The Guardian

Updated: 30 sec ago

Rotten eggs: e-waste from Europe poisons Ghana's food chain

42 min 43 sec ago - [CET]

Toxins from old computers, fridges and other electronic goods are polluting chicken eggs in an area where 80,000 people live

Some of the most hazardous chemicals on Earth are entering the food chain in Ghana from illegally disposed electronic waste coming from Europe.

According to a new report by two environmental groups tracking the disposal of e-waste, chicken eggs from the Agbogbloshie slum in Ghana’s capital, Accra – where residents break up waste to recover metals – contain dangerous levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), among other harmful substances.

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Sydney police officer charged with neglect of duty over sex offender complaint

1 hour 11 min ago - [CET]

Complaint failed to get Anthony Peter Sampieri off the streets before he allegedly raped a child at a dance studio

A police officer has been charged with neglect of duty after a complaint about a sex offender failed to get him off the streets before he allegedly raped a child at a Sydney dance studio.

Anthony Peter Sampieri, 55, allegedly raped, choked and filmed a seven-year-old girl he held captive in a Kogarah dance studio bathroom in November.

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Dutch fence off tulip fields to stop selfie-takers crushing flowers

1 hour 23 min ago - [CET]

Barriers put up to deter ‘careless’ tourists from seeking perfect picture among bulbs

Barriers and advertising banners are being erected around fields in the tulip bulb region of the Netherlands in an attempt to deter a growing number of tourists from flattening the flowers to take selfies.

Tourists have been seen jumping above the tulips to secure the perfect picture, or lying down in the middle of fields, squashing the bulbs.

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Senior Tories alarmed over Huawei's new role within UK's network

1 hour 31 min ago - [CET]

May has given Chinese telecoms firm limited role in supplying future 5G mobile network

Senior Tory MPs have expressed alarm about Theresa May’s readiness to give the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei a limited role in supplying the future 5G mobile phone network against the advice of some cabinet ministers, security chiefs and the US.

Huawei will be banned from supplying core parts of the network but will get a role in non-core technology, after leaks from a meeting of the national security council (NSC).

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Support for Extinction Rebellion soars in wake of Easter protests

1 hour 41 min ago - [CET]

Climate activists says pressure growing on politicians to act as donations flood in

Support for the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion in the UK has quadrupled in the past nine days as public concern about the scale of the ecological crisis grows.

Since the “rebellion” began last Monday, 30,000 new backers or volunteers have offered their backing to the group. In the same period it has raised almost £200,000 – mostly in small donations of between £10 and £50 – making a total of £365,000 since January.

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'Parliament free of homophobes': GetUp drops H-bomb on Coalition

1 hour 45 min ago - [CET]

New aggressive campaign follows withdrawal of ad depicting Tony Abbott as a lifesaver ignoring a drowning

GetUp has urged volunteers to help win “a parliament free of homophobes” in a controversial campaign message targeting Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton.

The SMS message, sent on Wednesday evening, went to volunteers who took part in GetUp’s campaign to call voters and advocate a “yes’” vote in the 2017 marriage equality postal survey.

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Huawei dilemma is a question of Britain's post-Brexit future

1 hour 48 min ago - [CET]

The UK must weigh its ties to the US and Australia against the value of Chinese friendship

It may sound like an argument about technology, but in reality it is a battle of geopolitics. Should Brexit Britain yield to pressure from Donald Trump’s US and ban Chinese hi-tech manufacturer Huawei from supplying kit to British mobile phone companies?

Or should the UK keep the door open to China – and benefit not just from cheaper technology but across the economy in sectors such as nuclear power, where the world’s most populous country has shown it is willing to invest.

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Japan apologises to people forcibly sterilised under defunct eugenics law

1 hour 58 min ago - [CET]

Survivors will get payouts of 3.2m yen each for policy aimed at ‘preventing birth of poor-quality descendants’

Japan’s government has issued an apology and awarded compensation to thousands of people with disabilities who were forcibly sterilised under a now-defunct eugenics law.

Under a law that passed parliament’s upper house on Wednesday, surviving victims will each receive 3.2m yen (£22,000) to compensate for their suffering and an apology from the state “for the great physical and mental suffering caused by the forced sterilisation programme”.

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Brendan Nelson denies 'conflict of interest' after passing on fees from arms firm to war memorial

1 hour 59 min ago - [CET]

Nelson got no financial benefit from Thales because he donated any payments received, memorial says

The head of the Australian War Memorial, Brendan Nelson, was personally receiving payments from the multinational arms manufacturer Thales while publicly defending the institution’s controversial acceptance of donations from weapons companies.

The AWM has strongly denied any suggestion that Thales’s payments to Nelson for his work as a board member created a conflict of interest, saying Nelson donated any money he received and cleared the arrangement as required with the federal government.

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Scottish wild salmon stocks in crisis, say anglers

2 hours 13 min ago - [CET]

Just over 37,000 wild salmon were caught last year, the lowest in nearly 70 years

Scotland’s anglers have warned that wild salmon stocks are at crisis point after they caught the lowest number on record last year.

Official data from the Scottish government showed just over 37,000 wild salmon were caught in 2018, the lowest since records began in 1952 and 67% of the average over the past five years.

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North Korean leader arrives in Russia before summit with Vladimir Putin – video

2 hours 14 min ago - [CET]

Kim Jong-un has arrived in Vladivostok ahead of talks with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Kim was filmed arriving on an armoured train at Khasan station and shaking hands with Russian officials before receiving a military welcome. Kim is expected to seek Russian support over western sanctions and in its negotiations with the US over its nuclear programme 

  • Kim Jong-un arrives in Vladivostok by train for Putin summit

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US briefing: Trump defies Congress, online extremism and Sri Lanka

2 hours 21 min ago - [CET]

Wednesday’s top story: Trump says he doesn’t want aides to testify on Mueller report. Plus, ‘kidfluencers’ are making millions online, but for whom?

Subscribe now to receive the morning briefing by email.

Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.

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Kim Jong-un arrives in Vladivostok by train for Putin summit

2 hours 36 min ago - [CET]

North Korean leader’s entourage ensures dust-free welcome in Russia’s far east

As Kim Jong-un arrived at the Vladivostok railway station on Wednesday, white-gloved attendants ran alongside his armoured train, wiping the dust from any surfaces that the North Korean leader might touch exiting the carriage.

But before he could disembark, the train would have to back up precisely so that the carriage doors lined up with the red carpet laid out for Kim’s arrival.

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Lebanese author Hoda Barakat wins International prize for Arabic fiction

2 hours 51 min ago - [CET]

The Night Mail takes $50,000 prize and secures funding for an English translation

Lebanese author Hoda Barakat has won the $50,000 (£39,000) International prize for Arabic fiction (Ipaf) for her novel The Night Mail, which tells the stories of people in exile through their letters.

Billed as the “Arabic Booker”, the Ipaf also provides funding to translate the book into English. The Night Mail has already been acquired by UK publisher Oneworld, which will publish the English version in 2020.

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Brexit: Theresa May's approval ratings with Tory members hit record low, survey suggests - live news

3 hours 58 min ago - [CET]

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs

9.06am BST

I’ll need to change the agenda for the day, because Theresa May is now not taking PMQs. Number 10 has just announced she will be travelling to Belfast for the funeral of the murdered writer and journalist Lyra McKee.

Number 10 put out this statement.

The PM will travel to Belfast today where she will attend the funeral of Lyra McKee.

Questions in the House of Commons at noon will be taken by the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster [David Lidington].

9.04am BST

Theresa May was due to be holding her first PMQs today since the Easter recess. Before the break she told MPs that they should use the holiday to consider their “national duty” and reflect on how they might find a solution to the Brexit impasse. That wish does not seem to have been fulfilled, but Tory MPs have been reflecting on what they can do to get rid of May herself.

And a new survey of Conservative party members by the ConservativeHome website illustrates quite how little support May now has in her party. According to Conservative Home, May’s approval ratings amongst members have hit a record low.

For obvious reasons, the prime minister is bearing particular blame from party members – both, one suspects, for her Brexit failure in particular and for the more general problems her continued leadership brings with it. Her rating wasn’t fantastic in February, when it sat at -40.8, but the prospect of postponement pushed it down to -51.2 in March, and the reality of that broken promise has pushed her numbers off a cliff, plummeting to -73.5 in April. I’ve searched our archives and so far as I can see this is the worst rating awarded to any Conservative ever in this question. The only cabinet league table numbers I can find which were worse were Vince Cable and Chris Huhne at their respective nadirs during the coalition years, which are not people a Tory prime minister would want to rival in the grassroots popularity stakes.

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Campaigners fight to lift ban on morning-after pill in Honduras

4 hours 11 min ago - [CET]

Law against emergency contraception leaves desperate women, including rape victims, forced to buy medication on black market

A pioneering grassroots campaign to legalise emergency contraception is launched in Honduras this week amid ongoing false claims by church leaders, senior doctors and conservative politicians that the medication causes abortions, infertility and cancer.

Honduras is the only country in Latin America where emergency contraception is banned, forcing desperate women, including rape victims, to buy expensive and unregulated contraband pills on the black market.

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Kim Jong-un in Russia – in pictures

4 hours 25 min ago - [CET]

The North Korean leader arrived in Russia by train on Wednesday, a day before his much-anticipated summit with President Vladimir Putin. He visited with diplomacy over his nuclear programme deadlocked. Kim, dressed in a black coat and a fedora, arrived at Russia’s Khasan train station near the North Korean border. Kim is travelling to the Pacific port city of Vladivostok for a meeting with Putin on Thursday

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Campaign catchup 2019: Morrison dodges questions on Palmer preferences

4 hours 36 min ago - [CET]

Day 14: PM keen to talk about veterans ahead of Anzac Day, while Shorten wins a PR coup with Johnathan Thurston jog

I’ll be honest: you didn’t miss much. Ahead of Thursday’s Anzac Day campaign truce, both leaders took a very low-key approach to campaigning on Wednesday, holding fire until after this week’s flurry of public holidays is over. Many Australians are still on holidays and are not yet plugged in to the election campaign.

