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The Guardian

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

Published: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 02:33:39 GMT2017-06-29T02:33:39Z

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

Cardinal George Pell charged with multiple sexual offences

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:06:36 GMT2017-06-29T00:06:36Z

  • Pell will return to Australia to ‘clear his name’ after being charged by police
  • Move against third-ranking official in Vatican sends shockwaves around church

Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic and the third-ranking official in the Vatican, has been charged with multiple sexual offences by police.

The charges were served on Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday and they have been lodged also at Melbourne magistrates court. He will appear at the court on 18 July.

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Media Files:

Confusion after No 10 backtracks on end to public sector pay cap

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:48:41 GMT2017-06-28T18:48:41Z

PM’s spokesman insists annual 1% pay rise cap remains in place, hours after source suggested it could be eased

Government hints at a possible end to the cap on pay rises for public sector workers have descended into utter confusion after Downing Street rapidly changed tack, insisting that the policy of limiting annual rises to 1% would remain in place.

Hours after a senior Conservative source indicated that ministers would review the cap at the next budget, saying people were “weary” after years of belt-tightening, Theresa May’s spokesman said this was not the case. “The government policy has not changed,” he told a No 10 briefing, repeating the phrase or variants of it 16 times as he was pressed on how this could tally with the earlier comments.

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Grenfell Tower inquiry to be led by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:22:20 GMT2017-06-28T22:22:20Z

Former court of appeal judge chosen to preside over public inquiry, which will seek to establish the reasons why so many perished in tower block fire

A recently retired court of appeal judge who specialised in commercial law has been appointed to head the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire. Sir Martin Moore-Bick, 70, only left the bench last December.

Among his more controversial cases was a decision allowing Westminster council to rehouse a tenant 50 miles away in Milton Keynes. It was later overturned by the supreme court.

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Media Files:

Hillsborough disaster: six people, including David Duckenfield, charged

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:17:29 GMT2017-06-28T12:17:29Z

Officer in charge of match charged with manslaughter and ex-chief constable Sir Norman Bettison charged with misconduct

Six people, including two former senior police officers, have been charged with criminal offences over the 96 deaths in the Hillsborough disaster and the alleged police cover-up that followed.

Related: The long road to justice: Hillsborough inquest timeline

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Media Files:

EU children may have to apply to stay in UK after Brexit – leaked report

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:12:09 GMT2017-06-28T20:12:09Z

European commission analysis of No 10’s proposals concludes there was a ‘lack of clarity’ and no reciprocity

Theresa May’s proposal on citizens’ rights after Brexit does not offer EU citizens the certainty being sought by Brussels, and it would even force children to apply to stay in the UK, according to a leaked European commission analysis of the British government’s position.

A preliminary assessment of what Downing Street has called its ‘generous offer’ showed up a series of problems that would need to be negotiated away, the EU’s remaining 27 member states were told during a presentation by the commission this week.

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Researchers find 'culture of nepotism' in British film industry

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:00:24 GMT2017-06-28T19:00:24Z

Report shows striking lack of diversity and ‘significant obstacles’ for outsiders looking to break into industry

Nepotism, word-of-mouth employment practices and the widespread use of unpaid work experience have created a “pandemic lack of inclusion” in the British film industry, a report backed by movie producers Barbara Broccoli and Kathleen Kennedy says.

Broccoli, producer of James Bond movies, and Kennedy, president of the Star Wars film-maker Lucasfilm, are throwing their weight behind a plan, backed by £20m of national lottery money, to improve diversity in the sector.

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R2-D2 droid used in Star Wars films sells for $2.76m

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:58:52 GMT2017-06-29T00:58:52Z

Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and Darth Vader’s helmet prove less popular in California auction

An R2-D2 droid that was used in several Star Wars films has sold for millions at an auction in California.

The auction house Profiles in History said the 43-inch (110cm) tall unit that was compiled from parts used throughout filming of the original trilogy sold for $2.76m on Wednesday.

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Stop and search is not used fairly, most young BAME people believe

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-06-28T23:01:07Z

Three-quarters say they and their communities are targeted unfairly by police tactic, which has declined steeply

Three-quarters of young black and minority ethnic (BAME) people believe they and their communities are being targeted unfairly by stop and search despite a steep decline in the use of the controversial tactic, according to new research.

A survey commissioned by the Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA), a coalition of 120 organisations, also found that more than a third of BAME people aged 16 to 30 did not believe police used fair information to decide who they stopped and searched.

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Suicide and self-harm in prisons hit worst ever levels

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-06-28T23:01:07Z

Public spending watchdog says it is unclear how inmates’ mental health can be improved with current levels of funding and insufficient data

Prisons have “struggled to cope” with record rates of suicide and self-harm among inmates following cuts to funding and staff numbers, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said it remains unclear how the authorities will meet aims for improving prisoners’ mental health or get value for money because of a lack of relevant data.

Auditors said that self-harm incidents increased by 73% between 2012 and 2016 to 40,161, while the 120 self-inflicted deaths in prison in 2016 was the highest figure on record and almost double that for 2012. Since 2010, when David Cameron became prime minister, funding of offender management has been reduced by 13%, while staff numbers have been cut by 30%, the report said.

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Disabled passenger forced by Japanese airline to crawl up stairs to board plane

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:35:10 GMT2017-06-29T00:35:10Z

Vanilla Air apologises after staff prevent friends from assisting member of a disability non-profit organisation

An airline in Japan has apologised to a disabled passenger who was forced to crawl up a flight of stairs to board his plane.

Hideto Kijima, who uses a wheelchair, had to hoist himself from the runway at a tiny airport on the resort island of Amami up to the aircraft door, after staff at Vanilla Air refused to allow his friends to carry him aboard.

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Adele review: global star shines all the brighter on emotional night

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:22:05 GMT2017-06-28T23:22:05Z

Wembley Stadium, London
After hinting it may be her last live tour, Adele gave the crowd the expected highs and lows

A year ago this week she was at Glastonbury, oscillating between devastating ballads of loss and enquiries as to which of the audience had “shit themselves”. Now, Adele rounds off her 25 tour with four nights at Wembley hosting 98,000 people a night – a stadium record for a music event – coming to commune in the emotional Big Four: love, anger, sorrow, joy.

Having told the world earlier in the day on Instagram: “I don’t know if I’ll ever tour again, and so I want my last time to be at home,” feelings are running higher still, and the rosé has been poured in readiness.

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Jon Snow's 'anti-Tory rant' and the myth of the pinko inside the TV

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:01:24 GMT2017-06-28T17:01:24Z

Channel 4’s news anchor says he can’t remember leading a pro-Corbyn chant at Glastonbury. But he is serious about impartiality – and sometimes what looks like bias is simply independent thought

There is a long list of reasons Jon Snow could have given for allegedly singing “Fuck the Tories” while at Glastonbury: he could have said it was a reporter’s cultural camouflage, just as you would recite the Lord’s Prayer if you were reporting from a church, or pretend to know what a bikini wax felt like if you were at Ascot. He could, in the absence of any video evidence, have denied it, quite plausibly because it never happened. Instead, he went with 60s-liberalism-meets-Nixonian-impunity: he couldn’t remember chanting anything at Glastonbury, or, for that matter, singing anything. I’m only guessing, but I think this is his way of saying, “Move along, Guido Fawkes and forgettable Tory MPs, pearl-clutching tabloid editorialists and prim commentators who wouldn’t be able to distinguish between bias and independent thought if they took a much-needed qualification … all of you lot, just move along, and stop being so silly.”

