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George Osborne’s £7bn tax cuts plan is a ‘total fantasy’, warns Vince Cable
Pledge not affordable, says business secretary, adding that chancellor’s policy would mean ‘horrific cuts to key services’The business secretary, Vince Cable, has torn into the Conservatives for promising £7bn of new tax cuts at a time of renewed uncertainty about the global economy, saying it was “total fantasy” to think they could be delivered without raising other taxes or making massive extra cuts to public services.Cable told the Observer that officials inside the Treasury were increasingly concerned that the pledges made by the chancellor, George Osborne, and David Cameron at the Tory conference in October were not affordable and could put the government’s reputation for fiscal credibility at risk. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 21:05:03 GMT)

Labour party at war over Emily Thornberry’s ‘snobby’ tweet
Party ranks descend into attacks after Thornberry was accused of mocking Rochester house draped with England flagsLabour has erupted into civil war over the “snobby” tweet sent by the sacked shadow attorney general, prompting senior MPs to warn that Ed Miliband’s chances in the general election are being actively damaged by the fallout over the affair.The party descended into mutual recrimination as supporters and critics of Emily Thornberry, accused of mocking a house draped with England flags before the Rochester and Strood byelection, took turns to attack each other. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:00:02 GMT)

Revealed: UK ‘mercenaries’ fighting Islamic State terrorist forces in Syria
Former infantryman James Hughes from Reading, and Jamie Read from Lanarkshire, are said to be in Rojava, northern SyriaA former British infantryman who served in Afghanistan is among a growing cohort of Britons joining the ranks of westerners travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight Islamic State (Isis) militants, the Observer has learned.James Hughes, from Reading, Berkshire, is understood to be in Rojava, northern Syria, helping to defend the beleaguered city of Kobani as a de facto “mercenary” fighting on behalf of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the YPG. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 21:42:54 GMT)

Standing ovations greet defiant Bill Cosby on stage as more women accuse him of rape
Seventeen women have joined the swirl of allegations against US comedy star with many waiving anonymityThe veteran comedy star Bill Cosby struck a defiant pose and lapped up standing ovations at one of his live shows in America this weekend as he faced down growing allegations of rape and sexual assault made publicly by more than a dozen women.Raising a clenched fist, 77-year-old Cosby was cheered at his standup comedy show in Melbourne, Florida, on Friday night, where die-hard fans turned up in droves to support the enduring television superstar known by the affectionate moniker of “America’s Dad”. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:04:07 GMT)

Media ‘gagged over bid to report MP child sex cases’
Security services accused of aiding Westminster paedophilia cover-upThe security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed.Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:33:56 GMT)

Firms flouting the minimum wage not prosecuted in the past year
Coalition under fire over pledge to get tough, while food bank boss says ministers must protect people ‘on the edge’The coalition’s record on low pay has come under attack as new figures revealed that not a single company has been prosecuted in the past year for paying less than the national minimum wage. Despite ministers’ claims that the government is getting tough on under-payers, the last successful criminal prosecution was in February 2013.That was one of only two prosecutions during the government’s entire term of office to date, according to figures given to parliament. The cases involved the imposition of fines to the value of £3,696 on an opticians in Manchester and £1,000 on a security company in London. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:28:39 GMT)

Taxpayers to fund hundreds of fracking boreholes across the country
Drilling of holes to monitor ground movement and water pollution slammed as an attempt to dupe public over shale gas safetyHundreds of government-funded boreholes are set to be drilled across Britain to try to persuade the public that a looming shale gas boom can be developed safely, the Observer has learned. Sensors in the boreholes would detect possible water pollution or earthquakes caused by fracking and the information would be made public.“We will be taking the pulse of the sub-surface environment and will reveal if things are going wrong, but also if they are going right,” said Professor Mike Stephenson, director of science and technology at the British Geological Survey, which would drill the boreholes. “The aim is to reassure people that we can manage the sub-surface safely.” Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:56:25 GMT)

US to arm Sunni tribesmen in Iraq to bolster defence against Islamic State
Arms include AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds in plan to spend $24.1m, a fraction of $1.6bn requested to CongressBiden announces $135m in aid for Syrian refugeesThe US plans to buy arms for Sunni tribesmen in Iraq including AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds, to help bolster the battle against Islamic State (Isis) militants in Anbar province, according to a Pentagon document prepared for Congress. The plan to spend $24.1m represents a small fraction of the larger, $1.6bn spending request to Congress focusing on training and arming Iraqi and Kurdish forces. But the document underscored the importance the Pentagon places on the Sunni tribesmen to its overall strategy to diminish Isis, and cautioned Congress about the consequences of failing to assist them. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:31:39 GMT)

British anti-Putin campaigner claims Russians plan to kidnap him
Bill Browder, a businessman and fierce critic of the Russian president, details alleged plot in US court submissionThe Russian government has hatched a sensational plot to kidnap a prominent British businessman and smuggle him out of the country, it has been claimed.Newly lodged court documents, seen by the Observer, allege that Russian criminal syndicates working with the Kremlin planned to abduct London-based Bill Browder, who is mired in a wrangle with the Putin regime over the controversial death of a whistleblower. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:26:35 GMT)

Foreign Office condemned for failing Britons in need of help
MPs attack ‘repeated failures of compassion’ and inadequate responses to detainees’ allegations of tortureThe once mighty and revered Foreign and Commonwealth Office is failing to offer acceptable levels of help to many Britons abroad and their families – including those alleging torture in prisons overseas – according to a highly critical report by MPs.The conclusions of the all-party foreign affairs select committee – which says it is “gravely concerned” that allegations of torture are not being dealt with adequately and that families of Britons killed overseas often feel “entirely let down” – will be a serious embarrassment to ministers. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:07 GMT)

Former Amazon employee set for hunger strike at Seattle headquarters
Kivin Varghese claims he was wrongfully dischargedProtest seeks focus on internet retailer’s business practicesA former Amazon employee embroiled in a legal battle with the online retailer is set to go on hunger strike in an attempt to force the company to change business practices which he calls “deceptive and fraudulent”.Kivin Varghese plans to start his vigil on Tuesday outside Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle in order to raise awareness of what he alleges are poor business practices and employee treatment by the company. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:06:44 GMT)

Tesco hides newspaper covers to stop children seeing ‘sexualised pictures’
Supermarket to only show names and logos on stands after pressure by campaign groups No More Page 3 and Child EyesSupermarket Tesco will no longer show the front covers of tabloid newspapers to avoid children seeing “sexualised pictures of young women”.After months of lobbying by campaign groups No More Page 3 and Child Eyes, the largest supermarket chain in the UK said it would change the design of its “news cube” stands so newspapers will not be displayed vertically. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 00:59:11 GMT)

Study identifies key traits and methods of serial killer nurses
Criminologists charting characteristics of healthcare serial killers found most craved attention and liked to talk about deathSerial killer nurses often gain notoriety among their colleagues before their crimes are exposed because they hold detailed morbid conversation with grieving relatives, new research into the characteristics of so-called “angels of death” has found.Criminologists studying the traits of healthcare professionals who became multiple murderers found that most craved attention, switched hospitals frequently, had disciplinary problems and liked to talk about death or exhibited “odd behaviour when someone dies”. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:36:57 GMT)

Irish PM’s party suffers dip in popularity after water charge protests
Opinion poll shows only 22% would vote for Enda Kenny’s centre-right Fine Gael partyThe popularity of Irish prime minister Enda Kenny’s party has slumped since it announced the first non-austerity budget in seven years last month and mass protests against new water charges began, an opinion poll showed on Saturday.Only 22% of voters said they would vote for Kenny’s centre-right Fine Gael party, down 6 percentage points since the 14 October budget and 14 points since its election in 2011, the Red C/Sunday Business Post opinion poll said. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:42:50 GMT)

Black Friday promises high street stores a £200m Christmas present
Extra shopfloor and security staff are hired to deal with anticipated flood of customers battling to snap up cut-price deals Retailers have drafted in extra shopfloor and security staff to control the anticipated crowds of shoppers as they prepare for the American-style Black Friday shopping mania due to sweep Britain’s high streets this week. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:59:24 GMT)

Investigators suspect that gas leak caused explosion at London hotel
National Grid and London fire brigade personnel have not yet been able to enter kitchen area of Churchill Hyatt Regency hotelNational Grid and the London fire brigade are investigating whether a gas leak caused an explosion at a top London hotel late on Friday night.The incident left 14 staff injured and forced 500 guests of the five-star Churchill Hyatt Regency on Portman Square near Marble Arch on to the streets just before midnight. Five were taken to nearby St Mary’s hospital for treatment. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:53:00 GMT)