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Man missing from Queensland music festival where two people died

6 hours 27 sec ago - [CET]

Aerial and land search under way after Bradley Smith failed to return home from the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival

An aerial and land search is under way for a Queensland man who has gone missing after attending an Easter music festival near the Queensland-New South Wales border.

Queensland police say Bradley Smith, 37, was reported missing last night after failing to return home to Nanango from the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival in Elbow Valley, south of Warwick.

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Rumour and violence rife as Congo Ebola outbreak surges out of control

6 hours 10 min ago - [CET]

Attacks on health centres are impeding efforts to contain an epidemic that has claimed nearly 900 lives in nine months

Archippe Kamuha knows the signs of Ebola well: diarrhoea, bleeding, persistent fever. But if the 25-year-old developed such symptoms, she would not contact specialist health workers.

“I know that if I go [to a treatment centre], I’ll die. All my friends who go there don’t come home, they die,” said Kamuha, whose home town, Butembo, in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, is at the centre of the country’s escalating Ebola outbreak.

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The island of cinemas: Cuba's faded movie theatres – in pictures

6 hours 10 min ago - [CET]

In 1958, Cuba had 511 cinemas, and Havana alone had 130 – more than either New York or Paris at the time. Carolina Sandretto documents the now largely forgotten buildings for the book Cines de Cuba, published by Skira

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Sri Lanka suicide bomber studied in Australia, minister says

6 hours 29 min ago - [CET]

State minister of defence says one of bombers studied in UK and Australia, and ‘most are well educated’

One of the suicide bombers involved in the Easter Sunday attacks across Sri Lanka studied in the UK and Australia, a Sri Lankan minister has said.

“We believe that one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and later did his postgraduate studies in Australia,” said Ruwan Wijewardene, the state minister for defence, at a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon.

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Doctor suspended after repeatedly calling for women to be raped

6 hours 35 min ago - [CET]

Dr Christopher Kwan Chen Lee, who worked in Victoria and Tasmania, has been suspended for six weeks

An emergency department doctor who worked in Victoria and Tasmania has been suspended for six weeks after he repeatedly called for women to be raped, made racist remarks and boasted in online forums about being able to say whatever he wanted.

Dr Christopher Kwan Chen Lee was employed by the Tasmania Health Service between 2016 and 2018, before working in Victoria at Box Hill hospital and La Trobe regional hospital, where he was second in charge of the emergency department.

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Sri Lanka president calls for security overhaul amid warning bombers still free

6 hours 47 min ago - [CET]

Maithripala Sirisena says ‘stern action’ will be taken as death toll rises to 359

The Sri Lankan president has called for a massive security overhaul in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks, amid warnings that several suspects armed with explosives could still be at large.

In a televised addressed late on Tuesday, president Maithripala Sirisena announced there would be changes to the heads of defence forces “within 24 hours”, saying he would take “stern action” against officials, as he confirmed that reports of threats had not been shared with him.

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'Umbrella nine' Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders sentenced to jail

7 hours 10 min ago - [CET]

Campaigners responsible for the largest civil disobedience in Hong Kong’s history face up to 16 months in prison

A group of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have been sentenced to prison for their role in the Umbrella Movement protests, with two of its leaders jailed for 16 months.

A district court judge jailed sociology professor Chan Kin-man, 60, law professor Benny Tai, 54, and Baptist minister the Rev Chu Yiu-ming, 75, to 16 months each for conspiracy to commit public nuisance. Chu’s sentence was suspended for two years.

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'It's not a little child': gynecologists join the fight against six-week abortion bans

7 hours 10 min ago - [CET]

Doctors argue that the bans, known as ‘fetal heartbeat’ bills, are medically inaccurate and use misleading language

High-profile gynecologists are criticizing the framing of six-week abortion bans, known as “fetal heartbeat” bills, as medically inaccurate.

The bans, now moving through nearly a dozen state legislatures, propose the strictest limitations on the right to abortion as established by the US supreme court case Roe v Wade in 1973.

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A library of exile: Edmund de Waal on Venice's Jewish Ghetto

7 hours 11 min ago - [CET]

In 1516, Venice’s Jewish population was forced into one small area of the city. Now the writer and artist has created artworks expressing a history of displacement and loss

My day begins in the Campo di Ghetto Nuovo. It is early morning and I am nursing a cup of coffee and the first of my bag of almond dolci ebraici veneziani, still warm from the bakery. They are rather too good, a hardness that gives way to almond crumbs. It is quiet but I can just make out the sound of the water from the fountain as the children clatter on their way to school and the metal shutters go up across the canal.

This Venetian square is a very special place. There is no church, there are no public buildings, there are no grand thresholds with runs of stairs; everything seems held back, contained. You notice that there are five taller arched windows in one wall, that you can just see a modest domed skylight that indicates the apse of a synagogue. You notice the stone embedded in the wall has a Hebrew inscription from Psalm 32: “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, loving kindness shall surround him.” The tablet high up on the wall commemorates the deportations of 1943. This is the ghetto.

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UK spent £11m of public money fighting Libya rendition case

7 hours 11 min ago - [CET]

Figures show vast sums spent resisting apology demands over rendition of Libyan dissidents

The government spent more than £11m of public funds resisting demands for an apology, compensation and prosecutions over MI6’s 2004 rendition of the Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar.

The colossal sum involved has been revealed for the first time through a freedom of information request that exposes the vast amounts ministers and official were prepared to pay out at a time when legal aid has been severely restricted.

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Australian share market soars to 11-year high, led by tech and health stocks

7 hours 26 min ago - [CET]

ASX last reached these heights in January 2008 before the GFC wiped about 50% of the value off the market

The Australian share market has surged to an 11-year high, with tech and health stocks in the ascendancy after the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record closes overnight.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 67.6 points, or 1.07%, to 6,387.0 points at 1200 AEST on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 63.2 points, or 0.99%, to 6,474.3.

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Easter litter in the Lake District - archive, 24 April 1957

7 hours 41 min ago - [CET]

24 April 1957: Cigarette packets, sweet papers, and torn newspaper were as plentiful as ever in the Lake District over the Easter weekend

In spite of all the requests and all the warnings, empty cigarette packets, sweet papers, and torn pieces of newspaper were as plentiful as ever in the Lake District over the Easter weekend. But the voluntary wardens of the Lake District National Park are far from giving up. They have a slogan “Help Keep the Lake District Spring Cleaned,” and they believe that when the Lake District Planning Board’s special publicity programme to keep litter down is fully advertised along the by-ways and in the hotels and hostels they will be able to do a better job of pricking the public conscience.

Related: Speeding boats on the Lakes 'outrageous' – archive, 6 July 1960

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Smells delicious: our tongues can detect odours, study suggests

7 hours 56 min ago - [CET]

Researchers say adding sweet smells to food could cut sugar intake and help tackle obesity

The tongue does not just detect taste, but might pick up on odours too, according to research shedding new light on how we perceive flavour.

The tongue has long been known to detect whether something tastes sweet, sour, salty, bitter or umami (savouriness) thanks to cells that carry taste receptors – proteins that interact with particular molecules in food.

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Nationals' Gilmore candidate Katrina Hodgkinson still on lobbying firm's payroll

8 hours 11 min ago - [CET]

The former NSW government minister who’s running for the marginal federal seat is listed as a director at Barton Deakin

The National party’s candidate in the New South Wales marginal seat of Gilmore, Katrina Hodgkinson, is still on the payroll of one of Australia’s most powerful lobbying firms while running for federal parliament in next month’s election.

The former NSW state government minister is listed as a director of corporate counsel on Canberra-based Barton Deakin’s website.

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Adelaide tourist committed most serious child sex crimes in Australian history

9 hours 26 min ago - [CET]

Ruecha Tokputza groomed children for sex in Australia and Thailand, filmed their abuse and shared it online

The crimes of an Adelaide sex tourist are the most serious case of sex offending in Australia, a court has heard.

Ruecha Tokputza, 31, appeared in the district court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to 51 charges against 13 babies and boys over more than six years.

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Prince Edward island elevates Green party to opposition in Canadian first

9 hours 29 min ago - [CET]

‘My god, I love this island,’ says leader Peter Bevan-Baker after news party will form official opposition

A Green party will form the official opposition for the first time in Canadian history, following a closely watched election in the province of Prince Edward Island. The unprecedented result signifies a major milestone for the environmentally oriented political party.

Following weeks of vigorous campaigning in Canada’s smallest province, the Progressive Conservatives (PC) emerged victorious on Tuesday evening with a thin lead in the province’s legislative seats.

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Trump says aides need not testify to Congress amid growing power struggle

9 hours 53 min ago - [CET]

President’s remarks to Washington Post come as White House battles subpoenas and treasury misses deadline to provide tax returns

Donald Trump has said he is opposed to current and former White House aides testifying to congressional committees about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference, the Washington Post reported.

In an interview with the newspaper, the US president claimed his administration cooperated with Mueller’s investigation and did not need to comply with congressional committees examining possible obstruction of justice on his part.

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Coalition takes tougher line on gay conversion therapy after Labor promises ban

10 hours 1 min ago - [CET]

Move comes a day after Scott Morrison dismissed the ‘discredited’ practice as a state issue

The Coalition has suggested it will work to discourage gay conversion therapy just a day after Scott Morrison poured cold-water on Labor’s push to stamp the practice out.

In a response to peak LGBTIQ group Equality Australia, the Morrison government has committed to work with the states “to ensure such practices are not supported or occurring”.

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Trump orders staff and administration to boycott correspondents' dinner

10 hours 43 min ago - [CET]

Donald Trump has declared the event ‘boring’ and ‘negative’ and announced a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, instead

Donald Trump has ordered members of his staff and administration to boycott the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner on Saturday.

The decision came as the US president spent much of Tuesday unleashing another tirade of attacks against the media.

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Possible 'marsquake' detected for first time on red planet

10 hours 48 min ago - [CET]

Nasa probe InSight picks up slight tremor that fits profile of similar episodes on the moon

A Nasa probe has detected and measured what scientists believe to be a “marsquake”, marking the first time a likely seismological tremor has been recorded on another planet, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

The breakthrough came five months after robotic probe InSight, the first spacecraft designed specifically to study the deep interior of a distant world, touched down on the surface of Mars to begin a two-year seismological mission.

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'Love in the face of bigotry': woman takes smiling stand against Islamophobic protesters

10 hours 56 min ago - [CET]

Shaymaa Ismaa’eel says she wanted demonstrators in Washington to see ‘how happy I was to be me’

While attending an Islamic conference in Washington DC on Sunday, Shaymaa Ismaa’eel, a 24-year-old Muslim woman, passed by a group of angry protesters holding signs against Islam and shouting that she and her friends were going to hell. In response, she crouched in front of them and flashed a peace sign.

The resulting photo, posted on Instagram, has prompted an outpouring of support for Ismaa’eel.

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Indian officials travel deep into jungle so lone holy man can vote

11 hours 9 min ago - [CET]

Polling station set up deep inside Gir wildlife sanctuary for Shiva priest who looks after isolated temple

Indian officials travelled nearly 70km (45 miles) through jungle this week to ensure a 69-year-old holy man got to cast his vote in the Indian general election.

Four election officials, accompanied by a policeman, set up a special polling station deep in the Gir wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat state so a sole voter – Bharatdas Darshandas – could take part in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.

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The Kiwi dream: city-weary New Zealanders flock to the regions

11 hours 11 min ago - [CET]

Smaller towns such as Timaru are targeting priced-out city dwellers as well as international migrants to shore up their ageing populations

Michelle Marshall and her husband, Zane, returned to New Zealand after living in London, ready to settle down, buy a house, have a child and live “the Kiwi dream”.

But the young couple quickly realised the Kiwi dream was becoming elusive in Auckland, the country’s largest city. No matter how hard they worked and saved there, their goal of buying a home and starting a family was slipping away.

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'No right to livestream murder': Ardern leads push against online terror content

11 hours 25 min ago - [CET]

New Zealand PM launches ‘Christchurch Call’ to build support to eliminate extremist material on social media

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern is to spearhead a push to combat violent extremism and terrorism on social media in the wake of the Christchurch attacks, saying the gunman did not have “a right to livestream the murder of 50 people”.

Ardern and French president Emmanuel Macron will host a summit in Paris on 15 May, rallying tech companies and other concerned countries to commit to a pledge known as the “Christchurch Call” – a vow to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

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Joe Biden to announce 2020 presidential bid this week

11 hours 31 min ago - [CET]

Early polling shows Biden in the top tier of the crowded Democratic field but in close competition with Bernie Sanders

Joe Biden will launch his 2020 campaign this week, sources close to the former vice-president said. He will make his announcement in a video to be released on Thursday and plans to hold an event in Pittsburgh on Monday.

Biden was initially expected to kick off his campaign on Wednesday before delaying his launch. Early polling shows Biden in the top tier of the Democratic field but in close competition with the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders for frontrunner status.

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May to ban Huawei from supplying 'core' parts of UK 5G network

13 hours 10 min ago - [CET]

Chinese telecoms supplier will be allowed to supply some ‘non core’ technology, but decision risks agitating Beijing

Theresa May has ordered that Chinese telecoms supplier Huawei is to be banned from supplying core parts of the future 5G mobile phone network, following a meeting of ministers on the National Security Council (NSC) on Tuesday.

Huawei will be allowed to supply some “non core” technology to UK phone companies insiders said, but several ministers in the meeting raised concerns even about that concession, arguing instead for a total ban on the supplier.

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Federal election 2019: leaders campaign before Anzac Day truce – politics live

13 hours 35 min ago - [CET]

Scott Morrison is in Darwin shoring up the Coalition’s Senate spot while Bill Shorten is in Townsville with a plan to allow casuals to convert to more permanent work. Follow all the day’s events, live

11.36pm BST

GetUp has withdrawn a proposed election ad after it was accused of poor taste for parodying Tony Abbott refusing to rescue a drowning beachgoer.

Royal Life Saving Society Australia said the ad was inappropriate and insensitive, particularly after seven people drowned over Easter including Victorian father and son lifesavers Ross and Andy Powell, who died trying to rescue a tourist at Port Campbell.

Related: GetUp pulls 'incredibly insensitive' Tony Abbott lifesaver election ad

We have heard the criticism of the Royal Lifesavers and are pulling our satirical ad about Tony Abbott’s inaction on climate change, which was slated to begin airing in cinemas next week,” the group said in a statement.

