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UK governments drug laws survey was suppressed, Lib Dem minister says
Norman Baker says Tories did not like evidence gleaned as deputy prime minister Nick Clegg criticises foot dragging over report that says tough laws make no differenceA groundbreaking Home Office report which concluded that tougher enforcement of drug laws does not lead to lower levels of drug use was suppressed by the Conservatives, a Liberal Democrat minister has said.Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat Home Office drugs minister, said the report, published on Thursday, had been suppressed not by the home secretary, Theresa May, but by the Conservatives. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:03:00 GMT)

Tory minister defends axing migrant rescue: Politics Live
Rolling coverage of all the days political developments, including the dispute between the Lib Dems and Number 10 over a Home Office report on drugs policy and a debate on migrant rescue 12.47pm GMT A Labour MEP is going to push for an inquiry at the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee of the European parliament. Claude Moraes, who chairs the committee, said:Saving lives is not an issue of encouraging or discouraging migration - nor is it a push or pull factor. It is a moral duty to save those in distress at sea. It is a matter of observing the basic norms of maritime law.Human traffickers will not lose business because we do not assist boats in distress. People take the risk of the perilous journey because there is still hope that they will survive the crossing and it is still the best option they have. 12.30pm GMT Maurice Wren, chief executive of the Refugee Council, has rejected the governments argument that search and rescue operations encourage people to take perilous journeys, calling it an affront to basic humanity. The suggestion that if we allow people to drown at sea it will deter others from fleeing persecution is macabre logic. Future generations will surely look back with shame at the British governments response to the greatest refugee crisis in generations, as it stands on our island, pulls up the drawbridge and callously leaves desperate people to drown while telling them its in their best interests. 12.09pm GMT Labour MPs have effectively been accusing the government of letting migrants drown to sound tough on immigration in the face of Tory voters switching to Ukip.Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair has given an interesting interview to Progress, saying it is a bad idea to ape Ukip in the hope of winning back lose voters.Lets be clear: We dont think that Ukips right, not on immigration and not on Europe so the first thing youve got to be really careful of doing is saying things that suggest that theyre kind of justified in their policy because what youre actually going to do is validate their argument when in fact you dont believe in it.Tony Blair says both Miliband and Blair are validating Ukip's argument by following its agenda. http://t.co/Fuanekj5i2 He's right, too. 12.05pm GMT Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader and foreign envoy, has made in important intervention on the subject of stopping migrant rescue missions.Former lib dem leader, Lord Ashdown, says letting migrants drown in the Med is a discreditable policy and contrary to the law of the sea 11.38am GMT The Labour backbencher who successfully got to ask an urgent question on the issue was Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith. This is what he said:You know that many of those seeking to make this journey are fleeing war, poverty and starvation from places like Syria and Libya. They know already about the risks of dying... they are exploited by people-traffickers, as you have accepted. If they are picked up by European neighbours or border control, they know that they are not going to be given free entry to Europe but are quite likely to end up in a detention centre in Italy or be sent back to their country of origin. Surely it is obvious that the refugees and migrants making these journeys are so desperate they will still make these terrible journeys anyway and the idea that search and rescue operations should be discontinued and people left to die in their thousands to discourage others from making the journey is not just cruel and inhumane, but totally without logic. 11.29am GMT Labour MPs have been reacting like this:Minister James Brokenshi in House worming out of responsibility for non rescue policy for Mediterranean migrants facing drowning. Shame.My colleague @marklazarowicz rightly holding UK Govt. to account for disgraceful decision to scrap rescue missions in Med for #refugeesJust put a question to the Immigration Minister in an Urgent Question on Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean. No real response.Just replied for the Opposition on search and rescue policy for boats carrying migrants and refugees, governed by international maritime law 11.22am GMT This is a summary of what Brokenshire said in the debate:We have agreed to a request from Frontex, the EUs border management agency, to deploy a debriefing expert in support of the new Frontex Operation Triton off the southern Italian coast. This operation is not designed to replace Mare Nostrum but will instead patrol close to EU borders. We stand ready to consider any further request for UK support for the new Frontex operation...Those [search and rescue] matters are matters for member states individually in respect of their territorial waters and therefore it is ultimately a decision for Italy as to how it conducts its search and rescue matters. In respect of the Frontex operation that I have outlined, that is providing surveillance capability and other support in respect of the border. But I find it inconceivable to suggest, and indeed the head of Frontex has said this, that if a boat were in peril that support would not be provided in those circumstances and that obviously rescue would be undertaken 11.19am GMT Ian Lucas, a Labour MP, points out that the government has supported air strikes in Syria. He says there is a moral obligation to help people fleeing war zones where the UK is involved. 11.15am GMT Home Office minister tells MPs operations to rescue drowning migrant in the Med "need to end at the earliest opportunity" 11.14am GMT Barry Gardiner, a Labour shadow minister, accuses Brokenshire of sophistry. He says there must be more action to stop people leaving north Africa before the rescue missions are stopped. He says:Why is it the minister is taking the safety net away while people are still falling out of the burning building? 11.13am GMT David Jones, the Tory former welsh secretary, says the root cause of the problem is the people traffickers. The best thing to do would be an information campaign in north Africa, he says.Many Labour MPs have been making the point that you can do education work in north Africa as well as rescuing migrants from drowning. 11.11am GMT Brokenshire has just dodged a question on whether he can estimate how many lives would be saved by withdrawing the search and rescue missions.Margot James, a Tory MP and parliamentary aide to William Hague, sounded like she was about to criticise the government but stopped short:The wars in the Middle East are so dire that Europe is unlikely to be able to impact on the push factors in the near term... Europe needs to face up to its responsibilities more than they are doing to date. 11.07am GMT Sheila Gilmore, a Labour MP, calls for more evidence that this will stop deaths before the rescue efforts are axed. 11.07am GMT This is what one SNP MP had to say:Said to the minister that this monstrous race to the bottom with UKIP on immigration is now leaving people to drown in the Mediterranean 11.05am GMT Tory rightwinger David Nuttall argues that it would help reduce the pull-factor if the government made it a specific criminal offence to enter the UK illegally. 11.03am GMT Brokenshire is keeping his calm in the face of some very angry MPs on the Labour benches.Jeremy Lefroy, a Tory backbencher, is a voice of dissent among the Conservatives. He asks the government to think again. The rescue efforts should not be withdrawn before better help is in place for migrants in north Africa trying to flee to Europe, he says. 11.01am GMT But David Winnick, the veteran Labour backbencher, says this policy can be summed up in three words: Let them drown. 11.01am GMT Sir Tony Baldry, a church commissioner and Tory backbencher, supports the government. He stresses it was a unanimous decision by EU member states.It was never the intention of the UN convention on refugees that if anyone was trafficked from a third country into Europe that they would automatically be given indefinite leave to remain. 10.58am GMT Diane Abbott, the Labour backbencher, is up in the Commons and sounding furious.She compares the decision to the British navy forcing the Exodus ship carrying Jews who were trying to escape the holocaust to go back to Europe. She says the UK will look back in shame at both situations. 10.54am GMT Sir Richard Ottaway, the former chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, has given the government his support.Brokenshire confirms there will still be Italian-led rescue efforts within 50 miles of the coast. 10.52am GMT Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the home affairs committee, says it will be an unintended consequences that more people will drown in the Mediterranean, even though he understands why governments do not want to give succour to traffickers.He says the best thing to do is trying to stop people leaving north Africa in the first place. 10.51am GMT Sarah Teather, the Lib Dem former childrens minister, has accused the government of washing its hands of drowning refugees Pontius Pilate-style.She said it was absurd and deeply unethical for the government to claim that people fleeing war zones will be discouraged from taking the risk. 10.50am GMT Brokenshire insists that the decision to change the policy is not about short term concerns about immigration but a wider strategic stance aimed at saving lives. 10.48am GMT Brokenshire has accused Labour of politicising the issue. He claims all the EU member states have agreed the current course of action.He denies the UK government will be responsible for deaths, blaming this on the traffickers who take migrants on boats through dangerous waters. 10.47am GMT Johnson demands to know whether the UK will provide just one immigration officer as its contribution to dealing with the problem of 150,000 people who need rescuing from the Med each yearShe says is is a legal obligation to save people at risk on the seas. 10.45am GMT Diana Johnson, a shadow Home Office minister, says the government is just trying to appear tough on immigration ahead of the Rochester byelection with terrible consequences. She says there is no evidence at all that this will work to reduce people getting on dangerous boats.Instead of trying to reduce this appalling loss of life, the government is going to let it increase... This is a barbaric abandonment of British values. 10.43am GMT Brokenshire insists the governments change in position is saving lives, rather than costing them. 10.42am GMT Philip Davies, the right-wing Tory backbencher, says the rescue efforts are encouraging people to try their luck to get into Europe illegally 10.39am GMT James Brokenshire, a Home Office minister, is defending the governments position on stopping the UKs efforts to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.Brokenshire says it is in no ones interest to encourage more and more people to make the dangerous crossing. He stressed the end of rescue operations would have to be widely publicised to prevent more loss of life. 10.27am GMT Whenever drugs policy is in the news, its always fun to remind people of what David Cameron used to think (or say he thought). This is from the Independent in 2005: David Cameron, the Tory leadership contender, believes the UN should consider legalising drugs and wants hard-core addicts to be provided with legal shooting galleries and state-prescribed heroin.He also supported calls for ecstasy to be downgraded from the class-A status it shares with cocaine and heroin and said it would be disappointing if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at. 10.16am GMT The case for drugs reform is made by Green MP Caroline Lucas in our pages today ahead of her debate in the Commons on the issue. This is an extract:On 20 July 2013, Martha Fernback swallowed half a gram of MDMA powder and died. She was 15 years old. Martha should be celebrating her 17th birthday today. She isnt because the current drug laws failed to protect her. Because prohibition hasnt stopped risk taking, but it has made those risks worse.On Marthas birthday her mother, Anne-Marie Cockburn, will be in parliament to listen to MPs debating whether or not the terms of the Misuse of Drugs Act should be based on an assessment of the best possible evidence. 10.10am GMT Aside from the drugs row, heres a quick round-up of all the other political stories of the day: 9.58am GMT Conveniently for the Lib Dems, drugs policy will be discussed in the House of Commons today. The backbench debate was brought about after a petition of more than 100,000 members of the public and it is due to start at approximately 12.10pm.Norman Baker, the Lib Dem minister in charge of drugs policy, will be responding for the government. He may have to tread carefully in what he says, as some of his criticisms of the Conservatives resistance to reform have been said in the context of his job as a Lib Dem MP this morning. Those proposing the motion are Green MP Caroline Lucas, Lib Dem MP Dr Julian Huppert, and Labour MP Bob AinsworthThat this House notes that drug-related harms and the costs to society remain high; further notes that the independent UK Drugs Policy Commission highlighted the fact that Government is spending around £3 billion a year on policies that are often counter-productive; believes that an evidence-based approach is required in order for Parliament and the Government to pursue the most effective drugs policy in the future; welcomes the recommendation of the Home Affairs Select Committee in its Ninth Report of 2012-13, HC 184, that the Government consider all the alternatives to the UKs failing drug laws and learn from countries that have adopted a more evidence-based approach; notes that the Government has responded positively to this recommendation and is in the process of conducting an international comparators study to consider the effectiveness of national drug policies adopted by a range of countries; and calls on the Government to conduct an authoritative and independent cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and to publish the results of those studies within the next 12 months. 9.45am GMT I have an updated the schedule below as there will be an urgent question later this morning about the end of search and rescue operations for migrants in the Mediterranean to be asked by Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz 9.39am GMT 9.33am GMT On the subject of the poll showing the Greens have overtaken the Lib Dems, Clegg sounds relaxed:We clearly have suffered in the polls, thats obvious... Do I think we are going to do a whole lot better? ... I strongly suspect we will have a whole lot more MPs [than the Greens or Ukip] in the next parliament. 9.30am GMT Clegg is now talking about child abuse and Ann Coffeys report suggesting hundreds of children in care have gone missing. He says the enormity and the scale of the tragedy keeps on growing but it is not the fault of politicians that they did not know about it.People have to be held to account for what happened in the past and things must be set right now, he added. 9.29am GMT Asked about comments by Michael Wilshaw, the Ofsted chief inspector, suggesting some schools are struggling with an influx of migrants, Clegg says the government has been giving more money to schools to help with children who need it and if there is pressure on places, they need the proper resources. 9.26am GMT Clegg is repeating his position on recall, saying Zac Goldsmiths position of allowing the electorate to decide when an MP should be sacked is rich mans recall that could leave it open to abuse by vested interests. 9.25am GMT Clegg blames the Italians for the winding down of search and rescue methods for drowning migrants in the Mediterranean.It was a decision taken by the Italian government. They decided they didnt want to continue with search and rescue... The first thing to say is that we must play our part as a country to make sure people want to stay put and not illegally try and move great distances to another country.Its not for us to second guess the Italian governments stance. Were being led by what the Italians tell us. 9.23am GMT Clegg is now asked about security for senior politicians after a jogger ran into David Cameron as he left an event in Leeds.The deputy prime minister said the security team is very good and the culture here is that they dont go overboard like in the US. He feels like they strike the right balance. 9.16am GMT The questioning moves on the £1.7bn EU bombshell bill. Has David Cameron made a dogs dinner of it all, asks the caller?Nick Clegg defends the prime minister and echoes his position: Were not going to pay this money by December 1. 9.11am GMT Clegg has now laid into the Conservatives, saying they have a totally outdated, misplaced backward looking view that the public will not accept drugs reform.However, he denies it is a row, saying it is a staunch difference of opinion. 9.10am GMT Clegg is being challenged by Nick Ferrari over whether people would be happy to see the state fund someones methadone when others are fighting to get cancer drugs.The deputy prime minister says:It is monumentally expensive to chuck people behind bars for a few months [for drugs offences], only to see them come out and get more addicted to harder drugs. 9.08am GMT Clegg says he hopes todays report on drugs is a wake-up call for David Cameron and Ed Miliband.He is not not clear whether addicts should be given surrogate drugs or helped to go cold-turkey by health professionals. The deputy prime minister defers to the experts. 9.06am GMT Nick Clegg gets a soft first question on drugs from the first LBC caller, asking him to set out his views. He says the war on drugs is not working and we have to get away from the facile view that talking tough sorts the problem,He says the report was published after lots of foot-dragging from the Conservatives and he is not going to hide his frustration with his coalition partners.I do not support a free-for-all. I want to see more criminalisation of the pushers. I want to see more pushers behind bars but I want to see help for addicts. 8.58am GMT Norman Baker, a Lib Dem and the Home Office minister in charge of drugs policy, has been all over the airwaves this morning promoting the report. However, Downing Street sources argue it provides no support whatsoever for the Lib Dems policy of decriminalisation. Baker has already hit back, pointing out that it was signed off by both himself and Theresa May, the Conservative home secretary. He told Sky News: Nothing in the report says about letting drug dealers off scot-free and its not Lib Dem policy anyway to let drug dealers off scot-free. Ive just indicated to you that we want to get harder on drug dealers.So I fear this is Number 10 back-pedalling because theyve got inconvenient facts. The facts are weve had an independent study conducted by civil servants and some of my Conservative colleagues apparently dont like the evidence thats come out. But if you look at a tree, its a tree.The reality is this report has been sitting around for several months. Ive been trying to get it out and Im afraid I believe that my coalition colleagues who commissioned the report jointly dont like the independent conclusions its reached... It was suppressed, not by Theresa May, but it was suppressed by the Conservatives. And the reality is its got some inconvenient truths in it. 8.53am GMT Morning everyone. This is Rowena Mason, standing in for Andrew Sparrow on the Politics Live blog on Thursday, 30 October. Well have a readers edition tomorrow and normal service from Andrew will resume next week.Drugs policy is top of the news this morning, with the Lib Dems and Tories trading blows over a report from the Home Office. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:47:01 GMT)

