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Fracking push gets go-ahead across UK as ministers tighten safeguards
Drilling will be allowed in national parks in 'exceptional circumstances' but ministers retain power to veto plansMinisters will give the go-ahead on Monday for a big expansion of fracking across Britain that will allow drilling in national parks and other protected areas in "exceptional circumstances".The government will invite firms to bid for onshore oil and gas licences for the first time in six years, with about half of the country advertised for exploration. Ministers are also clarifying the rules on when drilling can take place in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and world heritage sites, following calls by environmental campaigners for an outright ban on drilling in them. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:10:00 GMT)

Coalition has turned its back on scale of domestic violence, says Yvette Cooper
Senior Labour MP says more needs to be done about fact that two women a week are killed by their partners or ex-partnersThe shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, has accused the government of turning its back on the scale of domestic violence in the UK, saying there would be a national outcry if two people a week the number of women killed by their partners or ex-partners were murdered at football matches.The senior Labour MP will make a speech on Monday criticising the use of out-of-court settlements in thousands of cases involving domestic violence. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:57:42 GMT)

Gaza crisis: UN security council statement urges ceasefire
Statement agreed by all 15 council members increases pressure as fighting subsides on the eve of Eid holidayThe United Nations has called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Gaza as fighting between Hamas and Israel subsided overnight following a series of ceasefire announcements by both sides, each of which was rejected by the other amid mutual blame and recrimination.The UN security council issued a presidential statement just after midnight in New York, as the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, was beginning. The move will increase pressure on Israel and Hamas to agree a long-term truce to end the conflict, now in its 21st day. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:14:25 GMT)

MH17: Dutch and Australian police stranded due to fighting near crash site
Police and forensic teams forced to stop in Shakhtarsk, around 20 miles from the fields where the aircraft was downedDutch and Australian police have failed to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 for a second day as clashes rage in a town on the road to the area.The international delegation of police and forensic experts were forced to stop in Shakhtarsk, a town around 20 miles (30km) from the fields where the aircraft came down. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:41:00 GMT)

Top Gears Jeremy Clarkson deliberately used offensive racial term
Ofcom says BBC breached broadcasting rules when it allowed presenter to use word slope about Asian man in Burma special Jeremy Clarksons biggest Top Gear controversiesJeremy Clarkson deliberately used a pejorative racial term to refer to an Asian man on BBC2s Top Gear, causing offense without justification and breaching broadcasting rules.Media regulator Ofcom ruled on Monday that Clarksons comment, during a Top Gear Burma special broadcast in March, was offensive and in breach of generally accepted standards. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:04:11 GMT)

Libya: western countries urge citizens to leave as civil war intensifies
Britain, Germany, France and Netherlands issue warnings after gunmen fire on armoured vehicle evacuating UK diplomatsWestern countries urged their citizens to leave Libya yesterday, as the country descended further into civil war and British diplomats came under fire.As fighting raged across the country leaving 59 dead, Britain warned against travel to Libya, and told those already there to leave. "British nationals in Libya should leave now by commercial means," the Foreign Office said. Britain's embassy would remain open but with reduced staff. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:25:33 GMT)

IVF technique that tests embryos for genetic disorders has first success
UK doctors report first pregnancy from new procedure in couple who had high risk of passing on lethal disease to their childDoctors in London have reported the first pregnancy in Europe from a new IVF procedure that checks embryos for genetic disorders before they are implanted.The technique allows doctors to select embryos that are free of dangerous mutations carried by one or both parents even if the precise nature of the genetic defect is unknown. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:01:00 GMT)

Mannequin with protruding ribs removed from Primark
High street fashion store Primark forced to remove mannequin with protruding ribs from its store after receiving criticism for its unhealthy shapePrimark has sparked controversy after a customer tweeted a picture of a mannequin with protruding ribs and concave stomach in its window display in Braehead, Glasgow.The high street store was quick to respond and promised not to use the offending mannequin again, but not before the image had been retweeted thousands of times. @Melfyx We're currently changing our window displays. The mannequins you describe will not be used in this way again.How does #LaPerla think ribs on a mannequin is ok?! @SethMatlins pic.twitter.com/NPYMLQxhNcSize 16 mannequins for window display in UK store @Debenhams to reflect a natural body size , bravo ! pic.twitter.com/SzgYVKz6Hn Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:23:54 GMT)

Labour to allow cooperatives and mutuals to run railway franchises
Shadow transport team also to confirm manifesto pledge to give public sector and private operators same bidding rightsLabour will offer cooperatives and mutually-owned companies the chance to run Britain's rail services.Senior figures in Labour's transport team will suggest in Glasgow on Monday that employees and passengers could take a far greater role in running the railways, including bidding for specific franchises such as ScotRail. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:05:00 GMT)

Asteroid's 'bad timing' killed off dinosaurs, new evidence shows
Edinburgh University experts say asteroid hit Earth at a time when ecosystems had been weakened by a loss of biodiversityDinosaurs might have survived the catastrophic impact that ended their reign had the devastating asteroid that slammed into the Earth arrived at a "more convenient time", a scientist has claimed. As a result humans would probably not exist.The violent collision 66m years ago, which occurred in the area that is now Mexico, triggered tsunamis across the oceans, caused powerful earthquakes and released enough heat to start many fires. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:01:00 GMT)

Stormy weather and hail bring disruption to southern England
Rail and roads in Sussex hit by lightning strikes People rescued from floods in Essex and London Met Office warns of more downpoursParts of southern England have been hit by storms bringing lightning, thunder, heavy rain, localised flooding and hailstones the size of peas.The severe weather hit the Hove, Brighton and Worthing areas of Sussex at the start of the Monday morning rush hour, with trains heading along the south coast affected. Lightning hit an electricity substation, cutting power to the coastal rail route, although the main line to London was running normally.Freak summer storm brings 'rivers of hail' and 'snow indoors' #brightonstorm http://t.co/MXAOmLzmQw pic.twitter.com/vLOddNIpJHUnbelievable storm this morning ! Thunder so loud thought it was in bed with me. #BrightonStorm pic.twitter.com/DkJgK8GJu7OMG! Just went downstairs & quite a lot of the kitchen's under an inch of water! #brightonstormTake care if you're out and about this morning in #Sussex, avoid driving into flood water and check your bus and train services!And rising.... #worthingtrainstation #flooded pic.twitter.com/V7oC7gp09zKempTown resudents' reaction to the thunderstorm: #brighton #soproud pic.twitter.com/kzDM4h5HkT Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:50:07 GMT)

Tulisa Contostavlos considered suicide after Mazher Mahmood drugs sting
In BBC3 documentary former X Factor judge says entrapment by Sun reporter known as 'fake sheikh' left her an emotional wreckTulisa Contostavlos has said she contemplated taking her own life after falling victim to a tabloid cocaine sting which led to a trial that collapsed last week. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:49:38 GMT)

Passport Office staff strike over staff shortages amid applications backlog
PCS union says Passport Office is in crisis, with applications at record levels and delays causing frustrationPassport Office staff are to strike on Monday over staff shortages which they say have led to a serious backlog in processing applications this year. Extra staff were drafted in to deal with the backlog of 30,000 applications, and the home secretary, Theresa May, last month apologised to those affected by the delays. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 03:34:04 GMT)

