Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin killed in Syria

Acclaimed war reporter killed after her house was shelled in Homs.

This morning brought the sad news that two western journalists - reported to be the Sunday Times's Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik - have been killed in the Syrian city of Homs after the house they were staying in was shelled. The American-born Colvin was the only British newspaper journalist in the city.

In a BBC report just yesterday, Colvin, who lost an eye when she suffered a shrapnel wound while reporting from Sri Lanka in 2001, described the bloodshed as "absolutely sickening".

"I watched a little baby die today," she said. "Absolutely horrific. There is just shells, rockets and tank fire pouring into civilian areas of this city and it is just unrelenting."

An activist in Homs named Omar told Reuters that at least two other foreign journalists were wounded. "Up to this point we have two dead. They are still under the rubble because the shelling hasn't stopped," he said. "No one can get close to the house."

"There is another American female journalist who is in a really serious condition, she really needs urgent care," Omar added.

Conservative MP Rory Stewart has paid tribute to Colvin on Twitter.


George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.