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Allies defend Boris Johnson after No 10 disowns Saudi remarks
Several Conservatives speak up for gaffe-prone foreign secretary, saying May should not have been so quick to issue slapdownBoris Johnson’s allies have spoken up to defend the under-pressure foreign secretary, saying he was right to accuse Saudi Arabia of waging “proxy wars” in the Middle East, despite Downing Street disowning the remarks.Several Conservative MPs defended Johnson as he prepares to visit Saudi Arabia and Bahrain this weekend, saying Theresa May should not have been so quick to slap down the gaffe-prone minister. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:12:42 GMT)

John Glenn, first US astronaut to orbit Earth, dies aged 95
Glenn served 24 years as a US senator from Ohio and later became the oldest person to be sent into spaceObituary: John Glenn – astronaut, senator, aviation pioneerJohn Glenn, a former astronaut and US senator for almost quarter of a century, has died in Ohio aged 95. Glenn died on Thursday afternoon at the James cancer hospital in Columbus, according to Hank Wilson of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. Ohio governor John Kasich also confirmed the news on Twitter. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:39:34 GMT)

Northern England's Brexit voters need to be heard, says thinktank
Brexit vote is cry of community outrage at imbalances of wealth and power, warns IPPR NorthEstablishment figures should stop sneering at northern England’s Brexit voters and instead work to understand their concerns, a leading thinktank will warn on Friday.Speaking at its annual State of the North conference in Leeds, the director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North, Ed Cox, will argue that Brexit negotiations should focus on the needs of the areas that voted most strongly to leave the EU. Continue reading...
(Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:01:13 GMT)

Polls close in Sleaford byelection
Ten candidates contested Lincolnshire seat vacated by Tory MP Stephen PhillipsPolls have closed in a parliamentary byelection triggered by the resignation of Conservative MP Stephen Phillips over “irreconcilable policy differences” with the government.Ten candidates contested the Sleaford and North Hykeham seat in Lincolnshire where the high-flying barrister had a majority of more than 24,000 at last year’s general election. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:14:33 GMT)

White Helmets in east Aleppo plead for help after regime advances
Rescue group says volunteers fear for their lives as Syrian army, backed by Iranian militia, approaches rebel-held areasThe Syrian White Helmets rescue group has urged international organisations to protect its volunteers in rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo, warning that they face torture and execution.The rescue group said it believed it had less than 48 hours before the Syrian army, backed by Iranian militia, reached the districts in which it has been operating. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:32:28 GMT)

MP Michelle Thomson says she was raped aged 14
Politician moves colleagues to tears as she describes her experience during Commons debate on violence against womenA Scottish MP has told a House of Commons debate on violence against women that she was raped at the age of 14, moving colleagues to tears and declaring: “I’m not a victim. I’m a survivor.”Michelle Thomson, who was elected as an SNP member but withdrew from the party whip last year, told parliament: “When I was 14, I was raped. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:13:10 GMT)

Jon Lansman vows stay in Momentum
Jeremy Corbyn ally’s move follows claims that grassroots group has been taken over by Trotskyists and could splitJon Lansman, the founder of Momentum and a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, has promised to fight for his key role in the grassroots organisation following claims that it has been taken over by Trotskyists and could split. Related: Momentum is a beacon of hope. It must be saved from the saboteurs | Owen Jones Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:00:07 GMT)

More foreign holidays will mean more skin cancer, scientists predict
A 78% increase in non-melanoma skin cancer may see the cost to the NHS of treating the disease rise to £465m a year by 2025The number of Britons developing the two most common forms of skin cancer will increase as a direct result of people getting tans on foreign holidays and in salons, experts are warning. Related: Scientists closer to understanding why red hair genes increase skin cancer risk Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:29:31 GMT)

Man shot dead on London street – reports
Police were called at 5.20pm to reports of a shooting in Kilburn High Road in north-west LondonA man has reportedly been shot dead on a busy London high street.Police were called at 5.20pm to reports of a shooting in Kilburn High Road at the junction with Netherwood Street, in north-west London. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:20:12 GMT)

Courtside summit: David Cameron and George W Bush watch college basketball
The former British prime minister tweeted that sport’s rules ‘baffled’ him when he accompanied the Bushes to SMU v TCU game in Dallas As the government he once led continues to wrestle with the consequences of the Brexit referendum he called, David Cameron popped up in Dallas on Wednesday night to grapple with a very different set of rules and regulations.The former UK prime minister joined George W Bush to watch the Southern Methodist University Mustangs beat the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, 74-59. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:49:05 GMT)

Artist publishes spoof photos despite fear of being sued by Trump
Alison Jackson says ‘litigious’ president could have chilling effect on artistic freedom as she publishes book featuring Trump lookalikeArtist Alison Jackson has said that she chose to self-publish spoof photographs of Donald Trump as part of a protest against the potentially chilling effect a “litigious” president could have on artistic freedom.The celebrity lookalike specialist said she was warned by her lawyers against publishing the images, some of which feature a Trump lookalike in compromising situations, and that no book publisher was prepared to release a collection of the Trump images. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:37:46 GMT)

Time to think the unthinkable about President Le Pen | Timothy Garton Ash
Logic is against Marine Le Pen, as it was with Trump and Brexit. No wonder people are weighing up the possible repercussionsCould President Marine Le Pen trigger article 50 without a parliamentary vote? Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, that is, to take France out of the European Union, following Britain. Such is the question I find myself discussing in Paris with leading French experts. Provisional conclusion: since France, unlike Britain, is a presidential democracy, she could probably do it herself initially, but it would then require parliament to vote a revision of the French constitution. The mere fact that my French friends raise the question, even very hypothetically and three-quarters-jokingly, is a sign of the times. What was it Rousseau said? “To be sane in a world of madmen is in itself a kind of madness.” Related: François Fillon is as big a threat to liberal values as Marine Le Pen | Natalie Nougayrède Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:08:16 GMT)

Harry Arter: ‘Some days I feel like a normal person. But then it will just hit you’
Saturday marks a year since Bournemouth’s midfielder and his fiancée Rachel lost their daughter. He reflects on 12 months of pain, anger, envy and finally happiness – at thoughts of a child gone too soon and another due in FebruaryA few weeks had passed when Harry Arter summoned the strength to look inside the memory box that would unlock so many emotions. Rachel, his fiancée, had been gently encouraging him to do so for a while, yet Arter was mentally unable to take that step as he wrestled with the devastating loss of the stillborn daughter he had never set eyes on. Now, in a quiet moment at home, he felt ready.“I looked in the box without Rachel knowing because I wanted to look on my own,” Arter says. “I remember I was sobbing – it was the strangest feeling that I’ve ever had in my life, looking at a picture of a little baby that I’ve never seen but loving her so much at the same time. I just saw a beautiful little girl, who I felt so proud of straight away.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:45:25 GMT)

Greg Lake obituary
Key figure in 1970s prog rock as bass guitarist for Emerson, Lake & PalmerGreg Lake, who has died of cancer aged 69, first rose to fame with a brief stint in King Crimson before achieving colossal success with Emerson, Lake & Palmer during the 1970s. Lake was one of the key figures in the creation of progressive rock, and had no time for critics who said that the music was ludicrously overblown. “I know people think we’re pretentious, but it’s really a product of sophistication,” he said in 1973. “Anything that makes demands on the listener could be called pretentious ... but those who are really into it want something more satisfying.”Comprising Lake on bass guitar alongside the keyboards player Keith Emerson and the drummer Carl Palmer, ELP played their debut gig in Plymouth on 23 August 1970, and six days later announced themselves as a new force on Planet Rock with a devastating performance at the Isle of Wight festival, where the bill also featured Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, the Who and Joni Mitchell. At the time they were in the middle of recording their debut album, called merely Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:50:12 GMT)

