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



Published: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:28:46 GMT2017-12-13T15:28:46Z

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



May says amendment for meaningful vote on EU deal rejected as it could delay Brexit legislation - Politics live

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:17:34 GMT2017-12-13T15:17:34Z

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs and MPs debating and voting on the EU withdrawal bill

Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Commons Brexit committee, told MPs that just as they say in the EU nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, nothing should be implemented until everything is agreed.

Sir Oliver Letwin, the Conservative former Cabinet Office minister, is speaking now. He says Labour want a meaningful vote that would allow the Commons to stop the UK leaving the EU if MPs did not like the withdrawal deal.

Grieve says article 50 allows for a sensible process for leaving the EU.

But some of his colleagues are determined to “mess it up”, he says. They want the UK to leave on 29 March 2019 even if there is a case for a delay.

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Chris Froome fights to save career after failed drugs test result

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:38:43 GMT2017-12-13T10:38:43Z

• Froome found to have an excessive level of an asthma drug at Vuelta
• Team Sky have ‘utmost confidence’ he stayed within permissible dose
• Rider says he was following team doctor’s advice after asthma got worse

Britain’s most successful road cyclist Chris Froome is fighting for his reputation after returning a failed drugs test during his victory in the Vuelta in September, a joint investigation by the Guardian and Le Monde can reveal.

Froome, who also won his fourth Tour de France in July, was found to have exceeded the permitted levels of the asthma drug salbutamol on a test taken on 7 September. Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, riders are allowed a level of 1,000 nanograms per millilitre. However, the 32-year-old was found to have twice that in a urine sample taken during the Tour of Spain.

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'We'll be living with this for a long time to come’: Grenfell, six months on

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:24:31 GMT2017-12-13T14:24:31Z

As the catastrophic fire recedes from the immediate moment, survivors and locals take stock and share their hopes and fears for the future

Beinazir Lasharie, who has lived almost all her life in a flat on the Grenfell estate, hesitated when she was offered the post of deputy mayor by Kensington and Chelsea council in the summer. A Labour councillor, she had battled to get her voice heard previously and was sceptical about the unexpected decision to promote her.

“I felt it’s a bit strange that all of a sudden you are appointing me when you’ve never really listened to what I’ve had to say before,” she said. “I think they chose me because I am the only councillor who lives on that estate. The only reason I did it was for the people of Grenfell, I wouldn’t have found the strength otherwise. I want to be there as a reminder of what happened that night.”

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Jeremy Corbyn does not support boycott of Israel

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:24:37 GMT2017-12-13T14:24:37Z

Labour spokesman clarifies leader’s position after party rift was exposed by shadow minister’s tweet backing BDS movement

Jeremy Corbyn would be happy to buy goods from Israel and does not support a blanket boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) policy, though his spokesman said he did back targeted action against illegal settlements.

Labour clarified the leader’s position after a cabinet split emerged over the issue when Kate Osamor, the shadow development secretary, publicly backed the BDS movement.

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Guardian and Observer charity appeal hits £250,000 in five days

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:00:35 GMT2017-12-13T15:00:35Z

Appeal supporting charities helping homeless youngsters and destitute refugees was launched by editor in chief Katharine Viner last week

Donations to the Guardian and Observer charity appeal in support of homeless youngsters and destitute refugees have hit the £250,000 mark after just five days.

The 2017 appeal is raising money for three charities working with vulnerable individuals on the frontline of homelessness and destitution: Centrepoint, DePaul UK, and the No Accommodation Network (Naccom).

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New York bombing suspect planned to 'kill, maim and destroy', prosecutors say

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:47:23 GMT2017-12-13T14:47:23Z

  • Akayed Ullah, 27, is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday
  • Ullah faces terrorism charges and could face life in prison

In less than 24 hours, authorities say a would-be suicide bomber’s botched attack on a Manhattan transportation hub underneath Times Square became an open-and-shut case after a search of his apartment and hearing the suspect’s own words.

Related: New York bombing suspect reportedly posted Trump 'failed to protect' US

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London theatre axes Rita, Sue and Bob Too amid harassment claims

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:56:33 GMT2017-12-13T11:56:33Z

Play which had been due to run at Royal Court shelved after co-director steps down over misconduct allegations

The Royal Court theatre has shelved its planned production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too after the Guardian revealed its original co-director Max Stafford-Clark had been forced to step down after allegations of sexual harassment.

The play, which tells the story of two teenage girls who have a sexual relationship with an older married man, has been on a UK tour and was due to run at the Sloane Square venue in January.

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Peter Kay cancels UK and Ireland tour over 'family circumstances'

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:46:43 GMT2017-12-13T13:46:43Z

Comedian who has not toured for eight years says he deeply regrets decision to cancel more than 100 shows next year

Peter Kay has cancelled his tour of Britain and Ireland, which would have seen him perform more than 100 gigs, citing family circumstances.

The comedian and actor had only announced the tour, which was due to begin in April next year and run through to summer 2019, last month. On Wednesday, he said on Twitter:

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Sports Direct shareholders block £11m payout to Mike Ashley's brother

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:16:10 GMT2017-12-13T14:16:10Z

Majority vote to reject company’s proposal to pay John Ashley for ‘previously underpaid work’ at special general meeting

Sports Direct’s independent shareholders have blocked a proposed £11m payout to the brother of Mike Ashley, the company’s founder and majority shareholder.

Shareholders holding more than 70% of voting stock rejected the plan for a payout to John Ashley at a special general meeting on Wednesday morning.

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Police less likely to find drugs on black people during stop and search

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:05:41 GMT2017-12-13T15:05:41Z

Annual report on policing legitimacy discovers ‘troubling’ ethnic disparity in find rates after searches in England and Wales

Black people are less likely to be found carrying drugs when stopped and searched in England and Wales than white people, according to a “troubling” finding by the police watchdog.

An analysis by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that one in four black people searched for drugs were found to be carrying them, compared with one in three white people.

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'We saved your kebab': MEPs vote against ban on doner meat additive

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:55:14 GMT2017-12-13T14:55:14Z

Doner kebab industry says it needs to use phosphates to keep meat juicy but others argue they increase risk of heart problems

The European parliament has narrowly defeated plans to ban an additive considered key in industrial meats for the doner kebab.

Needing an absolute majority of at least 376 votes for a ban on phosphates, the chamber was three short, voting 373 to 272, with 30 abstentions.

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Scary, nasty and armed: the Roy Moore I knew | Stephen Bates

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:18:01 GMT2017-12-13T14:18:01Z

When I caught up with the defeated Republican politician in Alabama in 2006, he filled me in on the law, the lord and an unexpected British connection

Judge Roy Moore was one of the scariest – and most unpleasant – men I have ever met. That he has not yet, at the time of writing, conceded defeat in Alabama is characteristic: clearly only God, not the voters – perish the thought – will defeat him.

My encounter with him was on a hot day in southern Alabama in May 2006, when he was running for nomination to be the Republican candidate for state governor. That was another race he would lose.

