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PM returns from holiday after video shows US reporter beheaded by Briton
David Cameron to hold meetings at Downing Street after Isis video appears to show British extremist beheading James FoleyDavid Cameron is breaking off from his holiday in Cornwall to return to London after the "shocking and depraved" apparent beheading of an American journalist by a British Islamist extremist, Downing Street said.The announcement came after Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, acknowledged that a Briton appeared to be responsible for the killing, which was shown in a video released by Islamic State (Isis) militants. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:02:00 GMT)

Second fatal St Louis area shooting stokes tensions in Ferguson
Police chief says suspect brandished a knife at officers after incident at convenience store, as crowd takes up refrain from nearby protestsLive coverage of Ferguson protests continues hereRacial tensions in Missouri were stoked again on Tuesday when police killed another African American man as authorities struggled to quell the nightly confrontations over the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson last week.Angry residents of a black neighbourhood in St Louis, not far from Ferguson, accused the police of excessive force after two officers fired several bullets into a 23-year-old man described as carrying a knife and behaving erratically. The man has not yet been named but he was well known in the area and was said to have learning difficulties. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:12:07 GMT)

Lord Rennard readmitted to Lib Dems as party drops disciplinary proceedings
Rennard had been suspended following his refusal to apologise over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards womenNick Clegg was facing a row on Tuesday night after the Liberal Democrats decided to re-admit Lord Rennard the man who masterminded the party's byelection victories in the 1990s as it dropped disciplinary proceedings relating to allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women.Susan Gaszczak, a Lib Dem activist who made one of the allegations about Rennard and who resigned from the party last month over its handling of the matter, said: "The party democracy obviously has no moral compass. They say we are credible, then fail to act on it and don't see the impact this has on women and women voters." Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:02:00 GMT)

Bank of England split 7-2 over interest rates - business live
Monetary Policy Committees unanimity crumbles with two policymakers voting to raise interest rates to 0.75%, but first hike may still not come this yearBoE split 7-2 on rates <- new readers start hereMcCafferty and Weale: start raising rates nowRest of the MPC: wages need to rise firstWhat the experts say - reaction starts here 11.21am BST We also have another slice of worrying economic news from the eurozone to digest. Construction output across the euro area fell by 0.7% in June, for the second month running, adding to Mays 1.4% decline.Eurozone construction output down by 0.7% in June: Germany: +1.2% France: +0.2% Portugal: -1.6% Spain: -2.9% pic.twitter.com/ywvE2pFw9h 10.56am BST Looking for a full round-up of economist reaction to this mornings Bank of England minutes? Your search is over.... 10.44am BST Heres our news story on todays Bank minutes, by economics editor Larry Elliott:The first increase in interest rates from the Bank of England since 2007 has moved a decisive step closer after two members of Threadneedle Streets key policy committee broke ranks and voted for dearer borrowing.Minutes of the meeting of the Banks monetary policy committee meeting show that two of the nine members Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty called for rates to be pushed up by a quarter point to 0.75%. 10.40am BST I'm surprised that 7-2 was a surprise, 9-0 this time round would have been a surprise surely!? #BOE 10.39am BST The emergence of two hawks on the Monetary Policy Committee makes a rate rise in 2014 a little more likely, says Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg bank.He cites three caveats, however. (1) Dissenters do not always signal an imminent majority shift: there was a run of dissenting votes in 2011 as well, but the majority of the MPC stuck to the dovish course then. (2) Wage growth has slowed even more according to data releases since the meeting, with weekly earnings falling by 0.2% yoy in June. 10.34am BST The City is now pricing in the first UK rate rise in January 2015, compared with February 2015 yesterday, Reuters reports: 10.30am BST Alastair Winter, chief economist at investment bank Daniel Stewart, points out that the Bank of England is likely to raise interest rates at a gradual pace.So, change is in the air after all! Over the last two months I have become increasingly convinced that it was merely a matter of months before the first rate hike came. The gap between the majority on the MPC and the so-called hawks has been and still is narrow. Martin Weale was already a suspect and now Ian McCafferty has come out. 10.20am BST James Knightley of ING has produced a very handy summary of todays Bank of England minutes:The minutes to the August Bank of England monetary policy meeting showed that the committee voted 7-2 in favour of keeping Bank Rate at 0.5% with Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty both voting for a 25bp interest rate rise. This is the first time there wasnt a unanimous decision in just over three years. The committee voted 9-0 in favour of leaving QE at £375bn.The two dissenters argued that the degree of spare capacity had diminished sufficiently and that a tightening labour market created a prospect that wage growth would pick up. They also noted that wages were a lagging indicator and it was desirable to anticipate labour market pressures by raising Bank Rate in advance of them. Even after a 25bp rate rise they argued that monetary policy would remain extremely supportive. It would also help facilitate the MPCs aspiration that the rises in Bank Rate should only be gradual. Yesterdays low inflation numbers, the lack of wage growth and concerns about Eurozone growth the UKs largest trade partner, suggest that in the absence of upside activity data shocks the majority will continue to opt for the status quo in the next few months. Indeed, it currently looks more likely to be February when we see the first rate rise than our current published forecast of November. 10.16am BST This isnt the first time that Martin Weale has called, in vain, for a rate rise. Back in 2011, he voted for a quarter-point rise, but subsequently changed his mind as the world economy was rocked by the eurozone crisis. Martin Weale first voted for a UK Base Rate rise in January 2011 but stopped doing so in August 2011. So 3 years later he is back! #BoE 10.08am BST Alex Edwards, head of the corporate desk at UKForex, says the latest Bank minutes send a confusing message to investors, households and business owners as to when to expect the next rate rise. Yesterdays inflation figures indicate that this could happen next year, but these minutes might suggest it could be before the New Year. 10.07am BST We should remember that this Monetary Policy Committee meeting took place before the latest inflation data, which showed a surprise fall in the consumer prices index to 1.6% in July, from 1.9% in June.That drop in inflation bolsters the case for leaving interest rates unchanged for longer, and may have surprised the MPC.#BoE thought June CPI rise unlikely to be due to delayed summer sales discounting.."reasons to suppose increase might be more lasting"-wrong 10.02am BST So, who might be next to join McCafferty and Weale in voting for a rate rise?Jeremy Cook of World First suggests it could be chief economist Andy Haldane, or even deputy governor Ben Broadbent.That's the hawks taken care of. Who moves next from the centre ground? Haldane or Broadbent possibly. Think it will remain 7-2 for a whileStanding room only at Haldane and Broadbent's next speeches 9.55am BST Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty were outvoted because other Bank of England policymakers believe there is insufficient evidence of inflationary pressures to justify a rate rise.They want to leave interest rates at their record low of 0.5% until there are clear signs that wages are rising.Given the risk that an increase in labour supply or persistent concerns over job security would result in weak wage growth continuing for longer, there would be merit in waiting to see firmer evidence that solid increases in pay growth were in prospect before tightening policy. 9.47am BST The minutes show that Ian McCafferty and Martin Weale both argued that the UK economy was strong enough to justify an immediate rise in bank rate.They believe that earnings across the UK economy are likely to pick up in the months ahead, meaning the Bank of England should start to tighten monetary policy now.For two members, in particular, economic circumstances were sufficient to justify an immediate rise in Bank Rate. These members noted that the continuing rapid fall in unemployment alongside survey evidence of tightening in the labour market created a prospect that wage growth would pick up. They noted that it was possible that wages were lagging developments in the labour market to some extent. If that were true, wages might not start to rise until spare capacity in the labour market were fully used up. Since monetary policy, too, could be expected to operate only with a lag, it was desirable to anticipate labour market pressures by raising Bank Rate in advance of them. 9.39am BST The Bank minutes are online here. 9.39am BST This is the first time that Britains monetary policy has been split over interest rates since 2011 (rates have been unchanged at 0.5% since March 2009).The Minutes explains that Mark Carney invited the MPC to vote on the proposition that Bank Rate should be maintained at 0.5%, and that it should leave its quantitative easing bond-buying programme unchanged at £375 billion.Regarding Bank Rate, seven members of the Committee (the Governor, Ben Broadbent, Jon Cunliffe, Nemat Shafik, Kristin Forbes, Andrew Haldane and David Miles) voted in favour of the proposition.Ian McCafferty and Martin Weale voted against the proposition, preferring to increase Bank Rate by 25 basis points. 9.35am BST The pound has jumped half a cent against the US dollar, to $1.6665. 9.33am BST Breaking: The Bank of Englands Monetary Policy Committee was split over interest rates!Two members, Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty, broke with consensus and voted to raise borrowing costs by 25 basis points, to 0.75%, at the meeting earlier this month.Minutes of the MPC Meeting held on 6 & 7 August reveal 7-2 split on #BankRate and a unanimous vote on Asset Purchases 9.27am BST Martin Weale, one of the external members of the MPC, is seen as the most likely hawk to vote to raise rates....according to BNPParibas Carbey is right at the dovish extreme of MPC spectrum. could be outvoted at time of 1st hike pic.twitter.com/LDtpssaTVI 9.25am BST Just five minutes until the Bank of England minutes are released.....Marc Ostwald of ADM Investor Services explains what to watch for:Dissent cannot be ruled out within the MPC minutes, even if the consensus looks for 9-0, though that consensus appears to favour Martin Weale as the dissenter, despite the prior evidence, which suggests that Weale can appear voice hawkish opinions, but talking the talk does not translate (de facto) into walking the walk. Be that as it may, the focus will be on the background debate to last weeks Inflation Report, which will inevitably highlight that MPC views on the economy remains very divergent. Of more interest perhaps, will be the discussion on market rate trajectories and indeed MPC guidance, even if MPC opinions will hardly have been unitary. But perhaps most attention (as ever) should be devoted to the MPC Agents reports, as signals from non-construction related sectors have been decidedly mixed, and even construction appears to be hitting supply related buffers, be that in terms of labour skills or raw materials constraints. 9.19am BST European stock markets have dipped in early trading, with Carlsbergs profit warning not helping sentiment.The German, French and UK indices are down between 0.2% and 0.3%. 9.16am BST The euro has hit a new 11-month low against the US dollar this morning, down 0.2% to $1.3295.It weakened after a survey of Dutch consumer confidence fell to minus 6, from minus 2 in July.#Euro takes a beating today following disappointing Dutch data. $EURUSD now at 1.3294 9.08am BST The Ukraine crisis has hit Danish beer maker Carlsberg, in a worrying illustration of how geopolitical tensions could hurt the global economy.Carlsberg warned investors that operating profits this year will fail to meet 2013s levels, due to deteriorating sales in Russia.In order to mitigate the risks as much as possible, several changes have been and will be made in our Eastern European business, including structural changes. These include considerations related to brewery closures. 9.07am BST #Argentina offers bond swap to circumvent #US court prompted default. Effort to improve standing but with economy reeling, unlikely to work 8.59am BST The Argentinian default battle has taken another twist overnight. Excuse me if I get a little nervous, I usually have more poise.However, I really feel that we are living a moment of great injustice in Argentina.Argentina's New Law To Dodge Debt Default http://t.co/kKGXRtkib7 8.40am BST An ambitious plan to merge two of Britains biggest construction firms appears to have failed.The considerable risks associated with the proposed business plan, including the strategy to significantly reduce the scale of the UK Construction business when it is poised to benefit from a recovery in the market. 8.23am BST Over in Germany, the latest survey of factory gate prices has brought little respite to Europes low inflation problem.The German Producer Prices index, which tracks how much firms receive for their wares, fell by 0.1% last month, and was 0.8% lower than July 2014. It was driven down by falling energy prices.GERMANY JULY PPI M/M: -0.1% V 0.0%E; Y/Y: -0.8% V -0.7% PRIOR pic.twitter.com/94ZviS7KBMGerman PPI another stunning example of the European version of inflation. Deflation. 8.12am BST ING also suspects the minutes could show an 8-1 split, although theres little change of a majority voting to raise rates until 2015.They write:Todays minutes to the August MPC meeting may see the first member voting for tighter policy. However, low inflation and stagnant wages suggest a majority in favour of rate hikes is some way off. 8.11am BST Joe Bond of city firm Abshire Smith reckons one member of the MPC may have jumped off the fence at this months meeting (which took place two weeks ago).@GuyHardingSky: @Joe_Trading odds of seeing any dissent in today's minutes? Potential for 1 member today, though more likely next month 7.57am BST Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the financial markets, the economy, business and finance.The focus will be on the BoE MPC meeting minutes, where the market will be looking for any signs that some members are getting hawkish. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:21:11 GMT)