Nigel Farage accused of changing policy on EU migrants by new Ukip MP
Mark Reckless says he is ‘a bit sore’ over how he came out in row over whether EU migrants would be forced to leave UK in event of BrexitMark Reckless, Ukip’s second elected MP, has criticised his leader Nigel Farage for changing party policy on the hoof following a row over whether European migrants would be forced to leave Britain if the UK broke away from the EU.Opponents of Reckless, who won the Rochester and Strood byelection on Thursday, claim the former Tory had said existing EU migrants would only be allowed to stay in the UK for “a transitional period” if Britain did leave the union. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:59:33 GMT)

Use bank fines to fund national health service, says Labour
Party hopes to move on from row about Emily Thornberry tweet with call for £1bn demanded from banks to be spent on NHSLabour is calling for £1bn in bank fines to be handed to the NHS as the party seeks to move on from the political damage of a tweet by the former shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry of a picture of a house decked out in St George’s flags.The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, will tell Labour’s east of England regional conference in Ipswich that the latest scandal to engulf financial institutions presents an opportunity to do something for the wider good. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:41:27 GMT)

US troops get tough new powers to protect Afghan regime from Taliban
Barack Obama answers plea for help against insurgency from Kabul’s embattled president as state’s casualties escalateIn an apparent nod to much improved ties between Washington and Kabul, US forces fighting in Afghanistan will have extra powers next year to target Taliban fighters and protect the fragile government of new president Ashraf Ghani.An order from Barack Obama allows American troops to attack insurgents who are threatening their safety or that of Afghan officials, the New York Times and Associated Press have reported. A much narrower mission laid out this spring only allowed US soldiers to train their Afghan counterparts, and fight militants from al-Qaida or other international groups. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:48:18 GMT)

Obama has shown courage to stand with us, say America’s joyful Latinos
President’s move to grant amnesty to 5 million immigrants delights Hispanics at rally in Las VegasShould Hillary Clinton, or any other Democrat, become the next US president, you may be able to trace their victory to a roll of the political dice played out last week beside a Las Vegas highway. Barack Obama’s cavalcade trundled up the road and into Del Sol high school on Friday to bring his case for the most sweeping immigration reform in decades to a rally in Nevada’s gambling capital.A bright desert sun illuminated two contrasting tableaux. From the school entrance snaked hundreds of people, mostly Latino, giddy and upbeat, come to hear and cheer a president who had decided to shield almost five million illegal immigrants from deportation by offering them temporary legal status and work permits. Across the street stood about two dozen protesters – white, indignant and angry – with megaphones. Placards amplified the message: “No amnesty!” “Deport them all!” “Oust Obama!” Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:45:36 GMT)

Former Portuguese prime minister José Sócrates arrested over alleged fraud
Sócrates and three other people held following an investigation of suspected tax fraud, corruption and money-launderingPortuguese police have arrested former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates and three other people in an investigation of suspected tax fraud, corruption and money-laundering, the prosecutor general’s office said on Saturday.The detention, the first involving a former premier in Portugal under democracy, follows arrests of other high-ranking officials or prominent people in separate inquiries in the past few months as prosecutors intensify a fight against corruption in a country notorious for its slow justice system. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:06:02 GMT)

Gunman among four dead at South Dakota American Indian reservation
Authorities identify gunman as Colter Richard Arbach, 22One wounded at home in town of SissetonA 22-year-old man apparently shot and killed three people and wounded a fourth at a home on a South Dakota American Indian reservation early on Saturday, before he killed himself, authorities said.The state attorney general’s office said in a news release that the attack happened at a home in Sisseton, a town on the Lake Traverse Reservation, which is in the north-east corner of the state near the borders with North Dakota and Minnesota. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 18:35:24 GMT)

Biden warns of 'corrosive' presidential powers as Turkey talks focus on Assad
Vice-president meets Turkish president Erdogan in IstanbulDiscussion concentrates on transfer of power away from Syria’s AssadBiden announces $135m of aid for Syrian refugeesUS vice-president Joe Biden on Saturday warned that a concentration of powers under a head of state was “corrosive” as he visited Turkey – which has been accused of increasing authoritarian tendencies.Biden made the remarks before meeting Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in August became the Turkish president after more than a decade as prime minister. Critics have accused Erdogan of seeking to centralise powers in a powerful presidency, which until he took office was largely a ceremonial role. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:30:33 GMT)

Tessa Jowell to seek Labour nomination for London mayor
Former culture secretary says she will formally declare her candidacy after general election, when applications openTessa Jowell has become the third person to seek the Labour nomination to become mayor of London.The former culture secretary said she would formally declare her candidacy after the general election in May when applications would open. The mayoral election will be held in May 2016. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:00:18 GMT)

US warns of 'serious gaps' in Iran talks as European source predicts extension
Secretary of state John Kerry expresses some reservations over nuclear talks in Vienna while German foreign minister says deal has ‘never been closer’US secretary of state John Kerry has warned of “serious gaps” in talks about a nuclear deal with Iran, but as Monday’s deadline approached his German counterpart said Tehran and six world powers had “never been closer” to agreement since they started negotiating more than six years ago.A European source said the likelihood of a final comprehensive agreement being reached by Monday was “very small”. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:23:46 GMT)

Men who died in London balcony collapse named
Removal men Tomasz Procko, 22, from Greenford, and Karol Szymanski, 29, from Wembley, were killed on Friday in KnightsbridgeTwo removal men who died when balcony railings gave way as they carried a sofa into a home have been named by police.Polish nationals Tomasz Procko, 22, from Greenford, and Karol Szymanski, 29, from Wembley, were killed on Friday in Knightsbridge, central London. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:12:37 GMT)

Man arrested at Heathrow on suspicion of terror offence
Coventry man, 19, detained by West Midlands counter-terror police on Thursday as he got off a plane from JordanA 19-year-old man has been arrested at Heathrow airport on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism.He was detained by officers from the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit at 1500 GMT on Thursday as he got off a plane from Jordan, police said in a statement on Saturday. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 09:18:59 GMT)

Saudi man released from Guantánamo in rebuke of Republican opposition
US releases Muhammad al-Zahrani, the 13th prisoner released this year and the seventh in just two weeks, despite calls from GOP to end transfersThe Obama administration announced the release of another Guantánamo Bay detainee on Saturday, rebuking recent calls from congressional Republicans to stop the transfers entirely.A Saudi man who has spent 12 years at the wartime detention facility, Muhammed Murdi Issa al-Zahrani, will return to Saudi Arabia and enter the kingdom’s rehabilitation program. The transfer brings the detainee population of a prison Barack Obama has vowed for six years to close down to 142 men, 72 of whom the Pentagon considers pose little enough threat as to be eligible for transfer. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:02:18 GMT)

Man charged with murder after body found in car
Colin McSweeny, 58, of south-east London, accused of killing Shaun McSweeny, 24, who was found in car with head injuriesA man has been charged with murder after a body was found in a car.Colin McSweeny, 58, of Thornton Heath, south-east London, is accused of killing 24-year-old Shaun McSweeny. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 09:44:51 GMT)

Behind the scenes of a 'shocking' new study on human altruism
A recent study suggests most people would rather harm themselves than a stranger for profit. Lead author Molly Crockett takes us behind the scenes of the researchHow much money would you give up to prevent a stranger’s pain? And how does this compare to what you’d pay to prevent your own pain?With colleagues at University College London I addressed this question in a recent study. We were interested in quantifying how much people care about others, relative to themselves. A lack of concern for others’ suffering lies at the heart of many psychiatric disorders such as psychopathy, so developing precise laboratory measures of empathy and altruism will be important for probing the brain processes that underlie antisocial behavior. Attempts to identify true altruism often boil down to redacting motivation from behavior altogether. The story goes that in order to be pure, helping others must dissociate from personal desire (to kiss up, look good, feel rewarded, and so forth). But it is logically fallacious to think of any human behavior as amotivated. De facto, when people engage in actions, it is because they want to. Second... critics of “impure” altruism chide helpers for acting in human ways, for instance by doing things that feel good. The ideal, then, seems to entail acting altruistically while not enjoying those actions one bit. To me, this is no ideal at all. I think it’s profound and downright beautiful to think that our core emotional makeup can be tuned towards others, causing us to feel good when we do. Color me selfish, but I’d take that impure altruism over a de-enervated, floating ideal any day. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:00:02 GMT)

