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Donald Trump's first budget: big hike for defense spending as most agencies cut
White House officials say Trump will uphold campaign promise to build up military, at the expense of foreign aid and environmental programmesDonald Trump will make his first address to Congress on Tuesday, outlining priorities including a big hike in military spending at the expense of foreign aid and environmental programmes. Related: Trump White House scrambles to check scandal over FBI inquiry into Russia ties Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:52:16 GMT)

NHS data loss: 500 patients may have suffered serious harm
NHS England is investigating 537 ‘live cases’ resulting from failure to deliver 500,000 documents over five-year periodFive hundred patients may have suffered serious harm as a result of the NHS mislaying 500,000 test results and letters over a five-year period, ministers and officials have admitted in parliament.The review is also understood to be looking at whether correspondence between GPs and hospitals that was mislaid between 2011 and 2016 caused or contributed to the death of any patients, sources added. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 21:45:23 GMT)

John Major attacks government over approach to Brexit
Former PM calls for ‘a little more charm, and a lot less cheap rhetoric’ and says public have been given unrealistic expectationsTheresa May’s government must avoid souring the article 50 negotiations with “cheap rhetoric” and give voters an honest warning about the risks of Brexit, the former prime minister Sir John Major has said.With the prime minister planning to begin the formal process of leaving the European Union within weeks, her predecessor used his first big speech on Brexit since last year’s referendum to issue a series of thinly veiled attacks on Downing Street’s approach. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:04:07 GMT)

Number of child sexual abuse claims overwhelming police, says lead officer
Head of nationwide inquiry Operation Hydrant calls for alternative approaches to less serious cases to be consideredPolice are being overwhelmed by the number of reports about child sexual abuse and need to consider alternative approaches for less serious cases, the UK’s lead officer on child protection has said.Simon Bailey, the head of Operation Hydrant – the nationwide inquiry into historical child sexual abuse – said forces were operating beyond capacity because of the sheer volume of reports. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 01:06:43 GMT)

Clive Lewis denies registering websites for Labour leadership bid
Former ally of Jeremy Corbyn says story came from ‘people out there’ nervous about possible challenge to party’s leaderClive Lewis, who resigned from the shadow cabinet after voting against the Brexit bill, has denied secretly registering internet addresses linked to a potential leadership bid and warned that unnamed Labour figures were taking an “unhealthy interest” in him.Lewis, the MP for Norwich South, flatly denied that he, or anyone working for him, was responsible for registering several internet domain names, including cliveforleader.org.uk, shortly after he joined the shadow cabinet last summer, as revealed in the Huffington Post. “None of this is true: I haven’t done this,” he said. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 21:00:11 GMT)

BMW considers making electric Mini outside UK due to Brexit worries
Suggestion that carmaker could produce vehicle in Germany instead of Oxford comes amid fears over Vauxhall’s futureThe new electric Mini could be made in Germany rather than the UK because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.Most Minis are manufactured at its plant in Oxford, one of the biggest factories in the country, but BMW, the owner of the brand, is considering making the electric version of the car in Germany. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:21:12 GMT)

Jack Monroe begins libel proceedings against Katie Hopkins
Blogger is suing Mail Online writer over Twitter messages which allegedly implied Monroe condoned damaging war memorialThe food writer and campaigner Jack Monroe has begun libel proceedings against Katie Hopkins, in a row over tweets which allegedly imply Monroe defaced or condoned the damage of a war memorial.Monroe, who is suing the controversial Mail Online columnist over the posts from May 2015, told the high court in London that the messages from Hopkins had led to death threats, and said their legal dispute had been an “unproductive, devastating nightmare”. The food blogger’s lawyers argue the tweets were defamatory and caused “serious harm” to Monroe’s reputation. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:28:29 GMT)

Hospitals could join prisons in cycle of 'crisis, cash, repeat', says report
Better financial planning and reforms needed to avoid ‘disastrous combination of failing public services and breached spending controls’ Hospitals could join prisons and social care in a cycle of “crisis, cash, repeat” unless they receive better financial planning and reforms, a Whitehall report has warned. Without improvements, public services are doomed to fail or breach spending controls, the report by the Institute for Government and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) said. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:01:13 GMT)

Nigel Farage calls for Douglas Carswell to be expelled from Ukip
Former leader’s claim that Clacton MP is trying to damage party comes amid row over Carswell’s remarks about honour bidUkip’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, must be thrown out of the party immediately because he is actively trying to damage it, Nigel Farage has said.The party’s former leader stepped up his attacks on Carswell as a row intensified over claims about the Clacton MP’s role in blocking an honour for Farage. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:15:34 GMT)

SpaceX to send two people around the moon who paid for a 2018 mission
CEO Elon Musk said the private journey would take about a week, nearing the moon’s surface without landing on itSpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed on Monday that two people have paid for a private mission around the moon, tentatively set for launch in 2018 with the private company’s yet untested Falcon Heavy rocket.In a conference call with reporters, Musk declined to name the people or what they had paid, though he said the individuals know each other and are “very serious” about the flight. The “private citizens” approached the company late last year and will receive training and take health and fitness tests as early as this year. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:26:07 GMT)

Fight on UK train after people kept placing bagels on travellers' heads
British Transport police held the train in Hertfordshire after being alerted to passengers fighting and intimidating othersPolice were called to break up a fight on a train as rowdy passengers repeatedly placed bagels on other travellers’ heads.Officers arrived at Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire just after 1am on Sunday after being alerted to passengers fighting and intimidating others. The 12.54am Great Northern service from King’s Cross to Huntingdon was held for 18 minutes while the officers took statements. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 23:53:52 GMT)

The Nightly Show: Britain's latest crack at US-style late-night TV
ITV has shifted News at Ten to provide an alternative to the BBC, but does the transatlantic format work on this side of the pond?The return of a popular whodunnit mystery on ITV on Monday night at 9pm – the third and final series of Broadchurch – was followed at 10pm by the arrival of what some observers regard as an unpopular whydunnit mystery: the displacement of the longstanding factual flagship, News at Ten, by a new half-hour entertainment series, The Nightly Show.This has been announced for an initial experimental two months – although the ITV continuity announcer simply said it would appear “every night” with a different presenter every week: John Bishop, Gordon Ramsay and Mel & Sue are slated to present a quintet of editions each, with David Walliams fronting the first five. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:10:49 GMT)

Wrongbestfilmgate was a moment of pure chaos – my night of shocks at the Oscars
The Guardian film critic’s first Academy Awards ceremony delivered selfies, supercharged excitement and an upset that left everyone dazedAll the leaves are brown and the sky is grey as I leave dreary Britain for my date with celebrity destiny … in Los Angeles, California. I was heading for the Academy Awards, little knowing that the ceremony would be crowned with a moment of gorgeous and historic chaos, with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway giving the best picture award to the wrong film and creating the biggest YouTube moment since Susan Boyle appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.But it wasn’t the fault of poor old Beatty and Dunaway, the presenters whose careers must now permanently include this embarrassing moment. It seems someone had somehow passed the envelope announcing Emma Stone’s best actress Oscar for La La Land into Beatty’s hand – and Beatty, after some understandable befuddlement, and equally understandable reluctance to stop the proceedings while he asked someone in charge what on earth was going on, just thought he and Dunaway had no choice but to assume that La La Land was the winner. That film’s entire team came triumphantly on and then had to be ignominiously herded off while Moonlight’s team straggled on for their anti-climactic and muddled moment. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:28:14 GMT)

The strike-leader, the singer and the anti-Nazi activist: role models for resistance
As politics enters a more populist phase, the need for progressive pioneers is urgent. From activists to artists, here are seven extraordinary women to inspire you for the struggle aheadIn the winter of 2015, when I started writing my book Modern Women, I felt sure of my parameters. The plan was to write profiles of 50 or more women who had created the modern age by expanding women’s possibilities, whether by breaking barriers of race, class, age, disability, gender or sexuality; challenging the biological determinism that says a woman’s reproductive capabilities are her destiny; or doing something as simple as wearing trousers when this was considered radical (hats off to Katharine Hepburn).Katie Sandwina, for instance, the suffragette circus strongwoman whose posters in the 1910s showed her standing on a plinth emblazoned with the words, “The wonder of female strength,” and holding three men on a bicycle above her head. At 210lb, with 14in biceps, Sandwina was venerated for her beauty, described as “a perfect woman by all the accepted standards”. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:30:15 GMT)

