MI5 chief’s complaint over MI6 role in ‘war on terror’ abductions caused prolonged breakdown in relations
British involvement in controversial and clandestine rendition operations provoked an unprecedented row between the UK’s domestic and foreign intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, at the height of the “war on terror”, the Guardian can reveal.
The head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, was so incensed when she discovered the role played by MI6 in abductions that led to suspected extremists being tortured, she threw out a number of her sister agency’s staff and banned them from working at MI5’s headquarters, Thames House.
More than 400 pages of released Trump University files describe how staff should target financial weaknesses to sell high-priced real estate courses
A federal judge has given the world an unprecedented glimpse into the ruthless business practices Donald Trump used to build his business empire.
US district court judge Gonzalo Curiel on Tuesday made public more than 400 pages of Trump University “playbooks” describing how Trump staff should target prospective students’ weaknesses to encourage them to sign up for a $34,995 Gold Elite three-day package.Continue reading...
Comments by House of Commons leader about inability to control European immigration trigger angry reaction from remain campaigners
Remaining in the EU would make it more difficult for young people to get a foothold on the housing ladder or find affordable rents because the government will be unable to control European immigration, according to a leading Brexit campaigner.
In an interview with the Guardian, Chris Grayling urged younger voters to consider the “practical consequences” of an vote to remain in the EU and said that rising house prices were partly caused by migration into the UK. His comments triggered an angry reaction from remain campaigners, who accused him of reaching for the “Farage playbook”.Continue reading...
Film-maker says it would be pointless to show his Palme d’Or-winner I, Daniel Blake to Conservative government
The director Ken Loach has said he does not want David Cameron to watch his latest film, which deals with unemployment, poverty and the rise of food banks in Britain today, because punishing the poor is part of the prime minister’s project.
Last week, Loach became the first British director to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes twice, when his welfare state polemic I, Daniel Blake picked up the prize.Continue reading...
Fierce fighting in Iraq’s fourth city reportedly kills scores of Isis fighters, who are using those trapped as human shields
Islamic State militants in central Falluja are believed to have prevented at least 20,000 residents from leaving the city and are offering fierce resistance to advancing Iraqi forces.
A string of cautious early engagements, which are believed to have killed scores of Isis members and a smaller number of Iraqi troops, have set the scene for a protracted and difficult fight for Iraq’s fourth city that will likely expose large numbers of trapped civilians, whom the group is using as human shields.
PrEP, which can reduce risk of HIV infection by up to 86%, falls outside health service remit, says NHS England
The UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charities have attacked as “shameful” a decision by NHS England not fund a treatment method that can drastically reduce transmission risks.
If followed regularly, the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prevention method, usually with a prescribed daily pill, can reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 86%, according to a recent study.Continue reading...
Police are investigating the family of the boy who entered the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati zoo over the holiday weekend during an incident that led to the animal being shot dead and a storm of public protest.
Investigators from the Cincinnati police department are reviewing “the incident and the lead-up to it”, department spokesperson Tiffaney Hardy said Tuesday. The department has also called for witnesses to come forward.Continue reading...
The party’s only MP and former leader wants to partner with work and pensions spokesman Jonathan Bartley
Caroline Lucas, the Green party’s only MP, has declared she will stand for the party’s leadership in a job share with its work and pensions spokesman, Jonathan Bartley, under the slogan “The Power of Working Together”.
The pair say they want to forge a new “progressive alliance” with other political parties willing to advocate electoral reform – potentially including deals over who would contest particular parliamentary seats.Continue reading...
Lisa Nandy says Labour needs to draw on left and right of party to address new era of climate change and ageing population
Labour needs to change to overcome a feeling it is not fit for purpose in the modern era, the shadow cabinet minister Lisa Nandy has said, as she launched a new group that aims to unify supporters.
Labour Together will draw in ideas from the Corbynite left to the Blairite right of the party, and will attempt to bridge the gap between grassroots activists and those involved in national and local government.Continue reading...
One of Britain’s most successful scriptwriters, Lane went on from phenomenal success in TV to open an animal sanctuary in Sussex
Carla Lane, the award-winning writer of television comedy dramas including the Liver Birds and Bread, has died at the age of 87.
After blazing a trail as one of British television’s most successful scriptwriters, Lane had also become known in recent years for her animal rights activities and ran an animal sanctuary on 25 acres of land in Sussex before selling it in 2009.Continue reading...
If, come 24 June, the liberal establishment should wonder what could have possessed voters to be so stupid and small-minded as to vote to leave the European Union, they could do worse than ponder whether they didn’t win people over precisely because they treated them as “stupid” and “small-minded”.Continue reading...
From the voice of an angel to cosmic art rocker, ahead of her latest project – a reworking of The Little Mermaid – the politicised pop star talks Tories, trolls and genderfluid whales
In an empty rehearsal room somewhere within Cardiff’s vast Millennium Centre, Charlotte Church is explaining her latest project to me. The Last Mermaid is a reworking of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Little Mermaid – co-created by Church, her partner Jonathan Powell and Sion Trefor from her regular backing band – starring the singer in the title role. It variously takes in modern dance; a score influenced in equal part by “György Ligeti, James Horner film scores and experimental electronica like Dan Deacon”; a choir drawn from open rehearsals (that includes everything from trained opera singers to would-be R&B vocalists); 3D projections; a “strong ecological message”; and a genderfluid whale.
“Often in fairytales, you’ve got all these evil women: evil stepmothers, evil sisters ... So we thought: Fuck that, that’s just part of the old patriarchal world where the people who wrote fairytales were men, so let’s not do that,” she says. “It’s also a kid’ show, so we’re trying to keep it super-magical. So we thought, let’s have one of the most beautiful and majestic creatures in the world – let’s have an ancient, genderless whale. He’s been around since the dawn of time, and he’s genderless, because he doesn’t know any more and it doesn’t matter.”Continue reading...
Cornwall is one of the most deprived areas in western Europe, despite its luxury holiday homes – with house prices way beyond the reach of young locals. Now popular Cornish tourist destinations are rising up against the incomers
This summer, as holidaymakers walk along the Atlantic-facing cliffs around St Just, the nearest town to Land’s End in west Cornwall, they will come across a sign that says: “English out.” It keeps being retouched. It is one of the reminders that there are still tensions between the annual flood of incomers and the Cornish, who were granted the same Celtic minority status as the Scots, Irish and Welsh in 2014.Continue reading...
Linguistics expert David Crystal tells Hay festival that school advisers are ‘not aware of complexity of decisions they are asking kids to make’
Is that a tall, dark, and handsome man standing over there? Or a tall, dark and handsome man? The vexed question of commas, where to use them and where not to, was raised at Hay festival by the linguistics academic David Crystal.
Both of the above are correct, he said, but he criticised the Department for Education for not realising that, and for allowing exam boards to wrongly penalise children. He said the current guidance for schools “leaves a huge amount to be desired, especially in areas of punctuation.Continue reading...
Celebrated adventure writer Mark Jenkins on what it takes to survive if ever you find yourself lost in the wild – and it all starts with a map and compass
The recent discovery of the body of Geraldine Largay, a 66-year-old backpacker who got lost on the Appalachian Trail in Maine and survived 26 days before succumbing to exposure and starvation, marks the beginning of another summer season of hikers losing their way and sometimes paying for it with their lives.
You might think that with the remarkable popularity of TV survival shows, everyone would already know all they need to know to live through getting lost. Alas, the eternal quest for higher ratings means these shows foolishly focus on the bizarre, the ridiculous and the idiotic. Why would you spend days constructing a laughable structure that can’t even keep out the rain? What happened to the regular old raincoat?Continue reading...
Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke is the latest to throw her hat in the ring to play the part, which doesn’t actually exist but surely should be created
If you think the chances of the next James Bond being female are up there with the disappointingly long odds on Captain America starting to date men, here’s a polite history lesson. If it hadn’t been for 2002’s Die Another Day firing blanks with the critics, a suave female super spy operating in the same film universe as 007 might already have sipped down her first minimally mixed martini.
Studio MGM once planned to give Halle Berry’s Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson her own spin-off following the NSA agent’s appearance alongside Pierce Brosnan in Lee Tamahori’s disastrous turn at the Bond helm. Naturally, the idea was swiftly dropped down an industrial chimney after the 20th 007 adventure, with its invisible CGI cars and dumb ice palace lairs, was ruthlessly torn to pieces by the merciless sharks otherwise known as the world’s critics.Continue reading...
From Adele’s plastic mac to midi-length skirts and Dot Cotton’s rain bonnet (yes, really), here’s the crib sheet of what to wear whatever the forecast
Christopher Kane is the man who can turn the most mundane and dowdy items into high-fashion waiting-list-worthy designs. He’s done it with everything from crochet to cable ties. This season, it’s the turn of the rain bonnet – AKA those plastic head protectors sold in 80s hairdressers to women who had just had their hair set and didn’t want to get caught in the rain. Models at his autumn/winter catwalk show wore them, often over wet hair, which may have confused purists such as Dot Cotton. Available for less than £2 for three, keep one in your bag instead of an umbrella – it’s far more alpha to those in the know. This is fashion irony at its best.Continue reading...
If Wetherspoons’ Tim Martin can argue for Brexit via the medium of beer mats, what’s to stop Britain’s most outspoken publican from having his say?
News reaches me that Tim Martin, boss of mega-pub-chain Wetherspoons, has issued beer mats to persuade his drinkers to vote to leave the EU. This breaks one of the all-time golden rules of pubs: never talk about politics.
But when it comes to something as monumental as the issue of remaining or leaving the EU, I have to step out from behind the pumps, roll up my shortsleeved shirtsleeves and get involved. After all, it’s beyond politics. This Brexit business is the most burning issue, because it’s about what sort of country we want to live in, and what we want to do about our horrible neighbours.Continue reading...
Everybody knows the potency of the smell of home. House sellers must bake whenever a buyer might swing by. For some, lilac or lavender signifies reassuring domesticity; for others, old leather or wood polish.
For me, it’s burnt meat. I live within sniffing distance of a grand parade of great, cheap Turkish grill restaurants. It’s lovely, even for the ex-veggie, even when you’re not especially peckish, not least because it means no one who lives round there ever bothers having their own barbecue, so the smell is kept at a happy distance, rather than filling the living room. Walk two miles further into town and you come to one posh park – Highbury Fields – now so swamped by impromptu barbies (about 100 at one time have been sighted) residents risk strokes if they open their windows.Continue reading...
Gretchen Peterson’s City Maps: A Coloring Book for Adults will no doubt take up all of an urban geek’s spare time, but can you recognise the cities from the book’s maps showing only outlines?
Rio de Janeiro
Map data is from OpenStreetMap contributorsContinue reading...
After years in the wilderness, the actor had a juiced-up turn as Robert Kardashian in The People v OJ Simpson and now he’s back with Feed the Beast
Friends has, for the most part, sent its stars down distinct, easily defined paths. Jennifer Aniston is a star. Matthew Perry will play the quirky, quippy lead in mediocre sitcoms until he dies or gets bored, and Courteney Cox will draw eyeballs on TV when she wants to (though she’s taking a justified break after the end of Cougar Town). Matt LeBlanc bounced around for a while (Episodes comes to an end next year) and is now hosting Top Gear. Lisa Kudrow continues to do weird, beautiful projects that get prematurely cancelled (The Comeback).
