Datablog (the Guardian)

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Updated: 2 weeks 4 days ago

Tony Abbott is not alone in using the word holocaust to score political points

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 03:23

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The prime minister was latest, but representatives of all parties have used the sensitive term in a moment of parliamentary hyperbole

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, has apologised after accusing Labor of creating a “holocaust” in defence industry jobs, with the use of the word slammed by some as offensive.

However, it isn’t the first time the word has been used in such a way in parliament. Using OpenAustralia’s searchable Hansard, which goes back to 2006, we can count the number of times the word has been used, and how.

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How Coca-Cola is fighting against a US public losing the taste for it

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 13:27

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Coca-Cola posted higher than expected profits in its latest quarterly report but its hopes for development rest on a US market which is shunning its flagship product

Despite upbeat results from Coca-Cola and Pepsi this week, the US public has for some time been losing its taste for carbonated drinks.

Worldwide the news is not too good for Coca-Cola either, as it misses its targets. The company’s earnings fell 55% in the fourth quarter of 2014 to $770m, according to its latest results this week.

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Executions and death sentences worldwide: interactive

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 22:57

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At least 778 executions were carried out across the world in 2013, with even more death sentences handed down. This interactive shows the most recent statistics gathered by Amnesty International.

Figures marked with a ‘+’ symbol are a minimum estimate, with the real value potentially higher. Figures marked with ‘*’ indicate that at least some executions or death sentences have taken place, but Amnesty was unable to determine how many.

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On Valentine's Day be happy if you have friends, data suggests

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 14:27

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Having friends is positively correlated with feeling good about your life and given that the majority of the country is single, it will be particularly important on Valentine’s Day

It’s not always a simple relationship. As well as sharing the good times, friends may sometimes let you down or know just how to annoy you, but still it’s very important you have them, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Calling on data from the UK household longitudinal study of 2011-12, the ONS report released ahead of Valentine’s Day, shows that 95% of adults aged 16 and over reported having at least one close friend, with over two-thirds having between two and six.

‘The number of real-life friends is positively correlated with subjective well-being even after controlling for income, demographic variables and personality differences’ (Helliwell and Huang, 2013)

Friends provide support and companionship during bad times and can prevent loneliness. Friends can also increase a sense of belonging and purpose and may improve self-confidence and self-worth.

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Lib Dems hit 25-year low in poll

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 13:40

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The Liberal Democrats have slumped to their lowest level of support in 25-years in the latest Ipsos Mori poll. On 6%, Nick Clegg’s party is now tied with the SNP, which of course only runs in Scotland

The latest Ipsos Mori political monitor, released Thursday, has the Liberal Democrats on 6%. The party’s lowest score in 25 years. As context, in 1990, West Germany won the World Cup, and Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” topped the charts.

What makes the figures even more extraordinary is that the Lib Dems are now tied with the SNP, which of course only runs in Scotland.

New: LAB 36 (+2); CON 34 (+1); LIB DEM 6 (-2) UKIP 9 (-2); GREEN 7 (-1) https://t.co/3FhQfI3hFG pic.twitter.com/EPnZCnX68r

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How Tories could remain the largest party (part one): Ukip support drops

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 08:05

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A five-point drop in Ukip support could provide the Conservatives with up to 20 seats – and David Cameron could end up with enough room for manoeuvre to remain prime minister

David Cameron’s chances of returning to No 10 Downing Street will depend partly on how well Ukip polls in May: a five-point drop in support for Nigel Farage’s party could be worth up to 20 seats once the votes are counted.

Related: Inside Ukip's campaign: Farage surfaces

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How much of Australia’s farmland is owned by foreign companies?

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 22:35

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The Coalition has increased scrutiny of foreign purchases of rural land, but how much is currently owned overseas and are the concerns valid?

The government has announced it will increase oversight of foreign investment in farmland, but how much of Australia’s farmland is foreign-owned, and what is the scale of foreign investment in the agriculture industry?

Currently, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has to scrutinise purchases of “rural land” by foreign entities if it is worth more than $252m. On Wednesday the prime minister, Tony Abbott, announced the threshold would be dropped to $15m, and become cumulative.

