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Lord O’Donnell: leader of largest party does not automatically become PM
Next PM will be leader who commands confidence of MPs regardless of whether his party has won the election, ex-cabinet secretary reminds CameronLord O’Donnell, the former cabinet secretary, has reminded David Cameron that he signed up to a Whitehall document that says that the next prime minister will be the leader who commands the confidence of MPs, regardless of whether their party has won the election.In a sign of concerns in Whitehall that constitutional conventions should be followed if voters elect the most balanced parliament in nearly a century, O’Donnell indicated that the leader of the largest party does not automatically become prime minister. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:49:09 GMT)

Winners and losers of the 2015 UK general election campaign
Podiums, pollsters and a six-year-old called Lucy have all fared well in the campaign, but it cannot conclude soon enough for the Green party leader’s ’s larynx, buses and West Ham football club Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:22:56 GMT)

Will Cameron or Miliband be the next prime minister? The pollsters polled
Britain’s leading pollsters share their thoughts on who will end up with the keys to No 10 once the election and deal-making are doneTwo weeks ago we asked Britain’s leading pollsters who they thought was winning the election. They all thought the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, had edged ahead. A month before that most said Miliband had a slight advantage, though not all agreed.With the election now round the corner, we asked them: This is now simply too close to call. Polls all have a 3-4% margin of error and the gap separating Miliband and Cameron is smaller than that. But if I have to bet I would say the SNP surge is slightly overstated, and therefore gap in seats between Labour and Conservatives will be small, but with incumbency helping the Conservatives get to be the largest party. Who gets to form a workable minority government? Toss a coin.A quick-fire clustering of a few more sizable Conservative leads implies some sort of momentum for them, but in truth our own poll only moved a fraction and the others might just be a function of fairly normal volatility. But at least it’s something for the prime minister to chew on with a sense of hope. I think the final polls will be in the same territory, so it’s over to the seat-projection artists to make of it what they will, and then the parties’ backroom deal teams to redefine how the democratic will manifests itself in parliament. As for directly answering the question, I’ve still got little idea and I’d challenge anyone who says they know how this will end up.Our new ballot paper-prompted voting question, which we believe will produce results closer to the actual results tomorrow, currently shows: CON 31.0% LAB 32.3% LD 10.1% UKIP 15.2% GRE 5.4% SNP 3.9% Others 1.8%.In the early hours of Sunday morning Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao were left standing at the end of what had been a long and, at times brutal, contest. Neither fighter was able to land the knockout blow and so the result was decided on points.Now, with only a few days remaining, Ed Miliband and David Cameron are still squaring up against one another and although a knockout blow now looks virtually impossible, there are still points to be won and the result remains very uncertain.However, David Cameron may keep fighting and refuse to give in. Crucially, he will need to, as I expect, win slightly more votes and a few more seats than Labour, but also convince the remaining Lib Dems to enter into a formal coalition agreement. No easy task, but by no means impossible.If he succeeds, we could be left with both Con/LibDem and Lab/SNP blocs close in terms of seats although still short of the 326 (or even 323) needed for a majority, but with the Conservatives able to claim a points victory by virtue of being the single party having more votes and seats. Crucially they will also have a formal agreement binding them – something Lab/SNP would lack, if Miliband is to be believed.Based on the polls – and barring a late swing – I expect the Conservatives to have a small lead on both vote-share and seats but far short of a majority and still short even with Liberal Democrat support. In this scenario Ed Miliband becomes prime minister with SNP support (whether he welcomes that or not) and that of other smaller parties like Plaid Cymru or the SDLP. I’m putting a lot of stock in two things. One is that the Lib Dems have said they won’t be part of a coalition reliant on either SNP or Ukip support, which limits David Cameron’s options more than Ed Miliband’s. The other is that the same MPs who might vote down a Conservative Queen’s speech would also support a Labour one because predictions that Cameron-out equals Miliband-in assume that a vote against the former translates into a vote for the latter. The reliability of that assumption is something that will be tested in the months to come.The Tories look set to lose enough seats to Labour, and gain too few from the Lib Dems, for David Cameron to cling to power. Even if the SNP take most of Labour’s Scottish seats, as looks likely, then because the Tories cannot work with them it removes upwards of 40 critical seats from their potential use. So for those reasons, on the current polling, Prime Minister Miliband is the most plausible outcome. The only scenario where Cameron would remain in place would be if Labour have an awful night, combining a bloodbath of losses to the SNP with a failure to take large numbers of seats from the Lib Dems and Tories. That is eminently possible too, but less likely as far as the polling goes.The final stretch and we find ourselves pretty much where we started at the beginning of the campaign – in stalemate. This election represents what happens when a country is unconfident about its economic future, unsure of its place in the world, and fed up with the state of its politics. With Conservatives and Labour cancelling each other out, and the fragmentation of the traditional party system, only one thing is certain – the politics of Scotland are transforming the politics of Britain.Once the votes are counted, the Conservatives are set to be the largest party. Labour theoretically should still have the greatest chance of forming a government. However, we cannot underestimate the power of incumbency. The fear of change might just tip those key marginals in the Conservatives’ favour, while also strengthening Cameron’s negotiating hand as the clock ticks on the formation of a new government. The real drama will start on Friday. The sway of public opinion in such a scenario will be critical to our new definitions of legitimacy.The Conservatives have gained ground on Labour, and I’d expect them to make further progress in the final days. They’ll enter election day with a lead in the polls and win both the popular vote and largest share of seats (but not a majority). What happens next will be decided by the leaders, their inner circles and negotiations between the parties – not something a pollster can poll on.But with the benefit of incumbency, the largest share of the vote, and the largest number of seats, I can see the public viewing David Cameron as having legitimacy - and in turn forming a government and daring the left-leaning bloc to vote against him and his right-leaning bloc. Whatever the constitution and parliamentary arithmetic, the public will likely view the second place party and leader as defeated. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:44:46 GMT)

Counter-terrorism police detain seven people in Syria fraud investigation
Scotland Yard says officers were investigating ‘large-scale fraud’ linked to UK extremists travelling to SyriaCounter-terrorism police investigating fraud linked to extremists travelling to Syria have arrested six men and a woman.Officers from the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command attended six addresses in London and another in Luton, Bedfordshire. The six male suspects have been arrested for conspiracy to commit fraud and money-laundering, while the woman was held on suspicion of money-laundering only. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:25:30 GMT)

Ione Wells 'overwhelmed by support' as her sex attacker is detained for a year
17-year-old admitted attacking 20-year-old Oxford student, who waived her right to anonymity to write letter to him in Cherwell student newspaperThe Oxford University student who wrote a defiant open letter to her sex attacker has said she feels “overwhelmed” by support after her assailant was jailed for a year.Ione Wells said she was determined to help other victims of sexual assaults following the ordeal which left her suffering insomnia and panic attacks. Related: #NotGuilty: speaking out about sexual assault is still rare. This must change | Ione Wells Related: Oxford student's open letter to her sex attacker inspires others to speak out Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:16:05 GMT)

Germanwings crash: co-pilot practised descent move on previous flight
Interim report by France’s air accident investigation agency finds that Andreas Lubitz reduced altitude on outbound flight from Düsseldorf to BarcelonaThe Germanwings co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a jet in the Alps in March entered the fatal descent settings several times on an earlier outbound flight, investigators have said. A report on the crash by the BEA, France’s air accident investigation agency, showed that Andreas Lubitz had set the altitude dial on the Airbus A320’s autopilot to 100ft (30 metres) five times while alone in the cockpit on the previous flight, from Düsseldorf to Barcelona, on 24 March. Related: The last minutes of Germanwings flight 4U9525 Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 12:05:42 GMT)

Benefits Street residents in court on drugs charges
Six people who lived on or near road used in Channel 4 documentary conspired to supply crack cocaine, heroin and cannabis, Birmingham court hearsResidents of the inner-city road that featured in the first series of Channel 4’s Benefits Street documentary series were involved in running drugs operation from their homes, a jury has been told. The six, who all lived on or near James Turner Street in Birmingham, conspired to prepare, store and sell significant quantities of drugs, the city’s crown court heard. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 12:45:44 GMT)

IMF head Christine Lagarde calls for fresh clampdown on bankers' bonuses
Managing director said financial stability is still not well-entrenched in banking sector, despite significant regulatory reforms Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has called for a renewed crackdown on bankers’ bonuses, to tackle the “distorted” incentives that led to the global financial crisis.Lagarde told an audience in Washington that despite a battery of regulatory reforms, “financial stability is still not well-entrenched”, more than seven years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:05:59 GMT)

Salman Khan granted two day bail after five year prison sentence
Khan gets short period of relief after Mumbai court finds Bollywood star guilty of driving into a group of homeless people and killing one in 2002 Related: Why Salman Khan will never be guilty in the eyes of his biggest fans Salman Khan has been granted interim bail for two days by the Mumbai high court, after his lawyers moved for a bail application following Khan’s sentencing to a five year jail term. The actor, one of India’s most popular movie stars, had been found guilty of killing a homeless man in 2002 in a hit-and-run case that has dragged through the courts for more than 12 years. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 09:53:04 GMT)

Man arrested over murder of former Belfast IRA commander
Detectives investigating shooting of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison in central Belfast detain 41-year-old manPolice in Northern Ireland have arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with the murder of former IRA commander Gerard “Jock” Davison.The man was detained in Belfast on Wednesday morning. Police also searched a flat in the north of the city on Tuesday night in connection with the killing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:52:29 GMT)

Free Android apps connect to thousands of tracking and ad URLs, research shows
Worst offenders include volume-control app that connects to 2,000 websites for advertising and tracking websites, according to France’s EurecomThe average free Android app silently connects to more than 100 different web addresses to serve adverts and track users, according to a paper from French research institute Eurecom.The worst offenders found on the Google Play store connect to orders of magnitude of up to 20 times more sites. One app that does nothing more than control volume “connects to almost 2,000 distinct URLs” when it’s booted up on a phone. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:52:07 GMT)

