Famous Poets

FEATURED U.K TRIBUTE REPORT: Benjamin Zephaniah On Racism, Refusing An OBE & Football


AceNewsDesk – Benjamin Zephaniah was a man of words – he was profound, prolific and never shied away from what really mattered to him.


Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Dec.09: 2023: By Helen Bushby: Entertainment reporter: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link

Words flowed out of him, whether written, spoken or sung. 

“In the beginning was the word, and the word became poetry, and I discovered it and found that it was great,” he said in his autobiography, riffing on the Bible’s opening verses.

Zephaniah, who died on Thursday at the age of 65, had many missions in life – some were political and some were personal. 

But from his troubled childhood onwards, he found power in communicating:

Despite leaving school aged 13 without being able to read or write, within two years he’d made a name for himself in dub poetry – performance poetry that originated in Jamaica.

His love of creativity was clear, but he later said he “went off the rails”and was jailed for burglary in his late teens. 

In 1979, aged 22, he decided to start afresh by moving from Birmingham to London, where he “met other creative types”.

His first poetry book, Pen Rhythm, was published in 1980, and was the start of a long and celebrated career.

Here he is, in his own words, on just some of the things he felt passionately about.


“I wanted to change the image of poetry,” he told the Guardian. “I wanted to bring it to life and talk about now and what was happening to us.”

He also said: “Even doing interviews I struggle for the words, but when I’m doing poetry I have this licence.

“I can change the words, leave a bit to your imagination, I can be as raw as I want to be.

“My mum always says when I’m on stage, ‘That’s when I see my son’.”

In his poem Pencil Me In, he wrote: 

“Every pencil needs a hand,

“And every mind needs to expand,

“is me and it, in harmony.” 

Childhood and family

Zephaniah grew up with his parents and seven brothers and sisters in Birmingham.

Speaking about his father, he told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 1997: “He beat me, and I can remember, obviously, some of the beatings.

“But most of all I remember him beating her [his mother]. He passed away not too long ago. 

“And it’s a real bit of a sore point in my family at the moment, because my mother ran away from him with me, leaving her other children with him. 

“So when he passed away, the other children saw him as a kind of hero, a lone man who raised all these children on his own.

“And all my memories of him was having almost like a wanted poster in my mind, a fixed picture of him. This is the face I’ve got to avoid.” 

In 2009, he told the Guardian: “It’s sad, but what has brought us more together was my cousin dying in police custody in 2002.

“It was something I used to rant on about and then – bang – it happened to us. I think my family now understand more why I talk about what I talk about.”

Zephaniah visited Chenjiagou primary school in China in 2012

Zephaniah’s relationship with his mother remained steadfast.

“I am very close to my mother and I talk to her every day,” he said.

“She has gone through so much. As a nurse she had to tend to people who were racists and she always tries to see the good in people. I am like that too. I am fascinated with why people believe what they believe.”

But a great sadness in his life was not being able to have children. “I used to find that tough,” he said. “There were lots of years of trying and tests, but now I am easy with it. That’s life. 

“I get at least 40 letters a week from children saying, ‘I love your poetry, Benjamin,’ or ‘I am reading your book.'”


“Black people are not slaves. They are human beings who were turned into slaves,” he told Lacuna Magazine.

He said his first racist attack was “was a brick in the back of the head” as a child, leaving him on the ground with blood pouring from his head. A boy hit him as he rode past on his bicycle – he was told to “go home”.

Zephaniah spoke out against racism throughout his life. 

In this extract from his 1999 poem What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us, he wrote about the murder of the 18-year-old in a racist attack by a gang of young white men in south-east London. Two men were eventually convicted in 2012. Other suspects have never been convicted.

“It is now an open secret

“Black people do not have

“Chips on their shoulders,

“They just have injustice on their backs

“And justice on their minds,

“And now we know that the road to liberty

“is as long as the road from slavery.”

Turning down an OBE

In 2003 he turned down becoming an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

“Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought,” he wrote in the Guardian.

“I get angry when I hear that word ’empire’; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised.

“It is because of this idea of empire that black people like myself don’t even know our true names or our true historical culture.”

Being a sportsman

A lifelong Aston Villa fan, he told the Guardian in 2020 that aged 62 he was still playing 11-a-side football with an under-30s team.

“They cannot believe how fast I can run,” he said. “I’m still a good sprinter and a reasonably good dribbler.”

Although he loved running and was captain of the under-13s team at county level, he told the newspaper why he stopped racing as a child. 

“We went to a race against southern European countries and on the way there they were telling me, ‘You’ll never be English.’ I was captain of the team and we won, and they gave me the flag to drape myself in and I couldn’t do it.” 

Being dyslexic

Zephaniah found out he was dyslexic aged 21, at an adult education class in London, where he learned to learn to read and write.

“I always tell people with dyslexia, especially children, that it’s not a mark of your intelligence. 

“You can be full of stories – you just have to find a way of telling them. And now we have lots of technology and teachers, professors at university that are aware of dyslexia and can help. So dyslexia shouldn’t hold you back. 

“We now know that some of the brainiest people around have or had dyslexia, including Einstein!” he told BookTrust in 2020.

