Remembering: Soprano Shirley Verrett


Shirley Verrett, Soprano opera singer and recitalist, well known during the 1960s and 1970s sadly died last Friday, aged 79..

A great recording artist appearing of stage and film she was lauded by international audiences and the media.

Shirley Verrett was born in the racially segregated deep-south, New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 31 1931, one of six children. She started her musical career at the age of five when she sang her first solo – Jesus Loves Me – in church.

Adoption: Minister in race row


Children's Minister Tim Loughton has sent adoption care workers into a spin with his statement broadly suggesting that there should be no barrier to white parents adopting black children.

The minister's statement has raised alarms bells within the BME (Black and minority ethnic) care sector that the government may be seeking to ‘test the water’ as a forerunner to implementing changes to current guidelines and practices within the adoption and foster care sector.

Phil Woolas loses battle, Oldham faces By-election


Phil Woolas, former Labour MP, has been found guilty of making false statements that ‘stirred up racial and religious divisions’ in his bid to win the Oldham East and Saddleworth seat in the May general election.

Adoption: Show respect for race


Lester Holloway (pictured above) responds to Children’s Minister Tim Loughton suggestion that white parents should be allowed to adopt black children

Finding a loving home for thousands of children languishing in care is something that we would all wholeheartedly agree with. No-one would want to put up any needless barriers preventing this from happening.



Happy Diwali

dīpāvalī kī hārdika śubhakāmanā'ēṁ दीपावलीकीहार्दिकशुभकामनाएं

Today as million of people all round the world celebrate Diwali, Londoner Deepty Harji explains what the festival means to her.

BNP ban - Dotun replies:


Dotun's Law: Dotun Adebayo wrtites for the Guardian today:

Obama's Mid-term blues


In many ways this was always going to happen. As a Presidential candidate Barak Obama emotionally moved Americans in way that no other American politician has done, at least in our lifetime.

His heartfelt oratory was able to do the near impossible: it challenged, suppressed and at times healed prejudice.

Obama was crowned the messiah President. But his victory was far from universal. 45% of America voted against Obama, and in defeat they would plot and plan his demise.

Prime Minister’s Questions:


Conservative MP Sam Gyimah spoke up for small businesses during Prime Minister’s Questions, yesterday.

The Government’s proposals for automatic enrolment in pension schemes will mean that, from 2012, all companies will be required to automatically enrol staff earning over £7,475 into anoccupational retirement fund, or into NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) if there is no workplace scheme.

Cartoon Corner: Midterm election loss


The 'Perfect' politician


When the camera loves you it doesn’t matter whether you are on stage or on Newsnight the effect is the same - you grab attention.

And in recent years politicians have, somewhere along the way, been selected and elected partly because of how their looks impacts the public.

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