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Downing Street: PM will take part in one election TV debate with seven parties
No 10 letter to chair of broadcasters’ debate committee draws condemnation from Nick Clegg and head of Labour election campaignDowning Street has issued a “final offer” to broadcasters over the election television debates, declaring in a pointed email that David Cameron will take part in just one debate featuring seven party leaders before the formal campaign begins next month.Hours after Ed Miliband challenged David Cameron to meet him “any time, any place, anywhere”, Downing Street ruled out a head-to-head encounter with the Labour leader after accusing the broadcasters of allowing the negotiations to descend into “chaos”..@David_Cameron The British public want the debates so let's get on with it. Stop holding them to ransom by trying to dictate the terms. Related: Election 2015: The Guardian poll projection Cameron knows Ed Miliband would destroy him in a one-on-one debate. Our PM is nothing but a coward and a #tvdebates Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 01:18:07 GMT)

SNP set for 56 of 59 Scottish seats in general election, poll suggests
Polling by Lord Ashcroft indicates that Charles Kennedy could be on the casualty list and Gordon Brown’s seat could fallThe full scale of the post-referendum political earthquake in Scotland has been demonstrated by a new poll which suggests Charles Kennedy’s once safe seat will fall to the Scottish National party, along with the seat Gordon Brown is retiring from in May. Related: Projected SNP landslide could see it form part of next UK government Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:00:46 GMT)

Discrimination in Ferguson: full extent of police bias laid bare in damning report
Police department and court system ‘reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias’Investigators outline 26 recommendations to reform Ferguson’s policingThe full extent of the racial persecution of black residents in Ferguson, Missouri, by the city’s overwhelmingly white law enforcement authorities was disclosed on Wednesday in a damning report by the US Department of Justice. Related: Ferguson: Eric Holder outlines damning federal reports on racist policing – live updates Related: Ferguson report details shocking set of racist emails sent by law enforcement Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:04:23 GMT)

Delhi gang-rape documentary airs early on BBC following objections
Transmission date brought forward after Indian government protested lack of input it was allowed into the film’s approval for releaseA controversial documentary on the gang-rape of a young woman in Delhi has been aired by the BBC despite protest from the Indian government.The film, India’s Daughter, was due to be aired on International Women’s Day on Sunday but was brought forward to Wednesday evening. Delhi refused to allow it to be shown in India because it objected to the film-makers releasing it without their approval. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:37:43 GMT)

Number of ultra-rich swells to almost 173,000
The world gained an extra 5,300 UHNWIs last year and, as with other people worth $30m or more, they like property and luxury items in a big wayThe world’s super-rich continued their seemingly unstoppable rise last year with the number of people worth $30m (£19.7m) or more expanding to 172,850. Between them they control nearly $22tn in assets – more than the national output of the US and Germany combined.Almost 5,300 people joined the ranks of so-called ultra high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs), adding $7bn to the wealth of the global elite. Their numbers are forecast to swell by another third over the next decade to 230,000, according to the latest wealth report from upmarket estate agents Knight Frank. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:20 GMT)

Becky Watts: stepbrother charged with murder
Nathan Matthews is accused of killing 16-year-old from Bristol while girlfriend Shauna Hoare is charged with attempting to pervert course of justiceThe stepbrother of Becky Watts will appear in court charged with her murder exactly two weeks after the 16-year-old vanished from her home.Nathan Matthews, 28, is to appear at Bristol magistrates court on Thursday alongside his girlfriend, 21-year-old Shauna Hoare, who is accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice.As her family, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnelBecky Watts - floral tributes near the address where her remains were found. pic.twitter.com/DeTD4QtgpfBecky Watts inquiry - still a big police presence in area where her remains found. http://t.co/EUUFnfwr8e Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:19:36 GMT)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev defence admits 'It was him' as Boston bombing trial begins
Defence in Boston Marathon bombing case claims Dzhokhar Tsarnaev followed lead of brother Tamerlan in carrying out attackThe trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – the surviving brother of the two accused perpetrators of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people – began on Wednesdaywith the defence making it clear it would not be disputing the fundamental facts of the case.“The government and the defence will agree on many things,” said Judy Clarke – one of the nation’s highest-profile death penalty specialists, who previously defended Unabomber Ted Kaczynski – in her opening statement. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:44:34 GMT)

US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert attacked with razor
Man carrying blade and wearing traditional clothing lunged at envoy while shouting slogans about Korean reunification and joint military drillsThe US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, has been slashed by a political extremist armed with a razor at a function in Seoul where he was to give a lecture.Lippert, who became Washington’s envoy in the South Korean capital in October 2014, was taken to hospital with cuts to his hand and face after the attack on Thursday morning. Officials said his injuries were not life-threatening. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 01:46:33 GMT)

Banks block charity donations over terrorism funding fears
UK-registered charities in conflict zones losing finance and ability to fulfil humanitarian needs, warns Overseas Development InstituteMillions of pounds of donations to charities have been inadvertently held up, blocked or returned by banks, over fears that the money could end up financing terrorism, a thinktank report warns.International banks, including HSBC, UBS and NatWest, have frozen accounts held by UK-registered charities and international non-governmental organisations delivering aid in areas such as Syria, Gaza and Iraq. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:20 GMT)

Tony Blair donates £1,000 to each Labour candidate in target seats
Former prime minister, who has been ambivalent about his support for Ed Miliband, says general election will be won in 106 ‘battleground’ constituenciesTony Blair has donated £1,000 to the local campaigns in each of Labour’s 106 key target seats, telling candidates he is giving the money because he knows these are the seats where the campaign will be won or lost. In a letter to candidates, Blair wrote that he wished them every success. The former prime minister has made a series of ambivalently phrased statements about the scale of his support for Ed Miliband and in his brief letter to candidates he made no direct reference to Miliband or the policies he has developed to ensure a victory. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:00:17 GMT)

Vladimir Putin condemns Boris Nemtsov murder
Russian president calls death a political killing, seemingly contradicting theories the former deputy prime minister was shot over a domestic or business rowThe Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has condemned the killing of the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov as a “disgrace” and called on law enforcement to finally rid Russia of political murders.Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, was shot dead on Friday evening as he walked with his girlfriend near Red Square. He is the most prominent opposition figure to be killed in Russia during Putin’s 15-year rule. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:45:34 GMT)

Abid Naseer found guilty of al-Qaida bomb plot by New York court
Pakistani national accused of conspiracy to attack New York subwayProsecution argued that emails about potential brides were code for plotA Pakistani man was found guilty on Wednesday of a failed al-Qaida bomb plot after a New York trial that featured spies in disguise, evidence from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound and the defendant’s questioning of an admitted co-conspirator.The jury reached the verdict in federal court in Brooklyn after beginning deliberations on Tuesday morning. No date was set for sentencing. Related: British spies don wigs and makeup to testify at US trial of al-Qaida suspect Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:33:28 GMT)

Family of ex-marine who died battling Isis praise his courage and conviction
Fellow fighters vow to avenge the death of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, who was killed while taking on militants in SyriaThe family of a former British Royal Marine who died fighting for Kurdish forces against Islamic State (Isis) in northern Syria have paid tribute to his “love, courage and conviction”.Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, was killed fighting Isis militants on Monday, according to the official spokesperson for the armed wing of Syria’s largest Kurdish party, the Democratic Union party (PYD). Related: Konstandinos Erik Scurfield: the former marine who died in someone else's war Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:46:33 GMT)

Meet me 'any time, any place, anywhere' Ed Miliband challenges David Cameron
Labour leader accuses prime minister of making excuses to avoid TV leaders’ debates and says public deserve to see discussionEd Miliband has launched a desperate bid to save the election television debates by challenging David Cameron to meet him “any time, any place, anywhere”.Amid fears in the Labour party that the prime minister may be close to killing off the debates, Miliband dropped his demand that they should only take place during the formal stage of the campaign next month. Related: Election 2015: The Guardian poll projection Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:56:04 GMT)

BBC director general says funding debate to take place after election
Tony Hall says it is vital to have ‘informed’ discussion over consequences of cutting funding to the public service broadcaster BBC director general Tony Hall has warned against the consequences of a prevailing political climate in which he said many people told him the licence fee would be “flat or cut in real terms” in its next funding settlement.Hall said the corporation would lay out the consequences of a further cut in funding for the BBC’s channels and services after the May general election, so that there could be an “informed public debate”.We are so important – I say this with no hint of arrogance, just reflecting a fact – to this country Related: BBC Trust chair calls for external oversight of corporation Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:55:10 GMT)

Smartphones are addictive and should carry health warning, say academics
University of Derby finds smartphone users in study spent average 3.6 hours a day on devices, often causing severe distraction from relationships and ‘real life’ Smartphones are psychologically addictive, encourage narcissistic tendencies and should come with a health warning, researchers have said. A study by the University of Derby and published in the International Journal of Cyber Behaviour, Psychology and Learning found that 13% of participants in the study were addicted, with the average user spending 3.6 hours per day on their device. Related: Stop worrying about your 'addiction' to the internet. We're all cyborgs – always have been | Jess Zimmerman Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:40:37 GMT)

Plebgate PC wins £80k damages in Andrew Mitchell libel action
Ruling marks end of two-year battle for officer accused of lying by Tory MP over incident at Downing Street gatesMP and former chief whip Andrew Mitchell has paid £80,000 in libel damages to the police officer he called a “fucking pleb” during an altercation at the gates of Downing Street.It marks the end of a two-year battle for PC Toby Rowland, who was accused of lying by the Conservative MP. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:42:57 GMT)

Edward Snowden's lawyers 'working' to bring NSA whistleblower back to US
Legal teams in Germany, US and Russia ‘are doing everything possible’ for Snowden who wants to ‘return back home’, his Russian lawyer saidA Russian lawyer for Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, said on Tuesday that new legal efforts were under way to arrange a return for Snowden to the United States, although such efforts could not be independently confirmed.“I won’t keep it secret that he … wants to return back home,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Reuters. “And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of US lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I’m dealing with it on the Russian side.” Related: The Edward Snowden story - video Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:02:27 GMT)

Senior Mirror Group journalists hacked stars' phones, court hears
Barrister for eight phone-hacking victims claims interception at publisher of Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the People was ‘prolific’Senior journalists at the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the People personally hacked the phones of celebrities and spent nearly £2.3m on private investigators, the high court in London heard on Wednesday.David Sherborne, the barrister for eight phone-hacking victims including the actor Sadie Frost, told the court that high-ranking journalists were not only aware of the unlawful activity but also carried it out. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:37:36 GMT)

Mohammed Emwazi's father: no proof my son is Isis executioner
Jassem Emwazi tells Kuwaiti newspaper false rumours are circulating and he has appointed a lawyer to prove itThe father of Mohammed Emwazi has been reported as saying there was no proof his son was the Islamic State (Isis) executioner and claiming that a number of “false rumours” were circulating.Jassem Emwazi told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas: “There is nothing that proves what is being circulated in the media, especially through video clips and footage, that the accused is my son Mohammed, who is being referred to as the alleged executioner of Daesh (Isis).” Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 08:55:48 GMT)

Prince William in China: illegal wildlife trade a 'vicious form of criminality'
Duke of Cambridge calls for China to be a world leader in the fight against illegal trade in endangered animals such as elephants, rhino and pangolins on the last day of his visit to the countryThe Duke of Cambridge has condemned the trade in illegal wildlife as a “vicious form of criminality” and said that China can be a global leader in the fight against it in a speech on the last day of his visit to China. Speaking at the Xishuangbanna Elephant Sanctuary in Yunnan Province, Prince William said: “it is appalling that elephants - and many others - may be extinct in the wild in our lifetimes”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:41:53 GMT)