Stoke shows how to destroy Ukip – ​split the alienated voters and hardcore racists | Paul Mason
Now the Tories are the party of Brexit, Ukip is in trouble. The lesson of this byelection is to keep calling out the toxic elements at its coreTheir only MP is a “dullard” who needs to be expelled, says the party’s millionaire backer. Their leader, Paul Nuttall, has been exposed as a fantasist. Their MEPs are under investigation for misuse of funds. They may have got 3.8m votes in the 2015 election but, today, Ukip is a political catastrophe.Make no mistake: despite losing Copeland to the Conservatives, Labour well and truly stuffed Ukip in Stoke-on-Trent. The level of political pressure it applied to Nuttall effectively broke him. Among a population so turned off by mainstream politics that almost two thirds did not vote, Labour won a battle of the narratives. Anti-racists and democrats from all political parties can learn from this. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:59:09 GMT)

Broadchurch recap: series three, episode one – an eerie and very promising start
Miller and Hardy return for their last ever case – a rape by an unknown attacker – with an extraordinarily intricate and often dark-humoured hour“My name’s Ellie. I’m a detective with Wessex police ... This is Alec. He’s my colleague. We work together.” Well, that’s a bit of an understatement in the circumstances, but never mind. Here we go. Series three, the final instalment – and the last chance for a return to form after the “ill-judged second season” (TM). For Broadchurch fans, however, it’s a welcome return full stop. How I’ve missed Olivia Colman’s Dorset accent. All the familiar Broadchurch hallmarks were back. Here come the cliffs, and the slow pan down the empty high street in half-light. Here’s someone working at their desk late at night in a seaside property, and here are Miller and Alec bickering. But there was a new tone and pace too. In terms of the narrative, it felt like a useful warning. Yes, this is Broadchurch, but it won’t be like before. Get used to it. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:00:10 GMT)

Jamie Vardy claims ‘unfair’ criticism fired up Leicester City to hit back
Vardy reveals Leicester City’s 3-1 win over Liverpool was a reaction to claims the champions’ players had played a part in Claudio Ranieri’s dismissalJamie Vardy admitted that Leicester City’s players were stung by the criticism they have received since Claudio Ranieri’s sacking as the England international scored twice to inspire the Premier League champions to a victory over Liverpool that lifts them out of the relegation zone. Related: Jamie Vardy fires back to inspire rampant Leicester to shock Liverpool Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:32:26 GMT)

Double honours for Daniel Taylor as the Guardian wins four SJA awards
• Taylor wins football writer of the year and scoop of the year•Sean Ingle wins specialist correspondent; Guardian Sport is website of yearDaniel Taylor picked up two major prizes at Monday night’s prestigious Sports Journalists Association awards for his reporting of the football abuse scandal, being named football journalist of the year and winning scoop of the year.Taylor’s original Guardian story, published in November, led to the reporting of hundreds of historical allegations of sexual abuse. Last month detectives were examining possible attacks on 526 people, with investigations by 20 police forces who had identified 184 potential suspects and 248 affected clubs at all levels of the game. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:31:03 GMT)

England’s players must develop quick wits however odd Jones’s complaints | Robert Kitson
The England coach tried to divert attention from the tactical bafflement shown against Italy and this week’s relocation of Six Nations squad training to Oxford will see an attempt to make brains match brawn• World Rugby backs referee Poite over England v Italy ruck debateWhen Eddie Jones decided to relocate squad training to Oxford this week he was unaware how appropriate his choice would turn out to be. The old university city is full of brilliant thinkers and, boy, could England do with a mind-expanding seminar or two. Rugby will forever demand physicality but if Jones’s team wish to win another Six Nations grand slam they will need to exhibit more brainpower than they did against Italy.It was not simply the prolonged failure to find a way around the Azzurri’s cute diversionary ruck tactics – odd as that appeared in an era when coaches can get messages on to the field almost instantly. More glaring still was the lack of mental flexibility, the bafflement and the sheer confusion when the anticipated masterplan – a 60-point romp in this instance – unravelled. At times it was like watching 15 Daleks stuck at the bottom of an unexpected staircase. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:50:00 GMT)

Keegan Hirst: ‘I envied the lads brave enough to come out at school’
The 29-year-old is close to making his debut for Wakefield Trinity – to become the first gay English rugby player to reach the heights of Super League – but he ‘went through bad phases’ to get there‘There were a couple of times when I thought about killing myself,” Keegan Hirst says as he remembers how, as a gay rugby league player unable to reveal the truth about his sexuality, he faced the darkest moments of his conflicted life. “I got to a point where I was thinking: ‘How am I going to do it? Where am I going to do it? When am I going to do it?’” Related: Former league star Mark Geyer says he wouldn't sue NRL over concussion Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:47:31 GMT)

Liverpool turn to EA Sports president Peter Moore for chief executive role
• Club announce appointment after 3-1 defeat by Leicester City• Moore to replace the departing Ian AyreLiverpool have announced the appointment of Peter Moore as their chief executive to replace the departing Ian Ayre.The 61-year-old is currently chief competition officer at Electronic Arts, based in the United States, and will take up his new role in June, reporting directly to the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 01:07:00 GMT)

England’s rugby team aren't the first to be confused by the rules of their own game
The defending champions were baffled by Italy’s entirely legal tactics at Twickenham. They aren’t the only elite athletes to need to check the rulebook – just ask cricketersThe sound of England’s rugby union coach, Eddie Jones, in what his compatriots would call full-on “whinging pom” mode following his team’s laboured Six Nations win over Italy suggested the Australian has acclimatised well. Jones was upset following a match in which England’s players were left bamboozled by the rare but legitimate Italian tactic of players refusing to commit to the breakdown after the tackle. This deliberate stand-offishness meant there were no rucks and no offside line, which left the men in azzurri blue free to block the options of England scrum-half Danny Care when he attempted to pass the ball to a team-mate.As Jones and the Twickenham crowd became increasingly enraged, Care and his team-mates simply got more confused. It seemed extraordinary that, from a starting XV boasting well over 600 international caps between them, several England players could be heard asking French referee Romain Poite to explain the laws of the sport they play for a living during an actual game. Poite eventually felt compelled to point out to England captain Dylan Hartley that “I am a referee, not a coach”, while England eventually exploited the weaknesses in Italy’s caper. Sadly, the subsequent fallout over the whole palaver has rather overshadowed their win. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:58:49 GMT)

Lewis Hamilton fastest on first day of testing as Mercedes deliver on speed
• Hamilton goes a second quicker than 2016’s fastest time• Red Bull’s Adrian Newey confident of challenging MercedesFaster cars with lower lap times was one of the aims set for the new 2017 Formula One regulations and it can at least be checked off after day one of testing, even if the target has not yet been skewered quite as spectacularly as was expected. There is plenty of time yet but as Red Bull’s chief technical officer, Adrian Newey, pointed out at the Circuit de Catalunya, looking for mere speed is not enough – it is the competition that counts. Related: Lewis Hamilton not missing Rosberg as he looks ahead to new F1 season Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:13:56 GMT)

I’m up with the best in the world on this form, says Tottenham’s Harry Kane
• Spurs striker aiming for second successive golden boot• Kane joint top of charts on 17 goals with Sánchez and LukakuHarry Kane believes he is in the best form of his career and has established himself as one of the best strikers in the world after his third hat-trick of the calendar year took him past 20 goals for a third season in succession.No one can match the 63 goals, scored in 93 matches, plundered by Kane in the Premier League since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, with his current run, of 13 goals in 12 games in all competitions, his second prolific burst of the season. The 23-year-old managed nine in as many outings back in late autumn and, with 17, is level with Alexis Sánchez and Romelu Lukaku as the top flight’s leading scorer this season as he seeks to retain the golden boot. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:30:11 GMT)

