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Alex Salmond resigns as first minister after Scotland rejects independence
Leader of the Scottish National party will stand down in November, as the vote foreshadowed months of constitutional turmoilAlex Salmond declared he will stand down as Scotland's first minister and the leader of the Scottish National party after failing to secure a majority for independence, as the country's vote to remain in the United Kingdom foreshadowed months of constitutional turmoil. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:48:00 GMT)

Cameron's 'devolution revolution': what could it mean for the UK? Q&A
What is the West Lothian question, and how might it work? Your post-referendum questions answered Scotland votes no Friday's developmentsThe "vow" signed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg which was published in the Daily Record promised "extensive new powers" for the Scottish parliament over income tax rates, spending and welfare, committed them to keeping Scotland's current share of public spending, and guaranteed to make the Scottish parliament permanent. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:47:00 GMT)

Violence in Glasgow as loyalists attack pro-independence supporters
Six arrests as young men shout loyalist slogans and racist abuse and appear to make Nazi salutes, as well as chanting Rule BritanniaSix people were arrested amid angry scenes in Glasgow on Friday night as a group of young pro-union supporters clashed with pro-independence supporters who had been gathering in George Square throughout the day.Police acted to separate a small group of pro-independence supporters from a group of skinheads believed to have marched from the loyalist pub the Louden Tavern in nearby Duke Street. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:46:03 GMT)

I confess, I thought yes would win. But Im glad Scotland has given Britain a fright
That nearly every Scottish adult over the age of 16 has been engaged, peacefully, in a crucial political decision is the referendums great achievementI went to sleep with Peter Kellner and woke up with the returning officer for East Renfrewshire. In the four hours between, the prediction of a no win Kellner said he was 99% sure had turned into figures from the few declared results. The running total showed 56/44 in favour of the union. I felt surprise and relief. I hadnt expected this result. On Wednesday evening Id phoned my oldest friend a yes voter to say it looked as though his side had it in the bag. Its interesting to consider why I felt this. Partly, of course, it was a strategy: prepare for the worst and save yourself disappointment. But it also seemed you felt it that Scotland was feverish with yes-ness.In early August I wrote that there were few visible signs of excitement, but over the next few weeks everything changed. Bute, the island where Im staying, had yes signs stuck to lamp-posts, cars and fishing boats. Farmers put up hoardings in fields. Saltires flew from yachts and garden poles, and hung limply from tenement windows. Saltire-itis. One village, Yes City as I came to think of it, had a house with flags the lion rampant as well the saltire attached to every protuberance. In England, popular symbolism of this kind has its causes in royal weddings and football matches; not everyone shares the enthusiasm, but as these events arent open to voting, the non-sharers are rarely discovered or quantified and the appearance can stand for the reality. But forget the flags. The impression of yess progress and, I imagined, ultimate success had surer footings in overheard conversations and direct questioning, to which people were often remarkably open. You might ask a shopkeeper, for example, how she felt things would turn out, taking care to avoid her personal intention, and she would say: Myself, Im a yes. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:26:00 GMT)

What is the West Lothian question and why does it matter?
The question famously posed by Tam Dalyell in 1977 over non-English MPs' role at Westminster remains a tricky oneScotland votes no: UK heading for a 'devolution revolution' - liveMost simply put, it asks why Scottish, Welsh or indeed Northern Irish MPs have the same right to vote at Westminster as any English MP now that large areas of policy are devolved to national parliaments and assemblies in areas such as health, housing, schools and policing. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:22:00 GMT)


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(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:14:38 GMT)

British Muslim scholars tell Isis that holding hostage goes against Qur'an
Video appeal from the orthodox Salafi school of Islamic thought calls for Isis to release British aid worker Alan HenningBritish Muslim scholars have made a direct video appeal to Islamist militants to release Alan Henning,whom they are threatening to behead, warning the killing would break Islamic laws.The video appeals come from three scholars from the orthodox Salafi school of Islamic thought, which many in the west see as fundamentalist. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:15:57 GMT)

Alibaba valued at $231bn after frenzied debut as public company
Shares in the Chinese internet giant reach a high of $100 as founder Jack Ma says We want to be bigger than WalmartFollow all the latest on the Alibaba IPOAlibaba, the Chinese internet giant, made a frenzied debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday ending its first day as a public company valued at over $231bn, more than Facebook or Amazon and eBay combined.The biggest ever share sale in the US got off to a flying if delayed start on Friday as investors snapped up stock. Shares initially priced at $68 reached a high of $100 at one point before settling back to $93.89 by the end of the day, up 38%. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:57:43 GMT)

Turkish hostages held by Isis have been freed and returned home, PM says
The 49 hostages, including diplomatic staff, children and special forces police, were taken in the Iraqi city of Mosul on 11 JuneDozens of Turkish hostages who were seized by Islamic militants in Iraq have been freed and safely returned to Turkey, the prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said on Saturday.The 49 Turks, including diplomatic staff, were seized from the consulate on 11 June when the Islamic State group (Isis) overran Mosul, in Iraq, and stormed the Turkish consulate. The hostages included the consul general, Ozturk Yilmaz, other diplomats, children and special forces police. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:00:44 GMT)

G20 nations want Vladimir Putin at summit despite Ukraine tensions
Russian president set to attend the G20 leaders summit in Australia despite anger about MH17 and conflict in UkraineVladimir Putin is set to attend the G20 leaders summit in November despite alarm over Russias actions in Ukraine.Australia, which is hosting the gathering, said on Saturday it was the emphatic wish of member nations that the Russian president attend. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 03:40:58 GMT)

New Zealand election: voters await results after extraordinary campaign live
New Zealands prime minister, John Key, is vying for a third term in Saturdays poll, following the most surprising election campaign in recent memory 8.55am BST Heres the nationwide party vote from TVNZ, with around 18.3% of the party (as opposed to the electorate) vote counted. The Nationals have shot to a significant lead; also worth noting is the strong performance of the New Zealand First party. 8.50am BST It appears to be a local tradition for the party leaders to feed the reporters covering their homes on election night. John Key fed the hacks pizza, David Cunliffe provided sausages. The Greens have a vegan kitchen running (with a taco truck mercifully parked out front of their election night function for the carnivores).Pizza delivery man Suneel poses with PM John Key after delivering election night dinner pic.twitter.com/wjJNn2wBur 8.47am BST With 83.2 percent of advance votes counted - Nat 48.4 %, Labour 23.5%,Greens 9.9%,NZ First 9.1%, Conservative 4.4% http://t.co/SRszOcObO5 8.46am BST Colin Craig's Conservatives, sitting on 4.42%, are going to tease us to the very end.My colleague Toby Manhire notes that the Conservatives are hovering around 4.42%, with a quarter of votes counted. Theyll need 5% to win - or their leader, Colin Craig, will need to win the seat of East Coast Bays. Hes currently trailing by about 4,000 votes. 8.40am BST Lets deal with some of the controversies that have rocked this campaign.First, an explosive tome by the investigative journalist Nicky Hager called Dirty Politics revealed that a senior National cabinet minister may have been involved in a smear campaign with a prominent right-wing blogger.Hager draws on thousands of hacked emails and Facebook private messages, which reveal [blogger Cameron] Slaters links to Jason Ede, then a senior press adviser and so-called black ops co-ordinator in the prime ministers office, as well as to senior cabinet minister Judith Crusher Collins and others. Taken together, Hager claims in the book, the material exposes the covert attack machine run by the National party and its allies and a new kind of attack politics rapidly changing the political environment.The National party has scrambled to explain correspondence suggesting Collins, the justice minister and an avowed close friend of Slater, had fed him with information about a public servant so that he could attack him on his blog, which led to death threats in the comments. Key, who earlier this year acknowledged that he regularly spoke with Slater to see what hes got on his site and mind, this week described Collinss action as unwise but refused to ask for her resignation, despite having given her a last chance after she was at the centre of political controversy earlier in the year. 8.35am BST With 11.4% of party votes counted: National 48%(worth 61 seats); Labour 24%(30); NZ First10%(12); Green 9%(12) via http://t.co/AX883lDDvf 8.33am BST After 15% of votes counted, Acts David Seymour has a healthy lead in Epsom. As we noted below, that seat is crucial if the Act party wants to have any presence in the next parliament. 8.28am BST Craig Robertson has compiled this list of three key electorates to watch:Te Tai Tokerau 8.21am BST From our special correspondents Craig Robertson, Anna Rankin and Thomas Carnegie:Labour Party 8.15am BST Geoffrey Miller, a political commentator from the University of Otago, has offered these early thoughts, in which he says the Conservatives are the party to watch.All eyes will be on the performance of the new Conservative Party which is fighting to cross the 5% threshold required to enter Parliament under New Zealands election laws. The Conservatives, who are headed by Colin Craig, do not have a realistic chance of winning an electorate (constituency( seat, for which an exemption is made under the 5% rule. So the only hope for the Conservatives is to cross the 5% threshold. No public polls showed them making 5%, but several had them very close in the lead-up to election day.If the Conservatives do make 5%, then a National-led John Key government is much more likely because no votes will be wasted on the right. If the Conservatives dont make 5% but come close, as expected, this not only leads to a large number of votes not counting, but also suggests that the Conservatives main rival, NZ First will have benefited. NZ First, led by Winston Peters, is competing for a similar pool of older, socially conservative voters, but has the advantage of being a more centrist party which can also win votes from the left. 8.06am BST As we noted above, this election has seen record voter turnout. This graph from the NZ electoral commission shows just how remarkable the early voting has been:Those figures will be in early and give us a very strong view of the likely final result. However, in the past such Advance Votes have favoured the right - so some caution is needed in overestimating Nationals final vote.But theres every indication that there will be a large bump back up for this election. Large numbers of Advance Votes being cast are one indication of this. But more than this, its been an incredibly colourful campaign that has (unusually) produced significant interest in politics. No one in New Zealand could be unaware that theres an election going on. 8.00am BST Heres where each party roughly places on a left-right spectrum, from our Special Election HQ Correspondent Thomas Carnegie:A well 'researched' breakdown of New Zealands political spectrum #Elections2014 pic.twitter.com/JOxYdZatOj 7.55am BST So, how does it all work?New Zealands election runs on a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system, introduced in 1996.The first vote is for the political party the voter chooses. This is called the party vote and largely decides the total number of seats each political party gets in Parliament.The second vote is to choose the MP the voter wants to represent the electorate they live in. This is called the electorate vote. The candidate who gets the most votes wins. They do not have to get more than half the votes. 7.46am BST As a typically self-satisfied Australian, my urge to mock New Zealands election blackout law is as strong as the one to make tired (but still hilarious) references to sheep. But earlier today on Twitter, Wellington-based writer Giovanni Tiso relayed this story from Italy, which has a similar blackout law. Its worth sharing:People influence people, and how influence works is not always obvious. I'm going to illustrate it with a little story about nuns.Except this one time the supervisor of the polling place decided he was going to apply the law and not allow that to happen.So for a day we shut up, because if we keep talking it's like we were walking into the booth with someone, sometimes. 7.43am BST Here is international pop sensation Lorde doing her civic duty urging young New Zealanders to vote despite not being herself allowed to vote. Shes 17, one year shy of the legal age. 7.39am BST Our team of experts, live from Guardian Election HQ in Auckland!Our special election correspondents pic.twitter.com/eDRWxYRgdq 7.35am BST Heres the front page from Aucklands biggest newspaper today: 7.26am BST Welcome to our coverage of the 2014 New Zealand general election, beaming live from Guardian Election HQ in Auckland.Polls in New Zealand opened at 9am local time and will close in about an hour, after one of the most extraordinary election campaigns in recent memory more on that later. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:23 GMT)

