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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

  • Lagging we may be, but India still regards us in awe
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    In dozens of conversations with family, friends and acquaintances, I received confirmation of ideas familiar to readers of this column and also a clearer picture of the enduring appeal of Britain, the imperial retreaters. On the former, let me just s...

  • Editorial: Climate change - no less of a problem than it was
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    The Met Office's revised predictions on medium-term climate change released this week have been seized upon by sceptics who insist that man-made global warming caused by excess CO2 in the atmosphere is an invention of over-zealous environmentalists....

  • Editorial: Signs of trouble to come for China's new leader
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    The row began a week ago, when a New Year message to be published by Southern Weekend – a respected, liberal newspaper with a rare reputation for independence – was re-written by the regional censor. Out went the calls for "constitutional government...

  • Brian Haw: A statue would be a fitting tribute to a man of peace
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Brian was there in the audience, wearing his trademark beanie hat festooned with badges and I thought his presence might give the evening a combustible quality. And so, all too predictably, it proved. Whenever he took exception to an assertion from t...

  • The long road to acceptance for kidnap victims of rebel fighters
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Please donate to our appeal for child soldiers here.Emilie greets us at the entrance of her newly opened restaurant with her infant son in her arms. The 19-year-old runs a small restaurant facing a busy street in Bria in the diamond-mining area of th...

  • Editorial: Don't dismiss privatised classes
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Probation is the latest candidate for an injection of market forces, and today saw the Justice Secretary set out plans for non-state organisations to take on low-risk offenders. Notwithstanding the dangers of badly designed "payment by results" sche...

  • We need Delia Smith now more than ever
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    For all I know (Delia’s staying silent), it was her decision to leave Waitrose, but I suspect the brand let her go – it’s in thrall to Blumenthal, whose “wacky” creations for them have sold well in recent years. And he’s on the telly all the time bet...

  • These Belfast riots aren't over the flag - but the creation of a fairer society
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Similar scenes could be seen at many of the hundreds of protests which for more than a month have bedevilled Belfast almost nightly. Hooded youths fling bricks and bottles at police who sometimes respond with plastic bullets and water cannon. Other P...

  • Have you lost your work-life balance?
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Or is it? Wasn’t the double episode opener just a series of wrecked family relationships caused by women having jobs,  the cheeky little monkeys? Honestly, will we never learn? Probably not, so here’s my own particular guide to striking the right wor...

  • Letters: Myths about Crimea's Mary Seacole
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    She was a decent and kind woman, but a dubious "celebrated black historical figure" because she was three-quarters white, identified with her Scottish roots, not the "Creole", and never used the term "black" or "African" to refer to herself. Mary S...

  • Learning lines by heart: like having your own private iPoems library
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Learning poetry doesn’t come easy. The first few times you try, the repetition drives you crazy. You find fault with the meaning. The first poem I had to learn was “Young Lochinvar”, about a heroic young Scot, of whom we were told: “And, save his goo...

  • The blackcap is a new bird in our midst. Take the chance to get to know it
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Vietnam is a special case: an area which was closed to naturalists by war for 40 years, and is now yielding up a quite extraordinarily rich biodiversity. In Britain, we long ago sussed out all our wildlife, and such discoveries as we make are on a mu...

  • Nothing in British politics is harder than welfare reform. The dogfight over it is a distraction
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Both are potent soundbites, but do not lead very far. While Labour will struggle a little to prove that it is not planning to waste a fortune on welfare, the Conservative leadership will not make much headway in demonstrating  it has hit upon a devic...

  • A terrible plight, an amazing response by our readers
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Please donate to our appeal for child soldiers here.Be warned, the expert fund-raisers warned us, people will not want to give money to an appeal for child soldiers. The public, we were told, will not give so readily as they would in response to a fa...

  • Whatever happened to the global race in education?
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Both of these changes matter. The most obvious benefit of foreign students is that they pay more – and up front. The more overseas students there are, the more they can subsidise bursaries for British students and fund universities’ research. Labour’...

  • It might seem like a laugh but the Daily Mail’s latest attack on comedy is dangerous
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    The tabloids – and particularly the Mail – have a strong track record of trying to be the national arbiter of what is funny and what isn’t. Their campaigns against entertainers like Jonathan Ross and Frankie Boyle effectively cost those two comedians...

  • Jon Stewart performs surgical takedown on right wing response to Sandy Hook
    MediaIte Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Stewart picks out a cavalcade of lunacy, most of it off Fox TV. If videogames aren't to blame (and they most probably are), then it's "Sharia Mosques", "the new Black Panther party" or the fact that America doesn't have a "lunatic database" to keep t...

  • Reaction: Lance Armstrong might come clean to Oprah
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    The American was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the sport's governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI), following a report by the US Anti-Doping Agency which concluded the 41-year-old and his US Postal Service team had run "...