Ten Commandments Dead Sea scroll to go on display for two weeks in Israel
World’s oldest complete copy of Ten Commandments has only previously been displayed overseas, but will be at Israel Museum for first timeThe world’s oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments is going on rare display at Israel’s leading museum in an exhibit tracing civilisation’s most pivotal moments.The 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll, from a collection of the world’s most ancient biblical manuscripts discovered near the Dead Sea east of Jerusalem, has never before been publicly displayed in Israel and has only been shown in brief exhibits abroad, said Pnina Shor of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 03:20:14 GMT)

British diving instructor shot dead in Bahamas armed robbery
Police are seeking four men in connection with death of Gary Vanhoeck, who had left UK to start a new life among the Caribbean islandsA British diving instructor has been shot dead on his boat during an armed robbery in the Bahamas.Gary Vanhoeck, 51, was on the vessel, where he was also living, when he was accosted by two men on Friday, Royal Bahamas police said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:13:43 GMT)

Rolex accuses Italian PM of sullying watchmaker's image
Luxury brand runs ads saying the Italian government damaged its reputation by portraying anti-Expo protesters as Rolex-wearing bratsThe head of Rolex in Italy has accused Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, of sullying the watchmaker’s reputation after he suggested that protesters and vandals in Milan were spoilt Rolex-wearing brats.In full page ads in major Italian newspapers on Wednesday, Gianpaolo Marini demanded an apology from Renzi and interior minister Angelino Alfano after both politicians seized on a photograph published in newspapers over the weekend that purported to show one of the masked anti-Expo protesters who vandalised Milan on Friday wearing a Rolex. No Expo col Rolex: FOTO Facebook. Figli di papà o infiltrati? (blitzquotidiano.it) http://t.co/dpfd8BdeIa pic.twitter.com/p8Dqk2n3hZ Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:30:49 GMT)

Farkhunda murder: Afghan judge sentences four to death over mob killing
Brutality of lynching over false accusation of burning Qur’an sparked public outrage, but some fear that trial of 49 people has been unduly rushedFour men have been sentenced to death over the murder in March of a 27-year-old woman who was lynched by a mob in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul. Related: Family of Afghan woman lynched by mob take comfort from tide of outrage Related: 'Farkhunda belongs to all of the women of Kabul, of Afghanistan' | Frozan Marofi Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 09:15:22 GMT)

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct offices visited by police investigating Rangers
• Investigation is aimed at Craig Whyte and Charles Green• Sports Direct are cooperating with the inquiry• Rangers interim chairman Paul Murray passes SFA fit and proper testSports Direct, the sporting goods company founded by Mike Ashley, the Newcastle United owner and Rangers shareholder, has been visited by the police as part of an investigation into the former ownership of the Scottish club.Detectives investigating Rangers’ controversial former owners Craig Whyte and Charles Green travelled from Scotland to the Sports Direct offices in Shirebrook, Derbyshire. The investigation is not aimed at Sports Direct and the company is cooperating fully. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 08:22:49 GMT)

Al Gore's business partner warns investors of fossil fuel risks
David Blood and Howard Covington separately warn fund managers they are sleepwalking into a future where climate change leaves fossil fuels unburnableTwo influential investment industry grandees are separately touring the City of London challenging fund managers and pension trustees to adopt radical new approaches to investments in some of the world’s largest fossil fuel extractors. Related: Members of three Danish pension funds vote to divest from fossil fuels Related: Scientists' urgent call to divest ... Related: Fossil fuel-free funds outperformed conventional ones, analysis shows Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 05:00:05 GMT)

WHO report: 74% of men and 64% of women in UK to be overweight by 2030
Health experts warn of problem of ‘enormous proportions’ with rising obesity expected in many countries over the next 15 years Europe’s growing obesity crisis will see almost three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women in the UK being overweight in 15 years, health experts have said. Projections by the World Health Organisation and UK-based researchers lay bare a problem “of enormous proportions” facing many countries over the next decade and a half. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:28:09 GMT)

15 years of Vladimir Putin: 15 ways he has changed Russia and the world
His critics say he has led his country into an autocratic cul-de-sac, but his fans point to the stability he brought after Yeltsin and the way he stood up to the westDays before he was elected to the Russian presidency in 2000, Vladimir Putin told the BBC that Russia was “part of European culture” and that he “would not rule out” the possibility of it joining Nato.“I cannot imagine my own country in isolation from Europe and what we often call the civilised world,” said Putin, who was still acting president after Boris Yeltsin’s sudden resignation on New Year’s Eve 1999. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:08:33 GMT)

Who is the real Anna Wintour?
The latest issue of New York magazine scored an interview with US Vogue’s head honcho, Anna Wintour. What did the interview reveal about the famously enigmatic editor?The sphinx-in-Prada is the great enigma of modern fashion. No matter how many hours we spend subtly (well, ish) observing her from across the catwalk, Anna Wintour doesn’t give much away. So on the rare occasions she gives an in-depth interview, it’s worth forensic study. Here’s what we learnt from Amy Larocca’s interview with Wintour, in the latest issue of New York magazine: Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:03:53 GMT)

Kitchen gadgets review: the egg cuber – a medieval torture device to terrify hens
In the first of a new weekly column, our gadget guru puts a square egg-maker to the test. Does it work and, more to the point, why would you want square eggs?The Eddingtons Egg Cuber (£5.50, Amazon), a compressible, right-angled enclosure in which eggs may be compacted into cube shape. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:57:32 GMT)

#NotGuilty: speaking out about sexual assault is still rare. This must change
We need to create a society where victims of assault can seek help without feeling they are to blame and where those committing offences are held to accountA fortnight ago, a letter I wrote to the man who sexually assaulted me when I walked home on a Friday night was published in Cherwell, an Oxford University newspaper. With the letter, we launched the #NotGuilty campaign. Through this we hope to encourage individuals to feel that they can speak out and get help after an assault, by emphasising the solidarity of community, and abolishing victim blaming.By waiving my anonymity I put a face to my story to emphasise that victims are not statistics, but individuals whose voices need to be heard. I was determined to reach out to others who could relate to my case and show that they are not alone. Related: Boy who sexually assaulted Ione Wells detained for a year Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:23:53 GMT)

Ten murders in five hours: one deadly night in São Paulo's dangerous triangle
While Latin America’s biggest city has seen dramatic improvements in murder rates its São Luiz Jardim district remains one of the world’s most lethal placesWhen it comes to homicide “hot spots”, few can match the triangle of crime around the São Luiz Jardim district of southern São Paulo, which in March saw 15 shootings, 10 murders and five injuries in the space of just six hours. Related: Latin America leads world on murder map, but key cities buck deadly trend Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:00:03 GMT)

Extreme Memory Tournament: meet the Mongolian masters of the mnemonic
As Mongolia battles the world’s best mental athletes in San Diego, a team member explains the country’s recent success: ‘We are Genghis Khan’s kids’This weekend, while the country was watching the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight, there was another kind of tense, nail-biting competition taking place, this one using brains instead of brawn. Enter the Extreme Memory Tournament, or XMT. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:00:04 GMT)

How can our future Mars colonies be free of sexism and racism?
The white, male European conquerors of the New World and 19th-century American pioneers of Manifest Destiny still colour the space age, so is it a myth that we’ll turn nice on Mars?We’re going to Mars – eventually. The quest to reach the dusty red planet is our version of Manifest Destiny, the 19th-century philosophy that saw Americans spread across their content with the thought and consideration of a chilly lover stealing the duvet in their sleep. There were a lot of different versions of it, but the main themes, as summarised by Wikipedia, should sound quite familiar:“[A] feeling I couldn’t put my finger on before suddenly came into focus. The attitude of the people I saw wasn’t just a general pride, as strong as it was, in doing something cool. It was that they were doing something important. And again, not just important in some vague, general way, but critical and quite specific in its endgame: making humans citizens of more than one world. A multiplanet species.”“I’m nagged by frames or narratives that are presented as universally attractive and necessary and heroic where the protagonists seem to mostly reflect Hollywood action movie casts and plots. *eye rolls* “I began to question, first in my mind then out loud – whose version of humanity is being targeted for saving?”“…the Russian captain forcibly kissed the only female crew member, a 32-year-old Canadian health specialist called Judith Lapierre. “We should try kissing, I haven’t been smoking for six months,” he reportedly told her. “Then we can kiss after the mission and compare it. Let’s do the experiment now.” Two of her Russian crew mates then had a fight so violent that it left blood splattered on the walls, prompting another member of the team, a Japanese man, to quit. Lapierre stayed only after the astronauts were allowed to put locks on their bedroom doors.”“When we look around and see a homogenous group of individuals discussing these issues – issues that command insane budgets, we should pause. Why aren’t other voices and perspectives at the table? How much is this conversation being controlled (framed, initiated, directed, routed) by capitalist and political interests of the (few) people at the table?” Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:31:07 GMT)

Grand Theft Auto should make great TV – but so would these gaming backstories
With the BBC planning a drama about the creators of Grand Theft Auto, here are some other big moments from video game history that would make gripping TVSo far, film and television writers have managed to completely overlook the games business, a $60bn a year creative industry that has produced 40 years of sex, drugs and intrigue. Well OK – mostly intrigue. But in April, however, we all discovered that the BBC is planning a drama about Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar and its legal face-offs with loose cannon lawyer Jack Thompson. There is considerable star power involved too, with Daniel Radcliffe set to play Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser and Bill Paxton lined up as anti-gamers campaigner, Thompson.So now the lid has been prised from the Pandora’s Box that is the games industry, what other juicy controversies could be mined for TV material? Here are eight candidates. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:13:19 GMT)