We have the greatest respect for Australia’s lifesavers and apologise for the insensitivity of the timing and subject matter of our planned ad.”

11.34pm BST

Scott Morrison is speaking at a business breakfast. He is spruiking the Liberals candidates in the Northern territory. Labor’s Warren Snowdon holds Lingiari, but is under challenge by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price while the LiberalsKathy Ganley is challenging Luke Gosling in Solomon.

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GetUp pulls 'incredibly insensitive' Tony Abbott lifesaver election ad

13 hours 40 min ago - [CET]

Life Saving society criticised parody showing former PM refusing to rescue a drowning beachgoer as ‘very poor taste’

GetUp has withdrawn a proposed election ad after it was accused of poor taste for parodying Tony Abbott refusing to rescue a drowning beachgoer.

Royal Life Saving Society Australia said the ad was inappropriate and insensitive, particularly after seven people drowned over Easter including Victorian father and son lifesavers Ross and Andy Powell, who died trying to rescue a tourist at Port Campbell.

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Avengers: Endgame review – unconquerable brilliance takes Marvel to new heights

14 hours 11 min ago - [CET]

The climactic movie in the Avengers series is an irresistible blend of action and comedy, guaranteeing a sugar rush of delirious enjoyment of its many pleasures

The previous Avengers movie, Infinity War, stunned believers and unbelievers alike with its sheer stupendous scale, and that devastating ending in which the evil Thanos appeared to have gained victory by getting hold of all six of the Infinity Stones, causing a crumbling-to-dust of many key players: a terrible cosmic loss, irreparable, irreversible, surely?

We were of course promised wild new surprises with this colossal climactic movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and directed by the Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony. But would these surprises be .... new ways of coming to terms with the unchangeable disaster? Unexpected coping strategies? Novel means of simply accepting the Avengers’ stunningly permanent defeat?

Or could it be … something else? Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man, was challenged on TV about the possibility of his character shrinking to a tiny size, flying into some convenient orifice of the evil Thanos, and then grossly enlarging himself to make the great villain go splat like Mr Creosote. Rudd declined to be drawn.

Well, I won’t disclose how things progress here,other than to say it allows the main players to revisit some of the scenes of their most spectacular franchise triumphs. And I have to admit, in all its surreal grandiosity, in all its delirious absurdity, there is a huge sugar rush of excitement to this mighty finale, finally interchanging with euphoric emotion and allowing us to say poignant farewells.

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Morning mail: Isis claims Sri Lanka attacks, Kushner writes off Mueller, veterans' funding

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 23:00 - [CET]

Wednesday: Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for carnage is highly plausible, experts say. Plus: Greta Thunberg shames UK MPs

Good morning, this is Helen Sullivan bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Wednesday 24 April.

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Impeachment, socialism and gender: highlights from CNN's 2020 town halls

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 22:05 - [CET]

During the five hour block of programming, Democratic presidential hopefuls discussed issues that could shape the primaries

Five Democratic presidential hopefuls held televised town halls on Monday night, during a gruelling five hour block of programming on CNN that gave a look at the topics that could shape the primaries.

Kamala Harris came out in support of impeaching Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders said he was in favor of people in prison being able to vote – even “terrible people” such as the Boston Marathon bomber. Elizabeth Warren ably addressed the problem of sexism and double standards in politics.

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'It's very concerning': Americans sitting more than ever, study finds

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 21:51 - [CET]
  • Adolescents sat for eight hours a day in decade to 2016
  • Americans spend three hours a day sitting watching TV

The amount of time Americans spend sitting down has increased by an hour a day in recent years, a new study has found.

Americans of all ages increasingly take life sitting down, researchers found, but adolescents sit more than other groups. The study found adolescent Americans typically increased their total sitting time from seven hours to just over eight hours a day in the decade to 2016, the largest amount of time spent sedentary and the biggest jump of all the groups studied, experts said.

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Labour says Theresa May unwilling to offer key Brexit concessions

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 21:47 - [CET]

Little progress as talks resume, with Labour seeking changes to political declaration

Labour has accused Theresa May of failing to offer any substantive changes to her Brexit deal in cross-party talks, as Downing Street’s hopes of a breakthrough in time to avoid taking part in European parliamentary elections waned.

Brexit talks resumed on Tuesday, between a team of ministers and shadow ministers. But Labour sources said the government team again appeared unwilling to countenance changes to the political declaration, which sets out the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

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UN waters down rape resolution to appease US's hardline abortion stance

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 21:36 - [CET]

Measure on sexual violence in conflict passes after Trump administration threatened to veto document over references to reproductive health

The UN has backed a resolution on combatting rape in conflict but excluded references in the text to sexual and reproductive health, after vehement opposition from the US.

The resolution passed by the security council on Tuesday after a three-hour debate and a weekend of fierce negotiations on the language among member states that threatened to derail the process.

