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Latest news and comment from Britain | guardian.co.uk 

Cesc Fàbregas offers Chelsea festive joy in feisty win at Stoke

The portents are promising for Chelsea and ominous for their rivals. This is the fourth time that Chelsea have enjoyed the view from the top of the Premier League come Christmas and on each of the previous occasions they have gone on to win the title. John Terry’s header after only 95 seconds followed by a second-half goal from Cesc Fàbregas secured Chelsea’s place at the summit and restored the

Stoke City v Chelsea: Premier League – as it happened!

Chelsea restored their three-point lead over Manchester City thanks to goals from John Terry and Cesc Fabregas 9.58pm GMT An impressive show of strength from Chelsea. They restore their three-point lead over Manchester City thanks to goals in each half from John Terry and Cesc Fabregas. They were rarely under threat; Jose Mourinho will be delighted with the way his side dealt with Stoke, a

Labour warns of risk to policing as officers stand on the austerity frontline

Warning of return to 1980s emergency-based policing, with thousands of job losses possible in coming years as cuts biteThousands of police officers around the country face losing their jobs by the end of the decade as part of George Osborne’s plans to shrink the size of the state, according to a Labour analysis of figures compiled by the House of Commons library.Amid warnings of a return to

Napoli beat Juventus on penalties to win Italian Super Cup

• Juventus 2-2 Napoli - aet; Napoli win 6-5 on penalties• Carlos Tevez scores twice for JuventusNapoli beat Juventus 6-5 on penalties to win the Italian Super Cup and deny Massimiliano Allegri a first trophy in charge of the _Bianconeri_.Rafael saved Simone Padoin’s final penalty, after Kalidou Koulibaly had converted, to win the match for Napoli despite the Juventus goalkeeper, Gianluigi B

Singer Joe Cocker's unlikely influence on hip-hop

A 1972 track would become the basis of some of hip-hop’s most notable tracks from EPMD and Ultramagnetic MCs to one of Tupac’s greatest hits*Five classic performances from Sheffield’s greatest bluesman*Joe Cocker, Grammy-winning singer, dies at age 70One track from Joe Cocker’s eponymous 1972 album would go on to have an unlikely second life. His funk classic Woman To Woman became a go-

The deadly history of the Taser may bring its use into question once again

Campaigners complain the Taser can all too easily become a deadly weapon, while the IPCC has warned against its overusePolice have argued that it is an important tool and used only as a last resort, but campaigners have complained that the Taser can all too easily become a deadly weapon, while the police watchdog has warned against its overuse.The death of a man who was Tasered on Monday by

Arizona abandons experimental drug cocktail used in Joseph Rudolph Wood execution

Arizona officials will no longer administer two-drug combination used in nearly two-hour execution of convicted murderer earlier this yearArizona officials will no longer administer the two-drug combination used in the nearly two-hour execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood this year.The state Department of Corrections will instead try to obtain drugs that were successfully used for many years bu

North Korea suffers internet blackout – reports

Connectivity problems not immediately linked to US threats of retribution over Sony Pictures hackingNorth Korea experienced sweeping and progressively worse internet outages extending into Monday, with one computer expert saying the country’s online access is “totally down”. The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the US government was responsible.President Barack Ob

Goodbye, cruel 2014: we promise not to miss you once you’ve gone

From flooding to Benefits Street, the rise of Ukip to the Apple Watch, the year was filled with huge, grim events. We could all use a lie-down over ChristmasSo 2014’s almost done, and unless you got married, or had your firstborn, or won a Subaru filled with Maltesers in a radio phone-in, it’s unlikely to be a year you’ll remember fondly. It was filled with huge, grim events. So is every year,

Joe Cocker, Grammy-winning singer, dies at age of 70

Sheffield-born singer, who was famous for his raspy voice, dies after battle with lung cancerObituary: Joe Cocker, 1944-2014Five classic performances from Sheffield’s greatest bluesmanJoe Cocker, whose career spanned 40 years, has died after a long battle with lung cancer.Cocker, known for his rasping voice, rose to fame with his cover of the Beatles song With a Little Help from My Frie