FSA meat inspectors to stage two strikes in pay row
Unison members to walk out next week after imposed below-inflation wage hike of 0.75%Meat inspectors at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are to stage two four-hour strikes next week in a row over pay.Members of Unison in England, Wales and Scotland will walk out from 6.30am on Tuesday and Wednesday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:20:03 GMT)

Domestic abuse offence could cover emotional as well as physical harm
Government launches consultation on strengthening law by explicitly stating that domestic abuse covers coercive behaviourA new criminal offence of domestic abuse could be introduced to include emotional and psychological harm inflicted by a partner within a relationship.The government launched a consultation on Wednesday to look at strengthening the law by explicitly stating that domestic abuse covers coercive and controlling behaviour as well as physical harm. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:52:00 GMT)

English voters want Scottish spending cut after no vote, survey shows
Future of England Survey 2014 reveals attitudes hardening whichever way Scotland votes in September referendumEnglish voters oppose sharing the pound with an independent Scotland, want public spending there reduced in the event of a no vote and are broadly pessimistic about future relations between the two countries, according to new research that suggests a hardening of attitudes regardless of the outcome in September's referendum.The findings of the Future of England Survey 2014 contradict some of the key proposals put forward by the pro-union parties to offer Scotland further powers if independence is rejected. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:45:44 GMT)

Japan landslides: deaths confirmed after homes swept away
Precarious search and rescue effort under way on outskirts of Hiroshima city after rain-soaked hillsides give wayAt least six people were confirmed dead and 22 were missing after rain-soaked hills in the outskirts of Hiroshima gave way early on Wednesday in several landslides.Video footage from the Japanese national broadcaster NHK showed suburban homes in the western Japanese city surrounded by streams of mud and debris, and residents picking their way over piles of rocks and dirt. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:33:15 GMT)

Hamas leader's wife and child reported killed as Gaza war resumes
Israel targets Hamas-affiliated TV station as Hamas claims air strike was attempted assassination of Mohammed DeifThe conflict in Gaza has flared up with renewed rocket fire and air strikes as talks in Cairo aimed at forging a durable ceasefire in the six-week war broke down.A woman and a two-year-old boy reported to be the wife and child of Mohammed Deif, Hamass military chief, whom Israel has wanted to eliminate for years died in an air strike on a house in Gaza City on Tuesday evening. A third unidentified person was also killed and at least 15 people injured. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:18:26 GMT)

Most teenagers think internet pornography is damaging, poll finds
18-year-olds say it is too easy to find explicit images by accident, and most girls say it puts pressure on them to act a certain wayInternet pornography is having a damaging impact on young people's views about sex and puts pressure on girls to look and act a certain way, according to a poll of 500 British teenagers.Eight out of 10 18-year-olds surveyed by the thinktank IPPR felt it was too easy to accidentally view explicit images while surfing the internet, while 72% said pornography led to unrealistic views about sex. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:01:00 GMT)

Income from private patients soars at NHS hospital trusts
NHS trusts accused of exploiting raised limit on numbers of paying patients amid health service's 'creeping privatisation'Some of Britain's leading hospitals stand accused of exploiting the coalition's controversial lifting of the cap on the number of private patients they can treat to increase their income as part of a "creeping privatisation" of the NHS.As new figures show that some hospitals have seen a big increase of up to 40% in their private income since the cap was lifted, Labour accused ministers of presiding over a scandal of declining standards for NHS patients while allowing paying patients to enjoy high standards of care. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:28:47 GMT)

Apple shares burst through the $100 barrier ahead of iPhone 6 launch
Launch of eagerly awaited new iPhone model fuels surge in share price to new record high of £100.53Shares in Apple have jumped back through the $100 barrier to reach a new record of $100.53 as investors eagerly await the launch of iPhone 6 in September.The previous peak for the shares was two years ago, just ahead of the iPhone 5 launch in September, when they closed at $702.10. This is equivalent to $100.30 when adjusted for share split in June. About 1 yr ago we tweeted to our followers about our investment in $AAPL and that stock was extremely undervalued https://t.co/JUrfmWEHLxBelieved $AAPL to be one of my no-brainers. Anyone that invested at that time would be up 53% (including dividends) Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:28:16 GMT)

World leaders 'failing to help' over Ebola outbreak in Africa
Médecins Sans Frontières chief claims response to catastrophe is 'almost zero', with nations most concerned with self protectionThe international community has made "almost zero" response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, with western leaders more interested in protecting their own countries than helping contain the crisis that has now claimed more than 1,200 lives, a senior international aid worker said on Tuesday.Brice de la Vigne, the operations director of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said politicians in industrialised countries urgently needed to take action, or risk the outbreak spreading much further. "Globally, the response of the international community is almost zero," he told the Guardian. "Leaders in the west are talking about their own safety and doing things like closing airlines and not helping anyone else." Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:36:11 GMT)

Cliff Richard cancels his performance at cathedral charity concert
Singer says 'false allegation' about him risked overshadowing Canterbury church's 40th anniversary event in SeptemberSir Cliff Richard, facing a historical sexual assault claim, has withdrawn from a charity event because he did not "want the event to be overshadowed by the false allegation", his spokesman said on Tuesday.The singer was due to perform at Canterbury cathedral on 26 September in a fundraising concert. The statement added: "He is sorry for any disappointment or inconvenience caused." Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:41:28 GMT)

Idris Elba, Lenny Henry among stars urging more TV ethnic diversity cash
Figures from stage and screen call for ringfenced funding for black and ethnic minority programming by British broadcastersRead the actors' and writers' open letterThe BBC and other UK broadcasters are facing renewed pressure to improve their representation of ethnic minorities, after more than 50 leading creative figures including Lenny Henry, Idris Elba and Meera Syal called for more radical action.In a letter sent to the BBC director general, Tony Hall, and the executives in charge of ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and BSkyB, they urge them to ringfence money for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) programmes a move so far resisted by the broadcasters. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:00:00 GMT)