French planes carry out air strikes on Isis targets in Iraq
Military move comes as US prepares to attack terror group targets in neighbouring SyriaFrench planes have carried out air strikes on Islamic State (Isis) targets in Iraq as the US prepares to broaden the campaign against the terror group by attacking targets in neighbouring Syria.The French intervention took place less than 24 hours after it was authorised by President François Hollande and marks the first time a foreign air force has joined the US in launching strikes since Isis rampaged through the Levant over the summer. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:14:29 GMT)

Sinking of Mediterranean migrant boat mass murder, says UN rights chief
Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein says survivors' accounts of incident in which 500 died point to 'crime that must not go unpunished'The UN's new human rights chief has urged Egypt to join with European nations in hunting down the human traffickers who allegedly drowned up to 500 migrants in the Mediterranean by ramming their boat. He said the traffickers are likely guilty of "mass murder" and should be brought to justice.Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said it was important to "end the prevailing impunity surrounding such crimes", stressing that those seeking escape from chaos and warfare, such as the huge numbers fleeing Syria, had the right to seek refuge. He also demanded a wider rethink of the conditions that push so many thousands to undertake such risky voyages. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:47:37 GMT)

Hilary Mantel reveals she fantasised about killing Margaret Thatcher
Author tells of day she spotted unguarded prime minister, who she describes as anti-feminist, 'psychological transvestite'Hilary Mantel has recalled the day in 1983 when she spotted an unguarded Margaret Thatcher from the window of her Windsor flat and fantasised about killing her."Immediately your eye measures the distance," she told the Guardian, her finger and thumb forming a gun. "I thought, if I wasn't me, if I was someone else, she'd be dead." Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:01:57 GMT)

Ukraine negotiators agree to buffer zone to separate warring parties
Deal is intended to solidify the ceasefire agreed two weeks ago and give civilians respite from shelling Negotiators in Ukrainian peace talks agreed early on Saturday to create a buffer zone to separate government troops and pro-Russian militants and withdraw heavy weapons and foreign fighters to encourage a stable truce in eastern Ukraine.The deal reached by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the Moscow-backed rebels and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) marks an effort to add substance to the ceasefire agreement that was signed two weeks ago but has been frequently broken. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 02:46:19 GMT)

Catalonia's parliament paves the way for November vote on independence
Catalan leader denies Scotland's referendum result is a setback as Spain's PM says vote planned for November will be illegalThe Catalan parliament passed a law paving the way for a non-binding vote on secession on Friday, hours after finding out it would not have a Scottish precedent to follow in the region's quest for independence.While noting he would have preferred a yes vote in the Scottish referendum, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, said the task of independence would now be left to Catalonia: "Maybe the first case will be the Catalan one." Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:06:59 GMT)

Putin considers plan to unplug Russia from the internet 'in an emergency'
Kremlin to discuss taking control of the .ru domain and measures to disconnect Russians from the web in the event of unrestThe Kremlin is considering radical plans to unplug Russia from the global internet in the event of a serious military confrontation or big anti-government protests at home, Russian officials hinted on Friday.President Vladimir Putin will convene a meeting of his security council on Monday. It will discuss what steps Moscow might take to disconnect Russian citizens from the web "in an emergency", the Vedomosti newspaper reported. The goal would be to strengthen Russia's sovereignty in cyberspace. The proposals could also bring the domain .ru under state control, it suggested. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:17:00 GMT)

Texas court upholds right to take 'upskirt' pictures
Judges strike down part of statute, saying inherently expressive medium of photography is part of right to free speechA court has upheld the constitutional right of Texans to photograph strangers as an essential component of freedom of speech - even if those images should happen to be surreptitious upskirt pictures of women taken for the purposes of sexual gratification.Criticising an anti-creepshot law as a paternalistic intrusion on a persons right to be aroused, the Texas court of criminal appeals struck down part of the states improper photography or visual recording statute which banned photographing, broadcasting or transmitting a visual image of another person without the others consent and with the intention to arouse or gratify sexual desire. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:43:21 GMT)

IFS: austerity will continue during next Tory, Labour or Lib Dem parliament
George Osborne would need more than £37bn in next three years to balance books, experts sayGeorge Osborne's plans to balance the government's books will require additional tax increases, spending cuts or welfare cuts worth more than £37bn in the first three years of the next parliament, according to Britain's leading experts on the public finances.In an assessment of the budget plans of the three biggest Westminster parties, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that austerity would continue under a Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat chancellor, but that Osborne had by far the toughest approach to fiscal policy. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:22:12 GMT)

Two Britons missing from yacht after Mexican hurricane
Two people missing after Sundays hurricane caused chaos in Baja California confirmed as British citizensTwo Britons are missing after hurricane Odile swept through Mexicos Baja California peninsula last Sunday. The BBC reported the couple were Paul Whitehouse, from Wolverhampton, and Simone Wood, from London, both in their 40s. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 04:37:49 GMT)

Police investigating disappearance of Alice Gross find bike owned by suspect
14-year-old disappeared in west London three weeks ago and Arnis Zalkalns, convicted of murder in Latvia, is also missing Detectives are hoping for a breakthrough in the disappearance of teenager Alice Gross after finding a bike belonging to a suspect who is a convicted murderer. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:11:39 GMT)

Rotherham director of children's services quits in wake of abuse scandal
Joyce Thacker's is latest in a series of resignations following Jay report that revealed scale of child sex abuse in RotherhamJoyce Thacker, who has been the subject of criticism following the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal, is to leave her job as Rotherham council's director of children's services "by mutual agreement, with immediate effect", the authority said on Friday.Thacker, who was the deputy director of children's services before she headed the department from 2008, has been at the centre of the controversy sparked by the Jay report, which highlighted the widespread exploitation of children in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:28:37 GMT)

New Cambridge students to attend compulsory sexual consent workshops
Oxford will also put on similar sessions designed to debunk myths surrounding consent at 20 of its collegesAs freshers arrive at Cambridge University next month, on their packed timetable of welcome meetings, matriculation photographs, punting trips and city tours there will be one extra date for their diaries.For the first time in the university's 800-year history, new undergraduates at half of the colleges will be expected to attend compulsory sexual consent workshops. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:17:01 GMT)

Man arrested after 24 Eritreans found in lorry near Dover
Discovery comes amid concern across Channel about number of migrants using Calais as a staging post to try to reach UKA man has been arrested after 24 suspected illegal immigrants were found in the back of a lorry near Dover. The suspect was held on suspicion of "facilitation offences" following the discovery of the Eritrean nationals in the HGV in Whitfield, near Dover, Kent.Paramedics checked them over at the scene but none needed to be admitted to hospital, South East Coast ambulance service said. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:12:56 GMT)

NHS is Labour's priority in election fight, says Ed Balls
Reform of health service would not be funded by extra taxes, says shadow chancellor touting credible and costed changeLabour will seek to fight the next election on the twin issues of stagnant living standards and safeguarding the NHS, according to Ed Balls, in an interview before the party conference, which begins on Saturday.But the shadow chancellor said voters would only back Labour's promise of change if it is seen to be credible and costed. In an effort to show his determination to be tough on public spending he ruled out free universal child care in the next parliament, as well as free bus passes for 16- to 18-year-olds. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:42:11 GMT)

