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Latest news, sport, business, comment, analysis and reviews from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Sun, 04 Dec 2016 09:00:00 GMT2016-12-04T09:00:00Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016
 



Top Tories: hard Brexit stance could lose us next election

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:00:33 GMT2016-12-03T22:00:33Z

Ex-ministers reject ‘Ukip-lite’ views and urge Theresa May to spell out her EU strategy

The Tory party could lose the next general election if Theresa May alienates its core of moderate supporters by imitating Ukip and pushing through a hard Brexit, a group of former Conservative ministers and MPs says.

The warning to the prime minister from the party’s senior ranks comes after Tory voters turned to the pro-EU Lib Dems in droves in Thursday’s Richmond Park byelection, delivering one of the biggest electoral shocks of recent times.

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Football abuse scandal grows with 55 clubs now involved

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 21:07:32 GMT2016-12-03T21:07:32Z

Sources from Operation Hydrant reveal number to the Observer, while NSPCC raises concerns that children could be at risk now

More than 50 football clubs have now been named in allegations passed to police investigating child sex abuse, as the scandal continues to engulf the sport.

Child protection sources within Operation Hydrant, the national police body coordinating historical sex abuse claims, have told the Observer that 55 professional and non-league clubs have so far been cited by players claiming they were abused.

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Donald Trump's Taiwan call exposes his inexperience, China state media say

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 03:51:48 GMT2016-12-04T03:51:48Z

Trump advisers point to China’s measured reaction but experts say Beijing leaders will be privately enraged and unnerved

Donald Trump’s controversial decision to hold a 10-minute phone call with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, was caused by the billionaire’s lack of foreign policy experience, a mouthpiece for the Chinese government has claimed.

Related: Critics say Trump's call with Taiwan may alter decades of foreign policy

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Fidel Castro's name will never appear on a Cuba monument, says brother Raúl

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 02:25:23 GMT2016-12-04T02:25:23Z

Government will prohibit naming of streets or monuments after Fidel Castro in keeping with his desire to stop a personality cult developing

Cuban President Raúl Castro said on Saturday his government would prohibit the naming of streets or public monuments after his brother Fidel in keeping with the former leader’s desire to avoid developing a personality cult.

The younger Castro told a crowd gathered to pay homage to Fidel Castro in the eastern city of Santiago that the country’s National Assembly would pass in its next session a law fulfilling his brother’s desire that, “once dead, his name and likeness would never be used on institutions, streets, parks or other public sites, and that busts, statutes or other forms of tribute would never be erected”.

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Italy heads to the polls: 'We are playing for the next 20 years' – Renzi

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 06:00:06 GMT2016-12-04T06:00:06Z

Voters to decide between the political establishment and rising populist forces in referendum that could see Renzi resign

Italians are heading to the polls to vote on a referendum that is seen as a test of rising populist forces in the country against the political establishment, in a contest that could end in the resignation of centre-left prime minister, Matteo Renzi.

Voters are deciding whether or not to approve sweeping changes to Italy’s constitution and parliamentary system, reforms that Renzi has argued would increase political stability and give the government more flexibility to tackle enduring economic problems.

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Sick children moved as NHS intensive care units run out of beds

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 21:30:32 GMT2016-12-03T21:30:32Z

Parents urged not to panic and planned operations delayed to cope with ‘record demands’ as winter sets in

Seriously sick children are having to be transported long distances to receive intensive care this weekend because of a lack of beds in major cities.

In England, 85% of beds available in paediatric intensive care units were full on Friday night. But some units in cities including London and Leicester have been forced to declare themselves as “at capacity”. Planned operations are, in some cases, being delayed to prepare for any possible emergencies, as the system shows signs of serious strain as winter starts to bite.

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Man arrested over tweet urging someone to 'Jo Cox' MP Anna Soubry

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 01:32:49 GMT2016-12-04T01:32:49Z

A 25-year-old man from Bethnal Green taken into custody on suspicion of sending malicious communications

A man has been arrested following investigations into a Twitter post that called for people to “Jo Cox” an MP.

Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire, was the apparent target of an online message which read: “someone jo cox Anna sourby please”.

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Syrian forces seize control of more than half of Aleppo's rebel districts

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 08:38:29 GMT2016-12-04T08:38:29Z

UN envoy warns of terrible battle for full control of city from which tens of thousands have fled under heavy bombing

Syrian government forces have taken control of more than half of Aleppo’s rebel districts after fierce bombardments and ground advances forced tens of thousands to flee.

The UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said on Saturday he anticipated a “terrible battle” for complete control of the city.

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Austria’s worried Jews pray far right will fail to win presidency

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 19:56:58 GMT2016-12-03T19:56:58Z

Holocaust survivor among those warning against voting for Norbert Hofer of the Freedom party

As Austrians vote for their next president on Sunday, many will be cheering on Norbert Hofer, the rightwing populist, in the belief that he represents a break with his party’s national socialist roots.

With a boyish smile and six years of experience as a rhetoric coach, Hofer has used the year-long election campaign to present himself as the respectable face of the Freedom party (FPÖ), which in the 1990s still praised the “proper labour policies” of Adolf Hitler.

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Growing crisis on UK streets as rough sleeper numbers soar

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

Charities raise concerns for homeless people over recent deaths and falling temperatures

Jason Nash wears all three of his jackets and both his pairs of jeans at the same time. His sleeping bag doesn’t look like it has the greatest filling but he tries to get inside the stairwell of a block of flats to sleep when he can so at least he doesn’t get wet if it rains overnight.

Now 26, Nash has had only sporadic periods of living under a roof since he left care. He has a heroin and crack problem which costs him around £60 a day. “When I’m off my nut I can sleep. I don’t think you can live on the streets sober. It’s cold,” he says.

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Last Tango in Paris director suggests Maria Schneider 'butter rape' scene not consensual

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 02:08:14 GMT2016-12-04T02:08:14Z

Bernardo Bertolucci sparks outrage after 2013 interview surfaces in which he says he ‘wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress’

Comments by Last Tango in Paris director Bernardo Bertolucci that he conspired with Marlon Brando to film a graphic rape scene without the consent of 19-year-old actor Maria Schneider has prompted outrage in Hollywood.

Speaking in a video from 2013 that surfaced recently, Bertolucci said he and Brando came up with the idea to shoot the infamous scene depicting assault, in which Brando’s character uses a stick of butter to anally rape his lover, played by Schneider.

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‘You feel the history at the Observer as soon as you start to write or edit’

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

Over the newspaper’s long life, the trust given to writers has ensured that every Sunday they produce not just stories, but Observer stories
• Click here for more on the Observer at 225

I’ve worked at the Observer for just over a 10th of its 225 years. About 1,200 of its 11,700 Sundays. Though newspapers deal in the present moment, more than other organisations they carry a weight of memory about them, an accumulated sense of all the decisions and judgements and observations that have brought them to where they are. You feel that history as soon as you start to write or photograph or edit. You are never making something entirely of your own; you are making something that each week goes on top of the pile of all that has gone before. Not writing a story, but writing an Observer story.

The Who Do You Think You Are? of this paper would not be one of those plodding episodes that reveals only the odd bad marriage in a solid path to respectability. It would rather be one of those genealogies full of long-forgotten passions and eccentric rivalries, of sudden shifts of outrageous fortune and tear-jerking tragedy. From the beginning in 1791, the Observer wanted to be in the thick of life, and ghosts of all that weekly desperation to make some sense of the world persist.

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Seven decades of classic photography from the Observer

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:50:01 GMT2016-12-03T23:50:01Z

As the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper celebrates its 225th birthday, we bring you a selection of its award-winning photojournalism – from the 1950s to the present

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The Observer has not always sided with popular opinion, but is stronger for it

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

The paper’s chief political commentator on the paper and its battles – from slavery to Suez, welfare to war
• Click here for more on the Observer at 225

The first edition of the Observer made the ringing declaration that the newspaper would be “Unbiaffed by Prejudice – Uninfluenced by Party, Whofe Principle is Independence – whofe Object is Truth”. A fine set of principles and it would be lovely to be able to say that the Observer has always kept that promise. Lovely, but a lie of Trumpian proportions. The paper was still in its infancy when it ran out of money and the owners struck a grubby deal with the government, not untypical of the 18th century, which gave the title a subsidy in return for influence over its content. When Viscount Palmerston was prime minister, he made clandestine payments from secret service funds, which bought him the privilege of penning opinion pieces in praise of himself.

