Jacob Gonzales mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:20:36 GMT
Boris Johnson says near record migration figures show 'scandalous' government failure - live

Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen

Boris Johnson is campaigning in Winchester.

Boris Johnson is in their somewhere!

The Greens have won the prize for today’s most outlandish EU referendum headline. Sian Berry, the Green London assembly member, sent out a press release headed:

Brexit could mean break-up for 1 in 10 London couples

The reality is that a vote to leave will cause a lot of uncertainty for Londoners and many who are in mixed partnerships will worry about new rules on the leave to remain. European citizens are intricately woven into Londoners’ daily lives – as a large number of our citizens but also our friends, colleagues and very often life partners.

We’ve heard a lot about the economic and political arguments for the EU, but it is time to also think about the individual emotional consequences leaving the EU will have on a very large number of our citizens.

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Johnny Warren mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 04:26:03 GMT
China to send nuclear-armed submarines into Pacific amid tensions with US

Beijing risks stoking new arms race with move although military says expansion of the US missile defence has left it with no choice

The Chinese military is poised to send submarines armed with nuclear missiles into the Pacific Ocean for the first time, arguing that new US weapons systems have so undermined Beijing’s existing deterrent force that it has been left with no alternative.

Chinese military officials are not commenting on the timing of a maiden patrol, but insist the move is inevitable.

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Nicholas Richardson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 07:14:45 GMT
Research reveals huge scale of social media misogyny

Labour’s Yvette Cooper is at forefront of cross-party campaign aiming to tackle the growing menace of online abuse

Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians will come together to call for a national campaign to defeat online misogyny as research reveals the scale of abuse aimed at women on social media.

Yvette Cooper is joining forces with the former Tory minister Maria Miller, former Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson and Labour’s Jess Phillips to launch an online public consultation in an attempt to create a national conversation about tackling the growing scale of online abuse.

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Dennis Nelson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 07:11:33 GMT
DMGT issues profit warning after double-digit fall in print ads

Publisher says division housing Daily Mail, Mail Online and Metro will miss its full-year targets

The owner of the Daily Mail has issued a warning to investors after reporting a 29% fall in profits, driven by a double-digit decline in print advertising, at its newspaper operation in the six months to the end of March.

Daily Mail & General Trust, the parent company of the Daily Mail and Mail Online, said that overall financial results for the business are “broadly in line with expectations”.

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Antonio Boyd mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:24:46 GMT
Sajid Javid announces consultation on British Steel pensions - live updates

Ministers are considering whether to cut the benefits due to Britain’s steel workers, to help Tata find a buyer


And finally, Labour MP Madeleine Moon of Bridgend says that other companies are already poaching skilled steel workers.

Q: Shouldn’t the government give an assurance that public sector contracts will always demand a high percentage of British steel, to underpin confidence?

Geriant Davies, Labour Co-operative MP for Swansea West, tells the house that he warned the government that minimum carbon pricing would hurt the steel industry.

Javid agrees that energy costs are important, but not the only factor facing steel plants.

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Steven Kennedy mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:20:35 GMT
Theresa May launches sharia law review

Review led by Prof Mona Siddiqui to look at whether sharia law is being misused, particularly in divorce and custody cases

An official review of the application of sharia law in England and Wales has been launched by the home secretary, Theresa May.

The review forms part of the government’s counter-extremism strategy and will be carried out by a Home Office-appointed panel chaired by Prof Mona Siddiqui and including family law experts and a retired high court judge. The panel is to be advised by two imams who are religious and theological experts.

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Donald Richardson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:57:54 GMT
HS2 will cost five times as much as similar line in France, says report

Transport experts say new Tours-Bordeaux route comes at a fraction of UK project’s cost, and alternatives should be considered

HS2 will cost more than five times the amount being spent on an equivalent high-speed rail line in France, a group of transport experts has claimed.

The academics said there were “much less costly and environmentally damaging” ways of boosting capacity on the rail network.

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Vincent Roberts mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:24:49 GMT
G7 summit: Obama says Trump has 'rattled' world leaders – live

Live coverage as group of seven convenes at Ise-Shima, with global economy, terrorism, refugee crisis and South China Sea high on agenda

Some of the world leaders at the G7 got an underwhelming spin in fuel-cell cars, according to AFP.

Matteo Renzi of Italy and Canadian leader Justin Trudeau were bundled into eco-friendly sedans for an achingly slow ride around a carpark that ended with the photogenic pair dropped off for the talks, which are being held southwest of Tokyo.

#G7 leaders test drove #autonomous and #fuelcell vehicles #IseShima #Japan

Here’s a summary of the key developments on the first day of the G7 summit.

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Kevin Campbell mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:59:06 GMT
Cross Channel with full tank, bank holiday drivers told

Motorists heading to France this weekend warned against trying to take advantage of cheaper petrol due to refinery strikes

Motorists taking road trips to France this bank holiday weekend should “fill up to the brim” at the last petrol station in Dover, the AA has warned, because strikes by French oil refinery workers are causing fuel shortages across the Channel.

Traffic is expected to peak on Friday afternoon as the late spring bank holiday and start of half term coincide with a burst of good weather.

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Chris Parker mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:25:26 GMT
'I'm done. Wow': Victoria Derbyshire finishes breast cancer treatment

BBC journalist completes radiotherapy course, the last major treatment in process she has recorded in video diaries

The BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire has completed her 10-month treatment for breast cancer, which she documented in a regular diary to help demystify the process.

Derbyshire, 47, who was diagnosed with the disease at the end of July 2015, has been filming diaries that kept track of her experiences. On Wednesday, she completed six weeks of radiotherapy, her last major treatment for the cancer.

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Lawrence Nelson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:30:09 GMT
'It's beyond pain': how Mormons are left vulnerable in Utah's opiate crisis

Mormons, who shun drugs and alcohol, have fallen prey to addiction in Utah, where one-third of adults were prescribed an opioid pain medication in 2014

Maline Hairup was a devout Mormon. No alcohol, no coffee. She didn’t smoke. Until the day she died, she had never used illegal drugs. Yet she was an addict for most of her adult life.

“Maline never thought she had a problem,” said her sister, Mindy Vincent, a recovering addict. “She was a firm believer that because the doctor prescribed the pills it was OK. She didn’t see any shame in it. She didn’t think she was an addict. It wasn’t like taking drugs. But she was on the painkillers for 15 years until they wouldn’t give her any more.

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Arthur Cooper mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 07:54:46 GMT
China unveils 'straddling bus' design to beat traffic jams

The concept vehicle is designed to float above the clogged-up streets of some of the country’s biggest cities

A Beijing company has unveiled spectacularly futuristic designs for a pollution-busting, elevated bus capable of gliding over the nightmarish mega-jams for which urban China has become notorious.

Plans for the so-called Transit Explore Bus or TEB were showcased earlier this month at a technology expo in the Chinese capital.

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Paul Cole mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:16:55 GMT
Mel Gibson: ‘Some guy let me tattoo him. I drew squiggles’

The controversial actor and director stars as a former biker in thriller Blood Father. To research the role, he talked to gang members and undercover DEA agents – and learned how to be a terrible tattoo artist

Hi, Mel! Welcome to Cannes (1, see footnotes).

You’re from the Guardian! That’s a respectable paper.

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Steven James mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:14:32 GMT
Alejandro Aravena's Venice ​architecture ​​biennale: 'We can’t forget beauty in our battles'

The Chilean architect pitches activism against starchitecture and uncovers the architect’s role in drone warefare – leaving Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano distinctly out of place

“The only animal that can defeat the rhinoceros is the mosquito,” says Alejandro Aravena, the Chilean architect curating this year’s Venice architecture biennale. “Or a cloud of mosquitos, actually.”

He is standing in the former rope factory that serves as the exhibition’s main venue, a 300-metre-long promenade of installations, where robotically milled stone vaults compete with teetering bamboo frames, made by dozens architects from far-flung corners of the world. These are Aravena’s mosquitoes.

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Alfred Rodriguez mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:26:19 GMT
Formula E in Berlin, the world's first fully electric series – a photo essay

The electric circus that is Formula E travelled to Berlin this week where Felix Clay plugged himself in. The race result sets up a close finish for the Pro Series finale in London next month

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Travis Garcia mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 07:00:04 GMT
20 best vegetarian recipes: part 4

Yotam Ottolenghi’s cauliflower cakes, Vivek Singh’s dosas, tasty halloumi veggie burgers and more, all chosen by Observer Food Monthly

This utterly delicious traditional vegan summer roll recipe is full of flavour from the fresh abundance of crunchy herbs and delivers a meaty texture of tofu and shiitake. The herbs used are traditional and often available from Asian supermarkets, but, if they are hard to source, it is still delicious with just coriander, mint and Thai basil.

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Nynke Van der louw mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:33:00 GMT
Leaving the EU would be disastrous for my autistic son and thousands like him | Virginia Bovell

Vulnerable people have been forgotten in this Brexit debate. Who will fill the roles caring for those with learning disabilities if Britain leaves the European Union?

The poll card is propped up on the table in the hallway to my son Danny’s flat. He is a local authority tenant, and he is 22. He knows a lot about the advantages of being in the European Union, but he won’t be voting in the referendum.

The reason for this is that, according to a thorough assessment undertaken by a psychologist when he was 18, Danny’s cognitive functioning is akin to that of a two-year-old. If Danny were to vote, as an adult citizen of the UK with a considerable stake in our political economy, it would require someone entering the polling booth with him, placing their hand over his, and guiding him to mark an X on the paper. The decision about which box to cross would be that of his supporter, not his.

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Craig Perez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 19:51:21 GMT
Premier League finances: the full club-by-club breakdown and verdict
Assessing the accounts of 2014-15’s top-flight clubs – and what the figures say about their financial health
• The 2013-14 accounts: full club-by-club breakdown

Financial figures for the 2014-15 financial year, for the 20 clubs in the Premier League during the 2014-15 season. All details from the most recently published annual reports at Companies House. Net debt is as stated in the accounts; debts minus cash held at the bank. The separate categories of turnover are each rounded down or up, so added together they do not always tally with the total turnover figure.

Related: Premier League clubs make record £3.4bn with help from FFP regulations

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Jacob Morales mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:03 GMT
My house has negative equity – can I sell it and switch to a new mortgage?

The value of my house is less than my mortgage, what should I do if I want to sell the house and move the shortfall over to a new mortgage?

Q I want to sell my terraced house. It is valued at £45,000 but my mortgage is over £65,000 so if I sold my house would I be able to carry the amount over to a new mortgage? What is the best way to go forward? I have talked to mortgage advisers but don’t seem to get anywhere and feel like I’m stuck. CS

A Because your house is worth less than your mortgage – and so you are in negative equity – you can’t sell it without your lender’s permission. But it is worth talking to your lender as it may be one of those which will allow you to carry the shortfall to a new mortgage. There will be conditions. For example, Nationwide says that if you are an existing Nationwide borrower in negative equity who wants to move home, your application for a new mortgage will be considered. However, you’ll be eligible only if you need to move – because you’ve got a new job elsewhere in the country, for example – you are in permanent employment and you can afford the new borrowing. Even if you are eligible, Nationwide says that you won’t be allowed to move to a new build property or shared ownership or shared equity property and take your mortgage with you. In addition, you will need to have enough cash to put down a deposit on the new home.

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Jimmy Cooper mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:01:03 GMT
Grave of the 'boy hero' of Battle of Jutland given new protected status to mark centenary

Memorial to John Cornwell, aged 16 when he died after HMS Chester came under fire during naval battle, given grade II listing

The grave of the “boy hero” of the Battle of Jutland, the only major set-piece naval battle of the first world war, is being given new protected status to mark next week’s centenary of the clash of the world’s two biggest fleets.

The first world war battle was fought over 72 hours from 30 May to 1 June 1916, with the loss of 6,094 British seamen and 2,551 Germans, but the Germans failed to break the blockade of the North Sea by the British, making it a significant moment in the war.

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Nicholas Henry mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 07:45:05 GMT
How to make the perfect ajo blanco

Gazpacho’s older cousin, this cold almond soup dates back to the Moorish middle ages. But should you use water, milk or almond milk? How much garlic? And what about garnishes?

Although gazpacho may be more famous these days, ajo blanco is the original cold soup from one of the hottest parts of Europe. Predating the arrival of the new world’s tomatoes and peppers by several centuries, this thrifty mixture of Andalusian staples dates back to the Moorish middle ages – indeed, we have them to thank for the region’s abundant almond crop.

Stale bread, moistened with vinegar and water, thickened with nuts and spiced up with garlic is a richer proposition than gazpacho’s salad in a bowl, but well chilled, ajo blanco’s natural creaminess makes it a uniquely refreshing proposition, and a lovely starter for a summer lunch or dinner party.

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Dennis Long mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:04:35 GMT
Would Enid Blyton 'delight' in new Famous Five parodies? Will we?

Whether or not she would be pleased, take-offs of the much-loved children’s books look set to follow the success of Ladybird spoofs

“We are certain Enid Blyton would have delighted in the gentle parody of her characters,” says Anne McNeil of Enid Blyton Entertainment. “Characters which have helped to create a multimillion-selling global brand.”

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Louis Powell mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:03 GMT
'A kind of tragedy': why we turned the Chilcot Iraq inquiry into a play

As the Chilcot inquiry prepares to report, a Guardian writer explains why he co-created a play out of its astonishing testimony

More than 100 witnesses spoke at the Chilcot inquiry and its long-awaited report, due on 6 July, will contain 2.6 million words, making it four times as long as War and Peace. There is a danger that when the full inquiry emerges, the impact of the raw, devastating evidence from all these witnesses will be lost, smothered by spin.

For example, members of Tony Blair’s government, not least Blair himself, dismiss the claim that the invasion of Iraq increased the terror threat to Britain. Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5 at the time, profoundly disagreed. Asked whether the conflict exacerbated the overall threat MI5 had to deal with from international terrorism, she responded: “Substantially.”

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Paul Gonzales mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 09:03:41 GMT
Antisocial network: how self-deprecation is taking over the internet

It used to be Instagram posts of glamorous parties and beach selfies. Now it’s Netflix and bragging about your chilled weekend

Social media is often called out as an outlet for bragging. Or its spin-off, the #humblebrag. We hear all the time about how the pressure to keep up with the shiny, happy people we see on Facebook is making our mental health suffer.

It can seem that everyone else’s existence is all #marbs, postcoital selfies, and smug invitation acceptances. Except for my Instagram feed, which is literally just pictures of Hampstead Heath.

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Harold Boyd mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:01:59 GMT
The Moon and the Sledgehammer: the cult film about a Sussex family who hid in a forest

In 1969, Philip Trevelyan filmed the beguilingly strange life of the Page family, who lived off-grid and rode steam engines round their wood. The director talks about how the film changed his life

As pop music blares and cars rush past, the camera lurches into a wood at the road’s edge and, through rustling foliage, reveals a strange scene: giant spanners, a discarded bike and a piano outside a primitive tin-roofed cottage. The bucolic chirp of sparrows is shattered by a gunshot.

From the first moment of the cult documentary, The Moon and the Sledgehammer, we are taken into a disturbing, marginal and strangely marvellous world: the home of the Page family, who live without electricity or running water in a wood in Sussex. It is 1969 and “Oily” Page is a theatrical septuagenarian who lives with four grown-up children in the style of 1869: they’re not hippies who’ve gone off grid, but the last members of an agricultural community driven to extinction by modern machines.

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Craig Mason mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:25:20 GMT
Why I give a hoot for competing dead jazz musician movies

Miles Ahead and Born to Be Blue immortalise Miles Davis and link him to Chet Baker. I’m all for expanding the cinetrompette genre: candidates pick themselves

Related: ‘It has to be hot. It has to be creative’: Don Cheadle on his 10-year quest to play Miles Davis

Rarely in the history of motion pictures have two films featuring the same dead jazz trumpet player been released simultaneously. In fact, as far as I can determine, it has never happened. Yet today jazz aficionados find themselves blessed with two very different films featuring the legendary Miles Davis.

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Fred Cox mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 10:59:29 GMT
The Ball Freshtech jam & jelly maker: ‘Beyoncé was right – I simply am not ready for this jelly’

This automatic jam machine claims to take the heat out of fruit preservation. It gives me a tension headache

Tub fitted with rotor blades and lid. Hot fruit continually agitated produces a gelled preserve.

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Dennis Watson mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 15:13:39 GMT
Too gay for TV? Get used to it, honey | David Ferguson

A TV reporter was told by one viewer that his ‘gayness’ on screen was a problem. Well, guess what: we’re no longer going to try to pass as straight for your benefit

Arkansas TV reporter Mitchell McCoy recently got an email that he wanted to share with the world. “I’ve been holding back for months but I can’t stand your gayness,” a viewer complained. “Our children should not be watching people like you. You are a disgrace to Arkansas and I will be asking your boss to take you off.”

The outraged viewer went on: “Do not be offended but society is not ready for gay men reading the news.”

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Kenneth Ellis mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 23:01:10 GMT
Shiver me timbers! Remains of fabled warship HMS Namur dock in museum

Skeleton of vessel described as ‘the ship that defines the course of British history’ to be displayed in Chatham dockyard 20 years after chance discovery

The bones of a great ship once captained by Jane Austen’s brother and hidden for almost two centuries will return to public view this weekend.

HMS Namur was built at Chatham dockyard in 1756, broken up there in 1834, and buried under a floor as the age of timber and sails gave way to the era of iron and steam. Now, its huge wooden skeleton is the centrepiece of Command of the Oceans, a major new gallery opening at Chatham Historic Dockyard museum.

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Peter Martin mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 15:23:51 GMT
Bob Dylan unseen: Daniel Kramer discusses rare images from the 1960s

Capturing classic album sleeves and private moments on 35mm, Kramer spent a breathless 12 months with the musician, who turned 75 yesterday

Daniel Kramer picked a good time to pester Bob Dylan about setting up a photo shoot. It was early 1964, a few months before Dylan went electric. Kramer, a well-known photojournalist specializing in artist portraits, knew nothing of Dylan before he heard him sing the politically charged song The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll on the Steve Allen Show. “Then I began regularly sending notes, and making calls, to the office of Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, asking for a one-hour session,” Kramer recalled. “The office always said no.”

But six months later, when Grossman himself picked up the phone for one of Kramer’s calls, things changed. “He just said, ‘OK, come up to Woodstock next Thursday,’” Kramer remembers.

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Patrick Cox mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:07:40 GMT
Home is where the toxins are – the hidden poisons we live with

Some houses can be susceptible to a buildup of formaldehyde created by cleaning products. Which other everyday items can leave a harmful chemical trail?

Does your house smell pine fresh? If so, you might want to open a window. This week, the country’s biggest household cleaning manufacturer began publishing every ingredient it uses, in response to fears that the chemicals we use in our homes could be harming us.

Fragrances such as limonene (which smells like lemon) and pinene (which smells of – yes, you’ve guessed it – pine) are used in an increasing number of products. But they create small amounts of formaldehyde – a carcinogen. While this might not be a problem in the majority of homes, for clean-freaks living in modern, energy-efficient homes, there can be a serious buildup.

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Jesse Simmons mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 19:29:00 GMT
Jane Bond is just James in a frock. We need a new heroine | Catherine Shoard
Gillian Anderson’s 007 poster sent the web wild, but movie roles deserve more than belated sex-changes

The power of Twitter is, of course, a wonderful thing. It has an unparalleled ability to turn a casual remark into front-page news. This happened on Monday when X-Files star Gillian Anderson retweeted a poster made by a fan, imagining her as the new 007: the actor photoshopped in front of that big iconic whirly gun barrel and the official logo pasted at the bottom. Anderson added a caption: “It’s Bond. Jane Bond.”

The web went wild. Already stirred by the smackdown between Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba – the chief contenders to inherit Daniel Craig’s tux – the sudden arrival of a new hat in the ring proved to be the touchpaper. Anderson’s tweet was liked 30,000 times.

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Jason Roberts mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:16:38 GMT
Rotten tomatoes: match the insult to the movie star feud - quiz

With Johnny Depp saying that Australian deputy PM Barnaby Joyce looks like he’s ‘inbred with a tomato’, can you guess which piece of shade reportedly belongs to which celebrity sparring partners?

Walter Matthau on Barbra Streisand

"I would rather marry an old donkey than kiss that woman"

"I have more talent in my smallest fart than she has in her entire body"

"She is the definition of inconsequential"

"Why would anyone be entertained by that bowlegged moron?"

Harrison Ford on Shia LaBoeuf

"He's a fucking idiot"

"What an ungrateful punk"

"He sums up everything I hate about young actors

"I'd rather have acted with a snake"

Diane Kruger on Peter O'Toole

"There were times when he would just look at me, drooling, and I would feel physically sick"

"I know he was seen as a classic actor by many but turning up late smelling like brandy isn't my idea of professional"

"I will never forget how bad he would stink on set"

"It kind of sucked. He’s dead, so I can say that. But he wasn’t the most pleasant person. He was just a drunk"

Julia Roberts on Nick Nolte

"A disgusting human being"

"A shameful pile of human waste"

"A toxic loser"

"A foul-mouthed drunk"

John Gielgud on Ingrid Bergman

"One would wonder how many studio heads she had slept with to get these damn roles"

"She speaks five languages and can’t act in any of them"

"I pinched her once to check that she wasn't made of wood"

"It was like acting by myself, she was entirely irrelevant"

Russell Crowe on Oliver Reed

"One time, he took his clothes off and refused to put them back on for the whole day. That image still haunts me to this day"

"His reputation didn't even cover it. I assumed a minimum level of professionalism. He was just a wreck"

"I would try to rehearse with him but he was too drink to even stand up straight. It took three people to hold him up"

"I have seen him walk down the street in Malta drunk as a lord and just hit anybody he got near to - even a man walking with his children"

Tony Curtis on Marilyn Monroe

"It's like kissing Hitler"

"I would have been more sexually aroused by a stack of wet books"

"Her breath was like a roadmap of exactly where she'd been and who she'd been with the night before"

"It was an insufferable experience with that dumb woman"

Pierce Brosnan on Teri Hatcher

"She's a bad actress but she's an even worse human being"

"I'm sure her mother loves her. I hope she's learned some humanity having become a mother herself"

"Quite where her ego comes from, I don't know. It's certainly not proportionate to her talent"

"Every day was torture propping her up on set"

Anthony Hopkins on Shirley MacLaine

“She was the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with"

"Why did this thing get so much work?"

"A staggeringly untalented woman"

"I would dread getting out of bed to work with her"

Werner Herzog on Klaus Kinski

"There was violence between us. I'm surprised we are both alive"

"Klaus was a horrible person and it was difficult pretending otherwise"

“We had a great love but both of us planned to murder each other”

"We fought like brothers and I always regretted never fighting harder"

7 and above.

You live in the shade!

0 and above.

You should have stayed in your dressing room

4 and above.

We got beef with you now

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Louis Gonzalez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 12:08:05 GMT
The men who live as dogs: 'We're just the same as any person on the high street'

Human pups like to live in packs, play with squeaky toys, eat from bowls and nuzzle their ‘handlers’. Ahead of a new documentary, Spot, Bootbrush and Kaz open up about their community

It’s easy to laugh at a grown man in a rubber dog suit chewing on a squeaky toy. Maybe too easy, in fact, because to laugh is to dismiss it, denigrate it – ignore the fact that many of us have found comfort and joy in pretending to be animals at some point in our lives.

Secret Life of the Human Pups is a sympathetic look at the world of pup play, a movement that grew out of the BDSM community and has exploded in the last 15 years as the internet made it easier to reach out to likeminded people. While the pup community is a broad church, human pups tend to be male, gay, have an interest in dressing in leather, wear dog-like hoods, enjoy tactile interactions like stomach rubbing or ear tickling, play with toys, eat out of bowls and are often in a relationship with their human “handlers”.

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Brian Foster mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:21:34 GMT
French Open 2016: Nadal in action as Bouchard goes out – day five live!

A quick update while Jacob’s away:

We’re in a bit of a lull. The perfect time for me to grab some lunch. Back soon.

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Johnny Harrison mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:00:21 GMT
Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he has offers from England amid Manchester United interest
• Sweden striker says he speaks with José Mourinho every day
• ‘It’s cat and mouse with all the rumours and I enjoy being the mouse’

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has admitted he has “concrete offers from clubs in England as well as Italy and from sides outside Europe”. The 34-year-old, who would like to join Manchester United to team up with José Mourinho this summer, added that he had a “fantastic time” while playing for the Portuguese manager at Inter during the 2008-09 season.

The striker, who was talking at a Sweden press conference as they started their Euro 2016 build-up, was coy on whether one of the concrete offers had been from Manchester United but did, once again, talk about his admiration for Mourinho, who is expected to take over at Old Trafford in the next few days.

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Roy Perez mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:01:00 GMT
Eric Cantona believes Didier Deschamps may have left out France players on racial grounds

• Frenchman asks why Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa were omitted
• Cantona and Didier Deschamps have a long history of animosity

Eric Cantona has controversially suggested the ethnicity of Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa may have been a factor in the France manager Didier Deschamps leaving the pair out of his squad for next month’s European Championship.

Ben Arfa, a former Newcastle forward, was only named on standby despite a brilliant season for Nice that has seen him linked with a move to Barcelona. But it is Benzema’s exclusion after he was questioned by police in connection with an alleged attempt by one of his friends to blackmail his international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape which is given particularly short shrift by Cantona, who turned 50 on Tuesday.

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Bruce Reyes mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:35:22 GMT
Chris Woakes to replace Ben Stokes in England team for second Test
• All-rounder gets nod ahead of uncapped seamer Jake Ball
• Woakes will bat at No8 with Bairstow and Moeen promoted

Alastair Cook has confirmed Chris Woakes will come into the England side for Friday’s second Test with Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street as the replacement for the injured all-rounder Ben Stokes.

With Stokes facing up to six weeks out following knee surgery on Tuesday, Cook and the head coach Trevor Bayliss have opted for Warwickshire’s Woakes, fresh from taking nine for 36 against Durham this week, ahead of the Nottinghamshire seamer Jake Ball.

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Douglas Ramos mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:33:47 GMT
Eddie Jones’s England revival: attitude and adaptability key to next stage | The Breakdown
The England coach’s squad to tour Australia shows the next generation of players, like Genge and Sinckler, must be ready to fight and adjust during battle

Given where the England head coach Eddie Jones was born, it could be said after he announced his tour party for Australia that he is looking to inject some Tasmanian devil into his squad.

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Fred Martin mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:04:00 GMT
Granit Xhaka: a born leader who will finally bring some grit to Arsenal | Marcus Christenson
The Swiss midfielder was outspoken at Borussia Mönchengladbach and sent off three times last season before Arsène Wenger convinced him to leave Germany

Borussia Mönchengladbach’s interim manager André Schubert looked around his dressing room in search of a leader. The team had lost five consecutive games at the start of last season and the two club captains, Martin Stranzl und Tony Jantschke, were injured and unavailable.

The team were rock bottom of the Bundesliga, still reeling from the departure of the hugely popular manager Lucien Favre, who had qualified the team for the Champions League the previous season, and Schubert needed someone to invigorate his squad.

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Kevin Martin mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:51:01 GMT
After-shave and napkin rings – Mourinho’s image rights delay Manchester United appointment
• Records show Chelsea own the trademark until 31 March 2025
• Mourinho likely to be named United’s manager in coming days

José Mourinho’s impending appointment as Manchester United manager has been held up by the Portuguese’s former club Chelsea owning the trademark to his name, with official documents showing the list of goods they can officially put his name to include after-shave, potpourris and even napkin rings.

Related: Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants £220,000-a-week to join Manchester United

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Jimmy Gordon mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:29:01 GMT
Stephen Curry, the Warriors and the struggle to stay superhuman

If Golden State are to have any chance of rescuing a place in the NBA finals, they need their league MVP to become a machine once more

On the afternoon before the Western Conference finals began Steph Curry was in the Golden State Warriors downtown Oakland practice facility doing what he does after every session has finished. Shooting jump shots. Up went the dancing one-foot three-pointers. Up went the fadeaways from 26 feet. Up went the shot from just inside half-court.

To those watching on the side it was just Curry being Curry; the NBA’s first unanimous MVP playing his usual games of Basketball Golf and Beat the Ogre – vanquishing imaginary foes before retreating to the shower. His head bobbed. His feet danced. His wrists flicked. And the ball kept flying through the basket in gentle splashes of leather against net.

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Mark Perez mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:52:00 GMT
Monaco GP: Hamilton faster than Rosberg in accident-ridden FP1
• Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Massa in separate crashes
• Jenson Button damages wing on loose drain cover

On the day it was revealed that the family of Jules Bianchi are launching legal action over the fatal accident that killed their son, Formula One had one of its most eventful practice sessions in Monaco.

There were two crashes. Renault’s Jolyon Palmer smashed into a barrier after failing to successfully negotiate Tabac corner and Felipe Massa crashed his Williams at St Devote, triggering the introduction of a virtual safety car

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Sean Hughes mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:23:57 GMT
European Cup finals revisited, Suzanne Lenglen and a TV spat | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features a 44-1 thrashing, some brilliant baseball, bad boxers and the Match of the Day theme remixed

1) With the Champions League final looming, we present the protagonists: Real Madrid’s first win in the first final against Stade de Reims in 1956 by Spain’s equivalent of Pathé News; the goals from all the finals between 1956 and 1962 in which Real played seven times and won five. Atlético Madrid have been the bridesmaid twice, their first appearance, losing 4-0 to Bayern Munich in 1974 and to Real in 2014. Real’s history with the final is of course not only long but they’ve been in some belters: Predrag Mijatović securing the club’s first title for 32 years (since beating Partizan 2-1 in 1966) against Juventus in 1998; against Valencia in 2000 – with Steve McManaman delighting the fans and Zinedine Zidane’s ballistic volley in 2002 against Bayer Leverkusen. Atlético, however, have the form against their rivals with seven wins in three years, the last away from home in La Liga in February. And as a final teaser, Cristiano Ronaldo opens the top five free-kicks from the Champions League this season.

2) Artistic and quite beautiful Pathé footage from June 1925 of the glorious Suzanne Lenglen, who dominated women’s tennis at the time and won Wimbledon six times. The footage of Wimbledon is fantastic but not a patch on the extraordinary slo-mo of Lenglen’s shots. Slightly more up to date: Rafael Nadal outfoxes Sam Groth at this year’s French Open.

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Lawrence Martinez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 19:47:12 GMT
Javelin star Goldie Sayers calls for Russia to be 'properly punished'

• ‘The only way they will learn is if they are banned’
• Reports that silver medallist Mariya Abakumova tested positive

The British javelin thrower Goldie Sayers, who looks set to claim a belated bronze medal from the 2008 Olympics after hundreds of urine samples from Beijing were retested, has called for Russia to be banned from the forthcoming Rio Games because “the only way they will learn is if they are properly punished”. Sayers feels so strongly about the situation that she has even considered pulling out of the Olympics in protest if Russia’s track and field stars are allowed to compete.

“I’d almost go as far as to say I wouldn’t want to compete in Rio if Russia are competing,” Sayers told the Guardian. “But boycotting it wouldn’t do anything, because no one would care. And then I would be missing out on another Olympic moment. So I will aim to qualify again. However, I certainly think their athletes should be banned from Rio.

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Gregory Peterson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:34:45 GMT
New PCA ambassador Monty Panesar opens up on mental health issues
• Spinner is rebuilding his career after being released by Essex
• ‘You have got to take one step at a time and be patient’

Monty Panesar has admitted he requires medication to help his daily battle against mental illness after the former England spinner was named as a Professional Cricketers’ Association Mental Health Ambassador.

Panesar, who made his last Test appearance for England in December 2013 against Australia, is rebuilding his career with his first county Northamptonshire having been released by Essex at the end of last season due to “off-field issues”. The 34-year-old has been receiving medical help but has revealed that his initial reluctance to take medication initially held back his progress.

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Benjamin Roberts mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:14:01 GMT
Tremble before us, New York: LA may now be the best sports town in the US

Our reputation as a sports mecca is terrible. But now we’ve got the Super Bowl to add to the Lakers, Rams, Ice Cube and, of course, Vin Scully

Well, Los Angeles is really an NFL town again. Sure, the return of the Rams was a major milestone in welcoming back America’s most popular sport, but this week’s announcement that LA would host the 2021 Super Bowl truly solidified the NFL’s commitment to the city as a viable market. With all four major sports (plus soon to be two MLS teams), we’re a real sports town again.

I can hear you laughing from New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and St Louis — sorry St Louis, we took our team back. Our reputation as a sports mecca is about as poor as Donald Trump’s reputation as a feminist icon. There’s too many distractions, they say. We come to the games late and leave early. We’re bandwagon riders. The stereotype that we don’t really care about sports the way the east coast does has been hard to shake, but with the Super Bowl coming – plus the possibility of the Olympics and a Final Four in the future – you’re all going to have to come to visit sooner or later. It’s best that I disabuse you of your prejudices now, while your mind is still pliable. Here’s a few reasons why LA is not only a great sports town, but it might be the best sports town in the nation:

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Shawn Henry mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:56:04 GMT
Fear, money and racism: what’s our problem with diversity on screen? – video

The lack of diversity in film and television dominated the debate during awards season. But away from the Oscars, the UK picture is also bleak: the film Bafta acting nominees have been almost exclusively white for two years running. Leah Green looks beyond the headlines to see why diversity remains such a problem in the UK film and TV industries

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Earl Turner mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:23:09 GMT
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga on Loving, interracial marriage and gay rights – video interview

At the Cannes film festival, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, the stars of Jeff Nichols’s Loving, a biopic of Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and a black woman who were arrested in Virginia in 1958 for marrying, talk to Nigel M Smith. They tell how their case echoes through to the legilisation of gay marriage in modern America. Nichols explains why he wasn’t keen on making the couple’s story a traditional court room drama

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Walter Roberts mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 11:00:38 GMT
What do liberals get wrong about guns? – video

The Guardian’s Lois Beckett went to Louisville, Kentucky, where the National Rifle Association’s annual convention was taking place, and asked gun owners: what do liberals get wrong about guns, and how can we make America a safer place to live?

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Travis Martinez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 14:46:11 GMT
Do you know your endangered species? – video

The World Wildlife Foundation surveyed 2000 UK adults about their knowledge of endangered species. Roughly a third didn’t know giant pandas and snow leopards are under threat, while a fifth thought cows and grey squirrels are. One in four thought the dodo and brachiosaurus still exist!

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Steven Gonzales mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:51:01 GMT
The hidden risks of climbing Mount Everest – video

Three climbers have died on Mount Everest in the past week, all succumbing to altitude sickness after reaching the summit. The increasing number of deaths on the world’s tallest mountain is raising fresh fears about overcrowding and the ethics of commercial mountaineering on Everest

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Jimmy Martinez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 06:00:32 GMT
Women, face it: marriage can never be feminist – video

The institution of marriage has curtailed women’s freedom for centuries, says Julie Bindel. So why are so many feminists trying to reclaim the tradition as a subversive act? If you want to get married, she says, just get on with it - but please don’t pretend that being a feminist changes its meaning

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Brian Mason mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 11:00:38 GMT
Alan Rickman: 'The Royal Court is where I found out who the hell I was' – video

The Royal Court in London is celebrating its 60th birthday with 60 short films in which actors, directors and playwrights celebrate the theatre. In this video, filmed in 2015, Alan Rickman remembers first visiting the Court in the 1960s as a teenager and then starring in an acclaimed Irish version of The Seagull there in the 1980s. He also talks about taking Rachel Corrie’s parents to the Sloane Square theatre to see the play based on their daughter’s diaries and emails, edited by Rickman and Katharine Viner

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Louis Gordon mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 09:59:28 GMT
Director Xavier Dolan: 'Cannes is sinking into a culture of hatred' – video interview

Xavier Dolan, whose new film, Only the End of the World, debuted to poor reviews at the Cannes film festival last week, shares his dismayed reaction to the critical mauling. Vincent Cassel, who co-stars in the film with Marion Cotillard and Léa Seydoux, explains why the film’s melodramatic tone suits a story about a family on the verge of disaster

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Jason Lee mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 06:00:04 GMT
Neuro cuisine: exploring the science of flavour – video

Tamal Ray, anaesthetist and baker, Professor Charles Spence, experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford and chef Jozef Youssef embark on a journey to decode the science of flavour. Professor Spence and Jozef challenge Tamal to explore how sight, sound and touch alter his perception of the flavour of food. Supported by SEAT

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George Peterson mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 13:49:48 GMT
Tim Burton on Alice Through the Looking Glass – video interview

Tim Burton, the producer of the followup to Alice in Wonderland (which he directed), talks about the enduring power of fairytales and folk stories and about the ‘different energy’ of James Bobin, who has directed this film. Bobin discusses narrative confusion among those who haven’t read Lewis Carroll’s books and how Alice Liddell – who inspired them – was of the same generation as the suffragettes

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Ryan Mcdonald mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 06:00:02 GMT
The forgotten children of China's prisoners – video

In a government building in Nanzhao, the Zhang children’s father awaits his fate. He accidentally killed a child and will probably be executed. The Chinese state makes no provision for prisoners’ children. The Sun Village orphanage takes in sisters Wei and Yan and their brother Won, but without their father they cannot verify their legal status. Will the children ever be able to study and work?

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Jimmy Lewis mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 11:45:12 GMT
The Safe House: a documentary on the decline of UK libraries – trailer video

Poet and filmmaker Greta Bellamacina has teamed up with journalist Davina Catt to document the history of British public libraries and their current decline. From their Scottish beginnings in the 18th century right up to present day, Catt and Bellamacina chart the history of UK libraries alongside interviews with the likes of Stephen Fry, Irvine Welsh, Amma Asante and John Cooper Clarke, who plead for libraries to be saved from relentless cuts

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Kyle Simmons mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:17:51 GMT
Is grit something you can learn? | Polly Morland
Changing who we are is hard to imagine, and even harder to actually do. But the good news is, it’s not impossible

Thanks to the findings of the US psychologist Angela Duckworth, what gives you grit – and whether you can change to develop it – is very much on the agenda.

We once intoned “Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better”, or we machinated about winning friends and influencing people. But we barely paused for breath before turning to the cultivation of (seven) habits of highly effective people and, not long after, the winning ways of Outliers. And on it rolls – our hunger for remedies for mediocrity is as insatiable as ever.

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Wayne Martin mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:08:43 GMT
Will Hollywood ever respect east Asian actors? | Carmen Fishwick
Burt Kwouk played karate-chopping sidekicks and evil masterminds in the Pink Panther and James Bond. Asian actors still struggle with racist stereotypes

The British actor Burt Kwouk, best known for his role as Cato Fong – the long-suffering servant of Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther – died this week. Duty-bound, Cato’s main task was to keep Clouseau alert, launching surprise martial-arts attacks as his employer entered his apartment.

Related: Burt Kwouk, Cato from Pink Panther, dies age 85

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Daniel Nelson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 08:43:47 GMT
The eight big questions on migration the leave campaign must answer | Jacqui Smith

In this EU referendum, we are being asked to vote for a permanently poorer and less influential Britain – all in return for an unspecified immigration policy

The economic arguments for Brexit have been taken apart. The security arguments have been exposed under scrutiny. And every friend of Britain from around the world has advised us to remain. So with just 28 days to go, the single issue the leave campaign has left to talk about is immigration.

Related: A vote to remain in the EU won’t be the last we hear of Brexit | John Redwood

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Todd Dixon mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:38:34 GMT
Inequality is destroying all the markers of adulthood, from home ownership to marriage

Young people are still sold the story of growing up – leaving home, a secure job, a life partner and children. But the failures of capitalism have changed everything

It is a sign of the times that some of my local estate agents don’t look like estate agents. There are no pictures of houses in the windows. Instead, there are arrangements of twigs and some desks. These places could be pop-up jewellers or microbreweries or any kind of designer hellhole. Presumably, one goes into them just to hang out and chat about buying a house in this gallery-type environment.

No one needs, I suppose, to see any images. House buying is an abstract concept for so many these days. I await the inevitable arrival of a butcher’s that doesn’t put its meat in the shop front.

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Johnny Carter mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:08:39 GMT
When women can be misogynist trolls, we need a feminist internet | Polly Toynbee
Yvette Cooper’s campaign against online abuse is an important step towards tackling a culture of spite where women vent their insecurities on each other

What a work of wonder is the internet. When, at the click of a mouse, all the world’s knowledge is there for the asking, no one need be ignorant of anything any more. Wouldn’t that make us wiser, better, cleverer? What utopian hopes it stirred in the early days.

Related: Research reveals huge scale of social media misogyny

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Lawrence Lee mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 08:00:06 GMT
The real danger isn’t Brexit. It’s EU break-up | Pavel Seifter
The rise of angry nationalists across Europe is threatening to destroy a union based on peace – while Russia waits to prey on its remains
View all articles in our EU voices series

This is a time of strong emotions. Immigration is one such case; to leave or not to leave the EU is another. To a certain Mr Clarkson from Gillingham, talking to the BBC, Europe lies miles away, over the sea. “We are not Europeans. How could we be? So why does the government bow to diktats from Brussels?”

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Douglas Cox mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 01:12:06 GMT
Do you care about animals? Then you really shouldn't eat octopus | Elle Hunt

They may be delicious and sure, there are lots of them, but next time you’re chomping down on your barbecued octopus, just remember they were the first intelligent beings on Earth and have more genes than you do

When Inky the octopus made global headlines for his eight-legged getaway from a New Zealand aquarium, I seemed to be the only person on the internet whose imagination was not caught up in his “great escape”.

Chalk it up to tall poppy syndrome. But Inky’s “daring” (ABC) pursuit of “liberty over security” (NPR) was no more “amazing” (the Telegraph) a feat than that which any no-name captivity octopus, anywhere in the world, is capable of any day.

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Jimmy Hughes mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:04 GMT
A chance to defeat bigotry: that’s how to engage young people with the EU | Owen Jones

As the Brexit campaign sinks into the gutter, the spirit that rejected Zac Goldsmith as London mayor can be summoned again

“Two groups of old men shouting at each other”: that’s the verdict of nearly half of young people on the EU referendum, according to YouGov. It is as sophisticated a summary as any I can conjure up.

For those who believe in a society that isn’t rigged in favour of a shamelessly self-enriching elite, the official EU referendum debate is a bleak political wasteland. On the one hand, a faction that believes in cuts, privatisation and policies that favour the wealthiest; on the other, a faction that believes in cuts, privatisation and policies that favour the wealthiest, with added xenophobia and dogwhistle racism.

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Fred Nelson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:30:04 GMT
How Ken Loach’s food bank scene made me – and Cannes – cry | Peter Bradshaw
There can be a reverse machismo in admitting you are prone to tears in the cinema. But I, Daniel Blake should fill us all with shame and anger

I have been mentioned this week in the Daily Mail for crying at Ken Loach’s new film – I, Daniel Blake, a movie of radical plainness and simplicity about the benefits system – which has just won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Well, it is quite true. I sat there in the festival’s Palais, and cried. But I frankly defy anyone who sees this film not to cry at the key moment, which takes place in a food bank.

Related: Ken Loach stuns at Cannes 2016 with Palme d'Or win for I, Daniel Blake

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Henk Jongmans mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 09:35:55 GMT
The Greek bailout shows the EU is on its best behaviour – until 24 June | Jonathan Freedland
There’s a sense that our fellow EU states are avoiding issues that will fuel Brexiteers. Instead they are playing nicely, as they did with the loan to Athens

Imagine what’s going to happen at 10.01pm on Thursday 23 June. The polls will have just closed in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and, in an instant, the rest of Europe will be able to relax – and revert to type.

Suddenly, the migrant boats will be back on the water, heading for the Greek coast. The floodgates that have been slammed shut will be flung back open. In Brussels, the bureaucrats will reach for the desk drawer they’ve kept dutifully locked and pull out their grand plans to impose straight bananas and ban tasty crisps. And the central bankers will be able to tighten the screws on Greece once more. No longer obliged to play nice – as they did in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when they agreed to release €10.3bn in bailout money for Athens – they’d now be able to revive their demand that Greece live on ever more meagre rations in penance for its huge debts.

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Bruce Kennedy mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:58:14 GMT
The Guardian view on the Land Registry sell-off: hands off this national asset | Editorial
The task of keeping the details of who owns what land in England and Wales is a natural state monopoly with which the public is happy. There is no respectable case for change

By the end of this week, the course of one of Britain’s historic institutions and public assets will be changed for good. Tomorrow, the government’s consultation on the future of the Land Registry closes – and it explicitly rules out any continuation of the status quo. This, the paper says in commendably blunt language, is because it “would not meet the government’s objectives of transferring the Land Registry into the private sector”. In other words, it may claim to be a public consultation, it may invite the public to respond – but the results have already been rigged. Come hell, high water or public protest, the nation’s record of who owns what property in England and Wales is going to be handed over to a private business.

For an idea of how bizarre this situation is, consider a few things. First, there is no public demand for selling the Land Registry – quite the opposite. At the last count, this public service had a 94% customer satisfaction rate – and that remarkable result was considered a disappointment after consecutive scores of 98%. According to polling done on behalf of the campaign group We Own It, 70% of the public want the Land Registry to remain publicly owned. Second, the Land Registry is not some financial sinkhole, but is a reliable money-earner for the government. Third, as the single official record and enforcer of property ownership in England and Wales – land ownership in Scotland is another matter altogether – it is also a natural monopoly.

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George Morales mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 18:12:59 GMT
A vote to remain in the EU won’t be the last we hear of Brexit | John Redwood
More Conservatives want to leave the EU than will admit it. Remaining will split the party – and the country – further

The EU referendum is a major watershed in UK history. It will be important for the future of the Conservative party. It will be even more important for the future of our country.

The reason so many Conservative Eurosceptics have campaigned for a referendum and are now campaigning to leave is that we see Europe as a rare issue that transcends party politics. To us it is more important than which party wins the next election or who is the prime minister. It determines whether we once again become an independent democratic country capable of making our own laws, imposing our own taxes and making our own spending decisions. If remain wins, we stay on a conveyor belt to EU political union.

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Anthony Simmons mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 11:51:02 GMT
What if Turks talked about Britons the way Vote Leave talks about Turkey? | Liz Cookman

Watch out, the press might warn: if the UK stays in the EU hordes of the British migrants will come, imposing drunkenness, high heels and Christmas

The Brexit debate has become like the time a woman turned a pro-EU leaflet into a game of Cards Against Humanity, except every single one of Vote Leave’s answer cards says “Turkey”. What happens if we stay? Turkey. What is the biggest threat to the UK? Turkey. I drink to forget …? Turkey.

While Turkey has had more than its fair share of troubles of late, much of the ire from leave campaigners has been pointed directly at the Turkish people. All of Turkey’s 76 million population – mostly criminals, terrorists and gangsters apparently – are preparing to relocate to the UK on the off-chance it will stay part of the EU and their country will, by some miracle, achieve accession to the union sometime soon. This is quite something considering fears of a Cyprus veto, and when only 10% of the population even have a passport.

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Melvin Rodriguez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:59:08 GMT
The Guardian view on G7 aid spending: don’t trash it, match it | Editorial
Those who are most worried about migration flows should be leading the calls for more aid spending. The G7 summit needs to raise its game

Suppose you believed – as a lot of people in prosperous parts of the world now do – that the biggest problem currently facing your country was excessive migration. What would you do about it? You might tighten your border controls. You might make sure your neighbours tightened theirs too. You might ensure that existing migrants were productively and fairly integrated. If you were serious, however, you would also grasp that one of the most effective actions would be to reduce incentives for desperate people to migrate in the first place. In other words, you would have a foreign-aid programme.

There are of course many worthier reasons why foreign aid is important than helping to stem the world’s migration flows. Bringing an end to conflict, poverty, hunger and disease are goals and moral imperatives in their own right. The obligation to treat others as you would want to be treated yourself is at the core of many faith-based perspectives. Managing the finite resouces of the planet more equitably matters massively, especially for liberals and internationalists. A sense of responsibility towards fellow human beings in the light of history is fundamental too.

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Clarence Ramirez mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:34:58 GMT
Serial killer loses claim for rights violations over solitary confinement

High court rules segregation of Joanna Dennehy, who is serving a whole-life term for murdering three men and stabbing two others, is ‘proportionate’

A woman who was given a whole-life sentence for murdering three men and stabbing two others has lost her high court claim that she is entitled to damages for human rights violations after being placed in solitary confinement.

Serial killer Joanna Dennehy, 33, claimed that she had been left “tearful and upset” after being placed in segregation at HMP Bronzefield near Ashford, Surrey, after prison guards allegedly found a breakout plot in her diary.

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Mark Lewis mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:41:22 GMT
UK economy grew at 0.4%, ONS confirms

Increases in business services and government spending propped up growth with worrying fall in business investment blamed on Brexit fears

Britain’s economy grew at 0.4% in the first three months of the year, despite a slump in manufacturing and construction output that has dragged down GDP growth over the last year.

Increases in business services and government spending, especially on the NHS, propped up growth in the first quarter, according to the second estimate of GDP by the Office for National Statistics.

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Lawrence Ellis mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:02:26 GMT
Ticket touts face licensing threat

Government review of secondary-ticketing websites recommends licensing and enforcement action if rules on reselling continue to be flouted

Touts and others who sell large numbers of tickets to concerts and other events at inflated prices may have to be officially licensed if laws on resales continue to be flouted, a government-commissioned review has suggested.

It has also recommended that secondary-ticketing websites – a sector dominated by Seatwave, Viagogo, Get Me In and StubHub – should be taken to court if they do not comply with rules brought in last year to protect consumers.

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Jerry Ramirez mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:08:26 GMT
Legal highs expected to disappear from shops as ban arrives

Police say trade through ‘head shops’ and UK-based websites will end but some fear underground sale will continue

The blanket ban on the trade in legal highs, which comes into force on Thursday, is expected to lead to the products disappearing from high street “head shops” and UK-based websites virtually overnight, police and trading standards officers have said.

But there are fears that the trade in new psychoactive substances (NPS) – as they are officially known – will move underground to illegal street markets and the dark web, the network of untraceable and hidden websites.

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Jimmy Foster mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 21:41:49 GMT
Father urges Home Office to honour deal as family faces deportation

Gregg Brain moved with his wife and Gaelic-speaking son to Scottish Highlands on an initiative that has now been cancelled

An Australian father facing deportation from the Scottish Highlands next week, along with his wife and Gaelic-speaking son, has called on the Home Office “to live up to their side of the deal” after the visa scheme that first attracted his family to Scotland was retrospectively cancelled.

Gregg Brain told the Guardian that he, his wife Kathryn and seven-year-old Lachlan had been “absolutely humbled” by the local Highland community’s response to his family’s predicament. “We have been overwhelmed by the response and it just reinforced our belief that this is the community where we want to bring up our son,” he said.

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Walter Rodriguez mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:01:03 GMT
Payday loan complaints to financial ombudsman nearly triple in a year

PPI remains most complained-about financial product and more consumers are unhappy about fee-charging bank accounts, review finds

Complaints to the financial ombudsman about payday loans have almost tripled in a year, despite tougher regulation of the controversial sector, figures show.

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Jacob Gonzalez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 20:19:39 GMT
Disability rights campaigners protest at premiere of Me Before You

Not Dead Yet campaign objects to movie’s depiction of disabled man in relationship contemplating euthanasia

Anti-euthanasia campaigners have targeted the UK premiere of the Hollywood adaptation of the novel Me Before You, which has faced criticism over its depiction of disability and its assisted-dying plotline.

A group of activists unfurled a banner castigating it as a “disability snuff movie”, as cast members including Emilia Clarke, Jenna Coleman and Joanna Lumley arrived on the the red carpet at the London event for the film, based on the best-selling novel by British author Jojo Moyes.

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Vincent Fisher mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 21:00:07 GMT
Acne and exam stress among factors leading young people to suicide, study finds

First detailed study into 130 suicide cases in England finds range of common anxieties of 10- to 19-year-olds

Exam stress, acne and asthma are among the anxieties affecting children and young people who kill themselves, according to the first ever detailed national investigation of these cases.

Between January 2014 and April 2015, there were 145 suicides in England by children and young people aged 10 to 19. An inquiry looking at 130 of the cases has found some common factors, or “antecedents”, which the researchers hope may help families, friends, teachers or others to become aware that a child is struggling.

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Edward Gordon mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 23:01:10 GMT
Delays in discharging older patients from hospital 'cost NHS £820m a year'

Cuts in spending on adult social care mean people wait longer for home care packages or nursing home places, leading to increase of ‘bed-blocking’, says NAO

Delays in discharging older patients from hospital when they no longer need care is costing the NHS £820m every year, a report by official auditors has concluded. A failure to fund or organise help outside hospital for those over 65 once they are ready to leave medical care has led to an increase of so-called bed-blocking, according to a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

Older people are cared for in hospital, but once discharged some may need short- or long-term support from their local authority or community health services. This can include being helped to live at home or being put into a care home.

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Fred West mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 16:10:01 GMT
Sadiq Khan condemns foreign investors' use of London homes as 'gold bricks'

Mayor condemns capital’s housing policy for being ‘obsessed by numbers rather than building the right sorts of homes’

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has attacked foreign investors for using homes in the capital as “gold bricks for investment” following a Guardian investigation that revealed the UK’s tallest residential skyscraper is now more than 60% foreign-owned and is under-occupied.

Facing questions from the London Assembly for the first time since he was elected mayor, Khan warned that building thousands of new homes a year in London to solve the housing crisis would mean nothing if “they are all bought by investors in the Middle East and Asia for use as second homes or they sit empty”.

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Benjamin Ramos mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:53:07 GMT
Graduate whose loan grew by £1,800 in one year says students were misled

Simon Crowther, whose letter to his MP went viral after it showed an interest of £180 a month, says he trusted the government to keep interest rates low

A graduate whose letter to his MP went viral after it detailed how his student loan had grown by more than £1,800 in the year since he left university has said he and his contemporaries did not understand what they were signing up to when they took out the financing.

