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Labour must 'end the madness' over Jeremy Corbyn, says Alan Johnson
Former home secretary says party should back Yvette Cooper because she can unite the party to win powerThe Labour party should “end the madness” of a growing surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn and elect Yvette Cooper, who has “the intellect, the experience and the inner steel” to succeed as leader, Alan Johnson has said.In a boost to the shadow home secretary’s campaign, Johnson says she can unite the party to win power as he launches a strong attack on Corbyn and his supporters for disloyalty to progressive Labour governments. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:45:49 GMT)

Why Labour should end the madness and elect Yvette Cooper | Alan Johnson
Like me, Jeremy Corbyn has never had the ambition or the appetite to lead the Labour party. Nor the discipline. Labour needs a woman who can unite this great party once moreNext month will mark the centenary of Keir Hardie’s death. It’s said that, when telling his friend Sylvia Pankhurst that he planned to form a new political party, Hardie was advised to have just three policies; votes for women, chastity for men and prohibition for everyone. The chastity pledge never surfaced and prohibition disappeared from Labour’s deliberations (probably at around the time that George Brown was deputy leader).Labour was, however, to be the first political party to campaign for women’s emancipation as part of a programme set out by the 129 trade unionists (including two delegates from the Postmen’s Federation) who met in Farringdon Street, City of London, on 27 February 1900 to launch the Labour Representation Committee. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:45:00 GMT)

Edward Heath: Jersey becomes latest police force to investigate former PM
Detectives from Scotland Yard’s Operation Midland inquiry into a Westminster paedophile ring were already examining allegations against Heath Scotland Yard has been investigating claims made against the late former prime minister Sir Edward Heath for several months as part of its inquiry into historical child sex abuse by establishment figures.The BBC said a llegations against Heath were being examined by detectives working on Operation Midland, which was set up to examine claims of murder by a Westminster paedophile ring that systematically abused children. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:13:12 GMT)

€25m Picasso and superyacht collide with Spanish export ban
Customs officials are tipped off about alleged attempt to take painting belonging to member of banking dynasty to SwitzerlandWhen French customs officers boarded a yacht docked off the town of Calvi in northern Corsica, they knew exactly what they were looking for: a €25m Picasso belonging to a Spanish banking tycoon, banned from export from Spain, allegedly en route for Switzerland.Island officials had been tipped off on Thursday that an attempt was being made to export the painting, Head of a Young Woman, declared a “historical heritage asset of exceptional importance” by a Spanish judge, and that it was in French territory. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:48:38 GMT)

Mark Duggan: mother of man shot dead by police in 2011 calls for urgent inquiry
Call for new inquiry comes as demonstrators prepare to march to Tottenham police station close to where Duggan was shot by police four years agoThe mother of Mark Duggan, whose fatal shooting by police led to the 2011 London riots, is calling for an urgent inquiry by the home secretary into the events that led to her son’s death four years ago.Demonstrators are due to march to Tottenham police station later on Tuesday close to where Duggan was shot by police on 4 August 2011, shortly after collecting a firearm from gun supplier Kevin Hutchinson-Foster. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:39:03 GMT)

George Osborne overtakes Boris Johnson as favourite to lead Tories
Poll of Conservative party members sees the chancellor leapfrog the London mayor as favourite to replace David CameronGeorge Osborne has moved in front of Boris Johnson for the first time to become favourite among Conservative members to be the next leader of the party, according to a new poll.The latest monthly poll by the website Conservative Home shows the chancellor ahead of the London mayor, with nearly one in three (31%) of the over 700 members questioned saying they wanted Osborne to replace David Cameron when he steps down. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:41:47 GMT)

NHS told to fill only essential vacancies due to 'almost unprecedented' finances
Health service regulator Monitor warns that current plans are ‘quite simply unaffordable’, as Labour attacks evidence of deteriorating NHS financesNHS trusts have been told by Monitor, the health service regulator, to fill vacancies “only where essential” as it warned that current financial plans are “quite simply unaffordable”. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:54:33 GMT)

Two Mac viruses strike at the heart of the platform's secure image
‘Thunderstrike 2’, a worm which moves from macbook to macbook using hardware, joins privilege escalation bug seen in the wild for the first time For years, Mac users have been safe in the knowledge that their platform was relatively safe from malware. A combination of the lower number of users on the platform, less attention from security researchers and, in general, fewer security holes in the operating system than Windows has led to a history generally free of damaging viruses and malware. So proud has Apple been of its security that it even ran several spots in its Mac vs PC ad campaign dedicated to the idea that Macs don’t get viruses. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:01:45 GMT)

Man accused of rape and murder of British woman in Bulgaria
Jan Bennett, 67, from Bristol, was attacked and killed in the town of Malomir, south-east Bulgaria, where she had moved two months agoProsecutors in Bulgaria are seeking the most “severe” sentence against the man accused of raping and murdering British woman Jan Bennett in the Bulgarian village where she had recently moved.The 67-year-old, from Bristol, was attacked in the town of Malomir, south-east Bulgaria, after she had walked her two dogs. Bennett is understood to have moved there from Turkey with her 62-year-old husband, Nick, two months ago. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:09:53 GMT)

US bookshop offering refunds for Go Set a Watchman
Brilliant Books in Michigan says customers are owed apologies for portrayal of Harper Lee’s long-lost manuscript as a ‘nice summer novel’ rather than an academic curiosityA US independent bookshop is offering refunds to its Go Set a Watchman customers, claiming that the work should be viewed as an “academic insight” into Harper Lee’s development as an author, rather than as a “nice summer novel”.Brilliant Books in Traverse City, Michigan, has said that its “dozens” of customers for Go Set a Watchman are owed “refunds and apologies” over the way the novel has been presented. “It is disappointing and frankly shameful to see our noble industry parade and celebrate this as ‘Harper Lee’s New Novel’,” the bookseller writes on its website. “This is pure exploitation of both literary fans and a beloved American classic (which we hope has not been irrevocably tainted). We therefore encourage you to view Go Set a Watchman with intellectual curiosity and careful consideration; a rough beginning for a classic, but only that.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:08:03 GMT)

'Journalists are being slaughtered' – Mexico's problem with press freedom
Photographer Rubén Espinosa’s murder in Mexico City carries a grim message: nowhere is safe as the authorities fail to halt growing violence against the pressRubén Espinosa’s coffin was carried to the graveside under a blistering Mexico City sun, accompanied by a round of applause from his friends and colleagues – and the howling of his beloved cocker spaniel, Cosmo. As the body of the murdered photographer was carefully lowered into the ground, weeping mourners clutched each other for support – and grappled with the realisation that they could be next. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:28:07 GMT)

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl: ‘a more realistic view of women and sex’
A new American indie hit explores female sexuality in a way few films would dare and has earned an 18 certificate as a result. Its director explains why mainstream cinema needs to change its ways – and fastAdmittedly, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl is never going to be an easy sell when you’re standing outside the cinema, persuading your other half how to spend the next two hours. Simply put, the story goes: 15-year-old Minnie begins drug-addled affair with mum’s 35-year-old boyfriend. Couldn’t director and screenwriter Marielle Heller have made her directorial debut a nice romcom or, at least, something a bit less sexual-abuse-y? Related: 18 certificate ruling keeps The Diary of a Teenage Girl away from teenage girls Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 23:00:09 GMT)

Why camping is a passion-killer | Nell Frizzell
Seeing your new squeeze sluicing themselves down with a wet wipe is about as sexy as sticking a carrot up your nose – unless it’s a metaphor for loveThere is nothing – absolutely nothing – as fatal for a burgeoning romance than to watch a near-stranger sluice themselves down with a wet wipe. Related: camping-tips Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:24:02 GMT)

