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Trump inauguration: Taiwan delegation will attend in another red flag to China
Taiwanese delegation will attend new president’s swearing-in, prompting Beijing to warn it could ‘disturbe or undermine Sino-US relations’The war of words between China and Donald Trump flared again as China urged the US not to let a Taiwanese delegation attend his inauguration.Trump previously broke decades of diplomatic protocol by speaking directly with Taiwan’s president after winning the US presidential election in November. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 03:00:22 GMT)

Gambia: tourists scramble for flights out as troops mass at border
UK Foreign Office warns against all but essential travel to the Gambia after Senegal says it will act if president refuses to accept election defeatTourists and Gambians have scrambled to leave the west African country after the Senegalese army said its forces would cross the border if long-time president Yahya Jammeh did not stand down.Last-ditch efforts by the leaders of Mauritania and Senegal to persuade Jammeh to step aside peacefully after ruling for more than two decades appeared to have failed early on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 01:52:55 GMT)

EU politicians and businesses warn May over 'difficult' Brexit
As PM travels to Davos to deliver ‘global Britain’ message, European leaders present united frontEuropean politicians and multinational bosses lined up to warn Theresa May the UK’s exit from the European Union will be fraught with difficulty, as the prime minister flew out to deliver her “global Britain” message to business leaders in Davos.Key Brussels negotiators told the prime minister she was being over-optimistic in her hope to achieve a quick, clean break from the EU – and industrialists said her Brexit speech had left UK jobs at risk. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 21:05:54 GMT)

Manchester United’s record revenue unseats Real Madrid at top of rich list
• United head Deloitte Football Money League with revenue of £515.3m• Barcelona are second while eight Premier League sides feature in top 20Manchester United have regained the top spot in the Deloitte rich list from Real Madrid with record revenue of £515.3m for the 2015-16 season. Having topped the Football Money League for 11 consecutive seasons, Real posted revenue of £463.8m to slip down to third behind Barcelona, despite winning the Champions League.Leicester City, the Premier League champions, are one of eight English clubs to feature in the top 20 having generated combined revenues of nearly £2.4bn. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:01:21 GMT)

China's Xi Jinping says Paris climate deal must not be allowed to fail
President says ‘we only have one homeland’ in a coded warning to Donald Trump not to dismantle the agreementThe world must not allow the Paris climate deal to be “derailed” or continue to inflict irreparable damage on the environment, Chinese president Xi Jinping has said, amid fears the rise of Donald Trump could strike a body blow to the fight against global warming.Trump, who will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, has threatened to pull out of the historic Paris agreement and dismissed climate change as a Chinese “hoax” and “expensive… bullshit”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 03:11:36 GMT)

George HW Bush and wife Barbara hospitalized in Texas
Former president was admitted to intensive care unit for respiratory problem, and his wife was hospitalized as precaution after fatigue and coughingGeorge HW Bush was admitted to an intensive care unit on Wednesday, and his wife, Barbara, was hospitalized as a precaution, according to his spokesman.The former president was admitted to the ICU at a Houston hospital to “address an acute respirator problem stemming from pneumonia”, a family spokesman, Jim McGrath, said in a statement. McGrath said the former first lady was hospitalized as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:02:01 GMT)

Scientology's UK HQ angers residents by felling trees in conservation area
People in St Hill Green, West Sussex brand church ‘selfish and arrogant’ after 22 trees were cut down, but spokesman says more trees have been plantedThe church of Scientology has angered neighbours at its UK headquarters by expanding its facilities without planning consent and felling trees in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.Residents close to the sprawling HQ near East Grinstead in West Sussex have accused the church of “selfishly and arrogantly” carrying out “destructive development plans before authorisation” by building a coach and minibus park before securing planning permission. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:35:12 GMT)

MoD thwarts media campaign to release marine shooting video
Court martial review adjourned over video showing Alexander Blackman murdering wounded Taliban fighter The Ministry of Defence is resisting an attempt by the Guardian and other media organisations to persuade a court to release video footage showing an incident in which a British Royal Marine shot dead a wounded Taliban fighter.Alexander Blackman is serving life for the murder of the injured man but his case has been referred to the court martial appeal court following an investigation by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. An appeal hearing is due to take place next month. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:59:20 GMT)

We can't work it out: Paul McCartney to sue Sony for rights to Beatles classics
The singer/songwriter is filing a suit to regain copyright ownership after Duran Duran tried and failed to do the same with their catalogue in 2016Paul McCartney has filed a lawsuit against Sony/ATV to regain the rights to classic Beatles songs.The star is hoping to confirm the reclaim of ownership of songs he wrote while a member of the band in a case that recalls a similar battle faced by Duran Duran in 2016. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 23:36:22 GMT)

Moneysupermarket grabs most complained-about ad top spot again
Dancing bodyguard Gary’s Michael Jackson-style crotch grab during ad for price comparison website riles TV viewers Moneysupermarket’s ad featuring a bodyguard busting out old-school dance moves and a crotch grab was the most complained-about TV ad in the UK last year.The TV ad, part of the brand’s “So Moneysupermarket” campaign about consumers who feel “epic” after saving cash using the price comparison website, features “Gary the bodyguard”, who at one point is seen doing a Michael Jackson-style crotch grab and gyrations. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:01:22 GMT)

Barack Obama's final press conference pep talk: 'I think we're going to be OK'
President spoke of his daughters’ resilience and said: ‘If we work hard, if we’re true to those things in us that feel right, the world gets a little better each time’Obama’s final press conference: Chelsea Manning commutation is ‘appropriate’In the end, it was a father speaking with pride about his daughters and why they give him hope for the future.The final question put by a journalist to Barack Obama during his presidency merged the political with the personal. Indeed, the two have often been impossible to separate during his eight years in office. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 23:01:43 GMT)

Eddie Jones: ‘I want England to be the best. You should never be satisfied’
England head coach has set his sights on the 2019 World Cup but says Dylan Hartley may not be captain by that time while Alun Wyn Jones is a shoo-in for the Lions armbandEven on a dark midweek January evening a warm glow covers the Twickenham turf. It turns out to be from the portable lights helping the winter grass to grow but the golden touch of Eddie Jones still feels all-pervasive. Ask him to forecast the outcome of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final and his prediction is similarly illuminating. “England v New Zealand,” comes the instant reply. “England to win by a point. It’ll be a cracking game.”Welcome to the 2017 edition of the Fast Eddie show. Never mind his team have almost as many walking wounded as an NHS waiting room, their coach still exudes total certainty. Did you know England’s next managerial signing will be a woman, that he reckons this summer’s Lions captaincy is already a done deal and that Dylan Hartley may be into his final furlong as national captain? Or that Jones deliberately selects players whose parents separated when they were young? To suggest Jones is one jump ahead of the game is a major insult; he tends to be two or three in front, minimum. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 21:59:19 GMT)

Strange things happen in other people’s homes. With Airbnb it's all part of the service | Brigid Delaney
Marvelling at the messiness of other people’s lives, negotiating awkward silences – staying in an Airbnb is weird because people are weird So there I was, looking forward to a Saturday morning lie-in at my Airbnb when the host knocked on the door just before 9am.“Err, I forgot to tell you, there’s an open for inspection. You’ll have to get up, clean your room and pretend you’re my cousin.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 01:39:33 GMT)

