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Home 2013 January

Sunday, 20 January 2013

  • Editorial: Politics and patience are the right response
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    Not just the tone, but actual phrases, seemed eerily reminiscent of the former US President George Bush as he waged his "war on terror" and of our former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, as he warned with false certainty about the threat from Iraq. There...

  • Obama must seize the chance to make history
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    The President has learnt a lot, not least how intractable are the partisan, interest group-driven ways of Washington. He will not repeat his first-term mistake of making only small use of the famous presidential bully-pulpit, in the misguided belief...

  • Editorial: A warning to Chancellor Merkel
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    The Social Democratic Party's choice of candidate, the former Finance Minister, Peer Steinbrück, is seen as presenting less of a threat to Ms Merkel than the former Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, would have done, had he thrown his hat in...

  • Editorial: A dilemma that won't go away
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Sir David points out that some 40 per cent of all patients in the average general hospital now have dementia. Yet, this growing body of often confused people find themselves all but abandoned in the alien environment of modern hospitals that "are fa...

  • Editorial: Caution, Mr Cameron, caution
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    As the 10th anniversary of the disaster of the Iraq war approaches, and as British troops are still taking casualties in our long overstayed mission in Afghanistan, how uncanny it is to hear a British prime minister using such similar words with onl...

  • Obama's inauguration: No more Mr Nice Guy!
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    As for Michael Ayers, the Architect of the Capitol who has been in charge of inauguration planning for a year now, he is praying that tomorrow's big day won't be thrown into turmoil by a last-minute fall of snow. But no need to worry. No white stuff ...

  • Musicians of Mali fight for nation's soul
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    This is a tragic twist for a people whose faith revolves around the more tolerant strands of Sufism. For all its poverty, Mali has traditionally been open to outsiders. It is a nation where women are prominent and musicians more closely entwined with...

  • A short history of modern manners
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Etiquette is essentially a veneer, a gloss of cosmetic excellence. It is a subject that prompts tittering on two counts: some of us titter at other people's faux pas, and some of us titter at the very idea of such finishing-school flummery.I am put i...

  • Don't go to war over a band of zealots
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    There will be those who will feel that the bloodbath in the Algerian desert is justification enough for Britain to be backing the French military intervention in Mali. This is, we have been told, al-Qa'ida Mark III. First was Osama bin Laden's origin...

  • Will practice make perfect for the PM?
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Cameron, on the other hand, has recently completed his 10,000 hours of practice at being Prime Minister. Assuming he does 12 hours a day before settling down to what he calls "a bit of back to back", watching consecutive episodes of The Killing, two-...

  • Editorial: A welcome unintended consequence
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    They could hardly have been more wrong, it turns out. Indeed, the number of children admitted to hospital with severe asthma plummeted in the year after the ban was introduced, according to researchers at London's Imperial College. Even hardened nic...

  • Radio 4 want Will Self as writer-in-residence. But becoming a national treasure carries a heavy price
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    The idea, says the station’s controller, Gwyneth Williams, is that Radio 4 should become “a playground for creative minds”. A resident writer, popping up on the Today programme, writing blogs and stories, would bring with him a spirit of independence...

  • Modern retail crime is hardly Les Miserables, but people are still pilfering food for hungry children
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    I hold the theory that eventually only shoe shops will remain, because it is simply less trouble to try shoes on, even in the face of a bored 19-year-old who can proffer either the right size or the right colour, but not the combination of both. The ...

  • George Entwistle and Sir Jeremy Heywood demonstrate the dangers of narrow professional experience in our highest public servants
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    Sir Jeremy was asked this: “You have said, Sir Jeremy, that it was not your role to investigate the police, but if you came across any evidence in this or any other case whereby there is questionable evidence of statements that have been made, do you...

  • Prince Harry is a tabloid hero - and not just because they're going to plaster him across the front pages
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    Tomorrow is a doubly good news day for the tabloids. Not only do they get to cover their front pages with their favourite war hero, as the media blackout over his latest tour of duty is lifted, the hero himself has also confessed to being an avid rea...

  • Now that's what I call a special relationship: why the alliance between France and Germany is strong
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    German officials protested that this was the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, signed by Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle: it forms the bedrock of the strategic alliance between two nations which had fought three wars against each other ove...

  • Europe and terror: as Cameron moves onto dangerous terrain, he is lucky to have a Foreign Secretary with experience but no political ambition
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    He could not have been farther away, as foreign policy soared to the top of the political agenda; and, quite a lot of the time, his political mind could not be more removed from the hyperactivity and multi-layered calculations of ambitious senior min...

