Burma is awakening from a nightmare of greed and repression. Fergal Keane meets a family on the Thai-Burma border whose tragic story is Burma's story but remains optimistic about the chances of the Burmese desire for freedom ultimately triumphing over the junta. Mae Sot, Thai-Burma borderThe family had come from one of the villages along the border and their story of life and death came from the heart of Burma’s tragedy.
A meticulously planned, brilliantly executed surgical strike by Israeli jets on a nuclear installation in Syria on 6 September may have saved the world from a devastating threat. The only problem is that no one outside a tight-lipped knot of top Israeli and American officials knows precisely what that threat involved.Even more curious is that far from pushing the Syrians and Israelis to war, both seem determined to put a lid on the affair.
At 7.40 a.m. on 2 April the Solomon Islands were struck by a major earthquake and a large tsunami. At least 52 people were killed, more than 900 homes were destroyed, and thousands of people were left homeless.Little attention was paid to this at the time and not much more since. After all, they are a remote string of tropical islands far away in the South Pacific, hundreds of miles away even from Australia.
A light rain drifts down over Kintbury village, blurring the surface of the Kennet and Avon canal. It gleams on the railway tracks, pools into fat drops under the roof of the station shelter on the London-bound platform and drips on to Robert Harris’s new suede shoes. Look, I say again, please don’t wait. I’ll be fine. You’ve been more than kind enough already. ‘No, no.’ Harris says firmly. ‘I’ll see you on to the train.
Before sidling off into history last month, the Commission for Racial Equality published a final report. Decades of multiculturalism, it revealed, had left Britain a fractured and unequal nation at risk of splitting up. The Commission’s chairman Trevor Phillips stated several years ago that multiculturalism had failed. His commission waited till its final hours to admit as much. It was impossible not to feel saddened by this confession.
The wedding of the author’s wing-womanThe HBO drama Sex and the City arrived on our shores in 1999. Prior to that television show, it would be fair to say, British women (and, for that matter, men) were fairly clueless when it came to matters of grown-up ‘dating’. Sex and the City offered a stylish and contemporary guide to social and sexual mores in the Big Apple, teaching a generation about such concepts as exclusive dating and non-exclusive dating, A-list nights and B-list nights, and the three-day rule (as in the ‘always wait three days after the date to phone him otherwise you come across as too keen’ rule).
Caught in the centre of a soundless field
While hot inexplicable hours go by
What trap is this? Where were its teeth concealed?
You seem to ask.
‘Myxomatosis’ by Philip LarkinAldbourne, Wiltshire
I saw the rabbit, a young doe, 50 yards or so down the path. ‘Look,’ I said to the kids, ‘a bunny.’ But even as I said the words, I knew that this would be a problematic encounter. The rabbit just sat there, its usual hair-trigger response to approaching danger apparently nullified.