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The Guardian

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

Published: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:09:30 GMT2017-04-25T20:09:30Z

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

Wales: May tries to woo voters in Labour heartlands with vow to 'stop ducking' social care

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:03:05 GMT2017-04-25T17:03:05Z

PM also appeals to pro-Brexit voters and defends health spending under Tories, but Labour warns of NHS ‘disaster’ in England

Theresa May has promised to “stop ducking” the issue of social care as she travelled to Wales to kickstart a Conservative campaign that intends to target voters in Labour heartlands who have never backed her party before.

In a speech to Tory activists in Bridgend, the prime minister appealed to the local vote in favour of leaving the EU by saying: “We want votes in Wales because that will strengthen my hand in Brexit negotiations.” She tried to play down the idea of a guaranteed Conservative win by saying: “Remember the opinion polls were wrong in the 2015 general election, they were wrong in the referendum, and Jeremy Corbyn himself has said that he was a 200-1 outsider for the Labour leadership in 2015 and look where that got him.”

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Facebook under pressure after man livestreams killing of his daughter

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:38:54 GMT2017-04-25T15:38:54Z

Distressing footage of murder of 11-month old in Thailand was accessible to Facebook users for approximately 24 hours before being taken down

Facebook is coming under fresh pressure over its Facebook Live service after a Thai man broadcast a video of himself killing his 11-month-old daughter.

Wuttisan Wongtalay, 20, filmed the murder of his daughter on the rooftop of a deserted hotel in two video clips streamed on Facebook, before committing suicide, police in the Thai town of Phuket said on Tuesday. Relatives reportedly saw the distressing footage on Monday evening and alerted the police, who arrived too late to save either Wuttisan or his daughter.

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Ivanka Trump met with jeers in Berlin over defense of her father

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:23:11 GMT2017-04-25T16:23:11Z

US president’s daughter hears boos at W20 summit for calling him a ‘champion of supporting families’ as Angela Merkel tries hard to make her guest feel welcome

One of the issues at the top of the agenda of the W20 summit in Berlin on Tuesday was how working women can better balance family and work.

So perhaps it was inevitable that the first question for Ivanka Trump – a woman accused of mixing business interests and dynastic ambition in ways the White House has rarely seen – should have focused on alleged conflicts of interest.

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'It’s a horrible situation': Dutch pensioner's fears over UK residency bid

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:23:04 GMT2017-04-25T17:23:04Z

Elly Wright, who retired in 1993 after working in NHS and public housing, says she no longer has paperwork for application

Concerns have been raised about the future of elderly EU citizens settled in the UK after a Dutch widow who has lived in the country for 50 years said she feared she could be deported because she has not kept paperwork showing she is here legally.

Elly Wright came to the UK in 1967 after marrying a British serviceman in Germany and spent most of her adult life working in the NHS and public housing. She retired in 1993.

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Man, 95, who bludgeoned wife in 'mercy killing' bid gets suspended sentence

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:54:12 GMT2017-04-25T15:54:12Z

Judge tells Denver Beddows he will not be jailed so as not to ‘prolong his agony’ after acceding to wife’s requests to take her life

A great-grandfather who attempted to murder his wife in an “act of mercy” after she repeatedly begged him to end her life has been spared jail.

Denver Charles Beddows, 95, attempted to kill his wife of 65 years, who he described as “the most beautiful woman in the world”, with a lump hammer and ceramic pan.

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North Korea conducts live-fire drill with US submarine nearby, raising tensions

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:22:14 GMT2017-04-25T18:22:14Z

Exercise using 300 to 400 long-range artillery pieces was a clear reminder that North Korea could destroy large swaths of the South Korean capital

The North Korean army conducted a live-fire drill with massed artillery hours after a US submarine armed with cruise missiles docked at a South Korean base for naval exercises, further raising tensions in a volatile battle of nerves in north-east Asia.

Between 300 and 400 long-range artillery pieces, capable of hitting Seoul, took part in the drill on Tuesday, according to the Yonhap news agency quoting government officials.

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ECB confirms review of child safety procedures

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:12:12 GMT2017-04-25T19:12:12Z

• Sex offender had worked at a children’s cricket charity with ECB permission
• ‘This audit covers every aspect of safeguarding in the game’

The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed that it undertook a review of its child safeguarding procedures in the wake of the revelation that a child sex offender had worked at a children’s cricket association with the ECB’s written permission.

As detailed in the Guardian, the ECB’s Referral Management Group, which is responsible for child welfare in cricket, gave its approval in December 2014 to Wasim Aslam working as fixtures secretary at the London Schools Cricket Association.

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McDonald’s offers fixed contracts to 115,000 UK zero-hours workers

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:23:29 GMT2017-04-25T17:23:29Z

Fast-food chain makes move after staff complained they were struggling to get loans, mortgages and phone contracts

McDonald’s is to offer 115,000 UK workers on controversial zero-hours contracts the option of moving to fixed contracts with a minimum number of guaranteed hours every week.

The move is a significant development in the debate about employee rights because McDonald’s is one of the biggest users of zero-hours contracts in the country. Sports Direct has also used workers on zero-hour contracts in its shops.

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'Heist of the century': Brazilian gang hits security vault and police HQ in Paraguay

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:39:45 GMT2017-04-25T16:39:45Z

Using automatic rifles, dynamite and anti-aircraft guns, around 50 gangsters turned city into a battle zone before fleeing in speedboats with about $6m

Brazilian gangsters have taken armed robbery to a lethal new level with a cross-border attack on a Paraguayan security vault and police headquarters using automatic rifles, dynamite and anti-aircraft guns in what local media have described as “the heist of the century”.

One police officer was murdered in the assault and three suspects were killed by police after they fled the scene and crossed the river border in speedboats with an estimated $6m.

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Passengers don't want overweight flight crew, say Aeroflot officials after lawsuits

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:20:32 GMT2017-04-25T15:20:32Z

Airline representatives claim customers choose it partly on basis of employees’ appearance, after court rejects complaints

Representatives of the Russian airline Aeroflot have said it is reasonable for female flight attendants to face financial penalties if they are deemed to be overweight.

At a press conference on Tuesday following two recent lawsuits, two Aeroflot representatives appeared to attempt to justify the airline’s alleged policing of its female employees’ appearance.

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Nick Broomfield on his damning Whitney film: 'She had very little control over her life'

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:59:11 GMT2017-04-25T16:59:11Z

The director spoke to the bodyguards, backup singers, hairdressers and promoters who formed the star’s inner circle. The result is a tragic, uncompromising portrait of a woman forced to conceal her true self

The title of Nick Broomfield’s new documentary about Whitney Houston echoes a question she often asked herself: “Can I be me?” Apparently, she often could not. According to Broomfield’s damning film, Houston had to repress her true self throughout much of her life, due to a perfect storm of factors, which included her controlling mother, Cissy Houston; her pushy record company, Arista; her co-dependent husband, Bobby Brown; her conflicted sexuality; and the mountain of drugs she used to blot all of that out.

“Having to be someone else – to play the ‘Whitney character’ – was something that became impossibly difficult,” says Broomfield. “From an early age, she had very little control over her life.”

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The rebel France could not crush: Paul Mason on his play about the passion of Louise Michel

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:00:12 GMT2017-04-25T18:00:12Z

When the Paris Commune fell, she was deported to a remote, mosquito-ridden island in the South Pacific – where she found new freedom fighters to support. Our writer retraces her steps and struggles

It took Louise Michel four months to get to New Caledonia, in a cage below the deck of a French frigate. It took me just 27 hours by air, but it still felt like arriving on a different planet. One thousand miles east of Brisbane, the archipelago is about as far as you can physically get from France. That’s why thousands of leftwing political prisoners were sent to the colony in 1871 following the defeat of the Paris Commune, the short-lived takeover of Paris by radical workers.

The aim of the deportation regime was to implicate the defeated rebels in the colonisation project. By “civilising” the Kanaks – the indigenous Melanesian people – the convicts would, in the process, be forced to “civilise” themselves. Loneliness, boredom and distance would turn them, if they survived the sunstroke and disease, into obedient citizens of a state they had tried to overthrow.

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How the MoD’s plan to privatise military housing ended in disaster

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 04:30:38 GMT2017-04-25T04:30:38Z

In 1996, the Ministry of Defence decided to sell off its housing stock. The financier Guy Hands bought it up in a deal that would make his investors billions – and have catastrophic consequences for both the military and the taxpayer

In the village of St Eval, a former RAF base in Cornwall, the streets are named after aeroplanes. There is a Lancaster Crescent, a Lincoln Row, a Botha Road. The former officers’ houses are grand and generous, looking out over the village green. Other houses look west, across fields, towards the rough Cornish coastline. Spitfires once whipped down the runway, which now lies abandoned. “It’s a lovely place to live,” one resident, Trevor Windsor, told me last autumn, as he prodded at his pretty front garden. “You just hear the lawnmowers every so often, and the birds singing and the children up at the school. It’s a bucolic idyll, you might say.”

Two decades ago, this idyll was disrupted by the noisy arrival of a lorry. Residents watched on as a team of builders proceeded to knock down the walls of one of the village houses, leaving the roof intact. “They lifted up the house roof,” remembered resident Barbara Hough. “Then bricked up the walls and put the roof back on top. They did that, one house after the next, all the way up Halifax Road.”

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Ditch the outrage over Macron’s marriage age gap – we all have fascists to fight

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:09:35 GMT2017-04-25T13:09:35Z

The reaction to the age disparity between the French presidential hopeful and his wife proves one thing: endemic ageism and sexism are alive and kicking

I have no great desire to do a feminist analysis of the marriage of Emmanuel Macron, the last non-fascist standing in the forthcoming French elections, but the fathomless nastiness of the Daily Mail has made it necessary. “How can I get the world to take me seriously,” writes Jan Moir, channelling Macron’s interior voice, “if they think I am a mummy’s boy with a wife who is 25 years older than him?”

This idea is dispatched relatively easily: men don’t need authority over their wives in order to be taken seriously, except in the Sopranos and the 12th century. One of these days, that entire newspaper will realise how close it is in outlook to Isis and cut those medieval terrorists some solidarity slack.

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Late-night TV roundup: 'It’s 100 days in Trump time. For us, it’s 15 years'

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:10:39 GMT2017-04-25T15:10:39Z

Comics, including Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert, discuss how little the president has achieved in his first three months in the White House

Late-night hosts took apart Donald Trump’s first 100 days in the White House, questioning what the president had actually achieved.

Related: John Oliver on Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner: president 'can't even get nepotism right'

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30 years of gay style: from disco chic to hipster bears

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:04:18 GMT2017-04-25T17:04:18Z

It used to be a tribal signal but as gay style has moved into the mainstream, the look has become harder to pin down. It’s forcing creatives to really push the boundaries if they want to make a statement

When he was studying at Central Saint Martins, London, in the late 00s, Craig Green wrote his dissertation on the adoption of gay style subcultures by straight men. In the preceding decades, perfumed dandies, dilly boys, mods, skins, clones, new romantics, scallies, fierce vogueing divas and muscle Marys had all been sieved out of their natural habitat on to the high street for brief moments of mass consumption. But by the time Green – currently reigning menswear designer of the year at the British fashion awards – was weighing up his thesis, things had changed. The bears – hirsute, gay men – crowded on the dancefloor of London’s XXL nightclub were barely distinguishable from bearded Bon Iver fans.

A reciprocal shared wardrobe, common across menswear emerged. “When I was younger,” says Green, who was born in 1986, “what I thought of as a very gay look was really a metrosexual thing, a bit Italian, clothes a tiny bit too tight, skinny jeans, tanned, tight T-shirt, worked out. Most of the men who dressed like that were straight. Gay men all seemed to be growing beards, too. It was a less specific time. You couldn’t really tell who was who any more. Had we come to a melting point?”

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Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic review – a totally tropical tapestry

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 05:00:39 GMT2017-04-25T05:00:39Z

National Gallery, London
Waterfalls and dancers, Maya Angelou and Mario Balotelli … Chris Ofili’s exotic reverie took five weavers three years to translate from watercolour to tapestry. The result plunges you into a heady over-ripe Eden

Larger than life, the women dance round the walls. Grey upon grey, picked out with darker accents and the soft sheen and sinuous billowing of drapery, the glimmering whiteness of bangles and anklets, necklaces and earrings, hairdos and turbans, the painted chorus of 27 dancers parade across the walls of the Sunley Room at London’s National Gallery. Skinny-waisted, big bellied, swaying and turning, pouting and preening, the women leer and smile amid dense foliage in grey but sultry light giving one another – and us – furtive glances and knowing looks. Three sunbathe on their stomachs above a doorway.

Part Hindu or Balinese temple dancers, part Botticelli floosies, or ethnic exotics in a tourist-trap floorshow. Some have fanciful Fu Manchu beards and ornate moustaches. Derived from a series of studies, Chris Ofili’s floor-to-ceiling frieze was executed by scenic painters from the Royal Opera House. More than a backdrop, you imagine colour just as you imagine music. On the far wall, the dancers clear a space for an enormous tapestry, an explosion of colour, like a sudden Technicolor scene dropped into a black and white musical.

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Matt Damon: ‘Children are drinking water so dirty it looks like chocolate milk’ | David Smith

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:41:22 GMT2017-04-24T16:41:22Z

The Hollywood star reveals how a conversation with an ambitious 14-year-old in Zambia inspired a project to help people in dire need of clean water

Jetlagged after a flight from Australia, Matt Damon is wearing a smart dark suit with a crisp white shirt as he sits at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington. He is barely distinguishable from countless technocrats converging on this cathedral of global capitalism.

The Hollywood actor and co-founder of is here to be interviewed by the Guardian but first he has some questions of his own. What’s going to happen in the British election? And will there be another Scottish referendum?

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Why we should learn to stop worrying and love the blockbuster franchise

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:53:50 GMT2017-04-24T15:53:50Z

Each summer brings with it plenty of critical scorn for big-budget sequels but what can they teach us about the passage of time and the sociopolitical climate?

Summer movie season is fast approaching – or well under way depending on how you look at things. The Fate of the Furious may have set box office records, but critical consensus is the 15-year-old franchise is running out of gas (it suffers from the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score since the fourth chapter). In the coming months we’ll see sequels to 10-year-plus franchises, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers and Cars. This provides more than enough fodder for laments about how Hollywood is out of ideas.

Related: How the Fast and Furious franchise used cars to symbolize the American dream

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London Marathon runner on why he helped struggling fellow athlete – video

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 13:27:14 GMT2017-04-24T13:27:14Z

David Wyeth and Matthew Rees describe what was going through their minds toward the end of the London Marathon, when Rees helped an exhausted Wyeth cross the finish line. Speaking in a BBC Breakfast interview, Rees says it seemed the ‘perfect ending’ to his race to help Wyeth

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Eureka! Why a naked Archimedes is causing controversy in Hampshire

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:56:09 GMT2017-04-24T12:56:09Z

The village of Ellisfield is home to a 9ft naked statue of the Greek mathematician, but one resident is doing his best to subtract him from the landscape

Name: Archimedes.

Birthplace: Syracuse, Sicily, then part of greater Greece.

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Tim Farron says he doesn't believe gay sex is a sin

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:49:33 GMT2017-04-25T17:49:33Z

Lib Dem leader clarifies his views and says he does not want people to misunderstand his religious beliefs

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has confirmed that he does not believe gay sex to be a sin, saying that while he had no wish to “pontificate on theological matters”, he also did not want people to misunderstand his religious beliefs.

Farron, an evangelical Christian, has faced a series of questions about his views on the subject in recent days, prompted in part by an interview two years ago in which, when asked if homosexuality was a sin, he responded: “We are all sinners.”

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If ever there was a time to vote Labour, it is now | George Monbiot

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:28:55 GMT2017-04-25T18:28:55Z

I’d rather live with Jeremy Corbyn’s gentle dithering in pursuit of a better world than give May a mandate to destroy what remains of British decency

Where are the nose-pegs this time? Those who tolerated anything the Labour party did under Blair tolerate nothing under Corbyn. Those who insisted that we should vote Labour at any cost turn their backs as it seeks to recover its principles.

They proclaimed undying loyalty when the party stood for the creeping privatisation of the NHS, the abandonment of the biggest corruption case in British history, the collapse of Britain’s social housing programme, bans on peaceful protest, detention without trial, the kidnap and torture of innocent people and an illegal war in which hundreds of thousands died. They proclaim disenchantment now that it calls for the protection of the poor, the containment of the rich and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

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Has Labour found a way to secure a good Brexit deal?

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:48:57 GMT2017-04-25T11:48:57Z

As the party walks a tightrope between leave and remain voters, Keir Starmer has put forward what could be a third option

General election 2017 - live updates

Strip away differences of tone and timing, and the clearest political dividing line over Brexit boils down to one thing: what will happen if Britain emerges from EU negotiations with an unappealing exit deal?

For the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the answer is relatively straightforward. Theresa May believes the government should, in that case, walk away from talks and leave with no deal. The Liberal Democrats believe the British electorate should have a second chance to reconsider their decision to leave.