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The Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight – here's how to see it

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:40:27 GMT2017-12-13T12:40:27Z

Make sure Star Wars isn’t the only celestial event you see tonight. The bright Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak in the early hours of Thursday morning

The latest chapter of events in a galaxy far, far away isn’t the only thing worth staying up late for tonight in the UK. Just as cinema goers are pouring out of the midnight Star Wars showing, up in the (hopefully clear) skies above, the Geminid meteor shower will be reaching its climax in a solar system very, very close to us – our own, in fact.

Meteors burn up between 80 and 120km above our heads. This particular annual meteor shower has been getting more intense in recent years and between 2am and 3am tonight, an estimated 120-160 meteors could be seen.

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Can you dig it? The unearthed history of Manchester club the Reno

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:20:36 GMT2017-12-13T14:20:36Z

In the 1970s, the Reno nightclub was a haven for mixed-race couples and weed smokers – plus Muhammad Ali. A new project is now literally digging up its past

“The police, the establishment and what felt like the whole world were against us,” recalls Alfonso “Fonzo” Buller, the son of a Belizean immigrant and a Romany Gypsy, who first tiptoed into Manchester’s Reno nightclub aged 12. “But the Reno was the one place where we could feel special.”

In its 1971-81 heyday, regulars at the Moss Side spot ranged from snooker champion Alex “Hurricane” Higgins to Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, while visitors included Muhammad Ali and, reputedly, Bob Marley. However, its unique role was as a haven for the city’s emerging mixed-race population.

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How very 2017: the trial by media of 11-year-old Keaton Jones | Hannah Jane Parkinson

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:09:31 GMT2017-12-13T13:09:31Z

A viral video of a boy crying about being bullied was picked up by mainstream media – sparking more bullying, this time on a global scale

Patience used to be a virtue. Now it’s gold dust. Especially when it comes to mainstream media picking up social media intrigue. I refer you to the story of 11-year-old Keaton Jones, who went viral just a couple of days ago after his mother posted a video of him, crying, explaining how his classmates had bullied him and questioning the purpose of bullying in general. “Why do they find joy in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them?”

Related: Justin Bieber and Katy Perry rally in support of bullied boy Keaton Jones

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Super coffee: wake up to the sickly smell of 2018’s hot trend

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:57:26 GMT2017-12-13T14:57:26Z

Pinterest has included lattes souped-up with everything from chia seeds to coconut oil in its list of 100 things to try next year. Do you like your caffeinated beverage with added head-scratching health claims?

Name: Super coffee.

Appearance: Silky, indulgent, aspirational.

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'Lives are at stake': the power cuts keeping Malawi poor and hungry | John Vidal

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:32:02 GMT2017-12-13T13:32:02Z

Anger boiled over at last week’s national blackout, which saw babies dying in incubators, yet outages are frequent – for the lucky 10% of people with electricity

Rural health worker Patrick Kamzitu is relaxed about the long and frequent power cuts that plague Malawi and which last week almost brought it to a halt when the whole country went dark for two hours.

“Power cuts? We have no power cuts here. We hear of what is happening in the cities but we have no problem here because we don’t have any electricity to cut,” he says.

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PMQs verdict: Corbyn back on home turf with housing questions

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:22:39 GMT2017-12-13T13:22:39Z

The Labour leader rediscovered his form and the PM was let down by her inability to project sympathy for the homeless

Brexit did not get a look-in during a prime minister’s questions focused on housing. Jeremy Corbyn used his six questions to press Theresa May on the Conservatives’ record on housing and homelessness in a more subdued PMQs than in previous weeks.

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Big-nosed Jesus and God as a second-rate Santa: the worst Christian art

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:00:46 GMT2017-12-13T11:00:46Z

An upside-down apostle, a puff-cheeked baby Jesus, a sub-Santa God … our writer revels in Wonder Beyond Belief, a new book celebrating the glorious weirdness of revered Christian art

There is a particularly ugly nutwood carving of the infant Jesus dating from 1320. The nose is wider than it is long and the lower lip is pulled up, emphasising a ball-shaped chin and unpleasantly globular cheeks. Only a mother could believe this cherub beautiful, says Navid Kermani, who also takes issue with the three discoloured fingers Jesus is holding up, supposedly in blessing. “At first glance,” says Kermani, “he seems about to stick his bent brown fingers down your throat.”

Kermani, a German Muslim writer of Iranian Shia ancestry, has included this exhibit, which sits in Berlin’s Bode Museum, in his new book, Wonder Beyond Belief: On Christianity. A toxic little volume could have been written in which a Muslim writer visited European museums seeking out absurd Christian artworks for 40 or so vignettes. And then his publisher could have got the resulting lavish picture book out in time to cash in on the Christmas market. That is not what Wonder Beyond Belief is, though.

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Virtual reality gives ECB tantalising portrait of future Ashes series | Tim Wigmore

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:45:57 GMT2017-12-13T12:45:57Z

The Guardian has a glimpse of the “potentially transformative tool for batsmen” seen by the England and Wales Cricket Board in a VR headset trial in Belfast

James Vince straps on his pads and gloves, and takes guard at the Waca. He knows what to expect: a barrage of deliveries from Australia’s pace trio that are nasty, brutish and short, helped along by the Fremantle Doctor.

Except, in this instance, Vince is not at the Waca. Instead, he is thousands of miles away preparing for the Ashes by facing the same bowlers, on the same pitches, as he would have done in Australia.

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Chris Froome Q&A: how long could he be banned for and what happens next?

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:44:43 GMT2017-12-13T13:44:43Z

The four-time Tour de France champion must explain to anti-doping authorities why he tested positive for an abnormally high level of asthma medication

A drug used by asthma sufferers to open up their medium and large airways in the lungs, thus helping them to breathe better. It is typically taken via an inhaler. In Froome’s case, a sample taken at the Vuelta a España race on 7 September, three days before the end of the race, showed an abnormally high level of the drug in his urine.

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Retiring Phil Taylor can ensure it is all about him at World Darts Championship

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:31:45 GMT2017-12-13T14:31:45Z

Phil Taylor is hoping for a 17th world title and animosty could stir up again if he meets old foe Michael van Gerwen in the final

Great sportsmen write their own scripts but they rarely have much input when it comes to the final scene. Donald Bradman, Muhammad Ali and Usain Bolt are among those whose goodbyes were accompanied by the strange sensations of failure and anticlimax. With a few exceptions, the sporting gods don’t do sentiment. So when the World Darts Championship begins on Thursday night at the Alexandra Place in London, one topic will dominate conversation: whether Phil Taylor can end on the biggest high of his 30-year career.

The 57-year-old will retire after the worlds. He has won it 16 times and, though he keeps saying he will enjoy his farewell party come what may, he is fooling nobody. In December 2012, when Sir Alex Ferguson discussed retiring with his wife Cathy, he had one stipulation: “I really need to go out a winner.” And so he did. These people do not think like us. It’s not the taking part that counts; it’s the taking apart of their opponents. It’s hard to imagine Taylor, the ultimate winner, accepting anything other than lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy on New Year’s Day.

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Newcastle sale moves closer as Amanda Staveley increases offer to £300m

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:41:25 GMT2017-12-13T13:41:25Z

• Agreement between two parties close with takeover set for late January
• Mike Ashley could still offer Rafael Benítez a £30m transfer kitty

Optimism that Amanda Staveley will persuade Mike Ashley to sell Newcastle United to her Dubai based PCP Capital Partners Middle Eastern investment fund rose on Wednesday when the Yorkshire-born financier increased her offer for the club to around £300m.

