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Rapists use social media to cover their tracks, police warned
Police and Crown Prosecution Service conference on rape hears attackers are increasingly creating false narratives onlineRapists are increasingly exploiting social media to cover their tracks and mislead investigators, a joint conference by police and prosecutors on rape was told on Wednesday .At the police and the Crown Prosecution Service’s first joint initiative on rape, prosecutors said they had established an emerging pattern of behaviour where rapists constructed “false narratives” after the crime. One technique described involved rapists contacting victims the next day, sometimes by text or social media, thanking them for a sexual encounter. Defendants can try to rely on such messages should there be a trial. Related: Rape trials rise by 30% as courts fight to clear caseload Consent to sexual activity is not a grey area – in law it is clearly defined and must be given fully and freely Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:59:09 GMT)

Bank of England governor attacks eurozone austerity
Mark Carney says eurozone is caught in a debt trap and should ease hardline budget cuts just days after the Syriza election directly challenged policyThe Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has launched a strong attack on austerity in the eurozone as he warned that he single-currency area was caught in a debt trap that could cost it a second lost decade.Speaking in Dublin, Carney said the eurozone needed to ease its hardline budgetary policies and make rapid progress towards a fiscal union that would transfer resources from rich to poor countries. Related: Eurozone stalled by the toxic politics of the current climate Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:52:03 GMT)

Israel and Hezbollah on brink of serious clash after soldier deaths
Binyamin Netanyahu says attackers will pay the ‘full price’ as fears grow of escalating confrontation on the border with LebanonIsrael and the Lebanese group Hezbollah stepped to the brink of their most serious confrontation since they fought a brutal month-long war in Lebanon in 2006 after Hezbollah fired five anti-tank missiles at a pair of Israeli military vehicles, killing two soldiers and injuring seven more.The ambush on Wednesday morning followed 24 hours of violence on Israel’s northern border that saw missiles fired both from Syria – where Hezbollah is fighting alongside the troops of President Bashar al-Assad – and Lebanon. For its part Israel launched air strikes and fired artillery across the border. Related: Two Israeli soldiers killed as Hezbollah missile hits vehicle on Lebanon border Israel will exercise its right to self-defence and take all necessary measures to protect its population Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:51:07 GMT)

Skull discovery suggests location where humans first had sex with Neanderthals
Skull found in northern Israeli cave in western Galilee, thought to be female and 55,000 years old, connects interbreeding and move from Africa to EuropeAn ancient skull found in a cave in northern Israel has cast light on the migration of modern humans out of Africa and the dawn of humanity’s colonisation of the world.For most palaeontologists that might be enough for a single fossil, but the braincase has offered much more: a likely location where the first prehistoric trysts resulted in modern humans having sex with their heavy-browed Neanderthal cousins. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:18:00 GMT)

NHS major incidents guidelines spark political row
Labour accuses coalition of tightening up major incident criteria to include considering dangers of ‘reputational damage’The government is facing pressure to clarify the rules governing the declaration of “major incidents” at hospitals after an official NHS document called on managers to consider the dangers of creating “reputational damage”.Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, accused ministers of failing to get their story straight after David Cameron told MPs that guidance on major incidents was purely a matter for local NHS trusts. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:38:25 GMT)

Tesco names 43 stores to close in turnaround plan
Embattled grocer reveals locations of unprofitable stores 30 convenience stores, seven superstores and six Homeplus sitesAbout 2,000 jobs are at risk after Tesco revealed the identities of the 43 unprofitable stores it will close as part of new chief executive Dave Lewis’s efforts to revive the embattled grocer. Related: The Tesco store closures - the list in full Related: Tesco: the store they should have closed Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:49:47 GMT)

Dozens of elite London police disciplined since 2010, figures reveal
Eighty staff responsible for guarding royal family, political leaders and public events have been disciplined for misconductEighty elite police officers and staff responsible for guarding the royal family, political leaders and public events in London have been disciplined for misconduct since 2010, the Guardian has learned.The vast majority – 60 – of those reprimanded were attached to Scotland Yard’s diplomatic protection group, the unit that came under the spotlight over the Plebgate saga. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:43:04 GMT)

Ched Evans submits ‘fresh evidence’ to try to get rape conviction overturned
• Criminal Cases Review Commission looking at case• Striker turned down by Sheffield United and Oldham• Ched Evans deal called off following pressure on Oldham The former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans has submitted “fresh evidence” which he hopes will get his rape conviction overturned.A statement on his website says the submissions were made to the Criminal Cases Review Commission on his behalf on Friday. It is claimed that these details “strengthen” his case. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:25:04 GMT)

Litvinenko postmortem ‘most dangerous ever in western world’
Inquiry hears from lead pathologist who examined Russian’s body after his death from polonium-210 poisoning in 2006The postmortem examination carried out on Alexander Litvinenko was “probably the most dangerous ever conducted in the western world”, and confirmed that Litvinenko was the victim of acute radiation poisoning, an inquiry into his death heard on Wednesday.Dr Nathaniel Cary, the consultant forensic pathologist who examined Litvinenko’s body, said he and other officials examining the corpse wore not one but two protective suits, two pairs of gloves taped at the wrists and large battery-operated plastic hoods into which filtered air was piped. Related: Alexander Litvinenko’s son: ‘My dad was trying to make Russia better’ Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:30:35 GMT)

One in four of all births now by caesarean section, statistics reveal
Rise in number of older mothers a likely factor, with the proportion of births to women over 40 doubling since 1993The number of babies being born by caesarean section increased to more than a quarter of all births last year.Health organisations say a rise in the number of older mothers is the cause. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:04:21 GMT)

Greek election ‘severe blow to Cameron’s hopes of EU treaty change’
Former Swedish PM Carl Bildt warns that appetite for treaty change in EU has diminished since Syriza won the Greek electionDavid Cameron’s hopes of achieving a “full-on” re-writing of the EU’s governing treaties have suffered a severe blow after the election of the Syriza-led government in Greece, the former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt has warned.In a Guardian interview, Bildt said leading eurozone countries would be wary of handing the new Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and his rightwing coalition partners the chance to press for changes to the rules governing the single currency. Any changes to EU treaties have to be approved by all 28 EU member states. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:06:40 GMT)

Schools watchdog chief denies Ofsted has anti-Christian agenda
Sir Michael Wilshaw says free schools penalised for ‘narrowing curriculum’ as MPs report parents’ anger at questions to pupilsThe chief inspector of schools has been forced to deny that Ofsted had a political agenda against Christian schools after he came under fire from MPs following damning reports by inspectors for two free schools.MPs on the Commons education select committee said they had been inundated with emails from parents who were furious about Ofsted’s findings and inspectors’ questioning of children. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:01:50 GMT)

Jordan agrees to swap death-row terrorist for Isis-held pilot
Government has agreed to free Sajida al-Rishawi if lieutenant Muadh al-Kasasbeh is released – but Japan expects journalist Kenji Goto to be freed insteadJordan has accepted a key demand of Islamic State (Isis) militants holding a Japanese journalist by agreeing to release a militant in a proposed prisoner swap.However, as the militant, failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, was moved from death row, there was confusion over whether the terror group was preparing to hand over the journalist, Kenji Goto, or another captive – a Jordanian pilot shot down over Syria late last year. Related: Jordan shows that negotiating with terrorists can reap rewards Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:05:57 GMT)

Snow and cold weather forecast to spread to south of UK
Met Office yellow ‘be aware’ warning for large parts of England and Wales, with chilly conditions expected for next few daysSnow swept into northern parts of the UK on Wednesday and is expected to spread south over the next 24 hours, bringing health concerns and possible travel disruption.Matthew Martin, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: “There are already heavy snow showers moving into Northern Ireland and Scotland, and they will extend into northern England. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:51:57 GMT)

YouTube staff too swamped to filter out all terror-related content
Google says pre-sceening the 300 hours of material uploaded each minute would be like vetting a phone call before it is madeInternet company Google said on Wednesday that its video-sharing website YouTube is so inundated that staff cannot filter all terror-related content, complicating the struggle to halt the publication of terrorist propaganda and hostage videos.Google public policy manager Verity Harding said 300 hours of video material is being uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it virtually impossible for all images to be filtered. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:10:43 GMT)

British Airways changes airmiles scheme cutting value for economy class
Avios scheme used by millions of travellers will instead give business and expense-account flyers enhanced rewardsBritish Airways is to make radical changes to its airmiles scheme used by millions of travellers - called Avios - which will slash by 75% the airmiles the cheapest economy class tickets will earn, while giving business and expense-account flyers more rewards.A basic economy-class ticket from London to New York will from 28 April earn just 865 airmiles, down from 3,458. Previously the number of points earned on a return flight across the Atlantic would have been enough to obtain a flight from London to Milan (plus a £35 fee), but after the changes it will fall far short of any destination served by British Airways. Avios is one of the biggest airmiles programmes in the world, used by 6.4 million travellers, and the changes immediately sparked accusations that the airline has “gutted” the scheme.Looks like @british_airways just utterly gutted the Avios scheme for most flyers. Shame, it made a big difference to the overall cost.Sad to see the @British_Airways Avios devaluation - Philly to London biz was 80k points now 120k plus exorbitant taxes/fees of $1k+ #ttot@British_Airways is disgusting the way you reward the richer with more #Avios . To Fly To Serve? Who? Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:20:44 GMT)

