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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: Wed, 23 Aug 2017 14:47:35 GMT2017-08-23T14:47:35Z

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

Charlottesville: United Nations warns US over 'alarming' racism

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 12:00:14 GMT2017-08-23T12:00:14Z

UN committee on elimination of racial discrimination expresses alarm at growth of far-right groups and hate crimes

A UN committee charged with tackling racism has issued an “early warning” over conditions in the US and urged the Trump administration to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject discrimination.

The warning specifically refers to events last week in Charlottesville, Virginia, where civil rights activist Heather Heyer was killed when a car rammed into a group of people protesting against a white nationalist rally.

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‘We would rather die than stay there’: the refugees crossing from Morocco to Spain

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 04:00:04 GMT2017-08-23T04:00:04Z

The number of people travelling across the Strait of Gibraltar has risen sharply, and most who make the journey know the risks

On the hilltops of Tarifa, the Spanish city that faces Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar and mainland Europe’s southernmost point, gusts of wind power the turbines dotting the landscape.

For the surfers who pack the city’s hotels, the wind is a welcome sign of challenging waves. But for the Spanish coastguard and NGOs, the gusts are a warning that the record numbers of migrants and refugees attempting to cross the 10-mile strait are in grave danger.

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Russian court puts theatre director under house arrest

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 13:01:41 GMT2017-08-23T13:01:41Z

Kirill Serebrennikov is accused of embezzling £900,000, but supporters say he is victim of crackdown on dissent

A court in Moscow has put a widely revered Russian theatre director under house arrest on charges of embezzling £900,000, in a case that his supporters fear is part of a crackdown on dissenting voices.

Kirill Serebrennikov, 47, was detained on Tuesday in St Petersburg where he was shooting a film and put in jail after interrogation. He is accused of embezzling 68m roubles of government funds earmarked for an art project. He denies the charges.

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Spain terror cell was planning Sagrada Família attack, suspect tells court

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 18:55:43 GMT2017-08-22T18:55:43Z

Two men remanded in custody, one kept for questioning and one freed after Madrid court is told of plan for larger-scale attacks

The terror cell that brought carnage to north-eastern Spain, killing 15 people and injuring more than 130, was planning attacks on a much larger scale, including the bombing of Barcelona’s Sagrada Família church, a suspect has told a court.

Mohamed Houli Chemlal made the admission after being brought before a judge in Madrid, Spanish media reported, quoting court officials.

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'A triumph of reason': Chile approves landmark bill to ease abortion ban

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:37:18 GMT2017-08-22T17:37:18Z

Campaigners hail President Michelle Bachelet’s bill legalising abortion in some circumstances as a victory that opens the way for possible further liberalisation

The decision by Chile’s constitutional court to approve a bill that will allow abortion in some circumstances has been hailed as “a triumph of reason and an act of justice” by campaigners.

The legislation, a victory for the centre-left president, Michelle Bachelet, will allow abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, in case of rape and when a foetus is not viable.

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Dispute along cold war lines led to collapse of UN cyberwarfare talks

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:00:05 GMT2017-08-23T05:00:05Z

Thirteen years of negotiations came to an abrupt end in June, it has emerged, because of a row over the right to self-defence in the face of attacks

Thirteen years of negotiations at the United Nations aimed at restricting cyberwarfare collapsed in June, it has emerged, due to an acrimonious dispute that pitted Russia, China and Cuba against western countries.

The split among legal and military experts at the UN, along old cold war lines, has reinforced distrust at a time of mounting diplomatic tension over cyber-attacks, such as the 2016 hacking of the US Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computers. That break-in was allegedly coordinated by Russian intelligence and intended to assist Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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Two North Korean shipments to Syria intercepted in six months, UN told

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:52:33 GMT2017-08-22T15:52:33Z

Security council reportedly investigating suspected chemical and conventional arms cooperation between two countries

Two shipments from North Korea destined for the Syrian government agency responsible for chemical weapons have been intercepted in the past six months, according to a report provided to the United Nations security council in early August.

The report, which was revealed by Reuters on Tuesday, said both shipments were caught in the past six months. Syria’s chemical weapons programme is one of the most sensitive sectors of the Assad regime.

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Danish police confirm headless torso is missing journalist Kim Wall

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 12:42:52 GMT2017-08-23T12:42:52Z

Police find DNA match to Swedish reporter who is believed to have been killed on a homemade submarine

Danish police have identified a headless female torso found in the Copenhagen waterside as that of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who police believe was killed on a homemade submarine.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Copenhagen police’s vice-president, Jens Møller, also said that DNA taken from a hairbrush and toothbrush belonging to Wall had matched that of blood found on the submarine.

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Hey Macarena: Saudi police detain 14-year-old boy for dancing in the street

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:02:06 GMT2017-08-23T00:02:06Z

Teenager filmed performing 1990s dance hit at traffic lights held for ‘improper public behaviour’ in Jeddah

Saudi police said on Tuesday they had detained a 14-year-old boy who was filmed dancing to the 1990s hit song Macarena at a street crossing in the coastal city of Jeddah, in a clip that was widely shared on social media.

The teenager, whose name and nationality were not given, was being questioned because he had shown “improper public behaviour” and disrupted traffic, a statement from Mecca police said. It was not clear whether he would be formally charged.

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Trump to expand US military intervention in Afghanistan

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 16:26:36 GMT2017-08-22T16:26:36Z

President admits his ‘original instinct was to pull out’ but says he changed his mind, and claims he will take tougher line with Pakistan

US reinforcements could start arriving in Afghanistan within days, a US commander in the region said in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to raise the US stakes once more in the 16-year war.

In a televised address to troops at Fort Myer in Virginia on Monday night, Trump did not say how many more soldiers he was willing to send to Afghanistan, but he made it clear he was going to increase the US military presence there.

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North of Ireland sees flooding after battering by heavy rain

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:57:09 GMT2017-08-22T23:57:09Z

Downpours sweep in from Atlantic causing at least 60 incidents of flooding in the northern half of the island

The north of Ireland has been battered by heavy rain as violent storms caused flooding.

Related: Why does the BBC still broadcast the shipping forecast?

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George and Amal Clooney donate $1m to combat US rightwing extremism

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:14:14 GMT2017-08-22T17:14:14Z

The Clooney Foundation for Justice partners with the Southern Poverty Law Center to fight “bigotry and hate” in the wake of the events in Charlottesville

George and Amal Clooney have announced a partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat “bigotry and hate” in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice says that it will bestow a grant of $1m to the SPLC in order to assist the civil rights organization in its attempts to combat violent extremism in the US, following the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer at a white supremacist rally in the campus city earlier this month.

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Arrest of Russian theatre director raises fears of clampdown on dissent

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:55:31 GMT2017-08-22T15:55:31Z

Kirill Serebrennikov detained over accusations of embezzling government funds, but supporters claim case is political

Russian investigators have arrested one of the country’s most prominent theatre directors for fraud, in a case that many in the arts world fear is part of a crackdown on dissenting voices.

Kirill Serebrennikov stands accused of embezzling 68m roubles (£900,000) of government funds. He was questioned by investigators on Tuesday and denied the allegations, Russian agencies reported. The director will spend the night in prison and a court will decide on Wednesday whether he should be remanded in custody or put under house arrest.

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Chinese activist Jiang Tianyong's subversion trial dismissed as sham

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:25:50 GMT2017-08-22T10:25:50Z

Rights campaigners reject reported ‘admission of guilt’ by lawyer accused of trying to topple China’s one-party state

Human rights activists have denounced as a sham the trial of a leading Chinese civil rights lawyer who authorities claim tried to topple China’s one-party state.

Jiang Tianyong, 46, was put on trial in the central city of Changsha on Tuesday morning having vanished into the custody of security services last November during a crackdown on lawyers described as China’s “war on law”.

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India court bans Islamic instant divorce in huge win for women's rights

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:03:31 GMT2017-08-22T11:03:31Z

Controversial practice of ‘triple talaq’, which allows men to dissolve marriages instantly, declared unconstitutional

An Islamic practice permitting men to instantly divorce their wives has been declared unconstitutional by India’s supreme court after decades of campaigning by women’s groups and victims.

The “triple talaq” has allowed Muslim men to dissolve marriages by pronouncing the word “divorce” three times.

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USS John S McCain: human remains found in search for missing sailors

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:58:03 GMT2017-08-22T11:58:03Z

US navy in process of establishing whether remains can be identified as sailors from USS John S McCain, which hit tanker off Singapore

US navy divers have found human remains inside the sealed compartments of a warship that was hit by an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, the commander of the US Pacific fleet has said.

Admiral Scott Swift said the Malaysian navy, which is helping with the search, had also reported finding a body. He said the US navy was in the process of establishing whether any of the remains could be identified as one of 10 sailors reported missing after the incident.

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Japan's field of dreams: school baseball teams vie for Koshien glory

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 13:12:31 GMT2017-08-22T13:12:31Z

Playing on the stadium’s hallowed ground is every young baseball fan’s goal, and the final will be front-page news

On Wednesday afternoon, millions of Japanese people will stop what they are doing and turn their attention to the nearest TV screen to follow the fortunes of 18 student athletes.

The occasion is the final, decisive game in the national high school baseball championships. The national broadcaster NHK will screen every inning live, the victors are assured of front-page coverage in the following day’s newspapers and, for a couple of hours at least, Japan will come together in the name of amateur sport.

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The future of funerals? Robot priest launched to undercut human-led rites

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 14:18:15 GMT2017-08-23T14:18:15Z

Softbank’s humanoid robot ‘Pepper’ dons robes to provide low-cost funerals complete with live-streaming option

In Japan robots can serve as companions, helpers for the elderly, entertainment bots and even sexual partners, but now SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper has put itself up for hire as a Buddhist priest for funerals.

