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Ai Weiwei helped design China’s striking “bird’s nest” stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and is known for his continued and stinging criticism of China’s record on human rights.  Ai was arrested and detained for 81 days last year and is accused of economic crimes. His supporters believe he has actually been targeted for his activism.

In his first major North American broadcast interview since his release (and one he gave at great personal risk as he is forbidden from speaking with foreign media), Ai speaks candidly and pointedly with Q host Jian Ghomeshi about corruption and abuse in China’s judicial system, its record on human rights — and he is highly critical of countries like Canada who continue to do business with China without holding the country to account in these areas.

(Photo: Ai Weiwei, CBC’s Q)

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Angelina Jolie answers the question: “Before the days of CGI, were you or directors ever concerned about the visibility of your tattoos?” — on Studio 360.

Jolie has the coordinates of her children’s birthplaces on her arm, a Buddhist Pali incantation on her shoulder blade, a cross on her hip, a rune on her wrist, a tiger on her lower back… the list goes on.

(Photo: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. By Georges Biard)

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Who’s the best model of the politically engaged writer? George Orwell, said the late Christopher Hitchens.

According to Hitchens, Orwell got it right about imperialism, fascism and communism.  In this archival interview on To the Best of Our Knowledge, Hitchens tells Steve Paulson that Orwell opposed all of them at a time when most intellectuals ignored the contradictions of the Left. 

(Photo: George Orwell’s press card portrait taken in 1933. From Branch of the National Union of Journalists (BNUJ))

[Exclusive Audio] To the Best of Our Knowledge’s Anne Strainchamps was granted an exclusive interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, currently under house arrest in London. Assange does not have access to high speed internet, or the best in phone lines, and had to conduct this interview via cell phone, outside on a windy day.

(Photo by Flickr user espenmoe (cc))