| Donald Trump attacks British PM Theresa May over her criticism of his far-right retweets
Nov 30th 2017, 02:18, by David Smith in Washington
In rare clash between allies, US president tells May to focus on terrorism rather than on him – but sends the tweet to the wrong person
Donald Trump has fired a Twitter broadside at Theresa May, opening an extraordinary diplomatic spat between the transatlantic allies.
“Theresa @theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom,” the US president posted on Wednesday evening. “We are doing just fine!”
| One-third of UK dieters have used slimming pills bought online – report
Nov 30th 2017, 00:01, by Sarah Marsh
UK medicines regulator warns that many of the websites are unregulated and sell fake diet pills containing banned ingredients
One-third of people trying to lose weight have tried potentially dangerous slimming pills bought online, a government survey has found.
One in three participants had taken substances bought through websites, according to the poll of 1,805 people released by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Slimming World.
| Nationwide builders’ society: mutual to build 200 ‘fair price’ homes
Nov 30th 2017, 00:01, by Patrick Collinson
Building society dips toe into property development with £50m sale-and-rent scheme in Swindon, where its HQ is based
Nationwide Building Society is to directly build about 200 “fair price” homes for sale and rent for the first time with a scheme in Swindon.
But the mutual said it was only tiptoeing into property development and had no plans to become a volume housebuilder.
| ‘You can get killed’: journalists living in fear as states crack down
Nov 30th 2017, 00:01, by Michael Safi in Delhi, Jonathan Watts in São Paulo, Oliver Holmes in Bangkok, Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul and Shaun Walker in Moscow
Independent journalists are under siege in a growing list of supposedly freer countries such as Brazil, Turkey, India and Mexico
Some languish in hiding, exile – or jail. Others self-censor, use pseudonyms or seek pre-approval from officials before they go to press.
Some are trapped in a paradox: hoping that their work is not too popular, not too well read, so it does not create too many problems.
| Prison inspectors given powers to alert minister to urgent problems
Nov 30th 2017, 00:01, by Alan Travis Home affairs editor
Justice secretary announces ‘urgent notification protocol’ to help improve conditions in English and Welsh jails
The justice secretary, David Lidington, has unveiled a series of measures that the government hopes will urgently tackle failing prisons in England and Wales.
From Thursday, the chief inspector of prisons has been given new powers to alert the justice secretary directly of any urgent and severe problems he finds during a jail inspection.
| Wayne Rooney admits Everton wonder goal ‘might be my best ever’
Nov 29th 2017, 23:51, by Paul Wilson at Goodison Park
• Captain scores superb goal from halfway line in 4-0 rout of West Ham
• Victory moves side up to 13th place as David Unsworth departs on high note
Sam Allardyce was a privileged spectator at Goodison as Wayne Rooney rolled back the years with a wonderful hat-trick. The Everton captain welcomed the manager -in-waiting watching from the stands with the first three goals in a comprehensive 4-0 victory over West Ham that lifted his side into 13th place in the table, and the player’s first hat-trick for his boyhood club was completed with a stunning goal from the halfway line.
Related: Sam Allardyce watches on as Wayne Rooney hat-trick seals rare Everton win
| Muslim population in some EU countries could triple, says report
Nov 29th 2017, 23:33, by Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
Figures suggest stark east-west divide, with UK population share rising from 6.3% to 16.7% in one scenario
The Muslim population in some European countries could triple by 2050 while it will barely change in others, according to new projections released by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre.
The report, Europe’s Growing Muslim Population, shows a stark west-east divide. The Muslim share of Germany’s population could grow from 6.1% in 2016 to 19.7% in 2050 if high migration continues, whereas over the border Poland’s share would change from 0.1% to 0.2% in the same scenario.
| Antonio Conte sent off before Rüdiger header sees Chelsea past Swansea City
Nov 29th 2017, 23:29, by Ed Aarons at Stamford Bridge
These are nervous times for Paul Clement. In a week during which two of Swansea City’s relegation rivals will appoint new managers, a narrow away defeat against the reigning champions, courtesy of Antonio Rüdiger’s second-half header, does not sound like the worst result.
Yet the manner of this performance – Swansea barely mustered a shot in anger – and with the Welsh club now the only team in the bottom five not to have parted company with their manager this season, it is clear that Clement’s time is running out fast.
| North Korea: Trump threatens ‘major sanctions’ after latest missile test
Nov 29th 2017, 23:25, by Julian Borger in Washington and agencies
The president said he had spoken with China’s leader Xi Jinping, and ‘this situation will be handled’ after North Korea fired a powerful, ballistic missile
Donald Trump threatened to impose major sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s latest test of a ballistic missile, that appeared capable of reaching most if not all of the US mainland.
The US president’s remarks were followed by UN ambassador Nikki Haley saying the ballistic missile launch “brings us closer to war” at an emergency UN security council meeting, which would end the North Korean regime.
| Australia bans transvaginal mesh products as ‘too risky’
Nov 29th 2017, 23:15, by Melissa Davey
Therapeutic Goods Administration says the risk to patients using the mesh products to treat pelvic floor organ prolapse outweighs the benefits
Transvaginal mesh products used by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse have been quietly banned overnight by Australia’s medical devices regulator, which found the products are too risky.
In an update posted on its website, the Therapeutic Goods Administration said the move followed its review of the latest international studies and an examination of the clinical evidence for each product supplied in Australia.
| A Christmas Carol review – Rhys Ifans’ shaggy skinflint serves up a festive feast
Nov 29th 2017, 23:00, by Michael Billington
Old Vic, London
Jack Thorne’s superb retelling mines the ghosts of Scrooge’s past in a timely production brimming with love and affection
Two months after Dickens’s story first appeared at Christmas in 1843 there were eight rival versions on the London stage. It has been endlessly adapted ever since, but Jack Thorne’s new version, starring Rhys Ifans as Scrooge, stands high on my list of favourites. In Matthew Warchus’s superb production it combines Dickens’s social anger with a genuine sense of festivity.
Thorne seems the right man for the job in that, as he proved in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Let the Right One In, he has a love of the spectral. He also instinctively understands GK Chesterton’s point that A Christmas Carol is “an enjoyable nightmare”. While heightening the fable’s hallucinatory quality, Thorne gives it unexpected psychological depth. Scrooge is here endowed with an abusive, debt-ridden dad whose presence helps to explain his own joyless addiction to money. The love he spurns as a lad is given tangible shape in Mr Fezziwig’s sympathetic daughter, Belle. Thorne has even tidied up Dickens’s ending in a way that makes me wonder if he has read John Sutherland’s marvellous essay How Do the Cratchits Cook Scrooge’s Turkey?
| Russia’s deputy prime minister drawn into doping allegations
Nov 29th 2017, 22:35, by Martha Kelner and Sean Ingle
• Vitaly Mutko implicated in whistleblower diaries
• GB bobsleigh team to get retrospective Sochi bronze
Russia’s deputy prime minister has sought to play down evidence that suggests his direct involvement in the country’s systematic doping programme.
Diary entries from the key whistleblower in the Russian doping scandal have been published, detailing meetings with Vitaly Mutko, who was the country’s sports minister at the time.
| England fans told to stick to a pint on World Cup matchdays if they want to stay safe
Nov 29th 2017, 22:30, by Martha Kelner
• Visit Russia cannot guarantee safety if supporters are drunk and offensive
• Fifa forced to deny Friday’s World Cup draw in the Kremlin will be rigged
England fans at the World Cup finals in Russia next summer have been told to restrict their alcohol intake to one pint of beer before or after the game in order to ensure their safety.
A tourism executive said he believed there would be no repeat of the violent clashes that marred Euro 2016, providing England fans do not get too drunk.
| Welsh first minister says he will not attend Carl Sargeant funeral
Nov 29th 2017, 22:24, by Steven Morris
Carwyn Jones said although he would liked to have paid respects to Labour politician, he would ‘respect the wishes of the family’
The Welsh first minister will not attend the funeral of the Labour politician Carl Sargeant, who was found dead after being sacked as a minister amid allegations of harassment.
Carwyn Jones said he and his wife, Lisa, would have liked to attend his friend’s funeral on Friday but would respect the wishes of the family and stay away.
| Argentina ‘death flight’ pilots sentenced for deaths including pope’s friend
Nov 29th 2017, 22:17, by Uki Goñi in Buenos Aires
| Raheem Sterling earns Manchester City dramatic late win over Saints
Nov 29th 2017, 22:12, by Daniel Taylor at the Etihad Stadium
It was an extraordinary finale and there might not have been a better goal celebration here since the seismic day Sergio Agüero pulled back his right foot to score the goal against QPR that won Manchester City the league in 2012. Raheem Sterling was at the front of the chase and it was difficult to keep count of the number of team-mates, substitutes and coaches trying to keep up. Even Benjamin Mendy, currently rehabilitating after major knee surgery, was in pursuit, wearing a pink hat and trying to get a selfie.
Sterling ran the whole length of the pitch after the dramatic curled finish, five minutes into stoppage time, to maintain City’s long winning sequence and Pep Guardiola looked close to the point of spontaneous combustion as he hared on to the playing surface, pumping his fists, after the final whistle sounded moments later. Guardiola was so fired up the referee Paul Tierney had to tell him to calm down. Still breathless, City’s manager apologised in the post-match press conference and insisted he had merely been telling Nathan Redmond he was a great player as they came off together. Arms flapping, bellowing in the player’s face, it was a strange form of congratulations.
| Vice-chancellor says she is ‘not embarrassed’ by £468k pay controversy
Nov 29th 2017, 22:08, by Patrick Greenfield
Glynis Breakwell has agreed to step down from role at Bath University but says her salary reflects a competitive jobs market
The vice-chancellor of Bath University has said she is not embarrassed by controversy over her £468,000 pay package, insisting her salary reflects a competitive international jobs market.
Glynis Breakwell, the UK’s highest paid vice-chancellor, agreed to step down on Tuesday following months of criticism surrounding her remuneration, but has faced more condemnation after it was revealed she will still be paid her full salary after leaving the post.
| Mesut Özil provides the inspiration as Arsenal hammer Huddersfield
Nov 29th 2017, 22:06, by Jacob Steinberg at the Emirates Stadium
As Mesut Özil glided through to add a glorious flourish to one of the more devastating spells of individual genius that the Premier League will witness this season, it was hard not to wonder if his delicious scooped finish over Jonas Lossl was merely part of the German’s protracted farewell in an Arsenal shirt. He had produced a breathtaking four-minute burst to break Huddersfield Town’s spirit when the game was in the balance and there must have been plenty of people here, not least Arsène Wenger, wincing at the thought of not getting to enjoy Özil’s many gifts next season.
Related: Man City v Southampton, Chelsea v Swansea, Stoke v Liverpool and more – as it happened
| Gloria Allred and Idris Elba headline Sundance film festival 2018 lineup
Nov 29th 2017, 22:04, by Benjamin Lee
Documentary about women’s rights lawyer will join British actor’s directorial debut, Yardie, alongside films starring Daisy Ridley and Keira Knightley
A documentary on the leading women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred and Idris Elba’s directorial debut are just two of the major movies that will premiere at 2018’s Sundance film festival.
The announcement of the festival’s full line-up also features a variety of big-name actors, including Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart, and a string of films that promise to speak to a whirlwind year of political and social upheaval in the US.
| Peaky Blinders recap – series 4, episode 3: Blackbird
Nov 29th 2017, 22:00, by Sarah Hughes
The Blinders was dripping in betrayals this week in a sorrow-filled hour haunted by the ghosts of war
For all its gaudy swagger, Peaky Blinders has always had a melancholy streak, and is arguably at its best when indulging it. Certainly, Blackbird was the strongest episode of this series so far, a sorrow-filled hour haunted by the ghosts of war and what might have been.
