A history of pandemics

From the Black Death to SARS, here are some of the greatest threats to human life . Throughout history, nothing has killed more human beings than disease, not even war – microbes have proven to be more destructive than mankind itself. Pandemics have altered their eras, influenced cultures, and shaped social landscapes. History, it seems, is written by viruses as well as victors. In the sixth century, what is often considered the first pandemic struck Egypt before sweeping across the Mediterran

Boris Johnson's rise to power

Boris Johnson seemed to gallop through the final furlong of the Tory leadership race with a comfortable lead, garnering a total of 92,153 votes to his rival's 46,656. Controversial and colourful, the former foreign secretary’s enduring popularity overcame a career wrought by political gaffes and scandals. After completing his studies at Eton, Johnson won a scholarship to study classics as Balliol College, Oxford. Swiftly after graduating, Johnson found himself as a graduate trainee at the Times

The Royal Family's bumpy year

From friction between Harry and William to the scandals of Prince Andrew, 2019 has not been a smooth ride for the firm. As New Year’s Eve comes around, closing the year but doling out another, a fresh start will be welcome nowhere more than Buckingham Palace, where the Latin phrase “annus horribilis” will be looping around the regal halls like a recurring lyric. The phrase, meaning “terrible year,” has been used by the Queen once before. She used it in 1992, to mark the 40th anniversary of her

How domestic violence turns men into terrorists - an upday exclusive interview with Joan Smith

Joan Smith is a novelist, columnist, and veteran crusader for human rights. She has been Co-Chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board since 2013 and embarked on countless campaigns in pursuit of gender equality. Her new book, Home Grown, takes us one step closer to answering the question “what makes a terrorist?”, revealing the striking role domestic abuse plays in the transformation of men into terrorists. She does so by investigating numerous terrorist attacks whic

TS Eliot's hidden love letters reveal 'heartbreaking affair'

TS Eliot sends a message from beyond the grave to discredit a scandal revealed 50 years after his death. Fifty years after her death, the letters written to Emily Hale by Nobel laureate TS Eliot were released by Princeton University, as stipulated under her proviso. The thousands of letters, spanning 1930 to 1956, tell of ruptures and renewals, love and lies, ecstasy and exculpation. Hale – a woman described frequently as “the muse” – died in 1969, setting the stage for the release of the lett

Bust-ups and muck-ups: Biden vs. Bernie

The final month of the 2020 Iowa-caucus campaign – the first nominating contest of the US election cycle – began with the United States on the brink of war with Iran, and ended with an impeachment trial and Super Bowl viewing parties. The risks of the election have remained the same since the start: with the threat of Donald Trump, the Democrats can turn left or try once again down the centre. The candidates who tried to walk a line between these two political positions are all now out of the r

'100 seconds to midnight': why Doomsday is closer than ever before

How long until the world ends? In 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published, on its cover, a "Doomsday Clock." The clock-face was designed to reflect the existential threat staring-down humanity, measuring the likelihood of the nuclear apocalypse. That year, with the world still reeling from the fallout of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, the clock was set at 11:53, seven minutes to midnight. In 1953, as the Americans and Soviets tested hydrogen bombs in tandem, the clock eb

The BBC's existential crisis

Will the BBC survive the 21st century? With the resignation of Tony Hall as director general, there came whispers that the BBC was writhing in the throes of an existential crisis. As the corporation's "mid-term review" looms large, many believe the need for a public service broadcaster has been undermined by the increasing popularity of streaming services. The current terms of the BBC Charter, and licence fee as a mechanism, are entrenched until 2027. The deal, negotiated four years ago, saw a

Why doesn't the UK have a deputy prime minister?

The role of deputy prime minister has never been written into UK law After Boris Johnson was moved into intensive care last night, Dominic Raab became the de facto leader of the nation, with orders from Johnson to deputise "where necessary." Raab as the first secretary of state, as well as foreign secretary, is first to succeed Johnson. But whilst his title gives him precedence over other cabinet ministers, the government hasn't formally appointed a deputy prime minister. In the absence of of