Revenge evictions: ‘An electrician said our shower was unsafe. The landlord’s response was to evict us’
More and more tenants are being evicted – often unfairly – new figures show. But pressure is growing for changeWhen Lela Lewis suffered a minor electric shock while she was taking a shower, it was the last straw – for her landlord. After learning from an electrician that the back wall of her flat was effectively running with a live electrical current and that it wasn’t safe for her and her daughter to remain in their home, Lewis contacted her landlord, who responded by telling her she was to be evicted.“I was floored. Nobody wants to rent to you when you’re unemployed and I’d been homeless for a while before eventually finding this place. I’d told the landlord I wanted to make a home for myself and my daughter and asked him about the tenancy being only one year but he said not to worry, it would be renewed. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:04:07 GMT)

80 landmarks in 80 years: the people and events that shaped our world
A global poll commissioned by the British Council of the greatest moments, discoveries and people of the past eight decades throws up some cultural surprises – the invention of the instant noodle – and a clear winner• See a gallery of the top 20 moments hereAgree or disagree, scratching your head at a few of the names or delighted to see some unsung heroes, it’s undeniably a list that is as diverse in opinion as it is unifying in themes.Eighty key moments that shaped the world have been chosen by a multicultural group of scientists, writers, artists, academics and diplomats to reflect the most momentous events of the planet’s past eight decades. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:48:24 GMT)

Anjelica Huston: ‘I wanted a perfect romance and a lovely husband’
The affairs and the scandals of a life among Hollywood royalty – and where Renée Zellweger and Jennifer Lawrence get it wrongAnjelica Huston arrives at the Carlyle hotel in Manhattan after lunching with Sofia Coppola. It’s the first time she has seen her old friend in over 15 years, and the reunion has put her in a nostalgic mood. Huston and Coppola have a lot in common, not all of it good. “In both cases our fathers were larger than life and gregarious,” Huston says, “and they didn’t understand certain things about how a female emerges from her chrysalis.” It took the 63-year-old a long time to complete the transition from gawky daughter of the legendary director John Huston to Oscar-winner in her own right. “You do feel like you wished you’d had a bigger voice at the time.”Huston has more than made up for those years of meekness, but there’s still an avidity to her that borders on nervousness, a touching and almost quaint bid to be liked that seems somehow rooted in her status as a second-generation Hollywood star. She orders a vodka bullshot (vodka, beef bouillon, lemon) – the very act of drinking mid-afternoon during an interview is pretty old school – and although a little pale and round-shouldered, she looks good, with sheets of dark hair that swing when she laughs. Huston’s appeal has always centred on her combination of ungainly, diffident beauty and self-assurance, the result of a background as insecure as it was privileged, and she speaks plainly in a way that newly minted celebrities do not. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 09:30:00 GMT)

Radical Independence and Nicola Sturgeon take Glasgow by storm
Thousands gather on the banks of the Clyde to talk about the future of the Scottish independence movement post-referendumHere are a few key facts about what went down in Glasgow today: at least 15,000 people from across the country gathered on the banks of the Clyde to talk about politics and how to make Scotland a better, fairer, more equal country. Many of them did it all day. Some of them weren’t even members of the SNP. By the end of the morning, both #RIC2014 (the third national conference of the Radical Independence Campaign) and #SNPtour (marking the sell-out Nicola Sturgeon gig at the Hydro next door) were trending worldwide. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:35:26 GMT)

In Tokyo’s sake bars the mood turns grim as weary workers brace for more pain
Grilled chicken and beer fail to raise the spirits of poorly paid and part-time workers who see little sense in yet another costly electionThe neon flickers into action, bathing the central district of Shinbashi in light. Giant screens blare out ads for electronic gadgets and energy drinks. High above street level, trains arrive every couple of minutes and deposit hordes of office workers on to Shinbashi’s narrow back streets in search of grilled chicken skewers and beer, and the chance to take stock of an extraordinary week for the world’s third-biggest economy.If the buzz of activity in Shinbashi – packed with offices, bars and restaurants – is any indication, this does not look like a country in recession. But the Friday evening feelgood factor is at odds with the hard data. Last Monday Japan’s government caught almost everyone off guard when it announced that, after a second consecutive contraction in quarterly GDP, the economy was officially back in recession for the first time since 2012. Put simply, Japan’s consumers have stopped spending. Exhibiting the same caution that consigned their economy to more than two decades of stagnation, their thrift threatens to derail prime minister Shinzo Abe’s inflation-led mission to revive the economy. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:30:03 GMT)

Nigel Farage is a coward, yet Cameron and Miliband are too gutless to attack
At Rochester, the main party leaders showed they are too frightened to take on Ukip’s rabble-rouser in chiefYou cannot describe Ukip as a far-right party without running into trouble. Respectable commentators tell you that, while individual members may be neo-fascists and that while Ukip had indeed allied with far-right parties in Europe, it does not come from fascist tradition. And I just about accept that.Hardly any commentator, respectable or otherwise, notices that Nigel Farage has created his own stab-in-the-back myth. The treacherous “Westminster elite” so despised the decent people of Britain that it flooded the land with foreigners who “took our country from us”. This is the manure in which far-right movements have always grown. But, once again, if anyone objects, I accept that Farage is not a führer or duce. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 18:15:10 GMT)

Six vital steps world leaders must agree to take to protect Earth
International talks in Paris in 2015 could see the world’s nations agree to limit global warming to a rise of 2C. Actually achieving that target will require huge commitments – not least by developed nations Every year, carbon emissions from cars, factories and power plants across the planet rise inexorably. The resulting elevation in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere mean that in 30 years temperatures on Earth will be 2C hotter than they were in pre-industrial times, scientists say. This is the maximum temperature that they believe the world can tolerate without there being devastating environmental consequences: spreading deserts, worsening storms and widespread flooding. Therefore, the first and most important decision that world leaders need to take at the Paris climate talks next year is to agree, through a binding commitment, that 2C is the upper, acceptable limit of global warming on Earth. All other decisions taken in Paris will follow as a consequence of that agreement. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:00:04 GMT)

Haruki Murakami: Racing to Checkpoint Charlie – my memories of the Berlin Wall
The Japanese author on the importance of walls as motifs in his novelsIt has been a quarter of a century now since the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Berlin came down. The first time I visited Berlin was in 1983, and back then the city was still divided into East and West by that looming wall. Travellers could go over into East Berlin, but they had to pass through a number of checkpoints, and were required to return to West Berlin before the clock struck midnight. Just like Cinderella at the ball.Along with my wife and a friend I went to see a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the East Berlin Opera House. The performance, and the atmosphere, were wonderful. But as one act followed the next, the clock ticked inevitably closer to midnight. I remember racing to Checkpoint Charlie on the way back. We made it just in time, but it was a close call. Of all the performances of The Magic Flute I’ve seen, that had to be the most thrilling. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:30:10 GMT)

Stars join the fight to save people’s history as cuts threaten Manchester’s radical heritage
Campaigners hope to save two working class museums with a little help from some celebrity supportersThey chart the history of working-class battles from the Peterloo massacre and the birth of the trade union movement right up to the poll tax riots and opposition to the Iraq war, but two of the country’s only museums dedicated to working people’s history are forced to hold big fundraising events this week to help keep them alive.The People’s History Museum, in Manchester, has launched a campaign to plug a £200,000 funding shortfall when it loses central government funding in April next year. The museum spans four centuries of the often bloodstained journey to democracy in Britain, and its collections are a treasure trove of both the poignant and downright bizarre. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:07 GMT)

Mulberry aims to bag a comeback with price cuts and British vibe
After an ill-fated move upmarket, the luxury brand is concentrating on winning back customersDeep in the Somerset countryside Mulberry is working hard to rekindle the popularity of a fashion brand whose allure has suffered in recent years, ever since it made a reckless leap upmarket.Most of Mulberry’s trademark leather handbags are produced in south-west England, including the Cara Delevingne collection of “town to country” and “train to plane” bags designed in collaboration with the 22-year-old British model and featuring her favourite camouflage print. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:19 GMT)

The Francis Bacon mystery: a police visit, the coded painting – and a body in a bath
Officers were called in to examine erotic study of two men wrestling at artist’s first solo show at the ICA 60 years agoA hunt has begun to uncover the truth about painter Francis Bacon’s controversial first solo show at a public gallery, put on in London in 1955. It is a search for missing information that is already casting new light on the career of Britain’s most influential modern artist.While art historians have established a few bare facts – that the police were called in to examine the art, that a key erotic picture was excluded from the official list of exhibits, and that a year later the gay man who organised the show with Bacon was found dead – no further records or photographs survive. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:07 GMT)

'There were hundreds of us crying out for help': the afterlife of the whistleblower
Whistleblowers speak out because they feel they have to, often at great personal cost. But years later, do they think it was worth it?In his former life, Dr Raj Mattu was an internationally recognised cardiologist. On course for a professorship in London, he nonetheless jumped at the chance to return to his home town of Coventry in 1997, to set up a medical school at Warwick University and help turn the large district Walsgrave hospital into a teaching facility. It was a choice he would live to regret.He found problems straight away. Patient safety was at risk through broken equipment and misallocation of resources; there were factions among staff and tensions with management. In the months before he arrived, senior clinicians had narrowly failed to pass a vote of no confidence in CEO David Loughton. Little was as it should be. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:00:09 GMT)