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Jon Stewart's legacy of engaging young people with politics

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 18:33

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Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, has announced he is stepping down later this year. How does he and the satirical programme compare with other top US news sources?

Jon Stewart has announced his departure from The Daily Show and plans to step down later this year. The US satirist, who has been host of the show for nearly two decades, has been praised as the host who transformed Comedy Central’s satirical news programme.

While some are pondering where next for late night laughs, others are praising Stewart’s ability to engage a liberal, young audience to the programme. So how does the show, which Stewart has hosted for so many years, compare to other US news and politics shows?

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Every civil partnership in England and Wales since 2008 - mapped

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 15:22

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This map shows the parts of the country where the ceremonies were most popular in the five years leading up to the legalisation of gay marriage

In 2014, the first legalised gay marriages took place - making 2013 the last year that civil partnerships were the only option for same-sex couple seeking a legal union in every UK country besides Northern Ireland.

Civil partnerships were first legalised in 2005. The map below shows in which regions in England and Wales have the partnerships been most popular since 2008 relative to the number of people living there.

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The 10 most expensive paintings ever sold

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 16:47

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A Gauguin painting has sold for a reported $300m, making it the most expensive painting ever sold. See how it compares with other pricey paintings that have sold for vast sums

A painting by Paul Gauguin has reportedly been bought for $300m (£200m). This would make it the most expensive painting ever sold.

The New York Times reports that the painting of two Tahitian women, Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry?), is believed to have been purchased by a a Qatari buyer from a Swiss private collection.

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Turkey and Russia drive rise in Twitter user account information requests

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 16:52

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Government requests for Twitter user account information rose by 40% in the second half of 2014, while demands to remove content increased by 84%

Government requests for Twitter user account information rose significantly during the second half of 2014, with noticeable increases from Russia and Turkey according to the social network’s latest transparency report.

Twitter found that government requests had risen by 40% since its last reporting period which covered the first half of 2014. Requests from Turkey increased by more than 150%, while over the same period Russia, which previously hadn’t submitted any requests to the site, was responsible for 108 requests which all ended in no information being provided.

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Which directors have won at the Berlin film festival?

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 10:24

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Breakdown of the directors of Golden Bear winners by gender and nationality as well as a look at how less mainstream films have been chosen in recent years

The 65th Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival, begins this week. The winner of the Golden Bear for the best film will be announced next week, with 19 films produced in 25 different countries going for the prize. The list includes the new Terrence Malick film Knight of Cups, starring Christian Bale and Natalie Portman.

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Global debt has grown by $57 trillion in seven years following the financial crisis

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 14:53

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Global debt has increased by $57 trillion in the seven years following the financial crisis, according to a new report, while China’s debt as a share of GDP now stands at higher than that of the US

Global debt has grown by $57 trillion to reach $199 trillion in the seven years following the financial crisis - a 40.1% rise, according to a new report. All major economies are now recording higher levels of borrowing relative to gross domestic product (GDP) than they did in 2007.

Total debt as a share of GDP stood at 286% in the second quarter of 2014 compared with 269% in the fourth quarter of 2007.

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Is there really a Jewish exodus from western Europe?

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 07:00

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There was a dramatic rise in the number of Jews leaving France for Israel last year, but what does a detailed look at the figures show?

According to the Jewish Agency, 8,636 Jews left west European countries to make “Aliyah” - what the Israeli government term Jewish immigration - during 2014. This was a rise of 88% on 2013, and far higher than any year for the previous two decades.

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Official figures failing to show full extent of homelessness in England, says report

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 15:56

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Homelessness in England is worse than official figures show, according to a new report. It also warns of the millions of “hidden homeless” and highlights the rise homelessness acceptances due to the numbers made homeless from the private rented sector

Official homelessness figures are failing to show the “true scale of the problem”, according to a new report published on Wednesday, which also attempts to highlight the number of ‘hidden homeless’ in England.

It warns that homelessness in England is much worse than headline figures show, with official figures failing to capture the number of people who are given informal help by authorities. Patrick Butler writes today:

Although latest government statistics show 52,000 households were formally recorded as homeless in 2013-14, a total of 280,000 families were given some sort of assistance by authorities because they were at risk of losing their home.

