Townsend will ask the referee to keep a close eye on England’s defensive line for possible transgressionsGregor Townsend believes England have been playing fast and loose with the offside line in their two NatWest Six Nations games this year and the Scotland head coach is set to raise his concerns with match officials before the Calcutta Cup clash on Saturday. Townsend has named an unchanged starting XV for the game at Murrayfield from the side that notched a 32-26 win against France in the last round of the championship, the first time in nine matches that he has given such a vote of confidence in his players. Scotland beat Australia and ran New Zealand close during the autumn. However, they have struggled to get their high-tempo game into gear against more claustrophobic European defences, and Townsend clearly believes that England have…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

★★★★☆Claire Foy takes a sledgehammer to her reputation as the genteel screen royal (see Wolf Hall and The Crown) in this dark, occasionally outrageous psychological thriller from the prolific film-maker Steven Soderbergh (he’s done the Ocean’s trilogy, Magic Mike and The Knick on television). Here Foy is the tough-talking banker Sawyer Valentini, an east coast American whose trademark pronouncement is a full-throated, “I f***ing hate you!” One is not amused. It says something, nonetheless, about Soderbergh’s ambition that Foy’s radical transformation is not the most remarkable element of Unsane. Instead, it’s that the entire film (bar a single drone sequence) was shot on the director’s iPhone (three of them, actually — the iPhone 7 Plus models). And no, that doesn’t mean Unsane is a headache-inducing…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

Mark Carney said the way Britain left the EU would have a “material impact” on the Bank’s forecasts Matt Dunham/ReutersThe Bank of England could upgrade its forecast for UK growth later in the year if the government strikes a deal with the European Union on the Brexit “end state”, the governor has signalled. Mark Carney said that the Bank’s November forecasting round would be key because Britain and the EU hope to agree terms for a final deal in October. “You would expect that could potentially have a material impact on the forecast,” he told MPs on the Treasury select committee. Whatever happens, the Bank will have to tear up its forecasts because its present Brexit assumption is based on “a smooth transition to an average” of a range of outcomes, from leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation rules to remaining in the…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

The number of Europeans employed rose to 2.34 million between October and December last year — up 100,000 on the same period a year earlier ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGESThe number of EU citizens working in the UK rose in the year after the Brexit referendum but the pace of growth is slowing, official figures show. In spite of a feared mass departure, the number of Europeans employed rose to 2.34 million between October and December last year — up 100,000 on the same period a year earlier. More than a million people from the original EU states, such as France and Germany, had jobs and those from Romania and Bulgaria were at a record level. Those from eight east European states, including Poland, fell slightly to less than a million. Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said: “Since the referendum, the number of people from elsewhere in the EU working…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

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February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC





The ring of monoliths at Stonehenge looks like a timeless statement of self-confidence from a civilisation at the height of its powers. It was in fact the last hurrah of a dying people. Within a few hundred years of the last stone being winched into place the native Britons who built the monument had been almost entirely replaced by a wave of lighter-skinned, bluer-eyed migrants originating in the windswept steppes of Ukraine and Russia. The results of one of the largest ancient DNA studies yet conducted, published in the journal Nature, show that more than 90 per cent of the genetic make-up of the British isles was “swamped” by the new arrivals from the Continent. Exactly how this happened remains a mystery.

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

Improved poll numbers for President Trump, his party and his sweeping tax cuts have given the Democrats cause for concern as November’s midterm elections edge into view. Mr Trump’s Republican colleagues had been bracing themselves for a punishing “wave election”, anticipating that a voter backlash would sweep them from power in the House of Representatives. There are still good reasons for the Republicans to be concerned, but recent surveys suggest that they may escape the electoral tsunami they had feared. The Democrats’ advantage in the so-called congressional ballot, in which voters are asked which party they would rather have controlling Capitol Hill, has slipped in recent weeks. According to an aggregate of polls by the fivethirtyeight website, their lead has fallen from more than 13…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

One in 11 NHS posts cannot be filled amid a shortage of doctors and nurses CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGESAbout 100,000 NHS posts are vacant and hospital deficits are twice as high as planned even after a winter bailout, according to official figures. A rapid financial deterioration means that hospitals have overspent by £1.3 billion so far this financial year while waiting times have not improved. Despite efforts to improve links with social care, patients spent almost half a million nights stuck in hospital over the quarter. One in 11 NHS posts cannot be filled amid a shortage of doctors and nurses. In London, one in seven nursing posts is empty, rising to almost…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