Related: Rafael Benítez airs frustration over Newcastle transfer budget uncertainty

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There is too much irritating respect in football – and here are 10 reasons why | Marina Hyde

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:20:23 GMT2017-12-13T12:20:23Z

The fracas at Manchester United was supposedly all about José Mourinho demanding respect but upstartery is a lot of what makes sport great

Is there a more elastic concept in modern football than “respect”? There certainly isn’t a more self-regardingly irritating one. Endlessly demanded, its absence or insufficiency endlessly condemned, “respect” is mostly a ball game for people too insecure to settle things with a ball game.

Various instances of disrespect are held to have been committed at Old Trafford on Sunday, both during and in the wake of Manchester United’s defeat to Manchester City. By way of recap: there was some loud music, some milk, some pinching and scratching, and the Daily Mail surreptitiously repurposed its biannual Alma Tunnel graphic for the incident. “You fucking show respect!” José Mourinho is reported to have shrieked at some Manchester City players, a reminder that you can order people to respect you about as effectively as you can order people to love you.

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Manchester City could be doing rivals a favour by taking heat out of title battle | Paul Wilson

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:33:38 GMT2017-12-13T14:33:38Z

It is hardly going out on a limb to suggest for example that Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool may see a clearer path to the shiny stuff in the Champions League this season than at home where they are already miles off the pace

When Antonio Conte said at the start of the week that English clubs had a great chance of Champions League success this season he was possibly trying to gloss over a less than favourable draw that left Chelsea with the unenviable task of advancing past Barcelona. The draw was generally kind to English clubs, though Tottenham may beg to differ, and in pitting Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain it guaranteed the removal of at least one of the favourites at an early stage.

A couple of days later when the Chelsea manager was next seen in public he was making the valid point that Manchester City seem to be running away with the Premier League title and acknowledging the fact was not being negative or defeatist, just realistic.

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The best albums of 2017, No 8: Thundercat – Drunk

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:11 GMT2017-12-13T06:00:11Z

Deliciously surreal funk, squelchy soft rock, fart noise and a homage to his cat: ace of bass Thundercat’s breakthrough album travels from consciousness to conscience

More on the best albums of 2017
More on the best culture of 2017

When the world outside is weird, let’s hear it for an album that processes it with absurdist humour and George Clinton-shaped surrealism. Drunk is the third release by LA jazz dude Steve Bruner, AKA Thundercat, and has finally taken him from being a kooky bass-playing Robin to super-producer Flying Lotus’s Batman all the way to headline solo artist and one of this year’s breakthrough names. It says a lot of his credentials that he convinced soft-rock heavyweights Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins to appear on an album that features fart noises and song dedicated to a pet puss called Turbo Tron Over 9000 Baby Jesus Sally. Or that Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Kamasi Washington and Wiz Khalifa guest star. But this 23-track odyssey has also punctured mainstream consciousness because it’s deliriously funky.

Related: Thundercat on breakout album Drunk, laughing at racism – and his 'sexy cat', Tron

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The 50 top films of 2017: No 8 Blade Runner 2049

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:11 GMT2017-12-13T06:00:11Z

Another joint entry for the UK and the US in our movie countdown – Xan Brooks hails an ambitious sci-fi sequel that took the original’s tantalising loose ends and ran with them

More on the best US films of 2017
More on the best UK films of 2017
More on the best culture of 2017

Blade Runner 2049 was the sequel that dared to dream it might surpass its creator. It was the blockbuster that breathed, the film replicant made flesh. In returning to the source material of the original Blade Runner (itself adapted from Philip K Dick’s 1968 novel), director Denis Villeneuve could by rights have got away with ticking the appropriate boxes and contentedly riding a wave of shared nostalgia. Instead, he opted for full immersion, a deep dive into the subject matter, even at the risk of losing his bearings. I’ve rarely seen a film so dazzled and entranced by its own possibilities.

Scripted by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, Blade Runner 2049 alights in dystopian LA three decades after the end of the Ridley Scott classic. Ryan Gosling plays K, a replicant cop on a four-year time clock, charged with hunting down the last of the more durable early models. In the dust-blown grounds of a protein farm, he finds a box of bones. The box, in turn, points the way towards a missing child and a vast existential mystery that could conceivably be a new creation myth.

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The top 10 video games of 2017

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:11 GMT2017-12-13T06:00:11Z

Mario ran amok in New Donk City, a cat dropped out of college, and Angel Carter haunted What Remains of Edith Finch. But it was the mighty Zelda who took video gaming – and cooking – to a new dimension

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Adrian Searle's top 10 art shows of 2017

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:40:46 GMT2017-12-12T18:40:46Z

Chris Ofili stitched up Eden, Rodney Graham went stilt-walking, Picasso biked to the bullfight and Rachel Whiteread poured herself a hot water bottle. But the year belonged to the unsettling, eruptive visions of Wolfgang Tillmans

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Is it time to ban children from using smartphones? | Julian Baggini

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:36:32 GMT2017-12-13T12:36:32Z

Mounting evidence suggests smartphones cause disrupted sleep, depression and higher rates of attempted suicide. Action is surely required

Imagine the latest must-have item for kids was addictive and had a proven link with disrupted sleep, depression, low self-esteem and attempted suicide. You certainly wouldn’t buy one for your own offspring, but you might think banning it altogether was a step too far. That is, until your child comes home from school begging to have one, just like their friends.

Related: Enough with the moral panic over smartphones. The kids are all right | Catharine Lumby

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The defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama is a rare moment to lift the spirits | Jonathan Freedland

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:50:49 GMT2017-12-13T11:50:49Z

It’s a grievous blow for Donald Trump, but can Moore’s loss in staunchly Republican Alabama start a pushback against the forces of hate? We can but hope

That unfamiliar sensation you experienced this morning? It’s the feeling you get when, at long last, you wake up to some good political news from America. For progressives around the world who would prefer to admire rather than to revile the United States, the last 13 months have brought cause only for despair. But the defeat of Roy Moore – who believes homosexuality should be illegal and that America was at its best in the age of slavery – is a moment to lift the spirits.

That a man of such vileness, also accused of being a child molester, should lose to a Democrat in deeply conservative, unbreakably Republican Alabama is more heartening still. It represents a grievous blow to Donald Trump, who endorsed Moore and campaigned for him, revealing the limits to the president’s supposed electoral magnetism.

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What is net neutrality about? Protecting us from corporate power | Matt Stoller

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:25:34 GMT2017-12-13T14:25:34Z

Net neutrality is a rule against censorship and manipulation. By eliminating it, we do real damage to our democracy

This Thursday, Trump Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai will force a vote to repeal net neutrality protections for broadband providers. This is an important step backwards for our democracy. It will affect what consumers pay for broadband and what we can buy. More importantly, it will affect what we as citizens can say and to whom we can say it.

In the age of Trump, a move to concentrate the power of speech in the hands of telecommunications giants whose financial fate depends on Republican political control is terrifying.

