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Andrew Mitchell loses Plebgate libel trial
Ruling that former Conservative chief whip probably did use ‘politically toxic’ word pleb leaves MP with legal bill of up to £3m• Andrew Mitchell loses libel case – liveAndrew Mitchell, the Tory MP and former cabinet minister at the centre of the Plebgate row lost his high court libel trial on Thursday in a ruling which sees him facing a legal bill of millions of pounds and leaves his political career in tatters.Outside the court, Mitchell told reporters he was bitterly disappointed with the ruling and that it had been “a miserable two years” for him, but that he now hoped to move on with his life. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:42:00 GMT)

Dirty chicken scandal: campylobacter found in eight out of 10 UK birds
Food watchdog warns that Asda has worst rate of contamination but all other supermarket chains failing to meet national targetsFood poisoning scandal: how chicken spreads campylobacterEight out of 10 fresh chickens bought from UK supermarkets this summer were contaminated with the potentially lethal food-poisoning bug campylobacter, the food watchdog has said, warning that not one individual chain is meeting national targets over the issue.Following six months of testing, an average of 70% of supermarket chickens proved positive for campylobacter on samples of skin. Within that, the Food Standards Agency said, the more recent three months of tests from May to July showed an 80% incidence. The bug tends to be more prevalent during the summer, but consumer groups expressed shock at the soaring levels. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:00:04 GMT)

Scotland to control £14bn of income tax and welfare benefits in cross-party deal
Lord Smith describes agreement as ‘biggest transfer of powers to the Scottish parliament since its establishment’• Smith Commission report: live reaction• New powers for Scotland: key points from the Smith CommissionThe Scottish parliament is to be handed direct control over an estimated £14bn of income tax and welfare benefits in a cross-party deal that will bring about the biggest upheaval of Britain’s taxation system in the modern era.Unveiling recommendations that powers to set income tax rates and bands be wholly devolved, Lord Smith of Kelvin, head of the commission set up to fast-track further powers to Scotland after the country rejected independence in September’s referendum, described the agreement as an unprecedented achievement. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:46:49 GMT)

13 men guilty of enforced prostitution and rape of vulnerable girls in Bristol
With second group of convictions, story can be told of the sexual abuse of teens – some in local authority care – often for moneyThirteen men, all of Somali origin, have been convicted of the systematic sexual abuse of vulnerable girls as young as 13 in Bristol and officers are investigating claims against 49 other suspects.The victims, some of whom were in local authority care, were groomed and passed around by their abusers – often for money – and assaulted in homes, parks and a hotel. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:58:37 GMT)

PD James, queen of crime fiction, dies aged 94
Creator of much-loved detective Adam Dalgliesh was one of the most successful British authors of detective fictionInterview: PD JamesVideo: PD JamesGallery: PD James – a life in picturesPD James in quotesObituary: PD JamesThe writer PD James, who charted the transformations of British life through bestselling crime fiction starring the detective Adam Dalgliesh, has died aged 94. Her publisher Faber and Faber confirmed that she had died peacefully at home in Oxford on Thursday morning.Her debut novel, Cover Her Face, was snapped up by the first publisher to set eyes on the manuscript, launching a career that advanced in parallel with that of her fictional police officer, Chief Inspector Dalgliesh. As he found himself promoted to superintendent and then to commander, so James accumulated a host of awards including the Crime Writers’ Association’s Diamond Dagger and the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster award. Many of the Dalgliesh novels were subsequently filmed for television, with Roy Marsden taking the role of the investigator. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:04:36 GMT)

Kabul suicide attack on UK diplomats leaves six dead
Briton among casualties of Taliban attack on British embassy vehicle between Jalalabad and KabulAt least six people including a British embassy guard were killed on Thursday when the Taliban launched a devastating suicide attack on a British diplomatic convoy near the Afghan capital Kabul, in a day of mayhem that also saw gunfire in the city.The convoy was travelling on the road between Jalalabad and Kabul – about three miles east of the heavily fortified British embassy – when a suicide bomber struck. The bomber’s Toyota Corolla vehicle exploded – hurling the armoured British embassy SUV across the road and blowing off its roof completely. Smouldering debris was flung across a packed area including a mosque. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:09:00 GMT)

Scotland’s National newspaper is here to stay
Newsquest announces decision to continue publishing title ‘indefinitely’ after week-long pilot run exceeds expectationsScotland officially has its first pro-independence daily newspaper, as the parent company of the National has committed to continuing to publish the title after a five-day pilot smashed sales expectations.The tabloid, which runs with the banner “The newspaper that supports an independent Scotland”, was launched on Monday as a trial to test the appetite for a pro-independence daily title. The National sold out its initial print run of 60,000 copies, priced at 50p, as well as attracting 11,000 digital edition subscribers who paid £1.50 for the first week’s issues. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:09:18 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:30:59 GMT)

Labour MP received text ‘I’ll kill myself if Ed wins’, Old Bailey told
Trial of Sun journalist Nick Parker hears how text was sent to Siobhain McDonagh’s ‘stolen’ phoneA Labour MP received a text during the Miliband brothers’ leadership contest saying: “I’ll kill myself if Ed wins”, a court has heard.Details of notes made on Siobhain McDonagh’s private texts were read out in court on Thursday in the trial of Sun journalist Nick Parker, who is accused of mining her stolen BlackBerry for potential stories. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:25:21 GMT)

Stop concentration of betting shops on high streets, say local authorities
Move against ‘unregulated casino-style gambling’ comes from 93 boroughs, with call to reduce stakes on fixed-odds terminalsMore than a quarter of all local authorities in England have joined forces to use the coalition’s “localism” legislation to block the clustering of betting shops on high streets that offer “unregulated casino-style gambling”.Ninety-three local authorities – spanning Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem control – have demanded, under the Sustainable Communities act, that ministers consider reducing the maximum stakes on betting shop gaming machines, also known as fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), from £100 a spin to £2. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:05:09 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:11:55 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:29:05 GMT)

UK net immigration rises above 2010 level
Latest figures kill off government’s hopes that it can meet its target of reducing net immigration below 100,000 by electionNet immigration to Britain has surged by 78,000 in the past year to 260,000 – a level substantially above the 244,000 in 2010 when David Cameron and Theresa May took office, according to the Office for National Statistics.The figures for the 12 months to June 2014 extinguish any remaining hopes that the prime minister and home secretary could meet their target of reducing net immigration to below 100,000 by next year’s general election. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:54:00 GMT)

Oil price plunges after Opec split keeps output steady
Opec’s likely decision not to cut quotas prompts slump in Brent crude price and calls for North Sea tax breaks to save jobsPlunging world oil prices are threatening jobs in the UK North Sea and ramping up pressure on George Osborne to introduce more tax breaks for oil and gas operators at his autumn statement next week.The cost of Brent crude slumped below $76 per barrel – a four-year low – on Thursday as Opec signalled it would not be introducing production cuts on the cartel dominated by Middle East producers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:52:36 GMT)

Russia exerts influence in France with tree diplomacy – and loans to Le Pen
After Paris halted delivery of warships in protest over Ukraine, Moscow has hit back with a Christmas tree and €9m to the FNThe Chinese have panda diplomacy. The Russians, it appears, prefer trees.France may have just announced it is delaying the delivery of two warships to Russia in a protest over the crisis in Ukraine, but the French capital’s celebrated Notre Dame Cathedral, in the French capital, is boasting an impressive 25-metre-high Christmas tree courtesy of Moscow. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:03:02 GMT)

Nicky Morgan moves to counter Michael Gove’s ‘toxic’ legacy
Education secretary seeks to reassure teachers that education should be about partnership rather than a war of ideasNicky Morgan has embarked on her clearest bid yet to distance herself from her predecessor Michael Gove by declaring that she is no ideological warrior seeking to impose a world view on schools and young people.In a sign of the Tories’ determination to overcome what is seen as a toxic legacy after Gove lost the trust of teachers’ leaders, Morgan said education should be about a partnership rather than a war of ideas. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:46:59 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:17:31 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:42:33 GMT)

Former care home owner guilty of assaulting youngsters over 20 years
John Allen found guilty on 33 counts of sexually assaulting youngsters in north Wales from late sixties to early ninetiesThe owner of a group of children’s homes may spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty on 33 counts of sexually assaulting vulnerable youngsters in his care over more than 20 years.John Allen, 73, who was the owner and manager of the Bryn Alyn Community homes in north Wales, systematically abused children from the late sixties to the early nineties. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:44:14 GMT)

