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A week in the life of the world | 29 March-4 April 2013

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Vol 188 No 16 2.20 4.20* Exclusions apply

Incorporating material from the Observer, Le Monde and the Washington Post

Among ng Israels young g guns A life less ess ordinary ary

Cyprus lays bare euros aws

Forceful austerity risks fuelling new depression Parallels with 1920s should not be ignored
Analysis Larry Elliott
In September 2008, the world waited for the expected rescue of Lehman Brothers by the US Treasury. It didnt happen. When no buyer could be found, the plug was pulled on the investment bank. The assumption that Lehman was too small to matter proved disastrously wrong. The Lehman precedent was surely borne in mind at the talks last Sunday where the terms of a bailout for Cyprus the fth in the eurozone in less than three years were nally agreed. Those who say the monetary union has been a success must have an interesting denition of failure. The Cypriot storm came as a shock to Europes policy elite. The assumption has been growing for the past few months that the crisis was over, which was true to the extent that the existential threat to the euro has greatly diminished. Financial markets were soothed by the pledge by Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), to do whatever it takes to safeguard the euro, but life was not really returning to normal. The rest of the eurozone knew Cyprus was festering away, but considered the country too inconsequential to worry much about. Meanwhile, complacency set in and there was no longer the urgency to make rapid progress on the economic and political integration necessary to underpin monetary union. That was a mistake, because the problems of a country that accounts for just 0.2% of eurozone GDP have highlighted two structural weaknesses of the monetary union. First, it contains far too many countries that should not really be in the club, and were allowed in only because politics was permitted to trump economics. The fact that Cyprus was an oshore tax haven was ignored, just as a blind eye was turned to Greeces lack of competitiveness and Italys high level of public debt. This lack of cohesion can no longer be overlooked, and making the euro work will require a far greater centralisation of power. In reality, that means countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy and Cyprus taking orders from Germany. That these are seriously bad times for Europe is the second big problem facing the euro, because while ministers have been preening themselves on ending the threat to the monetary union, the crisis was clearly not over for those eurozone citizens aected by slow growth, rising unemployment and austerity programmes. This meant most of them, since the weakness that started on the euros fringes has spread to the core nations. France is in a poor state, as is the Netherlands, and even Germany is starting to suer. Comparisons are being made between Europe today and Japan 20 years ago. Europe does seem to share some of Japans traits: an ageing population, a dysfunctional nancial system and Continued on page 5

Abu Dhabi AED11 Bahrain BHD1.40 *Cyprus 2.30 Czech Rep CZK110 Denmark DKK29 Dubai AED11 Egypt EGP19 Hong Kong HKD39 Hungary HUF715 *Republic of Ireland 2.50 Japan JPY600 Jordan JOD2.20 Kenya KSH250 Kuwait KWD1.10 Latvia LVL3.70 Lebanon LBP4500 *Malta 1.95 Mauritius MR139 Morocco MAD27 Norway NOK39 Oman OMR1.25 Pakistan PKR200 Poland PLN10.50 Qatar QAR11 Romania RON33 Saudi Arabia SAR12 Singapore SGD6 Sweden SEK41 Switzerland CHF6.80 Turkey TRY6.60


Call to legalise rhino trade Anger at South African proposal

F Farewell to voice of Africa v Chinua Achebe C hebe remembered r red

Unstitched ... basic eurozone weaknesses have been exposed Reuters

2 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

World roundup
Alliance to ght Canada oil pipelines Costly US drought set to continue South Africa hosts Bric nations summit

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An alliance of Canadian and US indigenous groups vowed to block three multibillion-dollar oil pipelines planned to move oil from the Alberta tar sands. The Canadian government, faced with falling revenues due to pipeline bottlenecks and a glut that has cut the price for Alberta oil, says the projects are a national priority and will help diversify exports away from the US market. But the alliance of 10 native bands all of whose territories are either near the cruderich tar sands or on the proposed pipeline routes complain that Ottawa and Washington are ignoring their rights. Indigenous people are coming together with many, many allies across the United States and Canada, and we will not allow these pipelines to cross our territories, said Phil Lane Jr, a hereditary chief from the Ihanktonwan Dakota in South Dakota. More North America news, page 11

The drought that laid waste to the US grain and corn belt is unlikely to ease before the middle of this year, a government forecast warned. The annual spring outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted hotter, drier conditions across much of the US, including parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, where farmers have been ghting to hang on to

crops of winter wheat. Last year produced the hottest year since record keeping began more than a century ago. It also brought drought to close to 65% of the country. The droughts cost is estimated at above $50bn, greater than the economic damage from hurricane Sandy.

Leaders of the Bric nations China, Brazil, Russia and India gathered in Durban this week alongside their newest member, South Africa. Some critics have expressed doubt at South Africas readiness to join the elite group of emerging

nations. But Bric-Africa trade is predicted to top $500bn by 2015, with China-Africa trade making up roughly 60% of that total. Chinas pursuit of Africas natural resources has been a central driver of African economic growth over the past decade.

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US Senate nally passes a budget

The US Senate narrowly passed its rst federal budget in four years, a move that will usher in a relative lull in Washingtons scal wars until an anticipated summer showdown over raising the debt ceiling. The budget plan was passed by a 50-49 vote in the Democratic-controlled chamber. Four Democratic senators facing tough re-election

campaigns in 2014 joined all the Senate Republicans in opposing the measure, which seeks to raise nearly $1tn in new tax revenues by closing some tax breaks for the wealthy. The Senate budget will square o in coming months against a Republican-focused budget passed by the Republicandominated House of Representatives.

Kurds call historic ceasere with Turks

The jailed Kurdish guerrillas leader, Abdullah calan, used the Kurdish new year celebrations to call a ceasere in the 30-year war with the Turkish state in the biggest boost to an incipient peace process in years. The weapons should fall silent, politics should speak, said a statement last Thursday from calan broadcast on Kurdish TV, as hundreds of thousands of Kurds thronged the streets of the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir, their capital, for the Newroz new year celebrations. The statement from the PKK leader, who has been held in solitary connement in an island prison south of Istanbul for 14 years, was the strongest signal to date that peace talks launched tentatively last

Stephen King pledges $3m for library

Libraries can be scary places in Stephen King novels, but they appear to hold a special spot in the horror writers heart, after he and his wife Tabitha pledged to donate $3m to their local branch in Bangor, Maine. Barbara McDade, director of Bangor Public Library, told the Bangor

Daily News that Stephen and Tabitha King had oered to pay one-third of the $9m the library is looking to raise for refurbishment, as long as the remaining $6m is raised. They have just been wonderful supporters of the library, said McDade. James Herbert dies at 69, page 38

October with the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan are building momentum. The calan statement added that the estimated 3,500 PKK ghters inside Turkey should leave the country for their strongholds in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq. This is not the end. This is the beginning of a period, said the declaration. In an important symbolic gesture last week, the PKK released eight Turkish hostages who had been held captive in northern Iraq for up to two years. But in a sign of the possible backlash to come, a leftist group scornful of the rapprochement launched a bomb and missile attack on government buildings last Wednesday night. One person was injured. Israel apologises to Turkey, page 6

Rebel forces take control of Bangui

Central African Republic rebels have seized the capital, Bangui, after erce ghting, forcing President Franois Boziz to ee. At least nine South African soldiers were killed trying to prevent the rebels taking Bangui, dealing a blow to Pretorias attempt to stabilise the republic. Fighting broke out last week in the former

French colony and rebels swept south towards Bangui with the aim of toppling Boziz, whom they accuse of breaking a January peace deal to integrate opposition ghters into the army. We have taken the presidential palace, Eric Massi, a spokesman for the Seleka rebel coalition, told Reuters. More Africa news, page 10

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 3

Eyewitnessed The weeks events in pictures Centre pages 24-25

Italy orders retrial of Amanda Knox

Italys highest appeal court has ordered a fresh trial in the case of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, overturning the acquittals of Amanda Knox and Raaele Sollecito and paving the way for a potential extradition tussle with the US. In a ruling, which came more than ve years after Kercher was found dead in Perugia, the court of

India gets law against sexual violence

Indias parliament has passed a sweeping new law to protect women against sexual violence, in response to the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in Delhi in December. The legislation, which requires the presidents signature before it becomes ocial, makes crimes of stalking,

Hailstorms ravage southern China

cassation quashed the acquittals handed down by an appeals court in 2011 and said a fresh trial would take place in Florence. The move came after prosecutors had argued that the court that acquitted Knox and Sollecito had lost its bearings. Italy tries to form government, page 5


voyeurism and sexual harassment. It provides for the death penalty for repeat oenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victims death. The law also makes it a crime for police ocers to refuse to open cases when they receive complaints of sexual attacks. Activists hailed the law as a milestone in Indias womens rights movement. More south Asia news, page 8

At least 12 people were killed and more than 270 injured after hailstorms hit southern China. The ocial Xinhua News Agency said nine people were killed in the city of Dongguan, in southern Guangdong province, after a


hailstorm last Wednesday. It added that 272 others were injured from the storm, which caused economic losses of $57.4m. Three other people died from hailstorms that began last Tuesday in neighbouring Hunan province, where 1,900 houses have collapsed.

Pyongyang now suspect in cyber-attack

South Korean investigators say they were wrong when they identied a Chinese internet address as the origin of a cyber-attack that paralysed tens of thousands of computers at six South Korean companies last week. They still believe, however, that the attack originated from abroad. Seouls Korea Communications Commission said last Friday that an internet protocol address linked to last Wednesdays attack actually belonged to a computer at one of the

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LOral case threat to Sarkozy comeback
Nicolas Sarkozy came out ghting after he was placed under investigation for exploiting the mental frailty of the countrys richest woman to raise election funds. His lawyer rejected the case as awed.

South Korean companies that was hit. Commission ocials say the IP address was used only for the companys internal network and was identical to a public Chinese address. Investigators say an analysis of malware and servers indicates that the attack was likely to have been orchestrated from abroad. They did not elaborate. Experts in Seoul suspect Pyongyang of orchestrating the attack. The investigation is likely to take several weeks.

Karen refugees suer in Thailand blaze

A Bordeaux magistrate launched an inquiry last week into whether the former president took advantage of Liliane Bettencourt, the 90-year-old LOral h heiress, after she was c certied as demented, to h help raise money for his 2 2007 election campaign. The abuse-of-weakn ness case threatens to s scupper any political c comeback for Sarkozy, t the former French presid dent who was unseated b by the Socialist, Franois H Hollande, last year. It c could leave him under a cloud of suspicion for months or even years.

Hong Kong ruling restricts foreign maids


Hong Kongs top court has denied permanent residency to two domestic helpers from the Philippines in the nal decision of a legal case with implications for many other foreign maids. The two had argued

that an immigration provision barring domestic workers from permanent residency was unconstitutional. The ruling sided with the governments position that domestic helpers are not the same as other foreign residents.

A re swept through a remote refugee camp in north-west Thailand, killing at least 35 people and destroying makeshift shelters. The blaze, which broke out last Friday in Mae Hong Son province, has left more than 2,000 people homeless, the provincial governor, Narumol Palavat, said. About 115 people were injured, 19 seriously. Reports suggested the re was triggered by a cooking accident. Most of those living in the camp were


ethnic Karens, some of the 3,500 refugees who ed ghting in Burma in 1992. Many were born in the camp and had lived there for decades. Karen insurgents have been ghting for greater autonomy since Burma won independence from Britain in 1948. The Karen National Union signed a ceasere with the Burmese government in 2012, halting one of the worlds longest-running civil wars. But ethnic tensions in the region persist and many refugees do not want to return.

4 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

International news

10bn bailout raises spectre of more European bank raids

Malta fears the worst as Russian PM protests over stolen deposits
Guardian reporters
Fears that bank accounts could be raided in any future eurozone bailouts spooked markets on Monday, as Cypriots prepared for a planned reopening of their banks on Thursday for the rst time in almost two weeks after a deal to secure a 10bn ($13bn) lifeline. Markets took fright after the head of the group of eurozone nance ministers indicated that the Cyprus rescue could be a template for similar situations. Cyprus is the rst of ve bailouts in the eurozone where depositors have been hit. What weve done is what I call pushing back the risks, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch nance minister, told Reuters and the Financial Times after clinching a deal for Cyprus. If the bank cant do it, then well talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, well ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders. Bank of Cyprus and Laiki, the two largest domestic banks, were due to remain shut until Thursday while the latter was split into a good and bad bank and a levy of potentially 40% was imposed on accounts of more than 100,000. A big percentage of those deposits belongs to Russians. On Monday the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said there would be a deal to rework the terms of a 2.5bn loan to the Mediterranean island, which had become attractive for its low tax regime and lax vetting laws. Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades made a televised address in which he said measures would be in place to stop money pouring out of the banks when they reopened. The central bank will implement capital controls on transactions. I want to assure you that this will be a very temporary measure that will gradually be relaxed, he said. Markets were initially buoyed by news of the painful bailout for Cyprus, clinched late last Sunday night following threats by the European Central Bank to switch o liquidity to Cypriot banks, which, carried by international deposits, had grown to eight times the 17bn economy. But markets reacted badly later in the day after Dijsselbloems remarks. He later issued a clarication insisting that bailout programmes were tailor-made and that no models or templates are used. Cypriots had reacted to the agreement with European leaders with relief as it appeared that at least deposits below 100,000 ($130,000) had been spared the levy. In the streets and cafes of Nicosia, and on TV chat shows aired in homes across the nation state, the feeling was that the country had been saved but at a high price. Interior minister Sokratis Hasiko encapsulated the mood, describing the EU-IMF-backed bailout as the best of a bad range of choices. We had got to the point where we were discussing a [depositor] haircut of between 50 and 60%, he said, adding that the Cypriot parliaments rejection of the rst accord, with its highly controversial levy on depositors big and small, had been hugely negative for the countrys banks. So this is the best we could get. There were warnings the impact could reach beyond Cyprus, particularly with repercussions from Russia, where the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said: They are continuing to steal what has already been stolen. This was a phrase Lenin used to answer the allegation that the Bolsheviks were thieves. Russian officials have repeatedly compared the Cypriot bank levy to Soviet-era expropriation. For sure there is anger, said Marios Cosma, head of K Treppides, a rm that serves international clients, mainly rich Russians. For the first time in Europe, you have a situation where depositors are being called to bail in. While Cypruss banking sector has exploded, other countries have even larger banking sectors relative to GDP. Maltas and Luxembourgs banking sectors are relatively larger, more than 20 times GDP in the case of Luxembourg. Maltas nance minister wrote an article in the Malta Times expressing concern about what would happen if it encounters similar problems in the eurozone. In Cyprus there were calls for a referendum on the bailout package. It is illegal and undemocratic, said Christos Tombazos, general secretary of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour. Were talking about massive changes to the banking system. It should go to referendum for the Cypriot people to decide. Russian officials tried to assuage fears over Russian investments on the Mediterranean island. Russian Commercial Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of state-owned bank VTB, would not be aected or its losses will be insignicant, said Igor Shuvalov, a deputy prime minister.

Savers beware ... bank depositors will suer under the terms of the EU bailout deal agreed with Cyprus Zuma/Rex Features The Bank of Cyprus is 9.7% owned by Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian based in Monaco whose wealth is estimated at $9.1bn according to Forbes.
More online - Cyprus bailout latest

Key points of the new Cyprus bailout and what it means

The new programme spares deposits below 100,000 ($130,000), unlike the original proposals. Laiki Bank, Cypruss secondlargest, will close. Its 4.2bn in deposits over 100,000 will be placed in a bad bank, meaning they could be wiped out entirely. Those with smaller deposits at Laiki will see their accounts transferred to the Bank of Cyprus. All lenders to Laiki will see their investments wiped out, in a rst for a eurozone bailout. Bank of Cyprus survives the axe, but will be recapitalised using money from its shareholders and bondholders. It is thought depositors with over 100,000 at the bank will also be involved in the recapitalisation and could face losses of up to 40%. How does the new deal dier from the original one? Small depositors have been protected and the EUs 100,000 legal guarantee has been upheld. Also, the plan does not have to be approved by the Cypriot parliament. Who are the biggest losers? Russian nationals are estimated to hold more than 20bn of the 68bn deposited in Cypriot banks and many are thought to have deposits of over 100,000. Laiki bondholders will be wiped out and lenders to Bank of Cyprus also face heavy losses. Thousands of sta at both Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus will lose their jobs. Will this be the model for future bailouts? It is impossible to say. So far, no two eurozone bailouts have been the same. Policymakers appear to react to events, rather than follow a xed plan. What could the unintended consequences of this plan be? With their initial plan to tax all depositors, policymakers made it clear they would, in certain circumstances, be prepared to take that money. This will likely shake condence in banks if the crisis re-escalates in other countries, such as Spain or Italy. Meanwhile, larger depositors and foreign companies with money in Spain and Italy are likely to start shifting that elsewhere, further damaging already weak nancial institutions. Josephine Moulds

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 5

Spanish own goal EU threatens debt-hit football clubs Finance, page 14

Italy will try to form government

Lizzy Davies Rome
President Giorgio Napolitano made a rst attempt at resolving Italys political gridlock as he asked the centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani to see if he had enough support to form a government out of the inconclusive results of last months parliamentary election. A month after Italians went to the polls, the head of state said last Friday that the beleaguered Democratic party (PD) chief was best placed to try to create a government out of the countrys fractured party political landscape. Speaking at the Quirinale Palace after meeting Bersani, Napolitano said the decision marked the beginning of a decisive phase for Italy. He stressed Bersani would need to nd out if he could attain a secure majority in both houses of parliament. The PD leader said he would start work immediately but added: It is a dicult situation. The task ahead is tough and it remains unclear how Bersani, a former communist with a track record of reform, will nd the backing he needs. If he cannot, Napolitano may feel a caretaker government led by a high-prole gure is the only solution. In that scenario, fresh elections would almost certainly be held later this year. Since the shock results of 25 February, Bersani has repeatedly attempted to win support from outside the PD for a limited agenda of reform, focusing on issues such as corruption, electoral reform and jobs. However, the 61-yearold has failed to appeal to political forces outside the PD, and has also had to face discontent from within his own party, which is furious that a doubledigit lead in the polls was almost erased after a lacklustre campaign. Many suspect that with the young mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, at the helm, the PD would have attracted those voters who ended up casting their ballots for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S). The PDled centre-left coalition has a majority in the lower house of parliament but only leads a centre-right bloc headed by Silvio Berlusconis Freedom People (PdL) party by a handful of seats in the senate. The M5S, founded by former comedian Beppe Grillo, holds the balance of power but Grillo has ruled out backing a Bersani-led administration in the vote needed to form a government. Bersani, for his part, has ruled out forming a grand coalition with the centre-right.

Cyprus nancial storm lays bare aws in the eurozone

Continued from page 1 an inability to grow. The history of the past 150 years shows that most recessions are over within a year and few last longer than two. Europes downturn is ve years old and shows no immediate sign of ending. Nor, unlike in the US and the UK, is there any sense of the ECB taking policy initiatives that might boost growth. There is a European precedent for this crisis, although not one the continent likes to recall. A paper, Till Debt Do Us Part, by Bob Swarup and Dario Perkins of Lombard Street research, says there are parallels between Europe now and in the 1920s, only with the roles reversed. Today Germany is imposing austerity on the weak countries on the euros periphery, at a time when they have no easy way out due to their membership of a xed exchange-rate system. Back in the 1920s, Germany was in a similar position to the Mediterranean countries today. It had

nanced the rst world war through excessive borrowing and was then forced to pay reparations by the allies. Membership of the Gold Standard meant there was no escape. When the Wall Street crash struck in October 1929, the dogged determination of Germany fresh from the hyperination of 1923 to stay on the Gold Standard meant it felt the full blast of the deationary storm coming out of the US. Swarup and Perkins note: The German government, bowing to international pressure, haunted by fears of hyperination and facing reparations linked to gold, refused to default on its debt or devalue its currency by suspending membership of the Gold Standard. Instead it adopted brutal austerity policies, much like those it is now forcing on the Mediterranean countries. This compounded the countrys economic misery and sent unemployment surging higher. It pushed the economy into what today we might call a Greek-style austerity/ depression trap. A straight read across from the interwar years to 2013 is too simplistic. Europes population is older and wel-

fare provision more extensive, even in the countries where austerity is biting hardest. Slow to act it may be, but the ECB is there to ensure nancial stability across the eurozone. Even so, the growing popularity of anti-establishment parties is a warning. The same toxic mix of economic hardship, political impotence and resentment at outside interference that was evident in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s is again present. Swarup and Perkins rightly warn it is vital the economic lessons of the 1930s are remembered. There will need to be debt relief rather than restructuring, a realisation that aggressive scal austerity is a mistake when exchange rates are xed, and a much more activist approach by the ECB to provide a growth stimulus. The longer the depression lasts the stronger extremist forces will become and the greater the risk that one or more countries will decide to leave the single currency because they cannot tolerate the economic distress, the social unrest and the political instability. Germany, of all nations, should understand this.

6 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

International news

Obama wins Israeli apology to Turkey for otilla dead

Deal deects criticism despite lack of progress over Palestine and Iran
Harriet Sherwood Jerusalem Ewen MacAskill Washington
Barack Obama has persuaded Israel to apologise to Turkey for the loss of nine lives on board the Mavi Marmara the lead ship in an aid otilla trying to breach the blockade of Gaza in a deal that paves the way for diplomatic relations to be restored between the two countries. News of the US-brokered deal came last Friday as Obama was leaving Israel at the end of his rst ocial visit during which he was praised for an emotional speech tailored to mainstream Jewish opinion but criticised for doing nothing practical to advance stalled peace negotiations and downplaying Palestinian suering. The apology to Turkey for the May 2010 incident had been resisted by Israel until now, despite pressure from the international community. Both are close US allies Turkey is a member of Nato so the president was well placed to broker the deal. According to White House ocials aboard Air Force One, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu placed a call to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan while closeted with Obama in a trailer on the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport in the last minutes before the presidents departure for Jordan. Obama joined the call at one point. The Israeli prime ministers oce said Netanyahu apologised to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to the loss of life. Erdogan accepted the apology, White House ocials said. This was the rst step towards normalisation of relations between the two countries, US ocials said, and had been the subject of talks between Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem this week. A statement from Netanyahus ofce said: Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed regret over the deterioration in bilateral relations and noted his commitment to working out the disagreements in order to advance peace and regional stability. It added: The prime minister made it clear that the tragic results regarding the Mavi Marmara were unintentional, and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life. In light of the Israeli investigation into the incident, which pointed out several operational errors, Netanyahu apologised to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete the agreement on compensation. A statement released in Obamas name last Friday afternoon said: The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security. The United States has been deeply concerned about the deterioration in relations between its two key allies in the region since the otilla debacle. Nine Turkish activists were killed when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara in an operation to prevent it and other ships in the otilla from reaching Gaza. The bloody confrontation was met with a wave of international condemnation. The deal to end the rift allows Obama to claim a significant diplomatic victory from his first trip as president to Israel. While his speech to Israeli students last Thursday was widely praised, he risked accusations that he had achieved nothing of substance. There was no new plan to kickstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, little movement on how to deal with Irans nuclear programme and nothing concrete on Syria. But the end of the Israeli-Turkish stando is progress. With so much turmoil and uncertainty in the region, the US wants to be able to count on Turkey and Israel working in tandem. Obamas rst visit to the Holy Land since becoming president appeared to have succeeded in its main aim of reassuring Israel of the unbreakable alliance with the US and recalibrating the hitherto frosty relationship between its leaders. Palestinians remained deeply sceptical about his ability to force real change. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, is to explore renewing the talks. Well keep plugging away, Obama said in Amman. Well see if we can make it happen.
Michael Cohen, page 18

Diplomatic breakthrough ... Barack Obamas talks with Binjamin Netanyahu led to a

US president gains few friends

Matthew Kalman Ramallah
In Jerusalem the streets were decorated with Stars and Stripes for the visit of Barack Obama. Ocials even plastered their official logo for the visit across advertising hoardings. In Ramallah it was a dierent story. The only billboards to mark the US presidents trip to what is in eect the capital of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank last Thursday were posters put up by protesters along the main road from Jerusalem, which read: Obama: dont bring your smart phone to Ramallah you wont have mobile access to the internet we have no 3G in Palestine. They had been painted over, apparently by security ocials. While Obamas speeches in Israel were peppered with endearing Hebrew phrases, he has said only one word publicly in Arabic: Marhaba (hello). The US presidents visit was short, lasting little more than four hours, most of them spent in the heavily guarded Mukata presidential compound talking to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Obama briey inspected an honour guard before beginning two hours of talks with Abbas followed by lunch. After a press conference, Obama ventured out to a youth centre to see a group of young people who had built robots using Lego and had come second in an international competition, before he headed back to Jerusalem. Flying in and out on the presidential helicopter Marine One, Obama could not see a group of about 300 protesters who had gathered a few hundred metres from the Mukata chanting anti-American slogans that accused the US of war crimes. Central Ramallah and nearby AlBireh were in eect placed under curfew until Obamas departure. The area around Abbass compound and the youth centre, and the roads between them, were cordoned o by armed police who set up roadblocks and turned

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 7

Ready for combat Life for young female Israeli soldiers Review, page 26

Qatar pushes to give Syrias Arab League seat to rebels

Ian Black Doha Martin Chulov Beirut
Qatar will press ahead with plans to give the anti-Assad opposition the seat on the Arab League council held by the Syrian government despite the crisis over the sudden resignation of Moaz al-Khatib, leader of the Syrian national coalition. The move, which would cement the isolation of Syria in much of the Arab world, drew a furious response from Damascus, which accused the Cairo-based body of handing the seat to bandits and thugs. It came as the centre of the capital was hit by rocket re from rebel positions on the outskirts, indicating that the battle for Syria, now into its third year, was edging closer to Bashar alAssads power base. In the north of the country, meanwhile, a bomb attack badly wounded the former public face of the armed opposition, Colonel Riad al-Assad, whose car was hit in the city of Deir Ezzor. Activists blamed regime forces for the attack on the colonel, who is being treated in Turkey. Khatib, in recent months the lynchpin of both Arab and western hopes for the opposition, was in Doha on Monday for emergency talks with colleagues after announcing his decision to quit at the weekend. Khatibs pledge to address the two-day Arab League summit, which opened on Tuesday, has turned the spotlight on the role of Qatar, which has been instrumental in backing antiAssad forces since the Syrian uprising began two years ago. Qatar became the rst Arab country to close its embassy in Damascus, though others followed suit later. But it has been criticised for delivering weapons that have ended up in the hands of jihadist rebel groups as well as giving strong support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world. AlJazeera, the Qatari-based satellite TV channel, is widely disliked by other governments. Syria was suspended by the Arab League in November 2011. Three of its 22 member states Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon are known to oppose going further in recognising the opposition. But diplomats made it clear that the move was now unstoppable triggering a denunciation in the state-run daily, al-Thawra. They have forgotten that it is the people who grant the powers and not the emirs of obscurantism and sand, the paper said, referring to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Khatib is known to have been unhappy with Qatari support for the choice of Ghassan Hitto, a Texan-based IT executive, as the prime minister of a transitional Syrian government. Hitto, an unknown in opposition ranks until recent months, is believed to have been backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is taking an increasingly prominent stake among the political blocs and rebel factions battling the regime. Khatib is popular inside Syria, though he was ercely criticised when he signalled a readiness to negotiate with the Assad regime, clarifying later that he would negotiate only over the terms of its departure. The coalition said its members had rejected Khatibs resignation and had asked him to continue in a management capacity, leaving his position unclear. Opposition sources said that Khatib was angry at the ow of weapons to extremist groups compared with the few getting through to the Free Syrian Army, in part because of disagreements between Britain and France, which have both signalled that they would like to lift the EU arms embargo, and other member states.

thawing of relations between Israel and Turkey Jack Guez/Getty

on ying visit to West Bank

away all trac. There were no crowds of cheering scouts or ag-waving children just a slightly ominous calm that seemed to presage a political storm. Inside the Mukata, the atmosphere was barely more cordial. Palestinian leaders had hoped for a gesture of friendship from Obama to compensate for his back-slapping banter with Netanyahu the night before, whom he called by his nickname Bibi 10 times in half an hour. Instead, ad, Obama berated Abbas bas for insisting on a freeze eze on new settlements s as a precondition to restarting peace talks, lks, calling them merely rely an irritant. Abbas, whose tradedemark scowl seemed med particularly intense, se, looked shocked. We We require the Israeli li government to stop settlements to discuss our issues, he shot back. Its not only our perspective that settlements are illegal. The UN security council has issued more than 13 resolutions condemning settlements and calling on Israel to remove them. Nor were the Palestinians impressed by Obamas repeated reference to Israel as a Jewish state, and his tendency to dwell on Israeli security concerns. How would PresiH dent Obama feel if the US b became a white Protestant country? Prot Just like Palestinians feel with Jewin Israel Is ish Israel, said PLO official Xavier Abu off Eid. He said Obama Eid was giving a lesson wa about fears of an a occupying power o while visiting a w colonised and occ cupied people.

