Boris Johnson’s enemies are hoping for a final snow-downLondon woke to snow and people wondered whether this time Boris Johnson would show true grit. His enemies reckon there’s no business like snow business for catching him out. They trust he will be found wanting, as he was by the unexpected snowfall in February 2009, when the city ground to a halt. Many people treasure the belief that the Mayor of London is fundamentally incompetent, and are disconcerted to find that sometimes whole months go by without any real evidence that the Tories have, in the words of the immortal Polly Toynbee, ‘put up a clown to run a great global city’.
We are at war online – and we are losingAlmost exactly two years ago, an American army officer found a memory stick in a car park in the Middle East and, out of curiosity, inserted it into his military laptop. It seemed to be empty, but there are a million ways of disguising a Trojan computer virus. Instantly, a malicious software code uploaded onto the US Central Command military computer network and embedded itself in the system.
More women than ever are having their babies by Caesarian section. Not the old last-resort emergency type, either; the ones where mothers howl for days, to the point of peril for self or child, until mercy descends in a scalpel — life-saving, but adding to existing trauma. No. This marked increase, by as much as 40 per cent in one year at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, has been among women who elect a Caesarian; those who plan, often months in advance, to be delivered calmly, swiftly and relatively free of pain in a modern, controlled, 21st-century environment.
What colour are hobbits, do you suppose? When I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, as a child, I gathered that they were very short, hirsute, quite swarthy and fairly stupid — so probably Portuguese, or at a pinch Galician. They didn’t seem to be, from the descriptions of their behaviour and living arrangements, quite — you know — white. Nearly white, maybe, but not quite. Proper white people, I thought, are taller than hobbits, less hysterical and tend not to live underground.
The law is catching up with Russia’s corrupt oligarchsMoscow’s White House is a fairly pleasing pile, at least by the standards of late Soviet architecture. Its colonnaded white stone façade enjoys handsome views over the Moscow River, and its interiors are a symphony in green malachite, light teak and gold ormolu, a mid-1990s decorating style best described as mafia rococo. From the corner offices, now occupied by the Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, and his deputies, one can gaze over gridlocked traffic, enlivened by the blue flashing lights of government Mercedes as they charge down the reserved central lane.