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Theresa May not expecting 'breakthrough' on Brexit deal at EU summit – politics live
PM won party backing in confidence vote but faces uphill battle to get her deal through CommonsWhat the papers say: ‘Her goose is cooked’What happens now for the prime minister and her Brexit plans?Theresa May: a crisis of confidence – Today in Focus podcast 4.19pm GMT Downing Street has now said the Commons vote on the Brexit deal will definitely not happen after Christmas. At the afternoon lobby briefing, the prime minister’s spokeswoman said:The ‘meaningful vote’ will not be brought to parliament before Christmas. 4.15pm GMT And this is what Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach, said earlier after his meeting with Theresa May.It was a very good meeting, it was an opportunity for all of us to put forward ideas that might work, things that might be considered. It really wouldn’t be helpful to go into that sort of detail.[The threat of a no-deal Brexit] can be withdrawn at any point by the UK should they choose to revoke article 50 or, if that’s a step too far, to extend it to allow us more time, and to allow Britain more time. That’s certainly an option, but my preferred option is to ratify the deal we have. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:21:33 GMT)

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s paper tigers may yet split the Tory party | Gaby Hinsliff
The flame of an imaginary ‘perfect Brexit’ could be kept alive in a new hard-right partyDarkness had fallen, and anyway they were caught up in the heat of the moment. It would have been all too easy for the three Tory MPs arguing on the street not to notice a middle-aged man lingering unobtrusively at a nearby bus stop.Unfortunately, it seems the former Labour MP Jim Murphy noticed them, although he says he only started paying attention after he heard one calling another a cunt. The story of a blue-on-blue row in public would sound too good to be true if it weren’t for the fact that earlier that day the rebel rent-a-quote Andrew Bridgen had stormed off camera during a live TV interview, after the deputy party chairman James Cleverly had joined him. The civil war in the Conservative party is so far out in the open that it’s pointless pretending it hasn’t started, but the more intriguing question is where it might end. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:58:34 GMT)

Daniel Hannan's MEP group told to repay €535,000 in EU funds
Exclusive: Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe accused of hosting luxury events of little relevance to EUA European conservative group co-founded by the Tories and led by Brexit campaigner and MEP Daniel Hannan has been asked to repay more than half a million euros of EU funds following an investigation into their spending, the Guardian has learned.In a rare negative finding touching a British political party in government, European parliament senior leaders on Monday night ordered the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) to repay €535,609 (£484,367) of EU funds. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:32:03 GMT)

Yemen: ceasefire agreed for port city of Hodeidah
UN secretary general hails ‘real progress’ as truce agreed at end of peace talks in SwedenYemen’s warring parties have agreed to a ceasefire in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah and its surrounding governorate, the UN secretary general has said, a major potential breakthrough at the end of a week of peace talks in Sweden.Antonio Guterres said the agreement included the deployment of UN-supervised neutral forces and the establishment of humanitarian corridors. Troops from both sides will withdraw from the area. A political framework will be discussed in a next round of meetings, scheduled for January. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:19:35 GMT)

'Disgrace': rising English homelessness includes 120,000 children
More than 82,000 households in insecure accommodation, a yearly rise of 5%, figures showThe number of homeless households in insecure accommodation in England has risen again, with more than 120,000 children in temporary homes, including bed and breakfast rooms and hostels, the latest official homelessness statistics show.There were 82,310 households in temporary accommodation at the end of June 2018, up 5% on the previous year, and an increase of 71% since December 2010. More than 2,500 families were put up in bed and breakfasts, and 3,740 in hostels and refuges. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:58:08 GMT)

Trump denies he directed Michael Cohen to 'break the law'
President said he is off the hook for any crime because he acted on ‘advice of counsel’ and ex-lawyer is ‘supposed to know the law’Follow the latest US politics newsDonald Trump has denied directing his former lawyer and fixer to break the law, a day after Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes committed while working for Trump. Related: From fixer to inmate: Michael Cohen reckons with his 'blind loyalty' to Trump Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:22:58 GMT)

EU relaxation of diesel emission limits was illegal, court rules
Ruling means new generation of so-called ‘cleaner’ diesel vehicles can be banned by cities across EU The new generation of so-called “cleaner” diesel vehicles can be banned from Madrid, Paris and Brussels after a ruling by European justices.City authorities can now stop Euro 6 diesel vehicles from entering their cities. The European court of justice has overruled a decision by the European commission to allow new diesel vehicles to emit higher levels of nitrogen dioxide. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:40:28 GMT)

Slum landlord family must pay £250k under crime proceeds act
Harsha, Chandni and Sanjay Shah crammed 31 tenants into four-bedroom Wembley houseA family of slum landlords who crammed 31 people into a suburban four-bedroom house has been ordered to pay back almost £250,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.The landlords were earning more than £100,000 a year from the enterprise, which involved squeezing tenants on “sleeping shifts” into rooms fitted with up to four beds each in a house in Wembley, north London. Some tenants were made to sleep in an improvised shed built in the back garden made from wood offcuts, pallets and tarpaulin. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:12:59 GMT)

European parliament censures Czech PM in unprecedented move
MEPs call for suspension of EU payments to firm owned by Andrej Babiš over conflict of interest accusationsThe European parliament has formally censured the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, over conflict of interest accusations, in unprecedented criticism of a serving leader.MEPs called for the suspension of all EU payments to a business owned by the billionaire PM in a non-binding resolution adopted by 434 votes to 64, with 47 abstentions. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:54:05 GMT)

Hospitals 'in red zone' with record numbers of A&E patients
NHS figures show hospitals in England are ‘badly missing’ targets despite mild weather and low flu levelsHospitals are very busy and dangerously full, even though the weather has been mild and flu is not a major problem, NHS figures show.Record numbers of people in England sought help at A&E, had to be admitted to hospital or waited longer than the maximum 18 weeks for a planned operation in November, according to data released on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:42:07 GMT)

Turkey: high-speed train crash in Ankara leaves many dead
Three rail workers detained after train crashes into another and then hits overpassThree state railway employees have been detained in Turkey on suspicion of negligence after a collision involving a high-speed train killed at least nine people and injured 47, a state news agency has reported.The commuter train heading to the city of Konya ploughed into a service train inspecting the tracks and then crashed into a pedestrian overpass at a station in Ankara at about 6.30am local time on Thursday. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:45:57 GMT)

Taylor Swift used facial recognition software to detect stalkers at LA concert
The Rose Bowl venue didn’t inform concert-goers that their image might be collected at a special kiosk showing Taylor Swift rehearsal clipsThe periphery of a Taylor Swift concert is as thought out as the show she presents on stage. Beyond the traditional merchandise stands, there are often dedicated selfie-staging points and staff distributing light-up bracelets. When Swift performed at the Los Angeles Rose Bowl venue on 18 May, fans could watch rehearsal clips at a special kiosk.What they didn’t know was that a facial recognition camera inside the structure was taking their photographs and cross-referencing the images with a database held in Nashville of hundreds of Swift’s known stalkers, according to a Rolling Stone report. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:58:41 GMT)