Royal Mail stake will not be sold off, vows Vince Cable
Business secretary pledges not to sell off government’s 30% stake for ‘foreseeable future’ as share price continues to fallThe government has ruled out selling off its remaining 30% stake in Royal Mail before next year’s general election.Vince Cable, the business secretary, said the government would retain the minority stake for “the foreseeable future”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:56:52 GMT)

Paying police acceptable in ‘exceptional circumstances’, ex-Sun boss tells court
Ben O’Driscoll denies that there was a culture of corruption at the newspaperPaying police officers is acceptable in “exceptional circumstances”, a former news executive on the Sun told a jury.Ben O’Driscoll, who is on trial over allegations of plotting to pay public officials for stories while on the paper, denied there was a culture of corruption at the Sun. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:53:39 GMT)

Bollywood star Veena Malik handed 26 year sentence for 'blasphemous' wedding scene
TV and film actor issued the jail term in Pakistan, alongside husband and owner of a media conglomerate for ‘malicious acts’ of blasphemy against IslamThe actor Veena Malik has expressed anger at a 26-year jail term handed down by a Pakistani court after she acted in a scene loosely based on the marriage of the prophet Muhammad’s daughter. The same sentence was extended to her husband, and to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, owner of the Jang-Geo media group which broadcast the TV show. All three were ordered to surrender their passports and fined 3m rupees (£8,000). Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:21:05 GMT)

Ukraine’s new parliament sits for first time
War in east of country visible in makeup of Rada, with dozens of men in fatigues walking the corridors as newly elected MPsParamilitary commanders in fatigues, investigative journalists and a fighter pilot absent because she is in a Russian jail are among the members of Ukraine’s new parliament, which sat for the first time on Thursday, reflecting how much the country has changed this year and the formidable challenges it still faces.The parliament is the result of the first parliamentary elections since the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych by the Euromaidan protest movement in February. But 27 of its seats remain empty, a sign of the territory lost since the revolution – Crimea annexed by Russia, and parts of the east under the control of Moscow-backed separatists. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:41:47 GMT)

Magna Carta story illuminated by discovery of medieval poem
The Melrose Chronicle, written in Latin almost 800 years ago, is an account of events at RunnymedeA little-known medieval poem written almost 800 years ago by Scottish borders monks was revealed on Thursday as the earliest independent account of one of the single most important events in English history: the sealing of Magna Carta.Curators at the British Library have been researching all aspects of Magna Carta for an exhibition marking its 800th anniversary next year. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:15:30 GMT)

Ferguson: hundreds protest in California despite relative calm in Missouri
In Los Angeles and Oakland, demonstrators took to the streets for a third night to show solidarity with the family of Michael BrownA relative calm fell on Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday following two nights of violent protests after a grand jury declined to bring charges against a white police officer in the shooting death of unarmed, black teen Michael Brown, but tensions remained high in California. In Los Angeles and Oakland, demonstrators took to the streets for a third night since the grand jury’s decision in a show of solidarity with the family of the dead Missouri teen. Protesters blocked roads and even clashed with police the LA Times reported. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:00:03 GMT)

Stagecoach and Virgin joint-venture wins east coast mainline franchise
Inter City Railways, 90% owned by Stagecoach, will bring London-Edinburgh line back into private hands after five yearsVirgin Trains will be operating on both rail routes linking London and Scotland next year after being awarded the franchise for the reprivatised east coast main line.The new company running the London-Edinburgh trains will be Inter City Railways, a joint venture 90%-owned by Stagecoach with the trains branded Virgin Trains East Coast. Sir Richard Branson retains a 10% stake. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 08:42:20 GMT)

Syrian electronic army 'hacks' Independent, OK Magazine and NHL
The SEA is claiming to have hacked a number of sites, but evidence points to an ad network at the heart of the attacksThe websites of the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, OK magazine, the London Evening Standard and America’s National Hockey League have been “hacked” by the Syrian Electronic Army, the pro-Assad Syrian hacker group. A portion of visitors to all those sites are presented with a blank screen and a javascript popup telling them “you have been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army”. The group apparently exploited a fault with a content delivery network (CDN). Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:54:55 GMT)

Russia puts ‘Putin’s banker’ Sergei Pugachev on Interpol wanted list
Ally turned critic of Russian president is believed to be London and is accused of siphoning money from bank for personal useAn exiled Russian oligarch who was once so close to the Kremlin he was known as “Putin’s banker” has been put on the Interpol wanted list by Moscow after falling out with his former associates.Sergei Pugachev – whose riches Forbes magazine estimated at more than $2bn (£1.3bn) at the peak of his wealth – fled Russia after claiming hostile interests were trying to seize his businesses. In recent weeks he has given interviews critical of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian political system. He is believed to be living in London. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:12:53 GMT)

Jean-Claude Juncker saved from censure over Luxembourg tax schemes
Centrist parties vote down European parliament motion criticising commission president’s role in tax avoidance schemesJean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, has survived a motion of censure in the European parliament brought because of his role in tax avoidance schemes.The motion brought by Britain’s Ukip, France’s Front National, and Italy’s 5 Star movement in the parliament described Juncker as unfit to lead the EU executive because he is seen to have presided over huge tax avoidance schemes for hundreds of multinational firms during his 18 years as prime minister of Luxembourg. His tenure ended last year. The scale of the tax avoidance was revealed this month by the Guardian and other news organisations around the world. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:25:00 GMT)

Met Office expects autumn to be UK’s third warmest in more than 100 years
Mean temperature across Britain for the season likely to be 1.4C above 33-year averageThe Met Office has said they are expecting this autumn to be the UK’s third warmest in more than 100 years.Assuming average conditions over the last few days of November, the mean temperature for the season, which started on 1 September, will be 10.8C (51.4F), 1.4C above the long-term average over the three decades from 1981-2010. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:27:54 GMT)

Hunt for builder after double murder in Surrey village of Fetcham
Police are searching for Lithuanian builder Viktoras Bruzas after the discovery of a couple stabbed to death at their homeA police hunt is underway across two counties for a Lithuanian builder suspected of stabbing a man and a woman to death at their home in Surrey.Detectives are searching for 38-year-old Viktoras Bruzas following the double murder overnight in the quiet suburban village of Fetcham, near Leatherhead. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:46:51 GMT)

Police report criticises number of unsolved crimes
Report finds under pressure police officers lacking skills to detect crimes, but says forces do well on preventing crimeVictims of crime are being let down by under pressure police officers, with forces botching investigations while doing well on preventing crime occurring in the first place.A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found 18 out of 43 forces in England and Wales needed to improve investigations of offences. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:54:26 GMT)

Sudan asks UN to shut human rights office in Khartoum over abuse claims
Relations between joint African Union/UN mission in Darfur and government deteriorate over attempts to investigate rape claimsSudan has asked the UN to close its human rights office in Khartoum after accusing its peacekeepers of abuses, its joint mission with the African Union in Darfur (Unamid) has announced.Ties between Unamid and the government have deteriorated over the mission’s attempts to investigate reports that government troops raped 200 women and girls in the Darfur village of Tabit last month. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:26:26 GMT)

Jean McConville murder: republican Bobby Storey held for questioning
Detectives arrest Storey as part of investigation into the abduction, killing and secret burial of Belfast woman in 1972A well-known republican has been arrested by detectives investigating the murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville.Bobby Storey, 58, was detained in the west of the city as part of the overall investigation into the crime. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:09:00 GMT)

Payday loan adverts could be banned on television before 9pm
Advertising watchdog Bcap asked to extend its review to examine scheduling and a possible pre-watershed curbPayday loan commercials could be banned from TV before the 9pm watershed, under proposals being considered by the UK advertising regulator.The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (Bcap), the body responsible for writing the rules for TV ads, is already looking at the content of payday loan commercials. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:41:49 GMT)

PD James obituary
Crime writer whose poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh featured in a series of bestsellersNews: PD James, queen of crime fiction, dies aged 94PD James: in quotesPD James, Lady James of Holland Park, who has died aged 94, was the grande dame of mystery. She was a link with the golden age of detective writing that flourished between the wars, the successor to Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and Margery Allingham. After Christie’s death, James was called the new Queen of Crime. It was a title she did not at all mind.Yet Phyllis James had not started writing until her 40s, and said she only wrote a whodunnit as practice for a serious novel. Later on, though, she never fretted about being locked into crime writing. She said she could write everything she wanted while remaining in the genre. She wrote one futuristic satire, The Children of Men (1992, made into a film in 2006), set in 2021, about the human race facing extinction as a result of infertility but, unlike her great rival Ruth Rendell, did not attempt to break away from crime. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:31:32 GMT)

