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Issue 2, March, 2013

Oldest Woman Skydives to Save Charity Dilys Price GAY MARRAGE couples’ dreams come true: Say it loud, I do! INTERVIEW: Cardiff ‘s Liberal Democrat Leader Judith Woodman

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for Cpnflict m s i l cia

o e s d Th e an ic t s ju es l a in W

Man vs Nature Gaget installed to avoid elephants


Issue 2, March, 2013

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LIFE360

CONTENTS ARC

03 360 VIEW: The Skyfall Debate - Smart hand guns 04 7QUESTIONS: Cardiff’s Liberal Democrat Leader WORLD IN BRIEFS

05 TECH SAVY: Gaget Installed to Avoid Elephants INTERSECTION

EDITOR’S LETTER

06 Oldest Women Skydives to Save Charity FEATURES

by Alice Tobin

08 The Fight For Justice and Socialism in Wales 10 Say It Loud, I Do !

Hello! This week’s issue is all about conflict, and that doesn’t just mean war. From the struggles of Socialist Party protestors to an 80 year-old that jumped out of a plane for charity, there are some amazing stories! We check out the latest films and books with poignant messages and the best battles, so you know what’s hot and what’s not. Hear how people are coming up with ingenious new ways to calm conflicts, from gadgets to guns. And gay marriage is now legal, so we’ve got some really touching stories from the couples who fought so hard for their dream of equality.

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12 A Song of Ice and Fire The Painting Review: The Lord of The Rings

13 Music Review: The Pianist Oringinal Soundtrack Album

Film Review: Detachment

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Issue 2, March, 2013

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The Skyfall Debate: Are Smart Guns a Smart Idea? Obama’s bid on making America’s streets safer Bond style The recent James Bond movie hit Skyfall has really shaken things up since it was first released last October, getting great reviews and advertising the latest in smart gun technology. “Only you can fire it,” says an agent to Bond, as the gun only recognises his fingerprints in order to shoot. The American society has been debating over smart gun technology research and its safety and practicalities for two decades. Since Obama’s new gun control development campaign last month, the realities of this research have been brought back onto the po-

litical table for further hopes of smart gun use. His administration hopes that an increase in research progress will “encourage the development of innovative gun safety technology,” in order to reduce gun violence. Many gun companies have been in the race for developing the best in smart gun technology for future use by Americans. The most notable researchers reside at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, who have been recently given more funding for research. Their smart gun idea depends

FOR

AGAINST

The hopes For defenders of the new identity sensors, smart guns would help prevent accidental shootings, particularly when gun access is had by young people and even minors, who don’t have legal permission to have them. The technology would potentially stop unauthorised access, when a gun is put in the wrong hangs, specifically if the gun has been stolen or when individuals are trying to attempt suicide. “We welcome any measures which enhance public safety and it seems that the US is now looking at gun crimes from a public health point of view,” states Chrissie Hall, a co-ordinator at Infer trust - a charity, which provides support and advice about gun crime. Gun control advocated centres have argued the view that an alarming amount of people have been seriously hurt or killed by unauthorised handgun use.

The myths

For many gun rights groups such as the Violence Policy Centre (VPC), the benefits of this technology are overstated. For them, it increases gun violence and does not prevent the sales of ordinary guns, which can be used by anybody. The smart gun research has been argued as just an excuse to promote consumerism, precisely as the market has been described as “saturated” and therefore increasing the prevalence of guns and crimes. The reduction in the number of suicides is considered more of a myth, particularly in reference to teenage suicides. The VPC Centre states that teenagers can get permission from their parents and gun manufacturers have stated that there can be more than one authorised user tapped into smart guns. What about the black market? The technology might be tampered with to allow unauthorised use.

by Bonnie Brown upon the use of biometric sensors found upon the gun grip that only identifies the authorised user’s behaviour to enable the gun to work. The sensors recognise how the user grips the gun, their hand movements and hand physiology. The best way to get around a debate is to inspect both sides of the argument and see which one fits your social views the best. For many American gun control centres such the Brady Gun Control Campaign, the use of this technology is a welcomed one.

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Planning of the biosensor design

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Prototype biosensor gun

Stage 3

Wires allow data transmittance from the biosensors of the grip to the trigger

Photos credited to the New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Issue 2, March, 2013

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7 Questions to Cardiff Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Judith Woodman

by Yvonne Qing

After the Cardiff ’s Labour administration published their draft budget, Councillor Judith Woodman launched a stinging attack on it. Life360 talks with her about her attack and own career.

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Between people’s interests and government’s financial needs, which one is more important?