MPs call for delay in appointing new House of Commons clerk
Carol Mills has been selected by a cross-party panel chaired by the speaker, but some MPs are calling for a reconsiderationFrontbenchers on both sides of the House of Commons are arguing for a delay in the appointment of a new chief executive at Westminster, to protect the Queen from the fallout of a growing row.Senior figures on the Tory and Labour benches are calling for a delay in passing forward the name of Carol Mills an Australian parliament official who is at the centre of a row in Canberra over the monitoring of a veteran senator's office to the palace until the completion next spring of an inquiry into her department. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:31:58 GMT)

Ukrainian troops attack pro-Russia rebels as peace efforts continue
Soldier killed and four wounded as Ukrainian president prepares to hold meetings with Angela Merkel and then Vladimir PutinGovernment troops carried out attacks on Tuesday in the two largest cities held by pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine, while Kiev also pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 2,000 and displaced another 300,000. The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, prepared to host German chancellor Angela Merkel at the weekend before a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.The next two weeks would be crucial for finding the way to move from war to peace, said Valery Chaly, the deputy head of Poroshenko's administration. He said in a televised briefing that Kiev saw a clear diplomatic roadmap ahead and expressed hope that a new approach could be found to end the war. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:41:16 GMT)

Protesters march on Pakistan parliament 'red zone'
Troops take up positions to protect parliament as 30,000 supporters of Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri hold rallyTens of thousands of anti-government protesters swarmed towards Pakistan's parliament late on Tuesday night after using bolt cutters and cranes to swiftly remove barricades designed to keep them away from the most sensitive areas of the country's capital city. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:25:00 GMT)

Lac-Megantic oil train disaster inquiry finds string of safety failings
Poor safety culture at train company and lax government supervision blamed for Quebec blast that killed 47The weak safety culture of a now-defunct railway company and poor government oversight contributed to an oil train explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec in 2013, Canadian authorities have announced in their report on the disaster. The Transportation Safety Board chairwoman, Wendy Tadros, said 18 factors played a role, including a rail company that cut corners and a Canadian regulator that did not do proper safety audits. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 01:36:35 GMT)

Prison lights-out policy could worsen mental health crisis, campaigners say
Plans by Chris Grayling to turn out lights and televisions in cells at 10.30pm are claimed to be dangerous to young offendersPlans to impose a strict 10.30pm lights out policy in prisons could worsen the mental health crisis in Britain's jails as vulnerable young inmates are forced into darkness, campaigners have claimed.Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, warned of the "terrifying" rate of suicides in prisons and called on the government to rethink its plan, saying it will leave young prisoners in isolation for too many hours. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:09:20 GMT)

Raúl Castro's daughter first lawmaker to vote 'no' in Cuban parliament
Mariela Castro felt labour code against workplace discrimination based on gender, race and sexual orientation did not go far enoughMariela Castro, the daughter of President Raúl Castro and niece of Fidel Castro, has given an unprecedented "no" vote in the Cuban parliament to a workers' rights bill she felt didn't go far enough to prevent discrimination against people with HIV or with unconventional gender identities.None of the experts contacted by Associated Press could recall another "no" vote in the 612-seat national assembly, which meets briefly twice a year and usually approves laws by a unanimous show of hands. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:11:35 GMT)

Texas governor Rick Perry has mugshot taken after indictment
Republican politician makes show of defiance after being charged by grand jury over funding veto of Rosemary LehmbergRick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, made a show of defiance in front of a cheering crowd outside an Austin courthouse on Tuesday as he arrived to be fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken following his indictment on charges of abuse of official power and coercion of a public servant.Media and supporters of the Texas governor gathered in downtown Austin where Perry arrived to a few jeers but mostly cheers and applause. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:03:41 GMT)

Child mental health services 'stuck in the dark ages', says Norman Lamb
Care and support minister says options available to young people are 'not fit for purpose' and vows overhaulMental health services for children have been criticised as "stuck in the dark ages" by the care and support minister.Norman Lamb told the BBC that services available to young people were "not fit for purpose" as he launched a new task force in a bid to make improvements. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:48:20 GMT)

Readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper, study finds
Research suggests that recall of plot after using an e-reader is poorer than with traditional booksA new study which found that readers using a Kindle were "significantly" worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.The study, presented in Italy at a conference last month and set to be published as a paper, gave 50 readers the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half read the 28-page story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback, with readers then tested on aspects of the story including objects, characters and settings. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:14:42 GMT)

Police crash into man's car to stop him driving wrong way down motorway
Man with dementia, 77, returned safely to family after being stopped while heading south on northbound carriageway of M6Traffic police had to crash into a car being driven at 50mph the wrong way down a motorway by a 77-year-old man with dementia.Officers stopped the Honda Jazz on the M6 toll in the West Midlands after reports that it was heading south on the northbound carriageway, between junction T5 and T4. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:16:00 GMT)

Barry Norman: Robin Williams was addicted to sentimentality
Former BBC film critic says actor's enormous talent 'could sometimes be spread so thinly as to be almost invisible'The film critic Barry Norman has accused the late actor Robin Williams of an addiction to "saccharine, tooth-rotting sentimentality" which he said would sully the Oscar-winner's legacy as a film actor.In a no-holds-barred column for the Radio Times, 80-year-old Norman said Williams's CV featured a "plenitude" of bad films among the actor's critically acclaimed movies. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:26:00 GMT)

Dutch newspaper apologises after fake report of Johan Cruyffs death goes viral
Volkskrant used report of Cruyffs death to test new app Story went live due to a stupid mistake, says editorThe Dutch newspaper Volkskrant has apologised after it tested its new app by publishing a story wrongly reporting the death of Johan Cruyff.The story, headlined Johan Cruyff deceased, was supposed to be part of an internal software test but went live by mistake, and quickly spread on social networks before it was taken down.Wegens een fout op onze nieuwe testsite is per ongeluk een bericht over de dood van Johan Cruijff op onze website verschenen. Onze excuses. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:28:27 GMT)

Glazers rule out selling Manchester United for at least five years
Family have no plans to end controversial ownership Fans anger flared up again after shock loss to Swansea Marcos Rojo set to complete £16m move to Old TraffordThe Glazers have no plans to sell Manchester United in the near future, with the clubs controversial American owners determined to be in place for at least the next five years.The news will not be well received by those supporters who harbour on-going discontent at the familys ownership model, which heaped around £700m of debt on to the club when Malcolm Glazer bought it in 2005. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:46:37 GMT)

Marcos Rojo arrives for medical before £16m Manchester United move
Rojo in Manchester to complete move from Sporting Lisbon Injury casts doubt over Marouane Fellainis Napoli move The Rumour Mill: Chelsea to sign Carvalho for £35m?Marcos Rojo is in Manchester to undergo a medical before completing his £16m move to Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon.The 24-year-old arrived late on Tuesday night, and the examination and the agreement of personal terms is expected to be a formality. Nani is joining Sporting on a season-long loan as part of the transfer. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:57:45 GMT)

Adam Jones writes open letter to Ospreys fans after Cardiff Blues move
33-year-old Wales prop explains decision to supporters I havent been getting any money I couldnt wait foreverThe Wales prop Adam Jones has written an open letter to Ospreys supporters after signing for Cardiff Blues.The 33-year-old said he couldnt wait forever for his playing future to be resolved, in a letter published by the South Wales Evening Post. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:48:57 GMT)

Erik Lamela should not be written off on the basis of one poor season
The 22-year-old has experienced more professional upheaval than many and should not be underestimatedErik Lamela has disappeared before. Last season was pretty much as bad as first seasons get for club record signings: brought on for £30m at the end of Tottenhams post-Bale spree, he managed just three league starts before succumbing to injury. But he was back in the starting line-up for Spurs 1-0 win at West Ham on Saturday and, if he doesnt play against the Cypriot side AEL on Thursday, its almost certainly not because hes been dropped but because hes now considered too valuable to be wasted in the Europa League qualifying round. Its early days yet but, after an impressive pre-season, this could be a third comeback already for a player who is still only 22.When he was 12, Lamela was taken to La Masia. Barcelona wanted to sign him and there was talk, perhaps exaggerated, of a contract worth 100,000 a week. The Argentinian papers excitedly talked of him as the new Messi although Messi at that stage was still to make his first team debut for Barca but Lamela stayed in Buenos Aires. I didnt really understand what was going on, he said, but it seems his parents decided it was better for him to grow up closer to home. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:11:59 GMT)

Besiktas v Arsenal: five Champions League play-off talking points
Calum Chambers showed promise but Slaven Bilics team, with Demba Ba threatening, proved no push-oversThe vast majority of Arsenals best attacking moves last night came on the right, Alexis Sánchezs driving pace causing the Besiktas back-line plenty of bother in the opening 45 minutes, but with only Olivier Giroud to aim at in the middle, the end product was often disappointing. Once Theo Walcott returns to the team it is expected that the Chilean will move into a central role, which would mean Giroud dropping to the substitutes bench. In the shadow of Lionel Messi at Barcelona Sánchez was mostly banished to the flank too but, as he showed at the World Cup, a central role suits him. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:56:00 GMT)

