News items

I used to use Twitter and Facebook to post items of news that interest me (incuding ones that I disagree with), but since the proposed purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk in April 2022 (effected in October 2022) I have decided to reduce my use of these social media platforms (especially Twitter), and instead use this page to keep a chronological record of some of the news items in which I am interested so that I can refer back to them in the future (commencing at the end of April 2022). For material relating to the interface between digital tech and the environment, please also see DESC’s stories page (material posted there is usually not duplicated here).



BBC Breaking News: Ireland, Norway and Spain to recognise Palestinian State, BBC News, 22 May 2024: This is about peace, justice, and consistency – Spanish PM


Water firms ask for bill rises of between 24% and 91%, Simon Jack & Oliver Smith, BBC News, 21 May 2024.


Why was my face stolen for a dating profile?, Mandy Appleyard in The Times, 21 May 2024


How should countries deal with falling birth rates?, Jonty Bloom, BBC News, 20 May 2024








Internet outage felt across East Africa, Damian Zane, BBC News, 12 May 2024




Taxpayers fund £475-a-day specialist to ‘decolonise’ Hadrian’s Wall, James Beal in the Sunday Times, 5 May 2024






‘I’d be depressed if I couldn’t have my phone’, Tai Troche in The Times, 11 April 2024




AI lets dead leaders hit the campaign trail in India’s election, Amrit Dhillon inThe Times, 5 April 2024





Is the Temu £50 cash reward real? Alarm over Chinese app’s data grab, Mark Sellman in The Times, 29 March 2024





Universities have forgotten their true purpose, Joanna Williams in The Times, 26 March 2024 – as some of us have been arguing for years, universities are now businesses above all else!


General Assembly adopts landmark resolution on artificial intelligence, UN, 21 March 2024 – cannot help but comment that AI will serve the interests of the world’s rich and powerful more than it will the poorest and most marginalised. It will enhance digital enslavement rather than freedom.





Generation Z poses a challenge for vintage connoisseurs, by Caroline Bullock, in The Times, 12 March 2024


Do I really need to give travelling staff a burner phone?, by Shaun Reardon in The Times, 12 March 2024




Forget Tinder — welcome to the bizarre world of virtual girlfriends, SIân Boyle in The Sunday Times, 18 February 2024


AI mania is cooling as Silicon Valley plays the long game, Kathryn Parsons in The Sunday Times, 18 February 2024



Meritocracy would mean almost no black Harvard professors, says academic, Nicola Woolcock in The Times, 10 February 2024


Have we lost faith in technology?, Zoe Kleinman, BBC News, 9 February 2024





At what age should my child get a phone? A parent’s guide, Antonia Hoyle in The Times, 19 January 2024



The bus took 11 minutes before LTNs — now it takes 45, Andrew Ellson in The Times, 10 December 2023


Why’s the #MeToo crowd silent on Hamas rape?, Janice Turner in The Times, 4 December 2023


CO2 emissions by Hannah Ritche and Max Roser, Our World in Data, regularly updated.


Tyrian purple: The lost ancient pigment that was more valuable than gold, BBC Future, by Zaria Gorvett, 24th November 2023











My books have been used to train AI bots — and I’m furious, Sathnam Sanghera in The Times, 29 September 2023


Law protects opposition to critical race theory, judge rules, Matt Dathan, The Times, 29 September 2023


Early humans were ‘just as violent as today’, Tom Whipple in The Times, 21 September 2023




Marks & Spencer scraps plastic for paper bags, BBC News, 15 September 2023


Taiwan fury as Elon Musk raises China’s claim to island, Richard Spencer in The Times, 14 September 2023.


To resurrect the church, try the gospel truth, A.N. Wilson in The Times, 13 September 2023.




UK public among least likely to place importance on work, King’s College London, 7 September 2023


Mayor uncorks plan to boost Bordeaux, Charles Bremner in The Times, 7 September 2023





Universities switch to three-day week so students can get jobs, Mario Ledwith in The Times, 28 August 2023





UK schools cut classic books in antiracism drive, James Beal in The Times, 11 August 2023.


Morten Morland, Times Cartoon, The Times, 8 August 2023


Vegan diet massively cuts environmental damage, study shows, Damian Carrington in The Guardian, 20 July 2023.


So very sad to hear of Harold’s death – he was someone very special – thoughtful, kind, intelligent and with a great sense of humour – Harold Elletson obituary, The Times, 30 June 2023.






France’s attractions tell the tourist hordes: We’re full, Charles Bremner, in The Times, 24 May 2023.



Why 9000BC proved to be a vintage year for wine, Kaya Burgess in The Times, 18 May 2023.


The grieving families trapped in probate limbo, Lucy Alderson in The Sunday Times, 14 May 2023


Weaponising population growth is a dangerous and regressive road, Camilla Cavendish in Financial Times, 22 April 2023


‘Population anxiety’ fuelling harmful fertility policies, says UN, Federica Cocco in Financial Times, 19 April 2023.


Hard-pressed Bordeaux winemakers turn to olives, Adam Sage in The Times, 18 April 2023



New smart motorway plans being scrapped, The Times, 17 April 2023.


Loudmouth minorities are ruling the roost, Trevor Phillips in The Times, 11 April 2023


Fact check: How can I spot AI-generated images?, Deutsche Welle, 9 April 2023


Biden’s America is sidelined in China’s New World Order, Irwin Stelzer in The Sunday Times, 2 April 2023



Italians hail US teacher forced out for showing pupils David, Phillip Willan in The Sunday Times, 26 March 2023







Police warn children of Snapchat ads luring them into selling drugs, George Styllis in The Times, 9 March 2023










Google launches ChatGPT rival called Bard, BBC News, 6 February 2024.


Devout Christian claims son, 4, was forced to go to LGBT Pride parade, Keith Perry in The Times, 1st February 2023


Retired vicar banned over ‘virulently antisemitic’ posts, BBC News, 30 January 2023. This says much about the leadership of the Church of England.


Super-rich falling out of love with Britain, Tom Howard in The Times, 20 January 2023.


Ethnic segregation in England and Wales at all-time low – study, by Ashitha Nagesh, BBC News, 17 Januarty 2023.


China’s population falls for first time since 1961, by Kelly Ng in BBC News, 17 January 2023.


The world’s torrid future is etched in the crippled kidneys of Nepali workers, Gerry Shih in The Washongton Post, 6 January 2023








Only a third of Leave voters think Brexit has been a success, poll finds, Oliver Wright in The Times, 24 December 2022


Trouble in Bethlehem: why Christians are leaving the Holy Land, Julia Llewellyn Smith in The Times, 24 December 2022.



Stanford University to erase phrases ‘causing harm’, Will Pavia in The Times, 21 December 2022


Harry and Meghan didn’t lead me into Netflix film, says Jacinda Ardern, Valentine Low in The Times, 20 December 2022.



Harry and Meghan want a royal summit — and an apology, The Sunday Times, 18 December 2022. Have to admit to finding this extraordinary – who do they think they are? Surely it should be H&M who should apologise and beg for a reconciliation – but they really don’t seem to get it: nobodies wanting to be somebodies – and selfishly milking their past to generate income for the future at the expense of others. What hypocrisy!






Elon Musk’s firm Neuralink investigated over animal tests, by Joshua Thurston in The Times, 6 December 2022


China’s digital Stasi sees all from cyberspace, The Sunday Times, 4 December 2022


Rod Liddle’s comments on Lady Susan Hussey and Conor Burns in The Sunday Times, 4 December 2022


San Francisco to allow police ‘killer robots’, BBC News, 1 December 2022 – it may be inevitable, but cannot be “right”.


Social media firms told to protect young or pay price, The Times, 29 November 2022




Graph of recent Bank of England interest rates – a reminder that during my mortgage the Bank’s interest rates were almost always over 4% and reached 14.88% in 1989 (the actual mortgage rates were of course higher than the Bank rates, reaching an average of 15.25% in 1990, although faling to single digits in 1992).


Crypto collapse is a familiar tale of the big lie, David Aaronovitch in The Times, 16 November 2022


Universities told to ‘decolonise’ maths courses, George Sandeman in The Times, 16 November 2022



Leaders of charity backed by Meghan were paid £2m, Ben Ellery in The Times, 10 October 2022.


Netflix pushes back on ‘panicked’ Prince Harry, Meghan Markle over doc edits, by Sara Nathan, Page Six (New York Post), 4 October 2022





The race to be England’s biggest wine producer is hotting up, by Jancis Robinson in The Financial Times, 1 October 2022


Study contradicts Rees-Mogg over hydrogen for heating, BBC News, 28 September 2022




Why the hate for Meghan during mourning period, asks America?, Will Pavia in The Times, 19 September 2022 – this very much shows the difference between USAn and UK cultures. Dislike of Meghan in the UK is actually rather little to do with racism or royal couplings, and much more to do with her arrogance, selfishness and hypocrisy – but such “individualism” lies at the heart of what is seen as success by many in the USA.



Meghan asks Variety to postpone front cover out of respect for Queen, Charlotte Wace in The Times, 16 September 2022 – although according to this article there seems to be some doubt whether she really did ask, or whether Variety made the decision on its own.


