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



Published: Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:28:13 GMT2016-12-07T13:28:13Z

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



MPs start debate on call for government to publish Brexit plan – politics live

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:27:36 GMT2016-12-07T13:27:36Z

Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including PMQs and the Commons debate on a motion saying the government should publish a plan for Brexit

Starmer says May’s conference speech was read in Brussels as pointing to the UK being outside the customs union and the single market.

We cannot go into the talks with this unclear, he says.

The overwhelming evidence is that [people] do not want a hard Brexit. There is no consensus for hard Brexit.

Starmer says comments like “Brexit means Brexit” do not help.

People want to know whether it will be hard Brexit, as Theresa May’s conference speech suggested, or a milder version, as comments like Davis’s about paying into the EU budget or the Nissan deal implies.

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Pakistan plane crash: flight PK661 comes down in mountainous north

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:10:45 GMT2016-12-07T13:10:45Z

Pakistan International Airlines plane carrying 47 people crashed en route to Islamabad from Chitral

A Pakistan International Airlines plane with 47 people on board has crashed in the mountainous north of the country en route to the capital, Islamabad, from the northern town of Chitral.

The plane crashed in a village near the town of Havelian, about 45 miles north-west of Islamabad, an official said.

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Julian Assange defies Swedish prosecutors by releasing rape statement

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:59:11 GMT2016-12-07T10:59:11Z

WikiLeaks founder publishes answers he gave during questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy over rape allegation

Julian Assange has thumbed his nose at Swedish investigators, who he says have robbed him of his freedom for six years, by releasing the answers he gave to them under questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy last month.

The decision to issue the statement, which contains for the first time a detailed account by the WikiLeaks founder of his encounter with a woman in August 2010 who made rape allegations against him, marks a fresh twist in a case in which Assange claims an early leak of information from the Swedish police has shaped opinion.

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Man held over online abuse of article 50 campaigner Gina Miller

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:04:38 GMT2016-12-07T12:04:38Z

Man, 55, arrested on suspicion of sending racially aggravated malicious communications to Miller

A man has been arrested on suspicion of making racially aggravated communications against Gina Miller, the woman at the centre of the supreme court hearing over the government’s plan to trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union without parliamentary approval.

Officers from the Met’s anti-cybercrime Falcon unit arrested a 55-year-old man in Swindon on suspicion of racially aggravated malicious communications.

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HSBC, JP Morgan and Crédit Agricole fined €485m by EU

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:22:06 GMT2016-12-07T10:22:06Z

Three banks colluded to manipulate Euribor euro interest rate derivatives, say competition authorities

A five-year investigation by competition authorities in Brussels into rigging of interest rates drew to a close on Wednesday when three major banks – including HSBC – were fined €485m (£412m) for colluding to manipulate a crucial benchmark rate.

The three banks, which also included JP Morgan Chase and Crédit Agricole, did not agree to an earlier settlement involving a seven-bank cartel over the setting of the interest rate known as Euribor. All three deny wrongdoing.

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Trump adviser’s son loses transition team job for spreading fake news

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:32:29 GMT2016-12-07T10:32:29Z

Michael Flynn Jr sacked over ‘Pizzagate’ claims that led to shots being fired at the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington

The son of Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has lost his job in the president-elect’s transition team after he spread a false conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton that led to shots being fired in pizza restaurant.

While working for his father, Michael Flynn Jr tweeted an erroneous theory that Clinton’s allies had been running a paedophile ring in the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlour in Washington.

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Hospital chaplain loses same-sex wedding discrimination appeal

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:01:45 GMT2016-12-07T13:01:45Z

Jeremy Pemberton was appealing against ruling backing Church of England ban on gay clergy marrying their partners

A Church of England hospital chaplain has lost his claim that he was discriminated against when his licence to work was withdrawn after he married his same-sex partner, in a case that gay rights campaigners hoped would force the church to change its stance.

Jeremy Pemberton was appealing against an earlier ruling that backed the church’s legal right to enforce its position that gay clergy are forbidden from marrying their partners.

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Guardian scoops three prizes at British Journalism Awards

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:31:43 GMT2016-12-07T12:31:43Z

Prizes include investigation of the year for Panama Papers and honours for Sports Direct exposé and 6x9 virtual reality project

The Guardian has won three British Journalism Awards – more than any other news organisation – including investigation of the year for its stories that exposed how the former prime minister David Cameron benefited from an offshore fund set up in a tax haven by his father.

Guardian journalists accepted the award jointly with a team from BBC Panorama for their reporting on a huge leak of emails from law firm Mossack Fonseca, billed as the Panama Papers, which exposed how Cameron and other world leaders, including Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, kept details of their wealth private from tax officials and the public.

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Indonesia earthquake kills dozens in Aceh province

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:28:06 GMT2016-12-07T10:28:06Z

Death toll from shallow 6.5-magnitude quake that struck at dawn rises to 97, as officials call for excavation equipment and emergency supplies

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck off Indonesia’s Sumatra island at dawn on Wednesday has risen to 97, with more people feared trapped in collapsed buildings.

Search and rescue teams in Aceh province, an area previously devastated by a massive quake and tsunami on 26 December 2004, used tractors to shift the rubble in attempts to reach people buried in their houses.

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UK industrial production falls at worst rate in four years

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:47:24 GMT2016-12-07T11:47:24Z

Surprise 1.3% drop in October dents hopes economy will end year on a high

Industrial production fell sharply and unexpectedly in October, dealing a blow to hopes that the UK economy will end 2016 on a high.

A surprise 1.3% drop in production over the month followed a 0.4% decrease in September, according to the Office for National Statistics, and was the biggest monthly fall in four years. was far worse than the 0.2% rise forecast by economists. Economists had forecast a 0.2% rise for October.

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Where is the world's most 'godless' city?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:03:22 GMT2016-12-07T12:03:22Z

Norwich has the highest proportion of residents describing themselves as having no religion, while Berlin has been called the ‘atheist capital of Europe’. But what about the rest of the world? And is such an assessment meaningful?

Discovering how many people in a given city believe in God (or not) is an almost superhuman task. In territories controlled or influenced by Islamic State, for example, the risks to declared non-believers are drastic and obvious. On the other side of the coin, the state atheism promulgated by the leaders of the Soviet Union meant that believers were stigmatised at best, persecuted at worst.

As sociology professor Phil Zuckerman pointed out in an essay in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, even the terminology of religious belief can throw up roadblocks to understanding. If my idea of religious practice is a good deal looser than yours, can we have a meaningful conversation about which cities are godless and which are not?

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Fleabag five-star review – filthily funny show's shattering return to stage

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:35:26 GMT2016-12-07T10:35:26Z

Soho theatre, London
Phoebe Waller-Bridge expertly controls the audience as she performs the original monologue that led to her TV smash

It’s unusual for the text of a theatrical monologue to be republished with the words “now a major TV series” stamped above the title, but Fleabag is a rare piece, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, its 31-year-old writer-performer, has had a remarkable year.

Her filthily funny solo show about a young single woman who responds to two significant deaths with frequent insignificant sex was performed on the Edinburgh fringe three years ago and has had several revival runs around the UK. This latest return to the Soho theatre in London celebrates the success this summer of a six-part TV expansion that was progressively promoted from BBC3 to BBC2 and then Amazon Prime.

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You can question May’s Brexit strategy. Just don’t ask if she’s up to the job | Anne Perkins

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:59:21 GMT2016-12-07T12:59:21Z

No one queried David Cameron’s credentials to be prime minister, or Tony Blair’s, even after manifest failure. So why doubt May? Because she’s a woman

Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, it would be fair to say, is not going well. It is hard to imagine how it could: there’s not exactly a Baedeker guide of the best options, because there aren’t any. There is no good Brexit strategy. The best we can hope for is a not-catastrophic one.