Slaughterhouse boss admits charges over UK horsemeat scandal
Peter Boddy, 65, admits to failing to abide by EU regulations concerning more than 17 horse carcassesA slaughterhouse boss is the first person to face jail after admitting criminal charges connected to the horsemeat scandal which rocked British supermarkets in 2013.Peter Boddy, 65, admitted one count of failing to abide by EU meat traceability regulations concerning more than 17 horse carcasses. The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:08:06 GMT)

Scotland announces moratorium on fracking for shale gas
Moratorium on planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction is hailed as ‘huge victory’ by anti-fracking campaigners The Scottish government has announced a moratorium on all planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking.Welcomed by campaigners as “a very big nail in the coffin for the unconventional gas and fracking industry in Scotland”, energy minister Fergus Ewing told the Scottish parliament on Wednesday afternoon that the moratorium would allow time for the government to launch a full public consultation on the controversial drilling technique, and to commission a full public health impact assessment.I take the view that licensing should be devolved and then we should consider a moratorium on fracking #FMQs Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:42:38 GMT)

Women with disabilities excluded from domestic abuse law, say campaigners
Male carers who can prove they are acting in their partners’ interests would escape punishment under ‘coercive control’ legislationA new law on domestic violence that criminalises “coercive control” could exclude women with disabilities, who are particularly vulnerable to such abuse, say campaigners.The new legislation, part of the Serious Crime Bill, will make it illegal for someone to exercise psychological, emotional or financial control over their partner. The law has been welcomed by women’s groups, who have long called for coercive control, which they say is often a prelude to violence, to be a crime. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:44:13 GMT)

Sinn Féin denies considering post-election deal with Labour
Sinn Féin spokesperson dismisses Sun newspaper story as ‘lazy, fantasy journalism’ saying party remains abstentionistSinn Féin on Wednesday night dismissed reports that the party was in negotiations with British Labour MPs over a deal to prop up an Ed Miliband government following the general election.The party was responding to claims in The Sun newspaper that Sinn Féin was considering a post-election deal to support Milliband as prime minister. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:39:56 GMT)

Europe calls for swift passage of law to collect flight passengers’ data
European commissioner for justice ordered to redraft PNR legislation after terror attacks as counter-terror discussions loomIan Traynor Brussels The European executive on Wednesday called for the prompt passage of legislation to collect and retain information on anyone flying into or out of the EU, as part of a package of counter-terror policies following the jihadi attacks in Paris and alleged foiled terrorist murders in Belgium. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:56:06 GMT)

Doctor accused of FGM tells court he was stemming bleeding
Dhanuson Dharmasena is accused of restoring previous female genital mutilation through the way he sutured incisions after a woman had given birthA doctor accused of carrying out female genital mutilation on a young mother told a jury he performed a surgical procedure after her childbirth in order to stem bleeding and was acting in her best interests.Giving evidence in his own defence, Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, told Southwark crown court that at no time was he told by anyone in the immediate aftermath of the delivery that what he had done was illegal. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:27:00 GMT)

Maureen Lipman: rise in antisemitic attacks may prompt me to leave UK
Comic actor says she has considered moving to US or Israel because of increase in attacks on Jews in BritainThe comic actor Maureen Lipman, known for her role as a proud Jewish mother in a series of British Telecom adverts, has said the sharp rise in antisemitic attacks in Britain may prompt her to leave the country. Related: Almost half of Britons hold antisemitic view, poll suggests Related: Antisemitism fears grow in UK’s Jewish communities after Paris shootings Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 08:17:50 GMT)

Document showing Rebekah Brooks approved payment for story was not disclosed to police, jury hears
Evidence bearing signature of former Sun editor is produced at trial of four of the paper’s journalists at the Old BaileyA document showing that former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks personally authorised a cash payment for a story was not disclosed to police investigating whether staff at her paper were paying bungs to public officials for tipoffs, a jury has heard.The jury in the trial of four Sun journalists at the Old Bailey has also been told that the police were not initially investigating journalists at the paper until they were handed documents by the Sun publisher. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:22:28 GMT)

EU emergency meeting set to punish Russia – but Greece may intervene
Alexis Tsipras government could disrupt Thursday’s summit after it disagreed with a joint EU statement on Mariupol shellingEuropean governments are to push for tighter sanctions against the Kremlin and against Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.But the new leftwing Greek government of Alexis Tsipras is likely to use the emergency meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels to pick its first fight with the rest of Europe. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:36:45 GMT)

Princess Cristina hopes to sell luxury Barcelona house to pay court bonds
Princess Cristina and husband Iñaki Urdangarin are entangled in one of Spain’s longest-running corruption scandalsWith its panoramic views of Barcelona, sprawling gardens and salt-water pool, the 1,000 sq metre mansion epitomised the status of its royal owners when it was purchased in 2004.But as Princess Cristina and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, became increasingly entangled in one of Spain’s longest-running corruption scandals, the home and the lavish parties it hosted came to symbolise instead the out-of-touch extravagance of Spain’s royals in a country struggling in the grip of an economic crisis. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:58:50 GMT)

Ofcom's deputy chair is 'stooge' for Tories, says Harriet Harman
Labour’s deputy leader urges culture secretary to reconsider position of Tory peer Lady Noakes, claiming her Twitter account shows ‘clear breaches’ of media regulator’s impartialityLabour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, has written an open letter to the culture secretary, Sajid Javid, challenging Lady Noakes’s role as deputy chair of Ofcom, claiming her “clear” political bias breached the media regulator’s need for impartiality.Harman, who is also the shadow culture secretary, said Noakes continued to take the Tory whip in the House of Lords and to act as a spokesperson for the Conservative party, sitting on seven committees, despite her appointment to Ofcom in June last year. Ofcom impartiality too important to be undermined by Sajid Javid stooge http://t.co/2ZxI4IDu0A Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:44:17 GMT)

D-day veteran who ‘escaped’ care home left RNLI £600,000
Bernard Jordan, nicknamed the Great Escaper after he went to the D-day commemoration, and his wife, Irene, left estate to lifeboat charityA war veteran who slipped away from his care home to attend last year’s 70th anniversary D-day events and his wife have left their estates to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the charity has said.Bernard Jordan died aged 90 on 30 December, six months after he was nicknamed the Great Escaper following his cross-Channel adventure last summer. Related: D-day veteran, 89, who ran off to France for anniversary: 'I'd do it again' Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:23:03 GMT)

Low oil prices won't hurt renewable energy, says US EIA
Tax incentives more important than oil price and oil is not in head-on competition with renewables for electricity production, says government’s chief energy analystCheap oil is not about to kill off wind and solar power as some experts have claimed, the US government’s chief energy analyst said on Wednesday.The historic drop in crude oil prices, with Brent crude trading at $49.04 a barrel in London on Wednesday, had raised fears that renewable energy sources would struggle to compete. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:19:54 GMT)

Global democracy at risk, warns watchdog
Women main targets for repression as levels of brutality under authoritarian regimes hit all-time high, says landmark reportGlobal democracy is at greater risk than at any time in the past 25 years, according to a landmark report by the independent watchdog Freedom House.In the annual report, Discarding Democracy: Return to the Iron Fist, the Washington-based group said 61 countries were going backwards as far as democracy was concerned, compared with only 33 moving forwards. Moreover, some of the transgressors, including Russia, Egypt, Thailand, Nigeria and Turkey, are global or regional powers setting a bad example to others, it said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:11:14 GMT)

Roads are encroaching deeper into the Amazon rainforest, study says
Oil and gas access roads in western Amazon could open up ‘Pandora’s box’ of environmental impactsOil and gas roads are encroaching deeper into the western Amazon, one of the world’s last wildernesses and biodiversity hotspots, according to a new study.Roads across Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and western Brazil could open up a ‘Pandora’s box’ of negative environmental impacts and trigger new deforestation fronts, the study published in Environmental Research Letters finds. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:43:54 GMT)

No 10 refuses to say if David Cameron backs plain packs for cigarettes
Rightwingers’ efforts to avoid ‘state interference with consumer choice’ may spark revolt of 100 MPs against policy introductionDowning Street has refused to confirm that David Cameron is personally in favour of plain packaging for cigarettes, as it emerged that up to 100 MPs could revolt against government moves to impose the policy.Labour accused the party of being hopelessly split on the issue, as the prime minister came under pressure from rightwingers to drop the measure on grounds it represented too much interference by the state. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:27:02 GMT)

