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Give zero-hours workers regular contracts after 3 months – Miliband
Labour leader plans to give employees legal right to a regular contract after 12 weeks’ continuous work but critics say employers will sack staff before deadlineEd Miliband is to propose that workers on zero-hours contracts should be entitled to convert their contracts into a regular job after only three months instead of a year, the previous timeframe set out by Labour.The pledge, affecting 90% of zero-hours contracts, comes after David Cameron said last week that most people on such contracts want to be hired on a flexible basis, a claim that has been challenged by the TUC. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:00:06 GMT)

Election 2015: 100 business leaders sign letter backing the Conservatives – live
As Labour dismisses the letter to the Telegraph as ‘nothing new’, follow the latest from the campaign trail with Andrew Sparrow and the Guardian politics teamBalls: a vote for the SNP is a vote for the ToriesMiliband pledge to give zero-hour workers regular contracts after 3 months Ukip candidatereplaced after his “kidnap Obama” outburst 5.21pm AEST Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, has just been on the Today programme, talking about the likely outcome of the election in Scotland:The polls are still showing the influence of last year’s referendum, she says:The SNP have managed to lock in a lot of that 45% [who voted yes last September]… and that is enough to win you an awful lot of seats.As the primary yes force, they’ve absolutely been able to harness that … I think there will be SNP gains in Scotland.We as a party are also looking to build … we are the most pro-union party.Probably, on balance, would that be my preference? If the numnbers work, then it probably would. 5.01pm AEST Hello, and welcome to the Guardian’s election live blog, with – only! – 36 days of campaigning left to go. We are bringing you live coverage every day from 7am till late, kicking off with our all-you-need-to-know morning briefing, designed for those election fans who nonetheless like to get the occasional night’s sleep.There is only one way to end Tory austerity in Scotland and that’s by voting Labour. The team is the team. You don’t want to change the person who has driven our economic performance, and has been at the helm of it.A tax promise, Chelsea FC, and what really happened on Syria. Cameron and Osborne's 1st joint interview in tmrw's Sun pic.twitter.com/Gmw3nisGcRWednesday's Telegraph front page: 100 business chiefs: Labour threatens Britain's recovery #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/ZpgEOdZIAoNo one will be surprised that some business people are calling for low taxes for big businesses. That’s nothing new.The letter has been signed by at least five business leaders who previously backed Labour, including Sir Charles Dunstone, the chairman of Dixons Carphone and Talk Talk plc, and Duncan Bannatyne, a former star of Dragons’ Den. Not only is the contest perilously close, it has more story lines than an episode of Downton Abbey.While parties can lose even when their candidate for prime minister is preferred to his main rival, and they can lose when they are thought stronger on the economy than their opponents, no one has ever lost when ahead on both leadership and the economy. Yet this time, the Conservatives look as if they might. Surely the big news about this letter: http://t.co/aNLY3sKyPJ is that 100 senior business leaders don't think China is a "major economy"? Continue reading...
(Wed, 01 Apr 2015 06:10:28 GMT)

Iran nuclear talks: agreement in reach, says Russia, as negotiations resume
Ministers to reconvene in Lausanne on Wednesday morning after pushing through deadline on night of exhaustive diplomacyThe Russian and Iranian foreign ministers have claimed there has been a significant breakthrough at nuclear talks in Lausanne, which resumed on Wednesday morning.American diplomats denied the agreement had been finalised, saying there were still issues to resolve. But in a sign the talks could be approaching a critical moment, Barack Obama held a video-conference on Tuesday night with his national security team to be briefed on developments by the US negotiators: the secretary of state, John Kerry, and the energy secretary, Ernest Moniz. Continue reading...
(Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:58:24 GMT)

Nigerian election: opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari sweeps to victory
72-year-old former military ruler defeats incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, marking only eighth time in sub-Saharan Africa challenger unseats incumbent at the pollsThe Nigerian opposition leader, Muhammadu Buhari, has swept to victory in the country’s presidential election, a political earthquake that inflicted the first defeat on an incumbent in the history of Africa’s biggest democracy. Related: #Nigeriadecides: how Buhari's election played out on Twitter Related: Muhammadu Buhari: reformed dictator returns to power in democratic Nigeria Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:59:37 GMT)

Andreas Lubitz told Lufthansa flight school of 'serious depressive episode'
Email sent by Germanwings co-pilot in 2009 revealed as Lufthansa confirms insurers have set aside $300m to cover costsThe co-pilot of the crashed Germanwings passenger plane informed a Lufthansa flight school in 2009 that he had experienced “a serious depressive episode”, the company said on Tuesday, as it confirmed insurers had set aside $300m (£202m) to cover costs.Earlier on Tuesday, Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, said a note in which Andreas Lubitz mentioned his mental state was found in emails that he had sent to its Arizona flight school when he resumed his training after an interruption. The airline said it provided the documents to prosecutors and declined to make any further comment. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:09:04 GMT)

Andrew Getty, grandson of Getty Oil founder, found dead
Cause of death for 48-year-old – an heir to industrialist J Paul Getty – not immediately clear but woman co-operatin with investigation, say policeAndrew Getty, the grandson of Getty Oil founder J Paul Getty, has been found dead at his home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.A woman called to report that someone had died and officers went to the gated home on Montcalm Avenue shortly after 2.15pm on Tuesday. They found the body in a bathroom, police spokesman Jack Richter said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:04:37 GMT)

Medieval hospital cemetery for poor found under Cambridge University
Remains of more than 1,000 people, many thought to be struggling scholars from 13th-15th centuries, discovered during excavations at St John’s CollegeOne of Britain’s largest medieval cemeteries containing the remains of more than 1,000 people has been unearthed under part of the University of Cambridge.The hospital cemetery, which catered largely for scholars who had fallen on hard times, was found during excavations beneath the Old Divinity School at St John’s College. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:01:00 GMT)

HSBC's attempts to clean up US business practices are falling short, report says
A 1,000-page report by the US Department of Justice to force HSBC to operate to higher standards says bank is not improving the way it does business fast enoughHSBC is expected to be told this week that its attempts to clean up the way it does business are falling short of the standards required by the US authorities.A 1,000-page report by a monitor installed by the US Department of Justice to force HSBC to operate to higher standards shows that Britain’s biggest bank is not improving the way it does business fast enough. The monitor was appointed following the bank’s record-breaking $1.9bn (£1.2bn) fine in 2012 for laundering money for Mexican drug cartels, terrorists and pariah states. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:56:32 GMT)

Missing boy with serious medical condition found safe in Hertfordshire
Malakhi Chijiutomi-Ghosh, who disappeared from south London, is found by off-duty police officer about 30 miles from where he was last seenA 10-year-old boy with a serious genetic condition who went missing early on Tuesday has been found and taken to hospital.Malakhi Chijiutomi-Ghosh was found by an off-duty police officer about 30 miles from where he was last seen. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:29:19 GMT)

Iraqi forces recapture government headquarters in Tikrit from Isis
Army and Shia militias make their most significant advance in Tikrit since launching operation to retake city Iraqi forces have retaken the provincial government headquarters in Tikrit from Islamic State (Isis), a significant advance in the battle to recapture the city.“Iraqi forces cleared the government complex in Tikrit,” an army major general said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The government buildings have been under our control since last night (Monday).” Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:18:13 GMT)

Joni Mitchell, 71, taken to hospital in Los Angeles
Grammy award-winning folk singer in ‘fair condition’, say authorities, after paramedics were called to her Bel Air homeThe folk singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell has been taken to hospital in Los Angeles.The website jonimitchell.com, which describes itself as the artist’s official site, said: “Joni has been hospitalized. We are awaiting official word on her condition and will post it here as soon as we know.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:40:45 GMT)

Facebook 'tracks all visitors, breaching EU law'
Exclusive: People without Facebook accounts, logged out users, and EU users who have explicitly opted out of tracking are all being tracked, report saysFacebook tracks the web browsing of everyone who visits a page on its site even if the user does not have an account or has explicitly opted out of tracking in the EU, extensive research commissioned by the Belgian data protection agency has revealed.The report, from researchers at the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT (ICRI) and the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography department (Cosic) at the University of Leuven, and the media, information and telecommunication department (Smit) at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, was commissioned after an original draft report revealed Facebook’s privacy policy breaches European law.Facebook’s tracking practices have ‘no legal basis’ Related: Facebook’s privacy policy breaches European law, report finds Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:00:50 GMT)

Signs of botched robbery at Spanish home of British couple shot dead
Police discovered the bodies of former Olympic diver Peter Tarsey and his wife Jean at their villa near Benidorm after friends raised the alarmSigns of a botched robbery have reportedly been found at the Spanish home of a former British Olympic diver and his wife, who were found shot dead on their sofa.Peter and Jean Tarsey, both 77, were discovered at their three-bedroomed villa in the Spanish village of Xalo, near Benidorm, after friends who ate lunch with them every Sunday raised the alarm. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:57:56 GMT)

Death sentence for killer of British medical students on Borneo
Zulkipli Abdullah convicted of murdering Aidan Brunger and Neil Dalton, who were working in a Malaysian hospital, in an unprovoked attack in SarawakA fishmonger has been sentenced to death for murdering two British medical students who had been working in a Malaysian hospital. Newcastle University students Aidan Brunger, from Kent, and Neil Dalton, from Ambergate in Derbyshire, were killed in an unprovoked attack in Sarawak on the island of Borneo in August last year, three days before they were due to complete their six-week placement at a hospital in Kuching Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:33:49 GMT)

Bodies of two children removed from Gibraltar flat where four people died
Four members of the same family were found dead on Monday with stab wounds, though police have not released the identities of the deceased The bodies of two children have been removed from a property in Gibraltar where they were found dead along with a couple, police have said. A 31-year-old British man, a Spanish woman, 37, a four-year-old girl and a six-week-old baby girl were discovered with wounds in the British overseas territory Monday morning. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:59:52 GMT)

Medomsley abuse inquiry: two former officers arrested on suspicion of abuse
Police say 1,123 men have contacted them to report they were victims of either sexual or physical assault while detained at the County Durham centreTwo former prison officers have been arrested on suspicion of physical and sexual assaults at a juvenile detention centre. A further 14 former officers have been questioned as part of the biggest investigation ever carried out by Durham police.The two ex-officers, aged 69 and 58, were questioned as part of a major probe by police into allegations of historic abuse at Medomsley detention centre, near Consett, County Durham. They were released on police bail. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:59:13 GMT)

Subsidies to industries that cause deforestation worth 100 times more than aid to prevent it
Brazil and Indonesia paid over $40bn in subsidies to industries that drive rainforest destruction between 2009 and 2012 - compared to $346m in conservation aid they received to protect forests, according to new research Brazil and Indonesia spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid to prevent it, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).The two countries handed out over $40bn (£27bn) in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012 – 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rainforests from the United Nations’ (UN) REDD+ scheme, mostly from Norway and Germany. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:48:13 GMT)

Four in 10 new teachers quit within a year
Teachers union launches scathing attack on government’s education policy, which has tripled the exodus of newly qualified teachersAlmost four out of 10 teachers quit within a year of qualifying, with 11,000 leaving the profession before they have really begun their career and record numbers of those who remain giving up mid-career, according to analysis of government figures.The exodus of new recruits has almost tripled in six years, resulting in a crisis in teacher supply in a profession that has become “incompatible with normal life”, according to Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:57:28 GMT)

Met Office issues yellow warnings as UK expects 70mph winds
Esso oil worker rescues crew member from capsized tugboat in Hampshire in stormy weather as gales cause rail and road disruption around BritainThe Met Office has issued yellow “be aware” warnings for winds of up to 70mph across the north and east of England, North Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.Gusts of 97mph were recorded overnight in Capel Curig in Snowdonia national park, and of 80mph on Emley moor in Yorkshire. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 08:08:49 GMT)

14-year-old boy charged with terror offences in Austria
Teenager researched how to build a bomb online and contacted Islamic State supporters, say authoritiesAustria has charged a 14-year-old boy with terror offences after he researched how to build a bomb online and made contact with militants supporting Islamic State fighters in Syria, prosecutors have said. The boy, from a Turkish family, had been detained for a second time in January on suspicion of terrorism-related activity. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:08:35 GMT)

Sun reporter says he did not know paying for tips was a crime
Tom Wells accused of paying two prison guards for tips on murderer Jon Venables and passing on money for stories about immigration detaineesA Sun reporter “would have run a country mile” from paying public officials for stories if he knew he may be committing a crime, the Old Bailey has heard.Tom Wells is accused of paying two prison guards for tips on murderer Jon Venables, and funnelling money to an immigration centre official for stories about the way detainees were being held. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:50:21 GMT)

One in six B&Q stores to close as UK boss departs in major shakeup
Days after failed takeover of French DIY chain new Kingfisher boss scraps 60 lossmaking stores in bid to create ‘single unified international player’One in every six B&Q stores is to be closed down, with 3,000 jobs put at risk, as a result of a shakeup at the DIY retailer by the new boss of parent company Kingfisher.Véronique Laury, who took the helm of Kingfisher in January, announced on Tuesday that she was bringing down the shutters at 60 outlets in an overhaul of the 360-store network which has also resulted in the departure of the head of the UK and Irish B&Q business, Kevin O’Byrne. Related: Spanner in le works: Kingfisher buyout of French DIY chain under threat Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:11:54 GMT)

Jeremy Clarkson joins Guardian drive for fossil fuel divestment
Former Top Gear presenter says being sacked by the BBC was a ‘wake-up call’ as he joins host of celebrities backing climate change campaignThe disgraced former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has become the latest celebrity to support the Guardian’s campaign for fossil fuel divestment.Following what he described as a “dark night of the soul”, Clarkson said he hoped to “regain the trust of the British public” by dedicating his time and financial resources to sustainable energy, road safety and forging mutual understanding and tolerance between people of different cultures and religions. Related: Jeremy Clarkson dropped by BBC after damning report into attack on producer Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:00:56 GMT)

April Fools' Day jokes 2015 – the best from around the world
The funniest spoofs in the press and on the web – share any you’ve spotted in the comments below 7.09am BST Before we get going – and before I’ve actually seen any of them – let’s play a quick April Fools’ drinking game. I’m going to list a bunch of potential April Fools’ gags, and if any of them actually turn out to be a real thing that someone publishes, we can all reward ourselves with a deep sad sigh at the state of humanity. Ready? 7.00am BST Hello, my name is Aprol Fiol and cows have got fingers now or whatever. ONLY JOKING! APRIL FOOL!If that’s the kind of high-concept japery you find amusing, then a) I hate you and b) you’ve come to the right place. Hello, my name is Stuart Heritage and this is The Guardian’s April Fools’ Day liveblog 2015. Over the next five hours, I’ll be bringing you all the April Fool gags from this morning’s papers and beyond, and it’s going to be a fun-filled, side-splitting, laugh-a-minute bantathon from beginning to end. Continue reading...
(Wed, 01 Apr 2015 06:00:26 GMT)

Why can’t English speakers say what they smell?
Researchers have found a tribe in the Malay peninsula rainforest who are markedly better than westerners at identifying aromasAs Ludwig Wittgenstein nearly wrote: “If a dog could talk, we could not understand him.” This is because while your average dog would be discoursing happily on thousands of subtle variations of smell, we humans, with our inferior nasal apparatus, would be unable to grasp what they were talking about. And our incomprehension might be the greater if we are unfortunate enough to be English speakers, according to a study by linguist Asifa Majid. She compared the fluency and discrimination of smelltalk between speakers of the Aslian languages (found on the Malay peninsula) and Anglophones. The latter came off a poor second. “It was hard for most English speakers to identify even the common smell of cinnamon,” Majid said.The Jahai hunter-gatherers Majid studied might be better at conversationally distinguishing smells, the study speculates, because they live in a tropical rainforest, while many native English speakers inhabit the post-industrial west, where all smells must be chemically eliminated. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:10:20 GMT)

What I learned when I met the monk who ran 1,000 marathons
In their quest for enlightenment the legendary monks of Mount Hiei put themselves through an excruciating endurance challenge: 1,000 days of long-distance running. Do they have any wisdom to share with us?Somewhere in the mountains around Kyoto live the marathon monks. Legend has it that the monks of Mount Hiei run 1,000 marathons in 1,000 days in their quest to reach enlightenment. Those who succeed become revered, as human Buddhas or living saints. It is rare that a monk embarks on the 1,000-day challenge, or kaihogyo, and even rarer that one completes it. In the last 130 years, only 46 men have managed it. I have come to Japan, hoping to meet one of them and to find out what they can teach a recreational runner about the path to spiritual wellbeing.I can’t, however, just walk up the mountain and knock at his door. Visits are by invitation only. So at a private temple in northern Kyoto I, with my translator friend Max, meet a woman who knows one of the monks. She tells me that they run in straw sandals. She once met one on the last day of his challenge and expected to see his feet all swollen and sore. “But they were smooth and clean,” she says. “As though he had been floating over the ground.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:54:46 GMT)

Nigeria's election of Muhammadu Buhari is truly revolutionary
People voted for change, and the hard-headed former military ruler who lives modestly will tackle insecurity and corruption – but expectations are highThe most valuable asset in politics is credibility. Politics is persuasion and “to be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible” wrote the American journalist Edward R Murrow.Muhammadu Buhari has just been elected as the next president of Nigeria by a margin of more than 2m votes because on the issues that mattered to Nigerians, he had more credibility than his rival, current president Goodluck Jonathan. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:00:07 GMT)

Daily Show's Trevor Noah under fire for Twitter jokes about Jews and women
The newly tapped host has been criticised for controversial tweets from past that some feel are out of step with the tone of the satirical news programTrevor Noah – the surprise choice to succeed Jon Stewart as high-profile host of satirical news program The Daily Show – has come under fire for a series of controversial tweets he posted before his appointment.The South African comedian – son of a Swiss-German father and half-Jewish South African mother – was criticised for having made tasteless jokes about Jews and women, raising questions among Daily Show fans about whether the comedian is right for the role.Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him, but Messi doesn't go down easy, just like jewish chicks. #ElClasicoOriginally when men proposed they went down on one knee so if the woman said no they were in the perfect uppercut position.A hot white woman with ass is like a unicorn. Even if you do see one, you'll probably never get to ride it.So I must make my woman fear my penis? RT @UberFacts: The more you fear something, the bigger it appears.Seriously? Already hate for @Trevornoah even though all his tweets were in the context of comedy? Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:05:42 GMT)

Disco 2015: Pulp’s charity-shop chic is back
Twenty years after Common People, Jarvis Cocker’s trademark style is influencing fashion again. It’s a 70s revival seen through the prism of the 90s – and you can be part of it even if you’re skintEven without seeing a picture of Pulp, the band’s back catalogue tells you this is a fashion-friendly band. The lyrics are full of crochet halter-neck tops and sky-blue trainer bras, bodies worn back to front, amateur porn-worthy get-ups, pencil skirts, baby-doll nighties, Jesus sandals, underwear, raincoats, trench coats and a diet of lipgloss and cigarettes. On Underwear, they even win a somewhat niche prize – the best line about a fashion insider ever: “If fashion is your trade then when you’re naked I guess you must be unemployed.” The pictures don’t disappoint either. Pulp are a band with a look. Throughout the 90s, the six members dressed like it was the 70s. They wore enough secondhand spoils to stock a branch of Oxfam – Jarvis Cocker in his now trademark 70s tailoring and NHS specs, sole female member Candida Doyle in her skinny-rib stripy jumpers, hotpants and ankle boots. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:27:43 GMT)

