“Charpentier: Les Arts Florissants; Les Plaisirs De Versailles” — Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Jesse Blumberg, Teresa Wakim & Virginia Warnken; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble; Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble) … [Read more...] about Chris Cornell posthumously wins Grammy for Best Recording Package
Winning hearts and minds
Charlotte Higgins produced another remarkable British travelogue, Under Another Sky (Cape), about Roman Britain that was at once thoughtful, learned, witty and superbly written. My favourite book this year was, however, the final, unfinished and posthumous volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's walking trilogy, The Broken Road (John Murray). While the book is certainly uneven, and contains some jottings that are little more than raw data, overall it is every bit as masterly as Between the Woods and the Water (John Murray), while some passages – such as his marvellous account of a love affair in the old Bulgarian city of Plovdiv – are the match for some of the great passages of A Time of Gifts (John Murray). All the old enthusiasms are there: the love of language and languages, the long historical and literary digressions, the perfect recollection of a lost, Ruritanian prewar and mostly pre-industrial world. Here, too, is the same exquisite prose. A real treat, especially for … [Read more...] about The Observer’s books of the year
‘Apparently she wasn’t very keen on the idea,’ says Eileen, ‘but then Boris became Prime Minister and Marc heard he and Carrie wanted to adopt, so he contacted them and asked how they would feel about adopting a puppy farm dog. They were absolutely up for it.’ … [Read more...] about How Downing Street dog Dilyn went from wags to riches: Born on a puppy farm with a wonky jaw, sold to a dodgy dealer then saved by a real life fairy godmother – but what happened to his brother Jed who was left behind?
“This is a region of Africa that is being massively destabilised by conflict. These things can escalate quite quickly and get out of control. We know from Sri Lanka that Daesh [Isis] are looking to make their presence felt now they have lost their territory. We have to be vigilant.” … [Read more...] about UK could boost military support to help Nigeria defeat Boko Haram
* * * After Yusuf’s death, his lieutenants went into hiding, but they were sustained by their loyalty to his vision. Under the leadership of Abubakar Shekau, who had been Yusuf’s second-in-command, Boko Haram’s priority was revenge. The group’s first targets were the police, who were attacked at their own checkpoints and robbed of their weapons. Higher-ranking officers were assassinated in their homes, as were local politicians and traditional rulers. After the uprising, the authorities had demanded that traditional leaders help them identify members of Boko Haram, who were then summarily executed, and their property given to the informants as reward. Now the group came back to murder those who had betrayed them, robbing them of what they called the “spoils of war” – wealth that belonged to the jihadi fighters. … [Read more...] about Join us or die: the birth of Boko Haram