Why is my period late? You asked Google – here’s the answer
Every day, millions of people ask Google some of life’s most difficult questions, big and small. In a new series, our writers answer some of the most common queriesI don’t know my uterus as well as I should. Who does? We are not, as girls, much encouraged to peer into our interiors or to learn properly about fallopian tubes and eggs. I don’t mean that this wasn’t taught in biology classes, but that it’s not taught in a way that is meaningful or that sticks. Or, if it is, then the meaningfulness of it is weakened and diluted by the everyday context where women’s periods live: in taboo and embarrassment. Even a BBC guide for young women describes periods as “uncomfortable, and [not] very pleasant generally”. Related: Social media is protecting men from periods, breast milk and body hair | Jessica Valenti Related: My period may hurt: but not talking about menstruation hurts more | Rose George Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:30:07 GMT)

To beam or not to beam? How live broadcasts are changing theatre
Screenings from the National Theatre and RSC serve a vast nationwide audience – but what is their effect on regional and touring productions?The audience for a single live broadcast of a Shakespeare production by the RSC is about the same as the audience for an entire year at the Royal Shakespeare theatre in Stratford. That’s according to the RSC’s deputy artistic director Erica Whyman, who was speaking at the recent British Theatre in Hard Times conference. “The upside is so massive and the exponential reach so great that we can change who the audience is,” said Whyman. But she also sounded a note of caution, and added that it is crucial for both the RSC and the National Theatre to navigate some of the questions raised by such broadcasts. One (small) idea in the pipeline is for a trailer to be shown before the broadcasts, to remind audiences that there is live theatre in the vicinity. Related: Why digital theatre poses no threat to live performance Related: What live theatre screenings mean for small companies Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 07:01:07 GMT)

Bafta TV awards 2015: who should win best actress?
Newcomer Georgina Campbell is up against Sheridan Smith, Sarah Lancashire and Keeley Hawes, while the supporting nominees are notable for an absenceIn an almost exact facsimile of the Royal Television Society awards earlier this year, the leading actress category throbs with talented women, three stalwarts and one wild card. Georgina Campbell, who starred in Murdered by my Boyfriend for BBC3, is definitely the outsider but a worthy nominee for her performance as a young woman in an abusive relationship. It was brutal, unflinching and a difficult watch, but Campbell’s work stands alongside Olivia Colman’s in the 2011 film Tyrannosaur in terms of commitment and detail. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:49:32 GMT)

Viva VHS: the nostalgic charm of wobble and hiss
A whole new generation of artists is rushing to resurrect the retro videotape for their shows. One of them explains its evocative appealOctober 2008 was, all told, a tough month. The UK financial sector almost collapsed; global stock exchanges hit record lows; and, most alarming of all, JVC announced that it had retired the VCR player. Thus ended the imperial reign of VHS – unassailable in the 1980s and 1990s, until DVDs gatecrashed the party. JVC’s wuss-out proved that VHS was now officially obsolete, consigned to the same junk pile as the Commodore 64, the Zonophone, the hand flail and “using your imagination”. Related: Rewind and recoil: Joseph Morpurgo's twisted world of VHS comedy Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 08:00:08 GMT)

What is the internet of things?
Google searches have been filled with questions about the internet of things. What is it and why does it matter? Is it safe? Is it even real? Here are some answers Among its many other cultural and economic assets, Google is accumulating a rather comprehensive record of what is troubling us, from asking the search engine to diagnose our disease symptoms to whether we will ever find true love. It seems only natural, then, to turn to Google to decrypt the latest piece of technical jargon, “the internet of things”.It is a term that internet users have been peppering the search engine with questions about. But what does it mean for real life? We’ve taken the most commonly asked questions about the internet of things, and answered them using a real human being. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 08:51:19 GMT)

No Offence review – Paul Abbott’s rude but not crude un-PC cop show
There seem to be no no-go areas for this vibrant, rich and warm cop comedy, but the title gathers irony like a snowball as the show rolls onDinah is on the way home from a night out with her fella. He’s being a twat, so she kicks him out of the taxi. “I’d rather have a wank,” she says, setting the tone early. Hang on though, because here, strolling across the road, is a murder suspect. Dinah – DC Dinah Kowalska – loses her heels, gives chase. It looks like she’s going to lose him, too, but oops, he trips and falls in the road. A bus – stag-do coach it turns out – runs over his head, splat like a jam doughnut. Nooo, hahaha, I mean eurgh.I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Paul “Shameless” (plus loads more, of course) Abbott’s comedy cop drama No Offence (Channel 4); now I’m finding out. I guess when people say “no offence” it’s usually followed by “but” and something rude or offensive, and Mr Abbott is no exception. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:00:07 GMT)

Life after death: the science of human decomposition
Far from being dead, a rotting human corpse is the cornerstone of a complex ecosystem. A better understanding of this ecosystem could have direct applications in forensic scienceJohn had been dead about four hours before his body was brought into the funeral home. He had been relatively healthy for most of his life. He had worked his whole life on the Texas oil fields, a job that kept him physically active, and in pretty good shape. He had stopped smoking decades earlier, and drank moderate amounts of alcohol. Lately, his family and friends had noticed that his health – and his mind – had started to falter. Then, one cold January morning, he suffered a massive heart attack, apparently triggered by other, unknown, complications, fell to the floor at home, and died almost immediately. He was just 57 years old. Now, he lay on the metal table, his body wrapped in a white linen sheet, cold and stiff to the touch, his skin purplish-grey – tell-tale signs that the early stages of decomposition were well under way.Far from being ‘dead'... a rotting corpse is teeming with life Related: Your nose knows death is imminent | Mo Costandi Related: The man who grew eyes | Mo Costandi Bodies are, after all, merely forms of energy, trapped in lumps of matter waiting to be released into the wider universe Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:25:56 GMT)

‘No one’s told me off about the fannies yet’: Sarah Lucas at the Venice Biennale
True to form, Lucas’s British pavilion has a real naughty streak, with vaginas smoking cigarettes, spot paintings of tabloid breasts and a ‘lickable’ MaradonaSarah Lucas – the YBA who, as a young woman, photographed herself with a pair of fried eggs slapped on her breasts – has turned down a Turner prize nomination twice; she has, in her time, been better known for rabble-rousing in the Groucho club than being officially clubbable.But when the Venice Biennale opens to the public on 9 May, Lucas will be representing Great Britain at this most prestigious of international art world events. Related: Sarah Lucas at Venice Biennale review – pervery and pleasure in a sea of custard Related: Rude bits and custard: Sarah Lucas at the Venice Biennale – in pictures Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 12:59:25 GMT)

Iran bans 'homosexual' and 'devil worshipping' hairstyles
As the desire to make fashion statements spikes each summer, authorities step up their crackdown on ‘un-Islamic’ haircuts and body modifications“Homosexual” and “devil worshipping” hairstyles have been banned in Iran, alongside tattoos, sunbed treatments and plucked eyebrows for men, which are all deemed un-Islamic.The move – aimed at spiky cuts – follows a trend where, each summer, Iranian authorities get tough on men and women sporting clothing or hairdos seen as imitations of western lifestyles. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 16:31:51 GMT)

The view from Middle England: 'If the Scottish get in with Labour ... we're done for' – video
For his final pre-election report, John Harris hits the knife-edge Tory/Labour marginal of Nuneaton – one of the small number of Middle English seats that will decide which party forms the next government. There's a huge billboard of Alex Salmond in the town centre, and as well as the usual talk about immigration and welfare, the streets are alive with nervous chatter about the SNP supposedly coming for England's money. But as Labour sticks to its tightly-controlled campaign and the Tories take their place next to local morris dancers, could that issue really swing the election? Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:02:00 GMT)

Police warn Scottish election officials over nationalists' anti-rigging campaign
Officals warn of ‘conspiracy theories’ as radical pro-independence campaigners urge voters to photograph ballot papers and follow ballot boxes in transitPolice and election officials in Scotland have issued warnings to polling stations and local commanders after radical nationalists urged voters to photograph their ballot papers and follow ballot boxes to count centres on Thursday night.Some pro-independence campaigners allege that last September’s independence referendum result was fixed. They claim that voting in Thursday’s general election could also be rigged, in an effort to prevent Scottish National party votes being properly counted. Related: Election 2015: What is happening to polling in Scotland? RT plz at least to everyone in Scotland #OperationScallop -General Election 7/5/2015 - Doc 2 of 3 "OperationScallop" pic.twitter.com/lcZ3fafjgj Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:23:30 GMT)

NHS 'like sick patient in early stage terminal decline' former boss says
Sir David Nicholson is among signatories of letter to Guardian which says NHS needs more investmentThe NHS is like a very sick patient who is in “early stage terminal decline” because lack of money has left it unable to cope with the growing demand for care, the service’s former boss and leading doctors have warned.Sir David Nicholson, who ran the NHS in England until last year, is among the signatories of a letter to the Guardian which says the health service needs higher levels of investment than any of the three main political parties have pledged in the run-up to the election. Related: Our NHS is in early stage terminal decline | Letter from David Nicholson, Dr Iona Heath, Dr Clare Garada and others Related: Election 2015: what are the parties pledging for the NHS? - Interactive Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:44:05 GMT)

Spring in Ed Miliband's step suggests he feels Downing Street is within reach
Final days of Labour leader’s campaign contrasts with frenetic pace of his rivals’ as he steadily hammers home his core election messageWith less than 24 hours to go before the polls open, Ed Miliband looks like a man who may be about to have the satisfaction of seeing his detractors proved wrong.To the cameras, the Labour leader will say only that he is increasingly confident. But there is a bounce in his step and a broadness to his grin that says Miliband believes he is within reach of Downing Street, despite all the predictions to the contrary over the past five years. Related: The seats to stay up for – and the numbers that matter – on election night Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 12:26:22 GMT)