Snow wasn’t on air when he did or didn’t chant or sing, so the rules binding his behaviour weren’t of neutrality; rather, broadcasters are asked to “be careful” about what they do in their own time. But the right has been on his case as a potential red-under-the-bed (or, for fairness and accuracy, pinko-inside-the-TV) since his internet-only broadcast – badged with Channel 4’s name but not shown terrestrially – about Gaza in 2014. He made a series of points about the humanity of scatterbombing a place where you know the average age to be 17, and, therefore, how many of your victims are likely to be children. To my ears and most likely yours, they read as utterly uncontroversial. However, Israel and Gaza is, joint with climate change, the issue on which broadcasters effectively demand not balance but something quite different: equal voice given to the staunchest proponent of each side. For want of finding someone who could defend the killing of the children of Gaza, it is much easier to stay silent on the subject, and this marked a distinct downturn for the channel’s explorations into new media, with its looser regulation.

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Radio 1 at 50: golden oldies to return for celebration

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-06-28T23:01:07Z

Familiar faces from Tony Blackburn to Sara Cox will feature on day of programming marking the station’s semicentennial

Tony Blackburn, Chris Moyles and Sara Cox will return to Radio 1 this autumn as part of a celebration of the station’s 50th anniversary, which will feature its most famous living former presenters introducing shows from its archive.

The nostalgia-fuelled celebration will happen in late September on a specially created digital station – Radio 1 Vintage – at a time when Radio 1 itself is under pressure because its core youth audience is falling.

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To most political leaders, social mobility is no more than a vague goal. Like world peace

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:05:53 GMT2017-06-28T17:05:53Z

These days, class is less fluid than gender. There is a stuckness, and for the young, things are getting worse

I have been writing about social mobility ever since I became socially mobile. Or published. Or bought off or changed class. Whatever you want to call it. The milieu I found myself in the late 80s was new to me then. It is often still new to me: the huge assumptions, the peculiar gradations, the tiny judgments, the painful self-imposed restraint of the middle classes make for a place that can never be my home. I squat there, on some temporary contract. For class as it is often lived can feel like an essence or even elixir, although this is denied. It is comforting to think that anyone can switch class, be mobile, that anyone can make themselves up. Not many do, though.

These days, however, class can feel less fluid than gender. There is a stuckness and a maintenance of that stuckness. Alan Milburn tells us once more that this country has a deep problem with social mobility. For the young, this is getting worse not better.

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A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:50:49 GMT2017-06-28T12:50:49Z

Exclusive: Annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top half a trillion by 2021, far outstripping recycling efforts and jeopardising oceans, coastlines and other environments

A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.

New figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the surge in usage of plastic bottles, more than half a trillion of which will be sold annually by the end of the decade.

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Lions’ Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell start in second All Blacks Test

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:30:08 GMT2017-06-29T00:30:08Z

• Sam Warburton returns as captain for second Test against New Zealand
George North and Robbie Henshaw ruled out of remaining matches

Warren Gatland has chosen both Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell in his starting lineup for the do-or-die Test against New Zealand on Saturday as the British & Irish Lions seek to inject fresh energy into the best-of-three series. Sam Warburton also returns as captain, with Maro Itoje to partner Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

With the Lions having little option but to take the game to the All Blacks and get on the front foot, Gatland has sacrificed Ben Te’o’s power at inside-centre for the 10-12 combination of Sexton and Farrell that has already shown flashes of promise on this tour. George Kruis and Peter O’Mahony drop out of the starting XV but otherwise Gatland has kept faith with the side beaten 30-15 by the All Blacks last Saturday.

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Manchester City confident of signing Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:18:15 GMT2017-06-28T16:18:15Z

• Sánchez keen to play under his former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola
• Dani Alves set to join City after terminating contract at Juventus

Manchester City are increasingly confident of signing Alexis Sánchez for a potential fee in the region of £50m, despite Arsenal’s reluctance to sell, because of the forward’s desire to play under Pep Guardiola.

Although Arsène Wenger is minded against allowing his finest player to leave, he is aware of Sánchez’s desire to join City. If the Arsenal manager does not sanction a sale this summer he faces losing Sánchez in 12 months on a free.

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Sebastian Vettel could face further punishment over collision with Lewis Hamilton

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:30:15 GMT2017-06-28T17:30:15Z

• Vettel appeared to deliberately slam into Hamilton at F1’s Azerbaijan GP
• Ferrari driver handed 10-second penalty but FIA is investigating

Sebastian Vettel is being investigated by the FIA for the incident in which his car hit Lewis Hamilton in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday.

During the race Vettel was deemed by the stewards to be guilty of driving dangerously after he turned into and collided with Hamilton’s Mercedes. The German was given a 10-second stop-go penalty at the time but now faces a more severe sanction, possibly including a fine, grid drop or even a race ban.

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Dave Brailsford defends Team Sky credibility and says ‘I’m going nowhere’

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:34:24 GMT2017-06-28T19:34:24Z

• Brailsford dismisses talk of his future before Tour de France
• Sky’s general manager denies team’s reputation is tarnished

Sir Dave Brailsford has attempted to brush away questions about his future and the credibility of his Team Sky squad three days from the start of their attempt to win a fifth Tour de France in six years.

Brailsford was also forced to deny that his team have a credibility issue. “I’m very focused on the race,” he said. “I’ve been involved in this sport for a long time and I’ve tried to do it absolutely the way I’ve always thought it should be done and I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved in this sport. I’m proud of this team and I’m proud to be sitting here.”

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UK Sport faces revolt from 11 sports governing bodies over funding cuts

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-06-28T23:01:07Z

• ‘Disenfranchised’ sports criticise obsession with medal targets
• Governing bodies of badminton, basketball and fencing among critics

A mass rebellion is set to put UK Sport under further pressure to reform, with 11 national governing bodies of sports calling for a major overhaul in how the funding agency allocates lottery and exchequer money.

The Guardian understands the governing bodies will claim the spirit of sport has been obscured by what is seen as UK Sport’sgrowing obsession with medal targets over the past decade.

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Fifa lets Qatar 2022 sail on, its moral lines in the sand still on the horizon | Marina Hyde

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:59:23 GMT2017-06-28T17:59:23Z

War fears, deaths, slavery … the main lesson of the Garcia report appears to be that there is no conceivable dealbreaker that could derail Qatar’s World Cup

Thanks to the long overdue publication of the Garcia report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, we now know that England’s efforts to secure the 2018 tournament amounted to “a form of bribery”. Obviously, the only thing less surprising than the fact that England break the rules is how bad they are at it. If an England bid team ever gets within 30 sniffs of actually winning a World Cup bid again, no effort should be spared in investigating how they do business. They are, in the words of pursed-lips grandmas, no better than they should be.

For now, however, England remain as likely to win a World Cup bid as they do to win a World Cup, and we must turn our thoughts to more pressing questions raised by the report by Fifa’s then chief ethics investigator. Namely – and I don’t mean any disrespect to the emir and his accidental vagina stadium – is the Qatar World Cup a thought experiment?

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Waisake Naholo starts on right wing for All Blacks against Lions in second Test

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:41:21 GMT2017-06-28T17:41:21Z

• Naholo and Anton Lienert-Brown in for injured Smith and Crotty
• Steve Hansen has made two enforced changes for second Test

The All Blacks have made two changes to their team for the second Test, both necessary because of injuries sustained last weekend. But it does not mean Lions supporters will be sleeping any easier on Friday night.

Waisake Naholo has come in on the right wing, so Israel Dagg can replace Ben Smith at full-back, and Anton Lienert‑Brown has taken over from Ryan Crotty at outside centre. The uncapped Ngani Laumape, who played so well for the Hurricanes in their draw against the Lions on Tuesday, takes Lienert-Brown’s spot on the bench. Even though Smith and Crotty are out, the team does not look any weaker than the one that played last week. If anything, the backline now looks a little more dangerous.

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Tour de France demands apology after Jan Bakelants’ podium girls remark

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:12:33 GMT2017-06-28T23:12:33Z

• Former yellow jersey wearer in dock for making derogatory remark
• AG2R La Mondiale say it was meant to be humorous but was in bad taste

The Tour de France organisers will contact Jan Bakelants’ AG2R La Mondiale team to ask him to apologise after the Belgian rider was reported to have made derogatory comments about the race’s podium girls in an interview with the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.

