Man of Straw

It is perhaps typical that the only person whom the pro-Turkish government brigade could wheel out for yet another partitionist tirade on Cyprus should be a pseudo-left winger, the discredited politician Jack Straw, who lied his way through the Iraq enquiry, was involved in extraordinary renditions and torture, and later in a shady political lobbying affair, boasting to two undercover journalists that he ‘operated under the radar’, and had used his influence to change EU rules on behalf of a firm which paid him £60,000 a year. Given that the Turkish government uses various PR and lobbying companies, one is inclined to wonder why he has been wheeled out to write an article in The Independent (1 October) calling for partition in Cyprus. Is he being paid? And does it mean yet another desperate attempt to foist on the people of Cyprus another pseudo-solution, which would consign the island to a NATO-controlled pro-Turkish semi-state

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Ancient Inscriptions Show Life Once Flourished in Jordan’s ‘Black Desert’

Thousands of inscriptions and petroglyphs dating back around 2,000 years have been discovered in the Jebel Qurma region of Jordan’s Black Desert. They tell of a time when the now-desolate landscape was teeming with life.

“Nowadays, the Jebel Qurma area, and the Black Desert in general, is a highly inhospitable area, very arid and difficult to cross,” said Peter Akkermans, a professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands who leads the Jebel Qurma Archaeological Landscape Project. Photos the team took of the modern-day landscape show little water, vegetation or wildlife.

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