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Litvinenko Inquiry: Kremlin to be blamed for Alexander Litvinenko murder but UK will not punish it

21 January 2016 00:14:18 UK headlines

Public inquiry is set to conclude that Kremlin order suspects Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun to kill the former KGB agent a decade ago but relations over Syria means Britain will not impose sanctions

Vice All News Time21 January 2016 00:14:18


Zoopla mulls listing to tap property rise

08 September 2013 17:50:31 Technology

The UK online estate agent has appointed Credit Suisse to explore ‘further strategic opportunities’. The most likely option is an initial public offering

Vice All News Time08 September 2013 17:50:31

Zoopla mulls listing to tap property rise

08 September 2013 17:47:55 Financials

The UK online estate agent has appointed Credit Suisse to explore ‘further strategic opportunities’. The most likely option is an initial public offering

Vice Finance Time08 September 2013 17:47:55

Luis Suárez dilemma becomes more critical for Liverpool by the day | Tor-Kristian Karlsen

26 July 2013 12:26:18 Sport news, comment and results |

Liverpool's chances of escaping from Suárez saga with him as a motivated squad member are fast diminishing Controversy is never far from Luis Suárez's door and he once again dominates the headlines with his desire to leave Anfield – a quest likely to continue to be played out in public. And, as things stand, Liverpool are faced with some serious dilemmas. Well aware that the latest offer tabled by Arsenal of £40,000,001 is still below the going rate for a player of Suárez's standing and that the contents of the clause triggered by the lightly ridiculed amount is yet to be fully understood, the Anfield club are not quite yet forced into a corner. Inevitably, though, there are still twists and turns to come – especially as another Arsenal target, Gonzalo Higuaín, this week sealed a £35m move to Napoli, leaving Suárez as the only top-class forward for the Gunners to chase and likely to provoke an increased bid. Thus the chances of Liverpool escaping from the ongoing saga with Suárez as a motivated member of their playing squad are getting slimmer by the day; so too is the likelihood of the club ending up ahead of the game, with bargaining time – and quality replacements – fast running out. With hindsight one may question whether the Liverpool management should have prepared for the sale of Suárez much earlier. After the events around his ban last season many predicted that he would want to leave, but Liverpool now may have missed the boat when it comes to cashing in to the maximum on their prized asset. As any reader of this column will know, this transfer period has seen an unprecedented number of high-profile forwards changing clubs for close to record figures. I'm quite convinced that one or two of the clubs who have already secured a star striker this summer would have entered the race for Suárez (and provoked a bidding war) had they received some unofficial signals – through trusted agents and intermediaries – as regards his possible availability. Generally it would be a player's agent who would test the waters as regards any possible interest – with the good of his client at heart, naturally, but not necessarily the club's. For that reason, a club may want to sound out potential buyers themselves – very discreetly – to protect their own interests by providing themselves options and thus being in control of the transfer process. However, having seemingly been unable to gracefully and covertly insert Suárez into the active early market, Liverpool now appear taken by surprise by a development that was always likely to happen. That leaves Liverpool with a quandary that originates in the very nature of the bid on the table – one from a direct rival – and, even more so, in the lack of prospective competition for Suárez's signature. There's speculation that Real Madrid may still hold an interest in the player, yet the off-the-record noises coming out of Santiago Bernabéu suggest that Florentino Pérez and Carlo Ancelotti have shifted