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The Guardian

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

Published: Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:22:04 GMT2017-02-24T00:22:04Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017

Byelections: Labour braced for defeat in Copeland, but 'confident' of holding Stoke – live

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:20:55 GMT2017-02-24T00:20:55Z

Rolling coverage of the Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland byelection counts and the announcement of the results

At Stoke Fiona Ledden, the acting returning officer, has just announced the turnout figures.

There were 21,200 ballots cast - 4,335 postal votes and 16,865 polling station votes.

This, from Matt Singh, helps to explain what the Labour source I quoted earlier (see 11.46pm) meant when he talked about the boxes coming in from rural areas favouring the Conservatives.

This map from @andrewteale shows which bits of Copeland vote which way. Count (at Whitehaven) is in the red zone...

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Media Files:

Met 'trying to gag critics' by defunding its black officers' association

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:00:41 GMT2017-02-23T21:00:41Z

Critics claim plan will be a disaster but Met says it will be fairer and better

The Metropolitan police has been accused of trying to silence a vital voice of criticism on diversity by cutting funding for its association of black officers.

Plans drawn up for the force would see the Metropolitan Black Police Association lose all three of its full-time staff in the name of cost-cutting.

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Media Files:

Leicester sack Claudio Ranieri less than a year after Premier League title

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:05:00 GMT2017-02-24T00:05:00Z

• Italian informed of decision on return from Sevilla tie
• Roberto Mancini is early favourite to succeed Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri, the manager who led Leicester City to one of the more implausible success stories in history, has been sacked only nine months after taking a team of 5,000-1 outsiders to the Premier League title and a football miracle.

Related: Claudio Ranieri faces growing unrest among Leicester players and staff

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Media Files:

Steve Bannon: Trump is 'maniacally focused' on executing promises

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:23:56 GMT2017-02-23T20:23:56Z

Chief White House strategist pushes economic nationalist agenda at CPAC and continues relentless attacks on media, vowing: ‘Every day is going to be a fight’

Steve Bannon, the man seen as the power behind Donald Trump’s throne, has declared that the president will take the US back from a “corporatist, globalist media” that opposes his brand of economic nationalism.

Related: CPAC 2017 live: Steve Bannon says Trump 'maniacally focused' on keeping promises

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Woman killed by falling debris as Storm Doris causes chaos across UK

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:02:43 GMT2017-02-23T20:02:43Z

Twenty-nine-year-old dies after being hit by piece of roof in Midlands as strong winds and ice cause widespread problems

Winds of more than 100mph have battered the UK as the worst storm of the winter caused the death of a woman killed by falling debris and travel chaos across the country.

Storm Doris had raged in from the west overnight, bringing freezing temperatures with it and prompting Met Office forecasters to label the low pressure system a “weather bomb”, meaning the barometer dropped by more than 24 millibars over 24 hours.

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Labour scents hope of Brexit guarantee for EU citizens in UK

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:00:00 GMT2017-02-23T22:00:00Z

Tory peer backs article 50 bill amendment, fuelling optimism that cross-party support may draw concession from Theresa May

Labour is increasingly optimistic it can force concessions from the government over the status of EU nationals in post-Brexit Britain, after securing cross-party backing for an amendment to the article 50 bill.

Angela Smith, Labour’s leader in the Lords, said: “My sense is there’s real momentum behind this one, and my sense talking to peers across the house and listening to the debate is this is something that the House of Lords would support, cross-party.”

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Iraqi forces seize Mosul airport from Isis as Syrian rebels take al-Bab

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:30:42 GMT2017-02-23T18:30:42Z

Isis’s hold weakens as Iraqi troops plan last big push to retake Mosul while loss of al-Bab is big blow to terror group in Syria

Battlefield defeats in Iraq and Syria continued to splinter Islamic State’s hold on both countries on Thursday, with Mosul airport seized by advancing Iraqi forces and the town of al-Bab finally falling to Syrian rebels.

Backed heavily by Turkey, rebels said they had recaptured nearly all of al-Bab, which had remained Isis’s westernmost stronghold throughout five months of intensive fighting and a key target of the war against the terror group.

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Stop being sentimental about child refugees, says Tory MP

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:45:54 GMT2017-02-23T19:45:54Z

Pauline Latham tells Commons debate on child refugees from France that it is not the UK’s job to look after them

Critics of the government’s decision to close the door on refugee children from Calais have been urged to “stop being sentimental” by a Tory backbencher.

Pauline Latham, the Conservative MP for mid-Derbyshire, said other governments across Europe should be looking after the children in their jurisdictions, not Britain.

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John Lewis expects to cut nearly 800 jobs

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:28:23 GMT2017-02-23T18:28:23Z

Biggest ever round of redundancies to fall on curtain and carpet estimating and fitting, and restaurant chefs

John Lewis is to axe nearly 800 jobs in its customer restaurants and store administration in its biggest ever round of redundancies.

The department store chain said it was consulting 773 people about redundancy as it attempts to cut costs and become more efficient. The cuts are the first sign of change since the department store’s managing director, Paula Nickolds, took the helm in late January.

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'Golden trio' of moves boosts chances of female orgasm, say researchers

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:49:42 GMT2017-02-23T12:49:42Z

Study sheds light on approaches, revealing ‘orgasm gaps’ both between the sexes and those with different sexual orientations

The female orgasm has often been described as elusive, but researchers say they might have discovered how to boost the chances of eliciting the yes, yes, yes.

A study from a team of US researchers suggests that a combination of genital stimulation, deep kissing and oral sex is the “golden trio” for women when it comes to increasing their likelihood of reaching orgasm with a sexual partner.

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Don’t abolish the Lords. History shows it really can be reformed | Meg Russell

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:43:45 GMT2017-02-23T19:43:45Z

From its Brexit debate to peers’ allowances, the second chamber has faced intense criticism this week. But it’s undergone huge changes, and can do so again

The House of Lords has been in the line of fire this week. During its debate on article 50 there were claims that peers had no right to thwart the will of the House of Commons or the referendum result. As if to emphasise the point, prime minister Theresa May sat in the chamber as the bill was discussed.

And then, ahead of a BBC documentary on the Lords to be screened on Monday, there were allegations about peers signing in to claim their £300 daily allowance while their taxi was running.

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Media Files:

Isabelle Huppert: 'Men aren't afraid of women the way women are afraid of men'

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:36:01 GMT2017-02-23T17:36:01Z

France’s arthouse star has received her first Oscar nomination for the rape revenge thriller Elle. She explains why her character is a ‘post-feminist heroine’ – and why she wanted the controversial role that Hollywood actors wouldn’t touch

Isabelle Huppert is displeased. In a soulless hotel conference room, she is due to give a TV interview about her new film, Elle. The lighting, however, is unacceptable. Huppert peers through the camera, shakes her head. There are terse exchanges, rearranged chairs. Five minutes becomes 10. The lighting is tweaked. Her frown is now a scowl. Everything is running late. Fifteen. The crew look suicidal. Twenty. And then, apparently at random, she says OK.

You feel like applauding. TV lighting is often terrible, working on camera is what she does, the problem has been resolved without her hiding behind a publicist. The crew still look traumatised, but they’ll live. I’m next. Huppert, the heavyweight champion of arthouse cinema, is 5ft 3in, in a trouser suit, spectral pale, briskly civil. A friend who met her recently said she spent the whole conversation playing with her phone, but this time, after a single animated call – dinner plans – she tucks it into her Chanel handbag. She takes a measure of my French. We will talk in English.

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'How is this fair?': readers on the non-European spouses income ruling

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:02:24 GMT2017-02-23T18:02:24Z

We hear from citizens as the UK’s supreme court ruling backed the £18,600 earning threshold for non-European spouses

If you wish to bring a non-European Economic Area spouse to live with you in the UK, you need to be earning a minimum of £18,600.

