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Kiev's grip on eastern Ukraine weakens as pro-Russians seize army vehicles
What was meant to be a show of strength by Ukraine's army has instead shown how the country is unravellingFor Kiev's beleaguered army it was meant to be a display of strength. Early on Wednesday a column of six armoured personnel carriers trundled through the town of Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine. Some 24 hours earlier Ukrainian soldiers had recaptured a small disused aerodrome. Their next target appeared to be Slavyansk, the neighbouring town, occupied by a shadowy Russian militia. Was victory close? Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:41:09 GMT)

Iranian killer's execution halted at last minute by victim's parents
Convict had noose around his neck when victim's mother approached, slapped him in the face and spared his lifeWhen he felt the noose around his neck, Balal must have thought he was about to take his last breath. Minutes earlier, crowds had watched as guards pushed him towards the gallows for what was meant to be yet another public execution in the Islamic republic of Iran.Seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran. In a literal application of qisas, the sharia law of retribution, the victim's family were to participate in Balal's punishment by pushing the chair on which he stood. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:24:44 GMT)

David Cameron says he is evangelical about his Christian faith
Prime minister criticises some non-believers for failing to see that faith can give people a 'moral code'David Cameron has declared himself an "evangelical" about his Christian faith as he criticised some non-believers for failing to grasp the role that religion can have in "helping people to have a moral code".In his third effort this week to highlight his own strong faith, the prime minister said he wanted to see a bigger role for religion in Britain as a Christian country and urged fellow believers to be more confident in spreading their views. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:47:05 GMT)

Pistorius legal team try to regain initiative as chief witness is questioned
Forensic geologist Roger Dixon contradicts prosecution account of shooting but prosecutor questions his expertiseOscar Pistorius's defence team has attempted to reassert his story that he killed his girlfriend by mistake after the South African athlete endured five days of gruelling cross-examination. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:02:35 GMT)

'Former Arsenal player' in Syria jihad video identified as Portuguese
British and foreign security services say man who appeared in video urging others to join jihadists is Celso Rodrigues Da CostaA masked al-Qaida fighter in Syria described as a former Arsenal footballer has been identified as a Portuguese citizen, it can be disclosed.The man appeared in a video released online two weeks ago urging others to join the jihadists, using a false name and speaking in a heavy accent. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:45:54 GMT)

Channel 4 Benefits Street producers struggle to cast second series
Stockton residents oppose filming by Love Productions, whose James Turner Street documentary won audiences of 5 millionThe notoriety of Channel 4's documentary Benefits Street has left the show's producers facing an uphill task trying to persuade people to take part in a second series as well as a spin-off programme about immigration.Programme-makers scouting potential locations for another series of the controversial programme in Stockton-on-Tees, and a separate documentary with a working title Immigration Street in Southampton, have faced opposition from politicians and community leaders. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:50:58 GMT)

Google is building up a digital superstate, says German media boss
Mathias Döpfner, head of Europe's largest newspaper publisher, says internet search engine is abusing market dominanceThe chief executive of Europe's largest newspaper publisher has accused Google of abusing a monopoly position in the digital economy to discriminate against competitors and build up a "superstate".In an open letter to Google's Eric Schmidt published in Wednesday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the head of Germany's Axel Springer SE publishing house, Mathias Döpfner, said the US company was operating a business model that "in less reputable circles would be called a protection racket", discriminating against competitors in its search rankings. Google's motto was "if you don't want us to finish you off, you better pay", he said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:13:59 GMT)

Starbucks HQ relocation to UK 'will generate negligible tax revenue'
Tax campaigners question benefits of move from Netherlands where firm's office is little more than 'conduit or moneybox'Tax campaigners have questioned whether Starbucks will make a significant additional contribution to Treasury coffers after the coffee chain announced that it is moving its European head office from the Netherlands to the UK.Accountant and campaigner Richard Murphy said the coffee chain's small head office operation, currently in Amsterdam, was little more than a "conduit or moneybox" used by Starbucks to collect royalty payments and move them on to other parts of the group. "There has never been an intention to make serious profits in the Netherlands and I am sure there won't be in the UK." Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:26:17 GMT)

Andy Coulson tells phone-hacking trial he heard David Blunkett voicemails
Blunkett was home secretary and Coulson said he was shocked recordings of messages for the politican's married lover existedAndy Coulson admitted at the Old Bailey that he listened to intimate voicemails left by the former home secretary David Blunkett to his lover.The former editor of the News of the World told the phone-hacking trial that he did not know the hacked messages had been obtained illegally and that when confronted with them in 2004 he was "shocked" and "angry" that one of his staff had collected them in that way. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:51:06 GMT)

Rupert Murdoch believed to be involved in leading bid for Channel 5
Media tycoon's BSkyB is thought to have made joint offer for free-to-air channel with Discovery CommunicationsIt once achieved notoriety for its gameshow Naked Jungle, in which presenter Keith Chegwin and the contestants cavorted without the aid of clothing.But the latest development in Channel 5's short history may cause even more controversy, with Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB involved in what is thought to be the leading bid to buy the station after it was put up for sale by Richard Desmond. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:14:50 GMT)

More than 270 missing as ferry sinks off the coast of South Korea
At least six reported dead and 55 injured as ships and helicopters race to save passengers, including children bound for holiday island Ferry sinks off coast of South Korea - in picturesMore than 270 people are still unaccounted for as efforts continue to rescue passengers aboard a South Korean ferry that sank off the countrys south-west coast on Wednesday morning.Officials said six of the ships 462 passengers had died, at least 55 are injured and 179 have been rescued. Many passengers - of which 300 are children - may have been trapped inside the vessel as it listed and sank. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:24:08 GMT)

Primary schools: recent baby boom puts pressure on admissions system
In London one in five fails to get first choice; better news in some other English areas as rush to add classrooms eases crisisAlmost one in five families in London have missed out on their first choice of primary school, although efforts by local authorities to add new places appear to have seen off a wider crisis caused by the recent baby boom.Competition for places was felt most strongly in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which was able to give only 61% of families their first choice of primary school. An unlucky 15% of applicants were denied any of the schools from their maximum of six choices in the borough. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:28:09 GMT)

Ed Balls faces prosecution for hitting parked car and failing to stop
Shadow chancellor's 'five or seven' point turn outside constituency office is latest offence involving poor drivingThe shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, may be prosecuted for failing to stop at the scene of an accident after hitting a parked car without telling the owner.The senior Labour MP has taken legal advice and was spoken to by police, after he was issued with a "notice of intention to prosecute" in relation to a "fail-to-stop collision" that happened 10 days ago near his constituency office in Morley and Outwood. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:13:58 GMT)

End of an era as Prince Bandar departs Saudi intelligence post
Prince's exit could signal shift in kingdom's policy towards Syria, with looming leadership transition complicating picturePrince Bandar bin Sultan's departure as head of Saudi intelligence, confirmed this week, marks the end of an era for a flamboyant and powerful character on the Middle Eastern stage. The big question is whether it signals a meaningful shift in the kingdom's policy towards Syria and its commitment to the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.Bandar known as "Bandar Bush" from his 22 years as Saudi ambassador to the US is a legendary networker and hawk. The Saudi press agency said he stepped down at his own request. (It did not say whether he would continue as head of the national security council, a less important position.) He will be replaced by his deputy at the Saudi equivalent of the CIA, Youssef bin Ali al-Idrisi, who is not a royal and therefore far less powerful. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:02:06 GMT)