Russia ordered to pay $50bn to Yukos investors - business live
Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rules in favour of investors in defunct Russian oil giant Yukos, 10 years after it was forced into bankrupcy.Mikhail Khodorkovsky issues statementVictory for Yukos shareholdersYukos shareholders: We are thrilledCourt: Russia was bent on bankrupting YukosRussia likely to appealSee the ruling here 1.12pm BST The landmark Yukos court ruling comes as Russian companies brace for further economic sanctions."Against the background of the sanctions that the EU is mulling against Russia this week, (the court decision) is secondary news for the market,"Most likely, Russia will suspend observance of a major arms control treaty, such as START. In addition, Russia will apply at least informal retaliation against US companies, impairing their operations through health and safety inspections and customs delays. This process has already begun against McDonalds. 12.12pm BST Shares in Rosneft, which bought many of Yukos's assets a decade ago, have fallen almost 2.8% today following the court ruling.Rosneft shares have now fallen 14% since the end of June, as the geopolitical crisis over Ukraine escalated. 11.58am BST Here's one of the many assets which Yukos lost when it collapsed a decade ago under the weight of Moscow's tax demands: 11.35am BST Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former boss of Yukos, has just issued a statement on today's court ruling.It is with a feeling of satisfaction that I have learned about the award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.It is the first independent tribunal to have considered the YUKOS case in its entirety, to have examined the evidence and to have heard witness testimony. The findings were predictable for any unbiased observer of the disgraceful Basmannyi travesty of justice: from beginning to end, the YUKOS case has been an instance of unabashed plundering of a successful company by a mafia with links to the State.Former Yukos boss @khodorkovsky on Hague ruling: `It is with a feeling of satisfaction that I have learned about the award.'Former Yukos boss @khodorkovsky on Hague ruling: `It's sad the recompense will have to come from State's coffers not from pockets of MafiosiFormer Yukos boss @khodorkovsky on Hague ruling: `I am not a party to legal proceedings and I don't seek to benefit financially from outcome 11.14am BST Over in Israel, Yukos investor and business magnate Leonid Nevzlin says he's 'pleased' with today's verdict (as I guess one would be): 11.04am BST Russia has 180 days to meet the ruling, according to lawyers representing the Yukos shareholders. After 15 January 2015, interest will start racking up.Just out of interest, what exactly would be the Russian state property in other countries Yukos could seize if Russia doesn't pay? 11.01am BST Russia had already pledged to fight the ruling, Associated Press reports:Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, commenting earlier Monday, said Russia will be appealing the ruling."Authorities who are representing Russia in this trial will use all possible legal means to defend their position," Lavrov said. 10.57am BST Yukos's corporate structure does look rather complex, including a swathe of holding companies and international divisions (there's a blurry chart at the end of the ruling) Also, here's a Yukos company structure from deep within the arbitration rulings. pic.twitter.com/wlbBENADB4Judging by the company's complex corporate structure, I'm not surprised the tax structure was complicated at #Yukos 10.53am BST I've just recropped the images in the last entry, so refreshing your browser should make them a little clearer. 10.46am BST Having made its ruling, the Permanent Court had to determine a fair value for Yukos's assets today.It decided that Yukos did bear some responsibility for its demise, and cut the total payout by 25%. 10.42am BST Vladimir Putin may have accidentally handed Yukos the proof it needed that the sale of its assets to Rosneft was politically motivated.Speaking at a press conference in 2004, the Russian president told reporters that the state was "looking after its own interests", having seen valuable assets snaffled on the cheap in Russia's 1990s privatisation drive.From Yukos ruling - tribunal ready to accept Rosneft wasn't acting for Russian state... then Putin himself ruins it pic.twitter.com/UTHTJT6XJe 10.32am BST In their defence, the Russian authorities had insisted that Yukos had "fraudulently evaded billions of dollars of tax" between 1999 to 2004, by setting up 'sham trading shells' in Russian regions with lower tax rates. They accused its oligarch owners of building their investments through "illegal acts and bad faith" conduct.Yukos abused the low-tax region program, and evaded Russian corporate profit tax in violation of the bad faith taxpayer doctrine, by implementing what Yukos referred to internally as its tax optimization scheme. Pursuant to this scheme, Yukos established dozens of sham trading companies in low-tax regions that had no business purpose, and then shifted its own profits to the sham trading companies. These sham trading shells had no genuine economic substance and served no purpose other than to reduce Yukos tax liabilities, an arrangement described by Yukos own lawyers as constituting unlawful tax evasion.After having now traversed, at some length, the treatment of Yukos by Russian tax authorities, the bailiffs and the courts, and having considered the totality of the evidence, especially the VAT evidence, the Tribunal has concluded that the primary objective of the Russian Federation was not to collect taxes but rather to bankrupt Yukos and appropriate its valuable assets. 10.16am BST Today's ruling has some fascinating detail about the intersection between politics and business in Vladimir Putin's Russia.On page 62, for example, former chief economic advisor Andrei Illarionov told the court that Yukos was "one of the most dangerous enemies for those who did not want to see Russia a free country.According to Dr. Illarionov, the arrests of Messrs. Khodorkovsky and [chief executive] Lebedev and the dismantlement of Yukos were politically and economically motivated. Yukos intended merger with Western oil majors was seen as a national betrayal and a hurdle to expropriation. Dr. Illarionov describes the 19 February 2003 meeting at the Kremlin between President Putin and business leaders, at which Mr. Khodorkovsky made a presentation on corruption, to which President Putin responded that everyone knew how various assets, including Yukos, were acquired, and told Mr. Khodorkovsky: I return the ball in your corner. 10.02am BST Tim Osborne, director of GML (the Yukos shareholders), says:We are thrilled with this decision, although we know it is not the end of the road.It is unlikely Mr. Khodorkovsky will benefit financially from the verdict, as he contends he handed over his stake to a partner, Leonid B. Nevzlin, who lives in Israel, in 2005. 9.58am BST The victorious Yukos investors are holding a press conference in London now. My colleague Jennifer Rankin is tweeting from it:Hague court rules against Russia in Yukos case, seized assets via "a devious and calculated expropriation".Judgement finds Russian courts "bent to the will" of Russian authorities. #yukosyukos compensation ruling could spell trouble for bp, shareholders considering its assets, "nobody is safe" says head s-h group. 9.54am BST Good day for ousted Russian billionaires....Former Yukos s/h wins $50bln in damages against Russia 9.53am BST The court ruling over the Yukos case is online here.It's over 600 pages long. The size of the compensation payment comes on page 521. Tthe Tribunal has decided to award Claimants post- award interest on the damages of USD 50,020,867,798 for which the Tribunal has found Respondent liable. 9.47am BST Rosneft, which ended up with many of Yukos's energy assets after the company collapsed, is denying that any wrongdoing took place. It doesn't expect to pay any of the $50bn compensation claim. 9.38am BST Reuters is snapping more details of the Yukos ruling: 9.36am BST Russia has been ordered to pay $50bn to the shareholders in former oil company Yukos, to compensate them for the loss of valuable assets a decade ago.Yukos award v Russia $50bn, unanimous ruling, 20 times largest ever arb award in Hague.. running now 9.10am BST Michael Heise, chief economist of fund manager Allianz, is worried about the deteriorating relations between Russia and the West, saying "the situation is very dangerous.""An escalation carries large risks for the economy."There is a big risk from further sanctions although one has to accept that clear (diplomatic) signals are needed."If there has been any good news in the Ukraine conflict or in Gaza I missed it, but while the rubble has weakened somewhat over the last week, even the Turkish Lira has held up. That speaks to the dominance of the risk-friendly global backdrop as low US rates and continued, albeit modest global growth trump almost anything else.European leaders are reportedly considering further restrictions on Russias access to capital markets and this is likely to remain a talking point this week. 8.42am BST Russia's MICEX stock index has dropped by 0.75% so far today, as the prospect of new sanctions loom over Moscow. 8.39am BST It's a somewhat subdued start to trading in Europe, where the main stock markets have all risen a little.In London, the FTSE 100 has gained 15 points or 0.25%, led by consumer giant Reckitt Benckiser (+3%) which announced plans to spin off its pharmaceuticals arm this morning. 8.34am BST Shares in Ryanair have jumped 5% in early trading, as traders welcome its raised profit forecasts. 8.24am BST Budget airline Ryanair has added to the optimism in the markets this morning, by hiking its profit forecasts.After hitting investors with some nasty profit warnings in 2013, CEO Michael O'Leary was on more comfortable ground this morning."We are overrun with growth offers from primary European airports whose incumbent flag and regional carriers continue to cut capacity and traffic," 8.12am BST The Nikkei's rally was also driven by hopes that Japanese car makers will report decent earnings this week. Ryota Sakagami, chief equity strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities, predicted that the index could "quickly push toward 16,000 [points], possibly by the end of August." 8.01am BST Japan's stock market has hit its highest level since late January, driven by economic optimism and the prospect of decent company earnings. The Nikkei has closed at 15529, up 71 points, a point not reached since late January.Asia late... Shanghai up 2.4% HK up 1.1% Nikkei ends 0.5% up ASX down 0.1% in rolling close Taiex ends down 0.2% Sensex down 0.5% $NIK $HSI"Geopolitical concerns remain as the conflict in the Ukraine does not look like it will end soon, but there is some relief spreading that the impact will be contained," 8.01am BST Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the financial markets, the world economy, business and the eurozone.Glaxo has opened up the possibility of breaking up the company and is open to spinning off consumer healthcare unit as standalone companyOn a similar note Reckitt Benckiser is to pursue a demerger of pharmaceuticals unit with a separate UK listing Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:12:53 GMT)

Seville's silent summer: Spanish city bans outdoor noise
Activities ranging from domino games to singing in the street banned as locals win fight for peace and quietAs the heat of the day gives way to the evening breeze, Seville comes to life. Distant wails of flamenco singers mix with hearty cheers of seniors engrossed in a game of dominoes. Bar patrons spill onto the sidewalk as they noisily recount the day's events over a round of cañas.Now the push is on in this fun-loving city for a little peace and quiet. On Friday, councillors passed a raft of regulations looking to silence the noisy city banning activities ranging from domino games on the outdoor terraces of bars and cafes to singing in the street. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:48:12 GMT)

Liberia: top doctor becomes latest Ebola victim
Dr Samuel Brisbane becomes first doctor in west African nation to die, as second US healthcare worker is infectedOne of Liberia's most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, a government official said on Sunday, and a second US healthcare worker has been infected in what the World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling the largest outbreak ever recorded of the disease.Dr Samuel Brisbane is the first Liberian doctor to die in an outbreak, which the WHO says has killed 129 people in the west African nation. A Ugandan doctor working in the country died this month. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:03:40 GMT)

Bee research tainted by corporate funding, MPs say
Report warns against letting pesticide companies fund key research for government plan to boost pollinatorsCriticial future research on the plight of bees risks being tainted by corporate funding, according to a report from MPs published on Monday. Pollinators play a vital role in fertilising three-quarters of all food crops but have declined due to loss of habitat, disease and pesticide use. New scientific research forms a key part of the governments plan to boost pollinators but will be funded by pesticide manufacturers.UK environment ministers failed in their attempt in 2013 to block an EU-wide ban on some insecticides linked to serious harm in bees and the environmental audit select committee (EAC) report urges ministers to end their opposition, arguing there is now even more evidence of damage. Millions of member of the public have supported the ban. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:00:10 GMT)

Scottish ministers urged to reverse student grant cuts as debts soar
Analysis of Student Loan Company figures shows overall student debt rising far more sharply in Scotland than elsewhere in UKScottish ministers are being urged to reverse cuts in student grants after the debts taken out by Scottish students to meet their living costs soared by £160m last year.New analysis of the latest figures from the Student Loan Company shows that overall student debt rose far more sharply in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK in 2013-14. It jumped by a record 58% to £436m for the year. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:30:03 GMT)

Asylum seekers brought to Australian mainland from Cocos Islands
Australia makes exception from policy of refusing to let asylum seekers on mainland for 157 Sri Lankans intercepted in JuneMore than 150 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who languished on an Australian customs vessel for weeks have been temporarily brought to a detention centre on Australia's mainland where their identities will be determined by Indian officials, a government minister has said.Australia has made an exception for the 157 men, women and children from its tough policy of refusing to allow asylum seekers who attempt to reach the country by boat to ever set foot on the mainland. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:59:22 GMT)

DPP to examine treatment of witnesses after abuse victim's death
Alison Saunders looking to 'rebalance process' after classical musician killed herself after testifying about childhood traumaThe director of public prosecutions (DPP) said she recognised the "real issue" over whether victims and witnesses are treated fairly after the death of a sex abuse victim sparked calls for reform.Alison Saunders said she was examining ways to "rebalance" the process in order to reduce the stress caused by the prospect of appearing in court. The coroner who conducted the inquest into the death of concert violinist Frances Andrade is writing to Saunders calling for specific changes to avoid further such incidents. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:10:51 GMT)

Home buyers put off by high prices and rising rates
Halifax identifies a sharp drop in the number of people who feel that it would be a good time to buy a house over the next 12 monthsRising house prices, the prospect of higher interest rates, and difficulty in raising a deposit are rapidly putting people off buying a house according to Halifax.A survey by the lender identified a sharp drop in the number of people who felt that it would be a good time to buy a house over the next 12 months to a balance of +5% in the second quarter, from +34% in the first quarter. The trend was most pronounced in the property hotspots of London and the south east. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:00:20 GMT)