Taking the German blessing bot’s idea and running with it, Pepper’s new code will let it chant sutras in a computerised voice while tapping a drum, providing a cheaper alternative to a human priest to see your loved ones off into the eternal sleep.

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Qatar passes law to protect employment rights of domestic workers

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 13:32:54 GMT2017-08-23T13:32:54Z

Domestic employment law will limit working day to a maximum of 10 hours and ensure monthly payment of wages

Qatar has approved a law limiting domestic staff to a maximum of 10 hours’ work a day, the first such protection for thousands of household maids, nannies and cooks in the emirate.

The domestic employment law also orders employers to pay staff wages at the end of each month and entitles workers to at least one day off a week and annual leave of three weeks, the Qatar News Agency reported.

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America's 'news deserts': the death of the great alt-weeklies

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 06:15:06 GMT2017-08-23T06:15:06Z

The Village Voice’s decision to end print publication is just the latest in an epidemic of free alternative newspaper closures in the US, which have left many cities with no local journalism at all. Is there hope for alt-weeklies?

In the basement dressing room at G*A*Y Lounge in Baltimore, Scott Murdock – who works by day in a health clinic – is about halfway into becoming his drag alter ego, Shaunda Leer. With Billie Jean playing on an iPhone, Shaunda applies exaggerated fake eyelashes as co-host Abbi Kadabra, wearing a white knit gown, adjusts a Jane Fonda-style wig in the mirror.

“It’s really disappointing,” Shaunda says, perfecting a cheek contour. “Not just for us, but for the other fringe artists out there who don’t have mainstream exposure in the city.”

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Portland in the spotlight: flood of people expected for the Great American Eclipse

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:37:46 GMT2017-08-21T11:37:46Z

One million people are expected to head towards Portland, Oregon to witness an astronomical event that hasn’t taken place in the US since 1979 – but this city is familiar with population booms

On the morning of 21 August, several hours after daybreak, a solar eclipse will plunge the city of Portland, Oregon into a twilight-like state. The temperature will drop; birds and other wildlife will start making noises, tricked into thinking they should prepare for bed. At 10.19am, the moon’s shadow will pass over the sun in the state’s most populous city, blocking 99.44% of the glowing orb at its peak. For mere minutes, viewers will have a chance to experience a rare astronomical event that hasn’t been visible in the US since 1979.

The Great American Eclipse, as it’s been dubbed, will first make landfall in a small town on the Pacific coast and within about 90 minutes streak across the country until it disappears in Charleston, South Carolina. One million people are expected to head toward the path of totality, an approximate 70-mile wide band where the entire sun is blocked by the moon’s shadow.

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Arizona's 'concentration camp': why was Tent City kept open for 24 years?

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:15:04 GMT2017-08-21T06:15:04Z

In 1993 Joe Arpaio, America’s ‘toughest sheriff’, opened a temporary outdoor jail in Phoenix. After more than two decades, the notorious project is finally closing

‘Hitler! Hitler!” the prisoners chanted to the TV cameras in protest. It was 4 February 2009. More than 200 Latino men in black-and-white striped uniforms, shackled to each other, were being marched towards an outdoor unit especially for “illegal alien” prisoners in Arizona’s infamous jail, Tent City.

The chants were directed at the Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who a few months before had called this outdoor jail close to downtown Phoenix – his own tough-on-crime creation – a “concentration camp” in a speech to political supporters at his local Italian-American club.

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Invisible speedbumps: can these cheap tarmac Banksys slow drivers down?

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 18:02:46 GMT2017-08-20T18:02:46Z

London hopes optical illusions painted on busy roads will trick motorists into reducing their speed. The locations are secret, but we tracked some down

It’s an odd look, the one people shoot you when you tell them you’ll be spending the afternoon driving over illusory speedbumps.

Well, fake speedbumps may not be real, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. TfL trialled them in Newham, London in 2014, cutting traffic speeds there by 3mph. They are painted humps on the road: white arcs, about a metre wide, like slightly asymmetrical Vs that, by the miracle of perspective, fool the eye into seeing them as looming out of the tarmac as drivers approach.

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Kuwait's inferno: how will the world's hottest city survive climate change?

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 06:00:15 GMT2017-08-18T06:00:15Z

Malls and office complexes continue to spring up in Kuwait City, built by migrants often working illegally in soaring temperatures. But as oil and water reserves dwindle, the energy-guzzling citystate heads for an existential crisis

It is 9am and the temperature in Kuwait City is 45C and rising, but already people working outside. A row of litter-pickers are already hard at work along a coastal highway, their entire bodies covered to protect them from the sun. Outside one of the city’s many malls, valets hover beside the air-conditioned entrance, while two men in white hats huddle wearily next to their ice cream stands.

Other city residents are luckier. They can avoid the outdoors altogether, escaping the inferno by sheltering in malls, cars and office buildings, where temperatures are kept polar-cold.

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These videos show pure traffic chaos – or do they?

