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Seagulls don’t deserve to be protected

Thousands of city dwellers have to live with the noise and mess of urban gull breeding colonies. Often dubbed ‘flying rats’ because they gorge on garbage, gulls are protected by Natural England — a public body sponsored by the government — on the grounds that they are supposedly endangered. Anyone who has to put up

The depraved rule of Thailand’s Caligula king

The Roman emperor Caligula was renowned for his extravagance, capricious cruelty, sexual deviancy and temper bordering on insanity. Most famously, before he was assassinated, he planned to appoint his favourite horse as a consul. This is probably a legend. But King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who ascended the Thai throne in 2016, adopted Caligula’s playbook for real.

Don’t create more rules, Priti – just enforce them

Setting out his nine principles of policing that underpinned the creation of the Metropolitan force in 1829, the home secretary Sir Robert Peel wrote that ‘the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them’. But those wise words are lost on

Bassam Tibi’s 40-year fight against Islamic fundamentalism

When al-Qaeda destroyed the Twin Towers almost exactly 19 years ago, the aims of the terrorists were not fully understood by many in the western media. Osama bin Laden intended not just to wage war against the non-Muslim world but to present himself — and his jihadi narrative — as the new voice of Islam.

Just the ticket: why I love collecting stubs

I know the exact day when my future life as a critic was set on its course, because I still have the ticket stub to prove it. It was 5 June 1992 — seat D4 at the 8.15 p.m. screening, to be precise — when I went to the Curzon Phoenix cinema in central London

Notes on...

From fist-bumps to bows: how to avoid shaking hands

The government wants us back in the office — catching trains, buying sandwiches and actually seeing colleagues and clients rather than video facsimiles. But if we’re going to meet in person, we need agreement on a professional nicety more substantive than the feeble wave that has passed for a Zoom greeting. Unless you’re fearless or