Yet here’s the thing. Reviewing the positions the paper has taken over its long life, it has been a champion of liberalism more often than not. Under a wild variety of owners, among them the rackety and the reactionary, the Observer has broadly been a friend of enlightenment. On the big questions, it has sometimes chosen the wrong side of history, but more often been a beacon for truth, justice and progress.

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Caitlin Moran: ‘I brought the Observer staff a suitcase of vomit, and they gave me a job’

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

The Times columnist, and former winner of the Observer’s young reporter of the year award, talks about her first day in the office
• Click here for more on the Observer at 225

I’ve never done a better day’s work than the day I entered the Observer’s young reporter competition. Those 850 words changed my life.

My parents were bohemian hippies living on benefits in Wolverhampton, and they encouraged us to read the liberal press. We couldn’t afford generally to buy newspapers, so every week I’d go to the library and read the Observer. We were also inveterate competition enterers, so when I saw the competition, I jumped at it.

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Michael Frayn: ‘I longed to work for the Observer, so I wrote in to say I could speak 12 languages’

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

The novelist and playwright on blagging his way on to the paper, and partying where Profumo came a cropper
• Click here for more on the Observer at 225

When I was a student the only paper any of us ever read was the Observer. I read it largely for Kenneth Tynan, the theatre critic, and for Paul Jennings, the humorous columnist, but also for John Gale and his reporting.

I longed to work for the paper, so I wrote this letter claiming I could speak 12 languages and so on. Several months later I was summoned for an interview with the columnist Anthony Sampson, and I could not remember what I’d written in the letter. He kept saying to me: “You’ve really got a working knowledge of Polish politics?” And I said: “Well, I know the name of the prime minister.” I got turned down, but after a spell at the Guardian I did eventually work for the Observer, as I’d always wanted to.

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Hugh McIlvanney: ‘Nothing meant more than reporting on Muhammad Ali’

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

The veteran sports correspondent on the many satisfactions brought by working on the Observer
• Click here for more on the Observer at 225

In a sense, I arrived at the Observer in 1962 on a false passport. My formative years in the business were as a news reporter and occasional feature writer until, at the Scotsman in my mid-20s, I was persuaded to write about sport. So I was conspicuously devoid of executive credentials when the Observer took me on as assistant sports editor. Within about three weeks I contrived to get a piece in the newspaper, and before too long I was given the chance to be chief sports writer.

There was an almost Dickensian atmosphere about the Tudor Street offices. We had a grandfather clock in the corner of the sports office and I remember Danny Blanchflower, the great Tottenham midfielder, was doing a column for us, and he complained that the ticking of the clock was upsetting his concentration. Later, of course, in other premises, we had the normal clatter and chatter of newspaper offices. Now they are a bit like libraries, quiet enough to preserve Danny’s concentration.

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The Observer is part of a noble tradition, treating a complex world with compassion

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

Over 225 years, the newspaper has unleashed billions of words and phrases challenging its readers always to see things in context
• Click here for more on the Observer at 225

You are reading this. That’s all I know for sure. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whenever you are, you are reading this. I am definitely correct about that. And if I’m not, these words have gone into no one’s head so no one knows I wasn’t. I am either right or the secret of my wrongness could not be safer.

You are now reading this, though after a paragraph like the above you may be fewer in number. My prose will be slashing people down like the German machine-guns at the Somme. Although, actually, I don’t know whether you, who are reading this, also read the first paragraph. That could have been torn away or obscured by ketchup or not visible over the person on the crowded train’s shoulder. This bit may be the only fragment you’ve seen – perhaps it’s being quoted on a website dedicated to exposing flippant references to mass death, or maybe you’ve just exposed this single yellowed inch when tearing up a carpet in a flat you’ve just bought to see what the floors are like underneath, or maybe these words are frozen on the screen of your crashed computer after you accidentally clicked on the wrong link while looking for an interview with David Mitchell the novelist and you’re just glassily staring at them while contemplating posting a turd to the head office of Hewlett-Packard.

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‘He brilliantly achieved an intellectual slum-clearance of the stage’

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

Over 10 highly successful years, the Observer’s theatre critic helped transform the ailing British theatre and reinvent the role of the reviewer
• Click here for more on the Observer at 225

Rarely have we needed the arts more. Rarely have they been so threatened. If we can’t imagine a better future we won’t get one. But we are living in a Gradgrind age. When a recent education secretary declares that it “couldn’t be further from the truth” that it is helpful to study the humanities. When it is hard for all but the rich to get through drama school. When an institutionalised contempt makes the minister for arts the minister for football.

It has always been one of the glories of the Observer that it has stood up for the arts by covering them critically as well as zestfully, not being suborned by PR machines. And it has long been received wisdom that the most famous of my predecessors, Kenneth Tynan, was a dazzling advocate and gadfly. Asked to look through the archive of arts pieces, I decided to put his reputation to the test. It survived.

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Islamist, gay man, teacher: TV housemates bid to show the diversity of British Muslims

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:02:01 GMT2016-12-04T00:02:01Z

Producers defend groundbreaking BBC documentary Muslims Like Us billed as a ‘Muslim Big Brother’

It is a familiar premise. Ten strangers holed up in a house, including in this case a part-time model, a comedian, a gay man and a former boxer. But on this occasion there will be no evictions or tearful debriefings with Davina McCall.

BBC2’s documentary Muslims Like Us has been described as the “Muslim Big Brother”, and in its own way it is as groundbreaking as the original BB concept which, for a few years, transfixed late-night television audiences.

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I’m American and devastated. Why did we vote for Trump? | Mariella Frostrup

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 06:00:06 GMT2016-12-04T06:00:06Z

One woman, scared by her country’s election result, sees no chink of light. Remember the millions, like you, trying to make the world a better place, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma I am American; born, raised and still living in New York City and I am, without hyperbole, devastated. I feel my country, in electing Donald Trump, has just been led down the road to destruction and mayhem. My shame, confusion, fear, anger, and sadness are unrelenting. I witnessed 9/11 from my school window as a teenager, so I will never think of the US as a place of unending harmony or prosperity, but I cannot believe that so many people would allow this to happen.

I knocked on doors, encouraged people to vote and donated money, but had I known the reality, I would have done much more. I know people in other countries are equally shocked, but do you have any wisdom to share? I would also like to tell those abroad that many of us here find this tragic and deeply embarrassing (no one I know feels differently to me – although I realise that is part of the problem).

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Robert Rauschenberg review – the combine master, uncut

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 08:00:08 GMT2016-12-04T08:00:08Z

This thrilling retrospective gives us Rauschenberg whole, from his collages to his ballets to his own wild performances

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) is America’s Leonardo – ceaselessly inventive, a mind in perpetual revolution. That is the revelation of this exhilarating show. If all you knew of him was the famous goat girdled in a tyre, or the collages of JFK raising a warning finger, then think again. Rauschenberg changed artists’ ideas of what painting, sculpture and even drawing might be. He turns out to be the fons et origo of 60 years and more of art, Warhol to Hirst.

The first gallery at Tate Modern covers only two years – 1950-2 – and yet it feels like the big bang. How to make everything new? Use newspapers instead of pigment, create paintings out of latex, dirt and clay, make sculpture out of scrap metal and self-portraits by lying on light-sensitive paper. Work with what you’ve got; work with your friends. Rauschenberg invites John Cage to drive a car across yards of white paper, making the elegant black print that surely sends up Barnett Newman’s zips. Cage is credited as both the printer and the press: typical of Rauschenberg’s collaborative heart.

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The grim truth of Chinese factories producing the west’s Christmas toys

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

Undercover investigation by China Labor Watch exposes low wages, hazardous chemicals and overtime beyond legal limits

Xiao Fang thinks she’s one of the luckier workers making Barbie dolls for the Christmas market at the Mattel toy factory in Chang’an.

True, she says, she works 11-hour days, six days a week, and shares a dormitory with nine other women and gets to see her husband only once a week. She had to leave her three-year-old daughter back home in Sichuan. And there is only a communal bathroom, and if they want hot water they must fetch it from another floor. But at least she has a job, she says. And others have it worse.

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‘She gave her mother 40 whacks’: the lasting fascination with Lizzie Borden

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:04:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:04:02Z

More than a century after a crime that gripped America, it is still a magnet for authors and film-makers

Here in Britain if we know Lizzie Borden at all it’s probably as the gruesome subject of an infuriatingly catchy children’s rhyme: “Lizzie Borden took an axe/And gave her mother forty whacks/When she saw what she had done/She gave her father forty one”. But that is all set to change as a host of new projects including a film, Lizzie Borden, starring Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart, a highly anticipated debut novel, See What I Have Done, and a revival of a cult US rock musical, Lizzie, place America’s most famous probable parricide back in the spotlight again.