FGM: Ban Ki-moon backs Guardians global media campaign
UN chief launches grants initiative in Kenya as part of push to change how female genital mutilation is reported and perceivedThe UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon is backing a groundbreaking global media campaign, led by the Guardian, to revolutionise how female genital mutilation is reported and perceived across the world, with the aim of ending the practice.Speaking at a key meeting with the heads of all of Kenyas main media players at the UN headquarters in Nairobi, he announced five international FGM reporting grants co-funded by the UN and the Guardian which will see key journalists in Kenya focus on FGM in an attempt to eradicate the harmful practice within a generation. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:22:01 GMT)

Tim Cook: 'I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me'
Apple CEO Tim Cook has written about his sexuality for the first time, in the hope that he can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she isTim Cook, chief executive of Apple, has officially come out as gay and described his sexuality as among the greatest gifts God has given me. Cook, who had previously never denied being gay but neither had he publicly acknowledged his sexuality, wrote about being gay in an opinion article for Bloomberg. Im proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me, the boss of the worlds largest company said on Thursday. For years, Ive been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know Im gay, and it doesnt seem to make a difference in the way they treat me, he said. Of course, Ive had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace peoples differences. Not everyone is so lucky. Cook, 53, who became the boss of Apple in August 2011 shortly before founder Steve Jobs died after a long battle against pancreatic cancer, said: While I have never denied my sexuality, I havent publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: Im proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me. Out magazine listed him on its 2013 power list, while tech blog Valleywag castigated the New York Times for erasing Cook when it wrote in May that there is not a single openly gay chief executive at the nations 1,000 biggest companies. Until today, Cook had also never confirmed that he is a gay man, to the extent that a CNBC anchor caused a minor fracas in June when he described Cook as fairly open about the fact that hes gay. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:58:33 GMT)

Government considered cuts to employment and support allowance
Internal documents seen by BBC suggest officials considered cutting ESA by as much as £30 so it is effectively worth the same as jobseekers allowanceThe government is considering cutting the value of the main employment and support allowance (ESA) sickness benefit by as much as £30 so that it is effectively worth the same as jobseekers allowance, internal documents seen by the BBC suggest.New claimants, judged to be capable of work with appropriate support, could be given just 50p more per week than people on jobseekers allowance (JSA). Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:40:00 GMT)

Greens ahead of Liberal Democrats in YouGov poll
Calls to include party in BBCs general election TV leader debates are likely to increase after it comes fourth in pollThe Green party is ahead of the Liberal Democrats in a national opinion poll a finding that intensified pressure for the Greens to be represented in a general election TV debates between party leaders.YouGov research for the Sun has Labour on 34%, three points ahead of the Conservatives, Ukip on 17%, the Greens on 7% and the Lib Dems on 6%. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:50:25 GMT)

Abdel Hakim Belhaj wins right to day in court over his kidnap by MI6 and CIA
Court rules that case of Libyan exile, who was secretly flown to Tripoli and tortured, can go ahead despite government attempts to stop itA Libyan exile who was abducted in a joint MI6-CIA operation has won the right to bring his claim against the government to court.Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his Moroccan wife, Fatima Bouchar, were secretly flown to Tripoli in 2004, where Muammar Gaddafis security forces tortured him. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:26:47 GMT)

Israeli police shoot dead suspect in assassination attempt on far-right rabbi
Killing of Muataz Hijazi follows shooting of Yehuda Glick, a leading voice in efforts to gain more Temple Mount prayer rightsIsraeli police have shot dead a Palestinian man suspected of being the gunman in the attempted murder of a far-right rabbi, Yehuda Glick, in Jerusalem on Wednesday night.The dead man, whose family identified him as 32-year-old former prisoner Muataz Hijazi, was shot on the roof of his home during a police raid in the city early on Thursday morning. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:35:00 GMT)

Autobahn sniper sentenced to more than 10 years in prison
German court finds 58-year-old lorry driver guilty of charges relating to hundreds of shootings along highwayA court in Germany has sentenced a lorry driver to 10 and a half years in prison for shooting at fellow drivers more than 700 times over a five-year period.In one incident a driver was hit in the neck by a ricochet but survived. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:15:22 GMT)

Barclays sets aside £500m for forex-rigging fines
Move offers insight into potential scale of fines and dwarfs penalties handed down in 2012 for irregularitiesBarclays has given an indication about the scale of potential fines looming across the banking industry by setting aside £500m to cover the cost of the on-going investigations into rigging currency markets.The provision is larger than the £290m of total fines that the bank received for manipulating Libor in 2012 and is being revealed as the Financial Conduct Authority attempts to agree a settlement with six major banks over their activities in the £3.5tn a day foreign exchange markets. The regulator is working towards revealing the outcome of this investigation and the scale of the penalties next month. Royal Bank of Scotland, which reports its results on Friday, is also part of the investigation. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:54:00 GMT)

Report says child sexual exploitation normal in parts of Greater Manchester
Study by Ann Coffey MP calls for recognition of real and ongoing problem of abuse as a priority public health issueSexual exploitation of vulnerable children has become the social norm in some parts of Greater Manchester, fuelled by explicit music videos and quasi-pornographic selfies, an MP has warned.The systematic grooming of boys and girls remains a real and ongoing problem, a year after Greater Manchester police (GMP) was forced to admit it had failed abuse victims in Rochdale, said Ann Coffey, a former social worker who is now the Labour MP for Stockport. My observations will make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case, she writes in a significant report. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:22:05 GMT)

