Daily Archive: December 25, 2017

Dec
25

The best of the Long Read in 2017

Our 20 favourite pieces of the year

Every year, it seems like the world gets even worse and the Guardian publishes a hundred long reads about it. But this is only an illusion. In fact, we publish 150 long reads each year – there are three every single week! – and most of them are not about the failures of globalisation or the ecological devastation caused by mankind.

Catching up with all of our stories from this year would take about 36 hours, if you finished each one in 15 minutes and didn’t take any breaks. But for those of you who can’t spare that kind of time, we have chosen our 20 best articles of 2017 – designed to provide you with at least a few hours of excellent holiday reading.

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Dec
25

Archbishop of Canterbury criticises ‘populist’ world leaders

Justin Welby joins Pope Francis in using traditional Christmas Day message to make oblique criticism of Donald Trump over Jerusalem decision

The archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out against “tyrannical and populist” world leaders in a Christmas message likely to be seen partly as a rebuke against US president Donald Trump.

Justin Welby was preaching at Canterbury cathedral at the same time as Pope Francis made oblique criticism of Trump in his traditional Christmas address in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

Related: Pope compares plight of migrants to Christmas story

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Dec
25

‘They see the potential’: why J-Lo and Gillette want a piece of the eSports action

With superstar backers and sponsorship from mainstream brands, competitive video gaming is hitting the big time

If there are any doubts that computer games can become a mainstream spectator sport, then Jennifer Lopez and Stan Kroenke are not listening.

The superstar singer and Arsenal’s majority shareholder have both put money into eSports teams, as the gaming competitions with millions of followers worldwide aim for even greater public appeal. Lopez has bought into a team franchise for the new Overwatch League, in which teams from cities such as Seoul, San Francisco and London play Overwatch, a mass-participation shooting game. The global competition for the game, which launches in January, also includes the LA Gladiators, run by Kroenke, a serial sports entrepreneur.

Related: eSports are real sports. It’s time for the Olympic video games | Tauriq Moosa

Related: The rise of eSports: are addiction and corruption the price of its success?

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Dec
25

In austerity Britain, people need parks | Letters

Funding for public parks is being cut off just when they are needed more than ever to combat the stress of surviving in austerity Britain, says the Parks Agency

The quietly announced news that the Heritage Lottery Fund is closing its Parks for People funding programme comes as a shock. It should be a matter of huge concern, not only to the 90% of families with children who visit their local park at least once a month, but to all who care about the wellbeing of our towns and cities. Since it was set up in 1996, the programme has transformed hundreds of urban parks from no-go areas to thriving community assets, paying not just for repairs to bandstands, lakes, paths, gates and other features but also for new cafes, toilets, play areas and funding for new staff.

Austerity has hit parks departments particularly hard. As a non-statutory service, parks have been in the frontline of the cuts since 2010, with budgets falling on average by 40% – and in some cases by far more. Newcastle upon Tyne has seen a 90% fall, resulting in unprecedented plans to transfer the city’s parks to a charitable trust. Elsewhere, councils such as Knowsley are selling parks for development to fund future maintenance. Users have seen the impact in terms of loss of staff, reduced tidiness and increases in antisocial behaviour. Politicians, of course, have not.

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