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Taxpayers to foot £200bn bill for PFI contracts – audit office
Cost of privately financing projects ‘can be 40% higher’ than using public moneyTaxpayers will be forced to hand over nearly £200bn to contractors under private finance deals for at least 25 years, according to a report by Whitehall’s spending watchdog. In the wake of the collapse of public service provider Carillion, the National Audit Office found little evidence that government investment in more than 700 existing public-private projects has delivered financial benefits. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:01:34 GMT)

UK to pay extra £44.5m for Calais security in Anglo-French deal
Funds to be announced along with plans to revise Le Touquet accord on asylum seekersBritain will pay £44.5m for extra security measures in France to prevent another refugee camp forming in Calais or any other Channel port, Theresa May is to announce.The extra cash will go towards fencing, CCTV and other detection technology in Calais and other ports, possibly including Dunkirk. It will also be used to help relocate migrants from the port towns to other parts of France. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:01:34 GMT)

Worst-case global warming scenarios not credible, says study
Findings should not be seen as taking pressure off need to tackle climate change, authors warnEarth’s surface will almost certainly not warm up four or five degrees Celsius by 2100, according to a study which, if correct, voids worst-case UN climate change predictions.A revised calculation of how greenhouse gases drive up the planet’s temperature reduces the range of possible end-of-century outcomes by more than half, researchers said in the report, published in the journal Nature. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 03:08:22 GMT)

Trump faces backlash as he reveals 'Fake News Awards' winners
President highlights journalists’ errors despite anger from some in his own party over his treatment of the mediaDonald Trump, who has routinely peddled conspiracy theories and mistruths from the office of the presidency, sought to question the accuracy of the media on Wednesday by unveiling the so-called “Fake News Awards”.The president used his preferred medium of Twitter to announce “the winners”, which ranged from minor errors by journalists on social media to news reports that later invited corrections. The “awards” were revealed on the Republican National Committee’s website, which swiftly crashed as a result of the attention, and prompted swift backlash, including from his own party. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 03:51:18 GMT)

Turning offices into homes threatens affordability – study
LGA estimates more than 7,500 affordable homes lost in England due to conversions that do not go through planning systemMore than half of all new homes in some areas have been created by allowing developers to convert offices without building any affordable homes, an impact study of the policy has revealed.Since 2015, 30,575 housing units in England have been converted from offices to flats without having to go through the planning system, in a bid by ministers to boost housing supply. It means there has been a potential loss of more than 7,500 affordable homes, according to the study by the Local Government Association. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:01:34 GMT)

Bitcoin speculative bubble is bursting and has a long way to fall, economists warn
Despite losing 40% in a matter of weeks the cryptocurrency still has further to drop according to experts at Capital EconomicsBitcoin has all the hallmarks of a classic speculative bubble and even after almost halving in value in a matter of weeks it still has further to fall, according to a leading team of economists.As regulators in South Korea again signalled on Thursday that they were considering a ban on cryptocurrency exchanges, Capital Economics also dismissed claims that bitcoin and its imitators could replace established currencies as “rubbish”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 05:05:01 GMT)

Oil from sunken Iranian tanker spreads over 100 sq km of East China Sea
Satellite imaging shows four large slicks spreading amid concerns for the marine ecosystemOil from an Iranian tanker that sank in the East China Sea has diffused into four separate slicks, covering a combined area of just over 100 square kms (39 square miles), Chinese authorities said late on Wednesday. Earlier satellite imaging showed two large slicks, with the larger one also thicker and more concentrated, but the latest data had found four slicks ranging in size from 48 square kms (19 square miles) to 5.5 square kms (2.1 square miles), the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 05:10:00 GMT)

Family doctors working 'beyond safe levels', says GPs' leader
As doctors describe dealing with up to 70 patients a day, college warns of risks to public healthGPs across Britain are working above safe levels because of relentless and unmanageable workloads, leading doctors have warned. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:01:34 GMT)

Sport protects mental health of children who experience trauma
Study finds abused or neglected children who play sports are less likely to develop mental illnessTaking part in sport protects children who are abused or neglected from developing mental health problems in later life, according to a major public health study. People who had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) but regularly played sports as children were less likely to have a mental illness as an adult, the study found. People who had traumatic childhoods were also more likely to be mentally healthy if they took part in sport as adults. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:01:34 GMT)

'Very discreet': arrested CIA spy kept a low profile in Hong Kong
Jerry Chun Shing Lee lived in the former British colony, where he was largely unknown in security and intelligence circlesA former CIA agent arrested on suspicion of keeping classified information, including the names of informants in China, was virtually unknown in Hong Kong, where he lived, according to interviews with security experts.Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, kept a low profile in the former British colony, where he lived for most of the time since leaving the CIA in 2007. He was largely unknown in security and intelligence circles in the city and avoided leaving a digital footprint. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 04:54:40 GMT)

Instagrammers are sucking the life and soul out of travel | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
My view of Sri Lanka was spoiled by the peachy backsides of tourists obsessed with their social media feedsA recent trip to Sri Lanka reminded me of that well known Buddhist proverb: “If you visit a temple but do not take a selfie, did it actually happen?” At these sacred sites, tourists are free to take photographs – as indeed I saw a delegation of enthusiastic monks doing at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy – but you are asked to please not pose with statues of the Buddha, or be photographed with your back to him. Naturally, I observed several western tourists, most of them young, ignoring this request. Related: Young women on Instagram and self-esteem: 'I absolutely feel insecure' Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:34:09 GMT)

Four lessons the Carillion crisis can teach business, government and us | Larry Elliott
Even under a Corbyn cabinet, there would still be a role for the private sector in infrastructure projects – but there is a pressing need to rethink itCarillion’s collapse was capitalism in action. Profits are the reward for taking risks, and sometimes the risks materialise. Carillion’s problem was not that its profits were too high, but that they were too low when things started to go wrong. In a free-market system, it’s that simple.Except that it isn’t quite that simple in this case, because much of Carillion’s work was for the government: building roads and hospitals, running prisons, providing school meals. Whitehall didn’t want the company to go bust, so bunged it a few new contracts when it was already in trouble in the hope that something would turn up. Instead, Carillion staggered on for six months as a zombie company before the banks pulled the plug. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:40:24 GMT)

The plastic-free stores showing the big brands how to do it
Retailers at the vanguard of Britain’s zero-waste movement say business is booming, so why are major supermarkets not doing more to cut plastic waste?Read more: Nearly 1m tonnes every year: supermarkets shamed for plastic packagingIn the past few weeks Richard Eckersley has noticed a change in the type of people who come into his shop.The former Manchester United footballer, who turned his back on the game to set up the the UK’s first “zero waste” store on Totnes high street in Devon, says it is no longer only committed environmentalists who pop in, looking for a cleaner way to shop. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:30:03 GMT)