Prozac, thought to be the most widely used antidepressant in history, is 52 per cent more effective than a placebo GETTY IMAGESMore than a million extra people should be offered antidepressants after the largest study of its kind concluded that they worked, experts have said. Patients and GPs must not be squeamish about treating mental health problems with drugs, according to scientists who found that every one of 21 common antidepressants was better than a placebo. They criticised “ideological” resistance to antidepressants fuelled by a misguided belief that illness linked to social problems should not be treated with pills. They said that doctors should switch from the least effective antidepressants, including Prozac and citalopram, two of the most commonly prescribed in Britain, towards the best performing ones, which are up to twice as good as a placebo. A global study led by researchers from Oxford University…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of people out of work rose by 46,000 to 1.47 million between October and December compared with the previous three months. The unemployment rate rose from 4.3 per cent to 4.4 per cent. However, employment also rose, by 88,000 to 32.15 million, with 134,000 people entering the workforce. The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development said that the increase could have been down to a surge in students looking for work. The ONS said that two thirds of the net increase in unemployment could be attributed…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

Ministers are to delay Commons votes on the customs union for up to two months amid fears that they could result in defeats that jeopardise Brexit negotiations. Theresa May is facing two rebellions — one from Remainers and the other from Brexiteers, both of which would effectively tie her hands on future EU customs arrangements if they were to succeed. Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke, the Remain-supporting Tory MPs, have been inspiring a rebellion to keep Britain in the customs union by tabling amendments to the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill, also known as the customs bill or trade bill. Brexiteers were planning to launch a rebellion over clause 31 of the trade bill. This would allow the government to establish “a customs union between the…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

A former sheriff whose wife divorced him without his knowledge while he was on holiday in India has asked a judge to scrap the ruling. Raj Jandoo, who was Scotland’s first Asian advocate, said he returned from a three-month trip to learn that Nerinder Kaur, 49, his wife, had been granted a “quickie” divorce. Mr Jandoo has taken the case to the Court of Session to have the decree of divorce scrapped and the couple declared as still legally married. However, his former wife has already remarried, meaning she could be open to an accusation of bigamy if his case is successful. Mr Jandoo, 60, says he has no interest in continuing the relationship but has insisted that the couple have financial matters to sort…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

Apple has said it will only take cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo if child labour is not involved REUTERSApple is seeking to buy cobalt directly from mining companies amid a looming shortage of the metal, a key ingredient for the lithium-ion batteries in its iPhones and iPads. Fearful that the boom in electric cars might put pressure on supplies, the Californian technology giant has been in discussions to secure contracts for “several thousand metric tons” of cobalt each year for at least five years, according to Bloomberg. While smartphones use an estimated ten grams of refined cobalt, a typical electric car battery uses five to ten kilograms. If sales of electric vehicles hit a forecast of 30 million by 2030, it will drive further explosive growth in cobalt demand, according to research for Glencore, the mining company, by CRU, a commodities analyst.

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

Spotify, which allows users to stream artists including Katy Perry, plan to float in New York Rex FeaturesThe founders of Spotify are to maintain an iron grip on their company when it goes public this year by employing a controversial share structure that is popular among Silicon Valley tycoons but scorned by many investors. Spotify, which is worth about $20 billion, is the world’s most popular music streaming service. Its 140 million users have access to a digital library of about 30 million songs from artists such as Katy Perry, right. About 70 million users pay a monthly subscription of about £9.99. Spotify is expected to float in New York next month or in April in what…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC

One in ten pregnant women carried on drinking — some at least twice a month — after learning they were expecting GETTY IMAGESMore than half of women in Scotland were drinking alcohol at about the time they became pregnant, despite advice warning against consuming any when trying to conceive, a survey found. Although 88 per cent gave up alcohol once they realised they were expecting, one in ten carried on, with some drinking at least twice a month. The research also found that almost 30 per cent of babies were given treats such as crisps or chocolate as a snack, despite a growing obesity crisis. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has suggested that school pupils be educated in how to prepare to start a family in light of the findings. In total, 8,000 women took part in the survey, commissioned by the Scottish government, to look…

February 22, 2018 00:00 UTC