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09/23/2018 05:00 PM
Revealed: less than a third of young men prosecuted for rape are convicted

Exclusive: figures show men aged 18-24 less likely to be found guilty of rape than older men in England and Wales

The crisis engulfing the criminal justice system over its approach to rape cases is revealed by startling figures that show less than a third of prosecutions brought against young men result in a conviction.

According to statistics, men aged 18 to 24 in England and Wales are consistently less likely to be found guilty than older men on trial. Young men accounted for more than a quarter of defendants in rape-only cases in the five years to 2017-18.

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09/23/2018 06:28 PM
Ban anonymous accounts, Angela Rayner tells social media firms

Shadow education secretary says most people who abuse her online do so without using their real names

Angela Rayner has called for social media companies to ban anonymous accounts, complaining that most of the people who abuse her online do so without using their real names.

The shadow education secretary, speaking at a Labour party conference event, said social media firms should take greater responsibility for their users and noted in particular that Facebook seemed to have indicated that politicians should accept a higher level of abuse.

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09/23/2018 01:10 PM
Labour prepared to vote down May's final Brexit deal, says Corbyn

Party leader says concerns over workers’ rights and environment could force move and remains open to second referendum

Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour would be prepared to vote down Theresa May’s final Brexit deal this autumn in an attempt to force the government back to the negotiating table with Brussels because the party has been concerned about a dilution in workers’ rights and environmental standards.

The Labour leader also repeated that he was open to the idea of a second referendum if the party agreed to that policy later this week, although he added he would wait and see what wording would be put in front of the delegates after a meeting on Sunday evening.

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09/23/2018 04:02 PM
Welfare spending for UK's poorest shrinks by £37bn

Figures compiled after decade of austerity and obtained by Frank Field show most striking cuts are in disability benefits

Spending on welfare benefits for the UK’s poorest families will have shrunk by nearly a quarter after a decade of austerity, according to new figures highlighting the plunge in living standards experienced by the worst-off.

By 2021, £37bn less will be spent on working-age social security compared with 2010, despite rising prices and living costs, according to estimates produced by the House of Commons library.

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09/23/2018 06:50 PM
Brett Kavanaugh accuser will testify before Congress on Thursday

Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused supreme court nominee of sexual assault, to appear ‘despite actual threats to safety and life’

Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, will testify before the Senate judiciary committee on Thursday, in proceedings likely to become a decisive moment in the confirmation of the conservative judge.

Related: Amy Chua denies telling female students to be 'model-like' for Brett Kavanaugh

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09/23/2018 05:21 PM
Sport England launches £13.5m drive to boost secondary school PE

Scheme will train 17,000 teachers as part of effort to improve sports lessons

Sport England is launching a £13.5m scheme to train 17,000 teachers in delivering PE and sport in school, after research found that almost 20% of secondary students hated PE lessons.

With more than a quarter of the nation’s adults “inactive”, according to the Active Lives survey released in March, Sport England wants to ensure students are leaving secondary education with an active lifestyle.

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09/23/2018 12:53 PM
Russian passport leak after Salisbury may reveal spy methods

Novichok suspects named on list of suspected agents with similar passport numbers

A leak of Russian government data about the suspects in the Salisbury poisoning may provide a rare insight into how Russia’s military intelligence agency provides cover identities for its agents abroad.

Investigative journalists have unearthed what appears to be a series of passports with similar numbers belonging to suspected Russian intelligence officers, including the Salisbury suspects Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov.

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09/23/2018 08:00 AM
Pret a Manger and BA face questions over girl’s allergy death on plane

Inquest into death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse will focus on food packaging ‘loophole’ and cabin crew’s training

A 15-year-old girl who was severely allergic to sesame died after eating a Pret a Manger sandwich that did not list the ingredient on its packaging, an inquest will hear this week.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse was travelling with her father and a school friend from London to Nice when she collapsed during the British Airways flight in July 2016.

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09/23/2018 04:27 PM
Man arrested outside Buckingham Palace on suspicion of having Taser

Queen is not in residence, and police say incident not thought to be terror-related

A man has been arrested outside Buckingham Palace on suspicion of possessing a firearm.