their target to Gareth Bale, if indeed they intend to make any late addition to their already substantial summer spending. Which leaves Liverpool with just the one feasible buyer – one that they would not want to sell to. As things stand the only way Liverpool can come out of the current transfer predicament with any joy is if Real Madrid – or another cash rich club who emerges out of the blue – enter the market with a bid around the same figure of what proves to be Arsenal's final offer. Selling a world-class forward – in my opinion Suárez is among the top 10 players in the game – to a direct Premier League rival would not only be a massive blow to their prestige, but also practically forfeits any chance of fighting the London club for a Champions League spot. There's still a faint possibility that Suárez will wear the Liver bird again after he serves his suspension. Backed by their American owners, Liverpool can theoretically stomach the inevitable drop in market value by keeping Suárez at Anfield against his will until the January transfer window or even next summer – just as the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, denied Luka Modric a £40m last-minute move to Chelsea in 2011. While Spurs' hard-ball stance was eventually vindicated as they managed to receive a satisfactory amount for Modric from Real Madrid a year later, adapting a similar strategy to a fierce South American hell-bent on a move might prove very high risk (the way he forced his acrimonious move from Groningen to Ajax immediately springs to mind). Even on the best of days, the volatile Suárez needs careful handling. Not only do Liverpool need to keep their main man perfectly motivated to perform to his maximum but also in a fairly balanced mindset to prevent him from succumbing to his dark side once again (a relapse to old antics will see his market value dropping even more). Despite three years left on his contract, an agitated, want-away Luis Suárez is the very last thing Brendan Rodgers needs around the training ground at Melwood. That's why Suárez's history, character and persona arguably makes him a different case to previous instances in which high-profile players have publicly fought their clubs over career choices. The tempestuous Uruguayan is less likely to knuckle down harmoniously than, say, the placid Modric – a fact of which Liverpool are uncomfortably aware. Regrettably, when a professional footballer genuinely wants to move on in pursuit of a transfer he considers a career upgrade – not merely angling for a new contract – he can quite easily (with the assistance of his agent) find ways to put his current employer in checkmate. When push comes to shove a contract offers more comfort to a player than a club; if a player performs below expectations the paperwork offers the club very little in terms of reducing the wages or get-out clauses. The only option is cutting your losses: paying up the contract or selling at a loss. A player, however, even when not totally committed, deliberately or not, to his club – which then reflects in his performance – will face no reduction in salary or other direct financial consequences, bar possibly the odd bonus payment. Liverpool might have one last card to play: immediately offering Suárez an improved contract exceeding the £200,000 per week he's likely to pick up elsewhere, possibly with a clause that allows the player a move to a foreign club in the event of an offer above a negotiated amount. That still gives no guarantee of a happy outcome, but at least it would buy time and leave them with a chance of hanging on to one of the best footballers in the world – Suárez is understood to favour a move to Spain – and Arsenal with the impossible task of finding an a similarly talented forward late on in the summer market. Tor-Kristian Karlsen is a Norwegian football scout and executive, formerly the chief executive and sporting director at Monaco. He has previously worked as a scout for Grasshopper, Watford, Bayer Leverkusen, Hannover and Zenit St Petersburg and as sporting director for Fredrikstad FK Luis Suárez Liverpool Tor-Kristian Karlsen

