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'This used to be my home': Italians in shock after devastating earthquake
At least 120 dead after 6.2-magnitude quake strikes central Italy on Wednesday morningDozens dead after earthquake in central Italy – liveAmid the rubble of a town that seems almost to have toppled on to its hillside, it is, miraculously, still standing. But the clock on the 13th-century bell tower in Amatrice is stuck at 3.39 – three minutes after the earthquake struck.At least 120 people died and dozens more were injured, or feared still trapped in debris, after a powerful pre-dawn earthquake devastated a string of remote hilltop towns and villages across a swath of central Italy on Wednesday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:57:56 GMT)

'Mr Brexit' meets Mr Brexit: Nigel Farage to stump with Trump
Former Ukip leader and leading figure of Leave campaign is not expected to endorse Republican nominee but will tell Mississippi voters ‘the Brexit story’Anti-EU British politician and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is scheduled to appear with Donald Trump at a rally on Wednesday, a week after the US presidential candidate branded himself “Mr Brexit” and tapped one of the leading American supporters of Brexit to run his campaign.Farage will appear with Trump at an evening rally in Jackson, Mississippi, to tell US voters “the Brexit story” of how he triumphed over the electoral odds. Farage is not expected to endorse Trump. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:10:01 GMT)

Discovery of potentially Earth-like planet Proxima b raises hopes for life
Thought to be at least 1.3 times mass of Earth, planet lies within ‘habitable’ zone of Proxima Centauri, raising hopes for life outside our solar systemThe search for life outside our solar system has been brought to our cosmic doorstep with the discovery of an apparently rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to our sun.Thought to be at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, the planet lies within the so-called “habitable zone” of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on the newly discovered world. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:00:26 GMT)

Virgin Trains faces data protection inquiry over Corbyn CCTV footage
Information Commissioner’s Office looks into claims train operator broke data protection rules by releasing images of Labour leaderVirgin Trains faces an investigation by the data protection watchdog over its release of footage of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, looking for seats on its London to Newcastle service. Officials at the Information Commissioner’s Office are making inquiries over whether the train operator, owned by Sir Richard Branson, broke the rules of the Data Protection Act, which governs the release of such data. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:44:31 GMT)

French burkini ban row escalates after clothing incident at Nice beach
Pictures of woman removing long-sleeved top surrounded by police cause outrage as France’s top court prepares to review bansThe political row in France over mayors banning the burkini has intensified after a woman in a headscarf was photographed on a beach in Nice removing a long-sleeved top while surrounded by armed police. Related: French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:03:55 GMT)

Mainstream media is failing audience by colluding with Trump, says Vice founder
Shane Smith tells Edinburgh TV festival that broadcasters’ obsession with ratings is behind his website’s growthMainstream media companies have opened the door for digital upstarts because their obsession with ratings led them to fail their audiences by colluding with controversial politicians, according to the billionaire journalist behind the Vice website.Shane Smith, the site’s founder, told an audience of television executives in Edinburgh that traditional rolling news broadcasters such as CNN were partly responsible for the rise of Donald Trump because whatever the Republican presidential nominee did made for popular television. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:18:46 GMT)

Treasury proposal may fine tax evaders up to 200% of amount owed
Tougher stance follows Theresa May’s leadership campaign promise to be more punitive of tax evasion and avoidanceThe Treasury is proposing new rules to punish offshore tax evaders who fail to come clean about their finances before September 2018, with fines of up to 200% of the amount owed. Related: Can Theresa May get the wheels of British business turning again? Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:49:43 GMT)

Three men dead after being pulled from sea at Camber Sands
Police urge people to stay out of the water at Sussex beach and say they are still trying to identify the dead menThree men have died after being pulled from the sea at Camber Sands on the hottest day of the year, Sussex police said.Emergency teams were called to reports of the men needing urgent medical aid at the beach near Rye, East Sussex, at about 2.15pm, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said. Beachgoers were urged to stay out of the sea while medics attended the scene. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:40:27 GMT)

Myanmar struck by 6.8-magnitude earthquake
US Geological Survey reports powerful quake in north-central Myanmar, damaging temples in the ancient city of BaganA powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake has hit central Myanmar, the US Geological Survey has said, severely damaging ancient temples at the old city of Bagan and killing one person.The site, which is often compared to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, holds more than 2,500 temples and pagodas, some of them centuries old. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:40:00 GMT)

Attempts to find 'Nazi gold train' in Poland hit the buffers
Despite extensive £28,000 dig, treasure hunters find no trace of train said to have been hidden by Germans at WałbrzychAttempts to find a “Nazi gold train” in Poland appear to have been dashed after treasure hunters admitted that they had found “no train, no tunnel” following extensive digging.The possibility of riches, based on a legend that a train laden with gold and valuables was hidden by Germans in a secret tunnel, as the Soviet army advanced towards them in 1945, has drawn explorers from across Europe to Wałbrzych, a city in south-west Poland. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:31:39 GMT)

Britain bakes on hottest day of year so far
Bookies slash odds on it being warmest summer on record, as highs of 33.8C bring warnings for at-risk peopleBritons sweltering on the hottest day of the year have been warned by health officials to take extra care of themselves and vulnerable friends and relatives, as the nation basks in a mini-heatwave.Temperatures hit 33.8C (92.8F) in the village of Cavendish in Suffolk on Wednesday, topping the 33.5C recorded at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on 19 July. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:12:27 GMT)

The Great British Bake Off 2016, episode one – live
Bake Off is back for the seventh time. But who will be the first Star Baker of the series? On your marks, get set, BAKE! Share pictures of your baking successes and failures via GuardianWitness 8.15pm BST 25-year-old Andrew is a straight-A student who went to Cambridge and now designs jet engines for Rolls Royce. I feel like Andrew hasn’t experienced much disappointment in his life, and needs a few baking disasters to show him that the real world is actually a giant bin full of melted baked Alaska, iced in shit. That said, he’s also kind of adorable and I want to mother him, but not in a weird way. 8.14pm BST Cakes are now out, so everyone is making their drizzle. Rav is making his drizzle from something called a “Yuzu” (sp?), which is a cross between a lemon and a lime. If you say so, Rav. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:15:12 GMT)

The burkini ban: what it really means when we criminalise clothes
France is tearing itself apart over a swimsuit but it’s not the first time an item of clothing has caused a political storm. What we wear has always hidden deeper fears about sex, race and classThis is what happens to my skin in the sun. After a few minutes, it goes a mottled pink. Give it an hour or so, and it goes the colour of a ripe tomato. Shortly after that, it burns really badly, and the next day I develop full-body dandruff. Not a good look.So I go to the beach well equipped. I wear sunscreen, of course. But also a hat, a scarf to cover my neck and my head as well if it’s too windy for the hat, a long-sleeved tunic, and light trousers to pull on somewhere between the mottled pink and tomato stage. I long ago accepted that I am never going to go brown, so I cover up, and I’m comfortable that way. But on a growing number of French beaches, it seems that covering up is now against the law. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:48:27 GMT)

At what point are women allowed to look their age?|Suzanne Moore
From cosmetic surgery to HRT, we pursue almost anything that makes us appear youthful because we cannot talk about the reality of ageingSometimes, it’s hard to be a woman. Sometimes? When are the in-between times when it’s just about alright? Every other day there is some bad news but still we are meant to chug along and pretend to be free. A bit equal. And content.There is an epidemic of anxiety and depression among young women. We don’t know why exactly, but we suspect it has something to do with that vague term “self-esteem”. Boys suffer, too, but evidently many young women are unhappy when they should be having the time of their lives. The pressure on them to look a certain way grows. That pressure is no longer confined to youth. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:00:22 GMT)