The day Joey Essex hijacked the Liberal Democrats' campaign tour
Reality TV star takes selfie with Nick Clegg, receives a Twitter apology from him and leaves aides starstruck – then it’s all aboard the battlebusOnly the Liberal Democrats would allow their key mental health press conference to be hijacked by the reality star Joey Essex. It’s hard to think of a more elegant way to say “we care”, short of sticking Nick Clegg in front of party branding reading: “You don’t have to be mad to work here – but it helps!”Arguably even more encouraging was the backstage buzz about the Only Way is Essex player among Lib Dem staffers, several of whom appeared to be mainlining stardust. “I think Nick enjoyed speaking to Joey,” one confided to another..@JoeyEssex_ Really nice to meet you this morning. Sorry about the early start! Hope the programme goes well! pic.twitter.com/QOyyIUSc1I Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:23:28 GMT)

Bird 'backpacks' help scientists discover the longest oversea migration
By fitting it with tiny geolocators, scientists have proven that the blackpoll warbler completes the longest known oversea journey for any land birdA tiny North American songbird migrates 1,500 miles non-stop over the Atlantic, scientists have discovered, in the longest known oversea journey for any land bird.The blackpoll warbler weighs only as much as a £2 coin and normally lives in forest environments, but once a year it embarks on a perilous three-day journey, scientists have found. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:00:00 GMT)

When I lost my irreplaceable New York guide, the city came to my rescue
Michael Middleditch’s famous guide celebrates the New York he loves. My copy was torn and battered and decidedly old-school – but I’m thrilled I found it againFor 12 years, every time I came to visit New York, it was with one constant companion: an indispensable guide book by Michael Middleditch called the New York Mapguide. Then I moved here one month ago, and almost instantly lost it.A slim and colourful street map written and illustrated by the former chief cartographer of Geographia, the book leaves ample room for notes and, over the course of a number of trips, I gradually began to mark down in the margins, in the gaps between streets, across the blue expanses of the Hudson and the East river the locations of bars, restaurants, hotels, barbers, art galleries, friends’ apartments and other places I would visit, along with notes about where I was going, who I was meeting and at what time. It was the pre-smartphone era.It was not hard to make New York my choice, for it gave me the chance to fulfil my early dreams in the city that epitomized for me at that time all that could be attained: like ‘Hoppity’ who had found a new life at the top of a skyscraper in my favorite cartoon, I too wanted to see this new life.In reality the lights were out in London and the aftermath of World War II had brought austerity to life in England. For this late traveller New York - Manhattan - in those days meant freedom, great noble skyscrapers (the tallest in the world) and music: the music I liked so much - the music that saw no reason to be the same every night. For me Manhattan was the real home of jazz … Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:41:49 GMT)

My hot tips for parents with a fat kid: feed them fun, kindness and dignity
Parents may not be able to recognise that their child is obese, according to a new study. Well that’s two fewer people making their offspring feel like a failureWe live in a culture where every inch of our physicality – every curve, pound, bulge, bone – in both public and private life, is obsessively monitored, catalogued, critiqued, and leveraged for cash. The worst thing you can be is always fat, the best thing you can be is never fat, and the richest thing you can be is formerly fat with a weight-loss book deal. So it’s almost alien to imagine that any human being on earth wouldn’t recognise a fat person when they see one. But, according to a new study published in the British Journal of General Practice, one demographic group struggles with just that blindspot. That group is parents, and it happens solely when they’re looking at their own fat children.Researchers studied almost 3,000 families in the UK, categorising children by BMI as “normal weight, overweight (above the 85th percentile), or very overweight (ie equivalent to obese in the US, above the 95th percentile).” They then asked parents to guess which category applied to their kids.Of the 369 kids who were very overweight, only four parents thought they were. Related: Obesity: parents unable to recognise if child is overweight Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:19:49 GMT)

Gap launches the 'dad short' – where do you sit in the family jean pool?
Gap has launched a pair of low rise and wide legged shorts – exactly what dad wears on holiday. From boyfriend jeans to nephew jeans, which family member do you sport? Assuming this season’s rather specific denim trends aren’t for you (quite possible if you hated the 1970s the first time round but, equally, find the prospect of wearing skinny or slimmy jeans again wholly dispiriting), there is good news: spring denim has broadened out into something more “family-orientated”. Gap has just launched its “dad shorts” – wide-legged denims – precisely the sort of thing your dad wears on holiday. “Fussy cuts are known to increase sales,” explains APC’s Jean Toutoiu after explaining why he launched his hybrid of stretch with raw denim which helped the label’s sales increase by 40% and which explains the rise and rise of the boyfriend jean (M&S, Topshop and Asos all have their own “boyfriend” jean section). Take Barack Obama, a defiant wearer of “dad” jeans: “The truth” he replied after much ridicule, “is I generally look very sharp in jeans.” Sure you do. So, with Easter in mind – a time of family and togetherness – here are five jean styles from the family tree. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:56:16 GMT)

Sequel to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium novels: title and cover revealed
The Girl in the Spider’s Web, continuing the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sequence, was written by David Lagercrantz and will be published worldwide this AugustFirst, there was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Then, she Played With Fire and Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Now, more than 10 years since Lisbeth Salander’s creator Stieg Larsson died, his British publisher is preparing for the release of the fourth novel in the bestselling Millennium series, which it has announced will be called The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:00:06 GMT)

Q: What makes Finnish teachers so special? A: It’s not brains
David Cameron argues we need to train the smartest to teach. But Finnish universities select only 10% of applicants – and not the cleverestWhen my niece was finishing school in Finland, more than anything else she wanted to become a primary teacher. Despite her genuine interest in teaching she failed to get into a teacher education programme at the University of Helsinki. She was smart and bright, yet she was not deemed qualified.This is not unusual. Finnish universities regularly turn away applicants such as my niece to try again or to study something else. In fact, Finnish primary school teacher education programmes that lead to an advanced, research-based degree are so popular among young Finns that only one in 10 applicants is accepted each year. Those lucky students then have to study for five to six years before they are allowed to teach a class of their own.A good step forward would be to admit that academically best students are not necessarily the best teachers Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:31:00 GMT)

Private Lives review – Noël Coward revival is like a chilled glass of vitriol
Octagon, BoltonElizabeth Newman ramps up the drama and her cast excel in a potent version of the classic comedyThe news that Elizabeth Newman will assume the artistic leadership of the Octagon from July is both a welcome and a natural development. The 29-year-old director joined the theatre five years ago, first as an assistant, then associate of artistic director David Thacker. In that time she has revitalised the theatre’s new writing programme, directed an eye-catching run of Christmas shows and now serves up a potent version of Private Lives that goes down like a chilled measure of vitriol in a long-stemmed glass.Many revivals of this play are so languid as to become almost parodic. Newman, on the other hand, cranks the dialogue as determinedly as Fiona Hampton’s manic Amanda winds up the gramophone before smashing the record to splinters over her ex-husband’s head. It’s an unarguably direct means of getting Harry Long’s blithe Elyot into the groove. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:00:10 GMT)

Singapore street food: stewed, sliced and steamed – video
A kaleidoscopic journey through Singapore's vibrant street-food scene, shaped over many years by local Malay, Indian and Chinese communities. Vendors ply their trade from noon till night, dedicated to the dishes they produce and the customers they serve. Made by the Delhi-based audio-visual collective Blot (Basic Love Of Things)More from Blot: Mumbai's chaotic sights and sounds Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 05:00:00 GMT)

Patently ridiculous: thong diapers, beer umbrellas and other strange US patents
As the US Patent Office closes in on issuing its nine-millionth patent, we look back on some of its most legendary triumphs Unless you belong to the insular and wonkish world which is obsessed with patent law and intellectual property, an upcoming milestone might escape you: the US Patent Office is on the verge of issuing its nine-millionth patent.The agency issued its most recent posted patent, US 8,990,961 B2, on 24 March.Patent 9,000,000 Watch: As of today, latest issuing US patent is 8,990,961, issued to IBM for #MeasuringSystem. 9,000,000 issuing March 31. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:00:07 GMT)

England break Italy’s grip thanks to Andros Townsend’s late strike
• Five talking points from the friendly in Turin• Dominic Fifield: Italy give Kane real taste of international football As Gary Lineker volunteered, let’s hope Harry Kane can come out of this worrying goals slump. England’s man of the moment found it difficult on his first start although in fairness he was not the only one struggling for momentum before the substitute Andros Townsend sugarcoated the occasion with a splendid equalising goal.Townsend ought to cherish the moment he took aim from over 20 yards out and produced a shot with the power and precision to beat a goalkeeper of Gianluigi Buffon’s distinction. The ball was still rising as it hit the net and England could conceivably have gone on to win from that point. Wayne Rooney could reflect on three second-half chances without managing to get the goal that would have drawn him level with Lineker’s total of 48 England goals and got him closer still to Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 49. Related: England’s Andros Townsend hits back at critics after Italy draw Related: Italy 1-1 England: five talking points from the friendly in Turin | Simon Burnton Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:51:54 GMT)

Incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves goes to bat for four-day Tests
• Interest in long-form game waning worldwide• ‘Personally, I think we should look at four-day Test cricket’• ECB document proposes fewer Tests and new T20 eventThe incoming England & Wales Cricket Board chairman, Colin Graves, has confirmed he will push for the introduction of four-day Test matches in a bid to reverse dwindling global interest in the format.While attendances in England will inevitably be strong during this Ashes summer, there are growing fears that less attractive opposition might fail to pull in the crowds. It follows a worldwide trend that has seen audiences for Test cricket lag behind the 20- and 50-over forms of the game. Related: Australia back thirtysomethings for Ashes in bid to keep winning run going Related: Mitchell Starc shines brightest among the new generation of stars | The Spin Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:30:48 GMT)