Related: Supreme court spouse rule: 'In one word, we are devastated'

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Media Files:

Katy Perry brings the house down as her political wokening continues apace

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:44:56 GMT2017-02-23T18:44:56Z

The star’s Brits routine featured dancing starter homes and Trump and May puppets. Good job we had an excitable Tory MP to tell us what it means

Theory: I don’t think the dancing house fell off the stage during Katy Perry’s Brits routine. I think it was trying to escape. Still, talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire. No sooner had the little dwelling jumped off the stage, away from the most will-this-do? “political” routine ever, than it fell into the clutches of some hideous UK music executives and their demurely coked second wives. It is now being forcibly relocated to Bray, and being fitted with a media room and conservatory.

And so to the Brit awards in the age of Trump/Brexit/Ultron, which are still a tenth as edgy as they were in the late-90s era of political consensus, when even the Sun backed Tony Blair. Jarvis sabotaging Jacko, Chumbawamba offering an early shout on New Labour … I’m afraid I can’t do you any of that. What I can offer is a swear-bleep machine programmed to 1959, and an event that takes the same attitude to grime as Anthea Turner.

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'Wanton vandalism': why Neville and Giggs' Manchester towers are despised

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:59:25 GMT2017-02-23T15:59:25Z

With its flawed design and lack of affordable housing, the footballers’ St Michael’s project faces fierce opposition. But an investment-hungry council isn’t listening

From their Cheshire mansions’ bathroom taps to their radiant spray-tans, it’s a running gag that footballers have a thing for bronze. But now Manchester United heroes Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs want to take their love of lustre one step further and bestow on their home city a pair of colossal bronze skyscrapers, right opposite the town hall.

Related: Giggs and Neville skyscrapers 'threaten Manchester's heritage'

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Tottenham fluff their lines against Gent and head for Europa League exit

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:09:14 GMT2017-02-23T22:09:14Z

When the full-time whistle sounded on a pulsating, madcap Europa League occasion, Mauricio Pochettino turned on his heel, avoided contact with anybody – friend or foe – and marched briskly off down the tunnel. In metaphorical terms at least, the steam was blasting from the Tottenham Hotspur manager’s ears.

This had been billed as the occasion when Spurs would erase the shoddiness of their first-leg defeat in Ghent and make a statement in European competition. Instead, it became one filled with recrimination and no little embarrassment because make no mistake, a club with Tottenham’s ambitions must be capable of disposing of opposition as modest as this.

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Six Nations: England to assess options against Italy and look for a plan B

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:31:00 GMT2017-02-23T22:31:00Z

Ben Te’o and Eliott Daly likely to be the centre pairing at Twickenham, with Owen Farrell moving inside to fly half

The last cross-code international to wear England’s No12 shirt is now 10,000 miles away after being accused of not having “the stomach for the fight”, but Ben Te’o has been backed to shine as part of the new-look midfield to face Italy on Sunday.

With Jonathan Joseph a surprise omission from the squad on Wednesday, England are guaranteed to field a new centre pairing against Italy and the 30-year-old Te’o is expected to start at inside-centre with Elliot Daly likely to line up outside him. Owen Farrell, who will lead the side out at Twickenham on the occasion of his 50th cap, is expected to move to fly-half.

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Wayne Rooney confirms he will stay at Manchester United

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:36:00 GMT2017-02-23T18:36:00Z

• Rooney releases statement to commit his future to Old Trafford
• ‘I want to end recent speculation and say that I am staying at Man United’

Wayne Rooney has ended speculation over his immediate future by confirming he will not be leaving Manchester United, despite admitting he has received offers to depart Old Trafford this month.

Rooney has been linked with a move to China, with his agent, Paul Stretford, understood to have been in China this week speaking to interested clubs. But the United and England captain confirmed in a statement on Thursday that he is not interested in moving with United still involved in the FA Cup and Europa League.

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Media Files:

FIFA 17 matches to be broadcast live on TV for first time by BT Sport

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:04:50 GMT2017-02-23T13:04:50Z

• BT will start broadcasting international regional finals next month
• Winner of Ultimate Championship Series will get seven-figure sum

FIFA 17 gaming matches are to be be broadcast live on television after BT Sport announced they had won the rights to show the remaining four EA FIFA Majors in this year’s Ultimate Team Championship Series.

Related: Fifa: the video game that changed football | Simon Parkin

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Eddie Jones’s rotation by instinct shows there’s no substitute for nous | The Breakdown

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:00:18 GMT2017-02-23T12:00:18Z

How coaches handle their replacements is becoming increasingly decisive in the Six Nations, from England’s following his hunches to Wales’s use of data

The former footballer Rodney Marsh once said that the players a manager had to keep happy were the ones in the reserves. Those in the first team were content for that reason.

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Six Nations: Scotland’s John Barclay banks on his local knowledge of Wales

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:36:55 GMT2017-02-23T18:36:55Z

• Flanker becomes second Wales-based player to captain Scots against Welsh
• Scotland still in position to lift Triple Crown after early defeat of Ireland

Scotland’s new captain, John Barclay, has had a head start on his team’s analysts this week. On Saturday at Murrayfield he will become the eighth player to lead his country against Wales while playing for a Welsh club and only the second Scot, after Arthur Smith in 1960. He has inside intelligence.

Barclay, a flanker with the Scarlets and a colleague of the Wales forwards Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Jake Ball, takes over as Scotland’s captain from Greig Laidlaw, who suffered an ankle injury against France in the last round that is set to sideline him for the rest of the season.

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Pies, Rooney, and a crazy week in the Champions League – Football Weekly Extra

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:05:01 GMT2017-02-23T16:05:01Z

The podders reflect on Leicester and Man City’s European exploits. Plus, the inglorious pie-gate affair; and previews of all the Premier League weekend action and the EFL Cup final between Man Utd and Southampton

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher. And join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

On today’s Football Weekly Extra: goals, pies and videotape. Sort of.

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The Joy of Six: goals going in off the woodwork

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:59:43 GMT2017-02-23T09:59:43Z

From Ronaldinho’s exocet against Sevilla to Darren Anderton’s both-posts rattler, via Zinedine Zidane versus Gianluigi Buffon

The beauty of a goal that crashes in off the crossbar is that anyone can score one, but there are some players you would expect to do it more than others. Demba Ba’s nominative determinism aside, the outer reaches of the goal frame appeal to the game’s more expansive talents, seeking to paint every inch of their chosen canvas.

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2017 F1 cars are launched — in pictures

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:03:00 GMT2017-02-23T16:03:00Z

With the 2017 season starting next month, the teams are starting to unveil their new cars and we can now see how the radical regulation changes have affected the visual impact of Formula One. We will be adding to this gallery whenever a new car is launched

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Héctor Bellerín open to Barcelona move if Arsène Wenger leaves Arsenal

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:08:50 GMT2017-02-23T14:08:50Z

• La Liga club step up moves to sign former youth product
• Bellerín would consider offer if Wenger does not sign fresh deal

Héctor Bellerín would consider an offer from Barcelona in the summer if Arsène Wenger was to leave Arsenal. The Spanish right‑back has emerged as a prime target for the Catalan club and the pursuit has begun, with the newspaper Mundo Deportivo splashing the story of Barça’s interest.

The leading La Liga clubs routinely use the Spanish press as their first port of call in these situations – in an attempt to turn the head of their target – and Barcelona have indicated that money would be no object in a prospective deal for Bellerín, who began his career in their youth system.

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Lewis Hamilton not missing Rosberg as he looks ahead to new F1 season

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:55:10 GMT2017-02-23T16:55:10Z

• ‘I have never missed a team-mate in my life. There is always another one’
• New wider, lower and heavier Mercedes car launched at Silverstone

There was little love lost between Lewis Hamilton and his former Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by the time the latter secured the Formula One world championship in Abu Dhabi last season, after which the German promptly retired. Dwelling on a friendship lost to the white heat of competition was not on the agenda, however, for the British driver when he helped unveil his new car for 2017, despite the pair having been close when they raced one another in their early years. He also conceded that he, too, has considered retirement but returns as eager to compete as ever.

Despite winning the last four races of 2016, even though he was hampered by mechanical failures and some poor starts, Hamilton was beaten to his fourth title by five points, after which Rosberg shocked the team by bringing his career to a close. He has been replaced by Valtteri Bottas. With F1 embracing new regulations for 2017, and the entirely new Mercedes on show at Silverstone for the first time on Thursday, Hamilton envisaged the opportunity of the reset as a fresh start for himself, too.

