Foreign affairs

The 115 members of the International Olympics Committee, the self-appointed “supreme authority” of the Olympic movement, seem to leave nothing to chance when it comes to their own personal comfort.

Should Norway have been chosen to host the 2022 Winter Games, IOC executives were expecting a formal reception on the runway at Oslo airport, then to be whisked along dedicated lanes through a city in which locals had been “encouraged to take a vacation” to limit the traffic, say local media. Read more

Abubakar Shekau has been killed and resurrected so many times now he is using up his proverbial nine lives .

The leader of Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremists appeared on Thursday in a fresh video released to the French news agency AFP, declaring the border areas with Cameroon as “Muslim territory” and boasting that only Allah could take his breath away. Read more

 Read more

Gideon Rachman

The news that a patient with the Ebola virus is receiving treatment in an American hospital is making headlines in the US. But, even before the Dallas case was revealed, there was growing alarm in western capitals, about the implications of the virus for Africa.

When President Obama gave his speech to the UN last week, it was his remarks about war in the Middle East that made the news. But what the president had to say about Ebola was also striking. He warned that it was a disease that “could kill hundreds of thousands, inflict horrific suffering, destablise economies.” Read more

Hugh Carnegy in Paris

France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told parliament on Wednesday, has never faced a greater terrorist threat than that posed by homegrown jihadis who have fought alongside Islamist militants in Syria and IraqRead more

By Robert Wright

There are big differences between Quebec – Canada’s French-speaking province – and Scotland. But they have one big thing in common – separatist movements that would like to take them out of their respective wider countries to form separate states. Read more

Roula Khalaf

Tomahawk missile being fired from a US warship. Photo: US Navy (Roderick Eubanks)

Syrians’ pleas for western military help to stop the Assad regime have gone unanswered for the past three years, no matter how brutal the government’s methods of repression.

More than 200,000 deaths later, the US has entered the Syrian fray with the first air strikes as it also prepares to begin training and equipping a rebel force in Syria. The goal, in this case, is not to take on the regime, but to confront a jihadi menace that has spread spectacularly to Iraq, and has begun to pose a broader threat to the region.

But if fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the group known as Isis, might just prevent Iraq from breaking up, the chances of this campaign bringing peace to Syria are more remote than ever. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

In 1990 Kenichi Ohmae, a management consultant, published a book called The Borderless World, whose title captured the spirit of globalisation. Over the next almost 25 years developments in business, finance, technology and politics seemed to confirm the inexorable decline of borders and the nation states they protected.

• An oil smuggling network created to evade UN sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is being exploited by the Islamist group Isis.

• In Libya hardline Islamists are pushing their agenda amid the chaos they created.

• Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs lifts the veil on its relationship with the Gaddafi-era Libyan sovereign wealth fund.

• The New York Review of Books rounds up the latest books on Iraq: The outlaw state.

• China is risking a ‘balance sheet recession’ as the impact of its stimulus measures wane.

Linda Tirado on why globalisation and technology are to blame when the poor are accused of failing to make long term plans. Read more