his third qualifying campaign as England boss.

I get the feeling the players can’t wait.

After facing Norway, England begin their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in Switzerland on Monday.

Tottenham full-back Rose, Chelsea defender Cahill and Arsenal midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain took part in a recovery session on Monday after sustaining minor injuries while playing for their clubs at the weekend, but will be fit for Wednesday.

However Foster will also miss the Switzerland game, although his club says it is “optimistic” the injury suffered on England duty is not a serious one.

P11 W6 D3 L2

Biggest win: Norway 0-6 England; 14 May 1937

The Norway game will be watched by the lowest crowd for an international fixture at the new Wembley, with an expected gate of between 35,000 and 40,000.

Both Hodgson and his new captain, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, said it was a “good crowd” but acknowledged the team’s performance at the World Cup had affected the attendance figure.

You look around Europe and we will have one of the biggest crowds said Rooney, 28

We didn’t do well at the World Cup – it’s a backlash from that. We want to make sure we are trying to give everything we can to win the game

Norway will be facing England in London for the first time in 20 years.

Defender Vegard Forren said it would be scary facing the Three Lions forward line, although he thought Rooney was looking a bit chubby

The Molde player added: “They’re obviously good players, and many of them are on good form already after three games in the Premier League, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Myanmar census shows 9m shortfall

Full details of the census, including data on the country’s ethnic groups, will be released next year


Myanmar’s first census in more than 30 years has revealed that the country has 9 million fewer people than it thought.

The country’s last national survey was in 1983 and until now the government had estimated that the total population was about 60 million.

But figures released on Friday from a census conducted in March and April says the population is just 51 million.

The sensitive count caused tension after officials banned some people from choosing their own ethnicity.

State-run television announced the preliminary results and said a complete set of results would be released next year, which will include data on the country’s ethnic groups and religions.

Jonah Fisher, the BBC’s Myanmar correspondent, says the tally went smoothly, except in some areas of the western state of Rakhine.

An estimated 800,000 members of a long-persecuted Muslim minority were denied the right to identify themselves as Rohingya, our correspondent says.

The United Nations, which helped Myanmar, also known as Burma, with the survey, had called for all Burmese to be allowed to choose their own ethnicity, but officials refused.

The government insists the Muslim Rohingya are illegal migrants from Bangladesh and calls them Bengalis.

Some isolated parts of northern Kachin state were not counted during the census because they are controlled by ethnic rebels.