Former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers charged with drugs offences
Flowers was suspended by Methodist church and Labour party last year following claims that he bought and used illegal drugsThe former Co-op Bank boss Paul Flowers has been charged with two counts of possession of a class A drug and one count of possession of a class C drug, West Yorkshire police said on Wednesday.Flowers, 63, has been bailed to appear before Leeds magistrates on 7 May. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:10:04 GMT)

NHS group considers charges for crutches and neck braces
South Warwickshire CCG presents 'tentative' proposal to public participation group, prompting criticism from health unionsPatients could be asked to pay for their own crutches, walking sticks and neck braces under proposals drawn up by an NHS organisation to introduce charges for services that are currently free.GPs in south Warwickshire have sparked controversy by examining how patients who are disabled or recovering from an accident or operation could be asked to contribute towards the cost of devices that are vital to their mobility. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:12:52 GMT)

Law Society urges people to leave instructions for their digital legacy
Solicitors organisation warns that too much valuable, intellectual property is in danger of being lost when we pass awayDon't forget where you squirrelled away the Bitcoins; keep track of online gaming characters; save your passwords for photographs and savings accounts or risk it all disappearing down the back of the internet. In other words, leave a digital legacy, the Law Society is urging.Updating advice for writing wills in the 21st century, the organisation which represents solicitors across England and Wales has warned that too much valuable, intellectual property is in danger of being lost when we die. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:44:35 GMT)

Soldiers' Iraqi accusers repeatedly lied under oath, al-Sweady inquiry told
MoD lawyers accuse Iraqi complainants of 'criminal conspiracy' motivated by attempt to extract compensationIraqis who accused British soldiers of murder and torture after a fierce battle are guilty of a "criminal conspiracy" to pervert the course of justice and repeatedly lied under oath to a public inquiry, the Ministry of Defence has said.The serious charge was made during bitter and heated exchanges as lawyers for the Iraqis accused the British soldiers of "gross violations of the Geneva conventions", including mock executions. Lawyers for the British soldiers suggested the motive behind the Iraqi allegations was an attempt to extract financial compensation. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:39:22 GMT)

Wages beat inflation as unemployment falls below 7%
Pay rose by 1.7%, ahead of the March inflation rate of 1.6%, while there was a quarterly fall of 77,000 in the number of people out of workWage growth has finally started to outpace inflation after years of falling real earnings, and unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in five years, figures released on Wednesday show.In a boost to British households, pay including bonuses rose by 1.7% over the three months to February, just ahead of the March inflation rate of 1.6%, published by the ONS on Tuesday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:37:51 GMT)

Patients with end-stage liver disease caused by hepatitis C to get new drug
NHS will pay for about 500 people to receive Sofosbuvir, which could cure them, without waiting for guidance from Nice The NHS is to pay for around 500 people with end-stage liver disease caused by hepatitis C to receive a new drug which could cure them, without waiting for guidance from the advisory body, Nice.The new drug, Sofosbuvir, has been shown to cure 90% of people with hepatitis C infection and is causing great excitement in the medical world. But the price tag is very high, at £34,983 for a 12-week course, per patient. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:56:21 GMT)

Greece's Golden Dawn party describes Hitler as 'great personality'
Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros cements party's credentials as neo-Nazi force in interview with Australian current affairs showCementing its credentials as an unapologetic neo-Nazi force, Greece's increasingly combative Golden Dawn party has hailed Hitler as a "great personality" and denounced homosexuality as a "sickness".In a rare interview with a foreign media outlet before May's European elections, the Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros told the Australian current affairs show 60 Minutes the group was involved in an "extremely ugly [war]" and that "in every period of time, there must be, there are, some people who are doing the dirty work". Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:05:09 GMT)

April Casburn, first person convicted in Operation Elveden, loses pension battle
Former DCI jailed for offering to sell information about phone-hacking investigation will have police pension cut by 40%A senior counter-terrorism officer jailed for offering to sell information about the phone-hacking investigation to the now defunct News of the World has lost a legal battle to keep her full police pension.Former DCI April Casburn, 54, who was the first person to be convicted in Operation Elveden, the inquiry into payments by journalists to officials, will have her pension pot slashed by £140,000 40% after a judge said she was still "likely to be better off than many others". Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:57:41 GMT)

Another member of Gandhi dynasty weighs into bitter Indian election battle
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, seen as more charismatic than brother Rahul, gives speech calling for power 'in the hands of the people'Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the youngest adult member of south Asia's most powerful political dynasty, weighed into India's increasingly bitter election campaign on Wednesday with a speech in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.Gandhi Vadra, 42, is the sister of Rahul Gandhi, the public face of the incumbent Congress party's bid to retain power for a third term, and the daughter of Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party's president. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:01:31 GMT)

Fertility mystery solved: protein discovered that joins sperm with eggs
British scientists' identification of Juno molecule opens door to new developments in fertility treatment and contraceptionA fundamental key to fertility has been uncovered by British scientists with the discovery of an elusive protein that allows eggs and sperm to join together.The molecule named Juno after the Roman goddess of fertility sits on the egg surface and binds with a male partner on a fertilising sperm cell. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:02:13 GMT)

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale gallops past Barcelona to land Copa del Rey
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid Bartra 68; Di María 11, Bale 85 Read Paul Doyle's minute-by-minute report Click here for the best images from the gameThe Cardiff Express set off at 23.12 and came back with the Copa del Rey. Gareth Bale has his first trophy as a Real Madrid player after a sprint that started just inside his own half ended with the ball in the back of the Barcelona net. There were just five minutes to go in the final, and there was still time for Neymar to strike the Madrid post, but it turned out to be the winner. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:45:02 GMT)

Manchester City's Samir Nasri can only rescue point against Sunderland
This was a shock result that will hardly be believed on Merseyside and in west London. Manchester City's title challenge is in tatters, while Chelsea's have been handed a massive fillip to make their meeting with Liverpool at Anfield a week on Sunday a potential championship showdown.By dropping two points, City have put Chelsea's destiny back in their hands. Before this game only Liverpool had that advantage. Liverpool and Chelsea now know that if they win all four remaining matches the Premier League title is claimed.City's hopes appear blown after two second-half Connor Wickham goals, with Samir Nasri's late equaliser not enough. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:10:22 GMT)

