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Friday, 21 December 2012

  • The West can’t direct the Arab Spring, but we can support it
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    No, it hasn’t been all plain sailing in the two years of the Arab Spring and there are plenty of people around who are ready to write off the whole movement as yet another example of the ungovernability of the Arabs unless they are brought to heel by...

  • Editorial: If Osborne won't tame the banks, the market might
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Even were George Osborne to capitulate to the most radical reformers and immediately split up all universal banks, the danger of some financial institutions being "too big to fail" remains largely unchecked, as the fallout from the collapse of inves...

  • Ten reasons why I hate Santa
    Saturday, 22 December 2012

    2. He always drank the sherry we left and scoffed the mince pie but he left his reindeer starving. I know this because we left a carrot and it was only ever nibbled. Why do the reindeer who have to pull the selfish bastard only get a tiny bit of c...

  • Review of the Year in Arts 2012: This was the year when the local became gloriously global
    Saturday, 22 December 2012

    If you did opt for quality as your chief metric, then it's possible that "Gangnam Style" wouldn't figure in your annual audit, though it wouldn't be difficult to make the case for Danny Boyle's pageant of British virtues to retain a place. It triumph...

  • If there's a Sports Personality of the Year, why shouldn't there be an Arts one too?
    Saturday, 22 December 2012

    One reason that we don't, of course, is that it's quite refreshing to have a week without an arts award. There is no end of them, from the Booker to the Baftas to the Brits. There's probably a Best Mime Artist award somewhere too. The arts love prize...

  • Letters: We must learn to conserve energy
    Saturday, 22 December 2012

    Until we can rely on "cleaner" production systems it is probable that conventional technologies will be used for some time.Unfortunately, a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics is that electricity generation from the combustion of hydrocar...

  • Laugh if you like, but these dark arts persist
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Lesser beings can only dream of such an endorsement. However, the curious underworld of the pre-publication blurb – a dark art pitched somewhere between the friendly back-scratch and the market trader's shout – persists despite decades of ridicule. ...

  • A political life: Christmas at Westminster, when party politics give way to plain old parties
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    For the journalists, it’s not just a free drink and a glimpse behind the scenes; it’s an opportunity to be playful and irreverent with the politicians, and thereby gauge their genuine mood. It’s also an unmissable chance to tease a Boxing Day splash ...

  • The top 10 reasons why Santa's on my naughty list
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    1. He gave me an illuminated globe for Christmas when I was 11. Who gives an 11-year-old boy an illuminated globe? Why did I get that while Adam - who was a really nasty piece of work - got Reebok trainers and a Sega Mega Drive? 2. He always drank th...

  • This week's big questions: Are you worried by the rise of Ukip? What do you do when you pass someone sleeping rough?
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Dressed up as a defence of the poor, benefit often has the opposite effect to what was intended. Unfortunately, a workless, dependent substrata of society has been growing ever since Thatcher closed down the mines, steel, shipbuilding and heavy engin...

  • Think there’s too much excess at Christmas? I can’t get enough of it
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    You know, all that money spent on too much food, of which too much is eaten, too much is thrown away and too much is bad for you. I’ve been as guilty of this as the next party hat refusenik. Yet I wonder whether the Yuletide vices we loathe are just ...

  • Errors and Omissions: Whoever is being ‘useless’ here, it certainly isn’t Tony Blair
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    The report said in its first sentence that Mr Blair was not the object of criticism: “Palestinian officials say Tony Blair shouldn’t take it personally, but he should pack up his desk at the Office of the Quartet Representative in Jerusalem and go ho...

  • They gave us esprit de corps. But where’s theirs?
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    A big man (and getting bigger); a big talent; a big mouth. It is hardly surprising that his tax exile in Belgium has caused such a big fuss in France. And yet the scale of the fuss is rather surprising. It betrays the more than usually febrile mood o...

  • Instagram: When do my pictures become their property?
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    The question seems straightforward if you limit it to physical objects. There is the stuff you buy for cash or credit – that scarf, your house, that book. There is stuff you lease, and stuff you happen to have borrowed and will return. But then, when...

  • As long as rape is belittled, there will be more victims like this
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Men who commit rape there are unlikely ever to answer for their crime; most sexual assaults go unreported or uninvestigated, with cases languishing for more than 10 years before they even reach the courts. Women’s safety and their right to exist have...

  • Yes, I did call you a pleb. I can say what I like when I’m angry. Now just open that gate
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Or at least that’s what I’m said to have said. I find it hard to remember when I’m hot and angry what words came out of my mouth, but I accept responsibility for one “fucking”, for which I apologise, though I venture to suggest it’s not the worst lan...

  • IQ of a carrot? You could think of some politicians as fruit and veg
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    When asked about the effectiveness of IQ tests at judging intelligence, Mensa member Peter Baimbridge said:  "So most IQ tests will have Mr and Mrs Average scoring 100 and the higher you get, the brighter you are. And if your IQ is somewhere around 6...

  • Three cheers for the UN: female genital mutilation is male insecurity defined
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Greer famously refused to sign a petition defending Salmon Rushdie because he was, she said, a “megalomaniac” and “an Englishman with a dark skin” (as if there is any shame in that). When it comes to FGM, Greer’s mistake seems to confuse female genit...