Plaid Cymru asks Welsh voters in England to support Green party
Former Plaid leader Lord Dafydd Wigley also calls on Green supporters in Wales to consider voting for his partyPlaid Cymru peer Lord Dafydd Wigley has called on Welsh people living in England to vote for the Green party in the UK general election and Green party supporters in Wales to consider voting for his party.Speaking at a press conference in Westminster on Wednesday, Wigley, who was leader of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru from 1991 to 2000, said the 400,000 people living in England who describe themselves as either Welsh or Welsh/British should “seriously consider” voting for the Green party, particularly in the party’s 12 target constituencies. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:14:04 GMT)

Election polls point to Tory-Labour tie and three-party alliance
Exclusive Guardian analysis of current polling suggests main two parties are neck-and-neck and would have to create a multi-party alliance to form a stable governmentLabour and the Conservatives would have the same number of seats in the House of Commons and would need to form an alliance with the SNP plus the Lib Dems to form a stable government, according to an analysis by the Guardian of the current crop of opinion polls.If Britain votes along the lines of the average of the polls, the two main parties are projected to win a total of 273 seats each, compared with the 326 required for an outright majority, while the Scottish National party’s current support would translate into 49 seats at Westminster if a general election was held today. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:20:45 GMT)

‘Hope begins today was their mantra’: the inside story of Syriza’s rise to power
Ten years ago, Syriza scraped just 4% of the vote in Greek elections. This week, the leftwing party took control under the charismatic leadership of Alexis Tsipras. How did it do it? For 22 days, Paul Mason followed the party’s campaign trail and saw an anti-austerity message delivered with youthful plausibility win over a nationSyriza’s victory has electrified the left in Europe – even moderate social democrats who have floundered in search of ideas and inspiration since the 2008 crisis. Now there is talk everywhere of “doing a Syriza” – and in Spain, where the leftist party Podemos is scoring 25% in the polls, more than talk.But Syriza’s route to becoming Europe’s first far-left government of modern times was neither easy nor inevitable. For the past 22 days, I have been part of a Greek documentary team following its activists and leaders on the campaign trail to watch how they did it. I have seen them offering new hope to farmers on the breadline, and drumming up supplies for their network of food banks. I have watched them win over old-school communists in the dockers’ union, smarting from seeing their workplace sold off to the Chinese, and present a modern, youthful alternative to a political establishment serving a corrupt elite. And I have seen their leader, Alexis Tsipras, in action in his private office at critical moments. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:05:00 GMT)

Wolf Hall recap: episode two – getting inside Cromwell's head
With the quiet intensity of pieces being moved on a chessboard, the central characters now get into position. Meanwhile, Cromwell remains inscrutableSpoiler alert: This blog contains spoilers for episode two of Wolf Hall.Read John Sutherland’s episode one recap. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:59:15 GMT)

50 ways to really annoy your partner (or the quick road to divorce)
Hearing of the woman who marked her husband’s birthday by giving him 50 tasks, Stuart Jeffries felt he should do the same for his wife. Just don’t expect a happy ending …As if my wife didn’t already have enough grounds for divorce, here is a list of 50 tasks for the woman in my life, inspired by reading about the list Claire Potter set her husband Jim Greenan to mark his 50th birthday. Potter said she wanted to give her partner a “present that lasted”. I don’t pretend to know Mr Greenan, but if he had wanted a present that lasted, it would probably have been one of those ovens with fold-away doors, like on The Great British Bake Off. But, oh no: she gave him a list of tasks to perform. Tasks such as make a bird feeder, go skinny-dipping, swim in a river, do something grotesque called “laughter” yoga. Admittedly, she did suggest nice stuff, such as slipping some money into a newspaper at the library and listing 50 things he liked about her. But still, one online commenter said he would rather die aged 49 than have to complete the tasks on her list. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:01:41 GMT)

Welcome to the new Guardian website
After more than 18 months of development, the Guardian has unveiled a new site for its readers in the UK and around the worldThe Guardian has a history stretching back almost 200 years of creating world-class journalism. In more recent times, the Guardian has also become one of the world’s most influential news organisations with newsrooms in the UK, the US and Australia. The Guardian has reached more than 110 million unique browsers worldwide in a month, while our readership in the UK also continues to grow. On any given day, Guardian readers are using thousands of different types of devices to read, view, discuss and share our journalism with each other. The amount of device types on which you can access the Guardian will only continue to increase so we want to make sure that we always provide you with a consistent, fast-loading, familiar and pleasurable experience, whatever your screen size. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:02:23 GMT)

Everyone calm down: Michelle Obama's Saudi outfit was plenty respectful
The first lady’s decision to forgo a headscarf makes her neither the first nor the last visiting female official to do so in Saudi Arabia – and does not flaunt protocolYes, Michelle Obama wore her hair uncovered during an official visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. And yes, some people on the internet found this inappropriate. But no, dear sweet internet, no, she is neither the first female US official nor the first western official to bare her hair in the kingdom.Michelle Obama landed in Riyadh wearing a pair of loose-fitting trousers and a loose-fitting blouse, topped with a long-sleeved jacket that hit right at the knee. Despite her jacket’s bright hues, the outfit was respectful and modest, with nary a collarbone in sight – seemingly appropriate attire in which to pay respects to the deceased monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah.Kudos to @FLOTUS for standing up for women & refusing to wear Sharia-mandated head-scarf in Saudi Arabia. Nicely done http://t.co/TlSw4Qc9KQ Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:24:12 GMT)

I’m a bit of a wexter. You probably are too. And yes, that’s a bad thing
I’m going to stop the antisocial practice of walking and texting. The tipping point? Women priests at Libby Lane’s inaugurationWe all have bad habits, and now there’s an appropriately nasty word for mine: wexting (using your phone as you walk). I’ve got it down to a fine art: walk, scroll, glance up, stop, tap, walk. A lot of the time, rather like a teenage boy, I have been wexting without realising I’m doing it. I don’t think this awful expression is going to catch on, by the way, so I’m just making the most of it while it’s new.Habitual wexting is not going to send me blind. But I do think it is making me behave antisocially. The tipping point? This week I noticed a photograph of women priests celebrating the first female bishop, holding their phone screens aloft, like fans at a One Direction concert, as they paraded outside York Minster. They were at the consecration of the new suffragan bishop and they were merrily wexting away. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:55:14 GMT)

Spies, cover-ups and the mysterious death of an Argentinian prosecutor
Intrigue swirls around the late Alberto Nisman, who was set to implicate the government in attempting to cover up the country’s deadliest terrorist attack before his death. Answers are still difficult to come by in this story that traces two decades of allegedly unchecked intelligence operationsThe CCTV images are both familiar and sinister: the recordings show Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza international airport on the day that prosecutor Alberto Nisman flew home for the last time.Nisman looks like any father might after interrupting a family holiday for a work emergency. He seems tired, busy and bored as the cameras track his progress through immigration, beyond the luggage carousel, into the arrival lounge and out to the street. Related: Alberto Nisman's death: the unaswered questions Related: Argentinian president accused of covering up details about the country's worst terrorist attack Related: Argentinian government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:00:57 GMT)

How Lego imagines Danish hipsters dress - in pictures
It was only a matter of time. At the request of the Guardian and to mark the start of Copenhagen fashion week, Danish company Lego have created the Lego hipsters – complete with oversized earphones, fixie bikes and (obviously) facial hair. Design manager Tara Wike told the Guardian’s Helen Russell: ‘Danes do monochrome in a big way so the Lego hipster girls keep it simple in black and grey, topped off by the ubiquitous black designer glasses. For the men, we teamed a blazer with a button-down shirt and mismatched suit trousers as well as a classic leather jacket with a striped T-shirt underneath. And of course, facial hair. Beards are big for Danish hipsters – the bigger the better.’ Photographs: David Levene for the Guardian Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:58:08 GMT)

Sundance 2015 review: Slow West – Fassbender saddles up for psychedelic western
They weren’t joking when they called it slow, but with eye-popping imagery, bursts of surreal hilarity and Fassbender looking drop-dead cool, it’s far from boringOf cinema’s great micro-genres, I feel there’s always more room at the table for the psychedelic western. And somewhere between Peter Fonda’s The Hired Hand and Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man you’ll find the breathtakingly shot, somewhat funny and slightly sad Slow West. This first feature is bold, beautiful and original enough for Scottish musician turned film-maker John Maclean – formerly of the Beta Band – to plant his flag as a major new director.We travel through the wild American frontier (naturally, shot in New Zealand) with Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an out-of-his-element rich kid who has come out west to search for his forbidden love Rose (Caren Pistorius). He knows vaguely where she is, but he doesn’t know there’s a bounty on her and her father’s head. When a lone outlaw, an iconic-to-the-nth-degree Michael Fassbender, shows up to protect Jay from bandits and Natives, Jay doesn’t realise he’s leading him straight to his quarry. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:03:06 GMT)