Crystal Palace's Cameron Jerome seals win to deny Everton fourth place
A victory created in south London, cherished in north London. Crystal Palace shattered Everton's seven-game winning streak, their run of nine straight victories at Goodison Park and possibly their Champions League hopes with a clinical away performance to ensure Premier League football stays at Selhurst Park next season. Tony Pulis's act of escapology is complete. Arsène Wenger can sense a reprieve of his own.Arsenal remain in fourth place and, crucially, are back in control of their Champions League destiny after Everton "played with a bit of fear" according to their manager, Roberto Martínez, and were duly picked off. The visiting wingers, Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie, inspired Palace to a fourth successive league victory and the magical 40-point barrier. How elusive that must have seemed to Pulis when he took his seat before the Hull City game on 23 November with Palace languishing on four points from 11 games. How thankful Palace must be to Sir Alex Ferguson and Peter Coates, the Stoke City chairman, for convincing Pulis to bury his doubts and accept the job. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:55:54 GMT)

Secrets and strides the singular experience of a North Korean marathon
Allowing entrants from outside North Korea for the first time, the Pyongyang marathon offered a truly unique opportunity The best pictures from the eventLondon was not the only city to host a marathon last Sunday and, it can be argued, neither was it the most interesting, despite the presence of the Olympic hero Mo Farah over the full distance for the first time. In North Korea, 800 professional and amateur runners were lining up inside the Kim Il-sung Stadium ahead of Pyongyang's 27th annual marathon. Open to overseas recreational runners for the first time as part of a wider initiative to boost tourism, this was a historical moment for the world's most secretive nation.For me this was an ideal opportunity. I've always wanted to see North Korea but did not much fancy being part of a heavily restricted group tour, as is the case with visitors to the country. Here was a chance to gain relatively free access and burn a few calories while I was at it. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:54:58 GMT)

Luke Shaw set to make decision on Southampton future before World Cup
Full-back a target for Manchester United, City and Chelsea Southampton player likely to command fee in region of £30mLuke Shaw's future should be decided before the World Cup with the Southampton left-back interesting Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea plus a host of elite clubs on the continent including Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.The 18-year-old, who is tipped to be in Roy Hodgson's England squad for Brazil this summer, would consider a move abroad though a transfer to another Premier League club is currently Shaw's favoured option. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:35:01 GMT)

Manchester City's season promised so much but could end in a whimper
Manuel Pellegrini remained upbeat after Manchester City's loss at Anfield but even he must realise that such a promising season is all but over after tepid draw with SunderlandA lot of things can and will happen between now and the end of the season, Manuel Pellegrini promised, adapting one of Sir Alex Ferguson's favourite lines about twists and turns in a permanently unpredictable business.He was talking about Manchester City, of course. Before this result the rest of Sunderland's season looked all too predictable, and if Gus Poyet can twist and turn his way out of this situation it might be an idea to check whether the travelling circus camped on the Etihad car park is in need of a new Houdini act. What no one envisaged was City losing their confidence and invention to end the season with a whimper rather than a bang, yet on the evidence of this tepid performance that seems likely to come about. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:28:07 GMT)

Kevin Pietersen ruled out of IPL opener for Delhi Daredevils with injury
Pietersen sustained injury during fielding drills at Surrey He was meant to captain Delhi against Bangalore on ThursdayThe new chapter in Kevin Pietersen's post-England career has been delayed after he was ruled out of the Delhi Daredevils' opening Indian Premier League match on Thursday because of a finger injury.Pietersen was meant to captain Delhi against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah having signed a £880,000 contract with the franchise in February. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:16:09 GMT)

Ralph Krueger: I've 52 stitches in my face. Believe me, I can be ruthless
In his first interview as Southampton chairman, Krueger talks about his ice hockey career, his best-selling book and how he is going to make Mauricio Pochettino stay at the clubRalph Krueger begins with an admission. And something approaching an apology. "This whole year was supposed to be a year off," the recently appointed Southampton chairman says. "But then I said to my wife: 'Oh, there's just this little thing with Team Canada. And now this.'"It is Glenda that you have to feel for. "She probably hopes, especially when you get into the 50s, that we're going to slow down," Krueger adds. But this 54-year-old was never going to slow down. After 29 years of marriage, Glenda knows it and, during an afternoon in his company, it is clear that comfort zones and easy options are not a part of his make-up. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:08:39 GMT)

Frankie Dettori looks to 1,000 Guineas after Sandiva's Nell Gwyn win
Richard Fahey's filly can end Italian's classic drought Godolphin have proper Derby prospect in True StoryIt still jars just a little to see Frankie Dettori mid-air in his trademark celebration wearing something other than Godolphin blue, above all at a track as traditional and memory-laden as the Rowley Mile at Newmarket. Yet it could soon seem commonplace thanks to Dettori's new role as first jockey to Al Shaqab Racing, one of the rising forces in international Flat racing, and he made an ideal start to his first full season in the job when Sandiva took the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes here.Sandiva, from Richard Fahey's stable in Yorkshire, was the best in the 15-strong field on last year's form but had a tricky draw towards the middle of the track to overcome, in addition to several promising runners from some of Newmarket's most powerful yards. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:13:29 GMT)

Jonas Blixt sets sights on making Ryder Cup team after Masters success
Blixt eager to prove to European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley that he deserves a place at Gleneagles in SeptemberPaul McGinley is an excellent television analyst and in the early months of his Ryder Cup captaincy, has demonstrated an attention to detail which bodes extremely well for Europe's meeting with the United States in September. But he found himself in a tricky position at Augusta National on Sunday evening.When asked live on air about Jonas Blixt, who had just recorded a second impressive major finish in succession, McGinley had to be careful. He couldn't reasonably dismiss the Swede's chances of a Ryder Cup place and he couldn't guarantee him one, either. Instead, the 47-year-old rightly offered effusive praise towards Blixt, including the slight contradiction that he is "maybe nailed-on" for a spot in Europe's team. The subtle message to Blixt was clear; keep on doing what you are on golf's biggest stages and you will be impossible to ignore. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:26:57 GMT)

Amir Khan signs deal with Floyd Mayweather's promoter Al Haymon
Khan becomes latest big name to join Haymon camp Should put him in line for showdown with MayweatherAmir Khan has signed with Al Haymon, which should propel him to the front of the queue for a shot at Floyd Mayweather next year.Haymon and Mayweather who defends his world welterweight title against Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas on 3 May have made several significant signings lately, notably the Canadian knockout artist Adonis Stevenson. They also look after Adrien Broner and Danny Garcia, potential Mayweather opponents. Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:38:30 GMT)

Nicolas Anelka's move to Atlético Mineiro off after striker fails to arrive
Anelka on a 'religious trip' in Kuwait instead 'He had an obligation to let us know ... the deal is off'Atlético Mineiro have pulled out of a deal to sign the former West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka as the striker took too long to report to the Brazilian club. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:04:05 GMT)

Liverpool hopeful Daniel Sturridge will be fit for Norwich match
Striker a doubt for Sunday's match with hamstring injury Sturridge substituted during Manchester City winDaniel Sturridge has a chance of playing in Liverpool's visit to Norwich City on Sunday after scans revealed he suffered a small hamstring strain against Manchester City.The Liverpool striker was withdrawn in the 66th minute of Sunday's 3-2 win over City, a result that has left Brendan Rodgers' team four wins away from the Premier League title, having fallen awkwardly under a challenge from Pablo Zabaleta. Sturridge has received treatment at the club's Melwood training ground this week and Liverpool will give the England international every opportunity to prove his fitness for the trip to Carrow Road. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:13:05 GMT)