Bonus cap consultation puts Bank of England on collision course with Europe
Consultation will turn European Banking Authority’s ruling against top-up payments into formal guidelines that all bank regulators in EU must comply withThe Bank of England remained on collision course with Europe over the bonus cap as a consultation was launched that would rule out the use of top-up payments to side step the clampdown on City pay.The European Banking Authority ruled in Ocotober that these extra payments should be regarded as variable components of pay, like a bonus, and that banks using them are breaching the ratio set out by the EU to limit bonuses to one times salary or twice if shareholders if approve. Related: Banks face crackdown over EU bonus cap Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:30:43 GMT)

Eurostar sale to net British taxpayers more than £750m
UK government’s sale of 40% stake in rail link to continental Europe set to exceed market expectations with total proceeds of £757mThe British government is selling its stake in Eurostar in a deal that will deliver £757m to the taxpayer.The sale price is higher than was expected when the government announced that it was inviting offers for its stake, in October 2014. George Osborne described it as a “fantastic deal for UK taxpayers that exceeds expectations”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:01:01 GMT)

Apple and Google 'FREAK attack' leaves millions of users vulnerable to hackers
Technology giants hurrying to fix a longstanding security flaw caused by US companies being forced to sell weakened encryption software to overseas customersMillions of people may have been left vulnerable to hackers while surfing the web on Apple and Google devices, thanks to a newly discovered security flaw known as “FREAK attack.”There’s no evidence so far that any hackers have exploited the weakness, which companies are now moving to repair. Researchers blame the problem on an old government policy, abandoned over a decade ago, which required US software makers to use weaker security in encryption programs sold overseas due to national security concerns. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 08:32:02 GMT)

Statins work for those at highest risk of heart attack – study
Findings published in The Lancet show chance of heart attack drops by 48% when people most at risk take cholesterol-lowering medicationsPatients with the highest genetic risk of suffering a heart attack benefit the most from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a study has found.Those in intermediate and low-risk categories are still helped by statins but to a lesser extent, according to researchers. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:06:07 GMT)

Mars rover Curiosity halts its work after short circuit
Nasa engineers investigate problem that has stopped the rover’s robotic arm, with testing expected to take daysThe Curiosity rover has temporarily stopped work on Mars while Nasa engineers investigate a short circuit. Related: Methane on Mars: does it mean the Curiosity rover has found life? Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:19:35 GMT)

UK properties held by offshore firms used in global corruption, say police
Anti-corruption groups and Met detectives say £180m worth of real estate is under investigation as being used in money laundering and stolen capitalHundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of UK properties held in secretive offshore companies have been used to launder the proceeds of international corruption, Scotland Yard investigators suspect.The Metropolitan police have revealed that more than £180m of British property has been put under criminal investigation in the last decade as the likely proceeds of corruption. Detectives have warned it is the tip of the iceberg. Related: Inside 'Billionaires Row': London's rotting, derelict mansions worth £350m Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:01:01 GMT)

My boyfriend 'sort-of' raped me. And I didn't even break up with him
Some will be eager to tell me what happened was most definitely rape. Others will say I’m crazy to even compare it. And that’s why we need to talk about itThis is not my story of rape. But it is a story with rape-ish qualities.The man and I had been fighting. We fought and then we made love, and as we did he said, “I want to come inside of you.” This was not dirty talk – it was a proposal. I told him not to, I didn’t want him to.I call what he did 'rape-like'. He called it 'pushing my boundaries'Life exists in the noisy grey bits between a 'no' and full, enthusiastic consent. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 02:10:32 GMT)

Why we should design things to be difficult to use
When everything around us is designed to be simple, it stops us thinking and takes away the fulfilment and satisfaction that come from masteryI love my camera. I love it even though I took terrible pictures with it for a month. I love it even though I have to adjust the aperture, worry about depth of field and annoy my family while I twiddle with its metal knobs. I love it because it makes me think: about light, colour, composition. I take fewer pictures with it than I take with my phone, but much better ones. And I’m not alone in my love for my camera. While sales of point and shoot technology continue to decline, the market for fiddly manual cameras is growing nicely.We live in a world where almost everything is designed to be simple. When I work with designers, I often come across a kind of religious belief summed up in the mantra: don’t make me think. Slick web design keeps us in a kind of unthinking trance, where we buy things on Amazon or post photos on Facebook without ever having to stop and consider what we’re doing. While this is great for retailers, it’s also good for fraudsters. Phishing scams rely on our trance-like state: please reset your password. Follow this link. Enter your password. Thank you. Click, click, click, oops. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:32:45 GMT)

Revealed: Boris Johnson's duplicitous handling of London's garden bridge
The London mayor categorically denies public funds will be needed for the garden bridge, while pledging taxpayers’ money to prop it up behind closed doorsIt was billed as a miraculous no-strings-attached gift to London, a fairytale forest on a bridge that would be entirely paid for by private sponsors. But this sparkling new “tiara on the head of our fabulous city,” as Joanna Lumley, cheerleader for the garden bridge, has called it, is turning out to be a rather costly crown. In a confidential letter obtained by the Guardian it has emerged that the public will be liable for the bridge’s annual £3.5m maintenance bill in perpetuity – on top of the £60m of public funds already committed to the project.The news goes against everything London’s mayor has pledged to date. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson again denied that further public money would be lavished on the scheme. “The maintenance cost will not be borne by the public sector, I’ve made that clear,” he told LBC radio. Yet in a letter from one of his senior staff to the Garden Bridge Trust, he appears to have made other plans. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 23:47:57 GMT)

Salma Hayek: ‘I am a feminist because a lot of amazing women have made me who I am today’
When the star of Frida and From Dusk Till Dawn first arrived in Hollywood, she was dismissed for sounding like ‘a Mexican maid’. As she prepares to showcase her new film at the Women of the World festival, she talks about women’s rights and how she became a power-player in the moviesUnsisterly though it sounds, I didn’t expect to like Salma Hayek very much. Because we both go to a lot of catwalk shows, I see her all the time: I’m there as a reporter, and she’s there because her husband Francois-Henri Pinault is the CEO of Kering, the luxury group that owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta, among others. There, she rocks a kind of boss’s wife vibe, dressed to the nines in the designer’s clothes. Or at least that’s how it had always come across to me. And I’d watched her new film, an animation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, aimed at families: a “passion project” that is charming, beautifully crafted, impeccably well-intentioned – but, nonetheless, could perhaps do with wearing its learning a little more lightly.Expecting grandeur, I am a little taken aback to arrive at the Park Cafe, appointed by Hayek’s people for our interview, to find it isn’t an ironically named smart restaurant, as I had assumed. It’s the kind of cafe where you queue with a plastic tray, next to a noticeboard of flyers for Monkey Music and community gardening projects, for a polystyrene cup of PG Tips with the teabag left in. It’s not quite somewhere I can picture Hayek – Oscar nominee, billionaire’s wife, Hollywood bombshell – hanging out, so I wait outside. Sure enough, when she arrives – tiny, radiant, swathed in cashmere, flanked by a bodyguard and an assistant who is being dragged along by Hayek’s golden labrador, Lolita – it turns out this isn’t the place she had in mind. But she’ll show me the way, she says, leading me in the direction of a restaurant elsewhere in west London’s Holland Park, chatting merrily about nothing in particular – the weather, Milan fashion week, how she needs a coffee.I would die if I did nothing but manicures and lunches. That would be a nightmare to me Related: Salma Hayek on why Frida Kahlo was a great artist Related: Salma Hayek on religion, the pope and The Prophet The amount of pressure on women now, it’s crazy. We need to give ourselves a break Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:22:23 GMT)

Game review – sex, snipers and social outrage in Mike Bartlett’s shocking play
Almeida, LondonThis experimental piece about tourists who pay to fell a young couple with tranquilising shots is certainly disturbing – but what’s the aim?There is an element of voyeurism in all theatre. This is taken to its extreme in Mike Bartlett’s short, sharp, shocking hour-long play, in which the audience is divided into four separate zones, given headsets and invited to gaze at a young couple through the transparent walls of their house. There is, however, an ugly catch to the situation.To describe the play is inevitably to rob it of surprise, but we soon learn that the young couple we’re watching, Carly and Ashley, have made a desperate bargain: in exchange for a house and income, they’ve agreed to be targets for touristic snipers who pay £500 a go to fell them with tranquilising shots. What makes the trade-off even more repellent is the element of eroticism in this fake killing: not only are Carly and Ashley generally caught at their most intimate moments, but the customers, supervised by an ex-soldier, get a sexual kick out of the shooting. And we become complicit in the whole business by watching simultaneously the live action and the snipers on TV monitors. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 23:00:16 GMT)

Jaw bone discovered in Ethiopia is oldest known human lineage remains
Around 400,000 years older than previous discovery of homo lineage, 2.8m-year-old jaw and five teeth was found on rocky slope in Afar regionA lower jaw bone and five teeth discovered on a hillside in Ethiopia are the oldest remains ever found that belong to the genus Homo, the lineage that ultimately led to modern humans.Fossil hunters spotted the jaw poking out of a rocky slope in the dry and dusty Afar region of the country about 250 miles from Addis Ababa. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:00:01 GMT)

Edward Snowden: what would happen if he went home – pardon or prison?
Snowden’s lawyer has fuelled speculation that the NSA whistleblower and the US are discussing legal optionsIf Edward Snowden could leave Russia, he would. Although he is grateful for the sanctuary the country has offered him, the NSA whistleblower responsible for one of the biggest leaks in intelligence history would much rather be in western Europe or, better still, back in the US.Speculation that a deal with the US justice department might be in the offing was prompted by a comment by his Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, in Moscow on Monday. Kucherena said: “I won’t keep it secret that he ... wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of US lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I’m dealing with it on the Russian side.” Related: Edward Snowden's lawyers 'working' to bring NSA whistleblower back to US Related: The Edward Snowden story - video Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:18:39 GMT)

Communist Manifesto sales rise up as Penguin releases bargain classics
Ultra-cheap Little Black Classics, celebrating imprint’s 80th birthday, sell 70,000 copies in first week – with Marx and Engels the favourite so farMore than 1,700 bargain copies of The Communist Manifesto have sold in the last week, in the form of an 80p edition of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s call to the working classes to revolt.The book is part of a collection of 80 works re-published on 26 February to mark the 80 years since Allen Lane launched the first Penguin paperbacks for sixpence each, the price of a packet of cigarettes. From Marx’s call to arms to Christina Rossetti’s disturbing poem Goblin Market, and from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s feminist classic The Yellow Wallpaper to Samuel Pepys on the Great Fire of London, each “Little Black Classic” is 64 pages long and costs 80p. Related: Penguin Little Black Classics review – affordable snippets of great literature Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:25:18 GMT)

The nine rules of best-before dates: when to freeze, when to chuck out food
A new report estimates shoppers could save £600m if best-before dates were extended by just one dayMost of us have swigged milk teetering on the edge of its use-by date, and shorn the green shoots off a potato. Now it seems our spirit of rationing, or rather our gross refusal to clear out the fridge, has been vindicated.A report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) found shoppers could save £600m a year if best-before dates were extended by even one day. Wrap investigated short-life products, lasting between 3-12 days, that typically have high levels of waste, including sliced ham, potatoes, apples, minced beef, chilled pizza, bread, bagged salad and milk. “Some 1.3m-2.6m tonnes of food waste arises ... because the product date code has expired,” the report states. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:40:03 GMT)

