18 AUGUST 2001

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T hree members of the Provisional IRA were arrested in Colombia

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where they were said to have gone to learn about bombmaking techniques from guerrillas known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fare). The IRA also withdrew its...

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O ld men, it is said, become more like themselves as they edge towards death. Their atavistic beliefs and mannerisms emerge, unrestrained by the need for social graces. It is...

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If there is one thing Labour does not fear, it is Ken Clarke as Leader of the Opposition

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FREDERICK FORSYTH T here are quite a few in the Conservative party who genuinely believe that its emergence from the present abyss would be best achieved by the elevation to...

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ISt Seine l'Abbaye have just caught a sheep. Well, that is not quite true. If you have ever tried, you will know that sheep are very hard to catch, being quick, strong and not,...

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Peter °borne reveals that the Queen has agreed to the marriage of Charles and Camilla. Chelsea registry office has been canvassed as a possible venue l'ENTION at Buckingham...

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After a decade of growth, Americans are more obese than ever James Langton on US expansionism Kinnelon, New Jersey WOULD you like me to supersize that? We're talking about...

Mind your language

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I HAVE trained my husband to throw, or rather skim, a cardboard beer-mat (which he disgustingly uses to soak up the sloppages from his whisky glass despite its immemorial...

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Max Clifford tells Mark Palmer that he is not to blame for the tabloid frenzy surrounding the Hamiltons 'IT beats working for a living,' says the Mullah of Muck as his mobile...

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Bruce Anderson talks to a physicist and part time taxi-driver whose story mirrors the triumph and tragedy of post-communist Russia Moscow MOSCOW is full of people who are...

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Second opinion

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AS investors in the stock market know, timing is everything. This is also true of medical consultations. It so happens that everyone who consults me does so past the peak of his...

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WE Deedes says that Enoch Powell made it impossible for us to tackle the immigration problem THE trouble with your speech about Commonwealth immigrants, I told Enoch Powell...

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C ome with us and enjoy some of the most beautiful

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Italian gardens at their springtime best as we explore Lake Como and Maggiore from our delightful lake-side base at the Grand Hotel Menaggio. During our seven days we will...

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Ancient & modern

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THERE has been a recent debate about the funding of the royal family, especially in relation to the private activities of its offspring. Since Her Majesty does in fact own...

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G. Ballard tells Mary Wakefield that he sees no hope for a spiritually and culturally impoverished England I AM standing on the sun-warm tarmac in a dead-end street in...

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Banned wagon

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'WORK,' said Oscar Wilde, 'is the curse of the drinking classes.' Not according to the nosy and interfering bosses whose attitudes to employment might have been stamped out by...

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Divorce: a case where liberalism doth make cowards of us all

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PAUL JOHNSON 0 nc of the nastiest problems in Britain today, entirely politician-made, is the increase in quantity, cost and bitterness of divorce litigation. This is the...

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Bradman's first XI is enough to make you think . . . about Plato and Aristotle and even Kant

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FRANK JOHNSON T he Tunes has revealed posthumously the late Donald Bradman's ideal cricket XI of all time. Few political scoops have inspired so much conversation, and...

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Churchill's 'Temple of Peace'

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From Mr Andrew Roberts Sir: I wonder how many more times it needs to be stated that Winston Churchill did not envisage Britain joining the United Europe of which he spoke in a...

From Lord Skidelsky Sir: In his review of two books

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on Churchill, Vernon Bogdanor accuses me, together with John Charmley and Maurice Cowling, of 'resurrecting' the view that 'Britain was mistaken to declare war against Hitler'....

From Mr William Terrell Sir: Most people who endured Hitler's

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war would agree that becoming an American satellite was preferable to a Europe controlled by Hitler. But it is fair to ask whether or not those two choices were the only ones....

From Mr George Stem

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Sir: In his review of Churchill books by Geoffrey Best and David Irving, Vernon Bogdanor concentrates on refuting Irving's revisionism — and adds some pro-EU propaganda — but he...

French realities

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From Mr Jonathan Fenby Sir: As somebody who prefers the quality of life (including married life) in France to that in this country, I only wish that Michael Gove's argument...

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From Sabina Kalyan

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Sir: If I understand correctly, Michael Gove is expressing sympathy for the dispirited male who has lost his job because AngloSaxon economic policy reform has sacrificed the...

Where Dylan's often at

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From Mr Mike Morrison Sir: Dot Wordsworth (Mind your language, 11 August) invites comments on Bob Dylan's use of 'where it's at'. Dylan is famously mercurial: the song 'Idiot...

A priggish nostalgia

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From Mr John Redwood Sir: Your leader writer's apparent view that the primary purpose of marriage is to act as a barrier against fraud no doubt reflects his own family...

A talent exploded

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From Dr W. Dun-ant Sir: I nearly cried when I read that the young man who painted the magnificent self-portrait you illustrate ('Self-Portrait' by Carel Fabritius; Books, 14...

FMD vaccines work

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From Mr Keith Erlandson Sir: Peter °borne comments (Politics, 11 August), 'We do not know the truth about vaccination.' Outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease recently have been...

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Literary feng shui

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From Mr Jack Robertson Sir: Bevis Hillier's review of the Clive James essays (Books. 4 August) articulates neatly the authorial shift underlying the 'social commentary' of...

Checks to The Hague

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From Ms Chris Harmer Sir: Mr Stewart (Above the law', 4 August) gives a spurious account of the powers of the new permanent International Criminal Court which he misrepresents...

The grace of God

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From Mr Robert Triggs Sir: It is worth recording that Canon Brian Brindley, whose spectacular death at his 70th birthday party at the Athenaeum you described last week Mast...