Fulham's Damien Duff to seek move abroad in bid to escape 'rat race'
Fulham winger to leave Craven Cottage this summer Wants to 'taste something new' before returning to IrelandDamien Duff will end his five-year association with Fulham this summer, with the winger contemplating a move to Australia or the United States in a bid to escape the "rat race", before returning home to Ireland.After spells with Blackburn, Chelsea and Newcastle, the 35-year-old moved to Craven Cottage in August 2009 and that season helped the club to the Europa League final. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:18:12 GMT)

Fan apologises for hitting England forward Sam Burgess with a stick
England forward hit after 18-2 South Sydney win over Penrith 'Fan has unreservedly apologised for any harm to the NRL'A fan has apologised to England forward Sam Burgess for attacking him with a stick.Julie Burgess, mother of the former Bradford prop, complained after her 25-year-old son was hit over the head as he left the field after helping his team, South Sydney, to an 18-2 win over Penrith Panthers. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:40:28 GMT)

Sport picture of the day: Borussia Dortmund confetti
The Yellow Wall, as the south stand of the Signal Iduna Park has been nicknamed, excelled itself before the DFB Pokal match against Wolfsburg. After a rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in memory of the Hillsborough disaster, fans threw yellow confetti on to the pitch as the players entered the stadium. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:08:00 GMT)

The shirt on your back: the human cost of the Bangladeshi garment industry
How did the clothes you're wearing get to you? Guardian journalists trace the lifecycle of the shirt on your back via the teeming workshops of Dhaka, where labour is cheap, factories are cheaper and just going to work can be fatalDid the Rana Plaza collapse change your buying habits?Guardian App users click here Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:16:00 GMT)

Five perfect books for men who never read
Just under a third of the male population don't read books, says a Reading Agency survey. Here are five man-friendly page-turners they might enjoy anywayNearly 30% of men have not read a book since school, according to a survey commissioned for World Book Night, an annual event that hopes to change their ways. The reasons men don't read are varied, but "not really wanting to" seems to be the main one. However, if you are a man or know one who might agree to try just one book for the hell of it, these are my guaranteed-no-regrets recommendations. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:28:34 GMT)

Illegal raves: social media messages bring in a new generation of partygoers
Thought illegal raves went out with stonewashed jeans and acid smileys? Wrong. Warehouse parties are back with fewer flyers, more Facebook updates and some very special party balloonsIt's after midnight in a repossessed college building in east London. Hundreds of ravers in their early 20s shuffle in front of a wall of speakers, cutting shapes to heavy drum 'n' bass as an MC raps. Upstairs, a queue snakes away from a small table, where a man is selling balloons for a pound. A girl buys one and bounces back to the dancefloor, sucking on its nitrous oxide laughing gas before passing it to her friend. For the next 36 hours, the narrow road outside is clogged with vans, cars and taxis arriving and departing. About 1,000-1,500 people come and go until a pipe is broken, the floor floods, and the Valentine's Squatters Fancy-Dress Ball comes to an abrupt end.Yes, illegal raves those secret warehouse parties so synonymous with baggy jeans and luminous whistles are back. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:35:03 GMT)

India's third gender claims its place in law
The history of the hijra community's stretches back to antiquity. But now, with a new supreme court ruling, India's third gender has finally achieved full legal recognitionWith their glittering saris, bright makeup and a reputation for bawdy song and dance, hijras, India's transgender minority, are hard to miss. But this week, after years of discrimination, the community has finally been granted legal visibility.On Tuesday the supreme court of India ruled that transgender people would be recognised on official documents under a seperate "third gender" category. The change follows similar legislation in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This means that now, for the first time, there are quotas of government jobs and college places for hijras. The decision has been cheered by activists, who say that, despite its distinguished history, the community too often faces violence and harassment. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:37:00 GMT)

The BBC: there to inform, educate, provoke and enrage?
The BBC has never seemed more under attack. But what provokes such passion? In the second of a series of essays on the corporation's past, present and future, Charlotte Higgins asks why the critics seem to come from within as often as from outsidePart one: What can the origins of the BBC tell us about its future?The BBC is like the Greeks Hydra: vast and many headed. The same organisation that made Sherlock frittered away £100m on a failed IT initiative; it runs five orchestras, the Today programme and the World Service; it inexplicably buys and then sells for a much smaller sum the Lonely Planet guides. While Kenneth Clark was pacing the streets of Italian hill towns, filming Civilisation for BBC2, Jimmy Savile was presenting Top of the Pops on BBC1, and Stuart Hall was informing, entertaining and abusing in the north of England. Whatever qualities it has, it often seems to embody the opposite, too. For most of us, there are parts of the BBC we couldnt live without, much of it that we enjoy, vast acreages that we take for granted, and characteristics that we find irritating, infuriating or even loathsome.Some of the most outspoken critiques of the BBC come from within it. One cold sunny morning I visited Jeremy Paxman in his flat in west London. As he padded around filling the cafetière, he railed against the BBCs closed corporate culture. He said: It is smug. I love the BBC in many ways, but at the same time it has made me loathe aspects of it, and thats a very odd state of affairs. When I see people being given £1m merely for walking out of the door, when I see £100m being blown on that DMI [digital media initiative] thing, a stupid technical initiative like that, I start wondering: how much longer are we going to test the publics patience? Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:00:50 GMT)

Why thousands of people are going to get high in Hyde Park
This Sunday is '420 Day', an organised protest in favour of cannabis legalisation, when users and campaigners are expected to turn up at the London park in huge numbers for a picnic and a puff on a jointOn Easter Sunday, thousands of cannabis smokers will descend on Hyde Park in London for a smoke in celebration of "420 Day".Now held annually on 20 April, 420 Day began life as an American pro-cannabis movement, but in recent years has become a de facto "world pot-smoking day". Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:00:20 GMT)

How to make the perfect coffee and walnut cake
More homely than sophisticated and dainty, this cake could keep you up all night and leave you running back and forth to the fridge for multiple midnight snacksThere are two types of cake in the world: the rich, sophisticated gateaux best eaten in delicate slivers after dinner; and the homely, comforting kind that, if push came to shove, most of us really prefer. The latter are the sort of cakes your granny might have made (if she lived in Ambridge), the ones sold on paper plates wrapped messily in clingfilm at the village fete; in short, the cakes you imagine the sainted Mary Berry probably eats for breakfast.As you may have guessed, I'm a big fan of this humbler, homelier kind of cake. The feather-light Victoria sponge, the nutty carrot and the sticky fruit cake all have a special place in my heart, but after much soul searching I've come down in favour of the coffee and walnut. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:15:09 GMT)

