Hell’s Kitchen

Jay Owens

A geothermal power station by the Salton Sea, California. Photo © RGB Ventures / SuperStock / Alamy

Last month, Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) broke ground on the Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power project, an integrated geothermal power plant and lithium production facility on the coast of the Salton Sea in Imperial County, Southern California. It should produce enough lithium to make six million car batteries a year, powered by renewable energy and promising near-zero carbon emissions. General Motors is one of the investors. The US government’s taking an interest too: ‘Lithium is vital to decarbonising the economy and achieving President Biden’s climate goals,’ Jeff Marootian from the Department of Energy said at the opening ceremony, ‘which include 50 per cent electric vehicle adoption by 2030.’ The United States currently has ‘limited capabilities for domestically sourced lithium’, he noted, so the Hell’s Kitchen project is an opportunity ‘to supercharge the domestic supply chain’ for electric vehicle batteries.

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22 February 2024

Save Our Wills

Jane Whittle and Harry Smith

In 1942 a bombing raid on Exeter destroyed the cathedral’s probate archive, and the pre-1858 wills of Devon, Somerset and Cornwall went up in flames. Their destruction left a large hole in our knowledge of the ordinary inhabitants of south-west England between the Middle Ages and the mid-19th century. The Ministry of Justice is currently consulting on whether it should get rid of all of the UK’s post-1858 wills apart from those of a few ‘famous people’. Everyone else’s would be destroyed and only digital copies preserved.

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20 February 2024

Israel and the Crisis in Judaism

Eli Zaretsky

Not for the first time, there is a crisis in Jewish identity. Many Jews, including myself, abhor Israel’s current policies, the occupation, the dispossession and many other aspects of the Zionist project. And yet, they want also to affirm their identity as Jews. This suggests there is a conflict at the centre of Jewishness itself.

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19 February 2024

Sudden Death Syndrome

Tony Wood

Whether they killed him quickly or slowly, there is no doubt who is responsible for Alexei Navalny’s demise. Yet even though his was a death many times foretold, the news that came on 16 February was still a profound shock, and a demoralising one for Putin’s opponents.

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16 February 2024

Think about the Nation

Skye Arundhati Thomas

The Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut visited the Israeli embassy in Delhi at the end of October for a photo op. ‘Like we deserve a Bharat dedicated to Hindus, Jews also deserve one nation,’ she said. ‘As a Hindu nation we stand with Israel’s cause.’ The Israeli ambassador nodded, smiling, and the two held up a model of a fighter jet. The visit was part of the publicity run for the movie Tejas, in which Ranaut plays a daredevil pilot who volunteers for a mission to rescue a kidnapped Indian spy from ‘a Pakistani tribal area, the epicentre of terror’ (‘when in doubt,’ she tells herself, ‘think about the nation’).

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15 February 2024

Necessity or Compulsion?

Eliane Glaser

I have never owned a smartphone. The man in the shop couldn’t understand my refusal. ‘You get one free with your plan,’ he told me. I share the objections on questions of principle – the ubiquity of harmful content; the erosion of the social fabric – but more than that my response was visceral. I just didn’t want the thing in my hand. So I have a brick, and live in the 1990s.

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12 February 2024

In Berlin

Harry Stopes

On Friday morning, three dozen people gathered outside the Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development in Berlin to demand a permanent end to German funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The protest was organised by the Deutsch-Israelische-Gesellschaft, which is funded in part by the German foreign ministry. The DIG president, Volker Beck, a former Green Party member of the Bundestag, gave an interview to journalists from Die Welt. Another organiser was handing out laminated placards.

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