In Europe we see only one loser from Brexit – and it won’t be us | Jean Quatremer
Theresa May promises a soft Brexit for Britain and a hard one for everyone else. Why would we let that happen?When someone wants the impossible, in French we say that they want “the butter, the money from the butter, and the dairymaid’s smile”. In more vulgar usage we say they want something rather more from the dairymaid than a smile. This is precisely what we can take away from Theresa May’s speech on the “hard Brexit” she wants. It is “hard” only for the other 27 states but “soft” for Britain – because May wants to keep all the benefits of EU membership and concede nothing in return. That is not really a surprise since she had already announced it in October during the Conservative party conference. She even considers that any other kind of agreement would be unacceptable, because it would amount to “punishing” the British. Related: May’s Brexit focus on immigration will have catastrophic consequences | Anne Perkins Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:19:34 GMT)

The secret of Namibia's 'fairy circles' may be explained at last
Using computer models, ecologists think they have finally hit upon the reason for the strange polka dot patches scattered across the Namib desertThe marks on the ground in the Namib desert resemble a vast sheet of polka dots, or to the less romantic observer, perhaps a bad case of chickenpox.In local myths, the bare, red circles fringed with grass are footprints of the gods, or patches of land once poisoned by the breath of a subterranean dragon. But even among scientists, who strive for more convincing theories, the curious, repetitive patterns have proved hard to explain. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:07:29 GMT)

Johanna Konta grinds down Naomi Osaka in Australian Open second round
British No1 beats Japanese teenager 6-4, 6-2 on day four at Melbourne ParkFormer world No1 Caroline Wozniacki awaits in third roundIf Johanna Konta goes on to win the Australian Open it will be with the sort of controlled efficiency she showed to overpower the Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena on day four.The world No9, who absorbed her opponent’s best work in a lively start then ground her down, is through to the third round in the toughest section of the women’s draw but playing with the sort of consistency that makes her a genuine threat. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 01:39:51 GMT)

Lucas heads lax Liverpool through in FA Cup replay against plucky Plymouth
It was one of those nights that reminded us why the FA Cup third round is so special, even if Liverpool ended up surviving the sort of giant-killing that would have troubled Jürgen Klopp for years to come. Plymouth Argyle, 67 places below Liverpool on the league ladder, played with courage and spirit throughout and came within the width of an upright of taking this replay into extra time. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 21:54:45 GMT)

James Ellington and Nigel Levine face career-ending injuries after crash
• Ellington and Nigel Levine in motorbike accident in Tenerife• ‘I do not know how me or Nigel are still alive,’ posts EllingtonJames Ellington has said he does not know how he and Nigel Levine are still alive after the British pair were left with injuries that are likely to end their careers following a head-on collision with a car during a training camp in Tenerife. Related: David Weir ‘let down again’ as he attacks British Athletics before retiring Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:14:09 GMT)

Rachael Heyhoe Flint, trailblazer for women’s sport, dies aged 77
• Former England women’s captain won World Cup in 1973• Heyhoe Flint also served as director of Wolverhampton WanderersThe former England women’s cricket captain and vice-president of Wolverhampton Wonderers Rachael Heyhoe Flint has died aged 77, the football club has announced.Heyhoe Flint died early on Wednesday morning after a short illness. She was a trailblazer for women’s cricket, captaining the national side in a career spanning two decades and in which she led the side to victory in the 1973 world cup, which she had also organised. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:35:37 GMT)

Nick Kyrgios shows his many sides to explain defeat in Australian Open | Russell Jackson
Australian was two sets up and coasting against the Italian veteran but another meltdown on court has left him searching for answersIn answer to the first question – which was: what the hell can you do to retrieve a situation like this other than offer an earnest, pitch‑perfect mea culpa? – Nick Kyrgios had a quite predictable, wordless answer before he had sat down at his press conference on Wednesday. He rocked his head back and laughed self‑deprecatingly as a door swung open and he walked into the room.He is used to that part, and delivered a media performance to rival his fascinating on-court meltdown against the Italian veteran Andreas Seppi, from whom he took two brisk sets before shambling to a 10-8 defeat in the fifth. In both mediums he displayed virtually every one of his multiple tennis personalities. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:00:14 GMT)

Jos Buttler welcomes knockout pressure while England ponder plan for Kohli
• England trail India 1-0 in ODI series after defeat in Pune• Buttler is optimistic tourists can bounce back in CuttackThe Barabati stadium in Cuttack is a pleasantly rambling cricket ground, with a lovely green oval pegged out in a clearing at the centre of its jumble of stickle-brick stands. For England’s cricketers the second one‑day international on Thursday on a ground in east India none of the squad have previously played at represents a chance to level the series and keep alive the hope of a first bilateral series win in India for 33 years.Or, failing that, to concede the series in just four days and find their thoughts turning already to the Caribbean in spring and the promise of a home tournament summer. It is a jumping-off point Jos Buttler, speaking in his own disarmingly soft tones in the frenzied air of the Barabati’s press conference room – the voice of a very gentle and considerate professional contract killer – seems likely to relish. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:04:56 GMT)

Using footballers’ wages as an example of excess is patronising and lazy | Marina Hyde
Top-flight football is one of the few engines of social mobility that still works and those who play to the gallery are too lazy or dim to formulate a proper argumentIn one sense, it is not the most enormous shock to find footballers’ pay is something on which Jeremy Corbyn disagrees with himself. A subject on which the Labour leader cannot hold two diametrically opposed opinions on the same day is increasingly a rarity. The problem with the new strategy of letting Jeremy be Jeremy is that – a bit like various football sides of cliché – you never know which one is going to turn up.Last week Corbyn declared that there should be a cap on “grotesque” salaries. And whaddayaknow – the very first example of such salaries upon which he alighted was in football. “Certainly, the salaries that are paid to some footballers are simply ridiculous,” he stated, adding: “Some of the salaries paid to very high-earning top executives of companies are utterly ridiculous.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:38:00 GMT)

Manchester United agree Memphis Depay sale to Lyon for £14.7m
• Holland international’s fee could rise to £21.7m with add-ons• Initial fee is half of what United paid PSV for Depay in 2015Manchester United have agreed to sell Memphis Depay to Lyon for around €17m (£14.75m), with the fee potentially rising to €25m if a series of add-ons are triggered.United have structured the deal with the Ligue 1 club to include buy-back and sell-on clauses. Lyon qualifying for the Champions League and Depay being offered a fresh contract by the French club are among the add-ons that will raise the price for United. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:47:20 GMT)

Dan Evans sends world No7 Marin Cilic crashing out of Australian Open
• Briton defeats Cilic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in rock-concert atmosphere• ‘I struggled early but once the sun went down I got into it,’ says EvansDan Evans is on some sort of a roll, dismissing the former US Open champion Marin Cilic in four sublime sets to reach the third round of a grand slam for the fifth time, a record at odds with the outdated perception of him as a tearaway and underachiever.It would be a shame, however, if he were to dilute his beguiling swagger, as it is the very quality that may carry him into the second week of the Australian Open. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:43:18 GMT)

FIA approves sale of F1 to Liberty Media with takeover expected in March
• Private equity firm CVC will sell 35.5% share of sport• Liberty takeover expected to lead to facelift for F1The FIA has approved the sale of Formula One’s commercial rights to Liberty Media. The American media organisation was earlier given the green light to complete its purchase of the sport at a meeting of its shareholders. The reported £6.4bn takeover has now been approved by F1’s governing body. Related: Lewis Hamilton left with a clear path to greatness at Mercedes | Giles Richards Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:41:36 GMT)

Afcon 2017: Gabon’s Aubameyang pegs back Burkino Faso but hosts rue misses
• Group A: Gabon 1-1 Burkina Faso; Aubameyang 38pen, Nakoulma 23• Missed chances from hosts results in second draw to put progression in doubtGabon’s continued participation in the Africa Cup of Nations was in serious doubt after the tournament hosts were held 1-1 by Burkina Faso at the Stade de l’Amitié in Libreville, their second draw in Group A. Related: Afcon 2017 nicknames quiz: do you know the Warriors from the Pharaohs? Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:05:46 GMT)