Ahmadi woman and children killed after Pakistani mob torches homes
Death of sect member and her young granddaughters is latest attack on minorities and was sparked by blasphemy claimsA Pakistani mob killed a member of a religious sect and two of her granddaughters after another member was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook, police said on Monday, in the latest instance of growing violence against minorities.The dead, including a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and many Pakistanis consider them heretics. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:11:12 GMT)

Islamic State destroys ancient Mosul mosque, the third in a week
The Prophet Jirjis mosque and shrine, dating to the 14th century, join list of mosques blown up by militants in IraqMilitants from the Islamic State group blew up a mosque and shrine dating back to the 14th century in Mosul on Sunday, local residents said, the latest casualty of a week in which half a dozen of the Iraqi city's most revered holy places have been destroyed.Mosul residents said the Prophet Jirjis mosque and shrine was bombed and destroyed by the radical jihadist group. They spoke anonymously to the Associated Press for fear of reprisal. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:29:07 GMT)

One man killed and others injured as lightning strikes LA's Venice beach
A 20-year-old man pronounced dead after being taken from Venice beach, where rare summer storm hitA 20-year-old man died after lightning struck as many as 14 people at a popular Los Angeles beach and a golf course, a coroner's official said on Sunday.Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles county coroner said the man was taken from Venice beach and pronounced dead at a hospital. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:41:38 GMT)

Koala found clinging to cars grille after 88km drive in Queensland
Furry stowaway nicknamed Timberwolf discovered with only minor injuries when driver stopped at a service stationA koala named Timberwolf has suffered only minor injuries after he was found clinging to the bottom of a car that travelled 88km before the furry stowaway was discovered. The four-year-old marsupial was discovered clinging to the grille of the vehicle by its occupants when they stopped at a service station in Gympie, Queensland, on Friday. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:06:45 GMT)

Largest coal mine in Australia: federal government gives Carmichael go-ahead
Adani's Carmichael coal mine and rail project will dig up and transport about 60m tonnes of coal a year for export, sparking fears for the Great Barrier ReefThe Australian environment minister, Greg Hunt, has approved a $16.5bn resources project that will lead to the creation of the largest coal mine in Australia, and one of the largest in the world.Hunt has imposed 36 conditions, primarily aimed at protecting groundwater, on the Carmichael coal mine and rail project, which will dig up and transport about 60m tonnes of coal a year for export. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:03:39 GMT)

Sinn Féin arson attack 'an assault on democracy'
Police investigate blaze at party's constituency office in republican Creggan area of Derry on Sunday night.An arson attack on a Sinn Féin constituency office in Northern Ireland is an assault on democracy, the party has said. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:12:24 GMT)

New York Times says US must 'repeal prohibition' of federal marijuana ban
'Grey Lady' editorial calls for dropping of 44-year banRating of drug with LSD and heroin 'an increasing absurdity'One of Americas most influential newspapers, the New York Times, on Sunday called the federal ban on marijuana a laughing stock and urged the White House to drop the law and give permission for states to legalise the drug.Marijuana for recreational use went on sale in Colorado on 1 January; Washington state followed suit this month and Oregon and Alaska will vote on the issue in the November midterm elections. Earlier this month New York became the 23rd state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow cannabis for medical use. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:00:10 GMT)

Amazon planning credit card reader to compete with PayPal report
Leaked documents indicate e-commerce giant expanding payments arm with mobile paymentsAmazon will launch a credit card reader to take on Square, PayPal and iZettle, according to leaked documents.The leaked inventory document discovered by technology site 9to5Mac shows office supplies store Staples taking stock of an Amazon Card Reader, alongside competitors from PayPal, Square and a Staples-branded card reader. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:54:18 GMT)

Commonwealth Games 2014: day five live!
Live updates from all the action in GlasgowEmail jacob.steinberg@theguardian.comSarah Adlington loses gold medal in x-ray machine Not just fun, says English cylcing's Shane SuttonTake a look at today's highlights and scheduleAnd keep an eye on the full medal table 1.17pm BST A genuine question. What skills do you require to be good at bowls and what sets the best apart? 1.14pm BST Scotland are running away with the bowls. They're 8-0 up! 1.12pm BST This right here is the full schedule of today's events.Athletics 1.08pm BST Squash. Peter Barker has won bronze for England, beating Saurav Ghosal 3-1. 1.04pm BST Here's what we're looking forward to today. There's athletics, there's swimming, there's squash, there's table tennis, there's boxing, there's badminton and there's lawn bowls. The lawn bowls is on my television right now and two Scottish men are beating two Malaysian men 3-0. This is outstanding lawn bowls from Scotland, who are going for gold. 12.58pm BST Jacob will be here shortly. And now he's here and he's still got a virulent case of Commonwealth Games Fever! Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:17:21 GMT)

Vincenzo Nibalis Tour de France win gives Italy hope of a clean break
Nibali becomes first Italian to win Tour since Marco Pantani Marcel Kittel wins on Champs Elysées for second year runningSixteen years and a whole world separate Vincenzo Nibalis victory in the Tour de France and the last time an Italian rode up the Champs Elysées in yellow. When the late Marco Pantani completed his Giro-Tour double in 1998, Nibali who finished safely in the pack here behind the stage winner Marcel Kittel was 13-and-a-half years old.Pantanis win was forged in the chaos and controversy of the scandal-hit 1998 Tour, but if there is a similarity it is that both were based on one crushing blow in pouring rain and cold: Pantanis win at Les Deux Alpes, and Nibalis ride through the mud and cobbles of northern France with the help of his team-mate Lieuwe Westra, in a stunning piece of team tactics which might well have won him the Tour even if Alberto Contador and Chris Froome had remained in one piece. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:46:55 GMT)

