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Latest news and comment from Britain | 

The lack of any official condemnation for CIA torture ensures it will happen again

Instead of trials for those accused of endorsing torture, or a process of accountability for political leaders, we get trials by essay. It’s not enough for a healthy democracyThe details shocked. Shackled prisoners were treated like cattle, watched by their CIA interrogators. Testimony from one observer stated that men blindfolded and tied “were made to run down a steep hill, at the bottom of

Some youth offending teams failing to protect at-risk girls, say inspectors

Investigation finds that many girls in criminal justice system are at risk of sexual exploitationMany girls in the criminal justice system are being sexually exploited and some youth offending teams are failing to provide protection for them, independent inspectors have said.The inspectors said they were “extremely concerned” to find that many girls were at risk of sexual exploitation. Cont

UK prison officers sent to work up to 60 miles away ‘to plug staffing gaps’

Penal reform campaigners say ‘failing system’ has required dozens to engage in detached duty in runup to ChristmasMore than 230 prison officers have been asked to work in other prisons in the runup to Christmas as governors across England and Wales face a major staffing crisis, penal reform campaigners have claimed.Official documents that outline measures to tackle staff shortages in prisons

Atlético Madrid stumble past Hospitalet to set up Real derby

• Atlético Madrid 2-2 Hospitalet (5-2 on agg)Atlético Madrid set up a crosstown Copa del Rey tie with Real Madrid despite drawing 2-2 at home to the third-tier side Hospitalet on Thursday, advancing 5-2 on aggregate.The striker Mario Mandzukic scored Atlético’s opener in the 19th minute and headed in a second in the 74th, seven minutes after Hospitalet’s Rubén Alcaraz got his first goal. Co

Report recommends Secret Service ramp up protection of White House

Panel’s security review suggests raising height of fence and getting an outside director to solidify president’s safety after Omar Gonzalez breached securityThe White House fence should be raised by up to five feet and new outside management brought in to shake up a failing security culture and prevent another intruder threatening the president, according to a damning report into the operatio

The Fall recap: season two, episode six – an infuriating cop-out of an ending

After all the tension, too many questions were left unanswered and those that were seemed contrived to leave the viewer hanging – and the possibility of another seriesThe finale in so many ways summed up season two of The Fall: moments of promise buried in a massive heap of storylines either too contrived to be believable, or introduced only to be discarded later. And while season two has lar

Algeria call will interrupt progress of Nabil Bentaleb at Tottenham

• Africa Cup of Nations gets under way on 17 January• Bentaleb a first-choice in Algeria’s midfield• Capital One Cup match report: Tottenham 4-0 NewcastleFor Nabil Bentaleb the momentum that he has built at Tottenham Hotspur stands to be checked. The 20-year-old helped the club to their 4-0 Capital One Cup quarter-final victory over Newcastle United but he will miss the two-leg semi-final aga

Steven Gerrard tells Liverpool to ‘fight for the club’ after victory

• Liverpool captain issues rallying cry after seeing off Bournemouth• Steven Gerrard hopes win can spur team on against Arsenal• Match report: Bournemouth 1 Liverpool 3Steven Gerrard has urged his Liverpool team-mates to “roll up your sleeves and fight for the club” as the side attempt to inject some momentum into their Premier League campaign with a morale-boosting victory over Arsenal on Su

Nick Hewer fires himself from The Apprentice after a decade

Lord Sugar’s sidekick says year 10 is the appropriate time to leave the series since his stamina is ‘not up to long weeks’Lord Sugar’s sidekick Nick Hewer is to leave BBC1 hit series The Apprentice after a decade.The PR guru, who has worked with the businessman since 1983 when he began promoting the Amstrad brand, has been an adviser on the show since it started in 2005.So farewell Appren

Wall Street extends rally to post biggest one-day gain in three years

Dow Jones industrial average rises 421 points as the Federal Reserve news that it won’t raise interest rates continues to support market gainsThe Dow Jones industrial average had its biggest day in three years, soaring more than 400 points as the stock market extended a rally into a second day.The industrial average closed up 421 points, or 2.4%, to 17,778 Thursday, its largest gain since

