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The Guardian

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

Published: Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:06:35 GMT2016-12-09T16:06:35Z

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

Uber is treating its drivers as sweated labour, says report

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:51:59 GMT2016-12-09T13:51:59Z

Earnings are often less than minimum wage and ‘barely sufficient to sustain existence’, according to MP Frank Field

Uber treats its drivers as Victorian-style “sweated labour”, with some taking home less than the minimum wage, according to a report into its working conditions based on the testimony of dozens of drivers.

Drivers at the taxi-hailing app company reported feeling forced to work extremely long hours, sometimes more than 70 a week, just to make a basic living, said Frank Field, the Labour MP and chair of the work and pensions committee.

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Please help us help #childrefugees survive the winter - Guardian/Observer 2016 Appeal

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:21:28 GMT2016-12-09T12:21:28Z

The political solutions to the crisis may be complex, but that does not mean we should abandon our humanity

Click here to donate to our appeal

The plight of child refugees is at the heart of this year’s Guardian and Observer charity appeal. We supported refugees last year and we are proud to return to this theme again. It remains the great humanitarian crisis of our times.

Related: The charities supported by the Guardian and Observer 2016 appeal

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Russian state doped more than 1,000 athletes and corrupted London 2012

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:30:39 GMT2016-12-09T11:30:39Z

• Figure revealed in Professor Richard McLaren’s second report into doping
• ‘London Games corrupted on an unprecedented scale,’ says McLaren

The London 2012 Olympics were “corrupted on an unprecedented scale” by Russia’s government and sports authorities, who colluded to ensure the country’s sportspeople were able to take a cocktail of banned performance-enhancing drugs yet evade doping tests, it has been revealed.

A report by the respected Canadian law professor Richard McLaren on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency also found evidence that more than 1,000 Russians athletes across more than 30 sports – including football – were involved in or benefited from state-sponsored doping between 2011 and 2015.

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Labour MPs say they fear party is alienating both sides of EU debate

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:39:19 GMT2016-12-09T14:39:19Z

One Labour MP says it risks becoming the ‘party of the 0%’ after falling to fourth place in Sleaford and North Hykeham byelection

Labour MPs have said they fear the party is pursuing a “0% strategy” because of the lack of clarity on Brexit, after the disappointing byelection result in Sleaford and North Hykeham in which Labour slipped from second place to fourth.

MPs said they believed the party was alienating both sides of the referendum debate by defending freedom of movement but promising to push through with leaving the EU.

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From traitors to heroes: Sri Lanka pardons 19 who resisted British rule

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:27:52 GMT2016-12-09T15:27:52Z

President revokes colonial-era order and declares 19 leaders of 1818 uprising ‘patriotic war heroes’ who fought for freedom

A group of Sri Lankans who rebelled against British colonial rule have been celebrated as war heroes, almost 200 years after they were condemned as traitors and executed.

The group of 19 included one of the leaders of the 1818 rebellion, Keppetipola Disawe, who was beheaded. His unusually shaped skull was then brought back to the UK and placed in a medical museum in Edinburgh, and only returned after official requests in 1954.

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Police confirm 83 potential suspects identified in football sexual abuse scandal

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:30:03 GMT2016-12-09T09:30:03Z

• Information also shows 98 clubs have been ‘impacted’ as part of investigations
• ‘We urge anyone who may have been a victim to report it’ says police official

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has said 83 potential suspects have been identified in connection with allegations of historical child sexual abuse in football.

The figure comes from data and information collated by forces working on the case to Operation Hydrant – the national police body coordinating historical sexual abuse claims – and from 639 referrals from the NSPCC helpline. The information also shows that 98 clubs have been “impacted”, with the age range of victims spanning seven years through to 20 years.

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Aleppo bombarded despite Russian statement on halt to operations

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:44:12 GMT2016-12-09T11:44:12Z

Moscow said on Thursday that Syrian military would pause its advance to allow civilians to leave city

Aleppo’s besieged east came under sustained attack overnight despite a Russian statement saying combat operations would be halted, raising questions about the Kremlin’s commitment to a ceasefire deal and its leverage over its Syrian ally, Bashar al-Assad.

Residents of east Aleppo said a number of neighbourhoods had been subjected to relentless bombardment overnight and on Friday morning, including rocket attacks, helicopter bombings and gunfire.

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Two near-misses renew fears drones could cause major air accident

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:21:57 GMT2016-12-09T14:21:57Z

One came within six metres of a Boeing 767 preparing to land at Manchester while the other passed close to an Airbus A320 above London

Fears that drones could cause a major air accident have been reignited after two more near-misses in London and Manchester, with one drone passing over the wing of a passenger jet.

Investigators said a drone about 2ft (60cm) wide had just missed the right wing of a Boeing 767 that was coming in to land at Manchester airport.

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Brexit blamed for delay in 'imprisoned' daughter's court case

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:14:42 GMT2016-12-09T15:14:42Z

Solicitor was unable to travel to Saudi Arabia to meet client because of passport office backlog, court told

A high court case involving a young woman who claims she is being imprisoned by her father has faced delays because of Brexit, a judge said.

Amina al-Jeffery, 21, who grew up in Swansea and has dual British and Saudi Arabian nationality, has complained that her Saudi academic father locked her up in his flat in Jeddah because she had “kissed a guy”. Her father, Mohammed al-Jeffery, has disputed her allegations and said he was trying to protect her.

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Adele cast black star in Hello video to address 'police brutality'

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:50:27 GMT2016-12-09T15:50:27Z

‘It was her desire that we wouldn’t cast a caucasian male in this,’ says director Xavier Dolan on the choice of The Wire’s Tristan Wilds as her love interest

Xavier Dolan has spoken about the inspiration behind Adele’s video for Hello, explaining that casting The Wire’s Tristan Wilds was a deliberate attempt to address “police brutality” in the US.

In an interview with Vulture, the French-Canadian film-maker said that while it was his idea to cast Wilds, Adele had specified that the love interest in the video should not be played by a white actor.

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Kids, refugees, questions: 'What is it like to have no home?' - video

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:26:56 GMT2016-12-09T14:26:56Z

British children and child refugees ask and answer questions about the refugee crisis. The Guardian and Observer charity appeal 2016 is supporting the work of three charities working with refugee children. This year more than 90,000 children have travelled alone, fleeing war and destitution, across Europe. Thousands are sleeping in makeshift camps in Europe this winter

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A brief encounter at Britain’s least-used railway station

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:00:32 GMT2016-12-09T15:00:32Z

Shippea Hill station in Cambridgeshire is used by a grand total of one person a month. It’s certainly not a place that feels full of life today, but it wasn’t always this way

Related: Britain's abandoned stations, tracks and trains: readers' pictures

You don’t see much out the window as the 7.04 from Cambridge to Norwich rattles across the Fens on a dank December morning – fields, mainly, which start to take shape as the sun rises somewhere behind the gloom. Then the train slows down and, out of nowhere, a platform appears. Kash, the conductor, seemed surprised when I had requested the stop. “Oh, this is very rare,” he said before alerting the driver. “Very rare.”

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Zaha Hadid: from flaming sketchbooks to global phenomenon

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:57:29 GMT2016-12-09T14:57:29Z

Her gravity-defying buildings took her signature whoosh around the world. But as her early explosive paintings go on show and one of her final creations opens, are cracks appearing in Zaha Hadid’s legacy?

For a brief period at London’s Architectural Association in the 1980s, sparkling Perrier water was in vogue. Not for drinking, but for mixing acrylic paints. Students had watched in mystified awe as a steady supply of the bulbous green bottles were shuttled upstairs to the cramped third-floor studio, where recent graduate Zaha Hadid was busy conjuring a painting for an exhibition, a world of skewed perspectives and jagged forms making a bid for freedom. If they used the same fizzy water, her acolytes hoped, it might give their work the same magic Zaha lustre. But the bottles, Hadid later admitted, merely contained tap water: they were just a means of her assistants transporting it from the bar downstairs.

“Even as a student, Zaha had a kind of mythological aura around her,” recalls the artist Madelon Vriesendorp, who taught Hadid in painting workshops at the AA in the 1970s, introducing her to a vibrant colour palette beyond the smudgy greys and browns she had favoured. “She was an incredible creature, always dressed in spectacular layers of scarves and feathers and Perspex heels. And she had this strange habit of burning the edges of her drawings. They looked like futuristic treasures dug up from the ground, with all these crazy forms bending, twisting and warping. I loved her images, but I didn’t even try to understand what they meant.”

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Shake Shack and Five Guys: ‘Teenagers have terrible taste in food’ – restaurant review | Marina O’Loughlin

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:00:30 GMT2016-12-09T14:00:30Z

‘This is gooood,’ swoons the teen, falling into a bacon double cheeseburger. ‘Gooood foood.’ And, lordy, it is

It had to be burgers. (“Nando’s,” says the actual teen. “Should be Nando’s.”) There’s no point tackling McDonald’s or Burger King, and the new breed of “artisan” burgers are beyond most teens’ budget, so mid-ground it is and two big US players: legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer’s almost-cool Shake Shack, a cult brand launched in New York; and the more blue-collar Five Guys, backed by Carphone Warehouse mogul Sir Charles Dunstone. They didn’t impress me much at the time, and I’ve had no interest in going back, but here I am, taking one for the teens.

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May's put-downs leave some muttering darkly about an anti-Johnson plot

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:51:56 GMT2016-12-09T12:51:56Z

Gaffe-prone Boris Johnson always looked an odd fit for foreign secretary and some Tory backbenchers are growing suspicious of the PM’s motives

Few Conservative MPs were surprised when Theresa May distanced herself from Boris Johnson’s comments about Saudi Arabia and Iran waging “proxy wars” across the Middle East – it’s not the government line, at least in public.

Related: Allies defend Boris Johnson after No 10 disowns Saudi remarks

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Alex Iwobi: ‘I did extra training. My mum made me do kick-ups in the living room’

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:08:00 GMT2016-12-09T12:08:00Z

From being treated ‘like a king’ in Nigeria to being followed by an Arsenal fan in his car, life has changed dramatically for the young forward, who is benefiting from the advice of his uncle Jay-Jay Okocha

Adjusting to life in the Premier League fast lane has been an eye-opener for Alex Iwobi. He still has to suppress the urge to beam when the television cameras pan down the lineup of players in the tunnel before a game. Look serious, Alex, he reminds himself, even if he is exhilarated inside.

Away from the pitch, dealing with attention is a new experience in itself. Whether it is a stranger bowling up to him in a shop while he is buying trainers for a friend to impersonate his goal celebration, or a fan following his car for miles while he was driving away from the Emirates with his mum, Iwobi is doing his utmost to take it all in his steady stride.

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Badminton among sports to lose Tokyo 2020 funding from UK Sport

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:33:44 GMT2016-12-09T14:33:44Z

• Badminton hit despite medal success at Rio Olympics
• Archery, fencing, weightlifting and wheelchair rugby also hit

Badminton was the big loser after UK Sport announced its investment in Olympic and Paralympic sports for Tokyo 2020.

Badminton has had its funding cut despite Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge winning bronze to secure Britain’s first men’s doubles medal at Rio this year.

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India’s batsmen hit back after Jos Buttler shores up England on day two

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:10:28 GMT2016-12-09T11:10:28Z

• England 400; India 146-1
Full scorecard from day two of the fourth Test

Given that they have to win this Test to have a chance of levelling the series, this was a grim day for England’s tourists. They did not play too badly: Jos Buttler shepherded the tail impressively when they batted, then the bowlers and fielders, gathering the red dust of Mumbai on their whites all the while, toiled honestly enough when in the field.

But the figures make gloomy reading for a side that have to win. Four hundred is not a bad score but at the close of the second day India had batted for 52 overs and they have 146 runs on the board with just a solitary wicket down. Virat Kohli has yet to be enticed to the crease.

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Cristiano Ronaldo reveals £191m income after tax evasion allegations

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:34:11 GMT2016-12-09T15:34:11Z

• Real Madrid forward’s agents publish details of 2015 income online
• Ronaldo has denied claims he used offshore companies in BVI

The agency representing Cristiano Ronaldo has published details of the Real Madrid forward’s income as evidence that he has paid all of his taxes, with the former Manchester United player declaring an astonishing £191m in 2015.

Last week, GestiFute, the company founded by Ronaldo’s and United manager José Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, denied that its clients are involved in any tax evasion after a media consortium reported that it had used tax havens in the British Virgin Islands to handle tens of millions of euros in earnings.

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London Welsh’s plight is sad but storied past means all is not lost | Richard Williams

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:54:27 GMT2016-12-09T13:54:27Z

This week the 131-year-old club accepted voluntary liquidation, but heart can be taken from their wonderful history and the example of their neighbours Richmond

The red dragon was still fluttering above the clubhouse at Old Deer Park this week as the veterans of Richmond Lawn Tennis Club, suitably swaddled against the chill, played gentle mixed doubles on their new all‑weather courts. In the shadow of the tall pagoda, a benign sentinel on the other side of the wall separating the playing fields from the botanical wonderland of Kew Gardens, a lone groundsman steered his tractor back and forth, the rotating tines of his aerator cutting into the firm going. In the mid-morning gloom, a couple of cricketers were practising in the nets.

All perfectly normal on this piece of land, once a park attached to Elizabeth I’s Richmond Palace and still owned by the Crown Estates. Except that by the entrance on Kew Road, above the turnstiles with their cracked glass and broken locks, the signboard that normally provides information on London Welsh’s next fixture was ominously blank.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 08:48:50 GMT2016-12-09T08:48:50Z

Will Toby Alderweireld be key against Manchester United? Will Stoke apply the handbrake at Arsenal? And who’s hoping for a Kevin Nolan Christmas?

Two tentatively improving teams seek to confirm progress at Old Trafford. Despite a series of frustrating draws, Manchester United have found an encouraging attacking groove in recent weeks and are turning into a very different, and much more vibrant, team than they were under Louis van Gaal. So Toby Alderweireld’s return to action for Tottenham in midweek was well timed as Spurs are likely to need their best centre-back at Old Trafford on Sunday. If Alderweireld can get back up to speed almost immediately, then Spurs could come away with a valuable result, as they too have shown signs of improved attacking – thanks mainly to Harry Kane. If Eric Bailly is fit enough after his injury-enforced absence to play as well as he did on his return to action in the Europa League on Thursday, then José Mourinho would be well-advised to start the Ivorian. Paul Doyle

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Why Alan Pardew knows he will be butt of jokes as he heads back to Hull | Louise Taylor

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:03:13 GMT2016-12-09T14:03:13Z

The Crystal Palace manager disgraced himself by headbutting David Meyler at the KCom Stadium when in charge of a listing Newcastle United in 2014, and his Selhurst Park reign looks to be in similarly choppy waters

Alan Pardew does not really do sheepish but if and, almost certainly when, he comes face to face with David Meyler on Saturday Crystal Palace’s invariably assured manager will surely look a little uncomfortable.

There might be a slightly awkward handshake and, perhaps, a rueful smile as Pardew returns to the scene of the ‘crime’ and relives the awful afternoon of 1 March 2014 when he inexplicably headbutted the Hull City midfielder.

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The forgotten story of … Jeff Hall, the footballer whose death turned tide against polio | Simon Burnton

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:15:26 GMT2016-12-09T10:15:26Z

It took the sudden passing of the 28-year-old England right-back in 1959 to get a generation pouring into clinics for inoculation against a disease that in the previous 10 years had killed over 3,000 people in England and Wales

On the face of it there was nothing particularly memorable about Birmingham City’s 1-1 draw at relegation-bound Portsmouth in March 1959 but for the sense of disappointment the visitors took from it. “Blues did themselves no credit in this so-casual stroll in the sun,” wrote Dennis Shaw in Birmingham’s Sports Argus. “Portsmouth did all they could to show why they have not won a league game since November. Blues were little better. After shooting into the lead shortly before the interval they just hadn’t the skill, and the drive, nor the determination to run up a hefty total. On a pitch like concrete the ball was ballooned back and forth over the halfway line like a ping-pong game.”

At right-back for City, making his 227th league appearance for the club, was 28-year-old Jeff Hall. Two days later he was diagnosed with polio, and within a fortnight he was dead.

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NFL continues London drive with four regular-season games in 2017

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:48:16 GMT2016-12-09T13:48:16Z

• ‘London is an amazing city,’ says NFL commissioner
• Teams and venues to be announced on 13 December

The NFL is adding yet another London game next year in what may be a sign the league is becoming more serious about placing a franchise in the city. On Fridaythe NFL announced they will play four games in the city, but did not name the stadiums or teams saying they will make a formal announcement on Tuesday.

Adding the fourth game is a significant development in the NFL’s attempts to build a European market because it shows they are still exploring the city’s potential as a franchise city. In February, a top league official told the Guardian the NFL wants to gradually move toward playing the equivalent of a team’s eight-game home schedule in London to see if the interest from UK fans is there to support a team full time. Moving from the three games played this year to half of a season slate seems like a far bigger commitment than going from two games to three which the league did before the 2014 season.

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David Warner rescues Australia with another ton in win over New Zealand

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:15:13 GMT2016-12-09T10:15:13Z

  • Australia 264- 8; New Zealand 147 (36.1 overs) | Australia win by 117 runs
  • Warner’s 156 from 128 balls helps Australia seal series whitewash

David Warner destroyed New Zealand and led Australia to a morale-boosting series sweep of their one-day cricket series.

After rescuing the Australian innings in Friday’s dead rubber at the MCG, Warner came within one ball of becoming only the 11th batsman to carry his bat through a one-day international.

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AFC Bournemouth begin search for new stadium in time for 2020-21 season

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:46:13 GMT2016-12-09T12:46:13Z

• Premier League club announce plans to leave stadium of 106 years
• ‘Club will not be held to ransom over existing site,’ says chief executive

AFC Bournemouth have announced plans to move from their stadium site of 106 years and hope to have built a new stadium by the start of the 2020-21 season. The Premier League club released a statement on Friday in which they expressed their frustrations in their attempts to buy the current stadium back from Stuctadene, a London-based property company, whom Bournemouth currently lease the Vitality Stadium from.

The Bournemouth chief executive, Neill Blake, in a statement on behalf of the club’s board of directors, said the club “feel we have no other option but to find a new site” and are working with Bournemouth Borough Council to “identify a suitable location”.

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Anthony Joshua shuns table-throwing but admits ‘this is fighting not tennis’

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:30:12 GMT2016-12-08T22:30:12Z

• IBF heavyweight champion eschews shenanigans with Eric Molina
• Joshua: ‘When it happens, it seems it’s what some people want to see’

Don King was not in the room on Thursday, but his travelling surrogates did their raucous best to provoke Anthony Joshua into the sort of response that had illuminated the previous day’s press conference, starring the subsequently punished Dereck “Table-thrower” Chisora and Dillian “Sit-tight” Whyte.

Joshua, the IBF heavyweight champion, ignored the taunts of the American promoter’s hired help and smiled serenely within jabbing distance of his latest challenger, the equally polite Texan Eric Molina, who has entrusted his career to the excitable King, who may yet blow into town to stir a few winter leaves.

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Harry Arter: ‘Some days I feel like a normal person. But then it will just hit you’

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:45:25 GMT2016-12-08T17:45:25Z

Saturday marks a year since Bournemouth’s midfielder and his fiancée Rachel lost their daughter. He reflects on 12 months of pain, anger, envy and finally happiness – at thoughts of a child gone too soon and another due in February

A few weeks had passed when Harry Arter summoned the strength to look inside the memory box that would unlock so many emotions. Rachel, his fiancée, had been gently encouraging him to do so for a while, yet Arter was mentally unable to take that step as he wrestled with the devastating loss of the stillborn daughter he had never set eyes on. Now, in a quiet moment at home, he felt ready.

“I looked in the box without Rachel knowing because I wanted to look on my own,” Arter says. “I remember I was sobbing – it was the strangest feeling that I’ve ever had in my life, looking at a picture of a little baby that I’ve never seen but loving her so much at the same time. I just saw a beautiful little girl, who I felt so proud of straight away.”

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British Cycling must come clean over Shane Sutton and Jess Varnish

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:13:29 GMT2016-12-08T21:13:29Z

Governing body’s latest mishap is yet another example of its lack of openness and transparency

For all its successes on the track in 2016, British Cycling continues to lurch unsteadily through a series of public-relations mishaps off it – many of them of its own making.

Yet even by its standards, contriving to upset Jess Varnish and Shane Sutton in an internal review designed to find the inner truth of their dispute – while also generating more fears about its lack of openness – is not a good look.

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Sleaford proves Labour isn’t connecting with the 52% – or the 48% | John Harris

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:16:27 GMT2016-12-09T12:16:27Z

First came Richmond. Now this dismal byelection result shows the party is all at sea on Brexit-tossed political waters, left behind by a tide of change

“Clearly for us, this was not the result we might have hoped for,” says a senior Labour MP of the party’s grim showing in the Sleaford and North Hykeham byelection. “The challenge for us was because of Brexit. Everything was about Brexit. The messages about the A&E, the NHS, the messages about infrastructure, all of that got lost to an extent in the swirl around Brexit.”

Well, there it is: pesky old Brexit. If only Britain were not in the midst of its most highly charged political period for decades, if only leaving the EU had not captured the political imagination of a sizable part of Labour’s old core vote, if only many remain voters weren’t cottoning on to the much more primary-coloured message of the Lib Dems … well, then all would be for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

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The Grand Tour is everything that was wrong with Clarkson-era Top Gear

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:15:51 GMT2016-12-09T13:15:51Z

Clarkson, Hammond and May have too much cash now – and they’re splashing it on pointless explosions and tired scripts. Will the BBC have the last laugh?

When Top Gear’s Clarkson era spluttered to a steak-related end last year, even its staunchest fans – and, as the petitions to reinstate Clarkson proved, it still had a vast number of those – must have grudgingly accepted that the motorcade of man-child mayhem was past its prime. Its final series wasn’t bereft of fun segments (Hammond being dropped into the British Columbian wilderness was one highlight), but even these were blighted with the issues that had long outweighed its initial knockabout charm: bloated scenes of forced scripted comedy, an over-reliance on Hollywood visuals, and carefully plotted structured-reality taking the place of anything really happening. Glimmers of the trio’s off-the-cuff banter were there, but you had to squint to see them.

Nevertheless, when Clarkson, Hammond and May found themselves cast off, the acquisition of their services seemed like the surest deal a rival service could possibly make. At its demise, Top Gear still had worldwide viewing figures in the region of 350 million, making it the most-viewed factual (add your own air-quotes) programme in the world. A bidding war was inevitable and, even at a reported $160m, Amazon’s purchase seemed like a good deal for everyone. It got a vast pool of potential fans to cough up for Prime; those same fans still got their Top Gear, plus the tantalising possibility of goods delivered the same day; and the presenters, without the BBC’s finger for ever wagging in their direction, might finally get to make the show they always wanted to.

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Don’t sneer at northerners for voting for Brexit – there are sound reasons | Helen Pidd

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:11:19 GMT2016-12-09T13:11:19Z

While the north gets crumbs, the south-east gets whole loaves. People in the north can see that the system just isn’t working for them

They won’t admit it, but there is a pervasive idea among some Londoners, particularly the adopted ones, that the cleverest people from the north of England all end up in the capital, like particularly urbane moths drawn to the irresistible bright lights of the big city.

Exiled northerners are terrible for it, flaunting their Lancastrian or Yorkshire credentials whenever there is an opportunity, wanging on about the Wigans and Bradfords they left behind at least 20 years ago.

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Kellyanne Conway and liberal feminists: two sides of the same coin | Arwa Mahdai

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:00:28 GMT2016-12-09T12:00:28Z

The Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer kind of ‘female empowerment’ is just as flawed as its rightwing version. Both sidestep politics time and time again

Related: Feminists misunderstood the presidential election from day one | Liza Featherstone

There is no better example of modern feminism in action than Kellyanne Conway. Sure, she may have recently suggested that mothers shouldn’t take jobs in the White House, but those are just words. Look at her actions; look at her life!

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Africa is being choked. But corporations leave their grime on us all | Lola Okolosie

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:41:58 GMT2016-12-09T13:41:58Z

The filthy practice of exporting highly polluting fuel to Africa is symbolic of big business the world over: where profit is king, human life becomes trivial

Dense, dirty air laced with grease best describes the atmosphere of most Lagos streets. Drive from one corner of this great west African city to another and in no time you will find surfaces lightly dusted, like a soft sprinkling of icing on cakes. Under the half moons of fingernails, thick grime settles.

Related: Dirty diesel from European companies fuels pollution in Africa – in pictures

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Cameron can’t be a victim of populism – the term no longer means anything | Simon Jenkins

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:02:58 GMT2016-12-09T11:02:58Z

Politicians and philosophers, proceed with extreme caution. The political words we all learned in childhood – left, right, liberal, conservative – are turning to dust

Poor David Cameron was defeated, he says, by “populism”. It was not by people who disagreed with him or by his political enemies or those he had offended. It was an evil called populism. What on earth did he mean?

The answer is near meaningless. Populism has become a euphemism for exploiting the people’s will, supposedly by facile, short-term solutions to complex problems. For a politician to protest against such exploitation is rich. It is woven into the history of politics.

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From Bieber to Rick Astley: in 2016 there's no room for snobbery in music

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:00:29 GMT2016-12-09T13:00:29Z

We live in an age where all tunes are created equal, and Justin Timberlake has as much merit as Thom Yorke. It’s time music criticism shed its superiority complex

Related: Rick Astley review – 80s icon returns unfeasibly intact

The end-of-year list is one of music journalism’s more peculiar traditions. For writers, the process of ranking 12 months’ worth of releases is generally a thankless task; for readers the result simply serves as an opportunity to leave outraged comments lamenting every overlooked Elysia Crampton album and Future mixtape that got lost in the post. You can’t please everyone, so with that in mind it’s unsurprising that a few publications should let off steam by declaring the worst things they’ve heard this year as well as the best.

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How do you change a macho parliament? Talk about the reality of rape | Emer O’Toole

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:39:41 GMT2016-12-09T12:39:41Z

By describing traumas they have suffered, brave female MPs are challenging the apathy of mainstream politics and proving that the personal is political

Michelle Thomson’s measured, moving account of being raped when she 14, given at a House of Commons debate yesterday, was testament not only to her great bravery but also to the importance of the personal in parliamentary politics. In her speech, on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Thomson, a Scottish MP, calmly shattered rape myths: she was wearing jeans, not a mini-skirt; she didn’t fight or flee because – as is common in threatening situations – she froze; she didn’t report the attack because she was ashamed; and – as in 90% of cases – the rapist was not a stranger in a dark alley, but someone she knew and trusted. The usual cheers and jeers of the house were replaced by empathetic silence.

Earlier this year, Labour MP Jess Phillips marked International Women’s Day by reading out the names and ages of all 121 women killed by men in the UK since International Women’s Day 2015. It took seven minutes. The sobering litany insisted that we call each woman to mind, recognise her humanity, and confront the male violence that ended her life. Phillips insisted we see a pattern.

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It’s not just a Christmas ad – it’s a Polish grandpa’s heartbreaking gift to Britain | Jakub Krupa

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:08:17 GMT2016-12-09T10:08:17Z

At first I cursed the makers of the hit commercial for making me cry. Then I realised that the story reveals so much about the lives of migrants

Come December, festive lights, music and adverts make us all suitably emotional about Christmas before the actual day, when the reality often involves getting annoyed with everyone after just an hour in the same room. This year there is an unexpected hit making millions of people teary: a commercial about – wait for it – the experience of migration.

Related: How a Polish ad out-Christmased John Lewis's bouncing badger

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Why some papers kept quiet about Boris Johnson's row with Theresa May

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:45:24 GMT2016-12-09T10:45:24Z

The Times, Sun, Mail and Express refused to attack either the prime minister or the foreign secretary at a time of such sensitivity over Brexit negotiations

News editors at BBC TV and ITV thought the Guardian’s revelation on Thursday of Boris Johnson’s statement about Saudi Arabia fighting a proxy war merited big coverage on their bulletins.

Similarly, radio news editors on major talk stations gave the story top billing throughout the day, and into the evening, following the prime minister’s unprecedented slapping down of her foreign secretary.

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I’ve scaled the summit of peak stuff. This Christmas I’m climbing down | Gaby Hinsliff

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:00:22 GMT2016-12-09T07:00:22Z

It’s easy to buy expensive things we don’t need. This year my family is trying something different

Do you remember Peak Stuff? We reached it back in January, if that helps jog the memory. Or at least that was when Ikea’s chief sustainability officer Steve Howard declared that so many people now have so many material belongings that we’re reaching saturation point. Drowning in stuff. Sick to the back teeth of stuff. (Apart, obviously, from those who don’t have enough of even the most basic stuff, including food and a roof over their heads, but then they presumably are not Ikea’s target customers.)

The gist of it, anyway, was that awareness of the environmental and human costs of making things is making people faintly uneasy about buying whatever they crave and then swapping it for something new the minute they get bored.

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Where are all the women, Wikipedia? | Laura Bates

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:53:32 GMT2016-12-09T12:53:32Z

The gamechanging inventor Margaret E Knight is summed up in only 500 words on the site, where men make up 83% of notable profiles – and most of the editors too

It is often said that women have been written out of history. We have all heard of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, but few are familiar with their contemporary, Margaret E Knight, a prolific Amerian inventor who held over 20 patents and was decorated by Queen Victoria. Knight created her first device, a safety mechanism for textile machines, after witnessing a factory accident aged just 12. She later invented a machine that created the flat-bottomed paper bags still used in grocery stores today. When she died in 1914, an obituary described her as a “woman Edison”. Somewhat dispiritingly, she has also been described as “the most famous 19th-century woman inventor”. But how many of us know her name?

If you were to try and research Knight’s life and work, you might struggle. Her Wikipedia profile is just under 500 words long; Edison’s is more than 8,500. Of course, Edison’s contribution to the development of the electric light warrants a significant write-up, and his legacy deserves a lengthy profile. But his Wikipedia page also contains minute detail about his early life, diets and views on religion. By contrast, information on Knight’s page is scant, though she too invented an item still widely used today. Her profile lacks many details (including any mention of her first invention), which are available elsewhere online, particularly on websites dedicated to commemorating the work of female inventors. That such resources exist says a lot about the erasure of women such as Knight from more mainstream information sources.

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In these days of despair for the left, there are still reasons for hope | Martin Kettle

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 06:00:21 GMT2016-12-09T06:00:21Z

As the writer Zadie Smith makes clear, the electoral bodyblows of 2016 could prove to be moments of inspiration

Receiving a literary prize in Berlin two days after Donald Trump’s election, Zadie Smith reflected ruefully that it is hard to find happiness in the face of immense political setbacks. “These are the darkest political times I have ever known,” Smith observed in her acceptance speech – republished this month in the New York Review of Books. As “President Trump rises in the west, a united Europe drops below the horizon”.

Related: Does the left have a future? | John Harris

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Calls for American unity are misplaced. We must fight on for justice | Jessica Valenti

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:30:28 GMT2016-12-09T12:30:28Z

It’s hard to know where to start when faced with the prospect of Donald Trump’s presidency. The answer is not seeking alliance with those who devalue our lives

As the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Donald Trump come to terms with having elected a shameless bigot and liar as our next president, there’s been quite a bit of pontificating about how best to make progress under his administration. Do we pay attention to tweets or cabinet appointments? Focus on making sure the white supremacists celebrating Trump’s win aren’t normalized in the media? Take on fake news?

Related: Time magazine didn't give Trump devil horns. God did | Jonathan Jones

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Brexit will affect the young more than anyone. Heed our voices | Joe Porter

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:00:24 GMT2016-12-09T09:00:24Z

The Undivided campaign draws its members from both sides of the referendum debate. We are resolved to get the best Brexit for people under 30

As the supreme court deliberates over who has the right to trigger article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU, the political class is in disarray as old party loyalties are replaced by a new tribalism around hard or soft, open or closed Brexit.

Related: If you’re young and angry about the EU referendum, you’re right to be | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

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Time to think the unthinkable about President Le Pen | Timothy Garton Ash

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:08:16 GMT2016-12-08T19:08:16Z

Logic is against Marine Le Pen, as it was with Trump and Brexit. No wonder people are weighing up the possible repercussions

Could President Marine Le Pen trigger article 50 without a parliamentary vote? Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, that is, to take France out of the European Union, following Britain. Such is the question I find myself discussing in Paris with leading French experts. Provisional conclusion: since France, unlike Britain, is a presidential democracy, she could probably do it herself initially, but it would then require parliament to vote a revision of the French constitution. The mere fact that my French friends raise the question, even very hypothetically and three-quarters-jokingly, is a sign of the times. What was it Rousseau said? “To be sane in a world of madmen is in itself a kind of madness.”

Related: François Fillon is as big a threat to liberal values as Marine Le Pen | Natalie Nougayrède

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The focus on maths and science doesn’t add up. The arts must be in the equation | Kester Brewin

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:30:22 GMT2016-12-09T07:30:22Z

Throwing resources at science, technology, engineering and maths in England hasn’t worked. We need to reaffirm the importance of a more rounded education

As a long-time maths teacher, the latest assessments by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and Programme for International Student Assessment make for tough reading. They indicate that there is little evidence of real gains having been made in maths and science in England over the past four years.

Related: UK schools fail to climb international league table

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Bertolucci’s justification for the Last Tango rape scene is bogus. It’s called ‘acting’ for a reason | Jessica Tovey

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 04:36:17 GMT2016-12-09T04:36:17Z

Actor Jessica Tovey explains that without trust, consent and transparency on set, traumatic scenes can have traumatic repercussions

Once, before filming an intimate scene, my director sat my male co-star and me down with some Barbie dolls. She wanted to take us through exactly how we were going to do it on screen – how we would position our bodies, where the camera would be. She wanted to make us feel comfortable about something that is awkward and difficult to shoot by empowering us with knowledge about what we were about to do.

I’ve experienced similar care when shooting scenes of violence – when playing roles where I was kidnapped, assaulted, bound and gagged; ones where I had chairs hurled at me and had been thrown across a room. There were always strict protocols in place to avoid injury – but even then, when the camera rolled and my fellow actor performed with all of the aggression required to make their performance believable, my adrenaline kicked in. My innate fight or flight instinct made it difficult to remember it was all pretend, and as a result the experience felt close to reality.

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Help! I'm caught in a Twitter war and I'm losing

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:52:54 GMT2016-12-09T05:52:54Z

Twitter’s inclination towards outraged pile-ons is partly a failure of the form. But: you will get through this

Firstly, my condolences. There are few online experiences worse than having your notifications stormed by what feels like a pitchfork-wielding mob out to wilfully misunderstand your point.

It’s like coming under the Eye of Sauron, when innocuous banter with strangers and funny videos of dogs have led you to momentarily forget you’re in Mordor.

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The housing poverty trap means work doesn't pay

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 06:36:21 GMT2016-12-09T06:36:21Z

A toxic trio of high rents, low pay and cuts to in-work benefits have created a perfect storm, with housing costs fueling poverty

Is your housing making you poor? This week’s report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) warned that while overall poverty rates remain largely static, the headline figures mask increasing insecurity in many people’s housing and employment conditions.

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

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A challenge to Facebook’s reach and power is long overdue | John Harris

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:44:36 GMT2016-12-08T19:44:36Z

Mark Zuckerberg’s company feeds utopian delusions, but in reality it is just a billionaire’s media outlet grinding out a fortune

“As I look around and I travel around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against this idea of a connected world and a global community. I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others.”

Related: How Facebook powers money machines for obscure political 'news' sites

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Ed Miliband tells Owen Jones: 'The Tories don't know what they want from Brexit' – video interview

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:39:43 GMT2016-12-09T11:39:43Z

Ed Miliband tells Owen Jones that Theresa May’s secretive approach to Brexit negotiations risks dividing the UK even further at a time when the country is feeling huge discontent with the political system. The former Labour leader urges his successor, Jeremy Corbyn, to focus on issues that can unite remainers and leavers

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No Bregrets: Sunderland after the vote to leave the European Union – video

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:33:35 GMT2016-12-08T11:33:35Z

Sunderland’s surprise vote for Brexit was seen by remain supporters as turkeys voting for Christmas. But now that Nissan, the car maker that employs 7,000 people directly and a further 40,000 in the supply chain, has announced that it is staying in its Sunderland plant, Helen Pidd speaks to north-east voters and asks how they feel now about leaving the European Union

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Trump Force One v Air Force One: how do they compare? – video

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:48:10 GMT2016-12-08T16:48:10Z

President-elect Donald Trump has called for Boeing to scrap its $4bn contract to update the government’s Air Force One fleet. He says the deal is ‘ridiculous’ and that he would rather fly in his own plane, a Boeing 757-200. So how do the two aircrafts compare?

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Greg Lake of King Crimson and ELP fame dies aged 69 – video obituary

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:37:06 GMT2016-12-08T16:37:06Z

Greg Lake, one of the key figures in the prog rock boom of the 1970s, has died at the age of 69 on Wednesday. He was known as a third of the prog supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but first came to prominence as a founding member of King Crimson. For non-prog fans, Lake was best known as the maker of one of the UK’s most enduring Christmas hits, I Believe in Father Christmas

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After Calais: what has happened to the refugee children? – video

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:05:05 GMT2016-12-08T07:05:05Z

Six weeks after the Calais migrant camp was demolished, unaccompanied minors scattered around France are still waiting to hear of their fate from the Home Office. Lisa O’Carroll, Mat Heywood and John Domokos meet one young refugee who fled death in Darfur desperate to be reunited with his radiographer brother in Liverpool

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Sleaford Mods on Brexit: 'You can't ignore things any more' – video

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:46:21 GMT2016-12-08T08:46:21Z

In early 2014 the Guardian hailed duo Sleaford Mods as ‘the most uncompromising British protest music made in years’. Here, we go backstage at a Sleaford Mods gig in their hometown of Nottingham to hear what singer Jason Williamson thinks about Brexit and the politicians drawing up the rules, while fans applaud the band for representing the world they live in

  • WARNING: contains swearwords
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If fascism arrived tomorrow, would we recognise it? – video

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

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

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The Story So Far - Brexit Means... Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The 24-hour emergency hotline for Syrian refugees – video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amir Khan’s wife accuses in-laws of bullying and abuse

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:39:01 GMT2016-12-09T12:39:01Z

Faryal Makhdoom Khan claims boxer’s family tried to wreck their marriage and says she will not be silenced

The wife of boxer Amir Khan has said she will not stay silent after alleging that she suffered abuse by her in-laws while she was pregnant.

Faryal Makhdoom Khan made the claims of bullying in a series of online posts, saying that she represents the voice of “every abused woman”.

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Private schools in England propose 10,000 free places

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:39:27 GMT2016-12-09T09:39:27Z

Schools respond to threat to charitable status with plan for means-tested places costing government £5,500 a year per pupil

Independent schools in England want to offer 10,000 free places a year to children who would otherwise attend state schools, under a plan that would require tens of millions of pounds in government subsidies.

The Independent Schools Council, representing 1,200 private schools, says it could provide 10,000 means-tested places if the government pays an annual subsidy of £5,500 for each pupil – a figure similar to the per pupil funding state schools currently receive.

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Troubles envoy warns of damage from row about prosecuting UK troops

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:29:24 GMT2016-12-09T13:29:24Z

Denis Bradley says full disclosure of secret files will expose ex-informers and policing in Northern Ireland risks being polluted

Instructing the Police Service of Northern Ireland to investigate British soldiers over deaths during the Troubles risks “polluting” policing in the region, a former envoy between the IRA and the UK government has warned.

Denis Bradley, who later co-chaired the Consultative Group on the Past tasked with dealing with the Troubles’ legacy, also predicted that full disclosure of all intelligence files relating to the conflict would expose the identities of thousands of informers both inside the IRA and loyalist terror groups.

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Sadiq Khan: government 'abandoning passengers' on Southern rail

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:09:56 GMT2016-12-09T13:09:56Z

London mayor calls for rail unions to cancel strikes planned for next week as drivers’ overtime ban causes chaos for commuters

The London mayor has accused the government of “abandoning passengers” on Southern rail, on a morning when hundreds of thousands of commuters suffered fresh chaos as the impact of a train drivers’ overtime ban hit home.

Sadiq Khan called on the rail unions to cancel strikes planned for next week but strongly criticised the government for “washing their hands of the crisis”.

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NHS paramedics to get pay rises of at least £4,400

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:45:45 GMT2016-12-09T15:45:45Z

About 12,000 workers, including ambulance crews, will move up pay scale with starting salary increasing to £26,302

Paramedics are set for pay rises worth at least £4,400 after the Department of Health and NHS Employers accepted trade unions’ concerns that their members were not being paid properly for their life-saving work.

About 12,000 of the health workers – who are trained in emergency medical care and first aid, but not to the level of a qualified doctor – will be affected by the agreement, which will increase starting salaries from £21,909 to £26,302.

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Gender pay gap checker reveals the good, the bad and the scandalous

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:26:23 GMT2016-12-09T13:26:23Z

New ONS tool allows workers to see the disparity in pay on a job-by-job basis – from fishmongers to fitness instructors, cleaners to cooks

If you are a female traffic warden or probation officer read on for good news. If you are a female chief executive you may want to look away now.

The UK’s stubbornly wide gender pay gap is well-known. Almost half a century on from the gender pay act, there is still an 18.1% difference in average pay between men and women. Of course, such average figures for all employees tell a narrow story. They don’t, for example, account for the fact more women work in lower-paid jobs or sectors.

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Police to investigate MP Michelle Thomson’s rape allegation

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:11:57 GMT2016-12-09T11:11:57Z

Scottish police say they will contact the Edinburgh West MP after she revealed she was raped aged 14 by someone she knew

Police Scotland have confirmed that they will contact MP Michelle Thomson after she moved colleagues to tears in the Commons on Thursday when she revealed harrowing details of her rape at the age of 14 and its subsequent impact on her life.

Speaker John Bercow told Thomson that her testimony had “left an indelible impression” on the House after she described how she was attacked in a wooded area 37 years ago by someone she knew as she walked home from a youth event.

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David Cameron: Brexit vote part of 'movement of unhappiness'

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:51:28 GMT2016-12-09T07:51:28Z

Election of Trump and decision to leave EU require ‘course correction’ for the west, former prime minister says in US speech

David Cameron has portrayed himself as a victim of populism but defended his decision to call a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU in his first major speech since leaving office.

Cameron launched what is likely to be lucrative lecture tour of the US by acknowledging that the decision to leave the EU was part of a “movement of unhappiness” about the state of the world.

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Glasgow bin lorry crash: private prosecution against driver rejected

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:44:19 GMT2016-12-09T11:44:19Z

Judges at appeal court in Edinburgh say putting Harry Clarke on trial would open the floodgates for similar prosecutions

Relatives of those who died in the Glasgow bin lorry crash have failed in their attempt to bring a private prosecution against the driver who killed six people after he fainted at the wheel.

Senior judges at the appeal court in Edinburgh rejected the case – brought by the family of three of the crash victims – that 59-year-old Harry Clarke should be put on trial in an exceptionally rare private criminal prosecution, after warning that to allow it would “open the floodgates” for similar prosecutions.

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FCA to crack down on crowdfunding

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 08:53:42 GMT2016-12-09T08:53:42Z

City regulator says it has concerns about peer-to-peer lending, which is now a £3.4bn market in the UK

The City regulator has announced a crackdown on crowdfunding – the fast-growing sector that lets businesses and individuals raise money from online investors.

The Financial Conduct Authority said it had concerns about loan-based businesses, also known as peer-to-peer lenders, and investment-based platforms. It said it was examining online alternative finance to take account of the UK market’s rapid growth from £1.7bn of loans, investments and donations in 2014 to £3.4bn last year.

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Last post dates for Christmas 2016 delivered by Royal Mail

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:43:51 GMT2016-12-09T11:43:51Z

This Saturday is the deadline for some countries, while you can wait as late as 20 December for the UK

Senders of Christmas cards to Australia, New Zealand and, bizarrely, Greece, need to get them in the post by Saturday 10 December if they are to arrive by the 25th, according to Royal Mail. Tuesday 20 December is the last date for second-class UK deliveries.

Those to Germany, Italy, Poland must go next Wednesday (14 Dec) while most other European countries are either next Friday or Saturday 17. If you are yet to buy your cards, we recommend a Guardian Money best-buy – the handmade cards from Sreepur in Bangladesh.

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BBC could make Planet Earth III, says producer

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:29:12 GMT2016-12-09T10:29:12Z

Broadcaster would be ‘crazy to count out’ another series after huge success of Planet Earth II, narrated by David Attenborough

It has become one of the few feelgood moments of 2016, a weekly instalment of delight that has attracted more than 12 million viewers every week.

As Planet Earth II draws to its conclusion on Sunday, the producer of the spectacular wildlife series has hinted that the BBC could return with a third instalment – though it won’t be any time soon.

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Mew-turn by Cabinet Office as government gets two new cats

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:31:33 GMT2016-12-09T12:31:33Z

UK government office welcomes Evie and Ossie despite saying two months ago that it was ‘definitely not’ bringing in another cat

The Cabinet Office has welcomed two new cats, despite insisting two months ago that it was “definitely not” getting another feline to help deal with the continuing problem of rats and mice.

The cats, Ossie and Evie, arrived in time for celebratory glasses of champagne to mark the centenary this month of the founding of the Cabinet Office during the first world war, and the publication of Anthony Seldon’s history of the office and the 11 cabinet secretaries, The Cabinet Office 1916-2016.

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Amazon Go checkout-free stores look set to come to UK

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:54:59 GMT2016-12-09T11:54:59Z

Retailer has registered British trademark for concept, which is opening in the US early next year

Amazon appears to be preparing to open checkout-free grocery stores in Britain after registering a UK trademark for its Amazon Go format.

The online retailer opened its first bricks and mortar foodstore on 5 December near its headquarters in Seattle. Amazon employees can shop there and it will open to the public early next year.

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Isis survivor says UK could save lives of Yazidi women by admitting refugees

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:00:24 GMT2016-12-09T09:00:24Z

Nadia Murad, who escaped sexual enslavement by Islamic State, urges UK to follow Germany in offering refuge to Yazidi women and girls persecuted in Iraq

Britain could save the lives of thousands of women and girls if it followed Germany’s lead in allowing refugees from the Yazidi community into the UK, according to a UN goodwill ambassador and survivor of sexual enslavement by Islamic State.

Related: UK government faces calls to shelter Yazidi refugees persecuted by Isis

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UK trade gap narrows despite fears of Brexit slowdown

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:40:23 GMT2016-12-09T11:40:23Z

Rise in exports in October fuels hopes economy will end year strongly – but construction output suffers surprise fall

News of a pick-up in exports has fanned hopes the UK economy will finish the year on a strong note, confounding earlier fears that the Brexit vote would spark a sharp slowdown.

Official figures showed the UK’s trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed more than expected in October as exports rose and imports fell. But statisticians said there was little evidence that the weak pound – which makes UK goods cheaper overseas – was boosting exports.

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Banks could face more PPI payouts as FCA delays deadline decision

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:44:26 GMT2016-12-09T10:44:26Z

Watchdog’s move means final deadline for claims is likely to be pushed back by a few months from mid-2019

Banks might have to pay out more in compensation to victims of the £40bn payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal after the financial regulator delayed a decision on setting a deadline for complaints.

The Financial Conduct Authority said in August it was considering a mid-2019 cut-off for PPI claims and would decide before the end of 2016. The proposed deadline was more than a year later than the industry had expected, raising the prospect of more claims being allowed.

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Capita to replace staff with robots to save money

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:29:14 GMT2016-12-08T19:29:14Z

Outsourcing giant to axe 2,000 jobs and use ‘proprietary robotic solutions’ after clients cut spending following Brexit vote

A British outsourcing company whose contracts include collecting the BBC licence fee is to replace staff with robots as it slashes costs.

Capita, a FTSE 100-listed firm that also runs the London congestion charge, said it needed to axe 2,000 jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive in response to poor trading.

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ECB reportedly rules out extension for Monte dei Paschi fundraising - business live

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:51:35 GMT2016-12-09T15:51:35Z

ECB rejects Monte dei Paschi delay request - reportUK trade deficit narrows as exports riseCity regulator cracks down on crowdfunding German exports weaker than expectedFTSE rises but European markets are mixedUK construction output falls unexpectedly 3.51pm GMT Over in Greece prime minister Alexis Tsipras has taken creditors aback by announcing a Christmas bonus for pensioners surviving on €800 or less. Helena Smith reports from Athens:It was meant to be a goodwill gesture, announced in the wake of anti-austerity protests at the end of a crippling 24-hour nationwide strike.Instead, prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ declaration of a one off bonus payment to supplement the pensions of some 1.6 million low-income retirees has triggered renewed tensions with the country’s creditors. Under scheme – unveiled in a televised address to the nation late on Thursday – around €600m will be handed to pensioners living on living on €800 or less a month. Greece is under tight stewardship by lenders keeping it afloat. The prospect of another round of pension and wage cuts set as the price of emergency bailout funding has seen Tsipras’ own popularity and that of his leftist-led coalition tumble. 3.19pm GMT Very high #US consumer confidence supports our view that private consumption will continue to be the main growth engine Continue reading...[...]

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Self-harm by children rises steeply in England and Wales

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:01:13 GMT2016-12-09T00:01:13Z

Nearly 19,000 children received hospital treatment for self-harm in 2015 – a 14% increase since 2012

Nearly 19,000 children and young people were treated in hospital in England and Wales after self-harming in the last year, a figure that has risen steeply in recent years, according to a leading children’s charity.

Related: NHS figures show 'shocking' rise in self-harm among young

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I, Daniel Blake sweeps Evening Standard film awards

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:31:58 GMT2016-12-09T00:31:58Z

Ken Loach’s drama wins best British film, best actress and most powerful scene, while Hugh Grant and Kate Beckinsale take acting honours

I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach’s drama about a middle-aged carpenter recovering from a heart attack and trying to navigate the benefits system, has taken best British film at the Evening Standard film awards.

At a ceremony in London hosted by the actor and director Richard Ayoade, the drama also picked up best actress for newcomer Hayley Squires, who plays a single mother also encountering obstacles claiming welfare. It capped the evening by winning the award for most powerful scene, for its harrowing sequence set in a foodbank in which Squires’s character is so hungry she eats from a tin of cold baked beans.

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Sadiq Khan takes Transport for London into new business territory

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:41:04 GMT2016-12-08T22:41:04Z

The London mayor insists he can honour his election pledges by making his transport agency operate more efficiently

Rows about the finances of Transport for London (TfL) were prominent during this year’s election campaign and also a bit odd. For years, Conservatives had claimed that the large and powerful mayoral agency is a bloated bureaucracy in need of ruthless trimming, yet there was the Tory candidate – a Mr Goldsmith, you might recall - insisting that it could not cope with its fares being frozen for four years, while Labour man Sadiq Khan was pledging to transform it into a paragon of enterprise and efficiency.

Seven months on from Khan’s big win, the first TfL business plan of his mayoralty has appeared. The sums are there on paper. So are Khan’s ambitious promises. Political opponents, naturally, say neither add up, with Tory AM Keith Prince worrying that the number crunching bites too deeply into TfL’s reserves and even using the word “socialist” to describe them - on Her Majesty’s BBC too! He also points out, quite correctly, that borrowing is going to soar.

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Court rejects bid to halt Southern train drivers' industrial action

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:52:26 GMT2016-12-08T17:52:26Z

Owners of Southern railway had argued overtime ban and strikes broke European law guaranteeing people’s right to travel

The high court has rejected an attempt by the owners of Southern rail to prevent train drivers from taking industrial action.

The operators of Southern, Govia Thameslink Railway, had argued that the action by members of the Aslef union, which includes an overtime ban as well as impending strikes, was contrary to European law guaranteeing the rights of people to travel and of companies to invest, with GTR being partially owned by the French firm Keolis.

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Tata Steel jobs: regulator warns of pension hurdles

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:31:07 GMT2016-12-08T17:31:07Z

Unions have agreed deal to save 8,000 jobs but company must resolve issues with pension scheme, says watchdog

The Pensions Regulator has warned there are still major hurdles to overcome to secure the future of Tata Steel’s UK pension scheme, which is pivotal for saving the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales.

Tata Steel and trade union leaders have agreed a deal to save 8,000 jobs in the steel industry and the Port Talbot steelworks, with the Indian company committing £1bn of new investment to its UK business.

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Park Geun-hye: South Korean MPs vote to impeach president

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:18:07 GMT2016-12-09T09:18:07Z

Park fights for her political life amid scandal that has made her country’s least popular leader since it became democratic

The South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, is fighting for her political life after MPs on Friday voted by a huge margin to impeach her over a corruption and cronyism scandal that has made her the country’s most unpopular leader since it became a democracy in the late 1980s.

Park, the daughter of a former South Korean dictator, who became the country’s first female president in late 2012, apologised to ministers for her “carelessness” and said she hoped for an early resolution to a political crisis that has engulfed everyone from senior aides in the presidential Blue House to leaders of some of the country’s biggest companies.

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Bung bungle: Italian mayor tells of brazen biscuit-tin bribe

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:06:20 GMT2016-12-09T13:06:20Z

Franco Metta says executive strolled into his office in Puglia and handed over tins containing €20,000 and a Christmas card

Even by the standards of a country wearily accustomed to bribery and corruption, it was a somewhat flagrant breach of legitimate business practice: two biscuit tins, offered to the local mayor as a Christmas gift, filled with €20,000 in banknotes.

The attempted bribery of Franco Metta, the mayor of a small town in Puglia, southern Italy, occurred this week when a waste management executive strode into Metta’s office claiming to have a meeting scheduled and proffering the package with a Christmas card.