Harry Shearer on his Simpsons U-turn: 'All I can say is, it wasn’t a stunt'
The voice of Mr Burns almost left the Simpsons after contract negotiations stalled. Now, as he voices a documentary about hurricane Katrina, he talks about his ties to New Orleans and why he’s fascinated by Donald TrumpWhen news broke that Harry Shearer, the voice of almost two dozen characters on The Simpsons, including Ned Flanders and Mr Burns, was going to leave the show, some thought it was a prank. Could the Simpsons survive without him?“All I can say is, it wasn’t a stunt,” said Shearer. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 07:00:03 GMT)

What happens when Football Manager is simulated for 1,000 years?
• A gamer simulated Football Manager for 1,000 years and published results• Blades and Burnley dominant but fallow years ahead for champions ChelseaSheffield United supporters approaching the new season with trepidation need worry no more. Nigel Adkins is about to begin his first season at the club and will set the wheels in motion for a 1,000 years of unprecedented success – that is if Football Manager is to be believed. Related: Is being addicted to Football Manager a medical condition? | Iain Macintosh Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:35:07 GMT)

Rio Olympics: public scepticism persists as preparations approach final lap
Progress on venues and infrastructure is evident but the city faces its biggest test of public opinion this week, one year before the Games openRio de Janeiro is stepping up the pace as it approaches the last lap of its Olympic preparations to ensure there will be no repeat of the last-minute rush seen before last year’s World Cup, but it still has a way to go to prove the 38.2bn reais (£7.9bn) cost is worthwhile. Related: What the Olympics means for the people of Rio Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:20:57 GMT)

The chances I had just aren’t there for today’s deprived young people | Gary Bell
I’d like to think other young people from deprived backgrounds like mine might follow in my footsteps into law. But they won’t – as the government has whipped away the ladder of social mobilityI was on holiday recently and found myself sharing a few drinks with my 19-year-old son and a group of friends he’d made. They were a nice bunch of youngsters, mostly privately educated, at an exciting stage of life. One of them I found particularly impressive – a young mixed-race lad called Elliott.We had plenty in common: we both came from Nottingham and had been to local comprehensive schools. Our parents had solid working-class jobs – my mother worked at the John Player cigarette factory in the city and my father was a coal miner – Elliott’s mother works for Royal Mail, while his father is a painter and decorator. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:59:18 GMT)

British Museum uses virtual reality to transport visitors to the bronze age
Virtual reality experience takes visitors back in time using real objects and state of the art 3D gadgetsVisitors to the British Museum are invited to walk into a 4,000-year-old roundhouse this weekend, where the fire is lit, the floor swept and some enigmatic objects lie waiting to be discovered. The museum is launching its first virtual reality weekend, inviting visitors to engage with the past not just through the real objects in the galleries but through state of the art 3D headsets, tablets, and a projection of the recreated house into a dome structure large enough for groups of five to enter. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:50:15 GMT)

The cost of staging an Edinburgh fringe show: artists open their account books
By the end of last year’s festival, one company had made £160 each from their ‘hit show’. But even if there’s no profit from the box office, the other benefits of appearing at Edinburgh are incalculableDanny Braverman won’t be at the Edinburgh festival fringe this year. That’s because he is performing his one man show Wot? No Fish!!, a brilliantly affecting piece about his great aunt and uncle’s marriage, for a run at London’s Southbank Centre. But if Braverman hadn’t taken Wot? No Fish!! to Edinburgh in 2013, he wouldn’t be at the Southbank at all. Neither would he have taken the show to Australia, the US and Luxembourg – as well as all over the UK. It was the Edinburgh fringe that gave the show further and sustainable life.“Wot? No Fish!! definitely hasn’t made me a millionaire, but its success means that I don’t have to keep going back to raise money and get grants to support it to tour. Instead it pays me. Not a fortune: I get about what I’d expect to get paid for a day’s lecturing,” says Braverman, who, when he took the show to Edinburgh, budgeted on three possible scenarios: heaven, hell and earth. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:14:32 GMT)

Are plants intelligent? New book says yes
A new book, Brilliant Green, argues that not only are plants intelligent and sentient, but that we should consider their rights, especially in the midst of the Sixth Mass ExtinctionPlants are intelligent. Plants deserve rights. Plants are like the Internet – or more accurately the Internet is like plants. To most of us these statements may sound, at best, insupportable or, at worst, crazy. But a new book, Brilliant Green: the Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence, by plant neurobiologist (yes, plant neurobiologist), Stefano Mancuso and journalist, Alessandra Viola, makes a compelling and fascinating case not only for plant sentience and smarts, but also plant rights. For centuries Western philosophy and science largely viewed animals as unthinking automatons, simple slaves to instinct. But research in recent decades has shattered that view. We now know that not only are chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants thinking, feeling and personality-driven beings, but many others are as well. Octopi can use tools, whales sing, bees can count, crows demonstrate complex reasoning, paper wasps can recognise faces and fish can differentiate types of music. All these examples have one thing in common: they are animals with brains. But plants don’t have a brain. How can they solve problems, act intelligently or respond to stimuli without a brain? Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:43:05 GMT)

Chinese Winter Olympics anthem is rip-off of Frozen song, say online critics
Songwriter accused of ‘shaming China’ with The Ice and Snow Dance, a song that is claimed to bear a strong resemblance to Disney blockbuster Let it GoThe composer of one of the official anthems of Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics is facing an avalanche of criticism over claims his song bears an uncanny similarity to Let it Go, the theme from Disney’s blockbuster animated film Frozen. Zhao Zhao, an established songwriter who studied at China’s top music school and has worked with artists including Placido Domingo, is credited with composing The Ice and Snow Dance, one of 10 slushy motivational ballads chosen to represent the games. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:24:39 GMT)

Georgia's Stalin museum gives Soviet version of dictator's life story
Visitors flock to leader’s birthplace in town of Gori, where exhibitions make no mention of crimes and atrocities committed during his ruleVera Shalamberidze leaned against a statue of Joseph Stalin and smiled for the photo. “Let me take another,” urged her husband, Zurab. Behind them, other Russian tourists were snapping pictures next to the cramped brick hovel in this small central Georgian town where the Soviet dictator was born in 1878. The house is now one of the main attractions of Gori’s Stalin Museum – a place where visitors can still experience the Soviet version of his life story, without any mention of the millions of people that he killed. “Maybe he made some mistakes,” said Zurab, whose family is originally from Georgia. “But every coin has two sides and we respect him as a strong leader who created a great empire and won the second world war.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:00:06 GMT)

How we made Blind Date with Cilla Black
‘When they rejected my first theme tune, I just said: what about “Blind date, blind date – da da da da da da?”’Alan Boyd, LWT head of entertainment A standup comic called Duncan Norvelle hosted a pilot episode of Blind Date for us. I thought of Cilla for it right away, but I knew she didn’t want to take on a second show. She just wanted to do Surprise Surprise. Then, one day, I said: “Oh, by the way, I have a show you’d be lovely for, though I know you’re not interested.” She replied: “Oh, I’ve seen something I’m interested in too – this Australian show called The Perfect Match.” I said: “Funnily enough, that’s just like the show I want you to do – except the one we’ve seen is The Dating Game from America.” So there it was. What a piece of luck.She only wanted to do six episodes, though, and didn’t want to do Surprise Surprise as well. I said: “No, I’d like you to do both.” And, after some persuasion, she did. In the pilot, Duncan hadn’t been able to get the logistics, but Cilla was great at all the army-like manoeuvres – turn left here, look into that camera, introduce this now. She was in her element, a natural with the boys and the girls, hysterical from day one, and the public adored her. She wasn’t the big glamorous star, she was just normal. She was you. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:00:02 GMT)