The new projects mark the culmination of a recent surge of interest in Borden’s story almost 125 years after she first hit the headlines. In 2014 US cable channel Lifetime showed a television film, Lizzie Borden Took An Ax, and followed that up with a 2015 series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, both of which received a mixed response. Earlier this year author Sarah Miller received considerably better reviews for her non-fiction work The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and The Trial of the Century, while the crime scene itself has been rebranded as the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum since the mid 1990s and does a roaring trade enticing true crime fans, ghost hunters and even the odd would-be author through its doors.

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Carry on sexting? That’s no way to help your kids… | Barbara Ellen

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

Parents may not want to go as far as Jeremy Hunt in policing cyberspace, but the desire to be ‘cool’ can make a laissez-faire approach even more dangerous

If Jeremy Hunt’s proposed ban on sexting for the under-18s was met with confusion – how could this even be technologically possible? – there was also derision for him blundering into the arena of youth sexuality at all. Which was fair enough when the criticism came from young people – it’s their prerogative to roll their eyes when a politician starts stumbling gormlessly into their territory, threatening to lay down the law. However, while Hunt’s proposal was wrong-headed and not just on a technological level – so a 16-year-old could have sex, but not sext? – at least he had an age-appropriate response and wasn’t endeavouring to be “cool” and “dahn with the kidz”.

Obviously, kneejerk hysteria about youth sexting would solve nothing. It appears to be mainly teenagers just goofing around, within their own peer groups, pushing the boundaries, in an experimental “behind the bike sheds” fashion. However, there’s the other side of it, where sexting starts forming a Venn diagram with revenge porn, and vulnerable young people can end up humiliated, hounded, even blackmailed and suicidal, particularly with regard to images that don’t always miraculously disappear.

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Confused by momentous times? Me too. Let’s talk | Armando Iannucci

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

The new world order of 2016 ignites wildly contradictory thoughts. And maybe that’s the healthiest response

This isn’t just a post-truth society. It’s post-rational and post-argument. When the next American president spends his week asserting, as Donald Trump has just done, that the US election wasn’t rigged so there’s no need for a recount, and that he would have won the popular vote if only the election hadn’t been rigged, then let’s not get into a debate about whether certain political stances are narrow- or broad-minded. That distinction is pointless. We’re now post-mind.

Post-language too: words don’t mean anything, they’re just ploys in political sparring. For Trump, a wall can eventually mean a fence, and “I will” can mean “I may” or “I haven’t really thought about it” or even “I now won’t.”

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The crunch of frost, starlings at dusk, a solitary robin: winter is a time of true wonder

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:01:01 GMT2016-12-04T00:01:01Z

The official start of winter was heralded by days of sharp sunshine. Country Life’s editor at large celebrates the season’s natural beauty

Windscreens frozen, ground like iron, a vichyssoise of fog in the valleys – we’ve had the first intimations of a proper winter, and my friend’s blood is coursing. “Isn’t it the most exciting time of year?” he mumbled, from the depths of many layers of warm clothing. “I love the sharpness of the air, the crunch of frost underfoot.”

I’m with him. A lucky chum who has a house in the Caribbean told me about the temperature variance on Nevis; it will be 30C at Christmas, just as it was 30C in July. A superficially seductive prospect, I admit, but who wouldn’t rather have the drama of the changing year? Icicles hanging from the eaves, mulled wine simmering on the stove. As the 18th-century nature poet James Thomson put it, “Welcome kindred glooms!”

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Football is listening on child abuse but took far too long to do so | Daniel Taylor

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 20:00:31 GMT2016-12-03T20:00:31Z

The victims of child abuse are being heard now but two decades ago, when the Dispatches documentary came out, a chance was lost

One day last week an email arrived at Manchester United marked for the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson. They probably get a lot of emails for Ferguson, one imagines. He still has an office at Old Trafford, he is a director of the club and, though nobody should imagine they go straight into his personal inbox, there is a small army of staff to sift through all the correspondence.

This one came from the family of Matthew Monaghan and it was written in the hope that Ferguson would get a better understanding, almost 30 years on, as to why one of the players from the club’s youth system went so badly off the rails he lasted only two months as a professional before eventually walking away from football for good.

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Gareth Southgate is unconvinced of the need for a winter break in England

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:29:34 GMT2016-12-03T22:29:34Z

• New national manager is concentrating on what he can control
• ‘I don’t remember this debate happening when I was playing in 96 or 98’

Gareth Southgate has questioned whether the introduction of a winter break would improve England’s chances of winning a major trophy.

It has long been a point of contention that the intensity of the Premier League takes a physical toll on England’s players, leaving them too tired to perform at their best at summer tournaments. Southgate’s predecessor, Sam Allardyce, was a strong advocate of a mid-season break.

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Unbeaten Eddie Jones says England short of 2003 World Cup vintage

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:04:11 GMT2016-12-03T18:04:11Z

• ‘That team was much better than we are’ says Jones after 14th straight win
• Flanker Tom Wood praises relentless mindset of England coaching staff

England equalled their 13-year-old record of 14 consecutive Test victories as they scored a record number of points over Australia at Twickenham, 14 months after being knocked out of the World Cup at the ground by the Wallabies, but Eddie Jones shot down any comparisons with the 2003 World Cup-winning side.

“That team was much better than we are at the moment,” said the head coach, whose England record since taking over from Stuart Lancaster stands at 13 wins in 13 Tests, including a grand slam and four victories against his native Australia. “They could win any number of ways and our challenge is to be at our best by the 2019 World Cup.

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Australia v New Zealand: first ODI – live!

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 08:56:47 GMT2016-12-04T08:56:47Z

17th over: New Zealand 80-2 (Guptill 49, Neesham 18) Target 325. Zampa very happy to roll out the side and back of the hand to the left-hander Neesham, a shout for lbw denied to begin the over. It pitched outside leg, but it was quality bowling. As is another to Guptill that skids, and just as it was to end his last over Guptill is on it late. He’s a massive chance here, the leggie. That’s illustrated by Neesham’s loose chip shot to end the over, landing only a couple of metres in front of Warner running to meet it from long on. I’m still transfixed by the hair thing, and no one seems to be tweeting about it. Not with real purpose anyway. Lift, internet.

Here’s that 5000th run from the previous over.

Guptill crunches another boundary to bring up 5000 runs in his ODI career #AUSvNZ https://t.co/4pT3Kkp1sZ

16th over: New Zealand 77-2 (Guptill 48, Neesham 16) Target 325. Cummins got a good bouncer through to Guptill to end his previous over, and stays with that same attack to start this new over to Neesham, with Bailey still under a lid at short leg. Neesham turns another short one - albeit not quite bouncer length - around to fine leg to get off strike. Good batting. Doubly so when Guptill absolutely clobbers Cummins’ next ball through point for his third boundary off this bowler to that general area. It bringsup his 5000th ODI run in 135 starts for the Black Caps. A fine white-ball career. Cummins is pushing 150kph later in the over. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone bowl quicker than what he did in a tour game at Northants last year, leading into the ODI series where he was regularly in the wickets. He’s a good kid too. Carn Pat - stay well, bowl fast.

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Agents defend Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho over tax claims

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 16:08:17 GMT2016-12-03T16:08:17Z

• Media reports claim tens of millions of euros hidden in tax havens
• ‘Any insinuation or accusation will be reported and prosecuted,’ says agency

The Portuguese agents company GestiFute has denied that clients including Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho are involved in any tax evasion after a media consortium reported that they had used tax havens to handle tens of millions of euros in earnings.

On Friday, a group of 12 European news outlets began publishing the results of months of investigations into a vast trove of more than 18 million financial documents, obtained by the German magazine Der Spiegel and given the name “the Football Leaks”.

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Jürgen Klopp plays down recent past regarding Liverpool’s title chances

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:29:34 GMT2016-12-03T22:29:34Z

• ‘I am confident we can challenge,’ says manager
• Squad unlikely to be strengthened in transfer window

Both Manchester clubs seem to be worried about Liverpool winning the Premier League this season to judge by the number of times Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho mention that the Anfield club are at an advantage through having no commitments in Europe.

