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Home 2012 November

Sunday, 18 November 2012

  • Editorial: Another tricky balance for Mr Clegg to strike
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    Although the economy is at least now growing again, the combination of recent recession and doubtful future leaves early December's "mini-Budget" a far from cheery affair. Even with the extra £35bn snatched back from the quantitative easing scheme, ...

  • Editorial: Time to make the case for Britain in Europe
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    A failure to agree the budget would be bad enough by itself, revealing deep fault lines in European co-operation and condemning member states to extra expense as existing arrangements roll over. For Britain, however, the implications are more egregi...

  • As Israel and Hamas open the 'gates of hell' in Gaza, all the journalistic cliches of war are here again
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Hezbollah several times announced that Israel had “opened the gates of hell” for attacking Lebanon. Yasser Arafat, who was a super-terrorist, then a super-statesman – after capitulating on the White House lawn – and then became a super-terrorist agai...

  • Editorial: We cannot fail children again
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    As Roger Dobson, our reporter who has covered the North Wales care home scandal for two decades, wrote last week, many of the victims have suffered terribly. He reported on the fate of the four Johns brothers, two of whom are dead. One was unlawfull...

  • New alliances in the Middle East mean that, for Israel and Hamas, the worse is still to come in Gaza
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    It is wrong to suggest, as many have, that this is strong-man posturing got out of hand by Israel's bellicose leader Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of a general election in two months' time. There are parallels between now and Israel's attacks on Lebanon i...

  • Things must be bad when even Gove disagrees
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    The Foreign Office has dreaded it for even longer. I recall a conversation with a top civil servant more than six months ago in which the "seven-year renegotiation of EU financing" was mentioned, and the need to get whatever is agreed through Parliam...

  • Let's hear it for the other woman
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    The general resigned quickly, saying sorry. This will earn him more popularity than if he had tried to conceal it. But isn't there a strong element of hypocrisy in this public apologising, all too common after someone has been caught having an extram...

  • Letters: Act now to stop the killing in Gaza
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    The actions pursued by Israel since 14 November have already caused huge destruction. There is no legal justification for the use of indiscriminate force against civilians or civilian targets by any armed group, Israeli or Palestinian. The lingering...

  • How the Nadine Dorries clan shows it’s not just mum and I'm a Celebrity that can irk Tories
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    “Chief Whips do not normally comment on conversation with members,” he tells me, “but in this case I am happy to confirm that permission for a month off to go to Australia to appear on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here was neither sought nor given.”...

  • Anyone who believes in Britain's membership of the European Union should stand up and be heard
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    Many of the moves are deceptive and calculated partly to deceive. Ed Miliband’s speech to the Confederation of British Industry yesterday and his interview in The Sunday Telegraph was quite a solo performance, showing that he has acquired some artful...

  • Oldsters are wrong to fire shots at their offspring
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    As it turns out, the first shots in the coming generational war have been fired by the oldsters. A 67-year-old retired naval officer, Nick Crews, has written an embittered email to his three adult children, aged between 35 and 40, and has allowed it ...

  • Mourn the passing of the ash tree, but for conservationists, there is a silver lining
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    We will rightly mourn the demise of ash trees from our woods, copses and country lanes if most of them succumb to deadly Chalara fungus. But the dead wood they will provide will be an enormous boost for Britain’s biodiversity.Dead wood is the richest...

  • Supermarket multi-buy offers can BOGOF. Who goes shopping to practise their mental arithmetic?
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    But in supermarkets, I am suspicious of them: rightly so, it turns out. Which? has discovered that the prices of roughly one in 10 products go up when they’re in a multi-buy deal. One example was of a pack of four yoghurts, usually retailing for £1. ...

  • Would I want my daughter 'cured'? The dilemma of a father whose child has Down's Syndrome
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    The senior gene therapy researcher on the project, Dr David Russell, was properly cautious: “We are certainly not proposing that the method... would lead to a treatment for Down’s Syndrome. What we are looking at is the possibility that medical scien...

  • Land of the flee: why, despite Obama's re-election, Americans are renouncing citizenship in droves
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    Since President Obama took office in January 2008, nearly 5,000 people have voluntarily surrendered their American passports, according to data made available by The United States Office of the Federal Register. Last year alone, nearly 1,800 US citiz...

  • Why does Israel think that bombing Hamas and Gaza will work?
    The Daily Beast Monday, 19 November 2012

    Here's Beinart: "Will Israel’s offensive accomplish anything? Yes and no. For a while, it may cow Hamas into submission. And for the long-suffering people of southern Israel, any respite is a welcome thing. But there’s a problem. Israel can bomb Gaza...

  • How digital petitions are replacing traditional parties as the engine of modern, popular democracy
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    But did you know that the European Commission recently launched a new European Citizens’ Initiative designed to give citizens, in the words of Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, “a direct gateway through which they can make their voices hear...

  • The NHS's appointment of a Head of Brand sparked outrage. But why do we hate the idea so much?
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    By this logic, in a uniquely contemporary irony, the branding industry has become a toxic brand. Last week, scandal exploded in the form of the NHS's appointment of a £77-97k per year "head of brand."The Mail decried the story, but outlets across the...

