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Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Wed, 17 Jan 2018 22:52:39 GMT2018-01-17T22:52:39Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018
 



Republican senator Jeff Flake: Trump's attacks on media reminiscent of Stalin

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 20:48:46 GMT2018-01-17T20:48:46Z

In speech to Senate, Flake said president’s use of terms ‘fake news’ and ‘enemy of the people’ should be source of shame for Republicans

Donald Trump’s use of the terms “fake news” and “enemy of the people” is shameful and reminiscent of words used by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies, Republican senator Jeff Flake said Wednesday.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Flake, of Arizona, called Trump’s repeated attacks on the media “repulsive” and said Trump “has it precisely backward”. Despotism is the enemy of the people, while a free press is the despot’s enemy and a guardian of democracy, Flake said.

Related: Mr Trump: anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy | Senator Jeff Flake

The destructive effect of this kind of behavior on our democracy cannot be overstated

Related: Steve Bannon subpoenaed to testify in Mueller's Russia investigation – report

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The BBC isn’t the only place where male egos and pay are overblown | Letters

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:47:49 GMT2018-01-17T18:47:49Z

Male presenters at the BBC need to learn some humility, says Jane Owen, while Noël Riley highlights pay disparity in medicine. Plus letters from Pam Laurance and Jeff Wallace

Thank goodness for Libby Purves and for her analysis of the BBC’s present difficulties in assessing the pay of their male and female presenters (BBC’s male presenters are vain and greedy, 16 January). Carrie Gracie’s careful and clear explanation of her position in regard to equality in the institution (or the lack of it) was compelling. How profoundly depressing that she should then be ridiculed in a leaked exchange between the septuagenarian John Humphrys and Jon Sopel as his sycophantic sidekick.

Carrie Gracie sends wonderful reports from China to BBC news services, working across two languages to explain to us a vast and important nation that we hardly know but desperately need to understand better. Her talent for explanation and expression was easily seen in her letter to the corporation, where she emphasised her position as someone who wants equality, not more money. As Purves says, many overweening news presenters need to realise that it is the BBC itself which is the star and propels them to the top of their pay grade. They should check their male, middle-class and egoistical privilege.
Jane Owen
Petersfield, Hampshire

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The killer question for Donald Trump | Letters

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:41:59 GMT2018-01-17T18:41:59Z

The coronation coach | Brian Ferneyhough | Tabloid Guardian | Macron in Calais | Hunt for Baghdadi | Trump’s health tests

Lucy Mangan’s TV review (15 January) reminded me that Lesney, makers of Matchbox toys, marketed a scale model of the coronation coach, reusing one made for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Only once production was under way did they realise that the Queen would not be accompanied by her consort. The problem was solved by sawing off part of the mould. The Duke of Edinburgh’s disembodied legs, however, remained visible. I ascertained this in person at a design exhibition in Prague, where Matchbox toys were much prized in this era as an affordable source of knowledge about western design.
Colin Munro
Glasgow

• Good to see composer Gavin Bryars in Tuesday’s Birthdays as he marks his 75th birthday. But fellow composer Brian Ferneyhough, born on the same day as Mr Bryars, was unaccountably omitted.
Robin Chapman
Exeter

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Instagrammers are sucking the life and soul out of travel | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:34:09 GMT2018-01-17T18:34:09Z

My view of Sri Lanka was spoiled by the peachy backsides of tourists obsessed with their social media feeds

A recent trip to Sri Lanka reminded me of that well known Buddhist proverb: “If you visit a temple but do not take a selfie, did it actually happen?” At these sacred sites, tourists are free to take photographs – as indeed I saw a delegation of enthusiastic monks doing at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy – but you are asked to please not pose with statues of the Buddha, or be photographed with your back to him. Naturally, I observed several western tourists, most of them young, ignoring this request.

Related: Young women on Instagram and self-esteem: 'I absolutely feel insecure'

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Facebook to expand inquiry into Russian influence of Brexit

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:21:37 GMT2018-01-17T18:21:37Z

Tech giant looks into spreading of disinformation after MPs criticised scope of first investigation

Facebook has bowed to pressure from MPs and said it will deepen its investigation into whether Russian agents used the platform to spread fake news in the hope of influencing the Brexit vote.

The social media giant told the digital, culture, media and sport committee that it would examine whether there were further clusters of accounts spreading disinformation, having previously been criticised for only conducting a limited investigation.

Campaigners on either side of the EU debate will have differing opinions on whether any adverse finding on spending calls the result of the referendum into question.

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Culture secretary urged to intervene in BBC equal pay row

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:05:04 GMT2018-01-17T18:05:04Z

MPs’ letter criticises on-air ban for presenters who have expressed opinion and says government should ‘set the tone’ for employers across UK

More than 70 MPs have called for the culture secretary, Matthew Hancock, to force the BBC to allow female staff who have campaigned about equal pay to talk about the issue on air.

A letter signed by the group of MPs warns Hancock that preventing discussion could have a “chilling effect”. It urges the government to use powers in the royal charter to “give a direction to the BBC to ensure the freedom of speech of staff in pursuit of equality of opportunity”; this would provide clarity about how the government expects organisations to respond to equal pay claims, the MPs say.

The reason the BBC was told to publish the list of top earners was to demonstrate whether it is delivering value for money - in other words, whether it pays in line with the market. Given that no other broadcaster publishes the pay of its stars this is difficult to prove, but Tony Hall, the director general, insists the BBC aims to pay people at a discount to the market while Gary Lineker, one of the top earners, insists he has been offered more lucrative deals to leave. One publicly available pay deal is for Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, who gets £1.5m a year - which would put him second on the BBC’s list behind Chris Evans. 

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The other Ivanka: woman Trump tweeted in error takes aim at his presidency

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:46:06 GMT2018-01-17T14:46:06Z

Ivanka Majic – @Ivanka – writes blogpost year after president’s mistake thrusted UK resident into spotlight

A woman from Brighton has marked the first anniversary of her being mistaken by Donald Trump for his daughter on Twitter to voice her growing alarm about his presidency.

In an oversight by the then president-elect, the Twitter name of Ivanka Majic, a formal digital director for the Labour party, was added to a retweet intended to praise his daughter Ivanka Trump.

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#FBPE: what is the pro-EU hashtag spreading across social media?

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:37:45 GMT2018-01-17T14:37:45Z

If you’ve been wondering what it means, here’s the answer – and the complex tale of how some have tried to hijack it

If you have been on social media over the last few weeks, you may have seen people tagging posts with the hashtag #FBPE, or using #FBPE in their usernames. But what does it mean?

The hashtag was first used on Twitter in October by Hendrik Klaassens, a Dutch social media user, who posted: “#ProEU tweeps organize Follow Back Saturdays! Type #FollowBackProEU or #FBPE if you want to get more #ProEU followers. Let’s do this!” in an attempt to build up a network of pro-EU users.

A reminder - why getting involved with the #FBPE (‘Follow Back Pro EU’) hashtag is a good idea. Do share :)https://t.co/VA6jVwr4AN

#FBPE has NO affinity to any political party, neither in the UK, nor in a EU-country on the European mainland. It is meant to unite all those who support the EU and fight populist and far-right parties and ideas across the EU. At the moment people from 12 countries use it. pic.twitter.com/DBgtUSQ9Kk

Final result. Unscientific of course but notable for how remainers constantly retweeted to help the result they wanted especially those with #FPBE. They succeeded in "getting the vote out"...well done...will now do a conventional poll for comparison... pic.twitter.com/cXRuO3a6Jt

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YouTube to manually review popular videos before placing ads

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:08:28 GMT2018-01-17T11:08:28Z

Platform to ensure top content meets ‘ad-friendly guidelines’ following unease at scandals, but some vloggers may lose income

Videos from YouTube’s most popular channels are to be subject to human review, as the Google platform attempts to use advertising money to reign in content producers following a series of scandals.