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Lutalo Muhammad: 'Missing out on gold hurt me to my core. I'll never get over it'

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:18:52 GMT2017-02-23T11:18:52Z

British Olympic taekwondo finalist went from gold to silver in a second in Rio but despite the searing pain he says he does have some fun flashbacks

Lutalo Muhammad has a brutally succinct answer when asked what he would do differently if he could go back in time to the final second of the Olympic taekwondo final in Rio. “Duck,” he replies. Instead the 25-year-old from Walthamstow kept his head high and suffered the ultimate sporting sliding-doors moment as his opponent, Cheick Sallah Cissé, landed a flying reverse kick. In an instant Muhammad went from two points up to 8-6 down and the gold medal he had been convinced was his destiny had, by the cruellest of sporting alchemies, turned to silver.

Related: Silver for Lutalo Muhammad after heartbreaking loss in -80kg taekwondo | Helen Pidd

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Golf fumbles around for appropriate relationship with betting | Ewan Murray

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:49:29 GMT2017-02-23T09:49:29Z

As growth of markets and tipster columns focus attention on the sport, it seems at pains to keep the gambling world at arm’s length for fear of being compromised

Contemplate the scenario: round two of an Open Championship, Golfer X is flirting with the cut line when playing his 36th hole. Cue back-to-back drives out of bounds and confirmation of an early exit.

Related: If Rory McIlroy must play golf with Trump we need some juicier details | Marina Hyde

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Six Nations: England omit Jonathan Joseph from squad to face Italy

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:18:00 GMT2017-02-22T20:18:00Z

• Elliot Daly expected to fill No13 shirt at Twickenham
• Anthony Watson and Mako Vunipola both return to squad

Jonathan Joseph has been omitted from England’s squad to face Italy on Sunday, with Elliot Daly likely to return to his preferred No13 jersey following his match-winning try against Wales.

Related: George North back in Wales team for Six Nations clash against Scotland

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Renshaw and Starc lead the way for Australia in Pune - as it happened

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:14:54 GMT2017-02-23T11:14:54Z

  • Australia 256-9 at stumps on day one of the Pune Test against India
  • Matt Renshaw and Mitchell Starc the stars with half-centuries

What a weird session. There were moments early, with Renshaw on the tools, that the visitors looked likely to atone for their pre-Tea wobble. But then, predictably, the wickets came. Marsh was trapped in front courtesy of a bit of Jadeja genius. Wade likewise when Umesh came back and immediately started hooping it. That reverse swing was too much for O’Keefe too, taken magnificently by Saha with the gloves. Then Lyon, lbw first ball to the same bowler. Between times, Ashwin ragged one into Renshaw’s edge when on 68. A fine hand, but one that looked futile. The collapse totalled 4/15 and Australia had only just crept over 200.

Enter Mitch Starc. His ninth Test half-century was perhaps his best yet. Changing the trajectory of the innings and the day, he swung hard but seldom raised his head. It was proper hitting, not slogging. Supported perfectly by Hazlewood, who took 17 balls to get off the mark but it mattered little. He was dependable in defence, exactly what was needed. All told, the unbeaten stand is now 51, these two have very much earned their right to have another go tomorrow.

94th over: Australia 256-9 (Starc 57, Hazlewood 1). Starc again very happy to take the single first ball. Leaving Hazlewood with five balls to see off for to get the visitors to stumps. To be fair, he’s completely off script, thrice on the trot playing and missing with expansive attempted drives. Not sure what that’s all about? Anyway, he’s fine. Ishant, momentarily, looks like he might be the one in strike after copping a whack on the little finger when the ball is thrown back to him from the field. Requires the physio to come and take a look with one ball remaining in day. What drama. Is he putting it on? Probably not. The result is a wide delivery to end the day that Hazlewood, this time, leaves alone. So stumps it will be! I’ll gather my thoughts and wrap this up in a tic.

Day one neither as good nor as bad as it should've been for Aust #IndvAus

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Ricardo La Volpe, baseball's worst pitches and MMA showboating gone wrong | Classic YouTube

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:00:00 GMT2017-02-23T10:00:00Z

This week’s roundup also features footballers downing tools, a gnarly garden, and a Hot Wheels psychedelic nightmare

1) It’s tough being a gaffer – stuck on the touchline, unable to let loose on opponents. Full marks, then, to the Club América coach Ricardo La Volpe, who makes his own rules and does his own tackling – dispossessing the Chivas right-back Jesús Sánchez in Mexico’s Clásico Nacional. He joins a big list of managers who can’t help but get involved, including: Alan Pardew, of course (with bonus coverage on Sky from Paul Merson: “Something’s gone on here, Jeff, something’s gone on”); the Ayachucho manager Rolando Chilavert beating Garcilaso’s Iván Santillán to a long ball; Fiorentina’s Delio Rossi weighing up then reacting to his own player Adem Ljajic sarcastically applauding his substitution; Nigel Pearson giving James McArthur a quick strangle; Paolo Di Canio calming down then taking on Leon Clarke; and, at the top end of the scale, the Turkish club Ankaragucu’s manager Umit Ozat dealing with a pitch invader. He was fined and banned.

2) And here’s another Pardew tribute, from an unlikely source: the British MMA fighter Joe Harding taking time out to taunt his opponent John Segas with a Pardew-at-Wembley dance. It doesn’t end well.

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Johnny Sexton to start for Ireland in Six Nations clash with France

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:59:17 GMT2017-02-23T14:59:17Z

• Fly-half has been sidelined with calf trouble since last month
• Player has not featured for Ireland since autumn New Zealand defeat

Joe Schmidt, the Ireland head coach, has tipped Johnny Sexton to shake off his latest injury absence and complete yet another comeback victory against France on Saturday.

Sexton has finally beaten his month-long calf problem in time to start Ireland’s Six Nations match with France in Dublin. The fly-half was told in midweek he had no “divine right” to selection by the assistant coach Richie Murphy, but has still been parachuted back into the starting lineup at Paddy Jackson’s expense.

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Leicester show ‘big heart’ to keep hopes alive at Sevilla, says Claudio Ranieri

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:24:40 GMT2017-02-23T00:24:40Z

• ‘The first half was very tough but we didn’t give up,’ says manager
• Jamie Vardy’s late goal gives Leicester genuine chance to progress

Claudio Ranieri praised his Leicester City players for showing “big heart” to fight back and keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League after Jamie Vardy scored a crucial away goal in a 2-1 defeat at Sevilla.

They were outplayed for so much of the match and trailed to goals from Pablo Sarabia and Joaquín Correa on a night when Kasper Schmeichel was outstanding and made a number of superb saves, including keeping out a first-half penalty. But Leicester departed Spain in positive mood after Vardy’s goal totally changed the complexion of the tie. It was the England international’s first in the Champions League and only his sixth of the season for Leicester but could not have been better timed.

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Luke Shaw eyeing Manchester United exit if not given first-team chances

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:09:14 GMT2017-02-23T11:09:14Z

• Defender understood to be bemused at lack of opportunities
• Left-back has made only three starts in nearly four months

Luke Shaw will consider leaving Manchester United in the summer if he does not play regularly between now and the end of the season.

It is understood the 21-year-old is bemused at the lack of opportunity José Mourinho has given him to fight for a first‑team place since the Portuguese became United manager last summer.

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Castleford and Sale head for settlement out of court over Denny Solomona

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:39:52 GMT2017-02-23T13:39:52Z

• Castleford seeking damages over winger’s switching of codes
• Legal proceedings adjourned with clubs due to discuss settlement

Castleford Tigers’ legal dispute against the Premiership side Sale and their former winger Denny Solomona could be settled out of court after a planned hearing set for the high court was adjourned on Thursday.

The Super League side are seeking damages against Solomona, Sale and Solomona’s agent, Andy Clarke, and were initially seeking a fee in the region of £500,000 for the Samoan, who joined Sale after failing to report for pre-season training with Castleford in November.

