LONDON: Chocolate has long been synonymous with Valentine’s Day.

But rather than buying one of those heart-shape boxes with lots of mystery sweets inside for loved ones and friends, what if you made your own?

“Crafting candies is not just a sweet treat,” said Kirsten Fear, a Londoner taking a class at Melt, a chocolate shop in the Notting Hill neighborhood, “but it’s like weaving my affections and memories into each delicate piece.” Read more

LONDON/NAIROBI: Since earning her doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, 45, has focused on helping other women reach their educational and career goals in fields including agriculture, climate and technology through organizations like the AWARD fellowship program, which has been partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and U.S.A.I.D. Most recently, she has been working with Schmidt Futures to set up Black Women in Executive Leadership, to mentor and connect Black women globally and help organizations like the New York Stock Exchange make boardrooms more diverse. Born in Kenya, she lived, studied and worked in the United States, and now lives again in Kenya. Read more

Stockholm–For Abba fans, 2024 will mark a major milestone: 50 years since the Swedish quartet of Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus won Eurovision and went on to global superstardom with hits such as “Mamma Mia,” “Super Trouper” and “Dancing Queen.”

And since Eurovision — the exuberantly kitsch annual song contest organized by the European Broadcasting Union since 1956 — is to be held next year in Malmo, Sweden, there is sure to be some kind of tribute. Read more


PARIS: From the local parks, with their carefully plotted plantings and neatly clipped trees, to the turrets and spires and bridges along the Seine, Paris certainly can be inspiring.

It’s therefore no surprise that the French capital has proved to be a fertile source of inspiration for artists, from Renoir and van Gogh to Picasso, Man Ray and Modigliani.

When they weren’t wandering the city or holed up in their studios, these artists — as well as countless writers, designers and other creative types — took to Paris’s cafes, bars and brasseries to think, drink and draw.
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“Not a lot of democracy happening at the moment,” the BBC journalist Will Ross said on the radio in August about the situation across West and Central Africa while reporting on a postelection coup in Gabon. He cited a litany of examples across the region — Guinea, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Mali — where there have been coups or armed rebellions in the last two years.

And yet, despite concern for the region and worries about vote-rigging in recent elections in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, there are examples across the continent where democracy continues to prevail. Read more