Related: Liverpool eager to sell Mamadou Sakho in January transfer window

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Eric Molina leaves his classroom behind to face Anthony Joshua

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:00:33 GMT2016-12-03T22:00:33Z

Texan is taking time off his regular job of teaching children with disabilities and is seeking to upset the IBF world heavyweight champion

Boxing loves a backstory – which is why the sport, for all its faults, remains so captivating. There are tales of redemption, revenge, poverty and pain inside the ring and now comes a rather unusual one to British shores – the Mexican-American heavyweight who doubles up as a special-needs teacher.

Step forward Éric Molina, who takes on Anthony Joshua at the Manchester Arena next Saturday. A relative unknown, the 34-year-old arrived in this country last month not only with an intriguing background but also with the firm belief that he can be the first man to defeat Joshua and take the 27-year-old’s IBF world title. “If I can breathe, if I can stand, I’m going to fight to knock him out,” says Molina. “Other fighters might say that’s what’s gonna happen. I’m gonna show you that’s what’s gonna happen.”

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Nico Rosberg shakes the addiction to glory that comes with a dark side | Kevin Mitchell

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:07:11 GMT2016-12-03T15:07:11Z

As the new Formula One champion’s shock decision to retire shows, once the hunger for success goes, the dangers in sports like F1 become apparent

Professional athletes lead a crazily short and often lucrative working life, over within a decade or so of its beginning, wreathed in success or disappointment. Memories of glory, often embellished, are revived in middle age for nostalgia or for reheating in ill-advised comebacks.

It is unlikely the 31-year-old Nico Rosberg will be returning to his dangerous sport. Nor will the 26-year-old Nick Blackwell – but for wholly different reasons. Blackwell, the middleweight boxer who nearly died eight months ago, was still recovering in hospital on Friday from injuries sustained in a recent sparring session his father, John, described as silly when Rosberg, newly crowned as Formula One champion, announced he was looking forward to a quieter life with his family.

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Alexis Sánchez hits hat-trick as Arsenal put five past West Ham

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 19:42:22 GMT2016-12-03T19:42:22Z

Being generous, there is an argument that Arsenal’s late glut of goals in the final 20 minutes exaggerated the extent of their dominance. Yet a more accurate summary is that Arsenal were superior from start to finish, played with the cold-blooded intent of potential champions and exposed West Ham United’s defensive shortcomings so clinically that some awkward questions will be asked about Slaven Bilic’s future.

While West Ham contemplated the likelihood of a long, dispiriting fight against relegation, Arsenal responded to Chelsea’s victory over Manchester City earlier in the day by rising into second place, three points behind Antonio Conte’s leaders. They drew inspiration from splendid performances from the two maestros in their attack and the quality of their football during that blistering 14-minute spell, when Alexis Sánchez scored a stunning hat-trick, ensured that Arsène Wenger arrived for his press conference with a smile on his face.

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Pep Guardiola sorry for City fracas but refuses to blame Sergio Agüero

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:46:36 GMT2016-12-03T18:46:36Z

• ‘It is a pity it finished like this. I would like to apologise’
• Claims Aguero’s red-card challenge on David Luiz was not intentional

Pep Guardiola apologised for the behaviour of his Manchester City players after the extraordinary scenes at the end of their 3-1 defeat to Chelsea when Sergio Agüero and Fernandinho were both sent off.

Guardiola, however, refused to criticise Agüero for the wild challenge on David Luiz that instigated a confrontation between the two sets of players and the City manager even made the astonishing claim that it was “not intentional” on the part of his striker.

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Harry Kane at the double as five-star Tottenham saunter past Swansea

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 17:11:05 GMT2016-12-03T17:11:05Z

The comedian Michael McIntyre was in attendance, while the White Hart Lane PA announcer referred to the Swansea City substitute Fernando Llorente as Fernando Morientes on more than one occasion. But for the biggest laugh of the afternoon, nobody needed to look any further than the referee, Jon Moss, whose decision to award Dele Alli a penalty on 39 minutes for what was a swan dive broke Swansea City.

Alli seemed to tumble in slow motion under Kyle Naughton’s non-challenge and when Moss blew for the penalty it was the catalyst for Tottenham Hotspur to surge to a much-needed win. Harry Kane scored from the spot and he would get another one after the interval to take his tally to seven in six appearances for the club.

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Preston pair sent off for fighting each other in loss at Sheffield Wednesday

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:18:34 GMT2016-12-03T18:18:34Z

• Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle conduct ‘embarrassing’, says manager
• Simon Grayson’s side lost 2-1 at Wednesday, who also had a man sent off

Ten-man Sheffield Wednesday fought hard for their 2-1 victory over a wasteful Preston side in a bad-tempered clash that ended with the visitors having Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle sent off for a clash in the final minutes.

Trailing to a goal from Fernando Forestieri, who was himself later dismissed, and Steven Fletcher’s penalty, Preston pulled a goal back through Doyle. But any chance of securing a late draw was snuffed out when Beckford and Doyle were both shown red cards after an angry exchange between the team-mates off the ball.

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Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos grab point at the last from Barcelona

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 17:22:46 GMT2016-12-03T17:22:46Z

Sergio Ramos did it again. The clásico was heading into its last minute and Real Madrid were facing the end of a 32-game unbeaten run, when the man who rescued them in the 94th minute of the 2014 European Cup final leapt to head in another Luka Modric delivery and score another dramatic equaliser. And, while it could never be as significant as that night in Lisbon, it could prove a huge moment too – one that will go some way to defining the title race in Spain. “In games like this, Sergio is always there,” Zinedine Zidane said.

There he was, leading the charge to a Camp Nou corner flag, celebrating team-mates in his wake. A match that had appeared to have slipped away, Barcelona leading 1-0 through Luis Suárez’s header but unable to add to it, had been levelled, extending Madrid’s run and maintaining a six-point lead at the top. “The thing that stands out, again, is this team’s heart,” Zidane said. “We believed right until the end and got a draw that is very important.” The end was right: even after the goal, Casemiro cleared off the line to cling onto a precious point.

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Crystal Palace beat Southampton to ease pressure on manager Alan Pardew

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 17:08:38 GMT2016-12-03T17:08:38Z

A day that began with talk of Alan Pardew getting the sack ended with the Crystal Palace manager musing on peanut butter. What a difference a 3-0 victory makes.

Related: Leicester City woe mounts as Robert Huth gifts Sunderland a lift

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Tories must publish Brexit plan or there’s zero chance of a good deal | Keir Starmer

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:03:01 GMT2016-12-04T00:03:01Z

It’s time to halt this destructive uncertainty over quitting the EU. MPs should support Labour’s Brexit motion, to be debated this week

After 43 years of membership, exiting the EU was never going to be easy. But the government’s current tone and approach is making a hard job even more difficult. There have been 165 days since the referendum result and there are only 118 left until the prime minister’s 31 March deadline to trigger article 50. The clock is ticking, but still we do not know the government’s basic plan for Brexit.

We do not have answers to fundamental questions such as the government’s position on the customs union, our likely relationship with the single market or future contributions to the EU budget. The government has also failed to provide much-needed certainty for the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK.

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Yes, Italy’s constitution needs fixing. But not as urgently as its banks do

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 07:00:07 GMT2016-12-04T07:00:07Z

Sunday’s referendum has become a vote on a cocktail of problems and pressing national issues. But its most far-reaching impact will be a financial one

‘All Italians know the government has a problem when it comes to making decisions. It’s just that people are divided over how to make the situation better.” So said one Italian government official last week as he denied that Sunday’s referendum was a verdict on Matteo Renzi’s government, the euro or the European Union.

Unfortunately, the referendum has become a judgment on all three, along with the constitutional amendments it is supposed to be about, making it difficult to unpick the views of voters when all the votes are finally counted.

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The paywalls come down and readers flood in. But revenue doesn’t

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 07:05:07 GMT2016-12-04T07:05:07Z

The Sun’s circulation surge can be explained by its decision to end subscriptions. But the extra ad revenue won’t find its way back to the newspaper

Two growth figures from last week tell the essential story. Though the Mail, Guardian and Mirror still marched upwards with combined (print, mobile, laptop and tablet) readership figures year-on-year, adding more millions to their monthly reach, the shooting star in the Press Premier League was your old mate the Sun: up from 13m in 2015 to 24m last month on the back of a tenfold increase in mobile readers. For 1.6m, read 16.5m.

Staggering stuff – or, at least, it would be if there wasn’t the simple explanation that November 2015 was the month Mr Rupert Murdoch cancelled his last announcement and ordered the Sun paywall knocked down (plus a reworking of the site). Which has all worked out well enough – save perhaps for one dimension the National Readership Survey doesn’t assess: money in the bank from advertising, which is fundamentally what’s left once you cancel the subscription approach.