Vice All News Time26 July 2013 12:26:18

Russia should learn from Britain's record on gay rights | Robert Wintemute

24 July 2013 16:03:58 Sport news, comment and results |

Russia's new 'propaganda law' is a more extreme version of the UK's infamous section 28. It must be internationally condemned As the lesbian and gay minorities of France, England and Wales celebrate the recent laws permitting same-sex couples to marry , Russia is marching briskly in the opposite direction, with an extreme version of Britain's infamous section 28 that could put athletes at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in jail for up to 15 days. It is bad enough that Russia refuses to comply with a 2010 judgment of the European court of human rights, Alekseyev v Russia , which requires Moscow to allow the kind of lesbian and gay pride event that is held in most major European cities. But the legal situation was made much worse by a federal law of 29 June 2013 , which imposes heavy fines on individuals and NGOs accused of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors expressed in distribution of information … aimed at the formation … of … misperceptions of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations". Prosecutions under the new "propaganda law", which potentially bans any public indication of support for the idea that same-sex and different-sex relationships should be treated equally; and an existing "foreign agents law" , could strangle Russia's young lesbian and gay human rights movement . Russia's "propaganda law" is staggering in its disregard for the founding principles of a democracy: freedom of expression, assembly and association. The most basic right of every lesbian and gay minority in every democracy in the world is to make itself visible and to campaign for legal reforms, by holding peaceful public assemblies and forming associations that seek to persuade the heterosexual majority to change its mind, and stop discriminating against the minority, one law at a time. Governments have an obligation to protect these assemblies and associations from those who find them offensive and threaten them with violence. This is true even in the 75 or more countries that criminalise same-sex sexual activity. The apparent justification for the law (protection of minors) was rejected by the former European commission of human rights in 1997, in the context of Britain's unequal age of consent, because there has never been any evidence that an individual's sexual orientation is determined by their first sexual experience, let alone mere information, such as the sight of a placard or a rainbow flag at a demonstration. As the European court of human rights observed in Alekseyev: "There is no scientific evidence … suggesting that the mere mention of homosexuality, or open public debate about sexual minorities' social status, would adversely affect children." What is to be done? All bodies or institutions of the United Nations (building on a decision of the United Nations human rights committee ), the Council of Europe, and the EU, as well as all democratic national governments, should be condemning the new law and demanding its repeal in the strongest possible terms. They should do so immediately, or face the prospect of athletes, coaches or supporters being arrested and deported for displaying "propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations" at the Sochi games. Britain has a special contribution to make. First, David Cameron should confess to President Putin that we passed a similar but less extreme law in 1988 ( section 28 ), which banned "the teaching … of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". That law, fully repealed in 2003, was a mistake, which Russia should learn from rather than imitate. Second, before criticising Russia for refusing to comply with the 2010 Alekseyev judgment and for making things worse with its "propaganda law" (which clearly violates the European convention on human rights), Cameron must make sure that he has swept his own doorstep. Since October 2005, the UK has failed to comply with Hirst v UK , a judgment of the European court of human rights requiring us to amend our blanket ban on prisoners voting by granting the right to vote at least to prisoners serving shorter sentences. Cameron is claiming a non-existent "cultural exemption" from article 46 of the convention , because permitting some prisoners to vote , as in at least 75% of European countries, is not part of British culture and makes him feel " physically ill ". (In western Europe, Britain now has the only blanket ban on prisoners voting, just as we were the only large western European country with a blanket ban on lesbian and gay members of the armed forces in 1999 .) Putin is claiming the same "cultural exemption" from article 46 for lesbian and gay human rights, which he does not see as part of Russian culture. Ironically, Russia also has a blanket ban on prisoners voting and lost Anchugov v Russia on 4 July 2013. Perhaps Cameron and Putin can start by agreeing that they will both respect the authority of the European court of human rights by amending their rules on votes for prisoners. Then Cameron, having stepped outside his glass house, will be in a position to call on Putin to repeal the "propaganda law", and authorise a lesbian and gay pride event in Moscow in May 2014, and perhaps even in Sochi before that. Gay rights Equality Sexuality Russia