England v India: third Test day two live!
Updates from the cricket in SouthamptonSend your thoughts to john.ashdown@theguardian.comOr get in touch via Twitter: @John_AshdownFull scoreboard from the Rose Bowl 1.06pm BST Cheers for all your emails so far today keep them coming, but send them to john.ashdown@theguardian.com for the next couple of hours. I'll be back in a bit. Bye for now! 1.04pm BST 119th over: England 358-3 (Bell 68, Root 2)There's some promising turn and bounce here for the spinners, but Sharma's eighth over brings just three singles. And that's lunch. Root who, in answer to all the emails, has played nine innings in Southampton including this one, and been out six times so far trots off the field after a fine session both individually and for his team. 1.00pm BST 118th over: England 355-3 (Bell 66, Root 0)A maiden from Jadeja, and one bowled so quickly there'll be time for one more over before lunch. "It's one thing to pay 60 quid a ticket, 15 quid train ticket and 20 quid taxi to the stadium (after going to central Southampton)," writes Patrick Duce. "But now the bars on this side of the stadium appear to have run out of ale, and it's only midday. That's the real issue everyone's talking about." 12.58pm BST 117th over: England 355-3 (Bell 66, Root 0)An excellent innings from Ballance, obviously, but he was looking extremely comfortable. Still, England have benefitted from a couple of poor decisions already here, so why not share the love? 12.55pm BST At no stage was the ball anywhere near Ballance's bat there. Or his gloves. It flicked a trouser leg on its way through. That's a decent delivery, but a very poor decision. 12.52pm BST 116th over: England 354-2 (Ballance 156, Bell 66)Jadeja seems to be bowling alternate overs from each side of the umpire. Ballance hits through the covers for four, and then watches the next delivery spin from off stump past his leg, brushing a thigh, and past a wrong-footed Dhoni on its way to the boundary. "On the mathematical issue, surely he has to score 106 from the point at which his average was 99.33 (two-thirds of nine and then another hundred to keep the average up, assuming hes out in the end)?" writes John Cox. Which sounds about right. Um, probably. 12.49pm BST 115th over: England 341-2 (Ballance 152, Bell 66)Pankaj bowls, Ballance pulls and though the ball seems to catch the top edge it flies safely to the long leg boundary and the four runs take him past 150. A quick single later, Bell gets the chance to show us his late cut to third man. Bell's still capable of a fine late cut to third man. 12.44pm BST 114th over: England 336-2 (Ballance 147, Bell 61)Jadeja bowls, and the over ends with a very finely-timed shot from Ballance, hitting past square leg for four. "Hows my maths? If Bell has an average of 99.33 in nine innings at the ground, how much does he have to score to bring the average up to 100?" asks James Wilson. "The back of my envelope suggests 107 but I could be wrong." I'm not sure myself, but unless he's not out when this innings ends he surely needs quite a few more. 12.40pm BST 113th over: England 329-2 (Ballance 141, Bell 60)Pankaj bowls, and there's a leg bye and little else. "Has our once proud nation sunk to such depths that we are no longer able to raise the aggression and oomph to swat our own flies?" writes Andy MacInally (re over 110). "We have to have a machine do it for us? What next not able to walk to the telly to switch it over so we need a machine to do that for us? Or even a self-walking dog!" Perhaps the electric fly-swatter was bought just for Sundays, when we are too busy resting to do our own insect-crushing. 12.35pm BST 112th over: England 328-2 (Ballance 141, Bell 60)Jadeja gives going round the wicket a spin, and Ballance pulls a weak, wide delivery to square fine leg for four. "Richard Culleton could try an Irish pub in Roppongi, where I and some friends caught Vaughany's comeback ton against the Windies in 2007," writes Toby Groom. "Avoid the 'club' next door, unless you want a very weird and disorientating experience." You're going to have to give us a few more details about that nightclub, Toby. 12.32pm BST 111th over: England 324-2 (Ballance 137, Bell 60)The sun has come out in Southampton now, and the batsmen are looking very comfortable indeed. Even a couple of short balls don't worry them, Ballance simply ducking out the way. 12.29pm BST 110th over: England 323-2 (Ballance 136, Bell 60)Some lovely batting for the sparse crowd to enjoy here, and Bell grabs another boundary with a fine late cut against Jadeja. In nine international innings on this ground, Test and limited overs, Bell is now averaging 99.33. "I share your concern for our alien friends," writes Susan Perry. "I received an Amazon delivery yesterday and it was most disconcerting for that to be happening on a Sunday. It was an electric fly swatter since you ask" 12.24pm BST 109th over: England 318-2 (Ballance 135, Bell 56)Bell pulls, and it's fielded in the deep by a diving Pujara. The next ball is shortish and wideish outside off stump, and Bell, having just scampered two, pushes past point for four. Help an OBOer dept: "I'm in a British pub in Tokyo having a pint of (surprisingly good) local ale and eating fish and chips," reports Richard Culleton. "What have they got on the telly? Baseball. Absolutely disgraceful. Anyone know anywhere to watch the test in Tokyo?" 12.20pm BST 108th over: England 312-2 (Ballance 135, Bell 50)A maiden from Jadeja, for whom there is some encouragement in the pitch. Paddy Blewer is back, defending his Bell-bothering. "It would appear that fly I threw out re Bell has claimed its first bite," he writes. "Why does he provoke such strong feelings on either side? No doubt he did very well last year and was at the end of a successful period but I still remain to be convinced that overall (a) hes made the most of his talent and (b) he thrives under pressure." 12.18pm BST 107th over: England 312-2 (Ballance 135, Bell 50)Shami continues, Bell takes a single and that's his half-century. "The oddity of starting a test on Sunday takes me back pleasantly to the time of rest days, when it was felt that three consecutive days of test cricket was about as much as a highly trained professional cricketer could stand," writes Nick Parish. "Or perhaps it was to give the England supporters a break from the depressing inevitability of being relentlessly tonked by Australia/West Indies/anyone. Anyway, in those days there was never any test cricket on Sundays. In one sense the complete opposite of this test, but in another sense it was just as barmy in ensuring that cricket doesnt happen on both days of a weekend. After all, whos got time to watch cricket on the weekend when they could be washing their car instead?" I do think that if an alien landed in Britain yesterday anywhere, not just Southampton having last visited perhaps 20 or 30 years ago, the first thing he/she/it would want to know is, "What happened to Sundays?" Then it would presumably want to phone home or something. 12.14pm BST 106th over: England 310-2 (Ballance 134, Bell 49)Jadeja bowls, and after clipping the ball to fine leg for a couple, Bell takes a couple of little dancey steps forwards before thundering the second delivery back over the bowler's head for a fairly massive six. There is an edge a little later in the over, but not one that was ever going to bring a wicket, and instead Bell skittles off for a single. 12.10pm BST 105th over: England 301-2 (Ballance 134, Bell 40)After a good break, Pankaj continues and not a great deal happens. Gary Naylor thinks the reason there are so many empty seats isn't so much the fact that everyone's working, but the fact it's so expensive to get in. £65 does seem a little aggressive, and I suppose the proof is there for all to see.@Simon_Burnton From what I can see, most seats are £60 and it's another £15 to park and ride. The seats are empty because they cost too muchIt's time for major sporting events to be sold like airline tickets. There's a reason so few carriers fly empty seats these days - prices. 12.01pm BST 104th over: England 301-2 (Ballance 134, Bell 40)A bit of spin, then, from Ravindra Jadeja, and it's the first maiden over for a good while. The players celebrate with some drinks. 11.59am BST 103rd over: England 301-2 (Ballance 134, Bell 40)Pankaj bowls, and Ballance pushes down the ground for a couple, then hits through midwicket for four and dabbles to long leg for another boundary. Those last two in particular were splendid shots and he's batting excellently again, as any fool could probably deduce from the briefest glance at the scorecard. "Its nice of Paddy Blewer (99th over) to join us from 2008, those long-lost days of Bell never contributing unless everything was already nice and easy," rages Rob Marriott. "Id like both to welcome and to assist our time-travelling friend, and share with him the knowledge that, between 2009 and Englands dramatic collapse at the start of the last Ashes, Bell averaged 53.58, with 12 hundreds and 18 fifties from 77 innings. He also managed to almost single-handedly thrash Australia this time last year. Hopefully, when he has time, Mr Blewer can catch up on these recent developments in more detail." 11.54am BST 102nd over: England 291-2 (Ballance 124, Bell 40)Ballance hits through midwicket and runs three, whereupon Bell hits to fine leg and runs two. "I confidently predict that Bell will be out within the next five overs after you rashly published Paddy Blewers comments," writes Ben Powell. "When will the OBO learn?" The OBO never learns, or even remembers. 11.49am BST 101st over: England 286-2 (Ballance 121, Bell 38)"I was at the Ageas Bowl for yesterday's play," writes Mark Smith, as Bell clips the ball past point for a delicious four. "It's a lovely ground, but I couldn't help reflecting that this was about as full as it was likely to get, given that the rest of the match is Monday to Thursday. It doesn't seem very fair on Hants the venues for the other Tests in this series have had whole weekends of Test cricket which must help revenue. Is it me or have Hampshire been handed the short end of the stick?" It's a rum old deal, sure enough. There's a reason no Test has started on a Sunday in this country before, and that's that it's a silly idea. It's also at the start of the school holidays, which means that some older kids might come to the cricket, but that parents of younger kids are less likely to. 11.44am BST 100th over: England 282-2 (Ballance 121, Bell 34)There's a bit of an lbw appeal against Ballance, though only Shami gets particularly excited about it and rightly too, as the ball pitched outside off stump and was surely going over the stumps too. 11.40am BST 99th over: England 282-2 (Ballance 121, Bell 34)Kumar, despite conceding three boundaries in his previous over, continues and this time there are just a couple of singles. "Easy pitch, no pressure, lots of runs before he comes in watch Bell make a century and cement his place for another year," writes Paddy Blewer, though whether he's relieved by this anticipated development or enraged isn't entirely clear. 11.35am BST 98th over: England 280-2 (Ballance 120, Bell 33)Mohammed Shami comes on, and Bell twice tries to thrash the ball through midwicket, but once he mistimes his shot and miscues the ball straight to mid-on, and the other time he mistimes his shot even more egregiously and misses the ball entirely. In the meantime there are a couple of singles and a final ball defensive prod that races through the covers, eventually being stopped perhaps 10 yards from the rope, by which time the batsmen are well into their third run. 11.30am BST 97th over: England 275-2 (Ballance 119, Bell 29)Ballance smacks Kumar's second delivery towards point for four, and clips the third to fine leg for another, then takes a short breather before clipping the fourth off his pads and through midwicket for an apparently effortless third, struck with no great power but with perfect timing (and the heavy bat probably helps). @Simon_Burnton England, one-down, have a belter of a pitch, a popgun attack and lightening outfield. We need 530 by 5.30 and a declaration. 11.27am BST 96th over: England 263-2 (Ballance 107, Bell 29)Pankaj bowls to Ballance, and there's a promising hint of movement there for the bowler. Ballance though is entirely untroubled, and takes a single off the fifth delivery. 11.21am BST 95th over: England 262-2 (Ballance 106, Bell 29)Ballance takes a single from ball one, and Bell, having apparently settled into the morning, unleashes a textbook cover drive to add another four to his rapidly-swelling total. Phwoar! 11.17am BST 94th over: England 257-2 (Ballance 105, Bell 25)Now Pankaj does find Bell's edge, but the ball flies between third slip and gully for four. The bowler's peeved by this, and his next delivery is a little wild, heading towards leg stump and clipped to fine leg for four more. That's just the first two balls of the over, but everyone decides that's quite enough excitement for the time being and the remainder pass without incident. 11.13am BST 93rd over: England 249-2 (Ballance 105, Bell 17)A run! Ballance works the first ball towards cover and the batsmen trundle off for a single. And then the last ball is sent in a vaguely similar direction by Bell, but it's fumbled in the field, and then fumbled again. England politely spurned the chance to profit with another run. 11.09am BST 92nd over: England 247-2 (Ballance 104, Bell 16)Pankaj Singh starts proceedings from the other end, and tempts Bell into nibbling a couple of times at deliveries that shaped away from the batsman. The second of them can't have missed the bat by more than a centimetre. Still no runs this morning. 11.05am BST 91st over: England 247-2 (Ballance 104, Bell 16)I was camping this weekend, so gradually becoming encrusted with filth while Alastair Cook was slowly ridding himself, at least to an extent, of his own dark stains. Day two starts with Kumar bowling at Ballance, and the batsman happily leaving everything remotely leavable, which is basically everything. Diverging views of what today's weather will hold. The optimists say this:Another dry day forecast for day two of the #EngvInd Test match at the Ageas Bowl! @ECB_cricket will resume on 247-2. pic.twitter.com/ifqfJ85YtR 10.56am BST Meanwhile in Southampton Jerusalem is being warbled, which can only mean imminent action. 10.41am BST Here's the horrific scene that greeted viewers just a few moments later: 10.00am BST Morning all. I'll make this brief, largely because I got to the office about 90 seconds ago. I can report, though, that a few members of Sky's commentary team are currently discussing things (Alastair Cook's captaincy, again) outside the Ageas Bowl wearing clip-on tie microphones clad in a presumably wind-proofing coating that basically makes it look like they're being attacked by freshly blow-dried juvenile rodents: Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:06:32 GMT)

Mario Balotelli poses for selfie with pitch invaders
Pitch invaders posted picture on Twitter Manchester City went on to defeat Milan 5-1Mario Balotelli is rarely shy of a selfie but he had rather less say in his latest snap, taken by a couple of pitch invaders during AC Milans pre-season friendly with Manchester City on Sunday.A pair of supporters darted on to the pitch during the match won 5-1 by City and headed straight for the Italy striker, who at first did not seemed amused. Balotelli soon saw the funny side however and posed for the picture with the Milan fans, who were soon escorted by security.#milan#selfie#Balotelli#me#ManCityVsMilan pic.twitter.com/17fQ1OJ1ob Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:43:08 GMT)

Commonwealth Games 2014 highlights and schedule for day five in Glasgow
Trinidad & Tobagos Richard Thompson the 100m favourite Englands Nicola Adams in womens flyweight boxing Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:00:08 GMT)

Commonwealth Games feel like a home games for seven home nations
Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey fans cheer on local heroes as Glasgow welcomes seven teams from British IslesPeter Kennaugh won gold for Great Britain at the London Olympics in the cycling team pursuit, but for the 25-year-old, Saturday's silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow still felt "pretty special".Kennaugh rides for Team Sky and, as the current British road race champion, might have felt almost as aggrieved as Sir Bradley Wiggins at being excluded from this year's Tour de France squad. Sky's loss, however, is the Isle of Man's gain the 25-year-old hails from Douglas, and his 40km points race Commonwealth medal took the total won by the island since its 1958 Games debut to 11. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:18:01 GMT)