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I saw it in schools; now football is the focus. The pain is the same | Alex Renton

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 05:00:04 GMT2016-12-04T05:00:04Z

Allegations of sex crimes against young footballers continue to emerge. For two years, the author has heard harrowing accounts from hundreds of victims of sex abuse in schools and finds many disquieting parallels

Breaking the silence is immensely powerful and it is good medicine. But speaking up is hard. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has data that suggests one out of three people abused as a child has not disclosed the abuse and that the average victim who does waits nearly eight years to do so. Many of the men coming forward now, encouraged by the testimony of ex-footballer Andy Woodward, had never spoken before of the events when they were children.

In the past couple of years I have read or heard the accounts of more than 700 men and women sexually and emotionally abused as children in boarding schools, state-run and private. They came to me after I wrote in the Observer of the abuse at my own, Ashdown House. The stories are the grimmest reading, but what is heartening is that for so many people the simple act of speaking up is hugely helpful.

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Donald Trump serves up clumsiness, inexperience and realpolitik in Asia | Nick Bisley

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 03:08:54 GMT2016-12-04T03:08:54Z

President-elect’s recent actions in the region indicate he is content to break with Washington orthodoxy even as it comes with real risks

In three phone calls with key Asian leaders this week, Donald Trump has once again upended expectations. We may now indeed have a radical break in the US approach to the region.

The first of these, with Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan, came with a detailed text of the conversation released by the Pakistani prime minister’s office. He is reported to have lavished praise on Sharif and the country more generally in what appears to be Trump’s typically solicitous approach to relationship building.

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Would you like some dope with that cute puppy? | Eva Wiseman

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 06:00:06 GMT2016-12-04T06:00:06Z

Alongside all the cute kids and cuddly puppies, one online community has developed a digital drug den

here I was, uploading a photo of my two-year-old stroking a puppy to Instagram, when I got a follow request from a cheeky weed leaf. I could tell it was cheeky because it was winking. I saw, when I clicked on his profile pic, that he was a drug dealer. I knew this because he was using Instagram as a street corner, a little like a Christmas pop-up, but somehow less desperate. There was his hand, filled with pills. Here was his desk, piled with identical little packages of weed. A sheet of LSD appeared to be resting on a box of unopened fish and chips.

I followed the hashtags and found hundreds more, a veritable round-the-back-of-Secrets worth of drug dealers, a whole community, their profiles varying shades of neon; their pills varying shades of come-down. They favoured imagery last seen on the walls of suburban bedrooms that smelled of socks and weed; variations on “Take me to your dealer” cartoons and other forms of satire.

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Brexit arrogance exposes ineptitude of Tory elite | Kevin McKenna

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:04:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:04:02Z

The party of privilege is bungling the EU deal and Scotland’s wishes are being sidelined

Donald Trump may be assembling the world’s richest government but he remains a few Boris Johnsons short of possessing the most arrogant and privileged one. Such a title surely belongs to the Tory government currently headed by Theresa May but which was begat by David Cameron. The real difference between Trump’s cabinet and May’s is that many of his high office holders have at least earned their fortunes. The UK Tory party, on the other hand, is the natural home of unearned wealth and privilege.

It has always been a curious anomaly of the UK Tories that they preach the virtues of honest and hard graft but in practice will always promote the interests of those at the top of society who rarely work and who will do anything to avoid contributing to the upkeep of the country that allows them to wallow in this lifestyle.

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The Observer view on the risks to Britain of a hard Brexit | Observer editorial

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:01:01 GMT2016-12-04T00:01:01Z

Theresa May is leading the country towards a total and economically calamitous EU divorce in 2018

By any measure, it has been a bad week for hard Brexiters and Theresa May’s government. Problem is, the two have become all but synonymous. Thursday’s shock byelection result in Richmond Park showed that the pro-Europe convictions of nearly half the country’s voters cannot wisely be ignored. Conservative supporters were alienated by May’s “pandering” to hardline party zealots and Ukip fellow travellers, the victorious Liberal Democrats claimed. “One of the things that concerns a great deal of people in this constituency is… the Conservative government seems to be shifting very rapidly towards the right,” said Sarah Olney, the unashamedly Europhile winning candidate.

There is a widely shared perception that May, far from reuniting the country in the wake of the EU referendum, as she promised, is cementing and entrenching divisions. It would be wrong to see in the byelection outcome definitive proof that the national mood has radically shifted in the past six months. Most Richmond voters favoured Remain in June. But the scale of Tory defections suggests deep unhappiness with May’s subsequent, lopsided approach. It is as though she and her ministers have wholly dismissed the views of the 48% who rejected Brexit, just as they arrogantly rejected last month’s impartial, legally sound high court judgment that parliament must be consulted prior to the triggering of article 50.

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Should Labour campaign to curb immigration?

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:03 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:03Z

As the issue of freedom of movement threatens to tear Labour apart, two political experts go head-to-head to assess how the left should respond to win back voters before the next election Continue reading...


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Driverless cars will geld the dangerous stallions of the road | Catherine Bennett

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

The technology can’t come soon enough if it can free us from reckless men who put ‘fun’ before safety

With its new report suggesting the removal of speed bumps, among various proposals for reducing lethal levels of air pollution, Nice (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) finds itself, possibly for the first time, the toast of British motorists. Finally, the health experts have realised what speed enthusiasts have known all along – that being knocked down by an overkeen motorist is a vastly superior way to die than slow extinction by particulates. At last, someone out there comprehends the level of suffering when speeding drivers, presumably to advertise disdain for bumps, as opposed to cognitive impairment, refuse to slow down to 20mph and must then pay for the self-generated repairs.

“Hooray,” writes a bump-hater in the Telegraph. “They have for years been damaging car springs, tyres and headlights.” It has long been a token of faith, among members of the Top Gear community, that such damage is quite unconnected with speeding drivers, but entirely the fault of council busybodies determined to restrain all drivers, not just the sociopaths to whom all rival traffic must yield.

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Small earthquake in south-west London. Full tremors yet to be felt | Andrew Rawnsley

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:03 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:03Z

The Lib Dem victory in Richmond Park contains implications that should worry both the Tories and Labour

After the seismic shocks of 2016, the year draws to a close with the folk of Richmond Park serving up something that feels more normal. They have given us a Lib Dem byelection upset. The airwaves thrum to talk of “a shockwave” for the prime minster from triumphant Lib Dems. The response from the government is the customary shrug that one byelection “changes nothing”. It is like the old days again. Before 2010 and the Lib Dem decision to go into coalition with the Conservatives, it was a deeply rooted tradition of British politics that disgruntled voters expressed their discontent with the larger parties by surging to the amber crowd at byelections. The Lib Dem byelection shock was one of the release valves of our unwritten constitution. It was as stitched into the fabric of British political life as the state opening of parliament.

Sometimes, the consequences have been worthy of the description “sensation”. When the Tories lost Eastbourne to the Lib Dems in October 1990, it finally forced a conclusion on the minds of Tory MPs. The next general election was lost for so long as Margaret Thatcher remained leader. Eastbourne was a significant contributory factor to her defenestration from Number 10 a few weeks later.

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The Gambia’s poll shock offers rare hope on the continent | Ruth Maclean

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

Will dictator Yahya Jammeh’s electoral demise help to bring Africa more or less democracy? The evidence suggests both outcomes are possible

More than two decades into a mandate he promised would last a billion years, Yahya Jammeh, the autocratic Gambian president, last week shocked his west African nation by accepting defeat at the ballot box and promising to retire to live as an ordinary farmer.

Gambians had come to expect surprises from their leader – cruel, violent and capricious in power – just not ones that set the whole nation dancing in the streets and sent shockwaves of joy and inspiration across the continent. Now many are looking at other long-term presidents in a region where Jammeh counts as a relative newcomer and wondering if he could inspire change far beyond his tiny country’s borders.

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It's Trump's America now. Time to get over our attachment to facts | Richard Wolffe

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 12:00:21 GMT2016-12-03T12:00:21Z

Even Donald Trump’s own team knows that what he says often isn’t true. But the problem isn’t his lies – it’s our naiveté

The late, great Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say that everyone was entitled to their own opinion but not to their own set of facts. He obviously never imagined a world according to Donald Trump, whose words are as authentic as his complexion.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager and a CNN analyst, who admitted Thursday that his boss often lies.

