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Feb 11th
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The Invention of Athens (Greece) and Rome (Italy) PDF Print E-mail

The birth of two new nations, Greece and Italy, corresponds with the invention of two new capital cities: Athens and Rome. Ancient cities that are called upon to play a new role. That both cities become capitals was inevitable due to the power of their symbolic dimension, capable of silencing all opposition. Both cities had to measure themselves with their past, ancient and recent. They also needed to create a new image and a new identity from this relationship. Archaeology, understood here as the conservation and management of the memory of ancient history, contributed to defining the use, the characteristics and the styles of new public spaces.

Financial woes create election hope for Brown PDF Print E-mail

Andrew Grice:

"This is the economic equivalent of 9/11," one cabinet minister said yesterday as he summed up a momentous week. Other members talk of the Government being on a "war footing" as they gather in the Cabinet Office's Briefing Room A (Cobra) for meetings of the new National Economic Council or "war cabinet".
Don't mess with Iceland PDF Print E-mail

As I found out in the cod war of 1975, the people of that tiny island can prove fearsome foes. Beware

Roy Hattersley

Our cause is just. But so it was in 1975, when Iceland decided - unilaterally and illegally - to create an "exclusion zone" around its coast. Foreign trawlers were forbidden to fish within its boundaries.

When Grimsby skippers ignored the edict, Icelandic gunboats severed the cables which connected boats to nets - risking fishermen being cut in half by steel hawsers ripping across the deck.
Mere words will not restore confidence in the markets PDF Print E-mail

The financial crisis is now colliding with a gathering recession

It was only on Wednesday that the Government announced a £400bn package – the largest single intervention in the financial industry in the last half-century – intended to calm the markets and restore the willingness of the banks to lend to each other. Two days later, it looks just small beer. The stock markets have gone into freefall, both here and all around the globe
Why the recession is a blessing in disguise PDF Print E-mail

We'll smoke less, be fitter, thinner and greener. Oh, and the roads will be safer. There is a surprising side to a downtu

Alice Thomson

The bankers are fleeing. I got a message from a friend this week. "We've decided to downscale and go to Venice for a bit. We're in a flat on the Grand Canal, the children are learning Italian, the weather is wonderful and it feels like we can finally relax after ten years of madness."

That's fine then. The City folk are taking what remains of their money and fleeing to sunnier climes to recuperate and recharge, to return when the crisis is over.
History can guide, yet there are new limits of the possible PDF Print E-mail

Brown's lead shows he has learnt much from the 1930s and from Keynes, as market dogma gives way to real choices again

Martin Kettle

This is no time for outdated thinking and conventional dogma, Gordon Brown announced as he unveiled Labour's bank rescue package this week. Who could disagree? Yet since David Cameron was not about to insist that outdated thinking and conventional dogma were exactly what we need more of at such a time, Brown's words recalled a Roy Jenkins axiom - that a politician is speaking nonsense if no sensible person could conceivably be expected to argue the exact opposite.
We should take the axe to these architects of downfall PDF Print E-mail

Ego-driven bank bosses gambled their businesses and our money and lost. Now it's time they were properly held to account

Deborah Hargreaves

Gordon Brown talks about punishing bankers who have acted irresponsibly. About time, too. As taxpayers we are now all potentially supporting these banks with our own money, and it is right that we have a say in how they are run. Executives who have presided over their institutions like personal fiefdoms driven by ego and hubris have turned out to be architects of their firms' downfall. Why they are still in place is beyond me. At the very least, we should demand their heads.
Clearing the Ayers PDF Print E-mail


John McCain traces the rancorous tone of the presidential campaign back to last summer when he invited Barack Obama to have lots and lots of town-hall meetings with him all around the country. When Obama turned him down, obviously McCain had no choice but to start depicting his opponent as a terrorist-loving advocate of talking dirty to kindergarteners.

The world needs the US to get over its cultural civil war - and fast PDF Print E-mail

Sarah Palin is the Katyusha rocket of the American right. But so far her attacks on Barack Obama aren't working

Timothy Garton Ash
Timothy Garton Ash in Stanford
The Guardian, Thursday October 9 2008
Article history

As if there were not enough real enemies to fight, the United States has been at war with itself in recent years. They call it the culture war. It has generated more hot air than most real wars in history. John McCain has now turned to its red army tactics to rescue himself from impending defeat - and Sarah Palin is his Katyusha.
Can This Be Pro-Life? PDF Print E-mail


The Bush administration this month is quietly cutting off birth control supplies to some of the world's poorest women in Africa.
Thus the paradox of a "pro-life" administration adopting a policy whose result will be tens of thousands of additional abortions each year — along with more women dying in childbirth.

The saga also spotlights a clear difference between Barack Obama and John McCain. Senator Obama supports U.N.-led efforts to promote family planning; Senator McCain stands with President Bush in opposing certain crucial efforts to help women reduce unwanted pregnancies in Africa and Asia.
Brown and Darling have bitten the bullet - and set the world an example PDF Print E-mail

Bold, comprehensive, and at times eye-popping, this plan for partial nationalisation is just what the system needed

Will Hutton

Those that were asking for a decisive intervention to halt a financial pandemic certainly got it yesterday. It was almost too big for shell-shocked markets to assimilate. Their reaction, in part driven by the mounting sense that this crisis is now international and out of control, was profoundly disappointing.

