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Miliband barred Lamont from attacking bedroom tax for 12 months
Glasgow Pollok MSP, who quit as head of Scottish Labour, was told to stay mute on topic while party leader decided on policyEd Milibands leadership of the Labour party is under renewed pressure as sources close to Johann Lamont, who dramatically quit as Scottish leader on Saturday, claimed he banned her for a year from condemning the bedroom tax while he made his mind up on it.The diktat from London over the policy, which forces council house tenants to pay extra for spare rooms, was said to be a huge frustration for Lamont who was to come under heavy personal attack for being vague over the critical issue. She accused colleagues of trying to run Scotland like a branch office of London on Saturday, when she announced her resignation. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:35:00 GMT)

Fourth jihadist from Portsmouth killed in Syria
Muhammad Mehdi Hassan, 19, is fourth member of group of six Pompey lads who travelled to fight for IsisAnother British jihadist from Portsmouth has been reportedly killed on the frontline in Syria, the fourth to die from a group of six men who travelled from Hampshire last year to fight for the Islamic State (Isis).Muhammad Mehdi Hassan, 19, is understood to have died in fighting during the ongoing Isis offensive to capture the Syrian border city of Kobani. He was one of a group of six men from Portsmouth who went to Syria in 2013. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:59:00 GMT)

Ebola cases hit 10,000 mark
World Health Organisation releases new figures, with practially all victims of virus within west African countries worst hitThe number of people infected in the outbreak of Ebola has risen above 10,000, with the mortality rate now approaching 50%.The World Health Organisation said on Saturday that the death toll had risen to 4,922 out of 10,141 known cases globally in eight countries as at 23 October. Those figures show about 200 new cases since the last report, four days ago. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:59:00 GMT)

David Cameron kept in the dark over EUs bill for 2.1bn
PM denounces conduct of European commission as he admits Osborne knew of demand for cash two days before he didDavid Cameron admitted that he had been left in the dark by George Osborne for two days as he complained that he had been hijacked by Brussels over an unexpected demand to pay £1.7bn (2.1bn) to the EU.The prime minister said he would refuse to comply with the sudden bill, which he first learned about on Thursday, but questions were raised about Whitehalls competence once it emerged that the chancellor had known since Tuesday. Labour said ministers should have expected the higher bill months ago. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:22:43 GMT)

Iran executes Reyhaneh Jabbari despite global appeals for retrial
Activists say designer killed man in self defence after he tried to sexually assault her, and confession came under duressIran has ignored an international campaign to spare the life of a 26-year-old woman convicted of murder by hanging her at dawn on Saturday.Reyhaneh Jabbari had spent five years on death row for stabbing a 47-year-old surgeon who had previously worked for the intelligence ministry, the official IRNA news agency reported. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 14:26:00 GMT)

Washington shooting: police confirm intervention by canteen worker
Detectives confirm intervention by canteen workerJaylen Fryberg may have acted after romantic disputeThe story as it unfolded our live blogUS police are trying to determine why a Washington state high school student shot dead a female classmate and wounded four others on Friday, before killing himself.On Saturday morning, Snohomish County sheriffs spokeswoman Shari Ireton said in a statement that the on-scene investigation at Marysville-Pilchuck High School north of Seattle was finished and a 40-caliber handgun had been recovered. Ireton said it was believed the gun was the weapon used in the shooting. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:37:51 GMT)

Egypt declares state of emergency in Sinai after checkpoint bombing
Emergency measures to last three months after 30 soldiers killed when suicide car bomber struck checkpoint, according to officials Egypt declared a three-month state of emergency would begin on Saturday in the north and centre of the Sinai peninsula after a suicide car bombing killed 30 soldiers. The bombing on Friday was carried out by a suspected jihadist who rammed a checkpoint with his explosives-packed vehicle, security officials said. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 02:56:10 GMT)

Edward Gibson dies in hospital after punishment shooting in west Belfast
Police Service of Northern Ireland detain three people in connection with the murder of the 28-year-oldA west Belfast man targeted in a dissident republican punishment shooting has died in hospital.Edward Gibson died from his wounds late on Friday night in the Royal Victorial hospital. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:37:49 GMT)

Kurds fear Isis use of chemical weapon in Kobani
Doctor in besieged Syrian town reports arrival of patients with blisters, burning eyes and breathing difficulties after explosionKurds battling Islamic State militants for control of Kobani fear the extremist group may have used an unidentified chemical weapon, according to officials and one of the few doctors still working in the besieged Syrian town.Patients with blisters, burning eyes and breathing difficulties turned up at a clinic after a blast was heard on Tuesday evening, Dr Walat Omar said. He described the symptoms as abnormal and said he could not identify their cause, but suspected a chemical weapon. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:22:47 GMT)

US launches 22 air strikes on Isis strongholds in Iraq
Areas near Mosul dam and cities of Fallujah and Bayji targetedIsis artillery piece near Syrian town of Kobani also destroyedFirst US death in Iraq Isis campaign announcedKobani doctor fears Isis used chemical weaponA day after the Department of Defense announced the first US death in the campaign against Islamic State (Isis) militants in Iraq, Central Command said 22 air strikes had been carried out in the country on Friday and Saturday.Marine lance corporal Sean P Neal, one of 1,600 troops supporting Iraqi forces against Isis, died in Baghdad of a non-combat injury, the US said late on Friday. The Marines said Neals death was under investigation. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:27:44 GMT)

Paul Gascoigne reportedly placed on emergency detox
Medics section former Tottenham Hotspur player under the Mental Health Act after a drinking binge, it is reportedTottenham Hotspur have said they are supporting former football star Paul Gascoigne after it was reported he had been placed on an emergency three-day detox.Medics sectioned the 47-year-old under the Mental Health Act at 3am on Friday after a drinking binge, it was reported on Saturday. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:43:12 GMT)

UK driving licence fees fall
Cost of provisional licence will fall to £34 from £50, while cost of renewing licence online will drop to £14Young drivers facing the mounting costs of taking to the road might well breathe a little easier after the government announced it was slashing the cost of obtaining a licence. The cost-cutting measure, which will see the price of a provisional licence fall to £34 from £50, was announced by ministers, who estimated it would save all new drivers in the region of £80m over the next decade. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 04:49:14 GMT)

Google executive Alan Eustace beats Felix Baumgartner's skydiving record
Eustace jumps 130,000ft from edge of space, hitting 822mph, after ascent in a balloonGoogle executive Alan Eustace has broken the sound barrier and set several skydiving records over the southern New Mexico desert after taking a big leap from the edge of space.Eustace jumped from over 130,000ft in a specially designed spacesuit, beating the mark set by the Austrian Felix Baumgartner in 2012. Eustace hit a top speed of 822mph during a freefall that lasted four-and-a-half minutes. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:06:49 GMT)

14 dead in Nepal bus crash
Bus packed with people including Israeli tourists and locals heading home for Diwali veers off mountain highwayA Nepal bus packed with people, including Israeli tourists and locals heading home for a Hindu festival, veered off a mountain highway, killing 14 and injuring dozens, police said on Saturday.Among those killed Friday were two Israelis, including a woman who was part of a group heading to the Langtang trekking area. Israeli media reported four other Israelis were among the dozens of injured, 20 of whom remained in hospitals. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 04:24:18 GMT)

Ottawa shooting: Stephen Harper oversees resumption of guard duties
Hundreds of Ottawa residents gather to honor fallen soldier Nathan Cirillo as his colleagues retake their positionsThe autumn sun shone brightly as two soldiers resumed guard over the tomb of the unknown soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, a mark of resilience after one of their number, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, lost his life in this weeks attack on the nations parliament.Hundreds of people, including prime minister Stephen Harper, gathered on Friday afternoon to watch the resumption of the honor guard, which had been suspended since Cirillo was killed on Wednesday morning. A heavily guarded Harper watched as the soldiers took their position next to the magnificent tomb decorated with bronze statues, a symbolic gesture of strength for a nation in healing. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:47:42 GMT)

Death in Syria: a man on a mission of mercy
As one family mourns a man who left to join an aid convoy, a campaign group urges a rethink on returnees from SyriaThe last texts of Kamran ul-Haque to his elder brother tell a story of a young man fearful yet thrilled by the prospect of war in Syria. I might be going on a mad mission very soon. Theres a place that has been heavily attacked and bombarded, he wrote.The 29-year-old east Londoner, who had been in the country since December last year, had spent months ferrying the dead and injured to field hospitals in the country in his own words, bloody, gruesome work far from his old life as an Indian takeaway delivery man in Whitechapel, east London. [They] need me here and my ambulance to take people out. Very risky mission but I love the feeling. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:28:00 GMT)

Jack Bruce, former Cream man, dies aged 71
The singer, bassist and songwriter of the original supergroup had suffered liver diseaseJack Bruce, best known as one third of Cream, has died of liver disease. In a statement issued by his family on Saturday, his family said: It is  with great sadness that we, Jacks family,  announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.Bruce played bass, sang and was the principal songwriter in Cream, but even leaving aside that group, in which he played with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, his CV reads like a comprehensive guide to the British blues boom, with spells in Alexis Korners Blues Inc, the Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayalls Bluesbreakers and Manfred Mann.  Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:37:12 GMT)

£200,000 smart drugs seizure prompts alarm over rising UK sales
Experimental medicine Sunifiram among record haul of drugs that are increasingly being bought online by studentsA record haul of smart drugs, sold to students to enhance their memory and thought processes, stay awake and improve concentration, has been seized from a UK website by the medicines regulator, which is alarmed about the recent rise of such sites.The seizure, worth £200,000, illustrates the increasing internet trade in cognitive enhancement drugs and suggests people who want to stay focused and sharp are moving on from black coffee and legally available caffeine tablets. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:00:31 GMT)

India spurns US offer and purchases guided missiles from Israel for $525m
Deal for at least 8,000 missiles and 300 launchers comes amid border tensions with China and exchanges of fire with PakistanIndia has opted to buy Israels Spike anti-tank guided missile, a defence ministry source said on Saturday, rejecting a rival US offer of Javelin missiles that Washington had lobbied hard to win. India will buy at least 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers in a deal worth 32bn rupees ($525m), the source said after a meeting of Indias Defence Acquisition Council. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:07:03 GMT)

Italian court overturns Dolce and Gabbana tax convictions
Supreme court reverses decision against fashion duo, who had been sentenced to imprisonment The Italian supreme court on Friday overturned fraud convictions and 18-month jail terms against celebrated fashion duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, their company announced. We have always been honest and we are extremely proud of this recognition by the Italian court of justice. Viva lItalia, the two fashion house chiefs said in a statement. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 01:57:04 GMT)

G4S and Serco pay out £100,000 in youth restraint claims
Fourteen say unlawful measures used on them as children, with cases coming to light after deaths of two teenagersFourteen children who were assaulted by G4s and Serco staff while being detained in secure training centres (STCs) between 2004 and 2008 have received damages following a Guardian investigation.Neither company has admitted liability, but they have paid out almost £100,000 in compensation to the complainants who are now adults. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:46:11 GMT)