Sierra Leone begins three-day shutdown to contain Ebola outbreak
Six million confined to their homes with only essential workers exempt, while volunteers go door to door handing out soapSome 6 million residents in Sierra Leone hunkered down at home on Friday as the country began a three-day lockdown aimed at raising awareness about the deadly Ebola virus.The normally crowded streets were empty in the hilly capital, Freetown, with only security officials and essential workers with government passes allowed out. "Freetown is looking very lonely. We are all just staying at home waiting," said taxi driver Salifu Conte. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:55:00 GMT)

American jailed in North Korea invited arrest deliberately, state media says
Matthew Miller allegedly wanted to become a second Edward Snowden and negotiate release of missionary Kenneth BaeAn American sentenced to six years hard labour in North Korea pretended to have secret US information and was deliberately arrested in a bid to become famous and meet the imprisoned US missionary Kenneth Bae, North Korean state media said on Saturday. Matthew Miller, 25, of Bakersfield, California, had prepared his story in advance and written in a notebook that he was seeking refuge after failing in an attempt to collect information about the US government, state agency KCNA said. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 03:45:06 GMT)

Iranian Pharrell Williams fans behind Happy video sentenced
Seven young Iranians seen dancing in video that went viral handed suspended sentences of jail and 91 lashes eachA group of Pharrell Williams fans who were arrested for filming themselves dancing to the Pharrell Williams song Happy on the rooftops of Tehran have received suspended sentences of imprisonment and lashes.According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), a New-York based non-profit organisation, an Iranian court sentenced six of those involved including the director, Sassan Soleimani to six months in prison and 91 lashes. A seventh participant, Reyhaneh Taravati, received an additional six months on her prison sentence for possession of alcohol and her role in distributing the video. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:50:00 GMT)

Thailand murders: confusion surrounds police investigation
Police unsure if killers of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller are still on island or if there was more than one murder weaponPolice in Thailand have admitted the investigation into the murders of two British tourists is proving "quite difficult" as they revealed they did not know how many people were involved in the killings. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:21:00 GMT)

Queen says UK will respect result of Scottish independence referendum
Monarch speaks of strong feelings and contrasting emotions in Scotland after country votes to reject independence from UKScottish referendum results as it happenedThe Queen has welcomed Scotlands vote to stay as part of the UK as a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect.In a rare personal statement, issued from Balmoral, her Scottish estate, she acknowledged there would be strong feelings both in Scotland and the rest of Britain, but urged parties to come together. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:11:09 GMT)

How the big hitters fared in the battle to keep Scotland in the union
The vote went their way. But as the dust settles, do the politicians who led the no campaign emerge with their reputations and their prospects enhanced?The prime minister emerged from Thursday's referendum with his reputation intact as a lucky man who too often flies by the seat of his pants. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:49:40 GMT)

Hopes and fears for Scotland: 'I hope this level of political engagement continues long into the future'
Guardian readers look back at the referendum and share their hopes and fears for the future of Scotland Scotland rejected independence in the referendum voting to remain part of the 307-year-old union with England and Wales. Although the independence camp won large majorities in Glasgow and Dundee, 55% of voters voted against plans to become a separate nation. But what now? We asked Guardian readers from around the world to share their hopes for the future of Scotland. I live in Australia and left Scotland when I was 13 but I am still fiercely proud of my homeland and I know so many ex-pats who are as patriotic as those who still live there.My hope is that as a small country, Scotland will thrive and that old mindset of being ruled will disappear. I hope people will feel proud and want to make a difference without feeling like they dont have control or blaming someone else when it all goes wrong. I would like to see recognition of some serious health issues that are in need of preventive measures to tackle, especially alcohol, diet and drug dependency. Greater protection of our wonderful countryside. Higher taxation for high earners. Open voting to 16 year olds. They did us proud. This has been worthwhile, that we wake up to the possibility that as a nation we can extend this debate south of the border and try to start healing a broken nation. That we continue to show the same passion this debate has ignited in fighting for social justice not just in Scotland but in rest of UK and in other nations.I cant count the number of new friends Ive made, most of them around my local area and new networks have sprung up that mean events can be organised last minute and still draw a crowd. Over the past week or two the atmosphere in Glasgow has changed. Someone said on Twitter today it feels like the whole of Scotland is making friends on Twitter and in real life: it really does.Into that atmosphere, Westminster politicians offering to tell us what few more powers we can have feels like the past.I hope to see mass emigration of the Scots to countries where they can feel full citizens!Im worried about Scotlands future. Once the oil money runs out there will be a second UK wide referendum initiated by Westminster. I hope the older Scots will realise how much the pension lie has cost the younger Scots.One big lesson from this campaign, is that everyones voice matters and that, if we care about our country, we should make sure that voice is heard in every election that we have the opportunity to participate in.But it is not just our democratic decisions that matter. Every day we have the opportunity to make decisions in our families, in our communities and in our workplaces and decisions about how we treat others and the environment that we live in. Each of those small decisions contribute to the kind of Scotland that we live in.I hope for Scotland to be a counterweight to Londons dominance. For a third of its largest cities children to no longer live in relative poverty. Yes, the UK governments relentless focus on one area of the country has drained the lives blood from the rest. I hope, if not independence, then a full federal structure with Scotland given full tax and spend powers including the right to control the North sea oil.The focus of future governments should be obtaining advantage for normal people whether we are separate or together. The feeling of disadvantage and unfairness is an understandable emotion for Scotland, but their position is no different from most English, Welsh and NI regions.I passed a cafe in Govanhill earlier today, and witnessed the sight of two elderly gentleman debating over coffee whether Scotland could attain NATO membership, or if that was even desirable. In fact just about every second conversation to be heard when walking around Glasgow is on independence and the associated benefits and risks. Its utterly fantastic, and I hope that this level of political engagement continues long into the future regardless of the result.I hope that Scotlands culture, traditions, music and economy continue to flourish. That they can maintain an identity, but still be a part of Great Britain. I am concerned that they will experience animosity and uncertainty. That the squabble will continue, and investment will start to move elsewhere and that they experience the Québécois phenomena of perpetual deterioration. More devolution of power but more laws protecting the country from having this question raised every few years as a political ploy.I moved away from Glasgow this summer to work in the Netherlands so it still very much feels like my home and Im watching everyone I know engage and discuss this massive event that I can only now watch from afar! However, my new company is incredibly diverse and there have been some fantastic discussions among people, many of whom are from countries who have declared independence from Britain in the past. Most people are in favor of independence but a few have warnings - does Scotland realise what a great position it is in as part of the UK? There is a lot of uncertainty but I believe a country taking control of its own affairs should always be the ideal and I believe Scotland is ready to do this. I would vote Yes if I could!I think Scotland did the right thing staying in the Union. Division today in this world does not work it fails.I think now with the concessions given by David Cameron, Scotland will advance and grow in so many ways. Scotland has been a leader throughout the world for hundreds of years. It will only get better. I think this debate has engaged and empowered a new generation and change will come. Scotland is starting to believe in itself. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:30:10 GMT)

Alex Salmond's resignation could give Nicola Sturgeon her day of destiny
Deputy first minister who joined SNP at 16 touted to become first female leader of the Scottish governmentAlex Salmond's shock resignation leaves the way open for 44-year-old Nicola Sturgeon, the woman who many already believed was destined to become the first female leader of the Scottish government.The only bar to an orderly transition Holyrood's health minister, Alex Neil, and the Westminster MP Angus Robertson have already been mentioned as potential challengers would be the Scottish National party's resistance to anointment, but for a party that has been so disciplined throughout the referendum campaign it is unlikely that this will trump the desire for unity, especially while there is a further devolution deal to be hammered out. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:30:58 GMT)

Scottish referendum: yes campaign supporters take stock after loss
Pro-independence campaigners across Scotland come to terms with their defeat, with signs of optimism amid the dejectionAs dawn broke grey, misty and familiar rather than the brave, new one of nationalist dreams it was time to take stock. The last of the no camp revellers departed the victory party at Glasgow's Marriott hotel, their tears, hugs, union flags and chants of "We love Scotland" telling one side of the story. Referendum hangover of contrasting hue, however, could be found on streets across Scotland as the "Yessers" whose optimism had infected Scotland's high streets during the campaign came to terms with defeat. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:14:43 GMT)

Scotland started a glorious revolution. Dont let Westminster snuff it out
The movement for devolution must not be reduced to a party political squabble or an anoraks debateThe state of our union is strong. Those are the words uttered with ritual regularity by a US president delivering his annual address to the nation. What, though, is the state of our union, nearly a century older than the Americans and questioned this week as never before? You could say it has emerged from yesterdays vote in Scotland with its strength renewed, reaffirmed not by the whisker foreseen by the closing opinion polls but by an unarguable 10-point margin. Whats more, after weeks of speculation over the future of David Cameron, it was the advocate of independence, Alex Salmond, who resigned today. Earlier, one of his lieutenants had admitted that independence would now be shelved for a generation.But the relief of unionists, like the heartbreak of yes campaigners, should be tempered. For there is another way of looking at the verdict that came as Thursday night turned into Friday morning. Independence used to command the support of a stubborn third of Scots, and no more. Yet yesterday 45% voted to repudiate British sovereignty, to end this arrangement once and for all. When close to half the population of a nation inside a union wants to break away, the state of that union is not strong. It is fragile. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:35:29 GMT)