Holland give Guus Hiddink some breathing space with Spain victory
Holland beat Spain 2-0 in a friendly on Tuesday to earn embattled coach Guus Hiddink some breathing space after a poor start to his second term in charge of the Dutch national team.Center back Stefan de Vrij and midfielder Davy Klaassen scored first-half goals for the home side in the morale-boosting victory. Related: Portugal 0-2 Cape Verde | Friendly international match report Related: Italy 1-1 England | Friendly international match report Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:01:16 GMT)

European Challenge Cup at risk of becoming rugby’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy
What should be the Uefa Cup or Europa League of rugby union is struggling for relevance because, as far as the French clubs are concerned, the competition is no longer worth the hassle• Talking points from the weekend’s Premiership actionA distinct hint of deja vu swirls around this weekend’s European Champions Cup quarter-finals. A decade ago, as now, three of the four ties in the last eight were hosted by French clubs, while Leinster entertained English opposition in Dublin. Of those French sides, all reached the semi-finals and two of them – Toulouse and Stade Français – contested the final.Things may or may not unfold similarly this time but it is a very different story if you dig a little deeper into the Euro pyramid. Ten years ago there were five Top 14 sides in the European Challenge Cup last eight; now there are none. As far as the French are concerned, European club rugby’s second-tier competition is no longer worth the hassle. Related: World Cup ticket website keeps angry fans waiting more than seven hours Related: Wasps to contest Nathan Hughes RFU three-week ban, says Dai Young Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:00:56 GMT)

Muhammad Ali ‘rooting for Manny Pacquiao’ in Floyd Mayweather fight
• Daughter Rasheda says: ‘He’s a huge fan of Manny’• ‘It’s about what he does outside the ring’• Fight announced amid glitz of Los Angeles• Winner to be presented with million-dollar beltMuhammad Ali’s daughter says that the former heavyweight champion is rooting for Manny Pacquiao in the forthcoming fight against Floyd Mayweather.Rasheda Ali told TMZ Sports: “My dad is Team Pacquiao all the way.” She added: “My dad really likes Manny. He’s a huge fan of his. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 08:39:12 GMT)

Switzerland v USA – as it happened
United States score first, concede late in 1-1 draw against SwissAltidore red card leaves US scrambling over final 25 minutesMatch report: Swiss prove no respite for USA’s late-game woes 2.03pm ET For the seventh time since the World Cup, the United States has held a second-half lead. They’ve only won two of those matches, yet most will consider today’s 1-1 draw – on the road against a very good Swiss side playing a man down for 25 minutes – a positive result for Klinsmann’s men. A far more cohesive and tactically sound showing for the US team after last week’s lackluster outing against the Danes. An encouraging performance moving forward. 2.00pm ET 90+2 min: No meaningful chances for either time in stoppage time so far. 1.58pm ET 90 min: Three minutes of stoppage time. Should be an interesting ride. 1.56pm ET 88 min: Two more subs for the US: Tim Ream on for Alfredo Morales, Jordan Morris on for Gyasi Zardes.More subs coming for the #USMNT! pic.twitter.com/0dFCQMzi4p 1.54pm ET 85 min: Into the final five minutes here in Zurich. Can the Americans hold on for a draw? Yarbrough taking a leisurely time on that six-yard kick, suggesting the 10-man US aren’t exactly in a hurry to made a go for the three points. 1.51pm ET 83 min: A foul by Chandler 25 yards from the net gives the Swiss yet another dangerous set-piece opportunity. 1.48pm ET The Swiss score on their seventh corner of the match. That was inevitable.Stocker ties it up with 10 minutes to go as Switzerland take advantage of being up a man. #USMNT http://t.co/hJ9RucmGLw 1.47pm ET 78 min: Confusion in the back for the US. Widmer’s low cross is saved and cleared from immediate danger, but not entirely. It’s worked back in by Widmer and deflected backward by Brooks: nearly an own goal. The Swiss really turning the screw here. 1.44pm ET 76 min: Yedlin on for the United States in place of Bedoya. 1.44pm ET 74 min: The Swiss really threatening now. Shaqiri finds a teammate along the back post that’s saved by Yarbrough, then another for Kasami that misses the mark. A total of three headers for the Swiss inside the six-yard box just now and nothing to show for it. Getting frenetic for the US in the back. 1.42pm ET 72 min: Yet another substitution for the Swiss: Seferovic on, Fernandes off. 1.37pm ET 68 min: Altidore is sent off after a sequence along the left flank that saw him nick a Swiss player from behind then (clearly) swear at the Italian referee. A yellow for the foul, a second for the dissent. The US will be playing the rest of the way with 10 men. OptaJack notes the US had gone without a red card since January 2012.Jozy Altidore is sent off for swearing at the referee. #USMNT down to 10 men with 15 minutes to go on @FOXSports1. http://t.co/I2z3vPNxr9 1.34pm ET 66 min: A clattering challenge by Bradley there on the Swiss right back but he avoids the referee’s book. 1.30pm ET 62 min: Altidore wins a free kick. Bradley fires it toward the near post but Switzerland clears. 1.29pm ET 60 min: Here we are at the hour mark with the US nursing a 1-0 lead and the Swiss gaining steam with five substitutions on the field. Ten of the 14 goals conceded by the United States since the World Cup have come after the 60th minute. 1.24pm ET 55 min: Fan favorite Embolo on for Switzerland – a Cameroonian-born teenager making his first international appearance – in place of Drmic. 1.22pm ET 52 min: Another great ball from Chandler targeting Zardes in the area forces the keeper off his line. He punches it away but it falls to Bradley, but it’s recovered nicely by Xhaka before the captain can put it on net. 1.18pm ET 49 min: Zardes very nearly makes it 2-0 for the US there. A speculative ball in from Chandler finds the Swiss keeper hesitant to come off his line. Zardes manages to out-jump him to head it toward the net, but it just bounces wide. 1.17pm ET 46 min: We’re underway in the second half in Zurich. Young goalkeeper William Yarbrough getting the start for the US in the second half in place of Rimando, along with Ventura Alvarado in place of Orozco.Four subs for the Swiss team: Stocker, Widmer, Xhaka and Kasami on for Frei, Fernandes, Lichtsteiner and Shaqiri. 1.02pm ET The US were edged in the possession battle, but earned three solid chances before striking gold on the fourth with Shea’s gorgeous free-kick goal from 20 yards – his fourth international goal and second of 2015. The Americans looking incredibly comfortable in today’s 4-4-2. More efficiently applied pressure and better movement off ball. Overall a more cohesive display. 12.59pm ET A beautifully struck ball by Brek Shea on the edge of the area is powered into the top-right corner, leaving the Swiss keeper frozen in his tracks and giving the US the lead right before half-time. What a goal. The United States’ first free-kick goal since August 2013.Brek Shea gives #USMNT the 1-0 lead just before halftime with a perfect free kick. http://t.co/q7v9qREd9q 12.55pm ET 44 min: Morales brought down by Inler on the edge of the area and the US will have a quite dangerous set-piece opportunity here near the end of the half. 12.55pm ET 43 min: This guy.Jurgen. pic.twitter.com/12vUnBs7wH 12.53pm ET 39 min: Bad mistake by Chandler to completely lose track of Shaqiri, who darts by himself up the left flank and crosses to Mehmedi, who badly misses a sitter. 12.49pm ET 37 min: Long ball to Drmic into the area, but he’s held up just long enough – first by Orozco – for three defenders to close and snuff out the danger. Switzerland wins its first corner of the match, but Shaqiri sends it harmlessly long and the US wins a goal kick. A fine effort by Orozco thus far today. 12.48pm ET 34 min: Switzerland looking a bit disoriented and vulnerable as the US move quickly into the counter-attack. The Americans win their first corner of the game. Bradley – either trying to replicate the Olimpico he scored against Panama or (more likely) to find Altidore on the back post – puts it just out of play. 12.45pm ET 31 min: Another chance for the Americans but a header by Bedoya off the cross by Shea is fired directly at Burki’s solar plexus. 12.43pm ET 29 min: Preemptive joke watch from Elliot Turner, who will be happy to know I’ve never had a taste for low-hanging fruit.I beg of you, no Swiss cheese jokes. As any connoisseur knows, that cheese is actually relatively hard and lacks any odor. Why not pick on Feta cheese, which crumbles easily and gets stinky when in a humid area? 12.40pm ET 26 min: A great chance for the US! Chander all the way up from right back plays it into Altidore, who gives to Bedoya, who finds Bradley on a well-timed through ball. The ball takes a tricky bounce but the captain will lament missing that sitter.Michael Bradley misses biggest chance of the game so far for the #USMNT. http://t.co/w4mOrpbL6w 12.35pm ET 23 min: After a quiet spell for both sides, Brek Shea fouls Shaqiri giving the Swiss a dangerous free-kick opportunity. Five men in the box for Switzerland. Poorly taken by Shaqiri, a low cross easily cleared by Bradley. The sun is back out here. 12.31pm ET 17 min: Bradley leads a 3-v-3 break for the US, but it’s snuffed out by the Swiss defense. Americans looking more cohesive than last week, with less rudderless, sideways passing than against Denmark. 12.27pm ET 15 min: First real threat as Bedoya dribbling up the right side curls a gorgeous ball that finds Zardes in space, but he mishits the volley. Best chance of the match for either side.Zardes....that is a diving header kid, no 2 ways about it. #SUIvUSA 12.22pm ET 12 min: Bradley and the Americans trying to pressure the Swiss high, but it has yet to faze the hosts. A note on today’s teams:FWIW ... today's Switzerland lineup has six guys that started in World Cup loss to Argentina. USMNT has two from the loss to Belgium. 12.20pm ET 9 min: Switzerland forcing the Americans to chase. They work the ball into the area where Drmic uncoils a shot that’s blocked by Chandler. 12.18pm ET 6 min: A quick break for the Swiss off a turnover but Orozco instinctively intercepts a Shaqiri through ball. Switzerland beginning to move the ball well. 12.16pm ET 4 min: First thing resembling danger as Zardes darts with the ball past his man up the right side towards the goal line and delivers a low cross into the area, but no one is there and it skids harmlessly past the goal. 12.14pm ET 3 min: Teams have traded possession early, feeling one another out. Bradley, earning his 95th cap today but only second as captain (after last week’s first), seems to be playing higher up than usual. 12.11pm ET 1 min: And we’re off. The US attacking from left to right wearing the new blue away kits they debuted against Denmark last week. Switzerland in all-white straps from right to left. 12.07pm ET Not much longer nowThe teams are out of the tunnel and the anthems are underway. Kickoff any minute now.The teams walk out and here's the Star-Spangled Banner! Some U-S-A chants after it ends! Now Switzerland's anthem. pic.twitter.com/aq7wWQ0uGs 12.05pm ET Klinsmann: Players need to provide short-term resultsJurgen Klinsmann spoke with FOX Sports ahead of today’s friendly. A quick excerpt:I think the biggest opportunity is the players realize this is now a very special phase in their careers. Not only the Golf Cup. Everything is like a chain reaction, everything that happens afterwards builds on this summer. If you win the Gold Cup, we’re qualified for the Confederations Cup. We’ll have Copa America in 2016, then Confederations Cup [in 2017] leading into the World Cup in 2018. We already started that process. The players need to realize that we look at them already in the long term, but they have to also provide short-term results. It’s really important that everybody is on top of that message. We want to see that personality now coming out of the players to take their careers in their own hands and prove to us and everybody else out there what they have. 11.57am ET The sun is out in ZurichA crowd of 15,000 expected for today’s friendly. Expected kickoff at 12.08pm ET.Sun is out in Zurich as warmups conclude! #USAvSUI pic.twitter.com/7w5KQ8Zp3W 11.55am ET Throwback TuesdayThe United States’ most memorable match against Switzerland came before 77,000 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome in their opening match of USA 1994, where they drew 1-1 to log their first World Cup points in 44 years. SI.com has a thoroughly enjoyable photo gallery from the match – and those sartorially stupendous denim kits. 11.47am ET Newsy notesSome pre-match notes, courtesy of US Soccer. 11.39am ET Fabian Johnson outFabian Johnson (illness) omitted from matchday squad. #USMNT 11.37am ET Too much tinkering, Jurgen“I’d like to see Jurgen show a little more consistency and continuity in his line-up choices,” writes Daniel Strauss. “This team tends to give off the impression that they aren’t all that familiar with each other. At some point, to pick a random spot, Klinsmann has to settle on a back four and let those guys get time together. Then again, I don’t make the big bucks for a reason.” 11.32am ET The teams!Switzerland: Burki; Lichtsteiner, Schär, von Bergen, Mobandje; Frei, Inler (c), Fernandes; Drmic, Shaqiri, Mehmedi 11.28am ET Welcome to Zurich’s Stadion Letzigrund where the US national team is roughly 35 minutes from kickoff of today’s tangle with Switzerland, the second of five high-profile friendlies ahead of July’s Concacaf Gold Cup. While it’s admittedly early in the World Cup cycle, there’s no doubt a sense of discomfort has emerged regarding the US team’s extended funk. Jurgen Klinsmann’s men have won just two of 11 matches since defeating Ghana in their group-stage opener. Even more harrowing is the Americans’ alarming penchant for late-match swoons: they’ve conceded seven goals after the 80th minute in as many matches, including two in a 3-2 loss to Denmark on Wednesday. It's a blustery afternoon in Zurich. Expecting 15,000 for #USAvSUI pic.twitter.com/PQXcUQzekB 11.00am ET Bryan will be here shortly, in the meantime here’s a little something from Graham Parker on one of the country’s most talented prospects:Monday’s news that Haji Wright, the 17-year-old US prospect, had signed with the New York Cosmos offset what’s been a difficult week for the North American Soccer League (NASL).The announcement of Minnesota United as the latest MLS expansion team last week, was greeted with congratulations through gritted teeth by their current home NASL, which has done its best to portray that deal as an endorsement of its own league’s quality, but whose staff privately feel aggrieved by what they see as yet another encroachment on their terrain by MLS. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:05:00 GMT)