Why I hate the Little Miss books
The forthcoming film may be lovely, but Roger Hargreaves’ Little Misses are even harder work than the Mr Men, as I found to my cost when I read them to my toddlerThe news that film rights in the Mr Men and Little Miss books have been sold to Fox Animation has thrown me back to a much-regretted decision made shortly before the birth of my second daughter in 2013. Full of plans to occupy the big daughter, I stumbled across a box set of all the Little Miss books, and decided it would be perfect. I had vaguely positive memories of the Mr Men books from my own childhood; the illustrations are brilliant; and they all came in a box with a sliding drawer that I thought would keep her busy for hours.It turns out that my well-intentioned choice of Little Misses over Mr Men was a poor one. Settled on the sofa for the first of many, many, many feeding sessions, I promised that every time I was thus occupied, I’d read a story. We started with Little Miss Lucky. This is a summary: Little Miss Lucky, clad in a blue-checked hat, lives in Horseshoe Cottage. One windy night, she is locked out of her house, blown away and chased by a walking tree. But it’s OK – it was all a dream! Isn’t she lucky? NO! This makes no sense; it is not an example of luck. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:25:20 GMT)

Men in tights: how chaps are reclaiming hosiery
Tights were once key to a man’s wardrobe. Then they were something only women wore – until now. Blame Wolf Hall or the winter weather, but men are reclaiming hosieryLast week I set off on a two-days-and-two-nights tights-wearing odyssey. Why, you ask? Because tights for men are a thing. I know this for two reasons: first, because I had coffee with the author of Hosiery for Men, a blog built on the premise that men do wear hosiery. And second, because I spoke to Dawn Barber, managing director of the “Earth’s biggest hosiery store” UK Tights, who assured me: “We sell a great many tights to men. About 40% of our business is with men.” Which sounds ridiculous to me, and yet apparently it’s true. Also – I have come to understand – not only are tights nice and snug, but they were originally intended for us men anyway, in all our swashbuckling Tudor glory.So while three chaps in men’s leggings may have been laughed out of the Dragon’s Den last weekend – “it’s like a natural progression from the skinny jean,” pleaded the would-be meggings moguls, “this is just the next stage of the evolution” – men’s tights, which are different in that they are worn under another layer of clothing, are flourishing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:09:40 GMT)

Artificial intelligence 'will not end human race'
Microsoft research chief admits that AI will pose legal, ethical and psychological issues as it becomes more sophisticatedThe head of Microsoft’s research division has dismissed fears that artificial intelligence could pose a threat to the survival of the human race.Eric Horvitz believed that humans would not “lose control of certain kinds of intelligences”, adding: “In the end we’ll be able to get incredible benefits from machine intelligence in all realms of life, from science to education to economics to daily life.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:08:11 GMT)

Nine things we learned from Apple's monster financial results
Apple Watch to debut in April, iPhone sales have doubled in China, one billionth iOS device sold in November and moreApple enjoyed an impressive last three months in 2014, reporting record revenues of $74.6bn and a net profit of $18bn – the largest quarterly profit ever for any company, energy firms included.We already know about Apple’s record iPhone sales – 74.5m units – during the quarter, but the company’s earnings call with analysts after the results were announced yielded more information about its business in 2014 and its plans for 2015. Here are the key lessons. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:55:05 GMT)

What's the world's coldest city?
Yellowknife in Canada, where windchill regularly takes the temperature below -30C? Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, where you have to thaw the ground to bury people? Or Yakutsk in Russia, which few aeroplanes are rated to visit?Östersun, Sweden likes to call itself “The Winter City”. For a municipality that has repeatedly bid for the Winter Olympics, it’s a good marketing title – so good, in fact, that the name is also used by Oulu, Finland and Edmonton, Canada. In all these places, being cold is a point of pride, where icy temperatures are not just tolerated but celebrated. But what city bears the right to adopt an entire season as its own? Which is truly the coldest city on Earth?The World Meteorological Organisation’s World Weather Information Service, operated by the Hong Kong Observatory, is a good place to start, with 30-year climate normals for cities around the world. One strong candidate for coldest city is Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It’s the kind of place where a typical single-family home spends up to $5,000 (£2,700) on heating oil per year, and where building codes stipulate that all new wood construction must include 1ft-thick walls stuffed with insulation. Firefighters in Yellowknife often slip on a fast-freezing rink of their own sprayed hose water, and must frequently chip the ice off their suits to make sure they can move their arms. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:52:45 GMT)

Trans life: why surgery scars won’t stop me going shirtless on the beach
Slapping on the sunscreen has confirmed that ‘top surgery’ was the best decision I’ve ever made. And I won’t let anxiety about people seeing my scars get in the wayThe Sun’s page 3 is gone! Or it isn’t. But maybe it will be one day. In the meantime, let me tell you about some nipples that aren’t causing any controversy: mine.I had surgery in April 2014 to make life as a guy easier. Doctors call it a double mastectomy with free nipple grafts. Having it done was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and that feeling has only been reaffirmed with recent visits to the beach. This “top surgery” leaves long lateral scars that trace the lower line of each of my burgeoning pec muscles. There are also scars on my nipples but you can’t really see them because, well, they’re nipples. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:27:47 GMT)

Helen Macdonald: the six books that made me
H Is for Hawk, which has won the Costa book of the year, portrays a writer in urgent dialogue with the natural world. Which were the books that opened her eyes to nature?Three months ago the fieldfares arrived in rattling flocks through gusts of hail, their chak‑chak-chak calls like handfuls of pebbles flung on a frozen pond. I love these migrant thrushes because they’re scraps of the arctic flown to my fenland home, and because they bring history with them too, a bewitching mess of it. They’re built of all the fieldfares I’ve ever known: birds in paintings, photographs, field guides, migration maps, books, conversations, articles in magazines. And they’re made, too, of all the times I’ve seen them before, and for an flickering instant as the fieldfares blow in, I’m a child standing on tiptoe on the edge of a playing field, squinting to work out what these bold, patterned birds in the frosted trees might be. I’m 10 years old again. It took me half a lifetime to understand that each encounter with the natural world pleats together all the things you’ve read and heard, and adds to them, making something more of the bird or leaf or landscape in front of you, so that the older you get the more meaningful these things become. A few of these nature books inspire me because they were there at the beginning; childhood favourites that taught me what things were. Others are here because they tussle with the questions at the heart of it all: who has the right to interact with nature, to define what it is, explain it, speak for it – all questions, ultimately, about who we are. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:21:45 GMT)

The Bafta Awards banquet – what will Eddie Redmayne be eating?
The logistics of feeding 2,000 fussy celebrities would strike fear into the heart of most chefs. Which dish will be the winner on the night? We talk to the menu’s masterminds and give the dishes a test runDear Benedict Cumberbatch: I know what you’re having for tea next Sunday. It’s a strange thing to eat a Hollywood star’s dinner a week before they do, but that’s exactly what I’m doing at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, home of the Bafta Awards dinner on 8 February. Sadly, instead of wearing a Mulberry gown and sipping Taittinger with the Gyllenhaals, I’m in my jeans eating a trio of beef. It is 10.30am. On a Monday.The logistics of the Bafta dinner would strike fear into the heart of most cooks. A brigade of 25 chefs prepares a three-course meal for 1,950 guests. Those guests, which this year should include nominees such as Keira Knightley, Reese Witherspoon and Eddie Redmayne, will get through 200 magnums of champagne, 1,200 bottles of wine, 1 ton of beef, 100kg of chocolate and 6,000 petit fours. Who says celebrities don’t eat? Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:57:23 GMT)

How I teach students about equality: only Smarties have the answer
Agnes Arnold-Forster shares her best lesson, engaging young pupils in debates about injustice and equality with the help of chocolate treatsAnyone with experience of working or living with children will know their ability to detect injustice is highly developed – “but it’s not fair” is a regular refrain. However we rarely ask them to channel this natural flair for fairness into productive and critical discussion about the nature of equality, what constitutes fair treatment, and who gets to define such standards.I recently taught four small groups of year 5 and 6 pupils from two schools in Romford as part of the Brilliant Club, a non-profit organisation that trains and places PhD students in non-selective state schools and sixth-form colleges to deliver university-style tutorials to small groups of outstanding pupils. The aim is to widen access to top universities, increase aspiration and address educational disadvantages. As a PhD student, I had some experience of teaching 20-year-olds – who pose their own set of unique challenges – but none at all of attempting to engage nine- and 10-year-olds. Related: How to use the enduring power of Greek myths in your classroom Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:00:04 GMT)

Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen denies Sheffield United to seal Wembley place
This time it was just one step too far for Nigel Clough and the Sheffield United players who have established themselves as the most prolific set of giantkillers in the country. They certainly gave Tottenham Hotspur an almighty fright in those moments when an 18-year-old substitute by the name of Che Adams, plucked from Ilkeston Town a few months ago, threatened to take the game into extra-time, but the momentum was quickly halted and Mauricio Pochettino’s side should probably have spared themselves the late drama.The Premier League side had played as though affronted by any suggestion that they might be vulnerable on a night when they also had to contend with blizzards and hailstones as well as a League One team who have beaten five top-division opponents over the past year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:52:00 GMT)