Now Sevilla can think about La Liga title charge after besting Betis | Sid Lowe
A crunch win at Betis means the question now being asked is if Sevilla could win a first league title since 1946. Why not?Ramón Rodríguez, ‘Monchi’, walked out the door and refused to look back. Sevilla’s sporting director left the Sánchez Pizjuán after their 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Wednesday night with “mixed emotions”, insisting as he went: “All I’m thinking about now is the derby.” Now? That was all most of them were thinking about already, even before the game – or so it felt. Witness the scene that same afternoon. In the hotel where the squad meets before matches, there were a little under four hours to kick-off on a potentially historic night: the chance to reach a European Cup quarter-final for the first time in 59 years, the second in history. But, whispered one member of the coaching staff, sighing slightly: “Everyone in the city is talking about Betis.”Joaquín Sánchez once insisted: “There’s no derby like this, not in Spain: Barça-Madrid is a joke in comparison.” And for years it seemed Real Betis Balompié and Sevilla Fútbol Club enjoyed winding each other up. Things are a little calmer now, and a rivalry that was all the stronger because there wasn’t one obviously bigger, better team, has become a bit one-sided over the last decade, but there’s still something about Seville, city of passion and humour, and something about Sevilla-Betis too: the biggest derby in Spain, “a game without compare in Europe”, claimed one local paper, and always there – even when it should be eclipsed, or rendered irrelevant. “Forget Betis,” that coach said. Trailing by 25 points, it wasn’t as if they were going to catch up. But how can they forget Betis? And how can Betis forget them? Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:39:13 GMT)

Manchester United leave Saints feeling sinned against – Football Weekly
The podders reflect on United winning a thrilling EFL Cup final against Southampton, and Leicester’s decision to sack Claudio Ranieri nine months after leading them to the Premier League titleSubscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher. And join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.On today’s Football Weekly, AC Jimbo is joined by Barry Glendenning, Iain Macintosh and Gregg Bakowski to look back on the cut-throat world of game we so love. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:46:40 GMT)

David Haye tells Tony Bellew supporters: Your fighter will get drilled
• Fighters have to be separated during feisty press conference in Liverpool• ‘The big fat scouser will come through you like a steam train,’ Bellew saysThe David Haye freak show continued at a press conference in Liverpool where he branded Tony Bellew’s supporters “fucking retards”. Related: David Haye knows how to sell but must be reminded you do not play boxing | Kevin Mitchell Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:14:35 GMT)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not the new Cantona but buys José Mourinho time | Barney Ronay
Ibrahimovic won the EFL Cup for Manchester United at Wembley yet unlike Eric Cantona 25 years ago is not the final piece in the jigsaw of an emerging sideWatching Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s fine, bloody-minded match-winning turn for Manchester United in the EFL Cup final it was hard not to reach back in time for comparisons. Rewind to the early 1990s and English football’s restless north-western superpower needed fresh blood, a point of attacking inspiration to energise an emerging team. A new striker was signed to add stardust up front. History shows it worked, too. Dean Saunders scored 23 goals as Liverpool won the FA Cup in 1992.Saunders left after one season – as Ibrahimovic still might – and went to Aston Villa, as Ibrahimovic, it seems fair to say, definitely will not. Oddly enough, in the EFL Cup final debrief Saunders has been largely overlooked as a point of reference. For Ibrahimovic the more exciting comparison is, of course, Eric Cantona, so often hailed as the pistol shot, the catalyst, the magic potion that set in train two decades of outrageous success for United. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:06:00 GMT)

World Rugby backs referee Poite over England v Italy ruck debate
• Governing body not looking to change rules at this stage• England coach Eddie Jones criticised referee after victory on Sunday• England’s players must develop quick wits however odd Jones’s complaintsWorld Rugby has given its backing to the referee Romain Poite after Eddie Jones criticised the Frenchman for his performance during England’s Six Nations victory against Italy on Sunday.However, while World Rugby has previously announced it is looking into the tackle and ruck laws via its law review process, it is understood no specific changes to the law in question are under way. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:09:00 GMT)

Olympic bidders face harsh reality of costs heavily outweighing benefits | Sean Ingle
The IOC may find fewer cities eager to host the Games with experts agreeing that staging the event is economically damaging despite a larger revenue cakeThese days even the Olympics is going on the 5:2 diet. Less than 18 months ago, the politicians and panjandrums of Hamburg, Rome, Budapest, Paris and Los Angeles all craved the right to host the 2024 Games. Now, following Budapest’s withdrawal last week, only Paris and Los Angeles remain. But it is merely reflective of a bidding process that is getting worryingly slimmer.Twelve cities fought over the 2004 Olympics. Yet only two were in the running for the 2022 Winter Olympics. And now here we are again. Even LA, one of the last pair standing for 2024, was a replacement for Boston after a concerted public campaign forced a rethink at the US Olympic Committee. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:00:05 GMT)

David Haye knows how to sell but must be reminded you do not play boxing | Kevin Mitchell
The heavyweight will quietly hope that pushing the promotion of bout against Tony Bellew beyond acceptable limits does not backfire on him and the sportDavid Haye would seem to be too much of an animal for some people – but not so abominable as to stop hundreds of thousands of them paying to watch him try to “cave in the skull” of Tony Bellew at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.In recent days, he has also said: “I’m looking at putting a combination together that really hurts him, a Tommy Morrison-Ray Mercer finish where his brain hasn’t even told his legs to fall down and I’m still hitting him as he’s upright. I’m looking at doing a real number on him, before the referee can even stop the fight, landing three or four vicious haymakers on him.” Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:02:30 GMT)

Aston Villa release accounts showing £81m loss for last financial year
• Club’s deficit trebled in 2015-16, year they were relegated from Premier League• Figures do not relate to period since Tony Xia completed his takeoverAston Villa recorded a loss of more than £81m for the last financial year, according to the club’s latest accounts.The figures for the 2015-16 period show that with an operating loss of £81.3m the deficit more than trebled, up from £26.6m, before Villa were relegated from the Premier League. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:56:32 GMT)

Sir Ian Botham vows to restore Durham pride after unveiling as chairman
• County club will begin new season with 48-point deduction• ‘Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t go into anything half-cock’‘Sir Ian T Botham OBE,” read the card on the top table at the Chester-le-Street press conferenceon Monday . Even two decades on from his retirement, there is no more recognisable name in English cricket, and he intends to make use of it in his role as Durham chairman.It was not one you would ever have associated with the establishment. As he himself put it: “I was fighting with them most of my life.” He did not necessarily look like one of them either, with an open shirt and pinstripe jacket offsetting a pair of jeans. However, the financial crisis Durham hit last summer, triggering bail-outs and retrospective penalties from the England and Wales Cricket Board, presented the kind of comebackchallenge Botham so relished on the field. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:49:34 GMT)

Premier League and EFL Cup: eight talking points from the weekend’s action
Manchester United keep the League Cup flag flying, Swansea pin hopes on Fernando Llorente, and Sam Allardyce maintains faith in foreign getawaysZlatan Ibrahimovic shot his questioner a quizzical look when asked, immediately after the EFL Cup final, whether he sensed something special building at Manchester United. The competition is sometimes put in the context of the wider season – a kind of stepping stone to help build confidence and a winning mentality – but Ibrahimovic made clear that he felt this title was something special in its own right. The 35-year-old has won major trophies all over Europe yet sunk to his knees with joy on hearing the final whistle, while United’s celebrations and the shattered Southampton reactions defied any notion that the competition holds little significance for the players or their supporters. This final was a fine advert for the League Cup, complete with a compelling narrative and charismatic hero, and left no doubt that it remains a worthwhile prize. Lawrence Ostlere Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:02:00 GMT)

