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14 декабря, 16:15

This Christmas, don't give books to non-readers

For bibliophiles, it is tempting to buy books as presents to ‘fix’ people who don’t read – but this is snobbery of the worst kindYou’re making a list, you’re checking it twice, and your fall-back position will be a nice book or two for friends and family to unwrap on Christmas Day. Everybody loves a good book, right?But wait. What about those who don’t read? (Take it from me, these people exist. I’ve seen them. I’m even friends with a few.) Now you and me, we know that books are great. Books enrich, educate and entertain. People who read books are smarter, nicer, more attractive. People who don’t read books live grey, humdrum, fiction-free lives, bereft of that essential spark that infuses the lives of us readers, allows us to walk on clouds, hear choirs of angels and piss rainbows. Continue reading...

14 декабря, 16:00

Bingo: The King of the Mornings review – hectoring tale of porn star turned clown

Daniel Rezende’s version of the life of Brazil’s Bozo takes the myth for granted and is guilty of some lazy screenwriting tricksDaniel Rezende is the Oscar-nominated editor who worked on Meirelles’s City of God and Malick’s The Tree of Life; now he makes his feature directing debut with this movie – Brazil’s official Academy Awards entry for best foreign film. It is a strangely heavy-handed and hectoring redemption drama, based on the true story of the former porn actor Arlindo Barreto, who in the 80s became a huge hit throughout Brazil as “Bozo”, a wacky clown on Saturday morning kids’ TV. But he was contractually obliged to keep his real identity a secret. Unable to taste the pleasures of celebrity, Barreto underwent a kind of drug-fuelled breakdown, after which he jettisoned his vanity and emerged spiritually enlightened. The corporate brand identity of Bozo is apparently still so important that this movie cannot use the name, and so Vladimir Brichta plays “Bingo”, otherwise Augusto Mendes, the womanising divorced guy and father-of-one, sick of acting in telenovelas and soft porn and yearning for acting glory; he finds triumph in a sort of superhero disguise as a clown, but can’t be a celebrity and hero to his son. It is a laborious drama, which takes the true-life myth for granted, and in screenwriting terms there’s an incessant and lazy use of cocaine to indicate: arrogant asshole heading for a fall. Continue reading...

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14 декабря, 15:58

The force is strong with British film industry as revenues soar

Star Wars and James Bond franchise lead the charge out of the doldrums as film and TV pump £7.7bn into UK economy in 2016 Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in cinemas at a time when the British film industry is booming, according to official figures.Helped by generous tax reliefs, the film and TV industry contributed £7.7bn to the economy in 2016 – an 80% jump in five years. Continue reading...

14 декабря, 15:56

Grenfell Tower national memorial service – in pictures

Survivors, bereaved families, the local community and first responders were joined by politicians and members of the royal family at St Paul’s Cathedral for a service to honour those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire Continue reading...

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14 декабря, 15:55

Super Size Me's Morgan Spurlock admits sexual misconduct in open letter

The director says he was accused of rape at college, has settled a harassment claim and has been unfaithful to ‘every wife and girlfriend’ he has hadFilm-maker Morgan Spurlock has admitted to acts of sexual misconduct in an open letter, describing himself as “part of the problem” .In a lengthy statement posted on Twitter, the Super Size Me director revealed that he was once accused of rape and had settled a sexual harassment claim made by a female employee. Spurlock also admitted to being “unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had”. Continue reading...

14 декабря, 15:48

Manu Tuilagi on verge of comeback for Leicester after knee injury

• Player expected in line-up on Sunday against Munster or Saracens next week• Leicester and England centre visited witch-doctor in Samoa earlier this yearThose who believe Manu Tuilagi will never again be his old dominant force for club and country could swiftly be changing their tune according to those who have overseen his latest period of rehabilitation. The Leicester and England centre is on the verge of a return to action and his coaches believe it is his opponents who should be most apprehensive.The 26-year-old Tuilagi has not played since the season’s opening weekend when he damaged a knee against Bath, having previously been sidelined by groin, hamstring and knee injuries. He even visited a witch-doctor in Samoa earlier this year in an effort to get his career back on track, and is now hoping to resume playing either this Sunday against Munster or against Saracens next weekend. Continue reading...

