Drenched Thailand still waiting for its green revolution

  • 10 January 2017
  • From the section Asia
Tourists use rubber rings to cross a flooded road on Koh Samui, Thailand, 5 January 2017 Image copyright AP
Image caption Tourists use inflatable rings to cross a road on the Thai island of Koh Samui

Mr Supit bows low, palms together, fingers pointing to the wrathful heavens above.

The north-east monsoon should have left the Thai island of Koh Samui more than a month ago, but the start of 2017 there has been greeted by a week of unremitting tropical storms.

Supposedly the high season, Mr Supit's hotel is dripping with umbrellas and soaking towels. The rains have prevented many staff from getting to work, made his international guests miserable and washed away his organic garden.

He breaks his wai - the traditional palms together gesture of greeting - throwing his arms apart with a shrug and a shake of his head. "What more can I do?" he asks.

"We are going to cross the sea in front of us," he jokes as he attempts to drive down Main Street, floodwater sloshing up to the gunwales of his Ford.

Read full article Drenched Thailand still waiting for its green revolution

Boxing Day Family Puzzler 2016

  • 26 December 2016
  • From the section Magazine
Mark Easton game image

It is time once again for that most traditional of festive distractions, my Boxing Day Family Puzzler. Now in its ninth glorious year, this is the quiz where no-one is expected to know any of the answers.

The questions relate to events in the past 12 months and all the solutions are numbers. Contestants must simply use wisdom and judgement to get as close to the right figure as they can.

Read full article Boxing Day Family Puzzler 2016

What did the Brexit vote reveal about the UK?

A union flag flies in front of the Palace of Westminster Image copyright Getty Images

The vote for Brexit was a thunderous rumble of national indignation, an outpouring of frustrated fury that shook the foundations of the British state. We misinterpret its meaning at our peril.

"Brexit means Brexit" does not cut it.

Read full article What did the Brexit vote reveal about the UK?

New evidence supports cover-up claims in Ibori case

  • 16 September 2016
  • From the section UK
New Scotland Yard revolving sign Image copyright Getty Images

Claims that Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) covered up evidence of police corruption in a high-profile money-laundering case have been given new weight after the discovery of a substantial number of documents suggesting an officer did take bribes.

The previously undisclosed material came to light after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, demanded a review into the conviction of Nigerian politician James Ibori.

Read full article New evidence supports cover-up claims in Ibori case

Ibori lawyer awarded £20,000 by Crown Prosecution Service

  • 22 July 2016
  • From the section UK
Bhadresh Gohil Image copyright Metropolitan Police

A convicted money launderer, linked to the high-profile prosecution of Nigerian politician James Ibori, has received £20,000 from the Crown Prosecution Service after claims he was wrongly deprived of his liberty.

The extraordinary payment is just the latest twist in a legal case that has led to investigations into allegations of police corruption and a cover-up of key evidence.

Read full article Ibori lawyer awarded £20,000 by Crown Prosecution Service

How can the UK build more homes post-Brexit?

  • 20 July 2016
  • From the section Business
A building site in London Image copyright Reuters

Housing sector leaders are urging government to divert billions earmarked for home ownership schemes into social and affordable rented housing to counter an expected post-Brexit downturn.

Private housebuilding in England has been falling amid the uncertainty of the referendum campaign and there are already industry reports of a reduction in new commercial activity since the vote.

Read full article How can the UK build more homes post-Brexit?

Brexit and housing: Radical ideas wanted

  • 29 June 2016
  • From the section Brexit
House-building Image copyright PA

A million homes by 2020 to deal with Britain's housing crisis - that was the government commitment made just last month in the Queen's Speech. But what chance now?

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) ministers say it is business as usual - but it plainly isn't.

Read full article Brexit and housing: Radical ideas wanted

Managing expectations will be key

Victorious Leave campaigner Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many Leave campaigners will be expecting quick results after winning the referendum

Just as the Chancellor spent the morning trying to calm the City, so there will be a need to manage the expectations of the country.

Real politics will inevitably mean concession and compromise after a campaign in which both sides seemed at times to suggest it was a choice between Utopia and Armageddon.

Read full article Managing expectations will be key

A less than United Kingdom

Leave campaigner Image copyright PA
Image caption Leave campaigners are jubilant

The EU referendum has revealed an ancient, jagged fault line across the United Kingdom. It is a scar that has sliced through conventional politics and traditional social structures, and it is far from clear whether the kingdom can still call itself united.

The referendum was ostensibly about membership of the European Union. But voters took it to be asking a different question: what kind of country do you want Britain to be?

Read full article A less than United Kingdom

Jo Cox death highlights need for respect

  • 17 June 2016
  • From the section UK
Jo Cox Image copyright Reuters

If we lose our respect, what do we have left?

As the country tries to make sense of the killing of Jo Cox, questions are being asked as to whether our politics and public discourse have become so intolerant and vicious that respect is in short supply.

Read full article Jo Cox death highlights need for respect