Six Nations: talking points from the weekend’s action
Italy proved a point beyond their spoiling tactics, Finn Russell leads the list of potential Scottish Lions and will Ireland pay for lack of pace out wide?There can be only one talking point about Conor O’Shea’s side and whether their refusal to engage at the ruck was a masterstroke or a blight on the game requires a far lengthier discussion than this. What can be said without question, though, is that it turned what was expected to be a cakewalk for England into a unique spectacle. O’Shea’s side were eventually outclassed but, if his objective was to make those critics who have been calling for Italy’s relegation to think twice, then his mission has been accomplished. GM Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:02:04 GMT)

Radja Nainggolan finds balance among Serie A’s most influential players | Paolo Bandini
Two astonishing goals in Roma’s 3-1 win at Inter showcased the Belgian’s talents and helped keep the Giallorossi snapping at Juve’s heelsRadja Nainggolan makes no secret of his vices. He likes to smoke, to stay out late and to dance. When Rolling Stone magazine asked him whether he considered himself a “discotheque footballer” in late 2015, he replied with an unapologetic “yes”, before adding: “I have no desire to stay home every evening like other players who just go ‘house, football pitch, house, football pitch’.”That mindset has not always endeared him to coaches. Marc Wilmots, after leaving Nainggolan out of Belgium’s 2014 World Cup squad, eventually came to recognise the player’s talent and subsequently made sure that the player’s hotel rooms always had a balcony to smoke on. But he still let his feelings be known when he lamented that: “It will be [Nainggolan’s] problem if he only plays to 30 years old instead of 35.” Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:01:43 GMT)

The Guardian view on management consultants: the trick is confidence | Editorial
In troubled times, the appearance of authority is worth far more than the content of advicePwC, an accountancy firm with revenues of $35bn last year, couldn’t deliver accurate figures on the 5,700 votes for the Oscars when it really mattered. This was not a mistake that changed the world but it did destroy the appearance of a well-oiled and supremely professional machine, just as thoroughly as if the Queen were to stop to read a text message in the middle of opening a session of parliament. It is enough to make anyone wonder about the role of expertise in the world today. The big accountancy and consultancy firms can charge pretty much what they like for their services. The British government paid more than £1.3bn to consultants in 2015 – and that’s just central government. Some were paid upwards of £1,000 a day, which is a great deal more than most of the civil servants they have replaced could expect. At the same time, what’s left of the state lurches from crisis to absurdity. Whether it is the NHS, the Ministry of Defence, or the prison system, anyone could tell you that the people in charge of the mess now should not be – but if you ask a consultant, that piece of arcane wisdom will cost you plenty more. Brexit, even if it accomplishes nothing else, will enrich the consulting firms and the lobbyists almost as much as it will impoverish the rest of us.These big companies and the legions of highly paid experts are supposed to be delivering measurable results, yet it seems most of what they touch runs worse than before. So it’s worth asking what it is they are actually selling that is worth so much. The first, obvious answer is plausible deniability. If a management wants to slash its workforce then it is obviously better that the bad news be delivered by outsiders who can be blamed later. This evasion of responsibility may well be worth a great deal to the managers concerned, if not to the other stakeholders of the enterprise. This motive overlaps or shades into another, more interesting one. The one thing that consultancies and even accountants are meant to deliver is objectivity – and from that springs authority, which is what they’re really selling. Someone who comes along with an air of confident command will always find followers even if they know nothing about their subject, providing the followers are more painfully confident of their own ignorance. The vocational education of the English ruling classes taught the art of bluffing at the speed of thought – and though this skill is indispensable at the bar, and still more in the House of Commons, unfortunately it’s not the best way to make really important decisions, as the career of David Cameron so catastrophically demonstrates. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:21:24 GMT)

Martin Rowson on the NHS data loss – cartoon
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(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:57:03 GMT)

The parallels between Scottish nationalism and racism are clear | Claire Heuchan
There is a certain irony to white people with progressive politics rubbishing what Sadiq Khan has to say about racismSadiq Khan was not wrong to compare Scottish nationalism to racism or religious intolerance – at least, not entirely. Someone has to say it: the parallels are clear. There is an obvious overlap between nationalism and racism: both mentalities are defined by a politics of us and them. Equating racism with Scottish nationalism is a massive false equivalence, yet both perspectives are reliant on a clear distinction being made between those who belong and those who are rejected on the basis of difference. Related: Sadiq Khan: nationalism can be as divisive as bigotry and racism Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:09:50 GMT)

Don't let that Oscars blunder overshadow Moonlight's monumental achievement
Barry Jenkins’s movie is a brave and brilliant work of art that also happens to be a black, gay story. What a shame if the announcement gaffe is what people remember about its victorySo which did you want to win, the black film or the white film? Related: Anatomy of an Oscars fiasco: how La La Land was mistakenly announced as best picture Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:39:50 GMT)

Lost: test results diagnosing Jeremy Hunt with terminal incompetence
Health secretary claims NHS data systems are in rude health as he fails to convince in the Commons Somewhere in the UK there is a warehouse stuffed full of GPs’ referral letters and blood test results diagnosing the health secretary with terminal incompetence. But as it has yet to be found, Jeremy Hunt had to limit his scope to the 700,000 NHS documents that have just turned up after going missing in action for five years in answer to Labour’s urgent question in the Commons. “Absolutely nothing went missing,” he reassured MPs. All that had happened was that hundreds of thousands of confidential pieces of medical information had accidentally been sent to the wrong place without anyone noticing. But it was no biggy. As far as he knew, no one had died – or if they had, their death certificates had also gone AWOL, so it was much the same thing. And what it really proved was how many unnecessary tests the NHS were conducting each year. Just think of the potential savings. A couple of avoidable deaths had to be a price worth paying for not bothering with 700,000 bits of paperwork. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:17:25 GMT)

The Guardian view on George W Bush: a welcome return | Editorial
A polarising president, Mr Bush sounds a lot better out of office than in it. His swipe at Donald Trump’s brand of populism may mark a turning point for Republicans. We hope soDuring his time in the White House, George W Bush was regarded as a warmonger and hardline conservative. As president he did an awful lot to polarise the country and was viewed as such a threat to world peace that when he left office the Nobel committee handed his successor the peace prize – for not being him. It says a lot about the United States that Mr Bush can be seen now as a paragon of virtue. He sounds a lot better out of office than in it. His defence today of a free press (“indispensable”), his call for a “lawful, welcoming” immigration policy and his preference for “answers” in the scandal engulfing Donald Trump’s team over Moscow’s meddling in the presidential election may mark a turning point for Republicans. We certainly hope so.The Grand Old Party is trading its principles for power. Instead of dousing incendiary language, probing Russian interference and promoting inclusive policies, Republicans are nodding along to populist tunes. But even with the proliferation of voter-suppression measures, the US is demographically marching away from Mr Trump. Turning Hispanics and Muslims into hate figures will ultimately repel ordinary voters. Republicans should be talking down the threat from Islam and champion immigration reform, as Mr Bush once did. In reminding us of that, the 43rd US president should be applauded. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:57:02 GMT)

Yes, Trevor Phillips: you can be black and a racist too | Poppy Noor
The presenter has misunderstood political correctness. It’s about recognising our prejudices, whoever we are, and doing something about themTrevor Phillips asked us on Channel 4 last week whether political correctness had gone mad. He ended the programme with the insight: “The path to real progress may include learning to live with offence.” Related: Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy | Moira Weigel Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:51:47 GMT)

Theresa May must block London Stock Exchange bids until after Brexit | Nils Pratley
The LSE/Deutsche Börse merger was doomed – the UK’s vote to leave the EU only piled confusion upon uncertaintyNo tears should be shed for the likely failure of the London Stock Exchange’s £24bn plan to merge with Deutsche Börse. This deal, unveiled almost 12 months ago, cried out for a public interest study even before the UK voted to leave the European Union. Brexit then piled confusion upon uncertainty. If we don’t know what passporting and clearing arrangements will apply in future, how can anybody sensibly assess the long-term consequences of creating a bigger European mash-up of financial infrastructure?The only surprise is that Brexit wasn’t the immediate cause of the deal’s death, though it may have contributed. The critical event was the last-minute intervention of Margrethe Vestager, the European commission competition commissioner. If you want to proceed, Vestager said, the LSE must sell MTS, the Italy-based electronic platform for trading government bonds. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:32:08 GMT)

George Freeman’s dismissal of anxiety is pig-ignorance and must be called out | Eleanor Morgan
Can Theresa May still reply on a policy adviser with views that people with mental health problems are not ‘really disabled’? Words matterTory MP George Freeman, who is director of Theresa May’s policy unit, is under fire for his comments on BBC 5 Live regarding proposed reforms to personal independence payments (PIPs). “We want to make sure we get the money to the really disabled people who need it,” he said, explaining how reforms are needed to stop the government being responsible for a deficit of over £3.6bn. Those who don’t need it, apparently, are “people who are taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety”, labelling tribunal decisions that the Department for Work and Pensions should expand the reach of PIP as “bizarre”. Related: Welfare funds must serve 'really disabled' people, says MP Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:46:44 GMT)

The Guardian view on disability benefits: head versus heart | Editorial
Theresa May’s policy supremo apologised for saying benefit claimants were not ‘really disabled’, but the policy to deny future recipients welfare payments remains. Is the nasty party back?George Freeman is supposedly the government’s big brain, a Downing Street thinker tasked with ensuring policy reaches a port by sailing, not by drifting. So when he took to the airwaves last weekend to claim that welfare cuts would see money go to the “really disabled” rather than those “taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety”, many must have wondered whether Mr Freeman had momentarily slipped his moorings. Today he apologised. That is a good move. But ministers should go further.The government is attempting to stave off a potentially large bill caused by its flagship personal independence payment, paid to people who face costs because of a disability or long-term illness. The reason is that the courts, looking at the government’s own policies, have ruled that more 160,000 people who have a heart condition or who suffer overwhelming psychological distress when taking journeys should be eligible for bigger payments than ministers envisaged. Because of the numbers involved, the bill is large – more than £3.7bn. But the problem, for ministers attempting to frame the debate to gain popularity for unpopular decisions, is that the recipients could not be tarred as feckless scroungers. Those that get the payment are sick or disabled. They deserve help and understanding. This leads two trains of thought of modern Conservatism – the compassionate and the fiscally responsible – to crash. Last year the collision of these impulses saw the departure of the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned as work and pensions secretary, denouncing £4bn of planned cuts to disabled people as “indefensible”. Mr Freeman did not lose his job, he only lost his dignity and composure. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:58:38 GMT)

Why Paul Ryan is just Donald Trump in better wrapping | Trevor Timm
The speaker of the House poses as a moderate in comparison to Trump. In reality, he’s paving the way for the president’s cruelest policiesNearly all the oxygen and outrage in DC is being sucked up by Donald Trump and his outrageous executive orders. But let’s not forget about the man without whom Trump could not accomplish his larger agenda: the spineless speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Trump’s mainstream defender and apologist at every turn.Ryan, who has cultivated a sham image as the “reasonable” Republican for years, has backed virtually all of Trump’s most controversial and cruel policies. Ryan manages to never buck Trump on anything of significance, while getting publicity for meaningless, quasi-critical statements. He is the biggest fraud in American politics. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:00:01 GMT)

They’re not lies: Donald Trump wills his ‘truth’ into our reality | Carl Cederström
The president’s ‘alternative facts’ come straight from Norman Vincent Peale’s philosophy of picturing success, no matter what. If only his system really worked“We have a president capable of standing in the rain and saying it was a sunny day,” John Oliver recently observed on Last Week Tonight, as he called Donald Trump a “pathological liar”. But what if he isn’t lying? What if his press secretary, Sean Spicer, is correct when saying that Trump really believes that what he says is true?It should be clear by now that Trump doesn’t subscribe to a conventional notion of truth, related to verifiable facts and an independently existing reality. For Trump, truth is subordinate to attitude, an attitude that can be modified at will. This whimsical notion comes straight from Norman Vincent Peale, an American minister and motivational speaker who was close to the Trump family, even officiating at Trump’s first marriage, with Ivana. In his 1952 bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking, Peale presents a simple and “workable philosophy” to help people live more effective and successful lives. The technique is simple: “prayerise, visualise, actualise”. By using this technique you can overcome defeat and take control over the circumstances of your life. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 07:00:03 GMT)

Don’t be fooled by the pretty box: find out the horror behind your egg | Chas Newkey Burden
The mass murder of male chicks and trimming of females’ beaks are standard practice in factory farming. Consumers must say no to these anachronismsFrom the moment it hatches, a baby chick’s fate is determined by its gender. Females are seized and have the tips of their sensitive beaks cut without anaesthetic. Males are sent to be killed. These are commonplace practices on British farms, including free-range ones. They are some of the simple truths the industry doesn’t want you to know.Factory farm practices have become so horrific that high walls have been built, not only literally but metaphorically too. Expert marketers are deliberately misleading consumers. Perhaps their most audacious trick is the “free-range” brand label that persuades many well-meaning shoppers to pay extra because they believe those eggs will come from a natural environment. The truth can be very different. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:17:30 GMT)

The Oscars mix-up matters because this night was always about racial bias | Suzanne Moore
A stupid mistake undermined the academy’s response to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign – but the dream factory has at last extended its repertoire of dreamsThe biggest mistakes at the Oscars are usually said to be made by women with their fashion “fails”. I won’t bore you with the details, but last year Kate Winslet apparently looked rubbish in a glossy bin liner, another woman should have been arrested because she looked too “casual”, the great costume designer Sandy Powell with her wonderful Bowie-esque look was deemed to have made a terrible mistake. This year though, the annual fest of tit tape, weepy self-congratulation and sheer star power will be remembered for more than a frock faux pas: there was a serious cock-up. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that La La Land had won best picture when actually it was Moonlight. It seems that Beatty was given the wrong envelope, looked confused and passed the buck to Dunaway, who read out La La Land. Related: PwC issues 'sincere apology' for Oscars best picture envelope blunder Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:05:56 GMT)

I’m fighting the ban on my film Lipstick Under My Burkha. Ordinary Indian women need a voice | Alankrita Shrivastava
My film dares to tell a story from a female point of view. But that’s a narrative that the Indian film board – and India – isn’t comfortable withWhen I was making Lipstick Under My Burkha, I didn’t think I was making a film that would scare a democratic country like India. I certainly didn’t expect the Central Board of Film Certification there to refuse to certify the film, thereby blocking its release. Their reasons include that it is “lady oriented”, it contains “sexual scenes” and is “audio pornography”.The film tells the story of four feisty women in a small town in India who try to steal a piece of freedom from within the confines of their restrained lives. I never imagined that my feminist politics would rattle the board so much that they would refuse to let the film be shown. It came as a shock – and yet, when viewed in the context of the status of women in India and the representation of women in popular Indian culture, it perhaps shouldn’t have done. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:00:00 GMT)

Thought the Newbury bypass devastated wildlife? These M4 plans are far worse | Patrick Barkham
The days of ripping up reserves for motorways were supposed to be over. But the Newport scheme would create a ‘Berlin wall’ for natureA five-month public inquiry begins tomorrow into the most destructive new road in a generation. The six-lane M4 through Newport is a little twisty and vulnerable to traffic jams, so the Welsh government wants to flex new borrowing powers to fund a £1bn-plus “relief” road.This 14-mile motorway will carve through the Gwent Levels, dividing and destroying an ancient wetland that is one of the last strongholds for the shrill carder bee and the new home, as of last summer, to Wales’s first breeding cranes for 400 years. The road will wreck four sites of special scientific interest, supposedly protected for nature, and create a “Berlin wall for wildlife” across the marshes for otters, water voles and rare dragonflies. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:58:46 GMT)

My homeless friend’s death shocked me into taking action | Susannah Tresilian
More and more people are sleeping rough and it’s easy to walk on past. But after Paddy’s death I channelled my grief into something positiveIt was the dog’s whining that alerted Patrick to the fact that his father, lying in the tent beside him, had died. They were in a park in central London, where they had set up to sleep rough like any other night. But this was last New Year’s Eve, a bitterly cold night, and Paddy, 52, had by all accounts given up.Anyone who has been to London in the past few years will have noticed that the number of people sleeping rough on the streets has risen visibly. It’s a nationwide problem: the most recent statistics from the government say there has been a 16% increase in rough sleepers in the past year alone, with 23% of them living in London. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:30:06 GMT)

What’s the best way to create a diverse workplace? Ditch diversity programmes | Belinda Parmar
Firms like Google are as white and male as ever despite costly initiatives. A shift to corporate empathy, taking ‘otherness’ out of the equation, can bring changeThese are the dark times for diversity: in an era of walls, barricades and divisive rhetoric, how can it can ever hope to thrive? But then maybe it was always doomed to failure. Even in happier, more inclusive times the drive for diversity has always had a decidedly chequered history. Related: Google employs just 30% women and 2% black people, report shows Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:30:00 GMT)

A retirement home for lesbians? Where do I sign up? | Val McDermid
Enabling LGBT people to grow old together is not about creating a ghetto but about helping them to live later life openly, healthily and without fearWhen I used to live on the Northumberland coast, there was a game I played with visiting lesbian friends. On our walks and drives around the countryside, we’d identify houses we thought would make perfect lesbian retirement homes.“No, that’s too exposed to the weather,” one would argue. “It’s in the middle of nowhere, you’d never get the staff,” said another. “The driveway’s too steep, we’d all break our hips in the winter,” a third objected. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:42:00 GMT)

After the divisive Democratic National Committee chair election, what's next?
Tom Perez triumphed over Keith Ellison for the position of DNC chair. Has the damaged party made the right move? Our commentators give their verdict Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:08:56 GMT)

Commons report raises doubts over benefits of multi-academy trusts
MPs say evidence of Mats improving pupils’ grades is inconclusive and that ministers are not in a position to show trusts are good use of public moneyA cross-party committee of MPs has challenged the government’s vision for schools, expressing “significant concerns” about the poor performance of some multi-academy trusts (Mats).The government wants schools that convert to academy status to join a Mat but MPs on the education select committee said on Tuesday that evidence of Mats’ ability to improve pupils’ grades is limited and varied. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:01:13 GMT)

Children in UK's poorest areas 10 times more likely to go into care
Study finds one in 60 children taken into care in most deprived areas compared with one in 660 in the wealthiestChildren living in the poorest neighbourhoods of the UK are almost 10 times more likely to be taken into care or placed on a child protection plan than those from affluent areas, a study has revealed.Poverty was the biggest single factor behind wide inequalities in child safeguarding interventions that see one in 60 children taken into care in the most deprived areas, compared with one in 660 in the wealthiest areas. “Children in Blackpool, Hull or Wolverhampton were many times more likely to be LAC [‘looked after children’] than children in Wokingham, or Windsor and Maidenhead,” the authors said. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:01:13 GMT)

Deported woman's family say Amber Rudd lacks compassion
Sister-in-law of Irene Clennell, sent back to Singapore despite being married to a Briton for 27 years, condemns home secretaryThe family of a woman removed from the UK after losing her indefinite leave to remain have condemned the home secretary for a lack of compassion, as MPs, campaigners and lawyers warned such cases were becoming common.Irene Clennell, 52, who first arrived in Britain in 1988, was deported on Sunday and landed in Singapore on Monday afternoon local time after more than a month of detention in an immigration removal centre. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:08:59 GMT)

Man sent as child from UK to Australia tells abuse inquiry: name the villains
Chair Alexis Jay asked to name and shame perpetrators of abuse of British children shipped abroad from 1947 to the 1970sThe UK national child abuse inquiry has been urged at the opening of its public evidence sessions to name and shame the perpetrators of the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of British children forcibly deported to Australia by the UK government and leading churches and charities.David Hill, one of more than 4,000 children who were sent to Australia and other Commonwealth nations from 1947 to the 1970s, waived his anonymity at the opening of the independent inquiry on Monday to make an emotional call for justice for victims. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:07:26 GMT)

Chairman of housing association behind 'substandard' development resigns
Sir Robin Young’s decision to stand down from Clarion Housing Group in April comes after reports into residents’ ‘living hell’ at Orchard Village estateThe chairman of the housing association at the heart of a scandal focused on a newly-built East London residential development has announced that he is standing down.Sir Robin Young, a former high-ranking civil servant during Tony Blair’s time as prime minister, was appointed chair of the newly-created Clarion Housing Group when it was formed in December last year but will now depart in April. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:08:35 GMT)

Spring budget 2017: drop in government borrowing predicted
Forecasts likely to be cut by cumulative £29bn between 2015-16 and 2020-21 but sustainability issues remain, says thinktank Solid economic growth and strong tax receipts since the Brexit vote have put Philip Hammond on course to announce a drop in government borrowing when he presents his spring budget next week, a leading thinktank has predicted.The Resolution Foundation said it would be the first time since March 2014 that a chancellor could stand at the dispatch box and announce borrowing will be lower – not higher – than previously thought. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:01:13 GMT)

Revived: the 1930s London gay members' club raided by police
Caravan Club, once billed as the capital’s greatest bohemian rendezvous, recreated for National Trust and National Archives Queer City projectTo some, the Caravan Club was a fun place offering friendship and “all-night gaiety”; to others it was “absolutely a sink of iniquity … only frequented by sexual perverts, lesbians and sodomites”.For the police, it was a place so dangerous that it required regular surveillance and a raid, which resulted in more than 100 arrests. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:44:06 GMT)

BBC to investigate TV licence enforcement by outsourcing firm
Capita faces allegations that staff targeted vulnerable people under incentive scheme to maximise collection of feesThe BBC has ordered an investigation into how an outsourcing firm collects the TV licence amid claims that it runs an aggressive incentive scheme to maximise collection of fees from non-payers.Under a bonus scheme alleged by the Daily Mail, Capita’s enforcement officers are told to catch more than 28 licence fee evaders each week, as part of the company’s £58m contract to collect the charge. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:18:07 GMT)

Tributes paid to 'iconic' Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman
Political friends and foes express sorrow following death aged 86 of House of Commons’ longest-serving MPMPs from across the political spectrum have paid tribute to Sir Gerald Kaufman, who has died aged 86.Kaufman, an outspoken former Labour frontbencher and the father of the house, died on Sunday evening after a long illness. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:10:05 GMT)

Man killed ex and new partner after looking up jail terms for murder
Andrew Saunders also researched easiest ways to kill before stabbing to death Zoe Morgan and Lee Simmons in Cardiff, court toldA jealous man stabbed his ex-girlfriend and her new partner to death outside the shop where they worked after researching how long murderers spend in prison and the easiest ways of killing, a court has heard.Andrew Saunders, 21, has pleaded guilty to murdering Zoe Morgan, 21, and Lee Simmons, 33, outside the Matalan store in central Cardiff. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:11:56 GMT)

Universities spark free speech row after halting pro-Palestinian events
Exeter and Central Lancashire universities accused of censoring students by cancelling Israel Apartheid Week plans Universities have been accused of undermining freedom of speech on campus after cancelling events organised by students as part of an annual pro-Palestinian event called Israel Apartheid Week (IAW). Related: University wrong to ban Israeli Apartheid Week event | Letter from 243 academics Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:33:35 GMT)

May adviser regrets saying benefits should only go to 'really disabled' people
Tory policy chief George Freeman says he ‘hugely regrets’ remarks suggesting funds should not go to people with anxietyGeorge Freeman, the chair of the prime minister’s policy board, has expressed regret after defending government changes to benefits rules by saying funding should go to the “really disabled”.The Department for Work and Pensions announced last week that it was tightening benefits rules in response to two tribunal rulings, including one that found people with extreme anxiety who struggle to leave the house should be given the same status as, for example, the partially sighted. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:14:50 GMT)

