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In the most famous words ever addressed to a gemstone ring, the Princess Elizabeth greeted news of the death of her rival, Queen Mary, with the words: “This is the Lord’s doing. It is marvellous in our eyes.” Alrosa officials said almost as much last week — without the hyperbole, but increasingly conscious of the [...]

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Lithuania, the little state on the shore of the Baltic Sea, has a proud, and under Adolf Hitler, an unpleasant history of hostility towards Russia. If its accession to the European Union was an understandable attempt to conserve, and build on its post-Soviet independence, Lithuania’s application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) sharpened [...]

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Hardly anyone can remember the Baroness Emmuska Orczy these days, and were it not for a Broadway musical, her best-selling novel would have been forgotten, too. It was called The Scarlet Pimpernel, and it concerned the adventures of an apparently witless, secretly intrepid English knight, who defied the French Revolution to save aristocrats, who may [...]