Football transfer rumours: Chelsea to sign William Carvalho for £35m?
Todays rumours still have a differential lockWith only 7,328 players on their books, Chelsea have finally decided to address the shortage by adding another; well, either that or the sport of preventing Arsenal from signing someone for whom their need is greater. Accordingly, they plan to offer £35m for William Carvalho precisely £1m per Sporting Lisbon appearance. Already standing by is Roberto Martínez, fawning speech thanking Chelsea for their altruistic generosity prepared for when the player turns up at Goodison Park on loan.And, it seems, Arsenal are also to be trumped in their bid to sign Manchester Citys street poet, Nasty Nastasi. Not that long ago, an example of Roberto Mancinis unrivalled eye for a young player, now he is thoroughly unrequired and likely to move to Juventus. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:26:30 GMT)

Petr Cechs Chelsea future in balance after Thibaut Courtois starts
Courtois made first start for club in 3-1 win at Burnley José Mourinho has yet to speak to Cech over omissionPetr Cech remains in the dark over his immediate future at Chelsea as he confronts life as a second-choice at the London club, with Thibaut Courtois the managers preferred goalkeeper for the start of the Premier League season.The veteran, who has claimed three Premier League titles and a Champions League over a glittering decade at Stamford Bridge, has yet to speak directly to José Mourinho over his sudden omission from the team following the decision to retain Courtois at the club after three years on loan at Atlético Madrid. Courtois made his competitive debut in Mondays 3-1 victory at Burnley and, while he admitted his own future would have been cast into doubt had he not started at Turf Moor, he urged the elder man to remain at the club. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:30:13 GMT)

Raúl Garcías late reply earns Atlético draw at Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-1 Atlético Madrid James Rodríguez 81; Raúl García 88Real Madrid left it late and Atlético Madrid left it later. It was 00.40 and there were nine minutes remaining when James Rodríguez gave Real the lead at the Santiago Bernabéu; minutes later Raúl García nudged in an equaliser. A match that started at 11pm on Tuesday night was goalless until it reached Wednesday morning, then two arrived. There are still two days of the Spanish Super Cup left; a second leg that straddles Friday and Saturday will decide who lifts this trophy.A largely uneventful game burst into life after the midnight hour. Rodríguez, Reals £63m summer signing, reached a loose ball six yards out to squeeze a shot past Miguel Ángel Moyà. Another trophy seemed set to slip from Atléticos grasp in the dying minutes but on this occasion there was the time and the energy to react. A late corner from Koke took a touch and evaded everyone until it found Raúl García who raised a heel to score at the far post. There was excitement after all. That largely dull first half felt a long time ago now. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:55:00 GMT)

Arsenal lodge complaint to Uefa over bottle thrown at Arsène Wenger
As I left the pitch a bottle or something was thrown at meManager angry over Ramseys red card and Arteta injuryMatch report: Besiktas 0-0 ArsenalArsenal have lodged a complaint with Uefa after a bottle was flung at Arsène Wenger as he left the field at the end of a tempestuous first-leg draw against Besiktas, and the Frenchman was highly critical of the performance of the Serbian referee which has left his team depleted for next weeks return fixture. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:08:26 GMT)

US Open: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are top two seeds
Andy Murray seeded No8Potential rematch of Wimbledon finalReigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has been seeded No1 for the US Open with the five times winner, Roger Federer, seeded second. Britains Andy Murray is seeded eighth. Should both Federer and Djokovic reach the final of the years final grand slam tournament, they would compete in a mouth-watering rematch of this years Wimbledon final, a five-set thriller won by Djokovic. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:10:53 GMT)

Jonnie Peacock completes full set with European gold in Swansea
Briton takes 100m title at IPC Athletics Championships Scotlands Sammi Kinghorn picked up teams first goldThe reigning Paralympic and world champion Jonnie Peacock added the European T44 100m title to his lengthy list of achievements on Tuesday on a successful day for Britain at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea.Peacock, 21, beat Germanys Felix Streng in 11.26 seconds despite missing the early part of the season with a back injury. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:55:22 GMT)

Andy Murray needs that winning mentality back after losing streak
As the US Open looms, the Scot is battling a virus that has infected his game since surgery: losing from winning positionsIt is nearly a year since Andy Murray took the biggest gamble of his career, although he does not see the back surgery he underwent in quite such stark terms; it does not do to stir old demons.On the eve of the US Open, however, Murray faces another, altogether more straightforward challenge, to the spirit rather than the body and that is rediscovering the intensity and verve that drove him to his breakthrough victory at Flushing Meadows two years ago and carried him to the next peak: that momentous Wimbledon win in July 2013. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:00:13 GMT)

Brightons João Carlos Teixeira gets Sami Hyypia off the mark at Leeds
Sami Hyypia claimed his first three points as an English league manager as Brighton finally got off the mark for the season in the Championship. Two clinical strikes book-ended a match that his side totally controlled against Leeds to suggest he has put his stamp on a side that made the divisions play-offs last season.How times have changed for Sami Hyypia. Eleven months ago, surveying proceedings from the away dugout at Old Trafford as his Bayer Leverkusen team went toe-to-toe with Manchester United in a Champions League fixture, the 40-year-old was considered one of the continents most promising young shavers when it came to coaching. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:56:26 GMT)

England benefited when Jimmy Anderson showed his malevolent side
Sledging can be unedifying but affronted by Indias accusations, Anderson bowled superbly during Englands Test series winPersonally I had no time for sledging. Get hit for four or six and the riposte was to try to do better with the next delivery. Beat the bat or find the edge and that was sufficiently eloquent. There just seemed no point in mouthing off for the sake of it, beyond self-berating, which, contrary to general perception, is what Jeff Thomson, to use an extreme example, actually did for the most part.But all cricketers are different. Some require calming down, others revving up, and how they achieve this is very personal. Mike Atherton felt he needed to be on edge so that once, he told me, against Pakistan at Lords, when he walked out to bat feeling quite chipper, it felt wrong. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:30:59 GMT)

Ravi Bopara shocked by omission from England ODI squad against India
Essex all-rounder admits he expected a positive call 29-year-old still hopes for World Cup place this winterRavi Bopara said he was in shock after being left out of Englands squad for the one-day series against India but he has not given up hope of being involved in this winters World Cup.Bopara, the 29-year-old Essex all-rounder, has been a consistent performer with bat and ball over the past few years in limited-overs cricket and last October was named Englands one-day player of the year. However, a week after scoring a century for the England Lions against Sri Lanka A in Worcester, he was surprisingly omitted from the 15-man squad for the five-match series against India that starts in Bristol on Monday. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:00:13 GMT)

Chelsea salute Cesc Fábregas the man José Mourinho calls maestro
Arsenal and Manchester United passed up chances to sign him but the midfielder could make the difference in the title raceShortly before Cesc Fábregas set about reintroducing himself to English football, a couple of Chelsea fans in the old Cricket Field stand at Turf Moor unfurled a banner that seemed designed to get under the skin of any Arsenal supporters watching on television. Cesc is Blue felt like a declaration of ownership, referring to a player who had once declared he could never wear anyones colours in the Premier League apart from the red and white of Arsenal.He is not an orthodox hero for his new club. His background is elsewhere in London and there is a history of previous with José Mourinho that had to be cleared up before he decided Stamford Bridge would offer him more job satisfaction than Barcelona. Yet Fábregas played like a man in a hurry to leave his mark and, in the process, his first competitive match for Chelsea reminded us of something that should not be overlooked when it comes to the art of controlling the ball. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:37:57 GMT)

Edinburgh comedy awards: explore all the winners interactive
From Cambridge Footlights in 1981 to Bridget Christie in 2013, explore the history of the Fosters Edinburgh comedy awards. Find out who won, who they beat and how the art of comedy changed each year. When did standup come to the fore rather than sketch humour? Who was the first female winner? Who won in the year that Jack Dee, Lily Savage and Frank Skinner were in the running? The various nominees include a minor royal and the narrator of Peppa Pig... The winners of this years awards will be announced on 23 August Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:45:00 GMT)

Johnny Depp and Kevin Smith to work alongside daughters in Yoga Hosers
Johnny Depp will star alongside daughter Lily-Rose, while Kevin Smith will direct them and daughter Harley Quinn, in a high-concept action movieJohnny Depp and Kevin Smith are to work alongside their own daughters on Smiths new film Yoga Hosers, an action-adventure movie based around a pair of teen yoga fanatics.Depps daughter Lily-Rose and Smiths daughter Harley Quinn take the lead roles in the comic book-style film, in which the aforementioned yoga nuts must battle an ancient evil that rises from underground and threatens an upcoming party. Depp also stars as an ex-cop and man-hunter, Guy Lapointe, who aids the pair in their quest. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:57:36 GMT)

Licence to quip: match the action hero wisecrack to the villain's sticky end
With Expendables 3 burning up the cinemas, test your knowledge of action movie death quips. What is the cause of death that these one-liners are referencing? Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:53:00 GMT)

Channel 5's Matthew Wright brands caller a 'moron' for using the F-word
Daytime presenter annoyed by callers explicit language during phone-in about lending your partner to a friendChannel 5s Matthew Wright has previously landed in hot water with the TV regulator over a joke he made about the murder of a Scottish teenager, which drew 2,200 complaints. On Tuesday, however, it was one of the callers to The Wright Stuff who may have landed him in trouble after using explicit language on the daytime chatshow. During a discussion on lending your partner to a friend, sparked by a Mariella Frostrup article on her holiday with Penny Smiths husband, a caller called Jason from Derbyshire phoned in. Jason said: My wifes best friend had a works do and a board presentation and had no one to go with and she encouraged me to go. Were a close group and we all know each other. So I kind of went to this dinner with my friend and then I f***ed her in the p****. Wright appeared not to have heard the explicit language and asked Jason to repeat the comment. When he did, Wright looked embarrassed and said: Oh no, Jason. Ive had this wonderful run of good luck with callers over the years and youve just spoilt it for me. What an idiot. What a moron. Go off to ITV with your friends. You can watch the incident in full below but be warned, the language is not for the faint-hearted. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:07:56 GMT)