Asked what he would take with him for his free moments during the Tour, the former wearer of the yellow jersey in the event allegedly said: “A packet of condoms, for sure. You never know where those podium [hostesses] hang out.”

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Portugal 0-0 Chile (0-3 pens): Confederations Cup semi-final - as it happened

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:46:48 GMT2017-06-28T20:46:48Z

Claudio Bravo saved all three of Portugal’s spot kicks in the penalty shoot-out after a goalless 120 minutes, with Chile set to play Germany or Mexico in the final

Match report:

Related: Claudio Bravo saves three penalties to send Chile to Confederations Cup final

It’s a painful exit for Portugal, but on the balance of play, it’s the right result. On paper, Chile should get nowhere near Portugal, but just as at the Copa America, Chile find a way. They should have won it in 120 minutes, but Claudio Bravo’s heroics in the shoot-out help them progress to the final, which will be against one of Germany and Mexico.

Bravo, Three-Zero

Claudio Bravo made as many saves in the penalty shootout against Portugal as in the Premier League in 2017 (3).

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George North and Robbie Henshaw ruled out of remaining Lions Tests

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:05:33 GMT2017-06-29T00:05:33Z

• Both backs suffered injuries in 31-31 draw with Hurricanes
• Players to fly home following Lions’ second Test with All Blacks

George North and Robbie Henshaw have been ruled out of the rest of the British and Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand after sustaining injuries in Tuesday’s 31-31 draw with the Hurricanes.

Both backs will fly home following the second Test against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday to undergo further treatment.

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Tour de France 2017: full team-by-team guide

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:27:36 GMT2017-06-28T11:27:36Z

Introducing this year’s teams: the leaders, the heritage and the names to watch out for

Twenty years ago Ag2r were a little known sponsor of a small regional team but nowadays they are part of the Tour de France scenery, and to mark two decades of commitment and steady progress they’d love to take just one more upward step. They don’t do corporate statements or anything remotely trendy but show them a hill or two and they’re off in search of glory. A squad that realises the fans come to be entertained and that’s what they provide by being present in all the classifications, green jersey excepted. The clash of colours would be horrendous so let’s keep it authentic.

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Tapping up remains rife in football with little appetite for change among clubs | Stuart James

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:00:19 GMT2017-06-28T15:00:19Z

Liverpool’s approach to Virgil van Dijk highlighted an area of little regulation where almost anyone can become a player intermediary

Three weeks on from the Virgil van Dijk tapping-up scandal and the predictable news has emerged that Liverpool are expected to escape any punishment from the Premier League. Southampton had kicked up a storm by complaining about an alleged illegal approach and Liverpool were forced into making an embarrassing apology for overstepping the mark, yet the dust soon settled on a row that was never likely to go anywhere.

The reality is that at the time the tapping-up story broke, on the back of newspaper stories about Van Dijk being won over by Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp, the majority of people working in the game will have wondered what all the fuss was about. “So what?” pretty much summed up the football world’s response to reports that Liverpool had been sounding out Van Dijk without Southampton’s permission.

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Novak Djokovic happy with pressure off after securing Wimbledon No2 seeding

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:40:41 GMT2017-06-28T12:40:41Z

• Serb sees off Vasek Pospisil in Eastbourne first-round match
• Former world No1 ‘liberated’ by lower expectations for Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic feels “liberated” by the reduced expectations surrounding his Wimbledon prospects. The Serb won his first match at Eastbourne on Wednesday, defeating Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 25 minutes.

Inconsistent form over the past 12 months has resulted in Djokovic losing his grip on all four of the sport’s majors and the appointment of Andre Agassi as his coach, as well as a change from his pre-Wimbledon routine.

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County Championship roundup: Cook and Browne pile on pain for Middlesex

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:09:39 GMT2017-06-28T22:09:39Z

• Middlesex 246 & 27-0; Essex 542-3dec
• Essex in control after openers put on 373

Essex have the champions on the rack thanks to a remarkable opening stand of 373 between Alastair Cook and Nick Browne.

By the time Cook edged a turner from Ollie Rayner to slip for 193, two shy of his highest Championship score, the record books were dog-eared and relieved: this was Essex’s largest ever opening stand (surpassing Graham Gooch and Paul Prichard’s 316 against Kent here in 1994), and the largest partnership in any game between them and Middlesex.

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Usain Bolt heads for check-up after labouring to narrow win in Ostrava

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:43:08 GMT2017-06-28T20:43:08Z

• Jamaican runs 10.06sec and is pushed to the limit by Yunier Pérez
• Mo Farah cruises to 10,000m win but personal best out of reach

Usain Bolt’s preparations for the world championships received a jolt as he struggled to win his penultimate race before defending his 100m and 4x100m titles in London – and then admitted to having “some health issues” with a stiff back.

The giddy crowd at the Golden Spike meeting in the Czech Republic were expecting the full Bolt. The poses, the smiles – and, most of all, the raging afterburners applied halfway down the home straight. Yet when the muscular Cuban Yunier Pérez came alongside him in the 100m, Bolt pressed on the accelerator but could not find his sixth gear.

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Arsenal’s £31m bid for Thomas Lemar turned down by Monaco

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:50:39 GMT2017-06-28T15:50:39Z

• Arsenal told by Monaco that 21-year-old winger is not for sale
• Lemar understood to be keen on working under Arsène Wenger

Arsenal have had an offer of €35m (£30.74m) turned down by Monaco for Thomas Lemar, with the French club adamant they will not sell the winger.

Arsène Wenger is determined to reinvigorate Arsenal’s attacking options as he struggles to retain his star player, Alexis Sánchez, who is wanted by Manchester City among other clubs, and he has targeted Lemar as one possible solution.

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If Republicans lose the healthcare fight, it's the beginning of the end | Corey Robin

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:17:32 GMT2017-06-28T16:17:32Z

The right has had its spells in the wilderness, where they’ve been exiled from power. If they lose this bill, it will put them on that road to despair

At the beginning of this week, Republican senators were planning to head home for the Fourth of July recess and celebrate the nation’s independence and freedom by enacting their idea of liberty: denying health insurance to more than 20 million people. By the middle of the week, their hopes were dashed.

Related: Trumpcare isn't about health. It's a tax cut for the 1% | Robert Reich

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PMQs returns – with a spot of role reversal for Corbyn and the Maybot | John Crace

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:30:57 GMT2017-06-28T18:30:57Z

May decides to let the Labour leader play at being prime minister for a little while, and he gratefully steps up to the plate

It was all most irregular. At the first prime minister’s questions of the new parliament, Jeremy Corbyn had asked serious and probing questions about the Grenfell Tower fire and the Maybot had more or less applied herself to answering them in intelligible sentences.

If not always with great conviction or logic. You can’t have everything. Her efforts to reassure the Labour leader that the government had indeed followed the coroner’s 2013 recommendation to encourage councils to retrofit sprinkler systems to all tower blocks were less than encouraging. No one has yet found any council that was sufficiently encouraged by the government’s encouragement to bother.

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The Guardian view on pricing the Great Barrier Reef: a dangerous absurdity | Editorial

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:35:49 GMT2017-06-28T18:35:49Z

There are things that money just can’t measure, and nature is valuable because it can’t have a price

There are some things that money can’t buy; there are others that it can but shouldn’t. The boundary between these two categories isn’t fixed and is in any case constantly disputed. Some things can’t be bought because they seem impossible, like a return ticket to the moons of Jupiter, or a live woolly mammoth. But it’s perfectly possible that technology will advance to the point where these are possibilities and then people who can afford them will want them too. The one thing that a fortune will never be large enough to buy is the possession of a conscience.

Those who have money tend to believe it should have the ability to buy anything. But freedom for the rich diminishes the liberties and security of the people without money. If money can buy good health, as the inequality statistics show that it can, the poor may find they have no access to medical care at all, as the horrors of the American health care system illustrate today. So any civilised society has rules about things (among them justice) that money is not allowed to buy.

