Iberian Peninsula

Actually, the insolvency of Greece also made rough waves in America. Shortly before 3 p.m., the major stock indices (S & P, Dow and NASDAQ) were about to register 10% southwards. Not good news. And the fact they all ended the market day at roughly 3.5% down was only relatively good news, very relatively. This was not a good week for Wall Street. Of course, it was a disastrous week for Greece, which, mirabili dictu, avoided default only because the professional Eurocrats in Brussels and in other boring cities where “Europe” is headquartered went into hysterics.

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Many religions practice self-flagellation rituals. Even today. Catholics in Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula, the Philippines, and ultramontane Roman Catholics of the Opus Dei conviction flagellate themselves on Good Friday in fraternity with the suffering of Jesus. Among Sunnis, it is forbidden. Not so among the Shi'a, where there is no actual uniformity of belief and certainly not in practice.

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The Traveler's Luck

Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples By V.S. Naipaul (Random House, 408 pp. $27.95) Some years ago, in Finding the Centre, V.S. Naipaul wrote of the impulse that sent him on the road to remote places.

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