It was also dripping in betrayals, large and small. Thus, the rest of the Shelbys went behind Arthur’s back to agree Aberama Gold should kill Luca Changretta – an act of mercy conceived by Polly and forced through by the increasingly vocal Linda. Unfortunately, Arthur’s no-show at the family meeting meant that he ended up having a run-in with two of Changretta’s men, having apparently been betrayed by a member of Devlin’s workforce (poor, beleaguered Devlin, I really do hope he makes it out of this alive).
| Mobo awards 2017: Stormzy dominates with three wins
Nov 29th 2017, 22:00, by Ben Beaumont-Thomas
South London MC takes home best male artist, album and grime act prizes at annual celebration of black British music
Stormzy, the charismatic grime MC who won the approval of Jeremy Corbyn as well as millions of fans, was the big winner at the 2017 Mobo awards.
He scooped three prizes: best male artist, best grime act, and best album, for the chart-topping Gang Signs & Prayer. But he was prevented from making it a clean sweep in the five categories he was nominated in.
| Tories briefed on new policies after fears about ‘compassionless’ image
Nov 29th 2017, 22:00, by Rowena Mason Deputy political editor
Principles developed after backlash over party’s rhetoric on foxhunting and ivory trade during the general election
Conservative MPs have been briefed by No 10 on seven new policy principles underpinned by a focus on the environment, after internal polling suggested the party is not seen as caring enough.
Groups of Tories were called in to Downing Street for meetings with Gavin Barwell, the prime minister’s chief of staff, this week to be told about the party’s political narrative, entitled “Building a Britain fit for the future”.
| Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah see Liverpool past limited Stoke
Nov 29th 2017, 21:57, by Nick Miller at the Bet365 Stadium
This will not rank alongside Liverpool’s most memorable wins of the season. Some of their victories have been devastating displays of attacking football, the sort that make you glad to be a fan. This 3-0 victory against a desperate Stoke City side was not much more than efficient, earned by goals from Sadio Mané and a brace from the substitute Mohamed Salah, but it might end up being among their most satisfying three points.
“It was well deserved, but it was hard work,” said Jürgen Klopp after the game, which might be a little charitable to their opponents, who hardly presented the most fearsome and doughty foes. But it will nonetheless be encouraging for Liverpool that they looked pretty comfortable throughout against a team that set out to frustrate them.
| Chris Wood has Burnley galloping to victory at all-at-sea Bournemouth
Nov 29th 2017, 21:45, by Ben Fisher at the Vitality Stadium
It is rousing displays of this nature, to earn a fourth win in five games, that have won Sean Dyche so many admirers. This was almost the absolute away performance as Burnley defeated Bournemouth at their own game to leapfrog Tottenham and swagger into sixth place in the Premier League, three points off fourth.
It is no wonder the landlord at the Princess Royal pub in Burnley has mooted the idea of renaming the hostelry after Dyche if they end up in the Champions League spots come the end of this rollercoaster ride in May. These are heady days in Lancashire.
| NBC fires Today show host Matt Lauer for inappropriate sexual behavior
Nov 29th 2017, 21:35, by Graham Ruddick and Amanda Holpuch
| Lobster found with Pepsi logo ‘tattoo’ fuels fears over ocean litter
Nov 29th 2017, 21:20, by Ashifa Kassam in Toronto
- Blue-and-red image appears on claw of lobster found off New Brunswick
- How the logo got there remains a topic of debate
Concerns over debris littering the world’s oceans are back in the spotlight after a Canadian fishing crew found a lobster with the blue and red Pepsi logo imprinted on its claw.
Trapped in the waters off Grand Manan, New Brunswick, the lobster had been loaded onto a crate to have its claws banded when Karissa Lindstrand came across it.
| Tiger Woods ready for soft relaunch at the Hero World Challenge
Nov 29th 2017, 20:42, by Ewan Murray in the Bahamas
• Former world No1 shows glimpses of old self on eve of comeback
• Justin Thomas will partner the 14-times major winner on Thursday
There were only a handful of people there to watch. Given the remoteness – and exclusivity – of this location, there may only be a handful more when Tiger Woods takes to the 1st tee on Thursday for this, his latest reappearance from supposedly the brink of oblivion. Yet on Wednesday, albeit in the pro-am format far removed from the major championships which were once Woods’s prime domain, he supplied one of those moments which once defined his professional status.
Related: Just give me time to see what this body can and can’t do, says Tiger Woods
| Mercedes’ Toto Wolff says female-only series will harm women’s F1 chances
Nov 29th 2017, 20:27, by Press Association
• Comments come as plans emerge for inaugural women-only series in 2019
• Wolff says event is ‘giving up on the mission’ of women competing in F1
Toto Wolff, the Mercedes F1 executive director, believes a single-gender motor racing championship would “undermine” women and harm their prospects of making it to Formula One.
Plans have been drawn up by a London-based company to stage an inaugural women-only series which could be launched in 2019. The proposal intends to see women drivers compete at six races, with the champion promised a Formula One test drive.
| Flea markets, favelas and football fever: Sāo Paulo storms Instagram – in pictures
Nov 29th 2017, 20:26, by Elle Hunt
Brazil’s mind-boggling metropolis is the most Instagrammed city in the southern hemisphere – and for good reason. We’ve assembled the most striking snaps
São Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world; much of its population of 12m sees only a small part of it. Miguel Garcia uses Instagram to show them more.
He founded @saopaulocity four years ago in an effort to foster Paulistas’ city pride. “My motivations were to make people take care of the city and not just complain about its difficulties,” he says.
| Trainer David Evans laughed and joked as he gave non-runner tip to Ladbrokes
Nov 29th 2017, 19:40, by Greg Wood
• Black Dave trainer put on £6,000 bet then said his other horse ‘ain’t gonna run’
• Bookie, asked if information will help him, replies: ‘it will do, yeah, yeah’
David Evans, who recently described a fine of £3,140 as “very lenient” after he admitted an offence relating to bets on his horse Black Dave at Wolverhampton in January 2015, laughed and joked with a Ladbrokes trader and then asked “does that help you?” after passing on information about a non-runner from his yard in the same race, according to a transcript of the conversation released on Wednesday.
Evans admitted conduct which “prejudiced the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horseracing” when the British Horseracing Authority’s independent disciplinary panel heard the case this month. The transcript of his conversation with Jeremy Thomas, of Ladbrokes, was released on Wednesday as an appendix to the panel’s written reasons for its judgment and penalty.
| A bigger slice of the pie: Just Eat enters FTSE 100, with £5.5bn valuation
Nov 29th 2017, 19:37, by Rupert Neate Wealth correspondent
Online takeaway company flourishes on the back of UK consumers’ love for having pizzas, curries and kebabs delivered to their door
Just Eat, the online takeaway company, was on Wednesday night officially promoted into the FTSE 100 list of Britain’s blue chip companies, with a valuation of £5.5bn – making it worth half a billion pounds more than the UK’s second biggest supermarket chain .
The UK’s love affair with having pizzas, curries and kebabs delivered to their door has spawned a mobile food business with no products and no outlets that is more highly valued than Sainsbury’s, which sells 90,000 products through 1,400 stores – and also owns the Argos chain. Just Eat is also worth more than Morrisons and Marks & Spencer.
| Michel Barnier raises UK hackles with speech about Isis and Brexit
Nov 29th 2017, 19:37, by Heather Stewart Political editor
EU negotiator says: ‘Rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the union, the British chose to be on their own again’
Michel Barnier caused irritation in Downing Street on Wednesday with a speech in which he appeared to link Britain’s vote to leave the EU with global solidarity in the battle against Isis.
Speaking at a security conference in Berlin, the European commission’s chief negotiator in the Brexit talks spoke about the shock across the rest of the EU at the referendum result last year – and linked it to the collective struggle against terrorism.
| EU rule capping bankers’ bonuses ‘could be scrapped after Brexit’
Nov 29th 2017, 19:31, by Jill Treanor and agencies
Mark Carney says bonus cap could be among tweaks made to financial regulations when UK leaves in March 2019
The governor of the Bank of England has raised the prospect that, after Brexit, the EU rule which puts a cap on bankers’ bonuses could be scrapped.
Mark Carney, a long-standing critic of the bonus rules, listed the cap as among the tweaks that could be made to financial regulations when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.
| This is not a strategy – it’s a fast track to the dark ages of rail | Simon Jenkins
Nov 29th 2017, 19:30, by Simon Jenkins
As transport secretary, Chris Grayling should be investing in the northern axis, not vanity projects like the Oxbridge line
The transport secretary Chris Grayling announced this week that he plans to reopen five, possibly eight, railway lines closed by Richard Beeching, to cut overcrowding and increase capacity. Beeching, who wrote a report back in the 1960s that identified 5,000 miles of railway line for closure, has been dead for a quarter of a century. The lines he closed are reopening all the time, possibly as many as 50 since the 1980s. Nostalgia is a bad way to plan a railway.
Beeching was the most abused man in transport history. In 1963, when rail usage was plummeting and road traffic soaring, he was told by the prime minister Harold Macmillan to “run the railways as a profitable business”. He was already involved in engineering a massive switch of British Rail from steam to diesel. Beeching protested he could hardly make a profit when half of his stations generated just 2% of revenue, and a third of the network carried just 1% of passengers. Profit would have to start with closing that third. Macmillan said go ahead.
| Chris Froome to ride Giro d’Italia in attempt at Grand Tour clean sweep
Nov 29th 2017, 19:30, by William Fotheringham
• ‘This year gives me confidence I can target both Giro and Tour de France’
• Giro comes before Froome will attempt to secure a fifth Tour title
In a brief video message at the launch of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, Chris Froome confirmed he will bid for a grand slam of major Tour victories by attempting to win the 2018 Giro. After securing victory in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España this year, the four-times Tour winner will have his eyes on a third consecutive Grand Tour triumph.
Related: Giro d’Italia’s start in Israel provokes accusations of ‘sport-washing’
| By retweeting Britain First, Trump offends a decency he cannot understand | Brendan Cox
Nov 29th 2017, 19:25, by Brendan Cox
When the most powerful man in the world becomes a purveyor of hate, our best response is tolerance
• Brendan Cox is the widower of former Labour MP Jo Cox and co-founder of More In Common
If you’re like me, you check the news each morning with the worry that Donald Trump might have tweeted his way to the third world war. So in some ways, the fact that “all” he did this morning was to retweet the world-view of a far-right extremist from the organisation Britain First is something of a relief. At least we’re not waking to gifs of mushroom clouds over Korea. But that is to take false comfort. That shouldn’t be where we set the bar for the president of our closest ally.
It is fair to say that all of us who spend too much time on social media have probably retweeted people we might not be aware of, or who have dubious views on other issues. If this were a one-off, I might give President Trump the benefit of the doubt. But it’s not. Trump, from the beginning, throughout his campaign and since the election, has used hatred and bigotry to mobilise support.
| The day I came face to face with General Slobodan Praljak in The Hague
Nov 29th 2017, 19:22, by Ed Vulliamy
The Guardian and Observer writer Ed Vulliamy, who covered the war in the former Yugoslavia, recalls being cross-examined by the Bosnian-Croat war criminal
The date was Tuesday 9 May 2006. General Slobodan Praljak was on his feet in the courtroom in The Hague, cross-examining me. And it was not the first time we had met face to face.