Britain set for warmest Halloween on record
Weather forecasters predict unseasonably warm temperatures of 20C in parts of UK on FridayBritain is set for a treat with Halloween set to match the warmest on record as weather experts predict unseasonably warm temperatures of 21C in parts of the country on Friday.That would eclipse the Halloween record of 20C in Dartford, Kent in 1968, said the Met Office. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:13:39 GMT)

Father of Sarah Payne, who had struggled since her murder, found dead at his home
Family pay tribute to Michael Payne, who was devastated by abduction and murder in 2000 of eight-year-old SarahMichael Payne, the father of the murdered school girl Sarah Payne, has been found dead at his home in Kent.The 45-year-old, whose eight-year-old daughter was abducted and murdered in July 2000, had struggled with depression and alcoholism. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:24:16 GMT)

Shrien Dewani trial: South Africa detectives still gathering evidence
Detectives from elite unit have taken new statement from key prosecution witness four years after Anni Dewani was killedThe South African detectives investigating the 2010 murder of Anni Dewani were still gathering evidence 10 days before her husbands trial started earlier this month, Shrien Dewanis trial heard on Thursday.Despite having had almost four years to investigate Annis November 2010 murder, detectives from South Africas elite Hawks detective unit took a new statement from a key prosecution witness on 26 September this year. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:38:10 GMT)

Barrel bombs hit Syrian refugee camp, say residents
US state department says it is horrified by reports of bombing of Abedin campThe Assad regime in Syria has been accused of dropping barrel bombs on a displaced persons camp in the northern province of Idlib, killing dozens of people.The US said it was horrified by the reports of the bombing while adding it could not confirm details. The attack on the Abedin camp was nothing short of barbaric, said state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. Unfortunately if it is confirmed to be the work of the [Assad] regime it is only the latest act of brutality by the regime against its own people. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:33:17 GMT)

Cameron to stage Commons vote on European arrest warrant
Prime minister signals desire to opt back in but faces large backbench revolt from within his own party over the issueDavid Cameron is to risk a backbench rebellion over opting back in to the European arrest warrant after he announced he will stage a Commons vote on the issue before the vital Rochester and Strood byelection.Ed Miliband offered to give over Labour debating time to stage the vote, but Cameron pre-empted him by saying the government had already decided to do so itself. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:54:00 GMT)

First Iraqi Kurdish fighters enter Isis-besieged Kobani
Monitoring group says peshmerga fighters have arrived with heavy weapons, crowning a dramatic turnaround for Syrian townThe first Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters have entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobani through the border crossing with Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.The British-based monitoring group said 10 fighters moved in on Thursday and the others were expected to enter the town, which has been under attack by Islamic State (Isis) for more than a month, within hours. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:10:00 GMT)

Nato jets intercept Russian warplanes following 'unusual level of air activity'
Bombers and fighters shadowed during unusual burst of flights over Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic and Black Sea, says allianceNato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:27:51 GMT)

Omagh bomb plot intelligence withheld says ombudsman
Police ombudsman says special branch officers held back information on Real IRA bomb plot which killed 29 people in 1998Northern Irelands police ombudsman has accused special branch officers of holding back important information relating to the Omagh bomb massacre the single biggest atrocity of the Ulster Troubles.While stressing that the Real IRA bomb plot could not have been prevented, the ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, said the Royal Ulster Constabularys anti-terrorist unit withheld the telephone numbers of dissident republican suspects and other intelligence matters to the police investigating Omagh. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:57:12 GMT)

World Bank pledges $100m to send health workers to Ebola-hit countries
Treatment centres are being built in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea but still big need for doctors and nurses to staff themThe World Bank is to invest $100m (£63m) in an attempt to increase the number of foreign health workers heading for west Africa to care for people with Ebola.Treatment centres in the three countries at the heart of the epidemic Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are being built but the biggest need is for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to staff them. The United Nations says around 5,000 international personnel are needed, including up to 1,000 foreign health workers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:30:03 GMT)

Drones spotted over seven French nuclear sites, says EDF
Unidentified drones had flown over seven plants this month by mystery operator as Greenpeace denies involvementFrances state-run power firm Électricité de France (EDF) on Wednesday said unidentified drones had flown over seven nuclear plants this month, leading it to file a complaint with the police.The unmanned aircraft did not harm the safety or the operation of the power plants, EDF said, adding that the first drone was spotted on 5 October above a plant in deconstruction in eastern Creys-Malville. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:56:48 GMT)

Jim Murphy hopes to become first minister of Scotland
Former Scottish secretary is third candidate to stand to succeed Johann Lamont after Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay made announcementsJim Murphy, Labours shadow international development secretary, has confirmed he will leave Westminster for the Scottish parliament if he wins the contest to become Scottish Labour leader.Murphy will stand to replace Johann Lamont after her shock resignation last week, and would take up a Holyrood seat, giving up his Westminster seat in East Renfrewshire. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:39:52 GMT)

More than five people a week are bitten by police dogs, figures show
Compensation paid to victims has more than doubled in past three years to almost £250,000More than five people a week are being bitten by police dogs in London on average, according to figures released to the Guardian, while compensation payments have soared to nearly £250,000 over three years. Lawyers representing innocent victims of police dog attacks say the numbers are troubling and that the force needs to do more to control the animals.In the past three years, 827 people have been bitten by Met police dogs, according to the figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. While the majority were suspects being pursued by the force, 53 were members of the public or police officers. It is not known how many of the suspects were found guilty of crimes or cleared. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:55:46 GMT)

US drone strike kills militants near Pakistan-Afghanistan border
Security officials say at least four militants killed in attack on village in South Waziristan, considered a Taliban strongholdA US drone strike has killed at least four militants in Pakistans restive tribal region near the Afghan border, according to security officials.The attack happened early on Thursday in Nargas, a village in the South Waziristan, which is considered a stronghold of Taliban militants. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:56:47 GMT)

Protesters storm Burkina Fasos parliament
Offices ransacked as protests continue against amendment that would allow President Blaise Compaoré to extend 27-year ruleHundreds of demonstrators have stormed parliament in Burkina Fasos capital in protest against plans to change the constitution that will allow President Blaise Compaoré to extend his 27-year rule.Police had fired teargas at the protesters to try to prevent them from moving in on the national assembly building in Ouagadougou on Thursday before a vote on the contentious legislation. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:03:00 GMT)

Spending watchdog slams inspection regime for English state schools
Ofsted and education ministers under fire from National Audit Office for poor value for money in oversight of educationWaves of reform have left Englands state schools working under a confused array of inspection regimes and unclear systems for raising standards, according to a report by the governments spending watchdog.The highly critical assessment published on Thursday by the National Audit Office calculates that 1.6 million children attend a state-funded school rated as less than good by Ofsted but says the Department for Education (DfE) is unable to show what helps to tackle low standards. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:01:18 GMT)

Spains oldest dictionary under fire for equating gypsy with cheat
Roma group calls on Royal Spanish Academy to remove latest definition of the word, saying language has consequencesSpains oldest and most authoritative dictionary has prompted outrage by defining gypsy as one who lies and cheats.After 13 years spent updating entries, the Royal Spanish Academy unveiled its 23rd edition of the Spanish dictionary at a sombre ceremony presided by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, earlier this month. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:20:49 GMT)

Two new lizard species found in Queensland rainforest
Cape Melville rainbow skink and Cape Melville bar-lipped skink bring the tally of species unknown to science that have been found in small, remote area to eightTwo species of lizard previously unknown to science have been uncovered in a remote part of far north Queensland.Dr Conrad Hoskin, a researcher at James Cook university, found the two species after landing by helicopter in a largely inaccessible area of rainforest on top of the Melville range, about 170km north of Cooktown. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:17:59 GMT)

How sick are the worlds healthcare systems?
The NHS is in trouble and its chief executive has requested £8bn to save it. But how does Britains system compare with healthcare around the world and what can we learn? From hard-pressed India to highly organised Germany, eight Guardian correspondents reportIn Lewis Carrolls Through the Looking Glass, Alice finds herself facing a difficult conundrum. Shes running towards a distant hill; yet no matter how quickly she runs, her surroundings move with her, effectively stranding her. She meets the enigmatic Red Queen. Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place, the Queen explains. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that! Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:37:17 GMT)

20 best fast food recipes: part 4
Delicious recipes that can be ready in minutes including black bean tacos and honey and ricotta pancakes Sam Harriss risotto with trevisano, pancetta and crispy sage With the arrival of autumn we see a move towards the more earthy aromatic flavours of the new season, where dishes are about contrast and balance, as opposed to the more one-directional summer staples. Here the punchy bitterness of this delicious vegetable (trevisano) from the Veneto in Italy sits well with chunks of sweet cured pancetta and smoky crispy sage. A small shock of lemon helps to merge these autumnal components beautifully. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:00:36 GMT)

If that viral street harassment video shocked you you're probably a man
Women arent surprised by video proof that sexism exists. We share it because were hoping that all men will finally believe that it does, tooThere is by now a familiar pattern to campaigns to bring attention to the problems women face in the world: sexism gets documented in a way that is irrefutable, it goes viral, and then sexism continues on unabated.The latest example: a viral video put out by the anti-street harassment organisation Hollaback! in which Shoshana Roberts walks down a New York street in a T-shirt and jeans, stone-faced, as men walk alongside her, look her up and down and comment on her body, her lack of a smile and generally demand that she pay attention to them. Its awful, uncomfortable, and entirely unsurprising at least to 50% of the population. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:15:03 GMT)

Muhammad Ali through the eyes of the photographers who know him best
Muhammad Ali has been the subject of some of the most celebrated photographs ever taken. To mark the 40th anniversary of one of his most bruising fights, the Rumble in the Jungle, our sport picture editor, Jonny Weeks, has talked exclusively to several of the photographers who have known and shot Ali among them, Neil Leifer, Carl Fischer and Thomas Hoepker to hear their experiences and to learn the stories behind the iconic photos they capturedMuhammad Ali 25 of the best photographs of the legendary boxerThink of a photograph of Muhammad Ali besides those pictured above I suspect theres a good chance you thought of that wonderful shot of Ali towering over Sonny Liston in the first round of their heavyweight title fight in 1965, where Ali, visibly irate, is beckoning his opponent up from the canvas with a digger-like swing of his right arm. If not, then you doubtless know the photograph Im talking about: its that famous. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:00:04 GMT)

Want to get paid more? Get thin, study shows
Extra pounds translate to a more difficult financial life for overweight women but the difference for discrimination can be as little as 13lbsIs weight the new race?Gender discrimination steals a womans futureWhy women cant have work dinners with menOprah faced size bias tooA timeline of womens rights through historyIf youre a woman, and overweight, you can probably stop reading right now. Because odds are that youre experiencing what Im about to write about.People probably employers expect you to hide. If a woman is overweight, employers are less likely to select her to fill a higher-wage job that involves interacting with the public. Overweight women are more likely to make less money than people of normal weight and, tellingly, plump women earn even less than men who are overweight or obese. The data is from new study by Jennifer Shinall, assistant professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School.Heavy women earned $9,000 less than their average-weight counterparts; very heavy women earned $19,000 less. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:00:04 GMT)