5 reasons to be cheerful even if you voted yes for Scottish independence
Whatever result you were hoping for, the Scottish referendum has left a significant legacy. Heres howVery few political issues have made me vacillate as much as the Scotland independence referendum. I started as an instinctive no, but by the end of the campaign significant strands of my thinking had moved so completely over to yes that I woke up this morning feeling both relieved and disappointed. There are, however, reasons to be universally cheerful, even for people who campaigned for and voted yes. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:18:52 GMT)

Edinburgh residents after referendum: 'Will Westminster do what they promised?' video
Edinburgh residents give their reaction on Friday to news that Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. More than 3.6 million people voted in Thursday's referendum with 55% choosing to reject independence. Some residents express concern that Westminster may not deliver on promises of more power for Scotland Follow Friday's latest post-referendum developments on our live blog Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:53:51 GMT)

Russia cries foul over Scottish independence vote
Russian observers say referendum count took place in rooms that were too big and did not meet international standardsRussia has said the conduct of the Scottish referendum "did not meet international standards", with its observers complaining the count took place in rooms that were too big and that the procedure was badly flawed.In an apparent attempt to mirror persistent western criticism of Russia's own elections, Igor Borisov an accredited observer said the poll failed to meet basic international norms. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:12:43 GMT)

Martin Rowson on the Scottish referendum result cartoon
Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:20:36 GMT)

An English parliament? Thats a recipe for instability
The UK must remain strong enough for the English to treat their neighbours with generosity, or the union is in perilThere is a clear imperative for greater devolution within England. Highly centralised powers and budgets have failed to promote balanced regional prosperity beyond London and the south-east over recent decades. The disempowerment of provincial England contrasts ever more starkly with growing devolution to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London.However, English devolution is highly problematic, not only in deciding what to devolve do we want one NHS or 10? but also to whom to devolve. And the realistic scale of devolution is not remotely on a par with the existing powers of the Scottish parliament and government, let alone the new tax-and-spend powers set to be devolved to Holyrood. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:59:22 GMT)

The Guardian view on the Scottish referendum: a big moment that demands a big response
When 45% of your citizens tell you they want out, they are saying that the system needs changing, as it must be and will beScotlands historic verdict was clear and decisive. So much so that, within hours, it toppled the man who has dominated Scottish politics for a decade. By 55% to 45%, a larger margin than polls had implied, Scots looked independence squarely in the eye on Thursday and said no. Most parts of Scotland voted no. The no side won 28 out of the 32 local government areas, with the majorities particularly strong in the Borders and in the northern islands. The vote sliced dramatically across electoral lines. SNP electoral strongholds in the north-east overwhelmingly rejected independence, while Labours deepest heartlands in the west equally emphatically embraced it. The fact that Scotlands largest and traditionally reddest city, Glasgow, should have voted to leave the United Kingdom is particularly resonant, even though the conclusive votes for the union in so much else of Scotland including Edinburgh, Aberdeen and the Highlands delivered an incontrovertible final result.That was a welcome outcome. It should settle the issue beyond argument. A narrow win for either side would have hung over Scotland for years to come, perhaps dooming the Scots to have to revisit the issue too soon. That is now unlikely, and was surely one of the reasons why Alex Salmond announced his exit from the political stage Friday afternoon. Second, the whole process was so positive. The energy and commitment of the campaign has dazzled not just Scots themselves, but the rest of Britain too. Turnout on Thursday, at 85%, was awesome, a reprimand to fashionable political fatalism. The opening of the franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds has also been thoroughly vindicated. Third, Britain can indeed confront its many defects better together than apart. The yes side may have run the better and certainly the noisier campaign, but the no side had the more solidly based arguments. Finally, the result, while decisive, was close enough to mean the minority cannot be brushed aside. When 45% of your citizens tell you they want out, they are saying that the system needs changing, as it must be and will be. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:12:48 GMT)

Whatever Alex Salmond does next, hell always be the chief of Scottish politics
Like the great Irish home rule leader Parnell, Salmond brought his nationalist cause to the threshold of triumph but his departure was surely not forced on him todayAlex Salmond is arguably the biggest and most successful active political figure not just in Scotland, but even in the country he longs to leave. He has dominated Scottish politics so completely for the last decade that the void he leaves behind is larger today than it would have been at any time in his career.Paradoxically, his power within his party and his country was never greater than on the day he gave it up, following the shattering but expected (even by him, one suspects) independence referendum defeat. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:09:38 GMT)

Scotland has voted no. The next step must not be a return to business as usual
Cameron clearly wants Westminster to retake the lead, but the answer is to devolve everything: politics, jobs, media, ideas, debateThe carnival of democracy is over. Its back to petty party politics as usual. If David Cameron took any joy from seeing a record-breaking outbreak of voter engagement in Scotland, which now remains such a crucial part of the union he loves so much, then he hid it marvelously well.But we all know that actually, he took no joy from that explosion of political involvement. We all know that he had counted, two years ago, on the idea that people in Scotland wouldnt talk, wouldnt think, wouldnt change their minds. When he finally cottoned on to the fact that people were thinking, that they were thinking hard, that they were forming opinions unwelcome to him, and on a grand scale, he feared it. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:41:53 GMT)

The morning after Scotland voted against independence in pictures
It was a long night for everyone following Thursdays unprecedented referendum vote. Up all night, not necessarily luckyUK prime minister: We have heard the settled will of the Scottish people Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:54:33 GMT)

Scotland says no: newspaper front pages in pictures
As the Scottish electorate voted to stay in the UK, here is a selection of front pages the day after the historic referendumFollow the coverage of the Scotland referendum results live Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:45:05 GMT)

Scottish referendum result a vote for change, says Labour's Ed Miliband
UK opposition leader commits Labour to greater powers for England and Northern Ireland as well as Scotland after no vote Live blog: latest on the Scottish referendum resultsEd Miliband has hailed the Scottish referendum result as a vote for change and committed his party to devolving more powers to the English regions as well as Scotland.In a speech in Glasgow, the opposition Labour party leader said: "Devolution is not just a good idea for Scotland and Wales, it is a good idea for England and indeed for Northern Ireland." Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:56:43 GMT)

Scotland chose best option, says Spain's PM as Catalan campaign continues
Mariano Rajoy says Scotland avoided 'serious consequences' of separation, but Catalans say they want chance to voteScotland has avoided the "serious consequences" of separation, the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has said, hours before Catalan MPs are to vote on an independence referendum stridently opposed by Madrid.In a video statement that avoided any mention of Catalonia, Rajoy expressed his content with the outcome in Scotland and took aim at the Scottish independence movement. "With their decision, Scots have avoided the large economic, social, institutional and political consequences that separation would have brought," he said. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:31:00 GMT)

What is the Barnett formula and how does it work?
The system that sets public spending in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is in the spotlight after Scotland's referendum Live blog: Friday's developments after Scotland votes noThe system that sets public spending in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is known as the Barnett funding formula, named after its inventor, the former Labour Treasury secretary Joel Barnett, who devised it in the late 1970s.One of the reasons it is so controversial is that it has led to public spending per head being typically 20% higher in Scotland than in England. Last year under the formula, Scotland got £10,152 per head, Wales, despite being much poorer, got £9,709, and England got £8,529. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:13:00 GMT)

I'm sad that Scotland has lost the opportunity to prove itself
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon can be proud of their achievements. I feel for them, but also for all those for whom the yes campaign brought hopeNo! Yes hopes finally died at eight minutes to five when the Glasgow result brought supporters rare good news but in insufficient numbers to stop the late momentum to no.Was it the son of the manse "wot won it" to paraphrase that infamous Sun headline? Did the late emergence of ex-prime minister, Gordon Brown into the fray, stem the tide of Labour voters seemingly haemorrhaging to Yes? Two nights before the poll Brown, followed by First Minister Alex Salmond, did a lengthy prime time TV interview with David Dimbleby. What was telling was not what he said but that it was Brown rather than Alistair Darling, head of the Better Together campaign, who was in the hotseat. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:29:00 GMT)

Mesut Özil will definitely be a success at Arsenal, argues Arsène Wenger
Manager believes fluid system will suit Germans creative talent Hes a confident boy and can be a top playerArsène Wengers confidence in Mesut Özil is sufficient for him to declare that he would pay every penny of his £42m transfer fee all over again. I would pay the money again. Of course, he said, as the Özil debate dominated the agenda before Arsenals trip to Villa Park on Saturday.Wenger did add that he feels pressure as a manager to make Özil a success. I feel that responsibility exactly the same for a player who cost £1. When I see a talent, for any player, I think how can I get the best out of him. That is not linked with price. It is just a coincidence that the market is like it is. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:30:11 GMT)

Manuel Pellegrini: Chelsea are one of many rivals for Manchester City
City manager ready to wait for Sergio Agüero Chelsea have made perfect start to Premier LeagueManuel Pellegrini prefers to have a positive outlook and is therefore reluctant to speculate on the possibility of Chelsea doing what they did last year and winning at the Etihad. Should José Mourinhos side manage it on Sunday they would open up an eight-point gap on their rivals with five games played and Manchester Citys defence of the title would be handicapped almost from the outset.The City manager admits Chelsea are likely to be important rivals this season, though not, he thinks, the only ones. There will be other teams involved in the race, he said. I can see Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham being in the fight but José had a very strong squad last year and he has added some good players. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:30:00 GMT)

