Forget football, the world’s fastest-growing sport is live video gaming. But increasingly its impact is proving harmful to those involved
If you had been away from the planet for the past quarter of a century, one of the few things you might find comfortingly familiar on your return is the world of sport. While the digital revolution has transformed the way we shop, chat, date, do politics and consume culture, sport looks largely unchanged. From football to cricket to golf, it’s still the same old staples, hitting a ball into a hole or goal or over a boundary. There hasn’t been a major new sport invented for more than a century. Or has there?
In the East End of London, Sam Mathews is holding court at Fnatic’s HQ, otherwise known as the Bunkr. A pop-up shop that opened last December, it is marketed as the “world’s first eSports concept store” and is as knowingly hip as its Shoreditch surroundings. Here at the Bunkr, you can buy eSports equipment, meet players, view streamed events and even watch matches live.
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I ask if he will give me the most powerful shock he gives patients. The impact is violent. I still feel it hours later
It has a reputation as a party drug, but some patients say it has transformed their lives after no other treatments helped
When depression takes hold of Helen it feels like she is drowning in a pool of water, unable to swim up to the world above. The 36-year-old former nurse has had mental health problems most of her life. No drugs, hospital stays or therapies have been able to help.
Then one day, during yet another spell in hospital, her consultant told her about a psychiatrist treating patients with ketamine. The psychiatrist in question visited her to discuss using the drug. He warned there were no guarantees, but it had helped some patients.
Related: Ketamine could help thousands with severe depression, doctors say
In northern South Africa, former soldiers are fighting both the illegal wildlife trade and the twin scourges of unemployment and PTSD
The sun has set over the scrubby savannah. The moon is full. It is time for Ryan Tate and his men to go to work. In camouflage fatigues, they check their weapons and head to the vehicles.
Somewhere beyond the ring of light cast by the campfire, out in the vast dark expanse of thornbushes, baobab trees, rocks and grass, are the rhinos. Somewhere, too, may be the poachers who will kill them to get their precious horns.
All these veterans with billions of dollars of training and the government doesn’t use them. I saw a need in two places
We should be defiant in our acceptance of mental health problems in the same way that we would about our sexuality or gender identity
I almost didn’t write this. It wasn’t from not wanting to. I cradled my head in my hands, desperate to contribute to the reams of social media positivity I had seen surrounding Mental Health Awareness Week.
I almost didn’t – couldn’t – because I was depressed.
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New law to counter promotion of unhealthily thin bodies will require media to state when photos have been manipulated
Fashion models in France will need to provide medical certificates proving they are healthy in order to work, after a new law was introduced banning those considered to be excessively thin.
Related: Fashion industry told to end its quest for ‘unattainable thinness’
Michael Sandford, who has autism, returns to UK after serving five months of year-long jail sentence imposed for Las Vegas crime
A British man jailed in the US for trying to grab a policeman’s gun at a Donald Trump rally – in order “to shoot and kill” the then presidential candidate – has returned to the UK.
Michael Sandford landed at Heathrow airport on Thursday, having been released nearly five months into a year-long sentence, his family’s lawyer said.
Related: ‘They said my son intended to assassinate Donald Trump. And my world just stopped’
Drinking a can of diet soft drink a day associated with almost three times higher risk, say researchers – but critics warn against causal connection
Consuming a can a day of low- or no-sugar soft drink is associated with a much higher risk of having a stroke or developing dementia, researchers claim.
Their findings have prompted renewed questions about whether drinks flavoured with artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of serious illness, as heavily sugared drinks have already been shown to do.
Related: How Britain plans to lead the global science race to treat dementia
Related: No evidence sugar-free soft drinks aid weight loss – study
Related: Half of fizzy drinks have more sugar in one can than adult daily limit
Anxiety levels also high in UK schools, global survey of 15-year-olds shows, with disadvantaged pupils worse affected
British teenagers are highly motivated about their school work, but are more anxious, more likely to be bullied and are less satisfied with life than many of their peers elsewhere in the world, according to a survey.
Almost a quarter of British pupils who took part in the poll say they are being bullied a few times a month, while more than 14% say they are bullied frequently, making the UK the fourth worst affected of all 34 countries surveyed.