The other occasion was in September 1993, at his headquarters in the self-proclaimed statelet of “Herzeg-Bosnia”. General Praljak had signed an order allowing three reporters, including your correspondent, to enter a concentration camp under his command at Dretelj, near the Bosnian-Croat stronghold of Čaplinja, where Bosnian Muslim men were being maltreated, starved and killed.
| Industrial strategy must consider the workers too | Letters
Nov 29th 2017, 19:18, by Letters
Reactions to the UK’s new industrial strategy and to the 59% fall in apprentice numbers
While I welcome the publication of the government’s industrial strategy (An industrial strategy ‘for exciting times’, 27 November), I have spotted three major omissions. First, the need for a more highly trained and skilled workforce is clear and accepted all round. Why then does the Department for Education continue to fund schools in large part on the basis of numbers retained in the sixth form? Many young people are more suited to technological education, but the loss of funding when a student moves off to study for an apprenticeship deters schools from offering this option. Indeed, many schools will not allow local companies access to pupils to promote apprenticeship opportunities.
Second, what is to be the role of employees in delivering the industrial strategy? No mention is made of employee engagement, nor of the importance of trained managers. Many employees at this level know more about what works, and indeed what would make things work better, but the importance of their position as one of the spokes in this big new wheel doesn’t even get a mention.
| The Guardian view on child marriage: wedlock is a padlock for girls | Editorial
Nov 29th 2017, 19:13, by Editorial
From the US to Bangladesh, underage brides are likely to leave education and face increased risks of poverty, domestic violence, and high rates of maternal mortality
What kind of place would set the age of consent at 17 – but allow pregnant girls as young as 11 to marry? Florida: its law is less progressive than Afghanistan’s. It is one of 25 US states that allow girls of any age to marry in certain circumstances, such as with judicial approval. Others have minimums set as low as 13.
Though boys too are affected, those affected are overwhelmingly female: almost nine in 10 children who marry are girls, and only rarely do they wed a peer. Almost a third wed men of 21 or older. Marriage is often seen as protecting girls, especially if they are pregnant, but it locks children into abusive relationships. In some states, child brides cannot initiate legal action such as a divorce – or even access refuges – because they are minors. Women who married as children are helping to lead the growing nationwide campaign to ban it, which has already brought change in Connecticut, Texas, Virginia and New York in the past two years. A bill banning marriage under 18 is now going through committees in Florida.
| Bosnian Croat war criminal dies after taking poison in UN courtroom
Nov 29th 2017, 19:09, by Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent
Former commander Slobodan Praljak drank from bottle moments after judges upheld 20-year sentence in The Hague
A former Bosnian Croat general has died after drinking a phial of poison while standing in the dock at a UN tribunal in The Hague, where his war crimes sentence of 20 years was upheld.
Seconds after the judges had delivered their decision at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Wednesday, Slobodan Praljak shouted out angrily: “Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict.”
| Exeter’s Jack Nowell set for return after recovery from fractures
Nov 29th 2017, 19:09, by Robert Kitson
• England wing likely to play against Bath on Saturday
• Scotland flanker suspended for three months over ‘gross misconduct’
England’s Jack Nowell is set to return to Premiership action on Saturday for the first time in eight weeks as the leaders, Exeter, await the visit of third-placed Bath. The wing missed the entire autumn Test series after undergoing facial surgery but is now ready to feature in the West Country derby at Sandy Park.
While the 24-year-old Nowell ultimately required two operations to repair small fractures to a cheekbone and eye socket which slightly extended his recuperation period, the club say he has made a full recovery from the injury he sustained against Newcastle in early October and are preparing to reintroduce the Cornishman to their matchday 23.
| Meghan Markle’s activist streak to be held in check by royal protocol
Nov 29th 2017, 19:09, by Robert Booth
By joining ‘the firm’, the American actor’s criticisms of Donald Trump and thoughts on Brexit will be a thing of the past
Meghan Markle has previously used her celebrity to back Hillary Clinton, lament Brexit and attack Donald Trump as “misogynistic” and “divisive”. But such strident opinions will be muted by palace protocol that aims to prevent royals from publicly expressing views on political figures and parties.
The American actor will marry Prince Harry next May and embarks on her first royal engagement alongside her fiance in Nottingham on Friday. But she will be expected to channel her campaigning zeal into supporting the voluntary sector.
| The question Labour must answer: why isn’t it further ahead in the polls? | Owen Jones
Nov 29th 2017, 19:07, by Owen Jones
To win the next election the party has to appeal to pensioners and get more working-class young people to turn out to vote
If this Tory parody of a government is so shambolic, so chronically divided, so utterly directionless, then why no astronomical Labour lead in the polls? If we have a prime minister in name only, afflicted by cabinet resignations, presiding over falling wages and a chaotic Brexit process, then why has Labour not opened up a 20-point advantage over its crisis-stricken rivals?
It must be said that, in the different political era that was April, Labour polling more than 40% and holding a consistent but small lead over the Tories would be considered a nice problem to have. The party entered the general election campaign on 24% – half the Tories’ poll rating. Labour, it was widely predicted, would slump to its smallest parliamentary caucus since 1935. Instead, it added 10 percentage points to its share in 2015, a surge without precedent since Clement Attlee more than seven decades earlier. What should disrupt the sleep of Tory MPs now is what happens if Labour goes into the next general election starting on more than 40%.
| Why scrapping bonus cap could be a hard sell for Mark Carney
Nov 29th 2017, 19:05, by Nils Pratley
Bank’s worry about EU cap approach was justified, but don’t be surprised if nuanced reason for UK dropping it is lost on many
Here’s one way to keep those footloose and greedy bankers in London after Brexit: appeal to their wallets by dropping the cap on bonuses, which only applies in the EU.
The Bank of England may indeed abolish the cap, Governor Mark Carney hinted on Wednesday, even if the motivation is not vulgar opportunism but an analysis of which financial rules could be rolled back outside the EU.
| Minister denies Scottish policing is in crisis after string of suspensions
Nov 29th 2017, 19:02, by Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent
Labour accuses Michael Matheson of complacency, with chief constable on special leave and four officers suspended
There is no crisis in Scottish policing, the Holyrood justice minister has said following a string of high-profile suspensions from the national force.
In a statement to the Holyrood chamber on Wednesday, Michael Matheson said: “Our ongoing scrutiny of Police Scotland has consistently shown that police officers and police staff at all levels remain committed to delivering policing into our communities that I believe is the match of policing anywhere in the world.”
| Denying accuracy of Access Hollywood tape would be Trump’s biggest lie
Nov 29th 2017, 19:00, by Lauren Gambino
New reports suggest Trump has privately claimed he has doubts about whether it’s his voice on the tape on which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitals
As president and as a candidate, Donald Trump has pushed the boundaries of truth and accuracy in American politics far beyond the breaking point.
But even by his own standards as head of an administration that proclaims its own “alternative facts”, reports that the president has begun to raise questions about the authenticity of his notorious 2005 Access Hollywood tape represent an extraordinary development.
| Prehistoric women’s arms ‘stronger than those of today’s elite rowers’
Nov 29th 2017, 19:00, by Nicola Davis
New light shed on role of women in ancient communities, as bone analysis reveals profound effect of manual agricultural labour on the human body
Prehistoric women had stronger arms than elite female rowing teams do today thanks to the daily grind of farming life, researchers have revealed, shedding light on their role in early communities.
The study of ancient bones suggests that manual agricultural work had a profound effect on the bodies of women living in central Europe between about the early neolithic and late iron age, from about 5,300BC to AD100.
| ‘Buried in marshes’: sea-level rise could destroy historic sites on US east coast
Nov 29th 2017, 19:00, by Oliver Milman in New York
New research shows by the end of the century an increase in sea level will threaten the White House, early colonial settlements and other historic places
Large tracts of America’s east coast heritage are at risk from being wiped out by sea level rise, with the rising oceans set to threaten more than 13,000 archaeological and historic sites, according to new research.
Even a modest increase in sea level will imperil much of the south-eastern US’s heritage by the end of the century, researchers found, with 13,000 sites threatened by a 1m increase.
| Voluntary evacuation planned for migrants in Libya detention camps
Nov 29th 2017, 18:56, by Patrick Wintour and Angelique Chrisafis
Migration is top of the agenda as summit between European and African leaders gets under way in Ivory Coast
A plan for a voluntary evacuation of migrants in Libya government-controlled detention camps lies at the heart of an emergency migration plan for Africa.
Leaders from the European Union and the African Union arrived for a summit in Ivory Coast on Wednesday vowing to take action following CNN’s shocking video footage of slave auction houses in Libya.
| Levi Bellfield confessed to Russell murders, say convicted man’s lawyers
Nov 29th 2017, 18:56, by Kevin Rawlinson and agencies
Legal team for Michael Stone, convicted of killing Lin and Megan Russell, say new evidence implicates Milly Dowler’s killer
Serial killer Levi Bellfield has confessed to the Russell murders, according to the legal team working for Michael Stone, who has spent nearly two decades in jail for the killings.
Stone is serving two life sentences after being convicted of the murders of Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan, as well as the attempted murder of her nine-year-old daughter Josie, near the village of Chillenden, Kent in 1996.
| Universal credit helpline closure could hit poorest over Xmas, says MP
Nov 29th 2017, 18:53, by Patrick Greenfield
Labour’s Frank Field says ‘chaos’ could leave some without money for food, lighting and heating
Some universal credit claimants are at risk of destitution over Christmas because a vital helpline will only be fully operational for two out of 10 days over the holiday, an MP has warned.
Labour MP Frank Field, chair of the Commons work and pensions committee, has urged the government to keep the universal credit helpline open during the Christmas break for claimants at risk of spending the festive season without money.
| Pound rallies as progress on Brexit divorce bill raises trade talk hopes
Nov 29th 2017, 18:49, by Larry Elliott
Sterling up against both dollar and euro after news of potential breakthrough on financial settlement between UK and EU
The pound has climbed to its highest level in almost two months against the dollar amid hopes that progress on Britain’s divorce settlement with the European Union will smooth the way for the start of trade talks.
With fears receding that the UK would leave the EU in March 2019 without a trade deal, currency investors pushed sterling higher against both the dollar and the euro on Wednesday.
| Son of oil magnate held by SFO during inquiry into alleged bribery
Nov 29th 2017, 18:41, by David Pegg and Rob Evans
Sassan Ahsani, whose father runs Monaco energy consultancy Unaoil, was arrested on suspicion of money-laundering offences
A property businessman was arrested during a criminal investigation into alleged bribery in the energy industry, the Guardian understands.
Sassan Ahsani was held in May on suspicion of money-laundering offences by the Serious Fraud Office.
| Tory hardliners could vote down Brexit deal over £50bn divorce bill
Nov 29th 2017, 18:34, by Rowena Mason and Heather Stewart
MP says members of pro-leave group are demanding meeting with chief whip to express unease about ongoing payments
Theresa May has been put on notice by hardline Conservative Eurosceptics that they could be prepared to vote down her final Brexit deal if the UK continues to pay the £50bn divorce bill for years to come or does not get good trade terms.
A group of Tory MPs are unhappy about the scale of the proposed sum and believe leaving on World Trade Organisation terms would be better, meaning the prime minister might have to rely on Labour support to get parliament’s approval for a final deal before March 2019.
| Suicide prevention plan needed for child victims of ‘sextortion’ – expert
Nov 29th 2017, 18:25, by Libby Brooks
Barnardo’s Scotland warns police that risk of suicide is underestimated among children falling for sextortion gangs online
A child abuse expert has called for suicide prevention plans to be automatically put in place for young victims of webcam extortion, as she warned senior police officers that increasing numbers of children were posting explicit images online.
