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A-level results show first rise in top grades in six years
Boys do better than girls in gaining A and A* grades but students find it harder to gain top grades in newly reformed subjectsThe proportion of top marks awarded at A-level has risen overall for the first time in six years and boys did better than girls at gaining A and A* grades. The published national results of 2017’s exams show that in the bulk of subjects the proportion of A and A* grades awarded went up to 26.3%, a rise of half a percentage point compared with 2016. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:40:34 GMT)

EU citizens will not need visas to visit UK after Brexit, say sources
Post-Brexit system will allow EU citizens to enter freely, but to work they will need to comply with new immigration restrictionsEU citizens will be free to visit the UK after Brexit without having to obtain visas, it has emerged.Whitehall sources confirmed reports that plans for a post-Brexit immigration system, due to be published later this year, would allow EU citizens to enter the UK freely. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:51:19 GMT)

Steve Bannon brands far right 'losers' and contradicts Trump in surprise interview
White House figure tells the American Prospect magazine there is no military solution to North Korea and warns of a China trade warWhite House chief strategist Steve Bannon has given an unusual interview in which he claimed there was no military solution for North Korea, the far right was a “collection of clowns” and the left’s focus on racism would allow him to “crush the Democrats”. Bannon, who has been called the mastermind behind Donald Trump’s nationalist agenda, made the controversial and unsolicited remarks to Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of the American Prospect, a leftwing political magazine, in an interview published Wednesday. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 02:14:27 GMT)

Dashcam video shows police sexually assaulted Texas woman, lawyer says
Attorney for Charnesia Corley, who was pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign, releases video showing her examined while naked below the waistThe attorney for a black woman subjected to an invasive and lengthy roadside strip search by Texas police has released a dashcam video of the incident that he says shows her treatment was a form of rape.“When you stick your fingers in somebody without their effective consent, that’s rape in any state that I know of,” said Sam Cammack, an attorney for Charnesia Corley. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:42:26 GMT)

Former Theresa May aide attacks tuition fees 'Ponzi scheme'
Universities minister defends fees after Nick Timothy, who quit PM’s office after election, launches wholesale assaultThe universities minister has defended tuition fees after one of Theresa May’s former chiefs of staff described them as an “ultimately pointless Ponzi scheme” that needed a radical overhaul.Nick Timothy, who was May’s most influential policy adviser until he resigned after the general election, used his new column in the Daily Telegraph to launch a wholesale attack on the system, which will see students paying fees of up to £9,250 a year from this autumn. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:53:32 GMT)

Sajid Javid says Jeremy Corbyn 'wrong to sack Sarah Champion'
Communities secretary defends Labour MP who resigned over comments on British Pakistani men, saying a debate is neededThe communities secretary, Sajid Javid, has defended the Labour MP Sarah Champion, who resigned from the frontbench after she said in an article in the Sun that Britain had “a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.Champion resigned as shadow minister for women and equalities, having earlier said her words had been “stripped of nuance” by the tabloid. But the Sun produced emails from an aide to the MP saying she was “thrilled” with the piece. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:12:16 GMT)

UK retail sales growth flat but beats forecasts - business live
Consumer confidence steady as retail sales beats forecasts for July but June’s figures are revised downUK retail sales volume rose 0.3% in JulyKingfisher and Rank figures disappointEurozone inflation steady at 1.3% 10.53am BST Time for a bit of light relief after those chewy retail sales figures. Harper’s has published a transcript of the jury selection process in the trial of beleaguered pharmaceuticals chief executive Martin Shkreli, who was convicted of fraud earlier this month. 10.30am BST Price rises in the 19 countries that share the euro currency held firm during July, with inflation sticking at 1.3% excluding energy and unprocessed food, according to the European statistics office Eurostat.Inflation remains below the European Central Bank’s target of 2% but has ticked up slightly on 1.2% in June and came in above analysts’ forecasts of 1.2%. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:59:34 GMT)

Pauline Hanson wears burqa in Australian Senate while calling for ban
Coalition and Labor Senate leaders sharply rebuke One Nation leader over her stunt and accuse her of ridiculing MuslimsThe leader of Australia’s rightwing One Nation party has been rebuked by the Turnbull government for entering the Senate chamber wearing a black burqa.Pauline Hanson caused a commotion by arriving at the Senate chamber for the daily question time session dressed in a black burqa, which was designed to underscore a call she intended to make to ban the religious garment, citing national security concerns. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 05:50:08 GMT)

UK fracking may produce less fuel than claimed, says geologist
Prof John Underhill argues that geology is fundamental but has been forgotten in assessments of UK’s shale gas capabilityFracking for oil and gas in the UK may produce much less fuel – and profits – than has been mooted, according to research based on seismic imaging of the country’s underlying geology.Most of the areas in which deposits of onshore “unconventional” gas and oil are likely to be found were affected by tectonic activity along the Atlantic plate about 55m years ago. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 05:01:03 GMT)

Hong Kong democracy campaigners jailed over anti-China protests
Alex Chow, Nathan Law, and Joshua Wong given six to eight month sentences for roles in anti-government occupation known as the umbrella movementHong Kong’s democracy movement has suffered the latest setback in what has been a punishing year after three of its most influential young leaders were jailed for their roles in a protest at the start of a 79-day anti-government occupation known as the umbrella movement. Alex Chow, Nathan Law, and Joshua Wong, the bespectacled student dubbed Hong Kong’s “face of protest” were sentenced to between six and eight months imprisonment each. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:27:12 GMT)

Toblerone shape not distinctive enough for trademark, Poundland claims
Defending its right to launch Twin Peaks bar, budget chain cites Toblerone version with fewer chunks brought out last yearPoundland has claimed Toblerone’s shape is no longer distinctive enough to be a valid trademark, in legal documents defending its right to launch a copycat bar.Last month, the budget chain was forced to delay the launch of its Twin Peaks bar, which has two humps rather than the single peaks of Toblerone, after a legal warning from the brand’s owner, a Swiss division of Mondelēz. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 05:00:03 GMT)

Spilt blood binds South Sudan's refugee 'families' in Uganda
As the number of people fleeing across the border passes the million mark, Jason Burke meets the strangers forging family units to replace those splintered by war This, then, is a family. There is 23-year-old Gloria Keoji, the only adult, and six children. The oldest is 17, the youngest three months. There are five girls and a boy. The ties that bind them are made more of blood spilt than blood shared but, they insist, they are a family nonetheless.All have their tales of violence, told fast and quietly while looking at the red soil between naked and calloused feet, or staring into the vast blue sky above the bush. These memories are too fresh to confront face on. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:24:16 GMT)

The Big Ben row isn’t about a bell, it’s about Britain’s insecurity | Anne Perkins
The bell was once a symbol of our place in the world. No wonder plans to silence it make us fearfulThere may be few things quite so revealing about a country’s sense of itself as the icons it venerates. Americans have particular reason to contemplate this truism as the battle over statues of Confederate generals begins to look like an existential crisis for the president. But in a very minor key, Britain too is experiencing a skirmish over symbols of national identity.Edmund Beckett Denison is not a name that rings down the ages. No one learns about him at school. Theresa May probably wouldn’t recognise it, although she has climbed aboard the bandwagon decrying the length of time it will take to restore his handiwork. But without this eccentric Victorian polymath, there would be no anguish at the silencing of Big Ben, no sense that somehow the beating heart of the nation is being stopped, in a nightmare metaphor for the state of the world. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:00:01 GMT)

Headteacher hails pupils who took exams as Grenfell Tower burned
Kensington Aldridge academy headteacher ‘proud and inspired’ by students who worked on while the inferno ragedOn the morning of 14 June as the Grenfell Tower inferno raged on, 56 “shellshocked” pupils from the nearby Kensington Aldridge academy, many of whom had fled the fire just hours earlier, filed into a hastily rearranged exam hall to sit AS maths.Today, two months after the tragedy which claimed the lives of at least 80 people including five of their fellow pupils, these teenagers will be among thousands who will wake up and receive their exam results. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:41:15 GMT)

From a mime and his baby to singing sisters: Edinburgh's comedy double acts
Trygve Wakenshaw has brought his one-year-old son as a sidekick, Flo and Joan search for love and Giants present the old disintegrating duo routineFor as long as there’s been comedy, there’s been the double act. Big one, small one; straight one, funny one; know-all and dimwit: these dynamics are as old as performance itself and – even on the formally inventive fringe – they inexorably reassert themselves. There are double acts for all seasons at this year’s festival: one assembled to make provocative points about race (that’s Brendon Burns and Indigenous Australian comic Craig Quartermaine), one because the third member of a sketch troupe jumped ship just before the fringe (that’s Gein’s Family Giftshop). Related: Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:00:03 GMT)

Could Trump’s blundering lead to war between China and Japan?
China and Japan’s postwar truce has always been an uneasy one – and if Washington cools its support for Tokyo, the dynamics in the region could shift dangerously. By Richard McGregorFor news out of east Asia, it is difficult to compete with North Korea’s youthful, jocular despot, Kim Jong-un, and his near-daily threats to fire a nuclear-tipped missile at US territory. On Monday, Kim was pictured surrounded by his top generals mulling over maps with targets closer to home, in South Korea and Japan, while warning again that he was ready to “wring the windpipes of the Yankees”. The young Kim, and his father and grandfather before him, have long tossed violent epithets at their enemies, but Pyongyang’s new capabilities – to potentially deliver a nuclear warhead across the Pacific – have injected fresh danger into the crisis on the Korean peninsula.The North Korean crisis is one of the few creations of the cold war to have outlived the Berlin Wall, despite persistent predictions that the communist dynasty would collapse. There are many factors driving the confrontation, chief among them paranoia in Pyongyang, where the Kim dynasty is focused above all on preventing regime change. In neighbouring China, Beijing is paralysed: it is caught between anger at Kim for destabilising the region, and fear that if it pushes Pyongyang too hard, the regime will collapse, and fall into the hands of South Korea, an ally of the US. The US itself also seems impotent, knowing that starting any war could lead to devastating attacks on its allies in Seoul and Tokyo. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 05:00:03 GMT)

‘Clearing isn’t for people who have failed'
When Danial Ikhwan-McCabe missed out on his chosen universities, he got back on track thanks to clearing Danial Ikhwan-McCabe, 19, took biology, chemistry and physics A-levels, with a view to studying sports science at Loughborough University or biomedicine at Newcastle University. “On results day, I got up early to look at my Ucas page and it said I hadn’t got into any of my choices,” he remembers. “I went into college to get my results. I saw them – two Bs and a C – and felt so disappointed. The initial feeling was just panic. I thought: I’m just not going to get into uni now. I’m going to have to resit the entire year.” Related: Applying to university: how clearing became mainstream Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:00:02 GMT)

Why is the US still fighting the civil war?
Confederate symbols have become a crucible of racial tension in the US. White nationalists claim they are important monuments – but are they just a way to rewrite an ugly history and revive the battles of the past?In St Paul’s memorial church in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Friday, just up the street from where white supremacists were gathering for a torchlight rally, Cornel West explained why African Americans saw the removal of Confederate monuments as so important. On hearing that hundreds of white supremacists were gathered in a nearby park, the civil rights leader said, with a hint of weariness: “These are chickens coming home to roost. We should have eliminated these statues a long time ago. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 11:36:38 GMT)

'Changing history'? No – 32 Confederate monuments dedicated in past 17 years
Trump complains that efforts to take down Confederate memorials amount to altering the past, but numerous examples made their mark in recent decades“You are changing history,” Donald Trump said on Tuesday of efforts to remove Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, and elsewhere across the United States. “You’re changing culture.”History about as old as the George W Bush presidency, it turns out in a surprising number of cases – and culture stretching back to the heyday of Britney Spears. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 20:54:39 GMT)

Hardcore cycling in almost guaranteed rain: Scotland's no-frills 'anti-sportive'
The Ride of the Falling Rain on the Hebridean island of Islay has no entry fee, route card or medals, but its laidback, friendly vibe keeps riders coming back despite the weatherThe Ride of the Falling Rain is an annual cycling event on the Hebridean island of Islay that proudly describes itself as “anti-sportive”.Held on the first Sunday in August, there is no entry fee, no feed stations, no timing chips and no medal or certificate at the end. Yet in its 14-year history, it has attracted a hard core of regulars who travel from all over the UK. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 05:45:00 GMT)

The Question: why are so many Premier League teams so bad in defence? | Jonathan Wilson
It’s not a coincidence that the Premier League has become the global home of shambolic defending and Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all have issues to resolve before the weekendEven before the Premier League got round to the traditional kick-off time, 13 goals had been scored in two games. A total of 31 goals were scored over the opening weekend as the first three of last season’s top six to play all conceded three. Take that, Spain, with your Cristiano Ronaldo controversies! Take that, Italy, with your resurgent Milan! Take that, Germany, with your finely tuned pressing structures! Take that, France, with your Neymar, your Bielsa and your Balotelli! For drama and giggling hilarity, the Premier League remains king.It’s not king, obviously, if you want success in the Champions League. Nor is it king if you want to develop young players for the national side. And it’s certainly not king if you believe football clubs should have a pastoral role towards the communities they at least nominally represent. But for excitement and spectacle, for the sense that any daft thing could happen at any moment, it still rules. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:15:31 GMT)

FA under pressure to explain £80,000 payment to Eni Aluko after bullying complaint
• Forward complained to FA about culture of bullying and harassment• Aluko alleges manager Mark Sampson made remark with ‘racial connotations’• Independent inquiry found no case for disciplinary action against SampsonThe Football Association is facing questions over why it paid “hush money” to international footballer Eni Aluko after it emerged that a bullying complaint against the England manager, Mark Sampson, included an allegation that he made a remark with “racial and prejudicial connotations” to another player.Aluko, one of England’s most recognisable female footballers with 102 caps, was paid around £80,000 to sign an agreement that the FA claims was to “avoid disruption” ahead of this summer’s Euro 2017. Aluko’s lawyers believe that the agreement she signed prevents her from speaking about it but the FA insists she is now free to talk about the facts of the case. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:30:07 GMT)

Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué: For the first time in nine years I feel inferior to Real Madrid
• Barça defender says club and team ‘not in best moment’ after 2-0 defeat• Brazilian midfielder Paulinho set to be unveiled on ThursdayGerard Piqué admitted he felt “inferior” to Real Madrid for the first time in his nine years as a Barcelona defender, after they were beaten 5-1 on aggregate in the Spanish Super Cup. A 2-0 defeat at the Bernabéu on Wednesday night saw Barcelona humiliated by their rivals, with Sergio Ramos winding up Lionel Messi by throwing the ball over him after the Argentine readied his hands to collect. Related: Asensio stunner helps Real Madrid brush aside Barça for Super Cup success Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:38:52 GMT)

Joe Root calls on England players to adapt and thrive with pink ball
• England captain wants team to put aside preconceived ideas about ball• ‘It is important not to look too far into it and have too many theories’Joe Root called on his England players to think on their feet before Thursday’s maiden day-night Test against West Indies at Edgbaston, urging them to put aside any preconceived ideas about how the pink ball will play under floodlights and adapt accordingly.The uncapped Mark Stoneman in place of Keaton Jennings at the top of the order is the one change from the XI who completed the 3-1 victory over South Africa last week and, with the new set of tourists ranked eighth in the world, England’s target will be for a clean sweep in the three-game series, their last Test outings before the winter’s Ashes tour. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:05:56 GMT)

A referee's-eye view of Real Madrid, baseball cat and slo-mo overtaking
This week’s roundup also features it all kicking off in pre-season NFL training, some blinding catches and a golfer taking one for the team1) It might look like one of those adverts where a member of the public is chucked into a professional game for some reason, but the results of mounting a camera on the ref’s head for the game between MLS All-Stars and Real Madrid are all kinds of excellent. Warning though: not for the easily sea sick. It’s David Elleray vs Tony Adams for the 21st century. 2) It’s NFL pre-season training, where the LA Rams and San Diego Chargers have been practising against each other and, well, it all kicked off. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:00:43 GMT)

Manchester City’s £18m bid for Jonny Evans rejected by West Brom
• Pep Guardiola wants to increase centre-back options at the Etihad• Only five men have played for both Manchester clubs in Premier League eraManchester City are targeting West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans in a move that could make the former Manchester United defender only the sixth footballer to represent both Manchester clubs in the Premier League era.Evans, 29, had been identified by Pep Guardiola as precisely the kind of ball-playing centre-back the manager wants to bolster an area of the defence that lacks depth and quality. Guardiola, it is understood, has a firm interest in Evans but saw an £18m bid rejected on Wednesday. If City can prise the Northern Irishman away from West Brom he will be given a chance to compete for a first-team berth. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:37:54 GMT)

All Star Superslam Wrestling comes to Rhyl – in pictures
Founded in 1970, All Star Superslam Wrestling is the oldest active wrestling promotion in the UK, staging wrestling matches in theatres, leisure centres, town halls and holiday camps across the UK. AFP photographer Oli Scarff went along to the north Wales wrestling hot spot Rhyl Town Hall for their latest evening of superslam action Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:23:22 GMT)

Danielle Waterman the mainstay as England ring World Cup changes
Full-back will become the only player to start all three pool matches when she lines up against the United States on ThursdayAs England chop and change their side during the defence of their Women’s World Cup crown, one thing remains the same – the presence of Danielle Waterman in the No15 jersey. Team-mates have flitted in and out but England’s hot-stepping full-back is the only ever present in the starting XV for the pool stages, making a third appearance against USA on Thursday.It is testament to the regard in which she is held by the head coach, Simon Middleton, not to mention the form she is in – a highlights reel of some sidestepping runs in the victory over Italy, in which she scored two tries, even led to endorsements on social media to appear on Strictly Come Dancing. And it also means a gruelling schedule, with three matches in nine days before the tournament heads from Dublin to Belfast for the knockout stages. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:56:13 GMT)

Asensio stunner helps Real Madrid brush aside Barça for Super Cup success
• Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (agg: 5-1); Asensio 4, Benzema 39• Rivals pile on the misery for BarcelonaThe second leg of the Spanish Super Cup was only four minutes old when a smile stretched across Zinedine Zidane’s face. Real Madrid had just taken the lead, Marco Asensio’s wonderful 35-yard effort dipping past Marc-André ter Stegen, but Zidane did not leap into the air, clench his fists or scream; it was just that smile, appearing easily, almost gently, as if he was not just enjoying this – he had expected it. Already 1-0 on the night, it was 4-1 on aggregate and his team were on course to win the seventh title they have collected in only 18 months under him.By the end, it was 2-0, 5-1 on aggregate, after Karim Benzema added a second past the half-hour. Madrid had the victory, the title and the promise of more, too. Past 1am they paraded the trophy and if the silverware was something to celebrate, the sense of security was another. Such a contrast to Barcelona, who stood and watched them collect it, well beaten. Maybe that had been expressed best in Zidane’s smile. The opening goal had the ingredients to be a surprise but did not feel like one, somehow. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:14:29 GMT)

Amateur boxing president Wu’s reign set to end as federations back opponents
• Letters seen by Guardian back Aiba interim management committee• Wu to learn his fate at extraordinary congress in Dubai in NovemberWu Ching-kuo’s controversial 11-year reign at the top of amateur boxing’s governing body, Aiba, looks to be drawing to a close after an overwhelming number of the sport’s biggest nations and federations indicated they backed the president’s opponents in the bitter power struggle that has rocked the sport.Wu, who has been accused of “financial mismanagement” and “collecting substantial funds from Aiba for personal use in his Taipei office” by those trying to depose him, will learn his fate an extraordinary congress in Dubai in November. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:00:09 GMT)

Scott Sinclair double inspires classy Celtic to march towards group stages
Celtic will have only complacency to guard against when they make the long trip to Kazakhstan for Tuesday’s Champions League play-off second leg. Their cause in the east end of Glasgow was assisted by two Astana own goals but with five in total to protect them in the return game, their place in the group draw is all but assured. Related: Celtic 5-0 Astana: Champions League play-off first leg – as it happened Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 22:16:00 GMT)

Suzann Pettersen out of Solheim Cup firing line after suffering back injury
• Norwegian forced out of European team at Des Moines• Pettersen involved in controversy with Alison Lee at 2015 eventThe Solheim Cup has been denied its pantomime villain, in a playing capacity at least. Wednesday’s news that a back problem has forced Suzann Pettersen out of the European team for this weekend’s event in Iowa would be notable enough – she has played eight times in the Solheim Cup – without the colourful backdrop. Related: Solheim Cup 2015: USA roar back to win after bitter row on 17th green Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:03:14 GMT)

Fight commission allows lighter gloves for Mayweather-McGregor fight
Fighters will wear eight-ounce rather than 10-ounce glovesDoctors express concern about exemption for 26 August boutFloyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor will fight with smaller gloves, though not nearly as small as the ones McGregor is used to wearing.Nevada boxing regulators on Wednesday gave the two fighters an exemption to a rule requiring 10-ounce gloves, approving eight-ounce gloves for the bout, which takes places on 26 August. Representatives of both fighters appeared before the Nevada Athletic Commission to request the waiver. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:47:49 GMT)

News and tips: BHA to publish non-runner league table in October
• Move to reduce withdrawal numbers welcomed by punter and jockey bodies• We’ve always favoured a targeted approach, says NTF’s Rupert ArnoldA league table showing which trainers are most likely to have non-runners will be published by the sport’s ruling body in October and updated regularly as part of a determined push to reduce withdrawal numbers. The news was welcomed by bodies representing punters and jockeys and met with a more guarded welcome from the National Trainers Federation, which has managed to water down some of the proposals in consultation with the British Horseracing Authority.But the league table, which will leave no doubt as to which trainers have the highest ratio of non-runners to entrants, meets with the NTF’s approval, even though a small number of its members could be embarrassed by the outcome and will be at risk of losing their right to self-certify that a horse is lame or otherwise unfit to run. “It fits with the policy we have had over non-runners,” said Rupert Arnold, the NTF chief executive. “We’ve always favoured a targeted approach, rather than changes to the rules that would affect everybody. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:01:04 GMT)

Football transfer rumours: Philippe Coutinho close to joining Barcelona?
Today’s tell-all is counting the minutes to deadline day Shortly after Real Madrid paraded the trophy with which they’d just been presented for thrashing Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate in the Spanish Super Cup, the general manager of their vanquished opponents emerged with some consolatory news for his club’s fans. “[Philippe] Coutinho and [Ousmane] Dembélé are both close,” said Pep Segura in an interview with Spanish television. “We are hopeful that they will end up wearing the Barça shirt. Until deals are closed I can’t say anything. We know we have to help the team and reinforce it and that’s what we are doing.”While Borussia Dortmund forward Dembélé remains suspended indefinitely by his club (presumably until they are no longer his club), Coutinho has been reporting for duty at Liverpool’s training ground despite being sidelined from meaningful action with a “back complaint” that the Mill feels just a little bit guilty about putting in inverted commas. Spanish news outlet Mundo Deportivo say Coutinho is ready to emulate his compatriot Diego Costa by downing tools in an effort to force a move, even if it means spending a season rotting in the stan … ah, let’s not kid ourselves, he’ll be a Barcelona player by close of play on deadline day. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:05:24 GMT)

Ashleigh Barty topples Venus Williams to claim biggest scalp of her career
Australian beats world No9 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 at Cincinnati OpenVictory for Barty is her first against a top 10 playerAshleigh Barty will soar above Samantha Stosur in the world rankings after continuing her hot run with a watershed win over seven-times grand slam champion Venus Williams at the Cincinnati Open.The Australian qualifier upset world No9 Williams 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to claim the biggest scalp of her career and advance to the third round of the key US Open lead-up event. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 01:13:42 GMT)

‘This is what you call persecution’: Ronaldo hits out over five-match ban
• Real Madrid forward’s appeal against five-match ban rejected• ‘It’s impossible to stay quiet in this situation, five matches!’Cristiano Ronaldo has called his five-match ban for pushing a referee “exaggerated and ridiculous” and claims he is being persecuted after failing to have the sanction overturned on appeal.During Sunday night’s Spanish Super Cup 3-1 first-leg victory over Barcelona, in which he had scored, the Real Madrid forward reacted badly after being shown a second yellow for diving by the referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea, shoving the official in the back. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:10:13 GMT)

Everton still need striker despite record Sigurdsson signing, says Koeman
• Iceland international completes £45m move to Goodison Park• Everton manager targets striker to replace Romelu LukakuEverton may have just broken their transfer record to sign £45m Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City but as far as Ronald Koeman is concerned the club still has business to do before the transfer window closes. Related: Gylfi Sigurdsson: tireless perfectionist will be worth the wait for Everton | Stuart James Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:49:00 GMT)