Yet Britain has produced a well thought-through, bold and comprehensive plan to put its financial system on a sounder footing - well ahead of any other government. Messrs Brown and Darling for once deserve some congratulation.
In the face of apocalypse, heed not horsemen's advice PDF Print E-mail

Brown should tread waryof the City voices in his economic war cabinet. Now more than ever, the poor must come first

Polly Toynbee

A remarkable 10,000 people marched on Trafalgar Square at the weekend to hold the government to its promise to end child poverty. Planned long ago, its message was suddenly more poignant as government revenues shrink and bank-rolling banks takes top priority.
A Fool's Paradise PDF Print E-mail


With less than a month left until Election Day, there is still time for the presidential candidates to focus with great intensity on what should be the most important issue of this campaign. It's not just the economy, stupid — it's jobs.

The stock markets were rocked again on Monday, and the need to stabilize the financial system is obvious. But the U.S. economy is never going to be really healthy until the country figures out how to provide work at decent pay for all, or nearly all, of the men and women who want to work.
The Testing Time PDF Print E-mail


Every few years, the world seems to face a new testing time. After Sept. 11, leaders had to figure out how to respond to Islamic extremism. Now we face another test. Today, leaders around the world have to figure out how to stabilize economies amid volatile global capital flows.

This test is rooted in a global shift in economic power. The rise of China, the vast wealth of the petro-powers and easy monetary policies created an ocean of excess savings that had no obvious place to go.
This green subsidy for car makers is just a disguised corporate bail-out PDF Print E-mail

Having long sabotaged eco-innovations, the motor industry is now demanding billions to cut its carbon emissions

George Monbiot

While all eyes were fixed on the banking bail-out, a bucketload of public money was quietly sloshed into the pockets of another undeserving cause. Last week, George Bush agreed to lend $25bn to US car manufacturers. It's a soft loan, which will cost the government $7.5bn.
America has a terrible headache, but it seems like no one wants to cure it PDF Print E-mail

For the election to make any sense in such a crisis, the assumptions of the past 30 years must be thoroughly challenged

Gary Younge

There is common sense; and there is good sense. Common sense represents the received wisdom of years and the widespread opinion of the day. It may be rooted in fact, fiction, rumour or reality. On one level it doesn't matter. So long as it is commonly held, then, in essence, common sense becomes a fact of life.

The Tories still seem more Flashman than Gladstone PDF Print E-mail

Cameron may have some distinctive policies, or he may be content to kick an unpopular government when it's down

Jackie Ashley

There's a dusty old cliche in politics: a party on the up have a spring in their step. In Birmingham I begin to see what it means. As David Cameron and his entourage process round the conference, they simply walk differently from Labour. It's a kind of shoulders-back, chin-up foot-bounce and stride. It proclaims self-confidence and some kind of divine right to rule, suppressed for years and now breaking out all over.
Fair is a bag of Maltesers PDF Print E-mail

My grandchildren's rows over sweets show that equality is not a state but an everlasting argument

Peter Preston

My seven-year-old granddaughter is about to utter her own essential F-word. Eyes blazing, hands lodged on hips, mouth twisted in outrage. "But grandpa ..." she cries, building towards well-practised climax, "it's not FAIR!!!" And so the investigation begins.

Fair needs cool assessment. Fair needs facts. They turn out to be a little misty in this case. Yesterday some kindly visitor left GD7 with a large, red bag of Maltesers. GD7, an often kindly person herself, offered two or three to her nine-year-old brother, GS9.
I've watched the economy for 30 years. Now I'm truly scared PDF Print E-mail

Will Hutton

If more people understood what has happened in the British and American banking system, the financial crisis would only be containable by the immediate partial nationalisation of every bank in Britain and America. There was not a run on the banks by depositors queuing in the streets to withdraw their savings. Rather, it was an escalating and terrifying run on the banks in effect by themselves, which, if it spread to millions of small savers, would reproduce the events of 1929.
Impulsive, Impetuous, Impatient PDF Print E-mail


Suppose John McCain had been in the White House in October 1962, facing one of the great tests of the modern presidency. If so, we might remember that period not as "the Cuban missile crisis" but as "World War III."

As Mr. McCain demonstrated in Friday evening's debate, he is a serious foreign policy thinker who has traveled widely, and he certainly showed vision and bipartisanship in helping to repair relations with Vietnam. But it's equally clear that in recent years Mr. McCain has become impish cubed — impulsive, impetuous and impatient — and those are perilous qualities in a commander in chief.
Green the Bailout PDF Print E-mail


Many things make me weep about the current economic crisis, but none more than this brief economic history: In the 19th century, America had a railroad boom, bubble and bust. Some people made money; many lost money. But even when that bubble burst, it left America with an infrastructure of railroads that made transcontinental travel and shipping dramatically easier and cheaper.

The late 20th century saw an Internet boom, bubble and bust. Some people made money; many people lost money, but that dot-com bubble left us with an Internet highway system that helped Microsoft, I.B.M. and Google to spearhead the I.T. revolution.
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