New cities in the sand: inside Egypts dream to conquer the desert

Four decades ago Egypt embarked on the most ambitious new cities building programme in the world. Their boom shows no sign of stopping Seen from space, Africa. This week Guardian Cities meets the 90-year-olds who built the Bulgarian city of Dimitrovgrad after the second world war (many still live there) and visits the bizarre Bahria Town development promising Karachi residents protection from terror attacks and violent crime. We look at Hong Kongs plan to build artificial islands for 1.1 million people and examine Egypts dream to conquer the Sahara. We remember past visions of future cities and ask, is there ever a good reason to start a city from scratch? Nick Van Mead Was this helpful? Thank you for your …

‘I wouldn’t be the refugee, I’d be the girl who kicked ass’: how taekwondo made me

The long read: When she arrived in the US as a 10-year-old refugee, Dina Nayeri found it hard to fit in. But that all changed when she hatched a plan to get into Harvard by becoming a taekwondo champion When I was 13, three years after arriving in the US with my mother and brother, I devised a plan to get into the Ivy League. I was a refugee kid with no money and I lived in Iran, she had done horse-riding and tennis. But then the revolution happened, and her sporty body was draped and forgotten. Banned from public exercise, she took to pounding her ass against walls to get that chic, saddle-flattened effect of the late 70s. Sometimes …

Ending the Iranian sanctions waiver could be own goal for Trump

Preventing Irans oil from reaching the market will raise oil prices and US business costs The past two and a bit years have shown that it is naive to expect Donald Trumps strategic and economic policies to demonstrate coherence. Even so, the lack of joined-up thinking in the decision to end the those responsible for the attack also dealt a heavy blow to a Sri Lankan economy that is highly vulnerable to a collapse in the number of overseas visitors. Since the end of the civil war a decade ago, the number of people attracted by Sri Lankas mix of beaches, culture and wildlife has increased sixfold. Tourism accounts for a hefty 11% of national output. The number of visitors …

‘It will rock your house!’ Inside the Iranian electronic underground

Ten years ago, electronic music in Iran was suppressed by the government. But now these strange, often punishing sounds are finding their way into the world Ten years ago Bahman Ghobadis film holed up in underground studios, but today a new story is emerging: of a visionary music community now able to openly share its strange creations. Increasingly, Iran is becoming recognised as a hub for some of the worlds most vital, forward-thinking experimental music. Its affable prime mover is Ata Ebtekar, a long-celebrated figure in electronic music under his alias Sote, meaning sound in Farsi. His last album, 2017s Parallel Persia, led by the breathtaking single His first attempt to break Irans electronic music out of the country in …