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Defiant Sepp Blatter vows to fix Fifa as pressure mounts to resign
President makes first public appearance since scandal broke, while North American football federation dismisses executivesFifa president Sepp Blatter has defiantly vowed to repair the rock-bottom reputation of world football’s governing body, refusing to quit over the worst corruption scandal in its 111-year history. His stand came as an emotional Uefa president Michel Platini refused to rule out European teams boycotting the World Cup, Fifa’s cash cow, if the 79-year-old prevailed in Friday’s election and as dismayed sponsors further ramped up the pressure.Despite stiff competition from a succession of crises during his 17-year tenure as president, Blatter admitted that the charges of “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted corruption” presaged by dawn raids in Zurich and revealed by US authorities on Wednesday were “shocking and unprecedented” in their scale. Related: Get rid of Blatter – but not Fifa | David Goldblatt Related: How Sepp Blatter won the hearts and minds of Africa to ride out Fifa storms Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 18:06:44 GMT)

Asian refugee crisis: trafficked migrants held off Thailand in vast 'camp boats'
Trafficking syndicates seeking to avoid crackdown by Thai and Malaysian authorities hold Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants at seaThousands of Bangladeshi and ethnic Rohingya migrants are being held in huge cargo ships by human traffickers in the Andaman Sea, according to testimony collected from survivors.First-hand accounts indicate that trafficking syndicates trading in vulnerable migrants have responded to a recent crackdown by authorities in Thailand and Malaysia by holding their victims in large vessels close to international waters, where they are ransomed for their freedom in return for money from relatives. Related: Thailand human trafficking death toll far greater than feared, claims rights group Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 18:30:10 GMT)

Scotland bill may give Holyrood veto over Human Rights Act repeal
Provision in bill will establish in law a convention that Westminster seeks consent for legislation relating to Scottish mattersDavid Cameron has strengthened the ability of the Scottish government to block Tory plans to repeal the Human Rights Act, in a move that has caused alarm in some parts of Whitehall.A brief, little-noticed provision in the Scotland bill, which implements the findings of the cross-party Smith commission, will establish in law a convention that Westminster seeks the consent of Holyrood for legislation relating to Scottish matters. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 13:24:31 GMT)

Network Rail workers to stage two strikes after rejecting fresh pay offer
RMT union announces 24-hour walkout on 4 June followed by 48-hour stoppage five days later after deciding to reject deal that averted bank holiday strike Network Rail workers are to stage two strikes next month after a fresh pay offer was rejected by union members.The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced a 24-hour walkout from 5pm on 4 June and a 48-hour walkout from 5pm on 9 June. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:27:12 GMT)

France warns of 'dangerous' David Cameron stance on EU
Prime minister’s attempt to renegotiate terms of Britain’s membership will be blocked, says French foreign minister, if he is seeking special statusFrance has issued a blunt warning to David Cameron that his plans to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership before an in/out referendum are a “dangerous” process.One can’t join a football club and decide in the middle of the match we are now going to play rugby Related: The Guardian view on Cameron’s European diplomacy: tilting at windmills | Editorial Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 19:20:05 GMT)

George Galloway tweets his intention to run for London mayor
The Respect party leader, who lost his seat in the election, posts photo of himself sitting next to his infant son, captioned: ‘Dad, you’ve got to do this’The Respect party leader, George Galloway, has announced his intention to run for mayor of London in 2016.Galloway, who lost his seat in Bradford West in the general election, launched his bid on Twitter on Thursday, tweeting a photograph of himself sitting on a bed next to his infant son. “Dad, you’ve got to do this. I’ve got your back!” a caption on the photograph reads.I'm standing for Mayor of London 2016. If you can help in any way, write to me at galloway4london@gmail.com pic.twitter.com/UDX0KMZ2VO Related: George Galloway may have lost his seat – but this isn’t the last we’ll see of him Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:50:59 GMT)

Lehman Brothers' former CEO blames bad regulations for bank's collapse
Dick Fuld defended the bank’s culture, pointing the finger instead at government failings and hedge funds aggressively short-selling its stockDick Fuld, the chief executive who led Lehman Brothers to the largest corporate collapse in modern times, has defended the failed investment bank’s culture, insisting it was a victim of wider market excesses and regulatory failings in his first public speech since the banking crash of 2008.“It was all about team,” he told a conference in New York. “My people were in it together – and our clients knew it. There was no ... ‘It’s my account’, no ‘I’m a star so pay me’.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 19:39:38 GMT)

BBC defends reality show involving poor, dubbed 'Hunger Games'
Britain’s Hardest Grafter will pit 25 of Britain’s lowest-paid workers against each other for cash prize in series it claims is a ‘serious social experiment’The BBC has defended a new TV reality show pitting unemployed and low-paid workers against each other for a cash prize, which has been accused of echoing film the Hunger Games, arguing it is a “serious social experiment”.The show, called Britain’s Hardest Grafter, is seeking 25 of Britain’s poorest workers with applications limited to those who earn or receive benefits totalling less than £15,500 a year. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:53:29 GMT)

Hasidic sect tells London mothers to stop driving
Belz rabbis say children driven to school by their mothers will be turned away for breaching ‘traditional rules of modesty’Leaders of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect in north London have said children who are driven to school by their mothers will be turned away at the school gates.Rabbis from the marginal Hasidic sect Belz have told women in Stamford Hill who drive that they go against “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp”.Banning #women from driving? This is not my #Orthodox #Judaism #JOFAuk @JOFAorg http://t.co/3JIYllkKsR Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:55:25 GMT)

Tom Hayes, 'ringmaster' of Libor fraud, given $2.5m to stay at UBS, court hears
Bonus for trader who allegedly orchestrated manipulation of London interbank offered rate was approved by chief executive of investment bank unitThe former head of investment banking at UBS personally approved a $2.5m (£1.6m) bonus for the man described as the “ringmaster” of the Libor fraud scandal, a jury heard today. Jerker Johansson, who was the chief executive of the Swiss group’s investment bank unit until April 2009, agreed to increased incentives for Tom Hayes after being told that the star trader was being offered a $3m-a-year package to defect to rival Goldman Sachs.Hayes denies charges that he conspired with individuals at eight banks and two brokerage firms to manipulate the Libor interbank lending rates over a four-year period. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:35:11 GMT)

India heatwave death toll rises as awareness campaigns launch
Country suffers one of the worst bouts of hot weather for several years, with more than 1,000 heat-related deaths in southern state of Andhra Pradesh aloneThe death toll in India’s heatwave has climbed towards 1,500 as the country sweltered in one of the worst bouts of hot weather for several years.Southern India has borne the brunt of the sudden spell of hot, dry weather. So far more than 1,000 people have died in the state of Andhra Pradesh, more than double the total number of heat-related deaths last summer, authorities said. Related: India heatwave kills more than 500 people Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 12:26:01 GMT)

Ex-ham stress: students cuddle piglets to relieve revision-related anxiety
Nottingham Trent University sets up ‘micropig’ room giving students some pet therapy before examsThe claims for pet therapy are well established – if not firmly proved – and this week university students taking exams have been given an opportunity to cuddle up to piglets to relieve their stress.Nottingham Trent students’ union (NTSU) organised a “micropig” room over two days, allowing students to interact with the animals to relieve revision-related anxiety.Look who's at the City SU today! Looking super cute and raising money for @TrentRAG @guidedogs #PigletRoom pic.twitter.com/JNPug223YgLoving this today! :) -> RT @TrentUni: We have piglets! And look how cute they are #PigletRoom pic.twitter.com/o4pvS6BacuAll the fun of the farm again tomorrow! @petpiggies will be at Clifton and we'll have @WhitePostFarm at City! 10-3 pic.twitter.com/6N385GeDr8 Related: Sleeping pods for students: can naps replace a good night’s sleep? Piggy procrastination ! @Trentstudents @petpiggies pic.twitter.com/jsmbcnC0Vi Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:10:06 GMT)

Fifteen drivers to be prosecuted for filming lorry collision on A14
Figures show tenfold increase in six years in number of people facing charges for using a mobile phone behind the wheelAt least 15 motorists are to be prosecuted for using a mobile phone to take pictures or video of a four-lorry pile-up. The collision happened on the A14 between Histon and Girton, in Cambridgeshire, at about 5.45am on Thursday and involved a lorry carrying seven and a half tonnes of teddy bears. Two of the lorry drivers suffered minor injuries.This is what was left this morning after our crews rescued a casualty froma two-HGV collision on #A14 w/bound #girton pic.twitter.com/WmrRo0gvUw Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 12:01:53 GMT)