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:00:00 GMT2017-08-17T06:00:00Z

Some urban experts say stripping roads of lights and barriers, and encouraging ‘shared space’, could make them safer for all users

Imagine an alternative world without traffic rules, where you approach a junction and there’s no encouraging green light to get you on your way. Instead, all traffic is free, your movements aren’t controlled and all vehicles – regardless of the number of wheels or legs – have to interact with each other by instinct. Utopian madness? Chaos, confusion and traffic-clogged streets? Maybe not.

In a timelapse video of an intersection without any traffic signals in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, this apparent chaos has been captured in action.

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Buses in Seoul install 'comfort women' statues to honour former sex slaves

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:14:18 GMT2017-08-16T12:14:18Z

Statues installed on five buses with the support of the Seoul mayor – although use of public space to highlight this wartime atrocity has angered Japan

Buses serving several routes in central Seoul have acquired a new and highly controversial passenger: a barefoot “comfort woman”, wearing a traditional hanbok dress with her hands resting on her knees.

Appearing on the front seat of buses in the South Korean capital earlier this week, the statues were installed by the Dong-A Transit company as a potent reminder of an unresolved wartime atrocity whose roots lie in Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula.

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Thessaloniki in the spotlight: 100 years after a fire destroyed the city of refugees

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 12:08:39 GMT2017-08-14T12:08:39Z

The Great Fire destroyed much of a city home to thousands of refugees, but once again Thessaloniki has become a place of multicultural amnesty

It was a spark from a homemade stove falling on a pile of straw at a refugees’ hovel that’s said to have instigated a new phase in the history of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city. A century ago, on 18 August 1917, the fire grew into an inferno that destroyed 9,500 houses, left 1 sq km of the city in cinders and 70,000 homeless.

As the centre of operations for allied forces in the Balkans during the first world war, Thessaloniki had no fire service and its water supply was requisitioned by foreign soldiers – which, along with the Vadaris wind, is why the Great Fire attained historic proportions.

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Sticky situation: Mexico City's sisyphean battle with chewing gum

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:40:07 GMT2017-08-14T10:40:07Z

Streets across the world are littered with gum, and although many cities have tried and failed to eradicate these sticky circles, Mexico City continues to wage this seemingly unwinnable war

Each night dozens of trucks carrying 15 people depart from Mexico City’s downtown to Francisco I Madero Avenue, the most famous pedestrian street in the capital. Armed with 90C vapour guns called Terminators, the group begins the laborious task of combing the street looking for small, black circles fastened to the ground.

It takes them three days, working in eight-hour shifts, to go through the 9,000 sq metre avenue. By the end, they have removed a total of 11,000 pieces of chewing gum.

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Drug dens v safe houses: the fight over Ciudad Juárez's abandoned houses

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:00:54 GMT2017-08-11T09:00:54Z

In three years, 10,000 people were killed in Juárez – and a quarter of its houses abandoned to gangs. Can the city’s young people reclaim those spaces for themselves?

At the age of 14, Alan has already been given the nickname El Botellas (Bottles) by his friends. The teenager dropped out of school and now drinks heavily, spending much of his time at a dilapidated home on the outskirts of the Mexico border city of Ciudad Juárez.

On a particularly hot Saturday afternoon, a former gang member turned community activist, Israel Ríos, appears at the house. “You are too young for this!” he scolds. Ríos promises to give the assembled kids English classes, despite El Botellas’ insistence that he is not interested in learning.

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Ex-courier convicted for mowing down woman on his track bike

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 14:43:32 GMT2017-08-23T14:43:32Z

Charlie Alliston, 20, found guilty of causing bodily harm over collision with Kim Briggs, who sustained ‘catastrophic’ head injuries and died

A former courier has been convicted of causing bodily harm to a mother-of-two who died after he mowed her down on a bicycle in east London.

Charlie Alliston, 20, was acquitted of manslaughter. He was a fan of “dangerous” bike race videos, never wore a helmet and did not have a front brake on his track bike – a legal requirement if ridden on the road.

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'Why are you having sex?': women bear brunt of Uganda's high HIV rate

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:16:35 GMT2017-08-23T11:16:35Z

National survey shows women and girls disproportionately affected, with 570 infections a week among those aged 15-24, despite decline in overall rate

The prevalence of HIV in Uganda is more than 3% higher among women than men, according to research revealed by the government.

While the overall rate of those aged between 15 and 49 living with the infection has declined in the past five years to 6% – from 7.3% – women remain disproportionately affected by the epidemic.

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White nationalist from Vice documentary to turn himself in to police

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 14:08:53 GMT2017-08-23T14:08:53Z

Christopher Cantwell, who appeared in a Vice News documentary about white nationalists, is wanted by University of Virginia police on three felony charges

A white nationalist wanted for crimes authorities say were committed on the campus of the University of Virginia a day before a deadly rally has said he will turn himself in to authorities.

University of Virginia police say Christopher Cantwell of Keene, New Hampshire, is wanted on three felony charges: two counts of the illegal use of tear gas or other gases and one count of malicious bodily injury with a “caustic substance,” explosive or fire.

