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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: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:54:20 GMT2017-01-17T23:54:20Z

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

Chelsea Manning: majority of prison sentence commuted by Obama

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 21:52:09 GMT2017-01-17T21:52:09Z

The whistleblower, who has been imprisoned for six years for leaking state secrets, is now set to go free on 17 May

Chelsea Manning, the US army soldier who became one of the most prominent whistleblowers in modern times when she exposed the nature of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who then went on to pay the price with a 35-year military prison sentence, is to be freed in May as a gift of outgoing president Barack Obama.

In the most audacious – and contentious – commutation decision to come from Obama yet, the sitting president used his constitutional power just three days before he leaves the White House to give Manning her freedom.

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Putin says those behind Trump dossier are 'worse than prostitutes'

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:58:30 GMT2017-01-17T14:58:30Z

Russian president dismisses alleged links between US president-elect and Moscow and says sex claims are ‘obvious fake’

Vladimir Putin has dismissed the dossier published last week about alleged links between Moscow and Donald Trump, describing the people who ordered it as “worse than prostitutes”.

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Gambian president declares state of emergency before opponent sworn in

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:30:22 GMT2017-01-17T20:30:22Z

Yahya Jammeh is attempting to cling to power after refusing to accept election that saw him lose to Adama Barrow, who is due to be inaugurated on Thursday

The president of The Gambia has declared a state of emergency in the west African country two days before he is due to leave office.

The declaration is the latest in a series of attempts by Yahya Jammeh to hang onto power beyond his current tally of 22 years. Adama Barrow, a former estate agent who beat Jammeh in the December election, is due to be inaugurated on Thursday, but the incumbent is refusing to leave.

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Dozens killed in Nigeria as jet mistakenly bombs displaced families' camp

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:57:10 GMT2017-01-17T18:57:10Z

MSF staff report at least 50 dead in airstrike on camp in Borno state where families displaced by Boko Haram were sheltering

Dozens of people have been killed after a Nigerian military jet mistakenly bombed a camp where thousands of families displaced during the offensive against Boko Haram militants were sheltering.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said its staff on the ground had seen at least 100 wounded and 50 dead following the bombing, while Nigerian state officials put the death toll higher. The strikes hit what was described as a densely populated settlement in Borno state, northern Nigeria, where a campaign against the jihadist group is being waged.

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Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos sues Donald Trump for defamation

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:00:04 GMT2017-01-17T23:00:04Z

Suit calls president-elect sexual predator as Zervos demands he ‘vindicate her reputation’ by admitting to allegations that he groped her

A former contestant from The Apprentice is suing Donald Trump for defamation in relation to claims he groped and aggressively kissed her and then called her a liar.

Summer Zervos filed the lawsuit on Tuesday demanding that the president-elect “vindicate her reputation” by admitting the allegations are true.

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Top Trump adviser says post-Brexit trade deal feasible within a year

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:16:19 GMT2017-01-17T17:16:19Z

Financier Anthony Scaramucci says US could finalise talks with UK in first six to 12 months of new administration

Teresa May’s hopes of striking a trade deal with the incoming Donald Trump administration have been given a boost after a leading adviser to the president-elect said a new accord could be achieved within six to 12 months.

Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier and member of Trump’s transition team, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Barack Obama’s successor would seek a swift and mutually beneficial agreement.

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Moon Express raises $20m for 2017 voyage to the moon

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 21:59:17 GMT2017-01-17T21:59:17Z

  • Robot spacecraft planned to land on moon’s surface this year
  • Company will become first private enterprise to travel beyond Earth’s orbit

A US company has secured funding to become the first private entity to travel to the moon, with a planned 2017 voyage that will be an international milestone in space exploration.

Moon Express, a Florida-based firm, said it had raised $20m in financing, which will allow it to send a robotic spacecraft to the moon’s surface later this year.

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Chinese discard hundreds of cycles-for-hire in giant piles

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:09:36 GMT2017-01-17T10:09:36Z

It was hoped bike-hire schemes would cut pollution and congestion but it seems some users just want to ride and dump

It has been billed as a hi-tech bike-sharing boom that entrepreneurs hope will make them rich while simultaneously transforming China’s traffic-clogged cities.

But, occasionally, dreams can turn sour.

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Man arrested after apparent attempt to slap former French PM

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:18:55 GMT2017-01-17T20:18:55Z

Manuel Valls was on election tour when incident occurred with security guard wrestling 18-year-old suspect to the floor

An 18-year-old reached out apparently to slap former prime minister Manuel Valls when he was on an election tour in France’s Brittany region on Tuesday and was wrestled to the ground by a security guard, a video by local media showed.

Valls, 54, who was walking past a group of people in the town of Lamballe after coming out of the municipal offices, appeared to first shake hands with the youth who said something and then appeared to try to slap the former prime minister.

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Islamic State surrounds military airport in Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:52:16 GMT2017-01-17T17:52:16Z

Isis breaks through government lines and takes control of area where World Food Programme’s airdrops land

Islamic State fighters have broken through government defensive lines in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, surrounding a military airport and cutting off food supplies for roughly a quarter of a million civilians in what could become a major humanitarian disaster.

Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria is divided between the militants and the government of Bashar al-Assad. The areas controlled by the government have long been under siege but were sustained by supplies flown in to the nearby military airport and by airdrops from the World Food Programme.

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Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: underwater search called off

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 06:04:42 GMT2017-01-17T06:04:42Z

Wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 might never be found after suspension of underwater search

The underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has come to an end, with passengers’ families informed that the effort to find the plane has been suspended.

Next of kin were told in an emailed statement on Tuesday that Australian authorities’ underwater search of 120,000 sq km in the southern Indian ocean had concluded without success after more than two years.

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Topless feminist protester attacks Donald Trump waxwork

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:41:18 GMT2017-01-17T12:41:18Z

Femen activist reportedly held on to statue’s crotch shouting ‘grab patriarchy by the balls’

A topless activist from the feminist group Femen attacked a lifesize statue of Donald Trump during an unveiling ceremony at a waxwork museum in Madrid.

The woman reportedly pushed past security ropes and placed her hand on the statue’s crotch while screaming “grab patriarchy by the balls”.

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Wife of Orlando nightclub gunman arrested for aiding in attack

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:58:30 GMT2017-01-17T18:58:30Z

Noor Salman, widow of Omar Mateen, appears in court over accusations of engaging in ‘misleading conduct’ toward local officers and FBI agents

Noor Salman, the widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, has been charged with aiding and abetting the attack and obstruction of justice.

Salman, wife of Omar Mateen, who was killed in a shootout with police during the 12 June 2016 attack at the popular LGBT night club in Florida, was arrested in northern California on Monday and appeared in court in Oakland on Tuesday morning.

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EU leaders welcome May speech but urge caution

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:34:45 GMT2017-01-17T16:34:45Z

European officials see more clarity in PM’s Brexit speech but warn proposals to turn UK into tax haven will create a ‘disagreeable situation’

European leaders have given a cautious welcome to Theresa May’s speech, while sounding warnings on what they perceived as the prime minister’s threat to undermine the EU on tax if the UK is shut off from the single market.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, summed up May’s speech in a tweet: “Sad process, surrealistic times, but at least more realistic announcement on Brexit. EU27 united and ready to negotiate after article 50.”