For the first time, the company will be pre-emptively reviewing large swaths of its content to ensure it meets “ad-friendly guidelines”, raising the bar for video creators who wish to run adverts on their content, while hoping to allay advertiser unease about the video-sharing website following scandals such as Logal Paul’s video of a dead body.

What breaks my heart about this, is how little we're paid anyway - what good does taking it away do? Of course I will continue to do videos regardless, I love filming and sharing my enthusiasm for books - it was just always a dream to try and make a small career out of it.

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Confidence? We just didn’t have the class | Brief letters

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:13:58 GMT2018-01-16T17:13:58Z

Self-belief | Obesity | Mary Shelley | The new Guardian

• Hadley Freeman may be right that maleness seemed a necessary factor in acquiring confidence (Weekend, 13 January), but it is not sufficient. Neither I, nor my male friends leaving Huddersfield in the late 1960s for elite universities, managed the trick: we didn’t have the social class.
Neil Hanson
Huddersfield

• Admire your fat body (Opinion, 16 January), but be reminded of future medical issues. I am in my 60s with a prediabetes warning. I should have been aware of the dangers of sugar and carbs years ago.
Lorrie Marchington
High Peak, Derbyshire

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Letter: We will miss Peter Preston’s wisdom and humour

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:15:29 GMT2018-01-16T16:15:29Z

At the end of last year Peter Preston (obituary, 8 January) was sifting through hundreds of entries for the European Press prize, making sure that – right to the end – he had all the bases covered. We will all miss the wisdom, integrity and humour he brought to the venture that he had helped to found in 2012.

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US officials 'briefed Jared Kushner on concerns about Wendi Deng Murdoch'

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:14:41 GMT2018-01-16T15:14:41Z

Murdoch denies any knowledge of Chinese-funded garden project for which she is alleged to have been lobbying

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was reportedly warned about his friendship with Wendi Deng Murdoch, amid fears she was using the connection to promote China’s business interests.

Early in 2017 US officials urged Kushner, who is a senior adviser to the US president, to exercise caution around Murdoch, according to the Wall Street Journal. Murdoch is a close friend of Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump.

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Japanese broadcaster issues North Korean missile alert by mistake

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:25:37 GMT2018-01-16T14:25:37Z

NHK posts online messages urging people to take shelter, days after similar error in Hawaii

Japan’s public broadcaster mistakenly sent an alert warning citizens about a North Korean missile launch and urging them to seek immediate shelter, then retracted it minutes later – days after a similar error occurred in Hawaii.

NHK television issued the message on Tuesday on its news websites as well as on Twitter, saying North Korea appeared to have fired a missile at Japan. It said the government was telling people to take shelter.

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Emily Maitlis stalker jailed for breaching restraining order

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:03:31 GMT2018-01-16T12:03:31Z

Edward Vines jailed for nearly four years for breaching terms of order banning him from contacting BBC journalist

The Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis was left feeling “scared and let down” after a man was able to carry on harassing her even while he was in jail for breaching a restraining order.

Maitlis described the strain of her 20-year ordeal at the hands of Edward Vines on Tuesday as he was sentenced to nearly four years in prison after admitting two breaches of the indefinite order banning him from contacting her.

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Male BBC presenters are vain and greedy, says Libby Purves

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 08:45:35 GMT2018-01-16T08:45:35Z

Radio 4 presenter calls on director general to do more to tackle inequality in newsroom pay

The veteran broadcaster Libby Purves has accused male BBC presenters of being “vain and greedy” and called on Tony Hall, the director general, to better address the issue of equal pay at the corporation.

Purves, who presented Radio 4’s Midweek from 1983 until it was dropped last year, said there was no excuse for a lack of equality in newsroom pay – an issue that made headlines last week after Carrie Gracie’s resignation as the BBC’s China editor.

I don't think the idea that there should be equal pay for the same work makes sense in showbiz. No junior actor working alongside Tom Cruise should expect to get the same pay as him. I would not have expected to get the same as John Humphrys when I joined the Today programme. 5/9

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Philippines revokes licence of leading news website Rappler

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:01:07 GMT2018-01-16T00:01:07Z

Ruling denounced by critics as an ‘alarming attempt to silence independent journalism’ and latest blow to free press in country

The Philippine government has revoked the operating licence of leading news website Rappler, officials said on Monday in a ruling denounced by President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics as the latest blow to press freedom.

