Datablog (the Guardian)

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Updated: 18 hours 57 min ago

Five things we can learn from Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 13:05

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Do young people struggle to engage with politics? And why do ethnic minorities vote Labour? Here are the answers according to a political book attempting to shed light on such questions

The British general election is firmly on the horizon - and you can count on there being piles of political analysis prior to, during and after the votes being cast.

What is the effect of a low turnout? Do the older generation identify more with a political party? To get a head start on some common questions and complaints about the British political system, we’ve compiled a selection of extracts from a book that aims to explore questions such as the above.

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Try the Royal Statistical Society Christmas quiz

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 10:12

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Try and get through the quiz requiring a large dose of mental agility at this festive time of year and win a subscription to Significance magazine

For the past 21 years, the newsletter of Royal Statistical Society has published a fiendish Christmas quiz for its members.

To successfully tackle the quiz you’ll need a mixture of general knowledge, logic and lateral thinking. No specialist mathematical knowledge is required. Are you up to the task?

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Local council cuts: spending power by authority

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:39

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Cuts to English council’s overall spending power for councils have been announced by the government, with a promise that no council will see more than a 6.4% cut. But how do the numbers differ by local authority?

Councils in England will face an average cut of 1.8% in their overall spending power in 2015-16 according to an announcement by the government on Wednesday.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Kris Hopkins, communities and local government minister outlined the the provisional local government finance settlement 2015 to 2016. He also said no council would see more than a 6.4% cut in overall ‘spending power’, as part of an overall reduction of 1.8%.

It’s opaque in a way that makes comprehension difficult. But it doesn’t mean that people won’t notice the impact on [services like] transport, culture environment and planning.

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Revealed: Premier League clubs charge up to £600 for children to be mascots

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 13:53

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• West Ham’s most expensive mascot package is £600
• Several clubs charge more than £250 for under-16 season ticket
• Clubs accused of ‘excluding families from poorer backgrounds’
• Nine clubs, however, do not charge at all for mascot places

More than half the Premier League clubs have been accused of “excluding families from poorer backgrounds” after a Guardian study found that a few of them are charging as much as £450 for children to be mascots, with West Ham United’s most expensive package at £600.

With the average price of a replica kit for a junior fan costing £65, according to the study, parents faced with forking out for at least five matches over the festive period are having to count the increasing cost of following a top-flight club.

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Do Scottish 16- and 17-year-olds want to vote?

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 10:39

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What do young Scots make of allowing 16-and17-year-olds to vote? ICM’s Martin Boon explains what the Electoral Commission survey tells us

Now that the Scottish independence referendum has set the precedent, to nobody’s surprise different political parties are looking at what happened in Scotland and are making announcements on extending the franchise to 16- and 17- year-olds.

But what do young Scots make of being some kind of political vanguard? How did this young cohort respond and react to being the first of their age to be awarded the franchise? More to the point, will they grasp this electoral opportunity and reinvigorate electoral politics with sustained future engagement, underpinning higher levels of turnout in the future?

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University Research Excellence Framework 2014 – the full rankings

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 00:00

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The Research Excellence Framework (Ref) is a quality measure of universities’ academic work, which will decide how much funding they receive for the next six years. Funding experts Research Fortnight created ‘power rankings’ based on how they assessed each university.

Research Fortnight weighted the figures by staff numbers and then created the following metrics:

Quality Index: a weighting of the university’s score based on the expected funding allocation (75% to 4* research and 25% to 3*)
Power rating: how the university’s Quality Index score relates to the top performing university – in this case Oxford
Market share: how much Research Fortnight predicts the university will get of the overall available funding next year based on its results

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Rouble collapse: good for caviar eaters, bad for London estate agents

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:57

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The falling value of the rouble has made foreign holidays and luxury watches dearer for Russians, but foreigners can now buy cheaper caviar

The collapse in the rouble and western sanctions against the Kremlin has led to economic turmoil in Russia. But the consequences are also rippling through the British economy, affecting Mayfair mansions to manufacturing plants.

I have no doubt that many Russians would like to have more money in bricks and mortar in London, but it does not make sense to purchase when the currency adds 40% to the price.

Samsung shop hiked the price of this tablet by 3,200 r around lunchtime. 'We change prices several times a day now' pic.twitter.com/duEVUF4a7q

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Greece presidential election: four things you need to know

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 15:35

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Greece’s parliament begins the process to elect a new president today. If MPs fail to elect a candidate by the end of the year, early parliamentary elections would be inevitable

Greece’s parliament begins the process to elect a new president today. The presidential elections are indirect, meaning members of parliament elect the president.

Here are four things you need to know about the vote:

First ballot to elect president in #Greece to start at 7 pm. This is roughly how things stand http://t.co/qA5EkDdSdv pic.twitter.com/M7mzcBciU8

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More than 200 journalists imprisoned worldwide for third consecutive year

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:41

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The arrests of journalists in Turkey last week are just a small part of the overall numbers worldwide

As of 1 December there were 220 journalists in prison worldwide, with one in five of those in Chinese jails according to a new report.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), who compiled the figures, said this was an increase of nine since last year. It marks the third consecutive year that more than 200 reporters have been imprisoned.

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2014's top Google searches - from Robin Williams to Conchita Wurst

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 16:02

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The late Robin Williams, the World Cup and Eurovision stars are among what the world searched for the most in 2014

The US’s most Googled gifs of 2014 - in gifs

Comedian and actor Robin Williams, who died earlier this year, was the top search on Google during 2014.

The search engine has released its list of this year’s most searched for news events and top trending subjects. Williams’ death drew more attention than the World Cup (2nd), Ebola (3rd) or Malaysia Airlines (4th).

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How diverse are FTSE 100 companies?

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 14:00

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With UK business secretary Vince Cable launching a drive for FTSE 100 companies to increase diversity, we look at what the figures look like today

Read: lack of diversity on boardrooms increasing despite Westminster push

Company boardrooms are still overwhelmingly being run by white men. In a bid to combat the low ethnic diversity, business secretary Vince Cable today launched the 2020 Campaign. The aim is for there to be no FTSE 100 companies with all-white boards by 2020.

But what do the figures look like today?

We know that businesses with diversity at their top are more successful,” said business secretary Vince Cable in a statement released on Monday.

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Jail rates soar in states and territories, statistics show

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 05:13

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Victoria and Queensland preside over the greatest rise in imprisonments, as other jurisdictions jump to 10-year highs, according to the Bureau of Statistics

The rate of imprisonment in Victoria and Queensland has increased dramatically since last year, according to new figures, with other states and territories jumping to 10-year highs.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show large increases in the rate per 100,000 of the adult population with Victoria jumping 12% and Queensland 14% since 2013.

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Number of English players in the Champions League on the decline

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 16:07

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Just 21 English players appeared in the Champions League group stage this stage, which was less than half the number of Germans and 13 fewer than Portugal

Read more: English players not invited to Europe’s Champions League party

Every year the reducing number of English players in the Premiership is seized upon by critics. But looking at the figures for how many have played in the Champions League reveals the real dearth of home-born talent in the country’s top sides.

This year just 21 English players took part in the Champions League group stage, one fewer than last year and twelve fewer than in the recent high of 33 during the 2012-13 season.

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A brief history of immigration in Sweden

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 15:01

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Sweden faces a snap election for the first time since 1958. The far-right Sweden Democrats refuse to cooperate with anyone that doesn’t slash immigration. We took a closer look at the figures behind the furore

As Sweden faces a snap election and parliamentary chaos at the hands of its kingmaker far-right party, the Sweden Democrats, we took a closer look at the immigration and integration figures behind the furore.

The last time Sweden held an early election, the country’s football team made the World Cup final, and a then unknown footballer called Pelé was 17.

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Falling oil, rising cucumber prices: how much trouble is Russia in?

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:08

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With plunging oil and a tumbling rouble on the one hand, and rocketing bond yields and inflation on the other, Moscow is clearly worried, but is a perfect storm gathering over Putin?

On 1 December, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced during a visit to Turkey that Russia was abandoning its South Stream project, a pipeline envisioned to bring gas to south-eastern Europe bypassing Ukraine by going through the Black Sea.

The official explanation for halting the project are EU regulations, which prohibit one company controlling the full cycle of extraction, transportation and sale of energy resources. Simply put, the same company cannot own both the gas and the pipeline it goes through.

Russian bond yield rockets to five-year high as analysts talk about another financial crisis. http://t.co/DPGo4xylhP pic.twitter.com/et2WKV2m0M

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Indigenous imprisonment rates still rising, figures show

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 06:37

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The number of Indigenous Australians in prison has grown by more than 80% in 10 years and the overall imprisonment rate is rising, figures show

The number of Indigenous Australians in prison has grown by more than 80% in 10 years, and the overall imprisonment rate is at its highest level in 10 years, new data has revealed.

According to the figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), at 30 June this year the national imprisonment rate was 185.6 prisoners per 100,000 adults, up by 13.4 since last year. It is the highest national imprisonment rate since 2004.

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A woman has only won Time's person of the year three times

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 15:53

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An abstract grouping or concept such as “the American soldier” or “the protestor” has won Time’s person of the year more times than the award has been given to a woman

Ebola medical workers have been named Time magazine’s person of the year for 2014. This is the eleventh time that a grouping (Ebola medical workers), concept (the protestor) or object (the computer) has won rather than a named person or persons.

In contrast, just three individual women have been named the winner since the award was started in 1927.

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