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Election 2015 live: Clegg warns of second election before Christmas without Lib Dems in coalition
PM says minority Labour government would have ‘credibility problem’Clegg admits holding EU referendum would not breach Lib Dem ‘red lines’Read Andrew Sparrow’s summary of Clegg’s Today interviewSwinney says UK government needs to represent whole of UK 2.17pm BST Nick Clegg’s warning about a second election being inevitable unless the Lib Dems are included in a coalition in a hung parliament (see 1.32am) is striking (and probably rather alarming to everyone who feels that one election a year is more than enough). But is it actually true?Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, there will not be another general election until 2020 unless one of two things happens; either two thirds of the Commons would have to vote for an election; or the government would have to lose a vote of confidence, and 14 days would have to pass without an alternative government winning a vote of confidence.The biggest challenge for a minority government undoubtedly lies in the parliamentary arena, where bills and spending plans may be defeated, amended or talked out (if timetable motions are defeated). Yet minority governments are often far from impotent in the legislature. Instead, successful minority governments put together temporary coalitions with different parties on different issues, conceding enough to get their business through, and relying on the fact that the interests and preferences of opposition parties are rarely aligned. Minority administrations hold an extensive set of powerful levers simply by virtue of being in government. At Westminster, the executive tightly controls the budget process, has the ability to block non-government legislation fairly easily, retains the sole right to introduce secondary legislation (which is rarely challenged in Parliament) and, despite recent reforms, can still determine the business of Parliament most of the time. It makes hundreds of important public appointments, can reorganise the structure of government departments and agencies largely at will, and retains important prerogative powers over defence, foreign policy and much more. 2.02pm BST Hi Jamie Grierson here. I’ll be listening to the Daily Politics election debate on BBC Two, starting now. Today it’s on welfare. Conservative work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves, Liberal Democrat Steve Webb, Ukip’s Suzanne Evans and Green Party’s Jonathan Bartley are all appearing. I won’t post a minute-by-minute account, rather flag the most interesting moments. 1.40pm BST Here is more from the Lib Dem news releases justifying Nick Clegg’s claim that there will be a second election before Christmas unless the Lib Dems are included in coalition.New analysis reveals it would be virtually impossible for a minority Conservative or Labour government to pass key legislation without major financial concessions to buy off smaller parties like the SNP, Ukip and DUP ...Party analysis reveals: 1.32pm BST Nick Clegg made his comment in a news release the party has just sent out. Here is the Nick Clegg quote in full.Everybody knows that no one will win this election – even if David Cameron and Ed Miliband won’t admit it publicly.That means that politicians will have to work together to put the country first. 1.25pm BST This is intriguing.Clegg warns there'd be 2nd election before Christmas if Lib Dems aren't part of coalition 1.08pm BST The Tories are getting excited about this quote from Lucy Powell, vice chair of Labour’s election campaign. “Labour know Ed Miliband has no intention of keeping the promises he makes during the election campaign,” says Grant Shapps, the Conservative chairman.Here is the quote:I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the fact that [Ed Miliband has] carved them [his promises] into stone means, you know, means that he will absolutely, you know, not going to break them or anything like that. 12.59pm BST This is pretty extreme.Perhaps it was the moment when David Cameron endorsed Matthew Offord, not Boris Johnson, as the next Tory leader. (See 10.53am.) 12.53pm BST Leanne Wood, the Plaid Cymru leader, has issued a statement saying voters should use the election to end Wales’s position as a forgotten nation. The old way is on its way and people in Wales now have the chance to keep Wales at the heart of the political agenda beyond election day.I ask people in every corner of our country to think about it: which local candidate will best represent your community at Westminster? Which party do you trust to make sure Wales’ voice is heard loud and clear? 12.45pm BST There have not been many (any?) memorable speeches this campaign. But, according to my colleague Libby Brooks, who was there (see 12.27pm), Gordon Brown’s was “thunderous”.While for the SNP the pursuit of nationalism is their goal, we believe in partnership, and that real progress is not some progressing at the expense of others but all of us progressing together. So it could never have been Scottish nationalism but only Scottish Labour that led the way to a minimum wage across the whole of the UK, to stop the good region undercutting the bad and the bad nation undercutting the worst in a cut-throat race to the bottom – and it is a minimum wage that we will convert into a £8 an hour minimum wage And that is why there can be no deal, no tie-in, no arrangement and no compromise with an SNP for whom nationalism is the imperative they serve.Join us and let us all play our part in Labour and Scotland’s fight for social justice. And I say to those who feel the pain of others and who believe in something bigger than ourselves: we know that when the strong help the weak it makes us all stronger. 12.27pm BST In a characteristically upbeat speech, in the face of unanimously devastating polls, Jim Murphy has told voters in Scotland to ask themselves one question as they step into the polling booth on Thursday: what would David Cameron do? Putting the squeeze tightly on voters wavering between Labour and the SNP, he said: “A Conservative prime minister who has reduced his great office to the status of the SNP’s cheerleader in chief, who has built his whole campaign on talking up the SNP. Does he want you to elect that one Labour MP who could be the vote that kicks him out of Number 10 or does he want you to elect an SNP MP who in the parliamentary arithmetic could be the only thing to save his skin?”While Murphy was characteristically upbeat and measured in the face of devastating polls, Gordon Brown delivered a thunderous address, calling on Scottish voters – including those who voted yes in the referendum – to “ascend to the mountaintop of social justice together” by voting for Scottish Labour.Thunderous words from Gordon Brown in Glasgow #GE2015 https://t.co/8ehUH9XmL9 12.22pm BST Speaking of legitimacy, Guardian columnists Jonathan Freedland and Polly Toynbee turn their attention to Friday morning and the question of legitimacy in a hung parliament. Who decides who forms a government? Who gets to have a go at it first? Will it be down to Nick Clegg? And what do the front pages of the rightwing press tell us about the Tories’ plans? 12.08pm BST 12.02pm BST In his Q&A this morning Ed Miliband studiously refused to talk about what might happen in the event of a hung parliament. (See 11.13am.) But David Cameron has not been so reticent. In an interview with the Daily Mail this morning, he suggested that Labour would not have the “legitimacy” to govern if it were not the largest party.Asked whether a government led by a party that had failed to win the most seats in the Commons and votes in the country could have legitimacy, [Cameron] said: ‘I think people would have serious questions and problems with it – and they would have every right to.’I just think that there’s a massive credibility problem, with this idea that you can have a Labour government, backed by the SNP, only fighting for part of the country. I mean, the concerns of voters that I’m hearing about that, are very, very strong. 11.22am BST Ukip have got a two-page advert in the Daily Telegraph.Unfortunately for Ukip, the Telegraph hasn’t shown them the same courtesy that other advertisers, like HSBC, sometimes get from the paper. As the Press Association reports, the two-page ad follows a front-page splash headlined: “A vote for Ukip is a suicide note for Britain”. 11.13am BST Miliband is now taking questions from the press. 11.08am BST In his Q&A, Ed Miliband says when he hears David Cameron “banging on” about how good life is for working people, he realises that he just does not “get it”. 11.05am BST The Conservatives have unveiled a defector from Ukip. Elliot Nichols was a Ukip district councillor in Surrey until yesterday. He was also Ukip’s parliamentary candidate for South West Surrey until he stood down before Christmas, citing personal reasons. In a statement released by CCHQ, Nichols said:Two years ago I left the Conservative party and joined Ukip. I switched with high hopes. Since then events – especially in recent months – have convinced me that this was a grave error of judgment.I made a mistake – a big one – and today I am proud to rectify it. 11.00am BST If the children of Britain were the only voters on Thursday, David Cameron would emerge with 40% of the vote, according to a survey by the weekly children’s newspaper First News.David Cameron, Conservative: 40%Ed Miliband, Labour: 22%Natalie Bennett, Green: 18%Nick Clegg, Lib Dem: 9%Nigel Farage, UKIP: 6%Nicola Sturgeon, SNP: 4%Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru: 1% 10.53am BST David Cameron has been holding an event at the same time as Ed Miliband. I did not see the live footage, but, from Twitter, it sounds as if it has been quite lively.Boris at rally with PM raises "nightmare prospect" of "Alex Salmond holding out his glass for more pink champagne on the British taxpayer"Cameron at rally in Hendon: "It's all about jobs, it's all about the economy, it's all about livelihoods" #GE2015No hermetic control for PM's last push: voter challenges him and Boris over Eton education and "banking friends"Asked if he'll hand over to "man on your left" if he falls short, Cameron reaches round Boris and puts arm round Hendon MP @MatthewOffordCameron now taking questions from genuine ordinary people, many of them hostile. Interesting. #ge2015 pic.twitter.com/ruw4ts3RRFAfter Clegg #r4today confirmation he cd back Lab with most seats, Cameron pounces: if u vote LibDem "you don't know what u're going to get" 10.45am BST Our multimedia team have launched this impassioned plea from Guardian columnist Owen Jones for people to vote on Thursday. He urges the electorate to blame the people with power, not those without it. Change rarely comes from the generosity of the powerful but is fought for from below, he says. Now is the time to take action, he concludes. 10.41am BST Q: Would you re-introduce the educational maintenance allowance?Miliband says he cannot promise to restore EMA. 10.32am BST Q: What are you plans on housing. I love my children, but don’t want them living at home?Miliband says Labour would build 1m homes during the course of the next parliament.@steve_mccabe @NatJPeters E.g. Tory Reggie Maudling to new Chancellor Jim Callaghan in 1964: "Sorry to leave it in such a mess, old cock!" 10.20am BST Ed Miliband is speaking now. 10.16am BST Bedford is a classic marginal. The Tories won in 2010, but, according to a poll from Lord Ashcroft last summer, Labour was then ahead. 10.13am BST Ed Miliband is about to start a People’s Question Time event in Bedford.He is being introduced by Patrick Hall, the Labour candidate. Hall says that, as the campaign goes on, the attacks on Miliband from the Tories have got more extreme. He says he is very pleased that Miliband has chosen not to retaliate in kind. That is a testament to his decency, he says. 9.58am BST A Tory parliamentary candidate has been heavily criticised for retweeting a Richard Littlejohn headline that compares Labour being in charge of the country with giving Jimmy Savile the chance to babysit.Trust Labour? I'd rather trust Jimmy Savile to babysit http://t.co/UCmlUEE0Pe via @MailOnlinePolitics can be a rough game, but there should be boundaries. Acceptable levels of decency in dialogue. There are criticisms of Labour from the right – that many may not agree with – but a clash of ideologies will always lead to strong and impassioned arguments.But there are limits. Just as some on the right were justly shocked over the vitriol over the death of an old woman (no matter what political damage she did to the country) Labour have a right to expect not to be unjustly compared to Jimmy Savile. More importantly the victims of Jimmy Savile deserve not to have their abuse abused for political purposes. 9.57am BST Nicola Sturgeon has told Scottish voters that they have 48 hours to end austerity, driving home her message that this is an election like no other in terms of Scotland’s opportunity to make its voice heard in Westminster (which of course is another example of using “Scotland” and “SNP” interchangeably – last time I looked, the country had exactly the same number of MPs as it had last time round). 9.51am BST Ivor Gaber, a journalism professor, has written a good article about media coverage of the election that we have just launched on our site. He concludes that the “Tory press” is back with a vengeance.Here’s an extract.I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised by [the resurrection of the “Tory press”], but even seasoned press observers – well, this one at least – could have been taken aback by the sheer ferocity of the 21st-century incarnation of the beast – had it all not seemed so ludicrously, even comically, dated.The Daily Mail has been frothing at the mouth about “Red Ed” for the past two years or more. One has to hand it to the paper for its sheer determination in trying to plant the concept into the mind of the general public at every opportunity – Lynton Crosby eat your heart out. But the failure of the campaign to find any sort of resonance among the man or woman in the pub or coffee bar has been one of the more edifying aspects of the campaign. 9.46am BST Jim Murphy tells the Daily Record this morning that he would be “heartbroken” if votes for the SNP usher in another five years of Tory government across Britain. The Scottish Labour leader, who is facing heavy losses on Thursday, said he feared a return to the dark days of Thatcher when his family were forced to emigrate to South Africa after his father lost his job.It’s interesting to note how Tory warnings of SNP “coalition chaos” are reported here: the Herald this morning describes David Cameron as “ruthlessly playing the Scottish Nationalist card” in a last-ditch attempt to appeal to voters in the south. 9.45am BST Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, was asked by Victoria Derbyshire on the BBC just now if Labour would accept that it had no right to form a government if it was not the largest party after Thursday.The party with the largest number of seats normally gets the chance to try and form a government. But we have to see how the country votes, don’t we. 9.29am BST Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader, is to make a final plea to wavering and lost Labour voters to back his party by insisting that failing to vote for Labour on Thursday will result in “a decade of Tory rule”.Murphy is due to appear with Gordon Brown in Glasgow later this morning. Polls unanimously predict Scottish Labour faces a wipeout at the hands of the SNP, and Murphy is being challenged heavily in his East Renfrewshire seat by the SNP candidate Kirsten Oswald – who has been appealing to Conservative voters in the once Tory stronghold to back the SNP.We’re less than 48 hours away from being able to change our country and set out on the road to a fair economy. We get it by rejecting the divisions of the past and embracing a fairer plan for Scotland’s future.We cannot gamble on ending Tory rule with a vote for the SNP. They plan to vote against Labour budgets and a Labour Queen’s speech, and are planning the road to a second referendum. It’s the last thing working class people in Scotland need. 9.25am BST Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP in the last parliament and the candidate in Brighton Pavilion, was also on the Today programme this morning. She effectively urged Green supporters not to vote tactically - ie, not to wear one of Polly Toynbee’s nose-pegs - and to instead back the party they believed in.Up and down the country the sense that I’m getting [is] that people are fed up of tactical voting, that there is far more of a sense of people wanting to vote for what they believe in – and in particular, what the Green party is offering, the politics of hope instead of all of this politics of fear.Every other party right now is trying to terrify you out of voting for the opposition because of something to do with migration or something to do with the SNP. None of them are putting forward a positive vision and the number of people now coming to the Green party saying that they are desperate to vote for something positive – whether that be our policies for much more ambitious action on climate change, whether that’s our policies on challenging austerity, whether it’s to do with standing up for a truly public NHS – that is what people want. 9.20am BST Here’s another exhibit from the “You’d never know he was a Lib Dem” school of campaign strategy.After Wiltshire MP Duncan Hames’ leaflet, which had more blue, red, and Ukip purple than yellow, come these billboards from John Leech, who is campaigning for re-election in the studenty marginal of Manchester Withington.Have you spotted our billboards around the constituency? #Chorlton #Didsbury #Manchester Give us a wave! #Makeit15 pic.twitter.com/goP1OLM58g 9.04am BST At the end of an election campaign, after countless interviews, it is hard to get a party leader to say anything new and I don’t think John Humphrys landed any great scoops. My colleague Tom Clark thinks Nick Clegg firmed up his line that the Lib Dems would talk to the largest party first in a hung parliament situation, but I’m not even sure about that. If there was anything new, it was not so much that the Lib Dems would talk to the largest party first, but that they would give them “the space and the time” to form a government.Here are the key points. The party that gets most votes and the most seats, in other words the party that gets the biggest mandate from the British people, even if it does not have a slam-dunk majority, it seems to me right to give that party the space and the time to try and set up a government. Clegg's views on coalition may well be irrelevant given he needs two thirds of members to back any coalition...First we should obey the democratic will of the British people, secondly we should guarantee stability above and beyond everything else, we need a stable, decent and united government after Thursday. I worry terribly about the fracturing of politics as Labour rush off to the left and the Conservatives rush off to the right..@nick_clegg, on 2-day UK tour, says he has not made EU referendum a red line because there are bigger priorities. pic.twitter.com/3xuRK0uBrN 8.30am BST Q: Andrew George, a Lib Dem candidate, says he has always voted against Trident. So you have a national policy and a local policy. Which is the Lib Dem policy?Clegg says all parties have MPs who are opposed to Trident. There are Labour MPs opposed. Some Tories have reservations about the cost, he says. 8.27am BST Q: You wanted a fairer voting system. But, in fact, we have a less fairer voting system because you blocked boundary reform. So what is the point of another Lib/Con coalition?Clegg says his reforms have been frustrated. It was not just the Tories; Labour united with the Tories to block Lords reform. They also obstructed reform to party funding. 8.25am BST Q: You say you have been a moderating influence on the Tories. But the Tories have claimed credit for some of your ideas. So it looks as if you have not achieved much at all.Clegg says that even by the provocative standard of Today questions, that is a bit much. 8.23am BST Q: Why is opposition to an EU referendum not one of your red lines?Clegg says he is not in principle opposed to a referendum. 8.20am BST Q: Did David Cameron tell you the Tories would not win a majority?Clegg refuses to answer. He does not control what Lib Dem people tweet. 8.18am BST Clegg says, again, his “hunch” is that the Lib Dems will do much better than people think. Where people hear the Lib Dem story, they like it. 8.18am BST Q: If you only get half the seats you have now ...Clegg says he does not think that will happen. 8.16am BST Q: If the Conservatives get more seats than Labour, will you offer yourself to them? And the same with Labour if they get the most seats?Clegg says the party that gets the most votes and seats should have the space and time to try to form a government. 8.12am BST John Humphrys is interviewing Nick Clegg now. Q: Would you do a deal with Labour? 8.08am BST Good morning. I’m taking over from Claire.John Humphrys will be interviewing Nick Clegg on the Today programme shortly.World First - Sun says vote for Nick Clegg (and 13 other Labour facing Libs) to keep SNP out, reports @KateEMcCann http://t.co/qJOv6HS1LA 8.01am BST Nigel Farage isn’t happy about the claims today by Iain Duncan Smith that a vote for Ukip is “like a suicide note”:For IDS to accuse UKIP voters of writing “suicide notes” for a country they believe in is another Tory slur that'll drive more people to us 7.41am BST Here’s some more info from the Guardian’s Scotland correspondent, Severin Carrell, on the day ahead north of the border: 7.30am BST John Swinney, the SNP deputy first minister of Scotland, has just been on the Today programme. He was pressed on claims made by his boss, Nicola Sturgeon, that a Westminster government without Scottish MPs would lack legitimacy.We’ve had a number of Conservative governments that were roundly rejected in Scotland by the electorate … There is a need for a government of the United Kingdom to be representative of the whole of the United Kingdom.We’ve set out a position that we will do everything we possibly can do to lock the Conservatives out of power … The important parliamentary point is that the government that is formed has to command a majority in the House of Commons … It’s important when that government is comprised that it is supported throughout the United Kingdom and has political legitimacy throughout the United Kingdom.There is nothing that can happen from this election that can lead to another referendum.[But last year] the UK party leaders came to Scotland and said to Scotland, don’t leave the United Kingdom. 7.23am BST Nick Clegg has had an early (and hair-raising) start, braving the Cornish winds for an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain:It's looking windy at lands end. There is a @metoffice warning for gusts 50-60mph for S & SW coasts! @gmb #windy pic.twitter.com/IMnPneBaShThe Liberal Democrat battle bus starts its 1,000-mile dash from Land’s End to John O’Groats today, stopping at marginal constituencies to make one last attempt to convince undecided voters before polling day.Today the bus will transport party leader Nick Clegg through a long line of Lib Dem seats, starting in St Ives, via stop-offs in Somerset, Cardiff and Solihull. 7.18am BST Today’s Guardian long read profiles David Cameron.Matthew D’Ancona writes:To understand Cameron is to look beyond the straightforward countenance – the psychic inertia in which the English upper middle class seems to specialise – and to observe the struggle between a radical social reformer who wanted to transform both the character of conservatism and the nature of the 21st-century state, and the supreme pragmatist who accepted that politicians must adapt dreams to circumstances.He never forgot that, in politics, he had chosen what Bismarck called ‘the art of the possible’; or, that in politics, as in any performance art, timing is all. 7.13am BST The Telegraph has also announced its view on who ought to be PM after polling day.I’d insert a drumroll here but savvy readers will be ahead of me: it’s Vote Cameron!On the question of bringing both economic and political stability, the choice is clearer every day. In 2015, the national interest and private necessity do indeed coalesce. A vote for Mr Miliband looks to be one for chaos and recession. Mr Cameron is offering stability and opportunity. 7.01am BST Good morning and welcome to the Guardian’s election live blog, as we dive into the final 48 hours of campaigning.I’m Claire Phipps, kicking off the blog today, before handing over to Andrew Sparrow to steer you through Tuesday’s twists and turns. We’ll have live coverage every day from 7am till late until polling day on Thursday. After the polls close, we’ll just keep on going until we fall over/readers fall over/there’s a government that doesn’t fall over.Nick Clegg may not personally recover from the tuition fees debacle, despite being right (eventually). But history will record him as the man who turned a party of protest into one of government. As a principled, effective politician who could hold another coalition together, we hope he keeps his seat.Any partnership between Labour and the SNP will harm Britain’s fragile democracy. For all its faults, another Lib-Con coalition would both prolong recovery and give our kingdom a better chance of continued existence.The deputy prime minister has been more maligned than any politician in Britain these past five years. Most of that criticism has been unfair, though he did block much needed electoral boundary reform.He has nonetheless taken the opprobrium with good grace and conducted himself with civility. It would be a shame if that were rewarded with expulsion.Most of the criticism of Nick Clegg has been unfair http://t.co/jp9stoSr6j pic.twitter.com/hEGazl3zbQGuardian front page, Tuesday 5 May 2015: Miliband’s warning – NHS faces financial bombshell pic.twitter.com/WzCBjprPBgThere was no bollocking. There was just a sense that … um. I just thought, I’ve got to turn the dial up.There would be many hurdles to be overcome before any Labour-Lib Dem minority government could be formed. It would be accused by opponents of being a ‘coalition of the losers’.Many Lib Dems would be opposed to minority coalition: not only would the party have to compromise yet again on its policies in return for power, but it would also have even less chance of getting its own policies implemented.It is argued that the Cabinet Manual – the civil service book setting out the rules on the transfer of power – states a prime minister can stay only until the point at which it is clear they cannot command the confidence of the Commons; not when any other party demonstrates they can form a majority or requires a vote in the House.The relevant section of the manual states: “Where an election does not result in an overall majority for a single party, the incumbent government remains in office unless and until the prime minister tenders his or her resignation and the government’s resignation to the sovereign. An incumbent government is entitled to wait until the new parliament has met to see if it can command the confidence of the House of Commons, but is expected to resign if it becomes clear that it is unlikely to be able to command that confidence and there is a clear alternative.”Voters over the age of 40 are twice as likely to vote Ukip as those under 40. That may be because older voters have different priorities. While the economy, unemployment and education all rank high as concerns for the overall British electorate, they’re lower on the list of worries among those who are going into, or are already in, retirement.That works to the disadvantage of other parties claiming that Britain’s economic stability would be jeopardised by exiting the European Union. And that works to the advantage of Ukip, which is not well-versed in policy areas like the economy, having focused almost exclusively on the EU and immigration. David Cameron, 48, the red-cheeked toff who went to Eton and belonged to snooty clubs; and Ed Miliband, 45, the gawky, adenoidal, agnostic son of a Marxist Jewish refugee and historian …Both Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband, though part of a younger generation of leaders, have pulled their parties back to the past, toward older ideologies.Face it, my beloved Britons: you’ve got a weird electoral system. You might think it’s normal that the Greens could get 10% of the vote and just one seat, while the SNP might end up with 4% and 50 seats. But it’s not. Even if it does stop Ukip. Even the name is funny: first past the post. It sounds like a board game in which a team of journalists and a team of politicians jump from one marginal seat to another, with a rich lord called Ashcroft tossing the dice.If the Greens are going to increase their support further, they’re going to have to appeal to parts of the city where politics – of whatever hue – cuts very little ice. A good example is Redcliffe, where we spend two hours following a Green team around some threadbare low-rise flats.One twentysomething mother-to-be doesn’t know there’s an election on; neither do a group of young men crowded around a stairwell, though their spirits are lifted by news that the Greens support the decriminalisation of weed. Watch the #libdems Women's Manifesto – it's easy to understand and filled with lots of pink! https://t.co/4j25hVSKouNick Clegg at Land's End at the start of his journey. pic.twitter.com/Gql9aSWEJw Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:27:43 GMT)

