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Scottish independence referendum: Alex Salmond addresses final campaign rally - live
Rolling coverage of all the developments in the last day of campaigning before tomorrows Scottish independence referendumRead the latest summary of key eventsPanelbase poll gives no camp 4-point leadIpsos Mori poll gives no camp 2-point lead Gordon Browns speech at the Better Together rallyShetland could opt to leave an independent Scotland, Carmichael saysAre the Scots independent yet? Find out here 10.05pm BST Survation and the Daily Record have just put out another poll. This one shows yes on 47% and no on 53%, with dont knows stripped out.The figures with dont knows included are: 10.04pm BST The Sun and YouGov have another poll. Very much in line with other surveys published today, it shows no on 52% and yes on 48%. EXCL: Britain will hold together - but only just, YouGov/Sun poll on #indyref tonight predicts; No 52%, Yes 48% (1/5) http://t.co/XGbxNhr6gm 9.56pm BST Talking of Barack Obama, the White House just sent this tweet out from him. The US governments position against Scottish independence is well-established. The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united. -bo 9.54pm BST My colleague Polly Curtis sends this clip of yes campaigners chanting yes we can towards the BBC journalist brought in to replace political editor Nick Robinson after he was booed and heckled. 9.49pm BST It was a strong speech, particularly Salmonds argument that Scottish people are the ones best placed to deal with Scottish problems, his line about Commonwealth countries that have broken free from Westminster and never looked back, and his dismissal of the new powers on offer from the UK parties, which necessarily fall short of what he is offering himself. His promises about a fairer, nuclear-free Scotland with an unthreatened NHS are perhaps on shakier ground. Nevertheless Salmond must surely be pleased with the way he has set the terms of debate and dominated the arguments throughout this campaign. Whether that will be enough to get the yes campaign over the line tomorrow we will have to wait and see. PO 9.43pm BST Lets get to it, and lets do it now, he says in conclusion. 9.42pm BST The vote is not about Salmond or the political parties, he says - its about you. Dont let them tell us we cant. Lets do this now. 9.41pm BST Its our choice, our opportunity, and our time, he says. All we seek is equality and friendship, he tells the rest of the UK. 9.39pm BST We are one nation, Salmond says. If the vote goes against us I pledge to accept that result with dignity.But if the vote is yes there will cease to be a yes and a no campaign, there will only be Team Scotland to take this nation forward, he says. (Another echo of Barack Obama, this time of his remark that there are no red states or blue states, just the United States.) 9.37pm BST The argument has been won that Scotland could be a hugely successful country, Salmond says. He cant believe Westminster politicians tell the nation of Adam Smith it cant run its economy and Robert Burns that it doesnt understand internationalism. Scotlands success can only be asserted when poverty is replaced by employment and opportunity, he says. 9.35pm BST Tomorrow we can choose hope over fear and opportunity over despair, he says. An NHS properly funded and always in public hands, he says (verblessly), ending the bedroom tax, and a chance to remove nuclear weapons. After tomorrow Scots can get the government they vote for not the government someone else votes for, he says. 9.31pm BST Salmond contrasts the fearmongering in Downing Street, asking supermarkets to come out for no, with the ordinary Scots getting on with making this country prosperous. He calls Scotland the most politically engaged country in western Europe, and campaigners should be immensely proud, he says. 9.27pm BST Salmond recalls a queue of people in Dundee waiting patiently to register to vote, noting that he has been vindicated in extending the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds.These people were registering for the first time because they knew something important was happening, he says. Some of them were in their 40s and 50s and probably hadnt been on the register since the poll tax, he says with a laugh. 9.23pm BST What inspires us having the dignity of being an equal nation, he says.We have proven that every person in this nation matters, Salmond says. We have already made Scotland a much better place as a result of the campaign, he says, and he thanks them all. 9.22pm BST This is our opportunity of a lifetime and we must seize it with both hands, he says. Westminster only allowed us a a referendum because they thought no would win. He praises famous names from Labour, the Greens and the trade unions who are supporting independence, as well as the 3,000 businessmen and women across Scotland supporting yes. @AlexSalmond starts his speech in Perth. Go Alex! #voteyes #indyref pic.twitter.com/rMO9n2q7bX 9.19pm BST Salmond says the yes campaign is the underdog as it always has been. The Westminster establishment will fling the kitchen sink and half the bedroom at us, he says. 9.18pm BST Salmond recalls the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Seventy-one nations and territories across the Commonwealth - just about every one of them has become independent from Westminster in the last 100 years, he says, and not one of them has any intention of going back under Westminster rule. 9.17pm BST Loud shouts and chanting of 'Yes we can' as .@AlexSalmond walks onto the stage in Perth pic.twitter.com/W2MBFxqBKP 9.17pm BST Alex Salmond begins speaking to shouts from the crowd of yes we can.He says this has been the greatest campaign in Scottish democratic history and the crowd are the greatest campaigners. 9.15pm BST Sturgeon calls Alex Salmond her mentor and her friend. To me and to thousands of others, he is an inspiration, she says, as Salmond arrives on stage. 9.14pm BST She mentions the recent poll putting yes at 49%. Can we tomorrow take that over 50%?Can we persuade a majority of fellow Scots not to hand control of our affairs back to Westminster but to keep that control in our own hands, she says, characterising voting no as a backwards step. 9.12pm BST Nicola Sturgen, Alex Salmonds deputy, is speaking now at the Perth pro-independence event.She tells a story of an eight-year-old disappointed not to be able to vote. 9.00pm BST Perth Concert Hall awaits @AlexSalmond. #LetsDoThis pic.twitter.com/jdc6rP1LIw 8.53pm BST Here is a clip of the yes rally making its way down Edinburghs Canongate on its way to the Holyrood parliament a short while ago. 8.52pm BST In Perth at the yes rally the BBCs Nick Robinson has been booed and heckled. Many yes campaigners have called the BBCs coverage - and Robinsons in particular - biased. The BBC denies it. @Worldwidewebb1: Nick Robinson of BBC appears at yes rally in Perth to report the news and is immediately heckled ...Quote a moment with booing and heckling of @bbcnickrobinson in Perth. Chilling. Organisers trying to stop it. 8.45pm BST Meanwhile elsewhere in Edinburgh Labours Jim Murphy is speaking after a mammoth tour of Scotland for the no campaign.Murphy says he is glad to see the Scottish flag in the audience. Yes voters are patriots, but no voters are patriots too, he says. 8.40pm BST A yes march has just walked past my window here in Edinburgh, heading to the Holyrood parliament at the end of the street. Yes rally in Edinburgh tonight pic.twitter.com/FmK64I0bWx 8.17pm BST Here are more tweets from Perth concert hall, where Scottish first minister Alex Salmond is due to address the final yes rally of the campaign. In Perth waiting for Alex Salmond to give his final address to a yes campaign rally before tomorrow's vote #indyref pic.twitter.com/l0sLfLufB8Perth concert hall just filling up for @AlexSalmond final speech of the campaign. History! #voteyes #indyref pic.twitter.com/IsqTZx8GdPWindow in Aberdeen.... 'We don't talk much anymore' #bbcindyref #indyref pic.twitter.com/qglszjIfud 8.13pm BST Ipsos Mori has sent more details of its most recent poll for STV News, which showed yes up seven points to 47% and no down five to 49%, with 5% undecided. The polling organisation says the referendum looks too close to call.Turnout for the referendum is now likely to be extremely high, with 95% saying that they are certain to vote (up by 14 points from August). While this figure is higher, as expected, with those aged 55 and over (97%) it is very high across all age groups, including those aged 16-24, where 90% say they are certain to vote.With hours to go now until the polls open it is clear that the result of the independence referendum is extremely close. Yes have made significant gains in recent weeks, to such an extent that the outcome is finely balanced. Both campaigns now will be entirely focused on persuading undecided voters and on ensuring that their supporters turn out to vote tomorrow. 8.05pm BST My colleague Polly Curtis is in Perth at the final yes rally and she sends this clip of the scene. Perth concert hall filling up... #indyref pic.twitter.com/ZrPGPzAa55 8.01pm BST Scottish finance minister John Swinney has been talking to the Guardians Severin Carrell outside Perth concert hall. What I think is our great advantage is that we have got a population that is excited by the prospect and opportunity of independence, he said. 7.53pm BST In a clear sign they are preparing for the possibility of a yes vote and emergency recall of parliament, Commons officials have sent journalists a briefing note detailing the last times the House of Commons was recalled on a Saturday.The last Saturday sitting was on 3 April 1982, the day after the Falklands war began. 7.47pm BST Getting on for half of no voters have felt personally threatened by the yes campaign, according to a poll of 3,000 voters by YouGov for BuzzFeed. Some 46% of no voters said they had been threatened, while 24% of yes voters said they felt the same about the no campaign. Forty-nine per cent of no voters said they felt they had not been able to speak freely about their views during the campaign. Only 21% of yes voters felt the same. 7.41pm BST Twitter users are posting pictures from the rally in Perth where first minister Alex Salmond will speak tonight.@nicolasturgeon valiantly doing channel 4 news with singing in the background. #indyref #perth pic.twitter.com/rCeb84ifaIOutside Final campaign speech in Perth. #voteyes #indyref pic.twitter.com/pZs0PlMHUpOutside Perth concert hall right now #yes #indyref #Perth #Scotland pic.twitter.com/HNZcwPgLRX 7.30pm BST Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish first minister Alex Salmonds deputy, is being interviewed now in Perth. Does she accept Scots who vote no are patriots? 7.27pm BST By coincidence, Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is being interviewed now on Channel 4 News. Alexander is asked if Scottish MPs will be prevented from voting on English matters after the referendum. He says that proposal has not been put forward. 7.25pm BST With just under 12 hours to go until polls open at 7am on Thursday morning, Alex Salmond is due to take part in one last rally in Perth tonight. Ill cover it live here.Salmond is on the brink of the greatest victory of his political career, something that would establish him as the father of his nation. But as my colleague Andrew Rawnsley pointed out on Sunday, even if yes loses on Thursday, Salmond still wins. The nationalist movement is more potent than ever before while the UK-wide parties will have to deliver on the promises to devolve far more powers to Scotland that they have been panicked into pledging to try to save the union. The status quo is no longer on the ballot paper, says one senior Labour figure. Interestingly and ironically, it is the Tories who are now proposing the most radical version of devolution. Whatever is ultimately agreed, Scotland is going to get a lot more powers of self-government. Which many think was the goal Mr Salmond started out with. 7.03pm BST Oil-rich Shetland could opt to leave Scotland if it votes for independence, Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary has said (see earlier).A spokesman for the yes campaign has issued this response, promising the islands more power under an independent Scotland:Scotlands island communities will have greater control over their local economies, natural environment and be represented at the heart of government in an independent Scotland. This pledge has already been made by the current Scottish government and Yes Scotland is fully in support of that.An islands prospectus launched in June outlines a comprehensive package of powers for the island communities and highlights the benefits independence will bring. 6.53pm BST To the north of Aberdeens centre lies Tillydrone, one of the citys most deprived areas, where many have seen little change in the circumstances of their lives despite the oil-fuelled economic boom that has generated massive wealth nearby, reports Ben Quinn.Its an area which, like others across Scotland, that has seen intensive canvassing by the leftwing Radical Independence campaign.I joined them today as their final push got under way before tomorrows referendum vote. Theyve been aiming to get a range of voters out for the yes side including people who are alienated by politics, others who have never voted before and the sizeable number of immigrants living here who are from countries including Nigeria, Poland and Russia. 6.45pm BST 6.24pm BST Its not just the media who have sometimes been getting a hard time from campaigners in Scotland. Sometimes its the other way round. As we report elsewhere on the website, one campaigner received an apology from Skys Kay Burley after she called him a bit of a knob. AS 6.13pm BST Peter Kellner, the YouGov president, told BBC Radio 4 that there was a real minority chance of yes winning. Here are the main points from his interview.It is too close to call for certainty. I would say on the basis of the polling of the last week, I would say no is probably ahead, and will probably stay ahead, but Im not putting any money on the outcome and theres still a real minority chance of yes coming victorious.So you could easily have polls which are statistically perfectly good, that is reasonably close to the result, but nevertheless sends the wrong message, youre on the wrong side of that 50/50 line. 5.42pm BST Oil-rich Shetland could opt to leave Scotland if it votes for independence, Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary says. Hes been speaking to my colleague Esther Addley, and shes filed this.In an interview with the Guardian, Carmichael said if the islands were to vote strongly no but the Scottish national vote was a narrow yes, then a conversation about Shetlands position and the options that might be open to it would begin.The Lib Dem MP, who represents Orkney and Shetland in Westminster and has been secretary of state or Scotland in the coalition government since last October, said those options might include the islands modelling themselves on the Isle of Man, which is a self-governing Crown dependency, or on the Faroe Islands, which are an autonomous country within the Danish realm. 5.37pm BST STV commissioned the Ipsos MORI poll. Heres an extract from their report, with more details.The survey conducted by Ipsos-MORI put support for Yes on 49% against 51% for No when undecideds are excluded.With those yet to make up their mind factored in, the No campaign is on 49%, Yes on 47% and Dont Know at five per cent ... 5.28pm BST So 4 pollsters have NO on 52% and 2 on 51%. Maybe they are wrong but at least they are all wrong together. 5.26pm BST More on the Ipsos MORI poll.@STVNews: Ipsos-MORI phone poll Yes 49% (+7) No 51% (-7). Changes on last poll in early August. 5.25pm BST Scottish Independence Poll by Ipsos-MORI YES - 49% NO - 51% 5.19pm BST What would the late Robin Cook, the former Labour foreign secretary and Scottish MP, have had to say about Scottish independence? David Clark used to work for him as his special adviser and, in a blog, he thinks Cook would have had a distinctive contribution to make to the no campaign.Hes set this out at the Shifting Grounds blog. Heres an extract. ASThe great pity for me is that Robin Cook didnt live to play a role in the referendum debate. He better than anyone would have been able to puncture the sovereigntist illusions of the Yes campaign without resorting to the slur that Scotland is incapable of governing itself properly. He would have started by explaining that the main problems we face arent caused by the loss of sovereignty to Westminster or the EU and cant therefore be solved by clawing it back. The most intractable challenges are often caused by private networks of wealth, crime and terror that exploit the gaps between competing national sovereignties to evade the rules and manipulate people for their own benefit. So the answer cannot be to Balkanise the world into smaller, weaker units. It must be to strengthen and deepen the bonds of political and economic union that already exist while seeking to extend them to others. 5.07pm BST JK Rowling hopes that, by Saturday, the Scots will have put their divisions behind them.Big day in Scotland tomorrow #indyref. My head says no and my heart shouts it - but whatever happens, I hope we're all friends by Saturday. 4.48pm BST What do they feel about the election in Shetland? My colleague Esther Addley has been finding out.There was a rare display of political unity outside the Bank of Scotland on Lerwicks Commercial Street on Wednesday, with representatives of Labour, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats standing side by side behind the Better Together stall.We do have plenty of other issues we could discuss among ourselves, but on this we are a partnership, said Maurice Mullay, who chairs the local Conservative Association. 4.35pm BST Alex Salmond, Scotlands first minister, will address a yes rally in Perth this evening at about 8pm. Paul Owen will be covering it here on the live blog, and colleagues will be watching it in Perth.The SNP has already released an extract, and it shows that Salmond is going to invite the Scots to use the referendum to seize power from the Westminster establishment.If we win tomorrow and that is now in your hands it will be because of the thousands of individuals all across Scotland who have become leaders in their communities.The reaction of the Westminster establishment to this demonstration of people power is telling.To our friends in the rest of the United Kingdom, I say this. We dont seek division, but rather equality. A new, better and harmonious relationship founded on our enduring bonds of family and culture.In an independent Scotland you will find the closest friend, most honest counsel and most committed ally. What we seek is a relationship of equals in these isles for our mutual advantage. 4.28pm BST Alex Salmond, Scotlands first minister, is in Largs now. BBC News are showing Nick Robinson asking him a question, but its hard to hear what hes saying because of supporters in the background shouting Yes, we can. 4.19pm BST Five former British European commissioners have signed a joint letter released by Better Together saying that it would not be easy for Scotland to rejoin the EU if it leaves the UK.Given that they are all Conservatives (Lord Tugendhat, Lord Brittan, Lord Patten), or Labour (Lord Kinnock and Lord Mandelson), that is no great surprise.The Spanish Government has made it clear that re-joining the EU would not be easy for Scotland and could take several years. At best there is no guarantee that Scotland would keep the hard won opt outs and special terms that Britain has achieved over the years, including being out of the Euro, free from EU control over national budgets, retaining the rebate that protects UK taxpayers, and keeping the VAT exemptions on everyday goods and control over our borders. There is good reason to judge that some of them would be impossible for a separate Scotland to achieve by negotiation. 