All local authorities should be saving money wherever possible and can do so, without it affecting frontline services.

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What’s your opinion about political conflicts or disagreements.

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Why did you attack the Cardiff Council’s draft budget plan?

I attacked the proposed Labour budget because I feel it is slashing services unnecessarily. It is causing great stress and concern to organisations .Money is tight but the council had the largest settlement from welsh government for several years.

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What’s the biggest problem of that budget plan?

The biggest problem is the incompetence in drafting it. It has not been thought out.You will see when it comes to council on 28th of this month.

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For the government, is it possible to balance people’s interests and government’s financial needs?

All local authorities have a pot of money to provide services with. It is up to that authority to deliver services within those means. The use of reserves is prudent, but only in moderation.

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The life of a politician is often one of disagreement .That does not mean politicians cannot work across parties together. We all want to improve things and make life better for our residents ( at least that is what we should do ) The differences in how we do that is the problem.

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Is there any difference between male and female politicians when encounter conflicts?

No is my opinion. Women can put their case just as effectively as men and vice versa. However, when it comes to conflict, men tend to make more personal comments , and women more thought out and reserved getting thier point across. But both can shout, make barbed comments and politically score .

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Why did your choose to be a politician personally?

I chose to get involved with politics because of my children. I realised when they were very young that if I wanted things to change or improve , I had to speak out and take action to get it.

World Briefs Splott pool protest 150 citizens protested at the STAR Centre on Splott Road, including children and the elderly, against plans outlined in the council’s 2013/4 draft budget to close the Splott Pool to save £300,000 a year. by Yvonne Quing HP sued for euphemism Rock and roll singer Chubby Checker is suing HP over an app that used his name as a euphemism for penis size. Lawyers acting for the singer are seeking $500m (£323m) in compensation, saying the app has done “irreparable damage” to his reputation. by Vivian Liu Syria faces conflicts of rape Many women and girls relayed accounts of being attacked in public or in their homes, primarily by armed men. These rapes, sometimes by multiple perpetrators, often occur in front of family members. by Livia Ma International Film Festival starts Award-winning cinematography in Armenia depicts 9 films that underpin the lessons learnt from conflicts and reconciliation experienced around Eastern Europe. So, get travelling and don’t miss out! Festival dates: 13th February 2013 - 13th April 2013. by Bonnie Brown


Issue 2, March, 2013

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photo courtesy of Doug Wheller

Tech Savvy

Gadget invented to avoid elephants In India, there are places prone to man – animal conflict. Coimbatore Forest Division is one of them. Being close to 75 residence areas, there’s always conflicts between villagers and elephants as the last come to human habitations in search of food as well as water. Even though people have thought of many ideas to prevent them from entering in, such as setting up water holes or avoiding crops to be grown along the forest boundaries, etc., it will still take a long time resolving this conflict. To reduce the loss of human lives

and to alert the people in advance, the Forest Department is now planning to install a solar powered gadget. This machine will be set on buildings along the conflict prone area and will emit light for visibility at night besides a pre-recorded audio message cautioning people about the movement of elephants. The system could be activated by sending an SMS to the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card fixed in the machine which will trigger the warning system on receipt of an SMS. Therefore, forest officials and village heads will receive the

by Livia Ma messages from devices. Anti-depredation and anti-poaching watchers and forest personnel will keep monitoring the movement of elephants or herds and would send an SMS to the system. In addition, the message sent by the forest officials or his representatives could be circulated to the rest of the villagers by group SMS for dissemination of the information at a faster pace. It is likely to be installed within the next three to four months, before summer which is considered to be peak season of this conflict.

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Issue 2, March, 2013

INTERSECTION

You’re Never to Old to Skydive

80-year-old Dilys Price is the world’s oldest skydiver so when her charity suffered major fund cuts she decided to save it her way by Xiao Pu

Dilys Price is probably the most

energetic 80-year-old woman you’ll ever meet. She’s the world’s oldest woman skydiver, something she’s done more than 1100 times, and she still manages a charity. She works as the director of Touch Trust and recently launched a peaceful protest against Cardiff Council’s proposed slashing of her charity’s funds. Dilys said that several days ago, Touch Trust received a letter from Cardiff Council detailing that 100% of their funding (amounting to £15,000)

