‘Ground Zero’ for Homophobia

Princess Kate, under wraps. Tim Rooke / Getty Images-pool

A Closer Look

The sartorial irony could not have been more delicious: on the day after news broke that a French magazine was set to publish a paparazzo’s snapshot of a topless Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, she was photographed more heavily draped than at any other time in her charmed life. Even as Kate and her husband, Prince William, filed a suit against the magazine, Closer, alleging a “grotesque” invasion of privacy, the royal couple paid a visit to the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day diplomatic waltz through Southeast Asia. In deference to local sensibilities, the princess wore a long white full-sleeved dress with an Islamic pièce de résistance, a gauzy white headscarf, thereby offering an image that is as demure as the picture in Closer is (one presumes) unabashed.

Cartoon Democracy

Aseem Trivedi is a political cartoonist who specializes in provocation, a trait not rare in his tribe. In one of his works that passed judgment on the rampant corruption in the Indian Parliament, Trivedi, 25, replaced the three lions that make up India’s national symbol with wolves. This so incensed the Mumbai police—more intent on upholding India’s reputation as an intolerant democracy than Trivedi’s constitutional rights—that they arrested Trivedi, charging him with “sedition.” After he refused to post bail, Trivedi was locked up, spending a few days behind bars before the Mumbai High Court ordered his release. The court rebuked the police witheringly, if awkwardly: “How can you arrest people on frivolous grounds? Today you attacked a cartoonist, tomorrow you will attack a filmmaker and then a writer.”

Ugandan Affairs

A descendent of three British prime ministers has been jailed in Kampala for producing a play sympathetic to homosexuality. The producer, David Cecil—named after his grandfather, the historian Lord David Cecil—was arrested for “disobeying lawful orders,” which required him to get government permission before staging a performance with gay themes. The play, called The River and the Mountain, is a tragicomedy about a businessman who is hacked to death by his employees after they discover that he is homosexual. For much of the play, the protagonist is put through various quixotic “cures” by well-wishers, including his mother, who takes him to a stripper in an attempt to lure him in a heterosexual direction. Uganda is ground zero for homophobia: homosexuality is illegal, and a bill imposing a life sentence for “aggravated homosexuality” is pending in Parliament. Cecil faces two years in prison.

All Grown Up

With remarkably little fanfare outside its own borders, Kosovo joined the ranks of the world’s sovereign nations last week after the International Steering Group—comprising Western powers and Turkey—declared that its role as the fledgling country’s political chaperone was at an end. “The supervision of Kosovo is finished,” said Pieter Feith, a Dutch diplomat who is the highest international representative in Kosovo. While Kosovo’s prime minister described its acquisition of full sovereignty as a “historic turnaround,” Serbia—the country from which Kosovo split so sulfurously—was predictably grumpy. “For us,” fumed Serbia’s prime minister, “the question of Kosovo is not resolved until it becomes Serbia.”

Deutsche Über Alles

int-notebook-NB30-bankers Jain and Fitschen: prudent bankers. Arne Dedert / AFP-Getty Images

Barack, Angela, François, and Mariano can learn a lot from the new co-CEOs of Deutsche Bank. Jürgen Fitschen and Anshu Jain—the latter, remarkably, a vegetarian, non-German-speaker from India—have issued a new mission statement for this very German bank: They are taking the ax to the engorged bureaucracy built up during the fat years pre-recession. They found that almost 70 percent of their staff never talked to customers, and that Deutsche’s investment bank had 700 profit centers—teams of people trying to maximize their own profit without regard for the bank’s overall risk profile. Not even two CEOs can manage such a gaggle of groups, so they will be slashed. Cut costs as well as risk: a lesson for politicians worldwide.

With Luke Darby and Jane Teeling