n.34 February 2011

The fall of the Lebanese government of Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri is a direct result of a UN-backed probe into the 2005 murder of his father. The investigation’s still-sealed results are expected to implicate Hezbollah, which long ago warned that outside “meddling” would only harden its militancy. . After 18 months of relative stability, Lebanon now faces the prospect of political chaos and tumult. . One thing is certain: Hezbollah is pulling the strings.

Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi has set most of his films in his native Kurdistan. He insists he turned to filmmaking not for love of the genre but to spread the cause of Kurdish independence. He compares Kurdistan to a girl who stepped on a landmine. But since he started making movies a decade ago, he’s won two special prizes from the Cannes Film Festival and earned international acclaim.

In an effort to make inroads in global trade, Italian businesses are revising their approach to competition. They are being assisted by data compiled by local and foreign-based chambers of commerce, whose recommendations have been broadcast nationwide. Not surprisingly, Italy’s leading competitor is China. For now, Italy is focusing on winning over and holding Mediterranean nations.

Following the 2001 release of his book “Armageddon averted: The Soviet Collapse,” Stephen Kotkin, director of the Russian Studies at Princeton University, continued probing the collapse of the Communist system.