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Updated 2017-12-16 18:05
Apotex pharmaceuticals billionaire and wife found dead in 'suspicious' case
Bodies of Barry Sherman, the founder of Canadian firm, and his wife Honey were found in their Toronto mansionCanadian police are investigating the mysterious deaths of the billionaire founder of Canadian pharmaceutical firm Apotex, Barry Sherman, and his wife, Honey, who were found dead in their Toronto mansion on Friday.
CDC banned words include 'diversity', 'transgender' and 'fetus' – report
‘Evidence-based’ and ‘vulnerable’ also among words federal health watchdog told not to use by Trump administration, according to the Washington PostThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been told that words and phrases including “fetus”, “diversity”, “transgender” and “science-based” have been deemed inappropriate for use in budget reports.Related: Bernie Sanders: Trump tax cuts a barely disguised reward for billionaire donors Continue reading...
Brexit: Tory hardliner accuses chancellor of trying to appease EU
David Jones berates Philip Hammond for saying that single market and customs union rules will still apply during transition
California Thomas wildfire still threatens thousands of homes
Charlotte Wood: 'The speed of the avalanche feels too dangerous'– video
Guardian Australia’s features editor Lucy Clark sits down with Charlotte Wood to discuss the author’s essay on feminism, childhood and the possibility of becoming an “angry old woman” Continue reading...
David Cameron to lead £750m UK-China investment initiative
Former prime minister will take charge of £750m fund to improve transport links between China and its trading partnersDavid Cameron has taken a job leading a billion-dollar investment initiative agreed between the UK and China.
Austrian president approves far-right Freedom party joining coalition government
Leader Heinz-Christian Strache is made vice-chancellor and party will control foreign, interior and defence ministriesAustria has become the only western European state with a far-right presence in government after its president approved a controversial coalition deal.Alexander Van der Bellen rubber-stamped the alliance between the conservative People’s party and the far-right Freedom party on Saturday. Continue reading...
From Calais to London and Paris: UK writers give new life to refugees’ theatre
The venue that entertained the razed camp’s migrants will reopen in France – as its playwright founders find acclaim at the Young VicWhen the tent in Calais that housed the Good Chance Theatre came down in the spring of last year, as the refugee camp known as “the Jungle” was cleared, the two 25-year-old British playwrights who set it up pledged that the story would not finish there. “We know it is not the end,” Joe Murphy told the Observer last year.This weekend, sure enough, a new future is dawning. Not only has The Jungle, the challenging play that Murphy wrote with Joe Robertson just opened in London to admiring reviews, but “the Joes” have also revealed that their pop-up refugee theatre – visited by leading British actors such as Jude Law, Toby Jones and Benedict Cumberbatch – is to rise again next month, this time in Paris. Continue reading...
Make 'feminism' the word of the year until women feel safe
As the outing of abusive men continues and the world sees the power of women behind this cultural moment, we have to continue the hard workThis week a man attempted a terrorist attack in New York’s Port Authority subway station, but his bomb detonated early and the attacker was the only one seriously injured. Despite what Twitter would have you believe, New York – as it does – went on very much the same. People groused about subway delays and went on with their day. It was just one of many days that made me proud to be a native New Yorker. We could all take a lesson from that sort of resilience and attitude, to be honest: we won’t let terrible people make us feel terrible. We will live our lives, and refuse to be terrorized.On a happier note, though the outing of abusive men continues, the world is starting to recognize the power of women behind this incredible cultural moment: Merriam-Webster named “feminism” the word of 2017. Now we just have to continue to make it the movement of the year (and next year, and the next) until women can start to feel safe in their own country. Continue reading...
Funeral of Palestinian amputee killed by Israeli fire takes place in Gaza
Wheelchair user Abu Thuraya was shot dead by troops during protests against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capitalThe funeral has taken place of a Palestinian wheelchair user who was shot dead on Friday during a demonstration in the Gaza Strip against Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.The death of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, 29, came as Trump administration officialsagain pre-empted negotiations over the disputed city’s final status in comments about the Western Wall. Continue reading...
