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Feb 24th
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Georgia on the brink PDF Print E-mail

Both sides in the escalating conflict in the Caucasus are forgetting that their interests lie in 21st-century restraint, not 19th-century madness

The Times

Yesterday morning Mikhail Saakhashvili, the Georgian President, gave warning that, if reports of Russian armour entering his country were true, it would mean war. They were true. Tanks were crossing the international border from Russia into the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossietia as Mr Saakashvili spoke.
Solzhenitsyn's sinister side revealed in letter to Times about Zhores Medvedev PDF Print E-mail

Jack Malvern

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's cantankerous side is exposed in a letter he sent to The Times in 1974, the year of his expulsion from the Soviet Union, that was never published in English because of its controversial content.

The letter, consisting of two closely typed pages in Russian, survives in this newspaper's archive, alongside the dissident's hand-written envelope.
Guantanamo: justice mocked PDF Print E-mail

The Pentagon must see sense and accept the verdict of its own tribunal at Guantanamo

The Pentagon and US military prosecutors were quick to hail the verdict on Salim Hamdan, the first Guantanamo detainee to be tried by the special military tribunal. They insisted that his acquittal on conspiracy charges and the light sentence passed on him for supporting terrorism in his role as Osama bin Laden's driver showed that “as a whole the process worked”.
Olympic Games: the world comes to China PDF Print E-mail

Despite tight security and restrictions, the Beijing Olympics offer many Chinese their first glimpse of the outside world and encourage a legacy of openness

Not since 1980 has the opening day of the Olympic Games dawned with such a mixture of anticipation and apprehension.

When the world's largest nation hosts the world's greatest sporting contest, anything could happen - inside the stadium or out. Political tensions and human rights demonstrations have already made headlines, as they did in Moscow 28 years ago. But Beijing's smog, heat, sporting prowess and Chinese patriotic fervour have made these Games among the most political, controversial and unpredictable ever staged.

France and genocide: the murky truth PDF Print E-mail

How far was Mitterrand's Government involved in the slaughter of hundred of thousands of Rwandans?

Linda Melvern

There is remarkable television footage shot in the first days of the genocide in Rwanda. It shows a large room in the French Embassy in Kigali filled floor to ceiling with shredded documents. This was probably the paper trail that might have revealed the depth of involvement between the Elysée Palace and the Hutu faction responsible for massacring hundreds of thousands of Tutsi and opposition Hutu.
Know-Nothing Politics PDF Print E-mail


So the G.O.P. has found its issue for the 2008 election. For the next three months the party plans to keep chanting: “Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Four legs good, two legs bad!” O.K., I added that last part.

And the debate on energy policy has helped me find the words for something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid.
War films: the great escape from the truth PDF Print E-mail

The reality of Stalag Luft III was far grimmer than the romanticised derring-do that became typical of postwar movies

Ben Macintyre

This is a true story,” proclaims the title card at the opening of The Great Escape, perhaps the most popular Second World War film ever made.

“Although the characters are composites of real men, and time and place have been compressed, every detail of the escape is the way it really happened.” That claim was disputed by, among others, Squadron Leader Eric Dowling, one of the last surviving participants in the escape plan, who died this week at the age of 92. “Digger” Dowling, who helped to construct the only tunnel that was not discovered by the Germans, always insisted that the 1963 film depicting the breakout from Stalag Luft III in 1944 was partly fantasy.
Is the EU dictating immigration law? PDF Print E-mail

A recent European court of justice ruling accentuates Denmark's continuing battle with immigration and integration

Jakob Illeborg

Once again, immigration takes centre stage on the Danish political scene. Denmark has one of tightest immigration policies in the European Union and this time it is a ruling by the European court of justice that has kick-started the row. The court ruled last week that the Irish government should not prevent spouses of EU citizens who are not themselves EU citizens from living in the Republic of Ireland.

China's gold rush PDF Print E-mail


By Matthew Forney

Like the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, China is looking to make a statement by winning more Summer Olympic gold medals than the United States. Both countries will doubtless honor the systems that they say produce victories - Chinese authoritarianism versus American liberty.
Learning to speak climate PDF Print E-mail

By Thomas L. Friedman

ILULISSAT, Greenland: Sometimes you just wish you were a photographer. I simply do not have the words to describe the awesome majesty of Greenland's Kangia Glacier, shedding massive icebergs the size of skyscrapers and slowly pushing them down the Ilulissat Fjord until they crash into the ocean off the west coast of Greenland. There, these natural ice sculptures float and bob around the glassy waters near here. You can sail between them in a fishing boat, listening to these white ice monsters crackle and break, heave and sigh, as if they were noisily protesting their fate.
More babies in a starving world PDF Print E-mail

Anjana Ahuja

If you had a few million pounds to splurge on the problems of Africa, where would you start? Well, in sub-Saharan Africa you could throw it at malaria, tuberculosis or HIV/Aids. You could use it to alleviate starvation and malnutrition, or, as a longer-term measure, on birth control.

Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn: the novelist as prophet PDF Print E-mail

The famous dissident was a towering moral witness

The Times

In 1945 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for making a slighting remark about Stalin in a letter. Recalling this experience in the novel The First Circle, he wrote that “the methodical indifference of the procedure was such as utterly to break the prisoner's will”.

Solzhenitsyn's genius was in depicting the remorseless oppressiveness of Soviet rule. Abitrary brutality - especially if driven by ideological fervour - can in time lose impetus. Solzhenitsyn dramatised a phenomenon more terrifying: a system of total oppression, in which political dissent is treated literally as a form of madness.
'With every shake of the maracas, the Carnaval shows how the capital has evolved into a global metro PDF Print E-mail

Tales of the city

Boyd Tonkin

Camberwell skulks on one side; the Old Kent Road loiters on the other. Under moody south London skies, alien sounds thump through banks of speakers. Gangs of young people, many dressed in outlandish sportswear, mill around the area. Blatantly speaking foreign languages, wearing shirts that shove their loyalty to rival teams or even rival nations in your face, they slope off to visit tents that openly sell spirit-based beverages.
End of financial triumphalism? PDF Print E-mail

The latest crisis has left little doubt that the entire system for global financial regulation is in serious need of an update

Kenneth Rogoff

Will today's ever-widening global financial crisis mark the end of the era of financial triumphalism? Ask a lay person to list the 10 great innovations that drive our world today and you probably won't find too many who mention the Black-Scholes formula for pricing options. But for the financial community, pioneering formulas that paved the way for modern hedging strategies should get just as much credit for the passing period of rapid global growth as mobile phones, computers, and the internet.
No welcome now the Turks don't even want to join Europe PDF Print E-mail

Europe had the chance to end the chasm between Islam and the West. It chose to be bigoted

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Just back from Dalyan in Turkey, a place of such natural beauty and human kindness you almost cry with relief and released joy. A lush river full of fat turtles and thin, dancing water snakes runs through the smallish town (only a hamlet when we last stopped over 15 years ago), making its way to the Aegean/Mediterranean seas, warm and playful. Although tourism is changing the nature of Dalyan, nobody hassles you and you don't begrudge the inhabitants the economic surge delivered by delighted visitors.
Tories can't believe their luck as Labour destroys itself PDF Print E-mail

If Brown has any dignity, any self-respect, he ought to come out clunking and fire Miliband

Bruce Anderson

The Government is dithering to death. A week ago, Labour ministers and MPs had a choice: back their leader or sack him. Being New Labour, they found a third way: bleed him. This is political insanity. Most voters share two wise prejudices. First, they distrust divided parties. If you cannot agree among yourselves, why should we listen to any of you? Second, as Tony Blair would put it, they diss leaders who cannot impose their authority. If your colleagues do not respect you, why should we?
The allies Obama overlooked PDF Print E-mail

By Eric Egland

Last weekend, Barack Obama dazzled crowds in Europe. Discussing international security, he spoke eloquently about the need for an American-European partnership to defeat terrorism.

In Paris, he said that "terrorism cannot be solved by any one country alone," and that America should establish partnerships. In Berlin, he expressed hope that Europeans and Americans "can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks" of terrorists worldwide.
For the love of the game ... and money PDF Print E-mail

From Brett Favre to Michael Jordan to Muhammad Ali, sports legends just can't seem to stay retired

Robert Weintraub

Not quite six months ago, I wrote about the retirement of Brett Favre, longtime quarterback and standard-bearer for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. Near the end, I noted that nothing would surprise me less than Favre growing restless on his Mississippi manse and coming back to play again.

Running While Black PDF Print E-mail


Gee, I wonder why, if you have a black man running for high public office — say, Barack Obama or Harold Ford — the opposition feels compelled to run low-life political ads featuring tacky, sexually provocative white women who have no connection whatsoever to the black male candidates.

Spare me any more drivel about the high-mindedness of John McCain. You knew something was up back in March when, in his first ad of the general campaign, Mr. McCain had himself touted as “the American president Americans have been waiting for.”
Can This Planet Be Saved? PDF Print E-mail


Recently the Web site The Politico asked Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, why she was blocking attempts to tack offshore drilling amendments onto appropriations bills. “I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she replied.

I’m glad to hear it. But I’m still worried about the planet’s prospects.

Harvesting money in a hungry world PDF Print E-mail

By Victor Davis Hanson

The latest round of global agricultural trade negotiations that began seven years ago in Doha, Qatar, collapsed in acrimony this week in Geneva. While India and China are getting the blame for refusing to reduce import tariffs and farm subsidies, you can assume that trade officials in Europe and the United States are breathing a sigh of relief that they aren't going to have to limit their own protectionism.
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