Saviour of France’s art: how the Mona Lisa was spirited away from the Nazis
Secret operation by Louvre staff on eve of war is revealed in new documentary on forgotten hero Jacques JaujardIt is a French documentary that British television channels are going to fight over. And they’ll have to act quickly, as Illustrious Yet Unknown (Illustre et Inconnu) has already been sold to scores of countries around the world.Jean-Pierre Devillers and Pierre Pochart’s film – which mixes archive footage with animation and is narrated by French actor Mathieu Amalric – focuses on a man the French had forgotten: Jacques Jaujard. As deputy head of the Louvre, Jaujard hid the Mona Lisa, all the Louvre’s contents and France’s entire public art collection just 10 days before the second world war broke out, in a masterful, highly secret operation. No one asked him to do it; he just did, helped by hundreds of loyal employees scattered across the country. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:37:04 GMT)

How celebrities can make millions after death: meet the man with the formula
Bob Marley can expect high earnings from cannabis tie-up – but others have also found great wealth posthumouslyMaking money doesn’t have to stop when you drop dead ... if you’re a celebrity. In fact, the earning power of pop idols and movie stars can rapidly increase when they’re six feet under as advertisers scramble to sign them up to front advertising campaigns.The deal struck by Bob Marley’s family this week to license the reggae legend’s image to the world’s first cannabis product has revealed the marketeer’s latest money-spinning ruse: buying up the image rights to dead celebrities. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 06:00:26 GMT)

Our 10 best pear recipes
Pears have an affinity with many ingredients – sweet, savoury or spicy – and work well in diverse dishes, from breakfasts and sumptuous salads to pickles, pork and pudsThis is a fruit gifted with such a rich, natural flavour that simply poaching it is often the best thing you can do. Here sweet spices coax out its inherent caramel notes. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 06:00:17 GMT)

The prettiest fry-ups in Britain – in pictures
It started by accident: one perfect, symmetrical breakfast for two. Four hundred cappuccinos and a huge Instagram following later, Michael Zee, the man behind Symmetry Breakfast, shares his favourites. Photographs by Michael ZeeMichael Zee talks about his Instagram hitSend us your symmetrical breakfasts – tweet @guardianweekend or email weekend@theguardian.com Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:59:00 GMT)

Secret Teacher: the culture of fear in my school stops us taking sick leave
Instead of supporting teachers who are ill, managers expect us to answer emails and return to work before we’re ready• More from the Secret Teacher“Do you realise the impact your absence has on your students?” is the first thing the wellness at work panel say to me as I sit down. Not, “are you feeling better?”Even though I’ve been back at work for three weeks, I’ve not recovered. I was signed off with a virus that sapped all my strength, leaving me sleeping for 12 hours at a time during the day. I couldn’t speak because my glands were too swollen and I was throwing up every hour or so. The doctor wanted to sign me off for at least two weeks, but I begged her to make it one. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:11 GMT)

The UK’s best city: in praise of Newcastle upon Tyne
That their friendly, fun-loving ‘toon’ is Guardian readers’ top city was no surprise to Geordies. Tynesider Harry Pearson looks afresh at its ancient institutions and new bars and galleriesFinish with a pint in Newcastle’s top 10 craft beer pubsOne February night a few years ago I found myself standing on the bank of a wide, dark river. Pastel-coloured lights melted across the glossy surface of the water. The rainbow arch of one great bridge was echoed downstream by the blue-green span of another. The glass of great buildings glimmered and a cool wind blew from the east. I felt as I had in other great cities at night - as if I was in a timeless and magical place. It took me some while to reconcile this with the knowledge that I was in Newcastle.I say this not from lofty metropolitan disdain. Newcastle is the nearest city to where I was born, the nearest city to where I live now. I have been visiting it for long enough to remember when it looked like it does in the film Get Carter – all brick, slate and smoke. I have come here to watch football and see bands, to eat and drink, and to shop for goods from Airfix kits years ago to prams and pushchairs more recently. But until that winter evening I had never really noticed Newcastle. Familiarity had bred indifference. It was like that moment in a corny Hollywood movie when the frumpy girl next door takes off her glasses and – aw, gee! – it’s Grace Kelly! Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:10 GMT)

How Westbrook Partners came to loom over a small east London community
Built on a foundation of philanthropy, the New Era flats in Hoxton are now in the hands of a profit-focused private equity firmFor more than 80 years, the Lever family have run the New Era housing estate in east London as a philanthropic concern, enabling teaching assistants, NHS staff and construction workers to live near their places of work while paying affordable rents.Now the grandson of Arthur Barsht, the man who built the 93-flat estate, has defended his family’s decision to sell the properties to an American private equity company. He has, he suggested, little sympathy for the families who could be evicted before Christmas. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:40:48 GMT)

Spread the love: Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for less fashionable vegetables
Forget staples such as peppers and peas, it’s time to try more adventurous vegetables. Bring on the kohlrabi!After more than 10 years in this job, I am seen as some kind of unofficial agony aunt for all things veggie, and in that capacity I am often asked about the appeal – or, more often, the lack thereof – of certain vegetables, and how best to make them tasty. These days, people really seem to want to love vegetables, be that for virtuous reasons or just because vegetables are deemed cool.This makes me very happy indeed. The trouble is, it is hard to convince people to love all vegetables equally. It is pretty easy to fall for tomatoes and aubergines, peppers, sweetcorn and peas; but many people find it much harder to have the same kind of affection for cabbage and cauliflower, swede, spinach and pumpkin. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:00:03 GMT)

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney nets breakaway goal to beat Arsenal
By the end, those little red and white posters were fluttering once again behind Arsène Wenger’s dugout. “Enough is enough,” was the message, and these are the moments when it feels like the mutiny is growing and it is not entirely clear how Arsenal’s manager can pacify the people who want a change. The malaise feels too deep and the gap to Chelsea at the top of the Premier League is more accurately described as a gulf, now 15 points and climbing.It is no wonder the “Wenger Out” camp has found its voice again, no matter how unappealing it is to see the abuse a fine man has to suffer. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:35:29 GMT)

George Ford drives England home against Samoa after early rocky road
England 28-9 SamoaGeorge Ford’s name lends itself to motoring analogies: the outside-half got England motoring again after five successive defeats had stalled a steady advance made since the last World Cup, but they never got into overdrive.Chris Robshaw was named man of the match, but the Bath No10 made a significant difference, taking the ball flat, challenging the defence and having the durability to ride a number of typically shuddering Samoan tackles. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 21:31:54 GMT)

Lewis Hamilton dismisses ‘mistakes’ as Nico Rosberg piles on pressure
• Briton beaten to pole in Abu Dhabi by Mercedes team-mate • German says rival ‘doing several mistakes’ and has all to lose• ‘I don’t pay much attention to him’ retorts title-chasing HamiltonLewis Hamilton, chasing his second world championship, will start second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday after again being beaten to pole position by Nico Rosberg, his great rival and Mercedes team‑mate. Hamilton was a poor second in both runs in Q3, the qualifying shootout to decide the grid positions for the final race of the season. He needs to come first or second in the double-points decider to capitalise on his lead of 17 points and definitely win the title.But after qualifying Rosberg, who has won five races to Hamilton’s 10, warned him that he would keep the pressure on. The German said: “Lewis has everything to lose and I have everything to gain. The pressure is on him. I will keep the pressure on him as much as possible. And maybe he will make another mistake, as we saw today and in Brazil. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:07:50 GMT)

Liverpool are suffering in absence of Luis Suárez, their brilliant swine
Even a grudging Suárez gave absolutely everything on the pitch. As long as he had kept doing that, Liverpool would have been authentic title challengers• How Crystal Palace blew Liverpool’s title tilt off course• Raheem Sterling on growing up and wising upDid you know that eight different books have been released to commemorate the story of Liverpool’s second-placed finish in the Premier League and how close they came to re-establishing themselves as the champions last season?Only one was brought out about the champions, Manchester City, and it is certainly a strange set of events that there was a full summer’s worth of reading about the club where Bill Shankly’s old prophecy about first being first, and second being nowhere, is almost as much a part of the history as the Anfield gates. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:00:04 GMT)