Former IRA commander shot dead in Belfast
Victim named locally as Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison was shot several times on Tuesday in the Markets area of south Belfast One of the Provisional IRA’s most senior members in Belfast has been shot dead with Sinn Féin blaming “criminal elements” for his murder.Gerard “Jock” Davison, a one-time commander of PIRA in the city, was shot at least once in the back of the head in front of children going to a local primary school in the Markets area of south Belfast at around 9am on Tuesday. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:03:52 GMT)

Nepal quake survivors face threat from human traffickers supplying sex trade
Criminal networks using cover of rescue effort to target poor rural communities in country from which an estimated 15,000 girls are trafficked a year, warn NGOsTens of thousands of young women from regions devastated by the earthquake in Nepal are being targeted by human traffickers supplying a network of brothels across south Asia, campaigners in Kathmandu and affected areas say.The 7.8-magnitude quake, which killed more than 7,000 people, has devastated poor rural communities, with hundreds of thousands losing their homes and all their possession. Girls and young women in these communities have long been targeted by traffickers, who abducted them and force them into sex work. Related: ‘No one has come’: one week on, Nepal quake victims help themselves Related: Nepal earthquake: how to donate Related: Nepal earthquake rescue teams search for missing trekkers in Himalayas Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:00:05 GMT)

Lenin's lover? Picture of woman described as his true love uncovered
Russian revolutionary known as ‘primeval force of the black Earth’ by contemporaries was close associate of Lenin and his wife, and played important role while in exileA London-based academic has uncovered a photograph of the woman described by some as Vladimir Lenin’s true love and the “primeval force of the black earth” by her contemporaries, after the image was lost for nearly a century. Dr Robert Henderson, a Russian history expert at Queen Mary University London, uncovered a photograph of Apollinariya Yakubova – a Russian revolutionary who fled to King’s Cross in London at the turn of the 20th century. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 06:00:07 GMT)