Lebanons government collapses as Miqati cabinet resigns

Lebanons government fell late last Friday, adding more instability to a region straining to cope with the fallout from Syrias civil war. The prime minister, Najib Miqati, announced the resignation of his cabinet when it failed to decide on the extension of a security chiefs role and the make-up of a commission that would oversee elections due in June. The countrys parliament has remained bitterly divided on most issues in the two years since the elected prime minister, Saad Hariri, was ousted by a Hezbollah-led bloc, known as March 8, which now holds the majority of seats. The remnants of the Hariri bloc, known as March 14, has eectively been in opposition ever since and had pushed for a continued role for the Internal Security Forces chief, Ashraf Ri, who it sees as its last remaining link to Lebanons security establishment after the assassination last October of the intelligence general, Wissam al-Hassan. Martin Chulov Beirut

8 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

International news

Ethnic violence re-erupts in Burma

State of emergency is declared after deaths in central city of Meikhtila
Kate Hodal Bangkok and agencies
Burma declared a state of emergency in the central city of Meikhtila after three days of ethnic violence between Muslims and Buddhists left scores dead, forced thousands to flee and left local homes and shops reduced to smoking rubble. Rioting began last Wednesday in the now ash-covered town, 580km north of the commercial capital Rangoon, after an argument between a Muslim shopkeeper and his Buddhist customers erupted into a brawl that ended with the death of a Buddhist monk. Soon after, photos and videos of mobs roaming the streets were circulating online showing streets littered with burning motorbikes, men armed with sticks and swords destroying property, and buildings set ablaze with little indication that security forces were putting a stop to it. By Monday, unrest was also reported in two other towns to the south. State television said mobs had burned down a mosque and 50 homes last Saturday in Yamethin, about 60km from Meikhtila, while another mosque and several buildings were set ablaze in Lewei, further south near the administrative capital, Naypyitaw. The violence has called into question Burmas fledgling transition to democracy after a quasi-civilian government ended nearly 50 years of military rule in 2010. Led by president Thein Sein, who has carried out a series of economic and political reforms among them the lifting of

Frontline unocial sources claimed up to 100 people had been killed in the violence Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters censorship regulations and the release of many political prisoners the country has also witnessed a growing tension between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims, who comprise 5% of the 60 million population. Exact numbers of those killed and injured are hard to establish. Win Htein, of the opposition National League for Democracy party, said 20 people including the monk are conrmed dead. But Ko Wanna Shwe, of the Rangoon-based Islamic Religious Aairs Council, said that gure was likely to be much higher. We are getting reports from people in Meikhtila since [last] Wednesday that [the number] is higher. Nearly 100 people have been killed teachers, students, shopkeepers, he said by phone. Even young men aged eight to 14 included. Many fear the situation is a reprise of last years violence in Rakhine state, western Burma, where hundreds were killed and 120,000 left homeless after two serious bouts of violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in June and October. A stateless minority, the Rohingya are not recognised as Burmese citizens and many of them either live in segregated camps for internally displaced people or have fled by their thousands to neighbouring countries, often in makeshift boats. Rumours of a third massacre against the Rohingya have been circulating for months, with photographs of alleged leaets inciting violence posted on social media. Rights groups last Friday described the situation in Meikhtila as a warning sign that Burma still has a long way to go to establish peace and reconciliation in a country that proscribed dissent for nearly half a century, and called for the government to put an end to the violence. The key issue is this: the government has frankly failed to stare down the people who are inciting hatred, the people who are engaging in this communal violence and that failure has set an example that impunity to attack Muslims is alive and well in Burma, said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch. Theres a major army base in that town. If people are engaging in rioting and attacks, then they could be stopped. So why does violence continue on now for two days or so? Theres either a complete lack of capacity or a failure of political will because Buddhist monks are involved.

Sri Lanka accused of ongoing torture of Tamil prisoners

Mark Townsend Hussein Kesvani
The torture of Tamil political prisoners is increasingly rife in Sri Lanka, with detainees dying in custody after suering abuse, a new investigation claims. The ndings will intensify pressure on Commonwealth nations to boycott its heads of government meeting, to be hosted in Colombo in November. Tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils have been held without trial since 2009, when Sri Lankas military nally crushed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels in a decadeslong conict for control of the islands northern Jana peninsula. Since then, according to a new report by the London-based Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, the government has regularly outed laws and violated promises of post-conict reconciliation through systematic abuse of these prisoners, many of whom had no links to the Tigers. More than 100,000 people were killed on both sides of Sri Lankas 26-year territorial war between minority Tamils and troops of the Sinhalese majority government. Both rebels and government forces were accused of widespread atrocities during the ghting. But with Sri Lanka now regaining credibility through its revival as a popular tourist destination and its role hosting a major Commonwealth summit later this year, campaigners warn that, unless pressure is put on the countrys leadership, a vital opportunity to secure lasting peace will be squandered. A UK Foreign Oce source said last Friday that it had not ruled out attending the Colombo summit in November despite mounting unease over Sri Lankas human rights record, explaining that it was too early to talk about UK attendance. Last Thursday the UNs human rights council passed a resolution highly critical of Sri Lankas record, encouraging the country to conduct an independent and credible investigation into alleged war crimes with a previous UN investigation, saying up to 40,000 people were killed in the nal ve months of ghting alone. The report was undertaken by Tamil and Sinhalese researchers from Sri Lanka and London, and specifically examined the treatment of detainees in the wake of a riot in the Vavuniya detention centre last June, which triggered brutal police retribution.

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International news

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Sharif spends his way into the driving seat in race to be Pakistans next PM
or some, the 27km of road and yovers built for a eet of red buses that zoom above the gridlocked streets of Lahore is a shocking extravagance. In a country where only 35% of children are in secondary school and poverty is a reality for many, it is easy to think of other ways to spend $334m. But for Nawaz Sharif, the frontrunner in the battle to become Pakistans next prime minister, the countrys rst mass transit project is worth every cent if it staves o competition from the countrys wily president and a famous ex-cricket star. Despite the chorus of doubters, the opening last month of the Metro Bus in the capital of Punjab, which is controlled by Sharifs faction of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), was a massive hit. People were just craving something like this, said Ahsan Iqbal, a senior PML-N leader. It has become the symbol of a new Pakistan. People are experiencing a new way of life that is much closer to developed countries, and that gives them a good feeling. Enthusiasm for grand projects comes after a calamitous ve years for the ruling Pakistan Peoples party (PPP), led by Asif Ali Zardari a surprise president who was swept to power on a tide of sympathy in 2008 after the assassination of his wife Benazir Bhutto. Apart from being the rst government in Pakistans history to full a full term, the PPP has little to brag about. Continuously bueted by terrorist violence, corruption allegations and crippling energy shortages, the PPP has been unable to deliver real economic growth, let alone the motorways and infrastructure that Sharif touts. But while the PPPs vote is likely to be wiped out in much of urban Pakistan, Zardari still has some cards to play as his partys prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, goes to the polls. Zardari whose term as president expires in September is a ruthlessly pragmatic politician with a track record of doing whatever is necessary to keep his party in power. The PPP is thought to have deep reserves of electoral strength in parts

Lahore diary Jon Boone

All aboard critics say Lahores new Metro Bus system is more about politics than easing congestion AFP of rural Punjab and Sindh where its feudal landlord allies maintain a tight control on votes. Through the presidents political heir apparent, Oxford graduate Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 24, the PPP maintains a connection to the Bhutto name, harking back both to Benazir and Bilawals grandfather, Zulkar Ali Bhutto. The party has also lavished more than $1bn in welfare handouts for 5.2 million people through its Benazir income support programme. People at the grassroots know what we have done for them, they dont believe what the media is saying, said Taj Haider, general secretary of the PPP in Sindh. Living standards in the poorest areas have gone up and people are getting better prices for their crops. Cynics say the Metro Bus is less about tackling urban congestion and more about the dramatic political rise of Imran Khan, the countrys beloved former cricket captain, who emerged as a major threat to the PML-N in late 2011 by holding an enormous rally for his political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), on Sharifs home turf. About 100,000 people took part in the Lahore jalsa, creating speculation that what Khan calls a political tsunami would sweep Pakistani politics and break the corrupt, dynastic rule of the two established parties. Perversely, Khan could actually be the best chance the deeply unpopular PPP has for clinging on to power, if his appeal to urban young people simply succeeds in cutting into the PML-N vote bank in the towns and cities of Punjab. After the Khan rally, the PML-N feared its cruise to power on the back of the PPPs many failures was in jeopardy and so went into overdrive. The party used its control of the government of Punjab, home to 60% of Pakistanis, to push through as many eye-catching schemes as it could nearly all of which have been criticised for wasting money. Free laptops were given to students, a youth festival was held and, most signicant of all, the Metro Bus was built in 11 months. At the partys manifesto launch, Sharif promised to turn Pakistan into an Asian tiger, with new infrastructure and a government with zero tolerance for corruption. The period of hyperactivity appears to have paid o, with the PMLN now favourite to win the largest number of seats after Pakistanis go to the polls on 11 May, even if an outright majority is probably beyond it. The party enjoys a substantial lead in the latest polls. Most analysts believe Khan will be lucky to get 20 of the 342 seats in parliament. He peaked too early and gave the PML-N time to rejuvenate its base, said Cyril Almeida, a newspaper columnist. People go to his rallies because he is a rock star in Pakistan. He doesnt have the party machine to actually turn out the voters and bring them to the polling booth on election day.

The Metro Bus has become the symbol of a new Pakistan, and that gives people a good feeling

10 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

International news

Call to legalise rhino horn trade

South African minister says proposal could be solution to poaching
David Smith Johannesburg
South Africas environmental aairs minister has backed a radical proposal to legalise the international trade in rhino horn as a means of neutralising the black market and saving the threatened species. Edna Molewa said she believes legalisation could be a solution to the scourge of rhino poaching, which saw a record 668 of the animals killed in South Africa last year, fuelled by demand for horn in south-east Asia. But her stand is likely to be met with erce opposition from conservationists. We believe it is the right direction as one of the measures, Molewa told South Africas Mail & Guardian newspaper during a recent Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) meeting in Bangkok. The model that we have is based on pure law of supply and demand. Our rhinos are killed every day and the numbers are going up. The reality is that we have done all in our power and doing the same thing every day isnt working. We do think that we need to address this issue of trade in a controlled manner so that we can at least begin to push down this pressure. South Africa is likely to support legalisation at the next Cites conference in Cape Town in 2016, the Mail & Guardian reported. Rhino horn sales have been banned for more than 30 years under Cites. Poaching has escalated in recent years despite countless initiatives, including armed patrols and aerial surveillance. At least 158 rhinos have been slaughtered already this year,

Drone base brings US war to Niger

Craig Whitlock Niamey Washington Post
The newest outpost in the US governments empire of drone bases sits behind a razor-wire-topped wall outside this west African capital, blasted by 40C heat and the occasional sandstorm blowing from the Sahara. The US air force began flying a handful of unarmed Predator drones from here last month. The grey, mosquito-shaped aircraft emerge sporadically from a borrowed hangar and soar north in search of al-Qaida ghters and guerrillas from other groups hiding in the regions deserts and hills. The harsh terrain of north and west Africa is rapidly emerging as yet another front in the long-running US war against terrorist networks, a conict that has fuelled a revolution in drone warfare. Since taking oce in 2009, President Barack Obama has relied heavily on drones for operations , both declared and covert, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. US drones also y from allied bases in Turkey, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines. Now they are becoming a xture in Africa. The US military has built a major drone hub in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, and flies unarmed Reaper drones from Ethiopia. Until recently, it conducted reconnaissance ights over east Africa from the island nation of Seychelles. The Predator drones in Niger, a landlocked and dirt-poor country, give the Pentagon a strategic foothold in west Africa. Niger shares a long border with Mali, where an al-Qaida aliate and other Islamist groups have taken root. Niger also borders Libya and Nigeria, which are also struggling to contain armed extremist movements. Like other US drone bases, the Predator operations in Niger are shrouded in secrecy. The White House announced in February that Obama had deployed about 100 military personnel to Niger on an intelligence collection mission, but it did not make any explicit reference to drones. Since then, the defence department has publicly acknowledged the presence of drones here but has revealed little else.
More online For a longer version of this article visit

Horn of Africa a rhino in Kruger Mario Moreno/Barcroft Media most in the celebrated Kruger national park. At the current rate, deaths will outstrip births by 2016, described by conservationists as a tipping point. Molewa joins a vocal minority who have been lobbying hard for legalisation as a necessary step. Among them is John Hume, South Africas biggest private owner with more than 800 rhinos, who argues that the animals could be periodically dehorned safely and humanely. Hume acknowledges that he would be one of the main nancial beneciaries. I am very pleased with the ministerss response and feel that it is high time that the government adopted this stance, Hume said on Monday. I sincerely hope our government makes a decision to trade in rhino horn very soon and that they take such a proposal forward vigorously and intensively. Our rhinos are rapidly running out of time and the current poaching onslaught is truly devastating. We strongly feel that legalising the trade in rhino horn is the only way to go in order to save the rhino. But the move has long been opposed by groups such as Trac and the WWF. There are fears that a legitimate supply of horn would send mixed messages to consumer markets that are little understood and lack regulation. It could potentially stimulate more demand in countries such as Vietnam, where horn is seen as a delicacy or of medicinal value. Will Travers, chief executive of the Born Free Foundation, told the Mail & Guardian: So what are they saying by legalising the rhino horn trade? Here is a product that every sensible scientist says has no signicant impact and they are going to sell it at huge cost to a public that is ill-informed. I wouldnt go to sleep at night if I thought I was selling something like that to a Vietnamese family who have scrimped and saved every cent to buy rhino horn for their dying grandmother, who then goes and dies.

Nigeria in mourning for Chinua Achebe

Monica Mark Lagos
From Nobel laureates to roadside booksellers, Nigerians expressed their grief and shock at the death at 82 of Chinua Achebe, the literary giant whose works made him a household name and national hero. Many who had worked alongside him wept as they paid tribute, and bookstores in central Lagos said his books sold out as news of his death trickled in. Despite his age and distance from his homeland he died in Boston, where he had lived for years Achebes frequent and often barbed pronouncements against an oil-fed Nigerian elite kept him in the national psyche. He further endeared himself to a younger generation of Nigerians weary of corruption when he twice turned down a national honour in 2004 and 2011. African literature burst on to the world stage with Achebes 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, which portrays an Igbo farmers fatal struggle to come to terms with British colonialism in the late 19th century. It remains the best-selling novel ever written by an African author, having sold more than 10m copies in 50 dierent languages. Nelson Mandela, who read his books during his 27-year incarceration, once said of him: He was the writer in whose company the prison walls came down. Wole Soyinka, a fellow giant of African literature, said: We have lost a brother, a colleague, a trailblazer and a doughty ghter.
The man who gave Africa a voice, page 19

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Guantnamo protest on large scale

Inmates hunger strike bigger than US claims, says campaign group
Paul Harris New York
A campaign group representing some of the inmates at Guantnamo Bay said last Thursday that a mass hunger strike currently taking place at the controversial prison camp is far larger than US military authorities have admitted. Last Wednesday, General John Kelly told a congressional committee that 24 Guantnamo prisoners were on hunger strike-lite and eating a bit, but not a lot as a way of protesting against allegations that the Quran had been mishandled by military sta, and also to highlight their continuing detention without trial. But Omar Farah, who works on Guantnamo issues for the New Yorkbased Centre for Constitutional Rights, said that one of his seven clients at the base, Yemeni inmate Fahad Ghazy, had recently told him that the strike involved many more inmates. They [the Pentagon] are not admitting the scale and scope of the hunger strike, Farah said. On 14 March, Farah said, Ghazy told him in a phone call that all but two inmates in Guantnamos Camp Six were on hunger strike, and that probably represented almost 130 people. Ghazy had said some detainees at Camp Five were also on hunger strike. There are about 166 inmates at Guantnamo, of whom about half have been cleared for transfer or release. Nearly all the inmates have been held without charge some for 11 years. liberties groups in the US and abroad, especially as dealing with the suspects legally has been painfully slow or nonexistent. President Barack Obama vowed to shut the camp in his rst year of oce, but his eorts were stymied by Congress and have apparently been shelved. Earlier this year the state department oce meant to deal with resettling Guantnamo prisoners was closed down. Even Kelly admitted that the inmates morale was extremely poor. They had great optimism that Guantnamo would be closed. They were devastated, apparently, when the president backed o, he said. Meanwhile, those advocating prisoners rights have also criticised a recent announcement that will end the only civilian flight that goes to the base. Last week the Florida rm IBC Travel said it had been ordered to stop ying to the base from 1 May at the latest. That will mean lawyers, journalists and human rights workers will only be able to get to the base on board a military ight something that requires permission from the Pentagon. It will certainly make it a lot more dicult to get there at a time when we all need increased access, said Farah. The only major trial to emerge from Guantnamo Bay has been a military tribunal held for alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others, which began last year. By contrast, Osama bin Ladens son-inlaw, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was captured earlier this month, will be prosecuted in a criminal court in New York on charges of conspiring to kill Americans.

Beyond the wire detainees pray at Guantnamo Bay John Moore/Getty Farah warned that, if the hunger strike continued, some inmates could die. We are afraid for some of the mens lives. If someone persists with not eating food they can suer severe physical damage and may die, he said. Kelly, who vociferously denied any charge that Qurans had been mishandled, did admit that eight detainees had lost enough weight that they were now being force-fed via tubes. But he insisted that there was no crisis. [They] present themselves daily, calmly, in a totally co-operative way, to be fed through a tube, he said, adding that he believed those prisoners were also eating by themselves when they were in their cells. The clashing versions of events are the latest in a long line of controversies that have dogged the Guntanamo prison since it was set up to house suspects caught up in the so-called war on terror. The process of detaining terror suspects has outraged civil

Bloomberg unveils $12m gun control ad campaign

Matt Williams New York
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is bankrolling a $12m advertising blitz in a bid to pressure Congress into adopting stricter gun controls. The television ads are set to run in 13 key states during the congressional recess and are aimed at inuencing an upcoming Senate vote on gun reforms. Announcing the move, Bloomberg the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and one of the USs most highprole advocates of tighter controls said: These ads bring the voices of Americans who overwhelmingly support comprehensive and enforceable background checks into the discussion to move senators to immediately take action to prevent gun violence. But the pro-gun lobby group, the National Rie Association (NRA), accused the New York mayor of attempting to intimidate senators. The new ads feature a man holding a gun on the back of a pickup truck. In one, he says he will defend the second amendment but adds that with rights come responsibilities. He goes on to urge viewers to tell Congress to support background checks. In the other ad posted on the Mayors Against Illegal Guns website, the man says background checks have nothing to do with taking guns away from anyone; rather, they are aimed at preventing criminals and mentally ill people from owning deadly weapons. The advertising plan comes days after the Senate disappointed advocates of greater controls by eectively abandoning a proposal to ban military-style assault weapons. Last Tuesday, Senate leader Harry Reid said that the ban would not form part of a bill members are due to vote on, as it did not have the support needed to force it through Congress. But in his weekly radio address last Saturday, President Barack Obama called on Washington to vote on the assault rie ban in any case. Describing the proposal and others including background checks as common-sense measures, he added: They are supported by a majority of the American people. And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote. Likewise Bloomberg called on the Senate to put gun control measures to the vote. We demanded a plan and we got one. We demanded a vote and well get one. Now were doing what we can to pass a bill that will save lives, he said. The renewed focus on addressing Americas problem with gun violence followed a series of mass shootings in 2012, culminating in the deaths of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school.

12 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

International news

Ros Montt on trial for Mayan massacres

Former Guatemalan dictator denies charges of genocide in civil war
Jo Tuckman
The former Guatemalan dictator Jos Efran Ros Montt faced charges of genocide and crimes against humanity at the start of a tense trial in Guatemala City last week, which few believed until recently would ever be possible. Ros Montt led a military government that began with a coup in March 1982 and ended with another 17 months later at the height of a civil war in which the army severely weakened a leftwing insurgency by carrying out massacres of the population in the Mayan indigenous heartland where the guerrillas were based. Prosecutors hope to prove that Ros Montt must have been aware, and was consequently responsible for, a series of atrocities that resulted in the deaths of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayans in three towns in the countrys western highlands while he was head of the government and counterinsurgency strategy. They are expected to pay particular attention to the strict military chain of command he himself appeared to boast about in an interview for a 1982 documentary in which he said, If I tary also on trial, denied the charges against him. An estimated 200,000 people died and 45,000 disappeared during Guatemalas 36-year civil war that ended with peace accords in 1996 and represents one of the bloodiest episodes in modern Latin American history. A United Nations backed truth commission blamed most of the hundreds of massacres during the war on the army and army-backed paramilitaries. It concluded that attacks on specic indigenous groups constituted genocide because the strategy was to kill as many members of these groups as possible. The prosecution of Ros Montt is the first time that a former head of state has been put on trial for genocide by a national tribunal. Efforts to bring him to trial have been going on for many years, but his position as leader of a popular rightwing political party, as well as elected posts in the national parliament that gave him automatic immunity, made it all seem like fantasy to many. The nal push commenced in January 2012, but the trial was repeatedly stalled by Ros Montts legal defence team. Brody said: This is not only about the countrys past but about its present as well. In a country in which the powerful have always been above the law, just the fact of this trial is a historic armation that justice can exist.

Accused it took years for Jos Efran Ros Montt to stand trial AP cant control the army, then what am I doing here? The retired general sat facing a group of victims in the courtroom while activists demonstrated in support of the prosecution outside. Reed Brody, a representative of the US-based Human Rights Watch, said the 86-year-old former dictator was alert and taking notes during the proceedings and occasionally even appeared jovial. His lawyer, Francisco Garca, told the court that no genocide had ever existed. Ros Montt never gave a written or verbal order to exterminate the Ixils in this country, he reportedly said. Jos Rodrguez Snchez, a former high-ranking member of the mili-

Police evict indigenous group near Rio football stadium

Jonathan Watts
Brazilian riot police armed with batons, teargas and pepper spray have forcibly evicted an indigenous community from a dilapidated museum complex next to the Maracan football stadium. The forced relocation, which led to scues, arrests and accusations of brutality, came amid growing pressure on the hosts of the next World Cup to accelerate preparations that have fallen far behind schedule. Renovation of the stadium, which will host next years nal, was supposed to have been completed at the end of last year, but there are doubts that it will be ready for a friendly match between England and Brazil in June. The museum has been the focus of a protracted legal battle between squatters, who claim that the site should be used to promote indigenous culture, and the municipal authorities, who want to knock down a graffiti-covered eyesore and modernise the area before the worlds attention moves to Rio de Janeiro. We were negotiating, and then the government resorted to force, said Urutau Guajajara, a bare-chested man wearing a feathered headdress who described himself as a professor of the Guajajara ethnic group. The police were very violent. It was shocking, said Ingrid Paul, an Argentinian who has lived in the community for the past three weeks. The police were obviously preparing for a ght. They came in with masks The Guajajara ethnic group wants the site near Maracan stadium used to help indigenous culture at 2.30am. We were all aected by the gas, even a three-year-old child. After their eviction, some of the indigenous people were taken to temporary housing provided by the government. Others sang songs, smoked pipes and handed out leaets declaring: 513 years of struggle: resist the expulsion of the multi-ethnic indigenous group of the Maracan. In the aftermath, police and TV helicopters buzzed overhead. Ocers armed with automatic ries cordoned o the area and several dozen police vehicles including armoured personnel carriers lined the streets. The government says it is necessary to raze the building as part of the renovation of a rundown area that is supposed to be transformed into a sports and entertainment hub. The authorities have promised to build a new Indian cultural centre that incorporates housing, though that wont be complete until the end of 2014. Senior officials appear reluctant, however, to take responsibility for the evictions and demolition. Last October, Sergio Cabral, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, shifted the blame on to the world football body, Fifa. It is being demanded by Fifa and the World Cup organising committee. Long live democracy, but the building has no historical value. We are going to tear it down, he told reporters at the time. Fifa subsequently denied that it had ordered such a step. Brazil is running out of time to prepare for the World Cup. Several stadiums are far behind schedule. The $456m renovation of the Maracan was supposed to have been presented to Fifa last month, but after storms and oods the pitch was only laid last week, and the installation of seating and roong has now been postponed to 24 May, just nine days before the friendly with England.