14 декабря, 15:46

Sexual history can sometimes be revealed in rape cases, says MoJ

Ministry of Justice rejects calls for ban on people who report rapes being cross-examined about past sexual experiencesEvidence of complainants’ past sexual experiences should be able to be revealed in exceptional circumstances in rape cases, a Ministry of Justice report has concluded. Rejecting calls for a ban on those who report attacks being cross-questioned about their sexual history, the department has, however, recommended that the Crown Prosecution Service update its mandatory training for prosecutors and has asked the criminal procedures committee to review the relevant courtroom rules. Continue reading...

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14 декабря, 15:42

Home Office policy to deport EU rough sleepers ruled unlawful

High court says removal of homeless individuals originally from EEA countries is contrary to EU law and discriminatory A Home Office policy to deport rough sleepers from countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) has been ruled unlawful by the high court after a challenge brought on behalf of two Polish men and a Latvian.Since 2016 the Home Office has designated rough sleeping as an abuse of EU free movement rights in its administrative removal policy. Continue reading...

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14 декабря, 15:29

British troops breached Geneva conventions in Iraq, high court rules

Court says soldiers subjected civilians to cruel and inhuman treatment, in cases that may determine handling of further claimsBritish troops breached the Geneva conventions and subjected Iraqi civilians to cruel and inhuman treatment by hooding them and taking turns to run over their backs, the high court has ruled.Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) breached the conventions as well as the 1998 Human Rights Act in the way in which it detained civilians after the 2003 invasion, the court concluded on Thursday. Continue reading...

14 декабря, 15:25

NERD: No_One Ever Really Dies review – Pharrell's band finally find their groove

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Urgent, harsh, but also consistent – come album five, NERD have made the starry collaborations stick, galvanised by US politics. Even Ed Sheeran sounds coolIn 2011, Pharrell Williams launched his own liqueur, Pharrell Williams’ Qream. Created for “Contemporary women who work hard and want to relax with friends at the end of the day” – “I want them to reward themselves deliciously,” Williams offered – it was a disaster. Quite aside from its name, which somehow gave the impression one of the ingredients might be the singer/songwriter/producer’s bodily secretions, there was the packaging, which made it look less like a drink than something that your nana might put in her bath. After 18 months, its failure was the subject of a lawsuit. It was a rare moment where Williams – a polymath apparently capable of effortlessly switching between writing, producing, performing, fashion design and textile manufacturing – appeared not to have a clue what he was doing. Rare, but not unique: if there’s such a thing as a musical equivalent of Pharrell Williams’ Qream, his rap/rock/R&B hybrid NERD might well be it. Continue reading...

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14 декабря, 15:14

Sofie Hagen's new show is raw, urgent and confessional … but is it comedy?

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Having explored her depression and anxiety, the Danish comic is tackling childhood trauma. How do standups amuse an audience if even they don’t find their subject funny?Her first show, Bubblewrap, was about depression and self-harm; her second, Shimmer Shatter, detailed her social anxiety. Now comes a show that digs deeper still, beneath the mental health challenges Sofie Hagen has faced and down to the emotional abuse she feels she endured in childhood, at the hands of her “narcissistic, psychopathic step-grandfather”, Ib. As with its predecessors, Dead Baby Frog feels as much like a therapy session as a standup set.The road that runs from trauma to comedy has been well travelled in recent years – and with considerable success. Bubblewrap won Hagen the Edinburgh fringe’s best newcomer award in 2015. The following year, the festival’s top comedy prize went to Richard Gadd’s show about his experience of sexual assault. This year, Hannah Gadsby won it with Nanette, a fierce reaction against homophobia and gender violence. In comedy, the brutalised are kicking back to a chorus of critical acclaim – and the murmur of: “But is it comedy?” Continue reading...

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14 декабря, 15:12

Mark Stoneman courage on show in eye of Australian storm at Ashes Test

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As the England opener trudged off with 56 to his name, debate was already raging as to the process by which his Test best had been snuffed outWhen it comes to telling the story of Mark Stoneman’s first day of Test cricket in the Wild West of Australia - one of courage, fortune and controversy - it is hard not to begin at the end.As the England opener trudged off with 56 to his name, debate was already raging as to the process by which his Test best had been snuffed out. Caught behind superbly by Australia’s Tim Paine, after a howitzer from Mitchell Starc was deemed to have brushed his glove, the decision review system – and its human element - was once again under the microscope. Continue reading...