Katherine Grainger: ‘Real life can be complicated and chaotic. Rowing is beautifully simple’
After a two-year break the four-times Olympic medallist has set her sights on a fifth in Rio and she is relishing the opportunity, despite being ‘far from the finished product’• More 2016 Olympic Games news“You come back and you begin to understand that it’s quite a surreal way of living,” Katherine Grainger says on a quiet morning in Berkshire as, alongside a sun-dappled Caversham Lake, she considers her return to the searing focus of training and racing as an elite athlete. Since winning Olympic gold as a rower at London 2012, Grainger has been fulfilled off the water. She has already told me stories as amusing as they are illuminating about her subsequent life – from the deadline-devouring madness of completing her PhD in criminal law, with homicide at its heart, to writing a book, to succeeding Shami Chakrabarti as chancellor of Oxford Brookes University to, exhilaratingly for her, meeting Sofie Grabol who played Sarah Lund in The Killing.Yet even an encounter with the compelling lead character in Grainger’s favourite television series lacks the intensity of her rowing comeback after a two-year break. Her ambition to compete in a fifth straight Olympics next year, having won medals at each of the last four Games, has offered Grainger renewed insight into the brutal simplicity of sport. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:01:29 GMT)

Radamel Falcao hopes for starring role in Manchester United’s run-in
• Struggling striker has found form for Colombia during international break• United’s Falcao scores twice as Colombia thrash Bahrain • Falcao: I need to find a club where I can playRadamel Falcao says he will return to Manchester United with renewed confidence after moving another step closer to becoming Colombia’s all-time record goalscorer.The 29-year-old has struggled to make the impact many expected of him at Old Trafford after joining on a season-long loan from Monaco, and the question of whether he has a long-term future at United has been the subject of much speculation. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:26:38 GMT)

New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum signs for Birmingham Bears for T20 Blast
• McCullum to join Birmingham Bears for their final seven matches• New Zealand captain will arrive after country’s tour of England ends• Read Andy Bull’s latest edition of The Spin• New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori confirms international retirementBirmingham Bears have pulled off a major coup for the NatWest T20 Blast with the signing of the New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.The champions will be able to call on the services of the powerful 33-year-old batsman for their final seven matches of this year’s competition. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:45:58 GMT)

Andre Ward opens door for Carl Froch rematch in UK – but not Nottingham
• Ward open to idea of facing Froch at Wembley• ‘The UK is one thing, Nottingham is something different’• Amir Khan says he ‘would love’ to fight Kell BrookThe American super-middleweight Andre Ward has opened the door to a UK-based rematch with Carl Froch but is unwilling to travel to his rival’s home city of Nottingham.The WBA has ordered a second meeting between its regular world champion, Froch, and Ward, who holds its “Super World” title. The 31-year-old Californian turned in a typically masterful display of slick defence and astute attack to outpoint Froch in their December 2011 meeting for the WBC and WBA crowns in Atlantic City. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:01:05 GMT)

Jacqui Oatley to join ITV as sports presenter from next season
• Channel hails ‘first-class addition to team’• Oatley to anchor football shows on ITV4 Jacqui Oatley is to join ITV as a sports presenter from the beginning of the next football season, the channel has announced.The first female commentator on Match of the Day will anchor football shows on ITV4 as well as some coverage of matches on the main ITV channel. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:53:27 GMT)

Leeds’ Neil Redfearn says club’s young talent is ‘tip of the iceberg’
Coach speaks with passion about ‘massive assets’: young players breaking into Leeds United first team and further talent emerging in academy• Leeds novices befuddle Millwall to inspire hope after chaosOne year on from Massimo Cellino’s Leeds United takeover and for the first time in a while, there is an opportunity to draw breath at Elland Road. It may not last long but for Neil Redfearn and his young side it is certainly well deserved – chaos exchanged for calm at a club that has provided more than a fair share of drama in recent times.Such are the circumstances that Redfearn has been able to spend some of the international break tuning Leeds’ pre-season plans. They cannot possibly be any more slapdash than last year’s, when the players made their own packed lunches in northern Italy and won one game 16-0 against opponents more accustomed to waiting on tables. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:59:00 GMT)

Immigration: the big issue that the left just can’t get right
Ukip and the Tories dominate the immigration debate with questions about economic costs and benefits. It’s time for Labour to start talking about what ‘British values’ really are. After all, humanity has a worth beyond moneyEverything was, very briefly, going OK for the Labour party, and then it brought out its immigration mug. It was a simple red mug, with the words “Controls on Immigration”; it is one of the party’s five pledges. The others are either infuriatingly vague (“An NHS with time to care”) or pointlessly catch-all (“A country where the next generation can do better than the last”). But the immigration pledge is the worst, having neither any foundation in policy (bar some very mild notions of benefit-parsimony), nor any basis in politics. Plus, who would drink from that? The party doesn’t even understand what a mug is for. Related: Diane Abbott: Labour's 'controls on immigration' mugs are shameful Related: What has immigration ever done for us? | Philippe Legrain Related: Open borders or fair wages: the left needs to make up its mind | Paul Ormerod Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:27:24 GMT)

The stuff of Tory nightmares: what if Ed Miliband connects?
The Labour leader that voters see in this election campaign may not tally with the monstrous caricature of Conservative creationHuge amounts of energy in politics are spent measuring the unmeasurable. Opinion polls tell us only how people think they would vote, and those answers are as fallible as every human effort at self-knowledge. Focus groups are meant to dig deeper, mining swing voters’ moods with metaphors. If each party was a house, what would it look like? What if each leader was a car? An animal? A biscuit?Since most people, most of the time, are not paying attention to politics, the parties obsess about what has “cut through”. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:38:58 GMT)