Nantes Christmas shoppers hurt as man drives van into crowd

At least 10 people hurt, five of them seriously, in incident at Christmas marketAt least 10 people at a Christmas market were injured when a man drove a van into the crowd in the western French city of Nantes on Monday evening.Police said five of the 10 casualties were seriously injured. The driver, aged 25, attempted to kill himself with a knife, but his suicide attempt failed and he was re

Joe Cocker: Five classic performances from Sheffield's greatest bluesman

The great Steel City singer has passed away – here are five reasons to remember him*Joe Cocker, Grammy winning singer, dies aged 70*Joe Cocker obituaryJoe Cocker’s first big hit – after four years of trying – came when he took With a Little Help From My Friends to No 1 in the UK in 1968. Far better, though, was this single from the following year, his version of Leon Russell’s Delta Lady

Six people killed as Glasgow bin lorry crashes into pedestrians

At least eight people seriously injured in crash in George Square as city centre was crowded with Christmas shoppersSix people have been killed and eight were seriously injured after an out-of-control bin lorry ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians and shoppers in Glasgow city centre.The lethal accident happened at around 2.30pm on Monday on busy George Square, when the area was teeming with

Why Ukraine’s internal refugees have given up hope of returning home

Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by war in the east, with those who venture back saying ‘bandits have taken over’With armed men roaming the streets and war closing in, Lena Nagiba decided to escape from rebel-held Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. She took her six children with her. That was in June. “How could I raise my kids there?” she said. “Who would guarantee their safety?”Ever sinc

No confession and no remorse from 'Mississippi Burning' killer 50 years later

*First interview since conviction for ’64 murders of three civil rights workers*Now 89 and serving 60 years, says he has never discussed case before*Guardian coverage: Klan member guilty in 1964 killingsCraggy-faced and ornery, Edgar Ray Killen bears the signs of his 89 years. His hands are still scarred and rough from decades in the east Mississippi sawmills. He has a muscular build eve

Heroes, villains and victories – the women who shaped 2014

This was the year we addressed street harassment and made feminist declarations. But there were many more landmarks – big and smallNominees: Malala Yousafzai, Mindy Kaling (who was briefly mistaken for her at a New York party). Continue reading...

Behind the restaurant boom: the urban delusion consuming our cities

Eating out is fine, for diners and investors, but the gastronomy craze won’t produce a healthy economyI ate a concept last Thursday. Not just any old abstraction, but a “heavily concepted restaurant trend”, in publicist-speak. No kidding: at the new Lobster Kitchen, the name is the menu is the business model. Here you can have whatever you want, as long as it’s pink: lobster tails, lobster roll

Marine mystery as seal found stranded in field 20 miles from the sea

Young grey seal rescued more than four hours after being found in field in Newton-le-Willows near St HelensBemused residents in rural Merseyside, in the north-west of England, faced a conundrum when they woke up to the sight of a seal stranded in a field miles away from the coast.The young male grey seal was discovered on Monday by a dog walker. It was flapping against a fence post by Newton

Parents jailed over Birmingham toddler’s death

Danielle Cassin and Mark Piper receive nine-year sentences for causing or allowing death of 22-month-old Levi-BluThe parents of a Birmingham toddler have been jailed for nine years each for causing or allowing his death.Danielle Cassin, 27, and Mark Piper, 31, were cleared of murdering 22-month-old Levi-Blu Cassin at Birmingham crown court on Friday and found not guilty of his manslaughter,

Glasgow lorry crash: six confirmed dead - video

Police in Glasgow have confirmed that six people have died after a bin lorry crashed into pedestrians in George Square. At least seven others are seriously injured after the incident, which ended when the vehicle crashed into the city's Millennium hotel. Police are investigating the cause of the incident Continue reading...