Yesterday, against a ludicrous backdrop of a desert-blue sky and tanks improbably arranged on the deck of a Royal Navy ship – May is on a tour of the Gulf – she declared she was not going to have a hard Brexit or a soft one, but a “red, white and blue” Brexit.

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TV for the fake news generation: why Westworld is the defining show of 2016

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:16:54 GMT2016-12-07T08:16:54Z

HBO’s sci-fi hit is an ambiguous, amoral tale pored over online by people looking for meaning. If that isn’t a show for our times, I don’t know what is

Westworld is a hit. Viewing figures released this week confirmed that the first season of HBO’s sci-fi western drama received a bigger audience than any other debut in the channel’s history. The same applies in the UK with Sky Atlantic. In the past seven days Westworld has been nominated at the Writers Guild of America awards, with Golden Globes sure to follow. Its 10-episode run has been marked by an endless stream of online conversation and content.

By any definition it has gone well. But I’d go further and say that Westworld is the defining piece of TV in 2016. Game of Thones may be a bigger phenomenon. Bake Off may have gripped Britain as it looked for a post-Brexit hug. But no other show, intentionally or otherwise, seems to me to have been so markedly a product of its time. (Ok, maybe the news.)

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Best albums of 2016: No 8 Chaleur Humaine by Christine and the Queens

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:00:25 GMT2016-12-07T08:00:25Z

In the year of Bowie’s death, Héloïse Letissier’s triumphant crossover record was a salutary reminder that pop can be inspirational and comforting

One of the year’s more heartening success stories was that of the Frenchwoman who, depressed, lonely and insecure, fell under the wing of a group of Soho drag queens in London. The performers saw in Héloïse Letissier a kindred spirit and nurtured her, sending her back to Paris to become Christine and the Queens, a character who expressed Letissier’s fears and confronted them, and who became the most unlikely crossover success in a long time.

Chaleur Humaine (meaning Human Warmth) was released in June 2014 in France, but didn’t creep out in the rest of the world until early 2016, a few tracks replaced by new ones, a few with lyrics reworked in English. The translations were not literal; in fact, you’d struggle to call them translations at all. The song Tilted, which had been called Christine on the original release, opened “I will die before Methuselah / So I’ll fight sleep with ammonia,” whereas the French version had been something along the lines of: “I start books at the end / And I hold my head high for nothing.”

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Former Celtic kitman Jim McCafferty ‘confesses to sexual abuse in 1990s’

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:39:49 GMT2016-12-07T12:39:49Z

• Youth coach reported to have abused around a dozen victims
• McCafferty, 71, faces possible investigation and prosecution

Youth coach Jim McCafferty, who spent time at Celtic in the 1990s, has admitted to criminal activities with young boys during his time at the club, according to the Daily Record.

The 71-year-old former kitman for Celtic, Hibernian and Falkirk, has spoken to the newspaper of a campaign of sexual abuse of young footballers over two decades. He now faces a possible police investigation and a likely prosecution and prison sentence.

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Rob Andrew: we want to know that Sussex cricket still has a big part to play

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:56:45 GMT2016-12-07T12:56:45Z

Hove club’s new chief executive has a first-class century to his name and played for Yorkshire seconds, but after more than 30 years in rugby union, he currently has more questions than answers as he strives to keep Sussex ‘relevant’

Eyebrows were raised in two sports when it was announced Rob Andrew would enter the fraught, fragile world of county cricket as the chief executive of Sussex.

For Sussex, who received 50 applications to replace the estimable Zac Toumazi, and the county game, Andrew, a known quantity from beyond the sport’s boundary, represented quite a coup.

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Goals are on the rise, but does this mean defending has become unfashionable? | Jonathan Wilson

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:02:48 GMT2016-12-07T11:02:48Z

If the average is maintained it will be the highest-scoring season in 20-team Premier League history, but as usual there is far from a single, simple explanation

Manchester City have kept two clean sheets all season. Liverpool have kept three. Both sides may have come out of last weekend lamenting defeats that have allowed Chelsea to open a small gap at the top of the table but it could be argued that with defences like they have it is remarkable they are as high up as they are. But this, perhaps, is the modern way: defending in the old-fashioned sense has become unfashionable.

“There is no modern generation,” José Mourinho growled in the summer of 2015 after winning the Premier League with Chelsea. He was responding to criticism of his supposedly “boring” style of play and with a certain level of wilful misunderstanding dismissed those who supposedly rejected the counterattack as “stupid”. He may have had a point that there are certain coaches who pay too little attention to their defences but he was surely wrong about there being no new generation. Pressing, high lines, percussive, vertical football are in vogue, from Dortmund to Liverpool, from Sevilla to Hoffenheim.

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Warren Gatland names Steve Borthwick and Andy Farrell in Lions coaching team

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:02:29 GMT2016-12-07T12:02:29Z

• Rob Howley also on board for 10-match tour of New Zealand
• Neil Jenkins likely to be appointed kicking coach for 2017 tour

Warren Gatland has named Andy Farrell, Steve Borthwick and Rob Howley in his backroom team for the British & Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand in June.

Farrell, who became Ireland’s defence coach earlier this year, was part of the successful 2013 tour to Australia and was praised by the Gatland following a series of well-drilled performances in which the Lions beat the Wallabies 2-1.

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MCC accuses Faf du Plessis of ‘flagrantly’ cheating in ball-tampering row

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:19:38 GMT2016-12-07T12:19:38Z

• MCC’s head of cricket accuses South Africa captain of ball tampering
• Du Plessis is appealing verdict handed to him in Australia

Faf du Plessis’s pleas of innocence over ball tampering have been met with a withering assessment from the MCC World Cricket Committee with the body’s head of cricket, John Stephenson, saying the South Africa captain’s actions “fragrantly contravened the law”.

Du Plessis is seeking to have the guilty verdict handed down to him overturned on appeal. He was fined 100% of his match fee by the International Cricket Council under its code of conduct after television footage emerged from the second Test against Australia in Hobart last month showing him applying sugared saliva from a mint in his mouth to the ball in an attempt to aid swing.

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Dubai Ladies Masters suspended after caddie dies following collapse on course

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:47:07 GMT2016-12-07T08:47:07Z

• First round suspended after caddie collapses on 13th fairway
• Caddie, who was carrying Anne-Lisa Caudal’s bag, dies in hospital

The first round of the Dubai Ladies Masters has been suspended following the death of a caddie.

The caddie, who was carrying Anne-Lise Caudal’s bag, collapsed on the 13th fairway before being taken to hospital where he died.

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The Premier League's 1950s-born players and football grounds named after sports | The Knowledge

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:15:28 GMT2016-12-07T10:15:28Z

Plus: the first Premier League substitute and lots more. Send your questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“With Moise Kean of Juventus appearing and being the first top-flight player to be born in 2000, I was wondering who the last players to play in the Premier League to be born in the 50s, 60s and 70s were?” wonders Tom Worsley.

Stuart Sale has all the information you could possibly ask for on this one. “There are still players born in the 1970s playing in the Premier League,” he points out. “Shay Given (born 1976), Paul Robinson (born 1979) and Gareth McAuley (also 1979) have all played this season. Both Robinson and McAuley played last weekend.

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MCC recommends red cards be introduced into laws of cricket

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:08:14 GMT2016-12-07T10:08:14Z

• New law expected to come into effect by October next year
• Decline in behaviour one of reasons behind suggestion for change

A red-card penalty is set to be introduced into the laws of cricket for the first time.

The MCC, custodian of the laws, will receive a recommendation from its world cricket committee to give umpires the power to send off a player in the most extreme cases of on-field breaches of discipline.

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Matt Le Tissier accuses ex-Southampton coach of 'very wrong' actions

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:54:19 GMT2016-12-06T23:54:19Z

Former player says he and others were given naked massages by Bob Higgins, who was club’s youth officer in 1980s

The former Southampton footballer Matt Le Tissier has revealed that he witnessed inappropriate behaviour by a coach at the centre of abuse allegations during his time at the club.

He said on Tuesday that he and other young players were given naked massages by Bob Higgins, a former youth officer at Southampton. Though the former player said he was not a victim of abuse himself, he said the behaviour was “very wrong”.

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Dale Cavese: the football chant that took over the internet and the world

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:10:05 GMT2016-12-07T13:10:05Z

A song written in Venezuela in the 1950s and recorded by Julio Iglesias in the 1970s is now sung in stadiums across the world – thanks to a YouTube video

By Copa90, part of the Guardian Sport Network

As football stories take on a viral nature, chants and melodies are carrying like never before, becoming internet trends like dabbing and the mannequin challenge. Fans’ chants are travelling like never before. Will Grigg’s on Fire defined the summer more than David Guetta’s official Euro 2016 choice, This One’s For You, but no song has spread across the planet like Dale Cavese, the first football chant to gain global popularity through the internet. The tune has made the small Italian club SS Cavese 1919 world famous; previously they were best known for a three-year stint in Serie B in the early 1980s.

The melody comes the song Moliendo Café, which was written in Venezuela in 1958. It has been reinterpreted in many languages, but found its biggest audience when revived by Julio Iglesias in 1976. A few years later, the song became staple for Boca Juniors fans at the La Bombonera, where it would remain almost exclusively for three decades, until, through a series of coincidences, it appeared in Italy.

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Novak Djokovic splits with coach Boris Becker after three years

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 21:21:00 GMT2016-12-06T21:21:00Z

• World No2 ends partnership with German grand slam winner
• ‘The goals we set when we started have been completely fulfilled’

Novak Djokovic’s split with Boris Becker – predictably described by each of them on Tuesday night as mutual – was one of the worst kept secrets in tennis, and might yet help the Serb in his pursuit of Andy Murray at the top of the ATP rankings.

Related: Fight over Washington's nickname continues in wake of Standing Rock

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Cricket’s Brazilian outpost: how CCC thrive in the ‘corridor of sun certainty’

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:00:27 GMT2016-12-07T10:00:27Z

The rural backwater of Itaguaí is an unlikely hotbed of cricket, kept alive by expats and eccentricity and providing a world-class excuse for a party

“In all of this there was a comforting sense of the ridiculous.” So wrote Peter Fleming in Brazilian Adventure, which – eight decades after it was published – is still the sharpest piece of travel writing in English about South America’s biggest nation.

He was lampooning a hare-brained expedition of foreigners that set off from Rio de Janeiro in 1932 but his words could just as easily describe the cricket match that took place last Saturday in the city’s remote suburb of Itaguaí.

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The Jeff Fisher NFL All-Stars represent a level of mediocrity we can all aspire to

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:00:29 GMT2016-12-07T11:00:29Z

Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill are hardly great, but, like the Rams coach, they show up every day and are just competent enough to stay employed

My first job out of college, before I became an international man of sports takes, was for a public relations firm. I instantly hated the industry, and because my heart was not in it, I was not all that good at the job. But I did the job. I showed up to work and for meetings on time. I didn’t leave early. I dressed professionally. I met deadlines and didn’t make egregious typos or mistakes. I didn’t cause conflicts with my coworkers or microwave leftover fish in the break room.

But there was absolutely nothing I did to stand out or suggest I was some sort of PR phenom. I needed money to pay my rent and, at the time, this job provided it so I went to work every day.

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Arsène Wenger enjoys Arsenal’s view from the top after 4-1 win over FC Basel

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:40:11 GMT2016-12-07T07:40:11Z

• Gunners finish ahead of Paris Saint-Germain
• Lucas Pérez hat-trick sparks triumph

Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal can approach the knockout phase of the Champions League free of guilt after seeing his side capitalise ruthlessly on Paris Saint-Germain’s slip to claim Group A with an emphatic victory on the banks of the Rhine.

FC Basel were swept aside with ease in Switzerland courtesy of Lucas Pérez’s first hat-trick since he moved to the Premier League side in the summer, as Wenger’s decision to field a strong lineup paid off handsomely.

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Places like Sleaford are desperate for change – no wonder they back Brexit | Phil McDuff

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:00:26 GMT2016-12-07T09:00:26Z

Thursday’s byelection takes place in a region that has been crippled by a broken economic system, so of course it will reaffirm the referendum result

Zac Goldsmith’s loss to the Lib Dems in Richmond was one way in which a “Brexit byelection” can go. Tomorrow’s byelection in Sleaford represents the other side, where the smart money is on the Lincolnshire constituency reaffirming its referendum position of “listen to us, we want out”.

Related: Sleaford ​​and North Hykeham voters express impatience over Brexit

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Amy Schumer is perfect for the role of Barbie. Here’s why | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:17:10 GMT2016-12-07T11:17:10Z

Body-shaming of women and girls who have the audacity to be larger than size zero is a poisonous part of our culture – luckily, the antidote is at hand

I sometimes feel a bit sorry for Amy Schumer. Her phenomenally successful career, which includes sellout arena tours, a bestselling book, a Hollywood career and, for many young women, rising feminist-icon status, makes it difficult, admittedly – but I do.

Why? Because simply by being a woman in the public eye, existing, and having the audacity to do so without the perfect size-zero proportions demanded of the women on our screens, she has been forced to become a spokeswoman on society’s body-image fixation.

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Caesarean sections are rising – but don’t blame mothers | Rebecca Schiller

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:46:44 GMT2016-12-07T12:46:44Z

Research saying mums with small pelvises perpetuate the need for caesareans simply feeds the media’s insatiable appetite for woman-blaming

Just when you thought the pressure on mothers couldn’t be any greater, science and the media machine that interprets it have come up with a brand new Darwin-shaped stick to beat us with. According to a “simple mathematical model” published this week, the rising rate of caesarean sections could be explained by an evolutionary trend whereby the procedure itself perpetuates small pelvises in women.

Babies who would previously have died during childbirth because they were unable to fit their large heads through their mothers’ narrow pelvises are now saved by caesarean sections. According to the theory, the small-pelvis genes of the mother are then passed on to the next generation, defying natural selection. Researchers predict that this will lead to an evolutionary loop requiring increasing numbers of caesareans as the generations go by.

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Will Trump herald a US economic boom?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:57:31 GMT2016-12-07T11:57:31Z

His policies have risks, but deregulation, tax cuts and infrastructure spending will boost business confidence

After years of hibernation, will the US economy rouse itself for a big comeback over the next couple of years? With an incoming Republican administration hellbent on reflating an economy already near full employment, and with promised trade restrictions driving up the price of import-competing goods, and with central-bank independence likely to come under attack, higher inflation – likely exceeding 3% at times – is a near-certainty. And output growth could surprise as well, possibly reaching 4%, at least temporarily.

Impossible you say? Not at all.

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Theresa May’s clever holding position has caught remainers off guard | Matthew d’Ancona

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:55:10 GMT2016-12-07T11:55:10Z

By agreeing to a Brexit concession that potential Tory rebels expected would be much harder to secure, the PM has edged closer to the moral high ground

Theresa May’s refusal to provide a “running commentary” on Britain’s departure from the EU – the phrase borrowed from Gordon Brown when he was applying his famous five tests to the euro – was never going to last, for the simple reason that nobody was going to stand for it. Diplomatic reticence is one thing. A vow of silence is quite another.

On the same day that she pledged “a red, white and blue Brexit”, the prime minister agreed to publish the outline of her negotiating strategy before triggering article 50. In the short term, this represents a climbdown.

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Theresa May risks becoming an accidental Europe-wrecker | Rafael Behr

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:30:23 GMT2016-12-07T06:30:23Z

The prime minister is feeding a Ukip-inspired image of the EU as hostile, where any interest in the continent’s future is unpatriotic

After Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, continental governments above all fear contagion. Once the precedent is set, voters in other countries could be infected with the same rebellious spirit.

Anxiety about a great unravelling may be overblown. British Euroscepticism has unique cultural properties, and the messy aftermath of our referendum looks like a recommendation not to follow. Still, there is a desire in some quarters – in the European parliament, the commission and some capitals – to escalate the trauma of Brexit as a warning against imitation: pour encourager les autres.

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Britain champions female refugees abroad only to fail them here | Kasia Staszewska

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:48:48 GMT2016-12-07T12:48:48Z

Despite saying it wants to protect women from sexual violence in conflict, the UK fails to provide safe, legal routes to sanctuary and handles asylum insensitively

Ramya, an Eritrean, was raped more than once by the traffickers who held her captive in a camp in Libya. Hala, from Aleppo, was offered a lower fee by a people smuggler in Turkey if she had sex with him. Reem, a Syrian, couldn’t sleep in refugee camps in Europe because she was scared the men around her would try to touch her during the night. Ada fled sexual violence in Nigeria, only to be kidnapped and abused by people smugglers in Libya on her journey to safety in Europe.

Women and girls fleeing conflict and persecution face these terrifying risks every day, yet the issue has barely figured in the global response to the refugee crisis.

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Your opinions: May the accidental Europe-wrecker and identity politics in Sleaford

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:56:47 GMT2016-12-07T09:56:47Z

A space for our readers to talk about articles of the day in the Opinion section – with input from the writer below the line

Join us below the line to take part in a discussion from 10am-2pm

Welcome to our space – open every Wednesday from 10am-2pm – for discussing the day’s Opinion articles. We’d like to begin with two articles.

The first is Rafael Behr who says that Prime Minister Theresa May risks becoming an accidental Europe-wrecker. He says May is feeding a Ukip-inspired image of the European Union as hostile, where any interest in the continent’s future is unpatriotic. Behr writes:

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The UK needs a new Act of Union to prevent it breaking once and for all | Kezia Dugdale

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:00:23 GMT2016-12-07T06:00:23Z

The Tories’ reckless Brexit gamble threatens to end our historic union. My proposals would meet the demands of the Scottish people and benefit all the UK

The historic union between the nations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is at risk once again.

Little over two years since Scots voted decisively to reject Scottish independence, the Tories’ reckless Brexit gamble has threatened to end an Act of Union that has survived more than three centuries.

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Want to discredit Donald Trump? Show his base he's part of the elite | Ben Adler

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:00:30 GMT2016-12-07T12:00:30Z

Trump is stocking his cabinet from the establishment. Democrats should reiterate his betrayal of the ‘drain the swamp’ campaign promise like a mantra

Democrats lost to Donald Trump because they were unable to capitalize sufficiently on his political weaknesses – lying, bigotry, bankruptcies, allegations of serial sexual assault – that would normally be considered disqualifying. If they are to limit the damage Trump wreaks on the country and beat him in four years, they need a new strategy. Fortunately for them, he is already handing them one by behaving as a corrupt kleptocrat.

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

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Russian MPs are not the first to try to write LGBT people out of video games | Keza MacDonald

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:45:26 GMT2016-12-07T10:45:26Z

Fifa 17 is the latest target. But increasingly games reflect the world as it is – not as reactionaries would like it to be

In 2013, Russia’s parliament unanimously passed a law forbidding “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, essentially making it illegal to distribute any material on gay relationships or gay rights via the internet or any other kind of media, or to hold gay pride marches or rallies.

The move led to an immediate rise in homophobic hate crime. So far, targets have included Ikea (for the crime of including gay couples in its catalogue), sports events run by LGBT-friendly organisations, and perhaps most famously, the Sochi Olympics.

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John Key was known as the smiling assassin. And people still liked him | Alex Frankel

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:09:08 GMT2016-12-07T00:09:08Z

Like another poster boy for trickle-down economics – Tony Blair – the New Zealand prime minister had the Teflon gene. Even while presiding over record levels of child poverty, his popularity remained high

John Key’s legacy will not be defined by great policy achievements; it’s his success as the model of a neoliberal leader – a poster boy for trickle-down economics – that he will be remembered for. Key presided over increasing and gross social inequality with all the glibness of the banker who was known as the “smiling assassin” in his Merrill Lynch days. And people still liked him.

In this regard, Key was like a Tony Blair of the South Seas: a certain level of personal charisma and a socially inclusive façade allowed both Key and Blair to sell the nasty side of neoliberalism.

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Austria’s quiet Green victory, trading in the politics of hope not fear | Molly Scott Cato

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:00:24 GMT2016-12-07T07:00:24Z

The president-elect, Alexander Van der Bellen, may have removed his colours in order to stand, but his win illustrates a Green choice of openness to the world

The election of Alexander Van der Bellen as president of Austria puts a spanner in the works of the myth machine suggesting that the majority of the electorate across Europe are embracing the far right. For once, it was the progressive, pro-EU, pro-internationalist vote that confounded the polls. The assertion that the anti-immigration, gun-toting candidate Norbert Hofer would win, proved wrong. Indeed, the re-run of May’s neck-and-neck presidential contest gave Van der Bellen a larger margin over his rival than seven months ago. Austria has seen off a man who would have become Europe’s most rightwing elected leader since the second world war.

Van der Bellen is a former leader of the Green party in Austria who stood as an independent, believing the office of president is a service to the country rather than a service to a party. Despite not having his colours pinned to his chest, his political allegiance is clear. He ran on a ticket of unity above division; love not hate; and confidence rather than fear. He has pledged to work for a more equal society, where the divisions between rich and poor are narrowed. He also stood proudly and confidently as a global citizen within the family of Europe. He robustly rejects Öxit, the Austrian campaign to leave the EU, and celebrates the ability of Austria to mediate as a neutral country in international conflicts.

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If fascism arrived tomorrow, would we recognise it? – video

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:00:24 GMT2016-12-07T07:00:24Z

Britain likes to think it doesn’t do fascism – we beat Hitler, after all. But, asks Rachel Shabi, are we complacent? Would we miss the signs if fascism was appearing under our noses? She argues that today’s climate, with the far right resurgent around the world, gives us cause to be more vigilant than ever

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Peter Vaughan: Porridge and Game of Thrones star dies aged 93 – video obituary

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:57:25 GMT2016-12-06T16:57:25Z

The character actor Peter Vaughan has died aged 93 on Tuesday morning. Vaughan was a familiar face on British TV, best known performing alongside Ronnie Barker in the prison sitcom Porridge playing Harry Grout, and more recently as Maester Aemon in Game of Thrones

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The Story So Far - Brexit Means... Podcast

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

Introducing ‘Brexit Means ...’ our new in-depth Brexit podcast with the Guardian’s European affairs correspondent Jon Henley. In this first episode we look back at the brief history of Brexit: from David Cameron’s fateful promise to hold an ‘in/out’ referendum to Theresa May’s tautologous mantra that ‘Brexit means Brexit’

Welcome to the Guardian’s new Brexit podcast, Brexit Means...

In the coming months we’ll be hearing from Britons and Europeans, Leavers and Remainers, politicians and ordinary people, economists, businessmen, lawyers, researchers, campaigners and many more about what Brexit means for them, for the UK and for the EU, how it might work – and how it might not.

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Saudi artist: Standing Rock protesters are warning us to save what we can – video

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:29:27 GMT2016-12-06T11:29:27Z

After the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, Saudi Arabian artist Ahmed Mater joins protesters at Standing Rock to celebrate their victory. This is the fifth episode in our Crossing the line series, in which a group of Middle Eastern artists embarks on a US road trip exploring common concerns

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The 24-hour emergency hotline for Syrian refugees – video

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:23:20 GMT2016-12-05T11:23:20Z

Mohammed Abu Amar runs a makeshift 24-hour helpline from his flat in Hamburg, guiding scared refugees fleeing the violence in Syria across the water to Europe. Despite losing the use of both legs in a shelling in Damascus in the early days of the conflict, Abu Amar made the crossing with his family in 2013. He subsequently found his calling, being constantly available on the phone for his fellow Syrians making the same perilous journey

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Italy's far-right Northern League: referendum sends warning to EU – video

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:54:33 GMT2016-12-05T10:54:33Z

Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s far-right Northern League, gives his reaction to the country’s referendum in Milan and then later in Rome on Monday. Voters rejected PM Matteo Renzi’s proposed constitutional reforms in the referendum. Salvini says the result – alongside the ‘hair’s breadth’ defeat of far-right Freedom party candidate Norbert Hofer in Austria – sends a message to the EU

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John's key moments: ponytail pulling, a three-way handshake and a vasectomy – video

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 06:20:41 GMT2016-12-05T06:20:41Z

New Zealand prime minister John Key, who has announced he will be stepping down after eight years in the top job, has provided the internet with his fair share of eyebrow-raising content. From promising to collect Americans at the airport if they booked a ticket to New Zealand, dancing to Gangnam Style and joking that a Maori tribe were cannibals, appearances by Key are rarely dull. Here, we look back at some of the sillier moments of his time in office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Scottish Labour calls for new federal state to unite UK after Brexit

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:00:23 GMT2016-12-07T06:00:23Z

Kezia Dugdale says UK needs ‘new political settlement’ to prevent a post-Brexit split

Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, has called for a radical reshaping of the UK into a federal state with Scotland taking control over fisheries, farming and social rights now covered by EU laws.

In a speech in London, Dugdale said the UK needed “a new political settlement” to prevent it splitting apart over Brexit, and to tackle an erratic and uneven distribution of power between its regions and nations.

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Viola Beach manager drove through barriers into bridge, inquest told

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:16:06 GMT2016-12-07T13:16:06Z

Craig Tarry, 32, was behind the wheel of the band’s hire car when it crashed and fell 80ft into frozen shipping canal in Sweden

Four members of a British indie band and their manager died after their car crashed through two motorway barriers before striking a bridge and falling 80ft (25 metres) into a shipping canal, an inquest has heard.

Craig Tarry, the 32-year-old manager, was driving the band back to a hotel in Stockholm in the early hours of the morning after they had played at a Swedish music festival.

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China's terracotta warriors to return to UK for first time in nearly a decade

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:00:26 GMT2016-12-07T09:00:26Z

Ancient Chinese treasures from first emperor’s tomb will be among 120 objects to go on display at Liverpool’s World Museum in 2018

China’s terracotta warriors are to return to the UK almost a decade after they thrilled visitors in a landmark exhibition at the British Museum.

Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, announced that Liverpool’s World Museum would be the next destination for the spectacular treasures which China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, had made to accompany him into the afterlife.

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Pfizer fined record £84.2m over NHS overcharging

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:01:26 GMT2016-12-07T08:01:26Z

Competition regulator says price of anti-epilepsy drug was increased by up to 2,600%

Drugs giant Pfizer has been fined a record £84.2m by the UK’s competition regulator after the price charged to the NHS for an anti-epilepsy drug was increased by up to 2,600%.

The Competition and Markets Authority, issuing its biggest fine, said the “extraordinary price rises have cost the NHS and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds”.

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Theresa May sidesteps question about £995 leather trousers

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 22:00:13 GMT2016-12-06T22:00:13Z

Reporter asks prime minister if expensive clothing worn for photoshoot shows her distance from general public

Theresa May has been challenged over her decision to wear a £995 pair of leather trousers for a newspaper photoshoot by a reporter on a flight to Bahrain, but sidestepped the question to insist she was working for everyone in Britain.

The prime minister was interrogated after it emerged she wore the trousers and a pair of £295 Burberry trainers when photographed by the Sunday Times last month.

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Lib Dems fined £20,000 for undeclared election spending

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:59:22 GMT2016-12-07T08:59:22Z

Electoral Commission fines party for failing to declare 307 payments totalling £184,676

The Liberal Democrats have been hit with a maximum £20,000 fine by the Electoral Commission for failing to declare hundreds of items of campaign spending at the general election.

The watchdog has notified the police of a possible electoral offence after 307 payments totalling £184,676 were found to be missing from the Liberal Democrats’ spending return “without a reasonable excuse”.

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UK slashes number of Foreign Office climate change staff

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:14:49 GMT2016-12-07T12:14:49Z

Cuts made to workforce at home and overseas despite ministers saying climate diplomacy should be a top priority

The UK has cut the number of Foreign Office staff working on climate change, despite ministers arguing the issue should be a top foreign policy priority.

The Liberal Democrats said it was “appalling” and sent “the wrong signals” to the world, after a minister revealed the figures in a recent parliamentary answer.

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Bird flu warning: keepers told to keep poultry inside

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:34:41 GMT2016-12-07T08:34:41Z

Government chief vet declares ‘prevention zone’ for England as highly infectious strain of avian flu hits Europe

All bird keepers, from poultry farmers to families with a few chickens, have been ordered to house their animals for a month to protect the UK from a virulent outbreak of avian flu on mainland Europe.

The government’s chief vet, Nigel Gibbens, has declared a “prevention zone” for England that requires commercial and individual bird keepers to keep their birds inside for 30 days or take steps to separate them from wild birds.

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Study finds 7m Britons in poverty despite being from working families

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:01:15 GMT2016-12-07T00:01:15Z

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which commissioned report, urges government to monitor situation amid Brexit fallout

More than 7 million people in the UK are living in poverty despite being part of a working family, according to a study which uncovers how deprivation is increasingly linked to the high cost and insecurity of private rented accommodation.

The report, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) also found that disability is increasingly linked to the changing nature of poverty. If the costs of disability are taken into account, half of those in poverty are either disabled or living with a disabled person.

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Sharp rise in 'trolley waits' for hospital beds in England

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:19:39 GMT2016-12-07T08:19:39Z

Figures show 473,453 patients waited more than four hours for a hospital bed – a fivefold increase since 2010-11

There has been a sharp rise in “trolley waits” – the length of time people wait for a hospital bed in England after being admitted in an emergency, figures show.

Data analysed by the BBC shows 473,453 patients waited more than four hours between October 2015 and September 2016 – almost a fivefold increase since 2010-11.

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Sister of man who funded Brussels bomb suspect cleared of terror charge

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:53:07 GMT2016-12-07T11:53:07Z

Soumaya Boufassil is found not guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism

The sister of a man convicted of handing money to the Brussels bombing suspect Mohamed Abrini has walked free from court.

Soumaya Boufassil appeared at Kingston crown court, London, charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism, on the same indictment as her brother, Zakaria Boufassil, and Mohammed Ali Ahmed.

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Amber Rudd to introduce asbo-style bans for stalkers

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:01:15 GMT2016-12-07T00:01:15Z

Home secretary to unveil new stalking prevention orders to give courts powers to keep offenders away from victims

Thousands of stalkers who torment their victims but whom the police do not have enough evidence to charge are to face asbo-style bans, the home secretary will announce on Wednesday.

Amber Rudd is to introduce new stalking prevention orders that will give the courts fresh powers to order offenders at an early stage not to go anywhere near someone they have been compulsively pursuing, especially in cases involving strangers.