Help! I need a last minute easy World Book Day costume!
Haven’t got your World Book Day costume sorted? Never fear, the Book Doctor is here with extra simple what you’ve got at home already dress up ideas! Also see our gallery of great World Book Day costume ideas – and send us your costume pix to childrens.books@theguardian.com. You could win £50 in book tokensHelp! I haven’t done anything about a World Book day Outfit. Are there some really simple costumes I can make with what I’ve got at home? Do I have to go as a girl character – I’m female?Get hunting through your drawers! The great thing about World Book Day is that everyone does take part. That’s part of the fun – and it is a great way of showing that the adults are passionate about reading too. Continue reading...
(Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:53:16 GMT)

The Oscar-winning experiments that might change the future of film
From risky new formats to digital advances, award-winning films in vogue are using different models – but will they affect the future?Birdman and Boyhood became the toast of the Oscars not just because of their merits as movies, but the extraordinary ways they were made. Together, they have upended the form of mainstream cinema: Boyhood was put together in 12 years, while Birdman appears to have been shot in one seamless take, with no cuts (a feature of the same length usually has around 3,000). The technical and logistical challenges of these films aren’t just dry footnotes but key selling points, much milked by each film’s marketing campaign. Related: Boyhood: The College Years - Richard Linklater considering shooting sequel Related: Birdman: the best film about theatre ever made? Related: David Lynch: director of dreams “Some film-makers … thought that if you play a scene in an airplane, the plane should be in the air, because the essence of the scene will be different. That’s nonsense. The essence of the scene is not going to be different; the adversity will certainly be different. I mean, it is make-believe. It is a business about re-creating reality.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:30:42 GMT)

Viet Cong: banned from playing because of their name
The Canadian art rockers have had a show in Ohio cancelled because their name ‘deeply offends’ some people. So what about Gang of Four or the Dead Kennedys? What’s in a name? Quite a lot if you’re post-punk noise outfit Viet Cong, who have just had one of their shows cancelled in Ohio due to controversy surrounding their moniker. Gig promoter Ivan Krasnov took to the Oberlin ‘Sco Facebook page to apologise for booking an act whose name “deeply offends and hurts Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American communities, both in Oberlin and beyond”. He extended his apology “to anyone hurt or made uncomfortable by the name and its connotations”.Patrons of the club have been responding to the statement on the club’s page. “This is how I’ve always felt about the band Gang of Four and how they might be offensive to Chinese folks who lost family during the Cultural Revolution”, said one Facebook user, presumably with tongue firmly in cheek. Others asked whether the promoters of the Dionysus Discotheque, where the band was due to play, would have turned away Joy Division or New Order because of the Nazi connotations in those names. Related: Viet Cong: ‘We get hate mail at every single show’ Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:15:18 GMT)

Douglas Adams made me a writer: Neil Gaiman salutes his friend and inspiration
Paying tribute to his genius at the annual Douglas Adams lecture, writer explains how meeting the Hitchhiker’s Guide author at 22 changed his lifeDouglas Adams described the first ebooks “long before most commuter trains were filled with people reading them”, according to his fellow novelist Neil Gaiman, but the late author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was still optimistic about the future of the book, predicting that “no matter what happens books will survive”.Giving the annual Douglas Adams lecture last night, Gaiman spoke at length about his memories of his friend and fellow author, revealing the details of a conversation “almost 30 years ago now”, when the two were discussing the idea of ebooks. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:46:49 GMT)

Minecraft's creator will always be a hero to me, he gave my autistic son a voice
A new interview with Markus ‘Notch’ Persson paints the multimillionaire creator of the Lego-like blockbuster as a playboy-slacker, but I don’t careThe billionaire creator of Minecraft has a $70m mansion in Beverly Hills complete with iPad-controlled fountains and a 16-car garage. He wastes his days making silly jokes in an empty “office” and his nights burning through hundreds of thousands of dollars in Las Vegas casinos. He doesn’t need to create anymore; he could spend the rest of his life throwing handfuls of cash off his balcony into the balmy LA night. He may sound like a self-indulgent one-hit wonder, but Markus “Notch” Persson is a hero of mine. Persson helped give my son a voice.A new Forbes interview with the coder-turned-playboy-slacker, paints Sweden’s most famous export since Abba in a weird light. For several years, Persson worked on Minecraft with a small team and no budget. It was just another creative sandbox game, a tiny indie project that not many people knew or cared about. But by the time it officially launched in November 2011, it had a large dedicated community of fans. This was a game that put you in a vast blocky world and let you do what you wanted, build what you wanted, and play how you wanted. Word kept spreading. Related: Minecraft at 33 million users – a personal story Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 08:55:57 GMT)

Jonathan Miller and Barrie Rutter: ‘At this age, people assume you to be either dead or senile’
Jonathan Miller is notching up his eighth Lear. How did he persuade Barrie Rutter to play the king? By telling him it’s a comedyShortly before rehearsals commence on King Lear, Jonathan Miller and Barrie Rutter are to be found having coffee in the book-lined bunker of Miller’s study, comparing their visits to see the Queen. “I’ve got three girls,” Rutter says. “So when I found out they were giving me an OBE in the New Year’s honours, I had this idea of myself as Lear taking his daughters to the palace.”“You know,” says Miller, who was knighted in 2002, “there’s always some flunky murmuring in the Queen’s ear.When I went up, she said to me, ‘Oh, it’s something to do with the brain, isn’t it?’ I wanted to say, ‘I think you’ll find most things are, your majesty.’” Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:38:30 GMT)

The Buried Giant review – Kazuo Ishiguro ventures into Tolkien territory
The Booker-winner’s excursion through Britain’s mythical past is a rumination on memory, love and war worthy of a place among the greatsListen to an exclusive audio extractJoin Kazuo Ishiguro for a live event on March 8, 2015 Related: Kazuo Ishiguro’s turn to fantasy In 1953, JRR Tolkien wrote an essay on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a late medieval poem that features the eponymous nephew of King Arthur undertaking a mysterious quest. He praised it for the deep roots it had in the past – a quality he saw it as sharing with both Beowulf and King Lear: “It is made of tales often told before and elsewhere, and of elements that derive from remote times, beyond the vision or awareness of the poet.” The ultimate origins of the poem, as of the entire corpus of Arthurian myth, lay back in the murkiest depths of the dark ages; a time when native Britons and invading Saxons had been fighting over the abandoned Roman province of Britannia. Arthur, the probably fictional war leader who was supposed to have stemmed the Saxon advance, could be located in the period, and enshrined as a great king, precisely because almost nothing was known about it. Only odd fragments of poetry had survived to hint at how natives and immigrants in post-Roman Britain might actually have made sense of the world. It was from these same fragments that Tolkien, committed to restoring to his country the legends he felt had been lost as a result of the Norman conquest, had fashioned The Lord of the Rings. Related: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro extract - audio Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 09:00:01 GMT)

Like programmes that take their time? Then you'll welcome BBC4's Slow TV
It started in Norway with 3.2 million viewers watching shows such as an 18-hour documentary about salmon fishing. Can the BBC transfer that success to British screens?After years of hearing that blipverts, videogames and social media have dwindled our attention span to the heartbeat, it is encouraging to hear of something that credits us with the ability to sustain a thought longer than an instant. BBC4 has announced its BBC Four Goes Slow series, which takes the pace of modern TV and pumps the brakes until it is practically stationary. The series features a three-hour National Gallery tour, a two-hour canal journey and short episodes showcasing traditional craftsmanship. Welcome to Slow TV. Make yourself comfortable – this may take a while.Blowing in from the frozen north, the concept of slow TV originates in Norway. Producer Thomas Hellum, from Norway’s state broadcaster NRK, is a pioneer of the form. With documentaries including a seven-hour train ride, 18 hours of salmon fishing and 134 hours on a cruise ship, it’s safe to say that if you found Inherent Vice flagged a bit towards the end, Hellum’s oeuvre probably isn’t for you. Related: Slow TV: the Norwegian movement with universal appeal Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:37:08 GMT)

Feast your eyes – 10 of the world's coolest restaurant interiors
From a modern diner in an old chapel to a white-washed cabinet of curiosities decorated with 10,000 animal bones, Gestalten’s new book, Let’s Go Out Again features some of the most unusual and spectacular restaurant interiors around the world. We’ve picked 10 of the most impressive Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:35:00 GMT)

How to wear trainers without looking 'adultolescent'
The casual trend refuses to die and trainers are as commonplace now as they were two years ago, except now there’s no age limit on what you can wearDoes wearing the latest pair of “it” trainers reek of trying too hard to remain youthful? Do brand new kicks yell “down with the kids?” Do I care? I’ve always liked wearing trainers. And, as moving around and being comfortable become imperative as we get older – see Bolivian grandmas playing handball for further evidence – I’m going to continue to wear them. But I don’t want to look like Tom Hanks in Big, like I’m stuck in adultolescence, not sure which direction to choose. One thing I’m increasingly aware of, as I get older, is that wardrobe basics (and I would class trainers as a wardrobe basic) have to be just right. They have to look chic, sleek and modern. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:17:21 GMT)

Marathon training: recovering from the long run
You’ve managed your long run – but what now? Water and salad, or all the cake you can eat? Nutritionist Emma Barraclough gives the low down on the sensible way to recoverAfter a long run, you will have depleted the majority of your stored carbohydrate, ie your muscle and liver glycogen. This happens even if you do manage to keep up the generally accepted recommendation of an intake of 60g of carbohydrate each hour, as you simply cannot match energy expenditure with calorie intake during your run. So it is really important post-run to eat carbs, especially for those with a high glycemic index. Carbs initiate an insulin response, which in turn lowers your blood-sugar level by driving carbohydrate back into the muscles, where it is stored again as glycogen. Fast-release protein is also needed by the body. If you do not fuel adequately with carbohydrate during your long run, your body can actually start to break down your lean muscle mass to convert the protein into energy. Taking in protein after exercise helps to prevent this. It also supports the repair of any damage to muscle tissue that has occurred due to the training load. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:15:08 GMT)

Swansea’s Bafétimbi Gomis collapses on the field against Tottenham
• French striker faints because of a drop in blood pressure• Gomis tweets he is ‘feeling well’ after Muamba-style scare• Match report: Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Swansea CityBafétimbi Gomis collapsed on the field at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night to briefly spark nightmarish memories of the Fabrice Muamba drama from almost three years ago at this same stadium.The Swansea City striker has a history of fainting because of sudden drops in blood pressure and he lay prone for five minutes in the early stages of his team’s 3-2 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur, as medics attended to him and supplied him with oxygen. Gomis tweeted late on Wednesday night: “I wanted to reassure you concerning my health, it actually looks much more scary than physically dangerous and I am feeling well now. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:21:13 GMT)

Manchester City’s David Silva pieces together victory over Leicester
• Pellegrini defends decision to drop captain Kompany• Jamie Jackson: Kompany pays price but drastic action yields littleIt was a scruffy performance at times, with the clear sense that something is still not right. Yet, for Manchester City, any win will do at the moment. This was only their fifth in a dozen matches since the turn of the year and it was unusual to see a team of their gifts make such hard work of it against a side propping up the rest of the Premier League.Manuel Pellegrini’s side had to withstand some anxious moments before the substitute James Milner soothed any lingering nerves with his 88th-minute goal and it could conceivably have been a more chastening experience but for the fact this was another night for students of refereeing demonology to flick through their little black books. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:01:55 GMT)