A Very British Brothel review – ‘Suddenly, running a massage parlour seems a jolly, public-spirited pursuit’
The joy of this documentary about family-run Sheffield business City Sauna lay in the constant counterpoint between the sleazy and the cosyThe programme title A Very British Brothel (Channel 4) deploys a resurgent trope, in which “very British” may be taken to mean “insufferably eccentric”, “endearingly rubbish” or “incongruously cosy”. Or in this case, all three.City Sauna used to be a pub, but now it’s a massage parlour in Sheffield’s “golden mile of sex”. It’s a mother-daughter concern, owned by Cath, managed by her daughter Jenni, and staffed by a roster of mature sex workers – the house specialty – who sit chatting on the sofa in tight basques, looking like toothpaste tubes that have been squeezed in the middle. “A working girl needs to be sexy, elegant,” said Anna, the longest-serving of them. “But also slutty, because a man likes a slut.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:10:02 GMT)

Don't sit back if your A-level results are better than expected – consider Adjustment
Grade-hopping students can apply for a more demanding course or a top-ranking university through Adjustment Everything seemed to go well. Very well in fact. You might have had a sneaking suspicion in the exam hall or it might come as a surprise, but this results day, a large number of you will have done better than expected in your A-levels and may be able to upgrade to a more prestigious university or choose a different course. In the past, students that exceeded their offer may have managed to find a place through Clearing, or been encouraged to take a gap year and reapply the following year. However, since 2009, when Ucas introduced Adjustment, a formal system for overachievers, students now have a five-day period in which to see what other options are available while still holding on to their confirmed place. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:46:12 GMT)

The man who survived Hiroshima: 'I had entered a living hell on earth'
As Japan prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the world’s first nuclear attack, survivors remember the horrors of nuclear war It is not as if Sunao Tsuboi needs another reminder of his violent encounter, as a 20-year-old university student, with a “living hell on earth”. The facial scars he has carried for seven decades are proof enough. But, as if to remind himself of the day he became a witness to the horrors of nuclear warfare, he removes a a black-and-white photograph and points to the shaved head of a young man looking away from the lens.“That’s me,” he says. “We were hoping we would find some sort of medical help, but there was no treatment available, and no food or water. I thought I had reached the end.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:11:24 GMT)

Geoffrey Rush: My only ambition is to keep on putting 'actor' on my tax form
The Australian actor talks working with Johnny Depp, humankind’s flaws and discovering a musical ancestor thanks to TV series Who Do You think You Are You’re about to kick off a new series of Who Do You Think You Are? Have they been asking you for years?They’ve been asking me since the very first season. It only takes three weeks to make, but you have six months of preliminary meetings with genealogists and historians before that and up until now, I haven’t been assured of that gap. I was definitely interested in the show. As long ago as 2003, I was shooting The Life and Death of Peter Sellers with Stephen Fry who’d just done an episode and he said: “Do it, Geoffrey.” It’s not like shooting reality TV or I’m A Celebrity. This is a show made by experts wanting to find the most interesting stories they can tell.What did you know about your family going into the series?I’d always assumed Rush was an English name and did a bit of my own research (in other words, I googled) to find it was linked to matting – just as Coopers were barrel makers and Smiths were smithies. I also found there were Rushes in the times of Elizabeth I, appropriate given some of my films [Shakespeare in Love; Elizabeth]. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 07:03:14 GMT)

Bringing up the bodies: the reasons people move relatives’ graves
Every year, hundreds apply to exhume family members and transport them across the country. Shouldn’t we let them rest in peace?We carry the dead with us. They remain in our hearts, in our minds. Now, the Ministry of Justice has revealed that some of us go as far as physically carrying the dead. For a few years, the government department has received around 25 applications a week from people looking to exhume the buried remains of their relatives.This might call to mind images of satanic rituals under the cover of darkness, but the main reasons are practical and domestic. People moving from one side of the country to the other apply to have the buried remains of their parents (it’s usually parents) moved with them so that they can better attend their graves. In order to do this, they have to fill out a 12-page MoJ application form that includes the written agreement of whoever is in charge of the “cemetery, churchyard or crematorium where the remains are to be reburied or cremated”. Applications are then normally decided within 20 days. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 20:59:02 GMT)

Premier League 2015-16 preview No14: Stoke City | Paul Doyle
Mark Hughes has assembled a talented squad and the quality of football should remain high. There’s a danger of Stoke becoming the new darlings of hipstersGuardian writers’ predicted position: 7th (NB: this is not necessarily Paul Doyle’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)Last season’s position: 9th Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:59:16 GMT)

Ashes 2015: does a Don Bradman history lesson explain how series can be seized? | Andy Bull
The teams seem so short on resolve and resource that any batsman who has the patience to make a century will, most likely, win the match for his sideAs Red Smith once wrote of Babe Ruth, “he must have admired records, since he created so many of them”. Goes double for the Don. One of Bradman’s more obscure marks is in the news again this week. There have been 14 Ashes series in which the score was 2-1 going into the fourth Test, and only once did the team trailing go on to win the series. The captain? Why even ask. Bradman. The nonpareil. That was in 1936-37, his very first series as captain. He was an unpopular pick, too, at least among some of the players. They preferred Vic Richardson for the job and let Bradman know it. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:44:00 GMT)

David Squires on … the new football season
As his series of cartoons returns for the new campaign, David Squires settles in for the next 10 months … Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:29:10 GMT)

Is the UFC turning into Rollerball?
An omnipotent corporation pacifies the masses with a violent sport while suppressing all individuality. Is today’s UFC a case of life imitating art?“No player is greater than the game itself.”So says Bartholomew, the politically powerful executive played with patrician gravity by the great John Houseman in the 1975 film Rollerball. Bartholomew’s company is one of several that have conspired to provide sanitized comfort for the masses, with the deadly sport of Rollerball providing an outlet for pent-up bloodlust and a valuable lesson against individuality. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:30:05 GMT)

Danny Cipriani re-bailed and free to play for England at Rugby World Cup
• 27-year-old England fly-half re-bailed until after World Cup• Cipriani was arrested on suspicion of drink driving in JuneDanny Cipriani, who was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving following an early morning car crash, is due to be available for England’s World Cup campaign after he was re-bailed until November.A police spokesman confirmed that the 27-year-old had been bailed again to a date in mid-November pending further inquiries. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 07:38:29 GMT)

José Mourinho says disagreements with Abramovich in the past at Chelsea
• ‘We had some interferences and a bit of a disagreement with some ideas’• Mourinho expects usual suspects to compete for Premier League titleJosé Mourinho says his disagreements with Roman Abramovich are in the past and that he is ready to fight for his fourth Premier League title starting this weekend.In his first spell at Chelsea, starting in 2004, Mourinho won the league in his first two seasons, only to fall out with the club’s Russian owner and leave in September 2007. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:52:24 GMT)

How close are we to a London Jaguars NFL franchise?
Most NFL fans in the UK already have an existing team of choice, so a London franchise could be a tricky sellIn May 2013, Andrew Luck headlined an NFL UK fan forum held in a former theatre turned conference center that sits at the foot of the Thames in London. Over 4,000 fans applied for just 400 seats. The night was a rousing success as Luck fielded questions that exhibited sophistication, passion and humor. For example, a man wearing a Luck jersey cheekily asked, “How does it feel to have replaced Curtis Painter?” Luck laughed as ubiquitous NFL UK presenter and MC for the night Neil Reynolds quickly moved on. The fans’ admiration for Luck was obvious, even though the room was a far cry from a uniformed collection of Colts fans that one would find at US fan event Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:00:05 GMT)

Mass doping claims: IOC promises zero tolerance if athletes are found guilty
Head of the IAAF, world athletics’ governing body, says it is impossible to be sure that blood test irregularities mean an athlete dopedThe International Olympic Committee has promised “zero tolerance” of athletes found to have doped, after leaked data allegedly showed that a third of recent medal-winners had recorded potentially suspicious blood tests.“If there should be cases involving results at Olympic Games, the IOC will react with zero tolerance with our usual policy,” said Thomas Bach, the IOC president, speaking at a meeting of the organisation in Kuala Lumpur. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:00:28 GMT)

Guardiola questions Schweinsteiger’s fitness after Manchester United move
• Guardiola: ‘During the last three years he was never in a good condition’• Manchester United’s £15m signing made only 82 starts in four seasonsPep Guardiola has cast a doubt on Manchester United’s new midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger by saying his former player was never fully fit over the last three seasons.The Bayern Munich manager said the 31-year-old Schweinsteiger can only be a success at the Premier League club if he can shake off his injury problems. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 07:21:39 GMT)

Netball World Cup 2015: all you need to know about the tournament
The Netball World Cup gets under way at Sydney’s Olympic Park on Friday – here’s a useful guide to 2015 edition of the event Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 05:37:34 GMT)

Government starts public consultation to stop fall in sports activity
• Government admits to challenges to UK sport as participation declines• Sports minister, Tracey Crouch, announces focus on 10 themesThe increasing cost of funding success for Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes is “at odds with the current financial climate”, the Government has warned.Sports minister Tracey Crouch has launched a public consultation on sport in the UK which will be fed into the Government’s spending review - expected this autumn - and which is likely to lead to wide-ranging public sector cuts. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 23:00:08 GMT)

Forget Mitchell Johnson, remember when West Indies truly ruled by pace | Mike Selvey
A new book recalls the start of Caribbean domination and how Clive Lloyd led the islands to ‘fight fire with fire’ and become legends of the gameGeoff Miller, erstwhile Derbyshire and England off-spinner, national selector and wonderful raconteur, tells a terrific story of the time he was in the England party that toured the Caribbean in the spring of 1981.It was the net session before the third Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados and the two teams were practising alongside one another. Miller watched as the West Indies gun batsmen, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd, had a bat against the top bowlers, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding (who a few days later was to deliver to Geoffrey Boycott perhaps the most famous over of all), Joel Garner and Colin Croft, and when done the octet retreated to the dressing room leaving Larry Gomes, next on the list, to warm up against the Bajan net bowlers brought in for the day. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:26:44 GMT)

Speedway rider Lewis Kerr in coma after ‘horrific’ crash in Peterborough
• Norfolk rider airlifted to hospital after multiple-bike crash• Race meeting was abandoned following the incidentLewis Kerr, an up-and-coming speedway rider, is in a coma following a “horrific” collision with a barrier at a race meeting in Peterborough on Sunday. The incident was witnessed by Kerr’s parents and his pregnant wife, Jessie.Kerr was competing for the Newcastle Diamonds team when he was involved in a multiple-bike crash. According to the Peterborough Telegraph, Kerr was hit by the Australian rider Josh Grajczonek, and the impact propelled him through a fence surrounding the circuit. The 25-year-old, who lives in Heacham, Norfolk, was treated trackside for over an hour before being airlifted to the Addenbrooke’s hospital, Cambridge, with severe head injuries. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 10:49:59 GMT)

China’s schools are testing factories. Why is Britain so keen to copy them? | Simon Jenkins
Our government seems determined to move towards the Chinese style of hothousing pupils, just as China is waking up to the folly of such methodsThis evening the BBC will carry forward the great myth that Chinese education is “better” than Britain’s. A documentary comparing Chinese and British teachers in a Hampshire school will show Chinese teachers appalled at how disruptive, challenging and idle British pupils could be. That, by implication, is why Chinese children do better, far better, in international tests.All this tells us about is tests. Only exam salesmen and Whitehall officials believe this has anything to do with education. The OECD/Pisa global league tables in maths have long been discredited, most recently by the Chinese educationist, Yong Zhao. It turns out they compared results for all British and American 15-year-olds with a few highly corrupt “testing factories” in China’s richest city, Shanghai, and other urban communities in Hong Kong and Singapore. Like was in no way compared with like. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:43:57 GMT)

Free to dream, I’d be left of Jeremy Corbyn. But we can’t gamble the future on him | Polly Toynbee
Many of us share the Labour leadership frontrunner’s core beliefs, but tactically the best chance lies with Yvette CooperNothing about Jeremy Corbyn’s surge suggests a blip. Few at Labour HQ, busy checking credentials of new signers, think people are flocking to sign up to vote for anyone but him – some 60,000 new voters as of Monday. JC is a phenomenon.Neil Kinnock warns of “Trotskyite forces with malign intentions” and entryists from the “Telegraph right”. But evidence from overflowing Corbyn meetings pumping with passion is that these are not resurrected Militant but essentially Labour-type people who just agree with Corbyn. The atmosphere is heady – as it was when Michael Foot filled rallies to the rafters. He refused to believe he was losing badly when finding whooping support everywhere he went. All of us on the left risk the myopia of inhabiting a universe of the like-minded. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 05:00:00 GMT)

Do we really have to get our football kit on for the lads? | Paula Cocozza
Manchester United’s new female shirt’s plunging neckline is another sexist sporting slip. Women’s bodies don’t need repackagingManchester United unveiled its new fan kit for the season this week, including a top that has been designed especially for female supporters. While the men’s replica shirt is cut straight and boxy, the women’s version narrows at the waist and flares at the hip. Because this is what women’s bodies are meant to do. This is also what men’s bodies are meant to do, but Adidas, the kit manufacturer, has decided to overrule biology in the case of men, presumably because it believes that men who like football want to be comfortable, while women who like football want to look fit. Related: 'I was never motivated by money': meet the new stars of English football Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:41:12 GMT)

What makes us feel for Cecil the lion but not for fellow humans? | Clare Allan
The outrage at the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe contrasts sharply with our reaction to the plight of migrants in CalaisNews of the death of Cecil the lion at the hands of an American dentist has been greeted with massive outrage by ordinary people across the globe. This is unsurprising. Cecil was a magnificent creature, languorously powerful, amber-eyed, as much a part of his environment as Walter Palmer from Minnesota, with his baseball cap, his flash white teeth and his loaded crossbow, was a ludicrous eyesore upon it.Moreover, Cecil was tricked, lured from the safety of the national park, to be shot with an arrow (the killing was botched), and wander for 40 hours in pain before being finished off with a gun. His beautiful, expressive head was hacked off as a trophy. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:00:14 GMT)

Women in prostitution won’t be protected by Amnesty’s plan | Julie Bindel
The organisation’s flawed decriminalisation proposals will instead protect those who profit from the sale of women working in the sex tradeFor the majority of people, the controversy surrounding Amnesty International and its proposed prostitution policy is a non-story. This is for the simple reason that most will assume that decriminalisation means not arresting the women. When Amnesty promotes the notion that the decriminalisation of sex workers will protect their human rights, they fail to explain that this would apply to all those whose business is associated with the sex trade: pimps, brothel-owners, pornographers, and others who profit from the sale of women.A number of survivors who have left the sex trade have spoken about how they survived while still involved, which includes insisting to themselves and to others that they were making a free and happy choice to sell sex. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:04:29 GMT)

David Cameron used ‘swarm’ instead of ‘plague’ in case it implied that God had sent the migrants | Frankie Boyle
The indifference of the British to the plight of the Calais refugees is staggering – we criticise the desperate people who probably have a good claim to asylum, but well up over lorries in a traffic jamLast week a proud, beautiful, beloved African creature, who’d lived the last years of his life in a fenced compound, was killed by a train in the Channel tunnel. That’s the British for you: criticising people fleeing genocide for pushing their children over a perimeter fence, when we’d do it for a 40% discount off an Asda telly.If you feel more emotion looking at a picture of queuing lorries than a picture of desperate humans living in a lay-by, you need to check your bedtime routine for someone beating you round the head with a meat tenderiser. Only the British could experience great pain at the thought of a traffic jam – a place where you can sit alone with your radio on without being expected to do any work. Aren’t traffic jams unbearable? By the time you get home, you need to sit alone in a comfy chair with your favourite music on just to calm down. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:05:26 GMT)