The seats to stay up for – and the numbers that matter – on election night
Polling is still very tight and much is uncertain. Here’s what to watch out for as the results are announced – including where the big political beasts may be slainLyndon B Johnson’s first rule of politics was that practitioners need to be able to count. It is a maxim that British politicians will be testing to the limit from moments after the first results are declared on Friday morning.The Conservatives have edged ahead in recent weeks’ polling and as things stand are more likely than Labour to win the most seats. However, the likely Commons arithmetic still favours Ed Miliband’s Labour. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:00:06 GMT)

Boris Johnson appeals to ‘Blairite’ Guardian readers to vote Tory
Mayor of London makes extraordinary plea in final hours of general election campaign as he fights to help 20 Conservatives hold seats in capitalBoris Johnson has made an extraordinary last-minute appeal to “Blairite” Guardian readers to vote Conservative to prevent the Scottish National party winning power in coalition with Labour.Johnson made the plea as he embarked on the last 36 hours of the general election campaign, in which the London mayor has been deployed relentlessly to speak to swing voters in 20 marginal constituencies across the capital including several where Tories face losing their seats. Related: Boris Johnson rolls up for brief cameo in Tory election campaign – and steals the show Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:00:06 GMT)

100 questions that need answering before the election
How does a hung parliament work? Who resigned last week over alleged homophobia? And what does Ed Miliband have in his pocket? We list the questions to get off our chest before Thursday’s vote1. Can we be honest here, it’s time for a written constitution, isn’t it?2. After Cameron’s comments to the Daily Mail and LBC questioning the “credibility” of a Labour government, how long will he squat at No 10, like Howard Hughes with rolled-up sleeves, ordering in takeaways and watching The Iron Lady on repeat, refusing to resign? Related: What happens if no one wins the election? Whose great idea was it to rename fracking as “onshore unconventional oil and gas”?"Hi David, you alright mate?" https://t.co/9JhSQqkaKPSturgeon’s line about Nigel Farage having “come here to win friends and influence people” was the best of the campaignNicky Morgan tells #r4today that failed tests will have to be "resitted". Presumably starting with her own English GCSE. #GE2015 Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:00:23 GMT)

Is the Sun’s ‘save our bacon’ election front page antisemitic?
It’s hard to say whether the whiff of antisemitism in the image of Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich is intentional, but if he becomes PM we’ll need to keep a careful eye on this kind of thingCan we agree at least on this: today’s Sun front page, featuring Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich, is cruel, abusive and puerile. We should also be able to agree that savage satire of politicians is inevitable and even desirable in a free press.But there’s another question where no agreement is going to be possible: was the front page of the Sun surreptitiously antisemitic? Related: Sun has torn into Ed Miliband even more viciously than it hit Neil Kinnock Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 12:50:21 GMT)

Young 'Ted' Miliband's first TV appearance, in 1991 – video
ITV Meridian news video footage shows a young Ed Miliband at a rent protest at Oxford university in 1991. Miliband, then calling himself Ted, argues against a 27% rise in rents for students. The Labour leader says he was delighted to see the clip when it was unearthed 24 years later Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:55:00 GMT)

Revealed: hitlist of welfare cuts facing Britain's next chancellor
Exclusive: ‘Extremely controversial’ ideas drawn up by civil servants include benefit freeze and making it harder for sick people to claim state aid, leaked papers showA list of “very, highly or extremely controversial” potential cuts to benefits have been drawn up by civil servants in response to warnings that the next government would struggle to keep welfare spending below a legal cap of about £120bn a year.The cuts proposed by officials at the Department for Work and Pensions include abolishing statutory maternity pay and barring under-25s from claiming incapacity benefit or housing benefit. Money could also be raised, civil servants suggested, by increasing the bedroom tax in certain cases. Related: UK living standards fell for all but the richest under coalition – analysis Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 17:18:59 GMT)

What happens if no one wins the election?
What will happen if no single party wins a majority and there is a hung parliament again? Here’s your guide to the constitutional conundrumEven before the polls have opened in the 2015 UK general election, the battle for power by the plotters and squatters has begun in earnest.Labour is accused of plotting to seize Downing Street if it fails to get more MPs than the Conservatives. But there is nothing in the rules to say the government has to be led by the party with the most seats. The government has to be formed by whoever “is best able to command the confidence of the House of Commons”. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 16:59:19 GMT)

Election 2015: Where to vote tactically to get the prime minister you want
We’re heading for a hung parliament where neither Ed Miliband or David Cameron will get a majority in this week’s general election. Polls suggest that a remarkable level of people are now considering voting tactically in order to boost the chances of their favoured party forming a government. But deciding how to vote tactically is a risky process. Here is a rough no-guarantees guide to tactical votingThe principles of voting tacticallyWho is ahead in the polls where you live? Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:09:18 GMT)

Election 2015: The Guardian poll projection
Our model takes in all published constituency-level polls, UK-wide polls and polling conducted in the nations, and projects the result in each of the 650 Westminster constituencies using an adjusted average Continue reading...
(Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:46:17 GMT)

Election 2015: What are the parties offering you?
How will their manifesto promises affect you in your daily life? Our guide selects the policy areas which target particular groups and lets you build up a picture of how (or whether…) the parties say they will help you Continue reading...
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 07:48:23 GMT)

Number of MPs who earn from renting out property rises by a third
One in four MPs now a landlord, as figures show 153 members declared an income from rental property in 2015 – an increase of 36 since 2010The number of MPs earning income by renting out properties increased by nearly a third during the last parliament, an analysis of data by the Guardian has found.David Cameron, George Osborne and housing minister Brandon Lewis are among 153 members who declared an income from property in 2015 – an increase of 36 since 2010. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:00:06 GMT)

John Major laments Conservatives’ failure with minority ethnic voters
Former prime minister also questions Britain’s educational standards and record on tackling inequality, as well as George Osborne’s plans to raise retirement ageThe failure of the Conservative party to reach out to black and minority ethnic voters is “not remotely goodish”, the former prime minister Sir John Major has said in a powerful critique of his party.Major, who recently returned to the election trail to endorse David Cameron’s tactic of talking up the SNP, also questioned Britain’s record on tackling inequality and the standards of education in the country. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 23:43:22 GMT)

Conservatives raise 10 times more than Labour in late donations
Funds given to Tories in final week of election campaign total £1.36m, including from wealthy individuals and a firm that has paid no corporation tax for yearsThe Conservatives have raised 10 times more in donations than Labour in the final week of the general election campaign, official figures showed on Tuesday. David Cameron’s party received £1.36m, while Ed Miliband’s campaign gained £131,242, according to the final list of contributions released by the Electoral Commission. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 19:00:14 GMT)

Gareth Bale and the Real Madrid blame game goes on after Juventus no-show
A year ago he was the shiniest galáctico and a new hero at the Bernabéu, yet the Welshman now seems to have to prove himself all over again• Gareth Bale determined to stay at the Bernabéu• Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid: Champions League semi-final first leg match reportCarlo Ancelotti wore that familiar expression – a mixture of the quizzical and the exasperated. The Real Madrid manager knew the inside story. Outside the press conference room at the Juventus Stadium, after Real’s 2-1 loss in the Champions League semi-final first leg, a storm was swirling, one of those that whip up around strident punditry and the fierce emotion of social media. The target was Gareth Bale, who had been dreadfully disappointing up front for Real.Ancelotti was unconcerned. He knew the reality of the situation. Bale was not fully fit. The forward had returned as a 66th-minute substitute at Sevilla on Saturday after a couple of weeks out with a calf problem and anybody who knows Bale will tell you that he needs time to rediscover not just his rhythm but, essentially, the trust in his body. Related: Gareth Bale determined to stay with Real Madrid in the long term Related: Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid | Champions League semi-final first leg match report Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:49:10 GMT)

Manny Pacquiao open to Floyd Mayweather rematch proposal, says Bob Arum
Floyd Mayweather is willing to face rival again ‘in a year’Pacquiao facing lawsuit over failure to declare injuryA rematch of the richest fight of the century has edged closer after Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Manny Pacquiao would be open to a rematch with Floyd Mayweather.On Tuesday, Mayweather said he would be willing to fight Pacquiao again in a year’s time, once the Filipino has recovered from shoulder surgery. Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, admitted that Saturday’s fight in Las Vegas – which Mayweather won on a unanimous points decision – had been hard to put together but the rewards were difficult to ignore. Both fighters pulled in well over $100m for the bout. Related: Floyd Mayweather says he will fight Manny Pacquiao again 'in a year' Related: Fans file $5m lawsuit over Manny Pacquiao injury in Floyd Mayweather fight Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:07:06 GMT)

Bayern’s Thiago Alcântara: ‘Leo Messi is a competitive animal. If he played in goal he’d score 25 a season’
Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcântara talks about having a World Cup winner as a father, why he did not join Manchester United in 2013 and whether he will ‘go in hard’ on his brother, Barcelona’s Rafinha, at the Camp Nou on Wednesday• Sid Lowe: Guardiola knows he can’t stop unstoppable Leo MessiWhen Thiago Alcântara was a kid, he had everything he needed at home – a ball, a table, some chairs and a World Cup winner. Born in Italy and raised in Spain, where the family arrived when he was three, the Bayern Munich midfielder’s parents are Brazilian: his mother was a professional volleyball player called Valeria Alcântara and his father was a footballer called Iomar do Nascimento who played for Valencia, Celta Vigo and Elche. You might remember Mazinho, as he was better known, rocking the baby alongside Bebeto and Romario at USA 94.Bebeto’s son Mattheus was born two days before that Dallas afternoon, when they played Holland; Mazinho’s sons, Thiago and Rafinha, were three and one. On Wednesday night, 21 years on, they face each other in the first leg of the European Cup semi-final. “His heart will be divided,” Thiago says of his father, in the canteen at Bayern’s training ground. “He’ll have to get two scarves, cut them in half and sew them together, Barcelona one side, Bayern the other. But if it’s a conflict, it’s also a gift. Any dad would love this. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.” Enjoy it. There’s something in Thiago’s choice of words that’s fitting. Asked who his idols were, he responds simply “I liked my dad”, and he talks about long conversations and fatherly advice from his “first coach”, but Mazinho was no pushy parent. Related: Bayern Munich’s Spanish contingent keen to show they made the right move | Sid Lowe Related: Bayern manager Pep Guardiola knows he can’t stop unstoppable Leo Messi | Sid Lowe Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 09:00:10 GMT)