Emmanuel Macron: a modern master of the diplomatic gesture
Bayeux tapestry loan is latest example of use of symbolism to raise France’s global profileEver since the Norman era, the fine art of the meaningful gift has been at the heart of statecraft. Historically, they have ranged from a menagerie of exotic animals to fabulous jewels, but Emmanuel Macron – by first offering the Chinese a horse called Vesuvius, and now offering the British the loan of the Bayeux tapestry – has revealed himself this month as the modern master of the diplomatic gesture. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:27:11 GMT)

Bestselling Donald Trump exposé Fire and Fury to become TV series
Michael Wolff’s peek inside the White House will head to the small screen in a seven-figure deal, with the author onboard as executive producerMichael Wolff’s bestselling Donald Trump exposé, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, is heading to the small screen in a reported seven-figure deal. Related: After the Fire and Fury: what's next for books about Trump? Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 20:14:50 GMT)

Rita, Sue and #MeToo: 'there'd be outrage if it was written today'
Was the Royal Court right to put on Rita, Sue and Bob Too? We asked three playwrights to look afresh at Andrea Dunbar’s story of two girls preyed on by an older man Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:23:53 GMT)

#FBPE: what is the pro-EU hashtag spreading across social media?
If you’ve been wondering what it means, here’s the answer – and the complex tale of how some have tried to hijack itIf you have been on social media over the last few weeks, you may have seen people tagging posts with the hashtag #FBPE, or using #FBPE in their usernames. But what does it mean?The hashtag was first used on Twitter in October by Hendrik Klaassens, a Dutch social media user, who posted: “#ProEU tweeps organize Follow Back Saturdays! Type #FollowBackProEU or #FBPE if you want to get more #ProEU followers. Let’s do this!” in an attempt to build up a network of pro-EU users. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:37:45 GMT)

From prudish Victorians to arrows in the eye – 10 things from history everyone gets wrong
This week we were told that rats didn’t spread the plague, the Aztecs weren’t wiped out by smallpox and ‘whipping boys’ may never have actually existed. So what other ‘facts’ are historically suspect?You wait years for a historical theory to be debunked and then three come around at once. So far this week, we have been told that the mysterious pestilence that wiped out 15 million Aztecs between 1545 and 1550 was not smallpox or measles, but enteric fever, that the Black Death was spread by fleas and lice from humans as well as rat fleas (a theory that, in truth, has been around for a while), and that the supposed origins of the phrase “whipping boy” (where surrogates were punished in place of young royals) seem to be false. In the spirit of debunking myths, here is my (in no way exhaustive) list of 10 historical “mythconceptions”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:32:27 GMT)

Steve Bell on Theresa May and Carillion's collapse – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 19:15:00 GMT)

Don’t blame social workers. It’s the system that’s broken | Louise Tickle
It is not surprising that practice is falling short of professional standards, given the pressure child protection teams faceIn the new Channel 4 drama Kiri, the social worker played by Sarah Lancashire is seen being hung out to dry for a decision she makes that leads to a child, who is about to be adopted, being abducted by her birth father. The little girl is later found dead, and Lancashire’s character, Miriam, knows instantly that every judgment she has ever made relating to the child’s contact with her birth family will be scrutinised and probably found wanting, especially as the prospective adopters are an articulate, white, middle-class family, and Kiri’s father is black and just out of prison. Has Miriam rushed or been sloppy in arranging an unsupervised visit for the young girl with her birth grandfather? Has she done the right paperwork? Can she cover her arse – and, more to the point from her bosses’ point of view, theirs?The more critical question perhaps is whether she has acted with integrity and made a thorough evaluation of the risks. Has she allowed her personal biases to affect her judgment? Has her work been ethically sound, as well as ticking all the right bureaucratic boxes? Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:52:03 GMT)

Where’s Theresa as Carillion crisis mounts? On Planet Point-Scoring
Forget reassuring the country – the Maybot just keeps feeding her appetite for self-destructionThe Maybot is back. Tin-eared, lacking empathy and with an algorithm programmed for self-destruction. With 20,000 Carillion jobs at risk in the UK and hundreds of subcontractors in danger of going bust, Theresa May appeared only interested in minding one back. Her own. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and keep the disaster at arm’s length. It wasn’t a great look.All week the government’s main line of defence had been that Carillion was just one of those things that couldn’t be helped. And prime minister’s questions was no exception. “The government is just a customer of Carillion,” said Pontius Maybot, momentarily forgetting she was PM. And that she had promised on her first day in office to use her position as the most powerful person in the country to stand up for the low-paid and the insecure. Sometimes her lack of self-awareness borders on the pathological. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:46:21 GMT)

Should you give homeless people money? Absolutely | Tamsen Courtenay
Gloucester city council’s poster implies they are not worth our compassion. This is a travesty of human decencyHave the Tory members of Gloucester city council been busy reading George Orwell’s 1984 in their book club recently?It seems someone has read the bit at the back where Orwell describes how the political language, Newspeak – with its restricted grammar and limited vocabulary – is designed to distort how people think and control public attitudes. Posters were put up in Gloucester showing someone wearing a hoodie, under the headline of “Are you really helping homeless people?”, suggesting that people sleeping rough are not homeless, but “in accommodation, receiving support and benefits”. This sinister use of Newspeak tells the upstanding citizenry to stop feeling bad about not helping those in need, under the pretence of educating and informing. It even offered a subtle sense of justification that – weirdly – help isn’t really help at all. That’s not Newspeak, it’s doublespeak. Orwell was writing about a totalitarian state. We should be worried. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:34:55 GMT)

The Guardian view on Anglo-French relations: Brexit’s entente cordiale | Editorial
A weakened British prime minister and a dynamic French president may not see eye to eye over everything, but they can learn from one anotherThe recent history of relations between British prime ministers and French presidents is characterised by a gap in affection bridged by recognition of common interest. David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher had complex, sometimes tense alliances with François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy, Jacques Chirac and François Mitterrand. None lost sight of the need to manage an ancient rivalry with professional cordiality. In that spirit, on the eve of a summit meeting with Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron has approved a plan for the Bayeux tapestry to be displayed in the UK. This is a demonstration of Mr Macron’s fluency in gesture, pointing to two nations’ shared cultural ancestry. But their two leaders are far from kindred spirits.Mr Macron styles himself as a crusading pro-EU centrist – a personified antidote to the ethos of Brexit that defines Mrs May’s leadership. There are other tensions, predating the UK’s decision to quit the EU but complicated by it, notably the migration bottleneck at Calais. Mr Macron has pledged to renegotiate the Le Touquet accord that allows UK border police to operate in France. Within France his handling of asylum and immigration – with humane rhetoric undone by callousness on the ground – has dismayed his political base. The Calais border is sure come up at Thursday’s summit, with reports suggesting the UK will pay more to prevent migrants crossing the Channel. There will be a show of Anglo-French cordiality, highlighting defence and security cooperation. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:26:20 GMT)