The 38-year-old was arrested on suspicion of having a Taser, and was taken into custody at a police station in central London.

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09/23/2018 03:49 PM
Iran says response to terrorist attack on military parade will be 'crushing'

President Hassan Rouhani claimed US-backed rivals were accountable for the attack, which killed at least 29 people

Iran has vowed a crushing response to Saturday’s terrorist attack on a military parade that killed at least 29 people, including conscripts and children, as it accused its US-backed regional rivals of incubating insurgent separatist groups.

In the deadliest terrorist attack Iran has seen in years, four assailants disguised in military uniforms opened fire when military personnel were marching in front of a viewing platform in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.

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09/23/2018 12:29 PM
'No regrets': world's biggest election loser runs for 96th time in Canada

John Turmel initially went into politics to legalise gambling and stop getting busted

The first time John Turmel ran in an election, it was 1979 and his primary aim was to legalise gambling. While his door-knocking efforts earned him just 193 votes, the race marked the start of an obsession that would eventually launch the Canadian into the record books for having contested, and lost, the highest number of elections in the world.

Related: 'Not just in the US': amateur historian highlights Canada's forgotten racism

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09/20/2018 02:10 PM
Liverpool impress, Ronaldo ridiculousness and cows, cows, cows – Football Weekly Extra

Max is joined by Barry Glendenning, Lars Sivertsen and Jonathan Wilson to discuss the Champions League, Ronaldo’s red, the timekeeping skills of cows and Mark Hughes’s elusive smile

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Lars Sivertsen and Jonathan Wilson to discuss the first round of Champions League group stage fixtures, starting with Manchester City’s shock 2-1 defeat to Lyon.

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09/23/2018 09:00 AM
Sophie Walker: ‘The age of lad culture set us back a lot’

The Women’s Equality party leader on what Brexit would mean for women, and why some MPs are thinking of defecting to her party

Sophie Walker founded the Women’s Equality party three years ago out of frustration with mainstream politicians’ progress towards gender equality. At the last general election she stood (and lost) in Shipley against the Conservative MP and men’s rights campaigner Philip Davies, renowned for his attacks on political correctness. She is a former journalist.

Young women and girls’ happiness has declined sharply in a decade, according to a survey out this week – what’s that telling us?
I think we’re a very long way from understanding that all of our systems are still built around a template of men, and women and girls face a deeply uncomfortable existence around the margins of that template. And until we start to redraw it in a way that understands that the old models don’t work, we’re never going to be able to solve that general unhappiness that is as a result of being second-class citizens.

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09/23/2018 06:46 PM
As Comcast takes control of Sky, Murdoch could yet bounce back

Mogul’s influence on worldwide news is unlikely to be weakened by latest defeat

Rupert Murdoch’s dream of taking full control of Sky dissolved on Saturday night as he was outbid by the US firm Comcast. But anyone celebrating a setback for the mogul should be warned. The most divisive figure in Britain’s media may still have the last laugh.

Murdoch’s abrasive and headline-grabbing era in charge of Sky came to an end in a high-stakes auction. There was no head-to-head face-off across a boardroom table: it was a simple email that sealed the future of Sky after a bruising battle between Fox and Comcast.

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09/23/2018 09:00 AM
How genome study can save otters, eagles and lonely featherworts
The Sanger Centre’s landmark genetic sequencing of 25 species raises hopes not just for the conservation of Britain’s wildlife but for humans too

Carrington’s featherwort is an unusual plant by any standards. Tiny, between 2cm and 5cm in height, it clusters on high ground in north-west Scotland. Crucially, every single plant found in this secluded Caledonian enclave is male. By contrast, the only other substantial colonies known to botanists are located in the Himalayas – and are made up of females.

Carrington’s featherwort would now be extinct were it not for the fact that the species can also propagate nonsexually. New plants form out of fragments of existing featherworts, producing colonies of clones.

