If the events in Ukraine are to appear as more than a series of disconnected events, you really must take the long view. So if you want to understand why it looked last night as though war was about to break out in the Crimea, perhaps take a look at this piece of analysis by Stratfor. It's a company that focuses on geography and history to explain what is happening in the world. Stratfor makes its money by signing up paying subscribers, but makes some of its work freely available. The book from which this is taken, The next hundred years, is also worth reading.
Two current stories must make us look closely at aspects of our court system. The Vicky Pryce trial fiasco yesterday showed how woefully inadequate that particular jury was at understanding even the basics of their role. But, of course, under the Contempt of Court Act we are completely barred from discovering anything about this jury and their discussions or deliberations. I wonder if any news organisation is going to go risk giving it a try? And the Oscar Pistorius case brings acutely home to us how different other countries attitudes are to prejudice and a "fair trial". Days and days of detailed "evidence" in a magistrates court bail hearing - all of which would be totally unreportable here for fear or prejudicing a jury. Ah - there's the answer. South Africa does not have a jury system!