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Istanbul nightclub attack: suspected gunman 'had training in Afghanistan'

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:53:53 GMT2017-01-17T18:53:53Z

Man held by Turkish authorities is named as Abdulgadir Masharipov, born in Uzbekistan in 1983

A man suspected of shooting dead 39 people in a New Year’s Eve attack on a nightclub in Istanbul is an Uzbek national who trained in Afghanistan, Turkish officials have said.

Related: Istanbul nightclub attack caps off dreadful year for Turkey

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Shady deal: Italian shop owners in Conegliano fight tax on shadows

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:32:42 GMT2017-01-17T14:32:42Z

Shopkeepers in town in Veneto whose signs block light on public walkways are refusing to pay levy of €100 a year

Goethe once wrote that where there is much light, there is also strong shadow.

But for shop owners in Conegliano, a town in Veneto known for its dry prosecco, the emission of light – and shade – has taken on a meaning that is far less poetic and far more fiscal.

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Top diplomatic negotiator in Cuba warns Trump: 'aggression doesn't work'

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:00:34 GMT2017-01-17T09:00:34Z

Exclusive: Josefina Vidal, who has led the island’s negotiating team since 2013, says Cuba will not be cowed by the incoming president’s bluster and threats

Senior Cuban negotiators say the island will not be cowed by intimidation and bluster from Donald Trump, despite the incoming US president’s threat to rekindle cold war animosities.

“Aggression, pressure, conditions, impositions do not work with Cuba. This is not the way to attempt to have even a minimally civilised relationship with Cuba,”Josefina Vidal, a foreign ministry department head, told the Guardian.

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@Ivanka from Brighton's message for Trump: 'Please pay attention to climate change'

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:52:44 GMT2017-01-17T15:52:44Z

Woman whom president-elect mistook for his daughter on Twitter uses her 15 minutes of fame to speak out on environment

A digital consultant from Brighton whom Donald Trump mistook for his daughter on Twitter says she is more concerned by the prospect of a climate change denier in the White House than someone who makes slip-ups on social media.

Ivanka Majic, 42, a former digital director for the Labour party, said it was “very surreal” to discover that the president-elect had retweeted a message intending to praise his daughter, Ivanka Trump, that included her Twitter name instead.

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Air India introduces female-only rows to tackle harassment

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:39:12 GMT2017-01-17T11:39:12Z

Country’s national airline acts after recent incidents of men allegedly groping passengers and cabin staff

India’s national airline will designate two rows on every flight as female-only.

Air India made the announcement after two incidents in the past month of men allegedly groping cabin staff or other passengers.

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Governments struggling to retain trust of citizens, global survey finds

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:04:44 GMT2017-01-17T11:04:44Z

Survey spanning 40 countries reveals how officials are failing to keep up with changes in way voters gather information and form opinions

Weakened and distrusted central governments around the world have been incapable of responding to the way the internet and social media have empowered populist but previously fringe groups, a unique worldwide survey of government communication chiefs has found.

The survey spanning 40 countries is the first international review to reveal how deeply governments feel they are losing control and authority over communications.

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Berlusconi ally poised to become next European parliament chief

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:13:20 GMT2017-01-17T11:13:20Z

Pact between institution’s two largest political groups clears the way for Antonio Tajani and boosts Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt

An ally of the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is on course to become the next president of the European parliament after a deal was struck between two of the institution’s largest political groups.

Antonio Tajani, who has been elected as an MEP four times and is currently a vice-president of the European parliament, is poised to take the top job, following a pact between his centre-right group and the liberals, led by Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.

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Italian MP opens inquiry into mistaken identity fears in people-smuggling case

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:20:13 GMT2017-01-17T09:20:13Z

Joint UK-Italian operation supposedly captured key player transporting thousands from north Africa to Europe

An Italian MP has launched a parliamentary inquiry into the joint British-Italian operation that led to a man being held on suspicion of people smuggling despite fears he is the victim of mistaken identity.

In June last year officials from both countries claimed to have captured 35-year-old Medhanie Yehdego Mered, considered to be a key player in the smuggling of thousands of migrants and refugees from north Africa to Europe.

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Germany's top court rules against ban on far-right NDP

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:18:14 GMT2017-01-17T15:18:14Z

Court blocks attempt to outlaw party saying it presents insufficient threat to democracy despite similarities with Nazis

Germany’s constitutional court has said the far-right National Democratic party resembles Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party, but ruled against banning it because it presents no threat to democracy.

The country’s 16 federal states had pressed for the ban amid rising support for rightwing groups that has been stoked by popular resentment over the influx of large numbers of migrants.

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Wanted: sociable hermit for Austrian cliffside retreat

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:24:11 GMT2017-01-16T18:24:11Z

Town of Saalfelden seeks replacement for its outgoing anchorite, who must be ‘at peace with themselves’ while dealing with a steady stream of tourists

There are no neighbours and the views are stunning, and if you can live without heating, running water, electricity and internet, then why not apply for a job as a hermit? Such is the position that Saalfelden near Salzburg in Austria is seeking to fill, inhabiting alone one of central Europe’s last hermitages, built into a cliff above the town.

“Since its creation 350 years ago, the Saalfelden hermitage was inhabited every year. But we don’t have a successor to the last hermit,” said priest Alois Moser.

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Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Australia says cost didn't force suspension of search

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:42:35 GMT2017-01-17T23:42:35Z

Transport minister says any future underwater search effort would be a matter for the Malaysian government

Australia’s transport minister has said cost was not a factor in the suspension of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and any decision to renew an underwater effort rests primarily with the Malaysian government.

Darren Chester and his counterparts in Malaysia and China announced the decision to suspend efforts to find the plane in a tripartite announcement on Tuesday afternoon, after the completion of the search of a 120,000 sq km area in the southern Indian Ocean.

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Obama commutes sentence for political prisoner Oscar López Rivera

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:55:14 GMT2017-01-17T22:55:14Z

López Rivera, whose commutation was announced with 208 others, has been incarcerated for 35 years for his role in fighting for Puerto Rico’s independence

Barack Obama has commuted the sentence of Oscar López Rivera, a victory for the Puerto Rican independence activist, who is considered to be one of the world’s longest-serving political prisoners.

In his final days in office, Obama has issued a record number of pardons and commutations, including granting the release of Chelsea Manning on Tuesday, the US army soldier who became one of the most famous whistleblowers in modern times.

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Church is working to tackle child abuse | Letters

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:06:51 GMT2017-01-17T19:06:51Z

I dispute claims made by Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi in a new book as reported in your article (‘Pope has done almost nothing to halt sex abuse’, 16 January). As a member of the pontifical commission for the protection of minors since its formation in 2014, I have personally attended eight plenary meetings of the commission, in addition to numerous working group meetings. Members have had more than 50 educational engagements in five continents during the last 12 months, ranging from a couple of hours to three-day dedicated workshops for church leaders, staff and volunteers.

The intensity of the global educational and policy work under way is quite different to Fittipaldi’s dismissive suggestion that the commission has only met on three or four occasions. Pope Francis has endorsed our recommendations, which will require significant culture change and time to be implemented in practice. Pope Francis has a relationship with all members of the church, but would not normally interfere with the role of the local hierarchy. He is a pastor, not the governor of the local church.

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A can of Spam is less dangerous these days | Brief letters

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:04:05 GMT2017-01-17T19:04:05Z

Red meat cancer link | Charges against Lula | Robots as people | Ring pull safety | Peanut butter on Weetabix

Naomi Elster writes: “There isn’t currently any strong evidence that eating too much red meat causes cancer”, before noting that Cancer Research UK is a “reliable source … for advice and support” (The truth about cancer diets, G2, 16 January). However, responding to the WHO’s October 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer report which classified red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, Professor Tim Key, Cancer Research UK’s epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said: “Cancer Research UK supports IARC’s decision that there’s strong enough evidence to classify … red meat as a probable cause of cancer.
Ian Sinclair

• The letter headed “Standing in solidarity with Brazil’s Lula” (14 January) shows a remarkably one-sided view and a lack of concern for the facts. An example: “Investigating Lula, prosecutors have been unable to find any illegal activity committed.” This is nonsense. Lula has been charged on various counts including money laundering, being a member of a criminal organisation, influence peddling and misconduct. More than 50 Brazilian politicians, past and present and from various parties, have been charged with illegal activities and Lula is one of them.
John Fenn

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Kim Kardashian and the fashionistas: drop the hammer and sickle

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 07:00:11 GMT2017-01-13T07:00:11Z

People should not wear communist symbols without real understanding of their history, argues Anastasiia Fedorova for the Calvert Journal

The hammer and sickle have made a stellar return to the fashion world in the form of a voluminous red hoodie, adorned with the Soviet symbol and worn by Kim Kardashian.

Setting aside the irony that two weeks earlier her husband had cosied up to the US president-elect, Donald Trump – one of the world’s most staunch capitalists whose relationship with Russia has been under intense scrutiny this week – Kardashian’s fashion choice raises some ethical questions about appropriating communist symbols.

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Russian yoga fans alarmed at arrest of teacher under new law

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 08:00:22 GMT2017-01-12T08:00:22Z

Yogi accused of illegal missionary activity after giving philosophy talk at festival amid clampdown on ‘non-traditional’ religion

A yoga teacher in Russia has been charged with illegal missionary activity under a controversial new law designed to fight terrorism.

Computer programmer Dmitry Ugay was detained by police in St Petersburg in October while giving a talk at a festival about the philosophy behind yoga.

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'My neighbour murdered nearly all of my family, but now we are friends'

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 07:30:21 GMT2017-01-12T07:30:21Z

Thanks to a pioneering reconciliation project survivors and perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide now live side by side

In a leafy, quiet district less than an hour’s drive from Rwanda’s capital, the calmness of the community of Mbyo belies the dark and traumatic past of its inhabitants.

Related: My journey back to Rwanda: confronting the ghosts of the genocide 21 years later

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Think reporting on Trump is hard? Try being a journalist in Donetsk

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 07:00:12 GMT2017-01-11T07:00:12Z

When war came to my city in eastern Ukraine, it was hard – but vital – for people like me to stay objective

When I started working as a journalist in my native city of Donetsk I never imagined that war would come to town, until the day it did.

In the spring of 2014 tanks and pro-Russia separatists showed up on the streets of the city, which was quickly turned into the capital of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

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Romania's corruption fight is a smokescreen to weaken its democracy

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 08:00:28 GMT2017-01-10T08:00:28Z

Turning a blind eye to this abuse of power risks encouraging other European nations to follow its example

The recent rise of the populist right in Hungary and Poland has raised the alarm about the future of democracy in Europe, as constitutional safeguards, media pluralism and civil society come under sustained attack.

But there is another threat hiding in plain sight: the abuse of anti-corruption laws in Romania, a country often lauded as an example of successful reform in central and eastern Europe.

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'We got Christmas back': readers mark 25 years since fall of Soviet Union

Sun, 25 Dec 2016 09:00:10 GMT2016-12-25T09:00:10Z

Whether it was arrival of capitalism, social instability or denim, monumental changes followed Gorbachev’s resignation in 1991

After years of food shortages, rising nationalist movements and an attempted coup, Mikhail Gorbachev, the president of the Soviet Union, resigned on Christmas Day 1991. His resignation 25 years ago was the final nail in the coffin of the USSR.

To mark the anniversary we asked our readers across the region to share their memories of the monumental events, and to tell us how they felt about the change from a communist, collective system, to a capitalist one.

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Cameroon urged to investigate deaths amid anglophone protests

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 12:01:57 GMT2016-12-13T12:01:57Z

Four killed when police fire into air, as tensions rise in English-speaking areas over perceived discrimination

International organisations are calling for an investigation in Cameroon after four people were killed during unrest in the country’s English-speaking regions.

Tensions have been brewing for the past month in Cameroon’s two anglophone regions, where people say they are being treated as second-class citizens.

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Why do EU leaders still think they can engage with Eritrea's regime?

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 08:00:51 GMT2016-12-13T08:00:51Z

European officials under pressure to cut migration should have learned by now that ignoring human rights violations is unlikely to succeed

As the European parliament hosts another Eritrean politician in the hope of reducing the number of refugees fleeing the small African state, the fact that the regime has been found guilty of “crimes against humanity” by the UN has once again been overlooked.

The event, organised by Irish MEP Brian Hayes and attended by Eritrea’s minister of information, Yemane Gebremeskel, is the latest example of the EU’s attempts to tackle the refugee crisis by reaching out to repressive regimes.

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'Putin's new ghetto has no barbed-wire fence – just surveillance and harassment'

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 09:00:07 GMT2016-12-12T09:00:07Z

A Crimean Tatar activist says the world is staying silent as his people are persecuted by Russia

The Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014, has swiftly degenerated into the scene of the greatest repression being conducted anywhere in the entire country.

The targets of the Kremlin’s crackdown are the Crimean Tatars, the ethnic group that originally formed the Crimean nation on the Black Sea peninsula. Between the 13th and 18th centuries the Tatars enjoyed their own state, and since 2014 they have been campaigning to return their homeland to Ukrainian rule. For this they have become the collective enemy of Russia.

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Searching for the man in the rubble: the shocking photograph that led me to the West Bank

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:36:25 GMT2017-01-17T17:36:25Z

A shot of a Palestinian man standing in the ruins of his home affected a London GP so much that she went to the Jenin refugee camp to find him

War photographer Patrick Chauvel took this picture of a Palestinian man standing in the rubble of his home in Jenin, the West Bank, in 2002, during the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising. After Chauvel put the camera down, the man’s wife offered him a coffee. It was, he said, “an incredible gesture of hospitality, given the obliteration of their home”.

This story captured my attention, and I bought the photograph in 2010. It sits in my GP consulting room in east London, and patients, some of whom are refugees and asylum seekers, occasionally ask me about it. Initially, they are puzzled and intrigued. Why is he standing amid the wreckage of his home? It is not the sort of picture they expect to see on a GP’s wall. But when I talk about the coffee and the hospitality, they are touched.

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The long war of mini-Holland in Enfield

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 21:55:41 GMT2017-01-17T21:55:41Z

Disputes about the installation of cycle lanes on main roads through a north London suburb continue to rage

The best way to understand a vast metropolis is to explore it on foot, which is why I walked three southbound miles along the gently curving A105 from Enfield Town to Palmers Green during the morning travel peak. It is one of a matrix of main roads linking a constellation of small town centres in this part of suburban north London. Its route passes a weave of residential streets, the “set back” frontages of large interwar homes and intermittent parades of shops. There is a flow of motor vehicles, sometimes smooth, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. The carriageway is broad. It is also a bit of a battleground.

The root of the hostilities can be traced to March 2014, when Labour-run Enfield Council secured around £30m from Transport for London (TfL) to make the borough more conducive to cycling. Its bid for a big piece of Boris Johnson’s “mini-Holland” fund, created to encourage bicycle travel in Outer London, was distinctive for its emphasis on installing dedicated bike lanes on those very Enfield roads currently dominated by cars. The council’s plans, augmented with further funds, aren’t all about these segregated tracks - there will also be investment in quieter cycling routes. But, as Councillor Daniel Anderson, cabinet member for environment, puts it: “We don’t want to push cyclists down side streets. We need cycling to become a genuine direct alternative for making trips across the borough.”

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May’s Brexit threat to Europe: 'no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal'

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 21:21:13 GMT2017-01-17T21:21:13Z

Prime minister gives tough speech outlining government’s 12 priorities for Brexit negotiations as EU leaders warn that country is heading for ‘hard Brexit’

Theresa May warned European leaders that the UK is prepared to crash out of the EU if she cannot negotiate a reasonable exit deal in a speech where her tough talking rhetoric prompted key figures in Brussels to say that the country was on track for a “hard Brexit”.

Related: Theresa May's Brexit speech: 'No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal' - Politics live

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Malcolm Turnbull names Greg Hunt to become health and sport minister

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:34:18 GMT2017-01-17T23:34:18Z

Arthur Sinodinos will take industry portfolio and Ken Wyatt to be minister for aged care and Indigenous health

Greg Hunt is to become health and sport minister with Senator Arthur Sinodinos taking Hunt’s portfolio of industry, innovation and science.

The assistant health minister, Ken Wyatt, will become the aged care minister and minister for Indigenous health, making him the first Indigenous person appointed to a commonwealth ministry.

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Activists claim to unveil leader of 'alt-right' website the Right Stuff

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:54:51 GMT2017-01-17T20:54:51Z

An ‘antifascist investigation team’ claimed to unmask Mike Peinovich as the ringleader of the Right Stuff website, a hub for the far-right movement

Antifascist activists claim to have “doxxed”, or umasked, the leading “alt-right” writer and podcaster Mike Enoch as part of a string of such actions that have convulsed the far-right movement.

Enoch has appeared at conferences hosted by Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute, including one in Washington in November that culminated in Roman salutes and widely reported shouts of “hail Trump”.

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C of E archbishops call on Christians to repent for Reformation split

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:41:00 GMT2017-01-17T18:41:00Z

Justin Welby and John Sentamu recall ‘damage done five centuries ago’ that saw Christian people pitted against each other

It unleashed an orgy of death and destruction across Europe. In England alone, more than 800 monasteries, abbeys, nunneries and friaries were seized, libraries were destroyed, manuscripts lost, treasures stripped and works of art appropriated. Thousands of people were hung, drawn and quartered, or burnt at the stake for their religious beliefs.

Five hundred years after the Reformation, the religious revolution that swept across Europe, the leaders of the Church of England - itself created in the decades of upheaval - have called on Christians to repent for the divisions, persecution and death.

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Hundreds of coffins to be restored in Egyptian conservation project

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:24:11 GMT2017-01-17T17:24:11Z

More than 600 wooden coffins at Egyptian Museum in Cairo to be documented and restored by team of conservationists

Egypt will restore hundreds of coffins dating back thousands of years to the time of the pharaohs as part of an American-Egyptian project to preserve and document one of the world’s oldest civilisations, a director of the project said.

The conservation effort, funded by a US grant, will restore more than 600 wooden coffins that date to various eras of ancient Egypt and which are currently stored at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

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The battle for Mosul in maps

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:47:51 GMT2017-01-17T16:47:51Z

Three months after the start of the operation to take back Iraq’s second city from Islamic State, we map the progress of the coalition forces

In June 2014, when the leader of Isis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a global caliphate, he did it from Mosul, Iraq’s second city. Isis rapidly expanded its territory in Iraq and Syria throughout that year, but has since been gradually pushed back, partly due to US-led airstrikes. Losing Mosul now could spell the end of the jihadi group’s ability to control large swaths of Iraq.

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Photographs from Scott's doomed polar expedition to be sold

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:03:14 GMT2017-01-17T16:03:14Z

Herbert Ponting images intended as publicity for triumphant return are up for auction at Bonham’s next month

Only the husky dogs, curled up for a snooze, look entirely happy in a photograph taken more than a century ago on the Terra Nova, the ship that carried Captain Robert Falcon Scott on his fatal final attempt to conquer the south pole.

The silvery print, taken by the expedition’s official photographer Herbert Ponting, is one of five being sold at auction. Ponting’s magnificent images were intended for publicity when the explorers returned victorious. Instead they helped to make the story of the expedition – during which Scott and his companions died following the bitter discovery that they had been beaten to the pole by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen – one of the most famous in the annals of polar exploration.

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Topless Femen protester at unveiling of Donald Trump waxwork in Madrid – video

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:27:07 GMT2017-01-17T15:27:07Z

A topless activist from the feminist group Femen attacks a lifesize statue of Donald Trump during an unveiling ceremony at a waxwork museum in Madrid on Tuesday. The woman shouts ‘grab patriarchy by the balls’ – a reference to Trump’s boasting in a leaked recording of grabbing women ‘by the pussy’. Gonzalo Presa, spokesman for the museum, says it was not the type of publicity he wanted

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US abortion rate is lowest since Roe v Wade – but contraception access may go

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 13:00:04 GMT2017-01-17T13:00:04Z

  • Study finds strong indication contraception access linked to abortion fall
  • Republican Affordable Care Act repeal would end easier access to birth control

The rate of abortion in the US reached a lower level in 2014 than in any other year since the procedure first became legal, a study has found, a decline that appears to be due to the widespread use of contraception producing a drop in unintended pregnancies.

Related: Tennessee woman jailed for attempting abortion accepts plea deal for release

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Jack Straw and UK government must face kidnap and torture claims, court rules

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:34:05 GMT2017-01-17T12:34:05Z

Claims that rendition and torture of Abdel Hakim Belhaj breached Magna Carta rights must go before judges, supreme court rules

The former foreign secretary Jack Straw, MI6 and the government will have to defend claims that they participated in the 2004 kidnapping of a Libyan dissident and his wife, the supreme court has ruled.

Claims that the rendition and torture of Abdel Hakim Belhaj breached rights enshrined in the Magna Carta should be put before an English court, a unanimous judgment by seven justices concluded.

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Missing flight MH370 – a visual guide to the parts and debris found so far

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:25:03 GMT2017-01-17T11:25:03Z

On 8 March 2014, flight MH370 vanished from radar shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpar en route to Beijing. The plane is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean, claiming the lives of all 239 crew and passengers on board

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'Life is worth more than money': MH370 families despair as search ends

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:00:50 GMT2017-01-17T11:00:50Z

Relatives say more funds should be put into the hunt as ‘planes cannot just be allowed to disappear without a trace’

For almost three years Jiang Hui has roamed the world seeking answers about his mother’s disappearance.

He has protested outside embassies and temples in Beijing, scoured beaches in Madagascar, visited search teams in Australia and issued increasingly desperate pleas for information.

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MH370 pilot's sister: 'My brother loved life'

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:58:52 GMT2017-01-17T10:58:52Z

Relatives continue to dismiss theories that Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a ‘rogue pilot’ responsible for plane’s disappearance

The sister of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the man at the helm of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, says she refuses to believe the theory that he deliberately crashed the plane.