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The whole world must join the battle for Venezuela’s El Sistema | Marshall Marcus

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 14:01:46 GMT2017-08-23T14:01:46Z

President Maduro’s cancellation of conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s tour is a clear bid to weaponise the country’s greatest export, its musical education programme

In the music business, the occasional tour cancellation is almost a way of life. Lack of money, indisposed artists, terror attacks, ash clouds and much more can easily cause the best laid plans to crumble. But on Monday came something exceptional as the media reported that Venezuela’s most celebrated orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela, had had its forthcoming US tour cancelled by the office of the president of Venezuela.

Related: Gustavo Dudamel attacks Venezuelan president Maduro: 'Enough is enough'

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'Cocky' Bill Shorten wants to inflict socialism on a new generation, Mathias Cormann says

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 10:24:00 GMT2017-08-23T10:24:00Z

Finance minister says Labor leader has overreached in shift to the left – and a Jeremy Corbyn-style politics-of-envy campaign is doomed to fail

The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, says Bill Shorten is banking on enough young Australians forgetting the “historical failure of socialism” to prosecute a Jeremy Corbyn-style politics-of-envy campaign – which would deliver only “economic decline and social division”.

Cormann used a strongly worded speech to the Sydney Institute on Wednesday night to posit that Shorten was intent on inflicting socialism on an unwitting new generation, declaring that the Labor leader has made the “deliberate and cynical political judgment that enough Australians have forgotten the historical failure of socialism”.

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Cambodia threatens purge of critical media and US charity

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:50:01 GMT2017-08-23T11:50:01Z

As general election looms, prime minister Hun Sen tells English-language newspaper Cambodia Daily to pay $6m tax bill or leave

Cambodia has threatened to close three foreign media outlets and a US charity, accusing them of operating illegally or owing millions in back taxes, in what appears to be a coordinated purge of government critics.

The Cambodia Daily, one of three English-language daily newspapers in the country, was handed a $6.3m (£4.9m) tax bill and threatened with closure if it does not pay by 4 September.

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Shadow minister faces backlash over women-only train carriage idea

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:25:10 GMT2017-08-23T11:25:10Z

Chris Williamson criticised for saying there is ‘merit’ in exploring idea as way of cutting number of sexual assaults on public transport

Shadow minister Chris Williamson has been criticised by female colleagues and union chiefs for suggesting there was “merit” in introducing women-only train carriages to help cut the number of sexual assaults on public transport.

Williamson, the shadow fire minister, said he was open to the idea first proposed by Jeremy Corbyn when he was running for the Labour leadership in 2016.

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The billionaire behind the world’s first genetically modified salmon

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:00:12 GMT2017-08-23T11:00:12Z

Intrexon, a $2.2bn company headed by Randal Kirk, quietly began selling transgenic salmon, after making apples that don’t brown and cloning pets

If you want to sample the world’s first animal to be genetically engineered in the name of dinner, good luck finding it. If, on the other hand, you would never eat such a thing – good luck avoiding it.

Tons of lab-developed salmon was sold in Canada last year without any packaging labeling it as a product of science, and the company that created and raises the fish, AquaBounty, won’t release the names of food distributors it sells to.

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Briton arrested in Turkey over coins he found while snorkelling

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 10:45:18 GMT2017-08-23T10:45:18Z

Toby Robyns, 52, from West Sussex, arrested at Bodrum airport on suspicion of failing to declare find

A British man has been arrested in Turkey accused of taking historical artefacts he found during a snorkelling trip.

Toby Robyns, who was on holiday, was reportedly found with 13 coins when he was stopped by police at an airport as he and his family prepared to travel home.

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Egypt cancels Jared Kushner meeting after US withdraws aid

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 10:20:15 GMT2017-08-23T10:20:15Z

Foreign minister had been due to meet US delegation led by Trump’s adviser and son-in-law in Cairo to discuss Middle East

Egypt has called off a scheduled meeting between its foreign minister and top US presidential adviser Jared Kushner after the US decided to withhold millions of dollars in aid.

However, the office of the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said he would meet the US delegation led by Kushner later in the day.

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Typhoon Hato kills three in Macau and batters Hong Kong

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 09:43:43 GMT2017-08-23T09:43:43Z

Two other people missing in Chinese gambling enclave, and flights cancelled and schools closed in Hong Kong

A powerful typhoon has killed at least three people in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau and forced offices and schools to close in Hong Kong, where hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Related: Asian typhoons becoming more intense, study finds

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Silicon Valley siphons our data like oil. But the deepest drilling has just begun

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:00:08 GMT2017-08-23T08:00:08Z

Personal data is to the tech world what oil is to the fossil fuel industry. That’s why companies like Amazon and Facebook plan to dig deeper than we ever imagined

What if a cold drink cost more on a hot day?

Customers in the UK will soon find out. Recent reports suggest that three of the country’s largest supermarket chains are rolling out surge-pricing in select stores. This means that prices will rise and fall over the course of the day in response to demand. Buying lunch at lunchtime will be like ordering an Uber at rush hour.

