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Freddy Gray

Harry’s crusade: the Prince vs the press

Self-pity is one hell of a drug. On Tuesday, a day late, Prince Harry appeared in the High Court to ‘give evidence’ against the Mirror. The only testimony he was willing to provide, however, was his familiar gloop about the pain he suffered growing up rich, famous and royal. He can’t help himself, poor boy,

Cooking the books: the rise of fake libraries

There is a growing fashion for fake books. Not fake as in written by a series of AI prompts, but fake as in things – cleverly painted empty boxes, or a façade of spines glued to a wall – designed to mislead the casual onlooker into thinking that they are books. A recent New York

The trouble with returning the Benin Bronzes

Once, museum curators saw their job as collecting, conserving and displaying to the public works of art or humbler objects that were beautiful, interesting and representative of a time and a place. Now many of them want to get rid of, or at least hide away, objects that they pronounce shameful. Cambridge University, under its

Is anywhere safe for Paul Kagame’s critics?

After weeks of travelling – first Paris, then Kinshasa – I was looking forward to my evening at L’Horloge du Sud in Brussels. Known for its poisson liboké (fish wrapped in banana leaf) and other African specialities, the restaurant is popular with the city’s African diaspora. I’d been invited by a Pan-African thinktank to discuss

Is it time for Britain to leave the WHO?

Since declaring Covid-19 to be ‘over as a global health emergency’ early last month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has made it very clear that it has no intention of reforming. At its World Health Assembly two weeks ago, North Korea was among ten nations elected to sit on the WHO’s Executive Board, thereby giving

Can cloning bring endangered species back from the brink?

This spring, San Diego Zoo’s Wildlife Alliance proudly announced the arrival of Trey, a newborn colt. Trey is a Przewalski’s horse – the last wild horse species on the planet, and one of the least pronounceable (say ‘zhuh-varl-skis’ and you’ll be close). It was another small conservation victory. But Trey is particularly unusual, because this

How women became essential to the mafia’s survival

The Calabrian mafia, the ’Ndrangheta, were once something of a side-show compared with the more famous Sicilian mafia. Now they are the largest criminal organisation in Europe. Last month, European police arrested more than 130 ’Ndrangheta members in Italy, Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Spain in a coordinated swoop codenamed ‘Eureka’. Almost all have been charged

Notes on...

The beauty of passport stamps

As a travel writer, I can get blasé about many aspects of travel: the free five-handed massage, the private plunge-pool out the back, those odd bits of overchilled orangey cheddar in an average Biz Class lounge. But one slightly childish thing that always pleases me is stamps in my passport. They should be emotionally meaningless: