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World news | The Guardian



Latest World news news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 22:39:10 GMT2017-06-22T22:39:10Z

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



Rival groups vie for supremacy as fight against Isis reaches tipping point

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:23:14 GMT2017-06-22T17:23:14Z

With Isis close to defeat in Mosul, its various opponents are already competing to define what will happen next

Iraqi forces have advanced to the base of the toppled minaret of Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri, hours after it was destroyed by Islamic State militants, as the bitter eight-month battle to recapture the city reached a tipping point.

Related: Destroying Great Mosque of al-Nuri 'is Isis declaring defeat'

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Saudi crown prince's ascendancy gives hope of reform – but it may be premature

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:50:37 GMT2017-06-22T04:50:37Z

Talk of social change is in the air in Riyadh after King Salman announces Mohammed bin Salman as heir to Saudi throne

On the streets of Riyadh, in its shopping malls and public spaces, Saudi Arabia’s religious police had long been a foreboding presence. They could reach into private lives at will, with powers that few could challenge, enforcing an ultra-conservative brand of Islam as a dogma for society.

For people who had lived in fear of the force, one late winter evening earlier this year came as a watershed. On the side of one of their headquarters in the city’s suburbs, a 10-metre wide emblem of the country’s reform programme – Vision 2030 – had been projected. And no one inside the building dared to block it.

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Trump admits: 'I did not make, and do not have' tapes of Comey conversations

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:15:13 GMT2017-06-22T18:15:13Z

  • Trump tweets: ‘I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings’
  • Tweets contradict earlier suggestion that he had privately recorded talks

Donald Trump admitted on Thursday that he is not in possession of any secret recordings of conversations with James Comey, ending a 41-day saga that began when he issued a menacing tweet about the FBI director he had just fired.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea ... whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” the president wrote on Twitter.

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UN vote backing Chagos Islands a blow for UK

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:52:36 GMT2017-06-22T18:52:36Z

Mauritius supported by 94 nations in move to consult The Hague over colonial hold of Indian Ocean territory by British

The UK has suffered a humiliating defeat at the United Nations general assembly in a vote over decolonisation and its residual hold over disputed territory in the Indian Ocean.

By a margin of 94 to 15 countries, delegates supported a Mauritian-backed resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague on the legal status of the Chagos Islands.

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Germany to quash convictions of 50,000 gay men under Nazi-era law

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:16:28 GMT2017-06-22T20:16:28Z

Parliament votes through measure overturning conviction and offering compensation to the estimated 5,000 men still alive

Germany’s parliament has voted to quash the convictions of 50,000 gay men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law that remained in force after the second world war.

After decades of lobbying, victims and activists hailed a triumph in the struggle to clear the names of gay men who lived with a criminal record under article 175 of the penal code.

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Israeli airline can't make women move seats for religious reasons, court rules

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:38:58 GMT2017-06-22T16:38:58Z

El Al loses case brought by Holocaust survivor asked to move after ultra-orthodox man refused to sit next to her

As an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor and a former lawyer, Renee Rabinowitz might seem an unlikely figurehead in Israel’s culture wars.

Rabinowitz has been thrust into the spotlight over an issue that has become an increasingly familiar problem for airlines flying in and out of Israel: ultra-orthodox men who refuse to take their seats next to women, demanding changes in seating and sometimes causing delays.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's graveyard comes back from the dead

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:20:31 GMT2017-06-22T11:20:31Z

Documentary honours film fans who laboured to restore setting for 1966 spaghetti western’s climactic scene

After more than 50 years, several fistfuls of euros and countless wheelbarrow journeys, one of the most famous graveyards in cinema history has been rescued from oblivion and is to be honoured in a new documentary.

Sad Hill cemetery is the setting for the climax of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, when Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach face off against each other to the strains of Ennio Morricone.

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Athens: thousands of public-sector workers march against austerity

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:41:34 GMT2017-06-22T18:41:34Z

Protest, for better employment rights, is latest in series that has hindered rubbish collection in major cities in Greece

Greece has been hit by fresh strike action as thousands of public sector workers marched through Athens in protest against the debt-ridden country’s austerity programme.

Related: Creditors agree terms to disburse Greece's €8.5bn bailout funds

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Ramadan on the Afghan frontline: after heavy fighting, hunger and boredom

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:00:30 GMT2017-06-22T06:00:30Z

Kunduz fell to the Taliban, but in recent months coalition forces have won ground. Now, four weeks into Ramadan, fasting in 40C heat has taken its toll

For most of his adult life, Juma Khan, a husky Afghan policeman, enjoyed breaking the Ramadan fast with his family after returning home from duty.

The evening Ramadan dinner, called iftar, is a moment shared not just by families but by the entire country: at sunset, people gather over meals, always made with extra care, no matter how poor the family.

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Norwegian government backs down over memorial to Breivik victims

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:10:19 GMT2017-06-21T17:10:19Z

Locals on Utøya island where 77 people were massacred by Anders Breivik had started lawsuit to stop project going ahead

Norway’s government has said that a controversial memorial to the victims of Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 massacre would be rethought in order to avoid an embarrassing lawsuit by local residents who do not want it to go ahead.

Related: Wounded landscape: how Norway is remembering its 2011 Utøya massacre

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'A useful punching bag': why Hungary's Viktor Orbán has turned on George Soros

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:00:28 GMT2017-06-22T05:00:28Z

There are fears that the far right could be emboldened by a campaign against the Hungarian-born American billionaire. Shaun Walker reports from Budapest

In 1989 the American-Hungarian financier George Soros paid for Viktor Orbán to study in Britain. Two decades later, he donated $1m to Orbán’s government to help the cleanup after the “red sludge” environmental disaster.

Over the years, the billionaire has spent hundreds of millions of dollars financing education and civil society projects in Hungary, the country of his birth, through his Open Society Foundations (OSF).

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Overheated French male bus drivers don skirts in defiance of dress code

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:42:36 GMT2017-06-22T12:42:36Z

Nantes crew respond to ban on shorts by turning up in skirts in protest against ‘unacceptable working conditions’

French bus drivers angry at a ban on wearing shorts in the ongoing heatwave have turned up to work in skirts.

Related: Teenage boys wear skirts to school to protest against 'no shorts' policy

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Rift between Iran's ayatollah and re-elected president widens

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:00:28 GMT2017-06-22T05:00:28Z

Hassan Rouhani questions political legitimacy of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after supreme leader embarrassed president at high-profile meeting

Tensions are mounting between Iran’s supreme leader and the country’s president after the latter’s landslide victory in last month’s election.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 78, has sharpened his criticism of the reformist president, Hassan Rouhani, including humiliating him in a meeting of the country’s most senior officials.

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Theresa May to set out proposals for EU citizens in UK at Brussels dinner

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:30:19 GMT2017-06-21T21:30:19Z

Prime minister will meet EU leaders at summit one year on from Brexit referendum

Theresa May will set out the principles of the government’s negotiating position on the future rights of European Union citizens living in the UK at a dinner for EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday night – before leaving them to continue discussions over coffee without her.

The status of the 3 million citizens from elsewhere in the EU who have already made their lives in the UK has been a contentious issue since the immediate aftermath of the referendum.

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Trump says he doesn't want a 'poor person' handling economy

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:30:26 GMT2017-06-22T13:30:26Z

President tells crowd during Iowa tour that economic adviser and commerce secretary had to give up a lot to work for him

Donald Trump has said he doesn’t want “a poor person” to hold economic roles in his administration as he used an Iowa rally to defend his decision to appoint the wealthy to his cabinet.

The US president told a crowd on Wednesday night: “Somebody said why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? No it’s true. And Wilbur’s [commerce secretary Wilbur Ross] a very rich person in charge of commerce. I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’”

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World population to hit 8bn in 2023, says new UN survey

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:12:41 GMT2017-06-21T18:12:41Z

New findings show more men than women and that there will be 1bn over-60s next year for the first time

The world’s population will break through the 8 billion mark in 2023, there are more men than women, and next year the number of over 60s will top 1 billion for the first time, according to the latest findings and forecasts from the United Nations annual population survey.

More than half of the global population growth by 2050 will come from sub-Saharan Africa, where fertility rates will persist at levels far higher than in the rest of the world, the UN predictions released on Wednesday show.

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Marco Rubio's latest awkward moment: a failed hug with Ivanka Trump

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:18:31 GMT2017-06-21T17:18:31Z

Republican senator tries to embrace president’s daughter at meeting on paid family leave, leading to viral image and Twitter mockery

Ivanka Trump’s ramrod posture and the ungainly movements of a Republican senator were all it took to distract the public from a government meeting on Wednesday about paid family leave.

The Florida senator Marco Rubio appeared to fail in an attempt to hug the president’s daughter before the meeting, creating an awkward image that adds to Rubio’s enduring collection of physical gaffes. He has also accidentally hit a child with a football and clumsily drunk water in a live speech broadcast to the nation.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns following months of chaos

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:46:36 GMT2017-06-21T10:46:36Z

Embattled founder of ride-hailing app stepped down in face of pressure from investors after tumultuous six months of scandals and stumbles

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick has resigned from his position as chief executive of the $68bn ride-hailing app following a tumultuous six months of scandal.

Kalanick stepped down in the face of pressure from five of Uber’s largest investors, according to the New York Times. Kalanick will, however, stay on the company’s board.

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Failed Brussels attack could have caused widespread casualties – authorities

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:13:05 GMT2017-06-21T17:13:05Z

Morroccan national with possible Isis sympathies was shot dead after trying to explode suitcase bomb in Central station

A man who tried to inflict a mass casualty attack on Brussels’ busy Central station was a Moroccan national with possible Islamic State sympathies from the Molenbeek area of the Belgian capital, prosecutors have said.

Belgium’s security services are frantically seeking to piece together the last movements of the man, who was shot dead by a soldier on Tuesday evening after a suitcase bomb that he had detonated failed to explode properly.

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Romania's government collapses as ruling party MPs oust prime minister

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 14:27:51 GMT2017-06-21T14:27:51Z

Sorin Grindeanu loses power in 241-7 no-confidence vote brought by members of his leftwing Social Democratic party

Romania’s prime minister has been toppled after the parliament passed a vote of no confidence tabled by his party.

Barely six months after winning elections, Sorin Grindeanu was ousted by almost all the MPs in his leftwing Social Democratic party (PSD) with the backing of their junior coalition partners, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE).

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Top global banks still lend billions to extract fossil fuels

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:00:06 GMT2017-06-21T16:00:06Z

Analysis of world’s lenders reveals many claim green credentials while still financing fuels like tar sands, oil and coal

Some of the world’s top banks are continuing to lend tens of billions for extracting the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels, according to a report of top lenders.

Finance provided for these fossil fuels – tar sands and other unconventional oil and gas, as well as coal and liquefied natural gas – amounted to $87bn for the top 37 banks in 2016. That represented a slump of more than a fifth compared with the $111bn raised the previous year, and was also down on 2014’s total of $92bn.

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Otto Warmbier funeral: thousands gather to mourn 'profound loss'

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:21:32 GMT2017-06-22T21:21:32Z

  • College student was returned from North Korea in a coma that proved fatal
  • Trump denounces Warmbier’s detention and death as ‘total disgrace’

Thousands of mourners have turned out to pay their final respects to Otto Warmbier, the US student imprisoned for more than a year by North Korea and sent back home in a mysterious coma that proved fatal.

The 800-capacity auditorium at Warmbier’s high school in the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming was packed, as were overflow rooms set up to accommodate additional attendees.

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Obama attacks Republican health bill as 'massive transfer of wealth' to the rich

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:10:42 GMT2017-06-22T21:10:42Z

  • Former president criticizes ‘fundamental meanness’ in Republican bill
  • ‘If you might get sick, get old, or start a family, this bill will do you harm’

Barack Obama sharply condemned the healthcare plan unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday as a “massive transfer of wealth” to the rich, at the expense of poor and middle-class Americans.

In a Facebook post hours after the Republican bill was made public, the former president made some of his most pointed comments since leaving office in defense of what remains the most signature accomplishment of his two terms.

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More than half of Americans want stricter gun laws, Pew study finds

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:13:58 GMT2017-06-22T20:13:58Z

  • Study finds stark differences between Republican and Democratic gun owners
  • Half of Americans see gun violence as a ‘very big problem’

More than half of Americans want stricter gun laws, while still preserving the rights of most people in most places to carry most types of guns, a Pew Research Center survey has found.

Related: Meet America's gun super-owners – with an average of 17 firearms each

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Theresa May makes 'fair and serious' offer on rights of EU citizens in UK

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:38:52 GMT2017-06-22T19:38:52Z

PM tells EU leaders UK will offer those who arrive lawfully before Brexit the chance to build up same rights as British citizens

Theresa May made a “fair and serious offer” to European Union leaders over the contentious issue of the future rights of EU citizens, offering those who arrive lawfully before Brexit the chance to build up the same rights to work, healthcare and benefits as UK citizens.

Speaking at the end of a dinner at an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, after formal Brexit talks kicked off on Monday, May set out the UK’s opening offer on the rights of EU citizens – an issue both sides have said they would like to be resolved early in the talks.

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US refuses to back UN on abortion access in human rights resolution

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:32:45 GMT2017-06-22T19:32:45Z

Washington supports ‘the spirit’ of a UN resolution calling for women’s access to reproductive healthcare but ‘does not recognize abortion’ as a method

The UN Human Rights Council has unanimously adopted a resolution condemning abuse and discrimination of women, but Washington refused to back one paragraph mentioning access to safe abortions.

The strongly worded resolution, tabled by Canada, expressed “outrage at the persistence and pervasiveness of all forms of violence against women and girls worldwide”, calling on countries to take immediate steps to prevent gender-based violence and discrimination.

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One girl's mission: can Lakshmi find clean water in Bangalore? – video

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:00:27 GMT2017-06-21T10:00:27Z

Once known as the City of Lakes, urban sprawl has destroyed 85% of Bangalore’s fresh water and pollution has ruined much of the rest. Can Lakshmi and her mother find clean water today?

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Lima's time bomb: how mudslides threaten the world's great 'self-built' city

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:15:03 GMT2017-06-20T06:15:03Z

Evangelina Chamorro became a symbol of hope after she survived being swept two miles in a mudslide – but her story reveals the city’s shaky foundations

The extraordinary video of a Peruvian woman coated in mud emerging from a brown sea of pallets and wooden poles was viewed around the world. Evangelina Chamorro, who had been feeding her pigs when she was swept for two miles downhill in a huge mudslide, became the poster girl for resilience during the country’s worst floods in living memory.

Remarkably, the 32-year-old was treated for minor injuries and left hospital just a week after the incident in March. The psychological scars, however, are taking longer to heal.

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Sabha in the spotlight: the city where migrants are sold as slaves

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:10:47 GMT2017-06-19T12:10:47Z

Ahead of World Refugee Day, life is deteriorating in the Libyan desert city that used to be a ‘melting pot’ but has since become a hub for human trafficking

Deep in the Libyan desert at the confluence of several migration routes from sub-Saharan Africa, this oasis city of 130,000 hit the headlines earlier this year. The United Nations migration agency reported that some new arrivals at this staging post to Tripoli and the Mediterranean coast, 400 miles north, were being “sold” at modern day slave auctions.

It’s a worrying development for Sabha – always liable to become involved in the modern refugee crisis by its position – and World Refugee Day 20 June serves as a reminder of how vulnerable migrants are in places like this semi-lawless enclave, caught between tribal and political factions in post-revolution Libya.

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The great American fallout: how small towns came to resent cities

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 06:30:28 GMT2017-06-19T06:30:28Z

It’s no secret Donald Trump benefited from rural voters. But Democrat or Republican, they usually tell Katherine Cramer – who has spent a decade visiting residents of small-town Wisconsin – the same thing: it’s the cities that get all the breaks, and then have the gall to look down on them, too

Joe’s voice takes on a mocking tone.

“You gotta quit driving!” he says. “Don’t drive as much.” He rolls his eyes and looks around at his pals, a handful of them perched on moulded plastic lawn chairs in a tiny town in central Wisconsin. He’s talking about the way city people look down on rural folks like himself. In his normal voice he adds: “You gotta drive 20 miles to work? You can’t cut that in half.”

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The 8 best cycling innovations: from dockless bikes to solid tyres

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 07:00:31 GMT2017-06-17T07:00:31Z

Smart traffic lights, bike paths in high-rises and paying people to cycle are among the trends that stood out at the recent Velo-City 2017 conference

Bike-sharing has come a long way in the last few years, and we are moving fast into the so-called fifth generation of these systems. Soon we’ll probably see a worldwide explosion of the “dockless” bike-shares that have already taken over in Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou. The idea is that you don’t have to return the bike to a set place, but can leave it anywhere – and the city is saturated enough with these bikes that they’re always easy to find. Everything is controlled through GPS sensors in the bikes and an app in the rider’s phone. Cities from Portland to Krakow are introducing these on a small scale, but it’s the arrival of the Chinese giants that will likely change the game. Mobike launched with 1,000 bikes in Manchester on Monday, and Ofo has started a small trial with 20 bikes in Cambridge.

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Pedal-ins and car burials: what happened to America's forgotten 1970s cycle boom?

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 06:00:01 GMT2017-06-16T06:00:01Z

‘Bicycle madness’ once saw US bike sales outstrip cars, and spawned ambitious plans for 100,000 miles of cycle paths. Then the music stopped

“The bicycle’s biggest wave of popularity in its 154-year history,” gushed Time magazine in 1970 at the start of America’s five-year love affair with the bike. “Some 64 million fellow travellers are taking regularly to bikes these days, more than ever before,” the report continued, “and more than ever [they are] convinced that two wheels are better than four.”

US bicycle sales, which had been rolling along at 6 million a year, shot up to 9 million in 1971, 14 million in 1972 and 15.3 million the following year, according to a Bank of America report. While most pre-boom bikes had been sold for children, suddenly 60% were destined for adults.

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'Beirut is more beautiful by bike': street art reinvents a notorious city – in pictures

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:30:38 GMT2017-06-15T11:30:38Z

The bike-unfriendly reputation of Lebanon’s capital is transforming, as the Chain Effect collective enlists locals of all ages to become pro-cycling graffiti artists

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Can you guess the city from its bike lane maps?

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:01:10 GMT2017-06-15T11:01:10Z

The web and app company Bike Citizens has trawled its database of cycle infrastructure to create these ‘naked’ cycle maps. Blue lines = protected bike lanes; grey lines = painted lanes. Can you identify the cities?

All images by Bike Citizens

Venice

Amsterdam

Birmingham

Barcelona

Lisbon

Chicago

Rome

London

Mexico City

Berlin

Rotterdam

Vienna

Boston

Miami

Chicago

Copenhagen

Edinburgh

Toronto

Oslo

Los Angeles

Cardiff

New York

York

Yokohama

Brussels

Manchester

Paris

Portland

Vancouver

Sao Paulo

San Francisco

St Petersburg

St Albans

Sydney

Florence

Basel

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What all urban planners should be asked: would you let your child cycle here?

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:20:12 GMT2017-06-15T09:20:12Z

For generations, Danish urban planners have made it a priority for children to be able to ride to school alone. The result is not just more social, cheerful, healthy children – but more social, cheerful, healthy adults

“I love to cycle. I’ve got no clue why,” says Emilie, a six-year-old Danish girl. She is with her friend Vilja, who’s the same age. “When I cycle, I can go to new places faster,” she says in a recent Danish campaign for cycling.

Even though it’s almost half a century ago, I would have said exactly the same at that age. When I was a child, my bicycle gave me freedom to move around with speed, ease and lightness. It gave me the feeling of being independent from my parents, as I did not need to ask them to drive me to my friends’ place or to school. I could just jump on my bike, and off I went. My childhood wasn’t very different from that of most other Danish kids.

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The new horsemen: how American riot police embraced the bicycle

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 06:00:32 GMT2017-06-15T06:00:32Z

As a new digital era of protest has dawned under Occupy and Trump, riot police across the US have embarked on a fundamental shift in crowd control

Early last Saturday afternoon, under clear blue skies, a sparsely attended “anti-sharia” rally left the grounds of City Hall in Seattle, Washington.

Until then, the attendees had been facing off against a much larger group of anti-fascists. The two sides had been exchanging chants and taunts across a wide, fenced-off area, manned with riot police.

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Exclusive: Macron pledges pragmatism and cooperation with post-Brexit Britain

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:08:20 GMT2017-06-21T18:08:20Z

In his first interview since he was elected as French president, Emmanuel Macron sets out his international agenda on Syria, Trump, and European integration

Emmanuel Macron has promised that France will have a strong and pragmatic relationship with a post-Brexit Britain, working together on defence and counter-terrorism because of the two countries’ “linked destinies”.

In his first interview since he was elected as French president last month, Macron told the Guardian and seven other European papers: “Pragmatism will determine our new relationship” with Britain.

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Inquiry launched after man dies following arrest in London

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:37:18 GMT2017-06-22T20:37:18Z

Police ‘used force and CS gas’ during the arrest of Edir Frederico da Costa, but a pathologist concluded there were no injuries to indicate severe force

The police watchdog has launched an investigation after a man died following his arrest by the Metropolitan police.

Edir Frederico da Costa died on Wednesday, six days after he was detained. The 25-year-old was arrested in Beckton in east London. A statement from the Independent Police Complaints Commission said: “During this interaction it is believed police officers used force and deployed CS spray.”

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The Guardian view on Saudi Arabia’s crown prince: the age of ambition | Editorial

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:59:39 GMT2017-06-22T18:59:39Z

At 31, the country’s new heir could have a long reign ahead of him. The reverberations are likely to be felt far beyond its borders

Everyone knew Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman was a young man in a hurry. Every step necessary for his advancement had been made in the two years since his father assumed the kingdom’s throne. Some judged him to be already the country’s de facto ruler. But at 31 his public triumph has come perhaps a little more quickly than anticipated. This week King Salman made him crown prince, supplanting his vastly more experienced cousin Mohammed bin Nayef. The new heir’s elevation has erased the kingdom’s image as a cautious, rather dull gerontocracy (the horizontal system of succession has passed rule from brother to brother; even his former rival looked young at 57).

Change is long overdue, and some have applauded the new crown prince as an energetic reformer. But it is clear he has no plans to meddle with the country’s nature as an absolute monarchy intolerant of dissent, let alone challenge the foundational partnership between the House of Saud and conservative Wahhabi clerics. Saudi’s religious leadership – according to reports – has been vocal in recent days about protecting autocracy from democracy. And the dramatic economic and foreign initiatives he has spearheaded have had dismal results.

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'I feel betrayed': the Somali refugees sent from safety into a war zone

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:26:01 GMT2017-06-22T13:26:01Z

Somali families repatriated from neighbouring Kenya feel let down by Nairobi and the UN refugee agency, and fear for their safety and survival

Families repatriated to Somalia from Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya say they feel abandoned and let down by the UN after officials used small cash payments to encourage them to return home, where a hunger and security crisis awaited.

Many travelled back to Somalia only to find themselves in a far worse position than they had been in the refugee camp, with no access to food, shelter or medicines. Having lost their legal refugee status by crossing the border, they were no longer entitled to any help.

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Reveal, repeal, replace? GOP unveils health bill | The minute

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 22:28:47 GMT2017-06-22T22:28:47Z

Got a minute? Senate Republicans publish healthcare bill… Obama condemns bill’s ‘fundamental meanness’… Trump says poor folks shouldn’t run the economy – and everything else in today’s politics. By Jamiles Lartey

Senate Republicans made their big reveal of the – until now – secret legislation they hope will repeal and replace Obamacare.

The proposal would eliminate or reduce key benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act; lower taxes for the wealthy; strip funding for Planned Parenthood; and dramatically cut and restructure Medicaid.

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Google Maps adds indigenous lands in Canada after long omission

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:52:25 GMT2017-06-21T20:52:25Z

Addition follows seven-year collaboration between company and indigenous communities, following what a cartographer called an ‘insulting’ exclusion

More than 3,000 parcels of land belonging to indigenous peoples in Canada have been added to Google Maps and Google Earth, in an initiative that seeks to remedy what one First Nations cartographer described as a historical exclusion.

The project – which follows similar efforts by Google in the US and Brazil – was the fruit of seven years of collaboration between the company, indigenous communities in Canada and Natural Resources Canada, said the cartographer Steven DeRoy. A member of Manitoba’s Ebb and Flow First Nation, he was among Google’s partners on the initiative.

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Morning mail: 'Gonski 2.0' gets through Senate

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:59:12 GMT2017-06-22T20:59:12Z

Friday: Malcolm Turnbull’s school package is passed, but states warn conditions attached to the $23.5bn deal are unrealistic. Plus: British PM offers ‘fair and serious’ deal over rights of EU citizens after Brexit

Good morning, this is Eleanor Ainge Roy bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 23 June.

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Australian planes to help fight Islamic State-affiliated groups in Philippines

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:15:23 GMT2017-06-22T21:15:23Z

Two RAAF aircraft to operate in southern Mindanao region where four Islamist groups are operating, including Abu Sayyaf

Australia’s advanced intelligence-gathering P-3 Orion aircraft will be flown over the southern Philippines to help in the fight against Islamic State-affiliated terrorist groups.

The defence minister, Marise Payne, says two RAAF P-3 Orion aircraft will operate in the Mindanao region where four Islamist groups, including Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group, are fighting, Fairfax Media reports.

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Yellowstone grizzlies can be hunted after endangered protections lifted

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:34:46 GMT2017-06-22T19:34:46Z

Jurisdiction over estimated 700 bears will pass to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, which will allow limited hunts as long as total number stays above 600

Protections against hunting Yellowstone national park grizzly bears will be lifted this summer after US government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

The delisting of the bears as an endangered species means that states would be allowed to plan limited bear hunts outside the park’s boundaries. Hunting bears inside Yellowstone would still be banned. The bears roam both inside and outside the park, and their range has been expanding as their numbers have grown.

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Pilots condemn ditching of proposed tougher UK laws for laser attacks

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:20:38 GMT2017-06-22T18:20:38Z

Decision puts ‘lives of passengers and crew at risk’, says union

Airline pilots have expressed anger after a planned crackdown on people who shine lasers at aircraft was dropped by the government.

In February the Department for Transport announced its intention to introduce legislation meaning people who did so could face tougher penalties including jail.

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Briton dies while hiking on mountain in UAE

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:05:29 GMT2017-06-22T15:05:29Z

Alex Underhill, 25, fell and hit his head while trekking with a friend in desert heat on Jebel Jais

A British man has died while hiking up a mountain in desert heat in the United Arab Emirates.

Alex Underhill was walking with a friend on the 1,800-metre (6,000ft) Jebel Jais mountain in the Ras al-Khaimah region when he fell and hit his head.

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Greek debt: IMF and EU's quick fix isn't enough | Mohamed El-Erian

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:43:43 GMT2017-06-22T13:43:43Z

Last week’s bailout is only a short-term compromise – the two creditors must work together on a proper solution

The International Monetary Fund has resurrected an old technique – commonly used in the 1980s during the Latin American debt crisis – that would allow Greece to avoid a payment default next month on debt owed to European creditors. The reprieve also gives the IMF and its European partners time to sort out their technical differences on the struggling country’s growth and budget outlook. But the fund’s elegant compromise still leaves Greece under the shadow of an enormous debt overhang; reducing it requires that Europe find a way to set aside national politics and act on the basis of economic logic and necessity.

Europe and the IMF have been unable to reconcile two views of Greece’s debt sustainability, with the two sides’ differences spilling over into the public domain. Guided mainly by a cash-flow analysis, European authorities argue that low interest rates and long maturities have made the nation’s debt sustainable. But the fund notes that, at almost 200% of GDP, Greece’s stock of debt deters investment and capital inflows. For the IMF, meaningful debt reduction is critical for generating the confidence and credibility needed to break Greece out of a prolonged period of impoverishment.

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Fitness blogger dies after exploding whipped cream dispenser hits her

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:36:26 GMT2017-06-22T13:36:26Z

Consumer journal and family warn of faulty siphons after French woman, 33, has heart attack caused by utensil hitting chest

A popular French fitness blogger has died after a whipped cream dispenser exploded into her chest.

Rebecca Burger, 33, who wrote about fitness and travel on social media, where she had 55,000 Facebook and 154,000 Instagram followers, died last weekend in what her family described as a “domestic accident” at her home at Mulhouse, eastern France.

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The moment a landmark Mosul mosque is destroyed – video

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:20:39 GMT2017-06-22T13:20:39Z

Isis destroyed one of Iraq’s most symbolically important mosques on Wednesday night. Militants detonated explosives inside the 840-year-old al-Nuri mosque, according to Iraqi forces

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Justin Welby asks George Carey to quit over church abuse report

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:42:37 GMT2017-06-22T12:42:37Z

Archbishop of Canterbury asks predecessor to step down from honorary position after report on church collusion with Peter Ball

The archbishop of Canterbury has asked his predecessor George Carey to step down as an honorary assistant bishop after a damning independent report found that senior figures in the Church of England colluded over a 20-year period with a disgraced former bishop who sexually abused boys and men.

Justin Welby said the report on the church’s handling of former bishop Peter Ball made harrowing reading. “The church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward. This is inexcusable and shocking behaviour,” Welby said.

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Afghanistan: Taliban claims responsibility for suicide car bomb attack

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:01:04 GMT2017-06-22T11:01:04Z

Explosion at bank in Helmand province as civilians and officials queued to withdraw salaries leaves at least 30 dead

At least 30 people have been killed in Helmand province after a car bomb targeted soldiers, government employees and other civilians queueing to collect pay cheques from a bank in the provincial capital.

Related: Ramadan on the Afghan frontline: after heavy fighting, hunger and boredom

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Portugal forest fires under control after more than 60 deaths

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:19:02 GMT2017-06-22T10:19:02Z

Officials say some fires could reignite after huge blaze ravaged tens of thousands of hectares around Pedrógão Grande

Wildfires that killed 64 people in Portugal have been brought under control, firefighters have said, as the government insisted it was still too early to say whether the disaster could have been handled better.

Portugal’s worst forest fire broke out on Saturday in the central municipality of Pedrógão Grande before spreading to neighbouring areas including Góis, Pampilhosa da Serra and Arganil.

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Sexual Offences Act at 50: share your memories and experiences

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:18:02 GMT2017-06-22T07:18:02Z

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 we want to hear from readers about what it meant then – and now

In July 1967 the Sexual Offences Act received royal ascent, a moment often described as the “legalisation of homosexuality”.

It was in fact only in England and Wales that sex between two men over 21 “in private” was partially decriminalised – further changes took time.

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Destroying Great Mosque of al-Nuri 'is Isis declaring defeat'

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:14:49 GMT2017-06-22T07:14:49Z

Iraqi PM denounces levelling of Mosul building where Islamic State leader declared a caliphate three years ago

The Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has said the destruction of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul is an admission by the militants that they are losing the fight for the country’s second-largest city.

One of Islam’s most venerated sites, the mosque has been destroyed by explosions as Iraqi forces battled Islamic State fighters who had holed up nearby.

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Thursday briefing: Bargaining chips all gone as May plays Brussels roulette

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:31:17 GMT2017-06-22T05:31:17Z

PM, mauled by Corbyn, now faces EU leaders … 16 inspections missed Grenfell’s flammable cladding … and low marks for top universities in new rankings

Good morning, it’s Warren Murray getting you started this morning.

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New Zealand paper names and shames every drink-driver at tourist 'party town'

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:08:22 GMT2017-06-22T05:08:22Z

Queenstown paper puts names of 100 people on front page amid concern the town, which attracts 2 million tourists a year, is bucking drink-drive trend

A newspaper in New Zealand has taken a stance against drunk drivers by printing their names on its front page, in response to what it calls an “epidemic” of the crime.

The Mountain Scene is a weekly newspaper for the small but booming South Island town of Queenstown, which has about 30,000 permanent residents and up to two million tourists every year.

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Forget fidget spinners, it's the toothpick crossbow that is worrying parents

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:04:30 GMT2017-06-22T05:04:30Z

New toy taking China by storm can fire needles and nails as well as toothpicks, leading to concerns over safety

Handheld mini-crossbows that can fire needles and nails are the latest must-have toy in China but anxious parents want them banned before a young child gets blinded or worse.

Selling online and in shops for as little as seven yuan ($1), so-called toothpick crossbows were originally designed to shoot out just that – toothpicks.

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Pinched my ride: supercars stolen by the dozen from UK turn up in Thailand

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:12:28 GMT2017-06-22T04:12:28Z

Lamborghinis, Porsches and BMWs among automotive exotica spirited from streets of Britain to Bangkok via elaborate criminal scams

Dozens of supercars including Lamborghinis, Porsches and BMWs have been stolen from the streets of Britain and shipped to Thailand in a complex scam that police from both countries are rushing to dismantle.

After a British request to retrieve the vehicles, detectives in Bangkok have launched a series of raids against dealers in recent weeks.

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As China tramples on Hong Kong's freedom, a feeble Britain avoids its glance | Angela Gui

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:03:33 GMT2017-06-22T04:03:33Z

Theresa May emphasises the importance of British values. But Britain’s limpness over Hong Kong demonstrates how easily they are compromised

I am too young to remember the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 and its promise for the new world I would live in. But I have lived to see that promise trampled.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed to pave the way for the handover, was supposed to protect the people of Hong Kong from Chinese interference in their society and markets until 2047. Yet as the handover’s 20th anniversary approaches, China muscles in where it promised to tread lightly while Britain avoids eye contact.

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EU countries compete to host London-based agencies after Brexit

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:00:27 GMT2017-06-22T04:00:27Z

European Medicines Agency and European Banking Authority need new homes, sparking beauty contest and test of unity

European leaders are set to tussle over the future of EU agencies located in London in the first test of the bloc’s post-Brexit unity.

At a summit in Brussels on Thursday the EU’s 27 leaders – minus Theresa May – are expected to take the next crucial step in moving two EU agencies out of the British capital.

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Football club that ‘saved’ disconnected refugees needs fundraising win

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:13:04 GMT2017-06-22T01:13:04Z

After Zakarya Shojaie made it to Australia, he established the Afghan Victory Football Club to give fellow refugees a place to come together

When Zakarya Shojaie was released from immigration detention in 2012, he went straight to Dandenong.

“I had a friend in the detention centre, he said he heard about Afghanis, they live in Dandenong in Melbourne,” Shojaie said.

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New Zealand's net migration hits record high

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:03:06 GMT2017-06-22T01:03:06Z

Those arriving outstrip those leaving by 73,000 in past year, with Chinese as biggest group of migrants, followed by UK and Australia

New Zealand annual net migration hit another record in May driven by foreign immigrants, with most coming from China, the UK and Australia.

Annual net migration reached 72,000 in the year to 31 May versus 68,400 in the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.

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Mexico's monthly murder rate reaches 20-year high

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:44:18 GMT2017-06-21T20:44:18Z

  • Data shows 2,186 murders were committed in May, surpassing May 2011 record
  • Crackdown on organised crime has consumed Mexico for more than a decade

Mexico marked another murderous milestone in its conflict with organised crime as the monthly homicide rate hit its highest level in 20 years.

Government statistics showed that 2,186 murders were committed in May, surpassing the previous monthly high of 2,131 in May 2011, according to a review of records that date back to 1997.

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Russia cancels talks after US imposes new sanctions over Ukraine conflict

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:13:50 GMT2017-06-21T20:13:50Z

State department spokeswoman offers blunt response to cancellation amid rising tensions, as planes see another close encounter over Baltic Sea

Russia has canceled a planned round of talks with the US in protest at new sanctions imposed this week over Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

Related: US broadens Russia sanctions as Ukraine president visits Trump

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Bestiality: which animals are most at risk

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:57:09 GMT2017-06-21T19:57:09Z

No reliable statistics exist on how many people engage in bestiality, but recent examples from academia and the news give us some clues

On Tuesday, a co-worker sent me a link to an article on the Cairns Times (which turned about to be a fake news site) about an Australian man feared dead after attempting to have sex with a crocodile.

A study last year – which used Foucault to make sense of the issue – looked at hundreds of members of the online zoosexual community, many of whom feelthey are treated unfairly by the mainstream. One individual commented: “I sincerely hope that one day genuine zoophiles can turn the tide. However, bearing in the mind the current attitudes in society this won’t be easy.”

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Bunkers, blackmail and bureaucracy: aid agencies accused of outsourcing danger

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:36:56 GMT2017-06-22T16:36:56Z

‘Unethical and dangerous practices’ condemned as study claims charities keep staff at a safe remove from conflict while relying on local groups to carry out work

Aid agencies often rely on local people to carry out work in the world’s war zones while their own staff remain holed up in bunkers, a report based on interviews with 2,000 humanitarian workers has found.

Highlighting alarming practices in countries including Syria, Yemen and Iraq, the authors of the independent study said aid groups are spending too little time on the ground in conflict zones and are over-reliant on subcontractors.

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‘I hope one day we'll see an end to abuse’: the woman striving to save Congo’s kids | Hannah Summers

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:00:30 GMT2017-06-22T06:00:30Z

In a country where abuse and sexual violence are rife, a local police chief is on a mission to safeguard children and women from harm

When Honorine Munyole visits a group of local women in the city of Bukavu, the police officer gets a welcome fit for a hero.

But the celebrations turn to cries of despair and even anger when she makes her announcement – she is to be redeployed to another location.

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'The refugees are like our brothers': Uganda's example to the world – in pictures

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:44:27 GMT2017-06-21T13:44:27Z

With a refugee population of 1.25 million – and more new arrivals each day than any other country – Uganda has earned a reputation as a haven for those fleeing violence. In Refugee Week, few countries merit greater recognition

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Drive to get children back to school failing worldwide

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 06:00:23 GMT2017-06-21T06:00:23Z

As UN figures show out-of-school rates unchanged since 2012, researchers say goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 is unlikely to be met for generations

The effort to get more children into school is grinding to a halt as the numbers are stagnating, according to a new report that warns of grave consequences for world poverty.

Unesco’s figures, released this week, estimate that the global poverty rate could be more than halved if everyone completed secondary school. But the researchers said that it is unlikely this target will be met for generations as out-of-school rates remain stubbornly consistent.

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I want to stroll Tehran's streets at night, like men can: writer Fereshteh Ahmadi | Saeed Kamali Dehghan

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:44:04 GMT2017-06-20T12:44:04Z

Under Hassan Rouhani’s less repressive regime, female authors are starting to see their books in print, and daring to dream of greater independence

Even the gentle references to sexuality in Fereshteh Ahmadi’s short story Harry Is Always Lost meant it was hit by the censors. The female protagonist is late catching a flight. In a frantic taxi journey to the airport, she is with a man, but it is not clear if they are dating or are husband and wife.

On the plane, she sits next to a strange man, who starts a conversation and ends up giving her a lift when they land in Tehran. This stranger drives so fast that the wind blows her scarf away, leaving her struggling to cover her head until they manage to buy a new one.

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On the run from the armed cattle rustlers of rural Kenya – in pictures

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:00:03 GMT2017-06-20T06:00:03Z

As drought grips parts of Kenya, cattle theft has become increasingly violent, with people forced to take refuge from the gun-toting bandits who steal livestock

Rustlers, bandits and gun runners: the gangs vying for cattle in Kenya

All photographs: Will Swanson

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Bandits, cows and bullets: the gangs turning to guns in Kenya | Jacob Kushner

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:00:02 GMT2017-06-20T06:00:02Z

Theft of livestock turns more deadly as herders and raiders become desperate in drought-hit areas and a ragtag militia tries to restore order

On the run from the armed cattle rustlers of rural Kenya – in pictures

On a hot morning in May, Wilson Kemei stands with an old Soviet rifle in his hands, ready to protect the hundreds of people taking refuge in a tiny, makeshift camp in Baringo county. They have fled there after gunmen shot and killed their neighbours in January.

Six years ago, Kemei was recruited to the Kenya Police Reserve (KPR), a ragtag militia whose members wear mismatching uniform – a camouflage jacket here, green army trousers there, with toes poking out of rubber sandals. They receive as little as a single day of training before being handed a gun, weapons like the wooden-stock SKS rifle clutched by Kemei.

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Jailed for calling Ugandan president a 'pair of buttocks', activist vows to fight on | Alon Mwesigwa

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:38:08 GMT2017-06-19T12:38:08Z

A Facebook post criticising Yoweri Museveni landed academic Stella Nyanzi in jail, but she vows to continue her fight against oppression and poverty in Uganda

A few minutes into our interview at one of Kampala’s hotels, Stella Nyanzi’s lawyer tells us the place is no longer safe for her and she needs to leave. She is constantly monitored by security agents these days, she says, which is perhaps not surprising as the academic and activist is one of the fiercest critics of the Ugandan government. But she is not about to back down.

Not even the 33 days she spent in the country’s maximum security Luzira women’s prison for describing the president, Yoweri Museveni, as a “pair of buttocks” could change her stance.

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Why a lot of Americans resent the cultured ‘New York City elite’

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:21:35 GMT2017-06-22T16:21:35Z

The big city ‘elites’ drink almond milk, eat organic food – and they’re emblematic of a deep cultural divide experienced by the voters who feel left behind

Outclassed: The Secret Life of Inequality is our new column about class. Read all articles here

Last week, Donald Trump Jr went on another tear against New York City elites. He retweeted rightwing pundit Harlan Z Hill: “Events like today are exactly why we took issue with NY elites glorifying the assassination of our president.”

The reason for this recent outburst was the Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar in Central Park, featuring the assassination of a Trump-like Caesar. The resulting melee prompted an exodus of Public Theater benefactors – Delta and Bank of America pulled their funding. A far-right protester called the audience “Nazis” and another rushed the stage.

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Are Democrats really doomed by the GOP's win in Georgia?

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:37:10 GMT2017-06-21T20:37:10Z

Karen Handel’s narrow win puts Republicans one step closer to repealing Obamacare, while its effects on the Democratic party’s psyche could be profound

The result of the special election in Georgia on Tuesday did not guarantee re-election for Donald Trump, nor did it ensure continued Republican congressional majorities after the midterms. It was, however, a devastating defeat for Democrats.

Although Jon Ossoff was running in a traditionally red district where country-club Republicans had consistently delivered overwhelming majorities to conservative candidates for decades, it was one that proved deeply skeptical of Trump.

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Bill Cosby's mistrial shows powerful men can still get away with anything | Jessica Valenti

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:10:59 GMT2017-06-21T18:10:59Z

It should not surprise us that despite being caught or admitting to assaulting women, men are still given the benefit of the doubt

“When you’re a star, they let you do it.” Trump’s infamous brag about how he treats women was the first thing that came to mind when I heard that the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby had ended in a mistrial. The second thought I had was: they will never believe us.

To date, nearly 60 women have accused the former television star of sexual assault. Imagine what 60 women gathered in a room look like. That’s dozens of women, enough to fill several classrooms or form a few sports teams. But it seems there is no number of women telling their stories – not one, not 10, not dozens – that will convince Americans that rape and assault happen with impunity in this country.

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How did Otto Warmbier die?

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 03:48:19 GMT2017-06-21T03:48:19Z

US student who had been jailed in North Korea was returned to the US in a state of ‘unresponsive wakefulness’ – effectively braindead

It is impossible to get reliable information about the welfare and treatment of foreigners detained in North Korea – Washington only learned of Otto Warmbier’s condition in early June.

The Ohio coroner’s office said on Tuesday that it had not been able to determine the cause of Warmbier’s death after carrying out an external examination. His parents have asked doctors not to conduct an autopsy.

