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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: Sat, 10 Dec 2016 06:58:19 GMT2016-12-10T06:58:19Z

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



Gambian president Yahya Jammeh rejects election result

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 06:08:12 GMT2016-12-10T06:08:12Z

Beaten president had conceded the result to Adama Barrow, but now claims ‘fresh and transparent elections’ need to be held

The Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh has rejected the outcome of last week’s election, which he lost to opposition leader Adama Barrow, and called for a fresh vote.

The announcement made on state TV on Friday throws the future of the West African country into doubt after an unexpected election result that ended Jammeh’s 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.

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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 its sports stars were able to take a cocktail of banned performance-enhancing drugs yet evade doping tests, it has been revealed.

A 144-page report by the respected Canadian law professor Richard McLaren on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) also found 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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Barack Obama orders 'full review' of possible Russian hacking in US election

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:26:15 GMT2016-12-09T17:26:15Z

President’s decision to have US intelligence agencies look over evidence comes after unrelenting pressure from Democratic lawmakers to declassify information

Barack Obama has ordered US intelligence to review evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election after coming under sustained pressure from congressional Democrats.

The review will be one of Obama’s final instructions to the intelligence agencies, which will soon report to Donald Trump, whom congressional Democrats consider the beneficiary of a hack targeting the Democratic National Committee.

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ECB refuses to help Italy's crisis-hit Monte dei Paschi bank

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:23:35 GMT2016-12-09T19:23:35Z

Italian government may have to prop up world’s oldest bank as recapitalisation deal falters

Fears that the Italian government will have to prop up Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) are mounting after the European Central Bank refused to give the world’s oldest bank more time to find major investors to back a €5bn (£4.2bn) cash injection.

Trading in the troubled bank’s shares was repeatedly halted on the Italian stock exchange on Friday. The MPS share price closed 10% lower as the bank’s board held a meeting that had already been scheduled before the reports that the ECB had rejected its calls for an extension to the deadline to bolster its financial position.

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Nana Akufo-Addo wins poll to become Ghana's president

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 21:16:26 GMT2016-12-09T21:16:26Z

Incumbent John Mahama concedes defeat after opponent wins 53.8% of vote

Ghana’s main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo has won the presidency in his third run for the office.

State broadcaster Ghana Television said on Friday that the president, John Mahama, had conceded defeat in a telephone call that Akufo-Addo confirmed soon after.

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Seven penguins drown in latest deadly incident at Calgary zoo

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:10:21 GMT2016-12-09T19:10:21Z

Officials believe penguins were sent into panic at zoo which has seen several other accidents including an otter who died after becoming entangled in trousers

A Canadian zoo has launched an investigation into the deaths of seven penguins at the facility, which are believed to have drowned in a state of panic.

“It was obviously something we did not expect to find,” said Jamie Dorgan, the director of animal care for the Calgary Zoo. “It’s a very odd situation, very odd circumstances and nothing we’ve ever encountered before.”

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Jury hears Dylann Roof confession on third day of Charleston shooting trial

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:01:27 GMT2016-12-09T20:01:27Z

Video recording of Roof saying ‘I killed them’ while laughing is shown for the first time at death penalty trial for June 2015 murders of nine people

Dylann Roof hesitated for about 20 seconds when an FBI agent asked him what he was doing on the night nine black church members were killed during Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina.

“Uh, I did it,” Roof said in a video recording played for the public for the first time on Friday at his death penalty trial. After he waived his rights and about a minute of small talk, the agents pressed Roof gently – asking him exactly what he did. He paused for another 30 seconds or so.

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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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Two female suicide bombers kill at least 30 at Nigerian market

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:10:20 GMT2016-12-09T16:10:20Z

Boko Haram blamed for blasts which struck at opposite ends of food market and left dozens dead and 67 people wounded

Two women carried out suicide bombings at a bustling market in the north-east Nigerian town of Madagali on Friday morning, killing at least 30 people and wounding 67, the army said.

The attack came as the Nigerian government claimed it was routing the Boko Haram extremists blamed for the blasts.

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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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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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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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'Everything is over now': the last survivors in Yemen's ground zero

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

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad visits Houthi-held areas of Yemen being bombed out of existence by Saudi warplanes

The ruins carpeted the city market, rippling outwards in waves of destruction. Broken beams, collapsed roofs, exploded metal shutters and fossilised merchandise crumbled underfoot.

In one of the burnt-out shells of the shops where raisins, nuts, fabrics, incense and stone pots were traded for hundreds of years, all that was to be found was a box of coke bottles, a sofa and a child nailing wooden sticks together.

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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 Bavarian prison cell.

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Solomon Islands shaken by second earthquake in two days

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 05:36:44 GMT2016-12-10T05:36:44Z

6.9 magnitude tremor – felt as far away as Australia – leads to temporary tsunami warning and reports of damage in remote areas

The Solomon Islands were rattled by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, a day after hundreds of people along the coast fled into the hills following a 7.8 magnitude tremor.

The latest quake initially triggered a fresh tsunami warning for the Solomons but that was lifted by authorities a short time later. No deaths were reported.

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Aleppo bombing will continue until rebels leave, Russia says

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:54:09 GMT2016-12-09T16:54:09Z

Statement comes one day after Moscow said Syrian military would pause its strikes to allow civilians to leave city

The bombardment of Aleppo will continue as long as opposition fighters remain in the Syrian city, Russia’s foreign minister has said a day after pledging to halt combat operations to allow civilians to leave.

“After a humanitarian pause [the strikes] have resumed and will continue for as long as the bandits are still in Aleppo,” Sergei Lavrov told journalists on Friday at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

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Hong Kong's divisive leader to step down amid political crisis

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:01:39 GMT2016-12-09T11:01:39Z

Leung Chun-ying says he will not seek re-election next year, after facing protests and criticism from pro-democracy campaigners

Hong Kong’s divisive leader has announced he will not seek a second term, amid a deepening political crisis in the former British colony.

Leung Chun-ying cited family reasons for the decision to step down when his term ends in July 2017.

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Oakland fire victims: teacher, students and local artists among the dead

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 22:31:15 GMT2016-12-09T22:31:15Z

Friends and family mourn the 36 victims of the devastating ‘Ghost Ship’ warehouse fire that sent shockwaves through the vibrant underground scene

The victims of the devastating fire that killed 36 people in Oakland, California, were artists, musicians, activists, community organizers and other young people who came together for a party at the “Ghost Ship” warehouse on Friday night.

Related: Oakland warehouse fire is product of housing crisis, say artists and advocates

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Mexican military not meant to serve in drug cartel crackdown, top general says

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:34:28 GMT2016-12-09T19:34:28Z

Gen Salvador Cienfuegos encouraged soldiers to return to barracks a decade after being surrogates for police in conflict full of violence and human rights abuses

A decade after Mexico sent its soldiers into the streets to combat drug cartels, the country’s top general has said troops should head back to their barracks, arguing their role is ill-defined and counterproductive.

Related: Mexico's war on drugs: what has it achieved and how is the US involved?

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An elemental challenge for climbers and storm-watchers

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 05:30:05 GMT2016-12-10T05:30:05Z

Bosherston, Pembrokeshire To stand on the cliff as green combers thud into the walls beneath, roar into the cave and recoil in white chaos is to become aware of even rock’s fragility

The bird ledges on Mowing Word, a cock’s spur of a limestone point on the south Pembrokeshire coast, are empty now. The guillemots and razorbills that jostle, cackle and croon here through the spring months, their single eggs perilously free from nests’ constraints, are far out to sea, searching for food.

The cliff on wild days is storm-watchers’ domain. To stand on top as green combers thud into the walls beneath, roar into the cave and recoil in white chaos is to become aware of even rock’s fragility. Sometimes the whole narrow headland shakes beneath your feet, and white spume that looks so light lashes the skin.

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Human Rights Day: US and EU call on China to release political prisoners

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 05:09:33 GMT2016-12-10T05:09:33Z

‘I remain extremely concerned about the ongoing detention of Chinese lawyers,’ the US ambassador to China says

More than half a dozen political prisoners in China should freed, the United States and European Union have said, citing a deteriorating human rights situation that has seen hundreds lawyers and activists detained in the past year.

Since coming to power in 2012 the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has presided over a wide-ranging crackdown on freedom of expression, rights lawyers, feminists, activists and religion. About 250 lawyers and activists were detained by police starting in July last year in what some have called a “war on law”.

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CIA concludes Russia interfered to help Trump win election – report

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 04:25:38 GMT2016-12-10T04:25:38Z

Intelligence agency told key senators that individuals acting for Moscow hacked Democratic party emails and gave them to WikiLeaks, says Washington Post

A secret CIA assessment has found that Russia interfered in last month’s US presidential election with the goal of helping Donald Trump win the White House, the Washington Post has reported, citing officials briefed on the matter.

The report comes after President Barack Obama ordered a review of all cyberattacks that took place during the 2016 election cycle, amid growing calls from Congress for more information on the extent of Russian interference in the campaign.

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Canada sets its first national carbon price at C$10 a tonne

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 01:53:21 GMT2016-12-10T01:53:21Z

Eight of 10 provinces have signed deal to implement carbon tax or cap-and-trade markets, says Justin Trudeau

The Canadian government has agreed a deal with eight of the country’s 10 provinces to introduce its first national carbon price, Justin Trudeau has told reporters.

The prime minister said the move would help Canada meet its international climate change obligations.

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My hunting trip with Yeltsin killed off the Soviet Union

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:18:27 GMT2016-12-07T15:18:27Z

Belarusian politician recalls his role 25 years ago in reaching deal that led to breakup of USSR without major bloodshed

The man whose signature in effect dissolved the Soviet Union 25 years ago on Thursday has admitted that was not his intention as he travelled to the fateful meeting.

Related: 'Democracy was hijacked. It got a bad name': the death of the post-Soviet dream

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A cellphone is no substitute for a midwife, African tech prodigy warns

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 07:00:05 GMT2016-12-06T07:00:05Z

Founder of app that helps pregnant women says governments must not rely on technology to plug gaps in basic services

African governments are using technological advances as an excuse to continue neglecting systemic problems in health, education, energy and other basic services, a prominent entrepreneur has claimed.

“Over the past few years we’ve been talking a lot about leapfrogging health systems using mobile phones, but I am uncomfortable with the word because it implies that we can compromise local standards,” says Alain Nteff, founder of Gifted Mom, which gives pregnant women and new mothers potentially life-saving information.

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Ready for Russia: Lithuanians taught how to resist invasion

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 07:00:17 GMT2016-12-05T07:00:17Z

Copies of manual, with tips on civil disobedience, given to schools and libraries after Trump victory threatens Nato alliance

The Lithuanian defence ministry has issued 30,000 copies of an instruction manual advising citizens on what to do in the event of a Russia-led invasion.

The release of the 75-page paperback, entitled Guide to Active Resistance, comes amid increased fears of Russian aggression following the election of Donald Trump, who stated during his campaign that he would review the US’s position on defending Nato allies.

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

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 07:00:15 GMT2016-12-03T07:00:15Z

Despite social and sporting progress, even the best teams at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations struggle to fund friendlies

Shortly after the opening ceremony of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, the hosts declared that when it came to football there was “no distinction” in the support given to men and women.

Despite this goal, female players report that as in many areas of life, there is still a stark divide in opportunities, and players at the tournament say the game is suffering from neglect. Africa’s best women’s team doesn’t have enough money for friendlies, and players describe having fought patriarchy at every level to get where they are today.

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Dirty laundry: washing line art highlights South Africa's rape epidemic

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:00:09 GMT2016-12-02T07:00:09Z

Installation features used knickers said to illustrate number of attacks that take place against women each day

Thousands of pairs of used knickers have been hung above the streets of Johannesburg as part of an installation to raise awareness about the country’s record rates of rape.

Devised by two sexual assault survivors, the installation consists of washing lines 1,200 metres long displaying 3,600 pairs of pants – matching the number of rapes estimated to occur on a daily basis, according to the artists.

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Brand new leader, same old autocracy as Uzbeks go to polls

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 05:00:06 GMT2016-12-02T05:00:06Z

Shavkat Mirziyoyev expected to continue Islam Karimov’s iron-fisted rule in Uzbekistan, which has no free press or opposition

Uzbeks will elect a new leader for the first time in more than 25 years on Sunday. Just don’t expect a Trump-like upset.

About 18 million people are eligible to vote for a successor to Islam Karimov, the long-time dictator who died in September after ruling Uzbekistan ever since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

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Great-grandson of man killed in Stalin's purges to sue Russian state

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 11:32:39 GMT2016-11-30T11:32:39Z

Descendant given document revealing chain of responsibility for death, from Soviet leader to three executioners

A young designer in Russia plans to sue the state in an unprecedented case after an archivist sent him evidence appearing to name the agents of Joseph Stalin’s secret police who executed his great-grandfather.

Denis Karagodin, 34, received the document in the post after repeated requests to the Federal Security Service (FSB) for information about the circumstances of his great-grandfather’s execution.

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Nigeria's crackdown on begging raises fears over human rights violations

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 07:00:42 GMT2016-11-29T07:00:42Z

Campaigners say thousands of vulnerable people are being held without trial as MPs look to extend Lagos ban nationwide

With Nigeria’s parliament poised to extend a controversial law banning the “menace of street begging” throughout the country, campaigners are warning the policy has already resulted in the persecution of tens of thousands of disabled and mentally ill citizens.

Street begging is illegal in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city, and carries fines of around N15,000 (£38) and up to three months’ imprisonment. Those who fail to pay the fine are incarcerated until they are able to pay up.

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Putin brings China's Great Firewall to Russia in cybersecurity pact

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 07:00:42 GMT2016-11-29T07:00:42Z

The Kremlin has joined forces with Chinese authorities to bring the internet and its users under greater state control

Russia has been working on incorporating elements of China’s Great Firewall into the “Red Web”, the country’s system of internet filtering and control, after unprecedented cyber collaboration between the countries.

A decision earlier this month to block the networking site LinkedIn in Russia is the most visible in a series of measures to bring the internet under greater state control.

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The small African region with more refugees than all of Europe

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 08:00:26 GMT2016-11-26T08:00:26Z

Hunger follows displaced people around north-east Nigeria, as Boko Haram and climate change drive millions from their homes

As Ali Kawu eases his handcart to a halt on a recent morning in north-east Nigeria, it is the first time he has dared to stop walking in more than 24 hours.

A day earlier, at 8am, Boko Haram militants raided his village. Kawu, 25, escaped with what he could – his wife, their three children, and kindling for a fire. They left behind their papers, six sacks of beans, up to 15 dead neighbours, and 10 kidnapped villagers. Then they walked all day and all night.

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'Democracy was hijacked. It got a bad name': the death of the post-Soviet dream

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:00:09 GMT2016-12-08T07:00:09Z

Independence 25 years ago promised to bring freedom and prosperity to central Asia, but kleptocratic regimes have left many yearning for the past

The road out of Kommunizm, a small town in southern Tajikistan, is badly paved and bumpy. Like most things here it was built long ago, when the ruling ideology that gave the settlement its name was still thriving.

Home to just 7,000 inhabitants, Kommunizm was at the very edge of the Russian empire, first tsarist then Soviet; a mere 50 miles from Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

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Man dies after being shot on London street

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:35:29 GMT2016-12-09T20:35:29Z

Scotland Yard say witnesses are already coming forward but no arrests have been made

A 21-year-old man has died after being shot on a busy street in London, police said.

The victim was shot by a lone gunman as he walked down the road in Kilburn, north-west London, on Thursday evening, Scotland Yard said on Friday.

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Irish courts to be asked to intervene in Brexit legal process

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 22:00:40 GMT2016-12-09T22:00:40Z

Jolyon Maugham QC to go through Irish courts with issue of whether Brexit can be reversed after article 50 is triggered

Irish courts are to be asked to intervene in the UK’s legally complex Brexit process in a new appeal aimed at reaching the European court of justice in Luxembourg.

The application, which is seeking crowdfunding, will be on the issue of whether once Brexit is triggered, by giving formal notice to Brussels under article 50 of the treaty on European Union, it can be reversed.

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Donald Trump shuts down companies tied to Saudi Arabia after election

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 01:04:00 GMT2016-12-10T01:04:00Z

News of the move came days before he is expected to describe changes he is making to his businesses to avoid potential conflicts of interest as president

President-elect Donald Trump shut down some of his companies in the days after the election, including four that appeared connected to a possible Saudi Arabia business venture, according to corporate registrations in Delaware.

News of the move came days before Trump is expected to describe changes he is making to his businesses to avoid potential conflicts of interest as the US president.

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Aceh earthquake: Australia pledges $1m to Indonesia in aid

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 04:53:31 GMT2016-12-10T04:53:31Z

Money to support essential household items and first aid following Wednesday’s 6.5 magnitude earthquake off Sumatran coast

The government has committed $1m to aid Indonesia’s response to the Aceh earthquake that claimed 100 lives and left more than 11,000 without homes.

More than 100 people were killed and 750 injured in the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Sumatra, which destroyed more than 10,500 homes along with schools and a major public hospital on Wednesday.

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Time for China to release writers, journalists and activists | Letters

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 00:01:42 GMT2016-12-10T00:01:42Z

Today, on World Human Rights Day, our Pen International community of writers, readers, activists and publishers condemn the Chinese authorities’ sustained and increasing attack on free expression and call for an immediate end to China’s worsening crackdown on fundamental human rights.

We cannot stand by as more and more of our friends and colleagues are silenced. Where is the voice of Ilham Tohti, the Uighur scholar and Pen member currently serving a life sentence, when his life’s work has been about creating peace and dialogue in China? Where is the voice of veteran journalist Gao Yu, who spent close to two years in prison and is now under house arrest? Where is the voice of publisher Gui Minhai, who disappeared from his holiday home in Thailand and is now being held incommunicado? Where is the voice of Nobel peace laureate and former president of the Independent Chinese Pen Centre, Liu Xiaobo, serving an 11-year prison sentence and the voice of his wife, the poet Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for over six years without even having been accused of a crime?

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Who is toying with girls’ futures? | Letters

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:09:41 GMT2016-12-09T19:09:41Z

I was interested to read about the Institution of Engineering and Technology (Report, 8 December) highlighting the problem of girls not being given toys that might lead to an interest in science and engineering. The report blames the marketing of toys. However, pressures exist elsewhere. As a male former scientist I have made attempts to encourage people to buy toys for girls that are gender neutral, educational and linked to practical exercises. In every case I have been thwarted by various female adults and told for example: “She is a ‘girly’ girl, she must have a pink toy, dress or something relating to cooking.” It seems to be the practice in many cultures that the pressure for girls to behave or dress in a certain way or to become a mother comes not from men but from older women. It is they who need to change.
Dr Nigel Long
Keynsham, Somerset

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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Greece under fire over Christmas bonus for low-income pensioners

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:52:09 GMT2016-12-09T18:52:09Z

International creditors pour scorn on prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s one-off payment for retirees living on €800 or less a month

A goodwill gesture to ease the plight of those hardest hit in Greece by tax increases and budget cuts has backfired spectacularly on the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, with the country’s international creditors making clear he has acted out of step.

In the starkest case yet of how closely watched loan-reliant Athens is, lenders reacted with unusual alacrity on Friday after the leftist leader announced a one-off Christmas bonus for 1.6 million low-income pensioners.

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Florida lifts last of Miami's 'Zika zones'

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:13:07 GMT2016-12-09T17:13:07Z

Governor Rick Scott announces that there has been no active transmissions of the virus but cautions visitors and locals to remain vigilant

Florida’s governor lifted the last of Miami’s “Zika zones” on Friday, ending a turbulent months-long health crisis that at one stage threatened to devastate the city’s busy winter tourist season.

During its summer peak, the mosquito-borne virus was infecting dozens of people a week in Miami Beach and the Wynwood arts district, which cover the largest areas of Miami-Dade County’s four zones of active local transmission set up by health officials where outbreaks were most severe.

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Morocco judge acquits girls accused of homosexuality

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:52:19 GMT2016-12-09T16:52:19Z

Court drops charges against two teenagers arrested for allegedly kissing and hugging

A judge in Morocco has acquitted two teenage girls on trial for alleged homosexuality after they were reportedly caught kissing, one of their three lawyers said.

The 16-year-old and 17-year-old were arrested in October and detained for a week on charges of taking part in a “licentious or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex”.

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Colombia Zika outbreak: microcephaly cases four times higher this year

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:43:54 GMT2016-12-09T16:43:54Z

Report shows sharp increase in rates of the rare birth defect over last year in Colombia, where Zika infected 20,000 pregnant women since October 2015

Cases of microcephaly in Colombia were four times higher this year than last, an increase that coincides with a widespread outbreak of the Zika virus in the country, according to a report released on Friday.

At its peak in July, microcephaly cases in Colombia were nine times higher than in the same month in 2015, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report on death and disease.

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Indigenous group in Peru vows to block oil drilling on Amazon ancestral land

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:36:44 GMT2016-12-09T16:36:44Z

The chiefs of 45 Achuar communities opposed government plan, spokesman said, and would physically prevent GeoPark and Petroperu from encroaching

An indigenous federation opposed to a recently approved plan for oil drilling in the Peruvian Amazon has said that native communities will physically block any attempt by oil companies to operate on their lands.

Last week the Peruvian government gave the green light for Santiago-based GeoPark Ltd to produce oil in Block 64 with state-owned energy company Petroperu as its junior partner. The move is part of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s bid to “untangle” stalled investments from red tape.

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Dutch police arrest terror suspect and seize arsenal of weapons

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:25:50 GMT2016-12-09T16:25:50Z

Detectives find AK-47, illegal fireworks and Isis flag during search of 30-year-old suspect’s apartment in Rotterdam

Police acting on a tipoff from the Dutch intelligence agency have arrested a 30-year-old terrorist suspect and seized an arsenal of weapons in the port city of Rotterdam, prosecutors say.

Detectives found an AK-47 rifle, four boxes of illegal highly explosive fireworks, a large depiction of the Islamic State flag, several mobile phones and €1,600 in cash when they searched the suspect’s apartment on Friday afternoon.

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Brazil's austerity package decried by UN as attack on poor people

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:04:17 GMT2016-12-09T16:04:17Z

Senior official says proposed budget cuts, which have been protested in violent street clashes, are ‘lacking in all nuance and compassion’

Brazil is poised to implement the most socially regressive austerity package in the world, a senior United Nations official has warned.

Despite violent street protests against budget cuts, President Michel Temer – who came to power after engineering the impeachment of his former running mate, Dilma Rousseff – is pushing through a 20-year social spending freeze that will be locked into the constitution.

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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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Are you voting in Romania's election?

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:33:24 GMT2016-12-09T12:33:24Z

If you’re taking part in Romania’s election on Sunday we’d like to hear from you

The centre-left PSD party in Romania is set to win the most seats in Sunday’s election as people go to the polls to elect a new government. However, they’re expected to fall short of a majority leaving it open to a coalition with a rival party.

Despite the dominant party of Romanian politics topping recent polls, the Union Save Romania, a new party, founded barely six months ago to fight the corruption, cronyism and inefficiency in the country, could spoil the celebrations.

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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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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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South Korean president Park Geun-hye faces impeachment – video report

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:52:10 GMT2016-12-09T09:52:10Z

South Korean protesters celebrate after politicians voted on Friday to impeach President Park Geun-hye, the country’s first female president. South Korean national assembly speaker Chung Sye-kyun says the bill was passed by a vote of 234 to 56, surpassing the necessary two-thirds support in the 300-seat assembly

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South Korea impeachment vote: the key facts behind a presidential crisis

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:52:43 GMT2016-12-09T07:52:43Z

Contenders are lining up to replace Park Geun-hye, who could become the first democratically elected leader to be forced from office

South Korea’s parliament has voted to impeach the president, Park Geun-hye, over a scandal involving her relationship with Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of 40 years who is being investigated on suspicion of exerting undue influence on the leader.

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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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Eisenhower proposes an international atomic agency – archive, 1953

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:00:19 GMT2016-12-09T05:00:19Z

9 December 1953: The US president hoped a new body under the aegis of the UN would oversee the control, storage, and protection of the materials that go into hydrogen and atomic bombs

President Eisenhower to-day proposed the creation of an international atomic energy agency under the aegis of the United Nations, to be responsible for the firm control, storage, and protection of the materials that go into hydrogen and atomic bombs.

Russia would be one of the partners and President Eisenhower told the United Nations General Assembly that the United States would be more than willing to work with Russia in the development of plans for peaceful use of atomic energy. Furthermore, he went on, he was prepared to submit to Congress “with every expectation of approval” an international four-point plan to take the world out of the shadows of possible atomic conflict.

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The eyes of the city: 20 years of street photography – in pictures

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:00:24 GMT2016-12-08T14:00:24Z

From 1977 to 2001, photographer Richard Sandler regularly walked the streets of New York and Boston, capturing all that the streets had to offer

The Eyes of the City by Richard Sandler is published by powerHouse books


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Inside Regent Park: Toronto's test case for public-private gentrification

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:00:09 GMT2016-12-08T07:00:09Z

Once notorious for bedbugs and crime, the Regent Park social housing development has been transformed with a $1bn revitalisation – and more than a few luxury apartments. But has it managed to avoid social cleansing?

Paintbox Bistro is a typical modern restaurant: high ceilings, framed art and hand-built wooden tables, serving everything from snacks to wraps to flank steak by a chef who did time in trendy Toronto eateries. It’s a description that could apply to many of the restaurants that regularly pop up (and back down) throughout Canada’s foodie capital. Except Paintbox Bistro has a twist: it is located in what used to be the city’s roughest neighbourhood, Regent Park.

A 69-acre housing project known for bedbugs and crime, Regent Park became especially notorious in 2005, when a member of the Point Blank Soulijahs gang – an offshoot of the Regent Park Crew – shot dead a 15-year-old bystander near the Eaton Centre, the biggest mall in the downtown core. The killing shocked Toronto; several years later, in 2012, fighting between the gang’s descendants, the Sic Thugz, led to another weekend shootout.

Continue reading...Children play at the Regent Park development in Toronto in 2012.Children play at the Regent Park development in Toronto in 2012.


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Where is the world's most 'godless' city?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:03:22 GMT2016-12-07T12:03:22Z

Norwich has the highest proportion of residents describing themselves as having no religion, while Berlin has been called the ‘atheist capital of Europe’. But what about the rest of the world? And is such an assessment meaningful?

Discovering how many people in a given city believe in God (or not) is an almost superhuman task. In territories controlled or influenced by Islamic State, for example, the risks to declared non-believers are drastic and obvious. On the other side of the coin, the state atheism promulgated by the leaders of the Soviet Union meant that believers were stigmatised at best, persecuted at worst.

As sociology professor Phil Zuckerman pointed out in an essay in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, even the terminology of religious belief can throw up roadblocks to understanding. If my idea of religious practice is a good deal looser than yours, can we have a meaningful conversation about which cities are godless and which are not?

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Singapore's 'silver tsunami': how the city-state depends on its elderly workforce

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:19:28 GMT2016-12-06T12:19:28Z

In Singapore, where life expectancy is soaring, the elderly are encouraged to exchange retirement for arduous jobs that often pay badly – yet many of its citizens, including Wong Kuan Ying, are only too keen to oblige

At first glance, Wong Kuan Ying looks like a typical Singaporean boss, with her smart, full-length trousers and impeccable posture, even at the end of a nine-hour shift. Her colleagues in Singapore’s West Coast Market Square food court are dressed more casually, in shorts and T-shirts. Some of them look past the working age: you avert your eyes from their tired knees; they avert their eyes when you thank them.