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Data populists must seize our information – for the benefit of us all | Evgeny Morozov

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:04:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:04:02Z

Five US tech giants have harvested our data. This treasure must be shared among the people who provide it

Of all the big firms in Silicon Valley, Amazon had the most to lose from Donald Trump’s presidency. And lose it did, albeit briefly, its share price dropping 5% shortly after the election.

During the campaign, Trump warned that Amazon had a “huge antitrust problem” – a reasonable stance for the populist that he once aspired to be. Most likely, though, his animosity had more to do with the fact Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, an influential newspaper that took an early strong dislike of Trump. By the time of Amazon’s massive cloud-computing conference, which kicked off in Las Vegas at the end of November, such squabbles seem to have been forgotten. Amazon went on to wow the audience with impressive gimmicks. Did you know it has a truck – yes, a real truck – to drive your data to the cloud? Apparently, it’s much faster than using networks.

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How our laws inspired Trump’s attack on free speech | Nick Cohen

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:15:28 GMT2016-12-03T18:15:28Z

Hard-won press freedoms are under attack on both sides of the Atlantic

Anyone feeling morally superior to Americans should reflect on how Donald Trump feels about us. “In England, they have a system where you can actually sue if someone says something wrong,” he purred . “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want.”

You can understand his envy. Despite reform, an English publisher still has to prove his or her innocence. More enticingly for the rich, money tilts the scales of justice. Unless you have a straightforward case, few lawyers will offer a “no win, no fee” deal. A wealthy media organisation can threaten you with a costs bill of £1m or more if you lose. Equally, plutocrats can threaten increasingly impoverished newspapers with costs they cannot afford, if they don’t back down and back off either.

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Being bisexual is on the up – so how come people think I just can’t decide?

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 09:00:17 GMT2016-12-03T09:00:17Z

When I came out I thought I had to renounce the years of dating terrible guys

Lauren Jauregui, one fifth of US girl supergroup Fifth Harmony, followed me on Twitter the other day, and I screamed. OK, so she follows 12.7K accounts, including someone called Briann whose profile picture is a bin.

But still, this was a big deal for me, and not only because I worship Fifth Harmony with a passion second only to my love for One Direction (RIP, 1D). The real reason I got excited was that Jauregui had just published an open letter to Donald Trump voters on the Billboard music site, revealing that she was a “proud” bisexual, denouncing the racism of the president-elect’s campaign and expressing pride in her Cuban heritage.

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‘Don’t play identity politics!’ The primal scream of the straight white male | Hadley Freeman

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:45:47 GMT2016-12-02T18:45:47Z

Donald Trump appealed unashamedly to white men – yet it’s members of that very group who now accuse others of being divisive

An intriguing theory has recently taken hold, fast calcifying into received wisdom. Hillary Clinton, so it goes, lost the US election because she “played identity politics”.

This idea has been enthusiastically endorsed by, among others, Bernie Sanders (“It is not enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me,’” he said, as if Clinton ever – even once – argued this), and Mark Lilla in the New York Times (who described as “a strategic mistake “Clinton’s tendency “to slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, LGBT and women voters at every stop”).

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New era of housebuilding needs new property laws

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 07:00:15 GMT2016-12-03T07:00:15Z

Leasehold houses aren’t the only problem area – apartment buyers need help too

Labour has committed to banning new houses being sold as leasehold, in a boost for Guardian Money’s campaign against escalating ground rents that have made some homes virtually unsaleable.

The promise, by Labour’s shadow secretary of state for housing John Healey, comes just days after the government, in answer to a question in the House of Commons, pledged to “stamp out” the abuses highlighted by us.

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The years of calm are over. In Donald Trump we’ll have a child at the White House | Dave Eggers

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:01:22 GMT2016-12-02T19:01:22Z

President Obama’s term passed without a whiff of scandal. But with Trump we face an era of lawsuits, feuds, threats, denials and insults

It seemed too soon, and the metaphor was too crude. In the third week of November, less than two weeks after the election, they were already erecting some new structure across the street from the White House. They had fenced off most of Pennsylvania Avenue. Visitors wanting to take pictures of the White House were impeded by a giant cage, in which the structure was going up. Dozens of construction signs decorated the fence and sent a clear message of exclusion and foreboding: Danger, Warning, Keep Out. On one of the signs, as if noting the sheer obviousness of it all, someone had written: “Is this art?”

Related: Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it | George Monbiot

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Philip Larkin didn’t need a place in Poets’ Corner – but he deserves it | Blake Morrison

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 17:55:49 GMT2016-12-02T17:55:49Z

Thirty-one years after his death, the most quotable British poet of the 20th century takes his rightful place in Westminster Abbey

Do poets need monuments? Not according to Horace, writing in the first century BC, who considered his poems to be “a monument more lasting than bronze/And loftier than the pyramids of kings”. Ben Jonson took a similar line when others were campaigning for Shakespeare to be given a place in Westminster Abbey: why bother? “Thou art a Moniment without a tombe” he wrote, “And art alive still, while thy Booke doth live.” Over the centuries, Poets’ Corner has become a national institution nonetheless. There’s no greater posthumous honour for a writer. And now Philip Larkin is taking his place there.

His memorial stone sits between those of Anthony Trollope and Ted Hughes, with the tomb of Chaucer behind. Would he have approved? Not every poet leaps at the chance to be commemorated. Alexander Pope wrote an epitaph for himself as “one who would not be buried in Westminster Abbey”, preferring a grave near his mother’s, in Twickenham.

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Antony Gormley's iron men come alive for A Winter's Tale – video

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:00:15 GMT2016-12-02T12:00:15Z

Writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce and director Carl Hunter reimagine Shakespeare’s late tragedy in an otherwordly film set among the statues of Antony Gormley’s installation Another Life on Crosby beach, Liverpool.

This is the 10th film in the British Council’s series Shakespeare Lives in 2016, celebrating the playwright on the 400th anniversary of his death.

King Lear in a care home: Phil Davis plays the storming monarch – video

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Italy's referendum: five things you need to know – video explainer

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:07:38 GMT2016-12-02T13:07:38Z

Italy’s constitutional referendum on Sunday has become the latest front in the global tide of anti-establishment sentiment. The prime minister, Matteo Renzi, says he will resign if Italians reject his proposed reforms – and Eurosceptic populists stand ready to reap the benefits. There is also the prospect that political turmoil could reignite Italy’s banking crisis

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Sleaford's Brexit byelection: a people united by fear for the future – video

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:46:10 GMT2016-11-30T14:46:10Z

John Harris visits Sleaford in Lincolnshire, where 62% of people voted to leave the EU, and the Tories, Labour and Ukip are contesting a byelection on 8 December after the resignation of Conservative MP Stephen Phillips. Older voters are concerned about immigration and national identity, while younger people seem to be on a different planet. But could shared fears bridge the generation gap?

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Lib Dem Sarah Olney beats Zac Goldsmith to win Richmond Park byelection – video

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:46:52 GMT2016-12-02T07:46:52Z

Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney wins the Richmond Park byelection in London on Thursday, overturning a 23,000 majority to remove former Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, who quit the party over plans for Heathrow airport expansion. Olney says her ‘shockwave’ victory is a clear message to the government

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Can France resist the far right? – video

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 07:00:11 GMT2016-11-30T07:00:11Z

Now that François Fillon has become the French right’s presidential candidate, it is possible that he will face Marine Le Pen of the Front National in the final round. Guardian columnist Natalie Nougayrède asks whether it is likely that France will have a far right president, and what the consequences would be for the country and for the rest of the world

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Vagina Dispatches: what to know in the age of Donald Trump – video

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:38:44 GMT2016-11-30T17:38:44Z

The vagina my not be safe. President-elect Trump, who bragged of grabbing women ‘by the pussy’, could well put women’s reproductive rights back several decades, with threats to make birth control and abortions much less accessible. In the age of Trump, knowledge is power. Watch the latest trailer from Mona and Mae’s Vagina Dispatches series, and get informed

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David Attenborough on climate change: 'The world will be transformed' – video

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 09:00:44 GMT2016-11-29T09:00:44Z

An extract from Liberatum’s documentary In this Climate, in which a range of cultural and environmental figures including Noam Chomsky, David Attenborough and Mark Ruffalo respond to the threat of climate change and to the deniers. The full-length film is scheduled for release before the World Economic Forum in January 2017

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'They said they would rape me': defenders of women's rights speak out – video

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 07:00:42 GMT2016-11-29T07:00:42Z

Activists championing women’s rights around the world are being systematically targeted with threats and abuse. To mark International Women Human Rights Defenders’ Day, we hear from four campaigners who have come under attack for their work. Women from Honduras, Nepal, China and Egypt share their stories of persecution

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The far right in Britain – video explainer

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 09:30:50 GMT2016-11-28T09:30:50Z

From Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts in the 1930s through to the National Front, the British National party and the English Defence League, the far right in Britain has been part of the political landscape for decades. Now anti-immigration sentiment is moving closer to the mainstream and far right extremism is a growing cause for concern

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UK to double armed drone fleet in deal with US Predator manufacturer

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 20:41:26 GMT2016-12-03T20:41:26Z

  • General Atomics to provide 10 drones to Royal Air Force in $100m deal
  • Fallon heralds addition of firepower, imaging and intelligence gathering

Defense secretary Michael Fallon on Saturday announced a $125m (£100m) development deal with US arms manufacturer General Atomics under which the UK fleet of armed drones will double.

