Kim Hitchcock

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Enemies in life, comrades in death: a century to count the cost of war

One hundred years ago today, many of the men who now lie buried here were returning, in haste, to their barracks, members of Sir John French's British Expeditionary Force, called up by telegram after Britain's declaration of war.<p>On Monday evening, as the shadows lengthened over the wooded and …

Gaza crisis: Israel and Hamas begin 72-hour ceasefire

A definitive end to the four-week conflict in Gaza appeared possible on Tuesday morning as an agreed 72-hour ceasefire between Hamas and Israel came into effect and the Israeli military said it had withdrawn from the Palestinian territory.<p>The suspension of hostilities came into force at 8am on …

London borough battles: the particularities of Merton

It's a low profile borough, but Merton's politics are quite exceptional. Many small things seem in flux yet the big picture doesn't alter all that much. In 2010, Labour emerged as the largest party by a single seat thanks to making just a single gain and the Conservatives losing two seats to the …

The great Hammersmith and Fulham council house sell off

Ever since it was first elected in 2006 the most radical Conservative council in London has complained that it has too much social housing on its patch. "Over a third of households rent from a social landlord compared to 26% for London," pointed out Tory Hammersmith and Fulham's first community …

Pressure grows for inquiry into Serco over Yarl's Wood sexual assault claim

Calls for an inquiry into how the private outsourcing giant Serco runs a detention centre for women are mounting as Labour demanded an immediate investigation into claims that the firm had failed to properly investigate sex abuse allegations.<p>Serco was forced to disclose a secret internal report …

London borough battles: will Conservatives capture Kingston?

Just as Labour defended itself well against the 2010 Tory surge in inner London, the Liberal Democrats held it back in its south-west suburban strongholds, including the council of Royal Kingston-upon-Thames. Not by much, though, and the Tories have clawed closer to them since. They need to pick up …

N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos denies hitting blogger in the eye

Tulisa Contostavlos, a singer and X-Factor judge, hit a celebrity blogger in the eye at a music festival, a court has been told.<p>Savvas Morgan said his left eye was swollen after the incident at the V Festival in Chelmsford, Essex, last August.<p>Contostavlos, 25, denies assault. She appeared at …

First British conviction for Syria-related terror offence

A father of two has been convicted of a terror offence for arranging to travel to Syria to join a jihadist training camp.<p>Mashudur Choudhury, 31, is one of at least five men from Portsmouth who travelled to the conflict last October with the alleged intention of joining al-Qaida-inspired rebel …

Anti-terrorism police search four homes on south coast

Anti-terrorism police are searching four addresses in Brighton and Hove in connection with the death of a British teenager who was killed fighting in Syria.<p>Abdullah Deghayes, 18, died on a battlefield over a month ago in north-west Syria near the border with Turkey. Two of his brothers Amer, aged …

'Goodnight Britain': rethinking England

PR<p>Ben Carrington: 'The potential to produce a much more inclusive identity around Englishness is there – but it'll be contested.'<p>276<p>image/jpeg<p>http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/5/20/1400603302533/Ben-Carrington-006.jpg<p>460<p>Nia Hughes<p>Maureen Duffy: 'There are things we need …

England's identity crisis: what does it mean to be English?

Let's face it: we are living through the most important phase of British politics – indeed, British society – since Margaret Thatcher's first government. Everything seems uncertain: the result of the next election, the long-term fate of all three main parties, the reputation of such British …

Syrian rebels destroy Aleppo hotel in explosion – video

Syrian rebels detonate a huge bomb on Thursday 8 May underneath a hotel in Aleppo used by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, destroying it and damaging other buildings on the edge of the city's medieval citadel. The explosion appeared similar in execution to a blast on Tuesday 6 May outside the …

Aleppo's most wanted man - the rebel leader behind tunnel bombs

The most wanted man in Aleppo is feeling satisfied. Less than a week before, he had helped pack the last of 25 tonnes of explosives into a tunnel dug under a hotel filled with Syrian troops.<p>Syria's civil war: five years of Guardian reporting<p>Read more<p>“I was sitting in this room,” said Abu Assad, the …

Turkish miner reveals lax safety record and climate of fear at Soma mines

Veli Yilmaz, a coalminer in Soma for nine years, was shocked when his bosses, the owners of the pit where 301 workers were killed last week, told him he would lose his bonus – a third of his wages – if he took a day off to attend his sister's funeral.<p>Over the past week, Yilmaz, who asked that his …

Islamist militants incite anti-India attacks after Narendra Modi's victory

An Islamic extremist group suspected of having links to al-Qaida has released a video calling for militant organisations across the Middle East and south Asia to attack India and Indian interests overseas.<p>The video was uploaded within 24 hours of India's recent election results, which saw a …