Eden Hazard goal edges Chelsea past West Ham to maintain league lead
• Mourinho proud of Chelsea’s ‘great victory’ over West Ham• Terry feels his age but remains Chelsea’s driving force on title roadThe scene at the final whistle told its own story. Chelsea players, as relieved as they were elated, converged in small groups in front of those massed in the lower tier of the Sir Trevor Brooking stand with the clenched fists and bellowed celebrations betraying the significance of success. Claiming the Capital One Cup at Wembley, and with it the first major silverware of José Mourinho’s second coming, is one thing. Emerging victorious from a derby as brutal as this to retain authority in the title race arguably meant so much more. The manager was probably only half joking when he admitted he might lie in until midday to recover.This was blisteringly frenetic, the visitors stretched horribly at times by a West Ham United side who had won only once in 10 matches and were apparently witnessing their own promising campaign dying a death. At times the leaders heaved to contain the Hammers, with Sam Allardyce’s team direct and relentless, pouring forward with Diafra Sakho spurning at least four clear opportunities and Thibaut Courtois, restored after Sunday, maintaining his finest clean sheet yet as a Chelsea player. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:57:14 GMT)

Andy Murray avoids politics before Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie with USA
• Glasgow event ‘is biggest home tie I have played and I expect it to be close’• Jamie Murray questions Scotland’s failure to capitalise on Wimbledon 2013• More tennis newsPicking his words more adroitly than he selected his shots in an error-strewn nightmare against the Croatian teenager Borna Coric in Dubai, Andy Murray tiptoed around nationalism, football politics and the state of Scottish tennis on the eve of Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie against the USA in Glasgow. It was a virtuoso performance – without notes.Its tone and content suggested team spirit is in good shape, even if his brother, Jamie, is struggling with a cold. However, if the British, who rolled the Americans in San Diego last year, are to beat them back to back for the first time in 110 years, that esprit de corps – driven by what will surely be overwhelming support among a sellout crowd of 7,000 in the Emirates Arena – could swing the result, starting with the singles on Friday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:14:22 GMT)

Premier League clockwatch – as it happened
Chelsea earned a narrow win over West Ham to keep their lead as Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs all won, while Everton’s troubles deepened as they lost 2-0 to Stoke 9.50pm GMT Liverpool stay fifth, Burnley stay 19th. 9.46pm GMT Ricky Lambert is coming on for Sterling. He has approximately 100 seconds to make a mark. 9.45pm GMT The only match still in progress is at Anfield, where Liverpool are 2-0 up against Burnley and could be playing in lambskin dressing gowns, so comfortable do they seem. 9.42pm GMT West Ham 0-1 ChelseaCeltic 0-1 St Johnstone 9.41pm GMT Drogba booked for time-wasting as Chelsea try to creep over the line at Upton Park... 9.41pm GMT What a ave by Lloris! The Frenchman claws Fernandez’s header out ... and then the ref blows the final whistle. Lloris’ saves clinched victory for the home side: Spurs 3-2 SwanseaAlso, Birmingham 1-0 Blackpool 9.38pm GMT Leeds 2-1 Ipswich QPR 1-2 Arsenal 9.37pm GMT Manchester City 2-0 Leicester (Silva, Milner)Newcastle 0-1 Manchester United (Young) 9.35pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 3-2 Swansea Sigurdsson strokes the ball into the net after being played through by Montero. 9.32pm GMT GOAL! Man City 2-0 Leicester James Milner makes it safe at last for City. 9.31pm GMT GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 Man Utd One minute from time, Krul and Coloccini, under pressure from Rooney, combine to send the ball straight to Young, who gratefully wallops it into the net from eight yards! Van Gaal’s team aren’t going to crawl all the way to the Champions League are they? 9.29pm GMT Sol Bamba has had a recurrence of his weekend form: he’s given away a penalty by handling the ball. But Silvestri saves Murphy’s spotkick! 9.27pm GMT GOAL! Stoke 2-0 Everton Everton defenders collapse to the ground in dismay - providing a neat summary of their season so far for any quick-thinking photographer - as Diouf delivers victory to Stoke with an opportunistic finish after Arnautovic’s shot came back off a post. 9.26pm GMT GOAL! QPR 1-2 Arsenal Bang! That’s a super goal from Austin: he took two touches to control the ball at the edge of the area, then swivelled and powered a ferocious shot into the net. No blame attached to Ospinna there! Suddenely Arsene Wenger is looking uncomfortable in his enormous sleeping bag coat. 9.22pm GMT For those Everton fans too afraid to ask for an update from the match at the Britannia, all I can tell you is that every time I look at it, Stoke have the ball, usually in the opposing half. 9.21pm GMT GOAL! Leeds 2-1 Ipswich OK, maybe Ipswich will accept now that they shouldn’t be challenging for promotion. That, at least, is the point that Leeds are trying to stress, as Billy Sharp volleys into the net from 12 yards following fine work down the right. Might Leeds be challenging for promotion next season? Actually, no sense trying to answer that as absolutely anything could happen at Elland Road between now and then. 9.19pm GMT GOAL! Leeds 1-1 Ipswich Freddie Sears has equalised for Mick McCarthy’s men, who just won’t accept that they shouldn’t be challenging for promotion. 9.18pm GMT Leicester are threatening an equaliser at the Etihahd, where man City are characteristically sluggish. Mahrez has just struck a fine effort against the post or, as Paul Merson has put it on Sky, using expert rhyming slag, “Mahrez has just hit the beans on toast!” 9.16pm GMT Harry Kane, who is surely the captain of everyone’s fantasy league team this week, has just missed two presentable chances. As has Sakho at Upton Park, where Chelsea are clinging to their lead. 9.14pm GMT GOAL! Leeds 1-0 Ipswich Mowatt sends a splendid freekick into the net. 9.13pm GMT GOAL! QPR 0-2 Arsenal Sanchez collects the ball on the left-hand side of the box, then dodges two defenders and fires in at the near post. That’s curtains for Rangers. 9.10pm GMT Sanchez, who played a key role in the go-ahead goal, wrecks havoc in the Rangers’ defence. again, but Green pulls off a top save. 9.09pm GMT GOAL! QPR 0-1 Arsenal Giroud continues his atonement for hat ridiculous display against Monaco, tapping into the net from two yards after Gibbs’ shot is blocked. 9.08pm GMT GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Burnley Henderson is the creator this time, and Sturridge finishes with a neat header. 9.08pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 3-1 Swansea Remember Andros Townsend? Well he’s only gone and rammed the ball into the net from distance to give Spurs an insurmountable lead. 9.07pm GMT Here’s a lovely moment: Jonas Gutierrez has come on for Newcastle, having recovered from cancer. Everyone in the ground applauds warmly. 9.06pm GMT Simon Mignolet may not be much cop with his feet, but he’s just shown that he’s a mean header: he charged out of his box to nut the ball clear as Barnes tried to collect a throughball. 9.04pm GMT Boom! Matt Phillips unleashes a blaster that flies through the air from 25 yards, leaving flames in its wake. Ospinna hurls himself across goal but can’t to it ... so is mightily relieved to see it fly 5.2 inches past the post. Does anyone know anything that’s 5.2 inches long so that I could put that in context? 9.01pm GMT Oh, that could have been so beautiful! Chelsea sliced open West Ham with a wonderful move that culminated with Hazard teeing up Ramires, whose deft low shot bounces out off the butt of the post! 8.59pm GMT Schwarzer makes an wonderful save to prevent City from aggravating the score. Courtois then does likewise to preserve Chelsea’s lead at West ham. meanwhile, a sensation in Scotland: Danny Swanson has put St Johnstone 1-0 up at Celtic with a rocket into the top corner from 25 yards. 8.58pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 2-1 Swansea Eriksen makes the goal with a lovely dribble, the Mason applies the finish by spanking the ball into the net when it squirts out to him. 8.57pm GMT Half the crowd at Upton Park thought Sakho had equalised! But instead his shot hurtled into the sidenetting, so it remains West Ham 0-1 Chelsea. 8.56pm GMT Tim Krul is making a strong case for man of the match at St James’ Park. he’s just produced a fine save to deny Fellaini and he then jumped to his feet to block Young’s rebound. 8.53pm GMT Bony has just missed another sitter for Man City! At least that’s what the folks who saw it are saying. 8.52pm GMT UPDATE: We can confirm that @BafGomis is in a stable condition following the earlier incident at White Hart Lane tonight. #TOTSWA 8.51pm GMT The action has resumed at the Britannia but it’s the same old story for Everton, as Lukaku blasts wide with a decent chance. 8.49pm GMT 8.47pm GMT It’s half-time at Anfield, where Liverpool remain 1-0 in front thanks to Henderson’s screamer and a top save just before the break by Mignolet from Inges. 8.45pm GMT Barcelona, by the way, are breezing into the final of the Coppa del Rey. Neymar has scored twice and Suarez once to give them a 3-1 lead in the second leg against 10-man Villarreal. That’s 6-2 on aggregate. 8.43pm GMT Sturridge scampers through clear on goal ... he’s capable of doing anything here, from dinking it over the advancing keeper to trying a triple pirouette and backheel finish ... but he opts for an attempted sidefoot curler ... but the keeper somehow read his intentions and saved with his feet. 8.38pm GMT A perfectly timed tackle by Skrtel on Barnes - and it had to be, otherwise that was a surefire penalty for Burnley. 8.36pm GMT It’s half-time every where, except at Anfield. Here are the scores so far: Stoke 1-0 Everton 8.34pm GMT Remember James Tomkins’ laughable dive after being gently pushed by Kevin Mirallas when Everton played West ham earlier this season? For some reason that came to mind when the West Ham centreback went down just now in the vicinity of Diego Costa. The ref didn’t buy it. 8.32pm GMT GOAL! Man City 1-0 Leicester. Bony’s attempt to score his first goal for his new club was thwarted when his shot from a Kolarvov cross was blocked. But it fell to Silva, whose first short as also blocked but he followed up to slot into the net from close range. At last City have their breakthrough. 8.31pm GMT Begovic makes a solid save from a drive by Aaron Lennon. moments later Charlie adam squanders a freekick from a promising position. 8.29pm GMT GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Burnley Jordan Henderson can’t stop scoring! A Countinho effort rebounded to him at the edge of the box and he blasted it first time into the net from 20 yards! 8.28pm GMT GOAL! Birmingham 1-0 Blackpool Andrew Shinne kicks it in. 8.27pm GMT Since Mark Hughes has been in charge, the Potters have won 15, drawn 5, lost 1 when they have scored the first goal at the Britannia Stadium 8.27pm GMT Silva flashes some wizardry to supply Bony with a magical pass ... but the striker fails to reward it with a goal, botching his finish badly. 8.25pm GMT Gabriel appears to have suffered some sort of injury at Loftus Road, so Laurent Koscileny has come on in his place. Liverpool, meanwhile, are struggling to prise Burnley apart, with Sterling not as influential as he could be from right wingback. Having said that, Heaton has just had to make a fine sae to deny Henderson. 8.21pm GMT Carl Jenkinson’s timing is so good he could be the next James Bond: he has just made a wonderful last-ditch tackle to stop Diego Costa from inflicting more damage on West Ham. 8.17pm GMT GOAL! Stoke 1-0 Everton Everton appear determined to test the theory that they are too big to go down: they’ve fallen behind to a brilliant header from Moses, who guided a Bardsley cross into the net from 12 yards. 8.16pm GMT Rooney has missed a second clear chance for Manchester United. He was put through by Di Maria, who has otherwise had a bad game so far - a fact that Van Gaal has noted, as the Dutchman has got up to bawl at the Argentinian for giving the ball away. 8.15pm GMT Gibbs looks amazed at not being given a freekick as he nods the ball behind for a corner after - he claims - being shoved by Zamora. QPR ignore his complaints and deliver the corner, which Gibbs heads clear. Arsenal then hurtle down the other end and pose a rare threat, which Rosciky wastes with a wayward shank from 18 yards. 8.12pm GMT QPR have made a confident start against Arsenal and look the more vibrant and slicker side. Arsenal are in one of their down moods. 8.10pm GMT Mahrez - who is one Leicester player who should definitely stay in the Premier League if the club goes down (as in, someone better should buy him), plays a delightful pass through to Kramaric, whose attempt to give Leicester a surprising lead is foiled by Joe Hart. 8.09pm GMT Manchester City threatened to blow Leicester away early on but the underdogs are now rebelling and, indeed, they could have had a penalty just now after Schlupp went down in the area under a clumsy challenge from Bony. The ref saw nothing awry, however. 8.08pm GMT GOAL! West ham 0-1 Chelsea Fabregas to Ramires to Hazard, who scores with a, um, trademark header! 8.07pm GMT Many of you have written in to remind us that Gomis has fainted previously, twice, when playing for Lyon. 8.06pm GMT GOAL! Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Blackburn Jordan Rhodes is making it a bad Wednesday for Wednesday 8.05pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 1-1 Swansea Spurs thought they had escaped when Sigurdsson’s excellent freekick came back out off the post, but Swansea quickly put the pressure back on and Ki equalised with a deft finish! 8.02pm GMT Liverpool have just kicked off at Anfield ... and they very nearly took the lead within 20 seconds. Sterling and Sturridge combined mischievously before the latter forced a fine save from Heaton. 8.00pm GMT GOAL! Norwich 0-1 Wigan. Well this is a turn-up ‘ Kim Bo-Kyung has struck early to ruin the feelgood factor at Carrow Road. Meanwhile at Upton Park, John Terry has been booked for bringing down Valencia. And the inevitable has happened at the britannia: Barry has got that booking we all saw coming. 7.59pm GMT Gomis has been taken off the pitch on a stretcher and concerns for his well-being seem to have abated a little. Olivera is introduced as a substitute in his place. 7.58pm GMT Gomis continues to receive treatment, but he is moving and appears to be alert. 7.55pm GMT A disturbing development at White Hart Lane. Bafetimbi Gomis has collapsed and seems to be in distress. All the players look very concerned. A group of medical personnel are attending to the player. Hopefully this does not turn out to be as serious as it looks at the moment. 7.51pm GMT GOAL! Spurs 1-0 Swansea Nacer Chadli opens the scoring with a superb volley from a Danny Rose cross! 7.51pm GMT Cambiasso has just prevented Bony from claiming his first goal for Manchester City, clearing off the line. Meanwhile, Patrick McCabe has another idea for the type of mask that Coquelin could sport. “He should have to wear a mask with the face of whoever he has to mark, that would really freak them out!” Excellent idea. Mind you, Sandro seems the sort of trickster who’d enjoy that. 7.49pm GMT Kick-off at Whit Hart Lane was preceded by a minute’s applause for the late, great Dave Mackay. 7.48pm GMT All matches are go - except Liverpool v Burnley, which kicks off in 15 minutes. Everton have made a bright start at Stoke, but that comes to an end when Barry chops down Adam: that’s unlikely to be the last time those two tangle tonight - it’ll be a major shock if both finish the game without a yellow card, at least. 7.44pm GMT “Can you keep an eye out on the Arsenal game and let us know what sort of mask Coquelin is wearing?” pleads Charles Antaki. “Hopefully it won’t be one of those dull minimalist ones. The full Guy Fawkes, as popularised by Occupy-type protesters, would be good. Otherwise one of those Venetian ones with the beak.” How about a Patrick Vieira mask, in another attempt to dupe Gooners into believing Arsenal have sorted their midfield problems? 7.37pm GMT Sol Bamba endured a ghastly performance against Watford at the weekend but, so far as I’ve seen, rescuing him from unemployment has really paid off for Leeds so far: you don’t want him trying to stride out of defence with the ball, but otherwise he’s really generally brought real steel and authority to Leeds’ backline. So it’s good to see he’s kept his place for the visit of Ipswich, whose strikers will have to be subdued if Leeds’ relatively decent recent run is to continue. Leeds: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci, Cooper, Murphy, Cook, Byram, Mowatt, Charlie Taylor, Sharp. Subs: Cani, Berardi, Stuart Taylor, Morison, Doukara, Sloth, Antenucci. Ipswich: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings, Anderson, Skuse, Tabb, Parr, Varney, Wood. Subs: Gerken, Murphy, Chaplow, Bru, Sears, Connolly, Clarke. Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire) 7.30pm GMT So as you can see from the team news below, Per Mertesacker has been brought back into the Arsenal defence: is that a sign of complacency from Arsene Wenger? QPR certainly don’t have the pace to trouble the static German, but they’ve brought in Bobby Zamora with a view to bullying him, no doubt. And with Charlie Austin sniffing around, I foresee at least one home goal at Loftus Road ... but also an Arsenal victory. Just can’t see QPR getting out of the relegation zone. 7.08pm GMT Stoke: Begovic, Bardsley, Wollscheid, Wilson, Pieters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Adam, Moses, Crouch. Subs: Arnautovic, Diouf,Cameron, Sidwell, Butland, Teixeira, Shenton.Everton: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Garbutt, McCarthy, Gibson, Barry, Lennon, Lukaku, Naismith. Subs: Robles, Kone, Mirallas, Besic, Barkley, Osman, Alcaraz. 7.07pm GMT Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Bentaleb, Mason, Townsend, Eriksen, Chadli, Kane. Subs: Chiriches, Paulinho, Soldado, Lamela, Vorm, Dembele, Davies. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Ki, Cork, Sigurdsson, Shelvey, Routledge, Gomis. Subs: Amat, Britton, Emnes, Nelson Oliveira, Montero, Rangel, Tremmel. Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland) 7.07pm GMT Man City: Hart, Sagna, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Jesus Navas, Fernando, Toure, Silva, Bony, Aguero. Subs: Kompany, Zabaleta, Milner, Dzeko, Caballero, Lampard, Clichy. Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Upson, Huth, Morgan, Konchesky, Mahrez, James, Cambiasso, Schlupp, Kramaric. Subs: Drinkwater, Vardy, King, Hamer, Ulloa, Wasilewski, Nugent. Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire) 7.06pm GMT West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Tomkins, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Nolan, Downing, Sakho, Valencia. Subs: Jarvis, Nene, O’Brien, Collins, Demel, Jaaskelainen, Song. Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Zouma, Fabregas, Oscar, Costa, Hazard. Subs: Cech, Luis, Drogba, Remy, Willian, Cuadrado, Loftus-Cheek. Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire) 7.05pm GMT QPR: Green, Furlong, Onuoha, Caulker, Yun, Phillips, Henry, Sandro, Hoilett, Austin, Zamora. Subs: Hill, Wright-Phillips, McCarthy, Isla, Kranjcar, Vargas, Zarate. Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Rosicky, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud. Subs: Koscielny, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Chambers, Welbeck, Martinez. Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 7.05pm GMT Newcastle: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Obertan, Abeid, Sissoko, Ameobi, Cisse, Riviere. Subs: Anita, Gouffran, Perez, Gutierrez, Armstrong, Satka, Woodman. Man Utd: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Evans, Rojo, Ander Herrera, Blind, Di Maria, Rooney, Young, Fellaini. Subs: Jones, Mata, Falcao, Januzaj, Lindegaard, Carrick, McNair. Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) 7.02pm GMT Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Mee; Kightly, Jones, Arfield, Boyd; Barnes, Ings.Liverpool: Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Lovren; Henderson, Allen, Moreno, Lallana, Sterling; Coutinho; Sturridge. 6.30pm GMT Hello and welcome to another edition of Clockwatch, the feature that is forever grateful for the letter l. The action on this occasion will will focus on no fewer (and, in fairness, no more) than seven Premier League matches, and the big news is that Vincent Kompany will not start any of them. That’s right, the Manchester City skipper has been jilted from his team’s line-up, presumably as punishment for a slew of sub-par recent performances. Deimichelis and Mangala will instead be tasked with keeping Leicester City out and if they manage that, then doing the same against Barcelona in a few weeks will obviously be a doddle. Elsewhere, QPR will attempt to respond to Aston Villa’s victory last night by upsetting Arsenal, while Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United project will enter its latest phase at Newcastle United, and no one truly knows what to expect from that encounter. Stoke will attempt to fuel their improbable bid for a Europa League spot by inflicting another negative for Roberto Martinez to find positives in; Chelsea will seek to follow up their League Cup victory with a win at West Ham; Spurs will attempt to follow up their League Cup defeat with a victory over Swansea; and Liverpool and Burnley will do battle with the former trying to enter the Champions League zone and the latter aiming to clamber clear of the danger zone. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:15:35 GMT)

Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets a doubt for Manchester City tie due to ankle injury
• Spain midfielder carried off during win over Villarreal• Busquets has sprained ankle and will be assessed by doctors• Barcelona reach Copa del Rey final as Neymar double sinks VillarrealThe Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets is a major doubt for the second leg of Barcelona’s last-16 tie against Manchester City after being carried off in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Villarreal in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg.The Spain midfielder was withdrawn in the 40th minute of the match at El Madrigal after going down under a challenge from Tomás Pina. The Villarreal player appeared to catch his ankle during the challenge, with Busquets eventually being replaced by defender Jérémy Mathieu. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:21:28 GMT)

Papiss Cissé and Jonny Evans spitting row mars Manchester United’s win over Newcastle
An apparent first-half spitting contest between Papiss Cissé and Jonny Evans provided unwanted controversy on a night when Ashley Young’s late winner kept Manchester United’s hopes of Champions League qualification very much alive.Unfortunately the tone had been lowered by the altercation involving Newcastle United’s No9 and Manchester United’s centre-half. After both players tussled, mutually kicking out, television replays suggested Cissé was complaining Evans had spat in his eye but other images showing the United centre-half flinching indicated that this was far from one-sided. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:01:48 GMT)

Stoke’s Moses and Diouf push Everton closer towards relegation battle
Victor Moses was the hero as Stoke City moved comfortably past the 40-point safety threshold with a gritty victory over Everton, who are still 12 points short of that target and remain on the fringes of the relegation fight.Stoke were worth their win, if only for the excellence of Moses’ first-half goal and general attacking play. The Chelsea loanee was one of the few players on the pitch willing to take on opponents and on several occasions he proved capable of beating them, too. Everton are going to have to fight harder than this if they are going to climb away from trouble. The visitors neither battled like a David Moyes team nor passed like a Roberto Martínez one, with the result that Stoke, who keep things relatively simple and know what they are good at, saw them off with surprisingly few alarms. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:44:35 GMT)