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would be withdrawn following new budget cuts. Various organizations including other charities are also suffering, though some are only seeing cuts at 10%(or more). “They’ve cut £50,000 funding which was half of our rent and without it, we’re desperate. We fundraise like mad and guarantee that no-one is turned away for lack of money but losing the funding means we have to fundraise an extra £50,000 for rent.” Dilys has just presented Cardiff council with a petition signed by 1365 supporters. She said if the council saw what they did, they would realise how essential it was to keep funding going and to continue to support them because Touch Trust gave so much to the community. Protesters gathered

outside the Cardiff County Hall playing saxophone, drums and singing outside the Cardiff County Hall. Apart from Dilys their supporters included the staff and users of the Cardiff-based charity Touch Trust, people in wheelchairs and mother swith babys also turned up to show their support for the organisation that helped so much. Unlike other protesters Dilys also organises skydiving trips in order to gather funds for Touch Trust together with other activities. “I wanted to create a ‘happiness centre’ for people with severe disabilities and give them the opportunity to experience exhilaration,” she said with a smile. After all her biggest hobby is diving from high altitudes. Something she


Issue 2, March, 2013

INTERSECTION

“I wanted to create a ‘happiness centre’ for people with severe disabilities and give them the opportunity to experience exhilaration.”

Dylis Price charity provides unique programmes for individuals with learning disabilities photo courtesy of Touch Trust

began at the age of 54 when she just got divorced and her life was in a rut. “I thought every day was a step nearer death, and my subconscious knew I had to do something drastic and exciting,” she said. “My students needed money for their charity, and I suggested it.” She was very nervous the first time she did skydiving. As she stepped towards the exit on the plane and saw the fields, she thought she was dying. The next second she was flying, and itblew her wide open. She was walking two feet off the ground for the rest of the day. Even after some occasions when she came down outside the dropzone,

and hit telegraph wire, fences, bushed and once a car which was stationary. However, these small accidents didn’t prevent Dilys from skydiving. She said it was the ultimate sense of freedom,“It kept me feeling alive and lively. It just blew me open to being sensitive to experiences”. She will do a jump next weekend by the way. If you are interested in supporting the Touch Trust charity you can contact them at: 02920635660 info@touchtrust.co.uk.

www.touchtrust.co.uk

About Touch Trust Touch Trust is a pioneering charity that offers unique creative movement programmes for individuals with learning disabilities, those affected by autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), complex needs, behaviour with challenges, and other vulnerable groups in the community. Many people have been progressed with its help. Dilys Price founded the Touch Trust in 1996 for the reason that she wanted to address the issue of discrimination and the inequality of people who were isolated and deprived of human rights and from the good things in society because of their differences.

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Issue 2, March, 2013

FEATURE

The Fight for

Justice and Socialism

In Wales by Ying Qing

I

t’s a sunny Saturday in Cardiff noisy and busy city centre, bursting with shopping-lovers, street artists and promoters. Sounds of laughing, talking, singing and guitar riffs help create an image of a prosperous capitalist UK. At the same time, banners, flyers and posters are playing more disharmonious sounds. Young people wearing equal t-shirts are distributing flyers with Justice! ,Socialism! printed on it. Some people just walk away; others get a step closer to see what happens. It’s the Socialist Party Wales, part of the Socialist Party of England as Wales fights capitalism injustices, plus homophobia and sexism by organizing a series of events and meetings in the upcoming International Women’s day. Far from physical conflict, it’s a conflict of ideology initiated by passions and ideal for justice and socialism. This passion

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could be easily found in the eyes of party members such as Joe Fathallah, who has worked for the party for more than 10 years. Fathalah is born and raised in Cardiff and joined the party at 18, he still remembers those days with excitement: “At the time I was extremely angry about the war in Iraq and

“We can be

the alternative”

felt we needed to change something about society to prevent such horrific violence and suffering in the world.” After discussing with party members, she began to understand the root cause of war and oppression is the conflict of capitalist powers over resources, which she describes as “something inevitable in an anarchic

market economy and something we need democratic economic planning like socialism to change.” Formally working as a software engineer, Fathalah is a branch secretary of the Party’s Cardiff branch responsible of organising campaign work and providing political leadership. She’s so dedicated to the cause she even provides a proportion of her income to support the party, altough she has never been a paid employee. When asked about the most valuable things she receives from this work, she says with a smile:” For me it’s a chance to change society to one without mass suffering and oppression.” Fathalah uses words like, “vital, essential, rewarding” to describe her over ten years’ work in the Socialist Party and describes appealing for socialism in a capitalist country something to be, “definitely proud of ”. She believes most people can see cap-