Adoptees should be able to annul their relationship with their adoptive parents | Kaye Pearse
Adults deserve the right to decide whether or not to honor the contract that binds them to an adoptive familyLike approximately 5 million other Americans, I’m adopted. As a child, my biological parents gave me up to other people to raise. The subject of the contract between my adoptive parents and the state – me – didn’t agree to anything. I had no more say in the matter than my house did when I signed a contract to buy it. Still, the public perception is that adoption is always a good thing – that it’s always in the best interest of the child, and that everyone lives happily ever after. But many adoptions don’t work out for a number of reasons: a mismatch of personalities, parental inability to love someone else’s child, outright dislike of the child by one or both parents. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:15:15 GMT)

Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters aren’t mad – they’re fleeing a bankrupt New Labour | Owen Jones
Instead of mocking Corbynism those on Labour’s centre-left should develop a coherent political vision of their ownHow have the Labour left, from arguably its lowest ebb in the party’s history, apparently ended up on the brink of taking the leadership on a wave of support? If you listen to many self-described “centre-left” voices, it’s because the Labour party has gone quite, quite mad. Cod psychology now abounds to describe the rise of Corbynism: narcissism, people wanting to show off how right-on they are on Facebook, mass delusion, an emotional spasm, and so on. Corbyn supporters are having a temper tantrum against the electorate, so this patronising narrative goes, they think voters have “false consciousness” on a grand scale. Some sort of mass psychological disorder has gripped one of the great parties of the left in the western world, and the only real debate is how it must be cured or eradicated. And the tragedy is this: the great “centre-left” condescenders are able to identify any factor for Corbyn’s spectacular rise other than the culprit: their own political cause, or rather its implosion. Related: Jeremy Corbyn: ‘This is the most open democratic election Labour has ever had’ Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 15:00:22 GMT)

Is creating a new nation for the world's refugees a good idea?
A property billionaire is proposing to buy land to house the world’s refugees. Migration academic Alexander Betts says it’s not as outlandish as it soundsTwo weeks ago real estate millionaire Jason Buzi launched his idea for a “Refuge Nation” in the global media. The basic premise is not new: to buy an under-populated area of land somewhere in the world and turn it into a territory for the world’s refugees to begin a new life. It combines the historic precedent of the origins of Buzi’s native Israel coupled with the visionary idealism of his Silicon Valley heritage. He argues that in a time of increasing need for refugee protection but declining political tolerance of refugees, radical solutions are needed. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:33:01 GMT)

Choosing to live should not mean living with indignity in old age | Lucy Webster
Gill Pharoah’s assisted suicide is easier to understand when you know she nursed older people – we need a care system that treats people with kindness and respectThe story of Gill Pharoah, a healthy 75-year-old ex-nurse who decided to end her life at a Swiss Dignitas clinic, has made headlines this weekend. Despite an absence of disability or illness, Pharoah made the decision that getting old was not something she wanted to do. Many support her exercise of free will, others are worried that it sets a dangerous precedent in devaluing the lives of elderly people. Related: Think there's a cap on elderly care costs? Think again. You're in for a shock | Jackie Ashley Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:02:30 GMT)

Barnardo's cannot protect Rotherham's children alone
The charity has been given £3.1m to to hire 15 specialists to help those at risk of child sex exploitation – but working with the council and police is essentialWhen reading the headlines about Barnardo’s £3.1m windfall to tackle child sex abuse in Rotherham, you could be mistaken into believing this charity big hitter is about to pick up the pieces of the public bodies categorical failure to investigate, safeguard and protect.As the founder and chief executive of a small sexual abuse support charity, I would like to make something clear – it is not now nor ever the job of Barnardo’s or any other charity, to police, investigate, or make up for the utterly devastating failures of a local authority in identifying and dealing with CSE (child sexual exploitation). Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:08:01 GMT)

Leftwing Eurosceptics are wrong to use Greece as a reason to leave the EU | Hugo Dixon
Making a case for Brexit based on events in Greece doesn’t make sense unless you have a distorted view of Syriza’s failures and the reasons for the crisisIs the Greek crisis a reason for Britain to quit the European Union? Several Guardian columnists – Owen Jones, George Monbiot and Suzanne Moore – have argued that it is. But this is mistaken. Their conclusions are based on a distorted view of what is happening in Greece. Related: Greece doesn’t want to leave Europe, and neither should Britain | Alan Johnson Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:53:46 GMT)

If even Ai Weiwei can’t trust the UK's visa system, who can? | Mary Dejevsky
The Chinese artist’s tussle with the Home Office shows how frequently it fails those who need it mostThanks to some adroit footwork on the part of the home secretary, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will receive the six-month UK visa he applied for, and the government has largely avoided the battering it would otherwise have sustained from that potent alliance of human rights campaigners and global glitterati. The scandal left the headlines almost as soon as it had landed there.In a way, though, the speedy resolution of this incipient quarrel is a pity. For the initial refusal that the artist received, and made public via social media, is a symptom of the much bigger problems that afflict our visa system. It is impersonal, inflexible and at times slipshod. It keeps too many of the right people out and lets some of the wrong ones in. The result is the appearance of a fortress that is nonetheless porous. Why are there doctors trying to jump on Channel trains at Calais? Why is the government suddenly threatening landlords with five years in prison for accommodating illegal migrants? The system for entering the country is not trusted. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:20:35 GMT)

Sewing my clothes is an escape from fashion’s dictates. I no longer hate my body | Jenny Rushmore
As I shrugged off set clothing sizes and started making garments that precisely fit my dimensions, the feeling of abnormality and exclusion began to liftI grew up believing that no matter how successful, kind or loved I was, if I was overweight I wasn’t good enough. This feeling was most acute in my teens when, regardless of my nerdy achievements, constant diets and countless sit-ups, I knew I’d failed.Of course, I was hardly alone. Being a woman who doesn’t meet the strictest of beauty standards is, quite frankly, a chore. A queue of critics, particularly online, are waiting to provide advice and criticism, and the messages are relentless: that we’re an irresponsible drain on society and must be unhealthy – regardless of what our doctor says; that we’re failing to be sufficiently sexually attractive – regardless of our partners who love us (and the fact that we don’t really care what anonymous men on the internet think of us anyway). Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:08:18 GMT)

I won't stand by while toxic, personal racism poisons our public debate | Mehreen Faruqi
As a member of parliament, I receive plenty of racist comments. But the tone of abuse has recently changed. I believe racism is becoming legitimised in AustraliaOn Saturday night, I was walking alongside the beautiful Brisbane River with my 19-year-old daughter, enjoying the views and an increasingly rare moment of time catching up with her. I casually tweeted a couple of photos of this lovely scene. A short time later an anonymous Twitter user responded:@MehreenFaruqi @GreensNSW Before your husband blows it up? Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:00:06 GMT)

Families of refused asylum seekers to be stripped of automatic right to financial support
Home Office ministers to adopt more hardline approach to those who have exhausted appeal rights, to demonstrate that UK is not ‘land of milk and honey’Plans for thousands of families of refused asylum seekers to be stripped of their automatic right to financial support are to be detailed by Home Office ministers on Tuesday.Ministers have said they want to take a more hardline approach to failed asylum seekers who have exhausted all of their appeal rights, as part of a drive to demonstrate to those trying to come to Britain that it is not “a land of milk and honey”. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:47:07 GMT)