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Nickelodeon abandons Philippine resort plan after backlash

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 07:23:30 GMT2017-08-23T07:23:30Z

US children’s TV network’s plan for ‘undersea attraction and resort’ on Palawan island sparked fierce criticism from environmentalists

American children’s television network Nickelodeon says it has abandoned plans for a themed resort on an island known as the Philippines’ last ecological frontier following a backlash from environmentalists.

Nickelodeon said in January that it would build an “undersea attraction and resort” on Palawan island that would let fans “interact with the brand and the iconic characters they love”, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.

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BBC journalist Jonathan Head on trial in Thailand over unusual defamation case

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:41:34 GMT2017-08-23T05:41:34Z

Southeast Asia correspondent faces up to five years in jail over 2015 report detailing how foreign retirees had properties stolen by a network of criminals

A British BBC journalist has appeared in a Thai court for the start of a criminal defamation trial brought by a lawyer who featured in an investigation about foreigners being scammed of their retirement homes.

Jonathan Head, the BBC’s Southeast Asia correspondent, faces up to five years in jail.

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'Every day was agony': Indian woman granted divorce over lack of toilet

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 04:00:04 GMT2017-08-23T04:00:04Z

Judge says forcing a woman to defecate in the open amounts to ‘mental torture’, in latest case underlining how far India still has to go on access to sanitation

The drive to build more toilets in India has been given an unusual twist with a Rajasthan judge granting a woman a divorce because her husband’s failure to provide her with one amounted to cruelty.

Sangeeta Mali, 23, told the court in Bhilwara district that her husband, Chotu Lal Mali, had agreed to build her a toilet when they married in 2011, but never did. Mali told the judge that she was ashamed of having to defecate in the fields around her home in Pur village with no privacy or comfort.

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Floods claim more than 800 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:25:59 GMT2017-08-22T12:25:59Z

Millions affected by severe flooding in south Asia, as aid agencies struggling to cope with disaster warn of food shortages and risk of disease

More than 800 people have been killed and 24 million affected following widespread floods across south Asia.

Severe flooding has devastated communities and destroyed crops in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, with NGOs warning of food shortages and the risk of disease.

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UK condemned over 'shocking' export of deadly weedkiller to poorer countries

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:00:14 GMT2017-08-22T06:00:14Z

UK accused of double standards as thousands of tonnes of pesticide not authorised for use in EU are produced in Britain for export to developing world

A highly toxic weedkiller not authorised for use in the EU is being exported to developing countries from a UK factory.

Paraquat, a pesticide so lethal that a single sip can be fatal, has caused thousands of accidental deaths and suicides globally, and was outlawed by EU states in 2007.

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Back from three-month medical leave in UK, Nigerian president pleads for unity

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:53:42 GMT2017-08-21T13:53:42Z

In first state address since his return, Muhammadu Buhari criticises calls for Biafra secession, saying ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief-makers

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari condemned growing calls for secession in his first live broadcast on state television since taking three months’ medical leave in the UK.

The president returned to Abuja on Saturday, after leaving Nigeria in May for his second course of treatment in Britain. He did not refer to his illness in the broadcast, but instead criticised calls for secession and regional divisions.

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'No gay promotion can be allowed': Uganda cancels pride events

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:09:20 GMT2017-08-21T12:09:20Z

Campaigners condemn ‘vile affront to LGBT rights’ after state crackdown on planned week-long celebrations in the capital, Kampala

Activists are outraged over the Ugandan government’s decision to cancel a week of gay pride celebrations in the country for a second consecutive year, describing the move as a violation of fundamental human rights of minority groups.

On 16 August, the state minister of ethics and integrity, Simon Lokodo, issued a directive shutting down a gala, scheduled to take place at the Sheraton Hotel in the capital, Kampala, accusing the organisers of attempting to stage an illegal gathering aimed at recruitment, exhibition and promotion of homosexuality.

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India fails to overturn disputed marriage annulment amid ‘love jihad’ inquiry

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 23:01:00 GMT2017-08-20T23:01:00Z

Widespread shock as supreme court delays decision on dissolution of union between woman from Hindu family and Muslim man and orders investigation

The Indian supreme court has delayed its decision on whether judges were right to annul the marriage of a 24-year-old woman in Kerala and force her to live back at her parents’ house because she married a Muslim man. The move has shocked campaigners, as the court has established a reputation for supporting the rights of Indian women.

Related: ‘Love jihad’ in India and one man’s quest to prevent it | Aman Sethi

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The UK is out there first in Sierra Leone | Priti Patel

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:01:14 GMT2017-08-19T16:01:14Z

In this piece by the international development secretary, she says in giving £5m to the flood response, Britain is at the forefront of helping a nation in need

Sierra Leone is a country once more in need of urgent humanitarian assistance following the devastating floods that have taken hundreds of lives, and destroyed many more. It is unfair to say that the UK government has had little to say on the devastating loss of life, as claimed in the Guardian on Thursday.

