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Angela Merkel forces David Cameron to retreat from EU migrant cap
Prime minister disappoints Eurosceptics by softening message on immigration after German intervention David Cameron has stepped back from a radical plan to cap directly the number of EU migrants entering Britain after an intervention from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who warned him she would not tolerate such an incursion into the principle of the free movement of workers. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 20:11:57 GMT)

Dozens killed in series of bombs at Nigeria mosque
Bombs explode as Friday prayers begin at Grand Mosque where emir has spoken out against Boko HaramThere were scenes of chaos in the centre of northern Nigeria’s main city, Kano, on Friday after three bombs exploded and armed gunmen rampaged through the central mosque.The attack, which bore the hallmarks of Islamists Boko Haram, left dozens of worshippers dead and 126 injured, rescue officials told AFP. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 20:24:00 GMT)

Black Friday fever: police deal with desperate shoppers
Some bargain hunts turn into trolley warfare, with police accusing Tesco executives of inadequate planningBlack Friday shopping fever has engulfed the UK, with fights breaking out between bargain-hunting shoppers, stores forced to close, and retailers’ websites crashing as shoppers scrambled to grab discounted goods.Police were called to at least 16 Tesco stores around the country after staff were overwhelmed by 500-strong crowds battling over discounted TVs, kitchen goods and clothing. The scenes led one senior police officer to call on shoppers to ask themselves: “What on Earth was I doing?” Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:22:13 GMT)

Russian warships pass through Channel
Conflicting reports about whether squadron was holding drills in strait of Dover or just waiting out a stormA squadron of Russian warships has passed through the Channel.State-owned Russian news agency Ria Novosti said crews on the vessels from the Russian navy’s northern fleet were “holding drills” in the strait of Dover on Friday, citing the fleet’s press service. But the Russian defence ministry was quoted by other Russian media as saying its ships entered the Channel to wait out a storm after a week of manoeuvres in the North Sea. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:20:00 GMT)

Soldier jailed for making nailbomb avoids terror charge
Ryan McGee told police he made the bomb when he was bored and because he did not like mass immigrationA soldier who wrote of murdering immigrants and who praised Adolf Hitler has been jailed for two years after building a viable nailbomb packed with 181 pieces of shrapnel to maximise the carnage it would cause.Ryan McGee, 20, described by his defence team as “a bit of a loner”, wrote in a journal: “I vow to drag every last immigrant into the fires of hell with me.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:48:17 GMT)

US launches 15 air strikes as Syria minister says Isis campaign will not work
Series of US military air strikes hit Isis in Iraq and SyriaSyrian minister says Turkey must tighten border controlsUS-led forces conduct 23 air strikes against Isis positions in Syria and IraqThe US military and its allies hit Islamic State (Isis) forces with 15 air strikes in Iraq and Syria during a three-day period, US Central Command said on Friday. Thirteen attacks have been carried out in Iraq since Wednesday, while two more targeted Isis fighters in Syria. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:39:33 GMT)

Emily Thornberry a snob? Don’t be daft, says van driver brother
Rightwing press accused of gunning for Labour MP by brother who drives a red van for a livingWhen Emily Thornberry posted that picture on Twitter of the house in the Rochester and Strood constituency with the England flags and white van, it was assumed that the Islington barrister was sneering.But one van-driving builder claims to know for certain that she wasn’t. And how can be be sure? Because he is her brother. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:00:51 GMT)

Man charged with murder of couple in their Surrey home
Builder Viktoras Bruzas accused of ‘violent and sustained’ attack on Patrick and Gillian Kettyle in village of FetchamA man has been charged with murder after a married couple were subjected to a “violent and sustained” attack in their home. Viktoras Bruzas, 38, from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, is due to appear at South East Surrey magistrates court in Redhill on Saturday on two counts of murder. Continue reading...
(Sat, 29 Nov 2014 00:57:02 GMT)

Shia LaBeouf: I was raped during performance art project
In an interview with Dazed, the actor says that a woman ‘whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me’ during his silent performance art work #IAMSORRYNews: Shia LaBeouf receiving treatment as part of plea dealThe actor Shia LaBeouf has claimed a woman raped him during the performance of his one-man art piece #IAMSORRY earlier this year.Speaking to Dazed magazine in an email interview, he wrote: “One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for 10 minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:03:13 GMT)

13 men jailed over Bristol sex-abuse ring
Story of victims – some in care – can be told after final group of seven men is convicted of systematic abuse of teenagersThirteen men, all of Somali origin, have been jailed after being convicted of the systematic sexual abuse of vulnerable girls in Bristol.The victims, some of whom were in local authority care, were groomed and passed around by their abusers – often for money – and assaulted in homes, parks and a hotel. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:25:54 GMT)

Oil countries wasted chance to build strong economies, expert says
Analyst warns nations including Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Kuwait have no other industries to rely on as oil bubble burstsMany of the large oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Venezuela have squandered their chance to build strong and sustainable economies on the proceeds of high oil prices, a leading energy analyst has warned.Fadel Gheit, an oil expert at the Oppenheimer & Co brokerage in New York, said prices at $90 a barrel had allowed nations to temporarily prosper without regard to the cyclical nature of commodity prices. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 20:07:53 GMT)

Chespirito, the Mexican comedian who inspired Simpsons character, dies at 85
Roberto Gómez Bolaños became a legend for his superhero the Crimson Grasshopper, basis for the Bumblebee ManWith his tight red body suit and bouncing antennae sticking out of his head, the Mexican comedian Chespirito became a legend in his home country - and also inspired one of the Simpson’s most bizarre characters.While most people outside Latin America may not have heard of Roberto Gómez Bolaños, who has died aged 85, they will be familiar with the Bumblebee Man – the brightly coloured comic in the enduring US cartoon series who stars in a Spanish-language sitcom. Continue reading...
(Sat, 29 Nov 2014 00:18:23 GMT)

Clubbers warned of overdose risk from super-strength ecstasy
Tests show average pill now has 100mg of active ingredient MDMA, compared with 20-30mg seen a few years agoClubbers are being warned about a heightened risk of overdosing on ecstasy, amid evidence that the purity of the drug has increased to potentially dangerous levels.Deaths caused by ecstasy in England and Wales have increased steadily in recent years, from eight in 2010 to 43 in 2013, figures from the Office for National Statistics show. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:28:07 GMT)

NHS can save billions with small rise in spending on GPs, say researchers
Extra £72m a year could cut A&E visits, hospital stays and ambulance callouts, and allow doctors to focus on patient careThe NHS could reduce A&E visits, ambulance callouts and patients’ time in hospital by modestly increasing its spending on GP services, according to new research.Putting an extra £72m a year into family doctors and practice nurses could save the NHS up to £1.9bn by 2020 by reducing pressure on overstretched services, the report says. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:00:09 GMT)

Japan to investigate e-cigarette safety after formaldehyde findings
Safety debate re-ignited after one brand was found to contain up to 10 times more formaldehyde than conventional cigarettesJapanese officials will evaluate the possible impact on health of smoking e-cigarettes after researchers found that devices bought in Japan contain up to 10 times more formaldehyde - a cancer-causing substance - than conventional cigarettes.The findings, announced this week, have re-ignited the debate over whether e-cigarettes are a risk-free alternative to tobacco smoking, as more young people take up the vaping habit. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:57:33 GMT)

Fight fundamentalism by tackling poverty, urges Pope Francis
Pontiff calls for greater tolerance on visit to Turkey’s President Erdoğan, who has been criticised for authoritarian policiesPope Francis has called for more religious tolerance and for fundamentalism to be tackled by relieving hunger, poverty and marginalisation, rather than by military interventions alone.Speaking in the vast auditorium of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s palace in Ankara, he lauded Turkey for hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees, and reminded the international community of their “moral obligation” to help care for the almost 2 million Syrians currently living within Turkish borders. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:40:59 GMT)

