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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, 20 Sep 2017 15:14:32 GMT2017-09-20T15:14:32Z

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

At least 225 dead after powerful earthquake hits central Mexico

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:37:43 GMT2017-09-20T08:37:43Z

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake is deadliest to hit country in more than 30 years and has brought down buildings in the capital, Mexico City

Emergency crews and volunteers are digging through rubble with their bare hands in search of trapped survivors after a powerful earthquake stuck central Mexico on Tuesday afternoon, toppling dozens of buildings and killing at least 225 people

The magnitude 7.1 quake – the deadliest to hit the nation since 1985 – struck shortly after 1pm local time, causing violent, prolonged shaking, which flattened buildings and sent masonry tumbling onto streets, crushing cars and people in the capital, Mexico City, and surrounding areas.

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Catalan president says Madrid is suspending region’s autonomy

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:09:05 GMT2017-09-20T12:09:05Z

Police raid Catalan government buildings in Barcelona and arrest 12 senior officials in run-up to banned independence vote

The Catalan president has accused the Spanish government of effectively suspending the region’s autonomy and declaring a de facto state of emergency. Police officers raided Catalan government offices on Wednesday and arrested 12 senior officials in a bid to stop an independence referendum being held in less than two weeks’ time.

Carles Puigdemont described the raids as a “a co-ordinated police assault” that showed that Madrid “has de facto suspended self-government and applied a de facto state of emergency” in Catalonia.

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Hurricane Maria: record flooding in Puerto Rico as Dominica reports seven dead – latest updates

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:59:11 GMT2017-09-20T14:59:11Z

Storm pummels Puerto Rico and leaves island of Dominica devastated

Here are the Key Messages for 11 AM AST for #Maria

“We have a big one going right now,” is Donald Trump’s assessment of the latest hurricane to hit US territories, in comments carried by ABC News’s Twitter feed.

"We have a big one going right now," Pres. Trump says of Hurricane #Maria. "I've never seen winds like this."

I’ve never seen winds like this.

And Puerto Rico, you take a look at what’s happening there and it’s just one after another.

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Donald Trump threatens to 'totally destroy' North Korea in UN speech

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:56:33 GMT2017-09-19T18:56:33Z

Donald Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, in a bellicose first address to the United Nations general assembly in which he lashed out at a litany of US adversaries and called on “righteous” countries to confront them.

The speech was greeted in the UN chamber mostly with silence and occasional outbreaks of disapproving murmurs, as Trump castigated a succession of hostile regimes.

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Too few antibiotics in pipeline to tackle global drug-resistance crisis, WHO warns

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:00:29 GMT2017-09-19T22:00:29Z

Nowhere near enough new drugs are currently in development says report, which calls for urgent investment and responsible use of existing antibiotics

Too few antibiotics are in the pipeline to tackle the global crisis of drug resistance, which is responsible for the rise of almost untreatable infections around the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns.

Among the alarming diseases that are increasing and spreading is multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB), which requires treatment lasting between nine and 20 months. There are 250,000 deaths a year from drug-resistant TB and only 52% of patients globally are successfully treated. But only two new antibiotics for the disease have reached the market in 70 years.

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Fact check: Aung San Suu Kyi's speech on the Rohingya crisis

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:39:18 GMT2017-09-20T07:39:18Z

Address by de facto leader of Myanmar on forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Muslims contained truths, half-truths and falsehoods

Following weeks of silence in the face of claims of ethnic cleansing against Myanmar’s Rohingya population, the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has delivered a controversial speech.

Related: Aung San Suu Kyi says Myanmar does not fear scrutiny over Rohingya crisis

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'They want a devout generation': how education in Turkey is changing

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:00:36 GMT2017-09-20T04:00:36Z

As pupils begin their new school year, they will find evolution removed from texts and less time spent on Atatürk’s secular ideals

After 25 years of teaching, Ayşe Kazancı decided to retire early.

The social sciences teacher, who asked that a pseudonym be used to avoid repercussions from the government, had long faced difficulties because of her activism, joining teachers’ union strikes and advocating for leftist and Kurdish causes. After last year’s coup attempt in Turkey, she was put under investigation.

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Caravan of Love takes its peace message to Indian families touched by hate

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:00:36 GMT2017-09-20T04:00:36Z

As tide of caste or religious violence rises, one activist is taking his message of peace around India, meeting families of people killed in hate crimes

A police escort is a must when travelling in the Karwan-e-Mohabbat, or “Caravan of Love”.

Its leader, Harsh Mander, can see the irony. The caravan – an air-conditioned coach emblazoned with a banner proclaiming a message of love – is traversing seven Indian states in two weeks with a “call to conscience” for India’s Hindu majority.

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Street art goes home: museum of graffiti opens in Berlin

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:00:40 GMT2017-09-20T07:00:40Z

Urban Nation, which will champion the movement and archive its works, opens with pieces by Banksy and Blek le Rat

For some it is the largest and most democratic art movement the world has ever seen, for others it is unwanted visual pollution. But street art now has a permanent claim on the art world: an entire museum dedicated to the genre.

Urban Nation in Berlin is the world’s first major institution built to champion and archive street art and graffiti, which fully emerged in New York in the 1970s with artists who would tag the subway tunnels. Since then it has grown into a global movement, with artists making works – mostly illegally – on cityscapes around the world.

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Three people held in Brazil on suspicion of British kayaker's murder

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:33:29 GMT2017-09-19T20:33:29Z

Police investigating disappearance of Emma Kelty, 43, say they have arrested two 17-year-olds and another man are looking for four others

Three people have been arrested over the murder of a British woman who went missing in Brazil while kayaking alone from the source of the Amazon to the Atlantic.

Emma Kelty, a 43-year-old primary school headteacher, was last heard from when she triggered a distress signal last Wednesday while in a notoriously dangerous area.

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Azerbaijan Laundromat: Merkel ally 'received cash from regime'

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:33:57 GMT2017-09-19T13:33:57Z

Allegations against Karin Strenz drag scandal over payments to European politicians into German election campaign

Revelations over payments by Azerbaijan to European politicians have seeped into the German election as it emerged that a close ally of Angela Merkel allegedly received money from the authoritarian regime.

The revelations are embarrassing for the German chancellor who on Tuesday was due to campaign with Karin Strenz, a Christian Democrat member of parliament, in the Baltic port city of Wismar.

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Brazilian judge approves 'gay conversion therapy', sparking national outrage

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:33:46 GMT2017-09-19T16:33:46Z

The ruling overturns a national psychology council decision in 1999 forbidding psychologists from offering treatments claiming to ‘cure’ gay people

A Brazilian judge has approved gay “conversion therapy” in a ruling which prompted widespread outrage and raised fears of a conservative backlash.

Waldemar de Carvalho, a federal judge in the capital of Brasília, overruled a 1999 decision by the Federal Council of Psychology that forbade psychologists from offering widely discredited treatments which claims to “cure” gay people.

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Fox News commentator files lawsuit saying she was raped by Charles Payne

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 15:02:17 GMT2017-09-19T15:02:17Z

Scottie Nell Hughes alleges the host ‘pressured his way’ into her hotel room in New York in July 2013 and raped her, then blacklisted her as a guest

Fox News has been hit with another lawsuit after Scottie Nell Hughes, a political commentator, alleged she was raped by host Charles Payne and that the broadcaster subsequently blacklisted her as a guest.

Related: Murdochs' Sky bid isn't the slam dunk it looked a month ago | Nils Pratley

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Curfew imposed in Iraqi city before Kurdish independence vote

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:05:03 GMT2017-09-19T10:05:03Z

Authorities erect checkpoints and impose nighttime curfew in contested city of Kirkuk after deadly clashes

Iraqi authorities in the northern city of Kirkuk have imposed a nighttime curfew to prevent a deadly dispute from developing into ethnic clashes before a referendum on Kurdish independence, local residents have said.

Related: The battle for Mosul is won. But can Iraq survive? | Jonathan Steele

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Moment Russian helicopter accidentally fires rocket at observers – video

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:08:58 GMT2017-09-19T14:08:58Z

Video from the Russian media organisation RBC appears to show a combat helicopter firing at least one rocket into a group of onlookers. The incident happened during large-scale military exercises, known as the Zapad 2017 drills, close to Nato's borders, say local media. Three people are said to have been injured

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Northern Ireland could stay in customs union after Brexit – Verhofstadt

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:49:24 GMT2017-09-20T14:49:24Z

European parliament negotiator says Irish border solution is needed before talks can progress, as unionists oppose special status

Northern Ireland could continue to be in the single market or customs union after the UK leaves the EU, the European parliament’s Brexit negotiator has said.

But Guy Verhofstadt’s proposal for special status for the region was met with immediate opposition from unionists who said they would never accept any deal that made Northern Ireland different from the rest of the UK.

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British Virgin Islands to face 155mph winds with Hurricane Maria

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:18:28 GMT2017-09-20T14:18:28Z

Destruction may be less than Hurricane Irma’s but storm surge and flooding a real danger warns UK commander

British territories in the Caribbean are bracing for another big hurricane only a fortnight after the last devastating storm, with category 4 Maria threatening the British Virgin Islands.

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said the storm had already unleashed sustained winds of 175mph, and the British Virgin Islands were expected to face winds of 155 mph.

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Artist unveils design for Parliament Square suffragist statue

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:15:26 GMT2017-09-20T14:15:26Z

Gillian Wearing, first female artist to create statue for London square, granted planning approval for tribute to Millicent Fawcett

The first female artist to create a statue for Parliament Square in central London has unveiled the final design.