RBS sell-off: George Osborne defends £1bn loss
Hedge funds snap up 60% of first tranche of shares as critics brand UK government’s share sale as ‘short-changing the taxpayer’George Osborne has tried to justify a £1bn loss on the first sale of shares in Royal Bank of Scotland in the face of criticism from politicians and City analysts by saying it was the right thing to do for the British taxpayer.The chancellor sanctioned the first sale of the stake in RBS, announced on Monday night, to cut the taxpayer shareholding from 79% to just below 73%. Slightly more shares than expected were sold after the stock market closed on Monday, crystallising a loss for the taxpayer after £45bn was ploughed into the bank to rescue it amid the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:59:41 GMT)

More cross-Channel delays as freight tunnel is closed for track inspection
Lorry and passenger services held up for several hours as Scottish seafood exporter reveals scale of business losses owing to migrant crisis Tourists and lorry drivers were facing delays in the Channel tunnel on Tuesday morning while workers made an unplanned inspection on the tracks. Eurotunnel, the operator, said freight and passenger customers faced delays of several hours as it ran the service with just one tunnel open. It is not clear if the tunnel inspection is linked to what French police said were hundreds of attempts by migrants to penetrate the terminal overnight. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:03:03 GMT)

Judge tags families over fears they could take children to Islamic State areas
Adults to be electronically monitored in order to allow children to return from foster care after two family groups were stopped at airportsAdult members of two families have been ordered by a judge to be immediately fitted with electronic monitoring tags because of fears they could take children to areas controlled by Islamic State.Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the high court, ruled the tagging measure – believed to be the first of its kind –was necessary to end the children’s separation from their parents while ensuring their safety was protected. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:58:04 GMT)

English actor to play Scotland's tragic hero Bonnie Prince Charlie
Actor Jamie Bacon and the Young Pretender have something in common: neither had previously visited ScotlandAn English actor who has never visited Scotland has been given the lead role of Bonnie Prince Charlie in a new Scottish-produced film about the Young Pretender.Jamie Bacon, whose film experience is so far limited to small roles in little known British indies, has been cast in The Great Getaway, which will follow the prince’s escape across the Western Isles after the failed Jacobite rising of 1745. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:27:51 GMT)

Boy, 15, arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of man in Salford
Police called to Clifton to reports that a 38-year-old man, who remains in intensive care, had been stabbed multiple timesA 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was beaten and stabbed multiple times in Salford.The 38-year-old is fighting for his life in hospital following the attack at 1am on Tuesday. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:45:22 GMT)

Transatlantic yachtsman Philip Walwyn dies after being pulled from sea
Tributes paid to 68-year-old ‘legend of sailing world’ who died after attempting his 17th crossingA yachtsman attempting his 17th transatlantic crossing has died after being found in the sea off the Cornish coast.The alarm was raised after Philip Walwyn’s 40ft boat was found unmanned in the harbour at Coverack Cove. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:40:38 GMT)

Anti-Isis YouTube video aims to counter terror group’s social media campaigns
Quilliam Foundation’s #notanotherbrother campaign highlights the human cost on Muslim communities of exposure to Islamist extremismA UK counter extremism organisation has launched a YouTube video focusing on the Muslim community in an attempt to fight back against the social media recruitment tactics employed by terror group Isis.London-based Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism thinktank co-founded by Maajid Nawaz, has launched the video targeting those who may be seeking out online call-to-arms messages from Isis and could be vulnerable to radicalisation. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:39:16 GMT)

RAF Tornados will continue strikes against Islamic State until 2017
Defence secretary extends aircraft deployment, arguing that they are ‘proving their worth’ in campaignThe UK is to extend air strikes by RAF Tornados against Islamic State in Iraq by a year, the defence secretary has said, arguing that the aircraft had “proved their worth” in the air campaign.Michael Fallon has said a squadron of Tornado GR4 fighter bombers will continue in service until March 2017, despite originally having been due to be disbanded last March and replaced with a squadron of Typhoon air defence fighters. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:31:14 GMT)

Thousands of blood donors turned away by NHS as staff are too busy
FOI request reveals 6,798 people complained to the NHS in 2013-14 about not being able to give blood at arranged sessions despite fears of future shortageThe NHS has turned away thousands of potential blood donors because staff are too busy, despite complaining of a 40% slump in people coming forward and a potential shortage of future stocks.The health service’s blood and transplant unit revealed, after a freedom of information request, that 1,986 people complained they had been turned away from walk-in sessions in the year 2013-14; a similar number (1,949) said they did not have their blood taken even when they had made an appointment. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:12:23 GMT)

E-cigarette use by 15-year-olds higher in more deprived parts of England
Young white people more likely than black or minority ethnic teenagers to try or regularly use tobacco or electronic cigarettes according to new figuresE-cigarette use by 15-year-olds mirrors the trend for teenagers’ tobacco smoking, generally being higher in the more deprived parts of England, according to a new survey.Young white people are also more likely than black or minority ethnic (BME) teenagers to try or regularly use both forms of smoking, the Health and Social Care Information Centre revealed on Tuesday. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:47:34 GMT)

Record Highers pass rate triggers concerns about Scottish qualification
SNP government defends new-look exams after results lead to claims they have been made easier, with the exception of mathsA record number of Scottish teenagers have passed their Higher exams, prompting calls for SNP ministers to investigate whether the qualifications have been made easier.Overall, there were 156,000 passes – a 5.5% increase on 2014 – after the new-look exams were introduced this year as part of an overhaul of Scottish education called Curriculum for Excellence. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:34:46 GMT)

Tube strike: unions call for all-night service plans to be put on hold
London Underground, RMT and Aslef say there will be no further talks to avert strike, with unions warning of more industrial action until dispute is resolvedUnions have called for plans to introduce all-night tube services to be put on hold, claiming the scheme will damage broader London underground services. London Underground and unions have said there will be no futher talks to avert the a 24-hour strike that starts on Wednesday evening and will mean no tube trains until Friday morning, directly affecting more than 4m journeys made daily on the network. Unions warned more strikes could follow, with a mandate for continued industrial action until the dispute is resolved. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:34:14 GMT)

Public support for UK nuclear and shale gas falls to new low
Long-running government survey drops usual polling showing support for renewable energy, for first time British public support for nuclear power and shale gas has fallen to its lowest ever level in a long-running official government survey, which has also briefly ceased polling showing widespread public support for renewable energy.Nuclear and fracking for shale gas are key planks of the Conservative government’s energy policy, but the polling published on Tuesday shows just one in five people now support shale gas and one in three support nuclear. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:10:47 GMT)

Cross-party London leaders warn government of new right to buy dangers
Senior borough leaders from both major parties have urged the communities secretary not to allow David Cameron’s flagship housing policy to damage London’s social and economic health Even Boris Johnson has displayed carefully-phrased unease about the government’s pledge to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants. Now a trio of London borough leaders drawn from both major parties has written to the recently-appointed communities secretary Greg Clark warning him that the policy could do long term damage to the capital’s affordable housing supply, social character and economic strength.The letter, sent last month, was written by Lewisham’s Labour mayor Sir Steve Bullock in his capacity as executive member for housing with London Councils, the body that represents the capital’s 33 local authorities, and co-signed by Haringey’s Labour leader Claire Kober and Ravi Govindia, Conservative leader of Wandsworth. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:34:33 GMT)

UK house prices edge up in July as stamp duty revenue falls
Nationwide data shows annual house price inflation starting to match the historic pace of earnings growthHouse prices in the UK edged up by 0.4% in July, rising to a new high of £195,621, figures from Nationwide show.The society also estimated that homebuyers paid a combined £275m less in tax in the first six months of the year as a result of changes to stamp duty in December. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:12:06 GMT)

Government launches consultation to tackle fall in sport participation
Sports minister Tracey Crouch says funding must be better targeted to address drop in people doing regular exercise since post-2012 Olympics high The government has launched a public consultation on sport participation as it seeks to address a worrying decline in the number of people taking part in regular exercise since a post-Olympics high.While there are now 1.4 million more people playing sport in England than in 2005 – when the UK won the right to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics – this increase came in two short bursts: one after London’s bid was declared the winner, and another around the 2012 Games themselves. The current trend is a gradual decline in the number of people playing sport regularly. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:30:02 GMT)

Majority of Britons worried about global warming, poll finds
Flooding and sea level rise top the list of fears for how climate change will impact the UKThe majority of British people are worried about global warming, a poll has found, with flooding and sea level rise topping the list of fears for what rising temperatures will bring.A survey of more than 2,000 people found more than half (57%) were worried about global warming, with one in seven of those quizzed, or 14%, very worried about the issue. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 04:01:06 GMT)

Afghanistan's warlord vice-president spoiling for a fight with the Taliban
General Dostum has mustered his own militia to defend northern province but is waiting to get green light from presidentGeneral Dostum had waited for almost two weeks, but finally it looked like he would be allowed to go to the frontline. The Afghan vice-president – as is his official title – had rushed to the north in mid-July to prevent the Taliban from overrunning Faryab province, a scenario he had warned about for six months. Several months before, while still in Kabul, he even had a force at the ready.“There were up to 9,000 people gathered here. They wanted to go fight the Taliban. But what can I do? The president does not allow it,” Abdul Rashid Dostum said in a rare meeting with reporters in his hometown, Sheberghan. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:17:13 GMT)

'Giraffes are dangerous': another trophy hunter under fire after defending hobby
Sabrina Corgatelli receives barrage of abuse on social media but uses TV interview to justify killing animals that also included wildebeest and warthog Related: Delta bans shipment of hunting 'trophies' amid Cecil the lion outrage A big-game trophy collector from Idaho has been criticised by animal rights activists over online images of herself posed with the carcasses of a giraffe and other wildlife she killed during a recent guided hunt in South Africa. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:28:12 GMT)

Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder black man and hide evidence
Secret recording played for local officials, in which police officer says resident ‘needs a god damn bullet’, resulted in $35,000 payout to prevent man from suingA police officer in Alabama proposed murdering a black resident and creating bogus evidence to suggest the killing was in self-defence, the Guardian has learned.Officer Troy Middlebrooks kept his job and continues to patrol Alexander City after authorities there paid the man $35,000 to avoid being publicly sued over the incident. Middlebrooks, a veteran of the US marines, said the man “needs a god damn bullet” and allegedly referred to him as “that nigger”, after becoming frustrated that the man was not punished more harshly over a prior run-in. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:19:39 GMT)

Pakistan hangs Shafqat Hussain despite claim he was a child at time of crime
Supporters say Hussain was 14 when sentenced to death for murder of a seven-year-old, after confession his lawyers say police obtained by torturePakistan has hanged a man whose execution was repeatedly postponed amid international pressure over claims that he was a child at the time he murdered a boy more than a decade ago.Shafqat Hussain was executed at 4.30am local time in the central jail in the southern city of Karachi. He had had four last-minute reprieves in recent months. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:50:03 GMT)

Abandoned newborn baby rescued from toilet pipe in China after cries heard
Little girl discovered head down in the pipe of a public toilet in western BeijingA newborn baby girl is recovering in hospital after being found dumped inside a toilet in western Beijing.Residents discovered the baby – one of an estimated 10,000 children abandoned each year in China – trapped in a pipe under a lavatory after hearing her crying. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 03:52:20 GMT)

Shooting near Drake afterparty in Toronto leaves two dead
Three also wounded as violence breaks out around nightclub where Drake hosted afterparty for his Ovo Fest music festivalA man and a woman have been killed and three other people left with life-threatening injuries after shots were fired near Muzik, a Toronto nightclub where Drake was hosting an afterparty following his Ovo Fest music festival.Toronto news network CP24 reports that the incident took place at 3.30am on Tuesday morning, with police sealing off a large section of the Exhibition grounds complex where the nightclub is located. One of the victims died at the scene, the other later in hospital. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:40:27 GMT)

Middle East swelters in heatwave as temperatures top 50C
Extraordinarily high temperatures and soaring humidity have come close to breaking meteorological records across regionA scorching heatwave has engulfed much of the Middle East, sending temperatures and humidity soaring throughout the region. The searing heat, ailing infrastructure and power cuts have combined to create a particularly intolerable climate in an area already notorious for its hot summers. In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, temperatures are expected to hover around 51C for most of the week and reach 52C at the weekend. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:28:43 GMT)

Greek banking shares take another hammering as Athens opens lower - live
Greek banking shares fall nearly 30% for second day in a rowGreece expects bailout deal by 18 AugustChinese shares bounce back on new short-selling rules; commodities and oil prices steadyPound slips after UK construction growth slows unexpectedlyRBS sell-off: George Osborne defends £1bn lossShire pharmaceutical makes $30bn move for BaxaltaAfternoon summary 3.14pm BST The talks on privatisation between Greece and its lenders are going better than expected, according to finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos.There were no significant disagreements, he told reporters during a break in the talks. He said (quotes courtesy Reuters):We have submitted a proposal to them. They said they would examine it and come back to us.There were small divergences in views. I don’t think there will be a problem. Discussions have gone better than I expected. 3.05pm BST The European Council has approved changes to the EFSM financial assistance fund which could help Greece if it decides to ask for another bridging loan as talks on a third bailout continue. That might be needed if no agreement is reached by 20 August when a €3.2bn payment is due to the European Central Bank.The council ratified an agreement made when the EFSM provided a €7.16bn loan last month, and is designed to protect non-eurozone members in case of any default. It said:The regulation ensures that financial assistance from the EFSM to a euro area member state will only be granted if legally binding provisions are in place guaranteeing that non-euro area member states are immediately and fully compensated for any liability they may incur as a result of a failure by the beneficiary to repay the financial assistance in accordance with its terms. Now that changes to #EFSM are agreed, Greece can apply for 2nd bridge loan to pay ECB on 20/8 http://t.co/C87HatuOCN https://t.co/lM9qyt1RDl Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:14:52 GMT)

Kentucky sheriff's department sued over handcuffing of eight-year-old boy
A third grader with ADHD and PTSD suffered pain and trauma, lawsuit alleges, highlighting problem of hundreds of young children being placed in restraint“You can do what we have asked you to do, or you can suffer the consequences.”The threat is issued by a police officer in Covington, Kentucky, who is caught on video as he grapples with an individual he is attempting to restrain. The officer, carrying what appears to be a holstered gun around his waist, tells the person as he holds him: “You don’t get to swing at me like that … Now sit down in the chair like I’ve asked you to.” Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:37:48 GMT)

Suspect in Memphis officer's death tells police after manhunt: 'I'm not a coward'
Tremaine Wilbourn, who evaded officers for two days following shooting of Sean Bolton, says he is ‘not a cold-blooded killer’ after turning himself inThe man accused of killing a Memphis police officer had a few words for the department’s director when he turned himself in, ending a manhunt that dragged on for two days. “I want you to know that one, I’m not a cold-blooded killer,” Tremaine Wilbourn told the director, who said he spoke briefly with the suspect. “And two, I am not a coward.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:21:05 GMT)

Speed of glacier retreat worldwide 'historically unprecedented', says report
Researchers have recorded rapid rises in meltwater and alarming rates of glacial retreat, which are accelerating at a pace double that of a decade agoThe world’s glaciers are in retreat. The great tongues of ice high in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps and the Rockies are going back uphill at ever greater speeds, according to new research.And this loss of ice is both accelerating and “historically unprecedented”, say scientists who report in the Journal of Glaciology. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:30:54 GMT)

FDA approves first prescription drug made through 3D printing
Printing system can package up to 1,000m of the drug Spritam, for adults and children who suffer from certain types of seizures caused by epilepsy The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first prescription drug made through 3D printing: a dissolvable tablet that treats seizures.Aprecia Pharmaceuticals said Monday the FDA approved its drug Spritam for adults and children who suffer from certain types of seizures caused by epilepsy. The tablet is manufactured through a layered process via 3D printing and dissolves when taken with liquid. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:25:34 GMT)