“Until and unless we have evidence, tangible evidence, I maintain his innocence,” Sakinab Shah said in an interview. “Simply put, the suicide story is but another story. My brother loved life, he loved his lifestyle, period.”

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Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 underwater search called off – video report

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:00:19 GMT2017-01-17T10:00:19Z

The underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been called off nearly three years after the passenger jet disappeared off the radar. The plane went missing shortly after take-off on 8 March 2014 with 239 people on board. Investigators believe it crashed in the Indian Ocean en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The multimillion-dollar hunt was led by Australia, Malaysia and China

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'Good Night, Malaysian Three Seven Zero': unravelling an aviation mystery

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:32:42 GMT2017-01-17T09:32:42Z

The largest and most expensive search in the history of flight has ended, with none of the 239 people on board found

“Good Night, Malaysian Three Seven Zero.”

It was the last radio message sent from the cockpit of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, voiced in the dispassionate tone of a routine call to air traffic control.

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British Antarctic station to shut down for winter due to crack in ice

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:24:00 GMT2017-01-17T09:24:00Z

Halley VI station moved to safer location but staff to be brought home during southern winter as ‘prudent precaution’

A British research station on an ice shelf in Antarctica is being shut down over the southern hemisphere winter because of fears it could float off on an iceberg.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said in a statement on Monday that it had decided not to winter at the Halley VI research station on the Brunt ice shelf due to concerns for its staff’s safety amid changes to the ice.

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Israel's sidelined Mizrahi musicians and artists reclaim centre stage

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:04:50 GMT2017-01-17T09:04:50Z

Newfound political confidence sparks resurgence of culture of Jews from Middle East and north Africa, once marginalised by dominant Ashkenazim

On a small stage in the basement of a Jerusalem bar, singer Inbal Djamchid pauses during her performance to describe the inspiration for the next song to be played by her group, Ecoute.

She explains that it describes a lyricist’s unrequited love for one of Egypt’s most famous singers, Umm Kulthum, revered in the Arab world.

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Istanbul nightclub suspect arrested, Turkish officials say

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:44:46 GMT2017-01-17T07:44:46Z

Man suspected of killing 39 New Year’s Eve revellers captured in a raid by security forces on a house in Istanbul

The man suspected of shooting dead 39 people in a New Year’s Eve attack on a nightclub in Istanbul has been arrested, Turkish officials said late last night.

It is understood the Uzbek national, named as Abdulkadir Masharipov by the Turkish media, was captured in a raid by security forces on a house in the residential Esenyurt district of Istanbul, 25 miles from where the attack took place.

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UK supreme court to rule on government responsibility for alleged rendition

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 06:00:30 GMT2017-01-17T06:00:30Z

Judgments on alleged treatment of jihadi suspects could define extent of human rights protections overseas

Government responsibility for alleged torture, rendition and illegal detention of jihadi suspects will finally be decided by the UK’s highest court in a series of judgments that may define the extent of human rights protections overseas.

One of the six cases to be decided, that of the Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj, has been under consideration for 15 months – the longest the supreme court has ever taken to deliver a ruling.

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Face-off over the Congo: the long rivalry between Kinshasa and Brazzaville

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:15:32 GMT2017-01-17T07:15:32Z

It’s only a five-minute flight from Kinshasa to its rival city, Brazzaville – but as the DRC slides into a bloody political crisis, an international border, the Congo river and centuries of colonialism continue to separate central Africa’s volatile twins

Sunday morning, and the crowds are thronging the myriad churches on the ragged western edge of Kinshasa. Congregations file into the barn-like halls to hear priests and preachers. Down on the terrace of Chez Tintin, one of Kinshasa’s best known restaurants and nightspots, only fishermen and two tourists from the central town of Kisangani brave the warm, driving rain.

Beyond the plastic tables and chairs, a low brick wall, and the pilgrims, is the Congo. Though 4,500km from its furthest source, the great river is less than 1,000 metres wide at this point, and surges through the narrow bottleneck with tremendous power. The resulting rush of foaming brown water is the reason for the existence, the proximity and the enmity of arguably the world’s two closest capital cities: Kinshasa, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Brazzaville, of the confusingly similarly named Republic of Congo.

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Never built New York: the city that might have been – in pictures

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 12:48:03 GMT2017-01-12T12:48:03Z

From an elevated 19th-century pneumatic railway to a skyscraper cathedral and a Native American alternative to the Statue of Liberty, Never Built New York chronicles ambitious plans for the city which never saw the light of day

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Fear and loathing in Nicosia: will peace talks unify Europe's last divided capital?

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 07:00:21 GMT2017-01-12T07:00:21Z

For 43 years a UN-patrolled no-man’s land has dissected Cyprus’ capital. As Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders meet for final peace talks, Helena Smith, who grew up on the island, questions whether reunification has a chance

Some call it the dead zone; some a no-man’s land; some the green line. For more than four decades, a United Nations-patrolled buffer zone has bisected Nicosia, running through the middle of the Cypriot capital and dividing its historic heart.

It was a casualty of war: at first, the result of inter-communal fighting that took the form of Turkish Cypriot ghettos in the 60s; then as a no-man’s land between ceasefire lines delineated by little more than what two opposing armies agreed were their last defended positions.

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The Forbidden City: inside the abandoned Soviet camp of Wünsdorf

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:28:58 GMT2017-01-11T12:28:58Z

Headquarters to the Nazis and then the Soviets, the East German military camp of Wünsdorf was once home to 75,000 Soviet men, women and children. Now ‘Little Moscow’ has been abandoned – but one man keeps the memories alive

Rusty keys jangle as Jürgen Naumann searches for the right one. He has 15 on one bunch, 25 on another. The last caretaker of the Red Army’s former headquarters in Germany, he has access to all the buildings in what was once known as the Forbidden City – and remains a restricted area 23 years after the last Russian troops left for good.

“You get to know the keys over the years,” Naumann says. But it still takes a while to locate the right one. A dull click, and the door creaks open to reveal a dimly lit hall with marble tiles. Naumann’s footsteps echo across the empty space as he switches on the electricity, illuminating two panoramas: one showing Soviet Moscow, the other Alexanderplatz in East Berlin, two huge photos from a world that no longer exists.

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US housing crisis: what can Ben Carson learn from radical 1960s 'new town' plan?

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 16:36:44 GMT2017-01-10T16:36:44Z

The US housing department’s ambitious initiatives of the 60s and 70s created urban communities that were both mixed race and mixed income. Though many didn’t last, are there lessons in them for Donald Trump’s new housing secretary?

Innovation is, to put it mildly, not one of the first attributes that come to mind when you think of “Hud” – the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, soon to be overseen by Donald Trump’s former Republican rival Ben Carson. Yet this wasn’t always the case.

Imagine urban and suburban communities that banned cars, collected trash in pneumatic tubes, offered prototype community video chat capabilities, built elaborate pedestrian and cycle networks, and carefully retained existing foliage. You may not be thinking of the Jetsons, but products of the groundbreaking Hud New Towns initiatives in the late 1960s and early 70s.

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A divided empire: what the urban-rural split means for the future of America

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 12:07:40 GMT2017-01-09T12:07:40Z

Cities have long been the backbone of the Democratic party, and rural regions the heartland of Republicanism – yet Donald Trump’s election has exposed these divides like never before. Will US metropolises increasingly turn into city-states?

Sitting in a downtown Cleveland coffee shop in early December, Julie Goulis is still in shock. “Some of the soul-searching I’ve been doing after the election has been about how I can understand people outside of my bubble,” she tells me. “I was so ashamed Ohio went for Trump.”

Like many US cities, Cleveland is overwhelmingly progressive in its politics and traditionally elects Democrats at all levels of government, despite hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention. But partisan divisions in the United States increasingly correlate with geographic differences, leaving many cities like Cleveland as liberal bubbles distinct from the vast conservative American hinterland. The looming inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump has left many city dwellers grappling with just how distant much of their country seems.

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The rise of the cashless city: 'There is this real danger of exclusion'

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 07:00:10 GMT2017-01-09T07:00:10Z

Cities from Sweden to India are pushing for a totally cash-free society. But as more shops and transport networks insist on electronic payments, where does this leave the smallest traders and poorest inhabitants?

Scrolling through my online bank statements at Christmas, I was surprised to find I had not removed cash from an ATM for well over four months. Thanks to the ubiquity of electronic payment systems, it has become increasingly easy to glide around London to a chorus of approving bleeps.

As more shops and transport networks adapt to contactless card and touch-and-go mobile technology, many major cities around the world are in the process of relegating cash to second-class status. Some London shops and cafes are now, like the capital’s buses, simply refusing to handle notes or coins.

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Houston's hit-and-run problem: ghost bikes honour 'invisible dead' cyclists

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 07:30:17 GMT2017-01-04T07:30:17Z

1,700 cyclists have been hit by cars and trucks in four years, with one in four drivers failing to stop. Personalised ghost bikes are an effort to show people noticed when someone was killed – and give their families some closure

“It’s always the same story,” says Steve Sims, who runs Houston’s Ghost Bike scheme with wife Melissa. “We speak to the family who tell us ‘My loved one was struck and killed.’ It’s devastating for them, but when someone gets hit on a bike here, nothing gets done. It happens over and over. You get involved every time but after a while they just kind of blend together.”

We meet at the tattoo parlour the ghost bike group uses as a base. The garage out back is packed wall to wall with old bikes which have been donated and spray-painted white, ready to be used as memorials to the victims of crashes with cars and trucks. It’s eerie to think these bikes will soon mark the site of someone’s death – like visiting the scene of a future mass killing.

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Death on the road: can Mumbai shed its reputation as the ‘car crash capital’?

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 07:15:47 GMT2017-01-03T07:15:47Z

One person is killed on Mumbai’s roads every 15 hours. In an attempt to get a grip on the chaos, the police are going digital – recording fines electronically and installing CCTV. But will it stop people taking risks?

For 30 minutes after she was hit, Archana Pandya lay bleeding on a road in the busy Mumbai suburb of Goregaon. The 22-year-old, who had just started a new job, was on her way home from work when she was the victim of a hit-and-run. She died of her injuries. “There were a lot of people there, and it happened right opposite a police station, but no one came forward to help,” says her brother Siddharth Pandya. “It’s not the roads; in India, it’s the people that are unsafe.”

Pandya was one of 586 people killed in road accidents in Mumbai in 2015, the equivalent of one death every 15 hours. Another 2,034 were seriously injured. The long response times of ambulances and emergency vehicles, coupled with the unwillingness of bystanders to help road victims for fear of being detained by police and hospitals, contribute to slow, painful deaths for hundreds of people every year. As a result, Mumbai – a city with roughly the same number of cars as London, but more than four times the number of road fatalities – has become known as India’s “crash capital”. In 2015 there were 23,468 recorded traffic collisions: the highest in the country.

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'Walking buses' and council housing: a wishlist for world cities in 2017

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 07:15:26 GMT2016-12-30T07:15:26Z

From post-Olympics Rio de Janeiro to unaffordable London, we hear from architects, activists and writers on how their cities should change in the next yearAs we’re all too aware, 2016 has been a strange and news-packed year. For cities around the globe, it’s been a year of challenges: worsening air pollution, increasing social divisions, community displacement, housing crises, resource shortages, environmental disasters and street violence – and for some, war and terrorism.But cities have also been the stage where desire for change has been articulated, from the Black Lives Matter protests across US cities to anti-government marches in Brazil and the Nuit Debout sit-ins across French cities. Meanwhile, some cities have taken the lead in battling climate change and promoting social integration. Continue reading...[...]

Media Files:

UK government accused of falling short on pledges to fight corruption

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:51:26 GMT2017-01-17T12:51:26Z

Chair of international development committee calls progress ‘disappointing’ as government rejects proposals that followed 2016 anti-corruption summit

The British government is failing to live up to promises to tackle corruption, according to the chair of the international development committee, Stephen Twigg.

On Monday the government rejected recommendations made by the international development committee (IDC) in the wake of a major anti-corruption summit hosted in London last year by the former prime minister David Cameron. These included the introduction of country-by-country reporting of multinationals’ profits and payments.

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Surviving South Sudan's escalating violence: life in a UN camp – in pictures

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:00:34 GMT2017-01-17T09:00:34Z

Intensifying ethnic conflict in South Sudan has led UN investigators to warn that the country is on the brink of genocide. More than a million people have fled the country to neighbouring states, while many more have taken shelter in UN camps such as Malakal, home to more than 33,000 people

All photographs: Kate Holt/Unicef

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UN chiefs call for urgent access to get aid to people still under siege in Syria

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:51:02 GMT2017-01-16T12:51:02Z

In a statement in Davos, UN humanitarian agencies issue joint appeal to reach hundreds of thousands of Syrian families and children in need

The heads of major UN organisations on Monday called for access to civilians cut off from humanitarian aid in Syria, saying the world “must not stand silent” even though the high-profile siege of the Syrian city of Aleppo is over.

The joint appeal came from Davos in Switzerland, as business, political and cultural elites gather there for the World Economic Forum. The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), the humanitarian aid coordinator Ocha, the children’s agency Unicef, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) all called for “immediate, unconditional and safe access” to all Syrian families and children in need.

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Emergence of populist leaders threatens democracy, says Human Rights Watch

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 13:01:07 GMT2017-01-13T13:01:07Z

Trump, Putin and Erdoğan among world leaders accused in HRW’s 2017 world report of usurping rule of law and fostering global culture of intolerance

The rise of populist leaders such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin poses a “dangerous threat” to human rights that could encourage global abuses around the world, Human Rights Watch has warned in its annual report.

Accusing the US president-elect of a campaign for office that fomented hatred and intolerance, the group also singled out “strongman” leaders in Russia, Turkey the Philippines and China, accusing them of substituting their own authority in place of rule of law and accountable government.

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Politics and protocol leave Indian teen's life in the balance pending TB drug ruling | Amrit Dhillon

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 11:55:56 GMT2017-01-13T11:55:56Z

After five years of battling tuberculosis, Shreya Tripathi faces a new struggle: to overcome India’s strict controls on bedaquiline, a drug that could save her life

Shreya Tripathi sleeps most of the day. At night, she lies awake. Only 18, she has been fighting tuberculosis for five years. Her voice on the telephone from her home in Patna, eastern India, is a whisper. If she speaks for more than a few minutes, she becomes breathless.

Though exhausted, Shreya is also fighting another battle – in the Delhi high court – to demand a new TB drug. Every other medication she has tried has failed to beat the disease.

