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Thursday, 16 August 2012

  • Julian Baggini: Individuals? Or members of society? That's what the right to die is about
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    For proponents of assisted dying, it is convenient to believe that the issue is a simple conflict between individual autonomy – the right to decide matters of life and death for ourselves – and a superstitious belief in the sanctity of life, the dema...

  • Amol Rajan: Grand gestures can elevate us and our situations
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    A man called Jack – surname and age unknown – from Boston, Massachusetts proposed to his girlfriend Teresa Elsey by organising a vast operation in which dozens of apparent strangers presented her with flowers on an after-work stroll to the Institute ...

  • Victoria Summerley: Help! The A-level results are about to hit us
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    This morning, my daughter gets her A-level results and the magnitude of the tremor depends on three vital initials – A, B and B. That's the minimum she needs to read music at Bristol in October. For the past few weeks, since school broke up, we've be...

  • Alice Jones: Now viewers have real stars in their eyes
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    Twelve years on from the escapades of Nasty Nick and Nice Craig in the first Big Brother and 11 years on from the triumph of Hear'Say in the first Popstars, the viewing public has had enough. The final of Big Brother this week pulled in a measly 1.5 ...

  • Viv Groskop: Snobbery has made us a nation of monoglots
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    It's tempting to write that this is ganz furchtbar but, of course, with those numbers very few English speakers would understand. (In A-level candidate-speak: "well bad".) A-level subjects which were once regarded as "solid" and a way of displaying a...

  • Simon Kelner: Branson's 'failure' was that he wouldn't raise his bet
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    In this world of consumer promiscuity, when we change our energy supplier, our insurance broker, and even our mortgage company at regular intervals, brand loyalty is increasingly hard to come by. So maybe I'm not with the programme, but I like Virgin...

  • Owen Jones: There should be no immunity for Julian Assange from these allegations
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    For the avoidance of doubt, I'm a strong supporter of WikiLeaks, an organisation that has exposed some of the dark crevices of Western power. Great Powers have always dominated other peoples without their consent, but high levels of secrecy are neede...

  • Leading article: A-level grades are not the only concern
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    After year upon year of ever-improving results – even as criticisms of school-leavers' educational standards grew sharper – the entire A-level qualification system was losing credibility. That the number of papers meriting an A or A* has finally fall...

  • Simon Kelner: Breaking media taboo about our summer holidays
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    In this case, the "we" applies to we journalists who, in the dog days of August, have had an endless supply of uplifting news stories and human interest tales and countless topics to analyse and comment upon. Day after day, events at the Games filled...

  • Leading article: Time to cap the cost of care for the elderly
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    Quite right, too. Last year, around 40,000 people were forced to sell their homes to pay for care. With a room in a care home now costing an average of £26,000 per year, one in four of them faced bills of more than £50,000. One in 100 had to find £10...

  • Leading article: A verdict on Vladimir Putin
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    Far from being hooligans, as the prosecution alleged, the three feminists were unconventional campaigners whose anti-Putin songs in a Moscow Cathedral achieved a much vaster audience than originally anticipated.The Kremlin's foolish over-reaction, wh...

  • Leading article: The unacknowledged epidemic of our age
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    At its most basic, the difficulty is one of definition. Dementia is an illness that is so sprawling and still so widely misunderstood that our outdated categories for illness and infirmity have not caught up. Unless aggressive enough to be acknowledg...

  • The big questions: What was your Games highlight? And how do we get more teenagers into sport?
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    Keeping quiet about it. Especially when everyone was predicting that it was going to be rubbish, it was physically difficult to stop myself yelling, "Yeah? Well you just wait till you see that cauldron/the Queen/the chimneys/doves, etc."Are those who...

  • Tim Walker: Does Lord Justice Leveson read 'Grazia'? If not, he should
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    In July, the same magazine splashed on the assertion, "Katie and Tom: IT'S WAR!" That issue arrived about 12 hours after Holmes and Cruise had come to their remarkably speedy divorce settlement. Two years ago, Heat magazine led with the "shocking tru...