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Gillard rebukes Labor over failed coup

Alison Rourke Sydney
Australias prime minister, Julia Gillard, has announced a reshued cabinet while describing as appalling, selfindulgent and unseemly the bungled attempt by Labor heavyweights to replace her with Kevin Rudd. The failed coup in which Rudd waited until 10 minutes before the ballot to declare he would not stand and Gillard was re-elected unopposed has claimed the scalps of three senior cabinet members as well as several other ministers and parliamentary secretaries. Announcing her new team, Gillard said her governments eyes would now be on the nation and not the internal wranglings of her party. Like Australians around the nation I was appalled by events of last week, she said. My political party, the Labor party, which I love very dearly, was self-indulgent. Our eyes were on ourselves rather than [being] focused on the nation. It was an unseemly display. But out of that has come clarity. Rudd has acknowledged he will never lead the Labor party again. There were few surprises in the new cabinet team, except for the promotion of Anthony Albanese, a key Rudd supporter, to the portfolio of regional development and local government, adding to his current portfolios of infrastructure and transport. Regional development is the role vacated by former minister Simon Crean, who sparked the crisis last Friday by calling for Gillard to either throw her job open to contest or be forced to do so. Crean, who said he would have voted for Rudd, was sacked by Gillard and sent to the backbench. Defending her promotion of Albanese, Gillard acknowledged his public declaration amid the dramatic caucus vote that he would never support a leadership ballot to unseat a sitting prime minister. Other winners from the cabinet reshue included Gary Gray, who enters the cabinet, taking over the mining and resources portfolio from outgoing Rudd loyalist Martin Ferguson.

Prime minister apologises over forced adoptions

Julia Gillard delivered a national apology in parliament last Thursday to the thousands of unwed mothers who were forced by government to give up their babies for adoption over several decades. Today this parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies, which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suering, Gillard told the audience. An apology was recommended a year ago by a Senate committee that investigated the impacts of the now discredited policies. Unwed mothers were pressured, deceived and threatened into giving up their babies from the second world war until the early 1970s so they could be adopted by married couples. Associated Press

Victor Australian PM Julia Gillard Gillard reiterated that the leadership contest for her job was over. It is now very clear that I have the condence of my colleagues to lead the Labor party and to remain as prime minister. It is also clear that Kevin

14 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

Finance in brief

EU ready to blow whistle on Spains debt-hit football clubs

Tax liabilities of 692m could spell the end for several famous teams
Giles Tremlett Madrid
It is the powerhouse of global football, home to its greatest players and a World Cup-winning national team, but Spains soccer bubble looks set to explode as European authorities prepare to halt public funding of debtridden clubs. In a move that threatens to provoke the partial collapse of a football system built on unsustainable piles of debt, competition authorities in Brussels want Spains government to explain why it has allowed clubs to build up vast, unpaid tax and social security debts. With many clubs in the top two divisions already having trouble paying bank debts totalling some 3.5bn ($4.5bn), the move would likely force some clubs into liquidation. Historic names such as Deportivo de La Corua or Racing Santander could simply disappear. Other top clubs, such as Valencia, will have to sell players and face years of decline. Indignant MEPs are already demanding to know why Spain is happy to request 40bn in aid from eurozone taxpayers for its banks while allowing the clubs to build up a tax debt of 692m. This is unfair since all other Spanish taxpayers, as well as the other European football clubs, must, of course, be up to date with their tax payments, said Willy Meyer, a Spanish MEP for the United Left coalition, in a recent question to the competition commissioner, Joaqun Almunia. Meyer pointed out that while clubs pay multimillion-euro salaries to star players, the cash-strapped government of Mariano Rajoy has imposed cuts on public services. It is incomprehensible that while taxes such as VAT are being increased and hospitals and public companies are being privatised as a means of generating short-term resources, these private, recreational bodies are receiving preferential tax treatment, he said. Other European soccer clubs are also crying foul. This beggars belief. We pay hundreds of millions of euros to keep Spain out of the shit and then they let the clubs o their debts, Uli Hoeness, the president of the German

Rosneft has taken over TNKBP in a $55bn deal that will make the Russian state-owned oil company by far the worlds largest listed oil producer. The deal, which was sealed at the Russian president Vladimir Putins mansion on the outskirts of Moscow last Thursday, will see BP collect $16.7bn in cash and a 12.5% stake in Rosneft in return for its 50% stake in the TNK-BP venture. The deal takes BPs stake in Rosneft to 19.75%, and BP will get two seats on the Russian companys board. BPs partners in the TNK-BP joint venture billionaires Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik will collect $27.7bn for their stake. BAE Systems has been awarded a new contract from the US military worth up to $780m. The ve-year deal with the Pentagon to produce explosives at a plant in Tennessee includes a further order for the IMX-101 munition that is seen as a safe and eective replacement for TNT in artillery rounds. The US is BAEs biggest market, but the British defence contractor had warned of weak demand from across the Atlantic due to the scaling back of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two of the City of Londons most blue-blooded rms are to merge after Schroders announced it was buying its smaller rival Cazenove Capital for 424m ($643m). Cazenove, reputed to be the Queens broker, dates back to 1823; Schroders, 1804. The tie-up will create one of the UKs largest private banking and wealth management houses. Schroders had assets under management worth 229.2bn in 2012, while Cazenove had 11.2bn. The Cazenove brand will be retained for the private banking business.

Taxing situation ... Valencia has had to sell many of its best players, including Juan Mata, left, now at Chelsea Javier Soriano/Getty side Bayern Munich, complained when debt gures were made public last year. A spokesman for Almunia said a formal investigation similar to one looking at public subsidies to Dutch soccer clubs must wait until the Spanish government has replied to its inquiries. Analysts warn that action from Almunia to force Spains tax authorities to recover debts will expose the chronic nancing problem in Spanish soccer. Professor Jos Mara Gay de Libana, of the University of Barcelona, said reckless lending especially by former savings banks controlled by local politicians had created a bubble that must eventually burst. When people ask me what clubs could be in danger, I reply with the list of the only clubs that are not in any kind of danger. They are Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, said Gay de Libana. Hoeness is, basically, right. If I dont pay my taxes, then the authorities come after me. But that doesnt happen to the clubs, which are not treated like other companies. Twenty-two first- and seconddivision clubs are in insolvency proceedings or have been in recent years. Several are thought to be struggling to survive strict debt-repayment plans imposed by creditors. They include former league title-winners such as Deportivo de la Corua and a long list of historic clubs such as Zaragoza, Racing Santander, Mallorca, Albacete and Betis. Deportivo semi-finalists in he Champions League in 2004 had been allowed to build up a tax debt of 96m, a report to an insolvency court last week revealed. The real cause of the insolvency is a complete lack of realism in management, taking on spending and investment that is absolutely beyond the clubs economic possibilities, the clubs administrators wrote.

Foreign exchanges
Sterling rates (at close) 22 Mar 1.46 1.56 8.74 1.18 11.83 143.99 1.82 8.85 1.90 9.88 1.43 1.52 15 Mar 1.45 1.54 8.63 1.16 11.74 143.90 1.83 8.74 1.89 9.68 1.42 1.51


The number of Spains rst and second division clubs in insolvency proceedings, or that have been recently

Australia Canada Denmark Euro Hong Kong Japan New Zealand Norway Singapore Sweden Switzerland USA

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 15

UK news

Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this Then Section and Page XX

At bay Boris Berezovsky at his former home in Surrey in 2002, two years after decamping from Russia John Downing/Hulton Archive/Getty

Berezovskys death ends tale of betrayal, exile and feuds

Putins foe fell into depression after nancial ruin of lost high-court case
Luke Harding Observer
Boris Berezovsky, 67, who was found dead in his Berkshire mansion last weekend, always believed in British justice. It was a British judge who granted him asylum after he fell out with his one-time protege Vladimir Putin and ed in 2000 to London. The move infuriated the Kremlin. The oligarch notched up several other high court victories libel actions against Forbes magazine and Russian TV, a couple of successful civil suits. So when Berezovsky decided to sue Roman Abramovich for $5bn, in what was the biggest private litigation battle ever, he assumed he would win. He believed the high court would accept his insiders account of Russias post-communist history: that he and Abramovich had gone into business together in the Boris Yeltsin-driven 1990s. And that the Chelsea FC owner had later shafted him over Sibneft, the oil rm they co-founded. Last August, however, Mrs Justice Gloster, who presided over their high court battle, dismissed Berezovskys case, describing him as dishonest and deluded. Afterwards Berezovsky joked that Putin, the man he blamed for poisoning his friend Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, might have written the judgment. In the following months, friends say, Berezovsky fell into a deep depression. He rarely saw his circle of anti-Kremlin activists and Russian exiles. Some claimed he had gone to Israel; others said he was lying low at his luxury home in Wentworth, Surrey. One day he was cheerful, the next down, Berezovskys friend Alex Goldfarb said. The court case was a massive blow to him personally, politically and nancially. The high court defeat left him with costs estimated at 100m ($152m). Berezovsky a one-time professor of mathematics, who applied his intellect to business and became very rich was practically bankrupt. He was forced to sell his Surrey home. He shut down his political foundation, which for more than a decade had waged a campaign against Putin. Berezovsky was so broke he could no longer aord to pay for lawyers acting for Litvinenkos widow Marina. Investigators in Russia opened dozens of criminal cases against him; a return to Russia would have meant a prison cell. Having failed to winkle him out of London, the Kremlin went after his assets in Brazil, France and elsewhere. Berezovsky was one of the most inuential people in the transition of Russia from what it was under communism to what it is now, in every respect, both good and bad, Goldfarb said. He helped Yeltsin win reelection over the communists. And he helped to stop the Chechen war But he then made the major mistake in his life: he brought in Putin. Berezovsky reckoned his then friend would be a pliable successor to Yeltsin and that he, the ultimate Kremlin insider, would continue to pull the strings. But the pair clashed, Putin seized Berezovskys ORT TV station, and Berezovsky decamped to London. Their feud was nasty and would lead ultimately to Berezovskys death in exile.
John Kampfner, page 21

Postmortem: Berezovsky hanged himself

The exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky hanged himself in the bathroom of his Ascot home, a postmortem examination released on Monday concluded. After two days of speculation about whether the businessman turned Kremlin critic had become a victim of an assassination plot, a statement released by Thames Valley Police said: The results of the postmortem examination, carried out by a Home Oce pathologist, have found the cause of death is consistent with hanging. It added there were no signs of a violent struggle. Pathologists will now carry out further tests, including toxicology and histology, which are likely to take several weeks. Robert Booth and Luke Harding

16 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

UK news

Budget may cause tax rise after election

Osbornes spending cuts will leave huge gap in nances, say experts
Phillip Inman
Tax rises of up to 9bn ($13.7bn) equal to a 2p increase in the basic rate of income tax could be imposed after the next general election to limit further cuts in public spending, experts warned last week. The scale of the spending cuts scheduled for 2015 in George Osbornes budget will be so dicult to implement, an incoming government would have little alternative but to raise taxes or borrow more, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said. The IFS, which produces a keenly watched analysis of the chancellors budget, gave its warning after the Treasurys independent forecaster, the Ofce for Budget Responsibility, warned growth would halve this year to 0.6% and the recovery would be weaker than predicted only in December. There was speculation in the City following the poor figures that the UK could face its second credit downgrade. Ratings agencies Standard & Poors and Fitch have the UK on negative watch and have warned that a weakening of the recovery could lead to their stripping Britain of its AAA status. Osborne would face a second humiliation after Moodys issued a downgrade notice last month. In a budget that kept the coalition tied to its austerity theme, Osborne was forced to admit that the UK would take two years longer to push the annual decit below 3%. A rise in the peralong with some other unprotected and unloved public services, looks likely to face at least 50% spending cuts between 2011-12 and 2017-18. Spending gures until 2018 show the debt bill has risen by 70bn since forecasts in the autumn statement and by almost 250bn since the coalition took oce. The IFS criticised Osborne for devoting senior civil servants time to manipulating public spending gures to meet a pledge that the decit would fall in successive years. The chancellor grabbed 10.9bn in underspends by Whitehall departments to squeak this years debt bill under last years 120bn decit by 100m. More than 2bn came from an underspend in the NHS, and 3bn came from defence. He also delayed payments to bodies such as the World Bank and the EU, and brought forward a planned cut in a long-standing national insurance benet to nal salary pension schemes to reduce the annual bill. Some budget spending commitments were also deSeeing red George Osborne wont deviate from austerity Lewis Whyld/PA layed until after the election including a 3bn infrastructure programme sonal income tax threshold to 10,000 next government to bridge a large gap and 1bn for social care which will next year, and a 1p cut in beer duty and in Whitehalls nances. not take eect until after April 2015. the abolition of a planned fuel duty Rowena Crawford of the IFS said The IFS said a ringfence around rise in the autumn, were oset by a politicians were likely to prefer tax the NHS, schools, international defurther tightening of Whitehall budg- rises to avoid making further spend- velopment and defence equipment ets to leave what the IFS described as ing cuts. That is after an election and to protect them from cuts left further a scally neutral budget that masked it is much more possible that a future reductions in departmental spending a further deterioration in the govern- government will prefer to increase limits to fall disproportionately on the ments nances. taxes instead, she said. remaining services. Osborne plans to keep spending Tony Travers, a director of research Under pressure from backbench at its current level until 2015 before a at the London School of Economics Tory MPs to sweeten the pill of welsecond wave of steep cuts takes eect and an expert on local government - fare cuts already scheduled to hit this up to 2018. The IFS said the govern- nance, told Public Finance magazine: year, Osborne chose to let borrowing ment was delaying some austerity You wouldnt know it from the head- rise higher over the next two years measures until after 2015, leaving the line figures, but local government, than the government planned.

Salmond announces Scottish independence vote date

Severin Carrell
Alex Salmond has announced Scotlands independence referendum will be held on 18 September next year, giving the independence movement 545 days to convince a largely sceptical population to say yes to leaving the UK. Around 4 million voters, set to include 16- and 17-year-olds for the rst time in a major poll, will be asked a single question: Should Scotland become an independent country? Salmond said 18 September would be a date which becomes etched in our nations story as the day Scotland took a decisive step forward to a better, fairer future. But opposition leaders said he knew independence was unpopular: a series of opinion polls has consistently shown that about a third of Scots back independence, with support for remaining in the UK commanding majority support. Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said it had taken Salmond around 700 days since he won a landslide in the Scottish elections to conrm the date. Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader, said the further delay in staging the referendum meant Scotland would remain on pause, delaying much needed action on poverty and economic recovery. She said the Scottish government had repeatedly failed to set out in detail how an independent Scotland would function, what its tax, welfare and pensions policies would be or how it would improve health and education. What I do not understand is why, if leaving the United Kingdom is the key to Scotlands prosperity, he wants Scotland to languish for another year and a half before we get the chance to vote on it, she said. The truth is Alex Salmond knows if he held the referendum now he wouldnt just lose it, he would be routed. In a direct appeal to unpersuaded voters, Salmond said the referendum was Scotlands chance to rid the country permanently of unpopular Conservative governments, and ensure it was not forced to accept deep cuts in welfare spending and London-led economic strategies that were failing to cut national debt or boost recovery. He told the Scottish parliament that Scotland now faces two futures. While the UK was an outdated political entity that ill-serves the interests of the people of Scotland, with independence Scotland would get a parliament that is both fully empowered and fully accountable to those whose lives are aected by its actions. Voting yes in the referendum would allow Scotland to take direct control over its economy and welfare strategy. Independence will be instrumental in bringing about that socially just and more prosperous Scotland that society wishes to see, Salmond said.

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 17

UK news
News in brief

Thatcher advisers wanted to buy out Falkland Islanders

Alan Travis
Some of Margaret Thatchers closest policy advisers voiced concerns that the Falklands were not worth the ght, from the earliest days of the campaign, according to the latest release of les from the former Conservative prime ministers personal papers. The papers show that, contrary to the jingoistic spirit at the time, the divisions over the islands went to the very heart of Downing Street with both Thatchers senior economic adviser, Sir Alan Walters, and her chief of staff, David Wolfson, proposing schemes oering to buy out the 1,800 islanders rather than send a taskforce to the South Atlantic. The head of the Downing Street policy unit, Sir John Hoskyns, voiced the fear of making almighty fools of ourselves. Hoskyns told Thatchers press secretary, Bernard Ingham, that it was rather unwise to talk about the islanders wishes being paramount, and criticised the public tone being struck: If we talk about it as a combination of Stalingrad and Alamein we risk looking absurd. This is not a battle for our homeland and civilisation. Wolfson made a proposal in a note to Thatcher on 22 April 1982 to avoid war by way of buying o the Falklanders. He suggested that the bribe of a US-backed index-linked guarantee of $100,000 per family and lifetime guarantees allowing residents to settle in

Nearly 2m homes in the UK will be heated by shale gas from the US within ve years, under a deal agreed on Monday that is likely to be the rst time major exports of the controversial energy source are used in the UK. The deal struck by energy company Centrica opens up the market to cheap supplies from the US as North Sea gas elds run out and pipelines to Europe remain expensive. Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan while advocating girls education, attended her rst day of school in the UK, weeks after being released from hospital. The 15-yearold, who is among nominees for this years Nobel peace prize, described her return to school as the most important day of her life, as she joined fellow students in Birmingham. The number of children taking up smoking has risen by 50,000 in just one year, research suggests. About 207,000 children aged 11 to 15 started to smoke in 2011, a sharp rise from 157,000 in 2010, according to research from Cancer Research UK. The charity said the gure equated to 567 children taking up the habit each day. An increase in prots at the big ve UK banks Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Standard Chartered was wiped out by more than 11bn ($16.7bn) of nes and compensation payments in 2012. Despite an improved core business performance, nes from regulators and the costs of the mis-selling of payment protection insurance contributed to a 40% cumulative drop in prots from 2011 to 11.7bn, according to accountants KMPG. Severe weather warnings covered most of England, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland as a blast of unseasonally cold air showed no sign of relenting. Thousands of homes were without power in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cumbria, many roads were blocked by snow or abandoned vehicles, ights were cancelled, and rail travel was disrupted across much of Britain.

Standing rm but Thatchers cabinet felt doubt over the Falklands Rex Britain, Australia or New Zealand with full citizenship, be oered. The release of the 1982 personal papers by the Margaret Thatcher Foundation also show that her chief whip, Michael Jopling, was warning her about deep Tory divisions. He outlined six groups of MPs, ranging from the no surrender group headed by Alan Clark to more than a dozen MPs who thought not a single shot should be red in anger or that the Falklands were not worth the effort. Jopling quotes one Scots peer, Lord Drumalbyn, who told him: I think the government are mad. We do not want the place, in any case. Tory MP Marcus Kimball said: Let the Argentinians have the Falklands with as little fuss as possible. The Tory wet Sir Ian Gilmour said: We are making a big mistake. It will make Suez look like common sense. Ken Clarke, later a cabinet minister under Thatcher, was bracketed with Sir Timothy Raison in the chief whips note as hoping that nobody thinks we are going to ght the Argentinians, we should blow up a few ships but nothing more. A future cabinet minister, Stephen Dorrell, was very wobbly and reportedly would only support the eet as a negotiating ploy; if they will not negotiate we should withdraw.

Archbishop Welby comes knocking

Sam Jones
Justin Portal Welbys long journey from oil executive to leader of the worlds 77 million Anglicans ended with three taps on the west door of Canterbury cathedral last Thursday afternoon. The knocking of his pastoral sta was answered with a fanfare and a self-inicted inquisition. We greet you in the name of Christ, said Evangeline Kanagasooriam, a 17-year-old Anglican chosen to hail the new archbishop by putting to him a list of questions he himself had penned for the occasion. Who are you and why do you request entry? He replied: I am Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ, and I come as one seeking the grace of God, to travel with you in this service together. Before a congregation of 2,000 people, among them the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the prime minister and representatives of all the worlds major religions, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury explained that he had come to proclaim the love of Christ, to worship him and love him. I come knowing nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucied, and in weakness and fear and much in trembling, he added. He followed a procession of clerics from the Assyrian church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Orthodox churches and the Roman Catholic church clad in purple, scarlet, black and white. But Welby seemed at ease in his green and gold robes. For the rst time in the churchs history, the new archbishop was installed on his diocesan throne by a woman, the Venerable Sheila Watson, archdeacon of Canterbury. Although the role falls to the archdeacon regardless of gender, the precedent will delight those Anglicans who, like Welby, remain in favour of the introduction of women bishops. The inclusion of a Punjabi hymn, however, may have been a step too far for some. But it was as nothing in comparison with the African dancers, whose drums and chanting elicited a grin from the archbishop. In his sermon, Welby insisted on the primacy of his churchs position in the nations past and its future and its right to have its say in an increasingly secular society. But if we sever our roots in Christ we abandon the stability which enables good decisionmaking. There can be no nal justice or security or love or hope in our society if it is not nally based on rootedness in Christ.

18 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13


Obamas oratory hits Israels inertia

Michael Cohen Comment is free

The US president delivered a ne speech in Jerusalem, but is he willing to turn words into actions on peace?

resident Obama gave an excellent speech in Jerusalem last Thursday about the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. He called on Israelis to recognise the moral and security imperative of a Palestinian state. He highlighted the threats to Israeli democracy if the Jewish state continues on its present course. And he asked that Israelis view Palestinians not as suicide bombers or potential terrorists, but rather as human beings with the same desire for freedom and self-determination as the Jewish people. These are important words and ones that are refreshing when they come from the mouth of an American president. In some circles, Obamas speech is already being hailed as a historic set of remarks but such words are only historic in the constricted manner in which American politicians are allowed to talk about Israel and the peace process. This wasnt a speaking of hard truths; it was a speech narrowly directed at Israelis. And it was a reassurance for them about the benets of a Palestinian state and the US commitment to Israel. Oddly, Obama, by making these points, was pushing against an open door. Israelis largely accept the idea of a Palestinian state: opinion polls show two-thirds of Israelis support a two-state solution and accept the idea of a Palestinian state that conforms to the 1967 borders. What holds them back is a strong conviction that such an arrangement can never be realised and that the Palestinian leadership can never be a true partner for peace. What they need, to coin a phrase, is a roadmap to peace. And here Obama had little to oer but exhortation: For the moment, put aside the plans and process. I ask you, instead, to think about what can be done to build trust between people. But the days of building trust between Israelis and Palestinians have passed. That trust isnt going to be built not when, for most Israelis, the occupation has become an abstraction. And neither side can wait for such a goal to be achieved. What is needed is plans and process and an active US role in bringing both sides together. There was far too little of that in this speech. While Obama deserves credit for pushing Israelis to understand the need for reconciliation, he didnt push hard enough. He was right to point out that the threats to Israeli democracy are real. But a more honest statement would be that Israelis face a clear and quickening

choice: between a meaningful democracy and a future Israel that could be a veritable apartheid state where an Israeli minority rules over a captive population that lacks full political rights. Obama was right to point out that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace, but plenty of American presidents have said this. What was needed was a clear statement that continued settlement expansion, particularly in the controversial E1 section of the West Bank, will make the realisation of a Palestinian state impossible. Finally, Obama was right to point out that Israel faces a growing undertow of isolation and that peace is the only path to security. But what really needs to be said is that the absence of peace and the absence of Israeli politicians willing to take any real political risks will almost certainly mean a future of international isolation, or renewed violence from the West Bank. Above all, he needed to say that the clock is ticking on that rather unpleasant potentiality. Of course, the burden of reconciliation rests not only on Israelis. Obama was right to highlight Palestinian intransigence, while also arguing that the current Palestinian leadership in the West Bank is a true partner for peace. Israelis face a tough choice in their relations with the Palestinians, but anyone who argues that the change must come only from Israelis is not being honest. Israel nds itself at dicult moment: most Israelis accept the need for a Palestinian state, but they also nd the status quo preferable and they are resistant to embrace painful realities and potential dangers. If the recent Israeli election showed us anything, it is that the nations political leaders will not provide the impetus for change, nor be the ones to push the Israeli people toward accepting the risks that come with peace.

There is little energy or incentive to change the dangerous path that Israel is on. Thats why US leadership is essential

nd yet, one would be hard-pressed to nd many in Israel who believe that a continuation of the status quo is possible. But there is little energy or incentive to change the dangerous path Israel is on. US leadership pushing Israel more forthrightly toward peace is essential. Speeches that recount the benets of peace are well and good, but they feel almost tangential from where the conict stands today, given the urgent need for progress and active US leadership. That is asking a lot of Obama. As the recent hearings for the secretary of defence, Chuck Hagel, have demonstrated, there isnt much in the way of domestic political incentive in the US for taking positions on the ArabIsraeli conict that involve speaking hard truths about Israel and the prospects for peace. And with plenty of challenges at home, theres good reason for Obama not to want to expend political capital with the Israelis and the Palestinians. Almost all observers of the region agree that the only outside force with the potential to push the peace process forward in a nonviolent manner is the United States. A more engaged US eort on the peace process should bring results, but there is no guarantee. It will mean putting pressure, where necessary, on Israel. One takeaway from Obamas words was that he believes strongly about what needs to happen between Israelis and Palestinians. Whether he is willing to put his administrations prestige on the line toward achieving that goal is far less clear. This was a memorable speech: Obama said things that Israelis need to hear from a US president. But nothing that happened in Jerusalem will do much to make a twostate solution more likely to be realised. More than ever, both Israelis and Palestinians need not words, but actions from a US president. It remains to be seen whether those will be forthcoming.

