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Police thwart suspected terror attack in Westminster
Police say man was arrested near parliament on suspicion of ‘commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism’A suspected terrorist attack was foiled after armed police arrested a man who is alleged to have been found carrying knives near the Houses of Parliament.The Guardian understands the operation was triggered following a tip-off to police by a member of Britain’s Muslim community who was concerned about the man’s behaviour. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:50:51 GMT)

Europe could allow a united Ireland to join EU after Brexit
Leaders expected to discuss statement at weekend summit that if the island reunifies, the north will automatically regain EU membershipEuropean leaders may be preparing to recognise a united Ireland, in a declaration that would pave the way for the north to swiftly rejoin the European Union. At their first Brexit summit on Saturday, the EU’s 27 leaders are expected to discuss a text stating that if Ireland unified, the north would automatically become part of the EU.The inclusion of the text is a victory for the Irish government, which had pressed for the inclusion of a “GDR clause”, a reference to the integration of the former east German state into the European Community after the fall of the Berlin wall. The declaration is bound to raise fears that Brexit could trigger the unravelling of the UK, although there is no majority in northern Ireland for unification. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:46:57 GMT)

Theresa May lays bare ambition to capture Labour heartlands
Prime minister tells voters in Leeds to put aside traditional allegiances and vote ‘in the national interest’• General election 2017 - live updatesTheresa May laid bare the Conservatives’ ambitions to capture some of Labour’s most historic seats in England in a speech on Thursday night, telling voters in Leeds to put aside their traditional allegiances and vote “in the national interest”.The prime minister told the rally of Conservative campaigners that she needed every vote as a mandate for the difficulties ahead in the Brexit negotiations, citing the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, on the UK’s “illusions” about the process. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:49:47 GMT)

Marine A: Alexander Blackman released from prison
Blackman, who had his sentence reduced for shooting dead an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, walks free after three yearsRoyal Marine Alexander Blackman, who had his sentence reduced for shooting dead an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, has been released from prison.The commando, who spent more than three years in jail for killing the insurgent in 2011, left Erlestoke Prison just before 12.20am on Friday. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Apr 2017 00:52:34 GMT)

Macedonia: protesters storm parliament and attack MPs
Demonstrators break into assembly after election of speaker despite months-long deadlock in talks to form new governmentAround 200 demonstrators, many wearing masks, broke through a police cordon and entered Macedonia’s parliament, attacking MPs in protest at the election of a new speaker despite a months-long deadlock in talks to form a new government. The protesters stormed parliament on Thursday night after the country’s opposition Social Democrat party and others representing Macedonia’s Albanian ethnic minority voted for a new speaker. Shouting and throwing chairs, the protesters attacked MPs, including the opposition leader, Zoran Zaev. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:02:20 GMT)

Woman shot by police during London counter-terrorism raid
Scotland Yard says woman in her 20s was injured when officers descended on an address in Willesden, north LondonA woman has been shot and four people arrested during a raid by counter-terrorism police at an address in north London.Local residents reported hearing gunshots as heavily armed officers swooped on the terraced house in Willesden on Thursday evening as part of an operation by specialist officers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:25:07 GMT)

Anger as Tate asks staff to contribute towards boat for Nicholas Serota
Notices about ‘leaving gift’ appear in staff rooms amid disputes over low pay and outsourcing, and end of canteen discountThe Tate has come under fire after it asked members of staff, many of whom are not paid the London living wage, to contribute towards a boat for the departing director, Nicholas Serota, just one week after their canteen discount was taken away. A notice which went up in the staff rooms of both Tate Modern and Tate Britain on Wednesday asked employees – including security, cleaners, and those maintain the galleries and work in the cafe and gift shop – to “put money towards a sailing boat” as a “surprise gift” for Serota. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:23:11 GMT)

Mike Flynn under formal investigation by Pentagon over payments from Russia
Democrats accuse White House of covering up for former Trump adviserPentagon investigating Flynn for apparently undisclosed paid speechesDonald Trump’s former national security adviser is under formal investigation by the Pentagon for his apparently undisclosed paid speaking engagements in Russia, it emerged on Thursday.Retired army lieutenant general Mike Flynn, a former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief, has attracted the official scrutiny for potentially failing “to obtain required approval” for a Moscow speech to RT, a state-controlled news channel that US intelligence considers an arm of Kremlin propaganda. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:22:14 GMT)

Facebook admits: governments exploited us to spread propaganda
Company will step up security to clamp down on ‘information operations’Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France before presidential electionFacebook has publicly acknowledged that its platform has been exploited by governments seeking to manipulate public opinion in other countries – including during the presidential elections in the US and France – and pledged to clamp down on such “information operations”. Related: Facebook urged to step up fake news fight before UK election Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:38:17 GMT)

French winemakers deploy candles, heaters and helicopters to save vines from frost
Vineyards report temperatures plunged in Champagne, Bordeaux damaging shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weatherSharp spring frosts are damaging production in some of France’s most famous winemaking regions, including Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy, posing a threat to growers’ incomes. Vineyards report temperatures plunged in all three regions last week, sometimes to below -7C (19°F), hurting shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weather, and growers fear a new cold snap could cause more damage. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Apr 2017 00:11:52 GMT)

'We are a target': South Korean village wakes up on frontline with North
Arrival of Thaad defence system in Seongju fails to reassure villagers as voters in Seoul call for engagement with Pyongyang not threats It took just a few hours to transform Seongju from a sleepy farming village in the South Korean foothills into a symbol of the US military might ranged against North Korea.Once a retreat for amateur golfers , the Lotte Seongju country club is now in the hands of the most powerful military in the world and its South Korean allies. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:05:35 GMT)

Lady Macbeth review – brilliantly chilling subversion of a classic | Peter Bradshaw's film of the week
Florence Pugh is lethally charismatic in William Oldroyd’s daring journey into the darkest corners of the world of bonnets and bowsWilliam Oldroyd’s fierce feature debut feels like Victorian noir, a twist on a genre probably invented by Shakespeare in the first place. It could well open up a dark new avenue in the bonnets-and-bows world of classic literary adaptation. His movie does an awful lot with a limited budget. It is smart, sexy, dour: qualities that are weaponised by a lethally charismatic lead performance from Florence Pugh as the eponymous, unrepentant killer. She is both sphinx and minx. “You have no idea of the damage you can cause,” her enraged father-in-law splutters at her. Actually, he’s the one with no idea.Dramatist and screenwriter Alice Birch has adapted Nikolai Leskov’s 1865 novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, itself of course inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and adapted by Shostakovich in 1934 as an opera – the work which famously infuriated Stalin – and by Andrzej Wajda as a film, Siberian Lady Macbeth, in 1962. Oldroyd’s new movie version, shot with clarity and verve by cinematographer Ari Wegner, retains all of this story’s subversive sexiness, making changes to the narrative, bringing in or rather drawing out themes of abuse, violence, race and class. Cleverly, it gives us enigmatic backstory hints that may or may not help explain the sudden direction change the film takes in its third act, leading to a denouement of toxic ingenuity. And of all it driven by the sensuality and rage of Pugh’s performance. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:30:20 GMT)

Why we should all be afraid of Ivanka Trump's mismatched earrings
When the first daughter wore an odd pair of earrings this week, she wasn’t trying to look on-trend – she was trying to make us think she was one of usJust when you’re thinking geopolitics can’t actually can’t get any more hostile to progressive values, Ivanka Trump weaponises the mismatched earring. Is nothing sacred? What next, Steve Bannon in a Cos long-sleeved T-shirt and Adidas Gazelles? Kellyanne Conway arriving for a weekend at Mar-a-Lago with a Daunts Bookshop tote bag? Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:28:27 GMT)

Watch The Simpsons take on Trump’s first 100 days in office – video
The Simpsons creators turn their attention to President Trump’s first 100 days in office in this clip released by the show. The video sees Trump celebrating his increase in Twitter followers and lowering his golf handicap among other accomplishments The Simpsons counts Trump’s first 100 days accomplishments in web short Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:37:14 GMT)

