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Ian Williams

Inside Taiwan’s plan to thwart Beijing

Taipei   Nowhere is watching Russia’s faltering attempt to crush its democratic neighbour more closely than Taiwan. The Ukraine war is seen in Taipei as a demonstration of how determined resistance and the ability to rally a global alliance of supporters can frustrate a much larger and heavily armed rival. Taiwan has spent the past

Are sanctions making Russia richer?

Before the invasion of Ukraine, it was by no means certain that there would be a united response from the West. The sanctions imposed on Russia after Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 were fairly limited, especially from the European Union. Germany pressed on with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Russia. But

I’m being priced out of eating out

I used to be able to afford to go to restaurants. Yes, it was a treat, but it was just about doable, and though it was never a pleasure to be presented with the bill, it didn’t leave you reeling from shock and buyer’s remorse. The schnitzel in my favourite London restaurant has gone up

Could Putin be toppled? An interview with Richard Dearlove

‘One of the things about being in Moscow as the guest of the Russian government,’ says Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, ‘is this real attempt to make you feel like an outsider.’ It comes, he says, ‘from a fundamental Russian suspicion of foreigners’: ‘The Kremlin is designed to intimidate you. It’s designed to

Why I’ve spent £68,500 on a tank

Buying a tank is not as easy as you might think. When we started looking for one, people delighted in telling us: ‘Oh, you should have bought one in the 1990s. There were hundreds available for practically nothing!’ Well, not anymore. Especially not if you are picky about what sort of tank you want. I’m

Farmers vs rewilders: can they find their common ground?

Our age isn’t the first to set an English landscape of our dreams against the one which actually exists, or see earning a living from the land as something base and destructive. The tension has always been there between people who work the land and the utopian dreamers for whom every mark of the plough

Notes on...

How to mend (almost) anything

‘Sides to middle’, that’s the cry. When your foot goes through the flat sheet in the night, there’s only one thing for it: scissors down the centre, then sew it edge to edge. Good as new – for as long as your stitches hold up. If you’ve paid for Egyptian cotton, you cannot cut your