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Latest news and comment from Britain | 

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema sinks Bayern Munich's pass masters

There was a moment in the _fondo sur_ , where the most boisterous Madridistas bang their drums and orchestrate the loudest noise, when a huge banner was unfurled to read "Reyes de Europa".The nine-time winners have not lived up to that "Kings of Europe" billing since Zinedine Zidane's volley at Hampden Park in 2002 but now, after the years of hard-luck stories, near-misses and under-achieveme

Facebook quarterly earnings soar 72% on mobile platform success

Social network reports $2.5bn revenue in first quarter of 2014 Mobile and advertising revenue up significantly from last yearFacebook revenue soared 72% in the first quarter of 2014 as the company continued to shift its customers and advertisers to its mobile platform.Comfortably beating analysts expectation the company said Wednesday that it had revenue of $2.5bn (£1.5bn) in the first q

Real Madrid v Bayern Munich: Champions League as it happened

Karim Benzema's early goal was enough to give Real Madrid a slender advantage in their semi-final against the European champions Continue reading...

JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy to become HBO/BBC miniseries

Author's first book for adults, released in 2012, will be turned into three hour-long episodes in transatlantic co-productionLike most of JK Rowling's literary projects, The Casual Vacancy's release in 2012 was shrouded in secrecy. But an announcement that the book will be turned into a miniseries? Not so much. Her "pretty little town of Pagford" will get the small-screen treatment as a th

Kenya car bomb kills four in capital city Nairobi

Bomb explodes outside police station in area targeted in past attacks that police say Somali militants have carried outAt least four people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside a police station in a poor neighbourhood of the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Wednesday, the country's interior ministry said.Police officers had earlier stopped the saloon car at traffic lights and were taking th

This war on 'Islamism' only fuels hatred and violence

Tony Blair's anti-democratic tirade chimes with David Cameron's toxic manoeuvring at home and in the Muslim worldThe neocons are back. That toxic blend of messianic warmongering abroad and McCarthyite witch-hunting at home which gave us Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo and the London bombings is coursing through our public life again. Yesterday the liberal interventionists' hero, Tony Blair, was o

FBI investigates London links of teacher who abused 90 boys

William Vahey, who taught at Southbank International School, admitted molesting children while teaching in CaracasAn elite London school has become embroiled in an FBI-led international child abuse investigation into a highly regarded teacher who is believed to have molested more than 90 boys.William Vahey, a 64-year old American who taught at the Southbank International School in Westminste

Agency: banking system in independent Scotland risks Iceland-style meltdown

S&P says it would be 'challenging' for Edinburgh government to support its banks without backing of LondonAn independent Scotland would need the support of the UK Treasury and the Bank of England to prevent savers in its banks being as vulnerable as those who had money in Iceland during the 2008 financial crisis, according to one of the three leading credit rating agencies.In a detailed anal

BBC's Jamaica Inn drama loses quarter of audience after sound quality issues

Transmisson snags or actors' artistry blamed for muffled dialogue as Daphne du Maurier tale sheds 1.6m viewersThe BBC TV drama Jamaica Inn lost a quarter of its audience after sound issues left viewers barely able to understand the dialogue.The audience for the second episode of the adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel fell by 1.6 million following hundreds of viewer complaints over mumbl

Boris Johnson told to announce his intentions for next election

Conservative party HQ wants the London mayor to declare he will stand as MP to avoid speculation during annual conferenceConservative Party headquarters is putting pressure on the London mayor, Boris Johnson, to announce shortly that he will stand as a Conservative candidate at the next election, hoping to prevent another bout of speculation about his intentions overshadowing the party conferen

Nigel Farage: a pustule of resentment on the body politic

Politicans talk about ordinary people, but never to them. Into this vacuum steps the likes of Ukip. The left must take noteThere is forever an England where Ukip is nothing more than a joke on Twitter, the Daily Mail is something that no one you know actually reads, where Christianity is a misguided thought process, where everyone understands that taxation is absolutely the right price to pay f

Turkish PM offers condolences over 1915 Armenian massacre

Recep Tayyip Erdogan refers to 'our shared pain' in unexpected statement on eve of 99th anniversary of start of deportationsThe Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has offered his condolences to the families of more than 1 million Armenians who were massacred during the first world war, in Turkey's most conciliatory remarks yet over the highly contested episode.Speaking on the eve

PLO and Hamas agree landmark pact

Move announced at joint news conference by both sides has aim of forming unity government within five weeksThe two main rival Palestinian factions have signed an accord designed to end seven years of sometimes violent division, paving the way for elections later in the year and the formation of a unity government within weeks.The move, after a day of talks between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza tha

Miriam Clegg says fathers who look after children have 'more cojones'

Deputy prime minister's wife interrupts his talk on male parenting to urge change in attitudes towards masculinity and caringMiriam Clegg on Wednesday interrupted a speech by her husband Nick to speak out in favour of fathers who look after their children, saying they have "more cojones". Continue reading...

Three beaten in racist attack in Belfast

Police say victims suffered bruising and cuts and one man lost two teeth in attack by gang of up to 15 peopleTwo men and a woman were beaten by a gang of up to 15 people in a racist attack in east Belfast, police said.The victims suffered bruising and cuts and one of the men lost two teeth in the incident in the Lawnmount Street area of the city on Monday night. Continue reading...