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Manny Pacquiao confirms talks with Amir Khan to dash Jeff Horn's hopes

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 04:58:03 GMT2017-02-23T04:58:03Z

  • Filipino great says he is in negotiations with Khan for next fight
  • Horn’s hopes of meeting Pacquiao in Brisbane dashed

Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao are in talks over a potential fight this summer, but each fighter is continuing to explore other options, and that negotiations are far from at an advanced stage.

Khan, 30, wrote on Twitter: “Currently negotiating with Manny. Coming soon. Watch this space.”

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Lewis Hamilton calls on F1’s new owner to modernise ‘outdated’ sport

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:29:27 GMT2017-02-22T16:29:27Z

• Hamilton warns F1 is behind rivals in terms of entertainment
• ‘F1 is catching up… I think there’s a lot of catching up to do’

Lewis Hamilton believes Formula One must update itself to ensure it remains entertaining, emphasising the need for the new owner, Liberty Media, to engage to a greater extent with fans.

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Football transfer rumours: Arsenal's Héctor Bellerin to Barcelona?

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:03:29 GMT2017-02-23T09:03:29Z

Today’s tell-all forgot to remember to forget

Despite speculation linking him with a move to Arsenal, Barcelona or Milan, reports from Italy suggest Lorenzo Insigne is simply playing hard-ball with Napoli and has no intention of leaving the Serie A club any time soon. Reports earlier this week claimed that Arsenal had deployed scouts to Verona last weekend to see the 25-year-old score an absolute purler in his side’s 3-1 win over Chievo at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, but their reports on the striker are likely to be rendered redundant as Insigne has no plans to go anywhere.

Related: Wayne Rooney set to leave Manchester United in summer if first-team absence continues

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David Haye and Tony Bellew sell tickets but promoter Hearn calls for calm

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:30:46 GMT2017-02-22T22:30:46Z

• Haye questions Liverpool heavyweight rival’s mental state
• Bellew threatens mayhem against the former two-weight world champion

The notion that two competing athletes would jeopardise a major payday by misbehaving to the point of disqualification even before they traded skills would be absurd in any other arena but the boxing ring. Yet the prospect of such lunacy engulfing David Haye and Tony Bellew before they get paid to do it officially at the London O2 Arena on 4 March is real enough for the promoter, Eddie Hearn, to plead with them to calm down.

Bellew, no stranger to such antics, has already said he will take a swipe at Haye if he comes within distance of the south Londoner during Monday’s pre-fight press conference in his hometown of Liverpool, then when they are in the capital for the weigh-in on Friday week.

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Fed up with playing the quaint artefact role

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:29:07 GMT2017-02-23T16:29:07Z

Today: Wayne (again), a glowing appraisal of an Evening with Eric Cantona, and BT Sport’s surefire sign that the world is jiggered

It is sad indeed when a once-prominent individual reaches the stage where his abilities dwindle, his allure fades and his best efforts are greeted with a shrug or baroque swearing. Oh yes, The Fiver would certainly hate to get anywhere near that point. So if you ever detect signs of decline in the world’s foremost tea-timely football-related email, be sure to drop a line to Until then, spare a thought for Wayne Rooney, whose search for a team to provide him with a guaranteed starting place has been complicated by the failure of everyone in the world to offer a route back into management to Mr Roy.

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Labour can’t keep returning to its roots empty handed | Gaby Hinsliff

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:31:33 GMT2017-02-23T20:31:33Z

It’s not that MPs have lost touch with places such as Stoke. The problem is they lack the power to deliver

The trouble with leaving your old life behind is that you can’t go back home without something to show for it. The line belongs to Veronika, the Bulgarian prostitute in Trainspotting 2, and it was only when she delivered it that the penny dropped. Unlike the first Trainspotting, the sequel isn’t really about heroin addiction. It’s about the guilt implicit in leaving somewhere for a better life, and the bittersweetness of coming back as a tourist.

For to leave the small town, or the social class, or the country or faith or community in which you grew up, smacks of betrayal. How can it not be a judgment on those left behind, the friends and family all settling for a life you just snubbed as too small, too narrow, or just not enough?

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Steve Bannon lifted his mask of death at CPAC. It wasn't a pretty sight | Richard Wolffe

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:52:26 GMT2017-02-23T20:52:26Z

At a rare public address, he let us peek at the darkness that resides inside the West Wing. The power behind Donald Trump’s throne was a spectral presence

There’s a reason why political operators like Steve Bannon have never sat on the national security council that effectively decides whether the United States should go to war. It’s the same reason why Bannon’s new seat on the NSC is such a threat to the security of the United States and its allies: because he’s permanently at war.

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Labour needs a ‘proper’ immigration policy. Here’s what it should look like | Chi Onwurah

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:07:42 GMT2017-02-23T17:07:42Z

Immigrants are people. Saying there are too many of them is why Trump senses an ally in the UK. So let’s not sacrifice principle on the altar of pragmatism

Brexit means Brexit. But does “controlled immigration” mean “free movement of labour”? David Davis’s remarks this week suggesting that migrants will be needed in the UK workforce for years to come shows that the Tories are not entirely united on what a Conservative immigration policy should like. The prime minister may have moved her party firmly into Ukip territory but economic reality is beginning to bite back.

And how is Labour doing? Well the other day, I was paid the biggest compliment of my political life. It was from a stallholder at Newcastle’s historic Grainger Market, which sells everything from turnips to Doc Martens, who said he’d heard me on the radio and I was “proper Labour, not old Labour or new Labour but proper Labour”. I’d been talking about immigration policy that week, and I hope that is what inspired his comments. Because it’s certainly true that we need a “proper Labour” immigration policy.

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La La Land’s inevitable Oscars win is a disaster for Hollywood – and for us

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:50:59 GMT2017-02-23T13:50:59Z

This year’s other best picture nominees have heart, soul and humanity. Damien Chazelle’s tawdry, dispiriting confection has none – it’s the tale of two narcissists who sacrifice love for self-interest

Rarely have the Oscars seen such a dead cert. If you fancy La La Land for best picture, the most attractive odds you will get are 9:2 on. The film is also nominated in another 13 categories, tying with Titanic and All About Eve for most ever nods. It has already snagged a record-breaking seven Golden Globes, and five Baftas.

Critics have been equally charmed. In Britain, the coveted five stars have been bestowed not just by the Sun, the Mirror and Metro, but also by the Guardian, the Times and the Telegraph. Audiences have followed suit. The film has taken more than 10 times its $30m (£24m) budget at the box office.

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The Guardian view on the Met police: changing, but too slowly | Editorial

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:26:57 GMT2017-02-23T18:26:57Z

The new commissioner faces a daunting reform challenge, but begins with stores of political capital

Many of the challenges confronting a 21st-century police officer were unimagined when Cressida Dick, newly appointed commissioner to London’s Metropolitan police service, started out as a beat constable in 1983. The existence of a globally connected digital realm accessible by mobile device – never mind that network’s subversion for wrongdoing – was the stuff of science fiction. Cybercrime wasn’t even a word.

Some things change less. Thirty-four years ago the capital needed protecting from terrorists, but they were Irish republican extremists not Salafi jihadists. Thirty-four years ago London’s police force had a diversity problem. It did not reflect the ethnic composition of the communities under its jurisdiction and struggled to recruit minorities. The way stop-and-search tactics were used highlighted the fact that too many policemen saw all black men as criminals. Anger had boiled over into the Brixton riots in 1981; a similar frustration was involved in the 2011 riots – triggered initially by a police shooting of a young black man.

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What’s the point of building a million new homes if they’re not fit to live in? | John Harris

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:58:29 GMT2017-02-23T15:58:29Z

The dream of a property-owning democracy is ridden with cracks and leaks: ministers say build, build, build – but then fail to ensure proper regulation

They might be the most ubiquitous feature of the modern English landscape, and yet they barely attract any comment: those sprawling newbuild housing developments that seem to surround almost every town and city, offering a promise of comfort and security and a vital foot on the property ladder.

More often than not, their avenues and culs-de-sac will have faux-bucolic names often ending in “meadows”, “mead”, or “wood”. The life therein seems profoundly modern: stripped of much history or sense of shared experience so that everything suggests the weightlessness of suburbia. Yet for all the outward gleam, something is wrong.