Daljeet Dagon of Barnardo’s Scotland warned Police Scotland’s first Violence Prevention conference in Glasgow on Wednesday: “We are underestimating how real that threat [of suicide] is. We don’t understand how embarrassing this can be for young people.”
| Yet more proof: Donald Trump is a fascist sympathiser | Richard Wolffe
Nov 29th 2017, 18:24, by Richard Wolffe
Trump’s decision to promote anti-Muslim videos by Britain First, an extreme far-right group, confirms what was abundantly clear after Chartlottesville
It was true after the racist mob in Charlottesville three months ago. And it’s still true today: Donald J Trump quite literally sympathizes with fascists.
He shares their worldview as easily as he shares their language and videos. He gives their voice and values the biggest platform in politics. He is a neo-fascist sympathizer in the mainstream of American politics, sitting at the heart of the West Wing and world power.
| Rose Wylie review – childlike bursts of freedom and joy
Nov 29th 2017, 18:12, by Jonathan Jones
With her colourful dollops and scrawled captions, the late-blooming painter channels the liberation of childhood to point a way forward for British art
This is how Rose Wylie paints the sun. She does a big yellow circle. Then she adds straight yellow lines around it. Underneath she does a couple of palm trees that are brown sticks with dollops of green on top. On the sea, she adds an outline of a ship with black smoke puffing out of it.
The teacher gave her a gold star and pinned it on the classroom wall. His name is Mr Hans-Ulrich Obrist and the nursery is called the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. The exhibition is called Quack Quack. Oh, and young Rose is 83.
| Former pupils tell inquiry of sexual abuse by priests at Ampleforth College
Nov 29th 2017, 18:08, by Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
Boys as young as six allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted at Roman Catholic school in Yorkshire, inquiry into child abuse hears
Priests at a leading Roman Catholic school abused boys as young as six, including beatings and sexual assaults, the national inquiry into child abuse has heard.
Former pupils at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire gave evidence to a hearing in London on Wednesday, and written statements by other former pupils were read.
| Poppi Worthington inquest: father refuses to answer key questions
Nov 29th 2017, 18:04, by Helen Pidd North of England editor
Paul Worthington denies sexually assaulting his 13-month-old daughter before her sudden death in December 2012
A father accused of sexually assaulting his baby daughter shortly before her death refused to answer 69 questions at her inquest.
Paul Worthington, who denies abusing 13-month-old Poppi before her sudden death in December 2012, cited an inquest rule which allows a witness to remain silent if they are at risk of incriminating themselves and to rely instead on previous statements.
| Government picks ex-Channel 4 chair Lord Burns for Ofcom role
Nov 29th 2017, 18:00, by Graham Ruddick Media editor
If approved by MPs, Burns will replace Patricia Hodgson as chair of the media regulator in January on £120,000 a year
The government has chosen the former chairman of Channel 4, Lord Burns, to be the new chairman of the media regulator Ofcom.
Burns will replace Patricia Hodgson in January if a pre-appointment hearing with the parliamentary digital, culture, media and sport select committee is successful.
| Chris Woakes bats away Ashes curfew to focus on pink balls and bouncers
Nov 29th 2017, 18:00, by Vic Marks in Adelaide
Expectations are high in the England and Australia camps that 20 wickets will be easier to take using the pink Kookaburra ball in the second Ashes Test
There is a game going on here on Saturday. It may be even more relevant than the one taking place in Canterbury, New Zealand, on Sunday and it was Chris Woakes, who was plucked out to remind us of the importance of the second Test in Adelaide.
It was always going to be Woakes. The Warwickshire all-rounder has many assets; he can bowl brisk away-swingers, he bats properly and when the England and Wales Cricket Board requires someone to chat to the press at a time when there is a bit too much going on for its liking, he is No1 on the list. He has safer hands than David Seaman ever possessed. Woakes is engaging, cheerful, cooperative and measured. He was never going to embarrass the England tour party in a week when they have seemed ever more open to ridicule.
| How digital technology is taking Mayan culture back to the future
Nov 29th 2017, 17:57, by Mark Brown Arts correspondent
Google and British Museum tie-up brings explorer Alfred Maudslay’s largely unseen collection of ancient artefacts to the world
More than a century after the British explorer Alfred Maudslay took pioneering photographs and casts of some of the most incredible ancient Mayan objects and sites, digital technology is ensuring they can finally be widely seen.
The British Museum and Google announced the results of a project to digitise and disseminate Maudslay’s incredible collection, one which has largely kept in storage unseen for more than 100 years.
| 24-hour Putin people: my week watching Kremlin ‘propaganda channel’ RT
Nov 29th 2017, 17:39, by Tim Dowling
Formerly known as Russia Today, the channel gives airtime to pundits from left and right – many of them UK politicians. After a week watching its often surreal output, our writer asks himself: is this really the best Moscow can do?
The top story on the 9am news on RT – the Kremlin-backed English-language television channel formerly known as Russia Today – is about the EU’s renewed approval for a weedkiller produced by Monsanto. It includes rather elaborate coverage of a small-looking protest outside the European parliament, and excerpts from a debate on the safety or otherwise of glyphosates. On the strength of this opening five minutes, I might once have been tempted to conclude that it was a slow news day, but on RT every day is a slow news day.
According to its detractors, RT is Vladimir Putin’s global disinformation service, countering one version of the truth with another in a bid to undermine the whole notion of empirical truth. And yet influential people from all walks of public life appear on it, or take its money. You can’t criticise RT’s standards, they say, if you don’t watch it. So I watched it. For a week.
| No contest: Thornberry has Damian Green on the ropes from the off at PMQs | John Crace
Nov 29th 2017, 17:36, by John Crace
‘I really am not going there,’ says Emily Thornberry, going right there, and enjoying every moment of Green’s discomfort
With Theresa May off on her travels in the Middle East trying to persuade the Saudis not to use the £3bn of weapons we sell them against the Yemeni people, prime ministers questions was left in the hands of the deputies. In the red corner we had Emily Thornberry, in the blue Damian Green.
It was no contest. Thornberry wasn’t at her very best, fluffing her lines on occasions, but then she didn’t need to be. Even on a good day Green is a one-man black hole, sucking the energy out of every room he enters. And the first secretary of state hasn’t had any good days since he was investigated over claims he touched women’s legs and had porn on his office computer.
| Paintball at Buckingham Palace? What (not) to expect from Harry’s stag do …
Nov 29th 2017, 17:26, by Simon Usborne
If William is looking for inspiration for his brother’s right royal do, he could start with the suggestions from fake invites doing the rounds on social media
Given that tradition is a bit of a thing for the Windsor clan, Prince William may already have received the nod from his little brother, who served as the best man for his own wedding. This puts the duke in a tricky position: how do you pull off a stag do – and a decent speech – for a groom who, in banter terms, has been there, drunk that and got the Nazi uniform?
Well, Wills has options. The first is to take inspiration from the invites already flying around social media. A student wag at University College London created a “Prince Harry’s Stag Do” event on Facebook this week which, at the time of writing, is due to be attended by 36,000 people. A competing page suggests a game of paintball at Buckingham Palace, followed by clubbing and karaoke.
| My problem with Viagra? It feeds men’s obsession with macho performance | Deborah Orr
Nov 29th 2017, 17:21, by Deborah Orr
I’m all for the erectile dysfunction drug being available over the counter. But this doesn’t mean women have to tolerate men’s fantasy-driven sex antics
Viagra is to be sold over the counter in pharmacies, in an effort to tackle what has become a huge black market. The figures are indeed arresting. There were nearly 3m prescriptions for Viagra in 2017. Nevertheless an additional £17m in unlicensed or counterfeit Viagra was also seized. Which can only be the tip of … something. Ha ha.
Poor Viagra. Since its introduction, in 1998, the erectile dysfunction drug been a running joke. Yet massive demand suggests a more nuanced story about male sexuality than the macho legend of its febrile and hair-trigger priapism suggests. If anything gives the lie to the idea that women risk driving men to uncontrollable sexual distraction by showing their legs in public, it’s this.
| Brexiters nowhere to be seen as UK raises white flag over EU divorce bill
Nov 29th 2017, 17:20, by Dan Roberts Brexit policy editor
Britain has had to cave in, say analysts, with secret financial settlement in stark contrast to bombast of triggering article 50
When the time came to hoist the white flag, the cabinet’s swashbuckling Brexiters were nowhere to be seen. Instead, it was left to civil servants to hammer out the terms of Britain’s expensive retreat from the EU, settling a divorce bill that could pave the way for a wider exit agreement struck almost entirely on terms demanded by Brussels.
The secretive circumstances of the financial settlement, which were not even officially confirmed by ministers in parliament on Wednesday, are a far cry from the public fanfare that accompanied the start of the Brexit negotiations. When Theresa May invoked article 50 in March, she boasted that it was time to “make our own decisions and our own laws … to take control of the things that matter most to us”.
| New study uncovers the ‘keystone domino’ strategy of climate denial | Dana Nuccitelli
Nov 29th 2017, 17:17, by Dana Nuccitelli
How climate denial blogs misinform so many people with such poor scientific arguments.
The body of evidence supporting human-caused global warming is vast – too vast for climate denial blogs to attack it all. Instead they focus on what a new study published in the journal Bioscience calls “keystone dominoes.” These are individual pieces of evidence that capture peoples’ attention, like polar bears. The authors write:
These topics are used as “proxies” for AGW [human-caused global warming] in general; in other words, they represent keystone dominoes that are strategically placed in front of many hundreds of others, each representing a separate line of evidence for AGW. By appearing to knock over the keystone domino, audiences targeted by the communication may assume all other dominoes are toppled in a form of “dismissal by association.”
| The seven rages of David Mamet: genius or symbol of toxic masculinity?
Nov 29th 2017, 17:14, by Peter Bradshaw
With his weaponised dialogue and hypnotic macho characters, no writer has so relentlessly confronted the explosive issues of our times. But theatre and Hollywood are changing. As he hits 70, we ask: is David Mamet losing his magic?
David Mamet arrives at his 70th birthday this week, and there couldn’t be a better moment for his classic Glengarry Glen Ross to be storming London’s West End once again: that gripping spectacle of desperate middle-aged men competing to sell real estate in a recession or get fired. They are twitching rats in a laboratory of capitalism, terrified of failure and terrified of death.
For me, the author’s birthday milestone is a time to ponder something else: a quintessentially Mamet moment in the 1991 movie Homicide, which he wrote and directed. Two cops – Bobby Gold, played by Joe Mantegna, and his partner Tim Sullivan, played by William H Macy – are working on a case with unexpected personal implications for Bobby. He appears, in the eyes of his aghast partner, to be suffering some kind of breakdown. Tim fiercely lectures him on the need to stay tough: “It’s like the old whore says, ‘Once you start coming with the customers, it’s time to quit.’”
| Meghan Markle, where are your wacky relatives? | Peter Bradshaw
Nov 29th 2017, 17:01, by Peter Bradshaw
Newcomers to fame normally have their family ridiculed. But Prince Harry’s fiancee is such a break with tradition that the sly giggling may end
When someone new is catapulted into a position of public prominence, either through democratic success or a royal wedding, it is traditional for their wacky relatives to be publicised in a spirit of mischief. Jimmy Carter’s embarrassing brother Billy became famous, and so did John Major’s Pooterish sibling, Terry. During the last royal wedding, Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa was complimented on her figure in the most indelicate and impertinent way, and afterwards her party planning business was mocked.
So what of Meghan? The obvious candidate here is her half-brother Thomas Markle Jr, who was arrested in January after a drunken row during which he is alleged to have brandished a gun. But then Meghan Markle isn’t thought to be particularly close to Thomas, so nothing can be read into him not getting a stiff white envelope through the post.
| England’s and Australia’s nerves to be tested by evening-session spookiness
Nov 29th 2017, 16:59, by Andy Bull
Adelaide’s first day/night Ashes Test will see cricket work in reverse of the usual horror movie rules – it’s when the lights come on that batsmen get jittery
Adelaide, then, and a second Test that, after all the distractions, seems to have come around quicker than Cameron Bancroft after Jonny Bairstow’s hello. England are 1-0 down but have some hope. Their fans should relish the sensation, because if the team lose it will likely be the last time they feel it in an Ashes until Australia come over in 2019.