Courts kept busy as Jordan works to crush support for Isis
From King Abdullah down, officials are blunt about strategy to target supporters of movement wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria“We are with the Islamic State and you are with Obama and the infidels,” Ahmed Abu Ghalous a big, angry-looking man in blue prison overalls, shouts after being sentenced to five years in jail for “promoting the views of a terrorist group” on the internet. The outburst earns him a further 50 dinar (£45) fine for contempt of court.It is a sunny morning in Amman and the three uniformed judges in Jordan’s state security court are briskly working their way through a pile of slim grey folders on the bench before them. Each details the charges against 25 or so defendants accused of supporting the fighters of the Islamic State (Isis), now rampaging across Syria and Iraq under their sinister black banners and sending nervous jitters across the Arab world. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:24:01 GMT)

Pixies: Doolittle 25 review – alt-rock milestone from US indie’s weirdest stars
Outsiders even within the weird world of 1980s US experimental rock, the Pixies made an improbable lunge for mainstream acceptance with Doolittle, and it actually kind of workedThe Pixies proved so influential that it’s now almost impossible to imagine how bizarre they seemed on arrival in the late 80s. Their second full-length album, Doolittle, was released in April 1989, towards the end of a startling 18-month period for experimental US guitar rock. It had seen the release not just of Doolittle’s predecessor, Surfer Rosa, but Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff, You’re Living All Over Me and Bug by Dinosaur Jr, Bongwater’s Double Bummer, the Butthole Surfers’ Hairway to Steven, debut albums by Royal Trux and Fugazi, Soundgarden’s Ultramega OK and Galaxie 500’s Today; a few weeks after Doolittle came out, it was followed by Nirvana’s Bleach.It was all happening, but somehow the Pixies seemed apart from it all. They were not arty New York hipsters, nor part of the burgeoning Seattle scene, nor graduates from the punishing US hardcore circuit, although their songs occasionally careered along with the breakneck pace and lockstep rhythm of Hüsker Dü’s New Day Rising. Their other influences were hard to place, which was unsurprising, given that frontman Black Francis’s tastes ran to Christian rock pioneer Larry Norman, author of Forget Your Hexagram, No More LSD for Me, and Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music? They didn’t look like a hip US alt-rock band with a penchant for screaming about weird sex and Biblical violence (like his love of Larry Norman, the latter was a legacy of Francis’s upbringing, in a Pentecostal household big on divine healing and speaking in tongues). Black Francis was chubby and balding, and the only member who looked like they belonged on stage was the bassist, who preferred to go under her married name of Mrs John Murphy. For reasons unexplained, their lyrics occasionally lapsed into Spanish and their promotional T-shirts read Death to the Pixies. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:59:01 GMT)

Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton, Lassie and Tony Blair: here to save the world
As if we needed a definitive sign that the humanitarian-awards industry was out of control, the former prime minister has received a gong from Save the ChildrenDid it finally happen? Did the pernicious pretence that is the humanitarian awards industry finally implode last week, at a ceremony to give Tony Blair a “global legacy” gong?On the one hand, things look promising. Well over 100,000 people have signed a petition asking Save the Children to revoke its award. More sensationally, an internal letter signed by Save the Children staff calls the award “morally reprehensible”, which certainly offers a hint of what life is like on the ground, dealing with the sharp end of Mr Blair’s “global legacy”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:40:24 GMT)

How to avoid more gastric surgery? Five ways we can change our health culture
Prevention is key to limiting the impact of widespread obesity on the NHS, which is why we need a wholesale change in attitudeRedesigning the human gut is a pretty extreme measure to cope with the junk food and all-day eating culture of the 21st century. But Nice, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, just gave its blessing to weight-loss stomach surgery for thousands more people than are currently getting it.About 6,500 people went under the knife in 2009-10, undergoing one of several gastric operations that will prevent them eating too much food – or make them feel very ill trying. That could rise to 15,000 a year under Nice’s proposals, and possibly many more. An astonishing 2 million people would be eligible. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:43:12 GMT)

Thanksgiving or Britsgiving? ‘One in six Britons’ to celebrate US holiday
Sales of turkeys are up in Waitrose and Ocado as the British latch on to the American holiday in a big way, supermarket claimsThe turkey is roasting, the cranberry sauce is resting, and the pumpkin pie is good to go. It’s a scene being played out today in homes not just from California to New Jersey, but from Coventry to Neasden, too.Welcome to Britsgiving: the UK’s newest and completely unofficial holiday. Waitrose this week told the Guardian it estimates one in six Britons now celebrate Thanksgiving, a number that just seems to be going up and up. Sales of turkeys in November are up 95% on five years ago at Waitrose, and 135% year-on-year from Ocado. #Happythanksgiving is currently trending on Twitter across the UK. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:05:06 GMT)

My favourite board game: our writers pick their table-top treasures
From the strategic depth of Magic: the Gathering to the simple delights of Guess Who, these are the titles our games writers reach for first on those rainy weekends• Start your own board game collection – our pick of the best titles• Board games’ golden age: sociable, brilliant and driven by the internetThroughout our board games week we’re hoping to show that there is huge variety in modern tabletop gaming, from deeply strategic and demanding new hits to family classics that hold their appeal for generations of players.Here, our gaming writers discuss their favourite titles, some new, some old, some tactically rich, some … well, not so much. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:00:11 GMT)

AC/DC: 'If there's a bad-parenting issue, the US moral majority blames rock'n'roll. You can’t fix stupid'
For 40 years, they’ve rocked like a juggernaut, fighting off claims they were a threat to society. But, with the release of Rock or Bust accompanied by unwelcome headlines about drummer Phil Rudd’s arrest and guitarist Malcolm Young’s dementia, can AC/DC keep the wheels on? Angus Young and Brian Johnson speak out …AC/DC – Rock or Bust first-listen reviewAngus Young’s wife Ellen is giving her husband directions. “Stand on the chair, Angus!” she instructs the AC/DC guitarist. “You will look stupid otherwise!” He’s standing next to all 6ft 3in of me, and his official height of 5ft 2in looks like an overestimate, perhaps because he’s always hunched. On my other side, singer Brian Johnson’s comparatively gargantuan 5ft 5ins is lessened by the fact that he’s bending, so his face is resting against my chest. And it is in this position, Young giving the thumbs-up while standing on a chair so that he’s fractionally higher than me, Johnson offering a leer, me grinning broadly, that we are photographed on my iPhone.It had been a little embarrassing asking for a snap, despite my conviction that AC/DC are one of the greatest rock bands ever, it being the only time I’ve ever asked for a photo with anyone famous, and because the last thing Johnson had said to me before my request was to complain about “the fucking people with iPhones asking for photographs. I understand it, but it’s just a pain in the arse, the new social-media thing. Now every fucker’s got these things and I find it very difficult to cope with that.” Oh well. In for a penny, in for a pound. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:00:08 GMT)

Hamlet remake row shines light on India’s culture wars
Contemporary version of Shakespeare play has become focus of battle between religious conservatives and creative artistsThe tone is uncompromising. The language is harsh. The sovereignty and integrity of India has been attacked with impunity, the court documents claim. The unity of the nation has been undermined.But the source of the alleged threat to the world’s largest democracy is a somewhat surprising one: a cinematic remake of Hamlet. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:02:00 GMT)

Vinyl's making a comeback? Don't believe the hype
Vinyl sales have passed a million for the first time since 1997 – but all that tells us is that record labels have realised there are people who want to shell out for deluxe editionsRecords broken as vinyl sales reach 1m in 2014The other night, outside one of those preposterous city-centre places that is both a grocer and a restaurant, I noticed a remarkable deal on offer in the boxes of produce stacked up outside. A bunch of half a dozen or so carrots, green stalks attached at the top, soil clinging to the orange roots, was on sale for a bargain £2.50. You can stick your £1 for a bag bursting with the things from Morrison’s or Iceland, because those are the carrots I want, oh yes. And given that the stupidly priced bunch of carrots with green tops and soil is cropping up in farmers’ markets and chi-chi grocers all across Britain, then I’m calling it now. Never mind that the vast majority of people are still buying their carrots from supermarkets at a much cheaper price, and that there’s no sign of that ever changing, because I’m willing to say there’s a stupidly priced bunch of carrots comeback!That, more or less, is what the much trumpeted “vinyl comeback” amounts to. The BPI today announced that vinyl sales has exceeded 1m copies for the first time since 1997, with a possible end of of year total of 1.2m. Imagine! The total vinyl sales this year in the UK – that’s all the records available by everybody from the entire span of music history – have gone triple platinum! Just like Ed Sheeran’s album X has. That’s right: the combined sales of all vinyl in the UK have matched the sales of the second Ed Sheeran album. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:51:58 GMT)