MPs shall go to the ball thanks to more than £100,000 of free hospitality
Analysis of register reveals MPs have accepted VIP tickets, often from corporations, and £800,000 worth of foreign trips MPs have been given free tickets to sports events, balls and the opera, worth more than £100,000, alongside £800,000 worth of foreign trips, an analysis of the current register of members interests reveals.Perks received by parliamentarians, often from large corporations, include free VIP tickets to Wimbledon, trips to the Glyndebourne opera festival, and tours of the Chelsea flower show. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:41:46 GMT)

Vladimir Putin blames US for Islamist terrorism and Ukraine conflict
President denies Russia has been aggressive in Ukraine and has encroached on the sovereignty of its neighboursVladimir Putin used a meeting with foreign journalists and Russia experts to rail against the United States and the current world order, blaming Washington for many current global problems, including unrest in Ukraine and Islamic terrorism.Putin said that over the past two decades, the US had behaved as if it were someone nouveau riche who had suddenly received a lot of wealth in this case, global leadership. Instead of using its powers wisely, said Putin, the US had created a unilateral and unfair system. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:06:01 GMT)

Rwanda bans BBC broadcasts over genocide documentary
Suspension of local-language radio services follows anger in country over film questioning official accounts of 1994 genocideThe Rwandan government has suspended all BBC radio broadcasts in Rwandas most common language to protest against the news organisations recent documentary about the 1994 genocide in the country.President Paul Kagames government, members of parliament and genocide survivors have expressed their anger at the BBC over the recent documentary that suggested the countrys president may have had a hand shooting down his predecessors plane, a crash that triggered the mass killings. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:03:16 GMT)

Asda faces mass legal action from staff over equal pay
Mostly female Asda shopfloor workers say they are paid less than mostly males colleagues working in warehousesAsda is facing mass legal action from thousands of female employees who claim they are paid less than men to do equally valuable jobs at the supermarket chain.Law firm Leigh Day said that since revealing in April it was representing 400 Asda employees it had been approached by more than 19,000. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:36:51 GMT)

Ex-police officer jailed for at least 28 years for pregnant girlfriends murder
Jonathan Sutton pleads guilty to murder of Emma Siswick, whom he stabbed 81 times, and grievous bodily harm of two boysAn obsessively jealous former police officer who stabbed his pregnant girlfriend to death has been jailed for a minimum of 28 years.Jonathan Sutton, 40, wrongly believed Emma Siswick was cheating on him when he stabbed her 81 times in anger and possessive rage. Sutton also stabbed two boys, aged nine and 11, in an attack that was described in court as little short of torture. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:49:44 GMT)

Palestinian-American teenager killed during West Bank clashes with Israeli military
Israeli military say soldiers prevented an attack by opening fire on a Palestinian who was throwing firebombs at trafficA Palestinian-American teenager was killed during clashes with the Israeli military on Friday amid heightened tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank.A relative identified the teen as 14-year-old Orwah Hammad and said he was born in New Orleans and came to the West Bank when he was six. Hammads cousin Moath said he was among a group of Palestinians who were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:50:25 GMT)

Football clockwatch: Premier League updates and latest news live!
Live scores, all the days fixtures, latest tables and much moreAnd email simon.burnton@theguardian.com or tweet @Simon_Burnton 4.49pm BST Birmingham 0-8 Bournemouth. Thats a hideous result. Blues may well have been a man down for most of the match, but theres still no excuse 4.47pm BST Its now Birmingham 0-7 Bournemouth one for the record books, that, being as it is Blues worst-ever home defeat, and the Cherries best-ever away win. 4.45pm BST Liverpool continue to huff and puff, but without great conviction.Sterling leans into Diame, then falls over and gets a free kick. Honestly, I'm going to stop watching football soon. @Simon_Burnton 4.44pm BST None of the Championships top seven teams is winning. Bournemouth, though, look like rising to eighth theyre now 6-0 up at Birmingham, wholl probably struggle to come back from that, Id have thought. 4.42pm BST Jordan Henderson, a second-half substitute for Liverpool, gets booked for diving. Unlike the similarly-punished Welbeck (see earlier), hes got nothing to complain about. 4.41pm BST One - one! second-half Premier League goal so far. Most entertaining league in the world? Pah! 4.39pm BST Joe Garner, who was absolutely abysmal whenever I saw him attempting to play at Watford, has just completed an 18-minute hat-trick for Preston, who were 2-0 down after 7 minutes at home to Fleetwood, and now lead 3-2. 4.36pm BST Liverpool are still well on top, as indeed are West Brom, seeking an equaliser at home to Crystal Palace. 4.35pm BST Our random foreign fixture has finished Delhi Dynamos 4-1 Chennaiyin. None of the famous players scored. 4.33pm BST Ooooh! Balotelli sets Lovren up at Anfield, seven yards from goal, but the defender swings his left foot and completely misses the ball! 4.32pm BST Birmingham City have had no upturn in their fortunes following the sacking of Lee Clark theyre 5-0 and a man down at home to Bournemouth. 4.31pm BST Heres the starting line-ups for the evening game:Swansea: Fabianski, Rangel, Williams, Fernandez, Taylor, Shelvey, Ki, Routledge, Sigurdsson, Montero, Bony. Subs: Emnes, Dyer, Carroll, Gomis, Tremmel, Bartley, Shephard. Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Hammond, Nugent, Vardy, Ulloa. Subs: James, King, Schlupp, Cambiasso, Wasilewski, Smith, Wood. Referee: Mike Jones. 4.29pm BST In the big game in the Championship, its Middlesbrough 1-1 Watford, the visitors having equalised through the substitute Troy Deeney, returning from injury, and apparently they have just hit the post. 4.26pm BST Every time I look at the Liverpool game, the home side are attacking. Still, no goal. 4.25pm BST Crikey (again). I know its Banbury v Slough, but still if, as rumoured, a fan broke into the tunnel and assaulted the referee with a bottle, its remarkable and very unpleasant.@sloughtown just seen 4 police cars and 1 police van drive into the car park @ Banbury!@Wisey999 @sloughtown Banbury fans got into tunnel and hit referee on head wiht a bottle. Ref unable to continue. 4.23pm BST Clearance off the line at Anfield! Brady stops Balotellis effort. 4.20pm BST Breaking news in the FA Cup, where Banbury United v Slough has been abandoned at half-time because the referee is unfit to continue, having apparently been hit on the head by a bottle thrown from the crowd. Crikey.Half Time in sunny Banbury. @BanburyUnitedFC 1 - 2 @sloughtown #COYR pic.twitter.com/b9mJjWR0YNHmm, just been announced second half is delayed. Banbury already out but Slough on their way too. Guess we'll be starting soon enough.@nonleagueshow Banbury Slough game abandoned after referee struck by plastic bottle at half-time by the home fans 4.18pm BST Oooh! Gerrard has a first-time shot from 20 yards that doesnt quite curl enough. Liverpool, though, are anything but convincing, or as Tim Daw puts it: Were rubbish. Thats all the tactical analysis needed. 4.16pm BST Mario Balotelli gets booked for leaping into Alex Bruce as they competed for a long kick from the keeper. 4.14pm BST Speroni didnt want to go off, but no matter how many thumbs-up signs he made towards the Palace bench, their minds were made up. Hennessey comes on. 4.13pm BST Speroni didnt stay down purely in protest, he did get a bit of a knock to the head and it may end his afternoon. Palace, by way of extra bonus, have an incredibly hirsute physio. 4.11pm BST Its a corner from the right, taken by Brunt, from which Anichebe heads in. Speroni reckons hes been fouled, and has stayed down in protest, but in fact the referee signalled for a goal immediately and never changed his mind. 4.09pm BST Some confusion over whether this goal has been given or not. Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday says it was disallowed, but West Broms official Twitter feed seems confident.pic.twitter.com/dWhlDT3asO 4.07pm BST Arsenals Danny Welbeck is booked for diving. Seemed harsh for me he had to get out of the way of the onrushing John OShea, or risk injury to one, other or both by just ploughing right into him. 4.06pm BST Southampton hit the bar! Pelle with the headed effort. In foreign news, Luis Suárez will start for Barcelona in El Clásico. 4.05pm BST At Anfield, Coutinho passes to Sterling, rushing into the penalty area, but his shot is blocked, and rolls wide. 4.04pm BST At Anfield, 21 players come onto the pitch and get ready to start. Then they hang around a while, waiting, until Mario Balotelli decides its worth leaving the dressing-room. He had fewer touches than any other outfield player in the first half, Sky inform me. 4.03pm BST At least one Premier League half-time substitution: SUBSTITUTION: Anichebe for Sessegnon #WBACRY 4.01pm BST Teams are returning to pitches. Not a lot of exciting subplots and titbits around, as far as Ive seen. What have I missed? 3.48pm BST Its half time in all four Premier League games. Theres only one goalless game, at Anfield where the home side reckon they should have had at least one penalty, possibly two (Sterling also having been fouled in the box at some point). 3.47pm BST Crystal Palace have a penalty! Pocognolis the offender, coming across as Bolasie enters the penalty area on the right edge and taking his legs. Jedinak sends the keeper the wrong way. 3.43pm BST Liverpools Adam Lallana is taken out in the penalty area, but doesnt get a penalty, and at the other end theres a good run down the right and a pull-back to Livermore, whose shot is weak and saved. 3.41pm BST Neil Warnock has just blown his nose with a hankerchief. Thats proper old school that is. You dont see a lot of hankies these days. 3.40pm BST Stokes Ryan Shawcross gets booked for changing his boots without leaving the pitch. 3.39pm BST Penalty shout for Palace! Zaha, an absolute penalty-winning machine in his first spell at the club, goes down in the penalty area. It looks like someone did clip his ankles there, but the referee is unimpressed. 3.37pm BST Now the Saints are in the lead! From a free-kick the balls worked into the box, an initial effort hits the post and rebounds to Mané, who sends it into the other side of the goal! 3.34pm BST At Sunderland, Cazorla has a fine shot from 25 yards that screams across goal and not far wide. 3.33pm BST Ooooh! Then the corner is pulled back to Schneiderlin, who shoots over when well placed! 3.32pm BST At Southampton, Tadic cuts in from the right and lashes in a low shot towards the near post thats tipped wide. 3.31pm BST A horror show! Wes Brown has the ball, just inside his own half, no trouble in sight. But then he tries to hook it back to his goalkeeper, totally mishits it hardly hits it at all, to be frank and Sánchez pounces, runs clear and then chips the onrushing keeper from a foot inside the penalty area. 3.29pm BST In response to Ash Khan who would like news of a Liverpool victory, I recommend he turns off the radio, writes Duncan Smith. I can recommend a number of amateur fantasy fiction websites for him though. 3.27pm BST At Anfield, an obviously-recovered Can launches into a strong run from the halfway line, but once he reaches the edge of the area he overhits his pass to Balotelli. 3.25pm BST Capslockwatch:24' GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!! JONES!!!!! 2-0!!! 3.22pm BST Oooooh! And at the Hawthorns Gardner tests the keeper with a long-range rocket, before Dorrans, I think, shoots over from the corner! 3.21pm BST Everyones surrounding the referee at the Stadium of Light, and Gus Poyets looking aghast. Whats he done? Looks like Rodwell flew into a challenge two-footed, but hes still on the pitch so the referee cant have been too harsh. 3.17pm BST Palace send in a free-kick, from which Foster tips over a headed effort. And when the corner drops to Hangeland he clips it into the net while falling over! 3.16pm BST 3.14pm BST Thanks to all the eagle-eyed readers who spotted that Arsenal arent actually playing Southampton today. Sunderland are the glum-looking outfit, obviously. 3.12pm BST My wifes in labour at the hospital here in Australia, where its 1am, writes Ash Khan. Shes just asked me to turn off the live audio commentary even though I said the sounds of a Liverpool victory might be the perfect way to welcome our son. So now Im stuck with you!Turn the radio back on and tell her not to be so selfish. If that doesnt work, Ill be glad to help. 3.11pm BST The balls cleared off the line at Anfield! Lovren with the headed effort, from a Gerrard corner, but Elmohamady is on the post and heads clear. 3.09pm BST Sunderland have a decent shot from the edge of the area, but it fizzes a yard wide. 3.08pm BST Arsenal are not yet beating a rather glum Sunderland, though Gibbs has had an extremely optimistic 40-yard volleyed attempt that went 20 yards wide. And also a bit high. 3.06pm BST Liverpools Emre Can is receiving lengthy treatment, just a few minutes in, though hes able to walk of the pitch unaided so I expect hell be back in action shortly. 3.05pm BST Aggressive caps-lock usage of the day:GOOOOOLOOAAAAAAAALLLLL! JORDAN! 0-1 (1) 3.02pm BST And theyre off! Except Southampton v Stoke, which is about to start, a couple of minutes late. 2.59pm BST Approximately 40 seconds until kick-off. Deep breath now. 2.51pm BST Oi, someone wake that kid up, some chap wants to take its photo. 2.38pm BST Its all over at Upton Park, and West Hams insanely points-profitable start to the season continues.95: IT'S ALL OVER! WEST HAM WIN AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2.34pm BST Theyre going to have five minutes of stoppage time at West Ham. Still 2-1. 2.33pm BST Theo Walcotts on Arsenals bench today, and could make his first appearance since January. Here he is getting off a coach. 2.30pm BST Here are Gus Poyets pre-match thoughts. Réveillère is on the bench and thus in line for a debut at some point.Yes, its been a long week. Its been different. Its been not the usual one. But now we want to play the game. The sooner we play the game the better for the players. Its been difficult for us in the past few years to beat Arsenal here. They know how to play against Sunderland, so we need to do things a little bit different today. 2.26pm BST Quite the finish at Upton Park, where West Ham are 2-1 up against Manchester City with eight minutes plus stoppage time to play, and City attacking relentlessly. Scott Murray has the details here. 2.16pm BST 2.13pm BST All the Premier League teams are right here. If you particularly want to know whos playing elsewhere, I take requests.Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno, Allen, Gerrard, Can, Sterling, Balotelli, Lallana. Subs: Brad Jones, Toure, Lambert, Markovic, Johnson, Henderson, Coutinho. Hull: Jakupovic, Bruce, Davies, Chester, Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Diame, Livermore, Brady, Ben Arfa, Hernandez. Subs: Watson, Rosenior, Meyler, McShane, Aluko, Ramirez, Quinn. Referee: Neil Swarbrick.Sadio Mane was the only Southampton change from the side that demolished Sunderland last weekend. The Senegal winger replaced Shane Long for the visit of Stoke, who made two alterations at St Marys. Former Southampton player Mark Hughes brought in Geoff Cameron and Jonathan Walters in place of Stephen Ireland and Mame Biram Diouf. Theo Walcott returned to the Arsenal bench as his nine-month injury lay-off came to an end at Sunderland. The England international was a surprise inclusion in the matchday squad after recovering from a knee problem, although Arsene Wenger made only two changes to the XI which started in the Champions League at Anderlecht in midweek, with Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replacing the suspended Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, who was also named among the substitutes. Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes after last weekends 8-0 drubbing at Southampton, with only Jordi Gomez and Connor Wickham making way for Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson. Goalkeeper Ben Foster returned for West Brom for Saturdays game against Crystal Palace, having missed Mondays 2-2 draw with Manchester United with a calf injury. Seven-goal Saido Berahino started up front for the in-form Baggies, with 10million record signing Brown Ideye again on the bench after recovering from an ankle injury. Palace boss Neil Warnock made three changes from last weekends 2-1 defeat to Chelsea as Wilfried Zaha, Adrian Mariappa and Marouane Chamakh replaced Jason Puncheon, James McArthur and the suspended Damien Delaney. 2.00pm BST Hello world!Just the four top-flight 3pm kick-offs today, but as ever a packed schedule outside the Premier League, with Middlesbrough v Watford, which pits second against third in the Championship, probably the most eye-catching of the games elsewhere. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:49:18 GMT)