England’s Stuart Lancaster relieved after emphatic win over Samoa
• Coach praises performance of fly-half George Ford• England 28-9 Samoa: Match reportEngland secured their first victory since the Six Nations last March by overcoming Samoa at Twickenham and Stuart Lancaster admitted it was needed after a run of five successive defeats had led to mounting pressure on the head coach, his players and the management.England were not markedly better against the Samoans than they had been in the previous weeks against New Zealand and South Africa, but the outside-half George Ford, starting his first international, gave them more direction behind and they showed greater tactical acumen. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:44:27 GMT)

New Zealand power ensures Richie McCaw party leaves Wales out in cold
Wales 16-34 New ZealandRichie McCaw duly celebrated his 100th game captaining the All Blacks with a win and Wales have now gone 25 Tests without beating the New Zealand, but there were times on Saturday night when Welsh skill and passion looked as though it might well surprise and spoil the captain’s party.The bald facts are that under McCaw the All Blacks have won 88 of those games while Wales have now gone 22 games without beating one of the big guns from the southern hemisphere – but entering the final quarter it looked as though both of those records could be rewritten. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:52:43 GMT)

Lewis Hamilton is driving better than ever. He is now one of the greats
The Briton is starting to marry his natural talent with experience but he is uncomfortably aware that he could lose out on an F1 world title he probably feels he has already wonThe Formula One world championship decider between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg is like a Wimbledon final. It’s like a prize fight for the heavyweight world title, or a penalty shootout at the end of a World Cup.The double points issue has been a big talking point, but now everyone is talking about this race. If Lewis doesn’t win the championship you could say it’s unfair, because he’s won more races. But people do like a showdown. There’s pressure on Mercedes, too, because no one wants the title decided by a technical issue. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:00:04 GMT)

Chelsea’s Diego Costa on target again as West Brom go down to 10 men
Matches such as this show why fears are rising that the Premier League title race could become one long Chelsea lap of honour. Their latest outing was never a contest, just a parade of power and style. They have now won 10 and drawn two of their 12 league matches this season, racking up points at an ominous rate. The other so-called title challengers need to find consistency soon or it will be too late.As for West Bromwich Albion, they presented themselves for kick-off on time but that was pretty much all they got right in a first half when the result was effectively decided, although Ben Foster’s constant saves stopped the scoreline from testifying to the true extent of the home team’s superiority. The Baggies tightened up admirably in the second period, by which time they were down to 10 men due to the expulsion of Claudio Yacob, but that was partially because Chelsea eased off. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:05:02 GMT)

Ireland’s Paul O’Connell stands firm to squeeze out Australia
Ireland 26-23 AustraliaWhat a Test match: from 17-0 up for Ireland after 15 minutes to level at half time, and for most of the last 16 minutes of the second half they had to fight a rearguard action that will be worth watching a few times. It was one of those edge-of-the-cliff endings for the home side, where one mistake was certain to plummet them either to a drawn game – which would have felt like a loss – or to outright defeat.Instead they got it all right, hanging on with the last play appropriately being a steal from Ian Madigan under the west stand. His larceny happened perhaps 25 metres from the spot a year ago where he got the blame in the last play against New Zealand. When he came up with the ball, waving it like a trophy, you immediately got the full sense of how important this was. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 18:58:30 GMT)

Danny Welbeck misses chance to teach Van Gaal a lesson on wasteful night
The Arsenal forwards needed a rapier edge against Manchester United – instead they produced a breadstickIf there was consolation here for Arsenal in a 2-1 home defeat by an impressive, fast-breaking Manchester United, it is in the fact that, this time at least, they did not lose a lead. They should, though, have taken one, after a fast start in which some fine approach play was undone by an untimely lack of cutting edge that Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck, in particular, will regret.Arsenal did not lose here because they failed to finish, but rather because they failed to defend. However, it must be said it would have helped, and in more ways than one. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:14:17 GMT)

Impressive Scotland ruthlessly expose Tonga in five-try romp
Scotland 37-12 TongaScotland rounded off 2014 with another hugely encouraging display as they scored five tries at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park.Tonga had ended Andy Robinson’s reign as Scotland coach in 2012 with a shock win at Pittodrie but there was never any chance of that happening as Vern Cotter’s side ruthlessly exposed the visitors. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:50:30 GMT)

Manchester City lifted by Yaya Touré after Swansea’s bright start
Yaya Touré came to Manchester City’s rescue again just as the defending champions were labouring in the second half and looking short of attacking ideas. With David Silva still injured and Sergio Agüero having a quiet game City’s attempts to stay in touch with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League were not amounting to much until their influential midfielder suddenly found the energy for one of his trademark bursts into the area.Touré had not been having a particularly impressive game up until that point, and when he is below his best City usually are too, but when Fernandinho set him up with a nonchalant back heel into the area just after the hour mark there was no stopping the Ivorian. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:07:17 GMT)

Evergreen Leon Osman strikes as Everton thwart West Ham comeback
If Evertonians arrived to laud Leon Osman for his longevity and loyalty on a landmark occasion, they departed grateful for his enduring quality. The midfielder joined the elite band of players who have represented the Merseyside club 400 times and marked the occasion in suitable style.His winner was a reminder that, over 11 years in the Everton team, he has forged a reputation as a goalscoring midfielder. His intelligence accounts for his ability to find space and it was apparent again. Deputising for the injured Gareth Barry as one of the holding midfielders, Osman was a stranger to the West Ham box until he timed his foray forward perfectly. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:11:11 GMT)

England eager to lay down a marker against Germany before World Cup
• England have yet to defeat Germany in 19 attempts• Coach Mark Sampson looking for a near-perfect performance• Germany win European Championship in 2013• Tickets for international at Wembley sold out• Germany defeat England in final of Euro 2009The England coach, Mark Sampson, has urged his side to lay down a marker against Germany and secure a major psychological boost in preparation for next year’s World Cup.England play Germany, the European champions, at Wembley on Sunday in front of 55,000 spectators, although the attendance could have been higher had the Football Association not capped sales because two tube lines serving the stadium are down this weekend. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:00:02 GMT)

Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko sees off QPR to extend winning run
Harry Redknapp has long admired Moussa Sissoko, but he could have done without the France midfielder illuminating the Tyneside dusk by scoring Newcastle United’s winning goal, on a day that left Queens Park Rangers bottom of the Premier League.A couple of months ago, Alan Pardew found himself in a similarly worrying fix, but six straight victories – five in the Premier League – have resulted in Newcastle’s relegation fears being replaced by European ambitions. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:27:08 GMT)

Lionel Messi's hat-trick breaks La Liga record as Barcelona beat Sevilla
Lionel Messi set a La Liga scoring record of 253 goals with his latest hat-trick, as Barcelona brushed aside Sevilla. The previous mark has been held by former Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra since 1955, which marked the end of the Spaniard’s 15-year career with the Basque club. Zarra scored his 251 goals in 277 appearances while Argentina captain Messi needed 289 games.“We are all very happy and of course also for Leo,” Xavi, the Barça captain, said. “He has achieved an amazing and historic record.” Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 21:37:09 GMT)

Burnley off the bottom as Danny Ings double downs Stoke City
Burnley’s resurgence continued as a quickfire brace early on from Danny Ings secured a win that took them off the bottom of the Premier League table.Sean Dyche’s men had claimed their first victory of the season in their last outing by defeating Hull 1-0 at home, and they looked determined from the off to add three more points again, with Ings taking advantage of sloppy play from the Potters to tuck in from close range in the 12th and 13th minutes. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:32:30 GMT)

Anthony Stokes leads the way as shaky Celtic hang on to beat Dundee
Goals from Anthony Stokes and John Guidetti helped the Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic to a home win over Dundee – but not before another anxious finale at Parkhead. Paul Hartley’s enterprising side were a match for their hosts in the first half but fell behind a minute before the interval when Stokes headed in a Kris Commons free-kick.When fellow striker Guidetti scored his 10th goal since arriving on loan from Manchester City in the 54th minute it looked like the home side would cruise to three points. However, four minutes later the Dundee striker David Clarkson reduced the deficit, scoring in a seventh successive game for the visitors to equal the Dundee record set by Alan Gilzean in 1964. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 18:01:23 GMT)

Sunderland’s Costel Pantilimon stands firm to deny Leicester City
Leicester City have now played five consecutive games without scoring a goal, but having lost the previous four this was a result, and as important, a performance, that represented an improvement of sorts. Perhaps the Buddhist monks called in to bless the stadium by the club’s Thai owners before the game made the difference.In fairness, it was not for lack of ambition or positivity that the Foxes failed to secure all three points. Having been criticised for what some perceived to be over-defensive selections, Nigel Pearson made the changes in personnel and formation that many of those supporters wanted to see, most notably re-introducing Riyad Mahrez on the right of a four man midfield, with Jamie Vardy alongside Leonardo Ulloa up front. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:24:00 GMT)