Amazon Kindle Voyage review: expensive but top quality e-reader
Amazon’s latest e-reader is a top-of-the-range Kindle Voyage with high-resolution screen, new haptic page turns and slim, angular designThe Kindle Voyage is Amazon’s latest e-reader, but instead of being value-focused, the Voyage is a high-quality device with a crisper screen and fancy, squeezable touch buttons.Amazon’s Kindle started out in 2007 as an expensive and rather rough device that garnered little in the way of praise. Seven years later, the cheapest Kindle costs £59 and the more expensive Kindle Paperwhite costs £99, but the new Kindle Voyage starts at £169 and is designed to be a luxury book reader. It is really worth the extra £70?Pros: great screen, automatic backlight, light, solid, squeezable page-turn buttonsCons: 19-hour battery life needs a charger on holiday, expensive, single-use device, some may not like being tied to Amazon Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:35:28 GMT)

From Adele to AlunaGeorge: how Brits Critics' Choice nominees have fared
Adele went on to conquer the world and most of the known universe. But how have her fellow nominees fared since being thrust into the public eye?James Bay tipped for Brits Critics’ Choice as shortlist announcedThe critics have spoken, and next year you’re all going to remove your credit cards from your wallets like the pathetic unthinking sheeple you are and purchase about 749m copies of the debut album by James Bay. Or George the Poet. Or Years & Years. These are the artists nominated for the 2015 Brits Critics’ Choice award, which means that whoever wins is guaranteed sales galore, while the others … well, what about the others? Is receiving a Brits Critics’ Choice nomination likely to lead to fame and fortune for all concerned, or is coming a close second/third actually more of a poisoned chalice? Let’s analyse past winners using science, or at least Google, and see how well they fared – complete with a mark out of 10 for success. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:39:03 GMT)

European football breaks: why it pays to see games in Berlin and Brussels
With Premier League ticket prices in another division, try a trip to continental Europe where the fans are good-natured and the cheap admission means plenty of money left over for funBundesliga fans start early. It’s 11am on the normally sombre walkway between Berlin’s central station and the Brandenburg Gate, a route that is home to several dignified memorials commemorating the city’s darkest days. But sombre is not on the agenda for the legions of Hamburger SV supporters who have descended on the German capital for this afternoon’s encounter with Hertha Berlin. Almost everyone has a bottle of beer on the go. Several have two. We’re barely past breakfast.But such prodigious intake carries no cause for alarm. German domestic football is renowned for its happy-go-lucky, celebratory atmosphere, where clashes between opposing fans are rare. German football is also applauded for its inexpensive admission prices. For instance, entry to a Bayern Munich home match – one of the top three teams in Europe, no less – can cost as little as €15. The cheapest ticket for one of Arsenal’s top home games is more than £65. In search of more affordable matches, I’m taking my nine-year-old son Finn for a half-term short break to see how Europe does football. Our tickets, bought in advance from the club website to avoid disappointment on the day, are burning a hole in our pockets. Four days of father-son bonding, with lashings of football, trains and pizza. We’re as excited as each other. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 06:00:03 GMT)

Where do the supermarkets get their chicken?
A snapshot of nine supermarkets shows how the big retailers buy their fresh birds from the same handful of processors• Campylobacter found in eight out of 10 UK birdsThe rates of contamination for each supermarket published on Thursday will be used by shoppers to choose where they buy their chicken, with consumers likely to shun the worst-scoring chains such as Asda. But how much difference is there really between them?All the big supermarkets buy their fresh chicken from the same handful of processing companies that dominate the intensive farming and abattoir business. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:12:05 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:25:48 GMT)

Confessions of a Doctor review – when GPs were men and (mostly) right
Real-life doctors-and-nurses escapades, sherry evenings, cricket, and bags of lovely drugs: it really was different being a doctor in the 1960s and 70sIf last week’s Confessions of a Copper was Gene Hunt’s Life on Mars, only for real, then Confessions of a Doctor (Channel 4) is Carry on Doctor: the Documentary. To begin with anyway, then it turns into an entertaining yet also serious look into how general practice and the role of the GP has changed in the past half-century or so.In the good old days (the 1960s), doctors were men and nurses were women, and they used to play Doctors and Nurses, the adult version. “We tried to concentrate on what the patient was saying but there were lots of distractions,” says Robert here. “Marvellous, wonderful stuff.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 07:00:04 GMT)

Phillip Hughes – ‘He died playing the sport he loved’
Cricket world salutes batsman who suffered fatal head injury during match at Sydney Cricket GroundFlags flew at half mast from Lord’s to the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Adelaide Oval’s famous old scoreboard read simply: “Vale Phillip Hughes 1988-2014”.Meanwhile, a stunned cricket community tried to come to terms with the death of the Australian batsman from injuries sustained when he was struck on the head by a bouncer earlier this week. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:53:27 GMT)

Time for this game of naked aggression to take stock and calm down
Following the death of Phillip Hughes emotion is running high but cricket has to try to retain the essence of what makes it the spectacle that it is – without the needless animosity• Phillip Hughes dies after being hit by ball• Australia captain Michael Clarke leads tributes • Obituary: a modern batsman destined for greatnessThere is a numbness in the world of cricket, and beyond. A bouncer, a blur of an attempted pull shot, a blow to the head rather than connection with the bat and a young life has been taken. This was a dreadful accident: a bowler plying his trade wholeheartedly and a batsman responding to the challenge. Phillip Hughes was well set, 63 not out as he will now forever be, and attacking as he had done all his cricket life. He was early on the shot, the bat through before the ball arrived, swivelling him round so that the left rear side of his head, the vulnerable spot below the line of his helmet, was exposed. He staggered, then plunged forward to lie prone, never to recover.Death is a hazard faced with immense courage by many every day of their lives. But this is cricket, a game. We don’t expect this. The game offers the strongest of physical and mental challenges, and the very real prospect of injury. It tests character. Fingers get mangled, arms broken, faces rearranged, ribs cracked and, despite the protection offered nowadays, skulls too on occasions. Five and a half ounces of solid cork and leather sent down at 90mph and more on occasion over a distance of no more than 60 feet, is a dangerous prospect. Yet until now, despite the intensity of competition that has always existed, and some close shaves, no one playing at this level has actually been killed as a result of a blow from a cricket ball. Perhaps, looking back, that in itself is a miracle. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:37:02 GMT)

Champions League review: Lampard v Touré and Messi v Ronaldo
We look at some of the major talking points from the midweek action, as well as the best images and statistics“People should either be caressed or crushed,” wrote that stereotypical old Italian romantic, Niccola Machiavelli. “If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance.” By that reasoning, some folks are suggesting that Bayern Munich committed a tactical booboo by not crushing Manchester City on Tuesday night. That may prove to be the case. However, an alternative view is that Bayern would not have become quite so slapdash at the Etihad if they had any real cause to fear City’s vengeance. Indeed, Manuel Pellegrini’s side do not even inspire enough confidence to back them to beat Roma in their crucial final group game.Also witnessed this at the football last night. Arsenal fans really don't help themselves pic.twitter.com/cDHYJpsyFC4 - All four of Liverpool's goals in the Champions League this season have come against Ludogorets. Monopoly.GRAPHIC: Champions League Team of the Week - Gameweek 5 http://t.co/z2YUS4gr6Y pic.twitter.com/oHM58h2kscRickie Lambert has scored in League 2, League 1, Ch'ship, Prem League, FA Cup, League Cup, Johnstones Paint Trophy and now Champions League!4 – For the 1st time in @ChampionsLeague history 4 german teams lost on a matchday. Novelty.Here's how Groups #UCL A-D look after last night's results. Reaction: http://t.co/lwLMMzXyCC pic.twitter.com/3fKOePoPvp Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:29:09 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:19:54 GMT)

Indian official banned for three years by Fifa for taking bribe
• Alberto Colaco ‘accepted payment in context of elections’• Mohamed bin Hammam went on to win election• Three Fifa ExCo members investigated after Garcia probeFifa says its ethics committee has banned a football official from India for three years for taking a bribe.Fifa says Alberto Colaco, the former general secretary of the Indian football federation, “accepted a payment in the context of the elections” for Mohamed bin Hammam’s executive committee seat in 2009. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:39:46 GMT)

Newcastle United Women’s goalkeeper plays on with suspected broken neck
• Laura Wareham collapses twice at game• ‘I was angry at being taken off’ she saysA goalkeeper for Newcastle United Women played on after suffering a suspected broken neck in a collision with a team-mate.Laura Wareham suffered the injury after only 15 minutes of Newcastle’s match against Bradford City on Sunday after she and the defender Kate Brooks combined to stop a Bradford forward scoring. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:38:49 GMT)

