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Isis gains in Syria put pressure on west to deliver more robust response
US looks at options for action in Iraq as Islamic State ramps up attacks while senior Tories call for UK to join in air strikesWestern powers are coming under mounting pressure to do more to confront Islamic State (Isis) in its stronghold in Syria, as the heavily armed militants edged closer to taking an important air base that would cement their domination over a swath of the country's north.As US aircraft continued to pound the Islamist militants in northern Iraq, the Obama administration was studying a range of options for pressuring Isis in Syria, primarily through training "moderate" Syrian rebels as a proxy force, with air strikes as a possible backup. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:48:09 GMT)

Theresa May considering banning orders to combat British extremism
Home secretary to bring in new laws that may strip Britons fighting in Syria and Iraq of their citizenshipThe home secretary is poised to bring in laws to tackle British extremists in the wake of the killing of US journalist James Foley by a jihadist with an English accent.Theresa May said Britain must introduce all the legal powers necessary to win the struggle against terror that is feared to last for decades. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 11:09:00 GMT)

Ukraine condemns 'direct invasion' as Russian aid convoy crosses border
Crossing of border casts shadow over peace talks as US says Moscow's action is violation of sovereigntyA controversial Russian aid convoy has crossed the border into Ukraine, in a move described by Kiev as a "direct invasion". The first trucks in the convoy arrived in the war-torn city of Luhansk late on Friday afternoon. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 11:12:00 GMT)

Tilbury container death: two lorry drivers remanded in custody
Stephen McLaughlin, 34, and Timothy Murphy, 33, accused of conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into UKTwo lorry drivers have been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged in connection with the death of a man found in a container at Tilbury docks.Stephen McLaughlin, 34, and Timothy Murphy, 33, were accused of conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the UK. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:01:15 GMT)

Buying a home would save average tenant £1,300 a year over renting
Low mortgage rates mean monthly repayments are less than rent for average three-bedroom house, says the HalifaxDespite rising house prices the average tenant of a three-bedroom house would save £1,300 a year if they could buy it instead of continuing to rent, according to research from the country's biggest mortgage lender, the Halifax. Even factoring in the cost of maintaining and insuring a home, the lender found that with today's low mortgage rates first-time buyers pay an average £677 a month to own a three-bed home, against the £787 a month they would pay to rent the same property.The gap has grown since last year, when it was £93 a month cheaper to own, according to the Halifax. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:04:01 GMT)

Hamas declares support for Palestinian bid to join international criminal court
Hamas says it will support proposal that could expose both the Islamist group and Israel to war crimes investigationsHamas has signed a pledge to back any Palestinian bid to join the international criminal court, a move which could expose both the Islamist group and Israel to war crimes investigations.The decision revealed by two senior Hamas officials on Saturday would help a bid led by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to join the court, a step that would transform his relations with Israel from tense to openly hostile and could also strain his ties with the United States. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 11:31:00 GMT)

Blame poverty, not race, say Ferguson's white minority
Ex-mayor claims segregation isn't bad it's just human natureFerguson's white Republican mayor, James Knowles, is clear: he will tell anyone who listens that there is no racial divide in the town, which has been hit by a fortnight of protest over the killing of a young African American, Michael Brown, by a white policeman.Knowles's predecessor, Brian Fletcher, has a different take. "Sure we're segregated. Most cities are. People want to be with people that look like them, think like them, talk like them. It's human nature. It doesn't mean it's bad," he said. "A lot of communities in the United States are segregated by colour, by economic power, by education. You know the term 'the other side of the tracks'? It's the truth. It's been that way, it is that way and will be that way." Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 12:30:11 GMT)

Private firms 'are using detained immigrants as cheap labour'
G4S and Serco saving millions by paying detainees as little as £1 an hour to cook and clean, claim campaignersCampaigners have criticised private firms for using immigration detainees as cheap labour inside detention centres after research suggested this saves them millions of pounds. Some detainees said they were being paid as little as £1 an hour to cook and clean.Home Office figures showed that in May this year, detainees in centres run by Serco, G4S and other contractors did nearly 45,000 hours of work for a total of nearly £45,500 in pay. Had they been paid at the national minimum wage, the cost would have been more than £280,000. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:02:08 GMT)

Thailand says it will be lenient on cases of surrogacy amid Gammy crackdown
Thailand pledges leniency in cases of babies born to surrogate mothers, as Australian couples face fallout of baby Gammy caseThailands junta has pledged leniency in the cases of babies born to surrogate mothers, as it looks to toughen rules in the lucrative but largely unregulated industry following a series of scandals.Dozens, possibly hundreds, of foreign couples are thought to have been left in limbo after entering into surrogacy arrangements through clinics in the kingdom. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 07:10:49 GMT)

Bushmania sweeps the nation before comeback gigs
Excitement over Kate Bush's first gigs in 35 years fuels entire cottage industry in memorabilia The Kate Bush bandwagon is rolling into town and it seems unstoppable. As excitement about the singer's first concerts since 1979 reaches levels once associated with the second coming, an entire cottage industry selling Bush memorabilia is thriving and mutating. Everyone from Kate Bush tribute acts to fanzines and members of her own family are cashing in, it seems.For many of her fans, a piece of Kate Bush merchandise is the closest they will come to their idol. Her 22 shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, west London, starting this Tuesday and ending on 1 October, sold out in 15 minutes in March. Resale sites are asking for as much as £1,500 a ticket. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 12:10:28 GMT)

Police chief attacks BBC coverage of Cliff Richard raid
South Yorkshire chief constable David Crompton accuses broadcaster of covering up role in police search of singer's homeSouth Yorkshire's police chief has attacked the BBC's "disproportionate" coverage of the search of singer Cliff Richard's house, accusing the corporation of making the raid look "heavy handed and intrusive".As MPs on the Commons home affairs committee summoned the BBC director general, Tony Hall, to give evidence about the affair, the chief constable of South Yorkshire police, David Crompton, accused the broadcaster of attempting to cover up its role in the search last week. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:31:06 GMT)

Hospitals in England ordered to provide free parking for some patients
New NHS guidelines say priority groups including certain visitors should be able park free or pay greatly reduced ratesHospitals have been ordered to provide free parking for some patients and visitors under new NHS guidelines announced by the government.Free or greatly reduced parking space will be given at English hospitals to "priority groups", including visitors with relatives who are seriously ill or are in hospital for a long time. Frequent visitors, people with disabilities and some hospital staff will also have reduced rates. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:32:52 GMT)

Scottish independence: 1m voters sign declaration in favour of yes vote
Yes Scotland campaign hails milestone that Alex Salmond predicted would show Scotland would become independentMore than 1 million voters have signed a declaration in favour of Scottish independence, according to the pro-independence campaign Yes Scotland.When the yes declaration was launched along with the official yes campaign in May 2012, the first minister, Alex Salmond, said that if the target of 1m signatures was reached by the referendum then Scotland would become an independent country. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:27:59 GMT)

Teaching union looks into unexpected GCSE swings in disadvantaged areas
Association of School and College Leaders warns poorer neighbourhoods may have been most affected by grade volatilityA teaching union has launched a study after signs that the wild swings in Thursday's GCSE results have hit schools in disadvantaged areas hardest.Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), warned of an "emerging pattern" whereby schools in poorer neighbourhoods have been most affected by the volatility in grades. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:35:43 GMT)

Npower chief blames high prices on Labour's threatened energy price freeze
Paul Massara tells Ofgem that npower cannot pass on the 50% fall in gas price to consumers because of possible price controls after general electionThe chief executive of one of the UK's biggest energy companies has said his firm has not reduced fuel bills because of the Labour party's threat to freeze prices.The claim was made in a letter from Paul Massara, the head of npower, to Ofgem, the energy regulator. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:43:21 GMT)

Only one in ten voters take part in West Midlands police commissioner election
Accusations of democratic disaster as David Jamieson elected as PCC on even lower turnout than for predecessor Bob JonesOnly one in 10 registered voters took part in a byelection for a police and crime commissioner (PCC) in the West Midlands, prompting Labour accusations of "a shambles".The vote following the death last month of Bob Jones resulted in a turnout of 10.4%, the lowest recorded since the posts were created two years ago, prompting demands for the process to be reformed. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:13:11 GMT)

Vice News sparks debate on engaging younger viewers
Traditional broadcasters such as BBC and Channel 4 examine how to attract generation focused on YouTube and social mediaBroadcast news executives are wrestling with the problem of how to get digital-focused younger viewers to watch their output. Three-quarters of adults say they get their news from TV and they watch an average of 115 hours of coverage a year each. However, when it comes to younger viewers the data is far less comforting: 16- to 24-year-olds are watching just 27 hours a year, according to Ofcom reasearch. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 12:19:33 GMT)

Paul Gascoigne's daughter thanks tweeters for support after star's relapse
Twitter users sent messages of sympathy to Bianca Gascoigne after footballer found drunk outside his homeThe daughter of former England football star Paul Gascoigne has expressed her gratitude for messages of support after her father was found drunk outside his home and taken to hospital.Gascoigne, 47, who has a long history of problems with alcohol, is believed to have been admitted to Poole hospital on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:18:11 GMT)

Church linked to witchcraft row applies to open UK school
Campaigners condemn Nigerian pastor who was filmed slapping girl after accusing her of being a witch and warn of organisation that links poor discipline to witchcraftThe Department for Education has confirmed that a church linked to a controversial Nigerian pastor - who has been filmed slapping a teenage girl after accusing her of being a witch - has applied to open a UK school this September.The school - which would accept children from the age of four - is linked to Winners' Chapel International. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:39:17 GMT)