Andy Murray shrugs off stiff ankle to beat Andrey Rublev at Australian Open
• World No1 wins 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 and now plays Sam Querrey• Murray calls on trainer after problem with ankle in third setAndy Murray sometimes struggles to hit a convincing rhythm early in grand slam tournaments but, after a hesitant start on Monday, he goes into the third round against Sam Querrey on Friday looking as dominant as he did when stringing together 28 wins in a row on his rise to No1 in the world.He made the most of a heaven-sent opportunity against the little-known Russian teenager and world No152 Andrey Rublev, to win 6-3, 6-0, 6-2, with a slight chill lurking in the cloudless night skies after a couple of days of killing heat. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:35:19 GMT)

Patrick Bamford completes his £6m move to Middlesbrough
• Striker never made a first-team start at Chelsea• Bamford is Aitor Karanka’s second signing of window after Rudy GestedePatrick Bamford has joined Middlesbrough on a permanent transfer from Chelsea. The striker has moved to Teeside for an undisclosed fee, thought to be £6m, signing a four-and-a-half-year deal.Bamford, who scored 19 goals on loan at Middlesbrough in 2014-15, was recalled this month by Chelsea from a loan spell at Burnley, for whom he made six appearances. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:25:25 GMT)

The time has come for Manchester City to make a Premier League statement | Paul Wilson
Spurs are at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and Pep Guardiola needs the City team who overcame Arsenal to turn up not the one humbled 4-0 at EvertonLess than a fortnight ago, the day after Manchester City’s 5-0 demolition of West Ham United away from home in the FA Cup, the Sun produced one of the more inspired back pages of the season in honour of the performance. “MC Hammer!” the main headline screamed, accompanied by a picture of David Silva complete with speech bubble reading: “You can’t touch this.”It all seemed completely in order. Pep Guardiola’s side had just made the most emphatic of statements to restore some of the belief that went missing in the new year fixtures, when defeat at Anfield was followed by the various controversies surrounding the narrow win against Burnley. A manager who had been sourly defensive in a television interview after the latter was now all smiles and sunny confidence, promising his side would be all the better for the luxury of a full week to prepare for their next game at Everton. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:02:00 GMT)

More than 240 clubs now involved in football sexual abuse scandal
Police confirm 100 extra clubs involved since last update in December, with NSPCC also referring cases from 22 other sports to police operation The number of clubs affected by British football’s historical child sexual abuse scandal has grown to 248, as the scale of the scandal continues to grow.The number of clubs – both amateur and professional – affected has risen by 100 since the last update four weeks ago, according to figures released on Wednesday by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:56:24 GMT)

This is Brexit poker - and Theresa May was right to up the stakes | Simon Jenkins
It was strategically sensible to begin the skirmishes in uncompromising mood. The inevitable compromises will come laterThe siege of Harfleur was a disaster for the English. Henry V was humiliated and had to abandon his march on Paris, turning instead to confront the French cavalry at Agincourt. Here he faced overwhelming odds but decided to rely on bluff, cunning and Welsh archers to rescue a shred of glory from his European venture.Theresa May must hope she is somewhere between Harfleur and Agincourt. She is embarked on a seemingly life or death project, its outcome wholly unpredictable. It was not of her making, but that of David Cameron and the British electorate. She has two months to go to invoking article 50, at which point she will find herself between 27 European Union devils and the deep blue sea. Small wonder that on Tuesday she decided on bravado and Shakespeare, goading her ministers “like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start. The game’s afoot.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:16:37 GMT)

Bregrets? I’ve found very few. Polls show remainers are getting over it | Deborah Mattinson
Leavers are punching the air over Brexit, and even those who voted to stay in the EU now appear to be coming to terms with the result of the referendumSpeaking at events before the referendum last year, I took to asking the audience who they thought would win. Throughout, the BritainThinks poll of polls stubbornly showed remain and leave neck and neck, and in the “short campaign” more polls favoured leave than remain. But a show of hands drawn from the usual audience of business leaders, journalists and politicians consistently and confidently predicted a remain victory.One eminent commentator, often speaking on the same platforms as me, promised: “Remain will win, and will win big”. Another observed that the “great British public would look over the brink, and then vote for the status quo … as they always do”. Discussion usually focused on the inevitability of voters “seeing sense”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:01:26 GMT)

The Guardian view on Trump and global warming: the right fight | Editorial
The president-elect should understand that America needs to shoulder global responsibilities, and that in doing so America will benefit by owning the technologies of the futureOn climate change, like so many other things, the world is going one way and Donald Trump is going the other. On Twitter the president-elect has claimed manmade global warming was a hoax invented by China to increase its trade surplus with the US. However, for most Americans, like most other people on the globe, daily life is increasingly impacted by extreme weather. In 2016, for the third year running, the world exceeded the previous record temperature. A remarkable 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century, which scientists attribute to human activities.President Obama did much to roll back the pre-enlightenment approach to climate science that had polluted political discourse in America – giving global warming top billing during his second term, and even calling it an immediate threat to national security. His parting shot was to send $500m to prop up the Paris international accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Trump vowed to renege on the Paris agreement and said he would cancel further payments. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:10:27 GMT)

I fought for Chelsea Manning because she stood up for all trans people | Evan Greer
Although doing so put her future at risk, the whistleblower bravely spoke out about trans liberation from prison. It was an honour to fight for her freedomChelsea Manning’s courage knows no bounds. This 1.6 metres (5ft 3in) woman with a slight southern accent announced to the world that she was transgender on the Today Show, while incarcerated in an all-male military prison in Kansas.At that time, Manning had already been a captive of the US government for three years, and had been sentenced to another three decades. She had been interrogated, isolated, and deprived of human contact for months at a time, in conditions that the United Nations called torture. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:31:58 GMT)

The Guardian view on Putin’s Europe: the new fellow travellers | Editorial
Moscow may relish a role as a disrupter of liberal democracy as much as it would like to see the EU unravel, but that does little to hide the contradictions among pro-Russian political groups in EuropeWith all the speculation surrounding Russia’s influence over European politics, seeking clarity and finding a sense of balance is a challenge. To say that Mr Putin’s regime engineered the rise of populist forces on the continent is an exaggeration if not a fallacy. France’s far-right Front National was created in 1972, years before Mr Putin got anywhere close to power. Austria’s nationalist Freedom party registered its first electoral success in 2000, at a time when Russia’s foreign policy was still geared towards finding a modus vivendi with the EU – not seeking to undermine it. Nor are all of Europe’s populists pro-Putin: Poland’s ruling nationalist PiS party is a staunch critic of the man. But that’s not to say Mr Putin’s regime hasn’t cultivated radical fringe groups in Europe, nor that some haven’t applauded him in return. Russia’s interactions with Europe have in fact become hard to analyse without taking into account the many political threads the Kremlin has built up within the EU, along with the ideological impact this has on the continent’s elections. With key European votes this year, Russia’s sway must be scrutinised, but in a cool-headed way.The double trap is to either deny or overstate Moscow’s hand. It’s not as if the Kremlin today ran a network of “comrade” parties in Europe as it did during the cold war. These days, it’s not communist revolution that’s on Moscow’s agenda, nor are its levers quite the same. If Mr Putin’s Russia finds a degree of sympathy in parts of European politics, it’s on a more complex basis altogether and in a much transformed global environment. In recent years, his swerve towards hardline nationalism and ultraconservative slogans have put him in tune with far-right European groups who share similar views. But it is also clear he has a constituency among parts of Europe’s far left, for reasons that have little to do with cultural affinities but point to the rise of anti-western sentiment. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:03:04 GMT)

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s ‘anti-system’ angle is a sham | Philippe Marlière
Youthful and ‘doubly liberal’, the former economy minister is the surprise package in the presidential race. But he’s not the outsider he’s portrayed asOn several counts, Emmanuel Macron is a political oddity in the stagnant world of French politics: he is young (39), he worked in the private sector before becoming François Hollande’s economic adviser at the Elysée palace. His political rise from there was meteoric: within two years, he had been appointed minister of the economy. From an ideological viewpoint, he is also a highly unusual politician. Macron unashamedly embraces both poles of liberalism: the economic and the political/cultural ones. Related: François Fillon is as big a threat to liberal values as Marine Le Pen | Natalie Nougayrède Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:23:09 GMT)

Mark Fisher’s K-punk blogs were required reading for a generation | Simon Reynolds
The activist writer, who has died aged 48, bridged aesthetics and politics and had struggled with depressionLast week the writer Mark Fisher took his own life. His on/off struggle with depression was something he wrote about with courageous candour in articles and in his landmark book Capitalist Realism: is There No Alternative? Fisher argued that the pandemic of mental anguish that afflicts our time cannot be properly understood, or healed, if viewed as a private problem suffered by damaged individuals. Rather, it was the symptom of a heartless and hopeless politics: precarious employment and flexible work patterns, the erosion of class solidarity and its institutions such as unions, and the relentless message from mainstream political parties and media alike that “there is no alternative” to managerial capitalism. That this is as good as it gets – so deal with it.Finally the depression that Fisher, 48, had dissected acutely and fought against doggedly got the better of him. He left behind a wife and young son, a close-knit network of friends, allies, colleagues and students, and an ever-widening readership, all of whom were waiting always to hear what he had to say next. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:31:41 GMT)

PMQs shows it’s Jeremy Corbyn, not Theresa May, who has no Brexit plan | Martin Kettle
Riding high after her Brexit speech, May made short work of the Labour leader’s scripted performance with missed opportunities to press her on a white paperEven if Jeremy Corbyn were a much more adept parliamentary performer, today’s prime minister’s questions would have been a tough fixture. And so it proved.Theresa May arrived in the Commons off the back of a personal success in her Brexit speech yesterday. It was full of claims that may not survive contact with the other member states – it called to mind Mike Tyson’s comment that all his opponents had a plan “’till they get punched in the mouth” – but there is no denying that it was a personal success, got good press reviews and pulled her party together. Everything about May’s demeanour today was that of a prime minister with fresh authority. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:24:00 GMT)

The Great British cake plan is no more – that’s what Brussels heard May say | Mary Dejevsky
After Theresa May’s speech, the EU believes Britain has finally given up on the idea of trading freedom of movement and access to the single marketNot for the first time, and probably not for the last, the most colourful and combative language in response to the prime minister’s speech on Brexit came from her own foreign secretary. In response to remarks from a French presidential aide, but which also appeared to have a more generally pre-emptive purpose, Boris Johnson warned François Hollande against wanting “to administer punishment beatings to anybody who chooses to escape, in the manner of some world war two movie”.In the event, his warning – if intended as such – proved unnecessary, because when the official response to Theresa May’s address came from the European Union, everyone, including the president of the commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, seemed determined to be on best behaviour. (The fact that Johnson had been speaking during a visit to India might help to explain why his comments struck so much the wrong note.) Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:28:08 GMT)

May’s Brexit focus on immigration will have catastrophic consequences | Anne Perkins
The EU referendum result was never about immigration. But the prime minister is determined to interpret the leave vote that wayIt is one of the most basic of political lessons to interpret events so that they support your argument. Theresa May has taken this workaday truth and developed it into an overarching narrative for her Brexit strategy. She is well on her way to pulling off an act of national self-harm, and in the total absence of a counter-strategy she is running away with the ball.It was there again in her Lancaster House speech yesterday, this misconstruction of the leave vote: “The message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear,” she told the ambassadors and hacks gathered in surroundings of gilded imperial glory: “Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:20:00 GMT)

What I’ve witnessed in Turkey is an assault on democracy itself | Owen Jones
Erdoğan, emboldened by the rise of Trump, is crushing fragile freedoms – tens of thousands detained and the press muzzled. The west must end its silenceDemocracy is a bundle of rights and freedoms wrestled from the powerful. Our rulers only surrender their power when compelled to – when the cost of resisting pressure from below becomes greater than the cost of giving ground to it.But it is naive to regard these concessions as permanent. Elites are always waiting for opportunities to seize back their power. The ideal excuse is a national crisis, contrived or otherwise, normally involving an alliance of internal and external threats, all requiring drastic measures to defeat. The authoritarian rightwing populism sweeping the Western world skilfully exploits fear to drive back the borders of democracy. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:00:01 GMT)

Chelsea Manning did the right thing. Finally, Barack Obama has too | Trevor Timm
With a stroke of his pen, the president made up for his draconian record – and, quite literally, saved this heroic whistleblower’s lifeThere is no one who has suffered more under the US government’s crackdown on leakers and whistleblowers than Chelsea Manning. But now, after President Obama commuted her unjust 35-year jail sentence on Tuesday, she will, amazingly, soon be able to walk free.Manning, who provided journalists a historic treasure trove of documents and the public an unparalleled window into world diplomacy, will no longer have to spend the rest of her life behind bars. She will be released from prison on 17 May instead of the unconscionable 2045. It’s a cause for celebration, but also a time for reflection – not just about what she has gone through but what her case represents. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:51:41 GMT)

The Girl Scout in me would never stand for Donald Trump | Jean Hannah Edelstein
An organization that instils courage, confidence and modern values in young American women should also be boycotting the president-elect’s inaugurationI resigned from Girl Scouts more than 20 years ago, but yesterday I realized that the people who told me I’d always be a scout at heart were right: the news that the Girl Scouts are sending a contingent to participate in Donald Trump’s inauguration filled me with real rage. How can an organization that promises to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place” send them to celebrate the ascent of a leader who would likely consider them fair game for sexual assault if they grow up to be “beautiful”?Girl Scouts is important to many girls. It was for me: a kid from a two-nationality, two-religion family, growing up in a small city in upstate New York in the mid-80s and 90s. There weren’t too many public spaces where I felt like I belonged – my family did not practice any faith. There was no community center for people like us. But my Girl Scout troops filled that gap: our weekly meetings were an all-female space where empowering girls was central. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:08:50 GMT)

On mental health, the Tories need to put their money where their mouths are | Alastair Campbell
David Cameron and Theresa May have said all the right things about improving the nation’s mental health. Yet people aren’t getting the help they badly needWhat is it about the mental health debate that makes me go all Malcolm Tucker, effing and blinding at the gap between what politicians say about it and the reality on the ground? And why do I want everyone else to get as angry as I am about it? Because every time there is pressure on health spending, mental illness slips down the priority queue.We are frankly light years away from the parity between mental and physical healthcare that is set out – in law – in the NHS constitution. In the last week, I have spoken to a mother at her wits’ end because her daughter is being treated in Scotland when she lives 80 miles south of the border; a young man I persuaded to get help for his anxiety and depression who has been given some pills and told he might get cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in six months; a student who has dropped out of education after two failed suicide attempts, one of which followed a long wait in a crowded room waiting to see an overstretched university psychiatrist. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:30:05 GMT)