  • Breastfeeding dolls for little girls? They're both creepy and sexist
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    Some have argued that the doll should be welcomed as a way of normalising and de-stigmatising breastfeeding to little girls. The theory is is if little girls pretend to breastfeed their dolls, presumably they'll be more likely to breastfeed their own...

  • Breastfeeding dolls for little girls? Anything which promotes breastfeeding is a great idea
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    Why would little girls replicating what Mother Nature designed us to do be seen as gross and uncomfortable to watch? Perhaps it's because as a nation we live in a society where breasts are seen on the whole as sexual objects. Do we fear that by letti...

  • 4G or not 4G? If you want a fast, affordable connection, Three's Ultrafast 3G network is better
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    4G vs Three’s dual bandwidth 3G NetworkRather than wait until next years 4G wireless spectrum auction, Three UK decided to upgrade their existing 3G network to take advantage of a wireless technology called DC-HSDPA, which stands for ‘Dual cell/carri...

  • Man has penis removed after olive oil injections
    Daily Mail Monday, 19 November 2012

    The practise of injecting olive oil to boost penis girth is common in Thailand, and can also involve bees wax, silicon or paraffin.One Bangkok hospital claimed it receives 40 patients a month complaining of side effects.But this case (not involving A...

  • The Prime Minister's curtailment of judicial review will restrict our access to justice
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    But there is more to this than meets the eye. What Cameron proposes is a drastic reduction in the time after which any challenge by judicial review can be brought. The judicial review process has become “a massive growth industry” he complained. Now,...

  • A just war: Israel's occupation may be illegal, but the terrorists of Hamas give them no choice but to attack
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    What's going on?Over the past week, the news has been dominated by a sudden and severe escalation in the conflict over Gaza. It's brutal. The latest information suggests that both sides are on the attack, with 91 Palestinians and three Israelis dead....

  • Why British Muslims are surrounded by fear and suspicion
    The Sun Monday, 19 November 2012

    Here's a flavour of his argument: "Far from merging with local communities, many seem to have decided as an act of defiance to live and dress as if still in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia or the Middle East. Some say that, in a generation or two, they...

  • The height of hypocrisy: how the likes of Starbucks and Google made corporation tax a sexy subject
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    Proof of this new-found visibility came at last week’s televised appearance of executives from Amazon and co before the Public Accounts Committee, a group of MPs charged with figuring out the tax affairs of alleged avoiders. There followed a roasting...

  • We should be proud of Britain's great melting pot
    Monday, 19 November 2012

    No, the report focused not on wealth or military might, but on "soft power", a concept invented in 1990 by a Harvard academic, Joseph Nye, who subsequently wrote a book which eloquently laid out the principles of this idea: "A country may obtain the ...

  • Vending machines for weed?
    Mashable Monday, 19 November 2012

    The company, which makes vending machines for hospitals, has seen its stock price rise 3000 per cent after the 2012 election. According to Mashable the company's success is down to the fact it's primed to "swoop in and fill the needs of the pharmacy,...

  • American Pastor: Twilight is porn for teenage girls
    Christian Today Australia Monday, 19 November 2012

    It doesn't sound like doing extra chores will change Driscoll's mind: "Our family car won't be driving to the theater for Twilight – or over a cliff for that matter.""The popularity of supernatural soap operas has inspired some real-life demonic tren...

  • ‘Flatten all of Gaza’ says son of Ariel Sharon
    Jerusalem Post Monday, 19 November 2012

    In order for Israel to put the ball decisively "in the net", writes Gilad Sharon, they must step up their campaign against Gazan civilians. These people "are not innocent". Why? "They elected Hamas." Humanitarian fears of killing Gazan non-combatants...

  • Open Letter: The Biblical case for women bishops
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    We believe wholeheartedly that this is the right thing to do, and that the time is now right to do it. There are many reasons for this belief, and we highlight just some here. First, because the Bible teaches that “in Christ there is no male or femal...

  • Burma visit is not just about trade. The President's aim is to counter the challenge of China
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    "Why is the American President spending all this time in Asia so soon after winning re-election?" Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Singapore last week. "Because so much of the history of the 21st century is being written here." Yesterday M...

  • Letters: Biblical case for women bishops
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    We believe wholeheartedly that this is the right thing to do, and that the time is now right to do it. There are many reasons for this belief, and we highlight just some here.First, because the Bible teaches that “in Christ there is no male or female...

  • Editorial: Just what the Church needs... women
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    The central issue is, of course, one of equality. As the letter from 1,000-plus clergy and senior laity published in The Independent today makes clear, it is time for the Church to show it "no longer believes women to be inferior to men". But there ...

  • Editorial: Keep up the pressure on Burma
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    There is much to applaud in Burma's swift progress from international pariah to budding democratic state. Most notably, the Nobel prize-winning democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi is not only no longer under house arrest, but is the official – ele...