Theresa May: a crisis of confidence
After a frenzied day of infighting among Conservative MPs, Theresa May remains prime minister, having survived a vote of confidence in her leadership. But how damaging has the episode been for her party? Anushka Asthana hears from the Guardian’s Jessica Elgot and Conservative MPs Ben Bradley, Nicky Morgan and Sarah Wollaston. Plus: Natalie Nougayrède on a make-or-break week for Emmanuel MacronSo Theresa May battles on. Her enemies in the Conservative party tried to remove her – and they monumentally failed. The prime minister has survived a confidence vote and will now attempt to resuscitate her faltering Brexit deal. But the day’s drama exposed the splits in Britain’s ruling party. Divisions are ideological, bitter and increasingly personal. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 03:00:01 GMT)

Stansted 15: the conviction of peaceful protesters
The conviction of protesters who locked themselves around a deportation flight at Stansted airport has been called a ‘crushing blow for human rights’. The Guardian’s Damien Gayle has been following the case and hears from demonstrators and deportees. Plus: Soraya Chemaly on the importance of female rageOn the night of 28 March 2017, a group of activists cut a hole in a perimeter fence at Stansted airport and blocked the takeoff of an immigration removal flight. It had been chartered by the Home Office to remove 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.On Monday, the group were found guilty under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act, a law passed in response to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Continue reading...
(Wed, 12 Dec 2018 03:00:29 GMT)

Labour's Brexit dilemma
Theresa May has postponed her crucial Brexit vote amid huge divisions in her party. But there is a dilemma, too, for Labour MPs whose constituencies voted overwhelmingly in favour of leaving the EU. How do they square their voters’ wishes with that of their party and their own conscience? Plus: Jonathan Freedland on why Labour should be backing a second referendumTheresa May has finally admitted parliament will not back her Brexit deal, but the prime minister is not ready to give up. In a desperate plea to MPs, she asked: “Does this house still want to deliver Brexit?”These appeals were aimed not just at the Tory MPs behind her but at Labour MPs opposite – and especially those whose constituencies voted heavily to leave the EU. One is Gloria De Piero, who holds a slim majority in the Nottinghamshire seat of Ashfield. The Guardian’s political editor Heather Stewart joined Gloria for a tour of her constituency and found voters mostly fed up with discussing Brexit and wishing that the situation would be resolved quickly. Continue reading...
(Tue, 11 Dec 2018 03:00:00 GMT)

Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet on drugs, disillusionment and playing father and son
In Beautiful Boy, Chalamet plays a teenager hooked on crystal meth, Carell his father. They talk about the challenges of their roles – and missing out on best actor OscarsBeautiful Boy is based on a brace of memoirs that together provide a father-and-son, “he said, he said” account of the same story. The books in question are Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff, and Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by Nic’s journalist father, David. Timothée Chalamet – currently Hollywood’s hottest young actor after his Oscar nomination for Call Me By Your Name and love interest in the also Oscar-nominated Lady Bird – plays the teenager hooked on crystal meth. Steve Carell is the father trying to understand what has happened to his apparently perfect, happy-go-lucky son. The film displays an unusual commitment to the cyclical nature of addiction, where promises are followed by relapses and feelings of shame followed by yet more promises. It is essentially a two-hander, so it seems only right that the actors should be performing promotional duties together.Carell, 56, is the first to arrive in our London hotel room. He is wearing a dark brown suit, white shirt and tie, and is unfailingly genial. While we are waiting for Chalamet to arrive, I produce from my bag a book that I happen to be reading: Improv Nation, Sam Wasson’s history of American improvisational comedy, which includes material about Second City, the Chicago-based troupe in which the likes of Carell, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert cut their teeth. I flick to the page showing Carell, Colbert and two other comics dressed as the Beatles. It is a photograph he hasn’t seen for many years and he looks genuinely gobsmacked. “Oh wow. This is incredible.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:48:58 GMT)

The 30 best boyband members – ranked!
From the Osmonds’ Donny to BTS’s Jimin, boybands have produced some brilliant performers behind the hair gel. Ahead of the release of Zayn Malik’s new album, we list the greatestIs erstwhile Blue also-ran Antony Costa purely on this list because, in 2011, he took multi-tasking – a boyband staple, let’s not forget – to extremes by urinating against a cash machine while also withdrawing money and using his phone? Yes. Yes, he is. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:00:49 GMT)

From zero to hero: how the Spider-Man franchise was saved
Bringing diversity to the ailing Spidey universe has helped free the characters, leading to an increase in both box office and critical acclaimCreated in 1962 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Peter Parker’s Spider-Man has long been a cultural icon, dominating both merchandise sales and the box office. But big screen fatigue set in and interest started to dwindle. Now Sony is preparing to blow the Spider-Verse wide open, giving the green light to stories that barely involve or aren’t centered on Peter Parker at all – a long overdue development. Related: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse review – a dazzling animated caper Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:46:08 GMT)

Londoners troll New York Times with deluge of 'petty crimes'
An appeal for victims of petty crime in the UK’s capital has been met with sarcasm“Have you experienced a petty crime in London?” chirped the New York Times enthusiastically on Twitter, which prompted a deluge of sarcastic responses from Londoners keen to let everyone know just how petty they could be. The US newspaper was attempting to report on the rising level of crime in the capital – a problem the Metropolitan police commissioner recently said was being turned around – but instead it learned a lot more about what was getting on Londoners’ nerves.Naturally, public transport etiquette featured heavily: Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:08:04 GMT)

Forever prisoners: were a father and son wrongly ensnared by America’s war on terror?
Saifullah Paracha, the oldest prisoner in Guantánamo Bay, will probably die in detention without ever being charged. His son is currently in a US prison. Both have been in custody for almost 15 years, accused of aiding al-Qaida. But did they? By Saba ImtiazOn a summer day in 2003, a wealthy middle-aged businessman arrived at Karachi airport to board a flight to Bangkok. Saifullah Paracha was heading to the Thai capital to join his American business partner for a meeting with buyers for Kmart, the retail chain.His wife accompanied him to the airport. The Parachas – Saifullah, Farhat and their four children – lived across town, in the upscale Karachi neighbourhood, Defence. Saifullah’s 14-year-old son, Mustafa, loved gaming, and had asked his father to bring him back a graphics card for his computer from Bangkok. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 06:00:08 GMT)

Germaine: The Life of Germaine Greer by Elizabeth Kleinhenz review – a career of controversy
This respectful biography of one of the world’s most famous living feminists embraces the criticism that all her books have provokedGermaine Greer has never wanted a biography written about her. The first person to publish one – Christine Wallace, whose Untamed Shrew first appeared in 1997 – was called a “dung beetle”, a “tapeworm” and a “brain-dead hack” by Greer, who also threatened to “kneecap” her if she dared to talk to her mother. In a way, it was nothing personal: all biographers, Greer had written in reply to Wallace’s request for an interview, were “parasites”. She demanded that her own would-be biographer wait until after her death to proceed, and wrote to her solicitor in an attempt to have Wallace’s book blocked, or at least modified.Greer’s second and latest biographer, Elizabeth Kleinhenz, met with a similarly hostile response. Like Wallace, she persisted. After all, if Greer objected to writing about the still living, why had she done so much of this herself – often in ways that people who had counted her as a friend found inappropriate, even brutal? Her determination to inhibit others from writing about her own life sat uncomfortably with her longstanding opposition to censorship. Besides, Greer had spoken so freely about herself that there was little about her personal life that was not already in the public domain. In writing this new account of Greer’s life and work, Kleinhenz has the advantage of access to the Germaine Greer Archive, a vast collection of her research and personal correspondence that she sold to the University of Melbourne in 2013. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:00:12 GMT)

