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4-5 November

Global update

Why Hezbollah is keeping its powder dry

Hezbollah is “thought to be the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor”, says Katie Stallard in The New Statesman, with an estimated arsenal of around 150,000 rockets and missiles. The Iran-backed Lebanese militia is led by 63-year-old Hassan Nasrallah, who took over in 1992, aged just 31, after the founding leader Abbas al-Musawi was assassinated by Israeli helicopter gunships. Nasrallah “drove the group’s political emergence” by supplying social services like schooling and medical care to supporters at a time when the Lebanese government couldn’t. Hezbollah’s political wing scored seats in parliament and even cabinet positions; when Israel pulled troops out of southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah “took control of many of the evacuated villages”.


The National Trust is selling a 125-year lease for the Grade II*-listed Phillips House in Wiltshire, which contains more than 38,000 sq ft of living space. Grand state rooms on the ground floor are complemented by no fewer than 11 double bedrooms and five bathrooms on the first floor, with further bedrooms and store rooms on the second floor. Outside, four and a half acres of gardens sit within 200 acres of parkland, maintained by the National Trust. Salisbury Station is a 20-minute drive, with trains to London Waterloo in an hour and a half. £2m.


The Silver Crest Donut Shop in San Francisco has an impressive claim to fame, says Chris Colin in Alta Magazine: it has been open every day, 24 hours a day, since 1970. When health officials demanded that the diner shut its doors during the pandemic, its 84-year-old owner George “just pointed at the sign” at the front of the shop: “We Never Close.” George works nights, as a bartender, cook, janitor and maintenance man; his wife Nina, whom George met in their home country of Greece, works days. On the menu, liverwurst and devilled egg sandwiches have had their prices removed because they’re no longer available – “a quiet passing”. But otherwise, as George says when you ask him how he’s doing: “Nothing change. Everything fine.”


quote 4-11-23 Wilde

“Hear no evil, speak no evil, and you won’t be invited to cocktail parties.”

Oscar Wilde


Arnie the grizzled guru

In his new autobiography-slash-self-help book, Be Useful, Arnold Schwarzenegger “divides his preposterous life into four distinct acts”, says Will Lloyd in The New Statesman. First comes “Arnold the Bodybuilder”: the kid from an Austrian village who conquered the world with “a 57in chest, a 34in waist, 28.5in thighs, 20in calves and a competition weight of 235lbs”. Then came “Arnold the Movie Star”, who took over Hollywood despite speaking, as Robin Williams put it, “less dialogue than any actor, except maybe Lassie”. He received Golden Raspberry nominations for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Screen Couple (with a clone of himself) for the 2000 film The 6th Day. Then it was “Arnold the Governor”, who led California – “a state that would be a G7 economy were it a nation” – for two terms.

Quirk of history

The 5th Earl of Balfour first realised the significance of the Balfour Declaration when he was a 14-year-old schoolboy at Eton, says Harry Mount in The Oldie. A copy of the statement – written 107 years ago by former prime minister Arthur Balfour, backing the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine – hung in his loo at home. But the historic document was “never discussed at home or school”. So it was a poignant moment when a Jewish London cabbie spotted his school trunk with his surname painted on it. “Is this yours, mate? Are you anything to do with the prime minister?” Yes, he said, the 1st Earl was his great-great-uncle. “I don’t believe this!” said the driver, before pulling off the road and singing Jewish songs to the teenage boy. “Wait till I get home and tell my family. What he did for us!”


This two-bedroom apartment on the seventh floor of Hoxton’s Duo Tower enjoys panoramic views of the city, and is within easy walking distance of Columbia Road and Regent’s Canal. Two bright double bedrooms benefit from built-in oak wardrobes, while the minimalist kitchen and large living space are positioned to make the most of the floor-to-ceiling windows that lead out onto the wraparound balcony. The building has a 24-hour concierge and indoor bike storage. Old Street tube is a 15-minute walk. £830,000.


Quoted 05-11-23

“All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.”

Spike Milligan