The murderers next door
For 15 years, William and Patricia Wycherley lay buried under their own lawn, killed by their daughter and son-in-law. Had this quiet cul-de-sac been the scene of a family argument gone wrong or something far stranger? We meet the neighboursIn the secure storage vaults of Nottinghamshire police headquarters is a box filled with Hollywood memorabilia. Theres a signed photograph of film star Gary Cooper, unsmiling in a tweed jacket and tie. Theres a bank form, faded at the edges, in which Cooper authorises his stockbroker to sell some shares in a Mexican steel company. Theres a blue-and-cream table card from a 1940s dinner dance, with Frank Sinatras autograph.These yellowed bits of paper look fairly unremarkable, but the people who owned them were prepared to kill for them. Earlier this year, Susan and Christopher Edwards were sentenced to 25 years for murdering Susans elderly mother and father, a crime they managed to conceal for 15 years, while they amassed the contents of this box. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:00:23 GMT)

I have 200 or 250 pairs of trainers: meet the men who are hopeless repeat fashion buyers
It starts innocently enough: you buy a pair of trainers (or a cap, or a printed shirt) and the next minute your wardrobes stuffed with them. Here are the men who know what they like and are sticking with it I have never thought of myself as a collector, but what the eye likes, the hand grabs over and over, as it turns out, and now my wardrobe looks like an ageing mobsters capsule collection. I have about 30 shirts. Some are vintage finds (Mint in north London and Stella Dallas in Brooklyn are great) and some are new (Lazy Oaf and Goodhood are favourite labels). Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:00:23 GMT)

Our three-way relationship isn't your business. Even if were doing business
Call us a thruple if you must. My boyfriends and I are happy together, even if it makes some people uncomfortableAs the real estate agent showed me what would eventually become my new apartment, I quietly slipped into the closet without even taking a step. So, youre looking for a two bedroom, he said, peering at the notes on his phone. You and a roommate? Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:22:50 GMT)

Singing nuns and dancing priests brother and sister acts go viral
Videos of a nuns rendition of Like a Virgin and two tap-dancing priests prove that while their beliefs may not be universal, the appeal of song and dance isWhen we think of nuns, thoughts of Madonna may often follow. Ordinarily, this would be a reference to the Virgin Mary; for some this week, however, the other one, the singer, came to mind. Sicilian sister Cristina Scucci, who won on The Voice of Italy show earlier this year, released her version of the 1984 hit Like a Virgin.This was quickly followed by a video of two American priests, Reverends David Rider and John Gibson, engaging in a tap dance-off, at an April fundraiser at the Pontifical North American College near the Vatican. The video has recently gone viral, with over 700,000 views. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 14:31:09 GMT)

John Peel day: Pink Floyd, PJ Harvey, Roxy Music and more of the bands he broke in pictures
Saturday 25 October marks 10 years since the death of the DJ who was instrumental in launching the careers of some of musics most successful acts. From PJ Harvey to Public Enemy, the Pogues to Pink Floyd, here are some of the bands he championed Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:00:27 GMT)

Luis Suárez: me and my big mouth
Banned from playing football since the World Cup, Luis Suárez is finally set to make his debut for Barcelona against Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season. Is the worlds most thrilling (and volatile) striker a reformed man? Simon Hattenstone tries to stay on his right sideRead an exclusive extract from Suárezs new bookLuis Suárez is squinting into the Spanish midday sun. We are sitting by the side of a pitch at Barcelonas training ground, and he is talking movingly about his relationship with his wife, Sofi, the humility of his new team-mates at Barcelona, the Monopoly games he enjoyed with the players back at Liverpool. And the more he talks, the more Im thinking, can this be the same man who sank his fangs into Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup? He speaks quietly, with a sweet if monotonous intensity, and still theres this nagging question. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 07:30:23 GMT)

From Python to Seinfeld - are these 12 classic comedies still funny?
Theyre known as comedy gold but are they? Really? Our critics cast an unsentimental eye over 12 from the hall of fame Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:00:30 GMT)

Sophie Heawood: Jude Law and the accidental babies
Under Judes Law, there is a good chance that, if a man keeps having unprotected sex with young women, a number of them will get pregnantLook, I must admit my eyes boggled a bit when I saw that the actor Jude Law is having another unplanned baby, which is rich of me, because Im hardly the nations most organised person. Still, I was surprised to see that after three kids from his marriage to Sadie Frost, and the affair with their nanny (while engaged to Sienna Miller), and then the daughter born to an American model after a brief fling, Law has had a short relationship, now ended, with a singer/songwriter, and a baby is on the way in the new year. It does feel that life just keeps on happening to some people, again and again and again.Most of us will have heard of sods law, under which there is a good chance that, if anything can go wrong, it will. Under the lesser-known precept of Judes Law, there is a good chance that, if a man keeps having unprotected sex with young women, a number of them will get pregnant. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:00:22 GMT)

David Shrigley at Sketch, London W1 restaurant review
This might be the most absurd restaurant in the country. Is Jeff Koons cooking?I bow to no restaurant fan in my admiration of Mourad Mazouz, aka Momo. In a landscape where nobody takes risks, where the sure-fire route to success is to pinch somebody elses ideas (yes, Paesan and Tomboy Burrito, I am looking at you), he continues to go his own oddball way.Of his remarkable Sketch, he said when it opened, I could have opened a safe little brasserie like the Ivy. Instead, in this grand, sprawling Georgian town house, he created a multi-venue pleasurama, a sensory overload of challenging artworks, aliens egg loos and extraordinary and curious food. Itll never last, said everyone, clutching their pearls. Yet here we are, nearly 12 years later, and the place as busy as ever. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:00:09 GMT)

Lauren Laverne: More charisma than any woman presenter of her generation
The former Kenickie frontwoman has overcome accusations of triviality to become one of Britains best-loved radio DJsLauren Lavernes big break came when Bob Stanley stumbled across her band Kenickies single in a record shop, loved what he heard, and called the number on the sleeve. Laverne was the bands lead singer and, this being the mid-1990s, it was her home phone number. She was very cool about it and not acting shocked when I rang, says Stanley, a journalist and musician with the band Saint Etienne, who at the time was running a small imprint of the record label EMI. But I think they were quite excited about EMI calling up. Obviously she lived with her parents at the time they were only 16 then.Two decades later, Laverne is a wife and mother, an enthusiastic user of social media, the author of a novel for young adults, a newspaper columnist and a multi-talented TV presenter who can turn her hand, seemingly effortlessly, to everything from pop music to high culture to comedy and current affairs. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:40:00 GMT)