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Human rights abuses in Bahrain cast shadow over £2m UK aid support

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:01:02 GMT2017-01-13T00:01:02Z

Aid drawn partly from obscure tranche devoted to conflict, stability and security sparks concerns about transparency and Bahrain’s poor human rights record

The government is facing fresh questions about Britain’s aid strategy after it emerged that a controversial multi-million pound programme of support for Bahrain’s security and justice system is being bolstered this year, even as the Gulf state reverses reforms to a key intelligence agency accused of torture.

Data provided under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that Bahraini authorities will this year receive a further £2m of British funding, including aid money drawn from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, a pot of aid money currently the focus of an investigation by UK MPs.

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Nigerian state governor accuses aid agencies of profiting from Borno crisis

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 07:00:21 GMT2017-01-12T07:00:21Z

Governor Kashim Shettima says Unicef and others should leave Nigeria as agencies criticise government for underplaying crisis in north-east

Aid agencies including the UN children’s fund, Unicef, are profiting from money meant to help those fleeing Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising and should leave the country, according to the governor of Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno state.

The comments by Kashim Shettima came as agencies warned of severe hunger and accused the government of underplaying the crisis.

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UK aid watchdog encourages direct cash support for people in poor countries

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:01:12 GMT2017-01-12T00:01:12Z

Cash transfer schemes likened by critics to ‘exporting the dole’ have significant impact and should be broadened, says Independent Commission for Aid Impact

The British government should consider expanding a £200m aid programme that gives cash directly to some of the world’s poorest families and individuals, a watchdog has recommended.

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Icai), which scrutinises aid money, said the government’s cash transfer programmes – likened by one MP to “exporting the dole” – have improved the lives of millions of people and provided “strong value for money”.

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UK moves a step closer to dramatic rise in aid funding to private sector

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:30:02 GMT2017-01-11T12:30:02Z

Transparency concerns fail to thwart passage of bill lifting cap on aid channeled though Department for International Development’s investment arm

Plans for a dramatic increase in the amount of aid that can be channeled through the CDC Group, the government’s controversial private equity arm, have moved closer to fruition after crucial legislation passed through the Commons on Tuesday.

The commonwealth development corporation bill, which will allow the government to lift the cap on aid funds spent through the CDC from £1.5bn to £6bn, was approved by MPs despite criticism of the organisation.

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Sudan's social media campaign of civil dissent boosts hopes of change

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 07:00:13 GMT2017-01-11T07:00:13Z

After stay-at-home strikes close businesses and schools, President Omar al-Bashir challenges activists to take to the streets

At first, a social media campaign calling on Sudanese people to participate in a stay-at-home strike seemed doomed to fail: only a quarter of the population have access to the internet. And looking back at Sudan’s history, political mobilisation had occurred through unions, not social media. But, somehow, it worked.

On 27 November, the capital awoke to half-empty streets as many businesses and schools in Khartoum remained closed. Another stay-at-home strike, coupled with a boycott of government transactions, followed on 19 December. By then, what had begun as a protest against subsidy cuts had morphed into a movement advocating for broader change.

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Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara appoints former prime minister as vice-president

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 13:53:29 GMT2017-01-10T13:53:29Z

President’s naming of long-time ally Daniel Kablan Duncan for newly created post seen as signalling his choice of successor in 2020

Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara named former prime minister Daniel Kablan Duncan as vice-president, a new post created under a constitution approved by referendum late last year.

Related: Ivory Coast hopes to tempt investors with stability and a booming economy | Clár Ní Chonghaile

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Bangladesh’s plan to allow some child marriages is ‘step backwards’

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 05:00:29 GMT2017-01-17T05:00:29Z

Campaigners say proposed law change permitting child marriage in ‘special cases’ would increase risks of rape, domestic violence and early pregnancy

Bangladesh will be taking a step backwards in efforts to end child marriage if parliament approves changes to a law that would permit girls below 18 to be married in “special cases”, a global alliance of charities said last week.

The nation has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, despite a decades-old law that bans marriage for girls under 18 and men under 21.

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Makeshift justice the only recourse for ill-protected women at South Sudan camp | Ben Quinn

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:00:17 GMT2017-01-16T07:00:17Z

For women who routinely run the gauntlet of harassment and sexual violence, Malakal protection of civilians camp has roundly failed to live up to its name

It is late afternoon when the white Jeep pulls up outside a compound attached to one of the largest camps for families fleeing South Sudan’s civil war. Accompanied by two UN police officers, a woman steps out and walks briskly past a rusty shipping container holding the man who allegedly raped her less than 24 hours earlier.

In a country where UN investigators say sexual violence remains ignored despite having reached “epic proportions” – one survey found 70% of women in such camps said they had been raped since conflict erupted in December 2013 – this is a rare example of action being taken.

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Egypt court ruling upholds decision to freeze assets of women's rights activists

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 13:01:15 GMT2017-01-12T13:01:15Z

Clampdown on civil rights groups continues as government pursues case against campaigners accused of using overseas funds to destabilise Egypt

An Egyptian court has upheld an earlier ruling to freeze the assets of three prominent rights activists, the latest chapter in a widening government crackdown against civil society groups.

The verdict targeted Mozn Hassan and her organisation, Nazra for Feminist Studies, as well as Mohammed Zaraa and Atef Hafez, both of the Arab Organisation for Criminal Reform.

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Number of Nigerian women trafficked to Italy for sex almost doubled in 2016

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 12:35:09 GMT2017-01-12T12:35:09Z

Life of forced prostitution awaits majority of the 11,009 Nigerian women who arrived on Italy’s shores last year, says International Organisation for Migration

The number of Nigerian women travelling by boat from Libya to Italy almost doubled last year, with the vast majority of new arrivals victims of sex trafficking and exploitation, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

The IOM believes approximately 80% of the 11,009 Nigerian women registered at landing points in Sicily in 2016 were trafficked, and will go on to live a life of forced prostitution in Italy and other countries in Europe.

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How Chelsea Manning lifted lid on harsh facts of US wars and military justice

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:57:55 GMT2017-01-17T22:57:55Z

A physically slight army private, shocked by the reality of America’s military mission, revealed US diplomatic secrets and was made to pay a heavy price

“I was stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness.”

Those words were part of an 11-page letter written by Chelsea Manning and passed to the Guardian in March 2011 in which she outlined the harsh treatment to which she was being subjected in prolonged solitary confinement in the military brig at Quantico base in Virginia. She was then awaiting trial as the suspected source of the biggest leak of state secrets in US history, and going under the male name given to her at birth before her transition to living as a woman. The details of her detention were later denounced by the UN as a form of torture.

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Michael Gove gorges on cheesy puff of a Donald Trump interview | John Crace

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:34:47 GMT2017-01-16T18:34:47Z

As ex-minister demonstrated in his media rounds the next day, in Gove World the focus was never going to be on the Don

You might have thought that, after conducting an interview with Donald Trump that read like a celebrity puff piece for an airline inflight magazine and then posing for a cheesy, sleazy photo under a Playboy cover, Michael Gove might have wanted to lie low for a bit to recover from the embarrassment. Not a bit of it. Gove’s narcissism will not be contained and he spent Monday morning doing a tour of any media outlet that would have him to boast about his underachievement.

First stop was Radio 4’s Today programme where presenter Sarah Montague first challenged him on Trump’s assertion that a UK-US trade deal post-Brexit could be done quickly and easily. “I’m no expert in trade negotiations,” Gove said proudly. In Gove World lack of expertise in any field automatically makes you ideally qualified for the job. “But I can tell you that Trump is a dealmaker and he is confident he can make a deal that is win-win for Britain and America.”

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Jared Kushner has Trump’s trust but lacks experience for Middle East role

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:13:49 GMT2017-01-16T18:13:49Z

President-elect says his son-in-law ‘knows the region, knows the people,’ but the reality appears to be somewhat different

Donald Trump’s proposed new point man on the Middle East peace process, his 36-year-old son-in-law Jared Kushner, is almost unknown to Israeli business and political figures and an even greater mystery to Palestinians, as well as a diplomatic neophyte.

Trump’s insistence on pushing the untried Kushner into such an important and difficult role comes at a historic low point in the moribund peace process.

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A guide to Trump-speak: think 'bloke talking loudly in the pub'

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:08:01 GMT2017-01-16T13:08:01Z

From overly defensive Sigmar Gabriel to delusional Michael Gove, politicians are misreading the president-elect’s utterances

Taken literally, Donald Trump’s latest thoughts about the world, as retailed to the British politician Michael Gove, are terrifying for Europe, the EU and Nato. But considered dispassionately, his comments are the most recent example of Trump-speak, a loose, untutored language form that politicians and diplomats must now quickly learn to decipher.

As has by now been well established, Trump-speak should be taken seriously, but not literally. Large pinches of salt, interspersed with reality checks and deep breaths, are required. The hasty, overly defensive reaction on Monday of Germany’s deputy chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, to Trump’s suggestion the EU could disintegrate is not the way to go. Trump could and probably will say the exact opposite tomorrow.

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Attempts to hold Trump to account only seem to make him stronger and stranger

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 11:30:24 GMT2017-01-14T11:30:24Z

In a week in which the world of the president-elect grew ever more bizarre, he remained his own unpredictable, infuriating, charismatic, deeply flawed self

“Don’t be rude! Don’t be rude!” barked the president-elect with the authority of a school principal reprimanding a two-year-old. Not for the first time in the course of 18 months of Donald Trump’s wild ride to the White House – and surely not for the last – the world’s media found itself gathered at his feet, dutifully soaking up his scorn like naughty children.

“Don’t be rude! No, I’m not going to give you a question!” repeated the man destined in seven days’ time to become the 45th president of the United States as he shut down CNN’s senior White House correspondent. The reporter’s misdeed? Having the temerity to try to ask a question.

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From Deliciously Ella to Donald Trump: the evolution of 'truth'

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 09:00:21 GMT2017-01-14T09:00:21Z

First there were facts. Then, post-truth. Now it’s all about the bare-faced denialLast weekend, because I am a masochist, I read an interview with Ella Mills, nee Woodward, aka Deliciously Ella, the figurehead of the clean-eating movement. I’ve been writing about the bread-phobic brigade for a few years now (like I said, I’m a masochist), and I check in with them occasionally to see how, exactly, they’re stretching their glamorisation of disordered eating yet further. Yet on reading this latest dispatch, I had an unexpected epiphany: Deliciously Ella is the precursor to Donald Trump. A sylph-like, wildly privileged girl from west London looks a little less aspirational when you realise she’s from the same mould as a race-baiting Oompa Loompa with a Weetabix (gluten!) on his head, doesn’t she?And it’s not just Deliciously Ella. Like John Cusack in Being John Malkovich, I suddenly see the face of my man everywhere. I am finally realising that so many of the things that have frustrated me, that I have been trying to understand over the past year, come under one umbrella: the umbrella of bullshit. Continue reading...[...]

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Al-Nusra hostage: 'extremism in Syria will not disappear' – video

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 09:44:11 GMT2017-01-13T09:44:11Z

Theo Padnos, an American journalist, was captured in Syria by the formerly al-Qaida affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra in 2012. He tells the Guardian’s Owen Jones about his time in captivity, the physical and psychological torture he endured and his eventual release. Padnos says he believes western military intervention in Syria would only fuel support for groups like al-Nusra and Isis, and puts his views about Donald Trump in power

An extended version of this video is available on Owen Jones’s YouTube channel

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Fictional or not, the Trump dossier affair is another win for Putin

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:49:02 GMT2017-01-12T11:49:02Z

Even if Moscow is not involved, the US has been weakened and its new leader compromised before he even takes power

Russia insists it had nothing to do with what it has described as the “pulp fiction” scandal swirling around Donald Trump. But for Vladimir Putin, the dossier affair, following allegations of a compromised presidential election, has the effect, deliberately planned or not, of advancing Moscow’s long-held aim of weakening the US, paralysing its political decision-making process, and avenging Russia’s humiliation at the close of the cold war.

It may be that Putin is entirely innocent, as the Russian president’s spokesmen claim. Or the opposite may be the case. In a sense it does not matter. The damage has been done, and for the Kremlin, it’s a no-lose. The unprecedented confusion and disarray in the US is what old KGB agents like Putin could only dream of.

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Will Trump’s business plans avoid presidential conflicts of interest?

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 20:00:07 GMT2017-01-11T20:00:07Z

The president-elect has outlined measures to address concerns, but a watchdog says Trump will retain ultimate ownership of his business empire

Donald Trump finally built a wall on Wednesday. A literal wall of paperwork that he claimed would protect his presidency from allegations of conflicts of interest.

It is unlikely to do any such thing.

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Donald Trump mistakes council worker for daughter Ivanka – video

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 21:12:54 GMT2017-01-17T21:12:54Z

Donald Trump mistakenly retweeted praise for a woman from England with the same first name as his daughter late on Monday. Trump quoted a praiseworthy tweet directed to him by another Twitter user who had used @Ivanka rather than @IvankaTrump

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Obama's White House, by official photographer Pete Souza - in pictures

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:00:03 GMT2017-01-17T12:00:03Z

Pete Souza, formerly the official photographer for Ronald Reagan, was the official White House photographer for President Barack Obama. As the US awaits the inauguration of Donald Trump, Souza looks back at some of his favourite images from the last eight years

All photographs by Pete Souza for The White House

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Martin Luther King Jr's son meets Donald Trump – video

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:03:32 GMT2017-01-17T11:03:32Z

Martin Luther King Jr’s son says he had a ‘constructive meeting’ with Donald Trump. Martin Luther King III met the US president-elect in New York amid a growing row over remarks Trump made about civil rights veteran John Lewis. Asked about the spat, King says things got ‘heated’ on both sides

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Great moments from past presidential inaugurations – in pictures

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:00:00 GMT2017-01-17T10:00:00Z

As Donald Trump prepares to become the 45th president of the United States, we take a look back at some of the best moments from previous inaugurations

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Istanbul nightclub attack suspect arrested, according to Turkey officials – video report

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:13:28 GMT2017-01-16T22:13:28Z

A gunman who slaughtered 39 people in a New Year’s Eve attack on a nightclub in Istanbul has been arrested, Turkish officials confirmed on Monday. It is understood the Uzbek terrorist named as Abdulgadir Masharipov by the Turkish media, was captured at a friend’s house in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul by security forces late on Monday

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Tunisia inquest: gunman shown on beach before and after Sousse attack – video

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:32:22 GMT2017-01-16T21:32:22Z

Warning: Some viewers may find the footage distressing. Footage from the Tunisia terror attack inquest was released on Monday, showing gunman Seifeddine Rezgui before and after he opened fire on a tourist beach, killing 38 people. The inquest into the deaths of 30 British tourists started on Monday

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