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Christine Granville a wartime girl spy sitting on the floor in postwar time In WW2 she was also known as Krystyna Skarbek she was Churchill s personal favourite and operated in Eastern Europe on behalf of the Allies November 1956

And the Name on Your Reservation, Madam?

A boutique London hotel, 1 Lexham Gardens, has repeatedly refused to erect a blue plaque in honor of a notable former resident: Britain’s first female M.I.6 agent and the inspiration for Bond girl Krystyna Skarbek. Skarbek’s very British code name, Christine Granville, is not as glamorous as, say, Honey Ryder, but she had more in common with Bond than she did with his sexy sidekicks. She skied across mountains to deliver messages, she charmed her way out of prisons, and she won Churchill’s praise—Skarbek was apparently his favorite spy—in spite of warnings that she had a “pathological love of danger.” But the hotel does not want any reminders of Skarbek: in 1952, her ex-boyfriend murdered her on the lobby’s staircase. His justification: “To kill is the final possession.” Skarbek failed to evade her stalker in her post-spy days, but her espionage-era elusion was so skilled that it made its way into the official M.I.6 playbook. (One lesson: Bite your tongue, literally, during interrogation to fill your mouth with blood, and fake TB.)

North Rhine-Westphalia summer tour with Svenja Schulze12 July 2018, Germany, Gescher: Federal Environmental Minister Svenja Schulze (L) Social Democratic Party (SPD), and Stephan Eing, CEO of “Eing Kunststoffverwertung”, standing during a visit of a facility for the sorting and recycling of plastic waste.

Bagging Plastic

In the past four years, Germany has cut its use of plastic bags by 64 percent. That’s not enough for Svenja Schulze, minister of the environment, who has proposed a complete ban on the bags to ensure “that we [Germany] get out of the throw-away society and that overall, we use less plastic.” No date has been set, but the speed with which Germans reduced their dependency on the bags has leaders thinking the ban could happen soon. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans use more than 380 billion plastic bags and wraps per year—and only 5 percent of those make it to recycling.

Foreign Legion troops descend the Champs Elysees during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, 14 July 2018.
France … And Points Unknown

Nom de What?

If you’ve been in France recently, you may have seen military kiosks promising “a life of adventure.” A recruitment drive is underway for the French Foreign Legion. These days, however, the famed French Army force seems to have a problem in the eyes of its leaders: it has grown heavy on the foreign and light on the, well, French. Currently, only 11 percent of the Legion’s newest recruits speak the language. In basic training, the Legion’s officers often find themselves resorting to pictograms to convey exercises to entrants who come from all over the world. One cause of the problem may be the rigor of the elite unit’s training. According to The Times of London, Frenchmen who do enlist (women are not allowed) often wash out after their first day of boot camp.

Issue No. 7
August 31, 2019
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Issue No. 7
August 31, 2019