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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Greek election: Syriza confident of victory – live updates

US-Russian rift threatens security of nuclear material

More than two decades of cooperation in guarding weapons-grade stockpiles comes to an end, leaving the world ‘a more dangerous place’


One of the greatest boons brought to the world by the end of the Cold War was the agreement been the US and the countries of the former Soviet Union to cooperate in securing the USSR’s vast nuclear arsenal.


Under the 1991 Cooperative Threat Reduction agreement, better known as the Nunn-Lugar programme (after the two senators who persuaded Congress to pay for it) 900 intercontinental ballistic missiles were destroyed, and over 7600 warheads were deactivated. Some 250 tons of bomb-grade fissile material, scattered across the disintegrating superpower, was locked up and put under guard, so it could not be stolen and sold to the highest bidder. Tens of thousands of former Soviet nuclear weapons scientists and technicians were found jobs and salaries to help reduce the incentives to offer their expertise to rogue states and terrorists.


There has been a race between cooperation and catastrophe, when you look at the possibility of catastrophic acts of terrorism. Cooperation has been running rapidly over the past twenty years, but this is a real setback...The Russians says they are going to spend resources to secure their materials and we have to hope they will. They have the expertise to do it, but they are under heavy economic pressure.


It makes the world a more dangerous place. It will make it more likely there will be nuclear security incidents in the world’s biggest nuclear stockpile.


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Open-air swimming pool plans to launch in middle of Thames in London

Artist Tracey Emin to feature in promotional video for campaign, which is looking for £10m in online funding


An online crowd-funding campaign to build a £10m open-air swimming pool in the middle of the river Thames in central London is to launch next month.


Initial designs for the Thames Baths, which is to open next year on the Victoria Embankment if planning permission is granted, feature a 25-metre by 10-metre main pool, filtration system and pool-side decking.


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Waves Of Grief

Andrea Woodhouse, who was in Indonesia when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit a decade ago, reflects on the connection between grief and catastrophe: In her book Upheavals of Thought, the philosopher Martha Nussbaum argues that emotion is bound up with intelligence: it is not opposed to rationality but rather at its center. Feelings such as […]



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GDP: Annual and Q4-over-Q4





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11 killed in pro-democracy protests in Egypt on 2011 uprising anniversary

Two police officers were also wounded by a bomb explosion while security forces set up in Tahrir Square

Eleven people were killed during pro-democracy protests in Egypt and a bomb wounded two police officers on Sunday, the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, security sources said.


The anniversary is a test of whether Islamists and liberal activists facing one of Egypt’s toughest crackdowns have the resolve to challenge the US-backed government once again.


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West Ham’s FA Cup blushes spared by Diafra Sakho winner at Bristol City

It was not convincing by any stretch and for long periods Bristol City threatened to add their name to the list of giantkilling acts of the weekend, but West Ham United ultimately found a way to overpower the League One club. Daifra Sakho, on as a second-half substitute and making his first appearance since picking up a back injury on New Year’s Day, met Andy Carroll’s cross with a far-post header to secure West Ham’s place in the last 16.


The goal arrived in the 81st minute and seemed cruel on City, who looked the more accomplished side at times but were left to rue their failure to make the most of several decent chances. West Ham were poor and Sam Allardyce will be relieved that the Premier League side were spared a replay. Deep in injury-time Matt Smith had threatened to haul Steve Cotterill’s side level but the striker, on loan from Fulham, headed a Jay Emmanuel-Thomas cross wide. It was that sort of day for City.


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Japanese PM stands firm on foreign policy after Isis hostage murder

Shinzo Abe says Japan will continue to play active role abroad after ‘unforgivable’ killing of Haruna Yukawa by Islamic State

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has vowed his country will continue to play an active and constructive role abroad, undeterred by the execution of a Japanese security contractor by Islamic State extremists.


The apparent beheading of Haruna Yukawa has shocked Japan and intensified anxiety over the fate of another hostage, Kenji Goto, a freelance journalist. However, there is little consensus on how to respond.


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Axa looks at cyber attack insurance policy in UK

Add-on policy sold in France aims to clean up private images and information posted online by hackers

Individuals afraid of cyber attacks may soon be able to buy insurance that would allow them to clean up the damage caused by hackers.


The insurance company Axa is already offering such insurance policies in France and is now looking at devising a similar policy for the UK market.


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Angelina Jolie visits Kurdish refugees: 'we are failing in Iraq' - video

Angelina Jolie visits a Kurdish refugee camp in Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan. The US actress says the international community is failing to address the fierce conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and calls on world leaders to find a way to move forward. 'For all the immense efforts and good intentions, the international community is failing,' she says Continue reading...





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Sundance 2015 review: The Overnight – swinging with Jason Schwartzman is only fun at first

Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling are seduced by Schwartzman and his wife after they demonstrate a lactation machine in this initially promising but swiftly thin comedy


It’s sometimes hard to recognize when we are living in a times of legends. Jason Schwartzman shouldn’t be compared to the current crop of funnymen that appear in film today, such as Jason Segel or Bill Hader or his The Overnight co-star Adam Scott. He should be ranked alongside true innovators like Bob Hope or Jack Benny, the type of performer who can draw a laugh before they even open their mouths. Whether as the lead in the HBO series Bored to Death or in a bit part in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, the dichotomy between his diminutive stature and his profound cockiness is, truly, a joke that never gets old.


But Patrick Brice’s film The Overnight really puts this theory to the test. There are indeed a few laughs in this 21st century Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice, but its meandering, seemingly ad-hoc script and repeated one note joke make for an unfulfilling experience.


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Six skiers die in avalanche in French Alps

Four men and two women were trekking at 7,900ft when they were buried in one of deadliest snowslide in years

Six experienced skiers have been killed in one of the deadliest avalanches in recent years in the French Alps.


The skiers – four men and two women aged between 58 and 73 – had been trekking at 7,900ft when they were swept to their deaths.


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“An American Orwell”

In a review of Irving Howe’s recently-published collected essays, A Voice Still Heard, Frank Foer appends that label to the critic and longtime editor of Dissent. Foer goes on to assert that Howe was “our most thrilling dissident, a socialist with conservative cultural sympathies, a scything polemicist capable of the most tender, patient literary explication”: […]



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30 Elite Filipino Police Killed in "Misencounter" with Militants

30 Elite Filipino Police Killed in "Misencounter" with Militants


More than 30 elite Filipino police commandos were killed during an attempt to capture a terror suspect, the Associated Press reported. The raid resulted in a "misencounter" with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim militant group that won semi-autonomy last year after four decades of fighting, Mamasapano's mayor told the AP.


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Brighton v Arsenal: FA Cup – live!

Tim Burgess: soundtrack of my life

The Charlatans singer on the wonder of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the desperate beauty of Arthur Russell – and getting his nan to buy him a punk album from WH Smith

Tim Burgess was born in 1967 in Salford, Greater Manchester, and grew up in Northwich, Cheshire. After a stint as the lead singer in the Electric Crayons, he joined the Charlatans. Burgess’s career has included 22 top 40 hits, two solo albums, and collaborations with the likes of the Chemical Brothers and Kurt Wagner of Lambchop. In 2011 Burgess launched record label O Genesis, and released a series of 7-inch singles that reflect his own diverse musical tastes. O Genesis also released his most successful solo album, Oh No I Love You . His regular DJ sets have led to him presenting shows on BBC Radio 6 Music. Since taking time out to publish his autobiography, Telling Stories , Burgess has been focusing on his work with the Charlatans, who release their 12th album, Modern Nature, on 26 January.


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The weekend in pictures

A selection of some of the best images from around the world this weekend including President Obama in India, the election in Greece and glowing blue algae in Hong Kong


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The packaging innovation that could cut the UK’s £12bn yearly food waste

Solveiga Pakstaite’s ‘bump mark’ came from a her initial thought about how blind people determine food’s freshness

Britons throw away more than 4m tonnes of consumable food and drink from their homes ever year and a revamp of the sell-by-date label could save perfectly edible food from the bin bag.