Drunk history: the weirdest artifacts from New York's wild past
A repository in Manhattan houses over one million archaeological items found in the city from saucepan-sized oysters to a cow bone doucheIf you can say one thing about New York public officials in the early 1800s, it’s that they knew how to party. The extent of their raucous boozing and debauchery is being carefully catalogued inside the newly opened Nan A Rothschild Research Center, a repository in midtown Manhattan housing over one million archaeological artifacts from New York City’s past.On a recent Thursday morning, Amanda Sutphin, the director of archaeology for the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission, sorted through some of her favorite City Hall party relics. She picked up a smooth, cylindrical object the size of stubby Cuban cigar. “Take a look at this douche,” said Sutphin, who is tall, with glasses and a short brown bob. “It’s made of cow bone though, so it might have felt a bit rough.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:11:05 GMT)

Manchester United defeat Zorya Luhansk to advance in Europa League
• Zorya Luhansk 0-2 Manchester UnitedManchester United are through to the Europa League knockout stage courtesy of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s fine first goal for the club and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late finish. José Mourinho’s team finished second in their group, however, so will be unseeded in Monday’s draw for the round of 32.A first away win in the competition was marred by an outbreak of violence during the interval, moreover, and there was disappointment for Wayne Rooney, who remains stuck on 248 goals and still in need of two more to become the club’s all-time record scorer. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:59:34 GMT)

Wasteful Southampton crash out of Europa League to Israeli champions
Southampton’s European adventure came to an abrupt end on Thursday night at the hands of Hapoel Be’er Sheva, the Israeli champions, who dumped Claude Puel’s side out of the Europa League group stages to reach the round of 32 at their expense.Southampton were tepid throughout, edging towards a goalless draw that would have seen them through until, with the visitors’ first shot of the evening on target, Maor Buzaglo drilled an effort low beyond the goalkeeper, Fraser Forster, after 78 minutes. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:15:17 GMT)

Anthony Joshua shuns table-throwing but admits ‘this is fighting not tennis’
• IBF heavyweight champion eschews shenanigans with Eric Molina• Joshua: ‘When it happens, it seems it’s what some people want to see’Don King was not in the room on Thursday, but his travelling surrogates did their raucous best to provoke Anthony Joshua into the sort of response that had illuminated the previous day’s press conference, starring the subsequently punished Dereck “Table-thrower” Chisora and Dillian “Sit-tight” Whyte.Joshua, the IBF heavyweight champion, ignored the taunts of the American promoter’s hired help and smiled serenely within jabbing distance of his latest challenger, the equally polite Texan Eric Molina, who has entrusted his career to the excitable King, who may yet blow into town to stir a few winter leaves. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:30:12 GMT)

Stuart Lancaster ‘not surprised’ at England’s success under Eddie Jones
• Former head coach says Jones deserves the credit for England’s ‘fantastic’ run• Back at Northampton with new club Leinster in European Champions CupStuart Lancaster returns on Friday night to an English club ground in an official capacity for the first time since England were knocked out of last year’s World Cup and he lost his job as head coach in what was euphemistically described at the time as a mutual decision.Now a senior coach with Leinster after taking time out in the new year to study coaching methods in the southern hemisphere, Lancaster will be at Franklin’s Gardens for the European Champions Cup match with Northampton and a reunion with a player he controversially left out of his World Cup squad on disciplinary grounds, England’s current captain, Dylan Hartley, who will be on the bench after his autumn series exertions. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:00:11 GMT)

British Cycling must come clean over Shane Sutton and Jess Varnish
Governing body’s latest mishap is yet another example of its lack of openness and transparencyFor all its successes on the track in 2016, British Cycling continues to lurch unsteadily through a series of public-relations mishaps off it – many of them of its own making.Yet even by its standards, contriving to upset Jess Varnish and Shane Sutton in an internal review designed to find the inner truth of their dispute – while also generating more fears about its lack of openness – is not a good look. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:13:29 GMT)

Keaton Jennings ‘bit the bullet and went for it’ to claim century on England debut | Ali Martin
The 19th England batsman to score a Test century on debut brought up the milestone with an audacious reverse-swept four off an India spinnerAt 5am on Thursday Keaton Jennings jumped out of bed in a state of blind panic, convinced he had slept through his alarm and missed the team bus.Nine hours later, with a couple more heart-in-mouth moments along the way, the 24-year-old was raising his bat at the Wankhede Stadium in celebration after becoming the 19th England batsman to taste the sweet success of scoring a Test century on debut. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:49:58 GMT)

Russian boxer and Romanian weightlifter stripped of Rio 2016 medals
• Olympic flyweight silver medallist Aloian taken to task for stimulant• Romania’s Gabriel Sincraian tested positive for exogenous testosteroneThe Russian boxer Misha Aloian and Romanian weightlifter Gabriel Sincraian have been stripped of their 2016 Olympic medals after failing doping tests at the Games, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Thursday. Related: Wada intent on proving systemic doping is not limited to Russia Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:53:26 GMT)

England’s Keaton Jennings stuns India with century on his Test debut
• Fourth Test, day one: England 288-5 • Check out the full scorecard from MumbaiAlastair Cook has spent four years waiting for a decent opening partner and then all of a sudden two of them come along in the space of three weeks. Keaton Jennings is the latest welcome arrival. Under a cloudless sky he became the first England player since Billy Griffith in 1948 in Trinidad to score a century on his first day as a Test cricketer – and we can be fairly confident Griffith did not reach those coveted three figures with a reverse sweep. Related: Who is Keaton Jennings? England’s latest batsman to score a century on debut Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:54:43 GMT)

Leeds United’s owner Massimo Cellino banned for 18 months by FA
• Cellino banned for breaking the Football Association’s agent regulations• Suspension covers being a director or shadow director of any clubMassimo Cellino, the owner of Leeds United, is contemplating an 18-month suspension from all football-related activities after the Football Association revealed that a disciplinary panel convened in September had found him guilty of breaching agent regulations.The delay in announcing a sanction scheduled to take effect from 1 February was prompted by concerns that publicising Cellino’s punishment for his role in Ross McCormack’s transfer from Leeds to Fulham in 2014 for around £11m might prejudice the appeal the 60-year-old Italian is currently preparing. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:20:04 GMT)

Gary Johnson demands compensation from Chelsea over sexual abuse claims
• Johnson paid £50,000 by Chelsea not to make allegations public• ‘It’s not enough for the pain and suffering I’ve had’ says 57-year-oldGary Johnson, the former player who was paid £50,000 by Chelsea not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused by their former chief scout Eddie Heath, has demanded further financial compensation from the club.Johnson was a member of Chelsea’s first team from 1978 to 1981 after joining the club as an 11-year-old in 1970. The 57-year-old spoke out recently to say he was groomed from the age of 13 by Heath, who was the Chelsea’s chief scout from 1968 to 1979 and has subsequently died. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:39:52 GMT)

