Edward Stourton has had unrivalled access to the protagonists in the war between Israel and Hezbollah. Here, on the eve of the Winograd Commission’s report, he reveals what really happened in this conflict that nobody wonHogarth’s ‘Fourth Stage of Cruelty’ is a compelling evocation of what it must have been like to attend a public human dissection. Three medical men are busily dismembering a corpse on a wooden table; a group of their fellow surgeons, distinguished by their mortarboards, look on with suitably studious attention — although one of them has the hint of a prurient smirk playing about his lips.
If you are thinking of taking your summer holiday abroad this year and have not yet alighted upon a suitable destination, then why not bear Zimbabwe in mind?It looks increasingly likely that Robert Mugabe will not be President for very much longer. Instead they’ll have someone else in charge. The general rule for African countries is that when some obscene, homicidal and incompetent tyrant is at last somehow overthrown, the civilised world breathes a sigh of relief and the new regime is, for a while, garlanded in roses.
Dame Eileen Atkins is adamant that she is a horrible person. ‘My mother looked at me as if she had hatched a snake, but then I could be vile to her and to my family,’ the actress says. ‘My parents were angry people, frustrated with their lot in life, and I inherited their anger. I’ve always put my career before everyone and I have been very selfish. I think it’s a good thing I never had any children as I would almost certainly have passed on my anger to them.
After the South American models Luisel Ramos and Carolina Reston starved themselves to death last year to try to reach size ‘zero’, the fashion world promised to be more responsible. It hung its head in shame, and even chivvied some size-12 girls on to the catwalk for London Fashion Week last month. So I imagine that most people think that the whole zero fad has finally faded away, and that teenage girls like me and my school-friends have developed healthier role models and a happier relationship with our food.