Mercury prize 2014: Young Fathers defy the odds to win
Edinburgh hip-hop groups debut album, Dead, beats 11 other nominees, including Damon Albarn, to take coveted prize Deserving misfits scoop the 2014 Mercury prizeExperimental Scottish hip-hop trio Young Fathers have defied the odds to scoop this years Mercury music prize. The band, described as a Liberian/Nigerian/Scottish psychedelic hip-hop electro boy band, saw off competition from the favourite, R&B artist FKA Twigs, former Blur frontman Damon Albarns first solo venture, and spoken word singer and poet Kate Tempest to win the prestigious music prize for their album, Dead.The bands winning album has only sold 2,386 records in the UK since its release early this year and before the awards had been rated at 16/1 to win. Picking up the gong, the band Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham G Hasting made a very brief acceptance speech, simply telling the audience at the Roundhouse in north London: Thank you. Thank you. We love you all, thank you. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:25:55 GMT)

Diva bunnies and unicorn haters: David Shrigley is back!
Full of his trademark subversive surrealism and edge-of-madness rants, artist David Shrigleys new screed is his biggest, and most laugh-out-loud, yetWeak Messages Create Bad Situations: A Manifesto is out now Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:00:40 GMT)

Ordinary Birmingham family to be immortalised in city centre statue
Depiction of single-mother sisters Roma and Emma Jones and their children created by Turner prizewinner Gillian WearingTwo single-mum sisters and their young sons will join three pioneers of the industrial revolution and Queen Victoria on Thursday in being publicly immortalised in Birmingham.A £100,000 bronze statue of an ordinary family, the Joneses, will be unveiled in a prime spot outside the citys library which opened last year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:00:11 GMT)

How to make the perfect cinder toffee
Do you use butter and honey or keep it simple with sugar? Is there anything finer to eat around the bonfire, and do you make any other recipes that are more akin to a science experiment?How to make the perfect tabletCinder toffee (also known as hokey pokey, puff candy or even sea foam, depending on where you are in the world) is best described, to the uninitiated, as that stuff you get inside a Crunchie bar. It is brittle yet sticky, with an airy, honeycomb-like texture that makes it well-nigh impossible not to eat one piece too many, and an addictive slightly bitter edge, thanks to the caramelised sugar and the bicarbonate of soda that creates all the holes.Along with the similarly bitter but rather chewier treacle variety, and the smothered-apple sort, cinder toffee is a popular choice for those commemorating the grisly downfall of Mr Guy Fawkes (or, at least, enjoying some fireworks and an almighty bonfire) on 5 November. It is certainly one of the most fun things you can make in the kitchen, more akin to a chemistry experiment than a recipe, but with rather more delicious results than even the infamous exploding custard tin. But whats the best way to make it? Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:00:43 GMT)

Gullit, Lombardo, robotic dolphins and surfing at 1,000 frames per second
This weeks round-up also features frustrated tennis players, a rabona American football kick-off and much more1) Its just a half-naked Ruud Gullit playing a half-naked Attilio Lombardos head like the bongos among a host of half-naked 1990s Serie A players on the intro credits for Sigla di Mai Dire Gol. Obviously.2) Surfing, filmed at 1,000 frames per second. Very smart. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:00:01 GMT)

Unlocking the Truth: Brooklyns teen metalheads
Unlocking the Truth are the youngest group ever to sign to Sony in a $1.8m deal. Hermione Hoby meets the teen metal sensations (and their mums) to hear about girls, gaming - and why their drummer could be the first black popeThe manager of the heavy-metal band is straight out of central casting. Short, bearded and waistcoated, Alan Sacks is a showbiz veteran who shrugs a lot and has the kind of Brooklyn accent (becawze) that soon will exist only in films. The heavy-metal band itself, however, are no ones stereotype. Unlocking the Truth are three very young African-American boys from Flatbush, the working-class neighbourhood of Brooklyn where Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli and Joey Bada$$ were born. Hip-hop is ingrained in the place, or the place is ingrained in hip-hop, but Malcolm Brickhouse, 13, Jarad Dawkins, 12, and Alec Atkins, 13, have been into metal since they were seven years old. For a long time, their playing was limited to Brickhouses mothers basement, where tolerant neighbours didnt mind them practising. Now, theyve become the youngest ever band to sign to Sony.I meet them in the downtown office of their management, which, in the way of most such offices, looks like a teenage boys dream: pool table, bubblegum machines, mounted guitars, flatscreens playing music videos. Dawkins, the drummer, sits down beside me on the sofa, hands clasped in an attitude of professional attention. The other two bounce around until theyre finally corralled into place by a succession of managers and mothers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:00:02 GMT)

This politics of denial over immigration is feeding a growing inhumanity
The cowardice and dishonesty of politicians means we now talk about people as if they were a virusWe are indeed swamped. By stories about immigration. Someone somehow has decided that stories about immigrants are top of every news agenda at every hour.We are under siege from great hordes of immigrants as we wave around our lavish benefits. They climb over huge fences erected to protect politicians from protestors. They dangle on spikes of barbed wire, half-gone from exhaustion. No one can stop them. All the systems that are meant to control their numbers are in disarray. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:00:13 GMT)

Why women are buying men's underwear
M&S claim about half of their mens underwear is bought by women. Meanwhile, Acne have launched a line of gender-neutral underpants. Are mens undies the latest example of unisex fashion?Things are moving apace in genderless fashion and, as per, women are ruining everything. According to Marks & Spencer, the Official British Empire of British Underwear, women are starting to buy mens underwear, with some increasingly close to out-buying them. The British retailer claim half of their mens underwear is currently bought by women, and while its impossible to ascertain how many of these are women purchasing for partners/parents and how many for themselves, the retail chain says it does suggest that mens underwear is a common consideration for women irrespective of whether or not they are wearing it themselves. Without jumping to conclusions while jumping wholly to conclusions, does this mean that the final frontier in gender-specific clothing underwear no longer exists? Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:19:15 GMT)

Todays key fact: you are probably wrong about almost everything
Most people around the world are pretty bad when it comes to knowing the numbers behind the news. But how issues such as immigration are perceived can shape political opinion and promote misconceptionsQuiz: how well do you know the UK?Comment: Britons arent uniquely ignorant, most countries have got their facts wrongBritons overstate the proportion of Muslims in their country by a factor of four, according to a new survey by Ipsos Mori that reveals public understanding of the numbers behind the daily news in 14 countries.People from the UK also think immigrants make up twice the proportion of the population as is really the case and that many more people are unemployed than actually are.These misperceptions present clear issues for informed public debate and policymaking. For example, public priorities may well be different if we had a clearer view of the scale of immigration and the real incidence of teenage mothers.The real peril of these misperceptions is how politicians and policymakers react. Do they try to challenge people and correct their view of reality or do they take them as a signal of concern, the result of a more emotional reaction and design policy around them? Clearly the ideal is to do a bit of both politicians shouldnt misread these misperceptions as people simply needing to be re-educated and then their views will change but they also need to avoid policy responses that just reinforce unfounded fears. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 07:00:05 GMT)

Baking with blood: homemade Halloween treats
Pigs blood can replace eggs in sweet dishes, according to the Nordic Food Lab. What better time to try the recipes than Halloween?There is an amazing amount of Halloween shizzle in the shops right now. Mr Kiplings Fiendish Fancies and McVities Lemon & Slime and Spooky Jaffa Cake bars are joining supermarket own-brand versions of ghoulish, freaky and ghostly edible treats. But while this is great news for lazy hosts, any Halloween party worthy of the name deserves something more. It deserves blood.Back in January, in a report that British bakers have shamefully ignored, the Copenhagen-based Nordic Food Lab explained how pigs blood can replace eggs in sweet dishes. Both ingredients, it pointed out, contain a similar mix of proteins, and both will coagulate when heated. This was great news, it declared, for all those suffering from egg-white intolerance. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:17:13 GMT)

Tom Ince signs for Nottingham Forest on loan from Hull City
Midfielder agrees two month deal at City Ground 22-year-old has found chances limited in Premier LeagueNottingham Forest have completed the loan signing of the Hull City midfielder Tom Ince.The manager Stuart Pearce has been in talks with the Premier League club for several days and on Thursday morning an agreement was reached for the 22-year-old winger to move to the City Ground on a deal until 28 December. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:53:50 GMT)

Soweto unites to say farewell to murdered goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa
The Orlando Pirates star should have been playing in front of 90,000 on Saturday; instead he will be buriedSaturdays Soweto derby was meant to be all about two fierce rivals slugging it out in front of 90,000 loyal fans. Instead the hearts and minds of millions of Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs supporters across South Africa will be with Senzo Meyiwas family at his funeral in Umlazi in Durban.After the shooting of the Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper on Sunday night, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) had no choice but to cancel the match scheduled to kick off at 3.30pm local time at the FNB Stadium on the outskirts of Soweto. Meyiwas No1 jersey has already been officially retired by his club, while tributes to the 27-year-old, who had just set a record of four successive clean sheets for South Africa, have flooded in from around the world. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:02:00 GMT)

Rio Ferdinand faces battle to get back into QPR side, says Harry Redknapp
Manager says Ferdinand will have to wait for a chance Rio understands that. He has to keep working hard Defender banned for three games for Twitter comment QPRs Rio Ferdinand, banned for three games after being found guilty of misconduct for an abusive Twitter comment, faces a battle to get back into the first team, according to Harry Redknapp.The 35-year-old former England captain directed a jibe at a Twitter follower who criticised him last month, containing the word sket, which the Collins English Dictionary defines as a promiscuous girl or woman. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:35:57 GMT)

Lee Clark named Blackpool manager 10 days after Birmingham sacking
Clark signs one-year rolling deal to replace José Riga Was sacked as Birmingham manager last week LMA call for end to short-term hiring and firing cultureLee Clark has been named as Blackpools new manager, just 10 days after being sacked by fellow Championship strugglers Birmingham.Blackpool confirmed that the 42-year-old has been appointed to the post on a one-year rolling contract to replace José Riga, who was sacked following a turbulent 14-game spell at the helm.BREAKING: Lee Clark appointed Blackpool manager. http://t.co/F4ZVPwvSlB pic.twitter.com/sX2dVs571u Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:52:29 GMT)