  • If you ask me... January is the cruellest month for a lady and her self-esteem
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    I dragged my wrong body, which is so wrong it is technically known as “wrongedy wrong wrong”, around Asda just this morning, and it was no fun whatsoever. My wrongedy wrong wrong body could barely keep up and just mooched, flabbily. I wanted to punch...

  • Why the French believed they had no choice but to intervene in Mali’s war
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    But in the past 10 days, Mali has leap-frogged to the top of the news bulletins and the list of crises facing Western governments. Why?According to Paris, and now London, northern Mali threatens to become a Taliban state on Europe’s doorstep. A loose...

  • As Barack Obama is inaugurated again, shouldn't we Brits be feeling a little embarrassed by all this?
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    The Presidential Inauguration (and I was lucky enough to be there four years ago), is far more than a celebration of the man taking the oath. It is a huge public affirmation of everything Americans, and citizens of democratic countries value above al...

  • War rape: The forgotten pandemic sweeping Syria
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    Has anyone noticed the lack of media interest in war rape in Syria? How many people are aware that rape is a widespread and systematic practice in Syria? Are such heinous sex acts not newsworthy enough? Or is war rape unreported because war rape in S...

  • Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: Coping with an empty nest
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    Virginia says...The pain that can be caused by a child leaving home for good can’t be over-estimated. Obviously a lot depends on what kind of mother you are. If you’ve been a working mum and the child’s been independent for some time, it’s not so ago...

  • Save the Royal Institution! Why selling this historic Mayfair building would be a betrayal of our heritage
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    Our peerless Science Editor, Steve Connor, reported the discovery that “human DNA can naturally wrap itself into a different shape – a quadruple helix – in a breakthrough that could point the way to new cancer treatments”. Apparently the quadruple DN...

  • POLL: Would you agree to give birth to a Neanderthal baby in the name of science?
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    Professor George Church, one of the world's leading geneticists, believes his reconstruction of Neanderthal DNA has progressed to the point where it would be possible to put theory into practice and bring the ancient hominid back to life. He told Ger...

  • BBC4's superb documentary about Glen Campbell reminded me of the singing career I never had
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    That doesn't stop me trying, however, and I have discovered that the art of pub singing is less about reaching the notes, more about remembering the words. And thankfully I have a good memory. I have even been committed to vinyl: a few years ago, a f...

  • The Manti Te'o mystery: Why does Notre Dame care more about a fictional dead girl than a real one?
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    The internet at large has announced Te’o a hero, sharing sympathies, and the Notre Dame administration has rallied round him to offer their support. The athletic director of the college took part in a 40-minute-long press conference yesterday, during...

  • You call this snow?: The Coldest Winters in British History
    Monday, 21 January 2013

     Some older readers may remember The Big Freeze of '63. December 1962 began with the last Great Smog before the Clean Air Act came into effect. As if that wasn't bad enough, a cold easterly wind blew in from Scandinavia on the 22nd and didn't let up ...

  • 10 Things You Didn't Know About Mega and Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom
    Monday, 21 January 2013

    1. Born Kim Schmitz in Kiel, Germany, Dotcom legally changed his surname to Dotcom in 20052. In January 2012, Dotcom appeared in court in New Zealand regarding allegations from US prosecutors that his site MegaUpload had cost it's victims $500m in pi...

  • Editorial: When the snow lay round about
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Not that you'd ever imagine that from our panicky reaction. Each year, the same relatively light dusting of snow elicits the same response: panic-buying in shops, shutdowns of railway lines and airports and that old staple, "traffic chaos" on iced-u...

  • The polar bear is a beast that taps into our primitive fear of the ultimate predator
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    When hunting was banned in Norway and Russia, polar bear populations there were under real pressure – since the bans, populations have recovered. Some leading experts say that hunting may currently be an even greater threat to the polar bear than cl...

  • Algeria, Mali, and how the murder of hostages shows our leaders play into the hands of Islamists
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Sure, class and race meant some had more than others. But when caught in such a grisly drama, all such distinctions must dissolve, burn off. Grief too will be shared between high and low as families mourn. They are united in agony and turmoil. Ours i...

  • British politics urgently needs a new force - a movement on the Left to counter capitalism's crisis
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    This might all sound parochial, the obscure goings-on out on the fringes of Britain’s marginal revolutionary left. But the SWP has long punched above its weight. It formed the basis of the organisation behind the Stop The War Coalition, for example, ...

  • Why do our politicians seem to hate the arts?
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    She is spot on. Even though British culture is revered across the world; even though it provides jobs, inspiration and joy to millions in the UK, you will never catch a politician actually attending an arts event. I have never bumped into an MP, let ...

