The Guardian

  • Wales v Slovakia: Euro 2020 qualifier – live!

    52 mins: A good, long spell of possession by Wales but at no point is the ball within 40 yards of the Slovakian goal and eventually they give it away, and Brooks fouls Hamsik to prevent a counter-attack.

    47 mins: Smith slide in to challenge Kucka on Wales’s left touchline, and Rusnak lets the ball roll straight past him, happy with the throw-in surely coming his way. But the ball spins straight down the line and back into play without ever crossing it, Wales take possession and Rusnak looks a little silly.

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  • Mueller report: Trump and America wait for Barr to disclose findings

    America spent Sunday morning waiting to find out what is in the Mueller report, amid growing and bipartisan calls for the full document to be released to the public.

    Related: It's Mueller time but don't forget: Trump has undermined the very idea of America | Robert Reich

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  • Ministers deny plotting to oust May as Brexit rebels head for Chequers

    Michael Gove and David Lidington deny claims of coup as PM meets with Johnson and Rees-Mogg

    Philip Hammond has admitted Theresa May’s Brexit deal may not be able to get through the Commons, as senior ministers moved to quell speculation the prime minister could be forced out within days in a cabinet revolt.

    With the prime minister preparing to meet a group of senior Tory rebels at her Chequers country retreat, the chancellor told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that Conservative colleagues were “very frustrated” and “desperate to find a way forward”.

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  • Brexit petition to revoke article 50 hits 5m signatures

    Call to put brakes on UK’s EU exit is most popular petition ever on parliament website

    The petition asking the British government to revoke article 50 and reconsider its plan to exit the European Union has passed the 5m-signature mark, following a massive demonstration in London on Saturday.

    As of 2.18pm on Sunday, 5,000,438 people had signed the petition, making it the most popular to have been submitted to the parliament website. The previous highest total of 4,150,260 was for a 2016 petition calling for a second referendum should the initial poll not provide a definitive enough result.

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  • Beth Mead at the double as ruthless Arsenal thrash Liverpool in WSL

    Beth Mead scored twice as Arsenal cruised to a 5-1 victory over Liverpool at Prenton Park and took themselves a point above Manchester City at the top of the league.

    Related: Sponsors queue up behind fans in huge week for women’s football | Eni Aluko

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  • Fashion house under fire for hotel plans at Costa Brava beauty spot

    Campaigners say Custo’s development will spoil Sa Guarda in Cadaqués

    The Barcelona-based fashion designer Custo is under fire for plans to build a hotel on a beauty spot in Costa Brava.

    Campaigners led by two groups – Salvem l’Empordà (Save Emporda, the region Cadaqués is in) and SOS Costa Brava – protested on Friday outside a Custo shop in Barcelona demanding that work be stopped on the project to build the 4,000 sq m Hotel Custo and 104 houses on land in Sa Guarda in Cadaqués.

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  • Geoffrey Cox accused of 'sitting on' Airbus subsidiary corruption case

    Exclusive: attorney general’s office has taken a year to decide whether to prosecute over Saudi deal

    Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, is under pressure to explain why his department has taken a year to decide whether to approve a corruption prosecution against a subsidiary of Airbus, the European aerospace group.

    Anti-corruption campaigners have accused Cox of dragging his feet over the decision, which relates to allegations that the Airbus subsidiary paid multimillion-pound bribes to land a military contract with Saudi Arabia.

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  • Viking Sky: hundreds still onboard as ship limps to safety

    Vessel broke down in rough seas off Norway with 1,300 passengers and crew on board, leading to evacuations by helicopter

    Hundreds of people were awaiting rescue from a cruise liner that got into trouble in rough seas off the coast of Norway as reports suggest it narrowly escaped running aground.

    About 900 passengers and crew were still onboard the Norwegian luxury liner Viking Sky on Sunday after 479 people were winched to safety by five helicopters as the ship was being tossed around by huge waves.

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  • German ministry under fire over 'sexist' bike safety ad

    Demands to halt campaign featuring model wearing a helmet and just underwear

    An advertising campaign by Germany’s transport ministry to persuade cyclists to wear helmets has sparked accusations of sexism, as it features a model wearing just a helmet and underwear.

    With the slogan: “Looks like shit. But saves my life,” the advert features a profile-shot of Alicija Köhler, a competitor in the gameshow Germany’s Next Topmodel, sporting a violet coloured helmet and a lacy bra.

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  • Motorway meals: how 60 years of the service station has shaped how Britain eats

    The first service station opened in Watford Gap in 1959 – and the motorway meal was born. What does its evolution tell us about British tastes, past and present?

    On a drizzly day, Britain isn’t looking – or tasting – its best. I’m at Watford Gap services on the M1, the country’s first service station on the country’s first motorway, both 60 this year (although the restaurant opened in 1960). “If you want to see Britain, go to Watford Gap,” David Lawrence had told me. “If you want to taste Britain, go to Watford Gap.” I want to do both of those things.

    Lawrence is an associate professor at Kingston University whose PhD was Motorway Service Areas, Their History and Culture. He has written two books about them as well. I think you could safely describe him as Mr Service Station. “Dr Service Station,” he corrects me, before I head to Watford Gap.

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  • Christchurch attacks: the media's rush to be first causes its own kind of harm

    Facebook’s AI may have failed the victims – but humans didn’t do much better

    Rookie journalists struggling with their copy are often told by news editors: “Just tell the story”. An esteemed colleague once told me his first editor told him to imagine shouting the intro to an aged relative moving away at speed on a bus.

    Boiling an event down to who, what, why, where and when is the basis of all news coverage for a reason – it tells the story. But what happens when being fast and crafting a simple narrative becomes misleading or causes its own kind of harm?

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  • Lady Hale: at least half of UK judiciary should be female

    Supreme court president calls for full equality at event for centenary of women in law

    At least half of the judiciary should be women, Britain’s most senior judge has said.

    Speaking at an event in the supreme court to mark the centenary of women’s entry into the legal profession, Brenda Hale, president of the supreme court and the first woman to take on that role, made the call for full gender equality across the judiciary.

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  • Murder investigations launched after London and Somerset stabbings

    Unidentified man found dead in Pinner and eight arrested after man in his 30s killed in Wells

    Murder investigations have been launched after two stabbings over the weekend, in London and Somerset.

    A man was pronounced dead at an address in Marsh Road in Pinner, north-west London, after police were called at about 6am on Sunday. The Metropolitan police said they were still trying to identify the man and his next of kin.

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  • Kirsten Gillibrand will call Trump a 'coward' in New York speech

    In major speech as presidential candidate at Trump hotel, senator will say president ‘tearing apart the moral fabric of our country’

    The Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand will use a speech in front of a Trump hotel in New York on Sunday to call the president a “coward” who “punches down” and is “tearing apart the moral fabric of our country”.

    Related: The B-Team: are Beto, Biden and Bernie the best Democrats can offer?

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  • Horizon by Barry Lopez review – nature in the raw

    Barry Lopez’s account of wandering the world’s least hospitable landscapes is powerful but opaque

    Reading Barry Lopez is a religious experience, and that’s not meant entirely as a compliment. His great devotional paean to the light and landscape of the far, frozen north, Arctic Dreams (1986), established him as one of the leading nature writers of his generation and won a host of admirers, from Robert Macfarlane to Margaret Atwood to Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Arctic Dreams was, indeed, an extraordinary book, as was its predecessor, Of Wolves and Men (1978), which was not only a compelling history of the long, troubled relationship between man and animal, but also a stirring evocation of the rugged landscape against which this relationship played out.

    One notices rather fewer celebrity endorsements for Lopez’s fables and short stories, even though fiction outweighs nonfiction in his career so far. His stories draw heavily on Native American mythology, and are often clunkingly spiritual, sanctimonious and didactic. Whereas in Arctic Dreams the light and desolation of the landscape seem perfectly suited to his austere, exalted register – indeed it feels as if he speaks with the voice of the ice in that book – reading beyond his first two works of nonfiction is a bit of a slog. As even one of his great champions, Robert Macfarlane, admitted in a 2005 article, “it is hard to imagine Lopez ever smiling”.

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  • Sharon Van Etten review – survivor's love on a banshee rollercoaster

    Albert Hall, Manchester
    The stylish New York singer careers from ice maiden to wailing, whirling dervish in a spellbinding and at times sublime gig

    ‘Come arrrrn Shazza!” yells a man at the back. It’s not the most obvious thing to hear at a gig by a stylishly black-clad US musician, known for singing about abusive relationships. However, Sharon Van Etten reveals that she loves the nickname – used by her British friends – which prompts a group of women on the balcony to chant “Shazza! Shazza!”

    This amusing, incongruous moment signifies a wider transformation. The New Yorker still sings about her past. I Told You Everything spills it out to a new partner with coal-black humour (“You said, ‘Holy shit’”). However, now that she is a mother, occasional actor and counselling student, songs from fifth album Remind Me Tomorrow are more electronic and uplifting. Comeback Kid and Malibu superbly filter Bruce Springsteen-type wistful storytelling into American gothic anthems.

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  • Peony Knight hoping to ride wave of success all the way to Tokyo Olympics | Giles Richards
    British surfer is still only 21 but is a formidable talent and fiercely determined to take her board to the Games

    Britain’s Peony Knight is an athlete with her sights set on riding the crest of a wave when surfing makes its debut at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Yet intriguingly, her passion for the sport had its genesis in an altogether more prosaic form of transport. It all began on a bus.

    Knight, who is one of the country’s best shots at making it to Shidashita beach next year, beams at what is clearly a very fond recollection. “When I was seven my parents took me and my siblings out of school for a year and we bought a bus in California,” she says. “I got my first surfboard on that trip on my eighth birthday, in Mexico. We drove all the way down the coast. Through Mexico, all the way to Costa Rica, we surfed all the way down the Pacific coast and then back up the other side to New York. I was completely hooked by the end of it.”

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  • The European Union has bigger problems to deal with than Brexit

    The next recession will expose the eurozone as a half-baked project in need of leadership

    As the clock has ticked down towards Brexit, the state of the UK has attracted even more attention than normal. Every scrap of official data and every survey of business opinion has been pored over by leavers and remainers alike.

    Much less attention, understandably enough, has been paid to what is happening in the rest of the European Union, where the recent news has been poor. The frustration of the leaders of the other 27 EU countries towards Theresa May is that Europe has plenty of issues that need addressing, with Brexit not even the most serious of them.

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  • Yoga summit: a festival in the Austrian Alps

    Held across three pretty Alpine towns, Gastein Yoga Days offer the choice of hundreds of classes in stunning locations at affordable prices

    You know how it is: you are just getting settled on your yoga mat and some latecomers barge in, harrumphing and stamping their feet because you have taken their favourite spot. But I was 1,000 metres up an Austrian mountain, with glorious views over the pretty spa town of Bad Hofgastein and the last of the sun on my face for an evening meditation class … and the late arrivals were a family of wild horses with two foals.

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  • Army ads accused of targeting youngsters during 'January blues'

    Document reveals campaign aimed at ‘snowflakes’ was planned to coincide with emotional low

    The British army has been accused of targeting its headline-grabbing “snowflake” recruitment campaign at young people when they were facing a post-holiday low.

    A briefing document seen by the Guardian shows that strategists behind the “Your army needs you” campaign factored in that it would be seen by young people at a time when they were experiencing the “January blues”.

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  • The rise and fall of the Isis 'caliphate'

    Once a magnet for would-be jihadists worldwide, Islamic State’s dominion collapsed amid infighting and paranoia

    On a midwinter night in early January, the most wanted man in the world entered a home in a forsaken town near the Syrian border for a rare meeting with his surviving aides.

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  • Tammy Beaumont eases England home in T20 hammering of Sri Lanka
    • First T20: Sri Lanka 94; England 95-2 – Eng win by 8 wkts
    • Linsey Smith, Freya Davies and Anya Shrubsole skittle hosts

    Tammy Beaumont hit an unbeaten half-century to help England cruise to an eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their first Twenty20 International in Colombo.

    Linsey Smith took three for 18, while Freya Davies and Anya Shrubsole each claimed two wickets as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 94 from 19 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat.

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  • Indoor plants that move out for the summer | James Wong

    Look beyond garden centre standards to these flowering, fragrant plants that love a holiday in the sun

    It’s that time of year when garden centres first start filling up with tray after tray of bedding plants, ramping up for a season of summer growing. Despite often being considered terribly out of horticultural fashion, planting tropical or subtropical species such as fuchsias, begonias and pelargoniums outdoors for the warmer months is an effective way of providing a full season of interest that extends far beyond what many temperate plants, with their comparatively short flowering season, can ever hope to provide.

    However, it is a shame that so few of us venture beyond traditional favourites, for any cool-weather-tolerant indoor species can be treated in the same way. With the extra light and humidity, many houseplants positively revel in a summer holiday outdoors, plus you’ll save yourself a couple of quid in the process by getting a two-in-one option. And, as these plants can then be brought indoors when the first autumn frosts are expected, they can be a more sustainable choice than buying a new batch of bedding every year.

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  • Love across the divide: couples on Brexit, politics and religion

    What’s it like to fall in love with someone with very different opinions? We hear from couples who know all about compromise

    Lindsay Gordon, 32
    Community nurse, Gravesend
    My partner Pete said to me other day: “Babe, you’re remoaning again.” I replied: “For God’s sake babe! Are you finished ruining the economy yet?” Pete and I met online several months after the Brexit vote. It was January 2017 and we didn’t talk much about politics at first. When I came round for dinner for the first time I asked how he voted in the referendum. He said leave, I said remain. It felt a little awkward. But I know plenty of leavers who are decent people. I don’t automatically assume they’re racists or anything. In fact, I was worried he’d stereotype me: lefty, liberal, snowflake. I’m even a vegan. I’ve debated with people online and have been called all sorts of things. But he didn’t label me. We’re all sorts of opposite: He’s a neat-freak and organised, I’m messy, laid back and silly. He keeps me grounded and I get him out of his shell.

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  • Time to follow golf’s surprising lead and find different ways to be green | Tanya Aldred

    Turf sports will not flourish in a changing climate unless they start planning to make do with less water

    In these darkly surreal times, sport sometimes seems to have the answer. Not for sanity, too late indeed. But for tiny moments of bliss – a perfectly balanced flick off the toes, the crescendo of hooves thudding through the earth, a Raheem Sterling hat-trick on a spring Friday night. But there is no escape, even here. For the green England of verdant pastures, firm ground and lush pitches pimped to perfection, is shifting too.

    Listen to Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, at the Waterwise conference on Tuesday. First he laid out his stall on climate change: “It’s not just almost every scientist in the world who believes it’s happening, but hard-nosed companies who are making investment decisions based on their belief that it’s a thing. They would not be spending hundreds of millions of pounds a year on greater resilience in the face of something for which there was not compelling evidence.”

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  • Why Cadbury’s choc tactics make me gag | David Mitchell

    I love Dairy Milk but not the corporate fat cats who market it

    We must remember that it’s not Dairy Milk’s fault. Dairy Milk is the music, not the Wagner or Michael Jackson, in all this. You can’t blame the thing for its creator. It may put you off the thing – you may find it disconcerting to hear Jackson sing “I’m bad” over and over again, now that you know he was – but it’s not the fault of the words “I’m bad”, or the tune they’re sung to. They’re not themselves bad (or good, except in the subjective sense of their being part of a song lots of people liked). So does that mean the words are lying? If so, that’s bad. So they are bad! So they’re not lying! So they’re not… Damn it!

    Unlike music, when it comes to the recipes of popular snacks, the authorship is often unknown. Perhaps that’s for the best. If something grisly came out about whoever first thought of putting cheese on toast, that would be a blow to us all. It was invented a long time ago, so they’re pretty much bound to be racist for a start. But it could be much worse than that – so it’s better not to know. People who want to spoil cheese on toast for themselves can always use Marmite.

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  • The B-Team: are Beto, Biden and Bernie the best Democrats can offer?

    The party is diverse but it has a problem – beating Trump – and it may be that a straight white man is best placed to help

    It was the kind of welcome of which some presidential candidates, campaigning for months, might have been jealous.

    Related: Who anointed Beto O'Rourke to be our political saviour? He did | Moira Donegan

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  • On my radar: Carlos Acosta’s cultural highlights
    The renowned ballet dancer on Zadie Smith, fun and afros in The Get Down and Wifredo Lam’s powerful painting

    Born in Havana, Cuba in 1973, Carlos Acosta joined the Royal Ballet in 1998. He was a principal guest artist from 2003 to 2016, when he left and founded the company Acosta Danza in Cuba. In 2007 his autobiography No Way Home became a bestseller; in 2014 he was awarded a CBE. Yuli, a biopic inspired by his story, is released on 12 April after a Royal Opera House event on 3 April that will be streamed to UK cinemas. In January he will start as director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.

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  • Beyoncé effect fills galleries with a new generation of art devotees
    Fame sells: that’s the lesson in a survey revealing the world’s most popular exhibitions during a bumper year

    In Paris, it was Beyoncé and Jay-Z; in Washington, it was Barack and Michelle Obama; while, in London, visitors queued to look at Pablo Picasso’s erotic muse or Grayson Perry’s summer picks.

    Last year the lustre of celebrity, whether garnered from fashion and entertainment or history, seemed to be the best way to attract visitors to museums and galleries.

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  • ‘Ian Curtis wanted to make extreme music, no half measures’

    Forty years after Joy Division’s seminal debut album, Jon Savage’s oral history, extracted below, sheds new
    light on the band and the city that shaped them

    Read a Q&A with Jon Savage

    Bernard Sumner (Joy Division): I felt that even though we were expecting this music to come out of thin air, we never, any of us, were interested in the money it might make us. We just wanted to make something that was beautiful to listen to and stirred our emotions. We weren’t interested in a career or any of that. We never planned one single day.

    Peter Hook (Joy Division): Ian was the instigator. We used to call him the Spotter.

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  • 'People’s vote' march: up close with anti-Brexit protesters at the 'biggest ever demo' – video

    The Guardian spends the day with the estimated 1 million protesters who came from all corners of the UK to London to demand a fresh referendum on Brexit. Organisers of the Put It to the People march said the protest could have been even bigger than the one against the Iraq war in February 2003

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  • Home alone with the baby… and gruesome Scandi crime drama

    Parenting tasks are multiplied by two, banana pulp is everywhere – but at least there’s TV murder

    For the first time since my son was born, I am parenting alone. My wife’s trip to New York was planned months in advance, a chance to visit her aunt and get five days’ respite from the demands of motherhood before the end of her maternity leave. I was eager for her to go because a) she’s worked so hard and deserves a holiday, and b) I’ve been saving up loads of TV she won’t watch since our son was born.

    For some reason, becoming a mother has rendered her incapable of watching the sort of gruesome crime dramas on which our marriage was once grounded. For our first nine years, we were happiest when watching grim but gorgeous Scandinavian cops finding beautifully lit corpses bobbing about in fjords.

