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Home 2012 November

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

  • There is still much to be done for our nation's mental health
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    There wasn't enough time for every aspect of Simon's life to be reflected at the funeral, but I knew him as a colleague, a studied and meticulous newspaperman in whose hands a sow's ear of a metaphor would emerge as a silken piece of prose. But I als...

  • Editorial: Whatever happened to those green shoots?
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    First, inflation. Many economists blame Britain's slow recovery from the financial crisis as much on unexpectedly high inflation as on either Government cuts or the ructions in the eurozone. Hence the relief when commodity prices eased and the rate f...

  • Editorial: Police commissioners are worth voting for
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Opponents of the scheme – of whom there are many – have no shortage of ammunition. Far from attracting the charismatic, independent, high-calibre figures that the plan's proponents hoped, the 192 candidates are a largely uninspiring bunch, counting a...

  • 'The whole thing is shabby and badly thought out'
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Mr Warren is the only independent candidate standing in Greater Manchester in tomorrow's elections to appoint a new police and crime commissioner. It is no easy task. As well as contending with the party machines of the other candidates for the post...

  • Hamas, Israel and why social media like Twitter and Facebook are a new front in the war for Gaza
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    The exchanges began after the Israeli Defence Force parked its tanks on the social media site boasting at @IDFSpokesperson that Ahmed al-Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing, had been “eliminated” by an Israeli air strike, linked to a Twitpic post...

  • The real villains of the Abu Qatada case are not Theresa May, Jordan, or European courts - but MI5
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    Whether his fury was entirely justified is another matter. In these and similar cases, ministers have been adept at throwing up their hands and acting powerless. On the positive side, they cite the independence of the UK judiciary, separation of powe...

  • A new officer class is required: one that has nothing to do with social class
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    Who, after all, wants to be seen as an authority figure these days? Even those in charge prefer to be seen as approachable, as not that different in many ways from their junior colleagues – first among equals. Leadership has never been less fashionab...

  • Israel and Hamas are going to war over Gaza because conflict is in the interest of both camps
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    President Obama turned aside, saying he quite understood why the Israelis were doing it but hoped they would try and avoid civilian casualties. The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, made clear which side Britain was on, declaring that “Hamas bears pr...

  • Abortion and Ireland: The cowardice that let Savita Halappanavar die also condemns my country
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    The man lived in a shantytown in Sierra Leone, a country which has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality on Earth. Hospitals there routinely have to let patients die of preventable infection for lack of drugs, equipment or because the family...

  • Nearly eight years after he offended the people of Liverpool, Boris Johnson is finally forgiven
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    The London Mayor, above, offended them in 2004, during his early days as an MP when he also edited The Spectator, which ran an editorial wrongly accusing drunken Liverpool fans of contributing to the disaster. He visited Liverpool to apologise after ...

  • Who's afraid of the big bad China?
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    Obviously the UK has many historical ties to the US and a ‘ special relationship’ might seem like the natural progression of this. However, in the current economic climate and with the current world power shift, it is time for the Camerons to start h...

  • Amid competition from the likes of Asda, Ryanair's Cabin Crew Calendar is sexploitation at its worst
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    But as unhelpful as these adverts are (with their 1950s gender stereotypes insidiously pumping into living rooms and children’s developing world views), on the scale of offensive, harmful exploitation they are not in the same league as the Ryanair ca...

  • Arise, the new Mayor of Bristol
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    It seems a long time ago now, but back in May, Bristol was divided over whether to adopt the elected mayor system in the first place. Even after (narrowly) becoming the only city in the UK to vote in favour of this new form of council leadership, sce...

  • Liz Jones Exclusive!* Why, after five terrible years, I'm leaving the country and won't come back!
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    I thought country people would accept me with open arms. I would be their diamond. They would be my rough. And I would be in them. Instead, they treated me with contempt. They might as well have put up a sign saying 'no blacks, no homosexuals, and no...

  • Creator of The Wire, David Simon on Petraeus and the media's obsession with sex
    Salon Thursday, 15 November 2012

    He's written for Salon today on what the salacious, but otherwise unimportant story, of the ex-CIA chief's infidelities reveals about the downfall of proper journalism. "This is just sex," writes Simon. "This is nothing more than the odd, notable pen...