4.12pm BST David Miliband, the former Labour foreign secretary and brother of the current Labour leader, has offered this comparison from the US, where he now runs International Rescue. ASUS thought/fought about secession and separation 150 years ago. #bettertogether was the answer then and logic holds even stronger today. 4.07pm BST Todays online Guardian letters page features letters on the Scottish independence referendum from all over the world. 4.04pm BST 4.02pm BST Heres an afternoon reading list.First to be affected on Friday morning will be the duties and role of Treasury civil servants. After a yes vote, they will be working with the Bank of England to craft the precise wording of assurances given to the markets, in the hope of stemming both an outflow of funds from banks and bank accounts registered in Scotland and a run on sterling combined with a great sell-off of British government bonds. How far should they advise ministers and the governor of the Bank to go? In the interests of Scotland, of course, it would be best for the UK to give an open-ended guarantee of the value of deposits in Scottish banks. But the markets might test such a commitment very quickly. Is that really in the interests of English, Welsh and Northern Irish UK citizens that what will, after a yes vote, by five oclock on Friday morning already be more their Bank of England than it will be Scottish citizens Bank? Should Treasury officials advise the governor and the Chancellor to expose rump UK citizens to such potentially huge liabilities? This is not just a question of civil service ethics. It is a constitutional and a public management question which has to be answered in a hurry.A bond of trust between large sections of the people and the media is broken. It goes back before Nick Robinson, Leveson to Hillsborough and beyond as people have begun to realise the deeply reactionary implications of the slow tabloidisation of society.This issue of trust is important when considering important matters. So who do we look to when we dont trust editorials or politicians or bankers any more?There are still a group of around 10 per cent of people who are undecided or could change their minds. Will they split roughly 50/50 as with everyone else or not? Will they all decide to support Alex Salmond at the last minute? At Ipsos MORI our approach to dealing with this is to ask which side of the argument they are leaning towards, Yes or No. We include all the leaners with the side they are leaning to, as we have routinely done with every final voting poll we have ever published. At the moment they split Yes/NO bang in line with everybody else and move the overall result by less than 0.1 per cent. That leaves us with dont knows who say they are certain to vote, but still cant decide at all - around 4 per cent of all our respondents. However, even if they split by say 2 to 1 either way, they only move the headline figures by 1 point - and, at the moment anyway, even if they voted 100 per cent Yes they would still not pull the Yes vote over 50 per cent. So undecided voters are not that big a challenge to pollsters.It is commonplace to argue that the Scottish independence referendum has reinvigorated political debate: grabbing the attention of people who would normally not engage; producing high TV audiences for debates; and packing the town halls with people hungry for information. Yet, two problems should give us pause for thought. First, public knowledge of the issues is patchy as expressed in polls as general uncertainty or incorrect answers to specific questions. Second, public attention to a small number of issues including the future of a currency Union, Scotlands membership of the EU, Scotlands NHS, and Trident comes at the expense of attention to political and policy processes. The referendum on Scottish independence has not produced the same focus on political reform as the referendum on Scottish devolution.Sometimes foreigners see us with a clarity we lack. Britishness was immensely useful to immigrants and ethnic minorities. It gave them a space where racists could not reach them. No one could say that they were not really British, because in multinational, multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Britain the real Briton did not exist.Last week The Times published a letter from a Jewish refugee from Hitler, who made my point for me. More by luck that anything else, she saved her life by receiving citizenship in 1939. When she applied for her first job, her employer asked her nationality. English, she said as she embraced her new land. No youre British, he replied. You will never be truly English. The scene opens with the three witches: When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the referendums done, When the battles lost and won. That will be when Salmonds gone. Where the place? Hampstead Heath. Better Together unto death! Is that your phone? Daveheart calls: anon! Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the plebs and filthy air. 3.53pm BST Heres the Guardian video of Nicola Sturgeon, Scotlands deputy first minister, on the final day of campaigning. 3.48pm BST 3.44pm BST Here is the Panelbase summary of the results of its poll. Its headline figure is exactly the same as that produced by the three polls that came out overnight. The headline independence figures for our final referendum poll are as follows: Yes 45% No 50% 3.34pm BST Theres a new poll out.BREAKING: final @Panelbase #indyref poll gives #no 50% #yes 45% and 5% undecided; exc d/ks 52% #no 48% #yes (same as all yesterday)And @Panelbase asked voters "to imagine that they were standing in the polling booth". Result: 53% #no and 47% #yes #indyref 3.27pm BST The legend - almost certainly apocryphal - is that a consignment of ZX Spectrum computers fell off the back of a lorry in Dundee in the 1980s and whizzkids began using them to create computer games, reports Steven Morris in Dundee. From such humble beginnings, a whole high-tech industry developed. Grand Theft Auto was conceived here and 4J Studios, which works with the developers of Minecraft, is based on the revamped dockside. Abertay University has become a world leader in computer games and interactive media courses.Ive already voted by post yes. I think a change is needed. Its not that I think theres anything particularly wrong but I dont see why we shouldnt be making our own decisions for ourselves. I dont worry that the computer games industry will be harmed by independence; its a business that doesnt depend on the UK as such; its a global industry. Dundee has shown by becoming such a centre for excellence in computer games that you can do something for yourself.My friends cant believe that Im still unsure but Im worried by those who are getting so excited about the idea of independence. Nobody really knows what is going to happen. Nobody knows the real cost of independence and that scares me a bit. I believe the people of Scotland, we can stand on our own two feet. Weve got enough natural resources as a people and a country that we can do it. 3.27pm BST Alex Salmond is fond of citing the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, when asked about the economic case for independence. Stiglitz thinks its sound.But other economists dont agree. The latest to weigh in is Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He says the overwhelming majority of macroeconomists think the economic cost to Scotland of leaving the UK would be very high.The claims that Stiglitz makes about the economics of Scottish secession are a jumble of wishful economic theorizing (assume what I want to be true, is, and what I dont want, isnt), social democrat idealism (only selfish special interest nastiness keeps the world the way it is, we can easily do better), and 60s hippiedom (act local, we can set up our own community not subject to the Man). I am no neo-conservative, but I have been mugged by reality enough to view that as an irresponsible basis for policy advice. The article also ignores or misrepresents some facts about the Scottish and European situation, presumably because those facts dont fit the theory or ideals. 3.12pm BST 3.08pm BST On the World at One Nicola Sturgeon, Scotlands deputy first minister, was asked about Sir Tom Hunters criticism of the SNPs plans for a currency union. (See here.) She replied:Tom Hunter is very respected Scottish businssman and hes actually entitled to his view. There are many other equally respected Scottish businessmen whove come to a different view. They think a common currency is in the best interests of Scotland the best interests of the rest of the UK. 3.03pm BST Helen Pidd spent yesterday in Dumfries and Kirkcudbright in southern Scotland talking to families divided on whether to vote yes or no.Marie McFadden works in the Burns Cafe on Bank Street in Dumfries, and is voting no on Thursday. Her niece, 20-year-old Roisin, is voting yes, along with the rest of the extended family.I think if my life was horrible and if I wasnae able to go on holiday or have my tea out or was in hardship I might want change. But I just feel like Ive got a nice wee life. I dont want to jeopardise that for something unknown. Its scary, isnt it?They promised everything would change last time after the other referendum, that we would have more power, and nothing changed. I dont think we will be fooled again. I think we should have our own rules and not everybody elses rules.I decided about a month ago; before that I was going to vote no like everyone else in my family. But then I started reading more about it on Facebook, watching the Yes Scotland videos on YouTube, watched the debates and changed my mind. The thing I dont agree with is that our vote doesnt really count in the Westminster elections. We vote Labour or SNP and we still get a Tory government that we dont want. I think we should make our own decisions about what happens in our own country. When I told my parents I was voting yes they said I was an idiot. 2.50pm BST Heres a clip of former prime minister Gordon Browns well-received speech to the Better Together rally earlier today. Brown seems to have breathed new life into his political career in recent days with his passionate attempt to save the union and keep Scotland part of the UK with his plans for further devolution. PO 2.46pm BST With the race on a knife-edge, the voters of minority sections of Scottish society could make a potentially crucial difference. The Guardians Ben Quinn is in Aberdeen, which has one of the largest proportions of residents born outside of Scotland.Scotlands third most populous city has drawn large numbers of immigrants from across Europe and the rest of the world as a result of its thriving oil boom-fuelled economy.They range from executives and specialists working in the oil industry itself to many others, including a sizeable number of eastern European immigrants, who are working in the citys services, catering and hospitality sector. 2.19pm BST My colleague George Arnett has summarised the referendum in nine key numbers. Click here to read it in full, but here are the nine points in brief: 2.19pm BST Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, has suggested Scotland should stay in the union to help stop its unemployment rate doubling to the level of Ireland, reports Rowena Mason. 2.17pm BST This tweet, claiming that the Scottish Telegraphs editor Alan Cochrane is on a £20,000 bonus should the referendum be a decisive no, caught our eye. POPrivate Eye magazine alleges Daily Telegraph's politics editor due a £20K bonus in event of a "no" vote on #indyref: http://t.co/5Fb0T3v86dI would love a bonus but I know nothing of any bonus plans which Im accused of in Private Eye. If there was a bonus going, Im waiting with open hands.And if there are any bonuses going, all my lot would get one. I will put in a word for you too. 2.11pm BST Nicholas Watt asks:Did Gordon Brown intend to quote Lady Macbeth when he warned a Yes vote is irreversible: 'once it's done it's done' @UK_Together #indyrefAnd that Lady Macbeth quote alluded to by Gordon Brown: 'What's done is done.' @UK_Together #indyref 2.07pm BST 1.54pm BST Let us tell those people who have still got doubts and are wavering, who are thinking of voting yes yesterday but could be persuaded today, let us tell them about the real risks. This is not the fear of the unknown. This is now the risks of the known. An economic minefield where problems could implode at any time. An economic trapdoor down which we go, from which we might never escape.Real risk 1: the uncertainty about the currency unaddressed by the SNP. Real risk 2: default from debt that they threaten, unaddressed by the SNP. Real risk 3: having to build £30bn of reserves, at the cost of the NHS and the welfare state, unaddressed by the SNP. Real risk 4: prices rising in the shops, unaddressed by the SNP. Real risk 5: interest rates and mortgage rates going up, unaddressed by the SNP. Real risk 6: a million jobs, dependent on our trade and our membership of the UK, shipbuilding, finances, all the problems unaddressed by the SNP.A vow - it looks like something written on the back of a fag packet at the fag end of a long campaign. But the people of Scotland will not be fooled.There is only one guarantee of getting more powers for the Scottish Parliament and that is by voting Yes, so lets take that message out, lets take our message out to every street, every city, every town, every village. every community, every workplace, every home in Scotland.We are on the verge of victory because we have reconnected so many people to the political process, people who have been justifiably angry at a broken political system.What it takes to change the world is a pencil and a piece of paper on a ballot, and putting your cross on Yes can change the world ... To quote Oscar Wilde, I would like to say at this point, I dont want to live in a world where Utopia isnt on the map. Even if we never reach it, let us lift anchor and set sail. [Under a currency union] our interest rate policy will be set by a foreign countrys bank and indeed our spending in global terms will be dictated by a foreign bank.Now, I dont think that is the independence that the yes side have been striving for, and I dont think that has really been spelt out to people who say we want to be independent, we want to be separate. That is me is less flexible that the fiscal autonomy that we have today. 1.27pm BST Are the Scots independent yet? Find out here: http://www.arethescotsindependentyet.com/ 1.16pm BST While Gordon Brown was giving his well-received speech at the Better Together rally in Glasgow, yes campaigners were in buoyant mood as famous names gathered with grassroots activists outside the same citys concert hall to mark the final push before the country goes to the polls tomorrow, reports Libby Brooks.Actors Martin Compston and Elaine C Smith were joined by the Yes Scotland executive and members of groups including Women for Independence, English Scots for Yes and Firefighters for Yes.The area around Donald Dewars statue at the top of Buchanan Street, as well as nearby George Square, has become an unofficial gathering point for yes activists over the past week, with flashmobs singing Caledonia and even an impromptu early evening ceilidh. Its the indyrefs Tahrir Square, if that comparison isnt too loaded.I think it is about people, particularly women, weighing up the arguments. Were really good at that ... In essence it is about hope ... Yes offers hope and change, and people want to have something in life to vote for. We need to get every single vote out, in particular all those folk who have registered for the first time. Our slogan is take another woman with you and keep on talking about the benefits of a yes vote for women, including equality enshrined in a written constitution, free child are, equal pay legislation with teeth.I think most people have made up their minds, but for those who havent its really about keeping a strong presence on the streets and being there to answer any last minute questions.The costume get a good reaction. Everybody smiles. Its a way of starting the conversation. A yes vote is a chance to get nuclear weapons out of Scotland and possibly the UK. 1.14pm BST Enrico Letta, the former Italian prime minister, told the BBCs World Service that a yes vote in Scotland could lead to the decline of the EU.The yes in Scotland will help those who want, in the referendum of 2017, to take the UK out.The UK is one of the pillars of the single market, of big international trade agreements and is so important in Europe that the consequence will be maybe the start of the true decline of the European Union. 1.13pm BST Heres my colleague Nicholas Watts view on the Gordon Brown speech:Gordon Brown gave a vintage performance at the last Better Together rally of the referendum campaign that will bring back memories of the days when he dominated the UK political stage as one of the main architects of New Labour. Speaking without notes, the former prime minister combined a passionate appeal to Scottish voters, as he said he would vote no for the sake of his children, with a classic Brown economic demolition job of his opponents. 1.10pm BST Another Tory MP has expressed his opposition to the Barnett formula - the arrangement guaranteeing the Scottish government a certain amount of money that the leaders of all three main UK parties promised to maintain yesterday. This is from Philip Davies, MP for Shipley.For the record, I will not be voting to maintain an unfair funding settlement for Scotland whatever Messrs Cameron, Miliband and Clegg sayIn the event of a No vote, I will be doing all I can to stop MPs from Scotland voting on issues in Parliament which don't relate to Scotland 12.58pm BST 12.54pm BST Anyone who covered British politics in the late 1980s and the 1990s knows that Gordon Brown can deliver a great speech. It was a skill less apparent during his premiership, but in some ways the Scottish independence campaign has revived his career and this speech was vintage Brown, combining passion, certainty, Biblical rhetoric and a hammer-blow assault on his opponents.Actually, it was much the same speech he has been giving on the stump for a week or more. But only in the 24 hours has he been getting a wide television audience for it and, as you can see from some of the Twitter reaction, it is going down very well."That was a fine piece of political rhetoric and one of the best speeches I've heard [Brown] deliver" - @adamboultonSKYFor the first time in my life Gordon Brown spoke for me in a powerful, passionate and compelling testament for the Union #nothanks #indyrefGordon Brown making Alex Salmond look B League. On fire at Love Scotland Vote No rally in GlasgowBrown might still be PM if he showed this passion when PM. Gordie goes to Holyrood as First Minister?The new Braveheart > Gordon Brown.Gordon Brown re-writing his political (and actual) obituary with the speech of his life right nowThat felt a bit like @Mo_Farah overtaking everyone down the final straight. Let's seeWatch Gordon Brown now. An extraordinary speech in the making #indyrefQuite astonishingly good speech from Gordon Brown. "If you don't know, vote no." Totally different man to when PM #indyrefReminded of Brown's Citizens UK barnstormer. Something funny happens to that guy at the eleventh hour.Mildly bemused at number of right wing hacks & commentators who have suddenly realised Gordon Brown can deliver a decent speech #indyrefGordon Brown currently exemplifying everything that's been missing from politics: principle, conviction, authenticity and gravitas.Intrigued to see what this Gordon Brown revival means for GE2015. Surely now harder for Tories to land their "he ruined everything" line?Really good rally. Am certain that power & passion of Gordon Brown's speech will come over well on tv. Clare Lally was brilliant. #indyrefGordon Brown in the best speech of the entire #indyref campaign: "Have confidence. Stand up and be counted tomorrow." 