Don’t be fooled – Theresa May’s Brexit plan won’t appease the markets for long | David Blanchflower
The announcement that parliament will get a vote on a final deal was welcome. But the prime minister’s speech does nothing to lift the fog of uncertaintyThe big fear with Theresa May’s Brexit speech was that the pound would tank and that the markets would respond as negatively as they had to most of her previous utterances. The opposite happened, and it rose to $1.24, up almost 3% on the day, after it had already risen on Tuesday morning on news that inflation had reached a two-year high (it fell back a cent today).The news that the markets welcomed so warmly was that both houses of parliament would get a vote on the final deal and that May will not seek partial or associate membership of the European Union. That will prevent a bad deal, forced through by the Brexit-at-any-price Eurosceptics, which might have been on the cards without such a vote. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:14:50 GMT)

Labour says government will miss pledge to build 1m homes by May 2020
Shadow housing minister says ministers are ‘moving the goalposts’ after National Audit Office report says target for completion is DecemberMinisters have been accused by Labour of dropping their promise to build a million homes in this parliament.The party said the government was no longer aiming to meet its pledge by May 2020, as a National Audit Office (NAO) report showed the target for completion was December 2020 – a delay of eight months. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:01:22 GMT)

GCHQ targets teenage girls to find cyber spies of the future
Girls aged 13 to 15 invited to test tech skills in competition as part of effort to inspire more women to join fight against online crimeTeenage girls are being invited to put their technology skills to the test in a competition that could unearth the cyber spies of the future.The contest has been set up by GCHQ’s new National Cyber Security Centre as part of efforts to inspire more women to join the fight against online crime. Only 10% of the global cyber workforce are female, the intelligence agency said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:44:09 GMT)

Prepare for new surge in hate crimes against EU citizens, says EHRC
UK human rights watchdog says police should be prepared for backlash against EU citizens when article 50 is triggeredBritain should prepare for a fresh spike in hate crimes against EU citizens when the article 50 process triggering Brexit begins, the human rights watchdog has said.David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), told a hearing of MPs he was worried the start of formally leaving the bloc could cause a backlash against EU citizens, similar to the period of increased hate crime that followed the EU referendum, and was calling on police to be prepared for such an eventuality. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:40:18 GMT)

Church of England groups praise fracking as a way to cut carbon emissions
The stance is outraging Christian environmentalists, but the church says there are caveats to its supportThe fracking industry has praised the Church of England (CoE) after two groups at the church tentatively backed the controversial technology as a way to help the UK cut carbon emissions.Shale gas was a “potentially useful element” in switching to a low-carbon economy as it was cleaner than coal, so long as it did not harm renewable energy’s expansion, a church briefing paper said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:13:27 GMT)

Royal Albert Hall called a 'national disgrace' over members' ticket resales
Pamphlet distributed to members who own 1,276 permanent seats offers advice on maximising resale profits on ticketing sitesRoyal Albert Hall members have exchanged detailed advice on how to sell their seats on ticket touting sites, prompting the venue’s former president to label its stewardship a “national disgrace”. The members, about 330 individuals who own 1,276 permanent seats in the 5,272 capacity venue, were sent a document offering tips on how to use online resale sites. The pamphlet tells members they can eschew the RAH’s official ticket return system and use controversial “secondary” ticketing sites such as Viagogo and StubHub to make more money. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:05:29 GMT)

Stonewall names Lloyds the UK's most inclusive employer
Legal firms were the best industry for LGBT support, but no media companies made the top 100Banking group Lloyds has been named the most inclusive employer in Britain by Stonewall.The firm won the accolade after launching a new volunteering programme, forming official partnerships with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender charities. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:01:22 GMT)

Calls for ex-Rolls-Royce CEO to lose knighthood after firm admits bribery
Shadow international trade secretary says Sir John Rose ‘is not fit to hold his knighthood’ if he was aware of the actions during his reignLabour called for the former chief executive of Rolls-Royce to lose his knighthood, after the company admitted “extensive systemic bribery and corruption” during the period in which he ran the jet engines manufacturer.Sir John Rose held the job at the Derby-based corporation, which was forced on Tuesday to admit that it was responsible for “egregious criminality over decades” between 1996 and 2011. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:48:18 GMT)

Home Office refuses to enforce privacy code on NHS staff using video
Surveillance camera commissioner’s advice that trusts be required to comply with code to protect patients is rejectedThe government has rejected a request by the surveillance camera watchdog to allow it to monitor the increasing and unregulated use of CCTV and body-worn video cameras in hospitals.The body cameras, which record sound as well as images, are being increasingly deployed in hospitals in an effort to tackle abuse of frontline health service staff. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:31:05 GMT)

Supreme court to deliver Brexit ruling on 24 January
Panel of 11 justices will resolve whether government can formally initiate article 50 without parliamentary approvalThe supreme court will deliver its eagerly awaited judgment next Tuesday on whether ministers or parliament have the legal authority to trigger Brexit.The court’s president, Lord Neuberger, will read out a brief summary of the decision at 9.30am on 24 January. Lawyers for the main parties will have received advance notice shortly beforehand. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:46:27 GMT)

UK community refugee scheme has resettled only two Syrian families
Canadian-style scheme run by government says volunteers’ offers of support have been ‘stuck’ for six monthsOnly two Syrian refugee families have been resettled under the government’s community refugee sponsorship scheme, six months after it was unveiled by the home secretary and the archbishop of Canterbury.One of the charities supporting the development, which is designed to help individuals and community groups offer housing and other support to refugees, said the delay “risked squandering the resources of hundreds of volunteers happy to help save the government time and money”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:53:12 GMT)

Disability groups hail court's support for wheelchair user on bus
Bus drivers must now pressure passengers to make room in ruling described by Doug Paulley as ‘significant cultural change’ Disability rights campaigners have hailed a ruling by the supreme court that bus drivers must try to persuade other passengers to make room for wheelchair users.Drivers may stop the bus “with a view to pressurising or shaming recalcitrant non-wheelchair users to move” if they believe a refusal is unreasonable, the judgment declared. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:07:47 GMT)

Decline in EU workers hits UK agriculture, Lords inquiry told
National Farmers Union labour survey highlights sharp decline in availability of seasonal EU workers following Brexit voteBritish agriculture has already been hit by a sharp decline in EU migrants willing to undertake seasonal work since the Brexit vote, a House of Lords inquiry has been told.The evidence of “a dramatic change in the availability of EU labour” in the last six months comes as the government’s chief adviser on migration warned that post-Brexit curbs on low-skilled EU migration to Britain would only provide a “modest” boost to wages and employment for British workers. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:57:09 GMT)

Single mum unlawfully jailed for council tax debt in Wales
High court rules magistrates failed to assess unemployed mother’s financial means or consider her child’s positionA single mother who was sent to prison by magistrates for 81 days because she was unable to pay her council tax bill was unlawfully jailed, the high court has ruled.The decision by Mr Justice Lewis found that the lower court had failed to assess Melanie Woolcock’s financial means and had no basis for concluding her failure to pay was due to ‘culpable neglect’. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:54:40 GMT)

Anthony Grainger shooting: officers were thought to be in danger
36-year-old victim’s hand movement was seen as threat, but inquiry investigates whether it was reaction to use of gas canister by police at the Culcheth operationA police marksman who fatally shot an unarmed man thought his colleagues were in “extreme danger” at the time, a public inquiry has heard. Anthony Grainger, 36, was shot in the chest as he sat in a car in the village of Culcheth, Cheshire, on the evening of 3 March 2012.On the second day of the inquiry into the shooting, Liverpool crown court heard testimony from some of the 16 armed officers who swooped on Grainger’s stolen red Audi. The officer who fired the fatal shot – referred to in court as Q9 – said he believed his fellow officers were in grave danger when he saw Grainger lower his right hand out of view. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:49:30 GMT)

