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The Long Thanatopsis

The old age of the baby boomers will compel a general redesigning of America: Hearing loops in every building, kerb cuts at every street crossing, every bathroom wheelchair-friendly, every kitchen gadget recast for arthritic hands. Assisted suicide will become a conventional procedure. “Everyone will be familiar with the anthropology of death and dying. Our Deaths, Ourselves will be a bestseller” (1,550 words)

Obituary: The Duchess Of Alba

She was born María del Rosario Cayetana Paloma Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Fernanda Teresa Francisca de Paula Lourdes Antonia Josefa Fausta Rita Castor Dorotea Santa Esperanza Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva Falcó y Gurtubay in 1926. She had “more titles than any other person on the planet”, three husbands, “numerous palaces”, and the right enter Seville cathedral on horseback (1,720 words)

Nigel Farage, Radical

Interview with Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, once “a mere pressure group”, now “the insurgent party of British politics”. He wants Britain out of the European Union. He thinks mass immigration has dragged Britain down. “He knows what he thinks and how to articulate it in simple, direct, accessible language … It’s like having a conversation with an opinionated bloke you’ve met in the pub” (4,500 words)

Ransoms: The Real Cost

America is right to outlaw ransom payments to terrorists, even at the cost of seeing Americans beheaded. Ransom encourages more kidnappers: captives become as valuable as oil fields. But so long as other countries pay ransom, we have “a mélange of policies that serves ISIS’s needs rather than our own. They can trade Frenchmen and Italians for cash, and save the Americans and Brits for gore” (1,770 words)

King Charles III Pick of the day

Prince Charles is said to be eccentric, impassioned, impatient, sometimes indiscreet. Those qualities have been manageable in a prince, but will be difficult in a king. “Preparations are being made for a very different monarchy to that of Queen Elizabeth, who has secured acceptance of the constitutional monarchy in part through her strict silence on political affairs. The death of the Queen is a day many dread” (5,200 words)

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