Coldplay's Magic: exclusive behind-the-scenes video
How did Chris Martin levitate? Where did Ziyi Zhang learn to throw knives like that? Go behind the scenes with Coldplay in this exclusive video by Pete Ohs Coldplay announces new album Ghost Stories Coldplay's Magic: watch Chris Martin levitate and fall in loveFreddie Mercury dons a cape for Queen's It's a Kind of Magic, Ric Ocasek of the Cars walks on water during Magic, and then there's Mark Owen's sublime chest cramped into a women's vest top on Take That's Could It Be Magic As pop and rock history proves, there are many ways to play with magic in music.For Coldplay's video for new single Magic, Grammy-winning Jonas Åkerlund has created a world that centres around a travelling circus, the Masters of Marvel, set in the 1920s and starring Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's Ziyi Zhang as Cecile, a beautiful young magician. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin plays both the part of Christophe, a magician's doting assistant and also Claude, Cecile's brutish husband. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:00:08 GMT)

Mad Men recap: season seven, episode one Time Zones
What's new? Miniskirts, crochet hats, and unorthodox sexual arrangements. The 70s have dawned on Madison AvenueSpoiler alert: This blog is for those who are watching season seven of Mad Men. Don't read on if you haven't seen episode one. A (very) quick beginner's guide to Mad Men Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:00:00 GMT)

Five ways Mean Girls could have been a very different film
A decade after its release, the director has revealed some of the plot twists, casting shockers and zingers that never made itIt's a decade since Mean Girls, the film that explored the Machiavellian inner workings of "girl world" and spawned a mini-universe of quotes, gifs and internet-worship, was released. As if to celebrate, director Mark Waters and Daniel Franzese (who played Damian) have been giving interviews revealing some of the secrets behind the making of the movie. Here's what we've learned: Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:50:34 GMT)

Whose city is it anyway? The harsh truth about urbanisation
The catastrophic failure to manage the growth of cities in many low and middle-income countries will haunt usWe have, it seems, no difficulty in dealing with the idea of cities, historically or in day-to-day life across the world. Cities are often iconic and in many ways define national identity. On the whole, we like them.We have much more difficulty coming to terms with urbanisation the process by which cities grow and change. China has just announced its very first "urbanisation policy", while India is aggressively pursuing the idea of "smart cities". Neither takes full account of the reality faced by the overwhelming majority of citizens caught in this turmoil of urban growth. As a result, such grand strategies risk perpetuating the social exclusion, inequity and precariousness of urban life. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:13:53 GMT)

Forget career advisors - apparently it's TV shows that influence your choice of job
According to a new survey, half of all doctors claim they were inspired to do their job by watching Casualty. If that's the case, why aren't I a burglar, says Stuart Heritage Here's an interesting fact: 50% of all doctors chose their career after watching an episode of Casualty. That's weird for two reasons first, it suggests that we're much more influenced by what we watch on TV than we make out, and second, who the hell watches Casualty and then decides to become a doctor?Surely, if Casualty made you want to start any new career, it would be in the health and safety area. Almost every single injury those poor medical professionals have to deal with come from faulty ladders or improperly moored steering columns. If Casualty is about anything, it's the importance of diligence when it comes to the manufacturing and usage of everyday household objects. Everyone knows that. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:20:00 GMT)

Battle weary: German troops rest outside Paris in 1914 and now interactive
In the third of a new weekly series of interactive photographs to mark the first world war centenary, battle-weary German soldiers rest on the steps of Varreddes town hall during their attempt to take Paris in the opening months of the conflict. The action became known as the first battle of the Marne Photography then and now lets you move through time by tapping or clicking on the historic image to reveal the modern view. You can drag or swipe to control the speed of the transformation Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:42:25 GMT)

Top 10 eco homes: Lammas
With the help of a panel of experts we've chosen 10 candidates for the UK's best eco home. Between 22-24 April, we'd like you to vote and choose your favourite. Day seven: LammasLammas ecovillage is a thriving example of low-impact rural development. "It is decidedly deep green," says Simon McWhirter, the director of Happiness Architecture Beauty. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:05:16 GMT)

Core work: a runner's guide
All runners well, all exercisers, really know they should do core work. But if you are anything like me, without some guidance you'll run out of ideas after the plank and some crunches. So here are some core exercises for home and/or gym to throw into your routineWhen you run, though your legs may be doing the lion's share of the work, your upper body is constantly rotating. Your abdominals and obliques should be activated, providing balance and support. And of course your intercostal muscles are working away as you breathe more and more heavily, so these muscles need to be strong. If they aren't, you are more likely to overcompensate elsewhere and perhaps cause an injury or pain. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:00:00 GMT)

What fashion awaits older women on the British high street?
I took a shopping trip to see what the shops currently have to offer and find out how 'invisible' older women really areRemember how I said I'd go shopping? Well, I've been to Canary Wharf on a Saturday morning, which sounds like utter madness, but at weekends the Wharf is a surprisingly calm place because the people who work there aren't there, and given they're mostly bankers that can only be a good thing. At size 14, I'm a UK average, good for the purpose of this exercise. I set myself the task of looking for a dress that would work for an "afternoon into evening" event and I went to stores with similar pricing for a fair comparison. The news is both good and bad. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:00:00 GMT)

Primary school places: how to challenge a decision
If you are one of the thousands of parents whose children have not been allocated a place, here is what you can do about itThe parents of thousands of children will learn on Wednesday that they have not been allocated their first choice of primary school. If you are one of them, it is possible to challenge the decision. Here is what you can do: Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:55:21 GMT)

Behind the joke: Rubberbandits, Tony Law and Marc Lucero on their comedy
Three acts on where they got the inspiration for their jokes about a dad's best friend, emailing cheese and elephants with accentsReading on mobile? Watch Rubberbandits here Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:42:00 GMT)

Windows Phone review 8.1 advances, but needs to close 'app gap'
In a bid to catch up with the iPhone and Android, Microsoft has added features that closely resemble what you'll find on its rivalsFor years now, Microsoft has been playing catch-up in the smartphone race as Apple's iPhone and Google's Android have raced ahead. But the new 8.1 version of its Windows Phone software which will ship on new models in May, and be rolled out to existing phones that can get it over the next few months addresses many of the shortcomings in previous versions.Previously, voice search lacked the natural language interactions of Apple's Siri and Google Now. The updated Windows Phone system has Cortana, which combines Siri's personality with Google Now's knack for anticipating what you need before you even ask. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:30:09 GMT)

10 of the best: Scandinavian disco
With Todd Terje's album setting danceniks' trousers alight, we cast our beady eye over the best Scandi danceMany Scandinavian disco tracks employ a classic trope of their 70s forebears: the bass line that hops between the same note two octaves apart, a swinging metronome over which funk is draped. And none do so with quite as much enthusiasm as this, which dials up the speed of the bass line until it's almost ska paced. It lays the groundwork for an energetic, rather naive melody that becomes increasingly frantic as it bounces around, only to find comfort again in the final refrain this puppyish charm has made it the scene's biggest hit. Terje repeated the trick to only slightly less brilliant effect on the singles Strandbar, Lanzarote and Spiral, and his just-released debut LP, It's Album Time, is also full of zany energy. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:41:56 GMT)

Real Madrid v Barcelona: Copa del Rey final live!
Gareth Bale scored a sensational late winning goal to increase Barcelona's misery Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:22:13 GMT)

Manchester City v Sunderland and Everton v Crystal Palace as it happened
Manchester City suffered a blow in the title race after drawing with Sunderland, while Everton lost at home to Crystal Palace Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:50:25 GMT)