12.37pm BST Heres an extract from Gordon Browns speech - on the risks independence would pose, and the massive financial hole he says their policies could leave in Scotlands accounts.Extract from Gordon Brown's Glasgow speech - on all the risks of independence https://t.co/AZzbgkcxlp via @audioboo 12.26pm BST 12.19pm BST Gordon Brown is speaking at the Better Together rally.The silent majority will be silent no more, he says. 12.02pm BST David Cameron, the prime minister, has reaffirmed his intention not to resign if there is a yes vote. This is what he said this morning at an event in Hampshire.My name is not on the ballot paper. Whats on the ballot paper is does Scotland want to stay in the United Kingdom, or does Scotland want to separate itself from the United Kingdom?. Thats the only question that will be decided on Thursday night. The question about my future will be decided at the British general election coming soon. 12.02pm BST 11.59am BST Terry Macalister, the Guardians energy editor, sends this report on some statistics just out from from Wood Mackenzie, a globally respected Edinburgh-based energy consultant. The report predicts that the longterm decline in North Sea oil and gas production will be temporarily arrested in the run up to 2018 but will then fall again.By 2023, it will be down below 1m barrels of oil equivalents a day - from 1.43m now and 1.46m in 2018. 1m barrels would be less than a quarter of output in the North Sea peak days of 1999. 11.50am BST A yes vote in Scotland would be very demoralising for the unionist community in Northern Ireland, an academic has warned. This is from my colleague Henry Macdonald.Dr Graham Walker, an expert on Ulster-Scotland relations, said a yes vote would have major implications for the region and lead to further political de-stabilisation.The Queens University Belfast political scientist said: Scotland is the most emotional link in the British chain for unionists. It might be questioned whether unionists can adapt to a new UK that doesnt have Scotland in it. Would unionists feel their identity could be expressed in that new UK? 11.38am BST Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader, Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader and Willie Rennie, the Scottish Lib Dem leader, are now on stage at the Better Together rally in Glasgow.This is from Blair McDougall, the Better Together campaign director.Brilliant atmosphere at our Love Scotland Vote No Rally. #indyref pic.twitter.com/ue5Nh9grFe 11.37am BST Alistair Darling, the leader of Better Together, is speaking. ASHe says at the end of a campaign like this, you need certainty.Yes we love Scotland. Thats why were voting no. 11.31am BST Eddie Izzard, the comedian, has opened the Better Together rally in Scotland. He said saying no could be a positive act, if it involved rejecting a bad thing.Alistair Darling has just come on stage. He was escorted in by people playing the bagpipes.Eddie Izzard opens the final pro-Union rally. #indyref pic.twitter.com/N8LR8DXPbr 11.27am BST Heres more detail on what Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, told the Spanish parliament this morning about how long it would take Scotland to rejoin the EU. (See here.) My colleague Ashifa Kassam has filed this from Madrid:Rajoy has warned that it could take years for an independent Scotland to be integrated into the European Union, as all 28 countries would need to agree unanimously. Its clear, as is explained in the treaties and has been demonstrated more than once by EU leaders, that if one part of a state separates, it converts itself into a third territory with respect to the European Community, said Rajoy. 11.21am BST Lord Barnett has now found his comments about the eponymous formula (see here) have made it into a Yes Scotland news release.The release contains an appeal to the Scottish people from the many groups backing Yes Scotland. They say the Scots should ignore the vow from the three main UK party leaders yesterday offering Scotland more powers in the event of a no vote.Already Tory MPs are rebelling against the promises made. The leaders vow, they say, is not a guarantee that Westminster will accept the changes. Some have already said they will block them. Even the person who introduced the Barnett formula has spoken out to say that its continuation would be a terrible mistake - and scrapping it would slash Scotlands budget by some £4 billion, which would do huge damage to our National Health Service.Today, the most powerful political force in the land is the people of Scotland. 11.16am BST Libby Brooks has been at todays yes rally outside the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.Yes Scotland & grassroots supporters gathering outside Glasgow's concert hall #indyref pic.twitter.com/coYYwuJaEgA mix of celebs & grassroots activists here in Glasgow, inc @WomenForIndy pic.twitter.com/5wWO2usWeF'Let's do this' ....not sure what John Lewis has to say about that #indyref pic.twitter.com/afkiGJbG7I.@patrickharvie tells Glasgow crowd: whichever way it goes, nothing is ever going to be the same again #indyrefElaine C Smith: people finally have something to vote for & something to hope for #indyref 11.06am BST 11.00am BST John Harris has been travelling across Scotland and has met people on both sides of the independence debate. Above all what he observed from both the yes and the no camps was an engagement with politics he had thought was dying out. I can really feel that something incredibles happening here, he says in the video below. In British terms, no question, this is the most significant political moment of my lifetime. PO 10.48am BST The Scottish Police Federation seems to be accusing journalists and no campaigners of exaggerating the extent of aggression deployed during the election campaign. It has released this statement from Brian Docherty, its chairman. ASThe referendum debate has been robust but overwhelmingly good natured.It was inevitable that the closer we came to the 18th of September passions would increase but that does not justify the exaggerated rhetoric that is being deployed with increased frequency. Any neutral observer could be led to believe Scotland is on the verge of societal disintegration yet nothing could be further from the truth. Police officers must be kept free from the distractions of rhetoric better suited to the playground that the political stump. If crime has been committed it will be investigated and dealt with appropriately but quite simply police officers have better things to do that officiate in spats on social media and respond to baseless speculation of the potential for disorder on and following polling day. 10.30am BST David Cameron, the prime minister, has given an interview to the Times (paywall). Magnus Linklater, who interviewed him, said he only got seven minutes with the PM, before Camerons speech in Aberdeen on Monday, but he managed to get a splash out of it. ASHere are the main points.[Cameron] was at a loss to explain a series of polls showing the referendum on a knife edge. Im not a pollster, so I cant really explain polls. My job is to help move them rather than explain them, he said. Asked whether the prospect of defeat wakes him in the night, he answered: Of course.I lead a democratic country, and when one of the nations of the UK voted for a government whose policy was to have a referendum, I had a choice. You either say Yes, you can have that referendum, and heres a way of making it legal, decisive and fair, or I could have taken the approach of just putting my head in the sand, and saying, No, you cant have a referendum. I think that actually Scottish independence would be closer today if I had taken that approach than it is by having a proper referendum.Does he, then, wake in the middle of the night sweating over the possibility of defeat?Of course, he says immediately.For Scotland to have further devolution, you need to answer the prior question: Do you want to stay in the United Kingdom, or separate off from the United Kingdom?The intimidation of businesses, and the fear people have for speaking out that I found disturbing. Because Ive got direct experience of having business people sitting round a table, and asking them, well, if youre so worried about separation, why dont you say something? And then it all comes out, immediately [they speak out] theres someone on the phone saying Youll struggle getting work from us.There has been quite a lot of that going on, and that does worry me. 10.27am BST After much speculation over which side the Scottish Sun would endorse in the independence debate, todays paper refuses to pick sides, Frances Perraudin reports. Britains Got Talent vs the Ecks Factor, the headline reads. We believe in the people of Scotland to make the right decision, the paper concludes. Whichever you choose, the Scottish Sun will continue to fight for you and our Scottish principles.Wednesday's Scottish Sun ftront page - "Britain's Got Talent v The Ecks Factor" #indyref #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/tfhBLNZNBxWednesday's Sun front page - "Bus driver's 26 kids with 9 women" #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers pic.twitter.com/vFeJ0IUTJVWednesday's Daily Mail front page - "The Seriously Nasty Party" #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers #indyref pic.twitter.com/WuOBKoP0xFWednesday's Herald front page - "Yes hails polls momentum" #tomorrowspaperstoday #indyref #scotpapers pic.twitter.com/ei9HnWXxpAWednesday's Telegraph - "Salmond accused of bullying top academic" #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers #indyref pic.twitter.com/4nQaKnCFZs 9.57am BST Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury in the UK government and a Scottish MP, has also put out a statement about the job figures. He says the overall numbers show that the United Kingdom is becoming the employment powerhouse of the major economies and the the Scottish figures are a powerful demonstration of how we are better together. AS 9.43am BST The Scottish government has welcomed job figures out this morning showing employment in Scotland at an all-time high.This is from the SNP news release.The strength of Scotlands economy throughout the referendum campaign was revealed today with new figures showing employment levels are now at an all-time high.The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, cover May to July 2014 and show that total employment increased in Scotland by 87,000 over the year to reach 2,623,000 the highest on record.On every headline figure we are outperforming the UK. That is the reality of Scotlands economy and that clearly demonstrates how wrong the scaremongering of the UK government and the No campaign has been.Two years ago the chancellor claimed that the referendum process would be bad for Scotlands economy. Instead employment is at a record high and our economy has recovered from the westminster recession. 9.42am BST Ahead of a frenetic final day of campaigning today by both sides in tomorrows referendum, many activists on both sides tried to catch up on some sleep last night. But not everywhere. The Guardians Ben Quinn was at the final session held in Aberdeen by the pro-independence artists group National Collective. 9.37am BST The Guardian now has 14 reporters, writers and editors joining our regular correspondents Severin Carrell and Libby Brooks across Scotland from Esther Addley in the Shetlands to Helen Pidd in the Borders, with comment and analysis from Martin Kettle, among others.Steven Morris, more usually found reporting in the south west of England, is in Dundee, where hes been talking to voters about how they feel about tomorrows referendum. Hes found a taxi driver who will be ferrying people to the polls for free (and perhaps giving them the arguments for a yes vote along the way). 9.30am BST Alex Salmond, Scotlands first minister, has led the yes campaign, and Alistair Darling, the Labour former chancellor who heads the Better Together campaign, has led the no side. They were both on the Today programme this morning. Much of what they said repeated what they have been saying for days, but here are the new, or new-ish, points. ASIf we can encapsulate some of that enthusiasm, some of that positivity, that is going to turn this nation into a better place and we will be the envy of democratic participation across the rest of the world.You know it and I know it and on Friday when the yes side have won this campaign, and I hope have won it with a decent margin, then youll find Westminster politicians singing an entirely different tune.Unfortunately there are some who have stepped over the mark. Frankly, to have people demonstrating outside the BBC, some thousands of people holding up placards of journalists they disapprove of - you dont expect to see that in this country. What sort of Scotland would that be if that sort of behaviour - which the first minister of Scotland has condoned, he said it was joyous - some people find that quite frightening. 9.23am BST Are the Scots independent yet? Need a website to tell you? Here you go ... Well be returning to that website again over the next few days. PO 8.42am BST Spain is not the only country outside the UK where people are taking very close interest in the independence campaign, and tomorrows vote. It is attracting huge interest around the world.Our correspondents have done a round-up of how the campaign is being covered internationally. Spains watching because of the parallels with its own separatist movement in Catalonia, Australia is interested for the impact on the commonwealth and Germany for what it means for Europe. 8.36am BST In the Today interview James Naughtie said the Spanish prime minister (not the Scottish prime minister, as I mis-typed) said an independent Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU.Here are more details of the intervention from Mariano Rajoy.Spanish PM Rajoy speaking in parliament a few minutes ago: Scotland would have to reapply for EU membership like any other state. #indyrefRajoy said independence votes are bad for people of Europe .. spirit of the age is integration, not separation. #indyrefRajoy also said Scotland has fewer devolved powers than Spanish regions such as #Catalonia & Basque country. #indyref 8.25am BST Q: This morning the Spanish prime minister said an independent Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU as a new member.Salmond says it has been Spains position that it does not interfere. A Spanish minister on Newsnight on Monday refused to say that Spain would try to block Scotland joining. 8.18am BST Q: How do you bring the country together if you do not win?Salmond says his red line issue in negotiating the Edinburgh agreement (the one setting up the referendum) was the one committing both governments to accepting the result, and making it work. 8.16am BST Salmond says he never thought he would see people queuing up to vote, as he saw in Dundee.And these were not young people, he said. They were people who cared about their country. It was humbling. If that spirit can be captured, it will turn Scotland into the envy of the democractic world. 8.14am BST Today @naughtiej is in Edinburgh where he'll be speaking to @TogetherDarling and @AlexSalmond. #r4today pic.twitter.com/zEpRuEditSJames Naughtie is now interviewing the Scottish first minister and leader of the independence campaign Alex Salmond. 8.09am BST The three main UK party leaders said yesterday that they wanted to continue the Barnett formula, a funding arrangement that guarantees Scotland a certain amount of money.But Lord Barnett, who was Labour chief secretary to the Treasury in the late 1970s when the arrangement was set up, told the World Tonight last night that it should go.Listen: As the three main party leaders pledge to keep funding Scotland with the Barnett formula, the architec... http://t.co/6FayhlsGotIt is unfair and should be stopped, it is a mistake. This way is terrible and can never be sustainable, it is a national embarrassment and personally embarrassing to me as well. If we want to give them some money after devo-max OK, but do it honestly and openly. Not by doing so under the table like this. 7.53am BST There are also campaign events in England today. The Day of Unity campaign is organising rallies in various cities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to allow people to show their support for Scotland staying in the UK. There are details on its website. 7.50am BST The three polls out this morning are not the last, Political Bettings Mike Smithson says.YouGov and Ipsos-MORI polls still to come. The latter has one this evening & another tomorrow 7.44am BST Q: What have you learnt about Scotland?We are more self-confident than we were 20, 30 years ago. 7.43am BST Q: How do you heal the divisions afterwards?It is going to be hard. The vast majority of people are reasonable. But some have stepped over the mark. To see people demonstrating outside the BBC,with pictures of journalists ... you should not see that in this country, he says. 7.41am BST Q: If there is a yes vote, will you accept Alex Salmonds offer to join Team Scotland?Darling says it is deeply offensive to suggest that only yes supporters are patriotic. 7.39am BST Q: The no side has lost its clear lead. Do you think if no wins, that will only hold back independence a short time?No, says Darling. He and Alex Salmond have both said this will settle the matter for a generation. 7.38am BST Q: Deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg signed the vow yesterday. People remember Clegg breaking his previous pledge on tuition fees.Darling says the main parties agree on this. 7.36am BST James Naughtie is interviewing Alistair Darling, the leader of the pro-union Better Together campaign.Q: Why dont we know what new powers the three main parties are promising? 7.33am BST Heres my daily engraving from the wall of the Scottish parliament.Engraving on the wall of the Scottish parliament pic.twitter.com/dDROD0ryTc 7.21am BST Within less than 24 hours, the polls will have opened in a vote on Scottish independence that could break up the United Kingdom. The polls suggest that that is a realistic possibility, although a no vote seems more likely.For my part, I ask only this.Make this decision with a clear head and a clear conscience.Know that by voting Yes, what we take into our hands is a responsibility like no other - the responsibility to work together to make Scotland the nation it can be.Dont let this opportunity slip through our fingers.Dont let them tell us we cant. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:05:40 GMT)