Gorillaz: Humanz review – a party album for a world gone mad | Alexis Petridis' album of the week
Covering everything from mental health to military interventions, Damon Albarn and his celebrity friends deliver an inspired party album for a world gone madIt is easy to forget that, on arrival in 2000, Gorillaz looked suspiciously like a self-indulgent novelty turn, the kind of project record labels feel impelled to let rock stars do when they’ve shifted so much product that “no” isn’t really an option any more.It was a Britpop frontman and his artist flatmate’s sneery joke at the expense of manufactured pop, with cartoon figures replacing the hapless, manipulated band members and interviews conducted, a little wearyingly, in character. You would have got pretty long odds on it still existing 17 years on, longer odds still on their fifth album being a politically charged conceptual work that variously touches on the topics of racism (courtesy of rapper Vince Staples on apocalyptic choir-assisted opener Ascension), mental illness, the pernicious influence of the internet “echo chamber”, western military intervention in the Middle East, the “alt-right” belief that China has fabricated global warming, and the importance of soul music in the Thatcherite heartlands of 80s Essex (the improbable latter topic surfaces on a lovely track called Andromeda, named after a defunct Colchester nightclub, which also finds Albarn ruminating on the deaths of both his partner’s mother and Bobby Womack over a four-to-the-floor house beat and frail electronics). Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:00:08 GMT)

Rachel Johnson joins Lib Dems in protest against Tory backing for Brexit
Writer whose brothers Boris and Jo are ministers has also toyed with idea of running as candidate in general electionRachel Johnson, the journalist and sister of two Conservative ministers, has joined the Liberal Democrats in protest against Tory support for Brexit, the Guardian has learned.The Mail on Sunday columnist and author has also toyed with the idea of running as a Lib Dem candidate for a West Country seat but may not have enough time to be selected to stand in the general election on 8 June. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:30:14 GMT)

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall confirms he will stand in election
Nuttall to reveal within 48 hours where he will run, with speculation over Heywood and Middleton, Hartlepool and BootlePaul Nuttall has confirmed he will stand in the general election after days of refusing to say whether he would throw his hat into the ring.The Ukip leader said he would not yet reveal the constituency, but there is speculation he will contest Heywood and Middleton, where Ukip cut Labour’s majority in a byelection in 2014, or Hartlepool, where he is campaigning at the weekend. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:34:25 GMT)

In Brighton we’re working together to oust the Tories. Corbyn and Farron take heed | Caroline Lucas
The Green party is being realistic about what’s needed to form a progressive government. Elsewhere local parties are stepping up, but leaders need to actLast night something remarkable happened in Brighton. Local party members from the Liberal Democrats stood aside in Brighton Pavilion, and the Greens stood down in Brighton Kemptown. People who have spent years campaigning in these places took the decision to put aside party allegiances and work together so we have the best possible chance of delivering a fairer voting system and beating the Tories on 8 June. These choices were not easy, indeed they are acts of political bravery.The movement for electoral alliances isn’t just happening in Brighton, it’s kicking off across the country. Despite the leaders of both the Liberal Democrats and Labour trying to shut these discussion down, their members are taking things into their own hands. From Labour-led discussions in Surrey to oust Jeremy Hunt to Lib Dem activists across the country, this grassroots movement is growing. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:15:21 GMT)

Brexit love-in for last MPs standing as Commons closes its doors
As parliament hits prorogation, a willing aide and exit secretary David Davis try to iron out any instabilityWith most Labour MPs having long since retreated to their constituencies to begin the six-week fight to hold on to their seats, Brexit questions on the last day of parliament were largely handed over to a Conservative love-in. And no one was better suited to preside over these proceedings than Robin Walker, the most junior of ministers in the department for exiting the EU.Walker has the look of a man-boy whose career highlight was to have been a junior prefect at a minor public school. Posh but rather dim. Someone best suited to being an upmarket wedding planner who has – much to his own surprise as well as everyone else’s – found himself at the heart of government. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:09:43 GMT)

Marouane Fellaini sent off for butt yet Manchester United hold out against City
At the end of the season, when the story is told about how Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho did in their first year in Manchester, they may both look back on this draw as a useful result if it helps with the business of finishing in the top four. Yet it still felt slightly unsatisfactory for Manchester City after their second-half superiority and it was a strangely subdued derby at times, lacking any real incident until the moment late on when Marouane Fellaini reminded us of his worst traits.Fellaini was so incensed by his red card – and so determined to prolong the argument with Sergio Agüero – it needed a clutch of Manchester United colleagues to usher him away. It was a display of hotheadedness that might warrant a Football Association charge and, not for the first time, it was difficult to find any mitigation for a player who has a history of violent acts. The difference this time is that Fellaini did not get away with it in the way he often has. His butt on Agüero was committed directly in front of the referee, Martin Atkinson, and could easily have sabotaged United’s night but for some more clear-headed thinking from the other players in red. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:04:39 GMT)

France investigates votes for 2018 and 2022 World Cups and questions Blatter
• Fifa’s former president interviewed as Swiss authorities co-operate• Michel Platini, Uefa’s former president, has not been spoken toFrench prosecutors have opened an investigation into potential corruption relating to Fifa’s vote for Russia and Qatar to host respectively the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals, sources close to the investigation have confirmed.Investigators are understood to have interviewed Sepp Blatter, who was the Fifa president at the time of the controversial December 2010 vote by a majority of the executive committee. Michel Platini, the former Uefa president whose decision to cast his vote for Qatar was crucial to the Gulf state winning a majority vote, has not been interviewed, the sources said. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:56:04 GMT)

Rafael Benítez to have talks with Mike Ashley before extending Newcastle stay
• Newcastle manager to meet the club’s owner in the next 10 days• Talks will focus on Benítez’s remit and summer transfer budgetRafael Benítez’s future at Newcastle United will be determined when he sits down for talks with Mike Ashley, the club’s owner, in the next 10 days.Benítez is happy on Tyneside and hopes to remain in charge at St James’ Park but will require reassurances about his spheres of autonomy and transfer budget before committing to staying on. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:30:29 GMT)

Steven Gerrard: ‘There’s a showboating mentality in academies. My teams will be physical’
The former Liverpool captain talks about his new role as coach of the club’s under-18s, why young players should not try to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo and why he turned down the MK Dons jobSteven Gerrard insists judgment should be reserved on his attributes as a coach until his tactical decisions, his leadership from the sidelines and his mistakes have been thoroughly examined. That will come next season as manager of Liverpool Under-18s, where judgment on what is required has already been made. “There is a showboating mentality through academies,” claims Gerrard. “My teams will be physical.” Related: Steven Gerrard: 'I thought I was a bit young to be Liverpool's captain at 23' Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:00:22 GMT)

Daniel Taylor honoured for football sexual abuse story
London Press Club awards scoop of the year prize to Guardian writer for interview with Andy Woodward, which prompted many more to come forwardThe Guardian’s chief football writer, Daniel Taylor, has won the scoop of the year prize at the London Press Club awards for his reporting of the football abuse scandal. Related: Andy Woodward: ‘It was the softer, weaker boys he targeted’ Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:20:53 GMT)

Experts warn of £12.6bn scale of UK gambling problem | Paul MacInnes
Explosion in online gambling and funding of research by betting industry leads one professor to say: ‘We’re not facing up to the potential for harm’Experts are warning that the UK must face up to the scale of its gambling problem with a lack of research, and industry influence, preventing proper scrutiny of a growing national habit.Joey Barton’s 18-month suspension from football on betting-related charges, and the player’s response in which he spoke of an “explosion in sports betting”, has brought the spotlight back on to a practice that is increasingly ubiquitous within the national game, though its influence hardly ends there. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:56:11 GMT)

NFL Draft 2017: Garrett goes to Browns No1; Bears pick Trubisky No2 – live!
Read Paolo Bandini’s mock draft to see the potential selectionsEmail [email protected] or tweet @DJGalloEtc 2.54am BST Barnett broke Reggie White’s career sacks record at Tennessee. Maybe Barnett will win a championship with the Packers one day. I kid, I kid. Solid pick by the Eagles. 2.50am BST The hometown Eagles are up now. Lots of options for them, according to Mike Mayock. Mike Mayock says for #Eagles at No. 14 it has to come down to best defensive player, or top remaining offensive playmaker on the board. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Apr 2017 01:54:42 GMT)

