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



Published: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 02:32:28 GMT2017-02-22T02:32:28Z

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



Losing banking jobs to EU 'threatens financial stability across Europe'

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:00:11 GMT2017-02-21T18:00:11Z

Concern growing in the City that Brexit-related bank moves could unravel related professions and risk wider financial turmoil

The City of London has warned that the loss of banking jobs to EU countries due to Brexit could threaten British and European financial stability.

Interviews with more than half a dozen senior bankers and business leaders reveal growing certainty that the threat of losing single market access will force a wave of relocations this year and may cause an “unwinding” of a cluster of related businesses.

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Betting the house? How Brexit gamble could bring down the City

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:00:11 GMT2017-02-21T18:00:11Z

EU membership helped London become Europe’s biggest financial centre; a hard Brexit could spell the end of its dominance

Flanked by pop art from Andy Warhol to Jasper Johns, top officials from one of Wall Street’s biggest banks will gather at the British Museum for a bittersweet moment.

A month from now, the assembled financiers will sip champagne and nibble canapés to celebrate the 40 years Morgan Stanley – sponsor of the museum’s American Dream exhibition – has had a presence in the UK.

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Government spending billions on free schools while existing schools crumble

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:19 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:19Z

National Audit Office says £6.7bn is needed to bring current school buildings up to standard while ministers have pledged to build 500 free schools by 2020

Ministers are choosing to give billions of pounds to build new free schools while existing schools are crumbling into disrepair, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found.

The National Audit Office has calculated that £6.7bn is needed to bring existing school buildings in England and Wales to a satisfactory standard.

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Trump plans to greatly expand number of immigrants targeted for deportation

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:07:43 GMT2017-02-21T19:07:43Z

New guidelines include people in US illegally charged with or even suspected of a crime, and would send border crossers back to Mexico regardless of origin

Donald Trump has laid the groundwork for potentially deporting millions of undocumented immigrants by issuing new guidance that drastically broadens the ways in which federal immigration laws should be enforced.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unveiled two memos on Tuesday detailing wide-ranging directives focused on both interior enforcement and cracking down on security along the US-Mexico border.

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New screening test cuts bowel cancer risk by a third, study finds

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:18 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:18Z

One-off examination, being introduced across NHS, was able to prevent 35% of bowel cancers overall and 40% of deaths

A one-off screening test being introduced across the NHS cuts the risk of developing bowel cancer by a third, a long-term study has found.

The test, which is being rolled out across England, will invite men and women to have bowel scope screening around the time of their 55th birthday.

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British Muslim teacher taken off US-bound flight: I was treated like a criminal

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:03:50 GMT2017-02-21T14:03:50Z

Juhel Miah, 25, calls for explanation for treatment by US officials, which left him feeling angry and humiliated

A young British Muslim teacher escorted off a New York-bound flight by US officials in front of the school party he was helping lead has spoken of his concerns that he was targeted simply because of his religion.

Maths teacher Juhel Miah, 25, who was born in Birmingham and brought up in Swansea, said his treatment left him feeling humiliated. Both he and his school are demanding an explanation from the US authorities.

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David Miliband: assault on UK foreign aid spend is populism at its worst

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:18 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:18Z

Exclusive: Speech by ex-foreign secretary will accuse aid critics of falling victim to fake news and condemn Trump travel ban

The media-led assault on the British aid budget represents all the worst aspects of populism, David Miliband will say on Wednesday, warning of the dangers of falling victim to the virus of fake news and blaming others for Britain’s problems.

The president of the International Rescue Committee and former Labour foreign secretary will also lambast Donald Trump for his executive order banning refugees, describing it as “a pernicious smoke signal sent to the world that humanitarian values are on fire”.

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Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart over pedophilia comments

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:52:30 GMT2017-02-21T21:52:30Z

The rightwing provocateur stepped down after a livestream resurfaced in which he appeared to endorse sex between ‘younger boys’ and older men

Rightwing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has resigned from Breitbart News, a day after he was dropped by his publisher and lost a speaking engagement at a conservative conference, over comments he made that appeared to endorse sex between “younger boys” and older men.

Related: The rise and fall of Milo Yiannopoulos – how a shallow actor played the bad guy for money

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Emmanuel Macron vows aggressive fight against far right on UK visit

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:35:14 GMT2017-02-22T00:35:14Z

Centrist candidate for French presidency says he will learn from mistakes of Hillary Clinton and UK’s remain campaign

Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate for the French presidency, has vowed his campaign will learn from the mistakes of David Cameron’s Brexit and Hillary Clinton’s failed election campaign by being boldly pro-liberal and pro-Europe.

Speaking after a meeting with Theresa May in Downing Street on Tuesday, Macron defended his decision to be unambiguous in his views as he fights a campaign against the far-right’s Marine Le Pen, saying: “In the current environment, if you are shy, you are dead.”

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Iceland's president forced to clarify views on pineapple pizza ban

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:37:04 GMT2017-02-21T19:37:04Z

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson had expressed dislike of tropical fruit on pizza but now says he is glad he does not have power to initiate ban

Faced with uproar at home and a social media storm abroad, the president of Iceland has been forced to clarify his outspoken stance on one of the defining questions of the age: whether pineapple should be allowed on pizza.

Last week, answering questions from pupils at a high school in Akureyri, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson said his favourite football team was Manchester United and he was “fundamentally opposed” to pineapple on pizzas.

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The rise and fall of Milo Yiannopoulos – how a shallow actor played the bad guy for money

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:07:00 GMT2017-02-21T18:07:00Z

Like Donald Trump, Yiannopoulos grew out of a grotesque convergence of politics and the internet, and thrived by turning hate speech into showbusiness

So there is, after all, a line that you cannot cross and still be hailed by conservatives as a champion of free speech. That line isn’t Islamophobia, misogyny, transphobia or harassment. Milo Yiannopoulos, the journalist that Out magazine dubbed an “internet supervillain”, built his brand on those activities. Until Monday, he was flying high: a hefty book deal with Simon & Schuster, an invitation to speak at the American Conservative Union’s CPac conference and a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. But then a recording emerged of Yiannopoulos cheerfully defending relationships between older men and younger boys, and finally it turned out that free speech had limits. The book deal and CPac offer swiftly evaporated. The next day, he resigned his post as an editor at Breitbart, the far-right website where he was recruited by Donald Trump’s consigliere Steve Bannon, and where several staffers reportedly threatened to quit unless he was fired.

In the incriminating clip, Yiannopoulos prefaces his remarks with a coy, “This is a controversial point of view, I accept”, this being his default shtick. Maher absurdly described him as “a young, gay, alive Christopher Hitchens” – a contrarian fly in the ointment, rattling smug liberal certainties – but Hitchens had wit, intellect and principle, while Yiannopoulos has only chutzpah and ruthless opportunism. Understanding Yiannopoulos requires a version of Occam’s Razor: the most obvious answer is the correct one. What does he actually believe in? Nothing except his own brand and the monetisable notoriety that fuels it. That’s Milo’s Razor. Understanding how he got this far is more unnerving.

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Fig chutney and jerk chicken: how supermarkets spoiled posh pizza

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:10:02 GMT2017-02-21T17:10:02Z

Sales of premium pizzas are up by £20m, as the stores try to replicate the outlandish toppings found in trendy restaurants. But the experts aren’t convinced

In news that will have thin-crust aficionados reaching for the indigestion tablets, the Grocer reports that supermarket pizza sales are up and are now nudging a whopping £1bn a year. This growth has not been achieved by slashing costs and cut-price deals, but by gussying up pizza bases (“wood-fired”, stone-baked), and using upmarket, outlandish toppings. That this is happening while Britain’s high streets are undergoing their own pizza revolution is, surely, no coincidence.

Nationwide, independents such as London’s Pizza Pilgrims, Bristol’s Bertha’s and Newcastle’s Cal’s Own are popularising serious, Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas, as well as the notion that pizza can be a quality product worth a premium. Supermarkets are eagerly exploiting that trend, even if their gourmet pizzas are still most notable for their brittle, cardboardy bases and skinflint toppings. According to analysts Kantar Worldpanel, sales of posher, thin-crust supermarket pizzas are up by £20m, while chilled pizzas now outsell passé frozen by £103m a year.

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The Girls review – Gary Barlow gives Calendar Girls a classy musical makeover

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:00:17 GMT2017-02-21T23:00:17Z

Phoenix theatre, London
The Take That star and Tim Firth have collaborated seamlessly on a show that is far superior to its predecessors on stage and screen

It might be fair to assume that the famous story of the Yorkshire Women’s Institute ladies who posed nude for a Pirelli-style calendar has been drained dry.

But Take That’s Gary Barlow and Tim Firth have collaborated on a delightful musical that is far superior both to the 2009 play, Calendar Girls, and to the 2003 movie on which it was based. Rather than seem like a piece of cynical exploitation, the show suggests the story has now achieved its ideal form.

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Outside coastal cities an ‘other America’ has different values and challenges

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:00:04 GMT2017-02-21T12:00:04Z

Beyond the bubbles of the big cities and elite college campuses is an America that values community over careers, and has faced a downward trajectory for decades

Anthony Rice’s house in Youngstown, Ohio is a mile away from a river valley once filled with factories offering jobs. Many of those left in the 1980s, and with them, many residents.

His home is one of the few occupied on the street. Empty lots or boarded-up homes make up most of the block. He points to those remaining, listing his neighbors and their age. They are all over 70. “This neighborhood is okie-dokie, although not much goes down here”, he says. “Stores used to be all around here, but they mostly gone. The people left are either too old to move or waiting for someone to buy them out.”

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So you want to be an artist? Then let the pros show you how it's done

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:00:12 GMT2017-02-21T19:00:12Z

DBC Pierre wrote in a fever, Frank Turner dabbled in thrash and Nikki Amuka-Bird jumped off a cliff. Artists reveal how they got to the top – and how you can too

The actor: Nikki Amuka-Bird, 40, has performed with the RSC and starred in Luther, NW and Denial

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Sergio Agüero helps Manchester City pull it out of the fire against Monaco

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 22:03:26 GMT2017-02-21T22:03:26Z

Where does one even start with a match of this nature? It was a thrilling night, full of mistakes, drama and controversy and, ultimately, a remarkable feat of escapology for Manchester City. The second half was bedlam and, when everything was done, Pep Guardiola sat back in a chair and blew out his cheeks. “A lot of things happened,” he said, with notable understatement, trying to make sense of the highest-scoring first-leg encounter there has been in any Champions League knockout tie.

It was not easy for City’s manager because, on the hour, his team had been on their knees. Radamel Falcao had just scored one of the outstanding goals of his career and City, 3-2 down, were being largely outplayed by a Monaco team that has now scored 111 goals this season and, for long spells, displayed all the ingredients that are necessary to make a serious tilt at winning this competition.

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Wayne Shaw leaves Sutton United amid investigations over pie-eating stunt

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:53:31 GMT2017-02-21T14:53:31Z

• Wayne Shaw admitted he knew betting company was offering odds of 8-1
• FA and Gambling Commission confirm they are investigating

Sutton United have accepted Wayne Shaw’s resignation after the Football Association and Gambling Commission confirmed they are investigating the reserve goalkeeper for admitting that he knew a betting company was offering odds of 8-1 against him eating a pie on the bench during the club’s 2-0 defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup.

The FA is considering taking action after Shaw was captured eating a pie towards the end of Monday night’s fifth round tie at Gander Green Lane, with the manager, Paul Doswell, confirming on Tuesday that the 45-year-old had agreed to offer his resignation as a result.

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UK Sport accuses British Cycling of a ‘complete lack of transparency’

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:00:10 GMT2017-02-21T17:00:10Z

• Cycling body provided paymaster with ‘summary’ of damning report
• Full report completed in 2012 but was not handed over until 2016

British Cycling’s reputation faces the prospect of another battering after it was accused of misleading UK Sport, the body that provides it with millions of pounds of public money each year, by covering up allegations of bullying in an internal report after London 2012.

Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport, said British Cycling had displayed “a complete lack of transparency” by giving UK Sport a summary of an internal performance review conducted by its former CEO Peter King which did not accurately reflect the facts of the report.

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Roger Federer extends playing career to 2019 with Swiss indoor deal

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:37:47 GMT2017-02-21T20:37:47Z

• Swiss commits to home-town tournament until 2019
• ‘Playing in Basel is always a highlight of the year’

Roger Federer has committed to playing in his home-town tournament in Basel until 2019, dispelling any speculation over possible retirement. Federer, 35, has signed a three-year deal with the Swiss indoor event, which he has won seven times since making his debut in 1998.

Related: Roger Federer is peerless but he and Rafael Nadal have made each other great | Kevin Mitchell

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José Mourinho stops short of ruling out China move for Wayne Rooney

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:45:49 GMT2017-02-21T19:45:49Z

• Manchester United manager gives no guarantees about forward’s future
• Chinese Super League transfer window closes at the end of February

José Mourinho has admitted he cannot guarantee Wayne Rooney will still be at Manchester United in a week’s time when China’s transfer window closes.

Rooney’s drop in form has caused him to lose his starting place under Mourinho. The 31-year-old is United’s record goalscorer yet has been considering his future, with a move to the Chinese Super League an option.

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England’s Joe Marler: stepping away from Tests in 2016 helped me on field

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:59:16 GMT2017-02-21T21:59:16Z

• ‘The boys were very understanding but a bit surprised I made that choice’
• Revitalised prop prepares to face Conor O’Shea’s Italy in Six Nations

England’s Joe Marler says his spell in self‑imposed Test exile last year has rejuvenated him and improved his life on and off the field as he prepares to pack down against an Italy team now coached by his former Harlequins director, Conor O’Shea.

Related: Earthquake simulators helping English rugby unlock future talent | Robert Kitson

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Leicester’s Claudio Ranieri: Sevilla could be turning point, it could be everything

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:54:51 GMT2017-02-21T20:54:51Z

• Foxes manager believes win in Champions League tie could boost season
• ‘Something inside could change. We need one match like this’

Claudio Ranieri’s press conference was drawing to a close when the Leicester City manager was reminded that Seville is famous for bullfighting. Ranieri had already started to smile before the reporter finished a question about whether the Italian should be seen as the matador or the bull in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Sevilla. “If I have the balls?” Ranieri replied, laughing. There was a little pause before he added: “The matador.”

Related: From Stoke to Sevilla: the startling rise and reinvention of Steven N’Zonzi | Sid Lowe

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South Korea women's hockey team win first game in 19-year history 20-0

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:46:55 GMT2017-02-21T20:46:55Z

  • South Korea win 20-0 over Thailand at Asian Winter Games in Sapporo
  • American Sarah Murray has coached underdog Korean team since 2014
  • Korea could win first ever medal with victory over China on Thursday

South Korea’s women’s ice hockey team needed almost two decades to record their first ever victory.

The scoreline for Saturday’s breakthrough result would suggest it was worth the wait – and right on time with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang less than year away.

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Sam Curran may seal England ODI place against Ireland on back of IPL absentees

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:59:00 GMT2017-02-21T18:59:00Z

• Selectors keen to see Surrey’s 18-year-old all-rounder close up
• Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes will stay with franchises and miss May series

Sam Curran could be a surprise beneficiary of the recent English success in the Indian Premier League auction, with Surrey’s teenage all-rounder now in line for an England call-up to face Ireland in two ODIs in May in the absence of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes.

Related: Thangarasu Natarajan’s Punjab deal the latest product of IPL’s dream factory | The Spin

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Owen Coyle sacked as Blackburn Rovers manager after dismal run of form

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:50:33 GMT2017-02-21T15:50:33Z

• Second-bottom club say decision taken for best chance of survival
• Face fellow Championship strugglers Burton on Friday evening

Blackburn Rovers have announced they have parted company with manager Owen Coyle.

Coyle, who joined the club in June 2016, leaves with Rovers lying second-bottom of the Championship, three points away from safety after losing 16 league games this season and winning only seven.

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Six Nations: Wales promise a ‘battle royal’ against injury-hit Scotland

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:33:26 GMT2017-02-21T17:33:26Z

• Shaun Edwards expects physical encounter against Scotland
• ‘Wales will try to bully us mentally,’ says Gordon Reid

Scotland’s gruelling encounter against France in Paris in the last round of the Six Nations ended with two of their players ruled out of the rest of the championship. They expect Wales to try to bully them at Murrayfield on Saturday but in a different manner from the overtly physical approach of Les Bleus.

The Scotland captain, Greig Laidlaw, and the No8 Josh Strauss sustained ankle and kidney injuries respectively that will keep them out of action for at least another month while four players received knocks to the head and had to complete the concussion return to play protocol.

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From Stoke to Sevilla: the startling rise and reinvention of Steven N’Zonzi | Sid Lowe

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 16:07:00 GMT2017-02-21T16:07:00Z

The 28-year-old, often miscast as a midfield destroyer, is the creative key in the Spanish side, whom Leicester face in the Champions League on Wednesday

“I’m just me,” Steven N’Zonzi says. It is a simple enough statement, delivered softly – obvious too, unremarkable. And yet there is something in it, something in the way he says it and how long it takes him to say it. Ask a silly question, get a sensible answer – one that, unpacked, is more eloquent than it first appears. Not long ago, one of Spain’s sports newspapers compared him to Patrick Vieira and it was not the first: it is a line that goes all the way back to his arrival at Blackburn Rovers eight years ago. So, Steven, are you like the former Arsenal midfielder?

The pause is prolonged and seems a little awkward. “I don’t know,” he eventually says, which feels like a way of saying no. “It’s the same position. Physically we are quite similar because we are tall players. But he was more physical than me in his style. He was stronger than me. He was good technically as well but I like to pass the ball.” There’s another pause before he adds: “Vieira is a legend; I’m just me.”

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Thangarasu Natarajan’s Punjab deal the latest product of IPL’s dream factory | The Spin

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:27:59 GMT2017-02-21T11:27:59Z

A bowler who honed his craft with a tennis ball and has played only four T20 games for his state side offers the latest example of the IPL’s capacity for fairytales

The village of Chinnappampatti, 20 miles from Salem, 200 miles from Chennai, is so small that it does not even seem to show up on most maps. It has five bus stops, three temples, two schools and, as of this week, one hero. His name is Thangarasu Natarajan, though most who know him call him “Nattu”. He is 25, a left-arm fast bowler who has taken exactly four wickets in Twenty20 matches for his state side, Tamil Nadu. And on Monday morning he was bought for $445,000 by Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League player auction. Natarajan never even held a cricket ball until he was 20. When he was young his mother worked in a snack stall, and his father wherever there was work to be had: as a railway porter, or in one of the many textile factories around about. They had five children, and many more important things to spend their money on than Dukes and Readers.

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Earthquake simulators helping English rugby unlock future talent | Robert Kitson

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:00:01 GMT2017-02-21T10:00:01Z

Potential England players of the future have embarked on an RFU programme that uses some unusual methods to foster decision-making and resilience

Whatever people think about English rugby union they tend to agree on one thing: if the Rugby Football Union ever fully maximises its financial muscle and its vast playing numbers, the potential is colossal. Unfortunately for England’s opponents that may be in danger of coming to pass, for reasons which have nothing to do with the senior side’s run of 16 consecutive Test victories.

Perhaps the most significant breakthrough of recent weeks did not take place at Twickenham or Cardiff or even within earshot of Eddie Jones but under a heap of rubble in Wiltshire. Exposing academy kids to a simulated earthquake in the care of specialists in international disaster relief might not sound the obvious way to unlock world-class rugby talent, but English rugby is beginning to think that little bit differently.

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Sunderland criticised for announcing redundancies a week after New York trip

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:42:29 GMT2017-02-21T17:42:29Z

• CEO Martin Bain confirms redundancies after review of business operations
• Manager David Moyes took his squad to the US last week

Sunderland have been criticised after confirming a round of redundancies at the Premier League club a week after David Moyes’s first-team squad travelled to New York for a mid-season training camp.

A review of the business operations at the Premier League’s bottom-placed club has been conducted in recent months, with staff at both the stadium and the club’s training ground called to a meeting on Tuesday and informed that redundancies were on the way.

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Thistlecrack joins Cheltenham Festival absentees with season-ending injury

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:54:54 GMT2017-02-21T12:54:54Z

• Trainer Colin Tizzard hopes steeplechaser will return by Christmas
• King George winner sidelined by discovery of tendon injury

Colin Tizzard hopes to get Thistlecrack back to the track at some point in the middle of next season after the discovery on Tuesday of a tendon injury that will keep the star steeplechaser out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, for which he was favourite, and all other major races this spring.

Thistlecrack was found to have some heat in a leg on Monday night and Tizzard’s vet confirmed a small tear to a tendon after taking a scan on Tuesday morning. The trainer sounded confident of the nine-year-old recovering in time to race next season but added: “It won’t be ’til Christmas, will it? It’s not as if he’s broken down; it’s just a little tear. But I suppose it’s like being a little bit pregnant.

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The Question: have full-backs completed their conversion to full-blown attackers? | Jonathan Wilson

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:00:02 GMT2017-02-21T11:00:02Z

Antonio Conte has been praised for his bold use of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso but history suggests it is part of a wider trend dating back to the 1960s

Barring an extraordinary collapse, this season’s Premier League title will have been decided at half-time at the Emirates Stadium on 24 September when Antonio Conte moved from a back four to a back three. The game was already lost but Chelsea, adapting remarkably swiftly to the new shape, then embarked on their record 13-match winning run.

It was a change that, rightly, has earned Conte great praise for his decisiveness and his capacity, albeit unhindered by the demands of European football, to instil a new formation. But its radicalness has passed largely unremarked.

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Manny Pacquiao’s promoter shoots down talk of Amir Khan fight

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:23:09 GMT2017-02-21T10:23:09Z

• Bob Arum calls reports of fight ‘total and complete bullshit’
• But Pacquiao’s lawyer Mike Koncz says there are ‘undecided issues’

Reports that Amir Khan has landed the ultimate fight of his career against Manny Pacquiao on 20 May met with predictable derision from the Filipino’s promoter, Bob Arum, on Tuesday, who called them “total and complete bullshit”. Which is not to say it will not happen.

“The Amir Khan story has come out of nowhere,” Arum told the Courier Mail in Brisbane, home town of the boxer and former schoolteacher, Jeff Horn, who has signed a contract to fight Pacquiao on 23 April.

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Australia must follow Steve Smith's example to stand a chance in India | Russell Jackson

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:00:12 GMT2017-02-21T19:00:12Z

Australia’s Test tour promises little in the way of genuinely competitive cricket, as a rock-solid home batting line-up meets a fledgling one

Firstly, an announcement for viewers at home: playing the role of Glenn McGrath in this week’s episode of India vs Australia is Harbhajan Singh. “If Australia play well, India will win 3-0,” the former Indian spinner said on Friday. “That is if Australia play well. Otherwise, 4-0.”

Harbhajan, you might remember, was a villain of some repute in previous seasons of this engrossing but mostly predictable cable-TV drama, due for its return on Thursday in Pune. And as per the case of McGrath before him, who could really counter such a bold and dismissive prediction as this one?

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Publicity stunts in sport: when it doesn't go as planned – video

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:45:54 GMT2017-02-21T17:45:54Z

Wayne Shaw has left Sutton United amid investigations into his pie-eating antics during the FA Cup game against Arsenal but he is not the first person in sport to have a publicity stunt backfire. We take a look at some other cases where things just didn’t quite go as planned

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The intelligence explosion: how do you stop a robot from turning evil? – original drama video

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:00:08 GMT2017-02-20T12:00:08Z

It’s 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with its flagship robot, Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to annihilate humanity? And if its intelligence is skyrocketing faster than anyone predicted, is the company about to run out of time? The latest original drama produced by the Guardian is a super-intelligence sci-fi.

Watch our previous dramas:

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Could Donald Trump’s ‘junta’ be his salvation? | Mary Dejevsky

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:46:23 GMT2017-02-21T19:46:23Z

The president’s choice of respected military men such as lieutenant general HR McMaster for key roles may be his best protection from himself

The guy has been in the White House barely four weeks, and the talk within the global opposition has passed from how he might be prevented from getting there to how he might legitimately be evicted. Article 4 of the 25th Amendment is enjoying a moment in the sun, providing as it does for the replacement of a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”. Enter (briefcase in hand) the sane, sensible, foreigner-friendly President Pence. We are all experts in the US constitution now.

Except that there is no sign whatever that Donald Trump is going anywhere – other than to Mar-a-Lago of a weekend. The wishful parallels with opposition to Brexit here in the UK – a second referendum, a Lords rebellion, a popular uprising – betray the same reluctance on the part of the losers to face facts. The new president’s style may be unorthodox, and the substance may as yet be hard to detect, but any evidence of actual incapacity is hard to find – indeed, the frenetic activity suggests the very opposite.

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Milo Yiannopoulos isn't the only bigot Republicans are cozy with | Jessica Valenti

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:41:05 GMT2017-02-21T19:41:05Z

The sad fact is that, while the former Breitbart editor has been disinvited from CPAC, someone else who has repulsive views will likely take his place

It’s odd to watch conservatives distance themselves from the writer Milo Yiannopoulos because he condoned child sex abuse. After all, they just elected a president who has a history of making inappropriate sexual comments about children – including his own daughter – and was accused of walking into the dressing rooms of changing teenagers.

So excuse me if I don’t buy the outrage.

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No, wives 'withholding sex' are not to blame for male violence | Laura Bates

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:46:03 GMT2017-02-21T14:46:03Z

Publishing an article that normalises sexual assault in relationships is not only wrong, it is dangerous – the Daily Mail should know better

Wives who don’t have enough sex with their husbands are partly to blame for men committing sexual assault, according to an article published by the Daily Mail. The writer, Dr Catherine Hakim, claims that “decent” husbands whose wives “starve” them of sex are driven to affairs and “forced to seek relief elsewhere”, resulting in “a profoundly negative effect on our society – fracturing families and potentially leading to violence and crime.”

“Sexually starved men,” says Hakim, offering no evidence to back up this claim, “are more likely to visit prostitutes, view pornography and, in the worst cases, even molest other women.” She later reiterates the supposed connection between sex-deprived husbands and sexual violence, writing: “Men, as we know in our heart of hearts, will have affairs, or perhaps even worse, when faced with sexual starvation and the inevitable resentment that causes.”

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The Guardian view on equal pay: it’s time it happened | Editorial

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:09:03 GMT2017-02-21T20:09:03Z

More than four decades after a law was passed to ensure men and women were paid the same, large differences persist. To end this gender wage gap will need more government actionThe danger of using milestones as a metaphor is that we may imagine we are on a steady journey. Progress is rarely so predictable. It can take much longer than one might imagine to get from one marker to the next. More than four decades after the Equal Pay Act came into force, women are still earning 18.1% less than men across full- and part-time work. The gap between full-time employees is 9.4%. On current trends it will take another 24 years to close the gap, according to PwC; others believe it will take much longer. Analysis has suggested that if every other relevant factor is controlled for – from race to hours worked to seniority – women earn 5.07% less than men for like-for-like work. Part of the decrease in recent years is, depressingly, down to more young men moving into low-paid work. Economics make up one part of the picture for women. Political power constitutes another. In 1975, when the act came into force, Margaret Thatcher became the first female leader of a major British party. Now the UK has its second female prime minister and many more women in senior positions across major institutions; one could soon be running the Metropolitan police. Several run or lead local authorities. Yet this week’s “northern powerhouse” conference includes only 13 women among the 98 speakers, and organisers did not bother to include any of them in the press release listing 15 influential speakers – despite the region’s many influential women.There is a temptation to present the question of female representation as a distraction from the real business of supporting the lowest-paid. But this is a false choice. The point is simply that no woman, be she a childcare assistant or a chief executive, should receive less pay or respect because of her gender. Representation does not guarantee better treatment, but women are unlikely to get it without women at the table. What ties these issues is the question of what and whom we value. We downplay the complex or demanding nature of work primarily done by women. We judge a man more authoritative or qualified than a female candidate with the same CV. We choose to put some leaders on a stage, but not others. Urging women to speak up, lean in and push for higher salaries is of limited usefulness when they are more likely than men to be punished for the request. Continue reading...[...]


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Is three to five days’ paid bereavement leave really enough? | Yasmeen Khan

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:00:01 GMT2017-02-21T10:00:01Z

Facebook now offers staff 20 days off for a death in their immediate family. It’s a clear acknowledgement that people deal with loss and grieving in different ways

The news that Facebook has doubled its bereavement leave allowance for staff has made me think about how I dealt with the death of my father. None of us are that well-equipped for such circumstances, but making my potential new boss cry wasn’t ideal.

It had been eight months since his death when I was recording a pilot programme at what was to become TalkRADIO. I had looked up from the mic through the glass at the station editor to see tears in his eyes. Suddenly I was right back in the moment. It all came flooding back – the phone call;the dreadful certainty of the voice on the other end telling me that death was imminent; the 200-mile journey made in a haze of shock and nausea, not knowing whether I’d get to see my dad before “it” happened. As I relived the horror in a tiny studio cubicle, my emotions about dad’s death made a very sudden and public reappearance in front of two strangers.

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Don’t blame GPs for NHS crisis. Blame chronic cuts to social care | Zara Aziz

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:00:05 GMT2017-02-21T13:00:05Z

Increasing our working hours will not stop hospital trolley queues. Only the proper funding of care for older people will do that

The ongoing A&E crisis has shifted attention on to GPs. We are being blamed for being less accessible (with appointments hard to get or surgeries not being open for long enough), while A&E is open 24/7 and therefore faces unchecked demand.

Related: May's scapegoat attempt could spark mass resignations, says top GP

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Europe wrote the book on demonising refugees, long before Trump read it | Piro Rexhepi

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:11:00 GMT2017-02-21T10:11:00Z

We’re told that Donald Trump is uniquely hardline in his anti-Muslim rhetoric. In fact, Europe’s draconian attitudes have helped to legitimise his approach

It has become an article of faith among liberals that Donald Trump is the world’s biggest enemy to refugees and Muslims, while the EU somehow offers them a safe harbour. After all, with the words “We can do it” Angela Merkel invited a million Syrian refugees into Germany, while Trump’s travel ban has slammed shut America’s door to some of the world’s most vulnerable displaced people. In today’s liberal mindset, it is Brexit that has stirred up hostility against migrants, while the EU is a bulwark of civilised values, protecting refugees from the threat of a resurgent far right.

Related: Home Office agrees to review asylum claims of child refugees in France

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A British snub of the EU investigation into the Panama Papers is short-sighted | Prem Sikka

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 16:56:54 GMT2017-02-21T16:56:54Z

The failure of the Treasury and HMRC to answer questions about the Panama Papers will alienate our EU partners and further cement London’s reputation for dirty business

Whatever route the government chooses for Brexit it will need to cooperate with other countries, especially our EU neighbours, to combat tax avoidance, tax evasion and money laundering. Yet the signs are not very good as the government seems to have chosen non-cooperation. It has snubbed the EU inquiry into the Panama Papers.

Related: Panama Papers: European parliament opens inquiry

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In Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s hypocrisy is finally being revealed | Zoe Williams

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 06:00:00 GMT2017-02-21T06:00:00Z

With its leader’s untruths over Hillsborough now exposed, the party’s claim to champion the common man is falling apart

Double standards in the media and in parliamentary rhetoric, as they relate to political parties, are so flagrant as to be barely worth mentioning. Some parties are simply expected to be more consistent than others. Indeed, to question out loud how the Conservative party can move from the free market libertarianism of David Cameron to the bunkered protectionism of Theresa May, while the Labour party cannot be permitted a London mayor who dresses a little bit differently to its leader, would be so obvious as to sound almost boorish. So it’s easy to forget that ideological inconsistency can have a greater significance than how it initially plays to the audience.

So it is with Ukip: this party has made no rational sense since it captured the name from its anti-federalist founders and wrestled it into a one-man, anti-everything machine. It is the party that wants to protect British people’s access to their pressurised public services, while at the same time privatise the NHS; it’s on the side of the little guy and wants to fight for fair wages, at the same time as wanting to deregulate worker protection in the interests of cutting red tape. It thinks it an outrage that you can’t afford your rent, but has nothing to say on social housing, beyond that migrants shouldn’t be allowed it.

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Milo Yiannopoulos’s enablers deserve contempt – and must be confronted | Owen Jones

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:45:46 GMT2017-02-21T12:45:46Z

The poster boy of the alt-right has lost his book deal after speaking in defence of suggested sexual relationships between older men and younger boys, but his lucrative bigotry was left unchecked for far too long

They were fine with his bigotry, his in-your-face, two-fingers-up transphobia, Islamophobia and misogyny. It took his defence of relationships between “older men” and “younger boys” for their queasiness to set in. The case of Milo Yiannopoulos is indeed a parable of our time. But who do I mean by “they”? In this case, both his associates and his enablers. His associates are the ascendant racist and neo-fascist movements of our time. He was a means to repackage their hatred for a certain demographic: as edgy, trendy, cool. Performative fascism, if you like. That’s why they call themselves the “alt-right”, after all: allowing them to cloak themselves not as a renaissance of fascist movements that have produced only human carnage in their previous incarnations, but as a sexy in-group and subculture that all the new cool kids are part of.

Related: Milo Yiannopoulos book deal cancelled following outrage over child abuse comments

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Business rates: this toxic row will return unless we find a fairer alternative

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:16:28 GMT2017-02-21T19:16:28Z

Basing the tax purely on property makes no sense in the digital age – and can only deepen resentment

It’s a bit rich for the chancellor, now reportedly in “listening mode” on business rates, to signal that he is aware of the challenges the digital economy presents to a property-based tax. That fundamental problem has been voiced for more than a decade and has simply been ignored by government. Amazon and the other big online retailers are no longer modern creations.

Philip Hammond, one suspects, will end up inventing various reliefs to try to quell the anger of those small businesses in London facing increases of up to 400%. But something more than a sticking-plaster is required. If not, this toxic row will return every time potential rents – the basis for establishing rateable values – are recalculated.

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The British media are failing Brexit’s test | Sarah Helm

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:00:02 GMT2017-02-21T07:00:02Z

American reporters are asking the kind of tough questions our children will be astonished we didn’t

Shepard Smith, an American television news anchor commenting after last week’s extraordinary anti-media tirade by Donald Trump, turned to the camera to address the president directly. Trump could not just treat journalists “as fools” when they asked for answers on Russia, Smith said. “No, sir. The people deserve that answer at the very least.” This was not some liberal media opponent but a journalist with the ultra-conservative Fox News.

Just as British journalism faces its greatest challenge for decades it seems to be reaching a new nadir

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The US travel ban would be bad news for American universities | Mary O’Hara

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:15:02 GMT2017-02-21T07:15:02Z

No wonder leading US higher education institutions opposed the president’s executive order – the benefits offered by international students are clear

When Donald Trump issued his shambolic and destructive executive order shortly after his inauguration, attempting to suspend immigration to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries, the shockwaves were swift and far-reaching. Objections have come from campuses all over the country, and with good reason.

The ban clearly affects Muslims, including current and prospective students, but its reach (even after clarifications on green-card holders) is far wider. Alongside other visa changes being mooted and talk of “extreme vetting” it makes for a disturbing climate.

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The Guardian view on Trump’s Sweden: another country | Editorial

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:20:39 GMT2017-02-20T19:20:39Z

Like the rest of western Europe, Sweden is dealing with economic and demographic issues. But whatever misguided US conservatives think, the Nordic nation is not a battlefront in a clash of civilisationsFor most of the last 30 years, Sweden has been one of the most welcoming countries in the world for refugees. Other countries have taken in more as a proportion of their population, but they have been immediately adjacent to war zones, where the demands of charity and humanity can’t be ducked. Nowhere in Europe approaches Sweden’s record. Until the entire system was overwhelmed last winter, and the brakes slammed on hard, the country took its humanitarian obligations very seriously. In 2015 more than one in six of the inhabitants of Sweden had been born abroad. In that year 162,877 people claimed asylum in Sweden, which led to a complete reversal of the old policy, and a fierce clampdown at the border. Last year only 29,000 applied for asylum; so far this year, fewer than 2,000 have. A demographic transformation has gone hand in hand with the breakdown of the old political and industrial model that had made Sweden appear one of the safest and most secure countries in the long boom after the second world war.Jobs are now far less secure, and the economy has much less use for unskilled young men of any religion or ethnicity. A rapid growth in inequality has left the city centres sleek, prosperous, and largely white, while the satellite towns around them are places of high unemployment where often immigrants and their descendants are largely concentrated. This recent change overlays longer-term trends. Sweden’s overall crime rate has fallen since 2005, but in the past decade there has been an uptick in violent crime, especially involving weapons. The murder rate in Sweden is now a fifth of that in the United States; guns are used in nearly a third of all murders. Experts rightly fret over the use of explosives and hand grenades in attacks. This a scandal. For a European social democratic country to remind us of American levels of violence and insecurity is deeply shocking. But that is not why some Americans are shocked. For a large proportion of the ill-informed and bigoted, including President Trump and some of his advisers, the problem in Sweden is not that it has developed American-style social problems, but that it is too Muslim. This may be too subtle an analysis. Perhaps the Fox News demographic thinks that in both cases the problem is the presence of black people, whether you call them “Muslims” or not. Continue reading...[...]


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Why Hidden Figures should win the best picture Oscar

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:19:59 GMT2017-02-21T09:19:59Z

Theodore Melfi’s feelgood biopic about three African-American women working for Nasa in the 1960s breaks boundaries with a knowing kick of its kitten heel

Traditionally the period drama sweeps the red carpet at the Academy Awards, training the best picture statuette in its sights with the aid of lavish costumes, detailed sets, a casual approach to factual accuracy and important historical figures stuttering or slaying evil kings. In 2017, however, it’s not easy to argue the case for this sort of crowd-pleaser when the rest of this year’s slate boasts largely gritty, groundbreaking and norm-challenging nominees. But Hidden Figures manages to both stay faithful to the genre’s most enjoyable elements while puncturing the boundaries with a knowing kick of its kitten heel.

Theodore Melfi’s biopic tells the previously untold story of Katherine G Johnson (Taraji P Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), a trio of female African-American mathematicians working behind the scenes at Nasa in the early 1960s. These human computers helped to mastermind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit during the great space race at a time when, in Virginia, Jim Crow laws were still in effect, there being two entrances, toilets and coffee pots, to separate white and black Americans. Indeed, it’s still shocking to see the “colored” signs that delineate them on screen.

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Don’t trash Manchester’s history to make way for skyscrapers | Hayley Flynn

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:00:56 GMT2017-02-20T16:00:56Z

If Bootle Street police station, the Reform synagogue and a Peterloo-era pub are replaced with Giggs and Neville’s towers investors will benefit – not Mancunians

Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville’s St Michael’s skyscrapers are two of many such towers currently proposed for Manchester’s city centre. The former footballers’ buildings will sit on the site currently occupied by the Ralph Abercromby pub, the only building remaining from the site of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, St Peter’s Field. Also threatened by the development are the Manchester Reform synagogue, and the 1930s-built Bootle Street police station, both of which are of huge historical significance to the city.

As a consequence proposals have come under fierce attack by local campaigners – more than 70% of the public who attended the consultation opposed the scheme – and Historic England have deemed it irreparably damaging to the historical fabric of the conservation area which surrounds it. By and large the dismay boils down to the unsympathetic manner in which the skyscrapers will dominate the townscape around St Peter’s and Albert Square, with considerable negative impact on the built environment. Planning permission is yet to be approved but an apparent disregard for the results of the consultation process by the developers has left an all too familiar bad taste in the mouths of local people who feel that the process was nothing more than lip service.

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British banks are go-betweens in global conflict. This can be stopped | George Clooney and John Prendergast

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:30:11 GMT2017-02-20T14:30:11Z

High-level corruption and illicit trade in natural resources depend on banks across the EU. Putting financial pressure on them can help save lives

Almost a year ago, the UK government convened a global summit to commit to fighting corruption. The final communiqué from the governments involved summed up their historic intentions: “We want to send a clear signal to the corrupt that they will face consequences internationally. We want to make it harder for them to travel and do business in our countries.”

The time for sending signals is over. It is time to act against the kind of corruption that enables governments and armed groups especially in east and central Africa – the deadliest interlinked zone of conflict in the world – to prosecute wars and carry out mass atrocities.

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Theresa May must take £115bn hint from Kraft Heinz's failed Unilever bid

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:33:19 GMT2017-02-20T19:33:19Z

Warren Buffett and 3G were apparently surprised at hostility from Unilever’s board – but PM must use this bid as cue to form proper policy on takeovers

Warren Buffett and his Brazilian private equity chums at 3G, the main players at Kraft Heinz, must process their cheese and beans on another planet. The US firm abandoned its £115bn bid for Unilever, we’re told, because it wasn’t expecting its proposal to receive such hostility from Unilever’s board and a few British and Dutch politicians. If that explanation is correct, Kraft’s crew of billionaires should get out more. Did they miss the debates that have raged over rootless global companies, asset-stripping deals and the UK’s open-doors policy on takeovers? Hostility was predictable and justified.

Unilever’s board was always likely to reject the chance to be bought by a financier-led firm in search of another target for its job-cutting formula. Unilever’s chief executive, Paul Polman, lectures the world on the importance of looking beyond the next quarter’s earnings and was not about to trade 100 years of corporate history for an uncertain ride on 3G’s debt-propelled takeover machine. A miserly initial offer, comprising a takeover premium of only 18%, will only have strengthened Unilever’s sense of indignation.

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In Pakistan, tolerant Islamic voices are being silenced | William Dalrymple

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:55:08 GMT2017-02-20T17:55:08Z

The Sehwan bombing is a result of the Saudi-funded fundamentalism that has taken a grip in the country

Last week, only three days after a suicide bomb went off in Lahore, an Islamic State supporter struck a crowd of Sufi dancers celebrating in the great Pakistani shrine of Sehwan Sharif. The attack, which killed almost 90, showed the ability of radical Islamists to silence moderate and tolerant voices in the Islamic world.

The attack also alarmingly demonstrated the ever-wider reach of Isis and the ease with which it can now strike within Pakistan. Isis now appears to equal the Taliban as a serious threat to this nuclear-armed country.

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London’s pollution is so bad that it forced me to give up my dream PhD | Vicky Ware

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:10:37 GMT2017-02-20T13:10:37Z

Arriving to study, I had my first asthma attack in 10 years. The capital’s shocking air quality is a health emergency – and it’s already costing lives

While the mayor of London Sadiq Khan is acting on the fact that London breached its annual air pollution limit within just five days this year by advising Londoners to remain indoors, limit heavy breathing, and eat vegetables – seemingly everything other than not driving – millions of people are suffering serious health effects from exposure to particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and myriad other pollutants in the air.

Khan said: “Everyone – from the most vulnerable to the physically fit – may need to take precautions to protect themselves from the filthy air.”

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All the horror stories I came across as a care worker were about employers | James Bloodworth

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:55:28 GMT2017-02-20T11:55:28Z

It was easy to get the job, but care slots can be as short as five minutes and pay often dips below minimum wage. No wonder many give up

I spent six weeks last summer in Blackpool. I was not there for a stag do or the traditional British seaside fare, but instead to be a home care worker for a private provider.

Around 300,000 people live in residential care homes in the UK, while some 500,000 elderly and disabled people rely on home care visits for things such as washing and dressing. As the UK’s population ages, it is estimated that 1.7 million more adults will require social care over the next 15 years. The private sector employs over two-thirds of all adult social care workers.

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There are reasons to be cheerful ... LGBTI rights gains in unlikely countries

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:05:59 GMT2017-02-20T10:05:59Z

Iraq, Tunisia and Lebanon are three countries that have recently made progressive steps forward in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex human rights

In the last 12 months, Martin Luther King’s “arc of the moral universe” has bent towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights.

Related: Live chat with Peter Tatchell: what can we do to support LGBTI rights around the world? Mon 20 Feb, 2-3.30pm

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Toxic political agenda is dehumanising entire groups, Amnesty warns

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:18 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:18Z

NGO’s annual report warns that aggressive political rhetoric is creating a ‘hostile climate for refugees and migrants’

Toxic political rhetoric with echoes of 1930s hate speech is stirring up violence worldwide – including in the UK and US, Amnesty International has warned.

Kerry Moscoguiri, Amnesty UK’s director of campaigns, said that campaigning for the Brexit referendum “was a particular low point, with all too real consequences” – pointing to a 57% spike in reported hate crime the week after the vote.

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Mystery over male Black Death victims found buried hand in hand

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:18 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:18Z

Archaeologists say pair unearthed in London plague burial ground may have been related by blood or marriage

The skeletons of two men who were buried apparently hand in hand during an outbreak of the Black Death have been excavated from a plague burial ground in London.

The men, believed to have been in their 40s, were buried in the early 15th century in a carefully dug double grave, in identical positions, with heads turned towards the right and the left hand of one man apparently clasping the right hand of the other.

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UK not about to 'shut the door' on low-skilled EU migrants, says David Davis

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:21:55 GMT2017-02-22T00:21:55Z

Brexit secretary says it is not ‘plausible’ that British citizens would immediately take low-skilled jobs and said immigration restrictions would be phased in

The UK is not about to “suddenly shut the door” on low-skilled EU migrants, Brexit secretary David Davis has reiterated.

Davis said in a press conference in Riga, Latvia, that Britain wanted control over immigration but that it would only restrict free movement of people when it was in the “national interest”.

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Peter Mandelson: I try to undermine Jeremy Corbyn 'every single day'

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:46:59 GMT2017-02-21T19:46:59Z

Ex-minister speaks out against Labour leader as Blairite peers express fury about Corbyn’s position on Brexit in Lords debate

Peter Mandelson, the architect of New Labour, has said he is working every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, as Blairite peers stood up in the House of Lords to lambast their party’s leadership for backing Brexit.

Mandelson, a former cabinet minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, told an event for the Jewish Chronicle that he was actively working to bring an end to Corbyn’s leadership.

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Disabled children in England 'finding it increasingly hard to access council care'

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:19 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:19Z

Since 2004 the number of children with disabilities has risen by 50% but fewer appear to qualify for council help, according to National Children’s Bureau

Families of children with disabilities and complex care needs are finding it increasingly difficult to access specialist local authority help, a study has suggested.

A National Children’s Bureau (NCB) report estimates there has been a 50% rise in the number of disabled children in England with complex needs since 2004, including a doubling in the number of children with complex autism.

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Street parties planned across UK in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:19 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:19Z

The Great Get Together, launched by Jamie Oliver and the Duchess of Cornwall, aims to stage biggest celebrations since jubilee

Street parties, picnics and bake-offs will be held across the UK in honour of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox as part of a new community initiative launched by Jamie Oliver and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The gatherings, called the Great Get Together, are designed to unite people in their neighbourhoods on the weekend of 17-18 June in the biggest local celebrations planned since the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

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Britons 'bumped off' EU medical research grant applications, MPs told

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:56:57 GMT2017-02-21T19:56:57Z

Committee hears Brexit prompting move by European colleagues, while UK position would be threatened by no access to ERC

British medical researchers are being removed from applications for EU research grants by European colleagues because of Brexit, MPs have been told.

Prof David Lomas, representing UK university hospitals, told MPs that Britain’s position at the forefront of medial advancement was threatened were it no longer able to access the European Research Council, one of the world’s leading funders of scientific research.

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Ministers expected to soften impact of business rate changes

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:03:22 GMT2017-02-21T21:03:22Z

Communities secretary Sajid Javid likely to join chancellor Philip Hammond in adopting sympathetic tone to businesses after backlash by Conservative MPs

Beleaguered cabinet ministers are expected to take steps to ameliorate the impact on the companies hit hardest by a shake-up in business rates that has fuelled a backlash among Conservative MPs.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid is likely to join the chancellor, Philip Hammond, in adopting a more empathetic tone about the anger triggered by the decision to revaluate the rates based on updated property prices.

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'Risk-averse' NHS 111 sends more callers to A&E than previous service

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:19 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:19Z

Report by health thinktank criticises telephone service, which it says sends people to A&E or calls an ambulance out too often

The NHS 111 telephone advice service is sending growing numbers of people to A&E or calling an ambulance because its staff are too risk-averse when dealing with illness, a study has claimed.

Critics claim the trend is adding to the huge strain on hospitals and ambulances that have left them struggling to keep up with rising demand for care.

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Hundreds of UK hotels fail food hygiene inspections

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:18 GMT2017-02-22T00:01:18Z

Inspectors discovered seafood past its expiry date and food stored without temperature controls, says Which? survey

Hundreds of hotels in Britain have failed their food hygiene inspections, including establishments with five- and four-star ratings and one with two AA rosettes.

In total, 652 hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs failed their latest food safety inspections for reasons including inspectors discovering seafood past its expiry date, raw meat stored next to sauces and high-risk food stored without temperature controls, according to a survey conducted by Which? Travel.

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Theresa May's spin doctor quit PR roles after questions over conflict of interest

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:00:10 GMT2017-02-21T17:00:10Z

Katie Perrior did not step down as director of three PR firms until five months after becoming PM’s head of communications

Theresa May’s chief spin doctor officially resigned from three companies set up with a public relations executive days after Labour raised questions of a potential conflict of interest.

Katie Perrior became the prime minister’s head of communications in July last year. She notified Companies House on 21 December that she had stepped down as a director of the public relations companies iNHouse PR, iNHouse Connex and Hersay Ltd.

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Manchester city council to create UK's first LGBT retirement home

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:58:54 GMT2017-02-21T18:58:54Z

Announcement follows report that LGBT people experience higher levels of loneliness in old age

Manchester city council has announced plans to create the UK’s first retirement community aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

According to the local authority, the city is home to the country’s largest number of LGBT people outside of London and is due to see a rapid growth in the number of LGBT residents over 65 in the next two decades. More than 7,000 over-50s living in Manchester identify as LGBT.

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Court rules against heterosexual couple who wanted civil partnership

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:33:24 GMT2017-02-21T13:33:24Z

Campaigners say they have momentum despite judges’ narrow decision to give government more time to review law

A campaign aimed at overturning the ban on heterosexual couples entering into civil partnerships has gained ground despite defeat at the court of appeal, equal rights supporters have claimed.

By a narrow two-to-one decision, the three judges decided to allow the government more time to review the law that prevents opposite-sex couples from taking advantage of civil partnership arrangements.

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Storm Doris could blow away Labour byelection hopes, MPs fear

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:39:46 GMT2017-02-21T18:39:46Z

As Met Office forecasts winds of up to 80mph, party sources voice concern about voter turnout in Copeland and Stoke

Gale-force winds and heavy rain could have a dramatic effect on turnout in the Copeland and Stoke byelections, Labour sources have said, with some fearing any negative effect could hand victory to the Conservatives in Cumbria.

Related: Storm Doris to batter Britain with 80mph winds and heavy rain

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Farmers deliver stark warning over access to EU seasonal workers

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:37:51 GMT2017-02-21T18:37:51Z

NFU president says food will ‘rot in the fields’ unless government guarantees access to workforce

Farmers have warned that food will “rot in the fields” and Britain will be unable to produce what it eats if the government cannot guarantee that growers will continue to have access to tens of thousands of EU workers after Brexit.

Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers’ Union, told the body’s annual conference in Birmingham that farmers and food processors, particularly in horticulture and poultry, were already having difficulty recruiting.

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Police are 'only in the foothills' of tackling online abuse, MPs told

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:19:01 GMT2017-02-21T19:19:01Z

Senior officer Mark Hamilton acknowledges not enough has been done about abuse such as that suffered by Diane Abbott

A senior police officer has said they are “only in the foothills” when it comes to tackling online abuse, after being told by MPs that not a single perpetrator has ever been reprimanded for the stream of sexist and racist abuse suffered by Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary.

Asst Ch Const Mark Hamilton, the national police chiefs’ council lead on hate crime, told the Commons home affairs select committee on Tuesday that anybody reporting online abuse would expect to get “a more fulsome response” than that described in Abbott’s case.

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UK should expect a very hefty bill for Brexit, says Jean-Claude Juncker

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:41:17 GMT2017-02-21T15:41:17Z

European commission president uses salty language to warn PM that Britain will not be able to negotiate ‘cut-price’ exit from EU

Britain can expect a “very hefty” bill as the price of leaving the EU, the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has warned.

Speaking to the Belgian federal parliament, Juncker spoke of his personal sadness about Brexit but insisted that the UK would not be able to negotiate a “cut-price or zero-cost” exit.

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Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law charged with computer hacking

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:39:35 GMT2017-02-21T19:39:35Z

Chris Hutcheson and three of his family face charges after chef claimed his emails were hacked during bitter family dispute

Gordon Ramsay’s father-in-law and three of his family members have been charged over allegations of computer hacking dating back seven years to the time of a bitter dispute involving the celebrity chef, Scotland Yard said.

The Met police on Tuesday charged Chris Hutcheson, who was for years the chief executive of Ramsay’s company that ran his restaurants and other business interests, and Hutcheson’s sons Adam and Chris and daughter Orlanda Butland.

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MPs pass bill allowing police to seize UK assets of human rights abusers

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:38:03 GMT2017-02-21T19:38:03Z

Bill passes with amendment that means assets such as London property can be seized from people who offended overseas

MPs have passed a bill that would allow British law enforcement agencies to seize the UK assets of dictators and rights abusers, even for offences committed overseas.

The Commons unanimously passed the third reading of the criminal finances bill, a wider measure that adapts the earlier Proceeds of Crime Act, allowing police to target “unexplained wealth”.

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Paul Nuttall says he has spent three hours giving Hillsborough statement

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:20:26 GMT2017-02-21T13:20:26Z

Ukip leader tells Stoke byelection hustings he has given a witness statement this week to police investigation into disaster

The Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall, has said he spent three hours on Monday giving an official witness statement to the police investigation into the Hillsborough disaster.

Nuttall said he accepted he had been wrong to allow a press release in his name to say he had lost “close personal friends” in the crush at the football ground, which killed 96 Liverpool fans, but insisted he had been present at the match.

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Police dig in garage once owned by murderer Christopher Halliwell

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:07:51 GMT2017-02-21T18:07:51Z

Search in Broad Street, Swindon, where Halliwell lived moves to garage where sound of power tools is heard

Police search teams appear to be carrying out digging work inside a garage that was once owned by the double murderer Christopher Halliwell.

Wiltshire police said the search of two garages and two gardens in Swindon is expected to take five days. The force has not confirmed the operation is connected to Halliwell but one of the garages and gardens belongs to his former home in Broad Street.

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We are unlikely to spot next financial crisis, Bank of England official says

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:55:13 GMT2017-02-21T14:55:13Z

MPC member Gertjan Vlieghe tells MPs that central bank’s financial models ‘are just not that good’ for predicting even a recession

The Bank of England is unlikely to predict the next financial crisis, according to one of the central bank’s leading policymakers, who said economic models were unable to provide flawless forecasts for the UK economy.

Monetary policy committee member Gertjan Vlieghe said it was impossible for the Bank to forecast a recession, let alone the next crash, and no amount of fine-tuning models of the way the modern economy operates would change that harsh reality.

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Families await supreme court verdict on income rules for spouse visas

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:29:46 GMT2017-02-21T17:29:46Z

Wednesday’s ruling will determine legality of £18,600 minimum income threshold for non-EU spouses to live in UK

The fate of tens of thousands of separated British families in which one parent is not entitled to live in the UK because they have failed to meet a minimum income threshold of £18,600 will be decided by the supreme court on Wednesday.

The ruling is to be a key test of the family migration rules introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary in 2012, which have led to more than 15,000 British children growing up as “Skype kids”.

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Tax barrister plans to take Uber to court over alleged £20m black hole

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:00:09 GMT2017-02-21T15:00:09Z

Jolyon Maugham QC says he is preparing to submit case to high court claiming taxi app company should be paying VAT on fares

A leading tax lawyer is planning to challenge Uber in the courts over what he alleges could be a £20m-a-year black hole in its tax payments in the UK.

Jolyon Maugham QC said he was preparing to submit a case to the high court that would argue the US taxi app company should be paying VAT on fares, which he estimated would total almost £20m for 2015.

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UK risks legitimising Sudan's rights abuses with migration talks, MPs warn

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:28:43 GMT2017-02-21T13:28:43Z

Dialogue with Sudan to tackle migrant numbers is putting UK and EU’s reputation for championing human rights at risk, says parliamentary committee

UK and European Union attempts to reduce migration from Sudan risk giving legitimacy to its government, which has been accused of human rights abuses, politicians have warned.

The focus on cutting migration from Sudan “is likely to push the UK towards institutions and individuals with whom we differ on principle”, said a report by MPs and peers (pdf) on the all-party parliamentary group for Sudan and South Sudan.

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Heathrow protest by climate activists causes delays on M4

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:55:09 GMT2017-02-21T10:55:09Z

Campaigners chain themselves to a vehicle, blocking motorway tunnel leading to airport

Climate activists protesting against Heathrow’s planned third runway caused lengthy delays on the M4 by blocking a tunnel leading to the airport for three hours.

Campaigners for Rising Up used three cars to close the tunnel leading from the motorway to Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3 at about 8.25am on Tuesday. Three protesters chained themselves to one of the vehicles, which had a banner reading: “No new runways”.

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EE balloons and drones to help fix mobile blackspots

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:54:47 GMT2017-02-21T12:54:47Z

Network says ‘helikites’ could be used to bring emergency coverage in rural areas and at festivals

A fleet of blimps is bringing mobile phone and wireless broadband coverage to rural communities in the UK.

Mobile network operator EE says the fleet will enable remote communities to maintain voice and data services when coverage is lost due to natural disasters such as flooding. EE expects to launch its first “helikite” – a mobile broadcast site tethered to helium balloons – later this year. EE is also preparing to deliver coverage via drones, although that project is not ready to launch.

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Council funding freeze 'means cuts to many essential services'

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:00:02 GMT2017-02-21T07:00:02Z

Head of local government body issues warning after funding settlement offers no additional money for authorities in 2017/18

A senior Conservative peer has warned that councils will need to slash a range of essential services after ministers released a funding settlement for councils that offered no additional money during 2017/18.

Gary Porter, who chairs the Local Government Association, said authorities would have to cut back on filling potholes, collecting waste, maintaining parks and running children’s centres and libraries in order to plug growing funding gaps.

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Top lawyers warn of human rights crisis after Brexit

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:39:52 GMT2017-02-21T11:39:52Z

Pressure on Theresa May to explain legal guarantees after Britain has left the EU

Leading lawyers and legal experts are warning that Brexit could trigger a human rights crisis in the UK that threatens to have a ‘domino effect’ across Europe.

In a letter to the Observer, they claim that the UK’s departure from the EU may see the removal of fundamental rights from UK law, leaving its citizens with a similar level of legal protection to people in Belarus, a dictatorship.

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Life expectancy forecast to exceed 90 years in coming decades

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:30:18 GMT2017-02-21T23:30:18Z

Study shows significant increase in lifespan, with South Korea top of league table and other countries not far behind

Life expectancy will soon exceed 90 years for the first time, scientists have predicted, overturning all the assumptions about human longevity that prevailed at the beginning of the 20th century.

Women born in South Korea in 2030 are forecast to have a life expectancy of 90, a study has found. But other developed countries are not far behind, raising serious questions about the health and social care that will be needed by large numbers of the population living through their 80s.

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Uber's sexual harassment case shines light on a startup's culture of defiance

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 22:14:35 GMT2017-02-21T22:14:35Z

From questionable labor practices to rejections of transportation laws, critics say Uber built its service through a ‘pattern of arrogance’

Uber’s sexual harassment case is the latest controversy in a long history of the ride-sharing company flouting regulations and, according to the company’s critics, ignoring ethical and legal standards in the name of “disruption”.

Related: Uber launches 'urgent investigation' into sexual harassment claims

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Bodies of dozens of people wash ashore in western Libya

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:12:39 GMT2017-02-21T13:12:39Z

Bodies were discovered on coast of city of Zawiya, says Red Crescent, and coastguard says engine was removed from boat

The bodies of at least 74 people, believed to be migrants, have washed ashore on the Libyan coast in the latest tragedy at sea for people fleeing to Europe to escape war and poverty.

The Libyan Red Crescent said on Tuesday the bodies had been found the previous morning on the coast of the city of Zawiya, and aid workers had spent six hours recovering them, with more dead believed to be in the vicinity.

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Robert Mugabe marks 93rd birthday with praise for Donald Trump

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:04:06 GMT2017-02-21T18:04:06Z

Zimbabwe president drops no hint that he plans to relinquish power in interview in which he appears to be struggling to keep his eyes open

Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, celebrated his 93rd birthday on Tuesday by pledging to remain in power despite growing signs of frailty, and endorsing Donald Trump’s brand of American nationalism.

“When it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism … America for Americans … on that we agree: Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans,” said Mugabe, who took power in the former British colony in 1980.

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Big Sur ravaged by floods, mudslides and storms: 'Paradise can turn on you'

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:34:18 GMT2017-02-21T20:34:18Z

Wettest season on record damaged a bridge at the California tourist attraction possibly beyond repair, and businesses, residents and workers are taking a hit

The Esalen Institute, a consciousness-raising retreat perched above the Pacific Ocean, closed last week because there was no exit. When the rains stop, about 70 students and staff holed up in the picturesque spot on one of the world’s most famous stretches of road will be evacuated via helicopter.

Other major retreats and resorts around Big Sur have also been shut down as portions of California Highway 1 have been ravaged by winter storms, flooded by waterfalls and cluttered with rocks, boulders and mudslides. A bridge, adjacent to one of the most visited tourist spots on the highway, appears to be damaged beyond repair.

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Aerosol study to look at great unknown in climate science

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:09:44 GMT2017-02-21T19:09:44Z

Australian scientists seek to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles affect global temperatures

Australian scientists are studying air pollution and cloud formation in Antarctica in an effort to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures.

It’s the first comprehensive study of the composition and concentration of aerosols in the Antarctic sea ice area, a region that influences cloud formation and weather patterns for much of the southern hemisphere.

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Israeli soldier jailed for killing injured Palestinian attacker

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:34:58 GMT2017-02-21T11:34:58Z

Elor Azaria’s legal team to appeal 18-month sentence after trial that exposed divisions between military and rightwing nationalists

An Israeli military medic who was filmed killing an incapacitated Palestinian attacker last year has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Elor Azaria’s sentence was handed down by a panel of three judges sitting in a military court in Tel Aviv. Prosecutors had demanded a sentence of between three and five years, while Azaria had asked the court to be “merciful” and sentence him to open detention.

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Relatives of Berlin truck attack victims accuse authorities of negligence

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:43:31 GMT2017-02-21T14:43:31Z

Families tell German president they feel abandoned and express dismay that official memorial service has not been planned

Relatives of the 12 people killed in December when a truck ploughed into a Christmas market in Berlin have expressed their dismay at the negligent way they say they have been treated by German authorities.

About 50 people who lost loved ones in the Islamic State-claimed terrorist attack reportedly told a private meeting called by Germany’s outgoing president, Joachim Gauck, and the interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, they felt abandoned at a deeply upsetting time.

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Baltic politicians lobbied by David Davis: we will only negotiate as one

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:53:28 GMT2017-02-21T17:53:28Z

After meeting Brexit secretary, politicians stress they will negotiate as unified EU27 amid claims of UK ‘divide and rule’ tactics

Senior European politicians lobbied by the Brexit secretary, David Davis, during a whistlestop tour of the Baltic states have insisted they will negotiate with the UK as a unified bloc, and questioned the realism of Britain’s negotiating goals.

During visits to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia over the last two days, Davis told his political counterparts there that he was confident a comprehensive EU-UK free trade agreement could be struck within the two-year time frame of article 50 talks.

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Female film protagonists reached all-time high in 2016, study shows

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:56:55 GMT2017-02-21T15:56:55Z

Women made up 29% of leads in the top 100 films of last year, up 7% from 2015 thanks to Arrival, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Ghostbusters

The number of female protagonists in hit films was at an all-time high in 2016, according to a new study.

Related: Hollywood could be sued for discrimination against female directors

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Spanish MPs give Junior MasterChef a roasting over late-night time slot

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:48:08 GMT2017-02-21T14:48:08Z

Spain’s version of TV show accused of exacerbating problem of tired children in an already seriously underslept country

Take one child, fatigue gently with lessons and homework, expose to a televisual phenomenon until long after midnight, then leave to rest for as long as possible, preferably overnight. Refresh with tears of tiredness and repeat.

The Spanish version of Junior MasterChef may have proved hugely popular, but some politicians believe its very late scheduling is a recipe for yet more lost shuteye in a country that is already seriously underslept.

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Revealed: Kim Jong-nam was gripped by fear and paranoia, says friend

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:14:41 GMT2017-02-21T11:14:41Z

Exclusive: Kim Jong-un’s half-brother felt powerless and conflicted over North Korea’s fate and feared for his own safety in exile

Kim Jong-nam spent his last few years highly paranoid, hiding from the regime run by his dictator half-brother while struggling with a sense of powerlessness over the fate of his homeland, according to people who knew him.

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