Bristol City match Chelsea on back of magpies, soft pillows and lucky pants
Steve Cotterill joins José Mourinho as the only manager with an unbeaten league record this season, despite the wash-day dilemmas that come with quirky superstitions and rituals More features on our Football League blogFrom comparisons with José Mourinho and the quality of pillows at Marriott hotels to safaris in Botswana and Bristol Citys version of the X Factor, Steve Cotterill has covered a diverse range of topics over a cup of tea but the only unbeaten manager in the Football League has saved his most revealing insight until last.Im superstitious about things, Cotterill says. I used to be really bad. If I drove to a game and Id only seen one magpie by the time I got to the ground, Id have to turn around and drive off and try to find another one. I mean, really, how stupid is that in terms of whether its going to have any bearing on whether you win that football game or not? Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:30:05 GMT)

Football transfer rumours: Arsenal to sign Stephan Lichtsteiner and Virgil van Dijk?
Todays rumours are mesmerised by No1The Mill suspects that Arsène Wenger has a vast collection of a certain type of magazine. Model-building magazines, of course! You know, the ones where the first issue is cheap and comes with the first part of a magnificent ship or tank or rocket or something, the second issue is a little more expensive and includes another part of the model, and then each subsequent issue is really quite dear because the publishers reckon youll want to complete your creation so you can display it proudly on your mantelpiece alongside all the candlestick-holders/empty wine bottles. But most people never get round to buying the full series of magazines and so have homes full of half-ships and quarter-trains, just as Wenger has for several years had a football team just a couple of pieces short of completion.Well, now we read that Wenger has been nagged into doing something about that! The relentless complaining from Arsenal fans has, apparently, convinced the manager to spend January tracking down the parts missing from his model team although the first step, we read, will be to buy another right-back to go with the two he bought last summer. But the acquisition of Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus could allow Callum Chambers to be converted permanently into a centre-back. Similarly, the arrival of another centre-back, Celtics Virgil van Dijk could allow Chambers to be pegged permanently as a right-back. So what were saying is, Wenger seems set on building baroque defence with many extravagant embellishments. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:22:58 GMT)

Newcastle United stun Manchester City as David Silva injury compounds woe
Manchester City relinquished their grip on the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night in the worst possible fashion. The lack of spark from Manuel Pellegrinis team was reminiscent of the insipid fare produced under Roberto Mancini in his title-defence campaign of 2012-13. Here was a crushing embarrassment for the Premier League champions who, if they really harbour pretensions of retaining the crown and prospering in the Champions League, need to wake up from their stupor.The defeat means Citys sequence is draw-loss-loss in their past three matches, with this reverse coming from an XI featuring Yaya Touré, Martín Demichelis, David Silva, Eliaquim Mangala, Fernandinho, Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and James Milner. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:05:39 GMT)

San Francisco Giants win World Series with game 7 win over Kansas City
San Francisco Giants 3-2 Kansas City RoyalsGiants take series 4-3 to claim third title in five yearsWorld Series Game Seven: as it happenedThe MLB season went down to the wire as the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in a tight game seven to clinch the World Series. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner came in on two days rest to pitch five scoreless innings in relief, earning the save - the longest in postseason history. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:29:35 GMT)

Alexander Levy surges to first-round lead in Shanghais BMW Masters
Levy cards flawless opening 65 at Lake Malaren Frenchman won the Volvo China Open in April I think this country likes me. I enjoy being hereFrances Alexander Levy made the ideal start to his bid for a third European Tour title of the season and second in China in the BMW Masters on Thursday.Levy, who won the Volvo China Open in April and the rain-shortened Portugal Masters three weeks ago, carded a flawless opening 65 at a damp Lake Malaren to finish seven under par, one shot ahead of compatriot Romain Wattel, Belgiums Nicolas Colsaerts and Argentinas Emiliano Grillo. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:32:34 GMT)

Graziano Pellè scores late winner for Southampton at Stoke
Southampton earned a Capital One Cup quarter-final away to Sheffield United courtesy of Graziano Pellès second goal of the night in the 89th minute but only after withstanding a furious second-half assault in which Stoke Citys Peter Crouch was sent off for two bookable fouls inside 80 seconds.Stoke, 2-0 down at half-time after losing to the same opponents in the Premier League last Saturday, staged a feisty comeback to make it 2-2 when Mame Diouf equalised eight minutes from time but Pellès 10th goal of the season for club and country enabled Southampton to win for the ninth time in 10 games as he capitalised on the free-kick that Crouch conceded for a lunge on Steven Davis. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:02:46 GMT)

Englands Stuart Broad dismisses Kevin Pietersens claims of bullying
Broad: the bullying word has not crossed my mind Bowler welcomes Jonathan Trotts return to England set-up Pietersens international absence unbelievable KP: The Autobiography condensed into 600 wordsStuart Broad has denied there was any deliberate bullying in the England camp during his time playing alongside Kevin Pietersen.Pietersen has alleged there was a culture in the dressing room where players were bullied and where apologies were demanded by bowlers for fielding errors. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:08:07 GMT)

Tottenham cruise into last eight as Érik Lamela and Harry Kane sink Brighton
The finish was less extravagant than the one with which Érik Lamela lit up Tottenham Hotspurs previous midweek cup tie but he might reflect that it was more important. His team had laboured, not for the first time at White Hart Lane, when he was thrust on as a half-time substitute, charged with making the difference against opponents who are struggling in the Championship.Lamela did precisely that. Drifting inside from the left, he demanded the ball loudly, as he tends to do, got it and, in a flash, Brighton & Hove Albion were in trouble. Lamela moved through the gears, swapping passes with Roberto Soldado and slicing into the penalty area. He never looked like blowing the chance on his right foot from 10 yards out. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:04:31 GMT)

Wales optimistic that Jonathan Davies will be fit for Australia Test
Scan shows centre has not dislocated shoulder Alex Cuthbert back in training after groin injuryWales are hopeful their Lions centre Jonathan Davies will be fit to face Australia in Cardiff next week after a scan revealed he had not suffered a shoulder dislocation playing for Clermont Auvergne against Sale in the European Champions Cup last weekend.Davies left the field after only 15 minutes and there was a fear he would miss all of Waless four Tests next month, having been involved for only 20 minutes in last years autumn programme. But tests showed that the problem is muscular and the 26-year-old has been ordered to rest this week. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:50:20 GMT)

Liverpools Daniel Sturridge: my injury problems may be hereditary
Striker believes muscle problems are due to Caribbean vibes Sturridge predicts he can form partnership with Mario Balotelli Rodgers admits Liverpool are feeling Sturridges absenceDaniel Sturridge believes his persistent injury problems could be hereditary after admitting his speed makes him vulnerable to breaking down.The Liverpool striker has not played since being injured while on England duty at the start of September having suffered with thigh and calf problems. Sturridge, whose uncles Dean and Simon were both professionals, believes that could be a result of his Caribbean background. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:51:08 GMT)

Sebastian Vettel defends Red Bull amid US Grand Prix qualifying controversy
World champion likely to miss Saturdays session Vettel pays grid penalty and starts race from pit lane Vettel grid penalty met with dismaySebastian Vettel has defended Red Bulls controversial attitude towards qualifying for the US Grand Prix, with the world champion unlikely to take part as he saves his engine for the race on Sunday.With Formula One in a state of deep crisis a fifth of the grid will be missing with Caterham and Marussia in administration, while other teams are fighting for their lives American race fans will be bitterly disappointed not to see one of the few drivers they have actually heard of. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:48:37 GMT)

What happens to your Facebook account when you, or a loved one, dies?
When a Facebook user dies, there are two options: delete the account or memorialise it. How can people plan for their digital legacy?Sadly, my wife passed away in April. Since then, I have made several requests to have her Facebook account turned into a memorial page. I would prefer this to deleting her account as it will provide a place for people to leave messages and memories and especially for my sons, aged nine and 13.Whenever I fill out the Facebook form, it advises me that someone will be in touch with me soon, but I have never heard anything from them. I cant see anywhere where I can get any help from Facebook with this problem.Perhaps having their lack-of-service highlighted by the Guardian will prompt somebody at Facebook to respond, but I wouldnt bet on it. Either way, youre right: there is no way for the average user or even the average journalist to talk to Facebook. The only thing you can do is repeat the process, as you have done, until it eventually gets through the system. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:41:55 GMT)

The 10 most terrifying clowns
As Halloween approaches and with scary clowns in the news, we select the most fearsome examples of red-nosed entertainers gone very bad indeedTheres a resurgent theme in scary film and television: the scary clown. The oft-portrayed sinister jokester appears to have bubbled to the surface in the days before Halloween, even appearing in the news. Cable television reinvigorated the creepy character in the latest series of American Horror Story, called Freak Show, but its far from the only iteration. Movies have used the motif for years, some to legendary effect (think It), and new films continue trying to out-scare the competition (watch the Clown trailer below). Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:25:10 GMT)

Pumpkin geometry: stunning shadow sculptures that illuminate an ancient mathematical technique
Henry Segerman and Saul Schleimer paint beautiful shadows based on the maths of stereographic projection, a method originally used by cartographers to map the EarthLike a Halloween pumpkin, the hollow sphere casts a dramatic shadow across the room.The curved lines on the spherical shell magically produce a grid of perfect squares. It would make for an amazing lampshade, or maybe even a disco ball. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:00:34 GMT)

Sky-high expectations for Marvel's super-slate of comic book movies
Hollywood is set to saturate cinemas with high-octane superhero films until 2019, but Marvel pioneered the universe concept and its newly-announced slate of interlinked films looks ready to outpower the rest.If you hate comic-book movies, it might be a good idea to stay away from multiplexes for the next five years. Warner/DC has just announced its own slate of 10 interlinked superhero films, while 20th Century Fox gave the long-running X-Men saga a new lease of life this year with the daring, thematically complex Days of Future Past.Sonys Spider-Man is set to explore supervillain title The Sinister Six before returning with a third solo webslinger flick, while Paramount has just jumped on board with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Theres even a remake of the overrated The Crow in the works. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:24:56 GMT)

The Witch of Edmonton review superbly textured lead performance
Swan, Stratford-on-AvonIf the quality of Rowley, Dekker and Fords 1621 attack on society is open to debate, Eileen Atkins multifaceted turn as the witch is a resounding successTwo things stand out in this rare revival of a 1621 play by Rowley, Dekker and Ford. One is the sombre beauty of Gregory Dorans production, which anchors the play firmly in its original period. The other is the brooding presence of Eileen Atkins as the titular witch. My only doubts concern the quality of the play itself.It has the merit of topicality, since it was based on the real-life case of Mother Sawyer who was hanged at Tyburn as a witch. The play also unequivocally shows how a persecuted old woman becomes the thing of which she is accused. As she says, Tis all one to be a witch as to be counted one. But the plays tripartite authorship means you can see the stylistic joins. Dekker, presumably, wrote the Mother Sawyer scenes; Ford the main sub-plot about Frank Thorney, who bigamously marries a pregnant servant and a yeomans daughter for her money; and Rowley weighed in with the low-life antics about a gullible rustic. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:02:35 GMT)