UK officials advised to read Trump book before seeking US trade deal
Prof Ted Malloch, tipped to be American ambassador to EU, says The Art of the Deal reveals how president-elect’s mind worksThe US academic tipped to be Donald Trump’s ambassador to the EU has told British government advisers they should read the president-elect’s business book The Art of the Deal before starting trade negotiations with the US.Prof Ted Malloch, a long-time supporter of Trump who will fly out on Wednesday to attend his inauguration, is understood to have been speaking to Downing Street staff after Theresa May’s speech on leaving the EU. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:43:07 GMT)

Mali suicide bomber kills at least 50 people in Gao military camp
Attack marks significant setback for peace efforts in region after vehicle explosion hits joint operational mechanism baseA suicide bomber in a vehicle full of explosives has attacked a camp in northern Mali, killing at least 50 people and wounding dozens of soldiers and former fighters. Related: The struggle for Mali | Jack Watling and Paul Raymond Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:32:02 GMT)

$460m pledged for vaccine initiative aimed at preventing global epidemics
Lassa, Mers and Nipah will be first diseases targeted by programme announced at Davos by coalition of governments, philanthropists and businessA coalition of governments, philanthropists and business is pledging to put money and effort into making vaccines to stop the spread of diseases that could threaten mankind – and to prevent another outbreak as devastating as the Ebola epidemic.At the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Norwegian, Japanese and German governments, the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation announced they were putting in $460 million – half of what is needed for the first five years of the initiative. Three diseases will initially be targeted: Lassa, Mers and Nipah. All three are caused by viruses that have come from animals to infect humans and could trigger dangerous global epidemics. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:00:19 GMT)

Over half of world's wild primate species face extinction, report reveals
Researchers warn of approaching ‘major extinction event’ if action is not taken to protect around 300 species, including gorillas, chimps, lemurs and lorisesMore than half of the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs and lorises are now threatened with extinction as agriculture and industrial activities destroy forest habitats and the animals’ populations are hit by hunting and trade.In the most bleak assessment of primates to date, conservationists found that 60% of the wild species are on course to die out, with three quarters already in steady decline. The report casts doubt on the future of about 300 primate species, including gorillas, chimps, gibbons, marmosets, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:00:15 GMT)

Somalia urged to enforce law on sexual offences after gang rape of 16-year-old
Women’s groups demand perpetrators of brutal attack are brought to justice after video footage is posted on social media, sparking widespread condemnationThe gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in Somalia, which sparked outrage after a video of the alleged incident was posted on social media, will be the first substantial test of a law aimed at tackling pervasive sexual violence in the country.Women’s groups have urged the authorities to enforce legislation passed last year in Puntland, the semi-autonomous region of Somalia where the rape took place. The law, launched in November and hailed as a vital step towards lasting change, criminalises all sexual offences for the first time. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:24:53 GMT)

Teenager opens fire in Mexico school, injuring four before killing himself
Teacher and two students hospitalized for head woundsMonterrey school’s surveillance footage apparently posted to social mediaA 15-year-old student opened fire at a private school in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey on Wednesday, hitting a teacher and two other students in the head before killing himself. Another student suffered lesser injuries in the shootings, which were captured on a chilling video posted to social media.Nuevo León state governor Jaime Rodríguez said the shooter died at a hospital and that the other three victims with head wounds were “fighting between life and death”. The boy wounded in the arm was out of danger. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:40:22 GMT)

Dakota Access pipeline activists say police have used 'excessive' force
Firsthand accounts from Native Americans along with live footage suggest that police deployed ‘less than lethal’ weapons against unarmed peopleNorth Dakota law enforcement and the national guard have responded to the latest Standing Rock demonstrations with an aggressive show of force, according to indigenous activists who fear that police violence will escalate after Donald Trump’s inauguration. Related: Standing Rock activists eye pipeline finances to cement Dakota Access win Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:57:14 GMT)

Second winner of environmental prize killed months after Berta Cáceres death
Goldman prize winner Isidro Baldenegro López, who was known for his activism against illegal logging, was shot dead months after Berta Cáceres was murderedA Indigenous Mexican activist who received the prestigious Goldman environmental prize for his crusade against illegal logging has been shot dead, the second award-winner to have been murdered in less than 12 months.Isidro Baldenegro López, a subsistence farmer and leader of the Tarahumara community in the country’s northern Sierra Madre mountain region, was shot at a relative’s home on Sunday. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:14:37 GMT)

Obama to leave office with more than 40 detainees still in Guantánamo Bay
A final handful of detainees will be relocated to new lives overseas but the facility will not be closed, a vow that was once a key aspect of Obama’s legacyOver the next 48 hours, US military cargo planes will deposit a handful of detainees from Guantánamo Bay to new lives overseas for what is likely to be the final time for at least four years.Barack Obama will leave office with either 41 or 42 men still detained at Guantánamo, the Guardian has learned, as his plan to close the infamous detention facility falls short. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:15:39 GMT)

Iraq has retaken east Mosul from Isis, says army general
Lt Gen Talib Shaghati says government troops are in ‘full control’ of eastern part of Iraq’s second largest cityIraqi government troops say they are in “full control” of east Mosul three months into a major operation to recapture the country’s second city, despite some Islamic State fighters remaining along the Tigris river. Related: The battle for Mosul in maps Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:32:31 GMT)

Middle classes in crisis, IMF's Christine Lagarde tells Davos 2017
IMF head wins support from outgoing US vice-president Joe Biden as she uses American term for working people in demanding action over rising inequalityThe head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has called for urgent action to tackle a “middle-class crisis” hitting working people as she warned that inequality, distrust and a lack of hope were fuelling growing populism.Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Lagarde said she had first highlighted the dangers of rising inequality four years ago but had been ignored. “I hope people will listen now,” she said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:51:21 GMT)

AfD politician says Germany should stop atoning for Nazi crimes
Björn Höcke sparks fury by calling for tradition to end and labelling Holocaust memorial a ‘monument of shame’A politician from the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has broken with the country’s postwar political consensus by calling for a “180-degree turn” from the tradition of remembering and atoning for the Nazi era.In a speech in a beer hall in Dresden, Björn Höcke, who leads the party in the eastern state of Thuringia, railed against Germany’s decade-long tradition of acknowledging the crimes of the National Socialist era, describing the Holocaust memorial in Berlin as a “monument of shame”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:31:01 GMT)

Obama's final press conference: Chelsea Manning commutation is 'appropriate'
President says he is ‘comfortable’ with decision and does not see contradiction between pardon and accusations of Russian hacking of US electionManning to go free in May after Obama commutes majority of sentenceBarack Obama has defended as “entirely appropriate” his decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, arguing that the whistleblower behind one of the largest breaches of classified information in US history had served a tough but adequate prison sentence.“I feel very comfortable that justice has been served,” Obama told reporters at his final White House press conference on Wednesday, when asked about his move a day prior to commute the sentence handed down to Manning in 2013. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:30:05 GMT)

Police officer and Bedouin killed in home demolition clashes
Officials and residents offer conflicting accounts of incident, which followed pre-dawn raid in village of Umm al-HiranA controversial Israeli police operation to demolish buildings in a Bedouin village in the country’s south to make way for a new Jewish town has ended with two fatalities – including an Israeli police officer – amid sharply conflicting versions of what occurred.The pre-dawn raid by hundreds of armed police on the village of Umm al-Hiran in Negev – regarded as illegal by the Israeli courts – ended with a Bedouin man shot dead in his car and a police officer fatally run over. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:58:10 GMT)

Senators call for investigation of Tom Price's healthcare investments
Democrats raise concern over health secretary nominee, who bought and sold health-related stocks while he was an influential voice on healthcare policyDonald Trump’s choice for health secretary, Tom Price, faces his first congressional grilling on Wednesday, hours after leading Democrats called for an investigation of the congressman’s investments. Price bought and sold health-related stocks while he was an influential voice on healthcare policy in the House of Representatives, advocating for and against bills that affected health companies’ fortunes. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:44:31 GMT)

Germany denies rebuffing Theresa May over citizens' rights deal
Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman says all EU 27 states agree there can be no negotiations before article 50 is triggeredGermany has denied it rebuffed an attempt by Theresa May to seal an early deal on citizens’ rights post-Brexit, and reiterated that there was “complete unanimity” among the EU’s 27 member states that the subject could only be discussed once Britain had triggered article 50. Related: 'Europe's fate is in our hands': Angela Merkel's defiant reply to Trump Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:39:35 GMT)

Egyptian judge gives four people suspended sentences over FGM death
Mayar Mohamed Moussa, 17, died last year after her mother took her to a private hospital for the procedureEgyptian experts have criticised lenient sentencing in what is only the country’s second ever prosecution for female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure. The four accused were given suspended prison sentences and fines following the death of 17-year-old Mayar Mohamed Moussa after undergoing FGM. Related: First doctor convicted of FGM death in Egypt only spent three months in jail Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:45:31 GMT)

Edward Snowden's leave to remain in Russia extended for three years
Former US intelligence contractor’s Russian lawyer also says Snowden can apply for country’s citizenship from next yearEdward Snowden’s leave to remain in Russia has been extended for three years, his lawyer has said, as a Russian official said the whistleblower would not be extradited to the US even if relations improved under the incoming president, Donald Trump. Related: Intelligence experts urge Obama to end Edward Snowden's 'untenable exile' Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:34:33 GMT)

The west was built on racism. It's time we faced that – video
Dead white men are revered by many as responsible for the advancement of civilisation, says sociology professor Kehinde Andrews. But, he argues, this so-called progress came at the expense of millions of people of colour. Global inequality is not an accident, he argues – it is designed to keep the hierarchy of race intact Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:00:01 GMT)

What is the 'global gag rule', and why does Trump support it? – video
This US aid policy, rescinded by Obama, is likely to be brought back by Trump. Campaigners say it will endanger the lives and health of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women by denying access to life-saving family planning, sexual and reproductive health and HIV services and putting them at risk of unsafe abortion Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:00:01 GMT)

Bob Brown's wisdom: I choose to be optimistic
In the dramatic magnificence of Tasmania’s Liffey Valley at the property he donated to Bush Heritage Australia, former Greens leader Bob Brown shares the joy of retirement, of renewed vigour for environmental activism, and the wisdom of choosing hope and compassion – even when it all seems hopelessWatch more from the Guardian’s Wisdom of ages video series Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:22:04 GMT)

Why have I given up my New Year's resolutions? - video
Many of us start January determined to go to the gym every day or give up the burgers. But it’s hard to keep that ‘New Year, new you’ attitude, no matter how good our intentions are. Could the evolution of our brains explain why resolutions are so hard to keep? Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:10:01 GMT)

The legacy of Barack Obama, in seven drawings – video
It is not easy to measure the impact of Barack Obama’s eight years as president of the United States. But here are seven numbers that illustrate what he did – for better and for worse – during his time in the White HouseObama’s legacy: the promises, shortcomings and fights to come Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:00:03 GMT)

Who is Chelsea Manning? – video profile
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning will be released from military prison in May after her sentence for leaking classified information was commuted by the outgoing US president Barack Obama. As an intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning leaked hundreds of thousands of documents via the anti-secrecy organisation WikiLeaks. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:31:58 GMT)

The new retirement: why we are covering this issue – video
Senior reporter Amelia Hill explains why she is focusing on the changing nature of retirement in a new, nine-part weekly series and asks for you to get involved. As Britain’s population gets older, society faces both challenges and opportunities. We consider what they might be for the retirees of today – and those of the future Continue reading...
(Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:03:23 GMT)

Nick Clegg: 'I warned Cameron his Brexit strategy was failing' – video
Former deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg tells Owen Jones that as the EU referendum approached its climax, he told the then prime minister David Cameron he needed to deliver a more emotional message to combat the powerful Brexit slogan of ‘take back control’Watch an extended version of this interview on Owen Jones’s YouTube channel Continue reading...
(Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:53:19 GMT)

Meet Solo, the 'emotional radio' that plays music to suit your mood – video
Imagine a machine that can evaluate your frame of mind and select music accordingly. Design and innovation studio Uniform has developed such a machine – Solo, the ‘emotional radio’. Combining facial recognition technology with Spotify, it selects a track to suit your emotional state. Solo’s developers tell Dr Hannah Fry how artificial intelligence technology could soon move beyond data-driven applications Continue reading...
(Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:52:50 GMT)

Counting with the Count, Sesame Street's most famous vampire – video
Numbers are always fun, especially when you get to count with The Count! We catch up with number enthusiast Count Von Count to talk about his lovers and moving to Sesame Street from Transylvania Continue reading...
(Sun, 15 Jan 2017 12:15:15 GMT)

Libor scandal: the bankers who fixed the world’s most important number | Liam Vaughan and Gavin Finch
With arrogant disregard for the rules, traders colluded for years to rig Libor, the banks’ lending rate. But after the crash, the regulators were on their trailAt the Tokyo headquarters of the Swiss bank UBS, in the middle of a deserted trading floor, Tom Hayes sat rapt before a bank of eight computer screens. Collar askew, pale features pinched, blond hair mussed from a habit of pulling at it when he was deep in thought, the British trader was even more dishevelled than usual. It was 15 September 2008, and it looked, in Hayes’s mind, like the end of the world.Hayes had been woken up at dawn in his apartment by a call from his boss, telling him to get to the office immediately. In New York, Lehman Brothers was hurtling towards bankruptcy. At his desk, Hayes watched the world processing the news and panicking. As each market opened, it became a sea of flashing red as investors frantically dumped their holdings. In moments like this, Hayes entered an almost unconscious state, rapidly processing the tide of information before him and calculating the best escape route. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:00:02 GMT)

Civil rights groups urge Facebook to fix 'racially biased' moderation system
A coalition of more than 70 social and racial justice organizations urged Facebook to adopt reforms that would better target abusive content and harassmentFacebook allows white supremacists to spread violent threats while censoring Black Lives Matter posts and activists of color, according to civil rights groups that called on the technology company to fix its “racially biased” moderation system. “Activists in the Movement for Black Lives have routinely reported the takedown of images discussing racism and during protests, with the justification that it violates Facebook’s Community Standards,” the groups wrote in a letter on Wednesday to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and director of global policy Joel Kaplan. “At the same time, harassment and threats directed at activists based on their race, religion and sexual orientation is thriving on Facebook.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:37:09 GMT)

After hours: capturing the journey home from New York City's gay nightclubs
Richard Renaldi has spent years photographing LGBT clubbers in Manhattan as a way of understanding his own troubled youth as a gay manIn the summer of 1992, in the early hours of a Sunday morning, Richard Renaldi and his boyfriend Eric left The Sound Factory, the celebrated nightclub on Manhattan’s 27th Street, to walk home through Chelsea, on the west side of Manhattan. As they walked through the city, the pair was approached by an older man named Larry. Larry, they discovered, would leave his Staten Island home in the early hours of Sunday morning and travel to Chelsea. There, he would silently watch gay men as they left New York’s world-famous nightclubs. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:50:34 GMT)