Malky Mackay: Im no racist, sexist, homophobe or antisemite
Manager apologies for inappropriate texts Im a human being, I made a mistake Cardiff call on LMA chief to resignMalky Mackay has apologised for sending three completely unacceptable messages during his time as Cardiff City manager, insisting, Im no racist, Im no sexist, Im no homophobe, Im not antisemitic, and claiming that the majority of discriminatory texts being investigated by the Football Association were not sent by him.Mackay and his former head of recruitment at Cardiff, Iain Moody, are alleged to have shared a number of messages containing racist, sexist and homophobic language during their time at the club, with the City owner, Vincent Tan, recently submitting a dossier of evidence to the FA through the London law firm Mishcon de Reya. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:20:56 GMT)

Botched Nazi spy mission was act of sabotage, says historian
German intelligence officials opposed to Hitler's plans chose agents with poor English for Operation Lena, book suggestsThe Nazi spies arrived on the shores of Britain under the cover of night, by parachute, by rowing boat and by rubber dinghy. In their suitcases each carried a morse code transmitter, a map of the UK, a handgun and some invisible ink. Their mission: to pave the way for an invasion.But the spies chosen for the mission had neither convincing fluency in English nor basic knowledge of British customs. One spy was arrested after trying to order a pint of cider at 10am, unaware that during wartime landlords weren't allowed to serve alcohol before lunchtime. Another pair were stopped while cycling through Scotland on the wrong side of the road: once the police discovered German sausages and Nivea hand cream in their luggage, their cover was blown. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:20:58 GMT)

Hundreds of former Comet workers to lose out on compensation after ruling
Ex-employees of retailer who have yet to lodge claims for being laid off incorrectly are not entitled to payout, says tribunal judgeHundreds of former Comet employees are to lose out on compensation for being laid off incorrectly after an employment tribunal ruling on Friday dashed hopes of a payout.A Leeds tribunal ruled in June that a number of former Comet employees laid off when the retailer went bust should receive 90 days' pay in compensation. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:33:55 GMT)

Man jailed for 33 months over illegal copies of Fast and Furious 6
Philip Danks used a camcorder to record the film on its release day and then uploaded it to FacebookA 25-year-old man has been jailed after filming Fast and Furious 6 in a cinema and selling copies of the movie on Facebook.Wolverhampton crown court heard that in May last year, Philip Danks used a camcorder to record the film on its release day, before uploading it the following day. The UK release date was also the first time the film was released anywhere in the world, and it was downloaded more than 700,000 times from Danks's Facebook page. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:50:15 GMT)

Fear and false alarms as Ebola puts Europe on alert
After the death of a Spanish missionary who contracted the virus in Liberia, European authorities are taking no chancesThere has been only one confirmed Ebola case in Europe since the epidemic broke out in Africa, but a string of false alarms has provoked jitters and charges of overreaction. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:06:35 GMT)

India minister condemned for calling Delhi gang-rape a 'small incident'
Victim's family express disbelief and women's rights activists criticise Arun Jaitley for saying the attack led to tourism lossesIndia's finance minister has sparked outrage by referring to the gang-rape and death of a young physiotherapy student in Delhi in 2012 as a "small" incident that has cost the country billions of dollars in tourism.Arun Jaitley, who holds two cabinet posts and is one of India's most senior leaders, was speaking to a gathering of state tourism ministers on Thursday.2/2 @arunjaitley No rape is 'small', each rape is shameful coz it violates women's rights not coz it affects tourism! http://t.co/5M2CcEbuvU Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) August 22, 2014 Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:48:00 GMT)

Silk Road suspect faces fresh round of narcotics trafficking charges
Ross Ulbricht, accused of creating underground online drug marketplace, faces trial on host of charges in NovemberUS prosecutors have brought a trio of new charges against a Texas man accused of creating the underground online drug marketplace Silk Road ahead of his November trial. A new indictment against Ross Ulbricht, 30, filed late on Thursday in Manhattan federal court added charges of narcotics trafficking, distribution of narcotics by means of the internet, and conspiracy to traffic in fraudulent identification documents. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:55:19 GMT)

Chelsea Manning says she is being denied gender-reassignment treatment
Defence departments promise is not being honoured As Bradley Manning, private jailed for 35 years for secrets leakA year after being sentenced to a 35-year prison term for giving secret documents to WikiLeaks, US army private Chelsea Manning says the military is continuing to deny her gender-reassignment treatment. In a letter sent to NBC news and released on Friday, Manning says the Defence Department has not followed through with its promises after the defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, approved a treatment plan that includes allowing her to dress as a woman. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:09:42 GMT)

Two arrested on suspicion of rape at Reading festival
31-year-old man and 14-year-old boy held after 19-year-old woman reports being attacked on festival traders' siteTwo people, including a 14-year-old boy, have been arrested on suspicion of raping a young woman at Reading festival.The 19-year-old victim reported being attacked in a caravan on the festival traders' site on Thursday night. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:43:20 GMT)

Italians divided over fate of Daniza the brown bear who attacked man
Animal rights groups beg officials not to capture fugitive bear after attack that left cable car worker needing 50 stitchesIt was when he had wrestled for around a minute with the growling brown bear on top of him that Daniele Maturi, a heavy-set Italian cable car worker, thought his number was up. "I was exhausted," he says, sitting on a hospital bed, deep scratches on his wrist. "I thought: if this goes on another 20 seconds, I'm finished. My life ends here."Eventually, after an attack which left Maturi with deep bites on his arm and knee, an injury to his back and "40 or 50 stitches", the bear retreated into the woods. Maturi, 38, who had been foraging for mushrooms near his home in Pinzolo, says he does not know why Daniza, an 18-year-old mother bear with two eight-month-old cubs, let him go. The important thing is that he escaped battered and bruised but in one piece. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:37:35 GMT)

Four accused of painting Moscow building in Ukrainian colours face jail
Alleged stunt on 'Seven Sisters' tower block leads to charges of hooliganism the same accusation used against Pussy RiotFour climbers accused of repainting the Soviet star on one of Moscow's Stalinist skyscrapers in Ukrainian colours, and hanging a Ukrainian flag, are facing up to seven years in prison on charges of hooliganism.A Moscow court has placed the two men and two women Yevgeniya Korotkova, Anna Lepyoshkina, Alexander Pogrebov and Alexei Shirokozhukhov under house arrest until 19 October. After originally opening the case on charges of vandalism, police on Thursday charged the four with hooliganism as well, the same statute under which three members of feminist punk group Pussy Riot were convicted in 2012. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:41:01 GMT)

Co-operative Bank announces losses of £75.8m
Troubled organisation's losses narrow sharply but bank is haemorrhaging customers as tens of thousands leaveThe Co-operative Bank has announced pretax losses of £75.8m for the first six months of this year and admitted that "much needs to be done" to stabilise an institution that has seen 28,000 customers leave since January.The deficit is a significant narrowing of the £844.6m loss during the same period in 2013 but the bank admitted that a year of upheaval, which involved its parent organisation, the Co-operative Group, ceding control to US hedge funds, had been followed by the loss of 28,199 current accounts in the six months to 30 June. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:48:00 GMT)

John Bercow riles Commons over plans to appoint Australian clerk
The Speaker's decision to advertise post for first time since its creation in 1363 has not gone down well on either side of houseJohn Bercow has made a point throughout his career of ensuring that he could never be accused, as Harold Wilson once was, of going "round the country stirring up apathy".In his days as a student activist on the right, he upset opponents on the left and in the Tory centre ground as a leading figure in the Federation of Conservative Students, some of whose members wore "Hang Nelson Mandela" T-shirts. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:34:47 GMT)

Landlord fined for renting room that could only be entered on all fours
Tenants would need to be less than 2 feet 4 inches tall to walk to the Hendon rooms doorMany people crawl into bed at the end of a long day, but tenants in a north London house had to crawl on all fours to access their rented room.Barnet council has taken the landlord of a house in Sunningfields Road, Hendon, to court after discovering he was renting out a room that could not be accessed standing up. The head height along the course of the staircase was between 0.7m (2ft 3in) and 1.2m (3ft 11in) and the door to the room was also reduced in size. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:45:23 GMT)

Spanish mayor 'fears getting into lifts with women in case they claim assault'
Francisco Javier León de la Riva apologises after claiming lone women in lifts could rip off bras and skirtsA Spanish mayor has apologised after an outcry over his comments that lone women in lifts could rip off their bras and skirts to make false accusations of assault."I have qualms about getting into an elevator," the conservative mayor of Valladolid in central Spain, Francisco Javier León de la Riva, told Spanish radio on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:46:45 GMT)