Diego Costa charged with violent conduct for stamp on Liverpool’s Can
• Striker set to miss top-of-table game against Manchester City• Spain forward has until 6pm on Thursday to respond to the charge• Brendan Rodgers accuses Costa of ‘double stamp’• José Mourinho fined £25,000 for alleging ‘campaign’• Match report: Chelsea 1-0 LiverpoolDiego Costa is set to miss Saturday’s critical Premier League collision with the champions, Manchester City, after the Football Association charged the Chelsea striker with violent conduct for his behaviour during Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final second-leg victory over Liverpool.The Spain international has been sanctioned after the FA’s governance department reviewed video footage of two incidents from the hosts’ 1-0 extra-time win. They deemed he had been guilty of a stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can 12 minutes into the tie, an offence that went unnoticed by the referee, Michael Oliver. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:13:56 GMT)

Barcelona beat Atlético Madrid to make semi-final of Copa del Rey
• Atlético Madrid 2-3 Barcelona (Barcelona win 4-2 on aggregate) • Relive all the action with Paul Doyle’s minute-by-minute reportThis game started early – and ended early, too. By half-time Barcelona were 3-2 up at the Vicente Calderón, 4-2 up on aggregate and already into the semi-final of the Copa del Rey. It was not a good night for Atlético Madrid, who started the second half with 10 men, having had Gabi sent off at half time, and ended it with nine, after Mario Suárez was shown a red card. Meanwhile, their full-back Cristian Ansaldi was in a police station somewhere and their midfielder Arda Turan threw his boot at a linesman.Atlético had opened the scoring in the first minute, hope spreading around the stadium, but by the 45th it was over. Yet if the game was only alive in the first half, it was really alive: fast, frantic and wide open, the ball flying from one end to the other. It had everything, even a linesman knocking over a footballer with his flag. Jordi Alba tumbled and he was not the only one. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:49:20 GMT)

Andy Murray praises ‘fantastic’ impact of coach Amélie Mauresmo
• Murray talks about life after Dani Vallverdu, now coaching Tomas Berdych• ‘When everyone is pulling in same direction, things are going to improve’• Andy Murray to face Tomas Berdych in Australian Open semi-finalsDani Vallverdu, as astute as he is unobtrusive, could be the difference between his former employer, Andy Murray, and his new boss, Tomas Berdych, in Thursday’s intriguing semi-final of the Australian Open.Murray wishes it were not so, as do Vallverdu and Berdych – but circumstance and history have collided. As for Amélie Mauresmo, whose arrival as Murray’s main coach last summer to replace Ivan Lendl changed the tone and direction of his career, she is staying well out of it. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:00:14 GMT)

José Mourinho ramps up Chelsea’s siege mentality amid Diego Costa row
The Portuguese appears to have consigned his Happy One persona to the past and gone back to type in defending a striker who embodies Chelsea’s defiance• Diego Costa charged over stamp on Emre CanThe touch paper had long since been torched. Diego Costa had seen to that. But it was the final, perceived slight of Tuesday night that cut the deepest for the Chelsea coaching staff. They had been giddy on adrenaline and euphoria after the frantic Capital One Cup semi-final victory over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge when they turned their attention to the Sky Sports post-match analysis.It was the caption, in their opinion, that delivered the insult: “Diego Costa crimes.” It was printed on the screen as the footage was played of the Chelsea striker’s naughty moments and the pundit Jamie Redknapp offered his thoughts. The Chelsea coaches spluttered with indignation and so the Chinese whispers began. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:30:15 GMT)

Former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Luís Figo to stand for Fifa presidency
• Figo joins David Ginola on campaign trail• FA to back Prince Ali in bid against Sepp Blatter• Head of Dutch FA also standing for role• Luís Figo Small Talk: I collect watches and paintingsThe former world footballer of the year Luís Figo has become the latest candidate to throw his hat into an increasingly crowded ring in the battle to unseat Sepp Blatter as Fifa president.As the Dutch FA president, Michael van Praag, outlined his credentials in Amsterdam, Figo unveiled his candidature and said he had the requisite five nominations from among Fifa’s 209 members. Related: Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium set to be renamed Abu Dhabi Bernabéu Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:48:22 GMT)

What is Lance Armstrong doing?
Lance Armstrong’s interview with the BBC is his latest attempt to state his case, rewrite his narrative and rectify his reputation. He seems to want a career in politics, but Armstrong should realise that the world has had enough of his liesBy Suze Clemitson for 100 Tales 100 Tours, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkThose seven jerseys on the wall. The yellow of sunshine and daffodils, the most visible colour in the spectrum. The yellow of cowardice, treachery and madness. The yellow of the Yellow Jersey. Big Tex is at it again. This time seated in his Mellow Johnny bike shop – named for a lazy American corruption of maillot jaune – those seven jerseys hanging defiantly on the wall. He is surfing a tsunami of self-pity, employing every well-worn facial tic – the steely gaze, the half-grimace and the self-satisfied smirk – to assure us that, if he had to do it all again he would (in 1995) or he wouldn’t (in 2015) and that he thinks now he would change the man, if not his decision to participate in the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:31:36 GMT)

Gabriel Paulista completes transfer to Arsenal from Villarreal
• Gabriel joins club with Joel Campbell moving to Spain on loan• 24-year-old is primarily a centre-back, but can play across the defenceArsenal have confirmed the signing of Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee – believed to be over £10m – with Joel Campbell moving to the Spanish club on loan for the remainder of the season.The 24-year-old Gabriel, who joined Villarreal from the Salvador-based Vitória in 2013, told his new club’s website the Brazilian said: “I came from a club that is not that big in Brazilian football. I went to Spanish football and that was another dream come true, to play in Europe. A while ago I had a really huge desire to play in the Premier League, so since that point I put it in my head that I really wanted to do it. I had a talk with my family and I told them that it was my dream to play in the Premier League. Getting here to such a big club is so gratifying. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:45:58 GMT)

Novak Djokovic crushes Milos Raonic to reach last four of Australian Open
• Djokovic outclasses eighth seed 7-6, 6-4, 6-2• Serb sets up semi-final with champion Wawrinka• Djokovic v Raonic: as it happened!• Stanislas Wawrinka dismisses Kei Nishikori • Madison Keys too hot to handle for Venus Williams Related: Novak Djokovic v Milos Raonic: Australian Open 2015 – as it happened! The top seed Novak Djokovic and defending champion Stan Wawrinka will renew their Australian Open rivalry in the semi-finals after both men enjoyed comfortable wins in Melbourne. Related: Serena Williams shrugs off illness to make semi-finals but sister Venus falls Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:36:50 GMT)

Stuart Lancaster says England have learned lessons for Six Nations
France’s Philippe Saint-André says any of four teams could win the Six Nations while Wales’s Warren Gatland plays down past portents at tournament launch• England hope Barritt and Parling will be fit for Six NationsA shiny new trophy will be presented to this season’s Six Nations champions but almost everything else about the tournament launch in London felt eerily similar to 12 months ago. Ireland modestly played down their chances, Italy and Scotland spoke of putting past disappointments behind them, France lamented their relative lack of training time together and Wales and England insisted the World Cup would not dilute the significance of their next meeting. Déjà vu was in plentiful supply.Leaving aside the familiar diplomatic platitudes, however, there is every reason to believe the 2015 championship will live up to its new official tagline as “Rugby’s Greatest Championship” when it kicks off next week. The France coach, Philippe Saint-André, reckons any one of four teams could win it and he is probably right. The only certainty is that what seemed likely at the end of January will look absurd by mid-March. To paraphrase Warren Gatland, expectation and reality are never further apart in northern hemisphere rugby than at this time of year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:00:17 GMT)

Virgin Media urges Ofcom to pause auction of Premier League live TV rights
Cable group files ‘application for interim measures’ after warning that regulator’s ability to act will be prejudiced unless current auction process for top-flight football is haltedVirgin Media has asked the regulator Ofcom to take the unprecedented step of pausing the multibillion-pound auction of Premier League television rights.The cable group owned by US media mogul John Malone’s Liberty Global has filed an ”application for interim measures” with Ofcom to use its powers to temporarily halt the decision process for which broadcasters get the rights to air live top-flight UK football matches. Related: Ofcom inquiry may pave way for 3pm football matches screened live Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:59:32 GMT)

Manchester United fans must buy Cambridge ticket or miss Sunderland
• 9,000 season-ticket holders sent letter telling them to buy FA Cup replay ticket• Sanction rule requiring purchase of cup tickets in place for a number of yearsManchester United have warned about 9,000 season-ticket holders that a seat for next week’s FA Cup replay against Cambridge United needed to be bought by 8pm on Wednesday or they would not be allowed to attend the home match with Sunderland on 28 February.The letter sent to season-ticket holders and seen by the Guardian states: “The deadline to buy your seat for Cambridge United is 8pm tonight. Please note that not buying this ticket will result in your Season Ticket being suspended for the Sunderland game.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:04:22 GMT)