The power of connection

For Zephaniah, belonging and feeling connected with other people meant everything to him. 

The trick was to find the right people, though.

“We all need gangs. We’re social animals. The key is finding the people that are doing good stuff instead of doing bad stuff,” he said.

He loved the “deep connection” he had with people attending his live shows.

“The thing that has touched me more than anything is the stories people have shared with me,” he wrote on his website.

Being nice


Zephaniah was a regular visitor to Leicester’s De Montford University, where he was given an honorary degree

Keen to challenge perceptions, he told Lacuna Magazine: “What do I do as a black man in England? I try my best to counter the stereotype.

“For those people who fear black men, I want to be the nicest guy they’ve ever met.”


He was also an optimist. 

“Well I can’t prove it, but I just believe in the triumph of good over evil. You’ve got to be hopeful,” he told the Guardian in 2020

“One of the things our oppressors hate is when they try to hold us down and – it’s Maya Angelou – still I rise. You try to hold me down, but I’ll keep coming back.”


Zephaniah had a spiritual side, saying: “I think religion has given God a bad name. 

“When I say ‘faith’, I’m talking about a belief, for want of a better word – I think I have a better word: a knowledge of God – that I get through meditation, which doesn’t need anybody else: doesn’t need the church, doesn’t need a priest, doesn’t need an imam, doesn’t need anything. 

“Just learn to meditate!” he told High Profiles in 2005


Zephaniah performed with his band The Revolutionary Minds, at the Vegan Camp Out festival in 2021

Zephaniah was an animal rights activist and ambassador for the Vegan Society, having decided to stop eating animals aged nine. 

His poem Talking Turkeys says: 

“Be nice to yu turkeys dis Christmas,

“Don’t eat it, keep it alive,

“It could be yu mate, an not on your plate

“Say, Yo! Turkey I’m on your side.”

He wrote in his autobiography, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah, about his allotment: “A lot of organic gardening is trial and error but I love, it, even though it takes time.

“I hardly ever go to a supermarket. And I listen to Gardeners’ Question Time more than you might imagine.”

Making a difference

Zephaniah and the Revolutionary Minds performed at Womad Festival in 2017

“Don’t get disillusioned and downhearted, don’t feel overpowered and defeated. Do what you can,” he said in 2020

“Do the little, (or the big), things that make a difference you can see. The tangible stuff. Or take to the streets to do something for the future. Do anything. Just don’t give up. 

“Don’t let them grind you down. Rise up all ye sisters and brothers who know better. Stand firm in the downturn.”

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and comment thank you

World History & Research Reports

CHRISTMAS HISTORY REVIEW TODAY: Bah, Humbug ? How Dickens Changed The Christmas Carol Narrative Forever

photo by Joel Devereux

AceHistoryDesk – Eugene Gilfedder is brilliant as Ebenezer Scrooge in Shake & Stir Theatre Co’s stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens :


Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Dec.09: 2023: A Christmas Carol, Concert Hall, QPAC, December 8-14: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link

photo by Joel Devereux

It’s the show that best sums up the Christmas spirit. I’m not talking about your hokey Christmas pageants and concerts.

Nope, the true spirit of Christmas can be seen – and felt – in the Concert Hall at QPAC from December 8 when shake & stir theatre co reprise their acclaimed production of A Christmas Carol, a stage adaptation of the novella by Charles Dickens.

If you’ve read the book or seen the film The Man Who Invented Christmas, you’ll understand just how seminal a role Dickens had in reviving the celebration of Christmas in the mid-19th century and making it count.

Dickens’ novella is a heart-warming ghost story of sorts. First published in 1843 it tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and spirits representing the past, present and future.

After their visits (scary and hugely entertaining visits in this production) Scrooge becomes a kinder, gentler man. His redemption is moving and enshrines the very essence of the Christmas spirit. It works as a secular story or as a Christian allegory. In both cases it promotes love and compassion above material wealth, which is worth keeping in mind at a time when materialism rules shake & stir are putting on their stage adaptation, helmed by masterful Brisbane director Michael Futcher, for the sixth year in a row … the fifth at QPAC, now in a new venue moving from the Playhouse to the Concert Hall.

Ross Balbuziente, shake & stir’s artistic director, says it has become a Christmas tradition and a much loved one.

“Since its premiere in 2018, this heart-warming story has captivated the hearts of over 115,000 people,” Balbuziente says.

“Now, in 2023, its sentiment resonates more profoundly than ever, reminding us of the enduring themes of love, forgiveness and generosity that make the holiday season truly magical.  This production has become a festive tradition for many, and for us, as a company – we love getting into the Christmas spirit with our audience.”

The cast of the production is virtually unchanged these past six years and includes Will Carseldine, Eugene Gilfedder, Nelle Lee and, among others, Bryan Probets.

Gilfedder, arguably our greatest living thespian, is Scrooge. He was born to play this role and considers it something of a sacred duty.

“It’s wonderful to be doing it again,” Gilfedder says. “It’s very satisfying, And it’s a privilege. The wonderful thing about the novella by Dickens is that it became so popular that people were reawakened to the whole spirit of Christmas. Dickens’ works are full of compassion.”