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Geert Wilders found guilty of inciting discrimination

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:59:41 GMT2016-12-09T11:59:41Z

Court declines to sentence Dutch far-right leader over comments that were ‘demeaning towards Moroccan population’

The Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders has been found guilty of inciting discrimination against Dutch Moroccans in a verdict that is expected to intensify the debate about migration in the Netherlands.

A panel of three judges ruled that the Freedom party (PVV) leader’s comments in a post-election speech in 2014 were “demeaning and thereby insulting towards the Moroccan population”. Hendrik Steenhuis, chairman of the judges, said the remarks were clearly aimed at an ethnic population group and delivered in a televised speech for maximum effect.

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ECB's quantitative easing programme investing billions in fossil fuels

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:36:07 GMT2016-12-09T13:36:07Z

EU emissions pledge could be undermined by bank’s investments in oil, gas and auto industries, new analysis shows

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) quantitative easing programme is systematically investing billions of euros in the oil, gas and auto industries, according to a new analysis

The ECB has already purchased €46bn (£39bn) of corporate bonds since last June in a bid to boost flagging eurozone growth rates, a figure that some analysts expect to rise to €125bn by next September. On Thursday the bank said it would extend the scheme until 2018.

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Calls for action as 'honour' killings in Jordan show sharp increase

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:31:53 GMT2016-12-09T13:31:53Z

As part of 16-day campaign against gender violence, activists demand stronger penalties for ‘honour’ crimes and an end to imprisonment of at-risk women

On 8 October, an 18-year-old man from the Jordanian city of Madaba was charged with killing his sister as she slept after allegedly finding her with a mobile phone the family didn’t know about. Five days later, two brothers were charged with murdering their sisters aged 27 and 34 at a farm on the outskirts of Jordan’s capital, Amman.

The victims were among five women killed during one week in Jordan for reasons related to family “honour”. Thirty-eight women have been victims of “honour” killings this year. The country typically reports between 15 and 20 such crimes a year, according to Human Rights Watch.

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Ohio 'heartbeat' abortion bill could be test case for overturning Roe v Wade

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:30:29 GMT2016-12-09T12:30:29Z

Just-passed bill stops short of banning abortion from the time a fetus’s heartbeat is detectable and may test the limits of constitutional protections of abortion

The Ohio state legislature threw down the gauntlet this week to the supreme court, passing a new anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill that would ban terminations from as early as six weeks, the most severe restrictions in the country.

Ohio politicians say they were motivated to push through the bill by Donald Trump’s win, believing they might find a more friendly US supreme court that would uphold the law.

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Syrian refugees in Canada lose support one year on: 'How are we going to live?'

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:45:28 GMT2016-12-09T11:45:28Z

Families must find work or enroll in social assistance programs when monthly allowance ends, as Canada responds to transition: ‘We can’t abandon them’

Minutes after her 25-hour flight touched down in Toronto, Shoruk Alsakni burst into tears.

Some four years earlier, she – along with her husband, mother-in-law and six children – had fled the growing violence and terror of Aleppo, ending up in Turkey. Now the family was again starting over – this time in a country she knew almost nothing about.

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Indigenous land rights key to stopping deforestation in Central America

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:37:01 GMT2016-12-09T15:37:01Z

Without their traditional land managers, conservation reserves in Central America are left vulnerable to corporate interests, report finds. Climate Home reports

Conservation reserves in Central America have shut indigenous peoples off from their traditional lands and driven deforestation, community leaders have told Climate Home.

Since revolution in the region started to wind down in the 1980s, there has been an internationally celebrated trend to create large conservation areas. Hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of forest have been placed within borders designed to protect them.

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Lyon's Fête des Lumières returns for 2016 amid tight security

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:42:49 GMT2016-12-09T13:42:49Z

With an increased security presence, the city’s annual festival of lights has been opened by France’s new prime minister, a year after it was cancelled following the Paris attacks

Lyon’s festival of lights has been opened by France’s new prime minister amid tight security a year after the the city cancelled the annual event following terrorist attacks in Paris.

Bernard Cazeneuve, who was appointed prime minister earlier this week, said on Thursday: “This evening, millions of visitors will demonstrate the resilience that is the strength of your city and our country.”

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US government scrambles to respond to surge of migrants at Mexico border

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:30:27 GMT2016-12-09T11:30:27Z

Influx stems in part from fear that Trump will mandate a wall, but is mainly a consequence of continuing violence and economic distress in Central America

In another context you might guess the giant marquees are being set up for a grand wedding. But this is the Texas border with Mexico, and the white tents are rising as the federal government’s latest response to a sharp rise in migrant numbers that is drawing parallels with the influx of 2014.

Supply trucks arrived every few minutes as workers set up the Border Patrol holding facility in a field next to the Donna International Bridge, a few hundred metres from a rust-coloured metal border fence.

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Romania set to go to polls as anti-graft party eyes kingmaker role

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:32:36 GMT2016-12-09T10:32:36Z

Centre-left PSD set to fall short of majority, with Save Romania Union poised to step in as junior partner in new coalition

Romanians go to the polls on Sunday to elect a government, with the centre-left PSD party projected to win the most seats but fall short of a majority, leaving it vulnerable to a rival coalition involving a new anti-corruption party.

After a year of cautious caretaker rule by technocrats since massive street protests over the deaths of 64 people in a Bucharest nightclub fire forced the former PSD regime from power, the dominant party of Romanian politics has topped all recent polls.

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Donald Trump to remain executive producer of Celebrity Apprentice

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 01:25:55 GMT2016-12-09T01:25:55Z

The president-elect’s name will appear in credits of the show he hosted for more than a decade, confirming a continuation of his business entanglements

Donald Trump will not give up his role as an executive producer of The Celebrity Apprentice, the reality TV show’s studio said on Thursday, confirming a continuing business entanglement of the president-elect but not its details.

Trump’s name will appear in the credits of the show, studio MGM told Variety magazine on Thursday, after the name of show creator Mark Burnett and before that of program’s new host, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Trump hosted the show for more than a decade before his presidential campaign, during which NBC, the network that airs the show, broke ties with him over his claims that Mexican people are “bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists”.

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China universities must become Communist party 'strongholds', says Xi Jinping

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:29:45 GMT2016-12-09T05:29:45Z

All teachers must be ‘staunch supporters’ of party governance, says president in what experts called an effort to reassert control

Chinese authorities must intensify ideological controls on academia and turn universities into Communist party “strongholds”, President Xi Jinping has declared in a major address.

“Higher education ... must adhere to correct political orientation,” Xi said in a high-profile speech to top party leaders and university chiefs that was delivered at a two-day congress on “ideological and political work” in Beijing.

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Congolese rape survivor finds justice elusive: ‘I'm afraid my father will find me’ | Ruth Maclean

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:00:22 GMT2016-12-09T07:00:22Z

Eve was repeatedly raped by her father. Her long, lonely battle for redress exposes deep flaws in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s legal framework

When Eve* walked into the courtroom to face her father, who had raped her since she was 13, his family was waiting. As she made her way to her seat, they got up and stood in her path. They scratched her, yanked her long hair back, and hit her.

A relative, Lydia*, who had also been repeatedly raped by Eve’s father, had agreed to testify on her behalf. That gave her courage.

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'Lost' Austrian film predicting rise of nazism restored and relaunched

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:00:22 GMT2016-12-09T07:00:22Z

City Without Jews premiered in Vienna in 1924. Now the original version, lost for 90 years, has been saved from decay

It is the end of the first world war, inflation is soaring and the inhabitants of a German-speaking city are starting to turn on each other. Politicians are quick to find a scapegoat: “The people,” the chancellor announces, “demand the expulsion of all Jews.”

What may sound like a snippet from a history book about the Third Reich is in fact the synopsis of a film produced at a time when the Nazi party was still banned and Adolf Hitler was putting the finishing touches to Mein Kampf in a Munich prison cell.

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