England’s Stuart Broad believes he is returning to his best form
• England bowlers will hunt as a pack in all-out attack on India• Broad urges ‘attacking mindset’ in decisive Tri-Series game• Minimum wage comments were ‘genuinely innocent’After controversies about blackmail plots concerning the team’s captain and Twitter debates on the minimum wage, it is time for England’s cricketers to do their talking on the field – starting with Friday’s winner-takes-all Tri-Series match against India.Four days after Eoin Morgan and the England and Wales Cricket Board were subject to a bizarre extortion attempt in Tasmania, Stuart Broad found himself in the eye of a social media storm when tweeting: “I’ve heard if you earn minimum wage in England you’re in the top 10% earners in the world. #stay #humble.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:00:07 GMT)

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo banned for two matches after dismissal
• Ronaldo kicked out at opponent in encounter with Córdoba• Portuguese misses Real Sociedad and Sevilla games but back for Atlético • Ronaldo sent off but Gareth Bale penalty brings Real victoryCristiano Ronaldo has been given a two-match ban following his dismissal for kicking out at an opponent during Real Madrid’s La Liga win at Córdoba on Saturday, the Spanish league said on Wednesday.The Portugal forward has been suspended for Real’s next two La Liga matches, against Real Sociedad and Sevilla, but will be available for the derby with Atlético Madrid. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:20:42 GMT)

BC Lara c Valderrama b Teapot 48 and the great garden rulebooks
Anyone who has ever battered an imaginary Curtly Ambrose bouncer into the stands with a baguette has done it – wherever cricket is played rules can be wrangled into shapes that workIn a rare moment of early morning clarity watching England take apart India in the recent Tri-Series ODI it suddenly struck home just how many rules and regulations are used to wrestle the format into the spectacle it is (or, at least, can be). The current ICC ODI match playing conditions, updated only last year, contain no fewer than 42 laws, each with a plethora of subsections. Then there’s the 10 appendices, detailing everything from “Zing wickets” to the camera layout for TV coverage (there’s also a couple of calculation sheets for determining the loss of overs during rain delays: A minus [C – (D + E)] divided by 4.2, for those who fancy a really fun afternoon).It’s an enduring feature of a game which at first glance seems pretty rigid but is actually versatile enough to allow matches that last five days and end in a draw and games that last 20 overs and end in landslide victories. And it sent me on a bit of a journey down memory lane. Rule tinkering is an aspect of the game that goes far beyond the professional ranks – the sport is not simply malleable enough to give the professionals three distinct formats in which to excel and entertain but also gives wiggle room for practitioners who find themselves in what might otherwise have been impossible areas for a quick game of cricket. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:20:57 GMT)

Rory McIlroy urges swift end to long legal dispute with Horizon
• McIlroy: ‘It’s a very sort of tedious and nasty process at times’• ‘It’s not really something I would want anyone to go through’• McIlroy and golf could do without public slanging matchRory McIlroy has expressed a desire for closure to the legal dispute with his former management company, as the world No1 reflected on an occasionally “nasty” and “tedious” affair.Barring a late settlement, McIlroy and the Horizon management firm are scheduled to appear in Dublin’s commercial court from Tuesday. The hearing, which would be expected to take a number of weeks, is reckoned potentially to be worth tens of millions of pounds in disputed fees. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:08:42 GMT)

Crystal Palace close in on Jordon Mutch and Pape Souaré deals
• Alan Pardew eager to strengthen squad further for fight against relegation• Jordon Mutch set for £4.75m move and Lille’s Pape Souaré will arrive for £3.4m• Palace prepare to make Zaha loan deal permanentCrystal Palace’s busy squad strengthening before next week’s transfer deadline is to continue with the imminent arrivals of Jordon Mutch from Queens Park Rangers and Pape Souaré from Lille to bolster the club’s battle against relegation. Negotiations also continue with Manchester United to make Wilfried Zaha’s loan spell back at the club permanent.Mutch, who moved to Loftus Road from Cardiff City only last summer, has found opportunities limited at Rangers despite impressing in the top flight with the Welsh club last season. A fee of around £4.75m will bring the England Under-21 international across the capital and Alan Pardew is keen to utilise his energy and invention in midfield. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:16:15 GMT)

Brett Lee denied fairytale hat-trick in dramatic Big Bash final
• Lee was denied a last-ball hat-trick as career ends• Perth Scorchers scrambled a single to win Big Bash• As it happened: Scorchers beat Sydney Sixers• Russell Jackson: a farewell played out in instalmentsBrett Lee was denied a last-ball hat-trick and a fairytale end to his professional career in Canberra as the Perth Scorchers scrambled a single off the fast bowler to win back-to-back Big Bash League titles.The Twenty20 final was the 38-year-old former Australia paceman’s last match and he came on to bowl the final over for the Sydney Sixers with the opposition needing eight runs. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:20:55 GMT)

England hope Brad Barritt and Geoff Parling will be fit for Six Nations
• RFU stops short of declaring pair ready for Wales• Eastmond and Wood ‘to undergo assessments’• Robert Kitson: Cipriani or Myler for England? England are hoping that Brad Barritt and Geoff Parling will be fit to play a part in the Six Nations Championship but have stopped short of declaring them fit for the Wales opener on Friday 6 February.The Rugby Football Union said in a statement: “Brad Barritt (Saracens) and Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers) continue to be treated for knee medial ligament strains and will not train today. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:22:26 GMT)

ITV to show first world title fight since 2008 featuring Carl Frampton
• Previous title fight came when Carl Froch defeated Jean Pascal• Northern Irishman takes on takes on Chris Avalos in BelfastITV will screen its first world title fight since 2008 when it shows Carl Frampton’s first defence of his IBF super-bantamweight title against the mandatory challenger, Chris Avalos.The network’s last world title fight came when Carl Froch defeated Jean Pascal, but it is now making another foray into the sport, with its main channel providing live and exclusive coverage of the Northern Irishman’s bout on 28 February in Belfast. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:20:02 GMT)

Rory McIlroy and golf would be better off without a public slanging match
If a settlement in the world No1’s dispute with Horizon is reached before Tuesday, when Dublin court proceedings are scheduled to start, it would be the most welcome resolution for all concerned• Rory McIlroy urges swift end to long legal disputeHow did it come to this? You would actually need page space more routinely reserved for a phonebook to chronicle the multitude of issues between Rory McIlroy and his former management firm, Horizon, in order to detail what has brought them to this juncture. That is, days away from what could prove to be one of the highest-profile court cases in sporting history.In normal circumstances, there would be an expectation that such a dispute would be resolved – perhaps immediately – before appearances have to be made in a witness box. That may yet happen, in sparing McIlroy the natural discomfort of his personal and financial affairs being laid out to an eager worldwide audience and the kind of uncomfortable probing which top lawyers specialise in. McIlroy is a brilliant public speaker but this is another movie entirely. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:55:43 GMT)

Sir Bradley Wiggins to kick off his season with Tour of Qatar
• Final season with Sky begins on 8-13 February• Main target is Paris-Nice at beginning of March Sir Bradley Wiggins will kick off his season with the Tour of Qatar on 8-13 February.Qatar marks the start of his final season with Sky as he looks ahead to Paris-Nice on 8-15 March and the hour record in June this year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:53:24 GMT)

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally meet in person
• Boxers swap phone numbers at Miami Heat game• Pair shake hands and have a brief chat• Pacquiao agrees deal to fight Mayweather Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have finally met in person.And now talks might get serious about meeting in the ring. According to the Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, the proposed fight is scheduled for 2 May. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:07:41 GMT)

Forget the Greens – if the UK wants a truly leftwing party, it might have to grow its own
The Greens are rising in popularity but if they are the protest vote for the left, then the left has become a fairly meaningless termSomething is in the air. The Green party is surging – and not just with those who mill their own chia seeds. A lot of people are saying they might vote Green, even those who have always voted Labour. For the middle aged, it’s a political mid-life crisis. The thrill has long gone so let’s run off with a new young party! At least they have some energy – renewable, hopefully.The talk at my table is from the actual young. “Mum, you can keep all your ‘isms’. In the end, they don’t matter as we will all be dead. Don’t you want to save the planet?” I find that hard to argue against, as I would quite like the planet to be saved, just as I would quite like my children not to blame me for climate change if I put something in the wrong bin. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:00:12 GMT)

Martin Rowson on Apple's record profits – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:15:42 GMT)

We must defend Katie Price’s right to welfare benefits for her disabled son
Attacks on the celebrity’s entitlement to state support are part of a deeper assault on the principle of social securityThe words Katie Price and taxpayers’ money are the sort that can separately invoke outrage-based hernias; put together, they can result in social media collapsing in a pool of self-righteous fury.This was proved on Tuesday, when Price said that if she paid privately for her disabled son’s government-funded transport to school, it would cost “up to £1,000 a day”. He requires a driver and a nurse capable of giving emergency injections. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:22:17 GMT)

