Daily Archives: November 20, 2012

The American Farm Bureau gladdens the hearts of ideas-strapped journalists every November by calculating the cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner. This year’s reckoning shows the price up by a very reasonable 28 cents or 0.6% from last year: the turkey was more expensive but most of the other ingredients were cheaper.

Now, here’s the thing. Despite all the dire talk of food price shocks and drought in the Midwest and the newly meat-chomping Chinese and so on, the Thanksgiving dinner has not risen much in real terms since the global food price crisis in 2007-2008 and has been pretty stable for two decades. Read more

Whatever happens on the diplomatic front in the latest conflict over Gaza, defence analysts will be reflecting for some time on the big military revelation of recent days – the role played by Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor and what it tells us about the value of missile defence systems. Read more

While the official French response to Moody’s downgrade has been studiedly cool, behind this display of sang froid lurks real anxiety, says Gideon Rachman. Read more

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on June 4, 2012 (PEDRO NUNES/AFP/GettyImages)

After spending an hour today with Boyko Borisov, Bulgaria’s prime minister, I am more convinced than ever that a political career in the Balkans is not for the faint-hearted.

Borisov is a barrel-chested former police chief and bodyguard who holds a black belt in karate. The grip of his handshake is strong enough to convey the confidence of undisputed power and to make you realise that, if it were just a little tighter, you would experience measurable pain. Read more