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09/23/2018 04:00 PM
‘There’s a rock on this beach!’ and other awful tourist complaints
An idyllic Cornish beach has been criticised for the placement of a rock out at sea. From Ben Nevis being ‘too high’ and the Louvre being ‘not very interesting’, finicky visitor reviews are now commonplace

Lusty Glaze beach in Newquay, Cornwall, might have been 2017’s beach of the year, but it has a long way to go before it is beyond criticism. Representatives of the privately owned cove posted on its Facebook page this week to flag up a review from one visitor, who complained about hurting her leg on a rock on the beach.

“Something needs to be done about this rock as it is covered in beautiful waves and nobody can see it!” she wrote, prompting more than 100 comments ridiculing the request. “Good grief!” said one. “Sand, rocks and waves! Whatever is happening to our beaches?!?”

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09/23/2018 02:04 PM
'Karma restored': mythical London Stone returns to its City home

Quoted by Shakespeare and linked to Brutus, the all-powerful rock is returning to 111 Cannon Street

Half a century ago, the “London Stone” returned to its rightful place and the Cuban missile crisis was resolved soon afterwards.

In a fortnight’s time it will make a similar journey home. “We are hoping all the modern woes of life might be reversed now the karma is being restored,” said the Museum of London curator Roy Stephenson.

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09/23/2018 11:00 AM
How Charlottesville forced Reddit to clean up its act

The use by white supremacists of Reddit to organise last year’s violent rally in Virginia was a catalyst for change at the digital giant. In an extract from her new book We Are the Nerds, Christine Lagorio-Chafkin looks at how the site has tried to detoxify itself

As the clock ticked up to 9pm on Friday 11 August 2017, more than 200 men snaked down a dark, long expanse of grass in Charlottesville, Virginia, called Nameless Field. The assembled group was abundantly white, and almost uniformly dressed in pressed khakis and polo shirts. Each man grasped a wooden torch filled with kerosene.

They formed a column, lined up two by two. They lit their torches. Organisers, wearing earpieces, paced up and down the line issuing directions, amplified by electric bullhorn. “Now! Now! Go!” the bullhorns ordered. The men marched, and began to chant. “Blood and soil!” they yelled, echoing Nazi ideology. “Jews will not replace us! Jews will not replace us!”

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09/23/2018 03:00 PM
Seven ways to overcome loneliness

The evidence shows that being lonely is bad for your physical and mental health. But, with support from groups and specialists – and even the internet – you needn’t tackle it on your own

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, a commission originally set up by MP Jo Cox in 2016, loneliness can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It is also associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke and blood pressure, as well as dementia – one study cited by the campaign found that lonely people “have a 64% increased chance of developing clinical dementia”. Having healthy social networks, on the other hand, can decrease risk of mortality and of developing diseases, as well as helping people recover when they are ill – and with 9 million adults describing themselves as “often or always lonely”, it is clear that loneliness has become such a pressing public health concern. Recognising the impact loneliness could have on you is the first step to tackling it.

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09/23/2018 11:20 AM
Germany launches world's first autonomous tram in Potsdam

The Guardian goes for a ride on the new AI-driven Combino vehicle developed by Siemens

Norbert Gresing shook his head as two teenage boys, deep in conversation and wearing earplugs, stepped out in front of his tram.

“This is the type of situation I face every day,” said the tram driver, who has 25 years of experience under his belt, as he rang his bell. The boys, apparently oblivious to the green and white 10-tonne, 19-metre-long vehicle, appeared as bright green figures surrounded by fuzzy yellow dots on the screen in front of Gresing.

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09/23/2018 06:13 PM
Lacazette strikes as controversial goal puts gloss on Arsenal win over Everton

Alexandre Lacazette scored a beauty, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made the points safe and Unai Emery could toast a fourth consecutive Premier League win. Yet this was an afternoon when the margins were fine and the result could just as easily have gone the other way if Everton had turned up with their shooting boots on.

Petr Cech was the star turn and Emery’s decision to persist with the goalkeeper ahead of the summer signing, Bernd Leno, was more than vindicated. Cech made five stops in the first half that ranked from decent to excellent and, more than anybody, it was the 36-year-old that created the platform for victory. He even made fine saves from Michael Keane and the substitute, Cenk Tosun, at 2-0 to ensure a first clean sheet of the Emery era.