Related: UK defence secretary tells US only Nato can deter Russian threat

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Former German PoW leaves £384,000 to Scottish village in will

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:15:21 GMT2016-12-03T18:15:21Z

Heinrich Steinmeyer wanted to thank village of Comrie for its kindness ‘when he was at the lowest point of his life’

It’s the stuff of TV drama: schoolgirls befriend a German prisoner of war being held in Scotland during the second world war. After learning that he had never seen moving pictures, they smuggle him out of the camp for the day and take him to the cinema so he can watch a film for the first time.

Related: The importance of Polish lessons in a post-Brexit world | Letters

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Dangerous drivers who kill could face life sentence

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:05:02 GMT2016-12-04T00:05:02Z

Ministers to consult on increase in 14-year upper limit for causing death by speeding, street racing or while using a mobile

Dangerous drivers who kill are set to face life sentences under plans put forward by ministers. Those causing death by speeding, street racing or while using a mobile phone will face the same sentences as people charged with manslaughter.

Offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs could also be handed life sentences – an increase on the current 14-year upper limit.

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Home Office keeps child refugees ‘in the dark’ about move to UK

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 19:49:21 GMT2016-12-03T19:49:21Z

Children held at French reception centres since Calais camp demolition are distressed by lack of information, says report

The Home Office has been accused of failing to provide sufficient information to child refugees from the demolished Calais camp, in what critics believe is a ploy to try to reduce the number of unaccompanied minors who are likely to enter the UK.

Researchers who visited a series of reception centres in France, where children are being held as their UK applications are processed by Home Office officials, found many children had received insufficient information or none at all.

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Has Ukip killed its golden EU goose?

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 08:00:16 GMT2016-12-03T08:00:16Z

If Britain leaves the European Union in 2019, the party will lose its best platform and most reliable banker – as well as its big idea

For Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s latest leader, the strategy is clear: Brexit needs to be clean, decisive – and rapid. What that means for Ukip itself, however, is another matter.

Of all the paradoxes about the British insurgent party, the biggest is this: Ukip was made by Europe, bankrolled by Europe. The European parliament gave the party its springboard and its voice. If Ukip was a political start-up, the EU provided the venture capital. Without the parliamentary seats, and the money that went with them, Ukip would never had have the platform. Europe made Nigel Farage a star.

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Bodies of Chapecoense players killed in plane crash returned to Brazil

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 16:23:45 GMT2016-12-03T16:23:45Z

Coffins of football team, supporters and journalists who lost lives met by Brazilian president Michel Temer at Chapeco airport

The bodies of the football team killed when their plane crashed in Colombia earlier this week have been returned to Brazil.

Many of the 71 victims were players or supporters of the Chapecoense football team, which had chartered the plane after reaching the final of the Copa Sudamericana being held in Medellin, Colombia.

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Vegetarian cafe refuses to accept £5 note made with animal byproduct

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 13:15:14 GMT2016-12-03T13:15:14Z

Rainbow cafe in Cambridge under fire for taking stand over new polymer notes manufactured using tallow

A vegetarian restaurant owner’s decision not to accept the new £5 note because it contains traces of meat byproducts has come under fire from vegetarians and omnivores alike.

Sharon Meijland, who has run the Rainbow cafe in Cambridge for three decades, said she would not allow customers to pay with the polymer note because the animal byproduct tallow is used during the production process.

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Yarl's Wood demonstration draws up to 2,000 campaigners

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 16:46:37 GMT2016-12-03T16:46:37Z

Hundreds march around detention centre perimeter to denounce rise in hate crime in wake of Brexit vote

The largest protest staged against Britain’s most notorious detention centre has taken place, as up to 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside Yarl’s Wood to denounce “immigrant bashing” in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Campaigners from across the UK protested at the Bedfordshire immigration removal centre on Saturday, demanding that the facility, which mainly houses women, is closed immediately.

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Britain’s trust deficit is getting worse – but we all have faith in nurses

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:01:00 GMT2016-12-03T23:01:00Z

Ipsos Mori’s annual ‘veracity index’ shows that politicians are still at the bottom of the pile – and falling

Given the rise of fake news, “post-truth” election campaigns, misleading polls and Michael Gove’s notorious attack on experts, it has been a challenging period for the concept of trust. So step forward Britain’s nurses, now officially the most trusted professionals in the country.

The Ipsos Mori 2016 Veracity Index, launched in 1983, annually assesses which roles are most trusted by the public. Included in the index for the first time, nurses are the new champions, trusted even more than doctors.

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Revealed: the millions paid to social care companies | Daniel Boffey

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 20:36:34 GMT2016-12-03T20:36:34Z

Investigation into five biggest firms finds some owners were paid handsomely while an increasing number of services require improvement

An investigation into the five biggest firms providing homecare services in the UK has found millions of pounds has been paid to some owners amid a crisis in standards of care.

An analysis of published reports from the Care Quality Commission, the care regulator for England, reveals that of the 192 domiciliary care services run by major companies, and inspected over the last two years, 80 were found to “require improvement”, with eight found to be “inadequate” and placed into special measures.

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Time running out to save Britain’s U-boat hunter from scrapyard

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 20:07:27 GMT2016-12-03T20:07:27Z

HMS President, which saw action in the first world war, may have to be broken up if £3m to repair its hull cannot be found

HMS President has survived U-boat attacks, bombing raids, London smog and even parties of marauding Made In Chelsea stars.

Yet now the submarine hunter, one of three that remain from the Royal Navy’s first world war fleet and the only one that fought in the first battle of the Atlantic, is destined to be scrapped unless its custodians can find £3m before January.

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Pilot suffers heart attack at Glasgow airport as he prepares to take off with 128 aboard

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 02:28:10 GMT2016-12-03T02:28:10Z

KLM captain on Amsterdam route was resuscitated by crew and a passenger after becoming unwell while heading for runway

The pilot of a plane carrying 128 people suffered a heart attack as he taxied to the runway at Glasgow airport.

The captain of the KLM aircraft became unwell as he was about to leave for Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. He was resuscitated by the crew with the help of a passenger.

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UK defence secretary tells US only Nato can deter Russian threat

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 17:34:50 GMT2016-12-03T17:34:50Z

Michael Fallon added Nato members must pay more and not expect US taxpayer to shoulder disproportionate burden

British defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, making the first trip across the Atlantic by a UK cabinet minister since Donald Trump won the election, told the incoming administration that Russia presented a real threat that only Nato could deter.

Trump on the campaign trail repeatedly spoke warmly about a need for increased dialogue with Russian president Vladimir Putin while questioning the basic tenets of the Nato alliance, in particular that an attack on one constitutes an attack on all.

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Push for hard Brexit led to Richmond Park win, says new Lib Dem MP

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:42:14 GMT2016-12-02T19:42:14Z

Sarah Olney says 21.5% swing in byelection was secured because Tory remain voters felt PM was only focusing on leave camp

Theresa May’s decision to pursue a hard Brexit is driving Conservative-supporting remainers to desert the party, the Liberal Democrats’ newest MP said in the aftermath of her sensational win in the Richmond Park byelection.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sarah Olney said her victory over Zac Goldsmith on a 21.5% swing was secured thanks to voters who felt the prime minister was only focusing on the part of the population that voted to leave the EU.

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Drivers warned to manually lock cars after thefts at service stations

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 17:50:52 GMT2016-12-03T17:50:52Z

Police believe spate of thefts at Berkshire services linked to radio jammers which interrupt signals for remote locking

Drivers using motorway services are being warned to check their cars are secure after a spate of thefts believed to be linked to technology that stops them remotely locking.