Children’s doctor faces prison for sexual abuse of boys he was treating
Court hears Cambridge paedophile Myles Bradbury escaped detection for four years because parents trusted himA children’s doctor who admitted abusing boys in his care escaped detection for more than four years because parents trusted and respected him, a court has heard.Dr Myles Bradbury was remanded in custody on Friday after being warned by Judge Gareth Hawkesworth that he faces a substantial prison sentence on Monday. He admitted carrying out examinations on children “purely for his own sexual gratification” and with no medical justification. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:44:50 GMT)

Next recruits Polish workers after ‘failing to hire enough British people’
Retailer starts recruitment drive in Poland before UK, for minimum-wage Yorkshire warehouse jobsNext, the high street retailer run by multimillionaire Tory donor Lord Wolfson, is bussing in hundreds of Polish people to work in its Yorkshire warehouse after claiming to have failed to hire enough British people.The company, which made profits of £695m last year, admitted that it began recruiting Poles for minimum-wage seasonal warehouse jobs 5-10 days before advertising the roles in the UK. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 20:41:00 GMT)

Iain Duncan Smith vetoed greater Scottish powers over universal credit
Holyrood allowed to vary key parts of housing elements of universal credit but not other elements after DWP interventionProposals for Scotland to have greater independence over billions of pounds worth of benefits were personally vetoed by Iain Duncan Smith in the final stages of cross-party talks.The work and pensions secretary made a last-minute intervention during the Smith commission talks in Edinburgh, ordering Tory negotiators to block moves to allow Holyrood to change significant elements of his new universal credit benefits system. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:54:41 GMT)

UK mother who left children to see man in Australia gets suspended sentence
Children of Birmingham woman, who said she was off to Asda and put 14-year-old son in charge, are living with grandparentsA mother of six who flew to Australia to see a man she met online, after telling her children she was going to Asda, has been given a suspended jail sentence.The Birmingham woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, left her 14-year-old son in charge for the six weeks. He told his grandparents hours after she left and they alerted authorities. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:46:51 GMT)

Fracking risk compared to thalidomide and asbestos in Walport report
Historic innovations that have been adopted too hastily with grave unforeseen impacts provide cautionary examples for potential side effects of fracking, says report by government’s chief scientist Mark WalportFracking carries potential risks on a par with those from thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos, warns a report produced by the government’s chief scientific adviser.The flagship annual report by the UK’s chief scientist, Mark Walport, argues that history holds many examples of innovations that were adopted hastily and later had serious negative environmental and health impacts. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:21:48 GMT)

Mass animal sacrifice at Nepal festival goes ahead despite protests
Thousands of buffaloes, goats and birds killed at Gadhimai festival, Bariyarpur, as act of gratitude to Hindu goddessMillions of devotees attended a mass animal sacrifice in Nepal on Friday, despite efforts by animal rights activists to end the practice.The organisers of the Gadhimai festival, which is held in Bariyarpur, near the border with India, claimed about five million worshippers came to sacrifice tens of thousands of animals, including buffaloes, goats and birds, as an act of gratitude to the Hindu goddess. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:23:57 GMT)

15-minute Ebola test trialled in Guinea
Device can diagnose infection six times faster than methods currently used in west AfricaTrials of a device that can diagnose an Ebola infection within 15 minutes are about to start in Guinea. The test, which can analyse blood or saliva, is six times faster than those currently used in west Africa.Faster results mean people who are infected can be moved into isolation more quickly and receive treatment earlier, which may improve their survival chances. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:32:00 GMT)

Time to move on from Plebgate, says David Cameron
PM comments on court case as Downing Street officer says Andrew Mitchell should not have lost job for ‘nonsense incident’David Cameron has said Andrew Mitchell and the other parties in the Plebgate saga should accept the ruling of the high court this week and finally bring the two-year episode to an end.The prime minister’s comments – which further reiterate that Mitchell’s top-level political career is over – came as one of the four policemen on duty at the scene of the incident in September 2012 expressed sympathy for the former chief whip. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:38:00 GMT)

Time is running out for campaign to buy William Blake’s home
The Blake Society is £400,000 short of the amount needed to turn the Sussex cottage in which the poet penned Jerusalem into an artists’ space, visitors’ centre and memorialTime is running out to save the Sussex cottage where William Blake wrote of the dark satanic mills and green and pleasant land of England in his most famous poem Jerusalem, with the Blake Society still more than £400,000 short of the total required to buy the house for public use.The society has been trying since September to raise the £520,000 needed to allow the cottage where Blake lived between 1800 and 1803 to be turned into a “home for artists, authors [and] thinkers”. But as the deadline of 28 November approaches, the society has raised just £93,000. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:27:14 GMT)

British tourists who died ‘after snorting white heroin’ named
Shaun Brotherston and Bradley Price, who were found dead in a hotel on Tuesday, believed to have thought powder was cocaineTwo British men who died after apparently taking drugs in Amsterdam have been named as 20-year-old Shaun Brotherston and Bradley Price, 21. They were found dead in a hotel room on Tuesday next to a white powder that is thought to have been white heroin, although it is believed the pair thought that it was cocaine. The bodies were found less than a month after another British tourist died in similar circumstances, said police spokesman Rob van der Veen.“The men apparently died after sniffing white heroin which they may have thought to be cocaine,” Van der Veen told Agence France-Presse. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:03:58 GMT)

UN torture report condemns sleep deprivation among US detainees
Despite advances in human rights under Obama, detainees still subject to ‘ill-treatment’, report saysThe US military has retained the power to inflict prolonged sleep deprivation on detainees, despite moves by the Obama administration to eliminate interrogation techniques that amount to torture and ill-treatment, the United Nations warned on Friday.In a review of the human rights record of the US, the first of its kind since 2006, the world body’s committee against torture has slammed the country for its ongoing violations of international treaties. The review’s many complaints address indefinite detention without trial; force-feeding of Guantanamo prisoners; the holding of asylum seekers in prison-like facilities; widespread use of solitary confinement; excessive use of force and brutality by police; shootings of unarmed black individuals; and cruel and inhumane executions. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:59:05 GMT)

Thailand’s parliament approves bill banning commercial surrogacy
Decision follows several surrogacy scandals this year including Australian couple who left behind baby with Down’s syndromeThailand’s interim parliament has given initial approval to a bill banning commercial surrogacy, the practice of hiring a woman to carry a fetus to term.Thailand was rocked by several surrogacy scandals earlier this year. One involved an Australian couple who took home a healthy baby girl born from a Thai surrogate mother but left behind her twin brother who had Down’s syndrome. The other case involved a Japanese man who fathered at least 16 babies via Thai surrogates. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:53:54 GMT)

Nicolas Sarkozy tipped to win party’s leadership vote again a decade on
Impulsive as ever, former president is eyeing big chair of UMP after campaign that has lurched into Marine Le Pen’s territoryOn the front pages in newspaper kiosks near the opposition UMP party headquarters in Paris, there is a strange sense of deja vu. Ten years ago – on 28 November 2004 – a desperately ambitious politician by the name of Nicolas Sarkozy sat in a fine leather chair behind a big desk and took control of the then ruling centre-right party.Nobody believed the permanently agitated “Super Sarko”, who dreamed constantly of being president – and not, as he famously claimed, “only when I’m shaving each morning” – would sit still for long. They were right. Within three years he was in the Elysée Palace. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:56:01 GMT)

Sun paid £100,000 for pictures of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini car crash, court hears
John Edwards, the newspaper’s picture editor, tells corruption trial he has never heard of two people with whom he is accused of conspiringThe Sun’s picture editor has told a jury that the paper paid more than £100,000 for pictures of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in a car crash.John Edwards, who has worked at the tabloid for 22 years, said the most the tabloid had ever previously paid for a set of pictures was between £75,000 and £80,000. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:01:32 GMT)

Japanese newspaper retracts term ‘sex slaves’ from wartime coverage
Attempts to portray women who were forced to work in brothels as willing prostitutes at odds with mainstream historical opinionJapan’s biggest-selling newspaper has apologised for its past use of the term “sex slaves” to describe tens of thousands of women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during the second world war.The move by the Yomiuri Shimbun, a conservative broadsheet with a daily circulation of more than 10 million, has fuelled concern that sections of the country’s media have signed up to a government-led campaign to rewrite Japan’s wartime history and portray its actions on the Asian mainland in a more favourable light. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:44:00 GMT)

