united kingdom

As series of spectacular pavilions is taking shape in Shanghai for the 2010 expo, and Thomas Heatherwick’s design for the UK is no exception, but what message is it sending out? Even if you take the view that Expos are a waste of money and of no intellectual value, they remain hugely popular as nation-branding exercises.

World fairs are a good laboratory for experimenting with architecture and the upcoming expo in China is no exception. Thanks to computer-aided design, pavilions that resemble giant dandelions and baskets are fabulous buildings that 'look like they can't be built.'

Scientific links between the UK and Japan have been boosted by the announcement of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's ( BBSRC ) latest Japan Partnering Awards.

While few see any evidence of an actual rivalry between the two sides, it's possible that the combined damage to the relationship caused by the 2003 Iraq War and then the global financial crisis in 2008 has altered the way the major players view each other.

Thirty students from the UK will be among the 30,000-strong volunteer force for the Commonwealth Games in October this year.

Welcome to the brave new world of blogger ambassadors. Two years after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) tentatively launched a web platform for digitally minded staff, 30 diplomats now write blogs. Last week Turner became the latest UK ambassador to join the burgeoning blogroll; he rubs virtual shoulders with our chaps in Egypt and China and our woman in Guatemala.