Ding Junhui takes 5-3 overnight lead on Mark Selby in Crucible semi-final
• 2016 finalist comes back from 3-2 down to seize initiative• World No1 had only dropped 11 frames en route to last fourThe 2016 champion Mark Selby was left with plenty to think about overnight following an enthralling first session of his world championship semi-final with China’s Ding Junhui.There was little to split the pair in Sheffield on Thursday before Ding, who lost against Selby in the final last year, won the final three frames to secure a 5-3 advantage. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:03:13 GMT)

Joey Barton’s ban for gambling on football was ‘shortest possible’, says FA
• FA took claim ban would end Barton’s career into consideration• Burnley manager Sean Dyche says 18-month suspension is harshThe Football Association has published its written reasons for banning Joey Barton on betting charges, revealing the player’s 18-month suspension was the “shortest possible” it could consider.The 34-year-old has claimed that the suspension, a punishment for 35 breaches of the FA rule prohibiting footballers from betting on the outcome of matches, is likely to end his career. The FA’s regulatory commission has revealed it took Barton’s claims into consideration but ruled against them, observing “the suspension must lie where it falls”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:32:20 GMT)

Anthony Joshua: ‘When Wladimir Klitschko gets beat it could be the end’
• Ukrainian says he is a boxer who can punch, Joshua is merely a puncher• Saturday’s heavyweight title buildup continues on its educated wayThere was nothing more to say but they said it anyway. Hoovering up a few more pay-per-view clicks at the end of a long promotion ritually relies on pre-fight shenanigans but there was no chance of that when Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko stopped short of eloping together on Thursday as their world title fight on Saturday night looms.For weeks now, the bloodthirsty wing of the sport has complained these guys were way too nice. They shook hands every time they met, they laughed at each other’s jokes – such as they were – and, even when they had their face-off on Sky recently, there were as likely to tip the table on Johnny Nelson’s head as David Haye was to go on holiday with Tony Bellew. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:04:54 GMT)

Manchester City v Manchester United: a long season boiled down to one game | Paul Wilson
A derby draw could suit both teams but Mourinho is unbeaten in the league since October and would clearly love to make life even more miserable for GuardiolaThe race is not always to the swift, according to Ecclesiastes, although as Damon Runyon and thousands of others subsequently pointed out, that is never the way to bet.Picking the winners and losers in this season’s title and top-four race has been an unusually fraught business, mainly because Chelsea dropped so far out of the running last time out. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:30:02 GMT)

Johanna Konta falls short on Stuttgart Open’s clay against Sevastova
• Maria Sharapova through to quarter-finals after beating Ekaterina Makarova• Andy Murray beats Feliciano López and makes it into Barcelona quartersJohanna Konta was knocked out of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart by Anastasija Sevastova as her struggles on clay continued. The British No1 is inexperienced on the surface at the highest level and it showed in a scrappy 6-3, 7-5 defeat by Sevastova, who also won their meeting at the US Open last year.Konta began the second-round match with a break of Sevastova’s serve in the first game but lost the next three and did not hold her own serve until the fourth attempt. The Latvian, ranked 19 places below Konta at No26, produced three aces in a row on her way to clinch the opening set and recovered from 3-1 down in the second to level. A missed forehand opportunity then cost Konta as she was broken in the 11th game and Sevastova served out the straight-sets victory with her sixth ace. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:45:36 GMT)

Lewis Hamilton may have to give way if Mercedes employ team orders | Giles Richards
Lewis Hamilton may have to open the door for junior partner Valtteri Bottas if Mercedes decide to employ team orders some time soonLewis Hamilton might have thanked his team-mate Valtteri Bottas for being a “gentleman” during the Bahrain Grand Prix, in moving aside to allow the British driver through, but afterwards the look on the Finn’s face betrayed his real feelings. Having been ordered by Mercedes to concede second place to Hamilton, he was clearly not happy about it, yet it is highly unlikely to be the last time the team employ orders and both drivers may have to suck it up. Testing times leave little room for compromise and there is no mistaking that, for the first time since 2014, Mercedes are genuinely rattled. Related: Lewis Hamilton apologises to Mercedes for Bahrain Grand Prix penalty Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:00:03 GMT)

Tottenham clash with Arsenal takes Pochettino back to another demolition derby | David Hytner
Sunday’s game is set to be the teams’ final White Hart Lane meeting and Spurs’ manager sees echoes of the 1997 match he played for Espanyol against Barcelona before the club’s stadium was knocked downIt was a demolition derby – in more ways than one. There were penalties, a red card and red-raw tempers. Mauricio Pochettino will never forget it. The Tottenham Hotspur manager was an Espanyol player at the time and the visitors to the club’s Estadi de Sarrià were Barcelona.The date was 9 February 1997 and it was the last derby to be staged at the ground that Espanyol had called their home since 1923. At the end of the season the bulldozers would move in. With the club in financial crisis, Sarrià had been sold to property developers. The fans were dismayed and distraught. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:12:00 GMT)

Leganés show they can belong with kick against the tide in bid for survival | Sid Lowe
La Liga’s smallest club have never felt truly secure but the 3-0 win against Las Palmas means the sun may not be setting on their debut season after all The chant set off round Butarque as a protest and came back as a party. “El Lega es de primera,” it runs – Leganés belong in primera – and the first time they launched into it, in the 12th minute of Wednesday night’s match against Las Palmas, it was a coordinated complaint, driven by anger and accompanied by banners and black cloth, sung by supporters scared that their status might be taken away. By the time they dared do it again 60 minutes later, it sounded different, hung on hope: vindication had turned to celebration. Leganés really might belong there, after all; now they believe Butarque will be back, with its sunsets, AC/DC soundtrack, and the smell of sizzling pork on portable stoves. With its football team, too.Leganés were 2-0 up, thanks to two absurd gifts from their opponents – “accidents”, coach Quique Setien called them – and a third soon followed from a penalty that probably wasn’t, bringing another chant with it. “Bounce, Butarque, bounce!”, it went, and so they did. There was a Mexican wave, while out on the pitch someone dared to do a backheel, olés ringing out. At long last, the paralysis was broken and the fear subsided. In six minutes, Leganés had scored 10% of the goals they’ve got all season, securing a victory that sent Osasuna down mathematically, all but condemned Granada – they trail by 10 points and the head-to-head record – and left Sporting Gijón, struggling from the start, six points from safety. From them, in other words. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:18:21 GMT)

What would a communist football competition look like? The Progress Cup | Craig McCracken
From 1971 until 1991 the most improved team in the Soviet Union was given the Progress Cup, a trophy that rewarded perseverance rather than excellenceBy Craig McCracken for Beyond The Last Man, of the Guardian Sport NetworkI blame the Watney Cup. Ever since that particular 1970s English oddity set a high benchmark for outlandishly ill-conceived competition formats, I’ve long harboured a fascination for discovering obscure tournaments from around the world that might just match its plain out-and-out silliness.So while recently browsing the history of Shakhtar Donetsk (as you do), my curiosity was piqued by the inclusion on the club’s honours list of a Soviet-era tournament called the Progress Cup. Were Shakhtar’s 1975 and 1977 successes in this competition something for the Ukrainian miners club to celebrate? Was there a physical, hoistable piece of metal with handles involved or was it merely a symbolic award? I endeavoured to find out. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:50:04 GMT)

'You're embarrassing yourself': Alexis Sánchez's fat lip and set-piece set–tos
When Christian Fuchs caught Alexis Sánchez on the shoulder with a throw-in, the Arsenal player went down holding his face. The internet was not impressedTowards the end of a drab match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates on Wednesday night, Christian Fuchs picked up the ball to take a throw-in. Alexis Sánchez, a toughened street footballer who grew up in a hard mining town in Chile where he used to wash cars, perform somersaults and box in the street to earn a few coins from impressed onlookers, stood in front of Fuchs. The Leicester player flung the ball at Sánchez, hitting him on the shoulder. The Arsenal player stood still for a few seconds, perhaps dazed or perhaps wondering how he could manipulate the situation to his team’s advantage, and then he fell over – clutching his face.The referee did not take too kindly to his histrionics and booked Sánchez for standing too close to the sideline. Arsène Wenger thought Fuchs was the wrongdoer, saying he “was lucky not to get a yellow card because he threw the ball at him on purpose.” Wenger had a point but the internet had little sympathy with Sánchez’s “injury”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:52:48 GMT)