Manchester United delay decision on Radamel Falcao’s future until May
• United have option to make move permanent for £43m• Louis van Gaal: United do not have a 20-goal striker• Rumour Mill: United tracking Brazil right-back DaniloRadamel Falcao will have to wait until May to discover if Manchester United are to make his move from Monaco permanent as Louis van Gaal will not make any decision until then.The striker has struggled for fitness and form since joining on loan last summer in a deal worth a total £16m and it will cost £43m for United to take up their option to buy the Colombian. There are at least 12 games of their campaign remaining – 11 in the league plus Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal – and Falcao will in effect be playing for his future at the club. Related: Manchester United’s Louis van Gaal backs backpass as means of attack Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:03:46 GMT)

Stuart Broad: Alex Hales could help to revive England’s World Cup form
• ‘Hales is a player who can change momentums of games’• ‘He is a good Nottinghamshire team-mate and has played some great knocks’• Kevin Pietersen and the Thatcher parallel: the batsman’s not for returningStuart Broad believes Alex Hales possesses the talent required to revive England’s faltering World Cup campaign when it resumes against Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval on Monday.Hales has been carrying the drinks for the first four matches of the tournament during which time an unchanged XI has chalked up only one victory, against Scotland, amid defeats at the hands of Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:02:14 GMT)

Republic of Ireland’s 7 June friendly against England to kick off at 1pm
• England to be handed 3,000 tickets for friendly• Lansdowne Road game was abandoned after crowd disturbances 20 years ago• Rioting, violence and shame – memories of Ireland v England in 1995The Football Association of Ireland has confirmed that the Republic of Ireland’s friendly against England in Dublin on 7 June will kick off at 1pm following discussions with the FA, broadcasters and the gardaí.England have not played in the Republic since 1995, when a friendly had to be abandoned because of rioting fans at Lansdowne Road. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:10:25 GMT)

The Alan Hutton conundrum: committed competitor or one of the dirtiest players?
The Aston Villa defender’s rugged style contradicts the calmer, more cerebral approach desired by his new manager Tim Sherwood• Match report: Aston Villa 2-1 West Bromwich Albion• Villa victory best feeling in the world, says SherwoodPerhaps Tim Sherwood will think twice in future about asking his players to show they have the balls for a relegation fight now he has seen the effect his words had on Alan Hutton.The Aston Villa full-back will be missing for the next two games after picking up his 10th booking of the season in Tuesday’s victory over West Bromwich Albion though most people think he got off lightly for a studs-up assault on Saido Berahino’s groin. Certainly neither Villa nor Hutton could have complained had the referee shown a straight red, and most managers other than Tony Pulis would have made more of the fact that Hutton went on to have a hand in Villa’s stoppage-time winner. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:47:15 GMT)

Australia post Cricket World Cup record score in victory over Afghanistan
• Australia 417-6; Afghanistan 142 all out (Aus win by 275 runs)• David Warner stars as Afghanistan are overwhelmed• Michael Clarke lauds ‘outstanding individual performances’• As it happened: Geoff Lemon and Russell Jackson’s OBO reportDavid Warner played a starring role as Australia recorded the World Cup’s highest ever total – en route to victory by the widest margin in the tournament’s history – against Afghanistan in Perth.The co-hosts’ 417 for six contained three outstanding innings – Warner, with 178, pacing himself and his team before upping the ante in a mammoth second-wicket stand of 260 with Steve Smith, who made 95, after the early wicket of Aaron Finch, and then Glenn Maxwell reaching 88. Mitchell Johnson, with four for 22, eased them to a landslide 275-run win in pool A as Afghanistan were bowled out for 142 in 37.3 overs. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:08:13 GMT)

Kevin Pietersen and the Thatcher parallel: the batsman’s not for returning
The means by which KP’s fans could restore him to his former England glory are as ill-defined as they are doomed – yet they fight destructively on, and on• Pietersen debate the last thing England need – Stuart BroadFor almost 30 years, the passport of ex-King Constantine of Greece did not admit of a surname. It billed him simply as “Constantine, former king of the Hellenes”. I wonder if Kevin Pietersen may consider amending his British one so it reads simply: “Kevin, exiled England batsman”?There are deathless stories, and then there’s the question of whether a way back to the England side can be found for Pietersen. None of us should rule out this discussion being the last thing we hear before we die – even if our expected checkout date is several decades away. Pietersen could be fielding in a Zimmer frame for the Jaipur Twilight Homers in the IPL seniors’ league, and people would still be arguing whether the door to an England return was truly shut. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:48:05 GMT)

Silverstone is making British F1 Grand Prix cheaper and more popular
Silverstone is now going to admit children under 11 for free and this year’s grand prix promises to be the most mixed and best attended ever• Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 British Grand PrixThere is only one thing wrong with the wonderful crowds who attend the British Grand Prix at Silverstone – there are about as many children as there were in Hamelin after the Pied Piper had done his thing with the magic music.Silverstone has done little in the past for young spectators, judging by the outrageous ticket prices for the showpiece weekend of British motorsport. So it was gratifying to visit the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) on Tuesday and meet Silverstone’s new managing director, Patrick Allen, who has taken a fresh look at the cost of attending. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:40:03 GMT)

Sunderland’s Gus Poyet plays down touchline clash with Hull’s Steve Bruce
• Uruguayan was sent to the stands during first-half at KC Stadium• Poyet admits Adam Johnson arrest has been hard to deal with• Hull 1-1 Sunderland: match reportGus Poyet revealed the 24 hours preceding Sunderland’s Premier League draw at Hull had been the most difficult of his managerial career.Sunderland suspended Adam Johnson on Monday, pending the outcome of a police investigation, after the 27-year-old England winger was bailed following arrest on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:28:18 GMT)

European Indoor Championships give Britain’s women the chance to shine
Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads the way in the pentathlon but there are medal opportunities everywhere in Prague waiting to be grasped• Jenny Meadows storms to 800m victory in British IndoorsDuring the European Championships in Zurich last year, the British team held a lighthearted battle of the sexes over who would win the most medals. It raged for days. However, despite a number of brilliant performances – including gold medals for Jo Pavey, Eilidh Child, Tiffany Porter and the 4x100m relay team – the women fell just short with nine of Britain’s record 23-medal haul.Even so, that medal tally emphasised the growing strength of British women in the sport. The European Indoor Championships, which begin in Prague on Thursday, should rubber stamp it. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:03:00 GMT)

Pakistan secure 129-run victory over UAE at Cricket World Cup
• Pakistan 339-6; UAE 210-8 (Pakistan win by 129 runs)• Ahmed Shehzad run out just short of a century• The Spin: cricket’s great data debate – art v sciencePakistan boosted their chances of reaching the Cricket World Cup quarter-finals by defeating the United Arab Emirates by 129 runs in Napier.A second-wicket partnership of 160 between Ahmed Shehzad (93) and Haris Sohail (70) and a quick-fire 65 from the captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, helped Pakistan amass 339 for six in their 50 overs and, although the UAE lost only eight wickets in their reply, they made 210, leaving them well short of their target. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 09:45:54 GMT)

In praise of Sam Allardyce, the manager who gave Bolton the time of their lives
His style has always been grounded in realism, but Allardyce’s revolutionary spell at Bolton produced one of the most intriguing stories in Premier League historyBy Blair Newman for These Football Times, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkThe Premier League doesn’t like upstarts. When a club from outside of English football’s elite declares itself fit to challenge the established order, they are hurriedly batted back down while their squad is picked apart. With their finest talent departed, they are left to fight on the back foot once more.Sam Allardyce was once considered to be one such upstart. As manager of Bolton Wanderers, he led the club to heights not seen since the days when Nat Lofthouse spearheaded their attack. Allardyce and his Bolton side were the worst kind of upstarts. Their success was earned on their own terms; what they did was unique and could not be appropriated by the bigger clubs. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:46:11 GMT)

India’s Virat Kohli confronts journalist in case of mistaken identity
• Kohli seen verbally abusing Hindustan Times journalist Jasvinder Sidhu• Sidhu claims he has not received a direct apology from player• The Spin: cricket’s great data debate – art v scienceIndia’s training session in Perth on Wednesday took an unexpected turn when their one-day vice-captain, Virat Kohli verbally confronted a journalist in a case of mistaken identity.Kohli stunned onlookers when he walked over to and shouted at the Hindustan Times journalist Jasvinder Sidhu without apparent provocation. Reports suggested Kohli had incorrectly identified the writer as another journalist who had written about his private life. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:09:18 GMT)

Sadio Mané the main man as Southampton squeeze past Crystal Palace
This was just the tonic Southampton needed to halt a steady decline. With 10 minutes remaining their malaise of late looked set to continue but Sadio Mané’s determination and deft touch secured a first win at home since New Year’s Day for Ronald Koeman’s side, whose top-four ambitions appear renewed.Crystal Palace had won five successive away matches under Alan Pardew before this defeat and will count themselves unlucky to not have at least earned a point. Wilfried Zaha hit a post and Fraser Forster was twice called on during a second half that could have easily have swung their way, with unease beginning to creep in at St Mary’s as Southampton struggled to create any telling opportunities. Continue reading...
(Tue, 03 Mar 2015 21:50:44 GMT)

From India and Turkey to Oxford, we live in a perpetual state of war against women
Equality of the most basic kind cannot exist when a woman’s life and her words are always worth less than a man’sOn some days I don’t need to read the news. I know it already. It is basically a list of the women and girls who are the latest to be abused and killed. If it is nearer to us – a teenager murdered and dismembered – we are saddened, while consuming every detail. The dead girl’s face will watch us for a while. And just when it feels too much, her face will soon be replaced by another.We fixate on individual loss as we feel our way for clues that might help us escape our already dark imaginings. And in the night we wonder where our children are, and who they are with, and what they are doing; we walk ourselves through scenarios in which somehow these awful things would not happen to our children. Or to us. Or to anyone we know. This is the collective secret of motherhood. Let it be someone else’s. Related: After years of silence, Turkey’s women are going into battle against oppression | Elif Shafak Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:00:04 GMT)

The demonisation of Russia risks paving the way for war
Politicians and the media are using Vladimir Putin and Ukraine to justify military expansionism. It’s dangerous follyA quarter of a century after the end of the cold war, the “Russian threat” is unmistakably back. Vladimir Putin, Britain’s defence secretary Michael Fallon declares, is as great a danger to Europe as “Islamic State”. There may be no ideological confrontation, and Russia may be a shadow of its Soviet predecessor, but the anti-Russian drumbeat has now reached fever pitch.And much more than in Soviet times, the campaign is personal. It’s all about Putin. The Russian president is an expansionist dictator who has launched a “shameless aggression”. He is the epitome of “political depravity”, “carving up” his neighbours as he crushes dissent at home, and routinely is compared to Hitler. Putin has now become a cartoon villain and Russia the target of almost uniformly belligerent propaganda across the western media. Anyone who questions the dominant narrative on Ukraine – from last year’s overthrow of the elected president and the role of Ukrainian far right to war crimes carried out by Kiev’s forces – is dismissed as a Kremlin dupe. Related: Ukraine has ignored the far right for too long – it must wake up to the danger | Volodymyr Ishchenko Most Russians want Putin to take a tougher stand ‘because of their experience of the past 25 years' Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:02:04 GMT)