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab: IPL 2015 – live!
Live updates from Match 40 of this year’s IPLEmail tom.davies@theguardian.com or tweet @tomdaviesE17More on the Indian Premier LeagueKumar Sangakkara to play in Big Bash League for Hobart 3.49pm BST 4th over: RCB 51-0 (Gayle 42, Kohli 8)Kohli, practically a spectator so far, struggles against Johnson: he’s watchful to the first two balls of the over before hooking and missing at a short, sharp bouncer from the Australian, then swinging across the line and missing. He’s clearly just finding his range though, for the fifth ball is swatted emphatically over mid-off for four, and brings up his team’s 50 with two more down to fine leg. 3.45pm BST 3rd over: RCB 45-0 (Gayle 42, Kohli 2)Carnage. Sharma continues to Kohli, who gets off the mark with an inside edge down to fine leg for one. Gayle’s not one for running his runs though, and clatters a perfectly decent length ball from Sharma over long-on for six more. Then, A DROP: Gayle hammers it skyward in the direction of George Bailey at long-off, but he spills it and then parries it for four. A no-ball and a single for Gayle follows, giving Kohli a free hit, from which he can only get one as Sharma constricts him with a good full-length inswinger. The next one is too full though, and Gayle effortlessly reaches it before it bounces and swings it over the long-on boundary for yet another six. The next shot is even better, a delightfully orthodox punch down the ground for four. Wonderful batting. 3.39pm BST 2nd over: RCB 21-0 (Gayle 21, Kohli 0)So here it is: Mitchell Johnson to Chris Gayle, almost a caricature of the sort of gladiatorial contest the IPL trades on, and Gayle claims the early advantage emphatically. He starts with an on-drive for four, though he mistimes the second ball and only bottom-edges it to midwicket for no run. Gayle times the next two right enough though – a glorious controlled cover drive/slog for six, followed by another straight drive, out of the blockhole, into the stands. Johnson decides to drop a fraction shorter with his next ball, but Gayle is right on top of it, turning it nonchalantly down to the square leg boundary for four more. A bounced wraps up the over, which Gayle can well afford to duck under having milked 20 from the over already. 3.34pm BST 1st over: RCB 1-0 (Gayle 1, Kohli 0)Sandeep Sharma opens the bowling to Gayle, and in style, beating him with a lovely, zippy out-swinger second ball. He repeats the delivery next up, which Gayle just pulls his bat away from. The bowler pitches the next one up a little but gets the same result, beating Gayle with movement off the seam before RCB are finally off the mark with a single through the offside. There’s bounce and movement here, and this is a good start for Kings XI. 3.17pm BST The teams in full:RCB: Gayle, Kohli (capt), De Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Karthik (wk), Khan, Wiese, Starc, Patel, Chahal, Aravind. 3.07pm BST Some team change news: Chris Gayle and Harshal Patel come back in for RCB, and Manan Vohra replaces the veteran Sehwag in the Kings XI lineup. 3.03pm BST The toss: George Bailey, the Kings XI captain, calls correctly and decides to bowl. RCB will bat first. 2.56pm BST Good afternoon/evening everyone. Watching the IPL can sometimes feel like gorging on a lunch consisting entirely of chocolate cake, washed down by a dessert of a massive bowl of strawberries: you know you could be consuming something that is better for you in the long run, but so what – this feels good. Anyway, today we have the chance to possibly feast ourselves on the likes of Chris Gayle, AB De Villiers, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag, though Harbhajan Singh’s stunning bowling spell for Mumbai in yesterday’s match offered a timely reminder that this isn’t, and shouldn’t be, just a batsman’s game.That said, both these sides should be doing better. Mid-table Royal Challengers Bangalore collapsed horribly in their most recent match, against Chennai Super Kings, while rock-bottom Kings XI haven’t beaten anyone for a couple of weeks, and at 7.31 they have the poorest scoring rate in this year’s IPL. They need to win today or they’re gone. RCB look the stronger side, both in star and team quality, and will be favourites here, though it’s an unpredictable old game. Kings XI were, after all, runners-up last year. 2.45pm BST Tom will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Daniel Harris’s report of yesterday’s match, in which Mumbai Indians beat Delhi Daredevils by five wickets:Mumbai Indians continued their recent good form, defeating Delhi Daredevils by five wickets and with three balls to spare – though the margin of their victory was a good deal more comfortable than the score suggests. They jump from seventh to fourth in the table and look a good bet to reach the play-offs, while Delhi – who drop to sixth – must rely on the results of other teams.After winning the toss, Delhi elected to bat – their captain, JP Duminy, cited a pitch not expected to deteriorate, though perhaps Sunday’s game against the Rajasthan Royals was also influential, the Daredevils batted out of it after opting to field. And immediately, it looked an iffy call, Lasith Malinga sending down a nondescript outswinger that the talented Mayank Agarwal followed, edging behind for a diamond duck. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:49:56 GMT)

F1 returns to Europe for Spanish Grand Prix with Mercedes in the driving seat
The teams are arriving in Barcelona full of the promise of improvements but for McLaren and Fernando Alonso there is little hope of a return to former gloriesFriday marks the 70th anniversary of VE Day and there is unlikely to be victory in Europe for anyone apart from Mercedes when Formula One stages the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend after a three-week hiatus.Barcelona represents the sport’s return to Europe after the initial flyaways have set out the early-season pecking order. This is the time when teams, like some shabby holiday hotel, make urgent promises of upgrades to make up for falling short in the opening skirmishes in Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:04:42 GMT)

County cricket – live!
Clint McKay gives Leicestershire hope victoryIt’s just not cricketCounty cricket: the week’s final over 3.36pm BST Lizzy reports at teaIt’s Tea here at Canterbury and there’s a vital third wicket partnership building between Bell-Drummond and Nash, which is now worth 59. There are 36 overs remaining for Leicestershire to take these 8 wickets but for the moment these two are batting very nicely and it’s getting easier as the ball is now 35 overs old. 2.46pm BST Lizzy reportsNews from Canterbury is that Daniel Bell-Drummond and Brendon Nash are digging in for the moment. Their partnership is just 14 runs from 11 overs. I’ll bring you news of any wickets as soon as they fall but there are 44 overs remaining in the day for Leicestershire to get these eight wickets. 2.17pm BST Lizzy reports from CanterburySecond wicket has fallen at Canterbury. Rob Key has played round a straight one and is LBW to Shreck for 7. Kent 40/2. The weather is just about holding at the moment but it doesn’t feel as though a shower is very far away. 1.38pm BST Lizzy reports from Kent v LeicestershireTHERE’S ONE OF THEM: A beauty from Charlie Shreck has bowled Joe Denly for 9. Kent 20/1 . Bell-Drummond has produced a couple of flowing drives but batting against Shreck and McKay is not looking very easy. 1.06pm BST Lizzy Ammon with a new weather reportThe Sun is back out and we’re going to have some cricket. Play resumes at 1.10pm and the scoreboard says there’s 73 overs left in the day. Which sounds a lot to me. Kent need 315 to win. And it might not be very easy facing Clint McKay seaming it off a pitch that’s going to have a bit more juice in it after the shower. I’ll keep you posted... 11.24am BST It’s raining in Kent, reports Lizzy AmmonWell that didn’t last long. We managed five overs before a heavy shower came in. Not expecting to last long, the gale force winds are blowing the clouds across at some rate. Leicestershire are all out though. Taylor, who had played a nice little innings, edged to Coles in the slips and then Charlie Shreck had his stumps splayed for 1. So Leicestershire are all out for 196 and when we resume Kent will need 315 to win. Or Leicestershire will need 10 wickets. Or we’ll spend a lot of the day watching covers. One of the three. 11.10am BST Lizzy reports from CanterburyWell good morning from Canterbury. Is this the day that Leicestershire finally get the monkey off their back? It’s been 35 matches since they had a win. Way back in September 2012. In fact, it’s been a lot longer since they won away from home. 32 away matches without a win. 10.39am BST Morning all, Today we have Lizzy Ammon at Kent v Leicestershire. Here’s a link to her report from yesterday: Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:36:25 GMT)

Something has to change or Trott’s early retirement will not be the last
England cricket’s continual and overbearing demands on elite players are proving costly, and have gradually eroded a great team • England’s Jonathan Trott announces international retirementThree Tests into the 17 they have scheduled in this 12-month stretch, and England have already lost one player. It’s not a fresh bout of fatigue that has caused Jonathan Trott to quit international cricket, rather the fact the 16 months since he flew home from the last Ashes series in Australia has been too little time for him to recover from his burnout. It’s possible Trott’s illness was so severe he would never have felt comfortable making a comeback to Test cricket, however long he left it. Given that, it was brave of Trott to test himself, knowing full well he may fail. And if little else these three Tests in the Caribbean will serve at least to give him some peace of mind. He will never have to wonder “what if”.You could say, and some do, that Trott’s was a unique case. Certainly the intensity with which he approached his cricket made him vulnerable. In a revealing interview with George Dobell last March, Trott spoke about the summer of 2013, when England’s schedule had allowed the players to take a three-week break. He took four days off. On every other day, he spent two-and-a-half hours batting in the nets. He set himself impossible standards. “I averaged 90 against [Australia] so, in my head, I needed to score 180 runs a game to sustain that. And that meant, if I made 100, I was still left thinking: ‘Oh no, I need to score another 80 in the second innings just to break even.’” Related: England batsman Jonathan Trott announces international retirement Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 15:56:36 GMT)