My plan to revive Europe can succeed where Macron and Piketty failed | Yanis Varoufakis
Under my Green New Deal, €500bn a year can be created without raising taxes – and it may tempt Britain back to the foldIf Brexit demonstrates that leaving the EU is not the walk in the park that Eurosceptics promised, Emmanuel Macron’s current predicament proves that blind European loyalism is, similarly, untenable. The reason is that the EU’s architecture is equally difficult to deconstruct, sustain and reform.While Britain’s political class is, rightly, in the spotlight for having made a mess of Brexit, the EU’s establishment is in a similar bind over its colossal failure to civilise the eurozone – with the rise of the xenophobic right the hideous result. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:18:44 GMT)

Finally, some good news: the ERG has been aggressively made love to by an ass | Marina Hyde
Theresa lives to die another day. Now can the mad bastards of her party come out of their ‘kill zones’ for a Christmas truce?Of all the mad bastards out there, there are none madder than the Conservative party. The Tories’ self-indulgent bastardry is now at such thermonuclear levels that it could surely cause a rip in the very fabric of time and space itself, opening a portal into another dimension from which the dark lord Cthulhu may emerge to lead them. But can Cthulhu get a bold, creative and bespoke deal that takes back control of our borders, our money and our … I’m sorry, I can’t any more. Maybe tomorrow. The one thing I would say about the dark lord is that he’d probably realise taking back control of the Conservative party would be an effing start.And so to where we stand after a preposterous 24 hours – a midwinter night’s dream after which nothing has changed as far as the Brexit deadlock in parliament goes. But at least the ERG have been aggressively made love to by an ass. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:27:45 GMT)

The French far right is hijacking the Strasbourg shooting to sow division | Cécile Guerin
France needs unity more than ever – but those who seek to divide us are again harnessing a tragedy to propagate fake newsTerrorism struck France again on Tuesday evening, when a 29-year-old attacker, since identified as Chérif Chekatt, killed three people and injured a dozen at a busy Christmas market in Strasbourg. With ongoing social unrest and polarisation laid bare by the gilets jaunes movement, France is now facing a new potential source of division. The attack has already proved a boon to far-right groups and conspiracy theorists who have seized on the event to disseminate their ideas and sow division. Related: Strasbourg attack: 'It lasted for minutes, but felt like hours' Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:15:28 GMT)

If the remain campaign makes the same mistakes again, it will lose again | Ash Sarkar
If the electorate gets another say on Brexit, saying the same things louder won’t work – we must appeal to leavers’ emotionsTheresa May has survived a vote of no confidence from her own party and is safe from a leadership challenge for at least 12 months. But for all the ERG’s theatrics on Wednesday, the entire exercise was a classic case of high-drama-low-stakes huffing and puffing. The parliamentary arithmetic remains the same: there’s no majority for May’s deal, there’s no majority for no deal.So what next? Potentially, the collapse of the natural party of government while in government, and a no-deal by default. Or, more likely, article 50 will be extended and decision-making on Brexit returned to the electorate, either through a general election (my preference), a second referendum, or indeed some combination of both. As the likelihood of Labour taking over Brexit negotiations fades, the party may well have to start war-gaming its response to a three-way choice between bad deal, no deal, or no Brexit. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:07:00 GMT)

Being detained under the Mental Health Act drove me to improve care
My friend tried to kill himself when we were in the same psychiatric unit. Now I support others in similar situationsI was awoken by the sound of gasps and bangs coming from the bedroom next door. It was 4am on a medium-secure psychiatric unit where it’s always noisy, but I instinctively knew this wasn’t good. I ran into my neighbour’s room and found him in the process of killing himself. I screamed for help.The man trying to end his own life was a friend. We had both attended the same pupil referral unit I was sent to after being excluded from school and for different reasons we ended up on the same psychiatric ward years later. After the nursing team had managed the incident, I asked him why he had taken such a step. He said he’d had enough of life and believed that things would never get better for “people like us”, and that our destiny was “death or to be in places like this forever”. He was discharged shortly after, but within weeks I was told that he had died of an overdose. He had only just turned 30. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:43:25 GMT)

May’s real plea to the EU: save me from a second referendum | Matthew d’Ancona
After her humiliating win, the prime minister embarks on a grand tour needing a miracle to avoid the Brexit option she dreads mostIt’s Thursday, and so the crisis of the day for Theresa May is a make-or-break meeting with her European Union counterparts in Brussels.Having achieved what can only be described as a humiliating victory last night – 117 of her own MPs voted to get rid of her – the prime minister now seeks concessions from the EU that she hopes will make her 585-page withdrawal agreement more palatable to hardline Brexiteers and the 10 Democratic Unionist MPs who prop up her government. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 09:39:19 GMT)

Guardian and Observer appeal 2018: our chosen charities
The work we are supporting defends individuals in the UK’s ‘hostile environment’Please donate to our appeal hereThe 2018 Guardian and Observer appeal is supporting five charities which were instrumental in securing justice for the Windrush generation. Their work defends the rights of all whose lives are unfairly disrupted by the UK’s hostile immigration system. Here’s a brief guide to what they do:Praxis Community Projects Continue reading...
(Fri, 07 Dec 2018 12:01:27 GMT)

Regular female-led football coverage ‘generations’ away, says Jacqui Oatley
• Broadcaster supports Women in Football’s #WhatIf campaign• Fewer than a third of 2018 major sport roles filled by womenThe sports broadcaster Jacqui Oatley has said it will take “a couple of generations” before women working in football as reporters, commentators and presenters is seen as normal.“When I was growing up I didn’t think it was an option to work in football,” said Oatley, who went on to become the first female commentator on Match of the Day. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:13:00 GMT)

The Anti-Sports Personality of the Year awards 2018 | Simon Burnton
While the more deserving await the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award verdict on Sunday night, here is our list of sporting anti-heroes from 2018 Related: BBC Sports Personality shortlist to no longer be revealed in advance Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:29:10 GMT)

Spurs, saves, Street Fighter and Atlanta United – Football Weekly Extra
Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Paolo Bandini and Lars Sivertsen to discuss Spurs and Liverpool squeaking through in the Champions League, easy but great saves, Italian strife, Atlanta United and Street FighterJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the last few days of football, starting with Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Camp Nou, which in combination with Inter’s draw with PSV was enough to see Mauricio Pochettino’s side qualify for the round of 16. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:19:27 GMT)

From the Tavern to the Palace: the decade since darts went large – video
It's now more than a decade since the PDC world championship moved from the Circus Tavern in Purfleet to London's Alexandra Palace and the game of darts has grown beyond all expectations. We talked to a number of the figures behind the growth of the game both in front and behind the cameras Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:59:18 GMT)

Martin Glenn resigns as FA chief executive after challenge-packed tenure
CEO will leave after four years after 2018-19 seasonFootball Association chairman Greg Clarke pays tribute Martin Glenn has resigned as the Football Association’s chief executive and will leave his role at the end of this season.Glenn started in the job in May 2015 and departs with England having reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia. His recent plan to sell Wembley to Fulham’s owner, Shahid Khan, fell through. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:13:06 GMT)

WTA offers ranking protection for mothers returning to tour
Players will use previous rankings at select tournamentsReturn of Serena Williams after giving birth prompted debateThe WTA has given additional protection to the rankings of mothers returning to the tour after giving birth.Players who have returned from maternity leave – or have been absent through injury – will now be allowed to use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period following their comeback. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:22:29 GMT)

Geraint Thomas has no regrets over new deal before Sky pulled team backing
• Tour de France winner confident new sponsor will be found• ‘It would be super-disappointing if this team was to stop’Geraint Thomas said he has no regrets in signing a new deal with Team Sky in September, despite being in “shock” when he learned Sky had pulled the plug on its sponsorship deal.This year’s Tour de France winner, who considered becoming team leader of the Polish team CCC before agreeing an improved £3.5m a year deal with Team Sky, is also confident Sir Dave Brailsford will find a sponsor to keep the team together in 2020, because they are one of the most successful in any sport. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:47:39 GMT)

The Breakdown | England’s dilemma: undermine Eddie Jones or risk scramble for a top coach
Looking for a successor could be a distraction in World Cup year but waiting could mean the talent is snaffled up and Wales and Ireland have already made their moveThe start of the World Cup is nine months away but countries are already thinking about their next coach. Wales are sorted, appointing Wayne Pivac in the summer knowing Warren Gatland would be off after his side’s final match in Japan, as are Ireland, with Andy Farrell to take over from Joe Schmidt.In New Zealand, Steve Hansen is due to announce this evening UK time as to whether he will seek a new contract after the World Cup. Rassie Erasmus has told South Africa he will not be carrying on after Japan, focusing on his director of rugby role instead. Australia’s Michael Cheika may not last that long after taking part in a performance review this month after the Wallabies’ worst year, in terms of results, for 60 years. A decision is expected before Christmas. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:04:59 GMT)

Can women save Sumo? The crossroads facing Japan's national sport – video
The ancient Japanese ritual of Sumo is in crisis. Only last week, a Mongolian wrestler was forced to retire after assaulting a teammate – but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Years of controversy and scandal, coupled with the country's declining population, have greatly impacted the sport's ability to attract new talent. The Guardian visits Tokyo's Ryōgoku district, the birthplace of Sumo, to see how this iconic institution is adapting to life in the 21st century, and why - despite women being banned from the ring itself - young female fans are flocking to watch it like never beforeYokozuna, controversies and a 'Dump Truck': a sumo history – in pictures Continue reading...
(Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:19:46 GMT)

Skip Day - high school friendship and everyday racism in Florida
Intimate glimpses of one very special day in the lives of high-school seniors from an industrial corner of the Florida Everglades: prom’s over, the future is uncertain, and the irresistible pull of the beach makes the long-time friends drive 60 miles to chill, pose and revel in the waves. Once at the beach, friendship, discussions about what's next, and an unwelcome dose of everyday racism mix. Winner of the Illy Prize for best short film at Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival. Continue reading...
(Thu, 29 Nov 2018 12:01:38 GMT)

Lloyd Russell-Moyle tells Owen Jones: 'I came out as HIV positive to break down stigma' – video
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle came out as HIV positive in a speech in the House of Commons. He tells the Guardian’s Owen Jones his diagnosis initially left him feeling like his insides had been ripped out but those fears gradually washed away and he has been able to live his life. He says he hopes his announcement can help break the stigma around HIV and help other people.An extended version of this interview is available on Owen Jones’s YouTube channel Continue reading...
(Wed, 05 Dec 2018 12:28:29 GMT)

​A day with Mr Stop Brexit: crashing TV interviews and fighting Ukip – video
Best known for interrupting news broadcasts and shouting: 'Stop Brexit', Steve Bray has become parliament's most persistent protester since the EU referendum result. So what motivates him to stand in Westminster come rain, wind, sun or snow?  Continue reading...
(Wed, 28 Nov 2018 07:00:30 GMT)

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Christmas dinner with Grace Dent - video
The star cook serves up a showstopper celebration meal: slow-roast Szechuan pepper lamb with aubergine, plus potato gratin with coconut, chilli and lime, and gingery cucumbers. Our restaurant critic surprises him with a simple, tasty, traditional north of England recipe. Read his recipes and see more videos from Guardian Feast  Continue reading...
(Fri, 07 Dec 2018 09:45:13 GMT)

'There was a lot of crying': youngest Booker prize nominee on writing her first novel - video
Daisy Johnson made headlines this year after becoming the youngest person to be shortlisted for the Man Booker prize with her debut novel Everything Under. Iman Amrani speaks to her about her book, which has been described as a feminist retelling of a well-known myth, which plays with the boundaries of reality and the supernatural This interview is part of a series called Fresh Voices, presented by Amrani Continue reading...
(Thu, 06 Dec 2018 12:00:31 GMT)

'I certainly opened up a conversation': Lubaina Himid on her Guardian residency – video
The 2017 Turner prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid is the first Guardian artist in residence. After spending four days in the Guardian's London office she created a work entitled Random Coincidence, which included the artist painting over pages from the paper over a week-long period. Himid's focus was the paper's representation of black people and the juxtaposition of text and image.This project was initiated in collaboration with Liverpool’s Rapid Response Unit as part of a larger commission linking artists to the news cycle. Continue reading...
(Mon, 03 Dec 2018 13:35:10 GMT)

'We wanted to reflect everything black women can be': authors of Slay in Your Lane – video
Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke are the co-authors of Slay in Your Lane: the Black Girl Bible. They talk to the Guardian's Iman Amrani about their experiences as black British women and why they have created the guide to help readers navigate their way through education, work and dating. This film is part of a new series, Fresh Voices Continue reading...
(Fri, 30 Nov 2018 07:00:28 GMT)

Why trash talk is essential to the fight game – video
Whether it’s showboating or shameful, puerile or poetry, trash talk is and will remain an integral part of professional fighting. It’s an invaluable promotional tool that risks contempt from the public and a powerful weapon that can distract your opponent, or make them stronger. In a sport where every move comes with the potential for a devastating counter, the double-edged nature of trash talk is most fitting Continue reading...
(Fri, 30 Nov 2018 09:10:53 GMT)

Owen Jones meets Keir Starmer: 'Brexit fatigue is real – but we can't let this deal pass' – video
Theresa May is facing a big battle to get her Brexit deal through parliament on 11 December amid cross-party hostility. What's Labour's alternative, and how does the party propose to reunite a divided nation? Owen Jones speaks to the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, in the heart of his Camden constituency in north LondonAn extended version of this interview is available on Owen Jones's YouTube channel Continue reading...
(Fri, 30 Nov 2018 14:56:51 GMT)