Bottomley's pocket

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From E.S Turner Sir: Matthew Parris (Another voice, 11 August) failed to mention one good deed by Horatio Bottomley which merits praise. His John Bull ran a literary competition...

Pinta girl

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From Mr Peter Moore Sir: She will be outraged at such sexism, but I wonder if Mary Wakefield has the slightest notion of how much she lost many of us older readers by her...


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From Mr Colin Allan Sir: Your recent diarists, Charles Moore (28 July) and Adam Nicolson (11 August), will find an excellent product, clearly labelled 'Shampoo to control oily...

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Etiquette to the nth degree

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Philip Hensher SAINT-SIMON AND THE COURT OF LOUIS XIV by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie Chicago, 122.50, pp. 448 ISBN 0226473201 I f you wanted to sit down at the court of Louis XIV...

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Decline but not death

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Jane Ridley LATIN OR THE EMPIRE OF A SIGN by Francoise Waquet Verso, 120.00, pp. 346 ISBN 1859846157 W hen the seven-year old Winston Churchill started Latin, he was told to...

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Thumbs pointing up or down

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David Pryce-Jones HELL AND BACK by Tim Parks Secker & Warburg, £16.99, pp.340 ISBN 043627597X T im Parks offers in these essays only a few reticent clues about himself. Since...

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The facts behind the facts

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M. R. D. Foot THE HIDDEN HAND by Richard Aldrich John Murray, £25.00, pp. 733 ISBN 0719554233 R ichard Aldrich is both a prolific author, and a sound one; this is his second...

A sturdy alienness

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Jonathan Keates THE COLLECTED STORIES OF BENEDICT KIELY by Benedict Kiely Methuen, £19.99, pp. 773 ISBN 0413753409 S omewhere in one of her novels Elizabeth Bowen offers the...

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The great Doctor Agonistes

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Salley Vickers ACCORDING TO QUEENEY by Beryl Bainbridge Little Brown. £16.99, pp.224 ISBN 0316858676 B eryl Bainbridge is a writer with a feeling for the eccentric and the...

A question

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of upbringing Brian Masters THE FOX BOY: THE STORY OF AN ABDUCTED CHILD by Peter Walker Bloomsbuty, £14.99, pp. 341 ISBN 0747553475 T he picture on the cover is arresting. A...

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Shooting for one's country

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Philip French BRITISH WAR FILMS, 1939-1945 by S. P. MacKenzie Hambledon and London, f19.95, pp.256 ISBN 1852852585 D uring the second world war the British cinema achieved for...

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Lucretius the Diver

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Things worn out by the lapse of ages tend Toward the reef, that motley wrecking crew Of living polyps who, to get ahead, Climb ruthlessly all over their own dead, But facts like...

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The Proms must go on

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Nicholas Kenyon on how he coped with a series of last-minute cancellations T. lose one conductor may be regarded as a misfortune: to lose two looks like carelessness; to lose...

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Irresistible vision

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Martin Gayford W e often say, rather loosely, that such and such an artist is 'visionary'. But Winifred Nicholson — unlike most of those — actually had visions. When she first...

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Simian showdown

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Mark Steyn T he other week, Robert Fu!ford of the National Post, The Speccie's Canadian cousin, wrote a column about the original 1963 French novel of The Planet of the Apes...

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Enduring charm

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Alan Powers 0 Id men in country houses hear clocks ticking/Over thick carpets with a deadened force.' These were the words of the young John Betjeman, describing the death of...

Thwarted pathos

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Giannandrea Poesio G iselle is arguably one of the most revisited classics of the 19th-century repertoire. The story of the peasant girl who becomes a vengeful spirit because...

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Glimpse of the eternal

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Ursula Buchan W e all have our own ideas about what constitutes a thing of beauty. It may be the opalescent lustre on a seashell, or the curve of a child's eyelash, or even the...

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Turmoil on the Thames

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Sheridan Morley M ixed noises off from the South Bank, where Trevor Nunn has just announced what may well be his valedictory year at the National Theatre. There's the radical...

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The sublime and ridiculous

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James Delmgpole I n a craven age of cultural relativism when our children spend more time learning about Ramadan (and Diwali and Yom Kippur and Beltane) than they do about...

Blessed with the best

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Michael Vestey A s much of Britain seems to be drifting deeper into public and social squalor every small reversal to this trend sends us into paroxysms of disproportionate...

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Happy coincidences

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Robin Oakley I t doesn't always land buttered-side down in life. Obliged by social engagements to give Ascot's Shergar Cup a miss on Saturday and to do my racing in Leicester...

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What a sorry lot

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Taki I 'm in London on my way to Cowes for the jubilee of the America's Cup. I shall be staying with my old friend Gianni Agnelli, that most charismatic of tycoons — in fact,...

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HOTEL DU VIN, BIRMINGHAM '4 s • by Sion Simon

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THE last time I appeared in this space I infuriated hordes of Americans by pointing out how poor is their country's restaurant cooking. I'm not going to return all their angry...

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Fast track to oblivion

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Simon Barnes I WONDER how much longer track-andfield athletics can survive as a major professional sport. About a fortnight, if the world championships at Edmonton are anything...

Q. A few days ago, visiting friends, I was invited

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to a banya. Being English, I am bred to please and have a horror of 'causing a scene'. Refusal here in Russia requires explanation, and at the very thought of dissimulation my...

Q. For the last 12 years I have had my

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hair cut by a stylist who has done an adequate job and made me laugh. When I went for my last appointment. I found that she had been called away and had booked me in to have my...

Q. My stepmother couldn't be nicer, but she seems incapable

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of making a short telephone call to me — her calls go on for about half an hour, and no matter how many cues I give her she still finds something new to talk about. I bring...