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In Jerusalem we have the latest chapter in a century of colonialism | Karma Nabulsi

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:38:45 GMT2017-12-12T19:38:45Z

Donald Trump’s intervention is not a mere aberration. It’s part of the continuing story of injustice in Palestine

One hundred years ago, on 11 December 1917, the British army occupied Jerusalem. As General Allenby’s troops marched through Bab al-Khalil, launching a century of settler colonialism across Palestine, prime minister David Lloyd George heralded the city’s capture as “a Christmas present for the British people”.

In a few months’ time, we mark another such anniversary: 70 years since the Palestinian Nakba of 1948, the catastrophic destruction of the Palestinian polity; the violent dispossession of most of its people with their forced conversion into disenfranchised refugees; the colonial occupation, annexation and control of their land; and the imposition of martial law over those who managed to remain.

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Roy Moore’s stunning defeat reveals the red line for Trump-style politics | Richard Wolffe

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:30:51 GMT2017-12-13T05:30:51Z

The shock election results saw a Democrat make rare inroads in deep-red Alabama – and will hasten the existential question facing the Republican party

There’s no sugar-coating the stunning defeat for Donald Trump and his cronies in Tuesday’s Senate contest.

There’s no accusation of fake news that can cover the tracks of the disastrous results for the president – and for his supposedly populist politics – little more than one year after his own election.

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The unions are sounding the alarm over Brexit. Why isn’t Jeremy Corbyn? | Hugo Dixon

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:02:19 GMT2017-12-13T12:02:19Z

Leadership is about shaping opinion, not sitting on the fence. The Labour leader has a duty to start fighting for the jobs, rights and prosperity of working people

There’s a joke about English breakfast that explains the difference between commitment and involvement: the pig is committed, because it provides the bacon; the hen, which has provided the eggs, is only involved. In the full English Brexit that Theresa May is stuffing down our throats, working people are the pigs, and multinational companies are the hens.

If we get a bad Brexit – as we surely will, unless we can stop the whole mad escapade – business will be put out. But ultimately, big companies can just shift investment offshore. Workers, though, are all in. They will be stuck with a low- investment, low-productivity, low-wage economy. That means low-quality jobs. They won’t even be able to move offshore, because we won’t have free movement.

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There’s a simple way to stop big corporations avoiding tax. Here’s how | Rita de la Feria

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:11 GMT2017-12-13T06:00:11Z

If multinationals had to pay their dues where they make their sales, the kind of activities revealed in the Paradise Papers would be a thing of the past

The Paradise Papers revelations have again raised concerns over the way multinational corporations arrange their tax affairs. Why, with high turnovers in countries such as the UK, do they pay so little tax there? The answer is often quite simple: because legally, under international corporate tax rules, they are not required to.

In our globalised economy, where production chains are spread across the world and highly movable, it is difficult to determine under existing rules where and how the profits of big firms should be taxed. In effect, we can no longer properly identify the countries that have both the legitimacy and ability to tax those profits.

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A challenge for John McDonnell: move the capital up the M1 | Jonn Elledge

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:00:15 GMT2017-12-13T09:00:15Z

Why should the Labour plan stop at relocating the Bank of England? Shifting Westminster north would cool London and boost investment and jobs elsewhere

Bank station on the London Underground is a relic of a simpler time, when the builders of the Central London Railway could get away with naming their stations after the first thing they happened to see when they stepped outside, like they were labelling the elements of a toy town. The next stop up the line was once called Post Office.

If the Labour party gets its way, though, Bank could one day be as inaccurately named as Elephant and Castle, a place disappointingly lacking in both. That’s because a report on the UK financial system that the party commissioned from a couple of consultancies has just proposed moving some of the Bank of England’s activities from the site they’ve occupied on Threadneedle Street since 1734.

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Fall in employment rate spells end of UK jobs boom

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:23:40 GMT2017-12-13T12:23:40Z

Official figures reveal drop in number of people in work and pay rises lagging behind inflation

Evidence that Britain’s long jobs boom has come to an end has emerged after official figures showed the number of people in work fell by 56,000 in the three months ending in October.

After an upswing stretching to 2012, the Office for National Statistics said the employment rate had fallen by 0.2 percentage points to 75.1%.

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Labour delays outcome of Kelvin Hopkins harassment inquiry

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:32:36 GMT2017-12-13T14:32:36Z

Committee considering allegations puts back decision date to give former shadow cabinet minister more time to respond

Labour has delayed the outcome of its investigation into MP Kelvin Hopkins and his alleged inappropriate behaviour toward a fellow MP and a young activist to give the former shadow cabinet minister more time to respond.

Kerry McCarthy, the MP for Bristol East, has said she began receiving unwanted attention from Hopkins in the mid-1990s. She came forward and gave evidence to the chief whip, Nick Brown, after the activist Ava Etemadzadeh claimed Hopkins sent her an inappropriate text and rubbed his crotch against her.

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Boy, 15, admits causing crash in which five people died

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:27:32 GMT2017-12-13T12:27:32Z

Teenager pleads guilty to causing deaths of five people, including three children, by dangerous driving after Leeds car collision

A 15-year-old boy has admitted causing death by dangerous driving after five people were killed when he crashed a car into a tree in Leeds.

The scene of the incident, which happened just before 10pm on 25 November in the Meanwood area of the city, was described as “nightmarish” and “total carnage” by emergency services.

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'Feminism' beats 'complicit' to be Merriam-Webster's word of the year

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:52:56 GMT2017-12-13T12:52:56Z

Defined as ‘the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes’, feminism spiked in online searches after the global Women’s March and revelations about Harvey Weinstein

Feminism has been named word of the year by the American dictionary Merriam-Webster.

The US dictionary said that it had seen a 70% increase in online searches for the word in 2017, compared to 2016. The largest spike in searches came in the last weeks of January, following the Women’s March in Washington DC and around the world.

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Eight jailed over plot to smuggle drugs and phones into UK prisons

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:41:33 GMT2017-12-13T13:41:33Z

Gang directed by inmate Craig Hickinbottom carried out at least 49 drone flights at institutions across England and Scotland

Eight people have been jailed for taking part in a plot to smuggle cannabis and mobile phones into prisons in England and Scotland using drones.

Craig Hickinbottom, who directed the “large-scale and persistent” operation from behind bars, was jailed for seven years and two months.

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Tesco faces legal threat over marketing its food with 'fake farm' names

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:41:59 GMT2017-12-13T11:41:59Z

Charity accuses UK supermarkets of misleading customers with fake farm branding and claims Tesco is damaging the reputation of a real farm with the same name

Major UK supermarkets including Tesco, Aldi, Asda and Lidl are being urged to stop using controversial “fake farm” branding on own-brand meat products, with a food charity claiming they are misleading shoppers.

The Feedback charity is backing the owner of a genuine farm called Woodside Farm – a name Tesco has also used on its value pork range since 2016 – and is threatening legal proceedings if the retail giant does not drop the name Woodside Farms.