Commonwealth Games 2014: Laura Trott wins points race gold for England
Trott triumphs despite suffering a kidney infection Ive worried my parents sick over the last few daysFrom sickbed to saviour. Laura Trott was able to hold down only porridge a few days ago but the weekend finished with Englands golden girl tasting victory once again. Having being diagnosed with a kidney infection on Thursday, Trotts dramatic triumph in the 25km points race ensured a return to the top of the podium and provided England with only their second triumph of the Games at this track.It was a win, she said, that compared with her two Olympic titles in 2012. This one, however, was arguably more impressive, coming as it did after doctors had recorded a worryingly high temperature only days previously. Trotts recovery was immense, digging deep into energy reserves, that had been eviscerated by illness, to edge past Waless Elinor Barker and win at the line after half an hour of gruelling sprints. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:00 GMT)

Marianne Vos wins La Course as Lizzie Armitstead crashes out
Vos leads Dutch one-two in Champs Elysées Armitstead vows to be fit for road race in GlasgowLizzie Armitstead was battered and bloodied after a last-kilometre crash at the inaugural La Course by Le Tour won by her perennial rival Marianne Vos but the Yorkshirewoman will be fit for the Commonwealth Games road race next Sunday.As Armitstead picked herself up in the Rue de Rivoli and assessed the damage, a spectacular sprint finish was unfolding, with Vos and her Dutch compatriot Kirsten Wild going on either side of the German national champion Lisa Brennauer Vos to the left, Wild to the right as the leaders emerged from the Place de La Concorde before sprinting elbow to elbow in the final metres until Vos pulled ahead. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:40:34 GMT)

Tour de France 2014: highlights video
Watch some of the highlights from the 2014 Tour de France. This year Vincenzo Nibali won the race for his team Astana with a lead of 7min 52sec. The Italian rider maintained his lead for 18 days out of the total 21 day race. Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot followed him onto the podium to take second and third places respectively. The 21st stage win went to Marcel Kittel following a final sprint to the finish line in Paris Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:13:00 GMT)

Football quiz: name the transfer from the player and fee
Today's questions have made more moves than Gary Kasparov Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:19:54 GMT)

Jan Vertonghen will not leave Tottenham to join Barcelona
Defender has been offered new five-year deal Interest from a great club like Barça pleases meJan Vertonghen has insisted there is no truth in rumours he wants to leave Tottenham to join Barcelona and says he has been offered a new five-year deal to stay at White Hart Lane.Vertonghen, who moved to Spurs from Ajax in July 2012, has become a regular feature in Tottenhams back four, playing left-back and centre-back over the past two seasons. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:16:45 GMT)

Rafael gives Manchester United headache after injuring groin
Red Devils short of cover at right-back Seasons start less than three weeks awayRafael has given Manchester United a headache by returning home early from the clubs tour of the United States to have treatment on a groin problem.With Uniteds Premier League opener at home to Swansea just 19 days away on 16 August they find themselves short of a right-back. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:46:54 GMT)

Talking Horses: todays best bets and the latest racing news
Kingman is declared a runner in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:34:48 GMT)

25 best apps to keep kids entertained while travelling this summer
For stress-free journeys, these iPad, Android and Windows tablet apps might be your lucky charm"Are we there yet? Can I have a sweet? Can I have another sweet? Can I have another sweet when we get there then? When are we getting there? Are we there yet? I WANT A SWEET! And a poo..."Travelling with children can be marvellous fun, as you explore the world, open their minds and realise that it's your turn in I Spy just as a 17th-century three-masted Mediterranean trading ship hoves into view. Fun for all the family. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:48:26 GMT)

Sneaky tricks of the restaurant trade and how to avoid forking out too much
During the summer, smart restaurant owners put cunning tactics on the menu to boost profitsEver found yourself unexpectedly drinking expensive French wine in a restaurant while Edith Piaf's La Vie en Rose plays in the background? Or perhaps you've unintentionally parted with a hefty tip after being touched on the shoulder by your waiter? Oops. You might well have succumbed to two of the restaurant trade's sneaky ways to get you to spend more money without realising it.And never are these subtle strategies more employed than during the holidays. Recent figures from the Post Office show that more than 40% of parents are worried about how much they are going to spend on family meals out during the summer. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:00:00 GMT)

Great meals for one go on, treat yourself
Solo dining isn't all about ready meals. It can be a simple and indulgent pleasure. Top chefs including Thomasina Miers and Valentine Warner share their favourite dishesOne of the great joys of cooking is sharing the results. There's nothing quite like preparing a feast for appreciative friends, or creating a special meal for someone you love. Cooking for one? That's less fun. As one of the 7.7m Brits who live alone, I do it almost every night of the week.Most recipes cater for four or six. Obscure ingredients for a one-off dish and BOGOF multipacks are both out unless you fancy conjuring a meal from wrinkled green peppers and leftover pomegranate molasses. However much you enjoy the process of cooking, it feels faintly ridiculous going to town over something to be gobbled down in the company of Netflix. The result? Weeks spent working my way through leftovers. And quite a lot of toast. But actually, there are lots of dishes that are simply better cooked for one. Here, chefs and restaurateurs share their solo dining secrets. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:23:00 GMT)

How to mend ... clothes with faulty zips
Don't discard a garment because the zip has broken, follow these smooth-running steps to replace and enjoy anewReplacing a zip might seem like a daunting task if you havent tried it before, but I would encourage you to give it a go, especially if the garment is rendered un-wearable by the broken zip. That is the beauty of repair you very often have nothing to lose! The following are instructions for replacing a centred zip (a zip that is sewn into the back seam of a garment, such as a skirt or dress).You will need:Tailor's chalk or fabric marking penStitch unpickerNew zipNeedle and contrasting threadSewing machine with zipper foot attachedMatching threadPinsIron and ironing board Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:53:25 GMT)

JD Salinger stories published after 70 years out of print
Three early works The Young Folks, Go See Eddie and Once a Week Won't Kill You brought out after indie imprint finds rights still availableThree stories written by a young JD Salinger in the 1940s have gone on sale to the public for the first time in 70 years. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:02:28 GMT)

Quiz: What type of Facebook user are you?
You spend far too much time on there, but what on earth do you actually do? Take our handy quiz to find out Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:02:00 GMT)

Blooper reels trouble me who needs to see King Joffrey looking adorable?
I don't want to know that the Game of Thrones cast are charming, giggly people. And the same goes for my other favourite dramas, from Breaking Bad to The WireI might be the only person to think this, but watching the Game of Thrones blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con this weekend was a tremendously disconcerting experience.Years Ive spent years! developing an all-encompassing hatred for King Joffrey, to the extent that I cant even watch his brief scene in Batman Begins any more without wishing that Batman would just pick the little git up by the scruff of his neck and chuck him off a balcony. And yet now heres Jack Gleeson pulling an adorable scrunched-up face and looking for all the world like a perfectly decent person. Its a good job hes dead now, or else Id feel incredibly short-changed. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:07:53 GMT)

What are best activity and puzzle books for children?
Got a long plane or train journey coming up? The Book Doctor fights through a sea of puzzle and mazes books to find the most entertaining activity books to entertain children this summerWe are off on a six hour train journey this summer and are looking for some really brilliant activity books to keep us all entertained! Can you recommend the best ones?There are a huge number of quiz and puzzle books on the market hours of mazes, crosswords, word searches and sudoku. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:23:46 GMT)

Reclaiming the Rajasthan desert from a voracious Mexican plant
A plan to reintroduce native species battles with a mesquite known as 'the mad one' planted by a maharajah in the 1930sLong after a 19th-century English watercolourist painted the massive outcrop of barren volcanic rocks on which the formidable Jodhpur fort is perched, a modernising maharajah went up in his two-seater Tiger Moth plane to scatter bagfuls of mesquite seed in order to green his desert kingdom in Rajasthan.The Prosopis juliflora variety of the mesquite that the flying maharajah planted in the 1930s not only lay siege to his fort, described by Rudyard Kipling as "the work of angels, fairies and giants", but eventually took over large stretches of the Thar desert. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:00:02 GMT)

20 best summer fish recipes: part 1
Five delicious dishes chosen by Observer Food Monthly including Sichuanese sea bass, pan-grilled mackerel and proper fish and chipsThe peppers and chorizo complement the cod wonderfully, adding just the right amount of spice and smokiness to our take on this northern Spanish dish. A perennial favourite at Scott's, this has become a signature dish. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:00:00 GMT)

The Simpsons/Family Guy crossover episode gets new five-minute trailer
A first glimpse of the controversial crossover episode was shown at Comic-Con and it has unsurprisingly some meta jokes about fans' criticism When news of the Family Guy/Simpsons crossover was first announced, the Guardian's Stuart Heritage a die-hard Simpsons fan was not happy. "It's impossible to work out why The Simpsons would debase itself by allowing this to happen," he wrote, asserting that Family Guy "is, at heart, a crap Simpsons". Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:58:43 GMT)

Five albums to try this week: Shabazz Palaces, Jenny Lewis and more
From Knifeworld's experimental prog metal to the literate indie rock of Alvvays, here are five new albums worth a listen this weekWhy you should listen: For an inventive and generally batshit crazy take on hip-hop, look no further than Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces. They take the rulebook of time signatures, song structure and harmony, and then tear it to shreds. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:21:18 GMT)

The daily quiz: house bands and Bounties
Today's quiz covers famous rappers, Unesco, insects, stage directions, composers, US presidents and Hawaiian words Follow @GuardianQuiz on Twitter for daily notifications Would you like to set the quiz? Email 10 questions to daily.quiz@theguardian.com along with your name, and they may be used in the weekly Friday readers' edition Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:45:00 GMT)

