A cautionary tale about how we got terrified of the risk monster

CLEVER ELSIE, soon to be married to Hans, was sent down to the cellar by her mother to get some beer. She saw a pickaxe above her which had been forgotten by the masons. Clever Elsie was paralysed by the thought that “if I should marry Hans and we should get a little baby, and he grows up and we send him down to draw some beer, that pickaxe might suddenly fall down on his head and kill him”.

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At last, a power of sense at the UN

LIBERALS ON both sides of the Atlantic are dismayed by President Bush’s nomination of the arch-hawk John Bolton as US representative to the UN. They are wrong; Bolton’s appointment may give the UN just the shot in the arm it needs. It promises serious US interest in UN reform; it challenges the UN to get serious.

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