Pharrell's big hat to be exhibited at Washington Newseum
Singers Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hat will be shown as an example of the impact of social media today The pictorial diary of Pharrell Williamss hat Pharrell puts Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hat on eBayPharrell Williams huge hat is headed to a museum. Six months after the singers Vivienne Westwood chapeau eclipsed his appearance at the 2014 Grammys, that same brown cap will be honoured in a new exhibition at Washington DCs Newseum.Williams happy hat will be on show from 21 August to 26 October, according to the museums website. Unfortunately the exhibit is not a tribute to the state of modern millinery: instead, the Newseums curators were drawn to the way Williamss comically large Buffalo topper came to sit at an intersection of news, celebrity and social media. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:36:05 GMT)

The intoxication of the speckled wood butterfly
Wenlock Edge: Drunk and disorderly, he wavers through the air until he catches the whiff of ripeness, finds the fruit and locks onThe speckled wood butterfly is clamped to a squidgy blackberry and drinks deeply. Drunk and disorderly, he wavers through the air until he catches the whiff of ripeness, finds the fruit, locks on and barely moves. His hindwing has a chunk missing; his forewing eye-spot is brighter than his real eye, which is jaundiced with a pinhole, pupil-like dot; the rest of him looks like something stuck to a pub carpet. He closes the cream and chocolate wings, which flicker through the dapples of the wood edge, making him a cluster of glimmering dots in flight. Looking closer at the folded undersides of his wings, they are an intricate camouflage of wood flake, leaf crisp and rot invisible.Since the swifts switched high summer off behind them, the leaves have coarsened and something metallic hardens the lush greens. Skies lumbering with dark clouds, flashing with brilliance and cooling, tell their own story. Berries colour up, late blooms of honeysuckle sweeten the shadows, where there is a folded note. It reads: bacon 1lb, eggs, 2 loafs, sticks D, suet logs, nuts, non alcohol, papers. There is something about this simple and rather abstemious shopping list for people and birds which feels touching, lost on the side of the path. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 04:29:10 GMT)

Just one more Cornetto trilogy: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright to reunite for three new films
Pegg confirms a new trilogy planned for the next decade, with further collaborations planned in the years beyond, as he and Frost reprise Shaun of the Dead roles in animated TV specialSimon Pegg is making a new film with long-term collaborator Edgar Wright, and could be set to film a whole new trilogy with the British film-maker, the actor has revealed.Pegg and Wright are best known in the UK for the Three Cornettos trilogy, comprising 2004s Shaun of the Dead, 2007s Hot Fuzz and last years The Worlds End. It had been assumed the pair, along with Nick Frost, were moving onto pastures new. However, Pegg told Edith Bowman on BBC 6 Music radio that more movies were now in the works.It will happen. We made three films in 10 years and hopefully in the next decade well make another three, he said, adding that the first instalment has a title and everything. Heres news, @nickjfrost and myself will be once again stepping into Shaun and Eds shoes for the #PhineasAndFerb Halloween special. W00t!! Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:40:35 GMT)

Tiger fight: Benedict Cumberbatch's Shere Khan to battle Idris Elba's rival cat in Andy Serkis's Jungle Book
Cumberbatch is to voice the purring baddie in Serkiss version of The Jungle Book, which competes with Jon Favreaus alternate take, in which Elba plays Mowglis arch-enemyBenedict Cumberbatch will voice the villainous tiger Shere Khan in Andy Serkiss version of the Jungle Book, one of two competing takes on the iconic Rudyard Kipling tale being put together in Hollywood.Serkis is making his directing debut on Warner Bross reimagination of Kiplings 1894 fable, which will arrive in cinemas on 21 October 2016. A separate version from Disney, with Jon Favreau in charge of the cameras and Idris Elba lined up to voice Shere Khan, is due 12 months earlier.Shere Khan, a nefarious man-eating tiger who views Kiplings hero Mowgli as his lifelong enemy, was voiced by George Sanders in Disneys animated 1967 musical version of The Jungle Book, thus far the most famous incarnation. Both new films appear to be based largely on the chapter Mowgli and his Brothers in Kiplings book, which has traditionally been used as the source material for a number of Hollywood adaptations over the years. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:10:31 GMT)

Dogs: Their Secret Lives and Worst Place to Be a Pilot review a foray into the dog flap, and a turbulent ride
Channel 4 takes a lacklustre look at the predictable reasons why dogs get fat behind their owners' backs, only to land on track with a documentary on the most budget of budget airlinesA year ago, Mark Evans presented an eye-opening documentary, Dogs: Their Secret Lives, which revealed what the average pooch got up to at home when its owners were out. It was one of the few animal programmes that justified the use of the word "secret" in the title: all those who imagined their mutts tucked up on the sofa either having a gentle snooze or watching wildlife documentaries on the Discovery Channel got a nasty shock. Many dogs were in some cases literally tearing their hair out and going berserk with boredom.On the strength of this, Evans was asked to do a follow-up series using the same spy-cam and GoPro technology to record the daily doggy rituals humans often miss. Tuesday's first episode of Dogs: Their Secret Lives (Channel 4) on canine obesity, though, was a step too far even for someone who, all too often, wakes up to find his own dog nudging him off the pillow. There just wasn't anything very secret going on. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:00:00 GMT)

The psychology of comedy: where humour and psychosis overlap
New research shows that comedians have a remarkable amount in common with people who have schizophrenia or manic depression and that this could be what makes them funny"Many people say that comics are psychopaths," says the standup Jason Byrne, who should know what he's talking about after almost two decades in the business. "We put this front on of being a normal person but in our shows we're closer to our actual personality."Which is? "Completely mental." Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:00:00 GMT)

Top 10 Scottish castle stays
You may have to camp or self-cater, but all of these Scottish castles offer a chance to stay in splendid surrounds at (relatively) affordable pricesBlair Castle in bucolic Perthshire, the seat of the Dukes of Atholl since medieval times, wouldnt look out of place in a Disney film. This white-turreted confection owes its good looks to a spot of Victorian remodelling. You cant stay in the castle itself but theres a campsite (open from mid-February to early November), a handful of luxury lodges scattered across the estate and, in a secluded spot, close to the pretty granite village of Blair Atholl, a meadow of contemporary woodland lodges. Named after the rivers on the estate, Errochty, Fender and Tilt sleep four, Tummel and Garry six. The lodges are well-kitted-out with an outdoor terrace, views of woodland and craggy hills, 40 miles of waymarked trails and a host of ranger-led activities. 01796 481487, blair-castle.co.uk, from £275 for a four-night break in a two-bedroom lodge (sleeps 4) or £320 in a three-bedroom lodge Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:00:07 GMT)

The daily quiz: fruit and Friends
Today's questions cover world records, planets, vitamins, fruit, football sponsors, African exclaves and classic films 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...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 04:45:00 GMT)

The 10 best celebrity takes on the ice bucket challenge
Everyone from Britney Spears to Mark Zuckerberg to Oprah is taking part in the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for motor neurone disease or ALS. Heres a round-up of the best so farWhat is the ice bucket challenge?Videos and images of celebrities taking part in the ice bucket challenge are circulating social media. The challenge involves people pouring cold water, often containing ice cubes, over their heads and posting the videos and images to social media. The participant then nominates someone to complete the challenge often in a set time frame, if they dont they have to donate to the charity, or both. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:08:23 GMT)

Why did an offensive Greggs logo show up in Google's web search?
An alternative logo cropped up when you searched for Greggs on Tuesday. But why does this happen?Greggs fell afoul of the Google algorithm on Tuesday when an alternative logo popped up to anyone searching for the company.Instead of the companys official logo, an image with the slogan: Providing shit to scum for over 70 years. Classist, crass and a far cry from the companys actual slogan: Always fresh. Always tasty. But it caused a giggle on Twitter, nonetheless.@samhesling1 we certainly have! Praying to the google gods it gets fixed soon!Hey @GoogleUK, fix it and they're yours!!! #FixGreggs pic.twitter.com/d5Ub7qtrLG.@GoogleUK WE LOVE YOU GOOGLE!!!! Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:12:24 GMT)

What it's like having your 40-year-old son living at home again mum's view
Pete Cashmore has described the pitfalls of finding himself living back with his parents while he tries to find a flat and a job. Now his mother gets her right of replyDear Peter,Before we start, your father and I would just like to thank you for allowing your piece to be published on his 74th birthday. We trust your fee will be paying for dinner. Your father is working in the greenhouse at the moment; I don't think he wants to talk to you. Your brother a very successful veterinary surgeon might be coming for dinner, by the way. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:18:24 GMT)

Five ways to make marriage more equal
Mothers names are to be added to marriage registers but why stop there? Ellie Mae OHagan: Five myths about unequal payDavid Cameron has asked the Home Office to change the content of marriage registers in England and Wales to include details of mothers as well as fathers. It has taken more than a year of feminist campaigning to bring this issue to prominence, since Ailsa Burkimsher Sadler instigated a Change.org petition calling for mothers names to be added, in August 2013. Ending the invisibility of womens identities in these historical documents is an important step forward, practically and symbolically, but there are many other elements of modern marriage that could be updated to achieve equality. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:24:22 GMT)

