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



Published: Wed, 29 Mar 2017 03:34:53 GMT2017-03-29T03:34:53Z

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



Theresa May to call on Britons to unite as she triggers article 50

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:31:33 GMT2017-03-28T22:31:33Z

PM signs letter that will be hand-delivered to European council president at the same time as she addresses House of Commons

Theresa May will call on the British people to unite as she triggers article 50, beginning a two-year process that will see the UK leave the European Union and sever a political relationship that has lasted 44 years.

A letter signed by the prime minister will be hand-delivered to the president of the European council at about 12.30pm – as she rises in Westminster to deliver a statement to MPs signalling the end of the UK’s most significant diplomatic association since the end of the second world war.

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Scottish parliament votes for second independence referendum

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:34:17 GMT2017-03-28T17:34:17Z

MSPs pass motion to give Nicola Sturgeon the authority to begin negotiations with UK parliament on breakaway vote

Nicola Sturgeon has won a key Holyrood vote on her plans for a second independence referendum, triggering accusations from UK ministers that her demands are premature.

Sturgeon won by a 10-vote majority after the Scottish Greens backed her proposals to formally request from the UK government the powers to stage a fresh independence vote at around the time Britain leaves the EU, in spring 2019.

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François Fillon's wife officially charged over embezzlement of public funds

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:11:50 GMT2017-03-28T21:11:50Z

Inquiry into wife of French presidential candidate comes after hours of questioning over work Penelope Fillon did for her husband

The British-born wife of French presidential candidate François Fillon has been formally put under investigation in the fake jobs scandal that has poisoned her husband’s political career.

Penelope Fillon is being prosecuted for embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds and aggravated fraud, it was reported late on Tuesday evening.

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New technology allows tetraplegic man to move hand with thought

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:30:41 GMT2017-03-28T22:30:41Z

Neuroprosthetic procedure first in world to restore brain-controlled reaching and grasping in person with complete paralysis

A man who was paralysed from below the neck after crashing his bike into a truck can once again drink a cup of coffee and eat mashed potato with a fork, after a world-first procedure to allow him to control his hand with the power of thought.

Bill Kochevar, 53, has had electrical implants in the motor cortex of his brain and sensors inserted in his forearm, which allow the muscles of his arm and hand to be stimulated in response to signals from his brain, decoded by computer. After eight years, he is able to drink and feed himself without assistance.

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Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood wasn't an extremist, says ex boss

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:48:52 GMT2017-03-28T19:48:52Z

Killer was open about violent past but showed no interest in local radical groups, says Luton language school director

Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood was an “apolitical” man who showed no interest in radical Islam in the two years he lived in Luton, his former boss said.

Farasat Latif, a director at language school Elas UK where Masood worked between 2010 and summer 2012, said he knew Masood as a charming, friendly and professional employee who was open about getting his life back on track after a violent past.

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Trump moves to dismantle Obama's climate legacy with executive order

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:16:20 GMT2017-03-28T19:16:20Z

Environmentalists decry ‘embarrassing’ order to review Obama’s clean power plan and other regulations, as White House claims victory for coal industry

Donald Trump launched an all-out assault on Barack Obama’s climate change legacy on Tuesday with a sweeping executive order that undermines America’s commitment to the Paris agreement.

Watched by coalminers at a ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, the president signed an order to trigger a review of the clean power plan, Obama’s flagship policy to curb carbon emissions, and rescind a moratorium on the sale of coalmining leases on federal lands.

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Man faces perjury allegations over strip club death of British woman Stacey Tierney

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:58:00 GMT2017-03-28T23:58:00Z

Police say Melbourne man would be charged via summons as part of investigation into death of 29-year-old in Dreams Gentlemen’s Club

A man has been interviewed over perjury allegations in connection to the investigation into the death of British woman Stacey Tierney, who was found dead in a Melbourne strip club in December.

Police said on Wednesday the 33-year-old Ascot Vale man would be charged via summons after he was interviewed and released on Tuesday night.

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Stansted runway closed after anti-deportation protesters block flight

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:44:12 GMT2017-03-28T22:44:12Z

Eight activists attempt to stop charter flight scheduled to carry eight deportees to Nigeria and Ghana

The runway at Stansted was closed on Tuesday night after protesters ran out to prevent a plane carrying eight deportees from taking off.

The campaign groups End Deportations, activists from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and Plane Stupid said 14 activists had locked themselves to a tripod to stop a “mass deportation charter flight” from the Essex airport to Nigeria and Ghana. Campaigners said that deportees on the flight included people who feared for their lives and had claimed asylum.

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Home Office contractor 'restrains disabled Yarls Wood woman by chain'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:36:33 GMT2017-03-28T18:36:33Z

Wheelchair user Lovelyn Edobor says Capita firm escorts, acting to deport her, ‘dragged her like a goat’ at Heathrow

A disabled victim of trafficking has complained that she was forced into a waist restraint belt and dragged along “like a goat” when the Home Office tried to remove her from the UK on Saturday.

Lovelyn Edobor, from Nigeria, had been held at Yarls Wood immigration removal centre, Bedfordshire, for several months before the Home Office attempted to forcibly remove her from the UK. The 49-year-old suffers from advanced osteoarthritis in both knees and chronic generalised arthritis, and uses a wheelchair.

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Channel 4 to stay in public hands amid pressure to relocate

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:35:06 GMT2017-03-28T16:35:06Z

After major review, culture secretary rules out privatisation but says broadcaster should move influence beyond London

The culture secretary has ruled out privatising Channel 4 following a protracted review of its long-term future, but in return wants the state-owned broadcaster to relocate some or all of its operations outside London.

Karen Bradley will use a speech in Salford to announce that the new home of The Great British Bake Off will remain publicly owned, while increasing pressure for it to move large parts of its business from its existing headquarters.

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Alien intelligence: the extraordinary minds of octopuses and other cephalopods

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:00:36 GMT2017-03-28T19:00:36Z

After a startling encounter with a cuttlefish, Australian philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith set out to explore the mysterious lives of cephalopods. He was left asking: why do such smart, optimistic creatures live such a short time?

Inches above the seafloor of Sydney’s Cabbage Tree Bay, with the proximity made possible by several millimetres of neoprene and a scuba diving tank, I’m just about eyeball to eyeball with this creature: an Australian giant cuttlefish.

Even allowing for the magnifying effects of the mask snug across my nose, it must be about 60cm (two feet) long, and the peculiarities that abound in the cephalopod family, that includes octopuses and squid, are the more striking writ so large.

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Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad review – a moving account of loss

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:00:39 GMT2017-03-28T21:00:39Z

The footballer invites the cameras in to witness him dealing with grief after the death of his wife. It is a bold and important film

It’s usually so much fun snooping around a footballer’s house on television, seeing where all that money goes. Steven Gerrard’s and Wayne Rooney’s stand out from recent times. Rio Ferdinand’s looks like a good one, too – massive kitchen, gym, pool etc. But Rio hasn’t invited the cameras in to show off.

While grand, the most striking feature of the house is its sadness and silence. In the sunny holiday home in Portugal as well – even though the kids splash about in the pool, happy and noisy– something is off. It’s the empty space left by Rio’s wife, Rebecca, who died nearly two years ago, aged 34, from breast cancer.

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'Everything we built for 20 years, gone in a blink' – life in the ruins of Aleppo

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:02:30 GMT2017-03-28T14:02:30Z

The rebel-held east of the Syrian city was devastated by years of bombing, first by the government alone then bolstered by Russian forces. Ruth Maclean travelled to Aleppo to hear how the district’s few remaining residents survive

A small group of boys play football, dodging tangled metal in the ruined ruined Umayyad mosque of Aleppo’s old city. When they were last able to come here, before the war, the vast courtyard’s patterned floor was beautifully polished, and the pile of bricks in a corner was a millennium-old minaret.

Now, the boys pick at the sandbags piled in its huge, fire-blackened arches. For them, this ancient place-of-worship-turned-fortress is a playground in a hellscape.

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Key kit for a 21st century gold coin heist? Rope, ladder and wheelbarrow

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:05:06 GMT2017-03-28T18:05:06Z

Thieves who stole world’s second-largest gold coin from Berlin museum appeared to stick to old-fashioned methods

Even in the era of cybercrime, methods more familiar to black-and-white heist movies never fall out of fashion.

On Monday morning, thieves in Berlin used a rope, a foldout ladder and a wheelbarrow to steal the world’s second-largest gold coin from a museum, all within earshot of Angela Merkel’s inner-city apartment.

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Brexit heartlands: pro-leave Havering – a photo essay

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:00:12 GMT2017-03-28T14:00:12Z

The London borough saw one of the biggest leave votes in Britain last June and Romford is the biggest town in the borough. Photojournalist Sean Smith and Lisa O’Carroll met some of the people behind the politics

Havering – sandwiched between Essex and London – was one of the strongest pro-Brexit boroughs in the country, with 69.7% voting to leave the EU.

Its population has remained relatively constant between the two past censuses in 2001 and 2011, with a 6% increase in residents compared with a 14% London average, but the population of the main town, Romford, has shot up by 21%, reflecting a glut of new apartment blocks attracting families squeezed out of the London market.

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International roundup: France foiled by video assistant referee against Spain

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:18:36 GMT2017-03-28T23:18:36Z

• Technology twice helps officials make correct calls in 2-0 win for visitors
• Italy beat Holland 2-1 after farewell to Clarence Seedorf

France twice fell foul of decisions made by a video assistant referee (VAR) in a high-profile example of the new technology during their 2-0 home defeat against Spain.

Antoine Griezmann thought he had headed France into the lead three minutes after half-time but, after the referee Felix Zwayer consulted the extra official, the goal was quickly ruled out for offside against Layvin Kurzawa.

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Chelsea make Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez their No1 summer transfer target

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:03:14 GMT2017-03-28T11:03:14Z

• Antonio Conte has told Chelsea hierarchy he wants the Chilean forward
• Sánchez set to leave Arsenal and also wanted by PSG, Inter and Juventus

Chelsea have made Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez their main summer transfer target and Antonio Conte has discussed the possibility of bringing the Chilean to Stamford Bridge with the club’s hierarchy.

The Italian manager is in talks with Chelsea over a new contract and, as part of that, summer transfers have been discussed. Conte has submitted to the club’s recruitment team, effectively headed by the director Marina Granovskaia and technical director, Michael Emenalo, a list of players he would like to sign, with Sánchez and a left-sided defender among the priorities.

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The Spin | Isn’t it about time cricket consigned ‘chinaman’ to the past?

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:37:34 GMT2017-03-28T12:37:34Z

With the laws of the game now encompassing gender-neutral terminology, the banishing of a phrase coined in Yorkshire more than 90 years ago seems a little overdue

The laws of cricket are just a little older than the US Constitution, so they have been through a few changes since they were first set down. And the latest edition, due to be published this October, includes several amendments which anyone paying attention will likely have already read about, like a limit on bat sizes, the introduction of red and yellow cards, and another, more subtle one, which has escaped wider attention. The laws of the game have just become gender-neutral. They now use “he/she” along with generic nouns like “fielder” and “bowler”. The one exception is “batsman” which, after some consideration, was decided to be “a term of the game” that applies equally well to men and women. A batter, as they say, is only fit for baseball and fish.

So the language of the game is changing. And about time. There was a stir earlier this year when Christina Matthews, chief executive of the Western Australia Cricket Association, complained that the game was “disrespecting half the population” by “using terms such as 12th man, batsman, fieldsman and nightwatchman without a second thought.” Matthews, who played 20 Tests, also said, “I’m not saying people are deliberately trying to offend but it’s a bit like bullying - whether you’re bullied or not is dictated by the person who is on the end of it, not the person who’s doing it.” Her comments were widely reported in England, Australia, New Zealand and India. And, for a brief moment, cricket became a little patch of the battleground in a wider culture war.

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Resignation claim is fake, says world chess chief once 'abducted by aliens'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:58:18 GMT2017-03-28T19:58:18Z

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is on US sanctions list, had threatened to resign from position held since 1995 ‘several times’ during recent meeting, an official said

The international chess governing body has been plunged into controversy after announcing its longtime president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, had resigned in a statement he dismissed as “fake”.

Ilyumzhinov, a Russian businessman and former leader of Russia’s Buddhist Kalmykia region, is no stranger to controversy, perhaps best known for claiming to have encountered aliens.

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Andy Murray not in Great Britain team for Davis Cup quarter-final

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:14:58 GMT2017-03-28T11:14:58Z

• World No1’s elbow injury rules him out of France tie starting 7 April
• GB quartet is Dan Evans, Jamie Murray, Kyle Edmund and Dominic Inglot

Leon Smith’s decision on Tuesday to leave Andy Murray out of Great Britain’s Davis Cup team to play France in the quarter-finals in Rouen next week was more or less an open secret.

As much as the historic team competition has stirred emotions, and as much as Murray would love to be part of their march to the semi-finals in September, injury has forced the world No1 to look over his shoulder at not only the proximity of Novak Djokovic, the giant he displaced last year, but the steadily building challenge of the ageless Roger Federer.

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From five-a-side to futsal and Star Sixes: how football's small forms went big

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:49:06 GMT2017-03-28T12:49:06Z

Fewer people are playing 11-a-side games but smaller matches are more popular than ever, which makes the new Star Sixes event particularly well timed

By Richard Foster for The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Guardian Sport Network

If the chance of watching Jay-Jay Okocha and Robert Pires weaving through tightly packed defences up close is a tantalising prospect, then you should make your way to the O2 Arena in London this summer for the Star Sixes tournament. Okocha and Pires will be joined by a galaxy of big stars, including Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand, Roberto Carlos, Carles Puyol and Michael Ballack, for the four-day, six-a-side competition in July.

The organisers are at pains to point out that this event will be more competitive than previous tournaments featuring former professionals, such as Sky’s Masters Football series, which ran from 2000 to 2011. England goalkeeper David James says he is relishing the opportunity of representing his country again. “Having had around 26 years as a pro, I still kind of wake up each morning and think, ‘Can I still do this, can I still do that?’ I was asked if I would be interested in getting involved and my immediate answer was: yes.”

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David Squires on … great British football own goals. Oh, and article 50

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:45:26 GMT2017-03-28T10:45:26Z

Our resident cartoonist presents a collection of classic gaffes (with apologies to Chris Brass, Jamie Pollock, Wayne Hatswell, Djimi Traoré, Lee Dixon, Tony Popovic and Peter Enckelman, whose acts of self-destruction were entirely accidental)

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Liverpool’s Adam Lallana to miss Merseyside derby with thigh injury

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:14:28 GMT2017-03-28T16:14:28Z

• Midfielder hurt on England duty and could be out for a month
• Lallana would miss five Premier League games in worst case scenario

Adam Lallana is set to miss the Merseyside derby on Saturday after reporting back to Liverpool with an injury suffered playing for England.

The 28-year-old featured in both England’s games during the international break, playing for an hour in the friendly in Germany and the full 90 minutes of the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley. He received a kick on the thigh in the latter match, however, and found he was unable to train with his Liverpool team‑mates on Tuesday. While the club have not put a timescale on Lallana’s recovery, there are concerns he could be out for up to a month.

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Cricketer spared jail may face claims he perverted course of justice

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:42:54 GMT2017-03-28T17:42:54Z

CPS considering review amid allegations Mustafa Bashir falsely claimed he was due Leicestershire club contract

A violent and controlling cricketer who walked free from court after he beat his wife with a cricket bat and made her drink bleach, could face an investigation over claims that he perverted the course of justice.

Mustafa Bashir, 34, was spared prison despite forcing his wife to drink bleach, throttling her in public, and hitting her with his bat. He admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was given an 18-month prison term.

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Non-league player banned after allegedly wielding knife at fan

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:39:48 GMT2017-03-28T17:39:48Z

• Police investigating incident while Sawbridgeworth Town ban offender for life
• Fan of Clapton FC alleged to have spat at player

A non-league footballer is under investigation by Hertfordshire police after allegedly wielding a knife at an opposition fan, with the player given a life ban by his club, Sawbridgeworth Town.

The incident occurred towards the end of an Essex Senior League fixture between Sawbridgeworth and Clapton at Crofters End ground in Hertfordshire on Saturday.

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Fredi Kanouté: ‘Muslims have to prove they are not terrorists before talking’ | Paul Doyle

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:43:00 GMT2017-03-28T16:43:00Z

The former Sevilla and Mali striker is proud of his faith and would rather be known for working with orphans than his footballing achievements

Fredi Kanouté jokes that he has joined a rock band but none of the motley crew he is touring with claims to be a professional musician. Instead the former West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla striker shares stages around the world with extraordinary characters such as Emi Mahmoud, a former Darfur refugee and Poetry Slam world champion, and Dr Rouba Mhaissen, the economist and development activist ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the planet’s most influential people under 30.

Related: Skilled, determined and broke: Africa's female football pioneers

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Independent inquiry into Millwall CPO deal gets green light to begin

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:05:28 GMT2017-03-28T14:05:28Z

• Inquiry into developer Renewal’s plans expected to last for rest of 2017
• Role of Lewisham council and Surrey Canal Sports Foundation under scrutiny

The independent inquiry into Lewisham council’s plans to seize Millwall’s land at The Den is set to begin in the next few days. The inquiry, which was announced last month, will be led by Lord Dyson, a distinguished retired judge and former Master of the Rolls. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year and to cost up to £500,000 of public money.

The inquiry was called after a series of questions emerged over the process and due diligence behind the council’s plans to compulsorily purchase land in Bermondsey and sell it on to an offshore‑registered developer called Renewal.

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UK Sport: ‘Serious concerns’ over British Cycling’s handling of Varnish sexism claims

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:16:32 GMT2017-03-28T09:16:32Z

• UK Sport has still not received key information about the case
• Liz Nicholl questions why ‘UK Sport has not been fully informed’

The elite funding agency UK Sport has told British Cycling’s board it has “serious concerns” about its handling of allegations against their former technical director Shane Sutton and has still not received key information about the case.

Last April, the former Great Britain rider Jess Varnish claimed Sutton used sexist language towards her, and in October an internal British Cycling investigation led by board member Alex Russell upheld that complaint.

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England goalscorer Jermain Defoe says vegan diet and discipline paying off

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 21:30:10 GMT2017-03-27T21:30:10Z

• Recovery techniques working for Sunderland striker
• ‘I have a better understanding of my body now’

Jermain Defoe has credited a recent switch to a vegan diet as being partly behind his continued excellence at the top level as the Sunderland striker seeks to maintain his form and remain in contention within the England set-up following his goalscoring return to the national side.

The veteran forward, recalled by Gareth Southgate, marked his first England appearance in three and a half years with a 20th international goal against Lithuania on Sunday and departed Wembley having claimed the sponsors’ man of the match award. That bottle of champagne was wasted on him, with the 34-year-old long since teetotal, but Defoe’s desire to thrive in the top flight has prompted him to explore diet and recovery techniques in an attempt to retain his edge.

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Revealed: Britain’s first black female footballer after case of mistaken identity

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:00:25 GMT2017-03-28T10:00:25Z

Emma Clarke, who was playing in the 1890s, has been established as Britain’s first black female footballer and her remarkable story is being brought to life in a play

A major discovery in women’s football history has revealed Britain’s first black female footballer – and she was playing in one of the sport’s earliest recorded games in the 1890s.

The emergence of her story is timely. On Tuesday evening, as football’s black achievers gather to be honoured at the Football Black List celebration, Futures Theatre will play out the story of the game’s female pioneers in a new production called Offside. It is the first time the central character of a black female footballer has been dramatised.

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Joe Root backs new T20 plan but says it should be free to air for fans

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 22:21:04 GMT2017-03-27T22:21:04Z

• ‘Cricket is there for everyone to see,’ he says
• ‘We want families involved,’ says Michael Vaughan

Joe Root has welcomed the ECB’s grand plans for Twenty20 cricket but has underlined the need for it to be shown on terrestrial television.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has unveiled a blueprint for the future , declaring that its proposed eight-team T20 format was needed to ‘future-proof’ domestic cricket.

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Adopt-a-Lion: New Zealand rugby fans offer to host British and Irish free of charge

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 01:37:00 GMT2017-03-28T01:37:00Z

Most hotel rooms sold out during tour, so rugby fan Adam Gilshnan set up Facebook page linking Lions supporters with generous locals

New Zealanders are opening their homes to British & Irish Lions fans who have been priced out of affordable accommodation during the upcoming tour.

About 20,000 Lions fans are expected to fly to New Zealand in June and July, and many independent travellers are struggling to find affordable accommodation for their trip.

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Teed off by Trump? Why protests to move the US Women's Open miss the mark

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:30:25 GMT2017-03-28T09:30:25Z

A campaign calling for July’s US Women’s Open from Trump National Golf Club to be moved has reached critical mass. But the author, a former LPGA Tour pro, insists that moving the tournament isn’t as simple as it seems

A few years ago, when the United States Golf Association announced that it would hold the US Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, it was business as usual.

Except no one anticipated that Donald Trump, who built Trump National just 13 years ago, would be president of the United States. Nor did anyone at the USGA forecast that Trump’s infamous “grab [women] by the pussy” tape would make international headlines. And really, how could they?

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‘Mystery package’ doctor admits Team Sky had no medicines policy

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:01:05 GMT2017-03-27T23:01:05Z

• Dr Richard Freeman gives written evidence to select committee
• Damian Collins MP says it leaves ‘major questions’ for Sky and British Cycling

The doctor at the centre of the affair of the mystery package delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011 has made the astonishing admission that neither Team Sky nor British Cycling had any written medicines-management policy or stock-taking system at the time.

In a letter to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee Dr Richard Freeman also expressed “regret” that there had been no backed-up medical records of Wiggins’ treatment in 2011 – but denied there had been any unethical behaviour by either Team Sky or British Cycling. However, Damian Collins, the chair of the DCMS select committee, said that Freeman’s written evidence had left “major questions outstanding for Team Sky and British Cycling”.

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Dustin Johnson on top of the world but favourites rarely prosper at Augusta | Ewan Murray

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 19:00:46 GMT2017-03-27T19:00:46Z

World No1’s third title in a row at WGC Match Play makes him the man to beat but no favourite has won the Masters since Tiger Woods in 2005

The only certainty relating to Dustin Johnson’s epic run is that it will come to an end. Even recent history tells us that much. Fascination and uncertainty relate to precisely when the world No1’s streak will conclude and, more pertinently, if it can be sustained to the point where the 32-year-old wins the Masters for the first time.

Johnson’s statistics make stunning reading. Victory at the WGC Match Play in Austin was his third in three starts. Since last June, when Johnson won his first major by claiming the US Open, he has lifted six trophies from 17 events played.

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What are the missing lyrics in these football songs? – quiz

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:30:01 GMT2017-03-28T09:30:01Z

These lyrics make Liam Gallagher look like Morrissey. Do you remember them?What is the missing line from the original Three Lions song: "I still see that tackle by Moore, and when Lineker scored, Bobby belting the ball. And ..."?Gazza drinkingAll our chancesGeoff Hurst blastingNobby dancingChelsea released this song in 1972 to coincide with their appearance in the League Cup final (which they lost to Stoke City). What is the missing line: "Blue is the colour, football is the game. We're all together, and …"?We're so glad you came We'll have a good old time Winning is our aimWe have something to proclaimComplete the spoken word intro to Vindaloo: "Where on earth are you from? We're from England. Where you come from … "?Do you see great Albion?Do you have the fun?Is it this humdrum?Do you put the kettle on?Who is the missing Manchester United player in this lyric from their 1994 FA Cup song Come On You Reds: "Schmeichel, Parker, Pallister. Irwin, Bruce, Sharpe and Ince. Hughes, McClair, Keane and Cantona. Robson, Kanchelskis and … "?DublinBlackmoreFergusonGiggsWhat is the missing line from West Ham anthem I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles: "I'm forever blowing bubbles. Pretty bubbles in the air. They fly so high, nearly reach the sky. Then like my dreams they … "Make me cry Go high and dryHit a pie in the sky Fade and dieWhat is the next line from Scotland's World Cup 1998 song Don't Come Home Too Soon: "The world may not be shaking yet, but you might prove them wrong …"?We have McAllister and HendryWe'll say 'oui, oui' in ParisStranger things have happenedEven long shots make itWhat is the missing line from the Anfield Rap (Red Machine in Full Effect): "How's he doing the Jamaica rap? He's from just south of the Watford Gap. He gives us stick about the north/south divide. Cause they got the jobs. Yeah, but … "?Not our dockside We will abide Our hits go worldwide We got the sideWe have civic prideWhich FA Cup finalists were celebrated with these lyrics in an eponymously titled song in 1972: "There's a red-headed tiger known as Billy. And he goes like a human dynamo. Mick the Mover, of course, he can work like a horse. And Topcat Cooper's always on the go"?Stoke CityLeeds UnitedArsenalAston VillaWhat is the first line of Spurs' 1982 FA Cup song: "Tottenham, Tottenham … "We won in BirminghamCome on Saturday 3pmWe'll show themNo one can stop themComplete this lyric from Pass & Move (It's the Liverpool Groove): "Ho shimmy shimmy, Skippy take it away. Shaggy’s in flight, now it’s judgement day. Digger in the middle, weaving his spell. Jason McAteer … "Knows his hair gelThe blonde bombshellSweeter than carmelStrong enough for NFLLike a bat outta hell Continue reading...[...]


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Football transfer rumours: Eden Hazard to Real Madrid?

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:25:17 GMT2017-03-28T08:25:17Z

Today’s fluff is record breaking

Real Madrid mean business and not just any old business but world-record 
business
. The Spanish aristocrats have reportedly dispatched minions to 
their vaults to begin counting out £100m, which Real will then wave in 
front of Chelsea in the hope that it will persuade the London club to 
relinquish Eden Hazard. If Chelsea refuse, Real will do an about-turn and 
march on Monaco, who are said to be open to the possibility of selling 
Bernardo Silva

On the other hand, if Real do manage to get their claws on Hazard, 
then Chelsea will attempt to nab Silva, but the Portuguese may prefer to 
join Barcelona or Manchester United. 

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I was vulnerable and wanted a home. What I got was a workhouse | Daniel Lavelle

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:10:07 GMT2017-03-28T18:10:07Z

A homeless charity offered me food and board. But I had to work a tough 40-hour week for a meagre allowance – and others like me are being treated the same way

There are many reasons why I became homeless, but no one was surprised it happened. I’m just another care leaver who lost control of their life. Almost every person I lived with in children’s homes and foster placements has since experienced mental health problems, stints in prison, and battles with drug and alcohol addiction. What would make me so special that I could avoid the inevitable breakdown?

Related: Homeless in Britain: ‘I graduated with honours – and ended up on the streets’

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If only Nicola could let her legs do the talking

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:02:00 GMT2017-03-28T18:02:00Z

The Scottish first minister has a mind of her own when it comes to Brexit but then so do her lower extremities

A pair of legs stood up and the body attached to them prepared to speak. There were so many things Nicola Sturgeon’s shapely shanks would have liked to say. About how the Daily Mail had said how much more attractive they were than Theresa May’s famously long extremities. About how the prime minister had been so intimated – or was that seduced? – by her luscious legs that she had immediately gone on the back foot. About how if all the Little Laydeez of Scotland were to vote for independence, then they too could have pins like her.

Six days ago the debate on the second Scottish referendum had been suspended after the attack on Westminster. Sturgeon began by adopting a more conciliatory note than she had when opening the debate the previous week, emphasising shared values, democracy and differences of opinion that were sincerely held.

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The Guardian view on Marine A: prevent war crimes, don’t excuse them | Editorial

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:07:54 GMT2017-03-28T18:07:54Z

Alexander Blackman’s mental state contributed to him shooting dead an injured Taliban fighter – but we must still uphold international law

When justice is done, we should be glad. But the champagne-swigging jubilation that greeted the reduction of “Marine A” Alexander Blackman’s murder conviction to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, went far beyond the acknowledgment that this was an appropriate outcome. To many of his supporters he is a “hero soldier” persecuted for shooting dead an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. The judgment, however, was no exoneration: he killed a defenceless man, tried to make sure it was not witnessed, and attempted to cover up what he did. The judges considered mitigating factors, including his combat stress disorder. Nonetheless, they concluded that his crime was a severe one, that he held substantial responsibility for it, and that his dismissal from service was justified.

Drum-beating coverage of “our brave boys” veils the fact that British troops, like any others, are capable of terrible violations of the laws of war and the dictates of basic decency. Perhaps the catastrophe of Iraq, and the consciousness of the toll it took overwhelmingly on Iraqi civilians but also on coalition forces, has sensitised the public to the immense pressures facing soldiers and the often limited support they receive. More often than not, such abuses occur when there is an absence or failure of leadership. Another marine – briefly Blackman’s commanding officer – described the leadership and oversight in place as shockingly bad, and insisted he was not a single rotten apple. The answer is not to give soldiers a free pass to abuse and kill by attacking attempts to hold them to account, but to ask who else is responsible and how such behaviour can be prevented in future.

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Forging pound coins? That’s not a crime – it’s a job | Tim Dowling

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:50:36 GMT2017-03-28T17:50:36Z

Britain’s new 12-sided coin is designed to put the forgers off but no one in their right mind would want to counterfeit them anyway

When I was a child, I collected coins. I looked at coins, read about coins, grouped coins in albums and said obverse and reverse instead of front and back. It was my one true passion, and the last time I ever had a strong urge to organise stuff.

What I’m saying is, there was a moment when I would have been very excited about the introduction of a new coin, especially a 12-sided, two-metal, wholly redesigned coin like the new pound. When I was growing up in America they never changed the money. In those days it wasn’t that uncommon to find a 60-year-old coin in your dad’s pocket – you wouldn’t even notice unless you checked dates, which I did, religiously. I was looking for the elusive 1909-S VDB penny, with the San Francisco mint mark and the designer’s initials along the bottom edge of the reverse. Or maybe the rare 1955 double die, or the steel 1944-D. I never found any of them.

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The Guardian view on Brexit: start by protecting EU nationals | Editorial

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:03:07 GMT2017-03-28T17:03:07Z

It is morally and politically repugnant to try to bargain over the future of people who have enriched our lives

Britain is poised to embark on a fraught and uncertain course. Leaving the European Union will weaken the remaining 27 members, and it is likely to set this country on a decade or more of instability. It is the end of a partnership that has brought much more to Britain than can be guessed at from the churlish nature of our relationship, which rarely recognised the wonder of this audacious attempt to mould a community of peace and prosperity from nation states at war for centuries. A largely hostile press made Brussels, just as an early Guardian editorial warned, the default excuse for political failure, economic incompetence and, sometimes, sheer misadventure.

Related: The time has come for Theresa May’s stark choice over Britain’s future | Letters

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Millions are on the brink of starvation in east Africa. We must act fast | Emma Thompson

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:11:52 GMT2017-03-28T16:11:52Z

Families in the region are once more forced into a daily struggle to find food. We can help to avoid a repetition of the famine of 1984

When I saw the East Africa Crisis Appeal launched recently across our screens by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), my thoughts returned to a man I met when I visited Ethiopia with ActionAid in 2005.

Sitting in a small settlement about four hours south of the capital, Addis Ababa, he spoke without emotion about the 1984 famine. “In 1984 one third of this community died … We ate soil mixed with dirty water. All the cattle died. We couldn’t feed our children. People just walked, they knew not where. Many died on the road and were left unburied.”

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Britain’s divorce from the EU will be bitter. Yet the failure is Europe’s too | Nick Herbert

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:04:17 GMT2017-03-28T16:04:17Z

After the referendum, an opt-out on free movement could have avoided full-scale Brexit. But both sides rejected any such compromise

How Brexiters suppress opposition

It wasn’t Britain’s absence from the EU’s birthday celebration last week that shamed me. It was the sight, while I was in Berlin, of our union flag projected on to the Brandenburg Gate. Even as Europe’s capitals stood in loyal solidarity with ours, we plotted a divorce.

The story after the referendum could have been different. Despite the narrowness of the result, there was never an attempt by Europe to persuade us to stay. It is unusual, when an unhappy partner suddenly and unexpectedly asks for a divorce, for the injured half simply to agree and instruct the lawyers.

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America has never seen a party less caring than 21st-century Republicans

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:06:07 GMT2017-03-28T14:06:07Z

We pay our elected officials to take care of our communities and our planet. Since Trump took office, the GOP has set out only to destroy

Last week I was taking an Uber (I know, I’m sorry, it was a necessity) across an unfamiliar town when the driver, whom I’ll call Randy, started telling me about this cool dude named Jesus. Randy’s big opener, earlier in the ride, was to gesture at a homeless man panhandling by the side of the road and say: “Isn’t it terrible?”

“Yeah,” I agreed, though I was unsure whether he was referring to homelessness as a blight or a form of state violence. “I can’t believe my tax money pays for the president’s golf vacations while people are freezing to death on the street. It’s robbery.”

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Theresa May takes empty rhetoric to a new level | Ros Coward

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:39:58 GMT2017-03-28T16:39:58Z

The prime minister’s motivational generalities over Brexit and beyond may be about to tip over into something darker – authoritarian delusions

Before meeting Nicola Sturgeon on Monday, Theresa May insisted she would “never allow the UK to become looser and weaker”. But how, precisely, will she accomplish that, given that Sturgeon, with considerable support from the Scottish people, intends the opposite? Of course there were no details of steps to be taken to prevent the UK falling apart because, as ever, May doesn’t do detail.

Since becoming prime minister, she has given plenty of broad-brush intentions but virtually no detailed policies: one small concrete change to national insurance contributions presented by the chancellor was hastily shelved. There have been plenty of words but what is worrying if you look closely is how few have substance.

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What do many lone attackers have in common? Domestic violence | Hadley Freeman

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:30:27 GMT2017-03-28T14:30:27Z

Desperate attempts to profile Khalid Masood after the Westminster attacks blame Islam, Kent or even drunk teenagers, but the common thread in terrorism is often misogyny

The reactions to Khalid Masood’s attack last week played out with script-like predictability: rightwing commentators tried desperately to blame the actions of this Kent native on immigration, while the media pored over whatever anecdotes they could find from neighbours and schoolmates. All The Day Today cliches were ticked off: he was “always polite”, he came from “a normal family”, he once “got drunk” as a teenager.

This kind of desperate profiling plays to people’s desire to believe we should be able to spot terrorists. But while rent-a-gobs flail around naming and shaming Kent and drunk teenagers, it is telling how rarely one feature common to many “lone wolf” attackers is called out: a history of domestic abuse.

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Tesco has settled with the SFO – but it faces more headaches ahead | Nils Pratley

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:48:11 GMT2017-03-28T17:48:11Z

The supermarket giant can move on after the accounting scandal, although restless shareholders could spell trouble

For Tesco, a £235m bill to settle investigations by the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority counts as a tidy piece of business. The sum will wipe out almost 20% of operating profits last year, but the company’s negotiating power was approximately zero after it had confessed to a £326m overstatement of profits in 2014. Assuming the deferred prosecution agreement between the SFO and Tesco Stores Ltd is approved by a judge next month, an ugly chapter for the company will close.

Tesco may even be delighted that the FCA has designed a redress scheme for disgruntled investors who bought Tesco shares and bonds in the few weeks before the overstatement was corrected. An orderly process to award compensation, even one that could cost Tesco £85m, sounds less messy than several rounds of legal argy-bargy.

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A white supremacist slew a man in Manhattan. Why is the president silent? | Moustafa Bayoumi

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:00:25 GMT2017-03-28T10:00:25Z

Trump’s refusal to condemn the attack against a black man – believed to be ‘practice’ for a killing spree – allows hate and violence to breed

Last week, a 28-year-old white man by the name of James Jackson traveled from Baltimore to New York City, reportedly to kill as many black men as he could, according to prosecutors. In his possession were two knives and a sword with an 18-inch blade. Upon arriving in New York, Jackson quietly checked in to a hotel near Times Square. Then he began his hunt.

According to the authorities, Jackson stalked several potential victims before narrowing his sights on Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old man who happened to be on Ninth Avenue searching for cans and bottles to recycle, a favorite activity of Caughman’s.

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What the Daily Mail means when it talks about May and Sturgeon’s ‘pins’

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:33:39 GMT2017-03-28T13:33:39Z

The language used in the newspaper’s coverage of the two most powerful politicians in the UK is a by-numbers attempt to reduce women to objects

Just for the avoidance of doubt, those things that Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon both share, the “finest weapons in their physical arsenal”, as the Daily Mail’s Sarah Vine called them in a column on yesterday’s meeting between the two women, they are just legs. Millions, even most, women have them. They are not a “vast expanse”; that’s just how big legs are. If you want smaller limbs, try arms.

Nor are they “extremities”, which, the last time I checked, were toes (of course, it is possible to cross or otherwise manipulate those in a flirtatious or dominant fashion, but, you know, shoes get in the way). What the Mail seemed to be objecting to, or analysing, or merely just noting in passing (in gigantic letters, as a front-page splash!) was that these two women had legs.

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Does a robot brickie dream of electric tea? | Joanna Griffin

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:57:57 GMT2017-03-28T13:57:57Z

A proposal to use robo-bricklayers on building sites is no laughing matter. Just ask my dad and his mates

Last year I made a show, Bricking It, with my 74-year-old builder dad, Pat. The premise was a job swap – comedy virgin Pat would learn how to be a comedian, while I would learn the ropes of bricklaying. Pat had never been on stage before. He was born in the rural west of Ireland and emigrated to England in his mid-teens.

Fast forward 60 years and Pat was shocked to find himself on stage, dancing to the Bee Gees, in a pink suit, at the Edinburgh fringe. However, after our month-long run, Pat was even more shocked to find himself back in Barnet, in his local caff, sat next to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator – Arnie methodically orders the Set 2 breakfast from the luminous menu above the counter, mechanically picks up the newspaper, pre-programmed, he turns instantly to page 3, “Yes. Boobs. Builders like. Boobs. Yes. Boobs. Builders like …”

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The left mustn’t get hung up over language orthodoxy – we must be welcoming | Ellie Mae O’Hagan

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:30:27 GMT2017-03-28T12:30:27Z

The author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says she was criticised for not using movement-specific jargon. Words are important but leftists should be inclusive

Does the left have a problem with “language orthodoxy”? The feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie thinks so – after she was criticised on social media and by other public figures following her comments on transgender women, she attributed much of the negative reaction not to genuine difference of opinions, but to seemingly arbitrary rules the left has imposed on language.

During an interview with Channel 4, Adichie said: “I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges that the world accords to men and then sort of change gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning as a woman and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.” She was accused of failing to listen to the experiences of trans women and of equivocating over the fact that trans women are women. Following the backlash, Adichie defended herself during a public appearance in Washington DC.

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'A harsh but just ruler': what do Russians think about Putin? | Eva Hartog and others

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:56:39 GMT2017-03-28T12:56:39Z

One hundred years on from the revolution, six Russians give their views on Vladimir Putin and their country’s place in the world today

This year marks the centenary of the popular uprising that led to the fall of the Romanov dynasty and the establishment of the Bolshevik regime under the slogan: “Peace, Bread and Land.”

One hundred years on, we asked six Russians from across the country about their lives, the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin and Russia’s place in the world.

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Rape fantasy Elle isn’t a five-star masterpiece – it’s sick | Bidisha

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:10:54 GMT2017-03-28T11:10:54Z

Paul Verhoeven’s new film is basking in critical adoration, but by suggesting that women long to be raped it’s a slap in the face for survivors

Rape apologists: do you like the cinema? Have you always suspected women secretly want to be stalked, brutalised and raped? And that the biggest woman-haters on the planet are not men, but women themselves? Then brace yourselves for a celluloid treat.

The film Elle opened in the UK two weeks ago and has received rapturous praise, trailing five-star reviews and an Oscar nomination for its star, Isabelle Huppert, who is “utterly arresting” (Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian), “exhilarating … bottomlessly impressive” (Robbie Collin in the Telegraph) and has an “astonishing, almost terrifying talent” (AO Scott in the New York Times).

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The bigots are on the march – and with ‘Legs-it’ the Daily Mail bears the flag | Owen Jones

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:16:11 GMT2017-03-28T10:16:11Z

The paper’s leering front page featuring Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May is part of a wider attack on liberal values. We must be prepared to fight back

Perhaps the Daily Mail should be sued for damaging people’s health? Across the nation, millions have cringed so hard at its audaciously sexist front page that they’ve strained their face muscles, or given themselves a migraine from slamming their heads repeatedly against the nearest wall.

Related: Martin Rowson on Paul Dacre and the Daily Mail – cartoon

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Now the battle line is drawn before Theresa May’s disastrous Brexit | Polly Toynbee

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 05:51:29 GMT2017-03-28T05:51:29Z

Reality bites from this week: the reckless charge out of Europe has begun. But at last Labour, thanks to Keir Starmer, is fighting back

Off we go, headlong downhill, off piste, our Eddie the Eagle Brexit negotiators tumbling down towards a great crevasse. Far from “taking back control”, as Theresa May sends off our suicide letter on Wednesday, we will abandon all control as we place ourselves at the mercy of the goodwill or otherwise of each of the EU 27.

“We won, job done,” declared Douglas Carswell, and he’s right. The most extreme Brexiteers have so far won the day, light years distant from the softly reassuring arguments Vote Leave made before the referendum. Their promises are all broken already, as the Ukip wing of the Conservative party has captured the prime minister.

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Harlots: a blast of grim authenticity from ITV – or just period porn?

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:00:23 GMT2017-03-28T08:00:23Z

From Ripper Street to Black Sails, costume dramas are fixated on street walkers and depravity. As Harlots muscles in, we ask: why is TV obsessed with sex workers from any century but this one?

The year is 1763. One woman in five makes a living selling sex. This is the premise of ITV’s Harlots. I immediately want to quibble with the data analysis: is that 20% of all women, or 20% of women who work? Since female workforce participation was pretty low at the start of the 18th century, this distinction is key, and don’t even get me started on the age-weighting of the sample, since presumably they mean one woman in five under 30.

I have fallen into that famous viewer-trap: distracted by shoddy statistics, I failed to notice all the luscious flesh bursting out of satin. The year is 1763, remember! That means the moral majority has to just shut up. All those boring questions – “Why is that character taking a shower when she hasn’t got dirty? Why does she have to be naked when she’s just opening her post?” – those belong to contemporary drama. Go back a century or two, and nudity is the core business. If you go back enough centuries, nudity is all they know how to do and you don’t even need a script.

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The fog of Brexit is engulfing the NHS. It’s up to Theresa May to provide clarity | Jonathan Ashworth

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:06:36 GMT2017-03-28T09:06:36Z

Will European staff be allowed to remain? What about reciprocal healthcare? And where will the money come from? The prime minister owes us some answers

Everyone knows that after seven years of neglect from the Conservative government, the NHS is undergoing a serious crisis of funding and staffing. The last thing needed is more uncertainty. That is exactly what the NHS faces with Brexit.

On Wednesday Theresa May will trigger article 50 and later this week health bosses publish the updated Five Year Forward View. It is time for the prime minister and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to give the NHS and its patients the certainty needed through the Brexit process. May has already turned her back on the promise of £350m a week for our NHS and now she is walking away from her responsibilities to protect the health service through a turbulent Brexit process that will hit it hard.

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The Guardian view on counter-terrorism: strong encryption makes us all safer | Editorial

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 18:51:06 GMT2017-03-27T18:51:06Z

There are many things the web giants could do to help combat terrorism, but weakening privacy protection is not one of themThe home secretary has made a hash – or what she would call “a hashtag” – of her efforts to appear to be doing something in the wake of last week’s Westminster terror attack. Amber Rudd’s demand that the big digital companies weaken the encryption they use on their messages is unrealistic and – if it ever became real – self-defeating. It is unrealistic because encryption cannot be selectively weakened, any more than the value of pi could be stipulated as 3.2 for the state of Indiana alone as proposed by some proto-Rudd politician in 1897. Mathematics is universal, and the mathematics on which strong encryption depends is quite as inflexible as that which specifies Earth’s orbit round the sun. If the encryption on terrorists’ messages were weakened so that the government could read them, the same weakening would apply to everyone else, however innocent. If the government believes it can prevail upon the likes of Facebook (which owns WhatsApp) to issue a specially weakened version of the program to British users only, it is being even more fatuously optimistic than in its approach to the Brexit negotiations. No company would sacrifice its reputation (and so its market share) in such a way, and real criminals could always find alternatives.Even if these powers were delivered by some miracle to our government and to no other they would still prove self-defeating. Terrorists and their active sympathisers form a tiny minority of any community. Their criminal messages and phone calls to each other form an infinitesimal fraction of all the chat and gossip on the internet. To find them at the moment is like searching for a needle in a haystack. The task won’t be made easier by dumping another haystack full of chaff on to the needle, which would be the effect of Ms Rudd’s proposal if it were ever practicable. The more thoughtful members of the security community know this already. The power that they really need, which is to know all about the friendship networks of suspected terrorists, is one they already have. What’s known as “metadata” tells them everything about a message except its content, and this is extraordinarily revealing. But the government has its own reasons for pursuing a noisy attack on the internet companies. Continue reading...[...]


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Access to justice was once a worker’s basic right. Now it’s a costly luxury | Aditya Chakrabortty

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 05:00:19 GMT2017-03-28T05:00:19Z

Fees have put employment tribunals out of reach for many. The supreme court must restore the balance

Laws that cost too much to enforce are phoney laws. A civil right that people can’t afford to use is no right at all. And a society that turns justice into a luxury good is one no longer ruled by law, but by money and power. This week the highest court in the land will decide whether Britain will become such a society. There are plenty of signs that we have already gone too far.

Listen to the country’s top judge, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who admits that “our justice system has become unaffordable to most”. Look at our legal-aid system, slashed so heavily by David Cameron and Theresa May that the poor must act as their own trial lawyers, ready to be skittled by barristers in the pay of their moneyed opponents.

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Demonstrations matter – they create the kind of power politicians despise

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:40:32 GMT2017-03-27T16:40:32Z

Crowds of protesters form lasting connections – and their later revolts always surprise elites

The tide is turning and you can feel it on the streets of the world’s capital cities. On Sunday, hundreds of peaceful protesters were arrested in Moscow and St Petersburg, after thousands massed in unsanctioned demonstrations against corruption.

There were similar scenes in Minsk, where punitive taxes on the unemployed have driven people to the streets. In February, half a million Romanians forced their government to abandon a law pardoning corrupt officials, by taking to the streets.

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Like Trump, the Chinese leader is pushing a political system to its limits | Timothy Garton Ash

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:00:15 GMT2017-03-27T17:00:15Z

With an erratic US president and an array of potential flashpoints, understanding China’s unprecedented domestic experiment is more crucial than ever

When the two most powerful men on earth, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, meet for the summit that’s expected to take place soon in the American emperor’s summer palace, they will have one thing in common: each is testing his country’s political system to its limits.

With independent courts blocking Trump’s travel ban, the heads of his security agencies flatly contradicting his claim that Barack Obama tapped his phones, and Congress rejecting his flagship repeal of Obamacare, the checks and balances of the world’s oldest liberal democracy are at full stretch. But will even they be enough to restrain this erratic, narcissistic, egomaniac bully?

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Ukip demands to be heard as it shouts its wild Brexit demands | John Crace

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:45:27 GMT2017-03-27T16:45:27Z

Paul Nuttall struggles to take spotlight from Nigel Farage as he spells out message that you can’t trust Johnny Foreigner

Six is the magic number. Over breakfast, Keir Starmer had laid out Labour’s six Brexit red lines that Theresa May was guaranteed to ignore; just a few hours later, the Ukip high command was gathered at the Marriott hotel on the south side of Westminster Bridge to deliver their six Brexit demands that were also almost certain to be largely ignored.

Related: Ukip: Britain should be able to send back 'beggars or criminals' from EU

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Health unions and MPs condemn 'derisory' 1% pay rise for NHS staff

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:10:17 GMT2017-03-28T15:10:17Z

Cap on salary increases will see some staff earn just £5 extra a week while facing soaring costs and greater workload

About 1.3 million NHS staff are to receive a 1% pay rise that will see nurses, midwives and radiographers earn barely £5 a week more next year, in a move that prompted a furious reaction from health unions.

The government’s decision to limit NHS wage increases to 1% a year or freeze them for the seventh successive year led its own advisors to warn that the policy must end. Salary caps could exacerbate already serious understaffing in the NHS by making it less attractive to work for, especially as workloads are growing, the NHS pay review body (PRB) concluded.

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Man charged after hit-and-run that killed four-year-old Merseyside girl

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:25:11 GMT2017-03-28T22:25:11Z

Dean Ian Brennan, 27, charged with theft of a car as police try to locate another man, 23, believed to have left the UK

A man has been charged in connection with a collision that killed a four-year-old girl.

Violet-Grace Youens died in hospital in her mother’s arms on Saturday after she was struck by a stolen black Ford Fiesta while walking through St Helens, Merseyside, on Friday.

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RSPCA animal cruelty caseload rises to almost 150,000 investigations

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:01:41 GMT2017-03-28T23:01:41Z

Calls to cruelty hotline rose by nearly 5% in 2016, but charity says increase reflects more sharing of abuse footage on social media

The number of animal cruelty investigations by the RSPCA jumped by nearly 5% last year to more than 400 a day, according to figures released by the animal welfare charity.

In its annual prosecutions report the RSPCA said it had investigated almost 150,000 cases in 2016. Calls to its 24-hour cruelty hotline rose by nearly 4%, averaging one every 27 seconds.

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Landlord investigated over 'disgusting remark' about 'coloured' people

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:24:56 GMT2017-03-28T15:24:56Z

Equalities watchdog acts over reported directive by Fergus Wilson, UK’s biggest buy-to-let millionaire, to lettings agency

The equalities watchdog has threatened Fergus Wilson, Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlord, with legal action after he reportedly tried to ban “coloured” tenants from his properties.

Wilson, who owns nearly 1,000 homes across Ashford and Maidstone in Kent, is said to have told a lettings agency, Evolution, that “coloured” people leave a smell in his property.

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Marine A could become terror target after release, police say

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:50:57 GMT2017-03-28T17:50:57Z

Alexander Blackman advised to change identity when freed from prison following downgrade of murder conviction to manslaughter

A former Royal Marine who shot dead a wounded Taliban detainee may become a terrorist target when he is freed from prison next month, police have said.

Alexander Blackman and his wife Claire have been advised by police to take a series of precautions including changing their identities and moving house.

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Education quality in English schools 'at risk from new funding formula'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:01:41 GMT2017-03-28T23:01:41Z

Scathing report of MPs’ committee finds children’s academic progress at risk as school heads work to attain £3bn saving

School funding cuts are threatening to undermine the quality of education in England’s classrooms, putting children’s academic progress at risk as head teachers struggle to find savings, finds a highly critical report.

MPs on the Commons public accounts committee (PAC) say schools in England are facing the most significant financial pressure since the mid-1990s, with school leaders having to find £3bn in savings by 2020.

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Teenager killed himself in prison after getting deportation letter

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:56:45 GMT2017-03-28T21:56:45Z

Ondrej Suha was found hanged in his cell after reading that he could be sent back to Slovakia, which he left at age of four

A 19-year-old killed himself at a youth prison after being told he could be deported to a country he had not lived in since he was four, a jury has found.

Slovakian-born Ondrej Suha, who had just started a 14-month sentence for burglary and assault, had also witnessed his cellmate attempting to take his life a few days earlier.

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Woman who was raped backs judge over alcohol warning

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:11:46 GMT2017-03-28T15:11:46Z

Megan Clark says judge’s comment that rapists ‘gravitated towards girls who were drinking’ did not equate to victim-blaming

A rape survivor has waived her right to anonymity to defend a judge who was widely criticised for claiming women were putting themselves at risk of sexual attacks if they were drunk.

Megan Clark, 19, was raped beside a canal in Manchester by a man she met in a Burger King after a night drinking in the city.

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Nicola Sturgeon criticises Daily Mail over 'Legs-it' front page

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:29:40 GMT2017-03-28T22:29:40Z

First minister says newspaper is ‘leading the way’ in taking Britain back to the 1970s after its coverage of her meeting with prime minister Theresa May

Nicola Sturgeon accused the Daily Mail of taking Britain back to the 1970s after the tabloid featured a picture of her with Theresa May under the headline “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” following their summit on Monday.

The first minister’s spokesperson was one of a string of politicians to criticise the tabloid over the headline, which attracted hundreds of complaints of sexism – although Downing Street refused to be drawn into the row.

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Direct rule of Northern Ireland not ruled out, Brokenshire says

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:15:56 GMT2017-03-28T14:15:56Z

Northern Ireland secretary tells Commons all options are on the table if power-sharing talks at Stormont collapse

The government is not ruling out any options for a politically deadlocked Northern Ireland, including the reintroduction of direct rule from London, James Brokenshire has said.

But the Northern Ireland secretary did rule out a suggestion from Dave Anderson, his Labour shadow in the House of Commons, that an external chairperson could be brought in to oversee another few weeks of negotiations between the parties at Stormont.

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UK nuclear plans could be hit by Westinghouse financial crisis

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:47:55 GMT2017-03-28T18:47:55Z

Toshiba’s US subsidiary, which has technology in about half world’s reactors, expected to file for bankruptcy protection

A financial crisis at a major nuclear energy business is threatening to deal a blow to the UK’s atomic energy programme.

Toshiba’s US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric is believed to be on the brink of filing in the US for bankruptcy protection from creditors. A UK expert said the collapse would leave a considerable hole in Britain’s new nuclear ambitions as Toshiba is a key player behind plans for a new power station at Moorside in Cumbria.

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'Old Flo' makes her way back to London from Yorkshire

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:13:12 GMT2017-03-28T17:13:12Z

Henry Moore sculpture that graced Stepney in east London for 35 years before relocating to Wakefield has a new home in Canary Wharf

An enormous Henry Moore bronze sculpture gifted at cost price to the east London borough of Tower Hamlets in 1962 is finally coming home – although not quite to a place its maker would have imagined.

Draped Seated Woman, affectionately known as “Old Flo”, was for 35 years located on the Stifford estate in Stepney. It has spent the past 20 years on rural retreat at Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield, moved there after the Stifford estate was demolished. From the autumn of this year it will take up residence in Cabot Square in Canary Wharf, the council announced on Tuesday.

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BrewDog threatened lawsuit against plan for bar with 'punk' in name

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:38:11 GMT2017-03-28T15:38:11Z

News emerges the day after the brewer blamed ‘trigger-happy’ lawyers for sending legal threats to a family-run pub

BrewDog threatened legal action to prevent a bar from using the term “punk” in its name, it has emerged, a day after the brewer blamed “trigger-happy” lawyers for a similar dispute that sparked a social media backlash.

The brewer, which has been a vocal critic of the behaviour of large corporations, raised an objection to plans by music promoter Tony Green to open a bar in Leeds called Draft Punk.

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Gainsborough painting restored and rehung after 'drill-bit attack'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:20:21 GMT2017-03-28T12:20:21Z

Mr and Mrs William Hallet (‘The Morning Walk’) returns to usual position in National Gallery in London 10 days after incident

One of Thomas Gainsborough’s finest portrait paintings has been restored and reinstalled at the National Gallery 10 days after it was allegedly attacked by a man with a drill bit.

The much-loved 1785 painting, Mr and Mrs William Hallett (‘The Morning Walk’), received two scratches of about 1-metre and 65cm long in the incident, which happened on a busy Saturday afternoon.

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Coca-Cola calls in police after human waste is found in cans

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:32:09 GMT2017-03-28T12:32:09Z

Northern Ireland factory halts production after machine became clogged with faeces, though no contaminated drinks reached shelves

Coca-Cola has called in police to investigate how human waste turned up in a consignment of its drink cans at one of the company’s factories in Northern Ireland.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed on Tuesday it had opened an inquiry into how faeces ended up in the cans at the Helllenic Bottling Company factory in Lisburn, Co Antrim.

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Retiring police chief will avoid any discipline over alleged coverup

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:37:14 GMT2017-03-28T12:37:14Z

Cdr Chris Greany will not face possible censure arising from IPCC inquiry after notifying force that he was leaving

A senior police officer who is being investigated for his alleged involvement in destroying files held on a Green party peer is to retire on Friday, meaning he will avoid any possible disciplinary action.

Commander Chris Greany was head of the secretive Scotland Yard unit that monitors political campaigners at the time it allegedly destroyed files it had compiled on the political activities of Jenny Jones.

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MPs hail Tobias Ellwood as he returns to Commons after Westminster attack

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:57:17 GMT2017-03-28T12:57:17Z

Junior foreign office minister praised by politicians for attempt to save PC Keith Palmer’s life

Tobias Ellwood, the junior foreign office minister praised after he was among the first people seeking to help the police officer murdered during last week’s terrorist attack in Westminster, has received tributes from fellow MPs upon his return to Commons duties.

Related: Tobias Ellwood MP praised for attempt to save police officer's life

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Boys found dead near cliffs were 'having a laugh' when they fell

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:16:13 GMT2017-03-28T08:16:13Z

Harry Watson and Alex Yeoman, both 17, died in ‘tragic accident’ while taking photos in Teesside, mother of one of boys says

The teenage best friends who fell from cliffs in Teesside were “having a laugh” and taking photographs when they fell, one of their mothers has said.

Harry Watson and Alex Yeoman, both 17, died on Friday night after apparently falling from Huntcliff in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, a seaside resort in north-east England.

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Clean up your act on diversity, government tells FTSE companies

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:27:06 GMT2017-03-28T17:27:06Z

Business minister writes to FTSE 350 CEOs echoing calls for businesses to publish breakdown of workforce by pay and race

The government has written to the chief executives of the biggest UK-listed companies urging them to improve diversity and echoing a call to publish a breakdown of their workforce by race and pay band.

The business minister Margot James said all FTSE-350 companies should take up key recommendations from a recent government-backed review into race in the workplace by the businesswoman Ruby McGregor-Smith.

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Britain's new £1 suffers teething problems; US stock market ends losing run - as it happened

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:10:59 GMT2017-03-28T20:10:59Z

We’ve road-tested the new 12-sided coin, and found that some ticket and vending machines don’t actually accept itLatest: Dow Jones ends 8-day slideUS consumer confidence hits 16-year highBritain launches new 12-sided £1 coinBut it doesn’t work here....or here...City ponders Trump’s next move after healthcare setbackRand hit by speculation over finance minister’s future 9.09pm BST Breaking! The Dow Jones industrial average has ended its eight-day long run of losses, and avoided its worst losing streak in almost 40 years.The benchmark index has closed up around 0.75%, as Wall Street regained its poise after some nervous sessions.One of the most fundamental drivers of the backdrop is employment. What we just got from the Conference Board’s consumer confidence report should embolden those that believe continued labor market tightening (and accelerating wage growth) is in the offing. 8.50pm BST With just 10 minutes to go, the Dow Jones industrial average is on track to break its losing streak.The Dow’s currently up 160 points, or almost 0.8%, at 20,712 points. Surely nothing can shake the rally?....Looks like that 8-session losing streak on the Dow is about to end with a triple-digit bang https://t.co/zYTqeTuBjH pic.twitter.com/kOFj6J0YMc Continue reading...[...]


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UK breaks solar energy record on sunny March weekend

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:26:08 GMT2017-03-28T17:26:08Z

Amount of electricity demanded by homes and businesses one afternoon was lower than it was during night for first time ever

Last weekend’s sunny weather was not only good for beers, barbecues and bees, but also drove solar power to break a new UK record.

For the first time ever, the amount of electricity demanded by homes and businesses in the afternoon on Saturday was lower than it was in the night, because solar panels on rooftops and in fields cut demand so much.

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Twitter chief's card payments company Square enters UK market

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:22:05 GMT2017-03-28T15:22:05Z

Service founded by Jack Dorsey uses readers that connect to smartphone or tablet to enable traders to accept card payments with comparatively low fees

Square, the payments company founded by Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, is entering the UK market offering merchants next-day settlement and slashed prices compared to rivals.

The company is taking on current market leader, Stockholm-headquartered iZettle. Both companies seek to provide a better service to small businesses than legacy card payment firms such as WorldPay and Barclaycard, whose bulky terminals and complex fee structures can lead to merchants choosing to only take cash payments.

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Sports Direct workers paid less than minimum wage yet to get back pay

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:10:34 GMT2017-03-28T13:10:34Z

Transline, exposed as part of Guardian investigation, has not paid money to scores of employees, BEIS committee hears

Scores of Sports Direct workers who were found to have been paid less than the minimum wage are yet to receive the back pay owed for their shifts.

Steve Turner, the assistant general secretary of the Unite union, told MPs on the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) select committee on Tuesday that Transline, one of the employment agencies exposed during an undercover Guardian investigation, had refused to honour part of the deal.

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Tesco to pay £129m fine over accounting scandal

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:55:19 GMT2017-03-28T08:55:19Z

Supermarket reaches deferred prosecution agreement with Serious Fraud Office and will pay investors £85m in compensation

Tesco is to pay out £235m to settle investigations by the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority into the 2014 accounting scandal that rocked Britain’s biggest retailer.

It will pay a fine of £129m as part of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the SFO, although this deal requires court approval. The DPA relates to Tesco subsidiary Tesco Stores Ltd.

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Creator of that viral tube sign: 'I didn't think people would think it was real'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:19:16 GMT2017-03-28T09:19:16Z

John Moore, who posted the sign to his Facebook page, said he wanted to pay tribute to the emergency services using a well-known internet meme – which ended up being read out in the House of Commons

At 8.41pm on the day that terror hit Westminster, a doctor in Windsor called John Moore posted a picture he made on a well-known tube sign generator site to his Facebook page.

It said: “All terrorists are politely reminded that THIS IS LONDON and whatever you do to us, we will drink tea and jolly well carry on. Thank you.”

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Exam boards drop Israel-Palestine from syllabus as schools fight shy of conflict

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 07:09:40 GMT2017-03-28T07:09:40Z

Few schools now teach the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. A new project aims to persuade teachers of its importance and show there are two sides to every story

In 2014 history teacher Michael Davies took a group of his GCSE and A-level students on a field trip to Israel and Palestine. For the first half of the week they immersed themselves in the story of Israel and the tragedy of the Holocaust; for the second they visited the West Bank and played football with boys in a refugee camp. The trip was transformative for the students: “Their minds were wrenched round,” Davies says. “Suddenly they saw that there are two completely different ways of looking at things. That history is constructed and it’s often constructed with a purpose.”

For the students of Lancaster Royal Grammar school their study of the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict has been eye-opening and life-changing. But given trends in exam syllabuses, it’s not an experience many others are likely to share, as the subject quietly slips down the agenda of exam boards.

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US-led coalition must do more to avoid civilian deaths in Mosul, says UN

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:23:58 GMT2017-03-28T17:23:58Z

High commissioner tells Iraqi and US forces to ‘avoid the trap’ of targeting buildings where Isis has told residents to take shelter

The UN has urged Iraqi and US-led forces to do more to protect civilians in the war against Islamic State in Mosul and accused the terror group of herding trapped residents into buildings that are likely to be targeted by airstrikes.

The intervention by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, comes after at least 150 people died in a series of coalition airstrikes – detailed by the Guardian last week – on one neighbourhood in the ravaged west of the Iraqi city.

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Carlos the Jackal: 1974 Paris attack conviction leads to third life sentence

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:59:25 GMT2017-03-28T14:59:25Z

Venezuelan-born Ilich Ramírez Sánchez found guilty of killing two and injuring 32 in grenade attack

The man known as “Carlos the Jackal” has been given a third life sentence for a 1974 attack on a Paris drugstore that killed two people and wounded 34.

Five judges ruled Venezuelan-born Ilich Ramírez Sánchez was responsible for throwing a grenade on the Champs Élysées. He is already serving two life sentences in France for attacks carried out in the 1970s and 80s.

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Airline association head: US and UK electronics bans are not sustainable

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:21:03 GMT2017-03-28T22:21:03Z

‘It is difficult to understand’ the effectiveness of recent measures affecting flights from countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, says IATA chief

British and US bans on laptops and tablet computers in flight cabins are not sustainable in the long term, the head of the association representing airlines said Tuesday.

“The current measures are not acceptable as a long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association.

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Ivory Coast's former first lady Simone Gbagbo acquitted of war crimes

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:32:12 GMT2017-03-28T21:32:12Z

  • Gbagbo also cleared of crimes against humanity for role in 2011 civil war
  • Trial held in Abidjan after refusal to send her to ICC in The Hague

A court in Ivory Coast has acquitted the former first lady Simone Gbagbo of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges linked to her role in a 2011 civil war that killed about 3,000 people, state television announced on Tuesday.

Judge Kouadio Bouatchi said a jury unanimously voted to free Gbagbo. The prosecution had asked for a life sentence, saying she had participated on a committee that organised abuses against supporters of her husband’s opponent after the 2010 election.

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Cyclone Debbie: motorists urged to stay off roads amid flooding – live

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 03:22:27 GMT2017-03-29T03:22:27Z

Australian authorities assess damage from the category-four cyclone that hit coast between Airlie Beach and Mackay on Tuesday. Follow all the updates here … 4.22am BST The State Emergency Service has now received more than 1,000 requests for help, according to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services deputy commissioner, Mark Roche.It is thought that no one has died in the cyclone itself. Roche puts that down to preparedness and the community’s willingness to heed the advice of emergency services..@QldFES says focus is to ascertain level of damage from #CycloneDebbie. Adds there have been reports of people stranded in flooded cars pic.twitter.com/W4x5Qee2uQ 4.04am BST The Bruce Highway is flooded 10km north of Bowen. FLOOD WARNING - Bruce Hwy blocked at Sandy Gully 10kms north of Bowen. Remember, if it's flooded - FORGET IT pic.twitter.com/7ltgOuaYzL Continue reading...[...]


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Mexican man cleared in sexual assault of schoolgirl because he didn't enjoy it

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:01:51 GMT2017-03-28T23:01:51Z

Diego Cruz, 21, one of four privileged youths dubbed ‘Los Porkys’ who abducted and vaginally penetrated the teenager, did so without ‘carnal intent’ a judge ruled

A Mexican judge has freed a wealthy young man accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a schoolgirl, on the grounds that the perpetrator did not enjoy himself.

Related: Mexican rape victim reveals details of case plagued by privilege and impunity

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World's largest dinosaur footprints discovered in Western Australia

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:08:21 GMT2017-03-28T14:08:21Z

Newly-discovered prints left by gigantic herbivores are part of a rich collection of tracks belonging to an estimated 21 different types of dinosaur

The largest known dinosaur footprints have been discovered in Western Australia, including 1.7 metre prints left by gigantic herbivores.

Until now, the biggest known dinosaur footprint was a 106cm track discovered in the Mongolian desert and reported last year.

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Canadian MP responds to writer’s ‘odd’ story about trying to breastfeed his baby

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:37:33 GMT2017-03-28T17:37:33Z

Leah McLaren revealed how she once tried to nurse Michael Chong’s son without permission in column that received sharp rebuke over ‘inappropriate’ behavior

Related: Make Canada great again? Conservative Canucks chart course for the age of Trump

In the race to become the next leader of Canada’s Conservatives, he’s promised lower income taxes and increased financing for small businesses while taking aim at the politics of fear.

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Cambodia bans export of human breast milk after US operation raises concern

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:09:00 GMT2017-03-28T16:09:00Z

Unicef hails decision following controversy centered on Utah-based Ambrosia labs, as activist says Cambodian mothers ‘often have no other choices’

Cambodia has banned selling and exporting locally pumped human breast milk, after reports exposed how women were turning to the controversial trade to boost meagre incomes in one of south-east Asia’s poorest countries.

The order comes after Cambodia temporarily halted breast milk exports by the Utah-based Ambrosia Labs, which claims to be the first company to source the product from overseas and distribute it in the US.

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