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Updated 2017-07-28 06:30
Man sets himself on fire near Sydney's Central station
The man is being treated for superficial burns after setting himself alight in front of policeA man has set himself on fire near Sydney Central station in Sydney.The man, aged around 30, doused himself in petrol and set himself alight on Lee Street at 1.30pm on Friday. Police said the incident is not terror related. Continue reading...
Is the world really better than ever?
The headlines have never been worse. But an increasingly influential group of thinkers insists that humankind has never had it so good – and only our pessimism is holding us back. By Oliver BurkemanBy the end of last year, anyone who had been paying even passing attention to the news headlines was highly likely to conclude that everything was terrible, and that the only attitude that made sense was one of profound pessimism – tempered, perhaps, by cynical humour, on the principle that if the world is going to hell in a handbasket, one may as well try to enjoy the ride. Naturally, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump loomed largest for many. But you didn’t need to be a remainer or a critic of Trump’s to feel depressed by the carnage in Syria; by the deaths of thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean; by North Korean missile tests, the spread of the zika virus, or terror attacks in Nice, Belgium, Florida, Pakistan and elsewhere – nor by the spectre of catastrophic climate change, lurking behind everything else. (And all that’s before even considering the string of deaths of beloved celebrities that seemed like a calculated attempt, on 2016’s part, to rub salt in the wound: in the space of a few months, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher and George Michael, to name only a handful, were all gone.) And few of the headlines so far in 2017 – Grenfell tower, the Manchester and London attacks, Brexit chaos, and 24/7 Trump – provide any reason to take a sunnier view.Yet one group of increasingly prominent commentators has seemed uniquely immune to the gloom. In December, in an article headlined “Never forget that we live in the best of times”, the Times columnist Philip Collins provided an end-of-year summary of reasons to be cheerful: during 2016, he noted, the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty had fallen below 10% for the first time; global carbon emissions from fossil fuels had failed to rise for the third year running; the death penalty had been ruled illegal in more than half of all countries – and giant pandas had been removed from the endangered species list. Continue reading...
Der Spiegel removes 'antisemitic' book from bestseller list
Finis Germania by Rolf Peter Sieferle has been withdrawn from influential list over ‘right-wing extremist’ contentThe influential German news magazine Der Spiegel has deleted from its bestseller list a controversial book that one of its own editors had pushed up the rankings, after it was found to be “antisemitic and historically revisionist”.Finis Germania, or The End of Germany, collects the thoughts of the late historian Rolf Peter Sieferle on the position of Germany, including how it deals with the Holocaust. The book is currently at the top of Amazon.de’s bestseller chart and earlier this month it entered Der Spiegel’s bestseller list, which many bookshops use as a basis for promotional displays, in sixth place. Continue reading...
Commonwealth Bank's new Eftpos system makes blind people reveal pin
Disability advocates say the touchscreen terminal is difficult to be accessed by the blind or visually-impairedDisability advocates have criticised Commonwealth Bank for deploying an Eftpos machine that cannot be used by the blind or visually-impaired.The advocacy group Blind Citizens Australia and the former disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes said the touchscreen-only terminal was preventing blind users using the machine, or forcing them to divulge their pin to retail staff. Continue reading...
New Zealand orchestra uses quiet and peaceful funeral home to practise
Marlborough Civic Orchestra in South Island begins practising in chapel of Cloudy Bay Funeral Services, BlenheimA New Zealand orchestra has taken the unusual step of holding practice sessions in a funeral home after struggling to find somewhere quiet to play.The Marlborough Civic Orchestra in the South Island began practising in the chapel of Cloudy Bay Funeral Services in Blenheim this month. Continue reading...
One Nation's Malcolm Roberts 'choosing to believe he was never British'
Spokesman says there is no incongruity with senator’s claims to have never held British citizenship and to have renounced it on 6 June 2016One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has attempted to clarify his citizenship status after a spokesman reportedly said he was “choosing to believe he was never British” .Since Roberts’ election in July 2016, questions over his potential dual citizenship have been raised given its potential to render him ineligible to sit as a senator under section 44 of the constitution. Continue reading...