The second Test tends to be the point at which a series pivots. In Australia, since the war, neither side have lost the second Test and gone on to win the series. And even Ben Stokes, who has just landed in New Zealand, cape ready in his kit bag just in case he gets the all-clear, will not be able to turn it around if England are heading to Perth 2-0 behind.
| Uber says 2.7 million in UK were affected by security breach
Nov 29th 2017, 16:41, by Rob Davies
London mayor Sadiq Khan says ride-hailing service must take action after ‘catastrophic’ incident
Uber has admitted that 2.7 million people in the UK were affected by a 2016 security breach that compromised customers’ information, including names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers.
The ride-hailing company had previously disclosed that 57 million people worldwide were affected by a breach that it covered up for more than a year.
| André Villas-Boas quits as manager of Shanghai SIPG to drive in Dakar Rally
Nov 29th 2017, 16:40, by Press Association
| Apples should be kept in the fridge now – but what about oranges and bananas?
Nov 29th 2017, 16:36, by Lisa Markwell
New labelling guidelines suggest we should keep more of our fruit in the fridge. But not everything is suitable for cold storage – here’s a fruit-by-fruit guide
Is there anything more disappointing than biting into an apple, only to find it has gone all fluffy and soft? It happens all the time – and now we know why. According to a government initiative on food labelling, it is because we are not storing our Pink Lady apples in the fridge.
As part of a drive to reduce annual household food waste in the UK by 350,000 tonnes, labelling is changing. In future, it will include, among other things, a “little blue fridge” icon for foods that keep for longer in the fridge, including apples and oranges. Can this be right? Well, yes – but it’s a matter of timing. Here’s a guide to when to let fruit chill.
| Matt Lauer is gone. He’s left heartbreak in his wake | Jill Filipovic
Nov 29th 2017, 16:36, by Jill Filipovic
The beloved NBC host was fired on Wednesday. We must deal with complexity of admiring a man – and accepting that he may have done something awful
Another one bites the dust.
Today Show host Matt Lauer was fired from NBC over sexual misconduct allegations that the company says were probably not an isolated incident (Lauer’s alleged bad behavior has not been publicly described in any detail). He is only the latest in a string of high-profile men brought down by accusations of handsiness or inappropriate behavior toward female colleagues.
| The NHS is standing up for itself about underfunding. About time too | Rachel Clarke
Nov 29th 2017, 16:31, by Rachel Clarke
Perhaps tired of being the government’s whipping boy, the health service head, Simon Stevens, is speaking out. Jeremy Hunt should be worried
When the NHS excels, the government is only too keen to grab a slice of the glory. Manchester, Westminster, London Bridge, Grenfell. This year has been punctuated by acts of terror and disaster to which the NHS has stepped up magnificently – and ministers have flocked for their photo ops, like flies to nectar, full of gushing tributes and praise.
Only a fortnight ago, the prime minister described her “humbling gratitude” for the “incredible people” who staff the NHS when she visited the hospitals who cared for the victims of each of these atrocities. “In every instance,” she wrote in the Daily Mail, “what struck me was not only the medical expertise of the staff, but the compassion with which people were treated and the way the NHS, in an emergency, clicks into action.”
| The Crown’s Claire Foy: ‘I’m a deeply angry person on some levels’
Nov 29th 2017, 16:30, by Alexandra Pollard
It’s been a big week in royal news. but the second series of Netflix’s hit drama revisits a less happy period for the monarchy. Its star explains why the show doesn’t shy away from scandal
Losing out on a Bafta for the second year in a row was, Claire Foy insists, one of the best moments of her career. She was up for best actress for her role as Elizabeth II in The Crown, and was widely expected to win – but the moment came, and it went to Happy Valley’s Sarah Lancashire instead. “Can I just say,” said Lancashire from the podium, “Claire Foy, you have given me the best 10 hours under a duvet that I’ve ever had.” For Foy, it was better than winning.
“That was, I’m telling you, one of the most ridiculous moments of my life,” she says, beaming. “I mean, I love her. I grew up watching her.” Foy is sitting opposite me, wearing a comfy-looking jumpsuit and scuffed Converse, her hair – now she no longer needs to adopt the Queen’s bouffant do – newly cropped short. “There’s nothing as amazing as a fellow actor saying you’re good.”
| Ben Stokes’s Ashes return hangs by a thread as police pass file to CPS
Nov 29th 2017, 16:01, by Sean Ingle
• Police hand evidence to CPS for charging advice over Bristol incident
• Statement says 27-year-old man suffered fractured eye socket
Ben Stokes’s chances of making a dramatic return to England’s Ashes squad appeared to suffer a major setback on Wednesday when police referred his assault case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Stokes flew to New Zealand on Monday in a move that seemed to give him the best chance of an Ashes return for the third Test at Perth which begins on 14 December, provided the legal case and any cricketing suspension went his way.
| Theresa May makes secret visit to Iraq
Nov 29th 2017, 15:58, by Peter Walker in Baghdad
Prime minister meets UK troops and Haider al-Abadi as government promises extra £10m to help fight Islamic State
Theresa May has become the first British prime minister to visit Iraq since 2008, touring a military base near Baghdad and holding talks with her counterpart while promising to increase UK efforts to boost the fight against Islamic State.
The prime minister arrived in an RAF Hercules plane at the Taji base, north of Baghdad, on Wednesday morning, flying in from Jordan.
| The Muppet Christmas Carol review – Michael Caine shows spirit in magical extravaganza
Nov 29th 2017, 15:45, by Peter Bradshaw
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are joined by Caine as a hilarious Scrooge in this irresistibly sweet musical adaptation of Dickens’ festive tale
There may be some people who can watch Kermit the Frog’s nephew Robin give his heart-wrenching performance as Tiny Tim in The Muppet Christmas Carol without choking up. I am not among them.
When Dickens was writing A Christmas Carol in 1843, he was said to have taken long night walks through London in a state of passionate euphoria, covering 10 or 15 miles at a time, dreaming his masterpiece into existence. I like to think if in the course of these walks some spirit could have taken him into the future to show him the adaptations to come, this is the one he would have especially favoured. Only an obtuse snob would not see the sweetness and good-nature of The Muppet Christmas Carol from 1992 and now on rerelease, a musical extravaganza featuring Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit the Frog (voiced by Steve Whitmore) as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy (voiced by Frank Oz) as Emily Cratchit and the Great Gonzo (voiced by Dave Goelz) as the narrator, Dickens himself.
| White House library lowers the tones with its Christmas book tree
Nov 29th 2017, 15:43, by Alison Flood
Apart from the fact that the president will never read them, the only thing the books in this festive display have in common is that they’re coloured green
What do these books have in common? Esquire’s World of Golf, Robert Daley’s thriller Tainted Evidence, Simon Stow’s political analysis American Mourning, Dianne E Gray’s coming-of-age story Holding Up the Earth and James Hall’s “odyssey into the spirit world of Africa”, Sangoma?
Well, they’re all green. That was enough for them to be selected as part of the Christmas tree of books that currently stands in the White House library. Melania Trump’s director of communications Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post that they were chosen “based on their varieties of green colour tones”.
| Late-night on Trump: ‘less interested in truth than in discrediting sources of truth’
Nov 29th 2017, 15:40, by Jake Nevins
Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers discussed Project Veritas’ sting operation against the Washington Post and Trump’s response to North Korea’s missile test
Late-night hosts on Tuesday addressed Project Veritas’ attempted sting operation on the Washington Post, in which a woman approached the newspaper claiming she was impregnated by Roy Moore in an effort to get the Post to publish her false claims.
“This is a strange time to be a journalist,” Trevor Noah began. “On the upside, there’s so much news every day. But on the other hand, whenever you do your job, even when you do it right, people call your work fake.”
| Why is first Ashes day-night Test and pink ball a big deal? – video explainer
Nov 29th 2017, 15:35, by Chris Scott, James Armstrong, Dave Flanagan and Ryan Baxter
When Australia host England at the Adelaide Oval on 2 December it will be the first day-night Test in an Ashes series. But just what are day-night Tests all about and why do they use a pink ball? Here we reveal all
| Netherlands coffee shop case highlights ‘paradox’ of cannabis laws
Nov 29th 2017, 15:33, by Daniel Boffey
At its peak, 200kg of cannabis was regularly stored at the Checkpoint cafe, even though the law says licensed shops are only meant to keep 500g on site
With 3,000 customers a day, a restaurant, ample parking and turnover of €26m (£23m) a year, Checkpoint cafe, the largest cannabis-selling coffee shop in the Netherlands, was a fabulous commercial success.
That was until it was closed down in 2009 for testing to the limits what the Dutch describe as their gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy), under which prosecutors turn a blind eye to the breaking of certain laws, including in the business of selling cannabis.
| Theresa May travels to Saudi Arabia powerless to rein in impulsive ally | Patrick Wintour
Nov 29th 2017, 15:29, by Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor
Pressure to end arms sales over Yemen conflict may have grown stronger, but British PM will have little sway in Riyadh
Theresa May travels to Riyadh once again under intense pressure over the UK government’s Middle East policy, and specifically its support for Saudi Arabia’s brutal, and so far failing, two-year war in Yemen designed to reinstate the UN-recognised government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and oust Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from the capital.
Related: May to demand Saudi Arabia ends blockade on Yemen’s ports
| Until hospitals learn from their mistakes, babies like my son will continue to die | James Titcombe
Nov 29th 2017, 15:22, by James Titcombe
Jeremy Hunt’s new reforms are the best hope yet of ensuring health professionals are open and honest when things go wrong
• James Titcombe OBE is a patient safety campaigner and father of Joshua Titcombe, who died in hospital nine days after he was born
Between 2004 and 2013, 16 babies and three mothers died in a maternity unit at Furness general hospital. One of those babies was my own son. Joshua died on 5 November 2008 of profuse internal bleeding to his left lung. A series of serious failures before and after his birth resulted in an infection that could have easily been cured with antibiotics going untreated until he collapsed 24 hours after he was born.
After nine days of fighting for his life, Joshua died at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle despite the very best efforts of the dedicated neonatal intensive care staff.
| Different dialects: tell us about the unusual American words you use
Nov 29th 2017, 15:10, by Rachel Obordo and Guardian readers
| I benefited from social mobility – and I still feel like a permanent outsider | Rebecca Nicholson
Nov 29th 2017, 14:56, by Rebecca Nicholson
Crossing Britain’s class divisions has never been easy. There are plenty of traps for people who grew up with chips, not coriander
A few years ago, I interviewed Nicola Roberts, the best member of Girls Aloud, to talk about her underrated debut solo album Cinderella’s Eyes. She discussed what it was like to be on Popstars: The Rivals, the TV singing competition that predated The X Factor and gave birth to the band. What stood out most to me was how it felt for her to ricochet between two worlds. She was 16 and split her time between TV studios in London, and hanging out at the chippie in her home town of Runcorn. She remembered being taken to a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant where none of the girls could understand the menu. She had to ask the head of Universal Records: “What the fuck’s coriander?”
It doesn’t take much to get me on to Girls Aloud, but I thought of that particular anecdote when I saw the State of the Nation report by the Social Mobility Commission this week. Its findings are a sobering confirmation of what is apparent to anyone whose world is not centred on London or the slim area surrounding it. Social divisions are deeply entrenched in British society, and social mobility, this notion that you can be born “disadvantaged” and step outside of such circumstances given the right opportunities, increasingly looks about as achievable as the UK’s chances of walking away from the EU without self-destructing in the process. Alienation and resentment are growing, and for rural, coastal and formerly industrial areas in particular, the outlook is grim.
| East Coast rail ‘bailout’ could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions
Nov 29th 2017, 14:42, by Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent
Unions and Labour criticise government as Virgin Trains East Coast’s contract is terminated three years early
The East Coast rail franchise will be terminated three years early, avoiding the embarrassment of another private firm handing back the keys to the government but potentially forfeiting hundreds of millions in premiums due to the Treasury.
Under a rail strategy announced by the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, a new partnership model will replace the franchise contract of Virgin Trains East Coast (Vtec).
| Project Veritas: how fake news prize went to rightwing group beloved by Trump
Nov 29th 2017, 14:37, by Ed Pilkington in New York
James O’Keefe’s organisation specialising in media stings received donations from Trump’s foundation but was caught red-handed peddling a false story
At the unusually late hour of 9.04am on Monday morning, Donald Trump marked his return to Washington after Thanksgiving by announcing a big new idea. There should be a contest, he tweeted, to determine which media outlet should be awarded the “fake news trophy” for being “most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage”.
Related: US government uses Project Veritas video in trial of anti-Trump protesters
| Boy, 15, appears in court charged with causing five deaths in Leeds crash
Nov 29th 2017, 14:20, by Press Association
Teen was remanded in custody after being accused of causing deaths of three boys and two men when car crashed into tree
A 15-year-old boy cried as he appeared in court charged with causing the deaths of five people, including three children, when a car ploughed into a tree.
Ellis Thornton-Kimmitt, 12, his brother, Elliott Thornton-Kimmitt, 14, Darnell Harte, 15, Robbie Meerun, 24, and Anthony Armour, also 24, died after the crash involving a Renault Clio in Stonegate Road in Leeds on Saturday night.
| Congress may finally be tackling sexual misconduct but party loyalty still strong
Nov 29th 2017, 14:19, by Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington
| How has North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme progressed this year?
Nov 29th 2017, 13:50, by Alex Beuge, Pablo Gutiérrez, Cath Levett, Finbarr Sheehy and Paul Torpey
As North Korea’s latest launch shows increased missile capability, we chart the country’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon that can credibly threaten the US
North Korea’s efforts to develop a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the US mainland have accelerated during Donald Trump’s presidency. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has presided over three successful ICBM tests in 2017, along with a series of shorter-range ballistic missile launches.
| Can you answer the royal family questions Meghan Markle will face?
Nov 29th 2017, 13:47, by Martin Belam
Prince Harry’s bride will need to sit a British citizenship test before the wedding – which is kinda awkward when the questions are about the future in-laws
Not many people who take the British citizenship test are asked questions about the family they are about to marry into. But Meghan Markle will be.
On Tuesday, it was announced that she will sit a British citizenship test before her wedding with Prince Harry in 2018.
| Pope Francis disappoints Rohingya by failing to condemn persecution
Nov 29th 2017, 13:43, by Poppy McPherson in Yangon
The pope is nearing end of four-day visit to Myanmar in which he has not publicly spoken about plight of the Rohingya
As the crowds trickled out of the Yangon sports ground where Pope Francis delivered his first public mass before tens of thousands of people, Khin Maung Myint, a Rohingya activist, sat on the sidelines. He was disappointed. Not in Francis, but in the advisers who appear to have dissuaded the pontiff from bringing up the plight of the Rohingya people.
Related: Pope Francis’s failure to say the word ‘Rohingya’ shows he is no peacemaker | Joanna Moorhead
| Avengers: Infinity War – watch the first trailer for Marvel’s massive superhero sequel
Nov 29th 2017, 13:28, by Guardian film
The latest instalment in the explosive film franchise sees Iron Man, Thor and co join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy to thwart new foe Thanos
The first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has been unveiled.
The third instalment in Marvel and Disney’s Avengers film franchise, Infinity War sees Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the rest of the gang team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to thwart supervillain Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) in his quest to claim the Infinity Stones. The film will be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the duo responsible for the Captain America sequels The Winter Soldier and Civil War. The pair will also direct the as-yet-untitled fourth film in the series, due in 2019.
| The vinyl revival proves it: we love a bit of inconvenience | Nigel Kendall
Nov 29th 2017, 13:24, by Nigel Kendall
If we can welcome back the format that’s the antithesis of Spotify and YouTube, then why not paper banking and the Austin Allegro?
So vinyl is back, is it? As HMV records its biggest sales of long-playing records since the 1980s, is it time to unplug the Sonos, scrap the Spotify and dust off the turntable?
Not quite. The headlines are fanning the fire of a full-on vinyl revival, but experts such as Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecoms research at Deloitte, will always be around to douse the flames. “In 1981, over 1 bn albums were sold worldwide. In 2017, it will be around 40m. This is not the resurgence that is portrayed. It is a blip,” he told the FT earlier this year, attributing the temporary spike to fashion.
| Anger over treatment of alleged victim at Pamplona gang-rape trial
Nov 29th 2017, 13:23, by Stephen Burgen in Barcelona
Case against ‘la Manada’ has caused outrage as supporters of alleged victim say it appeared as if she was on trial
A verdict is due in the trial of five men accused of gang-rape during the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona last year, in a case where it appeared to many of the alleged victim’s supporters in Spain that she was on trial.
The alleged rape occurred in the early hours of 7 July 2016 during the popular San Fermín festival. The woman, an 18-year-old from Madrid, met the five men – one of whom was in the Spanish army – as she was making her way to the car she was sleeping in while staying in the city.
| Former El Salvador colonel extradited to Spain over 1989 murder of Jesuits
Nov 29th 2017, 13:22, by Staff and agencies in Madrid
| Lauri Love would be at high risk of killing himself in US, court told
Nov 29th 2017, 13:16, by Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent
Lawyers for British student accused of hacking US government sites tell high court he should be tried in UK, not extradited
Lauri Love, the British student accused of hacking into US government websites, would be at high risk of killing himself if extradited to the US, the high court has heard.
Love, who lives in Suffolk and has Asperger’s syndrome and severe depression, should be tried in Britain for his alleged offences, his counsel, Edward Fitzgerald QC, told the court.
| New Marvel editor-in-chief under fire for using Japanese pseudonym
Nov 29th 2017, 13:15, by Alison Flood
CB Cebulski, newly appointed to prestigious role at the comics giant, has admitted writing under the name Akira Yoshida
Marvel Comics’ new editor-in-chief, CB Cebulski, has come under fire after it was revealed that he had written under the alias Akira Yoshida.
Cebulski, who was appointed earlier this month, confirmed to the comics site Bleeding Cool on Tuesday that he had spent “about a year” writing comics under the Japanese pseudonym Akira Yoshida.
| Ireland is right not to trust the British on the border. History shows why | Caoimhín de Barra
Nov 29th 2017, 13:11, by Caoimhín de Barra
The arbitrary line of partition London imposed on the Free State in 1920 helped to spark the Troubles, and is still a lingering grievance
There has been outrage in certain quarters of the British media regarding the insistence of the Irish government that Westminster provide a detailed outline of how it plans to deal with the border dividing Northern Ireland from Ireland. From an Irish point of view, the Dublin government’s position is understandable. Many Irish people are aware that the last time the British government refused to make its position on the border clear, it caused considerable problems.
In 1920, with the Anglo-Irish war raging, Westminster belatedly sought to introduce Irish home rule. The Government of Ireland Act essentially provided for two home rule parliaments, one in Dublin and one in Belfast. Six of Ireland’s 32 counties became Northern Ireland, with the old county boundaries serving as the border between the two states.
| Bitcoin has broken the $10,000 barrier – and this run can go further | Dominic Frisby
Nov 29th 2017, 13:00, by Dominic Frisby
It has been the greatest money-making opportunity of our lifetime. So when will the biggest bubble in human history burst?
Few, beyond the most outlandish prognosticators, would have ever thought such a thing possible, even just a few months ago. But the internet cash system bitcoin has burst the psychological $10,000 barrier. As I write this, it is closing down on $11,000.
At the beginning of the decade the price of a bitcoin was barely a penny. It has been the greatest money-making opportunity any of us will see in our lifetime. A $100 bet in July 2010 is now $16m. If you were one of the libertarian geeks who got in close to the start back in 2009 and managed to hold on, you have made millions of times your money. It is up 1,000% this year alone. Bitcoin has created fortunes beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
| Inequality … in a photograph
Nov 29th 2017, 12:50, by Tuca Vieira
In 2004, photographer Tuca Vieira captured the image of the Paraisópolis favela next to its wealthy neighbour, Morumbi, that came to symbolise the gap between São Paulo’s rich and poor. He gives us the inside story
How did you come to take this photo?
I took the photo for the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, for a special report on the 450th anniversary of São Paulo in 2004. It was taken from a helicopter following a suggestion by my colleague Marlene Bergamo. But when I took it, I had no idea it would become so popular.
What does the photo show, in your opinion?
It is clearly an illustration of social inequality, maybe the biggest problem for Brazil and Latin America. The unjust and brutal difference between rich and poor, inherited from slavery, is in the origin of many other problems – violence, below-par schooling, prejudice and many other issues.
| Face it: Brexit means choosing – not having our cake and eating it | Jonathan Lis
Nov 29th 2017, 12:41, by Jonathan Lis
Ireland, trade deals, immigration control: it’s staggering that the government still sells Britain the lie that we can have it all
Brexit, like the government, is failing. The EU wields all the power in the negotiations; the government has trapped itself inside suffocating and arbitrary red lines; and on each key issue – negotiation sequencing, standstill transition, the financial settlement – London doggedly and pointlessly clings to its own position until, at the last inevitable moment, it capitulates to Brussels. Reckonings on the Irish border, European court of justice and security cooperation lie shortly ahead.
This routine is time-consuming, demoralising and humiliating, but perhaps worst of all, wholly predictable. The UK owes its misfortune partly to structural weakness against a unified bloc and legal disadvantage in the context of article 50; but the fundamental reason is Britain’s demand to retain all the benefits of being inside the EU and also all the benefits of being outside it. The truth which dare not speak its name looms over the government and now openly torments it: we cannot have it all. If we persist in the attempt, we will end up with nothing. In short: Brexit means choices.
| Teatro Oficina: the tycoon v the theatre
Nov 29th 2017, 12:38, by Maria Carolina Maia in São Paulo
Dreamed up by architect Lina Bo Bardi, Teatro Oficina’s experimental, drug-fuelled theatre was a hallmark of Brazil’s counterculture in the 60s and 70s. Now it risks being a casualty of São Paulo’s sweeping development and culture war
In the Brazilian television programme for children Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum, the money-grubbing villain, Dr Abobrinha, wants to demolish a magical castle and build a tower of flats in its place. The plot is fictional, but the parallels with a fight currently playing out in downtown São Paulo are hard to ignore.
Last month, the TV presenter and business tycoon Silvio Santos finally won approval to build three 100m-high residential blocks on land he owns in the Bixiga district.
| Shipping firm Clarksons braces for data leak after refusing to pay hacker
Nov 29th 2017, 12:28, by Rob Davies
World’s largest shipbroker follows large corporations including Deloitte, Yahoo and Equifax in falling victim to cyber-attack
Shipping company Clarksons is bracing for a tranche of private data to be released, after refusing to pay a ransom to a hacker who staged a “criminal attack” on its computer systems.