  • What does your choice of classic Monopoly token say about you?
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Racing car - Your flashy ways conceal deeply ingrained sexual insecurities, but at least you are always nice to your mother.Top Hat - You are a power-crazed egomaniac who wouldn't think twice about screwing over your best-friend for a promotion or pa...

  • Ahead of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Lance Armstrong: the ten questions for him to answer
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    1. Did you routinely dope during your career as a professional cyclist and instruct and encourage others to do the same?2. Did you instruct your lawyers to sue anyone who accused you of doping?3. Did you attempt to defame or question the characters o...

  • Debate: In the wake of the billboard graduate, where does the real value lie in an arts degree?
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    What's going on?Billboard Boy Adam Pacitti took drastic measures last week when he spent his last £500 on a billboard in Camden begging employers to give him a job. This, teamed with a website ( and a video CV which went viral after be...

  • Exclusive: So much for the libertarians! How Ukip sacked me after I said I support equal marriage
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    The Young Independence council co-opted me in line with election results and our constitution. Things simmered until I appeared on the BBC World at One, where among many issues I was asked my opinion on Equal Marriage. I said then what I had said bef...

  • WATCH: James Franco leads the pack of Justin Bieber imitators
    Huffington Post Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    But in difficult times, Young Biebs can at least take comfort in the knowledge that if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, his flatterers are mostly A-list celebs. James Franco, former Academy Awards host and star of films including 127 Hour...

  • A new single for David Bowie, but I fear time has caught up with the thin white duke
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    I was reminded of this while listening to David Bowie's (brilliant) first single in a decade “Where Are We Now?”, released yesterday morning. Its nostalgic, mellow feel, describing the glam godfather's days raving in Berlin with Iggy Pop, and – most ...

  • Piers Morgan stares down the barrel in bust-up with gun nut Alex Jones
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    It was pretty clear to anyone who knew Piers that, for him, fame was the spur. And now he's one of the most famous men in America. It is a heady cocktail he dispenses: a mixture of effortless English charm, an iron nerve, impressive quick-wittedness ...

  • The Welfare Bill: A government of millionaires just made the poor poorer - and laughed as they did it
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    The cap on in-work and out-of-work benefits is the culmination of a systematic campaign by the Tories and their media allies to turn large sections of the population against each other. “Strivers” versus “skivers” and “shirkers”; sinister images of t...

  • The protests sparked by gang-rape in India aren't the beginning and they won't be the end
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    In Pakistan, a candlelight vigil was held on New Year’s Eve, with protesters expressing their anger at crimes against women, days before the country’s Express Tribune newspaper reported the gang rape of a nine-year-old girl. In Bangladesh, protest...

  • Why is British jazz always the Cinderella when it comes to tales of ‘Swinging London’?
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    True maybe, but with a combination of deep meditation and even deeper research, it is just possible to recover some notion of those heady days and ask, ‘Why is British jazz always the Cinderella when it comes to tales of ‘Swinging London’?”Read any B...

  • Letters: The Tory way with rubbish
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    I have the good fortune to live in the lovely county of Buckinghamshire. The downside that all tiers of government are permanently controlled by the nasty party. However, in one of their few enlightened moments the local council recently introduced ...

  • Editorial: Do not let parents off the hook
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    All the evidence shows that children who arrive at school hungry perform less well than those who have eaten. An empty stomach can have an adverse effect not only on children's behaviour but also on their ability to learn. Those that are hungry may ...

  • What a heatwave in Australia tells us about climate change and the extreme weather of the future
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    A heatwave in Australia that started in late December has intensified and now forced the Bureau of Meteorology to reset the upper limit of its daily temperature scale, as the previous record of 50.7 centigrade degrees, set in South Australia in 1960,...

  • It might be fiction, but Britain's leaders should tune in and learn from Danish TV drama Borgen
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    The prime minister, it’s true, looks quite a lot better than ours does in crisp shirts, and nice shoes, and suits. But the prime minister, in the new series of the Danish TV drama Borgen, which started on Saturday, is learning, as our Prime Minister ...

  • Luis Suárez's handball: Cheating isn’t cheating if you don’t think it is
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Suárez appears to have grasped how society’s rules have changed. Under the old system, if you cheated you hoped you weren’t caught. Now you don’t mind getting caught, you just announce that cheating isn’t really breaking any rules, and carry on. Foot...

  • Does a rise in borrowing mean a return to normality?
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Ten-year gilt yields are back above 2 per cent. By any historical standards, that is extremely low: far below current inflation and probably below most expectations for inflation for the next 10 years. But last summer the rate dipped below 1.5 per ce...

  • David Bowie has gone from new to old – and what a beautiful thing it is
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    So it came as a complete surprise this morning when David Bowie released a beautiful new single called “Where Are We Now?”, with an album soon to follow, and nobody knew anything about it. That is until they played the song on the Today programme on ...