But David Schwimmer has had, perhaps, the oddest, quietest career and after a few years of doing seemingly very little, he’s returned to TV with a pair of high-profile roles in FX’s OJ Simpson drama and now in his own vehicle, Feed the Beast. Whisper it, but after the McConaissance (Matthew McConaughey) and the Reesening (Reese Witherspoon), the Schwimmnaissance is finally here, and it’s been overdue.Continue reading...
A jokey tweet has led thousands of people to think they won’t be able to buy Milky Way Magic Stars if the UK leaves the EU – but that’s not the case
With the EU referendum looming, there are plenty of questions about what effects Brexit could have on our day-to-day lives.
The internet has spent the past couple of days worrying about the availability of Milky Way Magic Stars, the little star-shaped chocolates made by Mars. But, true to form when it comes to viral images on the internet, all is not as it seems.Continue reading...
Yes, he had a gold-plated typewriter, which he bought to celebrate the completion of Casino Royale, the first James Bond novel. “His literary acquaintances considered it the height of vulgarity,” writes Fergus Fleming, his nephew.
Now, I like to think I know a little bit more about Bond and Ian Fleming than the average reader, because I was once honoured to be asked to write the introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of what they called the Blofeld Trilogy – the trio of novels that feature the fearsome head of Spectre. But I wish this book had been around before I’d started: it gives a more rounded – and sympathetic – portrait of Fleming than I gave.Continue reading...
Private schools such as Westminster are divisive. How about we integrate them into the state system?
It is not often a committed advocate of comprehensive education is invited to address one of the country’s leading independent schools. But after a robust exchange at a conference between myself and the head of Westminster school, Patrick Derham, I was asked to speak to his students. Derham is one of a handful of independent school heads who grasps that something needs to change, though not quite in the way I am about to suggest to his students.
My chosen title is: What’s the problem with private education? It feels like a good time to enter the lion’s den and offer a strongly contrary view to the received wisdoms of this deeply Tory age in which the power of wealth and with it, private education, is as resonant and divisive as ever.Continue reading...
New iOS apps of May 2016 include Relay, Opera VPN and Spaces, and games include Bushido Bear, Hungry Shark World and GodFinger 2
From custom-made maps to football stories for kids, via classical music, ninja bears, GIF keyboards and avian dating games, it’s been an interesting month for iPhone and iPad owners, with a range of new App Store releases to try.
As ever, prices are correct at the time of writing, and if you see “IAP” it means the app uses in-app purchases. Looking for Android apps instead? Don’t post an angry comment – click through to the separate Best Android Apps roundups instead.Continue reading...
To race a mile is to take part in one of running’s most iconic events. It’s also the ideal way to test your fitness and break out of one-pace training
In the minds of most runners, the marathon looms large as the ultimate distance. It is both a supreme test of endurance and an achievement that even non-runners can appreciate and admire. There’s no doubt that the marathon is captivating for participants and spectators alike, and its position as endurance running’s blue-riband event is justified. But for me, and many others, it has a rival. A distance with just as much heritage and appeal; a distance that involves speed, tactics and excitement: the mile.
At 1,609 metres, or just over four laps of a track, it is in many respects the perfect distance: short enough to be fast and furious, but long enough to incorporate the surges and jostlings of a proper distance event. Great to watch and even better to race, the mile used to be running’s most talked about event. For years athletes tried and failed to break the seemingly impenetrable four-minute barrier, in much the same way that two hours now stands as the ultimate challenge for marathoners. When Roger Bannister finally broke four minutes in 1954, the floodgates opened, and emboldened with the knowledge that it really could be done, many others soon broke it too. British athletes would go on to dominate the event in the 1980s, with Coe, Ovett and Cram all breaking world records. The current record is held by Hicham El Guerrouj, who ran 3:43.13 in 1999.
At the risk of sounding like a spoilsport, there has to be a possibility that Roy Hodgson’s decision to load five strikers into his Euro 2016 squad might ultimately be held against him if England’s tournament turns out to be as harrowing as when Kevin Keegan did the same in a different era.
That, however, does feel like a negative tone when Hodgson has been emboldened enough to fill a quarter of his outfield places with centre-forwards. Hodgson once voted for Javier Mascherano to win the Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo and cites Dave Sexton among the three greatest managers in history.Continue reading...
The world heavyweight champion says it helps to get unfit to get fit again and he is in great shape after losing three stone in seven weeks
“People don’t understand how much I have to kill myself in the gym to get the weight down,” says Tyson Fury, wincing at the fresh reminder of three hard sessions a day, most days, since mid-April. “The worst is when you are totally shattered after 12 three-minute rounds, yet you have an hour on the cross-trainer. Sometimes you feel like you’ve been on it for ages, yet the timer only says seven minutes. It’s horrible – the most boring thing in the world.”
Yet so dramatic is the transformation in Fury’s body he could probably reveal all in an infomercial and retire off the profits. He has lost three stone in seven weeks, is noticeably more muscular around the back and shoulders and claims to be far fitter too. And there is another x-factor he believes is helping his preparations for his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko: giving up meat.Continue reading...
This story doesn’t start well. In February 2006, Alastair Cook and Jimmy Anderson were on tour with England A in the West Indies when word came through that they had both been called up to join the senior team in India; Anderson as a replacement for Simon Jones, who had damaged his left knee, Cook as cover for Michael Vaughan, who had damaged his right. Cook and Anderson had been on tour for a fortnight already but somehow hadn’t spoken a single word to each other in all that time. Now they found themselves facing each other in a pair of first-class seats on the first flight out of Antigua. When Anderson sat down, Cook looked at him and said: “The last time we met, you called me a cunt.”
This was at the fag end of the previous season, in a championship match between Essex and Lancashire. The previous week Cook had taken 214 off the Australians in a two-day game, and, as Anderson later said, “we thought he had a bit of arrogance about him”. So Anderson decided to put Cook back in his box. Cook c Symonds b Anderson 19. “I can’t tell you my first impressions of him, because he called me everything under the sun,” Cook said, later. “The only words he had said to me for two years before then were swear words.” Now they had two days of travel ahead, to Nagpur via London. Cook would recall: “And I was thinking: ‘This is going to be an interesting 48 hours.’”Continue reading...
Leeds United have confirmed that the head coach, Steve Evans, has left the club. Evans, along with his assistant Paul Raynor, departs Elland Road after a seven-month stay.
The former Swansea City manager, Garry Monk, is the early frontrunner with the bookies to become the new head coach.Continue reading...
Another rain-affected day at Roland Garros saw Novak Djokovic eventually take control of his 4th round match; in the women’s competition, Sam Stosur shocked Simone Halep and Tsvetana Pironkova did likewise to Agnieszka Radwanska
So, there we have it. Another miserable day, but not as miserable as yesterday. After a muddled start, Novak Djokovic is in a strong position; Samantha Stosur beat Simone Halep to reach the quarter-finals where she’ll meet Tsvetana Pironkova, who produced a ridiculous comeback to eject Agnieszka Radwanska; Dominic Thiem and Marcel Granollers are level at one set all; and that’s about it.
Thanks all for your comments and company - we’ll be back tomorrow. Bye.
End; the bitter
Play has been suspended for the day due to rain. // Les matchs d'aujourd'hui sont annulés à cause de la pluie. #RG16
José Mourinho has said he will not get into personal arguments with Pep Guardiola next season when they are in charge of Manchester United and Manchester City respectively as it would mean “someone else” winning the title.
The two have a history of animosity from their time in Spain, when Mourinho was the Real Madrid manager and Guardiola in charge of Barcelona, but Mourinho has said that it would not make sense for either of them to focus on each other.Continue reading...
The trial of Lionel Messi on charges of tax evasion opened in Barcelona on Tuesday, but injury prevented the Barcelona and Argentina forward from attending. However, he will be in court on Thursday to testify.
Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, are accused by the Spanish tax office of defrauding the government of €4.1m (£3m) between 2007 and 2009. They could face jail terms of up to 22 months if found guilty.Continue reading...
This was not part of the script – the Republic of Ireland’s last friendly before Euro 2016 ended in a surprise defeat by Belarus. While Martin O’Neill was hoping to receive clarity surrounding the final positions in his squad, the manager may have had more questions than answers at the conclusion of a desperately flat performance that improved only on the introduction of some first-choice players towards the end.
Goals from Mikhail Gordeichuk and Maksim Volodko earned Belarus an unexpected victory in Cork, although Stephen Ward pulled one back for Ireland in the 71st minute. Scouts from their group opponents Belgium and Sweden, plus French and Austrian representatives, were unlikely to depart the south coast perturbed by what they witnessed, regardless of the considerably weakened team.Continue reading...
Fabled Brazilian No10 and three-time World Cup winner’s vast collection of awards and memorabilia could fetch up to £5m in London sale
Pelé, widely seen as the finest football player of all time, is auctioning off his entire collection of awards and memorabilia accumulated over six decades in the game.
Experts believe the event could become the biggest sports auction ever and fetch up to £5m in bids.Continue reading...
Trevor Bayliss says that having an unchanged squad for next week’s third Test with Sri Lanka will assist those struggling for form, with Nick Compton and Steven Finn two such players in an otherwise buoyant England team.
With an unassailable 2-0 series lead secured by Monday’s nine-wicket win at Chester-le-Street, the third instalment at Lord’s now represents a dead-rubber finale – unless the all-encompassing Super Series is your thing – that could have provided the head coach and his captain, Alastair Cook, with an opportunity to experiment. But while the uncapped Jake Ball, England’s spare seamer in the 12, will continue to push hard for selection as Finn, by his own admission, struggles for rhythm, Compton is assured of another chance to address a lean start to the first-class summer that has brought a top score of 44 and an average of 18.71.Continue reading...
This week, David Squires looks back at the Champions League final, in which Cristiano Ronaldo sealed victory for Real Madrid over Atlético Madrid in a penalty shoot-out . And you can find David’s archive of cartoons hereContinue reading...
Wigan Warriors have launched an investigation into an alleged fracas involving two of their players.
Greater Manchester police has confirmed it was called to an incident in Wigan town centre last Friday night and that damage was caused to a gym.Continue reading...
Jason Gillespie, the Yorkshire head coach, has confirmed he will not be applying for the vacant position of Australia’s bowling coach.
The 41-year-old, who has overseen back-to-back County Championship titles since his appointment in late 2011, was sounded out for the role by Darren Lehmann, his close friend and Australia’s head coach, over the weekend.Continue reading...
The Football Association’s independent director Heather Rabbatts is considering her position after being left “very frustrated” and “very disappointed” at the latest failed attempts to reform the English game’s governing body.
Greg Dyke, the departing chairman, had hoped to push through reforms to ensure greater diversity, transparency and accountability for the FA council and its executive board before he leaves after the European Championship finals. However, his proposals were not even put to a vote after they were blocked by representatives of the so-called national game on the FA board, who feared their influence would be diluted.Continue reading...
So farewell then to Chester-le-Street, England’s fortress, more secure against overseas marauders than nearby Hadrian’s Wall. The game against Sri Lanka was England’s sixth Test match here and the suggestion is that it may have been their last. This is not absolutely certain so for now it’s more “au revoir” than “goodbye”. But the simple, sad fact is that they can no longer afford Test cricket in the north-east.