NHS faces £1bn annual bill after 'reckless' change to injury payouts
Angry insurers criticise alteration to personal injury formula that will also hike car premiums by £75 for millions of peopleA “reckless” government-ordered change to the way awards are calculated for car crash injuries or botched medical operations will add up to £75 car insurance premiums, and land the NHS with an additional annual £1bn bill, the insurance industry has warned.The lord chancellor, Liz Truss, has announced a change to the Ogden discount rate, which is used to calculate compensation awards for serious personal injuries, to ensure inflation does not erode the future value of a payout. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:46:26 GMT)

Laser attacks on Heathrow aircraft increase 25%
Pilot reports of laser attacks on aircraft landing or taking off at UK’s busiest airport rose by a quarter to 151 in 2016Laser attacks on aircraft using Heathrow airport rose by a quarter last year, figures show.Pilots taking off or landing at the west London hub suffered 151 incidents in 2016. This is up from 121 during the previous year and was more than any other UK airport, according to aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:34:24 GMT)

Tax changes could cost UK public sector workers 30% of salary
Hundreds of thousands of agency workers could see cut in take-home pay, risking exodus from NHS and other servicesTax changes to be introduced in April could see hundreds of thousands of public sector workers lose up to 30% of their salary, sparking an exodus from already struggling sectors such as social care and the NHS. According to internal local government analysis seen by the Guardian, planned changes to the IR35 tax system could see agency workers supporting frontline government services lose up to 30% of their take-home pay. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 07:00:03 GMT)

HMP Woodhill officer to be charged over prisoner's death
Joseph Travers faces manslaughter and misconduct charges over 2015 death of prisoner at men’s jail in Milton KeynesA prison officer is to be charged with gross negligence manslaughter and misconduct in public office in relation to the death of a prisoner.A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: “Following careful consideration of all the evidence provided to us by the police it has been decided that Joseph Travers should be charged with manslaughter and misconduct in public office in relation to the death of an HMP Woodhill inmate on 8 May 2015.” Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:19:16 GMT)

DUP braced to lose seats in Northern Ireland assembly elections
Party insiders fear anger over botched green energy scheme will lose it middle class votesNorthern Ireland’s largest political party is bracing itself to lose seats in this week’s assembly elections amid anger over its promotion of a botched green energy scheme that has cost the public half a billion pounds.Democratic Unionist party (DUP) insiders fear it may have lost middle-class support to rival unionists over its promotion and defence of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which enriched farmers and business owners but has cost the taxpayer upwards of £500m. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 07:00:03 GMT)

US drone strike in Syria kills top al-Qaida leader, jihadis say
Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was implicated in deadly 1998 African embassy bombings One of al-Qaida’s most senior global leaders has been killed by a US drone strike in north-west Syria, jihadi leaders have said. Related: Father of Navy Seal killed in Yemen calls for investigation into 'stupid mission' Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:44:29 GMT)

NGO rescues off Libya encourage traffickers, says EU borders chief
Head of Frontex calls for rescue operations in Med to be re-evaluated and says NGOs work ineffectively with security agenciesNGOs who rescue people in the sea off Libya are encouraging traffickers who profit from dangerous Mediterranean crossings, the head of the EU border agency Frontex has said.Speaking to Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, Fabrice Leggeri called for rescue operations to be re-evaluated and accused NGOs of ineffectively cooperating with security agencies against human traffickers. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:47:21 GMT)

Tweet and delete: US officials erase their praise for Iranian Oscar winner
Asghar Farhadi, director of best foreign film The Salesman, boycotted the awards ceremony, calling Trump’s travel ban ‘inhumane’The US state department has tweeted and then deleted a congratulatory message for an Oscar win by a prominent Iranian director who criticized President Donald Trump’s travel ban as “inhumane”. The state department’s official Persian-language Twitter account, @USAdarFarsi, tweeted congratulations to the Iranian people and Asghar Farhadi, director of The Salesman, after the movie won an Oscar for best foreign-language film on Sunday, according to screenshots of the message circulated on Twitter. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:18:22 GMT)

WHO names 12 bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health
Antibiotic resistance could make c-sections, transplants and chemotherapy too dangerous to perform, warns World Health OrganisationThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has published a list of the 12 bacteria which pose the greatest threat to human health because they are resistant to antibiotics. Health experts have previously warned that resistance to the drugs that are used to fight infections could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:49:17 GMT)

Beloved hippopotamus 'Gustavito' beaten to death at El Salvador zoo
Locals mourned the hippo, who was apparently attacked with metal bars and knives, through social media and by leaving flowers at the national zooEl Salvador’s rampant violence has reached an unsuspected corner with the brutal and fatal beating of the national zoo’s beloved hippopotamus Gustavito.Even among a population numbed by a staggering human death toll due to gang violence in recent years, the animal’s death late Sunday has stirred outrage. Continue reading...
(Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:05:21 GMT)

Cereal lovers could shell out more for muesli as cost of brazil nuts soars
Shoppers may be forced to forgo nut or pay more after warnings of second year of diminished cropThe price of brazil nuts could rise by more than a fifth after low rainfall hit production in Bolivia where more than half the global crop is grown.The wholesale price of the large curved nut, which is popular for snacking and in muesli, has already risen by more than a quarter to $4.80 a pound (£8.50 a kilogramme) since August after a poor harvest in 2016. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:19:10 GMT)

Journalist for German newspaper arrested in Turkey
Deniz Yücel jailed pending trial on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation and inciting the public to violenceTurkish authorities have arrested a reporter for a prominent German newspaper on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation and inciting the public to violence, according to a court witness. Related: Stop the press: Turkey's crackdown on its media goes into overdrive Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:28:18 GMT)

Rumbling Balkans threaten foreign policy headache for Trump
In Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro, signs of ethnic tension are on the rise againA familiar billboard face looms large over the shabby streets and squares of the Balkan city of North Mitrovica.“The Serbs stood by him all along!” says the slogan in English beneath the giant image of Donald Trump staring out passersby. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:38:52 GMT)

Digital photo project to show Sistine Chapel in unprecedented detail
Three-volume collection uses 270,000 digital frames to reproduce Michelangelo frescoes with 99.9% accuracyThe last time the entire Sistine Chapel was photographed for posterity, digital photography was in its infancy and words such as pixels were bandied about mostly by computer nerds and Nasa scientists.Now, after decades of technological advances in art photography, digital darkrooms and printing techniques, a five-year project that will aid future restorations has left the Vatican Museums with 270,000 digital frames that show frescoes by Michelangelo and other masters in fresh, stunning detail. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:26:27 GMT)

Hunters accidentally saved during Royal Canadian Air Force search-and-rescue training
Plane’s crew spotted two men waving in middle of icy tundra north of Arctic circle and rescued them in 15-minute window before darkness set inA routine training session in Canada’s Arctic transformed into a real-life search and rescue mission after a Royal Canadian Air Force crew accidentally happened on two hunters who had been stranded for days.The training mission had set out from Hall Beach, a hamlet of some 750 people that sits north of the Arctic circle in Nunavut. They were heading to an old mine site on the first day of a two-week annual sovereignty exercise in Canada’s north. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:57:34 GMT)

Trump on replacing healthcare law that took years to craft: 'Nobody knew it could be so complicated'
President reaffirms Republican commitment to repealing Affordable Care Act amid uncertainty over replacement and rising support for ‘Obamacare’Donald Trump told a room full of state governors on Monday that “nobody knew” replacing the massive Affordable Care Act, which expanded health coverage to 20 million Americans, would prove to be so “complicated”. Related: Donald Trump's first budget: enormous defense spending as most agencies cut Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:15:14 GMT)

Philippines militants behead German hostage Jurgen Kantner
Philippine government says armed forces made every effort to save 70-year-old but he was killed after ransom deadline passedMilitants in the southern Philippines have beheaded a German man after a deadline to pay his ransom passed, the Philippine government has said.A brief video circulated on Monday by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites, appears to show Jurgen Kantner being killed. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:37:39 GMT)

George W Bush talks Trump-era policy: media 'indispensable to democracy'
Former president calls for a ‘welcoming’ immigration policyBush describes religious tolerance as ‘one of our greatest strengths’Former Republican US president George W Bush diverged sharply from Trump’s new administration on Monday, saying he supported a welcoming immigration policy and praising the media as “indispensable to democracy”.In a wide-ranging interview with NBC’s Today show, meanwhile, the former president was asked if he had seen signs that Trump was trying to close the rift in the US electorate after his divisive campaign against Hillary Clinton. He acknowledged that his own presidency from 2001 to 2009 also began after a contentious election but that it was “hard to compare times”. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:04:54 GMT)

Paris mayor hits back at Trump over 'unfriendly' comments about capital
Anne Hidalgo tweets picture of Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Eiffel Tower after US president said friend refused to visit cityThe mayor of Paris has criticised comments made by Donald Trump about the French capital and immigration policies in Europe, suggesting the US president should focus on issues closer to home.In a bombastic address to a conservative rally outside Washington on Friday, Trump criticised longtime US allies France, Sweden and Germany, and defended his crackdown on immigrants. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:41:10 GMT)

Man charged in Kansas attack reportedly said he'd shot 'two Iranian people'
Adam Purinton, charged with first-degree murder for shooting an Indian man in a bar last week, spoke to a bartender who called 911 after the attackA bartender at the Missouri restaurant where a man was arrested for an apparently racially motivated shooting of two Indian men in Kansas told a 911 dispatcher the man admitted shooting “two Iranian people” and said he needed a place to stay. Related: Kansas shooting: injured man says suspect asked victims about visas Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:15:05 GMT)

Germany's rightwing AfD party struggles to cope with internal crisis
Alternative für Deutschland’s support has slumped since a leading politician called for Germany to stop atoning for its Nazi pastBuoyed first by a Greek debt crisis and then by an unprecedented influx of refugees to Europe, the rise of Germany’s rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland party has at times looked inevitable, leading one politician recently to predict a “total victory” for his party in the coming federal elections.With less than seven months to go, however, the AfD engine is suddenly sputtering. Over the past week, three separate polls have shown support for the party slip below 10%, down from a record high of 15% last September. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 06:00:02 GMT)

Salvador Dalí portrait of estranged sister Ana Maria up for auction
Figura de Perfil, painted a few years before the siblings’ relationship disintegrated, expected to fetch up to £1.2m at Bonhams A tender portrait by Salvador Dalí of his sister, Ana Maria – painted a few years before the devoted siblings fell out so badly that an attempted deathbed reconciliation ended in her being thrown out of his room – is coming up for sale for the first time since he presented it to her.Dalí was 21 when he painted Figura de Perfil – figure in profile – and chose to include it in his first solo exhibition in Spain in 1925. Ana Maria, three years his junior, kept the picture for years, despite the permafrost of their later relationship, before giving it to friends whose family have kept it ever since. Bonhams estimates that it will fetch up to £1.2m when it is auctioned in London this week. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:32:25 GMT)

EU urged to end cooperation with Sudan after refugees whipped and deported
MEP calls for inquiry as Ethiopian and Eritrean asylum seekers receive 40 lashes and $800 fines, while activists warn EU migration aid is emboldening Sudan The EU is facing calls to rethink its cooperation with Sudan on migration flows after scores of refugees were whipped, fined, jailed and deported from Khartoum last weekend following a peaceful protest over a huge rise in visa processing fees.About 65 asylum seekers – the majority from Ethiopia and some from Eritrea – were lashed 40 times on their backs and the back of their legs with leather whips, lawyers told the Guardian. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:07:42 GMT)

Eight rangers killed in grim week for wildlife protectors
Rangers lost their lives in Kenya, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and IndiaEight wildlife rangers have lost their lives in four separate countries, in a week that highlighted the numerous hazards rangers face in protecting the world’s wild lands and species.“It’s a tough week when we lose eight of our ranger family; some to poachers’ bullets and some to the other dangers that come with the territory,” said Sean Willmore, founder and director of the Thin Green Line Foundation, which supports widows and children of rangers killed in the line of duty. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:45:03 GMT)

Ethiopian journalist's wife urges UK and US to call for his release
Bezawit Hailegiorgis says western powers could help free Anania Sorri, one of tens of thousands held in Ethiopia since last yearThe wife of a blogger and journalist detained in Ethiopia has called on the international community to pressure local authorities to release her husband, who is among tens of thousands held since a state of emergency was declared in the emerging east African power last year.Anania Sorri, a 34-year-old writer and intellectual, was arrested in November on his way to a meeting at the US embassy in Addis Ababa. He is being held in a high security prison in the Ethiopian capital and has not yet been formally charged with any offence. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 06:00:02 GMT)

Chile floods leave millions of people without drinking water in Santiago
Heavy rain during usually dry summer months causes landslides and flooding, leaving three dead and 19 missingMillions of people are without water after heavy rains struck Chile over the weekend during the country’s usually dry summer months, leaving three people dead and at least 19 missing. The rains, which caused rivers to overflow their banks in mountain valleys near Chile’s capital, Santiago, had isolated 373 people, the Onemi emergency service said late on Sunday. Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 03:12:40 GMT)

America's soccer migrants: the US footballers crossing Mexico's border – video
Despite President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans crossing the border to the US, American soccer players such as Omar Gonzalez are heading south for new opportunities, more money and a better standard of football. The Guardian travels to Pachuca, Torreón and Guadalajara to speak to top clubs, US immigrant players and Mexico legend Jared Borgetti – who find the prospect of a border wall at odds with the reality of the two nations’ interdependent relationshipVea en Español Continue reading...
(Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:05:24 GMT)

Ireland's forgotten mixed-race child abuse victims – video
Rosemary Adaser was one of many mixed-race children considered illegitimate who was brought up in institutions run by the Catholic church in Ireland between the 1950s and 1970s. She tells of the abuse and racist treatment she suffered, and returns to her school in Kilkenny for the first time in 40 years and attempts to answer questions about her pastWARNING: strong language Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:16:07 GMT)

Trump and the forgotten workers: 'We want to be treated fairly' – video
Strikers at Momentive, a New York chemical plant partially owned by Donald Trump’s billionaire ‘jobs czar’ Stephen Schwarzman, had been hoping for a better deal under Trump. But after 105 days of industrial reaction, they are returning to an uncertain future, one shared by many blue collar workers in the US Continue reading...
(Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:00:29 GMT)

Transgender teenage wrestler wins Texas girl’s state championship – video
17-year-old Mack Beggs, a teenager who is transitioning from female to male, won the 110lb weight class at the Texas girl’s state wrestling championships on Saturday. Beggs, who reportedly wants to be included in the boy’s division of the sport, is required to instead compete in the girl’s competition due to state rules which say athletes must be classed according to their birth genderTransgender teenage wrestler Mack Beggs wins Texas girls title Continue reading...
(Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:21:30 GMT)

What do we know about Donald Trump and Russia? – video explainer
Luke Harding considers the many links between Donald Trump’s administration and Russia. As well as praising President Vladimir Putin, Trump has surrounded himself with men with close ties with Russia. He has failed to quash allegations that his staff had improper contact with Russian officials, or that he has business interests in RussiaDamning reports of Trump campaign’s frequent talks with Russian intelligence Continue reading...
(Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:01:54 GMT)

Nasa announces discovery of seven Earth-sized planets – video report
Nasa announced the discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a star called Trappist-1, about 39 light years away, on Wednesday. The find has widely excited the astronomy community because of its implications in the hunt for alien life beyond the solar system. Three of the planets in the Trappist-1 system are in the habitable zone near the star and so could have water on their surfacesThrilling discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby star Continue reading...
(Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:00:52 GMT)

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