Billy Twelvetrees to start for England against Australia on Saturday
• Gloucester centre replaces Owen Farrell at inside-centre• Farrell dropped for first time since June 2012England have dropped Owen Farrell for Saturday’s autumn international against Australia at Twickenham with Billy Twelvetrees selected in his place at inside-centre.Farrell has been overlooked for the starting XV for the first time since June 2012 after under-performing against New Zealand, South Africa and Samoa and is demoted to the bench. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:04:36 GMT)

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer makes five changes for visit to Wales
• Meyer rings changes again with 25 players unavailable• ‘It’s a great testament to our depth … this is a great side’• Wales call up Rob Evans, but Gethin Jenkins may be fit • South Africa too strong for Italy in 22-6 victorySouth Africa may be without 25 players for their 14th and final match of the year against Wales on Saturday but 11 of the side that will feature in Cardiff started the victory over New Zealand last month.South Africa are entering the unknown at the Millennium Stadium – though not the ground, where they provided the first opposition in 1999, in what remains their only defeat to Wales. Instead it will be the first time they have played a fourth Test on a European tour, something that will leave the South African union £750,000 better off, and they have had testing encounters against Ireland, England and Italy. Will there be any spring remaining in the Boks? Continue reading...
(Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:17:18 GMT)

England v Australia, trick shots, bikes, cars, Jimmy Hill and penalty spots
This week’s roundup also has ping pong naughtiness; one-handed catching thrills: phone-ins and a short doc1) With England’s final chance to make a dent in one of the top southern hemisphere side’s on Saturday, some liveners to set the scene. David Campese and co take the World Cup at Twickenham in 1991; Dan Luger’s try in 2000; that tackle by Josh Lewsey on Mat Rogers in 2003; Chris Ashton’s try in 2010; Nick “the Honey Badger” Cummins riposte for Aus in 2012 and of course then there’s 2003.2) Terrifying. Danny Macaskill mountain bikes along the sheer top and edge of a, er, mountain. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:55:47 GMT)

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere out for three months following ankle surgery
• Midfielder suffered injury against Manchester United• ‘You have to be strong and courageous’• Club’s casualty list continues to growJack Wilshere has been ruled out of action for three months following ankle surgery.The Arsenal and England midfielder suffered the injury to his left ankle against Manchester United last weekend and underwent what the club described as “successful surgery” on Thursday to repair the ligaments. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:22:16 GMT)

Football transfer rumours: Fabian Schär to Arsenal?
Today’s rumours don’t kick off at 8.05pmSomehow, somewhere, the Mill has learned that Arsenal may be in need of, among other things, a new centre-back. Despite regularly shipping six goals in games against their top-four rivals last season, Arsène Wenger spent the summer watching Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker getting knackered at the World Cup and then decided that the best course of action was to sell their bench-warming/injured deputy/captain Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona for £15m so he could get the feel of the Camp Nou’s more expensively upholstered dugout.Then with a seemingly endless 23 days to sign a replacement, the ever-frugal Frenchman decided that, no – bringing in 19-year-old right-back Calum Chambers would do quite nicely thank you, don’t question my authority on this one, we have mental strength and great quality, and have you heard this all before over the last 18 years? Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:05:25 GMT)

Arsenal injury list grows as duo forced off during win over Dortmund
• Mikel Arteta and Yaya Sanogo pick up injuries in victory• Arsenal can count 10 first-team players with injuries• Match report: Arsenal 2-0 Borussia Dortmund• Yaya Sanogo emerges from Arsenal mist• Five talking points from the EmiratesArsène Wenger’s delight at securing a 15th consecutive qualification to the second round of the Champions League was tempered by the worsening of Arsenal’s injury situation, with the captain, Mikel Arteta, forced off against Borussia Dortmund with a serious calf problem.Arsenal won 2-0 against the Bundesliga team to make sure of at least second place in Group D – they retain an outside chance of pinching top spot in the final round of fixtures in two weeks – with Yaya Sanogo opening the scoring with his first goal for the club. Sanogo damaged a hamstring towards the end and Wenger can now count 10 members of his first-team squad with injuries of varying severity. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:35:24 GMT)

Bristol zoo asks John Lewis to help its penguin appeal – the answer is no
Zoo relies on public donations after retailer, whose Christmas ad is about boy seeking friend for his lonely penguin, disappointsWhen Bristol zoo urgently needed help to raise money for orphaned penguins this Christmas, one company stood out – a large retailer that has based its festive promotional campaign around a lonely, flightless bird with a fondness for fish. But then came the twist: John Lewis said no.Bristol Zoological Society this month started an appeal for £20,000 to help care for African penguin chicks abandoned by their parents and being cared for at a rehabilitation centre in South Africa, a project led by the zoo. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:32:00 GMT)

Supermarket ground coffees: taste test
We are drinking more and more ground coffee at home, and getting choosier too. Supermarkets’ own-brands promise a lot, but does the flavour match the hype?Britain loves coffee, and we are becoming increasingly choosy about what we drink. The home coffee market, worth £1bn a year, is still dominated by instant coffee, but sales of ground (for filter or cafetiere use) have soared in recent years, not least the supermarket own-brands.Historically, ground coffees were often random blends of arabica beans (which give coffee its lighter, delicate flavours), sometimes bulked out with cheaper robusta beans (which impart body and earthy bitterness, more suitable for milky espresso drinks). Now, 100% arabica coffees are common, as are coffees sourced from specific countries, drum rather than industrially roasted, and even “single-origin” coffees. As a definition – grown on anything from one farm to in a specific region – single-origin sounds vague, but, in practical terms it ensures single-variety beans grown in similar soil, which therefore share key flavour characteristics so is a broadly reliable guarantee of quality. So it is easier to find better ground coffee. But which of the supermarkets are offering the best? Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:00:07 GMT)

Ukip mistakes Westminster Cathedral for mosque
Nigel Farage’s Ukip branch rebukes BBC for ingrained liberal bias in holding straw poll about leader in front of noted Muslim place of worship ... wait, hang on Nigel Farage’s local Ukip branch has rebuked the BBC for its ingrained liberal bias in holding a straw poll on the party leader in front of a London mosque. The mosque in question was Westminster Cathedral. On Tuesday, The Daily Politics, the BBC show hosted by Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn, tweeted: Has @Nigel_Farage got what it takes to be PM? See how the balls fall in @reporterboy film on Tue #bbcdp after 1200 pic.twitter.com/0rtIoW1KrKUKIP now has two MPs and has been rising in the polls, but do people see the party as a serious political force... http://t.co/dDhct2B7U6@reporterboy I have got it wrong about the building as was wrongly advised and apologise. The random vote remark still stands#ThingsThatAreNotMosques @Nigel_Farage pic.twitter.com/2qdbOJe3TT#ThingsThatAreNotMosques @Nigel_Farage pic.twitter.com/KfvCL4rkcvOh my word. I just clicked on the #ThingsThatAreNotMosques hashtag. What have I started? HAAAAHAHAHAMosque-ow. #thingsthatarenotmosques pic.twitter.com/mBNXtZ5sTO#ThingsThatAreNotMosques Moss pic.twitter.com/akYjQr8snA#ThingsThatAreNotMosques Mosquito pic.twitter.com/COjZXv8JlH#ThingsThatAreNotMosques But it's got a dome, it must be a mosque?! pic.twitter.com/hw61pPBBa4I don't think that this is a mosque #ThingsThatAreNotMosques pic.twitter.com/SARl9lCCHa#ThingsThatAreNotMosques - Fox Theater, Atlanta pic.twitter.com/Cn5x4U41moCardiff City Hall. Definitely not a minaret, and definitely not a dome. #ThingsThatAreNotMosques pic.twitter.com/GXhbnKlxCJ Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:14:19 GMT)

Instagram users turn flash into cash, as companies eye new advertising market
Growing number of users making career of photo-sharing hobby as brands see app as gateway to younger audienceSeen through the filter of Instagram, the world is a beautiful place: high-contrast blue skies; sepia-tinted sunsets; exquisite plates of food and raindrops sliding down windows in perfect formation. It may be a manipulated perspective on life, but 200 million people across the world now use the photo app, sharing 60m pictures a day. Yet for some users, Instagram is generating more than appreciative likes and comments as they document their lives, travels and eating habits on their smartphones.From Nike to the Namibian tourist board, brands and organisations are turning to the most followed users in the pursuit of a broader and younger audience – and are paying handsomely for their services. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:10:46 GMT)