We'll meet again: Dirty Nigel pines for the 1950s as he visits Little Britain
Ukip always took pride in its lack of professionalism but now there is also a noticeable lack of energy. Its leader has even been seen with a coffee Welcome to Vodafone France. In St Margaret’s, four miles east of Dover, you can’t just see France on a clear day, you are connected to it. I don’t know. They come over here and take over our phones: I always knew we were better off with a decent landline. Still, if you close your eyes and listen carefully you can still hear the voice of Vera Lynn echoing off the white cliffs. Just along the beach are the houses where Ian Fleming and Noël Coward once lived. And in the Coastguard pub car park is a new Ukip immigration poster waiting to be unveiled.Shortly before 11am, a bodyguard self-sculpted to look a bit like a rough-trade Jamie Redknapp corralled 15 local Ukip supporters into standing beneath the mobile poster van. Each had been given a placard to turn round when given the command. One had to be reminded he was holding his the wrong way up: another, a woman in her 70s wearing a Peruvian knit cardigan, looked as if she might be moonlighting from the Lib Dems. “How dare you!” she said with a laugh. “And the cardy is Moroccan.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:42:24 GMT)

Politicians say all the right things about mental health – but where’s the action?
It’s not enough to legislate for parity of services between mental and physical health. Without a change of mindset and proper funding nothing will changeIn the aftermath of last week’s horrific plane crash in the Alps, attitudes to mental health seem to have taken a step backwards after years of progress. We now need a more positive approach to mental illness.For the past few years, the main political parties have been trying to outdo each other when it comes to talking up what they would do to improve mental health services. They have all shown a firm commitment to NHS England’s manifesto in kind, the Five Year Forward View, which seeks to link up health and social care, shift the focus from secondary to community care, and bridge the divide between mental and physical health. Related: Nick Clegg: don’t let Andreas Lubitz distort views about mental illness Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:36:54 GMT)

‘Wealth creators’ are robbing our most productive people
Lives are being trashed by klepto-remuneration: theft through excess rewards to rapacious bossesThere is an inverse relationship between utility and reward. The most lucrative, prestigious jobs tend to cause the greatest harm. The most useful workers tend to be paid least and treated worst.I was reminded of this while listening last week to a care worker describing her job. Carole’s company gives her a rota of, er, three half-hour visits an hour. It takes no account of the time required to travel between jobs, and doesn’t pay her for it either, which means she makes less than the minimum wage. During the few minutes she spends with a client, she may have to get them out of bed, help them on the toilet, wash them, dress them, make breakfast and give them their medicines. If she ever gets a break, she told the BBC radio programme You and Yours, she spends it with her clients. For some, she is the only person they see all day. Related: We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, because all human life depends on it | George Monbiot As the pay gap widens the uselessness ratio is going through the roof Related: What’s the link between this great rail disaster and 2014’s floods? Killing trees | George Monbiot Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:29:39 GMT)

Men don’t worry about their sperm count – but they should
Male fertility in the west is in crisis. But, thanks to a lack of anxiety among men, we haven’t yet taken the problem seriouslyScientists at Harvard have found that men who eat a lot of pesticide-coated fruit and vegetables have fewer and less healthy sperm than those who do not. The authors stress that this should not be a cause for panic measures or a change in dietary habits. The study only researched men attending a fertility clinic, who might not be representative of the general population, and while the differences were measurable and statistically significant, they were not huge.Nonetheless, if you are a man who is worried about your sperm count and fertility.... Whoa, wait right there, what am I thinking? If you are a man, of course you are not worried about your sperm count and fertility, that is simply not something men do. As young bloods we jokingly wish for infertility, allowing us to sow our wild oats without any inconvenient crops being harvested nine months later. In later life, we might continue to stress about our sexual performance, erectile function, the size of the prize or the middle-age spread, but the health and wealth of the little swimmers rarely warrants a second thought. Related: IVF and the NHS: the parents navigating fertility's postcode lottery Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:35:14 GMT)

Brawl between Alliance Trust and Elliott Advisors needs a new script
The ongoing scrap is getting repetitive. The proposed boardroom election could introduce some fresh thinking but candidates will need to placate the doubtersWe all enjoy a good corporate punch-up but the great Alliance Trust v Elliott Advisors scrap needs a new plotline. The only decent gag in yesterday’s dispatch from Elliott was its lofty line accusing Alliance of resorting “to personal attacks in a manner unbecoming of directors of a public company”. Ho ho. Elliott is a US hedge fund most famous for seizing an Argentinian naval vessel in a dispute over debt. These guys are not softies. They can dish it out, and they can take a personal attack or two. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:56:58 GMT)

Steve Bell on David Cameron's employment statistics – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:30:33 GMT)

Goading a vulnerable person to jump to their death is sickening
Reality TV, smartphones and social media may be reducing our ability to distinguish real life from entertainment, and our capacity to empathiseIn an incident so sickening it is hard to find words to describe it, a man in Telford is reported to have fallen to his death after being goaded into jumping by a crowd of onlookers. In a case reminiscent of that of Shaun Dykes, the 17-year-old who died in 2008 after jumping from a Derby city centre car park following taunts from the crowd below, Ian Lam, 42, apparently fell as police were trying to talk him down, to shouts of “jump” from the crowd below, some of whom were reportedly filming the incident on their phones.An inquest will be held into Lam’s death and we must wait for the coroner’s report to establish exactly what happened. In Dykes’s case, the coroner ruled that those who were taunting him were “responsible, at least in part, for his death”. But no one has ever been arrested or charged for their role in the incident. Indeed, one of the police officers involved is reported as saying that there was “no specific offence” that people could be charged with if they were merely passing comments. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:00:04 GMT)

Sod 70! I hate being one of 'the elderly' but not for the reasons you may think
Problems arise from attempts to describe the ageing population as a single entity because of the huge age rangeI am now one of “the elderly” and I hate it. Not being 70, I hasten to add – I am very glad to be in reasonable health after a life punctuated by polio, acute renal failure and a heart attack, but I hate the term “the elderly”. Problems result from any attempt to describe the ageing population as a single entity because of the huge age range, from 65 to 105. No one would attempt to generalise from birth to 40, or 40 to 80, so why generalise about “the elderly”? Related: Who are you calling old? Let’s ditch ageist stereotypes Related: Death is life's finale and should not be cut short Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 08:28:31 GMT)

Precious, fragile, easily squandered. Is there any hope for trust?
The British public is reeling from scandals afflicting many UK institutions – the media among them; we are in danger of losing a prize that will not be easily won backWe’ve suffered a cascade of “scandals”; from the financial crisis of 2008, to the parliamentary expenses catastrophe, press misdeeds and police malpractice. Never far away, deep anxiety about business ethics. Little wonder the public find themselves reeling from mistrust of the entire system.You would have hoped that any observer of these events might have taken note of the enormous premium the public place on trust and authenticity. Some hope. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 19:02:44 GMT)

The decline of B&Q is a hammer blow for lesbians
The DIY chain has long been integral to lesbian culture. The closure of 60 of its stores may spell the end for many a Sapphic romance in its aislesThe announcement that B&Q is closing 60 of its stores in the UK and Ireland over the next two years is not normally the kind of news that makes me sit up and notice. Full confession here: I have literally never, ever changed a plug, or a lightbulb, let alone put up a shelf. Nor do I get a man in to help with such DIY necessities. There is always a lezzer around to oblige, ready and waiting with a tool belt and ill-fitting jeans.It was obvious B&Q was in trouble when it tried to pull in customers recently by highlighting special offers on duct tape and other bondage paraphernalia off the back of the Fifty Shades nonsense, and that sort of put me off the place. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:13:48 GMT)

Cameron's attacks on Miliband may end up helping Labour
Cameron’s obsession with his supposedly too-weak-for-the-job rival tells us something important about the Tory leader’s own confidence, or lack thereofIn 1983 Margaret Thatcher did not stand outside No 10 and attack Michael Foot as a weak leader. She knew better than to lower herself to the same level as a weak opponent.Which is what makes the prime minister’s latest round of personal attacks on Ed Miliband so interesting. Cameron’s language towards him is increasingly searing, having just launched his campaign accusing Miliband’s Labour of being “hypocritical holier-than-thou, hopeless, sneering socialists” alongside frequent attacks on his “weakness”. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:40:54 GMT)

Let’s salute Nick Clegg’s final voyage as the good ship Lib Dem sinks
Nick Clegg cannily played the role of kingmaker in the last parliament and got a cabinet full of Lib Dems and a coalition that lasted. But it’s all over nowDanger: Deep Water, said the sign behind Nick Clegg as he visited a hedgehog farm yesterday. The Liberal Democrat leader was starting his election campaign in unpromising surroundings. As he steers his ship towards disaster he can at least show elegant irony.The Lib Dems could once wield the power of kingmakers in a hung parliament. Now that role has been usurped by the Scottish Nationalists. The party is overtaken in the polls by Ukip, and in some places by the Greens. It has never been easy to define the concept of “liberal democracy” in Britain. Now it is unnecessary. There is competition even for the “dustbin” vote, and from parties with targeted causes. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:50:36 GMT)

Richard III has inspired a foul plot to dig up Shakespeare
What could we possibly want to discover from the Bard’s bones? The thing that made him extraordinary was his brain – no one is going to unearth thatA South African academic reckons it’s time to dig up William Shakespeare. Inspired by the revelations about Richard III, recently liberated from a car park in Leicester, professor Francis Thackeray of Wits University, in Johannesburg, claims he is “very interested by the possibility” of subjecting Shakespeare to the same treatment. “Given the extraordinary success of the study of the skeleton of Richard III,” Thackeray says, “we recognise the potential of undertaking forensic analyses of the Bard.” This is apparently not an April fool, despite the season.Thackeray has form: in 2011 he applied to have Shakespeare’s remains exhumed, only to have the request turned down. Remarkable as it seems, the custodians of Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon – the playwright is buried somewhere beneath the chancel – were unconvinced by the validity of his research, which stems from his belief that Shakespeare smoked pot. (If Thackeray thinks that’s what “noted weed” means in Sonnet 76, he needs to buy a dictionary.) They were also no doubt swayed by the fact that Shakespeare himself made a point of pleading with subsequent generations to leave him be. In what might be the last piece of verse he composed (if not, perhaps, his finest poetical hour), his epitaph reads: “Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare / To digg the dust encloased heare / Blese be the man that spares thes stones / And curst be he that moves my bones.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:01:40 GMT)