So this is how the world ends: with us distracted by cute cats
The internet increasingly looks like the brilliant plot of an evil mastermind who’s turning us into zombies via animal memesAre you reading this? Good! Are you reading it online? Oh no! There’s no way to break this to you gently, but the internet is evil. I don’t mean in the way that it allows David Cameron to know, with gynaecological precision, all your porn preferences. We’ve all, surely, accepted that long ago as the reasonable price for the pleasure of never talking to a human ever again thanks to email, and being able to look at photos of cats all day.No, the reason it’s evil is the cats, actually. I don’t think anyone could have come through the past week without a vague suspicion that the internet is a brilliant plot by an evil mastermind plotting world domination, possibly operating under the name of Doctor Claw, operating out of a spooky castle with only a villainous cat for companionship (Inspector Gadget was extremely formative for me, OK?). Related: Iran nuclear deal 'will be a farewell to arms control', Netanyahu tells Congress Things that would once have been sniggered over by 12-year-olds during break-time are deemed international events Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:26:51 GMT)

Let’s move Westminster to Manchester, and reclaim democracy
Parliament is unfit for purpose, physically and ethically. A change of location could jolt politics into the 21st centuryGood man, John Bercow. The Speaker of the House of Commons is what management gurus call disruptive; it means sound. Just six weeks from an election, he said on Tuesday that MPs needed £3bn from the taxpayer to tart up their offices and rid them of mice. The press reacted as if he were offering massage parlours to prisoners. How dare he pander to those pampered MPs? Besides, when anyone in parliament says £3bn it means £6bn and rising.Bercow added that so bad was the condition of the Palace of Westminster – surely the world’s greatest neogothic building – that parliament might have to move out for the duration of repairs. “I will tell you in all candour,” he said ominously, “that unless … a not inconsequential sum of public money is deployed on this estate over the next 10 years” its continued use as a parliament would be impossible. He added that temporarily decamping elsewhere should be considered, “including almost certainly a regional option”. But he was uneasy, “since once you are out it can be very difficult to get back”. Related: MPs could be forced to 'abandon' crumbling Westminster, Speaker warns Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:40:13 GMT)

When Piers Morgan met Benedict Cumberbatch: a one-sided spat?
There was a snub at Harvey Weinstein’s, according to the former tabloid editor. But did the Sherlock star even notice?This year’s Academy Awards ceremony has had a strange footnote, leaving observers of the cinema and celebrity scene a little perplexed.There is a diplomatic froideur between Piers Morgan and Benedict Cumberbatch – although the Oscar-nominated actor may still be unaware of this situation. In a column for the Mail On Sunday, Morgan alleged that after they exchanged cordial words on the way to Harvey Weinstein’s lavish pre-Oscars dinner in Beverly Hills, Cumberbatch called him an “odious man” behind his back – although Morgan concedes he never heard those words himself. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:42:30 GMT)

We have kept our promises, David Cameron insists, repeatedly
Prime minister grilled by Ed Miliband on immigration and leaders’ TV debates and counters challenge with talk of the economy and winter fuel allowance “Does the prime minister think that prime minister’s questions might be damaging parliament’s reputation?” asked Lib Dem David Ward. It sounded as if this might be a philosophical question on how much harm damaging something that is already damaged can do, but David Cameron chose to take it at face value. “PMQs are robust,” he conceded. For robust, read a Bullingdon night out. “But they do serve an important democratic purpose in allowing MPs to ask the prime minister anything they wish.” What he forgot to add was that a key part of the democratic bargain is that the prime minister should attempt an answer. Ed Miliband had started the session by asking if Cameron felt the Tories had broken their promise at the 2010 election to reduce immigration to tens of thousands. This wasn’t necessarily a line of questioning that many of the leader of the opposition’s backbenchers would have been keen for him to pursue, as Labour being tougher on immigration than everyone else doesn’t sit comfortably with many of its members, but it did have the virtue of banging the prime minister to rights. At the last count, immigration had increased to 298,000, which even Nigel Farage would have been hard pushed to explain as a change of emphasis. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:37:58 GMT)

Reducing rape to a generic Indian male mindset fails its victims
Sexual violence in India cannot be separated from exploitation in its wider forms, including class oppression and vicious global economic inequalityThe story now has the status of dystopic legend. On a cold December Delhi night in 2012, a young woman returning home from watching a film with a male friend was gang-raped, beaten and thrown out of a bus to die. Given a series of pseudonyms, most frequently “Nirbhaya” or the Fearless One, her sickening fate caught the horrified imagination of middle-class urban India and the world beyond. Young people, men and women, poured out on to the streets to call for an end to rape and to demand that Indian cities be made safer for women. Related: India’s Daughter: BBC brings forward airing of Delhi rape documentary Related: Delhi rape documentary-maker appeals to Narendra Modi over broadcast ban Related: Indian women found their voice after the Delhi rape. Could this film help silence them again? | Nilanjana S Roy Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:59:01 GMT)

Tinder doesn't need to limit users over 30. It needs to limit creeps
Women who online date and try to draw boundaries get sneered at for being choosy or just find that those boundaries are ignoredDating app Tinder has a new feature, Tinder Plus, that addresses some user complaints about the service – notably, Tinder Plus will let you undo a mistaken “swipe left” that accidentally deposits a desirable profile in your “never show me this again” pile. But be warned: if you’re 30 or over, subscribing to Tinder Plus will cost you twice as much as it does for the under-30 set.Tinder’s explanation is, essentially, that twentysomethings won’t pay as much because they don’t have as much money. That’s plausible enough – but I can’t help thinking that there’s an element of “this is no country for old men” at work. Even if there is, as an over-30 I am not especially worked up about this; having seen how older men talk to young women on OkCupid, I can see why there might be an argument for limiting their participation. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:43:57 GMT)

Don’t do away with the fairies: we need to relearn our sense of the magical
Worries about proliferating fairy doors in Somerset’s Wayford Woods are misplaced. A sense of wonder can only be healthy for children and adults – and our woodlandIf you go down to the woods today – at least in Somerset’s Wayford Woods – you are sure of a big surprise. It is not teddy bears this time, but uncontrolled immigration and house construction without planning permission – by fairies. More soberly, the trustees of Wayford Woods, near Crewkerne, are perplexed about what to do about the 200 or so tiny doors that have been screwed on to trees, and which purport to be entrances to the homes of the “little folk”. The 29-acre Somerset wood is accessible – legally as well as physically – and children have been leaving gifts and messages for the fairies for some years now, part of a wider trend for fairy doors.So what exactly is the problem here? A few screws are not going to damage the trees; this is not ancient woodland or a site of special scientific interest; no wildlife is, so far as I can determine, being threatened. Environmental art (of widely varying degrees of merit) is now common, indeed encouraged, in woodland. We say we want children to get out into nature, to encourage the creative play of their imaginations; and I bet the little doors are increasing children’s “footfall”. In many ways indeed this is an appropriate place for such goings-on because the wood was originally part of the garden of Wayford Manor, designed by Harold Peto – a landscape architect of the Arts and Crafts movement, of which the fairytale revival was a central theme.A fairy door I found in the woods. pic.twitter.com/kvlI4UzBhO Related: Do you know the names of the trees in your neighbourhood? | Sara Maitland Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:52:55 GMT)

When getting paid isn’t progress
Apprenticeships like the one Vice is offering in London, at less than £50 a day, have the same outcome as unpaid internships: they favour the richGood news for aspiring underpaid journalists: digital media company Vice is hiring apprentices. An exciting opportunity for budding video content developers and news assistants. It is paying £11,400 a year. That works out at just £47.50 a day. In London. For 12 months. That’s not an apprenticeship, that’s a reality show challenge.Unpaid internships, which can cost close to £1,000 a month to take on, are often highlighted as one of the main reasons the media is so dominated by the privileged. Often, it’s only with family help that a young person can expect to support themselves through an extended period without income. No matter how useful they are, you can’t eat “experience” or shelter from the rain under “networking opportunities”. Related: Unpaid work costs interns £926 a month – study Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:48:32 GMT)

Men are too insecure about penis size to ever stop worrying about it
For so many men, the deeply symbolic and psychological attachment to the penis starts early and ensures it will always be a source of great anxietyToday, researchers answered an age-old question: not “does size matter?”, but “am I normal”? An analysis of what is considered to be the average penis size has been published in the British Journal of Urology International. Pulling together 17 studies involving up to 15,521 males, we now know that 13.12cm (5.16 inches) in length is average for an erect penis. The figure is 9.16cm (3.6 inches) when flaccid.Mankind has always been fixated with penises. Caves around the world are adorned with phalluses and phallic symbols tens of thousands of years old. Often, those drawings or ancient artefacts feature representations that would make even Dirk Diggler proud. The penis is a source of power and shame. Hotshot financial traders are known as “big swinging dicks” and the assertion of male domination is often couched in phallic terms: who’s got the biggest dick? Who’s going to slap it out on the table? The measuring never really stops and is a part of the anxiety. Am I big enough? What is big enough? Related: The results are in: study reveals average penis size Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 08:00:20 GMT)

No, Mr Osborne, selling our stake in Eurostar is not securing Britain’s future
As ever, profit gets privatised and risk or liability remains the business of the stateThe government is thrilled that it has found a buyer for the Treasury’s 40% stake in Eurostar. And no wonder. An Anglo-Canadian consortium has offered to pay £757m. In the autumn of 2013, when the coalition first announced its plan to sell, it expected to raise £300m. Which looks like prima facie evidence that the government doesn’t have much idea about how valuable national assets are. It’s all, says the chancellor, George Osborne, “part of our long-term plan to secure Britain’s future.” To an idiot such as myself, it looks like part of a long-term plan to secure the future of Patina Rail LLP.I thought the long-term economic plan was to narrow the deficit. I do see how a large injection of cash can do this in the short term – by paying off some debt. But in the long term, selling off state-owned, profit-making assets can only ever make the government all the more dependent on tax revenues. As ever, profit gets privatised and risk or liability remains the business of the state. If Patina Rail LLP makes a mess of running the service, it’s not hard to see who’ll be expected to pick up the pieces. Related: Eurostar sale to net British taxpayers more than £750m Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:35:04 GMT)

Mirror group phone hacking is not getting headlines it deserves
Too many newspapers have failed to give the story appropriate coveragePhone hacking was “rife” and reached an “industrial scale” at the Daily and Sunday Mirror and at the Sunday People from 1999 until 2009. If you read the Guardian, this will not be a surprise. It was carried prominently on this website yesterday and it is the page 1 lead in today’s print edition. The story was given major billing on the TV and radio bulletins of the BBC, and on Sky News. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:17:03 GMT)

The Hillary Clinton email 'scandal' says more about us than about her ethics
We could be discussing the importance of public transparency and its impacts. But this is America. Let’s fightSecretary of State Hillary Clinton did not use a government email account during her time in the administration. She didn’t have to, but she should have! The first part of that sentence should be the end of any potential scandal discussion; the second part should be the beginning of our discussion of how we feel about public records. But since we live in a far more useless world, we’re going to wind up doing this backwards.It’s all happening again. It’s going to happen forever. The Clintons might have taken another shortcut and may be hoping their fans will bail them out; the Republican Party has furnished another disingenuous bit of likely non-scandal to a press corps that knows “Unethical Clintons!” stories draw a lot of eyeballs. People will, again, define a government ethics issue through the lens of fan advocacy. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:50:24 GMT)

A grim parade of bad news raises questions about our diet of violence
Taking in stories about Mohammed Emwazi, Becky Watts and baby deaths in Barrow, is our media diet as unhealthy as our daily intake of fat and sugar?At times, Tuesday’s grim parade of bad news stories, still very prominent in Wednesday’s papers, became confusing to follow. Teenagers abused in Oxford on what the prime minister foolishly calls “an industrial scale” (he’s not worked in industry). Babies allowed to die in the care of a “dysfunctional” team of midwives in Barrow. Indifference and worse by those in authority who should have protected the vulnerable.All this against the continuing anger and bafflement about how Mohammed Emwazi, a promising London IT graduate, turned into ‘Jihadi John’, a brutal, exhibitionist killer for Islamic State (Isis) in Syria. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:58:06 GMT)