It was the time of the Industrial Revolution and those “dark satanic mills” that William Blake wrote about. There was poverty amid wealth and progress, which relates the story to today.

In case you have forgotten, the story takes place on Christmas Eve when, deeply entrenched in his own misery (misery he’s happy to pass on to his close employee Bon Cratchit), Scrooge receives a visit from four ghosts who whisk him away on a journey through Christmases past, present and future.

Along the way he revisits fragments of his life and is faced with a number of choices. Redemption is his for the taking but is Scrooge capable of changing his ways before it is too late?

You probably know the answer but that doesn’t dim the power and joy of this story. And Gilfedder is nothing short of brilliant in the role he was born to play.

This production features live music and some yuletide carolling, innovative video design, lavish costumes and, of course, snow.

I don’t want it to sound too worthy, though. It also has light-hearted moments. Gilfedder says one of the things he loves about doing the role is “hearing children’s laughter”. “That’s a sustaining memory,” he says.

Gilfedder, who has been busy recently on the set of the film How to Make Gravy (he plays one of the main character’s brothers) says that under the expert guidance of Futcher he and the cast try to make A Christmas Carol fresh each year.  They come to it with renewed enthusiasm.

Following its runs at QPAC, the production will travel to Canberra Theatre Centre as a follow-up to last year’s sold-out season in the national capital.


Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and comment thank you

Ace Daily News

FEATURED REPORT: The true story of Rabinder Singh, an Indian spy who became a mole for the CIA and vanished into thin air

Rabinder Singh was a senior joint secretary with India’s Research and Analysis Wing when he disappeared.(Supplied)

AceNewsDesk – From a hidden bunker on a quiet street in New Delhi, a secret agent watches a man ascend the steps of his three-storey home with a nondescript briefcase in tow.


Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Dec.09: 2023: ABC Special News: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link

Rabinder Singh was a senior joint secretary with India’s Research and Analysis Wing when he disappeared.(Supplied)

Inside is a trove of top-secret documents taken from India’s external intelligence agency.

The man is a mole, believed to have been leaking sensitive information to a powerful ally, as part of a high-stakes political plot to topple a foreign enemy.

It’s a scene seemingly ripped from 2023’s headlines — as the mission unfolds, the spy is drawn into a complicated web of betrayal and danger, culminating in a daring escape escape across borders.

But the real story behind this Netflix thriller came almost two decades before alleged international assassination plots put India’s intelligence agencies under the spotlight.

Rabinder Singh was working at India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) in 2004 when he became the spy that vanished into thin air.

It is a story so bizarre that it has been rehashed in several dramatic accounts. 

Khufiya (House of Spies), released last month, is the Netflix adaptation of a 2012 novel called Escape To Nowhere, written by former spy chief Amar Bhushan. 

While it has been promoted as a work of fiction loosely inspired by true events, it bears some striking similarities — and some key differences — with the account offered in another book authored by a former intelligence officer.

RK Yadav’s book, Mission R&AW, was released as a tell-all memoir in 2014, detailing “the first eye-opening account … of the achievements and failures of Indian intelligence”.

Piecing together the records of what unfolded reveals a desperate race to catch a double agent and understand how and why the CIA convinced an Indian citizen to turn on his own government.

Who was Rabinder Singh?

Singh first joined the R&AW in the late 80s, after a brief military career.

Media reports describe him as a clean-shaven man from an affluent family in Amritsar, the son of a retired lieutenant in the Indian Army.

Having joined the Gorkha Regiments in 1970 and worked his way up to become major, Singh was reportedly overlooked for further promotion due to his “mediocre calibre” as a soldier.

He did take part in Operation Blue Star, a sting in 1984 targeting a group of separatists known as the Khalistan movement who had taken over the Golden Temple, the most sacred site in Sikhism.

According to Yadav’s book, which he told the ABC was entirely factual and based on his own career as well as interviews with internal sources, Singh was appointed to the agency by an old family friend who had worked with his father.

The covers of two books sit side by side, one titled ESCAPE TO NOWHERE in red font, the other MISSION R&AW
Amar Bhushan’s novel Escape to Nowhere was published in 2012, and RK Yadav’s memoir Mission R&AW was published in 2014.(Konark Publishers/Adhyyan Books)

Stationed in Amritsar, Singh gained a reputation for his close relationships with local police, allegedly getting involved in an embezzlement scheme involving secret service funds meant for clandestine operations in Pakistan.

Singh was eventually posted to the Indian embassy in Damascus, where he once let slip to an American diplomat about a secret Indian Air Force visit to an air strip on the outskirts of the city.

It has been suggested that it was around this time that Singh was first recruited by the CIA.

According to multiple reports in Indian media, Singh’s daughter was seriously injured in 1992 or 1993, and he requested a transfer to Washington DC. 

“Singh said he needed a lot of money to pay for his daughter’s treatment, and that the Washington posting would help,” RL Bhatia, the minister involved in external state affairs at the time, told Frontline in 2004.

The request was declined. Instead, after Damascus, Singh was stationed as a counsellor at The Hague.