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09/23/2018 06:40 PM
Chelsea not at same level as Liverpool, says Maurizio Sarri
• Goalless draw at West Ham forces a reality check
• Head coach admits he is still trying to impose his philosophy

Chelsea go into successive games against Liverpool this week having surrendered their perfect record under Maurizio Sarri and with the head coach warning it will take him at least 12 months to hoist his side to the level of the new Premier League leaders.

After a goalless draw at West Ham United, Chelsea ended the weekend in third place. While for a midweek tie at Anfield in the Carabao Cup both teams could field much-changed lineups, the top‑flight meeting at Stamford Bridge on Saturday is already eagerly anticipated, though Sarri is wary of the threat that will be posed by Liverpool.

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09/23/2018 05:02 PM
Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder could temporarily end title anarchy | Kevin Mitchell

Nobody has held all four heavyweight world belts before and the lure of pay-per-view money can make it happen

Anthony Joshua is quietly adamant Deontay Wilder should be his 23rd opponent, at Wembley Stadium on 13 April, a date when sanity would have at least a chance to intrude briefly on the fight game with the crowning of a heavyweight regarded as the undisputed world champion.

The slender odds are that the IBF, WBA and WBO title-holder – who has an iron grip on the direction of his career – will get what he wants, mainly because Wilder, who holds the WBC belt, wants it too. However, trusting professional boxing to move along logical lines is the sporting equivalent of predicting what happens to Brexit.

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09/23/2018 05:41 PM
Owen Farrell outshines Danny Cipriani as Saracens thrash Gloucester
• Saracens 38-15 Gloucester
• Maro Itoje scores twice as home side overtake Exeter

It had been billed as the battle of the fly-halves but in truth, this was never really a contest. Owen Farrell comfortably outshone Danny Cipriani in their personal duel but, thanks to the performance of his dominant forwards – led by the relentless Maro Itoje – it must be said he had considerable help. Eddie Jones was not being complimentary when he described Cipriani as “superman” last week but not even the caped crusader can hold back a tide as strong as this.

Just as Cipriani did not play particularly badly, Farrell was not flawless, his goalkicking aside. There were a couple of uncharacteristically loose passes but anyone in attendance eager to see Cipriani make a mockery of his England snub by upstaging the Saracens fly-half left disappointed.

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09/23/2018 02:45 PM
Stuart Findlay’s late show helps Kilmarnock snatch victory from Celtic

Stuart Findlay’s late header secured 2-1 victory for Kilmarnock against Celtic in their Scottish Premiership match at Rugby Park.

Leigh Griffiths gave Celtic a 1-0 first-half lead after Kirk Broadfoot failed to clear Kieran Tierney’s cross after 34 minutes. Greg Taylor hit the post before the Scotland striker found the net with a close-range diving header. Dedryck Boyata came close to adding a second soon afterwards but Jamie MacDonald parried his effort over the crossbar.

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09/23/2018 05:47 PM
Leeds overcome Halifax to all but confirm Super League place
• Halifax 6-34 Leeds Rhinos
• Leeds top of Qualifiers with one game left

This 80-minute performance was a microcosm of Kevin Sinfield’s brief reign and a sign of the size of the task that he and the incoming coach, David Furner, have in rebuilding Leeds next year. There was enough in patches to get the job done and only a heavy defeat at home to Toronto on Friday raises a fraction of doubt that Leeds could be dragged into the Million Pound Game.

It has been a season nobody associated with Leeds, the reigning Super League champions, could have expected or wished to endure but mercifully, the finish line is now almost in sight.

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09/23/2018 06:37 PM
If Labour backs a second Brexit vote, stand by – all bets could be off | Matthew d’Ancona
Theresa May will never endorse a people’s vote. But enough Tory MPs might, if the alternative looks unpatriotic

Labour, the movement that prizes members’ democracy above all else, is now strongly in favour of a people’s vote on Brexit: that is the collective decision hovering over the party’s annual conference in Liverpool, and it speaks well of the wisdom of the Labour crowd.