Split your lunch to avoid office party shame
Eating well at lunchtime and having a bit left for later is crucial if you don’t want to end up being that person at the office party.Christmas party season has started for us, so it’s probably started for you, too: novelty knits, warm booze and more mini sausages than you could shake a cocktail stick at. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:29:11 GMT)

Night Games by Anna Krien named William Hill Sports Book of the Year
• Judges commend ‘balanced yet fearless’ investigation• Only second woman to win prize after Laura Hillenbrand • Night Games – book extractNight Games by Anna Krien, described as a “balanced yet fearless” investigation into the darkest recesses of sporting culture, has been named William Hill Sports Book of the Year.Described by the judges as a “painstaking, intelligent, but above all, open-minded examination of an immensely complicated area”, Night Games follows the controversial rape trial of an Aussie Rules player, focusing on what Krien – only the second woman to take the award following Laura Hillenbrand for Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse in 2001 – describes as the “grey area” of sexual consent. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:33:48 GMT)

Top tips to joyfully declutter your home, from Marie Kondo
Anything that doesn’t make you happy or isn’t absolutely necessary should be touched, thanked and sent on its way, the bestselling Japanese author saysIf you haven’t communed with your socks lately, thanked your shoes for their hard work or bowed (at least mentally) to your home in appreciation, maybe it’s time to consider doing so.“It is very natural for me to say thank you to the goods that support us,” says Marie Kondo, whose method of lovingly connecting with belongings that “spark joy” and bidding a fond but firm farewell to the rest is popular in Japan and is now catching on elsewhere. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 05:25:17 GMT)

Barcelona's Andrés Iniesta lists his family vineyard on Airbnb
The Barcelona and Spain midfield star has added his family vineyard – Bodega Iniesta – to Airbnb, offering two lucky guests the chance to be hosted by one of the world’s most celebrated footballersFootball and wine may not be a traditional pairing, but for fans of both an invitation to stay at Andrés Iniesta’s family vineyard is a unique opportunity.The FC Barcelona and Spain player – widely agreed to be among the best footballers in the world – has turned Airbnb host in order to open the doors of the Bodega Iniesta in the middle of the Castilla-La Mancha wine region. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:41:12 GMT)

Christmas fashion: a guide for pregnant women
Dressing for the festive period is always tricky. When you’re pregnant, it is a minefield. Here are some top tips to see you through every seasonal occasion in styleJust because you’re shaped like a bauble, it doesn’t mean you have to look like one.There are lots of exciting things about being pregnant. But maternity wear is certainly not one of them. Despite more fashion-forward brands than ever before, we mothers-to-be are still faced with a homogeneous sea of dark jersey and horrendous nana bras. And at no other time of year will those of us lugging a bump around feel the injustice of this more keenly than in the runup to Christmas. When the shops are awash with sparkly sequins, jewel colours and jolly jumpers, we’re left to forlornly nose through a couple of racks of black stretchy dresses and maternity jeans. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:23:46 GMT)

The Song of the Shirt: Cheap Clothes Across Continents and Centuries by Jeremy Seabrook – review
From Rana Plaza back to the Lancashire mills, the story of an industry happy to exploitIt is unlikely that Pope Francis and Dov Charney, the lubricious founder of American Apparel, agree on many issues. But on Rana Plaza, an eight-storey building in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka that collapsed in April last year, they were united: it was, they claimed, a temple of “slave labour”. There were more than 1,100 people killed and 2,500 injured on that terrible day. The majority of them were garment workers who toiled in cramped, unsafe conditions making clothes for international firms such as Primark, Walmart and Benetton. “Today in the world,” Pope Francis declared, “this slavery is being committed against something beautiful that God has given us – the capacity to create, to work, to have dignity.”For Jeremy Seabrook, author of The Song of the Shirt, the tragedy of Rana Plaza is “a story of such appalling contempt for human life that it must rank among the most callous in the brutal history of industrialism”; but it was also predictable, the most vicious punishment meted out to the women who make up most of the employees in the 2,500 clothes factories located in Dhaka. At a conservative estimate, more than 500 workers have been incinerated in factory fires over the last decade. Some lived on the rooftops of the plants where they died. Others were unable to flee because their supervisors had locked the exit doors. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:59:09 GMT)

Music Nation is the best TV show about music in years
These late-night Channel 4 documentaries explore local DIY subcultures, from Asian rave to Glasgow’s indie underground. It’s a reminder of what we might be missing out onWatching Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways on the iPlayer has prompted a certain ambivalence. That isn’t down to the final five minutes of each episode, which seem to imply that whichever rich musical heritage Dave Grohl has spent the previous 55 minutes celebrating has essentially culminated in five minutes of generic, sensitive-frat-boy pop-grunge. Well, it is partly that. But it’s something more profound and elusive, too.British TV doesn’t know what to do with music. As an essentially middle-aged medium, TV doesn’t trust its own ability to live in the aesthetically fragmented and technologically bewildering present. So it looks to the past. In music TV, power has become concentrated in the hands of a specific demographic. Remember £50 man, that mythical thirty- to fortysomething arbiter of taste asexpressed through the algorithms of casual consumption? It’s him. And, it is assumed, he mainly wants to know about punk, about Britpop, about the 1960s. He wants to know what BBC4 have got in store for him on Friday night. He wants to know who’ll be invited to Jools’s piano this week. Music TV has got stuck and as a result, we’re left with the same people telling the same stories in the same way. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:23:49 GMT)

iAmYourFather: Star Wars trailer on iTunes as well as in cinemas on Friday
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 88-second clip will offer what JJ Abrams calls a ‘tiny peek at what we’re working on’The first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be available on iTunes on Friday, it has been confirmed.The news broke on the official Star Wars Twitter feed. It follows the announcement earlier this week that footage from JJ Abrams’ debut instalment in the long-running space saga will screen at 30 cinemas in the US and Canada on 28 November.Abrams himself described the footage as an “early 88-second tease” and a “tiny peek at what we’re working on”. It had always seemed likely that rights holder Disney would release the teaser online as well as in cinemas, with the studio keen to avoid poor quality leaks from over-zealous fans recording on mobile phones.The Force is with you on #BlackFriday when #TheForceAwakens teaser hits @iTunesTrailers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:31:24 GMT)

PPE: a microplay about politics by the Guardian and the Royal Court – video
The public struggle to keep in step with politicians during the fallout of the financial crisis. David Annen, Cyril Nri and Eileen Walsh star in PPE, a microplay about the power of physical gestures. PPE was written by Tim Price, directed by Hamish Pirie and choreographed by Ann Yee, after a conversation with Aditya Chakrabortty. It is the latest in a series of collaborations between the Royal Court and the Guardian• How PPE was inspired by Farage's laugh and Cameron's hands• Watch our food-themed microplay, Britain Isn't Eating• Watch our music-themed microplay, Groove is in the Heart • Watch our sport-themed microplay, Death of England• Guardian Membership event: watch all the microplays at the Royal Court Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:02:00 GMT)

The west is letting Putin get his way on Ukraine
Since Russia annexed Crimea, the response of western leaders has been gesture politics of the worst kindUkraine’s new parliament was sworn in today. More than 400 members took their oaths, but 27 seats remain vacant – the annexation of Crimea, plus the war in eastern Ukraine, prevented deputies being elected there.It is just one year since people seeking democracy and prosperity began protesting in Kiev’s Maidan Square, leading to the downfall of a kleptocratic regime and descent of a new cold war in Europe. How rapidly the news agenda moves on. Crimea was the first annexation on the continent since 1945 but is now largely forgotten, despite prices soaring and people disappearing or dying in suspicious circumstances if they cross their new rulers. Human Rights Watch has catalogued the import of Vladimir Putin’s trademark tactics of abusing activists and harassing journalists. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:58:33 GMT)

Devolution of tax powers won’t shut down the Scottish independence debate
We don’t know the winners and losers yet but the Smith commission’s proposals are already being questionedFirst, some chronology. On 22 November some 3,000 people attended the Radical Independence Conference in the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow. That same day, in the adjoining Hydro Arena, more than 10,000 came to hear the new first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, talk about her agenda for Scotland. Her warm-up act was outgoing first minister Alex Salmond and a succession of rock bands.On 25 November Jim Murphy MP, frontrunner in the Scottish Labour leadership contest, provoked by Johann Lamont’s sudden resignation, unveiled his agenda in the Mitchell Library in the same city. His audience was 60 Labour activists. In the course of his address he confirmed that Scottish Labour had dropped its opposition to the devolution of income tax to the Holyrood parliament. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:37:20 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:18:11 GMT)

