Trump, Macron ‘bromance’ draws late night laughs in US

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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
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The “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians. (AFP)
Updated 25 April 2018
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Trump, Macron ‘bromance’ draws late night laughs in US

WASHINGTON: Firm handshakes, warm embraces, kisses, even a bit of grooming: the “bromance” between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron has provided plenty of material for America’s late night TV comedians.
“Trump and Macron have an interesting relationship,” comedian Jimmy Kimmel said on his talk show on ABC.
“Trump very much needs a friend, because most of his old ones are going to prison,” Kimmel said, in a reference to the US president’s legal woes.
“And Donald Trump, really, he cannot keep his hands off this guy,” Kimmel said before showing television clips of affectionate embraces between the pair.
One exchange which has drawn particular attention took place in the Oval Office, when Trump brushed off what he said was “dandruff” on Macron’s jacket.
“We have to make him perfect,” Trump said. “He is perfect.”
For Kimmel, tongue firmly in cheek, it was a “historic moment.”
“To the best of my knowledge, it was the first time a world leader ever publicly brushed dandruff off another world leader,” Kimmel said.

Several comedians contrasted the supposedly frosty relationship between Trump and his wife, Melania, to his warm friendship with Macron.
“Compared to holding hands with Melania, he and Macron just performed the kama sutra together,” said “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert on CBS. “Which one is he married to again?“
Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central said Macron “seems to have the recipe for handling Trump.”
“You could really feel that Macron was connecting with Trump,” Noah said. “And we all know that Trump is not the sentimental type.
“But clearly Macron made Trump feel a way he’s never ever felt before — human.”
“I know it’s a cliche but that’s a bromance,” Noah said. “That’s more affection than he’s ever shown Melania.”
Noah ended the segment with a mock black-and-white silent movie with a romantic soundtrack showing the Trump-Macron interactions which he called “L’affaire des Mains” — “The Affair of the Hands.”
Comedian Seth Meyers showed footage on his “Late Night” show on NBC of the 71-year-old Trump and 40-year-old Macron sharing an interminable handshake — similar to one the pair had shared last year.
“President Trump welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House at 5:15 p.m. this evening — and they are still shaking hands,” Meyers said.


Rare silk Qur’an helps preserve Afghanistan’s cultural heritage

Updated 23 May 2018
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Rare silk Qur’an helps preserve Afghanistan’s cultural heritage

  • Each of the Islamic holy book’s 610 pages was produced by hand in a painstaking process that took a team of 38 calligraphers and artists specializing in miniatures nearly two years to finish
  • Turquoise Mountain began work in 2006 in Kabul with the aim of preserving ancient Afghan craftsmanship, including ceramics, carpentry and calligraphy

KABUL: One of the only Qur’ans ever made from silk fabric has been completed in Afghanistan — a feat its creators hope will help preserve the country’s centuries-old tradition of calligraphy.
Each of the Islamic holy book’s 610 pages was produced by hand in a painstaking process that took a team of 38 calligraphers and artists specializing in miniatures nearly two years to finish.
Bound in goat leather and weighing 8.6 kilograms, the Qur’an was produced by Afghan artisans, many of them trained at British foundation Turquoise Mountain in Kabul.
“Our intention was to ensure that calligraphy does not die out in this country — writing is part of our culture,” Khwaja Qamaruddin Chishti, a 66-year-old master calligrapher, said in a cramped office inside Turquoise Mountain’s labyrinthine mud-brick and wood-paneled complex.
With the Qur’an considered a sacred text, calligraphy is highly venerated in Islam and Islamic art.
“When it comes to art we cannot put a price on it. God has entrusted us with this work (the Qur’an) ... and this means more to us than the financial aspect,” Chishti continued.
Using a bamboo or reed ink pen, Chishti and his fellow calligraphers spent up to two days carefully copying Qur’anic verses onto a single page — sometimes longer if they made a mistake and had to start again.
They used the Naskh script, a calligraphic style developed in early Islam to replace Kufic because it was easier to read and write.
The decoration around the script, known as illumination, was more time-consuming, each page taking more than a week to complete.
A team of artists used paint made from natural materials, including ground lapis, gold and bronze, to recreate the delicate patterns popular during the Timurid dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries in the western city of Herat.
“All the colors we have used are from nature,” Mohammad Tamim Sahibzada, a master miniature artist who was responsible for creating the vibrant colors used in the Qur’an, said.
Sahibzada said working on silk fabric for the first time was challenging. The locally sourced material — all 305 meters (1,000 feet) of it — was treated in a solution made from the dried seeds of ispaghula, or psyllium, to stop the ink from spreading.
Turquoise Mountain began work in 2006 in Kabul with the aim of preserving ancient Afghan craftsmanship, including ceramics, carpentry and calligraphy.
It hopes the silk Qur’an will generate demand for more handmade Islamic religious texts that could create employment for its artisans and help finance the institute.
“We will show it to other Islamic countries to see if it is possible to create job opportunities for graduates to work on another Qur’an,” said Abdul Waheed Khalili, the organization’s Afghan director.
For now, it will be kept in a specially made hand-carved walnut wooden box to protect its delicate pages from the elements at Turquoise Mountain’s offices, which are in the restored Murad Khani, a historic commercial and residential area in Kabul’s oldest district.
There Turquoise Mountain has trained thousands of artisans with the support of Britain’s Prince Charles, the British Council, and USAID.
“The copying of the Qur’an onto silk is very rare,” country director Nathan Stroupe said.
He said the project has been “an amazing way to train our students at an incredibly high level in a very traditional type of work.”
“If a book collector in London... was interested in it, we would be thinking in the $100,000 to $200,000 (price) range,” he added.