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 19

The man who gave Africa a voice

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey Observer

The Nigerian author Chinua Achebe inspired generations of African writers and transformed world literature
y sister teaches Chinua Achebes Things Fall Apart to her young teenage pupils and, as a companion text, Shakespeares Macbeth. This may seem, to any literary mind steeped in the orthodoxy of the western canon, an act of reckless equivalence. But she and I are lucky enough to be of a generation whose parents, aware of the need to supplement that very canon, made sure that Achebe, Ngugi and Soyinka were on the shelves next to Hardy, Austen and, yes, Shakespeare. On hearing of the death of Achebe, friends have been in touch to exchange very African utterances of condolence. The great man is gone, says Ben Okri. Who will speak out for us now, writes Ike Anya. Each of us has a story of how reading Achebe revealed the possibility of putting ourselves at the centre of a narrative and allowed us to read in the rst person. In his debut, Achebe accorded the religion, culture and domestic economies of everyday Igbo lives a level of intimacy and humanity that rendered their experiences universal, boldly shifting the boundaries of perspective. When, in his essay on Conrads Heart of Darkness, Achebe spoke of the prospect of rewriting a western view of Africa, he concluded: Although the work of redressing which needs to be done may appear too daunting, I believe it is not one day too soon to begin. This year alone will see international publication of books by writers including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Taiye Selasi, NoViolet Bulawayo and Alain Mabanckou as lead titles with none of the specialist back-of-thebookshop timidity that would have been evident even 10 years ago. While this tremendous reach of writing by Africans may have happened regardless, I cannot help but wonder just how much of it is because of the possibilities opened by Achebes own life and work. This was a life lived in the heart of a continent at a time of great political and social change. When Achebe published his rst novel in 1958, Nigeria was two years away from independence. It was a country blessed with the economic promise of rich reserves of oil and a vast, ethnically diverse population. Though Achebe chose initially to write of the past, he did so with a realism that eschewed romanticising and challenged his readers to recognise a contemporary truth: that we were still far from regaining what was lost, and were in danger of losing still more. By 1964, his novel was the rst by an African writer to be set as a required text in schools across the continents English-speaking countries and it is, more than 50 years after publication, the most widely read work by an African writer the book that, more than any other, has introduced readers across the world to the writing of the continent. Achebe went on to write four other novels two of them, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God, tell the story of his protagonist Okonkwos descendants, charting the fate of Nigeria itself. These works laid out the landscape of writing from Africa in the decades that


followed. They featured characters whose struggles with change and identity, modernisation and tradition, and with power, corruption and moral accountability underscored the questions Africans were asking about their newly independent nations on an intimate human scale. With prose that takes the English language and infuses it with inections and a history that is uniquely Igbo, discernibly Nigerian and unmistakably African, Achebes is a realism that ensures the enduring relevance of his ction.

Achebes ction underscored the questions Africans were asking about their newly independent nations

n 2007, Achebe was awarded the Man Booker international prize for ction. In an essay celebrating the award, the critic Elaine Showalter acknowledged him as an artist who changed imperishably the way we see and understand the world. In a writing life that included poetry, childrens books, short stories and political commentary, Achebes criticism contributed provocations that not only shaped the development of writing from Africa but also the way we read it. He remained consistently engaged with literature and politics, speaking in his most recent collection of essays, The Education of a British-Protected Child, of his belief that a writers lot was to strive to create... a different order of reality from that which is given to him. In her review of Achebes last work, There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, Adichie speaks of her countrymans memoir as a Nigerian nationalist lament for the failure of the giant that never was; Achebe is mourning Nigerias failures. I do not think it stretches things too far to say that Okonkwos story is applicable to Africa as we know it today. In a continent too often burdened by the actions of big men, with many of its people striving to rebuild the ruins of things that have fallen apart, the death of Achebe marks the loss of another kind of big man. This is one dened not by greed, corruption and a hunger for power, but by a generosity of spirit and an imagination that changed the course of literature. If the lesson of this great life is anything, if there is to be any revelation at hand, it is that knowing your story, and enacting the right to tell it yourself, is only just the beginning. Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is deputy editor of Granta

20 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13


Aussies dont know how lucky they are

Paola Totaro Comment is free

A leadership threat to Julia Gillard seems churlish, but Australian voters have always been a disgruntled breed

ast June, Australia celebrated its 21st. No, not a birthday or coming of age, but the completion of its 21st consecutive year of economic growth. Yup, you heard right, 21 years. Of growth. 21. While the rest of the world lurches from crisis to economic crisis, the land of Oz is powering ahead, enjoying an Aussie dollar at a record high, unemployment at nearrecord lows (5.4%), and basking in more sunshine than the rest of us can dream up. So what does its Labor government do? Attempt suicide. Last weeks coup against Australias Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, by supporters of Kevin Rudd, the man she beat for the prime ministers post in 2010, was the third failed attempt of her mandate. In the past 10 years the Australian Labor party has installed and dispatched ve national leaders while its nemesis, the Liberal party, has tried four leaders in just six years. Viewed from Europe, where governments are planning to bail out their banks by raiding the savings accounts not just of Russian oligarchs but pensioners too, news of yet another political attack against Australias leader smacks of a particular strain of antipodean madness. For decades, it is the British who have worn the whingeing Poms label. Now its time for Australians to accept the malcontents mantle, because it is they who appear incapable of seeing just how lucky they are. Complaint has become the national default position, seen in a political class and a mainstream media who

spend more time slinging mud or kning each other than debating and analysing national policy. No other advanced economy can come close to Australias 21 years of growth. That period, a full generation, saw governments of both political avours at the helm in Canberra, and is even more impressive when you remember that it spanned the dotcom boom (and bust), the crisis of 1997-1998 (remember that one?), and the global catastrophe that was the Lehman Brothers crash in 2008. Every single time, opposition parties (again of both persuasions) channelled Chicken Little, warning the sky would fall down in Australia. It didnt. It still hasnt. The world over, economists talk about the Australian model. Theres a chorus of voices that argue that Australias success is a role model not only for resourcerich emerging markets like Chile and Brazil but also for many other already developed nations navigating low growth and burgeoning unemployment. Nobody would quibble with the reality that Australia has also been lucky, riding the back of a massive boom in global commodity markets thank you, China, and your seemingly insatiable appetite for iron ore. But the fact is Australia has shown resilience in the past and this is largely due to good economic policy. Aussie banks have been managed conservatively; none have failed, no taxpayer bailouts have been needed. There has been no Euro-style printing of money, no pushing of interest rates down to the historic lows we have seen in the UK. The Australian government, despite public brouhaha, has held its nerve, continuing to invest and stimulating the economy to keep it aloft. At 5.40% the unemployment rate one of the lowest in the industrialised world is half that of Europe, never mind the horrendous 20% seen in Greece, Spain or Italy. Surely, that sort of success should deliver government on its own. But not in Oz. Instead Labor allowed itself to be spooked by another bad opinion poll for Gillard, the epidemic of political dread fanned by male radio shock jocks and a largely hostile parliamentary commentariat. And, once again, it turned to sharpening the knives. There is, of course, one thing thats going badly in Oz. But at least the Australian cricket team is standing by their captain. More at

Comment is free In brief

Iraq war left imprint on English language

Major events spawn new words, and you get an interesting overview of the Iraq war when you survey new dictionary entries in chronological order. WMD was the prime mover, both for the nation and in the language, and was entered into the Collegiate Dictionary in 2003. Over the next two years we entered jihadist, DHS and the espionagerelated sense of chatter. As the war faltered and violence spread, IED, RPG, UAV and sleeper cell made their way into the Collegiate. Ten years on, we seem to have lexical war fatigue. Drawdown and withdrawal have not piqued much interest among users. Other armies are marching across the map of our language these days. But perhaps its proof that the marks left by the Iraq war even linguistic ones are still tender to the touch. Kory Stamper

Beer is so much more than a drink in Britain

Beer has always had massive political importance in Britain. Last weeks budget shows just how tricky it can be to mess around with a revenue cash cow that also happens to be both an intoxicating drug and a powerful symbol of national identity. For most of our history, beer has been much more than a drink. Its so full of nutrients that monks used to subsist on it through Lent. It was clean and sterile when water wasnt always, so small beer was served even in workhouses and schools. And beer is simply more sociable than other drinks. Heading to the bar, buying rounds and toasting each other are just some of the ways beer helps dissolve social barriers. The pub is more than just a drink shop, and beer is so much more than a mildly intoxicating, avoursome beverage. Pete Brown

A live audience is the strangest creature

Its not misanthropy. I like the individual people in an audience. Its when they get together that theyre a problem. A live audience is the weirdest creature on the planet, as anyone whos ever appeared in front of one can tell you. A live audience isnt cold and judgmental, but if anything the opposite: too warm and caring. If youre on a panel show, and you keep your mouth shut for a bit too long, the audience senses your nerves and feels anxious for you so when you nally do open your mouth to speak, youll generate a polite laugh at best, because too much weight has been cast on whatever youre saying. Similarly if you babble, interrupt other peoples jokes and splutter your sentences, the audience will pity you. Either way, it wont trust you, which is death. Charlie Brooker

Its OK for politicians to ignore the public

Abraham Lincoln said Public opinion is everything: he felt his role as leader of the US meant nding out what his electorate wanted and, within reason, giving it to them. He went out to visit Americans on horseback to take what he called his public opinion baths. But very often politicians, as in the case of revolutionary new medical treatments, will be ahead or behind public opinion, often for good reason. They love to be able to say public opinion is on their side, but will also conveniently ignore it. The public can be wrong. There are many areas where public understanding of an issue is well out of line with the facts. For example, we nd that the public believes at least a quarter of the UK population was not born here the actual gure is much lower. Ben Page

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 21

In praise of ... Lily Maxwell

Grace the Tory butcher, Caroline the laundress, and Sarah the servant just a few of the women who voted in Licheld in 1843, one quarter-century before the local female franchise, and 75 years before the suragettes prevailed nationwide. As a Radio 4 documentary explained last week, like many local ballots in Englands patchwork of parishes, this cathedral city contest to select an overseer to the poor slipped through the cracks in the national ban on womens votes. But legal loopholes were not the only thing keeping female politics alive there were also women who openly outed the spirit of these rules. The rst was Lily Maxwell, a stern-looking widow, who ran a small shop selling crockery, red herring and suchlike. Erroneously included on Manchesters roll in 1867, she made her way to the booth and did her bit. Her vote was eventually disallowed, but not before shed made her point about sisters doing it for themselves.

Britain is a Russian playground

John Kampfner

As Boris Berezovskys story shows, London has become oligarchs home of choice, with grave political consequences

n island state advertises itself as the destination of choice for the super-rich mainly from Russia to launder their money and reputations, while enjoying the high life and low taxes. Then it discovers all is not what it seems. It is not just Cyprus that might have cause to regret its business model. As the natural resources of the former Soviet Union were being plundered by a few ruthless and politically well connected individuals, Britain set itself up in the early 1990s as a welcome home, or second home, for a new global elite. London is both playground and battleground for rich Russians. Occasionally, things go wrong. The murder of Alexander Litvinenko in the capital was one of the more brazen attacks. The discovery last Saturday of the corpse of Boris Berezovsky at his well-guarded Berkshire mansion has raised more suspicions. Was it the suicide, as was the initial suggestion, of a man who had lost much of his fortune taking on his enemies? Or was it something more sinister? I only met Berezovsky once, over lunch several years ago, when he complained bitterly about his treatment at the hands of his erstwhile protege, Vladimir Putin. I did not bring out my hanky for a man who was kingmaker during the dissolute ancien regime of Boris Yeltsin. Once he had consolidated his power, Putin famously summoned the oligarchs, including those who had installed him in the Kremlin. That was then, this is now, they were told. The deal was: they could carry on their business dealings as long as a) they did not meddle with politics, and b) they looked after the nancial interests of the siloviki the political/security establishment. Some didnt listen. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who made public his political ambitions, languishes in prison; Vladimir Gusinsky, who started the once fearless NTV television, was forced to ee. Berezovsky legged it to England before they could get him, then mounted a oneman campaign of denunciation from his gilded cage. In terms of law and tax enforcement, Britain is more favourable than its American and European rivals. An

industry has been created to cater for the oligarchs every need. Former ministers represent them in the Lords; former spin doctors do their PR; lawyers queue up to represent them, using Britains hideously indulgent defamation laws to slap suits at the rst sign of trouble. Financial advisers make sure the oligarchs pay as little as possible on their earnings, savings and even their council tax. Private boarding schools welcome their children, and their chequebooks. A parallel economy of designer shops, private jets, speedboats and security guards exists for them, and for the new rich of China, Brazil, the Middle East and elsewhere. The top end of the skewed housing market in London exists only for them. The morality of Britains assorted activities is for others to determine. The issue is more the eect this has on our body politic. Britains approach to Russia has long been contradictory. Over the last decade, while we opened the doors to the elite, diplomatic relations were to borrow a Russian word slozhny (complicated). The murder of Litvinenko sent them into permafrost. For the past year or so, strenuous eorts have been made to improve matters. There has been no ostentatious attempt to press a reset button. Instead the Brits have taken a more gradual, nudge-nudge approach. The British government is candid about its motives. Improving trade is what matters now, and niggly little problems like murders should not be allowed to stand in the way. The Foreign Oce attempted to justify the refusal to make public government papers on Litvinenko by asserting that openness would cause serious harm to the national security and/or international relations. David Cameron likes to use the term global race. Its not clear what the destination is, but diplomats regard pragmatism as a sign of a more mature foreign policy. After all, if we didnt do these things, others would move in. Perhaps we wish to emulate Cyprus and cosy up to all comers. It would be helpful if we let the public know. John Kampfner is a former Moscow correspondent. His book, The Rich, A Global History, will be published next year

22 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

Cyprus and the euro 29 March 1975

Crisis island
In the summer of 1783, an eruption at the edge of Europe triggered chaos for an entire continent. In Iceland, lava and toxic gas from the Laki volcano devastated agriculture, killed livestock and caused a famine. But as the dust and sulphur particles were carried over the northern hemisphere the disruption was felt from Norway to Egypt. In Britain, the naturalist Gilbert White reported: The heat was so intense that butchers meat could hardly be eaten on the day after it was killed. Years after its haze had passed, the volcanos explosions helped cause the food poverty that was a key factor in the French Revolution of 1789. Over the past week, the world has been transxed again by a disaster on a small island on the periphery of Europe. One of the two main banks at the heart of this crisis is called Laiki. And the resonances dont stop there. Having been landed with yet another countrys banking crisis, the rest of the eurozone is understandably keen to get it resolved. The general tenor of last weeks communications from the troika of the European commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF has been that Cyprus is a tiny economy with some idiosyncratic problems that cannot be read into the rest of the euro area. That same weariness was discernible in Brussels last Sunday, as Nicosia and the troika engaged in those familiar euro 11th-hour negotiations over a bailout package. But even if the troikas leaders get their wish, the ripples from this asco over an economy worth only 0.2% of the euro areas GDP will be felt for a long time. Because what is on show here, yet again, are deep-rooted weaknesses in the single-currency club, the competence of some of its key brokers and even the European economic model. Cypruss problems only really took o after their banks were hit by massive write-os on holdings of Greek bonds. The problems they would pose for Cyprus were evident. Yet, amazingly, European ocials did next to nothing to shore up the islands nancial system. The troika has treated Nicosia with a toughness and a thoughtlessness that it would not apply to bigger nations. This is not a new trend, but it was massively extended in the initial agreement to raid the bank accounts of ordinary Cypriots. And the troikas imposition of austerity will probably sink the island into a Greek-style depression. No small nation in the eurozone can look on without drawing appropriate lessons about what this means for them if they ever land in trouble. The introduction of capital controls may be an essential precaution for Nicosia, but it will surely be seen by international investors as a threatening precedent in an economic bloc, one of whose main purposes is the free ow of capital. If the troika gets its way, the Laiki disaster will soon approach an end. But like the namesake volcano, its historical halflife will surely be much longer.

Goodies addict died laughing

The BBC is about to receive one of its most bizarre letters of appreciation from the wife of a man who died of laughter while watching his favourite television programme. She intends to thank the actors for making the last moments of her husbands life, which culminated in a gigantic belly laugh, so happy. The dead man, Mr Alexander Mitchell, a bricklayer, of Brockley Green, Fairstead Estate, Kings Lynn, settled down on Monday for the high point in his weeks viewing: the zany antics of the three-man team of the Goodies on BBC television. The programme featured a spoof on Lancashires answer to Kung Fu the school of Ecky Thump in which Bill Oddie, suitably clad in a large hat, learnt how to dispose of his opponents with the help of a black pudding, and subsequently proved his valour by taking on all comers, including the Australian boomerang champion and a leading exponent of the art of the bagpipes. Mr Mitchell, renowned in the neighbourhood for his sense of fun and his infectious laugh, found the programme even more amusing than usual, and started laughing louder and longer as the sketch unfolded. His wife, Nessie, said yesterday: He just laughed too heartily and too long. After 25 minutes of laughing he gave a tremendous belly laugh, slumped on the settee, and died. The programme was nearly over when he collapsed. He was found to be dead in the ambulance which came after we had dialled 999. Alex loved the Goodies, and the programme was one of the best for a long time. Alex was a Scot, and it tickled him to see a Scotsman ghting with his bagpipes. He just kept laughing throughout the programme. Mrs Mitchell said that she had often heard of people dying of laughter, but she never thought it could happen. Its incredible, she said. The doctor told me the left side of his heart failed. I can still hear Alex laughing, and it is a lovely remembrance. I am going to write to the Goodies and thank them for making his last moments so happy. A BBC spokesman said last night: We are very sorry, indeed, to learn what happened. Peter Chippindale

London zoo

Creature comforts
We learn about ourselves by studying animals. The modern zoo dates from the late 18th century. But the Enlightenment centurys elevation of the human left little respect for the rest of the living world and the exotic creatures of Australasia and Africa the quagga, the greater kudu were wrenched from the wild and transported to Britain, rst for potential agricultural exploitation and then for the amusement of everyone who could aord to visit London zoo, one of the rst of its kind. More than a menagerie, its intention was always partly scientic. Yet for at least a hundred years, for most people the zoo was nothing to do with animal research. The magic of the inmates was only enhanced by the all-toohuman inspiration of the celebrated architects brought in to build their cages, from Berthold Lubetkins penguin pool to Hugh Cassons elephant house and the Snowdon aviary. How unfortunate that these palaces of the imagination were slowly understood to have failed the inmates for whom they were designed. One by one, they have closed and their residents despatched to more expansive pastures. Now the zoo hopes that the new home for its Sumatran tigers, which opened last week, marks the culmination of the long journey from spectacle to science. Defenders of zoos argue that the study of animals in captivity is vital to conservation efforts in the wild. But Jae Jae and Melati, captive-bred creatures, would have no chance of surviving in the hostile environment for which evolution intended them. This is the curious achievement of human intervention: to breed wild creatures in captivity, genetic twins with their diminishing numbers of wild cousins incapable of surviving in their natural world. They are reduced to the status of a living gene museum. London zoo argues that visitor charges underwrite conservation eorts. But protecting others of the species is an insucient justication for keeping wild creatures shut up, however artfully its done.

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 23

Secrets and lies
What dark irony that Pope Francis should come from the land of the dirty war, and in the week of his election the old men who caused such suering in Argentina are being brought to some sort of justice (Popes debut tinged by echoes of the past, 22 March). When he was in his 40s what did this new pope know about the desaparecidos? Has the church played any role at all in uncovering the secrets and lies of this horric period? Argentina is still haunted by the heartbreak of those living with fading hope for their lost ones. Now Pope Francis, a very prominent Argentinian, is head of the Vatican state, and since he is allegedly no stranger to secrets and lies in his own country, how will he deal with the secrets and lies in the Vatican? The theatrical performances that are Vatican specialities may distract the groundlings in St Peters Square, but thousands who have suered at the hands of ordained clerics and tricky bankers want more than ritual show. Pope Francis will certainly need prayers: he may shortly nd that the Rock on which he stands is not St Peters solid granite of old, but sandstone, fast eroding. William Emigh Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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that much of the bailout is being provided by taxpayers in other EU countries, where a more realistic level of tax is and always has been levied. Alan Williams-Key Madrid, Spain

Propaganda for the euro

I read your report on protest parties such as Beppe Grillos Five Star movement (Europes protest parties are on the march, 8 March) and certainly agree that this has Europes governing elite worried. This assertion was reinforced when I went to see Hyde Park on Hudson at a cinema here in Cologne. One advert before the lm showed groups of children exploring a dinosaur museum with banknotes uttering around followed by scenes of wartime devastation. It turned out to be an EU clip intended to persuade us how good the EU and the euro are and how dangerous it would be without them. I nd the euro convenient, but this weird clip served only to disturb me: yes, there must be something seriously wrong when Brussels sees t to put out propaganda videos. As it was, Bill Murray did an excellent job playing Roosevelt but I just wish that the real Roosevelt could have stepped out of the screen to give Jos Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy a hand. Alan Mitcham Cologne, Germany

Climate and conservatives

John Harriss article on small-c conservatives and their lack of political representation states that many suspect that the politics of climate change amounts to so much hysteria (No party truly gets UK Toryism, 8 March). No doubt some do, particularly if they have spent too much time listening to big-C conservatives such as Nigel Lawson, Lord Monckton and their noisy counterparts elsewhere in the Anglosphere. Other small-c conservatives, it is to be hoped, will have paid more attention to the views of the overwhelming majority of scientists working in the eld. With any luck, the majority of this group will see that the attempt to maintain the worlds climate systems in something like the state in which civilisation has developed is in fact a classic small-c conservative issue. John Shortridge Blackburn, Victoria, Australia

Chvez has great legacy

This letter is a very big thank you to Tariq Ali for his memorial to the late lamented President Hugo Chvez (My friend the comandante, 15 March). Every since I heard about his death there has been nothing but absurdities, slander and, despite how one may view him politically, cruelties. He was a controversial man in that he was elected democratically by his people, more than we can say for former President Bush in the rst election. Controversial in that he dared to say what many people were thinking and feeling about Bush at the UN. Controversial in that he spoke for his people and strove to do right by them and bring the poor up as he had climbed up to live in dignity. No, Chvez was not a controversial person or politician; he was the politician, as Ali so rightly says, whom we all need in this world. I am so very thankful to Ali for his fair analysis. Yasmin Wooldridge Edenwold, Saskatchewan, Canada

Gary Kempston

Australia at last links angry summer to climate change (15 March) unprofessionally conates reportage with editorial, and not only in the headline. I suppose describing the piece as a blog is supposed to allow this. But why then is it in the international news section rather than comment and debate? The GW needs to resist succumbing to the non-standards of the blogosphere. Terry Stokes West Hobart, Tasmania, Australia Regarding the cholera disaster in Haiti, Ian Birrell states that Such a story sounds like something created in the febrile mind of a Hollywood scriptwriter, which in real life would lead to a huge and justied outcry (8 March). Has he forgotten Bhopal and the Union Carbide disaster? Tanya Thorpe Melbourne, Australia Binyavanga Wainaina says about the international criminal court: I propose they build their court properly, then talk to us when it is grown up, when there are a few convictions of people who are not Africans (15 March). He is not the only one who is waiting for a conviction of someone from Europe, the US or Israel. Lucila Makin Cambridge, UK

Chess is not a sport

Your recent article on chess (Ultimate endgame beckons for Carlsen, 15 March) took up most of the space in your sport section and leads me to question the Guardian Weeklys denition of sport. The Oxford English Dictionary denes sport as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Certainly a great deal of skill is involved in the game of chess, as well as much mental exertion, but I question the amount of physical exertion required. The entertainment value also eludes me, but I speak as someone who has not embraced snooker or darts as TV entertainment and who questions the physical exertion of both sports. Avril Taylor Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Subscriptions You can subscribe at Or manage your subscription at Or email guardian.subs@ Or call +44 (0)845 120 4733 Advertising Paul Fernandez

More equal parenting, please

Jack OSullivans picture of the traditions shaping contemporary parenthood struck a chord (Tradition, the enemy of domestic happiness, 15 March). Time and time again I have seen my modern-minded friends slip apologetically into traditional male/female provider/ childcare roles. Now my husband and I are expecting a baby in August, and we are wondering what is going to happen, and not just in relation to the new person in our lives. There are some fairly simple things that could be done to begin to change perceptions and open the way for more equal parenting and working. One is to oer legal rights to shared parental leave rather than maternity and paternity leave, as is currently the case. Aside from the initial six weeks that women in the UK are given to recover from giving birth and to look after the new baby and the three to four weeks their partners need to look after them (and the new baby), this would mean rights to a period of paid and unpaid leave to be divided between the parents as they decide. At least it would give food for thought to all those reluctant to hire women of a certain age. Anna Hare Cardi, UK

Taxing times for Cyprus

When a tax haven needs a bailout (Cyprus left to count the cost, 22 March), one cannot help but conclude that the people living there have not been paying their way, and an arbitrary tax such as the one initially proposed by the EU is an entirely justiable way of correcting the past situation, where insucient taxes had been levied by the state. Before anyone feels too sorry for Cyprus, lets please remember Letters for publication Please include a full postal address and a reference to the article. We may edit letters. Editorial Editor: Abby Deveney Guardian Weekly Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, United Kingdom To contact the editor directly:

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24 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13


Karen refugees from Burma pick their way through the charred remains of Mae Surin camp in Mae Hong Son province, Thailand, in the aftermath of a re that swept through the shelters, killing

Thousands of dead prawns were washed up on beach at Coronel, Chile, after water used to cool two nearby thermoelectric power plants was discharged into the sea Reuters

Lights go out around the Kremlin in Moscow last Saturday during Earth Hour, the annual global environmental event organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature Barcroft Media

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 25

g at least 35 people last Friday Nicolas Asfouri/AFP

An acrobat with the Chinese National Circus performs in Brno, Czech Republic Getty

A scientist in the northern Sahara desert near Erfoud, Morocco, tries out a spacesuit during experiments designed to prepare for a future manned mission to Mars Reuters

Chinese Girl by Vladimir Tretchiko, said to be one of the worlds most reproduced paintings, was auctioned for 982,050 at Bonhams in London last week Andrew Cowie/AFP