Liverpool can play one way and that’s forward, says Simon Mignolet
• Goalkeeper says players knew they had to improve after Watford display• Mignolet saved first-half penalty in Champions League win in HoffenheimSimon Mignolet has said Liverpool are not blind to their defensive flaws and will remedy them thanks to the strength of character within the squad.The Liverpool goalkeeper believes Jürgen Klopp’s team responded well to the Premier League draw at Watford when claiming a valuable win at Hoffenheim in the Champions League play-off first leg on Tuesday. The 29-year-old, who saved a first-half penalty in Germany and produced a fine save to deny Serge Gnabry, admits Liverpool “can only play one way and that is forward” under Klopp. But while the Liverpool manager attracted criticism for the familiar failings that cost his team points at Vicarage Road, Mignolet insists it is the players’ responsibility to improve. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:30:13 GMT)

BBC’s coverage of US PGA was not perfect but criticism has been rough | Ewan Murray
The corporation stepped in to replace Sky at short notice – would it have been better to sit back and allow a blackout?Criticisms of the BBC’s live coverage of the US PGA Championship were as immediate as they were predictable. Peter Alliss, again, was widely described as an anachronism, representing the dated image golf is trying desperately hard to leave behind. That elements of the BBC’s broadcast were only available via red button, or without high definition, was another cause for social media screaming. The slightest gaffe was met with widespread derision and insistence of incompetence.Criticism of the coverage was inevitable from the moment a BBC deal for the Quail Hollow major was confirmed. It was easy to infer minds were made up from as soon as Sky Sports’ loss of the tournament broke. Anything else, surely, was second best. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:14:32 GMT)

Now NHS cuts are stripping basic medicines from the poor | Polly Toynbee
The government tries to deny cuts exist. But some hapless GPs are being forced to stop providing everyday medications to those unable to pay for themThe retreat of the health service is stealthy and haphazard, as a creeping postcode lottery of cuts gradually erodes the “national” in NHS. IVF, hip and knee operations are being cut back randomly in some regions. In some places patients can only get one cataract fixed: seeing with one eye is enough. Related: Leak shows 'devastating' impact of planned NHS cuts in London Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:23:58 GMT)

Did you visit this anti-Trump site? The US government wants your IP address | Trevor Timm
The Department of Justice wants 1.3 million IP addresses of people who visited distruptj20.org. Is reading about protest illegal now?In an unprecedented and dangerous move, President Trump’s Justice Department is threatening to violate the 1st and 4th amendment rights of over a million people by issuing an overboard surveillance request aimed at identifying alleged anti-Trump protesters. The Justice Department is demanding that web hosting provider DreamHost hand over, among many other things, 1.3 million IP addresses – essentially everyone who has ever visited an anti-Trump protest site called disruptj20.org that was organizing protests surrounding Trump inauguration in January. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:00:45 GMT)

Centrists attack the left, but they are the true ideologues | Owen Jones
So-called Labour moderates refuse to diagnose their failures. No wonder they’re out in the coldIf a new so-called centrist party is to be set up, why not call it Denial, or perhaps Hubris? Self-described centrists believe that they are the besieged remnants of political sanity in a world gone mad. To be a centrist, so this story goes, is to be above ideology: pragmatic, focused on “what works”, being grown up. They are the moderate stabilisers, or according to this narrative it is their marginalisation that has opened the way to the extremes. In this centrist worldview, the xenophobic, racist or indeed fascist right are deemed to be politically and morally equivalent to the radical left. Related: Charlottesville: Trump reverts to blaming both sides including 'violent alt-left' Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:00:00 GMT)

The United States was never immune to fascism. Not then, not now | David Motadel
It has never been more important to acknowledge the history of fascism and neo-fascism in America David Motadel is an assistant professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political ScienceAmerica is currently experiencing a wave of increasingly aggressive far-right and neo-fascist activism. Observers have routinely considered fascism an ideology alien to American society. Yet it has deeper roots in American history than most of us have been willing to acknowledge.Consider the interwar period. The crisis years of the 1920s and 1930s not only gave rise to fascist movements across Europe – a moment captured in Ernst Nolte’s classic The Three Faces of Fascism – but around the globe. The United States was no exception. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:00:45 GMT)

I don’t mean to ruin your holiday, but Europe hates tourists – and with good reason | Suzanne Moore
Travel opens our eyes to the world – but it also means closing them. We ignore the hordes of people like us, all of whom want authentic tapas and a photo for InstagramYou are not wanted. You are killing the thing you love. You are ruining everything. You are demanding and noisy and you drink too much. You think the locals are pleased to see you, but they are not. You are, in other words, a tourist.Before you tell me you are not that kind of tourist, that in fact you spend your time sourcing sausage in Puglia or patting peasants on the back in the Languedoc, let me say this: tourism is tourism. Indeed, part of the joy of it is thinking you are better than other tourists. That is the purpose of travel writing – it is a glorious display of consumer discernment. If you are 18, or just a little daft, you may prefer to call yourself a “traveller”. This means you are having an experience, not a holiday. Tourists expect loo roll; travellers carry their own toilet paper with the cardboard roll taken out. They take tours of slums and favelas because they care more than everybody else. “I am a great traveller, so I have been there and done that.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:37:07 GMT)

The Conservatives’ solution for unaffordable care? No care | Barbara Keeley
Seventy thousand older people with complex needs left to fend for themselves: Tory apathy on social care funding could turn a crisis into a catastrophe• Barbara Keeley, Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South, is shadow minister for social care and mental healthDespite evidence that life expectancy may be stagnating, the century-long rise should be a cause for celebration. However, for too many people – unsure whether they will be able to afford the care they may need or to plan for the future – their later years are proving to be a time of fear and uncertainty. Related: UK needs 71,000 more care home places in eight years, study predicts Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:32:00 GMT)

With every sneer, liberals just make Trump stronger | Simon Jenkins
Critics seem obsessed with attacking the president. They would better off reaching out to his supportersDid I tell you Donald Trump is a vulgar, foul-mouthed, meat-faced, 71-year-old redneck buffoon? To be honest, he is a fossil-fuel guzzling, Big Mac-eating, pussy-grabbing, racist dick. He has hubris syndrome with paranoid narcissistic disorder. Do you read his tweets? The English is dreadful. How can a man run the country who is so uncouth, with that hair, those ties, those baggy suits? He is a Ba’athist generalissimo, the president of a banana republic. He is anti-Christ. There. Does that make you feel better?All the above phrases are culled from a brief Google scan on the current American president. They reflect a melange of national shame, liberal trauma, snobbery and class hatred. They extend across the Atlantic and around the world. They assume two things. One is that Trump is so appalling it is inconceivable he could win a second term in office. The other is that deploying the same language as he did to win office is the best way to send him packing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:03:53 GMT)

Steve Bell on the prime minister's visit to the Queen Elizabeth II – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:51:04 GMT)

I was in Charlottesville. Trump was wrong about violence on the left | Jason Wilson
Jason Wilson, who was in Charlottesville during the white nationalist rally, says the record must be cleared: counter-protesters came in peaceDonald Trump said many things over the course of his press conference yesterday. Some of those things cannot be allowed to stand.I was in Charlottesville over the weekend, and Trump’s characterization of the events there is flatly wrong. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 22:09:17 GMT)

Brexit is a chance for farming reform – but we must get the policy right | Ngaire Woods
Brexiteers argue UK agriculture will be more competitive once freed from the CAP, but the sector needs political supportThe United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union no doubt carries many risks. But, if British politicians and business leaders are right, it also creates an important opportunity: the possibility of building a safer, greener, more efficient, and more innovative farming sector. If the UK manages to seize this opportunity, the EU, the United States and other economies with highly protected agricultural sectors might follow suit.As it stands, large parts of UK agriculture are locked into the EU’s common agricultural policy, which is accused of driving the sector toward larger, more industrial and more environmentally damaging practices, including by failing to support farm diversity and directing payments to Britain’s wealthiest landowners. A 2005 investigation found that the £3bn ($3.9bn) in subsidies that the UK receives from the CAP went largely to major agribusiness and food-manufacturing companies, such as Nestlé, Cadbury, and Kraft. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:21:07 GMT)

