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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu XXVI

Yann Martel goes into the void. The author of Life of Pi considers the genesis of his novel: I wandered around Bombay in a state of interior bleakness.


Spain is hoping to recognise its authoritarian past officially. After months of haggling, and fierce opposition from conservatives, the ruling Socialists have introduced a bill that condemns Franco’s dictatorship and honours his victims.

The Law of Historic Memory condemns Franco’s actions during the civil war , and his 40-year dictatorship. The bill declares arbitrary sentences handed down by military courts set up by Franco “unjust” and “illegitimate”. This will enable victims or their families to seek redress through the courts for executions, exile and persecution never before challenged.

The law was stalled for months, and might have died had the government not made concessions to win majority support at the last moment. Another week, and it would have run out of parliamentary time.


A global study, reported in The New York Times, of abortion rates indicates that those requiring a termination will find a way of doing it whether abortion is legal or not. In countries where it is illegal the abortion rate is almost the same as in countries where the practice is carried out within the law. But complications and the death rate begin to soar when it is made illegal.

The Bush administration’s multibillion-dollar campaign against H.I.V./AIDS in Africa has directed money to programs that promote abstinence before marriage, and to condoms only as a last resort. It has prohibited the use of American money to support overseas family planning groups that provide abortions or promote abortion as a method of family planning.

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