England v Pakistan: first ODI – live!
Over-by-over updates from the one-day international at the Rose BowlEmail rob.smyth@theguardian.com 8.12pm BST 23rd over: England 144-2 (target: 261; Root 52, Morgan 12) Root drags Nawaz round the corner for four to brng up the usual half-century, an apparently effortless effort from 56 balls. Nawaz then gets one to turn and bounce sharply, the first time that has happened in the innings, and beat the outside edge.“All this talk of sixes makes me ponder how much cricket has changed,” says David Hopkins. “When I started watching you never saw them in test cricket, in fact I wonder if they were considered a little indecorous. Gooch only bothered with three of them out of 333!” Lara didn’t bother with any in his 375. 8.08pm BST 22nd over: England 137-2 (target: 261; Root 47, Morgan 11) Morgan gets his first boundary, deliberately cutting Gul into the ground and wide of slip for four. Gul has already gone for 46 from six overs. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:12:39 GMT)

Don't call it a reboot: how 'remake' became a dirty word in Hollywood
Studios are scrambling for new ways to describe their regurgitated fare, but will painting the old wagon with fresh paint stop the wheels falling off?Some of the greatest Hollywood movies of the modern era are remakes. Martin Scorsese’s grubby Boston gangland thriller The Departed riffs shamelessly on the Hong Kong crime epic Infernal Affairs, while David Cronenberg’s 1986 body horror classic The Fly is an update on the 1958 Kurt Neumann chiller. The Coen brothers’ 2010 remake of True Grit is generally considered to be superior to the hokey 1969 version starring a past-his-best John Wayne, while the 1982 version of the Antarctic science fiction horror The Thing is a better movie than the 1951 film The Thing from Another World from which it drew inspiration.And yet the very term, along with its younger sibling the “reboot”, seems to have become a dirty word in Hollywood in 2016. If Star Wars: The Force Awakens had been made a few decades ago, it might easily have been sold as a remake, but with George Lucas’s prequels having already been blamed for ruining countless childhoods, the movie was pitched as a sort of “re-quel”, a sequel with all the elements of a remake necessary to inspire nostalgia but enough new material to move the story on and set up future adventures. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:44:16 GMT)

Mills & Boon romances are actually feminist texts, academic says
Val Derbyshire says no one should be embarrassed to read much-derided books, arguing many are literature of protestThey have been called patriarchal, formulaic and lightweight – and that’s the polite description. But an academic is making the case for Mills & Boon romances to be considered as feminist texts that are the literature of protest rather than mere escapism.Val Derbyshire said the books should be read by women and men with pride rather than guilty embarrassment. “It is such a shame that they have been so vilified, and that people treat them as trash and the black sheep of the literary family,” she added. “There really is literary value in them, which is why I continue to read them.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:57:58 GMT)

Britney Spears – 10 of the best
With Britney Spears releasing her ninth studio album, Glory, we look back over a career of pristine pop and distressing vulnerabilityThe title alone is uncomfortable to contemplate, and the song as a whole can only be described as a determined erasure of the autonomous self. Is the most disturbing line the one in which Britney apologises to her absent ex for crying over the split? Like most of her real relationships, this one doesn’t seem as if it was ever that healthy. Forget the idea that Britney’s job was to set any sort of example; calls for pop stars to be role models, especially in their music, are moralistic cant. Born to Make You Happy is horrifying as text and irresistible as pop, and the two are inextricable. The sugar-sweet melody – unlike her other early singles, this one required no modern production tricks – and that magnificent key change pull you in despite the horror; the song invites you to willingly, ecstatically, be swept into its darkness. The horror is not only that a sweetly smiling teenager is giving voice to disturbing emotions, but that this penchant for self-degradation and co-dependency is within us as well: she’s tapped into it and forced us to enjoy it. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:28:00 GMT)

Edinburgh comedy awards 2016: the nominees in full
Eight comedy shows are in the running for the prestigious prize at the Edinburgh festival, with James Acaster receiving a fifth consecutive nominationA confessional show about sexual assault, a puppet writing a novel and a record-breaking fifth consecutive nomination for James Acaster all feature in the shortlist for the annual Edinburgh comedy award. Eight shows compete for the prestigious prize, known as “the Oscars of comedy”. The winner will be announced this Saturday.The favourite is bound to be micro-observationalist Acaster, nominated for his show about honey-selling scams, Brexit and starting life over, entitled Reset. Having been a runner-up every year since 2012, the Kettering man is unlikely to be subjected by the judges to another near-miss. Other front-runners include Kieran Hodgson, whose show Maestro is about his love of Mahler and his effort to write a symphony, and Nish Kumar, whose political piece includes a routine about a racist heckle he received after the EU referendum. Both Hodgson and Kumar were also nominated in 2015. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:19:23 GMT)

Touchscreen chip flaw renders some iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices useless
Scores of users complain of broken or unresponsive screens, which repair specialists report is down to a widespread flaw in touchscreen chipsApple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus appear to be vulnerable to so-called “touch disease”, a hardware problem that is crippling phones, according to reports from users and third-party repairers.The issue, which has been observed in iPhone 6s since the beginning of the year, seems to affect the touchscreen controller chips, resulting in problems for the high-end smartphones in responding to touch input. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:51:07 GMT)

Nuno Mendes' summer recipes: seared cured bass with tofu sauce and raw peas
Make sure to use the freshest fish and peas, and eat them right awayThis recipe is simple but relies on really good ingredients such as the freshest fish and peas, top-quality Japanese soy sauce, and a grassy Spanish or Portuguese olive oil for the tofu sauce. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:36:35 GMT)

How Zola Budd passport row reached the top of Thatcher's government
Declassified papers show Geoffrey Howe warned Leon Brittan against giving athlete special treatment before 1984 OlympicsThe decision to grant the South African-born athlete Zola Budd a British passport provoked a bitter row at the top of Margaret Thatcher’s government, newly declassified papers show, pitching the then home secretary, Leon Brittan, against his sceptical colleague Sir Geoffrey Howe.Budd, a 17-year-old running sensation, was ineligible to compete in international competitions because of sanctions against apartheid South Africa. In April 1984 Brittan granted her British citizenship in a matter of weeks, after a vigorous campaign by the Daily Mail. Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 23:01:04 GMT)

'It’s a catastrophe': low-income workers get priced out of California beach city
Rapidly rising rents, exacerbated by the tech boom and short-term rentals, have made it impossible for many working-class Americans to remain in Santa CruzAt first, Jamie Kahn tried ignoring the repeated knocks on her front door. It was September 2015, and the 52-year-old Santa Cruz woman had recently faced an unexpected 40% rent increase that she could not afford.After missing a rent payment, her new landlords in the northern California beach city quickly moved to evict the single mother and her two children. Kahn thought that if she refused to open the door and accept a summons, she could bide some time to fight the increase from $1,400 to $2,000 a month. She was wrong. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:00:17 GMT)

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari review – how data will destroy human freedom
It’s a chilling prospect, but the AI we’ve created could transform human nature, argues this spellbinding new book by the author of SapiensAt the heart of this spellbinding book is a simple but chilling idea: human nature will be transformed in the 21st century because intelligence is uncoupling from consciousness. We are not going to build machines any time soon that have feelings like we have feelings: that’s consciousness. Robots won’t be falling in love with each other (which doesn’t mean we are incapable of falling in love with robots). But we have already built machines – vast data-processing networks – that can know our feelings better than we know them ourselves: that’s intelligence. Google – the search engine, not the company – doesn’t have beliefs and desires of its own. It doesn’t care what we search for and it won’t feel hurt by our behaviour. But it can process our behaviour to know what we want before we know it ourselves. That fact has the potential to change what it means to be human.Yuval Noah Harari’s previous book, the global bestseller Sapiens, laid out the last 75,000 years of human history to remind us that there is nothing special or essential about who we are. We are an accident. Homo sapiens is just one possible way of being human, an evolutionary contingency like every other creature on the planet. That book ended with the thought that the story of homo sapiens could be coming to an end. We are at the height of our power but we may also have reached its limit. Homo Deus makes good on this thought to explain how our unparalleled ability to control the world around us is turning us into something new. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 06:30:13 GMT)

Mrs Brown’s Boys v Mulholland Drive: a culture showdown
TV viewers have named Mrs Brown’s Boys as the sitcom of the century, while film experts say Mulholland Drive is the era’s greatest movie. Two critics swap roles to see what they’re missing ...Ryan Gilbey Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:23:53 GMT)

Nelson Mandela and the Gay Gordons put MoD in a spin, archives reveal
Defence officials balked at letting Scottish army band perform at ‘blatantly political’ Aberdeen ceremony backing jailed leaderA decision by Aberdeen’s Labour council to give Nelson Mandela the freedom of the city caused turmoil inside the Ministry of Defence because of a dance performance by the Gordon Highlanders. Mandela – who at this point had been in prison for more than two decades – was given the honour in 1984. Aberdeen was the home of the Gordon Highlanders, known as the Gay Gordons, a regiment that performed traditional Scottish dances. Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 23:01:04 GMT)

Researchers find lab rats on marijuana just can't be bothered
THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, makes rats less willing to exert cognitive effort – lazy – but, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, manThe main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana makes lab rats lazy, according to University of British Columbia researchers.The new research, published on Tuesday in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, looked at the effects of both THC – the drug’s main active ingredient – and the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol, or CBD, on the male lab rats’ willingness to exert cognitive effort. Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 15:00:12 GMT)

Universal reportedly outlaws streaming 'exclusives' after Frank Ocean release
Music industry newsletter claims Universal Music Group will be first major label to ban practice of artists offering exclusives to services such as Tidal and AppleJust two days after Frank Ocean’s Blonde, one of the biggest releases of the year, was released on Apple’s iTunes, Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group and widely regarded as the most powerful executive in the music industry, has reportedly ordered the company’s labels to stop the practice of making “exclusive” distribution deals with streaming services.According to Bob Lefsetz, author of an influential music industry newsletter, Grainge sent out a company-wide email on Monday. UMG, which boasted seven of 2015’s 10 best-selling albums and 38.5% of the year’s recorded-music sales, will be the first major label to ban the practice, which many feel has begun to diminish rather than enhance the way music is distributed and consumed. Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:44:45 GMT)

Manchester City v Steaua Bucharest: Champions League play-off – live!
Minute-by-minute updates from the second leg at the EtihadTweet @Paul_Doyle or email paul.doyle@theguardian.comManchester City’s Bony ‘an option’ for West Ham, says Bilic 8.11pm BST 25 min: Navas provides a rare accurate cross from the right, a dainty clip towards Nolito, who meets it with a sideways scissors kick about 12 yards out. Straight at the keeper, unfortunately. 8.10pm BST Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:11:49 GMT)

Lewis Hamilton facing F1 grid penalty in Belgium over engine changes
• Mercedes say penalty ‘likely’ and will confirm on Thursday• Hamilton has suffered numerous engine problems this seasonLewis Hamilton faces starting the second half of the Formula One season on the backfoot after Mercedes confirmed it is likely he will suffer a grid penalty at the Belgian Grand Prix. Related: Helio Castroneves unhurt after car lands on top of him in dramatic crash Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:22:49 GMT)

Vuelta a España: Gianni Meersman claims stage five but Atapuma hangs on
• Belgian avoids massive pile-up to win in sprint finish• Chris Froome remains third overall, 32 seconds behind leaderGianni Meersman avoided a massive pile-up to win a tense sprint finish and claim his second stage victory of the Vuelta a España on day five of the race.The Belgian (Etixx - Quick Step), who also won stage two on Sunday, edged away from the pack - which was reduced to around 20 riders following a crash in the final kilometre - to finish the 171.3km flat route from Viveiro to Lugo in four hours and 16 minutes. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:03:06 GMT)

Jimmy Feigen on gas station incident: 'I'm so sorry for the drama this has caused'
US swimmer, 26, was involved in incident that overshadowed final days in Rio‘I would like to apologize for the serious distractions from the Olympics’Jimmy Feigen, one of the swimmers caught up in the Olympic gas station hold-up that wasn’t, has issued an apology for “the drama this has caused in everyone’s lives” and admitted he left out details of the story to try to protect his team-mates. Related: Emotional Ryan Lochte sorry for 'stupid mistake' and 'shenanigans' at gas station Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:04:10 GMT)

I love the Olympics, but at least football spares us all that learning
The Premier League remains a purely sporting spectacle, without the need for a journey, backstory or training montage to educate us – and what a relief that isAttention, football! My love for you is not conditional on you “learning” from the Olympics. In fact, it’s not conditional. Honestly, darling, you’re like a child to me in that way. I will love you whatever – even when you’re naughty, even when I’m cross, even when it sounds like I’m really disappointed in you. (It might feel confusing at the time, but in some ways those are the moments I love you the most.) In fact, I will love you even if it all gets a bit We Need To Talk About Football. I’ll still come and visit you in whatever maximum-security place they’re keeping you, after whatever horrendous thing it is you’ve done. Related: Rio 2016: Guardian writers pick their favourite Olympic moments Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:00:16 GMT)

Chris Coleman dismisses idea of Wales being part of Team GB at Olympics
• Manager speaks in response to calls for combined side to compete from 2020• Coleman: ‘They’re only going to take two or three of ours … they’ll cherrypick’Chris Coleman has dismissed any possibility of the Football Association of Wales supporting Team GB entering football teams at future Olympic Games. The Wales manager said there was no appetite whatsoever within the FAW to embrace a tournament he fears would risk derailing their progress and “mess about” with the pride and identity his players feel when they represent the country. Related: Olympic officials to have talks about British football at Tokyo 2020 Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:00:26 GMT)

Transfer window: one week to go - what do every Premier League club still need?
With only seven days to go before the transfer window closes, we look at who the clubs have already signed and where they still need to strengthen Related: Premier League: transfer window summer 2016 – interactive Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:53:10 GMT)

Manchester United consider allowing Bastian Schweinsteiger to leave for free
• United prepared to cut losses on 32-year-old German midfielder• Schweinsteiger confirms United will be his last European clubManchester United would consider allowing Bastian Schweinsteiger to leave for free, after the German stated that they will be the last European club he plays for.The 32-year-old cost United around £6m when Louis van Gaal, the former manager, signed him from Bayern Munich last summer. After a disappointing first season there is a recognition at United that if it is suitable for both parties, a transfer fee will not be requested should Schweinsteiger receive an attractive offer. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:19:53 GMT)