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Chelsea v Southampton: Premier League – live!

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:08:47 GMT2017-04-25T20:08:47Z

64 min: Hazard whizzes down the left, then cuts inside and feeds the ball back to Alonso. The wing-back has a swipe from 20 yards. Forster saves.

62 min: Sweeping counter-attack by Southampton. The impressive Cédric swings over a cross from the right. Courtois comes off his line to pounce on it before Gabbiadini.

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Maria Sharapova’s return in Stuttgart will bring tennis to a standstill | Kevin Mitchell

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:37:28 GMT2017-04-25T18:37:28Z

There is no denying the wildcard’s box-office appeal but many, including her opponent Roberta Vinci, do not approve of her presence so soon after a drugs ban

When the most marketable player in the history of women’s tennis steps on to a court in Stuttgart on Wednesday to hit competitively for the first time in 15 months – in peak, early-evening viewing time and fully four hours after the world No7 Johanna Konta – women’s tennis will hold its breath.

If Maria Sharapova, with neither ranking nor regrets for the actions that led to her absence, can advance to the second round of this tournament by beating the 2015 US Open finalist Roberta Vinci in what is sure to be a packed and awed Centre Court, she will make as many people furious as delirious.

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Why are Sheffield United so desperate to re-sign Ched Evans? | John Ashdown

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:47:58 GMT2017-04-25T15:47:58Z

Ched Evans, who was acquitted of raping a 19-year-old woman, remains a hugely divisive figure among Sheffield United fans and it is questionable whether he is any better than the strikers already at the club

On 14 April 2012 Sheffield United beat Leyton Orient 3-1 at Bramall Lane, their sixth successive league win. The victory kept them in the second automatic promotion spot in League One, four points clear of their neighbour Sheffield Wednesday, with three games to play. The third goal that day was scored by Ched Evans. It was his 35th goal of a prolific season.

Six days later Evans was found guilty of rape, a verdict since quashed, and handed a five-year jail sentence. A reeling United took two points from their final three games and missed out on automatic promotion to Wednesday, then limped through the play-offs before losing dismally to Huddersfield on penalties at Wembley.

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England selectors stick rather than twist for Champions Trophy challenge | Vic Marks

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:41:04 GMT2017-04-25T16:41:04Z

Unlike before the disastrous 2015 World Cup the selectors are keeping to their long-term plans which means no place for Stuart Broad or Lancashire’s exciting Liam Livingstone

The England one-day squads announced by the national selector, James Whitaker, at Edgbaston took no one by surprise, which is probably a good thing. Just before the 2015 World Cup this same group of selectors jettisoned their captain, Alastair Cook, leaving Eoin Morgan in a particularly nasty lurch and then summoned up Gary Ballance as a potential No3. Whereupon England performed as tepidly as a cup of tea that had been ignored for 20 minutes before slinking home in disgrace, without even reaching the quarter-finals.

This time they are sticking solidly to plan A. Morgan is no longer in any sort of lurch and has helped to shape a much more dynamic team. The overhaul was completed in good time so there are only six players in the Champions Trophy squad who endured England’s World Cup campaign in Australasia in 2015 – Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Joe Root and Chris Woakes.

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Tour of Britain bypasses past London but takes in Edinburgh and Cardiff

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:59:11 GMT2017-04-25T16:59:11Z

• Scottish capital to host start of eight-stage tour on 3 September
• Key day likely to be 10-mile time trial in Essex on stage five

Recent Tours of Britain have been hilly and have finished in London but this year’s race is different. It will miss London for only the second time since its relaunch in 2004 but the Scottish and Welsh capitals benefit with Edinburgh hosting the start of the eight-day race on 3 September, and Cardiff is the finish venue.

Apart from Olympic year in 2012, London has always hosted the start or finish of the British Tour but in June London will host the final stage of the five-day Women’s Tour.

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Newcastle are back in the Premier League – what happens now depends on Mike Ashley | Louise Taylor

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:15:45 GMT2017-04-25T10:15:45Z

Rafael Benítez’s side have secured promotion to the top tier but plenty of questions remain about the future direction of the club

Rafael Benítez and Newcastle United are back in the Premier League – but have they underachieved or overachieved this season? And, most importantly, what happens now?

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Kingstonian leave Kingsmeadow: collateral damage in a modern football parable?

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:25:44 GMT2017-04-25T09:25:44Z

Kingstonian bade an emotional farewell to their ground on Saturday. Could the club, Chelsea and AFC Wimbledon have done more to prevent them moving?

As the minutes ticked down on Kingstonian’s final match at Kingsmeadow one supporter quietly slipped away from the terrace at the end of the east stand. He had a favour to ask but time was tight and the plan was entirely reliant on goodwill. Fortunately there was some of it going around. After knocking on a couple of doors behind the old Kingston Road end his powers of persuasion bore fruit in the form of a temporarily loaned back garden. A strike of a match later the final salute could begin.

The jets of red and white fireworks – an impressive and prolonged display, compromised only by the clear afternoon sky against which they battled for prominence – had the intended effect. “I’d been savouring the moment until then but once they went off, that was it for me,” says lifelong Kingstonian supporter Denise Turner, who was watching from the stand. “I thought I was going to cry. We’ve got so many memories here but that signalled the end of it.”

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Holding 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland would capture hearts and minds | Robert Kitson

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:00:44 GMT2017-04-25T09:00:44Z

As Irish fans have amply demonstrated there is a deep well of passion for rugby in the country which the sport’s premier tournament would do well to tap into

Imagine, for a moment, it is 2023. People have had enough of politics and onrushing global warming and need something more fun to talk about than imminent Armageddon, assuming it has not already happened. What better than a Rugby World Cup, still relatively pure of heart compared with the football version held in Qatar the previous year? If ever there was a moment to showcase the sport as a force for good, this is it.

Where, then, should this feelgood event ideally be held? Where will it not simply generate a few quid but create the kind of positive vibe that might make sponsors, advertisers and TV companies wonder whether rugby merits a bigger slice of their pie? Where will rugby’s most compelling virtues and off-field spirit be best illustrated? There are three different options on the table – South Africa, France and Ireland – with an independently assessed recommendation due to be made this summer and a final vote due on 15 November.

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Chris Gayle blazes record-breaking trail on a never-ending T20 tour | Andy Bull

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:18:32 GMT2017-04-25T11:18:32Z

For the past 12 years, Gayle has been running a roving revue from town to town and ground to ground. And along the way he’s racked up remarkable numbers

Long lost now, deep in the scrapheap of discarded ideas, the International 20:20 was supposed to be a champions’ league between the world’s six best club teams. It was held at Grace Road at the very tail end of the 2005 season. Somerset and Leicestershire represented England. Australia, New Zealand and West Indies weren’t even running domestic T20 competitions yet, so the only overseas teams who turned up were the Chilaw Marians, the Faisalabad Wolves and the Nashua Titans. That left one slot free, so a ragtag PCA Masters XI was roped in to make up the numbers. They were an unlikely lot, with Phil DeFreitas in the middle order and Martin McCague as a specialist No7, who didn’t bowl a single delivery in the tournament. But the selectors did get one thing right. They had Chris Gayle opening the batting.

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Ronnie O’Sullivan hits back after stuttering start in world quarter-final

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:51:00 GMT2017-04-25T17:51:00Z

• Reigning champion at his devastating best in opening session
• O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui 4-4 after world championship masterclass

The reigning champion Mark Selby moved closer to a place in the semi-finals after storming to a dominant 6-2 lead over Marco Fu at the world championship in Sheffield.

The world No1 was at his devastating best as he reeled off the first five frames of the match before Fu hit back by taking two of the last three of the afternoon to give himself a glimmer of hope at the Crucible.

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Gareth Bale ruled out of Champions League semi-final with calf injury

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:28:21 GMT2017-04-25T12:28:21Z

• Real Madrid winger to miss both legs against city rivals Atlético
• Zinedine Zidane defends decision to play Bale against Barcelona

Gareth Bale will miss the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid’s city rivals, Atlético, after tests found he has a tear to his left calf.

The 27-year-old lasted only 35 minutes of Sunday’s clásico defeat by Barcelona before limping off the Bernabéu pitch.

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England’s Mark Wood aims to be ‘one of the best bowlers in the world’ after call

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:08:00 GMT2017-04-25T17:08:00Z

• Durham quick ready to resume after three bouts of ankle surgery
• Sam Billings expected to keep wicket ahead of Jonny Bairstow

Mark Wood has returned to the England setup for the Champions Trophy in June with the burning belief he can become one of the best fast bowlers in the world.

The 27-year-old Durham quick was named in the squads for the series against Ireland and South Africa, as well as the summer’s global tournament, in a bold selection that has seen Wood’s ability to bowl in excess of 90mph trump any doubts over an injury-ravaged career that has returned 20 caps out of a possible 85 since his debut in 2015.

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Chelsea’s Antonio Conte says Premier League title would be his ‘greatest’ feat

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:30:30 GMT2017-04-24T21:30:30Z

• Manager wants to build side into a ‘real power’ for the future
• Conte aims dig at Manchester City and United over lavish spending

Antonio Conte would consider winning the Premier League title this season with Chelsea as the greatest achievement of his managerial career to date, with the feat carrying greater weight in the context of the lavish sums spent by both Manchester clubs last summer.

While City and United prepare for the derby at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday with Champions League qualification their priority, Chelsea can move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League with victory against Southampton on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge. Re-establishing that imposing lead would potentially inflict further psychological damage on second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, whom they beat in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

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Racing news and tips: Blow for Mullins after Fox Norton beats Un De Sceaux

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:40:23 GMT2017-04-25T13:40:23Z

• Odds-on favourite for Punchestown’s Champion Chase pipped on run-in
• Setback for Mullins in his attempt to finish top of the Irish trainers standings

Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power rounded off a memorable season by landing Punchestown’s Champion Chase with Fox Norton, who powered past the long-time leader Un De Sceaux after the final fence on Tuesday. The result is a major setback for Willie Mullins in his attempt to claw his way back to the top of the Irish trainers standings before the season ends on Saturday.

Mullins’s Un De Sceaux was sent off as the odds-on favourite to follow up his Ryanair victory at the Cheltenham Festival and he could still be called the most likely winner when edging clear on the run to the home turn.

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Manchester United show ‘concrete interest’ in £85m Antoine Griezmann

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:58:03 GMT2017-04-25T09:58:03Z

• ‘United were the first to come and see us,’ says Atlético forward’s agent
• Griezmann’s buyout clause of £85m limits interest to only wealthy clubs

Manchester United have shown “concrete interest” in signing the Atlético Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, who has an buyout clause of £85m, the France international’s agent Eric Olhats has claimed.

Related: Ander Herrera says Champions League place is at stake in Manchester derby

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The full-backs Manchester City should sign to help them win a trophy next season

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:29:48 GMT2017-04-25T15:29:48Z

Pep Guardiola will want to buy three or four full-backs after an underwhelming debut season in England. These are the players he should be targeting

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Pep Guardiola’s first season at Manchester City has been thoroughly disappointing. His team can no longer win any silverware after their defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals. They were knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage, didn’t make it beyond the fourth round of the League Cup and may not finish in the top four.

Manuel Pellegrini won a trophy, took City to the semi-finals of the Champions League and secured a top-four finish in his final season with the club, so the team have clearly failed to live up to expectations under their new boss. Any other manager may have faced the chop, though Guardiola has never really been in danger, with the club accepting that the squad isn’t capable of carrying out his intense demands.

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The Fiver | A history of being serial title challengers in all but reality

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:12:34 GMT2017-04-25T15:12:34Z

In today’s Fiver: the north-east’s premier entertainers are back

As Antonio Conte tries to rouse his players for Tuesday’s visit to Stamford Bridge by Southampton, he cannot quite shake off a feeling of hollowness. Several of his players have shown signs of suffering from a similar feeling in recent weeks, most obviously during their last league match, that tame defeat at Old Trafford. It is as if, just as the prospect of being crowned champions came within reach, Chelsea were overcome by a sense that, meh, it’s no big deal. Conte has been willing to make a fool of himself in an effort to chase away that feeling of emptiness, going so far as to suggest this week that a title victory for modest Chelsea would be some class of miracle. But he’s fooling no one. Not himself, not his players, not even The Fiver. Everyone knows that winning the top-flight is a doddle when Newcastle United aren’t in it. Sunderland have done it four times, for goodness sake.

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Plastic-eating bugs? It’s a great story – but there’s a sting in the tail | Philip Ball

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:41:37 GMT2017-04-25T18:41:37Z

Breeding wax moth caterpillars to devour our waste sounds good. But they would attack bee colonies too, and ultimately put crops at risk

Caterpillars that can munch up plastic bags have just been identified, fuelling excited speculation that this could one day eliminate global pollution from plastic waste. The chance discovery, initially made by a scientist and amateur beekeeper whose plastic bag had been eaten through by the moth caterpillars, was reported this week by researchers at Cambridge University and the Spanish National Research Council.

Related: Plastic-eating worms could help wage war on waste

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Tony Blair should zip it. Interventions from its right wing won’t help Labour | Sam Glover

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:30:39 GMT2017-04-25T13:30:39Z

The former prime minister’s idea of putting Brexit at the centre of the party’s election campaign is wrongheaded, insulting and dangerous

In an article for the Guardian, Tony Blair makes the case that the strategy of opposing “Brexit at any cost” would help rather than hinder Labour. He goes as far as to say that even in constituencies that voted heavily leave, Labour MPs should campaign to remain. The party is already in crisis among leave voters – polling in February suggested that only 45% of leave voters who voted Labour in 2015 still back the party. The equivalent figure with remain voters is 15 points higher. Blair’s article, masquerading as a coherent strategy for a Labour victory, is really a blueprint to keep us in the single market, party be damned.

In any case, if you were to try to imagine an intervention that would elicit the most contempt and indignation from the people who are going to decide Labour’s next leader, I don’t think you could do much better. Though he was at pains to underline the fact that he had not “urged tactical voting”, his advice to “make sure that voters know where candidates stand on the Brexit issue before they cast their vote, whether Tory, Lib Dem or Labour” can easily be read as such. The three-time election winner is really deluded enough to believe that making sure people know that voting Conservative is always an option will somehow help the centre left.

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Le Pen is a far-right Holocaust revisionist. Macron isn’t. Hard choice? | Hadley Freeman

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:15:47 GMT2017-04-25T12:15:47Z

My family know all too well the consequences of fascism in France. The left shouldn’t be dithering about whether to support Emmanuel Macron

Is being an investment banker analogous with being a Holocaust revisionist? Is neoliberalism on a par with neofascism? Apologies if the answers to these questions are so obviously in the affirmative to you – they certainly seem to be for some people – but I must admit to confusion about certain reactions when the centre-left and pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron beat the far-right and feverishly Islamophobic Marine Le Pen in the first round of the French election on Sunday. On Monday night Le Pen “temporarily” stepped down as head of the Front National, an acknowledgment that her own party’s toxically racist legacy, to which she and her family are wholly tied, is a bit de trop for mainstream voters in the final straight of this election. Others, however, saw a different problem.

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The Guardian view on Labour’s Brexit: out of the EU, but close to it | Editorial

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:42:38 GMT2017-04-25T18:42:38Z

Though Labour now has a plan to leave the EU, it has avoided spelling out in detail how Britain can depart without a deal in place. This may be embarrassing, but it is politically necessaryLabour’s policy on leaving the European Union is probably best summed up by the Rolling Stones line “you can’t always get what you want”. On Tuesday morning the party’s Brexit spokesman, and one of its brightest talents, Keir Starmer, tried to explain what Labour’s policy on leaving the EU was and what it was not. Until recently Labour had tried to be many things, understandably so because the party had to bridge the gulf between its remain-voting and leave-voting seats. Since parliament, with the support of most Labour MPs, voted to trigger Article 50, the party’s position has become clearer. Rightly, Sir Keir insisted that EU nationals won’t be bargaining chips in forthcoming talks. He also outlined a significant shift on immigration. Even a few weeks ago, Labour’s position was perceived to be soft on freedom of movement. Labour’s policy is now to prioritise jobs, workers’ rights, and living standards in Britain over the right for people to work and travel around the continent. It is undeniable – and a tragedy – that Britain’s vote to leave the EU was founded on fears over immigration.Sir Keir’s position, at first glance, looks very much like the one offered by his Conservative opponents. Both Labour and the Tories now accept restrictions on freedom of movement despite the implications for access to the single market. Both will have a vote in parliament on the deal, although Labour envisages time to go back to Brussels if MPs reject it. Both parties want the best deal possible for Britain. Sir Keir differs from the Tories in that he would start negotiations with all options on the table and drop them one by one until a deal is reached. Theresa May would start from a blank sheet of paper and work out a deal that both sides could agree on. So far, so similar. The difference is that Sir Keir has declined to explain what would happen if the EU told Britain that the deal on offer in March 2019 was a “take it or leave it” one. When pressed he said the country could fall back on transitional arrangements and contingency measures – an answer that felt like a political deus ex machina conjured up to escape a seemingly unsolvable problem. If Mrs May could not get a deal from EU that she found agreeable, then Britain would crash out of the EU. This would be a disaster for the country, and a warning about the strength of the hardline Euroscepticism in the Tory party that seeks to remould the country as regulation-lite tax haven on the edge of Europe. Continue reading...[...]

Media Files:

Why Putin’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses should worry us | Andrew Brown

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:42:34 GMT2017-04-25T16:42:34Z

The brutal treatment of this small, resolutely non-violent religious group is loathsome testimony to the ruthlessness of Russia’s authoritarian regime

Hardly anyone noticed last week when the Russian supreme court last week suppressed the Jehovah’s Witnesses there and seized all the group’s property. We were all too busy worrying about fascism in France or war in Korea. But it was a very important blow against the principle of freedom of belief. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are mostly regarded as slightly ludicrous in the UK. They have odd beliefs about blood and a slightly unhealthy interest in the end of the world and that’s the end of what most people know, if they know anything.

A more important tenet of their faith is their refusal of military service. They refuse conscription and even non-violent “war work”. This stance led them to be persecuted in almost all the countries that fought the second world war. They were imprisoned in Britain and the US, and persecuted viciously under Hitler: by the end of the war half the Witnesses in Germany were in concentration camps and a quarter of them had died.

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A great big wall – could this be the way to curb roadkill? | Tim Dowling

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:13:21 GMT2017-04-25T18:13:21Z

I admit that spotting dead animals has eased the pain of many a long car journey. But there must be something we can do for our unfortunate friends

Before my wife and I were married, we used to play a game on long car journeys called Dead Animal. The rules were few: when you saw a dead animal in the road, you shouted “Dead animal!” very loudly. The only object was to be first.

It could be pretty nerve racking for the driver if there were three or more players, and terrifying for a passenger if the driver got too involved. Apart from its grisliness, the game’s main feature was its generous stupidity. You didn’t even have to identify the expired animal in question, which might have taken some of the fun out of it.

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Andrew Tyrie, bankers' Commons scourge, deserves new City role | Nils Pratley

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:18:25 GMT2017-04-25T18:18:25Z

Chair of the influential Treasury select committee may be stepping down as an MP, but he still has much to contribute

Andrew Tyrie is “a man who would insult the Queen if he thought she deserved it,” the late Simon Hoggart wrote in this paper after the Conservative member for Chichester gave one of his characteristically acerbic performances in committee. The victim of that occasion was a hapless Lord Stevenson, who had failed to explain adequately how HBOS had sunk on his chairmanship. Tyrie called him “delusional” as well as “evasive, repetitive and unrealistic”.

After the catastrophe of the 2008 banking crash, such language was exactly what was required. Tyrie was a tenacious interrogator who believed in proper accountability in boardrooms. The insults only flowed when the witnesses had dug their own holes. Now he is leaving parliament, a surprise announcement that should depress anyone who has listened to hours of select committee hearings over the years.

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The Guardian view on Venezuela: a country in pain | Editorial

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:33:25 GMT2017-04-25T18:33:25Z

People are dying from shortages and state violence as Nicolás Maduro clings to power

Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro has failed his country. Picked by Hugo Chávez as successor just before his death in 2013, President Maduro has been an incompetent leader in hard times. He has failed to address the economic crisis triggered when the fall in the price of oil exposed the weaknesses of Chávismo, his predecessor’s ambitious experiment in poverty alleviation and social ownership. Now, in what was once South America’s richest country, more than four households in five are in poverty, twice the level of when he came to power. Babies and children die for lack of access to commonplace medicines. Murder and kidnapping for ransom are rife. Inflation is running above 800%; the economy is contracting sharply. Democracy itself is being eroded as the president defends his faltering grip on power. Weeks of protests have been met by state violence, semi-official vigilantes and, increasingly, counterattack from some opposition groupings. There is a wretched stalemate; and there is a real fear that violence could soon escalate out of control.

Like many of its neighbours, Venezuela’s democrats have to overcome a troubled history of rule by elites with little concern for lifting people out of poverty or shared economic growth. For more than a decade, Chávez seemed to offer a better prospectus: decent housing, proper wages and a fairer future. But after his premature death, the fall in oil prices laid bare the old divisions. His detractors point to a mixture of corruption and his failure to set up a Norwegian-style wealth fund to invest some of an oil income that approached $1tn as causes of the crisis. His defenders accuse the old ruling elite and its supporters of sabotaging the revolution.

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Labour has a real Brexit alternative. Now it must get the message to voters | Owen Jones

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:20:06 GMT2017-04-25T11:20:06Z

The party will ensure that workers, consumers and the environment are protected. There will be no blank cheque for a reckless Tory Brexit

Labour will rip up Theresa May’s Brexit plan but respect the referendum result. The benefits of the single market and the customs union will be on the table. EU nationals will be protected from day one. Human beings won’t be bargaining chips. The great repeal bill will be scrapped; Labour will introduce a EU rights and protections bill instead. All workers’, consumers’ and environmental rights will be protected. Much of the country craves unity: Labour will offer it. A “Brexit that brings people together,” not a “reckless Tory Brexit”. MPs will get a final say. If they reject the deal, Labour will return to the negotiating table.

Related: General election 2017: Labour pledges to wipe Brexit slate clean – politics live

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100 days of gibberish – Trump has weaponised nonsense | Lindy West

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:09:50 GMT2017-04-25T12:09:50Z

The Trump White House approaches language with the same roughshod entitlement he’s applying to the presidency. His sloppy lies and vague promises must not stop us holding him to account

With only a week left of his first 100 days in office – traditionally a milestone for American presidents – Donald Trump sat down with the Associated Press to reflect on his accomplishments (sic) and preemptively brag about future ones. This remarkable artefact, a transcript of which AP then released in full, captures, more than any other piece of media (except perhaps Trump’s Twitter feed), the unifying ethos of the Trump White House: weaponised nonsense.

The interview is deep, pure, tangy, umami Trump. I felt like I was reading one of those children’s stories in which a villain’s soul is written into a book and imprisoned there for ever – only without, in America’s case, such a happy ending. Donald Trump remains in the Oval Office, making decisions about whom to explode next (in the interview he calls this responsibility “the bigness of it all”), not gathering dust on a sorcerer’s shelf. Bad! (Not good.)

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A government of death is plundering our ancient Munduruku lands. Help us stop it

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:05:19 GMT2017-04-25T13:05:19Z

As the UN forum on indigenous issues meets in New York, we, the Munduruku people of Brazil, demand an end to the destruction of our territory

We, the Munduruku people, send our thoughts and words to you who live far away. We echo the cry for help from our mother, the forest, and from all the indigenous peoples in Brazil.

Our home of Mundurukânia and all 13,000 of our people are threatened by the Brazilian government’s plans to build more than 40 hydroelectric dams in the Tapajós basin, as well as an industrial waterway and other major projects.

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Call the state department's ad for Mar-a-Lago what it is: a plea for corruption | Ross Barkan

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:44:16 GMT2017-04-25T15:44:16Z

The state department touted the virtues of the US president’s private members club. It was emblematic of all that is wrong with our times

No sitting president in American history has been so engrossed with personal profit as Donald Trump. Moving into the White House has not altered his lifelong obsession with making money. He is still trying to trademark his name in dozens of countries. Foreign diplomats can buy influence at his hotels and golf courses. He has not divested from his businesses or released his tax returns.

Now the state department wants to sell Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s waterfront Florida estate. Or wanted to, until public backlash forced a rare reversal for a Trump administration seemingly immune to shame.

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Confederate memorials have no place in American society. Good riddance | Steven W Thrasher

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:37:13 GMT2017-04-25T14:37:13Z

City officials in New Orleans are finally removing Confederacy-era monuments. But this is not a call for collective amnesia about our past

Under the cover of darkness early on Monday morning, workers in Louisiana took down the first of four Confederate memorials in New Orleans, which city officials had decided to remove in 2015, shortly after the Charleston shootings. Good riddance.

It was fitting that the workers wore black, bulletproof clothing, donned masks which hid their identities, and were protected by police snipers. Their outfits speak to the history of racial violence these monuments evoke and idealize, a history propagated by Ku Klux Klan members who wore white clothing and masks to hide their identities (often in collusion with the police).

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Polling’s dirty little secret: why polls have been wrong before and will be again | David Lipsey

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:00:43 GMT2017-04-25T08:00:43Z

Unrepresentative samples and margins of error that wildly misrepresent likely outcomes are perennial problems for pollsters. So beware what you believe

So: can we rely on the opinion polls to get the British general election right after all? After the debacle of 2015 – an election that was entirely focused on a hung parliament when in fact the Tories won at a canter – the results of the French election will have cheered the pollsters. They all got pretty close to the right vote shares for Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. And this follows the American election where, on average, they at least predicted Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote.

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

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I love my security guard job, but there’s a subtle apartheid dividing the staff | Abdul Bakhsh

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:29:39 GMT2017-04-25T09:29:39Z

My colleagues and I are striking to show the University of London that outsourced workers should have the same benefits as those employed directly

Today is not the first time I’ve gone on strike from my job as a security officer and receptionist. I’ve worked at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (part of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study) since 2007 – it was my first job since coming over to the UK with my family in 2006 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In many ways, this is a great place to work – the students and staff are friendly, and I love my job. Yet there is a subtle apartheid at work that divides the staff and discriminates against myself and my colleagues, despite our longevity of service.

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France’s terrorism is largely home grown – yet both Macron and Le Pen look away | Iman Amrani

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:01:36 GMT2017-04-25T11:01:36Z

Neither candidate has a coherent plan to tackle the very real issue of fundamentalism in France. This is shocking and inexcusable

In her victory speech last night, Marine Le Pen described the results of the first round of the French elections as “historic”. In many ways she’s right. The traditional parties suffered severe blows with neither the socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon, who received a humiliating 6.3% of the national vote, nor the republican one, François Fillon, even making it through to the second round.

But it’s not just the collapse of the traditional parties that has made this election like no other. The ongoing state of emergency and the continuation of extremist attacks in France have dominated the campaign, and the one on the Champs Élysées last Thursday made many ask whether Le Pen was going to be able to win more votes in the presidential election. In the local elections that took place the week after the Bataclan attacks in 2015 the popularity of Le Pen’s Front National spiked, as she capitalised on the fear that followed the most deadly act of terrorism in France for decades.

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Why Theresa May is a true heir to Richard Nixon | Aditya Chakrabortty

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:00:40 GMT2017-04-25T06:00:40Z

Our prime minister is turning this election into a culture war, using the language of the hard right to define the very identity of Britain – and create a one-party UK

Elections come with their own rituals. The big night demands Dimblevision and swingometers and some low-budget jape that presumably sounded good in production meetings. But one thing 8 June won’t be is normal. There is no point in journalists reporting this as a horse race, when all the polls predict a bloodbath. It is futile for specialists to pick apart policy promises made in spring 2017 when the next few years’ haggling over Brexit will upend everything from the safeguards on the food we eat to our relations with other countries.

Most important, it is delusional to treat this as just another vote, when Theresa May and her outriders are intent on turning it into a culture war. June is shaping up to become a hinge point in British politics: the moment a venom was injected into public discourse.

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Metro mayors sound great. But they can’t save local parks and pools | Peter Hetherington

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:00:05 GMT2017-04-25T11:00:05Z

New mayors will be elected on 4 May in England. But what good are they in the face of chronic local government cuts?

City parks lie overgrown and abandoned; swimming pools and leisure centres shuttered; libraries locked up; local bus services axed; youth services scrapped; roads so badly potholed that hundreds of miles face closure. If the list of cutbacks is endless across the country, you can be sure of one thing. There’s worse to come.

Related: England's new metro mayors will have influential role in NHS | Richard Vize

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If we want to improve mental health, first we need to tackle poverty | Dawn Foster

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:00:45 GMT2017-04-25T10:00:45Z

Prince Harry’s intervention on mental health is welcome, but removing stigma alone is not enough – the debate needs to look at the role of poverty

Mental health discourse welcomed an unexpected participant this month. Prince Harry, the fifth in line to the throne, spoke publicly about seeking counselling following his mother’s sudden death in his pre-teen years. Rightly, mental health charities praised his intervention, highlighting as it did that even extreme privilege cannot shelter us from depression, anxiety or any other psychiatric illness. Our bodies are fragile, and our minds equally so: this message is increasingly accepted as people with mental health problems, campaigners and medics alike have fought to end stigma by building a national conversation on mental health.

Removing the stigma around mental health is important but does little alone. Without services, treatment is still inadequate, and feeling less judged for your health issues means little if you’re faced with a lack of access to talking therapies and nonexistent community support. But the conversation on mental health also needs to examine how the structures of society cause and perpetuate poor mental health.

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How have you been affected by council cuts to 'neighbourhood' spending? | Sarah Marsh

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:15:13 GMT2017-04-25T12:15:13Z

English councils’ spending on local services has fallen by £3bn. Tell us about any closures and cuts where you live

English councils are now spending £3bn less on ‘neighbourhood’ services, such as bins, planning and potholes, than they were five years ago, a report says.

Related: Council spending on 'neighbourhood' services falls by £3bn since 2011

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The way to fight the Tories in June’s election is to turn Brexit against them | Tony Blair

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:59:11 GMT2017-04-24T19:59:11Z

Labour’s only chance lies in convincing voters that it will hold the government to account on any deal with the EU

There is a unique element to this election as a result of Brexit. The Tories believe this is to their advantage. But it could be turned against them.

First off – for the avoidance of doubt – I have not urged tactical voting. It is up to each voter to make up their mind on how they will vote. I only want people to make an informed choice. Of course, I hope people will vote Labour, as I will.

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Conservative party ignored police requests to hand over internal bullying report

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:46:37 GMT2017-04-25T15:46:37Z

British Transport police say party has rebuffed repeated requests to see findings of inquiry launched following suicide of young activist Elliott Johnson

The Conservatives have failed to hand over a report on allegations of bullying within the party to police despite repeated requests from detectives, it has emerged.

British Transport police (BTP) have asked the Tory party to disclose the full report on the bullying inquiry, which was launched after allegations were made against the former election aide and failed parliamentary candidate Mark Clarke.

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Child locked in cell for more than 23 hours a day at Feltham, high court told

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:49:00 GMT2017-04-25T15:49:00Z

‘Single unlock’ regime at youth offender institution breaches boy’s rights and constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment, lawyer says

A child has been held in “prolonged periods of solitary confinement” at Feltham young offender institution, locked in his cell for 23 and a half hours a day and denied the education to which he is legally entitled, the high court has heard.

The teenager, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, cannot be identified. His lawyer Dan Squires QC told the court that the prison regime, known as “single unlock”, breached the boy’s rights and constituted inhuman and degrading treatment.

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The Sun threatens legal action over alleged MailOnline copyright breach

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:01:32 GMT2017-04-25T18:01:32Z

Alleged misuse of exclusive footage of disgraced footballer Adam Johnson and story about former reality TV star Ferne McCann at heart of case

The Sun has accused MailOnline of stealing exclusive content and threatened legal proceedings in a sign of the escalating battle for digital news revenues.

Lawyers at the Sun, still the biggest selling popular newspaper in the UK but with far fewer readers than the MailOnline, sent the letter claiming copyright infringement earlier this week.

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Brexit economy: living standards are falling as the snap election looms

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:38:58 GMT2017-04-25T10:38:58Z

The latest monthly Guardian analysis finds rising prices, sluggish wage growth and a mood of uncertainty among employers as the UK heads to the polls

The pound’s sharp fall since the Brexit vote and a mood of uncertainty among employers has hit household budgets, creating a tough economic backdrop for Theresa May’s snap election, a Guardian analysis shows.

The prime minister will be hoping the resilience seen in the UK economy will hold over the coming months now that she has called an election for this June. But the Guardian’s monthly tracker of economic news shows living standards are already falling as rising prices outpace meagre pay growth.

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Lack of diversity among UK senior judiciary is 'serious constitutional issue'

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:40:58 GMT2017-04-25T17:40:58Z

Report calls for structural change to fix imbalance, and says upcoming replacement of supreme court judges is an ‘unprecedented opportunity’

The senior judiciary is dominated by privately educated white men and may need “targets with teeth” – if not quotas – to improve diversity on the bench, a report by senior lawyers has warned.

The study by the reform group Justice is highly critical of the slow progress made towards selecting judges who reflect the UK’s ethnic, gender and social composition. That failure, it says, has become “a serious constitutional issue”.

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Hummus shortages after shops remove dip from sale over 'taste issues'

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:18:52 GMT2017-04-25T13:18:52Z

Shoppers unhappy after supermarkets pull stocks from shelves following complaints of metallic taste

Lovers of Middle Eastern cuisine are bracing themselves for a new kind of double dip recession as both Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer face a shortage of hummus.