  • Did India betray democracy in Burma?
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    But beneath the diplomatic platitudes and the easy-on-the ear soundbites for the media, it soon became clear that Ms Suu Kyi was not entirely happy. Until the early 90s, successive Indian governments had supported the Burmese democracy movement in it...

  • Debate: Local councils are paying off debts by selling school fields. Should education make a profit?
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    What's going on?Holland Park School has just made a profit for its local council by selling off a former playing filed for the development of 72 new homes. The money has gone to a complete re-fit of the schools building, and there was enough money le...

  • The danger lurking in laws to end cyberbullying
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    After years of abuse that took place online, she posted a video on YouTube telling her story, then hanged herself. She didn't seek help from a law to protect her from the man who posted a picture of her breasts on his Facebook page. But there was a l...

  • Letters: The BBC is no Augean stable
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    If the interests of licence fee payers are to be served by an overhaul of the BBC, it is therefore to be hoped that the focus is on tidying up the incoherent mess that BBC television has become. This half of the BBC can learn a lot from its radio oth...

  • Editorial: A killing that will rebound on Israel
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    But this will surely be the effect of its decision to kill the head of the military wing of Hamas in Gaza. Israel's intelligence agency Shin Bet warned that this was just the start of a campaign against "those who promote terrorism against Israel". T...

  • From air strikes to hit squads: how Israel disposes of its enemies
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    The death of the Hamas military commander was an echo of similar operations in the past in which dozens of Palestinian militants have been wiped out. Israeli officials object to the term "assassination", preferring to describe the lethal assaults as ...

  • George Osborne knows President Obama won by blaming a predecessor. That is why the Chancellor will make Gordon Brown central to the next election
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Earlier this week the Chancellor wrote an article for The Times that was, at different points, sophisticated, perceptive, self-deceiving and projected with a whiff of almost endearing naivety. In their contrasts his words both worried parts of the La...

  • I was scared into not drinking during pregnancy. So you can be too
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    By moderate, they really do mean moderate: between one and six drinks per week. I mean that’s not as moderate as a pregnant woman who finally downs one small glass of champagne because it’s New Year’s Eve and everyone around her is enmeshed in naked ...

  • In which English institution could an expenses fraud go to prison, come back to his old job, and then claim expenses again? (Clue: picture)
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    The latest list of Lords expenses published this morning, covering June 2012, shows that Lord Hanningfield, aka Paul White, former Tory leader of Essex County Council, trousered £3,600 in attendance allowances in that month alone – that is £300 a day...

  • This Sri Lanka massacre shows UN has not learned from its failures in Rwanda
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    It is not the first such failure. In 2005, the UN determined that all member states share the responsibility to stop genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since 2005, the principle has appeared in increasing numbers of U...

  • If you ask me... moral outrage ought to be something you can buy in shops, just like Nick Clegg does
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Perhaps I had moral outrage once, but left it somewhere? On a train, perhaps? I am always leaving things on trains, like gloves and umbrellas. But when  I contacted the Lost Property people they said while they are, it’s true, awash with gloves and u...

  • Petraeus, the CIA, Barclays, the BBC... something is rotten in the state of our institutions. But what?
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    This was unfortunate, but such things happen, it could be said. But then it turned out that another senior officer, General Allen, who was due to be named as commander of US forces in Europe, had had “inappropriate communications” with a certain Jill...

  • The greatest book about mushrooms you'll ever read
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    That was my thought this week, anyway, after reading a new book on our native fungi by the naturalist and author Peter Marren. I have half a shelf of books on mushrooms and toadstools, including a couple of the glossy magazine-style guides that appea...

  • Lab mice can't help us in the fight against cancer
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    This particular gruesome research provides scientists with a direct view of the path of cancer cells as they move around the body. In November 2012 the headlines read: “Tiny window in living mice shows cancer spread.” Rewind four years to 2008 and th...

  • A remarkable episode of Panorama on people with severe head injuries showed the BBC at its best
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    In case you didn’t see it (and I’d urge you to watch it on the iPlayer) the programme looked at victims of severe head injury, so severe that they are classified as being in a “vegetative state”.Except, that thanks to the pioneering work featured, it...

  • Why I love the Territorial Army - and will never be able to forgive The Office's Gareth Keenan
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    The puddle on top of a hill in which I am sitting with my sleeping bag is getting bigger. I am nearly frost-bitten and hungry and my lips are chapped. The chap in the puddle besides me is dreaming of pork pies and snoring to the heavens. And suddenly...