Dozens of migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean
At least 46 people are believed to have fallen into the sea and drowned as they waited to be rescued from their stricken vesselAt least 46 migrants are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean after falling out of a rubber boat as a rescue ship approached, survivors have said.The accident is the first major Mediterranean disaster since the drowning of about 800 migrants in mid-April. It occurred despite Italian-led rescue operations that saved up to 7,000 others over the weekend, and brings the 2015 death toll to more than 1,700 – about 17 times higher than the number of people who had died by the end of April 2014. Related: Europe’s worsening migrant crisis – the Guardian briefing Carrying the body of 3rd dead #migrant off merchant ship Zeran in port of #catania sicily pic.twitter.com/3axmiHSBBGOne of 3 inflatable boats rescued from the Mediterranean this week by the Libyan coastguard pic.twitter.com/qu1Ellj5pF Related: Libya's people smugglers: inside the trade that sells refugees hopes of a better life Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:34:17 GMT)

Syria war: 'unthinkable atrocities' documented in report on Aleppo
Regime accused of crimes against humanity and opposition groups accused of war crimes in Amnesty reportBashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity by systematically using barrel bombs to kill civilians and destroy infrastructure in Aleppo, says Amnesty International.The accusations come in a report released on Tuesday, two days after the regime bombed a school and community centre in a rebel-held district in the city where students were sitting exams. Related: Syrian children killed in government barrel-bomb attack, say rights groups Related: The worst place in the world? Aleppo in ruins after four years of Syria war Related: Aleppo: a Syrian nightmare – in pictures Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:47:27 GMT)

Isis claims responsibility for Texas attack
No evidence Islamic State had actual hand in attack in which two men opened fire outside centre exhibiting Muhammad cartoons Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:02:21 GMT)

British mothers twice as likely to die in childbirth as Polish women
Britain, where women are twice as likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth as those in Poland, Austria or Belarus, comes 24th in Save the Children’s annual listWomen in the UK are more than twice as likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth as those in Poland, Austria or Belarus, according to Save the Children. For the third year in a row the UK failed to make the top 10 of the charity’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report, coming 24th – up from 26th last year – in the list of the world’s best places to be a mother. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 08:15:36 GMT)

Interpol alert over diet pills that left Eloise Parry dead
Global police agency issues alert about tablets containing 2,4-Dinitrophenol – which make metabolism soar and cause people to ‘burn up from within’Interpol has issued a global alert over diet pills that last month claimed the life of a 21-year-old woman from Shropshire. The world police agency cited the case of Eloise Parry, as well as that of a Frenchman left seriously ill, as it raised the alarm over tablets containing the compound 2,4-Dinitrophenol . Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 08:35:48 GMT)

Microwave oven to blame for mystery signal that left astronomers stumped
Australian scientists first detected interference in 1998, which they assumed was from lightning strikes, but earlier this year they finally found the real culprit The mystery behind radio signals that have baffled scientists at Australia’s most famous radio telescope for 17 years has finally been solved. The signals’ source? A microwave oven in the kitchen at the Parkes observatory used by staff members to heat up their lunch. Related: Dying star could be behind immensely powerful radio bursts 'heard' live Related: The telescope that beamed the moonwalk now faces a budget blackhole Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 07:21:20 GMT)

Police saw Rotherham child sex abuse victims as prostitutes, says PCC
Officers failed to act 10 years ago when reports warned about extent of problem because they did not understand what grooming was, says Alan BillingsNothing was done about child sexual exploitation in South Yorkshire because the girls involved were seen as prostitutes, a police commissioner has said.Alan Billings, police and crime commissioner for the local force, said “it all went wrong” because police did not understand what grooming was or that it was child abuse. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 09:25:11 GMT)

Senior Burundi judge flees rather than approve president's candidacy
Judge Sylvere Nimpagaritse said ‘in my soul and conscience’ he could not sign an illegal ruling after ‘enormous pressure and death threats’The vice-president of Burundi’s constitutional court – which was about to decide on the legality of a hugely contested third term for president Pierre Nkurunziza – fled the country on Monday.His dramatic departure comes only hours after police shot dead four protesters in the central African country where violence has left at least 13 dead in just over a week. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 02:48:36 GMT)

New ovarian cancer test twice as effective as existing methods
Fourteen-year global trial finds 86% of women can be diagnosed correctly by tracking level of protein in bloodA new screening test that tracks changing levels of a protein in the blood can detect twice as many ovarian cancers as conventional methods, research has shown.The technique relies on a statistical calculation to interpret variations in the level of a protein called CA125 which is linked to ovarian cancer. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 22:45:40 GMT)

Pro-Putin bikers Night Wolves dwindle en route to Germany
German and Austrian officials say gang undertaking 3,700-mile ‘second world war victory tour’ has been reduced to a handful of leather-clad men in rental carIt began as an epic, if controversial, idea: to retrace the Soviet army’s route to Berlin on Harley Davidsons and surge into the German capital on VE Day this week in a tribute to the victory over Nazi Germany 70 years ago. Related: Poland's stance is 'anti-Russian hysteria', says Night Wolves leader Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 15:40:04 GMT)

Election 2015: Where to vote tactically to get the prime minister you want
We’re heading for a hung parliament where neither Ed Miliband or David Cameron will get a majority in this week’s general election. Polls suggest that a remarkable level of people are now considering voting tactically in order to boost the chances of their favoured party forming a government. But deciding how to vote tactically is a risky process. Here is a rough no-guarantees guide to tactical votingThe principles of voting tacticallyWho is ahead in the polls where you live? Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:09:18 GMT)

How to eat … a cheese sandwich
This month, How to Eat opens a pandora’s box, a Tupperware pandora’s box, as it tackles that British lunchtime staple, the cheese sandwich. Sounds simple, right?Gourmets! Gastronauts! The unfeasibly greedy! Gather around in as tight a huddle as our bulging stomachs will allow, for How to Eat is going where others are too complacent to tread. Yes, we are opening a Tupperware pandora’s box and taking a large bite out of the humble cheese sandwich. Identified last month as the nation’s favourite weekday lunchtime repast, this is not just a snack but one of the building blocks of the British identity. One that, thankfully, has recently been exonerated after accusations it had played a principal role in starting the first world war. As ever, below the line, please choose your words caerphilly. Do not turn the air blue. If necessary, brie the feta man. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:00:22 GMT)

Met Ball 2015: celebrities arrive on the red carpet – in pictures
The stars of screen and catwalk turn out for the China: Through the Looking Glass-themed Met Ball in New York on Monday Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 07:07:04 GMT)

To make a 10-year-old give birth isn't just horrifying – it's life threatening
A child raped by her stepfather in Paraguay is being denied an abortion, despite the high risks involved in carrying the pregnancy to termWould anyone in their right mind think it reasonable that a 10-year-old carry a pregnancy to term? This is not a thought experiment but the horrible story of a real child in Paraguay: raped by her stepfather and now denied an abortion. According to Amnesty International - which is leading the charge to obtain an abortion for the child - the young girl’s condition became public when she went to the hospital complaining of stomach pain and was found to be 21 weeks pregnant. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 09:00:00 GMT)

Inside Bud and Breakfast, the Airbnb of marijuana tourism – only much greener
What’s a pot enthusiast to do when possession is legal but public smoking is not? Enter a startup eyeing the wine country of weed and cannabis-friendly rentalsAs revelers poured in to Colorado last month to mark the unofficial “4/20” holiday celebrated by cannabis enthusiasts worldwide, some soon learned the limits of the state’s marijuana law. More than 100 citations were handed out, a number of them for smoking in public. Anecdotal accounts told of tokers being booted from hotels by staff wise to the towel under the door. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:15:02 GMT)

Sarah Lucas at Venice Biennale review – pervery and pleasure in a sea of custard
Welcomed by a handless but erect Maradona, Lucas’s sculptural army of friends and muses are all pleasuring themselves – and they’ll make you feel good tooOut under the portico and in the big first room of the British pavilion stand two identical yellow sculptures. Arch-backed and bums raised, as though in some difficult Pilates position, arms behind head and huge of erection, they look as if they are about to orgasm. Hrrryghhhh. If Jeff Koons’s balloon dog mated with a Franz West sausage, these two works by Sarah Lucas might be their priapic offspring. Each of their bodies provides a spider-like support for a humungous questing penis, reaching skyward. In the pavilion, the tip of the penis catches the light, gleaming white against the yellow walls. Related: ‘No one’s told me off about the fannies yet’: Sarah Lucas at the Venice Biennale Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:00:48 GMT)

What teachers wish their students knew
After touching letters from pupils completing the sentence: ‘I wish my teacher knew ...’ went viral, we ask teachers what they wish their students knewA teacher in the US asked students to finish the sentence: “I wish my teacher knew …”. The touching and revealing results went viral on Twitter, with one child writing “I wish my teacher knew I don’t have a friend to play with me”. Others wrote of troubles at home. We asked teachers what they wish their students knew. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:30:03 GMT)

Motherhood makes Kate one of us – but will she have to use the double stroller?
The birth of Charlotte brings the duke and duchess into the realm of common human experience – it’s what happens next that is where the real gap fallsOne of the reasons we get excited, and soppy, about the royals having babies is that it brings them into the realm of common human experience. It was hard not to look at the photos from Saturday and see, simply, a balding dad and a new mum, radiant on hormones and adrenalin, with a baby who disrupted the principle that all newborns look like Winston Churchill, by looking just like the queen. (Specifically, the queen’s one-is-not-amused resting face.) Even the anti-Monarchists among us thought ah; that’s nice. Related: We all dream of being a secret royal baby | Kathryn Hughes Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 09:00:00 GMT)

Feeling nostalgic for old video games? Now you can play them again
Grim Fandango is back. And it’s as brilliant as everAll right. Confession time. My favourite game release so far this year isn’t one of those new, shiny PS4 games with super-slick graphics and enormous open worlds. It’s not a Kickstarted iPad game with an intriguing physics mechanic. It’s not even one of those exciting Twine interactive fictions, taking advantage of the new tools available for non-coders to make games. No, my favourite game released thus far in 2015 was made in 1998. It’s called Grim Fandango and, as well as being an absolute masterpiece and comic delight, it’s a welcome sign of the games industry’s growing commitment to finding ways to port old games on to new platforms and to begin to create a canon of videogame classics.Grim Fandango is a simply brilliant piece of work. You play Manny Calavera, a lowly functionary in the office of the afterlife – Manny wasn’t a good enough soul in his time on earth to earn a luxury travel package to the Ninth Underworld so he’s working as a travel agent in the Department of Death. And that’s when the dame walks into his office; a dead dame, naturally, but a dame in trouble. Mercedes has been swindled out of her luxury express train journey and Manny determines to put it right. Half Aztec mythology, half noirish thriller, Grim Fandango (working title, The Long Siesta) is one of the most bonkers, creative, hilarious, touching and unexpected games ever made. If you described it as The Maltese Falcon meets Casablanca set in Mesoamerican heaven, you wouldn’t be far off. Comparing it to the sea of Identikit military first-person shooters and simulation games now on the market, its playful joy is even more astonishing. The creator, Tim Schafer, has funded a string of new games through Kickstarter, largely due to fond fan memories of this game. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 06:29:07 GMT)

Obama on Letterman: retirement jokes and sober reflections about Baltimore
President makes his eighth and final appearance alongside Late Show host who is stepping down after 33 yearsPresident Barack Obama is envisioning a future of playing dominoes with retiree David Letterman.Obama joked about their quieter futures during his eighth Late Show appearance Monday, saying Americans have grown up with the veteran comedian. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 05:18:24 GMT)

Raleigh Ritchie: ‘I don’t want to be on posters. I just want to be good’
He plays warrior eunuch Grey Worm in Game of Thrones. But Raleigh Ritchie is also a hotly tipped rising pop star. He tells Michael Hann how music helped him out of a dark placeFor someone who appears to have the world arranging itself coquettishly at his feet, inviting him to go ahead and conquer it, Raleigh Ritchie seems to spend a lot of time fretting. Under his real name, Jacob Anderson, he plays one of the stars of Game of Thrones – the castrated soldier Grey Worm, ambushed and left bleeding in the dust at the end of this week’s episode. Under the Ritchie name, the one he uses for music (“it’s more like a band name”), he’s released a series of acclaimed EPs, with an album on its way later this year, and won the approval of Kendrick Lamar.But he worries. About everything. He worries that, although the music came first, people will perceive him as an actor pursuing a musical vanity project. He worries that people will hate him for trying to pursue both music and acting. He worries about the transition to adulthood (a bit of a recurring theme in the songs we’ve heard so far). He worries that his album won’t capture the way he actually feels. “This is me being a dick,” he says in summation of his fears. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 21:00:06 GMT)

Election 2015 interactive: who is ahead in the polls where you live?
Find out who is leading the race in your constituency, according to our latest poll projection. The map shows which party can expect to win each of the 650 seats, which could change hands, and which are the battleground seats with a projected margin of less than 5%. The constituencies are scaled so each seat has the same area Continue reading...
(Mon, 20 Apr 2015 07:51:14 GMT)

Marginal prospects: why 7 May could be Esther McVey's longest day
Conservative hoping to hold on to Wirral West divides opinion in the constituency, and faces a tough battle against her grassroots Labour rivalStanding among the cuckoo clocks, lanterns and tasteful casual wear on sale at Style at No 30, her bijou shop in Hoylake, one of the most desirable of Wirral’s affluent villages, Debbie Bennett is full of praise for Esther McVey.“She’s confident, quite vibrant, very friendly – she’s just very confident,” she says. But with two days to go until the people of Wirral West go to the polls, the Conservative candidate may be feeling anything but. Related: Senior Tory Esther McVey says she would like to be prime minister Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 12:30:39 GMT)

'Face it Britain – you've got a weird electoral system'
With the UK election so important for Europe, three London correspondents for big European newspapers pick out the defining feature of the campaign so far Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 06:00:08 GMT)

Independent's support for Tory-Lib Dem coalition divides staff
Some journalists tweet their dismay at the paper’s decision to praise David Cameron and Nick Clegg while criticising Labour’s Ed MilibandThe Independent’s backing for the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition has come as a surprise to many people – not least some of its own staff. Matthew Champion, the paper’s news editor, expressed his dismay by simply retweeting Tuesday’s editorial prefaced by the word “yuck” while Jon Stone, who includes politics in his beat, commented: “Oh God did we just endorse the coalition?”yuck https://t.co/LtJfDeqdIaoh god did we just endorse the coalition? fmlToday's column: Don't believe most papers-The UK would be safer under Lab. http://t.co/SdIrzXITdoIn defence of liberal democracy. The @Independent's view on the election: http://t.co/zHte5pTRZiThe Independent on Sunday, proudly sister to, but not twin of, The Independent. Here's our leading article #GE2015 http://t.co/aKyCtFIa5l Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:08:46 GMT)

This is no normal election: don't let your voice be taken away – video
With the future of Britain at a crossroads, Owen Jones makes an impassioned plea for people to vote on Thursday. He urges the electorate to blame the people with power, not those without it. Change rarely comes from the generosity of the powerful but is fought for from below, he says. Now is the time to take action, he concludes• GuardianWitness: 'Most people in the world can't vote, we are lucky' – 13 reasons to vote Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 07:34:00 GMT)

Independent candidates fight to bring their issues to the fore
Whether they are defending the NHS or oppose fracking, many independents are running because they are disgruntled with the status quoSuzie Ferguson has never been a member of a political party, or really had much interest in party politics or the workings of government. Until recently, she was living in Dubai with her two toddlers and working as a chemical engineer, while her husband remained at the family home in Reading attempting to keep his small building firm afloat. But, on 9 April, three days after she returned to the UK at the end of her 14-month contract, Ferguson handed in her paperwork to the returning officer in Reading West, registering her intention to stand as an independent candidate for parliament on 7 May. Related: Clive Peedell: 'I want to challenge David Cameron over NHS' We’re not trying to get a few thousand votes … we are trying to win Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 12:50:44 GMT)

Anger, apathy and hope: the great British election diary
John Harris and John Domokos spent the past 11 weeks travelling round the country to find out what the election means to voters and politicians. From Glasgow to Bristol, this is what they saw and heardLatest Guardian/ICM poll: Con 36, Lab 32, LD 10, Ukip 9, Gn 7 Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 16:46:18 GMT)

Election pass notes: what are the parties promising on education?
Education has hardly been discussed in election debates. We dig out the devil in the detail of the manifesto promises to see what the parties really stand forSince no party is likely to get an overall majority, they will all have to make trade-offs. So you can’t have 100% confidence in any of them. But parties usually try to deliver manifesto commitments. The more prominent, detailed and explicit the commitment, the more likely they are to stick by it. Pay particular attention to the Lib Dems because Nick Clegg says, in another coalition, he’d want to control education.Hunt wants a 'big, hairy conversation' on 14-19 education Related: Should the free schools programme be extended? | Francis Gilbert and Natalie Evans Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 06:30:07 GMT)

Is being addicted to Football Manager a medical condition?
Sometimes, I worry about the effect that Football Manager has had on my life. I’ve had girlfriends I haven’t loved as much as my Uefa Cup-winning Southend United side (CM97-98). So I went to see a doctorThe following is an extract from Iain Macintosh’s article from Issue Six of the Blizzard, published in September 2012. The Blizzard is a quarterly football journal available from www.theblizzard.co.uk on a pay-what-you-like basis in print and digital formats. Iain Macintosh is the editor of The Set Pieces. Sometimes, I worry about the effect that Football Manager has had on my life. I’ve had girlfriends I haven’t loved as much as my Uefa Cup-winning Southend United side (CM97-98) and friends that I haven’t seen as much as I saw my Nottingham Forest reserves (CM01-02). Why is it that I’ve never stayed up until 3am to write a book, but I did it on numerous occasions to guide Welling out of the Conference South (FM07)? Related: Rob Smyth - The Joy of Six: great Championship/Football Manager players Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 09:30:00 GMT)

Surgery set to end Manny Pacquiao’s hopes of Floyd Mayweather rematch
• Pacquiao also faces possible sanction for failing to disclose injury• Filipino could spend up to a year on the sidelines with shoulder problem• Was Mayweather v Pacquiao the end of boxing as we know it?• Mayweather Sr says soon is ‘too good for his own good’Manny Pacquiao is to have surgery this week for a torn rotator cuff, with the recovery time expected to put the Filipino out of action for nine to 12 months but he is facing possible disciplinary action for failing to disclose the injury.Pacquiao claimed a shoulder injury hampered his bid to hand Floyd Mayweather a first defeat as a professional in the richest fight in boxing history in Las Vegas on Saturday. Mayweather won a unanimous decision in the four-belt unification bout to improve his record to 48-0. Related: Floyd Mayweather may believe his hype but history will never agree | Sean Ingle Related: Was Mayweather v Pacquiao the end of boxing as we know it? | Kevin Mitchell Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 07:26:48 GMT)

Bayern Munich’s Spanish contingent keen to show they made the right move
Four of Bayern’s Spaniards – Javi Martínez, Thiago Alcântara, Juan Bernat and Xabi Alonso – could start against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night. Here they talk about adapting to life in GermanySpanish is spoken on Säbener Straße, 53. Not on Bayern Munich’s training pitch with its Biergarten at one corner and not in the team dressing room either, where German and English are the lingua francas, but elsewhere it is. There are 10 Spaniards here: five players, plus Pep Guardiola and four members of his staff. One recent photograph didn’t need to be staged to portray them all together, five of the seven subs against Hertha Berlin a week ago.And that was the bench. Javi Martínez has now returned from injury and there is even half a chance that on Wednesday night there could be as many Spaniards out on the pitch in Bayern’s starting XI as there are in Barcelona’s. Martínez, Thiago Alcântara, Juan Bernat and Xabi Alonso versus Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta. Related: Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola goes home to Barcelona a changed man Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:03:00 GMT)

Rugby union’s men in blazers still do not know how to run the game
Twenty years on from Will Carling’s ‘old farts’ comment, rugby needs sensible administration if players and the sport as a whole are to prosper• Debbie Jevans stands down as Rugby World Cup chief executiveIt is exactly 20 years this week since Will Carling’s pithy verdict on the Rugby Football Union committee entered the sporting lexicon. The phrase “57 old farts” would nowadays qualify as a wry compliment by modern social media standards; given the behaviour of sections of the English establishment and the City in the intervening years it is tempting to feel a certain nostalgic warmth for the amateur era’s buffers, blimps and blazers.Because can we honestly say, hand on heavily-sponsored heart, that the game’s current administrators are collectively wiser and smarter than the old-school alickadoos they replaced? Clearly there are exceptions – let’s not embarrass them by singling out their capabilities too loudly because modesty is an underrated thing – but a quick roll-call of the issues stacking up within the game do not reflect terribly well on the supposedly sage guardians of the union code. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:07:00 GMT)

England batsman Jonathan Trott announces international retirement
• ECB confirms 34-year-old has stepped down after playing 52 Tests• ‘My game is not at the level you need to be at to play for England’• Peter Moores still believes England are ‘moving right way’Jonathan Trott announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday after his disappointing performances as an opener during England’s three-Test tour of the West Indies.Trott returned to the side 17 months after he withdrew from the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia citing a stress-related condition. It was decided to use him as an opener in the Caribbean but, though he made 59 in the second Test in Grenada, he failed to reach double figures in his other five innings, making three ducks. In the first innings in Barbados the mode of his dismissal, fending off a short ball, seemed an indicator of what might lie in store should he appear in this summer’s Ashes. Related: Peter Moores says England ‘moving right way’ despite Barbados defeat Related: England give Alastair Cook cause for optimism despite Bridgetown blues | Mike Selvey Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 19:08:29 GMT)

Stuart Bingham holds nerve to shock Shaun Murphy in epic final
38-year-old wins 18-15 to become oldest first-time winner‘At 15-15 I thought my chance had gone,’ says BinghamAs it happened: read the frame-by-frame report from the finalAfter 20 years of hard snooker graft Stuart Bingham is finally an overnight success. The popular 38-year-old from Basildon became the oldest first-time winner in Crucible history, beating Shaun Murphy in one of the event’s most entertaining finals. With the score at 15-15 an uncharacteristically epic frame ensued in a match where safety play had previously been kept to a bare minimum. It would prove the last of countless turning points.It was so long that it was actually interrupted by an impromptu toilet break with three balls left on the table. One highlight in the frame featured Murphy conceding 30 points and ostensibly the frame in fouls on the yellow as he tried and failed to extricate himself from a fiendish snooker on seven occasions. Advantage Bingham and it was one he would not relinquish, going on to snaffle the next two frames and the cheque for £300,000. Related: Stuart Bingham shocks Shaun Murphy in World Snooker Championship final – as it happened Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 23:35:52 GMT)

José Mourinho to hold talks with Chelsea over extending contract to 2019
• Chelsea looking to extend Mourinho’s deal by two years• Talks expected to be straightforward now title has been secured• Mourinho: impossible to match Ferguson’s 13 Premier League titles• Who can stop Chelsea winning the Premier League next season?• Terry: the grudgingly revered jewel of the English gameChelsea are to hold talks with José Mourinho’s representative aimed at extending the manager’s second spell at Stamford Bridge by a further two years.Mourinho signed a four-year deal worth around £10m-a-season in the summer of 2013 to return to the club having repaired his relationship with the owner, Roman Abramovich, following the tempestuous end to his first period in charge. Related: Chelsea's Cesc Fàbregas says José Mourinho's edge makes him the best Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:00:04 GMT)

County cricket – live!
All the action from Kent v Leicestershire and Middlesex v DurhamCounty cricket: the week’s final over 2.15pm BST Lizzy reports from Kent v LeicestershireWell, well, well. Leicestershire fans can start to get a bit excited. Clint McKay who has been absolutely immense with the ball has taken six wickets. Riley was caught by Angus Robson with an astonishing one handed diving catch in the gully and then Ivan Thomas lost his leg stump. Kent are all out for 268 a deficit of 118. 1.38pm BST Lizzy reports at lunchKent are in trouble here – they’ve lost four wickets in 12 balls. Northeast was quickly followed back to the pavilion by Darren Stevens and then Matt Coles having been dropped on 0 was caught in the slips for 4 both falling to Clint McKay. In the over before lunch Sam Billings was given out LBW to Shreck without scoring and now Kent’s tail must wag and wag hard in order for them not to concede a hefty first innings lead. Kent says 262/8. It’s lunch here now and my stomach says it’s time to raid the carvery. 1.38pm BST Lizzy Ammon writes from CanterburySo with everything wrapped up at Lord’s, you’re left with me for the rest of the day. Joe Denly went for 87 LBW to Raine to a ball that kept quite low and you could see the disappointment as Denly trudged off. He’d done all the hard work and was eyeing up what would have been Kent’s first century of the season. The new ball was taken a few overs ago and Kent’s fifth wicket has just fallen – that of Sam Northeast who had battled equally as hard . He’s just been trapped LBW by Charlie Shreck for 84. And as I type this Darren Stevens edges behind off Mckay and Kent 257/6 – they have avoided the follow on but still trail by 129. There are revised timings here with lunch at 1.15. 12.33pm BST Ali Martin reports on a victory for MiddlesexWell ... that all escalated rather quickly. A career-best nine for 34 in 12.1 overs from James Harris sees Durham bowled out for 71 and Middlesex chalk up their second win of the season by 187 runs. 12.24pm BST Lizzy Ammon reports from CanterburyWhilst the wickets tumble at Lord’s, it’s altogether more sedate here at Canterbury. Northeast and Denly have put on 57 runs in the first hour of play and have taken advantage of the easier batting conditions against the old ball. The new one is due in 8 overs time and Leicestershire look fairly desperate for it – it’s hard work for the bowlers, there’s not much in the pitch; they’ve stuck to their tight line but there’s noticeably less movement than there was yesterday. 11.50am BST Some later morning reading from Gary Naylor: Related: County cricket: the week’s final over 11.41am BST Ali Martin writes from Middlesex v DurhamSo ... James Harris now has all seven wickets to see Durham quickly disappearing down the gurgler on 39 for seven at Lord’s. Phil Mustard fenced one to James Franklin and now Scott “Scoddy” Biorthwick has just been held by Adam Voges at first. Ye gods, this is a breathtaking morning in which Harris has taken five for five in 16 balls. 11.31am BST Ali Martin reportsOK, OK, so since that last update Calum McLeod has been trapped lbw and Paul Collingwood has been bowled off the inside edge in successive balls to see James Harris complete his five-wicket haul and find himself on a hat-trick... which was averted by Phil Mustard as he played and missed outside off stump. Some spell this... Durham 37 for five, Middlesex on for a quick kill. 11.31am BST Lizzy Ammon reports from CanterburyGood morning from Canterbury where the sun is out. There was an inexplicable 15-minute delay to the start of play because there’s a bit of a damp patch right on the edge of the square. Quite what difference that 15 minutes made is unclear to me but such is cricket. Anyway, we’re underway and Kent continue to battle, Denly and Northeast are showing impressive grit but at some point they are going to have to up the run rate or this game is going to end in a very dull stalemate. Kent still trail by 219. 11.18am BST Ali Martin reports from Lord’sGreetings from a somewhat blowy Lord’s where Durham, chasing 259, have just lost their third wicket - the first of the day - when Michael Richardson decided to leave a straight one from James Harris. The visitors are 30 for three and Middlesex are seven wickets from win No2 this season. It was quite a spectacular dismissal too, with both off and middle stumps demolished. Harris has looked very sharp in this match and has three for 15. Nice to see just the 18 wickets fall on Monday in my absence (and kudos to Chris Stocks for covering me while I spent May the 4th at a birthday party for my nephew Luke. Star Wars gags were very much frowned upon by my sister-in-law). 10.46am BST Lizzy Ammon sets up the dayA very good morning to you all. Welcome to the county blog and I hope you haven’t got the back to work and school blues after the bank holiday weekend. 10.36am BST Morning all,Today we have Lizzy Ammon at Kent v Leicestershire and Ali Martin at Middlesex v Durham. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:15:48 GMT)

Alexis Sánchez stars in Arsenal first-half pageant to deepen Hull fears
Another masterclass in passing and movement by Santi Cazorla and two more goals from Alexis Sánchez were sufficient to ensure an imperious Arsenal headed back to London confident of returning to the Champions League next season.The gap in goal difference is such that it is vitually impossible for fifth-placed Liverpool to catch Arsène Wenger’s team now but, unfortunately for Steve Bruce, the possibility of Hull dropping into the Championship remains far from theoretical. Related: Arsène Wenger challenges Arsenal to give Chelsea a fight next season Related: Cesc Fàbregas: Chelsea title may herald new Mourinho era of success Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 20:58:52 GMT)

Serena Williams races past Sloane Stephens into third round in Madrid
• Williams takes 58 minutes to win 6-4, 6-0• American will face Victoria Azarenka or Ajla TomljanovicSerena Williams needed only 58 minutes to beat her fellow American Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-0 on Monday and reach the third round of the Madrid Open.The top-ranked Williams broke Stephens four times and saved both break points she faced. She will next play the winner of the match between Victoria Azarenka and Ajla Tomljanovic. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 21:17:35 GMT)

Real Madrid slip in Turin may spell end for tightrope walker Carlo Ancelotti
Manager of European champions has fair chance of being sacked by Florentino Pérez whatever the result of the Champions League semi-final against JuventusThe first reaction, outside the madhouse that is Real Madrid, is one of incredulity. Carlo Ancelotti, the manager who won the Champions League last season and might retain it next month, has a fair chance of being sacked by the president, Florentino Pérez. What?! Why? And how?Welcome to the impossible-to-fathom world of Pérez who has taken expectation levels into a whole new orbit. He appointed Ancelotti at the beginning of last season but, after what had been a fight to get the Italian from Paris Saint-Germain, the impression quickly formed in Madrid that Pérez preferred the chase to the reality of the working relationship. Related: Real Madrid stay in hot pursuit of Barcelona in the race to win La Liga | Sid Lowe Related: Muted celebrations do not diminish Max Allegri’s achievement at Juventus | Paolo Bandini Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 19:08:53 GMT)

England’s Test series in West Indies: five talking points
Jonathan Trott right to call it a day, Joe Root emerges as England’s most important batsman and Alastair Cook is backIn a way Jonathan Trott’s second knock in Barbados was even more dispiriting than the first. On the opening day he had been utterly undone by a Shannon Gabriel bouncer and departed for his third duck in five innings, the manner of the dismissal making his exit from the Test side almost inevitable. But there was still the second dig. Everyone expected a barrage of bumpers but Jerome Taylor went full and looked for inswing. There were a couple of classic Trott clips through midwicket, themselves a pleasing if poignant reminder of his best years in an England shirt, but then he missed one and was trapped lbw, a far more jarring reminder of just how far away those best years now appear. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 15:53:29 GMT)

Andy Murray wins Munich Open to claim first clay court title
• Murray beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (7/4) 5-7 7-6 (7/4)• Rain prevented match from being completed on Sunday• Federer wins inaugural Istanbul Open against Pablo CuevasAndy Murray described his first clay-court victory as an “honour” as he ended a 39-year wait for a British men’s winner on the surface by taking the BMW Open in Munich.The 27-year-old, playing in his first tournament since marrying his long-term girlfriend, Kim Sears, last month, was pushed all the way by Philipp Kohlschreiber but came through to take the win in just over three hours. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 12:22:21 GMT)

Ed Miliband wants to control immigration. Let’s look at the myths behind this message
Instead of politicians challenging Nigel Farage’s toxic message, they are attempting to out-Ukip Ukip. The Green party will stand up to this divisive consensusAt the weekend Ed Miliband carved into stone his failure to stand up to those who blame migrants for the crisis this country faces. At a car park in Hastings, he stood next to a large stone inscribed with the words “controlling immigration”. In doing so, after his party released a mug branded with the same slogan, Miliband pandered to the anti-immigration rhetoric that has done such damage to our social fabric, and let down the thousands of migrants who, like me, have settled in Britain and chosen to make a life here.Despite the protests of many within his party, Miliband has joined the damaging approach to immigration that has marred our politics for too long. This has allowed the vicious rhetoric of Ukip to frame the debate. It allows those in power to attribute failures in the NHS and shortages of public housing to immigrants, rather than to the inadequacies of government that they truly are. Related: Labour has changed on immigration, says Ed Miliband Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:55:51 GMT)

The Nazi doctor who experimented on gay people – and Britain helped to escape justice
The Danish authorities have still not explained why Carl Værnet, who escaped to Argentina with British collusion, was shielded from prosecutionToday is the 70th anniversary of Denmark’s liberation from Nazi rule by British troops. The Danes are rightly proud of their anti-Nazi resistance and their heroism in saving the lives of almost all their Jewish citizens. But Denmark also had a dirty little secret that remained hidden for many decades.A Danish Nazi, SS Dr Carl Værnet, conducted medical experiments on gay concentration camp prisoners. Unlike most other Nazi doctors, he was never put on trial at Nuremburg. Instead, with Danish and British collusion, he was able to escape to Argentina, where he lived openly and continued his research into methods for the eradication of homosexuality.Værnet was given a permit to go to Sweden and was even paid a state stipend Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:42:57 GMT)

This election may prove the death of the union – so be it
There’s no issue of legitimacy for the next government, whether it relies on the SNP or not. But whoever wins will almost certainly have to let Scotland goThere is no legitimacy question in Thursday’s election. A government that wins a confidence vote in the House of Commons is legitimate, period. There may be questions of party loyalty, longevity and popular consent, but they are subsidiary. Britain is not a direct democracy but a parliamentary one. Voters surrender their sovereignty to MPs until the next election. Good, bad, sane or stupid, that is the rule. Nobody knows who will be able to win the confidence of a Commons majority until Friday, if then. That is all that matters – constitutionally.Yet the legitimacy of a prospective government is being questioned on all sides since, in the case of Labour, it might depend on Scottish nationalist votes. Labour has depended in the past on Scottish MPs for a Commons majority, but this time the MPs in question are not Labour but nationalist, committed to the break-up of the union. Where then stands constitutional legitimacy? Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 08:55:10 GMT)

Dear Ms Morgan: here’s your five-year progress report in time for the election
You have created a system in which an arms company can sponsor a school. Meanwhile, we have the farce in which a school falling down the tables is suddenly ‘good’ …On 22 April, your coalition colleague, Nick Clegg, told us that 5 million public sector workers had been forced by your government, through pay freezes and redundancies, to sacrifice £12bn. This has nothing and everything to do with education: nothing, because in five years you and your forerunner have ignored such matters; everything, because it underpins two of the great obstacles to educational advance: teacher dissatisfaction and child poverty. Only last week, we heard that teachers are out of pocket, spending millions to compensate for families’ lack of money.Anyone in my position – two of my children are in local authority schools and I meet teachers in schools, at conferences and on the MA I teach – builds up a picture of the mess you and your predecessor have made. Picture this: I arrive in an area where teachers tell me a housing estate for 2,000 people is being built. There is no school being built nearby because you have forbidden local authorities to build new schools. Your department is trying to find someone to be a head of a free school. You even try to tap up a head whose school has been dubbed as “requiring improvement” and who, according to your inflexible inspection categories, could be out on his ear if your inflexible inspectors think the school needs improvement next time round.This inspection system offers little more than a crude snapshot of a schoolA teacher said to me loudly that the 'quicks' could do poems and the 'slows' could do rhyming words. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 06:15:07 GMT)

Lynx need a lot more love if they are to return
Rewilding the white-tailed eagle has been a triumph for tourism – but Natural England’s grumpy response suggests the lynx is not home yetProposals to return lynx to Britain were launched last week. Up to 24 of the elusive, biggish cats could be released in Norfolk, Cumbria, Northumberland and Aberdeenshire, with reports claiming that the predator, wiped out 1,300 years ago, might be stalking deer through woodlands by the end of the year.I’d love to see lynx in Norfolk because it would turn the clock back to 1990, not 715AD. When I was growing up, a lynx named the Beast of Booton roamed our neighbourhood. It had almost certainly escaped a local wildlife park and eventually turned up, dead, in a gamekeeper’s freezer. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 08:00:09 GMT)

Three-minute election: Who will decide who forms the government? – video
Columnists Jonathan Freedland and Polly Toynbee turn their attention to Friday morning and the question of legitimacy in a hung parliament. Who decides who forms a government? Who gets to have a go at it first? Will it be down to Nick Clegg? And what do the front pages of the rightwing press tell us about the Tories' plans? Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:07:06 GMT)

If my brother’s abandoning Labour for the SNP, the union’s in trouble
The breakup of the UK is not yet irrevocable, but demonising nationalists is hardening Scottish attitudesNot since at least 1745, when the Jacobite army reached Derby and seemed poised to take London, has there been such hysteria in England about the Scots. In Covent Garden theatres audiences then sang God Save the King, with its infamous verse – infamous in Scotland anyway – about crushing rebellious Scots.Read the London-based papers today – and a lot of the Scottish ones too – or listen to David Cameron and Ed Miliband, and it begins to feel as if the Pictish hordes are about to descend from the north again to create havoc and panic. Cameron is not that far behind the Sun’s characterisation of Nicola Sturgeon as the “Scotweiler” with his repeated insistence that the Scottish National party “does not want our country to succeed”. Miliband rules out any deal with an SNP bloc at Westminster, apparently even if it means the Conservatives retaining power. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 06:00:08 GMT)

Meet the invisibles – the wealthy and powerful at the heart of the Tory party
In the City I came face to face with the reclusive influencers within Cameron’s world. The experience showed me how profoundly divided our nation has becomeIt’s a networking event in one of the City’s great glass towers. The room is filled mostly with company directors, hedge funders, bankers and lawyers. Would they vote Labour? “An unmitigated disaster. You can’t be serious? Have you any idea what would happen? Half the clients of people in this room would be off, gone, anyone who can.”The editor of Spears Wealth Management Magazine has kindly brought me with him to breathe in the thin air of the upper stratosphere. In the election I have travelled everywhere from Glasgow to the Isle of Wight, Bristol to Ely, Somerset to Gateshead, Chipping Norton to Wakefield, talking to people of all politics and none. But these are the invisibles, the echelons of money and power not seen on Newsnight or Question Time, who never apologise, never explain. Membership Event: Guardian Live: Election results special Related: As the papers loudly declare party allegiances, it won't just be one that wins it When the chips are down, antagonism to taxing the rich comes before the future of Britain Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 05:00:05 GMT)

Why the fate of the Tories hinges on the survival of Nick Clegg
If the Lib Dem leader holds his seat in this election, he and David Cameron can start talking – to their respective parties“It will be the single most important result of the night, by far”: I have now heard several close allies of David Cameron refer in such terms to the seat they cite as the bellwether, the one that symbolises all else. In 1992, it was Basildon, held by the Tories, that signalled John Major’s national victory; five years later, Michael Portillo’s defeat in Enfield Southgate dramatised the spectacular end of a long Conservative era. This time, strangely, it will be the fate of a Lib Dem that has most to tell the Tories about their immediate prospects.Let us assume, as every pollster does, that the Tories are not going to win 323 or more seats. If Nick Clegg holds on to Sheffield Hallam, the constituency he has represented since 2005, Cameron will still have a Lib Dem partner with whom he can do business. If he is ousted by Labour’s Oliver Coppard, the deputy prime minister will be the most senior cabinet member to have suffered electoral defeat in modern times. Ramsay MacDonald lost his Seaham seat in November 1935, but had left No 10 in June, and was by then only lord president of the council – one of the lesser posts now held by Clegg, coincidentally.It is a measure of the extent to which Cameron needs Clegg to survive that his next best hope is Ed Davey Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 15:45:41 GMT)