Norway fund could trigger wave of large fossil fuel divestments, say experts
Other investors are likely to follow Norwegian fund’s move out of coal-based investments, due to its size as the world’s largest sovereign wealth fundNorway’s decision to dump all coal-focused investments from its $900bn sovereign wealth fund could unleash a wave of divestment from other large funds, according to investment experts. The fund, the largest in the world, is one of the top 10 investors in the global coal industry.The move, agreed late on Wednesday, is one of the most significant victories to date for a fast-growing and UN-backed fossil-fuel divestment campaign. It will affect $9bn-$10bn (£5.8-£6.5bn) of coal-related investments, according to the Norwegian government. Related: How to divest your personal finance – your questions answered Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:53:35 GMT)

Simon Pegg: ‘I find it very hard to write for women’
The star of romcom Man Up and the film’s writer, Tess Morris, talk about working together, why people have lost respect for the genre, and how When Harry met Sally became a hard act to followTess Morris is reminding Simon Pegg about the day she met him. “Do you remember, I was really sweaty? I’d bought a new jumper – it was my Simon Pegg Meeting Jumper – but it was a very warm day, and then I walked really fast, and I was late and I was incredibly nervous. And I thought that as you hugged me, all you could probably feel was the warmth of my sweaty jumper.”Across the coffee table, Pegg laughs. “I thought it was a lovely jumper,” he assures her, then turns to me: “I wouldn’t have known she was sweating so much if she hadn’t spoken about it such a lot.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:49:55 GMT)

Spare Rib: the top 10 reads from the archives
As the British Library’s collection of Spare Rib magazines launches online, we look back its legacy – and ask the archive’s curator to pick the articles revealing the magazine at its sharp, irreverent, revolutionary bestWhen you look over back issues of Spare Rib, a number of things strike you about feminism and how it has changed; I would say that they are depressing and heartening in the ratio of roughly 9:1. To start with the good news, it is salient to remember how much change has been wrought in terms of individual rights. There are cases in the news pages that make your jaw hang open: a woman fired from her job for wearing a badge that said “lesbians ignite”, judgments handed down that dripped with contempt, not just for women who were gay but for women who worked, women who unmeekly existed. We have come further than we think. Equal pay is not the only win; there have been less measurable but more important victories in the realm of how much casual misogyny you can say out loud while remaining in the broad category of civilised society. Related: Feminism's backstory: Spare Rib archive goes online Related: Spare Rib: 21 years of radical feminist magazine goes online at British Library Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:39:53 GMT)

Congrats, you have an all-male panel! How one Tumblr shakes up status quo
All-male panels have dominated conferences but Dr Saara Särmä explains in a Q&A why that needs to change, with humor and a dash of David HasselhoffAll-male panels are a familiar sight for anyone who has ever attended a work conference – or spent time at SXSW. For the uninitiated, an all-male panel is exactly what it sounds like: a group of (mostly white) men plunked on stage at a conference, usually under the auspices of being the “experts” in their fields, whether that field is agrarian developments in the Sudan, developments in the music industry, advances in chemical engineering, global banking regulation, or even women’s reproductive rights. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:50:27 GMT)

Jilted Louis Walsh’s post X Factor role – pop music’s troll-in-chief
After getting a ‘no’ from Simon Cowell, the pen-pointing pop manager has decided against a dignified silence. Instead, he’s gone rogue Rejection affects us all in different ways. But pen-pointing pop manager Louis Walsh, whose X Factor relationship status is now “not exactly sacked but equally not invited back”, has developed an extreme response to getting his Q4 Saturday and Sunday nights back. He’s gone rogue.Anyone who’s spent more than 90 seconds with Walsh will know that his conversations are peppered with “you can’t print this but…” gossip nuggets, and over the past month he’s amped up the indiscretion and carved out a new role as the ultimate pop troll. Having left, then rejoined The X Factor once before, Walsh now promises he’s “flat-out left, I’m not going back to the show, absolutely gone”. So he’s in full-on bridge-burning mode. Related: Louis Walsh leaves X Factor: 'This is his chance to be more than a performing monkey' Related: On my radar: Nick Grimshaw’s cultural highlights Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:29:45 GMT)

How the compact disc lost its shine
It’s 30 years since Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms began the CD boom. How did the revolution in music formats come about and what killed it?Thirty years ago this month, Dire Straits released their fifth album, Brothers in Arms. En route to becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time, it revolutionised the music industry. For the first time, an album sold more on compact disc than on vinyl and passed the 1m mark. Three years after the first silver discs had appeared in record shops, Brothers in Arms was the symbolic milestone that marked the true beginning of the CD era.“Brothers in Arms was the first flag in the ground that made the industry and the wider public aware of the CD’s potential,” says the BPI’s Gennaro Castaldo, who began a long career in retail that year. “It was clear this was a format whose time had come.” Related: An album in 12 different formats: Trevor Jackson mines audio history George Martin told us: You can’t smash them, look! And it broke in half Related: Vinyl revival: is it back for good? | Bob Stanley It’s dying. It will go obsolete like the floppy disc did Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:39:12 GMT)

Serial's second season set for autumn with third to follow in 2016
Podcast’s creator and host, Sarah Koenig, gave away few details of new series in newsletter to fans, only saying it would be different from first instalmentThe second season of the hit podcast Serial is slated to begin in autumn, with a third instalment of the This American Life spin-off planned for spring 2016.In a newsletter to fans of the podcast its creator and host, Sarah Koenig, outlined plans for the show, which became one of the cultural talking points of 2014 when it revisited the 1999 case of murdered Baltimore teen Hae Min Lee and her former boyfriend Adnan Syed – who was convicted of her murder. Related: Serial: The Syed family on their pain and the ‘five million detectives trying to work out if Adnan is a psychopath’ Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:59:37 GMT)

Readers recommend: songs that build
... up momentum, energy, intensity, layers, volume or sheer emotion. From a whisper to a scream, suggest music that grows in unusual or powerful waysWhat a song.* It begins with nothing more than a hint of stillness, a tiny flick of wind through grass, a gnat’s heartbeat, a cricket’s wink, a cat hair’s whisper in the imagination. Then, emerging from beyond the frequency at which human biology can detect sound, an indeterminate buzzing, perhaps of an insect, a rhythmic crunching, and a rustling like the uncurling of forest foliage. Next, the low thrum of a distant double bass, a rumble of timpany, a bass drum thud, then a snare, repeating and rising like the approach of a far-off army. Is that an oboe or a clarinet through the trees? Joining out of nowhere, the sounds are reminiscent of industry, the pushing of pistons, the hiss of steam, the banging of hammers. These instruments quickly and indiscernibly align into the rhythm of a human heartbeat.Suddenly, cracking like jagged sunlight across the sky, a guitar riff breaks out, and throws strange shadows. It does it again. Then cutting across, a piano plays a rhythmic counterpoint. The sounds intertwine. A string section joins. The energy rises, the pace quickens, and building, all the instruments quickly take a second’s breath, until a voice, at first soft but distinct in the verse, lets out a low howl, rising to a scream as it drives into the big corner of the chorus, joined by more voices and doubled guitars. The pattern repeats itself, each cycle building in intensity, the lyrics alternating between absolutely heart-wrenching and utterly joyous. Vocal phrases are echoed first with organ, then brass, then bells, until all hell breaks loose in a middle-eight section with the sound of a chainsaw. Somehow it cuts back to the verse, then into a chaotic final chorus where emotions are unleashed into a hurricane of the unspeakable, all instruments straining in anarchic energy at the edge of each register, out of which we hear a herd of elephants – trumpeting, thudding, tramping, triumphant. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 19:20:15 GMT)

Dear librarian: New York Public Library's quirkiest inquiries
A cache of cards recovered from the New York Public library’s archive is being published online, revealing the many roles the librarian was expected to play in the days before the internetLibraries have gone through many changes in recent years, some more laudable than others. Earlier this week we looked at the reinvention of the library card. Our original spotlight was on London - but such was the response that we posted a second piece featuring some of the dozens of other colourful examples sent in by readers around the world. Related: London’s 10 best library cards Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:10:47 GMT)