Market forces: Spitalfields children at the start of the 20th century
Amateur photographer Horace Warner documented the lives of Spitalfields poorest residents in the early 1900s. More than a century later, his collection is printed for the first time Plus a gallery of Warners photographs of children in and around Spitalfields in the early 1900sHorace Warner came to Spitalfields at the end of the 19th century as superintendent of the Sunday school at the Bedford Institute, one of nine Quaker missions in the East End of London. He worked in the family wallpaper business and was a photographer in his spare time. Warner befriended and photographed those living in the shadow of the Bishopsgate goods yard, some of the poorest people in London.In 1913, the Institute paid two pounds, 15 shillings and sixpence for about 20 photographs, for use in their fundraising activities. But Warner took many more pictures that he collected into two albums of photography that, after his death, passed from his wife, Florence, into the possession of his elder daughter, Gwen, and subsequently his grandson, Ian Warner McGilvray. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:00:12 GMT)

Why you should never, ever wash your jeans (unless you really, really have to)
What do winners smell like? Dirty jeans or so say some manufacturers of raw denim who claim that not washing your jeans will make them last longer. But what on earth do you do when nobody wants to come near you any more?Most clothes come with simple washing instructions which Id hazard most men interpret as pick quickest setting, use same for everything, hope for best. Raw denim on the other hand comes with much starker diktats. For anyone whos invested in* (*forked out for) a pair of raw jeans, youre confronted with a whole new attitude to washing basically, dont do it.Take this from Hiut Denim: Raw denim is best given a good six months before washing. The longer you can leave it, the better your jeans will look. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:44:09 GMT)

My mums a sex therapist
Ann-Marlene Henning, a best-selling Danish sexologist, is on a crusade to give the internet generation a porn-free sex education with a little help from her sonAnn-Marlene Henning gives a sad shake of her head and rolls her eyes as she recalls her attempts to talk to her teenage son about sex. I tried but he didnt want me to! she exclaims. James reached puberty and I thought, Ive got to tell him something, havent I? Hed say, No! I dont want to hear this! Hed say, Mum! Im a boy! I dont talk!Henning laughs, then looks wistful. Maybe a daughter would have asked me more Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:30:04 GMT)

Jake and Dinos Chapman review a hilarious, horrifying orgy of darkness
Jerwood Gallery, HastingsFrom copulating plastic dinosaurs to crucified Ronald McDonalds and the severed feet of God, the arch-provocateurs teeming macabre landscapes offer a powerful vision of modern brutalityJake Chapman is looking down from the balcony of the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings on to a pebbled beach scene with fishing boats and seafood stalls. The seaside towns quaint old quarter is, he insists, all trompe loeil. He points to a sign on a fish-sellers hut that he interprets to mean all its produce comes from Lidl. The boats on the horizon are cardboard cutouts, he says.The Chapman brothers, arch-provocateurs of Young British Art, have returned to their hometown to put on a bold exhibition titled In the Realm of the Unmentionable at its beachside art gallery. It seems a generous, affectionate gesture to come back to the place where they grew up and which is so keen to welcome them that locals have crowdsourced nearly £30,000 to fund the show. Yet they just cant be sentimental about growing up here. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:16:33 GMT)

The weekend cook: Mexican-inspired recipes to celebrate the Day of the Dead
How better to celebrate one of Mexicos most famous holidays than with recipes based on the countrys key flavours?It is Day of the Dead, or All Souls Day, on 1-2 November, a global festival to celebrate those we have loved and lost. In Mexico, it is a time of great festivity, when families get together, cook and make toasts to relatives. Last weekend at the market, I picked up lots of pumpkins, and decided to use some in my own Day of the Dead feast. Theyre so versatile: you can roast or steam them, and use as a vegetable side or main course; they even work in sweet dishes, too. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:00:05 GMT)

Growing up in the family funeral parlour
Kate Mayfields father was an undertaker and his workshop was at their home her early memories of life were all about its endIts one thing to choose to be in the death business and quite another to be born into it. My first introduction to all things funereal began when my parents carried me from the hospital straight to the funeral home. My playground, carefully curated by my undertaker father, consisted of rooms full of gleaming coffins, the neon glare of brightly coloured embalming fluid bottles, and the bodies, always the bodies.We lived in a small town in southern Kentucky on the Tennessee border. On Main Street, the old, sprawling house was large enough to host the business of death on the ground floor, while our family lived quietly, as silent as the grave, on the floor above. The staircase led straight up to our living quarters and offered no door of comfort, no solid thing to shut us away from the funerals and visitations that occurred below. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:00:03 GMT)

Real Madrid v Barcelona: El Clásico live!
El Clásico updates from the 5pm BST kick-off in the BernabéuLive scores, all the days fixtures, latest tables and much moreRead the exclusive first extract from Luis Suárezs new bookAnd feel free to drop scott.murray@theguardian.com an email 4.12pm BST Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Rodriguez, Modric, Kroos, Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.Barcelona: Bravo, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Mathieu, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Neymar. 4.00pm BST Say what you like about Luis Suarez, but the mans got star quality. Imagine the disappointment if, back from his latest ban, he doesnt start today! Well have to make do with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, James Rodriguez and Neymar. Bah. Whats the La Liga refund policy?Kick off: 5pm. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:41:51 GMT)

West Ham Uniteds Diafra Sakho on target again to down Manchester City
Behold the new West Ham United. Sam Allardyces revamped side outgunned Manchester City in a thrilling early afternoon showdown at Upton Park and continued their emergence as great entertainers, not to mention serious candidates for an enduring place in the top four. Morgan Amalfitano put the home side in front before Diafra Sakho became the first player to score in all of his first six starts in the top flight. David Silva hit a sweet reply for City but West Ham combine their new style with their old steel and clung on the three points.Back in the summer, when the sun never set on the grumbling of West Ham fans about the their teams bleak play under Allardyce, few observers would have foreseen such scenario. But crafty recruitment has helped Allardyce fulfil his promise to deliver a more flamboyant style and the hosts went into this game on the back of two consecutive wins and in free-scoring form. There was little expectation that City would hit the Hammers as hard as they did last season, when they put 14 goals past them in four matches. Indeed, even before the match West Hams joint chairman David Sullivan, who is seldom slow to apply public pressure on the manager when miffed, struck a triumphant tone in the programme, responding to Sir Alex Fergusons recent suggestion that the fabled West Ham way seems to be something of an east London myth by declaring: What we are witnessing right now is exactly that. We are playing attacking football with everybody giving 100% and we are getting results at the same time. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:53:41 GMT)

Serena Williams beats Caroline Wozniacki in thriller at WTA Finals
World No1 sets up rematch Simona Halep in Singapore final Wozniacki fails to serve out match, losing 7-6 in decider Williams slams Russian officials sexist and racist commentsSerena Williams regained her composure after smashing her racquet and being on the brink of defeat to beat Caroline Wozniacki 2-6 6-3 7-6 on Saturday and set up a rematch with Simona Halep in the WTA Finals title decider.The best of friends off the court, the pair slugged it out like two prizefighters for over two hours until Williams delivered the killer blow to end a contest filled with drama and escalating tension. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 09:27:19 GMT)

Mourinho was a gopher under Robson. With Van Gaal he got a total education
At Barcelona they were Dutch master and Portuguese apprentice. Barney Ronay looks at their reunion on Sunday Van Gaal: my iron shield makes me immune from MourinhoShortly before the 2010 Champions League final between Internazionale and Bayern Munich, José Mourinho sent his opposite number, Louis van Gaal, a text message that read: A big hug before the final a big hug after the final. Yes, that José Mourinho. Well, its better than a poke in the eye. That match at the Bernabéu was the only previous time Mourinho and Van Gaal have met on opposite sides in a competitive match, as they will again when Manchester United play Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday. It is a fixture that has for nine of the past 10 seasons been cast as a collision of title hopefuls but that this season is, from a certain angle, just as significant as a meeting of two unusually intimate managerial grandees.There is of course a famous coaching confluence at work here, a re-entwining of two of the most significant offshoots of European footballs own mid-1990s Bloomsbury set. The Van Gaal era at Barcelona also featured Mourinho as assistant coach, Pep Guardiola as club captain and the managers of Barça, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax Luis Enrique, Phillip Cocu and Frank de Boer as fellow members of the playing staff. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:30:10 GMT)

Why legacy of West Indies cricket cries out for a truly stout defence
Pulling out from their tour of India has left the Caribbean game in crisis which deserves urgent understanding and help Withdrawal from tour a mistake, says Clive Lloyd India may decide not to tour West IndiesThe West Indies are often cited as everyones second favourite team in world cricket except perhaps in the Caribbean where they may currently be regarded as the least favourite team of the lot.Even in this era when West Indies have so often been emasculated they have still had the capacity to enchant fleetingly as they did in Colombo when winning the World T20 in 2012. The current team lacks the majesty and power of the magnificent sides of the Eighties, yet in Sri Lanka two years ago they had a rollercoaster ride to the T20 final, which was ultimately mesmerising. Their campaign was unpredictable, joyous and stylish and everyone enjoyed their triumph. Yet now, with the 50-over World Cup round the corner, there is serious doubt whether West Indies will even turn up - or indeed whether the ICC will want them there. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:00:03 GMT)

Australia fall to New Zealand in Four Nations opener
Australia 12-30 New ZealandEngland 32-26 SamoaThe jury is still out on Australias generation next after New Zealands 30-12 triumph over a depleted Kangaroos side in their Four Nations opener in Brisbane.For the first time since the 2010 Four Nations final, the Kiwis emerged victorious over Australia - albeit after Daly Cherry-Evans (back) and fullback Greg Inglis (illness) were added to the Kangaroos already bulging injury list. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:26:16 GMT)

Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho take friendship and rivalry into battle
Chelsea and Manchester United managers were together at Barcelona, where closeness and respect grew strongly, but their different paths since will be on display in Sundays showdown The last time they met: 2010 Champions League finalWhen Louis van Gaal took the managers job at Barcelona in the summer of 1997, he was a year early. Originally, the idea had been to go to Catalonia for a season, familiarising himself with his surroundings, the league and the language, plan for the clubs future and then take over the following season. Instead the process was accelerated by a president under pressure and with an eye on looming elections. Bobby Robson was shunted out of the way, becoming a director of signings who made no signings, and Van Gaal moved in.My place is on the bench, Robson pointedly remarked at the end of the 1996-97 season, having won the Cup Winners Cup and Copa del Rey. By then, he knew he would be bundled upstairs. He had found out in late April when Barcelona played at Fiorentina. Amid the rumours he had confronted Josep Lluís Núñez, the Barcelona president who was this week found guilty of bribing a tax official and who back then publicly and cynically claimed to be the only one standing by Robson. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:00:02 GMT)