Emmanuel Adebayor launches blistering broadside at his own family
• Tottenham striker claims his brother Rotimi stole 21 phones in a month• Adebayor says his family stopped him from seeing now-deceased brotherEmmanuel Adebayor has launched an astonishing attack on his family, in which the Tottenham Hotspur striker accuses them of turning their backs on him, renting out property he paid for without his knowledge and, in the case of his brother Rotimi, stealing mobile telephones while at a football academy in France.In a lengthy Facebook post, the Togo international Adebayor talked about the financial burden of supporting his family but his reasons for bringing the issues light were an effort for other families to “learn from what happened in mine”, adding “keep in mind that none of this is about money”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:36:14 GMT)

A brief history of motorised football pitch invasions
Plus: is it an advantage to wear your away kit in an FA Cup final?; young nomads; and why is there a bear on the Atlético Madrid club crest? Send your questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or get in touch via Twitter @TheKnowledge_GU“The pitch invasion at Blackpool at the weekend featured one fan on a mobility scooter,” writes Will Hollick. “Is this the only example of a motorised incursion on to the field of play outside the game’s laws – and if not, where else can we find a transgression by man and machine?”For those who haven’t watched the footage of the scenes at Bloomfield Road, a few hundred supporters gathered in the centre circle at the start of the second half to protest against Karl Oyston’s ownership of the club. They were followed by 60-year-old Bobby Mack, who drove his mobility scooter on to the pitch to join in the protests. “I was doing it to get back at Mr Oyston, my legs might not work but my brain certainly does,” he told the Blackpool Gazette. “The facilities at Bloomfield Road are diabolical for us disabled fans. It’s not good enough and his comments [Oyston texted a supporter calling him a ‘retard’ and telling him to enjoy his ‘special needs day out’] were very offensive to disabled people.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 09:30:26 GMT)

Tiger Woods sleepless at Sawgrass and keen to get back into ‘my little zone’
• Woods admits he has not slept since Sunday• Anniversary of father’s death and break-up trouble former No1• Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods announce breakupIn a rare public offering of emotion, Tiger Woods has admitted the strain of his split from Lindsey Vonn, added to the anniversary of his father’s death, means he has not slept since the weekend.Woods and Vonn issued statements on Sunday confirming the end of their three-year relationship. Living mutually hectic and essentially separate sporting lives – Vonn is an Olympic skier – is the reason that has been cited publicly and privately for that decision. A degree of upset on Woods’s part is inevitable and Vonn always appeared to be close to Woods’s two children. Related: Rory McIlroy sets sights on Players Championship after Match Play win Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 16:40:46 GMT)

Manu Tuilagi remains a major World Cup doubt, says Richard Cockerill
• Groin injury will keep centre out till June, says Leicester’s director of rugby• Cockerill also calls on England to continue ignoring Abendanon and ArmitageManu Tuilagi remains a major doubt for England’s World Cup campaign because of injury, Leicester’s director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, has said.Tuilagi has been hampered by a groin strain sustained in October and missed targets for a return in December, January and February because of the continuing nature of the problem. Now Cockerill has confirmed the player will not play again this season and is unlikely to be fully fit until June, the same month as England’s World Cup training camp. That would leave the centre in a race against time to get properly fit ahead of their first match of the tournament, against Fiji on 18 September. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 09:56:06 GMT)

Snooker in the right hands with new world champion Stuart Bingham
Stuart Bingham has travelled the globe to reach his status as the world champion and his good guy nature will continue to earn him and the game new friends• Bingham holds nerve to beat Shaun Murphy in epic finalThere was an amusing but telling exchange at the press launch of the world snooker championship a little over a fortnight ago. Saying his goodbyes and heading for the door of the RAC Club on Pall Mall, Stuart Bingham was asked if he was off to put in a few hours on the practice table. “No, I’m babysitting today,” he said. “I have to drive home and drop the car off for the missus, then I’m minding the kids.” When the Guardian piously suggested such duties don’t count as “babysitting” when the children in question are your own, he laughed. “I suppose that’s true,” he said. “But when you spend as much time away as I do, you worry they’ll forget who you are so it can sometimes feel like babysitting.”Even his presence at the launch spoke volumes. As well as the World Snooker chairman, Barry Hearn, and the tournament sponsor Fred Done, Mark Selby was also present in his role as the defending champion. And Bingham? When in need of an obliging, good-humoured player guaranteed to turn up to such an event on time and in a suit to amiably shoot the breeze with journalists, one suspects World Snooker’s media department have this 38-year-old self-confessed “snooker geek” on speed-dial. Good old dependable Stu: knowledgable historian of the game and such a keen collector of memorabilia he has already arranged to take ownership of the table on which he won his world title. Related: Stuart Bingham holds nerve to shock Shaun Murphy in epic final Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 16:22:10 GMT)

Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova advance to third round of Madrid Open
• Sharapova to face Caroline García in next stage• Victoria Azarenka also through to face Serena WilliamsMaria Sharapova advanced to the third round of the Madrid Open by beating Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday.The third-seeded Russian and defending champion broke Duque-Marino’s serve four times while saving three break points on her own serve. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 20:14:12 GMT)

We're citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear
The American public needs more access to what the government is doing in its name. That requires increasing freedom of information and transparencyWhen freedom of information and transparency are stifled, then bad decisions are often made and heartbreaking tragedies occur – too often on a breathtaking scale that can leave societies wondering: how did this happen? Think about the recent debates on torture, assassination by unmanned aircraft, secret warrants and detentions, intelligence and surveillance courts, military commissions, immigration detention centers and the conduct of modern warfare. These policies affect millions of people around the world every day and can affect anyone – wives, children, fathers, aunts, boyfriends, cousins, friends, employees, bosses, clergy and even career politicians – at any time. It is time that we bring a health dose of sunlight to them.I believe that when the public lacks even the most fundamental access to what its governments and militaries are doing in their names, then they cease to be involved in the act of citizenship. There is a bright distinction between citizens, who have rights and privileges protected by the state, and subjects, who are under the complete control and authority of the state. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:15:01 GMT)

The union is at risk – whether you realise it or not
As the Constitution Unit warns, a rushed devolution deal after this election could leave people in Scotland worse offThe union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is at risk whichever party heads the next UK government. So says the well-respected Constitution Unit at University College London, in a last-minute warning to political leaders. “Devolution policy-making has been rushed to the point of recklessness,” the unit concludes in a report just published. Changes now under consideration “could render the union ungovernable or lead to its break-up as a state”.As an academic research centre, the Constitution Unit does not tell voters which party to support. But it is concerned that a rushed deal following the election of a hung parliament could leave people in Scotland worse off. Claims by the SNP that full fiscal autonomy would create additional growth are dismissed in the report as “fairyland economics” based on “heroic assumptions”. Related: Nicola Sturgeon questions legitimacy of UK government without Scottish MPs Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:32:29 GMT)

How not to talk to people with an eating disorder
When it comes to strangers, some things are off the conversation table. There is no need to tell me about the importance of food. I know about thatBy all accounts, I’d been enjoying the conversation. We were two pina coladas apiece in, and between us had covered the breadth of holiday small talk. The weather, the flight over, the cult of the Kardashians, to name but a few. Then Jenny, the woman who had been stretching on the sun lounger beside me all day, got personal: “I know all about your problems,” she said as matter of fact. “You’ve just got to eat.”With that, she happily skipped back to decrying Kim Kardashian and her much-debated posterior. I sat in silence, scared to burst the supply of tears that had slowly gathered and begun to leak. I then got up and retreated to my room.To destigmatise mental illness we must discuss it. But by that, I mean counting it among other illnesses Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 08:07:50 GMT)

Cutting benefits is popular politics – but marks the death of solidarity
For the Tories, who have successfully painted welfare recipients as feckless scroungers, the £12bn cuts threat is the gift that keeps on givingThe nasty party is back, and it’s not by accident. Every day’s headlines, speculating about where the axe will fall on which benefits in order to achieve the £12bn savings the chancellor, George Osborne, says is indispensable to recovery, is also a day that shores up the Tory core vote. And on top of that, it wins the support of a good few voters Labour needs too. Cutting benefits is popular politics. Related: Revealed: hitlist of welfare cuts facing Britain's next chancellor Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:03:13 GMT)

Ignore what the media would have you think, politics is not a 'man's game'
Nicola Sturgeon as Miley Cyrus, ‘death-row hair’ and ‘baby hopes’ – a recent study has found media coverage of female politicians is getting worse. In an election that has been riddled with sexism, your vote is more important than everIt has been an election campaign balanced on a knife edge and nobody can confidently say what the outcome will be. But what we do know is that this closest of political battles has not been entirely fairly fought. Female candidates from all parties have been subjected to prejudice and appalling sexism from the media, other candidates and voters over the past months.For Sturgeon, the attacks started before her first day in office. As soon as she was tipped to succeed Alex Salmond as party leader in 2014, one national newspaper focused on her fashion transformation, “from death-row hair and awful trouser suits” to “sleek as an otter”. Another mused on her potential “baby hopes” while in office. They set the tone for a string of indefensibly misogynistic attacks, which have only intensified in recent months. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:06:17 GMT)

Rise in human trafficking reveals poverty of our response to Nepal earthquake
Opportunists are pouncing on the chaos in Nepal to force vulnerable people into slavery. It’s not a new problem – but one we urgently need to addressMark Antony’s speech over the body of Caesar came back to my mind yesterday when I read reports of how the earthquake that has devastated Nepal has led human traffickers to increase their efforts to enslave vulnerable young women for forced labour and sexual exploitation across South Asia: “Domestic fury and fierce civil strife/ Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;/ Blood and destruction shall be so in use/ And dreadful objects so familiar/ That mothers shall but smile when they behold/ Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war.” Related: Nepal quake survivors face threat from human traffickers supplying sex trade Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 14:07:38 GMT)