Aston Villa v Newcastle United  live
All the Premier League action from Villa Park Send your thoughts to scott.murray@theguardian.comAll the weekend team news with our match previews 2.18pm BST 77 min: Ayoze comes on for Riviere. 2.18pm BST 76 min: A free kick for Villa down the right. Westwood stands over it. He whips a high ball into the area. Senderos, level with the left-hand post, 12 yards out, flashes a header well wide right. 2.16pm BST 75 min: Bent comes on for Richardson. 2.16pm BST 73 min: Like a late-era Stock Aitken Waterman record, its high tempo, and low quality. Surely it must be absolutely clear just who the new look Roy Keane is impersonating? writes Michael Hall. Clearly he is trying to cast a role for himself as Captain Haddock in the next Tin-Tin movie. Either that or hes after the frozen-food dollar. 2.11pm BST 70 min: De Jong comes on to make his Newcastle debut. Anita makes way. 2.11pm BST 68 min: Now its Weimann in the book, for dissent. Hes unhappy at being pulled up for handball, one of those where a player leans in with his shoulder to control, the ball maybe scraping the upper arm. Youve seen free kicks given, youve seen play waved on. Whether it was worth the hot funk and subsequent booking - all of this was played out on the halfway line - is a moot point. 2.09pm BST 66 min: Senderos is booked for a cynical clip on the ankles of Riviere. Its a good spot from the ref, as the striker was chasing after a fine pass down the inside-right by Anita. Riviere would have been one on one with Vlaar. Senderos wags his finger at the official, but not with any great feeling. 2.06pm BST 64 min: Sanchezs first touch is an exquisite floated diagonal ball from a central position down the inside-right flank for Delph, who wins a corner. The set piece comes to nothing, but thats not really the point. The home support very much enjoyed the way their new player announced himself. 2.04pm BST 62 min: The first change of the afternoon. NZogbia, whose head has gone, is hooked before he gets himself sent off. Carlos Sanchez comes on to make his debut. He gets the warmest of warm receptions from the Villa Park faithful. Theres nothing like a new signing, is there? 2.02pm BST 60 min: Not for the first time this afternoon, a Newcastle player takes a fresh-air swipe from close range. This time its Williamson, at the left-hand post. Its a real slapstick affair. Why he didnt attempt to meet Cabellas looping pass from the edge of the area with his head, only he will know. Instead his feet get tangled up around the dropping ball, much to the amusement of the home support. A couple of corners result from this, but to little effect. This is better from Newcastle, though; theyve been the better team by far since the restart. 2.00pm BST 58 min: Incidentally, in the build-up to that Janmaat chance, NZogbia took a wild swipe at the back of Cabellas legs. The referee waved play on, with Newcastle on the attack. Lucky boy. He really wants to watch himself. 1.58pm BST 56 min: Janmaat nearly knocks Aston Villa off the top of our table, cutting inside from the right and curling a spectacular shot towards the top left. The ball has Guzan beaten all ends up, but shaves the outside of the left-hand post instead of nestling into the corner, as it surely deserves to. A breath-bothering strike. Alex Simpson (55 min) should probably take a screen grab, and quick. 1.57pm BST 55 min: After that brief flurry of action, another lull. Very much enjoying, in the new look minute-by-minute, the sight of the table alongside showing Aston Villa proudly atop the lot, writes Alex Simpson. Think thisll be the first AND last time however. 1.54pm BST 52 min: From the resulting free kick, swung to the right-hand post from the left wing, Williamson heads back into the centre, where Janmaat launches into a diving header from 12 yards. He sends the ball whistling goalwards, forcing Guzan into tipping over the bar. A lovely set piece, and a fine save too. The corner comes to nothing. 1.52pm BST 50 min: NZogbia is booked for a stamp on the back of Cabellas leg. A yellow card is probably the right decision, but it was a nasty enough challenge, and a player would require a talent for world-class chutzpah to moan about seeing a red. 1.51pm BST 49 min: A dreadful header out of defence by Williamson, who is tracking back under a high ball, and suddenly Weimann is in space and haring towards the Newcastle box. So he hoicks a pass ten miles over Richardsons head on the right and into the stand. What an appalling period of play. These two teams need to raise their game. 1.49pm BST 46 min: NZogbia cuts in from the right and has a pop. Its blocked, but balloons back to Hutton, who wins a corner with some persistent play down the right wing. Westwood takes the set piece, rather aimlessly, but thats a decent enough start to the half from the home side, and the crowd are in good voice. Not least because the rain has stopped. A welcome return to the British summer! 1.47pm BST And were off again! No changes. But something must change. Villa get the ball rolling once more. 1.34pm BST Half-time ATV Telespots: 1.31pm BST Well, that was 45 minutes of football. 1.30pm BST 44 min: Its now tipping down. Autumns a-comin! 1.29pm BST 43 min: A ball looped into the Villa area from the right. Cabella nearly gets on the end of it, breaking into the box, but Hutton, channelling his inner Beckenbauer, cuts across from the left and sweeps off with the ball. Wonderful defending. Hes clattered by Riviere for his trouble. A lot of histrionics. The home fans arent happy, but theyll get over it. 1.27pm BST 41 min: Cabella has taken a finger in the eye. NZogbia the culprit, though its accidental. A lot of histrionics. The home fans arent happy, but theyll get over it. 1.25pm BST 39 min: A bit of space for Delph down the left. A ball looped into the middle. Agbonlahor very nearly gets his head onto the cross, six yards out, but Coloccini is on his shoulder, applying pressure. The Villa man mistimes his jump, and the danger is averted. 1.23pm BST 37 min: NZogbia wins another corner for Villa down the same wing. Again the set piece is overhit, though Cissokho does well enough to get eyebrows on the thing at the far post and keep it in play. All with good intentions, keeping the pressure on, etc., but all it achieves is setting Newcastle off on the break. Riviere tears along the left wing, but is stopped in his tracks by Hutton. Not much coming off for either side right now. 1.21pm BST 35 min: Corner for Villa down the left. The balls hoicked straight through the area, about 10 yards over everyones head. This games beginning to get a little tatty. 1.19pm BST 33 min: Newcastle probe, knocking the ball hither and yon. First Cabella attempts to unlock Villa down the left, but his low shot is easily dealt with by Guzan. Then Anita has a dig from 30 yards, his effort fortunate to stay within the confines of the stadium. 1.17pm BST 30 min: Its bombing along at 100mph, this, but to little effect. I hadnt seen Roy Keanes beard in this particular incarnation (pictured at the top) and it is an immediate classic, opines Charles Antaki. Salt-and-pepper, untrimmed, and vaguely nautical, it combines nicely with the mad eyes to give off the unmistakeable whiff of the enraged skipper of a fishing vessel your rowing boat has just got in the way of. One to steer well, well clear of. He does look as though hes been surviving on a diet of raw cod steaks washed down with pints of salt water. A handsome man nonetheless. Trawlerman chic. If he gets involved in any trenchant exchange of views on the touchline, hopefully BT Sport have Peter Capaldi on hand to describe the drama as it unfolds. 1.14pm BST 27 min: Now its Villas turn to cause a kerfuffle in the opposing area. First Westwood takes a batter at goal from a central position, on the edge of the box, but his effort is blocked. A corners eventually scrambled, from which Weimann whips a low ball through the Newcastle six-yard area from the left. Nobodys lurching in to poke home. Neither keeper has had a save to make, and yet this shouldnt still be goalless. Chances are being created. 1.12pm BST 25 min: After a lull, Newcastle suddenly switch on. The balls shuttled from the right wing to Gouffran, on the left-hand edge of the D. Gouffran shoots, but his weak effort squirts to the right. Riviere, on the penalty spot, swings a leg and misses. But he confuses Vlaar, and suddenly Cabella is free, ten yards out, level with the right-hand post. Cabella prods an uncertain effort wide left of the goal with Guzan flat-footed and beaten. That should have been the opener. 1.07pm BST 21 min: Colback gets to take a free kick this time. From 25 yards, in a fairly central position, he looks for the top-left corner of the goal. He instead nestles the ball into the top-left corner of the Holte End. 1.06pm BST 18 min: A round of respectful applause for the two Newcastle fans, Liam Sweeney and John Alder, who were killed in the MH17 air disaster. Both fans give their all. 1.05pm BST 17 min: Colback, 25 yards out, flips Westwood into the air like a fried egg. Out comes the vanishing spray, as the referee prepares the ground for a free kick. At some point were going to stop mentioning the vanishing spray, having got completely fed up of it, but not yet. NZogbia whips a stunner of a free kick towards the top right, but theres a little too much curl on the ball and it flies wide right. A fantastic effort, and Im not sure Krul was getting across to that. 1.01pm BST 16 min: Cabella finds himself in acres down the right, but woefully overhits a cross meant for Riviere in the middle. Another half-chance spurned, because Villa were light at the back there. A pinpoint cross, and Riviere would have had a free header, rushing in, from ten yards. 12.59pm BST 13 min: In the wake of the corner, Vlaar is down receiving treatment for Knee Jigger. Brief concern, with the player holding his face in agony, but hes soon up and about, and standing on the touchline screaming to be allowed back on. All appears well, writes Dr Murray, the Guardians resident quack who doesnt know what hes talking about and should be struck off. 12.58pm BST 12 min: Gouffran teases a mistake out of Senderos, who isnt quite as adept at shepherding a ball out of play as his team-mate Vlaar is. Corner down the left. From the set piece, Janmaat flicks on a header at the near post, the ball dropping at the far post, where Gouffran is coming in from the right. He swings a peg, and takes a fresh-air swipe at the ball. A tight angle, but hes close in, and that counts as a very good chance spurned. 12.56pm BST 10 min: Villa turn up the heat a little, with Cissokho heavily involved in two attacks. First he crosses deep, and NZogbia, racing in from the right, heads over the bar and onto the top of the Newcastle net from a tight angle. Then the French left-back strides down his wing and larrups a very decent shot right down Guzans throat. Promising stuff from the home side. 12.54pm BST 8 min: Newcastle pump a free kick into the Villa box from a deep position down the right. Some head tennis. A goal kick. How do you think it would go if Pardew called Roy Keane an effing old cee? wonders JR in Illinois, one of those questions that doesnt really need answering. I wouldnt mind witnessing that. Alternately Id like to see what would happen if Pardew head-butted Alan Hutton. Alternatively? Wouldnt both of those scenarios end up with the Newcastle boss wandering around Perry Barr looking for his septum? 12.52pm BST 6 min: Villa stream up the other end in double-quick time, Agbonlahor taking a punt from the left-hand corner of the Newcastle box. Its not much of a shot, and easily blocked. The game has suddenly sprung into life, mind, which is all good news. 12.51pm BST 5 min: Dummett breaks into a little space down the left, and swings a low ball into the Villa box. With Riviere lurking, Cissokho is forced to clank the ball out for a corner on the right. From the set piece, Sissoko takes a whack, standing just to the right of the D, but his effort is deflected, and easily claimed by Guzan. 12.49pm BST 3 min: Newcastle seeing most of the ball in the early stages, but doing very little with it. Aston Villa seem fairly happy to let them knock it around the back. Not a whole lot going on right now, tell the truth. 12.46pm BST 1 min: Vlaar shepherds a ball out of play for a goal kick, from 25 yards out, at glacial speed. The only way is up. 12.45pm BST The players get in their huddles, the fans find their voice. A roar, and were off! Newcastle get the ball rolling, kicking towards the Holte End in this first half. 12.44pm BST Victoriana. Under a shimmering early-autumn late-summer sun, the teams take to the Villa Park pitch, wearing their pretty kits. Claret and blue, black and white. Few football teams are able to look so effortlessly aristocratic. Both managers have named their opening-day starting XIs again. 12.05pm BST Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Vlaar, Senderos, Cissokho, Delph, Westwood, NZogbia, Richardson, Weimann, Agbonlahor.Subs: Sanchez, Baker, Bacuna, Cole, Bent, Given, Grealish.Newcastle United: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Anita, Cabella, Colback, Sissoko, Gouffran, Riviere.Subs: De Jong, Perez, Haidara, Elliot, Obertan, Steven Taylor, Abeid. 12.00pm BST Aston Villa. Newcastle United. Two grand Victorian institutions which have seen better days, like Blackpool beach, or the railways. Since lifting the 1982 European Cup, the only trophy Villa have won is the Savo Miloevi Platter, twice, in 1994 and 1996. Since lifting the 1969 Fairs Cup, the only trophy Newcastle United have won is ... no, we cant be counting Second Division titles. Astonishing droughts.Theres little hope of, respectively, an eighth or fifth league title this season. But a fast start may engender a little confidence, the sort that drives a club to a League or FA Cup win. Both clubs started the season in a blue funk, woe in the post, but the early signs give a little hope. Villa won their first game at Stoke, can give debuts today to Carlos Sanchez and Joe Cole, and are looking to win their first two matches of the season for the first time this century. Newcastle meanwhile werent expected to do anything against champions Manchester City in their opening fixture, and didnt, but competed fairly effectively anyway, are unbeaten in six against todays opponents (winning here last season on the way to completing a seasonal double), and have Siem de Jong and Facundo Ferreyra at the ready. A continuation of last seasons form, and theyd be heading along the right track, too. Its on! Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:18:27 GMT)