Malcolm Turnbull savours Bennelong moment, but there's little room for hubris | Katharine Murphy
Both parties took some comfort from the byelection, but neither has any cause for triumphalism unless they can reconnect with voters in the new yearThe Liberals had been reasonably confident they would hold Bennelong despite the bruising on-ground onslaught over the past month or so, but the relief from the prime minister on Saturday night was palpable.
Kristina Keneally jubilant in defeat as Bennelong voters please both sides
Labor lost, but you would never have guessed it from the body language. And at the Liberal party, Malcolm Turnbull was giddy with reliefIt was possibly the happiest concession speech ever delivered.As Kristina Keneally stood triumphantly hands aloft with opposition leader Bill Shorten in a sea of red T-shirt-wearing volunteers at the Ryde Club, there was a sense of jubilation and a tantalising hint that Keneally was auditioning for something greater. Continue reading...
Pharma billionaire's death being treated as suspicious, Canadian police say - video
The pharmaceuticals billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey, were found dead in their Toronto mansion on Friday, and police say they are treating the deaths as suspicious. Sherman founded Apotex in 1974. He stepped down as chief executive in 2012 but remained as executive chairman. Forbes estimates his net worth at $3.2bn. Continue reading...
Java earthquake kills at least three people and damages buildings
Magnitude-6.5 quake on Indonesian island activates tsunami early warnings, prompting thousands to evacuate coastal areasA powerful earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Java has killed at least three people and caused damage to hundreds of buildings.People ran into the street in panic in many areas and Indonesian television showed heavy traffic on roads as people fled coastal areas. There were also reports that buildings had collapsed in the city of Tasikmalaya in West Java. Continue reading...
Kristina Keneally concedes Bennelong byelection to John Alexander – as it happened
The Liberal candidate holds his seat after a short but brutal campaign
Peter Jackson: I blacklisted Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd under pressure from Weinstein
The best books on Syria: start your reading here
A literary tour of Syria illuminates the dark side of religion and politics that lurks behind the current crisis, as well as the fearlessness of ordinary people Continue reading...
'I felt elated that I'd done something': first-time activists on a year of protest
From the Women’s March to Brexit, in 2017 many people took to the streets for the first time. Four new protesters reveal their reasonsThere is a saying known as the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Its origins are hazy, and not rooted in ancient Chinese wisdom, but it gets repeated in times of turbulence. Robert Kennedy famously used it in a speech to students in Cape Town in 1966, when he called on them to find “common qualities of conscience and indignation” to “wipe away the unnecessary sufferings of our fellow human beings at home and around the world”.And here we are again, in interesting times, rediscovering our consciences and indignation. From the sea of pussyhats that descended on Whitehall for the Women’s March in January to the public figures felled by #metoo, this has been a year of protest. Grassroots movements took on the establishment in a surprise general election, driving an even more surprising result. Across the country, more and more of us decided that this was the year we would take a stand. Continue reading...
What Trump did this week: Twitter feuds – naturally – and a shock loss for Roy Moore
The week began with the president accusing CNN of ‘fake news’, and moved through a tweetstorm with Kirsten Gillibrand and a damaging defeat in Alabama
UK weather: frosty start to weekend expected
Met Office warns of potential for icy conditions on Saturday morning after freezing overnight temperatures, becoming milder in lead-up to ChristmasBritain has awoken to another frosty morning after temperatures plunged as low as -6C overnight.Shoppers eager to avoid a last-minute rush next weekend are being warned to watch out for icy pavements, with a weather warning in place for much of Scotland and across the east and west of the UK until 11am. Continue reading...
Ovid's exile to the remotest margins of the Roman empire revoked
Rome city council overturns banishment of ‘one of the greatest poets’ more than 2,000 years after Augustus forced him to leaveMore than 2,000 years after Augustus banished him to deepest Romania, the poet Ovid has been rehabilitated.Rome city council on Thursday unanimously approved a motion tabled by the populist M5S party to “repair the serious wrong” suffered by Ovid, thought of as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature along with Virgil and Horace. Continue reading...
Vatican says royal commission findings deserve to 'be studied seriously’
Holy see says it will support Australian church as it listens to and accompanies victims and survivors ‘in an effort to bring about healing and justice’The Vatican and Australia’s Catholic leaders say they will seriously consider the royal commission’s call for sweeping reforms, although archbishops refuse to break the seal of confession to reveal child abuse.It will be up to the Pope and his advisers to consider many of the inquiry’s far-reaching recommendations, including changes to canon law and voluntary celibacy for its priests. Continue reading...
Calls for regulation of universities partnering with military-linked foreign companies
Concerns raised about $20m partnership between University of Technology and Chinese state-owned company that develops bombsAustralian academics have called for tougher rules around university partnerships with foreign corporations and researchers, including a potential list of banned entities with strong military links.Brendan Thomas-Noone and Danielle Cave, researchers at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University respectively, raised concerns in July about a $20m partnership between the University of Technology and the China Electronics Group Corporation (CETC) – a huge state-owned company that combines commercial activity with military development of bombs, guided missiles, satellites and communications jamming. Continue reading...
Keneally has uphill battle to win against Alexander in Bennelong
Voters are determining the fate of Turnbull government as well as their local representative in a traditionally Liberal seatKristina Keneally will be fighting an uphill battle to win Saturday’s Bennelong byelection for Labor, facing a Liberal margin of 9.7%. Polls suggest the Liberal party’s John Alexander is the favourite, but the seat is very much still in play.Bennelong has historically favoured the Liberals. Labor famously won the seat from John Howard in 2007, but it has otherwise elected Liberals at every election since its creation in 1949. Continue reading...
Austria shifts to the right as new coalition deal is struck
Agreement between conservative and nationalist parties makes Sebastian Kurz, 31, Europe’s youngest leaderAustrian conservative party leader Sebastian Kurz reached a coalition deal with the anti-immigration Freedom party (FPO) on Friday, paving the way for Austria to become the only western European country with a far-right party in government.The agreement, two months after a parliamentary election dominated by Europe’s migration crisis, ends more than a decade in opposition for the FPO, which last entered government in 2000 with the People’s party (OVP) that Kurz now leads. Continue reading...
Mother 'poisoned son to avoid trip to Syria with jihadi husband'
Woman, 27, jailed for four years and six months for administering anti-psychotic drug and unknown noxious substanceA mother repeatedly gave her son anti-psychotic drugs and poison in a desperate attempt to avoid being forced to travel to Syria by her jihadi husband, a court has heard.The 27-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deliberately gave the medication to the boy to make him unwell over a period of six weeks between August and October 2015. Continue reading...
London Overground goes 24-hour, joining night tube
Passengers will be able to travel between Dalston in east and New Cross Gate in the south through night at weekendsPassengers in east London will from now on be able to travel on the “night overground”. The 24-hour services will operate on Friday and Saturday nights on the London Overground.The service currently ends at around 12.30am from Monday to Saturday. Trains will run approximately every 15 minutes between Dalston Junction, east London, and New Cross Gate, south-east London, throughout the night. Continue reading...
Theresa May to back Brexit compromise to quell rebellion over date
To avoid second Commons defeat, PM will throw weight behind amendment giving MPs power to amend deadline if EU27 agreeTheresa May is ready to throw her weight behind a Brexit compromise from Conservative MPs in order to quell a growing rebellion over the government’s attempt to enshrine the date of Britain’s EU departure in EU law.The prime minister will support an amendment that leaves the Brexit deadline in place but gives MPs the power to push it back if the EU27 agree, in order to avoid a second humiliating Commons defeat. Continue reading...
Deadly earthquake strikes Indonesian island of Java
Reports of casualties and collapsed buildings after quake hits Jakarta and other cities on country’s most populous islandA strong earthquake has struck the Indonesian capital and other cities on the country’s most populous island, Java, killing an unknown number of people.
EU to force firms to reveal true owners in wake of Panama Papers
Anti-corruption campaigners welcome move but criticise failure to include trusts in corporate ownership requirementsCompanies across the EU will be forced to disclose their true owners under new legislation prompted by the release of the Panama Papers.Anti-corruption campaigners applauded the agreement as a major step in the fight against tax evasion and money laundering, but expressed disappointment that trusts will mostly escape scrutiny. Continue reading...