This murder in Ireland has made me rethink my sexual practices
Elaine O’Hara was killed by a man with whom she was involved in a BDSM relationship. As a BDSM participant myself, I wonder if we can continue to deny any links between kinky sex and wider societal abuse of womenIn Dublin, Graham Dwyer, a married architect, has been convicted of the murder of Elaine O’Hara, a childcare worker with whom he was engaged in a BDSM relationship. The motive was sexual gratification. O’Hara was vulnerable, suffering from mental health issues, and Dwyer exploited this, banking on the likelihood that her disappearance would be read as suicide. He hid evidence of the murder at the bottom of a reservoir. If it were not for 2013’s unusually hot, dry summer, that’s where the truth would have remained, and Dwyer would be walking free.A woman is dead: another victim of intimate partner violence. And treating her death with due respect should mean an examination of the social context that allowed a man to convince a woman that his sexual desire to stab and kill her was within the bounds of the acceptable. It should mean attention to the cultural mainstreaming of BDSM. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:11:00 GMT)

There is no shortcut to protect children from violent video games
Age ratings and threatening parents with police intervention aren’t the answer. Parents need to know what their children are playing and judge for themselvesAt last! Another reason for everyone to get over-excited about video games. Thanks, headteachers’ group from Cheshire that sent a brick-subtle letter to parents threatening the involvement of the police and social services if their children are allowed access to violent video games. This is terrific work. Related: Headteachers ​threaten to contact police over children playing 18-rated games Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:38:51 GMT)

Making dissections of cadavers public helps us embrace life, as well as death
Our culture, awash with representations of violence and murder, is squeamish about dying. If we could contemplate our own mortality, we’d be a lot happierThe recent reports about the return of public anatomy lectures to the UK have divided opinion. As a trained modern pathology technician who runs a Victorian pathology museum, I have dissected cadavers myself and spent a long time researching and teaching the history of pathology. I have one foot in the past and one in the future (albeit both firmly attached to my legs), which gives me a unique perspective on the topic.Recent headlines such as “First public dissections to be held since Burke and Hare” are damaging to anatomy and are not isolated occurrences. The retained organs scandal which came to light in the 1990s at Alder Hey and other hospitals, was widely covered in the media, which employed terms like “ghoulish” and also referred to “body snatchers” to fan the flames of public outrage. It led to the formation of the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) in the UK, a regulatory body which licenses premises where human remains are held – mortuaries, labs and pathology museums – and ensures that consent is properly obtained. It’s beneficial to most of us, but it is also the reason that many medical museums are not open to the public or, as in mine, that only half the specimens are on show. Related: We’ll all die one day. Isn’t it time we got used to the idea? | Tim Lott Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:30:01 GMT)

Will Jay Z's Tidal service be washed away by Spotify?
Tidal copies Spotify’s basic setup. Will the promise of better quality audio and celebrity endorsees really help it carve out its slice of the market?“We didn’t like the direction music was going and thought maybe we could get in and strike an honest blow and if, you know, the very least we did was make people wake up and try to improve the free v paid system, and promote fair trade, then it would be a win for us anyway.”That’s Jay Z in Billboard, explaining the logic behind Tidal, the streaming service he officially launched on 30 March. There’s more to it than that, though a big chunk of it is about trying to get people to pay for music again. There’s also, for example, Jay Z’s desire to make Tidal a sort of creative salon, where “artists come here and start making songs that are 18 minutes long, or whatever. I know this is going to sound crazy, but maybe they start attempting to make a Like a Rolling Stone.” Bravely, Jay Z suggested “this platform will allow art to flourish”. Related: Jay Z aims to topple Spotify with music streaming service Tidal Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:16:13 GMT)

Superdrug criticised by doctors for stocking genetic self-testing kits
Campaigners also accuse high street chain of ‘acting irresponsibly’ after retailer teams up with 23andMe to sell products currently banned in the USThe leader of Britain’s GPs has warned that doctors are “extremely worried” by the sale of genetic self-testing kits by the Superdrug chain which started on Tuesday.Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, suggested the move would lead to “unnecessary worry and anxiety” for patients and have huge implications for doctors already struggling to care for those with increasingly complex diseases. Related: DNA-screening test 23andMe launches in UK after US ban Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:59:43 GMT)

Police officer killed and daughter injured on 'lethal' Swansea road
Off-duty police sergeant Louise Lucas killed and daughter, 8, injured in collision with bus on ‘dangerous’ Swansea city centre roadAn off-duty police officer has died and her young daughter has been taken to hospital following a collision on a “confusing” city centre road dubbed dangerous by safety campaigners.Emergency services were called to Swansea’s Kingsway following the collision between the two pedestrians, aged 41 and eight, and the X11 bus. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:55:53 GMT)

Labour fears SNP election landslide as Scottish party post clear lead in poll
ITV News’s poll puts Nicola Sturgeon’s party on the brink of winning about 28 new seats and close to becoming Westminster’s third-largest partyLabour is facing a desperate battle to stop a Scottish National party landslide after a poll showed the SNP had a clear but weaker lead across Labour constituencies in Scotland.The ComRes poll for ITV News focusing on Labour’s 40 Scottish seats has found the SNP has a six-point lead over Labour, putting Nicola Sturgeon’s party on the brink of winning about 28 new seats and close to becoming the third largest party at Westminster. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:54:26 GMT)

Desmond Tutu intervenes over King's College London's refusal to divest
Archbishop Tutu in talks with administration at his former university – where vice principal dealing with fossil fuel campaigners spent 30 years working for oil giant BPArchbishop Desmond Tutu, one of King’s College London’s (KCL) most revered former students, has intervened after the university rejected a demand from 1,400 staff and students to sell off its fossil fuel investments.The university says it supports relationships with fossil fuel companies “as long as they are open about any harm they might do, and that they are taking action to minimise this harm”. The vice principal dealing with the staff and students, Chris Mottershead, spent 30 years working for oil giant BP. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:26:44 GMT)

Lord Ashcroft resigns from House of Lords to focus on polling and publishing
Former Tory deputy chairman says his outside interests mean he cannot devote enough time to the LordsLord Ashcroft has announced that he is to resign from the House of Lords, allowing him to concentrate on his career as a pollster and political publisher and giving him the chance to revive his “non-dom” tax status.The former Tory deputy chairman tweeted a link to a statement on his website in which he said that his new interests meant that he could not devote enough time to the Lords. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:59:19 GMT)

University event questioning Israel's right to exist is cancelled
6,400-strong petition condemned Southampton conference as one-sided but organisers call on university to stand up for free speechA conference at the University of Southampton discussing the right of Israel to exist has been cancelled, say the organisers, who have accused the institution of bowing to pressure at the expense of free speech.The conference, due to take place next month, described itself as “unique because it concerns the legitimacy in international law of the Jewish state of Israel”, but critics denounced it as one-sided. The controversial nature of the conference is precisely where … commitment to freedom of speech is testedThe far-left’s bashing of Israel ​… often descends into naked antisemitism Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:31:19 GMT)

Paracetamol doesn't help lower-back pain or arthritis, study shows
Researchers want doctors to rethink endorsement of the drug, which they say is no more effective than a placebo for these conditionsParacetamol does not relieve back pain and offers almost no help to people with arthritis in their hips or knees, according to research.The findings have led to calls for doctors to stop prescribing the painkiller, which is commonly used to treat those conditions. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:30:11 GMT)

Lib Dems will triple statutory paternity leave to 6 weeks if re-elected
Nick Clegg and equalities minister Jo Swinson announce plan as shared parental leave is introduced across the countryThe Liberal Democrats will announce plans to triple statutory paternity leave to six weeks on Wednesday, the third day of the formal general election campaign.The plan will be unveiled by party leader Nick Clegg and Lib Dem equalities minister Jo Swinson, standing for re-election in East Dunbartonshire, coinciding with the introduction of shared parental leave across the country this week – a coalition policy the Liberal Democrats claim as their own. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:01:01 GMT)

Top Gear tour featuring Jeremy Clarkson to go ahead without show's branding
Worldwide series of live events previously known as Top Gear Live will be renamed Clarkson, Hammond and May LiveA series of live events featuring the sacked Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson will go ahead without the show’s branding, the BBC announced on Tuesday.The worldwide tour, previously known as Top Gear Live and fronted by Clarkson alongside co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May, will be renamed Clarkson, Hammond and May Live. The shows have been stripped of Top Gear and BBC branding. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:05:27 GMT)

Police search for convicted murderer who has breached release licence
North Yorkshire police say William Kerr needs to be arrested and returned to prison ‘as a matter of urgency’Police have asked for urgent help to locate a convicted murderer who has breached his prison release licence.North Yorkshire police said William Kerr, 53, needed to be arrested and returned to prison “as a matter of urgency”. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:41:58 GMT)

Many basement extension projects unsafe, figures show
Nearly half of all ‘digdowns’ in affluent parts of London failed unannounced safety checks in March, Health and Safety Executive saysNearly half of all basement extension projects being carried out at homes in high-value west and central London boroughs failed unannounced safety checks in March. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:44:34 GMT)