Teams with players from every continent and confederation in the world
Plus teams with miserable League Cup records, players telling porkies about international call-ups, and a debut to remember in the Netherlands“Has any team had players from each of the six permanently inhabited continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania) at one time?” tweeted Kenn Rushworth last week. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:00:17 GMT)

Southampton in talks with Lille over £17m move for Sofiane Boufal
• Initial bid for Morocco forward was rejected by French club• Boufal has also been tracked by Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and WatfordSouthampton are in negotiations with Lille over the transfer of Sofiane Boufal, with the clubs close to agreeing a deal that could be worth up to £21.2m (€25m) for the Morocco forward.Boufal, who has also been tracked by Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Watford, has been told he will be allowed to leave Lille this summer after a spectacular breakthrough campaign that saw him score 11 times in his first full top-flight season. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:27:15 GMT)

Jack Harrison: from Manchester United to No1 draft pick and Yankee Stadium
The midfielder decided to forego the English academy system and get an education in the US. Now he is thriving alongside Andrea Pirlo and David VillaWhen Jack Harrison was a youngster, growing up in Bolton and playing for Manchester United’s youth academy, he perhaps did not imagine that football would take him to the most famous baseball stadium in the world. But football has a funny way of doing things. Which is why, on a recent summer’s afternoon in New York City, Harrison, 19, sat in one of the dugouts at Yankee Stadium, discussing the unconventional path – at least in of English football terms – that has taken him to the professional ranks here with New York City FC.“It’s crazy,” he told the Guardian, a northern lilt still in tact and a slight grin on his face as he looked out over the field where his team had just beaten LA Galaxy 1-0. “I don’t think I understand the significance yet, as many Americans do, of being in Yankee Stadium. But it’s a great place to play. Look around – the stadium is fantastic.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:00:17 GMT)

Talking Horses: Wednesday’s best bets plus our tipping competition
Goadby should be able to cope with the conditions in the 3.50 at Catterick, and watch out for Paul Cole’s Baron Bolt in the 3.20I went to Newbury yesterday, intending to report on their “Horse Comes First” raceday, before getting sidetracked by Adam Brickell’s departure from the BHA. The Horse Comes First is now quite a longstanding and valuable campaign about how racing looks after its equine participants. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:59:14 GMT)

The best goals of the week: Neymar, Lionel Messi and an astounding hat-trick
Featuring Tom Hanlon’s remarkable goals for Pollok against Neilston, the strike that helped Brazil win gold in the Olympics and a fancy flick from Los Angeles Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:44:21 GMT)

Joe Marler expects tough test on return but says he has conquered demons
• England prop ruled himself out of Australia tour after disciplinary issues• ‘I suspect someone might punch me in the face but I can cope now’Joe Marler said he is back on the right track after making himself unavailable for England’s summer tour of Australia.The 26-year-old prop found himself in regular disciplinary trouble last season, with bans for calling Wales’ Samson Lee “Gypsy boy” during the Six Nations and then for kicking Grenoble’s Arnaud Héguy in the head on his comeback for Harlequins in the European Challenge Cup. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:51:47 GMT)

From the floor to first class, Britain’s railways are a disgrace | Owen Jones
Never mind Jeremy Corbyn’s journey – what matters is that privatisation has been a train wreck, and ideologues who want to roll back the state can’t admit itSome will accuse this column of shamelessly using an embarrassing story involving the Labour leader to further my political cause. They will be right. If you want to find outrage over how many empty seats there were on the 11am train to Newcastle on 11 August, most of the media is there to cater for you. If you are among the 58% of the population who want to renationalise the railways and other utilities, you are going to struggle – to put it mildly – to find your views reflected in the media. Consider this a modest attempt to redress the balance.Here begins the shameless shoehorning. If you believe in free market dogma – that private ownership inevitably brings more efficiency, better quality and cheaper services – then there are two major embarrassments in Britain: the NHS and the rail industry. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:44:58 GMT)

I'm a doctor. The real issue isn't Hillary Clinton's health – it's that she might win | Celine Gounder
Parkinson’s, seizures, sedatives: wild rumors about the Democratic candidate’s health signal fear among Trump supporters that they’re heading for defeatFormer secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s health has been under scrutiny in recent weeks, not by medical professionals but by politicians and supposed pundits playing doctor on TV. Clinton’s personal physician, Dr Lisa Bardack, has repeatedly said: “Secretary Clinton is in excellent health and fit to serve as president of the United States.” Meanwhile, conspiracy theories about Clinton’s supposed ill health have gone viral. There’s no evidence these claims are true.I’m a doctor. I don’t play at being a doctor. I don’t diagnose patients in the absence of unbiased, reliable information, such as performing a physical exam or reviewing tests. When I write or am interviewed on television or the radio, I’ll talk about what new research will mean for patients and the science behind the latest guidelines. I’ll explain why we’re seeing increasing rates of certain diseases and whether policies to combat them make sense. I don’t talk about individuals except to say what one might expect more generally with regard to a particular medical illness. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:54:24 GMT)

Why Vic Reeves is the strangest, most perfect presenter for BBC4’s dada season
The comedy of Reeves and Mortimer is as surreal as art by the original dadaists – so news that Reeves is restaging the artists’ antics in Gaga for Dada is a delightful surpriseThere was a man on stage with a paper bag on his head, waving a stick about. There was a judge who tried people for lunatic “crimes”. There was Mr Wobbly Hand. It was all rather strange, but also terribly funny. This was the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in 1916 where the dada movement began. No, wait – it was the TV comedy show Vic Reeves Big Night Out, which ran from 1990 to 1991, and also featured Les with his fear of chives, Morrissey the Consumer Monkey and a game show called Read the Anthony Trollope Novel. Related: Vic Reeves goes gaga over Dada for BBC4 conceptual art season Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:14:07 GMT)

Nicaragua is drifting towards dictatorship once again | Gioconda Belli
As elections approach, my former Sandinista comrades Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo are attempting to take absolute control of state instutitionsFrom my house overlooking Managua, the city at night looks like an amusement park – more Walt Disney fantasy than the capital of the poorest country in the American continent. Gigantic metal trees, each studded with hundreds of colored lights have been installed all over town. A few might have been fine, but 130 of them in our small city are overwhelming and kitsch. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:11:07 GMT)

Owen Smith may not beat Jeremy Corbyn, but he passed the Today test | Michael White
As he tussled with John Humphrys on Radio 4, the Labour leadership challenger sounded confident, articulate and humanListening to the radio this morning I had an experience I realised I’d almost forgotten. It was the sound of a Labour politician being combatively quizzed on Radio 4 by Today’s John Humphrys in the key 8.10 spot and giving confident, articulate answers in return. When did I last hear that, I wondered?What follows here isn’t a party political broadcast for Owen Smith. For the first time since Labour’s glittering leadership contest to succeed Harold Wilson in 1976 – Callaghan versus Healey, Foot, Crosland, Jenkins and Benn – he’s a leadership contender whom OAP Mike doesn’t really know. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:51:13 GMT)