Louis van Gaal admits Cristiano Ronaldo would be transfer target
Van Gaal does not believe Real Madrid will sell Players like Ronaldo give a lot extra to selectionLouis van Gaal has admitted Cristiano Ronaldo would be a target for Manchester United though the manager does not believe Real Madrid will sell the 29-year-old.Ronaldo has continually spoken of his enduring affection for United after leaving the club in 2009 in a £80m transfer to the Spanish giants. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:48:00 GMT)

Paul McGinley will leave a real positive mark on the Ryder Cup itself
Europes captain is popular, steely and quirky and, says his old Dublin gang, he will be a winning leader at Gleneagles Rory McIlroys break before Ryder Cup is right approachGolf can be selfish, as we all know, and thats possibly why it took Paul McGinley a little longer than most to get into the whole ethos and mindset of the game, Brian Shaw says of his old friend and former team-mate at the Grange Club in Dublin. McGinley will captain Europe in defence of the Ryder Cup next week and conversations with his old gang at the Grange reveal the diverse and inclusive background which shaped the man who has to outwit Tom Watson, his venerable counterpart on the US team.Watson, at 65, is 18 years older than McGinley and its obvious that his past in Kansas, and a glittering career as a winner of eight majors did not feature any of the quirks of life back at the Grange or in downtown Dublin. McGinley and his friends, like Shaw and Tony Judge, with whom he studied marketing for three years at the Dublin Institute of Technology, had a taste for golf as well as the Undertones, the Clash, the Pogues and Stiff Little Fingers raucous Alternative Ulster in the 1980s. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:10:17 GMT)

Radio ban ruling causes confusion but Lewis Hamilton is on right wavelength
Teams hit out at hasty FIA decision over instructions I am so excited for Singapore. The night race is fantastic FIA delays ban on radio messages Briton fastest in second practiceFormula Ones curious reputation for disposing of something simple and replacing it with something far more complex was in robust health on Friday after the decision to postpone part of the radio ban between teams and drivers until next season.This could be the most confusing radio story since Guglielmo Marconi bewildered everyone by banging on about electromagnetic radiation and wireless telegraphy more than a century ago. It all started because Bernie Ecclestone, the sports chief executive, became worried about the perception that the modern F1 driver is little more than a puppet. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:59:13 GMT)

Micah Richards on City, becoming a scapegoat and that fight with Balotelli
The defender has no regrets over his choice of a fresh start at Fiorentina, but does over the way he was ignored by Manuel Pellegrini and the England manager Roy Hodgson Micah Richards joins Fiorentina on loan from Manchester CityLate afternoon in Florence and the old vinaio around Piazza del Duomo are starting to fill up with the people leaving work. The queues around the Uffizi are finally beginning to subside and it has reached the point of the day when the stalls start coming down at SantAmbrogio fish market and the floors are soaked clean.On a rooftop bar, with the Duomo one side and the river Arno the other, Micah Richards is looking over his new city and he is wearing the contented smile of someone who likes what he sees. Richards is only a few weeks into his new life with Fiorentina but it quickly becomes clear that he is embracing Italy and wants to stay in the city of the Viola beyond his season-long loan. So quickly, in fact, he has already said as much in the time it takes to meet at his hotel reception and wait for the elevator to take us four floors up to all that picture-postcard scenery. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:28:00 GMT)

Uefa confirms Wembley will host Euro 2020 semi-finals and final
National stadium awarded finals package for tournament Dublin and Glasgow among other hosts selected Millennium Stadium in Cardiff is overlooked FA hopes England team will qualify for latter stagesFootballs coming home. Sort of. After Wembley was named by Uefa as the host for the semi-finals and final of its ambitious pan-continental Euro 2020 finals, Roy Hodgson predicted the decision will provide a big incentive for the younger players in his England squad to win it.Uefas president, Michel Platini, confirmed that Wembley had been unanimously awarded the so-called finals package after the German Football Association, the only rival bid, said it was more interested in hosting Euro 2024 in its entirety and in effect withdrew. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:12:09 GMT)

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend
Crunch time for Pardew, a testing trip for Manchester United, Chelseas showdown with Manchester City and third v fourthBy common consent Alan Pardew is knee-deep in trouble and sinking fast, with many reports published over the past week suggesting that should Newcastle lose this weekend he will be sacked, and furthermore that if this is the case the very man whose heft finally submerged him, the Hull manager Steve Bruce, will be appointed in his stead. I find it very, very disrespectful that Im linked with somebody elses job when hes still in a job, sniffed Bruce, who has previously admitted his regret at turning down an approach from Newcastle a decade ago. Pardew is unlikely to remember either of last seasons games against Hull fondly. In the first, Sone Aluko scored a superb winner for the visitors at St James Park, and though Newcastle avenged that result with a 4-1 win in the reverse fixture, their manager was sent off for headbutting David Meyler. Newcastle were eighth at the end of that match, having won 46.4% of their 28 league games. They won two of 10 thereafter, and have no wins from four this season. Having apparently had a hand in starting his decline, now Hull could force Pardew to fall. SB Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 07:05:08 GMT)

Ashwell Prince denies accusing Yorkshires Andrew Gale of racism
Lancashire batsman was called a Kolpak by Gale To suggest I sparked off this incident is laughable Gale puts charges of racism against him to one sideAshwell Prince has denied accusing Andrew Gale of racism after he was called a Kolpak fucker by the Yorkshire captain during the recent Roses match at Old Trafford.Gale has already been suspended for two matches and is now facing the possibility of further punishment after the England and Wales Cricket Boards disciplinary commission charged him with racial abuse. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:46:17 GMT)

The sports quiz of the week: Mario Balotelli, Mayweather and Magath
You'll do well in this week's quiz if you have been following English cricket, European football and American boxing Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:01:00 GMT)

José Mourinho was not expecting Frank Lampard to join Manchester City
Chelsea manager says he has respect for his former player Striker Diego Costa is fit to start against City on Sunday Spain striker only a substitute in draw with SchalkeJosé Mourinho has insisted he still has respect for Frank Lampard, although the Chelsea manager did admit he was not expecting to see his former player join Manchester City on loan.Lampard left Stamford Bridge in the summer after 13 seasons to sign for the new MLS side New York City. However, the former England midfielder then signed a short-term loan deal with Manuel Pellegrinis side like New York City, owned by Sheikh Mansour and is in contention to start against his former club on Sunday. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:13:27 GMT)

Li Na, China's double grand slam winner, forced to retire with knee injury
32-year-old was the first Chinese player to win a major title and she helped take tennis to a new level in AsiaLi Na, a two-time Grand Slam champion from China who took tennis in Asia to a new level, has retired due to recurring knee injuries.The 32-year-old Li posted a statement on social media sites Friday, ending a week of intensifying speculation that she would announce her retirement ahead of the new WTA event in Wuhan, her home town. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 03:23:08 GMT)

Jordy Smith wins 2014 Hurley Pro surfing competition video
South African surfer Jordy Smith takes first place in the Hurley Pro surfing final at Trestles, southern California, on Thursday. Smith beat competitors John John Florence and Kelly Slater with a score of 16.50. The Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour tour next heads to France for the Quiksilver Pro tournament starting on 25 September Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:39:38 GMT)

European football talking points for La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1
With a full set of fixtures throughout Europe this week, Julien Laurens, Andy Brassell and James Horncastle return to bring you the essential storylines ahead of the big gamesAre Real Madrid the new Milan? Andy Brassell evaluates Reals Champions League form against their domestic results. In other news, Alessio Cerci now has to step up for Atléti with Mario Mandzukics broken nose and its looking bleak for Beñat. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:07:42 GMT)

Fifa sets November target to rule on 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids
Ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert: I understand it is urgent Prosecutor Michael Garcia has submitted 430-page reportFifas ethics judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, wants to deliver verdicts by November in the World Cup bidding corruption case, and keep the investigation files secret.Eckert set a target on Friday of the end of October, beginning of November to finish his work on the 2018 and 2022 bidding contests, won by Russia and Qatar, respectively Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:20:43 GMT)

Simon Mignolet told he must build relationship with Liverpool defence
Brendan Rodgers refuses to say if he is looking for more Belgian was rebuked by Steven Gerrard against Ludogorets Rodgers: West Ham will be a good challenge for LiverpoolSimon Mignolets position as Liverpools first-choice goalkeeper is in jeopardy despite a show of support from Brendan Rodgers towards the Belgium international.The 26-year-old has made an inconsistent start to the season, producing a sublime save to secure victory against Southampton on the opening day but causing anxiety in the Liverpool defence through failing to command his penalty area. That problem prompted a withering rebuke from Steven Gerrard during Tuesdays Champions League win over Ludogorets Razgrad, when the keepers positioning for Dani Abalos 90th-minute equaliser also came in for criticism. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:30:00 GMT)

When parents split up your stories
We asked you to share your memories of the moment you realised your parents were to break up. Here is a selectionOur mother took the three of us to Italy without Dad when I was 13. We stayed in a hotel with full board and went to the beach every day. It was quite wonderful and I dont remember asking why Dad had not come. One day at lunch, we were sitting at a table, my younger brother and sister on either side of Mum and me opposite. She told us they were getting divorced: Dad was moving out to be with his new girlfriend and would probably want to take one of us to live with them. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:14 GMT)