British hostage's friend appeals to leader of Isis to show mercy
Friend, thought to have witnessed Alan Henning's abduction near Aleppo, makes address directly to Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiA friend of the British hostage being threatened with murder by Islamic State militants has made an impassioned video-taped plea to the group's leader in an attempt to save his life.The appeal, in both Arabic and English and addressed directly to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who styles himself as caliph of the self-proclaimed state, was posted on YouTube Wednesday, four days after militants threatened to kill the aid convoy volunteer from north-west England. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:24:55 GMT)

Modern-day slavery rife in Malaysias electronics industry
Report says a third of migrant workers in industry are trapped in debt bondage and have their passports illegally withheldOne-third of migrant workers in the Malaysian electronics industry, which produces goods for some of the worlds best-known brands, are trapped in forced labour, a form of modern-day slavery, according to new research.A report by Verité, an NGO working on supply chain accountability, found that forced labour is present in the supply chains of a wide cross-section of household electronics brands, which use Malaysian factories to produce billions of pounds worth of goods every year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:01:04 GMT)

Ebola lockdown in Sierra Leone: nationwide three-day curfew
Unprecented national shutdown, with health workers going house-to-house to identify Ebola cases; MSF raises concerns about capacity to copeResidents across Sierra Leone, one of three countries at the centre of the biggest ever Ebola outbreak, scrambled on Wednesday to prepare for a three-day, unprecedented nationwide "lockdown" in a radical step intended to curb the spread of the killer virus, but which some health experts believe could worsen the epidemic.Citizens will not be allowed to leave their homes from Thursday until Sunday. Known as "ose to ose" in the widely-used local Krio, health workers will also go house-to-house identifying cases and raising awareness. More than 2,300 have died across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the nine-month epidemic that the World Bank warned this week could lead to deaths in the "tens of thousands" if unchecked by the end of the year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:41:11 GMT)

Artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes, claim scientists
Controversial research suggests artificial sweeteners may raise blood sugar levels by promoting growth of certain gut bacteriaArtificial sweeteners may contribute to soaring levels of diabetes, according to a controversial study that suggests the additives could exacerbate the problem they are meant to tackle.Researchers in Israel found that artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks and other foods can disrupt healthy microbes that live in the gut, leading to higher blood sugar levels an early sign of diabetes. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:12:00 GMT)

Thailand murders: two British brothers questioned
Royal Thai police question Christopher and James Ware who are believed to have spent time with victims on Koh TaoTwo British brothers have been questioned by police investigating the murder of two Britons who were bludgeoned to death on a popular island resort in southern Thailand.A spokesman for the Royal Thai police said on Wednesday that Christopher and James Ware, who are believed to have spent time with David Miller and Hannah Witheridge on Koh Tao in the days before the pair were killed, had been questioned about the deaths, along with 11 Burmese suspects. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:54:36 GMT)

Tories charge £2,500 a head for access to ministers at party conference
Paying guests will attend conference's business day, including lunch with David Cameron and dinner with George OsborneThe Conservatives are charging business executives and lobbyists £2,500 each for access to David Cameron, George Osborne and other ministers at their party conference in Birmingham this year.The paying guests will attend the conference's "business day", which will include lunch with the prime minister and dinner with the chancellor. They will also have a chance to talk to ministers about their specific concerns in "policy break-out" sessions. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:47:44 GMT)

China refuses to explain whereabouts of envoy to Iceland
Ambassador Ma Jisheng reportedly taken away by Chinese state security amid spy claimsChina's foreign ministry has refused to address the whereabouts of its ambassador to Iceland after reports he has been detained for giving secrets to Japan.Ma Jisheng left Reykjavik for China in January this year but did not return in March as expected. A New York-based Chinese language site reported on Tuesday that he and his wife had been seized by state security on suspicion of espionage. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:14:06 GMT)

IRA Kingsmills massacre: full inquest ordered into 1976 killings
Ten Protestant workers shot dead in South Armagh ambush the day after six Catholics were killed by loyalist paramilitariesA new full inquest is to be held into the IRA massacre of 10 Protestant workers shot dead in South Armagh in 1976.The men were taken out of their minibus and then riddled with bullets at Kingsmills. Their sole Catholic colleague was spared because of his religion. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:51:25 GMT)

Obesity could bankrupt NHS if left unchecked
Chief executive of NHS England warns of catastrophic impact obesity could have on health and rising healthcare costsThe chief executive of NHS England has warned that obesity will bankrupt the health service unless Britain gets serious about tackling the problem."Obesity is the new smoking, and it represents a slow-motion car crash in terms of avoidable illness and rising health care costs," Simon Stevens told public health officials at a conference in Coventry. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:39:44 GMT)

Doctor Who time-travels to late slot in Saturday night TV battle
Having returned last month starring Peter Capaldi, show moves to 8.30pm to accommodate Strictly Come DancingDoctor Who has been through many incarnations in its 51-year history but none quite so late as 8.30pm, where the show will move later this month in the latest twist in the Saturday night ratings war with ITV.The time-travelling show, which made its eagerly anticipated return last month with Peter Capaldi in the lead role, has been moved to a later time to accommodate the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:29:22 GMT)

UK unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008 financial crisis
City rules out rate rise after jobless numbers fall more sharply than expected but pay packets continue to shrink in real termsThe City is ruling out a rise in interest rates this year amid evidence that a fresh fall in unemployment to its lowest levels since the height of the financial crisis has failed to reignite pay growth.Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that joblessness on the internationally agreed yardstick was 468,000 lower in the three months to July than in the same quarter of 2013 the biggest annual decline since the Lawson boom was raging in 1988. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:51:03 GMT)

Mortgage lenders spark price war with interest-rate cuts
Battle comes despite expectations that the Bank of England will soon move its base rate off its historic low of 0.5%A fresh mortgage price war has broken out, with a string of big lenders slashing their rates in recent days.Metro Bank, Halifax, Barclays, Nationwide Building Society, HSBC, Virgin Money, Skipton Building Society and Norwich and Peterborough Building Society are among those to change their rates. Meanwhile, Virgin Money has launched a new range that allows people to fix in for one year longer than the usual five-year deals and protect themselves against the prospect of interest rates rising for a prolonged period. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:29:26 GMT)

Alice Gross police look for missing London man
Scotland Yard appeals for public's help to find Arnis Zalkalns, who is known to travel to work on same route as 14-year-oldDetectives investigating the disappearance of schoolgirl Alice Gross have said they are also searching for a man who has been missing for nearly two weeks. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:52:02 GMT)

Max Clifford appeals against 8-year prison sentence for indecent assaults
The former celebrity PR guru has launched an appeal against the length of his sentence, which will be heard on 9 OctoberDisgraced PR guru Max Clifford has launched an appeal against his eight-year prison sentence. The 71-year-old was convicted in May of eight counts of indecent assaults on four women, carried out between 1977 and 1984.A spokesman for the Judicial Office said Clifford's appeal against the length of his imprisonment would be heard at the Court of Appeal in London on 9 October. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:37:17 GMT)

Wildlife licences: cant shoot robins, but Egyptian geese are game
Changes spare top birds of Britain and allows trapping and releasing protected species found on farmlandLandowners wanting to be allowed to shoot robins, pied wagtails, starlings and other favourite birds seen eating their crops have been rebuffed by the government. But shooters will be able to legally kill or destroy the nests of Egyptian geese and trap and release protected birds like song thrushes, blue tits and dunnocks found foraging in food stores and barns.Natural England, the governments wildlife adviser, was swamped by over 2,000 responses from individuals and competing shooting and conservation groups earlier this year when it consulted the public on 46 proposals to change the licences which dertermine what wildlife can be legally controlled. Twenty-five changes were agreed by the board but many others were rejected. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:00:00 GMT)

Measles vaccination mix-up leaves 15 infants dead in northern Syria
Muscle relaxant given to up to 75 children in an error perhaps caused by the similarities of drug packagingMedics carrying out a measles vaccination in northern Syria instead administered an anaesthetic to up to 75 infants, killing 15, a preliminary investigation into their deaths has found.The report says an anaesthetic, atracuriam, which is used as a muscle relaxant in surgery was given to the infants, perhaps mixed with the measles vaccine, which had been delivered by aid agencies conducting a mass vaccination program in opposition parts of northern Syria. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:15:11 GMT)

Britain has driest September for half a century
Less rain than normal and higher temperatures give UK its driest first half of September going back to 1960The first half of September has been the UK's driest for more than 50 years, according to weather experts.Figures up to 15 September show there has been 6.7mm of rain across Britain, which is just 7% of the September average of 96mm, the Met Office said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:17:09 GMT)

New Forest murder: three more arrests made
Eight people have now been arrested in murder inquiry over stabbing of Pennie Davis as she tended her horsesThree people have been arrested in connection with the death of a mother-of-five who was stabbed to death as she tended her horses in the New Forest. A man suspected of her murder has also appeared in court.Justin Robertson, of no fixed address, is accused of murdering Penelope Davis, known as Pennie, on Tuesday 2 September. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:25:22 GMT)

Oklahoma asks court to dismiss lawsuit brought in wake of botched execution
Plaintiffs in lawsuit, including ACLU and The Guardian, claim bearing witness to executions is first amendment rightOklahoma has asked a federal court to dismiss a first amendment lawsuit filed after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett on the grounds that having members of the public witness an execution does not play any particularly positive role. Oklahoma assistant attorney general M Daniel Weitman filed a motion for dismissal of the lawsuit, which was brought in the US district court for the western district of Oklahoma in August by the ACLU, The Guardian, The Oklahoma Observer and journalist Katie Fretland, who reported on the execution for the Guardian. The plaintiffs claim that bearing witness to executions is a first amendment right, and contested the states decision to draw a curtain midway through the execution, prohibiting witnesses from seeing what was happening in the death chamber. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:15:31 GMT)

Destiny sales hit $325m in five days, says Activision
The shared world shooter is up there with Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, despite mixed reviewsEpic space shooter Destiny has grossed more than $325m in five days, claims publisher Activision. The figure, which includes Chart-Track stats, retail customer sell-through information and Activision Blizzard internal estimates, puts it among some of the most successful video game launches in history.Destiny fans played more than 100 million hours of the game in the first week, said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. Thats on par with the engagement levels of our most popular Call of Duty games, which obviously is an industry leader. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:57:54 GMT)

Dave Lee Travis trial: defence cites character witnesses in closing remarks
Jury reminded of support from former DJ's personal assistants and of 'powerful' testimony that Travis was 'perfect gentleman'Veteran DJ Dave Lee Travis was the "perfect gentleman" and nothing like the "sleazy, predatory, opportunist" his assault trial has accused him of being, his defence barrister has told a court.Making his closing speech, Stephen Vullo QC urged jurors to focus on the fact that so many women have come forward of their own accord to defend the former BBC broadcaster, who is charged under his real name, David Griffin. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:45:51 GMT)