Rappler, set up in 2012, is among a clutch of Philippine news organisations that have sparred with Duterte over their critical coverage of his brutal drugs war.

Related: Rodrigo Duterte: the president warlord of the Philippines | Observer profile

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The story of the Ukip leader and his racist girlfriend is more than gossip | Zoe Williams

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 19:26:48 GMT2018-01-15T19:26:48Z

No wonder its figureheads are incompetent attention-seekers – the party only knows what it hates

The Henry Bolton spectacle was paraded on Radio 4 a little too early this morning, which did nothing to allay its surreal and dreamlike quality. It was 07.21 hours, and an elderly man was quizzing a slightly younger man about his relationship with a 25-year-old white supremacist. They had their first date on Boxing Day 2017. Then, mysteriously, it seemed they were back in 1936. Given that Jo Marney only wanted to keep Britain white in a private Facebook message, and that wasn’t a “core belief”, didn’t Bolton, the leader of Ukip, feel moved to “stand by her”?

Well, yes and no. This wasn’t a “cold parting of the ways”; he would “stand by” Marney “and the family, in terms of trying to put her life back together”. Which family was unclear – his own children, who are currently in Austria with his wife, for “reasons to do with family finances, and her work”? Or Marney’s relatives, who must be feeling the disgrace very keenly.

Nigel Farage: November 2010 to September 2016

There is an argument that it was a short-lived relationship that should command not one more moment of our attention

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Readers’ first impressions of the tabloid Guardian | Letters

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 18:42:48 GMT2018-01-15T18:42:48Z

Responses to the newly redesigned Guardian, which reduced from Berliner to tabloid size on Monday

I greeted Monday’s tabloid version with some trepidation, which only increased when on page 3, no less, there was a picture of four women in a row with bare legs on display and in one case quite a lot of cleavage. I was relieved, however, to find the rest of my beloved Guardian unchanged once I had found it all, helped by Katharine Viner’s comforting guide.
Lindsay Buckell
Beeston, Nottinghamshire

• Love the letters double spread with generous central focus on reader’s photo. The eyes take in the different topics so much more easily from left to right, segueing finally and serendipitously to the Country Diary. Bonne idée!
Maria Cox
Beeston, Nottinghamshire

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Suggestive emojis and deep likes: a guide to micro-cheating

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:23:50 GMT2018-01-15T17:23:50Z

It’s hard to keep up with what constitutes good social media etiquette and what looks like flirting. Here’s a quick guide to avoiding accidental infidelity online

Being a luddite has never been so dangerous. If you felt for the man who accidentally sent a nuclear missile alert out across Hawaii at the weekend, spare a thought for all those who also “pressed the wrong button” on Instagram, too. When I accidentally liked my ex’s photo, and my girlfriend found out, I also wished I had a nuclear bunker to hide in.

According to experts, I am not alone: these social media flirtations – newly named as “micro-cheating” – threaten to ruin relationships everywhere. According to Dr Martin Graff, a reader of psychology at the University of South Wales who coined the term, “micro-cheating” is a category of infidelity that spans online flirtations, from posting the heart-eyes emoji on a picture, to privately messaging a former lover. In essence, it’s much the same as mingling by the watercooler or buying a stranger a drink in a bar, but now there’s a digital footprint, meaning you’re much more likely to get caught.

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Arthouse films battle squeeze from Netflix and blockbusters

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:30:06 GMT2018-01-15T15:30:06Z

Mid-budget films such as Darkest Hour are succeeding despite big studios’ dominance

As the latest clutch of arthouse films – including Darkest Hour and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – are feted during this year’s awards season, the mid-budget film sector is grappling with Hollywood’s blockbuster addiction and the new challenges presented by Netflix and Amazon.

The big US studios have become increasingly dependent on big-budget, populist releases that can pack cinemas around the world, for example superhero films and franchises such as Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean and Fast and the Furious

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