Kick David Mellor out of my cab? If I lost shouty-sweary fares I’d have none left
The back of my taxi is a confessional, but Mellor broke the rules of engagement. If only all my customers were like that nice Pete DohertyThe Sun is now handing out stickers for us cabbies to put up banning David Mellor for his much-reported antics earlier this week. I’m not sure I’d have many passengers left if I started banning all the shouty-sweary ones.We’ve all had them. Half past five on a rainy afternoon, gridlock everywhere and in they jump, all harried and important and barking orders. “Drive! My train’s at 10 to! Not this way, I’m not a tourist!” That sort of thing. They act as if they know the city so well and yet are as amazed by the traffic conditions as someone seeing the place for the first time. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:30:01 GMT)

I’m all for a mid-week church service – at least it’ll give me a Sunday lie-in
I don’t think declining church numbers are down to a loss of faith, rather increased pressure on people’s time. Perhaps the church could recognise thisThe Vicar of Dibley isn’t real. The lovely Geraldine had one very rural church with six people in it, and she didn’t seem to do much except church and the occasional meeting. She had plenty of time for country walks, jumping in deep puddles and snogging hunky men from Casualty. But for most clergy it just isn’t like that; some barely have time to eat.Three days a week I look after three churches. The rest of the time I work in a FE college. I know clergy colleagues who have more than double the number of churches. And we don’t just work on Sundays. There are the wonderful myriad other duties we have: nursing home visits, school assemblies, driving Mrs X to her doctor’s appointment, sorting out arguments about the church bins, talking to the planning department about the new mini roundabout, child protection training, funerals, christening and wedding admin, authorising grave stones, writing the church newsletter. And this is just my job list for today. I’m not complaining, really I’m not. I love what I do, but it isn’t one day a week, 9 to 5, or just one church. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:00:08 GMT)

Don’t stop the music – children need a proper arts education
The arts are under pressure in Britain’s schools, but they can be a life-changing outlet that children must not loseThe Lords are today having a debate about the arts in education. This follows recent comments by the secretary of state for education, Nicky Morgan, about arts subjects being limiting to career prospects, which are ill-judged and deeply worrying. They are particularly hard to understand when you look at the hugely impressive contribution that music and the other creative industries make to the UK.The government’s own figures show that these industries are worth well over £71bn a year to the UK economy. Employment seems to be the education secretary’s particular area of concern. Yet the latest figures published by her government show that there are 1.68m jobs in creative industries, and that jobs in this sector grew by nearly 9% in just one year – more than 10 times the figure for the UK economy as a whole (0.7%). Music alone is worth £3.8bn to the UK economy, and as the culture secretary Sajid Javid has pointed out, one in every eight albums sold anywhere in the world is by a British artist. We may be a pretty small country in terms of population, but our musicians exert an enormous influence across the globe. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:16:39 GMT)

Why Working Girl offers the real deal
The late Mike Nichols’s fairytale of an ambitious woman in 80s Manhattan is undeniably fun, but it is also a more genuine portrait of ruthless business cut-and-thrust than Oliver Stone’s Wall StreetIn 1984, with another term in the White House at stake, Ronald Reagan’s team decided to accentuate the positive. “It’s morning in America again,” proclaimed campaign ads that showed men and women hurrying to work, buying new homes and getting married. Reagan won by a landslide.Four years later, as the nation bade its tinseltown president farewell, a film came out that seemed to sum up the reinvigorated American dream even more effectively. The opening scenes of Working Girl might be the best advert for New York – and, by extension, for American capitalism – there has ever been. As the morning sun spills out over the Hudson, we circle the Statue of Liberty to the drumbeats of Carly Simon’s anthem to sheer determination, Let the River Run. Goosebumps are obligatory. The camera homes in on the Staten Island ferry, which transports our heroine, Tess, and thousands like her, to the bustle and business of Manhattan. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:00:01 GMT)

Fairlife’s new milk adverts are unoriginal and tediously sexist
Featuring naked pin-up girls cavorting in milk, these ads are just another example of the sexualisation of women for commercial gainYou know something’s up when images of the type associated with the sexism of past decades resurface in a thoroughly modern advertising campaign. So it was with a sigh that I read the news about Fairlife, Coca-Cola’s new “premium milk brand” (nope, me neither), illustrated with images of naked women covered in flowing milk. The pictures – from period-styled hair to looks of arousal and “naughty surprise” – are clearly designed to evoke retro “pin-up girl” images. One loosely mimics the infamous Marilyn Monroe up-skirt moment. As if the implications of the slender, long-legged images weren’t clear enough, another features a woman perched atop a set of scales (in high heels, obviously – isn’t that how everybody weighs themselves?)The ads, seemingly based on an existing set of photographs by London-based photographer Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz, raise more questions than they answer. Is this milk for drinking, or are you just expected to pour it lavishly over your head as you sit at the breakfast table, pouting sexily at your dry cereal? Why don’t men seem to be invited to partake in this new gastronomic experience? And given the enormous levels of dairy wastage likely to ensue, can you really justify charging double the price for it compared to normal milk? Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:56:43 GMT)

East coast rail has been too successful – quick, privatise it
Being publicly owned doesn’t fit the free-market dogma that dictates that the railway must be a rip-off, fragmented messNo wonder they’re flogging off the publicly owned east coast rail franchise: its very existence is a stubborn rejection of “the market does best” dogma. Public ownership has routinely been caricatured as a wasteful, subsidy-guzzling failure. How infuriating it must be, then, for free-market ideologues that east coast depended on less public subsidies than any of the 15 privately run rail franchises. Indeed, the franchise has proved a lucrative cash cow for the state, bringing in around £1bn to the exchequer since 2009. East coast is an embarrassing success story for public ownership. Instead, it must be run by a tax exile and a Scottish businessman perhaps best known for campaigning against gay equality.The disaster of railway privatisation is an Achilles’s heel for free-market ideologues, and they know it all too well. Handing east coast to Stagecoach and Virgin represents an “up yours” to British public opinion, which despairs of our fragmented, inefficient, rip-off rail network. According to a YouGov poll last year, two-thirds of us believe railway companies should be run in the public sector, with less than a quarter opting for privatisation. Not just Labour supporters, either: more than half of Tory voters opted for public ownership, and Ukip voters were actually more likely to support a nationalised network than the rest of the population. The government’s dogma could hardly be more divorced from the pragmatic commonsense of the British people. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:11:53 GMT)

My family's Thanksgiving on the reservation is a rebuke to America's colonialism
The holiday represents hundreds of years of genocide and oppression of Native American populations. But we’re still hereWhen I was a little kid, I was unaware that I am the bastard child of colonisation, born into a reality in which I’ll spend my entire life combating the way the world views me based on propaganda like national sports mascots and tales of the first thanksgiving.As an adult, Thanksgiving is just more colonialist propaganda masquerading as history – and a day that represents hundreds of years of genocide, persecution and oppression of our people. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:30:11 GMT)

It isn’t Facebook that feeds terror. It’s war and tyranny
The refusal to accept Britain’s role in a violent campaign without end fosters fear and racismIt takes some mastery of spin to turn the litany of intelligence failures over last year’s butchery of the off-duty soldier Lee Rigby into a campaign against Facebook. But that’s exactly how David Cameron’s government and a pliant media have disposed of the report by Westminster’s committee of intelligence trusties.You might have expected Whitehall’s security machine to be in the frame for its spectacular incompetence in spying on the two killers: from filling out surveillance applications wrongly and losing one suspect’s house number, to closing down the surveillance of another – just as the pair were preparing the Woolwich attack. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 08:38:44 GMT)

Coral Triangle could be last bastion for planet's beleaguered reefs
Major reef system in south-east Asia could be unusually resilient to climate change, Catlin Seaview Survey suggestsIf humans are driving earth’s sixth great extinction event, coral reefs will be one of the first and most visible ecosystems to succumb. Scientists estimate that by 2050, the ocean could be largely devoid of reefs as climate change and our relentless plundering of the sea set in motion geological changes not seen for millions of years. But according to the Catlin Seaview Survey, a multi-year project to map the world’s coral reefs, there may be evidence that certain reefs in the Coral Triangle could resist longer than others. The project is using cutting-edge camera technology and a big-data approach to establish baselines for key indicators like health, diversity, decline and resilience. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:06:06 GMT)