China's air pollution leading to more erratic climate for US, say scientists
Computer modelling showed intensification of US-bound Pacific storms, driven by fine aerosols from coal power plants and traffic Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:41:38 GMT)

Oscar Pistorius's expert witness for defence accused of irresponsibility
Roger Dixon, who worked at a police forensics lab in Pretoria for 18 years, refers to himself as 'a layman' on the stand Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:12:29 GMT)

Fashion-conscious men warned we may have reached 'peak beard'
Attractiveness of facial hair declines the more men adopt it and vice versa, study findsFear not the hipster beard for it too shall passWhat every man should know about fashion in 2014 Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:54:55 GMT)

Liverpool's Premier League title bid is all about romance not numbers
Having not played in the Champions League this season should not be a factor in assessing Liverpool's admirable achievements Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:09:46 GMT)

Perhaps it doesn't matter if the Daily Mirror's weeping child is a lie
The Mirror's front page picture illustrating a food banks story in Britain is of a child in San Francisco. But all photographs have a problem with authenticity Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:05:15 GMT)

Fear not the hipster beard for it too shall pass
All you guys who think growing a beard will magically turn you into a hunk of burning love, think again Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:44:00 GMT)

Victoria Beckham at 40: our writers pick her five best fashion moments in pictures
Victoria Beckham turns 40 on Thursday. From designer to airport style icon to masterful wearer of luxe coats, we celebrate her best looks and designs Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:59:27 GMT)

Scottish referendum: the UK is on shifting sands we can't assume survival
A yes vote is becoming a real possibility but we are woefully unprepared to deal with the psychological impact of Scotland rejecting the unionIn Edinburgh last month I went to the theatre. The play was sprawling, crude and, in my opinion, not very good. Yet when the curtain fell at the end much of the audience jumped to their feet and whooped, whistled and cheered as though they had just witnessed a coruscating rendering of a work of genius which this play, though interesting, assuredly was not.This is only a guess, because I did not ask the whoopers and the whistlers why their reaction was so much more enthusiastic than mine. But I am reasonably confident it was down to the topicality of Tim Barrow's play rather than its stage attributes. Titled simply Union, it depicts a few real and a lot of imaginary events surrounding the passing of the Act of Union between Scotland and England in 1707. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:15:02 GMT)

Britain may have a sexist culture but at least it's British sexism, eh?
Daring to critique Britain saw UN special rapporteur Rashida Manjoo buried under a deluge of ageism, racism and misogynyHow easy it is to dismiss violence against women, with the smallest of arsenals. On Tuesday Rashida Manjoo, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women, released a preliminary report based on her 16-day visit to Britain. It makes grim reading if you get that far, which most won't: her observations were swiftly buried under a mighty triptych of ageism, racism and misogyny. She could, on reflection, pen an appendix about herself, with particular emphasis on intersectionality; if she does not, here is mine.Manjoo's error was hyperbole, which is apparently forgivable in a commentator native to Britain and indeed governs entire swaths of our media and ruling class but is seemingly offensive in a stranger, for we British do practise a kind of cracked and counter-intuitive national pride. The statistics on domestic violence, for instance, or the disproportionate impact of austerity on women, or the peculiar predicament of women from ethnic minorities are not a matter for national shame and urgent attention until a female foreigner of a certain age points them out. Then we must get busy saying well, at least we aren't as bad as South Africa, Manjoo's native land, or and here we really clutch at the flimsiest of straws Saudi Arabia. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:56:45 GMT)

Ed Miliband will fail if he gives in to the sirens of austerity
Hollande's rout in the French local elections shows the price to be paid if Labour embraces cuts and corporate powerThe Tory press are crowing that George Osborne is as good as home and dry. Now that wages have outstripped inflation for the first time in four years, the Sun claims Ed Miliband has "got nothing left to say". In fact, real wages are still falling, if you take out bonuses or include housing costs, following the longest drop in living standards since the 1870s.Add to that the growing army of self-employed and part-time workers who want to work full-time for someone else, a zero-hours labour market slashing pay and security, and benefit cuts and sanctions that have driven over a million people to Britain's foodbanks and the idea that the chancellor is delivering the warm glow of recovery for the majority is just bizarre. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:00:02 GMT)

Caroline Lucas deserves a medal, not a criminal record, for opposing fracking
The Green MP is Britain's leading voice of reason on climate change, yet a stand against shale gas has put her in courtThis week a court in Brighton will deliver its verdict on the Green party MP Caroline Lucas who is being prosecuted for causing an obstruction outside the Balcombe gas fracking site. The possibility that one of the most sensible politicians in parliament could receive a criminal record, rather than the medal she deserves, for standing up against greedy energy bosses tells us everything we need to know about the topsy-turvy state of British politics on the environment.In fact the past few weeks have been an object lesson in why Britain desperately needs more politicians like Lucas that is, if we are to emerge from this recession with a chance of improving ordinary people's living standards rather than being locked into an outdated fossil-fuel economy and a desperate struggle to cope with increasingly dangerous climate change. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:57:42 GMT)

Found in translation ... when misquoting someone is the best way to be fair and accurate
If a non-English speaker feels like a 'donkey out of water', it's right to change their words to help them get their point across clearly"I want to take physical exercise with the guitar" this phrase is what, my uncle informed me through much mirth, I was saying when I was fighting over said instrument (well, a toy version of it) with my cousin in India one childhood summer.The confusion, and subsequent hilarity, was the result of my English-first speaking brain, translating the wordplay into a context that has no existence in Bengali. Play as in "I will play a game" (khelbo) simply cannot be used in the way we say "I will play the xylophone" (bajabo), and certainly not any others: "I will play a part" (hobo) in a, well, play (natok). Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:00:00 GMT)

Tesco: the supermarket where the squeezed middle don't want to be
Undercut by Aldi and Lidl and outdone by Waitrose, Tesco's fall in profits shows how it has struggled to adapt to modern BritainTesco, king of the high street, emperor of out-of-town retail, is ailing. The business, which for decades hoovered up humbler retailers, is being devoured itself from the outside in. Cut-price stores, frill-free and nimble, have eaten up its profit margins and driven its market share to a 10-year low. Misjudged expansion of floor space to sell flat-screen TVs and computers, just as that kind of business migrated on to the web, have made things worse. Worse still have been its flagging attempts to get a foothold in the US, Europe and Asia. The Tescopolis years seem to be fading.Not that it's time for dancing on its grave. Trading profits are down by 6% but the stores still make £3.3bn before tax. Millions and millions of shoppers still spend billions of pounds at its hundreds of stores. It's just that they are spending a bit less about 3% less than last year, which was itself down on the year before. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:23:26 GMT)

Did the Rana Plaza factory disaster change your fashion buying habits?
More than 1,134 people died making clothes sold in western high street stores last April. Did the Rana Plaza disaster change your shopping habits? If not, why not? And what can we do?Interactive: the human cost of the Bangladeshi garment industryVictims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse died making clothes sold in western high street stores. 28 brands have been linked to the factory complex including Primark, Matalan, Benetton, Bonmarché, El Corte Inglés, and Mango. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:00:38 GMT)