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Scotland poll shows a nation on the verge of abandoning Labour

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 14:46

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Lord Ashcroft survey shows that swing against Labour in Scotland is as high as 25% and the party has minority support across almost all age groups

Related: New Scotland polls indicate huge swing from Labour to SNP

Make no mistake, Labour’s crisis in Scotland is profound. That’s the inescapable conclusion of Lord Ashcroft’s 14 constituency polls that show the party losing all but one of the Labour-held seats surveyed.

Related: Labour and Lib Dems face election bruising in Scotland, poll predicts

Related: Dundee West: where Labour voters seem to be very thin on the ground

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Is data kicking sporting nous into touch?

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 10:46

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Analytics are increasingly used in elite sport to gain a competitive advantage, but does such a reliance on statistics overshadow the role of a coach?

Watch highlights of the debate online

When Wales meet England for the opening match of the Six Nations rugby union championship on Friday, it will be as much a battle of statistics and data as of raw rugby-playing talent.

Rugby coaches are increasingly relying on the insights from research and real-time analytics to plan their strategies and make their team selections. But has this obsession with data gone too far, taking the human touch out of the game and turning elite sports into a statistical showdown?

“As a coach you follow the ball a lot and by necessity you are not looking at your team and the opposition. The detail and information from technology is absolutely vital.”

“You actually need the insight and experience to look at what the data is telling you and use it to advise you rather than just blindly following it. Otherwise we could all be international rugby coaches.”

“There are drivers who see it as Big Brother looking down on you and monitoring you and it’s not, it’s an aid to help you, to back you up.”

“As coaches you started the game with a game plan and you used stats based on what you got from previous games, but at what point do you go ‘right, I’m not relying on stats any more, I’m going to have to now change my game plan’?”

“Once you multiply all those hormonal responses, you end up with something entirely charged with unpredictability and I think this leads to a huge sporting drama.”

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Three interesting league tables from this year's GCSE results

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 18:18

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The top of this year’s GCSE results regional league tables were dominated by London boroughs. See the results in full as well as some alternative rankings

According to the latest GCSEs results tables, published by the Department of Education on Thursday, the number of English schools failing on GCSE targets has doubled in a year.

The complete tables, released by the DfE, show key stage 4 and key stage 5 results by school. We’ve taken a look at the dataset and pulled out some interesting tables which you can find below.

The regional tables of 2014 GCSE results were heavily dominated by London boroughs, taking 12 places in the top 20 local authorities, underlining London’s recent stellar performance in secondary school exams.

Kensington and Chelsea topped the state school national league table, with 73% of its pupils passing the government’s benchmark, with the London boroughs of Sutton and Kingston-upon-Thames fourth and fifth overall. Trafford in greater Manchester was second, followed by the tiny local authority of the Isles of Scilly, which boasts just one school.

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Queensland election: LNP only has to reveal source of 40% of party funding

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 02:46

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Changes to the threshold at which the source of donations is disclosed mean millions of dollars in funding have not been attributed to a donor

The source of millions of dollars in political party funding has been obscured since the Queensland government made changes to the donations threshold last year.

In May 2014, the Newman government scrapped limits on political donations and election spending, and lifted the threshold at which donations have to be reported.

Related: Queensland election: Campbell Newman calls hung parliament 'recipe for chaos' – live

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Health, housing, poverty: the coalition's social policy record audited

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 06:00

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The coalition promised that austerity would be shared equally between rich and poor, young and old. It didn’t turn out quite like that, a new study finds

The government’s performance over the past five years across a range of key social policy areas, from health to housing, has been comprehensively audited in an authoritative academic study. Here are some key findings:

Incomes: not all in it together

Signs of pressure within the system are increasingly evident. This includes pressure on waiting times, A&E departments, cancer waiting lists and public satisfaction with the NHS.

The next government, like the coalition, will need to address these challenges in the context of very high public sector net debt and a current budget deficit. The cold climate for social policy and those most affected by it will remain into the foreseeable future.

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