Hazard penalty puts Chelsea through against Norwich on dramatic Cup night
The anarchy into which this tie descended through extra-time actually made Chelsea’s eventual progress feel almost incidental. Antonio Conte had cause to celebrate Willy Caballero’s fine save and a perfect quintet of penalties in the shootout, but he was still a man on the edge long after the final whistle. So much of this had been the stuff of nightmares.He could curse Norwich City’s hugely merited equaliser deep into stoppage time at the end of the 90 minutes, a flicked header from Jamal Lewis which thrust the hosts into an extra period they must have dreaded given their cluttered schedule. But then there were the trio of home players booked for diving, and the dismissals for Pedro and Álvaro Morata – two of those who had gone to ground – for second bookable offences in the last three minutes. The second red card prompted one irate home supporter to encroach on the penalty area to berate the referee, Graham Scott. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 23:06:41 GMT)

Johanna Konta down and out in Melbourne after defeat to Bernarda Pera
American world No123 shocks ninth seed 6-4, 7-5Off-key Konta struggles with windy conditions Jo Konta said before her second-round match against the world No123, Bernarda Pera, she was unsure what the American slam debutante looked like, although they were contemporaries on the challenger circuit. After an hour and 40 minutes on Show Court 2 on day four of the 2018 Australian Open, the British player had seen quite enough of Pera, who belied her ranking to deliver the upset of the day, winning 6-4, 7-5.It would be little consolation to the British loser that Pera’s victory gave substance to the growing and oft-repeated assertion that there is paper-thin difference between the leading players and those chasing them, whatever their rankings. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 02:31:21 GMT)

Ben Stokes: ECB ruling raises more questions over their decision-making | Vic Marks
Decision to reinstate England all-rounder for series in New Zealand despite pending trial for affray has puzzling aspectsBen Stokes will be back in the fold and playing for England within four weeks. During the period when Stokes had not been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service after the incident in Bristol in the early hours of 25 September, he was unable to play for England. Now he has been charged, he can play. Which seems a bit odd. Related: Ben Stokes: all-rounder cleared to play for England after affray charge Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:32:44 GMT)

Eddie Jones’ extended deal shows the RFU grasping succession planning | Robert Kitson
Orderly change has rarely been Twickenham’s strong point but with the Australian staying until 2021 the union has a clear post-World Cup planThe marriage between Mr Edward Jones of Sydney and English rugby has been so formidably successful that the surprise renewal of vows was easy to understand. Short of slipping a ring on Jones’s finger and wheeling in a cake, the Rugby Football Union could not be more delighted to be snuggling up to its favourite Australian for two further years beyond 2019, even at the cost of forsaking all others. Related: Eddie Jones signs contract extension as England coach until 2021 Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:17:15 GMT)

Gary Speed 'one of four players coached by Bennell to have killed themselves'
Former Wales manager hanged himself years after playing in team coached by Barry Bennell, court hearsGary Speed was one of four players from Barry Bennell’s junior football teams who killed themselves later in life after being coached by the man now charged with multiple sex offences against young footballers, the jury at Bennell’s trial was told.Speed, the former Wales manager, hanged himself in November 2011, at the age of 42. One man whom Bennell admitted abusing in 1998 told the court he knew of other boys from the same teams who had been left destitute, suicidal and addicted to drugs or alcohol. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:48:40 GMT)

Ronaldinho: a player so good he made you smile
The Brazilian has retired after an extraordinary career but his wonderful talent will be remembered for ever. ‘He changed our history,’ the Barcelona midfielder Xavi saidRonaldinho. See? You’re smiling already. Just thinking about the things he did and the way he did them, the way he was, gets you giggling. Look him up on YouTube and maybe you’ll fall for him all over again, a bit like all those defenders. Watch for long enough – it won’t take long – and you might even feel like standing to applaud, just like the Santiago Bernabéu did, an ovation for a Barcelona player, as if for all the rivalry they hadn’t so much been beaten by his genius as shared in it. Sergio Ramos was on the floor, they were on their feet. Cameras zoomed on a man in the north stand with a moustache and a cigarette hanging limp from his lip: Bloody hell, did you see what he just did? Related: Golden Goal: Ronaldinho for Barcelona v Chelsea (2005) | Daniel Harris Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:11:00 GMT)

Theo Walcott’s £20m Everton move spells trouble for Lookman and Vlasic | Andy Hunter
Sam Allardyce says Theo Walcott ‘should be at the peak of his career’ and he is an experienced goalscorer but his arrival is bad news for Everton’s youngstersSam Allardyce believes Theo Walcott “should be at the peak of his career” at 28 and with the experience of 397 games played over a dozen years at Arsenal behind him. Should be. It is a career in need of revival instead, and a £20m relocation to Everton offers no such guarantees.The transfer suits club and player in many respects. The squad assembled by the director of football, Steve Walsh, and former manager Ronald Koeman at Goodison Park is imbalanced. It desperately lacks pace and width, even with Yannick Bolasie available after a long-term knee injury, and there appears an obvious place for Walcott to reclaim a regular starting role in the Premier League, his form and perhaps even an England recall in World Cup year on the right of Everton’s attack. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:08:17 GMT)

Doubts over Reuben family involvement in Newcastle takeover
• Uncertainty surrounds bid by Amanda Staveley• Staveley reported to have made £250m offer in NovemberA major British family investor, the first to be named by the businesswoman Amanda Staveley as a financial backer of her £250m bid to buy Newcastle United, has said they are not now planning to invest in the club. According to both parties, the Reuben family did agree financial terms to support Staveley’s bid in December, but after her offer was rejected the family has not been involved with it since.A representative of Staveley, asked by the Guardian how she is proposing to fund the planned takeover of the club from the Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, said on Wednesday that he had been authorised to reveal that the London-based Reuben family is one of her co-investors. Before that, Staveley had not publicly named any backers; sources close to her had said she has £28bn under management from investors worldwide but that she might mostly pay for Newcastle herself. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:38:47 GMT)