Innocent people could be hurt in feuding gangs' attacks in Salford
Police fears over party leaders’ TV debate due to be held at Media City in Salford, Greater Manchester, on Wednesday after gun, grenade and machete attacksPolice have said that there is a “genuine risk” that innocent people could get hurt after a series of gun, grenade and machete attacks by two feuding criminal factions in Salford, Greater Manchester.The warning comes as Westminster politicians prepare to descend on Salford’s Media City for the party leaders’ TV debate on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:09:55 GMT)

Living standards key to UK election as data shows slowest recovery since 1920s
Tories welcome figures showing GDP growth revised to 0.6% but Labour says government has been complacent on grounds that people are still worse offLiving standards have been thrust to the centre of the general election campaign as official figures showed Britain is undergoing the slowest recovery since the 1920s and GDP per head still remains lower than levels before the recession.Labour has accused the Conservatives of complacency on the grounds that people are still worse off after the Office for National Statistics showed GDP per head remains 1.2% below pre-economic downturn levels. Related: UK GDP: different measures, competing narratives Related: UK growth revised up to 0.6% in last quarter - live updates Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:16:06 GMT)

Competition review urges easing of rules on pharmacies and trading hours
Coalition-commissioned Harper report also calls for an urgent look at the taxi industry in the wake of sharing services such as UberA review of Australia’s competition laws has called for pharmacy regulations to be pared back, the full deregulation of retail trading hours and the removal of import restrictions on books and secondhand cars.The final report of the Coalition-commissioned review also called on the government to reform a “deficient” section of the Competition and Consumer Act dealing with companies that misuse their market power. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 08:10:13 GMT)

Human rights lawyer to investigate Scottish police use of stop and search
Scottish justice secretary says John Scott QC, chair of Howard League Scotland, will lead inquiry into police use of stop and search, including possible banScottish ministers have appointed a human rights lawyer to investigate a record level of police use of stop-and-search after a damning report by the police inspectorate.An inquiry by the Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland found a series of failures by Police Scotland after the force increased the use of common law stop and search, dwarfing its use everywhere else in the UK. Related: Police stop and search rates in Scotland four times higher than in England Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:55:59 GMT)

Rise in death sentences worldwide blamed on security crackdowns
Amnesty International condemns ‘shameful’ figures, with most of the increase coming in Nigeria and EgyptThe number of death sentences passed around the world increased by more than a quarter during 2014 from the year before, much of this connected to crackdowns on terrorism or internal security in countries such as Egypt and Nigeria, according to an annual report by Amnesty International. Over the course of past year the number of people confirmed to have been executed globally dropped by 22%, falling to 607 from 778 in 2013. However, as Amnesty notes, this figure excludes China, which keeps death penalty statistics secret, but is believed to execute thousands of people each year. Similarly, many executions are thought to have taken place in secret in North Korea.It is shameful that so many states around the world are essentially playing with people’s lives Continue reading...
(Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:01:01 GMT)

Turkish prosecutor taken hostage dies after police shootout kills two leftist militants
Police say Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who was investigating killing of 15-year-old protester Berkin Elvan last year, was seriously injured and died in hospitalA senior Turkish prosecutor and two radical leftist militants who were holding him hostage at an Istanbul courthouse have died after special forces moved to bring the six-hour siege to an end on Tuesday evening.Mehmet Selim Kiraz had been held in his office by two members of a banned Turkish Marxist group who put a gun to his head and threatened to kill him if their demands were not met. Related: Berkin Elvan funeral protests in Turkey – in pictures Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 19:13:19 GMT)

Witness to air strike on Yemen refugee camp: women and children burned beyond recognition
More than two dozen people in al-Mazraq camp were killed in an apparent air strike by the Saudi-led coalition that is fighting Houthi rebelIf Hisham Abdulaziz had left al-Mazraq refugee camp in Yemen a few minutes later, he too would have been incinerated in the strike, just like the bodies he later saw at the hospital.“They were burned, it was a very horrible image,” said the doctor after labouring to treat the wounded, including women and children, who streamed into the nearest hospital. By the end of the day there were 29 bodies in the hospital morgue. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:56:56 GMT)

US campaign-finance watchdog files complaints against four politicians
Federal Election Commission says Jeb Bush, Martin O’Malley, Scott Walker and Rick Santorum may have broken federal law by not ‘testing the waters’A leading watchdog group has filed complaints with the top US campaign finance regulator against three top Republicans – Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Rick Santorum – and Democrat Martin O’Malley, claiming they have already violated federal law by contemplating presidential bids without formally “testing the waters”.The complaints follow a report by the Guardian on Monday detailing that many potential presidential candidates are walking a careful line as they consider bids for the White House without taking any specific action that would trigger scrutiny from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Related: 'I'm not a candidate': How presidential hopefuls get around finance rules Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:09:53 GMT)

Alexis Tsipras calls western sanctions against Russia 'road to nowhere'
Comments come a week ahead of Greek prime minister’s controversial visit to Moscow but Tsipras insists country can be ‘a bridge’ between Russia and westSetting the tone for a controversial visit to Moscow, the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, went out of his way to court Russia on Tuesday as Athens continued to argue over reforms demanded in return for aid from the EU and IMF.Barely a week before his 8 April talks at the Kremlin, the leftist leader described western sanctions against Russia as a “road to nowhere”, saying his new government would seek to strengthen ties with the country. Related: Greece can be forgiven for looking to Russia, but it should beware | Mary Dejevsky Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:03:00 GMT)

Ukrainian investigations into Kiev clashes 'lacked independence'
Probes into protests that led to ousting of president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 failed to satisfy human rights convention, international report saysAn international report has found that Ukrainian investigations into the deadly clashes that took place during the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests in Kiev have failed to hold law enforcement officials to account.The report by a Council of Europe-sponsored international advisory panel, said that the investigations into the demonstrations, which led to the ousting of president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, had not satisfied the European convention on human rights. They “lacked practical independence” because in many cases, the police were essentially tasked with investigating themselves, it said. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:24:59 GMT)

Former Blackwater gets rich as Afghan drug production hits record high
Opium poppy cultivation is up in Afghanistan despite the infamous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater being paid $569m by the Pentagon to stop itIn a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year. Related: Opium harvest in Afghanistan reaches record levels after troop withdrawal Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:13:11 GMT)

Turkey power outage shuts down public transportation and half of provinces
Electricity cut, which affected three largest cities, worst in 15 yearsPrime minister: ‘possible terrorist attack’ being considered among causesA huge power cut has caused chaos and shut down public transport on Tuesday across Turkey, with the government refusing to rule out that the electricity system had been the victim of an attack. Related: Turkish prosecutor taken hostage by armed anti-government group Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:28:59 GMT)

Israel to deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to third countries
Authorities will give people 30 days to leave; those who refuse will face a hearing to determine their indefinite imprisonmentIsrael will begin deporting asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan to unnamed third countries in Africa even if against their will, the immigration authority announced on Tuesday. The assumption is that the third countries are Rwanda and Uganda, although Israel has not revealed details. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:06:42 GMT)

Donors pledge $4bn in humanitarian aid for Syrians
But at aid conference in Kuwait, UN says it is less than half the amount needed this year to help the millions of Syrians affected by the conflictThe international community has pledged $3.8bn to tackle the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Syria – less than half the amount the UN says is needed this year to help the millions of people affected by the ongoing conflict.At the start of the Third International Pledging Conference for Syria – which was held in Kuwait on Tuesday – the UN asked for $8.4bn: $2.9bn for people inside Syria and $5.5bn to help those who have fled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Related: EU, US and Kuwait pledge more than $2bn in humanitarian aid for Syrians | Sam Jones Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:39:02 GMT)

Bangladesh police charge four men with murder of blogger
Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death near his Dhaka home by knife-wielding attackers who believed he had defamed IslamPolice in Bangladesh have charged four men with the murder of a blogger accused of mocking Islam, the second such attack in recent weeks.Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death near his home in Dhaka on Monday, less than two months after an American atheist blogger died after a similar assault in the capital of the developing south Asian country. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:42:19 GMT)

Equality groups ready for counterattack against wave of anti-gay bills across US
Republican-controlled legislatures have introduced more than 85 anti-gay billsLGBT and civil rights groups launching concerted effort to block the bills and litigation will be considered where new laws have been enacted Related: Indiana Republicans to amend 'religious freedom' law in face of backlash LGBT and civil rights groups are mobilising for a nationwide battle to safeguard the gains of the marriage equality movement, in the face of a gathering backlash that is spreading anti-gay bills across the country. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:00:05 GMT)

HSBC tax evasion customers in India told to get a lawyer
Government threatens to disclose identities in official gazette after Switzerland pledges to help tax officials in IndiaHSBC customers in India suspected of tax evasion have been given 30 days to nominate a legal representative in Switzerland or face seeing their names published in the country’s official gazette.The bank has in the last two weeks forwarded a letter from the Swiss government to a select number of Indian customers, which warns that Switzerland is now prepared to give “administrative assistance” to Indian tax investigators. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:12:32 GMT)

Hillary Clinton used iPad to send emails despite claims she used only one device
Documents obtained by AP show Clinton, on at least one occasion, accidentally mingled personal and work matters, seemingly contradicting earlier explanationHillary Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, seemingly contradicting her explanation that she exclusively used a personal email address on a so-called “homebrew” server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by AP, which sought Clinton’s correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and US surveillance programs. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:03:51 GMT)

Tokyo's Shibuya ward is first in Japan to recognise same-sex marriage
Officials in popular shopping and entertainment district will give certificates to same-sex couples and are planning educational campaign on LGBT issuesGay people in Japan are celebrating a breakthrough in their quest for equal rights after a district in Tokyo became the first municipality in the country to recognise same-sex partnerships.The vote by Shibuya ward to issue certificates recognising same-sex unions as “equivalent to marriage” was greeted with cheers on Tuesday when it passed in the local assembly by a comfortable majority, but drew a cautious response from conservative politicians. Continue reading...
(Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:50:24 GMT)

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