Family of Swede who vanished after saving Jews sue Russian state
Raoul Wallenberg saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the 1940s but disappeared after Soviets took BudapestThe family of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the second world war before disappearing when Hungary came under under Soviet rule, are suing Russia’s security service for access to its files, their lawyer said Thursday.Related: War hero Wallenberg was executed in Soviet gulag Continue reading...
Steve Bell on where the UK stands with Brexit – cartoon
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Met says Grenfell Tower council 'may have committed corporate manslaughter'
Met police says there are reasonable grounds to suspect council and tenant management organisation may have committed offenceThe Scotland Yard investigation into the Grenfell fire disaster has said there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect the council and the organisation that managed the tower block of corporate manslaughter.The two organisations under suspicion are Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. Continue reading...
'Privileged' Justin Trudeau accused of colonialist attitude over boxing match
Account of how 2012 match against fellow politician Patrick Brazeau came about doesn’t square with vows to repair Canada’s relationship with indigenous peopleIn one corner stood Canada’s youngest senator, heavily tattooed and armed with a black belt in karate. In the other stood a lanky Justin Trudeau, the underdog whom bookies were giving 3-1 odds against.
Israeli security forces and Palestinian worshippers clash outside al-Aqsa mosque
Scenes follow jubilation over Israel’s decision to remove controversial security devices installed at one of Jerusalem’s most-revered sitesPalestinians and Israeli security forces clashed inside the Jerusalem compound that houses the al-Aqsa mosque on Thursday night, as thousands of Muslims rushed to pray at the site for the first time in nearly two weeks following Israel’s removal of controversial security devices.Scenes of jubilation inside one of the city’s most revered siteshad greeted the early morning removal of all additional security measures imposed on the site by Israeli security forces, following days of Palestinian street protests over the devices. Continue reading...
Songs in the shadow of Adani: hard-up towns rally for a mining musical
While northern Queensland waits to see if the Carmichael mine will go ahead, communities who depend on the industry unite for a musical extravaganzaIn a school in northern Queensland stands a man in a yellow shirt, one paint-splattered leg pressed against the wall, his long hair tied back messily under a cap. Clermont construction worker Fred Bartusch is not here for a job. He is here to sing.I spend all my days
Africa’s tragedies are not a result of British colonialism | Letters from Sam Akaki of African Solutions to African Migration and Mike Noyes of ActionAid UK
Sam Akaki says appalling increases in famine and deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean demonstrate the failure of self-governance in Africa; Mike Noyes says the lack of awareness of the current famine in east Africa is widespreadIt does not matter to a starving African child, or an expectant mother likely to die at childbirth, whether their only relief is coming dressed as British aid or colonialism (Zoe Williams, Opinion, 24 July).Criticisms should be directed at African leaders who have proved unable to maintain peace and stability, and to provide their people with basic services, thus necessitating continued British aid almost 60 years since the end of colonial rule. Continue reading...
Thanks to William Fotheringham for his 26 Tours of duty in France | Brief letters
Prosecutions of gay men and lesbians in the 1990s | The Archers and BBC pay | William Fotheringham and the Tour de France | Gender reassignment plea in Northanger Abbey | Cornwall’s east coastEdward Lord states that I was wrong to say that gay men and lesbians could be arrested for kissing in public in 1990 (Letters, 27 July). It is sad to see somebody connected with Pride attempting to diminish the very real persecution that my community faced. In fact, as Peter Tatchell has written, gay men and lesbians “continued to be prosecuted, right up until the early 1990s, under public order and breach of the peace laws, for public displays of affection, such as kissing and cuddling. Such prosecutions ended only when the LGBT direct action group, OutRage!, highlighted and protested against them.”
Home Office breached woman's human rights in Yarl's Wood 'punishment room'
Kenyan asylum seeker wins high court case after being placed in segregation for 28 hours in immigration removal centreA Kenyan asylum seeker has won a landmark court victory after the Home Office was found to have acted unlawfully and in breach of her human rights by locking her up in segregation in a so-called “punishment room” for too long while she was in detention.