Black people more likely to have force used against them by police
Concern as figures show black people experienced 12% of incidents despite being 3.3% of England and Wales populationBlack people in England and Wales are disproportionately more likely to have force used against them by police officers, especially firearms and Tasers, the first national statistics show.The figures, published by the Home Office (pdf) on Thursday, show that black people experienced 12% of use-of-force incidents in 2017-18, despite accounting for just 3.3% of the population, according to the 2011 census. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:28:49 GMT)

Neurosurgery could spread protein linked to Alzheimer's, study finds
Doctors should decontaminate tools more thoroughly as a precaution, say researchersSurgical instruments used in brain operations should be treated to ensure they are not contaminated with proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease, according to scientists who found evidence that they may be spread by certain medical procedures.The researchers urged doctors to decontaminate neurosurgical tools more thoroughly as a precautionary measure to reduce the potential risk of spreading abnormal proteins known to build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:04:04 GMT)

Mike Ashley launches Debenhams broadside
Sports direct boss asks why store refused his £40m loan despite ‘worst November for retailers in living memory’The Sports Direct boss, Mike Ashley, has launched an extraordinary attack on Debenhams after the department store chain refused his offer of a £40m cash injection despite “the worst November for retailers in living memory”.In a letter addressed to the Debenhams chief executive, Sergio Bucher, Ashley urged the board to reconsider the offer from Sports Direct, which is the store chain’s largest shareholder. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:00:00 GMT)

Jeremy Hunt wrong in breast cancer screening statement, inquiry says
Remark that 270 women may have died needlessly based on incorrect advice, independent inquiry saysJeremy Hunt’s statement to the House of Commons in May that nearly 500,000 women had not been invited for breast cancer screening and that 270 may have died needlessly was based on wrong advice, an independent inquiry has found.Thousands of women were alarmed by the statement, which set up a major recall to screen those women aged 68 to 71 who were said to have been missed. Hunt said the problem was caused by a computer error. He later revised the number who may have died down to fewer than 75. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:25:22 GMT)

Cheshire PC is jailed for 25 years for sexual assault and grooming
‘Sexual predator’ Ian Naude is jailed for 37 sexual offences including rape of girl, 13A police officer was branded a “sexual predator of the most evil kind” as he was jailed for 25 years for more than 35 sexual offences, including the rape of a 13-year-old girl.Ian Naude, 30, was found guilty last month of raping and sexually assaulting the teenager who he met while serving with Cheshire police. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:21:43 GMT)

Prevent referrals over rightwing extremism rise by over a third
Number of people referred to UK programme over concerns about far-right activity up 36%The number of people referred to the UK government’s counter-extremism programme over concerns about far-right activity has risen by more than a third, official figures show.In the year to March 2018, 1,312 individuals were referred to Prevent, an increase of 36% on the previous year, and accounting for 18% of all referrals. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:26:36 GMT)

London's Black Cultural Archives get £200,000 stopgap funding for survival
Interim payment is aimed at tiding the archives over ahead of long-term funding strategyThe UK’s only national heritage centre dedicated to the history of black people in Britain is to receive stopgap funding of £200,000 from the government to ensure its survival in the immediate future, but a long-term solution is still to be found.More than 100 cross-party MPs signed a letter in October calling on the government to step in to save the Black Cultural Archives in Windrush Square, Brixton, south London, which was facing potential closure due to a catastrophic drop in funding. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:36:51 GMT)

Foreign Office denies state funds went to Twitter account attacking Labour
£2m for Scottish firm to counter Russian propaganda did not go towards its social media, says Alan DuncanThe Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan has denied that any of the £2m of government funding given to a Scottish-based company meant to counter online Russian propaganda went towards the company’s Twitter account which also spread unfavourable views about Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party.On Monday, Duncan had promised an investigation into the use of government funds by the Integrity Initiative, a project run by the Fife-based Institute for Statecraft, after the Sunday Mail revealed its Twitter account had been used to attack Labour. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:59:46 GMT)

Manhunt for Strasbourg gunman continues across German border
Police appeal to public for information on suspect Chérif Chekatt who has gunshot wound to elbowStrasbourg attack: ‘It lasted for minutes, but felt like hours’Thai tourist is first Strasbourg shooting murder victim namedChérif Chekatt: who is the Strasbourg shooting suspect?A major manhunt is continuing in France and across the German border as police appealed to the public for information about the suspected Strasbourg gunman who killed three and left several people seriously wounded before escaping the security services on Tuesday night.Although police and military exchanged fire three times with the suspected gunman Chérif Chekatt during his gun and knife attack near Strasbourg’s Christmas market, the 29-year-old managed to escape them in the Neudorf area south-east of the city centre. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:17:29 GMT)

Virgin Galactic launches SpaceShipTwo to the edge of space
Spacecraft launched on Thursday in test mission that would be first commercial US flight beyond the atmosphere since 2011A Virgin Galactic spacecraft has launched from California on Thursday in a test mission that – if successful – would be the first commercial US human flight beyond the atmosphere since the end of America’s shuttle program in 2011.The flight foreshadows a new era of civilian space travel that could kick off as soon as 2019, with British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic battling other billionaire-backed ventures such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to be the first to offer suborbital flights to fare-paying tourists. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:31:59 GMT)

Customs officials at JFK airport discover 70 live finches hidden in hair rollers
Passenger arriving from Guyana had songbirds in a duffel bag and officials reportedly believe they were for singing contestsCustoms officials at New York’s John F Kennedy international airport say they found 70 live finches hidden inside hair rollers.Authorities say a passenger arriving from Guyana on Saturday had the songbirds in a duffel bag. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:28:35 GMT)

'They don't care': Facebook fact-checking in disarray as journalists push to cut ties
Journalists paid to help fix Facebook’s fake news problem say they have lost trust in the platformJournalists working as fact-checkers for Facebook have pushed to end a controversial media partnership with the social network, saying the company has ignored their concerns and failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.Current and former Facebook fact-checkers told the Guardian that the tech platform’s collaboration with outside reporters has produced minimal results and that they’ve lost trust in Facebook, which has repeatedly refused to release meaningful data about the impacts of their work. Some said Facebook’s hiring of a PR firm that used an antisemitic narrative to discredit critics – fueling the same kind of propaganda fact-checkers regularly debunk – should be a deal-breaker. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 08:00:07 GMT)

Two Israelis and two Palestinians killed in West Bank violence
Man shoots two Israelis dead at bus stop hours after Israeli forces kill two Palestinian suspectsA Palestinian has shot dead two Israelis and wounded at least two others at a bus stop in the West Bank, after Israeli forces killed two Palestinians suspected of involvement in earlier attacks.“A Palestinian opened fire at a bus stop killing 2 Israelis, severely injuring 1 & injuring others at Asaf Junction, north of Jerusalem,” the Israeli military said on Twitter on Thursday. An army spokesperson was unable to confirm reports that the assailant had targeted Israeli soldiers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:51:49 GMT)