Uber investigating hack on its computer systems, Shiona McCalum, BBC News, 16 September 2022




Modern slavery shoots up by 10 million in five years, by David Molloy, BBC News, 13 September 2022



Simply a classic “Ma’amalade sandwich Your Majesty?” – a happy way to remember the Queen


Clive Coates obituary, The Times, 9 September 2022.


World wonders at the Elizabethan paradox, Gerard Baker, The Times, 9 September 2022


Queen Elizabeth II obituary, The Times, 8 September 2022


New malaria vaccine is world-changing, say scientists, Jame Gallagher, BBC News, 8 September 2022


Meghan shares her self-doubt with young audience, by Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 5 September 2022 – can someone please tell me how anyone can think they could learn anything from her. Surely this is all about her self-promotion? I suppose people could learn about that…

See also Hilary Rose, Meghan and Harry’s not-royal tour — and oh no, another podcast, The Times, 6 September 2022.



I was a John Lewis customer for 16 years . . . then it kicked me out, David Byers inThe Sunday Times, 4 September 2022 – can’t help but feel that this is yet another example of how John Lewis/Waitrose has lost its way under the leadership of Sharon White; a once really good company is now performing badly on most fronts!


I was Russia’s richest man. Now Putin has $500,000 on my head, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, The Sunday Times, 4 September 2022.






Microchip implants threaten to kill off the business card, Alexander Butler, in The Times 26 August 2022


Nigeria becomes first country to ban foreign models in adverts, Richard Assheton, in The Times, 26 August 2022


Prince Harry visits Rwanda before brief UK visit with Meghan, Alexander Butler, The Times, 22 August 2022. Why on earth would President Kagame want to spend any time with him?


It’s not always the perpetrator who pays for sexual harassment at work, Sarah O’Connor, Financial Times, 16 August 2022


England drought: Everyone must rethink their water use, experts say, James Clarke, BBC News, 14 August 2022 – I’ve always been against privatisation of public utilities, and the profits accrued whilst still having very significant leakage seem to reinforce my views.


The rise and rise of anti-Muslim hate music in India, Raghvendra Rao, BBC News, 8 August 2022.


Venture capital’s silent crash: when the tech boom met reality, Richards Waters, in the Financial Times, 1 August 2022


Winland Academy caught hiring writers for uni applications, Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 30 July 2022 – surprise, surprise, this has been happening for a long time. Not surprising when hugher education is a business.




Why are there so few black women in England’s Euros squad?, The Sunday Times, 17 July 2022 (note that 3/23 is 13%, far higher than the percentage of black people in England)


I don’t need a talking toothbrush! When ‘smart’ tech gets too smart, Madeleine Spence, in The Sunday Times, 17 July 2022.



Don’t blame your bad behaviour on autism, Ben Spencer, The Sunday Times, 10 July 2022


Adam Kay: my electric car hell, The Sunday Times, 10 July 2022





Universities tackle grade inflation by cutting firsts, Emma Yeomans, The Times, 5 July 2022



Help, my energy smart meter is lying to me, Ali Hussain and David Byers, The Sunday Times, 3 July 2022


‘Sex positive’ education is harming children, Janice Turner, The Times, 1 July 2022.




India’s government cuts Muslim rulers from Indian history books, Penelope MacRae, The Times, 21 June 2022


Plans to close all rail ticket offices in UK…, The Sunday Times, 19 June 2022


Amandeep Singh Gill, Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, Executive Office of the Secretary General



Harry and Meghan’s private jet to US raises climate questions, Andrew ELison and Debbie White, The Times, 6 June 2022.


EU sets date for common phone charge cable, Tom Gerken, BBC News, 7 June 2022


Russian phone scammers prey on families of Ukrainian soldiers, Larisa Brown, in The Times, 25 May 2022



Clearview AI fined in UK for illegally storing facial images, Shiona McCallum, BBC News, 23 May 2022.



Girls see physics as for white men only, MPs told, BBC News, 18 May 2022



Liz Truss ties aid to trade to take on ‘malign actors’, The Times, 16 May 2022. See also FCDO The UK Government’s Strategy for International Development (May 2022)



‘No explanation’ for most first-class degrees as grades soar, Nicola Woolcock, The Times, 12 May 2022




Reparations for slavery are just a cynical shakedown, Douglas Murray, The Times, 29 April 2022





Cambridge slavery dispute was about feelings, not truth, Nigel Biggar, in The Times, 24 March 2022.


The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning, N.S. Lyons in Palladium. 11 October 2021.

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