Colleagues noted his expensive tastes and penchant for throwing lavish dinner parties at five-star hotels where he mingled with senior officers and foreign diplomats.

“Everybody in R&AW knew that he had acquired disproportionate assets to his known sources of income, but no-one dared to take any action against him due to his allegiance with a coterie of senior officers,” Yadav wrote.

“He openly used to claim in cocktail circles that he was the richest bureaucrat of India, but no-one in R&AW had the guts to question the source of his richness and lavish style of living.”

By the early 2000s Singh had returned to New Delhi, and was working as a joint secretary at R&AW headquarters focused on its South-East Asia operations.

But the man described by his peers as a “fairly ordinary” agent was hiding a secret.

The double agent arouses suspicion

Some time in late 2003, Singh’s colleagues began to notice he had become particularly inquisitive, striking up conversations about topics outside his department’s purview and spending an unusual amount of time at the photocopier.

One officer approached Bhushan, who at the time was the senior secretary in charge of the Counter Intelligence and Security division that monitored internal threats at R&AW. 

Bhushan began preliminary inquiries, and by the new year, Singh was under surveillance.

A man stands at a photocopier, mostly in the dark but lit by a window and the glow of the machine
A scene from Netflix drama Khufiya (House of Spies) depicts the mole photocopying stacks of documents at his office in the Research and Analysis Wing. (Supplied: Netflix)

Agents installed hidden cameras inside his home and office, tapped his phones and opened a mini control room down the street to monitor the video and audio recordings of Singh’s conversations with guests as they came and went.

At one point, Yadav wrote, there were more than 20 agents tracking Singh’s every move.

The wire taps seemed to suggest Singh had been collecting intelligence from inside the R&AW and passing it on to an unknown handler believed to be working for the CIA.

The surveillance team were working on the assumption that Singh had somehow been transferring documents through a courier.

But before they could gather enough evidence or catch Singh in the act, he received a tip-off that he was being watched.

“Surveillance is only effective as long as the suspect doesn’t know they’re being watched. But then once he knows he is being watched, he has power,” Bhushan explained in a documentary last year.

Singh applied for leave from work, ostensibly to attend his daughter’s engagement ceremony in the United States. The request was turned down, confirming his fears.

According to Yadav’s book, tapes from the bugs installed at R&AW headquarters showed Singh desperately ransacking his office in search of hidden cameras — a scene re-created in the film adaptation based on Bhushan’s novel.

One morning in April, the counter intelligence team watched as Singh stacked piles of papers into bundles, ready to be squirrelled out of the building. They pounced.

Bhushan directed his officers to frisk every R&AW employee as they left the building.

“Hundreds of classified documents were seized from senior and middle level officers of R&AW being taken out of headquarters,” Yadav wrote, including pen drives, CDs and DVDs, and a large volume of pornographic materials.

But still there was not enough to pin down their main target.

The spy who vanished

Singh, now suspicious that counter intelligence agents were tailing him, needed to hatch an escape plan.

Meanwhile, operatives installed a trick photocopier in his office that recorded digital copies of every page he scanned.

Over 16 days, Singh took copies of more than 210 reports, including classified documents that contained sensitive information about R&AW’s assessment of activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several of its neighbours, according to Yadav.

The investigation appeared to be gathering steam, but senior agents were frustrated that there was still no conclusive evidence that would allow them to question Singh or identify who he was working with.

They were under pressure to arrest their target, or drop it entirely.

Singh took his chance. On May 1, 2004, he and his wife Parminder Kaur made their escape.

They borrowed a car and drove to the border with Nepal, crossing over at Nepalganj, where they were met by Singh’s CIA contact, David Vacala.

The three of them stayed the night at a hotel before booking a domestic flight to Kathmandu, where they stayed at the American embassy.

There, Singh and his wife were issued US passports under new names: Ram Prasad Sharma and Deepa Jumar Sharma.

On May 7, the Sharmas boarded an Austrian Airlines flight bound for Washington DC.

After Singh had failed to turn up to work for several days, counter intelligence officers checked city hospitals and interrogated family members about his whereabouts.

A team was dispatched south to Chennai, but found no trace of their man.

They contacted international airports, but hadn’t enough evidence to block Singh’s passport.

“We came fairly close to understanding that there could be a security implication. But we simply did not have conclusive evidence at that point,” a senior source told Outlook India in 2004.

A search of Singh’s home finally delivered the smoking gun they’d been looking for: a laptop that Singh had been using to send electronic copies of his pilfered documents. 

The counter intelligence wing soon figured out his whereabouts, but by the time they contacted the Indian embassy in Kathmandu to try to intercept him, it was too late.

The fallout

Singh was formally dismissed as a R&AW officer in 2005, under an article of India’s constitution that allows the president to do so without holding a formal departmental inquiry if it is not considered to be in the national interest.

A senior official at the agency reportedly completed an internal inquiry, but its findings were never made public.

The Indian media was whipped into a frenzy over the “spy who disappeared”, and the secrets he may have sold to one of the country’s strongest allies.

So what happens to a double agent once they are forced to flee their home base and are cut off from a network of informants?

In Singh’s case, it would seem, they become far less valuable.