Rokhaya Diallo: 'As a black woman, my freedom of speech didn't have value'
Rokhaya Diallo is a French journalist and activist who was appointed to the CNNum, the national digital council at the end of last year. Her appointment sparked controversy due to some of her opinions about state racism and Charlie Hebdo, and the French government bowed to pressure to remove her from the board. She speaks with Iman Amrani about what happened, how she feels President Emmanuel Macron, and freedom of speechUne version de la vidéo en français peut être visionnée ici Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:04:27 GMT)

Sucker punch: small town boxing in rural America is going mainstream - but who benefits?
Rough N Rowdy offers local hopefuls, most with limited skills and little training, the chance to win $1,000 and make a name for themselves in the boxing ring. The event is being broadcast by Barstool Sports, whose CEO, Dave Portnoy, refers to boxers taking part as 'rednecks' A puncher's chance: amateur fight event offers a desperate swing at glory Continue reading...
(Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:29:53 GMT)

We Have Lift-off | Made In Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke-on-Trent residents are fed up with it being known as the 'Brexit capital of Britain'. After being swamped by negative media stories during the referendum and recent byelection, local people are fighting back against the stereotypesTell us what you think of our documentary seriesWatch all the episodes here  Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:33:36 GMT)

£1 for a house: made in Stoke-on-Trent
This is the Portland street estate, a community ravaged by years of cuts. The council made a bold move in an attempt to turn the estate around – but how did the £1 homes experiment turn out?Watch all the episodes here  Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:34:13 GMT)

Prevail: Made in Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke-on-Trent’s cultural quarter is growing fast, with an independent and DIY spirit, but how does this affect the rest of the city? An answer is found in the remarkable story of Vixta, an artist about to go public for the first timeWatch all the episodes here  Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:34:47 GMT)

A Potted History | Made In Stoke-on-Trent
Paladin Works is a time capsule of a building that embodies the history of Stoke-on-Trent. It began life as a pottery factory, but since that went bust it has hosted manufacturing, sales teams and even a cannabis farm. Does it hold the key to Stoke's future?Tell us what you think of our documentary seriesWatch all the episodes here  Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:35:32 GMT)

Salvage Operation | Made In Stoke-on-Trent
In the bowels of an old pottery factory, a group of determined men eke out a profit from stripping down and recycling electrical waste. All of them have some form of mental health condition or disability. It's a tough business, but one with a dark sense of humourTell us what you think of our documentary seriesWatch all the episodes here  Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:36:46 GMT)

The Mother Town | Made In Stoke-on-Trent
This is where Stoke-on-Trent’s industrial revolution began, the proud home of the potteries. It has fallen on hard times and been labelled the ‘ghost town of Britain’, but a group of women are fighting back Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:50:05 GMT)

Two sides to every story | Made in Stoke-on-Trent
Homelessness hit the news in Stoke-on-Trent when an attempt by the council to tackle rough sleeping went wrong, causing public anger. Meet some of the people who are sleeping on the streets, and those offering helpTell us what you think of our documentary seriesWatch all the episodes here  Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:53:20 GMT)

Judgment Day | Made In Stoke-on-Trent
Many residents of Stoke-on-Trent pinned their hopes on winning the competition to become the next UK City of Culture. The ambitious bid team set out to transform perceptions of the city. Did they succeed?Watch all the episodesTell us what you think of our documentary series Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:55:50 GMT)

‘And here’s Big Narstie with the weather’ – TV’s greatest fish out of water moments
The grime star joins the likes of Jeremy Paxman and the Fall’s Mark E Smith in taking on an unexpected television roleOn Tuesday, grime artist Big Narstie became a megastar. Tasked with presenting the weather on Good Morning Britain, Narstie grabbed the role with both hands and delivered a masterclass in how to cope with the pressures of live television. “Double up, double up, double up, double up”, he told viewers shortly before describing the Scottish Highlands as “a bag of snow”. Instantly, Narstie’s turn joined the pantheon of unexpectedly incredible television moments. Here are his new bedfellows. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:44:10 GMT)

One Year of Resistance: the exhibit chronicling the year in anti-Trump art
In a follow-up show to last year’s exhibit, curator Indira Cesarine displays art addressing immigration, gun control, and the #MeToo movementThe morning after the 2016 election, curator Indira Cesarine knew she wanted to host an art show exhibiting women’s reactions to the impending presidency of Donald Trump. She posted on message boards and various social media groups and, lo and behold, corralled enough female artists together in just one month to open Uprise/Angry Women during inauguration week. Now, a year later, Cesarine is hosting a follow-up exhibit, titled One Year of Resistance, which opened Tuesday in New York. This time, submissions were open to artists of all genders; plus, the show had a lengthier gestation period, to say the least. Related: Should Donald Trump's border wall prototypes be considered art? Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:02:23 GMT)

Edwin Hawkins obituary
US gospel singer best known for his hit version of Oh Happy DayIt has been said that the devil has all the best tunes, but this was emphatically not the case with Oh Happy Day, an exuberant paean to the spiritually cleansing powers of Jesus. It was a hymn written in the mid-18th century, but it was Edwin Hawkins, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 74, who popularised it and turned it into a global standard.The song became a hit in 1969, credited to the Edwin Hawkins Singers, and reached No 2 in the UK and No 1 in France and Germany, as well as No 4 on the US’s Billboard Hot 100 chart. It sold more than a million copies in two months, and would eventually sell 7m internationally. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:28:50 GMT)

Keira Knightley criticises rape culture in modern cinema
Speaking about #MeToo and Hollywood, the actor says there is ‘something distasteful in the way women are portrayed’ Keira Knightley has criticised the amount of sexual violence against women in films, saying that she prefers period stories to contemporary-set dramas because, in the latter, “the female characters nearly always get raped”.In an interview with Variety, Knightley was explaining her preference for “historical pieces” in the run-up to the premiere of her Colette biopic – set during the Parisian belle époque – at the Sundance film festival. “I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed [in films set in the modern day], whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces.” She acknowledged, however, that there has been some improvement in “the last few years” as the Hollywood mood change has meant that “women’s stories are suddenly viewed as important”. She said: “I’m suddenly being sent scripts with present-day women who aren’t raped in the first five pages and aren’t simply there to be the loving girlfriend or wife.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:49:35 GMT)

Music for the great outdoors: what should join Justin Timberlake on the playlist?
The musician has said his new album is ‘meant to be heard outside’. From Bon Iver to Barbecue Bob, here are four more site-specific musical recommendationsThe promotional video for Justin Timberlake’s latest album, Man of the Woods, is a confounding thing, portraying our hero in plaid shirt, dancing in studios and looking contemplative in cornfields. But most interestingly, in among the cavorting he prescribes the ideal listening conditions for his new opus: “It’s meant to be heard outside,” he says, “even more than inside.”Timberlake is not alone in feeling his music belongs in a particular setting. Consciously or unconsciously, musicians have always written music inspired by landscape, some even composing for specific locations. It’s restrictive, of course, to suggest that music only belongs to one geographical context, but there is an undeniable joy to listening to bluegrass in Appalachia or Elgar amid the Malvern Hills. Here are four more site-specific musical recommendations: Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:00:35 GMT)

Fantastic Beasts and where to set them: which cities should the Harry Potter spin-off visit?
The sorcery saga is relocating to a new city with each film, but which destinations should be on its itinerary: Shanghai, Berlin ... or Wakefield?The big draw of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – at least for me – was that it injected some American pizazz into the stultifyingly British world of Harry Potter. Switching from the anonymous mundanity of Privet Drive for the soaring bustle of 1920s New York was a masterstroke. But it wasn’t to last. For this year’s sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the franchise is upping sticks again and moving to Paris. And don’t assume that this is a one-off deal – director David Yates has revealed that every Fantastic Beasts sequel will be set in a different city. Luckily for all involved, I have some suggestions on where it should go next. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:40:02 GMT)

From antioxidants to iron absorption: how to make the most of your cup of tea
Scientists reckon a cuppa can have cognitive benefits, but how best to make a health-boosting brew?Five millennia on, tea is still delighting scientists who want to prove slightly obvious things. The latest news on that front is that it can make us more creative. In the journal Food Quality and Preference, Yan Huang, from the Psychological and Cognitive Sciences Department of Peking University, illustrates how his 50 subjects performed better when “trying to come up with a cool name for a noodle bar”, among other tasks, when given a cup of tea instead of a glass of water. As marvellous as this info is for the noodle bar franchising industry, the health and cognitive benefits of tea certainly don’t end there. We’ve all had the debate about how to make the tastiest cuppa. But what about the healthiest? Here are some tips:Use cheap, bagged tea Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:53:26 GMT)

Are there any fashion photographers not accused of sexual harassment?
The suspension of Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, along with Terry Richardson, after multiple accusations, means Vogue has to find some new snappersNow that Mario Testino and Bruce Weber are suspended from Condé Nast following allegations of sexual exploitation, who the heck is left to take photos for Vogue?Vanessa by emailZac the intern using his iPhone? I jest, obviously (all Vogue interns are called things like Lady Charlotte Aristo de Money and Kate Moss’s Daughter). But it’s certainly true that the biggest photographers in the industry seem to be falling like skittles, what with Terry Richardson suspended last year, and now Weber and Testino, felled by allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse of male models and assistants. All deny the allegations, but Condé Nast, to its credit, suspended the photographers as soon as the story was published in the New York Times last weekend, suggesting reaction times have improved of late. After all, Condé Nast International didn’t drop Richardson until – hmmmm, let me check my diary – October last year, even though some of us were writing about the multiple allegations against him five years ago. I guess suspending accused molesters just wasn’t in fashion back then. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:00:23 GMT)

Off-White keeps it business casual at Paris fashion week
While men’s fashion was rocked by a big-name departure at Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh stayed coolThe autumn menswear shows in Paris began this week with shock and hype: shock that Kim Jones was stepping down as men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton, and hype generated by Off-White fashion house, which caused a near-ruckus of bumbags outside the Pompidou Centre on Wednesday morning.Off-White was founded by Virgil Abloh, a 36-year-old architect, streetwear designer and DJ. Until recently, he was best known as the multi-hyphenate Instagram associate of Kanye West, for whom he has worked as an artistic director and cameo star in Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:37:16 GMT)

‘Work is important, but your health is everything’: your best comments today
We look at some top stories getting you talking today, including discussion on why we don’t take all of our annual leave, and Australia’s presidencyComment threads have been busy with a discussion over whether being strong has become the new respectable skinny, and why we don’t use all of our annual leave. Readers have also been discussing Australia’s debate over republicanism and the presidency with warnings of the chance of electing a celebrity president. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:40:29 GMT)

Heating’s cheating: why taste reigns supreme in the new chilli sauce scene
The surge in interest in spicy condiments around the UK is not just about ludicrously hot concoctions – for many producers, it’s all about the flavourSean Evans, host of the cult US online TV show Hot Ones, is trying to recall his highlights from its four seasons, in which he has interviewed celebrities including Cara Delevingne and Seth Rogen. But he concedes: “It’s kind of a blur. There’s been so many people spitting in buckets, dry heaving and coughing. It’s all just one big fit.”Yes, you read that right: spitting, heaving, coughing. For Hot Ones is no ordinary chat show. Instead, like a sadistic Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, it involves Evans firing questions at celebrities as he and they eat 10 chicken wings dressed with hot sauces of increasing ferocity. The final wing is dressed with Hot Ones’ own Last Dab, made with the world’s hottest chilli, Pepper X. By this point (note: DJ Khaled bailed after just three wings), most guests are in a whole world of sweat-soaked pain. Or, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s game star Terry Crews put it: “OH MY GOD … you get high off this shit. My voice is changing. You’re turning into three people, man! I’m hurting. Why can’t I open my eyes?” Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:00:02 GMT)

Shelf effacement: how not to organise your bookshelves
A new trend to ‘coordinate’ the look of your library by turning the spines to face inward defies good sense. But apparently it’s catching onTalk about spineless: the new trend in home decor is backward-looking – literally. If you’re in search of a storage solution that won’t mar the boring – sorry “neutral” – look of a beige colour scheme, simply turn your books spines in, pages out.Back in October, design blog Apartment Therapy shared one of these backwards bookshelves on its Instagram account, with advice for emulating the look. (“Books don’t match your decor? Don’t fret … Flip them for a perfectly coordinated look.”) US morning show Today called it “a beautiful thing to try”, and, naturally, it’s all over Pinterest. Continue reading...
(Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:20:05 GMT)

Residents of tower with Grenfell-style cladding told they must foot £2m bill
Owner of Citiscape complex in Croydon has denied responsibility to pay for work, with leaseholders left facing a bill of £31,300 per flat“Terrified” residents of a housing complex clad in similar flammable panels to Grenfell tower are facing a bill of £2m to make their homes safe after the building’s owner said it was not its responsibility to pay. The freehold is owned by a company owned by the family trust of the multi-millionaire property mogul Vincent Tchenguiz, and its property agent has told residents that work recladding the Citiscape complex in Croydon will begin “once full funds are in place”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:22:23 GMT)