Support for Isis stronger in Arabic social media in Europe than in Syria
Analysis of 2m online posts found those originating in Europe were more favourable to Isis than those from frontline of conflictViews of Isis in Arabic language social media and news articles Support for Islamic State (Isis) among Arabic-speaking social media users in Belgium, Britain, France and the US is greater than in the militant group’s heartlands of Syria and Iraq, a global analysis of over 2m Arabic-language online posts has found.In what is understood to be the first rigorous mass analysis of those for and against the world’s largest jihadist organisation, Italian academics found that in a three-and-a-half month period starting in July, content posted by Arabic-speaking Europeans on Twitter and Facebook was more favourable to Isis than content posted in those countries on the frontline of the conflict. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:00:04 GMT)

Tanzanian PM under pressure to resign over alleged fraudulent payments
Mizengo Pinda accused of authorising unlawful offshore payments under guise of energy contracts a month after donors withhold funding amid corruption fearsTanzanian politicians are calling for the resignation of the prime minister, Mizengo Pinda, after a government report implicated him in an energy scandal that resulted in the plunder of more than $120m (£76.5m) from the country’s central bank.In a dramatic parliamentary session on Wednesday that was disrupted by power outages, Tanzania’s public accounts committee (PAC) revealed that senior officials authorised fraudulent payments to offshore bank accounts under the guise of energy contracts. The state-owned energy provider Tanesco, along with five senior politicians – including the minister for energy and the attorney general – are implicated in the scandal, the PAC said. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:27:21 GMT)

Vladimir Putin wants Russia to have full access to Hollywood movies
‘There is a lot we can learn from the Americans,’ says the president, as he quashes plans to limit US blockbusters at the Russian box officeVladimir Putin has torpedoed proposals to introduce a quota system limiting the number of Hollywood films which can be shown in Russian cinemas. Representatives cancelled a parliamentary debate on a bill to introduce quotas on Thursday, after the Russian president spoke out against the idea last week. “It would be wrong to deny our consumers those goods they would like to have,” Putin told a forum of the All-Russia People’s Front last week, according to the Tass news agency. “It is applicable to the motion picture industry too. It would be unwise to turn down what is profitable.” He added: “The Americans are talented and successful people and there is a lot we can learn from them.”The move was welcomed by the Motion Picture Association of America, the US body which represents studios and gives movies their ratings. Chris Marcich, the association’s president and managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told Variety: “We welcome the remarks by President Putin. We have long enjoyed close relations with Russian film-makers and have a shared interest in a healthy local market.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:52:12 GMT)

Class war by distant proxy: the Andrew Mitchell trial from inside court 13
How can the law get to the bottom of something like Plebgate? As former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell and PC Toby Rowland faced each other in court, the whole thing started to seem less about establishing facts than choosing sidesWhen one man is said to have called another a “pleb”, but no incontrovertible evidence exists that he has done so, how do you get to the truth? At the Royal Courts of Justice for most of the last fortnight, politicians, police officers, lawyers and journalists have assembled in court 13 and attempted to provide an answer, starting from the surreal proposition, unique to the law, that there has to be one. Given that cast of characters and the absurdity of the question, one suspects that the general public would have hit on a pretty simple solution: toss in a couple of highly poisonous snakes and lock all the doors.For whatever reason, this didn’t seem to occur to Mr Justice Mitting, whose courtroom it was. Instead, we had 26 witnesses, astonishing piles of documents and three legal teams. That was the sledgehammer. The nut was a short conversation that took place on 19 September 2012 between the government chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, and PC Toby Rowland, a police officer who was on duty at the gate to Downing Street that night. CCTV footage suggested it began at 19:36:45, and lasted no more than 11 seconds. Mr Mitchell is accused of uttering three “toxic phrases”, a total of 20 career- and life-defining syllables, one of which counted above all the rest. He sued the Sun, which published the claim. PC Rowland, with the financial backing of the Police Federation, sued him. The establishment of the legally accepted facts that would resolve these parallel cases, and with them bring some sort of closure to a dreadful parable of class and entitlement that has haunted the country for more than two years, has run up a total legal bill of about £3m. Whatever else, the snakes would have been cheaper. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:37:58 GMT)

The Buddy effect: improving mental health treatment, one pet at a time
Visits by an adorable dog are just one of a myriad of practical, low-cost changes that Marion Janner and her Star Wards charity are bringing to mental health facilities across the UKClick here to donate to the Guardian and Observer Christmas charity appeal 2014Everyone should have a Buddy. When Buddy enters a room, everything automatically lights up. Buddy exudes charisma. Buddy is the life and soul. Buddy makes everything better. No matter the situation, nothing fazes Buddy. I wish I was more like her.Buddy is a Tibetan terrier, and one so unstoppably adorable that I genuinely don’t know how anyone manages to meet her without abducting her. And I’m not even her biggest fan. I’d probably struggle to crack her top 100. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:03:38 GMT)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer review: a first look at 88 glorious seconds
The first look at JJ Abrams’s instalment in the Star Wars franchise was released online and in select US cinemas today. Jordan Hoffman was among the crowd at the Regal in New York eager to experience it on the big screen• Star Wars trailer: your verdictMarc Rusciano, a 39-year-old New Yorker, bought a ticket for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 this morning, but had no intention of watching the film. “iTunes my ass!” he said, shivering in the cold outside of Regal Cinemas’ Union Square Stadium the morning after Thanksgiving with the sole purpose of seeing an 88-second teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The film is out in 13 months, and the trailer released simultaneously online. But he had still scheduled his morning against the multiplex’s, planning to watch it multiple times on a big screen, though was cagey about how many times he’d pay. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:40:47 GMT)

Lars von Trier: I was addicted to drugs and alcohol
Danish director said he is now sober and receiving treatment for dependency, but expresses concern over whether he will be able to make films in the future Lars von Trier has revealed that he is undergoing treatment for drugs and alcohol addiction. Speaking to the newspaper Politiken, the Danish film director reported that he is now clean and attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. In his first major interview since a self-imposed vow of silence following his controversial comments expressing empathy for Adolf Hitler in 2011, the director, 58, said almost all his films had been written under the influence. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 23:35:33 GMT)

Tom Watson interview: ‘There is no doubt in my mind that at least one politician abused kids’
The scourge of the phone hacker now has a new crusade: to get to the bottom of the claims of a Westminster paedophile ring. So what turned him into a private investigator? And why can’t he back Ed Miliband with the same enthusiasm?Had Tom Watson been told 10 years ago that senior members of the establishment used to systematically abuse young boys in the 1980s, and that a powerful elite covered up their crimes, he wouldn’t have believed it for a minute. “Oh no, I would have dismissed it. I was a very believing, small-‘c’ conservative individual who had trust in a lot of public institutions, and believed everything I was told by politicians.” Then came the phone-hacking scandal, however, in which Watson played a chief investigative role. “I lost faith in a lot of individuals, having come through that, and I’m a much more sceptical person at the end of it.” But even the bleakest cynic would have been staggered by the latest allegations to emerge last week about sex abuse in Westminster. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:30:08 GMT)

On Europe, David Cameron is trying to feed a beast that cannot be satisfied
The prime minister stepped back from the brink of a British exit from the EU, but his attempt to assuage fury over immigration is doomedIt was a speech about Europe that was by turns philosophical and hard-headed, reaching back to the founding ideals of the European project while confronting the current troubles that besiege it. He spoke of peace and war, of the challenge of climate change and an ageing population, of the threat to democracy from the “unseen empires” of corporate might, and the persistent menace of both poverty and rampant consumerism. This was a speech that gazed at Europe with the widest possible lens, determined to see the big picture.Unfortunately it was not delivered by David Cameron. Instead it was the pope who gave the week’s truly ambitious address on the theme of Europe, when he spoke to the European parliament on Tuesday, asking if the continent were now an “elderly and haggard” grandmother, one whose best days were behind it. Britain’s prime minister, by contrast, evoked no such memorable image today. Even though his speech had had far more build-up than that of Francis, trailed as a game-changing event for several months, it turned out to be a far narrower, more parochial affair. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 20:12:40 GMT)