Saracens’ emphasis on the collective offers template to Lions in New Zealand | Paul Rees
The Premiership champions are carrying on the tradition of Leicester and Wasps in their days of European domination, with a strong team spirit and mental fortitudeThe last team to beat Saracens in the European Champions Cup, Clermont Auvergne, will meet them in the final next month. After the French club’s victory over Leinster in the semi‑final in Lyon on Sunday a local journalist became rather more lyrical than the Premiership and European champions are known to be. “Saracens, their surgical rugby, shadows and blood, charcoal and demons, await at the corner of Murrayfield where many ghosts prowl,” he wrote. “But is it not the best place for an exorcism?”The final certainly promises to be exercising for Clermont, whose England wing David Strettle knows the key to his former club’s success. He was on the Saracens bench in the Saint-Étienne semi-final two years ago, coming on for the last seven minutes of the 13-9 defeat, and since then his former club have equalled Leinster’s record of 17 successive matches in the tournament without defeat. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:15:43 GMT)

Barcelona to report Málaga president over ‘scum of Catalonia’ comment
• Abdullah al-Thani’s tweet also accused Barcelona of telling lies• Club say comments ‘violate the principles of fair play, ethics and legality’Barcelona have said they will report Málaga’s president, Abdullah al-Thani, to the national sports council, Spanish football federation and La Liga for comments made about them on social media.The row erupted after a Barcelona fan sent a message to Thani on Twitter asking if Málaga could do them a favour in the title race and beat Real Madrid when the sides meet on the final day of the season. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:17:43 GMT)

Sharapova 'a cheater' and should not play tennis again, says Bouchard – video
Eugenie Bouchard says that Maria Sharapova is ‘a cheater’ and she should not be allowed to return to play tennis. Sharapova returned to the sport after a 15-month doping ban on Wednesday, beating Roberta Vinci at the Stuttgart Open. ‘I don’t think a cheater in a sport should be allowed to play that sport again,’ said BouchardMaria Sharapova’s competitive instincts intact on her return from the wilderness Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:24:37 GMT)

India a doubt for Champions Trophy after ICC vote slashes income
• ICC votes 13-1 to cut India’s share of global events’ cash• India’s $293m still more than double England’s $143mIndia’s participation in the Champions Trophy is in doubt following a landmark vote by the International Cricket Council that went against the sport’s most powerful nation and means their share of the financial pot from global events will suffer a significant cut.The Board of Control for Cricket in India had already missed Tuesday’s deadline to submit their squad for the eight-team tournament, which begins in England on 1 June, and reports in the country are now claiming a boycott is being considered by factions within the embattled governing body. India’s delay in naming a 15-man party for their title defence had been flagged up in advance as being down to “operational reasons” but it comes in the same week they were outvoted 13 to one at the ICC board meeting in Dubai on a new financial model in which their share of revenues from 2016 to 2023 is slashed from $570m (£440m) to $293m in a scaling back of the so-called Big Three reforms of 2014. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:34:14 GMT)

Bristol may get relegation reprieve from the Championship play-offs
• Victory for Doncaster or Ealing will save West Country club • Only London Irish and Yorkshire Carnegie can step up to PremiershipBristol will receive a relegation reprieve if Doncaster or Ealing Trailfinders win the Championship play-offs because neither club put itself through the Premiership’s entry-criteria process and so cannot be promoted.Ealing play the first leg of their semi-final play-off against Yorkshire Carnegie in west London on Friday, while Doncaster host London Irish on Sunday. The two away sides this weekend have both met the criteria and if Carnegie and Doncaster both reach the final, Bristol will be relegated. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:28:02 GMT)

Football quiz: name the player or manager in the suit
When footballers wear suits the results can be, well, interesting. Here are some pictures from the archive. Put a name to the player or managerFlaresJohn ToshackFrank WorthingtonKevin KeeganMick ChannonSpotsJamie VardyEden HazardCraig BellamyLionel MessiStripesMark HughesRyan GiggsLee SharpeGary PallisterFloralPaul PogbaPierre-Emerick AubameyangMario BalotelliNeymarShowyKevin KeeganMario KempesFranz BeckenbauerGeorge BestCasualBryan RobsonDiego MaradonaMark HughesJavier Zanetti CheckPaul TisdaleRobbie SavagePaolo Di CanioTim SherwoodJust name the team for this one. It felt unfair to crop just one out. LiverpoolManchester UnitedMilanArsenalBusy blueDavid BeckhamVinnie JonesJamie RedknappRobbie SavageDisco kitCarlos AlbertoPeleJairzinhoLuther BlissettBurtonsAlan ShearerDavid SeamanPaul GascoigneDavid BattyThose infamous white suitsJamie RedknappRobbie FowlerJason McAteerIan RushAnd another white suit. And what a white suitCristiano RonaldoDavid BeckhamEmmanuel PetitFernando TorresBoss collarSol CampbellAshley ColeThierry HenryGilberto SilvaWallpaper effectTim SherwoodStuart PearceSven Goran Eriksson Steve McManamanPinstripeGeoff HurstPeter ShiltonBobby MooreRay ClemenceGoal!Franz BeckenbauerBobby MooreJohan CruyffBob McNabJust name the team doing some bonding? It was a while ago, so you're allowed to see their faces.ArsenalEvertonTottenham HotspurManchester UnitedLooseGordon StrachanDidier DeschampsStuart McCallBryan RobsonTrailblazerBobby MooreJimmy HillBobby CharltonMatt Busby Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:44:09 GMT)

Klitschko's defeats, MLB high-flying and a Dembélé screamer
This week’s roundup also features a goalscoring goalkeeper, a major brawl in the minor leagues and an F1 three-point turn1) Here’s Bolivar’s goalkeeper Matias Dituro scoring from inside his own penalty area after San José’s keeper had wandered up Ben Foster-style towards the end of the game. It’s a belter, given that he actually meant it. Alberto Moreno take note. If this is your kind of thing, here’s 10 minutes’ worth of goalkeepers scoring goals, including that Jimmy Glass one of course.2) Things you didn’t know were missing from your life until now: spectacular softball pickup truck-catch hubris. The Yankees’ Aaron Judge shows you how it should be done, while the Blue Jays’ Chris Coghlan also takes to the air in impressive style. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:18:26 GMT)

Talking Horses: Thursday racing tips for Punchestown, Chelmsford and Beverley
Willie Mullins seeks a victory with favourite Nichols Canyon at Punchestown to revive chances of overhauling Gordon Elliott in the trainers’ titleThe big race of the week for staying hurdlers is the feature event at Punchestown on Thursday evening, with five of the first six home in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, including the first three, lining up for a rematch. This is also a race that Willie Mullins surely needs to win if he is to overhaul Gordon Elliott in the trainers’ title race, and despite Elliott’s Grade 1 double on the card here on Wednesday, Mullins actually shortened in the championship betting with Paddy Power, from 5-2 to 9-4. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:34:37 GMT)

The Fiver | Sat there underachieving with a face on
Today: the Manchester derby, Leyton Orient brave-facing it and Sam FoxWhat a coup it’s been for English football, and for the metropolitan borough of Manchester, to play host to Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho, two of the most famous managers in the world! There they’ve sat, all season, underachieving with a face on, while the Premier League title race has passed them by. And so the second Manchester derby of the 2016-17 league campaign isn’t quite the crucial showdown we’d all hoped for. Though it is sort of important, kind of. Who will get the upper hand in the chase for a precious berth in Big Cup next season, securing fourth spot, and maybe even third? Coo! That’s £175m and £150m well spent! And so much joy, verve and entertainment along the way. Well done, everyone. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:06:06 GMT)

Steve Bell on Boris Johnson's tirade against Jeremy Corbyn – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:09:24 GMT)

Be bold Labour: promise to abandon this ruinous Brexit | Jonathan Steele
By offering an unambiguous plan to abort Brexit, the party would be back on the side of the 48%Labour’s Brexit policy has been widely criticised on two main fronts, and rightly so. Its spokesman Keir Starmer doesn’t offer the electorate anything substantially different from what the Tories are proposing, and ducks a clear answer to the question of what a Labour government would do if parliament dislikes the final deal offered by the EU. Does Britain step into a void, the so-called cliff-edge route, or does it remain an EU member?Even at this late stage, there is a chance for Labour to produce a better alternative. The manifesto should say that an incoming Labour government would abort the negotiations immediately. There will be no Brexit and no talks about how to achieve one. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:50:15 GMT)

Community is an empty word if my parishioners increasingly live in China | Giles Fraser: Loose canon
Foreign-owned, unoccupied apartments are turning my part of London into a ghost town. And our politicians seem powerless to actFew words get more bandied about at election time than the word “community”. It used to refer to the social togetherness contained within a particular geographical area. Its key stations were the pub, the church, and the shops. In the general hubbub of such places, a magical chemistry of mutual attachment would soften the hard shells of our defensive individualism and bind otherwise very different people in a sense of common enterprise. And when people get to know each other like this they tend to look out for each other, including the most vulnerable among them. That’s probably why the church likes community: historically, it has easily been the most effective delivery mechanism for organised goodness and social care.But in many places the very existence of community is under threat. My parish in south London is a case in point. On the Elephant and Castle edge of this parish is one of the largest property developments currently under way in the capital. It’s an attractive place for developers as it is a run-down area, some of it with a zone 1 postcode. Which is why the skyline is full of cranes and the cafes full of men in hi-vis jackets. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:40:03 GMT)

Bristol: the city that lauds the slave trader | David Olusoga
The city has started to cut its attachment to the infamous Edward Colston – but it still has much further to go in confronting its pastAfter 150 years, Bristol’s prime music venue is to finally change its name and thereby cut its link to the infamous slave trader Edward Colston. The charity that runs Colston Hall – Bristol Music Trust – announced this week that it would think up a new name before the venue reopens in 2020.Perhaps the trust was influenced by a decision made earlier this week in New Orleans. In the dead of night, that city removed four memorials to Confederate soldiers and politicians. If a city on the banks of the Mississippi, which was once home to the largest slave market in America, can today recognise the toxicity of slavery, Bristol’s continuing memorialisation of a slave trader would appear even more difficult to defend. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:58:53 GMT)

The Guardian view on political debate: dangerously unserious | Editorial
A focus on trivia and personality is nothing new, but recent campaigns have accelerated a decline in proper scrutinyIt is not news that a Conservative cabinet minister has a low opinion of the leader of the Labour party. The florid phrases that Boris Johnson used to express his disapproval of Jeremy Corbyn today elevated his intervention only from banal to diverting. Yet the BBC’s Today programme propelled the words “mutton-headed mugwump” to the lead item in their morning headlines.The alliterative abuse eclipsed interesting things that Mr Johnson said in an interview: his refusal to commit to Theresa May’s numerical targets for reducing migration, for example, and his readiness to commit British troops to military action in Syria without parliamentary approval. Mr Johnson’s felicitous phrasemongery is a tactic to avoid scrutiny and disarm critics. Ideally it would be ignored, above all by Labour, who need to talk about policy and not be drawn into squabbles over personality. But the confection of news out of a meaningless insult was too egregious a lapse in Westminster’s efforts to conduct politics sensibly to pass without comment. It is symptomatic of a dysfunction in the conduct of British elections: a process that is meant to advertise policy choices to voters looks ever more like an exercise in the deliberate suffocation of ideas. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:24:16 GMT)

Challenge your convictions – democracy depends on it | Cass Sunstein
Representative government rests on the shared experiences that online media increasingly filter outIn 1995, Nicholas Negroponte, an MIT technology specialist, celebrated the emergence of “the Daily Me” – a digital news service tailored to each reader’s specific interests. With the Daily Me, he suggested, you would no longer rely on newspapers and magazines to curate what you saw, and you could bypass the television networks. Instead, you could design a communications package just for you, with topics and perspectives chosen in advance. Related: Twitter accounts really are echo chambers, study finds Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:35:34 GMT)

The Guardian view on air pollution: playing politics with the nation’s health | Editorial
The high court shouldn’t have been asked to decide on this. But it has rightly ruled against the government’s latest efforts to delay action on air qualityThanks to this government’s intransigence about tackling air pollution, the battle to improve the quality of the air we breathe has played out not in the political arena, but in the courts. Time after time, the government has found itself on the wrong side of the law: first for its failure to meet legally binding European targets on harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions; then, for failing to produce an adequate plan to address these. Its latest delaying tactic has been to claim it could not meet this week’s court-imposed deadline for publishing a new draft plan, because of the “purdah” convention ruling out new government announcements in the run-up to an election.And so it has fallen to judges yet again to take the government to task over its failure to act. Today’s ruling took apart the government’s case: its own purdah guidance sets out exemptions where public health is at risk. As the judge pointed out, why would it be better to have parties debating what ought to be in a draft air pollution plan, when it could be debating what is actually in it? Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:25:09 GMT)

As the new NUS president, I know how vital it is for students to vote | Shakira Martin
Education gave me – a black woman and single mother – a voice. Now the voices of all students must be heard at the heart of every election manifestoWe millennials are pegged as generation apathy: inactive at the ballot box, allowing others to decide our future. Youth voter turnout has been in decline in this country since the 90s. In just six weeks’ time, it will be critical that the voice of the students I have been elected to represent is heard. The absolute priority for students across the country must be to get registered to vote in the general election. Over the past three days, the NUS conference has promised to run the biggest voter registration drive we have ever held – and as the president-elect for the NUS, I plan to make sure we do exactly that over the next four weeks. Related: Divisive NUS president Malia Bouattia defeated in election Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:20:16 GMT)

Vaginal mesh left me in agony. When will women’s health be taken seriously? | Kath Sansom
Women have lost their bladders, their bowels, their sex lives – yet feel ignored and helpless. Now lots of women are suing the NHS it’s time these operations endedIn the 21st century it is hard to imagine women being maimed in a surgery with risks that they are not being properly warned about.This, however, is the reality of vaginal mesh. A net-like implant, it is used to treat incontinence or prolapse, conditions that have often, but not always, been caused by childbirth. Between 2006 and 2016, more than 92,000 women in England have been treated with a polypropylene surgical material that is either inserted as a mesh patch or a vaginal tape, known as TVT, TVTO and TOT. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:28:12 GMT)

Why press freedom is under the cosh in the UK | Jane Martinson
Thanks to draconian surveillance laws Britain has slipped to 40th in the press freedom rankings. And this election does not promise any improvementEach year an index of press freedom raises fresh concern about the horrors faced by journalists in countries such as Turkey and North Korea; this year Britain and other bastions of press freedom are also causing concern. Related: 'Downward spiral': UK slips to 40th place in press freedom rankings Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:44:31 GMT)

SheaMoisture is just the latest brand to erase black women from our own picture | Lola Okolosie
This is a company that was birthed by the recipes of a Liberian woman – and yet, like Pepsi, it is helping to keep black women invisibleIt’s been a tricky time for brands. A few weeks ago it was Pepsi deleting black women from a movement they founded, and doing so while rehashing the tedious white saviour cliche. Then we had debates over the erasure of black women’s key role in the black racial justice movement of 1970s Britain, in Sky’s drama series Guerrilla. This week it’s the turn of US beauty company SheaMoisture.Read the company’s Wikipedia page and under “See also” you’ll find a link to another page titled “Natural hair movement”. This explains how pervasive SheaMoisture’s reach is in the fast-growing natural hair market. The African-American-owned company, founded in 1992 by two friends – who were refugees from Liberia – started life selling homemade products hawked on the streets of Harlem. A customer base predominantly made up of black women has led SheaMoisture’s parent company, Sundial, to be valued at $700m in 2015. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:51:16 GMT)

Erdoğan is right: Turkey’s referendum is a victory for democracy | Ibrahim Kalin
The military wanted Turkey’s parliament to stay weak and divided. This vote to strengthen it will help to restore stability in the Middle EastTurkey held a historic referendum this month, with a record turnout of 85%, in which 51.4% voted in favour of constitutional reform, including the adoption of a presidential system of government. What made the vote exceptional was that, for the first time in Turkey’s modern history, the people, rather than coup plotters, got to decide with which system the country would be governed. Related: Erdoğan clinches victory in Turkish constitutional referendum Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:29:54 GMT)