26 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

n the second day of 2013, a girl was shot twice, in the chest and limbs, from a very close distance. The girl is 20 and an Israeli soldier. A commander, actually. Her condition is now reported to be serious but stable. On the rst day of 2013, I woke up afraid. I was scared that a rat had crawled up my trousers while I was asleep. I could almost feel it, furry and warm, sning its path past my knee and along my thigh. I jumped out of the bed and shook my trousers. I ung the covers, looked under the bed. There was no rat. This is not the rst time I have been woken up by this particular imaginary and persistent rat over the past year. I never seem to nd it. The person who shot the girl who was injured on the second day of 2013 was also a girl, and an Israeli soldier. The shooter is still in boot camp, which means she is probably 18. She is under the command of the very person she shot. During a routine day in the shooting ranges, the boot camp commander crossed the shooting lines towards the targets. At least as far as anyone knows, the soldiers on the shooting line were instructed to aim their weapons at a 45-degree angle and keep the safety on. But for some unexplained reason, one that in a later report I am sure would be referred to as human error, one of the girls M16s was on automatic mode and she red two bullets that hit her commander. She then threw the weapon on the ground in panic. Hearing this news, I was afraid. I was afraid of something that did not happen to me in 2006, when I was a soldier. Of a day a fellow soldier could have shot me in the ranges, but didnt. I have never experienced war, but I did serve in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) as a weaponry instructor. I was 18, and the service was mandatory for all citizens. I dont remember ever being afraid while I was in the army. Yet this does not mean I am not afraid now, of things that happened while I was a soldier. For me, fear is a delayed emotion. A message in a bottle that your older self does not remember your younger self ever writing, and that your older self nonetheless receives. The bottle with the message comes ying from above and smashes on your face, years later. I remember I woke up to a ght with a fellow soldier, a condescending neat freak who always harassed me about how I kept food under my bed. She claimed the food would bring bugs into the caravan we shared, which was just about the dumbest thing I ever heard. She threatened to tell on me, but she never did. I remember I was particularly mean in my reply to her that day, because I had had a lonely four-hour guarding shift on a mountain by the ammunition bunker the night before. It left my nerves frayed. I was so bored during that shift and the minutes seemed to crawl. I broke the rules by reading a Murakami book, holding it hidden behind the barricade and looking up every fourth sentence to make sure no ocer was passing by. It was dark, and every sentence took a couple of minutes to make out, the words slippery and somehow made more precious. I didnt dare lift the book up into the light, because I had already been caught reading a few weeks earlier. I promised I would never do it again in exchange for not being punished. The soldiers I was assigned to for that month were Bedouin foot trackers in early training. My job was to supervise their rst encounters with their personal M16s and administer the various shooting drills they had to go through in order

Young guns: life in the Israel Defence Forces

The shooting of a young female Israeli soldier triggered powerful memories for Shani Boianjiu

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 27

Hidden depths The geological horror of sinkholes Review, page 30

No time for fear ... female Israeli soldiers, members of an infantry combat batallion, take part in a graduation march in the Negev desert Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty turn to re one shot at a balloon. The team that exploded all of the balloons first would win. It was a simple contest, and the soldiers got very excited. I supervised one team while the ocer took on another. I must have known somewhere in my head that the soldiers were trained to shoot humans, that the balloons represented human heads, but I dont remember it ever lingering in my mind. I do remember being preoccupied with the colours of the balloons for each team being in the same colour scheme and with how to divide the soldiers into competing teams that would be evenly matched, so that the games (sorry, drills) would be worth playing. I was 19 at the time. The ocer was worried about how the soldiers would do with these drills, but the rst part of that day passed without incident. At lunch, we got cake delivered from the kitchen to the ranges for no reason, which rarely happened, so the day started feeling like a birthday party. The smell of the gunpowder had the scent of candles. It was the last drill before sundown. Each team was down to its last balloon. Four of my soldiers took their turns ring and missed. I kept on waiting for the other team to declare victory, but they kept missing as well. Then it was the turn of a soldier on my team, the one who once showed up to the range in socks. Id always liked him. I put my hand on his shoulder and told him to take all the time in the world. This must have been dicult to do, considering the pressure he was under, but he listened and aimed slowly, much more slowly than any of his excited peers had done. And then it happened. The last balloon target for my team popped. I stared at it mesmerised. It was there one second and then it was completely gone, as if by its own accord. I looked at the disappointed stares of the soldiers on the other team. I could hear the soldiers behind me cheering and clapping. I was laughing. Thats when I heard the distant shout of the ocer. It reached my ears full of fury and ugliness that felt altogether unbetting of the joyful moment I was busy living. LOOK AT YOUR WEAPON, he shouted. I moved my stare from the sad losing team to the soldier standing near me, the one who had just popped the balloon. I could smell his sweat mixed with gunpowder, which no longer reminded me of candles. The expression on his face reminded me of a confused kitten. I looked down and saw that his weapon was pointing straight at my stomach. The safety was o. His nger was caressing the trigger. Later, only a few minutes later, I would convince myself that this was not how this happened. That I was exaggerating the riskiness of the situation. But now, seven years later, as this day came to my mind out of a bottle I did not know I had put it in, I am sure I am remembering it all the way it was. The weapon pointing. My stomach. The position of the safety. The nger on the trigger. It was over before I could feel it all. Before I had the chance to become afraid. The ocer rushed over, slowly approached and clicked on the safety, then took the weapon from the soldiers hands. Later, the soldiers got a long safety scolding. I never told my family or my fellow soldiers what had happened. I think it took me less than an hour to forget that anything had happened at all. After all, nothing happened. By Continued on page 28

to complete boot camp. I loved being assigned to train them. Their level of discipline was not very high, but they were always hilarious and kind to me, maybe because I was the only girl involved in their training. One time, a soldier got so frustrated during a dry drill, he threw his gun at his commander and declared hed had a change of heart he did not feel like being a soldier any more. Another time, a soldier came into the range in his socks after deciding that the new army boots were hurting his feet. Because of this loose discipline, the officer in charge of the unit was especially strict when it came to following safety procedures on the range. Training accidents happen in the IDF every month, but to me they never seemed like a real possibility. The soldiers had to hear the safety procedures ve or six times a day, and at length. I listened to them as I listen to the security instructions on planes, but the ocer took them

seriously, since this was his responsibility. Whenever someone spoke or even smiled while standing in the shooting range, the ocer erupted in screams about how that soldier was endangering the lives of his friends. It got to be exhausting. I for one never believed there was any danger. The soldiers were silly, but they took the procedures of the shooting range as almost holy, given how strict their ocer was about them. On that almost-fateful day, we were nearing the soldiers last days in the range for their boot camp training. It was customary to use those last days for drills that were more fun and interactive. In my mind, those last days were more like the last days of summer camp than the last days of shooting training. Each team was given its own set of targets at increasing distances. The soldiers loved blowing up the balloons and putting them on the cardboard targets. The teams stood in lines on the sand, and each soldier got his

28 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

Weekly review
Letter from Papua New Guinea
Ready for combat ... a female soldier in the Israel Defence Forces paints the face of a comrade with mud in preparation for a survival course for women infantry IDF/Reuters/Corbis Continued from page 27 evening, I was busy getting ready for another guarding shift, stung my pockets with the bread and chocolate spread I hid under my bed. That day was only almost fateful, and as such I should have condemned it to be forgotten, except it somehow came back to me, on the second day of 2013, upon hearing of the shooting of a girl I never met. I was sad, lonely, annoyed, angry and bored during my service days, but never afraid. I am only afraid in hindsight, years later. When you are young, you do not yet know all the reasons you should be afraid. Bad things have yet to happen to most of the people your age. You think you are invincible. I am 25 now, but I sometimes look at older people on the train or walking the streets, and think they are the ones who are truly brave, rather than the young. To have lived for so long and to know all that there is to be afraid of and still leave the house in the morning is to me the truly courageous act. I look at the 30- or 40-year-old politicians in my country and I have no idea how they do it. The only time I ever voted was back when I was an 18-yearold soldier. I voted for Kadima, the largest party at the time, and the one that ended up winning. I did it because so many people were doing it. The truth is, I did not really give it much thought. I was more concerned about the girl who was threatening to tell on me about the food I hid under my bed. That summer, under the leadership I chose, the second Lebanon war broke out. Many in the army felt we were not prepared. People died on both sides. My hometown was showered with missiles and residents were told to ee. Later, the prime minister I voted for would become the rst Israeli prime minister ever convicted of a crime. When I cast my rst and only vote, I was not afraid of what would become of it. Now I am afraid to vote again. I am truly in awe when I meet the rare Israeli person around my age who isnt afraid, who dares to parade a concrete political passion. In the end, the food I left under my bed never brought bugs into our caravan. It brought a rat. I was deep in sleep in my army bed after another neverending guarding shift when I felt something climb up my leg, warm and fuzzy. I was still wearing my uniform because I had to wake up a couple of hours after my shift anyway. I tossed and tried to ignore it, but then I felt something climbing higher. I sat up and shook my leg. And then a rat scurried out from the bottom of my trousers and down to the oor. I yawned and kept on sleeping just as soundly as I had been before. I didnt tell any of the other girls in the caravan, or anyone since, about the rat. I would like to tell you that, ever since that night, I became so afraid of rats that I threw out all of the food from under my bed, but that would not be true. I continued to keep food under my bed until the day I nished my service, and never once as a soldier woke up thinking about that rat. That fear came only years later. Back then, I was young, and nothing could scare me. Shani Boianjius debut novel, The People Of Forever Are Not Afraid, is published by Hogarth

Sampson and the church of starry night

Duncan Wright

I was sad, lonely, angry and bored, but never afraid. I am only afraid in hindsight, years later

t had all started with an innocuous conversation high up in the hills above Simbai village in Papua New Guinea. A 70-year-old, extensively tattooed man called Sampson had described his village, while delicately peeling and eating the largest avocado I had ever seen. This involved repetition of the word church, gesticulation towards the far hillside and then, enigmatically the nger wandered towards the heavens. This cryptic message bugged me for the rest of the day and when Sampson returned I asked if it was possible to visit his village. He smiled broadly, nodded and watched as I started to pack the archaeology equipment. As usual that involved disentangling a bevy of curious children who were enjoying crawling through the legs of the surveying equipment. We were keen to reach the village before nightfall and so hurried down the hill-slope. At one stage I turned a corner at high speed to nd a huge gap, spanned by a painfully thin tree trunk. With no time to stop I gave a fearsome cry and careered across the bridge, narrowly avoiding the precipice on the other side. Soon after, the deeply concerned face of Sampson appeared around the bend. Outside the village we met an old lady carrying a large bundle of wood. She grabbed one of my hands and began talking animatedly at Sampson, pointing accusingly at his chest and the increasingly dark sky. The implication was clear; however, Sampsons expression remained ercely determined and we crested the ridge to stand in front of a church and four, small houses. In one of these houses we chewed betel nut, talked incoherently to one another and watched nonchalant chickens wandering through the hut. Children peered through the door and window. Sampson then led the way to the church and knelt to pray on the dirt oor. I cast my eyes around my new surroundings to see a building made up almost entirely of wood and pandanus palm fronds. The only European building materials were heavily corroded metal window frames. The glass panels had long since broken and these had been replaced with pandanus leaves. Above our heads a large hole revealed a plethora of stars that twinkled and seemed to ask Is this church roof high enough for you?

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 29

Weekly review

Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this Then Section and page XX

Wrestling with the dream in Russia

Plans to cut the sport from 2020 Olympics will be fought tooth and nail, reports Will Englund

n the Palace of Wrestling, a 17-year-old named Azamat Takhoyev might be the heir apparent. Self-assured, quietly respectful, hes slight just 58kg yet powerfully shouldered. Black curls frame his face, in the way that a GrecoRoman wrestlers face should be framed. For him its about the dream. Oh, sure, theres the Olympic dream what strong young man from the trouble-ridden Caucasus region of southern Russia doesnt dream of a gold medal? And even though the International Olympic Committee wants to throw wrestling on the scrapheap, the dream doesnt die of nding a way to keep wrestling in the Olympics where it belongs. But thats not the one that counts. Wrestling? Its very hard to explain, Takhoyev said one evening in one of the big training halls of the Palace. A soft look came over his face. I have these dreams in my head when I do it. Wrestling, when everything is going right, takes him away to some other place. Right there on the mat, his sweaty opponent filled with desire to dominate him, physically, strength matched to strength, Takhoyev dreams with serene clarity of throws or moves or feints that will enable him to win, and then the dream becomes real. He grew up in North Ossetia, in the shadow of the Caucasus mountains, and he thought he wanted to be a footballer. But I was told every day: wrestling, wrestling, wrestling, he said. And then it sank in. Since the age of 12, he has lived in Moscow, in a hostel run by the Palace of Wrestling, free of charge, moulding the dream. You will hear this name, Vladimir Ostroumov, the director of what is ocially called the Ivan Yarygin Palace of Wrestling, after a famous Soviet grappler, said of Takhoyev. Ostroumov ought to know: his graduates won medals at the London Olympics. Rumours abounded for several years that wrestling one of the original Olympic sports might be in trouble. But when Ostroumov got the news that the IOC wants to scrap it from 2020, he had one thought: a catastrophe. Without the lure of Olympic participation, his sport would almost certainly wither away. Wrestling ocials from the great powers of the sport Russia, Iran, the US, Korea, Turkey and Azerbaijan are joining together to get the decision overturned and are optimistic. In February they forced out Raphael Martinetti, president of wrestlings world governing body, Fila. Ostroumov and his colleagues take that as a good sign. Sagid Murtazaliev, who won heavyweight freestyle gold at Sydney in 2000, then upped the pressure by returning his medal to the IOC. The Yarygin Palace, in Moscows Lefortovo district, is a six-storey monument to the wrestlers art, built in 2004 with three big training halls, a small training hall, a competition space, a gym, sauna, Turkish bath, acupuncture room and cafeteria. Its Museum of Wrestling dwells reverently on Soviet and Russian Olympic triumphs. And there have been plenty 63 gold medals since 1952. Up to 2,000 boys from the age of seven, and some

Gripping young wrestlers practise at the Palace of Wrestling Sergey Ponomarev/Washington Post girls, train at the Palace and 90% of them are from the Caucasus. Russias two medal winners from 2012 came to the Palace, like Takhoyev, from North Ossetia, a largely Christian republic just west of Chechnya and scene of the Beslan school massacre of 2004. Another huge contingent of wrestlers hails from Murtazalievs homeland: Muslim Dagestan, in the mountains to the east, plagued by unrest, religious violence and poverty. Wrestling, for thousands of boys in the Caucasus, represents a way out. The Palace hostel is their refuge from hard lives they left behind, and from the sharp prejudice of Muscovites against the region and its inhabitants. Our contingent is not from the well-to-do, Ostroumov said. Hooligans are our kids. We bring them up and distract them from the streets. They train together, they eat together, they spend time together. We develop particular traits: you have to be patient, and you have to work hard. Khadzhimurad Magomedov, who knows something about hard work, still goes back to Dagestan to visit his parents, but a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics gave him the freedom to chart a dierent course through life. Today, he is a coach with the Russian team and is raising a family in Moscow. It was the will of Allah, he said recently over coee at the Russian Olympic Committee headquarters. He was nine when he started training, in the city of Makhachkala. He wonders, he said, whether theres something genetic about wrestling in the Caucasus. Maybe its because the people there had to fend o Persian invasions so many times. Physically, there are very tough guys in Dagestan, he said. What wrestling meant to him was a chance to refocus that toughness. I didnt win anything at rst. But then, slowly, I worked on my character, brick by brick. I wouldnt say Im very talented. With me, its just work. And that character comes out as a contest nears its climax, both wrestlers sapped, reduced to just willpower, Magomedov said. Who will show that desire to win more than the other? That desire, he said, doesnt just happen overnight its forged through years of training. Now, if wrestling is excluded from the Olympics, its popularity is sure to fall. So all these kids will be in the streets, he said. Crime, drugs I dont want to go into it. Ostroumov once wrestled in the World Cup tournament, in 1985 in Colorado Springs, weighing in at 51.7kg. Hes 47 now and a bit thicker, proud of his membership in the brotherhood of cauliower ears, a fraternity of men who can spot one another anywhere in the world. Even for those thousands of his boys who dont go on to the Olympics, he said, wrestling instils a respect for ambition and a dedication to hard work. I owe everything Ive achieved in life to sports, he said. But if wrestling is excluded from the Olympics, I will leave. Im a patriot of Moscow and of sports, but I will leave. I will be very sorry, but I will leave. I cant be dishonest with my boys. Azamat Takhoyev was in the training hall when he heard the bewildering news. In 2020, he will be 24, a prime age for champion wrestlers. We were all here together, he remembered. How could this be true? The coaches were gru. Get back to work, they said. There are still the 2016 Games to worry about. Washington Post

Our contingent is not from the well-to-do. We bring them up and distract them from the streets

30 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

Weekly review

Unstable ground beneath our feet

Sinkholes may seem an act of God but they are in fact an act of geology, as Jon Henley nds out
ast month, in a quiet suburb east of Tampa, Florida, the Earth opened up and swallowed a man. Je Bush, 37, was tucked up in bed late one Thursday evening when his entire bedroom oor simply gave way with a deafening crash that his brother, in the room next door, later described as like a truck hitting the house. Jeremy Bush, 35, heard his brothers scream and rushed towards his bedroom. Everything was gone, he told local television stations. My brothers bed, my brothers dresser, my brothers TV. My brother was gone. All I could see was the top of his bed, so I jumped in and tried digging him out. I thought I could hear him screaming for me and hollering for me. As the houses oor threatened to collapse further into a gaping hole more than nine metres across and 15 metres deep, a sheri s deputy who had arrived with the emergency services eventually pulled Jeremy to safety. Je remained trapped. I couldnt get him out, Jeremy said. I tried so hard. I tried everything I could. No one could do anything. As Jeremy and four others, including a two-yearold child, were led away uninjured, rescue teams lowered a microphone and video camera into the hole, but it was soon apparent that Bush could not have survived. By Saturday, the search for his body had also been abandoned. We just have not been able to locate Mr Bush, and so for that reason, the rescue eort is being discontinued, a local ocial said. At this point, its really not possible to recover the body. When the ground begins opening up beneath our feet and plunging unsuspecting mortals into the abyss, some may be tempted to reach for the Bible and start predicting the End of Times (and a quick online search reveals that several of the wackier sorts of websites have not hesitated to do just that). But biblical as the story sounds, the sinkhole as the phenomenon is called that caused Je Bushs death was not an act of God but of geology. Natural sinkholes as opposed to manmade tunnel or cave collapses occur when acidic rainwater seeps down through surface soil and sediment, eventually reaching a soluble bedrock such as sandstone, chalk, salt or gypsum, or (most commonly) a carbonate rock such as limestone beneath. In a process that can last hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, the water gradually dissolves small parts of the rock, enlarging its natural ssures and joints and creating cavities beneath. As the process continues, the loose, unconsolidated soil and sand above is gradually washed into these cracks and voids. Depending on how thick and strong that top layer is (sand will not last long; clay can hold out for millennia), and how close to the surface the void beneath is, the land may be able to sustain its own weight and that of whatever we build

on top of it. But as the holes grow, there will come a day when the surface layer will simply give way. Once those caves start to collapse, the materials above will simply funnel in, says Dr Anthony Cooper, a principal geologist at the British Geological Survey, which maps the UK for rock types susceptible to sinkholes and carries out surveys for developers, builders and individuals worried about the prospects of the land caving in beneath them. Its just like an eggtimer, really. Thats certainly what appears to have happened with this incident in Florida. In the language of geologists, the process that causes sinkholes is the creation of a void which migrates towards the surface. In the language of the layman, when theres not enough solid stu left underneath to support what is left of the loose stu above, the whole lot collapses. The resulting depressions characterise what is known as a karst landscape, in which hundreds or even thousands of relatively small sinkholes form across an area that, seen from the air, can appear almost pock-marked. Since around 10% of the worlds surface is made up of karst topographies, sinkholes are far from uncommon. The entire state of Florida, as the Bush family unfortunately learned, is classed as karst landscape, and sinkholes are so common that insurers are obliged by law to oer cover to home owners who ask for it (insurance was compulsory until 2007, when many home owners dropped it because of the rising cost). If you look at a satellite image of the state, or even just a map, says Cooper, youll see its peppered with little circular lakes and lots and lots of sinkholes. A great many of them are visible, but many more are covered in. Its typical karst topography. Elsewhere in the US, sinkholes are common in Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. In Britain, the BGS says the carboniferous limestone of the Mendip Hills, the north of the South Wales coaleld, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the northern Pennines and the edges of the Lake District all host well-developed karst landscapes. Karstic features are also common in the UK on the chalk of south-east England, on salt in the centre and north-east of the country, and particularly on the gypsum that underlies parts of eastern and north-eastern England. Gypsum is the most soluble of all, says Cooper. If you were to place a block of gypsum the size of a van in a river, it would dissolve completely within about 18 months. Ripon in North Yorkshire, Cooper says, is very susceptible to sinkholes, the most famous some 20 metres deep dating back to 1834. In 1997, four garages collapsed into a huge sinkhole that only just missed the front of a neighbouring house. One of the more spectacular recent British sinkholes, a 7.5-metre-deep crater, opened up in 2010 beneath a patio in Grays, Essex. It was like an earth-

Once those caves start to collapse, the material above will simply funnel in. Its like an eggtimer

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 31

Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this Then Section and page XX
Into the abyss clockwise from top: several homes disappeared when a sinkhole opened up in Guatemala City in 2007; a car stuck in a sinkhole in Veracruz, Mexico, 2010; a sinkhole in Guatemala City, this time a 12-metre-deep hole that appeared in a home overnight in 2011 Daniel Leclair Reuters; EPA/Saul Ramirez; Getty There was also a man who emptied his swimming pool out on to his garden, and was soon confronted with a large sinkhole under his house, Cooper says. And in Florida, automatic frost sensors have set o sprays fed from boreholes and intended to stop strawberry crops from freezing but the result was more than 100 small sinkholes. So how can you detect a developing sinkhole and can anything be done about it once you suspect the process may be under way? In Britain, Cooper says, the BGS maps the country to locate rock types that may be aected by sinkholes. It also keeps an up-to-date National Karst Database recording visible sinkholes, springs, soakaways and known building damage. Using all manner of modern technologies, we cut an awful lot of data, from rock types to slope angles, covering materials and drainage, and basically zone the country into datasets that can be used by property developers, local councils, the construction industry, insurers and the like, he says. At the most basic level, people in a sinkholeprone zone are best advised simply to look around them, at the adjacent land and buildings. Telltale signs may include sagging trees or fence posts, doors or windows that no longer close properly, and rainwater collecting in unlikely places. Some developing sinkholes can be lled in; Anthony Randazzo, a former University of Florida professor who has spent his career studying sinkholes, now runs a protable company that does just that, injecting grout to ll cracks that develop underground and shore up the foundations of buildings. Its like a dentist lling a cavity, he says. But this is not always possible. The key is good drainage; you want to get water away from a vulnerable area. Covering an opening up with concrete, or lling up a hole completely with solid concrete, may not necessarily help, warns Cooper. Sometimes, too, the hole may simply be too deep: 80 metres, perhaps, compared with the 12-15 metre height of a house. On some occasions, we have had to point out to developers that a hole 20 metres deep and 30 metres wide is a lot bigger than a house, Cooper says. Thats a hell of a lot of concrete. Despite the frequency of sinkholes, linked fatalities are rare. Randazzo says he can recall only two other people besides Bush who have died because of them in the US during the past 40 years. Even then, he says, in both cases the people concerned had been drilling boreholes (and thus interfering with groundwater levels). Usually, you have some time, Randazzo, who has lectured on sinkholes at Oxford University, told USA Today. These catastrophic sinkholes give you some warning over the course of hours. This latest incident is very unusual, and very tragic. In the UK, Cooper says, no deaths attributable solely to naturally formed sinkholes (as opposed, say, to the collapse of disused mine chambers) have been recorded in recent times. But, he points out, since extremes of sinkhole-aecting weather long periods of drought, for example, followed by spells of unusually heavy and persistent rain are widely predicted to become more frequent as the Earths climate changes, we would certainly expect there to be more sinkholes in the future.

quake. There was a rumbling and we both ran out to look and there just a couple of steps away there was this monstrous hole, the house owner, Ben Luck, said at the time. It was there in a second. There wasnt a bit of dust, and there was no sign of the crazy paving it had all disappeared in the hole. Structural engineers said the hole was caused after water penetrated chalk some 25 metres down, causing tonnes of soil above it to shift. Around the world, this process that produces sinkholes has created such striking natural features as the

hills of Irelands western coast, the caves of Slovenia and the pillars of Guilin in China. Where the underlying limestone layer is thick and rainfall heavy, vast underground caverns and subterranean rivers have produced sinkholes that make whats happened in Florida or Essex look positively insignicant: the Xiaozhai tiankeng (heavenly pit) in Chongqing, China, is 662 metres deep; the Dashiwei tiankeng in Guangxi 613 metres. Croatia has a 530-metre-deep hole, with vertical walls, called the Red Lake, while Papua New Guinea has the Miny sinkhole (510 metres) and Mexico the Stano del Barro (410 metres) and Stano de las Golondrinas (372 metres). What nally triggers a collapse? The most common factor, Cooper says, is changing groundwater levels, or a sudden increase in surface water. During long periods of drought, groundwater levels will fall, meaning cavities that were once supported by the water they were lled with may become weaker (water pumping, for factories or farms, can have a similar eect). Conversely, a sudden heavy downfall can add dramatically to the weight of the surface layer of soil and clay, making it too heavy for the cave beneath to bear. Sometimes the trigger can be man-made. In chalky West Sussex in 1985, a burst water main caused an alarming rash of small one-metre to four-metre-wide sinkholes to appear in Fontwell.

