Sunday Times

New York’s last romantic gets his own magazine.

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[Guest post by Alex Klein] Rupert Murdoch just drove the final nail into his News of the World coffin, shoving it unceremoniously out to sea like a recently deceased Al Qaeda boss. Its editor Rebekah Brooks gets to keep her post as chief executive of all News International while its reporters mill around outside of the building, levying vague threats. It’s fair to say good riddance, and rejoice that a newspaper that hacked 4,000 and bribed £100,000 will soon be moldering in the trash heap. But the fall of News of the World isn’t all good news.

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The Nowhere Bomb

Should Jerusalem bring its bomb out of the basement? Israel, for at least the moment, is the sole possessor of atomic weapons in the Middle East, with an arsenal that now includes approximately 200 warheads. But it is also the only nuclear-armed nation to hide its cache behind a façade of official silence–neither confirming nor denying its existence. Iran’s mounting nuclear capability arguably demands a reconsideration of this stance. Explicitly announcing its nuclear status would have its advantages. It would upgrade Israel’s deterrent.

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Maybe you haven't noticed. But Saudi Arabia hasn't at all played according to Barack Obama's script. Now, frankly, that doesn't surprise me. As you already know, I am a skeptic. And especially skeptical about Saudi intentions vis-a-vis Israel. Still, don't count on their intentions towards the Palestinians, either. They do not care a fig, as an Arabic saying has it. Riyadh will be constructive bi-al mish mish. Alas, apricots don't grow in the dessert. In conversations I had with Obama during his campaign he maintained a healthy doubt as to what they were and were not willing do.

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It's big news. The top news in the Sunday Times, columns five and six right under the logo. No, the banks have not been chastened. And Jenny Anderson's article tells you just how little they have learned. This is a traffic in the odds of death. Or the odds on the proximity of death. Ms. Anderson has a very clear description: The bankers plan to buy 'life settlements,' life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash—$400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured.

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Camp Fire

ON JANUARY 29, the Sunday Times reported that British investigators had learned few details about the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks in London that left 56 people, including four suicide bombers, dead. Although the identities of the perpetrators were quickly uncovered last summer, a government document dated October 2005 and leaked to the newspaper last month said that MI5, Great Britain’s domestic intelligence service, knew virtually nothing about “how, when and with whom the attack planning originated....

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The Ungreat Washed

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad By Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton, 286 pp., $24.95) I. Midway through Fareed Zakaria’s attack on democracy, one realizes that his animus toward popular government is not only theoretical but also personal, and in some ways it is even quite understandable.

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