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Mary Wakefield

Cold comfort | 31 January 2013

  An emergency shelter funded by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has been opened to offer a lifeline to rough sleepers in the capital whenever three consecutive nights of freezing temperature are predicted. Mr Johnson said: ‘This shelter will offer a vital lifeline when temperatures tumble to sub-zero levels and rough sleepers risk losing

Does the RSPCA think it’s the FBI?

Imagine what would happen if J. Edgar Hoover, founder of the FBI, were running the RSPCA. It sounds ridiculous, I know. But suspend your disbelief for a second, and suppose that a crusading individual convinced of his destiny to conduct a campaign against wrong-doing had turned the nation’s favourite animal charity into a quasi-official investigations

Hollande runs into the sand

Will President François Hollande’s decision to send French troops into battle against the insurgent fundamentalists in Mali prove a turning point for his faltering presidency? Not for the first time, a nice little war may serve to rescue a failing political reputation. Hollande’s approval rating jumped from 40 to 44 per cent in the days

Two months as a monk

Kieran Viljoen’s life sounds like a parable. Not long ago, back in South Africa, he spent his days in the depths of the ocean searching for diamonds. But for the past two months he has been living the life of a Benedictine monk. He is one of two interns at Quarr Abbey, a monastery on

Why even Amsterdam doesn’t want legal brothels

Do you remember the rather brilliant comedy sketch featuring Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse in which they played laid-back police officers in Amsterdam, bragging that they no longer have to deal with the crime of murder in the Netherlands since the Dutch legalised it? Don’t laugh too hard. In 2000 the Dutch government decided to