Wigan’s Dave Whelan has no one to blame but himself for souring legacy
Chairman’s comments over his new manager Malky Mackay are, at best, an old fool’s rantings and at worst a racist stain on game• FA opens investigation into Dave Whelan’s comments• Jewish board rejects Whelan’s half-hearted apologyOne of the things Dave Whelan is fond of telling people, beyond the fact that he broke his leg at Wembley in 1960, is that on his watch Wigan Athletic came up from the fourth division to spend eight years in the Premier League and ended up winning the FA Cup.“This has always been a happy club,” he said as recently as Wednesday, when the announcement of Malky Mackay as manager began the distinctly unhappy chain of events that has seen the Wigan chairman roundly condemned for being, at best, a bumbling old fool who does not know when to shut up, at worst an offensively racist stain on the game. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:00:02 GMT)

South Africa labour but prove too strong despite Italy’s resilience
Italy 6-22 South AfricaSouth Africa claimed an unconvincing 22-6 victory over Italy on Saturday with a late try from Bryan Habana adding some respectability after a lacklustre performance in Padova.The Springboks scored three tries, the others coming from Coenie Oosthuizen and Cobus Reinach, but, against an Italy side full of guts and passion, showed none of the accuracy that helped them beat England at Twickenham last Saturday. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:36:38 GMT)

Wigan’s new manager Malky Mackay denied winning start by Middlesbrough
At the end of a week in which a firestorm has engulfed his new club, Malky Mackay made a low-key but satisfied entrance on his return to management as his Wigan side showed the fight they will need to escape the threat of relegation from the Championship.Shaun Maloney’s wonderfully executed free-kick raised hopes that Wigan might win for only the second time since August but Middlesbrough, who have only lost once in that time, replied with a goal from substitute Patrick Bamford to keep their promotion challenge moving forward. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:22:57 GMT)

Derby stay top after Craig Bryson’s stunning late strike sinks Watford
Win, lose or draw – and it turned out to be the middle option for Watford, you could argue Slavisa Jokanovic was a winner just for being on the touchline. In the previous two international breaks, Watford’s owners changed managers but the Serb survived this most recent break.But he must know he now needs to change the club’s fortunes. However close it was, this was Watford’s third consecutive defeat. They started the day in the play-off places but this defeat meant they slipped to seventh and there is a six-point gap between them and Derby, who top the Championship. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:31:44 GMT)

Federer and Wawrinka give Swiss Davis Cup final lead against France
• Federer/Wawrinka beat Benneteau/Gasquet 6-3, 7-5, 6-4• Swiss hold a 2-1 lead going into Sunday’s final two singles• Day one: all square after Wawrinka and Monfils winSeverin Lüthi, not one of life’s intuitive gamblers, perhaps risked no more than passing embarrassment in throwing a recovering Roger Federer into the doubles alongside Stanislas Wawrinka here on Saturday. Nonetheless, the Swiss captain surely was as relieved as he was overjoyed when Federer not only survived the examination of his suspect back but played some outstanding tennis as his side moved to within one win of lifting the Davis Cup for the first time, at the 85th attempt.If Federer can win the first reverse singles against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sundaythis championship could be over before the sun goes down. There would then be an almighty clanking of cowbells around Lille – provided the Frenchman is fit for the fight after pulling out of the doubles on the morning of the match. The alternatives are Julien Benneteau or Richard Gasquet, who crumbled as a unit on Saturday. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:48:50 GMT)

The gifs that keep on giving: Sergio Agüero, banners and back headers
Featuring the longest three-pointer in basketball history, Independiente’s teenage sensation and a nutmeg to savourThanks for all your suggestions on our last gifs blog. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 09:45:00 GMT)

Is the Blue Nile, TripAdvisor’s 'best' restaurant in London, really that good?
A modest Eritrean cafe in Woolwich recently shot to the top of TripAdvisor’s London rankings. Such listings are nonsense – but it is a fine place to eatI had lunch in London’s “best” restaurant today. It’s a humble Eritrean cafe on Woolwich New Road in south-east London, sitting in the shadow of a vast branch of Tesco, which, in a roundabout way, is responsible for the Blue Nile cafe’s very existence.When I say it’s the capital’s “best” restaurant, that’s according to TripAdvisor. The site’s rankings are dynamic, and change according to the number of positive reviews posted – as well as how recent they are, so by the time I arrive for my lunch, it’s down to No 4 of 17,434, but that’s still above the likes of Le Gavroche and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:01:01 GMT)

My first case of online dating revulsion
Why had I told my history to this arrogant stranger?A message has arrived from a man in south Wales. “Jessica, I knew the minute I saw your face that it was meant to be. Do you believe in love at first sight? I’m visited by intuition that I am the man for you. Send me a long message telling me all about yourself, and I’ll reply by tonight, and we can get this thing started.”“You’ve sent this to the wrong person,” I replied. “I’m not Jessica. I’m afraid this is the hazard of using cut-and-paste.” Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 06:15:07 GMT)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 review – Philip Seymour Hoffman brings wit and gravitas to media satire
The penultimate instalment of The Hunger Games franchise is lower on action than its predecessors“You’re going to be the best dressed rebel in history.” If the first Hunger Games movie was a rerun of Battle Royale and the second was Rollerball, then this penultimate instalment is basically Broadcast News, or even Network – a spiky media satire about the making and marketing of a revolution that most definitely will be televised. Having being hoisted out of the games by anti-government forces at the end of Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen (a typically no-nonsense Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself being fashioned as a poster girl for the uprising – styled and manipulated by the underground in the same way that the Capitol once dolled her up for TV dismemberment. Clothed in combat-chic black, Katniss is directed to do her best Joan of Arc flag-waving act for the purpose of propaganda videos – or “propos” – to inspire the downtrodden people of Panem. As her new keepers assure her: “Everyone is going to want to kiss you, kill you, or be you.” Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:08:07 GMT)

A new chapter: British architects unveil state-of-the-art Arctic library
Small UK practice makes a leap in scale with two vast new cultural buildings – completed on time and within budget. Oliver Wainwright finds out moreIt’s an unusual view to behold from a municipal library. The midday sun hangs just above the horizon, casting a heavenly glow across the water, beneath a sky streaked with pink, orange and blue. A foreground of fishing huts and boats armed with whaling harpoons completes the picture, which could come straight from a Visit Norway tourist brochure.But this is an unlikely project: a new £110m library and concert hall in the Arctic town of Bodø (population 50,000), designed by a small London practice whose most substantial built work prior to winning the contract was an office extension in Sheffield. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:15:00 GMT)

Ask Molly Ringwald: I haven’t met my partner’s family, friends or workmates
Guardian Weekend magazine’s agony aunt advises a woman worried about her relationshipMy partner and I have been living together for the past two years and knew each other for several years before that. We are both middle-aged with grown children from previous marriages, but he won’t introduce me to any of his family, friends or work colleagues. When I have told him how humiliated, hurt and angry I feel he says that I’m going to have to suck it up – because his family blames him entirely for the breakup of his former marriage, and if I came on the scene I would just make things worse for him. Am I being silly?If you had written that you had been together for only a few months, I would have told you not to worry and just to take your time. Likewise, if you said that you didn’t live together and that you only see each other occasional nights to, ahem, “catch up”. The choice to cohabit implies a common desire to share a life, assuming that you aren’t simply trying to save on rent. But you are not sharing a life. You are sharing part of a life, a sliver of a life. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:59:01 GMT)

Beauty: the new sonics
‘What is highly creditable about sonic brushes is that they make people cleanse’The principle of sonic facial brushes is the same as for sonic toothbrushes – both claim to offer more thorough cleansing than manual methods (six times cleaner, manufacturers say). For years, Clarisonic ruled the market, but recently several rivals have appeared. Some are a straight rip off or poor man’s version (and why not?), others are made primarily by brands who should stick to making moisturiser not machinery. But some, like Clinique, have made some good tweaks on the original, notably a smaller head, which navigates into every nook, a much lower price (now £79), and an upper deck of bristles specifically designed for deep pore cleansing.I use a sonic cleansing brush – usually the Clarisonic Aria (£149) – just two to three times a week, and suggest that anyone of any skin type follow a similar pattern of use. This is partly because I don’t like any brush in conjunction with oils or balms, which are by far the best cleansers. There simply isn’t enough slip and friction unless you use a face wash, of which I’m no fan. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 06:00:26 GMT)