Quiz: whose review is it anyway? Nancy Dell'Olio v Jeremy Paxman
This week, Paxman took to Edinburgh's fringe with Paxo, and Dell'Olio celebrated her debut show, Rainbows from Diamonds. Can you guess which of these two festival newbies the reviewers are writing about? Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:37:00 GMT)

Drunk online shopping regrets: clarinets, elephants and flatpacks
One glass of wine too many and one click too far these days you can pay a high price for being drunk in charge of a laptop or smartphone. Our writers share their stories of accidental bulk buys and bargains that didnt seem so wise the morning afterPackages arrive for me infrequently, their contents for the most part boringly apparent: books, CDs, spare phone chargers, that sort of thing. This one didnt have any of the usual telltale shapes. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:57:58 GMT)

Professor Green: Men shouldnt suffer in silence with depression and anxiety
My dad killed himself and, having struggled with feelings myself, I want to make sure I deal with them properly. You should tooI was 24 when my dad, Peter Manderson, took his own life. We had a troubled relationship and hadnt spoken to each other for about six years; for no real reason we just stopped. Then one day I got in touch to try and repair some of the damage. It was Boxing Day and we argued over the phone about where to meet. I got angry, and my dad, who was a gentle man, stammered and stuttered. The last words I said to him were: If I ever see you again Im going to knock you out. It all seems so desperately trivial now.The tragic last hours of Robin Williams life have been raked over in minute detail over the past week. Susan Schneider, his wife, has said he was battling depression and anxiety, as well as the early stages of Parkinsons. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:00:00 GMT)

BBC looks beyond the walled garden in a changing media world
In part eight of our nine-part series, Charlotte Higgins looks at how 20 years ago the BBC was a fortress in a broadcasting world it largely invented itself; now it is no longer alone in the vast ocean of possibilityRead the full series of The BBC ReportThere were no sealed orders to open. The commission was of the scantiest nature. Very few knew what broadcasting meant; none knew what it might become. So John Reith recalled the first 18 months of his life as the general manager of the brand-new British Broadcasting Company. What Reith did recognise, instinctively and immediately, was the magnitude of his responsibility. There was something big, even colossal, conveyed in the nature of the contract which had been undertaken.Reith and his bohemian flock (as the head of variety, Eric Maschwitz, described the band of early colleagues) were out to invent the future. Reith, that monstrous, tyrannical, tortured man, set his furious gaze at the new technological world of wireless telegraphy and saw that it could be, should be, placed in the service of society as a whole. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:36:15 GMT)

My edible classroom gives deprived New York kids a reason to attend school
Teacher Stephen Ritz explains how a project to grow fresh food in his school turned into a wider movement encouraging healthy eating among US studentsStephen Ritz is a teacher in New Yorks deprived South Bronx district where he began a pioneering project to farm plants and vegetables indoors at Discovery High School. The schools so-called edible walls gave birth to the Green Bronx Machine, a project that helps other schools in the US start their own agricultural programmes to teach children healthy eating, environmental awareness and life skills. As well as continuing his educational work in New York, Stephen travels the world promoting the value of growing fresh produce, both in schools and the wider community.The Green Bronx Machine was an accidental success. I wound up working at a very troubled high school in New Yorks South Bronx district. It had a very low graduation rate and the bulk of my kids were special educational needs, English language learners, in foster care or homeless. It was dysfunctional to say the least. Someone sent me a box of daffodil bulbs one day and I hid them behind a radiator I didnt know what they were and figured they may cause problems in class. A while later, there was an incident in the room; we looked behind the radiator and there were all these flowers. The steam from the radiator forced the bulbs to grow. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:00:11 GMT)

The costly trail of British government IT and 'big bang' project disasters
From e-borders to the NHS, the billions spent tell a cautionary tale but have lessons been learned for universal credit?When the government passed the same-sex marriage act last year, the law had one curious wrinkle: while it would allow gay couples finally to marry, couples already in a civil partnership would have to wait if they wanted to "upgrade" to wedded status.One reason for the strange delay in a policy that passed with the approval of all three party leaders was both mundane and common in Whitehall: the computer said no. The various government IT systems supposedly couldn't cope with the changed status yet, and so plans to convert civil partnerships to marriage would just have to wait (and are still waiting to this day). Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:25:01 GMT)

A time to cull? The battle over Australia's brumbies
Its been a hard winter for Australias wild horses. But things may be about to get much worse for these totemic animals. Their swelling numbers are damaging the continents precious alpine ranges, and tensions are mounting over what needs to happen nextBrumbies in their element picturesThe last mare in Dead Horse Gap lies dying on a pure-white bed of snow. Her ears twitch as we approach, but shes too weak to lift her head. Her rib bones are a scaffold now for her chocolate brown coat.About her, her fellow mob lie in various stages of decay, food for fat, shiny foxes. Crows line the pretty snow gums above. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:25:18 GMT)

Experimental soundtracks and lavish orchestras TV never sounded so good
The ambitious scores of Game of Thrones, Utopia and new US drama The Knick are bringing a new dimension to music on TVHave you heard how good TV is these days? By that I dont mean the quality of the writing or the acting I mean have you actually listened to how great TV music is sounding at the moment? Its hard to think of another time when so much high-quality and varied music was being produced, with a widened sonic palette suited to the increased fidelity on home cinema systems or lossless Blu-ray sound reproduction. Until quite recently, all TV music was designed to blare out at you in mono; now the constantly evolving soundscapes and artistry of TV music has risen along with the technology. Our ears have never had it so good. Theres quantity as well as quality. Consider an older show such as, say, Starsky & Hutch. A classic title tune, to be sure, but week in, week out, they would have to drag out the same, overly familiar cues and themes for the car chases or punch-ups. That repetitive, musical shorthand just wont float today. Composers and musicians are arriving at TV work from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:25:38 GMT)

Paxman lends voice to John Wilkes bronze in talking statues project
Broadcaster joins group including Ed Stoppard and Simon Russell Beale in Sing London drive to give voice to statuesEvery day thousands of people pass by the statue of a tall man wearing a frock coat, holding a sheaf of papers and standing on a stone plinth in Fetter Lane the heart of London's legal quarter. But now he has found his voice, and it is curiously familiar."It's the ugliest man in England here," his voice snaps, "but leave me alone with your wife or daughter, and you would better be back within 20 minutes or I'll have talked my face away and we'll be upstairs." Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:22:36 GMT)

How to mend ... a cracked iPhone screen
A broken screen doesnt have to mean splashing out for an expensive repair, as fixing it yourself is easier than you think How to mend an inkjet printerHow to mend a slow computer If the iPhone in your pocket is sporting a broken screen right now, youre not alone. Nearly a quarter of iPhones on the streets look just like yours. After the glass cracks, your options are pretty limited: either pay for an expensive repair, or keep swiping at the shattered glass until your fingers bleed. There is a third option, however. One that most dont ever consider: repair the screen yourself. It seems like a daunting task, but its simpler than you might think. Continue reading...
(Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:02:08 GMT)

Why zoos are good
The days of the Victorian menagerie are over, but modern zoos are much more than a collection of animals and more important than everI am a lifelong fan of good zoos (note the adjective) and have visited dozens of zoos, safari parks and aquaria around the world. I also spent a number of years working as a volunteer keeper at two zoos in the U.K. and my own interests now span to the history of zoological collections and their design, architecture and research so it is probably fair to say Im firmly in the pro-zoo camp.However, I am perfectly willing to recognise that there are bad zoos and bad individual exhibits. Not all animals are kept perfectly, much as I wish it were otherwise, and even in the best examples, there is still be room for improvement. But just as the fact that some police are corrupt does not mean we should not have people to enforce the law, although bad zoos or exhibits persist does not mean they are not worthwhile institutes. It merely means we need to pay more attention to the bad and improve them or close them. In either case, zoos (at least in the U.K. and most of the western world) are generally a poor target for criticism in terms of animal welfare they have to keep the public onside or go bust and they have to stand up to rigorous inspections or be closed down. While a bad collection should not be ignored, if you are worried the care and treatment of animals in captivity I can point to a great many farms, breeders, dealers and private owners who are in far greater need or inspection, improvement or both. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:57:44 GMT)

Hope Villa: from a leaky semi to a sustainable superhome
Chris Newman explains how he retrofitted his draughty Victorian townhouse so thoroughly it beats the PassivHaus standard10 ways to renovate sustainablySustainable homeware in picturesWhen he bought it three and a half years ago, Chris Newmans three-storey semi was horribly cold, with solid walls, leaky windows, electric storage heaters, an inefficient boiler and very little insulation. Now, the propertys original name of Hope Villa fits it perfectly.After an extensive retro-fit, Newman is now like an increasing number of eco-homeowners receiving energy bills that are actually paying him money, rather than demanding it from him. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:39:51 GMT)

