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Sunday, 19 December 2010

  • Leading article: Passengers should be treated decently, even when it snows
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    Of course, this was a particularly unfortunate weekend for the snow to fall; 25 December represents an immovable deadline for the millions who celebrate Christmas according to the Western calendar. As in the United States before Thanksgiving, whole f...

  • Leading article: WikiLeak 'plots' need a pinch of salt
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    In the past few weeks, we have sifted through the emails (known as cables) that have been published so far and tried to divide them into three categories: genuine revelation; "you don't say"; and unsubstantiated gossip and rumour. Few of the reports ...

  • Tony Paterson: The green wound that won’t heal
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    The harrowing images have become anenduring symbol of modern Germany’s guilt-ridden “Stunde Null” or “Zero Hour”. Itis the moment when a defeated nation, brought finally and utterly to its knees, had to start all over again. You might think that “Zer...

  • Letters: Drug laws
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    Is it fear of denigration by the Daily Mail and such-like moralistic forces? Thus an outraged comment from a middle-class housewife, angrily (but wrongly in my view) attributing her son’s schizophrenia to cannabis, and confusing cause and effect, wil...

  • Leading article: A victory for Mr Obama – and honesty
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    But there are other reasons for hailing this vote. The first is that it constitutes a signal victory for Barack Obama at a time – after heavy defeats for the Democrats in the mid-term elections – when the effectiveness of his whole presidency seemed ...

  • Jeremy Laurance: A manifesto for NHS civil war
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    Allowing hospitals – and other providers – to compete on price dramatically shifts the balance towards a commercial market in which the weakest players go to the wall. Patients referred for a cut-price procedure may question their GP's motives for do...

  • DJ Taylor: Jumped-up lotharios and dictators make us laugh...disability doesn't
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    As Popham pointed out, the outside world wrote Berlusconi off from the moment The Economist produced its famous "unfit to govern" cover. And yet, he concluded, "the awkward fact is that after 16 years at the centre of the nation's politics, Mr Berlus...

  • Margareta Pagano: The inconvenient truth about bankers
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    So this latest threat by Nick Clegg to bankers that "something will be done" if they don't show restraint in this year's bonus negotiations will only confirm their worst suspicions: that nothing has been done despite promises by the Tories and the Li...

  • Leading article: He who laughs last...
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    Worse, almost, was Australia's attitude to defeat. Their media lambasted the players every which way; Ricky Ponting, the captain, was said to be in meltdown. There was dark talk that his winning days were already past; some said his job was on the li...

  • Christopher Hirst: A lidl upset? Keine Panik, Lytham!
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    What I would say to the twittery burghers of Lytham St Annes is "Don't panic!" or "Keine Panik!" Exactly the same thing happened to us in south London. When we told a local estate agent that the next-door supermarket had been taken over by Lidl, he u...

  • David Usborne: Look beyond this vote and Congress is little changed
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    Washington is almost giddy. "It's not possible to over-estimate the historical significance" of the repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian soldiers, said David Mixner, the gay-rights advocate. He had been counting on three Republican senators cr...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (19 December 2010)
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    The economic/political debate has been presented as a choice between increased income tax or increased fees and the abolition of educational maintenance grants. We in the Liberal Party advocate funding student fees by abolishing death duty exemptions...

  • Harriet Walker: 'I'm heading home for the holidays - household tips at the ready!'
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    That's when job stuff ceases, when I stop being a grown-up, when life falls away in heavy, thudding slabs like snow off a roof and I look forward to climbing into (I won't lie) a bobbly tracksuit for the best part of a week. I read my book and work o...

  • Katy Guest: We wish you a merry Solstice. Or whatever...
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    Sitting around a festive Yule tree (redolent of the Norse god Ullr), decorated in tiny, glittering symbols of the end of darkness and the return to light, watch their little faces light up as you share seasonal offerings of meat and sprouts, in commu...

  • David Randall: Hot air kills, not least in CVs or when banging on about a free press
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    Two other things emerge from the research. The first – not surprising, if you think about it for a second – is that air-conditioning adds to the ambient outdoor temperature, because cooling systems release heat into the air. As one of the team explai...

  • Paul Vallely: We are all capitalists now - or else
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    In any case, it is not just the young who are giving up the idea of saving for the future. Last week, no less a bastion of middle-class, middle-aged, Middle England than The Daily Telegraph prominently told its readers that it was now a "waste of tim...

  • Michael McCarthy: There may be trouble ahead for the parakeet
    Monday, 20 December 2010

    Like most people I have considered the stunning green creatures a pleasing addition to the local avifauna, but now I’m not so sure. One of the attractions of our small back garden is an old cherry tree which produces a wonderful display of blos...

  • Paul McDonald: Heard the one about the oldest joke in the world? It's a cracker!
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    Old jokes shouldn't be viable, because, according to most humour theories, a joke needs an element of surprise. Immanuel Kant argued that a gag is born "from the sudden transformation of a strained expectation into nothing". Notice the word sudden. K...

  • John Pilger: Swedes are smearing him and encouraging the US
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    What happened in Sweden was a public smear, and trial by Swedish tabloid media. The chief prosecutor, Eva Fine, understood this. After making her own inquiries, she cancelled the arrest warrant. "Julian Assange is not suspected of rape," she said. It...

  • Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (19/12/10)
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    Doesn't the timing of Tom Baldwin's appointment as Ed Miliband's chief spinner tell you everything about the train crash that lies ahead? For it came in the week that a senior Labour MP called for hard drugs to be legalised – including cocaine, a ...

  • Katy Guest: Rant & Rave (19/12/10)
    Sunday, 19 December 2010

    Following the news a week ago that British bosses object to cleavage in the office, the Swiss bank UBS has issued a 52-page document telling staff how to dress. Figure-hugging skirts are out, along with patterned socks and visible roots in dyed hair....

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Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

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From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
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Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

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Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

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No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect