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Feel the burn: why do we love chilli?

Bob Holmes in The Guardian

I’ve been procrastinating. On my dining room table I have lined up three hot peppers: one habanero, flame-orange and lantern-shaped; one skinny little Thai bird’s eye chilli; and one relatively innocuous jalapeño, looking by comparison like a big green zeppelin. My mission, should I choose to accept, is to eat them.

In ordinary life, I’m at least moderately fond of hot peppers. My fridge has three kinds of salsa, a bottle of sriracha, and a jar of Szechuan hot bean paste, all of which I use regularly. But I’m not extreme: I pick the whole peppers out of my Thai curries and set them aside uneaten. And I’m a habanero virgin. Its reputation as the hottest pepper you can easily find in the grocery store has me a bit spooked, so I’ve never cooked with one, let alone eaten it neat. Still, if I’m going to write about hot peppers, I ought to have firsthand experience at the high end of the range. Plus, I’m curious, in a vaguely spectator-at-my-own-car-crash way.

When p…
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IN a nation of some 200 million, I doubt if a handful could pinpoint Panama’s location. And yet, this tiny Central American state has dominated Pakistan’s political discourse for the last year to the point of tedium.

Finally, after nearly two months of hearings before a Supreme Court bench, the verdict is here. And, as I had predicted to friends a few weeks ago, it is a cop-out that has both sides declaring victory.

For me, the abiding image is of the Sharif brothers, Nawaz and Shahbaz, embracing and beaming at each other. In the PTI camp, we watched Imran Khan and senior party members pass sweetmeats around.

For the SC, the verdict gave the impression of balance and fairness, with something for both sides to cheer about. Imran Khan had a lot of praise for the two dissenting judges who declared the prime minister ineligible to rule because he didn’t meet the criteria of honesty and integrity laid down in the Constitution.

The ruling PML-N is gloating over a verdict…

Property feeds the roots of inequality in Britain. Inheritance will entrench it

Ian Jack in The Guardian



What did our grandparents leave us? That will depend on who they were and what they possessed, but in my case, not untypical of my generation, it wasn’t very much.

From my father’s side the treasures included: a stuffed canary; a tiny stuffed crocodile (a gharial, taken from the Ganges); some crested china bought in seaside resorts; and a canteen of excellent cutlery given as a wedding present in 1899 and never taken from its box. On my grandmother’s death, a display cabinet was bought to accommodate this sudden Victorian infusion into our household, which already had a fine little portrait of Rob Roy inherited from my mother’s father, to be followed much later (after a diversion to an aunt and then a cousin) by a wall-clock and a watercolour of a street in Kirkcaldy that looked very pretty from a distance. I’m sure to have forgotten other items – for example, I’m just now remembering the 78rpm discs of Enrico Caruso and Harry Lauder – but basically that was it.