MH17: hundreds of human remains still unidentified

Agony continues for families as authorities reveal that identification process could take another five monthsThe family of a British student who was travelling to Australia when he died on MH17 has revealed there are still 700 fragments of human remains to be identified in the Netherlands.Ben Pocock, 20, was en route to Perth to study at the University of Western Australia when Malaysia Ai

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb review – surreal panto fantasy

Ben Stiller’s long-suffering guard is back – joined by Robin Williams in his final role – and trying to keep the magic alive in this likable third instalmentThe third part in what absolutely no one is calling the Night at the Museum “trilogy” turns out to be a good-natured and entertainingly surreal panto fantasy, set partly in London’s British Museum, with nice cameos from Dan Stevens as Sir L

Dumb and Dumber To review – stoopid and offensive as ever

Twenty years on, the Farrelly brothers revive the characters played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, who are older, wrinklier and not a bit wiserWe’re right back to the 90s world of bad-taste incorrectness here: all we need now is for Dana Carvey to come out of retirement and we could get a Wayne’s World reunion going.The Farrelly brothers have revived their egregiously stoopid characters, Ll

Syriza’s leader seeks to reassure the markets over debt pile

Alexis Tsipras says his radical left party would seek ‘negotiated solution’ and would not make unilateral moves unless forcedThe man who could soon be Greece’s prime minister – if MPs fail to elect a president and snap polls are called - has sought to placate international markets days before parliament holds a second vote for a new head of state.Alexis Tsipras insisted on Thursday that his

Tories raise funds for further poll soon after general election in May

Party to make contingencies in case hung parliament - and aversion to another coalition - prompts second electionThe Conservatives are making contingency plans for a second general election next year as Whitehall’s election spending watchdog officially begins the countdown for the 7 May poll.Sources close to the Tories say that party officials, wary that opinion polls show it is likely that

Everything’s fine, says Putin in press conference – including my love life

A classic example of the Russian leader’s annual conference: just don’t mention the rouble or military involvement in UkraineWith flirtatious questions about his love life, noir wisecracks, earthy animal metaphors and forceful anti-western rhetoric, on the surface this was a classic Vladimir Putin press conference. The Russian president puts on the marathon performance annually, assembling mo

Pakistan court grants bail to alleged leader of Mumbai terror attack

Court says it has insufficient evidence to link Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi to 2008 assault in which 166 people diedOne day after Pakistan’s prime minister vowed to crack down on terrorism, a court has granted bail to the man accused of masterminding the deadly 2008 assault on Mumbai.The decision by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi to release Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi after finding insufficient e

Tim Cook makes personal donation to gay rights campaign

Apple CEO’s contribution amount not disclosed, but the $8.5m three-year initiative intends to build acceptance throughout the American south*Tim Cook: ‘I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me’Apple chief executive Tim Cook, the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 1,000 company, is donating money to help fund a gay rights initiative in his native Alabama and two other S

Yes, Pakistanis are united against terrorism. But not on terrorists

Militants who target India will always be good taliban. So an alleged architect of the Mumbai attack can be released two days after PeshawarOn this Pakistan is united: the men who killed 132 children in a Peshawar school are terrorists. On this too Pakistan is – temporarily – united: terrorism must be defeated. After that the trouble begins. With something as seemingly innocuous as who, exactly

London police: we believe claims of ‘VIP’ child sex abuse and murder

Scotland Yard says victim’s allegations against prominent political and establishment figures are credible and trueScotland Yard officers have said they believe allegations that a ring of prominent politicians and members of the establishment abused and terrorised children as young as seven more than 30 years ago and went on to kill three young boys.Detectives appealed for victims and witnes