Customers at branches of both supermarkets from York to Essex to Chiswick have complained of a lunchtime crisis after finding shelves empty of hummus and have published a barrage of pictures online. Some tweeted heartbreak emojis, while others used the hashtag #firstworldproblems.

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Tories 'on very dodgy ground' over delay of air pollution plan, say experts

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:02:10 GMT2017-04-25T16:02:10Z

Constitutional experts say government is on ‘very dodgy ground’ claiming election purdah forces it to postpone publishing pollution strategy

The government’s attempt to delay publishing its air pollution strategy because of the election is “dishonest” and leaves ministers on “very dodgy ground”, according to constitutional experts.

The government had been under a court direction to produce tougher draft measures to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which is responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year, by 4pm on Monday. The original plans had been dismissed by judges as so poor as to be unlawful.

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Teenage hacker jailed for masterminding attacks on Sony and Microsoft

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:00:17 GMT2017-04-25T14:00:17Z

Adam Mudd jailed for two years for creating attack-for-hire business responsible for more than 1.7m breaches worldwide

A man has been jailed for two years for setting up a computer hacking business that caused chaos worldwide.

Adam Mudd was 16 when he created the Titanium Stresser program, which carried out more than 1.7m attacks on websites including Minecraft, Xbox Live and Microsoft and TeamSpeak, a chat tool for gamers.

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Nestlé to axe 300 UK jobs and move Blue Riband production to Poland

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:32:22 GMT2017-04-25T15:32:22Z

Unions criticise Swiss confectioner’s plan to end 81 years of British production of the chocolate wafer bar

Nestlé is cutting up to 300 jobs in the UK and switching production of the Blue Riband chocolate bar to Poland, a move that has angered unions. The Swiss confectioner said most of the jobs would be lost in Newcastle and York, during 2017-18, but that its sites in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and Girvan, Ayrshire, would also be affected.

The change will end 81 years of British production of the wafer snack, which was originally manufactured in Scotland but is now made in Nestlé’s Fawdon plant in Newcastle.

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Madeleine McCann: 10th anniversary 'a horrible marker' for her parents

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:44:06 GMT2017-04-25T16:44:06Z

Kate and Gerry McCann vow never to give up search for daughter, in message marking decade since three-year-old vanished

The parents of Madeleine McCann have vowed to never give up on their search for their missing child and said the looming 10th anniversary of her disappearance would be “a horrible marker of stolen time”.

Next Wednesday marks a decade since Madeleine, then aged three, vanished while on holiday with her siblings and parents in Portugal.

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Duke of Westminster's £12bn property firm hit by London slump

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:43:16 GMT2017-04-25T19:43:16Z

Grosvenor Group reports worst UK performance since 2008 as Brexit and stamp duty rise cause slowdown in capital

The 26-year-old Duke of Westminster, who is believed to be the world’s richest person under 30 with a £9bn fortune, has been hit by a steep drop in returns on his family’s British property empire, which includes many of the most famous addresses in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia.

The Grosvenor Group, which Hugh Grosvenor inherited last year following the death of his father Gerald Grosvenor, reported on Tuesday that returns on its British & Irish property portfolio had collapsed to just 0.3% last year compared with 10.7% in 2015. It is the company’s worst UK performance since the 2008 financial crisis and follows six successive years of returns above 10%.

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Suspended MP Simon Danczuk likely to stand for Labour in election

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:31:47 GMT2017-04-25T14:31:47Z

Sources say party will have to allow MP to stand in Rochdale as it will not be able to conclude disciplinary process before poll

• General election 2017 - live updates

Simon Danczuk is likely to stand as a Labour candidate in Rochdale because the party cannot conclude its disciplinary process against the MP in time for the election, the Guardian understands.

Danczuk was suspended from the party in 2015, pending an investigation, after a tabloid newspaper revealed he had sent explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl.

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UK government borrowing at lowest level since 2008 financial crisis

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:15:30 GMT2017-04-25T14:15:30Z

Boost for chancellor as borrowing falls by £20bn to £52bn – but analysts say it is too soon to be complacent

Government borrowing fell to the lowest level since the financial crisis in the year to the end of March as the economy proved more resilient than expected in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Borrowing fell by £20bn to £52bn in the 2016-17 financial year after economic growth helped drive tax receipts higher, narrowing the gap between what the government spends and earns.

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Widow of academic killed in London denied legal aid for inquest

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:18:51 GMT2017-04-25T12:18:51Z

Nadja Ensink-Teich says police and CPS have questions to answer over husband’s death at hands of a paranoid schizophrenic

The widow of a man stabbed to death in a random attack outside his London home has been denied legal aid to be represented at his inquest, which is set to explore the actions of police, prosecutors and mental health professionals leading up to his death.

Jeroen Ensink, 41, was killed in December 2015 by student Femi Nandap, 23, who had paranoid schizophrenia, and just days earlier had knife and assault charges against him dropped.

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Mirror Group settles phone-hacking claims with undisclosed damages

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:28:06 GMT2017-04-25T14:28:06Z

Jeffrey Archer, Kevin Keegan, Charles Clarke and Patsy Kensit among well-known names whose cases are resolved

The publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People has settled phone-hacking claims with 44 celebrities, paying out settlements that in some cases are understood to have exceeded £250,000.

Kevin Keegan, the former England manager, Jeffrey Archer, the actor Patsy Kensit and the former home secretary Charles Clarke were among those named in the cases that were resolved at the high court on Tuesday.

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Costa Coffee owner welcomes plan for 'barista visas' after Brexit

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:20:58 GMT2017-04-25T12:20:58Z

Home secretary is reportedly examining proposals to prevent staff shortages in coffee shops, restaurants and bars

The boss of Costa Coffee owner Whitbread has welcomed the proposals being discussed to avoid labour shortages in cafes and restaurants following Brexit, such as the idea of “barista visas”.

Home secretary Amber Rudd is reportedly considering introducing “barista visas” to ensure coffee shops, restaurants and bars are fully staffed after Brexit. The proposal was made by Lord Green, chairman of thinktank Migration Watch UK, who suggested two-year visas for young EU citizens allowing them to come to Britain to work, although they will not be able to claim benefits. It is based on the current Youth Mobility Scheme for travellers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

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Virgin, Stagecoach and France's SNCF join forces for HS2 bid

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:29:35 GMT2017-04-25T16:29:35Z

Group to challenge First Group and others to run trains from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow

The French state railway SNCF is to partner with Virgin Trains for a bid to run the first HS2 high-speed trains.

The competition for the West Coast Partnership franchise will pit the Virgin, Stagecoach and SNCF consortium against First Group and the Italian state-owned Trenitalia, with other potential bidders still to come forward.

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Suspect bailed after killing of former navy officer with his own car

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:27:58 GMT2017-04-25T15:27:58Z

Michael Samwell, 35, was run over with his Audi S3 in Manchester when he disturbed thieves who were trying to steal it

The family of the former Royal Navy officer who was killed when thieves stole his car have paid tribute to “the most wonderful husband, brother and son”.

Mike Samwell, 35, suffered fatal injuries after confronting thieves who stole his black Audi S3 in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, at around 3am on Sunday.

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Cold snap brings snow flurries to Britain

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:35:23 GMT2017-04-25T08:35:23Z

Spring on hold until weekend as forecasters predict Arctic blast will be replaced by hail and thunderstorms through to Wednesday

A blast of late winter weather has brought snow flurries to many parts of northern England and the Midlands.

Towns as far south as Norwich woke to a sprinkling of snow on Tuesday morning, with Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the north-east also reporting wintry showers.

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Hackers have targeted election campaign of Macron, says cyber firm

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:56:07 GMT2017-04-25T17:56:07Z

Trend Mirco says it detected fake web domains for French presidential candidate on digital infrastructure used by group named Pawn Storm

The campaign of the French presidential frontrunner, Emmanuel Macron, has been targeted by hackers linked to Russia, according to researchers with a Japanese anti-virus firm.

The researchers added to previous suggestions that the centrist politician was being singled out for electronic eavesdropping by the Kremlin.

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Justin Trudeau: father's influence made my brother's marijuana charge 'go away'

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:06:33 GMT2017-04-25T18:06:33Z

  • Canada prime minister’s brother Michel charged with possession in 1998
  • Government facing calls for blanket pardon for pot convictions

Days after his government confirmed that its plans to legalise marijuana will not include a blanket pardon for those with past pot convictions, Justin Trudeau has admitted that his late brother was once charged with marijuana possession – and that their father’s resources and connections helped make the charge “go away”.

The Canadian prime minister’s comments, made at a town hall meeting hosted by Vice Media, came in response to a young Canadian who said he had been charged with pot possession.