Disabled people don’t matter to politicians. To change that we must vote
Support for disabled people has for too long been an easy cut to make. Operation Disabled Vote aims to change thatToday marks the launch of Operation Disabled Vote, a campaign to encourage the 11 million people living with a disability or long-term health condition in the UK to register to vote. It is a simple but inspired idea that couldn’t come soon enough.For too long now we have seen policy after government policy hit the disabled hardest. According to the government’s own impact assessment, two-thirds of those affected by the bedroom tax are disabled, and some are struggling so hard to make up the cuts to their housing payment that they are selling off possessions to buy their children winter coats. This week, research from charity Contact A Family showed 83% of families with a disabled child are now having to go without – 31% have gone without food, 33% without heating – with two-thirds of parents saying their own health has been affected as a result. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:15:12 GMT)

Do the Instagram stars show we’re now all living in scripted reality?
These polished amateur marketers present something aspirational, but it’s not really their life. And it won’t be yoursOn my shelves I have stacks of photo albums lined up in chronological order. They chart my teenage years, and the many valiant attempts to use home hair dye kits. The albums are full of blurry and unmanaged moments – a stranger grinning in the corner, a flash gone awry. They show shiny faces, terrible poses and awkward facial expressions.The albums tail off around the time I got a phone with a camera. We were seduced by the novel concept of taking a photo, deeming it unflattering and instantly trying again. We got tools to add effects, or crop out that stranger in the corner. We presented a better version of ourselves, and our albums stopped taking up space in our homes. They went online – we Facebooked our memories so that all our friends could appreciate them too. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:00:09 GMT)

The Guardian view on the pope’s speech to the European parliament: rediscover your core values
Europe is far from over. It’s a continent of many blessingsFew speeches about Europe these days arouse much enthusiasm. The subject is more likely to be greeted with boredom or acrimony, the debate conducted in instant and shallow slogans. So the pope’s message to the European parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, calling for a break from the current angst and “a return to the conviction of the founders of the European Union” came as something of a shock.It did not play down the woes and inadequacies of the current state of European affairs. On the contrary, the speech included descriptions of the “distrust of citizens towards institutions considered to be aloof, engaging in laying down rules perceived as insensitive to individual people”. But those – step forward, Nigel Farage – who thrive on channelling populist sentiment against the very essence of the European project would be fools or, more likely, cynics to claim that Pope Francis has vindicated them in any way. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 06:00:07 GMT)

Love in exile
In 2010, Tiwonge Chimbalanga, a transgender woman, was imprisoned in Malawi for getting engaged to a man. Pardoned and freed, she now lives in exile in South Africa. Mark Gevisser reports on an uneasy triumph for the global LGBT rights movement“Gays Engage!”This was the headline on the front page of Malawi’s Nation newspaper, on 28 December 2009, beneath a photograph of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Stephen Monjeza, bleary and uncomfortable in matching his-and-hers outfits cut from the same waxprint: “Gay lovebirds Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza on Saturday made history when they spiced their festive season with an engagement ceremony (chinkhoswe), the first recorded public activity for homosexuals in the country.”But the first time I heard the word ‘gay’ was when I saw it next to my photograph in the newspaperIt’s everybody’s right to get married. I was not doing it for others. I was doing it for myselfShe had assumed some kind of celebrity, but one which was very detrimental to her own wellbeingBecause she feels herself so strongly to be a woman inside, she does not understand that she does not look like one Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 06:00:03 GMT)

Patriot games: how toxic is the England flag today?
Some people sneer at it, Ed Miliband claims to respect it and it has been embraced by the English Defence League and British Muslim football fans alike. But can the St George’s flag ever escape its nationalistic associations?Just above the Spider-Man doll with its four limbs suckered to the bay window is what I’ve been looking for. A St George’s flag. In the champagne-quaffing, wild boar carpaccio-munching, Tuscany-holidaying, Ocado-shopping, unacceptably leafy, patriotism-eschewing people’s republic of Islington. Imagine!To be fair, it didn’t take me long. Yes, Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry, in her justification of last week’s career-ruining tweet, may have found a house draped in England flags “remarkable” when she was campaigning for Labour in last week’s Rochester and Strood byelection, but in the north of the Islington where I live, such sights are not unusual. Yes, there are no drives on which white-van man can park his motor of choice in piquant juxtaposition with his patriotic flags, but the terraced streets are dotted with white vans and not a few of the houses are homes to lairy, bald white blokes – one of them me. And England flags? There they are, glimpsed between the inflatable Santas that are now going up in the borough. Continue reading...
(Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:24:22 GMT)

New choir brings opera to Mozambique
Young singers to perform work by Wallender author, based on book that is required reading in country’s schoolsA dozen singers belt out Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in a classroom at the Pedagogical University in Mozambique. The country has just two professional opera singers; this year, the duo are training young Mozambicans to perform a new show based on a book by the country’s most prominent author.International opera performers Stella Mendonça and Sonia Mocumbi, the daughter of former prime minister Pascoal Mocumbi, have returned from careers abroad to teach Mozambicans from all walks of life how to sing. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:02:38 GMT)

Afghanistan: what will happen when the troops – and their dollars – depart?
Ahead of the London summit, concern is growing that the world could forget Afghanistan – and the country could forget its commitments to women’s rightsIt would be a challenge for any leader: balance the books after years of systemic corruption, battle a resurgent rebellion and form a government despite entrenched ethnic divisions. But Afghan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, must do all this as thousands of foreign troops pull out, taking their services, experience, hardware and dollars with them.Ghani’s most pressing task at a summit with international donors in London on 3-4 December may be to make sure the world does not forget Afghanistan once foreign soldiers are no longer fighting on its soil. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 07:00:04 GMT)

Terry Riley’s masterpiece – and minimalism, African style
It can be over in 15 minutes. It can last several hours. It can be done with a Wurlitzer – or 20 guitars. Now In C, the defining work of minimalist music has been tackled by Damon Albarn and Africa Express. Its composer Terry Riley reveals how it all beganTerry Riley is sitting in a quiet corner of the legendary Café Einstein in Berlin’s red-light district. A patient smile plays around his face – but mention the m-word and irritation suddenly ripples through his great candyfloss beard. “Minimalism was never a word we used for what we did,” he says. “It was a tag from the art world someone stuck to us later. My heart sinks when I get emails from music students saying they are writing a ‘minimalist piece’. Once you become an ism, what you’re doing is dead.”Riley’s problem is that he is the composer of perhaps the defining work of what has become known as minimalist music. In C, the groundbreaking piece he first performed on 4 November 1964, may have become an “ism” but it is no artefact: for its 50th anniversary, tributes and reinterpretations keep coming. A new version – recorded by Damon Albarn and his Africa Express team, with help from Brian Eno and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – is out this week. Today, the Californian is in Berlin to meet with the German conductor André de Ridder, who instigated and led this new version, recorded last year in Bamako, the capital of Mali. For his 80th birthday next year, there will be Riley retrospectives at music festivals around the world. The beard will be doing a lot of rippling. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 08:00:05 GMT)

'In India cricket is a religion, but football is a way of life'
The Indian Super League is drawing large crowds, new audiences and global sponsors to football, but will it ever match the zeal of cricket as a national sport?Cricket v football: Mumbai decidesIndia’s latest flirtation with football is not even three months old and it appears the Indian Super League has managed to forge new passions for the sport, as well as rejuvenate dormant ones among the country’s sporting fans. The ISL is now the most attended league in Asia, the fifth most attended in the world - a staggering statistic considering this is its inaugural season. And one not remotely possible without an existing predilection for football among the rank and file sports fans, of any nation. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:56:20 GMT)


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(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:20:54 GMT)

Is the Greek economy improving?
The Greek government is keen to trumpet the country’s improved economic outlook, as the country exits recession for the first time in six years. But is any improvement being felt by people on the ground? After a six year slump, Greece finally came out of recession earlier this month. But are there any signs of an improving situation for Greek families, individuals and businesses? That’s what we hoped to find out by asking for readers’ views on the current state of the Greek economy. We received hundreds of responses, with only 12% of respondents saying they had seen signs the economy was on the mend.The Guardian’s Greece correspondent, Helena Smith, is deeply sceptical about the heralded recovery having any real impact on the ground. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Nov 2014 07:30:05 GMT)

Bringing up the bodies: Mexico's missing students draw attention to 20,000 'vanished' others
The shocking disappearance of 43 student teachers lifted the lid on the open secret of Mexico’s many others who’ve disappeared amid drug-fuelled violenceThey found the first grave in a thicket of spiny huisache trees clinging to the hillside outside the town of Iguala. Under a pounding midday sun, about a dozen men and women watched as an older man plunged a pickaxe into the heavy soil. Some offered advice on where and how to dig; mostly they looked on in silenceEven if it isn’t my brother in there, it is still a person. A person who deserved a proper burialAt least we want to be able to bury them properly ... At the moment we don’t even have a place we can go to cry. Continue reading...
(Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:49:48 GMT)

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