Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London

January 31st, 2015 | General | No Comments »

© Schlaier

© Schlaier

The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s playing company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, on land owned by Thomas Brend and inherited by his son, Nicholas Brend and grandson Sir Matthew Brend, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642.

A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe“, opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet (230 m) from the site of the original theatre. From 1909, the current Gielgud Theatre was called “Globe Theatre”, until it was renamed in 1994.

Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse in the London Borough of Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames that was originally built in 1599, destroyed by fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614, and then demolished in 1644. The modern reconstruction is an academic approximation based on available evidence of the 1599 and 1614 buildings. It was founded by the actor and director Sam Wanamaker and built about 230 metres (750 ft) from the site of the original theatre and opened to the public in 1997, with a production of Henry V. The site also includes the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, an indoor theatre which opened in January 2014. This is a reconstruction of the Blackfriars Theatre, another Elizabethan theatre.

The reconstruction was carefully researched so that the new building would be as faithful a replica of the original as possible. This was aided by the discovery of the remains of the original Rose Theatre, a nearby neighbour to the Globe, as final plans were being made for the site and structure. Performances are engineered to duplicate the original environment of Shakespeare’s Globe; there are no spotlights, plays are staged during daylight hours and in the evenings (with the help of interior floodlights), there are no microphones, speakers or amplification. All music is performed live; the actors and the audience can see each other, adding to the feeling of a shared experience and of a community event.

Read more on Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Wikipedia Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

January 28th, 2015 | General | No Comments »

© Datastat/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Datastat/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA). Proponents say the agreement would result in multilateral economic growth. The American government considers the TTIP a companion agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After a proposed draft was leaked in March 2014, the European Commission launched a public consultation on a limited set of clauses. The US and European Union together represent 60% of global GDP, 33% of world trade in goods and 42% of world trade in services. Negotiations are held in week-long cycles alternating between Brussels and Washington. The negotiators hope to conclude their work in 2015. The 28 governments will then have to approve or reject the negotiated agreement in the EU Council of Ministers, at which point the European Parliament will also be asked for its endorsement. The EU Parliament is empowered to approve or reject the agreement. The TTIP Agreement texts are being developed by 24 joint EU-US working groups, each considering a separate aspect of the agreement.

Economic barriers between the EU and the US are relatively low, not only due to long-standing membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) but recent agreements such as the EU–US Open Skies Agreement and work by the Transatlantic Economic Council. The European Commission claims that passage of a trans-Atlantic trade pact could boost overall trade between the respective blocs by as much as 50%. However, economic relations are tense and there are frequent trade disputes between the two economies, many of which end up before the World Trade Organization. Economic gains of TTIP were predicted in the joint report issued by the White House and the European Commission. Some form of Transatlantic Free Trade Area had been proposed in the 1990s and later in 2006 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in reaction to the collapse of the Doha world trade talks. However, protectionism on both sides may be a barrier to any future agreement. It was first initiated in 1990, when, shortly after the end of the Cold War, with the world no longer divided into two blocs, the European Community (12 countries) and the US signed a “Transatlantic Declaration.” This called for the continued existence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as for yearly summits, biennial meetings between ministers of State, and more frequent encounters between political figures and senior officials. Subsequent initiatives taken by the European deciders and the US government included: in 1995, the creation of a pressure group of business people, the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) by public authorities on both sides of the Atlantic; in 1998, the creation of an advisory committee, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership; in 2007, the creation of the Transatlantic Economic Council, in which representatives from firms operating on both sides of the Atlantic meet to advise the European Commission and the US government – and finally, in 2011, the creation of a group of high-level experts whose conclusions, submitted on February 11, 2013, recommended the launching of negotiations for a wide-ranging free-trade agreement. On February 12, 2013, President Barack Obama called in his annual State of the Union address for such an agreement. The following day, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced that talks would take place to negotiate the agreement.

TTIP aims for a formal agreement that shall “liberalise one-third of global trade,” which they argue will create millions of new paid jobs. “With tariffs between the United States and the EU already low, the United Kingdom’s Centre for Economic Policy Research estimates that 80 percent of the potential economic gains from the TTIP agreement depend on reducing the conflicts of duplication between EU and US rules on those and other regulatory issues, ranging from food safety to automobile parts.” A successful strategy (according to Thomas Bollyky at the Council on Foreign Relations and Anu Bradford of Columbia Law School) will focus on business sectors for which transatlantic trade laws and local regulations can often overlap, e.g.: pharmaceutical, agricultural, and financial trading. This will ensure that the United States and Europe remain “standard makers, rather than standard takers,” in the global economy, subsequently ensuring that producers worldwide continue to gravitate toward joint US-EU standards.

A March 2013 economic assessment by the European Centre for Economic Policy Research estimates that such a comprehensive agreement would result in annual GDP growth of 68-119 billion euros by 2027 and annual GDP growth of 50-95 billion euros in the US in the same time frame. The 2013 report also estimates that a limited agreement focused only on tariffs would yield annual EU GDP growth of 24 billion euros by 2027 and annual growth of 9 billion euros in the US. If shared equally among the affected people, the most optimistic GDP growth estimates would translate into “additional annual disposable income for a family of four” of “545 euros in the EU” and “655 euros in the US,” respectively. In a Wall Street Journal article, the CEO of Siemens GmBH (with its workforce located 70% in Europe and 30% in the US) claimed that the TTIP would strengthen US and EU global competitiveness by reducing trade barriers, by improving intellectual property protections, and by establishing new international “rules of the road.” The European Commission says that the TTIP would boost the EU’s economy by €120 billion, the US economy by €90 billion and the rest of the world by €100 billion.

Read more on European Commission – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), United States Trade Representative – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and Wikipedia Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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