Theresa May’s stance on foreign students betrays her weakness | Polly Toynbee
In rejecting a move to exclude foreign students from immigration targets the prime minister has shown a worrying lack of flexibilityWhat do we really know of the tight-lipped prime minister about to sweep all before her for the next five long years? Very little. No debates, no scrutiny, avoiding encounters with press and public, we have only her repetitive mantras buzzing like wasps on the eardrum. Related: What are the Tories hiding in this election? Two words: Boris Johnson | Jonathan Freedland Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:04:15 GMT)

How long can millennials keep living with their parents? This isn't sustainable | Jamie Peck
Some will no doubt attribute this to the unique moral depravity of the Kardashian generation. But don’t blame the crisis of capitalism on usYou’ve heard all the stereotypes about the “baby boomerang,” a generation of milk-fed “emerging adults” who, by choice or necessity, live in their parents’ basement while they work, study or watch Girls in their underwear.Now a new report from the US census bureau confirms it: for the first time since the government started tracking such data, living with one’s parents is the most common domestic arrangement for Americans in the 18-34 age bracket. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:54:58 GMT)

The Handmaid's Tale is timely. But that's not why it's so terrifying | Jessica Valenti
Hulu’s new series based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood has been keeping me up at night because of its portrayal of everyday sexism When Hulu released a trailer for their adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale, some conservatives didn’t realize the series was based on a decades-old novel – they thought it was created in response to Trump’s presidential win.The confusion makes some sense. Much of the show feels familiar in today’s political climate: children being wrenched from their parents’ arms at borders. A lesbian tortured in order, she’s told, to cure her unnatural appetites. Women forced to carry pregnancies after they’ve been raped. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:45:53 GMT)

Call of Duty WWII is about killing for fun. Why pretend otherwise?
An obsession over realism means latest in Activision’s Call of Duty franchise is more Saving Private Ryan than Inglourious Basterds – and that’s a problemThere is a new Call of Duty video game coming out this November, and like the first three titles in the long-running, hugely successful series, it will be set during the second world war. Over the course of a 45-minute livestreamed announcement event on Wednesday night, developer Sledgehammer laid out its vision for the new military shooter: a gritty but authentic evocation of the conflict, following a young recruit to the US Army’s First Infantry division as it storms the beaches at Normandy then trudges through Europe towards Germany. The studio heads spent time talking about the realism and respect of their project, and the painstaking accuracy put into the development process.The whole thing felt distinctly uncomfortable. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:39:11 GMT)

Barack Obama has a powerful voice. He shouldn't use it for paid speeches | Jill Abramson
A Wall Street firm will pay the former president $400,000 for a speech. This kind of kowtowing to the billionaire class has left the Democrats morally bankrupt It’s still early, but so far Barack Obama’s post-presidency has been a disappointment. On Monday – during his first public appearance since Trump’s inauguration – Obama touched on income inequality. But as is becoming glaringly obvious to all, Obama is now firmly in the 1% himself – thanks in no small part to corporate America. The optics of some of Obama’s decisions since leaving office have been damaging. We learned this week that he will be paid a whopping $400,000 speaking fee from Cantor Fitzgerald LP, a bond firm known for dealing in credit default swaps, the fancy financial instruments that helped trigger the 2008 financial meltdown. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:00:03 GMT)

Bursaries are vital for the future of nursing | Anonymous
I felt it was time to do something practical with my life so I trained to be a nurse. I couldn’t have done it without financial helpAs a nurse in accident and emergency I’m the first person you’ll see. I’ll triage you, order your bloods and x-rays, interpret results, get you painkillers, take your blood pressure and pulse and escalate any issues to senior staff. If I suspect or you disclose abuse, I report this. If you are not looking after your health I’ll help you realise this. I put on your plaster cast, change your dressings, suture your cuts and take you to the toilet.Before I trained to be a nurse I worked for four years as a parliamentary researcher after graduating with a degree in international relations. My calling, as such, hit me after the result of the 2010 election. I felt it was time to do something practical with my life and not sit in an office telling other people what they should be doing. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:32:43 GMT)

French voters must choose between the lesser of two evils: Macron or Le Pen | Philippe Marlière
Macron is arrogant and incompetent with no solid backing. But if he wins power he can be opposed. The same cannot be said of Marine Le PenThe presidential run-off between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen poses a dilemma for many French progressive voters: the former is seen as one of the main architects of François Hollande’s most unpopular pro-market and antisocial policies, such as the labour law reforms, which dismantled vital workers’ rights. If elected, Macron promises a hardened version of those reforms which have destroyed the Socialist party. Le Pen, no less neoliberal than her opponent (she has a similar socio-economic platform to Donald Trump’s), proposes an authoritarian regime in which the old obsessions of French fascism could thrive: bashing Muslims, anti-immigration, as well as curbing civil liberties.Between two evils, which one should the left choose? The answer seems deceivingly straightforward: how could a leftwinger choose the Front National? But Macron’s arrogance and incompetence are not helpful. On Tuesday, he went on television to request no less than a “vote of adhesion” against Le Pen. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:10:00 GMT)

Why the Women’s Equality party may hand Philip Davies MP a win in Shipley | Robyn Vinter
If the WEP had done its homework, it would have chosen somewhere else to field its most high-profile candidateIf the last few elections have taught us anything, it is how much division can breed political success. Take the Conservative MP Philip Davies. Like Donald Trump (who he would have voted for “in a heartbeat”) and Nigel Farage (who he agrees with “on practically everything”), Davies is enjoying being both popular and incredibly unpopular at the same time.His attempts to derail legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, his views that employers should be able to pay disabled people less, and what some have labelled his repeated “lobbying for blacking up” have served their purpose and attracted the attention of national media, the ire of equality campaigners and helped him to find fans among disenfranchised white men. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:34:34 GMT)

NHS needs £25bn in emergency cash, Theresa May told
Group representing NHS trusts demands end to austerity funding, warning quality of care will suffer without extra fundingNHS leaders are urging Theresa May to give the health service an emergency cash injection of £25bn before 2020 or risk a decline in the quality of care for patients and lengthening delays for treatment.An influential group representing NHS trusts says that the care provided by hospitals and GP surgeries will suffer over the next few years unless the prime minister provides an £5bn a year for the next three years – and a further £10bn of capital for modernising equipment and buildings. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:00:28 GMT)

Pret a Manger launches charm offensive to recruit British workers
Sandwich chain has begun advertising in jobcentres and on social media as it faces up to potential staff shortage after BrexitPret a Manger has embarked on a charm offensive to attract more British workers as it faces up to potential staff shortages after Brexit.“Traditionally at Pret we just had our recruitment centre and everybody just came to us,” said its chief executive, Clive Schlee. “Now we are preparing for the future by reaching out ourselves.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:01:44 GMT)

Israeli ambassador speaks of fresh Palestine peace initiative
Speaking at tense event at Soas attended by pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters, Mark Regev says wider Arab world must be involved in talksIsrael is pressing for a fresh Middle East peace initiative involving Arab states, Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, told a meeting at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London as pro-Palestinian activists mounted a vocal protest outside.Regev said Israel “wants to see larger and greater involvement from the Arab world” in new peace negotiations. Pragmatic Sunni Arab states saw a “convergence of interest” with Israel in relation to Iran and had “significant cards to play”, he added. He said that Israel had approached Donald Trump’s administration about “trying to get the peace process back on track”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:38:27 GMT)

'Schools are in jeopardy': teachers renew funding plea in run-up to polls
Headteachers say budgets must be top of election agenda amid fears that cash woes could destabilise entire education systemHeadteachers in England have called for school funding to be at the top of the political agenda in the run-up to the general election, warning that widespread budget cuts threaten to undermine the education system.As political campaigning gathered pace, teachers predicted that progress in education would stall and academic standards would start to decline if schools continued to come under “unacceptable levels of financial pressure”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:01:31 GMT)