Mike Ashley wins control of Rangers after Brian Kennedy bid fails
Newcastle owner understood to have had offer accepted Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedys late bid rejected Louise Taylor: What Rangers bid might mean for NewcastleMike Ashley has won the battle for control of Rangers after the Ibrox board rejected an 11th-hour offer from the Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy, the Press Association understands.The Newcastle United owner who already has an 8.92% stake in the club will now strengthen his grip on the Light Blues boardroom after his £2m offer was reportedly accepted by the clubs directors on Saturday morning. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:02:32 GMT)

Detroit Lions in the driving seat against Atlanta Falcons at Wembley
The Lions are expected to have the edge at Sundays NFL clash in London, while an American football franchise for the city is becoming more viable, says the Falcons president Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions, 1.30pm Channel 4/SS2 Atlanta Falcons prepare for meeting with Detroit Lions Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson an injury concernAround 84,000 people will swarm into Wembley on Sundaylunchtime to watch the Atlanta Falcons face the Detroit Lions, another sellout for the second of three NFL matches to be staged in London this season. And, for a change, it might be more of contest than a rout.Last month at Wembley the Miami Dolphins beat the Oakland Raiders 38-14, while three of the last four NFL games at Wembley have been won by 24 points or greater. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:59:02 GMT)

Angel di María: Manchester Uniteds £59.7m, £280,000-a-week bargain
The amount of money Manchester United have spent and will spend on Di María is extraordinary but then so is he Barney Ronay: Mourinho got a total education under Van GaalFootball was invented for a single purpose to make people happy and accordingly football clubs exist for a single purpose to make their supporters happy. So it is often curious when a football club is accused of overpaying for a football player since, unless the funds would otherwise subsidise admission, they can have no better use.It is unlikely that this was the intention of the Glazer family, had Angel di María not moved to Manchester United and yet, the expenditure that secured his signature attracted plenty of criticism. Clearly £59.7m in fees and £280,000 a week in wages is extraordinary but then so too is Di María; players of his quality and qualities are cheap at whatever exorbitant price you are lucky enough to pay for them. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:29:23 GMT)

England survive Samoa scare to secure victory in Four Nations opener
Steve McNamaras side recover from 22-20 deficit to win 32-26 Pacific Islanders twice led at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane All the latest rugby league news on our dedicated siteEngland are bidding to make history at this Four Nations but went perilously close to making it for all the wrong reasons in their first outing. Since the Tri-Nations was expanded to add a developing nation, in 2009, none of these minnow countries has managed a victory. But Matt Parishs freewheeling, passionate Samoans led England 10-6 and 22-20 before tries by the Tomkins brothers, Joel and Sam, saved the day.Englands aim is to win a series involving Australia for the first time since the 1970 Ashes series, when they played as Great Britain. They now face Australia next Sunday in Melbourne in a vital match for the hosts. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:26:06 GMT)

Marussia join Caterham in missing F1 US GP, confirms Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone gave Caterham dispensation to miss next two GPs Caterham administrators to use time to find buyer for F1 teamThe struggling Caterham and Marussia Formula One teams will both miss next weeks US Grand Prix in Texas, the sports commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Saturday. Neither of those two teams are going to go to America, said the 83-year-old.Caterham are in administration while Russian-registered Marussia are struggling financially and are still reeling from French driver Jules Bianchis serious accident in Japan three weeks ago. Neither team was immediately contactable on Saturday. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 09:15:27 GMT)

Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris interested in buying Crystal Palace
Harris owns 76ers and the New Jersey Devils Reports of deal being close are premature Harris would become sixth American owner in Premier League Premier League still quintessentially English, says ScudamoreThe owner of the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers, Josh Harris, has contacted the board at Crystal Palace and expressed an interest in buying the south London club as he seeks to become the sixth American owner of a Premier League side.Harris, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, has been seeking to invest in the English game for some time and, with his business partner, David Blitzer, sounded out his compatriot Randy Lerner over a potential purchase of Aston Villa this year. Palace are one of a number of prospective investment opportunities he is considering as he seeks a foothold in the Premier League. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:52:56 GMT)

Rafael Nadal to have surgery and is out of ATP World Tour Finals
Its the day to say goodbye for the season, says Nadal Decision a boost for Andy Murray in race to London Murray reaches semi-finals in Valencia Andy Murrays chances of qualifying for next months ATP Tour Finals received a significant boost on Friday night when Rafael Nadal pulled out of the season-ending tournament. The British No1 had earlier strengthened his cause by beating Kevin Anderson to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Valencia Open.Nadal announced he was to undergo appendix surgery on 3 November, six days before the start of the tournament in London for which eight players qualify. The Spaniards withdrawal has in effect promoted Murray to the No7 spot in that race. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:53:37 GMT)

The sports quiz of the week: Champions League, own goals and rugby results
This week's quiz tests your knowledge of European goalscorers and the first weekend in the European Rugby Champions Cup Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:30:43 GMT)

Hugo Rodallega double helps Fulham thrash sorry Charlton
Kit Symons is very confident he will be made Fulhams next permanent manager. The former Craven Cottage defender made it five wins out of eight games in caretaker charge as his side blew Charlton away 3-0. who has put together a five-man committee to identify a new manager still seems in no hurry to make the appointment. However, Khan is due back in the country over the next fortnight when he could finally take what appears the easiest of decisions. Symons said: I havent checked my phone yet but I am very confident Ill get it. It has to be getting more difficult, with the team winning games, for the five-man panel not to see the obvious thing to do for this football club. The chairman is over the week after next. I dont know what to expect, I understand the process but not when a decision will be made or how it will come about. Hopefully well find out sooner rather than later. Scott Parker opened the scoring against his old club after six minutes, latching on to Chris Sollys wayward pass and playing in Ross McCormack before smashing the return ball in off the crossbar. Hugo Rodallega doubled the lead in another six minutes when he snaffled the rebound after Stephen Henderson had palmed out McCormacks half-volley. Charlton, who had lost only once all season, improved after the break but could not find a way back into the match, with Marcus Bettinelli saving well from George Tucudeans header and Franck Moussa firing wide.Instead Fulham wrapped up the victory, and sent another emphatic message to Khan, when Lasse Vigen Christensen set up Rodallega for the third. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:01:20 GMT)

Mark McCall stays upbeat after Rhys Gills rush of blood costs Saracens
Munster 14-3 SaracensThe Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, believes his side can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions Cup despite leaving here on Friday night without even a losing bonus point. McCall admitted that the game turned when his replacement prop Rhys Gill was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle on Munsters CJ Stander.It was a turning point; we had a bit of momentum, he said. We were playing some good rugby at that time but Munster took advantage of that yellow card like they always seem to do. Overall we probably made too many more set-piece errors than we normally would. We lost the territory battle and that proved crucial. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:02:38 GMT)

Brendan Rodgers rules out bringing in defensive coach at Liverpool
Liverpool manager believes more time in training is required Rodgers will continue to give Mario Balotelli a chance Manager gives Balotelli two months to prove his worthBrendan Rodgers has dismissed the possibility of bringing in a specialist defensive coach to try to help Liverpool stop leaking goals. While Mario Balotellis shortcomings as a striker and undiminished nose for controversy have dominated the headlines since Liverpool suffered their worst ever home defeat in Europe at the hands of Real Madrid, the underlying story in the present malaise is of a defence conceding too many goals too easily.There was not much any defence could have done about the way James Rodríguez and Cristiano Ronaldo combined for a sublime opening goal on Wednesday, though Rodgers thought the next two were down to poor defending. Yet, even though many feared for Liverpool against Real after their inept display against Queens Park Rangers a few days earlier, the manager remains adamant there is no need to send for outside help. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:30:10 GMT)

Marriage in recovery: The things that keep me sane
In my penultimate column, here is a list of things Ive learned that have kept me goingRecently, my 13-year-old daughter was asked by a teacher to imagine the advice that an 18-year-old her would give to her current self. She sighed and said, What a bloody waste of time, before producing a fantastic list that could, if put into practice, help her to get out of certain stuck-in-a-rut situations. In this, my penultimate column, I want to talk about things I have learned in the past couple of years. My list reminds me of the things I need to remember in order to stay relatively sane. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:30:20 GMT)

Everything you need to know about the clocks going back
The clocks go back one hour this Sunday 26 October at 2am, but why do we do it? And why is it so controversial?Daylight saving time (DST) is the biannual event when we forget whether to put our clocks one hour back or one hour forward, and whether this means well get some extra sleep or not.In the UK, clocks go back one hour this Sunday the 26 October at 2:00am, marking the end of British Summer Time (BST). It means that we end up having a 25-hour day.To alter the time of the clock at the equinoxes so as to bring the working-hours of the day within the period of daylight, and by utilising the early morning, so reduce the excessive use of artificial light which at present prevails. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:13:44 GMT)

Our 10 best pumpkin recipes
With Halloween just around the corner, its time to brush up on the best things to make with the iconic squash curries, salads, sweet waffles and a classic all-American pieWaffles make for a handsome breakfast, and pumpkin imparts a mellow sweetness to these gluten-free beauties. If pumpkins are out of season, you can use 600g mashed ripe banana instead of the pumpkin puree. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:00:28 GMT)

Ask Molly Ringwald: my girlfriend cant forgive my stag do prank. Do I beg?
Our agony aunt advises a man whose girlfriend says she is disappointed in him and is ignoring himMy girlfriend of two years is furious because of a prank I played while on my way to a stag do. I sent everyone a photo of a (fully clothed) girl, joking that she was a stripper who was coming to the stag do with me (this was made up, I found the photo online). My girlfriend found out and says she is disappointed in me, that it was indecent, and insulted my friends. She has ignored me since. Were pretty happy together normally, but sometimes she gets really angry for no apparent reason and I have to beg for forgiveness. Do I do that now, or should I make a stand?Disappointed? Indecent? Did she also give you a spanking and send you to your room without dinner? Begging for forgiveness should be saved for the really big stuff forgetting anniversaries, betrayal, leaving the toilet seat up. Using it up on the tiny stuff is just bound to make you resentful and further entrench you in your already somewhat unhealthy relationship dynamic. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:00:02 GMT)

20 best Android apps and games this week
Nokia HERE, Inbox by Gmail, Skylanders Trap Team, Autodesk SketchBook, République, New Words With Friends and moreIts time for our latest roundup of the latest, greatest Android apps and games, this time from the last two weeks worth of releases on the Google Play store.As ever, the prices provided in brackets are for the initial download only: when an app uses in-app purchases, this will be listed as (Free + IAP). Something to look for: a new section of each apps Google Play store listing, which explains the full range of IAP (for example, £1.23-£8.01 per item for Ultralingua Dictionaries from this weeks roundup). Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:23:11 GMT)