Tokyos disaster parks: hi-tech survival bunkers hidden under green spaces
Things arent what they seem in Tokyos parks, where benches double as cooking stoves and underground stores hold emergency food and water for entire districtsA series of fires, often referred to as the flowers of Edo, raged during the 17th and 18th centuries in the Japanese city we now know as Tokyo. Each horrible blossom reduced a part of the metropolis to ashes. Its not known exactly how many fires earned the sardonic nickname, but we do know they were particularly deadly because the city was largely built of wood, and because people had very few places to hide. In the 20th century, roughly one million of the Tokyo residents who survived the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake did so because they escaped to tracts of forest and farmland. If you were in the centre of the city, however, you were surrounded by flammable materials on all sides. After the 1923 earthquake, the need for open spaces within urban areas became clear. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:44:41 GMT)

North Korean women turning to cosmetic surgery 'for chance to work abroad'
South Korean trends for eyelid enhancements and permanent makeup are also popular in the North, especially among university students hoping to improve career opportunities. DailyNK reportsCosmetic surgery procedures common in South Korea are becoming increasingly popular in the North, sources inside the country have told DailyNK. Demand for cosmetic surgery procedures has increased over the summer, as young women hurry to complete both surgery and recovery before the start of the new university term. Eyelid surgery and permanent makeup are particularly popular. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:35:35 GMT)

Deep concerns: the trouble with basement conversions
They are a luxurious answer to London's building space shortage for those who can afford them. But as the steady stream of media stories about planning disputes, digging disruption, and the sheer extravagance of 'iceberg homes' shows, resistance to them runs deepFor the ordinary resident, there is much to fear and loathe in London: the scourge of 4X4s too wide for a normal parking space; the fit-to-burst property bubble; the Tesco Expresses that used to be pubs. Presently there is no greater totem of resentment than the humble basement.Or in some cases, not so humble. The media is fond of stories about the "iceberg homes" of tycoons and oligarchs: already enormous houses under which three and fourstorey basements have been dug to house swimming pools and car collections. Even modest basement conversions under suburban terraces are a cause for alarm, if only because of their sudden proliferation. In certain neighbourhoods it's not unusual to see four or five being dug in the same street boxy hoardings squatting on front gardens with conveyor belts carrying spoil over the pavement into a skip. In 2001 the borough of Kensington & Chelsea received 46 planning applications for basements; last year it received 450. Continue reading...
(Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:00:00 GMT)

Islamic State militants claim to have killed US journalist James Foley
Propaganda video circulated Tuesday claims to show beheading of photojournalist, who went missing in Syria in 2012 Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:17:54 GMT)

Outrage over Isis beheading of US journalist James Foley live updates
Foleys killer had a British accentCameron says Foleys murder is shocking and depravedIsis threatens to kill another captured journalistFoleys mother: He was an extraordinary son Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:25:59 GMT)

The holiday trap: the tricky business of a leader's leisure time
Whether chilling like David Cameron or tense like Gordon Brown, politicians can't win in August a usually explosive month Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:19:38 GMT)

British extremists among 'most vicious' in Isis, expert says
Jihadism expert says Sunni Muslims from the UK do everything from suicide bombings to executions in Syria and Iraq conflicts Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:44:46 GMT)

Thank you, Christy Mack, for showing us the true face of domestic violence
Encountering brutal images of domestic abuse on our social media feeds brings the issue closer to home and kickstarts an important, and difficult, conversation Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:00:00 GMT)

Nine reporter Erin Molan quits Kyle and Jackie O after 'boob job' segment
Move comes after questions from talkback callers about Molans sex life and whether she had a boob job Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:48:59 GMT)

Britains youth risk being locked out of any recovery
From housing to jobs and benefits, the under-35s have little to hope for in the aftermath of this economic slumpThe great Cameronian cull of the male, pale and stale at the start of the summer was, supposedly, about demonstrating diversity at the top table. But with the ousting of David Willetts, one endangered political species has been pushed to the brink of extinction: namely, the frontbencher who can produce a significant book. It is an irony indeed that the former university ministers The Pinch warned of a developing faultline between in the crass parlance of a No 10 briefing the stale and the young.Over its four years, the coalition has taken the side of the greys in the age wars at every pass. Higher college fees, in which Willetts himself had a hand, were one early instance. More damaging has been the diversion of pretty well all of the £25bn in social security cuts away from the old, with the result that the hit on younger families became roughly twice as large. After making such choices it really is no good for the PR PM now to reheat phrases about young families last heard 2010, as he did this week with his pre-election proposal to stick a family impact assessment in future white papers. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:30:07 GMT)

Scottish independence would have a devastating impact on the BBC
A yes vote would leave the new public broadcaster on both sides of the border reeling from budget cutsThe UK is an extraordinary crucible of ideas, learning and creativity. We can celebrate difference and speak in harmony with many voices. We are enriched by Yorkshires writers and artists; by Northern Irelands poets; by the powerful contributions that post-war immigration has brought us. No part of the UK has made a greater contribution to the whole than Scotland Adam Smith and James Boswell; JM Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle; Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson; Muriel Spark and Carol Ann Duffy; Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith; Ludovic Kennedy and Andrew Marr; Billy Connolly and David Tennant; Armando Iannucci and Irvine Welsh.One reason for Britains exceptional creative and intellectual vitality is our genius for founding institutions that channel and foster our national talent. None of these bodies is more effective than the BBC. And tellingly, the BBC was founded and critically shaped by a young Scot of vision, a can-do engineer, a curmudgeonly son of the manse, John Reith. And it was that bold Scot who bequeathed the BBC an enduring conviction, a stubborn commitment to excellence and a lasting set of values. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:33:42 GMT)

Spoken Words: Hollie McNish on the need to get children out of the classroom video
Spoken word poet Hollie McNish performs Outside Education, about the importance of children learning in the real world, on school trips. Ofsted and the government studies agree that it's good for pupils, she says, yet they make it impossible for teachers to get kids out from their desks Spoken word: share your performances Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:00:00 GMT)

Welcome to Nap Club, the home of more focused, efficient workers
Nappers aren't idle. But they are happier, healthier and more productive. Take it from an expert ...Napping has an image problem. Tell a stranger that you take regular naps and they'll either start treating you contemptuously, as if you're so repulsively lily-livered that you can't get through a day without having to place your precious little head on a silken pillow of stardust and unicorn fluff; or they'll just get jealous and bash you on the nose.Napping? In the daytime? When you're supposed to be working? It just sounds a bit namby-pamby, doesn't it? A bit comfort-blanket. There seems to be a widespread belief that introducing napping in the workplace would be the start of a slippery slope of infantilisation that's doomed to end with everyone wearing pastel-coloured rompersuits and slapping their porridgey hands against their dad's iPad instead of working out the north-east division's Q3 projections. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:00:00 GMT)

John Bercow is right to fight for a more modern House of Commons
The choice of an external candidate for the role of chief clerk is the speakers latest battle to rejuvenate parliamentThe Commons is silent and empty but the speaker, John Bercow, still manages to generate raging headlines. A row has erupted between him and his various critics over the appointment of a new chief clerk for the Commons. Even the saintly former speaker, Betty Boothroyd, has intervened noisily on the side of his critics.On one level the row is little more than a parochial dispute about the wisdom of appointing an outsider to an important post. Bercow and his panel of interviewers have selected a woman with administrative experience in the Australian parliament rather than a senior, experienced Westminster insider who has worked as a clerk in the Commons. Not surprisingly the insider is upset by Carol Millss appointment, and those who loathe Bercow are angry, suspicious about what they regard as his power-grabbing motives. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:15:07 GMT)

For Pope Francis to talk about mortality and retirement is entirely in character
As the pope contemplates his future, the big question is how much of the excellent work he has done will survive him Pope Francis says he expects to live two or three more yearsWhen Pope Francis tells journalists that he may be dead in three years time or better yet retired, the first thing to consider is that hes telling the truth. He is 77 and has only one lung. Hes doing a job that would strain someone of any age and killed one of his recent predecessors within six weeks. And he has taken on a huge agenda of internal reform as well as what might be called his figureheading duties, such as the trip round South Korea from which he has just returned.The shock, then, lies not in what he said but that he said it at all. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI came like a thunderclap, not least because such a profound traditionalist did something that no pope had done for 600 years. There had of course been a swirl of rumours saying he was past it and sick of the job, but poisonous mutterings swirl around the Vatican like malarial mosquitoes, although theyre harder to eradicate. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:30:11 GMT)

In politics, background really does matter
We need more working-class politicians. Our privileged party leaders can never fully understand those whose lives are blighted by inequalityDoes it matter if Daves family were good for a few quid, or that Eds dad was a prominent academic, or that Nick didnt go to the comprehensive down the road? As far as many on the right are concerned, it really doesnt and if it does, you must be one of those envious losers who hate success. But there are many on the left who dont think background matters that much either. Tony Benn (formerly known as Viscount Stansgate) didnt think his privileged upbringing was any impediment to his role as a leading socialist.Its a persuasive argument: its not where youre coming from in life that counts, but where youre going and whose side youre on. But you wont hear many people from poor backgrounds in politics, or public life generally, who will agree. They know better. Because where you come from certainly does matter. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:29:08 GMT)

