Simon Usborne

Simon Usborne is a features writer at The Independent and i.

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The Independent around the web
NetApp-Endura’s Jan Barta rides in Jean-Marc Bideau’s slipstream during a breakaway on stage three of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2014: How Tour’s underdogs Endura day on the road

Simon Usborne hitches a lift in the NetApp-Endura car as the wild cards’ rider Jan Barta makes a break for London

Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

Are Bert and Ernie really a gay couple?

After a Christian bakery refused to make a gay wedding cake with their faces on, Simon Usbourne asks if the muppet friends are gay
Witchell has a reputation for being difficult and irritable, to the extent that his colleagues reportedly once nicknamed him 'the poisoned carrot'

Nicholas Witchell has been reporting on the Royal Family for 15 years - wouldn't he rather swap the front of the Palace for the front line?

Witchell is every inch the royal guy – a model of diplomacy and discretion shuttling between palaces, walkabouts and occasional scandals. Does such commitment to a singular specialism explain why he views his career trajectory as flatter than Jeremy Paxman's, his one-time understudy?

Sweet sensation: New Zealand beehives

The manuka honey scandal

Manuka honey is ever more prized for its health benefits. But with more being sold than is actually produced, is there some dodgy dealing going on?

Hello Dolly: Parton at Glasto

Glastonbury 2014: So who's Jolene?

Dolly Parton brought the house down when she told the tale of the woman who inspired her greatest hit. But is it a true story or a bit of country stardust?
If Saurez bit Chiellini it will be his third such transgression

World Cup 2014: Much to chew over after latest Luis Suarez outburst

Fifa considers a ban on Uruguay’s biting striker as sponsors distance themselves from a damaged career 

Time, gentlemen please: the Wheel Inn, Findern’s last pub, is being turned into a funeral directors

Derbyshire village launches "casks not caskets" campaign to stop pub becoming funeral directors

Simon Usborne raises a glass to community-run boozers
On locations: Ed Parsons at Google’s London HQ

The man who's making Google Maps smarter

Google Maps has changed the way we navigate, poked its cameras into our lives – and come close to sparking border conflict. Simon Usborne meets the geography fanatic who is the tech giant's mapping evangelist
Clean living: Bronner, 41, took over the business when his father died of cancer in 1998

How a hemp-clad hippie turned Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap into an unlikely commercial hit

Fans of Bronner's Fair Trade soap include Gwyneth Paltrow and Eminem

Unjust for Turing, unjust for 50,000 others

As the Pet Shop Boys call for pardons for thousands of gay men with historic convictions for 'gross indecency', Simon Usborne finds that the repressive laws are still blighting lives today
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Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot