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Monday, 17 December 2012

  • Editorial: A gift of hope for Africa's child soldiers
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    The choice was, we know, a risky one. Professional fundraisers warned us that people do not give so readily for such a cause, in comparison with, say, a natural disaster that leaves children starving. The child soldier – or in the case of the girls,...

  • Sports Personality of the Year, Fabrice Muamba and why we should beware mixing sport and real-life dramas
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Yet for three hours on Sunday night, you could be forgiven for thinking that the emotional temperature of the entire nation was set by our sporting achievements. The BBC did a magnificent job of presenting the Sports Personality of the Year – and wer...

  • The fight for the centre ground between Nick Clegg and David Cameron makes the Coalition fragile
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    In the case of Clegg’s latest speech, a meaty one but with familiar arguments and positioning, he was greatly assisted in generating interest by a former senior adviser who suggested that if the Liberal Democrats do not become more popular next year ...

  • Editorial: A not-so-new dawn in Japan
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    What, then, will Mr Abe do with a super-majority (thanks to his coalition partners) that can override the upper house still dominated by the outgoing Democratic Party of Japan? It is the Prime Minister-in-waiting's foreign policy that is drawing the...

  • Boyle wouldn't go gentle into that good knighthood
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    There they were, accepting the adulation of the public, another staging post on the road that will surely lead to Britain's gold medallists all being given gongs in the New Year's Honours list – and who could begrudge those who have taken on the worl...

  • It did seem rather a lot of trouble to go to just to acquire a new set of place mats
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    But that’s what the Queen wanted. And the mats, made by the Gloucestershire firm of Lady Clare (product placement to die for) are “heat-resistant to 100 degrees”, according to a Downing Street briefing that was long on irrelevant details and short on...

  • If Instagram turns this Andrea Dworkin into Beatrice Dalle, then I’ll pay for it
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    No, not Santa, Prancer and Blitzen, but the sound of cyberspace in a terrible hurrumph about Instagram  – recently bought by Facebook for $1bn – updating its privacy policy to grant itself the right to sell your shots to advertisers without notificat...

  • Editorial: Time for a full review of the needs of the elderly
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Warnings of a "demographic time bomb" are far from new. But despite the dire predictions of ever-rising numbers of the elderly relying on a dwindling cohort of working-age adults, so far all attempts to deal with the consequences have been piecemeal,...

  • The more lethal weapons, the better
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    For example, if you were in an office and someone gasped, “I’ve just been informed there are some deranged lunatics amongst us”, it would take a certain imagination to reply, “In that case, the main thing is to make sure everyone in the building has ...

  • Bob Crow should be fighting for all workers, not just his union fat cats
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Well, perhaps you couldn’t exactly call it fun. Perhaps you couldn’t exactly say that spending most of the weekend writing cards to people you never see, and then setting off to do your Christmas shopping, and then going home without a single present...

  • The toughest question for Cameron come 2015: how to solve a problem like Ukip?
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Which of those analogies best represents Ukip in the mind of the Prime Minister, I have no idea. Nigel Farage may strike David Cameron as something to be paid off to avoid being disconnected from Downing St at the next election, or as an ailment that...

  • Modernity is here – we have acquired a milkman and glass bottles
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    The latest chapter in this real time rendition of Time’s Arrow is the arrival of a living, breathing milkman to our home. Not your bog standard Unigate Bernie. This one has the amazing name of Paul Bravo. He turned up outside our front door last Satu...

  • Reasons to be (cautiously) cheerful about next year
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    The string of economic forecasts; predictions for the financial markets; assessments of policy changes; and, most recently following the Queen’s devastating question about the financial crash – “Why did no one see this coming?” – some tail-covering a...

  • Ukip are by no means libertarian
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    In the words of the Oxford English Dictionary, libertarianism is about “minimisation of the role of the state”. Of course, this includes economics – so far, so UKIP.But libertarianism is about social issues too, which is where Ukip’s claims to be ‘li...

  • Still irritated by Instagram selling photos to advertisers? Time to move on
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    There are three deliberate mistakes in the preceding paragraph. Here they are in case you missed them. Facebook has long been interested in making money out of you, which you can tell from the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is a billionaire. Since Instagr...

  • ‘Killing became as easy as drinking water. I will never be able to forget’
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

     As we drove to a base of one of the many rebel groups in the Central African Republic, the terrain triggered memories of my own war years. The villages with burnt-out ruins of houses and the hesitancy on the faces of the people brought vivid flashba...

  • Newtown: What we learnt from Obama’s speech and what we can expect from US gun laws in future
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    The issue, though, was very much the same: guns, policy, reform, control. Words not used but alluded to in Obama’s speech in Newtown. “We can't tolerate this any more,” said the president. “These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."L...

  • The Bill of Rights Commission Report reflects the muddled Tory stance on Europe
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Pushing through new legislation at this time will be hugely contentious and fiercely opposed by all those concerned with the administration of justice, including the majority of the senior judiciary. It will ultimately costs hundreds of millions in r...