Al Murray, the Pub Landlord: ‘I’m not worried about polling 1%’
It’s been an uphill battle on the streets of South Thanet. But our policy of free dogs for everyone might just win it for FUKPSo here we are in the final furlong, the home straight, as the general election that has to be the most important general election since the last one swings into view. January seems like only four months ago, but that was when I decided to throw my hat into the ring and run in South Thanet on the Free United Kingdom Party (FUKP) ticket. Related: Al Murray the Pub Landlord to stand against Nigel Farage in South Thanet Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 19:00:04 GMT)

Dear Bill Gates: 'Will you lead the fight against climate change?'
The Gates Foundation is already helping to tackle polio, HIV, malaria, sanitation, and much more... which is why we are asking you in this video to divest from fossil fuels. You can help stop climate change, says the Guardian’s editor-in-chiefIn 2009, nearly half of the world’s new polio cases were in India. The disease which can cause paralysis and death is highly infectious, but by January last year, thanks to a concerted vaccination programme, the country had gone three years without a single case of the virus. It was officially “polio-free”.“The long-term threat [of climate change] is so serious that the world needs to move much more aggressively – right now – to develop energy sources that are cheaper, can deliver on demand, and emit zero carbon dioxide.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:27:40 GMT)

Two arrested on suspicion of boy's murder in Huddersfield arson attack
Police arrest man, 65, and woman, 60, over death of seven-year-old Joe MacCafferty in 1997 after petrol was poured through letterbox of his aunt’s houseTwo people have been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a seven-year-old boy, who died following an arson attack at a relative’s house 18 years ago. Joe McCafferty died in hospital on 3 May1997 after petrol was poured through the letterbox of this aunt’s house in Huddersfield and set alight. The boy’s aunt, two cousins and older brother were also in the property at the time. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 12:27:58 GMT)

Weather warning as strong winds expected across south of UK
Forecasters say fierce gales could blow across lower halves of England and Wales potentially causing damage to trees and disrupting travelA severe weather warning has been issued as parts of southern England and south Wales are expected to be battered by gusts of up to 60mph.Forecasters cautioned that the strong south-westerly winds could affect holidaymakers who are driving home after an extended bank holiday break. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 09:36:34 GMT)

Liam Adams loses appeal against conviction for abusing daughter
Brother of Sinn Féin leader was convicted in 2013 of 10 offences against Aine Dahlstrom, including rape and indecent assault, and jailed for 16 yearsLiam Adams, a brother of the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, has lost an appeal against his convictions and sentence for raping and abusing his daughter.The 59-year-old was jailed for 16 years in 2013 after being found guilty of a string of attacks against his elder daughter, Aine Dahlstrom. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:53:24 GMT)

Jimmy Greaves aware of seriousness of stroke he suffered, says wife Irene
• ‘Jimmy is having to do what he is told, and understands the seriousness’• Tributes pour in for former Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham striker• Greaves in intensive care after suffering strokeJimmy Greaves is aware of the seriousness of the stroke he suffered on Sunday, the former England striker’s wife, Irene, has revealed.Greaves, a 75-year-old former Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham forward, was admitted to hospital and is in intensive care. His wife’s statement said his recovery would be a long and slow process. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:42:44 GMT)

First-time buyers need to earn £77,000 a year to live in London
Call for long-term strategy as studies find widening gap between earnings and mortgages, lack of affordable housing and 64% increase in ‘risky’ lendingThe financial challenges facing would-be home owners will be laid bare on Monday by new research showing that a first-time buyer now needs to earn £77,000 a year to get on the housing ladder in London.Across the UK, a first-time buyer needs a minimum income of £41,000, according to the report from KPMG. It also shows that affordable housing has become an issue for all but the above-average earners and those coming into inheritances. Continue reading...
(Sun, 03 May 2015 23:01:08 GMT)

Sexting could see teenagers branded as sex offenders
Sending an erotic selfie should not automatically land teenagers a criminal record, say anti-censorship campaignersTeenagers are being unfairly labelled as sex offenders for sending explicit messages to each other, campaigners have said.They say criminalising 16- to 18-year-olds for sending explicit pictures to one another shows how disconnected the political establishment is from changes to technology and social values. A prosecution, regardless of sentencing outcome, severely harms the future life prospects of young people Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 16:41:02 GMT)

Keighley Cougars retire No6 shirt after Danny Jones’s death
• Keighley squad will decide on Tuesday whether to play at weekend• Danny Jones dies of suspected cardiac arrestThe Keighley Cougars have announced that they have retired the No6 shirt squad following the death of Danny Jones on Sunday and the squad will be given the option to decide if they want to play their league match this Sunday.The 29-year-old collapsed during Keighley’s League 1 match against London Skolars following a suspected cardiac arrest and, after he was taken to the Royal Free hospital in north London, extensive efforts to resuscitate him failed. He leaves a wife, Liz, and five-month-old twins. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 17:49:10 GMT)

Charlotte Elizabeth Diana: a firm nod to royal tradition
Name of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s daughter, fourth in line to throne, pays tribute to the Queen, Princess Diana and Prince CharlesTraditional, with royal precedent and a nod to both families; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have played it safe by naming their newborn daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.With the news, announced two days after her birth, the betting industry was preparing to pay out an estimated £1m to punters across the country. Related: Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to baby girl Diana's spirit lives on in her sons, and now her name lives on in her granddaughter.#CharlotteElizabethDianaPerfect names. My 2-year old Charlotte Diana will be thrilled at cousinly name-sharing. Is at an age where thinks world revolves around her! Related: Amelia and Oliver top baby names list as Khaleesi and Skyler rise up chart Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 07:43:12 GMT)

Yorkshire police search for man who left severed ear on street after fight
Torn rim and lobe of ear, which still had diamond stud, was found on a street in Huddersfield after man fled scene of group fightPolice are searching for a man who left his partially severed, diamond-studded ear on the pavement after it was bitten off in a fight.West Yorkshire police believe the man did not seek medical treatment after the incident in Huddersfield at about 9.20pm on Sunday night and are urging him to come forward. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 15:13:33 GMT)

Royal Navy flagship to join migrant rescue mission after diplomatic wrangle
HMS Bulwark poised to take part in Mediterranean search operations several days after David Cameron offered it for useThe British navy’s flagship is poised to join a big migrant rescue operation in the Mediterranean as early as Tuesday after spending the weekend stuck in port amid a diplomatic spat over where rescued people should be disembarked and processed.HMS Bulwark was dispatched by Prime Minister David Cameron for use in a pan-European attempt to save migrant lives, amid a public outcry over the record number of migrant drownings in the Mediterranean. Up to 900 people drowned in one weekend last month. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 11:10:47 GMT)

Front National family feud goes nuclear as Jean-Marie Le Pen disowns Marine
Front National co-founder tells daughter to marry and change her name after being suspended from party over comments belittling the HolocaustThe family feud between the far-right Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, and her father, Jean-Marie, has turned to all-out war after he disowned her, told her to marry and change her name, and threatened legal action following his suspension from the party.Le Pen senior, who co-founded the FN in 1972, was suspended from the party on Monday night over inflammatory comments he made belittling the Holocaust and lauding the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime. The 86-year-old also faces being stripped of his role as honorary president of the party. Related: The Le Pen family: family feud ends in political parricide | Observer profile Related: Le Pen family feud is a battle for the soul of the Front National – and France Related: Don’t be fooled by ‘moderate’ Marine Le Pen. Front National’s more toxic than ever | Andrea Mammone Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:35:52 GMT)

Canada poised to pass anti-terror legislation despite widespread outrage
Criticism of anti-terror bill C-51 has united a diverse array of prominent opponents as many fear the legislation creates the potential for a police state Related: Canadian anti-terror bill opens door for human rights abuses, law scholars argue Widespread protest and souring public opinion has failed to prevent Canada’s ruling Conservative Party from pushing forward with sweeping anti-terror legislation which a battery of legal scholars, civil liberties groups, opposition politicians and pundits of every persuasion say will replace the country’s healthy democracy with a creeping police state.Stephen Harper is attacking our rights & freedoms. Please do the right thing and #VoteAgainstC51, @toadamvaughan. #cdnpoli Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:30:02 GMT)

Tony Blair becomes surprise character witness at ex-Israel PM's corruption trial
Former UK PM says relationship with Ehud Olmert, convicted of receiving $600,000 from a US businessman, was ‘based on friendship and trust’Tony Blair has made a surprise intervention in the corruption case of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, writing a letter to the court in support of his plea not to be sent to prison.The glowing character reference for Olmert, who was convicted in March of receiving $600,000 (£400,000) in cash-stuffed envelopes between 1993 and 2002 from an American businessman, Morris Talansky, was one of several produced by Olmert’s defence team – another being supplied by the former Mossad head Meir Dagan. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 12:04:06 GMT)

SurveyMonkey chief David Goldberg died of head injury due to treadmill fall
Dave Goldberg fell while exercising on holiday in Mexico on Friday, a local official has revealedSurveyMonkey chief executive David Goldberg died from a head injury sustained after falling off a treadmill at a private resort in Mexico on Friday, according to a spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office.The 47-year-old, who became head of the online survey company in 2009, was found on the floor of the gym in the Four Seasons resort in Punta Mita by his brother, Robert, approximately three hours after he was thought to have left his room. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 12:07:22 GMT)

Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky misses court hearing due to illness
Bukovsky, 72, who fled to UK from Soviet Union in 1976, is charged with 11 counts of possessing indecent and prohibited images of childrenThe veteran Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky has failed to appear in court over charges of possessing indecent images of children.Magistrates were told that Bukovsky, 72, had been flown to Germany after reportedly suffering renal failure for medical treatment at a private hospital. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 12:10:47 GMT)

Inspirational climate researchers feared dead on Arctic expedition
Last week, Marc Cornelissen and Philip de Roo, went missing, presumed drowned on an expedition to collect samples of thin Arctic ice. Their passion and commitment to stopping climate change gives us all something to aspire toWhen you were a little kid and you imagined what a polar explorer might look like, it was probably men like Marc Cornelissen and Philip de Roo that you pictured; one short and stocky, with bright eyes and plenty of swagger; the other tall and slender with a boyish face. You probably imagined men who were always smiling and full of energy, men who somehow seemed a little more alive than the rest of us. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:23:04 GMT)

Pakistani execution postponed over age dispute
Lawyers argue that Shafqat Hussain was 14 when he was charged with murder, and that he was tortured into confessingA Pakistani judge has stayed the execution of a man who lawyers say was 14 when he was charged with murder – a case that has angered rights groups and prompted mercy appeals from his family. Shafqat Hussain was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday but was granted a second reprieve. In March he was dressed in a white uniform ready for hanging and told to write his will, before his execution was postponed while the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) looked into the question of his age. Related: Pakistan faces global anger over bid to execute man jailed over killing aged 14 Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 08:57:44 GMT)

