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Caroline Flack and the necessity of kindness

Caroline Flack hadn’t registered much on my radar screen before the news of her suicide surfaced last Saturday. The reality TV star’s tragic death brought her to my attention in a big way, as it did to the entire country — even despite forecasts of biblical floods and gales. It’s no surprise. On the face…
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Afghanistan: the sad conclusion

Afghanistan had fallen off the radar until Wednesday night when President Trump conditionally approved a peace deal with the Taliban. After 18 years of military involvement and US expenditure of more than two trillion dollars, at the cost of over 150,000 lives, American troops are poised to leave Afghanistan. If the deal is to go…
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Why is German bureaucracy so Kafkaesque?

In the week that the novelist John le Carré won the Olof Palme Award, named after the late Swedish prime minister and diplomat who promoted world peace, I received a letter from Rechtsanwalt Rainer Haas & Kollegen in Berlin. This solicitor’s letter was written in German and the only thing I could understand in it,…
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How stories of the hidden Jews in World War Two restore our faith in humanity

Before the clock struck midnight, my new year’s resolution was broken. I had banned myself from watching any more World War Two films or series or talks. I’m all Nazied out, to be honest. However, I was doomed even before the roaring 2020s began. On the post-Christmas flight back from Toronto, I discovered The Invisibles, a…
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Life is short

Life is short. That was the first WhatsApp message from a friend that came through when news broke that Kobe Bryant (pictured) and his 13-year-old daughter had died in a helicopter crash. I’m not sure I would have even recognised the NBA megastar and I certainly never saw him play basketball. Still, like virtually everyone…
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All we can do now is hope the Leavers were right

I opened my inbox to find an email from Boris Johnson alerting me to what to expect this week. No wonder I’m suffering from PTSD, post-transition stress disorder, “persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock.” True enough. Of course, the prime minister’s email wasn’t addressed only to me,…
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