Police officer facing inquiry over death in custody 'wants to be church minister'
Met refused request by Andrew Birks to retire because it would mean he would not face inquiry over 2008 death of Sean RiggA Metropolitan police officer facing investigation over the death of a man in custody says he wants to leave the force to become a minister in the Church of England, the high court has heard.PC Andrew Birks was stopped from retiring from the force in June and is under investigation over the death of Sean Rigg, who died on the floor of a police station in 2008. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:24:54 GMT)

Six arrested in France over female jihadi recruitment
Two minors among those arrested on suspicion of playing active role in recent recruitment of young women to fight in SyriaFrench police have arrested six people including two minors suspected of recruiting female jihadis to fight in Syria.The arrests were made on Tuesday and Wednesday in a suburb of Lyon. During searches at the addresses raided by police, officers reportedly found various weapons including Kalashnikovs, and other equipment said to be gas masks, flashlights and ammunition. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:38:43 GMT)

Monetary policy committee voted 7-2 to hold interest rates
Minutes show majority of Bank of England group said wage stagnation meant there was little pressure on pricesTwo members of the Bank of England's interest rate setting committee maintained a hawkish stance on interest rates this month and voted for a second time to raise rates.The nine-strong monetary policy committee (MPC), which meets every month to set the central bank's base rates, voted at their September gathering to maintain the lowest rates in British history at 0.5%, according to minutes of the gathering. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:35:35 GMT)

Cyprus leaders agree to speed up peace talks
Talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders will now be twice-monthly 'structured negotiations', UN envoy saysRival leaders of ethnically-split Cyprus have agreed to try to speed up slow-moving peace talks to resolve outstanding issues in the decades-old conflict, a UN official has said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:36:05 GMT)

Richard III died in battle after losing helmet, new research shows
Detailed scans of bones show that he sustained 11 wounds at or near the time of his death, nine of them to the skullRichard III died in the thick of battle after losing his helmet and coming under a hail of blows from vicious medieval weapons, new research has shown. Detailed scans of the king's bones show that he sustained 11 wounds at or near the time of his death, nine of them to the skull. Continue reading...
(Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:35:18 GMT)

Antarctic sea ice set for record high as Arctic heads for sixth lowest extent
Antarctica poised for record high as figures show Arctic sea ice was millions of square kilometres below long-term averageThe extent of sea ice in Antarctica is set to reach a record high, scientists said on Tuesday, as they announced that Arctic sea ice appeared to have shrunk to its sixth lowest level ever.The NSIDC said that satellite data was expected to shortly confirm whether the maximum extent of sea ice at the opposite pole, in Antarctica, had set a new record. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:42:55 GMT)

Brazil's largest company, Petrobras, accused of political kickbacks
With Brazil's energy policy dominating the runup to next month's general election, pro-oil demonstrators take to the streetsThe brutalist headquarters of South America's biggest company, Petrobras, offers a harsh riposte to those who try to romanticise Brazil as a land of golden beaches and endless forest. This week, the concrete edifice in central Rio de Janeiro was the focus of a pro-oil rally by thousands of petrochemical workers amid a presidential election debate dominated by how to manage the nation's vast fossil fuel reserves.It is a question that has opened up the biggest gap between President Dilma Rousseff, an old industry champion of the Workers Party, and her main challenger Marina Silva, a former environment minister who has pledged to shift priorities towards alternatives energies like wind, solar and ethanol. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:54:31 GMT)

Bangladesh Islamist leader spared death sentence
Delwar Hossain Sayedee convicted by war crimes tribunal for mass killings, rape and atrocities during 1971 Pakistan warBangladesh's supreme court has commuted the death sentence of an Islamist political leader whose conviction last year for war crimes during the country's 1971 war for independence sparked deadly protests.Delwar Hossain Sayedee, one of the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, must remain in prison "for the rest of his natural life", said the chief justice, Muzammel Hossain. The judge did not explain his decision for reducing the sentence. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:48:27 GMT)

China begins trial of Ilham Tohti
Uighur scholar, respected internationally for constructive views on countrys ethnic tensions, is accused of fomenting separatismChinese authorities began trying the Uighur academic Ilham Tohti on charges of separatism on Wednesday morning, in what human rights groups have called a travesty of justice that underscores the governments unwillingness to field even moderate criticisms of its ethnic policies. Tohti, 44, is being tried at the Urumqi intermediate court in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, more than 1,800 miles (3,000km) west of his home in Beijing. He will almost certainly be convicted; possible sentences range from 10 years to life in prison. He firmly denies the charge. According to Tohtis lawyers Liu Xiaoming and Li Fangping, the trial will last two days, with sentencing at a later date.Tohti, a former economics professor at the prestigious Minzu University of China in Beijing, was arrested in January and charged with separatism in July. His lawyers Liu Xiaoming and Li Fangping claim that he was shackled in prison, and denied access to food and warm clothes.He said he is still in leg irons. Urumqi is already cold but he is still wearing short sleeves and he has fallen ill. He has not been given the clothes his family sent to him, Li told Reuters after meeting with Tohti on Monday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:42:18 GMT)

London's New Year's Eve firework display made a ticketed event
People wanting to attend this year's spectacle will have to pay for first time, with number of tickets restricted to 100,000People wanting to attend this year's New Year's Eve fireworks display in London will have to pay. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:07:40 GMT)

Catholic church prepares for conflict on allowing holy communion for divorcees
Before next month's summit, conservative cardinals have collaborated on a book opposing liberalisation of current rulesThe leadership of the Roman Catholic church is bracing itself for open conflict over its treatment of remarried divorcees as powerful conservatives mobilise before a highly anticipated summit called by Pope Francis for next month.Ever since he announced the extraordinary session of the synod of bishops last year, the Argentinian pontiff has raised the hopes of many liberals that the church may ease its ban on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving holy communion a move that could affect millions of people around the world. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:31:15 GMT)

Man held after police find wartime firearms and ammunition at house
Man detained in St Albans, Hertfordshire, after officers found weapons believed to date from first and second world warsPolice have arrested a man after raiding a house and finding firearms and ammunition from the two world wars. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:28:51 GMT)

Bayern Munichs Jérôme Boateng undoes Manchester City at the last
For Manchester City it was a brutal way to lose. They had subdued Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola was so exasperated he had left his technical area and was straying dangerously close to encroaching on to the pitch. But then the clock ticked into the 90th minute and the ball was at the feet of Citys former player, Jérôme Boateng, with just about every outfield player inside the penalty area.Moments earlier Boateng had lashed in a shot that had Joe Hart sprawling full-length to keep the game goalless. Citys goalkeeper had played with distinction, particularly in the first half when he appeared to have a magnetic attraction to the ball. Yet City were culpable in those final exchanges of defending too deeply and Boateng made them pay with a slashing right-foot volley that took a slight deflection off Mario Götze and arrowed diagonally into the far corner. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:56:33 GMT)

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar earns Schalke a Champions League draw at Chelsea
José Mourinho had offered up a reminder on the eve of this contest that he is very much part of this tournaments history, though it is the Champions League which has actually checked Chelseas early season momentum. An opportunity to ease themselves into their European campaign was passed up here, a lead surrendered against depleted and patched up opponents. Theirs was a strangely fitful performance.A point at home to Schalke represented an improvement on last years opening fixture in the group stage, an unexpected home defeat to Basel, but Mourinho will have departed this game with much to ponder for the weekend trip to Manchester City. Too often his team had been overpowered in central midfield, and the defence remains far from watertight. The German club benefited here. The champions may hope to on Sunday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:58:42 GMT)

The Power List: the 10 sides to fear at Rugby World Cup 2015
As the one-year countdown to the Rugby World Cup begins on Thursday, we present our lowdown on the form and state of the strongest-looking nations Five matches to target in 2015 Our guide to getting tickets Paul Reess pick of intriguing and affordable matchesWell out in front with 12 months to go, as usual. No one makes opponents pay for mistakes as ruthlessly and tactically the All Blacks remain the brightest of buttons. Brodie Retallick, Ben Smith, Julian Savea and Beauden Barrett are beginning to rival Richie McCaw and Dan Carter for influence and Kieran Read is the worlds best No 8. Winning a World Cup away from home remains uncharted territory. It gives their rivals a sniff, if only in their imaginations. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:18:27 GMT)

The UCI have better things to worry about than 'unacceptable' cycling kits
The head of the UCI should remember that his job is to do something constructive about the real issues facing womens cycling and stop reacting to silly controversies on Twitter Colombian womens cycling kit unacceptable, says UCITheres no disguising it, the Colombian womens cycling strip is a shocker. But while many of us look, file away under cycling fashion crime, and move on Footon Servetto how quickly you are forgotten! the head of the UCI, Brian Cookson, is getting hot under the collar, tweeting that the kit is unacceptable by any standard of decency.To the many who have raised the issue of a certain women's team kit, we are on the case. It is unacceptable by any standard of decency.This has turned the sport into a joke. Girls stand up for yourselves - say no pic.twitter.com/Jpt1Vo9Xog@SSbike @leguape @Velocentric classy young team has been riding this kit all year no problems pic.twitter.com/izI2xxiLJOParece q la ilumicación de la foto del uniforme del Eq. Bogotá q cirula es diferente, el tono original es dorado pic.twitter.com/mm6A5qPvWm Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:16:48 GMT)

The forgotten story of Brian Cloughs other right-hand man
It is said that Brian Clough, who died 10 years ago this week, was not the same manager without Peter Taylor, but Jimmy Gordon, trusty and trusted trainer, was key in the glory years Daniel Taylor: Brian Clough was charming and disarmingIn the big book of Brian Clough maxims, youll struggle to find many quotes that are self-deprecating. He was, as youll know, rather fond of himself, but perhaps his most telling quote came about his relationship with Peter Taylor, his trusted and brilliant deputy with whom he would enjoy his biggest successes. Im not equipped to manage successfully without Peter Taylor, he said. I am the shop window and he is the goods in the back.If that was true, then its perhaps also accurate to say Jimmy Gordon, the trainer who joined Clough when he and Taylor had taken Derby into the First Division in 1969 and remained more or less continuously until he retired in 1982, was the shop walls and ceiling, the sturdy masonry that held the whole thing together. The man described by Clough as the fair-minded old pro whom I could trust with my life and my wallet if I carried one. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:54:51 GMT)

Eden Hazard sparkles but Chelsea fail to find finishing to match
The Belgian roamed with devastating effect in the first half and remains his teams ace, a muscular flower of an attacking talentThis was, in the end, a tale of two No10s. For an hour of this oddly lopsided opening Group G Champions League match Chelsea, and in particular Eden Hazard, looked to have the beating of Jens Kellers depleted Schalke 04, if not quite the knockout punch. At which point an energetic and inventive Schalke team were able to wrest back control of the match, with Julian Draxler, a spindly, pirouetting whippet of a central creator leading the charge to earn a deserved 1-1 draw.If José Mourinho will be concerned by the way his midfield was progressively pushed back in the second half, he will surely also take some heart from the positives, notably the brilliance of Hazards performance in the opening half hour, which could have swung this match Chelseas way and no doubt would had Diego Costa been asked to start. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:22:06 GMT)

Former Ukraine midfielder Andriy Gusin, 41, dies in motorbike accident
Gusin won 71 caps, including at Germany World Cup Was assistant coach at Anzhi Makhachkala until MayThe former Ukraine midfielder Andriy Gusin, who helped his country reach the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals, has died in a motorbike accident, aged 41.Gusin made 71 appearances for Ukraine, including in all five World Cup matches in Germany, and reached the Champions League semi-finals with Dynamo Kyiv in 1999. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:24:16 GMT)

Arsenals deficiencies laid bare: five issues in need of attention
Tuesdays 2-0 defeat by Borussia Dortmund highlighted some critical flaws in Arsène Wengers squad Match report: Dortmund 2-0 ArsenalBring in a world-class holding midfielderArsène Wengers tactical tweak to 4-1-4-1 has been motivated, in part, by the desire to accommodate as many of his attacking midfield talents as possible. And there are many of them. But it has also served, on occasion, to isolate the holding midfielder and to expose him for his lack of pace. Neither Mathieu Flamini nor Mikel Arteta is noted for his quickness.Why would you not buy a world class CDM when every single Arsenal fan was screaming for one? Just madness. #Wenger Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:49:59 GMT)

Alan Pardew urges his Newcastle players to stand and deliver
Manager fights for job in game against Hull City I dont know about patience; we have to deliver Manager only part of Newcastles problemAlan Pardew has conceded he and his Newcastle United players must stand and deliver or face the consequences.Hull Citys trip to St James Park on Saturday promises to be pivotal to Pardews future as manager and, albeit tacitly, he acknowledges he is fighting for his job. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:29:11 GMT)

Wembley the favourite to win Uefa vote for staging Euro 2020 climax
Venue in line to host the semi-finals and final Germany more focused on bid for 2024 event English and German Football Associations may make pactWembley is the overwhelming favourite to host the semi-finals and final of Uefas ambitious pan-continental Euro 2020 going into the vote on FridayBids from Scotland (Hampden Park), Ireland (Dublin Arena) and Wales (Millennium Stadium) are also believed to have scored highly in Uefas technical evaluations and stand a strong chance of being selected to host a package of group games and knockout matches. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:55:38 GMT)

Watfords coach Oscar García still in hospital and needs more rest
García lifted by teams 1-0 win at Blackpool on Tuesday Coach admitted to hospital on Sunday with chest painsWatfords head coach, Oscar García, remains in hospital after suffering chest pains over the weekend. The 41-year-old Spaniard was admitted to hospital on Sunday evening, 24 hours after his first match with Watford, a 1-0 defeat at Charlton.García missed Tuesdays 1-0 win at Blackpool and it remains unclear whether he will be able to return when Watford face Bournemouth at Vicarage Road in Saturdays lunchtime kick-off. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:06:49 GMT)

Football transfer rumours: Fergie to tempt Ronaldo to Manchester United?
Todays rumours insist Jonas gets better soon Wenger tells Arsenal fans to be patient with Welbeck The Knowledge: whos the biggest footballing hit-maker? Balotelli shows why he was a risk worth taking for LiverpoolIn the film High Fidelity, which as we all know is one of the few examples of the motion picture being superior to the book on which it was based, the main character Rob is ditched by his girlfriend Laura, who leaves him for a Steven Seagal lookalike called Ian. Rob then spends the majority of the film trying to win Laura back in various ham-fisted ways, and at one point asks her what chance, roughly, they have of getting back together. We have a 9% chance of getting back together, is Lauras tired reply.The Rumour Mill is no maths expert, and neither is it a football expert (although we are clearly an expert at recalling obscure lines from 15-year-old films at an hour when most shrewd people are hitting the snooze button), but we would roughly calculate the odds of Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United at about the same 9%. That hasnt prevented those United fans, like Rob in the film, from (metaphorically, we hope) standing outside Ronaldos house, calling from a payphone in the torrential rain, trying to convince the object of their desires that they were merely experimenting by being with someone else, and that they should come back if they want to find true happiness. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:48:08 GMT)