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It costs £83 to treat postnatal depression. So why must so many women suffer? | Vonny Moyes

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:33:11 GMT2017-02-23T11:33:11Z

A report shows only 7% of women with pregnancy-related mental health problems get the specialist care they need. We need a more holistic approach

Postnatal depression – would you recognise it? I didn’t. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of how these things manifest themselves in women, until my own pregnancy proved otherwise. What followed was not smiles and love, but a growing emptiness consuming my world from the inside out.

Looking back, I can see how conspicuously absent discussion of such emotions is from our preparation for motherhood. The fact that we don’t know enough about postnatal depression, and rarely acknowledge the mental health implications of starting a family, means it’s hard to spot – in ourselves and in the women we know and love.

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Only in America – why Milo had to cross the Atlantic to make it big | Emma Brockes

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:57:11 GMT2017-02-23T16:57:11Z

In Britain Milo Yiannopoulos is seen for what he really is: a phoney provocateur who looks like an estate agent on a night out

British celebrities in the US – unless they’re Dame Judi Dench or Adele and too famous for the normal rules to apply – have one advantage in common: a signal-jamming ability to be seen as they’re not seen at home. Even their names sound different to American ears. I remember first thinking this years ago, when Pop Idol became American Idol and Nigel Lythgoe went from LWT to Fox. To Americans “Nasty Nigel” had none of the connotations it does in Britain, that air of something effete and suburban with its inadvertent nod to Mike Leigh. David Frost was less ridiculous in the US than at home; Hugh Grant more straightforwardly charming. (The exception is Simon Cowell, who is exactly the same wherever he is, either because he’s intrinsically transatlantic, or because he doesn’t seem to come from anywhere in particular, bar perhaps Transylvania).

Which brings us to Milo Yiannopoulos. The oddest thing about his rise and now fall is to consider what rightwing Americans saw in him in the first place. I suspect they did not see what even their political sympathisers in Britain did, which is a type of idiot most of us know well. If Yiannopoulos had stayed in Britain, or come to prominence before the internet, he would have plateaued as the loudmouth in a suit and sunglasses, a version of that guy most of us have been trying to avoid since school and who even then, while doing his party piece for his cronies, probably thought of himself as a “provocateur”.

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The UK, where falling in love with a foreigner is only for the better off | Giles Fraser: Loose canon

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:37:40 GMT2017-02-23T15:37:40Z

Our highest court has upheld the £18,600 minimum income threshold for people bringing in non-EU spouses. That means 40% of UK workers don’t qualifyThe Tories have been saying this sort of thing for years. “Families are the most important institution in our society. We have to do everything in our power to strengthen them.” And again: “My ambition is to make Britain more family friendly.” Those were both from David Cameron. But they could have been from any Conservative party leader since … well, ever. Sucking up to the Republican party on her trip to hold hands with Donald Trump (that well-known proponent of family values), Theresa May flagged up what they held in common: “Nationhood, family, economic prudence, patriotism.” The value of the family is supposed to be in the ideological DNA of social conservatives.But only, it seems, if you have a few quid. On Wednesday, the supreme court upheld the legality of a government policy that breaks up families in situations where the UK spouse earns less than £18,600 and is married to a foreigner from outside the EU. The government regards such poorer families as a “burden to the state” and so forces its own citizens who fall in love with non-EU citizens to shove off and set up their family life elsewhere. And I write poorer, not poor, because according to research conducted by Oxford University, nearly 40% of the working UK population wouldn’t be eligible to live here with their non-EU partner – that breaks down to 27% of men and 55% of women. The majority of young people don’t earn enough either. And the statistics are worse if you have a child. So, if you’re a young women and you fall for a handsome stranger from a distant land, it is highly unlikely the Home Office will allow you to remain in this country if you want to live together. Your children can get to know their UK grandparents via Skype. When it comes to the right to a family life, Mrs May is pricing out tens of thousands of UK citizens. Continue reading...[...]

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Theresa May’s assumption of absolute power over Brexit spells disaster | Polly Toynbee

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:46:54 GMT2017-02-23T12:46:54Z

The ice queen has decreed any Lords amendment to her irrational plans a betrayal. This obduracy could break Britain – and her own leadership

There is no rhyme or reason to the obduracy of Theresa May. She has chosen the hardest, take-no-prisoners Brexit, and that will probably be her epitaph. In the Lords this week, in one excoriating speech after another, the irrationality of May’s trajectory was spelled out in forensic, lordly style. Ice queen perched on the steps, she cast her refrigerator glare upon them as one peer after another rose to modify her plan to put Britain in the freezer.

The queen of this Narnia ordains that she alone is keeper of the sacred “will of the people”. End of. Any slight deviation from her personal interpretation of Brexit is a betrayal of democracy itself, and no one else has any right to suggest alterative exit routes or timetables.

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A veg (or five) too far: why 10 portions a day is way too much to ask | Kathleen Kerridge

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:27:21 GMT2017-02-23T13:27:21Z

In an ideal world, doubling our fruit and vegetable intake is a good idea. But in austerity Britain, it would be impossible to afford all that, let alone cook it

Government guidelines have, for some years, held that eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is what we should all be aiming for. That’s an achievable target for many, if not most, of us. Some days it might be felt in the purse, to make sure there’s broccoli on a plate, but generally it’s possible to eat five different fruits and vegetables a day even on a strict budget.

Related: Forget five a day, eat 10 portions of fruit and veg to cut risk of early death

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Security minister tries very hard to say nothing about Jamal al-Harith | John Crace

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:36:03 GMT2017-02-23T15:36:03Z

Ben Wallace twitched uneasily as he stood in for Amber Rudd to answer questions about the alleged suicide bomber

One of the advantages of being a cabinet minister is that you have juniors to take the flak. So it was no great surprise to find that the home secretary, Amber Rudd, was nowhere in sight – a self-imposed detention had never seemed so attractive – to answer an urgent question about the alleged British suicide bomber, Jamal al-Harith. In her place was the rather downtrodden-looking spooks minister, Ben Wallace.

“We don’t comment on intelligence matters,” he said. “Nor do we comment on whether someone may or may not have been paid compensation. So I’m afraid I’m not able to be any more detailed than this.” Really sorry and all that.

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Standing Rock is burning – but our resistance isn't over

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:13:47 GMT2017-02-23T17:13:47Z

Water protectors near Standing Rock have set their camp on fire. It’s an act of defiance against a system of oppression that can only be described as colonial

Just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, water protectors set their makeshift and traditional structures ablaze in a final act of prayer and defiance against Energy Transfer Partner’s Dakota Access Pipeline, sending columns of black smoke billowing into the winter sky above the Oceti Sakowin protest camp.

The majority of the few hundred remaining protesters marched out, arm in arm ahead of the North Dakota authorities’ Wednesday eviction deadline. An estimated one hundred others refused the state’s order, choosing to remain in camp and face certain arrest in order to defend land and water promised to the Oceti Sakowin, or Great Sioux Nation, in the long-broken Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851.

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Juhel Miah, barred entry to the US, is part of our school family. We will stand up for him | Alan Rowlands

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:16:32 GMT2017-02-23T15:16:32Z

No official reason has been given for refusing our colleague entry. But as his headteacher, I know one thing: his pupils have witnessed an act of discrimination

For many of us of a certain age, a school trip evokes memories of time spent at a local zoo or theme park towards the end of the academic year. Nowadays, visits have become a lot more adventurous. And for the pupils of Llangatwg community school, in Neath near Swansea, where I am headteacher, the opportunity to visit both Iceland and New York earlier this month was for some a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Visits such as this require thought and planning. Pupils are excited and parents are keen to encourage their children to experience what the world has to offer. Teachers, however, are focused on getting everything right. The itinerary, travel arrangements, pupils’ wellbeing and of course, staffing, are considerations that need meticulous planning.

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There’s plenty of hope for Neets. I should know – I was one | Helena Kiely

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:21:15 GMT2017-02-23T16:21:15Z

As an Irish Traveller I left school at 11, but now, after a university degree, I help disengaged young people. The services and support on offer need an overhaul

Official figures released today show that more than one in 10 young people in the UK are not in education, employment or training (Neet). There are 407,000 young women who are Neet, and for a while I was one of them. Now I’m using my experience to help others like me find work.

I left school at 11 with no qualifications. Brought up in a family of Irish Travellers in London, this is what most people my age did. The schools I attended did not understand or appreciate my ethnicity. I was stereotyped. Their view that all Irish Travellers were bare-knuckle boxers or antisocial meant me and my siblings were made to sit in the dinner hall during playtime because we were “too streetwise” in case we played too hard with the other children.

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Why I challenged Boris Johnson when he described Brexit as ‘liberation’ | Anna Maria Corazza Bildt

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:30:01 GMT2017-02-23T08:30:01Z

The British foreign secretary’s remark in Munich was offensive. For millions of Europeans, ‘liberation’ has a strong meaning: it’s about freedom, not free trade

At a recent panel debate on the future of the west, the UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, referred to Brexit as “liberation from the European Union”.

Related: Boris Johnson accused of bad taste for calling Brexit 'liberation'

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Trump is bullying transgender kids because he thinks he can get away with it | Evan Greer

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:43:09 GMT2017-02-23T13:43:09Z

The gay and lesbian movement hasn’t always prioritized the most vulnerable. Now, with immigrants and trans people under attack, it’s vital to do so

The Trump administration is bullying children now. In a vindictive move, the departments of justice and education just shredded federal guidelines that instructed public schools how best to protect transgender students from discrimination. Specifically, the guidance they revoked made it clear that Title IX – the landmark law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions – requires schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

The attack highlights the importance of an expected supreme court decision on the issue, but it should also serve as a wake-up call to the mainstream LGBTQ rights movement, which for decades has failed to listen to and address the issues facing the most marginalized members of the queer community.

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At last the Jo Cox Great Get Together gives us a street party worth having | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:09:30 GMT2017-02-23T14:09:30Z

Imperial nostalgia and jingoism have led me to avoid street celebrations, but this party to remember the murdered MP has a message of cohesion and inclusivity

On Wednesday Jamie Oliver and the Duchess of Cornwall launched the Great Get Together, a series of street parties, bake-offs and picnics. The events, which will take place over a weekend this summer, have been organised to pay tribute to the MP Jo Cox, who was murdered last June by a white supremacist motivated by the politician’s public championing of refugees.

The idea is that this very British way of celebrating the woman who believed “we have more in common than that which divides us” will give communities the opportunity to come together at a time when this country has felt far from welcoming to all.

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Can Cressida Dick win over the public? Yes, if she’s learned from her mistakes | Mary Dejevsky

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:34:42 GMT2017-02-23T12:34:42Z

The first female head of the Metropolitan police takes her post with the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes still casting a shadow

The appointment of Cressida Dick as the first female head of the Metropolitan police has been greeted, rightly, as a landmark. I will not be alone in watching closely to see what difference – if any – it makes to have a (highly competent) woman at the helm of an organisation which remains, with its notorious “canteen culture”, still a boys’ club in so many ways.

But Dick’s elevation was controversial for another reason. Her reputation has been, and perhaps always will be, clouded by what happened on 22 July, 2005, when Jean Charles de Menezes, an entirely blameless Brazilian electrician, was killed in a volley of bullets at Stockwell tube station in south London – the victim of a catalogue of mistakes made by the police in the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings. Dick was the “gold” commander at the Met that day, so it was she who was in charge of the operation. No wonder members of de Menezes’ family, and many others, have strongly objected to her appointment.

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Police hunting for fugitive killer release CCTV images of escape

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:36:16 GMT2017-02-23T17:36:16Z

Merseyside police urge witnesses to come forward as footage shows accomplices aiding Shaun Walmsley’s getaway

Detectives hunting for a fugitive killer have released CCTV images showing the armed assailants who aided his escape during a hospital visit.

Shaun Walmsley, who has now been on the run for more than two days, was freed when two men armed with a gun and a knife ambushed prison guards outside Aintree hospital in Liverpool at 3.05pm on Tuesday.

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Helen Bailey murder: Ian Stewart jailed for at least 34 years for killing author

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:26:09 GMT2017-02-23T12:26:09Z

‘Manipulative’ Stewart was found guilty of murdering fiancee and dumping her body in cesspit to get his hands on her fortune

Ian Stewart, the “callous” and “wicked” man who drugged and murdered his fiancee, Helen Bailey, before dumping her body in a cesspit to get his hands on her fortune, has been sentenced to at least 34 years in prison.

Stewart was found guilty of murdering the author on Wednesday. He drugged Bailey with his own sleeping medication before hiding her body, along with that of her pet dachshund, Boris, in a 100-year-old cesspit concealed beneath the garage of their £1.3m property in Royston, Hertfordshire.

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Jamal al-Harith 'was radicalised decade after Guantánamo release'

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:06:09 GMT2017-02-23T20:06:09Z

British suicide bomber’s wife says his views became extreme after he began associating with Islamic State recruiter Raphael Hostey

The wife of British suicide bomber Jamal al-Harith has revealed for the first time that her husband was radicalised a decade after his release from Guantánamo Bay by the Islamic State recruiter Raphael Hostey.

Shukee Begum also said he was given “substantially less” than £1m in compensation for his detention from the British government.

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Former head of family courts kills himself after dementia diagnosis

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:19:12 GMT2017-02-23T20:19:12Z

Family of Sir Nicholas Wall to publish notice revealing manner of the former judge’s death at Kent care home aged 71

Sir Nicholas Wall, the former head of the family courts in England and Wales, who retired due to ill health, has taken his own life. He had been diagnosed with dementia, his family revealed.

In a highly unusual death notice due to be published in the Guardian on Friday, his family publicly acknowledged the manner of his death. He died last Friday, aged 71, at a care home in Kent.

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Entire art gallery of Ladybird book covers is world first

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:48:11 GMT2017-02-23T16:48:11Z

Archive of artworks from a century of the imprint’s simple, wholesome worldview go on display at Museum of English Rural Life

If all you knew of the world came from a Ladybird book, you would be forgiven for believing factories are always shining temples of industry and optimism rather than zero-hours sweatshops, policemen are invariably handsome and friendly, and mothers wear white gloves to take their impeccably dressed children shopping.

Related: The Ladybird phenomenon: the publishing craze that's still flying

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Michael Gove refuses to say if Murdoch sat in on Trump interview

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:37:59 GMT2017-02-23T14:37:59Z

Ex-minister does reveal he regrets entering Tory leadership race and says he has not spoken to David Cameron since Brexit vote

Michael Gove has refused to say whether Rupert Murdoch sat in on his interview with Donald Trump, but admitted it had been a mistake for him to enter the race to become prime minister.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Christian Today website, the former cabinet minister also said he had not spoken to David Cameron since the Brexit referendum, though he has been in touch with Boris Johnson, whose Tory leadership bid was scuppered by Gove announcing his own candidacy.

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UK's £100m response to South Sudan famine comes from cash already allocated

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:59:21 GMT2017-02-23T15:59:21Z

Initial optimism quashed after it emerges that announcement of ‘new’ government support for famine-hit country refers to funding already in place

The British government is facing questions after announcing it was responding to the declaration of famine in South Sudan by allocating £100m of new money that had, in reality, already been reserved for the stricken country.

On Wednesday, the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) released a statement trumpeting what it described as “new humanitarian support” for South Sudan.

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Weather in Copeland, Tories in Stoke: Labour voices fears of failure

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:00:00 GMT2017-02-23T07:00:00Z

Byelection campaign leaders try to dampen expectations, invoking a Conservative resurgence and Storm Doris

Bad weather in Copeland and a resurgent Conservative campaign in Stoke will make it a challenge for Labour to win both of Thursday’s byelections, local campaign leaders for the party have said.

Related: Labour is clapped-out banger on bricks, according to Stoke focus group

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Business rates row: pressure grows for total rethink on controversial tax

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:43:01 GMT2017-02-23T17:43:01Z

Trade bodies such as CBI tell MPs tax is outdated and unfair with some brandign it a bigger deterrent to international retailers than the Brexit vote

The government is under growing pressure to overhaul the business rates system rather than just offer help for small firms affected by the revaluation of properties.