Climbing Everest is the peak of hubris

With Sherpas treated like pack animals by the cretinous rich, the crisis of the world's highest mountain was inevitableMountain Madness was the name of an expedition whose leader perished in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, chronicled by Jon Krakauer in Into Thin Air and it was well-named. There is an explicit madness attached to serious mountaineering; a desire for pain, isolation and submissi

Fake job ad for Nigel Farage PA gets hundreds of responses

Ukip leader said only his wife was capable of fulfilling role working unsociable hours for him on modest salaryA fake job advert seeking a PA for Nigel Farage has attracted hundreds of responses, according to a recruitment firm.The advert was posted by a recruitment firm, Xpat Jobs, after the Ukip leader said that only his wife who is German was capable of fulfilling the role while earning "

The Hamid Mir case: 'In Pakistan, they used to censor journalists now they shoot us'

On Saturday in Karachi, one of Pakistan's most famous journalists survived being shot six times. Soon after, the TV news channel he works for blamed the feared Inter-Services Intelligence agency for the attack. Author Mohammed Hanif reports on a fourth estate under siegeMore than a hundred bouquets line the lobby of the private ward of Karachi's posh, private Aga Khan Hospital. Outside, dozens

Six reasons for the fall in violent crime

From the removal of lead in petrol to fighting becoming uncool, there are plenty of theories as to why the crime rate is falling. But do any of them stack up?Violent crime in England and Wales has fallen by 12%, according to the latest national violence surveillance network figures, based on A&E admissions. In fact, the rate of violent crime in the UK has fallen almost every year since 2001. Bu

RAF fighter jets intercept Russian bombers off coast of Scotland

Ministry of Defence plays down incident in which Typhoons scramble to head off two Tu-95s in international airspace Continue reading...

UK military operations since cold war have cost £34bn, says study

Study says bulk of money was spent on Iraq and Afghanistan, interventions judged later to be 'strategic failures'Britain's military operations since the end of the cold war have cost £34.7bn and a further £30bn may have to be spent on long-term veteran care, according to an authoritative study.The bulk of the money has been spent on interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan judged to have been "

Duchess of Cornwall's brother Mark Shand dies after fall in New York

Shand was organising fundraising for his conservation charity when he fell and seriously injured headThe brother of the Duchess of Cornwall has died after an accident in New York, Clarence House has said.Mark Shand, 62, was in New York organising fundraising for his conservation charity when he fell and seriously injured his head. Continue reading...

David Moyes thanks Manchester United staff but no mention of players

Moyes says squad needs 'fundamental rebuilding' LMA say manner of sacking was unprofessionalDavid Moyes has taken a parting shot at Manchester United's players by stating the squad requires "fundamental rebuilding", while the League Managers Association chief executive, Richard Bevan, has claimed the manager's sacking was done unprofessionally.Moyes was told he would be removed early on Tue

Yorkshire's Andrew Gale could drop himself despite win over Northants

Yorkshire 459-9 dec; Northamptonshire 94 & 245 Yorkshire win by an innings and 120 runsThe Yorkshire captain, Andrew Gale, responded to his side's maiden County Championship victory in their second outing of the season by contemplating dropping himself for their third.After witnessing his bowlers wrap up a comfortable win against newly promoted Northamptonshire in less than two hours of the

Formula One holds its breath as Bernie Ecclestone's bribery trial begins

F1 chief executive's trial starts in Munich on Thursday Prosecutors have impressive track record in recent casesBernie Ecclestone goes on trial in Munich on Thursday and for the next five months Formula One will hold its breath. The man who transformed the sport into a billion-pound business and who has run it for four decades in his idiosyncratic and controversial way faces the possibility of

County cricket live!

Richard Gibson was at Headingley to watch Yorkshire beat Northants, while Andy Wilson is busy below the line reporting on Lancashire v Warwickshire from Old Trafford 6.21pm BST Peter Moores's five years as the Lancashire coach have ended in drama. Warwickshire needed 25 runs from 27 balls when the umpires were obliged to halt play for bad light, because the readings on their meters had rea

FA charge Chelsea's José Mourinho, Rui Faria and Ramires with misconduct

Manager and his assistant to face sanctions after Sunderland Brazilian midfielder given four-match ban for violent conductThe potentially damaging ramifications of Chelsea's furious defeat to Sunderland have become clearer after the Football Association issued charges against three members of the Londoners' squad, including the manager José Mourinho.The Brazil midfielder Ramires may have pl

Male workers at Welsh university win equal pay claim

University of Wales, Trinity St David concedes claim by workmen who were paid less than women on same pay gradeTwenty-three male workers at a university in Wales who were paid less than their female counterparts have won around £500,000 in compensation after suing for sex discrimination.Eighteen caretakers and tradesmen took the University of Wales, Trinity St David (UWTSD) to an employment

Lenny Henry campaign: back TV diversity or we'll boycott licence fee

Actor launches petition and email push lobbying culture minister Ed Vaizey to change the law on ethnic minority workersSupporters of a campaign launched by comedian and actor Lenny Henry to change the law to boost the number of black, Asian and minority workers in the television industry say they will consider boycotting the licence fee if the government fails to take action. Continue reading

Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj opts to represent Belgium

Confirmed by Red Devils' coach Marc Wilmots on Twitter Teenager had the choice of five different countriesThe debate over Adnan Januzaj's international future appears to have been settled after Belgium coach Marc Wilmots took to Twitter to announce the Manchester United forward has committed himself to the Red Devils.The 19-year-old who was born in Brussels to Kosovar-Albanian parents is el

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