  • How can the Republican Party save itself?
    New Yorker Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Of those who are arguing along these lines, few do so with the elegance of the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza. As he writes in this week's edition, Republicans in Texas are blazing a trail: "The Texas G.O.P. is far ahead of the national Party in dealing wit...

  • Debate: Sod human rights, radical cleric Abu Qatada should be kicked out of the country on the next plane
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    What's going on?The radical cleric Abu Qatada moved back home yesterday after attempts to deport him for trial in Jordan were blocked by a British court.Qatada, once described as right hand man to Osama Bin Laden, has for seven years been fighting ex...

  • Why are they trending? PCC, #myPCC, #movember
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Weirdly, not many policemen and women are talking about the imminent elections, leading to speculation that there will be a low turnout on Thursday. @FromeLabour tweets: "PCC Elections. Anything other than a Labour win will undo all the progress and ...

  • Michelle Obama wants a sneak preview of Downton Abbey because, weirdly, it captures the zeitgeist
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    The First Family could right now be sobbing their hearts outs at you-know-what, harrumphing in frustration at Earl Grantham's refusal to modernise and wondering how Lady Edith has gone from “an old man's drudge” to a sought-after newspaper columnist....

  • General David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell and why power never stops men from acting the fool
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Whatever the geopolitical consequences of Petraeus's indiscretions – and they will be serious – it's the sheer daftness of the human frailty on display that makes the casual observer scratch his head. I think this about footballers sometimes. If you'...

  • XXX domain name makes a porn fortune
    The Daily Beast Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Stuart Lawley's ICM company has sold just short of 230,000 ".xxx" URLs, according to official data from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers  (ICANN).Some of these, like and, go for a premium ($300,000 and $...

  • Fart away, this deodorizing underwear has you covered
    Wired Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Originally developed for those who suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, the garments are already apparently a hit with Japanese businessmen.Their deodorizing power comes from stink-absorbing ceramic particles that are incorporated into the fibers ...

  • First Kate Moss model photos up for sale
    Time Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Time magazine writes: "the signed prints of the fresh-faced ingenue....offer a delightful glimpse of a 14-year-old Moss shortly after she was discovered at New York’s JFK airport on her way home from a Bahamas vacation."Each shot is expected to go fo...

  • Elmo puppeteer cleared of underage sex claim
    New York Times Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    "He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship," says the unidentified man's lawyers.The New York Times comments: "The statements were followed by detectable sighs of relief from those who ha...

  • Letters: Judges' brave stand against torture
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Once we were a beacon of justice, freedom, the right to a fair trial and the right not to be water-boarded or electro-shocked. Now people living in the UK have no such rights because successive governments here don't have the backbone to prosecute pe...

  • Editorial: Another hand to rock the cradle
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    The UK already enjoys relatively – the emphasis being on the word relatively – generous leave for new mothers, who are entitled to take a year off, with six weeks of that at 90 per cent of full pay, and a guaranteed return to their old, or an equival...

  • Size discrepancies of police force areas put Labour at a disadvantage
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Click HERE to view graphicAt the last general election, Ed Miliband's party was ahead in 12 of the 41 police force areas. The party certainly hopes to win all of these. Meanwhile, there are another eight areas – our "good Labour prospects" (see graph...

  • Freedom, yes, but only if you become an academy
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Especially so since David Cameron has just made it clear while talking to students on Monday that the Government is no longer prepared to "put up" with schools that constantly fail.He was talking about under-performing primary schools.He obviously di...

  • Editorial: Don't let one glitch spoil the memories
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    But it would be a pity if this tinge of dissatisfaction were allowed to cast a retrospective pall over all of London 2012. The vast majority of unsold tickets were for football, which was early on and always going to be a tough sell. Otherwise, as Lo...

  • Growth is the key after Xi's long march to the top
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    He is also a highly networked individual. Xi's ascendancy has happened by a slow process of getting support, or at least avoiding active opposition, from important elements in the 84-million-strong Party. Most crucially, he has had the support of fo...

  • Editorial: Carry on up the Khyber
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Meanwhile, in Russia, the Defence Minister, the Chief of General Staff and half a dozen generals have all lost their jobs in the past week over a corruption inquiry somehow linked with the Defence Minister being allegedly caught in flagrante with som...

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