EC slashes Greek growth forecasts - live updates
Greece’s bailout crisis deepens as the European Commission rips up its previous growth forecastsLatest: EC releases Spring forecastsGreek 2015 growth slashed to 0.5%, from 2.5%FT: IMF taking hard line on GreeceIntroduction: Greek ministers hold crunch meetings 2.07pm BST Greece’s stock market has fallen deeper into the red; the main Athens index is down 4.5% today. Bank shares are leading the fallers, as traders react to reports that the IMF was pushing for a new debt writedown. 1.57pm BST The surge in America’s monthly trade deficit means that the US economy “undoubtedly contracted slightly in the first quarter of 2015”, says Paul Ashworth, Chief US Economist at Capital Economics.But he expects growth to bounce back in the second three months of this year, meaning America would avoid falling into a technical recession. 1.48pm BST Just in.... America’s trade deficit has widened unexpectedly to its largest since the financial crisis began, suggesting that its economy could actually be contracting.The US commerce department says that the US trade deficit surged to a jaw-dropping $51.4bn in March, up from $35.9bn in February. Looks like another downward revision to US Q1 GDP...$DXYGDP for Q1 now looking at a -0.5 number ? https://t.co/w1PzU2DFzJSurge in imports likely to result in Q1 GDP being revised below zero...looking a lot like last year (minus the mid-year surge). 1.13pm BST Remember the oil price crash of autumn 2014? Well, it’s a different story today - US crude oil just hit the $60/barrel mark for the first time this year.WTI CRUDE RISES TO $60 A BARREL FOR FIRST TIME SINCE DEC. 11 12.56pm BST We’ve not heard much from Greece’s finance minister today.... but Yanis Varoufakis has just arrived in Brussels, for talks with Pierre Moscovici.Cue the usual scrum to catch a glimpse of Varoufakis; despite the recent reshuffle of Greece’s negotiating team, he retains his magnetic attraction to the media.And the #Greek fin min @yanisvaroufakis is in the house. Media frenzy the least I can say pic.twitter.com/W47AzKtRfh 12.41pm BST Germany’s finance chief, Wolfgang Schäuble, has denied that the International Monetary Fund pushed the eurozone to cut Greece’s debt burden last month.“The IMF of course did not make such a comment,” Schäuble said, noting however that Thomsen had been clear that Greek finances were deteriorating because of a pause in reforms linked to the election there.Thomsen did say things “had become more difficult,” Schäuble said.With the large surplus now turning into a sizeable deficit, Greece’s debt levels would begin to spike again. This would force either Athens to take drastic austerity measures or eurozone bailout lenders to agree to debt write-offs to get Athens’ debt back on a sustainable path, the IMF believes. Officials said Mr Thomsen specifically mentioned the need for debt relief during the three-hour meeting.“The IMF thinks the gap between the two realities is very large right now,” said one senior official involved in the talks. He noted that both Athens, which was resisting new economic reforms, and eurozone creditors would probably fight the IMF on the issue.Wolfgang still reading his script https://t.co/0pCD4KmMHU 12.14pm BST Don’t take the risk of a Greek exit lightly.“Italy’s government considers short-sighted and dangerous to underestimate the Greek crisis.” 12.11pm BST Another interesting development. A senior Greek privatisation official has told Reuters that Athens is eager to crack on with two deals, seemingly in a bid to placate its lenders.That includes reopening bidding for a majority stake in Piraeus Port, and agreeing a €1.2bn deal with German operator Fraport to run regional airports in Greece. 11.19am BST Over in Athens, the stock market has fallen by 3% today. 11.15am BST The Greek government has revealed that prime minister Alexis Tsipras and German chancellor Angela Merkel held a telephone call last night:As #Greece seeks solution in bailout negotiations, PM #Tsipras spoke with #German Chancellor #Merkel by phone last night, his office says. 11.09am BST And that’s the end of the press conference. Brussels reporters have scrambled for country-specific briefings, so I suspect we’ll hear more shortly.... 11.05am BST Could Greece be given some new liquidity assistance at the next eurogroup meeting, on May 11?Moscovici replies that he hopes to see significant progress by the time eurozone finance ministers meet on May 11, but doesn’t go any further. 11.04am BST Last night, EC president Jean-Claude Juncker warned that “Anglo-Saxons will try to break up the eurozone” if Greece were to exit the single currency.Bruno Waterfield of The Times asks Pierre Moscovici what Juncker meant, exactly.....Eurozone a single currency, decision to join irreversible. If one country leaves then you have the question who's next,@pierremoscovici 10.59am BST You can read the Commissions’s concerns about Greece on page 80 of the new Spring Forecasts.This charts show how growth is expected to flag this year, and deflation likely to continue until 2016: 10.53am BST Today’s forecast also contain bad news for Finland; the EC has slashed its growth forecast this year from 0.8% to just 0.3%.Finland is also expected to run a deficit above 3% of GDP this year, breaching EU rules. Brussels is planning to give the new Finnish government some advice next week:Moscovici on #Finland, breaking debt rules: Next week we will provide our country specific recommendations. There will be food for thought. 10.43am BST Finally, the EC allow a question on Greece.The FT’s Peter Spiegel gets the mike, and whether today’s growth downgrade mean that more needs to be done in the current negotiations to get Greece’s bailout programme back on track.#Moscovici giving long answer on #Greece but not really saying too muchMoscovici ruining all the fun by answering Greek related questions in French... #EC 10.33am BST The outlook for Europe’s economy looks brighter than at any time since the financial crisis began in 2008, according to today’s report.It says:The recovery from the crisis and the double-dip recession has been a long and tedious one, marked by numerous setbacks, but now there are clear indications that a cyclical upswing is underway, supported by economic tailwinds. 10.28am BST The EC’s new Spring forecasts are online here (pdf). 10.26am BST Despite Greece’s woes, the EC believes Europe’s economy is healing -- with faster-than-expected growth forecast this year. In the EU, the #deficit is forecast to decline from 2.9% of GDP in 2014 to 2.5% this year and 2.0% in 2016 @ecfin #ECForecastThe fiscal outlook is improving: in the euro area, the #deficit is forecast to fall from 2.4% of GDP in 2014 to 2.0% this year #ECForecastAnnual consumer price #inflation in both the EU and euro area is expected to rise from 0.1 % this year to 1.5 % in 2016 @ecfin #ECForecast#BREAKING The Eurozone deflation that wasn't. https://t.co/DmBOnNwnVG 10.23am BST European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici is outlining today’s growth forecasts now.He tells reporters in Brussels that the EC was forced to cut its forecast for 2.5% growth in Greece this year, to just 0.5%, given recent events.In the light of the persistent uncertainty [in Greece], a downward revision has been unavoidable. 10.18am BST I’ll collect all the growth forecast together shortly, but in the meantime this map shows the hot spots and the laggards:#ecforecast for #EU - GDP up to 1.8% in 2015, 2.1% in 2016 http://t.co/PvwXoZE3z5 pic.twitter.com/zQ1BJEdLmE 10.15am BST New @EU_Commission forecast for #Greece pretty dire, but based on assumption of bailout deal "by June" & subsequent return to biz confidence 10.12am BST The EC is also warning that Greece is failing to get to grips with tax collection.In forecasts, @EU_Commission says #Greece tax collection at end-2014 was so low that 2014 primary surplus only 0.4%, down from 1.7% estimate 10.12am BST The EC is warned that Greece’s recovery has stalled since the previous government called snap general elections at the end of last year.Political uncertainty has been fuelled by the “lack of clarity” over the present administration’s polities, it says, adding that the Greek factory sector is still locked in a depression.#ecforecast Grim for Greece pic.twitter.com/e0N1fTV9Lf 10.06am BST The EC has also slashed its forecast for Greece’s growth rate this year, in another signal that its bailout programme is off track.Brussels now expects Greece’s GDP will expand by just 0.5% in 2015, down from a previous forecast of 2.5%.In new forecasts, @EU_Commission slashes #Greece outlook. 2015 growth to 0.5% from 2.5% in Feb. Debt from 170.2% to 180.2%Both from the European and IMF perspective, the programme must be fully funded...The bigger the hole, the more funds must come in. 10.02am BST Breaking: The European Commission has raised its growth forecast for the eurozone this year, from 1.3% to 1.5%. 9.52am BST Reminder, it’s nearly time for the European Commission to publish its new spring forecasts (live feed here from 10am BST/11am Brussels time)Press conference w/@pierremoscovici on #ecforecast @ 11am here: http://t.co/rmUNKa0V6h pic.twitter.com/Pls6L6NFo9 9.43am BST Growth in Britain’s construction sector slowed last month, as Thursday’s general election casts a shadow over building work.Although the sector expanded, growth was the weakest in almost two years, with firms reporting a sharp drop in new work. But it’s not all bad -- firms are still hiring new workers.“April’s survey highlights another growth slowdown across the UK construction sector, with new work expanding at the weakest pace for almost two years. “The uncertain general election outcome appears to have put some grit in the wheels of decision making. Construction firms widely noted delays with clients’ budget setting and a reduced propensity to commit to new projects. 9.23am BST Greek 10Y bonds wider by 52bps over German 10Ys after FT article suggesting Greece may lose support of IMF weighs on Greek assets 9.18am BST Greek bonds are weakening this morning, after it emerged that the International Monetary Fund believes Greece’s finances are badly off track (see earlier post for details).The yield (effectively the interest rate on Greece’s two-year bonds has jumped by more than one percentage point this morning to 20.7%, up from 19.5% on Monday night. 8.58am BST Austria’s finance minister, Hans Jörg Schelling, has warned that there’s no guarantee of a deal with Greece in time for next week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers (on May 11)Schelling added that Greece has made some compromises, but is still holding firm on other issues. 8.52am BST What can Greece hope to achieve by meeting Mario Draghi today?Well, according to the Kathimerini newspaper, Greek deputy PM Dragasakis has an “optimistic plan” to push the ECB to lift its restrictions preventing Greece issuing more short-term debt. More here. 8.42am BST Spain’s unemployment total has fallen by a record amount last month, as the country’s recovery continues to gain pace.The number of people unemployed across Spain tumbled by over 118,000 in April, twice as much as economists had expected.Nearly 5x as fast as the average (-25k) for the last seven Aprils.Spain registered unemployment falls 118.923 in April, government claims biggest monthly fall on record. pic.twitter.com/Pu30h04uUg 8.36am BST Athens could come under even more pressure if the European Commission downgrades its economic forecasts for Greece this morning, points out analyst Yannis Koutsomitis.#EU Commission to publish Spring 2015 Economic Forecast today. Possible revision of #Greece growth forecast wll heavily affect bailout talks 8.34am BST The BBC ran an interesting piece last night, explaining how Greece’s government has already missed a swath of payments to Greek workers and companies.That doesn’t count as an official default, of course, but it underlines how perilous Greece’s financial position has become this year.A junior doctor told the BBC that although wages were paid regularly to medical staff, the government was more than four months behind on payments for on-call time.“Last week we got paid on-call time for the month of December,” she said.Greece's undeclared domestic default http://t.co/GX8YqOTSUS 8.21am BST Eurozone crisis experts are alarmed by the news that the IMF could pull funding for Greece unless it receives debt relief.Here’s some early reaction:#IMF gradually pulling rug out from under #Greece by saying that #eurozone Govs need to take debt rightdown before they’ll extend bailoutFocus remains on Greece with the latest reports suggesting the IMF could reduce financial aid to the nation....IMF may hold back its half of the €7.2bn bailout aid that Greece needs. Without the funds, Greece could run out of cash this month. 8.14am BST A new Greek opinion poll shows that a majority of the population want to stick with the euro, with roughly a third favouring Grexit.Macedonia Uni poll for Skai TV In referendum on euro with new MoU vs drachma, what would you choose? Euro 55.5% Drachma 35% N/A 9.5% #GreeceMacedonia Uni poll for Skai TV If Samaras was in power, economic situation would be Worse 56.5% Same 21.5% Better 15.5% N/A 6.5% #Greece 8.12am BST Overnight, Australia’s central bank cut interest rates to a fresh record low of 2%.The move (covered in this liveblog), is intended to ward off an economic slowdown in Australia. But if the RBA hoped to weaken the Aussie dollar, it’s been disappointed -- the currency did drop (as you’d expect) before bouncing back smartly:Do "currency wars" reach a new phase when rate cuts don't have any negative effect? RBA cut, A$ up.So RBA cut, bonds yields up, Shares down and aud up. Maybe better if held and kept easing bias #ausecon Related: Reserve Bank of Australia cuts interest rates to 2% – live 8.04am BST Today’s meetings are overshadowed by the news that the International Monetary Fund fears that Greece’s debt mountain has become unsustainable again.According to the Financial Times, the IMF believes Greece may run a primary budget deficit of 1.5% this year, far from the 3% surplus it was aiming for. Greece is so far off course on its $172bn bailout programme that it faces losing vital International Monetary Fund support unless European lenders write off significant amounts of its sovereign debt, the fund has warned Athens’ eurozone creditors.The warning, delivered to eurozone finance ministers by Poul Thomsen, head of the IMF’s European department, raises the prospect that it may hold back its portion of a €7.2bn tranche of bailout aid that Greece is desperately attempting to secure to avoid bankruptcy.IMF says #Greece now running primary deficit of nearly 1.5% of GDP; warns #eurogroup debt relief may be necessary http://t.co/qsM7aGUqWS 7.47am BST Good morning. We’re back after Monday’s Bank Holiday break to track the latest developments around Greece’s bailout talks, plus the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.Coming up....Greece’s government is scrambling to reach a breakthrough over its bailout before running out of cash. Related: Greece vows to pay debts as it awaits handout from international creditors Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 13:07:49 GMT)

China says Philippines breaking code of conduct by building in South China Sea
China’s foreign ministry urged the Philippines to stop its “malicious hyping and provocation”, but Manilla says code had already been violated by China’s actionsChina has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea by building on disputed islets, a move that comes after repeated criticism of China’s construction work. China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an agreement in 2002 to refrain from occupying and building new structures on uninhabited reefs and shoals in the sea. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 05:22:48 GMT)

John Kerry visits Somalia amid tight security
Somali government was notified only a day in advance of visit, the first by a US secretary of stateJohn Kerry, the US secretary of state, has made an unannounced and unprecedented trip to Somalia in a show of solidarity with a government trying to defeat al-Qaida-allied militants and end decades of war. Kerry, who is the first top US diplomat to visit Somalia, arrived at Mogadishu’s airport shortly before noon local time and was greeted on the tarmac by Somalia’s president and prime minister. He held a series of meetings that included both of them along with regional leaders and civil society groups, before flying to Kenya a little more than three hours later. Related: Brutal reality sets in for Kenyans after 'senseless' massacre at university Related: US military action in Somalia: Black Hawk Down to today's commando attack Related: US to appoint its first ambassador to Somalia in over 20 years Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:49:45 GMT)

South Korean student held in North says he is being treated well
Joo Won-moon says he hoped for a ‘great event’ to help strengthen relations between the two countriesA South Korean man arrested by North Korea for crossing its border illegally has said he was hoping for a “great event” to help strengthen relations between the two countries, and acknowledged he broke the law. Joo Won-moon, 21, a student at New York University, was arrested on 22 April after crossing from the Chinese side of the Yalu river, the North’s official KCNA news agency said. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 09:36:45 GMT)