Rising activist deaths are a symptom of our global environmental crisis
It has never been more important to protect the environment but it has never been more deadlyThis week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed what 99.9% of those who work on environmental issues already knew: we need to change something pretty drastic if we want to avoid a rise in temperature of less than 2C.The message is finally becoming clear: protecting the environment is not only about polar bears and pandas, it's about people and it is the poorest and most vulnerable who are hit first, most and worst. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:00:07 GMT)

Obama's job-training unicorn: it's time for some new ideas already
Seven years after the crash, corporate and political leaders haven't made much of a dent in unemployment. Maybe they're listening to the wrong people"I promise you there's not a job out there that will pay you a lot without some kind of training," President Obama said to a group of students and workers at a Pittsburgh community college Wednesday afternoon.Yet many American companies are not training new workers or re-training existing ones, and Congress isn't even close to passing any major jobs-related legislation and hasn't since 2011. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:39:21 GMT)

Does smoking weed make you a better parent?
Calling all parents: as marijuana laws relax across the US, we want to know how you're navigating the new terrain of legal pot in your own homeOver the past decade, Americans have reevaluated their relationship with marijuana. No longer is pot painted as the shadowy "gateway drug" of the 80s and 90s it's finding popular support across the country. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and many more have decriminalized possession or allowed for medical use. But while laws are changing, social norms are still very much up for debate.A discussion on Reddit's parenting section last month exposed some of the new ambiguities around using marijuana at home, even when it's legal. A Redditor from Washington state turned to the "pot smoking parents in this community" to ask what's acceptable:It's been a topic of discussion here in Washington and [opinions are] split pretty evenly down the middle. ... Anyone smoke weed and think it makes them a better parent? Same parent? Anyone think you absolutely cannot touch any substance and be a good parent? Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:48:31 GMT)

Why banning the Sun on university campuses is wrong
Policy at many students' unions has been hijacked by a vocal minority in what can look like action at the cost of democracyJust before Christmas my students' union removed from sale the national newspaper with the second largest circulation in the country. Suprisingly, this was a decision that was taken with relatively little opposition. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:55:26 GMT)

Have your parents ever embarrassed you on Facebook?
Many people have been left with red faces after parents posted photos of them online, says a new survey. Let us know what internet horrors your mum and dad have subjected you toParents and social media don't mix. A survey reported in the Times found that 25% of those polled had been embarrassed by photographs of them that their parents had posted online. Only slightly fewer, 21%, reported being embarrassed by parents' photos of themselves.Interestingly, mothers are more au fait with internet culture than fathers, which might explain the post by one mother on her son's Facebook wall that read: "I wanted to let you know he is no longer on Facebook due to choices he made today. He posted personal information about someone I thought he should know how it feels when the tables are turned. He wet the bed until he was eight." Ouch. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:15:56 GMT)

Education's culture of overwork is turning children and teachers into ghosts
If schools slowed down and focused on a deeper kind of flourishing, they might be more productive (if not very Goveian)Do you know a ghost child? Are you possibly raising one? A report this week by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) pinpoints a worrying new phenomenon the institutionalised infant, a whey-faced creature, stuck in school for 10 hours a day, the child of commuting parents possibly, wandering from playground to desk to after-school club without real purpose, nodding off through boredom and fatigue.The sad thing is, as yet another timely ATL report brings home, the ghost child is increasingly likely to be taught by the ghost adult a teacher grey with fatigue and stress, stuck at school for 10 hours or more a day, wandering from duty to duty in playground, classroom or after-school club. Both, it seems, are part of a culture that increasingly overworks our citizens, from a younger and younger age, in the often fruitless quest for job security and social mobility. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:10:00 GMT)

I won't be buying Easter eggs for my children this year
Karen Luckhurst is in the middle of a self-imposed 60-day ban on plastic wrapping."This year, we'll be having homemade chocolates for Easter."No doubt there are some households where this statement would be greeted with clasped hands and shining eyes. But in mine it prompts a longsuffering groan that rattles the windows and startles the cat. The reason for such antipathy is that we are in the middle of a self-imposed 60-day ban on plastic wrapping a move that has brought about the absence of shop-bought sweets, crisps, biscuits and now Easter as we know it. For when it comes to superfluous plastic packaging, Easter eggs take the proverbial chocolate fondant filling. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:27:08 GMT)

Bank of England unlikely to rush into an early interest rate rise
The unemployment data is still patchy and not quite as strong as it looks at first glanceEmployment up by more than 250,000 on the quarter. The unemployment rate below 7% and at its lowest rate in five years. Average earnings are picking up and finally outpacing prices. With the labour market as strong as that, surely an increase in interest rates must be coming?That's certainly what the City thinks. Sterling rose after the unemployment figures were released and dealers have advanced the date at which they expect the Bank of England to push up the cost of borrowing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:38:09 GMT)

Hilary Mantel says political debate has been replaced by abuse and bullying
Writer reveals campaign of hate she had to endure after a public lecture she gave on the commodification of royaltySerious political debate and activism seem to have been replaced by nasty abuse and bullying, the writer Hilary Mantel said as she revealed the hate campaign she endured after a public lecture she gave last year.Mantel's Royal Bodies lecture for the London Review of Books explored the commodification of royalty across centuries. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:18:24 GMT)

Michael Lewis: 'Wall Street has gone insane'
Flash Boys, an exposé of the murky world of 'rigged' high-frequency trading, has sold 130,000 copies in its first week and is already being turned into a film. Its author, Michael Lewis, explains why the story is so compelling and why our brightest minds make the most dangerous bankersOn a sliding scale of difficulty, writing a general-interest book about high-frequency trading is slightly harder than making baseball statistics interesting, but easier than animating the role played by quantitative analysis in the 2007 financial collapse. "Collateralised debt obligations," says Michael Lewis, who has written about all three, "are impossible to describe. There's nothing harder. However, trying to show a reader how a market moves? How stock prices move? You can already see them tuning out."That was the concern when he wrote Flash Boys, an investigation into what he calls the "rigged" underbelly of Wall Street trading. In the event, the book has sold a staggering 130,000 copies in the US in its first week of publication. (By comparison, The Big Short, his biggest seller to date, sold 60,000 in its first week.) Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:23:00 GMT)

Veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell to stand down, sparking battle for seat
Great Grimsby MP calls on Ed Miliband to 'mix with ordinary people more' as he announces he will quitThe veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell has called on Ed Miliband to "get out and mix with ordinary people more" as he announced he will stand down from his Great Grimsby seat at the next election.The 80-year-old MP said he was stepping aside "basically because of age" after 37 years representing the area. It comes after rumours that he was intending to step down to free up the seat for Melanie Onns, a former head of compliance at Labour party headquarters. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:48:50 GMT)