England have won all of their six Tests at Durham’s home, three of them by an innings. No venue on the globe has provided its home side with such unbroken success.Continue reading...
Yorkshire are on course to win their first home Roses match since 2001 and only their second in 25 seasons after setting Lancashire a stiff target of 349
As predicted we did not get any more play after the players went off for bad light just after 5pm leaving us with an intriguing day tomorrow.
Lancashire still have a slim chance of pulling this off. The unflappable Hameed and Smith set about the task well before tea, reaching 21 without loss by the interval and coping well with Brooks’ accuracy and Bresnan’s provoked aggression. It was a shock when Smith poked a tame shot to Plunkett at cover off Patterson for 15 but when the players departed for bad light 41 runs had been knocked off the target of 349 with no further losses.
We’re still off for bad light. But meanwhile....
Possibly the most Yorkshire thing has happened here today at Headingley. A distressed racing pigeon has had to be rescued from the outfield.Continue reading...
The tragic events at Cincinnati zoo last Saturday triggered an outpouring of emotion all over the world. Shock at the killing of a splendid young silverback, Harambe, mixed with relief that the four-year-old boy came through it relatively unscathed (though doubtless traumatised). What lessons can we learn from such a sad turn of events?Continue reading...
What does it look like when an ideology dies? As with most things, fiction can be the best guide. In Red Plenty, his magnificent novel-cum-history of the Soviet Union, Francis Spufford charts how the communist dream of building a better, fairer society fell apart.Continue reading...
Comparisons with German and Dutch regions where productivity is already high do not stand up to scrutiny
The idea behind George Osborne’s northern powerhouse is a simple one. Improving transport links between the big cities of the north will create economies of scale and greater dynamism. Britain, it is said, can learn lessons from the Rhine-Ruhr region of Germany and the Randstad region of the Netherlands, both of which have a number of cities clustered together. The chancellor has pledged Treasury support for a number of key infrastructure projects, including high-speed rail links.Continue reading...
If you ever wondered why we live in a country where politicians are less trusted than estate agents, look no further than our own prime minister. Earlier this month, the Conservative party was running the most tawdry, bigoted campaign in a generation, and David Cameron was at its absolute heart. Zac Goldsmith has rightly been disgraced for his desperate attempt to secure London’s City Hall by smearing Sadiq Khan, suggesting links to extremists and terrorist sympathisers. But the absolute nadir of this unforgivable campaign was when Cameron hid behind parliamentary privilege to falsely smear Suliman Gani – a British citizen – as an Islamic State supporter, and link him to Khan. That Gani was a Conservative supporter who had repeatedly shared a platform with members of Cameron’s own party, and who had fallen out with Khan over his support for equal marriage, was of no consequence. Here was a cowardly attempt to tap into the most base prejudices that exist about Muslims.Continue reading...
With the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, ministers last week banned the sale or procurement of any substance that has psychoactive activity, regardless of whether it is harmless or even useful. The sole exceptions are alcohol, nicotine products and caffeine.Continue reading...
Having lost the economic arguments for leaving the European Union, Britain’s increasingly desperate leave campaign seems set on peddling a number of apocalyptic myths about the consequences of a vote to remain. It is more risky to stay in the European Union than it would be to leave, claim the Brexiters. But what are the likely risks of staying in the EU for Britain and how seriously should British voters take them?
One of the central arguments used by Ukip and some Conservatives is that Britain should leave because of the economic risks of being “chained to the corpse of the eurozone”. I find this disingenuous, given that four of the most advanced global economies represented in the G7, including the UK, are EU member states.Continue reading...
The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which begin on 5 August, will be the climax to the kind of summer of sport that is the stuff of fan fantasy. But past experience suggests that, however much they please the enthusiasts, hosting the Olympics is a costly way of disrupting a national economy. They rarely turn a profit, and billions of pounds that might have been spent more productively are absorbed into grand building schemes that often struggle to find a future purpose. Yet for governments, they remain a coveted status symbol, a global affirmation of a country’s place in the monied half of the globe. Back in 2009, when Rio’s bid won, Brazil was unquestionably prospering. President Lula led a rapidly changing country whose economy was buoyed by high oil prices. Seven years later, on the eve of the games, the economy is in crisis, his successor Dilma Rousseff faces an impeachment trial and the country, and in particular the local Rio economy, is floundering, mired in the Petrobras corruption scandal. These are serious challenges. But none of them appears as immediately threatening as the spread of the Zika virus.
Earlier this month in an open letter to the World Health Organisation, 150 health experts called for the Olympics either to be postponed or moved to another venue. They warned of the risk of athletes and visitors spreading the mosquito-borne virus to poorer countries with inadequate health systems. The spectre of a kind of plague unleashed on Africa and parts of Asia, in areas of the world least equipped to cope, made sacrificing a country’s reputation, an $11bn investment, and quite likely the ambitions of a generation of athletes seem like a case at least worth considering. That is wrong.Continue reading...
It was a truly extraordinary moment. On Monday, Hissène Habré, Chad’s former dictator, hid his face behind sunglasses as he listened to the verdict of an African court sentencing him to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, torture and sex crimes. Habré, whose eight-year reign of terror and political repression had led to the deaths of an estimated 40,000 Chadians, was unrepentant. His only words in the Senegalese courtroom were a reference to France’s influence over its former colonies: “Down with Francafrique.”
The trial of Habré has been an event without precedent. Its outcome is a watershed for human rights justice in Africa and beyond. Not surprisingly, survivors and families of victims wept with joy in the court. The verdict was an extraordinary moment for African human rights and civil society groups alike, who had campaigned tirelessly for more than 20 years, in their fight against one man’s claim of impunity.Continue reading...
All too often banks and cards companies do little to pursue fraudsters, and in many cases seem happy to blame those scammed
There was a grand bargain struck between individuals and banks when we began moving away from cash and towards electronic payments. Transactions would become faster, more efficient and more profitable for the banks, and in return individuals would be protected from fraud. That bargain is perilously close to falling apart.
Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) has issued its “definitive overview” of payment fraud in the UK, and the figures make for miserable reading. Total fraud jumped by more than a quarter in 2015, with 1.5m card accounts in Britain raided by scam merchants who stole more than £750m.Continue reading...
As the California primary looms, building a rapport with voters – an emotional connection with working Americans – must be Clinton’s biggest priority
This is a time of high anxiety for supporters of Hillary Clinton.
The polls show a tightening race between Clinton and a Republican nominee who, among other things, wants to date his own daughter, deport 11 million US residents and start a trade war with China.Continue reading...
The housing market, whether for buying or for renting, is broken. Put aside the inconvenient truth for ministers that the number of homes entering the construction phase in England dropped by 9% in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the latest government figures. Homeless charity Shelter says that represents one of the biggest falls in a decade.
Although the government welcomed a 12% year-on-year increase in completions in 2015-16, bringing the total of new homes to 139,690, that’s still just over half the number needed to meet household formation. Construction is now falling.Continue reading...
A woman in her 20s with severe mental health problems stemming from childhood sexual abuse has been allowed to die under Dutch euthanasia laws after doctors claimed she was incurable. In a startling abdication of the psychiatrist’s responsibility to prevent suicide and, when necessary, to protect patients from themselves, this woman’s psychiatrist declared that “there was no prospect or hope for her”, effectively signing her death warrant. With psychiatrists like that, one might ask, who needs self-harm?
Anyone who has lived through 10 years of sexual abuse may benefit more from being listened to than labelledContinue reading...
New Zealanders, Australians and Canadians may decide whether Britain remains in the EU. One of the wildest oddities of Britain’s electoral system is that a million or more Commonwealth and Irish citizens living in the UK can vote in the referendum, while French and Italian people who have lived here for 30 years cannot. This makes no sense, but then, as Benjamin Disraeli observed, England is governed not by logic but by parliament.Continue reading...
Women outnumber men in a raft of science courses – but when they start their careers, they find many insurmountable barriers
Why are so few women publishing scientific papers? It is a question that has been posed by New Scientist magazine, as it reports that in medicine, female authorship of scientific papers has started to go backwards. Since 2009, the proportion of women as lead authors has gone down.
Findings such as these usually provoke a cry of “We need more women in science!” and organisations wheel out a spokesperson to explain that girls should be encouraged to study science at university. The Welsh government, for example, celebrated International Women’s Day this way.Continue reading...
The crucial question no one, including Jeff Jarvis, can answer: how will we fund journalists in a world dominated by Google and Facebook?
In his essay Death to the Mass Jeff Jarvis develops an argument he has been making for years. Treating the public as “a mass” and giving them a “one-way, one-size-fits-all product” is no longer appropriate.
I’m totally with him on that. It is just one reason why newsprint national newspapers in Britain, the epitome of mass-marketing, are increasingly viewed as irrelevant by readers (and the people who want to reach them: advertisers).Continue reading...
Different generations are sharing homes again. It sounds awful to me, but it’s spawning plenty of good ideas
Our two main political parties have just spent 40 years creating and nurturing the housing crisis. Is it realistic to expect them now to fix it? Or are we all going to have to get into DIY? People are already coming up with their own domestic solutions. The most obvious one is that adults, young and not so young, are moving back into the family home. The insurance company Aviva estimates that by 2025 3.8 million people aged between 21 and 34 could be living with their parents (compared with 2.8 million in 2015).Continue reading...
In his maiden speech as a Tory MP six years ago, Andrew Bridgen joked about being a little Englander. Three years later he was so outraged by the idea of same-sex marriage he demanded the ousting of David Cameron. A year later the wealthy businessman declared his full confidence in Cameron. Now he seeks a new leader again.Continue reading...
The former children’s mental health tsar on why schools have become the last line of support for vulnerable pupils
A teacher recently came to me with a dilemma: there was an epidemic of self-harm among her students. They were using razors to injure themselves in their boarding school dorms, so staff had confiscated their razors.
But for self-harming teens any item can become a weapon and a means to exorcise their emotional pain. Undeterred, and ignoring the plastic bands and ice cubes their school nurse had suggested as a “safe” way to induce pain, the pupils began using the blades from pencil sharpeners, compasses or shattered rulers. One student smashed a plastic cup and ended up severing an artery using the jagged edge.Continue reading...
Leave campaign says Brexit would allow government to scrap VAT on domestic fuel, saving individual households £64 annually
The leave campaign has claimed that quitting the EU would save British households £1.7bn a year on heating and lighting, or £64 a year per household, because the government would be free to scrap VAT on domestic fuel.
Writing in the Sun, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and the Labour MP Gisela Stuart argue that “fuel bills will be lower for everyone” if Britain votes to leave the EU on 23 June.Continue reading...
The politicians backing Brexit are all dreadful – as are all the politicians against it. Their campaigns should speak to a majority of the population but both sides seem to aim at its very worst minority
As the EU referendum debate enters its hideous final stages, both sides of the Tory party are furiously branding each other liars, while the rest of the country thinks, “Yes, that seems reasonable to me.” Ken Clarke has claimed that in the event of Brexit, Cameron would be out of No 10 in 30 seconds. Probably even quicker if you said the ghost of his dead dad was on the doorstep with a sack of used euros.
With the vote coinciding with Euro 2016, England’s games could have a major bearing on the result. Imagine, as a footballer, stepping up to take a free kick late in the game and suddenly realising that the whole future of the continent as a political entity, the integrity of Nato and the progress of TTIP rests on it. The pressure will be too much for Ryan Bertrand and he will sky it.Continue reading...
Centre for Cities says plan is too focused on intercity transport rather than improving performance of individual cities
Cities in the north of England must become more productive if the chancellor is to realise his vision of a so-called “northern powerhouse”, a thinktank has said.
The Centre for Cities said George Osborne’s plan to bridge the economic gap between the wealthier south and the poorer north was too heavily focused on intercity transport links, and not enough on improving the performance of individual cities.Continue reading...
Lecturers’ union says cuts at London Met are devastating and accuses management of investing in buildings rather than teaching
Almost 400 jobs will be scrapped at London Metropolitan University as it moves all its students from three campuses on to one, it has been announced.
The shake-up at the university – which will reduce staff headcount by about 395 posts, 13.5% of the workforce – will take place over the next two years. The reductions include cuts to the university’s management team, which has been shrunk by a third.Continue reading...
Dominic Chappell accuses previous owner of not leaving enough cash in the business, forcing store chain to borrow money
Dominic Chappell, the owner of BHS at the time it fell into administration, has blamed former owner Sir Philip Green for the retail chain’s demise.
Chappell said Green had failed to deliver on a pledge to ensure the backing of credit insurers and had not left sufficient cash in the business.Continue reading...
BBC radio soap’s editor pays tribute to actor who played role for nearly 50 years until his character’s death in 2010
Alan Devereux, who played the role of Sid Perks on The Archers for nearly 50 years, has died, the BBC has said.
The BBC Radio 4 soap opera’s editor, Sean O’Connor, paid tribute to the actor on Tuesday, and said he possessed a voice of authenticity.Continue reading...
Swedish study throws into question the practice of telling parents whether their children are overweight
Children whose parents think of them as overweight are likely to put on more pounds than other children, according to a study.
The research throws into question the current practice of telling parents whether their children are overweight or obese after they have been weighed and measured at school, as all children in the UK now are in the reception year and year 6.Continue reading...
Annual house price growth in May slowed to 0.1% in prime central London – the lowest rate since October 2009
The forthcoming EU referendum is weighing heavily on the London luxury property market, prompting buyers and sellers to postpone decisions until after the 23 June vote, according to the estate agent Knight Frank.
Annual house price growth in May slowed to 0.1% in prime central London, which stretches from Notting Hill to Islington and the City – the lowest rate since October 2009. Prices in South Kensington dropped by 4.6% while prices in neighbouring Chelsea were down 3.5% in the year to May. Prices in Knightsbridge and Islington rose 7.5% and 7.4% respectively.Continue reading...
Johnson left behind three letters, one saying a former parliamentary candidate, Mark Clarke, had bullied him
The political activist Elliott Johnson killed himself, a coroner has ruled, as an inquest was told he was subjected to a “potentially criminal” victimisation campaign by a Conservative election aide.
Johnson, 21, was found dead on the railway tracks at Sandy station in Bedfordshire on 15 September. He left three letters, one of which said Mark Clarke, a former Tory parliamentary candidate, had bullied him and that a political journalist, Andre Walker, had betrayed him. Both Clarke and Walker strongly deny the allegations.Continue reading...
Sea fog gathers as it did that day, while British and German heads of state pay their respects to the battle’s nearly 9,000 dead
On land and sea the centenary of a misty night that changed the course of the first world war – its only major naval engagement but one that claimed nearly 9,000 lives – has been marked at many of the sites associated with the Battle of Jutland, and the men and ships that fought in it.
At St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney, descendants of the crews were joined by the prime minister, David Cameron, the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the German president, Joachim Gauck, along with the Princess Royal and her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and representatives of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Malta, New Zealand and South Africa.Continue reading...
Court hears Muhiddin Mire allegedly attempted to slit Lyle Zimmerman’s throat last year, before lashing out at others and being filmed
A man who tried to cut the throat of a passenger at a tube station was motivated by revenge, and told passers-by: “This is for my Syrian brothers. I’m going to spill your blood,” a court has been told.
Muhiddin Mire, 30, “sawed” at one man’s throat with a breadknife and attempted to slash other members of the public during the incident at Leytonstone underground station in December last year, during which a bystander was heard to shout: “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv.”Continue reading...
Jess Phillips says leaving is a very real possibility after receiving more than 600 tweets about raping her in one night
A Labour MP has said she may leave Twitter after trolls sent her more than 600 messages in one night about raping her.
Jess Phillips spoke out after a wave of abuse was launched against her, apparently after she replied to one person who said: “I wouldn’t even rape you.”Continue reading...
Pair detained following investigation into £1.2bn sale of property portfolio to US investment firm Cerberus
The National Crime Agency has made two arrests in connection with its investigation into allegations of corruption around the biggest-ever property deal in Northern Ireland.
John Walden to benefit from cash and shares windfall if Argos owner is sold to supermarket chain for £1.4bn
Home Retail Group boss John Walden will be in line for a windfall of more than £5m in cash and shares if the owner of Argos is sold to Sainsbury’s.
It is not clear if Walden will stay on if Sainsbury’s finalises the £1.4bn takeover deal, but Home Retail Group’s annual report published on Tuesday revealed that in either case the chief executive would be able to cash in more than 650,000 shares and options, which are not subject to performance conditions.Continue reading...
Rachel Trelfa and Nyomi Fee found guilty of killing toddler after testimony from two other young boys they abused
It was the courage of two little boys in detailing the horrific abuse they had suffered that proved key in convicting the mother and civil partner of a two-year-old boy with his murder.
Liam Fee’s mother, Rachel Trelfa (or Fee), 31, and her civil partner, Nyomi Fee, 29, had denied killing the toddler and falsely accused another child in their care of causing the death.Continue reading...
Medics say pushchair took brunt of force after optician sign narrowly misses 10-month-old child in Newport, Shropshire
A baby boy and his mother escaped serious injury after a shop sign fell 6 metres (20ft) on to the child’s pram.
West Midlands ambulance service said the 10-month-old was “one very lucky young boy” after the sign fell from an optician’s in Newport, near Telford in Shropshire, at 1.40pm.Continue reading...
Tailoring brand will close 120 outlets as Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day opts to buy the brands but only five concessions
More than 1,000 jobs are to be lost with the closure of 120 Austin Reed outlets after administrators failed to find a buyer for the majority of the 116-year-old tailoring company’s stores.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day has bought the Austin Reed and Country Casuals brands and just five concessions in Boundary Mills discounter outlets, saving 28 jobs.Continue reading...
It took 25 minutes to clear Emily Gardner from boat after vessel capsized but she could not be saved, jurors hear
A schoolgirl taken on a speedboat ride by her friend’s father drowned when the vessel capsized after hitting a “hill of blue” and her oversized buoyancy aid became snagged, trapping her underwater.
Members of the party and a lifeboat crew raced to try to free 14-year-old Emily Gardner, who was stuck 3 metres (11ft) beneath the wave-whipped surface, but it took 25 minutes to get her clear and she could not be saved, an inquest jury heard.Continue reading...
Glasgow East MP who resigned SNP whip is investigated by Police Scotland after allegation about financial discrepancies
The Glasgow East MP Natalie McGarry is facing a second police inquiry after the SNP regional association of which she was formerly convenor made a complaint about alleged financial discrepancies.
Police Scotland confirmed it had received and was now investigating a report from the SNP’s Glasgow regional association regarding missing funds from the association’s accounts.Continue reading...
Decision taken following forensic re-examination of palm print on getaway vehicle used during 1976 atrocity
Police are to open a fresh investigation into the suspected IRA murder of 10 Protestant workers in South Armagh during the Troubles, following the forensic re-examination of a palm print left on a getaway vehicle.
A public inquiry into the 1976 Kingsmill massacre heard on Tuesday that the Police Service of Northern Ireland had found new forensic evidence linking a suspect to the atrocity.Continue reading...
David Cameron’s former aide Patrick Rock admits downloading images of nine girls but denies they were indecent
A former aide to the prime minister downloaded images of scantily clad girls aged as young as 10 but denies the pictures were indecent, a court has heard.
Patrick Rock, 64, has admitted downloading 20 images of nine girls to his computer from a free-to-view website over three days in August 2013, and jurors at his trial were told they would have to decide whether the pictures broke the law.Continue reading...
Paul Sutton leaves South East Coast ambulance service as report claims high-risk project lacked adequate assessment
The chief executive of the troubled South East Coast ambulance service, which has come under fire for delays to patients and misreporting of its performance, has resigned.
South East Coast ambulance service NHS trust (Secamb) said on Tuesday that Paul Sutton, whose position had been a source of speculation for months, after he took a mutually agreed leave of absence in March, had left “to pursue other interests”.Continue reading...
British and German dignitaries attend memorial for thousands who died in huge naval battle off coast of Denmark during first world war
David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon and Princess Anne have joined descendants of those who fought at the battle of Jutland for a centenary service to remember the thousands who died in the largest naval battle of the first world war.
British and German military bands played and crowds lined the street as the British prime minister arrived at St Magnus Cathedral on Orkney, with Scotland’s first minister.Continue reading...
Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, says new metro mayor should help launch region on international stage, like mayors of Paris and LA
The mayor of the Liverpool city region should emulate the mayors of Paris and Los Angeles and work as a global ambassador for the area, shadow minister for mental health Luciana Berger has said, launching her campaign to be Labour’s candidate for the role.
The Liverpool Wavertree MP described the mayoral role as “a massive opportunity to unite the city region and launch it on to an international stage” and said she would bring energy and fresh ideas to the job.Continue reading...
On 23 June Britain will decide by a referendum whether it will remain in the European Union or if it will leave – the so-called Brexit option. The opinion polls show the race is a close one as the national debate gets louder and louder. But what does it all mean?Continue reading...
An African Union-backed court finds Hissène Habré guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Once a rebel, Habré took over Chad in 1982 after deposing a former ally in a coup. Thousands of people are thought to have died during his rule until he fled the country in 1990. Habré’s lawyers say they will appeal the verdict by the Extraordinary African ChambersContinue reading...
The Guardian’s Lois Beckett went to Louisville, Kentucky, where the National Rifle Association’s annual convention was taking place, and asked gun owners: what do liberals get wrong about guns, and how can we make America a safer place to live?
The lack of diversity in film and television dominated the debate during awards season. But away from the Oscars, the UK picture is also bleak: the film Bafta acting nominees have been almost exclusively white for two years running. Leah Green looks beyond the headlines to see why diversity remains such a problem in the UK film and TV industriesContinue reading...
Legal highs have been taken off the shelves and put on the controlled substances list. Typically referred to as spice, the drugs described as being more powerful and addictive than crack or heroin, has taken a heavy toll on many who thought it would be a legal substitute for cannabis. Addicts on the streets of Manchester talk about the drug and its banContinue reading...
Martin Chulov visits Sinjar province in Iraq on the trail of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled caliph of Islamic State. On the Kurdish frontline with Isis-held territory he hears from local peshmurga commanders on Baghdadi’s movements and the problems they face targeting him
Jean-Paul and Luc Dardenne, the Belgian siblings who have twice won the Palme d’Or, speak in Cannes about their new film. The Unknown Girl is the story of a young female doctor trying to discover the identity – and the killer – of a woman found dead outside her medical practice. They discuss why they are drawn to stories of female empowerment and gender equality and how they think the film might be received in countries such as the US, where the fight for universal healthcare continues.
• The Unknown Girl premiered at Cannes and will be released later this yearContinue reading...
French unions are protesting against President Hollande’s proposed reforms to labour protection laws. As tens of thousands take to the streets across the country, there are fuel shortages and proposals to expand strikes to the rail network and nuclear industry. France is set to host the Euro 2016 finals in June, and neither strikers nor the government seem inclined to back downContinue reading...
EU heads to take 57km maiden voyage in €11bn Gotthard base tunnel on Wednesday
Measuring 57 km in length, situated 2.3km deep under the Alps and having cost €11bn to complete, Switzerland’s Gotthard base tunnel is more than just the world’s longest and most expensive tunnelling project.
At a time of rising nationalism and closing borders, European leaders will also hope it can serve as a reminder that the continent can still smash barriers when it manages to pull together.
Firms should be free to prevent staff from wearing any garments making a religious or political statement, says Juliane Kokott
Companies should be free to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves at work if they have a general policy barring all religious and political symbols, a senior EU lawyer has said.
A headscarf should be seen no differently to a Jewish kippa, a Sikh turban or a Christian wearing a prominent crucifix or a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Jesus is great”, said Juliane Kokott, an advocate general at the European court of justice.Continue reading...
US State Department alert says France’s state of emergency covers Euro 2016 and Tour de France in aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels
The US State Department has issued a travel alert for Europe, cautioning Americans that the influx of summer tourists and a series of high-profile events “will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations”.
“We are alerting US citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation,” department officials wrote.Continue reading...
Billionaire investor who recently liquidated his position on Apple has acquired a ‘large position’ in the Dublin-based company
The billionaire US investor Carl Icahn said on Tuesday he had bought a big stake in Dublin-based Botox-maker Allergan.
Icahn, who little more than a month ago ditched his entire stake in Apple, did not disclose the extent of his purchase but said he had “acquired a large position”. He announced his investment on Twitter expressing support for Allergan’s chief executive, Brent Saunders.Continue reading...
Francesco Schettino ‘s 16-year jail sentence upheld at Florence’s appeal court, after maritime disaster that killed 32
Florence’s appeals court has upheld the 16-year jail term for Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which sank off Italy in 2012 leaving 32 people dead.
Schettino was not in court when the verdict was read out by presiding judge Grazia D’Onofrio. He will not be jailed immediately pending a possible further appeal and it is unlikely he will ever the complete sentence because of Italy’s crammed jails and generous parole system.Continue reading...
Luis Almagro seeks meeting with 34 member states to possibly suspend country from Organization of American States, which Nicolás Maduro denounced
The head of the Organization of American States has called for an emergency meeting of regional governments to evaluate Venezuela’s respect for democracy, a move that could lead to the country’s suspension from the hemispheric body.
Luis Almagro said Venezuela had suffered “grave alterations of democratic order” and called for a vote on the matter in the coming weeks.Continue reading...
Army colonel effectively conspired to destroy evidence to defend Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, accused architect of the terror attacks, according to court document
The judge overseeing the premiere military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay effectively conspired with the prosecution to destroy evidence relevant to defending the accused architect of the 9/11 attacks, according to a scathing court document.
Army Col James Pohl, who this week at Guantánamo is presiding over a resumption of pretrial hearings in the already troubled case, “in concert with the prosecution, manipulated secret proceedings and the use of secret orders”, the document alleges, preventing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s defense team from learning Pohl had permitted the Obama administration to destroy the evidence.Continue reading...
Attack, apparently by forces loyal to Assad regime, is latest incident in aerial campaign against medical facilities in Syria
At least two dozen people including several children have been killed in northern Syria in the latest apparent attack by forces loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime on medical facilities in opposition-held areas, UN officials and activists have said.
The bombing of the national hospital and its surroundings in Idlib city, a provincial capital wrested from regime control last year, was the latest incident in a systematic aerial campaign against medical personnel and facilities that has gone unpunished despite its intensification over the last year and a half.Continue reading...
Canadian parliamentary committee voted to drop issue Tuesday after Trudeau faced accusations of elbowing MP while grabbing another earlier this month
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, will not face sanctions or be forced to apologize again over accusations that he manhandled one member of parliament and elbowed another, a parliamentary committee decided on Tuesday.
The country’s normally staid House of Commons erupted into chaos earlier this month after a visibly annoyed Trudeau strode into a group of MPs, grabbed Conservative Gord Brown by the arm and led him out of the group.Continue reading...
Anne Hidalgo says current situation, with makeshift migrant settlements springing up before being cleared, is not acceptable
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, has said the first official refugee camp in the French capital should open within weeks to accommodate “several hundred” homeless asylum seekers.
Hidalgo told a press conference that the humanitarian-standard camp, in the north of the city, would operate with the help of recognised charities and satisfy all relevant United Nations requirements.Continue reading...
Venue targeted by group described as ‘far-right extremists’ days after ominous slogans appeared in the capital. RFE/RL reports
A vegan cafe in the centre of Tbilisi was shocked to find itself the subject of far-right ire after a group arrived and threw meat on patrons’ plates, leading to a public brawl.
Customers said a group entered the cafe wearing sausages around their necks and carrying slabs of meat on skewers, before attacking customers and staff.Continue reading...
While fewer homicides occurred in the city over Memorial Day weekend compared to last year, overall shooting rates continue to be higher than 2015
At least 60 people were shot, six fatally, over the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago.
That is fewer homicides than the holiday weekend last year, when 12 people were killed, but the overall shooting rates in Chicago continue to be higher than the year before, according to the Chicago Tribune’s ongoing tally.Continue reading...
Eliane Houlette said her team, which was responding to fraud allegations, worked offline and never mentioned company by name
The French investigators who raided Google’s Paris offices last week have revealed the extreme security measures taken to keep their investigation hidden from the technology group, with teams working offline and never referring to the company by name.
Codenamed operation Tulip, the investigation was named after the shell company in the Netherlands through which Google routes billions in revenues each year to avoid taxes on most of its overseas income.Continue reading...
Blow to German band suing producer Moses Pelham, as court rules short music excerpts to create new tracks permissible
Germany’s constitutional court has handed a defeat to the electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk by ruling that a hip-hop artist can sample a two-second beat from a band’s tracks without infringing copyright.
The ruling, which overturns an earlier decision by the federal court of justice and is widely seen as setting a precedent in Germany, addresses the complex legal issue of the competing interests of artistic freedom and copyright.Continue reading...
Conditional approval from South Africa’s Competition Commission brings creation of world’s largest brewing group a step closer
The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, has gained conditional approval from South African anti-trust regulators for its $100bn-plus acquisition of SABMiller on the condition that no South African employees would be laid off as a result of the deal.
The Competition Commission ruling brings a step closer the creation of the world’s biggest brewing group, which would make nearly a third of the world’s beer.Continue reading...
Locator beacon was picked up by satellites in minutes after Airbus A320 carrying 66 people disappeared from radar over Mediterranean
Egyptian authorities have confirmed a distress signal was received from EgyptAir flight 804 when it crashed in the Mediterranean with 66 people on board.
A US official from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also said an emergency beacon was picked up by satellites minutes after the airliner disappeared from radar on 19 May as it flew from Paris to Cairo, according to reports.Continue reading...
You won’t be harmed if you don’t do anything wrong, says Rodrigo Duterte, pledging to end crime in six months by assassinating criminals
The Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte said corrupt journalists were legitimate targets of assassination, as he amped up his controversial anti-crime crusade with offers of rewards for killing drug traffickers.
Duterte won this month’s elections by a landslide largely due to an explosive law-and-order platform in which he pledged to end crime within six months by killing tens of thousands of suspected criminals.Continue reading...
Terror group launches counterattack but Iraqi commander says the group of about 100 fighters was eventually repelled
Iraqi forces faced tough resistance from Islamic State fighters as they attempted to enter the centre of Falluja, where there are fears for tens of thousands of trapped civilians.
A day after announcing a push into the city, the last major population centre held by Isis in western Iraq, forces led by Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism service were met by a counterattack in the southern Naimiya district on Tuesday.Continue reading...
Orcas exist in every ocean, adapting to different conditions and diets. Genome sequencing has allowed insights into their evolution - and similarity to humans
Geneticists have deciphered the brief history of the killer whale: the predator that exists in every ocean but has evolved over the generations to hunt in disciplined packs, and specialise in a range of diets.
The lesson is that genetic mutations that may have favoured survival in changing circumstances were then enhanced by natural selection – and by social learning within killer whale family groups.Continue reading...
Concern over deteriorating freedoms as Merve Büyüksaraç, 27, given 14-month suspended sentence for sharing a satirical poem on Instagram
A court has convicted a former Miss Turkey of insulting the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, through social media postings and handed her a 14-month suspended sentence.
The court on Tuesday found 27-year-old Merve Büyüksaraç guilty of insulting a public official. She would have to serve the sentence if she reoffends.Continue reading...
State media outlet welcomes Republican candidate’s ‘far-sighted’ policies and suggestion that he will withdraw troops from Seoul
North Korean state media has praised US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, describing him as a “wise politician” and “far-sighted candidate” who could help unify the Korean peninsula.
An editorial in DPRK Today, an official media outlet, welcomed the Republican presidential candidate’s proposal to hold direct talks with Kim Jong-un, saying he could help bring about Pyongyang’s “Yankee go home” policy.Continue reading...
Company only now discloses scale of hack three years ago – shortly before purchase by Yahoo – as database of passwords is leaked
Personal information from more than 65m Tumblr accounts has been discovered for sale on the darknet.
Tumblr disclosed the leak, which it says took place in early 2013, this month, but had not previously acknowledged the scale of the database that was compromised.Continue reading...
Police looking into possibility of charges of neglect against parents of Yamato Tanooka four days after he disappeared
The search for a 7-year-old boy whose parents left him alone in a forest in Japan as punishment entered its fourth day on Tuesday, as people took to social media to criticise the couple’s actions.
About 180 police officers and firefighters were scouring a mountain forest inhabited by bears as fears grew for the safety of Yamato Tanooka, who went missing early on Saturday evening.Continue reading...
Most accurate measurement so far has estimated the collective mass of the Milky Way’s stars, black holes, dust, dark matter - and unidentified flying objects
Our galaxy has a collective mass 700 billion times that of the sun, according to the most accurate measurement yet by scientists.
The estimate covers the mass of all the stars, black holes, gas clouds, dust, dark matter and other unidentified flying objects in the Milky Way. The previous rough ballpark figure was around a trillion solar masses - the standard measure for big astronomical objects.Continue reading...
Artefacts from Cistercian jewel in Yorkshire displayed for first time since being buried in building collapse 500 years ago
Some of the loot missed by the salvage men who stripped one of the most important and beautiful abbeys in Britain, when Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries, is going on display for the first time in a new museum at Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire.
The artefacts include a beautiful carved stone doorway, reconstructed for the first time since it was buried in a heap of rubble almost 500 years ago, along with a massive ingot stamped with the king’s emblem, weighing half a tonne, made out of the lead from the abbey roof that was melted down in a fire made from the timbers.Continue reading...