Fire destroys new voting machines ahead of DRC election
Opposition supporters accuse Kabila regime of trying to postpone historic voteA fire has destroyed much of an election commission warehouse in Kinshasa as tensions rise in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with just 10 days to go before historic presidential elections which could see the country’s first-ever democratic transition of power or bring further instability and violence.The fire damaged thousands of controversial new voting machines and has stoked fears the poll will be undermined by logistic challenges and fraud.Barnabé Kikaya bin Karubi, a presidential adviser, blamed unidentified “criminals“ for the blaze, which destroyed about 7,000 of the 10,000 voting machines due to be used in the capital, Kinshasa, but said preparations for the 23 December election were continuing.Kikaya said police guarding the warehouse – located in the upscale and usually secure Gombe riverside area of Kinshasa – had been arrested but made no further comment on what or who might have caused the blaze.Opposition supporters claimed the fire was the result of arson and accused Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, of seeking an excuse to postpone the poll.“We are dealing with a criminal regime. This is not a fire that is accidental. The prime suspect must be the regime itself,” said Valentin Mubake, a former secretary general of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UPDS), the principal opposition party. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:45:36 GMT)

Sri Lanka: president's dissolution of parliament illegal, top court rules
Ruling a blow for Maithripala Sirisena, who wants to replace PM with country’s former leaderSri Lanka’s supreme court has rejected an attempt by the president to dismiss parliament and hold snap elections, leaving the country without a prime minister or cabinet and extending a political crisis that has paralysed the nation for more than six weeks.The court in Colombo ruled that Maithripala Sirisena’s order to dismiss parliament, issued on 9 November, was unconstitutional. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:43:55 GMT)

Italy cuts deficit target for 2019 to 2.04% to avoid EU sanctions
Bonds rally after Rome bows to pressure but EU says more needs to be doneThe Italian government will be forced to cut “a few billion” across two of its flagship policies to meet the lower deficit target it has proposed to the European commission.Italian bonds rallied after the government bowed to pressure to reduce its deficit target for 2019 to stave off EU sanctions. The country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, proposed cutting the target from 2.4% to 2.04%. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:14:34 GMT)

‘Having children changes everything’ – lessons from my father about how to be a man
Society has changed immeasurably over the last few decades, so how has that affected what it takes to be a good man? Who better to ask than my dad? By Andrew DickensFor several millennia now, men have had things their own way (I’m assuming there are no howls of protest at this statement). But in the last few decades, things seem to have changed for the better – and changed fast. So fast, we are told, that men’s moral compasses are spinning. In the space of a generation, what it means to be a good man has been completely overhauled. Continue reading...
(Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:26:37 GMT)

Blog: ‘Why my fiancee and I are creating a new joint surname when we marry’
In his second weekly blog, Alexi Duggins explains how he’s making sure his upcoming marriage will be a genuine, equal partnershipIn two months’ time, I get married. It’s a big occasion for many reasons: I’ll be making a lifelong commitment to the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met, it’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever done, and it will also be the first time that my family have seen me cry in public since an ill-advised midnight screening of Ghostbusters II. Continue reading...
(Thu, 11 Oct 2018 09:16:45 GMT)

What ‘masculinity’ means when you’re gay, bi or trans …
We’re in the middle of a ‘genderquake’ where the qualities traditionally associated with men are changing daily. So how do three LGBT guys define manliness in 2018? By Joe StoneWhat does it mean to be a man? Right now, masculinity is under the microscope like never before. But one group that is used to navigating the tricky terrain of gender norms is the LGBT community. In a recent survey by Attitude, Britain’s best-selling gay magazine, 69% of readers admitted they’d been made to feel “less of a man” because they are gay, bisexual or queer. More troubling still, 41% said that at some point they themselves thought that they were less of a man too. Continue reading...
(Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:22:31 GMT)

Men: how to be kinder to yourself – and feel more confident
A growing ‘kindful movement’ is gathering pace, says author Caroline Millington, and men have much to gain from itYou’d have had to be trapped in the Love Island villa all summer with no access to the outside world to have missed the latest movement in self-care.It’s on T-shirts, phone covers, Instagram quotes, street art … I’ve even written an entire book about it. The buzzword? “Kind”. Continue reading...
(Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:08:53 GMT)

British artists dominate 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees
Radiohead, the Cure and Def Leppard among new recipients of US honourThe 2019 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been announced, with British acts making up five of the seven artists.Artists can be inducted into the Hall of Fame 25 years on from the release of their first record, and are voted in by a panel of over 1,000 music industry figures along with results from a fan ballot. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:22:38 GMT)

Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson obituary
Talented pirate station DJ who was a champion of house, garage and hip-hop musicEvery night throughout the mid-1980s, rooftops across London’s highest points came alive with nefarious activity. With as many as 100 black music pirate stations on air, losing a transmitter to night-time sabotage by rivals or government raids was considered an irritating but unavoidable cost of business.But the then pirate station Kiss FM had a secret weapon to deploy: Paul “Trouble” Anderson, who has died from cancer aged 59, one of the station’s most talented DJs and the possessor of a baseball bat. “Most of the time there wasn’t any violence – it was like a deterrent,” Paul told me when I spoke to him last year for a BBC documentary. “[But] when it was the DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] you had to be very humble and just ... not show the bat.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:01:56 GMT)

Clive Anderson on Whose Line Is It Anyway? We were making it up as we went along
Griff Rhys Jones ate John Sessions’ socks, Josie Lawrence hit the high notes and Colin Mochrie’s Salmon Man went low. Ahead of three live Albert Hall specials, the presenter-cum-drummer looks backIt seems like yesterday that we started making Whose Line Is It Anyway? Though apparently it was 30 years ago. But that’s how it is as you get older: things long ago you can recall as though they were yesterday, but you can’t remember where you left your car keys last night. Or on a bad day, your car.Whose Line started on Radio 4 and has now made it via TV series in London, New York and Los Angeles, stage shows in Edinburgh and the West End, to the Royal Albert Hall for the three live shows this weekend. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:21:04 GMT)

Arthouse Marvel? Lucrecia Martel reveals she was approached for Black Widow
The Argentinian director says she was asked to help bolster Marvel’s female film-maker quotient, and that the studio said they would ‘take care’ of the action sequences for the Scarlett Johansson filmArgentinian auteur Lucrecia Martel has revealed she was approached by Marvel to direct the forthcoming Black Widow film starring Scarlett Johansson, in what would have been a directorial choice remarkable even by Marvel’s idiosyncratic standards.In comments reported by the Pioneer, Martel, director of Zama, La Ciénaga and The Headless Woman, told an audience at the Mumbai film festival that she “received an email from Marvel for a meeting ... because they were looking for directors for Black Widow.” She added that she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement about her meeting, but that “Marvel and other such production houses are trying to involve more female film-makers”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:21:31 GMT)

Fire and Fury wins ‘total loser’ Michael Wolff a place on authors’ rich list
White House exposé rubbished by Donald Trump earns royalties to rival the likes of perennial favourites such as James Patterson and JK RowlingRunaway sales of White House exposé Fire and Fury have powered Michael Wolff into Forbes’s annual round-up of the world’s highest paid authors for the first time.According to the business magazine, which bases its estimates on data from NPD BookScan as well as interviews with industry insiders, Fire and Fury sold 1.7m copies worldwide during its first three weeks on sale. Coupled with seven-figure advances for a sequel, and the sale of film and television rights, in total Forbes estimates that Wolff earned $13m (£10.2m) from June 2017 to June 2018, putting him in seventh position in its list of the book world’s top annual earners. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:46:57 GMT)