Pakistan police arrest 26 for allegedly ordering rape of girl
Village council members arrested for allegedly ordering rape of teenager as punishment for sexual assault committed by her brotherPolice in Pakistan have arrested 26 members of a village council for allegedly ordering the rape of a teenager as punishment for a sexual assault committed by her brother.The girl, 17, was raped last week at the direction of the council as revenge for a sexual assault allegedly committed two days earlier against a child in the same village by the teenage girl’s brother. Continue reading...
'Opportunities missed' to stop radicalisation of Brighton brothers
News that Abdullah Deghayes, 18, and brother Jaffar, 17, had travelled to Syria came as shock to professionals, report findsPolice and social workers dealing with the family of two British Muslim teenagers who died fighting in Syria failed to realise the children were being radicalised, a serious case review has concluded.There was little “recognition” that Abdullah Deghayes, 18, and his younger brother Jaffar, 17, or their three brothers were at risk of radicalisation in Brighton, the report said. Continue reading...
Japanese defence minister to resign over South Sudan cover-up claims
Tomomi Inada’s resignation will coincide with report on how peacekeeping mission details were concealed from publicJapan’s defence minister, Tomomi Inada, is to resign over claims she helped cover up internal records that exposed the danger Japanese peacekeepers faced in South Sudan.
EU criticised for leaving out ethnic minorities in 'diversity' drive
European commission sets out goal to improve workplace for women and LGBT, disabled and older – but not BME – peopleThe EU’s executive has been accused of being blind to black and minority ethnic communities after they failed to feature in a new “diversity” initiative to make the European commission’s senior posts more representative.
Zimbabwe's first lady urges Robert Mugabe to name his successor
Grace Mugabe appears to contradict 93-year-old husband for first time in sign that battle to be country’s next president has intensifiedZimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, has challenged her 93-year-old husband Robert to name his preferred successor as president to end deepening divisions over the future leadership of the ruling Zanu-PF party, according to state television.Robert Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980 but has insisted that Zanu-PF, and not him, should choose his successor. Continue reading...
Charlie Gard will move to hospice where life support will be withdrawn
Judge approves plan under which critically ill 11-month-old boy will ‘inevitably’ die shortly after moveA high court judge has made public a plan which will see Charlie Gard “inevitably” die shortly after being moved to a hospice and having life-support treatment withdrawn.Mr Justice Francis has set a timetable to govern the final period of the boy’s life. Doctors at Great Ormond Street hospital and Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, disagreed over how long he should receive life-support treatment. Continue reading...
Daughters of Destiny review – a documentary full of hope and adorable children
Girls from India’s untouchable caste are usually denied education. This epic series, shot over seven years, follows pupils at a school that aims to break the cycle of povertyWhat is it? A deliciously shot documentary series about an Indian school trying to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time.Why you’ll love it: Any story involving hope for a brighter tomorrow is welcome at the moment, but Vanessa Roth’s seven-year project to follow pupils from the Shanti Bhavan school in Tamil Nadu is particularly involving, thanks to its articulate participants. Continue reading...
Turkey is popular again with British tourists, says Thomas Cook
Numbers of visitors are up after drop last year following failed military coupTurkey is back on the tourist map for UK visitors despite growing tensions between its government and Germany.The tour operator Thomas Cook said it was seeing a pick-up in demand for Turkish holidays because they were good value for money. The chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said Turkey was proving attractive at the moment, even though Berlin has warned its citizens to be careful when travelling there. Continue reading...
Aberdeen to be worst hit by Brexit but all British cities will suffer – report
Analysis from the Centre for Cities thinktank finds urban areas are likely be hit hardest by the increased trade barriers under both hard and soft BrexitsNew research examining for the first time the potential impact of Brexit on cities and towns has found Aberdeen could be the hardest hit by higher trade costs with the European Union, though no British city will escape its effects.The analysis by the Centre for Cities thinktank predicted that in the decade following the implementation of new trade agreements with the EU, every local authority area would be negatively affected. Continue reading...
