Robert O'Mugabe

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The Independent Online

Study of news and current affairs should never be confined to just the principal events and trends. The lesser exhibits in the passing parade are often equally revealing, particularly in the way that accepted certainties can suddenly be overturned.

A case in point is the disintegrating ice shelf, adrift and widely reported off Antarctica. In the past, the measure of size in such cases has always been a multiple or a fraction of Wales; now, though, we are afloat in a sea of comparisons: Cyprus, Somerset and Cambridgeshire have all been cited. Why? And why now?

It is reassuring, then, to read news today confirming that at least one given remains defiantly unchallenged: provided enough research is carried out, anyone, no matter how unlikely, will be found to have Irish ancestry. It is almost impossible to remember an American president who hasn't been so qualified; and few were surprised earlier this year when Muhammad Ali's great grandfather turned out to have been from Co Clare. So, cead mile failte to Ernesto "Shay" Guevara, noted guerrilla, 20th-century icon and son of Galway. We now await a desperate last throw by Robert Mugabe.