In a statement to the stock market, the world’s largest shipbroker said it was working with specialist police and contacting customers who may have been affected after a “cybersecurity incident”.
| LP review – pop-rock alley cat stalks the stage with dramatic intent
Nov 29th 2017, 12:22, by Caroline Sullivan
Kentish Town Forum, London
Laura Pergolizzi’s delivers her bruising, Britney-referencing breakup songs with haunting vocals, Cyndi Lauper-ish whoops and champion whistling
Physically a cross between John Cooper Clarke and Patti Smith, vocally a blend of Gwen Stefani and Cyndi Lauper, Laura “LP” Pergolizzi alchemises that patchwork into something not currently available elsewhere. In front of a bursting full Forum, the New York singer-songwriter is a pop-rock alley cat, watchfully padding across the stage, offsetting her initial jitters with swagger. Her androgynous look has excited a good deal of “Is she a girl or a boy?” chatter – she identifies as female, but there is indeed something genderless about her. Only her voice, which is laced with Stefani-ish hiccups and Lauper-influenced power whoops, is conventionally girlish; otherwise, she’s a feline androgyne.
If her appearance weren’t striking enough, her performance is speckled with quirks. LP’s primary instrument is the ukulele, and she’s a champion whistler – a combination that sounds, on paper, as if she’s a step away from being a novelty act. In fact, the whistling is mournful and perfectly pitched, and the ukulele is a building block of her music, leavening her backing band’s surging guitar rock. When used as the lead instrument on When We’re High, it adds a gilded prettiness to a song that recounts getting stoned and listening to records with an ex-girlfriend. That tune’s final verse, by the way, has her shouting out a list of song titles – “Hips Don’t Lie! (Hit Me) Baby, One More Time!” – which may or may not be a jovial reference to her days as a jobbing pop songwriter who has worked with Rihanna, Christina Aguilera and Backstreet Boys. Singing it tonight, she barks the titles with notable good humour. Apparently, she was in bits when writing her current (fourth) album, Lost on You, on which this song appears, but now – recently engaged, according to Instagram – she is in bits no more.
| Kitchen gadgets review: coconut opener – your basic vigilante cudgel
Nov 29th 2017, 12:21, by Rhik Samadder
For an authentic castaway experience in your own home, buy a coconut from Asda and hack it open with this machete-like tool
Tomorrow’s Kitchen coconut opener (£6.99, Lakeland) is full tang steel straightedge, with riveted wooden handle. The tip can pierce the germination pore of a coconut’s shell, the blade fissures its circumference.
| Controversial monk and Dalai Lama aide replaced amid corruption accusations
Nov 29th 2017, 12:19, by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles
Prominent Buddhists are welcoming the apparent downfall of Tenzin Dhonden, accused of abusing his position as gatekeeper to the Buddhist leader
Prominent Buddhists in North America are welcoming the apparent downfall of the Dalai Lama’s self-styled “personal emissary of peace”, a Tibetan monk who befriended celebrities and billionaires but has been accused of bullying, celebrity worship and corruption.
The Dalai Lama Trust has replaced Tenzin Dhonden as its executive secretary with a temporary appointment following claims, which the trust has said they are investigating, that Dhonden abused his position as a gatekeeper to the Buddhist leader.
| Young people aren’t Stalinists – they just wonder what fairness might look like | Richard Godwin
Nov 29th 2017, 12:13, by Richard Godwin
To claim that having any qualms about feral capitalism leads straight to the gulag is disingenuous, dangerous and just a bit dim
A spectre is haunting Britain: the spectre of Stalinism. I don’t know if you’ve spoken to a young person recently – me neither – but if you stalk one or two on social media, a clear mental picture begins to emerge. I’m imagining earnest arguments in the student union about whether Lavrenty Beria was more effective than Felix Dzerzhinsky. WhatsApp groups brainstorming five-year-plans. Tearful scenes in the multiplex over The Death of Stalin. To you and I, it’s political satire. To millennials, a tragedy!
To be clear, because the line between satire and sincerity is a little hazy at the moment, none of this is really happening. At least, not in any meaningful way, though one of the features of millions of people uploading half-formed thoughts online every second is that you can find evidence for anything if you look hard enough. Imagine what the NKVD, the Communist party’s secret police, could do with that!
| Time to release the internet from the free market – and make it a basic right
Nov 29th 2017, 12:11, by Ben Tarnoff
Internet providers seized a tool built at public expense, privatized it, and sold it back to us for profit. Repealing net neutrality will only make it worse
Say goodbye to net neutrality. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Ajit Pai, released a plan to repeal the landmark protections enacted by the agency in 2015. This has long been a top priority for Pai and his fellow Republicans, who now enjoy a majority of commissioners thanks to Trump. The vote is scheduled for 14 December, and is widely expected to pass along party lines.
What does this mean in practice? In a sentence: slower and more expensive internet service. Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast should treat all kinds of data the same way. Its repeal means that in the future, your ISP will be able to fleece you in all sorts of new ways.
| Watchdog to investigate Grenfell complaint over police helicopters
Nov 29th 2017, 12:05, by Kevin Rawlinson
IPCC will manage investigation into claims helicopters may have fanned flames and caused residents to wait for rescue
An investigation has been set up into the use of police helicopters at the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire, after a bereaved relative complained that they could have fanned the flames.
The police watchdog said on Wednesday that it would manage an investigation into the complaint, which included a claim that some people were encouraged to stay in the building because the presence of the helicopters led them to believe they would be rescued.
| Meet Clandestina, the Cuban brand speaking to a new generation
Nov 29th 2017, 11:34, by Tyler Wetherall
One innovative designer has found a way around both the regime and the US embargo and become the first Cuban clothing company to ship anywhere in the world
When Havana-based designer Idania del Río runs out of ink for silk-screen printing T-shirts, it’s likely the rest of Cuba has too. When she needs to buy buttons, she scours 10 different stores to find enough. And when she wants to send an email, she has to walk one mile from Clandestina, her independent design shop, to the nearest public wifi hotspot. And yet, despite the shortage of materials and scarce internet access – the ordinary strictures of operating a business under the country’s socialist regime – Clandestina has become the first Cuban brand to launch an online store shipping anywhere in the world – including the US.
Cubans have a profound sense of fashion and want the latest trends, but there was a lack of contemporary brands
| ‘The UK is being savaged’: readers on the Brexit divorce bill
Nov 29th 2017, 11:12, by Guardian readers
| £50bn to leave the EU. What an unforgivable waste of money | Jonathan Freedland
Nov 29th 2017, 10:46, by Jonathan Freedland
Farage wants to walk away, Grayling thinks it’s good value. Either way, Brexiteers promised people something they couldn’t deliver
Well, at least the City folks like it. The pound shot up in value on the news that Britain is ready to settle its European bill to the tune of £50bn or more, as investors dared to glimpse some light at the end of the Brexit tunnel. Their hope is the same as Theresa May’s: that once Britain has agreed to pay up in full – including for liabilities stretching decades into the future – the remaining 27 EU leaders will allow the Brexit talks to move away, at last, from the terms of the divorce settlement, and on to the future relationship between the UK and the rest of Europe.
May should bask in the delight of the traders, because theirs may be the only applause she gets
| MacOS High Sierra bug: blank password let anyone take control of a Mac
Nov 29th 2017, 10:28, by Samuel Gibbs and Matthew Weaver
Apple provides emergency fix for flaw that allows access to secure preferences with username ‘root’ and subsequent bypass of lock screen
A serious security flaw was found in the latest version of Apple’s macOS High Sierra that could allow anyone to access locked settings on a Mac using the user name “root” and no password, and subsequently unlock the computer.
The security flaw, discovered a couple of weeks ago and disclosed in an Apple developer support forum, has been shown to work within the software’s user preferences screen, among other locations. Once triggered, the same combination will also bypass the lock screen of Macs running Apple’s latest operating system.
| Steroids, syringes and stigma: the quest for the perfect male six-pack – video
Nov 29th 2017, 10:25, by Richard Sprenger, Alex Healey, Irene Baqué and Ken Macfarlane
In the search for a quick route to a muscular physique, many young men turn to controversial anabolic steroids to achieve their goals. But in the wake of deaths in the bodybuilding community, do the statistics showing a fourfold increase in their use, really add up?
Under Construction footage courtesy Dave Crosland / JG Films
| Saudi prince Miteb bin Abdullah pays $1bn in corruption settlement
Nov 29th 2017, 09:40, by Reuters in Dubai
Former contender for throne released from detention after admitting to several accusations, official says
The senior Saudi prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender for the throne, has been released from detention after paying more than $1bn in a settlement with authorities, a Saudi official said.
Miteb, 65, the son of the late King Abdullah and former head of the elite National Guard, was among dozens of royal family members, ministers and senior officials rounded up as part of a corruption inquiry, partly aimed at strengthening the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
| North Korea missile launch: regime says new rocket can hit anywhere in US
Nov 29th 2017, 09:04, by Justin McCurry in Tokyo and Julian Borger in Washington
Pyongyang has conducted its first ballistic test launch in two months, reigniting tensions in the region
North Korea has claimed that the rocket it test-fired on Wednesday morning is a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that can strike anywhere on the US mainland, as it declared itself a “complete” nuclear state.
In a special announcement broadcast on state TV, the regime said it had successfully tested a Hwasong-15, which appears to be an advanced version of ICBMs it launched in July.
| Sumo grand champion Harumafuji felled by assault allegations
Nov 29th 2017, 07:54, by Justin McCurry in Tokyo
One of the sport’s biggest stars resigns weeks after allegations surfaced that he attacked a younger wrestler
One of the biggest stars of sumo wrestling has announced his retirement after allegations that he assaulted a fellow wrestler.
Harumafuji, one of four reigning grand champions – or yokozuna – said he was quitting the sport, weeks after he allegedly attacked Takanoiwa, a younger wrestler, leaving him with a fractured skull and concussion.
| The four hour commute: the punishing grind of life on São Paulo’s periphery
Nov 29th 2017, 07:30, by Nick Van Mead in São Paulo
Like most of São Paulo’s 20 million residents, Alcione Santos lives on the edge of South America’s biggest city. The daily journey to low-paid jobs is brutal
An hour after Alcione Santos’s alarm goes off at 5.50am she walks to the corner where the bus stops … or will do if it’s not full already. “I might wait 10 minutes, I might wait 30, because there’s no timetable so you never know,” she explains. If the first bus is crammed beyond capacity, or breaks down, the long wait means she’ll be late for work.
Like most of metro São Paulo’s 20 million residents, Alcione can only afford to live on the periphery of South America’s biggest city. The vast sprawl and decades of underinvestment in public transport mean many face daily commutes of three, four, even five hours to get to low-paid jobs in the centre. Almost 70% of journeys are made by bus, and in places like Itaquaquecetuba in the extreme east where Alcione lives it is the only link to work and money.
| Albert Watson’s celebrity portraits – in pictures
Nov 29th 2017, 07:00
Scottish photographer Albert Watson began taking pictures of celebrities in 1973, when he famously shot Alfred Hitchcock holding a dead goose for Harper’s Bazaar. He now has more than 100 Vogue covers to his credit and continues to work at the age of 75. Many of his best-known photographs are collected in Albert Watson: Kaos, a new deluxe, limited-edition anthology published by Taschen. They’re also being exhibited at the Taschen Gallery in Los Angeles to 1 December
| Dirty air is killing our children. Why does the government let this happen? | George Monbiot
Nov 29th 2017, 05:59, by George Monbiot
What an extraordinary dereliction of duty that our politicians leave headteachers to fix a public health crisis
Deregulation, the government and many newspapers assure us, saves money and time and reduces frustration. That’s the theory. But, as I see every day, it doesn’t quite work like this.