  • The girls who fled a life of sex slavery
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Please donate to our appeal for child soldiers here.Four months ago, a woman in her early 30s came knocking on Alice Achan’s door in Pader, northern Uganda. ‘‘She had four children, ranging in age from 18 months to eight years. “They had walked, swum...

  • 'I was certain he would be killed'
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Please donate to our appeal for child soldiers here.When I learned that my brother Malik had become involved with the rebel group, the CPJP, I was heartbroken. I was devastated by the news, it felt like I’d been informed of his death—I was certain he...

  • The chance to be a child again
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    The Central African Republic is home to an estimated 2500 child soldiers. Recruited or abducted by the country's various rebel militias, the children--some as young as nine--are brutalized, drugged and exploited. Unicef, working entirely from donatio...

  • Home Alone, It's A Wonderful Life, Elf: What is your favourite Christmas film?
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    We've created a poll to find out your favourite Christmas film, but first (and don't let this influence you), here are some favourites from Independent Voices writers:Grace Dent: "Scrooged - Bill Murray trying to singlehandedly kill the goodwill of C...

  • Doha was all hot air. It's high time for a new central body to take action on climate change
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    For nearly twenty years now, the United Nations has convened annual global talks under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international treaty signed by nearly 200 countries to address climate change. Its track...

  • An American Christmas: Why are we sacrificing British traditions for a yankified yuletide?
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    The popularity of American-style trends over here is nothing new. Yet we now seem to be nearing a point where our yankified tastes cease to be imitation and we begin to believe that we are, in fact, American.The warning signs appeared earlier this ye...

  • Let's give Megan Fox - and all new mums - a break
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Meet my three-year-old: Generally she’s a good sleeper but lately she’s been having nightmares. Last night a unicorn was trying to bite her toes. Sounds cute, right? If only she could wait till the morning to tell me about it and not 3am. Then there’...

  • This week's wackiest web stories: Bringing sexy back (legally)
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Geek apocalypseAt the center of the rebel base where Luke Skywalker took off to destroy the Death Star and save his people from the clutches of Darth Vader, Guatemala is preparing for another momentous event: the end of an age for the Maya. reuters.c...

  • Big, bad pharma: Why our relationship with the Pharmaceutical industry matters
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    There are quite a few reasons. OutsourcedThe first reason relates to how drugs are developed for us to use. It used to be the case that pharma wealth was generated in the developed world, for example the United States and Europe. As a result, its cli...

  • You can bank on it – this 'Halifax' will give you extra
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    There was so much to admire – from the beautiful script by Sally Wainwright, who was herself born in Halifax, to the powerful performances by old stagers Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and, particularly, the utterly brilliant Sarah Lancashire – but it was t...

  • Youth workers are for life... and the astonishingly brave life-savers at Prospex need your help
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    For several years now I have been involved with a local charity in Islington, north London, most recently as a trustee. It is called Prospex (Prospex.org.uk), and is staffed by the most humble, hard-working and inspirational people I know. Led by Bee...

  • Eight ways the world might actually end
    Wired Friday, 21 December 2012

    Daniela Hernandez at Wired magazine has complied a list of likely apocalyses (apocalypsi?) which makes enlightening, if profoundly depressing, reading.Did you know, for instance, that "asteroid accident" and "comet collision" are two entirely distinc...

  • The Christmassy way to tell your neighbours you hate them
    wbrz.com Friday, 21 December 2012

    The middle finger of the display goes slowly up and down, while a clockwork elf operates a crank. Best of all, despite complaints from her neighbours and a police order, it appears the local authorities are totally cool with it. According to wbrz.com...

  • Armageddon some!: As the Mayan apocalypse nears, New Yorkers make love like there's no tomorrow
    New York Post Friday, 21 December 2012

    The New York Post reports a rise in singles ads posted on sites like OKCupid.com and Craigslist.org seeking "end of the world sex."Model Niki Ghazian knows how they feel, apparently. She told the Post: "If I die, I don't want to die on a dry spell! E...

  • The British workplace must become more accommodating to Muslim women
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    One only has to look at the number of ambitious, educated and career-driven Muslim women across Britain, unable to secure employment, to realise that Muslim women are one of the most under-used resources in the UK labour market.We need to question wh...

  • Vomiting, fights, blood, tears...The hell of working Black Friday
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Also nicknamed ‘Black-Eye Friday” and “Blackout Friday”, the fabled excess-ridden last working day before Christmas when people who don’t usually venture out all year descend upon bars and clubs like locusts with novelty Santa hats and emergency serv...

  • Letters: Changing America’s gun culture
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    The Second Amendment states, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". The US Justice Department's official position is that these rights are lim...

  • Absenteeism is not to be sneezed at
    Saturday, 22 December 2012

    As a result, it's been sick-note central here. I'm not saying we're one or two bodies short, but the Editor has threatened to ring-fence the whole office to stop anyone else going off sick. And that's a corrugated iron fence, not a financial one. In...

  • Editorial: Questions for Cameron over 'Plebgate'
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    Although the Prime Minister knew before his Chief Whip left the Government that some of the police evidence against the cabinet minister was not reliable, he neither said so publicly at the time nor moved from his balanced position between Mr Mitchel...

  • Editorial: The looking-glass world of the National Rifle Association
    Friday, 21 December 2012

    In fact, it turns out that Washington's efforts to create gun-free school zones actually incite maniacs to target children and the real answer is armed guards at all educational institutions. Welcome to the looking-glass world of the National Rifle...

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Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick