Ralph Blackburn

Ralph Blackburn is a freelance journalist interested in politics, foreign affairs and sport. He grew up in Cambridge before studying history at Newcastle University, and is also a fanatical Newcastle United fan.

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Tulisa Contostavlos during her abandoned drugs trial in July

Scotland Yard puts pressure on BBC over documentary on 'fake sheikh'

Panorama programme will show relationship between News International reporter and police
Michael Egan testified against Rudy Kurniawan

The wine detective: Meet the go-to expert for exposing fake vintages

In his biggest case yet, Michael Egan has just helped send a master fraudster to prison for 10 years
Barristers line up outside Southwark Crown Court on 6 January

Legal aid cuts: In the new landscape, it's the lawyers who could now suffer

Public access work allows barristers to bypass solicitors to gain clients on fixed fees agreed in advance
Jerzy and Angela Dyczynski from Australia visiting the crash site yesterday. Their daughter Fatima, 25, was on the plane

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: Russia says it will end terrorism pact with the EU

Kremlin warns further sanctions over Ukraine will jeopardise security arrangements
Scarlett Johansson in Lucy

The underused brain? It's all in the mind: Film-makers' much-loved idea that we only use 10 per cent of our grey cells is a fiction

People like to believe the myth so they can blame their shortcomings on supposed useless parts of their own brain, claims academic
Marching through London yesterday against the ‘secret’ EU/US deal which is backed by all three main political parties

Protesters fear trade deal with US will 'carve open' health service

American companies could bid for any NHS contract under new agreement

University fees: The price is up but where's all that extra cash going?

Turnover is up, the living wage stays down and protests continue. What's going on?

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Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones