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



Published: Sun, 23 Apr 2017 19:12:30 GMT2017-04-23T19:12:30Z

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



French election: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen through to second round, estimates show – live

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 19:01:45 GMT2017-04-23T19:01:45Z

Independent centrist Macron estimated to have taken around 23% of vote with Front National leader Le Pen on roughly 22%; official results to follow

Conservative candidate François Fillon has conceded defeat and called on his supporters to back Emmanuel Macron in the second round:

Despite all my efforts, my determination, I have not succeeded in convincing my fellow countrymen and women. The obstacles in my path were too numerous and too cruel. This defeat is mine, I accept the responsibility, it is mine and mine alone to bear.

We have to choose what is best for our country. Abstention is not in my genes, above all when an extremist party is close to power. The Front National is well known for its violence and its intolerance, and its programme would lead our country to bankruptcy and Europe into chaos.

More from Marion Maréchal Le Pen, Marine’s niece and a Front National MP. Le Pen’s progression to the second round run-off is “a historic victory for patriots and sovereignists”, she said, adding she was happy with the “clear divide” with Macron.

For fifteen years, there has not been a pro-sovereignty candidate in the second round of a presidential election. This is great ideological victory.

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French election results 2017 - as they come in

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:15:20 GMT2017-04-23T17:15:20Z

Voters in France went to the polls on Sunday in the first round of the presidential election. The top two candidates go into a run-off in a fortnight. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are narrow favourites, but François Fillon and Jean-Luc Mélenchon trailed them tightly in the polls. Find out who’s ahead and who’s winning where

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Corbyn hits back at Blair after former PM's call to put party allegiances aside

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:54:03 GMT2017-04-23T18:54:03Z

Blair’s call for voters to consider backing Conservatives or Lib Dems to maximise MPs willing to vote against ‘hard Brexit’ seen as unhelpful by party figures

Jeremy Corbyn hit back at Tony Blair after the former Labour prime minister advised voters to consider backing Conservative or Liberal Democrat candidates in June’s general election, if they promise to have an open mind about the terms of the final Brexit deal.

As Labour embarks on a tough election campaign, Blair urged the public to set party allegiance aside, in order to avoid the 8 June poll becoming a “steamroller election”, and maximise the number of MPs willing to vote against a “hard Brexit” when Theresa May brings the deal back to the House of Commons.

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London-born children of EU couple win residency a week after refusal

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:54:51 GMT2017-04-23T13:54:51Z

Home Office U-turn on application comes after Guardian report on plight of children whose parents have lived in UK for decades

Two children who were born in London to an EU couple have been told they can stay in the country after all. The news comes a week after they were told by the Home Office that their application for permanent residency cards was refused.

Officials performed a swift U-turn on their botched decision after a Guardian report on 13 April on the childrens’ plight went viral.

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Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's family to appeal Lockerbie conviction

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:08:46 GMT2017-04-23T18:08:46Z

Lawyer for Libyan’s widow and son says files will be handed to Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission within fortnight

The family of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is to launch a fresh attempt to clear his name.

Aamer Anwar, a lawyer representing Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s family, confirmed files would be handed to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) within the next two weeks.

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Ukip to campaign to ban burqa and sharia courts, says Paul Nuttall

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:37:57 GMT2017-04-23T09:37:57Z

Party leader tells Andrew Marr the security situation means ‘you need to see people’s faces’ and that it ‘is all about integration’

Ukip will push to ban the burqa and sharia courts, Paul Nuttall has said, although he denied the Eurosceptic party was reinventing itself as an anti-Islam party.

In a BBC interview, Ukip’s leader also refused to confirm whether he would stand in the 8 June election, having been defeated in the Stoke-on-Trent Central byelection weeks ago.

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Thieves kill man in Manchester by running him over in his own car

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:09:52 GMT2017-04-23T12:09:52Z

Police say thieves fatally injured Michael Samwell, 35, outside his home in Chorlton as they drove off in his Audi S3

A manhunt is under way for the thieves who killed a former Royal Navy officer by running him over in his own car after he confronted them outside his home.

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UK freezes assets of North Korean company based in south London

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:08:50 GMT2017-04-23T12:08:50Z

Move follows similar action in Germany over claims insurance firm funnelled money to nuclear weapons programme

The UK has frozen the assets of a North Korean company based in south-east London after claims it funnelled cash to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

The Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC) is registered at a property in Blackheath. The EU has already imposed sanctions against the company, which it describes as “generating substantial foreign exchange revenue which is used to support the regime in North Korea”. The move by Brussels followed an UN resolution.

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Afghanistan reels from Taliban's deadliest attack on army since 2001

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:23:48 GMT2017-04-23T16:23:48Z

Afghans call for government officials to resign after militants storm base at Mazar-i-Sharif and kill at least 140 soldiers

Afghans are still reeling from the Taliban’s deadliest attack on the security forces since 2001, with the country’s leadership accused of fumbling the response to the atrocity.

As many as a dozen militants stormed the largest army base in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 140 soldiers, many of them unarmed.

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Trump push for border wall threatens to cause government shutdown

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:55:49 GMT2017-04-23T16:55:49Z

  • Officials unsure if president will sign funding bill without money for wall
  • Congressional deal to fund government expires at midnight on Friday

Looming above Washington as Congress and the White House attempt to avert a funding shutdown in only five days’ time, Donald Trump’s central campaign promise to build a wall on the Mexican border threatens to bring the US government to a halt this week in a national display of dysfunction.

Related: Homeland security chief backs Trump in split over Dreamer deportation

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Feel the burn: why do we love chilli?

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:00:07 GMT2017-04-23T08:00:07Z

It’s not just about the flavour – or even the pain. In this extract from his new book, Bob Holmes uncovers the pharmacology and psychology behind humanity’s heat-seeking desire

Ive been procrastinating. On my dining room table I have lined up three hot peppers: one habanero, flame-orange and lantern-shaped; one skinny little Thai bird’s eye chilli; and one relatively innocuous jalapeño, looking by comparison like a big green zeppelin. My mission, should I choose to accept, is to eat them.

In ordinary life, I’m at least moderately fond of hot peppers. My fridge has three kinds of salsa, a bottle of sriracha, and a jar of Szechuan hot bean paste, all of which I use regularly. But I’m not extreme: I pick the whole peppers out of my Thai curries and set them aside uneaten. And I’m a habanero virgin. Its reputation as the hottest pepper you can easily find in the grocery store has me a bit spooked, so I’ve never cooked with one, let alone eaten it neat. Still, if I’m going to write about hot peppers, I ought to have firsthand experience at the high end of the range. Plus, I’m curious, in a vaguely spectator-at-my-own-car-crash way.

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Zen-like Jeremy Corbyn avoids firm answers but he's not the only one | John Crace

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:08:18 GMT2017-04-23T13:08:18Z

Labour leader deflects Andrew Marr’s questions with the meditative approach of a yoga teacher realigning his chakras

“I’m fed up and I’m angry,” Jeremy Corbyn told the Andrew Marr Show. He didn’t sound particularly fed up or angry. He sounded more like a yoga teacher on a meditation retreat in Mallorca who wanted everyone to stop being so stressed out.

Marr didn’t want to chill. He’d been watching the clock tick ever nearer to midnight as Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump squared up to each other, and he wanted to know how the Labour leader would react if his finger got anywhere near the nuclear button.

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Home Truths review – a history of the housing crisis in nine plays

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:53:23 GMT2017-04-23T11:53:23Z

Bunker, London
The homeless people’s theatre company Cardboard Citizens takes a long look at housing, from Victorian slum life and 70s squatting to present day inequalities

The national shortage of affordable housing hasn’t led to any shortage of theatre exploring the crisis. There have been some great shows – from Philip Ridley’s satire Radiant Vermin to Sh!t Theatre’s Letters to Windsor House – examining the pressure that high rents put on personal relationships, while Lung’s E15 told the story of the evicted teenage mothers who took on Newham council in east London.

But who better to offer a meditation on our relationship with bricks and mortar than Cardboard Citizens, a pioneering company who for the last 25 years have been making theatre with and for homeless people, in settings from theatres to hostels and prisons? Their ambitious latest project takes the form of three cycles of three plays each, written by Anders Lustgarten, EV Crowe and Lin Coghlan, among others, that combine to provide “an incomplete history of housing” from the late 19th century to the present day.

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Intersex and proud: model Hanne Gaby Odiele on finally celebrating her body

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:00:07 GMT2017-04-23T08:00:07Z

When the Belgian model revealed she was intersex earlier this year, she gave voice to something she’d always been told to hide. Here, the face of Balenciaga talks about knowing she was different

Like many models, Hanne Gaby Odiele has a lovely limber angularity. Sitting in a Manhattan restaurant booth she seems to open and close like an umbrella, expanding when she’s in full flow, folding up when she’s mulling something over. Folded up and closed off was how she felt for a long time. As a child, she knew something was different about her. She spent a lot of her summers undergoing surgery, and was aware that she would be unable to have children, but the why was always left vague.

“The medical world tells us that we should not talk to anyone about it,” she says. “Always, I was told to hide.” In this way, children like Odiele are taught to be ashamed of a fundamental aspect of their identity: they are intersex. It’s difficult to calculate the exact number of people who are intersex, but Intersex International estimates it to be about 1.7%, which is about as common as having red hair (1%-2%).

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Florence Nightingale's 'rubbish' amulets to go on display for first time

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:21:06 GMT2017-04-23T11:21:06Z

Objects she rated highly but didn’t realised were fake to join actual ancient Egyptian artefacts at World Museum in Liverpool

A collection of ancient Egyptian amulets acquired by Florence Nightingale in the winter of 1849 when she went on an adventurous Egyptian holiday are going on display for the first time – and the curator at the World Museum in Liverpool is rather more impressed by them than the Lady of the Lamp herself was.

Five years before she sailed to Scutari, Istanbul, during the Crimean war, Nightingale travelled to Egypt at a time when mass tourism there was in its infancy. She wrote vivid letters home to her older sister, Parthenope, who later published them, but described her little amulets as “rubbish”.

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Trump: 100 days that shook the world – and the activists fighting back

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:00:09 GMT2017-04-23T09:00:09Z

Three months in, the future is totally unpredictable. But a dramatic fightback is under way. Four activists tell us how they are adapting to the new normal

The first 100 days of President Donald Trump: how has my life changed? First of all, there was the mourning period. Not for me, but for my fellow citizens. I was just mad. And I wasn’t even maddest at the Trump voters. I understood that the critical battle lines now are not left versus right, but the 1% neoliberal globalisers making off with all of the loot and disembowelling the middle class. So when I saw the campaign, I knew that in the US, just as in the UK, a candidate who said anything at all about people forgotten in the neoliberal race would have a solid chance.

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The Nordic Guide to Living 10 Years Longer by Dr Bertil Marklund – digested read

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:00:17 GMT2017-04-23T16:00:17Z

‘Use the Swedish concept of lagom and you will live 10 years longer – if you don’t die first’

Here in Sweden we’re getting a bit fed up with our neighbours. For the last few years, it’s been Danish hygge this and hygge that, or Norwegian “back to the land culture” and, “Sorry we are so much richer than you because we’ve got huge oil reserves.” So my publishers and I thought we should try to put Sweden back on the map – and earn ourselves a few krona into the bargain.

Related: Fancy a beer outside? There's a Scandi word for that – and so much else

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I’m concerned that my children are no longer employable

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:00:04 GMT2017-04-23T05:00:04Z

Mariella Frostrup advises a mother how to stop her adult children living off the fruits of her labour

The dilemma My ex-husband and I have always encouraged our children to pursue their talents and dreams. We supported their learning throughout school and university; we have never pressured them towards any particular career and have always encouraged extracurricular activities.

Following in their father’s footsteps, they have now acquired two buy-to-let properties. The rental yield has been disappointing, with most of the money consumed by upkeep on the property, or petrol money back and forth to the Midlands, where their investments are located. They speak about building multi-million pound property portfolios and devote time to social enterprises in Cambodia and the developing world. Any scepticism on my part is inevitably met with anger and accusations that I am jeopardising the venture by affecting their “mindset”.

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Paramore: ‘I've wanted to quit this band so many times’

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 06:00:06 GMT2017-04-22T06:00:06Z

A revolving door of members, bitter legal disputes and public spats – will the rock sensations be able to keep it together as they release their biggest album yet?

Related: Paramore's Hayley Williams: 'I at least want people to say, 'Hey, that wasn't too bad'

Southern hospitality is no joke. Arriving in Nashville, it’s as though I’ve stepped into the animated portion of a previously live-action existence. Everyone I meet whirs with a rootin’-tootin’-how-ya-dootin’ folksiness that makes me feel both cared for and slightly car sick. In the taxi from the airport I say: “The weather is nice,” and the cab driver says, “Well thank you, we aim to please,” as if the locals had conferred and agreed to make it clear skies and 24 degrees. On my first night at a honky-tonk bar, a wasted hockey fan throws both hands on my shoulders and leans right in so my nose brushes against his. I feel certain he’s going to punch me in the face until he whispers: “Listen, I can tell you’re not from around here so I just gotta say, you have to try the fried bologna sandwich, you won’t have tasted nothing like it.”

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Do you pronounce 'scone' to rhyme with 'cone' or 'gone'? It depends where you're from

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

As linguists celebrate English Language Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, what does the ever-changing way we speak reveal about us?

It is a division as entrenched and as bitter as the split between Brexit backers and EU Remainers – though in this case, the issue is truly personal. Do you pronounce the word “scone” to rhyme with “cone”, or to rhyme with “gone”?

To those in the latter group, it is a posh affectation to use a long vowel for this staple item of afternoon tea. By contrast, those in the former group believe they are merely following a logical extension of the pronunciation of the word cone by adding an s as a prefix.

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Will Brexit reopen old wounds with a new hard border in Northern Ireland?

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 07:00:07 GMT2017-04-23T07:00:07Z

Our writer, who grew up in County Armagh, travels the the Irish borderland and talks to those who live there

The motorway from Dublin to Belfast crosses the Irish border just south of the town of Newry. The only clue that you have moved from one country and jurisdiction to another is provided by the speed limit signs, which change from kilometres to miles per hour. Since this stretch of the motorway was opened in July 2010, the journey from one capital to the other takes, on a good day, just 90 minutes.

A few hundred yards away from the motorway, and running almost parallel to it, is the old Dublin to Belfast road, which, throughout the Troubles, was the main conduit for traffic between Ireland and Northern Ireland. On a bad day then, it could take up to 90 minutes just to negotiate the heavily fortified British army checkpoint that stood on the outskirts of Newry, on this road.

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Nicholas Hytner: ‘I’ve always thought of theatre as a cure for loneliness’

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:00:08 GMT2017-04-23T08:00:08Z

The former National Theatre director talks about his new memoir and the launch of his latest venture, the Bridge – the capital’s first commercial theatre in 80 years

Nicholas Hytner makes several appearances in the diaries of Richard Eyre, one of his predecessors as director of the National Theatre. The most arresting of them, however, is definitely the first. “He has,” writes Eyre, after the pair meet for lunch in 1987, “a face like mime – Barrault from Les Enfants du Paradis – oval face, arching eyebrows, animated, almost over-animated. Flights of ideas and gossip, riffs of enthusiasm, indignation, then repose; latent violence, subverted by a childlike smile.” Eyre goes on to praise Hytner’s talent and appetite for work, but it’s those two words, “latent violence”, that linger in the mind. Picturing a dagger poking through an arras, you wonder what on earth he could have meant.

Related: London's new Bridge theatre should encourage playwrights to think big

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Jessa Crispin: ‘Today’s feminists are bland, shallow and lazy’ | Rachel Cooke

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 06:05:05 GMT2017-04-23T06:05:05Z

Rachel Cooke talks to Jessa Crispin about her incendiary new book, Why I Am Not a Feminist

In her slender but merciless new book, Jessa Crispin pours petrol over pretty much the entire surface of 21st-century feminism, and then gleefully sets it alight. Boom! Up it goes, leaving behind only scorched earth. What she hopes will grow in its place isn’t completely clear. “I know! I know!” she wails, when I tell her she offers more questions than answers. But having no desire to be an activist, she doesn’t see it as her business to fix the patriarchy. “Maybe this sounds disingenuous, but I was writing for myself,” she says. “I just wanted to be clear about what I believe.”

The book is called Why I Am Not a Feminist, which is, of course, a lie as well as a provocation, for its author’s feminism runs through her veins like blood. Crispin’s principles, however, have their roots, radical and angry, in the second wave of feminism, not the third: she, for one, is not about to renounce the likes of Andrea Dworkin and Shulamith Firestone, whose uncompromising books she has, incidentally, actually read.

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Claude Bosi at Bibendum: restaurant review | Jay Rayner

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:00:04 GMT2017-04-23T05:00:04Z

Yes it’s expensive and the wine list is far too long, but the reborn Bibendum is everything a great place should be

81 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London SW3 6RD (020 7581 5817). Meal for two, including wine and service: £180

The best restaurants have a special, unforced ingredient. At Bibendum, it’s the sunlight. On a clear spring day, the vaulting first floor space with its stained-glass window of the Michelin Man in shades of sapphire feels like a room where only good things happen. Grand restaurants are an encouragement to the grandiose, so let’s try some of that: without Bibendum, many of London’s great restaurants simply wouldn’t exist.

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Is ‘sub-two-hour’ Nike marathon attempt just a clever marketing stunt?

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:04:51 GMT2017-04-23T08:04:51Z

On an F1 racetrack, three world-class athletes will try to break the record for a 26.2-mile race

Roll up, roll up – come and see the last of the “world marathon majors” before a man breaks the two-hour barrier.

This could be the pitch for Sunday’s London marathon when some 38,000 runners take to the capital’s streets in an event watched by millions. Many will be hoping for a race as memorable as last year when Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge ran a course record, coming home in 2:03:05.

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Alexis Sánchez gives Arsenal extra edge to sink Manchester City in semi

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:45:33 GMT2017-04-23T16:45:33Z

It has not been an easy season for Arsène Wenger, by any measure, but it will at least have the possibility of a happy ending and, once again, he can look his critics in the eye and ask if they will join him for the FA Cup final. It will be the eighth in his 20 years at Arsenal and it is probably worth remembering, amid all the criticism that comes his way, he has won six of the previous seven. Or, putting it another way, that his personal total is the same number Sunderland, Leeds, West Ham and Leicester have managed altogether.

Wenger is also outnumbering Manchester City, who have won the competition five times, and the fact it will be Arsenal taking on Chelsea on 27 May represents a personal ordeal for Pep Guardiola given what it means for his first season at Manchester City. Guardiola’s arrival was supposed to make City credible challengers for every trophy going. In reality, this result confirms it has been a chastening experiences – eliminated at the first knockout stage in Europe, beaten by Manchester United two games into the EFL Cup and now their latest disappointment at a time when City are 11 points off the top of the Premier League table.

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Real Madrid v Barcelona: El Clásico – live!

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 19:11:13 GMT2017-04-23T19:11:13Z

24 min: Marcelo’s ball inside from the left runs all the way to Ronaldo, who swivels before shooting high and wide. He could have found Bale to his right.

22 min: Bale shoots first time from 25 yards, trying to catch out Ter Stegen with the element of surprise, but it’s straight at the German. Messi’s back on, meanwhile, but a trip to the dentist might be in order tomorrow. I think he’s lost some teeth. He’s the new Nobby Stiles.

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Christian Benteke shocks Liverpool to lift Crystal Palace’s hopes

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:51:50 GMT2017-04-23T17:51:50Z

The Kop gave Christian Benteke a round of applause when he exited the fray in the 88th minute at Anfield. Sporting in the extreme. The Crystal Palace forward left his former club bruised and battered on his return to Liverpool, scoring twice in a merited win for Sam Allardyce’s side, and may have had the same impact on Jürgen Klopp’s Champions League aspirations.

“You must be sick of us,” the Palace fans chanted after Benteke’s double took the Eagles closer to Premier League safety and left Liverpool at risk of being caught by Manchester United in the race for a top four finish. Palace’s third consecutive league win at Anfield punished a mediocre Liverpool display – one on which a growing injury list took a visible toll – and could have damaging repercussions for Klopp’s remaining target. Dejan Lovren was also forced off after taking an accidental blow to the face from Benteke’s elbow.

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Tennis must not allow Ilie Nastase to volley away his latest indiscretions | Sean Ingle

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:42:26 GMT2017-04-23T18:42:26Z

The Romanian has a long history of behaving badly and the game’s authorities have done it a disservice by not challenging him with sufficient force

To one eyewitness, Ilie Nastase behaved in a “vile, disgusting and deplorable manner to every member of the British team”. Another talked of “very base and vulgar language” with “gross finger gestures” to the crowd. Some even wondered whether the match between Romania and Great Britain should be called off. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Two days ago familiar, perhaps? Only these comments weren’t about this weekend’s Federation Cup tie – but came from the British team following a Davis Cup match against Nastase’s Romania in 1978.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that Nastase called Johanna Konta“a fucking bitch”, made offensive remarks about Serena Williams’ unborn child, or leched over the British team captain, Anne Keothavong, before asking for her room number. Sneering, leering, loud, louche: such adjectives should define Nastase as much as those used to describe his remarkable shot-making on court.

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London Marathon: Keitany and Wanjiru make it a memorable day for Kenya

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:44:03 GMT2017-04-23T11:44:03Z

• GB’s David Weir wins seventh title in wheelchair race after hellish year
• Keitany sets women-only world record with run of 2hr17min01sec

Mary Keitany produced an extraordinary display of frontrunning to win her third London marathon title – and set the fastest “women only” time in history.

The 35-year-old Kenyan broke from the field after the first mile and, while her stride shortened and the pain etched on her faced grew towards the end, she always looked comfortable of victory. Her final time of 2hr 17min 01sec was the second fastest in history. Only Paula Radcliffe, whose outright world best of 2:15:25 in the 2003 London marathon was set with the help of male pacemakers, has ever gone faster.

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Johanna Konta: No one should have to be subjected to that kind of abuse

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:55:59 GMT2017-04-23T12:55:59Z

• British No1 defeated by Simona Halep in Sunday’s Fed Cup tie
• ‘It’ll be something I’ll do my best to overcome and to just understand’

Johanna Konta said the abuse she received at the Fed Cup tie against Romania will take time to get over as Great Britain slipped to defeat by the hosts.

Konta gave full credit to Simona Halep, whose 6-1, 6-3 victory over the British No1 set the stage for a day of home celebration at Tenis Club IDU in Constanta. That left the visitors needing to win both the remaining rubbers but Romania completed the job in the next match when Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Heather Watson 6-4, 7-5.

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Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney sink Burnley

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 15:24:07 GMT2017-04-23T15:24:07Z

Manchester United enter Thursday’s 174th derby with Manchester City knowing victory at the Etihad Stadium will leapfrog them over Pep Guardiola’s side into fourth place following this convincing win.

Yet José Mourinho suggested winning the Europa League, another route into the Champions League, is preferable. “If we beat Celta we go to the final and yes it is important to us to play in the Champions League but this club wants trophies. We have 25 per cent chance to win the Europa League.”

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British club runner Josh Griffiths bursts on to world stage at London Marathon

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:43:21 GMT2017-04-23T17:43:21Z

• He is fastest British finisher in time of 2hr 14min 49sec
• It earns him place at 2017 world championships in London

Something strange and entirely wondrous began to happen to Josh Griffiths, a 23-year-old club runner from Cross Hands, halfway through his first race over 26.2 miles on Sunday. He started passing athletes in the men’s elite race at the London Marathon. First he found himself galloping past the best of the British crop. Then, improbably, he began overtaking marathoners of the calibre of Tesfaye Abera, who competed for Ethiopia in the Olympics and has a personal best of 2hr 4min 24sec, before finishing in 13th place.

But there was an even greater prize waiting at the finish. Griffiths’ time of 2:14:49 ensured he was the first home runner to finish and guaranteed him a place in the British team for the world athletics championships in London in August.

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Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne to be big Ascot summer attraction

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:55:20 GMT2017-04-23T18:55:20Z

• Payne to ride at Royal Ascot and in Shergar Cup competition
• Churchill fully on course for 2,000 Guineas, says Aidan O’Brien

Michelle Payne has been confirmed to take part in Ascot’s Shergar Cup, the international jockeys’ competition for which the participants were named on Sunday. Payne, who in 2015 became the first woman to ride the winner of the Melbourne Cup, had been lined up for last year’s Shergar Cup until sustaining abdominal injuries in a fall that kept her on the sidelines through the summer.

The Australian has since turned her hand to training but is still a licensed jockey and hopes to make her Ascot debut at the royal meeting in June aboard the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained Kaspersky. The Shergar Cup will give her another five mounts at the Queen’s track when the competition is staged on 12 August.

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Clermont reach Champions Cup final as Camille Lopez seals win over Leinster

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:54:11 GMT2017-04-23T17:54:11Z

• Clermont-Auvergne 27-22 Leinster
• Irish thwarted late on with try denied by TMO

Clermont Auvergne will face Saracens in the final of the European Champions Cup after the French side claimed a 27-22 semi-final victory over Leinster at the Matmut Gerland Stadium.

The game saw Clermont dominate the first period and score tries from Peceli Yato and the former England wing David Strettle. But in the second, Leinster came roaring back and four penalties from the British and Irish Lion Johnny Sexton put them in with a chance of victory. The game’s crucial moment came when a visiting try for Dan Leavy was ruled out and Clermont moved further clear.

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Celtic and Callum McGregor outclass Rangers in Scottish Cup semi-final

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:08:05 GMT2017-04-23T13:08:05Z

The answer was delivered with a smile but its immediacy was pertinent. “No,” replied Brendan Rodgers when asked whether his Celtic team’s position, one game from a domestic treble, exceeds the expectations the former Liverpool manager held last summer. “Maybe if you’d asked me after that game in Gibraltar, I’d have said something different,” added Rodgers, again only partly in jest. Celtic remain unbeaten on the home front and, the vast body of evidence suggests, are destined to be Scotland’s dominant club for a long time yet.

That minor stumble against Lincoln Red Imps has long since become an irrelevance. It probably isn’t good for business – and it certainly isn’t for city harmony – for those involved to point out the massive gulf between Celtic and Rangers, but how it was exposed in this Scottish Cup semi-final. Only the background din and level of policing rendered this an Old Firm fixture; had the Rangers players instead worn the colours of Motherwell, the on-field spectacle would not have been any different.

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David Weir after winning London Marathon: ‘The last four months have been hell’

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:27:52 GMT2017-04-23T12:27:52Z

• David Weir takes record seventh London Marathon wheelchair title
• Winner talks about depression: ‘Rio was where it started. I was in a dark place’

David Weir banished his Paralympics demons by winning a record seventh London marathon wheelchair race – and then revealed that he has been suffering with depression for seven months.

The 37-year-old quit the British team in January, saying he had been accused of throwing the 4x400m race at the Paralympics and having rarely looked happy in Rio de Janeiro, where he finished out of the medals in his five events. He also hinted at unspecified personal problems.

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Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham undone by Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:20:33 GMT2017-04-23T13:20:33Z

Gabriel Agbonlahor has come to resemble something of a relic at Villa Park in recent times, a vague reminder of better times when he and Aston Villa sprinted exhilaratingly towards the top echelons of the Premier League. On Sunday, recharged by the incentive of attempting to help relegate Birmingham City, the club’s highest Premier League scorer returned from three months out to claim his first goal in more than a year to win a frenetic derby.

Harry Redknapp, charged with a three-game mission of keeping Birmingham in the Championship, was encouraged but caustic after watching his newly inherited players give a creditable display that looked set fair to gain a valuable point before the former England striker rose from the bench to do what he does best. “Gabby?” he said. “He’s done well today. He’s had 10 minutes. That’ll keep him happy for another year, won’t it? Fantastic.”

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London Marathon runner helps exhausted athlete finish race – video

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:05:41 GMT2017-04-23T14:05:41Z

This is the moment a London Marathon runner shows amazing sportsmanship and helps a fellow competitor over the finish line at the end of Sunday’s race. Swansea Harrier Matthew Rees sees David Wyeth of Chorlton Runners struggling to put one foot in front of the other with just 200m of the course remaining. Showing incredible selflessness, Rees slows down and supports Wyeth over the final metres to the finish

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George Ford miss denies Bath chance to take Stade Français extra mile

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 15:16:53 GMT2017-04-23T15:16:53Z

• Semi-final: Stade Français 28-25 Bath
• George Ford penalty on final play goes wide to settle fine match

The Bath flanker François Louw admitted his side’s last-gasp European Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Stade Français was a bitter pill to swallow. Todd Blackadder’s men were beaten 28-25 in Paris as George Ford missed with a penalty effort with the game’s final play in a bid to send the match into extra time.

Tries from Semesa Rokoduguni, Robbie Fruean and Elliott Stooke had seen Bath overturn an 18-6 deficit to move back ahead but it was not enough as Hugh Pyle’s score from 50 metres out and the conversion and a drop goal from Jules Plisson sent Stade through to a final meeting with Gloucester.

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Rafael Nadal beats Albert Ramos-Viñolas to win 10th Monte Carlo Masters

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:47:03 GMT2017-04-23T14:47:03Z

• Rafael Nadal beats Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Viñolas 6-1, 6-3
• 14-times grand slam champion now holds record of 10 wins in one ATP event

Rafael Nadal left Monte Carlo on Sunday wrapped in history and hungry for more. The remarkable Spaniard, as expected, dazzled his compatriot Albert Ramos-Viñolas in just 66 minutes to win an unprecedented 10th Masters title here and in Barcelona this week he will try for La Décima again, before heading for Paris where, astonishingly, he has every chance of completing a hat-trick of 10s in the space of seven weeks.

There can hardly be an achievement anywhere in the history of sport to match such a celebratory run … if he pulls it off. Only a fool would bet against it.

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Stadium deals, corruption and bribery: the questions at the heart of Brazil’s Olympic and World Cup ‘miracle’

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:00:08 GMT2017-04-23T08:00:08Z

The two mega-events were framed as a reason for Brazilians to be proud of a modern and forward-looking country; instead the economy has been shattered and a supreme court investigation keeps unearthing unsavoury allegations

With their hands up in the air, ministers, four-star generals and International Olympic Committee officials danced to famous samba tunes at the closing ceremony of the Rio Games last August. While carnival was taking over the Maracanã Stadium, politicians hugged each other in the VIP area. It was a moment of relief, after seven years of tension and controversies. The confetti falling over their heads served as a curtain, closing the Rio 2016 Olympics on a high note.

But the drums could not hush up the investigations into allegations of massive bribes related to the two sport events – the World Cup and the Olympics – that were to be used as a joint endeavour to present to the world a new image of Brazil: a modern country, sophisticated and, above all, responsible.

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Saracens and Munster serve up feisty tie to keep Warren Gatland on edge

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:00:08 GMT2017-04-23T08:00:08Z

Any notion that Lions tourists would exercise restraint were dispelled in Dublin as Saracens won a raucous encounter with quality at a premium

Top-level rugby can shatter dreams as quickly as they materialise. One minute your lifelong ambition of British and Irish Lions selection comes true, the next you are wondering if you will survive the next 80 minutes let alone an entire tour to New Zealand.

Wrapping yourself in cotton wool ahead of a major event is possible in certain sports; for Lions-in-waiting there is no such luxury.

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County cricket: Middlesex v Essex, Hampshire v Yorkshire and more – as it happened

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:31:31 GMT2017-04-23T18:31:31Z

All the action from around the grounds as Yorkshire followed on at Hampshire and Kent beat Derbyshire on another thrilling day of action in the County Championship

Another day done, eh. Essex made it to stumps unscathed after Middlesex’s very conservative declaration, while Yorkshire dealt quite well with the follow-on, even if they are still deep in the mire. An absolutely superb final day awaits at Old Trafford, where all four results are possible. We’ve lost just one game today, with Kent going second by thrashing Derbyshire, who are winless. Here’s the score on the doors:

Tweet of the day.

@willis_macp Kent are getting their just rewards for going back to cable-knit this season.

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Maria Sharapova’s return to tennis would sit more easily if she showed contrition

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:00:08 GMT2017-04-23T08:00:08Z

The five-times grand slam winner is no Lance Armstrong-scale villain but her doping crime was not victimless and she seems not to have learned any lessons

A week or so ago, the legal definition of British prisons was changed: they are no longer places of punishment. The new prison and courts bill, put forward by the justice secretary, Liz Truss, proposed that it was more important that they reform and rehabilitate offenders, and prepare them for a return to society. The news was not universally greeted with Nordic cool reasoning. The Sun called the legislation “alarming”, while Paul Nuttall, this week’s Ukip leader, said that it “beggars belief”. Stories of “holiday camp” inmates drinking, drugging, even frying steaks in their cells were rehashed.

But it makes you wonder – what should be the purpose of drugs bans in sport? Here, I find myself in an uncomfortable position: instinctively, I’m kind of with Nuttall. I want the doping cheats to be punished. Reforming and rehabilitating them, ach, less bothered about that. Individuals will always use illicit means to improve their performances, but if they are busted, they should know that real, stinging deprivations await them.

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Wladimir Klitschko's scientific approach opens door for Anthony Joshua to tee off

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:30:09 GMT2017-04-23T09:30:09Z

Unlike his opponent, Dr Klitschko does not chase knockouts but has heaped pressure on Anthony Joshua to go for broke during next Saturday’s fight

The night Anthony Joshua made his winning professional debut, at the O2 Arena in London on 5 October 2013, Wladimir Klitschko was in Moscow, defending his various versions of the world heavyweight title for the 22nd time to draw alongside Muhammad Ali in longevity at that level. There was not a single soul in boxing who imagined then that the winners that night would meet less than four years later in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium.

Related: Anthony Joshua accepts he must raise his game to beat Wladimir Klitschko

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Hull FC dig deep to see off Castleford despite early dismissal of Liam Watts

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:23:09 GMT2017-04-23T17:23:09Z

• Hull FC 26-24 Castleford Tigers
• Two Mohe Fonua tries help hosts see off fightback from Super League leaders

Daryl Powell had made it abundantly clear while his Castleford side were sweeping aside all before them in the embryonic weeks of this season that his side would falter at some stage. It seems he was not wrong. In truth, this was a result which said as much about Hull FC as it did the Super League leaders. Hull were magnificent in forging an early 18-0 lead in as many minutes, but the sending off of the prop Liam Watts after just 20 minutes looked to be the catalyst for Castleford to overturn that deficit.

Related: Steve Gill, the unlikely chief executive leading the Castleford revival

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Tim Farron: ‘If you want to prevent hard Brexit then the Lib Dems have a clear message’

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 20:30:23 GMT2017-04-22T20:30:23Z

The Lib Dem leader says his party is ruling out a coalition with Labour or the Tories, and he is hoping that anti-Brexit sentiment lifts its vote

Tim Farron is on home territory and it is hard to keep him moving. He has hardly set foot outside the door of the Liberal Democrats’ office in Kendal when a local councillor waves him down. “Did you get your credit card back, Tim?” he asks. Farron left it in the car park ticket machine the day before, when preoccupied with thoughts of the general election on 8 June. “Yeah, great, thanks, got it,” Farron says. A bit further on he bumps into the editor of the local paper, the Westmorland Gazette, and more chat ensues. The clock ticks on and his spin doctor, Paul Butters, strides ahead, trying to force the pace. We stall repeatedly along Finkle Street, the lakeland hills in the distance, as Farron engages elderly ladies in light conversation. This is his own seat, a safe Lib Dem one, and Butters wants his boss to get a move on – and get out of town.

Related: Tim Farron: ‘If you want to prevent hard Brexit then the Lib Dems have a clear message’

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Energy bills: what's the difference between Tory cap and Miliband freeze?

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 15:08:01 GMT2017-04-23T15:08:01Z

As newspapers alter their views on energy market intervention, consumers must work out what it would mean for them

It’s not what you know but who you know. To prove the aphorism, compare the response to Theresa May’s promise to cap energy bills, and the furore over Ed Miliband’s pledge to do something very similar four years ago.

When the former Labour leader called for a 20-month price freeze in the face of rising gas and electricity costs, he was ridiculed. “Back to the bad old days,” screamed the Daily Mail front page in September 2013.

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Women’s Equality party leader seeks backing for a clear run to beat ‘misogynist’ MP

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:59:05 GMT2017-04-23T05:59:05Z

Sophie Walker’s challenge to Tories’ Philip Davies comes as ‘progressive alliance’ gathers support in key marginal seats

She is the leader of the Women’s Equality party (WEP), a new political force committed to furthering the cause of gender equality, but which has yet to make inroads electorally.

He is a Tory MP who tried to derail a bill to protect women against violence, and told a conference hosted by an anti-feminism party that “feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it”.

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On paper, Theresa May can’t lose – but no election is risk free | Robert Ford

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

The divisions caused by Brexit cut across party lines and make this election unpredictable

After the Brexit referendum, the Brexit election. Less than a year after the historic vote to end Britain’s membership of the EU, and less than two years after her party secured an unexpected parliamentary majority, Theresa May is seeking another mandate from the country – to deliver on the fundamental change demanded a year ago. The announcement on Tuesday caught many unawares, but the logic of the decision is clear.

The Conservatives’ recent poll leads over Labour have been topping 20 points: landslide territory. After 2015, headline poll numbers are treated with a bit more caution, but there is nothing but good news for the Conservatives in the polling fine print, too. May enjoys immensely strong personal ratings, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s continue to be among the worst ever recorded by an opposition leader. When voters are offered a straight choice between May and Corbyn, the Labour leader comes a distant third – well behind “don’t know”.

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We want a great leader to save us. But people are where the power is | Zoe Williams

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:53:51 GMT2017-04-23T17:53:51Z

The focus on Jeremy Corbyn’s personal qualities is unrelenting. But this emphasis obscures what’s really broken in our political system

Accustomed to muttering about the darkness of the times, I sometimes forget how bizarre they are: the speed of events under the self-styled “stable” Conservatives gives everything a psychedelic feel. We have a Tory PM standing with a message that best resembles the BNP manifesto circa 2005, and a Labour challenger launching with a line on primary school class sizes that was on Tony Blair’s pledge card in 1997, plus a promise of more bank holidays that is far less disruptive to business than Blair’s idea of a national minimum wage. Yet Corbyn is the unelectable one.

Related: Zen-like Jeremy Corbyn avoids firm answers but he's not the only one | John Crace

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Allow me to womansplain the problem with gendered language

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:59:21 GMT2017-04-23T18:59:21Z

Words such as ‘girlboss’ and ‘manspreading’ have gone from making an important point to reinforcing the differences between men and women

She is a #Girlboss. She is a mumtrepreneur. She is a SheEO. He is a manterrupter. A mansplainer. A manspreader. He is always bropropriating women’s ideas. She is a feminazi. He’s got a dadbod and the man flu. What is it with the growing popularity of overtly gendered neologisms? From chick flicks to dick pics, from boss babes to guyliner, there has been a proliferation of his or hers portmanteaux.

Much of this is feminism’s fault, naturally. There has been more scrutiny of everyday sexism; words such as manspreading and manterrupting simply give a name to behaviour that was taken for granted before. There has also been more discussion of women in the workplace, leading to a rise in supposedly empowering labels such as girlboss, a term popularised by Sophia Amoruso, the founder of online retailer Nasty Gal. In 2014, Amoruso wrote a bestselling memoir/self-help book for entrepreneurially minded millennial women called #GIRLBOSS and the word entered the popular vernacular – it is now a Netflix show.

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The Guardian view on generational inequality: a country fit for all ages | Editorial

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:56:08 GMT2017-04-23T18:56:08Z

In 2010 David Willetts illuminated the equality divide between young and old. Since then things have only got worse

Seven years ago, a new set of contour lines emerged in our understanding of inequality in Britain. The publication of The Pinch by David Willetts has shaped the way we map, measure and articulate inequality: not just in terms of the gap between the rich and the poor, but in terms of the divide between the young and the old.

Lord Willetts’ arguments have since become well rehearsed. The baby boomer generation have collectively done much better financially than the generations that came before them. They will have drawn more out of the welfare state than they paid in as a generation; have done exceedingly well out of accelerating house-price growth; and can look forward to a comfortable retirement on generous defined-benefit pensions. But this has come at the expense of the younger generation, which finds itself struggling to even get on the housing ladder, and financially propping up both the welfare state and pensions schemes that the older generation are drawing down on.

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US carrot and stick approach to North Korea is clumsy but significant

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:41:30 GMT2017-04-23T14:41:30Z

Behind the rhetoric and mind games, Donald Trump depends almost entirely on China not to have Pyongyang call his bluff

It used to be North Korea’s intentions that baffled analysts. Now, amid wild talk of thermonuclear war between the US and Kim Jong-un’s isolated regime, it is contradictory signals from Donald Trump’s administration that present the bigger challenge.

Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-president, deepened confusion over US policy at the weekend, insisting repeatedly in Australia that “all options are on the table” including military action.

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Whatever the IMF thinks, we are a long way from the boom time of 2007 | Larry Elliott

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:02:46 GMT2017-04-23T14:02:46Z

Christine Lagarde may be optimistic about the global economy but there are good reasons why the heady growth seen before the financial crisis won’t come back

When the International Monetary Fund met for its spring meeting in Washington 10 years ago the global economy was booming. The world was experiencing the strongest period of sustained growth since the late 1960s and early 1970s and the fund thought the good times would continue.

There was a bit of concern about the rip-roaring US housing market, but no suggestion that a crisis in the sub-prime mortgage market would be the catalyst for the biggest recession since the 1930s. Even when the trickle of foreclosures turned into a flood the assumption was that it was merely a localised problem that would soon be sorted out. Only when the entire global financial system froze up a year later did everything become horribly clear.

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The poor get poorer and the rich won’t admit it | David Mitchell

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:00:09 GMT2017-04-23T09:00:09Z

Labour’s John McDonnell has put a £70,000 price tag on wealth. So why are we all so desperate to be included in the ‘squeezed middle’?

People don’t want to be rich any more. It’s a world turned upside down. Genies are having to completely rethink their planning strategies in anticipation of an era of altruistic lamp-rubbers. Suddenly they’ve got to find a way to make wishing for world peace turn round and bite you on the arse.

“I’m thinking maybe an all-life destroying pestilence so that the ‘world peace’ is the silence that follows the death of every living thing,” a genie who refused to be named told me. “But I’m just talking off the top of my turban.”

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Prince Harry story is new twist in the saga of the media and the royals

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:00:11 GMT2017-04-23T11:00:11Z

Revelation in the Mad World podcast underlines princes’ desire to keep control of their own public image

Before 11am last Tuesday, there was one story set to dominate the week’s news agenda: Prince Harry and his decision to talk about his mother’s death and its impact on his mental health. On the day the prime minister rushed on to Downing Street to announce a snap election, every national newspaper featured the scoop by the Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon on their front pages.

For someone so well known to open up about their own mental health, still stigmatised and starved of funding, is news enough. Add to that the memories of his mother, a woman believed to have softened the “stiff upper lips” of a nation in the first place and the public interest in both senses is pretty clear. Mental health charity Mind reported an increase in calls of almost 40% a day following the podcast, Mad World.

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Scientists are armed with the truth. But to win this culture war, they’ll need more than that | Anne Perkins

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:04:31 GMT2017-04-23T14:04:31Z

We all love science when it’s making life better, longer and easier. It’s a much harder sell when it points to inconvenient truths about our way of life

There is an old joke about being able to tell an extroverted scientist: instead of staring at their shoes when they talk to you, they stare at yours. This is no longer true. Scientists are the new rock stars. Tonight Einstein gets the full soft-focus Crown-style treatment as National Geographic launches a 10-part series about the man described by hte actor Geoffrey Rush, who portrays him in Genius, as a “stud-muffin theoretical physicist”.

Related: Why I marched for science

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A hasty election before Britain sees the hard truth of Brexit

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:59:05 GMT2017-04-23T05:59:05Z

Of all the reasons for Theresa May to go for an immediate vote, the clearest is that the future prospects for Britain are darkening all the time

My friend Paul Whitehouse told me the news in my local cafe. At first I thought he was practising a sketch for a re-run of the much-missed Fast Show.

Sadly, he wasn’t. Theresa May’s repeated denials of an intention to call a snap election had gone the way of so many of her inconsistent and often fatuous pronouncements. There was going to be an election after all.

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Everyone feels like an outsider. It’s not just you… | Eva Wiseman

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:00:04 GMT2017-04-23T05:00:04Z

The minute you realise that every single other comfortable-looking person is trying just as hard as you are to belong, you’ll find yourself free to do as you wish

One of the most humiliating experiences of my working life was when I went to interview my hero, John Waters. I was wearing my favourite dress, and he approached with a blank smile, saying: “You’re here to meet me. I could tell by your outfit.” That cold wind of shame as I remembered I was not unique, that I was as recognisable as any other type of fan, a Trekkie, perhaps, wearing a pair of Silly Putty ears. Or one of those grown women who really love Hello Kitty and must display her mouthless face on all her accessories, all the time, even in court. I shivered at the memory again this week, when I read Waters’s new book, Make Trouble, a transcript of the graduation speech he gave at Rhode Island School of Design in 2015.

In this speech, typically hilarious and wise, the director who became notorious for a film where his drag queen muse literally ate shit, said in fact Hairspray (a musical about a fat girl who loves to dance) was the most transgressive movie he ever made. “Pink Flamingos was preaching to the converted. But Hairspray is a Trojan horse: it snuck into Middle America and never got caught.” His advice to the students in front of him was to stop being an outsider. To refuse to isolate themselves in comfortable niches, to listen to their political enemies, and then figure out a way to make them laugh. To cause trouble from the inside. Which strikes me as quite… radical.

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How the opposition parties can still make a contest of this election | Andrew Rawnsley

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

They should make the issue not who should be prime minister, but whether the Tories can be trusted with a landslide

Election time and the fibbin’ is easy. The first fat and juicy one came from Theresa May when she stood outside Number 10 and declared that it was the “national interest” that compelled her to trigger the snap election that she had many times sworn that she would not call because an early poll was not in the “national interest”.

I don’t blame Mrs May for seeking to enlarge the slim parliamentary majority that she inherited from David Cameron. To complain about a prime minister taking her opportunity to strengthen her position is as futile as moaning about what bears get up to in the woods. I have often enough in this space advanced the reasons why, from her point of view, it made sense for the Tory leader to seek her own mandate. So I was less surprised by her gambit than most. I just wish she’d drop the bogus piety and the gossamer-thin pretence that her stonking lead in the opinion polls has had nothing to do with her calculations.

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Scotland a happy place? Don’t make me laugh | Kevin McKenna

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

All these wellbeing surveys are a plot to convince us that we don’t need another referendum

A campaign, insidious in its stealth, has been under way for some years to make Scottish people feel significantly happier and more content than we actually are or truly want to be. As a nation, we are in dire peril of being engulfed by waves of unbridled optimism and it’s not a pretty sight. This is not what we signed up for and, quite frankly, it diminishes us all. Dark forces are spending a great deal of poppy to engender feelings of dazed and sloppy wellbeing among us. It is about as convincing as drunk Uncle Tam doing Gangnam Style at Sadie’s wedding.

Hardly a month goes by when some part of Scotland has not been voted the happiest or most desirable place in the known universe. The latest neighbourhood to have been revealed as the most ebullient on God’s Earth was the Outer Hebrides. Apparently, Orkney and its surrounding islands scored 8.24 out of 10 in the UK government’s national happiness survey.

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Hello? ET? Just wait until you see the phone bill… | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:08:26 GMT2017-04-22T23:08:26Z

$100m spent and still there is no sign of extraterrestrials

Very sad news for fans of aliens (should they exist). After more than a year of listening for signals, astronomers working on the $100m Breakthrough Listen project, funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Yuri Milner, have found no evidence of extraterrestrials. The only “intelligent signals” came via satellites, mobile phones and other “earthly devices”.

The good news is that the “ET phone home” scene packs an even greater punch now that we know about all those strong mobile signals. A tiny negative: $100m is rather a lot for what sounds like the equivalent of holding your phone in the air and yelling: “No UFOs as yet, but I’ve got three bars.”

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The tangled web of online dating | Sonia Sodha

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

For the Tinder generation, meeting new prospective partners is easy – but is it good for us?

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in a restaurant or a pub, the couple at the table next to you are blatantly on a first date going wrong and it’s becoming increasingly impossible to resist listening in with a mix of schadenfreude in the face of their awkwardness and relief it’s not you. And those of us who have been single will be no stranger to sympathetic glances from other punters as the narcissistic bore you’re sitting across from enthusiastically divulges the story of his life.

Single, married or divorced, dating seems to fascinate us all. Channel 4’s First Dates returned to our screens last week, beaming first-date voyeurism into the comfort of our sitting rooms. Everyone loves a happy ending, but if that’s not on offer then the tricky twists and turns one takes in the hope of getting there can make for pretty compulsive viewing too.

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We’re worlds apart, but like Prince Harry I had to face up to depression

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

Prince Harry has spoken of his bereavement, Tony Howard recalls how therapy helped him with the loss of his brother-in-law

Turning the corner into my mother-in-law’s street some years ago, it hit me. Michael’s car wasn’t there. Which meant Michael wasn’t there. And Michael wasn’t there because he was gone and none of us would ever see him again. We wouldn’t hear him laugh, we would never again be the butt of his jokes and none of us would share again in his generosity.

The moment of that dreadful realisation came back last week, reading Prince Harry’s comments about mental health and his battle with bereavement. Although our circumstances couldn’t be more different – my issues manifested themselves on a north Manchester council estate, rather than in a royal residence – the feelings of loss and subsequent pain will have been very similar.

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The Observer view on the general election campaign | Observer editorial

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:04:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:04:27Z

Already the parties are dodging the crucial issues facing the country

Less than a week in and there is already a whiff of absurdity about this general election campaign. Elections are supposed to provide choices: the opportunity for voters to have a say on the big issues. There is no shortage of serious questions facing Britain in 2017: not just what type of relationship we want with the European Union after we leave, but on a wide range of important economic and social challenges.

Yet the first few days of the election campaign suggested that it will be defined by a lack of choice. It looks unlikely to provide an insight on what the different parties have to offer on problems such as regional inequality, the proliferation of low-paid, insecure work or the crisis in housing affordability. Nor will it shed further light on where they stand on the key Brexit negotiating issues. Instead, it looks set to unfold into a depressingly negative slanging match.

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If Labour crashes, don’t expect the hard left to bow out | Nick Cohen

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 18:05:00 GMT2017-04-22T18:05:00Z

Civil war in Unite foreshadows Labour’s battles to come

My colleagues and I are struggling to interest you and indeed ourselves in this listless election because questions about who will form the next government do not arise. Theresa May will form it. The only point of interest is how large her majority will be.

A Tory landslide will give the illusory impression that we have lived through a sea change. But the British will still be the same people on 9 June. The electorate will not return the Tories with a large, maybe vast, majority because May is responding to a national hunger for change.

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See how the other half lives from the Tate’s balcony | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

Neo Bankside residents wanted to be close to culture, so they shouldn’t complain about being a little too close

In a short but compelling 2011 film in praise of Neo Bankside, a cluster of luxury apartment blocks, Kevin Spacey, then running the Old Vic, stressed their superb location, courtesy of the South Bank’s artistic assets, Tate Modern in particular. For any property enthusiast who combines a love of speculation with an equal passion for, say, Joseph Beuys, there could be, you gathered, no finer investment.

“I think it’s probably the most extraordinary stretch of cultural land that you’ll find anywhere in the world,” Spacey assured prospective neighbours, on behalf of the developers, British Land and Grosvenor. “And I can tell you it’s a remarkable place to live.”

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Overhaul Britain’s rotten tax system or we won’t be able to sustain a healthy state | Will Hutton

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:07:26 GMT2017-04-22T23:07:26Z

Arguing over whether a £70,000 salary makes you rich diverts us from a proper discussion of public finances

Acommon feature of all countries in long-term decline has been an inability to overcome the grip of malign sectional interests on their affairs. Eighteenth-century Spain, 19th-century China or the 20th-century Soviet Union were all pulled into self-destructive vortices. For different reasons, none could address fundamental economic and political dysfunctions. The Spanish nobility, the Chinese mandarinate and the Russian communist kleptocracy might have benefited from the way their respective societies were rigged but they were too powerful to be challenged. The question is whether 21st-century Britain can escape from the way its society is rigged to avoid the same fate.

A classic example is the British tax system. The country has become incapable of thinking or talking straight about tax. It may be, as Theresa May said in her shortlived campaign to win the Conservative leadership, that “tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society”. Equally, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, is no less correct to say, as he did on Friday, that the “triple lock” – outlawing rises in income tax, national insurance and VAT, the major workhorses in any tax system, a gimmick introduced by George Osborne – did “constrain the ability of the government to manage the economy flexibly”. He could have gone further; as virtually every observer notes, the triple lock is economically absurd.

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The Observer view on the French presidential election | Observer editorial

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

Europe and Britain wait to see which way France’s voters will turn

After months of political shocks, high-profile scandals and fraught campaigning, the outcome of France’s presidential election remains clouded in uncertainty, but the potentially momentous consequences of today’s first-round vote, for the French, for Europe and for Britain, are clear.

It is often said at election time that this or that country is at a crossroads. On this occasion, this platitude has the ring of truth. With voters apparently split four ways, and with up to one-third undecided on the eve of the poll, this divided country, crying out for change yet uncertain how to achieve it, is undoubtedly at a turning point.

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When an M&S closes, you lose more than a store | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

Retailers should try to keep a presence on the high street, lest we forget them

Marks & Spencer is planning six big regional store closures in Portsmouth, Warrington, Slough, Worksop, Wokingham and Monks Cross, near York. Portsmouth council, whose £300m city redevelopment starts next month, says that it is saddened by the news and you can see the point. It’s not quite the case yet that every time an M&S store shuts a retail fairy dies, but it’s getting close.

M&S also announced that it is opening 36 smaller stores (mainly focused on food), which will create jobs, and has pledged to offer the 380 staff affected by the closures the opportunity to be reassigned. There are other big M&S branches near the closing shops, within walking distance or a short drive away. The closures were part of a reaction to the pressures facing all retailers, relating to seismic changes in shopping habits, notably the vastly increased public preference for shopping online.

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To wrest power from the few, progressives must vote for Labour | David Blunkett

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:04:26 GMT2017-04-22T23:04:26Z

It’s not about Brexit or Corbyn. It’s a fight for the core of our democracy

For the first time in my adult life I will not be voting in this general election. Hell, what a headline. But hold on, this is nothing to do with my well-known views about the Corbyn project. Rather, it is the result of an arcane part of Britain’s historic, political and outdated constitution that bars members of the House of Lords from this vote.

For the absence of doubt, I would if I could be voting Labour and I urge every progressive, whatever their doubts, to do the same. In fact I would go further. This election is not about Jeremy Corbyn or those around him, and it is not about Brexit. The truth is that we are fighting to maintain a functioning democracy in which all the levers of power do not rest in the hands of those commanding wealth and privilege.

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The PM hopes she can rely on the press. But there’s one catch…

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:02:26 GMT2017-04-22T23:02:26Z

Tory papers will back May – until she hits readers’ pockets

Elections are won and lost in the newsbreaks between songs on the radio. BBC Radio 2 alone attracts a greater number of weekly listeners than the number of those who voted Conservative at the last general election.

But what appears in newsbreaks is driven by what news producers read at morning conference, which is driven by the day’s papers, which in Britain overwhelmingly tilt to the right. Theresa May can rely on her allies in the rightwing press – the Telegraph, Express, Sun and Mail, with whose readers she has an instinctive and deep sympathy – to largely repeat what she says, which then finds its way from news pages to TV and radio.

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Archaic tax may be answer to Church of England’s repair bill prayers

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:44:19 GMT2017-04-23T17:44:19Z

However, confusion over chancel repairs liability – which dates back to Henry VIII – ensures only insurers selling cover win

The growing repair bill faced by the Church of England has an answer when its accountants consider how to keep the rain from damaging ancient parish churches.

Extra funds can be found from a charge on local residents known as the chancel repairs liability that affects as many as 40% of England’s homes. This archaic rule, which dates back to Henry VIII’s reign and his dissolution of the monasteries, makes homeowners in about 5,200 parishes liable to pay for repairs to a church’s chancel: the area including the altar, the choir stalls and the roof protecting them.

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Sir Philip Green could still lose knighthood, says MP

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 15:54:50 GMT2017-04-23T15:54:50Z

A year after BHS collapse, Labour’s Frank Field says retail tycoon’s settlement with Pensions Regulator is ‘inadequate’

Sir Philip Green has been warned that he could still be stripped of his knighthood and faces further questions from MPs, one year after the collapse of BHS.

The veteran Labour MP Frank Field said Green had not done enough to keep his title amid lingering concerns over the £363m settlement struck between the retail tycoon and the Pensions Regulator.

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Working mothers face pay and childcare challenges, reports find

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:46:04 GMT2017-04-23T13:46:04Z

Rising cost of childcare, especially in big cities such as London, means some families effectively ‘pay to work’, says IPPR

Whether it’s the gender pay gap, a lack of promotion opportunities or the demand from retailers to work longer shifts – often standing at checkouts for 10 hours straight – life can be tough for women in the shop trade.

For mothers it can be even worse, whatever industry they choose and in whichever part of the country they look for work.

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Labour repeats backing for Trident after Jeremy Corbyn casts doubt on it

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:09:09 GMT2017-04-23T12:09:09Z

Party moves to put a stop to speculation after leader says Labour government would review policy on nuclear deterrent

Labour has moved hastily to shut down speculation that it could withdraw support for Britain’s nuclear deterrent, after Jeremy Corbyn appeared to leave open the idea that renewing Trident could be left out of the party’s manifesto.

Labour issued a statement on Sunday saying: “The decision to renew Trident has been taken and Labour supports that. We also want Britain to do much more to pursue a proactive, multilateral disarmament strategy.”

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Police target of bomb found near north Belfast school, says officer

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:45:59 GMT2017-04-23T11:45:59Z

Police in Northern Ireland blame dissident republicans for ‘viable’ device in Ardoyne area that led to evacuation of residents

Dissident republicans left a bomb next to a primary school in north Belfast in an attempt to murder police, a senior officer has said.

The device, described as “viable, significant and reckless”, was discovered in an alleyway beside Holy Cross boys’ primary school in the Ardoyne area of the city shortly before midnight on Saturday.

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Britain's Got Talent's golden buzzer act wins 2017's biggest TV audience

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:49:28 GMT2017-04-23T16:49:28Z

ITV talent show draws 9.2 million people, or 44% share of viewers, to watch all-girl troupe Just Us dance through to semifinal

Britain’s Got Talent has drawn the biggest TV audience of the year so far, with 9.2 million people tuning in to watch the second episode of the series.

Saturday night’s instalment secured a 44% share of viewers as an all-girl dance troupe won their slot in the semifinal after wowing judge Alesha Dixon.

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Bill sets out plan to tackle 'extortionate' UK overdraft fees

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:51:46 GMT2017-04-23T16:51:46Z

Legislation proposed by MP Rachel Reeves would make banks subject to similar rules as payday lenders

Bank customers ripped off by “extortionate” overdraft fees will get support next week from a parliamentary bill that promises to protect the most financially vulnerable from escalating charges.

Rachel Reeves, a Labour MP who sits on the Treasury select committee, will outline plans on Tuesday for regulators at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to cap the maximum amount that banks can charge customers for unauthorised overdrafts, similar to the limit imposed on charges on payday loans of £24 a month.

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Police arrest second man in London terrorism inquiry

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:55:21 GMT2017-04-23T08:55:21Z

Met counter-terrorism officers detain 40-year-old in south-east London after 30-year-old was held on Wednesday

A second man has been arrested as part of an investigation in London by counter-terrorism officers.

The Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command detained the 40-year-old man in south-east London on Saturday.

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Election is a Tory power grab, says EU Brexit chief

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 20:33:34 GMT2017-04-22T20:33:34Z

European parliament’s Brexit coordinator says result will be an irrelevance in Brussels

Theresa May’s claim that she will be strengthened in the Brexit talks by a general election victory has been dismissed as nonsense by the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, who has condemned the prime minister as a political opportunist.

In an outspoken attack, Guy Verhofstadt suggests the prime minister was motivated by party political considerations rather than the national interest in calling a poll for 8 June.

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Acid attack suspect Arthur Collins is arrested

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 03:04:48 GMT2017-04-23T03:04:48Z

Collins, 25, held on suspicion of attempted murder and another man charged with grievous bodily harm after liquid was thrown into London nightclub crowd

Police have arrested key suspect Arthur Collins over the east London nightclub acid attack that left two revellers partially blinded and others disfigured.

Collins, 25, was arrested at an address in Rushden, Northamptonshire, on Saturday on suspicion of attempted murder.

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Smokers and obese patients face more curbs on NHS surgery

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 21:00:24 GMT2017-04-22T21:00:24Z

Anger as plan to extend ‘lifestyle rationing’ for hip and knee operations is revealed in letter

NHS bosses are planning a massive expansion of the controversial rationing that forces smokers and obese patients to wait months in pain before they can have surgery, a leaked letter reveals.

The move will see local NHS bodies across England implement restrictions on access to treatment that will hit what doctors’ leaders believe will be tens of thousands of patients.

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How Churchill helped to shape the Middle East we know today

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:04:26 GMT2017-04-22T23:04:26Z

Imperial War Museum exhibition will highlight his love of the region – and his legacy as colonial secretary

One of the most controversial and understudied aspects of Winston Churchill’s life – his involvement in the Middle East – is to be the focus of a major new permanent exhibition staged by the Imperial War Museum in London.

The exhibition blends “immersive” digital technology with historical artefacts – including a 1944 letter of condolence written by him after Jewish opponents of British policy in Palestine assassinated his friend Walter Guinness, Lord Moyne. The creators of the exhibition will have to tread carefully when it comes to sensitivities such as the debate about whether Churchill was antisemitic, and his complex views on Islam.

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Cold snap will send UK temperatures tumbling

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 16:09:41 GMT2017-04-22T16:09:41Z

Snow and sleet expected in some parts of Scotland and England and temperatures of 25C 10 days ago will drop to 11C in the south

Don’t put away that winter coat just yet: Britain is braced for a late taste of winter, with icy showers and arctic winds expected across much of the country early next week.

The cold snap is likely to bring snow and sleet in Scotland and parts of England, the Met Office warned.

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100 firefighters bring Dagenham warehouse blaze under control

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 21:53:20 GMT2017-04-22T21:53:20Z

London fire brigade sent 15 engines to scene in east London where fire tore through facility storing mixed waste

A warehouse blaze tackled by about 100 firefighters has been brought under control, emergency services said.

Smoke darkened miles of the east London skyline on Saturday evening from the fire on Chequers Lane in Dagenham, the London fire brigade (LFB) said.

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Michael Bloomberg to world leaders: ignore Trump on climate change

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 19:02:03 GMT2017-04-23T19:02:03Z

  • Former New York mayor defends Paris climate deal in new book
  • Bloomberg aruges states and markets will ensure US hits emissions goals

The former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has urged world leaders not to follow Donald Trump’s lead on climate change, and declared his own intention to stave off the “tragedy” that would be the collapse of the Paris climate deal.

Related: Trump aides abruptly postpone meeting on whether to stay in Paris climate deal

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Briton killed in New Zealand paraglider accident

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 15:45:22 GMT2017-04-23T15:45:22Z

Ben Letham, originally from Scotland, came down in grounds of a primary school in South Island town of Queenstown

A British expat has died in a paraglider accident in New Zealand.

Ben Letham, 26, was on a solo flight when he came down in the grounds of Queenstown primary school after taking off from the South Island town’s Skyline gondola.

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Russia 'targeted Trump adviser in bid to infiltrate campaign'

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:32:52 GMT2017-04-23T09:32:52Z

CNN claims investigators have intelligence suggesting Russians may have used Carter Page to try to access Trump campaign

Russian operatives sought to infiltrate the Trump campaign using some of the US president’s own advisers, including Carter Page, according to a CNN report that cited unnamed US officials.

Page, a former Merrill Lynch banker who Trump referred to as a foreign policy adviser during his presidential race, has emerged as a key figure in several US investigations into possible coordination between the Kremlin.

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Maldives blogger stabbed to death in capital

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 10:38:47 GMT2017-04-23T10:38:47Z

Yameen Rasheed, who used his Daily Panic blog to poke fun at politicians, found with stab wounds at his flat in Malé

A blogger who frequently satirised the Maldives’ political and religious establishment has been stabbed to death in the capital, the third media figure to be targeted in the Indian ocean archipelago in the past five years.

Yameen Rasheed, 29, was found early on Sunday in the stairwell of his apartment building in Malé with multiple stab wounds to his neck and chest. He died shortly after being taken to hospital, family members said.

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Suspected US drone strike kills three al-Qaida operatives in Yemen – report

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:34:23 GMT2017-04-23T17:34:23Z

  • Tribal and security officials report attack on southern coast
  • AFP photographer seriously wounded in separate missile strike

Tribal and security officials said on Sunday a suspected US airstrike had killed three al-Qaida operatives on Yemen’s southern coast.

Related: 'They're going to kill me next': Yemen family fears drone strikes under Trump

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North Korea detains American citizen as Japanese ships join US war games

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:37:25 GMT2017-04-23T13:37:25Z

  • University teacher Tony Kim held at airport while trying to leave country
  • North Korea says its forces are ready to sink US aircraft carrier

Amid rising tensions between North Korea and the US, Pyongyang has detained a US citizen, officials said on Sunday, bringing to three the number of Americans now being held in the country.

Related: Julie Bishop hits back at North Korea as Labor backs 'harder-edged' US stance

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Thousands march in Venezuela in honour of those killed in unrest

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 04:48:23 GMT2017-04-23T04:48:23Z

For the first time since protests began, demonstrators managed to cross to the traditionally pro-government west side of Caracas without resistance

Thousands of Venezuelans dressed in white have marched in the capital to pay homage to at least 20 people killed in anti-government unrest in recent weeks.

Protests have been roiling Venezuela on an almost daily basis since the pro-government supreme court stripped congress of its last powers three weeks ago, a decision later reversed amid a storm of international rebuke.

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Germany's AfD party heads further right after leader suffers defeat

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 01:44:41 GMT2017-04-23T01:44:41Z

Congress delegates refuse to discuss Frauke Petry’s motion to shift the rightwing anti-immigrant party into the ‘mainstream’

The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) looks set to turn further right after its co-leader, who has struck a more moderate tone of late, suffered a defeat when delegates refused to discuss her motion to shift the party into the “mainstream”.

Support for the party, which attacks the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for having allowed more than a million migrants into Germany in the last two years, has tumbled in recent months after reaching the mid-teens in opinion polls last year.

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'It’s going to hit the poorest people': Zika outbreak feared on the Texas border

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:00:11 GMT2017-04-23T11:00:11Z

As mosquito season ramps up again, activists and health workers fear the worst for the the Rio Grande Valley, where conditions are ripe for mosquitoes to breed

When Patricia Pena hosted a Zika awareness class near the Texas border with Mexico on Tuesday, only four people showed up.

“Even though there’s been a lot of announcements on TV about it and how to protect yourself, families are still very naive when it comes to the information on Zika,” said Pena, who works with La Frontera Ministries, a community nonprofit.

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Nazi-looted painting to be auctioned as owners' heirs fail to halt sale

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:34:27 GMT2017-04-23T11:34:27Z

Auction house Im Kinsky accused of moral bankruptcy for sale of Bartholomeus van der Helst work despite ownership dispute

A 17th-century Dutch old master painting stolen by the Nazis is to be auctioned in Vienna next week, provoking outrage from the heirs of the owners from whom it was looted who have accused the auction house of moral bankruptcy.

Auctioneers at Im Kinsky have not shied away from describing the painting, Bartholomeus van der Helst’s Portrait of a Man, as disputed stolen art in the sales catalogue. They state that its current owner bought it in good faith from a German art dealer in 2004 and under Austrian law she has the right to sell it.

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