My dad has chronic depression and has begun to hoard junk
I’m worried about his mental health – he has been through bereavement, divorce and redundancy recentlyMy dad will be 54 in February and he has recently seen a drastic decline in his depression. He was first diagnosed and treated for depression when he was made redundant 11 years ago, and he stayed at home to look after me and my two sisters while my mother went to work. My parents split up not long after, when I was 14 and my youngest sister was 11. It wasn’t an easy split but there are no lingering feelings of regret between my mom and dad now (although he won’t ever be in the same room as her). He has been working voluntary roles and training to be a counsellor in the past few years but lost another job about 10 months ago. He has seasonal affective disorder (SAD) quite severely so his mental state always deteriorates at this time of year but it is now worse than ever.On top of it all, he has a worrying need to hoard everything. His house is full of junk. His youngest brother died about eight years ago and the event was quite tragic, he then lost his mother and his older brother, to whom he was quite close, died a few months ago. Some of the stuff is from his brothers’ houses so must have some kind of sentimental value, although it is mostly useless bits and pieces. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:00:10 GMT)

The gaming journalist who tells on her internet trolls – to their mothers
When Alanah Pearce discovered her online abusers weren’t middle-aged men but young boys, she went straight to the source to tackle the issueZoe Quinn on Gamergate: ‘we need a proper discussion about hate mobs’Charlie Brooker: the internet is the toughest game in town if you’re a womanThose who wonder if women gaming journalists are still subject to sexist name-calling and threats of physical and sexual violence need only talk to 21-year old media and communications student Alanah Pearce.When she’s not studying, Pearce is a video games journalist, reviewing for Australian radio stations (4ZZZ, Triple J) and television. She also has her own YouTube channel, which she believes may have been the prompt for a recent flurry of online abuse. Sometimes young boys on Facebook send me rape threats, so I've started telling their mothers. pic.twitter.com/0Cbs81eXiE Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:15:47 GMT)

Christmas gift guide 2014
Browse our interactive gift guide, packed with hundreds of the best Christmas presents from independent designers, brands and boutiques, all available to buy online. From babies to grandparents, stocking fillers to grand gestures, we’ve got your Christmas shopping wrapped up. Click on the images to find out more, save to your own gift list, and share with friends and family Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:00:41 GMT)


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(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:06:44 GMT)

Lobster wars: discount stores slug it out on the UK high street with £5 shellfish
Bumper catches in Canada, helped by warming seas, have put lobsters on the frontline of competition between supermarketsLobster, once associated with only the swankiest restaurants, is now on the frontline of the supermarket price war.Discount stores fighting to lure Christmas shoppers are importing hundreds of thousands of £5 crustaceans from Canada. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:28:56 GMT)

Experience: I was lost at sea for 14 hours
‘Having my legs in the water but not being able to see was horrendous. I constantly thought about getting bitten by sharks’I am a diving instructor with at least 200 dives under my belt. Ten years ago, I was on a tricky week-long expedition in the Red Sea. On day four, hoping to spot silky sharks, 12 of us were taken out at 7am, first on a ship and then on two inflatable boats. The plan was to dive for about an hour near the tiny Brothers Islands, 70 miles off Hurghada, Egypt.The sea was unbelievably rough, the wildest ocean I’d ever been out in; it was so bad, you could see over the top of the massive swell only every couple of minutes. But we trusted our hosts. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:00:09 GMT)

Slab happy: Yotam Ottolenghi’s meatloaf recipes
Meatloaf is a dish that ticks just about all the boxesWith the festive season soon upon us, tables will be starting to fill up with family and friends in search of good cheer and food. And to provide the answer to that perennial culinary Christmas question, “What on Earth will we feed everyone?” a dish has got to tick a lot of boxes.For those who prefer to prepare things in advance, it has to be something that can be made well ahead of time; for those who are feeding the masses, it has to be a recipe that can easily be doubled or trebled without compromising the finished dish; and for those who don’t want to start a fresh shopping list for every meal over the busy next few weeks, it has to be a dish that features ingredients you have in the store cupboard – or, even better, leftovers that need using up. Any recipe that makes use of that half a green pepper and two sticks of celery in the salad drawer, and that day-old bread and those eggs you never got round to turning into an omelette, saves time on the shopping and space in the fridge. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:00:02 GMT)

Europe’s next privacy war is with websites silently tracking users
European data protection watchdogs publish guidance on web tracking using device fingerprinting that could result in more ‘I agree’ formsThe pan-European data regulator group Article 29 has issued new opinion on how websites and advertisers can track users and the permissions they require.The new opinion dictates that “device fingerprinting” – a process of silently collecting information about a user – requires the same level of consent as cookies that are used to track users across the internet. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:13:42 GMT)

A good meringue is hard to beat
Stiff peaks and a glossy sheen are the hallmark of a good meringue mix. Whether you like them chewy or crispy, do yourself a favour and use an electric whiskThere are, as we shall see, lots of dos and don’ts when it comes to making meringues. But the most important thing is this: don’t forget your electric whisk.My collaborator on this column, Jane Baxter, made that mistake some years ago, when she was hired to cater for the Rick Astley’s 30th birthday party. She was supposed to be cooking baked alaska for 70, but when she got to the venue and unpacked her kit bag, she realised with a sickening lurch that she had forgotten her electric whisk. She didn’t even have a manual whisk to hand. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:30:07 GMT)

Sony Smartwatch 3 review: great design, good screen and decent battery
The latest waterproof smartwatch from Sony runs Android Wear and lasts three days on a single chargeThe Smartwatch 3 is Sony’s third attempt at a smartwatch, an attempt which first started back in 2010 with the Liveview. That makes Sony a veteran of the smartwatch world and it shows in the design: with features this advanced, it won’t be overtaken by its rivals in a hurry.The Smartwatch 2 was released in 2013, a waterproof Android watch with support for more than just Sony’s smartphones. It was a decent attempt, but lacked polish.Pros: three-day battery life, transflective screen, auto brightness, comfortable, future-proofedCons: no heart-rate monitor, design is understated, proprietary strap Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:50:27 GMT)

What are the highest paid jobs of 2014?
The Office of National Statistics has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2014 – we take a look at the top 10 jobsEver wondered which are the best paid jobs in the UK and what it is like to have one of them? The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2014, so we have taken a look at what you need to land one of the top 10 jobs, and asked people who do them to tell us about the best and worst bits of their working lives.The survey shows the average (mean) salary of a sample of employed workers who carry out these occupations. The data is taken from their PAYE record – it includes bonuses, but the figures do not cover the self-employed or celebrities who don’t appear on company payrolls. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 07:00:00 GMT)

Robin van Persie may lose Manchester United place after dip in belief
• Striker touched the ball only 13 times during 2-1 win at Arsenal• Louis van Gaal: ‘It’s a question of confidence’• James Wilson may replace Van Persie though Falcao is fitRobin van Persie faces an anxious wait to discover if he has lost his Manchester United place after Louis van Gaal broke with his usual policy of not discussing the striker’s deterioration to accept his player was “very bad” in their last game and was suffering from his first sustained spell of damaged confidence since joining the club.Van Persie, the outstanding footballer in the Premier League two seasons ago, managed only 13 touches of the ball when United won 2-1 against his former club, Arsenal, last Saturday, leading to Van Gaal substituting him after 75 minutes. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:30:08 GMT)

Phillip Hughes death will not affect batting approach, says Alastair Cook
• England preparing to face Sri Lanka in ODI on Saturday• ‘We should carry on playing and show our respects,’ says Cook• England camp devastated by death of HughesWherever cricket is played on the globe there has been an outpouring of grief and sorrow at the death of Phillip Hughes over the last two days. And that most definitely includes Sri Lanka.On the eve of the second one-day international in Colombo, Alastair Cook spoke simply and powerfully about the traumatic last few days for cricket and cricketers. He insisted that in the long run the terrible accident in Sydney would not change how the game was played, while acknowledging that in the immediate aftermath of such a tragedy it may be difficult to summon up the usual intensity on the field. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:52:55 GMT)