Vice All News Time24 July 2013 16:03:58

San Diego Comic-Con: 5 things we're excited for

18 July 2013 04:10:24 Film |

Comic-Con is like Barnum's circus, a splashy wild west dystopian boom town – here are the five panels not to miss It's once again time for Comic-Con, that annual festival which draws geek-minded people by the thousands to the San Diego convention center, where their numbers are matched by an army of entertainment executives and creators peddling their latest wares. "Movies! Get your next hit movies here!," you can hear them shout thunderously from Hall H, as droves of fans rush to get a glimpse of just that. "Two-for-one special on sci-fi TV series. Step right this way." It's like Barnum's circus, a wild west boom town and that strange, splashy dystopia foreseen in Blade Runner, all under one roof. And so, out of the hundreds of panels scheduled to take place between Wednesday's preview night and Sunday's closing events, we have chosen five about which we are most excited. Harrison Ford promoting Ender's Game The film is facing boycotts over Orson Scott Card's well-documented anti-gay views, many of which have been on display in his writing for decades. But this is a major motion picture, starring A-list actors Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld and Harrison Ford, with the full might of the Hollywood machine behind it. Expect a full-court press as Capital Pictures sets out to convince people they should put aside Card's views and Just Go See The Film Already. Card is excluded from most of the events promoting Ender's Game, including Thursday's Q&A. The real attraction here, then, is Ford, who is notoriously shy of publicity but still a hero to many at the convention who still see him as Han Solo and Indiana Jones. X-Files reunion We're big fans of the the X-Files, and this reunion of its stars, writers and creator marks the show's 20th anniversary. Actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have at times been bashful about embracing the con circuit – after that last film, who can blame them? – but all is largely forgiven now. They'll be joined on stage by Vince Gilligan, one of the best X-Files writers, who has since gone on to bigger and better things, like … Breaking Bad Gilligan's epic television series is drawing down on its final handful of episodes, and fans are dying to know the fate of Walter White, its anti-hero (or is he the villain? WE DON'T KNOW!). The show's final arc premieres in the US on 11 August, but maybe there's a chance the cast will let slip a few hints during their panel on Sunday. Gravity A real, honest-to-god grown-up science-fiction movie. It's been SO LONG. Saturday's Warner Bros/Legendary panel is actually about several things – including Legendary's new Godzilla movie – but one of the highlights will be Alfonso Cuarón's futuristic thriller. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, it's the rare piece of art that can and will be featured at both Comic-Con and the Venice Film Festival before it opens in October. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Remember in The Avengers when Joss Whedon broke everyone's hearts and killed Agent Coulson? Yeah, forget about that. Coulson's alive and well, though no one's really sure how they're going to pull that off. Whedon will be there, possibly offering answers, but more likely not. The point is that it doesn't really matter how it's explained – in comics, no death is really permanent – just that this new TV show is going to feature the return of a beloved character. "Surprise guests reveal top-secret new information" is how they're billing this particular panel on Friday. Comic-Con Harrison Ford San Diego California Comics and graphic novels Television Erin McCann © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time18 July 2013 04:10:24

Standard-bearer for British bathos

18 July 2013 04:10:24 Film |

Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and co excel at undercutting Hollywood pomposity: it's become the UK's abiding cinematic characteristic This week Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are crowned our reigning kings of bathos, that most British of pastimes. As writers (and in Wright's case, director) of Shaun of the Dead , Hot Fuzz and now The World's End , the stock-in trade of their "Cornetto trilogy" has been undercutting Hollywood bombast, mug of tea in hand. At their best, these send-ups of zombie apocalypse, buddy cop actioner and 70s paranoia thrillers are powered by a higher form of parody: simultaneously full of love for Hollywood and affirming the supremacy of humdrum Brit realities. In The World's End, I liked the idea of the piece of crap Blairite public art in Newton Haven (the town to which Pegg and his gang return for their nostalgic pub-crawl) that turns out to have a secret sci-fi purpose. Because the British film industry has grown up in Hollywood's shadow, and because the UK was America's key film export market for so long, our bathetic instincts are honed to a fine point. If you're not sated by The World's End – which channels The Matrix, The Stepford Wives and Invasion of the Body Snatchers – then here comes Alan Partridge, wrapping up the hostage-siege film in an East Anglian cardigan in next month's Alpha Papa . And they are just the latest in Brit bathos: 2011's Attack the Block took the alien-invasion spectacular down to a council estate and "kicked its head in". Ali G's raison d'etre was partly to put 1990s ghetto fabulous nonsense in perspective, while Rowan Atkinson's Johnny English took an even easier target to bring down a peg or two: Anglo-Hollywood double agent, James Bond. In fact, a lot of commercial British films, like The Full Monty and its anti-Chippendales stripper troupe, seem to be set up as a bluff riposte to all-American values. Maybe they must be to survive. Perhaps Hollywood was always going to catch us in this mood. It isn't an original observation that part of the British national psyche, Magna Carta onwards, has delighted in pricking pomposity and cocking a snook at higher authority; Ben Wheatley was flying that flag when he had Peter Ferninando squat over the nettles at the start of A Field in England , metaphorically taking a dump on the genteel period drama. Such strains of underdog humour were arguably what survived when Britain's world power started declining after the first world war – and when, according to Peter Mandler's recent book, The English National Character , the country's self-image dwindled from doughty John Bull stereotypes to something more modest. It's interesting that where the French postwar tendency toward Hollywood was to refine, aestheticise and intellectually deconstruct – as Jean-Luc Godard or Jean-Pierre Melville did – ours has been to mock, pillory and subvert. That caustic approach is exactly what is absent in an American culture driven by a demotic spirit, on the (surprisingly frequent) occasions when Joe Public becomes the hero (often in opposition to government forces). Even in the most jaded cases, like a trash-talking John McClane holding out for the working man in Die Hard, there's still a kind of American triumphalism and self-righteousness at play. There's little of the true defeatism of, say, Withnail's climactic speech to London zoo's wolves : not only a bathetic counterpart to Oscar-chasing moments, but also a self-lacerating use of our greatest cultural hero, Shakespeare, that underscores the rotten state of 1970s England. So 2013, and here we are: world-beaters in bathos. And our USP actually goes down quite well abroad – especially when shored up with star power. Both Johnny English films were highly successful , thanks to Rowan Atkinson's global profile through Mr Bean – another iconic Brit-chump. Shaun of the Dead turned a healthy profit and became an influential noughties film. Hot Fuzz did even better internationally , and The World's End should continue that trend, with Pegg ever more recognisable after appearances in Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. But as their films get more expensive, and their own careers more entwined with Hollywood, Pegg and Wright might find their bathos antennae harder to tune in properly. In The World's End, before they raise their game for the finale, the gag hit-rate and the intimate observational humour are more stuttering than in the two earlier Cornetto films. An awful lot of action feels straight-down-the-line Hollywood. Now I hate to cast aspersions … but then isn't aspersion-casting about our newly suntanned, transatlantic successes another noble British tradition? The World's End is out on Friday; Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is out on 7 August. Next week's After Hollywood will look at the reaction to Saudi Arabian success Wadjda. Which global cinematic stories would you like to see covered in the column? Let us know in the comments below. Simon Pegg Edgar Wright Film industry Comedy Zombies Thriller Science fiction and fantasy Phil Hoad © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions |

Vice All News Time18 July 2013 04:10:24

Brand Andy Murray: Wimbledon champion can cash in – on his terms

08 July 2013 20:14:34 Sport news, comment and results |

The single-minded Murray will always put his tennis first – which could be commercially beneficial in the long-term Given the nature of modern sport, there was something remarkable about Andy Murray's Wimbledon victory – beyond his defeat of the world No 1, Novak Djokovic, and overcoming 77 years of crushing expectation. The Scot, now the most feted sportsman in Britain, won the tournament without a full complement of sponsors' logos on his shirt. Nor, according to his advisers, should you expect to turn on the television any time soon to see him mugging his way through a financial services or broadband advert. Many of the brands who will now beat a path to his door will be given short shrift. For the past 18 months his potentially lucrative right shirt sleeve has been free of advertising, apart from a patch worn during Wimbledon fortnight promoting awareness of the Royal Marsden hospital – to which he donated his £75,000 winnings from the warm-up tournament at Queen's in light of the treatment his close friend Ross Hutchins received there as he battled cancer. In short, Murray wants to be remembered for his sporting achievements rather than his advertising campaigns. Despite sharing some similar character traits, the last thing he wants is to be branded like David Beckham. Which is not to say that he is not alive to his value. As part of an endless round of bleary-eyed interviews with the world's media on Monday morning, Murray was asked by Bloomberg (who else) whether he was aware of how much he could earn. "It's a tough question to answer. When I was on the court I was unbelievably nervous. The reason for that is because you're trying to win Wimbledon and you want to be part of a historic occasion. As sportsmen we get paid probably too much, definitely too much. But we have a short career and you try to maximise it as best you can," he said. Despite his head being "all over the place" after converting his fourth championship point, he still had the presence of mind to locate his Rado watch in his kitbag before lifting the famous trophy above his head. Needless to say, he has an endorsement deal with the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer. Adidas has played to Murray's strengths, capitalising on his ease with social media to launch Twitter campaigns and linking its promotional activity to grassroots tennis – the new champion knocked up with 100 Twitter users on public courts on Monday as part of a stunt by the sportswear giant. But, as with his tennis, the sometimes bloody minded Murray will deal with the commercial side of his career only on his own terms. "He's beaten the system. He's done it in his own way. He's so pure in that respect. He's a purist in the way he plays and in his knowledge of tennis. He is so unbelievably in love with tennis. He is tough to market around as a result," said Steve Martin, chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment. "But the way he goes about it and the way he holds himself on and off the court, you can't manufacture anything. People see through that, it's very short-term. Brands see through it. The big trick going forward is not changing him. He might not smile very much, but the day you try to make him do that is the moment you change him." In 2009 Murray signed up with Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment, the company that fuelled the growth of Brand Beckham and propelled the Spice Girls to huge riches not once but twice. The decision to jettison his longstanding agent Patricio Apey was in line with the approach that Murray and his mother, Judy, have taken to his tennis career as he moved from one coach to the next in a search for restless improvement. As was the case with Beckham, XIX's goal was to streamline the number of deals Murray had in place and work with a handful of global brands. In came Adidas and out went Fred Perry – the clothing brand that bears the name of the last British man to win Wimbledon – and Highland Spring. Only RBS, which also has a tie-up with Judy Murray on her Set For Sport campaign, remains from the original roster. Murray has at times driven his agents to distraction through his obsessive focus on the task at hand, refusing to sign up to anything that he is not comfortable with or that might compromise his training or disrupt his routine. He has turned down a string of lucrative deals either because they make him feel uncomfortable or because they do not fit in with his schedule. Efforts to allow the public a glimpse of the likeable man behind the fierce competitor, as with the recent BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary that was shown again on Monday night in the wake of his victory, have taken months of patient negotiation. So it took a friend of Murray's, Mahesh Bhupathi, an Indian 12-time grand slam doubles champion who has combined his tennis career with building a multimedia empire under the Globosport banner, to persuade the Scot to enter into a joint venture to market the sport in emerging markets. Bhupathi hopes his relationship with the player will help boost plans for an ambitious tennis version of cricket's Indian Premier League. The International Premier Tennis League, due to launch at the end of 2014, will feature teams of between six and 10 players taking part in quickfire single-set matches, playing for six as yet unidentified franchises throughout Asia. Djokovic has called the idea "potentially revolutionary" but Murray is likely to commit only to dipping his toe in the water, playing in a single location to begin with. As was the case when Murray won the US Open last year, his first grand slam triumph, marketing experts have scrambled to calculate how much his Wimbledon victory might be worth in sponsorship terms, with sums of up to $50m a year mentioned by some. Tennis, like golf, is one of only a handful of truly global sports where individuals can earn a fortune through endorsement deals. The emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East have vastly boosted the earning power of a handful of sporting superstars. Murray is not there yet, according to Martin: "He's 100 miles behind the commercial appeal of the Federers and Nadals, partly because of how much they've won and their global appeal. He just wants to play tennis." Roger Federer, despite being in the twilight of a stellar career, earned $65m from sponsors alone last year, according to the latest Forbes rich list. His total earnings of $71.5m put him second only to Tiger Woods, who made $78.1m despite his well-publicised off-the-course indiscretions. Beckham was the highest-placed British presence on the list with $47.2m, and Murray did not feature in the top 100. Not that he is badly off. Murray's career earnings stand at £32m, according to the most recent Sunday Times rich list, he has just made another £1.6m for winning Wimbledon and has pocketed £6.4m in sponsorship, merchandising and appearance fees over the past 12 months alone. That will now increase exponentially, especially if Djokovic and Murray can go on to establish a rivalry to match that of Federer and Rafael Nadal, and the Scot can win further grand slam tournaments. But Murray will always put his tennis first. And, paradoxically, some see his determination to focus on his sport and largely eschew the trappings of sporting celebrity as commercially beneficial in the lon

Vice All News Time08 July 2013 20:14:34

Hugh Muir's diary: A baby for Trenton Oldfield, the Boat Race protester facing deportation