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Men killed 900 women in six years in England and Wales, figures show

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:01:15 GMT2016-12-07T00:01:15Z

Government urged to protect long-term funding for domestic abuse services as study reveals scale of deadly male violence

More than 900 women were killed by men in England and Wales over a six-year period, most by their current or former partners, according to the first detailed analysis of deadly male violence against women in those countries.

The Femicide Census, which tracks and analyses the deaths of women killed by partners, ex-partners, male relatives, acquaintances, colleagues and strangers, was developed by nia, a charity dedicated to ending violence against women, and Women’s Aid.

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London mayor to double funding to tackle air pollution

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:00:26 GMT2016-12-07T09:00:26Z

Campaigners hail announcement that funding for air quality measures will rise to £875m over the next five years

Campaigners, health charities and neighbourhood groups have welcomed plans by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, to more than double funding to clean up the capital’s dirty air.

London is one of the most polluted of dozens of cities in the UK that breach EU standards on nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas caused by diesel vehicles. Air pollution has been linked to nearly 9,500 premature deaths in the city each year.

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UK's trade deficit before Brexit vote narrower than first calculated

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:14:26 GMT2016-12-06T23:14:26Z

Office for National Statistics revises gap down to 6% from 7% after uncovering major mistake in import and export data

Britain’s trade deficit in the months before the Brexit vote was narrower than first calculated after the government’s statistics agency uncovered a major mistake in monthly import and export data going back to 2015.

The multi-billion pound errors mean the UK appears to have relied slightly less on the “kindness of strangers” in the run up to the referendum.

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Christmas shoppers to spend over two hours on online delivery problems

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:01:24 GMT2016-12-07T07:01:24Z

Citizens Advice says there were 4.8m delivery problems last Christmas, and expects even more this year

Online shoppers will typically spend two-and-a-half hours sorting out a delivery problem this Christmas - because an item is late, turns up broken or doesn’t arrive at all – Citizens Advice has warned.

With the busiest shopping period of the year now under way, the national charity’s latest consumer advice trends report reveals people experienced 4.8m delivery problems last year –and spent 11.8m hours trying to sort them out. That is the equivalent of just under two-and-a-half hours per adult.

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Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:00:23 GMT2016-12-07T06:00:23Z

Extreme weather is driving up uninsured losses and insurers must use investments to fund global warming resilience, says study

The ability of the global insurance industry to manage society’s risks is being threatened by climate change, according to a new report.

The report finds that more frequent extreme weather events are driving up uninsured losses and making some assets uninsurable.

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Malta becomes first European country to ban 'gay cure' therapy

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:22:11 GMT2016-12-07T11:22:11Z

Under new law anyone found guilty of trying to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation faces fine or jail

Malta has become the first country in Europe to ban gay conversion therapy after the parliament in Valetta unanimously approved a bill outlawing attempts to “cure” homosexuals of their sexuality.

Under the new Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act, anyone found guilty of trying to “change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression” will face fines or a jail sentence.

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Donald Trump: 'We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes'

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 05:24:15 GMT2016-12-07T05:24:15Z

President-elect in Fayetteville declares focus on destroying Isis, hours after Barack Obama dismissed ‘false promises’ of bombing terrorists into surrender

Donald Trump has laid out a US military policy that would avoid interventions in foreign conflicts and instead focus heavily on defeating the Islamic State militancy.

“We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” the president-elect said on Tuesday night in Fayetteville, near Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina.

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British Antarctic research station to be moved due to deep crack in the ice

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:41:46 GMT2016-12-07T06:41:46Z

Dormant chasm has opened up and risks cutting the station off from the rest of the ice shelf

Britain is preparing to move its research station in the Antarctic 23km further inland because it is under threat from a growing crack in the ice.

The British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI research station has recorded data relevant to space weather, climate change, and atmospheric phenomena from its site on the Brunt Ice Shelf shelf since 2012.

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Thailand opens investigation into BBC for alleged insult of new king

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 05:02:24 GMT2016-12-07T05:02:24Z

Police visit BBC’s Bangkok office, taking staff’s Yakult milk drink, after profile detailing King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s personal life is blocked online

Thailand has opened an investigation into the BBC’s local language service for alleged defamation and blocked access to an online profile of the country’s new king, less than a week after he succeeded to the throne.

The biography was published on Friday by BBC Thai a day after King Maha Vajiralongkorn accepted the title following the death of his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, on 13 October.

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The Gambia's new rulers vow to prosecute outgoing president

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:00:24 GMT2016-12-07T07:00:24Z

Yahya Jammeh has ‘bunkers and treasure’ at his farm near Senegal border and could start rebel movement, claims coalition

The autocratic ruler of the Gambia will be prosecuted for his crimes within a year of handing over the reins of government in January, the chair of the country’s new ruling coalition has vowed.

Yahya Jammeh, whose defeat in last Thursday’s election marks the first democratic transition of power in the tiny west African nation, is being prevented from leaving the country in case he starts a rebel movement, according to Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, the architect of the coalition and a senior politician considered the mother of the nation.

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Syrian troops in control of Aleppo's Old City after rebels withdraw

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:37:09 GMT2016-12-07T12:37:09Z

Assad’s forces now hold all areas east of historic citadel and are closest they have ever been to seizing entire city

Forces loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad have retaken the historic Old City of Aleppo, long a bastion of the opposition in Syria’s former industrial capital.

Assad’s forces are the closest they have ever been to seizing the entire city after a brutal, weeks-long campaign during which hundreds of civilians have died in the city’s besieged east, where a quarter of a million people were living without functioning hospitals and with dwindling food stocks.

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Theresa May calls on Gulf leaders to press on with economic reforms

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:00:39 GMT2016-12-07T10:00:39Z

PM stresses need to see through social change in speech at Bahrain summit but makes no mention of women’s rights

Theresa May urged Gulf leaders to follow through with social and economics reforms in her speech at a summit in Bahrain, telling leaders of the oil-rich nations both the Gulf and Britain had to build “economies that work for everyone”.

Despite being the first woman to address the Gulf Cooperation Council of the six regional leaders, May made no direct mention of women’s rights, but said leaders had to see through fundamental economic and social change.

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Last Tango in Paris rape scene claims 'not true at all', says cinematographer

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:10:27 GMT2016-12-07T11:10:27Z

Vittorio Storaro defends Bernardo Bertolucci over suggestions that filming of ‘butter scene’ constituted sexual violence against actress Maria Schneider

Vittorio Storaro, the Oscar-winning cinematographer who supervised the filming of the “butter” scene in Last Tango in Paris, has stoutly defended the film’s director Bernardo Bertolucci, saying “nothing happened” during the shoot.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Storaro said that the recent storm over the scene – which showed Marlon Brando’s character Paul anally raping Maria Schneider’s Jeanne – was based on claims that are “not true at all”.

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There goes the neighborhood? Canada frets over Trump's trade agenda

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:30:29 GMT2016-12-07T11:30:29Z

Canada seems a likely target of Trump’s protectionism on account of Nafta, but the government has sounded a willingness to renegotiate

A few days before Donald Trump is sworn in as US president, one of his key advisers will arrive in Canada.

Kellyanne Conway will not be in Ottawa to meet with the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, or senior Canadian officials. Instead, the woman who managed the final months of Trump’s campaign will be in Alberta for a tour of the Fort McMurray oil sands and a speaking gig at a fundraising dinner for a Conservative advocacy group.

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Colombia plane crash: airline chief arrested over Chapecoense disaster

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 03:14:40 GMT2016-12-07T03:14:40Z

Bolivian authorities take LaMia CEO Gustavo Vargas and two other employees into custody as part of investigation that ‘could easily turn into manslaughter’

Bolivian prosecutors have detained the chief executive of LaMia, the airline whose plane crashed in Colombia killing nearly all of Brazil’s Chapacoense football team.