32 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13


Coee rust wreaks havoc in Mexico

Fungus prompts crisis in Central America with smallholders suering most, says Frdric Saliba
inca Hamburgo, at 1,250 metres above sea level, commands an uninterrupted view of 280 hectares of coffee plantations covering the verdant slopes of Tacana, a volcano in Chiapas state, southern Mexico. The damp heat there, close to the border with Guatemala, is ideal for growing Arabica coee. But coee rust a disease caused by the Hemileia vastatrix fungus that spreads orange dust on to the leaves of coee bushes has infected the plantation, which has been operating for 125 years at Tapachula. Jorge Perez, 20, sporting a red bandana, is hacking at infected bushes with a machete. Dried out by the rust [roya in Spanish] almost all the leaves fall o, he explains. Employed on the farm as a daylabourer he and his wife crossed the border from Guatemala with a child of two to earn around $6.50 a day. Nearly half Hamburgos plantations are aected by the loss of leaves. According to farm manager Gustavo Salazar, who was the rst to raise the alarm in October 2012, the infected bushes wont produce any fruit this year. Its better to cut them back to strengthen them, he says. Our previous crop, from September to February, did not suer too much, but the next one could be 70% lower. The fungus bleaches the leaves, preventing them from breathing. Arabica, the species most prone to rust, accounts for 97% of Mexicos 680,000 hectares of coffee plantations. Here in Chiapas we have gone from 3,000 hectares infected in November to 45,000 now, says Ricardo Trampe, the head of the Tacana Regional Coee Producers Federation. Coee growers in the western state of Veracruz, the second-largest production area in Mexico after Chiapas, reported the appearance of the dreaded fungus at the end of February. The crisis seems particularly serious in Central

America, with a state of emergency already in force in Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The epidemic started in Colombia in 2011, subsequently spreading to Central America then Mexico. The spores are carried by the wind, but also on the clothes of daylabourers moving from farm to farm. Hemileia vastatrix was rst observed in 1861 near Lake Victoria in east Africa. It appeared in Brazil in the early 1970s, then 10 years later in Mexico. The fungus seems to be behaving more aggressively, less predictably, because it now aects plantations above 1,000 metres, whereas it used not to go above 800 metres, says Juana Barrera, an agricultural engineer at Colegio de la Frontera Sur. Could climate change be playing a part in this trend? Yes, because of the 1C or 2C rise in temperature in Chiapas in recent years, Barrera says. But its not the only factor. The age and upkeep of coee bushes matters too. Half the bushes in Chiapas are over 20 years old and belong to varieties which are very prone to rust. Another associated cause is an increasing trend to plant in the open sun, to boost productivity, instead of the traditional method of placing bushes in the shade of other trees, oering better protection for an exceptional ecosystem. In the past two years the Hamburgo farm has boosted output by moving two-thirds of the bushes into the sun. To combat the rust Salazar is going to adopt a new technique. Fumigating the plantations with copper oxychloride is no longer enough, he complains. A neighbouring farm, Irlanda, has been growing organic coee on 250 hectares since 1929. The challenge here is even bigger, for until now they have never used chemical pesticides. The solution would be to replant with a variety of Arabica more resistant to rust, but that would be too expensive, says manager Ernesto Solano. A third of the farm is already aected, but he is particularly concerned

Dangerous outbreak ... a coee picker works in Central America, where a damaging fungus known locally as roya is spreading rapidly Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters about what will happen in May with the start of the rainy season, favourable to the spread of fungus. But those hardest hit are the small growers. All our bushes have been infected, says Sonia Oseguerra, 62, who farms four hectares at an elevation of 1,450 metres with her husband. Its our only source of income. Much like the Oseguerras, 98% of the 180,000 Chiapas coee-growers own less than ve hectares of land. Most are poor native Indians,

Astronomers nd water in atmosphere of distant planet

Ian Sample Science correspondent
Astronomers have detected water vapour and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of a planet 130 light years away from Earth. However, the planet, known only as HR8799c, is devoid of methane, a gas that can indicate life, the researchers said. Their analysis was performed using the most precise atmospheric measurements ever made of a planet outside our solar system. The levels of gases shed light on how the planet formed, from a cluster of ice crystals tens of millions of years ago. Since the 1990s, astronomers have detected more than 1,000 planets beyond our solar system. HR8799c is colossal: about seven times the mass of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. It circles a star with at least three other planets. To take their readings, scientists peered at the planet through a telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, and used an instrument called Osiris to record incoming infrared light. At only 30m years old, the planet is young, extraordinarily hot and easy to see in the infrared range. Through detailed analysis of the planets light, the team teased out chemical ngerprints of molecules in the atmosphere, which absorb different wavelengths of infrared. They found copious amounts of water vapour and carbon monoxide, but no traces of methane, according to a report in the US journal Science. The presence of methane can be a sign of life, as on Earth where it is a waste gas of many living organisms. The presence of water in the atmosphere does not make the planet a contender for life either, the scientists said. Even though we see water, we dont expect there to be any chance of life on this planet. There is no solid surface and its really hot, said Quinn Konopacky at the University of Toronto. Surface temperatures are thought to exceed 1,000C. But the new measurements clarify how the planet came into existence. Its atmosphere has a

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 33

Ring of steel The cold twist of the plough Nature watch, page 42

according to the Mexican Association of Coffee Production (Amecafe). A major social crisis is hanging over us, says Rodolfo Trampe, the head of Amecafe. For the time being the authorities are spending $2m to assess the extent of the contamination. Well have the results in a month, says Francisco Javier Trujillo, the head of the plant disease department at the ministry of agriculture. If the epidemic is conrmed well apply fungicides to stop it spreading beyond the affected areas. But any long-term solution involves disseminating better fertilisation practices, he says. For three days in February, 150 experts from Mexico and Central America gathered in the town of Tapachula to exchange know-how and advice. But how are we to train thousands of small coeegrowers who are widely dispersed, and cant aord to buy fertilisers or replace their old bushes? Trampe asks. We need to issue a phytosanitary alert, in order to obtain national and international funds for an emergency programme in partnership with Central American countries. Since then Trampe has been in London for a meeting of the International Coee Council. It remains to be seen whether his call for assistance will be heard in time to save the Latino growers. Le Monde Water vapour, but far too hot to support life ... an artists rendering of the planetary system HR8799 high ratio of carbon to oxygen, which suggests it formed through a process called core accretion, when grains of water ice condense from a disc of material surrounding the parent star. Astronomers hope one day to study the atmospheres of small, rocky planets similar to Earth, but these tend to be so small, and close to their stars, that the light from them is too faint to detect. If you wanted to do an Earth-sized planet, you really need a spacecraft and you really need a very dedicated spacecraft that was designed only for that purpose, said Bruce Macintosh, a co-author of the study, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

Goodall apologises for failing to cite sources

The renowned primatologist Jane Goodall has admitted to using passages without citation from websites including Wikipedia in her new book about mans relationship with nature. The 78-year-old told the Washington Post whose reviewer spotted the phrases in the book Seeds of Hope cowritten with Gail Hudson this was a long and well-researched book and I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and I want to express my sincere apologies.

Polar bear hunt limited

One of the most southerly populations of polar bears now has only limited time to hunt on sea ice due to a warming climate, research suggests. The polar bears of Hudson Bay, Canada, migrate on to land in the summer when the sea ice melts, relying on fat reserves to survive until the sea refreezes in late November or early December. During the winter and spring months they take to the sea ice to hunt their prey of seals. But the bears have been coming to land earlier and leaving later in recent years as a result of climate change reducing the ice, said researchers from the British Ecological Society in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

Rays dine during day

Being fed by tourists has transformed the behaviour of a group of southern stingrays in the Caribbean over the past three decades, according to a study in the journal PLOS One. Female rays fed packaged squid by vacationers at Grand Cayman Islands Stingray City have switched from being nocturnal to being active during the day. Ecotourism-provided food is drastically changing the behaviour of these stingrays, including shifting their activity rhythms from night to day and causing overcrowding, said Mahmood Shivji, director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Washington Post

Breastfeeding defended
Very few babies become dehydrated and seriously ill because they are not getting enough milk from breastfeeding, according to a study that calls for better support for mothers to help them establish nursing. Dr Sam Oddie and colleagues found only 62 cases from May 2009 to June 2010, a prevalence of seven in every 100,000 live births. In their paper, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, they write that all 62 babies were admitted to hospital, mostly because of weight loss and some were intravenously fed.

34 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

Discovery Jo Marchant The Antikythera mechanism showed that the ancient Greeks had sophisticated technology and a profound understanding of astronomy. Could another one be lurking under the sea?

ivers returning to the site te of an ancient k o the Greek wreck d of Anisland tikythera hera have found acts artefacts scattered over a wide e area of the steep, rocky sea oor. These include intact pottery, the ships anchor and some puzzling bronze nze elieves objects. The team believes e items could that hundreds more diment nearby. be buried in the sediment The Antikythera wreck, which dates from the rst century BC, yielded a glittering haul when sponge divers discovered overed it at the beginning of the 20th century. Among s and statues were jewellery, weapons the remains of a mysterious ysterious clocked the Antikywork device, dubbed thera mechanism (pictured right). Bar a brief visit by the undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s (featured in his documentary Diving for Roman Plunder), no one had visited the wreck since, leading to speculation about what treasures might still be down there. The locals told tales of giant marble statues lying beyond the sponge divers reach, while ancient technology geeks like me wondered whether the site might be hiding another Antikythera mechanism, or at least some clues as to whom this mysterious object belonged to.

Cue all-round excitement when in October last year, a team of divers led by Brendan Foley of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Aggeliki Simossi of Greeces Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, went back for a proper look. The divers used James Bond-style propulsion vehicles equipped with high-resolution video cameras to circumnavigate the island at about 40 metres depth. Now the photos released by the team show some of what they found. For centuries Antikythera was in

a busy shipping lane, but surprisingly its treacherous treache underwater clis and reefs reef are not littered with sun sunken ships (perhaps those ancient navigathos tors were more t skilled than we thought). And there are no obviou ous signs of a wreck at the th site supposedly exca excavated by Cousteau, sug suggesting that he recovered all of the visreco ible items there or that he planted p some of his nds for the cameras. But 200 metres away, the divers foun found artefacts spread across the roc rocky sea oor, on a between 35 and 60 steep slope be metres deep. The largest item it recovered was a huge lead anchor ancho stock. It was lying on a semicircula semicircular object that might be a scupper pipe, used to drain water from the ships deck. If so, the ship may have gone down as she was sailing with the anchor stowed. The team also raised an intact storage jar (amphora), which matches those previously recovered from the wreck. DNA tests may reveal its original contents. Most intriguing are dozens of irregular spherical objects sprinkled across the wreck site. They look like rocks but contain ecks of green, suggesting small bronze fragments, corroded and encrusted in sediment after thousands of years in the sea.

This is just what the Antikythera mechanism looked like when it was discovered. Then again, they could be collections of ships nails. Because the artefacts the team found are a short distance from the site investigated by Cousteau, its possible that they belong to a second ship from around the same date as the original wreck, perhaps part of the same eet. But Foley thinks it more likely that all of the remains come from one vessel that broke up as it sank. To conrm this, he hopes to revisit the site later this year. He wants to use metal detectors to map the distribution of metal and ceramic objects buried beneath the surface, as well as dig a few test trenches. Im intensely curious about whats in the sediments, he says. Cousteau only excavated a few square metres of the site but that was enough to reveal more than two hundred items, including jewellery, coins and small bronze statues. But while previous visits to the wreck have been little more than salvage expeditions, Foley says hed love to carry out a systematic, scientic excavation of the wreck site, if he can nd anyone to sponsor him: As soon as we have the money well be back. Jo Marchant is author of Decoding the Heavens, a book about the Antikythera mechanism. Her next book, The Shadow King, will be published in June

New to nature Aleiodes gaga

A new species of parasitoid wasp of the family Braconidae from Thailand has been named in honour of popular singer and performer Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga. The species is known from a single female specimen collected along a nature trail in the Chae Son National Park. What makes this 5mm wasp interesting isnt its natural history. Rather, it

is the fact that this species, Aleiodes gaga, along with 178 others of the genus Aleiodes, was described in the rst turbo-taxonomic study based largely on COI barcoded specimens, with rapid descriptions. First speed dating, now speed species descriptions. The concept is innovative and enticing. Using a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene, Dr Buntika Areekul Butcher of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, with international collaborators M Alex Smith, University of Guelph, Mike J Sharkey,

Name checked ... Aleiodes gaga

University of Kentucky, and Donald LJ Quicke, Imperial College London, has attempted to shift species discovery into high gear. This rapid genetic trawling for species took advantage of a three-year survey of 25 national parks in Thailand that collected about 1,000 specimens of the genus. But the morphological description of the Lady Gaga braconid is based on only one specimen. Time will tell whether it would be more prudent to collect new species more extensively before formally naming them. Quentin Wheeler Observer

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Russians to shun internet during Lent
he Russian Orthodox church has long told its followers to give up milk and meat for Lent but its leaders want the ock to go one stage further. There should be no tweeting or instagramming of the experience and no social media at all, in order to better cleanse the soul, according to church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin. I dont mean just people who use depraved, entertaining, stupid and empty information, Chaplin said. Even useful information, that relates to our work and well-meaning interests, clogs the brain and soul too much. Russians should take the opportunity of Lent to give up social media and look at themselves and the world around them with dierent eyes, he said during a press conference earlier this month. Giving yourself several hours or 15 minutes of time during Lent to not read curses on social networks, but serious texts, serious art, prayer, unhurried conversation with close ones this is a unique chance to change your life, he said. The Russian Orthodox church has gained enormous inuence under Vladimir Putin, the president. It has often spoken out as a reactionary force pushing for conservative values and against inuences that are seen as western, like the internet. Research by the Levada Centre, an independent pollster, recently found that 79% of Russians consider themselves Orthodox. Miriam Elder & Guardian newspaper who last year visited Yedu Nesu, the company behind Gushungo. Its rebellious: everyone in the cities is supposed to be against Mugabe. People dont expect urban young professionals to support him. House of Gushungo sales have been slowly rising over the past three years. The T-shirts, starting at $10, umbrellas and other regalia were a big hit at Mugabes ZanuPF partys last conference. Saint Mahaka, the labels designer, told the BBC: The young guys are into fashion. They talk about label, label, label he [Mugabe] is already a brand himself. We decided, there is Versace, there is Polo, there is Tommy Hilger, people are putting on these labels, but dont know who they are and what the story is. We know president Mugabes story, we know who he is. David Smith

Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this Then Section and Page XX
Unions had complained that although Apples stores shut at 9pm, sta were often required to stay as late as 11pm, tidying the store after hours or on duty in the workshops. Apple declined to comment. The ruling was described as a severe condemnation by Eric Scherrer of the cross sector union Confdration Franaise des Travailleurs Chrtiens. He added: This decision is very good and shows the courts willingness to enforce night working laws. Juliette Garside

Making a statement ... a Mugabe beret

Gardner heist thieves known

Flyest fashion: Mugabewear

obert Mugabe is renowned for many things, but his starchy dress sense and Savile Row suits are considered the lesser of his crimes. And yet dictator chic has found a niche among young people in Zimbabwe. Wearing a beret, T-shirt or golf shirt bearing the signature RG Mugabe is not only a fashion statement but an act of rebellion in major cities where denigrating Uncle Bob has almost become de rigueur. The newest item in the collection is a cap emblazoned 1924, the year of Mugabes birth suggesting that, far from being a liability, the 89-year-olds status as Africas oldest leader is a point of pride. This improbable successor to Che Guevara or Barack Obama in cool iconography is the work of House of Gushungo. Its a bit daring, says Jason Moyo, a journalist at the Mail

Night working a French no-no

pple has been ned and banned from requiring sta at seven of its French stores to work night shifts. The ruling may cause problems for the arrival of the new iPad, expected next month, as sta often work after hours to reorganise the stores so that the latest merchandise is on display for product launches. The courts took action after unions led a complaint. Apple was ordered to pay them 10,000 ($13,000) in damages and was warned it would be liable for a 50,000 penalty for every further infraction. French law forbids shifts between 9pm and 6am unless the work plays an important role in the economy or is deemed socially useful.

he FBI says it has solved the decades-old mystery of who stole $500m worth of art from Bostons Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but it is withholding the identities of the thieves, adding a further twist to the largest property heist in US history. Authorities announced a publicity campaign aimed at generating tips on where the missing art is. Their focus has shifted from catching the thieves to bringing home the paintings, including those by Rembrandt, Manet, Degas and Vermeer. The key goal here is to recover those paintings and bring them back, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said at FBIs Boston headquarters. Just after midnight on 18 March 1990, two men posing as police ofcers pulled o the heist, stealing 13 pieces of art in 81 minutes. For more than two decades, the FBI has chased leads around the globe, nally making progress over the last few years so that they now believe they know the identity of the thieves. AP

Maslanka puzzles
1 Pedanticus watched the programme Planet Ant on BBC4 until he heard the word eusocial, at which point he became decidedly antsy. What had bitten the old boy? 2 I bought two things at Beale and Endalls. The assistant multiplied the two prices together (each expressed in pounds) instead of adding them. Although the answer came out in square pounds the number was what it should have been had he added them, so only I noticed. What was the most I could have spent? (In case you hadnt noticed, we no longer have the halfpenny.) 3 If 1 is not prime and is not composite, what is it? 4 I knocked Mike Alkanes molecular model o its perch and it fell to pieces. There were black balls and white balls only. Each black ball had 4 shallow holes each equidistant from the other 3; each white ball had one shallow hole. There were a number of sticks used to connect the balls. I connected all 27 of these components up, but this arrangement was dierent from the original model. How many black balls? White? Sticks? 5 Mike has another model with 12 black balls and 26 white balls of the kind found in Puzzle 4 How many sticks are there? email:

In each case, nd the correct denition: TARANTASS a) Greek card game played with 40 cards b) Russian carriage c) frantic dance d) what Krishnan Guru-Murthy called the director of Django APPALOOSA a) orchard worker b) horse with white hair and dark patches c) illegally fermented liquor d) drinking dive in Tennessee

Distant object is obsolete coin (8) Greeting two snakes and the sound they make (4) Depart twice to music (4)

Missing Links
Find a word that follows the rst word in the clue and precedes the second, in each case making a fresh word or phrase. Eg the answer to sh mix could be cake (shcake & cake mix)... a) wild style b) soap maker c) re squib d) triple stick e) ower room f) beef tag
CMM2013 For solutions see page 47

36 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13


Sounds to chop vegetables to

Adam Mars-Jones on two books about how music and the act of listening itself have shaped us
Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening by David Hendy Prole 402pp 16.99 The Story of Music by Howard Goodall Chatto & Windus 368pp 20
One theory about the development of our brains is that reliance on hearing played a large part in it, at a time when we were tree-dwellers vulnerable and fearful at night since sound, needing to be measured over time, requires more processing power than visual information. Neither of these ambitious and complementary books goes back quite so far, though they start from the same recent discovery about the distant past: that prehistoric wall paintings coincide with the spots of maximum resonance within caves. Artistic expression in its earliest visual form was a response to richness experienced through the ears. Each book is the published accompaniment to a series in another medium, Noise being a commission from Radio 4, while The Story of Music has just nished its run on BBC2. Howard Goodall has form not just as a presenter (with the excellent Big Bangs) but as a composer. If anyone could bring o a survey of music that, while it obviously cant hope to include everything, doesnt exclude any musical style or event in advance, then it has to be him. The idea is to assume no prior knowledge of the subject, but in practice theres some awkwardness. The reader who needs to be told that Benjamin Britten was a mid-20th-century English composer is likely to be baed by the information that Scriabins Prometheus has anities with Stravinskys Firebird. At his best, Goodall has a facility for lively shorthand, as when he describes the three most commonly used chords (tonic, dominant and subdominant) as musics primary colours, or compares Haydns delightfully proportioned amusements for Prince Esterhzy with Capability Browns garden layouts and Robert Adams architecture. When this facility falters the result is a soundbite without teeth. Very little information is conveyed by describing The Threepenny Opera as a kind of Trainspotting for the late 1920s and it hardly illuminates Salome to be told that with this score in one fell swoop, Strauss had transformed himself from the genteel Kapellmeister of the Austrian Belle Epoque into the Che Guevara of the musical rebels. The desire to isolate turning points and symbolic moments is understandable, but it needs to be managed tactfully. Its fair enough, though routine, to single out the success of Rhapsody in Blue on record as culturally signicant (a million copies sold in 1927), but ridiculous to counterpoint it with Mussolini ordering Boccherinis remains to be repatriated from Madrid to Lucca in the same year. The 20th-century material is probably the weakest, just where it needs to hold its own against the competition from Alex Rosss The Rest Is Noise. David Hendys Noise is chronologically arranged, but with a less dened subject, he can interweave themes more freely. In one section he brings together the naturalist John Muir, finding fault with the behaviour of visitors to Yosemite National Park, and the design of the concert hall at Bayreuth, to show that there were simultaneous moves in America and Europe to police peoples experience of the sublime, whether in nature or culture. Hendy quotes a denition of noise by GWC Kaye as sound out of place (though its hardly more than a paraphrase of the description, variously attributed, of dirt as matter in the wrong place). The point is that for a sound to be classied as noise there must be someone doing the classifying. A history of noise can only be a social history, and a history of power. Noise can sometimes destabilise the power structure. To introduce his discussion of audience dynamics at Roman Games, where there was always the possibility that an orchestrated tribute could turn nasty, Hendy nds an exquisite modern parallel: George Osborne being booed at the Olympic stadium while he waited to hand out medals. One recurring theme is privacy, and the search for quiet. The rich have been moving away from noise since Roman times; Hendy details the process in 18th-century Edinburgh. Of all the devices described in the book (such as the talking drums and the stethoscope), none is simpler than the bell-pull to summon sta, solving as it did the apparently intractable problem with servants. If they were near enough to be useful they were also near enough to see and hear things they shouldnt. Occasionally the book gives the impression of being a very classy scissors-and-paste job. But just because something has appeared in a respectable book doesnt make it true. So Hendy passes on from R Murray Schafers The Soundscape (1994) the information that William Faulkner was haunted for years after the rst world war by the sounds (little trickling bursts of secret and murmurous bubbling) emitted by shattered bodies lying around him on the battleeld. Faulkner wasnt exactly a soldier for truth on any subject, but he did nothing but lie about his supposed war experiences, claiming for instance to have suered a head injury that made necessary the tting of a silver plate when the war had ended before Faulkner nished his training. In his discussion of radio, Hendy describes an experiment carried out at Harvard in the 1930s, in which the subjects were divided into two groups one reading a text, the other hearing it read: Those who had read the piece were more critical and questioning about the material; those who had heard it over the loudspeakers were more inclined to believe everything that had been broadcast. Since the book was rst devised for broadcast, this suggests a delightful recursive process: listeners to Noise nodding their assent while Hendys voice on the radio tells them, persuasively, how persuasive radio voices are. The 30 sections of the book are all of the same length, which suggests they correspond quite closely to the scripts. The print version would have beneted from the material being developed more ambitiously. Radio is an extraordinary and intimate medium, but its writers and performers must always keep in mind that very few listeners give their attention undivided, in the way that readers must. On the wall of every talk-radio studio hangs an invisible sign that says Remember: theyre probably chopping vegetables.


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Sweat and tears Whats the evolutionary benet? Notes & Queries, page 42

Another blueprint for a way out of this mess

Cancel the Apocalypse by Andrew Simms Little Brown 448pp 13.99 John Harris
Back when he had the gleam of youthful promise, David Cameron affected to be interested in green politics, and something called general wellbeing. Ed Miliband was a somewhat evangelical secretary of state for energy and climate change, whose rst speech as Labour leader examined the notion of life beyond the bottom line. But the long aftermath of the economic crash looks to have left precious little room for such ideas, instead pointing up the irony that one of the consequences of the nancial crisis has been the squashing of any convincing conversation about everything that caused it, and what it actually means. Perhaps this is down to the drily pragmatic nature of democratic politics; perhaps its just capitalism being capitalism, so that anything hostile to its interests is quickly neutralised. Whichever it is, while inequality is widening, glaciers are still melting and it can seem as if the entirety of politics now rotates around a quarterly event: the release of the provisional gure for economic growth, or the lack of it. The economist, campaigner and author Andrew Simms works in a rather dierent universe, accessible via the oces of the New Economics Foundation. He is most renowned for Tescopoly, his book about the rise of the titular retail giant, and his invention of the concept of clone towns. But Cancel the Apocalypse is much more ambitious: a treatise on why the human race cannot go on as it is, and what we might do by way of an alternative. In addressing what the political-economic vernacular calls sustainability, it takes in the banking system, energy generation, the global air-travel business, meat-eating and more along with such tangential reference points as the rock band Hawkwind, Kurt Vonneguts Galapagos and Doris Lessings The Memoirs of a Survivor. It is a breathless, quotationpacked work, light years from anything to do with orthodox politics, which suggests someone unpacking the entire contents of their head: its probably about 100 pages too long, and best read at the rate of a chapter every few days. Yet Simmss talent for casting gigantic issues in pleasingly human terms is clear, and proved by his evocation of the ve or so days in 2010 when the ash from an Icelandic volcano shut down European airspace. He describes staring into the unblemished blue from Kew Gardens, and realising what was afoot: Flying was something we thought we couldnt live without, [but] the world did not come to a standstill. He is also keen to push his arguments into new territories, as evidenced by what turns out to be the books unexpected highlight: a chapter on advertising and PR, and the extent to which they work as the free markets multicoloured telescreen. And he has facts galore. The county of Cornwall alone, he says, has to dispose of 4,000 tonnes of junk mail every year 500 dustcarts worth, costing them around 700,000 [$1m]. If you consider left-eld the idea of slowing down the capitalist machine via a ban on billboard advertising, its

worth bearing in mind that it has already been done in Vermont, Maine, Hawaii and Alaska. No one will agree with every word. I was maddened by Simmss hostility to nuclear power. A lot of what he writes is open to an obvious criticism: that his arguments should probably be addressed at China, India and Brazil rather than an increasingly insignicant corner of northern Europe. But there is a joy in reading someone setting out the case for such unmentionables as a 21-hour working week and an economy that runs wholly on renewables.