Should all police officers be armed? Share your experiences
We want to hear what you think about the National Police Chiefs’ Council paper considering the possibility of all frontline officers being given gunsIn the wake of recent terror attacks in the UK, the Police Federation will ask officers whether they want to routinely carry a gun in the first national survey of its kind in more than ten years.
Boris Johnson thanks Julie Bishop for compression tights gift –video
UK foreign secretary thanks the Australian foreign minister for giving him some compression tights for his running. Bishop is a keen runner and Johnson points out that the tights are Hugh Jackman’s preferred brand
Youth charity founder in hospital after being shot by police in Birmingham
Sharif Cousins, a former gang member, understood to be in induced coma and police watchdog is investigating incidentA man who was hospitalised after being shot by police in Birmingham has been named locally as Sharif Cousins, a former gang member who set up a youth charity.West Midlands police said a firearm was discharged by an officer at about 9pm on Wednesday, resulting in one man being taken to hospital. Another man was arrested for suspected firearm offences. Continue reading...
¡Madre mía! Spanish ambassador cooks 'British' tortilla on TV
Simon Manley commits ‘atrocity’ of adding chorizo to Spain’s national dish, to chagrin of El Comidista host, Mikel IturriagaWith Boris Johnson busy comparing traditional Māori greetings to Glaswegian pub fights and Liam Fox venturing into the chlorinated henhouse, the task of restoring the reputation of Britain’s diplomacy and cuisine fell to the UK’s ambassador to Madrid.
Boris Johnson: Trump is harder on Russia than Obama
At event in Sydney, UK foreign secretary backs US president’s handling of ‘Russia problem’ and seeks to allay Brexit fearsBoris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, has defended Donald Trump’s handling of relations with Russia, saying the US president has taken a more uncompromising approach towards the Kremlin than Barack Obama.Johnson, speaking in Australia on Thursday, voiced strong support for the way Trump had handled what he termed “the Russia problem”. He rejected allegations that Trump was too close with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and said the US had been resolute in maintaining sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Continue reading...
Britain's new aircraft carriers to test Beijing in South China Sea
UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson commits ‘colossal’ carriers to embarking on freedom of navigation exercises in pointed remarksBoris Johnson has committed the UK’s two brand new aircraft carriers to freedom of navigation exercises in the fiercely contested waters of the South China Sea.In a pointed declaration aimed squarely at China, whose island-building and militarisation in the sea has unnerved western powers, the British foreign secretary said that when the ships came into service they would be sent to the Asia-Pacific region as one of their first assignments. Continue reading...
Ukip leadership hopeful gets help with campaign from ex-BNP member
Jack Buckby is barred from joining Ukip but has been assisting anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie WatersOne of the frontrunners for the Ukip leadership is being assisted in her campaign by a far-right former BNP member.Jack Buckby previously stood for parliament for another extremist group that campaigns openly against Islam. As a former BNP member, he is barred from joining Ukip, but has been helping the campaign of Anne Marie Waters, who is standing for the latter’s leadership on a predominantly anti-Islam platform. Continue reading...
George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence and Matt Damon jostle for Oscar advantage in Venice line-up
Damon stars in two of the Lido’s big films, Downsizing and Suburbicon, while Lawrence steps into horror movie territory with Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!Renowned in recent years as a key launchpad for heavyweight Oscar contenders, the 74th Venice film festival has unveiled a lineup heavy on potential award-season frontrunners, as films start to jockey for position in earnest.Alexander Payne, Darren Aronofsky and George Clooney are some of the big-name directors whose films will receive world premieres in competition at the festival, along with indie favourites such as Andrew Haigh, Abdellatif Kechiche and Hirokazu Koreeda, and even Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Continue reading...
France nationalises strategic shipyard to thwart Italian ownership
President Emmanuel Macron orders ‘temporary’ state control of SFX France to save jobs and preserve only shipyard capable of building aircraft carriersFrance is set to nationalise its biggest shipyard at St-Nazaire rather than allow it to pass into Italian ownership.