The House That Jack Built: in defence of the serial killer movie
Lars von Trier’s latest film leads us once again into the abyss. But can watching graphic cruelty and violence teach us anything about the darkest corners of human nature?Lars von Trier’s searing portrait of a serial killer The House That Jack Built arrived to instant controversy. Graphic scenes showing the murder of women and children, their bodies mutilated, prompted over a hundred walkouts at its Cannes premiere. As it goes on theatrical release, it is agood moment to reflect on the worth and appeal of serial killer movies. Serial killing is one of the most disturbing and brutal of real-world crimes, so what is the value of audiences putting themselves through witnessing it at the cinema?On one level, the extreme violence of The House That Jack Built – in which Matt Dillon’s Jack murders and mutilates his victims – is near identical to that of slasher cinema, where serial murderers remain staple characters with little furore. Here, such killers straightforwardly personify bloodlust and cruelty. More narrative tools than human beings, they hunt down the innocent and not so innocent. The unknowability of the serial killer – how could anyone actually do such things? – is used in these genre movies to construct an unreasonable killing machine for the sake of horror entertainment, creating a kind of pleasure removed from any sort of reality. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:45:03 GMT)

How do you beat the Christmas blues? Take charge in the kitchen
The best thing about doing the festive cooking? You can appear selfless while avoiding the family argumentsLike your first hangover and your first speeding ticket, cooking Christmas lunch for the first time is a rite of passage. It is a passing of the flame from one generation to the next, with added gravy. I remember mine as if it was 25 years ago. Two things stay with me. One was my late mother’s nod of approval at the sweet and sour red cabbage. It wasn’t her red cabbage. It could never be hers. But it did deserve to be eaten. That was praise enough.The other memory was the admin. Blimey, it was complicated. I had to write timetables, like I was revising for A-levels all over again, only with a greater risk of humiliation through failure. Pinned up by the fridge magnets were documents that had taken on the significance of holy scripture: “12 noon – potatoes in; 1.30pm, bird out”. And so on. When it was all done and the kitchen was festooned in edible wreckage, I took the applause and muttered quietly about not making a habit of it. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:00:13 GMT)

What happened next? ‘Drinking for the sake of drinking. It’s madness’: how Adrian Chiles cut back on booze
He used to drink an awful lot – and now drinks a lot less. It is well worth the effort in the long run, he saysMy name is Adrian, and I am a moderating drinker. It is a difficult time of year for us moderators, what with all those Christmas parties and annual get-togethers with old friends. This time last year, I am sure I would have been sighing at the thought of all the drinking I would have to be doing. But back then I was drinking so much generally that I don’t know how my liver would have known it was Christmas anyway.The documentary I made this year, Drinkers Like Me, definitely changed me. I used to drink an awful lot and hardly ever talk about it. Now I drink a lot less, but talk about it all the time. I can’t go for a quiet pint without someone having a word with me. This could involve a gentle expression of concern that I have fallen off the wagon (I never went on the wagon). Or, more often, a long sort-of confessional about that person’s drinking habits. Everyone seems to have a story about alcohol, about how much they drink or used to drink or how much their families drank or whatever. And this year we were even told that no amount of alcohol is good for our health. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 05:59:04 GMT)

Have you or your partner recently given birth? Share your experiences with us
We’d like to hear about your physical and mental recovery after birthMost parents will tell you that nothing prepares you for the arrival of your first child. We’d like new parents to help us document the experience of having a baby from the highs to the lows.The arrival of your first baby is often joyful but it can also bring unexpected challenges. Though many feel that they have prepared as much as they can, the experience for women of giving birth and recovery can be stressful. It’s well known that pregnant women and mothers can experience mental health issues but now there’s also official recognition that partners can be affected too. The NHS is now planning to offer mental health checks for new fathers and fathers-to-be. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:06:02 GMT)

20 best Christmas party recipes: part 4
Duck pancakes, parsnip puree and cavolo nero crisps, and Nigella’s seasonal rocky road – our final selection of recipes for making merry with friends and familyOFM 20 best Christmas party recipes: part 1OFM 20 best Christmas party recipes: part 2OFM 20 best Christmas party recipes: part 3You need to start this a day ahead. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 08:00:09 GMT)

10 of the best delis for traditional food and Christmas treats
Step into a world of spices and chocolates, cold cuts, cheeses and Christmas favourites at delicatessens from Venice to New YorkFrancis Ford Coppola is just one of the many fans of this second-generation purveyor of regional delicacies from around Emilia-Romagna. Metal hooks, once used to cure hunks of mortadella from the rafters, still decorate the ceiling and the umami-heady funk of aged Parmigiano-Reggiano perfumes the shop. Since opening in 1932, in Bologna’s Quadrilatero, a labyrinth of medieval streets, the store stocks some of the best charcuterie in town. When owner Giovanni Tamburini isn’t rubbing elbows with local politicians over plates of superlative tortellini, he plays in a rock band named Ciccioli Ciccioli, which means “pork cracklings” in local dialect. During the month leading up to Christmas, Bolognesi come here to stock up on bottles of bubbles and baskets of gourmet goodies.• Via Caprarie 1, tamburini.comDiana Hubbell Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:04:36 GMT)

Paying my Dartford Crossing fine has become a French farce
I couldn’t pay the automated toll as I was on my way home to FranceI have read about the number of unpaid fees for the Dartford Crossing since the automated system was introduced. My experience may provide one explanation. I crossed on my way home to France. I couldn’t pay the Dart Charge within the “midnight the day after” deadline because I didn’t have internet access en route. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 07:00:07 GMT)

What was your favourite book of 2018?
As part of the Guardian’s 2018 in culture series we want to hear what you’ve been reading this yearIt has been a big year for books, from the spate of Trump-related exposes such as Bob Woodward’s Fear and Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, to star-name releases including JK Rowling’s The Crimes of Grindelwald (or her turn as Robert Galbraith in Lethal White), George RR Martin’s Fire and Blood and Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming.When nominating their favourites of the year, our critics chose novels including Everything Under by Daisy Johnson, Normal People by Sally Rooney, and Jonathan Coe’s Middle England; memoirs including Tara Westover’s Educated and Alan Garner’s Where Shall We Run To?; political books including Isabel Hardman’s Why We Get the Wrong Politicians and Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch; and poetry collections including Tishani Doshi’s Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods and Vahni Capildeo’s Venus As a Bear. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:06:39 GMT)

Send us a tip on a UK winter walk for the chance to win a £200 hotel voucher
A good walk and fresh air are perfect for blowing away the Christmas cobwebs. Tell us about your favouriteWe want to hear about your favourite UK walk to enjoy over the festive period, whether it’s urban, goes through parks, fields and woods or traverses moors and peaks. Please indicate the length of the stroll, starting and end points and any cosy pubs and cafes for refuelling.There’s no need to describe every nuance of the route but place names will help readers work out which paths to take. The walk can be any length. Continue reading...
(Tue, 11 Dec 2018 16:07:46 GMT)