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Scotland’s indyref2 may have been delayed. But expect it by 2021 | Ruth Wishart

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:59:30 GMT2017-06-28T17:59:30Z

Those who think Nicola Sturgeon’s statement this week means the end of the independence movement don’t understand her, or the SNP

Doubtless the verb was carefully chosen. Nicola Sturgeon would “reset” the timetable for a second independence referendum, she told the Scottish parliament in Holyrood this week. Having, in March, demanded another poll between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, Sturgeon now indicated that another date with destiny would wait till after Brexit. She would, she said, concentrate on influencing these negotiations mindful that Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a 62/38 margin.

Related: What Nicola Sturgeon can learn from Jeremy Corbyn | Kevin McKenna

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Dressmaking next, Daniel – really? Stick to the Day-Lewis job | Peter Bradshaw

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:36:13 GMT2017-06-28T17:36:13Z

There are rumours that he could turn his hand to fashion design … But he might end up with a little black dress that looks like a tent designed by Picasso

There are plenty of us hoping that Daniel Day-Lewis might yet find it in his heart to reverse his planned retirement and carry on in the acting business. So it is frankly a massive boost to hear the rumour that he is thinking of trying dressmaking. Day-Lewis says his final role is to be in Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film Phantom Thread, in which he will play a brilliant couturier. And it is this complex trade which has reportedly captured his imagination.

Related: Actors usually envy each other. But Daniel Day-Lewis is a class apart | Michael Simkins

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Labour’s shift has been vindicated. The public is tired of austerity | Owen Jones

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:46:58 GMT2017-06-28T14:46:58Z

Two years ago, Jeremy Corbyn challenged political orthodoxy by not attacking benefits claimants. Now public opinion has aligned with his stance

Do you resign yourself to public opinion as it is now, or do you attempt to change it? That is a question that has long divided Britain’s left and produced two competing strategies. The “centrist” approach is one that amounts to resignation. Voters are where they are, and it is largely futile to campaign to change minds when Labour is in opposition. It will simply render the party out of touch. A longstanding centrist argument was that the public believes austerity is unfortunate but necessary, and so economic credibility is defined by signing up to spending cuts. Labour’s left, on the other hand, refutes this pessimism. Public opinion can change – and dramatically so – if the counter-arguments to rightwing orthodoxy are heard loudly and forcefully.

Related: Dear Andrea Leadsom, shrinking the state is the opposite of patriotism | Polly Toynbee

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Michael Bond and Paddington offered lessons in kindness for today

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:29:22 GMT2017-06-28T15:29:22Z

For all his chaos, the cuddly ursine orphan – like his creator – is a model of decency, and reminds our unkind world that we should look after refugees

Paddington has been the Winnie-the-Pooh of our generation. There have been other iconic bears over the generations, but those two stand side by side, one in Ashdown Forest and the other at Paddington station. For those who were born in the later 20th century, Paddington is the one that they remember. And what’s wonderful about it is that it’s rather strange to have a bear who is so elegant in his speech, so polite and kind, yet who unleashes such chaos. That’s what children respond to.

Related: Michael Bond obituary

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Grenfell Tower fire: was Tory austerity to blame or do problems date back to Blair?

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:18:23 GMT2017-06-28T15:18:23Z

Jeremy Corbyn has linked tragedy to Conservative spending cuts but PM says matter has arisen after decades of neglect

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have clashed over whether the tragic deaths of 80 people in Grenfell Tower fire is “one of the disastrous effects of austerity” or has been developing as a result of decades of neglect dating back at least to Tony Blair’s government in the 2000s.

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Need to strike a tough deal? Here’s how to channel your inner Arlene Foster | Jack Bernhardt

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:35:41 GMT2017-06-28T12:35:41Z

The DUP leader squeezed £1.5bn out of the Tories by a variety of means. But it certainly helped that in Theresa May, she was up against a wounded pushover

History is full of great dealmakers: Harry Truman at the Potsdam conference, the banker from Deal or No Deal, not Donald Trump, that guy who sold London Bridge to that American who thought he was buying Tower Bridge and then got it home and he was, like, “Aw, this bridge is boring, I wanted the one that goes up in the middle, phooey”... the list goes on. This week we add another name to that list: Arlene Isabel Foster, the leader of the DUP.

Foster secured a scarcely believable £1.5bn deal for Northern Ireland from the Conservative government despite the DUP’s limited power, likability and general understanding of science (I’m fairly sure the DUP MP Sammy Wilson thinks of those taps that can go both hot and cold as “an unholy matrimony of the temperatures”). You’re probably asking yourself how you could make yourself more like Arlene Foster, maybe minus the homophobia and rampant sectarianism. Well, ask no more!

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Grenfell shows us there’s no north/south divide. The gap is between rich and poor | Phil McDuff

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:04:55 GMT2017-06-28T12:04:55Z

Londoncentric policy not only alienates the rest of the country, from which it sucks investment – it also harms working-class Londoners

The UK is a divided nation, so we’re told. Old v young, urban v rural, north v south, London v everywhere else. To us provincial types, it seems London is full of man buns and cereal cafes, and I am led to believe that to many in the capital, we look like hayseed racists who are barely familiar with hot water, let alone innovation-led startups.

Related: Meritocracy hasn’t worked in Britain – it’s time for a radical rethink | Abi Wilkinson

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Climate change is an energy problem, so let's talk honestly about nuclear

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:02:50 GMT2017-06-28T15:02:50Z

Fear of nuclear energy runs deep but it may be the most efficient and clean energy source we have, albeit with complications

Of all the hazards facing humankind, climate change is the single greatest threat we have ever faced. In a few short decades, we have altered the climate more than we ever thought possible and now, in the midst of the greatest heatwave recorded in decades in the hottest year on record, we are finally beginning to countenance the scale of problem before us.

The poorest of the poor have been the first to suffer – droughts and food shortages are already imperilling the lives of countless millions, with ensuing conflicts threatening even more. We have rendered some areas uninhabitable, and the number of climate refugees will only increase. Even we privileged folk in the western world are no longer immune, with the dangers steadily encroaching.

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Trumpcare isn't popular. But universal healthcare would be | Kate Aronoff

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:59:48 GMT2017-06-28T14:59:48Z

Liberal pundits and elected officials have seemed dead-set on occupying a neoliberal middle ground on healthcare. That’s not a winning strategy

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 22 million people will be left uninsured by the Republican Senate healthcare plan, voting on which will now happen after the Fourth of July recess. “It’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan,” Paul Ryan told Fox & Friends after those numbers were released on Monday. “It’s that people will choose not to buy something that they don’t like or want.”

Ryan claims to have been dreaming of slashing social programs since his days doing keg stands, and when he and other Republicans managed to push the similarly disastrous American Health Care Act through the House, they wheeled out cases of beer to celebrate. Under that House bill, 23 million were expected to go without healthcare. These proposals and the Republicans backing them aren’t just “mean”, as Senate Democrats are calling Trumpcare. They’re sadistic.

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If the US supreme court upholds the Muslim ban, we will need civil resistance | Rob Hunter

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:00:02 GMT2017-06-28T10:00:02Z

The court could rule that the ban is an appropriate exercise of the president’s powers. Only mass confrontational politics could stop it then

The US supreme court announced on Monday that it will decide on the legality of Donald Trump’s travel ban. It also partially stayed injunctions against the ban, meaning that the administration can impose 90-day bans on people traveling from six Muslim-majority countries (unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with someone in the US), and that it can bar refugees from entering the US for up to 120 days.

It’s likely that the court will eventually uphold all or part of the ban as an appropriate exercise of the president’s powers. Only mass confrontational politics can prevent that from happening, or undo it if it does happen.

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Meritocracy hasn’t worked in Britain – it’s time for a radical rethink | Abi Wilkinson

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:13:14 GMT2017-06-28T10:13:14Z

Twenty years of fixating on boosting social mobility have failed. What we should be doing is seeking to reduce inequality across the board instead

When the British sociologist Michael Young first coined the word meritocracy, he didn’t consider it an ideal to aspire towards. In a satirical novel, he mocked the tripartite system of education first adopted in Britain in the 1940s – wherein children were assessed via the 11-plus exam and sorted into either grammar, secondary technical or secondary modern schools.

