The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has begun, and that means Muslims all over the world are fasting. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a time when observant Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn until sunset. Full transcript >>
The veteran entertainer and artist Rolf Harris is facing prison after being found guilty of indecent assault following a trial in which he was portrayed as a "Jekyll and Hyde" character who used his celebrity status to grope and abuse young women and girls. Following a dramatic six-week hearing, the jury at Southwark crown court convicted Harris of 12 counts of indecent assault, from 12 initial charges dating over nearly two decades from 1968. Full story >>
VOCABULARY A paeodphile is someone who is sexually attracted to children. • A predatory and dangerous paedophile who groomed young children over the internet has been jailed for 12 years.
This World Cup is turning out to be one of the best since, well, 1966 — and we've still got two weeks to go before the final! So, to give you something to do in between matches, here's a little World Cup-themed crossword I've concocted. Click here to download a PDF version with solution, and here to access an alternative web-based version if the one below doesn't work on your device.
BACKGROUND David Cameron has insisted his failure to stop the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker for the EU's top job is not his "last stand" in Europe. The UK prime minister admitted it would make securing the reforms he wants harder but he vowed: "I am not going to back down." EU leaders voted 26-2 to reject Mr Cameron's plea to prevent Mr Juncker becoming European Commission president. Read more >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Brian Adcock from The Independent shows David Cameron on the island of Great Britain drifting away from the Continent. The UK PM tells us, "It was a moral victory". Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Juncker is putting a document headed "REFORMS" into the bin.
VOCABULARY If you win a moral victory, you feel that you have shown you were right about something, even though someone else has officially won the argument. • The prime minister is determined to try to snatch a moral victory from the jaws of a certain negotiating defeat at the EU summit which begins today.
COMMENTARY Opinions differ as to what Cameron's defeat means for him, Britain, and the EU as a whole. The Telegraph says in its leader that,
"David Cameron’s battle to stop Jean-Claude Juncker from becoming the president of the European Commission has turned out to be one of the most important and impressive moments in his time as Prime Minister. We might almost call it a Dunkirk moment, in that it was technically a defeat but displayed such courage and tenacity that it translated into a moral victory. Mr Cameron stood up for the British national interest. By so doing he has created the potential for a serious renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the rest of the EU on entirely justifiable terms."
However, the cartoonist emphasizes Cameron's (and Britain's) isolation, using the term "moral victory" ironically.
The European Council has a new president — and he's exactly who British Prime Minister David Cameron didn't want to get the job. Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker was elected for the role by the heads of almost all of the EU's 28 member states — over Cameron's strenuous objections. Full transcript >>
BACKGROUND On June 28, 1914, the Austro-Hungarian crown prince Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, where he had come to inspect his occupying troops in the empire’s eastern province. The shots fired by Serb teenager Gavrilo Princip sparked the Great War, which was followed decades later by a second world conflict. Together the two wars cost some 80 million European lives and ended four empires, including the Austro-Hungarian, and changed the world forever. Read more >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon by Chappatte from Le Temps, Geneva, shows the moment of the fateful assassination. A bystander comments, "Gosh, bad century ahead". The 'joke' is the the man can't possibly know what will happen as a result of the killing.
COMMENT Foresight is a wonderful thing!
VOCABULARY People say ‘Gosh!’ when they are surprised or shocked. • Gosh, is that the time? ‘Gosh!’ is a euphemism for ‘God’.
Senior Conservatives have called European leaders cowards as they united behind David Cameron in the bitter row over the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission. The Prime Minister was left isolated after all but one of his fellow EU leaders picked Mr Juncker at a summit in Brussels. Full story >>
VOCABULARY A coward is someone who is not brave enough to fight or do something difficult or dangerous. • I'm a real coward when it comes to going to the dentist.
Juncker is shown sinking his teeth into Cameron's shoulder (just like Suarez did to Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini). However, the match officials (Angela Merkel and François Hollande) are looking the other way and fail to see the incident (just like the Mexican ref on Tuesday).
The title of the cartoon 'Foul Play' is a sporting term used to describe behaviour that is not fair or honest or that does not keep to accepted rules. According to Cameron, this is the case with the appointment of Juncker.
COMMENT Cameron is wearing a number 10 England shirt, possibly a reference to Number 10 Downing Street, the UK PM's official residence. It's more likely though that it refers to German media descriptions of the PM as 'the Wayne Rooney of Europe" (Rooney wears the number 10 shirt when he plays for England). German media ridiculed both the PM and the English football team by mockingly comparing Cameron and Rooney, saying of them both: 'He line up, he loses, he goes home'. Read more >>
Mice and elephants — for the record, they really are not the best of friends. And unfortunately for terrified elephants everywhere, scientists have discovered a little mammal with a striking resemblance to a mouse is actually a distant cousin of the gentle giants. Full transcript >>
VOCABULARY An exit is an occasion when someone stops being involved in a situation or activity, or is no longer in a particular position. • England fans in Brazil are left feeling philosophical after their team's early World Cup exit.• The massive election defeat that led to his exit from the political scene.
BACKGROUND Google Glass has gone on sale in the UK for the first time, priced at £1,000. Google Glass consists of a tiny screen in front of the right eye that appears equivalent in size to a 25-inch desktop display, a battery, a frame, a touch-sensitive panel and a camera. Voice commands allow the user to perform various functions with commands such as: “OK Glass - take a picture”. Read more >>
THE CARTOON In the cartoon by Banx, a wife complains to her husband: "You talk more to your Google Glass than you do to me". The humour, as often in Banx cartoons, comes from the incongruousness of the situation — the man is not the sort of person you would expect to see wearing Google Glass (and it is Glass not Glasses, by the way).
GRAMMAR Note the use of the auxiliary verb 'do' to avoid the repetition of the main verb. See here for more on this grammar point.
So, if you didn't already know — sitting around for hours at a time to, I don't know, binge watch season two of "Orange Is the New Black," isn't exactly good for your health. I mean, even though you might feel a slight cardio boost at times with all the action and whatnot, a new study shows couch potatoes could be increasing their risk for an early death. Full transcript >>
Energy companies are making £101 profit a year from every family – an astonishing 1,000 per cent increase in just five years. Industry regulator Ofgem yesterday announced a full-blown inquiry into the energy market as it revealed that the profit figure had doubled from £48 last year, despite a fall of up to 38 per cent in wholesale gas and electricity prices. Full story >>
VOCABULARY Shark is an informal word for someone who obtains money by cheating people. • Here the business sharks rule the roost and put poor consumers at their mercy.
BACKGROUND Uruguay's Luis Suarez has been accused of biting a player for the third time in his career after an incident with Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. The Liverpool striker lunged at Italy defender Chiellini shortly before Diego Godin scored to give Uruguay a 1-0 win. Chiellini pulled his shirt down to show the referee a mark on his shoulder but no action was taken by the official. The maximum ban Suarez could face if governing body Fifa takes retrospective action is 24 matches or two years. Read more >>