Wada intent on proving systemic doping is not limited to Russia
• Chief investigator Gunter Younger has to ‘pick battles’ due to backlog of cases• Wada hamstrung by lack of resources in fight against drugs in sportThe World Anti-Doping Agency’s chief investigator has set his sights on exposing systemic doping in countries other than Russia but admits a lack of resources means he already has a backlog of cases only two months into his new job.Gunter Younger, who worked with Dick Pound and Prof Richard McLaren on last year’s independent commission report that exposed the staggering scale of Russia’s doping before he joined Wada full-time in October, told the Guardian he planned to run more big cases in future but was already having to pick his battles. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:09:16 GMT)

Has Australia fallen out of love with rugby union?
Australia were well beaten by England on Saturday but the sport is facing bigger troubles at home, where participation, investment and interest are fallingBy Jonathan Drennan for Behind the Lines, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkThe Wallabies have returned home after a heavy defeat to England in front of a capacity crowd at Twickenham. Taking a beating from England is never easy for any Australian sports fan, but the result was softened by the fact that the match reports hovered slightly above the weekend’s lawn bowl results. Rugby union is largely out of sight and out of mind here.If you don’t live in Australia, it is hard to believe that rugby union features so low on the sporting agenda. The Wallaby jersey has been worn by some of the game’s greatest players and the country’s contribution to the sport has been enormous historically, but the game is losing relevance for Australians. The country’s stadiums are barely filled and the crowds are muted. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:10:05 GMT)

Northampton ready for ruling on George North concussion controversy
• Saints to discover on Friday whether further action will be taken• Charge of bringing the game into disrepute, and a fine, could resultNorthampton are set to discover whether they will face further action over the George North concussion saga. A meeting will be held on Friday between club officials and an independent medical expert as the investigation continues into how North was allowed to return to the field following a heavy knock in last Saturday’s Premiership game at Leicester.Saints have declined to make any further comment since issuing a statement claiming their medical staff were unaware North had lost consciousness because the correct footage was not available on their monitors. This stance has been questioned by the host broadcaster, BT Sport, which has also pointed out the relevant images were repeatedly shown on other screens at Franklin’s Gardens. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:10:59 GMT)

Boxing brawls, junior Joe Cole, plus Bob Paisley – This is Your Life
This week’s roundup also features a penalty flag dance, a goal-line clearance and when team-mates attack1) Only recently unearthed on VHS and uploaded, here’s former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley being This-Is-Your-Lifed by Eamonn Andrews in 1977 – featuring guest appearances from Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Kevin Keegan via satellite. Among other sport stars to get the red book treatment: Bobby Charlton is set up by Busby and Jimmy Hill, and Muhammad Ali’s mum leaves the Greatest speechless. George Best is surprised by his entire extended family, Barry McGuigan gets emotional and the Matchroom mob join Ronnie Wood and Bobby Davro to pay homage to Jimmy White. Then there’s Damon Hill, Ian Wright and, er, Kriss Akabusi, while John Motson’s big final guest is … Ronnie Radford. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:30:01 GMT)

Arsène Wenger warns no player is bigger than the club
• Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil in talks over new deals at Emirates• Sánchez linked to £400,000-a-week move to ChinaArsène Wenger has warned that “every club loses big players” and no individual is bigger than Arsenal as he tries to keep several of his most important squad members.Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil are involved in protracted negotiations over extending their deals, which expire in the summer of 2018. Reports this week suggested there was an offer from the Chinese Super League that could pay Sánchez £400,000 a week and Özil has been linked with a return to Real Madrid. Arsenal have sold players before as their contracts wound down, including Cesc Fàbregas and Robin van Persie, but Wenger believes the current situation is different and factors other than money will decide the outcome. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:36:57 GMT)

Mood swing helps Tony Pulis’s West Brom discover their inner buccaneer | Paul Doyle
Encouraging signs in their past four games indicate there is sustainable change afoot at The Hawthorns with a trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea next upWhen Tony Pulis signed a one-year contract extension at West Bromwich Albion in October, he spoke of how he intended to move the club forward but warned against the scourge he has devoted his career to trying to eradicate: wishful thinking. “There’s a star in the sky and everyone is pointing at that star,” he tut-tutted. “They’re not looking at other things left, right and centre.”Pulis is not a manager who spends time gazing at stars but that is not to say he eschews high aims. And look, West Bromwich are suddenly seventh in the Premier League, having been one place above the relegation zone a month ago. As things stand, Pulis is on course to achieve his target of a top-half finish, which, admirable as his record is, would be a first for him in a career spanning nearly three decades. The West Brom winger James McClean suggested this week that with a bit of luck, European qualification could be within reach. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:28:05 GMT)

Yannick Bolasie injury may be worse than stated, admits Everton’s Koeman
• Fears that winger could be out for longer than nine months• Koeman says club may look to sign a player for Bolasie’s positionEverton will send Yannick Bolasie for further tests on his injured knee amid fears their £25m summer signing has damaged more than his cruciate ligament and faces a longer recovery period as a consequence.The former Crystal Palace winger will miss the remainder of his debut season at Goodison Park after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament during Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United. Bolasie would be facing up to nine months out for an ACL rupture. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:19:21 GMT)

Metropolitan police to investigate sexual abuse claims at London clubs
• Team of specialist officers to look into ‘non-recent’ crimes• Met become 22nd force to investigate claims of sexual abuse in footballThe Metropolitan police has launched an investigation into historical sexual abuse claims involving London football clubs, becoming the 21st force across the country to have begun similar inquiries into teams in their areas. Britain’s largest police force said specialist officers would look into allegations of “non-recent” crimes, but refused to say which clubs it was investigating. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:32:32 GMT)

Giants' Nikita Whitlock says home hit with 'KKK' and 'Go back to Africa' graffiti
Full-back says he was victim of burglary for second time in a month‘It’s very disgusting, actually. It’s very disheartening’New York Giants full-back Nikita Whitlock said that burglars left disturbing racist graffiti during a break-in at his New Jersey apartment on Tuesday night.Whitlock said the burglars took jewelry and also scrawled a swastika, “KKK” and “Go back to Africa” during the incident. “It’s about to be 2017,” Whitlock, who is from Texas, told New York’s WCBS-TV. “Oppression, violence, racism, hatred, violence, there’s no need for that.” Pictures from the apartment shown by WCBS-TV also appeared to show “Trump” written among the graffiti. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:23:23 GMT)

Why the Oakland Raiders' stunning turnaround could be bittersweet for fans
The Raiders are 10-2 and headed to the play-offs for the first time in 14 years, but a possible move to Vegas has cast a pall of uncertainty over their seasonDon’t feel too bad if you’d forgotten all about the Oakland Raiders, because the once-fearsome franchise owned by the brusque Brooklynite Al Davis had pretty much fallen into, well, a black hole.Nearly 14 years have passed since the Raiders last made the play-offs – and lost the Super Bowl, 48-21, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose coach, Jon Gruden, had been traded to Tampa Bay from Oakland 11 months earlier for four high draft picks and $8m. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:21:09 GMT)

Steve Bell on Boris Johnson's remarks on Saudi Arabia – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:47:15 GMT)

For political women it’s Jackie Kennedy or bust | Jess Cartner-Morley
No one criticises male politicians for their clothes, so why do the likes of Melania Trump and Theresa May come in for such flak over their fashion choices?Should the hypothesised invitation to Buckingham Palace arrive, Melania Trump will not be able to do as Michelle Obama did and have Tom Ford run up a gown for the occasion. Neither will Marc Jacobs, Phillip Lim or Sophie Theallet – labels of choice for the current first lady – be taking her calls. All of these designers have taken a stand against the incoming administration by making it clear that, as of the inauguration in January, dressing the first lady will cease to be an honour they choose to accept.This makes no material difference whatsoever. Melania Trump will continue to wear designer clothes of her choice, simply by paying for them. She bought both the white Roksanda “Margot” dress she wore for her Republican convention speech and the Balmain camel coat in which she cast her vote on Net-A-Porter, paying around £1,000 and £2,500 respectively. Fashion industry website Women’s Wear Daily reported that the Ralph Lauren jumpsuit she wore for her husband’s victory speech, which retails for around £3,000, was purchased at full price at Lauren’s Madison Avenue boutique. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:15:49 GMT)

Court in an existential nightmare over Brexit | John Crace
From the Dangerous Dogs Act to the Loch Ness monster, it was all crammed into day four of the supreme court hearingFour days is just a blink of an eye for lawyers used to charging by the minute. Left to their own devices, everyone at the supreme court would have been much happier dragging things out for a couple of years – finally reaching a decision on whether the government had the constitutional right to trigger Brexit long after Britain had left the EU. But needs must and there was a noticeable sense of disquiet – not to mention haste – as the proceedings entered their final day.After some discussion about the semantic differences between “with regard to” and “relating to” and the epistemology of “imposing a clamp on a conduit pipe”, Richard Gordon, the barrister representing the Welsh assembly, declared that the whole case wasn’t nearly as complicated as everyone had been making out. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:59:06 GMT)

Assimilation threatens the existence of other cultures | Giles Fraser | Loose canon
The very nature of community is that there is a boundary between those who are in it and those who are notThis week a doctor from north London was telling me about one of his patients, a lad of 20 who has lived in the borough of Hackney all his life. He was born here and grew up here. And he’s a bright boy – yet he speaks only a few very rudimentary words of English. The language he speaks at home and at school is Yiddish. Some may be appalled by the insularity of the community in which this young man was raised. But I admire it. In particular, I admire the resilience of a community that seeks to maintain its distinctiveness and recognises, quite rightly, that assimilation into the broader culture would mean the gradual dilution, and the eventual extinction, of its own way of life. It is no surprise to me that the ultra orthodox are thriving, with high birth rates and predictions that they will be constitute a majority of the Jewish population within 20 years. They have refused assimilation.It adds immeasurably to the richness and diversity of how life is apprehended that not everyone sees the world in the same way. It is mind-expanding to be challenged by those who commit to another way of life. What a miserably grey one-dimensional place it would be if the dominant model of middle-of-the-road liberal secular capitalism became the only acceptable way of living. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:15:59 GMT)

A challenge to Facebook’s reach and power is long overdue | John Harris
Mark Zuckerberg’s company feeds utopian delusions, but in reality it is just a billionaire’s media outlet grinding out a fortune“As I look around and I travel around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against this idea of a connected world and a global community. I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others.” Related: How Facebook powers money machines for obscure political 'news' sites Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:44:36 GMT)

How should you talk to your baby? | Emma Brockes
Some parents opt for coochy-coo; others prefer a more adult approach. But I’ve found a third way …Baby talk, it’s generally agreed, is silly and self-indulgent and does nothing for the baby, an approach as faulty in its logic as that of the English person speaking louder that the non-English person might better understand him. I don’t do baby talk to my babies. I do, however, do something that, I realised recently, is almost as bad – an over-correction every bit as mannered as pulling faces or piping up in shrill tones – and that is talking to them as if they are 40.There is a rationale for this: it aids language development, increases vocab and doesn’t condescend to the baby. But I suspect that’s not why I or anyone else does it. The real reason, I think, is that it is a discreet form of status signalling, an effort to distinguish oneself from all those pandering helicopter parents and to assert, if only to oneself, that in spite of spending a large part of each day changing nappies or talking about Elmo, one can still formulate a sentence with subclauses. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:31:47 GMT)

The Guardian view on police abuse of women: an offence against society | Editorial
When corrupt police exploit victims of domestic violence we are all diminishedAbuse of power is the worst of all forms of corruption, as Mike Cunningham, inspector of constabulary and former chief constable of Staffordshire police acknowledged in a BBC radio interview this morning . For the protector to turn abuser is, for the victim, an individual catastrophe – not least because she or he may never trust the police again. But the damage it causes to trust in wider society may, because of its wider implications, be even more grave. When a police officer abuses a victim of domestic violence, or any other vulnerable person, who has sought them out for help, it is an offence against the people the police exist in order to serve.Earlier this year when Theresa May was still home secretary, she commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to find out how widespread such abuse is. The conclusions of the report that has just been released are shocking, but not surprising. In the two years to March, 436 allegations of abuse of power for sexual gain were made against 306 police officers, 20 police community support officers and eight staff. Yet only 40 officers or staff have been dismissed for abusing authority for sexual gain in a similar period. Forces appear to regard this kind of corruption inconsistently, with some treating it much more seriously than others. Even more than a generation later, it is as if there is still a lingering echo of the notorious canteen culture once identified in a mid-1980s report which portrayed police as racist and sexist, and not always entirely sober. More than a third of forces, according to the HMIC, need to improve their treatment of victims of domestic violence. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:06:23 GMT)

The Guardian view on Boris Johnson: plain speaking without a purpose | Editorial
Bluntness can be valuable, but foreign secretaries should deploy it for a reason and not on a whimA foreign secretary, Harold Macmillan observed, is forever poised between cliche and indiscretion. It should be no surprise that Boris Johnson – who is, as a better diplomat might say, the possessor of a lively mind – tilts persistently toward the latter. His avoidance of the circumlocutions favoured by most politicians led to a popular misconception that he is a straight shooter. It would be more accurate to say that he frequently shoots from the hip or goes off half-cocked, as his public criticism of Saudi Arabia, revealed by the Guardian, shows. When he was a columnist, MP or mayor of London his remarks could be embarrassing and offensive; now that he is Britain’s top diplomat the potential consequences are far graver. As shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer observed this week, those watching from Brussels “are not particularly amused by jokes about prosecco [or] references to ‘cake and eat it’. They want a professional, constructive set of negotiations.”Though diplomacy has many registers it is often associated with a delicacy that may seem overly cautious at best, hypocritical at worst, and ridiculous either way. (Even when diplomats are blunt they call it being “honest”, “candid” or “forthright”.) But as Mr Macmillan’s remark reminds us, there is a reason why foreign secretaries usually speak with care, even when it frustrates them. First, some messages are delivered privately either because that is more effective or to avoid offending. Riyadh already knows that, while the UK supports the Saudi-led coalition formed to back the ousted president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, it has concerns about airstrikes which have repeatedly hit civilians, schools and hospitals. It also knows that the UK considers its other interests in the region more important. Second, the ability of people with very different cultures, histories, priorities and interests to engage with each other on complex and fraught issues depends upon a shared language. A more honest language might well be better; but what matters most is that it is consistent, so that diplomats understand each other. When a foreign secretary chooses between muted or harsh criticism, or between dropping a word in someone’s ear and calling them out in a speech, such calculations are – or should be – part of the message. To veer from one register to another haphazardly leads to confusion or contempt. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:55:07 GMT)

I didn’t endorse May’s Brexit timetable – but I’m no ‘enemy of the people’ | David Lammy
Hurling abuse at anyone who dares mention that 48% of the country voted to remain in the EU will do nothing to bring our divided country back togetherIf this government is to be the one -nation government it claims to be, the personal attacks that fuel the abhorrent “enemies of the people” rhetoric that we have seen of late must stop.The Tory MP and former attorney general Dominic Grieve has warned that the “vitriolic abuse” hurled at anybody who says anything that counters the hard Brexit mantra is leading us to a very bad place. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:44:00 GMT)