Kuan Ying tells me she is 72 but she doesn’t look it. Each day when she gets home, however, she has to unscrew her right leg from below the knee. Acute diabetes has left her missing the lower part of one leg, and all the toes from her other foot.

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Komunitas LGBT di Jakarta: ‘Lebih parah dari senjata nuklir? Kami cuma ingin diterima kok’

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:01:57 GMT2016-12-06T00:01:57Z

Seiring merebaknya sentimen negatif terhadap komunitas LGBT di Indonesia – dengan proposal untuk mengkriminalisasi hubungan seks sesama jenis dan kecaman dari pejabat publik – kaum muda Jakarta berbagi kisah diskriminasi dan harapan mereka untuk masa depan

Tahun 2016 adalah tahun dimana diskriminasi terhadap komunitas lesbian, gay, biseksual dan transgender terlihat semakin terang-benderang. Saat ini, Mahkamah Konstitusi (MK) sedang mempertimbangkan uji materil beberapa pasal dalam Peraturan Hukum Pidana atau Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana (KUHP) yang nantinya akan bisa dipakai untuk menghukum pelaku hubungan seksual sesama jenis.

Kelompok konservatif Islami yang melayangkan petisi ini, Aliansi Cinta Keluarga, berpendapat bahwa hukum di Indonesia seharusnya mengandung nilai-nilai yang berlawanan dengan nilai-nilai liberalisme yang dipeluk oleh masyarakat Barat sana. Patrialis Akbar, salah satu hakim di MK, mengatakan: “kebebasan dibatasi nilai-nilai moral. Kemudian dibatasi nilai-nilai agama … Kita sangat berbeda karena kita bukan negara sekuler. Negara ini mengakui agama.”

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An insider's guide to Juárez: the former murder capital finds a new direction

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:09:16 GMT2016-12-05T14:09:16Z

From eco housing to cowboy cantinas, art galleries to poetry readings, the Mexican border city is moving on from its recent violent past

Margaritas in a desert town

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The quiet life: an alternative view of Brazil's cities – in pictures

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:27:07 GMT2016-12-01T13:27:07Z

While much of the world has focused on Brazil’s sporting, political and economic news, photographer Tomer Ifrah has spent the past year capturing small events of daily life in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo

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How cities took over the world: a history of globalisation spanning 4,000 years

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:20:47 GMT2016-12-01T07:20:47Z

From bronze-age Iraq’s market-driven cities to the riches of Antwerp to the tech revolution in India, Greg Clark identifies the many waves of urban globalisation in an extract from his new book, Global Cities

History shows that cities have tended to embrace international opportunities in waves and cycles. They rarely break out into global activity by themselves. Cities participate in collective movements or networks to take advantage of new conditions, and often their demise or withdrawal from a global orientation is also experienced jointly with other cities as circumstances change, affecting many at once.

The world’s first great market-driven cities were established more than 4,000 years ago in the early bronze age, and their rich history is only now beginning to be understood. An urban revolution was taking place, with most residents of what is today southern Iraq living in cities, and this process of urbanisation was accompanied by trade on a new scale.

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Two-wheel takeover: bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 07:09:43 GMT2016-11-30T07:09:43Z

Denmark’s capital has reached a milestone in its journey to become a cycling city – there are now more bikes than cars on the streets. Can other cities follow?

Bicycle sensors in Copenhagen clocked a new record this month: there are now more bikes than cars in the heart of the city. In the last year, 35,080 more bikes have joined the daily roll, bringing the total number to 265,700, compared with 252,600 cars.

Copenhagen municipality has been carrying out manual traffic counts at a number of city centre locations since 1970, when there were 351,133 cars and 100,071 bikes. In 2009, the city installed its first electric bike counter by city hall, with 20 now monitoring traffic across the city.

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Reach out, raise money or remove: how should cities deal with street begging?

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 10:48:12 GMT2016-11-29T10:48:12Z

From London to Lagos, cities across the world are reacting to the rise in begging with a variety of often controversial measures. But what is the right response to this complicated human story – from cities and residents alike?

According to the latest surveys, there are now more than 400,000 beggars in India, of which around 46% are female. Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka alone is thought to contain 40,000.

For other cities, however, begging is a much more recent, if growing, phenomenon – and often a controversial one. While the reasons for this global rise are complex, the responses to the issue vary both in their severity and their success rates.

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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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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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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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Prada found wanting in assessment of forced labour safeguards

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:19:13 GMT2016-12-08T15:19:13Z

Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss also perform modestly in study of quality and transparency of efforts by leading fashion firms to protect against forced labour

Prada, one of the world’s most expensive fashion brands, is making little effort to show that its goods are free of forced labour, according to a new report.

An assessment (pdf) of the quality and transparency of efforts by 20 major apparel companies to safeguard against forced labour from their supply chains, undertaken by KnowTheChain, an accountability initiative, gave Prada a score of nine out of 100.

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Madagascar's £152m vanilla industry soured by child labour and poverty

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 GMT2016-12-08T09:00:00Z

A report claims retailers profiting from the world’s second most expensive spice are ignoring the desperate plight of impoverished Madagascan farmers

Nine-year-old Xidollien has no idea that the vanilla pods he and his family so painstakingly cultivate throughout the year on their small vanilla farm in the north of Madagascar is one of the most valuable spices in the world.

He hides behind his mother, Liliane, as she stands among the family’s vanilla plants . He has spent all morning clearing weeds from the land with a machete. Tomorrow will be the same for him and thousands of other children in the northern region of the island.