  • Harriet Walker: No, Kristen Stewart's not snow white, but neither is Rupert Sanders
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    The outrage among Twilight fans and celeb stalkers alike after photos emerged of the actor in a clinch with father-of-two Rupert Sanders has been immense. Hearts have been broken by her split from vampiric co-star Robert Pattinson – and not just thos...

  • Letters: Who pays the bill for elderly care?
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    The draft Care and Support Bill was a missed opportunity and the absence of a quantified cap on the lifetime cost of care for older people was particularly criticised. The Government now appears to have changed its mind, agreeing with the Dilnot Comm...

  • Leading article: A deeply compromised campaigner
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    The balance of probability was always that Ecuador would grant Mr Assange's plea for asylum, and there was little Britain could do. Ecuador's own record on free speech might not be unblemished, but it is a generous granter of asylum and its relations...

  • Laurie Penny: To hell with the Gradgrinds – go to university
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    The Lib Dems won the hearts and votes of young people by promising to defend open access to university. Their betrayal of that trust, voting through a trebling of university fees while police beat desperate teenagers outside Parliament, was jaw-dropp...

  • Why body hair is on the frontline of feminist action
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    In the two years since I stopped shaving, we have seen a feminist movement build and, frankly, mock the idea that it isn't needed any more. Women today are told to be afraid of our legs and feel guilty for eating on the way to work, to hate our vagin...

  • Letters: Privatisation has been bad for rail
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    Roger Ford and others in Modern Railways magazine have shown that the underlying studies done by the German consulting firm used by Sir Roy and the DfT were inaccurate and that the railways in Britain are not nearly as inefficient as was concluded.Mo...

  • Leading article: No clarity from Standard Chartered
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    In financial terms, the bank has reason to be relieved. Regrettable it may be, but the fine is more than affordable for a company with profits nearing $4bn in the first half of the year. The penalty is also small by comparison with either the $250bn ...

  • Natalie Haynes: Read Richard Burton's diaries and weep for the advent of email
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    And now his diaries, which number some 450,000 words, kept from the age of 14 to his death, are to be published. I love diaries and letters – writings that are often unconsidered and unedited – because they seem to reveal the writer's true character ...

  • Leading article: Open the Olympic Park to all
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    The Games will open in 10 days' time and the authorities are hopeful they will be the first sell-out in the Paralympics' five-decade history. More than 2.1 million of the 2.5 million tickets have already been taken, an extra 45,000 released last week...

  • Leading article: India has better uses for its money here on Earth
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    India may bask in the prestige that comes from being the world's biggest democracy with a growth rate to be envied, but it is less than a month since two-thirds of the population were left without power because of a failure of the national grid. Nor ...

  • Oliver Miles: Why asylum will not mean a free ride for Julian Assange
    Friday, 17 August 2012

    The Ecuadorean government yesterday announced it had granted Assange's claim for political asylum. But asylum there makes no odds when he is stuck here in London. He cannot move without facing arrest; the Ecuadoreans cannot give him diplomatic cover ...

  • Leading article: Rail contracts are on the wrong track
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    He is not the only sceptic, however. Where Virgin offered to pay £4.8bn to run the line, FirstGroup bid £5.5bn, based on predictions of soaring revenue growth considered impossibly optimistic not just by Sir Richard but by several independent industr...

  • Richard Garner: This bonus for high-flyers could cost the rest dearly
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    It will open up access at some of our most highly rated universities to more students who have achieved academic excellence in their exams. Some academics argue that it will help students from disadvantaged communities who are more reluctant to appl...

  • Lucy Tobin: It looks like the end of the line for Virgin Trains
    Thursday, 16 August 2012

    For the Virgin boss has taken more than £200m out of Virgin Trains since taking over the West Coast Mainline franchise, a joint venture between Sir Richard and quoted transport company Stagecoach. Last year alone, Sir Richard banked £15m from divid...

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