French Socialists shun Dominique Strauss-Kahn after conspiracy claim

The French Socialist party has distanced itself from Dominique Strauss-Kahn after he made comments published in the Guardian alleging that political enemies linked to Nicolas Sarkozy’s rightwing party helped discredit him when he was accused of the attempted rape of a New York hotel housekeeper. …

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Double-dip recession a terrible blow for George Osborne

It’s official. Britain has had two successive quarters of negative growth and so is in a double-dip recession. The dip in activity is small but massively significant. With the government up to its eyeballs in the phone-hacking scandal and with local elections looming, the timing …

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World Book Night: Stephen Fry joins million giveaway

Fear not, if approached by a fervent-eyed reader brandishing a bundle of books in your general direction. It’s World Book Night, and 1 million books are set to be given away in the UK by 20,000 book lovers to mark the occasion on Monday 23 …

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Islands in Mediterranean to help scientists monitor climate change

Some 30 islands, out of the 15,000 or so in the Mediterranean, have been selected to monitor changes affecting this huge area, one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots. The islands include Port Cros and Grand Rouveau, off the Var coast in France, Tavolara off Sardinia …

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Julia Gillard moves to distance Labor party from scandals

The Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, has moved to distance herself from growing anger at a series of government scandals, suspending a politician accused of misusing funds, a week after the parliament Speaker stood down over a sexual harassment lawsuit. The suspension of Craig Thomson …

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MLS week eight: fan previews

So then there was one. Only one 100% record remains in MLS following Portland’s defeat of Sporting Kansas City. Sadly for the team concerned, that record belongs to Toronto, who slipped to their sixth successive league defeat of the season last weekend, a development Aron …

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The Hard Sell: Marks & Spencer

Kids are running riot, dogs are barking off their leads, Union Jacks flutter ominously in the air, and there’s a massive pile of unidentified stuff burning. It’s the sight of “a summer to remember”, all right, but through the sun-kissed fantasy of an M&S ad, …

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Rulership wins Queen Elizabeth II as Umberto Rispoli breaks record

Japan’s Rulership ran out a decisive three?and?three?quarter?length winner of the ?1.2m Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II at Sha Tin on Sunday in a race that was a complete triumph for Oriental form over Occidental, with no European contender able to finish closer than the Ryan Moore-ridden …

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TSA pair accused of accepting bribes from drug smugglers at LA airport

Two airport security employees have been arrested on drug trafficking and corruption charges, accused of taking bribes to allow large shipments of drugs to pass through the screening process at Los Angeles airport. The pair were arrested along with two former airport screeners. Authorities said …

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British MPs say EU must do more to ensure aid reaches neediest countries

Too much EU aid money is given to relatively wealthy countries at the expense of poorer states with greater need, British MPs said on Friday. In its report examining the UK’s contribution to EU development assistance, the Commons international development select committee said it was …

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Uefa should pardon banned Chelsea and Bayern players, says union

The international players’ union have issued a plea for clemency by Uefa for six Chelsea and Bayern Munich players suspended for the Champions League final. FIFPro says there is an argument to allow the players, three from each club, who all picked up yellow cards …

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Maria Sharapova claims Stuttgart event after beating Victoria Azarenka

Maria Sharapova beat the world No1 Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-4 in the Stuttgart clay court final on Sunday to claim her first WTA tour title of the year and end a two-match losing streak against the Belarussian. The Russian, ranked second in the world, outplayed …

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Sorry chaps, Abercrombie & Fitch simply doesnt fit Savile Row

A modest band of immaculately dressed chaps and chapettes descended upon Savile Row on Monday to protest against the opening of a children’s store by Abercrombie & Fitch. We felt rather strongly that Savile Row is not the right sort of street for the sale …

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Breakneck Beethoven with Daniel Barenboim

Is classical music a means of escape from the world and all the worries it causes? It’s a notion conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim would resist. “For many people, music is here to let them forget the daily chores of life,” he says. “People have …

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Win a pair of tickets to Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur

We’ve teamed up with Barclays, the title sponsor of the Barclays Premier League, to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday 6 May. Winners will be announced by Thursday 3 May, but …

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European stock markets recover poise after panic sell-off

Europe’s financial markets have recovered their poise after Monday’s panic sell-off, despite clashes in the Dutch parliament over the country’s austerity measures. Share prices plunged at the start of the week, after Socialist Francois Hollande’s strong showing in Sunday’s first round of the French presidential …

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Boris Johnson faces legal action over banned anti-gay bus adverts

Boris Johnson is facing legal action after cancelling bus adverts paid for by evangelical Christian groups that promoted the idea that gay people can be converted from homosexuality. The groups behind the “Not gay … and proud” adverts, which were pulled by the London mayor …

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A working life: the pastry chef

Will Torrent cooks in his sleep. A pad of Post-it notes and a pen reside on his bedside table and, when he awakes, he frequently finds it scrawled with daring culinary adventures. “I often have 3am moments and I look at what I’ve written in …

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West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Aston Villa

It was not the victory that would have put to bed any relegation fears, but this hard-fought point, on a bitterly cold afternoon when Alex McLeish unusually spent almost the entire match glued to his seat, could prove to be invaluable for Aston Villa. With …

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