The Guardian view on vaginal mesh implants: trust data and patients | Editorial
The devices have benefited a large number of women – but thousands have suffered serious adverse effectsThe numbers tell their own tale. Thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed after suffering complications. Around one in 15 of those fitted with the most common type of mesh have required operations, according to NHS data obtained by the Guardian. In short, the problems are much more widespread than previously acknowledged. The removal rate was previously estimated at less than 1%.But numbers are not enough. Each case is a woman with a disturbing story; and listening is as important as tallying them. Carolyn Churchill had to give up work after she was left in agony, with persistent bleeding. Yet she said she was made to feel like a baby for complaining. Others describe being left unable to walk or have sex – and of being assured that the implant was not responsible. So even this data under-represents the problem. Women may not be referred for removal, or may decide against it given the risks. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:40:38 GMT)

Clarence House should release Prince Charles’s Scottish spider memos | David McClure
What the heir to the throne has to say about teacher training may well be of less import than the issue of secrecy surrounding his correspondencePrince Charles’s black spider memos are now crawling into the realm of Scottish politics. After penning these in his scratchy hand on everything from foxhunting in the English shires to the National Gallery extension in London, the Duke of Rothesay (as he is known north of the border) has turned his quill to matters close to Caledonian hearts: keeping educational standards high.The Guardian revealed on Monday that Scottish ministers have refused to release documents allegedly showing that the prince and his office had lobbied them in 2012 to reform the teacher training system. He was acting on behalf of the charity Teach First, of which he is patron and which now hopes to win a contract for a £1m scheme to fast-track university graduates through a six-week course with on-the-job training, in preference to the full one-year diploma. The charity has already done similar work in England and Wales, where it earns £2,600 for each recruit. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:46:51 GMT)

The Guardian view on Donald Trump: beyond the moral pale | Editorial
The US president has gone even further than before in condoning the racist right. He must pay the price, at home and abroadIn his angry and undignified press conference on Tuesday night, Donald Trump deliberately and shockingly crossed the line that separates the acceptable and the unacceptable in the conduct of an elected democratic leader in a multiracial society. Mr Trump must now face the consequences of this momentous and inexcusable decision. Those consequences should include the way that the leaders of multiracial European nations, including Britain, conduct their dealings with the US president from this moment on.On Saturday, Mr Trump had already equivocated between America’s white racists and its anti-racists, after clashes in Charlottesville in which an anti-racist protester was killed by a car driven by a neo-Nazi activist. Mr Trump’s evasions drew widespread and instant condemnation, not least from within his own party. On Monday, he then read out a statement, clearly written by others, that sought to repair the damage. But the very next day, speaking with his own voice, he trashed his own retraction. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:46:55 GMT)

The fallout from Trump closing down his advisory panels is just beginning | Nils Pratley
A breakdown in relations between business chiefs and President Trump will damage confidence and hurt share pricesAmerica’s chief executives finally seem to have got the message about President Trump. There is little benefit in trying to maintain sweet relations with a president whose ability to deliver tax cuts is fading by the day. But there is real reputational risk in being the last corporate suit still lending him support.With the bosses resigning in droves from Trump’s two advisory councils, the president was obliged to take matters into his own hands by disbanding both panels. This was done to relieve “pressure” on the business people, he tweeted. But the way events were running, there would have been nobody left by the end of the week. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:29:37 GMT)

Trains are too expensive. But transport’s real problem is subsidies for London | Wanda Wyporska
Larger rail and bus subsidies for the capital and south-east mean many on low incomes lose out. The government needs to prioritise transport in poorer areasIf there is one piece of news guaranteed to draw ire from embattled commuters, it is the annual hiking of season rail ticket fares. As anyone forced to endure the nightmarish vagaries of public transport can attest, whatever the cost of a seat (if you’re lucky enough to get a seat), commuting on trains that are often overcrowded and late rarely feels like value for money. With price hikes of 3.6% now expected for many – the biggest annual increase in five years, at a time when average wages aren’t going up – there are fresh calls for a freezing of rail fares and nationalisation. Related: Rail users face steepest fare rise in five years as inflation hits 3.6% Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:59:24 GMT)

Transitioning from elite sport to the 'real world' can take its toll on mental health | Simon Orchard
Nothing can replace the joy sport brings and establishing a new identity in a world without what had previously defined you is mentally taxingIt was the fictional fashionista, Derek Zoolander, who asked himself, “Who am I?” as he peered poignantly into a puddle that bore his own reflection in the 2001 cult classic Zoolander, only moments after losing the male model of the year award to his arch rival, Hansel.In defeat, he lost his identity. If he wasn’t the best model on the planet anymore, then who the hell was he? The movie jests, but I have seriously asked myself the same question several times in the last 12 months during the “transition”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:00:09 GMT)

A new British identity is key to Brexit’s success. So who do we want to be? | Timothy J Oliver
We need more than just breezy assertions about free trade – the Brexit identity crisis is consuming the entire country, and not helping our standing with the EUThere are a lot of productive ways in which to analyse Brexit – why it happened, how it’s developing, and how it may turn out. One of the most interesting is to look at the idea of an identity to understand both why the process is proving so painful for the UK, and also why the rest of Europe still seems so confused about why the UK is engaging in this process at all. Related: UK government rejects EU claim that its Brexit customs plan is 'fantasy' Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:02:43 GMT)

So how does Brexit Britain look to the world now? Urbane but unhinged | Rafael Behr
The country has come to resemble the Hollywood villain whose style and refinement masks the fact that they are completely derangedHollywood recognised long ago that a British accent makes a fine complement to cold-hearted villainy. George Sanders’ laconic aristo-drawl as the voice of Shere Khan in Disney’s adaptation of The Jungle Book is a personal favourite, but the competition is close: James Mason in North by Northwest; Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.It works because of the tension between suavity and cruelty. Refined manners are supposed to be the stylistic opposite of violence. So there is something chilling about the polite fanatic. And politeness is integral to Britain’s international brand. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:00:30 GMT)

Sport has always been political – even before Trump came to the party | Marina Hyde
In the wake of Charlottesville, protests against the president and his administration will only get louder and the sporting world is no exceptionOf all the reasons for resigning from Donald Trump’s “American Manufacturing Council” in the wake of the president’s reaction to the Nazi rally in Charlottesville, the one offered on Tuesday by Under Armour chief executive Kevin Plank felt the most wilfully naive. According to the boss of the sportswear firm, he was stepping down because “Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics”.Oh dear. I’m not quite sure what Plank imagined he was getting Under Armour into when he took his seat on Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, but I can’t believe he really is so dim that he thought it was just an American manufacturing council. Furthermore, I can’t believe he doesn’t realise that big-time sport and politics are indivisible. Never mind most of the last century – has he been watching the last few years on tape delay? Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:11:41 GMT)

The president of the United States is now a neo-Nazi sympathiser | Richard Wolffe
Donald Trump’s press conference was a grotesque display of empathy for violent racists. At least it united the Republicans in disgust at their presidentDonald Trump the neo-Nazi sympathizer has achieved what Donald Trump the president has singularly failed to do: unite the nation.An immensely fractured country – riven by race, class, culture and politics – finds itself transfixed by one grotesque display of empathy for violent racists. These are the same violent racists whom White House aides previously called, in remarks that Trump read out loudly and very carefully: “Criminals and thugs.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 02:37:24 GMT)

Jon Pointing review – a cringeworthy new comic monster is unleashed
Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Pointing’s egocentric creep Cayden Hunter and his spoof acting masterclass is mesmerisingly ghastly and deliciously daft Towards the end of last summer’s Edinburgh festival, tongues started wagging about Jon Pointing’s below-the-radar work-in-progress show in a graveyard shift on the free fringe. His spoof acting masterclass is back this year, developed to full length, transferred to the Pleasance Courtyard, and justifying the hype. Pointing masquerades as theatre guru Cayden Hunter – touchy-feely but thin-skinned, colossal of ego and microscopic in self-knowledge. He is the David Brent of the trust exercise and the improv game. Like Brent, Hunter at his best is so convincing you’d think his creator must be intimately familiar with his own inner prat. Or that, forced into contact with prats, he’s studied them (and his revenge on them) in minute detail.In love with himself and patronising his audience, Hunter channels more bullshit than the sluice gates at a dairy farm. “There’s no maps for the kind of roads we’re travelling down,” he purrs. He is, in short, a creep – and yet (to Pointing’s credit) the text isn’t that improbable. Tweak the caricature down a notch, and this acting class – with its talk of risk and danger, its fetishising of “the truth”, poorly defined – is but an ace away from credible reality. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:16:24 GMT)

Education, Education, Education review – 90s school play is smartly entertaining
Pleasance Dome, EdinburghTaking Tony Blair’s mantra as a starting point and using a Spice Girls and Oasis soundtrack, Wardrobe Ensemble’s farce tells us much about the state of teachingIt’s 1997 and Tony Blair has just been elected prime minister, Katrina and the Waves have won the Eurovision song contest and Cool Britannia is starting to swing. It’s not a moment too soon for Wordsworth Comprehensive, a school close to special measures where some pupils have been taught in temporary cabins for the last 20 years. Blair’s mantra “education, education, education”, and the promise of an injection of funding, have buoyed the spirits in the staff room as muck-up day approaches and year 11 go off to revise for their GCSEs. Take That, the Spice Girls and Oasis provide the soundtrack for the Wardrobe Ensemble’s look at our education system, but like the company’s brilliant 1972: The Future of Sex, this is no nostalgia fest. With action seen through the beady eyes of German teacher Tobias (James Newton, very funny), who is doing a placement at the school, it offers a searching look at how schools are blown hither and thither by changing governments, ideologies and education theories, and how children are simply sausages in the machine to be squeezed into uniform shape. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 05:00:03 GMT)

Arab arts showcase at Edinburgh fringe beset by visa difficulties
Nearly a quarter of the performers have had their visas denied more than once and one show has been cancelled completelyThe first showcase of Arab arts at the Edinburgh Fringe has been forced to cancel and completely rework several productions after nearly a quarter of the visas for their performers and organisers were refused more than once. Related: The 10 best jokes from the Edinburgh fringe Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:00:01 GMT)

Standups on why they quit comedy: 'I have nightmares about having to do it again'
She may be one of the favourites for this year’s Edinburgh Comedy awards, but Hannah Gadsby is about to call time on her career. Here, Gadsby, Patrick Marber, Natalie Haynes and Simon Fanshawe explain why they hung up their microphones‘Comedy’s a joke,” growls Hannah Gadsby, moments into her new show, Nanette. “There’s only so long I can pretend not to be serious.” Nanette has already won the Barry award at Melbourne International Comedy festival and is among the favourites to bag Edinburgh’s top prize, too. So why has Gadsby announced that it is to be her last ever standup show? Related: From scissor attacks to diabetes improv: comedians' weirdest gigs Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:00:30 GMT)

Mouthpiece review – bathtub drama pulls the plug on everyday sexism
CanadaHub at King’s Hall, Edinburgh Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava play one woman, sometimes at war with each other and sometimes in harmony, in a beautifully performed showA woman struggles to get to the microphone to make a speech and is physically restrained by another who also grabs for the mic but is sabotaged. When these women do open their mouths, they find they have no voice. Related: Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:26:32 GMT)

Fringe views – why politics is yuge at Edinburgh this year
It was once almost a taboo at the festival, but just about every performer this year, from the SNP’s Alex Salmond to an Irish wizard creating a kids’ utopia, wants to talk politics. But when the real world is so extreme, is it all beyond a joke? You can’t move for politics in Edinburgh. Whether it’s a practical guide to democracy for kids, or a big-name politician with more time on his hands than he would have wished for, politics is everywhere.And in Scotland you don’t get much bigger than the Scottish National party’s Alex Salmond, former first minister of the Scottish parliament and, until three months ago, MP for Gordon. Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:39:12 GMT)

DollyWould: Sh!t Theatre's fringe tribute to the country singer and the cloned sheep
Performance artists Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit are known for their political shows but their latest was designed to be ‘pure fun’The theatrical double-act Sh!t Theatre got their name as a joke. Founders Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit heard the sort of work they do – performance art combined with theatrical improvisation – described as “just shit theatre”. But the self-deprecating designation caused problems for broadcasters. “The first time we ever appeared on radio,” remembers Mothersole, “it was to talk about a show called Sh!t Theatre Presents Sh!t Theatre, and we were told that we couldn’t say the name of the company or the production. Which obviously made marketing it quite hard.” The duo have since won a Fringe First award at Edinburgh and they received Arts Council funding for their latest project, DollyWould, which is one of the standout shows at this year’s fringe. Applications for public funding must be supported by a mission statement, which, the women admit, was difficult to write in support of DollyWould. Having previously made shows that were documentary based and political – Guinea Pigs on Trial concerned medical research, while Job Seekers Anonymous was about the benefits system – they wanted to create a piece that was “pure fun”, exploring their joint obsession with Dolly Parton, who they admire for her musical theatricality and consider a lesbian icon. Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 16:00:14 GMT)

The 10 best jokes from the Edinburgh fringe
From infidelity to insomnia and taxidermy … the funniest gags we have heard so far from this year’s standup showsEdinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommendFrom scissor attacks to diabetes improv: comedians’ weirdest gigsRobert Garnham: Insomnia is awful. But on the plus side – only three more sleeps till Christmas.Dan Antopolski: Centaurs shop at Topman. And Bottomhorse. Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:03:33 GMT)

Palmyra review – smashing fable about power, ego and war
Summerhall, EdinburghThe duo who created Eurohouse shift from comic to tragic in a brilliant piece that reflects on Syria and the breakdown of relationshipsThe woman beside me in the audience has been entrusted with a hammer. From the stage Bertrand Lesca is demanding she hands it over to him. At the back of the stage Nasi Voutsas is imploring her not to do so, his eyes large and frightened like a whipped animal. The atmosphere in the theatre is tense and the anxiety rises as Lesca brings in a third party, Oscar, and asks the woman to give the hammer to him. “But I don’t know Oscar,” says the woman firmly, standing her ground and refusing to pass it over. It’s one of several stunning standoffs in this latest piece by the duo who brought us Eurohouse, a brilliant two-hander that sorrowfully wondered how the founding ideals of the EU have crumbled to the point that Europe’s larger and more economically prosperous states can bully the poorer ones. Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:07:36 GMT)

An Indiana Jones spoof and the destruction of Palmyra – the six best shows at Edinburgh fringe 2017
Six of the best from Edinburgh including Mat Ewins’ barrage of one-liners, a German teacher placement at a secondary school and a transgender journey Pleasance Courtyard Building on the success of her 2016 show about sexism in comedy, the no-nonsense Welshwoman delivers a lean and effective set about a year spent volunteering with vulnerable kids. It doesn’t sound funny, but it really is, thanks to her brusque wit and a high quotient of thoughtful, self-lacerating jokes. BLRead the full review Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:57:50 GMT)

Requiem for Aleppo: 'I couldn't keep watching the news. I had to do something'
A hard-hitting new dance show uses the stories of Syrians to capture the horrors of Aleppo – and the hope that will not dieLast summer, David Cazalet was busy running the cybersecurity firm he had started 18 years earlier, but he found himself increasingly preoccupied and disturbed by the news from Syria. He would watch the 10 o’clock bulletin with mounting dismay. “There was a sense of horror at seeing hospitals being bombed and kids being killed – and then seeing it slip down the news agenda. I had a sense of total powerlessness.”Most people have probably had similar feelings of helplessness when confronted with catastrophic footage from war zones, but Cazalet’s response was unusual. He decided to sit down and compose a requiem, hoping to raise money for Syrian charities from performances. “I couldn’t go on watching the television and seeing Aleppo. I thought I’d like to do something through music and dance. I went to bed every night at 10, got up at four and wrote for three hours.” Continue reading...
(Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:14:39 GMT)

Javaad Alipoor: 'The response to radicalism is to shut down debate for young people'
In his ambitious Edinburgh show The Believers Are But Brothers, Alipoor invites audiences to experience the world of young disaffected men onlineJavaad Alipoor is interweaving a series of stories that take us from a prison cell in Egypt in 1957 to George Bush’s post 9/11 declaration that, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” and beyond to the war in Syria. Alongside Alipoor on stage, a young man sits hunched behind a screen, typing feverishly on his laptop. Images pop up, taken from Islamic State propaganda sites and 4Chan – one of the haunts of the alt-right and a place where young, disaffected men post pornographic, racist and misogynist material. Related: Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 06:00:06 GMT)

John Robins review – painfully funny account of breaking up with Sara Pascoe
Pleasance Courtyard, EdinburghThe standup provides near-constant laughs in a startlingly honest, high-powered show that spares no one – least of all himselfSara Pascoe: LadsLadsLads review – breakup tales from a woman rebornCan things get any worse for John Robins? At Christmas, he was dumped by his partner of four years, Sara Pascoe. She’s now performing a hit Edinburgh show that’s candid to the point of cruelty about their breakup. I’d fear for the man’s wellbeing were his own show on the subject to be eclipsed by hers. Happy to report, then, that it’s every bit as good. Not only is Robins extremely forthright about his emotional wretchedness post-breakup, he’s also consistently, uproariously funny. The two moods don’t contradict, they complement – which is an impressive feat.“My flatmate’s left,” is how he kickstarts this standup cri de cœur. The truth hurts, and Robins needs coping mechanisms: calling her “flatmate”, expressing his feelings in a chirpy cockney accent. The first half recounts his new life in “Grief Mansions”, staring, buying bad furniture (because he can) and itemising the trivial pros and crushing cons (“one-all!”) of no longer being Mr Pascoe. Recollecting that relationship’s petty frustrations, he paints a merciless picture of himself as a neurotic, socially maladroit manchild. “I would leave me too,” he announces, at the show’s emotional nadir. Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:41:28 GMT)

Sara Schaefer: the breakout comic on trashing Trump and bombing on stage
After writing gigs on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, the American standup is heading for the big time via a show at the Edinburgh festival fringeLosing control of your bladder in a grocery store. Being bullied at school for using men’s deodorant. Getting posture problems as a result of walking with a constant stoop to hide your flat chest. These and other harrowingly embarrassing tales are the stock-in-trade of Sara Schaefer, the latest potential US comedy superstar to head to the Edinburgh festival fringe. In recent years, Trevor Noah and Michael Che both played the fringe as near-unknowns before getting their current jobs at The Daily Show and SNL respectively. Schaefer could well be set for similarly great things. Related: Laugh a minute: Edinburgh festival's 2017 comedy lineup Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:00:09 GMT)

Edinburgh festival shows examine mental health – with sticky tape and silliness
After the recent fringe hits Every Brilliant Thing and Fake It ’Til You Make It, a new crop of theatre productions are taking startling approaches to exploring mental illnessAt the 2014 Edinburgh fringe, the trailblazing Every Brilliant Thing – written by Duncan Macmillan and performed by Jonny Donahoe – talked to us about depression in a refreshingly warm, open and honest way. A year later, Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn’s Fake It ’Til You Make It tackled the taboo subject of male depression and was one of a number of fringe shows exploring mental distress. This year there are so many that a new award has been introduced for shows about mental illness. Talking about it, particularly depression, is the new coming out. As Viki Browne says at the end of her show Help!: “Don’t keep it a secret.” Related: Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend Continue reading...
(Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:13:11 GMT)

Mark Thomas review – comic gambles on his audience in a lively show
Summerhall, Edinburgh The political comic mixes debate about Britain’s future with confessional memoir in an odd hybrid that solicits contributions from the crowdMark Thomas has called this latest fringe outing The Show that Gambles on the Future, which you’d peg as a reference to Britain’s Brexit vote. It isn’t, or not explicitly. The campaigning comic’s new set (he alternates these days between standup and solo theatre shows) is an interactive affair, soliciting audience proposals for what the near-future holds. Thomas then reads out these written submissions, joking about some, canvassing support for others, and peeling off to perform standup about growing up in south London at the heel of a terrifying dad. Related: Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend Continue reading...
(Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:31:14 GMT)

Alex Salmond ... Unleashed review – Edinburgh show is all bark and no bite
Assembly Rooms, EdinburghThe former first minister of Scotland and ex-MP promises a political kiss and tell, but while a convivial host, fails to deliver the goodsWhen the former first minister of Scotland and now ex-MP Alex Salmond announced this last-minute fringe run, it sold out faster than you can say “independence in Europe”. Perhaps punters were seduced by the promise of (as the title runs) “Alex Salmond ... Unleashed”. He’s been promising to kiss and tell, hinting on the Today programme at a story involving – of all things – sado-masochism and Kirsty Wark. Sure enough, the show begins (after a rousing reception from the crowd) with Salmond theatrically removing his tie. He’s buttoned up no more, and we buckle up for juicy gossip from behind the scenes of Scottish and UK politics.But that’s not what we get. Instead, Unleashed is an hour of music, clubbable chat with a special guest, and some reflections on Scotland’s historical ties to Europe. (Each show will have a different theme.) Today’s visitor, greeted with surprise by the crowd, is the “Brexit bulldog”, David Davis – to whom we have to be nice, Salmond instructs us, because they’re pals. If we hadn’t been told, we’d guess from the chummy conversation that follows. Two old guys, two upholstered leather armchairs: think gentleman’s club and you wouldn’t be wide of the mark. Continue reading...
(Sun, 13 Aug 2017 16:29:51 GMT)

Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend
Plan your viewing with our list of top shows, ordered by start time. This page will be updated throughout the festival Continue reading...
(Tue, 15 Aug 2017 16:57:17 GMT)

Rowdy, rude and darkly funny: Scottish standups at the Edinburgh festival
Scott Gibson returns to the fringe after winning the best newcomer award in 2016. Can Scotland’s comedians triumph again this time?Fringe history was made last year when, for the first time, Scottish performers walked off with both major comedy awards: best show and best newcomer. Native talent had seldom bothered the shortlists previously, and some hope this double whammy might inspire emerging acts to follow where – over the last decade – Frankie Boyle, Susan Calman and Kevin Bridges have sporadically led. Others, better versed in local comedians’ vexed relationship with their home-turf festival, sound a note of caution. “There’ll be comics in Scotland who heard the result and went, ‘Brilliant!’,” said 2016 best newcomer Scott Gibson. “And there’ll be others who say, ‘Well, that’s us for another 25 years!’ That’s how we think, and it’s stupid.” Related: Laugh a minute: Edinburgh festival's 2017 comedy lineup Continue reading...
(Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:25:06 GMT)

Pope Francis says sexual abuse by priests is an 'absolute monstrosity' in new book
In foreword to memoir by survivor of clerical abuse, pope promises action but critics say he has not done enough to hold perpetrators to accountPope Francis has branded sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests a “monstrosity” and pledged action against perpetrators and bishops who protected them.The pope made the comments in the foreword of a new book titled Father, I Forgive You: Abused But Not Broken, written by Swiss man Daniel Pittet, who was first raped by a priest when he was eight years old. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 01:03:32 GMT)

Learndirect blames government cuts for damning Ofsted report
UK’s largest adult training provider had sought to suppress regulator’srating of ‘inadequate’Learndirect, the UK’s largest adult training provider, has blamed the government’s austerity programme for its failure to meet the education regulator’s minimum quality standards.The company, which was privatised by David Cameron’s coalition government in 2011, on Thursday complained that being forced to “manage a reduction in central government funding” was part of the reason why its standards had deteriorated so sharply that Ofsted declared it an “inadequate provider”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:45:54 GMT)

Cornish seafood restaurant topples L'Enclume to be named best in UK
Cornish seafood specialist Nathan Outlaw ousts Cumbria’s L’Enclume, while guide complains of loud music at other eateriesA Cornish seafood restaurant has been crowned the best in the UK in an annual food guide, elbowing Cumbria’s L’Enclume into second place after four years on top.The restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac, named after its chef founder and owner, has been awarded the No 1 spot in The Good Food Guide 2018 after notching up a perfect score of 10 for the second year running. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:52:49 GMT)

Muslim radio host sues Daily Stormer for claim he 'masterminded' Manchester bombing
Neo-Nazi website used fake tweets to suggest Dean Obeidallah planned bombing of Ariana Grande concert, US lawsuit statesA Muslim-American radio host has sued the publisher of the Daily Stormer, saying it defamed him by falsely labelling him the “mastermind” of the Ariana Grande concert bombing in the UK.Dean Obeidallah said the neo-Nazi site embedded fabricated messages in a story on 1 June to make it seem like they were sent from his Twitter account, tricking readers into believing he took responsibility for the terrorist attack of 22 May in Manchester. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:49:18 GMT)