Cry freedom
Sex and the Citadel Shereen El Feki Chatto & Windus 368pp 14.99 Faramerz Dabhoiwala Observer
Will the Arab spring precipitate a sexual as well as a political revolution? It is an intriguing question, which the award-winning Cairobased journalist Shereen El Feki explores in this account of a highly sensitive and still mainly hidden facet of the Arab world. The book blends interviews, statistics, opinion polls, journalism and personal reminiscence. The authors grandmother pops up in most chapters, dispensing jaunty proverbial wisdom: So long as its away from my own ass, I dont mind, begins the chapter on homosexuality. Despite its breezy tone, the attempts to connect social and sexual developments are sometimes clunky: These seismic shifts in Egyptian society are rocking Azzas marital bedroom, although the earth most certainly does not move when she and her husband make love. If you are after a scholarly treatment, look elsewhere. But Dr El Fekis position as a westerneducated female Muslim, both insider and outsider (she grew up in Canada, the daughter of an Egyptian father and Welsh mother), gives the book an invaluable perspective and a dierent kind of authority. Much of it makes for depressing reading. In most Arab countries, all sex outside marriage is prohibited. Some conservative clerics have even issued fatwas against married couples being naked during sex. In 2009, a Saudi Arabian who made the mistake of discussing his sex life on a satellite TV programme was sentenced to 1,000 lashings and ve years in jail for publicly boasting of sin. In practice, chastity is considered immeasurably more important for women than men, and marriage is neither private nor equal. The obsession with bridal virginity means that it remains de rigueur in Egyptian society to celebrate the husbands taking possession of his wife by publicly parading her bloodied bedsheets on the morning after the wedding. Many brides believe its a husbands right to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex; the police tend to agree. Yet El Feki tries to remain upbeat. To put things in perspective, she highlights national dierences: the Gulf states are the most sexist; Tunisias legacy of anti-Islamic dictatorship includes legalised abortion; Beirut is probably the least bad Arab city in which to be a lesbian or transsexual. Sometimes these snapshots are illuminating, though often they come across as padding for Continued on page 38

38 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

Continued from page 37 a book whose focus is on Egypt, and Cairo in particular. What optimism the book conveys comes chiey from the variety of feisty, outspoken women we meet. Female voices have been central to public life in the west ever since the Enlightenment: 300 years ago, their growing assertiveness helped bring about our rst sexual revolution. Just as that breakthrough transformed western culture for ever, so too the rising consciousness of women across the Arab world nowadays is perhaps the most hopeful sign of slow but fundamental improvement. pop star, he was just a poor kid from rural Malaysia with a bullying stepfather. Yinghuis drive masks a shameful family secret and a broken heart. In Shanghai you can be whoever you want to be. Some connections are rooted in a shared history: Justin knows Yinghuis story and her shaming past. But mostly the characters nudge and slide past each other. Phoebe keeps a picture of Gary on her wall and chats to him in a cyber room, unaware of his real identity. She gets a job managing Yinghuis spa. Justin encounters Phoebes atmate on one of his aimless evening strolls and nds in her someone else who is giving up on the dream of Shanghai. Soon Walter Chao is dating Phoebe and proposing a new business idea to Yinghui, a venture remarkably similar to the one that failed when she was a young woman in love. They celebrate in the same bar where Garys drunken brawl was recorded on a dozen mobile phones. How many of these encounters are coincidental isnt always clear, but gradually the possibility of something new is oered to each person. To Gary, a new career. To Phoebe, a wealthy husband. To Justin, freedom from his domineering family. To Yinghui, a chance to make good on her youthful ideals. Aw is a master storyteller and Five Star Billionaire can be read as The Way We Live Now for our times, for with the global triumph of capitalism, New York and London pale in comparison with the nancial behemoth of Shanghai. Like Trollopes Augustus Melmotte, the mysterious Walter Chao has moved his base of operations to the new city: Phoebe, Yinghui, Gary and Justin stand in for the speculators and wealthy families ensnared by his plotting. At 500 pages, Five Star Billionaire is only half the length of Trollopes masterpiece. Still, its a long book; and if theres a criticism to be made it is that the pace doesnt vary enough. Even where the narrative takes a dramatic turn, it is delivered in Aws spare, cool, almost dispassionate prose, which though it succeeds in many ways never quite leaves the page. Instead the characters drift towards their destinies, caught in the whirlpool of Shanghai. Theres more than a hint of fatalism in the air. Even when Yinghui is warned about her new business partner, she fails to conduct the most basic credit check on Walter Chao; she is too desperate, her dream too fragile. Behind it all, perhaps rather predictably, is a tale of ruin and revenge. But it matters little, because by the time you work out that what you thought was going to happen is indeed going to happen, you realise that Five Star Billionaire is a gentler story than at rst appeared: one of lives lost and found, of the transience of material success and the courage required to hope and to trust again, to forgive oneself and to believe in the possibility of love.

Pakistani Franklin
How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid Riverhead 228pp $26.95 Ron Charles Washington Post
The rst thing you notice when you start Mohsin Hamids clever third novel is that its written in the second person. Why not just stick with the good old third person? As it turns out, that sense of being directly addressed is what this author exploits so brilliantly in How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. Hamid, who attended Princeton and Harvard and now lives in Pakistan, has taken the most American form of literature the self-help book and transformed it to tell the story of an ambitious man in the developing world. The hero You is a sickly boy who might have been snued out, as so many others in his Pakistan village are, by fever or hepatitis. He and his family live in a single room, cook over a re and drink from an open sewer. Only by chance is he not a tiny skeleton in a small grave at the base of a tree. He sketches a most unequal city where rich and poor are swept together in a rising tide of frustration and anger and violence. How quaint the challenges of life in the west seem against this bloody chaos. Yet Hamids tough hero never despairs or complains. Hes young Ben Franklin in south-east Asia. I want to be rich, he tells a friend, and its just that simple a bittersweet echo of the American Dream, exported around the world like bottles of Coca-Cola. What eventually gives the story such poignancy is the young mans unquenchable desire for the pretty girl. And yet, once the boy spots the pretty girl, hes permanently smitten all through his lthy rise. Worldly and sexually daring, shes on a much faster track, swept up in fashion and showbiz. As with the sun, the narrator notes, you have always found it dicult to gaze upon her directly. This deadly Asian story of how to succeed in business while really trying nally delivers You to a very dierent place than he set out to reach decades earlier. Perhaps that shouldnt be surprising. After all, as the narrator tries to help us understand in the opening pages, The idea of self in the land of selfhelp is a slippery one.

Whirlpool of Shanghai
Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw Fourth Estate 500pp 18.99 Aminatta Forma
Tash Aws Five Star Billionaire opens with a bang, not a whimper. Four Malaysians are trying to make it in Shanghai, the new capital of the eastern world but when we meet them, each of their lives is in freefall. Theres Phoebe, the ambitious Malaysian village girl who passes herself o as Chinese and has arrived in Shanghai on the broken promise of a job and a new life. Theres Gary, a Taiwanese pop star who nds his fall from grace in a Shanghai bar endlessly replayed on YouTube and is reduced to singing in shopping malls. Theres Yinghui, a steely and successful businesswoman whose friends tell her that to really succeed in Shanghai, she needs a man. And, nally, theres Justin, the lonely businessman adopted into a wealthy Malaysian family, who has lost his way while his family have lost their fortune. He and Yinghui knew each other in an earlier life and their reconnection is one of the ne threads that link the characters in this book. Though how many of those threads are held by the fth character, Walter Chao the mysterious I and author of the bestselling self-help manual Five Star Billionaire remains to be seen. Shanghai values are the values of a new age. Nobody wants to change the world they only want to get out of it what they can, whatever it takes. With her good fake designer bags, stolen ID and forged early life in Guangdong, Phoebes transformation is the most extreme. Before Gary became a Taiwanese

Herberts dystopian horror will haunt us long g after his passing

ames Herbert (pictured), who died last week aged 69, will be remembered as one of the pillars of British horror writing. He managed the rare feat of straddling both genre and mainstream ction; at the height of his career, he was often spoken of in the same breath as Stephen King, and sales of his books have run to more than 42m. He shot to fame in 1974 with the publication of The Rats, and there can be few people who grew up in the 70s who didnt furtively pass around a dog-eared copy of this and its follow-up, Lair, revelling in Herberts gory set-pieces and plentiful sex scenes.

With The Rats, Herbert established himself mself as a master of the sort of apocalyptic horror ror so popular today from Justin Cronins The Passage to any number of zombie novels. There here are few authors working in the eld of modern dystopian ction who dont owe e a debt to his work. His rst non-sequel folollow-up to The Rats was 1975s The Fog, in n which a chemical spillage generated a mist st that turned anyone who came in contact with it into a homicidal maniac. Before becoming a full-time writer, Herbert was the art director of an advertising agency, and he designed his own

book jackets jacke well into his career. After The Rats R ats and Th The Fog, Herbert moved away from apocalyptic science-based terror towards apocalypti more t traditional, supernatural horror. His were very English horror stories, very contemporary and rooted in ve time and place. While his output ti might have tailed o in the 90s, m he continued to write, and was in h fact just returning to public attenf tion, thanks in no small part to a t recent BBC adaptation of The Secret rec of Crickley C Hall. David Barnett Dav

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 39

Two faces of Britains thriller queen

Both personas of Ruth Rendell, who is 83, still have books in them, discovers Alison Flood
uth Rendells most famous creation, Chief Inspector Wexford, has retired, and at the age of 83, with more than 70 books under her belt and a Labour life peerage, shed be forgiven if her thoughts were beginning to drift towards a gentle exit from the world of letters. After all, the 79-year-old Philip Roth, after a similarly half-century-spanning career, told the world he was done with writing last year, and hasnt looked back. When I ask if this is the case, Rendell, resplendent and formidable in a red velvet cardigan, leans forward on the sofa in her London house and looks horried. I couldnt do that. Its what I do and I love doing it, she says. Its absolutely essential to my life. I dont know what I would do if I didnt write. Thats a no, then. Even Wexford, who has been solving murders and easing injustices since he made his debut in Rendells own debut, From Doon with Death, back in 1964, isnt taking it easy. Despite having left the police force, he solved a decadesold crime in 2011s The Vault, and Rendell reveals shes just nished a new Wexford novel. Perhaps its her books, and the terrifying hold they exert on her readers, or the bucketloads of awards shes been given, but Rendell has a reputation for being intimidating. In person, she is cool, detached, ercely intelligent rather like some of her female heroines. She considers everything she is asked, looking faintly disgusted if she disagrees or is unimpressed, a small but infectious smile spreading across her face if shes interested. Unlike Conan Doyle with Holmes, I dont get sick of him because hes me. Hes very much me, she says of Wexford. He doesnt look like me, of course, but the way he thinks and his principles and his ideas and what he likes doing, thats me. So I think you dont get tired of yourself. Wexfords endless war against cliches is hers, she admits. He likes to read what I like to read on her coee table today is Tennyson and Anne Tyler and John Banville and he likes the music I like, all that sort of thing. Its not absolute. But its pretty close, so of course I dont have to think too deeply about what hell say next because I know him so well. Returning to Wexford is not easy, though. I dont nd writing easy, she admits surprisingly, given her prolic output. That is because I do take great care, I rewrite a lot, she says. If anything is sort of clumsy and not possible to read aloud to oneself, which I think one should do it doesnt work. Despite writing novels covering everything from domestic violence to paedophilia, racism to (of course) murder, Rendell insists she is not particularly fascinated by the darker side of life. Keeping the deaths in her own stories largely o stage, she is put o by the explicit violence and torture porn of some modern thrillers: It makes me actually quite angry to think about people writing about torture with a sort of relish. Horrible. But the violence, no, anybody who reads me doesnt expect it. I dont care about that, she says, when I ask

Formidable and resplendent Ruth Rendell if she has met any murderers in the course of her research. I wouldnt want that. Ive never met a murderer as far as I know. I would hate to. Its not necessary ... I just wait until Ive got a character and I think why would anybody do that, what is it in their background, what is it in their lives makes them do it. Usually these things are just accident or impulse, or because people are drunk or on something. The old detective story thats got a really complicated tortuous motive doesnt apply to mine. Its that people do these things almost by accident, or because of anger, their rage, their madness and then probably regret it. Rendells new novel, The Childs Child, is a Barbara Vine her rst in four years. Vine was the pen name Rendell adopted in 1986; shed written 25 novels already, a mix of Wexfords and standalone thrillers, and felt that A Dark-Adapted Eye was so dierent more psychological, more family than police-oriented it required some sort of marker. In the preface to the American edition of that book, she explained how she grew up with two Christian names: her rst, Ruth, and her second, Barbara, as the Scandinavian side of her family (her mother

I have never met a murderer as far as I know. I would hate to. Its not necessary

was Swedish) found Ruth dicult to pronounce. It has always interested me I dont think my parents realised this that both my names mean or imply a stranger in a strange land: Ruth was exiled in an alien country and Barbara signies a foreigner. (This feeling of isolation, incidentally, is explored in Astas Book, based on her grandparents, who came to the UK in 1905. When they rst arrived they were ostracised. Foreigners were regarded as terrible, the xenophobia in this country was awful, she says.) Back to the preface: growing up with two names does give you two aspects of personality, and Ruth and Barbara are two aspects of me, she wrote. Ruth is tougher, colder, more analytical, possibly more aggressive Barbara is more feminine For a long time I have wanted Barbara to have a voice as well as Ruth. It would be a softer voice speaking at a slower pace, more sensitive perhaps, and more intuitive. She always knows if a book will be a Rendell or a Vine, though, and it is extraordinary to hear her discussing her work, her names, like this, as if they dont belong to her. Its that coolness, that detachment, again. I like to change on to a Wexford, or on to a Ruth Rendell that isnt a Wexford, or on to a Barbara Vine, she says. This new one wouldnt have done as a Ruth Rendell. Theres not enough crime and it is very serious, all the Vines are. And they usually have some sort of big sexual thing in them, much more than the Ruth Rendells do. The Childs Child opens as Grace another calm, collected narrator researches a PhD on unmarried mothers in ction. Her gay brother Andrew and his partner James witness the homophobic killing of a friend of theirs, and must face his attackers at the trial. Their story is set against a novel within the novel which Grace reads. Beginning in 1929, it tells of a gay teacher John, who enters a sham marriage with his young sister Maud to save her reputation after she falls pregnant, starting a lethal chain of events. Never afraid to tackle social injustice in her novels Not in the Flesh deals with female genital mutilation, an issue Rendell feels so strongly about that she helped pass a law against sending girls abroad for the procedure Rendell tells me The Childs Child has its origins in two great iniquities that came to an end about 40 years ago. One being the disgrace of having an illegitimate child or being illegitimate, and the other being the terrible mistreatment of gay people, and I thought, well, I want to somehow bring these two together. As the gay marriage bill makes its way through parliament, the novel feels rather timely but this wasnt intentional, Rendell says. Of course the coalition rather thrust it at us. I nd it amazing David Cameron should want it. I dont quite know why gay people should want to be married, but if they want to be married why shouldnt they? Rendell goes to the House of Lords three or four times a week. As the vice-president of the homelessness charity Shelter, shes currently considering whats going on at the moment with housing ... I might do something in the House of Lords about it, she says. Rendell dislikes it that people are always asking her if shes still writing, and similarly objects to the phrase at your age with its underlying implication that it would be better if women in their 70s [as she was at the time] were to stay indoors and pull down the blinds.

40 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13


In search of freedom and revelation

Manfred Eicher still champions genre-defying music on his ECM label, nds Francis Marmande

n 9 July Manfred Eicher will be 70. In 1969 he founded Edition of Contemporary Music, aka ECM, in Munich. Okwui Enwezor, the head of Munichs Haus der Kunst, recently curated ECM A Cultural Archaeology, assisted by historian Markus Mller. The exhibition has been a huge success, but what is there to show about a record label? Does ECM represent a work, an action, perhaps even an exception? No, Eicher replies gently, its my life. What matters to me is the sense of being alive every day. So what was it all about? A retrospective, an installation, a display of record sleeves, photographs? Im not sure Munich remembers us, Eicher adds. He often says us. Much to my surprise the exhibition manages to conjure up much of ECMs magic. It centres on a room decorated with red neon lights, where a JeanLuc Godard lm loops endlessly. To begin with I was puzzled by the idea of an exhibition, Eicher says. I just let them get on with it. Its very moving. From Tokyo to Vancouver, ECM is known for its top-notch artists, arty typeface, old-style photos, in short its style. Eicher must read a lot because in an attempt to explain the sort of independent label he wanted to set up, he describes it as the equivalent of Gallimard, POL [as in Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens], or Minuit. He grew up on the shores of Lake Constance. Discovering jazz turned him into a doublebass player, the linchpin of any band. He could have joined the Berlin Philharmonic or worked as a sound engineer for Deutsche Grammophon, but he preferred free jazz and revolt. In See the Music, the 1971 lm by Theodor Kotulla which opens the exhibition, we see Eicher on bass accompanying Marion Brown (alto sax), Leo Smith (trumpet), Fred Braceful (percussion) and Thomas Stowsand (cello). This was denitely free jazz, pushing the limits in every sense. ECM invented itself as part of this exploratory process, in the art of listening to fellow musicians, of subconscious communication and experiment. Free At Last, its debut release in 1969, featured Mal Waldron, piano, with Isla Eckinger, bass, and Clarence Becton, drums. Now the ECM catalogue boasts 1,515 items, spanning 11 centuries of music, a vast range of styles and genres. It is home to the Art Ensemble of Chicago and some very loyal contributors including Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Jan Garbarek, Ralph Towner, Jack DeJohnette and Pat Metheny. Here too we find the 12th century polyphonist Protin, Carlo Gesualdo and JS Bach, but also Luciano Berio and John Adams. And of course there are quite a few outstanding boxed sets, in particular 10 albums devoted to Jarrett in Japan. There are militant acts: The Ballad of the Fallen, a

Four decades in search of music Manfred Eicher Richard Schroeder/ECM Records amboyant opera; Escalator Over the Hill with Carla Bley and Paul Haines; and priceless recordings by Paul Bley, Lester Bowie, Ed Blackwell, Billy Higgins and Charles Lloyd. ECM attracted the greatest stylists, but also some daring adventurers, John Surman, Louis Sclavis and Rava, and American minimalists, notably Steve Reich. Eicher quite rightly opted to treat the soundtracks of Nouvelle Vague lms as a form of modernday opera. But there was Arvo Prts ground-breaking Tabula Rasa too. The story behind Tabula Rasa is revealing. In 1977, with the iron curtain still rmly in place, the work was rst performed in Tallinn. Eicher heard it on the radio in Armenia. He set out to track down the composer and nally produced the record in 1984, adding two versions of Fratres by Jarrett, on piano and Gidon Kremer, on violin. The album was a revelation. The same could be said of Facing You, Jarretts 1972 solo recording, and of course the Kln Concert three years later, which sold 4 million copies. But success made no dierence to Eicher. He carried on his wandering existence, with a Nagra tape-recorder in his backpack, always on the look-out for musicians. To begin with I just wanted to record the musicians I liked, Eicher explains. I didnt know such a small label would grow so big. In his drive to bring avant-garde music to the attention of the largest possible audience, he achieved a remarkably consistent mixture with extremely diverse ingredients, pulling in free jazz, classical, cutting-edge contemporary, ethnic, vocal and meditative strands. This in turn he enhanced with beautifully designed artwork. ECM must be the most beautiful sound next to silence, said Canadas Coda magazine. For more than four decades Eicher has done as he likes, guided by his tastes alone, simply seeking new musical encounters, with an ongoing concern for mutual respect between performers and technicians, in short responding to the pleasure principle. Some might complain that Eicher has no regard for demand, that he outs market pressures. If so he does it without acting the hero, without twisting anyones arm for the cause, and without ripping o his business partners. He has produced a wealth of music, with a very well organised distribution network and commercial savvy largely on a par with the labels reputation. He has notched up several global successes, made some stunning discoveries, working with people who set a fair number of trends. But above all what remains is a sound, a way of doing things and limitless imagination. Le Monde

I just wanted to record the musicians I liked. I didnt know such a small label would grow so big

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 41


Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this Then Section and page XX

More human, more vulnerable and more anatomically feasible the new Lara Croft and, below, her earlier pneumatic incarnation (2007) Allstar

Lara Croft returns in long trousers

Tom Meltzer discovers why the oversexualised console pinup has had a reality makeover
t is 17 years since Lara Crofts rst adventure, Tomb Raider, in which time she has starred in a dozen games, two lms and an incalculable number of adolescent fantasies. Yet her life of plunder and peril has begun anew this month with a full franchise reboot, starring Lara as weve never seen her before: inexperienced, scared and wearing trousers. Like Bond and Batman before her, she has been born again in darker, grittier detail. There was not much to be said about the original Lara Croft. She barely had a voice, let alone a character, admits Rhianna Pratchett, lead writer on the latest instalment. She was not even originally British. The character a gender-ipped evolution of developers Core Designs original hero Rick Dangerous, himself little more than a carbon-copy of treasurehunter Indiana Jones was rst conceived as Lara Cruz, before a trawl through a phonebook threw up the purposely bland British surname Croft. From there, a legend was spun: Croft became the orphaned daughter of architect and swashbuckler Lord Richard Croft. She acquired a stately manor house home, a boarding-school education and the received pronunciation of the aristocracy. The backstory appeared in the manual, but on screen we saw little more than a pistol-toting babe in skimpy clothes, with a waist about the same width as one of her thighs and an implausible pair of breasts.

Over the sequels that followed, although she rarely ditched the hot pants and crop-top, she developed more of a personality. Gamers came to recognise her as a badass. This characterisation helped counterbalance the brazen sexuality of the character design, even making it possible to argue she was some kind of feminist icon. So it was a risky move on the part of the prequels developers Crystal Dynamics to strip a character who has often been derided as sexist of the skills and attitude that once served as an emphatic riposte to the allegation. It is a risk that, in June last year, looked to have backred when executive producer Ron Rosenberg told an interviewer that in what was widely reported as a rape scene in the new game we would see Lara literally turned into a cornered animal and would feel compelled to protect her. The idea of Lara Croft being raped kicked o a media storm. The producers have since stated emphatically that there is no rape scene in the game. While there is certainly the threat of sexual violence in it, her wouldbe assailant makes it only as far as a hand on her nees him in the groin, stomach before Lara knees grapples for his gun and d shoots him dead. he has had to take Its the rst time she a human life, explains s Pratchface. Its ett. Its very in-your-face. gut-wrenching and its uncomfortable and it should be e uncomfortable. Thats what we were rolong it, aiming for. We didnt prolong we didnt do it for titillation. ation. We wanted to show Laras reactions g moment and that gut-wrenching of having to take a human n life. She

doesnt get out of that thinking: Oh my God, I was almost sexually assaulted. Shes thinking: Oh my God, Ive taken a human life. The writers were aware some players would object. I think some people are very attached to old Lara because shes very capable and she doesnt show any vulnerability and she knows she can get out of any situation, says Pratchett. But thats not really interesting for a character. So is the new Lara still a sex symbol? I think so, says Pratchett, but its sort of in a dierent way and its more than being just a pure visual. Its not oversexualised. Its not the pneumatic breasts and the midri-revealing top or the hot pants. But Im not going to deny that shes a beautiful young lady. The physical makeover has been dramatic but also, arguably, necessary. In the high-definition world of a modern console game, the old Lara Crofts proportions would simply have looked cartoonish. The technology demands this immersive cinematic interactive experience, explains Ian Livingstone, president of Tomb Raiders original publishers Eidos, and an ever-present ever-prese gure in the life and evolution of Lara Crof Croft. Thats where games have been going, the incessant i drive towards total real realism. If you look at any franchise thats 10 or 15 years old and look at their origins theyre totally d dierent to the iterations that are available today. Cou Could the new Lara Croft be a feminist fe icon? That, says Pratch Pratchett, is not for her to say. I just hope shes seen as an interesting character, really. intere

42 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13

Notes & Queries
Darwins theory foresaw the survival of the wettest
What is the evolutionary advantage of shedding tears when I am sad or getting sweaty palms when I am scared? Ask that question after another 50 generations have passed, by which time our brains, will have evolved suciently to know the answer. Dick Hedges, Nairobi, Kenya Tears and sweaty palms are outward and visible signs of inner turmoil and have evolved as a safety-valve to counteract stress. Laughter does a similar job. Ursula Nixon, Bodalla, NSW, Australia Tears are a universal language and may induce compassion in an assailant. Sweaty palms might make it harder for an assailant to abduct you. Intriguing recent research showed that wrinkled ngers from prolonged immersion improve grip and may convey a survival advantage. David Isaacs, Sydney, Australia If you ever encounter an unfriendly grizzly bear youll be well equipped to drown it. Roger Morrell, Perth, Western Australia Survival of the wettest. Robert Locke, Fondi, Italy When their sleeves cant take any more. Alan Williams-Key, Madrid, Spain

Nature watch Wenlock Edge

The sound that lled the space around a bend in the lane was electric. A high-pitched whine vibrated through cold air as the machine backed along the other side of the hedge. Without smoke, chug or bounce, this new tractor was a cold and bloodless beast. The plough turned robotically, dropping into the meat of the eld. Without resistance, the wakes of earth folded themselves on to the surface, opening to dark birds and a chill wind bringing snow. For reasons only known to the farmer, this eld of old pasture, once parkland, was poisoned with herbicide. It became sicker and sicker as the green jaundiced and dulled. Now, after days without rain, the eld was being ploughed. There was a brutal feeling about this, a cynical act guided by the nihilism at the heart of modern agriculture. Only a few days ago there was one of those wonderful moments when the world seemed wildly joy-

Only by mutual consent

Can there by a war without war crimes? One sides war criminals are the other sides patriots. Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia Yes, if both parties abide by the same rules. David Tucker, Halle, Germany
Evolution at work? Juliette Binoche

Purple, Pink and Blue

Mr White, yes. Why no Mr Purple? Mr Alvin Purple was a celluloid hero of Australian lm in the 1980s. Olive Pink was a real-life Australian anthropologist and Rabbi Blue used to delight radio listeners there with his thought for the day. It seems these luminaries have been overcast by duller folk. Christopher Grin, Rakiraki, Fiji
More Notes & Queries See additional answers online

wrap themselves in the golden cloak of idealism, a wondrous and beautiful garment that is unfortunately not bulletproof. Jacques Samuel, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada Because the good guys are perceived as bad by a few, whereas the bad guys are thought of as such by many. Marian Turner, London, UK

Teenage skulduggery
Any answers?
When do boys start using handkerchiefs? When did they stop? Youngsters just use wasteful tissues these days. Adrian Cooper, Queens Park, NSW, Australia When they get married. As a sign of surrender. Sunil Bajaria, Bromley, UK Boys use handkerchiefs? Really?? Avril Taylor, Victoria, British, Canada Can government for the people exist when business controls the state? Terence Rowell, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada What, apart from death, is the great leveller? E Slack, LIsle Jourdain, France Send answers to weekly.nandq@ or Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK ful: a brimstone buttery the colour of primroses; a goldcrest making clouds of yew pollen; bees among the warming stones; birdsong ringing through bright sunshine. It was a feeling of golden, cockeyed optimism wed not had since last autumn. Now a bitter wind drove in from the Arctic with the ruthless eciency of the tractor. Swirls of snow began to organise into little hail-like grains, stinging seeds scattered into the ground but wouldnt take. Birds followed the plough as if it were a funeral. Local rooks and jackdaws rose and settled to pull grubs and worms from shiny slabs of esh in silence. The geese on the pond were quiet, as were the hedge birds. Hazel catkins shook against the harsh colours and sounds of the tractor. There was no sense that such an act against the body of this land could be resisted and that its past and all its dark secrets shouldnt be turned over, picked through and sold. This ploughing was an inevitability, the result of what TS Eliot called Tumid apathy with no concentration whirled by the cold wind / That blows before and after time. Paul Evans Read More Nature watch online

Idealism isnt bulletproof

Why is it seemingly the good guys who mostly get bumped o ? It all boils down to street smarts. The bad guys have learned some serious survival techniques. The good guys on the other hand tend to

Good to meet you Karen Edmundson Bean

I am a beekeeper in the north-west corner of Washington state in the US. Towering trees, deer, bald eagles, cougars and black bears abound. Just up the road is the start of hundreds of miles of wilderness. News comes to us via radio, the local library and the Guardian Weekly. My rst subscription was given to me by a friend while I was working as a gaer in the California lm industry in the 1980s. I recall that friend also gave me a subscription to Pravda. I let that lapse, but through the years, Ive always kept the Guardian coming. The Weekly allows me to see events in the US and the world though a dierent perspective. It is here that I learn of events, in news, science and the arts which go under reported in local newspapers. I always begin with Notes & Queries and Shortcuts. Its nice to laugh before confronting the problems, discoveries and, sometimes, successes in our world. For me, one delight of the paper is its diversity. Hard news can be dicult to take in one sitting, but the Guardians range allows me to mix these well reported, but at times depressing articles with the discoveries in science and the joys of arts and literature. My husband too is an avid reader. This can result in a small tussle for who will get the rst read. It all depends on who is feeding the livestock, heading out to the farmers market or who is tending the bees. If you would like to feature in this space, send a brief note to

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 43

Quick crossword
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Cryptic crossword by Philistine

9 Im no lunatic, coming in to reduce hate (9) 10 Fur would have been warmer after 3 (5) 11 One may be speeding either way (4,3) 12 Agent dines often on box (7) 13 If its after 3, hang around for deliveries (4) 14 Bipolar disorder features everywhere (4,3,3) 16 Dude perhaps worried at the end of term (3,4) 17 Self-proclaimed birdwatcher? (7) 19 Trac wardens note stated why I dont like this ne (7-3) 22 Shall I speak of which force is 4th? (4) 24 Islands ne, after a fashion? Not quite (7) 25 Dash a couple of nal letters on food (7) 26 Peer of Tennysons temper of heroic hearts (5) 27 Scientic investigator smashed china and left (9)


1 9

6 10





13 15 16


12 15 17 18


14 16 19 20





21 23










1 Youre caught I understand you (6) 4 Stiening agent (6) 8 Sub (1-4) 9 Well (7) 10 Plant, parts of which are used in cooking (3-4) 11 Commotion (3-2) 12 Thick smokey fog (3-6) 17 Tree senior person (5) 19 Nice lox (anag) (7) 21 Greek letter - pinoles (anag) (7) 22 On no occasion (5) 23 Solidied CO2 (3,3) 24 Main course dish (6)


7 Ones peak period (6) 9 Ugly elf (9) 13 Synthetic bre or paint (7) 14 Get better get back (7) 15 Count (on) (6) 16 False (6) 18 Attractive (5) 20 Inert gas, Xe (5)

1 The cantankerous Dwarf (6) 2 Ballroom dance in march or polka time (3-4) 3 One of the main Cinque Ports (5) 5 Restaurant serving light meals (3,4) 6 Fashion recalling the past (5)










Last weeks solution, No 13,367 First published in the Guardian 20 March 2013, No 13,373

1 3 cooler cosmetic (4,11) 2 Its hard for prisoner on island (8) 3 A desire or aspiration (5) 4 Very thin 3 carrier recedes with time (8)


5 Home 3 home? (6) 6 Fellow compilers half-written something positive (9) 7 Correspondent in Minnesota (2,4) 8 This angry expression by fox (9,6) 15 Last minute gathering to one side (9) 17 The last word of 14 in room making laborious progress (4,4) 18 Subtle dierence is admitted to be a bother (8) 20 Result of seduction: getting end away, maybe (6) 21 The old stay out for bread and beer (6) 23 Lightweight single layer (5)
First published in the Guardian 20 March 2013, No 25,900




Last weeks solution, No 25,895

Futoshiki Easy
Fill in the grid so that every row and column contains the numbers 1-5. The greater than or less than signs indicate where a number is larger or smaller than its neighbour.
2 < 3 4 1 4 > 3 4 < 5 3 > 2 5 1

Sudoku classic Hard




8 1 9

9 4 6 9 2 3 5 2

3 7 8 4 6 5 7 1

1 5

5 2

4 > <

Fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. We will publish the solution next week.
Free puzzles at guardian.