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Obesity epidemic in Latin America is 'frightening', says UN report

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:29:41 GMT2017-04-25T19:29:41Z

Two thirds of people in Mexico, Chile and Ecuador are now overweight or obese, driven by changing diets and more sedentary lifestyles

More than two thirds of people living in Mexico, Chile and Ecuador are overweight or obese, costing their economies tens of billions of dollars every year, driving rates of disease and straining health services, according to a new UN report.

While the number of hungry people in Latin America and the Caribbean has halved in the last 25 years, the region is now struggling to combat an obesity epidemic.

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Trump tries to mend relationship with Jewish community after past slights

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:00:15 GMT2017-04-25T18:00:15Z

The US president spoke out against Holocaust deniers and promised to confront antisemitism on Tuesday, following his administration’s recent missteps

Donald Trump sought to rebuild his administration’s relationship with the Jewish community on Tuesday as he spoke out against Holocaust deniers and promised to confront antisemitism.

The US president was criticised after an official White House statement to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day failed to mention Jews, his spokesman claimed that Hitler did not use chemical weapons against “his own people” and Trump himself described far-right Marine Le Pen as the “strongest” candidate in the French election, despite her party’s history of xenophobia and antisemitism.

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Michael Flynn's Russia payment likely broke disclosure laws, lawmakers say

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:20:42 GMT2017-04-25T17:20:42Z

It appeared Trump’s ex-national security adviser didn’t receive permission for or properly report foreign funds and that White House refused to provide files

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, likely violated the law when he failed to disclose payments he had received from Russia and Turkey, the leading Republican and Democrat on the House oversight committee said on Tuesday.

Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, and ranking member Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, said it appeared Flynn had not received permission for or properly reported the funds he received from a 2015 speech in Russia and lobbying work his firm did for Turkey.

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Stock markets surge to new highs ahead of Trump's tax reform plan

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:43:28 GMT2017-04-25T19:43:28Z

US technology shares rise while investors bet on Emmanuel Macron victory in French election

World markets have hit new peaks, pushed higher by continuing optimism about the outcome of the French presidential election, a series of positive US company results and growing anticipation over Donald Trump’s promised tax reforms.

The biggest gains on Tuesday came from the US, with the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite breaking the 6,000 barrier for the first time, 17 years after it first reached 5,000 during the height of the dotcom boom. The index was boosted by technology giants such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, which will be among the main beneficiaries of any Trump tax reforms.

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Outgoing Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer will likely get $186m payout

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:01:56 GMT2017-04-25T16:01:56Z

Shareholders will be asked to approve a huge payout for Mayer, as Yahoo is currently being sold to Verizon, the US’s largest telecom company, for $4.49bn

The price of failure? About $186m if you are Marissa Mayer, outgoing chief executive of troubled internet giant Yahoo.

Related: Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer loses millions in bonuses over security lapses

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Israel snubs German foreign minister in row over human rights talks

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:19:34 GMT2017-04-25T15:19:34Z

Benjamin Netanyahu cancels talks with Sigmar Gabriel after German foreign minister vows to meet Israeli rights groups

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has abruptly cancelled a meeting with the visiting German foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, in a high-profile diplomatic row over the German minister’s plan to meet two Israeli rights groups.

Netanyahu’s snub came after he issued an ultimatum to Gabriel to cancel meetings with military whistleblower group Breaking the Silence and human rights group B’Tselem.

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Arkansas carries out first double execution in the US for 16 years

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 04:36:25 GMT2017-04-25T04:36:25Z

Execution of Marcel Williams goes ahead despite legal wrangle over whether first lethal injection had gone wrong

The first double execution to take place in the US in 16 years was carried out by Arkansas on Monday night amid a fierce dispute over whether the prisoners were subjected to a botched procedure amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.

In dramatic events that erupted a little over an hour after the first prisoner, Jack Jones, was put to death, a federal judge stepped in and temporarily stayed the lethal injection of the second, Marcel Williams, on grounds that Jones’s execution might have been unconstitutional. In frantic legal wrestling, the state conceded that it had spent some time trying to insert an IV line into Jones’s neck, but had failed in the endeavour.

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Music industry hits 'historic tipping point' as upturn continues

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:55:19 GMT2017-04-25T16:55:19Z

Second year of growth after recording 40% decline over previous 15 years, with streaming hailed as revitalising sector

The once-ailing music industry has hit a “historical tipping point”, recording its second year of growth and revenues of $15.7bn (£12.2bn) in 2016, according to a report.

An in-depth look into the health of the music industry by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has shown that in 2016 there was 5.9% growth, mainly attributed to the mass adoption of streaming across the world.

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University chief appeals for EU help to fight Hungarian clampdown

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:33:25 GMT2017-04-25T16:33:25Z

Rector of Central European University hopeful EU will launch infringement proceedings against Orbán government

The head of a leading university threatened with closure in Hungary has made an emotional plea for help from the EU and accused the country’s rightwing, authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, of effectively putting a gun to his head.

Michael Ignatieff, rector of the US-linked Central European University (CEU), said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the EU would launch infringement proceedings against the Hungarian government for its “outrageous” attack on academic freedoms.

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Yemen hunger crisis: UN only raises half of $2.1bn aid target

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:29:29 GMT2017-04-25T15:29:29Z

António Guterres tells humanitarian donors conference the war-torn country is facing ‘a tragedy of immense proportions’

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has said the UN has now been promised half the amount requested for its humanitarian appeal for Yemen, which is facing “a tragedy of immense proportions”.

Speaking before donors at a fundraising conference in Geneva pledged sums to take the total promised to $1.1bn (£860m), Guterres said: “Our humanitarian appeal for 2017 is $2.1bn and only 15% has been met until the present moment.”

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FaceApp apologises for 'racist' filter that lightens users' skintone

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:37:52 GMT2017-04-25T12:37:52Z

Users of viral face-tuning app have criticised its ‘hot’ filter for whitening skin

The creator of an app which changes your selfies using artificial intelligence has apologised because its “hot” filter automatically lightened people’s skin.

FaceApp is touted as an app which uses “neural networks” to change facial characteristics, adding smiles or making users look older or younger. But users noticed one of the options, initially labelled as “hot” made people look whiter.

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Macron and Le Pen supporters in Arras united by desire for change

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:04:33 GMT2017-04-25T08:04:33Z

Town in northern France is in Front National territory, but many voters determined to keep Marine Le Pen out

In the northern French town of Arras they have been commemorating the 100th anniversary of a first world war battle that resulted in almost 280,000 casualties. The streets have been filled with poster-sized photographs of a few of the 35,000 Allied soldiers from Britain, Australia, Canada and South Africa who died in the Battle of Arras, along with the flags of all the countries who took part, giving the town an unusually international feel.

It is the morning after the night before – when the voters of Arras closely matched the national result of the first round of the presidential election, giving Emmanuel Macron 24.6% and Marine Le Pen 21.49% – and residents and tourists who have come to honour the war dead are enjoying an early lunch in the pretty town hall square.

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Venezuela anti-government protesters paralyse major roads as more die

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:10:54 GMT2017-04-25T00:10:54Z

Turmoil has been caused by food shortages, rising unemployment and anger at president’s authoritarian restrictions on elections and democratic institutions

Venezuela’s major transport arteries juddered to a halt on Monday as opposition protesters blocked major roads and staged sit-ins across the country.

Related: Are you taking part in protests in Venezuela?

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Luxury goods giant LVMH grabs full control of Christian Dior

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:15:06 GMT2017-04-25T10:15:06Z

French group to bring fashion house’s brands from perfume to couture under one roof in complex deal worth €12bn

The French luxury group LVMH, led by billionaire Bernard Arnault, is to take full control of Christian Dior, in a complex €12bn (£10bn) deal that reunites the fashion house with the perfume and other Dior brands.

The Arnault family, which holds a controlling stake in LVMH, owns 74.1% of Christian Dior, one of the world’s top fashion houses. The family said it wants to buy the remainder for €12bn, or €260 a share. It will then sell Christian Dior Couture to LVMH for €6.5bn.

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Serena Williams accuses Ilie Nastase of racially abusing her and unborn child

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:20:34 GMT2017-04-24T23:20:34Z

US tennis great responds to controversial Romanian’s ‘chocolate with milk’ comment at Fed Cup tennis meeting in Romania

American tennis player Serena Williams has accused Ilie Nastase of racially abusing her and her unborn baby as she made her first response to comments the Romanian former world No1 made about her.

Nastase was overheard on Friday at a press conference for the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Britain saying about the current world No 1’s unborn baby: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”

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