Related: A visão das favelas: 'Temos que lutar pela vida ao conviver com a violência' | Thaís Cavalcante

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You're the puppet: Breitbart attacks Trump's Afghanistan proposals

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 14:54:49 GMT2017-08-22T14:54:49Z

‘Alt-right’ news outlet accuses president of following US generals’ wishes and ‘flip-flopping’ on campaign pledge with announcement of troop increase

Breitbart News issued a scathing response to Donald Trump’s speech on Afghanistan, accusing the president of becoming little more than a puppet of generals in the White House after he pledged to boost troop levels to try to counter the growing strength of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters.

Related: Trump to expand US military intervention in Afghanistan

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Why Trump's Afghanistan strategy risks the worst of both worlds

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:35:13 GMT2017-08-22T09:35:13Z

Open-ended commitment to send in more troops leaves US and allies without clear mission in middle of worsening conflict

Donald Trump has probably never heard of the Grand Old Duke of York and his 10,000 men. But in spelling out his new Afghan strategy, the US president gave a good impersonation of that symbol of military muddle-headedness, incompetence and futility immortalised in the English nursery rhyme.

By marching US troops back up the Afghan hill, having previously solemnly vowed to march them down and out of the country, Trump risks the worst of both worlds: leaving the US and its allies neither up nor down, without a clearly defined mission, and stuck in the middle of a worsening conflict.

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Family ties among Spanish terror cell echo past attacks

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:29:40 GMT2017-08-21T16:29:40Z

Four sets of brothers have been linked to the Spain attacks, and brothers were involved in Paris, Boston and 9/11

As is so often the case in terrorist cells, the group that brought carnage to north-east Spain last week – killing 15 people and injuring more than 130 – included several sets of brothers.

Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, has been identified by police as the driver of the van that sped down Las Ramblas on Thursday. He was shot dead by police in Subirats, a town 30 miles west of Barcelona, on Monday. His brother Housainne, 19, was among the five men shot dead by police in the coastal town of Cambrils hours later after the car in which they were travelling ploughed into a group of pedestrians.

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Don't pin your hopes on military generals saving the world from Trump | Joe McLean

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:52:21 GMT2017-08-21T15:52:21Z

Defiance of an elected president would spark a constitutional crisis. Once you start expecting the generals save the republic, there’s no telling where it leads

Chaos continues to reign at the White House, with Steve Bannon its latest casualty. Despite the best efforts of the new chief of staff, John Kelly – a retired United States Marine Corps general – to impose order, the real source of the chaos is the president himself.

That’s bad enough for domestic politics, but given the deteriorating situations in Afghanistan and on the Korean peninsula, there’s a wholly reasonable fear that our thin-skinned, egomaniac commander-in-chief just might tweet us into a major shooting war.

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Barcelona has a history of rebuilding itself. This attack will be no different Miquel Berga

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 05:00:34 GMT2017-08-20T05:00:34Z

Terrorists chose to attack one of the great glocal cities this week. But Barcelona’s past has made it resilient

Last June, Barcelona commemorated the 30th anniversary of the last major terrorist attack the city had suffered. A bomb placed in the basement of a popular superstore, Hipercor, by Eta, the Basque terrorist group, killed 21 and left scores of other shoppers wounded. Eta terrorism was seen as a Spanish affair and the victims were all Spaniards.

Last Thursday, 30 years later, the city centre was hit by terror again. A similar number of casualties have been caused by the criminal act, only this time the victims were from 35 nationalities. These days Eta is mercifully inactive, terrorism is a global affair and Barcelona is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe. No one was surprised at the number of foreign victims.

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Farewell to the ECJ? We may end up obeying laws but having no say in them | Catherine Barnard

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 20:38:00 GMT2017-08-19T20:38:00Z

The UK has punched above its weight in court decisions. Such influence will be surrendered as Brexit becomes a reality

Why exactly is the European court of justice (ECJ) the subject of such unrelenting vilification by the Brexiters? To lawyers familiar with the court’s judgments, this has always been something of a mystery.

This is, after all, the court that ruled that the European Central Bank was wrong to insist that euro clearing houses should be based in the eurozone. A triumph for the City of London.

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Grace Mugabe's rise: grotesque ambition or pure self-preservation?

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:34:18 GMT2017-08-18T23:34:18Z

Many view Zimbabwe’s first lady as opportunistic, greedy and selfish. But could her motivation be far more about survival?

At the heart of Grace Mugabe’s extraordinary journey from struggling single mother to the most powerful woman in Zimbabwe is a love story.

Related: South Africa considering granting immunity to Grace Mugabe

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The fall of Steve Bannon is a win for the globalists. But will it last?

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 21:25:57 GMT2017-08-18T21:25:57Z

The loss of Trump’s chief strategist is a triumph for Jared Kushner and the White House’s ‘New York’ faction. But that doesn’t mean the end of Bannonism

From the moment Steve Bannon compared himself to Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors and Darth Vader in the Star Wars saga, his demise was perhaps historically preordained. Cromwell fell out of favour with Henry VIII and was beheaded for treason, while Vader was fatally wounded while saving Luke Skywalker from the Emperor’s lightning bolts.