France’s burkini ban exposes the hypocrisy of its secularist state | Iman Amrani
The French state assumes that laïcité means equality but fails to monitor it. This policing of its Muslim citizens runs counter to its prized freedom of expression Over the summer I’ve watched France spinning itself into a frenzy over the clothes that Muslim women wear at the beach. The burkini has been banned in cities across the Mediterranean coast, and a woman was fined €11 last week for wearing a simple headscarf and leggings on the beach in Cannes. This week pictures have emerged of French police forcing a woman to remove clothing on Nice beach as part of the ban. The prime minister, Manuel Valls, has supported the policing of Muslim women and their choice of dress and hysterical articles on the subject are still coming thick and fast.This is just the latest battleground where France’s Muslim population have had their choices scrutinised and restricted by a government that claims to protect the value of freedom of expression. The same heated debate led to women and girls being banned from wearing headscarves in schools, and over the past few years there have been strong calls to extend the ban to universities as well – calls that may well come into effect soon if Valls has anything to do with it. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:05:58 GMT)

Zola Budd, the Daily Mail and a case of chequebook journalism
How a newspaper sought to benefit from ‘a circulation windfall’ by persuading the government to grant a British passport to the South African runner The unexpected return of former athlete Zola Budd to the headlines in today’s national newspapers was due to the declassification of government papers from 1984.They are fascinating for two reasons: first, because they reveal the split among ministers in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet; second, because they offer an insight into the Daily Mail’s political clout at the time. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:32:56 GMT)

Colonial nostalgia is back in fashion, blinding us to the horrors of empire | Kehinde Andrews
Pride at Britain’s Olympic achievement is one thing, misty-eyed reminiscences of a past era is another. The British empire’s legacy is still so poorly understoodTeam GB’s historic success at the Rio Olympics has led to the mandatory swell of national pride. Britain is now a “sporting superpower”, according to officials. As inevitable as the outpouring of national pride was the darker side of British imperial pomp being unearthed. Conservative MP Heather Wheeler captured this mood perfectly when she tweeted “Empire Goes for Gold”, based on a colonial recount of the medal totals showing the “British Empire” ahead of the “Rest of World” and of course the “EU (Post Brexit)”.Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that an elected member of parliament should be so offensive, not only to most of the world but to millions of descendants of the empire in Britain. The academic Paul Gilroy diagnosed such ideas as “postcolonial melancholia”, the yearning for a time when Britain was great and a leader in the world. Britain’s place on the world stage was built off the back of the empire, and when former colonies gained their freedom, it dented not only the power of the nation, but also its psyche. The loss of the empire heralded the decline of Britain’s prowess and has left British nationalism looking for a symbolic pick-me-up ever since. Olympic success is proving quite the tonic. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:03:25 GMT)

The Brexit vote must stand. Owen Smith is wrong to suggest otherwise | Mary Dejevsky
It’s patronising and self-serving to say people didn’t know what they were voting for. They did, and the decision has to be upheldAs the polls stand, Owen Smith may have little prospect of becoming Labour leader, but in the unlikely event that he does, he has cast himself, as of today, as the flag-carrier for a reconsideration of Brexit in the form of a second referendum or a general election. The voters, he says, should have the final say.Smith is not, of course, the first to call for another referendum: such calls have been two-a-penny since 23 June, and a second referendum is a favourite mechanism among those who regret the result. But he is the first to actually campaign for office on such a pitch, presumably intending it to form a decisive demarcation line between himself and the party leader he is challenging, the seemingly reluctant remainer, Jeremy Corbyn. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:12:08 GMT)

In a year like this, we need Bake Off’s sugary embrace | Lucy Mangan
Terror, Brexit, Trump. No wonder we’re looking for kindness and gentleness on our television screensForget yer mists and yer mellow fruitfulness. Chuck out yer close-bosomed friendship with the maturing sun. If autumn’s on the way, it must be The Great British Bake Off (returning tonight for its seventh sinfully delicious series), Strictly Come Dancing (embarking on its 14th sashay across the floor on 3 September) and The X Factor (the 13th season of which starts on Saturday). Related: Bake Off is PC? Show me a reality show that isn’t contrived | Gaby Hinsliff Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 06:00:12 GMT)

While Labour complains, the Tories simply govern | Rafael Behr
The left is cheered by exuberant amateurism. But most want serious politics left to the professionalsPolitics chases sporting achievement like a breathless autograph hunter. In the past fortnight, I have seen Team GB’s Olympic success deployed to buttress the case for central planning, public spending, market capitalism, Scotland staying in the union, European solidarity, Brexit, Yorkshirian exceptionalism, John Major, open borders, comprehensive education and, in one self-parodying Twitter excursion by a Tory MP, empire. Related: Conservative MP praises 'British empire' for Rio 2016 medal tally Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 05:00:11 GMT)

Olympic medallist Feyisa Lilesa’s gesture was a plea for justice for his people | Henok Gabisa
Ethiopia’s Oromo people are systematically targeted and oppressed by its ruling regime. The athlete’s crossed arms protest shouldn’t be ignoredWhen the Ethiopian Olympic marathon medallist Feyisa Lilesa crossed his arms at the finish line, the world asked what the symbol stood for. Little is known about the historical marginalisation and collective persecution of Lilesa’s people, the Oromo of north-east Africa.Almost all Ethiopian runners come from the Oromia region; but the Ethiopian athletics federation is highly scornful of their Oromo identity. Perhaps the federation’s imperious attitude towards the athletes emanates from its paranoia and mistrust of the people, and fear that one day Oromo athletes might open Ethiopia’s Pandora’s box and spill the beans at an international sports event. Exactly what Lilesa did in Rio - and now he has not returned to Ethiopia. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:52:01 GMT)

'Come with an open mind': what life is really like in New Zealand
Since the EU referendum, a growing number of Britons are investigating a move to New Zealand. Here, people talk about life in the land of the long white cloudWhat’s been the fallout from the EU referendum so far? One unexpected consequence is a rise in interest in moving to the land of the long white cloud. The New Zealand immigration website – a guide to living and working in the country – recorded a huge spike in queries from British nationals. So much so that the New Zealand Herald playfully declared it a “British invasion”. But what should Brits expect if they relocate? And why is the country so appealing? We asked those already there to tell us. Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 15:10:30 GMT)

Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for the NHS will rescue it from Tory dismantling | Diane Abbott
The Conservatives have mired our health service in crisis. Our task is to shift resources away from profit-seeking private operators and back to frontline careFor patients and staff, the crisis in the NHS is becoming more apparent with each passing day. Waiting times for cancer treatment, ambulances, GPs, A&E admissions and for almost all elective surgeries are lengthening, and targets are receding into the distance. The Tories have provoked the first ever all-out strike by junior doctors. Many hospital trusts are racking up debt. Civil servants have found plans for a seven-day NHS unfeasible. Jeremy Hunt has misled parliament and the British public. Related: These leaks show Jeremy Hunt’s deception over the seven-day NHS | Rachel Clarke Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:00:15 GMT)

Caster Semenya is the one at a disadvantage
The irony of privileged athletes with their nutritionists, physios and sports psychologists pointing fingers at those who’ve overcome so much is laughableWhen athletes lined up for the 800m women’s final in Rio last week they weren’t exactly starting from a level playing field – on that we can all agree. But who was it who enjoyed the “unfair advantage” that the eventual winner Caster Semenya has been accused of holding? Various competitors and commentators have declared that the South African runner’s gold medal was unfairly gained because her physical attributes and medical condition make it impossible for others to beat her. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 07:00:13 GMT)