3 1 4 8

2 < 3 5 4 1 1 < 2 < 3 < 4

< 4

7 3 8 5 4 1 6 9 2

6 5 2 7 3 9 8 1 4

1 9 4 8 2 6 3 5 7

2 4 1 6 5 8 9 7 3

8 6 3 9 7 4 1 2 5

5 7 9 2 1 3 4 8 6

9 8 7 4 6 5 2 3 1

4 1 5 3 8 2 7 6 9

3 2 6 1 9 7 5 4 8

Last weeks solution

Last weeks solution

44 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 Courses & Recruitment

is recruiting Summer staff

I I I Senior staff for residential young learner courses: Course Director; Director of Studies; Director of Student Services Residential EFL teachers, and pastoral and activity staff Non-residential EFL teachers for Teenage and Adult courses in Cambridge
Attractive salaries and terms. Temporary summer contracts. e: Contact Yvonne or Sheila t: + 44 (0)1223 277230 w:

Postgraduate courses that suit your lifestyle

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MA Creative Writing - Is there a book in you?

- Specialist routes in Novel, Poetry and Writing for Children - Taught by high profile, award-winning writers and critics including Andrew Biswell, N.M.Browne, Catherine Fox, Livi Michael, Gregory Norminton, Adam ORiordan, Michael Symmons-Roberts, Jacqueline Roy, Nicholas Royle and Jean Sprackland - Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy is the Creative Director of the Manchester Writing School and teaches on the programme - Unrivalled success rate - more than 35 of our students have launched their first book in the past five years Further details: James Draper, Manager of the Manchester Writing School Email: Tel: +44 (0)161 247 1787

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MA English Studies: The Gothic

- The Department of English has long been renowned for its Gothic specialism, delivered by a team of internationally-recognised, published experts including Dr Linnie Blake, Dr Anna Powell, Dr John Sears and Professor Sue Zlosnik. This is the only Gothic Masters programme from a UK university that is available to study online. - Offering a rare opportunity to embrace the Gothic, from the origins of 18th Century gothic fiction to contemporary horror film and televisual representations. - Examine the Gothic as a mode of cultural expression - and explore its cultural and political relevance. - Study the most up-to-date critical and theoretical work For further details: Dr Linnie Blake Email: Tel: +44(0)161 247 1738

Inviting applications now for a September start

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The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 45

Section Subjectdevelopment International

Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this Then Section and Page XX

Soil rejuvenation key for Indias farmers

Micronutrient use sees Karnataka agriculture enjoy productivity spurt
Mark Tran
Bursting at the seams, choked with traffic, luxury towers under construction Bengaluru, Indias IT capital, basks in the limelight in the south-west state of Karnataka. Yet the agricultural sector is also attracting attention for a spurt in productivity following a period of stagnation. Since 2009, Indias eighth-largest state, with a population of 61 million people, has pursued an agricultural programme called Bhoo Chetana, or soil rejuvenation, that has seen productivity shoot up by 20-50%, according to state ocials. The gross value of crop production increased by $130m in 2011. Its achievements have been recognised by the central government and attracted the interest of the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh and, further aeld, the Philippines. Such gains are particularly striking as Karnatakas mostly smallholder farmers who typically farm 1-1.5 hectares depend heavily on monsoon rains, which have become increasingly erratic due to climate change. Such marginal farms in India comprise 62% of all holdings and occupy 17% of farmed land. Karnataka, where 56% of the states workforce is in farming, has the second-largest area (5m hectares) under rain-fed agriculture after Rajasthan. Some areas in Karnataka have suffered drought in six of the past 10 years. Growth in the farm sector in the past three years could hold lessons for other dryland areas 80% of the cultivable area in the world depends on rain-fed agriculture. The name Bhoo Chetana was coined by Suhas Wani, principal scientist at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) based in Hyderabad. Icrisat specialises in so-called orphan crops such as chickpeas and pigeon peas for dry regions. His is one of 15 centres under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Bhoo Chetanas genesis came through a chance encounter between Wani and Karnatakas minister of agriculture, Umesh Katti, in 2003. Katti had expressed interest in Wanis work in water conservation for farming as he was looking for ways to revive Karnatakas farm sector, which had stagnated after droughts, when he learned of Bhoo Chetana. So, with de-

Green shoots Ravi Kakiyayya chopping coconut on his farm in Karnataka, India Mark Tran termination for change at Karnatakas top political levels, and the scientic knowhow, the programme was born. The rationale is that farmers can increase productivity and income through the judicious use of micronutrients, such as zinc, boron and sulphur, while reducing the use of fertilisers, such as nitrogen and potash, that contaminate ground water one of the unintended consequences of the green revolution in the 60s and 70s. In the rst year we took samples from six districts. By the third year we had samples from all 30 [Karnataka districts], Wani, who has spent most of his working life at Icrisat, says. By the end, we had 95,000 soil samples of about 2kg from selected villages, which were analysed in our labs. Its the rst time soil sampling has been done on this scale in a developing country. The farmers collected the samples, encouraging grassroots participation from the start. Once the samples were examined, Wani and his colleagues recommended how much fertiliser and micronutrients to use for dierent areas in dierent districts. If we found the soil in one area has enough potash, there is no need to apply it, as it will end up in the water. The farmer saves money as well, while increasing yield through the use of micronutrients, Wani says. Having the information is one thing; getting it to farmers is another. To spread the word, Karnataka hired, on a seasonal basis, farmer facilitators from within communities rather than outsiders, on the assumption that villagers were more likely to listen to their peers than strangers. These 10,000 facilitators, each covering about 500 hectares, are the link between the state authority and its farmers. They are backed up by a logistical eort as the state pre-positions seeds of chickpea, nger millet, maize and groundnut ready for planting, as well as fertiliser and micronutrients. Noticeboards have been erected in villages outlining the quantities of fertilisers and micronutrients to use. Ravi Kakiyayya did not know about micronutrients until Bhoo Chetana. From Hassan, a three-hour drive from Bengaluru, Kakiyayya was reluctant and it took ve meetings with a facilitator before he started using micronutrients on his maize. But after boosting his yield and making an extra $165 last year, he is a convert. It was the information from the facilitator that made me change my mind. I also reduced my spending on fertiliser by 50% because prices have doubled, he says. Now I want to grow potato and banana. Some farmers say that although their yields have increased, they remain at the mercy of middlemen who charge high interest rates on fertilisers and micronutrients. We are not getting the price that we see advertised on TV or in the newspaper, says one farmer, who paid 4% interest a month for fertiliser loans. For SV Ranganath, the top civil servant in Karnataka, Bhoo Chetana has been a game changer, transforming what was the states achilles heel into a sector growing at 5-7.8% compound rate. If we can make an impact in agriculture, we can denitely make an impact on inclusive growth, he says. The challenge is: can we have this rate of growth over the next 20 years? Can we get to the point where a rural family of ve will be able to make 200,000 rupees [$3,700]? Because that is the need of the hour.

If the soil has enough potash, there is no need to apply it, as it will end up in the water. The farmer saves money as well, while increasing yield

46 The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13


Prior rides luck to defy New Zealand

England scrape unlikely draw as Black Caps miss chance to win series
Cricket Mike Selvey Auckland
After two months in this beautiful country, and three Test matches, the destiny of the series came down to the nal delivery of the 143rd over of Englands second innings, bowled by their indefatigable left armer Trent Boult to Matt Prior, the man constructing a compelling case to be regarded as the finest wicketkeeper-batsman England has elded. Boult was spent but to the roars of the crowd, he thrashed the ball into an unresponsive pitch for the last time, Prior defended and then raised his arms in triumph. With a single wicket to spare, England had survived the match and earned a draw in the series by the skin of their teeth. It was a day for heroes, players who reined in their natural instincts to carve out one of the great rearguards for only three teams previously had entered the nal day of a Test with four wickets down and survived to the end of the day. First came Ian Bell, who batted with skill and monumental application for almost six hours, making 75, only to be dismissed, to his obvious distress, on the very stroke of tea. Then there was Stuart Broad, whose batting has deteriorated to such an extent since his century against Pakistan that the life expectancy of each innings since has been four overs. Broad batted for two hours and 17 minutes, the first 103 minutes of which were scoreless, longer than anyone in Tests has ever gone without opening their account and in terms of deliveries, 62 balls, only 15 shy of that record. He survived until the shadows were lengthening and just 21 deliveries remained. Then there was Monty Panesar, called upon at the very death to reprise his Cardi heroics and doing so nervelessly apart from one haremscarem scampered single to get off the strike that ended with a swallow dive so mistimed that it left him still a foot short of the crease and scrabbling desperately to get home. Above it all though was Prior. His unbeaten 110 was the seventh century of his Test career and by a distance his best given the responsibility he was handed in seeing things through once Bell had departed, head down. Only Les Ames, of England wicketkeepers, has more, with eight. Prior rode his luck. An attempted pull was mistimed barely out of reach of a desperately backpedalling mid wicket. On 28, one ferocious bouncer to him clipped him on the head, looped over him and dropped onto the stumps without dislodging the bails. Indeed the only time he seemed disconcerted was when Neil Wagner, the battling left armer, hurled in his clever variations of slow and faster bouncers. Prior felt the need to take them on as the best means of defending, and several times pulled the ball just out of reach of fielders placed short on the legside for that purpose. That which he just scraped over the top of midwicket to bring up his hundred was greeted with his own cry of admonishment. Given the defensive nature of his task, his innings, over 182 deliveries, still ranks as brisk and there were 20 boundaries. Although the result means that they retain their position as the No2ranked side, and the extra cash that

Close shave Monty Panesar, right, congratulates Englands game-saver Matt Prior after the pair salvaged a draw in Auckland Action Images goes with it, Englands euphoria cannot camouflage the fact that in the course of the three matches they have been outplayed overall by a good New Zealand side that Graham Gooch, the batting coach, has confessed they underestimated. In Dunedin, where a day was lost to the weather, it is likely New Zealand would have won, while in Wellington, rain probably prevented England from doing likewise. Here it was New Zealand who bossed the game. Whether they would have won had Brendon McCullum enforced the follow-on is a moot point, but aside from some help from the bowlers rough there was precious help for spin or seam even on the fth day once the new ball had been negotiated. England had begun the day with Bell and Joe Root at the crease and the pair managed to stay together until shortly before lunch when McCullum handed the second new ball to Boult. His rst delivery with it was perfect, swinging down the line of the stumps and catching Root in front. If the young batsman has ambition to be an international opener then, ne delivery as it was, he ought to have anticipated the possibility. Then came two rare mistakes by New Zealand, one costly the other not, for in the space of two deliveries, Bell, who had made 40 by then, was dropped at third slip by Dean Brownlie, and Jonny Bairstow was missed in the gully. Bairstow, hopelessly but not unexpectedly, out of touch, was caught

Wales joy took away the pain of missing the Lions cut
Sport blog Shaun Edwards
here are days that wipe the slate clean, banish hurt and make you glad to have stuck the course. Saturday 15 March was one of them. Wales 30, England 3. It was a great performance, not just because of the scoreline but because it came from a team that had come through tough times together, and showed remarkable resilience in the face of some big knocks over the previous 18 months. Id nd it hard trying to pitch where winning the championship stands alongside the Six Nations grand slams, Heineken Cups, league championships and individual medals from a career in both rugby union and league. But this one is special for a personal reason, if only because it wraps up a period which started in a dark place. Ive had plenty of highs in my professional life 42 medals as a player, 11 trophies in 12 years as a coach but the time that tested me most was the three days after discovering that I wasnt going to be part of the Lions coaching squad this summer. Whereas 2009 with the Lions in South Africa was one of the big highs, hearing that I was not going to be part of the set-up in Australia made me want to chuck the whole lot in. There were ideas of turning my back on union, going back to league, possibly even leaving the country to relearn my trade as an assistant coach with the ARL. As I say, it took me 72 hours to banish those ideas and, among the Welsh players and fellow coaching sta, I understood why I did. Theyve been great to me, treating me as one of their own and its a lucky man who can be part of such a set-up. That said, Saturday was about

The Guardian Weekly 29.03.13 47

Sports online Find results, blogs and much more at

Roundup Barney Ronay

Silly Seb dees orders to beat Red Bull team-mate
There were huy scenes on the podium in Kuala Lumpur as Sebastian Vettel attacked and then overtook his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber 10 laps out to win the Malaysian Grand Prix in deance of team orders. This is silly, Seb! team leader Christian Horner was heard warbling into his radio as Vettel held on to take a distinctly chequered chequered ag. Webber, who later promised to catch some waves with my board, was said to be considering his future. Vettel, shifting gear from silly to very silly indeed, claimed he hadnt heard the team instructions. Lewis Hamilton, who nished third, capped a madcap afternoon by briey attempting a stop in the McLaren pit in the manner of sad, homesick lost cat.

West Ham get their stadium

Controversial public infrastructure bodge news: West Ham United are to be anchor tenants (cockney rhyming slang note: not actually cockney rhyming slang) for Londons Olympic Stadium, with the government promising another 25m ($38m) towards making it comfortable. Upton Park will be formally retired in August 2016. Which is three years later than Michael Owen, who this week announced he will ocially stop not really playing football any more at the end of the season, calling time on a stellar 17-year career.

India rough up Australia

In a hu Mark Webber

Froome pedals to the top

There was another surge through the foothills of the cycling season for Chris Vroom Froome, who won the Critrium International in the Corsican town of Porto-Vecchio this week, bursting away on the nal climb with the aid of fellow Team Sky pedaller Richie Porte. The deal

at rst slip straight after the interval but Bell batted for almost another full session with Prior, before he lost concentration and was caught at third slip. At that point, with 32 overs remaining, the game seemed up. But Broad entrenched himself, overcoming a nervy start and surviving one close lbw call, a thin edge saving him as he was knocked o his feet by a yorker. It did appear he would be able to see things through with Prior, until McCullum called up Kane Williamson to send down his gentle ospin to the left hander. Broad pushed, the ball spun out of the rough and Ross Taylor took the catch, the combination repeating itself two balls later when Anderson, who had shared the Cardiff heroics with Panesar, also edged. When Panesar, left to face the nal over, managed to get o strike with the third ball, the relief was palpable.

between Chris and I was: If youve got good legs, you go and if I have good legs, Im the one who goes, Porte said afterwards, straightening his seams and ashing some ankle. Elsewhere there was a rare non-Sky victory as Dan Martin of Garmin-Sharp became only the second Irishman to win the Volta a Catalunya. Behind him Sir Bradley Wiggins found sucient time in between bouts of being Sir Bradley to nish fth.

Oh, Australia. One of the more eventful cricketing tours of recent years featuring a homework-fail ticking o for the vice-captain and some genuine vitriol on the eld nished with a rare 4-0 Test series victory as Australia were roughed up again by Indias spinners in Delhi. A six-wicket win saw one-time batting illiterate Peter Siddle top score from No9 in both Aussie innings. I dont like words like revenge, Indias captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni offered afterwards, rubbing his hands together and cackling very quietly.

Leonard Barden
When England were second only to the mighty Soviets in the 1980s the momentum of new talents to ll gaps in the national team was boosted by strong weekend opens. These events gave rising school and university players chances to cross pawns with the top grandmasters and international masters. The best equivalents of the 80s weekenders are staged in Ireland, where the traditional Bunratty and Kilkenny Opens usually have the English elite as top seeds vying with the best Irish masters. Bunratty 2013 invited Englands world nalists Michael Adams and Nigel Short, who nished at the top. But IM Richard Bates shared second prize with Short on 5/6, while the Bolton schoolboy Joseph McPhillips, still an under-16, produced a lifetime best result by sharing fourth place on 4.5/6. Shorts game below looked like a throwback, a kind of recherche du temps perdu to 1975 when he was a fast-rising 12-year-old and used the now dated 4 Bc4 and 5 Qe2 system as a major opening weapon. Blacks Rf8-e8? when White was poised to open the f-le proved fatal and 19 Bh6! clinched it.

Maslanka solutions
1 To the rened ear, this is an ugly yoking of Greek eu (well) and Latinate social, a bit like Schadenjoy or Mondo-anschauung. Few scientists now know Latin or Greek, let alone how to pronounce zoology; so their coinings can be chalk and cheese. But there are early examples, too: television from tele (Greek) & vision (Latin); or sociology from socius Latin & logos (Greek). Eusociality, coined by Batra, has been taken up even by the great EO Wilson; so were stuck with it. 2 1.01 + 101.00 = 102.01. [If prices in pence are P & p, we have (P/100 X P/100) = P/100 + P/100; so (P/100 100) = 10000. To maximise, make the factors of 10000 as disparate as possible: p 100 = 1, (giving p = 101); and P 100 = 10000 (giving P = 10100).] 3 A tertium quid, one supposes. In days gone by 1 was often considered a prime, but if we want prime factorisation to be unique we must exclude 1, or e.g. 3 has more than one factorisation (3, 1 x 3, 1 x 1 x 3 ... and so on). 4 If a white ball is H, a black one C, each H must connect to a C (why?) and each C to at least one other C. The fewest Cs joinable in 2 topologically distinct ways is 4: in a zig-zag or in a tetrahedral arrangement. 4 Cs have 16 holes; 6 connect to Cs, leaving 10 for Hs. 4 Cs & 10 Hs need (16 + 10)/2 = 13 sticks, so 27 components in all. Chemists will recognise the isomers of butane. 5 37. If I had knocked this one o the table Id have a choice of 355 dierent ways of assembling them. [For n Cs we have (2n + 2) Hs and 3n + 1 sticks.] Wordpool b), b) Cryptic FARTHING (FAR + THING); HISS (HI + SS); GOGO Missing Links a) wild/life/style b) soap/lm/ maker c) re/damp/squib d) triple/dip/stick e) ower/bed/room f) beef/hash/tag

Nigel Short v Aidan Rawlinson 1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nf3 d6 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 Qe2 O-O 6 h3 c5 7 e5 Ne8 8 c3 Nc7 9 dxc5 dxc5 10 Na3 Be6 11 O-O Bxc4 12 Nxc4 Ne6 13 a4 Qc7 14 Nh2 Re8? 15 f4 Nc6 16 f5 gxf5 17 Rxf5 Nf8 18 Ng4 Ng6 19 Bh6! Bh8 20 Raf1 e6 21 Rxf7 1-0
3297 Suat Atalik v Marcel Peek, Vienna Open 2012. White (to play) has a big space advantage but how did he break through?

rugby, pure and simple. I had a chance to catch up with some old friends like Andy Farrell, but the long and hard celebration was about a team that started the Six Nations with its worst 40-plus minutes and ended with the best. Save for the hangover from hell, it was a day and an experience which left me very happy, and I thank Wales for it. Shaun Edwards is a Wales defence coach and former rugby league player

3297 1 Bxh6+! Rxh6 2 Qb8! Resigns. If Ke7 to stop 3 Rxd8, then 3 Qd6 mate

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Trouble brewing Coee rust wrecking crops in Central America

Discovery, page 32

Marina Hyde Justin Biebers crazy devotees are not a lone phenomenon: a world of mad fandom has long existed in places people might nd rather unexpected

h, teenagers. One minute theyre tweeting a death threat to a rival Justin Bieber follower, the next theyre moved to tears by the Kony 2012 video. What sort of monster could turn children into such shockingly desensitised soldiers? And drumroll! I hear Joseph Konys a bit of a horror too. Another week, another eleventy incidents of deranged warfare among the tribes of popstrel acolytes, like the One Direction fan who tweeted a picture of herself meeting a band member, and had the obligatory promises to maim and kill slung her way by little tinkers misusing their study nooks. Some suspect something a bit endtimesy is afoot. Good news: its not. As has been the case throughout history, the kids of today are being maligned. After all, its not as if mad fandom was invented in one of those up-all-night innovating sessions social media rms seem to enjoy. It has long existed, in places people might nd rather unexpected. Ooh, you dont want to write about Joe Cocker, warned a colleague when I led some mildly unattering line about him about 15 years ago. His fans are mental. Naturally I assumed he was joking after all, you wouldnt nger the blues rocker for a fan-designated warlord. I was certainly laughing on the other side of a face I was given to understand would soon be permanently scarred when a deluge of threatening letters arrived by return of post. Two of them had razor blades taped beneath the envelope ap. Since then, every time Cockers With a Little Help from My Friends comes on, I always hear giant, menacing quotation marks around the words help and friends. Its not Joes fault, of course I assume hes either oblivious to, or appalled by, the nutjobs who defend his name thusly but I do think of those friends in the manner of henchmen, whose help for Joe would probably involve a considerable amount of physical hindrance to me. That thing Joe does with his hands when hes singing? They interpret

it as him conducting the slashes and slices of their ultra-violence. Theres not even space to say how its aected repeat viewings of The Wonder Years for me. As for other stars whose fanbases seem to have a provisional wing, the list goes on and on. You dont want to mess with Cli s lot, is the general consensus. Joe Longthornes bunch would put some hurting on you, no problem. The crazier fans of Daniel ODonnell well, I will only say that you are entering a world of pain. All of which calls into question the strangely prevalent idea that humanity has fundamentally changed in recent years. It hasnt just coarsened, according to this generationally self-important reading: there has been some sort of calamitous fall that has altered the entire psyche of western culture. When is this lapsarian moment supposed to have occurred? Picking through the subtexts of the endless screeds on broken Britain, youd have to stick your pin somewhere between the mass availability of the contraceptive pill and the abolition of the death penalty. Thereafter, a species-wide psychochemical reaction began yet to be blamed on the contraceptive pill being in the water, but give it time that has caused a wholesale degeneration of humankind.

And yet, and yet are the diurnal death threats of boyband fans truly indicative of some psychological cataclysm? Or are they, rather like the increase in public drunkenness, merely a comment on the availability of the medium? Just as the drunks on Hogarths Gin Lane are no dierent from those whose Saturday night city centre escapades captivate todays media, so yesterdays stars probably inspired the same percentage of mad ones that todays idols do. Its just easier for them to get in touch with each other and for us to see them doing so. (Say what you like about Cockers lot, they really put the hours in.) With more enabling technology, and if they hadnt been a little preoccupied with other matters in 1941, youd have had a few Vera Lynn devotees who wanted to scalp some perceived traitors to the old girl.

You dont want to mess with Cliffs lot. Or the crazier fans of Daniel ODonnell

ts the same with football. Whenever Ive wondered pointedly in print whether any of those serried ranks of overcoated and atcapped football fans in 1950s archive shots were bellowing that they hoped some opposition players kid got cancer, lots of older readers get in touch to assure me that they heard the most horrid things being said even back then, and that vicious bile is not some 70s bolt-on to the game. As the Great Teen Tweet Wars rage blithely on, then, the question is not what can be done, but whether anything really needs to be done at all. I suppose Justin could appeal for calm. He wont, on past form, which is perhaps the most cynically troubling thing of all about the phenomenon, indicating how extremely relaxed the record labels are about getting rich o the madness. On these bi-weekly major are-ups, the Bieber silence speaks volumes. Fastidious about correcting any perceived media slight on the half-mastedness of his trousers, yet deafeningly quiet on the thousands of threats of homicide that it between his disciples every day, the only logical conclusion is that Justin loves his fans so much that hes OK with them threatening to kill each other in his name. Which lets take the positives brings new resonance to the epithet pop deity.