Magic Leap: startup promises a leap forward for virtual reality
Google is one of the hopeful investors in what could be a revolution in creating screen-free, Matrix-style dream worldsLike fusion power or jet-packs, virtual reality has always been 20 years away. Matrix-inspired dreams of being transported via headset to another realm have been held back by poor graphics, high costs and, most damagingly, nausea. Virtual reality has had an unfortunate habit of making the users really sick. Products have been announced with fanfare, come and then slipped away.Now it seems that something more substantial might be afoot. Last week it was announced that Magic Leap, a mysterious startup, had raised $542m in funding, a gargantuan figure even by the standards of Silicon Valley, valuing the company at around $2bn. The investors are also of an unusually high calibre, including Google and the semiconductor magnate, Qualcomm. More impressive still is that nobody has a clear idea about what exactly Magic Leap does. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:37:13 GMT)

Travel quiz: wine, beer and spirits of the world
Where do caipirinhas come from? How do you say 'cheers!' in Spanish? If you like a tipple on your travels, see how much 'knowledge' you've soaked up in our world booze quizTry our other quizzes and prove how much you know about flags, the UK and the world. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:08:00 GMT)

The 10 best ghosts
With Halloween just around the corner, Michael Hogan chooses his favourite otherworldly charactersHave we missed a ghost from the list? Leave your suggestion in the comments below and it could feature in the alternative list next weekSam Wheat from GhostThe clues in the title of the 1990 mega-hit Ghost, meaning Patrick Swayzes dead banker is one spook we can safely mention without fear of spoilers (were looking at you, The Sixth Sense). New York ceramicist Molly (Demi Moore) is in danger from criminals, so the spirit of her murdered lover tries to save her with the help of a psychic (Oscar-winning Whoopi Goldberg). Its most remembered, though, for its potters wheel scene, in which shirtless Swayze and Moore get erotically clay-coated to the strains of Unchained Melody. Worryingly, a US TV adaptation is in development. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:00:02 GMT)

Have you changed your political allegiance?
Were looking for people who are planning to vote for a different party in the next election. Perhaps youve gone from Labour to Green, or Lib Dem to Ukip. If so, we want to hear from youAre you thinking about voting Ukip, because youve had enough of the mainstream parties? Perhaps you voted Lib Dem last time, and now youre thinking never again? Were interested in whats happening in your area, and how you feel about the main political parties. If youre planning to vote for a different party at the next election, wed like to know which one - and why. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:14:42 GMT)

What I wore this week: three-storey dressing
Three-Storey Dressing means an outfit consisting of three vertical sections like a traffic light, or a Fab ice lollyWhen we were taking the pictures for this page, the photographer was looking through the camera and frowning Lean in a bit, leg a bit straighter, um, thats not working, try the other one, and I was shifting about awkwardly in my Thunderbirds-puppet modelling style, and eventually he sighed and asked, imploringly: Jess can you try and be a bit taller? Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:30:06 GMT)

New band of the week: Pinkshinyultrablast (No 28)
Introducing the finest Russian shoegaze band in the world today! Hometown: St Petersburg, Russia.The lineup: Igor (bass), Lyubov (vocals), Sergey (drums), Rustam (synths, electronics), Roman (guitars). Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:16:50 GMT)

20 best iPhone and iPad apps and games this week
Ruby Tandoh, Flickr, Angry Birds Transformers, Best Fiends, Inbox by Gmail, Toca Boo, Skylanders and moreIts time for this weeks roundup of the best new iPhone and iPad apps and games released on Apples App Store.As ever, the prices provided in brackets are for the initial download only: when an app uses in-app purchases, this will be listed as (Free + IAP). Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:42:00 GMT)

Should fans be refunded for poor performances? 
Sunderland players offered travelling supporters refunds last week after being trounced 8-0 away by Southampton. Is that a wise precedent? Two writers argue the tossNo refunds! Because there are no guarantees. The lack of a guarantee is the whole point of sport at least for this spectator. Youre not buying a Dyson here, or a raincoat, with a full and justified expectation of cleaner carpets, or dryer shoulders. Will a game (a race, a test, a morning session, a days play) be entertaining? Worth the money to see live, or worth the time parked on a sofa at home? Nobody can say, and phew for that. Its only the unpredictability that makes these repetitive events so endlessly watchable. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:00:05 GMT)

In his anger, Cameron has made Britain a toxic brand
The prime minister rages at the EUs £1.7bn bill, but his miscalculations have lost Britain vital allies in EuropeAnger suits David Cameron. Its one of the modes he does well. He is skilled at contrition his Bloody Sunday apology was the moment he became, rather than merely held the office of, prime minister but fury is his forte. The cheeks colour, the fist pounds the lectern, the words turn plain and demotic. On Friday he channelled the voice of middle-aged men everywhere as they open a brown envelope to discover an unexpected demand for cash. Im not paying that bill, he said, the face puce. Its not going to happen.The sceptical will say Cameron was play-acting, that he cant really have been surprised by the European commissions demand that Britain top up its contribution by an extra £1.7bn to reflect the UKs better than realised economic performance over the past two decades and cough up by 1 December. Treasury officials have known this was in the works for months. Still, even if this was no October surprise, Cameron had to turn his facial setting to purple. He couldnt afford to be out-angered by Nigel Farage. With the Rochester byelection looming, a Tory-Ukip showdown, the right of British politics has become an auction of rage: two parties competing to display more vein-bulging ire at Brussels. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:08:12 GMT)

Taxpayers money spent on childcare is not wasted its an investment
Fifteen hours of free childcare a week might not allow mothers to return to work immediately but it lets them know that the state respects and supports their intention to do so in futureThere are more women working now in Britain than ever before: two thirds of us, or 14.4 million. Thats a rise of 368,000 in the last year, and of 771,000 since the start of the decade. Britains female employment rate is now well above the average in major industrialised nations. The Treasury is delighted with its figures. And George Osborne is thrilled too. Im thrilled as well, not least because most of the new posts are full-time and in highly skilled occupations.Not everyone is happy, though. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) reckons that whatever the reasons for the surge in female employment, state help with pre-school childcare in England and Wales is making only a marginal and expensive difference. Research conducted by the thinktank, in partnership with the universities of Surrey and Essex, has concluded that the policy, introduced in 1998, costs approaching £66,000 for each person helped into work. Which does seem quite steep. Thankfully, however, these figures are so anal and literal that theyre almost without meaning at all. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:41:00 GMT)

Britain, dont put your faith in Russell Brands revolution
The comedians excitable appearance on Newsnight this week betrayed the incoherence of his political viewsOh, Britain have you not read your King James Bible recently? Permit a New York Jew to quote some to you: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.It is one such fruit that is up for discussion today: Russell Brands interview on Newsnight with Evan Davis on Thursday night. If you missed this because you were too busy washing your hair, I shall catch you up. As you doubtless remember, it was Brands appearance on Newsnight exactly a year ago that, after an article by him in the New Statesman, changed the popular perception of him as an amusing chap who confused a thesaurus with eloquence into the political prophet the country had been waiting for. In the cold light of 365 days later, it is not entirely clear why this happened. Perhaps somewhere in the New Testament the Lord sayeth, And my son will return, and ye shall know him by his lack of fear of Jeremy Paxman. But as I said, I am a Jew. So, well, dont count on it. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:05:13 GMT)

Martin Rowson on David Cameron and the EU bill  cartoon
Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:46:33 GMT)

Tunisia is showing the Arab world how to nurture democracy
Despite the turmoil surrounding Tunisia, its cohesive society has brought about stability and, this weekend, the countrys second free electionsTunisia is bracing itself for the second open and free elections since its revolution and the toppling of its dictator in January 2011. While the rest of the Arab spring countries Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen have slid either into chaos and civil strife or back into the bleak and brutal era of military coups, Tunisia seems to have withstood the powerful storms raging around it and will elect a representative parliament on Sunday.The country has adopted a modern democratic constitution that won the approval of 93% of its diverse political parties. It is the most progressive constitution in the Arab region, enshrining womens rights, freedom of belief, conscience, and worship, and banning incitement to violence and religious excommunication. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:00:26 GMT)

Ripping up the sea floor on behalf of royal profits
Even the pathetic laws protecting marine life in this country are instantly swept aside in response to lobbying by Prince Charless tenantsA few days ago, I visited the Flamborough Head no take zone, one of the UKs three areas in which commercial fishing is prohibited. Here marine life is allowed to proliferate, without being menaced by trawlers, scallop dredgers, drift nets, pots and all the other devices for rounding it up, some of which also rip the seabed to shreds. A reef of soft corals, mussels, razorfish and other species has begun to form, in which plaice and cod, crabs and lobsters can shelter, unmolested by exploitation. Fantastic, isnt it?We are not apologists for farming and fishing, nor pushing out propaganda for them ... The [display] board does not take a view on farming it offers no support nor is it designed to campaign against the appalling state of British farming today. Likewise for fishing. We, of course, understand that fishing has devastated the North Seas wildlife it is why YWT has built capacity to campaign on marine wildlife protection over the last five years. But again, regardless of our views on fishing, fishing has been part of the Flamborough community for thousands of years it is part of the story of the people who live and work at Flamborough. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:07:02 GMT)

Dont let those high achievers bring you down
Thanks to social media were all aware of the feats of Mark Zuckerberg and his superhuman ilk. But its OK to be a mortalAs someone who works from home, I consider getting up and getting dressed in the morning the pinnacle of achievement. Getting up without an urgent need to is a herculean task. I have been known to get round this tricky problem by, on occasion, working from bed.And often I get up but somehow fail to get dressed. Yesterday my neighbour asked me to help him move a heavy picture, and I had to go outside in the street in my pyjamas. To be fair, he could see me working in my window, and my top half was dressed like a newsreader. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:14:35 GMT)

Spiritual but not religious? Youre not alone
Is it time for rationalists who think spirituality is a meaningless term to get over themselves, asks Oliver BurkemanIts been reported that 20% of British people and 25% of Americans describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. The others probably rolled their eyes and muttered, Oh, please. Its a maddening phrase, exuding both smug superiority (Im deeper than an atheist but smarter than a believer!) and new age credulity of the wind-chimes-cure-cancer variety. Yet its how Id reluctantly describe myself. So its jolting to learn that Sam Harris, the celebrity atheist much of whose work I think is wrongheaded is one of us, too. While denouncing religion in public, it turns out Harris spent years studying with gurus in India, going on meditation retreats, and using mind-expanding drugs to feel boundlessly at one with the universe. His new book, Waking Up, makes a powerful case that theres no contradiction here and that its time for rationalists who think spirituality is a meaningless term to get over themselves. Pretty much literally, in fact.What Harris means by spirituality stems from the realisation that the feeling of being a distinct self the sense of being perched somewhere behind your eyes, looking out at a world that is separate from you is an illusion, and can be altered, even extinguished. Meditation and magic mushrooms are among the ways of achieving that. But why bother? Because not realising this truth is what keeps us trapped in the endless quest to acquire the things we think will make us happy: relationships, money, power. That quest locates happiness in the future, yet the reality of your life is always now. Step out of the self, even briefly, and you step into the present and a kind of happiness that doesnt depend on certain criteria being met. Is it possible to be happy before anything happens, before ones desires are gratified in the very midst of physical pain, old age, disease and death? Harriss answer is yes. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:00:01 GMT)