Gustavo Vargas, the chief executive, and two other employees of the tiny Bolivia-based charter airline were taken to a prosecutor’s office in Santa Cruz for up to eight hours of questioning on Tuesday before prosecutors were to decide if they should be held in jail.

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Ghanaians go to the polls to choose next president

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:40:33 GMT2016-12-07T11:40:33Z

Race between incumbent John Dramani Mahama and challenger Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to be tight

Ghanaians began lining up at polling stations before dawn on Wednesday to elect their next president as the west African nation hopes to reaffirm its reputation as a model of democracy on the continent.

Despite concerns about the credibility of the elections, voter enthusiasm has been high. The race is expected to be tight between the incumbent president, John Dramani Mahama, and the opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo.

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Obama dismisses his security critics and urges Trump to avoid 'overreach'

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 01:08:25 GMT2016-12-07T01:08:25Z

President used final security speech to present a selective account of his record and urged Trump not to sacrifice US values in the name of national security

Without ever using Donald Trump’s name, Barack Obama savaged his successor’s stated inclinations on counterterrorism while issuing an impassioned plea not to sacrifice fundamental American values in the name of national security.

Obama used the final set-piece security speech of his presidency, to present a highly selective account of his record, particularly about the mass surveillance architecture he embraced and the drone strikes that will be synonymous with his name.

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Stanford accused in lawsuit of ignoring complaints about serial sexual 'predator'

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 05:04:48 GMT2016-12-07T05:04:48Z

Suit claims male student violently assaulted several women, but the university discouraged them from filing complaints and questioned one woman’s clothes

Stanford University ignored complaints about sexual assault, dismissed victims with disturbing allegations and failed to discipline a “known predator”, according to a federal lawsuit, allowing the student to violently attack multiple women.

The complaint alleges that an unnamed male student strangled one victim and told her “no one will notice when you die” before raping her and that he repeatedly told another woman to “kill herself” after sexually assaulting her.

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Activists back Google's appeal against Canadian order to censor search results

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:30:28 GMT2016-12-07T10:30:28Z

Canadian supreme court decision to ban links of fake company worldwide could allow countries to regulate internet outside borders, civil liberty groups say

More than two dozen human rights and civil liberty groups have thrown their weight behind Google as the tech giant challenges a Canadian court decision it warns could stifle freedom of expression around the world and lead to a diminished internet of the “lowest common denominator”.

In an appeal heard on Tuesday in the supreme court of Canada, Google Inc took aim at a 2015 court decision that sought to censor search results beyond Canada’s borders.

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The best Christmas food tested by Ruby Tandoh, Felicity Cloake and Yotam Ottolenghi

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:09:44 GMT2016-12-07T13:09:44Z

We asked our favourite food writers and chefs to try the best mince pies, panettone, salmon, gravy, stuffing, biscuits, port and more

Betty’s Classic mince pies
£10 for 12
★★★★
The best of the mince pies come from the Yorkshire bakeries of Betty’s. The pastry is golden, lightly toasted and rich, and I like the well-spiced filling, brightened with plenty of zest. They’re wonderful, but coming in at a tenner for a dozen, they’re maybe not ones to waste on the kids.

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Do barking dogs scare drug drones, or is it just another Liz Truss gaffe?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:02:09 GMT2016-12-07T13:02:09Z

The justice secretary’s suggestion that prison dogs can scare off contraband-delivery drones could be her biggest slip up since she labelled cheese imports a ‘disgrace’

Name: Liz Truss.

Age: 41.

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Remembrance of tastes past: Syria’s disappearing food culture | Wendell Steavenson

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:00:22 GMT2016-12-07T06:00:22Z

For Syrians in exile, food is more than a means of sustenance. It is a reminder of the rich and diverse culture being destroyed by civil war

In February 2013, Ebtisam Masto fled Syria with her six children. They crossed the border to Lebanon and headed for the capital, Beirut, where Masto’s husband, Mohammed, had been working to support his family since before the civil war began.

When they arrived, Masto registered the family with the UN refugee agency in the city. There she heard about a cooking programme for women that was run by the Catholic charity Caritas. Masto, who was scared, insecure and on the verge of clinical depression, signed up. “I wanted to do something with my life,” she told me.

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'We are still in mourning': Charleston congregants prepare for Dylann Roof trial

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:00:25 GMT2016-12-07T08:00:25Z

At the Mother Emanuel AME church, where a mass shooting last year killed nine black worshippers, the mood is sombre as opening arguments begin

The procession moved slowly along the aisles, singing a capella as it shuffled towards the altar. The choir, dressed in maroon and black robes, were followed by the ushers with their red bow ties and white gloves. At the rear were the ministers dressed in white and gold.

Sunday communion at the Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston had begun in a sombre mood.

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Public Enemy – 10 of the best

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:09:44 GMT2016-12-07T13:09:44Z

From the anthemic to the polemic, here are some of the most influential songs by the self-proclaimed ‘Rolling Stones of rap’

What made Public Enemy so different from their contemporaries, according to Russell Simmons of Def Jam Recordings, was that “Public Enemy didn’t rap about partying … Public Enemy talked about the state of black America, and how every black kid in America was a public enemy.” But leader Chuck D had yet to perfect his fiery blend of rhetoric and polemic on the 1987 debut album Yo! Bum Rush the Show, which – the storming Rightstarter (Message to a Black Man) aside – often avoided explicit politics in favour of boasting about their rides (You’re Gonna Get Yours), bigging up their crew (Too Much Posse) and occasionally slipping into ugly sexism (Sophisticated Bitch). Miuzi Weighs a Ton was the genesis of Public Enemy at their apex, however, with Chuck’s extended machine-gun metaphor talking up the firepower between his ears, while the stone age drum-machine beats and sonic-boom scratches and samples were muscular and heavy. A sly tempo change between verse and chorus, meanwhile, suggested that production team the Bomb Squad – Eric Sadler, and brothers Hank and Keith Shocklee – had ambitions beyond early hip-hop’s sparse, simple template.

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Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark sells out after Trump victory

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:02:14 GMT2016-12-07T12:02:14Z

Feminist activist’s manifesto for ‘an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists’, originally published in Bush years, sees huge rise in sales

Rebecca Solnit’s political manifesto, published to encourage activists while George W Bush waged war in Iraq, has enjoyed a huge resurgence in sales since the election of Donald Trump as the next US president.

Hope in the Dark by activist and writer Solnit was published in 2004, but an updated third edition published earlier this year sold out in the US after the poll result, and digital downloads have topped 33,000, reports Publishers Weekly.

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UK politics becoming mired in 'culture wars', study suggests

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:00:23 GMT2016-12-07T06:00:23Z

EU referendum polling suggests new rifts that bypass class and political leanings may leave the UK more divided than before

British politics is at risk of descending into US-style “culture wars”, according to a new study of the forces that led to the vote to leave the European Union on 23 June.

Analysis of a range of polling and survey data by the independent National Centre for Social Research and thinktank the UK in a Changing Europe has found that the issues driving the voters’ decision to back Brexit cut across social classes and traditional party lines.

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Street Fighter V: victory and diversity in the eSports world final

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:20:56 GMT2016-12-07T12:20:56Z

The winner of the 2016 Capcom Cup receives $230,000, but the pressures on competitors are more than monetary – particularly if they’re transgender

The atmosphere in the competitor pen at the 2016 Capcom Cup in Anaheim, California, is weirdly tranquil – despite the stakes. There’s a $230,000 cheque waiting for the winner, $60,000 for the runner-up. The room, snugly closed off from a shanty town of flight cases, stage lights and wires behind the sweeping stage is lined with sofas, on which the eight finalists sit. In 10 minutes they will emerge to a full house of hollers and applause, ready to make their bids in the annual competition to crown the best Street Fighter player in the world.