Related: Millicent Fawcett was a heroine deserving of a statue | Letters

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Mexican TV news broadcast interrupted by earthquake – video

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:13:39 GMT2017-09-20T14:13:39Z

A Mexican news station was broadcasting live when the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck. Footage shows studio equipment and lights swinging violently as the anchor and staff run out of the studio. A warning siren is heard in the background as the studio camera goes off-air. The earthquake was the deadliest to hit Mexico in more than 30 years. It has flattened buildings and sent masonry tumbling on to streets, crushing cars and people in the capital, Mexico City, and neighbouring areas

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Accessing cities with a disability: what have your experiences been?

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:38:01 GMT2017-09-20T09:38:01Z

Inaccessible venues and public spaces are a daily occurrence for most disabled people, whether at home or on holiday. We want to hear from Guardian readers with a disability about your experiences of accessing cities, good or bad

Last year Chester was named the most accessible city in Europe, selected from 43 cities in 21 countries for its achievements in creating a disability-friendly environment across many different sectors.

Related: Roman holiday: how Chester became the most accessible city in Europe

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The bodega cats of Instagram: fur flies over automated food cabinet startup

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:28:18 GMT2017-09-19T13:28:18Z

Bodegas’ resident felines are symbolic of the relaxed environment that people appreciate about their local corner store. Could their bricks-and-mortar homes be put out of business by the latest tech startup? Won’t somebody think of the cats?

Two former Google employees’ proposal to replace corner shops with automated cabinets promoted an outpouring of scorn on social media last week, but in among the gags (“vending machines already exist”) and the slurs was a semi-serious concern: won’t somebody think of the cats?

Bodegas’ resident cats are symbolic of the personable, one-to-one service and relaxed environment that people appreciate about their local corner store – the kind of service and ambiance it’s hard to replicate in a pantry for non-perishables. The Bodega entrepreneurs’ choice of logo, a cat’s face, was perceived to be just as inappropriate as their chosen name.

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Want a more 'authentic' tourist experience? There's an app for that

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 06:30:00 GMT2017-09-15T06:30:00Z

For many people the best kind of holiday is one based on local knowledge, but how do you know where the locals go – especially when they may prefer not to tell you? By mining their publicly available Instagram data

No one wants to be a tourist – not even tourists. It has connotations of uncritical consumption, of high prices and low quality, of being mindlessly funnelled amid a mass of humanity towards the sorts of joints that real New Yorkers or Londoners or Parisians wouldn’t be caught dead in.

The success of any experience of an unfamiliar city is measured by how much it overlaps with a local’s, and that’s never been truer than now. As cheap flights flood Europe with visitors, measures against tourists’ obstructive, destructive impact have been taken in Venice, Barcelona, Rome and most recently Amsterdam.

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Connections, community and cute-ass cats: in praise of real-life bodegas

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 17:36:42 GMT2017-09-14T17:36:42Z

As the inventors of Bodega learned yesterday, real corner shops actually matter to cities in a way supermarket chains and automated cabinets never can

The Saturday before Christmas 1971, my grandparents worked like crazy making enough corned starch for hundreds of friends in East Oakland. Together they’d invented a secret cornmeal masa recipe to sell at their corner store, El Progreso, in order to make the tastiest tortillas and tamales in the region. Dozens lined up when the store opened, some coming from way out of town, and the whole weekend was a lively scene of people from the community buying, commiserating, gossiping, and laughing. My mother, Irma, remembers families even bringing them food.

By late evening on Sunday, she had to announce to friends still waiting that they were out of masa. Though sad she couldn’t give them what they were looking for, she and my grandmother Isabel were amazed at their good fortune, sweating from a full day of honest work as my grandfather Anastasio drank beer in the back room to celebrate with his bakers.

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Forget the Parthenon: how austerity is laying waste to Athens' modern heritage

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 06:30:28 GMT2017-09-12T06:30:28Z

A full 80% of 19th and early 20th-century buildings in the Greek capital have already been destroyed, and time is running out for what’s left

Not that long ago I received a questionnaire through my door. How had the 1930s Bauhaus building in which I live survived the rigours of time? Who had designed it? Who was its first owner? And, the form went on, what were my memories of it?

Circulated far and wide across Athens, the questionnaire and its findings are part of a vast inventory of 19th- and early 20th-century buildings that now stand at the heart of a burgeoning cultural heritage crisis in Greece. At least 10,600 buildings are on the database and it is growing by the day.

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Eat, pray, live: the Lagos megachurches building their very own cities

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 06:30:01 GMT2017-09-11T06:30:01Z

Redemption Camp has 5,000 houses, roads, rubbish collection, police, supermarkets, banks, a fun fair, a post office – even a 25 megawatt power plant. In Nigeria, the line between church and city is rapidly vanishing

“Ha-lleluuuu-jah,” booms the distinctive voice of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, also known as the general overseer.