  • If only Lance Armstrong had given Alastair Campbell warning about his drug-taking past
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Even then, although acknowledging the possibility of wishful thinking, Ali preferred to see the accusations as media persecution and more evidence of the crazed nationalistic arrogance and anti-Americanism that kept France out of Iraq. “To some,” he ...

  • Given the state of Britain's economy, Capable (Mark) Carney needs to work miracles
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    There was some confusion over how long rates would be kept at zero, given differing comments from members of the Federal Open Market Committee. This was made clearer in the recently published minutes of its  meeting of December  11-12 at which voting...

  • Ben Affleck, Argo and a chilling portrait of suspicion and vengeance in post-revolutionary Tehran
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    They had already prowled through my bag, read copies of my telexed dispatches. I was using the word “policeman” ironically. “Why did you stay two weeks longer than your original visa?” I had obtained a legal extension from the foreign ministry. “Why ...

  • Is Barack Obama a lousy manager?
    New York Times Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Writing in the New York Times, David Rothkopf argues that it's not just Congress that Obama has been lousy at managing, it's the Oval Office too: "The administration has not done a good job of delegating to and empowering cabinet officials. Nor does ...

  • Now that Gary Lineker has left Twitter, we'll just have to get used to the idea he's a real person again
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Lineker was one of the most popular figures on Twitter - he had 1.3 million followers, and was admirably demotic in his willingness to engage any of them in a discussion - but, with a startling statement that left one of two questions hanging, he twe...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (20 January 2013)
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    The essence of the latest Met Office view is that warming is continuing, though at a variable and currently reduced pace. Such variation is to be expected given the interactions between the underlying trend and the natural fluctuations in weather an...

  • Tall buildings and low flying do not mix
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    The tower beside the Thames at Vauxhall, known as 1 St George's Wharf, has been a preoccupation of mine since it first nudged above the skyline. It was almost a relief when its tapering crown appeared – proof that it would not be rising higher. At ni...

  • Bang, bang – the liberal left is hit
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Back in the days when certain films were screened before audiences of local councillors in a bid to establish their suitability for public view, this attitude led to a curious kind of detachment, the moral equivalent of a chemistry teacher, clothes-...

  • High streets don't need chain stores
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    There needs to be a new model for the high street which doesn't compete with online shopping and out-of-town superstores, but offers something completely different. Pedestrianisation killed off shopping too – old people who enjoy daily shopping as a ...

  • 'Mr Marlboro' lands a seismic blow
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Last Wednesday, before dawn, Belmokhtar refreshed this reputation in spectacular fashion when the raid he had masterminded on the Tingantourine gas works near In Amenas in eastern Algeria was launched, resulting in hostage deaths and placing acute st...

  • It's horses for courses in Kazakhstan
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    It was on my first day in Almaty that I became aware of the Kazakh love for horsemeat. Wandering around the city that is supposed to have first brought apples to the world I came across The Green Bazaar, a large covered market. Rather helpfully, the...

  • 'War on terror' is a tempting defence, but it isn't that simple
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    The speed of the jihadi retaliation has led to doubts that the two events are connected, but the likelihood must be that French action in Mali precipitated a pre-planned assault on this target. It is a typical al-Qa'ida operation, in the tradition of...

  • 'Red Ed' looks more like Ed the Ready (for No 10)
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    No, cried The Daily Telegraph, the 2015 election is not yet lost! David Cameron "could be a transformative leader" if he had more confidence. The Daily Mail revealed that he's a romantic at heart, gushing in The House magazine over his "date nights"...

  • Surly Hurley and the muddle that is fame
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Last week, at Perth airport, Hurley and Shane Warne were approached by a TV reporter, who asked them some fairly polite questions about the previous day's cricket match. Warne tactfully kept his mouth shut, but Hurley walked straight into the report...

  • Harriet Walker: Moving house is a Sisyphean task
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    It's a lovely time to relocate, this month which is equal parts dreariness and naïve optimism; when all the telly adverts are for honing the body you have into something entirely unrecognisable, or for starting a collection of collectables that you'l...

  • Rant & Rave (20/01/13)
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Have you seen the new, multimillion pound TV advert for Virgin Atlantic, which is trying to recruit 150 extra staff for its new domestic routes? It stars a number of gifted children – one with second sight, one who has superfast reactions, another ...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (20/01/13)
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    "Our car industry? God, she was a beauty, old boy. Used to go like the clappers. Wonderful names there were. Allard and Alvis, Hillman and Humber, Jensen and Jowett, Lanchester and Lagonda, Swallow and Sunbeam, and, of course, dear old Armstrong Sid...

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