Tumblr was my saviour. It made me see I wasn't monstrous and unloveable | Jonno Revanche
There has been much written on the negative influence of social media on young people. But these websites can also be life-changers too, in a good way The go-to moral panic of our apparently technology-obsessed younger generation is the tagline “we’re more switched on than ever but just as disconnected.” Yet my experience with online communities tells a significantly different, more nuanced story. My use of the blogging website Tumblr, in particular, encouraged an understanding of my inner self in a way that my geographical community couldn’t immediately satisfy.Having grown up in the deep north-eastern suburbs of Adelaide, reaching other people often meant a a 20 minute walk to a bus stop and a 50 minute bus ride in order to get to the CBD. It’s easy to see how, a lot of the time, the welcoming arms of “community” seemed impenetrable and unreachable for me. My chronic social anxiety also massively inhibited my ability to naturally fit into these spaces. It’s hard to be vulnerable in loud social environments with people you hardly know. Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 20:30:01 GMT)

Ben Jennings on Jeremy Hunt and the NHS – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 20:32:10 GMT)

Was everyone on Ben-Hur 2016 too busy sourcing camel milk to generate new movie ideas?
I don’t mind the new version existing but will I have to live out the rest of my life drowning in franchises, reboots and remakes?Between the ages of 11 and 14, while my classmates were memorising the Fresh Prince theme song and perfecting their Jonathan Taylor Thomas découpage, I had a weird fixation on the 1959 biblical fan-fiction epic Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston. My social studies teacher showed it to us during our Ancient Rome unit (I remember her calling Heston “the perfect man” and doing a little sexual shoulder shimmy as if to say “yum yum”). We spent a whole week watching it because, being made in the period before Hollywood figured out how much continuous rowing should go in a movie, Ben-Hur is about three-and-a-half hours long. I was enraptured.Grandiosity, revenge, homoeroticism, miracles, a cave of horrors, four perfect white horses that know English and live in a tent with a guy in wizard robes who is their best friend – as far as I was concerned, Ben-Hur might as well have been Lord of the Rings. This was pre-Harry Potter, and live-action fantasy movies were thin on the ground. When you’ve already worn out your VHS tapes of Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, and The Neverending Story, antiquity is the next best thing. It’s dragon-movie methadone. (That’s why people are forever defending the treatment of rape and race on Game of Thrones by arguing that things were different “back then”. It’s easy to get confused. If you’re 11.) Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:08:36 GMT)

Blood Father star Mel Gibson: 'I'm used to being in the driving seat' – video interview
In Blood Father, a thriller by Mesrine director Jean-François Richet, Mel Gibson plays tough ex-biker John Link who must reconnect with his estranged daughter (Erin Moriarty) after she is threatened by her drug-dealing boyfriend (Diego Luna). Here Gibson tells Nigel M Smith about being an action dad, playing a guy in need of redemption and the time he tattooed a biker for funBlood Father review: Mel Gibson taps into rage for pulpy thriller Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:21:11 GMT)

Sunrise to sunset: stunning timelapse video of America's national parks
In honor of the National Park Service’s centennial this week, the Guardian has compiled scenes from around the country. President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service 100 years ago. From coast to coast, Hawaii to Maine, the beauty, nature and scope of US national parks are breathtaking Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 12:00:08 GMT)

Usain Bolt's 'triple treble' to Simone Biles: the best moments of Rio 2016 – video
We look back at some of the memorable moments from the Rio Olympics, including Usain Bolt’s ‘triple treble’ and Simone Biles’s dominance in the women’s gymnastics. Mo Farah successfully defended his Olympic titles, while Michael Phelps was humbled by a young fanRio 2016: Guardian writers pick their favourite Olympic moments Rio 2016’s biggest baddie, grooviest weightlifter and most forgotten athlete Continue reading...
(Mon, 22 Aug 2016 20:02:15 GMT)

Tom Hiddleston reads from John le Carré's The Night Manager – video
To celebrate the publication of John le Carré’s first memoir, Tom Hiddleston reads from The Night Manager. Don’t miss other leading actors reading le Carré’s work, and an exclusive extract from The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (Penguin), at theguardian.com on 3 September Continue reading...
(Mon, 22 Aug 2016 13:00:04 GMT)

Happy Birthday Philando Castile: friends' commemoration after shooting – video
Less than two weeks after Philando Castile was shot dead by police in a suburb of St Paul, Minnesota, and video of the event was seen by the world via Facebook Live, two film-makers spent time with his closest friends as they remembered Castile on what would have been his 33rd birthday. The film-makers are working on a project about the birthday celebrations of several people who have been killed by police Continue reading...
(Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:02:43 GMT)

How much are Olympic medals really worth? – video
Great Britain enjoyed a record-breaking Olympic Games in Rio winning a total of 67 medals and finishing second in the medal table. An increase in medals for Team GB has also seen seen a dramatic rise in funding over the last 20 years. But is this money well spent? And how much is an Olympic gold medal really worth? Continue reading...
(Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:28:59 GMT)

Something rotten in the lasagne: Hamlet's poisonous family reunion – video
Ronni Ancona’s Gertrude serves up a bloody homecoming dinner down the Prince of Denmark pub in the seventh of the British Council films for Shakespeare Lives 2016, a global programme celebrating William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death• Anne-Marie Duff is Miranda’s mother in a rewritten Tempest• ‘Unsex me here’: Vicky McClure unleashes hell as Lady Macbeth• Sea Side Story: Laura Dockrill’s salty Romeo and Juliet Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Aug 2016 13:54:32 GMT)

Generations of Romanian girls trafficked into Europe's sex industry – video
Maya is one of the many Romanian girls lured to work in brothels and massage parlours across Europe in the hope of escaping poverty at home. Often deceived by boyfriends who are little more than pimps, these teenagers are desperate for a better life. Maya is now in a brothel in Switzerland, but her younger sister, Geida, hopes for a different future Continue reading...
(Fri, 19 Aug 2016 06:00:10 GMT)

A deep sea dive into Bermuda’s hidden depths – video
Guardian environment reporter Oliver Milman joins a group of scientists on an underwater expedition off the Bermuda coast to help chart its hidden depths and gauge the general health of the area’s reef and coral. Travelling in a two-man submersible, Milman and submarine pilot Kelvin Magee go on a journey 500ft below the surface Continue reading...
(Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:00:00 GMT)

'I'll write as if I'm trying to get sacked': Stewart Lee in conversation with Alan Moore – video
Writers Stewart Lee and Alan Moore discuss the term ‘content provider’ the title of Lee’s new book, as well as how to dismantle genres, balance different voices, and play with the parameters of writing a newspaper column or a graphic novel For the full interview please click hereContent Provider is published by Faber & Faber and is largely a collection of Stewart Lee’s Observer columns. An extract from the book can be found here Continue reading...
(Mon, 15 Aug 2016 09:56:23 GMT)

Toddler swept out to sea with parents in Cornwall dies
McKayla Bruynius, two, pronounced dead four days after incident at Newquay beach that also claimed her father Rudy’s lifeA two-year-old girl rescued by lifeboat volunteers after she and her parents were swept from a Cornish beach and out to sea by huge waves on Friday has died in hospital. McKayla Bruynius was pronounced dead at Bristol Children’s hospital on Tuesday night, after the incident which also claimed the life of her father, Rudy Bruynius. They are among seven people to have died over the weekend around Britain’s coasts. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:20:33 GMT)