Mario Balotelli takes Liverpool pay cut as Brendan Rodgers stays wary
Liverpool target Samuel Etoo as alternative if move collapses Mario Balotelli agrees 50% pay cut for move from MilanMario Balotelli has accepted a 50% pay-cut to join Liverpool from Milan but the stunning transfer will proceed only if Brendan Rodgers is convinced the Italian striker is willing to develop at Anfield.The Liverpool manager met Balotelli for the first time after the striker flew into Manchester airport and underwent the first part of his medical in the city on Friday. The second part is scheduled for Saturday and Balotelli could be a Liverpool player on Monday providing Rodgers received the assurances he wants in their face-to-face meeting. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 20:19:48 GMT)

Atléticos Mario Mandzukic inspires Super Cup win over Real Madrid
Atlético Madrid win 2-1 on aggregate Croatian striker gives La Liga champions victory over city rivals Read Tom Bryants minute-by-minute report Sid Lowes 2014-15 La Liga previewNothing will ever make up for Lisbon but at least Atlético Madrid know that the cruelty did not sink them. The European Cup finalists met again and the celebrations in Madrid were red and white. Under Diego Simeone Atlético have won the Europa League, the Copa del Rey, the league, the European Super Cup and now the Spanish Super Cup. A 1-0 win gave them a 2-1 aggregate victory. Mario Mandzukic scored the goal in the second minute; it had been a long wait but this time there was no late, late equaliser.As Atlético paraded the trophy, and the noise rose, Real Madrids players watched. Two men who were not among them were Ángel Di María and Sami Khedira. Both had been left out of the squad the day after Carlo Ancelotti admitted that they had refused to sign new contracts. The Italian said that Di María, who Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are interested in signing, had asked to leave. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:11:50 GMT)

England Women v India Women: second ODI live!
The second game in the Royal London one-day series, from North Marine Road, ScarboroughEngland won the first ODI and need victory to seal the series. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 09:30:14 GMT)

All Blacks thump Wallabies in second Rugby Championship encounter
New Zealand 51-20 Australia - as it happenedAll Blacks ensure retention of Bledisloe Cup with victoryNew Zealands forwards responded to criticism of their performance in their opening Rugby Championship clash to set the foundation for a 51-20 victory over Australia at Eden Park that also ensured the retention of the Bledisloe Cup. All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who was sinbinned early in the game, scored two tries while Kieran Read, Julian Savea and Steven Luatua also crossed, with their pack awarded a penalty try as part of a record score against the Wallabies. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 09:53:28 GMT)

Lewis Hamilton wants Rosberg to be at his best and then beat him anyway
Lewis Hamilton ramps up Mercedes drivers rivalry I sure dont want to finish second and be known as a nice guyWith the Formula One season about to resume on its eight-race run to the finish line, Lewis Hamilton has made it clear that the edge that has increasingly permeated his relationship with his team-mate Nico Rosberg has taken on a more personal tone, as the duos battle for the world championship hangs in the balance.The Mercedes drivers had a formal meeting, along with team officials, on Thursday to discuss events at the Hungarian Grand Prix, when Hamilton ignored a team order to let Rosberg through. Hamilton has since claimed to have been happy with the teams response and that he wants to move on. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:30:16 GMT)

Chris Froome well placed to beat strong field in Vuelta à España
Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana head the strongest field of any of the major Tours this year in the Vuelta, even with the champion Chris Horner absentThese days, successful defences of the title in a Grand Tour are like hens teeth, and this years Vuelta a España fits firmly into that the pattern after the last-minute withdrawal of Chris Horner. Post-Lance Armstrong, the last back-to-back win in any Grand Tour is the Texans team-mate Roberto Heras, in the Vuelta in 2003 and 2004.Even if Horner had made it to the startline in Jerez, his chances of retaining his title would have been slender given the quality of the field who have assembled. Much was made of the fact that this years Tour de France was decapitated by the crashes that put out previous winners Chris Froome and Alberto Contador, but in contrast the Vuelta has been like a hydra, acquiring another new head at every turn. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:27:04 GMT)

Louis van Gaal tells Danny Welbeck he can leave Manchester United
Manager deems England forward surplus to requirements Move hints 18-year-old James Wilson may be promotedDanny Welbeck has been told by Louis van Gaal he can leave Manchester United, with the decision up to the 23-year-old striker who has two years remaining on his contract.Van Gaals decision may cause some surprise because the manager wants to play a 3-5-2 formation that would seem to require four forwards in his squad to provide competition and to mitigate against injury. With Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie the first choice pairing, Welbeck was thought to be ahead of Javier Hernández as the third striker. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:22:14 GMT)

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend
Everton face a crunch clash with Arsenal, dont write off Shane Long yet and the return of Mario Balotelli and Barry DaviesFirst impressions can be deceptive. Manchester City didnt exactly sparkle in their Community Shield defeat to Arsenal, before cantering to an opening-day away win at Newcastle last week. David Moyes looked positively messianic after Manchester Uniteds 4-1 win at Swansea in last seasons first league match before well you know what happened. Likewise his successor, Louis van Gaal, a victim of south Wales vengeance in last weekends opener, shouldnt be judged too hastily. David Conn: Glazers thrive as Manchester United flounders Di María wants transfer out of Real Madrid Juventus: Manchester United target Vidal will stay in Italy Scholes scared that Manchester United are heading into wilderness Mario Balotelli must accept behaviour clauses before Liverpool move Paolo Bandini: Liverpool may be perfect for Balotelli Fireworks and fights: Balotellis spell at Man City Quiz: Mario Balotelli rumour or fiction? QPR land Vargas on loan from Napoli AEL Limassol 1-2 Tottenham Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:19:32 GMT)

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton proves fastest in practice at Belgian Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg finishes six tenths behind his F1 team-mate Fernando Alonso comes in third with Jenson Button fourthLewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg shared the honours across the first two practice sessions at Spa, with the British driver taking bragging rights going into Saturdays qualifying with an advantage of six tenths of a second over his Mercedes team-mate.Hamilton clocked 1min 49.189sec in the second practice over the Germans 1:49.793. Rosberg had been quicker in first practice with 1:51.724 but Hamilton was only nine hundreths of a second behind. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:13:00 GMT)