It was while researching how blind people use public transport that an industrial designer stumbled across an innovation for keep our fridges stocked a little bit longer. Solveiga Pakstaite said the study led to her questioning how the blind can check sell-by dates.


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Sundance 2015 review: Strangerland – Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes lost, send help fast

This perplexing Aussie thriller about the disappearance of a couple’s children in the outback, and subsequent unspooling, leaves its audience as in the dark as its protagonists


I’m going to admit this straight out of the gate: I don’t think I understood Strangerland. Well, I got the basics of the story – they’re clear enough. After moving from a bigger city to a tiny outback town, Catherine (Nicole Kidman) and Matthew (Joseph Fiennes) mislay their two children Lily (Maddison Brown) and Tom (Nicholas Hamilton) just as a massive dust storm engulfs the town. That’s easy enough to follow, as is the investigation lead by salty town cop Detective Rae (Hugo Weaving).


What’s confusing is what on earth the movie, from Australian TV veteran but first-time feature director Kim Farrant, is actually trying to say. There is something powerful in here about female sexuality. Lily is attractive and amorous, having relationships with several local boys, and there are plenty of indications that her mother was the same way growing up. Her father seems to hate this in both of them, especially his daughter. Then we’re into the lies couples tell each other and the secrets we try to keep from the world and ourselves.


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Ajax and Feyenoord play out stalemate to further boost leaders PSV

Read Tom Davies’s minute-by-minute report

A rare goalless draw between Ajax and Feyenoord on Sunday was a setback for both the main pursuers of the leaders PSV Eindhoven at the head of the Dutch league.


Both sides needed a victory to put just the slightest pressure on the runaway leaders PSV, who now have a six-point advantage over the champions Ajax and 14 points over third-placed Feyenoord.


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Kerry Meets With Nigerian Leaders to Encourage Peaceful Election

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Lagos hoping to encourage an orderly vote amid the continuing fight against the militant group Boko Haram.

















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Widespread Blackout in Pakistan Deals Another Blow to Government

Even with a partial restoration of power in the capital, Islamabad, and the most populous city, Karachi, 80 percent of the country remained without power after an apparent militant attack.

















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A Step Too Far





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The View From Your Window

Istanbul, Turkey, 1 pm



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Sundance 2015 review: Glassland – half empty, half excellent alcoholic drama

Gerard Barrett’s Irish drama about the effect of Toni Collette’s alcoholism on son Jack Reynor is bleak and deeply moving – until he starts with the psychologising


The tears in Glassland catch you unawares. This is not your run-of-the-mill weepy, nor your archly-crafted Oscar bait. The most emotionally destructive scene here is when John (Jack Reynor) a young Irish man, has to convince his alcoholic mother (Toni Collette) to enter rehab, not because her addiction is killing her, but because it’s killing him.


Written and directed by Gerard Barrett, Jean is not one of those scamp drunks seen in shows like Shameless. She’s more like an inanimate object whom has to be dragged around, cleaned up, fed, and otherwise tended to by her dutiful son. It is as sad and bleak as the cinematography reflects. John, a taxi driver almost angelically good in his devotion to other people, has to come up with €8,000 to get his mother into rehab and has to decide whether or not to turn to a life of crime in order to get the cash.


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Obama and Modi agree to limit US liability in case of nuclear disaster

Decision set to lead to contracts worth billions of dollars but hopes for a US-China-style air pollution deal are dashed

American industrial interests took centre stage at the start of Barack Obama’s visit to India as he and the prime minister, Narendra Modi, outlined a deal to limit the legal liability of US suppliers in the event of a nuclear power plant catastrophe.


Thirty years after an infamous chemical leak killed thousands at Union Carbide’s factory in Bhopal, the threat of tough Indian compensation laws has frustrated US hopes of an export boom in the energy sector – despite an agreement by the former US president George W Bush to share civil nuclear technology in 2005.


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Sundance 2015 review: The Diary of a Teenage Girl – today I slept with Alexander Skarsgård

San Francisco in the swinging 1970s and our 17-year-old heroine is either out partying with mum Kristen Wiig or back in bed with her boyfriend. It makes for a heady schedule, writes Brian Moylan


Being a teenager is about testing the boundaries, venturing into the darkness and seeing just how far you can go til something bad happens. Knowing that limit is part of what shapes us as adults, and I’ve never seen that process illustrated as well as in The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Considering the film is set in the counter-culture of San Francisco in the 1970s, there was ample darkness for a girl to get into.