The weekend cook: Thomasina Miers’ recipes for chipotle and tamarind prawns and American-style sweet potato pancakes
A Mexican-Indian mash-up may seem a little odd, but the two cuisines share an awful lot in common, plus tamarind and chipotle make a brilliant pairing. Plus a brunch dish with added wow factorI first tried the mouth-watering combination of sweet-sour tamarind and smoky chipotle in Mexico City, but to my delight you can get it here in various relishes, chutneys and pickles – Mr Vikki makes a great one, as does Spices Of India, and you can also cheat by adding some tamarind paste to Tabasco chipotle sauce. I make my tamarind paste from pods or dried blocks, both of which you can find in larger supermarkets, because it’s so much better than ready-made ones, and lasts for over a week in the fridge. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:09 GMT)

Y=X factor: how to write the perfect song
Can science help us write a hit? Mezzo soprano and physicist Christine Rice goes in search of a formula for the most popular songs – from Handel to Weill to Harry StylesI remember seeing a surprisingly poignant documentary about the Take That lads made in the lull between their initial success and their resurgence. With Robbie’s solo career riding high (before he felt the need to garner attention by posting live footage of himself crooning to camera while his poor wife gave birth in the background), the others, left high and dry by fickle fame, languished in modest obscurity. While most of them were merely making ends meet, Gary Barlow, in stark contrast, lived in a palace fit for Sir Elton John. How was this possible? Because he could legitimately say, “I write the songs that make the whole world sing.”Is there a scientific formula for the perfect song? It is with this question in mind, and perhaps with the desire to turn sound into gold during these cash-strapped times of diminishing arts funding, that the Royal Opera House has teamed up with the Institute of Physics, with scientists and musicians coming together under the chairmanship of physicist, broadcaster and musician Brian Cox. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:08 GMT)

Can Nicki Minaj, Eminem and Wu-Tang save hip-hop's worst year?
Detractors such as A$AP Yams have declared 2014 to be an annus horribilis for the genre, but are things really so bad? In the first of a regular series on hip-hop, Ben Westhoff looks at the albums coming out before year’s endLana del Rey is just the latest woman to be attacked by EminemHas 2014 been the worst year in hip-hop history, as recently claimed by A$AP Yams, co-founder and self-styled guru of A$AP Mob? No, that was 2008, when auto-tune was king and labels thought it would be funny to delay everyone’s albums as long as possible (Missy Elliott’s Block Party still hasn’t arrived). But after last year’s run of critical and/or commercial smashes from Kanye, Jay Z, Eminem, Drake and Chance the Rapper, 2014 has felt like a letdown, with not a single rap album going platinum. This year’s final weeks, however, will likely see some works that will shift units and could potentially put, 2014 in the money. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:05:23 GMT)

Experience: my horse saved me from a raging cow
‘She was straddling me, and all I could see was her massive body looming over me. Instinctively, I knew she was about to crush me’It was a beautiful summer’s day, towards the end of July. I was busy in the kitchen of my Castle Douglas farmhouse, making tea for my two-year-old niece, Zara, and husband, Matt, who was working on our second dairy farm a mile away. Matt phoned to ask me to move a cow and its calf out of the paddock, which is only about 200 metres from the house, as there were other cows about to give birth there. Thinking nothing of it, I left Zara watching a DVD, with some potatoes simmering on the stove for tea as I assumed I’d just be briefly popping out.The thing is with dairy cows, you have to separate the mothers from their calves when they are very young. It sounds horrible, but this is just what happens on a farm. You walk the two of them down to a special calf house, but then the mother is returned, on her own, to the milking parlour. So I began to walk behind the two-day-old calf to cross over the field. It was a little thing with it’s back reaching my knees, it’s head thigh high. Normally we’d expect the mother to just happily follow. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:00:09 GMT)

Blind date
Scott Charles, 28, games tester, meets Harriet French, 25, PRBefore the date, what were you hoping for?A Sunday roast with good company. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 05:59:07 GMT)

American Sniper review: Clint Eastwood’s heartfelt salute to US muscle in Iraq
Unconcerned with the wider facts, this gripping but incurious film of the ‘Devil of Ramadi’ decides to print the legend instead• Watch the trailer for American SniperChris Kyle was the deadliest sniper in US military history, responsible for 160 confirmed kills during four tours of duty. Insurgents in Iraq called him the Devil of Ramadi, a monster in the shadows to be hated and feared. Comrades and supporters saw him as an American Hercules, a talismanic presence in the “war on terror”.Clint Eastwood stands squarely in the second camp. His gripping, incurious film gives the impression of having not so much been directed as dictated. It stares so fixedly down the rifle sight that it is finally guilty of tunnel vision. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:09:29 GMT)

Aargh! No, men, you really can’t feel our pain…
Fathers in China have been given a chance to ‘feel what it’s like to give birth’. Oh, pleaseA hospital in China, in Shandong province, is offering men the chance to experience the pain of childbirth. So far, around 100 men have signed up, the majority of them expectant fathers, though some are doing it just for “thrills”. Pads are attached to their abdomens and a series of electric shocks given to simulate contractions, rising in intensity from one to 10.All this is because some expectant mothers complained that they were not receiving enough sympathy and understanding from their partners. But surely, even if they made it all the way up to 10, men would still have very little idea about what women go through in labour? Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:03:06 GMT)

Now we’re all in danger of being caught up in the new culture wars, 24/7
Everyone seems to have strong opinions about everything – and everywhere people want to take offence. One slip – or even a perfectly innocent remark – can mean public vilificationThese days, if I spend too long on the internet, I feel like crawling back into the sea and trying to de-evolve my limbs. We have created an incredible tool for consolidating all human knowledge, connecting us across time and space, and we use it to Photoshop Benedict Cumberbatch’s face on to otters and make politicians resign for tweeting a picture of a house.Why do online spaces often feel so fractious? Because unlike our everyday lives, the internet never demands a rest from the culture wars. In the 1991 book that popularised that term, the sociologist James Davison Hunter recorded a European friend expressing surprise that Americans “typically conduct their lives in private and with little controversy”. He pointed out that issues such as the role of religion in public life seemed bloodlessly abstract only until they intersected with people’s everyday lives: their daughter wanted an abortion, a cousin revealed herself to be gay, or their local school changed its curriculum. “The contemporary culture war touches virtually all Americans,” wrote Hunter. “Nearly everyone has stories to tell.” Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:07 GMT)

Forget what central bankers say: deflation is the real monster
The ECB is eager to warn teenagers about inflation. But as price growth slows, that looks like yesterday’s scare storyThe European Central Bank might like to update its website – specifically, its educational video to teach teenagers about the importance of keeping prices in check. In it, a spotted, fanged, snarling “inflation monster” floods money into the marketplace, making vivid the perils of prices rising too quickly. Near the end of the cartoon a much smaller, smiling, pink creature makes a brief appearance – the “deflation monster”.Fear of inflation is understandable in a continent that saw devastating hyperinflation last century – a shock seen by some as pivotal in the rise of Hitler. But look around the eurozone now and the bigger threat is deflation. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:19 GMT)

After losing Rochester to Ukip, the Tories need to keep calm and carry on
The party must not to lurch to the right, but make a positive case for voting ConservativeAlmost every byelection is described by breathless commentators as the most important since Norwich/Hillhead/Orpington, but there is no requirement for political parties to overreact as well. In the wake of Rochester and Strood, there is no reason for the Conservative party to decide that slithering towards Ukip is the route to success.Ukip’s underlying appeal is that it is the anti-establishment vehicle for this parliament. It is a position of luxury formerly enjoyed by the Liberal Democrats, when a party has no responsibility to be consistent or practical but merely needs to be populist and simple in its explanations. This is not a stance open to a party which is already in government and aspires to be a majority government next May. We Conservatives need to be practical and consistent, not to over-promise. This makes byelections more difficult, but general elections winnable. For Ukip, the reverse is true. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:07 GMT)

I don’t want to lecture you… but do tune in to Reith
In the age of soundbites and tweets, the BBC’s Reith lectures are the last bastion of our nation’s unifying broadcasting ethosBroadcasting, said Sir John Reith, first BBC director general, should be a public service that enriches the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. One can only speculate as to whether he imagined the likes of Dog Borstal or People Like Us when he articulated this mission, but his aim of uniting and educating Britain through shared ideas remains an integral – though not always immediately obvious – principle of the BBC’s charter.The last bastion of this unapologetic commitment to the exploration of complex and challenging ideas is, of course, Radio 4, and nowhere more obviously so than in the annual series of lectures founded in 1948 to commemorate Reith’s vision. The public lecture has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, with organisations such as TED and Intelligence Squared connecting academics, scientists and expert thinkers from varied disciplines with a wider audience, hungry to engage with the big questions of modern life. With so many of these talks and debates available online, often accompanied by punchy visuals and covering every possible topic, it might be supposed that the determinedly traditional format of the Reith lectures – four hour-long talks, delivered to a live audience but broadcast on the radio, so clearly the product of a different age – would gradually be shunted aside for something more snappy, with more obviously popular appeal. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:26 GMT)