Josh McEachran is Chelseas forgotten star but he must not give up yet
The midfielder with the silky left foot has gone on loan again and seen Cesc Fábregas take his place in midfieldNew chapter, the 21-year-old Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran tweeted crisply to his 290,000 followers on Monday, the day it was announced he will be spending the season on loan to the Dutch club Vitesse, whose owner, the Russian businessman Aleksandr Chigirinski, is a friend and associate of Roman Abramovich and has allowed his Eredivisie club to become something of a parking lot for players deemed unready for use in west London. But the news could hardly have been timed with a more telling poignancy.That evening, in front of 20,000 spectators at Turf Moor and the Premier Leagues vast worldwide television audience, Cesc Fábregas was making his Premier League debut for the club who own McEachrans registration. In the 21st minute he sized up a ball from Branislav Ivanovic and shaped his foot to redirect it through the crowded Burnley penalty area into the path of André Schürrle, whose first-time finish gave Chelsea a lead they did not relinquish. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:26:04 GMT)

Manuel Pellegrini: Liverpool crumbled under title pressure last season
I was sure they could not win the final games of the season City host Liverpool on Monday in early-season showdownManuel Pellegrini says Liverpool blew their chance of winning the title last season because they could not handle the pressure of being top of the league.Brendan Rodgerss team beat Manchester City 3-2 at Anfield on 13 April to give them a seven-point lead over City with four matches left, although City had two games in hand. After Liverpool lost and drew one of their remaining games and City dropped only one point from the last available 18, Pellegrinis team were crowned champions. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:30:27 GMT)

Chris Horner withdraws from Vuelta a España due to low cortisol levels
Horners cortisol levels below healthy Withdrawal puts complex matter back into spotlightThe last-minute withdrawal of Chris Horner from the Vuelta a España on Friday morning from this years race was a complex matter which put the perennial issue of the use of cortisone for medical reasons back into the spotlight. The 42-year-old American defending champion was pulled out owing to low cortisol levels following his use of the drug by prescription to treat a lung issue that has dogged him since the Tour de France.Horner was given a therapeutic use exemption by the UCI on 15 August but the cortisone treatment resulted in a lowering of his cortisol levels below the threshold stipulated as healthy by the Movement for Credible Cycling, of which his Lampre-Merida team are a member. Cortisol is the naturally occurring substance which is affected by intake of cortisone; low cortisol levels can affect the bodys ability to recover in the event of a medical issue such as a crash, hence the stipulation of a healthy threshold. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:27:30 GMT)

Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool will not compromise code of conduct
Manager refuses to discuss Mario Balotelli transfer Sometimes you have to take a risk with peopleBrendan Rodgers has said Liverpool would not compromise their extensive code of conduct, while refusing to discuss Mario Balotellis imminent move to the club.Balotelli attracted controversy during his spell at Manchester City under Roberto Mancini, but Rodgers hinted at the clauses the forward is understood to have been asked to agree before joining Liverpool. Every club will have a code of conduct. We have a fantastic environment and a great culture. Nothing will ever shake that. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:21:32 GMT)

The Secret Footballer: Sexism and racism are footballs dirty secret
I wouldnt excuse Malky Mackay and Iain Moody if the allegations of their abusive messages are true, but theyre certainly not aloneI reckon that if you took all the phones of everybody involved in football, 90% of them would contain emails or text messages displaying homophobia, sexism, racism and everything in between.Not that Im defending the former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay and the clubs former head of recruitment, Iain Moody, after the dawn raid on Moodys south London home, at which investigators allegedly recovered text messages containing similarly distasteful exchanges between the pair. Its just a gut feeling that I have, coupled with my experience of people within the game shoving similar filth under my nose for the past dozen years or so. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:20:57 GMT)

Death to the transfer window and all its mournful machinery
Window-scepticism is the way forward, perhaps with those deals that must unavoidably happen announced in funereal tonesOh, please no. No more. No more lavish summer spending spree. No more sources close to the wantaway World Cup ace. No more just one more week to go and well be bringing you all the latest ins and outs from the Premier Leagues big-hitters. Please. Wont somebody just make it stop?The current Premier League transfer window faces some stiff competition in its bid to establish itself as unarguably the most tedious and debilitating transfer window ever. Not only is the bar set vertiginously high but there is a natural parallax error here as the current transfer window always feels like the worst transfer window, for the simple reason that its happening right there at that precise moment, an unceasing pressure itching away relentlessly like an aggressive fungal infection of the inner ear. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:21:52 GMT)

The sports quiz of the week: Premier League, Usain Bolt and La Liga
This week's questions feature quick goals, an even quicker sprinter, a man under a bucket of cold water and an old TV show Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:22:36 GMT)

Louis van Gaal: I was the king of Manchester. Now I am the devil
United manager bemused by criticism over lack of transfers Its not so easy to buy and sell in the football marketLouis van Gaal cut an angry figure in his Manchester United press conference and said he was bemused by the amount of criticism he had received over the lack of transfer activity at the club.Two weeks ago I was the king of Manchester and now I am the devil of Manchester, Van Gaal said. The only signings through the door at Old Trafford so far are Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo. All three have potential but they are not yet in the same league as players who have been transferred to other leading clubs in Europe such as Cesc Fábregas, Toni Kroos and Diego Costa all of whom were available in the summer. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:26:02 GMT)

The Joy of Six: high-scoring football draws
From an eight-goal early World Cup thriller via a thrilling 6-6 and a sumptuous 5-5, half a dozen share-of-the-spoils goalfestsIntense competition, with those caught in the middle barely able to keep up, followed by a shared sense of wistfulness, bitterness and failure. But enough about divorce were here for the completely unrelated topic of high-scoring draws. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:55:37 GMT)

West Brom sign striker Georgios Samaras on two-year deal
Georgios Samaras arrives for free after leaving Celtic Alan Irvine delighted with forward optionsWest Brom have completed the signing of Georgios Samaras on a two-year deal. The striker has joined on a free transfer but will not play in Saturdays Premier League game at Southampton.He was available after leaving Celtic in the summer following six years in Glasgow. Málaga and Southampton were interested in the 29-year-old, who joined Celtic from Manchester City in 2008, but West Brom were Samaras first choice. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:29:47 GMT)

Blind date
What went wrong and what went right when painter and decorator Levi Billy Attley, 26, met freelance journalist Grace McCloud, 22?What were you hoping for? To meet someone with a good taste for cocktails. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:00:26 GMT)

The passion of Pina Bausch: Sweet Mambo at the Edinburgh festival 2014 in pictures
The great German choreographers celebrated dance-theatre company are at the Edinburgh international festival with Sweet Mambo, a tragi-comic piece told with exquisite moves, gorgeous outfits and buckets of water. Take a preview with Guardian photographer Murdo MacLeod Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 12:26:49 GMT)

What I'm really thinking: the man with breasts
'There's nothing for it but to soldier on, forever in fear of wearing white or being naked in front of anyone'Oh look, here comes another shirtless Adonis walking down the street, glistening in the midday sun and pretending not to notice the admiring glances. I adjust my T-shirt self-consciously and slink on by. If I ever took my top off in public, there would be an outcry. After all, bare breasts on a woman are enough to cause a commotion. Bare breasts on a man are something else entirely.There's not much sympathy for chaps like me who've inexplicably sprouted bosoms. "Sweaty man tits" are more likely to provoke gales of laughter. I guess most people think man boobs are just a side-effect of being overweight and fair game for ridicule. But that's not the case. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:00:23 GMT)

The 20 photographs of the week
The protests over the shooting of Michael Brown, the aftermath of the Israeli offensive in Gaza, the Arctic Race the best photography in news, culture and sport from around the world this week Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 11:26:00 GMT)

Who loves dinosaurs
From brainless behemoths to sprightly saurians, Doctor Whos prehistoric beasts have evolved alongside the Time Lord himself writes Marc VincentDean Burnett: The Brain of a Time LordKieron Flanagan: Even Daleks need a Science PolicyAs part of the mini blog festival to celebrate the new Dr Who, Ive invited Marc Vincent to write this piece on the changing dinosaurs on screen as seen from behind sofas everywhere.Just as the science of palaeontology has advanced (occasionally stutteringly) over the years, so pop culture depictions of dinosaurs have changed as new knowledge filters down to a mass audience. Once seen as blundering, lethargic lizard-like beasts that lounged around in swamps all day until their long and boring reign was mercifully and mysteriously ended, dinosaurs are now known to have been lively, active, and even if not particularly smart, highly successful and adaptive animals (and thats without mentioning birds). Film and television makers have taken to these new, more exciting and dangerous dinosaurs with great enthusiasm and mixed results. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 07:40:29 GMT)

Tourists behaving badly: five incidents of terrible traveller behaviour
As residents in Barcelona take to the street after two drunken Italians streaked through their neighbourhood, we take a look at five other examples of bad tourist behaviour around the world Are more people getting drunk and disorderly on planes?Youd think that anyone scrawling graffiti on a national treasure would think better than to include their name, but logic seemed to defy one young tourist in Egypt, who was forced to apologise after writing Ding Jinhao visited here on the wall of an ancient temple. The 15-year-old student from China, who visited the 3,500 year-old Temple of Luxor last year, was tracked down online after a photo of the image went viral. After being hounded by the press and having his school website hacked forcing visitors to click a message repeating his tag his mother eventually told local newspaper Modern Express: We want to apologise to the Egyptian people. Fortunately for Jinhao, who was said to have cried all night after being identified, it was reported that the damage to the wall was superficial. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:03:31 GMT)