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More details emerge about victims of Sri Lanka attacks

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:49 - [CET]

While most who died were locals, others were from a wide range of nationalities and ages

At the time this was written, Sri Lankan authorities had confirmed that 321 people were killed in a wave of suicide bombings on the island on Easter Sunday. This list does not include all the victims, the vast majority of whom were Sri Lankans.

Nisanga Mayadunne and Shantha Mayadunne

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Sisi wins snap Egyptian referendum amid vote-buying claims

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:34 - [CET]

Voters given food boxes to back constitutional changes that could extend Sisi rule to 2030

Supporters of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi have claimed victory after almost 90% of Egyptian voters backed sweeping constitutional changes that could result in him ruling until 2030.

Election officials claimed 88.8% of voters had confirmed the changes, with a turnout of 44%. The results overhaul the 2014 constitution: they extend presidential term limits to six years, allowing Sisi to run for re-election in 2024; expand presidential control over the judiciary, and enshrine the military’s role in politics.

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Greek PM's criticism takes shine off Weber's push for EU's top job

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:34 - [CET]

German MEP begins campaign in Athens after Alexis Tsipras claims he is ‘anti-Greek’

Manfred Weber has launched his campaign to become president of the European commission in Athens, but faced excoriating criticism from the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, before he had even arrived in the Greek capital.

In a tweet intended to cause maximum embarrassment for the German leader of the conservative European People’s party group in the European parliament, Tsipras insinuated that Weber harboured racist and authoritarian tendencies. He said that at the height of Athens’ debt crisis, Weber had pushed for “Grexit” and thus proved himself to be “anti-Greek”.

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Sri Lanka buries bombing victims as country remains on lockdown

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:26 - [CET]

Negombo struggles with scale of its loss as victims of Easter attack are buried in mass graves

A father with his arms around the shoulders of his two daughters. Parents and children posing for a family portrait. Dozens of black-and-white photographs of individuals. On posters and leaflets plastered across Negombo, the faces of the dead were everywhere on Tuesday, as mass funerals were held for those killed in Sunday’s terrorist attack.

Outside St Sebastian’s church, where at least 100 people were killed, a makeshift chapel was built under a tent in the courtyard. Throughout the morning, more than 20 coffins were carried in, one-by-one, before a mass funeral service. “There are so many bodies that we can’t accommodate them all at once,” said Anthony Jayakody, Colombo’s auxiliary bishop.

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Coalition announces $63m veterans' spend before Anzac Day election hiatus

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:00 - [CET]

Scott Morrison says spending on wellbeing centres and jobs assistance is ‘about backing veterans and their families’

The Coalition has promised to spend $63m on veterans’ initiatives, including wellbeing centres and employment assistance.

Scott Morrison and the veterans affairs minister, Darren Chester, will announce the funding on Wednesday ahead of a campaign hiatus on Thursday for Anzac Day.

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Jared Kushner dubs Trump-Russia investigation 'a big distraction'

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:57 - [CET]

President’s son-in-law and senior adviser dismissed concerns about Russian spying operations at Time 100 summit

Jared Kushner has played down Russian interference in the 2016 US election, describing Moscow’s attack as “a bunch of Facebook ads” and calling Robert Mueller’s two-year special counsel investigation “a big distraction”.

Speaking at the Time 100 summit in New York City on Tuesday, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser dismissed concerns about Russian spying operations laid out in alarming detail over 199 pages of the Mueller report released last week.

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Libya: EU officials hoping Trump will pull support for warlord

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:45 - [CET]

President has backed Khalifa Haftar, seen by UK and UN as aggressor in Libya conflict

European officials are hoping Donald Trump’s surprise expression of support for the Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar can be reversed amid division in Washington over US policy on the north African country.

A clarification of US policy is considered necessary in order to build an international consensus condemning the attack on Tripoli that has claimed nearly 300 lives and injured more than 1,000, including migrants trapped in detention centres, since it began on April.

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Pressure builds on Sri Lankan officials as Isis claims Easter attacks

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:44 - [CET]

Suicide bombings that killed at least 320 people have hallmarks of Isis, say security experts

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 320 people, the group’s Amaq news agency has said.

The high death toll would make the attack the deadliest overseas operation claimed by the group since it proclaimed its worldwide caliphate almost five years ago, and suggests that it retains the ability to launch devastating strikes around the world despite multiple defeats in the Middle East.

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We need debate on data-driven policing | Letters

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:22 - [CET]
The public has a right to know how data about them is being used, write Matthew A Jay and Prof Ruth Gilbert

We thank West Midlands police’s ethics committee for giving serious attention to the potential for harm arising out of data-driven offending prediction models (Alert over risk of bias in tool to predict who will reoffend, 20 April).

A wider public debate needs to be informed by research into how effectively the use of people’s data predicts and reduces criminality, who else experiences targeting and privacy intrusion due to prediction errors, and whether better use of data could reduce such collateral harm.