  • 21.12.2012: Who will you be spending the ‘end of the world’ with?
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

      Quizzes by

  • Vegetarianism is India's curse, it must be ditched
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    In the 1890s, Mahatma Gandhi was convinced that the British were able to rule India because they were meat eaters, while the locals were vegetarian.During the famine of 1914-17 drought stalked the villages in India. Brahmist farmers were forced to gr...

  • Romeo models for Burberry: The Beckhams' greatest fashion moments #sarong-gate
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Justin Bieber can move right over, as their 10 year-old son Romeo is now a trending topic as he features in Burberry's spring/summer 2013 ad campaign, shot by Mario Testino.But it's definitely not the family's biggest clothing highlight. Here are som...

  • It's time to break the second amendment's stranglehold over America
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    It was in northern Pennsylvania in the spring of 1999, three years after the shootings in Dunblane. What began as a kind invitation home for the weekend by a prospective American love interest, ended with me being frogmarched into a snow-capped fores...

  • Guns in America: The facts
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    16,808,538: The number of gun applications since Jan 2012 It's estimated there is an average of 88 weapons per 100 people Nearly half (44%) of all applications since 1998 have been for long guns such as rifles - minimum 16 inches in length Kentucky h...

  • A Hip Hop Christmas Part 2: Big Boi reads How The Grinch Stole Christmas
    Noisey Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    They persuaded Big Boi, aka one half of history's greatest ever hip hop duo, OutKast, to sit down in a nice cosy leather arm chair and read aloud from Dr Suess's Chrimbo classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. As well as bringing his delightful rumb...

  • Golden oldies? David Cameron favours the elderly because they're the ones who vote
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    His critics are right. There is no real justification for this. Older people should not be exempt from the pain that the rest of society is being asked to endure. State pensions are "triple locked" against the cuts ensuring that they rise by either e...

  • A Hip Hop Christmas Part 1: DMX sing-raps Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    He gets a chance to show off his talents, when some lady from a radio station politely asks "Will you do us the honour of spitting off the lyrics from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer?" She hardly has time to finish her sentence, before DMX is sucking h...

  • Vaccines will wipe out drug addiction and other predictions for the next century
    Popular Mechanics Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Popular Mechanics magazine has compiled a list of predictions with the help of scientists and futurologists. Top of the prediction pops is the good news that contacts lenses will grant us Terminator vision by 2062 and world hunger will be solved with...

  • Living Wage campaign's success shows politics at its very best
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Through a decade of campaigning by some of the poorest people in Britain, largely. This column has made no secret of its affection for the community organisers of Citizens UK, and its subsidiary London Citizens. For 10 years, they have brought togeth...

  • Mad Russian scientist throws boiling water over a balcony
    YouTube Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Instead he's experimenting with what happens when you throw boiling hot water over the balcony of an old Soviet housing block, recording the results and putting them on the internet for all to see. Isn't science wonderful?

  • The rise of campophobia
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    Don't answer that you bigot. I'll tell you. They are as follows...'Straight acting.''Non-scene.''No camp guys please.''Real blokes only.'Time and time again, you see the same sentiment popping up and revealing the harsh truth: a lot of gay men don't ...

  • Is it really the end of the world? Our history of the imminent apocalypse
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    This time it’s the Mayans getting in on the act. Their Long Count calendar, which started in 3114 BC – yes, that’s a pretty long count – ends on 21 December.In the countdown to the date there have been reports of panic buying in Russia and America an...

  • Rhodri Marsden: To boot, or be booted. Neither is a great deal of fun
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    While no-one likes being displaced from their well-appointed window seat with a table and handy 240-volt socket for laptops and mobiles only, no one really likes doing the displacing, either. Successfully getting someone to shift their ass without c...

  • Letters: Limit access to guns – but it won't end massacres
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    Where there are guns of any description available to the public (and I can't see us ever getting rid of sporting guns), the opportunity for mass shootings by mentally ill people remains. Even if they can't get guns, they can still mow people down wi...

  • I support this appeal because I have seen how charity brings hope to children forced to kill
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    In many years working with Unicef I have visited a great number of countries, and seen countless examples of Unicef staff in the field working selflessly to deliver better lives for children, whether through access to education, ensuring routine immu...

  • Editorial: Captain Cook has left India with a cricketing conundrum
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    But victory was not just proof of England's gratifying recovery. It also reflected some lacklustre play by India on their home turf and the sense that the financial lures of Twenty-20 and its showmanship had perhaps distracted the players from the q...

  • A year older, and I still can’t believe that I’m not the youth I used to be
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    The only traditional clock in our home is my mother’s old one, which never quite worked in her day and which long ago defeated all repairers’ attempts at resuscitation. It stands fixed at seven minutes past eleven. I find this reassuring: not on the ...