Bill proposes letting women bishops jump queue to join House of Lords

Currently seats are allocated to bishops according to length of service, but bill proposes next seat be taken by a womanLegislation has been tabled allowing women bishops to jump the queue and take the next available seat in the House of Lords.Constitution minister Sam Gyimah said it was right for women to join the bishops in the Lords as soon as possible but the normal rules, based on lengt

Boris Johnson flight passenger admits to drunkenness and assault

David Morris pleads guilty to assault by beating and being drunk on flight from Far East on which London mayor was travellingAn airline passenger who ignored Boris Johnson’s pleas to calm down on a flight from Malaysia downed five double whiskies before headbutting a flight attendant, a court heard.David Morris, 43, was on a plane from Kuala Lumpur when he unleashed a drink-fuelled tirade ag

The Sony leak unearthed juicy gossip, but the blackmailers must not win

This isn’t about a half-baked Seth Rogen comedy. It’s about the folly of letting bullies have their wayMy heart sinks, to be honest, at the prospect of having to watch The Interview. Judging from the trailers, it’s the kind of crass, juvenile slapstick that’s barely worth a bucket of popcorn and a babysitter – although we can scratch the babysitter, since the only way ever to watch this comedy

How Farage and Salmond – but not Miliband – ran Cameron ragged

John Crace’s review of the year: from sorry apology to solemn vow, 2014 was not a vintage year of political accomplishmentPoliticians rarely find it easy to say sorry but, in April, culture secretary Maria Miller did manage to find a 32-second window in her diary to come to the House of Commons to mutter: “Yeah whatevs I dun nuthin wrong and though I’m sayin soz I don’t mean it cos what’s wrong

2014 albums we missed: Jhené Aiko – Souled Out review

(Def Jam/Virgin EMI)It’s been about 11 years since a 15-year-old Jhené Aiko asked to be released from her contract with Epic Records. In that time, the honey-voiced singer and songwriter has found her feet. This debut appears at first to fall under a future R&B categorisation, but soon billows into a concept album that spans neo-soul, dark alt-pop and a few licks of psychedelia. As an artist wh

Customer debts to energy suppliers rise to more than £900m

Each indebted customer owes an average of more than £300, and 550 households had electricity cut off and 84 lost gasA simmering row about high domestic energy prices was reignited on Thursday after figures from the industry regulator, Ofgem, showed total customer debt to suppliers had risen to more than £900m.The Labour party said this and a 23% increase in electricity disconnections “lay ba

Body to be exhumed in inquest into 1971 British army killings in Belfast

Inquest to re-examine deaths of ten people who were fired upon by the Parachute Regiment in west Belfast in August 1971The body of a man who died from wounds in the mass shooting of civilians by British troops in west Belfast in 1971 is to be exhumed, it has been confirmed.Northern Ireland’s coroner, Jim Kitson, told a preliminary hearing of the inquest into the deaths of ten people who were

2014 science breakthroughs: no more ageing, cave art and landing on a comet

Accolade for Philae probe and its mothership, Rosetta, but top spot in journal Science’s list goes to genetic researchersAll three of its landing systems failed on impact and its detectors and transmitters stopped operating after only 57 hours. Yet the Philae probe that moored itself to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last month, together with its mothership Rosetta, were yesterday hailed as on

New Jersey hopes Cuba-US relations thaw will help extradite former Black Panther

*Joanne Chesimard, now Assata Shakur, found guilty in death of officer in 1973*She escaped prison with help, fled to Cuba and Fidel Castro granted her asylum*Assata Shakur: from civil rights activist to FBI’s most-wanted*US-Cuba deal: a marriage 18 months in the making and blessed by Pope FrancisNew Jersey officials hope the thaw in diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba will mak

Colombia rebuffs Farc ceasefire offer

Government says peace deal must be reached before it will accept rebels’ demand that truce be verified by other countriesColombia’s government has rebuffed a unilateral truce declared by the country’s largest rebel group, saying the guerrillas’ conditions are unacceptable until a peace deal is reached.The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) said on Wednesday it would lay down its w

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