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend
Sergio Agüero faces Southampton’s solid defence, Robin van Persie is under pressure and Sunderland’s strikers must step upScoring a hat-trick against Bayern Munich is all well and good, but how will Sergio Agüero fare upon being confronted by the tightest defence in the Premier League? Aston Villa found a way through on Monday night, so you’d fancy the Argentinian to emulate them in what promises to be an entertaining and revealing game. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 09:57:53 GMT)

Arsène Wenger says Arsenal will look to buy in January transfer window
• Manager says at least one player will come in• Arteta and Walcott out of trip to West Brom• Özil a suprise inclusion on Fifa world XI list• Former stalwart Burton plots Arsenal’s downfallArsène Wenger will seek to make at least one new signing during the January transfer window but the Arsenal manager said the process would be far from straightforward, with all of the top clubs in the market for the same talent.“I would like to remind you that to buy football players is not to go into a supermarket and just say: ‘I want to buy a right-back or a centre-back,’” Wenger said. “It’s to find the right quality. If you go out tomorrow, you will see that everybody looks for the same positions everywhere. It’s not as simple as it looks. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:30:08 GMT)

Premier League clubs paid out over £115m in agents’ fees in past year
• Chelsea alone spend £16,771,328 on agents• Burnley pay out the least with £711,024Premier League clubs paid £115m to agents over a 12-month period that includes the two most recent transfer windows. The figure represents a leap from the £96m spent the previous year.Chelsea gave the most to agents (£16,771,328), followed by Liverpool (£14,308,444) and Manchester City (£12,811,946). Tottenham were the only other club to break the eight-figure barrier, paying out £10,983,011, while Arsenal’s figure was £4,293,407. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 21:00:52 GMT)

Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora ready for another explosive encounter
While Fury and Chisora have behaved themselves in the long leadup to their heavyweight rematch, neither walks on the side of the angels, each owning a hard-won reputation for indiscretion• Tyson Fury tapes mouth in protestThe potential for mayhem at the ExCeL Arena in London on Saturday night is considerable, which probably explains why it will be filled to capacity with 20,000 boxing fans looking for a little more entertainment than was on view in Liverpool last Saturday.While Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora have (more or less) behaved themselves in the long lead-up to their heavyweight rematch, neither walks on the side of the angels, each owning a hard-won reputation for indiscretion. And, although they should be given the benefit of the doubt until they actually let themselves down, this is a fight more likely to explode than drift to a gentlemanly finish and hugs at the end. Even if a disqualification would be no surprise, Chisora should be able to hold it together long enough to wear Fury down over the full distance. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:26:47 GMT)

Blast-off for Sam Burgess in Bath cruise over Harlequins
• Bath 25-6 Harlequins• Sam Burgess comes off the bench to make Bath debut• Bath confirm signing of Burgess from RabbitohsLess than 10 months from the World Cup and just 10 weeks before England kick off their Six Nations campaign in Cardiff, Sam Burgess got his first, brief taste of competitive rugby union on Friday night. Just two touches.The 25-year-old, destined it seems to play for England, although where and when are another matter, ran on to The Rec with 17 minutes to go and, after a short discussion possibly about where he should stand, made an immediate impact thudding through a couple of tired tackles. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 21:57:21 GMT)

Brendan Rodgers confident Liverpool can make Champions League spot
• Anfield side five points off fourth before Stoke City visit• Rodgers will ‘fight for his life’ to remain Liverpool manager• Champions League report: Ludogorets 2-2 LiverpoolBrendan Rodgers has said he will “fight for his life” to remain Liverpool manager and insisted his team can overcome their wretched form to finish in the top four.Liverpool stand 12th in the Premier League having lost as many games in the opening 12 fixtures – six – as they did throughout last season’s title challenge, and have not won a league game since beating Queens Park Rangers 3-2 at Loftus Road on 19 October. Yet, despite a subsequent run that has placed Rodgers’ job prospects under scrutiny, Liverpool are only five points behind fourth-placed Manchester United. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:30:08 GMT)

Chelsea’s José Mourinho gives an early Christmas present by allowing party
• Coach called off last year’s celebrations after Sunderland loss• Portuguese promises festive family affair for league leaders • December 2013: Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea, Capital One CupJosé Mourinho is to grant his Chelsea squad a Christmas party as a reward for their irrepressible form so far this season, having cancelled the event last year in the wake of a League Cup loss at Sunderland.The leaders return to Wearside on Saturday hoping to extend their advantage at the top to nine points as the two teams directly below them, Southampton and Manchester City, meet on Sunday. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:30:08 GMT)

Roy Keane’s sudden Aston Villa exit leaves Paul Lambert in the lurch
• Irishman walks out barely 24 hours before Burnley match• Lambert denies Keane was involved in bust-up with a player• Aston Villa’s striker Darren Bent joins Brighton on loanAston Villa’s turbulent season took another turn for the worse with Roy Keane delivering a bolt from the blue by announcing that he would be leaving his role as assistant manager with immediate effect. Keane informed Paul Lambert of his decision barely 24 hours before Saturday’s crucial fixture at Burnley. With another critical game on Tuesday, at Crystal Palace, followed by Leicester City’s visit on Sunday week, the timing could hardly be worse for Lambert.Keane said that he made the decision because he was finding it impossible to combine his role as No2 at Villa with his position as the Republic of Ireland assistant manager. Ireland, however, do not play until March and it seems odd that Keane should choose such a hectic period, at a time when Villa are struggling and Lambert is coming under growing pressure, to walk away from the position he accepted in July, when he replaced Ian Culverhouse. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 23:00:08 GMT)

The most high-profile No2 since Lulu the elephant’s appearance on Blue Peter
Click here to have the Fiver sent to your inbox every weekday at 5pm, or if your usual copy has stopped arrivingToday’s Fiver is brought to you in loose association with Roy Keane, who has agreed, in a manner of speaking, to be part of it. But since we’re already 28 words in, we’d best get to the point pronto before he changes his mind. Actually, that kind of is the point. Grand so. See ya! Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:44:06 GMT)

The sports quiz of the week: Lionel Messi, Lewis Hamilton and Liverpool
If you watched Lionel Messi score a lot of goals and Liverpool concede a lot of goals, you will do well in this week's quiz Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:37:00 GMT)

Susie Wolff promoted to Williams’ official test driver for 2015 season
• 31-year-old Scot was previously F1 team’s development driver• Wolff would race in grand prix if Williams drivers are absent• Wolff first woman to take part in GP weekend for 22 yearsSusie Wolff has been named as the official test driver for Williams for the 2015 Formula One season. Stepping up from her previous role as development driver, Wolff takes over from Felipe Nasr who will drive for Sauber next year.Wolff will take part in two first practice sessions at races to be determined, two test days, as well conducting extensive simulator testing to help in the ongoing development of the team’s cars. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:19:18 GMT)

Southampton’s Ronald Koeman relishing chance to run the gauntlet
Southampton have the meanest defence in the Premier League but they face a run of fixtures that will test their staying power at the top of the table to the limit• Premier League: 10 things to look out forThe moment of truth is almost here for Southampton and they cannot put it off any longer. Like a deadline looming on the horizon it has crept up on them slowly but it has always been waiting for them and for their detractors. Those who believe the Saints are in a false position in the table have been looking forward to it all season. Wait until Southampton have a run of games against the top sides, they have said after each victory, then we will see how good they really are.The time has come and it will be fascinating to see how Southampton cope. For all the plaudits that have been deservedly showered on them after their wonderful start, some people have remained unconvinced, arguing that the reason Ronald Koeman’s side are second is because the fixture list has been kind to them and that they will slide back into mid-table eventually. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:43:27 GMT)