  • For too long the West has been blind to Africa's true nature. Now, we risk being left behind
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    The huge delegation highlights how Turkey, one of the world’s 20 biggest economies, has become a global player in recent years. It also underscores the importance of Africa in the emerging new world order. This is why Turkey has opened 19 embassies a...

  • Men's London Fashion Week: Welcome, boys! Now you too can be manipulated by fashion
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    “Crikey, Sandra,” one might say, “I fancied Lee so much when he walked into the bar with his deep brown eyes, holding his lovely man clutch.” Actually, no, one wouldn’t say that. It can’t be done. However, I bet there are hundreds of unclutched male ...

  • A dream that could become reality: no more child soldiers…
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Please donate to our appeal for child soldiers here.Children have fought in wars throughout history, and deep into mythic pre-history. David was not an adult when he slew Goliath. The Children’s Crusade, in which a young boy supposedly persuaded 30,0...

  • Anonymous, 4chan, and how Cut for Bieber pushes trolling to the limit of lulz (whatever that means)
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Plus, as a target for an internet prank, the ‘Belieber phenomenon’ seems fair game, striking as it does a high point in the commercialisation of teenage desire. The problem here – and the point at which this whole farce becomes just flat and depressi...

  • What is the future of conservatism?
    Commentary Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Goldberg is a clear and compelling writer, as shown by his pay-off: "The vernacular of conservatism derives from a time when the country was churched and defined liberty as personal sovereignty. It needs to change to engage a country that is increasi...

  • Bowie releases first new single for 10 years, 'Where Are We Now?': The world reacts
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    And where are we now? Well the general reaction to the song, which finds Bowie in a mournful reflective mood has been slightly deranged excitement. @simonpegg tweets "Holy shit, did someone say BOWIE!! The real goblin king has returned!" The Telegrap...

  • WATCH: Oil flows wrong way in brain-twisting illusion
    Fast Company Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    But this optical illusion is more than a spot of fun. The Big Six oil companies (Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron etc) have come to be known as 'Supermajors' , and Matt Kenyon of SWAMP explained the thinking behind the installation as follows: "I spent a l...

  • Down with George Osborne's Welfare Uprating Bill!
    New Statesman Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    There are four reasons, according to Eaton: 1. "It will force even more of the poorest families to choose between heating and eating"; 2. "It will damage the economy by reducing real incomes"; 3. "Low wages aren't a reason to cut benefits"; 4. "There...

  • Why Les Misérables and Victor Hugo still matter
    Washington Post Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    For Gerson, Les Misérables resonates because Hugo's "great book is a vivid description of the workings of grace". Hugo may not have been a conventional Christian, or indeed a conventional thinker of any kind, but his deep concern was to give meaning ...

  • Chuck Hagel will initiate America's inevitable military decline
    New York Times Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    The truth, Brooks says, is that Obama wants political cover for beginning the decades-long process of reducing America's expenditure on the military. The cost of healthcare, which Americans essentially approve of because they like it, even if they ar...

  • It isn’t easy being young in the United Kingdom today
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Lost because more and more of us are facing long term unemployment, mounting debt and declining hope of change.The ‘lost’ generation, the ‘jilted’ generation, the ‘forgotten’ generation; whatever way you want to put it, it isn’t easy being young in t...

  • Those new year gym bunnies will have hopped off by Easter
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    How many times have I forgotten my post-gym underpants? How many times have I tried to peek at the blonde guy with the amazing legs whilst needlessly tying and re-tying my laces? How many times have I fallen off the gym ball trying to do that thing w...

  • Rhodri Marsden: Things are really not going too appallingly. Sorry about that
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    I'm not generally one for getting caught up in the excitement, but it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement. In the last few days I've found myself kissing in a restaurant, initiating a comically romantic pirouette on a tube platform and skip...

  • Ageism or a legitimate decision?
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Emma Satyamurti, an employment lawyer at Leigh Day & Co, which successfully fought an ageism case against the BBC for the Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly, said the issues are not as overt as in other discrimination cases. In cases of race ...

  • Editorial: You can't Lance the boil that easily
    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    Mr Armstrong's mea culpa, if it comes, does have some value. After all, there are still a few for whom he remains a hero, guilty of nothing more egregious than following the norms of the age in which he was competing. A confession from the man himse...

  • The Sketch: Two balding blokes and the battle of the Bill
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Iain Duncan Smith yet again reminded Liam Byrne of the post-election letter he wrote (regrets, Byrne must have a few) as outgoing Treasury chief secretary to his successor saying "I'm afraid to tell you there's no money." And he claimed that Labour ...

  • Editorial: In defence of the Liverpool Care Pathway
    Tuesday, 8 January 2013

    Critics describe the LCP as an excuse to save money by withdrawing medicine from the dying, or as back-door euthanasia. There have indeed been problems – when patients and relatives have not been informed of its use, for example – and an inquiry has...

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