What evil plots is the snow hatching? | Brief letters
Special light in St Ives | Antoinette Sandbach | Fidei defensor | Weather | Roger PlentyThe special light in St Ives is not a media illusion (Letters, 15 December). The town is situated on a promontory with wide beaches on three sides. They are made of quartz-based sand, which reflects light particularly brilliantly, and which is found where granite rock has eroded. Such beaches are found elsewhere, for instance in Cornwall and parts of Scotland. Some of the Scottish colourists may have been familiar with similar beaches: perhaps an art expert could provide further illumination on this?
Canada's spy agency settles lawsuit over alleged racist and homophobic bullying
Details of the settlement were kept confidential after five employees claimed ‘discriminatory behavior has become the accepted culture’ at the agencyCanada’s spy service has settled a C$35m lawsuit launched by five employees who alleged they suffered years of bullying in a workplace rife with racism, homophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment.The allegations against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, documented in a statement of claim filed in July in Federal Court, offered a view into one of the country’s most secretive organisations. Continue reading...
Gulf in expectations for next phase of Brexit talks widens
Theresa May says trade talks will start immediately, contradicting the European commission president, Jean-Claude JunckerAs the ink on phase one of the Brexit deal was drying, the gulf in expectations for phase two was widening. The British prime minister, Theresa May, declared that trade talks would start “straight away”, directly contradicting the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, who said they would start in March.As in the first round of talks, the sequencing will be set by the EU and has already been outlined by Juncker and in a European council text on Friday. Continue reading...
Teenager jailed for trolling footballer Andy Woodward about abuse
Lewis Hawkins, 18, and his father, David Riches, sentenced to 12 months each after Twitter messages that left abuse survivor in tearsTwo people are beginning 12-month prison sentences after a fake Twitter account, purporting to be that of a paedophile, was set up to “troll” Andy Woodward after he became the first former footballer to waive his anonymity and leave the sport facing a sexual abuse scandal involving hundreds of other victims.Woodward, the former Crewe Alexandra, Bury and Sheffield United player whose case led to the Football Association commissioning an independent inquiry, was targeted by a bogus account using a photograph of the man who abused him in the 1980s and calling itself “The Nonce”. Continue reading...
Trump judicial nominee can't answer basic legal questions at hearing – video
US senator John Kennedy asked one of Trump's district court judge nominees, Matthew Petersen, a series of questions on basic law, and he was unable to answer them. Concerns have been raised over the suitability of the five nominees for the role, including Matthew Petersen. The American Bar Association declared one of the nominees 'unqualified' Continue reading...
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry on 19 May
Kensington Palace confirms the royal wedding date for the prince and his American fiancee, the same day as the FA Cup finalPrince Harry and Meghan Markle are to marry on Saturday 19 May, Kensington Palace has announced.The couple had already indicated they planned a May wedding at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Continue reading...
EU leaders agree to move to second-stage Brexit talks - as it happened
The EU27 has agreed to a joint proposal from the UK and the European commission to move on to discussions about Britain’s future outside the bloc5.00pm GMTThanks for following the blog today and for all your comments. I’m wrapping up proceedings now with this summary:5.00pm GMTMy colleague Dan Roberts has looked into his crystal ball to forecast how the second stage of Brexit talks are likely to pan out.Related: Running out of wriggle room: what do future Brexit talks promise for UK? Continue reading...
German girl imprisoned for Isis role has fleeting family reunion
Linda Wenzel, 17, who married Islamic State fighter, meets mother and sister while awaiting trial in Baghdad
Former housemaster at top private school jailed for abusing pupils
Peter Webb, 74, sentenced to four years in prison for abusing boys at Christ’s Hospital school in Horsham in 1970s and 80sA former housemaster at a top private school has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing four of his pupils.