B&Q owner Kingfisher's sales hammered by bad weather
UK sales of seasonal goods such as barbecues and garden furniture fall by more than 10% in the second quarterKingfisher, Europe’s largest home improvement retailer, reported another fall in quarterly sales on Thursday, hurt by a slowdown at its B&Q business in the UK, weak sales in France and continued disruption from its restructuring plan. The firm, which trades as B&Q and Screwfix in Britain and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other markets, said it remained cautious on the outlook for the second half. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:08:30 GMT)

Fire chief criticises terms of inquiry into Grenfell Tower blaze
Investigation under Martin Moore-Bick seems designed to protect Whitehall from scrutiny, says head of Fire Brigades UnionThe head of the Fire Brigades Union, whose members rushed to save Grenfell Tower residents, has criticised the failure to have the judge-led inquiry into the disaster look at its social and political context.Matt Wrack said that under its current terms the investigation would fail to answer crucial questions. He said it seemed designed to protect Whitehall from scrutiny and would exacerbate the hurt felt by survivors and the families of those who died. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 22:45:40 GMT)

Sarah Champion resigns as shadow equalities minister
Labour MP wrote controversial article in the Sun saying ‘Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping white girls’Sarah Champion distances herself from Sun articleSarah Champion has resigned as shadow equalities minister after a controversial article published in the Sun newspaper in which she wrote: “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”The MP for Rotherham had initially tried to distance herself from the article, but she said she was concerned her position in the shadow cabinet had become a distraction after it emerged her aides had signed off on the piece. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:28:28 GMT)

Corbyn attacks PM's failure to condemn Trump over far-right defence
Labour leader says Theresa May ‘cannot remain silent’ on US president after his comments in wake of Charlottesville rallyJeremy Corbyn has criticised Theresa May for failing to directly condemn Donald Trump after the US president defended some of the far-right activists who took part in a racist rally in Charlottesville.The Labour leader said May’s response did not go far enough to put pressure on Trump, who is still officially invited to the UK for a state visit hosted by the Queen. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:07:52 GMT)

Labour accuses culture secretary over BBC and Ofcom 'interference'
Tom Watson says Karen Bradley should not have asked media regulator to set more quotas for BBC contentLabour has accused the government of interfering with the independence of the BBC and Ofcom after the culture secretary demanded that the media regulator should scrutinise the broadcaster more closely.Tom Watson, Labour’s shadow culture secretary, said Karen Bradley had made a “serious mistake” by writing to Ofcom to call for the media regulator to set more quotas for the BBC’s radio and TV content and to hold the broadcaster to account over the diversity of its on-screen and off-screen workforce. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:00:01 GMT)

BBC accuses Channel 4 of 'cynical move' in Bake Off scheduling clash
Corporation moves The Big Family Cooking Showdown to new slot to prevent ratings war with hit show poached by rivalThe BBC has accused Channel 4 of a “cynical move” by scheduling the return of the The Great British Bake Off against its new cooking programme The Big Family Cooking Showdown, sparking a fresh clash between the broadcasters over the most popular show on British television last year.Channel 4 will air the first episode of The Great British Bake Off since it controversially poached the programme from the BBC on Tuesday 29 August at 8pm, clashing with the slot for The Big Family Cooking Showdown, which started this week on the BBC. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:03:43 GMT)

Survival of premature babies more likely now than in mid-1990s, study shows
Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy are also less likely to have severe disabilities, although some risk of delayed development remains Premature babies born in recent years are more likely to survive and less likely to have severe disabilities than those born in the mid-1990s, research has revealed.According to the World Health Organisation, around 15 million babies worldwide are born before the 37th week of pregnancy every year, with premature babies at higher risk of severe disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, as well as a greater chance of delayed development of language and motor skills. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 22:30:14 GMT)

Home evacuated after sinkhole appears in West Midlands driveway
Three-metre wide and 3.65m deep depression in Wednesbury is in area honeycombed by old mine workings A three-metre (10ft) wide sinkhole has opened up beneath a driveway at a house in the West Midlands, and appears to be growing.What began as a small depression underneath the front tyre of the homeowner’s car in Wednesbury, near Walsall, is now 3.65 metres deep. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:00:12 GMT)

Lithuanian man pleads guilty to manslaughter after attack on woman
Tautrydas Narbutas hit Albertina Choules, 81, about the head and set her body alight at her Buckinghamshire homeA man has admitted killing an 81-year-old widow and setting her body on fire at her £2m rural home.Tautrydas Narbutas, 24, denied murdering Albertina Choules, whose charred body was found in her garden in Buckinghamshire after she had been hit about the head and set alight. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 20:44:12 GMT)

Learndirect owners still winning government-approved contracts
Learndirect Apprenticeships Ltd, a separate entity created in September 2016, has won contracts to train about 3,000 peopleThe owners of Learndirect are continuing to win government-approved apprenticeship contracts despite their original company failing to meet the government’s minimum standards.The private equity owners of Learndirect Limited, which is expected to be given the lowest possible grade by the education watchdog Ofsted and to lose all its Department for Education contracts, created Learndirect Apprenticeships Limited, which has gone on to win contracts to train about 3,000 people. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:27:48 GMT)

Rashan Charles death: coroner delays inquest until June 2018
Cause of young black man’s death remains unknown following adjournment to allow police watchdog to complete investigationThe cause of death of Rashan Charles, a young black man who died after a police chase in London, is still be confirmed, after a coroner set the date of an inquest for next summer.Charles, 20, whose death on 22 July sparked protests and violent clashes with officers in east London, was seen running into a shop on Kingsland Road in Dalston, where he was apprehended by a police officer. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:11:04 GMT)

UK car buyers turn to secondhand vehicles
Figures suggesting new car market is cooling could alleviate concerns over credit bubble in motor financeThe British car market is coming under increasing pressure as consumers turn away from buying new models after a squeeze on earnings, favouring secondhand cars instead. Figures show the number of used cars bought using finance increased by 7% in June compared with the same month a year ago, according to the Finance and Leasing Association, which represents about 86% of borrowing against vehicles in the UK. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:16:50 GMT)

Officials put dampener on Theresa May's call not to silence Big Ben
House of Commons commission says plans to silence London landmark for renovation work will go ahead despite PM’s objection Parliamentary officials have issued a defiant statement saying plans to silence Big Ben for renovation work will go ahead, after Theresa May criticised proposals to silence the chimes for the next four years.Officials said the decision to stop the bell tolling until 2021 as part of the restoration of the Elizabeth Tower was agreed by three separate parliamentary committees in 2015. MPs were reportedly unaware that this would involve the clock being silenced for four years, double the length of time being taken to negotiate Brexit. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:31:36 GMT)

Chloe Ayling alleged kidnap: police arrest brother of chief suspect
Michal Konrad Herba arrested in West Midlands on European arrest warrantPolice investigating the alleged kidnapping of a British model in Italy have arrested the brother of the chief suspect.Michal Konrad Herba, 36, was apprehended by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) on a European arrest warrant in the West Midlands on Wednesday. He is to appear before a magistrate in London on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:41:03 GMT)

UK's £3bn aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth
Theresa May hails 65,000-tonne ship, saying it represents UK’s determination to remain a fully engaged global powerTens of thousands of people have lined the walls of Portsmouth harbour to welcome the UK’s £3bn aircraft carrier, which has berthed at its home port for the first time. Related: HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth – in pictures Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:32:23 GMT)

Downward spiral: dismayed Walnut Whip lovers react to loss of nut
Twitter users cry sacrilege and blame Brexit for downsizing of chocolate treat after Nestlé relaunches it as WhipIt was bad enough when great glacial valleys appeared between the peaks of Toblerone bars, and the shrinkflation fairy spirited away 15% of the Maltesers in each packet overnight. Outrage has now greeted the launch of a new confection: the Whip, which comes without the crowning walnut in name or in the chocolate flesh. Related: Walnut snip: Nestlé cuts nut out of chocolate after prices surge Continue reading...
(Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:41:48 GMT)

Saudi Arabia to open border with Qatar to let pilgrims attend hajj
Move by King Salman follows the hosting of an envoy from Doha – the first signs of a thaw in the region’s diplomatic crisisSaudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered the reopening of the land border with Qatar to facilitate the annual hajj pilgrimage, according to state media, in one of the first signs of a thaw in the region’s worst diplomatic crisis in years.The Salwa border crossing had been shut after Saudi Arabia, along with Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on 5 June, accusing the emirate of supporting Islamist extremist groups. Continue reading...
(Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:24:45 GMT)

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