Theresa May, the prime minister, and Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, told parliament on Wednesday that small businesses facing a sharp increase in their business rates bill from April could receive support in the budget next month.

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MPs call on Theresa May to release 'kill list' for UK drone strikes

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:52:43 GMT2017-02-23T16:52:43Z

Letter signed by former DPP also calls for release of report into 2015 strike that killed Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan in Syria

Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, has co-signed a letter to Theresa May calling for greater transparency on the UK’s use of a “kill list” for drone strikes targeting British fighters in Syria and elsewhere.

The letter calls for the release of a report by parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) into the British drone strike that killed Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan in Syria in August 2015, as well as the names of any further targets killed in the name of self-defence.

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Minister says he cannot reveal details about 'British suicide bomber'

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:36:26 GMT2017-02-23T11:36:26Z

Ben Wallace answers question on former Guantánamo Bay detainee Jamal al-Harith, who apparently blew himself up in Iraq

A Home Office minister has said the government cannot reveal details about the fate of Jamal al-Harith, the former Guantánamo Bay detainee who appears to have blown himself up in Iraq.

Challenged by Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the home affairs select committee, about the case of Harith, Ben Wallace cited “the longstanding policy of successive governments not to comment on intelligence matters”.

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Vauxhall job fears rise as Peugeot boss mentions 'speedy' savings

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:45:42 GMT2017-02-23T15:45:42Z

Just hours after talking with Theresa May the PSA chief says adding GM’s Opel and Vauxhall brands would create cost savings

The boss of PSA Group said the French carmaker’s proposed purchase of General Motors’ lossmaking European business could bring “speedy” savings, prompting fresh fears over job cuts at Vauxhall in the UK – just hours after speaking to Theresa May.

Carlos Tavares, the chief executive of PSA, which owns Peugeot, Citroën and DS, said on Thursday morning that adding GM’s German Opel and British Vauxhall brands would attract new customers and generate substantial cost savings. An outline agreement is expected to be announced as soon as next week, before the Geneva motor show starts on 6 March.

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British Gas worst-value tariffs are not 'evil empire', boss says

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:28:27 GMT2017-02-23T13:28:27Z

Centrica CEO Iain Conn defends much criticised standard variable tariffs as his parent company posts £1.5bn profit

The boss of British Gas’s parent company has defended the worst-value energy deals that two-thirds of households are on, saying they are not the “evil empire”.

Iain Conn, Centrica’s chief executive, claimed such standard variable tariffs, which are around £200 more expensive than the cheapest fixed-price deals, are good value, customers found them attractive and chose to be on them.

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Most children sleep through smoke alarms, investigator warns

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:00:43 GMT2017-02-23T12:00:43Z

Researchers call for alarms with lower tones combined with woman’s voice as they look for families to take part in study

Children are at risk of dying in house fires because they often remain asleep when smoke alarms sound, say researchers.

They are calling for high-pitched buzzers to be replaced with lower tones combined with a woman’s voice.

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Tom Watson given £500k in donations by Max Mosley in past year

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 23:01:09 GMT2017-02-22T23:01:09Z

Register of MPs’ interests shows that former Formula One boss gave money to support Watson’s office as deputy leader and shadow culture secretary

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has received half a million pounds in donations from Max Mosley in less than a year, official records show.

The latest register of MPs’ interests reveals that Watson registered a donation worth £300,000 from the former boss of Formula One this month. It was made via the party to support Watson’s office as deputy leader and shadow culture secretary.

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British 'suicide bomber': Theresa May urged to restore control orders

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:57:58 GMT2017-02-23T09:57:58Z

PM urged to consider stronger monitoring of terror suspects after reports that Jamal al-Harith carried out suicide bombing for Isis in Iraq

The former home secretary David Blunkett has called on Theresa May to consider restoring control orders after a British ex-inmate of Guantánamo was believed to have carried out a suicide bombing for Islamic State in Iraq.

A minister will face questions in the Commons about the case of Jamal al-Harith after Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the home affairs select committee, was granted an urgent question.

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Green Investment Bank: Australian bidder woos MPs as protests continue

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:37:54 GMT2017-02-23T10:37:54Z

Macquarie insists it is committed to renewable energy – but critics say it could invest in fossil fuels if its bid succeeds

The Australian investment bank on the verge of buying the UK’s publicly owned Green Investment Bank has launched a Westminster charm offensive after parliamentarians of all parties told Theresa May to halt the £2bn sale.

Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas, the Lib Dems’ Vince Cable and former Tory minister Gregory Barker last month warned that a sale to Macquarie would put the bank’s green purpose at risk and its most valuable assets, such as large windfarms, could be sold off.

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Tillerson endures 'tough trip' to Mexico as Trump stokes 'bad dudes' rhetoric

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:11:34 GMT2017-02-23T20:11:34Z

  • US secretary of state and homeland security chief hold talks in Mexico
  • Tillerson admits differences as president defends deportation policy

Donald Trump issued a staunch defence of his expanded deportation policy on Thursday, claiming his administration was getting “bad dudes out of this country”, further souring an already tense visit to Mexico by his secretaries of state and homeland security.

The president made his remarks at a business forum in Washington while Rex Tillerson, his secretary of state, was meeting his Mexican counterpart, Luis Videgaray.

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Geert Wilders suspends election campaign over alleged security leak

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:16:10 GMT2017-02-23T17:16:10Z

Dutch far-right leader stops campaigning in public for March polls after a member of his security team is arrested

The Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders and his populist Freedom party have suspended all public campaigning for next month’s parliamentary elections following an alleged security leak.

Wilders, current frontrunner for the Netherlands’ general elections, to be held on 15 March, said on Twitter: “Very alarming news. The PVV is suspending its public activities until all facts in connection with the corruption investigation are known.”

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Police remove last Standing Rock protesters in military-style takeover

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:52:24 GMT2017-02-23T21:52:24Z

Armed occupation brought an anticlimactic and forlorn end to the camp, which had been home to thousands of activists opposing the Dakota Access pipeline

Dozens of national guard and law enforcement officers marched into the Dakota Access pipeline protest encampment on Thursday in a military-style takeover, one day after a deadline for the camp’s eviction.

Related: Police make arrests at Standing Rock in push to evict remaining activists

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Philippines senator who branded President Duterte 'serial killer' faces arrest

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:10:55 GMT2017-02-23T23:10:55Z

Senator Leila de Lima says she will submit to police on Friday as outraged supporters and human rights activists say charges are illegal

An arrest warrant has been issued for the highest-profile opponent of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs, but she dodged police and sought refuge in the Senate.

The planned arrest of Senator Leila de Lima outraged her supporters and human rights activists, who said the government had manufactured drug trafficking charges to silence her criticism of Duterte and intimidate others.

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US private prison program rebooted by Trump administration

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:10:02 GMT2017-02-23T23:10:02Z

Jeff Sessions gave the order to revive the justice department’s use of for-profit prisons, a sharply criticized industry that Obama had committed to phasing out

The Trump administration has scrapped Barack Obama’s program of ending the justice department’s use of private prisons, embracing an industry that has come under sharp criticism from civil rights advocates.

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, on Thursday rescinded a six-month-old directive for the Federal Bureau of Prisons to wind down contracts with prison companies, claiming that the measure had “impaired the bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.

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Syrian peace talks: women issue plea to find missing loved ones

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:34:04 GMT2017-02-23T18:34:04Z

Syrian women gather at UN headquarters wanting to know if their sons, brothers and husbands are alive or dead

With the first day of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva bogged down in a row over the composition of the opposition delegation, five Syrian women stood outside the UN headquarters to remind the negotiators of what was at stake.

They held large photographs of missing sons, brothers and husbands, and had a simple request: to know their relatives’ whereabouts, and whether they were dead or alive.

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Pope Francis: better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:04:41 GMT2017-02-23T14:04:41Z

Pope criticises ‘double life’ led by some members of his own church during the sermon of his private morning mass

Pope Francis has delivered another criticism of some members of his own church, suggesting it was better to be an atheist than one of many Catholics who he said lead a hypocritical double life.