Research shows some early tumours can produce molecule made from cholesterol which can mimic oestrogen
Scientists have raised the possibility of using statins – drugs used for reducing cholesterol – to stop some breast cancer tumours returning.
The most common form of breast cancer uses oestrogen to grow. Drugs such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors cut off the supply of oestrogen, reducing the chances that the cancer will return after surgery. But about 12,000 of the 40,000 diagnosed oestrogen-receptor positive (ER-positive) cancers still recur every year.Continue reading...
Awards’ producer aims for coverage online after setbacks for comedy of BBC3 closing and Time Out dropping comedy listings
They were controversially sponsored by Perrier, then a finance company, and a lager. This year the Edinburgh comedy awards will be backed by lastminute.com.
The awards’ producer, Nica Burns, has announced that the travel and lifestyle website will this year replace Foster’s as the principal sponsor.Continue reading...
Survey of drug use finds MDMA is back in mainstream due to ‘creative and aggressive marketing’ and has a higher purity
Ecstasy is making a comeback as the drug of choice for young people in the UK and across Europe – and it is much stronger than before, the EU’s drug agency has warned.Continue reading...
Bathers enjoyed a bracing swim in one of Europe’s few remaining saltwater lidos when Cornwall’s Jubilee Pool reopened at the weekend following a £3m restoration
When you think of Cornish landmarks, a 1930s cubist-inspired lido is probably not the first thing that springs to mind. But judging by the crowds of locals and intrigued bank holiday visitors who turned up to the reopening of Penzance’s Jubilee Pool on Saturday, it could soon be added to the list of the county’s well-known attractions.
Jutting out from the town’s harbour into the sea, the triangular engineering of the pool – designed by Captain F Latham, the borough engineer – sought to streamline its outline and offer the best chance of surviving the brutal south-westerly storms that batter the Cornish coast in winter.Continue reading...
Salman Rushdie thinks schoolchildren should learn poems by heart, and some experts think that, far from making kids hate poetry, the practice could be ‘life-enhancing’
What can you recite by heart? Your times tables? German verb formations? The Lord’s Prayer? Salman Rushdie thinks it should be poetry. Speaking at the Hay Festival, the novelist described memorising poems as a “lost art” that “enriches your relationship with language”. But doesn’t learning poetry by rote make children learn the words but lose the meaning?
Not necessarily, according to David Whitley, a senior lecturer at Cambridge University currently researching poetry and memory. He says that, while some people remember with horror having to recite poems in front of an audience, for many, learning poetry by heart can be “life-enhancing”.Continue reading...
A survey has found 42% of US men rated themselves as ‘completely masculine’ as against 28% in the UK. But does anyone know what ‘masculine’ means today?
British men feel less masculine than American men, according to new research released last week from YouGov.
When asked to rate themselves on a scale of 0 to 6, where 0 meant “completely masculine” and 6 meant “completely feminine”, 42% of men in the US gave themselves a 0, compared with just 28% of men in the UK.Continue reading...
Maria Bamford’s strange sitcom is like being hit by a hurricane: it’s got talking dogs, claymation songs about semen and issues coming out of its ears. It’s exhausting … but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded in spades
For a while there, Netflix seemed to be going off the boil. Returning favourites like House of Cards and Daredevil came back weaker than ever, and new shows like Flaked, The Ranch and The Characters all slumped on to the platform DOA. The freewheeling spirit of adventure that characterised the early days of Netflix original programming had all but died.
Then came Lady Dynamite.Continue reading...
A ‘flash jury’ of randomly selected users will be asked to decide whether flagged comments are abusive, spammy or OK
Periscope, Twitter’s live video streaming service, is experimenting with using a “flash jury” of users to decide whether abusive commenters deserve to be blocked from the site.
The feature is one of the more inventive ways to tackle abusive comments, a problem which is particularly hard to manage on a platform where all comments are overlaid on a live broadcast and sometimes even over the face of the broadcaster.Continue reading...
As Iggy Pop stars in the violent thriller Blood Orange this week, test your knowledge about how many bloody scenes you recognise for past films
Let Me In
The Talented Mr Ripley
28 Days Later
Dawn of the Dead
Friday the 13th
Dressed to Kill
Cabin in the Woods
30 Days of Night
Kill Bill: Volume One
Single White Female
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Let the Right One In
An American Werewolf in London
The Blue Lagoon
Deep Blue Sea
8 and above.
Red looks good on you
0 and above.
That was a bit bloody tough for you
4 and above.
Bleedin' hard huh?Continue reading...
Hydrogen in lunar samples reveals water could have been delivered by asteroids crashing into the moon’s vast magma ocean billions of years ago
Water inside the moon mostly came from asteroids that smashed into the lunar body more than four billion years ago, with comets adding less than previously thought, scientists say.
Composed of material ejected when a large, Mars-sized body ploughed into Earth around 4.5 billion years ago, the moon was long thought to be bone-dry. But research has shown that traces of water exist both on the surface and inside.
Maggie Andrews says members debated how to outwit Nazis and equal rights, and were the acceptable face of feminism
Jam-making by members of the Women’s Institute is normally seen as a fun and essentially benign activity – not a way of killing Nazis.
The Hay festival heard that during the second world war WI branches vigorously debated the consequences of a German invasion and jam was central.Continue reading...
Charles Helms filmed the 15ft reptile as it walked across the course towards a lake
An exceptionally large alligator has been filmed taking a casual stroll across a golf course in Florida, as terrified golf players looked on.
Charles Helms was enjoying a relaxing afternoon of golf with a friend at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Palmetto when he spotted the enormous reptile heading their way.Continue reading...
Dalcrue farm, Pitcairngreen
In a field in Perthshire at dawn, this spine-tingling music-theatre piece told the stories of 306 traumatised young men who were executed for cowardice
There’s mounting evidence that every playwright recruited to write about the first world war is issued with a kit bag containing three obligatory scenes. There’s the one in a recruitment office where a schoolboy lies about his age; the one about a soldier saying goodbye to his sweetheart; and, of course, the one about the Christmas football match in no man’s land.
All are present and correct in this contribution to the 14–18 Now centenary commemorations, but happily they are just the beginning for playwright Oliver Emanuel. Despite its initial familiarity, The 306: Dawn is no mere rehash of All Quiet on the Western Front and Oh! What a Lovely War. Rather, it is an emotive tribute to the soldiers that history left behind.Continue reading...
A classic dish given a seasonal twist with a plethora of spring herbs
Peel, roughly chop and boil 500g of potatoes in deep, lightly salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender enough to mash. Remove the core from 250g of spring cabbage, then roughly chop the leaves and wash them. Cook the cabbage in a saucepan with a little boiling water then drain thoroughly.Continue reading...
Voice-controlled companion, whose touchscreen face shows its emotions, can entertain kids and control the lights
The Taiwanese electronics manufacture Asus has unveiled a home robot called Zenbo that can talk, control your home and provide assistance when needed – all for the cost of a top-end smartphone.
The $599 (£410) robot rolls around on two wheels in the shape of a vacuum cleaner ball with cameras an oblong head extruding from the top with a colour touchscreen displaying a face with emotions. It is capable of independent movement, can respond to voice commands and has both entertainment protocols for keeping kids amused and home care systems to help look after older people.Continue reading...
Bookmakers have become a fixture of the British high street. But the savage murder of a lone employee at a London betting shop has revealed the risks that their workers face
On its last full day of trading, the Ladbrokes betting shop in Morden, south-west London, stayed open until 10 at night. It was Friday 24 May 2013, the beginning of one of those spring-summer weekends for which the schedules of global sport combine to throw up a glut of events that can be gambled on. A European football final, a super-middleweight title fight, a Grand Prix, high-season horse races, a golf tournament. The manager of the Morden Ladbrokes, a 55-year-old Londoner named Andrew Iacovou, sat behind his shop’s counter with a computer, a scroll printer, a coin tray and, beside his knees, a safe – waiting to take bets.
A balding and naturally slight man who spent his free hours in the gym, Iacovou had worked for Ladbrokes for more than 20 years. Quiet but not unconfident and well liked by his regular customers, he was one of the company’s 15,500 employees, around 11,000 of whom worked in Ladbrokes’ 2,200 shops. Iacovou had run a Ladbrokes in Wimbledon, a Ladbrokes in Earlsfield and another Ladbrokes in Morden before moving to his current branch, a glass-fronted shop next to a supermarket, just across the A24 from Morden tube. For more than two decades with the firm, he had seen through changes to the staff uniform (tomato-red polo shirts, now) as well as a series of dispiriting adjustments to his daily workload. In the 1990s, when Iacovou first met his wife, Anita, then a Post Office employee, he worked at the Wimbledon branch. It shut to customers at 5.30pm and Iacovou would close down the premises by 6pm, ready to walk Anita home.Continue reading...
Despite the lack of a starry designer, the fashion house revisited this historic venue with a mix of Anglophilia, Alexa Chung and equestrian jackets
If Brexit is top of the agenda in politics, in fashion, it’s Anglophilia that is so hot right now. This week two European powerhouse brands landed in the UK to showcase their Cruise catwalk collections whilst simultaneously professing their love of all things British. On Tuesday, Parisian brand Christian Dior showed its newest collection within the baroque grandeur of the library rooms at Blenheim Palace, and on Thursday Italian brand Gucci will show its haute eccentric collection against the stained glass backdrop of Westminster Abbey. For billion-euro fashion houses, it seems that a love letter to English chic is best expressed with an excess of tweed, beading, glamour and English heritage buildings.
Ahead of Tuesday’s show Dior was keen to push a natural symbiosis between English and French style. The label’s chief executive Sidney Toledano is a declared anti-Brexiter who has just unveiled a refurbished retail temple filled with original works of modern art on Bond Street. But shop openings don’t make for a compelling narrative in fashion and so the emphasis from the brand was very much on history above commerce, and the strong romantic links between Christian Dior, royalty and British style.Continue reading...
The multitasking celebrity isn’t afraid to tackle issues from kids’ birthday presents to the mansion tax. Now she’s presenting an ITV documentary about the raw treatment of single mothers
On the way into her production company, just off Tottenham Court Road in central London, someone who looks exactly like Myleene Klass ducks in ahead of me, carrying a stack of soft drinks. Either she is a singularly unstarry star, famous to varying degrees since she joined the band Hear’Say in 2001, and still going to the corner shop herself rather than sending a minion. Or, she is a narcissist who only employs people if they look like her. Such are the pitfalls of 15 years in the public eye – judgments peak and trough, praise one minute, insinuation the next, so that by the end of it, you could be anybody. Incidentally, she is the first – the person who still gets her own fizzy pop, and gets everyone else one while she’s there.
If you only follow the sidebar of shame with one eye, you might think of Klass as one of those people who is notable merely for existing at high visibility. She gets written about a lot for no obvious reason – on one occasion of peak Daily Mail, the subject of an article about how “she covered her enviably slender frame with a covetable red dress”. This endless, bitter-hearted papping could trick you into thinking she herself has no content, and is just moving the cups so fast that nobody notices there isn’t a pea. In fact, she is extremely productive. “I’ve worked so hard over the past 10 years,” she says of her clothing ranges – a baby one for Mothercare and womenswear for Littlewoods. “The hard work comes from my mum and dad, being in the forces and in the NHS.” There is an edge; actually, more than that, more like a wedge, of defensiveness, as if she is underlyingly livid at the workshy reputation a pop-star-slash-model-slash-TV-personality might have, but she swears that criticism doesn’t even make it on to her radar.Continue reading...