Guardian podcast: We need to talk about … the death of the high street
Guardian journalists, supporters and industry experts discuss the failing health of UK high streets and the impact on communities. What can local spaces offer that out-of-town shopping centres and online giants can’t?UK high streets are facing the quietest Christmas since the credit crunch, according to forecasts. A combination of low consumer confidence caused by Brexit, more agile, online competitors and shoppers increasingly opting to buy experiences instead of products are just some of the reasons cited as being responsible for the shift in spending habits.This year has been particularly bleak in Britain as well known names such as Toys R Us, Maplin, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and Mothercare have been either shrunk or terminated, with 85,000 retail jobs lost in the first nine months of 2018. Beyond retail, many towns are having to fight to save their local library, pub, nursery or community centre – the places that have always fulfilled an important social function as well as a commercial one. Continue reading...
(Wed, 12 Dec 2018 06:00:37 GMT)

Will Africa’s first high-speed train be a £1.5bn magic bullet for Morocco? | Will Doig
TGV trains will halve journey times from Casablanca to Tangier, but critics say flashy projects are no substitute for real reform“Many well-known guests have stayed here,” says Jimmy, the proprietor of the gift shop in the Hotel Continental, a stately pre-colonial landmark overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. He runs down the list: Edgar Degas, Winston Churchill, Paul Bowles. But that was a long time ago.Today, once-glitzy Tangier isn’t the destination it was half a century ago, when renowned artists and foreign spies haunted its bars and hotels. But the city’s fortunes may soon shift. A new high-speed railway, the first in Africa, was inaugurated last month, linking the cities along Morocco’s western edge. “In two hours, it will take you from Casablanca to here,” says Jimmy – more than twice as fast as the current trains. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:05:37 GMT)

'Toxic, cut-throat': the work culture awaiting junior lawyers
Long working hours and a hyper-competitive culture are a punishing mix for newcomers to the professionWhen Sovani James was a junior solicitor at a “cut-throat” law firm she felt like she had a “dark cloud” hanging over her head. One day, breaking down in tears, she confided in a colleague that her hair had been falling out in clumps and she didn’t know what to do. She’d put on weight, she said, and had been crying almost every day at her desk. “Shortly after, she cut her hair very short and we researched what vitamins she could take to help it grow back,” her colleague would later say in court.The culture at the time at McMillan Williams, a law firm with offices across the south-east of England where James worked until 2015, has since been described as “toxic”, “vile” and “abominable” by senior lawyers. Junior staff were compared using public league tables. And when they weren’t meeting the high targets set, managers piled more pressure on. “I am assuming you will be working each and every weekend and long hours during the week,” a managing partner wrote in an email to James. “It’s simply a matter of priorities.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:21:57 GMT)

Why are hundreds of US children suffering from a paralyzing illness?
Experts rush to determine the cause of the disease known as AFM as surges occur in alternate yearsMikell Sheehan thought her seven-year-old daughter, Bailey, had a terrible cold. But eight days and eight doctor’s visits later, Bailey was paralyzed on her right side, in what would turn out to be one the first surges of a syndrome called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in 2014.Since then, 500 children across the United States have fallen ill with the little-understood paralyzing disease, with upticks happening every other year. In 2018, 158 cases were diagnosed, the largest number to date. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:00:11 GMT)

What would a city that is safe for women look like?
Most cities have not been designed with women’s safety in mind but, from Egypt to Rwanda, new technology, design and education are reducing the threat of violence on the streetSexual violence has rarely been so high on the news agenda. Since allegations against the movie producer Harvey Weinstein started to emerge in October last year, the global problem has finally become a mainstream issue. The United Nations has estimated that one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence, with 120 million girls around the world having been forced into sex acts.The repercussions go beyond the physical and psychological toll on individuals who have been attacked. Harassment and fear of violence can impede free movement of girls and women and stop them reaching their full potential, both socially and economically. “If women feel afraid,” says Laura Somoggi, who manages the annual Womanity award for the prevention of violence against women, “it could undermine their ability to work or go to school or university which affects their empowerment, their rights.” Fear of attack is a bar to women escaping poverty. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:00:12 GMT)

What is the EU backstop offer and why won't it sway Brexiters?
MPs demand a time limit to the backstop, raising the bar for Theresa May in BrusselsFollow the latest political developments - live updatesIn a gambit to win over restive MPs to her leadership, Theresa May made a promise behind closed doors that she would not only quit before the next general election but bring back a bauble from Brussels that would also change the parliamentary arithmetic on her Brexit deal.Shortly after her victory in the vote of confidence, May took to the steps of Downing Street and told the assembled media that at Thursday’s summit in Brussels she would be seeking “legal and political assurances” on the so-called backstop in the withdrawal agreement to “assuage the concerns that members of parliament have on that issue”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 11:50:36 GMT)

The untold story of how India's sex workers prevented an Aids epidemic
Beating Aids is India’s greatest public health achievement. A new book says it wouldn’t have happened without womenIn 2002, a major report predicted an Aids catastrophe in India. The country would have 20-25m Aids cases by 2010. People were being infected at the rate of about 1,000 a day. Aids orphans numbered 2 million. This scourge would ravage families, society, and the economy. India was going to be the Aids capital of the world.But 2010 came and went. India averted an Aids epidemic. That victory – India’s biggest public health achievement – has remained uncelebrated. But a new book by one of the major HIV campaigners of that time finally honours the people he says were crucial in guiding India away from its seemingly inescapable destiny: the country’s sex workers. Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 05:00:03 GMT)

J-Lo and a stray peacock: Thursday's top photos
The Guardian’s picture editors bring you photo highlights from around the world Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:36:56 GMT)

Burgess Park: a south-east London community – in pictures
In the summer Burgess Park, in London, comes alive as the diverse community gets together for barbecues, dancing, sports, and partiesMax Miechowski has been exhibited at the Palm Photo Prize, Portrait of Britain and the Taylor Wessing Portrait PrizeSee his work on display at the theprintspace 13-21 December Continue reading...
(Thu, 13 Dec 2018 06:43:35 GMT)

Yokozuna, controversies and a 'Dump Truck': a sumo history – in pictures
The origins of sumo date back 2,000 years and it was from the 17th century that saw its rise as a spectator sport. However, viewing figures and homegrown participants have declined over the past two decades with the sport also under the spotlight due to a number of controversies including a lack of women’s access Can Sumo survive? The crossroads facing Japan’s national sport – video Continue reading...
(Wed, 12 Dec 2018 13:58:59 GMT)

Steve Bell on the Tories' leadership woes – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:16:46 GMT)

Frankie! Eurythmics! Tina Turner! Peter Ashworth's 80s pop mavericks - in pictures
From Adam Ant to Julian Cope, the pop stars of the 80s were bold, brash and big-haired. Photographer Peter Ashworth realised their wildest visual fantasiesMavericks, a photographic exhibition by Peter Ashworth is at the Lever Gallery, London, until 20 December Continue reading...
(Wed, 12 Dec 2018 07:00:36 GMT)

'A different type of housing spreads': Manchester by Ben Tallon – an urban comic
Manchester’s relentless growth is leaving some people behind. Part three of our new comic series The Illustrated CityIn the postwar ‘death zone’, new life: Berlin by Ali FitzgeraldGrinding and dehumanising: New York by Liana Finck Continue reading...
(Wed, 12 Dec 2018 07:30:36 GMT)

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