The police hit black women with both racism and sexism at once
Police officers looked at me in the same lascivious way as they did other women. I learned they weren’t there to protect me as much as watch me.I have never conceived of the police as there to serve and protect me: not as a woman, not as a black person, certainly not as a black woman and now – every minute of now – not as the mother of a black son. And although I have had numerous variations of “the talk” with my son, I never heard it growing up as a black child with white parents. Can’t help but to think it may have lessened the blow when as a kid I overheard police officers say things like: “Blacks don’t know shit.” Growing up in a rural New England town, I knew primarily from television that police officers were supposed to be on my side – that they were meant to help if I was ever in trouble or lost or mistreated. But, where I grew up, the bullies and delinquents from high school grew up to be the bigger bullies and delinquents who comprised the local police department. As teenagers, the boys who slapped girls’ asses in the hallways and pushed glasses-wearing geeks into lockers also liked power and rifles; as adults, they owned guns and lorded their state-sanctioned power over people. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:30:01 GMT)

The terrifying American anti-abortion movement is exporting its tactics to the UK – video
The global anti-chioce movement is looking to the United States for clues – which Jessica Valenti argues couldn't be worse news for women abroad. From 'crisis pregnancy centres' that mislead women to disruptive protesters outside clinics, is obtaining an abortion becoming so hard to get that it might as well be illegal? Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:29:00 GMT)

English nationalism is out of the bottle, whoever wins
The Tories have fanned jingoism for short-term political aims, yet it is most lethal to Englishness itselfSpare a moment for the union, buried by its own defenders. The Conservatives have opted to fan English nationalism and resentment, both to peel off voters in key English marginals and to delegitimise any future Labour government backed by the SNP. Such nationalist resentment cannot be stoked and then neatly placed back into a box when it has outlived its use, discarded until deemed useful when another political crisis arises. English nationalism is set to become a mighty force over the next five years, whoever governs, and it may well help to consume an already disintegrating union. Related: The SNP 'threat'? It would not be in party's interest to cause mayhem | Michael White As a plastic northerner, I feel London is a world removed from the Stockport of my childhoodA new populism should unite English, Welsh and Scots alike against a self-interested rapacious elite Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 17:41:55 GMT)

No, the SNP is not the UK’s Taliban. Here’s what the party is really like
The Scottish Nationalists aren’t anti-English and can even make the UK stronger – contrary to what the vicious, hysterical rightwing press would have you believeFaux outrage over nothingness, imagined chasms where there is a continent of common ground, hysterical personal attacks, hypocritical inconsistency and a huge gap in the market where authenticity and leadership could sit: this is the general election 2015.The campaign ought to have led the country through the challenges of inter-generational importance that we face in this moment: how we compete and become more productive and not just watch that deficit balloon, how we fund our public services sustainably without beggaring the next generation, how we reform the governance of a diverse union without allowing the politics of division to define us, how we determine our role in the world.'Many politicians and media critics lazily attach to it labels they learned half a century ago' Related: The SNP could never hold a Labour government to ransom – and here’s why | Robin Lustig Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 12:08:06 GMT)

There are issues that really matter at this election. But Britain’s media are ignoring them
Political parties may claim to be at each other’s throats – yet they seem to agree on a public discourse that keeps the nation in a state of arrested developmentPolitical coverage is never more trivial or evanescent than during an election. Where we might hope for enlightenment about the issues on which we will vote, we find gossip about the habits and style of political leaders, an obsession with statistically meaningless shifts in opinion polls and empty speculation about outcomes. (All this is now compounded by the birth of a royal baby, which means that our heads must simultaneously be dunked in a vat of sycophantic slobber.) Anyone would think that the media didn’t want us to understand the real choices confronting us.While analysis of the issues dividing the political parties is often weak, coverage of those they have collectively overlooked is almost nonexistent. The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and even the SNP might claim to be at each other’s throats, but they have often reached consensus about which issues are worthy of debate. This article will list a few of the omissions.Where are the arguments about the UK’s political funding that allows corporations to buy the politics they want?A narrow public discourse, dominated by the corporate media and the BBC, ignores or stifles new ideas Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 19:13:13 GMT)

Ebola shows how our global health priorities need to be shaken up
Now the threat from Ebola seems to be receding, rich countries must not revert to their former myopia. Listening to other countries’ needs and investing in women and children would be a startAmnesia has set in across the world as the fear and global attention given to Ebola recedes. But this is not a new phenomenon. With Sars, avian flu, swine flu and Mers, there were repeated calls to fix the global health system to avoid previous mistakes. We cannot continue to be surprised when a health crisis emerges and we need to start to take a long-term, inclusive perspective to ensure health security across the world. Myopia was a key factor in the failure to respond to Ebola in a rapid and effective way.There are three immediate steps that should be taken: Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 08:35:06 GMT)

I may be too late with this, like Russell Brand. But don’t throw an election night party
Or if you must, restrict your guest list to people who’ve seen you cry. When things get weird at 3am, you don’t want to be in chargeLike Russell Brand’s endorsement, this advice may come too late to be of any help, but I’m offering it anyway: don’t host an election-night party. In the 25 years I’ve lived in the UK I’ve never been to a party that was in any way enhanced by having it run concurrently with an election. Fun is often is short supply, while despondency, bad feeling and boredom are usually plentiful. Think back to that endless knees-up of despair back in 1992. Think of the BBC’s 2010 party boat, the one with all the pundits and celebrities trapped on it – a floating, media-friendly version of hell.I came across a few tips for successful election parties – themed foods, a sweepstake, plenty of drink, a mix of guests from across the political spectrum – all of which sound like ingredients for disaster if the wrong results start trickling in. If you must entertain, I would consider restricting your guest list to people who’ve seen you cry before. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:00:09 GMT)

Are passwords a thing of the past? Don’t bank on it
ActivPass, which replaces passwords with details of your own recent activity, may not be the ideal solution to ever more complex security demandsThere is no doubt that passwords have managed the trick of becoming both more complex and nigh-on useless. We have dozens of them, can’t remember which one goes with which account (if, indeed, we can remember them at all), and even then we still get hacked.Now ActivPass, the brainchild of academic researchers in America and India, thinks it has the answer. They found that 95% of those in the project trial could correctly answer three questions about themselves based on recent non-routine events in their metadata – but that only 6% could do the same for others. These authentication questions, they suggest, could be a replacement for passwords. while we may need a way out of the maze of competing passwords, it is not at all clear that ActivPass is the solution. It’s bad enough getting an early-morning phone call from your family doctor telling you your gran has died without that same phone call being required to log in to Skype so you can tell the rest of your family. When you’re dumped by your partner by text message, you don’t want to have to recall it to log in to order some comfort food/alcohol for the next few weeks. In any case, anyone with even minor privacy concerns post-Snowden might prefer not to hand over so much information to so many people in the interests of password security. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 16:58:38 GMT)

Pop has lost its tribal fever, and I can’t help missing it
Liam Gallagher endorsing the new Blur single reflects a wider shift in how we relate to musicAll that summer and on into autumn, a kind of fever seemed to grip the nation, as if we were living under a perpetual midday sun, making mad dogs and Englishmen of us all.The battle of Britpop began simply enough with a single release: Blur’s Country House thrust up against Oasis’s Roll With It on the very same mid-August day in 1995. They were very different songs – the former a semi-cautionary tale about a record executive who retires to the country, peppered with references to Balzac, Prozac and Animal Farm and carried on a jovial gait, the latter a more lyrically opaque account of lost feelings and lingering ambition drawled over sludging guitars. Related: Oasis battle Blur for the Britpop crown At the local indie disco people walked off the dancefloor in disgust when the DJ played a Blur song Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 18:59:53 GMT)

Steve Bell on the Tory-Lib Dem coalition – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 22:07:33 GMT)

Does it matter that my two-year-old son has two mums and no dad?
Our job is the same as any parent’s – to help him find his way in the world, not to become a ‘man’. And, anyway, his favourite things are sticks, stones, diggers, balls, steering wheels, and Thomas the Tank EngineThe scene was typical. Your average Sunday pub lunch featuring a bunch of hungover parents and their children. The adults were wild-eyed, exhausted, defeated – yet still desperate to appear in charge. The children were crazed. Or, rather, half of them were. The girls were sitting quietly and drawing. The boys were on a table brandishing cutlasses (OK, cutlery) and taking it turns to launch themselves to the floor, where they died magnificently, like tiny Game of Thrones extras. The gender stereotypes playing out before my eyes were off the scale.I was heavily pregnant with a boy of my own – a boy who, when he came out, would be nothing like these mini alpha males. I was convinced of this in the way that only someone who hasn’t yet had a child can be. My boy would be different. For a start, he would have two mothers. Two lefty feminist mothers into gender-neutral clothing and MGM musicals for all. There would be no father around to reinforce some fixed idea of masculinity, no matter how positive. No daddy to disappear off to work after a fortnight’s paternity leave, throw him in the air when he needed a cuddle, or freak out when he pushed a buggy with a doll strapped into it. Instead, there would be a double dose of femininity. Softness. There would be tights. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 19:00:03 GMT)

Dear Bill Gates: 'Will you lead the fight against climate change?'
The Gates Foundation is already helping to tackle polio, HIV, malaria, sanitation, and much more... which is why we are asking you in this video to divest from fossil fuels. You can help stop climate change, says the Guardian’s editor-in-chiefIn 2009, nearly half of the world’s new polio cases were in India. The disease which can cause paralysis and death is highly infectious, but by January last year, thanks to a concerted vaccination programme, the country had gone three years without a single case of the virus. It was officially “polio-free”.“The long-term threat [of climate change] is so serious that the world needs to move much more aggressively – right now – to develop energy sources that are cheaper, can deliver on demand, and emit zero carbon dioxide.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:27:40 GMT)