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Five questions we should be asking about the impact of UK aid | Mark Goldring

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:00:09 GMT2016-12-08T07:00:09Z

British aid can and must be scrupulously monitored, not least to ensure that it is fulfilling its remit to eradicate poverty and reaching beyond domestic interests

Together with last year’s government aid strategy, the Department for International Development’s publication of two reviews of its approach to aid delivery provides a much clearer picture of how Britain will tackle world poverty.

There is much to welcome in last week’s reviews of bilateral (pdf) and multilateral (pdf) funding, not least development secretary Priti Patel’s forthright and passionate commitment to aid as a vital tool in the fight to end poverty. The reviews rightly stress the importance of aid effectiveness, innovation, impact and enhanced levels of national and international transparency, scrutiny and accountability for every pound spent.

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Child labour 'rampant' in Bangladesh factories, study reveals

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:47:12 GMT2016-12-07T13:47:12Z

Overseas Development Institute survey finds 15% of six- to 14-year-olds living in poorest households work an average of 64 hours a week

Most mornings, 15-year-old Iqbal arrives for his job at a Dhaka panel beaters at about 10am, working on cars for up to 13 hours before he can go home.

The teenager, who earns less than £60 a week, has been working these hours since the age of 12, when his family’s financial problems forced him out of school and into a full-time job.

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Britain champions female refugees abroad only to fail them here | Kasia Staszewska

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:48:48 GMT2016-12-07T12:48:48Z

Despite saying it wants to protect women from sexual violence in conflict, the UK fails to provide safe, legal routes to sanctuary and handles asylum insensitively

Ramya, an Eritrean, was raped more than once by the traffickers who held her captive in a camp in Libya. Hala, from Aleppo, was offered a lower fee by a people smuggler in Turkey if she had sex with him. Reem, a Syrian, couldn’t sleep in refugee camps in Europe because she was scared the men around her would try to touch her during the night. Ada fled sexual violence in Nigeria, only to be kidnapped and abused by people smugglers in Libya on her journey to safety in Europe.

Women and girls fleeing conflict and persecution face these terrifying risks every day, yet the issue has barely figured in the global response to the refugee crisis.

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Africa's crackdown on tax avoidance nets £204m to boost development

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:00:27 GMT2016-12-07T10:00:27Z

UN Development Programme chief Helen Clark applauds project designed to improve audit capacities and ensure multinationals observe local tax laws

A team of tax experts from Kenya will be deployed to Botswana early next year in the latest round of an initiative that seeks to boost domestic revenue collection to fund national development plans.

The move was announced last week at the second global partnership for effective development cooperation meeting in Nairobi, which brought together representatives of governments, civil society, the private sector and UN officials.

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No sleep for Congolese mothers trying to save their girls from rape

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

Officially, sexual violence has declined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dubbed the ‘rape capital of the world’. But frontline workers tell a different story

The mothers of Kavumu hardly sleep. But on rainy nights, they don’t even try. The rain pounds on their tin roofs so noisily that they worry they won’t hear rapists breaking in to steal their daughters. So they sit up all night, just watching their front doors.

Since 2013, 49 young children, one only 18 months old, have been abducted from flimsy houses in this town in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and raped. The alleged ringleader of the militia responsible, an MP, was arrested earlier this year, but it is common knowledge in Kavumu that many of their daughters’ “destroyers”, as they call them, are still at large.

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Trump's cabinet looks increasingly conventional but far from moderate

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:53:01 GMT2016-12-09T19:53:01Z

Donald Trump’s personnel picks have stayed within the Republican mainstream – few are Trump cronies, and some were even opponents of the president-elect

Donald Trump ran an outsider campaign that seemingly violated every convention of American politics, but the team he is assembling for government looks increasingly like a conventional Republican cabinet.

Few of these picks could be considered moderate. “From the point of view of liberals, most of the appointments are abhorrent,” Whit Ayres, a top Republican political consultant and pollster, told the Guardian, “but they would have been with any Republican president.”

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Scott Pruitt's EPA: a dream for oil and gas firms is nightmare for environment

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:42:55 GMT2016-12-08T19:42:55Z

Trump’s pick to lead Environmental Protection Agency has supported fossil fuel firms and sought to hobble public health regulations he will be responsible for

If environmentalists were to sketch out the government official of their nightmares, it would likely look much like Scott Pruitt. The Oklahoma attorney general has been a raucous supporter of fossil fuel companies and repeatedly sought to hobble the public health regulations he will soon be responsible for as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Related: EPA fears 'unprecedented disaster' for environment over Scott Pruitt pick

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How a network led by the billionaire Koch brothers is riding the Trump wave

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:00:29 GMT2016-12-07T11:00:29Z

Despite the Koch brothers not backing Donald Trump financially with ads during the election, their network is emerging as a winner from his transition

Despite deciding not to back Donald Trump financially with ads during the presidential election, the sprawling donor and advocacy network led by the multibillionaire Koch brothers is emerging as a winner in the transition.

Longtime ally Mike Pence is leading the transition team, and several veteran Koch network donors, operatives and political allies are poised to join the Trump administration when the new president takes office in January.

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Matteo Renzi already plotting his return to Palazzo Chigi

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 15:40:30 GMT2016-12-06T15:40:30Z

PM is quitting after referendum defeat but is said to want to stay on as party leader and contest a general election in February

He has not even left yet, his resignation after a bruising defeat at the hands of the Italian electorate having been put on ice by the country’s president.

But Matteo Renzi is already plotting his return to the prime minister’s office, according to Italian media reports, and has signalled his desire for elections to be called as soon as February, despite his humiliating loss at the polls just days ago.