Tesco delays Clubcard changes after customer backlash
Grocer postpones reward scheme revamp until June after outcry over reduced value of vouchersTesco has delayed changes to its Clubcard rewards scheme after a backlash from customers who objected to it reducing the value of vouchers without warning.The UK’s largest retailer said on Wednesday it had listened to the feedback and would postpone the introduction of the changes until 10 June. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:26:18 GMT)

Culture secretary urged to intervene in BBC equal pay row
MPs’ letter criticises on-air ban for presenters who have expressed opinion and says government should ‘set the tone’ for employers across UKMore than 70 MPs have called for the culture secretary, Matthew Hancock, to force the BBC to allow female staff who have campaigned about equal pay to talk about the issue on air.A letter signed by the group of MPs warns Hancock that preventing discussion could have a “chilling effect”. It urges the government to use powers in the royal charter to “give a direction to the BBC to ensure the freedom of speech of staff in pursuit of equality of opportunity”; this would provide clarity about how the government expects organisations to respond to equal pay claims, the MPs say. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:05:04 GMT)

Jo Cox's sister reveals late MP experienced periods of loneliness
Kim Leadbeater says her older sister felt profound isolation both at university and when she became a motherThe public image projected by the late Labour MP Jo Cox was of a cheerfully confident and outgoing professional, so it is startling to hear her sister describe her as someone who struggled at times with profound loneliness.She experienced it first when she went to university. “When she went to Cambridge she found herself in a new world, which for a working class northern girl was very intimidating and she found it very difficult,” her younger sister Kim Leadbeater said. “We used to talk on the phone late at night. She missed the safety and the comfort of her family and friends.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 19:12:56 GMT)

Arcadia's poor sales blamed for squeeze on suppliers
Sir Philip Green’s fashion empire to pay suppliers 2% less on existing and future ordersSir Philip Green’s retail business has told suppliers that Arcadia Group is imposing a discount on all current and existing orders from next month.The group’s CEO Ian Grabiner, blaming changes in the retail market, told suppliers that it would pay 2% less on both existing and future orders from 1 February, saving the company millions. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 23:20:59 GMT)

Facebook to expand inquiry into Russian influence of Brexit
Tech giant looks into spreading of disinformation after MPs criticised scope of first investigationFacebook has bowed to pressure from MPs and said it will deepen its investigation into whether Russian agents used the platform to spread fake news in the hope of influencing the Brexit vote.The social media giant told the digital, culture, media and sport committee that it would examine whether there were further clusters of accounts spreading disinformation, having previously been criticised for only conducting a limited investigation. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:21:37 GMT)

MPs call for overhaul in oversight of England's academy school chains
Extent to which failing trusts are ‘stripping assets from their schools’ is of particular concernParents are being “left in the dark” over who really runs schools in England, according to parliament’s education committee. It has called for the government to overhaul the oversight of academy chains after a string of high-profile failures.Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, signalled to the the new education secretary, Damian Hinds, that the system of regulation had created overlaps and confusion, allowing some multi-academy trusts (Mats) to escape oversight. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:54:04 GMT)

Not taking the biscuit: MPs decline 'unsolicited' gifts from 2 Sisters boss
Festive gift from 2 Sisters Food Group was ‘attempt to impugn’ impartiality, says committee A parliamentary inquiry into food standards at 2 Sisters Food Group took a bizarre turn on Wednesday when a select committee accused the chicken processor of an “attempt to impugn” its impartiality by sending MPs “unsolicited” biscuits.Writing to the group’s chief executive Ranjit Singh Boparan, MP Neil Parish, the Conservative chair of the environment, food and rural affairs committee, said: “Several members of my committee have reported the receipt of unsolicited gifts from the 2 Sisters Food Group over the Christmas period. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 20:23:47 GMT)

US military to maintain open-ended presence in Syria, Tillerson says
US secretary of state says forces will remain in country in push against Isis, Bashar al-Assad and Iranian influenceThe US intends to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria, not only to fight Isis and al-Qaida but also to provide a bulwark against Iranian influence, ensure the departure of the Assad regime and create conditions for the return of refugees, the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said on Wednesday.The new Syria policy, outlined by Tillerson in a speech at Stanford University, represents a significant expansion of US aims in the country, which the Trump administration had previously restricted to counter-terrorism throughout its first year in office. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 22:23:28 GMT)

Japan breakthrough could improve weather forecasts and save lives
Data collected by Himawari-8 weather satellite paired with supercomputer programmeA project harnessing data from a Japanese satellite could improve weather forecasting and allow officials to issue life-saving warnings before natural disasters, researchers say.The project is the first time “infrared radiation luminance data” has been used to model weather patterns in areas under heavy cloud cover that would usually stymie such modelling. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 01:48:29 GMT)

Steve Bannon to meet with Mueller’s investigators instead of testifying
Bannon is expected to be interviewed by prosecutors instead of testifying before a grand jury, after he received a subpoenaFormer White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will meet with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, according to a person familiar with the decision.Bannon is expected to be interviewed by prosecutors instead of testifying before a grand jury. He is expected to cooperate with the special counsel, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. It is unclear when the interview will occur. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:02:07 GMT)

Canada's use of lengthy solitary confinement in jails is unconstitutional – judge
Campaigners hope the judgment will end the controversial practice under which some inmates have been kept alone for four yearsCanada’s use of prolonged or indefinite solitary confinement in federal prisons is unconstitutional, a judge has said in a ruling that could end the controversial practice unless Ottawa appeals the decision. Related: Margaret Atwood faces feminist backlash on social media over #MeToo Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 01:18:32 GMT)

Rupert Murdoch injured back while sailing, Fox bosses told
Media mogul, 86, said to have told executives at 21st Century Fox and News Corp he will work from home for a monthRupert Murdoch reportedly suffered a back injury in a recent sailing accident, according to an internal note from the media mogul, which was provided to the Associated Press.The 86-year-old sent the note last week to senior executives at his companies, 21st Century Fox and News Corp, saying he would be working from home for weeks because of the injury, according to a person with knowledge of the email who was not authorized to share the note. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 23:32:56 GMT)

Norway aims for all short-haul flights to be 100% electric by 2040
It already has more electric cars than any other country in the world and also has shipping projects underway All of Norway’s short-haul airliners should be entirely electric by 2040, the country’s airport operator said on Wednesday, cementing the Nordic nation’s role as a pioneer in the field of electric transport.Avinor, the public operator of Norwegian airports, “aims to be the first in the world” to make the switch to electric air transport, chief executive Dag Falk-Petersen said. Continue reading...
(Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:45:38 GMT)