Issue 2, March, 2013

italism is failing to provide a decent standard of living to most people. “People are actively looking for an alternative, and we can be that.” The Socialist Party Wales and England is affiliated with the International Organization CWI (Committee for a Workers’ International). In the 1980s and 90s it was known as the Militant Tendency and campaigned for the Labour Party to return to its socialist roots. Now, they campaign for a new party of the working class in the Welsh Assembly, and claim to point the way towards a socialist change in Wales, Britain and beyond. As a part of Socialist Party in England and Wales, they share the same direction and the same national committee. However, they will focus on welsh issues. Louise Ganon, who comes from the French section of CWI, now is an organiser of the Party. She defines the party as both a formal politi-

FEATURE

“It is important for the party to be self-financed because we want to remain independent from any state or lobby pressure” cal party and a community. She says the Party is organized as a formal political party because they have a party constitution so that the party’s orientation can be discussed with all members. But the party also could be viewed as a community because of the involvement and close, friend-like links among party members. No matter it’s a political party or community, the base of existence is money. Where does the running

money come from? According to Louise Ganon, the party doesn’t receive any money from government or enterprises. “We could have some financial support from the government but we don’t want to. It is important for the party to be self-financed because we want to remain independent from any state or lobby pressure” She says. For her, the biggest difficulty for the Party is not money, but the antisocialist propaganda in the media. She says media will try to convince you that austerity is the only way and that socialism isn’t even possible. It obviously makes their work harder. The weekly activity will continue with passion. No matter what they can achieve finally, it’s been always good to have different things people can step to and look forward to.

UK Uncut Protest against banks and to save the NHS in Cardiff - photo by the Socialist Party

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Issue 2, March, 2013

FEATURE

Say it loud,

I do!

“I’m lucky that now Britain has given us this rights,” adds Mike, “Now we can say like an ordinary people that we are ‘married’.”

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ut on a white lace wedding dresses, hold a pinky Ballerina bouquet, walk along the aisle to join the hands with the love of your life, exchange the wedding rings and kiss each other with the blessing from families and friends. This is the perfect wedding Grace has dreamed of since she was 11. However, her dream has never came true until the equal marriage bill approved by parliament on 5 February 2013.

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Yes, Grace is one of those who came out of the closet and as many other people started looking for love. She met her life partner, Kelly in a Manchester bar five years ago and fell in love at first sight. Later that year, Kelly moved to Cardiff with her and they got a civil partnership. “I’ve always been dreaming about marriage, so I never thought I could accept a civil partnership,” says Grace with a smile.

She remembers her sister’s wedding when she was a little girl. That wedding was beautiful and getting married became her birthday wish. Taking out a pink notebook with roses on the cover, her wedding planner, which she explans contains lots of wedding details she has been planning for years. She has never thought that one day she would actually use it. Even when she met Kelly and wanted a family


Issue 2, March, 2013

FEATURE

with her, she could do nothing but settle for a civil partnership, but it’s not a marriage. “Sometimes I don’t understand,” says Grace, “all my friends and sisters can get married and married, but I cannot get married even once.” As Britain becomes the 14th country to allow gay marriage, Kelly and Grace are excited that they can finally get a wedding and be a true family. “We already got engaged when we heard about the bill last year,” adds Kelly, “now we are preparing the wedding for June”. Here comes the Grooms Kelly and Grace are not the only case. Mike and Bert from gay chorus of Wales are also planning a wedding. Mike and Bert have known each other for 15 years, but they’ve been together for only two years. They established their relationship in one performance in Cardiff and a year later, they got a civil partnership. They say their families have been very supportive towards it. Still, they want a proper marriage. They were delighted when they heard that the UK had finally approved the equal marriage bill. “Getting married means a lot to us,” says Bert, “when we got our civil partnership, we only planned a mute celebration. But now, we can tell the world and all of our friends, we love each other. ” They plan to get married in May, and it’s going to be a big wedding. They’ve already invited all of their friends and families, hired a band, ordered a buffet to serve lovely dishes and invited all other members of the chorus to be their best men. Oh, and they are going to have a dance in the afternoon sunlight. They have also planned their entire life as married men. They will continue to sing and work together and

photo taken by Philippe Leroyer

“Getting married means a lot to us,when we got our civil partnership, we only planned a mute celebration. But now, we can tell the world and all of our friends, we love each other. ” -Bert hope to adopt a child next year. “I’m lucky that now Britain has given us this rights,” adds Mike, “Now we can ordinarily say that we are ‘married’.” While it’s important for Mike and Bert to speak out, Alfred and William remain the love between themselves. Not for everyone Alfred met William online last year and they have been together ever since. They are not that excited towards the equal marriage bill. “We are happy with our current

situation. For now, we don’t have any plans of marriage,” says Alfred. Their relationship is more independent. Both of them have decent jobs and they always have a bit of fun in the weekends. “We are enjoying our lives and don’t want to rush it,” William smiles. Even though it means a lot for them to have a marriage bill like that, it doesn’t mean it is equality. “We appreciate that it is a big progress for us to have equal marriage rights in the law, but somehow our rights are still not the same as others’, ” adds William. Overall, it is still a progress and delightful news for those who came out. Now Grace’s dream has finally come true. She has ordered a white wedding dress just as she pictured when she was a child. Finnaly her birthday wish will come true.