World's biggest aircraft crashes in Bedfordshire
Airlander 10 sustains damage but no one injured on landing in fields during second test flight at Cardington airfieldThe world’s largest aircraft, a part-plane, part-airship hybrid being developed in the UK, has crashed during its second test flight.The 92-metre-long (302ft) Airlander 10 was damaged during the flight from RAF Cardington airfield, Bedfordshire, with photographs showing it on the ground with its nose pointing towards the floor. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:47:51 GMT)

Woman in labour punched and robbed on London street
Patience Chukwu was experiencing contractions when her attacker stole her phone and repeatedly punched her in the headA heavily pregnant woman who was robbed in the street while experiencing contractions pleaded with her attacker to stop as he repeatedly punched her in the head.Patience Chukwu was making her way to hospital at about 9am on Sunday 26 June when she was approached by a young man on a bike who snatched her mobile as she tried to call her sister, her birthing partner. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:07:20 GMT)

Royal Marine arrested in security operation after NI arms dumps find
Arrest made in Somerset as part of major counter-terrorism operation across Northern Ireland and southern Britain Security officials trying to stop Irish terrorists staging attacks against Britain ordered the arrest of a serving member of the Royal Marines. There were also searches of woodlands in rural south Devon suspected of containing bombs and weapons smuggled from arms stores in Ulster. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:49:11 GMT)

Jeremy Corbyn 'can help Labour rebuild in Scotland'
Young activists feel party leader is invigorating country’s youth in same way as 2014 independence voteJeremy Corbyn offers a gateway back to Labour for younger Scots, according to youth activists who compare the movement around his leadership to the unprecedented political engagement prompted by the independence referendum of 2014.Speaking before Corbyn’s first visit to Scotland since the Brexit vote, during which he will take part in hustings with leadership challenger Owen Smith in Glasgow on Thursday as well as rallying supporters in Edinburgh, young activists argue that growing numbers of those in their teens and 20s who supported pro-independence parties in the previous Westminster and Holyrood elections are being drawn back to Scottish Labour through Corbyn. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:16:03 GMT)

Scotland Yard investigating 'incitement' of Karachi violence
MQM party leader, Altaf Hussain, addressed supporters in Pakistan from his home in north LondonScotland Yard said it is examining whether a Pakistani political leader incited violence in Karachi when he addressed followers from his north-London base on Monday.Violence flared in the country’s biggest city on Monday after Altaf Hussain, the leader of the MQM party, who has lived in Edgware for more than 20 years, addressed supporters in the city via telephone calls that were broadcast to his followers. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:56:39 GMT)

Labour conference still in jeopardy as union blames party chief
Unite general secretary warns if there is a boycott by GMB which is in dispute with sole bidder for security contract, event will not go aheadThe leader of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, has said Labour’s conference may not go ahead if the row over its security is not resolved, and said the blame would be shouldered by the party’s general secretary, Iain McNicol.Labour is still no closer to resolving the security issue for its annual conference in Liverpool next month after the national executive committee voted to boycott longstanding provider G4S. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:16:29 GMT)

New rules on retaking GCSEs likely to bring down overall pass rate
For the first time 17-year-olds in England who gained a D grade in English or maths last year will have had to resit GCSEs in those subjectsPass rates in GCSE exams could take a tumble this year because of new government rules that force older teenagers to retake core subjects if they fail to get good grades.For the first time, 17-year-olds in England who gained a D grade in English or maths last year will have had to resit GCSEs in those subjects – and their performance is likely to pull down the average pass rate both for England and the UK. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:15:59 GMT)

Tributes paid to 'bubbly' backpacker killed in Australian hostel
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, from Derbyshire had just started working on a farm in Queensland following round-the-world tripA 21-year-old British woman stabbed to death at an Australian backpackers’ hostel by a knife-wielding attacker had just started working on a farm in Queensland.Mia Ayliffe-Chung, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, was staying at Shelley’s Backpackers in Home Hill, north Queensland, and regularly posted diary entries and photographs on Facebook. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:01:05 GMT)

Scottish deficit grows to nearly £15bn as oil revenues collapse
Deficit is now equivalent to 9.5% of its GDP, with latest figures showing bigger gap between tax income and spending than UKThe gap between Scotland’s public spending and tax revenues has widened, with the crash in global oil prices leading to a deficit of nearly £15bn.The latest official data shows that Scotland’s structural deficit was more than twice that of the UK last year, after its share of North Sea oil tax revenues collapsed, falling from £1.8bn in the previous year to £60m. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:52:06 GMT)

Call the old bill: police try to quack case of 200 lost ducks
Police investigating after the animals, worth a four-figure sum, were stolen from a farm near Laurencekirk, AberdeenshirePolice are hunting thieves who stole more than 200 rare ducks from a farm.The 230 ducks, worth a four-figure sum, were taken from a shed and officers believe they were rounded up and loaded into a pickup truck or van. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:31:55 GMT)

Tributes paid to soldier killed in Otterburn live firing exercise
‘Hugely committed’ Conor McPherson, 24, from the Black Watch, died after being shot while training in NorthumberlandTributes have been paid to a “hugely committed” soldier who died after being shot during a live-firing exercise, four months after safety concerns were raised about military firing ranges.Pte Conor McPherson, 24, from the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, died after suffering a serious head wound while taking part in a night live-firing exercise at Otterburn training area in Northumberland on Monday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:06:14 GMT)

Man who shot wife at care home sentenced to six years in psychiatric hospital
Ronald King, 87, who has dementia, killed wife, Rita, whose severe dementia had worsened months before incidentA man who shot his 81-year-old wife dead at a care home has been sentenced to six years in a psychiatric hospital. Ronald King, 87, formed the “settled intention” to kill his wife, Rita, whose dementia had worsened in the months before her death, Chelmsford crown court heard. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:29:25 GMT)

Labour should continue to fight Brexit, says Owen Smith
Labour leadership challenger says new referendum or general election should be held to confirm any deal to leave EUThe Labour party should continue to campaign against Britain’s exit from the European Union and a public vote should be held on the terms of any replacement trade deal before article 50 is invoked, Owen Smith has said. Smith, who is challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the party, said a new referendum or a general election should be held to confirm the details of the post-Brexit deal before Britain begins the process of formally leaving the trading bloc. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:48:10 GMT)

Ladbrokes' Iron Man 3 ad banned in case it appeals to children
Bookmaker says marketing email was only sent to over-18s – and Marvel fans are mainly adultsAn ad for bookmaker Ladbrokes featuring the popular superhero Iron Man has been banned over fears it would appeal to children.The email promoting the Ladbrokes casino featured an image of Iron Man and the text: “Enjoy this exclusive Ladbrokes welcome offer with Iron Man 3.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:26:02 GMT)

Dalian Atkinson ‘given CPR for 35 minutes’ after being Tasered
Inquest into death of former professional footballer on 15 August adjourned pending separate investigation by IPCCThe family of Dalian Atkinson will have to wait until at least next year to find out why their loved one died and if anyone was to blame.Atkinson, a former premiership football star, died after a clash with police during which he was shot with a Taser electric weapon outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:29:19 GMT)

Sports Direct allows public to attend AGM and tour Shirebrook site
Retailer had previously been unwilling to open up the annual meeting to outsidersSports Direct will open its doors to the public on the day of the retailer’s annual general meeting, giving people an opportunity to speak to board directors following months of criticism over the treatment of workers.A timetable for the event said non-shareholders are welcome to attend the Sports Direct AGM on 7 September, which is being held as usual at the company’s headquarters in Shirebrook, Derbyshire. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:31:24 GMT)