According to one account, just a few months after he landed state-side, he was dropped by the CIA.

“They stopped paying him, scuppered his attempt at gaining employment with a think tank, and declined to support his request for naturalisation,” wrote Shaunak Agarkhedkar, an Indian spy novelist.

In November 2004, a person calling themselves Surender Jeet Singh petitioned the US Court of Appeals to review a decision by the Board of Immigration denying him asylum.

A page of highlighted text "recruited by an organ of the government of India known as the Research and Analysis Wing"
Court documents include interesting detail about the petitioner named Surender Jeet Singh.(Supplied: US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)

In court documents, he explained that he had been recruited by a CIA-like department in India called the Research and Analysis Wing, to report on individuals believed to have been pushing for a separate state known as Khalistan.

He claimed to have quit the R&AW when “he was ordered to aid in the assassination of a very religious person he had investigated”.

Singh told the court that after hiding with friends for a year, he had used his own passport to come to the US, and testified that he would be killed if he returned to India.

The immigration judge denied Singh’s asylum request, finding him not credible. In a subsequent appeal, the decision was upheld on the basis that he presented “no corroborative evidence whatsoever” that the R&AW even existed.

The Ninth Circuit Court, however, decided otherwise.

“We can notice that the government of India exists. We can notice that the office of the Prime Minister of India exists. We can notice that a part of the Prime Minister of India’s office is the RAW,” the judge wrote, referring the matter back to the board of immigration appeals.

While there is no official record of Singh’s final asylum application, it appears he was allowed to stay in the country.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) — another Indian intelligence agency that runs separately to the R&WA and oversees domestic crimes — had asked Interpol to issue a global arrest warrant for Singh in 2007, but Interpol declined on the grounds that the charges were political.

That same year, the Indian embassy in Washington confirmed to the New York Times that Singh and his wife were wanted by the Indian government for violating India’s Official Secrets Act.

Media reports have suggested Singh spent several years living as a recluse in New York, Maryland and Virginia, near his extended family, before dying in a road accident in 2016.

Questions of a cover-up

At the centre of these recountings of the Singh case are a few key questions: why would the US need to spy on India, and how did this agent manage to escape?

Several theories have been floated about what exactly the CIA was hoping to gain from Singh’s leaks, ranging from intelligence on terrorist activity among India’s closest neighbours, particularly Pakistan and Afghanistan, to evidence of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. 

Yadav and others have suggested that the top priority would have been information about India’s own nuclear capabilities, after recent failures by US intelligence to anticipate a series of nuclear tests known as the Pokhran-II tests

In any case, Bhushan says the documents that Singh did manage to pass on were mostly minor in terms of sensitivity.

While the R&AW never made its internal inquiry public, it did confirm in the wake of the Singh episode that eight of its key operatives had gone missing since the agency was formed in 1968.

The revelation prompted considerable backlash in the community, and questions about the integrity of R&AW’s officers and its decisions.

In Yadav’s book, as well as granular detail about the Singh case that he says was gathered from internal sources, he made the case that R&AW was in urgent need of reform to address unprofessional behaviour and corruption.

The exact details of what went on inside the R&AW in the months leading up to and directly following Singh’s escape are difficult to verify. But Yadav offered the following account.

He believes that many officials were quite happy for Singh to vanish, if he took with him the potential consequences of any further investigation that could point to them as conspirators.

“There is a strong Indian myth that a crow never bites a crow,” he wrote.

Yadav wrote that 57 officers of the R&AW were found to have been involved in Singh’s deception in some way, according to the suppressed internal inquiry.

He listed the names of 19 employees who he argued were conspirators, having either assisted or allowed Singh to flee the country, or provided information that Singh passed on to the CIA.

Yadav filed a complaint to the CBI asking them to look into the matter. 

The complaint landed in Delhi’s High Court, which in 2009 declined to press CBI any further, on the grounds that Yadav had not provided sufficient evidence. 

“Your complete petition is nothing but hearsay. You have no authenticity and without any evidence you are asking us to initiate action against the officers,” Chief Justice A P Shah said.

In his book, Yadav explains the lengths he went to in order to compel an official body to take further action against the people he says helped Singh to escape justice. He maintains to this day that he has only ever sought to expose the truth.

“He was chased away. Had [Rabinder Singh] been arrested here, then those officers who shared information with him would have faced court under the official secrets act. Therefore, they made him escape,” he told the ABC.

review of Yadav’s book published by the CIA noted that it was “difficult to analyse as it has no footnotes, no end notes, and no bibliography, which means there are no citations from secondary sources, archives, or documents to support the claims”.

“The book is strongest when Yadav discusses what he witnessed and experienced, but the sections that contain historical narrative lack independent sources necessary to document the events,” the reviewer wrote.

According to Bhushan’s version of events, there was corruption at the centre of the Singh case — but only of one man. 

“We have perfect institutions. We have laws, we have rules, we have procedures. What’s lacking is people who work within this and implement it,” he told the EPIC Channel documentary.

“From what I understand and see in this case, give lure of money to anyone, he gets tempted. Then he doesn’t know where to stop. If you don’t realise where to stop, you can’t come back.”

Few former agents have gone on record about what went on at the R&AW.