In praise of Brown Moses
Blogger Eliot Higgins charts the unreported news from parts of Syria where no journalist would sensibly visit"Wisdom reekin' outa me ..." sings Frank Zappa in his song Brown Moses. That may be why Eliot Higgins chose the name for his blog where he charts the unreported news from parts of Syria where conflict is so brutal no journalist or aid worker would sensibly visit. With a background in finance and administration and speaking no Arabic, Mr Higgins was already monitoring YouTube and Twitter for videos and stills of the internal war before he was made redundant last October. Now, backed by a crowdsourced fund, he works full time from his home in Nottingham analysing images. He has taught himself how chemical weapons are made, how to use Google Earth so that he can pinpoint the exact place footage was filmed, and how to identify shells and find out where they come from. His work, including a project with the New York Times on arms smuggling, is widely respected. He's pushed back the frontier of citizen journalism. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:30:19 GMT)

Kate, William and George welcomed to Sydney by beaming prime minister
The duchess dazzled in bright yellow, while the little prince wore a white romper suit decorated with blue sailing boats The royals arrive in Australia in picturesDressed in bright yellow and holding Prince George, Kate was the first to appear at the door of the Royal Australian Air Force jet carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the second leg of their Antipodean tour. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:24:46 GMT)

Sir Alex Ferguson to auction vintage wine collection valued at £3m
5,000 bottles to be auctioned in Hong Kong and London Ferguson collected wine to relieve the pressure of footballSir Alex Ferguson is to auction the extensive collection of vintage wines which he assembled during his career to "distract from the intensity and pressure" of managing Manchester United.The collection of about 5,000 bottles, along with signed memorabilia, will be sold at auctions starting in May, and has a pre-sale estimated value of £3m, according to Christie's. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:39:43 GMT)

Sheryl Sandberg 'does more than her fair share of childcare'
Husband of Facebook COO and author of Lean In reveals household chores are distributed between them 'more like 60/40'Her bestselling book urges every woman to make her partner "a real partner" by ensuring that household responsibilities are shared equally in the home. But even Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and author of Lean In, takes on the majority of the childcare and household management at home, her husband has revealed. Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:49:27 GMT)

Will Robert Hannigan revolutionise GCHQ?
The new chief of the British security agency is 'not a true securocrat,' says one former government adviser. Modest grounds for hope thenName: Robert Hannigan.Age: 49. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:53:41 GMT)

Pope Francis urged to back fossil fuel divestment campaign
Letter from religious groups in Australia and North America says it is 'immoral' to profit from fossil fuels Read the full text of the letter to the PopeReligious groups have urged Pope Francis to back a campaign to encourage millions of people, organisations and investors to pull their money out of the fossil fuel industry.Multi-faith groups in Australia and North America have sent a letter to the pope saying it is "immoral" to profit from fossil fuels. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:00:00 GMT)

Tony Gallagher appointed Daily Mail joint deputy editor
Former Daily Telegraph editor to rejoin the paper he left eight years ago and will share role with Jon SteafelTony Gallagher is returning to the Daily Mail as joint deputy editor. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:49:38 GMT)

AC/DC are not retiring, though Malcolm Young is 'taking a break'
Singer Brian Johnson says band will get together to 'pick up some guitars, have a plonk' next month as band issue statement about their future This story was updated at 6.30pm on 16 April AC/DC: five classic songsAfter two days of speculation about their future, AC/DC have stated that they will be continuing. However, band founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young is to take a break from the band, owing to ill health.A statement posted on their website said: "After 40 years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the groups diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:11:45 GMT)

Leonardo DiCaprio will make his return in The Revenant
The star is set to play a fur trapper in a period revenge thriller directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu More on Leonardo DiCaprioLeonardo DiCaprio will star as a fur trapper who is left for dead in the wilderness of early 19th century North America in the period revenge thriller The Revenant, directed by the Oscar nominee Alejandro González Iñárritu, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film will be DiCaprio's follow-up to the critically acclaimed but controversial Martin Scorsese black comedy The Wolf of Wall Street.The Revenant, based on Michael Punke's 2002 novel, The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge, has been a twinkle in Iñárritu's eye since 2011, but has been in development for more than a decade in total. It now has a screenplay by the director and Mark L Smith, the writer of Vacany and The Hole. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:35:00 GMT)

Paul Weller children win privacy damages over photos on Mail Online
Associated Newspapers pays £10,000 over seven pictures of teenage daughter and twins on Mail Online in 2012Three of singer Paul Weller's children have won £10,000 privacy damages after their faces were "plastered" over a newspaper website.Weller, 55, sued Associated Newspapers for misuse of private information on behalf of daughter Dylan, who was 16 when the seven unpixellated pictures appeared on Mail Online in October 2012, and twin sons John Paul and Bowie, who were 10 months old. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:38:00 GMT)

Football transfer rumours: Arsenal to sign Real Madrid's Casemiro?
Today's fluff is feeling the beatJoel! (Joel). Always the best guy in gooooooaal! You've got the power to know. You're indestructible! Always believe in believe in Joel (Joel!). So say Sevilla about Everton reserve keeper Joel Robles, who, try as he might, can't think of a way to wrestle the No1 shirt off Tim Howard. The Spanish club are prepared to stump up the £3m gold ones that Everton paid for the 23-year-old last summer.In news that concerns slightly more than a reserve goalkeeper, Arsenal are targeting Real Madrid's Casemiro. Arsène Wenger is said to have been monitoring the Brazilian midfielder for a few weeks, and appears to have been seduced by the fact that the 22-year-old apparently has a poor work ethic in training (gulp!) and was sold from São Paolo because ex-Arsenal flopper Denilson took his place (double gulp!). But remember, he is Brazilian. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:41:40 GMT)

Web comedy star Issa Rae: 'I think TV will become the internet's poor cousin'
Issa Rae started out making fun of herself online, and now she's got US TV sewn up. But the internet is still where it's at, she reckonsIssa Rae remembers when she first realised she was "awkward and black". "I had gone to New York after college to work at the public theatre and I was trying to break into the film industry," she says. "I had to go to all these networking events, but I'm terribly shy and I was just frustrated with the scene. I was writing in my journal and that's when it came to me; like, lightning struck: "This is what's wrong with you this is your issue!"She recognised an identity something she could sell as branded T-shirts, perhaps and put it on Facebook, where a friend commented on how those were "the worst two things anyone can be, and I remember laughing and being like, 'What?'" Rae pauses, before adding, sotto voce, "bitch?" and laughing again. "But it ended up working out, and we used that in the first episode." Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:00:00 GMT)

BB King blames high blood sugar and long drive for poor show
The 88-year-old artist has issued a statement apologising for an erratic concert in Missouri, requesting the understanding of his fansBB King has issued a statement apologising for an erratic concert in St Louis, Missouri, explaining that "the rigours of [a] very long drive" and "high blood sugar due to [a] medication error" resulted in "a bad night" at Peabody Opera House.King, who suffers from diabetes, apparently missed a dose of insulin on the day of the 4 April gig. He had also just come from a 24-hour, 1,600 mile ride from his home in Las Vegas - a road trip that followed a four-week break. The "combination" of these things, his management told the St Louis Post-Dispatch "resulted in a performance that did not match Mr King's usual standard of excellence ... [He] apologises and humbly asks for the understanding of his fans." Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:38:59 GMT)

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