Norfolk noir: The Goob’s vision of grim Fenland life
The film’s star, Liam Walpole, is used to working in chicken factories and legging it from gangs. But now he thinks he might like to be an actor after all ...A late night and a new iPhone changed Liam Walpole’s life. The teenager had stayed up until dawn with mates, drinking and playing Xbox. He emerged from his home in the rundown Norfolk town of Dereham in the early afternoon to buy breakfast from USA Chicken. “I was just walking along the road not looking where I was going, looking at my brand new phone and I happened to bump into Leanne [Flinn] who was doing the casting,” says Walpole.That night, Guy Myhill, the writer-director of The Goob, a film about a teenage boy with an abusive stepfather and trapped in rural poverty, was flicking through 50 photos emailed in by casting agents when he was confronted with Walpole’s face. He was a “cross between Bowie and Spock” as the director puts it. “He’s got this otherworldly quality, and I thought, if we can tune this right, we’ve got a film.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:53:09 GMT)

The Affair is compelling television - but will we ever get the truth?
Dominic West and Ruth Wilson’s The Affair demands us to be the jury, weighing the lies of a pair of lovers as they tell the different sides to their story. But who are we supposed to trust – and how will we reach a final judgement?At away days and staff meetings in recent years, BBC drama commissioners have been prone to ask: “What stories do we want to tell?”, directing attention towards compelling narratives. An equally interesting question, though, might be: “How do we want to tell this story?”For example, in a brainstorm structured around the search for stories that demand to be told, The Affair (Wednesdays, 9pm, Sky Atlantic) would struggle: it has an off-the-peg premise – the sort of thing that John Updike and John Cheever were familiarising in prose fiction more than 50 years ago – of marital infidelity among the moneyed east coast classes. But it is the way the story is told that has won Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi’s 10-part series for Showtime two Golden Globes, several foreign exports and a recommission for a second series. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:36:49 GMT)

Florence + The Machine: How Big How Blue How Beautiful review – same drama, new hits
Don’t believe the talk about Florence Welch’s new album being a stripped-down affair – this is often still as melodramatic as pop gets, and sometimes to a fault. But the songs are strong enough to carry that weightThe advance publicity for Florence Welch’s third album has made a great deal of its apparent differences from its predecessors. According to the singer herself, How Big How Blue How Beautiful is an album about heartbreak, concerned with “stripping down layers of things to hide behind: big sounds, big dresses, big metaphor”. Despite the presence of producer Markus Dravs – latterly the go-to guy for artists of a certain world-conquering, stadium-filling bent, including Coldplay, Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons – listeners are primed to expect the epitome of understatement and restraint, the work of a “quiet person”.Thus far, Welch has spent her career behaving as though understatement was something you should go out of your way to avoid contracting: everything from vocals to visuals is pitched at a level just shy of frenzied. It’s an approach that’s proved spectacularly successful – both her albums to date have gone platinum on both sides of the Atlantic, and commercial expectations here are high. “We will not be satisfied with anything but a No 1 release,” the president of her US record label recently told the New York Times, a remark which presumably wasn’t supposed to sound quite as weirdly menacing as it does: as it is, you somehow imagine him adding “or there will be consequences” and slowly drawing his finger across his throat. Related: Florence and the Machine's How Big How Blue How Beautiful – trailer Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 13:59:04 GMT)

We political teenagers are not a ‘myth’ – so let us vote in the EU referendum
John Redwood’s jibe about teenage interest in politics patronises those who genuinely care about important issuesWith the EU referendum likely to be the hot topic of conversation among politicians over the next two years, there is no doubt that one of the most fiercely debated aspects of it will be the electorate, and, in particular, whether 16- and 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote, which the bill, published today, rules out. Related: I’ll always be a Milifan. Ed was the best prime minister we never had | Abby Tomlinson Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 13:24:53 GMT)

How 'one nation' was the Queen's speech? - Politics Weekly Podcast
The politics team dissect the Queen's speech, and New York Times journalist and author David Brooks discusses the nature of character in politics Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:18:10 GMT)

Fort McKay: The Canadian town that sold itself to tar sands
The tiny Alberta town is one of the world’s single biggest source sites of carbon pollution. The community grew rich on oil, and was wrecked by oil. So local, Cece Fitzpatrick, decided to run for chief, promising to stand up to the industry which came there 50 years ago Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 11:06:59 GMT)

A moment that changed me – my marriage proposal
It was a sunny day in Regent’s Park. I couldn’t swallow. Armed with nothing more than a ring, a picnic and a playlist, I got down on one kneeAnyone witnessing it would have been puzzled – slightly scared, even: an obviously anxious man jumping up and down, arms waving, a few tears and a bit (a lot) of snot on his face in a public park, with a young woman opposite him looking startled.I’m not even sure if there were witnesses. I had developed some kind of tunnel vision that evening. My field of vision was limited to one single thing. Thing? Awful choice of word. Woman? Wouldn’t do it justice. Miracle? Syrupy overkill. But “person” is too pedestrian. Fuck it, I’ll go with miracle. Let’s call a spade a spade. Related: A moment that changed me – my first chemotherapy session | Elizabeth Wurtzel Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 06:00:00 GMT)

The Temple review – an immaculate reimagining of the Occupy London protests
Donmar Warehouse, LondonSimon Russell Beale plays the dean of St Paul’s with exquisite finesse, in a play that asks big questions about the role of the church in the modern world“In a good play,” said the German dramatist Friedrich Hebbel, “everyone is right.” And the fascination of Steve Waters’ play about the impact of the Occupy London movement on the clerical hierarchy of St Paul’s is that it sees all points of view. Intellectually, you feel it is on the side of the anti-capitalist protesters. Emotionally, it shows unusual sympathy for the beleaguered dean, played with exquisite finesse by Simon Russell Beale. Waters’ play is fiction, based on carefully researched fact. It is set very specifically on the morning of October 28, 2011, when the cathedral, after a week’s closure because of the protestors, is about to re-open. The dean is simply anxious to resume worship. But he is beset on all sides by problems. The canon chancellor, sympathetic to the Occupy movement, noisily resigns, the verger feels the building is unready, and the temporising bishop of London still holds out hope of reaching some accord with the protesters. But the big issue is whether the dean should support the City of London in its plan to evict those who’ve set up their tents outside the cathedral.One of the play’s pleasures lies in the information it provides. I had forgotten that the Occupy movement’s original target was the Stock Exchange, but that it found itself kettled by the police into the square in front of the cathedral. Waters also makes clear that the cathedral’s chapter depends, like a government cabinet, on collective responsibility. However, Waters’ main argument, echoing David Hare’s Racing Demon, is about the role of the church in the modern world. For the dean, an unworldly man thrust into the political arena, it is about Christ’s teaching and the preservation of ritual. For the canon chancellor, it is about driving the money-changers from the temple. Waters’ virtue is that he allows the audience the freedom to decide where it stands. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 13:15:58 GMT)

Pebble Time review: the simple but effective answer to Apple Watch
Pebble’s latest crowdfunding success story doesn’t try too hard, reaping the benefits of a focus on functionality, notifications and battery life Pebble Time is the latest smartwatch crowdfunding success story, having broken records by hitting $2m in 58 minutes and ultimately raising more than $20m. But is the watch that works with both Android and iPhone – making it a direct Apple Watch competitor – worth the hype?This is the second time on the merry-go-round for Pebble. Its first cross-platform smartwatch, simply called the Pebble, broke Kickstarter records in 2012 and reignited the smartwatch industry.Pros: Long battery life, always-on screen readable in direct light or in the dark, lightweight, waterproof to 30m, simple to use, great music controls.Cons: No way to reply to messages, screen is smaller and doesn’t look as good as some, ties into iOS not as good as Apple Watch. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 05:00:09 GMT)

Kitchen gadgets review: the ice cream professional - a macho and vaguely smug machine
Need large, regular quantities of great home-made ice-cream and sorbet? Then you’re in luck – although your waistline may not agreeGelato & Ice-Cream Professional (£250, Cuisineart). Small freezer unit enveloping a removable bucket and motorised paddles. Chills and aerates ice-cream custards and sorbet syrups. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 07:00:01 GMT)

Andy Murray unconcerned despite time violations in French Open win
• Murray cited twice in win over João Sousa• Scot will play Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in next roundThe umpires and players at the French Open are locked in a weird waltz – slow-slow, quick-quick slow – over the exasperating issue of time violations for tardy serving, and Andy Murray found himself at the centre of the debate on day five.Twice on Thursday the French chair umpire Pascal Maria warned him for not serving within the prescribed 20 seconds during his win over João Sousa – once when wind gusted to interrupt him, later when Murray paused because he was distracted by replayed highlights on the big screen. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 19:17:51 GMT)