British skiing has gone downhill fast since days of Bartelski and the Bells
There was a time when Ski Sunday was essential viewing but lack of homegrown interest is reflected in the declining popularity of a sport that has been overtaken by cycling• Obituary: Former Guardian sports editor John SamuelSnow fell on Lake Louise this week, which will have come as a relief to those hoping to see the opening men’s downhill race of the new World Cup season, in the Canadian Rockies, take place on the real stuff rather than the artificially manufactured substance. In Colorado the fall has been lighter but nevertheless helpful to the women competing in Aspen. A couple of slaloms and giant slaloms have already taken place in Austria and Finland, but this is when the season really begins.On an equivalent late-November weekend towards the end of the last century, British enthusiasts would have been looking forward to tuning into Ski Sunday and hearing David Vine, the BBC’s excitable all-purpose sports commentator, exulting in the deeds of competitors with whose names and achievements his audience was thoroughly familiar. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:29:05 GMT)

Michael Hooper highlights Australia’s desire to beat England
Wallabies captain acknowledges recent ‘topsy-turvy results’ but promises no lack of motivation at Twickenham on SaturdayThe Wallabies trained on Thursday under leaden skies, with bowed heads and in the blackest melancholy. Not so long ago Australia’s rugby union squad enjoyed dinner with their country’s Test cricketers in Cairns and forged bonds in shared jokes and stories. Now, with the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, they came together again in grief.“It’s the kind of news you never want to wake up to,” admitted their 23-year-old captain, Michael Hooper. “We love our cricket. All of us were checking our phones on Thursday morning. For us as a team it’s a pretty sombre mood.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 22:00:01 GMT)

Chris Eubank: ‘My son is the most dangerous young man on the planet’
The eccentric former middleweight says Eubank Jr could seriously hurt Billy Joe Saunders when they meet in London“This is the most dangerous young man on the planet,” Chris Eubank says in a typically grand way as he gestures towards his son, Chris Jr, who is about to face his first real test in the ring against the unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders at London’s ExCeL Arena on Saturday night. It is a fight between the regal Eubank Jr, who has won all his 18 bouts, and a former Olympian and self-proclaimed hard man of the travelling community who holds the Commonwealth, European and British middleweight titles. They are both 25 and the animosity between them dredges up memories of Eubank Sr’s most bitter and tragic nights against Nigel Benn and Michael Watson in the early 1990s.Eubank Sr and I go back a long way, for I interviewed him and Watson before their two fights in 1991. Watson had outboxed Eubank in their rematch at White Hart Lane when catastrophe struck. Eubank was knocked down in the 11th round but he hauled himself off the canvas and, somehow, landed a punch of such devastation it resulted in Watson slipping away into a coma that lasted for months. Even today the admirable Watson remains disabled by the consequences. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:55:11 GMT)

Little-known Spanish singer from the 80s discovers his song is worldwide hit
Fernando García Sánchez, who retired in 1989, finds dozens of DJs use his track and may have sold millions of copiesWhen Fernando García Sánchez appeared on Spanish television in 1989, polka-dot scarf knotted around his neck and a black jacket covering his bare chest, he thought the performance would be one of his last chances to show his music to the world.Two decades later, the singer who quit music in the late 80s to focus on his family and making ends meet, found out his song Frontera del ensueño (Frontier of Dreams) had become an international hit – remixed dozens of times. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:04:44 GMT)

The people who are paid to break in your designer jeans
Hiut Denim in west Wales employs 50 denim breakers to wear in jeans before they’re sold, or auctioned, to customers. One breaker explains how it worksDavid and Clare Hieatt created the denim company Hiut two and a half years ago, as a mission to get hundreds of people their jobs back.Cardigan, a pretty market town in west Wales, was once home to Dewhirst, the biggest jeans factory in Britain. Dewhirst employed 400 locals. They produced 35,000 pairs of jeans a week, supplying denim across the country, including to M&S. Then, in 2001, Dewhirst decided to outsource production to Morocco and the factory closed. Cardigan suffered immeasurably; overnight, 10% of locals were on the dole. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:56:43 GMT)

China bans wordplay in attempt at pun control
Officials say casual alteration of idioms risks nothing less than ‘cultural and linguistic chaos’, despite their common usageFrom online discussions to adverts, Chinese culture is full of puns. But the country’s print and broadcast watchdog has ruled that there is nothing funny about them.It has banned wordplay on the grounds that it breaches the law on standard spoken and written Chinese, makes promoting cultural heritage harder and may mislead the public – especially children. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:26:18 GMT)

Ask Molly Ringwald: my friend keeps copying me. Do I let her steal my identity?
‘Whether you talk to her about it or not, you can’t stop her liking what she likes’I have a friend who always copies me in very subtle ways: a funny line I’ve said gets repeated and passed off as her own, a random artist I like suddenly appears in her living room without any reference made to me. I know I should be flattered, but it’s annoying. I feel she is stealing my identity. Should I say something?I’m torn, because in my life I’ve been both the copier and the copied. I think most of us have. Growing up, I looked to people I admired and did my best to emulate them. The look I cultivated as a teenager was in large part me doing my best to copy Diane Keaton, and not quite getting it right. As I matured and grew more confident, I drew on other influences and finally developed my own, weird style. This, in turn, got copied by other girls. At the time I found it flattering but disconcerting. Now, when I see young girls referencing that look, I’m only flattered, and proud of my teenage self for taking fashion risks. (Also, I’ll admit, I’ll take any opportunity to appear cool to my slightly imperious 11-year-old daughter.) Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:59:00 GMT)

Travel quiz: languages of the world
Do you know when it's appropriate to say 'namaste'? Or in which language 'cerveza' means beer? Or do you find things just get lost in translation? Prove your knowledge of world languages with our quiz• More travel quizzes to try Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:22:01 GMT)

Movember participants concerned by mainstreaming of facial hair
After ‘peak beard’ it’s hard to differentiate between those growing for charity and those who are not, say participantsNovember – or Movember, as it’s increasingly known – is almost at an end, and for almost 5 million around the world this means one thing: time to shave off the charity moustache.But while the Australian-born charity event, which encourages participants to grow moustaches from scratch in November to raise money for men’s health and which is now in its tenth year, has become a resounding success, some participants worry that its future is in danger of being eclipsed because of the increased popularity of year-round facial hair. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 20:00:16 GMT)

UK driving test to take new turns
Learner drivers may be asked to use satnav and three-point turn could be scrapped in favour of more common manoeuvresThe three-point turn could be dropped from driving tests after the government signalled the biggest shakeup in 20 years.Learners may be asked to use a satellite navigation system as part of a revised practical exam and the three-point-turn – more recently known as the “turn in the road” – could be scrapped altogether. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:41:20 GMT)

In praise of … #putoutyourbats
After the death of cricketer Phillip Hughes, Sydney IT worker Paul Taylor has shown we need not be helpless in the face of tragedySomething intensely tragic about the death of the Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes prompted grief-stricken reaction from people who had not previously heard his name and have no particular liking for cricket.Perhaps it was his youth and background; Hughes, a farmer’s son, was loved as a swashbuckling maverick. Perhaps it was the very public nature of the freak accident that caused injuries too severe to permit recovery. Perhaps the loss of a man tipped for stardom on the world stage, or the poignancy that the fatal ball, so hostile in sporting intent, was bowled by Hughes’s friend Sean Abbott. His anguish will be indescribable. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:43:24 GMT)

Don’t listen to Mary Berry, here’s how to plan for Christmas
The Bake-Off queen is right to advise early preparations, but her 1 December start date reveals her rank amateurism“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, an organisational spreadsheet concerning the upcoming holiday,” sang Mary Berry, probably. The Great British Bake Off judge has revealed that her Christmas preparations begin on 1 Dec. “The more you can do ahead the better, is the first rule,” she advises, outing herself as a rank amateur. Are you a Christmas virgin, Mary? Everyone knows preparing for the big day is a year-long occupation. Here’s the schedule you should be keeping to:26 December Buy gifts. Black Friday? Slack Friday. The time to grab a bargain is the Boxing Day sales. Electronics are like wine – the older the better, so buy now to see tears of happiness on your grateful children’s faces in 12months. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:44:21 GMT)