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Beijing grits teeth in face of Trump's tweets

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:31:30 GMT2016-12-05T13:31:30Z

China shows restraint as it tries to work out if US president-elect is being deliberately confrontational or just out of his depth

Donald Trump’s tweaking of Chinese noses is growing more provocative following Beijing’s criticism of his controversial phone conversation last week with Taiwan’s normally off-limits leader. The US president-elect’s latest intervention, conveyed via Twitter rather than diplomatic channels, includes complaints about China’s regional military buildup and alleged currency manipulation.

Related: Donald Trump rails against China as team runs damage control over Taiwan

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'A storm is gathering on the horizon': Chinese scholars fret about Trump

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 03:43:34 GMT2016-12-05T03:43:34Z

Experts agree the chances of a bitter and messy rupture between China and the US have increased following Trump’s tweets lashing out at Beijing

In the days after Donald Trump’s sensational election victory Chinese foreign policy experts heralded the property tycoon’s triumph as a rare opportunity to recast the often rancorous relationship between Washington and Beijing.

“In everything he is better than Clinton,” commemorated Shen Dingli, a professor of international relations from Shanghai’s Fudan University. “We must welcome him.”

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John Key kept the knife he reserved for himself perfectly concealed

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 02:09:45 GMT2016-12-05T02:09:45Z

Fittingly, as head of a party lauded for its ability to renew, Key edged himself out of the leadership before there was much speculation about his future

It is one of the hoary rules of politics that leaders never – almost never – go of their own accord.

But John Key, not for the first time, has proved his resistance to the forces of political gravity, announcing on Monday afternoon he will exit on his own terms. “For me this feels the right time to go,” the prime minister of New Zealand said.

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Referendum result may lead nowhere for Italy's Five Star and Northern League

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 01:13:16 GMT2016-12-05T01:13:16Z

It is clear that many Italians who voted no in the referendum would not support either party in a general election

The tweet from Italy’s most rightwing xenophobe was enough to send a chill down any liberal democrat’s spine.

Related: Italian PM Matteo Renzi resigns after referendum defeat

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Victory for Van der Bellen and the left is a sigh of relief for Europe

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 19:39:28 GMT2016-12-04T19:39:28Z

The leftist’s win was hailed as the ‘liberal pushback’ against Brexit and Trump, but 46% voted for the far-right Norbert Hofer

The sigh of relief that followed Alexander Van der Bellen’s victory in Austria’s rerun presidential election on Sunday could be heard all over Europe. After the twin traumas of Trump and Brexit, centrist parties, social democrats and liberals of all stripes had feared another triumph for the advancing forces of nativist populism represented by Van der Bellen’s rival, the far-right Freedom party’s Norbert Hofer.

Instead, Europe and its much-battered political incarnation, the European Union, have won a reprieve – although probably temporary. And Austria has escaped the odium of being the first modern-day democracy to pick as its head of state a political extremist whose party traces its ideological roots back to the strident neo-Nazism of its best-known leader, the late Jörg Haider.

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White House says Obama has ordered 'full review' of election hacking – video

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:42:56 GMT2016-12-09T20:42:56Z

White House spokesman Eric Shultz says on Friday that Barack Obama has ordered US intelligence to review evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election before he leaves office. Schultz denies the review is ‘an effort to challenge the outcome of the election’

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Hillary Clinton: fake news puts 'lives at risk' – video

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:31:48 GMT2016-12-09T07:31:48Z

Hillary Clinton warns that the ‘epidemic’ of fake news can have ‘real world consequences’. In a rare public appearance on Thursday, Clinton alludes to an incident over the weekend in which a man opened fire at Comet Ping Pong after reading a false news story. Clinton speaks during a tribute to departing Senate minority leader Harry Reid

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Families fight to stop bodies of loved ones being entombed in Pike river mine – video

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 02:54:02 GMT2016-12-09T02:54:02Z

Relatives of some of the 29 men who died in the New Zealand pit disaster are guarding its entrance to prevent the mine’s owner blocking it with concrete

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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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Chapecoense plane crash survivor plans return to Brazil – video

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:37:14 GMT2016-12-08T09:37:14Z

Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel, one of six people who survived the plane crash that killed 71 people last month, says on Wednesday he will soon be back in Brazil. In a video released by Colombia’s San Vicente Fundación hospital, where he is being treated, the Chapecoense defender is seen walking around his hospital room and thanking supporters

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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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Time magazine names Donald Trump person of the year – video

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:03:27 GMT2016-12-07T21:03:27Z

Time magazine announces Donald Trump as its person of the year on Wednesday, describing him on its front cover as the ‘president of the divided states of America’. Assistant managing editor at Time, Ben Goldberger, says that for 90 years the magazine has named the person ‘who’s had the greatest effect on the world and the news for good or for ill’. Photograph: Time magazine/Nadav Kander

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Plane crashes in Pakistan with 48 on board – video report

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:24:59 GMT2016-12-07T20:24:59Z

A Pakistan International Airlines plane crashed on its approach to Islamabad from Chitral on Wednesday. Army officials reported no survivors once they reached the site. According to local media, one of Pakistan’s most famous singers, Junaid Jamshed, was on board the plane. The cause of the crash is still under investigation

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Rescuers hunt for survivors after earthquake in Indonesia – video report

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:23:21 GMT2016-12-07T10:23:21Z

Indonesian emergency services clear rubble on Wednesday after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit northern Sumatra. At least 54 people have been killed by the earthquake with more believed to be trapped beneath the rubble. Sutopo Nugroho of the national disaster management agency says a state of emergency has been declared in Aceh

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