According to a new YouGov poll, 86% of party members want a say on Britain’s future relationship with the EU, and 90% of them would vote remain in such a referendum. Though Labour undoubtedly captured many formerly Ukip votes in last year’s general election by promising to implement the result of the original 2016 vote, its rank and file now supports a second vote on Brexit. And this is by a margin of 24 percentage points greater than they gave Jeremy Corbyn in his contest against Owen Smith two years ago.

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09/23/2018 02:00 PM
Free speech: why editors can no longer publish and be damned | Emily Bell

Economic pressures and social media are forcing the media to think twice about upsetting readers

By the time the 130,000 regular readers of the New York Review of Books picked up their new copy of the literary journal last week, the cover story had already cost the editor Ian Buruma his job. In a spectacularly ill-judged essay, the Canadian former radio presenter Jian Ghomeshi provided a lengthy reflection on all the bad things that had happened to him as a result of allegations arising out of his behaviour towards women.

Incredulous and angry that the NYRB would provide a platform for public rehabilitation of an alleged sexual abuser, journalists and subscribers expressed anger and dismay at the publication. Seemingly unable to stop digging, Buruma responded to the criticism through an interview with Slate’s Isaac Chotiner in which he demonstrated an embarrassingly shaky grasp of the background to Ghomeshi’s story. The quote that ricocheted around the web showed a cringeworthy lack of awareness about how the story was perceived “The exact nature of his behaviour – how much consent was involved – I have no idea, nor is it really my concern,” said Buruma. And with that, he was gone.

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09/23/2018 10:00 AM
As Vince says, if you can’t beat ’em, spresm | David Mitchell

The Lib Dem leader’s fluffed zinger in his conference speech only demonstrates how irrelevant the party has become

Last Tuesday, on one of the thousands of occasions I glanced needlessly at my phone, it made me notice a news story. Vince Cable, it appeared, had described the hardcore Leavers’ delight in Brexit as an “erotic spasm”.

I liked that. It’s a nicely rude way of describing their irrational excitement at continental division and national isolation, and their inappropriately visceral feelings about the technical details of international trade deals. The whole country is going through a disaster, it is saying, just so a few extremists get to judder with sexual delight.

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09/23/2018 05:13 PM
The moment has come for Labour to support a people’s vote | Mike Buckley
It’s the only way to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the people the party stands for, and delegates in Liverpool should back it

Labour’s Brexit policy so far could be described as giving the Tories enough rope to hang themselves. Keir Starmer’s six tests – demanding from any deal the exact same benefits that Britain has under EU membership – have bound Labour into opposing any endgame that damages what the Labour movement stands for: secure jobs, decent wages, world-class public services, migrant rights, national security and international solidarity.

The tests have been sensible policy during the negotiations, but their usefulness is quickly running out. The day approaches when Labour will be obliged to vote down the EU withdrawal deal in parliament, both for the country’s interests and for its own electoral prospects.

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09/23/2018 03:00 PM
Personality tests are all the rage – but what do they really tell you?

A new test claims to be most scientific yet – and that out of four types, most of us are Average. The thing is, we don’t really do them to find out the truth

I was once forced to take a personality test by a boss who had read that they were a valuable source of managerial insight, or some such nonsense. Weirdly, it didn’t go well. After wasting my time answering multiple-choice questions such as, “Do you hate wasting your time?”, I received a laminated report informing me: “You rarely see the need to be modest about your own achievements and have a high opinion of your own abilities.” Which is ridiculous because I am the most modest person I know. And I know a lot of people.

Anyway, my former employer isn’t the only one with a misguided passion for personality tests. Despite there being no scientific evidence to back them up (many scientists consider them to be the business-bro equivalent of horoscopes), personality tests are all the rage in the corporate world, where they are used as a guide in hiring or assembling more effective teams.

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09/23/2018 02:41 PM
For Labour's economic policy to be radical, it has to be credible

Amid speculation about a snap election, the party should get prepared for pushback from City and business interests

Downing Street is war-gaming a snap general election. The Sunday papers are alive with stories that Theresa May is weighing up the possibility of seeking public support for her Brexit strategy. Voters could soon be trooping off to polling stations to elect a government for the third time in little more than three years.