Related: Jeremy Corbyn launches battle to stop tuition fee cap being lifted

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Mark Owens mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 23:01:10 GMT
Food firms should be forced to tailor products to healthy targets, say experts

Obesity Health Alliance says making goods healthier should not be voluntary while also calling for ban on adverts before 9pm

Ministers should force food companies to make their products healthier using targets for the amount of fat, salt and sugar they should contain, a coalition of 30 health and food organisations has said.

The Obesity Health Alliance is demanding a ban on TV adverts for junk food before the 9pm watershed so fewer children see them. The alliance wants the government to make both policies key elements of its eagerly awaited childhood obesity strategy, which is now due to be unveiled in the summer after being delayed from its planned publication last autumn.

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Jesse Cruz mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 23:01:10 GMT
Moocs to earn degree credits for first time in UK at two universities

Students will be able to use Moocs – massive open online courses – to gain accreditation towards final qualification

Two major UK universities are to offer massive open online courses – or Moocs – which for the first time will earn credits that count towards a final degree, it has been announced.

In what is being billed as an important step towards widening access to higher education, students will be able to take part of a degree through an online course and gain formal accreditation towards their final qualification.

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Carl Roberts mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 05:01:02 GMT
Beavers released into Devon river in bid to boost gene pool

Male and female set free as part of five-year trial to monitor the impact of England’s only wild population of the mammals

A new pair of beavers has been released into a river in Devon to boost the genetic diversity of England’s only wild population of the mammals.

The male and female were set free on the river Otter as part of a five-year trial monitoring the impact of Eurasian beavers, a species hunted to extinction hundreds of years ago in the UK, on the surrounding landscape, wildlife and economy.

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Sean Ward mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:22:09 GMT
Port Isaac Shuttle Service: an acronym too far for Cornwall council

Taxi firm owner condemns ‘heavy-handed’ decision to make her remove signs which she says are example of local humour

A village taxi service called the Port Isaac Shuttle Service has been told to remove signs featuring its acronym after Cornwall council failed to see the funny side.

The cab firm, which has been going for three years without falling foul of the authorities, had emblazoned on its seven-seat people carrier: “Take the Port Isaac Shuttle Service”, with the initials of the firm in bold.

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Bruce Foster mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:45:28 GMT
Southern Britain as hot as Hollywood over bank holiday, say forecasters

UK sees in summer with south to bask in temperatures similar to Los Angeles, but there will thunder and rain elsewhere

Parts of Britain will be as hot as Hollywood over the bank holiday weekend, despite some thunder and rain.

The UK will welcome the start of summer with a mainly warm weekend although there will be showers and thunderstorms at times.

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Chris Cole mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:38:50 GMT
London population expected to surge as north loses workers

Barrow-in-Furness predicted to lose 4.3% of its population by 2024, while Tower Hamlets is expected to grow by 25%

Explosive growth in London’s East End boroughs will bring the capital’s population to nearly 10 million within eight years, according to official government projections, while towns in the north-east and north-west of England will see their populations fall.

Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria is projected to have the biggest fall in population in England, declining by 4.3% to 64,700 by 2024. It is at the head of a list of northern boroughs, including Blackpool, Blackburn, Hyndburn (Accrington, Lancashire) and Richmondshire (North Yorkshire) where the population is expected to shrink.

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Joshua Garcia mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 19:02:21 GMT
Google raid: McDonnell says HMRC must liaise with French 'urgently'

Shadow chancellor writes to George Osborne as UK tax officials hint they could revisit Google deal if new material emerges

UK tax officials must “urgently” liaise with the French authorities to see if they have evidence of wrongdoing by Google that relates to the company’s UK tax affairs, John McDonnell has said.

The shadow chancellor has written to George Osborne urging him to get any relevant information from France. HM Revenue and Customs has hinted it could revisit Google’s tax settlement, initially hailed by the chancellor as a “major success” in January but widely criticised since, if new material comes to light from European investigations.

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Joshua Burns mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 18:29:17 GMT
Rise in UK firearms trade may provide terrorists with weapons, say police

Met launches gun-crime crackdown in response to sharp rise in shootings and will target six boroughs across capital

Police have warned that the supply of guns to criminals in the UK has increased, adding to fears that weapons may be sold on to terrorists wanting to stage a Paris-style attack in Britain. The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, announced a crackdown after the increase in firearms supply was coupled with a spike in shooting incidents in the last three months in London.

Since a marauding group of armed terrorists attacked Paris in November, killing 130 people, the focus on taking guns off Britain’s streets has intensified. As part of the crackdown, there will be more visible armed patrols visible in the capital. Officers with guns will support colleagues stopping people suspected of possessing firearms, Hogan-Howe said.

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Philip Peterson mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 19:08:57 GMT
Tata Steel is considering retaining UK business

Source says performance of operations and financial support offered by government being evaluated as sales process continues

Tata Steel is considering keeping its UK business, raising hopes that the Port Talbot steelworks and 11,000 jobs can be saved.

Sources close to Tata Steel said it is evaluating the performance of its UK operations and the package of financial support that the government has offered, at the same time as running a sales process.

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Travis Jordan mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 18:53:44 GMT
WTO head says leaving EU would cost UK consumers £9bn a year

Roberto Azevedo says Britain would be forced to renegotiate trade deals in move akin to joining WTO from scratch

The watchdog for global trade has said leaving the European Union would push back trade barriers at a cost of £9bn a year to British consumers.

World Trade Organisation boss, Roberto Azevedo, said Britain would be forced to renegotiate trade deals with all 161 WTO members in an unprecedented move that would be akin to joining from scratch. The impact of new tariffs in overseas markets would also be a burden for UK businesses, adding a further £5.5bn to the costs of trade, he said.

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Roy Peterson mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:40:49 GMT
Woman facing jail after giving toddler electric shocks with dog collar

Lanna Monaghan also admitted kicking, biting and hitting boy aged three with a wooden spoon, Edinburgh high court hears

A woman who inflicted electric shocks on a toddler in her care using a dog training collar has been told that she will be jailed.

Lanna Monaghan, 34, admitted five charges of assault at Edinburgh high court on Wednesday. The offences took place in the Highlands in 2014 and 2015. Monaghan had seen the device being used and told a pet owner: “If it works on a dog it will work on kids.”

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Jason Ramirez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 16:58:49 GMT
Iona Christian community in 'serious jeopardy'

Urgent appeal aims to raise £1.5m for building work on remote Hebridean island

A Christian community which attracts pilgrims from around the world to contemplate and pray amid the wild beauty of the Hebridean island of Iona is in “serious jeopardy”.

The Iona Community has launched an urgent appeal to raise £1.5m to redevelop the buildings of St Colomba’s monastery. Without the work, the community could become “unfit for purpose” within a few years.

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Steven Long mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 16:27:21 GMT
Two arrested after nine men collapse from taking legal highs in Rochdale

One man said to be in life-threatening condition after taking drug known as Clockwork Orange

Two people from a tobacconist in Greater Manchester in connection with the collapse of nine men after they consumed legal highs in Rochdale. The owner of Clear Vapour on Oldham Road in Rochdale was arrested on Tuesday, along with an employee, Greater Manchester police (GMP) said. The shop has now closed.

On Tuesday in Rochdale, one man in his 30s had a heart attack and was left in a life-threatening condition. Police believe he had taken Clockwork Orange, a synthetic cannabinoid containing chemicals that are made to act like the active part of cannabis. Two other men, in their 30s and 40s, were also found in various states of consciousness around Rochdale on Tuesday afternoon.

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Joshua Henry mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:16:49 GMT
Northern Ireland forms new power-sharing executive

Independent unionist appointed as justice minister, while seven other Stormont posts are shared between DUP and Sinn Féin

Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive has been formed, with Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist party appointing an independent unionist as the region’s new justice minister. The East Londonderry assembly member, Claire Sugden, will take up the justice portfolio, which the two big parties eschewed in order to avoid accusations of one community controlling the police and judicial system.

Four DUP and three Sinn Féin members will share the other ministries at Stormont. Sugden, 29, a former member of the Ulster Unionist party, replaces the Alliance party leader, David Ford, as justice minister. The four DUP ministers are Simon Hamilton at economy, Peter Weir at education, Paul Givan at communities, and Michelle McIlveen at agriculture, environment and rural affairs. The Sinn Féin ministers are Máirtín Ó Muilleoir at finance, Michelle O’Neill at health, and Chris Hazzard at infrastructure.

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Rosemarie Perdok mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 16:44:06 GMT
Parents' anger at refugee welcoming prompts council apology

Staff and parents at the Teesside primary school ‘shocked’ to see Syrian new arrivals given tea at council building on its grounds

Council officials in Teesside have apologised after the arrival of a group of Syrian refugees was met with complaints from teachers and parents at a school.

The staff and parents at Overfields primary school in Redcar and Cleveland were said to have been taken aback when the refugees arrived at an empty council building in the grounds of the school.

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Adam Shaw mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:59:39 GMT
Leicester has lowest household disposable income in the UK

ONS says average disposable income per head in city was £12,071 in 2014, while Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham came top with £45,988

Leicester may have finished top of the Premier League but has less to celebrate when it comes to household purchasing power, slipping to the bottom of the UK table.

People in Leicester had disposable incomes of £12,071 on average in 2014, after taxes, social contributions and benefits were taken into account, according to regional figures from the Office for National Statistics. This is more than £5,000 below the UK average of £17,965.

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Brian Marshall mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 15:38:39 GMT
British Film Institute receives mystery £87m donation to build new HQ

Undisclosed donor revives long-held plan for BFI to move out of 1950s building on London’s South Bank

Plans for a new national centre for film and television on London’s South Bank are back on after a mystery investor offered £87m of the £130m project cost.

The British Film Institute (BFI) proposal had been backed personally by Gordon Brown and the last Labour government, which promised £45m of public money. But the financial crisis and change of government led to the commitment being withdrawn.

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Vincent James mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 16:43:59 GMT
Two ex-judges guilty of misconduct after viewing porn at work

Solicitors Regulation Authority rebukes pair while third former judge remains under investigation for same offence

Two former judges sacked for viewing pornography on their office computers have been found guilty of misconduct by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for the same offences and received a written rebuke.

Their conduct was described as “deliberate or reckless” by the SRA. A third judge sacked for watching pornography on his work computer is under investigation by the SRA.

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Peter Ellis mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:19:33 GMT
Ikea and Nestle call for new EU laws to cut truck emissions

Increase fuel efficiency of heavy good vehicles that cause a quarter of Europe’s traffic carbon emissions to meet climate targets, says clean corporate alliance

An alliance of companies including Ikea, Nestle and Heathrow airport have called on the EU to pass new laws cutting truck emissions within two years, to meet promises made at the Paris climate conference.

Heavy duty vehicles make up less than 5% of Europe’s road traffic but chug out a quarter of the sector’s carbon emissions – more than airplanes – and their fuel efficiency has hardly changed in two decades.

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Glenn Morales mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:14:07 GMT
Niger Delta Avengers militants shut down Chevron oil facility

Attacks by the group - who say they are protecting the environment - have pushed Nigeria’s oil output to lowest level in decades

Members of the Nigerian militant group the Niger Delta Avengers have shut down facilities owned byone of the world’s biggest oil companies.

People living near Chevron’s Escravos terminal in the oil-rich southern Nigerian region of the Niger Delta reported hearing a loud blast during the night. Chevron confirmed on Thursday morning that the attack, which was on its main electricity power line, had shut down all its onshore activities.

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Joshua Harrison mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 00:11:54 GMT
British special forces 'blew up Isis suicide truck in Libya'

Forces fired a missile at vehicle acting as a bomb, destroying it, as it approached a bridge leading towards Misrata, Commander Mohammed Durat said

British special forces reportedly blew up an Islamic State suicide truck in Libya earlier this month, a military commander there has said.

The strike apparently came when a vehicle, acting as a bomb, approached a bridge leading towards the city of Misrata in the north-west of the country.

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Harold Turner mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:30:08 GMT
'There are two governments': Mexican elections held in shadow of the cartels

Exasperated residents say they’re voting on local issues, which doesn’t mean roads, taxes and schools – it means kidnapping, extortion and unsafe highways

Every month, Antonio pays a fee of about $3 a day for the right to drive his taxi in this city some 200 miles south of the Texas border. The payment doesn’t go to his local government; it goes to the Zetas, an organized crime group with a reputation for violence so extreme that Antonio – like most locals – cannot even bring himself to utter their name.

He never works nights – it’s not safe to go out. Days are slow too: shootouts are common, and most people stay off the streets whenever they can.

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Antonio Washington mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:08:49 GMT
Jules Bianchi’s family launch legal action against FIA and Marussia
• French driver died in July after spending nine months in coma
• Bianchis also plan action against Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Group

The father of Jules Bianchi has started legal action against the F1’s governing body. An English law firm working on behalf of the late driver’s family has revealed it plans to sue the FIA, Bianchi’s Marussia team and Formula One Group, of which Bernie Ecclestone is the chief executive.

Bianchi died on 17 July last year, nine months after he crashed into a recovery vehicle at the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix. He was the first Formula One driver to die as a result of injuries sustained at a race weekend in more than two decades.

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Steve Cooper mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:17:47 GMT
Bernie Sanders tells Disney: 'Bring Mickey Mouse home'

Speaking in Disneyland’s home town, the Democratic presidential hopeful attacked the company’s low wages and outsourcing of work to China

Disney has come under fire from US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, after he used a rally in Anaheim, California, the Disneyland resort’s home town, to attack the company’s low wage level.

“Disney pays its workers wages that are so low that many of them are forced to live in motels because they can’t afford a decent place to live,” said Sanders to a crowd that included Disney employees. “Meanwhile Disney made a record-breaking profit of nearly $3bn last quarter”.

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Fred Mason mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 08:40:56 GMT
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel admits to bankrolling Hulk Hogan's Gawker lawsuit

Billionaire venture capitalist, outed as gay by online news site in 2007, provided $10m to support wrestler’s case over sex tape

Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, has admitted that he is the secret funder of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against online news site Gawker.

Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, sued for invasion of privacy after Gawker published an excerpt of a leaked sex tape in 2012. In March this year, a Florida jury awarded Bollea $140m (£95.1m) in damages against the media organisation.

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Jason Gray mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 01:30:19 GMT
Hiker who went missing on Appalachian Trail survived 26 days before dying

A journal found with the remains of 66-year-old Geraldine Largay show that she tried in vain to send SOS messages but finally accepted she would die

A hiker whose remains were discovered last year survived at least 26 days after getting lost in western Maine, kept a journal of her ordeal and resigned herself to the idea that it could be years before her remains were found, according to investigatory documents.

Geraldine Largay, who was from Brentwood, Tennessee, hiked to higher ground in a failed attempt to get a cellphone signal, and text messages sent to her husband went undelivered, the documents show. She was walking from West Virginia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, a section of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail.

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Roy Turner mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:10:07 GMT
Operation Condor conspiracy faces day of judgment in Argentina court

Eighteen former military officers accused of participating in a plan in the 70s and 80s to operate international death squads to eliminate leftwing exiles face verdict

It was an organised programme of state-sponsored murder in which US-backed regimes conspired to hunt down, kidnap and kill political opponents across South America and beyond.

Operation Condor – named after the world’s largest carrion bird – was devised to eliminate thousands of exiled leftwing activists who had dared confront the military dictators who ruled the continent in the 1970s and 80s.

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Ronald West mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:38:18 GMT
Obama 'neglecting suffering of Korean Hiroshima survivors'

Victims’ groups accuse US president of ignoring their plight and fear his Hiroshima visit helps Japan gloss over its own history

The bitter legacy of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the US military presence on Okinawa are threatening to cast a shadow over Barack Obama’s last G7 summit as US president.

As Obama and other world leaders sat down to a working lunch in Ise-Shima to discuss the state of the global economy on Thursday, Korean survivors of the Hiroshima bombing in August 1945 accused him of neglecting their suffering ahead of his visit to the city on Friday – the first by a sitting US president.

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Arthur Lee mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:49:02 GMT
Plans for Vladimir Putin and Elton John to meet are shelved – for now

Kremlin says Russian president will not meet singer this month because men’s schedules do not match, but future meeting is possible

Vladimir Putin will not meet Elton John when the singer visits Russia this month because there is no appropriate time in their schedules, the Kremlin has said, noting that the two men could still meet at a later date.

Related: Kremlin calling? Meet the Russian pranksters who say 'Elton owes us'

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Sean Patterson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 02:51:29 GMT
EgyptAir flight 804: deep-sea hunt for 'black boxes' as week passes since crash

European companies being hired to try and locate flight recorders that are best chance of finding out what happened to Airbus A320 flying from Paris to Cairo

Egypt has called in European deep-sea search crews to find the “black boxes” of EgyptAir flight 804 as the recovery effort marks one week since the plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Airbus A320 crashed with 66 people on board, including 30 Egyptians and 15 from France. Investigators on Thursday still had no clear picture of its final moments. Some wreckage and body parts have been found but the bulk of the plane and its flight recorders – which could explain what brought down the Paris-to-Cairo flight as it entered Egyptian air space – have not been located.

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Marvin White mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 07:49:50 GMT
One person killed and three wounded in shooting at rapper TI's New York show

Reports suggest an argument backstage escalated into a fatal shooting at the hip-hop star’s Irving Plaza concert

One person was killed and three others wounded in a shooting inside a concert venue in New York City, where hip-hop artist TI was scheduled to perform, police said.

It happened around 10.15 pm Wednesday in a third-floor green room area at Irving Plaza, a 1,025-capacity ballroom-style music venue near Manhattan’s Union Square.

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Ryan Cole mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:44:24 GMT
North Korea orders students to embark on 'rice-planting battle'

Compulsory service follows similar directive ahead of party congress, leading to complaints of exploitaion

North Korea has declared a month-long “agricultural mobilisation”, forcing students around the country to work on farms during the planting season.