25 years since the Berlin Wall came down. Now Germany must be bold
Angela Merkel has helped turn a unified Germany into a great country. It must start acting like oneA quarter of a century ago I went for a beer with a friend from East Berlin. We downed our frothy brew in the Märkischer Markt, a stroll from Checkpoint Charlie. Afterwards he stayed locked behind the Berlin Wall as one of the majority of East Germans who had never been permitted to travel to the west while I headed past the grim-faced guards to my parallel world of late bars and tinned tomatoes.Our standing joke was that we did our beer-drinking under communism, but only I went to the loo afterwards under capitalism. By late 1989 that quip felt sour and the mood more bitter than I had experienced, living in the east on and off since 1983. Hungary had opened its border with Austria, and young East Germans were taking the opportunity of the first mouse hole since the Wall went up in 1961, even if it seemed likely to mean permanent estrangement from those they left behind. Fear, always nagging in a country that relied on the secret police to tamp down dissent, mingled with hopes of reform. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet president, had come to East Germany and wagged a finger at the countrys ailing leader, Erich Honecker and even after a nominal change at the top, the system looked resistant to perestroika, impervious to glasnost. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:59:50 GMT)

Ill drink to child-free pubs and cafes
The increased presence of children in adult spaces might reflect progress, but sometimes I want a drink without someone screaming in my earAn Australian business owner did a brave thing this week. Jodie Morris announced that her cafe would no longer be accepting badly behaved children. If parents were looking for somewhere for children to run rampant and annoy other customers, she wrote on Facebook, then her premises were not child friendly.This has upset some customers, but I imagine others will breathe a sigh of relief. I would have gone further. The well behaved rule will no doubt lead to conflict further down the line (Why does my darling have to leave when that other child can stay?). So why not ban the whole lot of them? I believe in the sanctity of child-free spaces. Am I the only one; will someone not think of the adults? Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:00:08 GMT)

Without porn, the world would be a better place
Being an anti-porn feminist isnt to advocate censorship, but to highlight the fact that pornography contributes to misogynyPornography is one of the most contentious issues of the feminist movement today, with polarised views on whether it is liberating or degrading, allows and promotes sexual freedom, or if it promotes a view of female sexuality as submissive and based on rape fantasies. As a feminist firmly on the anti-porn side, I am used to the vitriol and passion this topic provokes, but is the debate becoming so vicious it is becoming a hindrance to progress?Pornland, a film by leading anti-porn academic Gail Dines, will debut at a feminist conference in London on Saturday, and has already caused controversy before its screening, with some speakers and participants expressing anger at its clear anti-porn position. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:28:56 GMT)

Iain Duncan Smith thinks he can cure disabled people as if by magic
Thousands of people with degenerative conditions such as MS and Parkinsons are being deemed able to work soon by DWP assessments that are as cruel as they are incompetentIain Duncan Smith is Jesus Christ. For anyone who missed the Second Coming, it happened at around mid-morning on Thursday when it became apparent that the secretary of state for work and pensions has started to cure the disabled and chronically sick.I mean, he hasnt actually cured anyone yet. But I assume its only a matter of time, because thousands of severely ill and disabled people have had their benefits cut since the DWP deemed that they would recover from their degenerative conditions in order to go to work. Recover, that is, from a condition that by its very definition is bound to get worse. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:56:38 GMT)

Real equality is when women have the right to be as drunk and stupid as men
The freedom to have fun, make mistakes and participate in some youthful irresponsibility shouldnt be limited to boysI have done lot of irresponsible things throughout my life.In high school I cut a social studies class for weeks at a time, threw parties at my house (sorry, Mom and Dad!), got stoned, and had sex all before I was 16. When I was in college I got so drunk that I slipped on some ice outside my apartment and decided to lay there for an hour. One of my roommates who shall remain nameless got so trashed once that she walked into the wrong dorm room, got into a bed, and peed in it. It was reckless, stupid and hilarious. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:30:02 GMT)

Yes, dating apps can be bad for gay men but not in the way you might think
Though stories of violence or robbery are rare, apps such as Grindr have an insidious effect we should still be wary ofThe CCTV footage is chilling. Suspect number one paces outside, checking his watch, checking all around. Seven minutes later, a second suspect lurks in the hallway, nervously glancing behind him before pulling out his phone. We do not know if these are indeed the culprits. What we know is that last month a gay man used a dating app to arrange for another to visit him in Bayswater, London, and that instead of sex taking place, the first visitor left quickly as a second appeared at the door brandishing what is believed to be a cattle prod. The homeowner was threatened with it, pushed, robbed of cash and computer, and left very shaken, according to police.It is a nightmare realised for many who use such apps in particular gay men, proportionately the biggest users. It feeds into old fears the unknown, the alien about the new age of dating. It begs for hysterical headlines and trembling columns about the sinister possibilities lurking in our smartphones. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:09:38 GMT)

Don't be dismayed by the feminism backlash it means we're winning
Recent attempts to scapegoat feminism reveal a society that is hopefully beginning to changeFeminism is ruining everything. In the past few weeks alone it has single-handedly threatened to ruin a poor convicted rapists hopes of returning to role-model status and celebrity career, allegedly destroyed masculinity, and obnoxiously banged on about a lack of opportunities for women in the theatre, when in fact there is no real problem at all. Which is weird, because I thought the real problem lay with the person who decided to rape someone, the person who brutally beat his ex-partner and the enormous inequality women face in the theatre! It has been suggested that footballer Ched Evans is the victim of a feminist gang, because some pesky women had the audacity to suggest that a man convicted of rape did not belong in the position of an adulated role model. Meanwhile mixed martial arts fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver (aka War Machine) attempted suicide while being held in jail, awaiting trial on charges brought after a violent attack on his ex-partner Christy Mack. According to TMZ, he allegedly left a suicide note telling her I forgive you, asking his brother to keep alpha male shit alive and protesting that society has killed men. And arts reviewer Rupert Christiansen has reacted to the Donmar Warehouses all-female production of Henry IV, writing that we are in danger of making the question of gender much more problematic than it needs to be, under the helpful headline: There is no conspiracy against women in the theatre. Clearly, these are drastically different situations and I am not for one moment seeking to draw any moral equivalence between them. But they do have one thing in common. Each features somebody grappling with the accusation of inequality and, instead of reflecting on that problem, seeking to blame or ridicule the voices pointing it out. Flailing wildly against feminism for vocally pointing out sexual violence and gender inequality is a last-gasp attempt to retain a privilege that is being threatened. And these ridiculous arguments only start to come out when that privilege begins to be eroded in other words, this backlash is a sign that things are changing. Koppenhavers alleged note which wildly suggests that the woman whose bones he reportedly shattered, teeth he knocked out and liver he ruptured could only be testifying against him due to pressure from others for money paints him as the victim and smacks of bewilderment at having his entitlement taken away. More than 150,000 signatures on a petition against Evans reinstatement at his old football club are testament not only to the massive recent resurgence of feminist activism, but also to a society whose cultural norms are beginning to shift. And Christiansens article brings up some of the most recognisably weak back to the wall protestations; like suggesting women are creating a problem where one doesnt exist, telling us he hasnt come across discrimination against women in his own experience, and pointing out several examples of women in high-profile positions, as if a smattering of individuals can somehow magically refute extensive evidence of gender inequality in the theatre. (If this argument sounds familiar it is probably because youve heard that theres no inequality in British politics either, because of Margaret Thatcher). Of course, these attempts to shoot the messenger instead of examining the problem are not new, nor are they restricted to the realm of womens issues. The same sticking of heads in the sand has frequently seen Obamas presidency hailed as proof that racial prejudice no longer exists in the US. Its the same kind of desperate attempt to shift the blame that saw Nigel Farage recently claim he needed bodyguards to protect him against anti-racism campaigners. Or right-wing American radio host Bryan Fischer blaming high suicide rates among the LGBT community on gay rights campaigners in 2010. Its a natural knee-jerk reaction to lash out at those pointing out a problem, especially for those in a position of privilege who have been (unconsciously or otherwise) benefiting from the status quo. But learning to combat that instinct is something we should all work on, including within the feminist movement itself, where proponents of intersectionality are sometimes dismissed for making a fuss about nothing or accused of reading too much into non-diverse panel lineups or events, though such criticisms would not be levelled at similar complaints about gender inequality. It might feel like a depressing week for women, but I feel as if these recent reactions against feminism are testament to its increasing momentum male dominance lashing out because it feels threatened. Just look at Pat Robertsons famous claim, as Iowa was poised to vote on a constitutional measure to bar sex discrimination in 1992, that feminism is a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:59:13 GMT)

A photograph seen once, long ago, haunted me and taught me to distrust memory
When I tracked down a Nazi soldiers snapshot of an execution, it reminded me how warily you must tread when you try to enlist the past, however good your intentionsI have been working off and on for a couple of years with an architect friend, Declan Hill, on an attempt to map the wall or rampart that in the 17th century surrounded the town of Belfast or, at least, may have surrounded it. There is some debate about whether maps of the time show an existing structure or sketches for work never carried out. Declan and I meet occasionally to look at places where we think the old town plan intersects with, and occasionally contradicts, the modern city grid. One day a column in Argos on Corn Market, the next, a staircase in the Linen Hall Library.Our thesis is that, even when all physical trace is gone, walls persist. Not altogether original, you might say, but in Belfast, where peace walls remain an all too visible fact, it is pertinent to Declans mind and mine. Our hope is that we can collaborate with an architectural institute in Berlin. Not altogether surprising, you might also say, but Berlin is a city to which we both feel bound by something more than bricks and mortar. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:00:24 GMT)

The Green party surge and why its coming from Bristol and all points west
Polls this week put the Greens on 8%, overtaking the Lib Dems for the first time in a decade and providing a clear challenge to Ukip in the eastAs a display of political activism in difficult circumstances, it looks very noble: in the midst of grim weather, a dozen or so members of the Green party, gathered around a street stall in the middle of Bristol, doing their best to make the case for a £10 minimum wage by communing with people whose main priority is to get back indoors, as quickly as possible.Every now and again, however, someone stops for a chat. James Collins, 25, is working as a court usher for £7.50 an hour, and is returning to work clutching a baked potato in a plastic box. With no prompting, he lets rip about the Greens exclusion so far, anyway from plans for next years televised election debates. Im just annoyed that Ukip are included, and theyre not, he says. The Greens got an MP ages ago, didnt they? And it wasnt even in a byelection. The whole things a joke. Continue reading...
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 07:00:22 GMT)

The terrible effects of postnatal depression
I know all too well the consequences of the failure to properly treat this mental illnessI have never suffered from postnatal depression. Many mothers do according to a report by the Maternal Mental Health alliance this week, up to 20% of women experience mental health problems in pregnancy or the first 12 months after birth. Thats a shocking figure not merely because of the huge number of women involved. Its the corrosive consequences trickling down the generations.As anybody who has read my memoir The Scent of Dried Roses knows, I am a lifelong sufferer from depressive illness. I have spent many years trying to work out why, and I have come up with many possible explanations. To date the most convincing one I can find is that my mother unwittingly gave it to me. Possibly through her genes, but more likely through the tragedy of her own postnatal depression. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:00:03 GMT)