Given the disastrous result the last time the prime minister went down this route, it seems likely that May would only call a general election as a last resort. That said, the events of the past week mean that anything could happen.

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09/23/2018 04:35 PM
'I have it': 85-year-old runner sets new world records during 24-hour race – video

Geoff Oliver, 85, has broken the world record in his age group for the greatest distance covered over 24 hours. The veteran ultra-runner was able to walk more than 77 miles during the annual Tooting 24 race in south London

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09/18/2018 05:00 AM
Bill Gates: 'Trump is open-minded' – video

As the Gates Foundation launches its report on progress in the fight against poverty, the philanthropist talks to Polly Toynbee about the challenges ahead. Gates discusses the US president's approach to foreign aid, sharing his hopes for Trump ‘as a human being who cares about other human beings’

  • The Now generation is a series produced in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. You can read more about it here

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09/10/2018 01:14 PM
'Actors don't black up, so why do they still crip up?' – video

The actor Adam Pearson has a similar condition to Joseph Merrick, whose story was told in The Elephant Man. When the BBC was remaking the biopic, he did not even get an audition. This is why he calls cripping up the 2018 version of blacking up

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09/17/2018 09:07 AM
Brexit breakdown part 1: Why are the Tories winning Walsall?

With Brexit fast approaching, John Harris and John Domokos have spent four months sampling the mood of the country. In episode one of this new series, they spend time in the Midlands town of Walsall, where despite cuts and Tory chaos, Labour isn’t breaking through

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08/23/2018 09:35 AM
Spike Lee talks to Gary Younge about BlacKkKlansman​ and racism under Trump​ – video

Spike Lee’s latest film is about a black cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. Based on a true story, BlacKkKlansman draws clear parallels with racial tensions in modern America. With Donald Trump in the White House, the rise of white supremacy, and a spike in racist attacks, what does a film about a black man going undercover with white terrorists tell us about the state of contemporary America and beyond?

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09/19/2018 10:13 AM
Brexit breakdown part 2: 'We've lost control'

As their new series continues, John Harris and John Domokos meet Jeremy Corbyn's army of activists, teachers and parents at a Walsall school hit by funding cuts and protesters at a London march in support of a second Brexit referendum. They seem to live in different worlds but everyone has one thing in common: a sense that Britain has to change, before it's too late

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09/07/2018 11:00 AM
The disturbing truth about teaching in America – video

'I've had hungry students who couldn't concentrate; I've filed tax returns for kids' parents. You're the only adult they trust – the only adult that talks to them like they're a person': a perspective of life as a teacher in two different US states

Share your story: what's your experience of teaching in America?

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09/21/2018 01:05 PM
Brexit breakdown part 3: can we put Britain back together again?

In the third part of their summer-long quest to get to the heart of the UK's condition, John Harris and John Domokos head to Boston in Lincolnshire. They find Brexit voters who still think no one is listening to them and Polish people feeling ever more unwelcome. But in London, protesters against Donald Trump offer a ray of hope and the prospect of something that might finally heal the country's wounds

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09/23/2018 09:30 AM
Yayoi Kusama: the world's favourite artist?

After spending the past four decades in a psychiatric hospital, her name written out of art history, Yayoi Kusama became an art-world phenomenon in the age of the selfie

In the past five years, more than 5 million museum visitors have queued – and queued some more – for a brief glimpse of the work of Yayoi Kusama. The 89-year-old Japanese artist, who for the past 41 years has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric hospital, has had large-scale solo shows of her work in Mexico City, Rio, Seoul, Taiwan and Chile, as well as major touring exhibitions in the US and Europe. Last year, she opened her own five-storey gallery in Tokyo. The Broad museum in Los Angeles recently sold 90,000 $25 tickets in an afternoon to its Kusama exhibition, causing the LA Times to ask if the artist was now “Hotter than Hamilton?”

As the numbers have gone up, so the time that each visitor can spend in Kusama’s installations – her immersive “infinity mirror rooms” of coloured lights, and painted pumpkins and polka dots that reflect for ever – has gone down. In 2013 the David Zwirner gallery in New York was restricting time slots to 45 seconds for each viewer. Five years on, visitors to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, who queued for more than two hours, were down to a brisk half a minute.