In the middle of the room, two trestle tables sag under the weight of monitors, on which the finalists are free to warm up their fingers with practice games. There are, however, no preparatory or prayerful rituals going on back here; only the idle swiping of phones. I sink into the couch beside 32-year-old Ricki Ortiz, one of two Americans to reach the finals (the other six competitors all come from Street Fighter’s home of Japan). What does she do to prepare for a major fixture like this, I ask. “Me?” she says. “I had a quick nap.”

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Tech talk: your tech for Christmas questions answered

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:50:59 GMT2016-12-07T10:50:59Z

Editors and writers from the Guardian’s tech team are here for a live Q&A in the comments between 11am-1pm (GMT) on 7 Dec – join them below!

Want to ask us about whether the Pixel is better than the iPhone? If VR is really the future? Or how good that new Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro is?

Experts from the Guardian’s technology desk, including Jonathan Haynes, Samuel Gibbs and Alex Hern, will be online and in the comments from 11am-1pm (GMT) answering your tech questions and discussing the latest issues – join them now. We’ll round up some of the best discussion, advice and expert opinion in a blog post after.

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The 50 best films of 2016 in the UK: No 8 The Revenant

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:30:24 GMT2016-12-07T07:30:24Z

As our countdown enters its final fortnight, Andrew Pulver goes on the march with Leonardo DiCaprio and Alejandro González Iñárritu for this epic frontier revenge western

More on the best culture of 2016

With The Revenant, Alejandro González Iñárritu goes Terrence Malick – not that he needed much encouragement – for an extraordinarily handsome study of a human encounter with nature at its rawest: both gruesomely bloody and crystalline in its beauty. Iñárritu and Malick now share the same cinematographer, the multi-Oscar-winning Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, and no doubt Malick’s influence is being felt in The Revenant’s more rapturous, visionary sequences. But there’s a focus, and narrative ambition, that is thoroughly Iñárritu-esque (if that is a word) and which pitches The Revenant ahead of Malick’s recent experiments in thought-synthesis.

Related: Extreme weight loss and tooth extraction: when method acting goes too far

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Archaeology sheds light on Mongolia’s uncertain nomadic future

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:00:31 GMT2016-12-07T13:00:31Z

As a herding lifestyle practiced for millennia is threatened by contemporary climate change, archaeology offers a long-term perspective Around the world, traditional subsistence practices provide a resilient source of ecological knowledge that improves humanity’s ability to respond to environmental crises. In Central Asia, a herding lifestyle practiced for millennia is increasingly threatened by the speed and magnitude of climate change.Although the global mean temperature is predicted to rise by 2C over the coming century, this trend will likely be more severe in high altitude and high latitude environments. In the subarctic steppes of Mongolia, nearly one-third of the population makes their living through migratory herding of livestock – sheep, goat, horse, cattle, camel, and yak. For these herders, the effects of climate change have been immediate and dramatic. Mongolia has experienced summer droughts, extreme winter weather, pasture degradation, a shrinking water supply, and desertification, leading to seasonal herd die-offs. These processes have a cascading effect, reinforcing other issues caused by human activity and globalisation. Continue reading...[...]


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'A landscape of exhaustion and moral decay' – lessons from the 'lost decade' of the 1860s

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:28:50 GMT2016-12-06T18:28:50Z

You’d need to go back 150 years to find the last time wage growth was this stagnant, according to the governor of the Bank of England. But even then there were a few reasons to be cheerful When Mark Carney insisted in a speech at Liverpool John Moores University that the conditions through which we are now living are “exactly the same” as those that British citizens endured during the “lost decade” of the 1860s, he was taking a bit of rhetorical licence. The past is never simply the present dressed up in funny clothes, and the analogy between today’s painful realities and those of 150 years ago doesn’t quite hold. And yet, the governor of the Bank of England had a point.When Overend Gurney collapsed in 1866, it undid once and for all the sense that, give or take a few individual misfortunes, capitalism was a moral force that rewarded skill and hard work. Toppling under a mountain of unsecured debt, the joint stock bank dragged down 200 businesses and a broad tranche of private investors with it, from courtiers to grocers. As with the Northern Rock crisis in 2007, there were queues of panicky investors lining the streets. More profoundly, now came a dawning realisation that bad things could happen to good people. Thanks to the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859, the universe increasingly seemed not only godless but, what was perhaps even worse, indifferent to the sufferings of ordinary folk. Continue reading...[...]


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Sean O'Hagan's top 10 photography exhibitions of 2016

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:00:24 GMT2016-12-07T07:00:24Z

From Elton John’s ravishing collection to the early days of Diane Arbus and the beautiful worlds of Paul Strand, here are the best photography shows of 2016

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Twenty reasons why Brexit will be even trickier than we thought

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:19:44 GMT2016-12-06T16:19:44Z

From the wrong kind of fish off our coasts, to divorcees stuck in marital limbo, Britain’s painful extraction from the EU will send shockwaves through almost every part of our lives. Here are just some of the side-effects...

After he took the role of international trade secretary, Fox boasted that he would have “about a dozen free trade deals outside the EU” ready for when Britain left. But it is illegal for Britain, as an EU member state, to negotiate bilateral trade deals. Fox later quietly backtracked on his promise. No one knows what he’s doing with his time at the moment.

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This Is Us review – swings from sharp and funny to a punch in the aorta

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:20:24 GMT2016-12-07T07:20:24Z

The new US drama smartly pulls off the trick of undercutting syrupy sweetness with loads of clever, dense, hard-boiled dialogue

The new US drama This Is Us (Channel 4) kicked off with a long caption – white letters on a black screen. “This is a fact,” it read. “According to Wikipedia, the average human being shares his or her birthday with over 18 million other human beings. There is no evidence that sharing the same birthday creates any type of behavioural link between these people. If there is, Wikipedia hasn’t discovered it for us yet.”

I found this irritating for a number of reasons. First, it isn’t really a fact: it’s just what you get when you divide the global population by 365. Second, some birth dates are considerably more popular than others. Third, I couldn’t find any reference to it on Wikipedia. Fourth, the caption’s weirdly tortuous wording serves mainly to ensure that “This”, “is” and “us” appear in the right order so they can swim together to form the programme’s title as the rest of the words fade to black.

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Can technology replace teachers? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Harpreet Purewal

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:00:25 GMT2016-12-07T08:00:25Z

Every day millions of internet users ask Google life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the commonest queriesAnxiety about losing your job to technology is both a rational and growing fear. Andy Haldane, the chief economist at the Bank of England, recently estimated that 15m jobs in the UK were threatened by automation. Technology is reaching such levels of sophistication that it is capable not only of manual tasks but cognitive ones too, putting a wide range of jobs are at risk. The areas most vulnerable include driving and administrative work. But according to a report from Oxford University that looked at over 700 areas of work, teaching at all levels across the educational spectrum is a safe bet. Related: Stop blaming teachers for falling results and give them the trust and time to actually teach | Ned Manning Continue reading...[...]


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Earth's day lengthens by two milliseconds a century, astronomers find

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:01:15 GMT2016-12-07T00:01:15Z

The gradual slowing of the planet’s rotation is causing our day to lengthen, a comparison of nearly 3,000 years of celestial records has revealed

There may never be enough hours in the day to get everything done, but at least the forces of nature are conspiring to help out.

Astronomers who compiled nearly 3,000 years of celestial records have found that with every passing century, the day on Earth lengthens by two milliseconds as the planet’s rotation gradually winds down.

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