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The Foreign Desk

Years earlier than expected, Sarah Palin shops a reality TV show

Alaska’s most famous daughter has been in Los Angeles since Tuesday, when with typical chutzpah, she chose Jay Leno’s sofa, at the studios of NBC, one of the world’s biggest broadcasting conglomerates, to rail against the “mainstream media.”
Today, she and her entourage descended on Hollywood, where they trawled through pre-Oscar celebrity “gifting” suites with the [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Thursday, 4 March 2010 at 6:48 am

A happy visa story from the High Commission in Pakistan

Last year when there was a mounting row about the backlog of visas being processed at the British High Commission in Islamabad, I spoke with several Pakistani students about a situation the Home Secretary Alan Johnson would later admit was unacceptable. Many of them told me how their plans had been derailed by the agonising [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Friday, 26 February 2010 at 12:23 pm

Joking aside: Toyota hearing is main event on Capitol Hill

Awkward.
The chairman of the Federal Reserve's twice-yearly testimony is usually the main event of the day on Capitol Hill, but not today. Members of the House financial services committee seemed perturbed by the modest audience.
Brad Sherman, member of the House financial services committee, had a thought, halfway through questioning Ben Bernanke on his extraordinarily accommodative [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Wednesday, 24 February 2010 at 5:11 pm

Don’t throw the book at Google

Is Google creating the world's biggest library, or the world's biggest bookstore?
Its plan to make digital copies of all the world's books, and to make them available to search online, has been characterised as both in a Manhattan courtroom. The trouble is, Google Books is a [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Monday, 22 February 2010 at 10:18 am

How many more people need to go missing in Sri Lanka?

Pattani Razeek is the head of an organisation called the Community Trust Fund, a non-profit organisastion in Sri Lanka that works to promote equality and protect human rights in a country where, to say the least, such niceties have been often overlooked as a result of a vicious civil war. Important work, you probably agree. [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Saturday, 20 February 2010 at 8:38 am

Do Muslims get a fair deal in India?

 Last night I was in the audience for the filming of the of the latest of the Doha Debates, the series of discussions headed by Tim Sebastian and broadcast by BBC World News. Held within the quite solace of St Stephen's College, one of the most prestigious colleges within Delhi University, the debates were breaking [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Tuesday, 16 February 2010 at 6:24 am

Is this the last chapter of the Buffett story?

Are we entering the endgame for Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway?
 
It might seem a strange thing to ask, since the Oracle of Omaha has never seemed so wise, or so desperately important for our times. The core of his homespun investment strategy – don't invest in anything you don't understand – is just the anti-venom needed [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 9:54 pm

Constructive lobbying still the right approach for drug industry

It looks like the pharmaceutical industry has been tempted back on to a war footing, but it should tread cautiously. With plans for US healthcare reform becoming unstitched before our very eyes, the industry’s main lobby group appears to have decided that $100m it spent on ads in favour of Barack Obama’s shake-up was money [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Friday, 12 February 2010 at 9:26 pm

Profiling the people of Delhi one by one

So many people in this vast, sprawling, awful, remarkable city. So many crowds, so much pushing. You can never find any space, any quiet. Who are all these people, these housewives, these labourers, these office workers, these shop-owners. Where do they all come from? What's their story? The official 2001 census figure for the Indian capital [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Friday, 12 February 2010 at 7:45 am

Out for a duck – again

Without doubt the most humiliating, shameful experience for me since coming to the sub-continent happened on the field of sporting endeavour. Back in late 2008, a friend had asked whether I was able to help make up the numbers in what immediately sounded like a D-list Bollywood movie called World Cupp (there's a thing here [...]

By | The Foreign Desk | Monday, 8 February 2010 at 3:01 pm

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