Tim Dowling: three girls are visiting. The boys sit in stunned silence
This is what I imagine it's like to work in that room at the airport where they quarantine all the exotic birds people try to smuggle into the UK: one squawk setting all the others off, the cacophony rising in both volume and pitch until your ears overloadOur friend has come for Sunday lunch, along with her three daughters, roughly equivalent in age to our children. Actually she has four daughters; one isn't here. I have to keep reminding myself that it could be even louder than this.It is very different from the noise of three boys, which normally consists of the crack of a football repeatedly hitting venetian blinds, punctuated by swearing. This is much closer to what I imagine it's like to work in that room at the airport where they quarantine all the exotic birds people try to smuggle into the UK: one squawk setting all the others off, the cacophony rising in both volume and pitch until your ears overload. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:58 GMT)

Modern tribes: 5:2 man
'Apparently the human body was never designed to eat every day, you reach this point where you stop thinking about food, are you leaving that pea?'I'll have some olives, I'm on an FD fasting day and the tuna, no wait, where's my phone, there's this app. OK, I've done around 3,700 steps, so swap the olives for a cauliflower floret, which leaves 350 calories for dinner. If I don't stop at 250 today to make up for drinking last night. Or I could convert tomorrow into a FD, which is 600 calories, or 900 if I go for a run to boost my TDEE, that's total daily energy expenditure, then I'll be free to eat anything over the next five NFDs, within reason. Because by fasting you wake up this fat-burning gene, it's proper science, did you see the original Horizon? Real eureka stuff. And the great thing about 5:2 is, because it's based on early man, apparently the human body was never designed to eat every day, you reach this point where you stop thinking about food, are you leaving that pea?That's the advantage of 5:2, it's not like those mad ones where you cut out an entire food group and become a diet bore, you fit it round what you're doing, like now we're in the pub, you're having a massive plate of fat and carbs, I'm guessing that's 800 calories just in the fish, no problem if you can handle it, I'll make mine last by eating very slowly and savouring every mouthful. You develop this new mindfulness around food, I can't believe the crap I used to stuff into my body. Plus they've proved this, it's protecting you from cancer, I've increased muscle and my visceral fat is almost non-existent, I'm a complete evangelist for segmental body composition scales. Look, this is me in Cornwall, that's my tombstoning instructor, she thought I was 43. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT)

Q&A: Elizabeth McGovern
'If I could go back in time, where would I go? Walking my kids to primary school, holding their little hands'Raised in California, McGovern, 53, appeared in Robert Redford's 1980 directorial debut, Ordinary People. In 1981, she won an Oscar nomination for Ragtime and, in 1984, she starred with Robert De Niro in Once Upon A Time In America. Since 2010, she has played Lady Cora in Downton Abbey, which returns to ITV tomorrow.What is your earliest memory?I can remember the pattern on the mattress in my cot. Barely anything else since. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:01 GMT)

Beauty: boyfriend perfume the best kind of relationship
'I've always tested men's fragrance with the same enthusiasm as women's and have discovered many a favourite. (I even adore Old Spice in moderation)'I first fell in love with men's perfume when I borrowed a fling's Guerlain Vetiver-laced jumper to wear to the pub and decided that my relationship with the iconic green, woody scent would almost certainly prove more enduring (reader, I did not marry him, but I did introduce him to Chanel No19, so it felt a fair exchange). Briefly, my overnight bag became one bottle lighter.Since then, I've always tested men's fragrance with the same enthusiasm as women's and have discovered many a favourite. Terre d'Hermès (£54) is ostensibly for men (and smells wonderful on the right one) but also hits just the right note on women who love warm, lightly spiced aromas. The same applies to Prada Amber Pour Homme (£39.10), a sexy but cosy hug of a scent that softens beautifully as the day wears on. If you also adore the sharp, almost sour, citrus hit of men's cologne, then I cannot recommend Thierry Mugler cologne (£31) highly enough. It's a gorgeous homage to posh soap and clean sheets, and suits everyone, of either sex. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT)

Our 10 best sweet potato recipes
This tuber to die for can be used in a huge range of sweet and savoury dishes and is high in nutrients as well as sweet, nutty flavourSweet potato is the perfect match for spicy pork and sharp red pepper, with the spices underlining its depth of flavour.Angelas Kitchen: 200 Quick and Easy Recipes by Angela Hartnett (Ebury Press) Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:22 GMT)

Blind date
Do Andrew and Ciara hit it off? Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT)

Batman returns to the small screen with a juvenile Caped Crusader
The new series Gotham features Bruce Wayne at 12, a police chief in waiting and tells how the villains came to be so evilBatman is about to make his eagerly awaited return to the small screen after 50 years, the latest salvo in the fierce decades-long rivalry between the comic book giants Marvel and DC.The new series, Gotham, is a world away from Adam West's camp 1960s outings, a dark ultraviolent prequel in which Bruce Wayne is 12 years old and barely out of short trousers, let alone getting measured up for a cowl and cape. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:21:58 GMT)

Cerys Matthews: songs to get you in the mood for a party, plus a mixtape for a first-time mum
Our musical agony aunt's alter ego Dr Crotchety offers playlist advice for parties and new mothers What musical advice do you need? Post your questions in the thread belowDear Doctor,I like to think I'm sociable, but often stall before a big party. What's a really good track for getting into the zone? I'm giving you Soulful Dress by Sugar Pie Desanto, the jackpot of getting-ready songs. (If you've got a moment, just take a look at this woman in action. She is now 78, but still rocking the splits on stage and feisty as a hurricane.)But because I know it might take a little longer than 2.51 minutes to get the glam a-going, I'm going to throw on two funky struttin' tunes, too: Donnie Elbert's A Little Piece Of Leather, and Rufus Thomas's Funky Chicken. Head on out knowing you're going to be the life of that there party and remember to take your lead from Vivienne Westwood, whose advice is "when in doubt, overdress". Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT)

Ten things we learned this week
From Scotlands big decision to Hillary Clintons return, an exploding world population to a spider app a roundup of the weeks newsThere can be no disputes, no reruns we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.Now I know what youre thinking, youre thinking: Hes only doing this because hes a prisoner. Hes got a gun at his head, and hes being forced to do this, right?Well, its true, I am a prisoner, that I cannot deny, but seeing as Ive been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose.Im going to show you the truth behind these systems and motivation of the Islamic State, and how the western media, the very organisation I used to work for, can twist and manipulate that truth to the public back home.She is a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely for taking part in a peaceful protest against the ban on women attending volleyball world league matches in Tehrans Azadi stadium.Im not a massive fan of spiders. Biologically theyre very interesting, but if Im watching TV and one stalks across the room, Ill jump like anyone else.This is likely to be the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:45:31 GMT)

Crush of the week: Mindy Kaling
'Kaling, a former executive producer on the US version of The Office, is a joker in the best possible way'For the past couple of weeks, I've been in New York. I'm an Americaphile, which means the whole city looks like a giant film set deeply familiar but completely unknown. It's a very relaxed break, no rush to get to the Empire State Building or the Guggenheim. But as always, there is time for television, and specifically, there is time for The Mindy Project, recently returned to US screens amid much fanfare.If you don't know about this show, you should. It's pretty great, and this is down to its creator and star, Mindy Kaling, a former executive producer on the US version of The Office. Kaling is a joker in the best possible way just the right amount of self-deprecation, ie the kind that's not annoying (see the oeuvre of Katherine Heigl). She seems nice, but with that necessary edge of spikiness. And because she is talented, you don't mind that she gets to kiss co-star Chris Messina on a weekly basis. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:01:05 GMT)

That's me in the picture: Gwion Moore, Lehman Brothers employee, on the eve of the 2008 financial collapse
'Even if you know a bank is going to go bankrupt, the managers have to play out the act - and that's what they did'I was out of place at this meeting for a couple of reasons. I was in the wrong trousers, for a start: I had just taken all my work clothes the bankers' uniform of grey suits to the dry cleaner's, in the expectation that Lehman might soon collapse and I'd have to find another job. And this wasn't even my department: I was what they call a "structurer", advising institutional clients, such as pension schemes and insurance companies, on investment strategy and risk management. This meeting, which took place on 11 September 2008, was in the global finance department. I just went along to eavesdrop, which is why I'm hiding away at the back on the left.The shot was taken through the window and, along with pictures of employees carting boxes of their belongings out of the office, went on to become emblematic of the 2008 crisis. It's strange looking at it now: I'm surprised to see only one woman, for a start. It wasn't that masculine an environment. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT)

Grandads beautiful handwritten letters
Three of Anita Sethis grandparents died before she could get to know them, so she was delighted to find a pile of letters from her maternal grandfather who lived in Guyana. After reading them, she felt a profound connectionI only ever knew one grandparent, my fathers mother, who emigrated from India to Kenya and then to Manchester. But she died when I was 16 and that gave rise to curiosity about my other grandparents, all of whom had died before I could know them. They became almost mythological figures in my imagination, oddly larger or smaller than life, but never quite life-size. And they took on a fairytale quality thanks to the stories my parents or other relatives would tell about them. But mostly there was a silence surrounding them.My mothers father, who lived in Guyana, South America, and died before I had reached my first birthday had been a ghostly figure, known only through a single black-and-white photograph of him. Yet one day, after he had been gone for many years, he reached out from the past in an oddly tangible way. I was on a trip to my childhood home in Manchester. The place was empty and still, a rare day of perfect summer sunshine, and I was hunting for some of my lost stuff. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 06:15:11 GMT)