Related: Meritocracy: the great delusion that ingrains inequality | Jo Littler

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Who paid for the leave vote? Brexit should be halted until we know | George Monbiot

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 06:00:12 GMT2017-06-28T06:00:12Z

There are huge questions about funding, involving the DUP and others. A public inquiry is needed

Should the EU referendum result be annulled? For the past year I’ve been arguing that this would mean defying a democratic decision – even if it was informed by lies. Democracy is not negotiable. But what if this was not a democratic decision? What if it failed to meet the accepted criteria for a free and fair choice? If that were the case, should the result still stand? Surely it should not.

Related: The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked

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As a dentist, I hate sugar. But I don’t want kids scared off it with horror packaging | Ollie Jupes

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:00:16 GMT2017-06-28T09:00:16Z

UK doctors are about to call for graphic health warnings on high-sugar children’s foods – but fear isn’t the best way to educate them about a healthy diet

I believe it was George Benson who originally proposed the notion that “Children are our future.” As a corollary to this, he also suggested we teach them well and let them lead the way. Overall, I feel that Benson’s classic 70s worldwide hit was a reasonable musical template for a future world, but I think The Greatest Love of All omitted an all-important line that should have implored – let them have a bit of a childhood first, for Pete’s sake! And that doesn’t mean making them feel fearful every time they have a sweet treat.

Related: Sugar tax must apply to sweets as well as drinks, say campaigners

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Is standing up the new sitting down? | Stefan Stern

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:06:27 GMT2017-06-28T11:06:27Z

Sitting down could be as bad as smoking, but offices would get a bit crowded if everyone wandered around constantly – and beside, we all like a nice desk

Are you sitting comfortably? Perhaps you shouldn’t be. Extended periods in a sedentary position can slow down your metabolism, which is bad news for your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cardiovascular health. A new piece of research suggests that some people at work are spending over seven hours a day sitting down, which is more than many pensioners manage.

You even hear it being claimed that “sitting is the new smoking”, which seems a bit over the top, and unduly lenient on Big Tobacco. But maybe we should all sit up – stand up – and take notice. What if we stood a lot more at work and kept moving around? Would our productivity improve as well as our health?

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Obama stayed quiet on Russian interference. History will judge him for it | Walter Shapiro

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:00:06 GMT2017-06-28T10:00:06Z

Obama, confident in Clinton’s electoral prospects, chose stealth instead of openness during the US elections. That was a mistake

Presidential reputations oscillate for years after the moving trucks have pulled up to the White House. So it is with Barack Obama.

The Senate healthcare vote – now postponed until after the Fourth of July recess – may determine whether the Affordable Care Act crowns Obama’s legislative record or whether it will be mourned as a presidential road not taken, like Woodrow Wilson’s dreams for the League of Nations.

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Grenfell Tower death toll may not be known until end of year – police

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:34:31 GMT2017-06-28T18:34:31Z

Detectives raise number presumed dead to 80 and reveal they have identified 60 firms involved in refurbishment of tower

Scotland Yard has warned it could take until the end of the year or longer to be sure how many people died in the Grenfell Tower disaster, as police raised the number of people presumed dead to 80.

Police warned that the death toll could rise further and said there were 23 flats in the tower where they had not been able to trace anyone alive.

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Policeman tells how he fought London Bridge attackers with baton

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:00:21 GMT2017-06-28T16:00:21Z

Wayne Marques swung at terrorists despite temporarily losing sight in one eye when he was stabbed in head

A police officer has told how he fought off the three London Bridge attackers with his baton despite being temporarily blinded in one eye after he was stabbed in the head.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the terrorist attack earlier this month, Wayne Marques, who received several major knife wounds, said the adrenaline prevented him from realising how badly he had been injured.

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Oxford and Cambridge 'need to improve access for disadvantaged students'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:00:07 GMT2017-06-28T23:00:07Z

Director of Office for Fair Access praises universities’ efforts so far but says more needs to be done to identify potential in poorer applicants

Oxford and Cambridge universities have failed to recognise potential among disadvantaged applicants and need to improve their efforts, according to the government’s higher education access tsar. In outspoken remarks at an education conference, Les Ebdon, director of the Office for Fair Access (Offa), said: “Do I think there’s fair access at Oxbridge? Well, obviously not.”

Ebdon also criticised the two elite universities for failing to systematically use data on applicants’ backgrounds rather than relying on high entry requirements. “If you ask me, ‘Should they be doing more?’, the answer is yes, obviously, because they have so few students from [the most disadvantaged groups], so few students on free school meals, so few students from different ethnic minorities,” Ebdon said. “So yes, they certainly should be doing more, and that’s my job, to make sure that they do do more.”

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NHS staff taking more sick days than ever

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:38:31 GMT2017-06-28T18:38:31Z

As the NHS comes under increasing strain, the number of staff taking time off has risen, with mental health conditions among the main reasons

NHS staff are taking more time off work because of illness, with the total now close to 17m days a year.

Related: Constant restructuring of NHS is demoralising staff, survey finds

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Northern Ireland power-sharing talks on course for failure

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:47:47 GMT2017-06-28T17:47:47Z

Sinn Féin accuses DUP of refusing to change tack in opposition to an Irish language act

Talks to restore a power-sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland are on course to fail after Sinn Féin accused the Democratic Unionist party of refusing to budge in its opposition to an Irish language act.

Sinn Féin also dismissed suggestions that the discussions could be extended beyond Thursday’s deadline when, if there is no agreement, Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire may reimpose direct rule from London.

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Councils call for say in schools funding to protect children with special needs

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-06-28T23:01:07Z

Without local input some pupils could miss out in new funding formula, says Local Government Association

Children with special educational needs could lose out under government plans for a national funding formula for schools if there is no local input into education funding priorities, councils have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils, says it supports the introduction of a revised formula to address unfairness in the school funding system.

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Man jailed for threatening to kill Labour MP Karin Smyth

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:36:11 GMT2017-06-28T16:36:11Z

Matthew Niblett phoned Smyth’s office in Bristol repeatedly one night in runup to election because of her campaign leaflets

A man has been jailed after threatening to kill a Labour candidate during the general election campaign. Matthew Niblett phoned Karin Smyth’s office in Bristol seven times in one hour because he had taken exception to her campaign leaflets.

He left messages in the early hours of 3 June claiming he would kill Smyth, who was re-elected on 8 June, and saying that he hoped that she would get stabbed in the street or caught in a bomb blast. Niblett was jailed for 14 weeks after pleading guilty to one count of harassment without violence.

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The Godolphin connection: sheikh saves Cornish community centre

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:58:16 GMT2017-06-28T15:58:16Z

Residents of Godolphin Cross were short of funds so they wrote to Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai and founder of the Godolphin horse racing empire

The prime minister of an oil-rich Gulf state has stepped in to help a small Cornish village create a new community hub after residents pointed out their link to his horse racing empire. Residents of Godolphin Cross near Helston were struggling to get together the funds to buy a disused chapel that they hoped to turn into a community centre.

A bright spark wondered if they should write to Sheikh Mohammed, the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, the ruler of Dubai and founder of the Godolphin horse racing operation. They sent a letter to him more in hope than expectation – and were delighted when he agreed to pick up the bill for the shortfall between what the villagers had raised and the cost of the building, thought to be around £60,000.

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UK risks becoming 'dumping ground' for plastic after Brexit

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:40:30 GMT2017-06-28T11:40:30Z

UK will not be bound by EU deal and opposition MPs say Tory government unlikely to have political will to develop equivalent system

The UK risks becoming the “dirty man of Europe” after Brexit with no plan to deal with the millions of plastic bottles dumped by consumers every week, according to politicians and leading environmental campaigners.