The gifs that keep on giving: Andrea Pirlo, Yasiel Puig and a spooked fighter
Featuring a masterful free-kick, quick reflexes, a sneaky pass, histrionic football managers and an unwelcome baseball fanThanks for all your suggestions on our last gifs blog. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 09:00:00 GMT)

Drink spiking: victims don't report and the crime goes unpunished
With no official statistics and a culture that makes victims feel there's no point in telling anyone, drink spiking is going largely unchecked The blog that encouraged victims to speak out"The only thing I remember when I got to the party is finishing my drink," says a former student of Nottingham University who had her drink spiked when she was 17. "I woke up in a strange bed with a man having sex with me. I knew there was nothing to be gained from reporting it because no-one would believe it wasn't my fault. I wouldn't be taken seriously and I'd be thought of as someone who got drunk and did something stupid." Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 08:23:53 GMT)

Monkey business: macaque selfie can't be copyrighted, say US and UK
Copyright unlikely to lie with photographer unless he can prove he made significant arrangements for the photoComment: Wikipedias monkey selfie ruling is a travesty for the worlds monkey artistsIf an animal steals your camera and takes a photo that subsequently becomes world-famous, theres bad news: the US Copyright Office has ruled that the picture cant be copyrighted - so anyone can use it for free.That means that a row between the British photographer David Slater and Techdirt, a blog that focusses on copyright issues, over who - if anyone - owns the copyright to a monkey selfie is settled for now: its not Slater. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:01:26 GMT)

What I see in the mirror: Debbie McGee
'I am 55 now and I would never say never to surgery'My eyes are grey-blue and I have a pixie face. I started off as a ballet dancer and was very stereotypical of what the Royal Ballet School wanted defined features, cheekbones and a slightly pointed chin.My worst feature is my nose. I have a sister 16 months younger than me and, when we were teenagers, some boys said to me, "You'd be as pretty as your sister if your nose was smaller." For years I wanted a nose job. I first worked with Paul when I was 19, and I told him about it. He said, "Forget it, you've got a lovely nose." So I grew, not to love my nose, but to accept it, but I still don't like my profile. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 08:00:34 GMT)

Experience: my birth certificate says I'm a man
'The archbishop of Canterbury wrote to tell me he could no longer recognise my marriage of 23 years'I married Jack in 1991 and we have five children. When our eldest son was 16, we decided to up sticks and emigrate to Australia, where we had enjoyed lots of holidays.As part of the process, we had to send off our birth certificates. Wary of posting original copies, I visited the registrar's office with Jack to get duplicates. After a few moments in the waiting room, the registrar called out, "Miss Kim Walmsley?" Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:00:00 GMT)

Even Daleks need a science policy
The new series of Doctor Who begins today and wherever the eponymous Time Lord goes his greatest foes will not be far behind. The Daleks are the most feared species in the Doctor Who universe, able to bring even the all-powerful Time Lords to the brink of defeat. So where did that technological superiority come from?Dean Burnett: The Brain of a Time LordWe first meet the Daleks of Skaro as survivors of a devastating nuclear war who have retreated into protective mechanized shells. We later learn that the tank-like shells and the extreme xenophobia exhibited by the creatures within them are both the result of technological intervention by an archetypal mad scientist named Davros. Davros is principal investigator of an elite corps of scientists and engineers, granted scarce resources and a high degree of autonomy by their desperate people, the Kaleds, in return for the promise of technologies to tip the balance and end their thousand year war with the neighbouring Thals.Instead it turns out that Davros has been devoting most of his efforts towards finding and weaponising - a form in which the Kaled race can live on beyond the end of the war. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:25:48 GMT)

How Wavey Garms became the most influential fashion site in the UK
Wavey Garms, a Facebook site set up 18 months ago to sell niche streetwear, has become the go-to site for whats cool and whats notEbay might be responsible for some of our most dubious purchases since launching 15 years ago, but we should also credit it with changing the way young people shop.Take Wavey Garms. One of the many e-commerce sites spawned from eBay (which is celebrating its birthday this week), the Facebook selling group was set up 18 months ago on a small scale and has since become the go-to site for discerning youth after new and vintage streetwear. Its now at the point of dictating what young people wear, ahead of even trend forecasters. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:39:48 GMT)

Neighbours stars turned pop singers: five of the best
As Guy Pearce puts out his debut single, we take a look at Erinsboroughs most memorable musical exports. Dont they make you feel good? Delta Goodrem sidesteps Marlon Wayanss Instagram insult Aussie anthems: Kylies Cant Get You Out of My HeadIts all too easy to poke fun at soap-turned-pop stars, but no one predicted that legitimate Hollywood outfit Guy Pearce would be next in line. The former Neighbours actor cum A-lister is set to release his album Broken Bones on 7 November, with live appearances in Melbourne and Sydney to follow.First single Storm is surprisingly (for those unschooled in Pearces musical passions) good. The track falls squarely in the Aussie singer-songwriter category, somewhere between Augie March and the John Butler Trio, with a funky baseline sliding playfully under Pearces croon. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 07:37:55 GMT)

Pigeon Whistles: The closest thing Ive ever experienced to heaven
What happens when a beardy folkie and a keen pigeon fancier team up to create an orchestra out of a flock of birds? A unique flight described in soundIts a musical pairing so unlikely that even one of the participants suspected it was a practical joke. Last year, experimental folkster Nathaniel Mann went looking for a pigeon fancier. Specifically, a pigeon fancier amenable to attaching whistles to their birds tail feathers to create a flying orchestra. Eighteen months on, a flock of Birmingham Rollers is touring the countrys festivals, giving performances that have moved people to tears. This month, theyre even getting a composition award. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:00:05 GMT)

Barbecue dos and donts
This weekend may be the summers last barbecue. But before firing up the coals, here are some handy tips to ensure the novice chef gets it right first timeIve just got back from a weeks walking with my sister across the Hardangervidda plateau in Norway, from the epic panoramic vistas of the eastern uplands to the permanent snow and plunging fjords of the west. These are the battlefields over which Ragnarök will be fought the final battle in which Odin will lead the Æsir forces against Lokis evil collection of giants and monsters, to their mutual destruction.Odin will be swallowed up in one great gulp by the wolf Fenrir, who will in turn be dispatched by the warrior god Vidar, with the help of a magic boot made from all the strips of leather ever cast aside by Norse shoemakers. When Vidar shoves his boot into Fenrirs jaw it will expand like a car jack, tearing the wolfs head in two. Thor will slay the Midgard serpent but then fall dead from its terrible venom. Finally the fire giant, Surt, will set the whole world ablaze. So it is foretold. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:30:02 GMT)

Spider-Woman artwork furore gives Marvel pause over portrayal of women
Spider-Woman cover 'less exploitative than other pieces we've run in previous months and years', says Marvel executiveA senior Marvel executive has said that "a conversation about how women are depicted in comics is relevant at this point" after the comic-book publisher provoked outrage by revealing an illustration of Spider-Woman drawn by a renowned erotic artist.Unveiled earlier this week at the site Comic Book Resources, Milo Manara's variant cover for the forthcoming Spider-Woman series shows the superhero on all fours, in what Slate called an outfit that "looks more like a colonoscopy than a costume". Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:39:00 GMT)

Rob Hayes, the man behind the play with the most shocking title in Edinburgh
Writing a monologue about bestiality is certainly arresting, but does it deliver more than shock value? Yes, says playwright Rob Hayes its the closest thing to a love story hell ever writeAs headline-writers know, one of the most potent ways of grabbing peoples attention is a great title. And at this years Edinburgh fringe, they dont come much more jaw-dropping than Awkward Conversations With Animals Ive Fucked, a play by 28-year-old Mancunian Rob Hayes, which has been shocking, tickling and ultimately moving audiences at the Underbelly.Awkward Conversations takes the form of an hour-long monologue by Bobby, a wild-eyed youth dressed only in his vest and underpants. Each of the plays five sections sees him address a different type of animal with which hes just had sex, starting off with a dog. Needless to say, the situation lends itself to horrified giggles, but against the odds the desperation and increasing alienation of the protagonist becomes touching too, thanks to the skilfulness of Hayess script and a fearless performance by Jack Holden, who delivers such arresting lines as: Like its fine to say having sex with a dog is quite weird now. But our childrens generation might be all like thats discrimination! Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:50:06 GMT)

The Zone of Interest review Martin Amis returns with Holocaust comedy
Amis interweaves a Nazi middle-management farce with the agonising story of a camp inmate in a searching, striking novelIn Martin Amis's England, a curious documentary broadcast earlier this year on BBC4 essentially a not-particularly-dynamic interview padded out by lots of nostalgia-inducing stock footage of cricket matches, punks and toffs the author found himself trying to sum up what it meant to him to be English. Amis's comments were characteristically revealing. Germany, Amis remarked, had made immense efforts to come to terms with its wartime past; France, by contrast, had not, bolstering its resistance myth to conceal the collaborationist reality. But either way, he continued, "it takes all my powers of imagination and empathy to imagine myself in a French skin or a German skin for that reason. How tremendously diminished I would be."But it is foreign skins predominantly German, one Polish, with other nationalities, including French, merely glimpsed into which Amis attempts to insert himself in his 14th novel. The Zone of Interest follows Lionel Asbo, subtitled "State of England"; but what could a work of fiction set in Auschwitz here named Kat Zet, as in Amis's 1991 novel about the Holocaust and its perpetrators, Time's Arrow be reasonably trying to establish the state of? We imagine, perhaps, that its subjects will include violence and psychopathy, racial hatred, systematised killing, suffering on an enormous scale and survival on a far smaller one. And this proves to be true, although they are joined by other, ostensibly more mundane themes: sexual rivalry and failure, the frequently shabby power struggles of hierarchical organisations, the sheer amount of manpower and materiel it took to attempt a genocide.I said, 'Would you agree that we couldn't treat them any worse?''Oh, come on. We don't eat them.'For a moment I thought about this. 'Yes, but they wouldn't mind being eaten. Unless we ate them alive.''No, what we do is make them eat each other. They mind that Golo, who in Germany didn't think the Jews needed taking down a peg? But this is fucking ridiculous, this is.' Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:30:00 GMT)

