07/03/2020
7 Mar 2020

Planet corona

7 Mar 2020

Planet corona

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Features
Kate AndrewsKate Andrews
Will coronavirus push globalisation into reverse?

Ten years ago, the World Health Organisation issued a new definition of ‘pandemic’: a disease that infects a large number of people and spreads quickly across the world. These days, once the first of these criteria has been fulfilled, the second is generally just behind. Everything travels faster now: goods, services, diseases and — crucially — fear. As the number of Covid-19 cases rises, so too does the cost of our reaction to it: already as much as $1.

Will coronavirus push globalisation into reverse?
Mary Killen
Dear Mary’s guide to coronavirus etiquette

The first piece of advice is to view coronavirus as a blessing. ‘If only there could be something to unite all humans against a common enemy — like a meteorite heading towards earth,’ said my wise older friend Anne some years ago, ‘then all wars would stop.’ I always thought she had a point. Now corona-virus is that common enemy. And don’t forget we won’t necessarily die — only 2 per cent of us, mainly oldies, will.

Dear Mary’s guide to coronavirus etiquette
Freddy Gray
My worrying encounter with Joe Biden

I met Joe Biden last month, after one of his town hall events in New Hampshire. His team had turned the music up loud, presumably so that 77-year-old Joe — the gaffe machine from Scranton, Pennsylvania — would not be recorded saying something stupid as he mingled with the fans and reporters. I shook Biden’s hand and — limey hack that I am — asked: ‘Mr Vice President, how, as President, would you approach Brexit Britain and Boris Johnson?’ ‘What?’ he said.

My worrying encounter with Joe Biden
Laura Freeman
Eco-friendly is not female-friendly

Forgive me, Greta, for I have sinned. It has been five days since my last Waitrose order. I meant to be good and green. To go from Whole Foods to farmers’ market with my canvas bag and eco-conscience. But it was cold and dark and the boys from the supermarket come right to the door. So I filled the bin with plastic wrappers and turtle-trappers and laid waste to my good intentions. I try, I really do.

Eco-friendly is not female-friendly
Anthony Horowitz
In defence of modern children’s books

A few years ago, I was surprised to open a newspaper and read that the head teacher of a London public school had decided to ban my books from his library. He described the adventures of Alex Rider, which have sold around 20  million- copies worldwide, in terms so derogatory that I have no mind to repeat them. Suffice it to say that the article quite put me off my cornflakes. But the strange thing was that — once I had got past the sheer offensiveness of his language and a mindset that believed that banning books could ever have good connotations — I was actually quite sympathetic to his wider point of view.

In defence of modern children’s books
Katy Balls
Toryism, but not as we know it: an interview with Ben Houchen

Who do the Conservatives have to thank for helping them win so many seats in the north of England? Tory MPs normally name Boris Johnson, for his different approach to politics. Sometimes Dominic Cummings, too, for applying focus. But there’s one other figure regularly mentioned as a patron saint of Red Wall Tories: Ben Houchen, mayor of Tees Valley. He’s perhaps the most influential politician you’ve never heard of.

Toryism, but not as we know it: an interview with Ben Houchen
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