  • The war between Israel and Hamas has its roots in Britain's shameful betrayal of the Palestinians
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    It is exactly 95 years since Lord Balfour, the then Foreign Secretary, informed Baron Rothschild that Britain would back a new Jewish state on Palestinian territory as demanded by Zionists, some of them terrorists who had attacked British targets. Lo...

  • Lynton Crosby is a disastrous signing for the Tories
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Alas for Mr Ganley, the campaign was the dampest of squibs. The fledgling force intended to shake up Europe by melding an alliance of like-minded parties. But after rebuffing unwanted approaches from the likes of the far-right Freedom Party in Austri...

  • The traditional British surname is dying out? Good
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    I am attuned to this kind of subtle racism to a perhaps higher degree than many, bearing a surname which is neither common in nor native to these islands. It is not a Smith of a name. Any Lezards out there –  and I’m related to them. Where it comes f...

  • Thank heaven Tory relations with the police are so cordial, or Lynton Crosby might be in trouble
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    It’s all going spiffingly, and no wonder Boris advised the PM to “push the boat out” to hire his mate, though he could have picked a less incendiary phrase. With that one, he reminds us of the 2001 Aussie re-election campaign Crosby ran for John Howa...

  • See photos of Einstein's brain
    Wired Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Researchers at the Department of Anthropology in Florida State University have produced a study which compares observations of the physical characteristics of Einstein's brain (which was removed after his death in 1955) with a "road map" created by s...

  • Emancipate yourself from irony
    New York Times Sunday, 18 November 2012

    "If irony is the ethos of our age - and it is - then the hipster is our archtype of ironic living," writes Wampole before going on to list the familiar tropes of an urban hipster lifestyle (fixed-gear bicycles, moustaches etc.). So how can we escape?...

  • The 72-year-old Chinese grandfather who models teen-girl clothes Sunday, 18 November 2012

    He has become an internet sensation modelling for his granddaughter's fashion store Yuekou on China's leading online retailer Tmall. reports: "According to an interview with Ms Lv [the granddaughter], it all started when one day her ...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (18 November 2012)
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Joan Smith treads a dangerous road if she means by her phrase "get in line" that the church should obey current political or social thinking. Some of the greatest examples of self-sacrifice for the good of others came from people who refused to "get...

  • Twitter has changed the rules of the game
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    It is probable that, had the Newsnight report been broadcast five years ago, when Twitter was just starting to grow, the peer would have been named in internet forums or on blogs, and roughly the same sequence of events might have unfolded, albeit mo...

  • A modernised China is a place to fear
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    All this came interspersed with footage of the vibrant and increasingly westernised life that is apparently going on in China beyond the senior citizens' clubs of political debate. Here some genuinely youthful people, most of them indisputably under ...

  • Hollywood director lays into Uncle Sam
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Oliver Stone's The Untold History of the United States, a 10-part television series that has just started here, is not so much an untold history as a counter-history of the "American Century", of the America that emerged from the Second World War as ...

  • An officer and a gentleman? In his own head, maybe
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    How many judges, QCs, bankers, surgeons are still with their first spouse? Good manners, or political correctness, make it bad form to pretend an understanding of someone else's marriage. Not in the military, it seems. And if you do take a stern line...

  • Jane Austen made those long nights in Tripoli bearable
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    What is true for tourists is true for foreign correspondents. For many years, if somebody had given me a word association test and said "Tripoli" or "Colonel Gaddafi", I would have responded "Emma" or "Mrs Bennet". This was the result of visits to Li...

  • A half-time summary of my game of life
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    I left the school I'd attended with Osama bin Laden and was sent to boarding school in Oxford. I spent the next five years mingling with future members of Radiohead and the Tory cabinet during term time, returning to Lebanon to huddle in a basement...

  • Back to basics for the BBC
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Have we lost touch with the reality that every time we do something, our actions impact on others? In many businesses, we sign contracts requiring us "not to bring the company into disrepute". So when George Entwistle was selected as director-general...

  • Fracking: A new dawn for misplaced optimism
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    When the IEA predicts an increase in "oil production" from 84 million barrels a day in 2011 to 97 in 2035, it is talking about "natural gas liquids and unconventional sources", which includes a big reliance on "fracking" for shale gas. Conventional o...

  • A Guide to the future of feminism
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Then I thought more about it, and realised how true this is. At a time when there is so much written discussion of what feminism means, here's an organisation that is getting on with it, training budding women to go out and get practical stuff done, ...

  • Tom Hodgkinson: 'The machine told me the flight was closed'
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Last week I was cursing myself for taking up an invitation to give a lecture on freedom and play songs on the ukulele to a group of artists in Rotterdam. I rose at the customary 6am, washed, shaved and checked my bag. The previous week I had set off ...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (18/11/12)
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    A few countries round the world – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa – still have the premier of Skyfall to come. They have patiently endured weeks of celebrity interviews, trailers and five-star reviews, some of which put into print this absurd no...

  • Rant & Rave (18/11/12)
    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Last week, Royal Mail admitted what everyone knew: that about half the post it delivers is junk mail, and that it intends to increase that amount. The confession triggered an avalanche of complaints, which is like an avalanche of junk mail but with...

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