Carlton Cole writes open letter to fans after being released by West Ham
• Thirty-one-year-old striker to leave Upton Park for second time• ‘I’ve grown from being a boy to a man here’Carlton Cole has announced he has been released by West Ham for the second time in two years. The striker was let go by the club in the summer of 2013 but rejoined on a short-term deal five months later before signing an 18-month contract in January 2014. However, the former England international has taken to Twitter to reveal that deal will not be extended.“Looking forward to my next adventure,” he said. “I have spoken to West Ham United and it has been decide[d] not to extend my contract. I wish West Ham United all the best and I will look out for their progress in the future. Thanks for a great 9 years. It’s been emotional.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:18:46 GMT)

New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum questions England’s approach
• Captain McCullum wonders if England ‘stumbled’ into Lord’s win• New Zealand making special plans to cope with Ben Stokes• McCullum’s relentless attack leaves England room for manoeuvreBrendon McCullum is not the type of man to express regrets – he holds none over New Zealand’s aggressive approach to Test cricket – but it appears the Kiwis’ captain is more than partial to a mind game or two.The tourists go into the second and final Test at Headingley 1-0 down and knowing anything but victory would end a two-year run in which they have been unbeaten in six series and risen to third in the ICC rankings. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:43:32 GMT)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson expects World Athletics Championships medal
• World No1 heptathlete would be disappointed to leave Beijing without medal• The 22-year-old misses event in Götzis after injury curbed her preparationKatarina Johnson-Thompson says she would be disappointed not to win her first World Athletics Championships medal in Beijing in August. The 22-year-old is the current world No1 in heptathlon and took pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships in March. Related: Usain Bolt comfortably wins 200m at Golden Spike event in Ostrava Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:33:34 GMT)

Alberto Contador extends Giro d’Italia lead as Philippe Gilbert wins stage 18
• BMC’s Gilbert comfortably claims second stage victory • Contador leads by over five minutes with three stages remainingAlberto Contador took yet more time out of his rivals on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia to move a step closer to locking up the pink jersey.BMC Racing’s Philippe Gilbert raced away to his second stage victory of the Giro but the real action was behind as Tinkoff-Saxo rider Contador added more than a minute to his lead to stand 5min 15sec clear of his closest rival, Mikel Landa Meana of Astana, with three stages to go. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:55:32 GMT)

Amir Khan fights Chris Algieri knowing boxing career is on the line
• Khan wants win to send message to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao• Both fighters meet weight before Barclays Center fightThis time last year Amir Khan was on the shortlist of candidates to meet Floyd Mayweather in a Saturday night pay-per-view blockbuster from Las Vegas, the sport’s most prestigious and lucrative platform. Now he’s fighting Chris Algieri on a Friday in Brooklyn on Spike TV, the network that brought you Stripperella, 1,000 Ways to Die and Tattoo Nightmares.he Bolton puncher has always been proof the road to success is seldom a straight line. Wins over world champions like Devon Alexander, Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah, Andriy Kotelnik and Paulie Malignaggi have pushed him to the fringe of the Hall of Fame discussion, but the high-profile setbacks – a tactically inept knockout loss to Danny Garcia and 54-second destruction at the hands of Breidis Prescott – have often subverted his ascent at the worst possible times. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:05:10 GMT)

Lewis Hamilton will go in search of some therapy at Canadian F1 GP
After the frustrations of Monaco, the world champion will be hoping that the Montreal circuit puts him back on track and in a much better frame of mindThe Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and next week’s Canadian Grand Prix, should offer some therapy for the troubled mind of Lewis Hamilton following the debacle in Monaco on Sunday.Only Michael Schumacher has won this race more times than Hamilton, the victor in 2007, 2010 and 2012. He is at his best at this ballsy, high speed, low downforce track, which demands a great deal from the cars and their pilots. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 11:00:08 GMT)

England’s Stuart Lancaster in World Cup tight spot over hothead Dylan Hartley
The head coach had already given the hooker a final warning but can he afford to ditch a senior player at such a late stage, despite the latest disciplinary failing?To coach England at rugby union is to spend a disproportionate amount of time awaiting disciplinary verdicts. In picking up a four-week ban that will rule him out of England’s opening World Cup match, Dylan Hartley may also have stretched the patience of Stuart Lancaster beyond breaking point. Faith and trust, those two essential twin pillars of the head coach’s regime, have been undermined once more.It could be that Lancaster has already reached his own exasperated private verdict. Can he really afford to go into the World Cup carrying a hooker with Hartley’s penchant for getting himself into disciplinary trouble at the worst possible times? At no stage since he was first capped in 2008 has the 29-year-old’s future grip on the England starting jersey been so tenuous. Related: England’s Dylan Hartley may miss World Cup after receiving four-week ban Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 09:52:06 GMT)

How Sepp Blatter won the hearts and minds of Africa to ride out Fifa storms
The support Sepp Blatter enjoys from football associations across the developing world has been bolstered by his Goal project, which delivers millions of dollars to improve facilities. A visit to Zambia underlines how it has helped to keep him in powerFraying at the edges, Fifa’s flags twist in the wind outside Football House in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, with the national flag between them. A nearby inscription is badly faded in the sun. It reads: “The Football Association of Zambia, Football House, built as part of Fifa’s Goal development programme was inaugurated in Lusaka on 6 April 2002 by Joseph S Blatter, Fifa president.”Presenting Zambian football with its first home is just one example of how Blatter has won the hearts and minds of Africa’s football establishment. Its loyalty has enabled him to ride out every storm and is more critical than ever as seeks re-election at the helm of an organisation embroiled in the biggest scandal in its history. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 09:45:55 GMT)

Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United evolution: who stays and who goes?
Louis van Gaal has had 10 months to make up his mind about the Manchester United squad he inherited and has already warned the players that it will be a ‘rough summer’ for some of themVíctor Valdés Age 33 Games last season 2 Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 09:00:03 GMT)

Rafael Benítez confirms he will leave Napoli amid Real Madrid speculation
• ‘My family was key to me making this choice,’ says Spaniard• Former Liverpool manager is hot favourite to succeed Carlo AncelottiRafael Benítez has announced he is leaving Napoli after two years with the Serie A club amid widespread expectation that the Spaniard is poised to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.Benítez, who had a stint in Real’s youth setup in the 1990s, made the announcement at a news conference with Napoli’s president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, on Thursday before their final match of the season, against Lazio. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 11:29:17 GMT)

Heysel tragedy: ‘I have a box of prints from that night. They are my ghosts’
Thirty years ago I went to Brussels to cover the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus for the Observer but I quickly went from sports photographer to news photographerI have a battered box of prints at home that I haven’t looked at for the last five years, not since the last major anniversary. It contains some of the worst memories of my photographic career. I took the pictures in the box, but I hope no one ever gets to see them. They are my ghosts, and I like to keep them hidden. Related: Juventus hope cup run will honour memory of ‘forgotten’ Heysel disaster victims Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 11:03:08 GMT)

Football quiz: Klopp or not?
Did the outgoing Borussia Dortmund manager really say it? Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 08:18:41 GMT)

Talking Horses: Thursday’s best bets plus all the latest racing news
Trainer Mel Brittain, best known for the sprinter Grey Desire, has died, aged 71Tony Paley: Mel Brittain, best known for the sprinter Grey Desire, has died at his north Yorkshire home in Warthill, aged 71. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 11:06:02 GMT)

Albert Johanneson: first black footballer to play in the FA Cup final
Albert Johanneson was racially abused during his childhood and left South Africa in 1961 but the shy and skilful Leeds United winger struggled in England too and was left traumatised by events at the 1965 FA Cup finalThe players are in the Wembley tunnel. Liverpool are on the right, Leeds are on the left. Among the players in white is Albert Johanneson, a South African who is about to make history. He is to become the first black player to play in the FA Cup final.Except, he wants to be back in the dressing room, away from the abuse. His confidence is drained, his body is shaking. He spends much of the time before the game in the toilet vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea. He asks Don Revie if he can be dropped. The Leeds manager refuses. Waiting to go out on to the turf, he is approached by someone who says: “You’ve got no chance looking like you do. Our fans will murder you.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 09:01:03 GMT)