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Baby girl survives with heart outside her body at birth, in UK first

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:21:57 GMT2017-12-13T10:21:57Z

Vanellope Hope Wilkins, who had her first surgery within an hour of delivery, is believed to be first baby in UK to survive with the extremely rare condition

A baby girl born with her heart outside her body is believed to be the first in the UK to survive with the extremely rare condition after undergoing three operations, the first within an hour of her birth.

At a nine-week scan, Vanellope Hope Wilkins was discovered to have the condition ectopia cordis, with her heart and part of her stomach growing externally.

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Archbishop of York backs devolution deal for whole of Yorkshire

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:06:57 GMT2017-12-13T12:06:57Z

John Sentamu calls on government to make current Sheffield city region a stepping stone to wider arrangement

The archbishop of York has called on the government to reach a compromise with local authorities to break a long-running stalemate over devolution in Yorkshire.

John Sentamu, the Church of England’s second most senior cleric, has written to the northern powerhouse minister, Jake Berry, setting out proposals for a devolution deal for the whole county to be reached in stages over two years. He writes that an “all-Yorkshire mayoral region would be the best in the long run”.

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Alabama election: Democrats triumph over Roy Moore in major blow to Trump

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:35:59 GMT2017-12-13T13:35:59Z

Doug Jones becomes first Democrat to win any statewide office in Alabama in decades after Moore’s campaign for Senate marred by sexual assault claims

The Democrat Doug Jones has beaten his Donald Trump-backed Republican rival Roy Moore in the diehard Republican state of Alabama, setting off a political earthquake likely to shake Washington.

His victory in a special election for a US Senate seat – by a margin of 49.9 to 48.4 with 100% of precincts reporting – is a major personal blow to the president and his efforts to pass tax reform on Capitol Hill.

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Chinese gang accused of selling poisoned darts to kill dogs for meat

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:10:00 GMT2017-12-13T11:10:00Z

Police say gang sold 200,000 syringes modified for use as darts, and warn of health risk from contaminated meat

Poisoned syringes that could be fired at dogs on the street to kill them instantly were sold by a gang in China, allowing pets to be snatched and sold for the dinner table, according to state media.

Related: Dog meat dropped from two Carrefour supermarkets in China

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FBI agent removed from Russia investigation called Trump an 'idiot'

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:52:50 GMT2017-12-13T06:52:50Z

Peter Strzok exchanged text messages with FBI lawyer Lisa Page calling then-candidate ‘loathsome human’ before they worked on special counsel team

Two FBI officials who would later be assigned to the special counsel’s investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign described him as an “idiot” and “loathsome human” in a series of text messages last year, according to copies released on Tuesday.

One said in an election night text that the prospect of a Trump victory was “terrifying”.

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Russian cyber-activists 'tried to discredit Scottish independence vote'

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 07:00:13 GMT2017-12-13T07:00:13Z

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts accused of spreading false information that vote was rigged to ensure pro-UK vote

An expert in Russian cyber-operations has accused Russian activists of running a disinformation campaign to discredit the Scottish independence referendum result, by wrongly alleging it was rigged.

Pro-Russian propagandists used Twitter, fake videos on YouTube and Facebook accounts to make and then spread false allegations that votes were interfered with to ensure victory for pro-UK campaigners, according to Ben Nimmo, an analyst for the US thinktank the Atlantic Council, which is part of the Atlantic Treaty Organisation linked to Nato.

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Connecticut senator 'embarrassed' at political inaction since Sandy Hook

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:00:00 GMT2017-12-13T11:00:00Z

As fifth anniversary of the mass shooting looms, outspoken gun critic Chris Murphy says Congress’s lack of results makes it difficult to face victims’ families

US senator Chris Murphy said he regrets that the Sandy Hook massacre, one of the deadliest school shootings in US history, has been followed by five years of political inaction, and that he finds it difficult to face victim’s families.

“I’m always a little embarrassed when I go back to Newtown,” the Connecticut senator said in an interview, just ahead of the mass shooting’s anniversary. “I still feel awful that we haven’t enacted bigger national change.”

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Facebook to stop routing ad revenue via Ireland amid pressure over taxes

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:00:37 GMT2017-12-12T18:00:37Z

Company says it will book advertising revenue in countries where it is earned instead of through Dublin headquarters

Facebook has said it will start booking advertising revenue in countries where it is earned instead of re-routing it via Ireland, although the move is unlikely to result in it paying much more tax.

Corporate taxation has become a controversial topic in the wake of revelations of tax avoidance schemes by multinationals which have led to calls for companies to pay more tax, while the European Union has begun exploring options for taxing digital giants.

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Japanese kanji of the year is 'north' – thanks to Kim Jong-un

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:36:56 GMT2017-12-13T04:36:56Z

After 12 months dominated by the North Korean nuclear crisis, there was perhaps only one serious candidate for word of 2017

Every December the people of Japan select a kanji character that best sums up the social and political zeitgeist of the previous 12 months.

After a year dominated by the regional nuclear crisis, there was perhaps only one serious candidate for word of the year 2017: north.

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Egyptian pop singer sent to prison for video that 'incited debauchery'

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 20:20:11 GMT2017-12-12T20:20:11Z

Shyma, 21, sentenced to two years over video in which she appeared in her underwear and suggestively ate a banana

An Egyptian pop singer has been sentenced to two years in prison for “inciting debauchery” in a racy music video clip.

Shyma, a little-known 21-year-old singer, was also fined 10,000 pounds (£420) by a Cairo court.

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‘I was close to hyperventilating’: our best (and worst) gifting stories

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 10:33:18 GMT2017-12-08T10:33:18Z

Nothing proclaims love and understanding quite like nailing it on the gift-giving front, but not all of our attempts are bound to hit the mark. Here, five writers recall the most successful gifts they ever gave or received – and the least

The best gift: gig tickets from my father
Perched high on my dad’s shoulders, I watched the stage light up like a Catherine wheel as my idol sprung into view. Aged 13, I’d regularly wear a swimsuit over leggings in a bid to emulate Michael Jackson, so when my dad bought me tickets to the History World Tour I was close to hyperventilating. Afterwards, we drove home and I fell asleep – grinning, apparently – to a You Are Not Alone club mix on the stereo. Seven years later my father passed away, which makes the memory – and the ticket, which I’ve kept to this day in a notebook by my bed – even more precious.

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The alpha gifters: meet three pro present-givers

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 10:35:23 GMT2017-12-08T10:35:23Z

From the high-flier who scours the world for thoughtful gifts to the expert wrapper and the all-year planner, three top festive gifters share their stories

A lack of time, inspiration, an almost paralysing panic about getting it right: many of us are all too familiar with the Christmas Eve shopping dash. But it doesn’t have to be this way and, indeed, for those willing to put the time, flair, creativity and spreadsheet effort into it, it isn’t.

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The past and present of presents: a history of gifting

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 17:36:20 GMT2017-11-30T17:36:20Z

A potted timeline of present giving, from alliance-forming T-shirts and underwater reindeer to seduction via home furnishings

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Unwrapped: the psychology of gift giving

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:07:02 GMT2017-11-22T11:07:02Z

It is better, we’re told, to give than to receive, but should you always give someone what you think they want? Possibly not, the experts say. Welcome to the great gifting paradox…

As big dates approach and the pressure to deliver grows, the gift giver, without the benefit of a straightforward request, faces a familiar quandary: “What the hell do I buy?” How do I not only honour but also reflect the closeness of our bond in an object – something that can be wrapped and stuffed into one of those paper bags with ribbon handles that we all think we like but then stuff in a cupboard, never to use again?

