Caught in the Net - MIA sees red in violent new video

The video for MIA's new song "Born Free" is certainly intended to shock. The ultra-violent clip by the French director Romain Gavras portrays what could be called a ginger genocide, wherein police round up a bunch of red-haired teenagers and then set about killing them – if you can bear watching to the end it gets very grizzly. See it at miauk.com. Given her penchant for political statements it can possibly be seen as a comment on the situation of the Tamil people in her family's Sri Lankan homeland, or on racial profiling. I've got red hair (for my sins) so I'm not sure how I should feel about this video, but it doesn't strike me as the most nuanced of affairs. The track itself, which sees MIA layer her rapping/talking/ singing trick over fuzzy-electro punk, is decent enough, but perhaps piggybacks a little too much on top of a sample of Suicide's "Ghost Rider".

Four police officers killed in coffee shop 'execution'

Four police officers were shot and killed yesterday in what authorities called a targeted ambush at a coffee house in Washington state, a sheriff's official said. A gunman burst into a coffee shop outside Seattle and shot dead four police officers in what investigators described as an "execution".

First Person: 'I will spend the rest of my life in prison'

Tom Richey, 39

The French Laundry, 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, California

The French Laundry, Thomas Keller's acclaimed restaurant in Napa Valley's Yountville, has been described by the New York Times as "the most exciting place to eat in the United States". It's impossible to get a booking at short notice unless you're an A-list celebrity, so when a friend tells me he has an "in", I gratefully join him and his American companion.

Michael McCarthy: Lord God Bird is what dreams are made of

Nature Notebook: The birders were fascinating but the unfamiliar birds excited me even more

Alarm at Washington Coast Guard exercise

The US Coast Guard today confronted a boat in the Potomac River near the Pentagon in Washington D.C. But the Coast Guard said it was a training exercise conducted moments before the Obama motorcade crossed a nearby bridge.

Conservative columnist Robert Novak dies

Robert Novak, the Washington political journalist best known for the Evans and Novak column shared for 30 years with his friend Rowland Evans, has died from a brain tumour, aged 78.

The Taking of Pelham 123 - Why remake a Seventies classic?

For film-makers in the 1970s, it was the clever, subtle touches that made their movies great. And it's why modern remakes, such as a new version of 'The Taking of Pelham 123', can never compare, says Geoffrey Macnab

Rupert Cornwell: The Obama authors get ready to throw the book at him

Out of America: In the US, political books that matter are not tired memoirs but the deadliest form of journalism

Pilot escapes after plane crashes into portable toilets

A small airplane dropping from the sky after its engine failed crashed into a storage area for portable toilets — and the pilot was able to walk away apparently unhurt.

Booker T Jones: The king of Stax picks up his axe

With his band the MGs, Booker T was the resident genius at one of America's great soul labels. Now, with a bit of help from Neil Young, he's turning off his organ and enrolling in the school of rock

For Liberty and Glory, By James R Gaines

No country likes to read about its defeats, so it's unsurprising that the Marquis de Lafayette is little known in Britain. This masterly account explores the close relationship between the cool George Washington and the ardent Frenchman.

Wall Street promises to work with Washington

The chief executives of the biggest US banks emerged beaming from a meeting with President Barack Obama yesterday, believing that Washington's political class is turning down the rhetoric against the industry.

Charges finally filed for intern’s killing

Eight years after her death, police in Washington believe they have cracked the murder case of the political intern Chandra Levy, filing murder charges against an illegal immigrant from El Salvador.

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