FA plans to slash number of non-EU imported players in English football
Body wants 50% reduction in non-European players Greg Dykes proposals may benefit homegrown talent Football League would be worst hit by plans Transfer appeal process will also be overhauledThe Football Association has unveiled detailed proposals to reduce the number of imported players coming into the English game from outside the European Union by up to 50%.Under the plans, Football League clubs would be banned from signing non-EU players altogether and Premier League clubs would be prevented from sending them on loan. The FA chairman Greg Dyke hopes the changes will help prevent mediocre overseas players from blocking the progress of homegrown talent. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:48:57 GMT)

Premiership Rugby confirms salary cap level will rise to £5.5m
Each club can nominate up to two excluded players Mark McCafferty: emphasis on increasing home-grown players Changes made to stop English players heading overseas Premiership Rugby officials have confirmed changes to the leagues salary cap from next season.As expected, the base salary cap level will rise to £5.1m, plus £400,000 in home-grown player credits. This seasons salary cap is set at £5m. Each Premiership club will additionally be able to nominate up to two excluded players whose salary is not included in the cap. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:40:03 GMT)

RFU apologises for use of Victoria Cross on new England kit
New £90 England rugby top features Victoria Cross design Charity angered by use of VC for marketing purposes RFU also criticised for releasing multiple new stripsThe Rugby Football Union has apologised to those who may have taken offence over the England playing kit. The Canterbury-manufactured shirts feature images of the Victoria Cross in the form of small rubber grips across the chest area to help deaden the impact of the ball.The Victoria Cross Trust chairman, Gary Stapleton, criticised the RFU for having had no contact with the organisation over using the emblem on shirts that were launched this week. Stapleton said the move had touched a raw nerve with a lot of people. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:04:38 GMT)

Richie McGrath and Kate Walton face corruption charges over 57 races
Scottish National-winning jockeys case set for November Both have been charged with passing on inside informationRichie McGrath, who won the 2003 Scottish Grand National on Ryalux, will face a British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel along with the former trainer Kate Walton in November to answer charges of passing on inside information. The panel will also consider whether McGrath, a board member of the Professional Jockeys Association, was prepared to ride horses to lose if necessary in order to profit from bets placed against his mounts on betting exchanges.McGrath, Walton and five others have been charged following a BHA investigation into 57 races between October 2009 and April 2012. Carl Flint, Kristian Robson, David Stevens, David Greenwood and Mark Aspey, who is alleged to be instigator of the conspiracy to corrupt racing, are also due to attend the disciplinary panel hearing, which is provisionally scheduled for 11 November and is expected to last for seven working days. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:10:17 GMT)

Paul McGinley has no concerns over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell
Ryder Cup pair are involved in court case Judge wants sides to engage in mediation Rory McIlroy needs break after FedEx excessThe European captain Paul McGinley insists he has no concerns over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowells relationship ahead of next weeks Ryder Cup.The Northern Irish pair have played together six times in the last two contests but are currently involved, directly and indirectly, in a court case with McIlroys former management company. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:09:53 GMT)

Chris Rushworth falls just short of 10-wicket innings haul for Durham
Durham seamer takes 15 for 95 in 20 overs Durham (392) bt Northants (83 & 90) by an innings & 219 runs Follow the action with the live cricket blog The Durham seamer Chris Rushworth fell agonisingly short of becoming the third bowler to take a 10-wicket innings haul in the County Championship.Rushworth has been the leader of Durhams attack this season in the injury-enforced absence of Graham Onions and lived up to his billing with nine for 52 in 12 overs against Northamptonshire at Chester-le-Street. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:38:45 GMT)

Chris Froome heads Great Britain team for Road World Championships
British team named for championships in Spain Armitstead leads strong six-rider womens squad Millar named captain for his final Great Britain race Millars career: Highs, lows and rock bottomChris Froome will lead a British team full of options for the Road World Championships in Spain later this month.Froome, the 2013 Tour de France winner and runner-up in the Vuelta a España which finished on Sunday, is joined in the nine-man squad by Commonwealth Games champion Geraint Thomas, British champion Pete Kennaugh and David Millar, who will captain the team in his final Great Britain race before he retires at the end of the season. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:31:24 GMT)

Scotland delivers a simple answer to a tough question
Pro-independence Scots out in force but waverers could be swayed by currency and pension issues at the voting boothWhen Alex Salmond was a young and obscure MP at Westminster in the 1980s, he had on his office wall a Radical Scotland front page quoting the veteran nationalist Tom Nairn that Scotland would not be free until the last Church of Scotland minister had been strangled with the last copy of the Sunday Post.The first minister is not looking for such a drastic outcome on Thursday as millions of Scots finally vote at the end of the two-year referendum campaign. If the yes campaigners triumph, it will be the fulfilment of a dream Salmond has had since his teenage days: Scotland will become an independent country once again and the union will be no more. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:57:54 GMT)

Awkward no more: how Gordon Brown found his voice
The former PMs authentic passion for the union could well be a game-changer in the Scottish referendum vote Live blog: Wednesdays Scottish referendum developmentsTwitter erupted with excitement. Everyone with a vote needs to watch this. Gordon Browns speech is as good as everyone says it is. These were tweets from right-of-centre columnists after Brown had delivered a mesmerising speech on the final day of campaigning in Scotland. Across the political spectrum there was noisy praise for the inspirational address.The compliments were not a freakish one-off. Earlier this year the election expert John Curtice told me that Brown alone in the pro-union campaign was framing messages that would appeal to the dont knows. Last week Brown was the one urgently negotiating with party leaders at Westminster in order to unveil measures that would stop the dramatic swing towards the yes campaign. The return of Brown as a political force has been a marked and unexpected feature of the campaign. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:43:57 GMT)

Scottish police chairman condemns no campaign for exaggerating aggression
Brian Docherty says Scotland is not 'on verge of social disintegration' as media and some activists have said Live blog: Wednesday's developments on the Scottish referendumThe Scottish Police Federation has issued a statement accusing the media and no campaigners of exaggerating the extent of aggression deployed during the Scottish referendum campaign.Brian Docherty, the chairman of the federation, said in the statement: "The referendum debate has been robust but overwhelmingly good-natured. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:33:35 GMT)

Scottish referendum explained for non-Brits - video
An animated explanation of some fundamental questions prior to the referendum on Scottish independence on Thursday. Where is Scotland, what is Scotland and what does it mean to be Scottish? And what is the history of Scotland's relationship with England? But the real question is, will Scotland be better off as an independent country? Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:02:24 GMT)

If Scotland votes yes: a phone call from Cameron then hard negotiations begin
David Cameron will want to adopt a warm but firm approach if he has to call Alex Salmond to concede defeatA series of carefully laid plans drawn up in secrecy in Whitehall over recent months will be triggered in the early hours of Friday morning if Scotland votes to secede from the United Kingdom.The first and most important move will come when David Cameron telephones Alex Salmond to concede defeat. The prime minister will want to adopt a warm tone to reassure the markets that the remainder of the UK has no intention of engaging in recriminations with Scotland, which would be highly destabilising for the economies of both countries. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:09 GMT)

Scottish independence: 'It's all going hell for leather' video
From packed meetings on out-of-town estates to cultural circuses in coastal towns, John Harris travels across Scotland and finds politics to be suddenly alive, while Westminster recedes into the distance. He also picks the brains of the undecided voters who hold the key to the UK's future Here comes Plaid Cymru: could Wales follow Scotland on the road to independence? video Ukip's rise in the east of England: a world turned upside down video Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:04:00 GMT)

Scotlands key battlegrounds
From the Highlands, where the yes campaign was particularly active, to wealthy Edinburgh, which is expected to vote no: as people in 32 Scottish councils get ready to have their say on independence, we look at 12 pivotal areas and how they could influence the result5am expected declaration time; 11.5% of electorate Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:19:04 GMT)

If Scotland votes no: fast-track new tax powers and threat of Tory backlash
There are unresolved differences between parties over extent of new powers, while West Lothian question will be revisitedIf Scotland votes against independence, much depends on the margin of the no campaign's victory. After the ritual calls of congratulations between Alex Salmond and Better Together's Alistair Darling, the first minister is likely to call for new powers for Holyrood.With the yes vote likely to exceed 45% far more than his own Scottish National party's level of support Salmond will say there is clear demand in Scotland for greater freedom within the UK. His position as leader will be secured by a high yes vote; only a highly unlikely washout a yes vote of about 35% would raise serious questions about his future. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:11 GMT)

Scots' final call: can rallying beneath the radar save the day?
With expectations over the Scotland referendum results on a knife-edge, can the political engagement translate into votes?Live blog: Wednesday's developments in the campaignDespite the balloons, stalwart celebrities and chants of "yes we can", the eve-of-poll rally of the Yes Scotland campaign, gathered on Wednesday morning on the steps of Glasgow's concert hall, felt like a subdued affair. Perhaps it was the overcast skies, or the latest polls, three of which overnight had consolidated around a 48/52 victory for the no side in the Scottish independence referendum.This area at the top of Buchanan Street, beneath the mordant statue of the architect of the Scottish parliament, Donald Dewar, as well as nearby George Square, have become unofficial rallying points for yes supporters over the past few weeks. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:09:19 GMT)

This is Scotlands velvet revolution and we should listen to the people shouting
Ignore the strange dry-eyed weeping from the English its nothing more than British imperialism. Now is the time to take a leap toward self-ruleThe strange country I inhabit is not where I thought it was at all. My England. I keep being told that whatever I may feel, I am part of a glorious union with Scotland. It is like accidentally joining a guided tour to which I never signed up. This tour guide is everywhere, intoning events that made us great. The UKs wars and empire, and all the great men Adam Smith, and the Tarmac one ... sorry, I glazed over there, but these history lessons are somewhat samey and somewhat ideological. People will vote yes or no, often because of living history: the near past and the near present. For the omissions are equally telling, from the clearances to the occupation of Ireland.Now we are being bathed in some dodgy supra-nationalism of Britishness that is clearly omnishambolic. Hence the final Westminster dash and the political equivalent of a drunk text to an ex: the vow, which is already controversial and subject to arguments about costing among those who think Scotland already gets a good deal. Directives from those who know best to vote against independence if you want independence. Blaring headlines about Alex Salmond being a power-crazed egotist (more than likely) and how heckling politicians is not very nice. Heckling! Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:35:55 GMT)

Scottish independence: tension over country's destiny puts strain on families
As the vote draws close, fierce debates and anxieties over Scotland's future have created divided householdsFor the last few months, Rob Davidson has spent pretty much every waking hour trying to persuade his fellow citizens to vote yes to Scottish independence. Yet back at home in Dalbeattie, 12 miles from Dumfries, Davidson leader of the Scottish National party's grouping on Dumfries and Galloway council has failed to convince his own partner that Scotland is best off going it alone.Fiona Ross, 40, is determined to vote no today, despite Davidson serving as an SNP councillor since 2007. "I'm sick of people telling me that you're not Scottish if you vote no," said Ross. "I'm proud of being Scottish but also proud of being British." Yet she insisted that she and Davidson, who have been together for nine years, rarely argued about politics: "He's never here to argue with. He's campaigning 24/7." Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:27:32 GMT)

Scotland: David Cameron hopes to calm mood with early TV address after result
If there is a yes vote, Cameron will face a constitutional and personal crisis amid fears that sterling could be highly vulnerableDavid Cameron is to make a televised address in Downing Street early on Friday morning, shortly after the results of the Scottish referendum are declared, to try to calm the political atmosphere, whatever the result.As Tory MPs say the referendum is on course to become one of the defining features of Cameron's premiership, No 10 is making detailed preparations for a carefully crafted response to the result. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:56:50 GMT)

Dont let Alex Salmond blind you to the yes campaigns dark side
The referendum has energised Scotland but it has also divided its people. Thats what nationalism does Live blog: Wednesdays Scottish referendum developmentsIt has long been Scotlands fate to be romanticised. Now the old habit is being given a new twist. The independence referendum campaign is being romanticised as a born-again democratic moment, even a model of how a new politics can replace the old. To read some accounts, its as though all Scotland has become what Bill Clinton once called the Hay festival, a Woodstock of the mind.Only a fool would deny this campaign is extraordinary. It has been incredibly engaging and incredibly engaged. This has been British politics of a sort that none of us has ever witnessed at an election but then its not an election. Voter registration has soared. Turnout is expected to be spectacular by modern standards. And its true. Wherever you go in Scotland everyone is talking about it. You hear the conversation in the train, in the shops, in the pubs and on the streets. For a democrat, whats not to like? Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:29:05 GMT)

Scottish independence: the results to watch out for as votes come in
Female voters are still showing a consistent lead for no, while overall turnout is expected to rise above 80%If the referendum on Scottish independence were a normal election we probably wouldn't say, based on current polls, that the outcome of Thursday's vote was too close to call. Of five polls released in the final 24 hours of the campaign, four had the no vote ahead by four points, one by two points. Sixteen polls have so far been released this month and 14 of these polls have shown no in the lead.Two days before the 2012 presidential election in France, an Ifop poll for Paris Match put the gap between François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy at four points. Nobody argued that that election was too close to call; rather Hollande was seen as the clear favourite. The polling was born out by events: he won the election by 3.5 points. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:43:00 GMT)

Spain says it could take independent Scotland years to win EU membership
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy also seeks to draw clear line between secessionist movements in Scotland and Catalonia Live blog: Wednesday's developments in the campaignThe Spanish government has called the prospect of Scottish independence a catastrophe that would worsen the economic slump in Europe and risk the EU's disintegration.In the strongest and most apocalyptic intervention from Europe to date in the increasingly divisive Scottish debate, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told parliament in Madrid that all of the EU's leaders were aghast at the idea of an independent Scotland. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:38:00 GMT)

Scotland, beware political will doesnt always find a way
Despite pledges from the three party leaders, voters shouldnt assume that a no vote will lead to devo maxPerhaps we shouldnt be surprised that, with the three big parties eve of referendum pledge of a new Scottish settlement, our politicians are rewiring the British constitution in a mood of blind panic. After all, from Germanys Basic Law (1949) via Frances Fifth Republic (1958) to the US constitution (1787-88) the rules of the political game have been settled amid the aftermath of war or in moments of grave dangers to the nation.Britains own more incremental constitutional changes have likewise been the product of crisis think of the Parliament Act of 1911, which clips the wings of the House of Lords, and came about only after the nobles had refused to allow a democratic government to set a budget to fund itself. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:16:37 GMT)

Björk shows support for Scottish yes vote with Declare Independence post
Icelandic pioneer posts the lyrics to 2008 track onto her Facebook ahead of the forthcoming referendum Bowie, Boyle, Bragg, Belle and Sebastian; musics most revered names have all voiced their views on the forthcoming referendum in Scotland. Perhaps one of the boldest figures in culture has waited until the last day of campaigning to contribute her argument to the debate, with Björk using her lyrics to Declare Independence as her own very unique input.With some not-so veiled adaptations at the start, the singer posted the following lyrics onto her Facebook account:s c o t l a n d !s c o t l a n d ! Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:38:52 GMT)

Scottish independence referendum: a no win is likely, but not certain
If this were a normal election we probably wouldnt say, based on current polls, that the outcome was too close to call. No leads, but one important uncertainty remainsTwo days before the 2012 presidential election in France, an Ifop poll for Paris Match put the gap between François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy at four points. Hollande was seen as the clear favourite, and won the election by 3.5 points.If this were a normal election we probably wouldnt say, based on current polls, that the outcome of tomorrows independence referendum in Scotland was too close to call. Three polls were released yesterday - all three had the no (to independence) vote ahead by four points. Fourteen polls have so far been released this month. The gap may have narrowed - significantly - but 12 of these polls have still shown no in the lead. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:46:43 GMT)

Why the Welsh valleys arent alive with the thought of independence
Scotland may choose to go its own way, but that doesnt mean nationalism is thriving in Wales. Come and find out the real storiesThe valleys of south Wales seem to have a very strange hold over the psyche of the British press. Most of the time we dont feature in any story at all. And then suddenly, when theres a murder, a drugs death or a byelection, the press get out their sat nav and descend in search of grim images of decline boarded-up houses, men with no teeth, rubbish circling in the wind.And this week, with Scottish independence in the news, the Guardian (in the shape of John Harris) decided to come to the Rhondda, fired up with a story that somehow or other the valleys and Labour are in a mutually assured process of decline and Welsh nationalism is on the rise. Never mind the fact that Plaid Cymru only just held on to their seat in Europe this year, or that they dont hold a single valleys seat in Cardiff or Westminster, or that the latest poll saw them falling even further behind Labour, the Tories and Ukip, with a mere 10% backing Welsh independence. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:24:47 GMT)

Stephen Fry's iPhone 6 verdict: the most exquisite mobile ever made
Apples matchless design and innovation team has produced two ravishing devices. Being first isnt the point, being the best isSince January 1984, when I bought my first Apple Macintosh, through the dark late 1980s and mid-90s, when the company had just 3% of the personal computer market, I have developed the thickest of skins when it comes to Apple-haters. I could fill this entire article with links to ancient, now embarrassing, sneers: Whats the point of an iPod?; The iPhone is too large; Huh, the iPad is nothing but a big iPhone? (right, and a swimming pool is nothing but a big bath). How disgraceful are the working conditions in which Apple devices are manufactured! oddly leaving out Samsung, Sony, Dell, LG, HTC and all the other companies who have their devices made in the same factories. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:06 GMT)

Worlds happiest country: how did Panama overtake Denmark?
A new poll suggests the Danes arent the most contented people in the world any more. So what has Panama got that the Scandinavian nation lacks?Where is the worlds happiest place? For years we have been told it is the dark, cold, but seriously egalitarian Scandinavia with Denmark heading the majority of lists of our most contented countries. But suddenly there is a new leader in the satisfaction stakes: Panama.A poll by Gallup and Healthways Global reports that the Central American country now has the most positive population, after 133,000 people from 135 countries were asked to rate their wellbeing in five categories: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:27:29 GMT)

How do freelancers get a mortgage?
In theory, it should be just as easy for self-employed people to mortgages as anyone else, but in reality its not quite that simpleOnce upon a time, all you needed to get a mortgage was a trio of wage slips. Since the credit crunch lenders have become more cautious and things are not quite so easy. The mortgage market review, which came into effect in April, has set some of that caution in stone; now you have to prove not only your income, but your ability to sustain mortgage payments alongside your day-to-day lifestyle should interest rates rise.Changes in the mortgage market have made things even harder for freelancers whose income may well fluctuate month to month. In theory, self-employed workers should have access to the same mortgage deals as anyone else, provided they can produce two to three years worth of accounts (if theyre registered as a limited company) or SA302s (HMRC forms proving tax payments, for sole traders who compete an annual self-assessment return). Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:36:48 GMT)

Surprize, Surprize: Tesco introduces a new pink apple variety
Barbara Cartland would have loved them, but will consumers be rushing to try them?For those of us with modest expectations, it is exciting enough to see British apples finally back on the shelves after months of woolly-textured imports. But Tesco clearly doesnt think the return of the russet is enough to get us to open our wallets. Instead, it is trying to shock us into shelling out with a new hot-pink variety rejoicing in the uniquely irritating name, the Surprize (because, the companys fruit product developer explained, of the fantastic reaction it gets).Tesco says that the apples, which would gladden the heart of the late Barbara Cartland, taste as good as they look, which is at least some comfort to us fans of less glamorous, but reliably tasty varieties after all, this wouldnt be the first quirky fruit to grab the headlines, only to disappear without trace. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:37:18 GMT)

Ebola: seven things that need to be done to tackle the outbreak
Experts and those in the field say what can be done to tackle Ebola, which has already killed more than 2,250 peopleAs the UN appeals for $1bn, experts and people working on the ground from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the International Medical Corps, the Overseas Development Institute, the School of Oriental and African Studies, the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us seven things that can be done to tackle Ebola, which has already killed more than 2,250 people. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:57:42 GMT)

Can Boeing and SpaceX help Nasa take space travel back from Russia?
Two new manned spacecraft are being developed to end US reliance on Russias Soyuz systemThe US space agency Nasa has just decided to hedge its bets and pay not one but two US corporations $6.8bn to deliver people and their luggage to the International Space Station. Charles Bolden, Nasas administrator, put it bluntly. Today we are one step closer to launching our astronauts from US soil on American spacecraft and ending the nations sole reliance on Russia by 2017.Since the US ended its 30-year-old space shuttle programme, Russia is the only nation that can and does deliver people to the ISS with its Soyuz system. But in the past six years, the European Space Agency has also sent five space delivery vans to the ISS, each with 6.6 tonnes of fuel, air, water, food and spare parts. Each has then headed back into the atmosphere, laden with space-station waste much of it from the zero-gravity toilets where it burns up. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:47:29 GMT)

The Great British Bake Off 2014: episode seven as it happened
Last week, our benevolent judges let the bottom two, Richard and Kate, stay in. But whose pasties prevailed tonight? Heidi Stephens followed the action. Last weeks blog 8.59pm BST So thats it for Pastry Week, and another Bake Off liveblog. Thank you for joining in - next week is all about enriched doughs, so start preparing your kneading puns now. Ill see you here next Wednesday, or on Twitter @heidistephens if you cant possibly wait that long. Cheers, Hx 8.59pm BST This weeks Star Baker isRICHARD! He is king of the mitred éclair stair, says Sue, although my carpenter boyfriend has pointed out that it wasnt actually mitred. Whatever.Going home isKATE! Well, I think it was her time. A shame, she was lovely and had splendid hair. But such is the way of Bake Off. 8.53pm BST Kates lemon meringue éclairs are nice, but the basil flavour is taking a while to come through. Wait, there was BASIL? The chocolate ones are a mess. BASIL? REALLY?Chetnas look amazing, and shes even made a bakers dozen. Both taste fabulous. Poor Marthas look a right mess, and theyre falling apart, but the flavour is good. The filling on her bacon ones isnt really working. 8.50pm BST Nancys look beautiful her salmon ones lack seasoning, but a good bake. Her sweet ones are a bit sickly, however. Richards éclairs are nicely regular and taste great too - a good week for Richard. Luis has managed to get an even length six inches says Mary, the naughty minx. They look a bit lurid to me, but Mary and Paul like them. 8.47pm BST Richard has assembled his éclairs on some stairs, and he and Chetna are now helping Martha, because they are lovely. Kates had a mare and has already decided shes a goner. 8.46pm BST Marthas crème pat is too runny, but she doesnt know why. Maybe she took it out of the fridge by accident? Is Diana hiding somewhere? Her usually-calm demeanour is in pieces, and Im worried she might cry. 8.44pm BST Louis is making stars and stripes éclairs with candied pecans and blueberry jam. Richard is messing about with rosewater and lavender for his Old Lady Éclairs. Did he learn nothing from Normans meringue? 8.42pm BST Everyone is piping their choux pastry. The chocolate ones look like turds. Chouxpoos, perhaps? 8.41pm BST Richards éclairs are lavender and blueberry and something else that sounds foul. Martha did profiteroles for AS level, so shes fully qualified to make rhubarb and custard éclairs, as well as bacon and maple syrup. Seriously, people. Cream. Chocolate, pastry. ITS ALL YOU NEED. 8.39pm BST Chetna is making 12 lemon meringue éclairs, and 12 with mango and caramel. Kates is also doing lemon meringue, as well as chocolate éclairs with a strawberry filling. Half of Nancys éclairs are raspberry ripple, whilst the others are salmon and horseradish with a sesame seed topping *retches* 8.36pm BST Showstopper time this week our bakers have to make two types of éclair. I assumed an éclair was an éclair a choux pastry sausage filled with cream and topped with chocolate. Anything else is blatantly not an éclair and just WRONG. Stop this filth. 8.35pm BST Chetna comes bottom of the Technical, with Richard the clear winner. Paul describes Richards bake as close to mine, because he cant help himself. Hopefully next week well see Paul fit a kitchen without instructions. 8.32pm BST So basically these are just cupcake-shaped croissants, with a bit of sugar added. How dull. Luiss dont have enough layers and are too sweet. Kates are flat, but Richards look great, and have good layers. Nancys are too irregular in size, but have a good flavour. Chetnas are overbaked with too much sugar. Marthas are underproved, but taste good. 8.29pm BST God this bake is dull. Everyone is just sitting around getting bored. Finally they go in the oven - Ill just have a short nap if thats OK. 8.27pm BST The tension violins have kicked in. The Breton thingies are in tins, and having a final prove. Kate has put hers in the fridge, unlike everybody else. After her uncooked samosas, I fear her days may be numbered. 8.26pm BST Everyone is now folding, it seems to be a similar technique to making croissants (which I have actually done). Luis is making up his own rules. They have to add sugar, but nobody knows when between one layer, or all of the layers? Richard and Martha are the only ones whove done it right. 8.23pm BST All of the bakers look a bit confused, mostly because theyre making an unknown pastry with yeast, probably created by a bonkers Boulanger in a stripy top whod smoked too many Gauloises. It needs to prove, but they dont know how long for. Luis writes some numbers on a bit of paper, whilst Richard bashes his butter with a rolling pin. I think a bit of butter-bashing reduces the tension, doesnt it? he declares. Lets all go home, peak innuendo has now been reached. 8.20pm BST Its time for the technical challenge! This week theyre baking a recipe of Pauls for something called Kouign-Amann (YES, I looked it up), which is a buttery layered pastry from Brittany, but none of the bakers have ever heard of it. Despite being something of an authority on Breton pastries*, Im afraid I havent either. *I once ate a profiterole in Saint-Malo 8.19pm BST This weeks educational slot Mexican Cornish pasties. The miners from both countries still meet up, paving the way for when Truro is finally twinned with Tijuana and everyone starts wearing giant sombreros in Penzance. 8.17pm BST Nancys duck pasties are underbaked and lack flavour. Kates pastry isnt cooked she explains her fryer issues but Paul does his am I bothered? face. Chetnas Indian parcels are a great colour and taste lovely. Mels pockets are now overflowing. 8.15pm BST Richards lamb and mint pasties are a win, but Marthas wellingtons have had a slight leak. Flavours and seasoning are just right, however. Meanwhile Mel is filling her pockets with baked goods. Paul thinks Luiss empanadas are slightly underdone and too big, but Mary likes them big. This stuff just writes itself, really. 8.13pm BST Luis is crimping like a god, but Nancy has stopped leaking. Kate is behind, and hasnt even started cooking yet. Mel has swapped her Hi-De-Hi yellow coat from two weeks ago for a Pontins blue coat. Butlins cant be far off. Disaster - Kates deep fat fryer has turned itself off! Poor Kate. 8.10pm BST Nancy is making Chinese-spiced duck pasties, which sound questionable. Shes experiencing leakage AND seepage (BINGO), which must be difficult when you have to stand up for so long. Martha is making mini beef wellingtons, whilst Richard is making lamb and mint pasties, possibly in some kind of homage to Greggs. More talk of leakage. Seriously, can we stop now? 8.07pm BST Chetna is making Indian lentil parcels, which include lots of spices. Kate is also going spicy, with paneer and spinach samosas, using frozen spinach. Paul thinks there are too many flavours, and is honing his killer death stare. Luis is making beef and chorizo empanadas, again with about 14 flavours. Spanish pasties, basically. 8.05pm BST Richards ear pencil is back! Phew. However Mary appears to be wearing some kind of kimono/bomber jacket hybrid. Its so very wrong its almost right. First up, the signature challenge! This week its pastry parcels think pasties and samosas and wellingtons and the like. They need to create 12 identical pastry packages of happiness. 8.02pm BST A choux-in for the quarter finals, says the continuity guy. BINGO.Previously on Bake Off: European puddings, including a few sunken savarins, a kugelhopf or two, and that green cake you get in Ikea. Chetna was Star Baker, but Kate and Richard were both equally lacking Richards flavours were off, and Kate failed to deliver caramelised jazz hands. Mary and Paul had a tiff over it (unlikely, but you have to say something), and in their infinite benevolence decided that neither should go home. Personally Id have fired Nancy just for the tinsel palm tree. 7.50pm BST This weeks Bake Off Bingo an Iceland vol-au-vent for every occurrence of the following: Filo sheets the size of beach towels Oozing fillings Somebody being a choux-in for the final Soggy bottoms 7.22pm BST Good evening, and welcome to this weeks Great British Bake Off liveblog! Many thanks to Rebecca for blogsitting last week - Im now back from my holidays and steering the good ship Bake Off right through to the grand final. I caught up with last weeks show on Monday how awkward was Paul and Mary debating which of Richard or Kate was more crap? Also noticed that Richards pencil disappeared halfway through; Im beginning to suspect this may be the source of all his baking powers. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:07:14 GMT)