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Richard Burgon and criticism of Zionism | Letter

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:21 - [CET]
The misuse of ‘Zionist’ as a surrogate for ‘Jewish’ has to be dealt with case-specifically, say Geoffrey Bindman and Stephen Sedley

It is disturbing to read (Shadow justice secretary admits to anti-Zionist speech, 17 April) that a prominent Labour MP, Richard Burgon, has felt it necessary to apologise for having said “The enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people. The enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists, and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people.”

As Jewish lawyers who have been concerned for much of our lives with opposing racism in general and antisemitism in particular, we see no reason for any such apology. We are among the large number of Jews, worldwide, who regard with shame the military oppression by Israel of the Palestinian people and the ongoing appropriation, by illegal settlement, of the little land that is still theirs.

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UK's biggest fishing trawler sails up Thames in Brexit warning

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:14 - [CET]

Kirkella owners concerned that UK fleet could lose access to waters off non-EU states

The biggest whitefish trawler in the UK fleet sailed up the Thames on Tuesday to highlight the threats facing the fishing industry if Brexit negotiations fail to deliver a deal.

The Kirkella, based at Hull, can catch 2.3 million fish on every two-month voyage, plying the seas of the Arctic, Greenland, Norway and the north-east Atlantic. Built last year, it has travelled to the Arctic five times so far, and on Wednesday it will be officially named and launched by the Princess Royal at Greenwich in London. Spectators will be treated to 3,000 free portions of fish and chips.

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Saudi Arabia executes 37 citizens over alleged terrorism offences

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:48 - [CET]

Kingdom reports largest mass execution in single day since January 2016 after attacks

Saudi Arabia has executed 37 citizens across the country for alleged terrorism-related crimes, publicly pinning one of their headless bodies to a pole as a warning.

The mass execution on Tuesday was the biggest in a single day in Saudi Arabia since January 2016, when 47 people were killed, including a prominent Shia cleric whose death prompted protests in Iran and the ransacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

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Evening Standard urged to move event from Brunei-owned Dorchester

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:37 - [CET]

Hotel is subject to boycott over sultan’s policy of punishing gay sex with death by stoning

The London Evening Standard is facing calls to move an awards ceremony to be held at the Brunei-owned Dorchester after the country imposed new laws punishing gay sex and adultery with death by stoning.

The newspaper, whose celebrity columnist Rob Rinder urged readers to join a boycott of the luxury hotel, is due to hold its annual New Homes awards at the five-star Mayfair establishment next month.

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Ending the Iranian sanctions waiver could be own goal for Trump

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:31 - [CET]

Preventing Iran’s oil from reaching the market will raise oil prices and US business costs

The past two and a bit years have shown that it is naive to expect Donald Trump’s strategic and economic policies to demonstrate coherence. Even so, the lack of joined-up thinking in the decision to end the waiver against sanctions from nations that buy oil from Iran takes some beating.

Related: US toughens stance on Iran, ending exemptions from oil sanctions

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Sajid Javid urged to act in immigration scandal 'bigger than Windrush'

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:00 - [CET]

More than 1,000 students forcibly removed over English language test cheating claims

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, is under mounting pressure to head off an immigration scandal that MPs have warned could be “bigger than Windrush”.

About 34,000 foreign students have had their visas cancelled or curtailed and more than 1,000 people were forcibly removed from the UK as a result of the English language testing scandal, which involved the government accusing tens of thousands of students who sat a Home Office-approved test of cheating.

Related: English test scandal: 'Eight years pretty much destroyed'

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Isis 'sub-contracted' Sri Lanka bombings to serve its own ends

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:23 - [CET]

Local group National Towheed Jamaat needed help to mount such a complex operation

Three days after the bombings of churches and luxury hotels that killed over 300 people in Sri Lanka, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the atrocity.

The claim was not unexpected. The bombings – multiple suicide attacks designed to cause mass casualties among Christian worshippers on Easter Sunday and among tourists too – had all the hallmarks of an Isis attack. The group needs to prove its capability and relevance after suffering defeat in its core heartland in Syria and Iraq. It still commands support among a network of sympathisers across the Islamic world. It had the motives and the means.

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Jussie Smollett case: brothers who helped stage attack sue actor's attorney

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:22 - [CET]

Defamation lawsuit alleges that actor’s lawyer and his firm continue to perpetrate a lie publicly about attack against Smollett

Two brothers who said they helped Jussie Smollett stage a racist and homophobic attack against himself are suing the Empire actor’s attorney for defamation.

A lawyer for Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday in Chicago on behalf of the brothers. It names Mark Geragos and his law firm as defendants.

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Climbers brought in to help protect Notre Dame from elements

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:17 - [CET]

Protective tarpaulins unfurled over fire-ravaged cathedral to prevent rain damage

Climbers have been brought in to unfurl protective tarpaulins over Notre Dame to protect it from the rain after the Parisian cathedral was left badly damaged and open to the elements by a fire last week.

The blaze on 15 April felled the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral’s spire and destroyed two-thirds of its vaulted roof, leaving the building in a fragile condition.

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