The so-called “rice-planting battle” follows the “70-day battle” declared ahead of the Workers Party Congress in May, which saw all North Koreans ordered to carry out a series of compulsory tasks to prepare for the landmark convention.

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Allen Ward mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 08:09:07 GMT
India lets Italian marine go home as UN mediates over fishermen shooting

Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two fishermen, can return to Italy while UN decides where case should be tried

India’s top court has allowed an Italian marine to return home while international arbitration proceedings take place over the fatal shootings of two Indian fishermen in 2012, in which he and a fellow marine are implicated.

Salvatore Girone had been on bail before the supreme court order on Thursday but had been asked to remain in Delhi.

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Mark Evans mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 05:00:02 GMT
'Some women disobey': Rome poster campaign challenges Catholic ban on female priests

Pictures of women serving illicitly as priests will be plastered across city as part of campaign against Vatican decree

It has been 22 years since Pope John Paul II declared that the exclusion of women from the priesthood was a settled matter and no longer up for discussion. The decree was so absolute that at least one bishop was fired after he suggested, years later, that elevating women to the priesthood could be one way to solve the Roman Catholic church’s chronic shortage of clergy.

But on Friday, thousands of priests and other Catholics who live and work in the Vatican will come face to face with a feminist movement that aims to break one of the church’s most salient taboos. Dozens of posters of women serving illicitly as priests – essentially under excommunication – are due to be plastered across the Rome neighbourhood of Trastevere and around St Peter’s Square, as part of a provocative campaign against the ban.

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Bruce Washington mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:03 GMT
The man behind #ThisFlag, Zimbabwe's accidental movement for change

What started as personal rant has quickly become a rare way for citizens to vent anger against Mugabe’s government, the Daily Maverick reports

Pastor Evan Mawarire was sitting at his desk in Harare, worrying about how he was going to pay his children’s school fees, when something inside him snapped.

The Zimbabwean, who isn’t paid a salary by the church, decided to film himself venting his frustrations with the Zimbabwean flag around his neck, explaining to camera: “When I look at the flag it’s not a reminder of my pride and inspiration, it feels as if I want to belong to another country.”

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Walter Phillips mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:03 GMT
Head of UN mission in Central African Republic pledges to end troop abuses

Parfait Onanga-Anyanga says UN member states must train troops to deal with conditions in the country and refuse to shelter those accused of misconduct

The head of the UN mission in Central African Republic (CAR) has vowed to do everything possible to wipe out sexual exploitation and abuse by his troops, pledging to bring about a rebirth of peacekeeping.

To reach his goal of “zero occurrence” of abuses, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the head of Minusca, says UN member states need to take peacekeeping seriously and train and equip their troops adequately to deal with conditions in a brutalised land.

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Chad Gonzales mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 10:00:11 GMT
University league tables 2017

Find a course at a UK university

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Allen Kennedy mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:30:58 GMT
US nuclear arsenal controlled by 1970s computers with 8in floppy disks

Government Accountability Office report details ‘museum-ready’ machines controlling nuclear force messaging system that are ‘obsolete’

The US military’s nuclear arsenal is controlled by computers built in the 1970s that still use 8in floppy disks.

A report into the state of the US government, released by congressional investigators, has revealed that the country is spending around $60m to maintain museum-ready computers, which many do not even know how to operate any more, as their creators retire.

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Alan Richardson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:56:04 GMT
Five of the best meditation apps

Boost your mindfulness and try to rise above digital distractions with these apps to carve out time for peaceful reflection

The first rule of mindfulness might be to switch your smartphone off. From checking emails at bedtime to constant, needy push notifications from mobile games, our phones can often feel like they amplify our daily stress.

Turning to your smartphone for respite from the digital clutter may feel as ridiculous as holding an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a pub, with your inbox, social networks and Candy Crush Saga just a couple of taps away.

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Allen Parker mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:19:04 GMT
Going Going Gone review – Nick Broomfield gets sentimental about old ruins

The documentarist explores two of Britain’s crumbling ruins – and meets the people who danced, and fell in love in them. Plus: Secret Life of the Human Pups shows us life on all fours, in PVC

Two pensioners – fine old ladies, one scouser-Irish, the other Cardiffian – are in need of urgent care. Once grand and beautiful, they have fallen on hard times. They are poor, sick, unsteady, leaky, incontinent. And while some remember and miss them in their prime, others rub their hands impatiently and expectantly, waiting for them to go …

Oh, hang on, they’re poor now, how does that work with the vultures? Anyway – maybe you guessed – they’re not really old ladies, they’re buildings: the Wellington Rooms in Liverpool and Cardiff’s Coal Exchange. Nick Broomfield has made Going Going Gone (BBC4) about them.

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Edward Dixon mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:17:20 GMT
Romeo and Juliet review – Branagh gives tragedy a touch of la dolce vita

Garrick theatre, London
Lily James’s Juliet has a boozy balcony scene, Richard Madden’s Romeo seems genuinely inflamed by love and Derek Jacobi is a lounge-lizard Mercutio

There are many ways of approaching Shakespeare’s youthful tragedy: Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh take the scenic route in this new production. We are plunged into a vividly imagined 1950s Italy of dark-suited men, petticoated women, bicycling friars, patriarchal oppression and frantic partying. You feel Fellini is due any moment to film it with a movie camera and, even if the result has its oddities, the production certainly has a pulsating energy.

The big draw is the casting of Lily James and Richard Madden, who played opposite each other in the Branagh movie of Cinderella, as the doomed lovers. They acquit themselves very well: they have youth, looks and passion on their side. I was puzzled, however, by some of the directorial decisions that mean we miss Juliet’s rapid maturation from inexperienced child to married woman. James’s Juliet seems very knowing from the start and when Romeo says “she doth teach the torches to burn bright” you wonder if it is because she is at the time huskily crooning a song in the style of a torch singer.

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Jimmy Thompson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 08:50:01 GMT
10 quick questions about installing Windows 10 – and how to block it

The majority of the questions sent to Ask Jack are about Windows 10. Here are 10 recent ones, plus a bonus: how to stop or block the upgrade

How much data do I need to download to install Windows 10? Brian

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Clarence Reynolds mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:00:07 GMT
BBC's Peaky Blinders to return for two more seasons

Cillian Murphy gangster series among new BBC drama season including Barbara Windsor biopic Babs

Cillian Murphy will return as mob boss Tommy Shelby in two further series of Peaky Blinders as part of a new season of BBC dramas including a Barbara Windsor biopic and an adaptation of One Day writer David Nicholls’ Us.

Peaky Blinders, currently in its third series on BBC2 and about to return on Netflix in the US, has been commissioned for a fourth and fifth season.

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Jeff West mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 08:19:55 GMT
Peak of frustration as father misses daughter's call from top of Everest

Alyssa Azar, the youngest Australian to summit world’s tallest mountain, took three goes to tell her father the news

If there is one phone call you do not want to miss, it is the one your daughter makes standing on top of the tallest mountain in the world.

But that is what happened to Glenn Azar when his “baby”, Alyssa, made it to the summit of Mount Everest on Saturday.

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Antonio Garcia mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:54:17 GMT
'Make Google and Facebook pay levy to support journalism' - academic

Think tank calls for profit-making new media giants to fund ‘endangered’ investigative, long-form and local journalism in Britain

A think tank has called for Google and Facebook to pay for the news they take from other media outlets and then promote on their own websites.

ResPublica believes new media platforms should pay a 1% levy on revenue to fund investigative, long-form and local journalism.

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Glenn Clark mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 05:01:02 GMT
Eurostar launches £25 fare for those who don't mind when they travel

Passengers who book Snap ticket will be told only 48 hours in advance what time of day their train is leaving

Eurostar is to reward last-minute holidaymakers for their spontaneity with a new fare aimed at people who don’t mind what time of day they travel.

The Snap ticket will allow travellers to get to Paris or Brussels for £25 each way, but time of travel will only be given 48 hours in advance.

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Walter Simmons mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:03 GMT
Is a PayPal payment protected?
I want to book a Spanish villa and this is the suggested method of payment

I’m thinking of booking a villa in Spain for a week in July. It’s advertised through a third-party website and I am advised that payment to the owner can be made by credit card using PayPal.

Can you advise what protection is afforded to me if I choose to use this method. JH, Gloucester

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Clarence Cruz mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:30:04 GMT
Moonstone by Sjón review – a glittering fable of sex and cinema
Dreams colonise reality in the Icelandic author’s story of an outsider in early 20th-century Reykjavik

The subtitle of the Icelandic writer Sjón’s jewel-like novella is “the boy who never was”. Known to English-speaking readers for a series of beautiful short works written and translated in the 2000s, Sjón (a pen name that means “sight”, shortened from his given name Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson) has been involved in Reykjavík’s literary scene since the late 1970s, when he was part of a milieu of young underground artists and musicians that eventually gave rise to the Sugarcubes. The subsequent career of that band’s lead singer, Björk, has cemented the Icelandic aesthetic in the international imagination as a fusion of hard-edged modernist experimentation with a kind of folkloric whimsy. Sjón, who has written lyrics (and occasionally played air-guitar) for his elfin friend, shares both these qualities.

The “boy who never was” is one Máni Steinn Karlsson, a 16-year-old who has sex with men for money in Reykjavík. The year is 1918, and Máni’s reality is unstable, infected by cinema, always threatening to tip over into dream. In Sjón’s telling, this story is neither a fairytale, nor a study of abjection. Máni often enjoys his encounters, and his love of the cinema leads him to Irma Vep, the anti-heroine of Louis Feuillade’s seven-hour epic crime movie, Les Vampires, in which an “eponymous gang of nihilists ... hold French society in the grip of fear”. Irma, who wears a fetishistic black bodysuit (unthinkably shocking for 1915, when the film was made), “scales buildings like a shadow and breaks into apartments and government offices before making her escape over the rooftops”. Like the boy dreaming about her from his seat in one of the city’s two cinemas, she is outside society, committing her crimes “with the cheerful zeal of one who has turned her back on the laws of her fellow men”. Máni finds his own Irma in Sóla G, a motorbike-riding girl in black leather who seems to have escaped from the screen into the more mundane register of his daily life.

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Ryan Shaw mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 22:58:06 GMT
Wish You Were Here: Royal Mail stamps honour 50 years of Pink Floyd

Stamps mark half-century since group turned professional, with albums and live performances represented

A new set of stamps is being issued to honour Pink Floyd, featuring some of the band’s best known album covers.

The 10 stamps will mark 50 years since the group turned professional, and will include album covers such as The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.

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George Foster mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 04:30:01 GMT
Spring flowers in the ash's forgiving shade

Sandy, Bedfordshire Ash dieback threatens a tree that is unwittingly generous at both ends of the season

A line of trees on the green, their fresh bright leaves glazed with sunlight, take from the east and give nothing to the west. Oaks, sycamores and chestnuts bathe their crowns in the mid-morning rays and cast dark shadows on the ground, as wide as the trees are broad, as long as they are tall, with dappled haloes all around. The beeches are worst of all, offering the land beneath no chink in their green armour. No wonder so little grows under the canopy of a beech wood, a crowd of overlapping umbrellas giving shelter, blotting out the light.

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Chad Fisher mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 18:34:14 GMT
Diver claims to have found UK submarine wreck off Sardinia

Diving club says ‘manned torpedoes’ on exterior identify HMS P311 which was lost during second world war

An Italian diver claims to have located the long-lost wreck of the British submarine HMS P311, which was downed off Sardinia during the second world war.

Diver Massimo Bondone told the La Nuova Sardegna daily he found the P311 at a depth of 80 metres (262 ft) off the isle of Tavolara during a dive last weekend.

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Craig White mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 19:27:57 GMT
Steve Bell on Lord Sugar's new government role – cartoon
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Patrick Reyes mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 22:30:09 GMT
Unemployment and austerity 'increases cancer mortality'

Countries with universal health coverage have fewer casualties, according to Lancet study of cancer deaths

Hundreds of thousands of cancer deaths around the world may have occurred as a result of the recession of 2008, experts have said.

Unemployment and austerity were associated with more than 260,000 extra deaths of cancer patients in countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a study has shown. Those countries with universal health coverage (UHC), such as the UK, and a record of increased public health spending, had fewer casualties.

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Daniel Shaw mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 18:12:05 GMT
A case that will run and run: Duracell and Energizer's court fight over rabbit mascots

Energizer lawsuit claims its rights to use pink bunny to advertise batteries in US have been violated by rival company

The Duracell and Energizer bunnies are set to fight it out in court, after a judge ruled that a legal tussle over the right to use a rabbit mascot can proceed.

Duracell failed in a bid to dismiss a lawsuit by Energizer, which claims that its rights to use a pink bunny to advertise batteries in the US have been violated. While Duracell’s bunny is 16 years older than Energizer’s, having been born in 1973, the latter firm has the sole right to sell rabbit-emblazoned batteries in the US.

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Henry Roberts mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 20:35:43 GMT
Shakespeare's first four folios sell at auction for almost £2.5m

Books, originally sold as separate lots, were all purchased by anonymous American collector from Christie’s auction

Copies of William Shakespeare’s first four books, dubbed the “Holy Grail of publishing”, have sold for almost £2.5m at auction.

Christie’s said they were sold as separate lots on Wednesday but were all bought by an anonymous private American collector.

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Peter Peterson mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:53:35 GMT
Why living on Isis Close might affect your post – but not your house price

Residents of an Oxford cul-de-sac have found their online orders blocked by PayPal. They’re the latest victims of what has become known as the ‘Scunthorpe problem’

Isis Close is not a new category of national terror-threat levels, but an address in Oxford where it’s hard to get your veg box delivered. So says a university lecturer in the town, who reports this week that PayPal’s security algorithms have blocked online orders to the cul-de-sac.

The firm said it was legally required to scan for terror references but did it best to eliminate anomalies, a particular challenge in Oxford, where the city’s stretch of the Thames was called the Isis long before the word took on a bloodier meaning.

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Walter Phillips mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 15:51:15 GMT
Eight ways to be an Instagram master

Former magazine editor Eva Chen’s photo game was so good the app hired her to share her wisdom. Here are her top tips to create Instagold

Eva Chen is the queen of Instagram. The former Lucky magazine editor’s Insta game is so good that the social platform gave her a job as head of fashion partnerships. Her contribution to the artistic canon of Instagram is what’s known as the Eva Chen pose: feet up in the back of a taxi, showing off her shoes, alongside a handbag and a piece of fruit. Sort of Caravaggio with Chanel pumps and a filter. This week, @evachen212 was dispensing her Instagram wisdom to the fashion industry, who, being in the throes of a massive love affair with the medium, lapped it up. But what about people who aren’t brands but who want to get ahead on Instagram? We asked her for her top tips.

Don’t overthink it.

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Dennis Parker mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:00:02 GMT
Compare the meerkat? Meerkats watch rivals’ growth and eat to compete

Faced with a rapidly fattening rival, meerkats respond by eating more in an urgent effort not to slip down the social hierarchy, a new study shows

“Unfairness bothers children greatly.” This quotation comes from Karen Joy Fowler’s 2014 novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and it comes to mind on an almost daily basis as I struggle to manage the tensions between my two pre-teen boys.

It is also a sentiment that appears to apply to meerkats, according to a nifty little study out today.

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Ryan Turner mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:21:29 GMT
The suit jacket is in crisis, so what's next in men's tailoring?

From broken suits to leather jackets, Ryan Gosling, Seal, Shawn Mendes, Zayn Malik and Nick Jones model multiple alternatives to the suit jacket

“I strongly dislike suit jackets,” Kanye West tweeted recently, highlighting the sea change that’s brewing in men’s tailoring. If the identikit black-tie uniform of red-carpet menswear has for years been looking as if it has been styled by a particularly unimaginative spambot, 2016 has proved the exception to the rule – with the suit jacket among the casualties. The most forward thinking looks have come from those eschewing typical black suit jackets in favour of sartorial spin. Here are some of the alternative looks that work …

The broken suit jacket: Ryan Gosling

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Jeffery Garcia mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:45:00 GMT
The Voices Within by Charles Fernyhough review – why do we talk to ourselves?

We experience some kind of inner speech for at least a quarter of our waking lives. This helps some, while others set out to reduce the chatter. And how does it relate to God?

When you talk to yourself, who exactly is doing the talking, and who the listening? Walt Whitman wrote: “Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself. / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” But who are these multitudes? And who let them all in? Thus does language tempt us to posit a concert hall of homunculi within the head.

Charles Fernyhough’s fascinating and elegantly humane book is aware of the problem, but doesn’t attempt to solve it (doing so would probably require a true theory of consciousness). Instead he starts with the existence of what is technically termed “inner speech”, and sketches a theory of how it occurs. He inquires into its phenomenology (the feel of the subjective experience of talking to oneself), and he offers an intriguing developmental account of how we come to do it at all, and why it is so useful.

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Harold Thompson mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 10:11:09 GMT
Off-street parking: Florence road collapse sinks row of cars

Stretch of Italian city near famous Ponte Vecchio caves in after waterpipe it sat on broke, plunging 20 vehicles into ditch

A stretch of street has collapsed in central Florence, dropping a row of parked cars into an underground pipeline and cutting water supplies to part of the ancient city.

About 200 metres (650ft) of road running up to the famous Ponte Vecchio caved in when a major waterpipe it was sitting on broke, the city’s mayor, Dario Nardella, said.

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Chad Fisher mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 14:31:03 GMT
Stunning haute couture TV show recreates Nazi-occupied Paris … in Wales

Eight-part drama The Collection is about a Paris fashion house emerging from the dark days of Nazi occupation

Film-makers have recreated the back streets of Paris – in Wales.

It was cheaper to construct entire buildings, alleys and courtyards in a back lot of a Swansea studio for a major TV drama set in post-war Paris than to film in actual French locations.

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Daniel Campbell mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 10:29:29 GMT
The Night Watch review – captures the heart of Sarah Waters' love story

Royal Exchange, Manchester
Time runs backwards in Hattie Naylor’s exceptional adaptation of the best-selling novel about women condemned to their own personal circles of hell in 1940s London

In wartime London, people went underground. In the aftermath they went to the cinema, to fill the time and stave off the discomforting void that follows a crisis. Kay, a former ambulance driver on the night watch, finds herself drifting into picture houses at random, often watching the second half first. “I almost prefer them that way,” she explains. “People’s pasts are so much more interesting than their futures.”