Is it time to make Iran our friend and Saudi Arabia our enemy?
Far from being a guarantee of stability in the Middle East, the western alliance with the kingdom is an impediment to peaceMany years ago, a Foreign Office grandee of an older generation, Sir Julian Bullard, used to tell aspiring new diplomats that the best reason for learning German was to read Nietzsche’s epigrams. I’m not sure many of them took his advice to heart, but I did at least read the one that says Wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein, which translates as: if you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you. Another word for abyss is, of course, Gulf.Things are changing in the Persian Gulf region. An elderly, ailing Saudi king dies and is replaced by his elderly, ailing half-brother – just as Houthi rebels appear to achieve a major success in Yemen. Meanwhile, representatives of more than 20 countries – including Britain, the US and Iraq – agonise over how to tackle Islamic State (Isis), with Baghdad seeking more support from its western allies for the fight. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:04:24 GMT)

Pay pregnant smokers to quit, and soon it will be vouchers for burglars to behave
Cash incentives may affect behaviour, but what about the moral implications of being rewarded for misbehaving?Savvy policymakers have long argued that working with people’s natural instincts always produces the best results. Incentivising citizens to act responsibly is an idea beloved of the centre-right, because when done correctly it can produce social benefits quicker than any penalty or tax, or so the argument goes. I suspect that if householders thought increased recycling would keep their council tax bills down, the amount of rubbish diligently sorted each week would go through the roof.Where is the harm, therefore, in paying pregnant women £400 to stop smoking if it results in more of them staying off cigarettes, and reduces NHS spending by cutting the health problems associated with smoking mothers? Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:34:21 GMT)

The Guardian view on Greece’s debt relief: compromise is the way to go
Europe could be torn apart by divergent perspectives on debtIf what counts is what works, then the Greeks did the right thing by rejecting austerity at the ballot box. After years in which the servicing of debts has been pursued to the exclusion of every other objective, it has plainly not worked. A quarter of the economy has disappeared and half of young citizens are workless. To cap it all, the debt burden itself did not fall but instead grew to reach 175% of GDP. If that doesn’t constitute failure, then what would? To have kept doing the same thing, while expecting different results, would have been madness.But in Amsterdam, Berlin or Helsinki, the demands of Alexis Tsipras for a “viable, fair, mutually beneficial” way out of the debt crisis may also seem to express delusional disregard for experience. Greece has already received two big bailouts. If its new prime minister is now to be allowed to wriggle free of commitments given by his country, then what reason will it ever have to learn to live without the begging bowl? And why should other indebted states do anything other than demand similar favourable terms, or themselves elect populists promising to make unpleasant obligations go away? Writedowns for Greece might be affordable because of its small size, but the sums would soon change if accommodations had to be reached with Sinn Féin in Ireland and Podemos in Spain. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:05:08 GMT)

Castin' makes me feel good: Ghostbusters' diverse team is a victory
Paul Feig has cast four women in Ghostbusters, three of them over 40, one of them black, and one of them an out lesbian – this shouldn’t be noteworthy, but amid ongoing sexism and monoculture in Hollywood, it’s a little victoryWho you gonna call? Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig head Ghostbusters castIt’s not often that casting news on a Hollywood blockbuster warrants a post-midnight text with three exclamation marks, but that’s exactly what arrived on my phone in the early hours of this morning, when Paul Feig tweeted this picture of his new Ghostbusters cast.pic.twitter.com/LBtv2YXfv6I love females. I hope that if they go that way at least they’ll be funny, and if they’re not funny at least hopefully it’ll be sexy. I love the idea of including women, I think that’s great. But all-female I think would be a bad idea. I don’t think the fans want to see that.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:27:46 GMT)

No wonder Miliband wants distance from ex-Blairites on the NHS
Former ministers urging the break-up of public services while filling their boots from it embody the blighted New Labour legacyNever mind that Ed Miliband and his senior colleagues all cut their political teeth during the New Labour years: just as kids eventually leave home and parents must leave them to it, so he and his allies claim to be in the midst of a new era. The Iraq war was a terrible mistake, inequality is a much bigger issue than the ancien régime ever understood, and look! Labour has rediscovered its belief in the glories of a public NHS. As Andy Burnham’s somewhat testing interview on last night’s Newsnight showed, this effort at political escapology is not the easiest of tricks, but still: to quote one of Tony Blair’s more ludicrous outbursts, new, new, everything is new (or, in the sense of Labour trying to rediscover its pre-1990s values, old – but you get the general idea).Given the cynicism and anger about Labour’s record out there in the real world – some of it unfair, but there we are – this quest to distance the party from parts of its own record may not be the daftest of ideas. But Labour’s former big hitters refuse to bow out gracefully and leave Miliband to it. To add to his other skills, Blair has become a maestro at the passive-aggressive putdown: his latest observation on Miliband’s leadership, was the militantly pro-Ed observation: “I’m not sure he has a problem. That will be for the people to choose.” And now, just as Labour tries to big up its plans for the NHS and thereby regain the political advantage, along come two of Blair’s former allies, set on giving the impression that the party is still rattling out the internal battles of the 1990s, and handing the newspapers yet another set of anti-Miliband headlines. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:27:40 GMT)

It rained on my wedding day – and I wouldn’t have spent £100,000 to stop it
A company claims it can prevent rain ruining your big day, but marriage isn’t perfect so your wedding day shouldn’t be eitherPhew. Everything’s sorted. All lists ticked off. Done. So you follow the advice and you have an early night and just before you go to bed you check the weather forecast, and you sigh and then you scream as you realise all the planning has been for nought. Because it’s going to rain. Of course it’s going to rain. And the rain will ruin everything. But then your parents call with good news: they have remortgaged their house and spent £100,000 to stop it raining. Everything’s fine. Better than that: everything’s perfect.There’s no doubt that Oliver’s Travels, the company boasting of an Ariel-like ability to control the weather, is offering a product that some will want. The problem is it’s also reinforcing the idea of the “perfect wedding”. And I of all people should know such an idea is nonsense: my wedding was great, even though my bride’s wedding dress caught fire (didn’t think of that, did you, Alanis?). Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:30:04 GMT)

Blue Labour plots future somewhere between Third Way and the old way
Most of the party is ready to move on from the stale vendettas of the Blair-Brown years but few think Miliband has the answers. So what next?It is more than 20 years since the term New Labour was coined, which is an aeon ago in political time. So whatever else it is, it isn’t new. In that sense, Ed Miliband’s promise in 2010 to “turn the page” on the Blair-Brown years was a statement of the obvious – what the party was going to become had to be something different to what it had been. But Miliband didn’t have a clearly articulated account of what that might look like. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:21:29 GMT)

The Guardian view on hung parliament negotiations: time to plan
If no party has an overall majority in May, there could be a long gap before a government is formed. The parties need to plan for that nowAfter the general election of 2010, five days elapsed before the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. The delay, which seems small now, nevertheless took much of Britain by surprise. During those five days in May, Gordon Brown remained prime minister, as the draft cabinet manual of the time required. Mr Brown had lost the election, but he was constitutionally correct to remain prime minister and continue governing – albeit with “discretion” – until a new government could be formed. But he got nothing except grief for his efforts from the Tory press. The Daily Mail denounced him as a squatter. The Sun savaged him for refusing to let the “rightful tenant” into No 10.Caretaker periods of this kind are in fact universal in parliamentary democracies. This country’s rules have now been codified still further by the coalition. It is clear that the issue may arise again after 7 May. Indeed, hardly a day passes without some new speculation about the form such events may take. If the Guardian’s new poll of polls is mirrored in the May result, for example, coalition negotiations could be much more complex than in 2010, with the possibility of three-party arrangements being necessary before a new government is formed. In those circumstances, it is unlikely that the caretaker period will be as short as it was in 2010, and quite possible that it will last several days longer, as is routinely the case in many European countries. If that is to happen, the rules that would apply to caretaker David Cameron need to be watertight and well understood in advance by all concerned. Right now, that is far from the case. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:03:22 GMT)

Follow your convictions – this could be the end of the politics of fear
Syriza, Podemos, the SNP: the neoliberal consensus is collapsing. Forget tactical considerations in May and vote Green for a genuine alternativeHere is the first rule of politics: if you never vote for what you want, you never get it. We are told at every election to hold our noses, forget the deficiencies and betrayals and vote Labour yet again, for fear of something worse. And there will, of course, always be something worse. So at what point should we vote for what we want rather than keep choosing between two versions of market fundamentalism? Sometime this century? Or in the next? Follow the advice of the noseholders and we will be lost forever in Labour’s Bermuda triangulation.Perhaps there was a time when this counsel of despair made sense. No longer. The lamps are coming on all over Europe. As in South America, political shifts that seemed impossible a few years earlier are now shaking the continent. We knew that another world was possible. Now, it seems, another world is here: the sudden death of the neoliberal consensus. Any party that claims to belong to the left but does not grasp this is finished. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:00:08 GMT)