Thai army imposes martial law and calls for talks to resolve stalemate

Thailand's beleaguered government has endorsed the army's sudden decision to impose martial law, saying military intervention could help propel forward proposed elections and reforms after six months of political impasse.<p>Speaking just hours after the Thai army invoked the nationwide, late-night …

Ukrainian oligarch backs Kiev rule, urging factory workers to daily strikes

Ukraine's richest oligarch has come down firmly on the side of Kiev authorities, calling on thousands of workers at his plants across the east to attend workplace protests against the armed separatist movement in the east of the country.<p>In a video address released late on Monday, Rinat Akhmetov …

What do you call a tough female boss? (Answer: boss)

Look, I've been thinking about this a lot and I've decided there's only one thing for it: we're going to have to invent a new language. We need a subsidiary language, an offshore language, if you will, to deal with certain elements of life that English has proved incapable of handling.<p>There are …

Ukraine on the brink as troops take on rebels

Ukrainian government forces launched their first significant military action in the east of the country on Tuesday, clashing with about 30 pro-Russian gunmen at a provincial airfield and heightening fears that the standoff could escalate into a major armed conflict.<p>Shots were fired in Kramatorsk …

Guantánamo judge adjourns hearings again over FBI spying claims

The judge overseeing the prosecution of five 9/11 terror suspects suspended preliminary hearings on Tuesday to allow the defense teams time to establish whether any of their past or current members had been secretly contacted by US law enforcement agencies.<p>Army Colonel James Pohl adjourned the …

Ukip goes to war with Times over Farage expenses claims

Ukip has gone to war with the Times over a story about Nigel Farage's use of taxpayer cash, arguing that many of its journalists have links to the Conservatives and come from "immensely privileged" backgrounds.<p>In an unusual step, Farage fought back against the newspaper's story alleging he misused …

Oscar Pistorius trial: 'Today is a good day to tell you that I love you'

"Roses are red, violets are blue. Today is a good day to tell you that … I love you." That was the text in a Valentine's Day card that Reeva Steenkamp wrote to her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, hours before he shot and killed her.<p>It was the last piece of evidence heard as the Paralympic athlete …

Hunger is a 'national crisis', religious leaders tell Cameron

Religious leaders and faith groups have called on the government to take action to tackle a "national crisis" of rising hunger and food poverty, as latest figures suggest more than a million Britons have been helped by food banks in the past year.<p>More than 40 Anglican bishops and 600 church leaders …

UK 'has fewer hospital beds per person than most European countries'

There are fewer hospital beds per person in Britain than most other European countries, with less than half the proportion of many, a report has found.<p>According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK had three hospital beds per 1,000 people in 2011, with …

Jeremy Kyle's sadistic moralising conveys a wider social resentment | Richard Seymour

The poor are blamed for general reckless borrowing and a lack of financial discipline, and TV bosses know just how to exploit them<p>A 17-year-old woman is called a thief and a crackhead and is tormented and humiliated on national television. Amid all these taunts the host of the programme, Jeremy …

What the Birmingham schools probe can tell us about bog-standard comps

When the Department for Education launches an investigation into a plot called Operation Trojan Horse, it's perhaps not immediately clear what's going on. The horse in question, it is alleged, contained Muslim extremism – brought to state schools by stealth, by governor bodies launching subtle …

'Thrilling and prophetic': why film-maker Chris Marker's radical images influenced so many artists

Chris Marker was a phantom, an escape artist, a shapeshifter. He told friends he came from Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Born in 1921 in a pleasant Parisian suburb, Christian-François Bouche-Villeneuve racked up many pseudonyms and monikers: Sandor Krasna, Jacopo Berenzi, Fritz Markassin. Early on, as if …

Revealed: the radical clerics using social media to back British jihadists in Syria

Two radical Muslim clerics have been identified as influential online cheerleaders for fighters seeking to topple the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in a pioneering academic study published on Wednesday.<p>Researchers based at King's College London reveal how social media is being harnessed by a …

Pro-Russian militias fill the vacuum as Kiev's control in eastern Ukraine slips

On the steps of Slavyansk's occupied town hall a group of armed men in fatigues posed happily for photos. They were equipped with Kalashnikovs – military-issue AK-74s – commando knives, flak jackets and walkie-talkies. Round the back, close to the main square with its Lenin statue, was a green …

Ukrainian troops begin military operation to 'destroy foreign invader'

Ukrainian military and special forces gathered outside Slavyansk on Tuesday in the first real show of force since Kiev announced an "anti-terrorist" operation at the weekend aimed at wresting the city from armed protesters and unmarked soldiers reported to be Russian.<p>Not long after the Ukrainian …