The sound comes out through thousands of loudspeakers planted in every corner of Redemption Camp. Market shoppers pause their haggling, and worshippers – some of whom have been sleeping on mats in this giant auditorium for days – stop brushing their teeth to join in the reply.

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Patterns of Barcelona: photographer captures symmetry of city facades – in pictures

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 12:11:09 GMT2017-09-07T12:11:09Z

Instagrammer Roc Isern shows another side to Barcelona’s architecture by capturing the beautiful geometric shapes and patterns of the city’s buildings

Barcelona is known for its iconic landmarks, but Roc Isern turns his camera to buildings others may tend to look past.

Isern is a technical architect and photographer based in the Catalan capital. Since 2014, he has been capturing the facades of Barcelona’s buildings for tens of thousands of followers on Instagram at @barcelonafacades.

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Which city has the most protests?

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 06:15:53 GMT2017-09-07T06:15:53Z

From pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong to far-right and anti-Trump marches in the US, protests occur daily in public spaces worldwide – but can we measure which city has the most?

From the racially charged marches in Charlottesville to anti-nuclear demonstrations in Tokyo, tens of thousands of protests are mounted daily in the public spaces of the world’s cities. Streets are closed, meetings convened and in the worst cases, people are beaten, jailed or killed.

“There is a palpable sense that the number of demonstrations worldwide is increasing, but nobody really knows,” says prof Donatella della Porta of the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Scuala Normala Superiore in Florence. “It is notable, however, that there seem to be more right-wing protests.”

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Bangor in the spotlight: It release draws horror fans to Stephen King's home

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 12:46:25 GMT2017-09-06T12:46:25Z

Stephen King set many of his novels in Derry – a fictional version of his home of Bangor in Maine. With the release of the film version of It, the city is once again a tourist destination as the capital of terror

As claims to fame go, the city of Bangor in eastern Maine has one of the most playful out there. Disguised as its fictional persona of Derry, this small city is the setting for several Stephen King stories – including It, Dreamcatcher and Pet Sematary – and it is also the author’s own residence.

While fictional Derry has served as the epicentre of many paranormal and supernatural events, and is arguably the world capital of terror, real-life Bangor is a quintessential New England small town, with its suburbs and malls, its brick buildings and peaceful waterfront. But it can easily be seen in a menacing light when its streets are quiet and lit only by the glow of street lamps.

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'It's better to die here': why don't Mumbaikars leave dangerous buildings?

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 06:00:24 GMT2017-09-06T06:00:24Z

Fifty six people have died in three building collapses over the past two months. But with rent control meaning tenants can pay as little as 12 pence a month – and little hope of a place in any replacement building – thousands simply refuse to go

Amid the bustle of Mumbai’s western suburbs, in a dilapidated 60-year-old building, live Heena Tolani, her husband and two children. The staircase to her apartment is rickety, its wooden hand-rail held together with string. The road beneath is visible through gaps in the floor.

Inside her home, bamboo sticks prop up the ceiling. Sections of roof have collapsed on at least three occasions.

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'They've called me a traitor': Catalans divided as independence vote nears

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:14:38 GMT2017-09-19T10:14:38Z

Planned referendum on independence from Spain not just pitting Madrid against Barcelona, but also splitting Catalans

Behind his counter in the Mercat de la Independència, a handsome modernista market that commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of Spain’s war of independence in 1808, Jaume Florensa is reflecting on an earlier, if equally fateful, year in national history.

Like many Catalans – about 41%, according to the polls – the poulterer is a passionate believer in sovereignty and a man with a memory that stretches back well beyond his 61 years.

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All the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire named so far

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:05:29 GMT2017-09-20T15:05:29Z

Police think the final death toll will be about 80. So far, 60 have been named, along with 10 of the missing

The deaths of 61 people in Grenfell Tower have been confirmed by the police, though officers have said they believe the final death toll will be about 80.

Scotland Yard named 32 of those who died and withheld the identities of a further 29 at the requests of their families. Besides those named by police, 28 people were identified when their inquests were opened and adjourned at Westminster coroner’s court – one of whom remains anonymous temporarily at the request of their family. Officers believe that about 240 people made it out of the tower.

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Issa Amro is merely the latest casualty of Palestine’s war on free speech | Diana Buttu

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:42:09 GMT2017-09-20T14:42:09Z

The Palestine Authority is trying to silence anybody prepared to stand up and criticise its actions or those of Mahmoud Abbas. This should worry us all

Last week, Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro was released from Palestinian Authority (PA) police custody following a week-long illegal detention. His crime? Calling for the release, on Facebook, of a journalist detained by the PA for criticising Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the authority itself.

