Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely is visiting professor in Public Ethics at the University of Chester and a senior research fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester. He writes on ethical, political and cultural issues. He has a fortnightly column in the Independent on Sunday and also writes for the New York Times and the Church Times. His latest book is Pope Francis – Untying the Knots. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.

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Lost Boy Racer, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, review: An affectionate piece of mildly surreal distinctively Northern comedy

An uneven show but strong performances from all four principals in this celebration of cycling

Billy Liar, Royal Exchange, Manchester, theatre review: Yates gives tragicomedy classic revamp for Noughties generation

Pitch-perfect acting and comic timing from play that leans heavily on Northern stereotypes

History in the making: An unprecedented visit to Ise Jingu, Japan’s holiest shrine, to see it rebuilt under the beliefs of the Shinto religion

Japan’s holiest shrine is demolished and rebuilt every two decades in accordance with Shinto notions of death and renewal. In 2,000 years, no foreigner has witnessed the sacred ceremonies involved. Until now. The new openness is down to a remarkable resurgence in the ancient religion – and could benefit the whole world, Paul Vallely finds

Poor white school pupils consistently under perform

If something is wrong, do you dare say so?

My car stopped in traffic the other day by a bus stop at which a young mum sat, earphones in, checking her messages. Her toddler sat in a buggy, unable to see his mother, staring blankly at the road. On the car radio, some expert was talking about how many children were arriving at school with language difficulties because their parents no longer chat to them. Electronic gadgets, the radio voice intoned, may be to blame for a 70 per cent jump in speech problems in six years.

The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, seen at the Vatican this week, have much in common and are clearly not content to ‘agree to disagree’

Could the Archbishop and the Pope really reunify the Church?

In the week that Francis called for ‘full unity’, Paul Vallely asks whether he’s got a prayer

Returning hero: Former Royal Marine Joseph Kellsey, 91, in France on Friday

Looking for my Dad on the D-Day beaches

Would we rise to the challenge, as the Second World War's generation did? We'd struggle to identify a worthy cause
Salvador Dali

We need real sleep, not the laptop kind

Our age-old slumber patterns play a complex role in the body's productivity, and no drugs or machines can fill the gap
Lily Cole stars in The Last Days of Troy
The RSPCA, citing a 2012 Food Standards Agency report, estimates that 97 per cent of cattle, 96 per cent of poultry and 90 per cent of sheep slaughtered under halal procedures in British abattoirs are stunned before being killed

The halal hysteria is all about money, not morality

The hysteria over halal chicken has nothing to do with animal welfare. It's phoney outrage that tastes of Islamophobia

How to build a saint: Pope Francis is elevating two recent predecessors today - so what does it take to be canonised?

A life of virtue helps. And a miracle or two. Finally, though, the Vatican might be swayed by low politics. Paul Vallely explores the unheavenly business of sainthood
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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...