Warsaw city guide: a day in Sródmiescie
As Warsaw is declared the cheapest city for culture in Europe, we take a stroll around the new cafes, restaurants and shops at the heart of Polands capital The fact that Poland is one of few European countries not to have suffered a major recession in recent decades is visible on Warsaws streets. Whole neighbourhoods have been revitalised, museums have opened and a flock of international designers have set up shop. Nowhere more so than in buzzing Sródmiescie, the heart of the capital, where cafe tables spill out on to the pavements and impromptu flower stalls are full of the scents and colours of the countryside generous peonies and fragrant lilacs. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:00:25 GMT)

Back in the game: dating in your 50s
After a break of three decades, Candida Crewe finds dating at 50 is still rife with riskIf I may pluck from the dating hazards of yesteryear an unsavoury example, take crabs. In the past, an infestation was to be avoided on so many counts. Mere discomfort and squeamishness were the least of them. Crabs brought with them, quite apart from itchiness, a kind of physical and moral squalor. If a date were to give you crabs, that would make you feel the lowest of the low. I caught them once, from a brief encounter with a beautiful ballet dancer in a world-renowned company. You never could tell.Dating has always been fraught with worries. In the 80s, when I was dating first time round, crabs were definitely to be feared. "Missed" phone calls from someone over whom I was swooning certainly loomed large in the mind (mainly imaginary, but no answering machines, let alone mobiles, so no knowing); as well as mishaps with the honey cap, and dislocated shoulder pads during raucous one-night stands; the blithe unkindness of some of the men one came across. Last month, a magazine named me as one of the 80s It Girls. What bollocks. My children asked me, "What's an It Girl?" A fun-loving girl about town who doesn't work, wears handbags that cost the same amount as a small family house outside the M25, who exists only to go to endless parties and hang out with vacuous shits? Not me. Always worked, no handbags and a sceptical view of "fun-loving". Dating for young women, even the "cool girls", is rarely the "fun" it is cracked up to be. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 07:00:00 GMT)

Will age classifications for music videos work?
David Cameron has announced age ratings for music videos in the UK. But will a 15 or R18 label really protect children from the latest Rihanna spectacle? And could censorship do more harm than good?According to the powers that be, music videos are now so subversive that they require film-style age certificates. From 1 October, UK-based internet users will be subject to a three-month pilot scheme that will see UK-produced music videos (and attendant hard copy releases of videos via DVDs and CDs) stamped with 12, 15, 18 or R18 certificates. The music video trial is being led by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), working with Google, BPI (the body representing the UK music industry), two major video platforms (Vevo and YouTube) and three major labels: Sony, Warner and Universal.Critics have pointed out that videos made outside the UK will avoid this scrutiny, compromising the pilots effectiveness, though the long-term plans will rectify this by expanding to include all music videos, says David Austin, BBFCs assistant director. The long-term aim is to warn consumers about the content they view online, and to give parents a degree of control over what their children are exposed to, by enabling filters to be set on home computers and mobile devices. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 07:30:12 GMT)

How Isis came to be
Three years ago, Islamic State did not exist now it controls vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. How did we get here?Three years ago, the Islamic State (Isis) did not exist; now it controls vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. Showing off its handiwork daily via Twitter and YouTube, Isis has repeatedly demonstrated that it is much more than a transnational terrorist organisation rather, it is an entity with sophisticated command, control, propaganda and logistical capabilities, and one that has proven its ability to take and hold strategically critical territory at the heart of the Middle East.But as world leaders grapple with how to respond to this unprecedented crisis, they must first understand how Isis came to exist. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:44:37 GMT)

Middle class: food from the heart of England
Food from the Englands midlands means robust and tasty native foodstuffs game, hard cheeses, pork pies, chutnies and alesThe middle of England is a place for which I have a longstanding affinity. Although I grew up in the West Country, my home town, Gloucester, is on the edge of Worcestershire just a stones throw from the Midlands.My mum is from the Black Country northwest of Birmingham and my grandparents were Brummies, so I grew up going to Birmingham pretty regularly. I used to love going to the cricket with my uncle and grandad; wed go to the one-day Test matches at Edgbaston with a blanket and a coolbag full of pork pies and sandwiches, crisps and orange squash. And then I married a Midlander! My wife, Beth, is from Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire. So I suppose you could say I know the Midlands pretty well. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:00:36 GMT)

Scottish independence: battle for votes moves to pop-up shops and letterboxes
Volunteers man yes campaign pop-up shops as vote-chasing tactics intensify with first postal votes about to be castEsther Dowdles came into the bustling yes campaign pop-up shop to pick up something for her neighbour, a bold blue and white sticker simply saying Yes to put in her friend's window. "I'm voting yes," Dowdles said. "Everybody knows that from me."I'm telling everybody, in pubs and everything," the retired caretaker added, clutching the pro-independence window stickers in her hand. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:07:54 GMT)

The secrets of long-term love
What is the key to a happy marriage? Is there a formula for long-term love? And how do you keep the passion alive after more than 50 years together? Six happily married couples share their secrets, from never eating in front of the television to keeping some things a mystery Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:00:00 GMT)

Grub's up: maggots and crickets on menu at Britain's first 'pestaurant'
Rentokil crawls into street food arena with cheesy worms, insect lollipops and pigeon burgers, specially farmed for intrepid dinersDavid Cross started out studying the behaviour of the American cockroach, moved on to managing the population of the great spruce bark beetle, before finally settling on a career exterminating flies, cockroaches, spiders, wasps, ants, moths, fleas and woodworm. Ask him his least favourite pest and he looks blank.He'll admit, however, to a particular affection for the flour beetle ("it's something that you develop a bit of respect for"), and "rats and mice will always be posing some interesting and quite complex challenge for you". Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:29:58 GMT)

Argentinians make time for carousels as economy takes turn for the worse
Restorers find a market for colourful merry-go-round animals, tapping into nostalgia for a simpler age From the outside, Leo Moreno and Mariano Sidoni's workshop resembles an ordinary garage. Inside, grinning horses and deer reminiscent of Disney's Bambi repose in stacks or stand on pedestals, awaiting a coat of paint. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:49:35 GMT)

Sale of the century: the privatisation scam
Privatisation promised to turn the UK into an island of small shareholders. It failed: the faceless state bureaucrats have been replaced by faceless (better-paid) private bureaucrats and big foreign corporations. How did we get to this point?Train fares are going up. We learned that last week, although "learn" is putting it strongly. We knew they would. It's not as if they would go down: train fares go up, like electricity bills, gas bills, water bills, rent and chief executives' salaries. To the loyalists of the Thatcher-Blair-Cameron succession, higher train fares are a positive, because they mean lower subsidies: another incremental step in a 35-year programme to shift the burden of paying for infrastructure from the well-off to the strugglers. To most of us, it's another sign of the folly of selling off the railways. But amid the dismal annual round of fare rises, it's easy to miss another, stranger, more gradual sign of the failure of the vast social and economic experiment conducted on the British people since 1979: privatisation.A trio of awkward synthetic words has begun to appear among the owners of private train companies that looks as if a computer has been asked to name the new musketeers: Abellio; Govia; Keolis. What these bland corporate signifiers mask is state-owned but commercialised European rail firms. Collectively, European state railways now own more than a quarter of Britain's passenger train system. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:36:00 GMT)

Sleep sensors: waking up to the need to study our night's rest
Many people are turning to fitness trackers to help boost the health benefits of better sleepEvery night Jack Hammond straps a small gadget to his wrist. The sensor claims to track his sleep, monitoring every toss and turn so that when he wakes it can tell him how long he slept, how much of it was deep sleep and how often he was woken up by his unsociable neighbour."I can see that I need about four hours' deep sleep to feel refreshed, and I need to be asleep for about eight hours for that to happen," says Hammond, a 36-year-old plumber from Northhampton. "I can also see that when I've had caffeine too late I get less deep sleep." Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:52:50 GMT)

Open for Business proves British industry did not die with Thatcher
Magnum photographers have been hunting for the new faces of British industry in factories and plants across the UK. Their resulting exhibition presents a striking portrait of working life todayIn brutal close-up, images by the American photographer Bruce Gilden show faces battered by a lifetime of heavy industrial work and the unlined smooth face of Conor, one of the youngest workers at the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery in London, with an expression that suggests he's looking into an uncertain future.Gilden, best known for his street photography, joins eight other Magnum photographers in Open For Business, an exhibition opening at the Science Museum then touring, which captures the new face of British industry. The images include a sausage maker showing off his new range for the Chinese market, a rigger positioning Shaun the Sheep beside his tiny tree at the Aardman studios, and a lone scenery painter dwarfed by the forest he is creating on a giant backdrop for the opera Lohengrin. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:34:00 GMT)