Related: The talking is over, the occupation goes on. Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? | Jonathan Freedland

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Kenyan election must be rerun because it was not transparent, says court

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:08:02 GMT2017-09-20T13:08:02Z

Supreme court blames failings by electoral commission for its decision to annul results of August vote

Kenya’s supreme court has said it annulled presidential elections held in August because the polls were “neither transparent nor verifiable” and blamed the country’s electoral commission for the shortcomings.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the incumbent president of the east African state, won a second term by a margin of 9%, defeating his long-term rival, Raila Odinga, in the election last month. The country now faces new elections in October, and possible lengthy political instability.

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A million tons of feces and an unbearable stench: life near industrial pig farms

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:00:17 GMT2017-09-20T11:00:17Z

North Carolina’s hog industry has been the subject of litigation, investigation, legislation and regulation. But are its health and environmental risks finally getting too much?

Rene Miller pokes a lavender-frocked leg out of her front door and grimaces. It’s a bright April afternoon, and the 66-year-old Miller, with a stoic expression and a dark crop of curls, braces herself for the walk ahead.

Her destination isn’t far away – just a half-mile down a narrow country road, flanked by sprawling green meadows, modest homes and agricultural operations – but the journey takes a toll. Because as she ambles down the two-lane street, stepping over pebbles and sprouts of grass, the stench takes hold, an odor so noxious that it makes your eyes burn and your nose run. Miller likens it to “death” or “decomposition” to being surrounded by spoiled meat.

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Was Trump aiming at North Korea's Rocket Man or his friend next door?

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:19:53 GMT2017-09-20T07:19:53Z

US president appeared to be directly threatening overwhelming military force against Pyongyang, but experts say there might have been another message

On the face of it, Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea was aimed squarely at Kim Jong-un and the twisted and reckless “band of criminals” he said surrounded him.

“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” the US president warned during his bellicose debut at the UN general assembly.

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Boys accused of sexually assaulting girl, 6, to be paid thousands after charges dropped

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:54:07 GMT2017-09-20T08:54:07Z

Police ordered to pay costs after allegations of assault at northern beaches primary school withdrawn

Two 13-year-old boys will be paid thousands of dollars in costs after New South Wales police dropped charges against them over the alleged sexual assault of a six-year-old girl.

The boys were accused of attacking the girl in the toilet block of a primary school on Sydney’s northern beaches between June and August last year, when they were 12 years old.

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'A lot of fake news': Burmese back Aung San Suu Kyi on Rohingya crisis

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:00:06 GMT2017-09-20T14:00:06Z

Critics say opposition to military’s bloody crackdown on country’s Muslim minority is silenced by fear, suspicion and propaganda

Hundreds of jubilant supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi gathered in Yangon on Tuesday to watch their country’s leader give her first public address on the Rohingya crisis.

There was no doubt over the spectators’ allegiances; many watching the public broadcast of her televised address had plastered stickers reading “stand with Aung San Suu Kyi” on their faces. Red balloons – the colour of her National League for Democracy party – rose over City Hall as she spoke.

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More than a million of Europe's asylum seekers left in limbo

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:00:06 GMT2017-09-20T14:00:06Z

Of 2.2 million who sought asylum during crisis, more than half were still waiting for decision up to two years later, analysts say

More than 1.1 million people who sought asylum in Europe during the continent’s biggest refugee crisis since the second world war were still waiting up to two years later to hear whether they would be allowed to stay, according to a study.

In the first Europe-wide analysis of the status of asylum seekers who arrived in Norway, Switzerland and the 28-member EU during the 2015-16 crisis, the Pew Research Center estimated more than half were still in limbo in December last year.

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Are the two Mexican earthquakes connected – and are more on the way?

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:01:21 GMT2017-09-20T13:01:21Z

Two earthquakes have hit Mexico within two weeks, both occurring on the Cocos tectonic plate. But are they related, and could Mexico face more tremors?

Mexico has been hit by its second deadly earthquake in less than two weeks. Are the two events related, and could they indicate more tremors are on the way?

Both quakes occurred on the Cocos tectonic plate, which runs along the western coast of Mexico, and is sliding beneath the neighbouring North American tectonic plate to the north-east at a rate of about three inches per year.

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Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico - video report

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:34:23 GMT2017-09-20T12:34:23Z

A look at the devastating path of Hurricane Maria. Aerial footage shows the destruction on the island of Dominica where at least seven people have died. Graphics show where the category 4 storm is heading next. 

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How animals birds manage in hurricanes? | Notes and queries

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:48:26 GMT2017-09-20T11:48:26Z

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts

After Harvey, Irma and now Maria, I wonder how wild animals and birds manage in hurricanes? Do they “migrate” temporarily at the first signs of the impending storm or have other ways of surviving? Or do they simply perish in huge numbers?