The movie wades right in with 17-year-old Minnie (Benidorm star Bel Powley) starting a sexual relationship with her mother’s boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard). It carries on far longer than it should, with him egging her on as she’s pushing her away. It’s not helped by her mother (Kristen Wiig) who parties alongside her daughter and tacitly condones her pot, alcohol, and cocaine use, but is simultaneously threatened by her daughter’s blossoming sexuality. Minnie gets into all sorts of trouble all over town, but she keeps coming back to Monroe, convinced that they can somehow make their obviously inappropriate relationship work.


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A Twist in the Murder of a 97-Year-Old Man: He Was Knifed 5 Decades Ago

The New York City medical examiner determined that an operation after the stabbing in the 1950s led to Antonio Ciccarello’s death in September. The police have opened a murder investigation.





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The Still, Small Voice Of Contemporary Catholic Fiction

In an interview that circles back to the debate on faith and fiction the Dish has covered extensively over the past two years, Gregory Wolfe defends the way contemporary Catholic novelists approach their work: The mid-twentieth century Catholic writers tended to “shout” rather than “whisper” for several reasons. For one thing, Modernism in literature loved […]



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Sundance 2015 review: Mississippi Grind – Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds in red hot poker yarn

Everyone’s favourite under-the-radar Aussie pays back the praise with a blistering turn as a gambler in this winning spin on Robert Altman’s California Split


“I have problems with money,” says Gerry, our hero in Mississippi Grind, when a beautiful young woman offers him a glimpse of kindness Here is a man who’s been a loser for so long that waving people away is the only thing he can be sure will work.


Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn, in peak form) has debts no honest man could pay, to quote one of Springteen’s Delta blues-ier tunes. Who does he owe? “Everyone,” he says with a smile, his arms stretched wide with a deflated grin. He’s telling Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), a new friend he met at a casino poker table. Curtis swooped in and while he may not have won the pot, he won everyone’s affection with his raconteur style. With creditors at Gerry’s heels, Curtis agrees to stake him on a road trip down the Mississippi toward New Orleans, where they can buy in at a legendary poker game.


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Eyewitness: St Moritz, Switzerland

Photographs from the Eyewitness series


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Sundance 2015 review: Tangerine - juicy LA sex trade tale literally iPhone'd in

Three smartphones were the tech used to capture this lively yuletide story of a pimp, a meth-head and two transgender prostitutes in modern-day Los Angeles


Of all the many accomplishments of Sean Baker’s Tangerine, the most arresting is the fact it was shot using just three iPhone 5s phones, meaning permits weren’t required. That means Tangerine shows a side of Los Angles rarely captured on film – or, well, whatever the thing is inside an iPhone 5s that records video.


We meet transgender prostitute Sin-Dee (Kiki Kitanna Rodriguez) on Christmas Eve as she hunts across the city looking for her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone) and the meth addict (Mickey O’Hagan) that he has been sleeping with. She’s followed by fellow sex worker Alexandra (Mya Taylor) and their stories intersect with Razmik (Karren Karagulian), an Armenian cab driver with a crush on Sin-Dee and others.


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Netanyahu defends speech to Congress about threat of Iran nuclear deal

Prime minister says US trip and meeting on 3 March is a moral obligation to urge the US not to negotiate a deal that might endanger Israel


Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu defended on Sunday a planned speech to Congress about Iran, saying he had a moral obligation to take every opportunity to speak out on an issue that poses a mortal threat to his country.


His visit to Washington in March has opened up a political rift in the US and has drawn accusations in Israel that Netanyahu is undermining a strategic alliance in order to win an election due two weeks after the trip.


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Strategies: The Strong Dollar Is Always Good, Except When It Isn’t

A weaker dollar was a reason for the relative health of the American economy, and a stronger currency could reverse some of the progress the nation has made.

















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