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Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: How I found plane debris on Réunion beach – video
Johnny Bègue tells how he discovered aeroplane debris on a beach in Saint-Andre on the French island of Réunion. Bègue describes finding the wing fragment on Wednesday and how the international attention that quickly turned on him. Officials say the debris is almost certainly part of a Boeing 777, potentially providing an important clue in the investigation into the fate of last year's vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 Continue reading...









Lord Sewel: was it really necessary to go on and on humiliating him?

Sun on Sunday had a public interest justification for its exposure, but the resulting media hue and cry has been less than edifying

I thought I’d re-run my London Evening Standard column (published on Thursday) in order to gauge whether other people feel the same way as I do. So here goes...

Am I alone in having some sympathy for Lord Sewel (aka Lord Coke, Lord Sewer, The Cocaine Peer, Baron Sewel of Orange Bra and, doubtless, plenty of nastier nicknames in pubs across the land)?

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The unexpected beauty of manhole covers around the world - in pictures

Drain covers mark the entrances to underground tunnels and shafts that shift utilities around the urban environment. While most are plain and functional, many cities add a touch of local flair to brighten up the streets beneath our feet

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Q: When are expenses legitimate? A: When the politician says so

Bronwyn Bishop has been accused of flouting the rules, yet they are so vague as to be unenforceable, which is just the way the major parties like it

Tony Abbott reckons “the take-home message for all politicians” from the Bronwyn Bishop travel claims saga is that they cannot “get away with exploiting the rules”.

I think the take-home message is there often are no rules. Well, none that are clear enough to be properly enforced, anyway. So in the eyes of the law politicians who do the wrong thing, or push the boundaries, can get away with almost anything. The only brake is the court of public opinion, if they get caught.

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Ashes 2015: England v Australia, third Test, day three – live!

It’s the Ashes. The bloody Ashes. England are going to go 2-1 up in the ruddy Ashes. Then they’ll park the bus and win the bloody Ashes.

I’m going to level with you – I’m terrified (Vish here, by the way. Morning, and all that).

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One Direction release surprise new single Drag Me Down

Arriving one day after Zayn Malik announced a new record deal, could Drag Me Down be an attempt to steal their former bandmate’s thunder?

One Direction have released their first single since Zayn Malik left the band. It arrives one day after Malik announced that he had signed a new record deal with RCA and would make “real music” from now on.

Drag Me Down is the band’s first release since their single Night Changes, which made the UK top ten eight months ago. Its performance will be seen as a gauge as to how well the band can continue without one of their original members.

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Lord Sewel: was it really necessary to go on and on humiliating him?

Sun on Sunday had a public interest justification for its exposure, but the resulting media hue and cry has been less than edifying

I thought I’d re-run my London Evening Standard column (published on Thursday) in order to gauge whether other people feel the same way as I do. So here goes...

Am I alone in having some sympathy for Lord Sewel (aka Lord Coke, Lord Sewer, The Cocaine Peer, Baron Sewel of Orange Bra and, doubtless, plenty of nastier nicknames in pubs across the land)?

Continue reading...









The unexpected beauty of manhole covers around the world - in pictures

Drain covers mark the entrances to underground tunnels and shafts that shift utilities around the urban environment. While most are plain and functional, many cities add a touch of local flair to brighten up the streets beneath our feet

Continue reading...









Early One Morning by Virginia Baily review – fearless, witty and full of flair
A tender love story between woman and child, set during and long after the Nazi occupation of Rome, masterfully explores themes of identity, belonging and loss

Expectation can cast a long shadow over a writer’s confidence, which is why second novels have a reputation for being born out of angst and vulnerability, no matter how the first book was received. Early One Morning is Virginia Baily’s second novel, and yet if she was angst-ridden when writing it, that doesn’t show. It is incredibly sure-footed, a big, generous and absorbing piece of storytelling, fearless, witty and full of flair.

If you, like me, find yourself wary at the prospect of another novel set during either world war, be assured that there is something highly original about Baily’s approach. Daniele Levi is a boy of about seven, living in Rome’s Jewish quarter; it’s 1944, and the German occupying forces raid the area and round up its inhabitants. We see Daniele and his family on a truck, his mother in a “going-away outfit”, as if she had planned an escape there wasn’t time for. In her panic, and intuiting what awaits, Daniele’s mother hands her son over to an onlooker, a young woman. This is our protagonist and chief narrator, Chiara Ravello. What follows is the story of how Chiara and Daniele’s two lives, brutally flung together, play out.

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France settles warship compensation claim with Russia

Paris suspended €1.2bn deal for two Mistral helicopter-carriers after west imposed sanctions on Russia after Crimea takeover

France and Russia have reached a deal on the amount Paris must pay Moscow in compensation for the non-delivery of two Mistral warships, a senior Russian official has said.

“The negotiations are completely finished, everything has already been decided, both the timeframe and the amount,” Vladimir Putin’s adviser for military and technical cooperation, Vladimir Kozhin, told state news agency RIA Novosti.

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