Hattie Naylor’s adaptation of the novel by Sarah Waters has a similarly disorientating effect. It dispenses with the usual courtesies of exposition; plunging you without ceremony into a drab, postwar world full of drab, postwar people whose interrelationships and experiences are entirely opaque. Urgent information is exchanged concerning a missing ring and a pair of peach-coloured silk pyjamas, although the significance of these objects is unclear. It is as if you’ve mistakenly wandered in after the interval.

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Jerry Rodriguez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 12:00:02 GMT
Is the Votin campaign really this #lame – or are they just pullin our legs?

The Stronger In’s appeal to Britain’s yoof to keep on chillin, workin, learnin and livin in the EU has been mocked for tryin too hard. But, it might just get young people talkin about the referendum ...

Name: Votin.

Age: Brand new.

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Walter Owens mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 12:00:40 GMT
DC Rebirth: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman get rebooted … again

DC Comics is starting over to simplify storylines across seven decades and 52 worlds. With so many heroes, should DC be more careful with the reset button?

This week, DC Comics presses the reset button on its universe of characters … yet again. From today, everything will be slightly different in the world of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman just so it can, paradoxically, stay the same for just that bit longer.

The DC Rebirth event is masterminded by writer Geoff Johns and is introduced in a special comic book that will set the stall out for the equivalent of a digital remastering of the DC Universe. Many are waiting to be pleasantly surprised by what Johns has in store, but news of some of the headline changes “leaked out” (for which read: somebody busted the embargo on the DC press release) at the weekend, so DC made its announcements a little early.

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Steve Reynolds mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 11:17:32 GMT
A View from Islington North review – satirical sketches skewer Osborne and May

Arts theatre, London
George Osborne becomes a sex slave in a lethal piece by David Hare alongside short political plays by Caryl Churchill, Mark Ravenhill, Alistair Beaton and Stella Feehily

At a time when Michael Gove suggests Albania would be a suitable model for a post-Brexit Britain, it is difficult for political satire to match reality. But while I theoretically welcome the return of a topical sketch show to the West End, this one, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, turns out to be a distinctly patchy affair. Three of the pieces – by Mark Ravenhill, Caryl Churchill and Stella Feehily – have been seen before, which leaves David Hare and Alistair Beaton to inject a note of urgency into the proceedings.

Hare’s Ayn Rand Takes a Stand is the best item of the evening in that it uses barbed comedy to expose the paradoxes in current Conservative thinking. Ayn Rand was a novelist whose passionate advocacy of laissez-faire capitalism is popular in US rightwing circles and has allegedly inspired our own business secretary, Sajid Javid. But Hare imagines Rand – magnificently played by Ann Mitchell as a throaty, entrepreneurial Mae West – projected into the present to confront George Osborne (here identified by his middle name of Gideon) and Theresa May.

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Allen Cox mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 12:09:28 GMT
Ecuadorians tired of waiting for a cleanup of Guayaquil’s filthy waters

A World Bank loan helped privatise sanitation in Ecuador’s largest city, but some residents say they still lack clean water and claim the river is polluted with sewage

The waters flowing through Estero Salado, a river delta in Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, can be deceptive, even for those who have lived their entire lives alongside the filthy and meandering estuarine network.

“We know the water is not clean, but you build up a tolerance,” says 21-year-old local activist Jasmanny Caicedo. Though he says he can take a dip without becoming ill most of the time, even Caicedo says he gets caught out on the “really bad pollution days”.

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Bruce Harris mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:04 GMT
Descent of the machines: Volvo's robot mining trucks get rolling

Driverless lorries designed to work specifically in underground tunnels are becoming a reality. How long before they appear on roads?

In a disused military aircraft hangar buried deep in a granite hillside, Johan Tofeldt flicks a switch on the future of mining.

“Look, no hands!” he beams, as the truck lurches backwards and executes a precise reverse. “It’s a little heavy on the clutch, but then it’s not designed for driver comfort.”

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Henk Jongmans mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:00:08 GMT
Donald Trump wants to build a wall – to save his golf course from global warming | Dana Nuccitelli

On climate change, is Trump uninformed, or playing his voters?

Donald Trump has consistently expressed his conspiratorial and misinformed beliefs that global warming is a hoax.

Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee - I'm in Los Angeles and it's freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!

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Daniel Boyd mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:00:08 GMT
I know who killed the Black Dahlia: my own father

Former Los Angeles police department detective Steve Hodel has spent the last 15 years cataloguing evidence that his dad killed Elizabeth Short – and others

Shortly after receiving the news of his death, Steve Hodel found himself sorting through his father’s belongings. Though Steve’s father, George Hodel, loomed large throughout his early childhood, their relationship had always been strained. George was a grandiose doctor with a distant personality who abandoned the family shortly after Steve’s ninth birthday, eventually moving far away to the Philippines.

As he went through his father’s possessions, Steve found a photo album tucked away in a box. It was small enough to fit in his palm and bound in wood. Feeling like a voyeur, he perused it. It was filled with the usual pictures – his mom, dad and brothers – as well as portraits of the family taken by the world-famous surrealist artist Man Ray, a family friend.

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Clarence Torres mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:10:32 GMT
Garden Bridge v Pier 55: why do New York and London think so differently?

Two cities, one designer and one strategy – to build a privately funded park above a river. If both the Garden Bridge and Pier 55 have questionable benefits and hidden public costs, why is New York so convinced when London isn’t?

There’s something wonderfully uncontroversial about a park. A park can’t be bad. We love trees. We love water. We love sunshine and flowers. Cities need open space, right? That built-in pleasure response means people are less likely to think of the cost of a park, to see only the leaves and grasses rather than the concrete and steel beneath them. They are also less likely to think of a park as precluding other, future uses. We do call it “open” space, after all.

This mindset was the background for the parallel proposals, in London and New York, of two projects by designer Thomas Heatherwick: the Garden Bridge in London and Pier 55 in New York (with landscape consultants Mathews Nielsen). Both were offered as gifts to the city, privately funded with a small public contribution. Both were backed by celebrities and mayors. Both proposed parks as they had never been seen before: floating over their respective cities’ signature rivers, and ostensibly creating “new” land for circumscribed metropolises.

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Daniel Watson mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:30:04 GMT
Story of cities #future: what will our growing megacities really look like?

Will we live in buildings made out of waste, heavily surveilled smart cities, or maybe floating communities designed to cope with rising sea levels?

Amid the much-mythologised graffiti that appeared around Sorbonne University during the French civil unrest in May 1968, one line still stands out as intriguing and ambiguous: “The future will only contain what we put into it now.”

What appears at first utopian has more than a hint of the ominous. While augmented reality creates a city individualised for every occupant, and developments in modular architecture and nanotechnology might result in rooms that change form and function at a whim, the problem lies in the unforeseen. The smart city will also be the surveillance city.

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Patrick Foster mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 08:30:06 GMT
The EU: An Obituary by John R Gillingham – the neoliberal case against the European Union

The Thatcherite historian argues that the EU is defunct, a relic of the postwar decades. But would an unfettered Europe be a better place?

A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of disintegration. The European Union, argues John R Gillingham, is on the verge of “collapse”, defended only by an alliance of old elites. While we focus on Brexit (which he confidently predicts in a postscript), the issues imperfectly covered in his book suggest that it is a parochial distraction from the much bigger question of how Europe is to be organised in the 21st century. We are at a “turning point” in European history.

Euroscepticism creates some strange bedfellows. Many rightwing nationalists view the EU as a Trojan horse of unstoppable multiculturalism. Some on the left see its focus on the single market as institutionalised “neoliberalism” and austerity. And some “neoliberals” such as Gillingham see it as a relic of the postwar decades that binds free markets in red tape. Gillingham is not a typical author for the radical-left publishing house Verso – presumably at least one commissioning editor there has Eurosceptic leanings. From all sorts of angles, the EU seems to be the sick man of Europe.

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Vincent Bryant mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 03:10:31 GMT
How hard-partying soldier Mathew Stewart became an al-Qaida militant

Former comrades of the likeable Digger turned jihadi reveal how he was scarred by drugs, alcohol and service in East Timor. ‘I hate what he’s doing … But we can’t hate him,’ one says

He wore a mask but the accent was unmistakable. The man in the al-Qaida tape – bellowing, “as we are killed, you will be killed” – was Australian. And his appearance in the April 2005 video sparked an international police race to identify him.

Related: Police believe former Australian soldier joined Taliban and is now in Syria

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Benjamin Ellis mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 08:00:06 GMT
Minefield: the Falklands drama taking veterans back to the battle

In Lola Arias’s new theatre piece, those who fought on opposing sides of the conflict explore their memories together

Later this week, Lou Armour, a special needs teacher, and Gabriel Sagastume, a retired criminal prosecutor, will stand shoulder to shoulder on a stage at the Brighton festival. Thirty-four years ago, they were in the Falklands, fighting on opposite sides. If they had met then, they might have tried to kill each other; now when they meet, they hug.

Armour and Sagastume, along with four other Falklands veterans, have been brought together by Argentinian theatre-maker Lola Arias to create Minefield, a piece of documentary theatre co-commissioned by the London international festival of theatre. Like Arias’s previous, celebrated shows, it treats individual lives as historical documents that can tell us much, often more than any history book.

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Antonio Foster mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:03 GMT
Below: the story behind Xbox One's biggest little indie game

Dark Souls meets tilt shift photography in the latest project from respected Toronto developer Capybara Games – and it’s a big deal for Microsoft’s console

In the early 1980s, two computer science students Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman released a program on to the University of California’s Unix mainframe that would eventually inspire the most important genre in independent video game development. Named Rogue: Exploring the Dungeons of Doom, Toy and Wichman’s project was a fantasy adventure, in which players crept through a series of visually sparse underground locations, battling monsters and collecting loot. The unique aspect was that these dungeons were procedurally generated, meaning that every time the player loaded up the program, the layout was different. It was like playing a new game every time.

Over three decades later and the roguelike genre has become a staple of the indie scene. The basic elements – exploration, looting, procedurally generated environments and the concept of permadeath (ie no lives: once you’re dead, the game is over) – can be found informing hundreds of titles, from Spelunky to Nuclear Throne to Don’t Starve.

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Benjamin Foster mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 02:35:17 GMT
China's 'feud' over economic reform reveals depth of Xi Jinping's secret state

Speculation is rife that Xi wants to curb debt-fuelled growth before it destroys the economy and oust premier Li Keqiang. But experts suggest a more complex picture of leaders scrambling to fix the same problem

It was hardly a headline to set the pulse racing.

“Analysing economic trends according to the situation in the first quarter: authoritative insider talks about the state of China’s economy,” read the front page of the Communist party’s official mouthpiece on the morning of Monday 9 May.

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Kenneth Ward mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 14:56:33 GMT
What happened to the 12 Syrian refugees rescued by the pope?

When Pope Francis saved a dozen refugees from a Lesbos detention centre and took them to Rome it was ‘like a miracle’, one of them said. A month on, what is their new life like?

Ramy Alshakarji was still coming to terms with the idea that at last he was safe – he was leaving Lesbos after all, one of 11 refugees rescued by the pope last month – when he found himself at the centre of an improbable security crisis. Ramy must have thought he had a broad and visceral understanding of the meaning of security after five years in Syria during which he and his family had been “ready to die at any moment, constantly moving because there was constant bombardment”. But at the airport, as he and his wife and their three children passed through the scanners, a panicked flurry broke around them.

“It was our falafel mould,” Ramy smiles. They had brought the metal falafel maker with them from their home in Deir ez-Zor. “But the Greeks wouldn’t let us take it on the plane. But we were going on the pope’s plane! The Vatican officials told them it had to come … The Greeks said no. There was a conflict between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, a diplomatic rift between the Greeks and the Italians. All over our falafel mould.”

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George Henry mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 11:46:32 GMT
Vegan taste test: from kebabs to wagon wheels

Vegan diets are varied and healthy – but everyone craves a ready-meal and a biscuit sometimes. So, we got three experts – two vegan, one omnivore – to rate meatless mains, snacks and desserts. Here’s the best we found - share your own favourites below

Be gone 5:2, paleo, and #eatclean; this summer, everything’s coming up vegan. New research by Ipsos Mori revealed there are now over half a million vegans in Britain – a jump of 350% in the last decade. Google searches for “vegan” have doubled in the last five years, and the number of vegan-friendly products in the UK grew by 134% between 2012 and 2015. The numbers are rising, and while fashion and the “lifestyle” version of healthy eating plays its part (last we heard, J-Lo was still struggling bravely on without butter), for many people, the link between meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly difficult to ignore.

Having a plant-based diet isn’t as difficult - or joyless - as the old jokes imply. If you have the time and inclination to cook, you can create thousands of tasty, healthy and exciting dishes with inspiration from Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisines (to name a few). But cooking from scratch isn’t always practical. Whether you’re coming home from work late, are off to a barbecue, fancy a guilty treat, or if you’re just not a natural star in the kitchen, there ought to be good options for prepared vegan food. Our panel – a hardcore vegan, a recent vegetarian-to-vegan convert, and omnivorous cookery columnist Felicity Cloake, who recently went vegan for the week – joined forces to give the market a thorough testing.

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Nicholas Phillips mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 16:44:17 GMT
New Taliban leader's daunting task: uniting group as officials seek peace

Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzadah inherits a divided movement after a US drone strike killed Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, while governments hope he is open to talks

As he assumes his job as new leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzadah faces contradictory expectations.

Inside the militant group, many will look to him as a unifier, to calm tensions in the fractious movement.

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Glenn Harrison mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 05:00:30 GMT
The enduring whiteness of the American media | Howard French

What three decades in journalism has taught me about the persistence of racism in the US

Over the course of 2014, America seemed to reawaken to one of its oldest preoccupations: the reality of how race is lived in the United States, and in particular the many stark disparities that persist between black and white people.

The continued existence of racial inequality in the United States was not exactly news – but the shocking deaths of a series of unarmed black men at the hands of the police made the issue impossible to ignore. The killing of Eric Garner, who was wrestled to the ground and choked to death by police on a New York City sidewalk in July 2014, confronted the public with a disturbing question: how was it possible that a black man could be killed for the trifling infraction of selling loose cigarettes? Garner’s dying words – “I can’t breathe” – captured on video, would soon become the rallying cry of a nascent movement, Black Lives Matter.

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Dennis Garcia mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:30:49 GMT
Why dinosaur extinction is only half the story of killer asteroid's impact | Susannah Lydon

We tend to focus on the extinction of the dinosaurs, but the plant fossil record holds different parts of the story of life - and death - at the end of the Cretaceous

The extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous Period, 66 million years ago, is the most well-known of the “Big Five” mass extinctions in the fossil record, even if it wasn’t the biggest. That accolade goes to the Great Dying at the end of the Permian Period, about 250 million years ago, when up to 96% of species became extinct. But since the dinosaurs weren’t around for that mass extinction, it hasn’t entered the popular consciousness in quite the same way.

Like most things to do with mass extinctions, even the naming of the Cretaceous event is not without controversy. Many researchers still refer to it as the K-T extinction, where K refers, confusingly, to the Cretaceous (Kreide in German) and T stands for Tertiary (the old name for the subsequent geological period, which has since been split in two). More correctly it is now referred to as the Cretaceous-Palaeogene, or K-Pg, mass extinction.

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Sean Cole mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 14:00:09 GMT
Top 10 chases in literature

From Moby-Dick to Mr Ripley, the best stories of pursuit provide both compulsive plots and insights into a strangely intimate relationship

One of the appeals of chase stories is that they speak to experiences we’ve all known. We’ve all walked down a deserted street afraid that someone is following us. As children, we revelled in games where we hid from other people. And of course, if somebody is hiding, it usually means that somebody else is seeking.

In writing my latest novel, I thought a lot about the visceral fear of those being pursued, the dogged commitment of the pursuer – and the ties that bind them together. The result is Long Time Lost, a story about a network of people, hidden throughout Europe, in a privately operated and highly illegal protection scheme. When the scheme’s security is breached, there is no safety net and the chase is on.

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Antonio Crawford mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:47:19 GMT
Do people start losing friends at a certain age? | Guardian readers and Sarah Marsh

A study suggests that after the age of 25 we don’t have as many friends. We asked people whether this was the case for them

Tell us your thoughts in the comments

What was it like being 25? Maybe during this time in your life you got your first job or met the love of your life, but something else might have been happening during this fateful year: you started making fewer friends.

A new study suggests that both men and women continue to make lots of friends until the age of 25, but after this, it’s claimed that friendships begin to fall away rapidly, with the decline continuing for the rest of our lives.

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Henk Jongmans mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 10:59:09 GMT
Atrocious toilets and too few bins: why we're not eco-friendly at work

Most of us ignore our environmental responsibilities in the workplace, research suggests. We asked you to share your experiences – and this is what you told us

My workplace removed individual waste bins, to encourage people to think more about where they put their waste. All this has done is breed a surprising resentment and apathy. By the time I’ve walked the five yards to the bin, I can rarely bring myself to think about which very specific receptacle (policed by an A4 side of dos and don’ts) the rubbish goes in, let alone care.
Catherine, London

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Glenn Rivera mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 07:00:33 GMT
Found art: Cornelia Parker and Jarvis Cocker share their spoils

The tooth of a sperm whale, a street sign to a ghost village, issues of Romania Today … Cornelia Parker’s new show is a treasure trove of finds chanced upon by everyone from Jarvis Cocker to Marina Warner

What is it to be found? The idea presupposes that something has once been lost; if it’s an object, it can long outlive the loser and bring with it, in its re-emergence, the breath of a forgotten time. Late last century, in the drains of the Roman amphitheatre in London, bits of gold jewellery were found. Not much use to the woman who’d mislaid them in some second-century crush. Finding can be an act of love: the rescue of something or someone that has been otherwise overlooked. Or it can be an act of aggression. All archaeology involves an element of disturbance, of destruction. So does the “discovery” of continents and peoples. Some things do not want to be found.

