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Home 2012 December

Sunday, 9 December 2012

  • Editorial: The time has come to decriminalise all drugs
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Not only is there much to be welcomed in the committee's conclusions – there is also much that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. MPs praise measures in place in Portugal (under which possession of small amounts of a controlled substan...

  • Why not stop clicking and go down to the shops this Christmas?
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Having yet to start my festive wallet emptying, I haven't followed his lead yet. But it made me think about the shops that have given me something Amazon or Asos couldn't – memories.When I was 13, my birthday present was a pair of Dr Marten boots, bo...

  • Editorial: Berlusconi's return bodes ill for Italy and Europe
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    This is not the same Mr Berlusconi who was drummed out of office last year. Internal divisions, his conviction for tax fraud and his ongoing trial on charges of having sex with a minor have shredded his party's support, which in the most recent poll...

  • Editorial: No intervention without risk
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    We should perhaps be grateful for small mercies. Such involvement would not be "boots on the ground". Similar support was provided, quite discreetly, to anti-Gaddafi forces in Libya, though there was a greater presence on the ground than is often ac...

  • Will Donny Osmond or I ever know how a young heart feels?
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    For a start, today I am nearer 60 than 50, and it doesn't matter how much I still believe I'm young and energetic, or how much I try to resist the erosions of the ageing process, the inescapable fact is that I am now officially an old person.Official...

  • Editorial: When Tories dig their heels in
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    We know where the public stands. Opinion polls show that most people favour tolerance. When Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Patrick McLoughlin and 16 other leading Tories signed the letter that appeared in a newspaper yesterday, arguing that "marriage ...

  • Editorial: The game's up for tax avoiders
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    This is the most remarkable rate of return in human history: for a one-off outlay of £77m, a yield of 26 times as much every year, instantly. With this alchemy of public finances it would make unbreakable sense to borrow as much as the Government ca...

  • Google, Amazon, Vodafone and Starbucks might not be breaking laws. But they deserve to be punished
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Managing director of Starbucks UK Kris Engskov claims it had responded to customers, and the ads grovelled "we know we are not perfect … but we have listened …we hope you will give us an opportunity to build on your trust". Was that public act of hum...

  • As Rupert Murdoch's mother well knew, a good innings means more than just sticking around
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    She was obviously a spirited old lady, who, said the obituarists admiringly, at the age of 99 won a case brought against her by the Australian Tax Office on a multimillion-dollar sum which she had inherited. "Rupert Murdoch remained close to his moth...

  • The NHS was forged from care, not box-ticking
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Earlier that day, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Jane Cummings, had called for nurses to focus more on compassion. That was what prompted Ann Clwyd to make her private grief public. "Nobody should have to die in conditions like I saw my husb...

  • George Osborne's Autumn Statement just proves that nobody knows how the economy is really doing
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Given that Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, was on poor form, it was left to John Denham, the former Cabinet minister who now serves as a parliamentary private secretary to Ed Miliband, to express Labour's incredulity eloquently. He said that, since ...

  • Letters: How did pranksters get through?
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Moreover, in the midst of the furore about the broadcast there is no focus on the role of the hospital in ensuring the privacy of its patients. Experience must have taught the management that there will always be attempts to breach privacy, and perp...

  • Can Cameron live down his "Wor Jackie" moment?
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Asked whether he had voted to keep Nadine Dorries in the jungle during her brief appearance on I’m A Celebrity…, he thought it politic to say no. But then his internal radar warned him that it would not do to sound sniffy about reality television, so...

  • Fighting to give new hope to the children of war
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Aigbando, Central African RepublicIt was clear when the truck appeared that this time the  children were not going to be  allowed to leave peacefully. The vehicle, which stopped near the cars which had brought Unicef’s negotiators to the rebel base, ...

  • On gay marriage, Cameron and Osborne have reached the right decision - for the wrong reason
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    The imprecision of the term is of course why it is deployed so extensively. An evasive concept with a hint of dynamic intent makes it highly attractive for leaders.Most days of the week I still read that David Cameron and George Osborne are “modernis...

  • If charities are going to survive in the 21st century, they can't rely on government alone
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Charity can be as competitive as the commercial sector and as cut-throat in the fight for funds. The proliferation of charities – there are around 160,000 – and the rate at which they have scaled up into multinational operations means the original vi...

  • Why does the UK defend corporations and not their victims?
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    It has not improved its chances by intervening in the US Supreme Court to protect companies accused of complicity in torture, rape and genocide. It has asked the court, in a case against Shell, to restrict the only law that makes multinationals accou...

  • Hitler and the Henrys: let’s not teach students the same subjects over and over again
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Or so I conclude from a new report by the All-Parliamentary Group on History and Archives.Schoolchildren can, it transpires, end up doing the same subjects year after year: Hitler and the Henrys, as it’s sometimes described (which sounds like a devia...

