The UK has opened its first social supermarket as a means of combatting food poverty.* [more inside]
The UK Peace Index [PDF], a new publication from The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has produced a startling new headline: against public perceptions of crime, both crime and homicide have fallen significantly. The fall over the last decade has resulted in the UK homicide rate now being roughly equivalent to that of the Western European average, and it is now at its lowest level since 1978. [more inside]
9 years and 364 days ago, the then MEP (and later cabinet minister), Chris Huhne caught a flight back from Brussels to London Stansted, landing at 10.27pm. He picked up his car, with the distinctive number plate H11HNE, and sped back to his home in Clapham, South London, setting in motion a chain of events that would ultimately see him and his wife, economist Vicky Pryce, each sentenced to 8 months in jail. [more inside]
The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
176 Horn Lane, Acton, London, probably isn't an address you think of when it comes to death sentences in Arizona and California. It is the home of a small driving school. And Dream Pharma, a mom and pop pharmaceutical wholesaler. [more inside]
In 2002, the Hartlepool United F.C mascot, H'Angus the Monkey (so named because local fishermen once hanged a monkey in the mistaken belief it was a Napoleonic spy), was elected to the office of Mayor of Hartlepool with promises of free bananas for schoolchildren. In 2010, the man behind the monkey suit, Stuart Drummond, was elected for his third term and has been voted among the ten best mayors in the world. [more inside]
The National Portrait Gallery's Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize shortlist for 2010 has been announced. Among the entries, and causing a small ripple of controversy, is Panayiotis Lamprou's Portrait of My British Wife, which is reopening up where mainstream sensibilities of the border between art of and voyeurism lie. The photo features Lamprou's wife Christina looking directly at the camera. Wearing no knickers. [Links are SFW. NSFW links appropriately flagged on the pages themselves] [more inside]
In March a little known potato vodka made in the UK by a Herefordshire farmer, William Chase, won best in class at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition [warning: PDF]. Chase was 20 when he bought his father’s 75-acre farm, in 1984 with a £200,000 loan from the bank. This is his second venture: in his first, he bucked the trend and told supermarket giant Tesco to get lost when they wanted to sell his potato chips. [more inside]
In response to shortfalls in organ donation, policy is undergoing a serious rethink in several countries. In Australia, the government has just lifted a ban on animal-to-human transplants. In the UK, the Chief Medical Officer has called for presumed consent, while in Israel a new law gives donor card carriers a legal right to priority treatment if they should require an organ transplant. Many are looking to Spain, which leads the world, having seen the number of deceased donors per million people - a commonly used benchmark - increase from 14 in 1989 when a new system was put in place to 34.2 last year. Interestingly, people committing suicide have a higher rate of donating organs than average.
In last night's Sony Radio Awards - the UK's radio equivalent of the Oscars - Electric Radio Brixton won four prizes, including 2 gold awards. The kicker? It is broadcast for and by inmates in Brixton Prison 24 hours a day, part of an ambitious project by the Prison Radio Association. Some background here. [more inside]
On Tuesday, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan took the opportunity to "skewer" Gordon Brown in the kind of biting rhetoric rarely, if ever, seen in UK parliament. Despite having alerted UK press organisations, including his own part-time employer, Hannan's speech was not picked up by the UK press until... it started getting a heavy push from the US punditocracy. [more inside]
On British TV last night, Gail Trimble, a Classics scholar at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, singlehandedly trounced the opposing team in University Challenge. To some a smug, bluestocking know-it-all, to others a role model. Cue the fightback and lots of questions about whether we, as a society, actually like really clever people and specifically, clever women?.
A biased shadow of its former self, a waste of money dominated by champagne socialists, a victim of media fragmentation, a political pawn or still the trusted heart of the UK's (and, arguably, the world's) broadcasting world? As scandal after scandal threatens to undermine confidence in the BBC and the voices calling for the dissolution of the licence fee gain a more cohesive platform, can the BBC survive, - is it the solution or the problem, and can the British public really afford to let it die the death of a thousand cuts? On the day after the BBC announces it will put every UK publically owned oil painting online and the Director General talks about the BBC's "special responsibility" to culture in the UK, what should the role of the BBC be and, perhaps more importantly, what should it cost?