Related: A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'

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Camber Sands official accused of blaming drownings on men's ethnicity

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:30:39 GMT2017-06-28T16:30:39Z

Barrister representing families of men who died at beach questions coastal officer Robert Cass during inquest

A beach safety official for Camber Sands has been accused of blaming the deaths of seven people who drowned there last summer on their race.

At an inquest into the deaths of five young men of Tamil origin who drowned at the popular beach near Rye in East Sussex last August, Robert Cass, a coastal officer employed by Rother district council to supervise the beach, was asked about his emphasis on the race of those who drowned.

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Teachers at school in Walsall strike over fears for safety from pupils

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:32:49 GMT2017-06-28T18:32:49Z

Industrial action at Willenhall comes as staff tell of running battles with students and Ofsted officials being pelted with food

Teachers at a West Midlands secondary school have begun industrial action because of fears for their safety from disruptive pupils and concerns about management, as staff spoke of violent behaviour after a critical report by school inspectors.

Teachers from the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT unions staged a one-day strike on Tuesday at Willenhall school, which is run by the E-Act academy chain. The teachers intend to take prolonged periods of industrial action over the next two weeks if things fail to improve.

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Tesco continues savings drive as it cuts 1,200 head-office jobs

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:54:31 GMT2017-06-28T14:54:31Z

One in four roles at Hatfield and Welwyn offices to go, says supermarket – week after it said 1,100 roles in Cardiff would be axed

Tesco is to cut 1,200 jobs at its head office, only a week after announcing that 1,100 jobs would be axed at a call centre, as its chief executive, Dave Lewis, presses on with a cost-cutting drive.

The UK’s largest supermarket chain told staff of the cuts on Wednesday morning. A quarter of staff at offices in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield face the axe, along with some jobs at the Birmingham head office of Tesco’s One Stop chain and the retailer’s technology and retail support centre in Bangalore, India.

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Pound leaps as Carney says growth will be factor in interest rate debate

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:15:46 GMT2017-06-28T15:15:46Z

Any change to rates would be linked to economic activity and Brexit outcomes, but Bank governor says still ‘too early’ to make that call

The governor of the Bank of England has sent the pound higher on the foreign exchanges after he warned that the continued growth in the UK economy would eventually lead to higher interest rates. Sterling rose by almost a cent against the dollar to stand at a post-election high on remarks seen as bringing forward the date of the first increase in the cost of borrowing since the start of the financial crisis 10 years ago.

Although Carney broadly reiterated his “wait and see” approach to interest rates, the pound was trading at just below $1.30 amid speculation that the Bank’s monetary policy committee would over the coming rescind the emergency quarter-point cut in interest rates after last summer’s Brexit vote.

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'Culture war' is sticking point in Northern Irish power-sharing talks

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:06:34 GMT2017-06-28T14:06:34Z

Sinn Féin wants rights for Irish language speakers while DUP argues for broader law covering Ulster Scots and Orange culture

A “culture war” between the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Féin is said to be the main obstacle to restoring power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.

As talks in Belfast aimed at restoring a cross-community coalition reach their final phase before Thursday’s deadline, the main point of contention is Sinn Féin’s demand for an Irish Language Act.

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Faecal bacteria found in ice from Costa, Caffè Nero and Starbucks

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 13:24:32 GMT2017-06-28T13:24:32Z

BBC Watchdog investigation of iced water from the three major coffee chains found faecal coliform bacteria in samples

Ice from three major coffee chains in the UK has been found to contain faecal bacteria.

An undercover investigation revealed that iced water obtained from high street outlets Caffè Nero, Starbucks and Costa Coffee all contained faecal coliform bacteria, with a positive test found for seven out of 10 samples from Costa and three out of 10 samples from the other two chains.

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Schools in England cut back on teaching hours to save money

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:02:20 GMT2017-06-28T16:02:20Z

Leicestershire primary plans to close at lunchtime on Fridays, while other schools are shortening the learning week in face of budget cuts

Schools across England are trying to save money by cutting back on teaching hours and trimming the length of their week, as the ongoing funding crisis casts a shadow over next year’s operations. While state schools face a combination of frozen budgets, rising prices, higher pensions and staff costs, many are choosing to reduce hours rather than cut teaching staff in their efforts to save money.

A primary school in Leicestershire is among the latest to consult parents over adopting a shorter week, with children to be let out early on Fridays – but schools large and small are looking at similar solutions. Sandon secondary school in Essex has told parents that next year’s pupils could have an hour less teaching a week, along with cuts to PE and personal, social, health and economics (PSHE) lessons for some year groups.

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Immigration detainees bring legal challenge against £1 an hour 'slave' wages

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:35:00 GMT2017-06-28T09:35:00Z

Lawyers for 10 people held in UK centres want Home Office to raise minimum pay for voluntary but ‘essential’ work by detainees

Ten people detained in UK immigration centres have launched a legal challenge against the Home Office for paying them “slave labour” wages of £1 per hour.

The detainees, from countries including Nigeria, Jamaica and Poland, are not covered by minimum wage legislation even though, unlike prisoners, they have committed no crime.

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London house price growth slows as rest of UK bounces back

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:37:05 GMT2017-06-28T09:37:05Z

Nationwide finds weakest pace of growth in capital since 2012, thanks to lower buy-to-let demand and higher stamp duty

London house prices suffered a sharp slowdown in the second quarter, rising at the weakest rate in five years and falling behind the rest of the UK according to the latest snapshot of the property market from Nationwide.

Annual price growth in the capital dropped to 1.2% between April and June, from 5% in the previous quarter. It was the slowest growth since 2012 and fell below the 2.8% rise across the country as a whole.

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Stagecoach says it has overpaid for East Coast rail contract as profitability plunges

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 21:53:21 GMT2017-06-28T21:53:21Z

Brexit and terrorism meant franchise will ‘have to be reset’, says third private operator of London to Edinburgh line in 11 years

The London-to-Edinburgh rail line is facing its third crisis of private ownership in 11 years after Stagecoach clashed with the government over the terms of its East Coast franchise. Stagecoach has also admitted that in hindsight it overpaid for the £3.3bn contract, blaming factors including Brexit and terrorism for underperformance that punched an £84m hole in its finances.

The difficulties facing Virgin East Coast, 90% owned by Stagecoach and 10% by Virgin, prompted renewed calls for nationalisation of the railways.

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UK survey finds huge support for ending austerity

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 23:01:04 GMT2017-06-27T23:01:04Z

Social attitudes survey also finds record level of support for same-sex relationships and women’s rights to abortion

Public tolerance of austerity is collapsing as support for higher taxes to enable more spending on health, education and policing increases, according to the latest British social attitudes survey.

Eight in 10 people surveyed for the annual barometer of public attitudes said they wanted more cash pumped into the NHS, while seven in 10 supported more investment in schools, and 60% wanted higher spending on the police.

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Co-op Bank secures £700m rescue deal from hedge funds

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:43:43 GMT2017-06-28T11:43:43Z

Co-operative Group will be left with just 1% stake as troubled lender vows to continue its ethical policy

The Co-operative Group will be left with only a 1% stake in the Co-op Bank after a complex deal reached with hedge funds and other investors to pump £700m into the lossmaking lender.

The capital injection means the bank, which has 4 million customers, will continue as a standalone entity after it abandoned efforts to find a buyer. It requires bondholders – including some private investors who own certain tranches of bonds – to take heavy losses. Depositors are not affected.

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Brazil president in trouble as top senator quits and says government 'discredited'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:42:14 GMT2017-06-28T22:42:14Z

Departing Senate leader has been a rival of Michel Temer’s and apparently wants to distance himself from the deeply unpopular president ahead of re-election bid

Another thread of support has been cut away from Brazil’s scandal-plagued president Michel Temer after the ruling party’s senate leader resigned and declared the government to be “discredited”.

Renan Calheiros quit his post just hours after the supreme court sent a request to the legislature for the president to be put on trial for allegedly accepting millions of dollars in bribes from the meat-packing company JBS.