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09/23/2018 04:00 PM
Katerina by James Frey – digested read

‘I am fabulously rich. I’m more than a writer, I’m a brand. I have an agent to keep Hollywood at bay. I am going to burn the world down’

Los Angeles 2017
It started with an anonymous message request on Facebook. Hi. Hi. Do you remember me? I don’t know.

Paris 1992
I’m here in France drinking fucking and writing with little punctuation because I have delusions I’m the new Henry Miller and that I am going to burn the world down. Leaving the US was hard and and and yet it wasn’t hard I had to leave, leave behind the girl who loved to fuck me on the car trunk. For the three months before I did nothing but sell coke until I had $20,000 and then I booked a flight and knew I wouldn’t come back until I had burned the world down did I mention that I want to burn the world down.

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09/23/2018 08:00 AM
Cat Power: 'I didn’t know I loved myself when I was younger'

Erratic stage shows, psychotic breakdowns, rehab… Cat Power’s chaotic life is in direct contrast to her soulful music. Now a new album and motherhood have given her a profound sense of calm

Cat Power, whose real name is Chan Marshall, meets me in the lobby of her London hotel, and things do not go as expected. First, she is warm and inviting, when her smoky, melancholy records had led me to expect someone much more remote. And second, she is immediately in full swing with her impersonation of my English accent. “Life in the old dog yet, eh!” she says, after we decide to go to her room to avoid the noise and the smoking rules. “Good old Blighty!” she adds, as we get into the lift. I didn’t see this coming – not from a woman who grew up in the Deep South of the US, where she learned to sing about drunks and devils and depravity while dodging them, and has been dodging them ever since. I didn’t know she’d be funny.

“Aaaaand relax,” the 46-year-old says, sitting down on the rooftop balcony of her hotel room, after opening a bottle of red wine from the minibar and lighting cigarettes for us that she keeps in a leather pouch she bought in Mexico. As we talk, she tops up my glass but not her own, “I can get you drunk, but not me,” she says, because she has to go on stage tonight. If you’re a fan of Cat Power’s music, you might be thinking: “Well, hang on a minute, she was drunk the last time I saw her live, in fact she turned her back on the audience, muttered something inaudible, stopped in the middle of three songs and then walked off.” Such erraticism is indeed something her live shows became known for; in her own life there were psychotic breakdowns, and she went to rehab for alcohol and prescription-drug addiction.

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09/23/2018 08:00 AM
Matangi/Maya/MIA review – her side now in a star-dominated music documentary

The maverick musician gets to tell her story, her way in Steve Loveridge’s film

There’s a kinship between director Steven Loveridge’s approach to his subject, the mercurial, confrontational British Tamil recording artist MIA, and her own magpie approach to music. Both cut and paste their sources and inspiration into a thrilling mash-up of noise and information. Loveridge has access to huge resources of self-filmed material, accounts of MIA’s quest for knowledge, about herself, her culture, her family. We see her travelling the world compiling the scrapbook of musical influences that makes her sound so vital. It is very much the MIA story told from the MIA viewpoint. Normally, this might be an issue, but, as the film points out, so many people have rushed to undermine and discredit her, it’s perhaps only fair that in this case she gets to tell her side, without spin or sly references to truffle fries.

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09/23/2018 10:00 AM
On my radar: Oona Chaplin’s cultural highlights

The actor on her early love of The Dark Crystal, the shifting styles of David Hockney, and a New York gathering of tribal elders

Granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, Oona Chaplin was born in 1986 in Madrid, Spain. She graduated from Rada in 2007 and, after making her TV debut in Spooks (2007), went on to star in Game of Thrones (2012-13), Black Mirror (2014) and Taboo (2017). She has also joined the cast of James Cameron’s forthcoming Avatar sequels. Her new film, Anchor and Hope, in which Chaplin and Natalia Tena star as a couple living on a houseboat in London, is in cinemas from Friday.

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09/23/2018 08:00 AM
The best magazine covers ever?

