Datablog (the Guardian)

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Updated: 3 days 9 hours ago

The UK election should be about trust, instead it will be about fear

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:21

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Driven by a lack of trust, Britain’s electorate is more fragmented than ever - and things are only likely to get worse after next year’s election

As expected, Ukip walked the Rochester and Strood byelection. Mark Reckless won Nigel Farage’s party its second Westminster seat defeating Conservative candidate Kelly Tolhurst by 2,920 votes. Ukip took 42% of the vote, the Conservatives 35%. A 28% Conservative to Ukip swing.

With 349 votes (0.9%), the Liberal Democrats recorded the party’s worst ever result in a Westminster election, finishing fifth, behind the Greens’ 4%.

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Obama to shield 5m migrants from deportation – a look at the numbers

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 18:55

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President Obama is expected to announce new measures to safeguard 5m migrants from the threat of deportation. We look at the numbers behind the likely proposals, and how they affect each state differently

In 2012 there were an estimated 11.7 million undocumented migrants in the US. Of these, about 1.2 million are already eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program. Daca, introduced by the Obama administration in 2012, allows young migrants who meet certain criteria to be protected from deportation and apply to work in the US, on a temporary basis.

On Thursday, President Obama is expected to announce new measures that will shield up to 4m more people from deportation. It isn’t the first time a president uses an executive order to act on the matter of immigration. Two Republican presidents before him – Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr – did so too, and for similar reasons that Obama will.

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If polls are right, Ukip will walk the Rochester and Strood byelection

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:36

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The most recent polls show Ukip leading the Conservatives in Rochester and Strood by a comfortable 13, 15 and 12 points respectively. A month ago the outcome of the byelection wasn’t so obvious - and this matters

Around the time of the Clacton byelection a poll by Survation on Thursday’s vote in Rochester and Strood had Ukip on 40%, nine points ahead of the Conservatives. Labour were on 25%.

The Rochester and Strood byelection was seen by many as a potential dress rehearsal ahead of next year’s general election - a relatively safe seat that had the makings of a potential three-horse race. Despite Ukip’s nine-point lead, the underlying trends in Rochester and Strood were viewed very differently to Clacton, which, in theory at least, made the race an uncertain one.

UKIP looks set to get its second MP this week: http://t.co/hIqvph719L - So who's most likely to defect next? pic.twitter.com/peSoEG5dQ5

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UK workers hit by sixth year of falling real pay

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:58

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Wages in real terms fell 1.6% in 2014, back to levels last seen in the early 2000s, but the gender pay gap narrowed

British workers suffered a sixth straight year of falling real pay in 2014, taking earnings back to levels last seen at the turn of the century, according to official figures.

Pay, when adjusted for inflation, was 1.6% lower this year than in 2013, the Office for National Statistics said in its annual survey of hours and earnings.

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Japan's election won't just be a referendum on Abenomics

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 15:29

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a snap election for December. The vote is being branded as a referendum on the PM’s economic plans, but with debates on defence and nuclear energy still dividing public opinion the balance of power that emerges from the ballot box will matter greatly

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday that he was dissolving parliament on 21 November to hold a snap election in December. The move followed the PM’s announcement at the same press conference to delay until April 2017 - 18 months later than planned - a rise in the country’s consumption tax, from 8% to 10%. All this comes after official data released on Monday revealed that Japan had re-entered recession for the fourth time since 2008.

Chart: Japan's GDP unexpectedly shrinks again due to consumption tax hike in April. Second hike likely on hold now - pic.twitter.com/DVRPB9VK8X

#Abe will dissolve Lower House on Friday ahead of Dec. election. Will he maintain his coalition’s 2/3 super-majority? pic.twitter.com/yehmpsMyVa

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Religious extremism main cause of terrorism, according to report

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 14:11

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Since 2001 religious extremism has overtaken national separatism to become the main driver of terrorist attacks around the world, according to the Global Terrorism Index

Religious extremism has become the main driver of terrorism in recent years, according to this year’s Global Terrorism Index.

The report recorded 18,000 deaths in 2013, a rise of 60% on the previous year. The majority (66%) of these were attributable to just four groups: Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qaida.

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Do teachers in private schools really work fewer hours for more money?

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 14:08

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Recent research shows that teachers in independent schools are working longer hours for little extra pay. So how does this compare with the state sector?

Teachers in private schools are working longer hours this year for little extra pay, according to a recent survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

The research also finds that the number of students attending private schools has risen at its fastest rate since the financial crash in 2008.

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What UK government departments do - in charts

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 07:30

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Find out how many bills each department has passed since the coalition came to power and which parts of the country they oversee

How does the UK government work? And what do the different departments do?

Unfortunately the answers to these questions are not particularly straightforward but a new report by the thinktank Institute for Government sheds some light on the matter.

In recent quarters the rate of these reductions has dropped and will need to pick up again sharply if the government’s expectation is to be met. As the outgoing head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake, has argued, further cuts after the election will force Whitehall to change its ways of working and organisation. It will need to join up more services, rather than replicating the same capability in 17 different departments.

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Can it pass the Senate? Interactive Australian voting calculator

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 04:21

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As senator Jacqui Lambie has stopped voting along Palmer United Party lines, the Senate has become even more unpredictable. This voting calculator allows you to test and share different voting combinations to see how and if a bill could be passed. The calculator assumes all senators will be present, and so a majority of 39 is needed to pass legislation, and 38 are needed to block.

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Renewable energy v fossil fuel: how the states stack up

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 04:01

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Climate Council report ranks Australian states by their emissions, renewable energy production, and investment

New South Wales and Victoria are ‘going backwards on renewable energy’, according to the latest report from the Climate Council.

Within the report are detailed statistics on emissions, renewable energy production and investment for each state and territory in Australia. So how do the states match up?

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Over 90% of drowning deaths happen in lower and middle income countries

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:26

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Around 372,000 people a year die through drowning with the vast bulk of those occurring in the world’s poorer countries

Each year 372,441 people die due to drowning, according to a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Of those deaths, 90% occur in lower and middle income countries. It is the world’s third leading unintentional injury killer.

Particularly at risk are those aged under 24, for whom drowning is one of the ten leading causes of death in every region in the world.

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Global Drug Survey 2015: seven things you may not know about drugs

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 12:05

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Discover some of the surprising facts we found out from the results of previous years’ surveys and take part in 2015’s Global Drug Survey

Click here to take part in Global Drug Survey 2015

The behaviour of drug users can often remain a mystery due to the illegality surrounding it all. How do we find out, for example, where people buy their drugs, which ones they enjoy the most and how safe they are with their consumption?

For the last few years, the Guardian has been a partner on the Global Drug Survey which aims to answer a few of these questions.

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Russia goes on decade's biggest gold buying spree

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 12:05

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Between July-September 2014 central banks added 92.8 tonnes of gold to their reserves - and 59% of net purchases in this period were made by Russia

When the going gets tough countries buy gold. Over the past decade, Russias central bank has been the most active gold buyer in the sector.

Between July-September 2014 central banks added 92.8 tonnes of gold to their reserves - and 59% of net purchases in this period were made by Russia. Russia was followed by Kazakhstan, which added 28 tonnes to its reserves, and Azerbaijan bought a further seven tonnes. Both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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Eurostar at 20: how has the service grown?

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:37

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Eurostar will mark its 20th anniversary on Friday. With new routes to be introduced and new trains coming at the end of 2015, see how the cross-continental train service has grown over the past two decades

Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the cross-continental train service Eurostar.

Since 1994 when the first Eurostar services launched between Waterloo International, Paris Gare du Nord, Brussels Midi and Lille Europe, 150m passengers have taken a trip on the high-speed passenger trains.

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Proportion of Catholics in Latin America has dropped 25% since 1970

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 17:06

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A new report released by the Pew Research Centre has found that the proportion of Catholics in Latin America has dropped 25% since 1970. One of the primary drivers for the rise in the numbers leaving the Catholic Church? Conversion to Protestantism

A new report released by the Pew Research Centre has found that the proportion of Latin America that is Catholic has dropped 25% since 1970, falling from 92% of the population then to 69% now. Over the same period of time the number of Protestants has grown to 19%, while the number that define themselves as religiously unaffiliated has risen to 8%.

Uruguay is home to Latin America's largest percentage of religiously unaffiliated adults (37%)http://t.co/nHCjDEIJkb pic.twitter.com/heanqMzh1k

In one chart: Religious affiliations of Latin Americans and U.S. Hispanics http://t.co/nHCjDEIJkb pic.twitter.com/AZqItFCxS1

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Twenty years since Sweden voted to join the EU - what's changed?

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 14:38

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On this day in 1994, Sweden voted to join the EU, which brought the Nordic countries much closer to Europe. How has the home of Ikeas relationship with the rest of the continent changed since then?

Quiz: the carefully assembled Ikea quiz

On 13 October 1994, the Swedish public voted to join the expanding European Union after almost exactly four years of negotiation culminated in a national referendum.

The result was relatively narrow with 52.3% of the electorate deciding to join the union. The vote had attracted a high turnout of 83%. It was approved by the parliament a month later, with the Swedes joining the EU alongside Austria and Finland in January 1995.

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Ed Miliband is most unpopular leader among his own party's supporters ever

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 13:08

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The latest Ipsos Mori poll has the Labour party on 29% - its lowest level since 2010. Dissatisfaction with Ed Miliband among Labour supporters is at the highest level of dissatisfaction ever recorded for any leader among their own supporters

The latest Ipsos Mori poll has the Labour party on 29% - its lowest level since 2010. The Conservatives are on 32%, David Camerons biggest lead since 2010. Ukip are on 14%, the Liberal Democrats on 9%.

seat projection (IpsosMori) Con 296 -11 Lab 299 +41 Lib Dem 25 -32 Green 1 SNP 7 +1 Plaid Cymru 3 NHAP 1 +1 N'Ireland 18 Lab short by 27

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Opium harvest in Afghanistan reaches record levels after troop withdrawal

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:33

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The cultivation of poppies for opium gains more ground, with Helmand province - which British troops pulled out of this year - remaining the region producing the most

The cultivation of opium in Afghanistan has reached record high levels in the year that the majority of Nato troops withdrew from combat action.

The Afghan opium survey by the United Nations office on drugs and crime (UNODC) say that a record-breaking 224,000 hectares was cultivated in 2014, which was a 7% rise on 2013s figure. This is enough poppies to more than cover the entire county of Leicestershire.

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G20: how nations measure up on economic growth and carbon emissions

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 04:33

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Ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane, we make some comparisons of key performance indicators

The theme of this years G20 is growth, apparently, with members aiming to raise the level of growth in G20 output by at least 2% over the next five years. So which countries economies are growing, and which are slowing down? The University of Melbournes G20Watch site has compiled figures for a number of different statistics for each member nation (excluding the EU). Heres GDP growth since the global financial crisis:

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