May the 2016 elections be full of angry women politicians
Whether its Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren, their anger is passion, not PMS. And our political sphere will be better off for itIf there’s one word that women in politics are accustomed to, it’s ‘angry’. Throughout history - from American suffragists to those in office today - women’s strong feelings about politics have long been treated like PMS, not passion. Even when women are legitimately, justifiably angry - and let’s be honest, female politicians have plenty to be pissed about - that anger is seen as a weakness. But times are changing and, at the EMILY’s List conference on Tuesday, it seemed as if long-brewing and well-justified anger was ready to come out - emboldened, perhaps, by an increasingly feminist-friendly culture that is not likely to take sexist swipes laying down in 2016. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:30:00 GMT)

Ah, the unmistakable scent of Eau de Terror
Maybe it’s the promise of virility that draws Anders Breivik and Islamic State’s Abou Bilel to Chanel fragrances. I just get lemons with a top note of Toilet DuckAs the leisurewear outfit Lacoste discovered during the trial of Anders Breivik, there is such a thing as negative publicity. Breivik’s proud displays of their pullovers, as he explained his reasoning for murdering 77 people, mostly children, led to Lacoste requesting police intervention to end his remorseless product placement.Bad news for Lacoste, good news for Chanel, as it threw people off the scent of Breivik’s other big brand passion: Platinum Egoiste, Chanel’s cologne “expressing energy, light and virility, with the warmth of exotic woods”. His followers still ship him bottles in prison along with books and CDs and Knights Templar cufflinks, though one chap on the Commander Breivik Report online forum did express some queasiness: “I wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable sending another man some perfume.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 06:00:00 GMT)

I have bipolar disorder, but I wouldn’t want to ‘fix’ my mind
Having experienced the crippling depression and manic highs of bipolar, my relatively mild mental illness has also given me a reservoir of insight and compassion to draw fromA couple of years ago, I started writing a novel called The Mirror World of Melody Black. It’s about a young woman with type II bipolar disorder whose life begins to unravel after she goes to her neighbour’s flat and finds him dead on the settee. As soon as I started writing this scenario, I knew that I’d probably have to explain it somewhere down the line. There are certain subjects in fiction that are almost guaranteed to provoke curiosity regarding the relationship between an author’s work and their life.Just to clarify, I’m not talking about the death of a neighbour; I didn’t expect anyone to ask if that part of the story was based on personal experience (it was, though the context was different). I’m talking about mental illness. I think it’s nearly impossible to write a story about depression, or in this case manic depression, without people questioning how much of the author is in the work. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:59:27 GMT)

For the Tories, policy by nostalgia ain’t what it used to be
This is the party that wants to encourage aspiration, but its methods are just the old ways polished up as newThe most famous image of David Cameron on a council estate was taken during a visit to Wythenshawe, Manchester in 2007. He ambles towards the camera in dark jacket, gleaming white shirt, no tie; all modern Conservative casual. A few paces behind, a hooded youth, fingers and thumb in the shape of a gun, mimes the assassination of the leader of the opposition.The image dramatised the limits of Cameron’s plan to recast his party as agents of social reform. The new Tory leader had strayed from his natural habitat and met vigilante PR justice.Attachment to grammars testifies to the power of nostalgia over evidence Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 07:00:13 GMT)

We have been losing the war on drugs for four decades – end it now
As other nations have been rethinking their approach and admitting mistakes, British politicians have been too scared to embrace reformBy any standard, the global war on drugs has been an abject failure. Since the “war” was declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, we have spent over £1tn trying to eradicate drugs from our societies. Yet the criminal market continues to grow, driving unimaginable levels of profit for organised crime. We devote vast police, criminal justice and military resources to the problem, including the incarceration of people on a historically unprecedented scale.In many parts of the world, drug violence has become endemic. As Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, visits the UK, we should remember the estimated 100,000 people killed in Mexico alone since 2006. Yet tragically, the sum total of enforcement efforts against drug supply over the past 40 years has been zero. Efforts at reducing demand have been similarly fruitless. Here in the UK, a third of adults have taken illegal drugs and the gangs are doing a roaring trade. The problem simply isn’t going away.Portugal's reforms have allowed resources to be redirected towards the treatment system Continue reading...
(Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:00:09 GMT)

As we boldly go jetpacking to work, we'll pine for relics of old times. Like keyrings
Wallets and awful driver’s licence photos may become museum pieces, replaced by sci-fi technology, but we will end up missing reminders of our messy old livesThe most fanciful prediction of sci-fi lovers finally came true this week. A jetpack designer is preparing to float his invention on the Australian stock market. Star Trek is now. Beam us Aussies up, Scotty. Days later, a multinational home furniture chain known for its no fuss Scandi design that comes with a side of meatballs (if never all the right parts), announced it was creating furniture that will charge all our umbilical devices, like smartphones and computers. No more messy cables and lost chargers and calls to hotels asking if the cleaner found our plug in the vacated room. All you’ll need to do is pop your phone down on the tabletop and, presto, job done. How very futuristic. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 02:28:16 GMT)

Nigel Farage and Tony Blair in C4 race and diversity documentary
Equality campaigner Trevor Phillips explores ‘unease’ over race, religion and culture issues, in Channel 4 programme featuring Ukip leader and former PMThe human rights campaigner Trevor Phillips is to explore the issue of racial equality in a Channel 4 documentary featuring Ukip’s leader, Nigel Farage, and the former prime minister Tony Blair.The 75-minute programme, Things We Won’t Say About Race (That Are True), looks at why Britain appears uneasy about discussing issues of race and diversity and whether “hostility to immigrants and ethnic groups has increased” because of that. The programme is due to air this month. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:20 GMT)

Scottish councils pile up record debt
Labour attacks Scottish government for forcing authorities to borrow to offset cuts to funding from HolyroodScotland’s local councils have amassed a record amount of debt of nearly £15bn after borrowing billions of pounds to help survive heavy budget cuts from the Scottish government.The Guardian has established that Scottish councils owe more than twice as much per head than English and Welsh local authorities, equal to debts of £6,166 per household, compared with £3,100 per home in England and £2,825 per household in Wales. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:19 GMT)

Just one 'disastrous accident' could set drone industry back, warn Lords
Drones have huge potential for growth and could create 150,000 jobs in the EU by 2050 – but there are serious concerns about safetyThe drone industry could create 150,000 jobs across the European Union by 2050, but it would take “just one disastrous accident” to destroy public confidence and set the sector back, a group of peers has warned.A report from the Lords EU select committee has concluded that there is huge potential for growth in the sector, but that this potential can only be realised if the safety of drone operations is demonstrated to the public. Related: Battle of the drones: the little guys taking on the tech giants Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:24 GMT)

SFO launches investigation into Bank of England liquidity auctions
It is unclear whether the Bank’s employees are suspected of involvement in any attempt to rig the auctions, used as emergency lending during the credit crisisThe Bank of England is facing an unprecedented criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over emergency lending measures it took at the height of the credit crisis to inject cash into financial markets.In late 2007 and early 2008, as the authorities struggled to prevent financial markets from freezing up, banks were invited to bid to borrow funds from the Bank of England, in exchange for collateral, in a series of so-called “auctions”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 23:45:04 GMT)

Help-to-buy scheme needs replacement before it ends, warn mortgage lenders
Failure to replace mortgage guarantee scheme, which is due to end in 2016, would hit first-time buyers and competition in housing market, says IMLAFailure to replace the help-to-buy mortgage guarantee scheme when it comes to an end next year will choke off competition and push the first-time buyer market back into decline, lenders have warned.The scheme, which offers banks and building societies a government guarantee on mortgages of up to 95% loan to value (LTV) on existing properties, was launched in late 2013 as part of a series of measures to kickstart the housing market. But it is scheduled to end in 2016. Related: Housing experts: Tory plans neglect those who need affordable homes Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:20 GMT)

Plumbers and heating engineers 'should sound alarm on freezing homes'
‘Hidden army’ of non-health workers, including meter installers, could cut winter deaths toll by alerting authorities to dangerously cold homes, say NHS guidelinesPlumbers, heating engineers and meter installers should alert the authorities when they visit a “dangerously cold home” in order to help reduce the toll of winter deaths, new NHS guidelines say. On average there are about 24,000 more deaths in the UK between December and March compared with the rest of the year. These are attributed mainly to heart disease and respiratory disease. For each death there are approximately eight extra non-fatal hospital admissions. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:19 GMT)

School admissions changes 'unlikely to help pupils from deprived backgrounds'
Research and Information on State Education says regulation alone will not ensure that schools have a diverse intakeTinkering with school admissions rules in England is unlikely to encourage pupils from deprived backgrounds to gain places at the best performing state schools, according to a new review of evidence.The report by the Research and Information on State Education (Rise), published on Thursday, concludes that regulation alone will not ensure that schools have a diverse intake, because of economic inequalities but also because social groups show a desire to stick together. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:19 GMT)

UK aid watchdog slams DfID over naive security and justice initiatives
Icai takes DfID to task on operations in Libya, Sudan and Nigeria and says it needs to be far more rigorous and realisticBritain’s efforts to promote security and justice in developing countries are being stymied by overambitious targets, a lack of focus and a “naive” tendency to repeat unsuccessful initiatives, the UK’s aid watchdog has warned.In its latest report, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Icai) acknowledges that the government’s commitment to spending a third of UK aid in fragile states inevitably means the Department for International Development (DfID) is working in increasingly difficult circumstances. Related: Aid billions yet to make a difference in fragile states, UK watchdog says Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:01:20 GMT)

Psychedelic drugs like LSD could be used to treat depression, study suggests
Researchers warn that patients are missing out on potential benefits due to prohibitive regulations on research into recreational drugsPsychedelic drugs could prove to be highly effective treatments for depression and alcoholism, according to a study which has obtained the first brain scans of people under the influence of LSD.Early results from the trial, involving 20 people, are said to be “very promising” and add to existing evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking. Continue reading...
(Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:52:07 GMT)

Former legal director of Trinity Mirror to quit as chair of Ipso funding body
Paul Vickers says he had always planned to stand down as RFC chair rather than stand for re-election at the AGM in MayPaul Vickers, the former legal director of Trinity Mirror, is to quit as chair of the funding body behind the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) in order to avoid criticism of his role at the Daily Mirror publisher potentially damaging the fledgling press regulator.His decision to stand down two months ahead of possible re-election in May comes a day after the high court in London heard allegations of phone hacking “on an industrial scale” at Trinity Mirror’s three national titles and serious criticism of his role by campaigning group Hacked Off. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:50:30 GMT)

Hillsborough police 'decided to blame drunken, ticketless Liverpool fans'
South Yorkshire force briefed officers two days after the Sheffield football stadium FA Cup disaster that led to 96 deaths, says then-inspector Clive DavisSouth Yorkshire police held a briefing for CID officers two days after the Hillsborough disaster at which a senior officer told them the force was going to blame “drunken, ticketless Liverpool fans”, the new inquests into the 96 deaths has heard.Clive Davis, an inspector for South Yorkshire police at the time of the disaster, later a superintendent, told the court in Warrington that he was in the briefing, given by chief superintendent Terry Wain, on Monday 17 April 1989. Continue reading...
(Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:54:17 GMT)

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