Is the adoption process failing families? – best podcasts of the week

One Wednesday afternoon, two children were taken away from their parents and put into foster care. The Adoption (BBC Radio 4/iTunes) follows the story of their shattered family. It’s a podcast that is heart-wrenching but brilliantly delivered. Bethany, three, and her two-year-old brother, Ben, are described by their social worker as “absolutely adorable … They …

HIM review – fond and florid farewell for Finnish metal monsters

Over the course of two decades and eight albums, Finnish goth-rockers HIM have chiselled out a decadent niche by combining melodic power with a Byronic glower. By the early 2000s, they had become multimillion-selling metal monsters across mainland Europe, and while the five-piece never quite crossed over into the UK and US mainstream, the distinctive …

First vulnerable child refugee arrives in UK from Greece under Dubs scheme

The first vulnerable child refugee stranded in Greece who qualifies for sanctuary under the Dubs amendment has arrived in the UK, more than a year after the government pledged to bring over hundreds of children. The Home Office had accepted that the boy was vulnerable and eligible for transfer 16 months ago. The Dubs amendment, …

From Brexit to Biff the dog: the best and worst political Christmas cards

Each year as the nights draw in, politicians face a surprisingly tricky seasonal dilemma: for their Christmas card design, do they go safe or wacky? Perhaps the least surprising thing about this year’s offerings is that Theresa May has again opted for the former. All three of her designs were created by children in her …

I’m proud to be a Conservative Brexit traitor. We rebels had to take back control | Stephen Hammond

The referendum told us to leave the EU, however it was completely silent on how we do so. Indeed, some in the leave campaign said we should stay in the single market. Yet, how we choose to leave the EU (not whether we do) will have a significant effect on people and businesses across our …

It is simple for England: get Steve Smith out or lose the Ashes | Adam Collins

The roar Joe Root let out when he reviewed correctly to dismiss Cameron Bancroft shortly after David Warner nicked off was guttural and instructive. The England captain had got the big call right and they had two in a hurry. After a horrid collapse before lunch, and an imposing start for Australia, England were suddenly …

The doctor who signed patients’ livers was silly, not criminal. The law is an ass | Henry Marsh

Last Wednesday Simon Bramhall, a consultant surgeon specialising in liver transplantation, pleaded guilty in Birmingham crown court to “assault by beating”. He awaits sentencing. On two occasions during liver transplantation surgery – a highly complex and difficult procedure – he had signed his initials on the surface of his patients’ organs using an argon gas coagulator. …

Sex between snow monkeys and sika deer may be ‘new behavioural tradition’

Sexual interactions between snow monkeys and sika deer could be a new behavioural tradition within a group of monkeys observed in Japan, researchers have suggested. While the first report of a male Japanese macaque, or snow monkey, and female sika deer taking to each other was revealed earlier this year, scientists say they are now …