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Issue 2, March, 2013

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BOOK REVIEW: A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE

With the publishing of Chapter V: a

Dance with Dragon, the novel series A song of Ice and Fire come to the new top of the whole story. Written by George R.R. Martin named as one of 100 people affected the world by Time in 2012. A Song of Ice and Fire series not only bring the author fame and honor, but also present a medieval fantasy world to the global read-

Photo by Purple Pawn

For details of the book series: http://www.amazon.com/SongIce-Fire/lm/RB8ASMCD6Q64X

ers. Kingdoms, houses, warriors, wizards, knights, lords, even kings and queens are all playing the game of thrones with their blades, magic, skills, words, schemes, faith or anything their have for gold, honor, power, or just for one’s own life. The series have been adapted into the TV series for 2 seasons by HBO and the third one is in coming. There will be a new trend for fans of A Song of Ice and Fire. Now let’s enjoy the five chapters of banquet first and look forward for the next chapters to fulfill this achievement ever since The Lord of the Rings.

Photos taken from ging.weibo.com

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PAINTING REVIEW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Here are some beautifully done

stained glass style re-imaginings some Lord of the Rings scenes. Whether it is the icon of A trip into Moria, The welcome from Lothlorien or any other scenes, they give an enchanting portrayal of this pop-culture story. Furthermore, each of the paint-

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ings do tell details of these scenes, making even hard-core fans swoon. All of them are done by a talented artist named Jian Guo from China. In addition to the classic scenes of trilogy, there is a special portrayal of A long adventure with the Hobbit containing the content that the

latest film The Hobbit has unlocked. Through the legendary conflict between heroes and evils, these paintings recall the memory of words we have read in the novels and watch in the movies.


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MUSIC REVIEW: THE PIANIST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ALBUM

Among all the languages all over the world, music is the only common word flowing into everyone’s heart. Carrying on the conflict theme, we would like to talk about the original soundtrack from the The Pianist. Directed by Roman Polanski, this movie tells the story of Władysław Szpilman, a Polish pianist during World War II. The album is arrowing. It reminds you immediatly of his tragic life thanks to Chopin’s works. Scenes flash back together with a sigh of shame, injustice, the fear of death and the tears for lost love. All tragedies of the war are contained in this album, allowing audiences’ hearts to beat along to its sad

melody and rhythm. Above all, the album of The Pianist is far more than a collection but a rare experience you may never have before. It has three versions with a 150 minutes run time.

creative property of Sony

To buy the album go to: http://www.amazon.com/PianistDisc-Limited-Soundtrack-Edition/dp/B00009KO09

Year: 2012 Director: Tony Kaye Run Time: 97 min Country: USA Cast: Adrien Brody, James Caan, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu 80%

FILM REVIEW: DETACHMENT Photo by impawards/2012

Adrien Brody won the best ac-

tor Oscar for his role in The Pianist but his performance in his latest film Detachment is really worth a look. The main theme of the film is the relationship between teachers and students. Different from Dead Poets Society, Detachment advocates salvation rather than liberation. In this film, Adrien acts as a teacher struggling between the conflicts with boys and girls lacking of care and guidance in a community school.

He witnesses the young losing themselves in drugs, gangs, abuses, feeling his own soul corrupted by the despair of youngsters ruining themselves, untill a young girl rushed into his life. You may feel confused why such

a depressive story has a name as ‘detachment’. Actually it indicates a very way of salvation far away from violence, greed, discrimination or any other personal conflicts.

For more information of the film http://detachment-film.com/

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Timothy Holmes

Bonnie Brown Ying Qing Xiao Pu Yuan Ma Wei Liu

Alice Tobin Amber Tong Narumol Trachoo Yixiao Wang Yiwen Liu

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Nelson Moura Jingdan Dai Zhishu Feng Jing Liu

Jane Bentley Simon Willaims


‘‘“Conflict is the great ill of mankind; and tolerance is the only remedy” Voltaire 15

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Life360, second issue of 2013