Real Madrid deny approach for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba
• Club release statement denying story in Italian newspaper • ‘Real Madrid have had no contact either with Juventus or player’s agent’Real Madrid have issued a statement denying a report in an Italian newspaper that they have agreed a deal to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus.The France midfielder has been the subject of various rumours after his outstanding displays this season, with Real and Barcelona thought to be favourites to sign him this summer. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 10:02:13 GMT)

One thing MPs can agree on: the game of football is beautiful and corrupt
Fifa is in the spotlight even in the Commons as scandal hits football’s international governing bodyJust about the only people who regularly refer to football as the Beautiful Game are those who have absolutely no interest in it. After Wednesday’s indictment of numerous Fifa officials on corruption charges, for an hour on Thursday the Commons could talk of nothing else but the Beautiful Game. Many tears were shed by MPs about the betrayal of their boyhood dreams, when their every waking hour was spent kicking a ball between tattered sweaters on some local scrubland. The closest to a football most MPs came in the last parliament was to kick it into the long grass. That Fifa is one of the world’s more corrupt organisations has come as news only to the Commons, who spent much of the past five years ignoring the investigations of the Sunday Times, Panorama and almost every other news outlet. David Cameron looked vaguely miffed when England’s £19m outlay to win the 2018 World Cup resulted in humiliation and muttered something about the vote being rigged; but the lasting impression he gave was of a man whose main regret was that the money had been spent on entertaining the wrong officials. The best the select committee of culture, media and sport had managed were moments of abject hand-wringing about how it wished Fifa was a bit less naughty.That ​​Fifa is one of the world’s more corrupt organisations has come as news only to the Commons Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:33:36 GMT)

What if men had periods? It’s a question still worth posing
Forty years after Gloria Steinem’s essential essay, WaterAid has a series of warm and witty adverts on the subject. They show that we’re still getting periods colossally wrongIt has passed a Nasa wind test. It has a 68C heated therma-core. Scientists have spent years devising its cross-hatched reinforced Kevlar skeleton and its Twistatec (©) technology which “allows for easy insertion”. What is it? A manpon. And what is a manpon? It’s what tampons would look and be like if men had periods.In a trilogy of rather brilliant short films, WaterAid imagines how different society would be if it were men who lost the endometrium of their wombs every month. An accompanying survey of 2,000 people found that 78% thought the world of sport would change if men had periods; a quarter thought white sportswear would be banned and that men would brag about their periods; 21% thought that bookmakers would factor menstrual cycles into their odds.Within the security of such luxury, it’s easy to laugh at Menstrual Hygiene Day Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:53:23 GMT)

Get rid of Blatter – but not Fifa
Broadcasters, players and fans should not stay on the sidelines if Fifa’s president wins another termSay what you like about Sepp Blatter, the man has chutzpah. This evening he will be running for a fifth term as Fifa’s president, on a ticket that he is the man to lead the organisation out of the cesspit of corruption he has presided over. His challenger, Prince Ali of Jordan, may yet defeat him, but given Blatter’s entrenched African, Oceanic and Latin American support and his extraordinary record of political escapology, it is still hard to bet against him. In which case what are we do with a Blatter-run Fifa?Gary Lineker has wondered whether we just need “to start again”; others have called for national sides to boycott its tournaments or for Uefa to walk away; almost everyone is hoping Fifa’s sponsors will withdraw their support. All these courses of action have their merits, but all have serious flaws too. Related: Fifa crisis: Blatter rebuffs Platini plea to resign and resolves to ride out scandal A call has gone out in Brazil for a minute’s noise at games to protest. It would be a good exercise to build on Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:39:17 GMT)

Merkel, Clinton and co are proof that employers ‘granny-track’ at their peril
If you’re looking for a transformational leader you’d best pick a woman over 55 – as those at the top of the Forbes power list showSo Taylor Swift has made it, shooting into the Forbes power list of the world’s most influential women at the grand old age of 25. She’s included, apparently, to mark her victory in a power struggle with Spotify and definitely, absolutely not to enable newspapers to publish a huge picture of her if they fancy giving Forbes some free publicity. But let’s not be churlish. There’s no denying Swift’s economic and cultural clout, but what was striking about those higher up the list (she’s at number 64) was their age. And I do mean age, not youth. Related: Merkel tops Forbes 100 most powerful women list with Clinton close behind What counts is knowing what makes people tick and not to panic when things go wrong Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 18:09:20 GMT)

Labour’s success in Wales shows the lack of identity in our English counterpart
I’m a Labour minister in a Labour government - in Wales. Next year we face re-election with an uplifting message despite the cuts threatened by WestminsterHere we go again. Straight from a general election defeat into Labour’s favourite distraction therapy: a leadership contest. Just like in 2010, when the coalition established the narrative that Labour was to blame for the global crash.I write as a Labour minister in a Labour government. You’d forgotten we had one of those, hadn’t you? Well, here in Wales Labour is still in government. In the National Assembly for Wales elections in 2011, a year after the last general election defeat, we won 30 out of the 60 Assembly seats, and we have governed successfully as a minority government since then.Is there space for a three-nations Labour in a federal British party? Time will tell Related: Here's some lessons in real job creation from much-maligned Wales | Polly Toynbee Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:28:13 GMT)

The rich aren't so different from us – and we can learn from their mistakes
A survey of wealthy Americans finds shaky money management and a failure to protect what’s most important, even if most feel ‘financially secure’“Let me tell you about the very rich,” wrote F Scott Fitzgerald in a 1925 short story. “They are different from you and me.” Well – up to a point, if a new survey is to believed. Whenever the topic of the vast – and constantly expanding – wealth gap comes up for debate, it seems as if someone is always itching for the opportunity to resurrect those words, culminating in Fitzgerald’s observation that the wealthy “think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 10:00:05 GMT)

A hero of the Fifa corruption exposé – step forward the British press
Journalist Andrew Jennings and the Sunday Times have been relentless in their pursuit of the institutional corruption at Fifa. Now it’s up to the FA to actThis week’s Fifa exposé is widely credited to the FBI and the tough US attorney general, Loretta Lynch. That they have brought about this crunch is welcome. It is also humiliating for the Swiss police, who know full well what such global agencies get up to on their turf, and for Britain’s Scotland Yard.Institutional corruption at Fifa has been public knowledge for a decade. Related: Footballers’ silence on political issues must end. The Fifa row demands it | Archie Bland The police should apply the same assiduity to the FA’s 2010 antics as it has to hacking journalists Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 13:47:32 GMT)

Why can't we face up to the true horrors of the first world war?
The savagery of the Great War shattered Europe – yet, when it comes to art, we hide the shocking, gory images in favour of something more palatableI recently wandered into the gift shop at a National Trust property and peered into the bargain bin. Most of the products being sold off cheap were first world war centenary souvenirs: Horrible Histories first world war magnets, Red Baron Post-it notes, a strange collection of 21st century images of a 20th century war. It seems the time for remembering was last year. Britain invested so much energy in marking the centenary of the Great War’s outbreak, that we are now giving much more muted attention to the four years of terrible events that followed. The bargain bin full of last year’s memorial cash-ins is an indication of how hard it is to genuinely understand, face, and do justice to the enormity of the 1914-18 war and what it did to the modern world. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:08:13 GMT)

Pencil erasers are ‘the devil’? It’s not as outrageous as it sounds
A leading scientist has made this thunderous claim, as he says erasers teach children to be ashamed of failure. But it’s the lesson in cruelty that I worry aboutLike most schoolchildren, I was a connoisseur of erasers. I loved the squishy putty variety and the big smooth oval ones but I hated the usesless pinks things attached to the end of pencils, although they were quite nice to bite. However strongly I felt about them, it would never have occurred to me to view them in terms of good and evil.But Guy Claxton, a cognitive scientist and visiting professor at King’s College, London, has proclaimed that erasers are an “instrument of the devil” and, as such, they should be banished from our classrooms. Children should be encouraged to learn from their mistakes, rather than feel ashamed of them, he explains. They shouldn’t feel the need to pretend to have got things right the first time, but should be encouraged to try things out, take wrong turns and see what they can learn in the process.Guy Claxton seems to be speaking about a special brand of neoliberal failure, whose ultimate objective is success Related: Constant testing is ruining teenagers’ lives – give us a break | Emma Jacobs Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 10:30:04 GMT)

The battle against childhood obesity has to start in pregnancy
Britain’s childhood obesity rate is, as Jeremy Hunt calls it, a scandal, but there has not been enough recognition of how early the problem beginsThe terms “overweight” and “obesity” are constantly in the news, with barely a day going by without a story about this epidemic hitting the headlines. As a nation, indeed as an international community, we are right to be worried. What is particularly concerning is that those affected are getting younger. The prevalence of infant, childhood and adolescent obesity is increasing worldwide, and in Britain today nearly one in four children under the age of five and a third of 10- to 11-year-olds are overweight or obese.Obesity increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions that usually present in middle-age, but are increasingly being seen in children and young adults. An obese child is much more likely to be an obese adult and an obese adult is likely to have obese children. This vicious transgenerational cycle has to be nipped in the bud. If not, for the first time in history, the life span of parents may well exceed that of their children. Related: Obesity and diabetes are government's top health priorities, says Jeremy Hunt Maternal under and over-nutrition around conception and during pregnancy increase the risk of childhood obesity Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 12:16:53 GMT)

Footballers’ silence on political issues must end. The Fifa row demands it
In light of the corruption scandal the old saw about sport and politics not mixing won’t wash anymore. Highly paid footballers are obliged to speak outSport and politics don’t mix, irritated athletes sometimes say, when asked why they are participating in the Genocide Games Sponsored By Sweatshop Shoes, and choosing to ignore the obvious point: the very fact of the question being asked proves that the prevarication is false. No one is saying Harry Kane should be leading negotiations over Britain’s EU membership. But no business as lucrative as elite sport is ever likely to exist in a political vacuum for long. When a cricket team tours apartheid South Africa, or a football team is sponsored by a payday lender, saying that sport and politics don’t mix is not an expression of neutrality: it is an expression of tacit support for the status quo.The extraordinary Fifa corruption story is not a case of sport and politics mixing; it is a case of sport and politics becoming indivisible. In this instance, saying that the two shouldn’t mix would be a bit like saying the same thing about weapons and violence. At Fifa, it now seems, corruption is understood as the unremarkable consequence of a love for the game, as inevitable as a bullet from a gun.When your brilliance has been polluted by the venality of your bosses, the obligation is not just to your fans Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 10:13:07 GMT)

Oxford University to appoint first female vice-chancellor
Nomination of Prof Louise Richardson, expert on terrorist movements and current St Andrews principal, hailed as momentous event in institution’s historyThe University of Oxford is to appoint its first female vice-chancellor since its records began nearly 800 years ago, after Prof Louise Richardson was nominated for the university’s most senior office.Richardson, currently the principal and vice-chancellor of St Andrews University, is an expert on the growth of terrorist movements. She held a succession of high-profile positions at Harvard until she was appointed to lead St Andrews in 2009. Related: University guide 2016: University of Oxford Related: The academics tackling everyday sexism in university life Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:26:40 GMT)

Glastonbury: Kanye West booking prompts death threats for organiser
Emily Eavis faced backlash and online petition calling for rapper to be taken off festival billGlastonbury’s organiser, Emily Eavis, has revealed she received death threats after booking Kanye West as Saturday night headliner for this year’s festival.An online petition attracted more than 133,000 signatures, calling for the rapper to be taken off the bill. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:36:28 GMT)

Booming buy-to-let puts £112bn in pockets of British landlords
Rental income is worth almost £4bn a month nationwide as the sector’s popularity for investment continues to increase, locking out first-time buyersBritish landlords earned £112bn from capital gains and rental income last year, in the latest example of the booming buy-to-let market.As would-be first-time buyers struggle to get a toehold on the housing ladder amid rising property prices and tougher mortgage-lending criteria, investors continue to pile in to the rental market. Related: Landlords enjoy £14bn tax breaks as figures reveal buy-to-let expansion Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:24:48 GMT)

Keir Starmer defends Human Rights Act in maiden Commons speech
Former director of public prosecutions says it is poor, vulnerable and bullied people who would be affected by repealing the Human Rights ActThe “put upon and the bullied” in society will suffer if the Tories press ahead with their manifesto pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act, former director of public prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer has said.As the justice secretary Michael Gove insisted that the government was determined to reform Britain’s human rights laws, Starmer used his House of Commons maiden speech to issue an impassioned defence of the Human Rights Act. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 18:21:44 GMT)

UK schoolgirls lured to Syria by Isis 'have made contact with their families'
One of three schoolfriends is believed to have called relatives to say she is healthy and well but does not intend to return, while others made contact onlineThree London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria earlier this year have reportedly made contact with their families in the UK.Schoolfriends Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, travelled from east London to Turkey in February and are believed to have then crossed into areas of Syria controlled by Islamic State (Isis). Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 00:50:52 GMT)

UK will quit EU unless PM's reforms go through, says Philip Hammond
Foreign secretary believes Britons will opt to leave union unless EU leaders agree to changes and that in/out referendum campaign could launch in spring 2016Britain will vote to leave the EU unless European leaders agree to a “substantial package of reform” demanded by David Cameron, the foreign secretary has warned.As the prime minister embarked on a two-day tour of four European capitals to lobby EU leaders, Philip Hammond indicated that No 10 would like to keep open the option of a referendum next year when he suggested that negotiations could be concluded by the end of winter. Related: Cameron sets off on mission to win over EU leaders Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 08:47:53 GMT)

Treat HIV early to prevent illness and death, top researchers say
Giving patients drugs while they have a better immune system can halve cases of ill health and death, study finds – sparking calls for dramatic treatment changeLeading HIV researchers and campaign groups have called for a dramatic change in how the virus is treated, after a study suggested that giving people drugs earlier meant a significant drop in early illness and death. The British HIV Association (BHIVA) is expected to update its guidelines in light of “overwhelming evidence” produced by the strategic timing of anti-retroviral treatment study.In the UK and other countries, including most of Europe, treatment is deferred, while it is given immediately in the US. But the study has found a 53% drop in serious illness and death if patients were given the drugs when they still had stronger immune systems. Related: Drugs to keep people with HIV alive should be given without delay, trial finds Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 13:54:31 GMT)

Women disproportionately affected by austerity, charities warn
Coalition of charities says Conservatives’ planned cuts to social security, public sector and legal aid risk widening gender inequalityThe UK risks widening gender inequality because of austerity policies that disproportionately affect women, a coalition of charities has warned. Cuts to social security, the public sector and legal aid will only worsen women’s position in British society, the charities say, while proposals for a five-year lock on tax rises will benefit men over women. Those factors in combination mean that women will bear the brunt of measures to pay off the deficit, they argue. Related: These children of Thatcher are free to cut, cut, cut – and they’re loving every minute | Polly Toynbee Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:17:29 GMT)

Health services should have identified risk of double murderer reoffending
Report says there were many deficiencies and missed opportunities in the treatment of James Allen, who went on to murder two people in 2012Health services that dealt with a man later convicted of murdering two people should have identified the “significant probability that he would reoffend”, a report has found.James Allen attacked 81-year-old Colin Dunford in his Middlesbrough terrace home, then three days later stabbed to death Julie Davison, 50, at her flat in Whitby, North Yorkshire. The double killing sparked a huge manhunt which ended in Leeds when an off-duty police officer spotted him. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:03:10 GMT)

BBC's Top Gear cleared of 'cover-up' over Falklands number plate
Viewers complained controversial licence number on Jeremy Clarkson’s Porsche was deliberately chosen and timing of Patagonia special was offensiveTop Gear has been cleared of allegations there was a “cover-up” over the use of a controversial number plate that appeared to refer to the Falklands conflict in its Patagonia TV special.Presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were forced to flee from Argentina during filming last October. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 13:56:11 GMT)

'Gay cake' bakery owners appeal against discrimination verdict
Our Christian beliefs have been trampled over, say McArthur family, after firm was fined for refusing to bake cake celebrating same-sex marriageA bakery in Northern Ireland found guilty of discriminating against a gay customer after it refused to bake a gay marriage-themed cake is to appeal against the ruling. Belfast county court ordered Ashers Baking Company to pay £500 in damages for “injury to feelings” after Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled the customer had been treated less favourably and the bakery had breached political and sexual orientation discrimination regulations.Our prayer is that an appeal will allow us to live out our faith in Jesus Christ in every part of our lives Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 11:05:05 GMT)