Will Self: 'I had planned to write Jaws without the shark'
Will Self explains how the cinematic technique and characters of Steven Spielberg's 1970s classic led him to contemplate a novel about post-traumatic stress disorder and nuclear fissionA couple of years ago, when I was in the closing stages of working on my last novel, Umbrella, I began casting around for a new subject for the next one. I greatly admire WG Sebald's The Emigrants, which tells the stories of six refugees from the Nazis without heavy-handedly describing the mechanics of the persecution that the regime visited on Jews, gay people and the politically suspect. Following this pattern, I conceived of writing a novel about some of the more interesting characters I had known during my two decades in the netherworld of drug addiction. I would fictionalise their stories, of course, but more importantly, I would never mention, or otherwise allude to, the reasons why these people lost jobs, experienced relationship-breakdown, moved abroad, and went to hospital or jail. Their addiction would remain a strange sort of absence, deforming the course of their lives but never emerging into the full light of day. My working rubric for the novel was "Jaws without the shark".I began by interviewing the woman with whom I'd begun using heroin in the late 1970s she has, thankfully, long since cleaned up from the drug, and has a sharp and incisive angle on the soft, psychic underbelly that insulated her from the sordid realities of her active addiction. At the same time, I read Peter Benchley's Jaws and watched Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of the novel. I'm not altogether sure why I did this, beyond a background suspicion that I might find something usable in this material. In the event, what struck me hard was a discrepancy between the film's script (which Benchley himself worked on), and the text of the novel. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:30:00 GMT)

Does the UK parliament have a woman problem?
Westminster is often criticised for being out of touch and not being as representative as it could be: of the 650 MPs in the Commons currently only 147 (23%) are women. So what efforts are being made to make parliament more inclusive? Are there any specific challenges that women face? Here, eight female candidates from across the political spectrum share their thoughtsArticle: Should there be all-women shortlists? Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:00:25 GMT)

Why impressionism was not in fact born at 7.35am on 13 November 1872
Knowing the exact time Monet started painting Impression: Sunrise tells us absolutely nothing about the birth of a genre that evolved over 200 yearsThe birth of impressionism now has an exact date and time: it was invented at 7.35am on 13 November 1872, according to an astrophysicist who has calculated exactly when Claude Monet painted Impression: Sunrise, his smoky dawn vision of the port of Le Havre.This makes a nice headline, but history, sadly for journalists, does not work like that. Things never really happen in a neat, packaged way. That's why the first historian, Herodotus, dedicated so much of his epic book about the wars between Persian and ancient Greece to a digressive discussion about the entire history of the known world: he was trying to get at the complexity of cause and effect. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:36:00 GMT)

Gaza counts cost of war as more than 360 factories destroyed or damaged
Thousands of acres of farmland and cattle also wiped out with damage estimated at three times that of 2008-9 conflictGaza's economy will take years to recover from the devastating impact of the war, in which more than 360 factories have been destroyed or badly damaged and thousands of acres of farmland ruined by tanks, shelling and air strikes, according to analysts.Israeli air strikes on Gaza have resumed since a temporary ceasefire brokedown on Tuesday after rockets were fired from Gaza. The Israeli Defence Force said it launched air stikes on 20 sites on Friday morning and Gaza health officials said two Palestinians were killed in an attack on a farm. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:17:58 GMT)

Performance anxiety: the secret life of the lead singer
The stereotypical frontman is charismatic and swaggeringly confident. But some bands have a reluctant star. From the Gaslight Anthems Brian Fallon to Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches, rockers talk about their fears and insecurities and why they dread all eyes on themThe psychology of being a frontman? muses Gaslight Anthems Brian Fallon, when asked to sum up the mental requirements for the job. You know, I think this piece should really be called Why Frontmen Need Psychologists! Cos if you want to put yourself out in front of people like this, there must be something wrong with you! I dont know whats wrong with me You probably think hes joking. But after speaking to a range of men and women about the pros and cons of the job, an unexpected pattern emerges: hardly any of them wanted to front a band, most of them find the job stressful and almost all of them would be happy to lurk in the shadows instead playing a bit of bass guitar, perhaps, or messing about on a keyboard somewhere just to the right of the drummer. If your stereotype of a frontperson is that of a raging extrovert who has dreamed since childhood of being thrust into the centre of the stage, then think again. A lot of them are riddled with insecurities. Continue reading...
(Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:47:48 GMT)

Surrogacy from the parents' perspective: the story of baby Roman
Were not ashamed, were not embarrassed, and I dont think it should be something thats frowned uponWhen Roman Samaras is old enough to understand, his parents will show him a book they are putting together about how he came into the world. Therell be the usual things like ultrasound scans and photographs of him as a newborn. Therell also be pictures of a Thai woman, Romans surrogate mother, at various stages of pregnancy, and copies of contracts between his parents Peter Foster and Sam Samaras and their surrogacy agency, Talent IVF.Were going to tell him the truth, says Foster. He and his partner of 12 years brought Roman home to the tiny West Australian town of Tom Price in March. Its important that he knows. Were not ashamed, were not embarrassed, and I dont think it should be something thats frowned upon. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 07:06:53 GMT)

Inside Addis Ababa's Koshe rubbish tip: where hundreds literally scratch a living
At the end of her journey to trace the life of a typical flip-flop from oilfield to factory to street to trash Caroline Knowles was confronted with the Ethiopian capitals largest landfill site My first sight of Koshe, Addis Ababas giant 50-year-old landfill site, is from the highway. It runs alongside it, and away from the road as far as the eye can see: a giant, murky, grey-brown raised area of partially decomposed rubbish, with occasional bright specks of colour. As my hopes rise from having found it, my heart sinks as I try to take it in. The interpreter I have engaged for this mission through my contacts, a junior academic at Addis Ababa University, is not keen on going ahead. Leaving the taxi and crossing the highway by the bridge, I try to absorb the panoramic view afforded by this elevated viewpoint over the highway. Food comes from some place and a guy is going into the truck and he is injured and they take him to hospital but he died. Also someone else lost their legs in an encounter with a bulldozer. Two months ago a man who jumped in the truck dropped off when it broke. In recent accidents, two were women. The bulldozer operator has a lot to do to push the garbage. If they see something they want when the bulldozer moves the garbage, they dont think about their life. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:11:24 GMT)

Living together is overrated
Why Gavan Naden doesn't want to move in with his girlfriend even though he loves her Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:30:00 GMT)

Class prejudice drove our family apart
John Vosper's father wrote to his son after meeting his fiancee, Celia: 'If you want to marry this girl, we want nothing else to do with you.' He had to choose his family or Celia Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 06:00:00 GMT)

The whale that swallowed New Zealand's election campaign
A spectacular exposé alleging prime minister John Key and his National party colleagues were involved in dirty tricks campaigns has created the most significant political maelstrom in nearly six years in office and blown the governments re-election strategy dramatically off course, writes Toby Manhire Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 03:21:04 GMT)

Taylor Swift: Sexy? Not on my radar'
Shes gone from ringletted country artist to feminist role model and the worlds most charming pop star. As she returns with her catchiest material yet, she talks awards-ceremony etiquette, autobiographical lyrics and why she puts nice before naughty Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:00:11 GMT)

The one that got away: Philip Hensher
'It could only be for a single, crazy summer. You could only lick him. You couldn't marry him' Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 07:00:00 GMT)

Fergusons black community must not be given the same justice as Trayvon Martin
Only the courts can judge Michael Browns killer but this is the system that let George Zimmerman walk freeJust outside a mall in Ferguson, Missouri, shortly after 10 oclock on Wednesday, a black man in his 30s was stopped and frisked by around eight white policemen. As he gingerly emptied his pockets, careful not to move too quickly, he yelled at them. It was a soliloquy of pure rage; a fluent, apparently unstoppable oration against not just the men who had apprehended him but the system they represented.Yes Im angry, he shouted. Four hundred years we been here. We built this place for free and yall still hate us. A man filming the incident was told to move on but did not budge. When the police let the pedestrian go (whatever they were looking for he didnt have), the man recording went too. Ive done my job, he said. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:00:08 GMT)

Hollywoods stance on abortion makes the 1980s look liberal
The film Obvious Child tackles abortion head on, and lays bare a studio system scared of startling the conservative horsesTheres a terrific moment in the very funny independent film Obvious Child when the protagonist, Donna, tells her mother that she is going to have an abortion.Oh, is that all? her mother laughs, relieved. I thought you were going to tell me youre moving to Los Angeles! Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:44:24 GMT)

If this is real religion, then you can count me as an atheist
The best way of getting rid of bad religion and by that, I mainly mean violent religion is by challenging it in its own termsWhat is it with religion and violence? One man severs the head of another, and in the name of God If this is real religion, then count me an atheist. But this is real religion, I hear you say. The history of religious belief is a history of horrendous violence: intolerance of others, burnings and lynchings, religious wars in which millions have died, torture, persecution. Its easy to see the appeal of John Lennons imagining no religion.So why is it that religion often does not have enough moral fortitude to resist its own capacity for violence? At its heart, religion is that category of belief in which the world does not revolve around me but around something other than me. It is a sort of Copernican revolution in which the human being is not at the centre of all things. That is not its only characteristic, but it is essential. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:29:08 GMT)

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