Comforting lunches for when you feel ill
Got a cold? Here are some packed lunch ideas to warm your cockles when you are feeling under the weather . You may have already suffered your first sniffle of the season, and if you havent, you know its probably coming over the next few months. When the first thing you reach for on a dark, damp morning is a man-sized tissue and the jar of VapoRub then perhaps you should stay at home. But for those days when you do make it into work, here are some lunches to warm your cockles and get you through the day. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:30:06 GMT)

10 of the best: metal meets classical
We celebrate Halloween by turning to the dark side with our pick of the 10 best heavy metal covers of classical tunesIt is, of course, one of the most honourable cross-connections in contemporary musical culture, the virtuosity and emotional extremity that bind classical and metal together. So in honour of All Hallows Eve, were journeying to the dark side of the musical universe, with variously metallised versions of classical masterpieces. Enjoy. If you dare. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:00:35 GMT)

Watership Down: the film that frightened me the most
A prescient bunny with apocalyptic visions leaves a young Phil Hoad terrified and turning tail out of a Newcastle cinemaEver since the Forrest family pet unexpectedly entered the food chain in Fatal Attraction, and Frank the mercury-faced leporid walked into Donnie Darkos waking dreams, rabbits have been officially nibbling around the edges of the horror genre. Right now, theyre at 46th place in the freakiness rankings, sandwiched between abandoned rocking chairs and wind-up music boxes (well below the likes of staring twins and evil clowns). But if there was a moment when the placid little critters first extended their range beyond merely cute, I like to think I was there, and wailing in raw, unfiltered, primal terror.That reaction was probably wasnt what Richard Adams had in mind when he wrote Watership Down in 1972, his homily to the timeless rhythms of rural England. I doubt Martin Rosen and John Hubley, directors of the 1978 film version, wanted to scare the bejesus out of their young audience either. But one small section the apocalyptic vision that leads skittish rabbit seer Fiver to encourage his warren mates to abandon their burrows was far too vivid. Fiver sniffs around, a whisper of terror in the air: a fencepost rears up like a gallows; a cigarette singes the lush green. Then he sees it: blood blotting a vast field, threatening to engulf them all. Skeletal tree outlines crack like veins through the insanguinated sods. Their branches twist and undulate with queasy malice. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:20:59 GMT)

Being a rubbish indie DJ led me to discover the power of soul music
The intention was to dazzle the crowd all six of them with perfectly chosen indie. But when another DJ started playing classic soul, a revelation ensuedFrom the moment I heard the song, it was a depth charge to the senses. The tune flooded in, and Id shriek it in every quiet moment, or tap it out discreetly with fingers and toes when those around me could take no more those being the only reasonable courses of action available to kids born in 1978 on first being exposed to Nellie the Elephant by the Toy Dolls.Through the rest of the period from 1984 to 1992 came an endless string of musical epiphanies. From one month to the next, another new favourite song. October 1986: Madonnas True Blue. March 1987: Mel & Kims Respectable. For most of 1988, a new favourite song each week as tape and record-buying began in earnest. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:16:45 GMT)

Five of the best UK winter music festivals
Memories of partying in fields may be fading, but there are plenty of winter music festivals in Britain to ward off the chill. Olivia Palamountain rounds up the best, from riotous disco to folk and baroqueTop 10 winter music festivals: Europe and beyond21-23 November & 2830 NovemberNot to be confused with ITVs 1990s revival tour of the same name, this Big Reunion at Butlins Skegness offers a bang up-to-date line-up of massive acts and DJs over two raucous weekends. Tinie Tempah leads the pack alongside Chase and Status (DJ set), with beats from Hannah Wants and Pendulum. The resort will also host satellite pool parties and bingo sessions if you need a break from the main stages. Definitely aimed at a younger crowd, this is not the place to reminisce about raving days gone by although old-school favourites DJ Luck & MC Neat have made it on to the roster.Where to stay Tickets include basic accommodation at Butlins; upgrade to a VIP package for self-catering facilities.How much? Standard two-night room-only with access to all of the arenas costs £175pp. thebigreunion.com Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:59:33 GMT)

Paul Southern's top 10 underground menaces
From Satan to minotaurs, the author of Killing Sound shares his top ten den-dwelling demons and savage subterranean spirits whatever you do, dont look down!What is it about being underground that frightens us so much? A fear of confinement or something more deeply rooted? Nearly all ancient cultures, and certainly the worlds major religions, have told us that hell is, literally, beneath our feet, a place where souls will be tortured and tormented for all eternity by Satan and his demonic minions. A large part of my new book, Killing Sound, is spent underground (the London Underground, to be precise) and was inspired by a quote I read about it from 1860: The forthcoming end of the world would be hastened by the construction of underground railways burrowing into infernal regions and thereby disturbing the devil. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:00:36 GMT)

Straight Outta Hogwarts: Radcliffe's Alphabet Aerobics and the celebrity rap
Actors rendition of Blackalicious on Jimmy Fallon is the latest in a long list of well-known names attempting to rap - from Gwyneth Paltrow, to Natalie Portman and... Conservative Party Chairman Grant ShappsCelebrities and rap music make strange bedfellows at the best of times, but placed in the context of a high-pressure chat show, and they make for an almost instant viral success. Last night on Jimmy Fallons Tonight Show a programme famed for its ability to craft shareable, entertaining clips that have an afterlife long after the show finishes Daniel Radcliffe joined the long list of celebrities whove dabbled in rap in order to both entertain and prove theyve got some sort of edge. His rendition of Blackaliciouss Alphabet Aerobics, a song thats known for its A-Z lyrical construction and tongue-twisting dexterity, was pretty much flawless. It was even more impressive when you consider that when celebrities normally show off their rap skills, it consists of them reciting a few hastily mumbled lines from a well-known classic rather than a genuinely hard-to-perform rarity. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:12:37 GMT)

The daily quiz: jazz and antiques
In this week's reader-set quiz, moved forward a day to accommodate a Halloween special on Friday, Bruce Watteau tests your knowledge of small birds, big operas and Brian Eno Follow @GuardianQuiz on Twitter for daily notifications Would you like to set the quiz? Email 10 questions to daily.quiz@theguardian.com along with your name, and they may be used in the weekly Friday readers' edition Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:45:00 GMT)

Nigel Farage to take power in Ukip documentary spoof
Channel 4 to use actors alongside real-life footage for a film imagining the partys first 100 days in Downing StreetChannel 4 will imagine a country run by Nigel Farage in a spoof documentary which will air in the runup to next years general election.The broadcaster, which has previously used the mockumentary genre to put Tony Blair on trial and execute Gary Glitter, will use actors alongside real-life footage for its fictional portrayal of the Ukip leader in Downing Street. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:05:18 GMT)

Flying car approaches liftoff as most advanced prototype yet is unveiled
Creators say AeroMobils Flying Roadster 3.0 could become regular mode of transport for commutersWith its sportscar cockpit and dragonfly wings that fold in neatly behind the cabin, it looks like something straight out of the Batcave or Qs secret laboratory. But the creators of AeroMobils Flying Roadster insist their innovation is more than just a boys toy dreamt up by science fiction fans. The time of the flying car, they announced at Wednesdays unveiling of their most advanced prototype, has come.Speaking at Pioneers festival, a two-day entrepreneurship and digital technology conference in Vienna, AeroMobils chief designer, Stefan Klein, and CEO, Juraj Vaculik, said their innovation could change personal transport on a global scale. Their flying car, Vaculik said, could eventually become a regular mode of transport for commuters and middle-distance travellers, especially in countries with underdeveloped road infrastructure. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:22:00 GMT)

World's richest man would take 220 years to spend his wealth
Number of billionaires on Earth has more than doubled since the financial crisis, according to a new report from OxfamExplosion in wealth inequality needs urgent plan of action, says OxfamSince the financial crisis, the number of billionaires in the world has more than doubled, according to research by Oxfam which warns that economic inequality has reached extreme levels.According to the charity, the number of billionaires (US$) worldwide totalled 1,645 people by March 2014 - up from 793 billionaires in March 2009.The report found that inequality between countries had widened rapidly between 1980 and 2002, before narrowing slightly due to the rapid growth in China. But it said that inequality had risen within countries, so that seven out 10 people lived in nations where the gap between rich and poor was greater than it was 30 years ago.Including race, gender, geography and economy, which rarely work in isolation. This report is primarily concerned with the concentration of financial resources and wealth in the hands of the few, which can affect political, social and cultural processes to the detriment of the most vulnerable. As such, in this report we use the term inequality to refer to extreme economic (wealth and income) inequality. When referring to the various dimensions of inequality we make these distinctions. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:36:32 GMT)

Young Fathers: misfits deserving of their Mercury prize win
Dead is an anomalous album, but a bewitching and alluring one just the sort of music these awards should be honouringAs ever, the 2014 Mercury prize attracted controversy and criticism. This year, however, the loudest of it came from an unlikely source. Not an upstart blogger or NME hack, but an august broadsheet rock critic, seemingly angry that the nominees werent boring enough. Where, he demanded to know, was the music full of character and integrity, a classification that apparently encompasses George Ezra, Sam Smith and Coldplay?Nowhere, alas: instead the august broadsheet rock critic was confronted by a parade of misfits, horrified by the sound of experimental jazz quintet Polar Bear tootling on something he referred to as a coronet. By this he presumably meant a cornet, which is at least an instrument, albeit not one that appears anywhere on Polar Bears album. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:05:53 GMT)

Labour needs to make the moral arguments
First Mediterranean rescue missions, now benefit cuts Ed Miliband needs to answer the Tories with a stronger moral caseWith every passing day, the Tory strategy becomes clearer. It could be called, after the artist who is the subject of a Mike Leigh biopic and major exhibitions at the moment, the Turner strategy. JMW Turners genius was to create a swirl of colour (think Sea Monsters) that at first glance seems almost entirely abstract, but which gradually reveals its realism with small, hard-edged detail.In the Times this morning or also available on Facebook, to avoid that paywall David Cameron is at work on the bigger picture. He paints a golden swirl of colour around the morality of not paying tax. In phrases that echo richly with the distant tones of early Margaret Thatcher, he condemns a bloated, high-taxing, welfare-heavy nation. He says that every pound in the Treasury is a pound out of someones pay packet. He calls it morally wrong for government to spend money as if it grows on trees. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:11:38 GMT)