The playlist - pop: Lovestarrs, Rixton and Své
From agonisingly catchy pop to a band formed from the ashes of The Good Natured, here's five pop tracks you need to hear Rixton frontman Jake Roche son of Let's Do Sex hitmaker Shane Richie and Coleen 'one of The Nolans' Nolan is proof you needn't always be intimidated about following in your parents footsteps. Last week Roche and his band Rixton who are managed by Justin Bieber enabler Scooter Braun debuted at number 1 in the UK with their debut single, the ludicrously catchy Me And My Broken Heart, months after the song had sold over half a million copies in the US. This slightly odd release schedule also means that what will be their second single, Wait On Me, is now already online and available to buy "across the pond". As with Me And My Broken Heart, Wait On Me has more than a whiff of Maroon 5 about it but is so expertly precision-tooled that each second seems to introduce a new hook. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:06:53 GMT)

Firefly, Halo Nightfall and other video game announcements from Comic-Con
It's not just about super hero movie heroes and people dressed as Daenerys this weekend's Comic-Con also had some interesting new game teasersWith 130,000 ravenous consumers of geek culture in attendance, it's no wonder video game publishers have increasingly taken to revealing new titles at the San Diego Comic-Con. Just as the movie and television companies have moved in to publicise their latest super hero and mildly SF/fantasy-themed wares, so the games industry now times specific genre announcements to capture the lycra-clad buzz. Amid the excitement over Mad Max: Fury Road, Wonder Woman's new outfit, the Avengers: Age of Ultron footage and the cast announcement for Game of Thrones season five, here are the key video game titbits from this weekend's event. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:00:53 GMT)

A book for the beach: The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson
For the reluctant but curious holidaymaker, this combination of science and scintillating prose provides fascinating insights into the mysteries of the tidesSunbathing bores me, I'm too old to build sandcastles, and I neither swim nor surf. For me, the inevitable summertime trip to the beach is not about any of these things; it's an opportunity to inhabit, however briefly, the margin where land and sea engage in a constant, ever-changing relationship that is one of the great drivers of life on, and the life of, the planet. It's a zone of interchange between the three great planetary ecosystems of earth, air and ocean and one which played a crucial role in the evolution of life itself. A trip to the seaside is an opportunity to contemplate the sea in all its multifaceted glory.However, if, like me, you're no expert, you'll need a guide to take along, someone who knows the science of the sea and can communicate it clearly and alluringly. You're unlikely to find anything better than Rachel Carson's 1951 The Sea Around Us, the first, and still perhaps the best science bestseller. It wasn't her first attempt at capturing the oceans between the covers of a book; 10 years earlier she had published Under the Sea Wind, a set of short stories in which sea life is narrated through the eyes of birds and fish. This first book was a critical but not a commercial success and disappeared until the success of The Sea Around Us brought it back into print. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:20:48 GMT)

Top 10 dive bars in New York City: readers tips
Looking for a (cheap) drink and some fun in New York? Guardian readers suggest dive bars where the focus is on boozing and atmosphere not the decor Has your favourite been missed out? Dont let us go dry, just add your tip in the comments belowCalling itself New Yorks most famous dive bar, Rudys walks it likes it talks it: the beer is cheap, the hotdogs are free; Rolling Stone called its jukebox the best in the city and the seats are held together by duct tape! The 6ft pig outside first drew us, as rain-soaked tourists, in, and we found regulars as diverse as the city itself and friendly bar staff who regaled us with tales of the bars more colourful celebrity patrons, from Al Capone to a pre-drinking age Drew Barrymore. 627 9th Avenue, +1 646 707 0890, rudysbarnyc.com hecticplanet Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:00:11 GMT)

Bullying and hypocrisy Andy Coulsons reign at the News of the World
In 2005, Andy Coulson was the award-winning editor of the News of the World, presiding over a culture of ruthless exploitation. In the second extract from his new book Hack Attack, Nick Davies examines a world where there was only one rule get the story at any cost The pervasive power of Rupert Murdoch: the first extract from Hack AttackAndy Coulson had a good view from his office. Sitting at his desk, he could look out through his glass wall and see the beating heart of the News of the World. Right in front of him was the back bench the row of desks where he would often sit with his lieutenants, filtering all the material that was being pumped into the paper from news agencies and freelancers and from his own staff, making the decisions that shaped the paper.Beyond the back bench, he could see the picture desk and then the news desk where several executives ran the news reporters who were cramped together in a group on the far side of the room and, next to them, the sub-editors who would check their stories and write their headlines. Around the edges of the newsroom were the feature writers, the sports writers, offices for a few other executives and a special cubicle for the royal editor, Clive Goodman. This was Coulsons world, and he ruled it. But that wasnt the best part of the view. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:03:36 GMT)

Welcome to Williston, North Dakota: America's new gold rush city
The most expensive place to rent new housing in the US isn't Miami, LA or even New York. Thanks to the fracking boom, it's Williston, North Dakota, where Walmart pays $20/hour and new arrivals sleep in shipping containers. How does a city cope with a modern-day gold rush? 'Dropping dead is my retirement': the gold rushers of Williston in picturesAnyone who happened to pass along the northern slope of the Missouri river valley on US Route 2 in 2008, at the start of the global economic recession, would have seen a small city, suffering from the same malaise that was afflicting every other ranching-and-farming community scattered about the immense expanse of the US great plains. Young people were leaving Williston, North Dakota. The remaining residents were aging and dying off. No new industries wanted to move to an obscure corner of what was already one of the most obscure US states, plagued by a midcontinental climate where the average January night dips down to -18C and the normal July highs are 29C. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:10:37 GMT)

A global guide to the first world war - interactive documentary
Ten historians from 10 countries give a brief history of the first world war through a global lens. Using original news reports, interactive maps and rarely-seen footage, including extraordinary scenes of troops crossing Mesopotamia on camels and Italian soldiers fighting high up in the Alps, the half-hour film explores the war and its effects from many different perspectives. You can watch the documentary in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic or Hindi thanks to our partnership with the British Academy.Warning: contains images some viewers may find disturbing Continue reading...
(Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:48:39 GMT)

In search of the fatberg: a descent to the dark world of London's sewers
Braving the potential dangers of gas explosion and wall collapse, what lurks in the stink of an aging Victorian sewage system? Water, super-sewers and filth threatening the River ThamesThis was supposed to be a piece about contemporary reservoirs shiny, modern pumping equipment that looks like part of the latest Star Wars film, bucolic views across a stretch of water big enough to be an inland sea, the sound of exotic birds diving for fish and a gentle, fragrant breeze to bring cooling relief from the heat-wave sun.Why my editor didnt go for the idea, I will never know. Instead, she decided Id have a far better time spending one of the hottest days of the year down a south-London sewer searching for a fatberg. No, its not someone from the latest voyeuristic TV programme about Americans struggling with their weight, its a hard, putrid mass grown from the congealed fat, oil, wet wipes and other sundry food and health products chucked down plugholes by households and restaurants, from kebab houses to some smart hotels that should know better. They can lead to collapses in the sewers and sewage erupting from manholes, says Becky Trotman, a Thames Water spokesperson. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:46:36 GMT)

First world war a century on, time to hail the peacemakers
On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastropheIf we were still naming wars as colourfully as they used to the War of the Spanish Succession, the War of Jenkins' Ear we should call the one that began 100 years ago today the War of Unintended Consequences.No one, certainly, intended to create what Winston Churchill would later call a "crippled, broken world". Austria-Hungary, which declared war on 28 July 1914, merely wanted to dismember Serbia, where irredentists were stirring up ethnic Serbs in Austrian territory. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:00:15 GMT)

How much is white privilege worth? Ask the woman crowdfunding it
A satirical Go Fund Me campaign is offering donors the chance to help a woman buy a slice of the American pie by offering in return the "neat perks" of being blackThere's a recent strand of crowdfunding projects that has turned into something of a subversive art form. First there was Zack "Danger" Brown's potato salad ("basically I'm just making a potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet"), which has raised $50,000 (£29,500) on Kickstarter, and then there was The Daily Show's Jon Stewart launching a fake campaign to buy CNN (letsbuycnn.com). "If Rupert Murdoch buys Time Warner, CNN will be for sale! So let's buy it and, and do something with it. We're not sure what yet").Now there's Yaya M. The mysterious Ms M is attempting to acquire some white privilege because, according to her Go Fund Me mission statement: "Layered oppressions have affected my ability to access my slice of the American Pie." Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:30:00 GMT)

London's housing estates and the case for community control
Would the capital's social housing neighbourhoods work better if their residents had real power over how they are developed and run?Booming London can seem like a patchwork of power struggles over the use of precious, priceless land. Some of the fiercest are about the future of the capitals council-owned housing estates. The politics get very polarised. For the free market right such estates are socially harmful municipal planning errors that block the route to better homes and healthy growth. Left partisans defend them as redoubts of Londons poor and working class, fighting to preserve them like resistance movements dogging the advance of colonising wealth. At the heart of these conflicts lie questions about power. As part of its inquiry into the pros and cons of refurbishing or demolishing estates, the London Assemblys housing committee recently invited residents involved in struggles with their boroughs over regeneration schemes to City Hall to share their views. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:24:31 GMT)

First world war: how state and press kept truth off the front page
Threatening journalists with arrest seems unthinkable now but that was just one of the obstacles they faced at the start of WW1On this, the 100th anniversary of the day the first world war began, it is sobering to look back at the way that conflict was so badly reported. The catalogue of journalistic misdeeds is a matter of record: the willingness to publish propaganda as fact, the apparently tame acceptance of censorship and the failure to hold power to account. But a sweeping condemnation of the press coverage is unjust because journalists, as ever, were prevented from informing the public by three powerful forces the government, the military and their own proprietors.It is undeniable that newspapers began by demonising the German enemy. They published fabricated stories of German barbarism, which were accepted as fact. Although Belgian and French citizens were executed as reprisals by the German army in the early months of the war, many unverifiable stories later dubbed atrocity propaganda were wholly untrue. Editors and journalists were therefore guilty. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:00:09 GMT)

MH17: how Storyfuls social sleuthing helped verify evidence
Stories such as the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane show the importance of checking Twitter and YouTube contentIn the aftermath of an event as tragically uncertain as the MH17 plane disaster, amid claim and counterclaim about who was responsible, it becomes ever more important for news organisations to verify the validity of material on social media.This is where social news agency Storyful and its Open Newsroom come into their own. The Dublin-based company acquired by News Corp for 18m in December 2013 specialises in finding and verifying news content on social media. Open Newsroom, which Storyful launched on Google+ in June 2013, is a real-time community of news professionals whose objective is to debunk, fact-check, clarify, credit and source information around big news stories. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:15:07 GMT)

