Daily Archives: November 11, 2009

Gideon Rachman

I was intrigued to see the news today of the imprisonment of Tom Wise, a former member of the European Parliament for the highly Eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) – who want Britain to leave the EU.

In retrospect, I got a hint of the eventual downfall of poor Mr Wise, a few years ago, when I attended the monthly dinner of the UKIP delegation to the parliament – which was held in a bierkeller in Strasbourg. I soon got bored of talking to him about the European Union and discovered that Wise and I shared an interest in wine. When I teased him about how he reconciled his love of fine claret, with his distrust of all things French, Wise became rather indignant. He said that actually his favourite wine of all is Ridge Montebello Cabernet, which is Californian. He was so insistent on its merits, that I later went to try and buy some  - and discovered that a single bottle would set me back £100. Read more

By Victor Mallet, Madrid correspondent

President Barack Obama is doubtless busy right now, what with his forthcoming China visit, the Afghan war, US healthcare reform and the fragile global economy. But I am afraid there is another yet another crisis that neither he nor any other world leader can ignore for much longer: piracy on the high seas.

Pirates operating from the coast of Somalia are no longer a little local problem in the Gulf of Aden, to be solved by a few more navy patrols, merchant seamen wielding fire hoses and the payment of the occasional million-dollar ransom to a pirate king.

On Monday, pirates opened fire on a Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker, the BW Lion, 1,000 nautical miles east of Mogadishu. Although they failed to seize the ship, the long-range foray was a dramatic demonstration of the skills and resources these modern buccaneers now have at their disposal. Read more