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How universities raised a generation of activists

It was only a matter of time before America’s student protests spread to the UK. In Oxford, tents have been pitched on grass that, in ordinary times, no student is allowed to walk on. The ground outside King’s College in Cambridge looks like Glastonbury, complete with an ‘emergency toilet’ tent. Similar camps can be found

The Israeli-Hamas negotiations are fraught with complexity

Jerusalem For weeks the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had been preparing for an assault on Rafah. Yet when the order finally came on Monday night, it caught Israel’s generals by surprise. This was despite the fact that two armoured divisions had been deployed on Gaza’s southern border, and hundreds of thousands of leaflets printed warning

Why do people make excuses for surly staff?

‘You grab that table, I’ll get the drinks.’ I did as bid. A couple of minutes later, Paul was back, beers in hand, and we started chatting. Soon the member of staff who’d served him appeared. She was stony-faced and holding a card machine. ‘You didn’t pay,’ she said. Paul looked confused for a second,

Georgia is on the brink of revolution

For weeks, the Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi has looked like a battlefield. Thousands of protestors, mostly in their twenties, have been met by riot police armed with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. On the face of it, the protest is about a new repressive bill in its final reading in the Georgian parliament.

What Xi wants in Europe

On a quiet street in Belgrade, a bronze statue of Confucius stands in front of a perforated white block, the new Chinese Cultural Centre. This is on the former site of the Chinese embassy which in 1999 was bombed by US-led Nato forces during the Kosovo war. Three Chinese nationals were killed. The Americans said

Sex and the shires: Plum Sykes reveals all

‘I looked at a picture of him today and thought: “Why are you wearing those expensive clothes, you twit?”’ Plum Sykes is in the Claridge’s ArtSpace Café, eating the avocado on toast and talking about Rishi Sunak. ‘He looks like he’s wearing handmade shoes, which is a real no-no – a real no-no! But he

Notes on...

Tom Cruise and the art of falconry

Last week, the Hollywood team making the latest Mission Impossible film was desperate to clear Trafalgar Square of its superabundant pigeons for a scene involving its star, Tom Cruise. But it was not an ultrasonic laser in Ethan Hunt’s high-tech kitbag that did the trick. What you apparently need to rid central London of its