In improvised comments in the sermon of his private morning mass in his residence, he said: “It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life.

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Teenagers blockade Paris schools in protest over alleged police rape

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:19:08 GMT2017-02-23T16:19:08Z

More than a dozen high schools targeted and vehicles set ablaze amid anger at police after alleged assault on young black man

Teenage demonstrators have blockaded more than a dozen high schools in and around Paris, mounting makeshift barricades and setting fire to cars, scooters and rubbish bins, in protest at the alleged rape of a young black man by police.

Authorities said nine students were arrested in the suburb of Clichy after about 100 youths set two cars and a motorbike alight, threw stones and shattered a shop window .

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Former IMF chief gets four years in jail for embezzlement in Spain

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:40:36 GMT2017-02-23T16:40:36Z

Rodrigo Rato found guilty of misuse of corporate credit cards issued by banks whose near collapse sparked EU bailout

The former International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for misusing corporate credit cards while in charge of two leading Spanish banks at the height of the country’s financial crisis.

Rato, also a former a Spanish economy minister and deputy prime minister, was found guilty on Thursday of embezzlement, at the end of a five-month trial at Spain’s national court.

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Activists force YouTube to suspend live stream of giraffe giving birth – zoo owner

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:49:47 GMT2017-02-23T17:49:47Z

  • ‘Sexually explicit’ video of giraffe in New York zoo briefly removed by YouTube
  • Owner Jordan Patch blames ‘handful of extremists and animal rights activists’

The owner of a New York zoo planning to livestream a giraffe giving birth says the video feed was briefly removed from YouTube because animal rights activists labeled it sexually explicit.

Related: Giraffes facing extinction after devastating decline, experts warn

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Idaho town braces for sentencing after alleged high school racism and rape

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:00:00 GMT2017-02-23T10:00:00Z

Three football players were accused of assaulting a black, disabled team-mate with a coat hanger, and the aftermath has torn apart this mostly white town

The young black man sat in a big leather chair in his lawyer’s office, recounting the song that one of his team-mates on the Dietrich high school football team had taught him. He sang it, the lawyer said, “like it was the Star-Spangled Banner. He didn’t know what it meant.”

“Moon man, moon man, can’t you see,” he sang, “Spics and niggers need to hang from trees.”

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BBC journalist faces defamation charge in Thailand

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:36:48 GMT2017-02-23T11:36:48Z

Jonathan Head would face up to five years in jail if convicted in case that rights groups say exposes problem with Thai law

A British journalist with the BBC could face up to five years in a Thai jail after a lawyer brought a criminal defamation case against him over an investigation into fraud on a popular tourist island.

Rights groups say the case exposes how Thailand’s defamation and computer crime laws scupper investigative journalism and make it difficult to expose wrongdoing in an endemically corrupt country.

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New claims over scale of ex-Gambian leader's theft from state coffers

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:16:33 GMT2017-02-23T12:16:33Z

Ministers say scale of looting by autocratic former leader Yahya Jammeh was much higher than originally thought and that he left country $1bn in debt

The former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh stole far more money from the state than previously thought, the new government has alleged, leaving the country with a “monstrous debt” of more than $1bn.

The autocratic former leader of the small west African country siphoned off at least $50m from social security, the country’s ports, and the national telecoms company, according to two senior ministers in new president Adama Barrow’s government.

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Israel's rightwing justice minister hails supreme court appointments

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:27:57 GMT2017-02-23T12:27:57Z

Three conservatives – one a settler – and Arab-Israeli to sit in 15-member court in move seen as victory for Ayelet Shaked

Israel has appointed three new conservative judges, including a settler, to its 15-member supreme court, in what is being painted as a victory for Israel’s rightwing justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, in her campaign to alter the political composition of the court.

The supreme court has long been seen by rightwingers as too liberal and not sufficiently representative of the religious right and settler movement in particular.

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North Korea demands 'sinister' Malaysia stop investigating Kim Jong-nam death

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 04:17:33 GMT2017-02-23T04:17:33Z

State news agency insists leader’s half-brother died of heart attack not poisoning, and blames South Korea for ‘conspiratorial racket’

North Korea has lashed out at Malaysia over the death of Kim Jong-nam, accusing it of having a “sinister purpose” and collaborating with South Korea, which has said Pyongyang agents assassinated Kim Jong-un’s half-brother.

In the first report from state-run KCNA news agency since the attack on February 13, the government accused Malaysia of breaking international law by conducting autopsies on a diplomatic passport holder and withholding the body.

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Trump administration rescinds Obama-era protections for transgender students

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:30:20 GMT2017-02-23T07:30:20Z

US withdrew guidance stating federal law requires transgender students to have unfettered access to bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity

The Trump administration has withdrawn a piece of federal guidance requiring transgender students to have unfettered access to bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity, in a move that could embolden many schools to restrict trans rights.

In doing so, the administration has signaled that it does not necessarily interpret current federal civil rights protections as prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.

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Deep sea life faces dark future due to warming and food shortage

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:01:00 GMT2017-02-23T07:01:00Z

New study reveals negative impact of climate change, human activity, acidification and deoxygenation on ocean and its creatures

The deep ocean and the creatures that live there are facing a desperate future due to food shortages and changing temperatures, according to research exploring the impact of climate change and human activity on the world’s seas.

The deep ocean plays a critical role in sustaining our fishing and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as being home to a huge array of creatures. But the new study reveals that food supplies at the seafloor in the deepest regions of the ocean could fall by up to 55% by 2100, starving the animals and microbes that exist there, while changes in temperature, pH and oxygen levels are also predicted to take their toll on fragile ecosystems.

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Uber writes to users abandoning service over sexual harassment claims

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:21:28 GMT2017-02-23T11:21:28Z

Susan Fowler’s allegations of sex discrimination at taxi app firm has sparked new wave of users deleting account

Less than a month after public outrage against Uber hit such peaks that it was forced to automate its account deletion process, the cab company is again facing a wave of protest and renewed calls for users to delete their accounts.

This time, the fuel being added to the #deleteuber campaign is the allegations by software engineer Susan Fowler of continuous sexual harassment and discrimination at the firm.

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What do we know about Donald Trump and Russia? – video explainer

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:01:54 GMT2017-02-23T08:01:54Z

Luke Harding considers the many links between Donald Trump’s administration and Russia. As well as praising President Vladimir Putin, Trump has surrounded himself with men with close ties with Russia. He has failed to quash allegations that his staff had improper contact with Russian officials, or that he has business interests in Russia

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'They don't care about us': the anger and apathy behind the Stoke byelection – video

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:40:30 GMT2017-02-22T09:40:30Z

As the media get in a lather about the byelection contest between Labour and Ukip, John Harris visits Stoke-on-Trent, the supposed ‘Brexit capital of Britain’. He investigates why so many people there simply don’t vote, and whether the new breed of energetic Labour activists who have arrived in town en masse can somehow change their minds

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Nasa announces discovery of seven Earth-sized planets – video report

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:00:52 GMT2017-02-22T20:00:52Z

Nasa announced the discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a star called Trappist-1, about 39 light years away, on Wednesday. The find has widely excited the astronomy community because of its implications in the hunt for alien life beyond the solar system. Three of the planets in the Trappist-1 system are in the habitable zone near the star and so could have water on their surfaces

Thrilling discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby star

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Why do white men still control so much culture? – video

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 07:00:27 GMT2017-02-22T07:00:27Z

Women of colour are regularly applauded in the worlds of fashion, film and music. But, argues Hanna Yusuf, critical acclaim – awards, reviews and write-ups – remains the domain of the rich few who control the industries. Because of this, she argues, non-white artists are missing out on the credit they deserve

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Kim Jong-nam's death: what we know so far – video report

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:48:43 GMT2017-02-22T12:48:43Z

Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong-un, died from a seizure en route to hospital on 13 February after complaining that a woman had sprayed chemicals on his face at Kuala Lumpur international airport. It is believed North Korea was behind the assassination, and four people have so far been detained by Malaysian authorities

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