Hannah Kent on north Iceland
The author on the dramatic Icelandic landscape that inspired her novel, Burial Rites, and which continues to fire her imaginationThe first word that comes to mind when I think about Iceland is beauty. It has a strange but hospitable beauty, the kind that haunts you. Landscape and the natural world are always pre-eminent in my memories of it.North Iceland is the type of place where you dont necessarily have a conventional tourist experience thats more for the south of Iceland, with its Golden Circle of attractions, which you should still do, of course. With the north, its a case of finding your own way. Give yourself time and dont rely on coach trips. Hire a car youll need one to make the most of the place. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 06:44:06 GMT)

Dear Molly: should parents be spying on their teenage daughter?
Guardian Weekend magazine's new agony aunt on the tricky topic of how best for parents to keep tabs on a teenage daughterDear Molly,My friends are worried about their 14-year-old daughter. She's spending more and more time in her room with friends, including boys, and refuses to talk to her parents.They're worried about what she gets up to. Last week they told me they want to put a surveillance camera in her room. I know they're desperate, but I think this is a terrible idea. What should I do?Dear Friend,There's a very good reason that putting a camera in a 14-year-old girl's room is a terrible idea because it's a terrible idea! It's disrespectful, unethical and kinda creepy. Just because she doesn't want to hang out with her parents doesn't make her a sex-crazed drug addict. It just makes her a teenager. Teenagers are moody, secretive, sullen, sarcastic; sometimes, those are the good bits. This is a critical age for girls: peer pressure is at its worst, their body is morphing into something unrecognisable to them, but very interesting to others. Many parents remember what they did at that age, and the thought of their little darling doing the same thing understandably strikes fear into their hearts. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:59:00 GMT)

Secret Teacher: having a colleague's child in my class is a nightmare
Should I tell an interfering fellow teacher the truth about her daughters bad work and behaviour?Ive always wanted to teach a year 4 class its been my goal since I graduated. This year I was overjoyed to find Id been given my dream job, but its always a good idea to give a gift horse the once-over, and this one turned out to be not at all what I anticipated. As luck or whoever made up the year 4 class lists would have it, yours truly ended up with the daughter of one of my colleagues in my class.This was very bad news. While the child is remarkably average in both ability and behaviour, her mother is correspondingly very clever and over-protective. In fact, her expectations of her daughter far exceed any likely achievements. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 06:00:13 GMT)

Why nipples were much more than just a trend at London Fashion Week
From Christopher Kane to Tom Ford to Erdem, nipples were the leftfield trend of London fashion week. But there was more to the exposure than just grabbing headlinesFrom pasties at Tom Ford, to stripped bare and beautiful at Burberry, nipples were everywhere this fashion week and, perhaps most surprisingly, audiences seemed largely nonplussed. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:13:42 GMT)

Apple fans buy their first iPhone 6 - and this guy drops his
As the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus went on sale worldwide, one of the first owners dropped his within seconds Apple fans queue to be the first to own an iPhone 6 in picturesOne of the first people in the world to own an iPhone 6 rapidly became the first person to experience the heartstopping feeling of watching a half-grand chunk of electronics hit the floor with a crash, after he dropped his new phone live on air.Jack Cooksey was first through the doors of the Apple Store in Perth, Western Australia (eight hours ahead of GMT), and triumphantly showing off his new purchase to Channel 9 news, when a sharp tug on the lid led to the £619 device clattering to the floor to the amusement of the surrounding crowd:USE WAVE THEY SAID. IT'LL CHARGE YOUR IPHONE IN THE MICROWAVE THEY SAID. �������� pic.twitter.com/DJspCShhJq Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:04:07 GMT)

The Weekend Quiz
What links Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Charles Dickens, James Callaghan and Peter Sellers? Spoiler alert: answers below (don't cheat!)1 Who did Virginia Woolf liken to a "queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples"? 2 What is based at 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, California? 3 Orbiting the sun, what is Soho? 4 Tweedy, Cole, and then what? 5 Which footballer has played the most World Cup matches? 6 What was made by the bodgers of Buckinghamshire? 7 What is obtained from the plant Papaver somniferum? 8 Who was the target of the 1820 Pains and Penalties Bill? What links: 9 Umbrella Man; Badge Man; Babushka Lady; Black Dog Man? 10 Duke of York and Lord Nelson (London); Earl Grey (Newcastle)? 11 Kung Fu Kapers; Wacky Wales; Kitten Kong; Punky Business? 12 The Snail; Blue Nude; The Parakeet And The Mermaid; The Creole Dancer? 13 Gerbeaud; Sacher; Esterhazy; Dobos? 14 Isambard Kingdom Brunel; Charles Dickens; James Callaghan; Peter Sellers? 15 Mugger; gharial; saltwater? Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT)

Ask Alys: your gardening questions answered
I grew my carrots in a raised bed; why are they short and misshapen?My carrots produced wonderful green tops, but when I pulled them up, they were short and misshapen. I grew them in a raised bed. The soil isn't stony and has a mixture of home and garden centre compost. What did I do wrong?Stony soil will make for misshapen carrots; so, too, will recently manured soil, and homemade compost if it wasn't completely rotted down. If you want perfectly straight carrots, take a leaf out of the giant veg growers' books. Soil must be finely sieved and full of sand or grow on ancient peaty soil, then endlessly feed. The rest of us grow carrots where we can, in the best soil we can, and accept some will cross their legs.One trick is to grow shorter varieties: I've had great success with 'Paris Market Baron', 'Chantenay' and 'Parmex' on my clay soils. I suspect you may have watered too much, too: excessive watering produces lush green tops, often at the expense of the roots. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:10 GMT)

Milan fashion week: Versace comes down to earth
With few trademark gowns and a distinctly 60s space-age feel, the latest collection seems aimed at a younger marketIf fashion needed further proof that everyday clothes are in the spotlight this season, it came at the Versace spring/summer show at Milan fashion week on Friday evening. The brand, so associated with the glamour of gowns, showed only two evening dresses. Less than a month after designing Angelina Jolie's wedding dress, Donatella Versace is coming down to earth.The collection felt as if it was aimed at a younger market girlish as opposed to womanly with a 60s space-age feel to some of the designs. This is usually a show primarily of dresses, but on Friday there were a lot of separates wide T-shirts worn over shirts with miniskirts, a tunic and cropped trousers, a crop top and mid-thigh shorts. Dresses, when they were included, were short, boxy and with sheer panelling. Cutouts were a recurring theme across laser-cut accessories and with round porthole detailing. Colours contrasted sugared almond shades candyfloss pink, duck-egg blue and icing-sugar white with tomato red, turquoise and black, for a punchy combination. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:46:39 GMT)

The Suitsy: the suit that lets you go to work in a onesie
For every modern gentleman yearning to feel comfortable in the office, financier Jesse Herzog says he has the answer. His design may look like a suit but you are securely zipped in from neck to flyHave you ever wished that you could combine the comfort and practicality of a onesie with the social acceptance of a casual business suit? If so, you are probably part of the generation that will lead to humanitys downfall, but anyway: good news! The Suitsy is here, to answer your prayers.Designed by Jesse Herzog, a financier from San Francisco, the Suitsy promises a revolution in apparel for the modern gentleman. It looks like a typical business suit worn over a white shirt (tie, shoes and belt not included). But the sleeves poking out from under the jacket cuffs dont go anywhere; the shirt front is connected directly to the blazer; and, hidden behind the buttons down the front, is a zipper that runs from the neck to the base of the fly. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:40:35 GMT)

Caviar in coach class? Heathrow introduces the on-board picnic
Fed up with airline food? Heres a way to bring your own hamper on boardIt should be an enjoyable aspect of flying but for the majority of us rammed into cattle class, on-board airline meals masquerading as food have become a bit of a joke. The choice may be limited to beef or chicken although its impossible to tell the difference as you tuck into (or tip down your front) the lukewarm, congealed mess lurking in the tin foil container in front of you.On short-hop budget carriers, of course, you end up paying through the nose for a stale baguette or soggy panini. No wonder airlines are chucking away the equivalent of hangars full of food waste while their disillusioned passengers are bringing sandwiches on board. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:32:58 GMT)

Grindr: accurately predicting Scottish referendum results since 17 September
A joke poll on the gay dating app turned out to mirror referendum results. Could social media be the future of political polling?Forget Ipsos Mori, YouGov and ICM; it turns out the most accurate predictor of the Scottish referendum result was Grindr, the hook-up app for gay and bisexual men. By now its clear that Scotland has voted 55% to 45% to remain as part of the United Kingdom, but Edinburghs gay men could have told us that yesterday. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:28:43 GMT)

A bird in the hand: Yotam Ottolenghi's favourite chicken recipes
Like Proust and his madeleines, many of us have a chicken recipe that takes us right back to a moment in time and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Here are three that I'm hoping will have that effect on me in years to comeProust's "episode of the madeleine" is often mentioned when people talk about food memories: the dish, meal or smell that takes us straight back in time and makes us pine with nostalgia. While the experience Proust describes is near-universal, I'd argue that we also have one chicken dish that always reminds us of home. For many in the UK, that will be the classic roast chicken, but my own chicken epiphany or "episode of the bird" took place a long way from the Sunday lunch table, in a hawker centre in Penang, Malaysia. It was a simple dish of Hainanese chicken rice, in which the bird is poached with ginger and spring onion, yet it's the one against which I've since compared all chicken dishes.As with many memories, details have a habit of getting exaggerated, and the list of Asian ingredients I now use with chicken has been similarly embellished: palm sugar, garlic, chilli, lemongrass, tamarind, kaffir lime leaves, Chinese five spice and star anise all now vie for a place with my bird. But the background notes of ginger and spring onion are always there, too, and take me right back to that stall in Penang. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:00:00 GMT)