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Cockatoos impress opposite sex with Phil Collins-style drum solos

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:00:23 GMT2017-06-28T18:00:23Z

Scientists find male birds performing alone with small sticks before female audience, with calls, periodic blushing, and raising feathers on their crests

Researchers have captured the first footage of cockatoos bashing out drum solos with little sticks and seedpods in what are believed to be musical displays to impress the opposite sex.

Scientists took the extraordinary footage after stalking the shy and elusive Cape York palm cockatoos for seven years through the unspoilt wilderness of the peninsula in far north Queensland.

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Dead heads: Turkish site reveals more evidence of neolithic 'skull cult'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:06:40 GMT2017-06-28T19:06:40Z

Fragments of three skulls found at Göbekli Tepe have hallmarks of being carved with flint after being scalped and defleshed first

Fragments of carved bone unearthed at an ancient site on a Turkish hillside are evidence that the people who spent time there belonged to a neolithic “skull cult” – a group that embraces rituals around the heads of the dead.

The remains were uncovered during field work at Göbekli Tepe, an 11,000-year-old site in the south-east of the country, where thousands of pieces of human bone were found, including sections of skulls bearing grooves, holes and the occasional dab of ochre.

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Republicans rush to prevent health bill's collapse after vote postponed

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:04:28 GMT2017-06-28T22:04:28Z

Mitch McConnell hopes to forge agreement before Senate recess as Trump promises ‘great, great surprise’ – but polls show little support for measure

As Republican leadership attempts to heal the deep divisions in the party to save their stalled healthcare bill from collapse, some lawmakers are proposing a more novel solution: bipartisanship.

On Wednesday, Republicans paraded before Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s office with a range of concerns and demands about the healthcare bill, which a recent analysis found would leave 22 million more Americans without health insurance over the next decade.

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Pope Francis announces five new cardinals, including first from Mali

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:42:32 GMT2017-06-28T23:42:32Z

Pope instructs cardinals – from Spain, Sweden, Laos and El Salvador as well as Mali – to be servants, not ‘princes’

Pope Francis gave the Catholic church five new cardinals Wednesday, sombrery instructing them to act as servants and not “princes” in a world where innocents are dying from wars and terrorism, slavery persists and refugee camps often are living hells.

Reflecting Francis’ attention to the poor, three of the five cardinals hail from developing nations and regions: Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun of Laos; Bamako Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Mali; and Monsignor Gregorio Rosa Chavez, who continued working as a parish priest while serving as San Salvador’s auxiliary bishop.

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Donald Trump to visit Paris for Bastille Day ceremonies

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:25:41 GMT2017-06-28T17:25:41Z

US president accepts Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to attend ceremony marking 100th anniversary of America’s entry into first world war

Donald Trump will attend France’s Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on 14 July, after accepting an invitation from the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

Macron’s office said on Wednesday that the US president would attend the traditional Paris military parade as part of the commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States into the first world war. US troops will join French soldiers in the annual display of military might on the Champs Elysées.

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Italy considers closing its ports to boats carrying migrants

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:58:01 GMT2017-06-28T17:58:01Z

Government reportedly seeking EU approval of drastic changes to asylum procedures after surge in refugee arrivals

The Italian government is considering blocking boats carrying migrants from landing at its ports after nearly 11,000 refugees arrived on its shores in five days.

It has been reported that the government has given its ambassador to the EU, Maurizio Massari, a mandate to raise the issue formally with the European commission to seek permission for a drastic revision of EU asylum procedures. One idea being discussed is denying docking privileges to boats not carrying Italian flags that seek to land in Italian ports, mainly in Sicily or Calabria.

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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong detained by police before Xi visit

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:16:19 GMT2017-06-28T23:16:19Z

Xi’s visit marks 20 years since Hong Kong was handed back to China, and amid fears are growing Beijing is tightening its grip on the city

Hong Kong student pro-democracy campaigner Joshua Wong was detained by police on Wednesday after an anti-China protest before a visit by President Xi Jinping.

Wong was among around 30 protesters who had staged a three-hour sit-in at a harbour front statue and were led away into police vans.

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Ogoni widows file civil writ accusing Shell of complicity in Nigeria killings

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-06-28T23:01:07Z

Women bring case against Shell in the Netherlands seeking damages and public apology for state executions carried out by military court in 1995

The widows of men who were hanged by Nigeria’s military government in the 1990s have launched a civil case against Shell, accusing it of complicity in their husbands’ executions.

Esther Kiobel, the widow of Dr Barinem Kiobel, and three other women whose husbands were hanged in 1995, served a writ in a Dutch court this week, following a 20-year battle with the oil giant.

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US claims warning over possible Syria chemical attack averted strike

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:58:51 GMT2017-06-28T19:58:51Z

Russia warns US of proportional response to any preemptive measures against Syrian forces as US official calls intelligence behind warning ‘far from conclusive’

US defence secretary James Mattis has said that Syria appears to have heeded a warning from Washington not to carry out a chemical weapons attack.

Meanwhile Russia, the main backer of President Bashar al-Assad, warned that it would respond proportionately if the US took preemptive measures against Syrian forces.

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Academy invites record 744 new members amid effort to increase diversity

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:09:26 GMT2017-06-28T20:09:26Z

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 2017 class includes Gal Gadot and Barry Jenkins, attempting to make good on a promise to diversify

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday that it had invited a record 744 new members to its governing body, surpassing the 683 invitations issued in 2016.

The Academy has been under pressure to diversify its membership for several years, reaching a crescendo in 2015, when all 20 acting nominees were white, prompting the viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and a collective push to ensure the awards show’s governing body included more women and people of color.

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Sniper's record kill shot in Iraq 'should be celebrated', Trudeau says

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:49:39 GMT2017-06-28T19:49:39Z

  • PM says lethal shot from 3,540m within Canada’s advise-and-assist mission
  • Opponents say Canadians deserve truth about Canada’s true role in Iraq

A record-shattering lethal shot fired by a Canadian sniper in Iraq has reignited a longstanding debate over Canada’s role in the region, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau telling reporters it was “entirely consistent” with the country’s non-combat mission and should be celebrated.

Last week, the defence department confirmed reports that a Canadian sniper had shot an Isis militant from 3,540 metres (2 miles) away. The shot surpassed the previous world military record for the longest confirmed kill – held by a British sniper who took aim at a Taliban fighter in 2009 – by more than a kilometre.

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World has three years left to stop dangerous climate change, warn experts

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:00:22 GMT2017-06-28T17:00:22Z

Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres among signatories of letter warning that the next three years will be crucial to stopping the worst effects of global warming

Avoiding dangerous levels of climate change is still just about possible, but will require unprecedented effort and coordination from governments, businesses, citizens and scientists in the next three years, a group of prominent experts has warned.

Warnings over global warming have picked up pace in recent months, even as the political environment has grown chilly with Donald Trump’s formal announcement of the US’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement. This year’s weather has beaten high temperature records in some regions, and 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the hottest years on record.

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US unveils new airline security measures to avoid laptop ban

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:38:31 GMT2017-06-28T20:38:31Z

  • Homeland security proposes enhanced screening of personal devices
  • Current restrictions to be removed if airports meet new requirements

US Homeland Security secretary John Kelly on Wednesday unveiled enhanced security measures for foreign flights arriving in the United States in what officials said was a move to prevent an expansion of an in-cabin ban on laptops and other large electronic devices.

“Inaction is not an option,” Kelly said, saying he believed airlines will comply with the new screening. But he said the measures were not the last step to tighten security.

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Duterte tells troops fighting militants not to worry about civilian deaths

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:29:41 GMT2017-06-28T16:29:41Z

Philippines president tells soldiers trying to suppress uprising linked to Isis that that he will protect them if they accidentally kill civilians

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has assured troops he would protect them from any legal action if they accidentally killed civilians while battling militants who have besieged a southern city.

Duterte ordered the army to destroy the militants aligned with Islamic State who attacked Marawi on 23 May, sparking fighting that has left more than 400 combatants and civilians dead.