Work should be a route to a better life, but people need to be paid properly | Stefan Stern
Millions of UK workers are living in poverty due to high housing costs, cuts to working-age benefits and persistently low wages. As a society, we could, and should, do betterLabour isn’t working. That is to say: working for a living is not providing a living, at least not for the 7.4 million people, which includes 2.6 million children, who are living in poverty despite being in working households.And yet how can this be? Hasn’t there been a “jobs miracle” in this country? Unemployment is below 5%, and there are more people at work here than at any time before. There has been steady if unspectacular economic growth over the past few years, and the national minimum wage has risen quite sharply, for the over-25s at least. The official numbers – some of them – look pretty good. Something is amiss. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:00:10 GMT)

Time magazine didn't give Trump devil horns. God did | Jonathan Jones
Why is there a Twitter fantasy about his satanic cranial outgrowths? Because his election really does feel like something out of a horror filmTime magazine denies doing it on purpose, yet the sign is there. The mark – and this one is much more visible than the 666 that I have been told by a maverick Vatican priest is tattooed on Donald Trump’s left buttock. Related: Photographers on their best Trump shot: 'I think he's a damaged person' Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:28:54 GMT)

Speak to immigrant students like me before you ‘deprioritise’ them | Sharon Akaka
Theresa May should not penalise children who are determined to study hard and do well for something that is outside their controlI arrived in the UK from Nigeria with my family at the age of eight to join my dad who lived here. All through my schooling, my parents were trying to sort out their immigration status. It’s a long and complicated process that ended with multiple appeals and applications.Lots of money was spent on lawyers, and we only received our status – “limited leave to remain” – after I had left school. The stress of my immigration issues was one of the reasons I studied so hard: my education was something I could control; the immigration case was out of my hands, but studying was up to me. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:27:27 GMT)

Heard the latest Christmas story? It’s about how UK banks pay all their taxes | Prem Sikka
Major financial institutions are involved in routine tax avoidance. But a report by the City of London Corporation and PwC raises more questions than it answersA new report ostensibly lauding the tax contribution of UK banks and insurance companies should provide no festive reassurance. Issued by the City of London Corporation and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) it claims that, against all the odds, the financial sector is making a heroic contribution to the UK public purse. Gosh, only if that were true.From a sample of 50 financial services companies, including banks, building societies and insurance companies, it extrapolates that for the year to 31 March 2016 the financial sector made a contribution of £71.4bn to the public purse, or about 11.5% of the total UK tax receipts. Newspapers sympathetic to the finance industry have latched on to the headline figures, but the fine print of the report tells another story. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:33:40 GMT)

The police are still ignoring sexual abuse by officers. It’s time for zero tolerance | Sandra Laville
The macho culture of the police is being exploited by officers to prey on the vulnerable victims they are supposed to protectWhen the Guardian first exposed how police officers in England and Wales were abusing their power to sexually assault and exploit victims of crime, we had no idea of the scale of the problem. Today, we have more of a clue as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has revealed that hundreds of police officers are being accused of sexually abusing victims and suspects – and inspectors believe the problem is even more prevalent than the numbers suggest.Our original investigation was more than four years ago and was prompted by the conviction and subsequent jailing of Northumbria police constable Stephen Mitchell, who raped and sexually assaulted vulnerable women he met on duty. Examining the details of that case, various themes emerged; a lack of supervision, a failure to properly vet officers and the turning of a blind eye to the sexual exploits of male officers, in a still macho police service. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:01:53 GMT)

Desperate commuters, it’s time for a rebellion the government can’t ignore | Polly Toynbee
Southern rail’s appalling service means people are losing jobs, while in the north lines are left to rot. Train users must take action nowPoliticians foolish enough to search for “Britishness”, those ineffable qualities and values that define who we think we are, conjure up strings of imagined characteristics, virtually all of which have turned out to be wrong.No, we are not the tolerant, moderate folk we pretend: the Brexit vote put an end to that notion, as we, the country that has taken a tiny number of refugees, vote to keep out foreigners at any price, however self-harming. As the Germans take a million refugees and the Italians and Greeks absorb thousands a week, imagine the paroxysms of national hysteria if the Isle of Wight suddenly received Lampedusa’s boatloads of migrants every day. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:47:10 GMT)

Don't assume Trump is dumb. He knows exactly what he's doing | Richard Wolffe
His Taiwan call was written off as a gaffe. Actually, like so much else, it was more calculated than it seemedWhatever the Trump era represents, it surely marks the dawn of a golden age of satire. But beware of laughing too much: the joke might be on us. Yes, Trump tweets like a buffoon. But we should not assume that all the missteps by the petulant president-in-waiting are down to ignorance: they aren’t. Related: It's Trump's America now. Time to get over our attachment to facts | Richard Wolffe Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:00:03 GMT)

Brexit helps kill Francis Maude's hated civil service 'rank and yank' system
The coalition’s discredited staff appraisal system is just one of the Whitehall programmes being junked as Brexit loomsCivil service unions are celebrating the apparent end of the much-loathed “rank and yank” performance management system introduced by former Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude in 2013. The system forces managers to identify the bottom 10% of performers in their workforce as part of a controversial “guided distribution” appraisal system that has been criticised from the start by unions, managers and staff. One senior civil servant described it as the worst thing they’d seen in a 40-year career. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:16:04 GMT)

We are to blame for the decline of giraffes. And only we can save them | Jules Howard
Deforestation, civil wars and hunting have put giraffes on the vulnerable species list. Now we must show these creatures the other side of human natureImagine entering a museum of the future. Imagine walking across its great marble floors, dodging the schoolchildren and parents with buggies, past the toilets and the gift shop and down the corridor marked Mammals. Imagine marvelling at the bones and fossil teeth of mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers and giant ground sloths. Now, pause. You are in shadow. You are in the shadow of an enormous towering skeleton of an extinct creature which stands almost 20ft high, with a long neck upon which a horny skull sits, within which would have been a tongue almost as long as a human arm. “On whose watch did such a creature face extinction?” those future museum visitors might ask. Related: Giraffes facing extinction after devastating decline, experts warn Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:04:11 GMT)

Brighton Argus editor departs, but does Newsquest really care?
Publisher refuses to explain why yet another of its editors, one respected by both his staff and his audience, has left the ailing newspaperMike Gilson, the best editor the Brighton Argus has had in many a long year, has left the newspaper in somewhat mysterious circustances.Staff have not been informed why he has gone. The managing director of Newsquest Sussex, Tony Portelli, did not return a phone message. However, his personal assistant, who also acted as Gilson’s secretary, did confirm that he had departed. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:29:58 GMT)

For Chris Grayling trains are always about ideology, not passengers | Christian Wolmar
The leak of the transport secretary’s letter shows he is willing to take out his political frustrations on London’s mayor – and Southern rail commutersWhen the railways were privatised in the mid-1990s, ministers took it in turns to say this would mean that government would no longer be able to interfere. Tell that to Chris Grayling, the Conservative transport secretary, who is set to be the most politically motivated of recent transport ministers, and seems to be spending most of his time playing with trains.The leak of a letter he wrote to Boris Johnson, the then Conservative London mayor, three years ago expressing his opposition to handing over more of London’s suburban rail services to a future Labour mayor, demonstrates that political considerations – rather than a desire to improve the lot of benighted commuters – appear to dominate Grayling’s decision-making process. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:54:12 GMT)

No Bregrets: Sunderland after the vote to leave the European Union – video
Sunderland’s surprise vote for Brexit was seen by remain supporters as turkeys voting for Christmas. But now that Nissan, the car maker that employs 7,000 people directly and a further 40,000 in the supply chain, has announced that it is staying in its Sunderland plant, Helen Pidd speaks to north-east voters and asks how they feel now about leaving the European UnionMPs visit Sunderland to ask what city wants from Brexit negotiations Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:33:35 GMT)

Trump Force One v Air Force One: how do they compare? – video
President-elect Donald Trump has called for Boeing to scrap its $4bn contract to update the government’s Air Force One fleet. He says the deal is ‘ridiculous’ and that he would rather fly in his own plane, a Boeing 757-200. So how do the two aircrafts compare? Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:48:10 GMT)

Greg Lake of King Crimson and ELP fame dies aged 69 – video obituary
Greg Lake, one of the key figures in the prog rock boom of the 1970s, has died at the age of 69 on Wednesday. He was known as a third of the prog supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but first came to prominence as a founding member of King Crimson. For non-prog fans, Lake was best known as the maker of one of the UK’s most enduring Christmas hits, I Believe in Father Christmas Greg Lake, legendary prog rock bassist, dies aged 69 Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:37:06 GMT)

After Calais: what has happened to the refugee children? – video
Six weeks after the Calais migrant camp was demolished, unaccompanied minors scattered around France are still waiting to hear of their fate from the Home Office. Lisa O’Carroll, Mat Heywood and John Domokos meet one young refugee who fled death in Darfur desperate to be reunited with his radiographer brother in LiverpoolSudanese refugee in UK voices fears for brother stranded in France Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:05:05 GMT)

Sleaford Mods on Brexit: 'You can't ignore things any more' – video
In early 2014 the Guardian hailed duo Sleaford Mods as ‘the most uncompromising British protest music made in years’. Here, we go backstage at a Sleaford Mods gig in their hometown of Nottingham to hear what singer Jason Williamson thinks about Brexit and the politicians drawing up the rules, while fans applaud the band for representing the world they live inWARNING: contains swearwords Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:46:21 GMT)

If fascism arrived tomorrow, would we recognise it? – video
Britain likes to think it doesn’t do fascism – we beat Hitler, after all. But, asks Rachel Shabi, are we complacent? Would we miss the signs if fascism was appearing under our noses? She argues that today’s climate, with the far right resurgent around the world, gives us cause to be more vigilant than ever Continue reading...
(Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:00:24 GMT)

The Story So Far - Brexit Means... Podcast
Introducing ‘Brexit Means ...’ our new in-depth Brexit podcast with the Guardian’s European affairs correspondent Jon Henley. In this first episode we look back at the brief history of Brexit: from David Cameron’s fateful promise to hold an ‘in/out’ referendum to Theresa May’s tautologous mantra that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ Welcome to the Guardian’s new Brexit podcast, Brexit Means... In the coming months we’ll be hearing from Britons and Europeans, Leavers and Remainers, politicians and ordinary people, economists, businessmen, lawyers, researchers, campaigners and many more about what Brexit means for them, for the UK and for the EU, how it might work – and how it might not. Continue reading...
(Tue, 06 Dec 2016 06:00:04 GMT)

Saudi artist: Standing Rock protesters are warning us to save what we can – video
After the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, Saudi Arabian artist Ahmed Mater joins protesters at Standing Rock to celebrate their victory. This is the fifth episode in our Crossing the line series, in which a group of Middle Eastern artists embarks on a US road trip exploring common concernsStanding Rock protesters asked to ‘go home’ by Sioux leader Continue reading...
(Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:29:27 GMT)

The 24-hour emergency hotline for Syrian refugees – video
Mohammed Abu Amar runs a makeshift 24-hour helpline from his flat in Hamburg, guiding scared refugees fleeing the violence in Syria across the water to Europe. Despite losing the use of both legs in a shelling in Damascus in the early days of the conflict, Abu Amar made the crossing with his family in 2013. He subsequently found his calling, being constantly available on the phone for his fellow Syrians making the same perilous journey Continue reading...
(Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:23:20 GMT)

Antony Gormley's iron men come alive for A Winter's Tale – video
Writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce and director Carl Hunter reimagine Shakespeare’s late tragedy in an otherwordly film set among the statues of Antony Gormley’s installation Another Place on Crosby beach, Liverpool.This is the 10th film in the British Council’s series Shakespeare Lives in 2016, celebrating the playwright on the 400th anniversary of his death.King Lear in a care home: Phil Davis plays the storming monarch – video Continue reading...
(Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:00:15 GMT)

Capita to replace staff with robots to save money
Outsourcing giant to axe 2,000 jobs and use ‘proprietary robotic solutions’ after clients cut spending following Brexit voteA British outsourcing company whose contracts include collecting the BBC licence fee is to replace staff with robots as it slashes costs.Capita, a FTSE 100-listed firm that also runs the London congestion charge, said it needed to axe 2,000 jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive in response to poor trading. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:29:14 GMT)

Lawyer urges supreme court to throw out Brexit case after article 50 vote
In closing remarks, government QC James Eadie says Commons vote to back leaving the bloc is legally relevantThe supreme court has been urged to throw out a momentous legal challenge to the government’s powers to trigger Brexit, with Downing Street lawyers claiming parliament’s support for exiting the EU was conclusively demonstrated this week.In closing remarks at the end of a four-day hearing, James Eadie QC, appearing for the government, said a House of Commons vote held on Wednesday that backed leaving the bloc by 448 to 75 was “legally relevant” to the complex case. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:01:06 GMT)

Self-harm by children rises steeply in England and Wales
Nearly 19,000 children received hospital treatment for self-harm in 2015 – a 14% increase since 2012Nearly 19,000 children and young people were treated in hospital in England and Wales after self-harming in the last year, a figure that has risen steeply in recent years, according to a leading children’s charity. Related: NHS figures show 'shocking' rise in self-harm among young Continue reading...
(Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:01:13 GMT)

Iraq human rights lawyer admits string of misconduct charges
Phil Shiner has admitted paying an agent to find him clients and acting improperly in claiming UK army mistreated civiliansA human rights lawyer who was pursued by the government after an inquiry rejected allegations that British troops murdered and tortured Iraqi civilians has admitted paying a middle man to find his clients in Iraq.Phil Shiner, whose most high profile case exposed the torture and death of Baha Mousa at the hands of British troops in Basra in 2003, has admitted a string of misconduct charges, a disciplinary tribunal was told on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:37:05 GMT)

Mark Serwotka has heart transplant at Papworth
Leader of the Public and Commercial Services union became ill after apparently contracting a virus from his dogMark Serwotka, the leader of the largest civil service union, has had a successful heart transplant operation, with the medical team at Papworth hospital, Cambridgeshire, saying they were very happy about how the new heart was performing. Related: Make it easier to deselect MPs, says Corbyn ally Mark Serwotka Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:16:19 GMT)

Brexit could see EU student numbers nose dive, Cambridge warns
University says numbers have already fallen as higher education institutions tell MPs of significant funding risks of EU exit Cambridge University has said it faces significant risks from Britain’s exit from the EU, including an estimated two-thirds fall in the number of EU students it enrols each year.In a written submission to MPs on the education select committee, the university indicated that it expects annual admission numbers for EU under- and postgraduates to fall from 1,100 to below 400. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:39:43 GMT)

Sadiq Khan takes Transport for London into new business territory
The London mayor insists he can honour his election pledges by making his transport agency operate more efficientlyRows about the finances of Transport for London (TfL) were prominent during this year’s election campaign and also a bit odd. For years, Conservatives had claimed that the large and powerful mayoral agency is a bloated bureaucracy in need of ruthless trimming, yet there was the Tory candidate – a Mr Goldsmith, you might recall - insisting that it could not cope with its fares being frozen for four years, while Labour man Sadiq Khan was pledging to transform it into a paragon of enterprise and efficiency.Seven months on from Khan’s big win, the first TfL business plan of his mayoralty has appeared. The sums are there on paper. So are Khan’s ambitious plans. Political opponents, naturally, say neither add up, with Tory AM Keith Prince worrying that the number crunching bites too deeply into TfL’s reserves and even using the word “socialist” to describe them - on Her Majesty’s BBC too! He also points out, quite correctly, that borrowing is going to soar. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:41:04 GMT)

Hostile states pose 'fundamental threat' to Europe, says MI6 chief
Although Alex Younger does not name specific country, he makes clear that Russia is target of his remarksThe head of the British intelligence agency MI6, Alex Younger, has said cyber-attacks, propaganda and subversion from hostile states pose a “fundamental threat” to European democracies, including the UK.In a rare speech by an MI6 chief while in office, Younger did not specifically name Russia but left no doubt that this was the target of his remarks. Russia has been accused of interfering in the US presidential election and there are concerns it could do the same in French and German elections next year. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:31:55 GMT)

No new inquiry into killings by British troops, say Northern Irish police
Denial follows newspaper report that officers would reinvestigate 302 killings that took place during the TroublesPolice in Northern Ireland have no plans to launch a fresh inquiry into killings carried out by British troops during the Troubles. The force issued the statement after a front-page report in the Sun said officers would reinvestigate all 302 killings carried out by British troops. The paper said at least 500 ex-servicemen, many now in their 60s and 70s, would be “viewed as suspects” during the process. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:39:23 GMT)

Corbyn stance on EU immigration 'risks helping Ukip'
Labour leader’s support for free movement will alienate supporters outside London, says Welsh first minister Carwyn JonesJeremy Corbyn’s approach to immigration is too London-centric and risks driving Labour supporters into the arms of Ukip, Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales, has said.Jones, the most powerful Labour politician in government, disagreed with the position of Corbyn and his shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, who have both defended freedom of movement between the UK and the rest of the EU. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:08:55 GMT)

Man who harassed MP Luciana Berger online is jailed for two years
Joshua Bonehill-Paine was found guilty of writing antisemitic blogs about the Labour politician, leaving her feeling ‘under attack’ A man who harassed Luciana Berger, the Labour MP, in a string of antisemitic online rants has been jailed for two years after a trial at the Old Bailey.Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 24, wrote five hate-filled blogs about Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree. He variously called her a “dominatrix” and “an evil money-grabber” with a “deep-rooted hatred of men”. In one, he claimed the number of Jewish Labour MPs was a “problem”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:35:09 GMT)

New diabetes treatment could eliminate need for insulin injections
Tested in mice, therapy involves a capsule of genetically engineered cells implanted under the skin that release insulin as requiredA cell-based diabetes treatment has been developed by scientists who say it could eliminate the need for those with the condition to inject insulin.The therapy involves a capsule of genetically engineered cells implanted under the skin that automatically release insulin as required. Diabetic mice that were treated with the cells were found to have normal blood sugar levels for several weeks. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:00:07 GMT)

Court rejects bid to halt Southern train drivers' industrial action
Owners of Southern railway had argued overtime ban and strikes broke European law guaranteeing people’s right to travelThe high court has rejected an attempt by the owners of Southern rail to prevent train drivers from taking industrial action.The operators of Southern, Govia Thameslink Railway, had argued that the action by members of the Aslef union, which includes an overtime ban as well as impending strikes, was contrary to European law guaranteeing the rights of people to travel and of companies to invest, with GTR being partially owned by the French firm Keolis. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:52:26 GMT)

Tata Steel jobs: regulator warns of pension hurdles
Unions have agreed deal to save 8,000 jobs but company must resolve issues with pension scheme, says watchdogThe Pensions Regulator has warned there are still major hurdles to overcome to secure the future of Tata Steel’s UK pension scheme, which is pivotal for saving the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales.Tata Steel and trade union leaders have agreed a deal to save 8,000 jobs in the steel industry and the Port Talbot steelworks, with the Indian company committing £1bn of new investment to its UK business. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:31:07 GMT)

Brexit does not have to be bad for UK exporters, north-east firm tells MPs
It is easy to export ‘if you make products people want’, Ebac founder John Elliott advises MPs on fact-finding mission A manufacturer in the north-east has told MPs that Brexit does not have to be bad for British exporters, boasting that his firm has just struck a lucrative, long-term deal with a French company.John Elliott, the founder and chairman of Ebac, which makes water coolers, washing machines and dehumidifiers from a factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, said trade tariffs were “not the end of the world”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:26:08 GMT)

Corporate spy infiltrated anti-asbestos campaign, court told
Two activists and a lawyer involved in campaign are claiming aggravated damages from K2 Intelligence LtdA leading corporate intelligence firm infiltrated the worldwide campaign to ban asbestos in a sophisticated and long-running espionage campaign, the high court in London has heard.Over a period of four years, the court was told, a spy working for K2 Intelligence Ltd masqueraded as a sympathetic documentary maker in order to gather a mass of sensitive material about the leading figures in the campaign, their methods, funding and future plans. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:36:02 GMT)

Sheffield council leader ignores calls to resign over 5am tree felling operation
Campaigners in Sheffield say 4,000 trees have gone since private finance deal was signed with contractor Amey in 2012A council leader has ignored calls to resign over a pre-dawn tree-felling operation in which five people were arrested.Simon Crump and Calvin Payne were detained in the battle over Sheffield’s tree-felling programme. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:45:10 GMT)

Underground coal gasification will not go ahead in UK
Government says it will not support highly polluting method of releasing gas from coal seamsA highly polluting method of extracting gas has been effectively killed off in the UK after the government said it would not support the technology.Underground coal gasification, which involves injecting oxygen and steam underground to release gas from coal seams, would massively increase UK carbon emissions if exploited, according to a government-commissioned report. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:06:25 GMT)

One in 14 people now waiting for operations as demand on NHS soars
NHS England figures show number of people awaiting non-urgent surgery is at highest level since December 2007Demand for medical care is rising so fast and hospitals are so busy that one in 14 people in England are now waiting to have a non-urgent operation. NHS England figures released on Thursday show the number of people awaiting hospital treatment reached 3,754,961 in October – the highest level recorded since December 2007. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:16:20 GMT)

Norovirus cases at highest level for five years this winter
1,704 cases of diarrhoea and vomiting bug are already confirmed in England, 55% higher than during same period last yearLevels of the vomiting bug norovirus in England this winter are the highest for five years, figures reveal.Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that 1,704 cases of norovirus in England have been confirmed by laboratory testing so far this season, which is 9% higher than the average for the same period over the past five years. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:03:42 GMT)

UN criticises Israel settlement law that would legalise 4,000 West Bank homes
United Nations high commissioner for human rights says bill to retroactively legalise settler homes is a clear violation of international lawThe UN human rights chief has strongly criticized a bill in Israel that would legalise some 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, saying it would clearly violate international law.Israeli lawmakers voted on Wednesday to advance the bill, which would retroactively legalise settler homes built on private Palestinian land. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:11:27 GMT)