Gift giving is a practical exercise, but also a psychological one. A 2006 study by neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health found that the giver experiences both an increase in their dopamine levels and an activation of parts of the brain that are attuned to the joys of social interaction. It really does make us happy.

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'I became a black man when I arrived in England': Inua Ellams on his play Barber Shop Chronicles

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:09:02 GMT2017-12-12T12:09:02Z

Inua Ellams was recently nominated for the Writers' Guild award for best play for Barber Shop Chronicles, which is currently on at the National Theatre. He speaks to the Guardian journalist Iman Amrani about black masculinity, his story as an immigrant and how he channels anger into his art

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Exclusive Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake music video: The Priest

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 09:25:17 GMT2017-12-11T09:25:17Z

Watch Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake's music video The Priest, about a young homeless girl's experiences of life on the street

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Lives in limbo: Ai Weiwei on the plight of refugees across the globe - video

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 08:00:01 GMT2017-12-09T08:00:01Z

Exiled Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei discusses the shocking plight of refugees worldwide. He travelled to 23 countries and interviewed more than  600 refugees for his new documentary, Human Flow, an uncompromising cine-essay on this 21st century crisis

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Why are California’s wildfires so out of control? – video explainer

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 14:18:30 GMT2017-12-08T14:18:30Z

The state of California has faced a number of powerful wildfires this year, some of them covering thousands of acres and destroying hundreds of homes. Fire services are struggling to bring them under control. But what’s making them so ferocious? 

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The Barcelona design studio for people with Down's syndrome and autism – video

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 12:07:59 GMT2017-12-04T12:07:59Z

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we visit Casa Carlota, a Barcelona-based design studio that includes people with Down's syndrome, autism and intellectual disabilities. People with intellectual disabilities tend to have less obvious approaches to design and creativity

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Can you do the invisible box challenge? – video

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 19:37:50 GMT2017-12-05T19:37:50Z

Forget planking, cinnamon eating, ice-bucket pouring, mannequin standing and bottle flipping: December 2017 is all about pretending to step on to an invisible box. The invisible box challenge went viral this week, thanks to a successful attempt by a Texan high school cheerleader. It’s basic mime, but it’s impressive enough to have inspired thousands of less agile challengers to share their attempts online. (Warning: you may fall on your face)

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Tom Chaplin review – indie's evergreen choirboy serves up a chilly festive set

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:59:05 GMT2017-12-13T12:59:05Z

Royal Festival Hall, London
The ex-Keane frontman sprinkles covers of East 17 and the Pretenders in with his own doomy laments – and tops it all off with a spine-tingling Walking in the Air

’Tis the season to be jolly, but like an MOR Darth Vader, ex-Keane singer Tom Chaplin can only see the dark side. Celebrating the release of his “quite sad Christmas album”, Twelve Tales of Christmas – which laments lost loved ones, loneliness and the lamentable state of the world – there’s no tinsel, no light-bedecked tree and not a festive jumper in sight.

But melancholy has always been kind to Chaplin. With their sonorous, angsty pop, Keane sold more than 11m albums and, following the decision to put the band on hold back in 2013, their frontman dug deep into his personal battle with depression and addiction for his debut solo album, 2016’s The Wave. Despite his broad smile and sparkly, satin jacket, Chaplin seems more uneasy on stage than his 20 years’ experience would suggest. “I have a tendency with big London shows to get very nervous and anxious and not enjoy myself very much,” he confesses, before adding that, since this is the last he’ll perform “for a very long time”, he’s determined to have a good time.

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The Twilight Zone review – a spooky ride into the supernatural

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:35:23 GMT2017-12-13T11:35:23Z

Almeida, London
Anne Washburn has adapted the TV show for an inventive production featuring tales of vanishing children, amnesiac teachers and alien interlopers

Anne Washburn is clearly haunted by American popular culture. In Mr Burns she implied the most enduring relic of western civilisation would be The Simpsons. Now she has hewn a drama out of the iconic TV series that mixed sci-fi and the supernatural, and that ran on CBS from 1959 to 1964, and has been endlessly repeated. I admired the inventiveness of Richard Jones’s production: the big problem is that, while many of the stories explore the mysteries of the fourth dimension, the characters barely exist in two.

Related: Anne Washburn on watching 156 Twilight Zone episodes for freaky remake

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi review – an explosive thrill-ride of galactic proportions

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:34:04 GMT2017-12-13T10:34:04Z

Director Rian Johnson delivers a tidal wave of energy and emotion in the eighth episode of the saga, as Luke, Leia, Finn and Rey step up to meet their destiny

An old hope. A new realism. An old anxiety. A new feeling that the Force might be used to channel erotic telepathy, and long-distance evil seduction. The excitingly and gigantically proportioned eighth film in the great Star Wars saga offers all of these, as well as colossal confrontations, towering indecisions and teetering temptations, spectacular immolations, huge military engagements, and very small disappointments.

The character-driven face-offs are wonderful and the messianic succession crisis about the last Jedi of the title is gripping. But there is a convoluted and slightly unsatisfying parallel plot strand about the Resistance’s strategic military moves as the evil First Order closes in, and an underwritten, under-imagined and eccentrically dressed new character – Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, played by Laura Dern.

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Stories by Susan Sontag review – the great essayist’s experiments in short fiction

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:00:15 GMT2017-12-13T09:00:15Z

Marriage, loss and meeting Thomas Mann … these stories are rich in autobiographical insights, but Sontag lacks the craft to carry them off

In her essays, Susan Sontag spoke with one of the great, sure voices of the last century. From her salon at the centre of the cosmopolis, marvellously at one with her books and her learning, she considered, renamed and renewed our relationship with camp, with photography, with illness: a living legend of braininess and cool.

Sontag, was not, though, as her editor Benjamin Taylor admits in the introduction to this gathering of stories from across her career, a committed short-story writer. She turned to the form in order to evade what Chekhov called “autobiographophobia”, which Taylor uses to mean the fear of writing and reflecting directly about one’s life. Evading this fear, Sontag clearly found the name “stories” very helpful: half of them are pure autobiography. “Pilgrimage”, for example, which opens the volume, is a memoir of Sontag’s youth in southern California, and an account of her visit with a boyfriend to the home of an ageing Thomas Mann. The only reason why this did not become an essay, it seems, is that the encounter was dull and disappointing, and so difficult to reflect on: Mann had “only sententious formulas to deliver. And I uttered nothing but tongue-tied simplicities, though I was full of complex feeling. We were neither of us at our best.”

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'Aren't men just cleverer than women?': building a feminist city in the Philippines | Corinne Redfern

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:07:30 GMT2017-12-13T11:07:30Z

When Islamist insurgents destroyed the city of Marawi, its women saw an opportunity to demand rights and freedoms previously unknown to them

Nor-Ain Ibrahem wasn’t looking to learn about gender equality when she stumbled upon the white tent next to the community basketball court. As temperatures nudged 40C in Landar evacuation camp – near Marawi City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao – the 25-year-old says she was simply drawn in by the promise of a moment’s peace and quiet, and the electric fan.