The loss of children is one of the largest of human tragedies, and their finding is one of the oldest and most persistent stories of folklore: Moses; Romulus and Remus. The story is always about how the child’s true identity, usually deliberately suppressed, reasserts itself. Oliver Twist’s plot is partly motored by the malevolent destruction of the tokens – a letter and a locket – that would prove who he really was.

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Arthur Reyes mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 09:08:14 GMT
Mikheil Saakashvili: 'Ukraine's government has no vision for reform'

A year after becoming governor of Odessa, the combative ex-Georgian president talks about his anti-corruption drive and his frustration with Petro Poroshenko

When Mikheil Saakashvili was appointed governor of the Ukrainian region of Odessa a year ago, the former Georgian president constantly mentioned Vladimir Putin. Reforms in post-revolution Ukraine, and attempts to reform Russophone Odessa, were all part of a grand plan to stick two fingers up to the Kremlin, and prove to both Ukrainians and Russians that post-Soviet life could be transformed to remove corrupt elites and promote democratic values.

A year later, and Saakashvili still talks about Putin, during a late-night interview at his residence on the outskirts of Odessa. But as well as the Russian president, the man who crushed his Georgian army during a brief 2008 war, Saakashvili also has increasingly tough words for the man who appointed him to his new role in Odessa: the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko.

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Jeff Garcia mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 06:30:32 GMT
Story of cities #50: the reclaimed stream bringing life to the heart of Seoul

When the Cheonggyecheon Stream replaced a traffic-filled stretch of elevated freeway with public space, water and vegetation it looked like a modern urbanist’s dream. The reality is more complicated, finds Colin Marshall

In September 2005, the new Cheonggyecheon Stream opened in downtown Seoul, looking for all the world like a modern urbanist’s dream come true: not just a pedestrian-only public space bringing water and vegetation into the centre of a dense metropolitan area of 25 million, but one built where a traffic-filled stretch of elevated freeway used to stand.

It also reclaimed the role of the original stream, which flowed through the site before the city’s aggressively development-minded government paved over it in the late 1950s and, two decades later, built the Cheonggye Expressway – then a proud symbol of urban progress for the 1970s.

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Melvin Crawford mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 04:46:56 GMT
Japan's women of the sea hope G7 will boost their dying way of life

The ama divers of the Shima peninsula, who harvest shellfish from the seabed, see the nearby gathering of world leaders as a chance to promote their culture

Michiko Nakamura can personally vouch for the provenance of the oysters and clams bubbling away on the grill inside her hut in Osatsu, a fishing village overlooking the Pacific ocean.

Related: Japanese vagina kayak artist found guilty of obscenity

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Craig Jordan mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:00:10 GMT
Readers recommend playlist: songs about ships and boats

Reader Scott Blair picks from your nautical suggestions this week, with Queen, Lulu, Seth Lakeman and – naturally – Bryan Ferry all setting sail

Below is this week’s playlist – the theme interpreted and tunes picked by a reader from the comments on last week’s callout. Thanks for your suggestions. Read more about the weekly format of the Readers recommend series at the end of the piece.

I feel almost over-qualified to be choosing the playlist for the current topic, given my proud seafaring history.

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Gregory Hughes mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 09:49:15 GMT
Will Cristiano Ronaldo break his own scoring record against Atlético Madrid?

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 16 goals in the Champions League this season – as many as Atlético Madrid – but Saturday’s opponents have Europe’s best defence

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Real Madrid secured La Décima in 2014 after chasing their 10th European Cup for 12 years. Sergio Ramos’ header deep into second-half injury time cancelled out Diego Godin’s opener to set Real Madrid on their way against Atlético Madrid, with Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo finishing off the 4-1 victory in extra time. The clubs meet again on Saturday as Real Madrid chase La Undecima. Atlético, meanwhile, are hoping to secure their first European Cup, having lost two finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s form will be key in Milan. He scored his 17th goal of the 2013-14 competition when he tucked a penalty past Thibaut Courtois in the dying minutes of the final in Lisbon, becoming the competition’s record scorer in the process. With 16 goals in this season’s Champions League – more than any other player and as many as Atlético have scored in their 12 matches – Ronaldo can break his own record this weekend.

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Walter Boyd mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:34:26 GMT
Recipe swap: cardamom

Share your cardamom recipes with us for a chance to have them printed in Cook

For your chance to be crowned Guardian home cook of the year, share your cardamom recipes. Email, upload them via the GuardianWitness buttons here or post them on Instagram @guardian_cook #RRS #cardamom by noon on Wednesday 1 June. Selected recipes will appear in Cook and online on 11 June.

You can share your raspberry recipes and photos by clicking on the ‘Contribute’ button on this article. You can also use the Guardian app and search for ‘GuardianWitness assignments.’

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Daniel Crawford mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 05:30:03 GMT
UK seaside attractions: readers’ travel tips

There’s a lot more to the Great British Seaside than buckets and spades and fish and chips. There are lawnmower and magic museums for a start, say our readers
Post a tip for next week’s competition and you could win a £200 hotel voucher

Much like hundreds of other seaside towns, Southport has a pier, ice-creams, a funfair ... but what other towns don’t have is the British Lawnmower Museum. Accessed via a gardening store, for just £2 admission you can enjoy a crackling audio commentary of lawnmower history while taking in the prize exhibits of which the “rich and famous” section includes Nicholas Parsons’ secateurs, a ride-on lawnmower donated to Charles and Di and, most bizarrely, a push mower owned by Britain’s last hangman, which itself is hung from the ceiling by a rope!
Rory Jones

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Johnny Flores mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 15:05:06 GMT
Have you had weight-loss surgery? Share your story

Surgeons say more operations would improve health and save the NHS money in the long term. What do you think?

More obese patients should be offered weight-loss surgery to make people healthier and save the NHS money, medical professionals have said.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, bariatric surgeons say fewer than 1% of people who could benefit are getting surgery, and the numbers are falling rather than rising. They warn that the UK is lagging behind other countries in Europe, and argue that the procedures could help 2.6 million obese people in the UK.

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Gregory Evans mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 12:30:30 GMT
From Manchester City to Oklahoma: how a rejected footballer kept the dream alive

Laurie Bell became one of the most expensive 12-year-olds in British football history when Manchester City signed him from Stockport County, but he had to wait a decade – and move 4,000 miles away – to make his professional debut

By Laurie Bell for In Bed With Maradona, of the Guardian Sport Network

In the dressing room of a baseball stadium in the American South, I fiddled with orange shinpad tape, yanked my heels to my buttocks to stretch already-limber quadricep muscles, and tap-danced impatiently on plastic studded football boots. Ten more debutants in creaseless kits waited in line. A dipping Oklahoma sun peeked inside the tunnel, beckoning. When the referees eventually signalled that it was time, we marched out. First on red clay, then green grass, then across the straight white lines of a freshly painted football pitch. In the stands, 8,000 soccer rookies rose to their feet, waved homemade flags, and glugged half-price cans of Modelo beer. Up in the posh seats, the club’s hierarchy were given a first tangible taste of a team that had been two years in the making.

It was a momentous walk for all of us: the first action on the first night in Tulsa Roughnecks history. For me, it proved the last, improbable leg of a 14-year journey that had transported me 4,000 miles from my English home. At 22 years old, after a sequence of rejection and lateral footballing progress, my professional debut had finally arrived.

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Fred Martinez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 07:45:00 GMT
Revisiting Roots: how was your family affected by the slave trade?

A new adaptation of Alex Haley’s book Roots airs at the end of May. If the transatlantic slave trade had an impact on you or your family, we’d like to hear from you

An adaptation of Alex Haley’s story of an African who is sold into slavery in America, the original series of Roots won nine Emmys. It was seen by 100 million viewers – among the most watched TV broadcasts of the past 40 years. Now, nearly 40 years on a remake of the epic drama is returning to our screens. Covering the American Revolution, Civil War and emancipation, it chronicles the life of Kunta Kinte and the life of his family over the years.

Documenting the appalling plight of African America’s slave ancestors the new show follows films such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Addressing those who questioned why he made the film McQueen said, “people want to close their eyes on some subjects. They want to keep on going, they don’t want to look behind them.”

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Brian Washington mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 09:49:08 GMT
Where do you find a sense of community outside organised religion?

With the Christian population in England and Wales outnumbered by people saying they have no religion, we’d like to hear about the communities near you

The figure for people identifying as having no religion has almost doubled since 2011, outweighing the number of Christians in England and Wales.

The proportion of the population who identify as having no religion – referred to as “nones” – reached 48.5% in 2014, almost double the figure of 25% in the 2011 census. Those who define themselves as Christian – Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations – made up 43.8% of the population.

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Craig Martin mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 07:52:49 GMT
Lost and found: share photos and stories about the objects that have changed you

To coincide with Cornelia Parker’s latest exhibition, we’d like to see photos of objects close to your heart and the stories behind them

This summer, artist Cornelia Parker is curating a group exhibition at The Foundling Museum in London, in which more than 60 artists, writers and composers have been asked to respond to the word “found,” by contributing a found object that means something to them. To coincide with the exhibition we’d like to see photos of your own items that hold a special value to you.

Do you have a special object that you have found that tells a specific story in your life? Maybe it was something you thought you’d lost long ago only to rediscover it when having a clear out or moving house? Whether it’s an item found on the street, a charity shop or an object of sentimental value that has been passed down to you from older generations, share your found objects with us, and tell us the stories behind them.

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Alfred Turner mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 12:47:42 GMT
Should the government ban second home ownership? – as it happened

Catch up on our live discussion on this topic below the line

We’re wrapping things up below the line. Thanks to everyone who took part by sending in comments below the line or contributing to our anonymous form.

Right, that's all for now, but please share your views on the discussion in the form.

We hope to be doing another one next week so stay tuned!

Readers have been comparing the situation in the UK with that of other European countries. Here’s a view from a Danish citizen in London:

I believe there is a case for greater regulation of second homes and of homes left empty. It might be an idea to empower local councils to designate whether certain properties can be held for secondary use, such as weekend/holiday, or whether they must be occupied by a full-time resident, registered for council tax/electoral roll/general taxation. This is the system in Denmark, where there are designated “leisure” properties. Sometimes these are among standard residential properties, and often they are in particular zones, which have less intense local services - such as rubbish collection - outside the holiday seasons.

Sone municipalities in Norway where there are lovely historical buildings require the owner to live there for a substantial part of the year (forgotten exact%) which has resulted in some areas vecoming vibrant hubs of small artisan businesses instead of vacant holiday houses for the rich from Oslo.
Perhaps there's a place for a limit on investment ( haven't really thought that out) and more so for a hefty unoccupied tax for houses left vacant most of the time. Money to be used for construction.

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Jesse Gray mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 14:34:05 GMT
Have you lost friends as you've got older? | Sarah Marsh

A study suggests that after the age of 25 we don’t have as many friends. Tell us if this seems accurate based on your own experiences

There is no doubt that friendships change over time, but is there also a point when they start to fade?

This is something scientists have looked at in a study that shows both men and women continue to make lots of friends until the age of 25. After this, it’s claimed that friendships begin to fall away rapidly, with the decline continuing for the rest of our lives.

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Travis Cruz mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 15:38:27 GMT
Europeans: what do you like about living and working in the UK?

If you’re a European in the UK we’d like to hear what you do for a living and why you enjoy living in the UK

Ahead of the EU referendum economists have been scrutinising how jobs will be affected if the UK was to leave Europe, and what Brexit might mean for employment rights.

Related: Work after Brexit: the biggest winners and losers for UK jobs

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Kevin Mitchell mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 12:28:25 GMT
Sleepwalkers' stories: 'I could have died and no one would have known' | Guardian readers and Sarah Marsh

One in 50 adults are believed to suffer from episodes of sleepwalking. Here, five people tell us about their experiences

Police covered up a naked sleepwalker in Manchester this weekend after finding them wandering the streets.

The person in question is said to have seen the funny side of their nocturnal adventures, asking for a selfie from the officers who found them.

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Gregory Turner mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 11:01:10 GMT
'I began to accept the thought of death': Fort McMurray school students on fleeing the wildfire

Three weeks ago a raging wildfire forced a mass evacuation in Fort McMurray, Alberta. A teacher and her students describe the day the fire engulfed their town, how they cope with the loss and and their determination to return and rebuild

Patricia Budd is a writer and English teacher at Father Patrick Mercredi community high school in Fort McMurray, a city in the heart of Alberta’s oil sands. On 3 May, she was one of 88,000 people forced to flee the city from unprecedented wildfires.

Soon after her escape along with her husband, Simon, and their Maltese terrier, Budd responded to a Guardian callout asking for witness accounts. “This is a tragedy beyond psychological scope,” she wrote. “The mind refuses to take it all in. I find I am addicted to the news and social media. And, like a bad habit, I watch horror scenes and relive fears, emphatically live through the terrors of my fellow citizens until I can no longer cope. I shut off the phone only to masochistically turn it back on. I hate knowing. I desperately need to know.”

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Nynke Van der louw mail: | web: | when: Fri, 06 May 2016 16:38:21 GMT
Euro 2016: what hopes do you have for your team?

Ahead of the tournament we’d like to hear from football fans across Europe about what expectations you have for your team

France will kick off Euro 2016 against Romania at the Stade de France in just over two weeks’ time. The tournament hosts are hoping to win the European Championship for a third time, while holders Spain aim to bounce back from their disappointing World Cup showing two years ago.

With 24 teams competing across 10 venues in nine French cities, football fever is likely to grip the entire nation. Now we’d like to hear from football fans across Europe who are cheering on their teams this summer.

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Chad Ramos mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 14:07:15 GMT
Is your family at war over the EU referendum?

If disagreements over Britain’s impending EU vote are souring your family relations, we would like to hear from you

Polling cards have started to arrive in households across the UK, as the EU referendum heads into view. With a month to go, one criticism of the referendum debate has been that it has been dominated by rowing members of the Conservative party, making the whole thing seem more like an internal family matter rather than a cool-headed assessment of what’s best for the future of the country.

We wouldn’t for a moment wish to suggest any similarities between your clan and the Tories, but we would like to know whether the referendum has had any impact on your family relationships.

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Rosemarie Perdok mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 14:49:22 GMT
Austria presidential election: how did you vote?

After Alexander Van der Bellen’s narrow victory, we want to hear from Austrian voters on what it means for the country

Alexander Van der Bellen has narrowly won Austria’s presidential election, preventing far-right candidate Norbert Hofer from becoming the EU’s first far-right head of state.

It is the first time since 1945 that Austria’s president will not be from the centrist Social Democrats (SPÖ) or People’s party (ÖVP). While the Austrian presidency is mainly a ceremonial role, the rejection of the centrist parties and the rise of Hofer’s Freedom Party (FPÖ) reveal a country increasingly divided over issues such as unemployment and immigration.

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Mark Mitchell mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 13:51:17 GMT
How can we improve the lives of young people in care?

We want to hear from people who have been or are in care about the reforms needed to better help looked-after children

In March 2015, 69,540 children in England were in the care of local authorities, up 68,800 from 2014.

But questions have been raised about how these young people are looked after – with new research showing that children in care are six times more likely to be cautioned or convicted of a crime than other young people.

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Nynke Van der louw mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 11:00:11 GMT
Are you a sleepwalker? Tell us about it | Sarah Marsh

Police covered up a naked sleepwalker in Manchester this weekend. What situations have you found yourself in?

Imagine this: at the crack of dawn, while you’re still asleep, you leave your hotel room completely naked and walk out into the street. When you wake up the police have been called and you find yourself being escorted back to your hotel.

That’s what happened to one individual in Manchester this weekend in what has been described as a case of somnambulism (AKA sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism or noctambulism). The person in question is said to have seen the funny side of their nocturnal adventures, asking for a selfie from the officers who found them.

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Peter Dixon mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 11:06:41 GMT
Tell us about your travellers' tiffs

Have you ever experienced a major fall out with your travel companion/s on a long trip? If so, we’d like to hear from you

Extended trips, when travelling companions are living in each others’ pockets for months on end, are often intense experiences that can make or break friendships and relationships.

We want to hear your stories of travelling fall outs. Have you had a major barney with your travel companion on a long trip? Ended up going your separate ways three weeks into a gap year? Or did a group trip end up – for one or more parties – as a solo journey?

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Harold Morales mail: | web: | when: Mon, 23 May 2016 07:44:07 GMT
Your ideas: tell us what you want to read about this week

Have you seen a news story you think we should be covering – or is there a more timeless idea you’d like to read about? Let us know here

Last week brought us the Queen’s speech, a deal on junior doctors’ contracts, criticism of Justin Trudeauand his wife Sophie – and reports that Grayson Perry had created a phallic sculpture. But what would you like to read about this week?

Tell us about the stories that have caught your eye recently – whether in the news, or on a more timeless topic. What would you like to read about the subject? Is there a voice you think is particularly missing in the discussion?

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Chad Harrison mail: | web: | when: Sat, 21 May 2016 05:00:04 GMT
Readers’ recipe swap: Miso | Dale Berning Sawa

The salty, umami kick of this Japanese staple makes this a jar that goes far …

A bowl of miso soup is as instant a homemade meal can get, and as satisfying an instant one can be. It has the saltiness that makes bacon so addictive, the warming depth you long for when you’re really hungry, and a lightness that doesn’t usually go hand in hand with something this savoury. And while that soup might be reason enough to always have a pot of miso in your fridge, the potential this paste contains within its robust bulk is nothing short of remarkable.

Made by fermenting soya beans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae used to make soy sauce and other Asian ferments), it is what is added to those basic ingredients that determines the type of miso achieved. Hatcho (or mame) miso is 100% soya bean miso; rice gives kome miso, and barley, mugi miso; aka miso is red and aged, while shiro (white) miso is sweet and young, made with more rice and barley than soya.

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Kyle Reyes mail: | web: | when: Sat, 21 May 2016 21:45:24 GMT
Spring in your step: readers' photos on the theme of bloom

For last week’s photography assignment in the Observer New Review we asked you to share your photos on the theme of bloom via GuardianWitness. Here’s a selection of our favourites

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Lawrence Garcia mail: | web: | when: Fri, 20 May 2016 15:15:29 GMT
Sports quiz of the week: FA Cup final, Euro 2016, Sevilla and a cuddly wolf

This week’s quiz won’t be joining the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers

The first and last goals of the 2015-16 Premier League season were both own goals scored at Old Trafford. Who scored them?