Sweden urged to rethink parents' choice over schools after education decline
OECD recommends comprehensive reform including revised school choice arrangements and more effective regulationSweden has been urged to halt the steep decline in the international ranking of its schools by taking action to limit parents’ and pupils’ right to choose.A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommends “a comprehensive education reform” to restore the Swedish system to its previous standards. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 13:06:56 GMT)

Django Unchained actor Daniele Watts will apologise to police over arrest
Actor alleged racial profiling after arrest on lewd conduct chargeWatts and boyfriend also sentenced to 40 hours of community service Related: Django Unchained actor Danièle Watts charged with lewd conduct An actor who accused Los Angeles police of racial profiling when they investigated a report she was having sex with her boyfriend in a parked car has been ordered to apologise to officers as part of a plea deal. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 23:03:08 GMT)

Qatar: no labourers killed on World Cup stadiums but migrant rules to change
Kafala system for overseas workers, likened by critics to modern-day slavery, will be replaced by contracts and give labourers right to leave, says ministerNo labourers on Qatar’s World Cup stadium projects have died because of industrial accidents or injury, the tournament chief Hassan Al-Thawadi has said, as the government said it hoped 2015 would see the end of its kafala migrant worker system, which has been likened to modern-day slavery.Thawadi said work had been carried out so far on beginning to build or revamp five stadiums in preparation for football’s biggest competition, which will take place in the Gulf state in 2022. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 02:08:15 GMT)

Garcia Marquez's signed masterpiece stolen from Colombian book fair
First edition copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude taken from locked, guarded display case Colombian police are investigating the theft of a valuable first edition copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude.The book disappeared at the weekend from a guarded display case at Bogota’s book fair, which this year is honoring the late Nobel prize-winning author. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 05:21:10 GMT)

Reserve Bank of Australia cuts rates to historic new low of 2%
RBA says falling commodity prices and weak business investment meant the second cut this year was necessary to encourage a pickup in household demandThe Reserve Bank has cut interest rates for the second time this year to a new record low of 2% as the Australian economy continues to face headwinds from a slowing global economy.The bank decided at its monthly meeting on Tuesday to reduce its cash rate by 25 basis points from 2.25% – already the lowest ever seen – to 2%. Related: Reserve Bank of Australia cuts interest rates to 2% - live Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 05:00:09 GMT)

Joan Collins: how to pack a suitcase
Silk on the top, jewels in your handbag - there’s an art to packing your suitcase, and you have to get it right I divide my time between London and the US, and travel like a packhorse, toting several suitcases containing clothes, accessories, books, CDs, DVDs and the odd household chattel from one residence to another. My luggage is hard-sided, which holds up well against the rough and tumble of the carousel and baggage handlers. It isn’t immune to going astray – it was once lost on the way to Acapulco. I have no idea where it went but we were reunited three days later.Here’s how to pack: Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 11:00:02 GMT)

Let’s go to ... Portsmouth
It’s home to Ben Ainslie’s new sailing HQ and will host the America’s Cup in July but the city isn’t just about sailing, there are some great festivals on the horizonBen Ainslie’s new British racing HQ opens this month, a sail-like building at the Camber in Old Portsmouth. Visitors can watch the team training on the Solent, ahead of the America’s Cup there in July. May also marks the 250th anniversary of HMS Victory’s launch; it’s on view at the Historic Dockyard. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 10:00:01 GMT)

George RR Martin says Grateful Dead inspired previous work
The Game of Thrones author has confirmed he is a fan of the rock group, and explained their influence on WesterosIs George RR Martin a Deadhead? Following a long trail of subtle hints, many loyal fans have wondered about the author’s implied fondness for the jam band – and his admiration for the Grateful Dead has now been confirmed by the author. The Games of Thrones creator told an audience that he was “certainly a fan of the Grateful Dead” in a recent interview, and said he has their lyrics in his head “all the time”. Related: 10 of the best: the Grateful Dead Related: Raleigh Ritchie: ‘I don’t want to be on posters. I just want to be good’ Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 07:28:52 GMT)

Squeeze: how we made Up the Junction
Glenn Tilbrook, singer/songwriter: ‘We shot the video in John Lennon’s kitchen. We’d had quite a few beers by then’When I was 15, I saw an advert in a shop window. A guitarist was needed for a “recording and touring band: influences the Kinks, Lou Reed and Glenn Miller”. This was Chris Difford’s fictitious band! Even then, he had a gift for making up stories. I’d been playing with Jools Holland for about a year and, though it was lovely, we’d never sparked as writers. Then Chris played me his songs, and his lyrics were incredible. I’d been writing songs since the age of 11 but I’d never have come up with the things he did. I didn’t feel a failure, though. I felt excited. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 07:00:08 GMT)

Five of the best Bluetooth headphones to break free of cables
Go Bluetooth to avoid cables that can get tangled and catch on things – there are options to suit almost any budgetHeadphone cables can get caught in clothing, snagged on bags and trapped in doors, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Bluetooth wireless headphones can set you free of cables and connect effortlessly to almost any smartphone, tablet or computer.There is a dizzying array of Bluetooth headphones available ranging in price into the thousands. Here are five worth buying. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 05:00:06 GMT)

Which books can help my daughter with her fear of bees and wasps?
The Book Doctor buzzes around her heaving shelves to pull out the books that might help a child who is frightened of wasps and beesMy child is very frightened by wasps and bees. As the weather warms up they will return and I’m wondering if there are any books which might help her be less frightened of them?Given that give a nasty sting, it’s no surprise that children - and adults – can be very frightened of wasps and bees. To help your child, it might be best to look at them scientifically. The more you know about them, the less horrible they seem. Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 09:03:08 GMT)

10 of the best festivals in Europe ... that you’ve probably never heard of
From a rave in an abandoned Polish coalmine to bonfires and bunting in the Bulgarian mountains, these under-the-radar festivals are an excuse to explore new musical landscapes Compare the costs of festivals around the worldWith a wild camping vibe – bonfires, small stages and bunting in the trees – Meadows in the Mountains has built a reputation over the past five years for offering a uniquely magical experience. Set in the lush environment of the Rhodope Mountains, mornings are blessed each day with a mist that glides over the landscape. The discerning line-up will pique the interest of anyone with an eye on the underground scene: Jane Fitz, Al Dobson Jr and Mo Kolours are among the headliners, while Quantic is probably the best-known name in a line-up that spans techno, house and soul. • 12-14 June, £150, meadowsinthemountains.com Continue reading...
(Tue, 05 May 2015 05:00:05 GMT)

What we learned from this weekend’s TV: women were in the world wars, too
We saw the effect of combat through female eyes in Anzac Girls and Home Fires, Sheridan Smith told the tale of Lisa Lynch’s cancer in The C-Word, and dogs danced the night away in Sunday Night at the Palladium I don’t know. You wait ages for a wartime drama featuring wimmin’s narratives and two come along at once. Anzac Girls (Friday, More4) was gripping and moving with just a hint of a sense of humour. Set in north Africa in 1915, this six-part series focuses on the role of the nurses from Australia and New Zealand in the Gallipoli campaign, in which 8,000 Australians lost their lives. It’s too early to tell whether the historical brushstrokes here are going to be too broad (pitting snobby, bullying Brits against can-do, plucky Aussies), but the signs are good. Alice (Georgia Flood), initially cold and difficult, turned out to be a complex, likeable character and I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot of the action and politics through her intelligent eyes. Laura Brent shone as Elsie, a nurse who has lied about being married in order to serve near her officer husband. This series shows serious promise, but it’s not one for the squeamish: there are a lot of Aussie guts on show. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 12:36:54 GMT)

To boldly brew: Italian astronaut makes first espresso in space
Samantha Cristoforetti becomes world’s first orbiting barista after firing up experimental ISSpresso coffee machine 250 miles above EarthThe first Italian woman in space has become the world’s first orbiting barista.Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti fired up the first espresso machine in space over the weekend. She posted a selfie on Twitter from the International Space Station on Sunday, sipping from a cup designed for use in zero-gravity. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 17:50:01 GMT)

Why 18C is the perfect temperature for crime
A study of police records in Greater Manchester suggests that crime rates peak when the temperature reaches 18C, and fall when it gets any hotterI’ve just tested the temperature outside my open window and it is a pleasant 18C (64F). So I’m bolting it shut, because these lethal spring conditions are a crucible for crime.High temperatures have long been linked with violence. Hotter countries tend to experience higher violent crime rates, riots tend to break out in high summer and “PC Rain” has long been regarded by police officers as a reliably effective crime-fighter. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 17:00:02 GMT)

Twitter kills MS-Dos games embedded in tweets
Social network kills MS-Dos gaming fun, saying interactives and games breach its embedded cards terms of serviceFaster than Ryu KOing Ken, Twitter has killed off the ability to play MS-Dos games in tweets.Just last week, users discovered they could take advantage of Twitter’s embedding feature to turn links to the Internet Archive’s 2,600 strong collection of emulated MS-Dos games into playable widgets on the micro-blogging platform. They used the same system – called Twitter Cards – which allows videos, images and other rich media to be displayed in-line in Twitter’s stream. The same system also displays ads. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 09:12:50 GMT)

A hung parliament: bad for politics, but cultural gold
Our current political quagmire could be the greatest thing for British culture since the 1970s – a magnificent epoch in artWe may be on the edge of political chaos. The prospect of a hung parliament and weeks of negotiation to launch another coalition or minority government confronts Britain with a harsh truth. The age of national confidence and strong governments – of left, right or centre – is over. We are back in the ungovernable quagmire that was Britain in the 1970s.But will it really be so bad? Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 11:15:22 GMT)

Take the test: Could you get a job at Google?
Hardballing, Rubik’s Cube skills and other ways of securing a job with the Silicon Valley behemoth Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 08:15:09 GMT)

How to cook with bones, shells and peel
There’s no need to waste the bits of ingredients you usually throw away. Here’s how to unlock the flavour of the whole ingredient ...The bones and shells and peels of things are where a lot of their goodness resides. It’s no more or less lamb for being meat or bone; it’s no more or less pea for being pea or pod. Grappa is made from the spent skins and stems and seeds of wine grapes; marmalade from the peels of oranges. The wine behind the grappa is great, but there are moments when only grappa will do; the fruit of the orange is delicious, but it cannot be satisfactorily spread.Citrus peels are some of the most often forsaken throwaways. Before juicing them, remove the zest from one or two oranges or lemons and combine a spoonful of their zest, a half clove of finely chopped garlic, a big handful of roughly chopped parsley or mint, and a little crunchy salt, and you have a gorgeous and quite sophisticated sauce for sprinkling over boiled chicken or poached eggs. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 11:00:01 GMT)

The playlist: indie – Braids, Chastity Belt, Tame Impala and more
Recordings from a deconsecrated church, tackling the subject of slutshaming, and dropping new tracks on Reddit: the wonderful world of indie ...London-based band the Big Moon told the NME recently that the unlikely event of a Fat White Family gig was the impetus behind their first flourish of songwriting. Debut single Sucker has less of the gnarly, self-medicated weirdness of the psyche group but that anarchy is buried in spirit: Sucker has all the ramshackle romance of the Libertines as it swings its limbs and slurs away as if serenading at the front door of an ex. You can get your hands on Juliette, Soph, Celia and Fern’s very first track on 15 June through new independent label Hard Up. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 10:08:43 GMT)

Dear Araucaria: short film tells story of crossword setter's cryptic goodbye
Matt Houghton’s nine-minute short, currently winning plaudits at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto, recounts the crossword maestro’s announcement of terminal cancer in a puzzle in December 2012What, you might ask, connects the solitary acts of watching a film and doing a crossword puzzle? The answer: the nine-minute short Dear Araucaria, which is currently being shown for the first time at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto.Dear Araucaria is about the Rev John Graham, the celebrated Guardian crossword setter better known as Araucaria, who announced that he was dying of cancer through a crossword published in December 2012. As reported in these pages, he wrote his own last chapter using clues with answers such as “cancer”, “oesophagus”, “palliative” and “care” in the format he had championed for more than 50 years. Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 09:15:57 GMT)

The Hodor, the Hodor … best and worst Game of Thrones merchandise
What do you get the Game of Thrones fan who has everything? How about a dragon egg winestopper, A Hand of the King wax seal kit or a three-eyed raven soft toy?Valar morghulis: all men must buy. There are currently 326 Game of Thrones items available on the HBO website, enough to parcel out a different souvenir from Westeros to almost every single member of the sprawling cast, alive or dead. That’s an awful lot of pseudo-medieval bumf, but unlike some of the third-party products available on sites such as Etsy (home to a lot of GoT-inspired jewellery and amateur leatherwork), the memorabilia on the official store does seem to meet some sort of quality-control threshold. (That’s not to say there aren’t items that seem to be have been commissioned on a whim by Aerys II Targaryen, the lord of the seven kingdoms, and most famous for losing his imperial marbles.) Here’s some of the best and worst GoT gear you can get your hands on if, of course, you’re willing to pay the iron price. (They also do PayPal.) Related: Blood on the living-room table: why I still love the Game of Thrones board game Continue reading...
(Mon, 04 May 2015 07:00:08 GMT)

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