Untested Ebola drug given to patients in Sierra Leone causes UK walkout

Use of amiodarone heart drug at Lakka centre in Freetown deemed ‘reckless’ by scientist as 14 medical staff withdraw over safety fearsEbola patients at a treatment centre in Sierra Leone have been given a heart drug that is untested against the virus in animals and humans, a move that has been deemed reckless by one senior scientist and has prompted UK medical staff at the centre to leave.A

Two men charged with PC Neil Doyle’s murder

Andrew Taylor, 28, and Christopher Spendlove, 30, to appear in court over fatal attack on off-duty police officer in LiverpoolTwo men have been charged with the murder of an off-duty police officer.PC Neil Doyle, 36, was attacked in the early hours of Friday morning while on a Christmas night out with colleagues in Liverpool city centre. Continue reading...

Mandy Rice-Davies called the Profumo affair ‘a pimple’. Now that’s resilience

We could learn from a woman who nearly brought down a government yet got on with life rather than milked her fameMandy Rice-Davies didn’t go to Eton. If she had – which might, it’s true, have been tricky, since she was neither male nor rich – she might have learned that pupils at Eton are “expected to take a risk”. And she might have learned that they “have the freedom to make and then learn fr

May urged to appoint UK’s most senior female judge to lead child abuse inquiry

Child abuse survivors group wants Lady Hale, deputy president of supreme court, to take charge of statutory inquiryThe home secretary, Theresa May, has been urged to appoint Britain’s most senior female judge, Lady Hale, to chair a full statutory inquiry into child abuse with links to the Westminster establishment.May has conceded that the child abuse panel that has already been set up does

Brum on over: the London exodus to UK’s second city

Canals, culture and housing help make Birmingham the top choice for people leaving capitalNot so long ago it was a city most people tended to bypass or leave as soon as possible in search of brighter lights and greener grass – a place of crumbling concrete, ring-roads and miserable shopping centres. Not now.“Birmingham’s a great place, it’s changed hugely in the last few years,” said Omar Bu

Met Office warns of further threats to Christmas travel

Flooding causes problems throughout Scotland and signal failure disrupts train services through Gatwick stationFlood warnings have been put in place across the north and west of Britain as Scotland suffered a day of travel chaos and a significant rail signalling problem stopped trains running through Gatwick railway station in West Sussex.The Met Office issued alerts for parts of northern En

What if Downton Abbey told the truth about Britain?

The period detail is impeccable but the series is a far cry from the brutal reality of upper-class attitudesDownton Abbey is back. Christmas day brings a two-hour wallow in heritage visions of our feudal yesteryear, as glimpsed through rose-tinted decanters. There will be snow and grouse shooting, we’re told. Escapist fantasy, National Trust nostalgia, here is history scrubbed clean – absurd, s

Spanish king’s sister to stand trial on tax fraud charges

Charges against Cristina de Borbón were brought as part of an inquiry into the business dealings of her husbandCristina de Borbón, sister of King Felipe VI of Spain, is to stand trial on charges of tax fraud, capping the most tumultuous year for the Spanish royal family since the monarchy was restored after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.The princess, 49, will become the

The Guardian’s international cricket XI of 2014

Our special team of selectors make their pick for the best international team of the past 12 monthsChristmas is a time for family, for feasting, for goodwill, and, of course, for lists. Lists that help weary journalists meet onerous end of year deadlines. With great fanfare then, it’s the Guardian’s International XI of the Year! It’s been selected after consultation with a special panel, two of

Premiership salary cap: how would rugby union look without it?

Saracens will need a 75% majority if the salary cap is to be abolished but the landscape would differ vastly if they were successful• Saracens’ attempt to end salary cap looks set to failA day after Saracens sent a shock wave through Premiership Rugby by saying they were going to propose at a shareholders’ meeting in February that the salary cap be abolished, they showed the difference money c


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