Jo Macdonald, Dorset

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'I will have my boat stolen': final days of British kayaker killed in Brazil

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:47:50 GMT2017-09-20T11:47:50Z

Emma Kelty, who posted social media messages before sending distress signal, was no stranger to solo adventures

Posting on social media on 10 September, Emma Kelty joked about a warning she had been given about the stretch of the Amazon river she was about to enter. “So in or near Coari (60 miles) I will have my boat stolen and I will be killed too,” she wrote. “Nice.”

Two days later, Kelty, who was canoeing the length of the Amazon, said she was “in the clear”. But hours later she posted again, describing an encounter with armed men. “Turned corner and found 50 guys in motor boats with arrows!!! My face must have been a picture!! (Town was uber quiet... too quiet!!) all go ...

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US-backed fighters 'seize 80% of Raqqa from Islamic State'

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:34:30 GMT2017-09-20T11:34:30Z

Syrian Democratic Forces says it is entering final stages of campaign to capture the terror group’s de facto capital

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has said its campaign to capture Raqqa from Islamic State is in its final stages and its fighters have seized 80% of the city.

The SDF said in a statement on Wednesday it had opened a new front against Isis on the northern edge of the city, the terror group’s de facto capital. It said the offensive was “a feature of the final stages of the Euphrates Wrath campaign, which is nearing its end”.

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UN brokers deal to end use of children in Nigeria's battle with Boko Haram

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:07:02 GMT2017-09-20T13:07:02Z

Officials hail landmark for child protection as youth vigilante group known as Civilian Joint Task Force pledges to draw a line under recruitment of minors

A landmark agreement between the UN and the Civilian Joint Task Force will end the use of children in the conflict against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.

According to the UN, between October 2015 and August 2017, more than 360 children were used by the 23,000-strong armed taskforce, some as young as nine. The concord, reached after a year of negotiations led by the UN, will draw a line under the enlistment of children by the group.

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'There were a lot of baby farms': Sri Lanka to act over adoption racket claims

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:35:08 GMT2017-09-20T11:35:08Z

Government to launch inquiry after health minister admits that babies were taken from mothers and sold to foreigners for adoption in 80s

Sri Lanka is to launch an investigation into adoption fraud following claims that thousands of babies were sold to foreign nationals in the 1980s.

Rajitha Senaratne, Sri Lanka’s health minister, said the government would set up a DNA databank to enable children adopted abroad to search for their biological parents and other relatives, and vice versa.

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The struggle for food in a fragile world – in pictures

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:00:39 GMT2017-09-20T06:00:39Z

Conflict and climate change have brought with them dangerous levels of hunger and malnutrition in many countries. Photojournalist Chris de Bode visits Burundi, Central African Republic and Niger to hear people’s stories of how simple interventions are helping communities to cope

• The exhibition Food in a Fragile World runs until 30 October in London, part of Concern’s fundraising appeal

Photographs by Chris de Bode/Panos Pictures

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Campfire songs in a war zone: Syria's girl scouts earn their stripes | Rebecca Ratcliffe

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:30:30 GMT2017-09-19T10:30:30Z

Arabic could become the fourth official language of the world Girlguiding movement, as Syria’s girl scout network wins international recognition

Badges are hard to come by, and camping trips difficult to arrange – but despite the war in Syria, a growing girl scouts movement will soon get official recognition.

Six years of vicious conflict have devastated the country and left 45% of the population displaced. But throughout, girl scouts have continued to work in government-controlled areas, running camping trips as well as sessions on citizenship and self-esteem. This week, Scouts of Syria will become an official member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, while Arabic could become the organisation’s fourth official language – following English, French and Spanish.

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Latest figures reveal more than 40 million people are living in slavery

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 06:00:10 GMT2017-09-19T06:00:10Z

Forced marriage is included for first time in worldwide statistics that show ‘money and debt’ to be at the heart of the exploitation

An estimated 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, a quarter of them children, according to new global slavery statistics released today.

The figures, from the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, show 24.9 million people across the world were trapped in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage last year. Children account for 10 million of the overall 40.3m total.

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Aid alone won't stop refugees fleeing to Europe's shores from the Sahel | Tony Blair

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:03:34 GMT2017-09-18T13:03:34Z

An international alliance must create a plan for the fragile African states of the Sahel to prevent catastrophe in a region already buckling under the strain

Refugees fleeing conflict have already sent shockwaves ‎through the political systems of Europe. But unless we take urgent action now and help the countries of the Sahel, we will face the prospect of millions more refugees in the time to come.

A coordinated and comprehensive plan to partner these nations and help them to avoid catastrophe is essential for them and for us. It should be devised by an alliance between Europe, the US and Arab allies in the Gulf.