As the full Glastonbury lineup is revealed, the organiser discusses this year’s tributes and the event’s future plans
As Glastonbury announces its full lineup for 2016, with Damon Albarn, Tame Impala, Christine and the Queens and more added to the bill, Emily Eavis has addressed rumours regarding this year’s festival, and the event’s future ambitions.
Discussing previous suggestions that the festival may move from the Worthy Farm site in Somerset to another location, Eavis denied this would be the case, but revealed the organisers behind Glastonbury would host a new event “in 2019 or 2018, but probably 2019,” in a new location.
Tens of thousands of children believed to be victims of live-streaming abuse, some of it being carried out by their own parents
When Philippine police smashed into the one-bedroom house, they found three girls aged 11, seven and three lying naked on a bed.
At the other end of the room stood the mother of two of the children – the third was her niece – and her eldest daughter, aged 13, who was typing on a keyboard. A live webcam feed on the computer screen showed the faces of three white men glaring out.Continue reading...
Universities are offering languages such as French and German from scratch to counteract the decline of modern foreign languages at A-level
It’s summer term: season of exams, light evenings and – for many year 12s – university open days. With fashionable courses from psychology to sports science beckoning, how many applicants will resist their lure and choose those beleaguered Cinderella subjects, languages?
On current trends, few. The story of the decline of modern languages in UK universities is as familiar as the fact that Madame Marsaud was always dans la cuisine in the textbooks: the numbers taking modern foreign language degree courses fell 16% between 2007-08 and 2013-14.Continue reading...
‘Before we came along, French pop was synonymous with Sacha Distel. I hated it’
Daft Punk were down the street from us in Paris and we could almost hear the music they were making when we opened the window during band sessions. It was the late 1990s, and Paris suddenly had this incredible electronic music scene: all these clubs were opening up. I didn’t get to go to all the parties, though, because I was generally at home with my wife taking care of Solal, our baby. We were poor. I knew our livelihood depended on Air being successful.Continue reading...
Daniel Berrigan stood up for his beliefs – and rescued me from the draft. I’ve been pondering the meaning of resistance as I write a musical about Joan of Arc
The Rev Daniel Berrigan, who died last month, was a priest whose conscience drove him to protest what he perceived as the injustices of the world, most notably the Vietnam war. Throughout his life, Father Berrigan led marches and protests, ministered to the destitute and those dying of Aids, lived simply and wound up on the FBI’s most wanted list for his efforts.
He touched many lives, including my own.Continue reading...
The growth of car-free homes, a drop in driver’s licences and increased car-sharing could all be signs of a move away from the automobile
If all goes according to plan, next year construction will begin on a 30-storey residential tower in Austin, Texas. Nothing new in the daily life of a booming city, except for one thing: the apartment tower will offer no parking spaces to residents.
Whether you gauge it by the growth of car-free homes, a steady drop in drivers’ licences for younger age-groups, or the rise in car-sharing, metropolitan areas across the US have lately made strides in getting residents out of – and rid of – their cars.
Fancy hunting for your dinner in a forest, or eating at Twin Peaks’ Double R Diner? Immersive dining’s mix of theatre and innovative cooking could be for you
In east London, a sniffy butler is welcoming 12 diners into the 16th century. “Ah, Lord Norrington! Greetings!”, he proclaims to a giggling woman in a floral dress. “Sunglasses indoors, my lady? It works for you,” he smiles at a leather-jacket-clad attendee, before rolling his eyes and harrumphing: “It doesn’t seem stupid at all.” Around him are dangling lace curtains, pictures of dead Elizabethans and a vase of roses complete with dry ice that submerges the table in a rolling fog. “Dinner is served!” he announces. At which point, a haughty aristocrat leaps out and startles the diners half to death.
This is immersive dining – specifically, a project called Chambers of Flavours, by theatre-cum-cookery crew Gingerline. Over the past eight months, they have fed about 17,000 guests – sometimes on a gondola, sometimes shoving them into a gigantic machine that looks like something from 80s kids’ TV programme Bertha. In this instance, they are taking them on a tour of theatrical sets (or “parallel dimensions”), where actors serve up a different themed course in each room.Continue reading...
A year ago at his inauguration the president promised to eliminate the terror group, still classed as one of the world’s most deadly
Time is up for Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president and former army general, who promised before his inauguration on 29 May last year to stamp out Boko Haram within 12 months – and has singularly failed to do so, despite a tough military crackdown in the country’s north-east.
While the terrorist group, blamed for 20,000 deaths over the past seven years, has taken a beating, it is down but not out. Analysts warn, meanwhile, that Buhari’s harsh approach to unrest of any kind may be causing more problems than it solves across Nigeria as a whole.Continue reading...
With development of London’s best-known riverside ruin finally under way, Peter Watts remembers what could have been – from a Noddyland theme park to a rubbish incinerator or Chelsea’s football ground
For 30 years, the listing for Battersea Power Station in the London A-Z has alternated between “under development” and “disused”. Right now, it’s very much the former.
London’s best-known ruin buzzes with traffic. Built in the 1930s and abandoned since 1983, the power station is covered in scaffolding and has just a single new chimney; three original, rotten chimneys have been demolished and are being rebuilt. In the building’s shadow, blocks of flats are rising, acres of glass that obstruct long-cherished views.Continue reading...
As privatisation agency chairman, Stergios Pitsiorlas is seen as the right man to expedite disposal of a growing list of assets
In Greece today, government power comes with few trappings. Unable to tap capital markets and dependent wholly on international aid, the debt-stricken country’s senior officials are acrobats in a tightrope act. They are placating creditors, whose demands at times seem insatiable, and citizens, whose shock is never far away.
Few know this better than Stergios Pitsiorlas, the head of Greece’s privatisation agency. The agency’s asset portfolio – readily available online – goes some way to explaining why. A catalogue of beaches, islands, boutique hotels, golf courses, Olympic venues and historic properties in Plaka on the slopes beneath the ancient Acropolis, it could be a shopping list for the scenery in a movie – rather than a list of possessions that Athens is under immense pressure to offload.Continue reading...
A headteacher tells the story of one child’s personal struggle to pass her GCSE exams while recovering from abuse
This month’s GCSEs are stressful for all year 11 students, but for some they are an almost insurmountable hurdle. One girl in my school, Lily, has the ability to do very well in her exams but her life is a mental health nightmare. We have done our best to help, but we know it is not enough.
Lily is a bright student but this year her attendance has been down to about 50%. She is one of a growing number of children in my school with mental health problems. About 10% have severe issues, and up to 30-40% have a problem that affects their life but may not seem severe or evident to others. With services being cut or neglected, schools can become the only help left.Continue reading...
As the final Hellboy comic is published, Mike Mignola discusses how he started, how Hollywood didn’t kill his creation and why he is embracing ‘blur and mush’
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy is one of the most widely praised and visually distinctive comics of the last three decades, spawning two critically acclaimed Guillermo Del Toro movies, several spin-off comic books and assorted paraphernalia from action figures to video games.
Now, the character’s high-contrast, minimalist adventures are concluding with the hero ending his days where he began them: hell itself, where Mignola says he has found unexpected artistic freedom. The final issue ships this Wednesday, 1 June.Continue reading...
As an annual survey finds MDMA is making a comeback, we want to hear from those who work with addiction about reducing the damage of drug misuse
Ecstasy is making a comeback, according to a report from the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction (EMCDDA).
After its peak during the 1990s house, rave and techno scenes, it’s returning to popularity with both established drug users and a new generation due to “creative and aggressive marketing” (including the use of logos such as Superman and UPS) and the fact it now has higher purity.Continue reading...
Can you do better than Tim Martin and JD Wetherspoons?
JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has never been shy to express his view on Britain’s membership of the EU.
He’s against it.Continue reading...
The economy? Environment? Security? Tell us about the one key EU argument that defines your decision to vote to stay or to leave
There is now less than a month to go before the EU referendum. It can be difficult to separate the thousands of competing arguments and details, to untangle the facts from the speculation, but for many of us there will by now have emerged one overriding argument that defines our view.Continue reading...
Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of them
Long time, no see, everyone! On this dreary bank holiday in the UK, it’s lovely to welcome everyone again to this week’s blog. Here’s a roundup of your comments and photos from the last two weeks, including chats about translation, tackling classics and funny books.
Vieuxtemps has embarked on a mammoth pile of classics: The Other House by Henry James, broken open a Primo Levi boxset, Tales of Mystery by Elizabeth Gaskell, and Heart of Darkness and Other Tales by Joseph Conrad, which they called “excellent and creepy”.Continue reading...
Is it worth doing the ECDL training course as I don’t have the right experience?
Twice a week we publish problems that will feature in a forthcoming Dear Jeremy advice column in the Saturday Guardian so that readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights. Here is the latest dilemma – what are your thoughts?
I’m in my mid-20s and feel stuck in the customer service industry. I have no interest in progressing into management where I am. I’m quite methodical and would like to move into admin, but I can’t find any admin jobs where you don’t need experience.Continue reading...
Come and share your long weekend of racing, running or resting below the line as always: bank holidays are no excuse
Apologies for the late debrief this morning, I’m just back at the computer after the formerly-known-as-Bupa-10km. Now known as the Vitality 10km, but I can’t quite get my head around that. I’d forgotten quite what a massive race it is – a huge field, starting more or less exactly where the London Marathon finishes, and looping around central London to St Paul’s and back.
Theoretically – and certainly for other people – it’s a fast course, though it never seems to work out that way for me. I made the mistake of starting too far back and spent the first two miles – a fair proportion of the race – trying to get past people. Then again, I’m not sure my heart was really in a proper “go for a PB race”, so perhaps I’m just making excuses. I finished in a negative split, which has to be a first for a 10km race for me, and a nowhere-near-PB time that still, I reckon, just about qualifies as a hard training workout. I’ve realised from previous summers of 10km races that I need a good run up at these things – starting with a good tempo run, building on that in a series of races through the summer. So let’s call this a season opener …Continue reading...
Are you bursting with referendum fever or getting on with life usual? Either way, we want to see your photos
Apathy and ennui are not our friends. With the little free time we have, too many of us become trapped in patterns of empty behaviour, forever scrolling through our social media feeds or the offerings of our preferred streamed entertainment service. Eventually, the outside world - which we feel, dimly, involves us somehow - becomes a kind of background hum.
Occasionally, we notice something. For example, some of you may be aware that a referendum on Britain’s future of the European Union is taking place soon.
Forty years ago apartheid police killed hundreds of children protesting in the Johannesburg township. Were you there? We want your help telling this story
Wednesday 16 June 1976 was a day that would change South Africa, when some 10,000 black children and teenagers took to the streets of Soweto to protest against being forced to study in Afrikaans, the language of their white oppressors.
As apartheid police responded to the march with force, the protest turned violent. By the end of the day, around 176 young people had been killed and thousands more injured when police fired live ammunition into the crowd.Continue reading...