Mortgage approvals by UK banks fall to lowest level so far this year
Approvals were down in July but credit growth was up, suggesting people delaying large not small purchases after Brexit voteMortgage approvals at Britain’s banks tumbled in July to their lowest level this year as people delayed making major financial decisions in the weeks after the Brexit vote.Banks approved 37,662 mortgages for house purchases last month, down from 39,763 in June and 19% lower than in July 2015, the British Bankers’ Association said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:35:59 GMT)

Remains of Scottish soldiers who died 400 years ago to be reburied
Soldiers died of starvation and disease after brutal forced march when they were taken prisoner by Oliver CromwellThe remains of Scottish soldiers who died of starvation and disease almost 400 years ago after a brutal forced march will be reburied with honour near the site where their bodies were tipped into a mass grave in the shadow of Durham Cathedral.The discovery, after three years of research on bones found during building work within the Unesco world heritage site of Durham’s palace and cathedral, resolves a centuries-old puzzle about what happened to 6,000 prisoners taken by the English parliamentarian army under Oliver Cromwell after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:14:27 GMT)

Jeremy Hunt weekend NHS death claims unhelpful, say civil servants
Leaked documents show Hunt’s own officials believe focus on ‘weekend effect’ has undermined drive for ’seven-day NHS’Jeremy Hunt’s own civil servants believe that his claims about thousands of patients dying because of poor weekend hospital care have undermined the drive to create a “truly seven-day NHS”, according to leaked documents from the Department of Health.A briefing paper produced last month by his department’s team looking at a seven-day service and obtained by the Guardian and Channel 4 News says the health secretary’s repeated allegation of patient safety failings at weekends to justify the switch to fuller seven-day care “has not been helpful”. Continue reading...
(Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:00:16 GMT)

US warns Europe over plan to demand millions in unpaid taxes from Apple
US Treasury says investigations into alleged tax avoidance by US companies including Amazon and Starbucks could create ‘unfortunate precedent’The US has warned the European commission that it will consider retaliating if Brussels goes ahead with plans to demand billions of dollars in unpaid taxes from Apple and other US multinational companies.The Obama administration warned the EU on Wednesday that its investigations into alleged tax avoidance by US firms, including Apple, Amazon and Starbucks, could “create an unfortunate international tax policy precedent”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:51:29 GMT)

Turkey and US unite to oust Isis and curb Kurds
Joe Biden reassured Ankara, but it is unclear how Washington’s Kurdish proxies will react to his demand that they step backTurkish tanks moved rapidly through the Syrian town of Jarablus on Wednesday, ousting the Islamic State terrorist group from one of its last border strongholds – but the most important outcome in Ankara’s eyes was trumping the US-backed Kurdish fighters in a race to seize the surrounding area.In a pointed concession to Turkey, Joe Biden demanded that Kurdish forces, who had been a central US proxy in the battle against the terrorist group, “move back across the Euphrates river”, to the east of Jarablus. The US vice-president also said that the Kurds, who have won a series of recent battles against Isis, would be abandoned if they advanced. US jets gave cover to the Turkish push, one of the first times in the war that the two allies have conducted a joint operation. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:45:30 GMT)

American University attack: one dead and 24 injured in Afghanistan
Students in Kabul were trapped in classrooms amid explosions and automatic gunfire Wednesday night around 7pm, as militants attacked the universityAt least one person has been killed and 24 wounded after militants attacked the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, trapping students and foreign staff members in their classrooms amid explosions and automatic gunfire. Witnesses said the attackers blew up an outer wall before bursting into the university compound around 7pm on Wednesday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:08:10 GMT)

Firefighter feels like a 'normal guy' year after unprecedented full face transplant
Patrick Hardison, whose surgery was the first to include scalp and functioning eyelids, finally lives independently 15 years after burning building fell on himA Mississippi firefighter who received the world’s most extensive face transplant after a burning building collapsed on him said Wednesday that he feels like “a normal guy” for the first time in 15 years.Patrick Hardison, 42, said he can now eat, see, hear and breathe normally, thanks to last year’s surgery. He even has a full head of hair and hits the gym twice a week. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:31:18 GMT)

Hawaii dubbed the 'best state for women's equality' in new study
Hawaiian women earn 83 cents on the dollar compared to white menUS states evaluated on work, education and political empowermentIn Hawaii, women make up half of their current congressional delegation, with one senator and one representative – both women of color. There, women make about 83 cents on the dollar compared to white men – a few cents above the national average of 79 cents. The state was also deemed the best state to live in for women’s equality, according to a recent WalletHub study.Hawaii was found to be No 1 in the three categories examined: workplace environment, education and political empowerment. Alaska ranked second overall and did especially well in educational attainment, while Arkansas and Mississippi tied Hawaii for first in the category of education. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:05:41 GMT)

Human-induced climate change began earlier than previously thought
Signs of warming appear as early as 1830 say researchers, whose analysis will help build accurate baseline of temperature before influence of human activityContinents and oceans in the northern hemisphere began to warm with industrial-era fossil fuel emissions nearly 200 years ago, pushing back the origins of human-induced climate change to the mid-19th century.The first signs of warming from the rise in greenhouse gases which came hand-in-hand with the Industrial Revolution appear as early as 1830 in the tropical oceans and the Arctic, meaning that climate change witnessed today began about 180 years ago. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:23:10 GMT)

Colombia’s government and Farc rebels finalize peace deal to end 52-year war
After four years of negotiating, the deal will be signed Wednesday evening in Havana, kicking off what promises to be a frenzied campaign to ratify itColombia’s government and leftwing Farc rebels have reached a final and comprehensive peace deal to end the country’s 52-year war that has left more than 220,000 people dead and six million displaced. After four years at the peace table negotiators are due to sign the final deal Wednesday evening in Havana, where they have been holding talks since November 2012. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:04:31 GMT)

Fisherman hands in giant pearl he kept under the bed for 10 years
Enormous pearl thought to have come from a giant clam could be the biggest in the world and, if authenticated, is estimated to be worth more than $100mA fisherman in the Philippines has kept what might be the largest natural pearl ever found hidden in his home for more than 10 years.The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 03:05:54 GMT)

Pisa residents protest at plans for mosque near Leaning Tower
Hundreds of people have demonstrated in opposition to council’s approval of €4.5m project, 400 metres from tourist attractionA proposal to build a mosque near the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been met with opposition and claims that it could become a centre of radicalisation.The local council has provisionally approved plans for a €4.5m (£3.8m) mosque 400 metres from the tourist attraction, which is visited by more than 1 million people each year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:33:45 GMT)

Canada woman's lawyers turn to virtual reality in court case over pig incident
Anita Krajnc was arrested last year after she provided water to pigs en route to the slaughter. Her lawyers hope to demonstrate farm animals’ living conditionsLawyers for a Canadian animal rights activist set to go on trial for giving water to pigs on a hot day plan to bring virtual reality headsets into the courtroom to expose the conditions faced by farm animals heading to the slaughter.Toronto resident Anita Krajnc, 49, was arrested on 22 June 2015 after clashing with the driver of a tractor-trailer carrying pigs to an Ontario pork processing plant. Continue reading...
(Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:00:17 GMT)

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