Taliban resignation points to extent of internal divisions in leadership crisis
Head of Qatar-based political office quits and issues statement criticising power transition following confirmation of leader Mullah Omar’s deathThe head of the Qatar-based political office of the Taliban has stepped down, a statement has said. The high-profile resignation of Tayeb Agha underscores bitter internal divisions in the movement following a recent power transition.On Friday Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was announced as the new Taliban chief after the insurgents confirmed the death of Mullah Omar, who led the militant movement for about 20 years. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:27:51 GMT)

Gabon president's chief of staff detained in Paris over corruption claim
Arrest of Maixent Accrombessi, a close aide to President Ali Bongo Ondimba, as part of inquiry into a military uniforms contract sparks fury in Gabon The Gabonese president’s chief of staff has been briefly detained at a Paris airport on suspicion of corruption as he was about to fly back to Libreville.Maixent Accrombessi, who is very close to the Gabonese leader, Ali Bongo Ondimba, was detained at Paris’s main Charles de Gaulle airport “for corruption of a foreign public official”, said a French judicial source. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:29:58 GMT)

G20 countries pay over $1,000 per citizen in fossil fuel subsidies, says IMF
World’s leading economies still paying trillions in subsidies despite pledges to phase them out, new figures showSubsidies for fossil fuels amount to $1,000 (£640) a year for every citizen living in the G20 group of the world’s leading economies, despite the group’s pledge in 2009 to phase out support for coal, oil and gas. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 05:00:01 GMT)

Rio de Janeiro police killed 1,500 in five years, says Amnesty International
Rights group report finds almost one in six homicides in Brazil’s Olympic city were by officers on duty and most victims were young, poor, black and male Military police in Rio de Janeiro have killed 1,519 residents in the past five years, according to a new report by Amnesty International, which says that extrajudicial executions are claiming a disproportionate number of lives in a generation of young, poor and mostly black men.In a study of official data and newspaper reports of the Olympic host city, the civil rights groups found that almost one in six homicides were carried out by on-duty policy officers as part of a “strategy of fear” in favela communities. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 22:05:09 GMT)

Republican candidates' forum hears policy pitches in Trump-free zone
Campaign’s biggest noisemaker absent as 14 candidates vying for presidential nomination put forward their platforms in New HampshireThe first gathering of Republican presidential candidates in a debate-like setting brought neither continuity nor fireworks – serving instead as a platform for 2016 hopefuls to dole out talking points in the absence of early frontrunner and pot-stirrer extraordinaire Donald Trump. Related: Absence of Trump gives Republican candidates room to talk at NH forum - as it happened Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 02:34:53 GMT)

Puerto Rico defaults on debt repayment in first for a US commonwealth
Island pays just $628,000 toward a $58m debt due on Monday as lack of liquidity hampers its ability to dig out from under estimated $72bn debt loadPuerto Rico missed its first debt repayment on Monday, the first time the troubled US commonwealth has failed to pay its bills.The island paid just $628,000 toward a $58m debt due to creditors of its Public Finance Corporation. While the default was expected, it is likely to worsen the financial situation for the island as it struggles with debts estimated at $72bn. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:10:11 GMT)

Malaysian prime minister had $700m of 'donations' in bank account - watchdog
Critics sceptical after anti-corruption agency says huge fortune in Najib Razak’s personal accounts came from unnamed donors, not state fund 1MDBBeleaguered Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has effectively been cleared by the country’s anti-corruption body, following a financial controversy that has shaken the legitimacy of his government. The Malaysian anti-corruption commission (MACC) announced that $US700m in accounts held by the prime minister had come from donors – not, as has been alleged, from the debt-laden state development fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 02:21:23 GMT)

'Permission granted': Taylor Swift's 11th-hour rescue for Sydney theatre show
Singer responds to Belvoir theatre company’s last-ditch plea on Twitter to use her hit Shake It Off after permission had been refused days before opening nightTaylor Swift has rescued a production of Sydney’s Belvoir theatre company at the last minute by granting permission for the use of her song Shake It Off.The song is a pivotal moment in the new show Seventeen, which opens on Wednesday and features veteran Australian actors playing a group of 17-year-olds on their last day of school. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 05:11:10 GMT)

Cybersecurity bill could 'sweep away' internet users' privacy, agency warns
Homeland Security admits Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act raises concerns while corporations and data brokers lobby for bill as it returns to SenateThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday said a controversial new surveillance bill could sweep away “important privacy protections”, a move that bodes ill for the measure’s return to the floor of the Senate this week.The latest in a series of failed attempts to reform cybersecurity, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (Cisa) grants broad latitude to tech companies, data brokers and anyone with a web-based data collection to mine user information and then share it with “appropriate Federal entities”, which themselves then have permission to share it throughout the government. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:23:51 GMT)

Taylor Swift still has bad blood with Spotify over streaming music dispute
Pop star finds it ironic that ‘multi-billion-dollar company’ Apple reacted to criticism with humility, while ‘the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine’The prospect of Taylor Swift and music streaming service Spotify ever ever getting back together looks remote, after Swift negatively compared the company’s response to her withdrawal of her music in 2014 to that of her recent criticism of Apple.“Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about,” Swift told Vanity Fair about the latter dispute, which saw Apple change its plans not to pay rightsholders for streams on its Apple Music service’s free trial shortly after she criticised them in a blog post. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:23:07 GMT)

Eminem became addicted to exercise following drug rehabilitation
‘I got an addict’s brain, and when it came to running, I think I got a little carried away,’ says the rapper Elton John may have been crucial to Eminem’s recovery from drug addiction, but according to a recent piece written by the rapper, excessive jogging played a large role in his sobriety. “I got an addict’s brain,” Eminem told Men’s Journal, “and when it came to running, I think I got a little carried away.”In an article about his physical health, Eminem explains that following an overdose in 2007 he was “close to 230 pounds”, a weight gain he attributes to the Vicodin and the Valium he’d been taking for years that “leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomachache, I was constantly eating – and eating badly.” Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:35:14 GMT)

Timeless teens? Match the movie kid to the actor's real age
In this week’s coming-of-age drama The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Bel Powley (21 years old at the time of filming) convincingly plays the 15-year-old lead. Are you able to correctly guess the true ages of other movie ‘teens’? Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:33:24 GMT)

Cee-Lo Green apologises for Twitter rape remarks
‘I do realise I’m an artist, that I’m flawed – and sometimes, you know, you don’t think,’ says the singer Cee-Lo Green has admitted that a series of controversial tweets he sent amid accusations that the singer had spiked a woman’s drink were “highly irresponsible”.Green, whose tweets included, “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!” and, “When someone brakes on a home there is broken glass where is your plausible proof that anyone was raped,” said his online reaction stemmed from “emotion”. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:39:22 GMT)

Nigel Slater’s pork belly and edamame bean recipe
Pork is complemented by vibrant-green edamame in this zingy Oriental-flavoured dishCut 300g of pork belly into 3cm pieces. Peel the tough outer leaves from 2 stalks of lemongrass then crush them flat. Peel a thumb-sized piece of ginger and cut it into very small cubes. Peel and crush 2 cloves of garlic. Warm 2 tbsp of oil in a wok or frying pan and let it sizzle over a high heat, moving it round the pan to prevent it burning. Lower the heat, add the crushed pieces of lemongrass, the diced ginger and the crushed garlic. Finely chop 2 spring onions, stir into the pork, then leave to cook for 7-10 minutes until the ginger is golden and the meat is approaching tenderness. Add 200g of cooked edamame and continue cooking for a minute or two until the beans are heated through. Continue reading...
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:00:16 GMT)

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