Ángel María Villar resigns from Uefa and Fifa positions after arrest in Spain
• Suspended Spanish FA president quits as vice-president of both bodies
Madonna and twin girls accept damages over Mail Online article
Website revealed names, ages and other information about girls before star adopted them, causing ‘considerable distress’Madonna and her twin daughters, Stella and Estere, have accepted undisclosed damages from Associated Newspapers over a “serious invasion of privacy”.Madonna, who adopted the four-year-olds in February, brought the case at London’s high court over a January 2017 article which caused her “considerable personal distress and anxiety”, her solicitor Jenny Afia told Mrs Justice Davies on Thursday. Continue reading...
Scotland's police chief investigated for alleged gross misconduct
Complaint made by colleague against Phil Gormley is thought to relate to his interactions with a junior officerScotland’s chief police constable is being investigated for alleged gross misconduct after a complaint by another officer.Phil Gormley, the former deputy director general of the National Crime Agency, announced on Wednesday evening that he was under investigation in a statement issued by Scottish police investigations and review commissioner. Continue reading...
Fires in southern France under control, say emergency workers
‘We are winning the fight,’ says emergency chief, but firefighters say that new fires could start in hot, windy conditionsHuge fires that forced mass evacuations of residents and holidaymakers in southern France have been brought largely under control, firefighters have said, although they warned new blazes were still starting.
Study finds 'systemic' abuse in New Zealand care homes
Children with learning difficulties were subjected to beatings, sexual assaults and periods of isolation, report statesAn investigation has detailed “horrific and systemic” historical abuse of people with learning disabilities in state care facilities in New Zealand.Between 1950 and the 1980s, 100,000 New Zealand children and vulnerable adults were taken into state care, and earlier reports have revealed the abuse of more than 1,000 children in state care homes, and of mental health patients in psychiatric facilities. Continue reading...
'Disgusting and astonishing': how do the UK's top 1% view tax avoidance?
As a new study names the UK as one of the main conduits for corporate tax avoidance, we ask members of Britain’s highest pay bracket for their insightsCorporate lawyer, earns more than £300,000 annually:The position of the UK as a major player in the global financial secrecy world, presumably through crown dependencies such as the British Virgin Islands and the Caymans, is disgusting. I have no problem with low-tax countries so long as they are transparent, and people who are using them can be taxed in their own countries. But the fact the UK allows its territories to openly flout international tax transparency principles is astonishing.The industry I work in, private equity, is built around the use of legal tax planning to avoid the payment of taxes, and around the classification of executives’ performance-related compensation as capital gains [profit from an asset] rather than income. These things do not even amount to tax avoidance; they are simply the way the tax system works for private equity investment. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s the way UK tax law works and has been accepted for decades. Continue reading...
NSW council amalgamations: plan to merge 14 Sydney councils abandoned
Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the state government will not proceed with the amalgamations of councils currently fighting the move in courtThe New South Wales government is abandoning its controversial council merger plan for more than a dozen Sydney councils.The premier, Gladys Berejiklian, on Thursday announced the government will not proceed with the amalgamations of 14 councils currently fighting the forced mergers in court. Continue reading...
'Back home we can’t kiss': the gay badminton star forced to flee Uganda
Megan Nankabirwa and her partner, Lydia Nabukenya, had to leave their country for the UK after being chased by an angry mobA few days after Megan Nankabirwa returned from competing in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, she was dining with the president of Uganda. A week later, she was being chased by a mob through the streets, fleeing for her life.The 30-year-old badminton champion was a star in her own country. Then, when they found out she was gay, she became persona non grata. Her visa for the UK was still valid, so she boarded a flight to Heathrow. Continue reading...
Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi's Senate bid sets up potential challenge to Lee Rhiannon
Rhiannon is yet to announce whether she will recontest preselection following her temporary suspension from party roomAustralia’s first female Muslim MP, Mehreen Faruqi, will run for Greens preselection for the Senate in 2019 – setting up a potential challenge to the controversial sitting senator Lee Rhiannon.Rhiannon is yet to announce whether she will recontest preselection but the move will place extra pressure on her to announce her intentions. Continue reading...
