Owen Bowcott

World battle for seabed

The race to exploit the last unexplored wildernesses on Earth is intensifying. Survey ships have been dispatched across the oceans, and marine consultants hired. Submersibles are being lowered into inky depths to record underwater contours and take sedimentary samples. Politicians around the globe, waving their countries' flags, have boasted about securing oil, gas and mineral resources for future generations.

Bono’s capitalist tool

Bono may be celebrated for browbeating world leaders into funding debt relief for developing countries, but his Irish rock band is facing criticism for switching its financial affairs overseas to avoid paying higher taxes. Irish politicians have expressed surprise at U2's decision to move part of its multimillion-dollar operation from Ireland to Amsterdam.

The bogroll of dishonour: A third of the world has inadequate toilets

More than a third of the world's population lacks access to adequate sanitation, according to a survey by the British charity WaterAid. In a report marking World Toilet Day on November 19, the organisation has compiled an international ''bogroll of dishonour'', designed to shame countries into improving facilities.

‘Sugar’ not the only one sweet on Alam

Faria Alam, the secretary propelled into tabloid infamy through her affair with the England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and the Football Association's chief executive Mark Palios, this week claimed she had been sexually harassed by a third official. Alam also told the tribunal that the England manager urged her to deny they had had an affair when rumours first emerged.

School bans skirts for girls

A high school in Suffolk, eastern England, has become the first in Britain to ban girls from wearing skirts and order them to switch...

‘I was framed’

A Middle East-based British businessman has emerged as a key suspect in a secret network supplying Libya, Iran and North Korea with equipment to build nuclear bombs. Speaking for the first time this week, Paul Griffin denied that his company played any part in shipping prohibited material from the Far East.

Bombing fits al-Qaeda pattern

The November 15 suicide bombing in Istanbul fits clearly into the pattern of al-Qaeda's targeting of Jewish interests, as well as its determination to punish the United States's allies for supporting the invasion of Iraq, counter-terrorism experts said this week.

Bishops guide sexuality debate

The Church of England has an ''unhealthy obsession'' with sexual sin, a panel of bishops suggested this week in a document exploring cross-dressing, bisexuality, gay marriage and homosexual clergy. The guide, Some Issues in Human Sexuality, was published in the wake of the consecration in the United States of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop.

BP’s pipe dream to come true

A controversial scheme led by the oil giant BP to build a huge, strategically important pipeline is about to win crucial backing, according to a leaked document. The World Bank is due to approve a -million loan this week for a consortium to build an underground pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea to the Turkish port of Ceyhan via Georgia.

UK advised on terror

UK Ministry of Defence experts have made at least 10 trips to Bogota in the past three years to advise the Colombian government on counter-terrorism tactics, the department has revealed. The programme of military aid demonstrates how closely the UK government is involved in supporting the war against Marxist rebels.

Reporter killed covering his first war

A 24-year-old British journalist shot dead in Baghdad over the weekend was a relative novice who had travelled to Iraq to fulfil an ambition to work as a war reporter.

Campaign group calls for curb on oil industry activities

A British campaign group called on governments last week to clamp down on big oil companies, as it provided evidence of the damaging impact of the industry on the global economy.

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