A tank veteran on Fury: 'Very realistic, but it can't show the full horror of war'
Bill Betts, now 91, was a radio operator on Sherman tanks during the second world war. He talks about the memories reignited by Fury, which stars Brad Pitt as a Sherman tank commander leading his team through Germany in 1945This article contains mild spoilersI first met Bill about five years ago in his local pub following a Remembrance Day service in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire. Recently widowed, he sat in the corner on his own, nursing his pint. We struck up a conversation about the war and over time became firm friends.Bill was called up in 1942 and joined the Essex Yeomanry where he trained as a radio operator, later being assigned to Sherman tanks. Aged 21, he was one of the first ashore on D-Day, tasked with firing at a German gun emplacement defending the village of Le Hamel, before rejoining his tank. Within 45 minutes, he'd been shot by a German sniper hiding in the adjacent field. The soldier next to him was killed. Bill played dead, his colleague slumped on top of him. His leg bears the scar to this day.I lay there on the beach in a pool of my own blood for 10 hours. They quickly took my radio and my sten gun and I saw my tank head up the beach without me. It was heart-breaking because I trained for D-Day for so long. So many people died liberating that tiny stretch of beach. Looking back, the fact that I was injured so early on probably saved my life.With its canvas skirt it looked like a ladies stocking when it was deflated. It still amazes me that it floated at all. To be honest we were more worried about it sinking than we were about the German gunfire coming from the other side of the river.I was in the Essex Yeomanry, a territorial regiment. All the crew were from Essex except me. It took us a while to get along but then I trusted them implicitly with my life. We fought along side the Americans in their Sherman tanks and I found them to be very brave. We didn't write the name of our tank on the barrel like they did in Fury or plaster the inside with photographs but we were just as proud of our tank. Ours was called Beverley and her name was written on the turret.Fury accurately portrays how superior the German tanks were. A Sherman provided you with protection against most enemy fire but against a Tiger it could easily become your coffin. I remember a very near miss where an eight cm shell from a Tiger tank went within inches of our turret and we decided not to stay around too long after that. In open combat we never had a chance. So, like in Fury, we always had to be one step ahead. It was only because we could call up air strikes and had many more tanks than the Germans that we eventually won.Fury shows just how vulnerable you were fighting in a Sherman tank. There is a lot of blood and gore in the film but nothing can really come close to the true horrors of tank warfare. I saw people being blown up and burnt alive. Going to see Fury you don't get that dreadful, nauseating smell of burnt flesh. That will stay with me forever.I thought the film showed accurately how tough life could be in a tank, but the final scene where the crew hold out against a battalion of Waffen SS troops was too far fetched. The Germans seemed to be used as canon fodder. In reality they would have been battle-hardened and fanatical troops who would have easily taken out an immobile Sherman tank using Panzerfausts (an anti-tank bazooka). They also seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of ammunition and fuel. A Sherman tank only does five miles to the gallon so I think they would have run out long before the final showdown.We came around a corner and there was a member of the Volksstrum [a civilian militia army set up by the Nazi party in the final months of the war] armed with a Panzerfaust. I looked at him and he must have been at least 55 and his hands were shaking uncontrollably. We trained our browning machine gun on him and were just about to shoot him when he laid down his weapon and surrendered. Not being able to leave him there he climbed on the back of our tank and we gave him a lift into the town. He had quite good English and showed me pictures of his wife and two sons, who had both died in the war. I liked him because he reminded me of my own father. I later learnt that he'd been shot. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:03:00 GMT)

Jared Diamond: 150,000 years ago, humans wouldnt figure on a list of the five most interesting species on Earth
The bestselling biogeographer talks to Oliver Burkeman about dealing with the critics who condemn him as a cultural imperialistMost people would be overjoyed to receive one of the MacArthur Foundations annual genius grants around half a million dollars, no strings attached but when Jared Diamond won his, in 1985, it plunged him into a depression. At 47, he was an accomplished scholar, but in two almost comically obscure niches: the movement of sodium in the gallbladder and the birdlife of New Guinea. What the MacArthur call said to me was, Jared, people think highly of you, and they expect important things of you, and look what youve actually done with your career, Diamond says today. It was a painful thought for someone who recalled being told, by an admiring teacher at his Massachusetts school, that one day he would unify the sciences and humanities. Clearly, he needed a larger canvas. Even so, few could have predicted how large a canvas he would choose.In the decades since, Diamond has enjoyed huge success with several big books most famously, 1997s Guns, Germs and Steel which ask the most sweeping questions it is possible to ask about human history. For instance: why did one species of primate, unremarkable until 70,000 years ago, come to develop language, art, music, nation states and space travel? Why do some civilisations prosper, while others collapse? Why did westerners conquer the Americas, Africa and Australia, instead of the other way round? Diamond, who describes himself as a biogeographer, answers them in translucent prose that has the effect of making the world seem to click into place, each fact assuming its place in an elegant arc of pan-historical reasoning. Our interview itself provides an example: one white man arriving to interview another, in English, on the imposing main campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, in a landscape bearing little trace of the Native Americans who once thrived here. Why? Because 8,000 years ago to borrow from Guns, Germs and Steel the geography of Europe and the Middle East made it easier to farm crops and animals there than elsewhere. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:59:04 GMT)

A time of battles real and literary
Walter Scott, Byron, Jane Austen all were profoundly affected by the conflict with France. Jenny Uglow considers the world of wartime reading, and cultural skirmishes, high and lowIve been following the lives of different people farmers and builders, bankers and weavers, paupers and aristos throughout the Napoleonic wars, as we have come to call them. The conflict lasted 22 years from 1793 to 1815, broken briefly by the Peace of Amiens in 1802-03. One in five families were directly affected and more men died, proportionately, than in the first world war. Against this background, as if trudging through inclement weather, people struggled to get on with their lives, but if private interests often blocked out wider issues the war affected everyone including writers and readers.In Jane Austens novels, the war is unseen yet ever-present. Her brother Henry was an officer in the Oxfordshire militia and, later, a contractor to the military, and several relatives were prominent in the local Volunteers. She was wryly alert to the sexual flutter aroused by scarlet uniforms and camps such as Brighton where Lydia Bennet imagines herself seated beneath a tent, tenderly flirting with at least six officers at once. Lydia had many real-life counterparts, in all classes. Two more Austen brothers, Frank and Charles, served in the navy: many contemporary readers would share Fanny Prices concern for her midshipman brother William in Mansfield Park, and recognise the picture of crowded wartime Portsmouth. Austen sprinkled Mr Prices excited description of the Thrush leaving port with the names of her brothers ships. The novel was just something in hand, she told Frank, and by the bye shall you object to my mentioning the Elephant in it, & two or three other of your old ships? I have done it, but it shall not stay, to make you angry. They are only just mentioned. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:10:04 GMT)

Happy 100th birthday, John Berryman
Despite a lifetime of chaos and alcoholism, John Berrymans poetry is brilliantly funny. Sam Leith toasts his pal, whose work he has adored since he was a teenagerThe great American poet John Berryman would have been 100 today, had he lived. One of the things most people know about him is that he did not. He killed himself at 57 after a lifetime of chaos, alcoholism, mental illness and extremely hard work.During his lifetime he was competitive. One of his late collections was called Love & Fame, and he was very interested in both. When Robert Frost died in 1963, Berrymans reaction was: Its scarey [sic]. Whos number one? Whos number one? Cal is number one, isnt he? Cal was Robert Lowell. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:00:04 GMT)

How the England football team came to embody Englishness
England fans were once branded hooligans and identified with the far right. So how have the team and its supporters become the sole representation of English nationhood?Lisbon, 2004. A quiet crowd is gathering on the platform of the sparkling Lisbon metro. We are waiting for the train that will take us to the game between England and Croatia. It comes rumbling into the station and instantly it is obvious that we are going nowhere; every carriage is packed with England fans. On the platform we are all silent and motionless, theres no point edging towards the doors. They open with a hiss, and on cue, as if we had just flicked the mute switch off, the whole train bursts into song; to the tune of Knees Up Mother Brown, Youre not getting on, youre not getting on, youre not getting, youre not getting, youre not getting on. The doors snap shut. Silence. We all look at each other bemused and amused, and the show rolls out of town.Bloemfontein, 2010. We are standing on the rooftop car park of the city-centre shopping mall where England fans have gathered before the game with Germany. Below, the bars and lawns, walkways and side roads are awash with red and white. Immediately below us a roving conga line of blokes is tumbling through the crowd. They are wearing an assortment of novelty hats most seem to be blow-up balloon Spitfires. Suddenly, from around the corner, what appears to be a Wehrmacht staff car of second world war vintage pulls up with a uniformed driver and a German officer but they are flying union jacks from the car aerial and one has been tied to the back of the boot. The boys immediately strike up, There were 10 German bombers in the air, 10 German bombers in the air. My heart sinks, theyve started with 10, this will go on for ever. The German officer is conducting the chorus. I wonder what the real Germans are making of it. And the RAF from England shot them down, the RAF from England shot them down. Since when did the RAF come from England rather than Britain?The challenge to the idea of an unambiguously white England was of course the work of two generations of black players Continue reading...
(Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:00:01 GMT)

Simon Stevens interview: The NHS is a social movement and not just a health care service
This week NHS Englands new chief executive unveiled a blueprint for tackling the worst budget crunch in its 66-year history. So just who is Simon Stevens? And can he save our health service?From his offices, with their panoramic views of south London, Simon Stevens can see the scene of his happiest experience with the NHS so far St Thomas hospital, where his wife, Maggie, gave birth to their son in 2003. Because it was Christmas day, a lot of staff were off and there were locums. There was a bit of Christmas spirit, but a lot of planned deliveries not happening, so when my son was born they basically said, If you and your wife want to go to an empty ward, you can spend the night there with your baby. In this darkened ward with no staff we spent a very happy first night. The recollection prompts a smile.He can also recall his worst moment. He was just seven. I had a hip problem and was in hospital for the best part of a school term. It is a visceral memory. I woke one morning and I couldnt walk. I crawled to my parents bedroom. They took a bit of persuading that I wasnt just messing about, but we went to hospital. I still remember when the staff said to them, OK, you can leave him now. That first night. I was just screaming: that complete sense of abandonment. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:11:59 GMT)

Occupy protesters forced to hand over pizza boxes and tarpaulin
Occupy Democracy protest in Parliament Square clashes with police over bylaw which bans sleeping equipmentWhen is a pizza box a pillow? Or an umbrella a structure? In Parliament Square Occupy Democracy protesters have spent their seventh night sleeping on the ground on top of piles of newspapers. According to the 2011 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, the local authority for the City of Westminster has the power to confiscate items that count as sleeping equipment or a structure, so mattresses and tents are forbidden. But protesters say the police are getting creative with their interpretation of the bylaw, confiscating backpacks and pizza boxes, claiming that they count as sleeping equipment. Umbrellas have similarly been confiscated because they count as a structure. Some have been told that sleeping bags are allowed to keep them warm while theyre awake, but not when theyre asleep. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:42:08 GMT)

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