235 results for 'Anastasia '
Al-Shabaab, the Somali offshoot of al-Qaeda, has offered a bounty of ten camels to “whoever reveals the hideout of that idiot Obama.” It’s their response to the US State Departments recent announcement of a reward of several million dollars for information on the whereabouts of the movement’s leadership.
I wonder, perhaps, if the Somalis are being a little too generous in their assessment of the beleaguered President’s worth. Ten camels seems excessive for a man who recently said that the American private sector was “doing fine”, a view, I would hazard, not quite in keeping with the... (more)
Those who take the view that Islam is not wholly incompatible with modernity and democracy tend to look to Malaysia and Indonesia. The latter is held to be a particularly good example, the most populous Islamic nation on earth, a country that has embraced freedom and plurality.
Alas things are not as they were; or rather an ugly truth is beginning to come out from behind a comforting illusion. Last month, on two separate occasions, a Muslim mob attacked local Protestants at the half-finished church at Bekaski, just outside Jakarta, the capital. Shouting death threats, they threw stones... (more)
If you come to Florence for the first time, a city you may have visited previously in art and imagination, there is one supreme moment of epiphany. It is not a place that surrenders easily, unlike Rome and Venice. But there you are, right in the centre, walking along narrow streets unknown to you.
It's the evening of your first day. You have not long arrived, driving up from Rome. You are tired. But life is short; you want to explore before going to bed, using every drop squeezed from the fruit of time. You turn into a narrow and rising alley for pedestrians only. On both sides... (more)
It’s late on Tuesday evening; I’m writing to you from the heart of Rome. It’s not the first time I’ve been. I visited with mother and father when I was in my mid-teens and again in the summer of 2006. It was nice to return after such a gap. It’s not my favourite city in Europe, an honour that belongs to Paris, but it’s more comfortable, more relaxed in many ways, if I can put it like that. My partner had not been before, and as it delights me to be cast in the role of Beatrice, guiding Dante through the celestial spheres, off we went!
It’s all so familiar, the Roman and the Renaissance,... (more)
She was only eleven years old when she was confronted with her future destiny. It wasn’t something she wanted or welcomed, a little girl interested in the things that little girls are interested in. For many nights thereafter, as she told her grandmother, her mother’s mother, she prayed for a little brother, someone to come and relieve her of the burden. Her prayers, thankfully, were not answered. She was Lilibet; she became Elizabeth; she is our Queen.
England is having a party. This week we celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, sixty years on the throne, only the second time... (more)
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man ever convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, one of the worst acts of mass murder in British history, died earlier this month at his home in Tripoli. He died a free man. He died three years after Kenny MacAskill, the wholly ridiculous Scottish Justice Secretary, announced to the world that he was to be released on 'compassionate' grounds, having only three months to live.
It was a decision taken, I understand, on the 'best medical advice' available at the time. This goes to prove one thing: the Libyan medical service is clearly ten times better than... (more)
In the wake of the riots in London in August of last year I wrote two articles for Broowaha readers, correcting some highly inaccurate and politically motivated misinformation being peddled here about ‘deprivation’ and government ‘cuts.’ (Shopping with Violence, August 9; England Shamed, August 14). The essential point was that the disorders had nothing to do with poverty or non-existent cuts and everything to do with greed. They also had much to do with the adrenalin rush that some obtain from violence as violence.
In England Shamed I touched on the tale of two cities, the tale of... (more)
I read today in the Sunday Telegraph that until recently Barack Obama’s re-election was regarded as inevitable. Really; after what must count as four disastrous years and conceivably one of the worst presidencies in American history? Surely there was only one explanation for this: the focus was not on Obama at all but on his potential Republican opponents, none of whom looked particularly good in the primaries.
More than that, they were representatives of a party that seemed to be more at war with itself than focused on the legacy of Obama; a party many of whose members were determined... (more)
Last year I published a review here of Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea (Better off as a Dog, 1 September). In part this touched on the disastrous famine that hit the hermit state in the 1990s, forcing desperate people into desperate exile. I made the following observation;
No, it wasn’t politics that forced them into exile: it was hunger, the famine which gripped this ideological museum in the 1990s and is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of as many as two million people, reduced in their final extremity to eating bark and weeds.
I understand that Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, continues to be admired in the States, though I’m not entirely sure why. I suspect it’s because people do not know him the way that we know him, a man in every way even more morally bereft than former president Bill Clinton. Even in his own Labour Party he is widely despised for the damage he did while in power. I have no idea where he is these days, this rootless, cosmopolitan man, travelling the world, never resting, accursed a little like the Flying Dutchman.
So, you may ask, why is he so disliked? Norman Tebbit,... (more)