Retired intelligence officers are now required to seek prior permissionfrom the head of their organisation before publishing any details about the inner workings of government agencies.

One former R&AW officer is currently being sued by the CBI for allegedly publishing classified information in his 2007 book titled India’s External Intelligence – Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing.

For now, those with lingering questions about what really happened to Singh will perhaps turn to the accounts penned by his former colleagues — one that calls itself fact, and the other fiction. 

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and comment thank you

Food Recipes

FEATURED FOOD & RECIPE REPORT: Dairy Free Corn & Maple Crème Brûlée


AceFoodDesk says here’s todays food and recipe ideas Corn. Maple Sugar. A candy top? with Kindness & Love XX A&M

Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Dec.06: 2023: Vintage Kitchen News: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link

Dairy Free Corn & Maple Crème Brûlée

We only had crème brûlée once when I was a kid. My mom did a great job of preparing and baking the little custards, and carefully covering the top with sugar. She commandeered my father’s blow torch to do the brûlée part, and promptly set a dish towel on fire. Abandoning the effort, she finished them off under the broiler, and brûléed they were indeed. She stuck to plain custards after that.

Now a regular appearance

            Needless to say, it took me quite some time to attempt them on my own, but when I did, they became a regular dessert in our home, one that can be made well ahead of time and offered up to your guests with a flourish! Traditionally made with heavy cream, canned evaporated milk can easily substitute. However, this version uses full-fat coconut milk for the dairy challenged in the family. The lite coconut didn’t work well, but this is a treat and not healthfood! There are not a lot of ingredients, so use really good ones here.

It’s fun to light food on fire

My grandchildren all had their first experiences with a torch while making these, and of course their parents were not invited to the initial firing!

            And dish towels were tucked well out of harm’s way.

When I mentioned I was working on a dairy-free Crème Brûlée a blogger friend suggested adding corn. It was a great suggestion, so I fiddled with my recipe until it was the right balance. The corn flavor was phenomenal with the maple! Definitely a New England match made in Heaven. However, if you don’t want to use the corn, decrease the egg yolks to four, and increase the sugar a bit; the corn adds a lot of sweetness. 

Dairy Free Corn & Maple Crème Brûlée

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed corn, from fresh if in season
  • 1 plump vanilla bean, split
  • ¼ cup granulated maple sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. pure maple extract
  • 4 tbsp. more maple sugar

            Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and put a kettle of water on to boil. Place ramekins in a roasting pan.

Whisk egg yolks, corn starch, and sugar until well blended.
Let the vanilla bean simmer in coconut milk and corn mixture.

Place coconut milk in a saucepan over medium along with the pureed corn. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk. Add the pod to the milk while it warms to just below the boil with small simmering bubbles on the side.Whisk egg yolks, corn starch, and sugar until well blended.Let the vanilla bean simmer in coconut milk and corn mixture.

Don’t toss the vanilla bean, it still has work to do! Rinse it, rinse, dry it out, then tuck it in some sugar to flavor it.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, yolks, and cornstarch until well blended. Add the maple extract.

Slowly, very slowly at firstdrizzle the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to gently temper. You don’t want to make scrambled eggs, so be patient here,

Once everything is combinedput the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the corn bits and any particles of egg. Put the mixture in a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into the ramekins. That’s the easiest way to transfer without sloshing.

Place the pan in the oven, and add the boiling water to go halfway up the ramekins.

Bake for 40 minutes and check. They should be set with just the slightest jiggle in the middle.

Let cool, then cover and place in the refrigerator, overnight if possible.

When ready to serve, place a tablespoon of maple sugar on each ramekin, evenly with no custard showing, and use a blowtorch to “burn” or caramelize to candy this sugar. Let set a few moments. The sugar will be a hard candy at this point, that will be cracked with the back of the spoon when eaten, a lovely combination of creamy and hard, sweet and slightly bitter.


Love the sound of the crack!

Never fear, you can save the egg whites from this dish by freezing them. Place each in an ice-cube tray and freeze. When frozen, pop them out and store in a container so you can grab just how many whites you need for a recipe.
© Copyright 2023– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Dorothy Grover-Read. The unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with  active link and direction to this original post.

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English History

ENGLISH HISTORY: Agatha Christie was the most famous detective novelist in the world. Then she found herself at the centre of a mystery

A black and white photo of a woman in a dark hat
Agatha Christie was 36 when she went missing for 11 days in December 1926. (Getty: Bettmann/Contributor)none

AceHistoryDesk – Late on the evening of December 3, 1926, Agatha Christie walked up the stairs of her stately English mansion, kissed her seven-year-old daughter goodnight, got in her car and drove away in the dark.

Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Dec.03: 2023: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link

A black and white photo of a woman in a dark hat
Agatha Christie was 36 when she went missing for 11 days in December 1926. (Getty: Bettmann/Contributor)none

It could have been the plot from one of her bestselling mystery novels.

She had spent the day quarrelling with her husband, Colonel Archibald Christie, who had recently announced that he was in love with a younger woman and would soon be leaving his family behind. 

Instead, it was his wife who fled.