Breast cancer could be 'stopped in its tracks' by new technique, say scientists
Discovery of method for blocking enzyme that spreads cancer cells to bones is described as ‘important progress’ in prevention of secondary stage of diseaseCertain breast cancers spread to the bones using an enzyme that drills “seed holes” for planting new tumours, research has shown.The discovery could lead to treatments aimed at preventing secondary breast cancers in patients with non-hormone sensitive disease. Continue reading...
(Wed, 27 May 2015 23:46:49 GMT)

David Miliband: election defeat has sent Labour back to the classroom
Former foreign secretary’s stinging criticism of party after crushing defeat by Conservatives is likely to revive speculation of return to UK politicsDavid Miliband has said the Labour party has been sent “back to the classroom for the second time in five years” after its crushing defeat in the general election.The former foreign secretary previously said “deep and honest thinking” was required after his brother, Ed, led Labour to its worst election defeat since 1983. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 08:07:23 GMT)

Massive surge in donations made 2015 general election most expensive ever
More than £100m in gifts reported in last year, with Conservatives receiving £38m and Labour £32m, suggesting Cameron probably outspent MilibandThe general election battle between David Cameron and Ed Miliband triggered a huge surge in political donations, with more than £100m in reported gifts over the last year making it the most expensive UK poll on record.An increase in donations occurred in the first three months of 2015, with the Conservatives raking in £15m – much of it from people linked to financial services companies and hedge funds. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 12:35:43 GMT)

Vladimir Putin declares all Russian military deaths state secrets
President extends secrecy to deaths in peacetime as well as in official wars, raising concerns for those who report deaths of soldiers in UkraineVladimir Putin has declared that all military deaths will be classified as state secrets not just in times of war but also in peace – a move that activists worry might further discourage the reporting of Russian soldiers’ deaths in Ukraine.The Russian president has amended a decree to extend the list of state secrets to include information on casualties during special operations when war has not been declared, among other changes. Previously, the list had only forbidden (pdf) “revealing personnel losses in wartime”. He has repeatedly denied any involvement of Russian troops in a pro-Russian rebellion in Ukraine. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:12:45 GMT)

Swiss scientists plug hole in cheese knowledge
Holes that form in cheeses such as emmental caused by hay particles in milk and not CO2 released by bacteria, say expertsAfter about a century of research, scientists in Switzerland have finally solved the mystery of the holes in Swiss cheese.Despite what you may have been told as a child, the holes are not caused by mice nibbling away inside cheese wheels. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:59:13 GMT)

Police find barefoot man who clashed with bear at Warsaw zoo
Man escaped but left traces of blood following incident in which it appears that he hit bear and it tried to bite himA man who went missing after tangling with a brown bear at Warsaw’s zoo, leaving traces of blood, was found on Thursday in a hospital.The 32-year-old, being treated for an arm wound, refused to tell police why he entered the enclosure on Sunday and approached the bear. Maria Krakowiak, head of the predatory animals section at the zoo, said the man’s stunt was very dangerous and could have ended much worse. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:30:13 GMT)

Swedish fathers to get third month of paid paternity leave
Country already offers 16-month parental leave which can be taken by either mothers or fathers, with two months set aside for dadsSweden is planning to introduce a third month of paid parental leave reserved for fathers as of 2016, in a bid to further increase gender equality, the country’s government has announced. Related: Force men to take paternity leave. It will make the world a better place | Gabrielle Jackson Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 18:50:30 GMT)

Russian opposition leader's illness raises fears of foul play
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a close associate of the late dissident Boris Nemtsov, hospitalised with what appears to be pancreatitis and double pneumoniaA Russian opposition leader is in intensive care in a Moscow hospital, and a lack of clarity about the cause of his sudden illness has raised fears of foul play.The First City Hospital said 33-year-old Vladimir Kara-Murza remained in a grave condition on Thursday, two days after he was admitted. The Interfax news agency, citing the hospital’s chief doctor, said he appeared to be suffering from pancreatitis and double pneumonia. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 19:48:21 GMT)

Jacob Zuma will not have to repay money spent to upgrade his home
South African police minister says president’s £13.2m worth of state-funded modifications, including swimming pool and chicken coop, were for securityThe South African president, Jacob Zuma, will not have to repay any of the public money spent on upgrades to his private residence, which have been pilloried as lavish and wasteful.The police minister, Nkosinathi Nhleko, determined that all of the upgrades were for security purposes and that “the state president is therefore not liable to pay”. Related: Jacob Zuma's palatial folly sparks anger and resentment amid poverty Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:23:31 GMT)

Chinese nationals charged with cheating by impersonation on US college tests
The 15 people caught taking entrance exams for those abroad reveals increasing pressure on Asian students to obtain visas to attend prestigious western schoolsFifteen Chinese nationals have been charged with impersonating students in order to defraud colleges through standardized tests, the justice department said on Thursday, hinting at a possible “iceberg” of cheating by students abroad.According to the justice department, the 15 conspirators lived mostly in western Pennsylvania, where they had counterfeit Chinese passports sent to them to use as ID before taking standardized tests. They then impersonated students on tests such as the SAT, GRE and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:53:05 GMT)

Photographer jailed for multi-billion euro Bettencourt exploitation
François-Marie Banier has been sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to pay back €15m to L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and her familyA French celebrity photographer has been found guilty and sentenced to two and a half years in prison for exploiting the mental frailty of Liliane Bettencourt, the ageing L’Oréal shampoo heiress, who showered him with gifts including Picasso paintings, life insurance funds and millions of euros in cash.François-Marie Banier, who had befriended Bettencourt, 25 years his senior, arguing that he was the only person who made her laugh, was given a three-year sentence – six months of which was suspended – and ordered to pay a fine of €250,000 and pay back over €15m to the Bettencourt family. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 16:34:11 GMT)

All books and no sex: Harvard study finds 1 in 4 grads had no intercourse
Annual survey finds 21% of seniors were virgins and 26% had 10 or more partners, but 60% reported drinking once a week during college yearsThough Harvard University’s graduating class will soon be have a degree from one of the most esteemed schools in the world, they will enter the world of work about as horny – and slightly more high – than the average American 22-year-old, according to an annual survey of students. Nearly half of Harvard’s graduating class – 760 people – responded to the anonymous emailed survey, but not everyone answered every question. The results were published by the school newspaper, the Harvard Crimson. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 17:47:01 GMT)

Garda officer prosecuted in Ireland for speaking to journalist
Former head of Irish police press office allegedly breached law that civil liberties campaigners say is designed to prevent police whistleblowingA serving garda superintendent and former head of the Irish police’s press office has been arrested over claims he spoke to a journalist without authorisation.The officer is being prosecuted under Section 62 of the Garda Síochána Act 2000 which civil liberties groups have criticised as draconian and designed to gag the media in Ireland. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:47:08 GMT)

Five espressos' worth of caffeine could be damaging to health, warns EU
Food safety experts suggest up to 400mg a day should have no health consequences for healthy adults but more could be harmfulShould I drink more coffee?Consuming more than five espressos’ worth of caffeine a day could be damaging to your health, according to European food safety experts.The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said single doses of up to 200mg of caffeine from a range of sources – such as tea, coffee, chocolate and energy drinks – should be a safe level for most healthy adults. Related: Should I drink more coffee? Continue reading...
(Wed, 27 May 2015 20:00:55 GMT)

Tajikistan police chief defects to Isis
US-trained Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov, who disappeared in April, resurfaces in video denouncing ‘American pigs’The US-trained commander of Tajikistan’s elite police force has appeared in a YouTube video announcing his defection to Islamic State.Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov, 40, who commanded the central Asian nation’s special-purpose police force known as Omon, disappeared in late April, prompting a search by Tajik police. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:16:02 GMT)

Bangladeshi blogger named on hitlist warned: 'You will be next'
Ananya Azad among the writers concerned for their safety after murder of three men who criticised intolerance and religious fundamentalismAnanya Azad is no stranger to assassination attempts. The prominent Bangladeshi blogger’s father, Humayun Azad, wrote a scathing critique of Islamist fundamentalism in 2003 entitled Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad (Blessed Be the Sacred Land, the title of Pakistan’s national anthem). A year after it was published, Humayan was seriously injured in a street attack by assailants wielding machetes.Now, it is his son’s turn to fear the outside world. Ananya followed in his father’s footsteps to become a writer critical of intolerance and religious fundamentalism, a career that has landed him on a hitlist containing the names of 84 atheist bloggers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 07:00:01 GMT)

iPhone text message bug can crash Apple Watch, iPad and Mac too
Bug in Apple’s Messages that allows anyone to crash someone’s iPhone with a text can also affect an Apple Watch, iPad or MacThe bug that causes iPhones to crash when they receive a boobytrapped text message also affects the Apple Watch, iPads and Macs.The crash is caused by a bug within a core system common to all of Apple’s devices that handles text. When presented with non-Latin characters in a specific sequence – including those from Arabic, Chinese and Marathi – the CoreText system chokes, causing it to fail and bring the entire operating system to a halt. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 10:22:49 GMT)