Boko Haram’s legacy of fear and ruin delays return of displaced Nigerians
Aid workers in Borno state say displaced people living in camps have no plans to go back home despite government claims that insurgents have been defeatedThe homecoming of tens of thousand of Nigerians displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency has been prevented by enduring fear of the Islamists and reluctance to return to areas of the country’s north-east devastated by the campaign against the militants, according to aid workers.The continued threat posed by Boko Haram was underlined on Monday when twin suicide bombings killed two people at a university in Maiduguri. The city is the provincial capital of Nigeria’s north-east Borno state, the epicentre of the group’s seven-year campaign to create a regional Islamic caliphate. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:01:22 GMT)

Steve Bell on May, Trump and leadership – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:00:26 GMT)

William Onyeabor: one of music’s most insoluble puzzles to the end
Who was William Onyeabor? The mysterious and reclusive Nigerian synthesizer whiz, who has died aged 70, seems to have existed out of time and in a world of his own imaginationWilliam Onyeabor, the Nigerian musician who died in his sleep on Monday at the age of 70, was the recluse’s recluse. For someone like Sixto Rodriguez, subject of the documentary Searching for Sugarman, belated cult stardom was both a vindication and a second chance. But for Onyeabor, growing interest in the music he released during the 70s and 80s cut little ice. Requiring neither money nor attention, he declined to promote Who is William Onyeabor?, the 2013 compilation released on the Luaka Bop label. It says a great deal about his popularity with musicians that the mutating supergroup that toured in his place featured the likes of David Byrne, Damon Albarn, Blood Orange and Hot Chip. Thanks to fans like these, Onyeabor achieved the almost impossible: he experienced a successful comeback with his enigma intact, and without lifting a finger. Related: William Onyeabor, cult Nigerian musician, has died aged 70 Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:39:49 GMT)

Here's one we ate earlier: Blue Peter badges to be made from yoghurt pots
BBC children’s programme announces its famous badges awarded since 1963 will be made from recycled materialsFor decades, Blue Peter presenters have encouraged children to use toilet rolls and other household refuse to recreate the Thunderbirds’ Tracy Island and fantasy castles. Now the BBC has announced it will be making the show’s famous badges from recycled yoghurt pots.The announcement is part of an effort to make the BBC children’s programme more green: the badges will be made in a solar-powered factory using materials that were made earlier – in this case, yoghurt pots. Continue reading...
(Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:01:22 GMT)

Can Trump really make America great again?
In a Pennsylvania county, with its proud industrial past, why did voters who were loyal to Obama turn towards Trump – and what do they expect now?Sign up for email updates on The PromiseDonald Trump’s face made it official. As his presidential victory was declared, the upper 32 stories of the Empire State Building, which for election night had been turned into a giant news screen, flickered, wept light, and revealed his portrait. “The 45th president,” it said. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:00:01 GMT)

Sebastiano: the forgotten Renaissance genius who swapped sex for God
The National Gallery is pairing Michelangelo with the lesser-known Sebastiano in its latest exhibition. So who is this artist who gave up debauched Venice for the Vatican – and why did he waste his talent?The names are not quite equal in fame. This spring the National Gallery is putting on an exhibition called Michelangelo and Sebastiano. You may have heard of Michelangelo. He carved David, painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and did a few other things. In Paolo Sorrentino’s brilliant TV drama The Young Pope, a copy of his Last Judgement formed a sinister backdrop to Jude Law’s pontifical pronouncements; Michelangelo is a god of art. But who is Sebastiano, and why has he got a joint exhibition with one of the greatest artists who ever lived? He is Sebastiano del Piombo (about 1485-1547), the great nearly-man of the Italian High Renaissance. He was almost one of the very greatest Venetian painters, then moved to Rome where was he was overshadowed by Raphael and dominated by Michelangelo. Perhaps personal modesty held him back; perhaps he was not quite driven enough to compete in an age of intense artistic individualism. Yet his paintings offer tantalising evidence of true genius. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:49:32 GMT)

Iraq's Marsh Arabs test the waters as wetlands ruined by Saddam are reborn
In the country’s southern marshes, the government is helping families to rebuild their floating communities, 25 years after the land was drained The morning of 20 January 1992 began much like any other for the Mohammed family in the marshlands of southern Iraq. Rising at first light, they roused their herd of buffaloes and drove the beasts snorting and protesting into the surrounding wetlands to graze. After a quick breakfast of bread and yoghurt, washed down with sugary tea, they readied themselves for a long day out on the water.But on that day, one of the coldest on record, five-year-old Hanaa and her mother caught no fish and gathered no reeds. No sooner had they paddled past the last of their neighbours’ floating reed houses than a squadron of government fighter jets emerged from the mist, guns blazing. They reduced the artificial islets to embers, and killed many of the buffaloes. Not content with shooting up a few villages as punishment for locals’ alleged harbouring of defeated Shia rebels, Saddam Hussein soon dispatched his engineers to divert the Tigris and Euphrates rivers away from the marshes. The effects were disastrous. By the turn of the last century, the Middle East’s largest wetlands had withered from a peak of 20,000 sq km to almost nothing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:00:03 GMT)

Istanbul by Bettany Hughes review – a colourful, life-filled history
Istanbul, not Constantinople (or Byzantium) … this tale of three cities in one brims with romance and verveFor those who enjoy historical parallels, there was something particularly irresistible about the news in 2013 that the world’s deepest underwater railway tunnel linking Europe and Asia through the Bosphorus had opened beneath Istanbul. The record-breaking continental connection recalled Herodotus’s description, two-and-a-half millennia earlier, of the Persian emperor Darius I ordering the construction of a mile-long pontoon bridge across the water sometime around 513BC, the first literary reference to the city and an act of imperial hubris that would, inevitably, result in the nemesis of the Persian wars and defeat at the hands of the Greeks.It is difficult to imagine the Turkish prime minister being gripped by such parallels. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a former mayor of Istanbul, instead made disparaging comments about the long delays to the tunnel caused by “clay pots” and “other stuff”, such stuff including the largest remains of a Byzantine fleet ever discovered, among other important archaeological findings. The modern Islamist is not generally known for his interest in non-Islamic history. Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:00:03 GMT)

Rae Sremmurd review – no standing still with party-hard rappers
Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London Their song Black Beatles soundtracked the Mannequin Challenge meme, but it’s impossible not to bounce along with the social media-savvy duo – until the moment they order the crowd to freezeThe success of their song Black Beatles means that rap duo Rae Sremmurd’s story will be forever linked to the viral #MannequinChallenge phenomenon. However, the young brothers from Tupelo, Mississippi have more in their arsenal than the average internet-propelled star. Anyone here looking purely to revisit the highs they experienced by standing still for Twitter last December won’t fail to notice similar hook-filled singles like Throw Some Mo and No Type, both of which get huge responses tonight. Playing the first of two London shows on their European tour, brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi don’t get off to the best of starts as they arrive on stage an hour later than the advertised time of 9pm. It’s perhaps a touch ironic, then, that they begin with Start a Party and its key lyric: “This is how you start a party right.” Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:26:39 GMT)

Balenciaga sitting pretty with work ethic inspiration at Paris show
Demna Gvasalia plays with proportions of clothes in surprising ways in trademark that recalls work of house’s founderTo understand the philosophy of Balenciaga’s artistic director, Demna Gvasalia – the coolest designer in fashion right now – one should probably start by looking at the seating at his shows. Related: Demna Gvasalia reinvigorates Balenciaga with strategic disrespect Continue reading...
(Wed, 18 Jan 2017 18:26:44 GMT)

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