Who said Britons were drunk, dirty and deplorable?
A Portuguese writer named João Magueijo, thats who. He has lived in the UK for 25 years and says its a joke but a fair joke. Is it?The thing that drives me crazy about your country, says João Magueijo, polishing off another razor clam, is the showers. I love cold showers. But this doesnt exist in the UK. Its been a source of irritation for years. Just warm or hot! What if you dont like it? What are you supposed to do?He fishes his phone from his pocket and brings up a picture of a sign he saw on a visit to a university gym recently. It is a diagram of a communal shower, showing the temperature at which each unit is set. Each shower is a prefixed temperature! he says incredulously, his Portuguese accent thickening slightly as the excitement overtakes him. Theres no cold water in sports centres! As Im trying to think of something to say, he jabs the phone at me again, a man longing to be understood. The temperature is fixed! You cant adjust it! he repeats. You dont see why this is weird? Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 06:00:14 GMT)

Women gamers: The concept of gamers as a community was new to me to all of us
More British women now play video games than men. Jenn Frank, who has played since childhood and even ended up working in the industry, explains why she loves themMy earliest childhood memory is pointing and crying at a kitchen cabinet that presumably contained apple sauce. In my next earliest memory, in the same apartment, my birth father is playing Mountain King on the Atari 2600.There were other games in our family library: Berzerk, Asteroids, Haunted House, Adventure. But Mountain King, released in 1983, was mystical. It is also often cited, 30 years on, as the toughest game for the Atari system. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:01:11 GMT)

Gimme gimme gimme: how to increase your willpower
A new book suggests self-control is the key to success and that learning to defer gratification can change your life. But is it really that simple? We take the marshmallow testTwo varieties of human emerge from the pages of The Marshmallow Test, a new book by the esteemed psychologist professor Walter Mischel. The first kind is optimistic, hopeful for the future. They're more likely to be successful in school, work and love. They're also thinner, calmer, more sociable, less likely to be addicted and better savers of money. The other kind of human is the other kind of human. And, yes, there I was, deconstructed across the pages in the mercilessly rational tone of the scientist: the creature who couldn't concentrate at school, failed at education, was "rejection-sensitive" and struggled with alcohol, drugs, petty criminality, fat, love, sugar and friends. The incredible thing about Mischel's book is that he claims all these failings are connected by one single quality: self-control. Not only that, he believes he has a method, in the form of a few simple thought exercises, to help the other kind of human transform their lives.I've arranged to meet Mischel in a coffee bar in the low-lit rear of a Soho hotel. Now in his mid-80s, he is slender and quick, a New York talker, a man of polished anecdotes, long digressions, and strong opinions disguised with smiles. He opens his tale in the early 1960s, when he was a professor at Stanford University. "I began with a truly burning question," he says. "I wanted to know how my three young daughters developed, in a remarkably short period of time, from being howling, screaming, often impossible kids to people who were actually able to sit and do something that required them to concentrate. I wanted to understand this miraculous transformation. When do they begin to control themselves and how do they do it? I realised this was a huge blank in the scientific literature." Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:00:00 GMT)

Asteroids: between a rock and a hard place
There have been recent near misses an explosion over Russia, a mysterious crater in Nicaragua. But what would we do in the event of an actual meteor strike?If you've ever stopped to peer with suspicion at the sky, wondering how that would go, a mammoth piece of space rock on its way in to bring ruin, the last two years have not been especially restful. In February 2013, a large asteroid ripped over the Chelyabinsk district of Russia, trailing cartoonish lines of smoke as it made its shallow entry, radiating so much light and heat that onlookers were left with reddened faces. Skin peel. When the asteroid exploded, 15 miles up, there was a terrible, prolonged bang a noise that has rung on, in its way, ever since.We now know that the explosion over Chelyabinsk occurred with a force equal to 500 kilotons of TNT, or a couple of dozen Nagasaki bombs. Had it come down a little steeper that February, directing the might of its detonation at rather than over Chelyabinsk, the asteroid would have killed thousands on the ground. A little later, it might have done for many more in Moscow, or Riga, or Gothenburg. Though nobody died at Chelyabinsk, it was an event of such calamitous potential that the asteroid was classified by certain astronomers a "city-killer". Those astronomers have wondered, since, if we're not being a little complacent. Continue reading...
(Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:00:00 GMT)

Hilary Mantel: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher August 6th 1983
An exclusive short story by Hilary Mantel Mantel on Thatcher: 'I can still feel that boiling detestation'APRIL 25th 1982, DOWNING STREET: Announcement of the recapture of South Georgia, in the Falkland Islands.Mrs Thatcher: Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary of State for Defence has just come over to give me some very good news ... Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:00:00 GMT)

'Why we're going on the biggest climate march in history'
From Ban ki-moon to Emma Thompson, 20 leading personalities from across the world talk about why they will take to the streets on Sunday to call for action on climate as world leaders gather for UN climate summit in New York on 23 September If youre taking part in the march share your photos and stories via GuardianWitness Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:02:10 GMT)

Sophie Hannah: 'I love being thought of firmly as a crime writer. I'm snobby about books that aren't crime fiction'
The poet and bestselling crime novelist talks to Alison Flood about taking on Agatha Christie's PoirotThis month, sitting in a London cafe, his famous moustache exquisite, his little grey cells as busy as ever, Hercule Poirot made his first authorised appearance in a novel since Agatha Christie published Curtain, 39 years ago. And poet turned bestselling crime novelist Sophie Hannah, signed up by the Christie estate to continue the Belgian detective's legacy, pitches him straight into the middle of the action in The Monogram Murders.A woman, Jennie, runs into Poirot's cafe and tells him that she is "already dead or I shall be soon", that it is "what I deserve"; later that night, Catchpool, Poirot's friend and a policeman at Scotland Yard, will return, horrified, from the scene of a triple murder. Cufflinks monogrammed, naturellement have been placed into the mouths of each of the victims; Poirot makes a link with the terrified Jennie, who had pleaded "Please let no one open their mouths!" And we're away. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:59:01 GMT)

State of play: school playgrounds from Kenya to Japan
What happens when the bell rings for break? James Mollison photographed school playgrounds around the world to find outPaso Payita schoolAramasi, Chuquisaca, Bolivia, photographed 9 August 2011Situated in a remote area on rough terrain 3,000m above sea level, the school has two teachers and 31 students aged from six to 12 years. Many students have to walk several miles to school. A road to the village was built only 15 years ago and there are no cars or buses. Most people are indigenous Quechua peasant farmers. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:54:55 GMT)

Rewilding Britain: bringing wolves, bears and beavers back to the land
Introducing extinct species to the landscape is called rewilding and advocates enthuse about the benefits. But opponents fear the impact could be devastating Rewilding made simple, an animated guideA pair of highland ponies nibble grass as two kestrels swoop across the path. Up a rock face across this windswept valley deep in the Scottish highlands, a golden eagle is hunting for prey, its movements tracked by a GPS tag. Nearby are Scottish wildcats among the bracken Europes rarest cat, with fewer than 400 left plus red squirrels, black grouse, the occasional pine marten, shaggy highland cattle adapted to the harsh environment here, and, like much of the highlands, plenty of deer. Wild boar and moose roamed this corner of Sutherland until recently.But if Paul Lister, the estates multimillionaire owner and the heir to the MFI fortune gets his way, two species not seen on this land for centuries could soon be added to the list: wolves and bears. Alladale estate, which Lister prefers to call a wilderness reserve, is one of the most ambitious examples of so-called rewilding, the banner under which a growing number of people are calling for the reintroduction of locally extinct species to landscapes. Bringing back species such as wolves, beavers and lynx, rewilding advocates say, can increase the diversity of other flora and fauna, enable woodlands to expand and help reconnect people with nature. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:59:14 GMT)

Beauty and bloodbaths in the Ming dynasty
A million-strong army, exquisite opulence and paranoically violent rulers as a new show opens at the British Museum, Julia Lovell explains how the Ming dynasty put China at the centre of the worldEuropean commentators of the 18th and 19th centuries liked to imagine imperial China as a sealed kingdom: in Johann Gottfried Herder's scornful phrase, as "an embalmed mummy, wrapped in silk and painted with hieroglyphics: its internal circulation that of a dormouse in its winter sleep". The British Museum's new exhibition shows that early Ming China was nothing of the sort. Its emperors, the exhibition reminds us, "exchanged goods, staff and ideas with courts from Kyoto to Mogadishu. Ming China was a multifaith, cosmopolitan society that was alive to the possibilities of global trade." The Ming dalliance with exotica shines through the objects on display. A golden flask is embellished with the Chinese emblem of a dragon, yet cast in a heavy, gourd-like shape inspired by a Middle Eastern design. A hanging silk brocade combines western Asian and Chinese patterns. Ming princes fought with Japanese blades, wore Mongolian-style helmets, sported hat-top ornaments studded with Sri Lankan and Indian gems, and were buried with ingots of African gold.The rise and decline of the Ming possesses a dramatic symmetry. Founded in 1368 by desperate peasant rebels who had somehow survived the empire-wide plague, famine and civil wars of the mid-14th century, the dynasty fell, again to peasant rebels, in spring 1644. In April of that year, as an exuberant rural rabble breached the walls of Beijing, the last Ming emperor entered the Pavilion of Imperial Longevity just north of the Forbidden City and hanged himself with his sash. Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:00:00 GMT)

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