“Boris Nemtsov was a genuine man of principle. If something was morally wrong it affected him in a visceral way. In the 1990s he was deputy prime minister of Russia. Everyone else who has held that post went on to become a billionaire, some multi-billionaires. Nemtsov went in a different direction. Instead of taking the money he chose a life of abject misery that ultimately ended in him being shot for his principles. There’s no better definition of a hero than a person who chooses to forgo everything, including his life, for what he believes.
Previously on ‘From the archive’
“The GOES-16 (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) weather satellite is a big leap forward in technology. It scans the skies five times faster and has four times greater image resolution than the last generation of weather satellites. It’s like upgrading from an old black-and-white TV to a high-definition one.
The riot that broke out following a football match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly, two rival clubs in the Egyptian Premier League, on 1st February 2012, resulted in 74 deaths – many of them occurring when police failed to open a stadium exit, trapping hundreds of Al-Ahly fans who were stampeding to escape. After a closure of six years, Port Said Stadium was opened again on 10th February 2018, when the Al-Masry team returned to their home ground to beat Green Buffaloes of Zambia 4-0 on the opening weekend of the African Confederation Cup.
The announcement took place in what looked and sounded like the opening night of a provincial nightclub. The darkened room, packed full of journalists, was filled with flashing blue lights and deafening techno which then segued into Brazilian beats to announce that the main act had arrived. The big video screens behind the desk at the front of the room flashed into life. “Welcome to Paris, Neymar Jr,” read the message.
The line between the living and the dead at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun is unexpectedly blurred. The complex, located in central Pyongyang, is often described as the holiest place in North Korea, a cross between a museum, a mausoleum and Mecca. It is dizzyingly vast. Once you pass through the reverentially quiet and beautifully landscaped gardens and their waterways filled with koi carp, you enter the huge palace to be met by dozens of soldiers and security officers.
There are a set of strict rules that must not be broken. A tie must be worn before you embark on the long journey along kilometres of marble corridors and slow-moving travelators. No electronic equipment, magnets or bank cards may be carried, and no photographs may be taken. Dust, too, is on the prohibited list. Rows of machines blowing sharp columns of air blast each visitor clean as they pass through into the inner sanctum.
Transfer fees officially lost touch with reality on Tuesday 7th February 1922. “When will this folly on the part of football clubs come to an end?” demanded the Football Post. But it wasn’t describing a transfer by the big boys of the game – the Sheffield Uniteds or Preston North Ends. This was Falkirk FC, a team from a small town in central Scotland, who had just paid West Ham United a world record £5,000 for an England international called Sydney Puddefoot. “What is to be the limit?” continued the Post’s indignant editorial. “Is there to be a limit?”
Around a century later, it’s safe to say that if there is to be a limit, we haven’t reached it.
The conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on 25th August 2017 sparked violence as the spiritual guru’s followers took to the streets. At least 38 people died and hundreds were injured in clashes with police in cities throughout northern India.
Most of the fighting was in the city of Panchkula, where an estimated 100,000 followers had gathered in anticipation of the verdict in the local courthouse. It took a total of 15 years to convict Singh, the flamboyant ‘godman’ (a colloquial Indian term for a charismatic guru) leader of controversial spiritual organisation Dera Sacha Sauda, for the sexual assault of two female followers at the sect’s headquarters in Haryana state in 1999.
Nine-year-old Maisa Abdiram runs along the beach with her friends, eyes sparkling, long brown hair flying, a huge grin plastered across her face. Dancing from foot to foot, she and her friends giggle uproariously as they dodge through the gigantic jellyfish which the crashing waves have scattered among the assorted flotsam on the sand.
The sea has been uncommonly rough for the last few days, delaying the start of the much-anticipated swimming season.
The main room in the men’s toilets at Waterloo station is lined with urinals. As the assembled gents relieved themselves there in the summer of 2017 they were confronted by a curious advert, strategically positioned at eye-level. A cartoon showed two men in a maternity ward waiting room: one of them was clearly anxious, the other was relaxed, grinning, and dressed in a postman’s uniform. A bubble above the head of the worried man revealed the source of his concern.
“Was it me or was it him?
The truth I need to find.
A Dadcheck test is needed
To give me peace of mind.”
The Dadcheck service enables people who are worried about the paternity of their child to post off a swab of cells from the inner cheek of the kid – or indeed adult – in question, along with one from the putative father.
We move slowly and carefully, ducking under the low bushes in Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park. The brush is crisp from drought and each step crackles underfoot like a firecracker. Samson, the towering park ranger who is guiding us on a rhino patrol, motions to us to stay behind. Touching his finger to his lips, he cautions us to be silent. Samson is dressed for war: he is wearing military camouflage, and carries a semi-automatic weapon.
When three University of Washington researchers presented their paper Synthesizing Obama: Learning Lip Sync from Audio at a Los Angeles conference hall on 2nd August 2017, the assembled delegates had been primed to expect fireworks. A video created by the trio to demonstrate the potential of their innovation had already caused a stir.
The Atlantic speculated that the researchers’ work will “make it impossible for you to believe what you see”, while tech website Boingboing said the experiment might herald “the beginning of the end for video evidence.”
The sun is dipping behind the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s presidential palace, as Cristina Fernández de Kirchner emerges to make her final speech as president of Argentina. It is 9th December 2015, and the Plaza de Mayo echoes with chants and songs as Kirchner, an enthusiastic public speaker, stands alone waiting to begin. “Si la tocan a Cristina, qué quilombo se va a armar!” sings the crowd, with glee: “If they mess with Cristina, there’s going to be trouble.”
As Kirchner, known in Argentina simply as Cristina, begins to speak, silence descends on the Plaza. “Dear compatriots, can you hear me?” she cries. “I want you to know that I can hear you too. I hear you, and I always will.” The crowd roars its approval. Among the audience are representatives of political movements from across Argentina including thousands of members of La Cámpora, the Kirchnerist youth wing led by Máximo, Kirchner’s burly, taciturn son. Blue-and-white Argentinian flags flap alongside banners bearing slogans including “Cristina 2019”, “Gracias!” and “No Fue Mágia” – “It Wasn’t Magic”, a phrase used repeatedly by Kirchner about her administration’s achievements.
This is the last day of Kirchner’s eight-year rule, which followed on from the four-year presidency of her husband, Néstor, who stepped aside in 2007 to let his wife run for election.
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