First for Iran as museum celebrates works of woman exiled for decades
First museum dedicated to solo female artist to display works by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who gained international acclaim during years of exile
Mexican senate votes to keep troops in police role despite outcry from rights groups
Driver arrested after Mercedes ends up wedged upright in London street
Police arrest driver, who was unharmed, on suspicion of drink-driving after vehicle crashed through railings in central LondonA man has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after a Mercedes crashed through railings in central London and ended up wedged between a building and the street.The Mercedes-Benz C220 crashed into the Fountain House serviced apartment block on Lancaster Terrace on Friday. Continue reading...
First vulnerable child refugee arrives in UK from Greece under Dubs scheme
Boy was living in squalid Greek camp for more than a year since British government pledged to bring over hundreds of childrenThe first vulnerable child refugee stranded in Greece who qualifies for sanctuary under the Dubs amendment has arrived in the UK, more than a year after the government pledged to bring over hundreds of children.The Home Office had accepted that the boy was vulnerable and eligible for transfer 16 months ago. Continue reading...
Haitian mothers seek support from UN soldiers for ‘peacekeeper babies’
Women who claim they were sexually exploited by UN soldiers file lawsuit claiming paternity and maintenance paymentsThe mothers of Haiti’s “peacekeeper babies” have filed the first legal action against both the UN and individual peacekeeping soldiers in paternity and child support claims.The lawsuit is the latest development in a protracted legal battle to make the soldiers contribute to the upkeep of children they allegedly fathered. Continue reading...
Britain First deputy leader released on bail
Jayda Fransen of far-right group appeared in court charged by police in Northern Ireland over alleged conduct in BelfastThe deputy leader of far-right group Britain First has been released on bail after appearing in court in Belfast charged over comments about Islam made in a social media posting.Jayda Fransen, 31, was charged with threatening behaviour over remarks made earlier this week beside a peace wall dividing Catholics from Protestants in the city. Continue reading...
Ex-minister's harsh jail sentence sends shockwaves through Russian elite
Former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $2.2m for soliciting bribeA Moscow court has sentenced a former Russian economy minister to eight years in a high-security prison for corruption, in a verdict that is likely to send chills through the Russian elite.Alexei Ulyukayev was also ordered to pay a $2.2m (£1.7m) fine as part of the punishment for soliciting a $2m bribe from Igor Sechin, the chief executive of the state oil company Rosneft, who is widely seen as the second most powerful man in Russia after Vladimir Putin. Continue reading...
From Edinburgh's tram to Boston's Big Dig: readers' urban white elephants
Our list of ill-conceived civic expenditure, topped by Toronto’s costly subway stop, spurred Guardian Cities readers to share suggestions for more …Colin Horgan’s roundup of urban white elephants prompted many Guardian Cities readers to suggest some he might have missed, revealing a veritable herd of the things the world over – including some perhaps prejudged. Call them calves.
World's steepest funicular rail line to open in Switzerland
Schwyz-Stoos funicular, hailed as triumph of engineering, goes into service on SundaySwiss engineering and technology have reached new heights with the opening of the world’s steepest funicular rail line.The €44.6m Schwyz-Stoos funicular (Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos in German), which goes into public service on Sunday, has been hailed as a triumph of modern design engineering.
Killing Gävle: how a 12-metre goat became a battle for the spirit of Christmas - documentary
Each year since 1966, businesses in the small city of Gävle, northern Sweden, have paid for a huge straw effigy of a goat to be displayed in the city’s central square from the first day of Advent. In 37 of those years, the goat has been burned down or damaged by shadowy outsiders, sometimes within a few hours of going up. In this film, residents from both sides of the goat conflict explain their motivations as Advent ticks down, and reveal an issue with roots in conflicting pagan and modern Christian traditions Continue reading...
Three in court for murder of four children in arson attack
Zak Bolland, Courtney Brierley and David Worrall accused of carrying out attack on home in Worsley, Greater ManchesterTwo men and a woman have appeared in court charged with murdering four children in an arson attack in Greater Manchester.Demi Pearson, 14, her sister, Lacie, seven, and their eight-year-old brother, Brandon, died in the blaze in Worsley in the early hours of Monday. Continue reading...
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