Dinosaur tail trapped in amber offers insights into feather evolution
Fragment complete with fossilised bones and traces of muscles, ligaments and mummified-looking skin dates from around 99 million years ago A length of fluffy plumage discovered within a piece of amber has been identified as part of a dinosaur tail, offering new insights into the evolution of feathers.Around 3.7cm long, with chestnut-coloured feathers on the top and pale feathers underneath, the tail was found complete with fossilised bones as well as traces of muscles, ligaments and mummified-looking skin. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:00:05 GMT)

Facebook court filings hint at possible political future for Mark Zuckerberg
Lawsuit over extent of CEO’s control of company shows board voted to give him two-year leave if he serves ‘in a government position or office’Mark Zuckerberg may intend to pursue government service while retaining control of Facebook, according to recently unsealed court filings in a case pitting the CEO against minority investors.The class-action lawsuit was first filed in late April, after Zuckerberg proposed a corporate shake-up that would dilute the voting power of shareholders – giving him “eternal control” of the company, in the words of the shareholders’ lawyers. Text messages excerpted in the court documents reveal that Zuckerberg and two board members discussed the CEO’s possible government service, and argued about how to present it to shareholders. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:42:31 GMT)

Vietnam dredges reef disputed with China
Activity on Ladd Reef in Spratly Islands runs risk of angering Beijing and TaiwanVietnam has begun dredging work on a disputed reef in the South China Sea, satellite imagery shows, the latest move by the communist state to bolster its claims in the strategically important waterway. Activity visible on Ladd Reef in the Spratly Islands could anger Hanoi’s main South China Sea rival, Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the group and most of the resource-rich sea. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:16:51 GMT)

Chechen leader claims his troops eager to fight 'scum' in Syria
Ramzan Kadyrov offers vocal support for close ally Vladimir Putin amid reports of Chechen battalions being readied for transitChechnya’s strongman leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has said that troops in the Russian province would be happy to fight the “scum” in Syria if they receive the Kremlin order. Related: Murder in Istanbul: Kremlin's hand suspected in shooting of Chechen Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:32:46 GMT)

Tsunami warning cancelled after South Pacific earthquake
Quake of 7.7 magnitude had put residents on alert in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and other island countriesBuildings have been damaged in the Solomon Islands after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast early on Friday, but fears of a tsunami receded after initial warnings to numerous islands.Loti Yates, from the National Disaster Management Office in the capital Honiara, told Australia’s ABC there were reports of houses crumbling in parts of the country, including on the island of Makira, the largest in Makira-Ulawa province. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:51:45 GMT)

Belgian prince under fire after hitting out at politicians 'bugging' him
Prince Laurent, younger brother of King Philippe, told a journalist ‘This is really starting to piss me off’ when quizzed about his business ventures The king of the Belgians’ younger brother faces a dressing down from the country’s prime minister after demanding that politicians and the royal family “stop bugging” him over claims his business ventures are losing money. The summons from the prime minister, Charles Michel, amid some concern for the stability of the monarchy, came after Prince Laurent, a sports car-loving 53-year-old, let off steam at a journalist who quizzed him over the financial health of his renewable energy interests. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:02:20 GMT)

Daniel Barenboim opens Berlin music academy for Middle East students
Composer says school, which will take in 90 new talents from the region each year, is ‘attempt at creating peace through music’Daniel Barenboim has called it an “experiment in utopia”, a project that marks the culmination of the leading musician and conductor’s life’s work in bringing together musicians from the Middle East. The Barenboim-Said Academy, which opened on Thursday evening in Berlin, will offer 90 talented students from the Middle East the chance to study classical music under the maestro himself as well as a raft of other top musicians and composers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:10:53 GMT)

Uber tries to solve sexual misconduct issues by banning riders from flirting
Ride-share company releases guidelines that include no vomiting and other ‘not OK’ behaviors that could see people permanently banned from serviceUber released a new set of rules for passengers on Thursday, banning vandalism, “vomiting due to excessive alcohol consumption” and flirting.It is the first time Uber has published specific guidelines for passengers. The rules set out specific examples of unacceptable behaviour, and people flouting the rules could be permanently banned from the service. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:25:30 GMT)

Charleston shooting trial: jury shown graphic images of aftermath
Court sees series of photos showing victims lying in pools of blood, following earlier failed motion by Dylann Roof’s attorneys for mistrial Horrific images depicting the bloody aftermath of the Charleston church massacre were shown to the jury on Thursday on the second day of the federal trial of Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old white supremacist accused of murdering nine black parishioners during a brutal hate crime.The series of 360-degree photographs taken from inside the Mother Emanuel church, where Roof opened fire on a group of congregants during a Bible study class, showed the bodies of eight of those killed lying in pools of blood, surrounded by bullet casings. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:04:11 GMT)

Prada found wanting in assessment of forced labour safeguards
Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss also perform modestly in study of quality and transparency of efforts by leading fashion firms to protect against forced labourPrada, one of the world’s most expensive fashion brands, is making little effort to show that its goods are free of forced labour, according to a new report.An assessment (pdf) of the quality and transparency of efforts by 20 major apparel companies to safeguard against forced labour from their supply chains, undertaken by KnowTheChain, an accountability initiative, gave Prada a score of nine out of 100. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:19:13 GMT)

Top official in Italy's M5S increases call for referendum on euro
Alessandro Di Battista hints at Italy’s possible exit from single currency as key issue for next election after PM resigns A top official in the Italian anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) is ratcheting up his party’s call for a referendum on the euro, signalling that Italy’s possible exit from the single currency could become a central issue in the next election.Alessandro Di Battista, 38, who is a prime contender to represent M5S in the next poll, said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt that he did not support an exit from the EU but did support a referendum on the euro. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:20:15 GMT)

'Pizzagate conspiracy' gunman: 'I regret how I handled the situation'
Edgar Welch, who fired rifle in Washington DC restaurant at heart of ‘fake news’ story, says he was trying to do some goodThe gunman who fired an assault rifle inside the Washington DC restaurant at the heart of false allegations of a VIP child-sex ring has said he now regrets his actions.“I just wanted to do some good and went about it the wrong way,” Edgar Welch, 28, told a reporter from the New York Times, adding: “I regret how I handled the situation.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:21:27 GMT)

German firms including BMW pull advertising from Breitbart
Boycott comes as rightwing website plans to launch new services in France and Germany in time for pivotal 2017 electionsMajor German companies including BMW have stopped advertising on Breitbart, the rightwing US news and opinion site that campaigned for Donald Trump and plans to launch in Europe before key elections next year.The boycott, prompted by a social media campaign titled KeinGeldFürRechts or No Money for the Right, follows a similar decision by Kellogg’s in the US, to which Breitbart responded by urging readers to stop buying the cereal firm’s products. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:51:40 GMT)

Possible MH370 debris found by relative of disappeared passenger
Piece of board found by one of seven relatives who flew to Indian Ocean island to raise awareness of need to hand in debris thought to be from planeA Chinese man who travelled to Madagascar in search of answers to the disappearance of his mother on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has found a possible piece of debris from the plane during a search of the country’s beaches.Jiang Hui, 44, is one of seven relatives who flew to the Indian Ocean island on Saturday to raise awareness of the debris that has been washing up on its beaches in ever-increasing amounts and conduct preliminary searches. Continue reading...
(Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:49:02 GMT)

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