Bettys: restaurant review
They may not know much about rosti or chicken schnitzel, but theres much about Bettys to make a man crumble1 Parliament Street, Harrogate (01423 814 070). Meal for two, with drinks and service, £40-£80Its late at night and I am lying in a hotel bed with a tart. Dont judge me. You have no idea how lonely this life on the road can be. I have needs. I have desires. And this tart is more than ready to satisfy them. I refuse to feel any guilt. In this I am aided, of course, by the fact that the tart in question is of the Yorkshire curd variety. God, Im so bloody rock n roll, lying here trying not to get perfect shortcrust pastry down my chest. But that instinct to fastidiousness yeah, as if! is overwhelmed by pure greed. The shameless alchemy of sweetened cheese with the currants and the hit of citrus from the lemon curd, is a beautiful thing. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 05:00:12 GMT)

Traditional treatment for depression is not always the answer
In the face of a Tory call for cuts to benefits for those who go without treatment, it is important to know how brutal some methods can be and why refusing them can be validIt might seem odd to hear someone who has had most of their adult life blighted by depression describe themselves as lucky but, in reality, I have been very lucky. I've managed to hold down full-time jobs since my mid-twenties and barring one episode in 2010, which saw me signed off work for three weeks while I waited for new medication to kick in I've managed to restrict my periods off work to a week or less. I've also been blessed with very understanding and sympathetic employers who never made me feel like my absences were an inconvenience or a burden. So, like I say I've been lucky.But everyone who deals with the day-to-day realities of depression is aware that your luck can change I know full well that it could strike again at any moment, and do so with a severity I have yet to encounter. That Sword of Damocles is one that we just have to live with. One thing is certain: if I ever find myself in a situation where I am out of work for a considerable amount of time, then I really will know that my luck's run out if the Conservative party go ahead with mooted plans to slash the sickness benefits of depression sufferers who refuse treatment, because, as it stands, I am one of the refuseniks. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:00:00 GMT)

Football transfer rumours: Douglas Costa on his way to Arsenal?
Todays tattle can wipe away the Monday morning blues Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:09:22 GMT)

Lily Allen prank: Australian police now under investigation for handcuffing star
Officers who staged a fake arrest of the singer at Gold Coast airport that was photographed and shared with her 4.8 million followers on Twitter allegedly 'broke protocol' Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 01:22:53 GMT)

Companies proclaim water the next oil in a rush to turn resources into profit
Mammoth companies are trying to collect water that all life needs and charge for it as they would for other natural resources Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:30:03 GMT)

Manchester United: five things we have learned from the US tour so far
Wayne Rooney remains a lynchpin; Ander Herrera brings much-needed midfield dynamism; more signings needed to create a title-challenging squad Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:13:34 GMT)

Nude body painting in pictures
Body-painting artists hold a gathering in New York including a post-painting march down Broadway and a return to Times Square for a photoshoot Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:30:12 GMT)

Arsenals Arsène Wenger happy to take £11m gamble on Calum Chambers
19-year-olds fee could rise to £16m Southamptons exodus set to continue Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:42:40 GMT)

John Alford: the TV actor whose career was wrecked by Mazher Mahmood
Former TV star tells of lasting effects of fake sheikh's entrapment Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:00:00 GMT)

Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi promises 'no flirting' with sidekick in new series
Glaswegian actor insists there will be 'no Papa-Nicole moments' with co-star Jenna Coleman's character Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:49:11 GMT)

Severe storms cause chaos in Sussex
Rail and roads around Brighton hit by lightning strikes and flooding with warnings storms will spread across south-east Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:36:00 GMT)

Brendan Rodgers says Dejan Lovren will bring leadership to Liverpool
Lovren takes Liverpools summer spending to £80m Rodgers: since we lost Carragher weve needed leadership Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:21:47 GMT)

David Cameron will lose the battle of ideas if he keeps firing 1979s bullets
Even with a growing economy, the Tories still trail Labour at the polls. Thatcherite thinking just wont cut it at the 2015 electionHidden away in Ed Milibands unorthodox speech about the perceived failings of his leadership is a more defiant claim: he asserts confidently the battle of ideas is what matters most in politics.On the surface the claim is odd, and reinforces the caricature of Miliband as a geek. Most voters do not pay attention to politics, let alone ideas. Few will take Thomas Pikettys book on Inequality or Michael Sandels thoughts on failing markets with them on holiday. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:58:34 GMT)

If Tulisa Contostavlos were middle class, she wouldnt face such scorn
Tulisa is branded by the media as a chav and therefore almost anything can be said about her. Surely this is the true crime hereHating Tulisa Contostavlos is a horrible pastime for all kinds of people. The former X Factor judge and N-Dubz member has been vilified for years.It is quite difficult to explain the extent of her crimes. The drugs trial against her in which she was set up by fake sheikh Mazher Mahmood collapsed last week. She had been accused of dealing drugs in a ludicrous sting executed by the Sun on Sunday. Mahmood was clearly an unreliable witness. Most lawyers cant understand why the case even went to court. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:51:16 GMT)

Outraged by 'poor doors'? See how you like the alternatives
We may recoil from the idea of housing developments with separate entrances for the rich and the rest, but they are just a symptom of a much bigger problem in LondonLike business class air travel or first class train carriages, apartment blocks with backstreet entrances - so-called "poor doors" - and worse facilities for residents of their cheaper flats hit a raw nerve. In London, they set in stone - or, more likely, steel and glass - the very standard class status of some Londoners compared with others, many of whom don't actually live in London at all and are just passing through. But while their symbolism repels, the sobering fact is that "poor doors" at least open onto homes you don't need to be a millionaire to inhabit. They are the least endearing aspect of trade-offs between private developers and London boroughs and mayors, which have long been vital for augmenting the inadequate supply of homes that Londoners on low and even middle incomes can afford. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:27:51 GMT)

Scottish women wont be silenced in the referendum debate
Both camps in Scotlands fight for independence have finally woken up to what we knew all along: womens votes will be keyThere was the woman who travelled from Tarbert to Tighnabruaich by ferry for a coffee morning in the winter, whose husband then had to come by car and its a long way round to collect her. Theres the woman who has been a party member for years, turning up faithfully at branch meetings, never daring to speak. Now shes coordinating activity in her own patch and engaging voters from street stalls. The woman inspired by the death of politician Margo MacDonald to get off her backside and do something? She has set up a group with more than 50 members in only three months. And then theres the single parent, who has never done anything like this in her life, who attended her first meeting and the next day was out knocking on doors, chatting with undecided voters.This is politics, but far from politics as weve known it. Two and a half years ago, Women for Independence began as an inspired idea, given life over a convivial meal among like-minded women. Now, it is a movement, with more than 1,200 members in over 40 groups across Scotland. Formed by women for women, we wanted to ensure women had a voice in the referendum debate. Crucially, we wanted to listen to the ordinary women of Scotland who every day do extraordinary things in holding down jobs, raising families, caring for relatives, contributing to their communities wellbeing. Women who had been excluded or, at best, marginalised from traditional politics for far too long. And of course, we wanted to encourage more of them to vote yes to independence. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:26:16 GMT)

Yes, Britain can afford to defy Tsar Vladimir Putin
At last there may be justice for Alexander Litvinenko, but it has taken a downed passenger jet to make us see that Russia does not own BritainThe British secret state has finally done the right thing by ordering a public inquiry into the poisoning of the fugitive Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko. Admittedly, in taking on Vladimir Putin, it has done the right thing for the wrong reasons and after exhausting all other options. Still, despite the warnings of the Chicken Lickens in Whitehall and the City, the sky has not fallen. Russia can be defied, it seems, and the world still turns.I thought my jaundiced eyes would never see the day. In 2013, the Foreign Office used every variety of official subterfuge to stop the public and, more disgracefully, Litvinenko's widow discovering the truth about the most sensational political assassination in years. Lured into a London hotel by two Russian agents, who slipped him polonium-210, Litvinenko was the victim of an agonisingly slow death and an exemplary punishment. After seeing his tortured frame, anyone thinking of betraying Moscow's secrets to the west would think again. Continue reading...
(Sat, 26 Jul 2014 23:06:06 GMT)

We must ensure that schools are never targeted in armed conflict
After the damage done to schools in Gaza, new rules are needed that preserve the right to education during conflictA total of 120 schools, more than 70 run by the United Nations refugee agency, have been bombed or suffered collateral damage during the recent emergency in Gaza. But it was last Thursdays devastation, with the deaths of 15 women, children and UN staff and the injury of more than 200 in the bombing of the UN school in Beit Hanoun that brought the issue to a head. It has challenged us to end, once and for all, the use of schools and their pupils as pawns in the pursuit of war.As the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has said, schools are for learning and must never become theatres of war. They should be safe havens for boys and girls, and their violation is a crime against international law. And whatever the provocation, their militarisation by whatever means should be outlawed. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:41:59 GMT)

Richard III: my eight degrees of separation
A family yarn restores much needed mystery to the now almost banal story of Richard IIIs final resting placeSome years ago, I came across an old newspaper cutting that included a letter from a distant relative of mine. It was written in 1919 and said that she had it, on the authority of an eyewitness, that Richard III was no hunchback.The story came from the authors grandfather, born in 1784. He told her father that his uncles grandfather had danced with the Countess of Desmond, who is supposed to have died falling out of a cherry tree at the ripe old age of 140. (Bear with me on this.) The countess, it seems, had danced with the young Richard III at a court banquet when she was a girl, and said he was very handsome and had no signs of deformity. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:00:11 GMT)

The Guardian view on the campaign to end female genital mutilation: keep up the momentum
Huge progress has been made since the Guardian launched its petition to end FGM in February, but there is much more to be done.The point at which a movement gathers critical momentum can be hard to detect. But sometime between February, when the Guardian launched its petition to end FGM, and last Tuesdays Girl Summit when top politicians, lobbyists and campaigners, like Fahma Mohamed from Bristol and Jaha Dukureh from Gambia via the US, met in London to mobilise global support, the mood was transformed. Doors were opened. Political leaders found space in their diaries. From being a disconcerting concern of development specialists and feminists, the campaign to end FGM is now at the centre of a broad worldwide campaign to tackle violence against girls and women.This years achievements have been remarkable. More than 250,000 people signed the Guardian petition. In April the then education secretary Michael Gove met Fahma Mohamed and agreed to ask every school to find a way to educate pupils about FGM. In the US, the Obama administration has acceded to Jaha Dukurehs call for a new survey to update the incidence of FGM. And at last weeks summit, David Cameron and Nick Clegg promised new legislation to end it. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:27:10 GMT)