Thames Valley police said there had been 14 recent thefts from cars at motorway services in Berkshire and that in many cases there was “no obvious sign of a break-in and no damage caused to the vehicles as items were stolen from them”.

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Network Rail to lose sole control of rail maintenance

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 00:54:53 GMT2016-12-03T00:54:53Z

Transport minister Chris Grayling believes using Virgin, Southern and other private firms will lead to savings, sources say

Sole control of Britain’s rail infrastructure is to be taken out of the hands of the state-owned Network Rail and shared with private firms under government plans to be announced next week, it has been reported.

The move, which would represent one of the biggest changes to the running of the British rail network in recent years, would see track maintenance undertaken by Virgin, Southern, ScotRail and other operators for the first time.

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Bowe Bergdahl asks Obama for pardon before Donald Trump takes office

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:29:51 GMT2016-12-03T22:29:51Z

  • Sergeant walked off post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held five years
  • Donald Trump has criticised soldier, implied he should be executed

US army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the former prisoner of war who is accused of endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan, is asking President Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office.

Related: Exclusive video shows Bowe Bergdahl days before he walked off his base

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Pennsylvania recount: Jill Stein to take fight to federal court after $1m bond set

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 07:38:26 GMT2016-12-04T07:38:26Z

Green party candidate vows to counter judge’s ‘outrageous demand’ for $1m bond by seeking emergency relief in federal court

Green party candidate Jill Stein vowed late on Saturday to bring her fight for a recount of votes cast in Pennsylvania in the US presidential election to federal court, after a state judge ordered her campaign to post a $1m bond.

“The judge’s outrageous demand that voters pay such an exorbitant figure is a shameful, unacceptable barrier to democratic participation,” Stein said in a statement. “No voter in America should be forced to pay thousands of dollars to know if her or his vote was counted.”

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Malaysia PM urges world to act against 'genocide' of Myanmar’s Rohingya

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 05:53:47 GMT2016-12-04T05:53:47Z

Najib Razak tells Kuala Lumpur rally attended by thousands ‘the world cannot sit by and watch genocide taking place’

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak led a protest rally on Sunday against what he called a “genocide” of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, as he urged Asian neighbours and the world to step up the pressure to stop the violence.

Najib said the rally at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur would send a strong message to Aung San Suu Kyi’s government that “enough is enough”.

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UN to pursue further inquiry into death of Dag Hammarskjöld

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:15:42 GMT2016-12-03T18:15:42Z

General Assembly to pass resolution recognising need to investigate death of former general secretary who died in 1961 plane crash

What caused the 1961 plane crash that killed former UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld? A Swedish-led UN inquiry the following year concluded that the plane, the Albertina, had crashed in northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) as a result of “pilot error”. But this failed to satisfy many who have long suspected foul play.

There were claims that the Albertina, which was carrying Hammarskjöld and a 15-strong team seeking to negotiate a ceasefire in the breakaway African republic of Katanga, was riddled with bullets. Several witnesses said they saw as many as eight white men, armed and in combat fatigues, at the crash site.

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Italy referendum defeat would complete Matteo Renzi's rapid downfall

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 07:00:15 GMT2016-12-03T07:00:15Z

After taking office with hopes of enacting change, the PM has failed to gain the trust of voters who see politics as a scapegoat

When Matteo Renzi strode into the Italian prime minister’s residence of Palazzo Chigi 34 months ago, having outmanoeuvred the old guard in his party to become the country’s leader, he was widely regarded as Italy’s last best hope.

The former mayor of Florence was a maverick reformer with big plans to turn around Italy’s moribund economy and – if he played his cards right – would stand at the helm of a centre-left majority that seemed strong enough to crush the rising Five Star Movement (M5S) and its angry anti-establishment rhetoric, and bury conservatives who were still reeling from the political demise of Silvio Berlusconi.

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Climate scientists condemn article claiming global temperatures are falling

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 14:48:52 GMT2016-12-03T14:48:52Z

A Republican-led panel promoted a misleading tabloid story alleging earth may not be warming, relying on data that leaves out important points of context

Climate scientists have denounced the House committee on science, space and technology after the Republican-held panel promoted a misleading story expressing skepticism that the earth is dangerously warming.

On Thursday afternoon, the committee tweeted a Breitbart article alleging: “Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists”. The story linked to a British tabloid, the Daily Mail, which claimed that global land temperatures were plummeting, and that humans were not responsible for years of steadily increasing heat.

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Hi-tech replica to bring prehistoric art of Lascaux within reach

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 20:29:16 GMT2016-12-03T20:29:16Z

£48m recreation of French caves will let visitors experience magic of the ‘prehistoric Sistine chapel’ for first time in decades

In the Dordogne village of Montignac sur Vézère, the story of how one boy and his dog discovered one of the most haunting examples of prehistoric art has gone down in local folklore.

On 8 September 1940, Marcel Ravidat’s black-and-white mongrel, Robot, dived into a hole in the ground in pursuit of a rabbit. The 17-year-old Ravidat retrieved his pet, and returned a few days later with three friends to explore what appeared to be an underground cave. Dropping into the rocks, they entered a grotto where the flickering light of their oil lamp lit upon a painting of a red bull. The rest is prehistory.

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After Isis: the families returning home in Iraq

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 09:00:18 GMT2016-12-03T09:00:18Z

While the battle for Mosul rages, residents are returning to the ghost town of Jalawla. Can they rebuild their lives after a year of occupation?

On the evening of 11 August 2014, Assam Dara Ali was at home in Jalawla, southern Iraq. His wife, Teba, was putting their two young children to bed; meanwhile, Kurdish officials in Erbil were beginning to report that Jalawla had fallen to Isis. “Suddenly we heard cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’, God is greatest, from the mosque,” Assam tells me. Isis was broadcasting its takeover message from the minarets, visible from the family’s courtyard.

In the preceding months, fighters had seized large swaths of Iraq: the city of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, the western towns of Sinjar and Makhmour, as well as Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The newly declared caliphate of Islamic State was expanding by the day.

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Kinder Morgan pipeline: Canadians intensify huge opposition to expansion

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 11:00:20 GMT2016-12-03T11:00:20Z

Trudeau’s approval of project some find analogous to Standing Rock incited thousands of activists, politicians and First Nations members to increase action

Opponents of a contentious Canadian pipeline project are preparing for a lengthy, multifaceted battle that will see thousands take to the country’s streets, courts and legislatures to contest the government’s recent approval of the project.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the Liberal government had cleared the way for Kinder Morgan’s C$6.8bn Trans Mountain Expansion project. Designed to transport Alberta’s landlocked bitumen to international markets via Vancouver’s harbour, the project will expand an existing pipeline to nearly triple capacity on the artery to 890,000 barrels a day.

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Iran says US extension of sanctions shows Washington is unreliable

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 13:54:01 GMT2016-12-03T13:54:01Z

Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responds to US Senate vote to extend sanctions for 10 years, which Iran says violates last year’s nuclear deal

A Senate vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act for 10 years shows the world that Washington cannot be relied upon to act on its commitments, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.

Iran has vowed to retaliate against the ISA extension, passed unanimously on Thursday, saying it violated last year’s agreement with six major powers to curb its nuclear programme in return for lifting of international financial sanctions.

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Aung San Suu Kyi accuses international community of stoking unrest in Myanmar

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 06:23:43 GMT2016-12-03T06:23:43Z

Leader says outsiders are ‘concentrating on the negative side’ of what the UN and Malaysia claim is ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi accused the international community on Friday of stoking resentment between Buddhists and Muslims in the country’s northwest, where an army crackdown has killed at least 86 people and sent 10,000 fleeing to Bangladesh.

Aung San Suu Kyi appealed for understanding of her nation’s ethnic complexities, and said the world should not forget the military operation was launched in response to attacks on security forces that the government has blamed on Muslim insurgents.

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'We got this': Africans call on western donors to trust them on FGM

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 16:20:46 GMT2016-12-03T16:20:46Z

More than 200 donors, policy makers and FGM experts joined senate minority leader Harry Reid at Washington DC summit

A Kenyan expert pleaded with delegates at a US summit on female genital mutilation (FGM) on Friday not to waste any more time sending white men and consultants to Africa “to tell us how to stop this”.

“I am a village girl but I have a university education, I know my people, and how to reach them – we got this,” Domtila Chesang from West Pokot, told the high-level event in Washington DC, hosted by senate minority leader Harry Reid.

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