Ebola rages on but we are approaching a turning point in this epidemic
New urgency on Ebola from the rich world, major investment and vaccine development suggest we may have reached the end of the beginningThe news from Guinea and Sierra Leone has been unrelentingly horrific. Despite encouraging signs from Liberia, overall things will get worse. Today the official toll of the Ebola epidemic reached 13,703 cases, though the true figure is higher. By Christmas there may be thousands of new cases every week. More countries will probably report introduced infections, as in the US and, more worryingly, African neighbours. Several bleak months lie ahead.Yet through this darkness it is finally becoming possible to see some light. In the past 10 days the international community has belatedly begun to take the actions necessary to start turning Ebolas tide. The progress is preliminary and uncertain; even if ultimately successful it will not reduce mortality or stop transmission for some time. We are not close to seeing the beginning of the end of the epidemic. But three developments offer hope that we may have reached the end of the beginning. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:15:10 GMT)

Coastal towns are easily mocked, but we should not brush over their struggle
They are a hotbed for Ukip and poverty is a problem. Something has to happen beyond contemporary art fairsBritish seaside towns have been an easy target of satirists, poets and pop singers for much of the past few decades from Philip Larkins vision of a vandalised poster for Sunny Prestatyn to Morrisseys wishing of Armageddon upon an unnamed resort in Everyday is Like Sunday, they have been scorned and excoriated in a particularly acute version of the casual contempt aimed at every urban area in the UK but for London, Oxbridge, Bath or Edinburgh.Statistically, it transpires there is in fact something particularly bleak about the UKs coastal towns. A report just issued by the Office for National Statistics makes clear that their residents are particularly aged, particularly homogenous, but more to the point, particularly poor, with higher average rates of unemployment and insecure work than any other kind of settlement. Despite or because of the exceptionally low levels of immigration in these towns, they are proving a hotbed of support for Ukip, which elected its first MP in Clacton and is hoping for others in Thanet and Skegness. How did this happen, and what is being done about it? Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:30:05 GMT)

Miliband is approaching the point of no return. He must now come out fighting
Labour needs to reconnect in southern marginals or raise its game in Scotland. Better still, do bothThe north Kent constituency of Rochester and Strood, where probably the most consequential byelection of this parliament will take place in three weeks time, is a seat that a strong Labour party could win. A confident Labour party certainly ought to be in strong contention. Instead, Ed Miliband seems resigned to finishing third behind the Conservatives and Ukip. No part of what this says about the Labour partys condition is good.Historically, Rochester and Strood is a Tory-Labour marginal. It is essentially the same seat as the former Medway constituency which, in turn, was much the same seat as the old Rochester and Chatham, which was first created in 1950. In most postwar general elections, as Rochester voted, so voted Britain. Over the decades, Labours record there has been good. After holding it for most of the 1950s, Labours Arthur Bottomley lost the seat to the Tories in 1959. Anne Kerr won it back for Labour in 1964 and retained it until 1970. Bob Bean ousted the Tories in October 1974 and held it until 1979. In 1997, Bob Marshall-Andrews captured Medway for Labour once again, holding on to it rather to his own surprise until 2010. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:42:44 GMT)

Im a Muslim with a beard. Whats so scary about that?
Since growing some rather impressive facial hair Ive noticed Muslims are more open to me, but others view me with suspicionPeople stare. Sometimes, on the tube, they cross the carriage to create a space between us. There is something about me some people dont like, or it makes them uneasy. Its my beard.My beard is about three and a half to four inches long now. I started growing it nearly a year ago; the result of a number of things coming together. One if I am honest was laziness. It also began not long after an incident at my university, Kings College London. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was guest of honour at a reception. I went along in traditional dress, thinking: This is Desmond Tutu. He fought against discrimination and oppression. I can be myself because everyone will be welcoming and open. Then I was stopped by security and they demanded to know it I had actually been invited. From then I just thought: Why not? Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:08:58 GMT)

A Catholic church schism under Pope Francis isnt out of the question
The conservative backlash against the liberal popes authority has been fierce, and is gathering momentumUntil this weekend, I had largely believed in the liberal narrative which holds that Pope Franciss reforms of the Catholic church are unstoppable. But the conservative backlash has been so fierce and so far-reaching that for the first time a split looks a real, if distant, possibility.One leading conservative, the Australian Cardinal George Pell, published over the weekend a homily he had prepared for the traditional Latin mass at which he started ruminating on papal authority. Pope Francis, he said, was the 266th pope, and history has seen 37 false or antipopes. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:44:41 GMT)

The Samaritans cry for help app is no solution but its a start
The practical pitfalls of Radar, which scans tweets for signs of mental anguish, mustnt disguise the fact it may help fragile peopleAs of Wednesday, Twitter users are being invited to sign up to Samaritans Radar, a web app that keeps tabs on your friends tweets, and brings your attention to signs of mental anguish. In order to do this it keeps its digital eye out for keywords such as depressed or phrases like no one to talk to, and sends you a private email when they feature in your friends output. The Samaritans has reason to believe this might help, as theres said to be a high correlation between suicidal messages and actual suicides.When people are suffering and dont know where to turn, the internet offers the possibility of some sort of interaction. You can throw words out into the electronic vortex without fear of burdening specific individuals and, if youre lucky, you might even receive an encouraging, thoughtful or helpful response. Or then again you might not. But at least now, if youre already fortunate enough to have the sorts of friends who sign up for well-meaning web apps, you have double the chance of being heard. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:00:02 GMT)

Martin Rowson on David Cameron cartoon
Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:01:00 GMT)

Quantitative easing: giving cash to the public would have been more effective
The impact of quantitative easing was blunted by unconventional monetary policies and conservative fiscal policiesIts 2008. Your name is Ben Bernanke, the worlds most powerful central banker. The worlds financial system is going through its own version of the China Syndrome. Do you: a) do nothing and trust the self-correcting properties of capitalism; b) cut interest rates as far and as fast as you can in the hope that cheap money will avert catastrophe; or c) go for broke by trying something different?Bernanke, an expert on the 1930s, chose c). He embraced the idea of quantitative easing, which involves increasing the money supply in order to stimulate economic activity. The Bank of England quickly followed suit. Neither Bernanke nor Mervyn King wanted to be known as the central banker who failed to prevent a deep recession becoming a second Great Depression. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:37:47 GMT)

A real counterweight to US power is a global necessity
Conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine will spread without effective restraint on western unilateralismWhere is the end of history now? Across three continents, conflicts are multiplying. An arc of war, foreign intervention and state breakdown stretches from Afghanistan to north Africa.In Iraq and Syria, the so-called Islamic State mutant offspring of the war on terror is now the target of renewed US-led intervention. In Ukraine, thousands have died in the proxy fighting between Russian-backed rebels and the western-sponsored Kiev government. And in the far east, tensions between China, Japan and other US allies are growing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:36:39 GMT)

Nigel Farage has already won his fight with Labour and Conservatives
A crescendo of shrill proclamations rises in Westminster as David Cameron and Ed Miliband race to be more Ukip than UkipThe Ukip Santa has come two months early. A couple of weeks ago Nigel Farage got his first member of parliament: at prime ministers questions he appeared to have 650. Well, 649 to be accurate. Douglas Carswell was nowhere to be seen; he must have been off at his shrink to find out how he had suddenly become the most moderate voice in the Commons.Theres only one thing on the mind of both parties at the moment: next years general election. And the race is on to see who can become more Ukip than Ukip. Who do we hate? Immigrants. When do we hate them? Now. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:10:02 GMT)

How insects could feed the world
Is eating bugs the solution to feeding the worlds growing population of human beings and livestock? Emily Anthes chews on locusts, beetles, mealworms and more as she tries to find outAt first, my meal seems familiar, like countless other dishes Ive eaten at Asian restaurants. A swirl of noodles slicked with oil and studded with shredded chicken, the aroma of ginger and garlic, a few wilting chives placed on the plate as a final flourish. And then, I notice the eyes. Dark, compound orbs on a yellow speckled head, joined to a winged, segmented body. I hadnt spotted them right away, but suddenly I see them everywhere my noodles are teeming with insects. I cant say I wasnt warned. Ive agreed to be a guinea pig at an experimental insect tasting in Wageningen, a university town in the Netherlands. My hosts are Ben Reade and Josh Evans from the Nordic Food Lab, a non-profit culinary research institute. Reade and Evans lead the labs insect deliciousness project, a three-year effort to turn insects into tasty treats. The project began after René Redzepi (the chef and co-owner of Noma, the Danish restaurant that is often ranked the best in the world) tasted an Amazonian ant that reminded him of lemongrass. Redzepi, who founded the Nordic Food Lab in 2008, became interested in serving insects at Noma and asked the researchers at the lab to explore the possibilities. The Food Lab operates from a houseboat in Copenhagen, but Reade and Evans are in the Netherlands for a few days, and theyve borrowed a local kitchen to try out some brand new dishes. Along with three other gutsy gastronomes, I am here to taste the results. We take our seats at a long, high table as Reade and Evans wheel in a trolley loaded with our meals. We each receive a different main course. I get the Asian-style noodles and fixate on the bug I can see. Thats a locust, Reade says. [It] was alive this morning. Very fresh. But hes much more excited about another, hidden ingredient: fat extracted from the larvae of black soldier flies (or, to put it less delicately, maggot fat). The whole dish has been stir-fried in it.I believe youre the first human being on the planet to have ever been served anything cooked with this, Reade tells me. But not to worry: Ive eaten some of it myself, an hour ago. Im still alive.Yellow jacket wasp larvae are big in Japan, cicadas are treasured in Malawi, and weaver ants are popular in ThailandIn some ways, roaches are no different to gorillas, gerbils or iguanas, or any creatures that we dont routinely eatThe mealworm quiche tasted fine, the mealworms had a slightly nutty, toasted flavour, but it still made my stomach turn Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:00:37 GMT)

China's obsession with vertical cities
By the end of next year one-in-three of the worlds 100m+ skyscrapers will be in China, as its state-orchestrated urbanisation drive prompts a megacity building bonanzaIn late September, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a non-profit organisation that keeps the worlds largest database on skyscrapers, held its annual conference in Shanghai two years after its last meeting there. Weve never done that before, gone back to the same city, says Antony Wood, the councils executive director. But right now, most of the major advances in the typology, in design or in technical terms, are happening in China.As the global population rises and cities become more crowded, the fabric of urban centres is changing. Nowhere is the phenomenon more pronounced than in China, where a state-orchestrated urbanisation drive has prompted a megacity building bonanza characterised by skyscrapers and sprawl. By the end of 2015, one in three of the worlds buildings over 150-metres will be in China. Construction of the worlds second-tallest building, the 632-metre tall Shanghai Tower, is due to be completed next year. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:54:05 GMT)