Asian migrant crisis: calls for Asean joint action likely to be unanswered
South-east Asian group urged to act tough on Burma over Rohingya refugees, but principle of non-interference means emergency summit could prove short on answersAn emergency international summit called to tackle the migrant boat crisis in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, convening in Bangkok on Friday, may prove long on talk and short on answers if countries shy away from coordinated joint action to address the root causes in Burma and Bangladesh, diplomats and aid groups say. The summit’s Thai hosts – who have invited 17 countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, other Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) members and Australia – say they want immediate, collective steps to deal with the recent surge in Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing Burma and economic migrants leaving Bangladesh. Related: Malaysian police arrest own officers over involvement in migrant death camps Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 13:55:51 GMT)

French bartender sentenced after customer drinks 56 shots and dies
The bartender, who received a four-month suspended sentence, admitted he made a mistake in publicising the shots record and encouraging the victim A French bartender has received a suspended jail sentence after he was convicted of manslaughter for letting a man down 56 shots during a drinking contest that led to his death. Renaud Prudhomme, 56, broke the in-house shots record last October at Starter, a bar in the central French town of Clermont-Ferrand. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 01:32:28 GMT)

Paraguay march poised to draw record crowd after 10-year-old denied abortion
As authorities insist child rape victim must give birth, hundreds are expected to protest sexual abuse in Asunción: ‘Her case is emblematic’Fury over Paraguayan authorities’ refusal to allow an abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim is expected to bring unprecedented numbers of pro-choice protesters to the streets of the country’s capital, Asunción, this week.The case has prompted outcry around the world and prompted a national debate about the prevalence of child abuse and underage pregnancies. Related: Pregnant 10-year-old rape victim denied abortion by Paraguayan authorities Related: Abortion rights around the world – interactive Related: Latin America still a bastion of draconian anti-abortion laws | Annie Kelly Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 11:00:08 GMT)


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(Mon, 25 May 2015 21:02:54 GMT)

Marauders Map: the Chrome app that stalks Facebook Messenger users
Privacy concerns over app that allows you to pinpoint location of anyone who is part of same messaging thread, and track them via time stampsAn extension for the Chrome web browser has been developed that allows people to pinpoint the precise location, to within a metre, of Facebook Messenger users.The app – named Mauraders Map after the magical map in the Harry Potter books that showed the identity, locations and movements of all individuals – has been created by Harvard computer science and mathematics student, Aran Khanna. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:15:56 GMT)

Google takes aim at the internet of things with new Brillo operating system
Search firm has designs on fully connected houses following its acquisition of smart-device company Nest and wants to be bigger than just AndroidGoogle intends to be the center of the connected home with its new “internet of things” operating system, Brillo.Google Brillo is designed to run on and connect multiple low-power devices, connecting anything from a washing machine to a rubbish bin and linking in with existing Google technologies. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 19:08:48 GMT)

Merch madness or simply clueless: when branding goes wrong big time
Rapper A$AP Rocky’s upside-down American flag T-shirt firestorm joins the likes of Yeezus and boyband’s condoms in celebrity merchandising failures Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:30:03 GMT)

Yours for £495,000: a tiny corner of Islington
Within shouting distance of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, a small but perfectly formed one-bed house, just round the bendIt’s unclear whether it really was built to replace a house damaged by a car veering off the road as its occupants had a row, but the man who created this tiny detached home in north London is taking no chances. The property, which is on the market for £495,000, features downstairs windows that echo the chevrons nearby and light up at night.There’s no garden and if you support Spurs you might want to give it a miss, as when Arsenal are playing at home you may be surrounded by their fans. But if you are looking for a freehold house in zone 2 for less than a top footballer earns in a month this one-bedroom home might just fit the bill. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 10:56:43 GMT)

How to avoid the top six most common job interview mistakes
Graduates: don’t bring any angst to the interview, dress formally and give clear, concise answersWhether your last boss was a bullying dictator or you’re full of post-university angst, do not bring any negativity to the interview. When faced with the challenging prospect of discussing previous employment, graduates should be ready to add a positive spin on even the most reasonable of complaints. While we’re on the subject, keep your integrity intact and never lie. Being able to trust your employees is pivotal, so being caught out in an interview can mean an instant rejection. Related: Dress to impress: what to wear for a job interview Be careful: asking questions about things you should already know illustrates a lack of research. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 06:00:00 GMT)

Thrifty tips from RHS Chelsea
What can thrifty gardener Kim Stoddart learn from the polished, perfect show gardens of the Chelsea flower show?You may not think the Chelsea flower show would have much to offer a true have-a-go gardener like me, but you’d be wrong. Underneath the polished and primped facade of oft-prize winning perfection lurk many ideas that could be recreated at home for next to nothing or indeed (in my case) for free. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:31:45 GMT)

Looking box set review – a thoroughly modern drama that’s much more than a gay Girls
Patrick, Augustin and Dom belong to a generation with new freedoms – and it’s shown to be both thrilling and terrifying in this smart, richly impressive seriesWhen it first appeared last year, this HBO drama was neatly dubbed the “gay Girls”. But that label doesn’t nearly capture the unique nature of this richly impressive drama. Looking may have been axed just a few months ago, but it achieved a lot in its two series, most notably establishing gay characters in situations that felt real, relatable and transcendent of sex and sexuality. Focusing on three men living in San Francisco, its main focus is Patrick, played with an agreeable mixture of anxiety and conceit by Jonathan Groff. He’s joined by Agustin, his best friend, and Dom, who works as a sommelier and sports one of TV’s finest moustaches.Keen to establish itself as a throughly modern drama, Looking has Patrick fretting about online dating. “I can’t tell if this guy is hot or not,” he says. “Instagram filters have ruined everything!” He also suffers heartbreak when it turns out that the man he’s just moved in with is still using the hook-up app Grindr. The show uses sex smartly, though – not as titillation, but as a way to reveal character. What lengths do they go to get it? How do they act with each other afterwards? And how do they manage to get themselves in such a mess? Patrick, a computer game developer, is caught in a love triangle with his boss (played by British actor Russell Tovey) and a hairdresser called Richie. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 15:00:06 GMT)

Levi's and Stonewall: how fashion embraced gay rights
Slogan T-shirts have been an activism staple for decades. As Pride kicks off this month, we look at how fashion and gay rights have evolved togetherFashion is about self-expression, where saying who you are and what you stand for – and wearing the clothes that back that up – is not only acceptable, it is encouraged. While the labels you choose to wear might do that implicitly, a slogan T-shirt quite literally spells it out. And it is these that are in the frame at the moment, with gay – sometimes explicit – slogans appearing on recently released T-shirts. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 14:41:05 GMT)

Fleetwood Mac review – back together, and just about perfect
O2 Arena, LondonThe return of the band’s classic line-up on their On With the Show tour is cause for celebration – and fascination“Let’s get this party started!” isn’t the introduction you expect at a Fleetwood Mac show, and especially not from Stevie Nicks, creator of the Hollywood Hills hippie-mystic archetype. But tonight is the 82nd gig of their year-long On With the Show tour and Nicks, splendid in trailing black lace, feels they’ve turned a corner in their relationship with Christine McVie. The singer-pianist’s nervousness about rejoining after a 16-year break has given way to wholehearted mucking in. Nodding towards McVie’s keyboard, behind which she is tall and commanding, Nicks roars: “Now I think we can safely say our girl is back!”Mac returning to their classic configuration is cause for celebration, and not just because it lets us hear one of pop’s great songbooks performed by the five people who wrote it. There’s also the fascination of seeing them accommodate each other: Lindsey Buckingham, Nicks and McVie get equal front-time, and use it in ways that make you wonder how such disparate personalities functioned in the same group. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2015 11:13:24 GMT)

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