Should hospital art be jolly or should it portray the truth about pain?
Landscapes and clown murals are said to improve wellbeing in wards, but this kitsch propaganda may actually drive patients to despairScience regularly delivers brilliant insights that stretch understanding and reveal new worlds. Then again, it sometimes produces "insights" on the order of "people like eggs because eggs taste good", or "the sun cheers everyone up" banal or tautological statements given a fresh sheen of authority by experimental data.Some recent research on the kind of art that works best to cheer patients in hospitals is of this less-than-earth-shattering nature. Well-heeled US hospitals that decorate their corridors with cool contemporary art claim a scientific basis for their decor. They cite studies revealing that guess what patients are more likely to be cheered up by landscapes and soothing colours than by terrifying expressionist battle scenes. For example, one study concluded that "images of fearful or angry faces" should be avoided in hospital art. On the basis of such research, one American hospital that says it selects art that is "not disturbing, but uplifting and diverse". Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:54:08 GMT)

Satire is dying because the internet is killing it
Facebooks [satire] tag may prevent people believing Kim Jong-un was voted the sexiest man alive, but the damage is doneForget self-driving cars or virtual reality nano-technology algorithms, the newest innovation to emerge from Silicon Valley is square brackets. Facebook is testing a satire tag that will clearly label fake news stories from well-known satire sites like the Onion as [satire]. No longer will you need to rely on outdated technology such as common sense to realise that content like Area Facebook User Incredibly Stupid is [satire], the square brackets will do it for you.It should perhaps be noted that Facebook isnt introducing the satire tag because it thinks were all morons, but rather because it knows were all morons. In a statement, the social network explained that it had received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:52:16 GMT)

The real looting of Ferguson: its black citizens never had a chance to get by
The National Guard rolled in to protect a status quo. But racism set a status quo of inequality long before Michael Brown diedLive coverage of Ferguson protests continues hereThe symptoms of structural racism stain America everywhere, but its execution is particularly perverse in places like Ferguson. Its not just that black drivers are stopped more often for alleged crimes than white drivers, despite the Missouri attorney generals report that white people break the law more often. Its not that Fergusons police force is 94% white in a town thats two-thirds black. Its not even, as Jeff Smith wrote in Mondays New York Times, that black people many unemployed do more to fund local government than relatively affluent whites by way of those stops and the subsequent fines.The real perversion of justice by way of modern American racism is that black people in Ferguson like black people in the greater St Louis metropolitan area and nationally are marginalized economically and physically from day one. That is the real looting of Ferguson. The real looting is legal looting. People dont have their fair share of police jobs, fire jobs, accounting work, legal work. Thats looting. The looting by night should not take place, but neither should the accepted level of legal looting. And that must stop.Open contributions: Help the world hear your police racial profiling story Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:45:00 GMT)

Gavin Esler: Why I love prog rock
The writer and BBC journalist talks about his love for rocks most varied and derided genre, and how its about much more than silly capes and 10-minute drum solosLet me say it up front: I dont like bad hair or capes. Im not into witches, warlocks or elves. I would never try to claim prog rock is cool. But I love it. And I know Im not the only one.Its perhaps easier to say what prog rock isnt than what it is: its not three-minute pop songs, its not straightforward rock, metal, blues or jazz, but can have elements of all them and more. Its a form that is on the boundaries of many different forms, that is open to all sorts of influences. Its really the name for music that is very difficult to categorise. Too often we put music into boxes; you cant do that with prog. Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:00:11 GMT)

Kate Bush asks fans not to use phones or tablets at London comeback gigs
Singer joins growing backlash against filming performances, telling fans she wants to 'have contact with you as an audience'The last time she took to the stage, the prototype of the mobile phone was undergoing its first trials. And as she emerges from her 35-year time capsule to perform once again, singer Kate Bush is faced with a different world.While most concerts are now aglow with phones and tablets, Bush is taking a stand against fans watching her shows through the digital veil of a screen. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:18:00 GMT)

Peter Maxwell Davies at 80: The music knows things that I dont
Last year Peter Maxwell Davies was given six weeks to live. Despite absolutely revolting chemotherapy and a blood clot that almost killed him, he went on to complete his 10th Symphony, and now hes about to celebrate his 80th birthdayI feel like Im on trial, says Peter Maxwell Davies, seated in the Royal Academy of Musics penthouse flat for visiting professors. Davies, one of our greatest living composers, is about to celebrate his 80th birthday, is being feted up and down the country with a cluster of concerts at the Proms in London and in Glasgow on and around the big day. But here he is, feeling as if this epic encounter with his own music is something hed rather not deal with.Seriously, he says, with a glint in his eye, all these celebrations are wonderful, but I did have to interrupt a piece I was thoroughly enjoying. Im carrying it around with me in my brain and I just want to get back to it. By back to it, he doesnt just mean composing. He also means his home on the island of Sanday in Orkney, the archipelago where he has lived since the mid-1970s. Whatever happens, he will be back there to vote Yes in the forthcoming referendum. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:30:08 GMT)

Christian singer Vicky Beeching: 'I knew I was gay when I was 13' video
A huge star on the American evangelical Christian scene, Vicky Beeching found the stress of being gay in a very conservative community almost intolerable and became seriously ill. Having come out, she wants to spread the message that you don't have to choose between your faith and your sexuality. Here she tells how she reached breaking point Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:10:00 GMT)

Alan Warner: booze, books and why he's backing Scottish independence
The Morvern Callar author used to celebrate finishing a book by spending four days in the pub. At 50, he has eased up a bit, but he hasn't lost any enthusiasm for literature or his homeland"It's very busy for three, four weeks in the summer," says Alan Warner as we walk through Jávea and down towards the front. Strolling past palm trees and apartment complexes, along dusty streets, Warner is incongruous: a 6ft 3in Scottish novelist, too hot in the afternoon sun of this small Spanish resort town."My wife's from here. She grew up here it's her place," he explains. "We bought a place here yonks ago with money from Hollywood, and it's been a useful hideout. It's very quiet in the winter. That's why I decamp here to work. The distractions are minimal." Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:05:13 GMT)

Jourdan Dunn first black British model to enter Forbes rich list
Londoner, 24, who has criticised racism in fashion industry earned enough to rank alongside Cara Delevingne and Kate MossOne of fashion's most covetable stars, and also as one of its most vocal critics, Jourdan Dunn, has become the first black British model ever to enter the Forbes models rich list.The 24-year-old from Greenford, west London, ranked alongside Gisele Bündchen and Mirander Kerr as one of the highest earning models in the world last year. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:45:46 GMT)

Elton John distances himself from Ukip after Nigel Farage hints at support
Singer says Ukip leader attended dinner at his home as a guest of Conrad Black, and that he would not be favouring any partySir Elton John has taken the unusual step of denying he supports any political party after Nigel Farage hinted that the star could back Ukip.Farage was swiftly rebuffed by the musician after suggesting in a radio interview that he had a "big announcement" to make after being invited to a recent dinner party at John's house. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:18:40 GMT)

Take my husband: Stewart Lee, Bridget Christie and the rise of comedy couples
With alliances between standups increasingly common, relationship gags are entering a brave new era in which both parties get to air their dirty linen on stageAs comedy gets ever bigger, and as its age-old gender imbalance erodes, so we encounter a new(ish) phenomenon: husband-and-wife (or girlfriend-and-boyfriend) standups. The outstanding Edinburgh fringe example is Bridget Christie and Stewart Lee, but they're not alone. Sara Pascoe tells jokes about her beau, John Robins, in her show and vice versa, apparently. Sarah Millican recently married one-liner comic Gary Delaney. I'm not forgetting comedy couples of previous generations Ade Edmondson and Jennifer Saunders; Lenny Henry and Dawn French but it's only now that we're seeing solo standups discussing, on stage, their intimate relationships with other solo standups.So what's the protocol? At one extreme, there's the example set at last year's fringe by comedians Nat Luurtsema and Tom Craine, who made respective shows about their recent breakup (complicated by the fact that they're both members of the same sketch group, Jigsaw). Luurtsema even advertised Craine's show at the end of her own, inviting you to view the two performances as a heartbreak diptych. But things aren't usually that intimate. Pascoe talks about Robins's reluctance to have children, and apparently he addresses her behaviour when she's pre-menstrual. Continue reading...
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:57:26 GMT)

Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul: I miss Jesse Pinkman
He landed the role of a lifetime as a troubled meth-slinger but Aaron Paul isnt done just yet. Here he talks about returning for the prequel, Better Call Saul, playing sidekick to a cartoon horse and his religious upbringingAaron Paul remembers clearly the summer he thought his career was over. He was 27 years old when he landed his biggest gig to date, playing Amanda Seyfrieds do-gooder boyfriend in HBOs Mormon family saga, Big Love. It wasnt a huge role, but it was significant a step up, surely, from the bit parts and commercials he had jobbed through for 10 years, since loading up his faded gold Toyota Corolla in Boise, Idaho and driving 800 miles south to Los Angeles. But, he says, I was the lowest I ever was. I had a breakdown, not knowing what I was going to do.Paul, now 34, left home at 17, the youngest of four siblings; he had been saving up for his big move since before he even started high school. And yet, having finally made it, he realised he couldnt afford to live. I didnt come from any money, but even when I was on Big Love people think youre on a series and youre making bank. How much was he making? For an episode, after tax? $600. In the end, he had to buckle and ask his parents for help. They had to pay my rent three months in a row and that was so much for them. Continue reading...
(Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:38:02 GMT)

Japanese pachinko in pictures
Pachinko, a game similar to pinball, is a fading national obsession in Japan. The once-booming industry is adopting a softer touch and smoke-free zones to lure a new generation of players Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:06:21 GMT)

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