The author salutes the 1847 vintage of the legendary sweet wine from the Gironde, Château d’Yquem, a bottle of which recently became the most expensive wine ever sold in the United States and is now the most expensive white wine in the worldThe author salutes the 1847 vintage of the legendary sweet wine from the Gironde, Chateau d'Yquem, a bottle of which recently became the most expensive wine ever sold in the United States and is now the most expensive white wine in the worldYquem 1847.
For billions of people around the world, these are the best of times to be alive. From Beijing to Bratislava, more of us are living longer, healthier and more comfortable lives than at any time in history; fewer of us are suffering from poverty, hunger or illiteracy. Pestilence, famine, death and even war, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, are in retreat, thanks to the liberating forces of capitalism and technology.
Andy Burnham is appalled. I had only asked whether there is any truth in the popular Westminster rumour about the ‘Primrose Hill Set’ — where he and other young Labour ministers allegedly meet on Sunday afternoons in the north London home of David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, to discuss life and politics. It sounded plausible enough: aged just 36, he is a health minister and tipped as one of Labour’s brightest hopes for the future.
On Sunday, Venezuela goes to the polls. The likely triumph of Hugo Chávez, writes Daniel Hannan, reflects a phenomenon sweeping Latin America that feeds not on hope but on hatredThere aren’t really any proper dictators left in South America, but Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez is getting close. His first attempt at power was through an old-fashioned putsch. When this failed, he tried the ballot box, winning a more or less free election in 1998.
The opening of the season at La Scala in Milan on 7 December is always a grand affair, and this year will be no exception. Franco Zeffirelli, 83 years old, is directing a new production of Aida, a work that has not been staged at this theatre for more than 20 years. It is noon when I arrive at La Scala to interview Zeffirelli, but inside the magnificent domed hall it seems like evening, and preparations are well under way for the big night.
The resemblance first struck me when, spotting Cameron’s waxy forehead on the front page of a newspaper recently, I unfolded the paper to find that the forehead belonged to French Socialist party candidate Ségolène Royal. It got me wondering whether similarities between the two extended beyond their oddly embalmed complexions.Politically, of course, they should be opposites, yet Royal has edged so far to the Right (to howls of protest from old French socialists) and Cameron so far to the Left (to equally noisy protests from Thatcherite Tories) that they seem destined to meet somewhere in the middle.