Daily Archives: December 18, 2013

Ronnie Biggs poses with a 'Wanted' poster: Getty images

Like most Britons raised in the 1960s, I grew up thinking that the human species consisted, in essence, of three types of people: fun-loving musicians like the Beatles, harmless screwballs like Johnny Morris (of BBC television’s Animal Magic series) and unspeakable villains like the Great Train Robbers.

And now the greatest train robber of them all, Ronnie Biggs, has passed away. RIP Ronnie. Read more

Chequebook diplomacy: With the US becoming an absentee superpower in the Caribbean, the Chinese are moving in.

♦ A corruption investigation has shaken Turkish political and business life with the detention of prominent executives and people close to the government amid a deepening feud within the ranks of a country’s religious conservatives.

♦ In The New Statesman Paul Conroy asks when will people start taking notice of Syria again.

Gun country: The New York Times examines the complicated relationship between the US and firearms, told through the personal stories of Americans. Read more

The death of Abbas Khan in Syria reminds me of Stalin’s infamous quote that – “A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.” As the war in Syria has dragged on, the world has become almost inured to the horrors there. Back in June, the UN reported that the death toll in the conflict was nearing 100,000 – it has certainly risen above that since then. Millions have been turned into refugees. Yet, sometimes, it takes a single story to remind one of the horrors that are taking place. The death of Abbas Khan is one such story. Read more