The Observer view on violence against women
Better sex education, more understanding and openness are vitalThe United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, on Tuesday, initiates 16 days in which the UN invites the world to “Orange Your Neighbourhood” with flags, ribbons and events, ending on 10 December, Human Rights Day. Violence against women and girls – sexual, physical and psychological – is endemic. Female genital mutilation, honour killing, child brides, trafficking, grooming, rape and domestic violence are rampant in societies in which women are classed as second-class citizens. However, as the events of the past few days in the UK have shown, degrading attitudes to women also exist under the veneer of progress. The statistics on violence against women in the UK remain woefully high. At the same time, resources for picking up the broken pieces are shrinking. Yet taboos, especially around the silence of the suffering, are being broken. So, can we afford optimism?We have seen a week in which the court of public opinion has won a number of victories. On Friday, Sheffield Utd reversed their decision to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train at their ground. The use of Twitter and the lever of online petitions resulted in the axing of the new ITV2 series of comedian and video blogger Daniel O’Reilly, who performs as the infantile character, Dapper Laughs. Last October, he approached a female member of his audience and announced: “She’s gagging for a rape.” Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:57 GMT)

Sorry Lammily, your dumpy looks won’t fool many little girls
A doll with acne like an ‘average’ teenager is being launched to rival Barbie. What wishful claptrapEnter the new soldier in the Doll Wars: “Lammily”, an anti-Barbie whose proportions are based on the measurements of the average 19-year-old American woman. In comparison to her improbably narrow 1950s predecessor, Lammily is shorter, browner and broader. A scaled-up equivalent would be 5’4” (Barbie: 5’9”), with a 31” waist (Barbie: 18”) and an American shoe size of 7.5 (Barbie: size 3; women’s shoes in the US don’t even come in size 3). Lammily is clad in loose-fitting, sporty gear, and the dressier outfit to be released in January – in sullen purple, its hem below the knee – is downright dumpy. According to Lammily’s creator Nickolay Lamm, a man, more than 19,000 dolls have been pre-ordered.You can also order a packet of stickers: moles, freckles, acne, bruises, scars and cellulite. (How traumatising, when little girls grow up and discover that cellulite won’t peel off.) But why did Lamm stop there? How about herpes sores and genital warts, a malignant-looking breast lump, diarrheal dribble from when Lammily’s last dose of laxatives worked a bit too well, a big plastic pool of bulimic sick, since this doll may be told she’s lovely just the way she is, but she doesn’t believe it? How about (and this suggestion is serious; look away, John Ruskin) some pubic hair? Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:42:37 GMT)

Startup bros trying to bio-hack vaginas is the problem with Silicon Valley
When a man introduces a project to make lady-parts smell like peaches, it’s no surprise that the funders are largely straight, white menDon’t look now, ladies, but your vagina is getting disrupted. As if this week didn’t have enough Uber-style Silicon Valley dirtbags for you (every week has one too many), a couple of startup bros went and outlined their vision for Sweet Peach, a probiotic supplement that lets women “bio-hack” their vaginas and supposedly make them smell like ripe peaches.If you are a woman, you might wonder which problem this is really solving. If you are a woman and have heretofore eschewed the douchebag industrial complex, you might, in fact, be perfectly happy with your healthy vagina’s natural smell and have never felt the slightest urge to have the scent of fuzzy fruits waft up from your lady garden. And you almost certainly would wonder why two guys have such firm ideas of how your vagina should smell. Continue reading...
(Sat, 22 Nov 2014 13:30:05 GMT)

Rochester byelection: beliefs of Ukip voters are soaked in leftwing populism
As working class voters flock to a party of the hard right, is it possible for Ed Miliband’s Labour to reconnect with them?If the seemingly irresistible rise of Ukip teaches us anything, it is that sentiment all too often trumps reality and mere detail in politics. The party is a self-described “People’s Army”, now emboldened by a victory in Rochester and Strood it hopes will bring renewed momentum. Its voters are disproportionately working class.Polls suggest they support renationalising rail and energy and want higher taxes for the rich and an increased minimum wage. According to research by the academic Matthew Goodwin, 81% of Ukip supporters believe “big business takes advantage of ordinary people”; a slim majority want the government to redistribute income; and they overwhelmingly agree “there is one law for the rich and one for the poor”. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:05:38 GMT)

The Observer view on the immigration debate, in America and at home
Barack Obama’s pledge last week to give legal status to millions of American immigrants stood in stark contrast to the toxic effect throughout British politics of Ukip’s shameful stance‘Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law?” President Obama last Thursday posed this question about the plight of millions of illegal immigrants, living in daily fear of deportation and separation from their American children, in the shadows of an exploitative black market. It stands in stark contrast to the toxic immigration debate that continued to fester here last week, as voters in Rochester elected Britain’s second Ukip MP.But in the end these were not words addressed to a nation: the main American broadcast networks declined to televise Obama’s address. This reflects the stiff opposition from the right, in Congress and the media, to his announcement that he will use his presidential powers to allow illegal immigrants with American children to work and pay taxes legally. His intervention is consistent with the bravery and self-confidence he has shown in taking on powerful rightwing opponents before: to drive through reforms to expand healthcare coverage to low-income Americans; to create new rights and protections for LGBT people; to increase renewable energy use. He has consequently suffered onslaught from hostile media and criticism from within his own ranks for selling out by not doing enough. But his legacy will be to leave the United States a more equal, greener and kinder country. Continue reading...
(Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:05:18 GMT)

What this snobbish disdain for People Like Them says about people like us
If people think they knew what Emily Thornberry’s tweet meant, didn’t they share her contempt?I don’t want to spoil any surprises ITV might have in the offing, but how about Emily Thornberry for I’m A Celebrity? The requisite passage of time between public scandal and reality TV debut has contracted so dramatically of late that there is every chance the woman who was shadow attorney general until Thursday night is already en route to the Queensland jungle, and will offer the explanation for her white van tweet to Tinchy Stryder as opposed to Nick Robinson.In reality – as opposed to reality television – there is no need for an explanation. Photo of a house strung with two St George flags (one covering a window) and a West Ham one? The reason the Twitter storm whipped up with such lightning speed – even by the medium’s own disingenuously outraged standards – was because people thought they knew what Ms Thornberry meant. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:37:16 GMT)

Time for the FA to lead by example and insist on decent behaviour from all
It is bad enough for Dave Whelan to make discriminatory statements but worse when explaining Wigan’s appointment of a manager himself being investigated for racismThe Football Association had been criticised for three long months of silence during its investigation into Malky Mackay’s racist texts and emails but football’s governing body was not slow in reacting to the comments made by Mackay’s new employer at Wigan Athletic, Dave Whelan, about Jewish and Chinese people. By 2.15pm on the day the Guardian reported in the newspaper Whelan’s views that “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else” and that “chink” is not offensive to a “Chinaman”, the FA said it had already begun an investigation.That investigation will examine whether Whelan’s remarks, and presumably others he made in a series of interviews throughout two days after appointing Mackay as Wigan’s manager on Wednesday, amount to discriminatory language and he should therefore be charged with misconduct. The FA said in its statement that it was “very concerned” to read the comments “attributed to” Whelan, and added: “We take all forms of discrimination seriously.” Whelan had already been written to by early afternoon and has three working days to respond and explain himself. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:30:13 GMT)

The Emily Thornberry affair proves it: US-style culture wars have come to Britain
One reckless tweet shows UK politics is fast becoming a constant battle over identity, just as it is in AmericaEmily Thornberry may be the first politician to quit over a single tweeted photograph that was not physically intimate, but she is not the first to get into trouble over flags and vans. In 2003 the US presidential hopeful Howard Dean said, “I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks” – adding that Democrats like him could not hope to win the White House if they did not appeal to poorer, southern voters as well as those in affluent, liberal cities and suburbs. His Democratic rivals turned on him, furious that he had embraced “the most racially divisive symbol in America”. The row passed, Dean lost, and he is now best remembered for the bizarre roar he let out on the night of a key defeat: the Dean scream.Of course, the two episodes are very different. The English flag may carry a residual association with the far-right, but it bears nothing like the stain of slavery attached to the badge of the Confederacy. More importantly, Dean was trying to woo those blue-collar voters his party had lost. Even Thornberry’s defenders do not pretend she was trying to recruit white van drivers who fly the English flag from their homes. At best, she appeared to express the fascination of a visiting anthropologist for the natives of Rochester and Strood with their curious cultural customs. At worst, she was dissing them, her tweet tacitly asking: “Can you believe these people?” Chalk that up as another first for Thornberry, felled for posting an offensively implicit photograph. Continue reading...
(Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:27:58 GMT)

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