  • What happened to democracy in Turkey? A beacon of hope in the Middle East is plunging into twilight
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    But the contrast with problems in the European Union is overdrawn. For Turkey has come to no less treacherous a pass, and to fulfil its vast promise, Turkish leaders and Western policy must now change course.Could it be magic?During his early years i...

  • Totally baked: Two University of Colorado students face jail after feeding classmates pot brownies
    Daily Camera Monday, 10 December 2012

    "There could be prison time in this case" said a CU police spokesman.Police say the culprits - Thomas Ricardo Cunningham, 21, and Mary Elizabeth Essa, 19 - brought in the pot brownies as part of a special "home food" day, but didn't tell any who tuck...

  • The Oxbridge delusion: why the more we talk about these two great universities, the less we know
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    This week thousands of eager hopefuls are making their way to Oxford and Cambridge for their interviews. Newspapers regrettably take this as their cue to re-hash urban myths about crackpot tutors playing draconian mindgames, and cluck over ‘what to w...

  • The ups and downs of pranks: from Kate Middleton's nurse to a viral videos in Brazil
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    “BOO”, my siblings screamed, as the lift touched-down, one on either side of the doors. Their faces, a picture of sheer delight quickly fell, however, when the elderly frail woman propped up by two walking sticks and who, unbeknown to them, had joine...

  • Cigarette companies ordered to apologise, but is junk food the new tobacco?
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    The move is predicated on the notion that tobacco companies “deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking”."The President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids described it as a “vitally important step” that would req...

  • James Arthur wins X Factor as Cheryl Cole is said to be suing US version
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Due to a lack of interest around the show, critics are debating whether this series will be the last for the talent show. Simon Cowell is said to be facing a talk with ITV following the dire ratings - the audience for this Saturday night’s crucial sh...

  • Why you shouldn't advertise your party on Facebook
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    The family's bedrooms apparently were ripped to pieces, with furniture pulled apart and sexual graffiti drawn on the walls.A hole was also made in the ceiling, but no arrests were made following the damage.The girl had been warned on Facebook previou...

  • In France of all places, the slurs against Rachida Dati shows men at their most hypocritical
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    A judge ruled last week that Dominique Desseigne, a billionaire businessman and one of France’s richest men, must take a paternity test if he wants to prove that he is not the father of three-year-old Zohra.What started as a battle over money (mother...

  • Debate: Should the UK follow Washington's example and permit the legalisation of drugs?
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    What's going on?A group of influential MPs has released a damning report that calls on Government to reconsider its drug policies.The central demand in the MPs' 147-page review is that Britain establish a commission for reform, since the current poli...

  • Vulnerable people aren’t getting the care they need
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Whether you’re talking about a scratch to someone’s arm or a deep cut to funding that affects thousands of people, the net result will always be the same.And across the country, as drastic decreases to social care provision kick in, many local author...

  • Forget planking and milking, Durham students aim to make porting the next big craze
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Durham’s online student tabloid, The Tab, apparently described it as a "cracking effort from Durham’s finest".Durham students also said (non-pompously, of course): "We figure if you’re going to do something you might as well do it properly."Don’t cry...

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Reviews round-up
    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Screen rateOver at the Den of Geek NP Horton says there's one thing about this film that can't be overlooked (or under-looked or anything but looked-at-in-horror) - the frame rate: at 48 fps instead of a traditional 24, The Hobbit looks like "a cheap...

  • Letters: Call a 'prank' by its proper name – bullying
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    It is time we recognised that when an action is described as a prank or jape the perpetrators are bullies, setting out to humiliate someone, and they must accept responsibility if their bullying drives their victim to take an extreme action like that...

  • Editorial: Why bother to cook Christmas dinner? Because it's there
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Not Meals that Mother Loses Sleep Over or Meals for an Agonised Afternoon, but 15-Minute Meals: quick, modern and painless. While efforts to encourage home cooking are to be applauded in the age of the ready meal and takeaway, it would be a shame if...

  • Labour's John Mann sure knows how to kick a man when he's down. Just ask (Labour's) Ed Balls
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    One had assumed that persecuting the disabled was the Government’s preserve, but apparently not. Mr Balls held his stammer solely responsible for the catastrophe, as you know, and this we must take this on trust – for there is no fiercer foe of phone...

  • Ewan McGregor: With your help, Unicef can give child soldiers another chance at childhood
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Taken from their families and the safety of home, these children, some no older than seven or eight when the LRA abducted them, had experienced the unthinkable, and in the process lost a big part of their childhood. And even when I met them as teenag...

  • A Childhood Violated: why we are launching this campaign with Unicef to help Africa's child soldiers
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    They met in the stronghold of one of the rebel groups in the Central African Republic. The boy was a child soldier who had been press-ganged into the forces of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) which has been fighting for the pa...

  • Against George Osborne's war on the poor and the vile stupidity of his 'workers vs shirkers' narrative
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    The hope is that, by opposing such a cap, Labour can be painted as the unapologetic champion of the widescreen-TV-watching, multiple-child-producing, closed-curtained-home-dwelling “shirkers”.Class warriorsThat a gang of multimillionaire class warrio...

  • A monument to evil that can teach the modern world
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    I didn’t agree. Weren’t some of the killers of 11 September 2001 rather well educated? Wasn’t the Lebanese hijacker of that day the son of a schoolteacher and a tax official?Tore Mydland, a retired Norwegian bank manager, thought about this. He belie...

  • Whether she wins Sports Personality of the Year or not, Jessica Ennis represents the best of Britain
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    New data from the 2011 Census shows around a million Britons identified as “mixed”. The real figure could be twice as high because a substantial numbers describe themselves as “black” (because that is how they are seen and treated by society) and a p...

  • Jacintha Saldanha, Kate Middleton, and how prank calls show comedy can be used for both good and ill
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    After 40 years in entertainment, I believe that making people laugh is, by and large, “a Good Thing”, especially if it’s in a good cause. But – like power, intelligence, money, science and religion – comedy is a powerful tool that can be used for goo...

  • The Bullingdon Chancellor: why George Osborne is a very uncivil, as well as useless, Chancellor
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Mitchell explained that at the outset he told Dole he would never spring a surprise on him and would not resort to personal attacks ever, and he didn’t. The two senators would meet twice a week for dinner to discuss important matters and maintained a...

  • Patrick Moore on: the Germans
    The Daily Telegraph Sunday, 9 December 2012

    "We must take care,” he told the Radio Times. “There may be another war. The Germans will try again, given another chance. A Kraut is a Kraut is a Kraut. The Germans tried to conquer us. The French betrayed us. The Belgians did very little and the It...

  • Patrick Moore on: family values
    The Guardian Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Here is one of the most moving sections from that interview: "My fiancee, Lorna, was killed during the war and that was that, as far I was concerned, with love. It was a terrible loss and I never felt another woman could ever replace her. I would hav...

  • Harriet Walker: I am never going to cut my hair again
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    You can tell because I’ve started flicking my hair again. This is not  entirely thanks to naturally fulsome follicles. I depleted what I had last year by bleaching my coiff to within an inch of its life, turning it a beautiful silvery-grey colour and...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (9 December 2012)
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Joan & Vincent Procter Worthing, West Sussex I have just sent a Christmas card by air mail to a relative in Canada, a distance of 3,400 miles, at a cost of £1.80. If I send the same card to a relative in the next village five miles away it cost...

  • In Syria, the rebels have reached the suburbs of Damascus. Can they break open the dead-lock?
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    The airport road runs past Jaramana, a township of at least 250,000 people, most of whom are Christian or Druze and are seen as supporters of the government. There is still a sculptured head of President Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar and leader of...

  • A happy office runs on gossip and tears
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    I mention all of this only because of a new scientific study which has proved that gossip is good for you. The experts at Amsterdam University found that up to nine out of 10 conversations are largely based on gossip, and that gossip is not necessar...

  • Civil disobedience in middle England
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Take, for example, the Government's proposals for a high-speed rail-link between London and Birmingham (HS2), the latest legal challenge against which came to court last week. As far as one can make out, this much-touted infrastructure project is su...

  • Cameron talks the green talk, but... that's all
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Another time, I sat in an audience of environmental campaigners as he addressed the conventional wisdom head on. "I want to tackle an argument that seems to be as cyclical as the economy. The argument that when times are good, we can indulge ourselve...

  • Jessica, save us from the cult of girly-girls!
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    I ask because those great "role models of the future", the Jessica Ennises and Ellie Simmondses, not to mention Mary Kings and Helen Glovers, have long since been knocked off their front pages. Only yesterday, visitors to Mail Online, the world's m...

  • There are rules here to stop a prank backfiring
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    As a "pranker" myself (although I loathe that term) I have to admit that I very much had the feeling of "there but for the grace of God go I". How would I feel if somebody to whom I had done something on one of my television programmes had killed th...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (09/12/12)
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Since I'm lacking the necessary tools – pipette, test tubes, and microscope – I'm not in a position convincingly to challenge the data on the sperm issue. All I can say is that I'm a father of four whose married sons and their wives have gone into p...

  • Rant & Rave (09/12/12)
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    At last, there's only a fortnight to go until Christmas! Christmas Time, that is, rather than Christmas the Day. Christmas, as in the handful of days off work when it's OK to sit around eating sweets and drinking dry sherry and you can say "Christma...

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