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

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?