Why the continental blowtorch is hot news
Its the latest bit of meteorological jargon, and its bringing more warm weather to Britain from Southern EuropeName: Continental blowtorch.Age: A day or so. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:05:26 GMT)

Tincan: the restaurant serving only tinned fish
A pop-up restaurant in London is serving gourmet fish from gorgeous tins in designer surroundings. Are you a fan of the can and would you pay someone to open it for you?Weve had the silent restaurant, the restaurant for one and the cat cafe. Now a new restaurant has opened with no chef and no kitchen. It doesnt need either because it only sells tinned fish. Thats right, the stuff that Grandad ate with two slices of white bread and stewed tea. Or is it?The perception of tinned food in the UK is different from how it is in other parts of the world, says Maximiliano Arrocet, one of the team behind Tincan. In his home country of Spain, for example, you can get gourmet food in a tin, and its not frowned upon. With the pop-up restaurant, which opened in Soho, London, this week, he aims to elevate the tin to an object of desire in the UK. The restaurants window displays beautiful cans from around the world; the kind you might buy on holiday as a souvenir and never open. These are collectible items, says Arrocet. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:33:03 GMT)

From Mr Saigon to Dave Poppins: West End disasters and how to avoid them
As their show The Play That Goes Wrong opens in London, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society offer their advice on getting ahead in TheatrelandPerhaps the most important element in any show is a clear and effective title. A lesson we learned the hard way when we performed a devised piece entitled Show Cancelled. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:07:19 GMT)

The Marathon du Médoc: running the worlds longest, booziest, race
Is a full marathon with 23 wine stops also offering specialities such as oysters, steak, and ice-cream a recipe for success or disaster?As any long-distance runner knows, there are a number of cardinal rules when it comes to marathons and, while waiting at the start line for my third, I realise I have broken most of them. My general health is poor, in fact I woke coughing up so much phlegm that I was reminded of Slimer from Ghostbusters; I havent allowed myself a good nights sleep; and Ive not trained in my race outfit - a police costume bought off eBay for £15 - partly from fear of getting beaten up in my north London hood, and partly because Ive not really trained much at all.Oh, and Im extremely hungover. Fortunately, Im attempting Bordeauxs Marathon du Médoc; a running event combining wine, sports, fun and health, which seems to actively encourage anything thats normally discouraged in running. Held every September in Frances Médoc region, this sounds like the most idiotic race known to man. The course is 26.2 miles through scenic vineyards and the participants in compulsory fancy dress - are expected to indulge in 23 glasses of the famed vintages en route, while also stuffing themselves with local specialities such as oysters, foie gras, cheese, steak and ice-cream. Brilliant. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:22:28 GMT)

Giving birth and boozing? The risks of drinking during pregnancy
With new research published about the harms of binge drinking while pregnant, what is the evidence for how much, if any, is too much alcohol?Deciding whether to drink alcohol during pregnancy is a confusing business. Anecdotally, viewpoints on the matter range from testimonies of I drank through the whole of my pregnancy and my child turned out fine to reports of bartenders refusing to serve alcohol to pregnant women. Recommended guidelines from health professionals are highly variable, with some doctors recommending complete abstinence and others suggesting that occasional light drinking is unlikely to cause harm to the baby.The evidence base for the detrimental effects of alcohol abuse during pregnancy is well established, but less is known about the impact of light or heavy social drinking in pregnancy. This week, a new study published in the journal of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found evidence that drinking during pregnancy might be a risk factor for later childhood problems. It therefore seems timely to ask, when it comes to social alcohol use in pregnancy, how much is too much? Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:06 GMT)

The top 10 stories of mothers and daughters
From the Book of Ruth to Pride and Prejudice, here is Meike Ziervogels pick of literary mother-daughter relationshipsSons separate from their fathers to become men many stories have focused on this challenge. But its also true that daughters have to break away from their mothers and much less has been written on this subject.The day after I graduated from high school, I boarded a train. I left my home town, my country, my language. For the next 10 years I believed I had truly found my own identity. It wasnt until I gave birth to my first child, a daughter, that it dawned on me: I hadnt even begun to separate from my mother. If I wanted to show my daughter how to become content as a woman, I had to look far more closely first at myself as a daughter before being able to become the mother and the grownup daughter I wanted to be. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:50:52 GMT)

Schumann: Symphonies Nos 14 CD review Robin Ticciati delivers an irresistible performance
Scottish CO/Ticciati(Linn, 2 CDs)Robin Ticciatis Schumann cycle is the third complete set to appear in the last six months, following Yannick Nézet-Séguins version with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for Deutsche Grammophon and Simon Rattles with the Berlin Philharmoniker on the orchestras own label. Its also by a considerable margin the best of them, in fact the finest set on disc since David Zinmans on Arte Nova a decade ago, and perhaps the most impressive thing that Ticciati has done on disc so far.Every bar in these urgent performances with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra seems alive and full of interest. Ticciati uses an orchestra with 32 strings, almost exactly the same size as those used for the first performances, and while none of the climaxes is ever lacking in weight or grandeur the opening of the Third Symphony, the Rhenish, has a terrific sweep to it the textures are joyously buoyant. The conductor and his orchestra toured all four works in concert before recording them in the Perth Concert Hall, and in each symphony there is the sense of careful consideration and total absorption in the music so that not a detail of Schumanns scoring goes missing. Everything flows with total naturalness, yet tiny contrapuntal phrases that are often hardly noticeable are allowed to make their points here without a trace of mannered emphasis. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:52:04 GMT)

Quiz: Can you match the wedding scene to the film?
On-screen wedding scenes can have you blubbering into your sleeve, or thankful it's not real-life. Can you match these wedding ceremonies to the film they featured in? More film quizzes Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:00:00 GMT)

Jack Monroes cauliflower pasanda recipe
This rich, creamy dish is one of the most popular recipes Ive made at my regular charity curry nightsOver the past few years, Ive hosted regular all-you-can-eat charity curry nights at my place. It is based on the home restaurant concept people pay a set price, turn up, I cook huge bowls of curry and the money goes to neighbourhood charities, such as our local food bank and homeless shelter. This was one of the most popular dishes I ever made. You can pan-fry the cauliflower, but roasting it brings out a deep, earthy flavour thats just too good to miss, so make the time.(Serves 4) Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:15:48 GMT)

UK gamers: more women play games than men, report finds
The UK is a nation of gamers, a major UK study has found, with smartphones enticing 70% of the country to play a game in the past six monthsA new study into British gaming habits has confirmed what many industry watchers have been observing for years: the stereotype of the teenage boy playing alone in his bedroom is well and truly dead. Based on interviews with 4,000 UK residents, the research asserts that women now account for 52% of the gaming audience, up from 49% three years ago. The study, which was commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau, also revealed there are now more people over 44 years old playing games (27% of the audience) than children or teenagers (22%). The gamer audience reportedly stands at 33.5 million Britons 69% of the population. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:51:30 GMT)

How to wear sleeveless tops video
This season bare arms are in. But rule number one when wearing a sleeveless jumper is to avoid any version of the look that recalls the tank top style so no knitted tie or paisley shirt. Jess Cartner-Morley shows a selection of sleeveless jumpers for your autumn wardrobe Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

Test your science knowledge
Which extinct creature has been named after Mick Jagger and who is the latest celebrity to be introduced to the dating app Tinder? Try this quiz and find out how up to date your science and technology knowledge is Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities
Affordable housing quotas get waived and the interests of residents trampled as toothless authorities bow to the dazzling wealth of investors from Russia, China and the Middle EastI always said you should never trust a bank with property, or a property developer with money, says Peter Rees. The former chief planner of the City of London should know about such things, having presided over the results of both. Over the last 30 years, he has ushered in a menagerie of their monuments, from the Gherkin and Cheesegrater to the Walkie-Talkie and Heron Tower, during which time he has seen a significant shift in the balance of power. When I arrived in the job in the 1980s, the big banks were in control of London, he says. But now its the big house-builders. Weve gone from being ruled by Barclays bank to being controlled by Berkeley homes.Left unchecked, the banks went off the rails in spectacular fashion, as they sprayed money into the great mortgage mirage. And now property developers have been allowed to follow suit. Fuelled by the dazzling wealth of investors from Russia, China and the Middle East, who they turned to when the banks stopped lending, their steroidal schemes are causing irreparable harm to our cities. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:52:07 GMT)

iOS 8 review: the iPhone and iPad get customised, extended and deepened
Apples latest iOS 8 mobile software is the most customisable yet, with improved security and faster messaging tools, says Charles Arthur Live: iOS 8 launch day download status, app updates and more Can you remember what iOS 6 looked like? Probably not. It had all the skeumorphism - the slider on the lock screen looked like a slider, the Find Friends app with faux leather stitching, the Notifications tab with a brushed denim background its a long list. Then last year iOS 7 swept that away, with a flat design where digital things didnt pretend to be real things.The wild forecasts that iOS7 would put people off proved unfounded; there are now about 360 million iPhone users worldwide, and thats more than ever. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 01:01:14 GMT)

Autumn landscapes expert tips on taking great photographs
Autumns here and theres no better time to go for a walk with your camera. Mick Ryan, publisher of a new photo-location guidebook series, shares his tips on the best times and places to capture the season in the UKSeptember 2014 in the UK may be unseasonally warm but autumn is already here. Lower than average temperatures in late August mean that leaves started to change colour in early September rather than the usual early October. The combination of glorious sunshine and a countryside ablaze with reds, oranges, yellows and browns means theres no better time to go for a walk with your camera.Here are some photographic tips and good locations to visit to make the best of the season Albert Camus described as the second spring when every leaf is a flower. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:13 GMT)

Chechnya is full of phantoms photographs of transformation
From a teenage girl in a wedding dress, to battalions training for an anti-terrorist operation, Davide Monteleones new exhibition showcases compelling portraits of a reconstructed republic Spasibo: An exhibition of photographs by Davide Monteleone runs at the Saatchi Gallery, 11 October 9 November 2014They are wonderful images. A young girl in a wedding dress, a group of elders praying among the Caucasus mountains, the new, shiny skyline of Grozny, Chechnyas reconstructed capital.The Italian photographer Davide Monteleone spent five months last year in Chechnya. His vivid portraits, which go on show in the Saatchi Gallery next month, are an exploration of Chechen identity. They illuminate how the Muslim republic has been transformed by peace, following two brutal wars, and by the uneasy cult-like rule of Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnyas feudal president. Continue reading...
(Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:39:15 GMT)

Is this the end of Britishness?
A shared history of 300 years could be washed away if Scotland votes for independence. What was the complex identity the United Kingdom created and should we mourn its loss?In 1951, a little-known Bengali journalist, already well into middle age and staring failure in the face, published a book that has since become a classic of Indian literature. Nirad Chaudhuris The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian told the story of the writers progress from an obscure town in the Ganges delta to university in metropolitan Kolkata, and from there into clerking and poorly rewarded work for newspapers and literary magazines. But the larger journey it recounted was an intellectual one how he had been brought into contact with European, especially British, civilisation, and how much its ideas and art had come to matter to him. VS Naipaul said it was perhaps the one great book to have come out of the Indo-British encounter, and though few other critics might go that far, it remains an extraordinary achievement both for its insight into the British empire as seen from below by one of its non-white subjects, and for its argument that all of Indias problems could by no means be blamed on imperialism. As India had achieved independence only four years before, after half-a-century of struggle, Chaudhuris views were bound to cause him trouble. But even more inflammatory was his books dedication:To the memory of the British empire in India,Which conferred subjecthood upon us,But withheld citizenship.To which yet every one of us threw out the challenge:Civis Britannicus sumBecause all that was good and living within usWas made, shaped and quickenedBy the same British rule.Breathes there the man with soul so dead Who never to himself hath said This is my own, my native l and! Breathes there the man with soul so deadWho never to himself hath saidWhen his toe has kicked the bottom o the bedOH YA BUGGER!British identity will wither gradually. If it survives at all, it will become narrow, eccentric, strident and romantic Continue reading...
(Tue, 16 Sep 2014 05:00:01 GMT)

The planning chief who says garden cities can solve the housing crisis
Kate Henderson is an unlikely head of the Town and Country Planning Association and a female leader in a male-dominated industryAll three major political parties have signed up to the idea of new garden cities as a solution to the housing crisis. This is a victory for Kate Henderson, the 34-year-old chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), which has been consistently campaigning for the creation of garden cities for more than a century."When we had the general election four years ago," says Henderson, "there was no talk of large-scale new communities, and over the last couple of years it's really grown in profile. A lot of that has been down to pragmatism having a really strong vision of what a garden city could achieve, but being very pragmatic about how we deliver it in today's context." Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:00 GMT)

The joys of a repair cafe: Mad Max with a KitKat and a nice cup of tea
When Niall Griffiths took his broken speaker to Llandrindod repair cafe, the solution sounded embarrassingly obviousHow to set up your own repair cafeWhat is a repair cafe? Its exactly what it says on the tin; its a place where you can go, with your broken items, to consult people more knowledgeable than you about how to fix them. Oh, and have a cup of tea and a cake while doing so. The worlds first repair cafe appeared in Amsterdam in 2009, set up by Martine Postma. Now, there are around 400, from Australia to the US, with more being registered each day. At present, Wales hosts two, one in Newtown and the other which I am attending in Llandrindod Wells, a Victorian spa town in the Radnorshire hills where folk would go to take the chalybeate waters, believed to be curative (and which taste like blood licked off a rusty hoe). Once a temperance town, it is poorly equipped with hostelries, but the hotels are grand (in one of which the Welsh FA meets annually to discuss how badly the qualifying campaign is going), the architecture impressive, and Rock Park, where Rupert Bear used to play (his creator, Mary Tourtel, lived in the town for some years), is a magical grade 2-listed squirrel-busy and salmon-rivered dingly dell where you can get contentedly lost and want never to be found again. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:48:09 GMT)

Apple iPhone 6 review: 'It's going to have a lot of success' - video
Prior to its public release on Friday, 19 September, the Guardian's technology editor, Charles Arthur, gets to grips with Apple's latest devices. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are the tech giant's first larger phablet-style phones and include new design elements, added features and a variety of software improvements. But have they caught up with the existing Android big boys? Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 01:04:02 GMT)

Colorado marijuana industry battles stoner stereotypes in pot push
Industry workers and activists, tired of Cheech & Chong jokes, skewer old ads from the 1980s to promote safe consumptionTired of Cheech & Chong pot jokes and ominous anti-drug campaigns, the marijuana industry and activists are starting an ad blitz in Colorado aimed at promoting moderation and the safe consumption of pot.To get their message across, they are skewering some of the old Drug War-era ads that focused on the fears of marijuana, including the famous This is your brain on drugs fried-egg ad from the 1980s. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:18:17 GMT)

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