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'Girls aren't less than boys': Kabul's female veterinarians hope to cure inequality | Fran McElhone

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:19:15 GMT2017-09-18T11:19:15Z

A trio of vets in Afghanistan are braving bomb blasts and discrimination to head up an animal welfare practice and inspire a new generation of women

Unpredictable and indiscriminate bomb blasts don’t deter the three women heading up Afghanistan’s only large-scale animal shelter and veterinary clinic, in Kabul. Neither do the attitudes of the people who told them they couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be vets.

Afghanistan is one of the lowest-ranked countries in the world for gender equality. In this strictly patriarchal society, women are still traditionally married off soon after school age and remain housewives for the rest of their lives. They may face imprisonment for running away from home and many are still behind bars for “moral crimes”.

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Fresh fears for newborn babies as Rohingyas’ plight worsens

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 23:44:00 GMT2017-09-16T23:44:00Z

Aid agencies in camps are overwhelmed as family tragedies unfold on Myanmar’s border

More than 400 babies have been born in the no man’s land between the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar in the past 15 days as 400,000 Rohingya people have fled from the violence, house burnings and gunfire in Rakhine state.

The Rohingya are trapped. Myanmar’s military has blamed insurgents for the latest round of violence. The UN has called the situation a “humanitarian disaster” and aid agencies are overwhelmed. About 80% of those fleeing are women and children – and there are babies being born along the way.

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'Humanitarian catastrophe' unfolding as Myanmar takes over aid efforts in Rakhine state

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:11:28 GMT2017-09-15T14:11:28Z

Officials fear aid blockade could become permanent in region where Rohingya Muslims have reportedly been massacred by soldiers

The Myanmar government has taken control of aid operations in the country’s crisis-hit Rakhine state, as reports continue of massacres and “ethnic cleansing” by soldiers on the Muslim population there.

Senior officials and Human Rights Watch have told the Guardian they believe the move could become permanent, ending vital food and health programmes run by international agencies. Already there is an aid blockade on UN agencies that workers say is having a severe impact on malnourished children.

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'Alarm bells we cannot ignore': world hunger rising for first time this century

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 10:30:05 GMT2017-09-15T10:30:05Z

UN agencies warn conflict and climate change are undermining food security, causing chronic undernourishment and threatening to reverse years of progress

The number of hungry people in the world has increased for the first time since the turn of the century, sparking concern that conflict and climate change could be reversing years of progress.

In 2016, the number of chronically undernourished people reached 815 million, up 38 million from the previous year. The increase is due largely to the proliferation of violence and climate-related shocks, according to the state of food insecurity and nutrition in 2017, a report produced by five UN agencies.

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What did we learn from Trump's UN speech? He'll never change | Ross Barkan

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 19:04:43 GMT2017-09-19T19:04:43Z

The best we can hope for is a world where Trump and Kim decide they would rather play with other toys than their nuclear missiles

Donald Trump will always be Donald Trump. If anyone hasn’t yet learned that lesson, today was educational. Trump, the reality show, punchline president – he’s great for the Emmys! – rambled in front of the United Nations general assembly about “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. His colorful language might even be funny if it weren’t for the fact that Trump controls a nuclear arsenal powerful enough to annihilate humanity several times over.

“If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” Trump said, detailing the horrors of what he deemed a “depraved” North Korean regime. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission” he said, adding: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

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A blunt, fearful rant: Trump's UN speech left presidential norms in the dust

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:30:11 GMT2017-09-19T18:30:11Z

His maiden address was unlike any delivered by a US president, and when it was over a sense of incoherence and menace hung in the air

Donald Trump’s maiden address to the UN general assembly was unlike any ever delivered in the chamber by a US president.

There are precedents for such fulminations, but not from US leaders. In tone, the speech was more reminiscent of Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro or Hugo Chávez.

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'Scourge of our planet': an annotated guide to Donald Trump's UN speech

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:56:11 GMT2017-09-19T17:56:11Z

David Smith reads between the lines of Trump’s first address to the UN general assembly, during which he threatened to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea

The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return.

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Trump and Netanyahu ready united assault against Iran nuclear deal

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 06:00:02 GMT2017-09-18T06:00:02Z

The two are bound by their mutual loathing of Obama’s foreign policy deal, even as it sets them apart from other world leaders at the UN general assembly

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu will meet in New York on Monday, at the start of a week in which they intend to launch a concerted assault at the United Nations against the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

The US and Israeli leaders are expected to use their speeches to the UN general assembly on Tuesday to highlight the threat to Middle East stability and security represented by Tehran.

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Trump's 'rocket man' tweet claims Korea sanctions biting, but experts unsure

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:48:24 GMT2017-09-18T05:48:24Z

US president says ‘long gas lines’ are forming in the rogue state, an unlikely claim in a country where most people don’t own a car

New international sanctions against North Korea have led to a spike in petrol prices, but there is little evidence for US claims that the country is being “economically strangled” or that motorists are panic-buying petrol.