Private zoos boasting exotic animals the new status symbol of Armenia's elite
Government accused of turning blind eye to importation of endangered species with cheetahs, lions, tigers and bears kept as pets. EurasiaNet.org reportsThe neighbours of Mher Sedrakian, an MP in Armenias ruling Republican party, have a persistent problem with noise. But this is not about wild parties or car horns. Rather, it is about lions.The lions that Sedrakian allegedly keeps as pets at his home in the Armenian capital Yerevan roar continuously, his neighbours complain. Increasingly, many Armenians can understand that concern. Private zoos with lions, tigers and bears are emerging as a popular hobby for the wealthy and powerful, and the government does not seem inclined to intervene. Instead, recent amendments to wildlife legislation seem to facilitate this pastime. Private citizens are allowed to own wild animals, including endangered species, as long as they provide areas for the animals that ensure their life, health and safety, and prevent escape from captivity, the law says. Supervision is supposed to be constant. But it is not. Last November, tiger cubs were found in the streets of Etchmiadzin, a town about 12 miles from the capital, Yerevan, local media reported. Although tigers, as an endangered species, cannot be exported from the wild, their import from zoos is allowed. A search of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) database for 2008 to 2013 shows the import of six tigers to Armenia, including three Siberian tigers from Ukraine. The others came from Belgium, Chile and Kazakhstan. An Armenian border guard official, who declined to be named, said that a tiger can be brought into the country if documents show its country of origin and demonstrate that it is the third generation of a zoo-based line. A Cites certificate that authorises the animals shipment is also required, said Hovhannes Mkrtchian, head of the ministry of agricultures food security department, which checks import documents and verifies the animals health. Yet investigative reports by the news site Hetq.am indicate that not all of the exotic animals imported into Armenia for example an endangered bonobo end up in the Cites database. Similarly, though crocodiles were offered for sale in Yerevan supermarkets last December for New Years celebrations, the database contains no mention of their import as food products. It does, however, show an array of exotic imports. Cheetahs topped the feline list, with 18 imports from the United Arab Emirates and South Africa between 2008 and 2013. Nine lions were brought in during the same period; most from the United Arab Emirates. Forty-one dumbo-eared fennec foxes, natives of the Sahara, entered Armenia between 2009 and 2010, while 21 rheas, ostrich-like birds from South America, made the trip in 2012. Whether or not these animals were meant for the Yerevan zoo was not immediately clear. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:33:40 GMT)

Photographs of Sellafield nuclear plant prompt fears over radioactive risk
Nuclear safety expert claims there is significant risk due to poor condition of storage ponds containing highly radioactive fuel rodsPreviously unseen pictures of two storage ponds containing hundreds of highly radioactive fuel rods at the Sellafield nuclear plant show cracked concrete, seagulls bathing in the water and weeds growing around derelict machinery. But a spokesman for owners Sellafield Ltd said the 60-year-old ponds will not be cleaned up for decades, despite concern that they are in a dangerous state and could cause a large release of radioactive material if they are allowed to deteriorate further.The concrete is in dreadful condition, degraded and fractured, and if the ponds drain, the Magnox fuel will ignite and that would lead to a massive release of radioactive material, nuclear safety expert John Large told the Ecologist magazine. I am very disturbed at the run-down condition of the structures and support services. In my opinion there is a significant risk that the system could fail. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:57:13 GMT)

Not just a girls' problem: the economic impact of menstrual shame
Traditions around menstruation mean the majority of Nepali girls miss days of school. Can education change beliefs?During our periods, we used to have to clean our sleeping areas with leaves and werent allowed to enter the house, says 12-year-old Sushila who lives in Gorkha district, central Nepal. Now, we can sleep in our beds. We must be open about menstruation. When Sushila first got her period, she had to stay home from school for 11 days. She wasnt allowed to touch books. Sushilas situation is common in much of Nepal: 95% of adolescent girls surveyed in the mid and western regions practice some kind of restrictions during their periods, from staying home from school or temple to having to sleep outside. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:26:56 GMT)

The 10 greatest changes of the past 1,000 years
In Europe, the last millennium has been shaped by successive waves of change, but which shifts, in which centuries, have really shaped the modern world? Historian Ian Mortimer identifies the 10 leading drivers of changeMost people think of castles as representative of conflict. However, they should be seen as bastions of peace as much as war. In 1000 there were very few castles in Europe and none in England. This absence of local defences meant that lands were relatively easy to conquer William the Conquerors invasion of England was greatly assisted by the lack of castles here. Over the 11th century, all across Europe, lords built defensive structures to defend them and their land. It thus became much harder for kings to simply conquer their neighbours. In this way, lords tightened their grip on their estates, and their masters started to think of themselves as kings of territories, not of tribes. Political leaders were thus bound to defend their borders and govern everyone within those borders, not just their own people. Thats a pretty enormous change by anyones standards. Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:34:53 GMT)

Budapest autumn: hollowing out democracy on the edge of Europe
Rightwing prime minister Viktor Orbán is using his huge electoral majority to rewrite the rules, and not just for HungaryOn the Hungarian plain south-west of Budapest, the rich, dark soil of Kishantos presents the saddest of sights. As far as the eye can see, a cornucopia of organic wheat, cereals, sunflowers, pulses and legumes has been turned into a vista of emptiness.In what appears to be an extraordinary act of vindictive destruction, a lifetimes work in Hungary has been destroyed in only a few months. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:49:52 GMT)

How I survived being tied to a stranger in the wilderness* for 10 days**
New survival show Tethered shackles two strangers together then drops them in the middle of a middle of nowhere. Nick Redneck Rockstar Rhoades showed Stuart Heritage the ropes*Some woods in Surrey **An afternoonIf my entire life could be summed up in one crushingly literal tableau, its this one. Im sitting in the middle of a forest. Im cold, Im damp and Im out of my depth. Attached to me is a bright red cable that may as well be an umbilical cord. Attached to that is the most aggressive alpha male Ive ever met. Somehow, hes convinced me to cook his lunch for him. It consists of a tiny, pink, shrivelled, burst chipolata, drooping uselessly on a stick. None of this is lost on me. His name is Nick Redneck Rockstar Rhoades. Hes a professional hunter from Tennessee and a contestant on the new Discovery Channel survival show Tethered (which begins on Thursday at 9pm), in which two strangers are shackled together, dropped into the middle of nowhere and forced to fend for themselves for 10 days. Im tied to him to get a taste of what that feels like. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:38:48 GMT)

Outsourcing: government advisors finesse child protection 'sales pitch'
Ministerial aides have privately unveiled proposals to kickstart a market in local authority child safeguarding functionsThe government's aspirations to kickstart a market in child protection services and make it easier for councils to outsource safeguarding functions continue apace.The Guardian can reveal that ministerial advisors presented detailed proposals to firms and charities last month at a private Whitehall meeting described by one attendee as a "sales pitch". Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:13:09 GMT)

Death, drugs and survival: DV8 Physical Theatre tells the story of John
Lloyd Newsons latest production uses movement and the spoken word to stage one mans harrowing yet extraordinary lifeLloyd Newsons work with DV8 Physical Theatre is often unsettlingly explicit, though his latest project is controversial even by the companys usual standards. The audience is faced with a circular stage that slowly revolves to reveal a macabre merry-go-round of scenes from a London council estate. Theres a sadistic beating, rape, incest and death from a drug overdose, all within the first four minutes. Like Newsons previous two works, Can We Talk About This? (the theme was militant Islam) and To Be Straight with You (which attacked religious-sanctioned homophobia), John is a verbatim piece in which the choreography has been devised by the company while listening to interview transcripts on their iPods. Yet rather than presenting a documentary collage of wider social themes, the 80-minute work focusses on the development of a single, extraordinary character. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:55:35 GMT)

8 foods you're about to lose due to climate change
As worsening drought and extreme weather devastate crops, you may begin seeing global warming when you open your fridgeWhat does climate change taste like?Its an odd question, but an increasingly pertinent one. After all, as temperatures rise and extreme weather becomes the norm, many food production systems are becoming threatened. As that trend increases, its worth asking which foods consumers will have to cut back on or abandon entirely. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:00:12 GMT)

Rumble in the Jungle: the night Ali became King of the World again
In an exclusive extract from his new book on Muhammad Ali, Kevin Mitchell remembers the fight in Kinshasa 40 years on when George Foreman was defeated, and history rewritten A collection of the best images of the Rumble in the Jungle Froch, Hatton and Haye round-by-round commentaryWhen Muhammad Ali rumbled in the jungle with George Foreman exactly 40 years ago on Thursday, they were safely distant from the dying embers of a conflict that still engaged the more perilous commitment of 1.5 million of their compatriots in Vietnam. These champion pugilists, neither of whom fired a shot in defence of their flag, were sufficiently distracted by the lure of considerable riches to devote their full attention to the relative triviality of a fist fight, albeit one they would conspire to fashion as perhaps the most memorable in the history of their sport Vietnam had begun to recede from the popular consciousness in America in the early 70s. It was a reviled war, an embarrassment. Servicemen returning from their term of duty would land in San Diego and disappear into the hinterland rather than go home, finding refuge in drugs, alcohol or wretched anonymity. There were few homecomings, in fact, not many yellow ribbons tied around the old oak tree, the symbol of thanksgiving for sacrifice. This was the war America no longer wanted, and the young men who died latterly for its discredited cause in 1974 and 75, when the final bell went, were in many cases abandoned as collateral damage. Back in Australia, I had just missed the draft for that misguided conflict and was well glad of it. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:04:00 GMT)

How Interstellar made Michael Caine think again about climate change
Mother natures going to be fine but we might not be, adds Matthew McConaughey, star of film that addresses humans place in the cosmosIn Christopher Nolans new movie, humanitys hope for survival is pinned on one man: Matthew McConaughey, pilot of a last-ditch mission to find humans a new home as Earth becomes uninhabitable. And in turn, Interstellar, which opens worldwide on 7 November, heads towards cinemas heavy with expectations.In a year strikingly light on both critical and commercial hits, its down to this three-hour Imax epic to save cinema as the clock ticks on the last quarter. Nolan has millions of devoted fans from his Batman trilogy, plus the rare clout to get studio backing for adult blockbusters which dont feature superheroes. Early screenings have attracted very warm reviews, Oscar buzz and comparisons to Kubricks 2001, whose extended deep space sequences Nolan appears to ape. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:43:31 GMT)

Stephen King: Religion is a dangerous tool but I choose to believe God exists
Blockbuster author reveals his spiritual side in lengthy Q&A to launch new novel that deals with a ministers loss of faithStephen King, whose forthcoming novel Revival features a Methodist minister who condemns his faith after a horrific accident, has described organised religion as a very dangerous tool thats been misused by a lot of people.In a rare and lengthy question and answer session published in the print edition of Rolling Stone, King laid out how he grew up in a Methodist church, but how he had doubts about organised religion ever since he was a child, and how once I got through high school, that was it for me. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:02:35 GMT)

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