01 July 2013 23:16:19 Sport news, comment and results |

Will the home secretary turn home-wrecker, or will she think again? • She is just four days old now, but in her own small way she presents an intriguing challenge to the home secretary. Never tangle with the public's affection for children and small animals, politicians are told. With her increasingly obvious leadership intentions, Theresa May can't afford a slip-up. And so, with Deepa Naik, wife of the 2012 Boat Race disrupter Trenton Oldfield having given birth to their baby in east London at the weekend, it is for the home secretary to decide if she will press ahead and deport Oldfield. Will she force mother and newborn child into exile, perhaps in Australia – where Naik has never been and where she has no wish to live? Or will May be responsible for splitting up a new family in the glare of mass publicity? We know how much the government loves marriage and families. She may, of course, decide that the six-month prison sentence, of which Oldfield served two in Wormwood Scrubs, was punishment enough for seditious disruption of a boat race, a view being put forward by MPs and unions. The choice is hers. But the little 'un, born at 7lb 11oz – no name as yet – brings the whole thing into focus, doesn't she? • "A litany of nastiness couched in the language of reform" was how Will Hutton described George Osborne's spending review, a barb that may well have brought a crooked smile to the face of the chancellor. The abuse comes from a variety of sources. He hardly seems to care. But is he as impervious to the effects of his austerity drives as it would appear? Not according to accounts circulating across the Channel. According to the magazine L'Express, Osborne confided concern about British students to Geneviève Fioraso , France's higher education minister, at breakfast during the G8 on 16 June. "They are finding it harder and harder to meet their tuition fees," he is reported to have said. "They're welcome to come to France, then! We even do lessons in English now," replied Fioraso. Is the chancellor having second thoughts? Is he worried for students' wellbeing? Or the consequences of mass default for the public accounts? • Every week we see the talents of Lord Sugar as he guides, nurtures and cajoles his band of misfits, egotists and ne'er-do-wells on TV's The Apprentice to higher notches of business excellence. For that is what he does, and that is his track record. And it was a track record that much appealed to the bosses at ITV when the YouView digital project, in which they hold a substantial stake, appeared to be struggling to take off – so Lord S was sent in to turn things round. Why Lord Sugar, ITV chief executive Adam Crozier was asked at a Royal Television Society do last week. "We put him in to kick the shit out of them," Crozier said. And it worked, the project jump-started, the set-top boxes proliferate, prospects are good. Sugar may be typecast, but he does do the terror thing rather well. • With the debate on immigration growing ever more noxious, and the baleful prospect that the Tories will campaign hard on it at the next election, south-coast estate agent Adrian Dunford produces more evidence of the nightmare Margaret Thatcher evoked so long ago: indigenous folk swamped by an alien culture. They're heading for Poole, and the moneyed Dorset resort of Sandbanks, the Bournemouth Echo reports him saying. "What we're seeing is people moving out of London because they feel in the minority. They feel London isn't the place it once was. They're moving from places like Belgravia because they feel surrounded," he's quoted as saying. All those Russians, Chinese. All that Arab money. There goes the well-heeled neighbourhood, but don't expect to hear ministers making a fuss about it. Got a few quid? Come on in. • Finally, though it might seem that Lord Heseltine, the PM's adviser on growth, has been around for ever, this is not the case. "Apologies for suggesting that Michael Heseltine was more than 800 years old," says a correction in Saga magazine. "We know the noble lord looks good for his age – but the copy should have said that he was in his ninth, not his 90th, decade." Once he was Tarzan. Now Dorian Gray. Twitter: @hugh_muir The Boat Race Immigration and asylum Hugh Muir © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time01 July 2013 23:16:19