BBC Worldwide: smoke and mirrors
The way the corporations commercial arm now reports its results makes it almost impossible to assess how it is performingThe BBCs commercial arm Worldwide formerly BBC Enterprises used to be a simple affair. Take BBC-produced programmes, sell them to broadcasters around the world and invest the profits in future BBC productions. BBC Enterprises declared profits were always pretty low primarily because the criteria they used to decide on programme investment were (deliberately) in many cases only borderline commercial. The idea was to invest as much as possible in new programmes, thus reducing declared profits and the tax bills that came with them. Throw in BBC magazines and BBC Books and that was it. True, the relative lack of commerciality almost certainly provided cover for widespread inefficiency, but it was at least relatively straightforward.The last 10 years, however, have seen BBC Worldwide transformed. Under former director general Mark Thompson and chief executive John Smith, refocusing on profitability of the declarable type and expanding into a host of new markets and activities became the priorities. Worldwide now runs channels all over the world and has its own production businesses in the US, India, France and Germany. It set up its own format factory in Los Angeles and began investing directly in indies and paying for and distributing non-BBC content. It set out to conquer the world with the global iPlayer. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:00:06 GMT)

Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement is about inequality. The elite knows it
What prominent tycoons really fear is a pro-democracy movement which will convert demands for increasing suffrage into robust demands for redistributionPopular analyses of burgeoning political agitation around universal suffrage in Hong Kong often side-step an inconvenient reality that the underlying story is not simply about relations with the mainland or concerns over its authoritarian ways, but rather about massive social inequality and the diminishing opportunities available to many Hong Kongers. On 4 June, Hong Kongs Victoria Park filled with people to commemorate the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Less than a month later, massive numbers of Hong Kongers many of them young once again turned out on 1 July for the annual pro-democracy march throughout Hong Kong's financial hub. Both of these events exhibited the excitement and tension associated with increasing levels of political activity which has all too often been characterised as stemming from democratic deficits currently built into the regions governance. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:28:20 GMT)

The energy-efficient way to punish Putin and protect the planet
For once Europes greens and securocrats can join forces by reducing the EUs dependence on imports of Russian gasEurope has a Russia problem, as Herman van Rompuy, the president of the European council, recognised on Friday by sending out the latest draft of the proposed sanctions. Nick Clegg is right that Russia should lose the 2018 World Cup, but that is Fifas call. In those areas where it has clout, the EU is going to be tougher than most predict. The shooting down of MH17 has dramatised Russias role, and made it harder for European leaders to duck the consequences.Astonishingly, the MH17 incident does not appear to have even interrupted Russian arms supplies to the Ukrainian rebels. Petro Poroshenko, Ukraines new president, believes Russia is continuing to supply weaponry and according to western intelligence sources, he is right. Whether Putin wants to annex the Donbas Luhansk and Donetsk as well as Crimea is moot. Some argue that he sees Russian interests as equally well served by a fractured and weak Ukraine. Whatever the objective, the means are clear and hard to misinterpret. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:16:38 GMT)

From Concorde to the iPhone, state intervention drives technological innovation
History tells us that state involvement is the best route to prosperity. Our politicians need to think big and accept the risk of failureIf you wanted to radically alter the economy, making a country such as Britain as dynamic as China or Brazil, what would the state have to do? Intervene, obviously, but how?That has become a hard question to answer since the onset of free-market economics. Much of the old apparatus of state control has been dismantled. Plus, the political culture in which planners, engineers and technical innovators inhabited the same offices has been shattered. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:00:08 GMT)

Meccas changing face matches the needs of its Muslim pilgrims
Every Ramadan the holy city we see on our TV screens looks bigger and shinier than it did the year beforeRamadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is drawing to a close. The last 10 days are considered the holiest, and the focal point is the holiest of the cities, Mecca from where Ramadan evening and dawn prayers are broadcast on a live feed around the Muslim world.Every Ramadan Mecca and the Grand Mosque, which lies is at its centre, look different: bigger, brighter, shinier. The Kaaba, the small shrouded building at the centre of the mosque, which could once be seen from any of the hills around it, is now obscured. The city has been a large construction site over the past 20 years, and the results are beginning to show. At night, all lit up and crowded with apartments and hotels, Mecca now looks like a Saudi interpretation of Gotham or even Las Vegas. A large, Big Ben-like clock tower looms over the centre, and shopping malls and high-rise blocks are being built in a circle around the pilgrimage zone. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:57:17 GMT)

You, sir, are unfit to run a whelk stall
Arthur Wynne, who emigrated to the US from his native Liverpool, is conventionally hailed as the first setter of a newspaper crossword (for the New York World of 21 December 1913). But the crossword did not become the craze that swept the United States until 1924, when two young graduates of the Columbia school of journalism, Dick Simon and Lincoln Schuster, decided to try their luck as publishers with a Crossword Puzzle Book. Simon & Schuster has never looked back. The fad did not properly reach these shores until the following year, when the Daily Telegraph printed a crossword as a six-week trial. The Manchester Guardian held out until 1929 and the Times, where the crossword was regarded as "a toy for vacant minds", until the next year. Even then, the crossword bore no relationship, other than its shape, to the modern British cryptic puzzle. The clue for 1 across in the first Guardian puzzle was "One of our elder statesmen": solution, Balfour.In fact, the cryptic crossword that we know today is an essentially postwar development. In the Guardian the two giants of this process were Alec Robbins, a Manchester classics teacher, who set for us as Custos and died aged 80 in 1998, and John Graham (Araucaria), who started setting for us in 1958 and continued to do so until last year, when he died aged 92. Continue reading...
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:00:00 GMT)

André Santos: from Arsenal misfit to being beaten up by his own fans
The left-backs fall from grace has had dangerous consequences that cause wider questions to be asked of the Brazilian gameArsenal supporters are unlikely to have fond memories of André Santos. The Brazilians two-year spell at the club, between 2011 and 2013 included 13 Premier League starts, one attempted high-speed getaway on the M25 and one ill-advised half-time shirt swap with Robin van Persie at half-time. All in all, not a great return for the £6m Arsène Wenger paid to secure the defenders services from Fenerbahce.Since leaving Arsenal, however, life has got worse for Santos. A lot worse. Now plying his trade back in Brazil, the left-back was last week at the centre of a series of events that will surely cause the harshest of his critics to side with him. Upon leaving the Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre on 20 July, he was beaten up by a group of Flamengo fans furious that their team, which he had represented for almost exactly a year, had just been trounced 4-0 by hosts Internacional a result that left the Rio side entrenched at the bottom of the Campeonato Brasileiro. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:04:01 GMT)

How Michel Gondry turns twee into art
He brought us Kylie clones, brainwashing hairdryers and Gael García Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg galloping on a giant fabric horse and makes it all look like something a geek would whip up in their garden shed The DIY art of Michel Gondry in picturesMichel Gondry is the master of stowaway genius: the killer concept smuggled past our eyes in raggedy clothing, so that its brilliance is all the more unexpected. Though his ideas are pointed and precise, their aesthetic is anything but. The work of the 51-year-old French writer-director from the late 1980s music promos he made for his band, Oui Oui, to his most recent film, Mood Indigo, which stars Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris has a DIY feel. He makes meticulous production design look like simple resourcefulness, using the facade of spontaneity to distract from the military precision of his art.A typical Gondry sequence might show someone strolling through a humdrum landscape, only for oddball, surrealist miracles to casually materialise around them. Kylie Minogue running errands in the video for Come Into My World is a perfect example: she's gradually accompanied by multiple versions of herself and multiple versions of the people she passes, on an otherwise unexceptional stroll. In Michel Gondry's world, this is same-old, same-old. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:43:00 GMT)

Inconceivable! Director Rob Reiner still planning Princess Bride musical
Original film's director Rob Reiner reveals new plans to turn the cult classic into a Broadway musical, after Disney's adaptation goes quietDirector Rob Reiner has revealed he is still planning to turn his classic film The Princess Bride into a Broadway musical, after previous, separate attempts by Reiner himself and Disney, hit roadblocks.Reiner reportedly told entertainment news blog WENN he was still considering revamping the project for the stage, saying: "I think it would make a great musical. I think the songs As You Wish and Inconceivable, and The Battle of Wits just jump out at you." Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:16:14 GMT)

Steve Austins favourite TV
The WWE wrestling legend on his television stunners and slammers Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:00:15 GMT)

Comic-Con 2014: Quentin Tarantino on the Django-Zorro crossover
Director joins panel Q&A on Dynamite's comic-book sequel to his western and confirms next project The Hateful EightThe publishing imprint Dynamite Entertainment, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, will publish the first non-film sequel to a Quentin Tarantino movie in November, with a comic book featuring Django Unchained's Django alongside Zorro, the long-running character from the Dynamite universe.Senior figures from Dynamite gathered at Comic-Con in San Diego, California, to discuss the Django/Zorro crossover and premiere its artwork, along with its writer, Matt Wagner, Django Unchained's producer, Reginald Hudlin, and Tarantino, who was the main draw for most. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:42:29 GMT)

LA court dismisses sex abuse claim by UK actor against Bryan Singer
The court found no legal basis for the lawsuit against the X-Men director, leading to speculation that a separate abuse claim may also be dropped Man who accused Bryan Singer of sexual abuse drops other lawsuits X-Men director Bryan Singer files motion to dismiss sex-abuse lawsuitBryan Singer, director of The Usual Suspects and part of the X-Men franchise, is no longer named in a sexual abuse case filed against Hollywood executives by an anonymous British actor.The film-maker had been the subject of a lawsuit alleging he assaulted the young man at an after-party for 2006's Superman Returns, when the alleged victim was 17. But a Los Angeles court has accepted Singer's motion to dismiss, which was made several weeks ago, on the grounds that there was no legal basis for the suit, and that it was improperly brought. Continue reading...
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:20:00 GMT)

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