For the next 11 days, the most famous woman in the world was gone, sparking a nationwide manhunt that involved 1,000 police officers, 15,000 volunteers, bloodhounds and aeroplanes.

Fellow detective writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle engaged the services of a psychic to try to track down his missing colleague. 

One newspaper offered a reward roughly equivalent to $A9,500. 

But then Archibald dropped a bombshell: Perhaps his wife was hiding in plain sight. 

“She may have disguised herself by altering the style of her hairdressing and by wearing glasses,” the Daily News tabloid wrote on December 11. 

“Colonel Christie says his wife has stated that she could disappear at will if she liked, and, in view of the fact that she was a writer of detective stories, it would be very natural for her.”

A newspaper article showing Agatha Christie in potential disguises
As Agatha Christie’s disappearance dragged on, tabloids began to speculate that she’d faked the whole thing. (Getty: Hulton Archive)

At the time of her disappearance, Archibald had plenty to hide, and as suspicion began to fall on him, he panicked.

“It is absolutely untrue to suggest that there was anything in the nature of a row or a tiff,” he told reporters.

“I strongly deprecate introducing any tittle-tattle into this matter.”

Finally, after 11 days gone, Agatha was found nearly 300 kilometres from her home. 

She had checked herself into a spa in Yorkshire under the name of her husband’s girlfriend and appeared to be confused about her identity.

“She does not know who she is,” Archibald told reporters. 

“She has suffered from the most complete loss of memory.”

From this strange episode, two conflicting narratives emerged. 

In one, Agatha was a woman in crisis, driven into a fugue state by the recent death of her mother, her collapsing marriage, and intense pressure from her publisher to deliver yet another bestseller. 

In the other, she was a shrewd manipulator — the original Gone Girl — who orchestrated her own whodunnit to humiliate Archibald for his philandering. 

For the rest of her life, she was reluctant to speak about her 11 missing days. 

She may have been the master of the genre, but the only Agatha Christie mystery that can never be solved is her own disappearance.  

A woman vanishes from the ‘unlucky house’  

On the surface of things, Agatha’s life looked perfect. 

Her sixth novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, was published in mid-1926 and it was an instant hit, transforming the 36-year-old from a successful novelist into a global celebrity. 

She and Archibald, a dashing former military officer who was by then a successful businessman, had recently bought a 12-bedroom mansion in rural Berkshire. 

Many locals warned them it was an “unlucky house”, and everyone who lived there was eventually beset with romantic and financial woes. 

But they didn’t care. 

They wanted to raise their daughter Rosalind there. It was the perfect place for Agatha to write, and the local golf course was in walking distance so that Archibald could practise his swing. 

Perhaps they believed they could transform the house’s fortunes. 

But as 1926 drew to a close, the family’s luck was running out. 

Agatha’s mother died earlier in the year, and she had spent months at her childhood home sorting through her affairs. 

While she was away, Archibald met Nancy Neele, a woman 10 years their junior. 

By the time Agatha returned, her husband asked for a divorce so he could marry his new lover. 

The mood in the unlucky house grew dark. 

On the evening of December 3, Agatha called Archibald’s office to find out where he was, and learned that he was staying with friends for the weekend.

Among them? Ms Neele. 

As she wandered the halls of the mansion that was meant to their forever home, something broke inside of Agatha. 

She wrote three letters — one to her secretary, one to Archibald, and one to her brother-in-law.

Archibald Christie
Colonel Archibald Christie was an officer in the Royal Flying Corps before becoming a successful businessman. (Supplied: UK National Archives)

Leaving Rosalind in the care of household staff, Agatha packed some of her things in her car and drove away.

The next morning, the car was found abandoned, crashed into a hedge with its front wheels dangling over a quarry. 

Her licence and other belongings were on the front seat, but the author was nowhere to be found.

The police search riddled with red herrings

With tabloids constantly seeking scandal for their pages, news of Agatha’s disappearance spread around the world in a matter of days.

As with any good Agatha Christie mystery, the saga was riddled with missed clues and red herrings. 

While Archibald burned the letter from his wife and refused to tell police what was in it, his brother, Campbell Christie said Agatha had written to let him know she was going to a Yorkshire spa for a few days.

But police were unconvinced by the letter and insisted the most important clue of all was the abandoned car.

Men leaning against an old car with their dogs
Fearing she had died, police used bloodhounds to search for Agatha Christie. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Believing she may have died or taken her life, a team of bloodhounds, as well as Agatha’s “favourite terrier”, were sent to scour nearby fields, but came up with nothing.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a passionate believer in mysticism, fairies and ghosts.

He asked to borrow one of Agatha’s gloves, which he gave to a spirit medium so she could perform a seance. 

The medium insisted Agatha was a victim of “foul play” and she could be found at the bottom of a local lake, known as the Silent Pool. 

Police dragged the lake twice, but came up empty.

A black and white photo of men throwing an anchor into a pond
Police searched a lake called the Silent Pool after a spirit medium claimed Agatha Christie’s body could be found there. (Getty: Bettmann)

With his wife missing and the tabloids scrutinising their lives, Archibald made a decision that he perhaps hoped would divert attention from himself and Ms Neele.