Antonio Valencia and Daley Blind

Kyle Walker and Chris Smalling

Kyle Naughton and Ashley Young

Jan Vertonghen and Dan Gosling

The Giro d’Italia’s mascot – a big cuddly wolf – has been banned after a complaint from whom?

Disney (who thought the wolf looked too much like their 'big bad wolf')

The Wolverhampton Wanderers owners

French farmers

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Which goalkeeper kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season?

Petr Cech

Joe Hart

David de Gea

Kasper Schmeichel

Who were the last team not from Spain to win a European final (Champions League, Europa League or European Championship)?

Zenit St Petersburg


Bayern Munich


The last time Manchester United played Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final Gary O’Reilly scored for Palace. What was unusual about O’Reilly's goalscoring record?

It was his only goal for Crystal Palace in four seasons with the club

He only ever scored two goals for Palace: one in the 1990 semi-final and the other in the final

He scored 15 goals for the club and they were all headers

He scored 15 goals for the club and they were all in the FA Cup

What is the missing phrase from this letter given to members of Muirfield golf club: 'The introduction of lady members is bound to create difficulties. Regardless of the conventions when they first join they are likely over time to question our foursomes play, our match system, the uncompromising challenge our fine links present, our *********. It will take a very special lady golfer to be able to do all the things that are expected of them.'

Drinking habits

Dress sense

Lunch arrangements

Gender politics

Which of these clubs has not qualified for a play-offs final?

Sheffield Wednesday

Hull City

AFC Wimbledon


When it comes to Euro 2016, which of these players is the odd one out?

Fernando Torres

Theo Walcott

Dejan Lovren

Bastian Schweinsteiger

How many times have Sevilla won the Europa League in the last decade?





Why has Hiroshi Hoketsu, the 75-year-old who was hoping to become the oldest competing Olympian of all time in Rio de Janeiro, pulled out of the Games?

His doctor advised him to pull out

The Japan equestrian team promoted another rider

His horse fell ill

He said that after four Olympic Games he was 'ready to relax'

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Johnny Reyes mail: | web: | when: Fri, 20 May 2016 10:18:03 GMT
Are you in an open relationship? Tell us about it | Sarah Marsh

Saira Khan surprised Loose Women viewers by revealing she has given her husband permission to sleep with other women. Can you relate to this?

There has been a lot of discussion on open relationships lately, with ongoing reports about a celebrity threesome, and the TV personality Saira Khan saying she has given her husband permission to sleep with other women (something he later denied).

Khan said on ITV’s Loose Women that the reason her husband could have an affair was because she had lost her sex drive. “We used to have a fantastic sex life. I still love my husband, we cuddle up and it’s lovely. We’ve been together for 11 years, but I’m not interested [in sex]. I don’t want to,” she said.

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Bruce Kennedy mail: | web: | when: Thu, 19 May 2016 19:00:19 GMT
Readers recommend: share your songs about ships and boats

Post your nominations in the comments and a reader will pick a selection of eligible tracks for a playlist next week

This week we want to hear your songs on the theme of ships and boats. Think lyrics and song titles and post your nomination in the comments.

You can find a list of all songs previously picked and so ineligible for the series here.

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Lawrence Ward mail: | web: | when: Thu, 19 May 2016 13:45:22 GMT
Odd ones out: share your photos of the most out of place city buildings

Leftover heritage or new developments in cities can sometimes stick out like sore thumbs. Share your photos of incongruous city buildings with GuardianWitness

As cities develop and change, so their streetscapes often become a mix of different architectural styles and eras. But some buildings, either daring new additions or leftovers from a previous time, stick out like a sore thumb (perhaps a beautiful sore thumb, but still).

One of my favourite examples of this, though admittedly on the silver screen, comes at the end of Batteries Not Included (a brilliant film which although technically about flying alien robots made of scrap metal is essentially about resisting corporate-led urban development and the destruction of built heritage) when we see a small, historic, stand-alone Manhattan apartment block surrounded by a sea of monolithic slick skyscrapers. I was always reminded of this vision when driving past the Albert Tavern in Westminster, London, which is a Grade II-listed Victorian four-storey brick building surrounded by glassy modern high-rise offices (pictured above).

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Jeff Fisher mail: | web: | when: Thu, 19 May 2016 09:22:14 GMT
Recipe swap: raspberries

Share your raspberry recipes with us for a chance to have them printed in Cook

To be in with chance of being crowned Guardian home cook of the year, share your raspberry recipes with us. Email, upload them to GuardianWitness or post them on Instagram @guardian_cook #RRS #raspberries by noon on Wednesday 25 May. Selected recipes will appear in Cook and online on 4 June.

You can share your raspberry recipes and photos by clicking on the ‘Contribute’ button on this article. You can also use the Guardian app and search for ‘GuardianWitness assignments.’

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Kevin Howard mail: | web: | when: Wed, 18 May 2016 14:31:29 GMT
How does the fracking debate affect you? Share your experiences

Whether you are taking part in protests or live in an area threatened by proposals we’d like to hear from you

Residents of Kirby Misperton in north Yorkshire wait in anticipation to hear whether a planning application to frack a well near the village will be approved or not.

Related: In the timeless Yorkshire moors of my childhood, the frackers are poised to start drilling

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Louis Lewis mail: | web: | when: Wed, 18 May 2016 09:45:26 GMT
EU students: how would Brexit affect you studying in the UK?

We’d like to hear from EU students about whether they’d still come to UK universities if Britain leaves the EU. Share your views below

If you are a non-UK university student from the EU, we would like to know your views on what impact the EU referendum will have for you and your education.

There are roughly 125000 non-UK, EU students enrolled on degree courses in the UK, paying domestic fees and eligible for student loans. There’s been a debate about whether Brexit would discourage European students from studying in UK in the future, or indeed impact those here already.

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Steve Ramirez mail: | web: | when: Tue, 17 May 2016 18:29:13 GMT
What's it like to be LGBTI where you live? Share your experiences

We’d like you to share your experiences of being LGBTI where you live, including discrimination you’ve felt to any progress your country has made

Two-thirds of adults would be upset if their child told them that they were in love with someone of the same sex, according to a survey of 96,000 people in 53 UN member states conducted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

The report found that same-sex sexual acts can be punished with the death penalty in 13 states, while the threat of imprisonment exists in 75 countries and five entities. Many residents of those countries believe that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) should be criminalised, with 45% of respondents in Africa agreeing to the statement that “being LGBTI should be considered a crime”. Thirty-four per cent of respondents in Asia, 17% in Europe, 15% in the Americas and 14% in Oceania also agreed with the statement.

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Jesse Long mail: | web: | when: Tue, 17 May 2016 13:14:21 GMT
Tell us how the UK's fishing industry will be affected by the EU referendum

With crippling quotas and endless regulations all over the country we want to know what the vote will mean for those working in fishing

Fishing leaders have told a parliamentary committee that their members are facing a “total lack of evidence” about how the UK would cope with Brexit.

The president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Ross Dougal, told the Scottish affairs select committee that the majority of his members were in favour of leaving the European Union, prompted by “micro-management and top-down management” of the controversial common fisheries policy. The majority of the industry are “no fans” of the EU, having suffered cuts to quotas and fishing time under the common fisheries policy.

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Peter Reynolds mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 00:09:47 GMT
Amber Heard files for divorce from Johnny Depp

The actor cites ‘irreconcilable differences’ in court papers a little more than a year after they were married

Johnny Depp’s wife has filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences after just over a year of marriage.

Court records show that Amber Heard filed for divorce on Monday and is seeking spousal support from the Oscar-nominated actor. The split also comes hard on the heels of the death on 20 May of Depp’s mother, Betty Sue Palmer, after a long illness.

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Jerry Cooper mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 07:46:46 GMT
Gina Rinehart's children win right to fight case against her in open court

Billionaire’s eldest children, Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock, are seeking a larger stake in the mining empire

Gina Rinehart’s two eldest children have won the right to have the next stage of their family’s long-running dispute over mining profits heard in open court.

Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock are fighting for a larger stake in the family’s mining empire, claiming their billionaire mother wrongly transferred valuable mining assets away from a family trust set up to benefit them by their grandfather, Lang Hancock.

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Gregory Powell mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 11:27:39 GMT
Britain's first openly gay judge becomes master of the rolls

Promotion makes Sir Terence Etherton head of civil judiciary and second most senior judge in England and Wales

Sir Terence Etherton, Britain’s first openly gay judge, has been appointed master of the rolls, making him head of the civil judiciary in England and Wales.

The 64-year-old lawyer’s promotion was confirmed by an announcement from Downing Street on Thursday morning.

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Todd Evans mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:45:34 GMT
Chris Evans says tabloid Top Gear criticism was ‘perfect storm’

BBC2 motoring show host calls press claims ‘facile and fictitious’ and says he is hoping more than 5 million tune in for Sunday’s relaunch

The Top Gear presenter Chris Evans has said he had to endure a “perfect storm” of criticism from the tabloid press in the run-up to the top-rating BBC2 show’s return on Sunday.

Evans, who was given the job of reinventing the motoring series following the axing of Jeremy Clarkson, hit back at claims – mainly made in the Sun – that he was unhappy with the signing of co-presenter Matt LeBlanc, that he had forced out a senior executive from the show and was “out of control”.

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Jacob Simmons mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 08:07:42 GMT
Neil Young permits Trump to Keep on Rockin'

Young excuses Donald Trump’s use of Rockin’ in the Free World on campaign trail, saying: ‘Once the music goes out, everybody can use it’

Neil Young – a confessed Bernie Sanders supporter – has approved Donald Trump’s use of his music on the campaign trial.

Related: Donald Trump rocks to the left with REM songjacked

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Alan Harris mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:34:45 GMT
Asos co-founder to sell 1.3m shares to fund divorce settlement

Nick Robertson intends to sell about 1.6% of online fashion retailer’s share capital after being ordered to pay ex-wife £70m

One of the founders of Asos is selling a chunk of his shareholding in the online fashion retailer to fund his £70m divorce settlement. The company announced that Nick Robertson, who stepped down as chief executive last year, wished to sell 1.3m shares through a placing with institutional investors. The share disposal plan, revealed after the stock market had closed, would raise £46.4m based on the closing price of £35.71.

Earlier this year, Robertson was ordered to hand about a third of his £220m fortune to his ex-wife Janine after a public trial in the family division of the high court. The judge was asked to decide how much she should receive after the couple failed to agree on the division of shares and property owned by the entrepreneur.

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Bruce Rodriguez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 11:17:14 GMT
Elton John: 10 of the best

From the gentle whimsy of Your Song to the R&B of Bennie and the Jets, Elton John was at his world-conquering best in the 1970s and 80s

Sir Elton Hercules John might be considered a balladeer, but in 1970 there was surprise at his label, DJM, that his breakthrough song was a slow, whimsical serenade. Those who’d followed his fledgling career perceived the Elton John Band to be a rocking affair, incorporating gospel, honky-tonk and elements of psychedelic folk. In the US, the pretty Your Song, with a naively romantic lyric by Bernie Taupin, was the B-side to the more uptempo Take Me to the Pilot, but it was promoted to the lead track after radio stations persisted in plugging it. It made the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic, and was the beginning of a run of bestselling singles and superstardom (especially Stateside) that would make John the biggest pop star on the planet for five years. He went on to sell more than 100m singles, but his first hit is still one of his defining moments, and its opening line – “It’s a little bit funny / This feeling inside” – remains instantly recognisable.

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Todd Peterson mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:00:41 GMT
Indie sad lads: rock's millennial men show they have feelings too

A new wave of male indie artists, such as Car Seat Headrest, Palace Winter, Kevin Morby, Alex G and Whitney are not afraid to show their sensitive side

As pop’s foremost females furiously demolish all in their path – think Beyoncé, walloping the windows of parked cars with a baseball bat on Hold Up, or Rihanna, gunning down her boyfriend in a strip club on Needed Me – pure melancholy hangs over their male counterparts.

Sorrow seeps from songs by Yung Lean and Zayn Malik, Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool is a sea of sadness and torment, Views reaffirms Drake’s place as rap’s leading sad lad and James Blake spends the 17 tracks of The Colour in Anything locked in a loop of loneliness and isolation. A new Frank Ocean album is on its way and I’d wager it won’t be packed with upbeat bangers about sunshine and lollipops.

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Billy Warren mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 13:36:43 GMT
BBC's Tony Hall: greater NAO scrutiny must not undermine editorial freedom

Director general also tells MPs he has concerns about how corporation’s new board will be appointed

Tony Hall has said far-reaching powers given to parliamentary auditors to examine the BBC’s finances must not undermine the corporation’s editorial freedom or ability to take creative risks.

The BBC director general told a public accounts committee session in Salford that while he welcomed the National Audit Office’s role in “making sure we are spending money appropriately”, he wanted greater clarity over how the corporation’s creative freedom would be exempted from the auditing process, and what protections would be given to commercial arm BBC Worldwide.

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Allen Howard mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 08:00:34 GMT
Molly Crabapple: the sketcher blurring activism and art

Armed with her paintbrush, the illustrator and journalist is redefining reportage with her portraits of Guantánamo Bay, Trump and Syrian refugees

Molly Crabapple is sitting in an appropriately noirish and velvety Soho club, talking animatedly about the “global slide to authoritarianism”. “I’m American: tangerine Hitler is our Republican presidential frontrunner, but Russia has Putin, and Europe has the rise of fascist parties. It’s a very, very dark time.”

Related: The Istanbul bombing was an attack on the city’s cosmopolitan glory | Molly Crabapple

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Marvin Foster mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:03 GMT
Joining the dots: Shigeo Anzaï's stars of modern art – in pictures

From Damien Hirst in his boxers to Yayoi Kusama in a polkadot wonderland, Shigeo Anzaï tracks art’s biggest names to their natural habitats and captures them in candid black and white

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Nynke Van der louw mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:00:08 GMT
Vladimir Nabokov's butterfly art – in pictures

Author and passionate lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov once said: ‘Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.’ His scientific drawings and watercolours of butterflies have now been collected into one volume, Fine Lines

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Benjamin Perez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:41:42 GMT
Shed of the Year 2016 – in pictures

Some of the best entries for Cuprinol’s Shed of the Year 2016 competition

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George Ellis mail: | web: | when: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:50:10 GMT
Zoo news: this month's animal antics from round the globe - in pictures

A collection of zoological wonders from May 2016, featuring brave new rhinos, brand new pandas, earthworm engineers and more

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Harry Boyd mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 17:01:47 GMT
Guy Le Querrec's best photograph: a flying handbag at a monastery in China

‘The sign means happiness. You close your eyes, walk towards it, and try to touch the centre. I can’t explain the handbag’

This photo is an enigma. Even I can’t say for sure what’s happening. I didn’t know what I had taken at the time. It was only afterwards, when I developed the film, that I saw the handbag.

It was April 1984 and I was on assignment in China, which was just opening up to foreigners. I had no particular commission, though: I could shoot whatever I wanted. On this day, I was visiting a monastery at Xindu in the Sichuan province. There was a symbol on the wall that meant “happiness”. The place was full of Chinese tourists and the tradition was to stand 20 metres from the sign, then walk towards it with eyes closed and try to touch the centre of the four raised points.

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Marvin Gibson mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 12:47:24 GMT
Best photographs of the day: steelworkers rally and a ship scuttled

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of the best photographs from around the world, including steelworkers protesting in London and Tito’s flagship scuttled

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Anthony Perez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 15:52:40 GMT
Conflicting diet advice? It's enough to make you take up smoking – cartoon

A new report suggesting fat might be good for you has been dismissed as ‘irresponsible’ by the Department of Health. Confused? You’re not alone ...

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Ronald Powell mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 06:43:32 GMT
Annual Roma pilgrimage at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – in pictures

Gypsies from all over Europe worship Sara the Black, their saint and patroness, for one week in France. Sara’s statue is situated in the crypt of the church and was carried by the Gypsies to the sea before

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Sean Gibson mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 21:10:02 GMT
Steve Bell on the Tory infighting over the EU referendum – cartoon
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Vincent Ramirez mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 06:00:32 GMT
City-centre homes – in pictures

From a duplex in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter to an Upper West Side Manhattan apartment, these properties put you at the heart of the action

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Lee Fisher mail: | web: | when: Wed, 25 May 2016 05:00:30 GMT
Do you know your wild species at risk? – in pictures

New research by WWF as part of the Wear it Wild campaign has revealed that millions of Britons are unaware of how many of the world’s animals are vulnerable, endangered or even critically endangered

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Nicholas Perez mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 09:33:58 GMT
How we survived: child refugees given a stage to tell their stories

Award-winning French photographer Patrick Willocq has recreated the experiences of children who have fled Burundi and Syria using personalised theatre sets. From perilous journeys to the battle to adapt to new environments, these are their stories

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Alfred Fisher mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 14:00:11 GMT
For the Record: 60s Pop Through the Lens – in pictures

A new exhibition in London celebrates the cultural boom of the 60s, as captured by photographer Stanley Bielecki. Shooting Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and the Supremes, the Polish refugee who arrived in Britain after the second world war worked for titles including Pop Weekly, Teen Beat and Melody Maker

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Edward Lee mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 06:00:02 GMT
Shiny Ghost: the life and death of my glamorous grandmother – in pictures

Rachel Cox charts with painful honesty her grandmother’s final days with a degenerative brain disease in this LensCulture award-winning photo series

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Marvin Fisher mail: | web: | when: Tue, 24 May 2016 11:00:10 GMT
The last stop: America's disappearing roadside rest stops – in pictures

Cross-country road trips are punctuated by breaks at rest stops, and Ryann Ford has travelled to more than 15 states photographing this unique architectural oddity. Teepees, wagon wheels and oil rigs reflect the character of small towns and states, but they are rapidly being replaced by fast-food outlets or neglected as state budgets are cut. The Last Stop is published by powerHouse Books

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