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A winning smile avoids showing too many teeth, researchers say

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:24:32 GMT2017-06-28T18:24:32Z

US scientists have investigated the makeup of the perfect smile, saying the findings could be useful for clinicians working to restore facial movement

If you want your smile to appear pleasant, you might want to avoid a dazzling beam, research suggests. A study by scientists in the US has found that wide smiles with a high angle and showing a lot of teeth are not the best at creating a positive impression.

“A lot of people don’t understand how important their smiles are and how important this aspect of communication we do with each other every day is,” said Stephen Guy, a co-author of the research from the University of Minnesota. The authors say the findings could prove valuable for clinicians working to restore facial movement and expression to those who have experienced facial paralysis.

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Maximum human lifespan could far exceed 115 years – new research

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:40:25 GMT2017-06-28T18:40:25Z

Five research teams say there is no compelling evidence there is an upper limit on mortality, disputing claim in Nature

The maximum human lifespan could far exceed previous predictions, according to work that challenges the idea that humans are approaching a hard limit on longevity.

The latest research comes in response to a recent high-profile paper that concluded “maximum longevity has hit a ceiling of 114.9 years” – a claim that prompted extraordinary levels of criticism from the scientific community. Now five separate research teams have launched critiques of the work in a series of papers in the journal Nature.

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Venezuela: police helicopter attacks supreme court with grenades

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:58:22 GMT2017-06-28T10:58:22Z

President says explosives failed to detonate in incident following months of increasing violence against his rule

A police helicopter launched grenades at Venezuela’s supreme court building on Tuesday evening following months of protests against the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro.

Maduro said “terrorists” had lobbed two grenades that failed to detonate. Some reports put the number of grenades higher. Local media suggested a former police intelligence officer had carried out the attack.

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French air force chief accused of using fighter jet for weekend jaunts

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:57:22 GMT2017-06-28T14:57:22Z

Gen Richard Reboul has requisitioned an Alpha jet about 10 times since August to fly to and from Provence home, report claims

The distance by road from Bordeaux, in the south-west of France, to the attractive town of Salon-de-Provence in the south-east is 373 miles (600km), a journey that with luck and an absence of embouteillages (traffic jams) will take between five and six hours.

The train takes at least seven, and a commercial flight just over one, plus a half-hour drive from Marseille airport. So for weekends away at his place in Provence, the acting commander-in-chief of the French airforce took a fighter jet instead, according to the investigative and satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné.

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North Korea threatens South's ex-leader with death over 'plot to kill Kim'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:18:50 GMT2017-06-28T16:18:50Z

Pyongyang says Park Geun-hye pushed forward plan to assassinate Kim Jong-un and it has imposed death penalty on her

North Korea has threatened to impose the death penalty on the South’s former president Park Geun-hye over an alleged plot to assassinate its leader, Kim Jong-un.

Park had “pushed forward” a supposed plan by Seoul’s intelligence services to eliminate the North’s leadership, Pyongyang’s security ministries and prosecutors said in a joint statement carried by its official Korean Central News Agency.

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Germany to vote on same-sex marriage after Merkel drops opposition

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:05:49 GMT2017-06-28T17:05:49Z

Bill to grant full marital rights to gay couples hastily put on agenda after chancellor signalled shift in her position on issue

A lesbian couple who inspired Angela Merkel to soften her opposition to same-sex marriage have said they will invite the German chancellor to their wedding if a bill to legalise the ceremony is passed on Friday.

A free vote is expected to take place in the Bundestag on Friday, a day before the summer recess after being hurriedly put on the parliamentary agenda on Wednesday by the Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel’s junior coalition partners. The SPD said last weekend that an agreement on same-sex marriage would be a central condition to any future coalition.

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Berlin police taken off G20 duty after party involving public sex and urination

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:57:59 GMT2017-06-28T11:57:59Z

About 220 officers released from duty for Hamburg summit after raucous party inside fenced-off grounds of temporary container

Berlin’s police department said their officers were “only human” after they were expelled from the security force for next week’s G20 summit for partying.

Related: The party city grows up: how Berlin's clubbers built their own urban village

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Canada judges can require Google to pull results globally, supreme court rules

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:39:56 GMT2017-06-28T16:39:56Z

Decision says country’s courts are able to operate ‘the way Google operates – globally’, but civil liberties advocates warn of censorship online

Canadian courts can force Google to remove results worldwide, the country’s top court has ruled, in decision criticised by civil liberties groups that argue such a move sets a precedent for censorship on the internet.

In its 7-2 decision, Canada’s supreme court found that a court in the country can grant an injunction preventing conduct anywhere in the world when it is necessary to ensure the injunction’s effectiveness.

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Antarctica's ice-free areas to increase by up to a quarter by 2100, study says

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:00:22 GMT2017-06-28T17:00:22Z

If greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, ice-free areas are expected to surge by as much as 17,000 square kilometres

Climate change will cause ice-free areas on Antarctica to increase by up to a quarter by 2100, threatening the diversity of the unique terrestrial plant and animal life that exists there, according to projections from the first study examining the question in detail.

If emissions of greenhouse gasses are not reduced, projected warming and changes in snowfall will cause ice-free areas – which currently make up about 1% of Antarctica and are home to all of the continent’s terrestrial plants and animals – to increase by as much as 17,000 square kilometres.

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Authorities to investigate Jay Sekulow nonprofit after 'troubling' revelations

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:21:12 GMT2017-06-28T18:21:12Z

Authorities in two states are looking into a nonprofit led by an attorney to Donald Trump, after the Guardian reported it had steered tens of millions of dollars to the attorney, his family and their businesses.

Josh Stein, the attorney general of North Carolina, and Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, said on Wednesday they would be examining the operations of Jay Sekulow’s group Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (Case).

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Bright nights: scientists explain rare phenomenon of 'nocturnal sun'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:00:17 GMT2017-06-28T10:00:17Z

Researchers in Canada say ‘zonal waves’ in upper atmosphere may explain why people have reported oddly well-lit evenings since Roman times

The Romans referred to it as the “nocturnal sun”. Later accounts describe it as an unexplained glow – bright enough to read a book by – that would sometimes light up the night sky.

Now researchers from York University in Canada have come up with a possible explanation for the rare phenomenon known as “bright nights”. Using satellite data, two atmospheric scientists from the Toronto institution suggest that the bright nights are not due to the sun or meteors, but instead the result of converging “zonal waves” in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

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Thai doctor fights against carcinogenic raw fish dish that killed his parents

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:03:52 GMT2017-06-28T12:03:52Z

Koi pla, raw fish ground with spices and lime, is thought to kill up to 20,000 people in Thailand every year

A doctor in Thailand whose parents died from liver cancer after eating a much-loved raw fish dish is travelling the country’s rural north-east to warn people off the recipe.

Koi pla, a cheap plate of raw fish ground with spices and lime, is eaten by millions of Thais, especially in one of the nation’s poorest provinces, Isaan.

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Chagos Islanders take marine park case to supreme court

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 13:08:56 GMT2017-06-28T13:08:56Z

Islanders expelled from Indian Ocean home argue that UK decided to create protected area to stop them returning

Chagos Islanders expelled decades ago from their homes on the Indian Ocean archipelago by the UK have taken their case to the supreme court.

Opening a fresh legal challenge to restore the rights of the exiled islanders, Nigel Pleming QC said that a United Nations vote last week signalled a significant shift in international opinion on the dispute and that there was increasing pressure on the UK to allow native Chagossians to return to their homes.

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Steve Carell on Despicable Me 3: 'I think I'm naturally an evil person'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:10:29 GMT2017-06-28T15:10:29Z

Reformed supervillain Gru and his dungaree-sporting Minions are back for another instalment of the high-energy animated comedy. This time Gru attempts to recover a stolen diamond, while trying to resist being tempted back into evildoing by his brother Dru. The film’s stars Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig discuss what makes a good baddie and the enduring appeal of Dru’s diminutive sidekicks

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