Apple says it will pay $38bn in foreign cash taxes and create 20,000 US jobs
Tech giant says it will repatriate some overseas cash holdingsApple has faced sustained criticism for tax evasion policies Apple said on Wednesday it would make a one-time payment of $38bn to repatriate some of its vast overseas cash holdings. Related: Apple secretly moved parts of empire to Jersey after row over tax affairs Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:30:10 GMT)

North and South Korea to march under one flag at Winter Olympics 'peace games'
Neighbours agree to field a joint women’s ice hockey team after third day of talks on February’s Winter OlympicsNorth and South Korea have confirmed they are to field a joint women’s ice hockey team and will march under a pro-unification flag at next month’s Winter Olympics, in the clearest sign yet of a thaw in tensions between the two countries.The two sides are to present their plan for a “peace games” to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the weekend, following three days of talks in the border village of Panmunjom. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:40:47 GMT)

10 of the best coastal walks in northern Spain
Spain’s Mediterranean coast may attract more visitors, but for amazing surf, untouched sandy shores and breathtaking cliffs, the north wins every timeMundaka and the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, Basque country This picturesque fishing port at the mouth of the Guernica estuary is part of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, which has the greatest variety of landscapes in the Basque country, from splendid beaches to wetlands, cliffs and mountains. Explore on foot, by bike or by boat and don’t miss diving at Cabo Ogoño. If you’re a surfer, the left-hand barrel wave at Mundaka is highly rated by pros. Meñakoz, Basque country Only half an hour’s drive from Bilbao, between Sopelana and Barrika, Meñakoz is a wild, pebbly beach that attracts both nudists and surfers. Hikers explore the paths that wind around the cliffs, watching the waves thundering on to the rocks. This stretch of the Basque coast is perhaps most dramatic on a grey day in winter, while locals come all year round to watch the sunset. Continue reading...
(Fri, 12 Jan 2018 10:07:14 GMT)

Quiz: how much do you actually know about coffee?
There’s more to coffee than what’s written on the board in your local cafe. Is your knowledge more burnt milk than cold brew? Take this quiz to find outCoffee is not just a caffeine delivery system for the underslept and overworked, a drink to be choked down on the run to work. Coffee is a delicate art, one perfected over centuries of history and world culture and tastes. It’s a passion that spans the globe: from Ethiopia to Australia, Istanbul to Rome, coffee is king. But how much do you really know about what you’re drinking?Where was the coffee plant thought to have been discovered?ColumbiaEthiopiaItalyHow important is coffee to the people of Italy?Not veryA lotBasically nothing is more important than coffeeIs not being provided with coffee grounds (not those sort of grounds) for divorce?NoYesI think you’re being very dramaticHow did the cappuccino get its name?From the coat colouring of capuchin monkeysFrom Italian friarsFrom Roberto Capucci, the Italian fashion designerDoes drinking lots of coffee make you a genius?Maybe?ObviouslyNo, but if you have any info that I could use to back up my weak theory I’d be glad to hear itWhat’s the difference between a caffè macchiato and a caffè corretto?One has milk in it, while the other has alcoholOne is a single shot of espresso with milk, the other a double shot with milkA caffè corretto is a caffè macchiato with extra waterWhere does the most expensive coffee in the world originate?ColombiaIndonesiaBrazilA proper Italian espresso has a crema. What is crema?A dark, distinctive tasteThe ability to mix well with foamed milkA tawny-coloured foam on topWhat is the average age of a barista in Italy?193248At what temperature should coffee be served?60C/140F to 70C/158F70C/158F to 80C/176F80C/176F to 90C/194F10 and above.You know a perfect cup of coffee when you see one. If scores were like baristas, you would be one of the old men working at the espresso bar in Italy: nobody knows more about coffee than you. Treat yourself to a delicious cup of your choosing. You don’t need our help – you know all their names.9 and above.You know a perfect cup of coffee when you see one. If scores were like baristas, you would be one of the old men working at the espresso bar in Italy: nobody knows more about coffee than you. Treat yourself to a delicious cup of your choosing. You don’t need our help – you know all their names.8 and above.You know a perfect cup of coffee when you see one. If scores were like baristas, you would be one of the old men working at the espresso bar in Italy: nobody knows more about coffee than you. Treat yourself to a delicious cup of your choosing. You don’t need our help – you know all their names.7 and above.You’re on your way to being some kind of coffee genius. Balzac would say you just need a few more cups to get your ideas to move like the battalions of the grand army on the battlefield. Don’t listen to Voltaire though: 50 cups is too many.6 and above.You’re on your way to being some kind of coffee genius. Balzac would say you just need a few more cups to get your ideas to move like the battalions of the grand army on the battlefield. Don’t listen to Voltaire though: 50 cups is too many.5 and above.You’re on your way to being some kind of coffee genius. Balzac would say you just need a few more cups to get your ideas to move like the battalions of the grand army on the battlefield. Don’t listen to Voltaire though: 50 cups is too many.3 and above.Looks like somebody needs a coffee. Oh dear. It looks like you’re the kind of person who just wants “a coffee”. Why can’t you just order “a coffee”? What’s all the fuss about? There is so much more to coffee than you think: so many different ways to serve it, so many delicious flavours to be enjoyed. Experiment and thank us later. An affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso splashed on top) will change your life.1 and above.Looks like somebody needs a coffee. Oh dear. It looks like you’re the kind of person who just wants “a coffee”. Why can’t you just order “a coffee”? What’s all the fuss about? There is so much more to coffee than you think: so many different ways to serve it, so many delicious flavours to be enjoyed. Experiment and thank us later. An affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso splashed on top) will change your life.2 and above.Looks like somebody needs a coffee. Oh dear. It looks like you’re the kind of person who just wants “a coffee”. Why can’t you just order “a coffee”? What’s all the fuss about? There is so much more to coffee than you think: so many different ways to serve it, so many delicious flavours to be enjoyed. Experiment and thank us later. An affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso splashed on top) will change your life.0 and above.Looks like somebody needs a coffee. Oh dear. It looks like you’re the kind of person who just wants “a coffee”. Why can’t you just order “a coffee”? What’s all the fuss about? There is so much more to coffee than you think: so many different ways to serve it, so many delicious flavours to be enjoyed. Experiment and thank us later. An affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso splashed on top) will change your life.4 and above.You’re on your way to being some kind of coffee genius. Balzac would say you just need a few more cups to get your ideas to move like the battalions of the grand army on the battlefield. Don’t listen to Voltaire though: 50 cups is too many. Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Nov 2017 16:23:17 GMT)

The Highland chocolatiers who are Wonkas of the wilderness
When you’re arguably the most remote chocolate producer in Europe, it pays to have a strong online presence. In the quiet winter months, when tourism drops, Cocoa Mountain can still connect with customers far and wideAt the edge of the world, everyone disappears in the winter. The tourists leave the glacially cold lochs, pristine beaches, and the cloud-scraping mountains to the brave few who live there all year round. It’s an odd place to open a luxury chocolate shop: the most north-westerly point of the British mainland, under a sky so untouched by city lights that you can see the Milky Way. But chocolatiers Paul Maden and James Findlay wanted a challenge, and in Balnakeil Craft Village – between the village of Durness and the wild splendour of Cape Wrath – they created one for themselves.As remote as their chocolate haven is, at least 40% of Cocoa Mountain’s customer base is from outside of the UK, by virtue of the fact that these are the tourists who visit the beautiful north Highlands. “People will walk in and say: ‘You’re famous in Italy!’ Or they’ll say they’ve come all the way from New York to visit. I think visiting us is quite special. Then they all go back home to wherever they are, whether it’s America or Germany or Australia, and for us Facebook is the only way we can keep in touch with those people.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Nov 2017 14:00:46 GMT)

The best sporting events in Las Vegas
It’s not just boxing bouts that Las Vegas hosts, there’s a wealth of events in the city to satisfy the most ardent of sports fansLas Vegas has finally joined the major leagues. This year the Vegas Golden Knights took their place in the National Hockey League. Meanwhile, the Raiders are moving from Oakland to become the Las Vegas Raiders and by 2020 will be playing NFL games in a new, state-of-the-art stadium. Plus, MGM Resorts has just bought a women’s national basketball team. Beyond the main leagues, there’s a diverse range of action, including motor sports, rodeo, martial arts and rugby.Monster Energy Nascar CupThe top tier of Nascar returns to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400. Manufacturers Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet compete with (extremely) modified stock cars that, in theory, you can buy at your local dealership, although these versions race up to 200mph. There’s also music, entertainment and the Neon Garage, known as “Nascar’s Disneyland”, where fans can watch crews and drivers hard at work on the cars.Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 7000 N. Las Vegas Blvd, 2-4 March 2018 Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:29:45 GMT)

CIA rendition flights from rustic North Carolina called to account by citizens
A Gulfstream jet from a quiet airport south-east of Raleigh flew captives to be tortured around the world. The government failed to act but local people have refused to let the issue dieA year after he was released from captivity in Guantánamo, Binyam Mohamed received a letter from Christina Cowger, an agricultural researcher from North Carolina. Enclosed was a petition of apology signed by nearly 800 visitors to the North Carolina State Fair. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:00:52 GMT)

How America's 'childcare deserts' are driving women out of the workforce
Rising daycare costs have put the spotlight on Washington state in a country offering little support for parents seeking childcareNot long after the 2016 election, Shelby McGowan got a somber phone call from her brother.“I’m so sorry,” he said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:00:47 GMT)

Why do black students quit university more often than their white peers?
Black students are 1.5 times more likely to drop out than their white and Asian counterparts. Understanding why is vital Kaya is one of a worrying number of black higher-education students who have failed to make it to graduation day. A recent study found that 10.3% of black students quit university early in England, compared with 6.9% for the student population as a whole.“I had so many racially-tinted, miserable experiences at my university,” says Kaya, who has asked the Guardian not to use her real name. “My male housemate used to say the ‘n-word’ in front of me, bragged about the fact he’d once racially abused a man in a club, and was so aggressive when I asked him to stop. Yet when I told my university counsellor, she said I couldn’t know for sure if my housemate was actually racist ... that I needed to live and let live.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 10:56:21 GMT)

Kylie Minogue on Swinging Safari: ‘So much of what we were doing was so non-PC'
Director Stephan Elliott and Minogue talk about the making of the Priscilla director’s latest risqué take on Australian culture Kylie Minogue appears as you have never seen her before in the rambunctious Australian comedy Swinging Safari: as an alcoholic agoraphobic living in a sex-obsessed neighbourhood.“I loved the script, and I thought this is so exciting – I can be back in Australia, I can do some acting again,” Minogue tells Guardian Australia. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:00:23 GMT)

Mosul six months after Isis was ousted – then and now
Iraqi forces defeated Islamic State in Mosul in July 2017 after intense battles that reduced it to ruins. Six months on, photographer Ahmad Al-Rubaye compared sites across the historic cityAn Iraqi youth carries a girl on his shoulders while fleeing from Mosul’s old city during fighting on 5 July 2017, and a car drives past the same place on 8 January 2018. Continue reading...
(Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:18:55 GMT)

The deadly African gold rush fuelled by people smugglers' promises
Sudanese refugees in northern Chad are risking their lives to mine the precious ore in a desperate bid to secure a new life in EuropeRefugees from the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur, who are living in camps in neighbouring Chad, are being drawn into an African gold rush in a desperate effort to pay smugglers to get them to Europe.Digging in holes 50m deep, Sudanese refugees are risking their lives in an area not only littered with landmines but also beset by violence, which claimed at least 25 lives last year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:13:23 GMT)

A mountain-top sauna and Orthodox epiphany: Wednesday's best photos
The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world including men’s fashion in Paris and the Luminarias festival in Spain Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:09:09 GMT)

The new-look Britain – in pictures
What does it mean to be British today? Simon Roberts has been trying to find out – as a landscape photographer and an official general election artist Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:00:47 GMT)

Snow in the UK – in pictures
Wintry showers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England have closed schools and roads and caused power cuts in some parts of the country. The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for snow and ice Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:03:42 GMT)

Mist and mystique: Buddhism in Bhutan – in pictures
In our weekly look at travel through Instagram, Conor MacNeill captures the serenity and dramatic landscapes of the Himalayan kingdom Continue reading...
(Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:43:38 GMT)

The invisible people - Modern Slavery – in pictures
Modern slavery is a crime where the most vulnerable men, women and children are abused for criminal profit, with many victims forced to live and work in squalid conditions for little or no money. They are controlled with threats and abuse and have no means of escape. The National Crime Agency and photographers Rory Carnegie, Juliette Carton and Haitham Naser have recreated the lives of these ‘invisible people’, bringing them into view Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:31:59 GMT)

Same dream another time: under the skin of 80s Vegas - in pictures
Thirty years ago, gambling in the US was limited to three destinations: Reno, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City. Jay Wolke photographed the ordinary people who played, lived and worked in the rapidly expanding cities Continue reading...
(Tue, 16 Jan 2018 07:00:18 GMT)

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