A new book celebrates the creative mavericks behind the glamour of postwar magazine covers and explores the magic of a dying culture

As a teenager in 1960s Belfast, I fell in love with magazines. They introduced me to a community beyond family and school. They were seductive and aspirational. I remember seeing Rolling Stone for the first time in a Belfast boutique in 1968 while wondering if I could afford a Ben Sherman shirt. It was a revelation, voicing a cultural shift that I only hazily understood but knew I wanted to be part of. I bought the magazine, not the shirt. Little did I know, its co-founder, Jann Wenner, would be my boss 24 years later.

Like any business, a magazine’s first job is to make money for the owner, and that has traditionally been done through advertising and copy sales. The newsstand cover is crucial in this and the industry has spent millions over the decades trying to find the magic cover formula. Some titles have come close, such as the US weekly People, whose covers have been calibrated with particular brilliance.

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09/23/2018 11:00 AM
Sharing a wardrobe with my daughter

Sharon Walker and her daughter Edie really are cut from the same cloth. They don’t just share a passion for fashion – they share the same clothes, too

At a recent dressy school event, Edie, my 18-year-old daughter, wore a two-piece floral suit I’d bought in the days before children, when I didn’t think twice about dropping a couple of weeks’ wages on a single outfit. She made the look her own: wearing it knotted at the waist to reveal a taut inch of midriff and pairing it with trainers. It added an extra 100W to my proud, megawatt beam as her friends complimented her outfit. “It’s one of Mum’s,” she said, without a flicker of embarrassment. And if I hadn’t told you otherwise, you would have thought we’d coordinated our outfits, as I wore a lilac floral dress with a purple wicker handbag.

If I hadn’t told you otherwise, you would have thought we’d coordinated our outfits

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09/23/2018 07:00 AM
Going for gold: 20 autumn getaways in the UK and Europe

Walking in the Highlands, cider making in Devon, wine tasting in Tuscany … autumn is the perfect time to escape

On the edge of the ancient Forest of Dean, Tudor Farmhouse makes for an atmospheric autumn bolthole, with 20 cosy, characterful bedrooms, open fires and a restaurant serving up food sourced from within a 20-mile radius. This autumn the hotel will be offering guests the chance to join its in-house forager searching for wild garlic, berries, mushrooms and herbs in the surrounding woodland. The hotel’s head chef will then cook up a gourmet lunch using the foraged ingredients.
Overnight packages from £300 per couple, including a foraging session, lunch and dinner (

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09/23/2018 05:59 AM
Festa sul Prato: ‘Utterly cheery and fun and good-hearted’ – restaurant review

Head into the depths of Deptford for this delightful park cafe, where everyone can join the party

Festa sul Prato, Folkestone Gardens, Deptford, London SE8 5JE (07814 829912). Breakfast dishes £1.50-£8.50, starters £3-£8, mains £10-£14, all wine £20

I travel this country so much, some of my friends call me the train whisperer. They claim I have electrified rails for bones. I know the differences between the unreserved carriages on the East Coast and West Coast lines. I know where best to stand on random station platforms – York, Cardiff – to have the best chance of getting a table seat, and what time past the hour the trains depart from Manchester for London. When my work on The One Show took me to Wales regularly, the guards at Paddington would allow me through the gates early because we were on first-name terms. I’m a trainspotter with benefits, the benefits being that I actually get on the trains.

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09/23/2018 02:00 PM
Compote, dressing or gin: what can you do with a glut of blackberries?

The summer heatwave may be a distant dream, but it has left its mark on our hedgerows, where brambles are still going strong. Here are the best ways to use the fruit up

This year will be remembered for many important news events – the snow, Gareth Southgate’s waistcoat, that massive puddle outside Hammersmith tube station – but for me, it will always be the year of the fruit.

The heatwave may feel like a freakish dream, but its legacy lingers on in the bumper harvest of free food in our hedgerows and urban scrublands: damsons, sloes and, above all, blackberries, still going strong in London after six solid weeks of picking. (The same heatwave ripened the commercial crop a month early, which is why they have now been replaced by fruit from central America in many supermarkets, even as the edges of their carparks burst with wild berries.)

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