I was a child star in the Philippines. I'm glad no one notices me now
It’s one thing to be amused that a someone used to be a kid with braces; it’s another for their present self to be compared to a body they’re alienated fromBack in the early 80’s when I was six or seven years old, my mom took me to an audition for a Filipino sitcom called Bisoy, which had been around for a few years but was struggling in the ratings. The network decided to give the couple in it an instant son and expand the name of the show to Bisoy: Ang Daddy Kong Baduy, which meant Bisoy: My Dad Who’s Out of Fashion. (Trust me, the title’s catchier in Tagalog.)I enjoyed showing off my ability to memorize things quickly because it got me attention, and I liked attention – and the director was pleased that I followed directions and learned lines so fast, so he cast me. The next couple of years were a bit of a blur – there were articles in magazines about me and variety show appearances, along with small parts in movies. The whole thing was fun at first, but then the work ended up being so boring – I said variations of the same cute lines over and over again, got into variations of the same trouble with my TV dad. It wasn’t a satisfying kind of attention to be recognized just for repeating lines and being a cute kid. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:15:07 GMT)

Stuart Broad has just swallowed the vindictive rhetoric on the feckless poor
The cricketer’s minimum wage tweet shows numeracy is not his strong point. But, like most people, he fails to realise that jobs often don’t pay enough to live on“I’ve heard if you earn minimum wage in England you’re in the top 10% earners in the world. #stay #humble” The central mystery surrounding Stuart Broad’s sanctimonious Twitter activity (he has since apologised) is how he came to be a cricketer. You would think someone with poor numeracy would be better suited to a sport like football.It is relatively easy to be in the richest 10% on the minimum wage, if you’re happy to live in a very expensive place. The minimum wage in Gabon is £3,672, or less than a third of our £13,500. On the other hand, a suburban one-bedroom flat there is £63 a month, or less than an eighth the cost of the average suburban one-bedder in the UK (£541). A couple more data points (average public transport, 17p to £2.20) and the picture is pretty plain; someone on the minimum wage in the UK may technically be richer, but could buy a lot less and will ergo struggle a lot more. Money doesn’t mean anything out of context: its value is determined by what you can buy with it. Most people figure this out by the age of about seven. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:52:25 GMT)

Selling the Old War Office is public theft, plain and simple
If you thought Margaret Thatcher flogging the GLC building was a low point for public space, try Michael Fallon’s sale of a 1,000-year-old siteWant to buy a used forklift truck? A Kassbohrer Faun 4 axle tank transporter semi-trailer with 62,000kg capacity? A secondhand all-terrain vehicle? An ambulance, perhaps, or a rear admiral’s flag?Then there is a website for you. Several of them in fact, just type “MoD sales” into your search engine. It’s a new kind of shopping porn for those of us who experience a nano-pang of desire at the sight of anything with a price tag attached. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:55:36 GMT)

Why can’t I get sterilised in my 20s?
There’s nothing I can say to convince the doctors I’ve seen – but I’m 29 now, and not ‘too young’ to decide I want to be child-freeWe’re fortunate to live in a country where women’s healthcare is mostly progressive and fair, where abortions can be obtained and contraceptives are free. But ask the NHS for a sterilisation in your 20s, and every door is slammed in your face. I should know: I’ve asked four times in the last three years and been refused every time.The first time I asked for a permanent end to my fertility I was 26. I was recently out of a long relationship where we both agreed on a child-free life and back on the dating scene. Explaining my child-free stance to stranger after stranger was wearing, but made me think harder about why I’d made my choice. As I repeatedly explained, I’ve probably put more thought into my decision not to have children than many people put into their decision to have them. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:53:17 GMT)

Ian Rankin's Rebus to make another comeback
Will the dogged cop ever get a chance to enjoy his retirement?Pity poor Inspector Rebus - Ian Rankin won’t let him go quietly into retirement. While his fans may be delighted, they can hardly be surprised. Scotland’s favourite detective has already made three comebacks since he closed his first final case in Exit Music in 2007. He was rediscovered five years later working as a “civilian” on cold cases in Standing in Another Man’s Grave; then came Saints of the Shadow Bible, followed by a collection of short stories last year, while Rankin was supposedly taking a year off. In one, written for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, a tour of a haunted house - given to Rebus as a retirement present by his colleague Siobhan Clarke - draws him inexorably back to the pathology lab, where he encounters his old colleague Dr Curt.‘You’re supposed to be retired,’ Dr Curt said.‘I am retired,’ Rebus stated.‘I should, perhaps, Madame, tell you a little more about myself. I am Hercule Poirot.’ The revelation left Mrs Summerhayes unmoved. ‘What a lovely name,’ she said kindly. ‘Greek, isn’t it?’ Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:00:24 GMT)

Waitrose scraps free tea and coffee for cafe table-hoggers
Loyalty card holders grabbing a gratis hot beverage will have to buy a food item if they want to sit downWaitrose is scrapping a free-for-all which allowed loyalty card holders to drink free tea and coffee while sitting in its cafes – even if they had bought nothing else.The supermarket group said the move was not a cost-saving exercise but instead was a reminder to its myWaitrose card holders of the “etiquette” involved in its offer. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:34:36 GMT)

The Lance Armstrong video is another page in rock's catalogue of stupidity
Former Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford’s new clip features ‘punk rocker’ Lance Armstrong. Oh dear Oh, how glorious it would be if musicians would think before they spring their bright ideas on the world. If maybe they realised that having a platform doesn’t mean it has to be used.The latest offender is Tim Commerford, the former bassist of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, whose new group Future User have released a song called Mountain Lion, featuring a spoken word interlude (and video appearance) from one of Commerford’s friends. That friend happens to be Lance Armstrong. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:08:41 GMT)

Uber delivers puppies on-demand delighting Americans in 10 cities
For $30, office workers in 10 cities across the US could use the company’s app to order 15 minutes of cuddle time with adoptable dogsOn Wednesday, Uber delivered puppies on-demand. For $30, office workers in 10 cities across the US could use the company’s app to order 15 minutes of cuddle time with the adoptable dogs. The company, which is usually geared toward taxi and limousine service world domination, brought the pups to offices in partnership with the Animal Planet television channel. The #UberPuppyBowl is well into the first quarter. Cause an interference and order puppies today until 3PM. pic.twitter.com/CSFkCWwE5V Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:12:53 GMT)

Snails slither their way on to the beauty scene as the next big thing in facials
Snail mucus is known to contain nutrients and antioxidants and is said to contribute to a youthful visage. Entrepreneurs in Thailand are already cashing inThe last time I encountered escargots, they were served sizzling in garlic and herb butter by a French waiter. Now one is slithering up the bridge of my nose while five others are being stuck to other parts of my face by a Thai beautician, all secreting snail slime to (hopefully) smooth out some wrinkles and otherwise give me a younger-than-my-age look.That this latest addition to the global beauty and wellness craze – snail facials – should surface in the hills of northern Thailand is only natural. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:52:04 GMT)

The £8.8m typo: how one mistake killed a family business
The Welsh engineering firm of Taylor & Sons has won a major claim against the government agency after they mixed it up with another firm of a similar nameName: Taylor & Sons Ltd.Age: 124. Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:03:02 GMT)

Sexual activity survey debunks myths concerning lives of older people
English Longitudinal Study of Ageing project questioning 6,201 men and women up to 90 hopes results will crush stereotypesA sizeable minority of men and women are still sexually active into their 80s, according to a study which debunks the myth that older people no longer have sex.Older men are getting more action than women, however, and a survey says they are almost three times as likely to masturbate. Women are 10 times as likely as men to feel “obligated” to have sex in their twilight years, finds the survey, entitled English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (Elsa). Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:40:50 GMT)

Jack Monroe’s red bean soup with dumplings
The humble kidney bean makes a great base for this deeply satisfying soup and dumpling comboRegular readers will know that I am near-fanatical about the humble kidney bean, a throwback to the days when a can was 17p on the bottom shelves of the supermarket (now nearly twice the price two years later). I mashed them into burgers, padded out chillis, plumped up a goulash – my love for the little red bean knows no bounds. One afternoon, sitting in the pub with my friend Chris, I found a kindred kidney bean spirit. “Red pea soup,” he announced, before enthusiastically recounting holidays in Jamaica. Soup? Out of kidney beans? I was intrigued, and went rifling through cookbooks for recipe inspiration. And voilà, I wasn’t disappointed. Traditional recipes use a base of pork bones and/or shredded beef, but I’ve gone for some streaky bacon as a tasty addition instead. Deeply satisfying and simple to make, just don’t skimp on the spinners (dumplings).(Serves 4) Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:08:47 GMT)

England's beavers allowed to stay in the wild
Government rolls back on plan to trap England’s first wild beavers in 300 years, saying they can be released into Devon’s river Otter once they have been confirmed as disease free and of Eurasian originThe first beavers to live in the wild in England for 300 years are to be allowed to continue to swim free in a Devon river as long as it can be proven they are free of disease and of Eurasian origin.Initially the government announced plans to trap the beavers, which are roaming wild in the River Otter, and confine them to a zoo or wildlife park, arguing they were an invasive species and could be carrying a disease. Related: Rewilding Britain: bringing wolves, bears and beavers back to the land Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:30:35 GMT)

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