On Sunday, Donald Trump combined a taunt aimed at the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, with the assertion that the country’s citizens were queuing for petrol before the latest round of sanctions hits supplies.

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I’ve always been an Arab. It was only when I moved to the US I realised I was ‘brown’

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 12:00:40 GMT2017-09-17T12:00:40Z

It has been a bumper year for Islamophobia in the US. At times, it feels as if all I can do is keep my head down and ride out the storm

On 26 May, a white supremacist stabbed two people to death in my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon. Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche confronted their killer when they saw him shouting Islamophobic slurs at a pair of teenage girls on a city train. In response, he slashed their throats and ran.

The man who committed this crime did so because he felt entitled to harass Muslims. And he knew at least one of the young women sitting in front of him was Muslim, not because he had any meaningful understanding of her religion, but because he saw the garment covering her hair.

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'Step right, step left': mercurial Trump leaves supporters reeling

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 11:30:11 GMT2017-09-16T11:30:11Z

As Trump turned to Democrats for a second time in two weeks, Republicans were left stunned while his base howled in anger. What is his strategy?

“He likes us,” Chuck Schumer said. “He likes me, anyway.”

The Democratic minority leader, talking with glee to his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell, was caught by a live microphone on the Senate floor. Schumer continued: “Here’s what I told him: I said, ‘Mr President, you’re much better off if you can sometimes step right and sometimes step left. If you have to step just in one direction, you’re boxed.’ He gets that.”

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Latest North Korea missile test ends South's talk of engagement

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 10:21:59 GMT2017-09-15T10:21:59Z

South Korean president’s new stance, that ‘dialogue is impossible’, will be welcomed by Japan, US and UK

North Korea’s latest missile launch may be the latest in a long line, and widely predicted, but familiarity is not reassuring. The 2,300-mile (3,700km) flight of the missile – further than any missile tested by the regime – over Japan only serves to sharpen the policy choices facing the rest of the world.

The most immediate diplomatic impact, apart from another call for an emergency meeting of the UN security council, is that Pyongyang’s decision has put paid to South Korea’s lingering interest in reviving talks with its northern neighbours.

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'People just ran': deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits Mexico - video report

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:58:42 GMT2017-09-20T10:58:42Z

At least 217 people are feared dead after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit central Mexico. It was the most powerful quake since a magnitude 8.0 earthquake killed thousands on 19 September 1985. Dozens of buildings have collapsed, including more than 40 in Mexico City alone. Citizens and rescue workers continue to look for survivors trapped in the rubble

'I pray she's already dead': chaos as Mexico City block collapses after quake

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Drone footage reveals aftermath of Mexico earthquake – video

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:34:04 GMT2017-09-20T09:34:04Z

Video shows the extent of damage from the 7.1 magnitude quake, which has killed at least 217 people and brought down buildings in Mexico City. Rescue teams and citizens are continuing to search for survivors amid the rubble in the capital and surrounding areas

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Meet South Africa's 'boxing grannies' – in pictures

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:00:00 GMT2017-09-20T08:00:00Z

The gogos train with coach Claude Maphosa in twice-weekly sessions. Many claim that they no longer suffer from the ailments they had before and are stronger than ever. Such has been the popularity of the sessions, Maphosa is in the process of planning events in other areas for people who have been inspired by the story to join in

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Supplies dropped to Australian Antarctic base after first midair refuelling – video

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:56:02 GMT2017-09-20T07:56:02Z

An isolated Antarctic research station can now receive vital supplies all year round thanks to the Royal Australian Air Force lending its wings to science. Before this week Davis station, which lies 4,700km south-west of Perth, could only been reached from Australia by ship between October and April, a journey that took 12 to 14 days. But now air force planes are able to fly from Victoria whenever supplies are needed. A C-17A Globemaster III dropped supplies at the station on Tuesday, the first time replenishments have come by air rather than sea. The 700kg airdrop included fresh food, medical supplies and mail for the 17 expeditioners who have spent six months at the Antarctic base. Davis station leader Kirsten le Mar says: ‘In preparation for the airdrop today at Davis we’ve been measuring sea ice and grooming roads out to the drop zone.’ She says: ‘The airdrop means a greater connection to Australia ... What we’re most looking forward to is mail and fresh fruit.’

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Aerial footage shows devastation in Dominica after Hurricane Maria – video

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:10:10 GMT2017-09-20T04:10:10Z

Footage from the Regional Security System (RSS) reveals the extent of the damage to the island of Dominica after the passage of category five Hurricane Maria

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Powerful earthquake strikes Mexico – video report

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:49:19 GMT2017-09-19T21:49:19Z

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has hit southern Mexico on Tuesday, killing dozens of people and causing serious damage to buildings in the capital. It has occurred on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that inflicted major damage to Mexico City

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