Morning call: pick of the comment

The ten must-read pieces from this morning's newspapers

1. No room at the inn? We can still be hospitable (Times)

John Sentamu, archbishop of York, compares the plight of destitute asylum seekers to Mary and Joseph, and urges compassion and hospitality.

2. How the noughties were a hinge of history (Financial Times)

Martin Wolf looks back on a decade of Western decline.

3. An optimism that has drained away (Independent)

Hamish McRae looks to the decade ahead, arguing that 10 years from now, the West will no longer call the shots.

4. University funding: Shape of cuts to come (Guardian)

The Guardian editorial spells out the potential consequences of the 6.6 per cent university cuts, and says that this points the way to a series of major cuts to come.

5. Mandelson's cuts follow years of futile expansion (Times)

Meanwhile, at the Times, Ross Clark argues that Labour has got the universities it deserves after a decade of misguided policy.

6. No time for thought (Daily Telegraph)

Fast-track degree courses will turn the clock back 20 years, and result in a two-tier education system.

7. Apprenticeships alone won't give hope to a lost generation (Independent)

While apprenticeships are a good step in tackling youth unemployment, says Anna Fazackerley, there is no point spending money and effort when they are not useful to the employer.

8. Dark matter holds the key to the universe (Guardian)

We've moved a step closer to understanding the nature of dark matter, writes Paul Davies, and thus transforming our knowledge of the cosmos itself.

9. The Neglected War (Times)

The Times leading article draws attention to Mexico's war on drugs, where celebration has quickly turned to tragedy.

10. Here are a few predictions to keep you going until new year (Independent)

Finally, Steve Richards leaves us with some political predictions for 2010.


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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.



In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.