High court orders surrogate mother to hand baby to gay couple
Judge rules girl should live with genetic father and his partner and criticises woman for offensive language during hearingsThe high court has ordered a mother who agreed an informal surrogacy arrangement with a gay couple then denied them access to the child to hand the baby over. In a case which may lead to calls for more formal rules, the judge ruled in favour of the two men after finding that the woman had agreed to be a surrogate before conceiving. Related: Our surrogacy laws are putting children at risk | Afua Hirsch Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:31:47 GMT)

Glastonbury 2015: The Who confirmed as final headliners
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will be joined on Sunday night’s Pyramid stage bill by Paul WellerThe Who have been confirmed as the Sunday night headliners for Glastonbury, in a repeat of their 2007 appearance in the same slot. They will be preceded on the Pyramid stage by Paul Weller, making Sunday night mod night in Somerset.The announcement from Glastonbury was not exactly unexpected – the Sun had predicted the Who would be the headliners on Sunday – and confirms Michael Eavis’s remark that the final headliners would be two British artists, given that the only remaining core members of the Who are singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 08:24:19 GMT)

Libyan soldiers training near Cambridge raped man, court told
Two soldiers in UK as part of government programme to help bring security to Libya assaulted drunk wedding guest in park in university town, jury hearsTwo Libyan soldiers being trained in Britain raped a complete stranger in a Cambridge park after they homed in on their victim “like hunting dogs”, a jury was told on Wednesday.Moktair Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abugtila, 23, raped a heavily drunk wedding guest in the early hours of 26 October last year after they came across him in the centre of the university town, it was alleged at Cambridge crown court. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 13:40:03 GMT)

Miu Miu ad banned for appearing to sexualise a child
Campaign running in Vogue magazine featuring 22-year old-model Mia Goth was irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence, rules ASAAn ad campaign for fashion brand Miu Miu that ran in Vogue magazine has been banned for appearing to sexualise a child.Miu Miu, which is owned by Prada, ran a double-page ad that appeared to be shot through a slightly open doorway revealing a young woman reclining on a bed. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:29:51 GMT)

Signalling problems signal misery for South West Trains passengers
Rail firm the target of fury after passengers get stuck in trains for two hours – with some forced to stand in toilet – as unions hit out at lack of debate on transport in electionPassengers stuck in trains for up to two hours because of signal failures at Surbiton, south London, and Waterloo vented their fury at South West Trains as it struggled to restore normal service.Passengers were forced to stand in the toilet on one overcrowded train, while platforms at Surbiton were packed on Wednesday. Related: Chaos at Clapham Junction after rail power supply problem Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:34:37 GMT)

Prudential chief issues warning over low interest rates
Outgoing CEO Tidjane Thiam warned of a downward spiral of low income and lower growth, due to reduced long-term ratesPrudential’s outgoing chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, warned about the impact of low, long-term interest rates, as the insurer’s investment returns were hit in the UK and US, despite strong growth in Asia.Britain’s biggest insurer reported a 6% drop in new business profits in the first quarter as double-digit growth in Asia was offset by declines in the UK and the US. This reflected the impact of UK pension reform and reduced interest rates. Interest rates in the UK and the US have been near zero for years. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 11:50:55 GMT)

Ban NHS doctors from private work, hospital consultant says
Cardiologist Dr John Dean says overlap of private and public healthcare results in ‘the greedy preying on the needy’ and deprives NHS of much-needed doctorsNHS doctors should be banned from also working in private medicine because it damages the health service and involves “the greedy preying on the needy”, claims a heart specialist who has given up working in an industry he calls a “con”.Dr John Dean, a consultant cardiologist in Exeter, says NHS doctors who supplement their income by seeing patients privately end up compromising their ethics because they have a financial incentive to recommend treatment that may not be necessary. Related: Fears grow over ‘land grab’ of NHS by private suppliers Related: GPs are exhausted, A&E is overrun and hospitals are broke. What went wrong? Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 22:30:07 GMT)

Paramedics start 24-hour strike in Northern Ireland
Unite union, which represents 25% of ambulance service staff in the region, takes action as part of pay disputeSome paramedics have started a 24-hour industrial action in Northern Ireland, which the ambulance service in the region has warned might lead to delays in responses to 999 calls.The Unite union is staging the stoppage, which is part of a pay dispute and began early on Wednesday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 09:05:04 GMT)

Anti-poverty campaigner wins court battle over 'unfair' council tax costs
Judge rules in favour of retired vicar who claimed Haringey council in London was wrongly adding costs to legal bills for non-payment of council taxAn anti-poverty campaigner in London who says millions of poor people could be getting unfair bills for costs run up by local authority officials who take legal action against them for non-payment of council tax has won a high court fight.Retired vicar Paul Nicolson took legal action after complaining that magistrates ruling on allegations of council tax non-payment were failing to check the accuracy of costs said to have been accumulated by the Labour-controlled London borough of Haringey. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:18:06 GMT)

Sainsbury's makes £72m full-year loss on property writedowns
Supermarket hit by onerous contract charges relating to sites where it no longer plans to build supermarketsSainsbury’s has reported its first annual loss in a decade after being forced to cut prices and write down the value of its stores and property assets.The company fell £72m into the red in the year to 14 March, before tax, after £628m of impairment and onerous contract charges relating to sites where it no longer plans to build supermarkets. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 07:07:09 GMT)

Edinburgh and Dundee bid to host Scotland's first major studio
Rival consortiums talk up plans to help nation join film and television ‘gold rush’ in Ireland and WalesScotland is moving one step closer to having a major film studio of its own after details emerged of rival bids from sites on the outskirts of Edinburgh and in Dundee.The Edinburgh site, at Straiton in Midlothian, would be a privately funded $150m complex featuring six sound stages, on 86 acres of land close to an existing retail site, according to the Scotsman. It would feature 130,000 sq ft of studio space and is set to include two Hollywood-style backlots, an outdoor water stage and a film academy. Titled Pentland Studios, the project would be the UK’s third-largest studio, according to developers PSL Land Ltd. Related: Robert Carlyle's The Legend of Barney Thomson to open Edinburgh Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 10:20:31 GMT)

Chewing gum may have played role in teenager’s death, inquest told
Samantha Jenkins, 19, who chewed up to 14 sticks a day, suffered fatal convulsions that might be linked to consuming gum to excess, says coronerA teenager may have died after consuming too much chewing gum, getting through up to 14 sticks a day, an inquest has heard.Samantha Jenkins, 19, died in the arms of her mother days after being taken to hospital following a violent fit. Her body had failed to absorb enough vital minerals and large lumps of chewing gum were found in her stomach, the hearing in Swansea, south Wales, was told.I think there is a potential for this much chewing gum to cause this problem, but it’s not hard fact Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 18:25:20 GMT)

UK economic growth predicted to slow as construction industry struggles
But NIESR thinktank says recovery is stable despite weak productivity and troubled eurozoneBritain’s economy will grow at a slower pace this year and faces serious risks from weak productivity and a troubled eurozone, a leading thinktank has warned.The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has cut its forecast for growth this year to 2.5%, down from 2.9% pencilled in three months ago and below the 2.8% rate last year. The move follows much weaker than expected official GDP figures for the first quarter, which saw Britain’s growth rate halve to 0.3%. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 23:01:08 GMT)

Man who broke woman’s back in tube stunt to pay £4,000 compensation
Court orders Franz Bekker to pay compensation to Linda Soulsby after he collided with her while sliding down escalator at Holborn stationAn RAF flight sergeant who broke a tube passenger’s back after he tried to jump on to an escalator handrail has been ordered to pay £4,000 to his victim.Frans Bekker, 51, lost control and fell down the escalator at Holborn station in central London after being “goaded” by his table-tennis team-mates, Westminster magistrates court heard. He collided with a number of people, including Linda Soulsby, who suffered a fractured vertebra, the hearing was told. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 23:35:03 GMT)

Remaking a classic: Regent Street Cinema to reopen doors after 35 years
Central London venue was first place moving images were screened in Britain and three-year project to restore it for original purpose has reached completionIt was an afternoon in late February of 1896 that 54 passersby sat in a small theatre on Regent Street. There was little to suggest to this audience, many of whom had wandered in from the street, that for the price of a shilling they would be about to witness cinematic history. For this series of silent, grainy, 40-second scenes of ordinary life, hand-cranked through a projector, were the first pieces of moving footage to be shown in the UK. It would go on to form the foundations of the multimillion-pound global film industry we know today.The Lumière Brothers, who shot the footage, may have later declared that there was “no future in cinema” but this screening was the first of thousands hosted in this grand central London picture house. And now, 35 years after Regent Street Cinema closed its doors to the public, the venue has been restored to its original purpose. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 17:58:21 GMT)

Army recruitment sergeant guilty of sex attacks on young female recruits
Edwin Mee, 46, abused his power to ‘bully and groom’ young female cadets before sexually assaulting themAn army recruitment sergeant has been found guilty of sex attacks on young female recruits.Edwin Mee, 46, abused his power to “bully and groom” young female cadets before pouncing on them. His campaign of abuse began by spanking women on the bottom and escalated to raping a vulnerable recruit. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 17:51:36 GMT)

Netanyahu struggles to form Israeli coalition before midnight deadline
Prime minister seeks backing of far-right Jewish Home party after Avigdor Lieberman’s shock resignation plunges coalition talks into crisisBinyamin Netanyahu is still struggling to put together a new rightwing coalition government in Israel before a looming deadline at midnight on Wednesday. Although the prime minister is expected to scrape together a coalition by the thinnest of margins – with the key support of the far-right Jewish Home party led by Naftali Bennett – it appears it will be at the head of an unstable and vulnerable government. Continue reading...
(Wed, 06 May 2015 06:56:06 GMT)

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