  • Why I would carry a gun in the US
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    Part of it was the seductive glamour; I fancied keeping a tiny bejewelled firearm in my handbag, as the late Nancy Reagan was reputed to do. But the greater part was practical. If you are living in a country where it is legal to be armed, then you ha...

  • Please don’t send me any books – unless you own a time machine
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    I like reading. I really do. I like it so much that this year I judged the Orange Prize, and next year I’m judging the Man Booker. That means, in two years, I’ll have read well over 200 novels, fitted around my usual job (I realise I can’t say proper...

  • Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: My hopelessly romantic ex says I'm not 'the one'.
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    One way of absolutely ensuring your boyfriend won’t come back to you is by agreeing to be friends with him. And I’m wondering whether this tendency to compliance in you might not be the very reason he’s split up with you in the first place. Complianc...

  • We aren’t proper friends – so do I really owe you a Christmas card?
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    Instead, I am sending you this column with my warmest wishes of the season to you and, if applicable, your family.I appreciate that sending a column instead of a card is not normal festive etiquette, even by today’s lax standards. Traditionally, thos...

  • The United States Supreme Court shouldn't rush to legislate on same-sex marriage
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    It has decided to hear both Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. The former challenges California’s Proposition 8, which was passed by voters in 2008 to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. The latter confronts the Defens...

  • The myth of over-paid public sector workers
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    The last three presidents – Messrs Clinton, Bush and Obama – have all served two terms. Bill Clinton had lots of problems in his first year in office as it took so long to get his appointments in place during his attempt to pass healthcare reform. In...

  • Strivers versus shirkers: the reality of work for young graduates today
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    This narrative has been used as a battering ram against their mythically ‘feckless’ and ‘lazy’ workforce who are to blame for their own lack of social mobility.However, these proclamations are laughable when the ‘strivers’ they so admire, particularl...

  • In the search for justice in the former Yugoslavia, are we ignoring the Serbian victims of war crimes?
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    You might expect that in the series of war crimes trials launched by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the killings and expulsion of an ethnic group from a territory on which they’d lived for more than four centuries w...

  • Alex Reid in tell-all interview with Jeremy Kyle
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    In October, Chantelle Houghton said that her ex Alex Reid had turned their house into a 'sex dungeon' while she was pregnant with the daughter Dolly before they split. She also alleged that he arranged to meet a man for sex while dressed as his alter...

  • Most of us know the body does not have a 'way of shutting down' to prevent rape, but we have to change the thinking of those who don't
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    Akin was not a lone man with a quirky grasp of biology and what rape is: his thinking is reflective of a broader problem with society’s thinking about sexual violence.Last week, a US judge faced a public admonishment from the Commission for Judicial ...

  • Half of male drivers have had sex in their car
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    The Welsh are friskiest as 52 per cent of drivers admitted to having got in on, but only 35 per cent of Londoners had done the dirty in their automobile.According to the survey for, Women voted men who drive an Audi the sexiest, but men ...

  • Why monkeys will never beat humans in a dance off
    The Atlantic Monday, 17 December 2012

    Scientists at the University of Amsterdam and the National Autonomous University of Mexico have discovered this by playing music to two rhesus monkeys (a breed you may be familiar with, thanks to Ikea Monkey) and then studying their brain signals via...

  • Some seasonal advice for my lovely little sister...
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    What I will tell her is how lovely it is to see her. I remember her first Christmas, togged out in a little Santa outfit, just two months old. I'll tell her how she was the perfect present for a teenager who thought she'd never have siblings. I'll al...

  • The real Omar from The Wire dies, aged 58
    The Baltimore Sun Monday, 17 December 2012

    One of these fantastical elements, was a man named Larry Donnell "Donnie"Andrews. As a young man, Andrews made a living in the particularly ballsy manner of ripping off rival drug dealers. In a 2009 interview, he told The Independent: "The word 'futu...

  • In 1996, Australia enacted gun control measures. There have been no mass shootings since.
    Slate Monday, 17 December 2012

    The conservative Prime Minister John Howard responded with gun control legislation and a mass buyback of about one-fifth of all the firearms in circulation in Australia. As The Washington Post points out, it worked: "Howard cites a study by Andrew Le...

  • Letters: Clegg's welcome words on drugs
    Monday, 17 December 2012

    But you might also have referred to the Motion passed at the Lib Dem Party's conference in 2011 which underlies this and calls for "the Government to immediately establish an independent panel tasked with carrying out an Impact Assessment of the Mis...

  • Editorial: Let the Supreme Court stand alone
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    As we have been reminded this week, the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor – the job currently held by Chris Grayling – retains the power to appoint the court's chief executive and other administrative officers. And as we also learnt, this is no...

  • Editorial: Excuse us, Your Majesty, for taking of the liberty...
    Tuesday, 18 December 2012

    So how about inviting members of the public to take part in a draw to fill a vacant place at the cabinet table, say, once a month? They, too, could enjoy observer status for 30 minutes or so and watch a snatch of the functioning of government close ...

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