Who travels first-class on the train these days?

First-class carriages have never been the most densely packed places on our busy rail network. That’s the point, of course. Some people will pay good money to avoid what the (“soon-to-retire”) Tory MP Sir Nicholas Winterton described last month as the “totally different type of people” who travel standard class.But could first-class rail travel soon […]

Not quite Byzantium

What shall we do about the Greeks? This is not the first time the question has been asked by European leaders keen on the continent’s integration and finding the Hellenes a bit of a problem in that regard. It’s all rather embarrassing – especially since the democratic innovations of fifth century BC Athens are meant […]

Rally outside White House calls on US to aid abortion services abroad

Dozens of reproductive rights groups braved piercing rain in Washington DC on Tuesday to denounce a controversial law that prevents the US from providing aid for abortion services in foreign countries.The afternoon rally outside the White House featured 21 groups from the US and abroad. These groups are demanding that President Barack Obama intervene and […]

Boris Johnson: UK should have its own free-trade agreement with China

Britain should negotiate its own free-trade agreement with China if talks between the European Union and Beijing fail to yield one, Boris Johnson has said.Trade talks between European and Chinese leaders which could pave the way for a free-trade deal are due to open imminently, but the mayor of London recognised there could be difficulties.Brussels […]

Chinese yuan likely to be added to IMF special basket of currencies

China’s efforts to make the yuan an international currency on a par with the US dollar are to receive a fillip with the International Monetary Fund widely expected to add it to a special basket of global currencies.Analysts say the shareholders in the Washington-based IMF will vote on Monday to include the yuan, also known […]

Jennifer Lopez criticised over Cyprus gig

Singer Jennifer Lopez may have given it little thought when she accepted a seemingly innocuous invitation to celebrate her 41st birthday in northern Cyprus.The deal: a sun-soaked stay en famille at a $220m destination described as the “single biggest hotel project both sides of the island” in exchange for a one-off performance to celebrate its […]

Indonesian president condemns mob killing of Ahmadiyah Muslims

Indonesia’s president today ordered an investigation into an attack on members of a minority Muslim sect after a gruesome video emerged of a mob beating several victims to death with machetes, sticks and rocks.About 1,500 people stormed a house in Banten province on Sunday to stop 20 Ahmadiyah followers from worshipping. They killed three men […]

Hamas-Israeli prisoner swap talks ‘have resumed’

Israel said today it had resumed talks with the Hamas rulers of Gaza on swapping about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for a captive soldier held for more than four years.Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the German mediator who has been working to broker a deal for a year has returned to the region.Hamas-linked militants captured Israeli […]

Pakistan’s view on the US elections

The US elections have serious implications for Pakistan and policy making, but that is not reflected in popular debate or discussion.While government officials complain that there is little chance of key issues, such as efforts to draw the Taliban into a political process, being dealt with before the the election, public interest in the contest […]

Electric cars: it’s a chicken and egg issue

It is great to see the UK joining the US and a few other countries by investing in private and public car-charging points. The amount is still minimal compared with the $100m invested by the US in the EV Project back in 2009, but £11m over two years shows leadership and will pay dividends for […]

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