Why Clara Oswald should stay in Doctor Who
Reports suggest that far from leaving, Jenna Coleman is signing on for more episodes of Doctor Who. Great – Clara is a wonderful companion who has finally found the right DoctorOn Friday, the Mirror reported that Jenna Coleman will be staying on in Doctor Who as Clara Oswald after all.The production team has been expectedly circumspect about Coleman’s future on the show, refusing to comment on what they call ‘speculation’. But her coyness in every interview she has given this year, coupled with the fact that the Christmas special is called Last Christmas, has given fans good reason to believe that the festive episode will be her swansong. Now, apparently not.If she is staying on, then I’m thrilled. Just about the only consensus on this year’s divisive series was how well Clara has been written and played. While Peter Capaldi’s status as Peter Capaldi gets him a free pass, his more difficult Doctor is yet to fully bed in. But Coleman has flown. I got a bit of stick on this year’s blogs for using a throwaway line about playing the reality of running away to fight monsters with a time-travelling space-detective. It was a gag, but as it transpired, I was somewhere approaching the money. It’s that indefinable thing of chemistry. Peter and Jenna absolutely belong together in Doctor Who. To be absolutely honest … with the best will in the world, you look at Matt Smith in a bow-tie and you’re looking for Karen Gillan. You just are. They belong together. So it was tough for Jenna … I think it’s just getting your Doctor. Clara has her own Doctor now, and she becomes the main character – which of course the companion always should be.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:46:54 GMT)

40 Maltby Street, London SE1 – restaurant review
‘The food that issues from the postage-stamp-sized kitchen is all pretty much faultless: not a beat is missed’Of all the dishes we have at 40 Maltby Street, it’s the most unprepossessing that makes us sit up, blinking and gasping, “Wow, this is really, really good.” Pig’s head broth with cabbage dumplings: it doesn’t exactly bark “Sexxxxy!” in the way that maybe Dexter shortribs with mustard, or roast partridge with spinach, bacon and jerusalem artichoke tart might.Under normal circumstances, it’s not a dish I’d ever order, either. Too ascetic for the sybaritic, greedy likes of me. But on a Friday lunchtime, there are only four dishes that aren’t charcuterie (pleasingly stiff and fatty Basque sausage studded with peppercorns, served with first-class sourdough baguette) or a selection of well-kept cheeses. So, in a spirit of what-the-hell, we order the lot. I expected that broth to be something along the lines of Japanese tonkotsu, gummy and milky with collagen from long-simmered bones. Instead, it’s a shimmering, limpid bouillon with an aroma of farmyard pork and a depth of flavour that makes you sip and swill it like a vintage wine. The cabbage rolls – crinkly savoy that retains its bite – contain a stuffing studded with fat chunks of floury chestnut, perhaps the ferrous suggestion of offal: a mouthful of astonishing length. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:34:01 GMT)

A stitch in time: the dream-like world of embroidered vintage photography
Julie Cockburn takes studio portraits from the past, obliterates the faces with embroidery – and injects them with new lifeJulie Cockburn has a way with names. One of her embroidered vintage portraits of a family is wittily entitled Close Knit. Another of her pieces is called The Adulterer: “I found an old oil-painting portrait of a horrible looking man who just looked so sleazy. By the time I was finished, his face had completely disappeared – but his character reappeared in the title.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:18:05 GMT)

Beyond McBusted: predicting the mix-and-match stars of tomorrow
We know McFly plus Busted equals McBusted but why should portmanteau bands stop there? It’s time for Fleetwood Macklemore! Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:00:09 GMT)

The 10 best pirates
As Treasure Island opens at the National Theatre, here’s to timber-shiverers…Treasure Island, adapted by Bryony Lavery, is at the National Theatre, 3 Dec-8 April Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:00:13 GMT)

Poultry panic: could chickens be human sized by the end of century?
It is not only the potentially lethal bug campylobacter in UK supermarket chickens that we have to worry about. If poultry keep growing at their current rate then they could soon be as big as usDirty chicken scandal: campylobacter found in eight out of 10 UK birdsWhere do the supermarkets get their chicken?Eight out of ten fresh chickens in UK supermarkets are contaminated with the potentially lethal food-poisoning bug campylobacter.Inspired by the Economist, which calculated that turkeys will be big as humans in just 150 years, we wanted to find out if we were going to have to contend with massive chickens as well as infectious ones. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 09:36:51 GMT)

PPE: a microplay about politics by the Guardian and the Royal Court – video
The public struggle to keep in step with politicians during the fallout of the financial crisis. David Annen, Cyril Nri and Eileen Walsh star in PPE, a microplay about the power of physical gestures. PPE was written by Tim Price, directed by Hamish Pirie and choreographed by Ann Yee, after a conversation with Aditya Chakrabortty. It is the latest in a series of collaborations between the Royal Court and the Guardian• How PPE was inspired by Farage's laugh and Cameron's hands• Watch our food-themed microplay, Britain Isn't Eating• Watch our music-themed microplay, Groove is in the Heart • Watch our sport-themed microplay, Death of England• Guardian Membership event: watch all the microplays at the Royal Court Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:02:00 GMT)

I’m confused about Britain and class: if I buy a telly on Black Friday does that make me a pleb?
Andrew Mitchell, David Mellor and even the judge may be snobs. But the real battle is inequalityThere really is nothing more ghastly than a Tory MP calling a policeman a pleb – except, perhaps, people who jostle to get 50% off a telly.Have I got that right? That many of the same people who deemed Andrew Mitchell poisonously patrician seem perfectly able to sneer at people taking advantage of a Black Friday shopping bargain attests to the eternally impenetrable mysteries of our class system – and that’s before we even chuck a high court judge into the mix. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:03:28 GMT)

Martin Rowson on David Cameron's immigration speech – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 21:50:00 GMT)

George Osborne has snared his party in its own austerity trap
The deficit has not been eliminated. Depressed living standards are barely rising. This is not ‘job done’, but a record of failureAfter his stunning speech on the eve of the Scottish referendum, Gordon Brown, by announcing that he will not stand for parliament again, has chosen to go out on a high. His speech was so powerful that even the occupants of Downing Street were bowled over, with some wondering whether he planned a return to mainstream politics.That, apparently, is not to be. But there is still an outside chance that he might return to a prominent role. It depends on two big “ifs”. If Labour were to have the balance of power in the next election and if, for some reason, Christine Lagarde were to resign prematurely from her job as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, then Brown would be an obvious candidate to succeed her. The last three holders of the IMF post have, for different reasons, not served a full term. Continue reading...
(Sat, 29 Nov 2014 00:04:10 GMT)

Scotland's thrilling new powers will make English politics more reactionary than ever
It’s brilliant to see my home country heading slowly but inexorably towards social democracy – but it comes at an awful cost south of the borderAs a Scot living in England, I don’t know whether to be thrilled or depressed about the Smith Commission’s announcement that Scotland will get more power over taxation. It’s brilliant to see my home country heading slowly but inexorably towards social democracy. It’s wretched to observe that, for my adopted country, this just offers one more opportunity to pander to the empty rhetoric of reactionary populism, of which there’s already far too much down south. Reactionary populism. It’s a term you hear surprisingly little, considering that it’s the most influential force in contemporary English politics. Perhaps that’s because it’s an oxymoron. It makes absolutely no sense. A reactionary wants a return to class certainties. A populist claims to defend the people against elites. It’s by pretending that he can do both that Nigel Farage puts the wind up Labour and the Conservatives. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:30:10 GMT)

The Guardian view on Israel: the narrowing of a nation
With a bill to define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, a democracy stands on the brink of downgrading itselfIsrael is justly proud of its declaration of independence. That document, hastily drafted in 1948, insisted that the new country would promise “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex”. That text, and that central pledge, formed the foundation on which Israel set out its ambition to be a democracy – even, to use a phrase cherished by the country’s advocates, the only democracy in the Middle East.Now, though, there comes a threat to that position and to the declaration itself. Last weekend, in a reportedly stormy meeting, the cabinet approved a bill that would enshrine Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people. That definition would become part of Israel’s basic laws, as integral to its unwritten constitution as the declaration. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:10:34 GMT)

Why women are masters of the memoir
History’s primary carers and chief mourners excel at this form of writing. They should not be disparagedI was lucky enough to interview American writer Joan Didion in 2005. Her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, had recently died – from a heart attack in their New York apartment – and their only child Quintana was ill in hospital. I was hugely impressed by Didion, but when her American publisher told me that her forthcoming memoir of bereavement, The Year of Magical Thinking, was the best thing she had ever done, I thought: yeah, right. How likely was it that, at this stage, Didion would surpass her groundbreaking 1960s journalism?I’m not sure what ranks as Didion’s strongest book, the one I might recommend in 20 years’ time. But I am sure that her reporting on her own mental life during a period of deep shock and sorrow, which is what The Year of Magical Thinking is, deserves to be treated every bit as seriously as anything she has ever written about crime, politics or culture. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:20:46 GMT)

Let us give thanks, Black Friday has nothing to do with religion
Retailers hijack all Christian festivals. At least this shopping bonanza unashamedly worships consumerismNope. I’ve just looked through my Book of Common Prayer, and there is no special liturgy for today. Not even in Common Worship, the modern collection of official Church of England services which, despite its name, aims to cater for all tastes and occasions.Black Friday, that excitable new entry into an already crowded month, is almost unique in having no relationship with a religious festival. No, Thanksgiving is not a religious festival, nor is it ours: it might be wrong to be complacent, but its over-indulgent bonhomie is one of the few US traditions that has failed to take root in UK soil. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 07:00:04 GMT)

Was Shakespeare gay, and does it matter?
Although not a new question, its re-emergence is germane to the interpretation of his plays, and not just a scholars’ spatShakespeare’s Sonnet 116, Let me not to the marriage of true minds, has of recent years become as popular a recitation at weddings as recitals of Frank Sinatra’s My Way at funerals.If wide notice is taken of a current spat over what we can read about Shakespeare’s sexuality into the sonnets in the correspondence columns of the Times Literary Supplement, Sonnet 20 may be a future favourite at civil unions. The opening line, to remind you, is A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted / Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 09:46:18 GMT)

It’s time for anti-abortion protesters to back off
Women have the right to access abortion advice without being harassed. That’s why we’re calling for clinic ‘buffer zones’It is hard to find a word to encapsulate what is going on outside some pregnancy advice and abortion centres in the UK, in some places on a daily basis.It’s usually called “protest”, and yes – with their graphic banners and plastic foetuses strewn on the floor – these people are clearly there to demonstrate their avowed opposition to abortion. But they have also come to target the pregnant women arriving at these centres for advice and treatment. These women are not coming for a debate about abortion with those who think it is wrong, or making a political statement about their position on abortion. They are coming to access a confidential and lawful medical service, and impartial advice about their options. Our contention is this: there are plenty of places to protest against abortion, and for the small number of people who wish to do so, plenty of channels to campaign to restrict women’s reproductive choices. But pregnant women should be left alone. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:46:06 GMT)

Caring for my mother in the grip of her Alzheimer’s is an ordinary act of love
The things that seemed impossible, like changing her diaper, are made rewarding by disengaging my self-obsessed brainIf you had told me five years ago that I would have to change my mother’s diaper, I would have hyperventilated at the mere thought. The reality of doing it, when it became necessary, was actually surprisingly straightforward. The same applies to most aspects of caring for a loved one. The things that seemed impossible in theory are made possible by love. It is as if a limitless battery of affection has been charged by 40 years of her looking out for me; and now that the reverse is needed, a splendidly efficient autopilot system has engaged.I share the responsibility of looking after her with my sisters. To say I am her part-time carer would not be accurate. I am, rather, her full-time carer some of the time. Every couple of months, when I fly back to her to do my “shift”, the terror of the possibility she might not recognise me looms large. I have to actively stop my mind from running forward. First, because Alzheimer’s is not a smooth downward curve, but a jagged downward line – she has good days and bad days, just like everyone else. If she is confused today, she might be much less so tomorrow. Second, because I know now that the imagined reaction to a horrible hypothetical is always more dramatic than the actual reaction to the real. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:07:28 GMT)

These Tory Eurosceptics are Cameron’s Trotskyists – time to face them down
Instead of pandering to Ukip-leaning backbenchers in his immigration speech, the prime minister should learn from how Labour saw off Militant tendencyIn his speech on immigration the prime minister has a chance to show some leadership on the issue and on Britain’s place in the EU. He has tried running from his Eurosceptic backbenchers. He has tried throwing them bones. He has tried ridiculing Ukip, then imitating them. For David Cameron none of it has worked. This week Owen Paterson, his former environment secretary, even suggested the prime minister hand the EU a resignation letter from Britain before his renegotiation had even started. That is not a negotiating tactic. It is a notice to quit.It is time to confront the argument that we need to pull out of the EU because of the free movement of people. Leadership is about standing up for Britain as a confident outward-looking country open to people, ideas and investment and keen to be a leading player in the EU and globally. It is about making the most of the world as it has changed in recent decades, not looking for a rewind button to a world that no longer exists. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 08:00:02 GMT)

Binyamin Netanyahu’s nationality bill is at odds with the Hebrew Bible
The scriptures insist that Jews and non-Jews are to be subject to the same laws. We need to heed this messageOf all people, Jews know what it is to live in somebody else’s country, without rights, subject to their laws, subject to their prejudices. The Hebrew Bible itself is a record of the experience and psychological consequences of exile – of being the forced labour of Pharaoh’s megalomaniacal building programmes, of weeping by the rivers of Babylon. And when the story of the Bible finishes and the Jerusalem temple is destroyed by the Romans, a new period of extended exile begins, shaping the collective memory with centuries of religious persecution, collective punishments and eventually mass murder.It is not difficult to see why security is extra precious for the Jewish people and why the very idea of a Jewish homeland has a meaning and significance far in excess of that envisioned by the modern democratic nation state. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:20:41 GMT)

'Being homeless is better than working for Amazon'
Nichole Gracely has a master’s degree and was one of Amazon’s best order pickers. Now, after protesting the company, she’s homelessHomeless and working for Amazon: the trap of the seasonal job cycleI am homeless. My worst days now are better than my best days working at Amazon.According to Amazon’s metrics, I was one of their most productive order pickers – I was a machine, and my pace would accelerate throughout the course of a shift. What they didn’t know was that I stayed fast because if I slowed down for even a minute, I’d collapse from boredom and exhaustion. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:30:08 GMT)

Should we cull grey squirrels to save the native red?
In the longer term contraceptives, vaccination and predators could control the grey squirrel, but until then we have no alternativeWhat should we do about grey squirrels? Introduced from America in the late 19th century, the grey has made itself very much at home in Britain, with a population of around 2.5 million. The problem is that our native red squirrel suffers. And while the greys do out-compete them, the real worry is that the greys carry a disease – squirrel pox virus – that leaves the immigrants untouched but is lethal to the reds.So what to do? The BBC reported this morning that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is planning to overhaul the advice it gives about grey squirrel control – and on the table is a legal obligation for landowners to cull. Is an attempt to eradicate this species from our shores the right solution? Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:06:50 GMT)

Why I decided to stop being my daughter’s personal assistant
After joining a WhatsApp group for mothers, I found myself managing every aspect of my daughter’s school work. But this is no way to equip someone for the futureI remember the first time I received homework that Enma had forgotten through the mothers from the school WhatsApp group.“How wonderful!” I thought in my innocence, without realising that this would become a monster that would engulf me in a jungle of messages, a list of homework tasks, and thousands of photos of books and exercise pages ... photos that filled up my phone’s memory to the extent that, whenever I tried to take a picture myself, I would get a “memory full” message. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:45:30 GMT)

The global slavery index is based on flawed data – why does no one say so?
The anti-trafficking community has remained uncritical of Walk Free’s methodology, yet poor information often leads to damaging decisionsIn the 20 years I have been working in the field of anti-trafficking, it has moved from the margins to the mainstream. New laws have been adopted; new institutions established; hundreds of millions of dollars spent to support prosecutions, victim protection and prevention. Today, trafficking is the focus of a major social movement that, according to the publicity of its self-proclaimed leaders, is uniting millions of individuals against the scourge of “modern slavery”.A major game-changer has been the emergence of the philanthropist-founded NGO. Walk Free, established by the Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest in 2012 to “eliminate slavery in [Forrest’s] lifetime”, is the most prominent example. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:52:59 GMT)

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