News that the White House’s chief strategist and chief ideologue is the latest to get the chop in what has become a West Wing bloodbath will be cheered by those in America and around the world who saw him as the personification of Donald Trump’s dark and dangerous populism. That came boiling to the surface during last Saturday’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and when Trump failed to condemn the neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members who had come to that city to protest the removal of a Confederate monument.

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A year in Trump's orbit: a timeline of Steve Bannon's political career

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 20:28:14 GMT2017-08-18T20:28:14Z

The former chief strategist’s career arc took him from media activist to shadow adviser to campaign executive and then an office in the West Wing

With his departure Friday from the White House, former chief strategist Steve Bannon’s career arc completed its steep climb and descent which took him from media activist to shadow adviser to campaign executive and then an office in the West Wing.

Related: Before Bannon, a timeline of Trump administration firings and defections

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The week in patriarchy: there's nothing uplifting to say | Jessica Valenti

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 20:22:50 GMT2017-08-18T20:22:50Z

The president has let us all down in his response to Charlottesville. But let’s stop imagining that Trump’s reaction to this horror is an anomaly - it’s not

I don’t have anything uplifting or insightful to say on Charlottesville that hasn’t already been said. I do want to point out, though, that as we hear again and again that white supremacist terrorism and Trump’s reaction to it is not how most Americans or Republicans think, these polls prove that wrong.

A full 67% of Republicans approve of Trump’s message after Charlottesville, in which he blamed “many sides” for violence and later equated counter-protesters to neo-Nazi and white supremacist terrorists. Another poll showed that six in ten people who approve of the president say there is nothing he could do that would change their level of support.

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Protests erupt after Trump’s rally in Arizona – video

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:27:19 GMT2017-08-23T08:27:19Z

There were chaotic scenes outside the Phoenix Convention Center where Donald Trump held a campaign rally on Tuesday, with protesters chanting and what appeared to be smoke bombs and fireworks being set off. Teargas was used to disperse the crowd

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Protests at Donald Trump rally in Phoenix – in pictures

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 07:57:35 GMT2017-08-23T07:57:35Z

Police used teargas to break up crowds gathered at the US president’s ‘Make America Great Again’ rally at the Phoenix convention centre in Arizona, where Trump supporters clashed with peace protesters

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Trump hints at pardon for former sheriff Joe Arpaio – video

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:48:05 GMT2017-08-23T05:48:05Z

The US president has signalled that he wants to pardon former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted for breaking the law with immigration patrols. Trump told a rally in Phoenix that Arpaio is ‘going to be just fine’

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Trump lashes out at 'truly dishonest' media reporting of Charlottesville – video

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:39:32 GMT2017-08-23T05:39:32Z

US president blames the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to the Charlottesville protest organised by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester. Donald Trump was speaking at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday

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High waves crash on coastline as Typhoon Hato hits Hong Kong – video

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:29:19 GMT2017-08-23T05:29:19Z

A powerful typhoon has hit Hong Kong, forcing offices and schools to close and hundreds of flights to be cancelled. High waves can be seen crashing on the coastline and submerging entire beaches as Hong Kong braces for Typhoon Hato, a maximum category 10 storm.

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Philippines: protests against drug war erupt after killing of student – video

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 03:37:16 GMT2017-08-23T03:37:16Z

Hundreds marched and lit candles near where a 17-year-old high school student Kian Delos Santos was shot dead by police last week in President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs. Government figures show police have killed close to 3,500 ‘drug personalities’. More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes

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The Macarena video that led to Saudi teen's detainment - video

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:18:18 GMT2017-08-23T00:18:18Z

Saudi police said on Tuesday they had detained a 14-year-old boy who was filmed dancing to the 1990s hit song Macarena at a street crossing in the coastal city of Jeddah, in a clip that was widely shared on social media. The teenager wearing a striped T-shirt, grey sports shorts and brightly coloured shoes strides to the middle of the crossing. He starts dancing to the catchy tune in front of five lanes of cars stopped at a traffic light

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The battle over Confederate statues – video explainer

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:21:52 GMT2017-08-22T11:21:52Z

Statues of Confederate leaders are being removed from public spaces in several US cities. Hundreds of monuments honouring the losing side in the civil war could soon be moved or destroyed, prompting an outcry from far-right groups

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Baby is pulled alive from rubble after Ischia earthquake – video

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:42:36 GMT2017-08-22T10:42:36Z

An earthquake struck the tourist-packed Italian island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, on Monday. A video released by the fire brigade shows a baby being carried out from the rubble in the arms of firefighters in the early hours of Tuesday morning

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Blue dogs roam the streets of Mumbai – video

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 07:31:19 GMT2017-08-22T07:31:19Z

Industrial waste has been blamed for the unusual colour of 11 stray dogs in Mumbai. Authorities in the Indian city have shut down a manufacturing company after it was accused of dumping untreated industrial waste and dyes into a river

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