Featured articles


America’s overdue financial crisis

When Congress went into deadlock on the debt ceiling, it was the culmination of years of bitterness and complacency – and there is worse to come Washington DC It’s obvious to me why the United States found itself so deep in debt that only an ugly compromise — rushed through Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday

Drought didn’t cause Somalia’s famine

War did. And food aid may well make it worse It seems wicked to question charity appeals for starving people in the Horn of Africa. Hunger is a terrible way to go, as I discovered when I once asked a dying Somali near Mogadishu to tell me what he was feeling. He was just passing

Does everything give you cancer?

I’m sick of being scared by scientific studies Tall women are more likely to get cancer. As research findings go, this has to be among the most randomly vindictive scientific conclusions ever to spill out of a university research department into a screaming newspaper headline, and lord knows there have been a few. Women who

How good a general was David Petraeus?

Neoconservatives have constructed dangerous illusions around David Petraeus’s strictly limited successes History has not dealt kindly with American generals of late. Remember when ‘Stormin’’ Norman Schwarzkopf ranked as one of the great captains of the ages? When members of Congress talked of promoting General Colin Powell to five-star rank, hitherto reserved for the likes of

My grandfather, the Titanic’s violinist

When he died, the White Star Line sent a bill for his uniform There can be few better places to consider the irony of the phrase ‘the good old days’ than Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I went last week to visit the grave of my grandfather, a 21-year-old violinist in the

A letter from the Lot

I have become one of those irritating people who bangs on about how wonderful France is I am living in France on the border between two regions (the Midi-Pyrenees and the Limousin) which also marks a border between two départements (the Lot and the Corrèze). The place lies at the centre of a large, empty