My youngest daughter’s school has been trying to protect its children from the toxic cloud in which they work and play. The teachers know how much damage traffic pollution does to their lungs, hearts and brains. They know that it reduces their cognitive development, their ability to concentrate and their capacity for exercise. They know it’s a minor miracle that no one has yet been crushed by the cars jostling to get as close as possible to the school gates. But thanks to the government’s refusal to legislate, there is little they can do. Far from freeing us from effort, the absence of regulation wastes everybody’s time.
| Catalonia poll vow: if elected I’ll use first 100 days to unravel independence row
Nov 29th 2017, 05:00, by Stephen Burgen in Barcelona
Inés Arrimadas, the centre-right Ciutadans candidate in the regional elections, says: ‘Those who have got us into this mess aren’t the ones to get us out of it’
When Emmanuel Macron won the French elections, Inés Arrimadas was quick to applaud the victory of a “liberal, centrist and pro-European” candidate. If the polls are anything to go by, Arrimadas, the Ciutadans (Citizens) candidate for regional president in next month’s Catalan elections, may emerge as the leader of a Macron-style government in Catalonia.
Much of the rise of Ciutadans in Catalonia can be credited to Arrimadas, who at 36 is the youngest and also the only female candidate to take power in elections called after Madrid sacked the previous administration and imposed direct rule following its declaration of independence.
| Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke – in pictures
Nov 29th 2017, 00:00, by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
Just a few hours’ drive from the Belarus capital of Minsk, many villagers still live off the land. Nearly 80% of the country’s 9.5 million citizens live in urban areas, but for the rest, being close to nature can outweigh the hardships of country life
| Who gives a hoot what Taylor Swift thinks about Donald Trump? | Letters
Nov 28th 2017, 19:09, by Letters
Readers shake off any suggestion that Swift is like Tump
On a day when you reported that the Treasury had chosen to underfund the NHS in a fit of pique, it seemed odd, to say the least, that you used your editorial pages (25 November) to alert us to the global threat posed by Taylor Swift.
In the article, you portrayed Swift as embodying the values of Trump because she: has written songs about her life; is adept in the use of social media; has the temerity not to give her music away for free on Spotify; wishes her biggest fans to get tickets to her concerts; has a friendship group from a similar social and ethnic background; and fails to explicitly condemn President Trump and all his works.
| Susan Sarandon is wrong about Hillary Clinton | Letters
Nov 28th 2017, 19:09, by Letters
James P Rubin, former assistant secretary of state for public affairs under President Bill Clinton, says it is Donald Trump who is making war more likely
Reading the interview with Susan Sarandon (G2, 27 November), I couldn’t help but remember that old American political saying that “opinions are like noses, everybody has one”. Sarandon is entitled to hers. The trouble is that our celebrity culture has somehow imparted seriousness and credibility to individuals based on fame rather than knowledge or judgment.
Oddly, Sarandon seemed to win the sympathy of your interviewer, Emma Brockes, because of her counterintuitive opposition to Hillary Clinton, her seeming lack of concern over the election of Donald Trump, and the public backlash against her in response to these opinions.
| Rohingya crisis: UN relief work in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh – in pictures
Nov 28th 2017, 17:26, by Andy Hall
Photographer Andy Hall has been documenting the work of the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, in the camps near the border with Myanmar. Weeks after the initial arrival of thousands of Rohingya fleeing violence, hundreds wait every day by the roadside to be processed, each with a harrowing story to tell
| Share your experiences of women’s refuges
Nov 28th 2017, 15:18, by Guardian readers
With the UK government planning to change funding for women’s refuges, we’d like to hear your experiences
According to campaigners, vulnerable women and children will be put at risk after the Department for Communities and Local Government set out plans to take away the entitlement to housing benefit from women using refuges.
Survivors of domestic abuse and charities have warned that the plans to remove refuges and other forms of short-term supported housing from the welfare system, mean women will not be able to pay for their accommodation using housing benefit, the last guaranteed source of income available to refuges. On average, housing benefit makes up 53% of refuge funding.
| Put down the cotton buds – a quick guide to cleaning earwax
Nov 28th 2017, 13:52, by Paula Cocozza
It’s official: syringing water to clean your ears is not recommended by health professionals. So, what should you do to keep your ears wax-free?
Ears that are blocked with wax should not be syringed. For thousands of years, the syringe has been the ear doctor’s tool of choice (Roman author Celsus wrote about it in De Medicina), but now the health watchdog Nice says a syringe pumping water into the ear is “potentially harmful”. Why?
“You can’t control the pressure; you don’t know how hard it is blasting water into the ear,” says Prof Tony Wright of the UCL Ear Institute. Electronic irrigators, which Nice recommends, allow the otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) to control pressure, but they are still only an update of the syringe. So, here are the dos and don’ts of safe earwax removal.
| ‘By secondary it’s too late’ – readers on promoting girls’ school sports
Nov 28th 2017, 12:29, by Guardian readers and Tom Stevens
| What shall we call the age we’re in? Your answers
Nov 28th 2017, 11:59, by Guardian Staff
The age we’re in; redefining intelligence; travel without pictures
Doesn’t much feel like the Age of Aquarius, so what shall we call it?
Our worship of the selfie and a sense of political impotence suggest we should call it the Age of Narcissyphus.
David Isaacs, Sydney, Australia
| How have you been affected by the Bali volcano evacuation?
Nov 28th 2017, 08:46, by Guardian readers
| Graphic Japanese whaling footage released after five-year legal battle – video
Nov 28th 2017, 05:15
WARNING: this footage may distress some readers.
Footage released by activist group Sea Shepherd shows Japanese fishermen harpooning whales in the Southern ocean before dragging them, still alive, along the side of the vessel. The publication of the video follows a five-year legal battle with the Australian government to make the images public. The footage was filmed in 2008 by Australian customs officials and requests from Sea Shepherd in 2012 for the film were denied by the government amid fears it would damage international relations. Sea Shepherd’s managing director, Jeff Hansen, said: ‘The Australian government has chosen to side with the poachers instead of defending the whales of the Southern ocean.’
| Bali’s Mount Agung could erupt anytime – video
Nov 27th 2017, 05:35
Indonesian authorities have raised the alert for a Bali volcano to the highest level. Magma and ash emitting from Mount Agung has resulted in the closure of the island’s airport and prompted authorities to order people within 10km to evacuate.
| ‘It’s the best game in the world’: readers on 100 years of the NHL
Nov 26th 2017, 09:00, by Guardian readers and Tom Stevens
To coincide with the National Hockey League’s centenary on Sunday, we asked you for your greatest memories of the sport
The National Hockey League has been busy celebrating its 100th birthday throughout 2017.Ahead of its actualfounding day on the 26 November we’ve caught up with hockey fans who have shared the impact the sport and the NHL has had on their lives.
| Your pictures: share your photos on the theme of ‘drive’
Nov 26th 2017, 09:00, by Tom Stevens
Wherever you are in the world, this week we’d like to see your pictures on the theme ‘drive’
The next theme for our weekly photography assignment in the Observer New Review is ‘drive.’ Share your photos of what drive means to you – and tell us about your image in the description box.
The closing date is Thursday 30 November at 10am. We’ll publish our favourites in The New Review on Sunday 3 December and in a gallery on the Guardian site.
| ‘This is the time to listen’: readers on the future of the Guardian
Nov 25th 2017, 07:00, by Guardian readers
Guardian readers share their thoughts on editor-in-chief Katharine Viner’s essay on the role of the Guardian today
A week ago the Guardian editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, delivered a speech: A mission for journalism in a time of crisis. We invited readers to share their reactions and tell us how they view the role of the Guardian today. Here are a selection of responses from readers around the world.
| The goldsmith: marking milestones in jewellery – video
Nov 24th 2017, 16:12
Combining architectural training and a keen eye for detail with a human touch, Cari-Jane Hakes marks key moments in precious metals. Watch her make an engraved two-ring necklace
Cari-Jane’s personalised jewellery is available to order at notonthehighstreet.com, the home of thoughtful gifts
| One river, four capitals: an odyssey along the Danube
Nov 24th 2017, 15:34, by Laurence Mitchell
From its Black Forest source to the Black Sea delta, Europe’s second-largest river passes through 10 delightfully diverse, dependably scenic countries. Follow it through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and on to the Balkans, exploring bankside travel highlights en route
The Danube could hardly be said to suffer from an image problem. The familiar associations – Strauss waltzes, elegant Mitteleuropa cities, baroque architecture – are certainly well founded, yet the river is more than just a picturesque backdrop to manmade wonders. It flows with history, too. Darius the Great crossed the Danube in the 6th century BC to subdue the Scythians and, three centuries later, Alexander the Great marched his army to its banks to take on Thracian and Illyrian tribes. For centuries the river’s course marked the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, providing both a natural defence from warring northern tribes and a convenient conduit for movement of goods and troops. These days, of course, the lion’s share of the movement is done by leisure craft.
Beginning humbly at Donaueschingen in the Black Forest region of southern Germany, and passing through the small of cities of Ulm, Ingolstadt and Regensburg, the river enters Austrian territory just after the border town of Passau.
| A fashion-lover’s guide to Canada
Nov 22nd 2017, 15:22
Tailor and designer Nigel Ruwende knows a thing or two about style, so on a trip to three of Canada’s hippest cities – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – he couldn’t wait to check out the local fashion talent
What I knew about Canada before I embarked on my one-week, three-city trip this summer was limited to just a handful of sources: the 90s TV show North of 60, set in the fictitious Northwest Territories town of Lynx River; my favourite Drake songs, which can arguably be thought of as a Toronto guidebook written by its most famous resident; and the work of iconic brands such as Roots and Herschel.
What I didn’t know was that by the time I left, I’d have discovered one of the best crops of talented local makers and designers anywhere in the world, eaten the best tacos of my life, and experienced a view – on the summit of Vancouver’s Howe Sound – that made me feel cosmically tiny and insignificant in the best possible way. And that’s to say nothing of the incredible people I met, and the raw energy of its diverse, accepting and multicultural cities. Canada really is a place without barriers – somewhere no one could feel like an outsider.
| ‘I came down here to be forgotten’: life in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas – video
Nov 22nd 2017, 12:00, by Adithya Sambamurthy
An estimated 300 people live in the flood tunnels underneath Las Vegas, and many of them struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Paul Vautrinot was one of them, but he now works for the community organization Shine a Light, which offers services including housing and counseling to people living in the tunnels. Vautrinot visits the tunnels regularly to try to help residents find a way out
- Outside in America is a year-long series on homelessness in the western US. The project focuses on people on the frontline of a devastating crisis and enables readers to take action to help solve the problem. Find out more and sign up to our monthly newsletter
| ‘I’ve run out of tears’: inside London’s temporary housing crisis – video
Nov 22nd 2017, 07:26, by Ekaterina Ochagavia and Maeve Shearlaw
Connect House in Mitcham, London, is a converted office block in the depths of an industrial estate that is temporarily home to vulnerable people, families and young children. We meet two young mothers who tell us what daily life is like there. An estimated 120,540 children with their families live in temporary accommodation across England, a figure that has risen 37% since 2014.
| City: the remarkable urban photographs of David Levene – video
Nov 21st 2017, 10:00, by David Levene Lindsay Poulton Max Duncan Pascal Wyse Ken Macfarlane Oliver Wainwright Fiona Shields Roger Tooth Luke Dodd
Award-winning photographer David Levene has revealed an unparalleled cross-section of the urban 21st century over more than a decade documenting how people live and work in 70 cities. From east to west, using archive and never-before-seen images, we hear the story behind three of the most moving photographs in his new book – from Yangon in Myanmar, Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and Calais in France – and follow him back to his birthplace as he hunts for the final picture