Related: British teenagers among least satisfied in western world
One in four Zimbabweans suffers from mental illness, but untrained female health workers are setting a new benchmark for the treatment of patients
The therapy room is a patch of waste ground, and the therapist’s couch a wooden bench under a tree. The therapist is an elderly Zimbabwean woman, in a long brown dress and headscarf.
Her patients call her “Grandmother” when they come along to sit on her bench and discuss their feelings, their depression or other mental health issues.
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Theresa May’s claims of national unity sound increasingly deluded amid the conflicting visions of a post-EU Britain
It’s not just the fact that Scotland is demanding a second independence referendum, Northern Ireland is in political deadlock and the Welsh are becoming steadily more disaffected that makes Theresa May’s claims the country has never been so united sound increasingly deluded. The problems start rather closer to home in parliament. One of the unexpected joys of being a sketch writer is getting to observe the 21 MPs on the Brexit select committee at close quarters. The committee is split roughly 50/50 on highly partisan remain and leave lines, and as a result is almost entirely dysfunctional, with the remainers only ever asking questions likely to elicit answers that show Brexit is going to be a total disaster, while the leavers are only interested in ones that predict everything will be fantastic. Just this week, the chairman of the committee, the generally fair-minded Hilary Benn, produced a 154-page draft report of the evidence they had heard so far and the leavers were outraged it had not been given a more positive spin. After an hour of trying to persuade Benn to make the report less gloomy, six of the leavers stomped out in a sulk.
Report a ‘wake-up call’ for countries to rethink approaches to mental health, says agency, revealing that cases have grown by almost 20% in a decade
Cases of depression have ballooned almost 20% in a decade, making the debilitating disorder the leading cause of disability worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
By 2015, the number of people globally living with depression, according to a revised definition, had reached 322m, up 18.4% since 2005, the UN agency said on Thursday.
Related: Royals launch campaign to get Britons talking about mental health
We do the vast majority of soldiers an injustice if we refuse to distinguish between those who break the law and those who do not
Those who are given powerful weapons, and the authority to kill with them, must be subject to the law. Forget that all-too-common Hollywood trope in which the brave combatant is held back by the petty restrictions of armchair lawyers. “Shit, charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500,” remarks Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now. No, soldiers should be grateful for the law because it is precisely the law, and its underlying morality, that distinguishes soldiers from murderers. The law is the soldier’s friend.
Alexander Blackman’s mental state contributed to him shooting dead an injured Taliban fighter – but we must still uphold international law
When justice is done, we should be glad. But the champagne-swigging jubilation that greeted the reduction of “Marine A” Alexander Blackman’s murder conviction to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, went far beyond the acknowledgment that this was an appropriate outcome. To many of his supporters he is a “hero soldier” persecuted for shooting dead an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. The judgment, however, was no exoneration: he killed a defenceless man, tried to make sure it was not witnessed, and attempted to cover up what he did. The judges considered mitigating factors, including his combat stress disorder. Nonetheless, they concluded that his crime was a severe one, that he held substantial responsibility for it, and that his dismissal from service was justified.
Drum-beating coverage of “our brave boys” veils the fact that British troops, like any others, are capable of terrible violations of the laws of war and the dictates of basic decency. Perhaps the catastrophe of Iraq, and the consciousness of the toll it took overwhelmingly on Iraqi civilians but also on coalition forces, has sensitised the public to the immense pressures facing soldiers and the often limited support they receive. More often than not, such abuses occur when there is an absence or failure of leadership. Another marine – briefly Blackman’s commanding officer – described the leadership and oversight in place as shockingly bad, and insisted he was not a single rotten apple. The answer is not to give soldiers a free pass to abuse and kill by attacking attempts to hold them to account, but to ask who else is responsible and how such behaviour can be prevented in future.
The arrival of Julia is a wonderful thing. Any child who watches her will learn about acceptance and understanding of difference
It is commonly held that kids can be cruel, but it’s not a phrase I have ever used, largely because I regard it as a spectacular understatement. Children can be, and frequently are, awful, vile, contemptible and vicious, along with many other things that I cannot put in a family newspaper.
I learned this from growing up with a brother who has autism. There were a few exceptions, but in the large part the children in our village were not equipped to understand or accept abnormal behaviour, and so resorted to mockery and imitation – behaviour that, thankfully, my brother’s severe disability precluded him from being hurt by, though that didn’t preclude me being affected by it.
The extent to which the discourse around autism has moved on even in the past decade is encouraging
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