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White mischief

Boris Johnson’s enemies are hoping for a final snow-down London 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,

China’s spy network

We are at war online – and we are losing Almost 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

Hard labour

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

What is the racial composition of a hobbit?

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

A crackdown on kleptocrats

The law is catching up with Russia’s corrupt oligarchs Moscow’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