Jim Goddard

27 June 2013 16:57:24 Film |

Prolific television and film director whose output included the internationally successful 1983 drama Kennedy Jim Goddard, who has died aged 77, was among the most prolific and distinguished television drama directors of his generation. Bleak and violent atmosphere and vivid characterisation were the hallmarks of his more than 200 distinctive works over the course of four decades. His Kennedy (1983) was shown simultaneously on US network television, in the UK and Germany and, at the time, achieved the highest recorded viewing figures in history for a televised drama. Goddard's work included the 13-part drama Fox (1980), Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983) and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982), the early Channel 4 version of the RSC production. The power and visual immediacy of his directorial style owed as much to arthouse film as it did to his abilities as a painter. Indeed, he never forsook painting, which he studied at the Slade in London, or indeed his love of set design, which, after art school, he pursued briefly at the Royal Opera House , contributing to productions by Franco Zeffirelli and Luchino Visconti. He then joined the ABC TV design department and worked most notably on The Avengers (1961-63). He first achieved recognition as a director for his work on five episodes of ABC TV's Tempo (1965-67), an arts magazine show, which led to his close friendship with Trevor Preston and Mike Hodges . Both Preston and Hodges were influential in establishing Euston Films, a company that played an important role in the support of Goddard's burgeoning career. It enabled Goddard and Preston to create Out (1978), starring Tom Bell as Frank Ross, who prowled through mean and rotten London streets. It was a brilliant combination of arthouse film techniques and pulp-fiction storytelling, somewhat reminiscent of the films of Sam Fuller . Again working with Preston, Goddard made Fox, which established him as a major British director. Its opening panoramic sequence, a sweep across London, perhaps a homage to Alfred Hitchcock , was a device Goddard deployed to stunning effect. In 1980, he directed Alan Bleasdale's The Black Stuff, the BBC Play for Today that turned into Boys from the Blackstuff. With Kennedy, filmed entirely on location in the US, starring Martin Sheen as President John F Kennedy, Goddard's international reputation was secured. It was nominated for three Golden Globes in 1984. It won a Bafta in the same year, and Goddard was also presented with the Desmond Davis award. But, at the height of his career, disaster struck. In 1986, he elected to direct Shanghai Surprise , starring Madonna and Sean Penn . Volcanoes of critical abuse erupted on both sides of the Atlantic: one critic dismissed it as "flop suey". It is perhaps marginally notable for the egregious cameo role as an unnamed nightclub singer by one of the film's producers, George Harrison . It was nominated for six Golden Raspberry awards, winning one for Madonna as worst actress. It is still frequently held to be one of the most dreadful films ever made. Though his confidence was damaged, Goddard hid the wounds. That they healed may be seen in his direction of Steven Berkoff 's adaptation of Kafka 's Metamorphosis (1987). Paradoxically, Goddard's name remains unfamiliar to the viewing public and there are few, if any, serious studies of his work. He was a remarkably modest man, a physically large and powerful presence with the build of a bespectacled wrestler, sometimes wearing his hair in a ponytail and with a cockney growl of a voice. Yet he was highly sensitive, loyal and compassionate, and inspired lasting friendship among actors, artists and writers, particularly the composer Richard Hartley and the poet Roger McGough . Goddard was born, raised and educated in Battersea, south London. Alf, his father, was a director of John Bolding & Sons and Thomas Crapper Ltd, sanitary engineers. Goddard often said that if his day job failed he knew as well as anyone how to repair a lavatory. Actors with whom he had special empathy both respected and invariably loved him. "Show me what you can do," he told them. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of their abilities, mannerisms, gifts and faces, matched by an extraordinary facility to place regional accents, both British and American. Only once did this desert him. In New York City, in 1983, he took an hour off from filming Kennedy to visit Bloomingdale's to buy his girlfriend a handbag. Dithering at the counter, he was viewed with sympathy by an elderly woman wearing a mackintosh, scarf and dark glasses. "Who," she asked him, "is the handbag for?" Jim explained. "My advice," the woman said with a smile, "is that only the most expensive will do." By now the assistants had fallen silent and were watching in astonishment. "Here," the woman said. "Buy this one." She walked away. Jim bought the handbag. "Jesus," said the sales assistant. "Do you know who that was?" Jim blinked. "I mean," said the assistant, "you don't know? That was Greta Garbo ." Jim shrugged his massive bulk. "Strange birds," he said, "often sing to me." He is survived by a son, George, by his former partner the theatrical and film agent Maddie Burdett-Coutts; their son, George; and his brother, Richard. • James Dudley Goddard, television and film director, born 2 February 1936; died 17 June 2013 Drama Drama Reg Gadney © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time27 June 2013 16:57:24