“There were brightly coloured posters on the walls and there was a curtain you could go behind if you didn’t want anyone to see you,” she says. “An older woman gave me a bottle of water and asked, ‘Do you know what your rights are?’ I said I didn’t think I had any.”

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'Yay, porgs!' – critics' verdicts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:43:54 GMT2017-12-13T10:43:54Z

From ‘most entertaining Star Wars movie in many a moon’ to ‘appallingly purified’, Rian Johnson’s film has critics at the New Yorker, CNN and elsewhere divided

The first reviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are in and, with the exception of a few naysayers, the reaction has been mostly positive. Currently, Rian Johnson’s sequel has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, matching the rating of 2015’s The Force Awakens. On rival reviews aggregation site Metacritic, The Last Jedi has bested its predecessor with a rating of 85 to the Force Awakens’ 81.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy gave the film a broadly positive review, with minor caveats:

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Abu Dhabi: the city where citizenship is not an option

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 07:00:12 GMT2017-12-13T07:00:12Z

Four-fifths of the UAE’s population are classed as ‘foreigners’. So how do you find belonging in a city that will never permanently be home?

Abu Dhabi Indian School, founded in 1975, not long after the Trucial States became the United Arab Emirates, sits by Muroor Road. It was here that, in 1986, dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt, navy blue shorts and black-laced Batas, I started first grade.

My classmates, like me, were the children of Indian parents. Raju Uncle, a Malayalee from Kerala, drove us to school in his taxi, a gold and white station wagon. When I was running late, another young passenger, Iqbal, would be sent to ring our doorbell.

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Stars are the new stripes: why fashion is turning to the spiky side

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:20:35 GMT2017-12-12T18:20:35Z

In Europe, fashion’s ubiquitous stars are wrapped up in astronomy and tarot imagery, in the US they have a more political charge. But, from Dior to Clavin Klein, the message is one of spirituality, renewal and inspiration in our fractured times

Shooting through the sky, they bring good luck. In a tarot card reading they mean hope, spirituality, renewal, inspiration and serenity. On Tinder, a blue one is a “super like” (you swiped up, instead of just right, to show that this potential match is your favourite that day). On Snapchat, a large gold one means popularity (someone has replayed your snap in the past 24 hours), while a cluster stands for friendship (you are in a group chat). A marble and brass one on Hollywood Boulevard stands for celebrity; on Uber, the same symbol relates to your manners on late-night journeys home, with particular reference to whether you can hold your drink or are likely to be sick. A red one is communism, but on the US flag a white one stands for one of the 50 states. (More of which later.)

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‘A sack of regrets waiting to happen’ – how to avoid a Christmas party nightmare

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:11 GMT2017-12-13T06:00:11Z

From novelty jumpers to embarrassing themes, the annual work bash is where careers go to die. Are there any rules to protect you from humiliation?

It is quite fashionable to claim to hate work Christmas parties, which doesn’t mean you actually hate them, it just conveys disdain for the people for whom a work-organised drinking binge represents the pinnacle, the very walnut on top of their social whirl. But there are people who genuinely do hate work parties, because the grim half-memories that come rushing back, the dimly lit humiliations and shudders of self-abasement that barely add up to true recollections, are more like a dream or post-traumatic stress disorder. None of the following advice will help, since you still have to turn up, and it is still your own psyche you are wrestling with. But some Christmas party nightmares are not your fault.

Christians have worked hard to divert the festival away from its true meaning by loading it with animals, babies, wisdom and salvation. Originally, it was a carnival, in the anthropological not the fairground sense: a pressure valve for the constraints of daily life, a time-limited period of raging misrule, in which all hierarchies and duties were suspended. Those roots are the ones that run deepest in our collective psyches, the expression of which is drinking and taboo-breaking. Nobody wants to break a taboo on Christmas Day, when taboos and Baileys are the only things keeping it all together. It is only fun to break stuff in public. Being drunk and over-stepping the line are related, but not casually: everyone assumes afterwards that the inappropriate thing happened because a given person had dropped their inhibitions. But you have to ask how the chocolate penis arrived under the work tree addressed to the handsy guy in accounts in the first place.

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Talking turkey: the best culinary hacks for Christmas dinner

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:20:38 GMT2017-12-13T15:20:38Z

Bake Off judge Prue Leith had said she freezes a stuffed bird to get ahead on the big day. Here are some other tips to stop you winging it on 25 December

Poor old Prue Leith lurches from one “controversy” to another. Having inadvertently revealed the winner of the most recent series of Bake Off hours before the final show aired, the cookery writer now stands accused of raising “fears over food safety” by admitting she “cheats like anything” at Christmas; she has a boned, stuffed turkey stashed in the freezer ready for the big day. As the Daily Mail was quick to point out, a stuffed turkey “is harder to defrost properly and takes longer to cook through. If it is not thoroughly defrosted and cooked, there is a risk of food poisoning from bugs such as salmonella and campylobacter.”

Well, duh: as if Prue – a former Michelin-starred restaurateur whose cookery school has taught generations of people their way around the kitchen – doesn’t know that. As no doubt she would confirm, a turkey should be taken out of the freezer at least a day in advance of cooking, two in the case of very large or ready-stuffed birds, to allow for thorough thawing. Ideally, this should be done in the fridge, but if that is stuffed fuller than the bird then a cool, dry place such as a garage or the boot of a car will do.

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Kitchen gadgets review: the Uuni Pro pizza oven – stoking it is sheer addiction

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:27:51 GMT2017-12-13T14:27:51Z

This steel furnace isn’t for purists, but it produces celestial results. Just be careful your base doesn’t turn into a volcanic ash Frisbee

What?

The Uuni Pro pizza oven (£499, uk.uuni.net) is a steel furnace with fuel compartment, chimney stack and stone floor. Roasts Italian flatbreads, quickly.

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Credit ratings agency wrote to me about a hack, but how did it get my details?

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 07:00:12 GMT2017-12-13T07:00:12Z

I have never dealt with Equifax and don’t have a mortgage, credit card or loan

I recently received a letter from Equifax, the credit ratings agency, telling me that my personal details had been hacked in May. I do not have a direct relationship with Equifax and do not have a mortgage, do not use a credit card and have no loans. Equifax couldn’t tell me any more. What can I do to protect myself. I have already taken out Cifas fraud protection. NP, London

The most likely outcome is that Equifax carried out a credit check when you took on a mobile phone contract.

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Poetry Pharmacy webchat: Feeling blue? Could a poem be the answer? Ask William Sieghart

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:09:26 GMT2017-12-13T13:09:26Z

Are you lonely, nervous about Christmas or frustrated with relatives? William Sieghart of the much-loved Poetry Pharmacy will be in to prescribe you a poem for your problems on Friday 15 December at 12pm GMT. Post your requests in the comments below

One day as he was crossing a street, National Poetry Day founder William Sieghart saw a man be hit by a car. After getting his heart beating again, William was left with blood on his hands – and a poem in his head: Ambulances by Philip Larkin. It did not comfort him, but it offered complicity, William says: “Poetry is not a lullaby. Poems help you feel you are not mad, that what you are going through has been experienced by others.”

Motivated by his wish to “get people to drop their fear of the P-word”, William began setting up a tent at literary festivals with two armchairs and a prescription pad and allocated visitors 10-minute slots. Hours later, people would still be queuing to get their poem – and have their stories and feelings heard. After collecting poems to help people with everything from feeling overwhelmed by news to sexual repression, from loneliness to romantic boredom, William published The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul.

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'If we have a good Brexit deal, why not put it to Parliament?': your best comments on the Guardian today

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:17:39 GMT2017-12-13T11:17:39Z

Discussion turns to Christmas festivities, and we also look at your conversation around Labour and its Brexit policies

Readers have been discussing the latest from our politics live blog, as well as Christmas rituals, focusing on festive office parties and seasonal fashion. We also follow the latest on Labour and whether its stance on Brexit is going to cause problems for the party long-term.

To join in you can click on the links in the comments below to expand and add your thoughts. We’ll continue to highlight more comments worth reading as the day goes on.

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'Nobody cares about us': Britons living in rest of EU voice their dismay

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:00:28 GMT2017-12-12T08:00:28Z

We asked British nationals living in the EU to tell us how they view the latest Brexit negotiations and where they see the future

Kate, 49, project manager, has lived in the Netherlands for 17 years.

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Democracy undermined on all sides as Brexit starts to take shape | Letters

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:44:18 GMT2017-12-12T19:44:18Z

Alexandra Runswick of Unlock Democracy on the abuse of statutory instruments; Paul Lally on the politically incoherent EU; Fawzi Ibrahim on the end of the phoney phase of negotiations; Roderick MacFarquhar on the absent text of the Brexit agreement; Bob Nicholson on the missing impact assessments; Louis Blom-Cooper on a second referendum

As you report (May accepts demands for greater scrutiny of Brexit laws, 12 December), the prime minister has agreed to set up a new “sifting” committee to identify whether changes made by the sweeping delegated legislation in the EU withdrawal bill require further scrutiny.

What may look like a concession on the surface is far from it. What is critically missing is reform of the woefully inadequate system for scrutinising statutory instruments. The amendments tabled by Charles Walker MP, chair of the Commons procedure committee, set up a new sifting committee, but do nothing beyond that. This is also plainly just a temporary measure restricted to the withdrawal bill, so what then of scrutiny of delegated legislation in the (at least) seven other Brexit bills, or in legislation beyond that?

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Jennifer Lawrence to star in film adaptation of Hannah Kent's Burial Rites

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 02:48:17 GMT2017-12-13T02:48:17Z

Film will be directed by Luca Guadagnino, whose latest, Call Me By Your Name, has been nominated for three Golden Globes

The Oscar-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence will reportedly star in and produce the upcoming film adaptation of the Australian author Hannah Kent’s award-winning 2013 novel, Burial Rites.

Kent’s novel is based on the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland in 1830. A farm worker, Magnúsdóttir was sentenced to death for her part in the murder of two men and, due to the structure of the Icelandic legal system, spent her last days at an isolated farmhouse with a family of upstanding citizens watching over her. Kent’s novel reimagines the story of these final months before Magnúsdóttir’s execution.

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Micheline Dumon obituary

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:28:58 GMT2017-12-12T17:28:58Z

Key player in the Belgian resistance whose work on the Comet escape line helped to save many stranded airmen

On Monday 3 January 1944, Raymond, an agent of the Comet escape line, was waiting for “Michou” at the entrance to the underground passage at the Place Rogier in Brussels. She soon appeared, a slight girl with the face of a child. Intelligence and malice twinkled in her eyes. She was dwarfed by her two companions, both RAF pilots, making her seem even smaller than her 5ft. They all passed unobserved in the bustling crowd. Michou, her “kids” safely delivered, disappeared.

This episode, cited by “Colonel Rémy” (Gilbert Renault) in his three-volume history of the Comet line, illustrates the work undertaken by Micheline Dumon, known as “Michou” or “Lily”, who has died aged 96. Founded by Andrée de Jongh in 1941, the Comet line helped hundreds of British and American airmen escape from occupied Belgium. Once they had been located by Comet agents, the airmen had to be clothed and hidden until they could be shepherded to neutral Spain to make their way back to England.

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Toni & Guy co-founder Giuseppe Toni Mascolo dies aged 75

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:49:48 GMT2017-12-12T15:49:48Z

Italian-born hairdresser founded global hairdressing chain and brand with younger brother in London more than 50 years ago

Giuseppe Toni Mascolo, the co-founder of hairdressing chain Toni & Guy, has died aged 75, his family has said.

Italian-born Mascolo established the first of the salons in Clapham, south London, in 1963 with his younger brother Gaetano, known as Guy.

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Letter: Christine Keeler obituary

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:39:49 GMT2017-12-12T12:39:49Z

In the early 1970s, the Guardian kremlinologist Victor Zorza threw a party for colleagues from the paper’s features section and friends. One of the guests was Christine Keeler , who was the Chelsea housemate of the Guardian features administrator, Lorraine Kelly.

Keeler drove Lorraine, my wife, Sue, and me, a Guardian staffer, to Victor’s home in Taplow, Buckinghamshire. On the way through London, Christine, turning towards me in the back, ran into the rear of a taxi. The cabbie leapt out in a rage, Keeler smiled at him and said: “Whoops, not looking where I was going.” The cabbie returned a broad grin and drove off placated.

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The billionth treatment for river blindness – photo essay

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 07:30:27 GMT2017-12-12T07:30:27Z

Onchocerciasis is one of a group of infections that can cause severe and lifelong physical impairment for some of the world’s poorest people. In northern Nigeria, Graeme Robertson witnesses a grandfather’s joy as treatment delivered by the NGO Sightsavers ensures his granddaughter will not lose her sight, as he did 30 years ago

Simon Shauabi never thought mere fly bites could rob him of his sight, but he has now been blind for almost three decades.

Shauabi, who lives in the small community of Kudaru in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, relies on his grandchildren to provide him with food and with water from the well, but he has never seen what any of them look like.

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Democratic euphoria as Doug Jones wins Alabama - in pictures

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:15:27 GMT2017-12-13T09:15:27Z

Celebrations and tears greeted the historic victory of Doug Jones, who defeated his Republican challenger Roy Moore to claim the US Senate seat vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions. It was the first time a Democrat had won the Alabama seat in 25 years

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Homes for hospitality – in pictures

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:38:47 GMT2017-12-13T10:38:47Z

You’ll find a warm welcome at these properties well suited to entertaining, from an 18th century barn to a mansion

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Nicholas Hughes's ethereal landscapes – in pictures

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 07:00:12 GMT2017-12-13T07:00:12Z

Nowhere Far, the first monograph by Nicholas Hughes, has been 15 years in the making and spans six separate series of abstract and ethereal landscapes. Hughes’s work is concerned with man’s relationship to the environment, examining the space between the world people inhabit and that which nature claims as its own

  • Nowhere Far by Nicholas Hughes is published by GOST Books
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