Have you seen a news story you think we should be covering – or is there a more timeless idea you’d like to read about? Let us know here
Last week brought us Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima, news of London’s Tower for Toffs and a viral letter from a graduate who felt cheated by the government over high interest rates on his loan. But what would you like to read about this week?
Tell us about the stories that have caught your eye recently – in the news or on more timeless topics. What would you like to read about the subject? Is there a voice you think is missing in the discussion?
This isn’t the first time he’s lied to me about his behaviour – I also discovered he had been paying for porn
My husband and I have been having relationship problems, but I thought we were doing OK until I found out he has been lying. He went away for a long weekend with friends and they visited lapdancing clubs. I knew as soon as I picked them all up at the airport – they looked so guilty. But when I asked him later he lied, first about visiting a lapdancing club, then about having a lap dance, then about how much he spent on lapdances, and about physical contact during the lapdance. One of his other friends told his wife all the details, and so the rest made a pact to keep it secret from their wives.
He expects me to just get over it but I am so hurt by his behaviour that I can’t. It’s not the first time: previously, I discovered he had been paying for porn – again, when I confronted him he denied it until I showed him the credit card statement. I don’t feel we really recovered from this but stayed together anyway. There have been several other times when he has stayed out all night with no explanation, sent porn emails around his office and inappropriate texts to women at work, and got into fights – he’s been charged with assault more than once. All this he blames on drinking too much and not feeling like he has grown up. I don’t know how we can regain trust, or get over this yet again.Continue reading...
Wherever you are in the world, we’d like to see your pictures on the theme ‘acrobatic.’ Share your best photos via GuardianWitness
We’re now running a regular weekly photography assignment in the Observer New Review and the next theme is ‘acrobatic.’ So if it’s a night at the circus, a gymnastics event or a moment of flexibility share your photos of what acrobatic means to you – and tell us about your image in the description box.
The closing date is Thursday 2 June at 10 am. We’ll publish our favourites in The New Review on Sunday 5 June and in a gallery on the Guardian site.Continue reading...
We don’t even know if this is still the done thing
Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.
This week’s question:Continue reading...
On the frontpage of many papers today is a picture of a boat carrying migrants capsizing in the Mediterranean sea. How do such photos affect you?
It tipped over “due to overcrowding and instability caused by the high number of people on board”, the Italian navy said in a statement. Those on board clung desperately to the deck or dropped into the sea, with five found dead.Continue reading...
Our reader suggests Janis Joplin or Freddie Mercury as jumping off points: make your suggestion in the comments and they’ll pick a playlist next week
This week we want your musical recommendations with unusual or extraordinary vocals. Maybe the voice is extraordinary or distinctive to begin with, or a particular vocal performance is out-of-this-world? Either way, and however you interpret what the word ‘extraordinary’ constitutes – pick your tune and make your suggestions now.Continue reading...
A new adaptation of Alex Haley’s book Roots airs at the end of May. If the transatlantic slave trade had an impact on you or your family, we’d like to hear from you
An adaptation of Alex Haley’s story of an African who is sold into slavery in America, the original series of Roots won nine Emmys. It was seen by 100 million viewers – among the most watched TV broadcasts of the past 40 years. Now, nearly 40 years on a remake of the epic drama is returning to our screens. Covering the American Revolution, Civil War and emancipation, it chronicles the life of Kunta Kinte and the life of his family over the years.
Documenting the appalling plight of African America’s slave ancestors the new show follows films such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Addressing those who questioned why he made the film McQueen said, “people want to close their eyes on some subjects. They want to keep on going, they don’t want to look behind them.”Continue reading...
To coincide with Cornelia Parker’s latest exhibition, we’d like to see photos of objects close to your heart and the stories behind them
This summer, artist Cornelia Parker is curating a group exhibition at The Foundling Museum in London, in which more than 60 artists, writers and composers have been asked to respond to the word “found,” by contributing a found object that means something to them. To coincide with the exhibition we’d like to see photos of your own items that hold a special value to you.
Do you have a special object that you have found that tells a specific story in your life? Maybe it was something you thought you’d lost long ago only to rediscover it when having a clear out or moving house? Whether it’s an item found on the street, a charity shop or an object of sentimental value that has been passed down to you from older generations, share your found objects with us, and tell us the stories behind them.Continue reading...
The British actor will be joined by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in Mary Poppins Returns, which takes place 20 years on from the famous first film
Move over, Julie Andrews. There’s a new Mary Poppins in town.
Walt Disney Studios announced on Tuesday that Into the Woods star Emily Blunt would be taking over the part of the famous nanny in a sequel to the 1964 classic film, confirming the British actor’s long-heralded involvement. She was said to be the producers’ first choice.Continue reading...
Video reportedly taken during concert in Verona, Italy, shows singer telling audience member ‘this isn’t a DVD, this is a real show’
Singer Adele wants concertgoers to look at her with their own eyes instead of through a camera lens.
A video posted by a fan on Twitter shows the 28-year-old British singer singling out a woman at a concert, asking her: “Could you stop filming me with that video camera? Because I’m really here in real life, you can enjoy it in real life rather than through your camera.”Continue reading...
Mark Romanek, Lorene Scafaria and Lynn Shelton tweet support for actor after John Carney said he would ‘never make a film with supermodels again’
Major directors have shown their support for Keira Knightley after she was criticised by the director John Carney over their collaboration on Begin Again.
Mark Romanek, who directed the actor in Never Let Me Go, wrote on Twitter that working with Knightley was “utterly spectacular”. Meanwhile, Lorene Scafaria, Knightley’s director for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, said she was “just lovely” and Say When director Lynn Shelton also referred to the actor as “magnificent”.Continue reading...
Cycling legend suspected of giving Brussels commissioner and his wife top-end bikes to win contract, report says
Eddy Merckx, the Belgian sportsman widely regarded as the greatest cyclist of all time, could face corruption charges over sweeteners he allegedly paid for a contract to supply bikes to a Brussels police force.
The Belgian paper La Dernière Heure (DH) said the five-time Tour de France winner is suspected of giving the commissioner of the Brussels-Midi police force and his wife two top-end bicycles made by his company in order to win a €15,000 (£11,500) contract to supply 46 cycles to officers in Anderlecht in 2006.Continue reading...
The Hollywood legends may be in their 90s, but they’re all fired up. Carl trolls Trump, Dick still dances on rooftops – and they both want a gay president
A statue of a cartoon dog greets me as I enter Carl Reiner’s home in Beverly Hills. It was one of the last things Estelle – the late wife of the writer, actor and director – ordered from a catalogue. Everywhere I look, there are stacks of books and DVDs, not to mention a prominent bust of Shakespeare, and a chair where comedian Mel Brooks, Reiner’s best friend, sits every night as the two watch Jeopardy! and exchange quips over dinner. On the sofa beside Reiner sits Dick Van Dyke, dressed in a dapper beige blazer and navy slacks. When the actor stands up, I feel very short. He’s sharp, thoughtful and jovial as he chats with his old friend.
Reiner, now 94, is still every inch the charmer. Every few minutes, he stops to scribble down notes as he thinks of something that tickles him. “Start talking, something will come” – that’s his philosophy on creativity, and he has spent his latter years knocking out an impressive number of books, with titles such as What I Forgot to Remember and I Just Remembered.
Rolling Stones guitarist becomes father again, two days before his 69th birthday
Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has become a father again, to twin girls, two days before his 69th birthday.
He and his wife, Sally Humphreys, 38, welcomed their daughters on Monday.Continue reading...
Irons, who played butler Alfred Pennyworth in Dawn of Justice, says ‘it took $800m, so the kicking didn’t matter, but it was overstuffed’
Jeremy Irons says the superhero blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice deserved to receive hideous reviews. Irons played butler Alfred Pennyworth to Ben Affleck’s Batman/Bruce Wayne.
Zack Snyder’s film has so far made $871m (£595m) globally, despite its reputation as critical kryptonite. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Irons said the poor reviews reflected the film’s “muddled” storyline. “I mean it took $800m, so the kicking didn’t matter but it was sort of overstuffed,” he said.Continue reading...
She has excelled as sidekicks. Now Ashley Jensen finally has a lead role – as Agatha Raisin, a PR exec who solves rural murders
Ashley Jensen is talking about her career before Extras, the Ricky Gervais series that made her famous a decade ago. “What was weird was that I always considered myself a success when I was working in theatre, because I was supporting myself in my chosen profession,” she says. “America was never on the agenda. Films were something other actors did. But I had a partner, we had quite a nice life – we had a dog, we did the odd job. I honestly never thought, ‘It’s really not working out.’”
Jensen is now sitting among the signs of a successful screen actor: we’re in London in the suite of a Soho hotel, a makeup artist is packing away his tools, the photographer his lights. There is a selection of tiny cakes on the table, as well as an array of snacks. It’s fancy. And the actor, now in her mid-40s, is the lead at last, after years of playing the friend: socially awkward Maggie in Extras; brittle Fran in Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s Catastrophe; seamstress Christina in Ugly Betty.Continue reading...
Katie Couric apologized on Monday after days of criticism about a “misleading” edit in her new documentary that made gun rights advocates “appear to be speechless” when asked a simple question about gun control.
“I take responsibility,” the news anchor wrote in a statement on the website for Under the Gun, a documentary about gun violence in America that she narrated and produced.Continue reading...
Mission Survive will not be recommissioned for third run as broadcaster ‘refreshes’ entertainment portfolio
Bear Grylls may know how to survive in the world’s harshest climates – but one of his most recent shows has become a casualty of the cut-throat media jungle.
ITV has cancelled Bear Grylls: Mission Survive after two series, citing an ongoing “refreshment” of the channel’s entertainment portfolio.
From steampunk to surrealism, Star Wars to country cottages and futuristic cities to wildernesses, these aesthetics impressContinue reading...
The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of the best photographs from around the world, including poverty in the Philippines and a display in Cologne CathedralContinue reading...
The ebb and flow of oceans around the world reveal the planet’s daily dance in the sloshing of billions of tonnes of water. Hugh Aldersey-Williams examines the collision of immovable object and irresistible force at the boundary between land and seaContinue reading...
Photographer Libby Hall documented her local pub in Leiston, Suffolk, as the village tipped into the modern world with the arrival of the Sizewell power station next doorContinue reading...
A bag specifically for one season might feel decadent, but you can only get away with it when it’s hot. And not raining. And, ideally, on the beach. See? Decadent. But look how pretty they are …Continue reading...
During Memorial Day weekend more than 60 dogs took part in the annual Wiener Dog 100 race at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut, helping to raise funds for the Connecticut Dachshund Rescue and Pet ServicesContinue reading...
Highly influential New York artist Cindy Sherman made taking selfies an art form before the word even existed. Throughout her career she has experimented with costume, prosthetics, makeup and digital photography to create highly exaggerated and ofttimes grotesque character studies. A new exhibition at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane includes more than 50 large-scale works by Sherman. The images draw from her series Clowns (2003–04), made in the aftermath of the 2001 US terrorist attacks; Society portraits (2008), and work made in conjunction with fashion houses Balenciaga and Chanel
Is your wardrobe ready for the summer holiday season? Here are 30 updates, from Saint Laurent-inspired palm prints to Japanese denim and suede shoes, to keep you looking sharpContinue reading...