02/04/2022
2 Apr 2022

Biden’s war

2 Apr 2022

Biden’s war

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Features
Matt Purple
Biden’s war: does he know what he’s doing?

Anyone could see that Joe Biden veered off-script during his big speech in Poland. ‘For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,’ he said of Vladimir Putin, which sounded a lot like a cry for regime change. Luckily for him, though, and perhaps for world peace, Leon Panetta, a former secretary of defence under Barack Obama, was on hand to explain the comment away: ‘I happen to think that Joe Biden – you know, he’s Irish – really has a great deal of compassion when he sees that people are suffering.

Biden’s war: does he know what he’s doing?
Richard Florida
Covid has changed London for the better

For some it was the taped-off park benches, or the sight of police officers handing out fixed penalty notices to sunbathers. For others it was the sheer numbers of deaths being reported in inner boroughs. London in the spring of 2020 was definitely not the place to be. As with other world cities, it faced what seemed an existential crisis. The streets quickly drained of people, and those who could fled to second homes in the country.

Covid has changed London for the better
Linda Gamlin
The scourge of urban gulls

Early this year, five dead herring gulls were discovered on a Cornish beach, and when tested it was found they had bird flu. This should have provoked serious concern: these were the first gulls to be found carrying bird flu in Britain. But because of the war and because we’re sick of epidemics, it was largely ignored. The dead gulls matter because gulls live among us. Some 75 per cent of our herring gulls are now urban.

The scourge of urban gulls
Christopher Howse
Why the destruction of Ukraine’s churches matters

One small, deadly incident in the Ukrainian war proved memorable because it involved the ordinary things of life. A mother and two children trying to leave the town of Irpin on foot on 6 March died from Russian shelling. Their suitcases fell beside them and, miserably, a pet dog carrier. They lay on an ordinary road that could be in Surrey, on the steps of a memorial to Soviet dead from the second world war. That spot is opposite a little row of bells under a tiled roof in the grounds of the Ukrainian Orthodox church of St George.

Why the destruction of Ukraine’s churches matters
Robert Taylor
40 years on, war still casts a shadow over the Falklands

For the Falkland islanders, the war in Ukraine brings back haunting memories of their own trauma four decades ago. Having themselves experienced a barbaric invasion by a big bully next door, they understand all too well what the people of Ukraine are going through. ‘I still feel that gun in my back,’ one islander told me recently, describing the day Argentine troops landed on Pebble Island and brutally rounded up the locals.

40 years on, war still casts a shadow over the Falklands
John R. MacArthur
The descent of New York

New York When Will Smith strode to the stage and slapped Chris Rock, I was surprised by how many of my friends thought the violence had been staged to rescue the Academy Awards from its years-long ratings decline. I instantly recognised it as authentic rage, not because I know anything about Hollywood or Will Smith, but because I witness similar ugliness so frequently on the New York City subway. For me, Smith’s outburst was shockingly familiar – emblematic of a simmering, pre-volcanic atmosphere in the country that no one seems to be examining or attempting to explain.

The descent of New York
Freddy Gray
Dmitry Firtash wants to help with the war effort – but can we trust him?

If you’ve heard of Dmitry Firtash, the odds are you’ll have the impression of a deeply controversial man. He was arrested in Austria in 2014 at the US government’s request on charges of ‘conspiracy to bribe’ in India. A warrant was then issued for his arrest in Spain. Last year, Firtash was sanctioned by Ukraine over claims that he was selling titanium products to the Russian military. In America, he has been called ‘Ukraine’s most wanted’.

Dmitry Firtash wants to help with the war effort – but can we trust him?
Lee Child
My childhood Cold War fears are back

On the day before my seventh birthday, which I spent at my grandma’s in Yorkshire, a young man named Raymond Jones walked into North End Music Stores in Liverpool and asked the guy behind the counter for a record on which an obscure local group called the Beatles provided the backing track for a song titled ‘My Bonnie’. The guy behind the counter was the shop’s manager and the son of its owner. His name was Brian Epstein, and as a restless budding entrepreneur he felt he should be alert to what was going on around him.

My childhood Cold War fears are back
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