He told reporters he believed his wife had staged her own disappearance to work out the mechanics of her next murder mystery. 

His claim took the intense interest in the case and turned it into a global obsession.

“It is ridiculous,” her personal secretary told The New York Times when asked if the whole thing was a stunt.

“Mrs Christie is quite too much a lady for that.”

With her face on the front page of newspapers and a substantial reward on the table, it seemed that every Briton was hunting for Agatha. 

Among them were the guests at the Harrogate Hydro, a luxury spa in England’s north. 

After days of drinking gin cocktails and dancing the charleston with a mystery woman, they realised Agatha Christie had been in their midst all along. 

‘Mrs Christie is a very elusive person’

On December 4, 1926, a woman arrived at the Harrogate Hydro in a taxi. 

She had no luggage with her, but staff reported that she seemed well and unharmed, and checked herself in under the name “Mrs Teresa Neele of Cape Town”.

A black and white photo of a large building obscured by trees
Agatha Christie checked herself into the Harrogate Hydro in Yorkshire. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Mrs Neele enjoyed the spa treatments offered by the hotel, went shopping, and played billiards with the other guests.

They too were abuzz with the mystery surrounding Agatha Christie, but Mrs Neele didn’t seem particularly interested when she saw the story in the newspapers.

“Mrs Christie is a very elusive person,” a guest later recalled her saying.

“I cannot be bothered with her.”

After more than a week in her presence, guests and staff started to suspect Mrs Neele was, in fact, the missing author. 

A banjo player with the hotel’s band, the Happy Hydro Boys, reported his suspicions to police and claimed the $9,500 reward. 

The next day, Archibald and several police officers came to the hotel and found Agatha there. 

But she didn’t seem to recognise her husband, initially mistaking him for her brother.

A newspaper article
Agatha Christie was eventually discovered staying at a hotel under a false name. (Supplied: Daily Herald)

Agatha eventually remembered who she really was.

But she remained dazed and distressed as Archibald drove her away from the hotel and took her to her sister’s house to recover — and elude the press. 

“My wife’s memory is completely gone, and three years have dropped out of her life,” Archibald told reporters.

“She recognises me but does not recall our child Rosalind. It is a terrible tragedy.”

In 1926, there was little understanding of mental health, and almost no empathy for a woman who made her own money — particularly one who did so by spinning twisted tales about murder and intrigue. 

For the rest of her life, Agatha was haunted by accusations that she concocted this little drama, perhaps for publicity, or perhaps in an attempt to ruin Archibald’s life. 

‘Up until this moment I was Mrs Christie’

Agatha chose to speak only once about her missing 11 days. 

In 1928, two years after her disappearance, she was finally divorcing Archibald and concerned he might attempt to gain sole custody of their daughter.

A young woman with cropped hair wearing a string of pearls
Christie wrote more than 80 books, outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. (Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

So she agreed to an interview with the Daily Mail in the hope of putting the saga behind her — and convincing the courts that she should be trusted with Rosalind’s care.

“I just wanted my life to end,” she told the paper of the day she disappeared in 1926.

“All that night I drove aimlessly about … In my mind there was the vague idea of ending everything.” 

She said she crashed her car and hit her head, and as she staggered down the wintry country roads looking for help, something strange happened. 

“Up to this moment I was Mrs Christie,” she said. 

The queen of crime fiction, always praised for her complex, believable characters, created a new identity for herself. 

“As Mrs Neele, I was very happy and contented,” she explained, insisting she truly believed herself to be a young woman who had just arrived in England from South Africa. 

She had only vague recollections of how she ended up at the spa in Yorkshire, but remembered that once she was there, she failed to recognise her own face in the papers. 

“At Harrogate, I read every day about Mrs Christie’s disappearance … I regarded her as having acted stupidly,” she said. 

Many historians and biographers believe Agatha’s story, and say she had all the hallmarks of having slipped into a fugue state. 

Those who have experienced these episodes of dissociative amnesia describe it as losing time.

They suddenly come back to themselves in an unfamiliar place with no memory of how they got there. They might not even remember their own name. 

“It’s time to do something radical,” biographer Lucy Worsley wrote in Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman.

“To listen to what Christie says, to understand she had a range of experiences unhelpfully labelled as ‘loss of memory’, and, perhaps most importantly, when she says she was suffering, to believe her.” 

A week after their divorce, Archibald married Nancy Neele, while Agatha got custody of Rosalind and was allowed to keep the name upon which she built her career. 

With her marriage over, Agatha was adrift.

She decided to do what she loved most: She went on an adventure, travelling on the long-distance passenger service, the Orient Express, to the Middle East. 

The journey would inspire one of her most beloved novels, Murder on the Orient Express. 

And during her travels, she went to Iraq, where she met Max Mallowan, a handsome British archaeologist, who was 13 years her junior. 

They married six months later, and stayed together for the rest of her life. 

“I like living,” she wrote in her memoir.

“I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”Agatha Christie and her second husband, Max Mallowan stayed together for the rest of her life.

A black and white photo of Agatha Christie looking very happy with a man smoking a pipe
(Daily Herald Archive/National Science & Media Museum/SSPL via Getty Images)

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