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Trump's silence after the London mosque attack speaks volumes | Christian Christensen

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:37:46 GMT2017-06-20T17:37:46Z

The US president clearly thinks Muslims injured by a white Christian man are not worthy of attention because they do not serve his agenda

When something terrible happens in the world, we turn to those we respect to hear sage words of advice. To give us level-headed analyses. To blow away the fog of bias and provide a sense of clarity. These individuals act as our moral, ethical and intellectual compasses.

And, just as we have those in our lives who show us the right direction, we have the inverse: those who, without fail, manage to show us the wrong direction. The trick, of course, is to be able to find out who these people are, recognize their ineptitude and bigotry for what it is … and then do the opposite.

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American healthcare is at a crossroads. Where is the Democrats' bold vision? | Ross Barkan

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:57:14 GMT2017-06-20T15:57:14Z

Republicans are promising to make healthcare worse for the people who need it most. Democrats are left with a mealy-mouthed defense of the status quo

How close the Senate Republicans are to repealing the Affordable Care Act is anyone’s guess. The same holds what for a replacement bill will truly look like. Negotiations, to the horror of anyone with a half-functioning conscience, are occurring in secret, and no Republican will reveal what sort of punishment is in store for the most vulnerable Americans.

Democrats in the Senate, unlike the House, hold some leverage. Republicans can afford to only lose two votes and still pass a bill, and there are enough moderates from swing states to balk at any radical restructuring of American healthcare. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, would like to hold a vote before the 4 July recess, doing Donald Trump’s dirty work before vacation time.

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‘The war after Isis’: has Trump opened the door to conflict with Iran?

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 14:35:40 GMT2017-06-19T14:35:40Z

As US forces strike Syrian militias backed by Tehran, many fear delegation to the Pentagon and the looming defeat of the Islamic State could fuel a fiercer fire

US forces have opened fire on Iranian-backed forces in Syria three times in the past month, amid mounting tensions that observers and former officials worry could easily turn into an unplanned, spiralling conflict.

The three recent incidents took place at al-Tanf, a remote desert outpost near the point where the Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian borders meet. There, a 150-strong force of US soldiers who are training local fighters to take on the Islamic State (Isis) was approached by convoys of militias fighting for the Assad regime. They responded with air strikes.

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Large parliamentary majority leaves Macron holding all the cards

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 18:50:41 GMT2017-06-18T18:50:41Z

President has seriously limited traditional left and right parties as high abstention rate casts shadow

Emmanuel Macron’s outsider bid to dynamite traditional French party politics appears to have paid off in record time. His fledgling centrist movement and its allies were on course to win a clear parliament majority as results were being counted in the legislative elections on Sunday night.

Just over a year after Macron founded a political movement intended to be “neither right nor left”, he has succeeded in seriously limiting the traditional left and right parties of government.

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Chuck Schumer condemns Republican healthcare bill as 'heartless' – video

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:41:07 GMT2017-06-22T16:41:07Z

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer says the Republican healthcare bill to overhaul Obamacare is a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and ‘heartless’. Mitch McConnell and his lieutenants in the GOP worked in secret for weeks on the bill, and McConnell said debate on it would start next week. On Thursday, Schumer said there was not enough time to properly review the bill

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Hawaii's homeless have few places to go: 'They don't know what to do with us' – video

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:00:02 GMT2017-06-22T11:00:02Z

With the highest homelessness rate of any state in the US, Hawaii lawmakers struggle for solutions amid rising costs of living and low wages. But one group of homeless Hawaiians has taken matters into their own hands, forming a highly organized and self-sustaining community. Could a key part of solving Hawaii’s homelessness problem actually come from its homeless citizens?

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Donald Trump does not want a 'poor person' in cabinet – video

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:34:54 GMT2017-06-22T08:34:54Z

The US president says he does not want poor people managing the economy. Trump told a rally of his supporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, he feels a ‘very rich person’, such as former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, was better qualified to be in charge of commerce

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'Justice for Grenfell': day of rage protesters demonstrate in central London – video

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:30:25 GMT2017-06-21T15:30:25Z

Protesters stage a ‘day of rage’, marching from west London to Downing Street in central London on Wednesday, coinciding with the state opening of parliament. Demonstrators chanted ‘justice for Grenfell’ following the Grenfell Tower fire that saw dozens of people killed

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Republicans narrowly beat Democrats in Georgia's special election – video

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:23:58 GMT2017-06-21T08:23:58Z

Republican candidate Karen Handel has beaten the Democrats’ Jon Ossoff in the race for Georgia’s sixth congressional district. The special election was seen as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency

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US south-west swelters under extreme heatwave – in pictures

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 22:53:06 GMT2017-06-20T22:53:06Z

Dramatic temperatures of nearly 120F (nearly 49C) hit Arizona, Nevada and California amid one of the highest heatwaves recorded in the region. Temperatures are causing problems for workers, air transportation and power grids. Authorities have cautioned that the heat poses a life-threatening risk to the elderly, the sick, the homeless and migrants crossing the Sonoran desert into the US. New research shows climate change has escalated the risk of heatwaves around the world


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Argentinian raid finds country's largest haul of Nazi artefacts – video

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:59:14 GMT2017-06-20T07:59:14Z

A raid on a home in Béccar, Argentina, has led to the discovery of the biggest collection of Nazi artefacts in the country’s history, according to police. The find includes a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses inside elegant boxes with swastikas and even a macabre medical device used to measure head size

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Gay chorus group drowns out anti-gay protesters with music in Knoxville – video

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 02:58:35 GMT2017-06-20T02:58:35Z

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington encircle anti-gay protesters and decide to confront them ‘the only way the know how – with music’. The group give an impromptu performance of Make Them Hear You, from the musical Ragtime, after spotting the protesters while travelling back to their hotel. They had just performed at the Knoxville PrideFest in Tennessee.

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US student Otto Warmbier dies after being released by North Korea – video report

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 01:41:11 GMT2017-06-20T01:41:11Z

Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old US student released by North Korea in a coma after more than a year in detention, has died. Warmbier was arrested at Pyongyang airport in January 2016 and sentenced to hard labour for allegedly taking a propaganda poster from his hotel room. North Korea claim he fell into a coma after he took a sleeping pill and contracted botulism, an assertion his family reject. Donald Trump, US president, has condemned the regime as “brutal” and promised: “We’ll handle it.”

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