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Letters

Out of Afghanistan Sir: Boyd Tonkin’s review of Anna Aslanyan’s Dancing on Ropes highlights the post-war abandonment of local Afghan and Iraqi interpreters by the US and UK (Books, 17 July). The UK’s response, up until last summer, deserved every bit of Tonkin’s strictures but the past year has seen

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Knee-jerk reactions

Before the television presenter Guto Harri took the knee live on air — which cost him his job at GB News last week — he explained that his understanding of the gesture had changed. Having initially thought of it as political with a capital ‘p’, he now realised that in

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Diary

You always remember when a prime minister calls you to ask you to take on a new role, and you remember the reaction of your loved ones, too. My mum was delighted — like many Asian mothers she wanted at least one of her five sons to be a doctor

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Sacred and dammed

It’s one of the most tantalising travel images in the world — a felucca floating along the Nile at sunset, its lateen sail spread aslant to catch the wind. It takes us back to the beginnings of ancient Egypt, when the need to manage Nilotic flooding and the imperative to

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The Big Lie vs Stop the Steal

The soporific vision of genial old Joe, eating ice cream and mumbling through an autocued speech, belies what’s actually happening in US politics, which is much closer to knife fights in back alleys and bare-knuckle brawls. Recently one of those smouldering backroom battles, over the key issue of election integrity,

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Dear Mary

Q. My beloved wife has been studying Chinese metaphysics for 18 months. Our house and garden have been badly neglected as a result — as have her husband, and nine-year-old daughter! She claims she needs the mental stimulation, but how can we detach her from her obsession? —F.O., Dorset A.

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Bridge

Bridge is a game you can never fully master, which is why it’s so endlessly stimulating. No sooner have you puffed your way up one learning curve than another beckons, harder than the last. Over the past two decades (and more), I’ve read countless bridge books and strived to sharpen

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