Two people die in suspected spice-related incidents
Prisoner dies of suspected overdose at HMP Forest Bank in Salford, and Somerset police investigate death of man in TauntonTwo people died on Wednesday in incidents believed to have been related to spice, adding to fears that problems relating to the synthetic drug are growing.A prisoner died of a suspected overdose at HMP Forest Bank in Salford, believed to be the second such death at the prison this year. Meanwhile, police in Somerset said they were investigating whether the death of a 30-year-old man was linked to spice. The man was found unresponsive at an address in Taunton with six other people who exhibited similar symptoms but did not need to attend hospital. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:48:18 GMT)

Air pollution plan cannot be delayed, high court tells government
Court rules that immediate publication is essential and rejects Defra’s plea to delay until after the general electionThe government has been ordered to publish tough new plans to tackle air pollution after the high court rejected attempts by ministers to keep the policy under wraps until after the general election.In the latest defeat for ministers over their continued failure to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis, which is believed to be responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year,, Mr Justice Garnham said the secretary of state, Andrea Leadsom, was in breach of a court order to take action in the shortest possible time and that any further delays would constitute a further breach. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:06:19 GMT)

Britain’s divorce bill must be settled before Brexit talks, says Angela Merkel
German chancellor on collision course with Westminster after warning about discussions on UK-EU relationship The German government is encouraging Britain to agree a mathematical formula for calculating its European divorce settlement rather than settling on a precise figure in an attempt to avoid a looming clash that risks derailing Brexit talks.The chancellor, Angela Merkel, put the EU on a potential collision course with Theresa May on Thursday by insisting it made “no sense” to negotiate a future UK-EU relationship without first reaching agreement on the UK’s financial commitment to the EU. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:36:02 GMT)

This is not just any online grocer … M&S plans food delivery service
Marks and Spencer chiefs plan online food shopping trial in autumn, saying it can no longer ignore fast-growing web servicesMarks & Spencer is to launch an online grocery shopping service this autumn as it looks to cash in on the success of its food halls. The retailer confirmed that a team of executives was currently drawing up a battle plan ahead of trials this autumn, allowing M&S customers to order food online and have it delivered to their home. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:10:06 GMT)

Royal Marine Alexander Blackman to be released on Friday
Briton, whose murder conviction for killing injured Taliban fighter was overturned, to be freed in early hours, Guardian learnsAlexander Blackman, the Royal Marine sergeant jailed for killing a wounded Taliban fighter, is to be released in the early hours of Friday, the Guardian can reveal.It is understood Blackman will be whisked out of Erlestoke prison in Wiltshire by police to avoid a media scrum and be reunited with his wife, Claire, at a secret location. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:38:21 GMT)

MPs attack Boris Johnson remarks about strikes against Assad
Foreign secretary suggested UK could join US action in Syria without parliamentary approvalBoris Johnson has signalled the UK could join any US military action against Syria without parliamentary approval, prompting an outcry from politicians from across the spectrum.Johnson said he and the prime minister agreed that in the event of another chemical attack by the Assad regime, it would be hard for the UK to refuse any request from the US to join airstrikes. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:28:16 GMT)

Uber to offer UK drivers sickness cover in return for £2-a-week fee
Move expected to cost several million pounds a year is latest attempt to head off criticism over conditions for its 40,000 UK driversUber is to start offering its minicab drivers sickness cover in exchange for a £2 per week fee, in its latest bid to head off criticism over working conditions for its 40,000 drivers in the UK.The move is likely to cost the San Francisco-based company several million pounds a year. It comes ahead of the government’s Taylor review of modern working practices, which is likely to recommend that self-employed gig economy workers should be granted greater employment protections and benefits, including sickness cover. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:51:55 GMT)

Ancient Glastonbury oak tree known as Gog damaged in fire
Tree is one of pair marking what some think is a traditional entryway to Glastonbury and part of a ceremonial druidic avenue of oaks An ancient oak tree in Glastonbury known as Gog has been damaged in a fire that may have been caused by a lit candle or incense stick. Firefighters tackled the spectacular blaze and managed to save Gog, which was already dead, and made sure the flames did not spread to its twin tree, Magog. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:05:18 GMT)

West London jeweller cleared of murdering abusive boyfriend
Court hears that Stephen Rayner had threatened to kill Elizabeth Hart-Browne on several occasions and left her with multiple injuriesA jeweller wept in court as she was cleared of murdering her boyfriend by stabbing him in the neck at their west London home.Elizabeth Hart-Browne, 27, told the jury during her trial at the Old Bailey in London that Stephen Rayner, 25, was abusive and would mimic Charles Bronson, one of Britain’s most violent prisoners, during attacks on her. A jury found her not guilty on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:15:44 GMT)

Tiny geology centre vies with Tate Modern to be museum of the year
Five-strong shortlist includes little-known Lapworth Museum in Birmingham, which houses over 250,000 geological specimens A tiny and for decades little-known museum of geology will be pitted against the mighty Tate Modern in the 2017 museum of the year award. The Art Fund announced a shortlist of five museums that will compete for the world’s largest prize for a museum, the winner of which will receives £100,000. For the first time this year, the runners-up will get £10,000.The five museums are the Lapworth Museum of Geology in Birmingham, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in Newmarket in Suffolk, Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, the Hepworth Wakefield and Tate Modern. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:20:25 GMT)

Five on trial for encouraging road race in which quad bikers died
Group of friends from West Yorkshire alleged to have been cheering on illegal race that saw Nissan crash into quad bike at 144mph, killing fourFive spectators who cheered on an illegal road race where a motorist driving at more than 140mph hit and killed four people on a quad bike are on trial for their alleged role in the deaths.Victims Ryan Beal, 20, Brandon Brown, 20, Alexandra Binns, 18, and Terrie Kirby, 16, who were celebrating Terrie’s birthday, were all riding one quad bike – which was not part of the race – when they were hit by a Nissan 305 in a scene that one witness compared to the Fast and the Furious films. The group of spectators are now on trial for encouraging competitors in the race to drive dangerously. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:30:05 GMT)

Briton held in Turkey as terrorism suspect spoke of Isis 'jail' to UK press
Stefan Aristidou, who fled Syria after quest for life under sharia law, told media of efforts to escape Isis ‘camp of repentance’A Briton who has been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of terror offences after fleeing Syria previously spoke to reporters about his attempt to escape the clutches of Islamic State, it has emerged. Related: Isis faces exodus of foreign fighters as its 'caliphate' crumbles Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:32:54 GMT)

Rowan Williams urges removal of Holocaust denier's books
Former archbishop backs move to get David Irving’s works off Manchester University public shelves amid ‘extremist views’Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, has backed a campaign to get books by David Irving, a Holocaust denier, removed from open display at Manchester University library.Williams has written to the university’s vice-chancellor to express concerns that Irving’s books are available “alongside routine historical texts”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:45:43 GMT)

Barclays boss faces shareholder revolt over whistleblowing case
Advisory group tells investors to abstain from vote to re-elect Jes Staley to board after he tried to unmask whistleblower Barclays’ chief executive is facing a shareholder revolt at next month’s annual meeting because of the ongoing regulatory investigation into his attempts to unmask a whistleblower.Shareholders are being advised to abstain from the annual vote to re-elect the American banker Jes Staley to the board by ISS, an influential adviser to major investors, in a sign that the bank could face a significant protest vote against its chief executive at the 10 May AGM. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:37:05 GMT)

Poor working families face big losses from benefit cuts, says IFS
Nearly 3m working households with children on tax credits face average loss of £2,500 a year, according to thinktankLow-income working families face significant reductions in income as a result of planned cuts to benefits, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).The thinktank says the freeze in benefit rates and cuts to child tax credit, coupled with the rollout of universal credit, which has become less generous as a result of changes to work allowances, signal “large losses” for low-income households. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:57:27 GMT)

Beano legend Leo Baxendale dies aged 86
Artist was creator of beloved characters such as Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street KidsLeo Baxendale, the creator of Beano favourites Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids, has died at the age of 86.Baxendale’s fresh and energetic style, combined with his drawings of anarchic fun in strips including Little Plum, The Three Bears and Lord Snooty, made him a favourite for generations of British children, as well as an inspiration for comics artists. The comics historian Denis Gifford has called him “the most influential and most imitated comics artist of modern times” and he was inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame in 2013. Baxendale died from cancer on Tuesday. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:41:25 GMT)

'I know he is alive': wife of Taiwan activist seized by China pleads for release
Lee Ming-che has been detained by Beijing authorities amid a targeting of activists, dissidents and scholars based abroadThe wife of a Taiwanese human rights activist detained in China for over a month without charge has vowed to take her fight for justice to the US and European Union, urging them to pressure Beijing to release him. It has now been 40 days since Lee Ching-yu’s “partner, best friend and confidante” suddenly disappeared while travelling to visit friends in Guangzhou, southern China. Continue reading...
(Fri, 28 Apr 2017 00:21:13 GMT)

Fourth and final Arkansas inmate set to die tonight in week of executions
Kenneth Williams’ attorneys appeal to US supreme court to stay Thursday night execution, which would be the last of state’s controversial ‘conveyer belt’ killingsArkansas is preparing its death chamber for the fourth execution in one week Thursday night, bringing to an end the state’s controversial attempt to run a “conveyor belt of death” in an aggressive burst of killings unseen in the US for more than half a century. Related: Dear governor, please don't execute the man who murdered my father tonight | Kayla Greenwood Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:38:12 GMT)

Senior doctor resigns over plan to hand Dublin hospital to order of nuns
Dr Peter Boylan condemns plan to transfer ownership to Sisters of Charity, which ran some of Ireland’s notorious ‘Magdalene laundries’ One of Ireland’s most respected obstetricians has resigned from the board of a maternity hospital over plans to transfer its ownership to a religious order that ran institutions where women were enslaved and children abused for decades.Secular campaigners have been leading the opposition to the government’s plan – which emerged earlier this month – to move the National maternity hospital in Dublin to the St Vincent’s Elm Park campus, which is owned by the Sisters of Charity. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:11:12 GMT)

How Macron calmed Whirlpool workers whipped up by Le Pen
The favourite for the French presidency braved a picket line to explain the flaws in his rival’s promises to furious factory employees In an era when politicians’ interactions with the public are stage-managed to the last image-obsessed detail, when meaningless slogans are all they are allowed to utter and when no candidate is allowed near any situation that might misfire, it was a rare moment. Related: Marine Le Pen springs surprise visit on Macron during picket line campaign trip Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:31:48 GMT)

Congress on verge of deal to avoid government shutdown – for now
Congressional leaders appear ready to keep government open for another weekHouse Speaker Paul Ryan accuses Democrats of ‘dragging their feet’After a chaotic week of negotiations and recriminations, Congress may just be able to keep the government open.Although a White House rollout of proposed tax cuts and yet another stalled effort by House Republicans to repeal Obamacare consumed much of the oxygen, congressional leaders from both parties appeared on the verge of a deal to keep the government running past the Friday deadline and prevent a government shutdown that would take effect on Donald Trump’s symbolic 100th day in office. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:57:07 GMT)

Doctor dragged off United Airlines flight reaches undisclosed settlement
David Dao’s lawyers praise United for ‘taking full responsibility’ for incident in which he was injured while being forcibly removed from flightA Kentucky doctor who was dragged off a United flight after he refused to give up his seat to employees of a partner airline reached a settlement on Thursday with United for an undisclosed amount of money. Related: United Airlines to offer up to $10,000 for passengers to give up seats Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:51:18 GMT)

Ex-Chad dictator's conviction for crimes against humanity upheld by Dakar court
Judge in Senegal acquits Hissène Habré of a rape charge but upholds other charges including torture and murderAn African court has rejected Hissène Habré’s appeal against his conviction for crimes against humanity, which followed a decades-long fight for justice for his victims.The former president of Chad was acquitted of a rape charge, but all the other charges against him – including torture and murder – were upheld. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:53:40 GMT)

Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl awarded €1m damages over biography
Judge says unauthorised biography ‘deeply violates’ retired politician’s personal rights and sullies his reputationHelmut Kohl has been awarded a €1m (£842,875) in damages over an unauthorised biography that a judge said had “deeply violated” the former German chancellor’s personal rights.Judges in the western city of Cologne ordered the book’s two authors and their publisher to pay the damages to Kohl, 87, for breaching his trust and sullying his reputation. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:39:00 GMT)

Russian warship sinks after collision with freighter in Black Sea
Reconnaissance vessel damaged in crash with Togo-flagged boat near Turkish coast, prompting evacuation of 78 crew members A Russian naval reconnaissance warship has collided with a Togo-flagged boat near Turkey’s Black Sea coast, prompting an evacuation. There were no reports of casualties on either ship, but the Russian boat sank.A Turkish coastal safety official told Reuters that 78 crew members had been evacuated from the Russian ship. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:09:38 GMT)

Brazilians fight back against corruption– with the help of a purple plug-in
Colour of Corruption, a plug-in that works with Google Chrome, details criminal allegations against Brazil’s top politicians, who have long been accused of greasing the wheelsIn an age of epic corruption and political cynicism in Brazil, a new browser plug-in aims to attract and inform voters about the extent of their representatives’ involvement in graft.Released before what is expected to be the biggest general strike in decades, Colour of Corruption is an online political scorecard that details criminal allegations against members of the cabinet, the upper and lower houses of parliament, state governors, their deputies – and even the president. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:00:02 GMT)

New website offers US women help to perform their own abortions
With reproductive rights under threat, Women Help Women gives legal and medical advice to women who may be taking matters into their own handsFearful that Donald Trump’s presidency poses a once-in-a-generation threat to US reproductive rights, an international advocacy group this week is unveiling what is sure to be a controversial response: a web portal dedicated to helping US women terminate their own pregnancies with abortion-inducing drugs they have obtained outside of a medical setting. Related: ‘Please, I am out of options’: inside the murky world of DIY abortions Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:00:07 GMT)

Israel suggests it was behind Damascus airport blast
Intelligence minister appears to confirm that Syria explosion was Israeli strike on Hezbollah arms hubAn Israeli minister has appeared to confirm that Israel struck a Hezbollah arms supply hub in Syria on Thursday close to the airport in Damascus where weapons from Tehran are regularly sent by commercial and military cargo planes.Israel’s intelligence minister, Yisrael Katz, strongly suggested that Israel – which has launched a number of raids against Hezbollah in Syria but usually stops short of claiming them – was behind the military action. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:24:24 GMT)

‘Annihilate British Dogs’: Guangzhou Evergrande charged over fan banner
• AFC act after banner displayed during game with Hong Kong’s Eastern• Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale also charged for displaying wartime flagChina’s Guangzhou Evergrande have been charged by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after fans unfurled a banner with the words “Annihilate British Dogs” during their Asian Champions League match against Hong Kong’s Eastern on Tuesday.The banner, which read in full “Annihilate British Dogs, Eradicate Hong Kong Independence Poison”, was displayed late in Guangzhou’s 6-0 win over the Hong Kong champions. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:49:10 GMT)

Isis faces exodus of foreign fighters as its 'caliphate' crumbles
Exclusive: Two Britons and one US citizen are among dozens who have surrendered or been caught at Turkish borderLarge numbers of foreign fighters and sympathisers are abandoning Islamic State and trying to enter Turkey, with at least two British nationals and a US citizen joining an exodus that is depleting the ranks of the terror group.Stefan Aristidou, from Enfield in north London, his British wife and Kary Paul Kleman, from Florida, last week surrendered to Turkish border police after more than two years in areas controlled by Isis, sources have confirmed to the Guardian. Continue reading...
(Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:41:18 GMT)

'It's a war on Christians': Egypt's beleaguered Copts in sombre mood before papal visit
Pope Francis heads to Cairo for peace mission after spate of church bombings, as Isis proclaims Christians its ‘favourite prey’Rami Yasser Labib was at home when he heard gunshots in the street. His friend Wael Youssef, the owner of the downstairs grocery store, had been targeted by Islamic State militants. “Three bullets killed him in front of his wife and son in the street,” Labib said.Youssef was the first victim of a string of attacks on Coptic Christians by Isis this year in the northern Sinai coastal city of Arish. The attacks have prompted hundreds of people to leave in search of safety. Labib fled his home of 16 years in fear, taking “only the clothes I was wearing and nothing more”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 27 Apr 2017 06:00:09 GMT)

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