Central station shooting: florist says police 'had no choice' to open fire on attacker
Florist Emmanuel Theoharas says Danukul Mokmool held a broken bottle to his neck and was repeatedly warned by police to put down his weaponsThe florist who saw a man shot dead by police at Sydney’s Central station has said police “had no choice” but to shoot his attacker.Emmanuel Theoharas said the man, later identified as 30-year-old Danukul Mokmool, held a broken bottle to his neck and was warned by police to put down his weapons before shots were fired at 6.45pm on Wednesday. Continue reading...
Gillian Triggs 'misguided' on Australia's human rights record, Julie Bishop says
Minister fires back after outgoing Human Rights Commission president says Coalition ‘ideologically opposed to human rights’The foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, has criticised the outgoing Human Rights Commission president’s attack on the government’s human rights record as “misguided”.On her last day in the role on Wednesday, Gillian Triggs accused the Coalition of being “ideologically opposed to human rights”, arguing they have regressed under her five-year term. Continue reading...
Gas to be replaced as South Australia's main electricity source within decade, analysts say
Assuming renewables projects proceed, 67% of state’s capacity will be provided by renewable generation by 2025Renewables and battery storage will replace gas as South Australia’s main source of electricity within eight years, according to industry analysts.The state’s energy transition could be a “leading case study on managing a power system in transition for other mature markets to follow”, says a report by Wood Mackenzie.
Amber Rudd asks for analysis of EU migration – a year after referendum
Report for home secretary due just months before Brexit; policy driven by anecdote rather than evidence, says Labour MPThe government is to launch its first major investigation into migration from the EU in order to lay the foundations for a new immigration system, though critics have questioned why the work has begun more than a year after the EU referendum.The home secretary, Amber Rudd, is set to commission the independent Migration Advisory Committee to carry out a detailed analysis of the economic and social contributions and costs of EU citizens in Britain. Continue reading...
Canada tweets support for transgender troops after Trump announcement
Military Twitter account features band members with rainbow flags above message: ‘We welcome Canadians of all gender identities’Canada’s military has welcomed recruits of all gender identities, hours after Donald Trump said he would ban transgender people from the US military.A tweet from the Canadian armed forces’ official Twitter account included a photo of military band members marching in a parade with rainbow flags fluttering from their instruments. Continue reading...
Morning mail: Trump's ban on transgender troops
Thursday: US president faces backlash after reversing Barack Obama’s policy. Plus Australia targets red imported fire antsGood morning, this is Eleanor Ainge Roy bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Thursday 27 July. Continue reading...
Arin Lyth inquest: bullied boy's family vow to fight for justice
Arin, 13, was third pupil from Northfield school in Stockton-on-Tees to kill themselves in the space of 12 monthsThe family of a 13-year-old who became the third pupil from one school to kill themselves in the space of 12 months have vowed to “fight to pursue justice” for the boy.In a statement released after the conclusion of an inquest into Arin Lyth’s death, his family said the teenager had been subjected to “prolonged bullying” during his time at Northfield school in Stockton-on-Tees. They said complaints to the school had been met with a “dismissive and arrogant” response. Continue reading...
Face veils and respect for British culture | Letters
We all need to respect the culture in which we live, says Fatima Mirza, while Jenny Bushell argues that the face veil is a 12th-century custom that discriminates against womenAs a Muslim woman, the case of Rachida Serroukh (Mother sues daughter’s school over face veil ban, 21 July) fills me with dismay. It has been widely documented that there is no religious obligation, in the Qur’an, for a woman to wear a face veil, burqa or niqab, but simply to dress modestly.I wonder if she thought the staff at the school (or the children) would look at her suggestively. I very much doubt they would. The face veil can be intimidating and frightening for children. Ironically, the countries that encourage women to wear a burqa or niqab are those where women’s education is thought to be unnecessary and dangerous. Continue reading...
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