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  • ‘Mum gave so much’: Jess Mills on her mother, Tessa Jowell

    Tessa Jowell, died last year, songwriter Jess Mills found herself at sea. She reveals how music helped her cope with grief – and find her campaigning voice

    The musician Jess Mills gave birth on her bathroom floor, with a midwife shouting instructions through the phone and her mother, former Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell, holding her hand. In the odd way that the beginning of life sometimes comes out of nowhere, lazy and slow, before speeding wildly like a car in rain, after hours of labouring, Mills’s daughter was delivered in a rush by a young paramedic. Then, in the odd way that the end of life sometimes comes out of nowhere, 10 weeks after that Jowell had a seizure and was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer. She died the following May, holding her daughter’s hand.

    I’ve learned a lot about grief, since Mum. You don’t get over a loss like this

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  • Sadiq Khan challenges Theresa May to act against Tory Islamophobia
    London mayor tells prime minister: join Labour in adopting a new definition of hate crime against Muslims

    The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has challenged the Conservatives to adopt a new definition of Islamophobia, saying that he has been repeatedly subjected to anti-Muslim abuse from Tory members and supporters.

    In a letter to Theresa May, Khan calls on the prime minister to order her party to deal with the issue. He says it must be among measures taken to reassure British Muslims about their safety in the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist attack. He warns that the massacre demonstrates “the consequences of failing to root out Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment from our society”.

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  • Zak Brown: ‘McLaren may consider their F1 future without changes’

    Team’s chief executive believes that a meeting this week must deliver better competition if the sport is to flourish

    Zak Brown has warned that McLaren, second only to Ferrari in terms of seasons on the grid, would consider quitting Formula One if the sport’s problems are not addressed this season.

    Twelve months ago in Bahrain, F1’s owner, Liberty Media, revealed its vision of how motor sport’s elite competition would look in 2021. On Tuesday Liberty meets the governing FIA and all 10 F1 teams in London to begin the process of putting that blueprint into practice. Time is against them, however, with June seen as the deadline to agree new racing regulations and a fresh commercial agreement, possibly even a cap on teams’ spending, if they are to come into effect in two years’ time.

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  • Universities to be fined for awarding too many top degrees
    Education secretary Damian Hinds to take tough measures on institutions found guilty of artificial grade inflation

    British universities must slash the number of top degrees they award or risk undermining their world-class reputation, the education secretary has warned.

    Damian Hinds said there had been a steep and unjustifiable rise in the awarding of first-class degrees, urging universities to “reset the norm” by handing out a higher proportion of 2:1s. Offending universities could face fines, or even be prevented from awarding degrees at all.

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  • Mauricio Pochettino finds cooked-up pressures a little hot to handle | Andrew Anthony
    The Tottenham manager is not the first to mishandle rumours of departure but the Argentinian has made a series of missteps since being linked with Manchester United

    There is a species of well-known quotes that fulfils such a useful function that it’s convenient to overlook whether or not they were actually said. Although there is no official record of it, Harold Macmillan is often cited as saying: “Events, dear boy, events,” apparently in response to a question about what blows governments off course.

    Well, obviously it’s events – nonevents are unlikely to do it. But the meaning taken from the quote is unpredictable events or those one can do nothing to prevent. They are the kind that really knock you sideways.

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  • Hamilton’s young star says Britain must confront its colonial past
    Jamael Westman explains how his role in the West End show has affected his politics as well as his career

    The swift rise to fame of Jamael Westman, leading man in the London cast of the hit musical Hamilton, may not equal the extraordinary ascent of the “$10 founding father” he plays in the US show, but it runs close.

    Westman who was brought up in Croydon, south London, was not a fan of musical theatre before he landed the part. Now, just three years out of drama school, the 26-year-old, who is of Caribbean and Irish heritage, is seen as a figurehead for black representation in the entertainment industry after 14 months rapping in the starring role. And from this privileged position he is calling for Britain to confront its colonial past. “It is like a mental health issue and it will get worse if Britain doesn’t come to terms with it,” he told the Observer.

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  • Fracking plan ‘will release same C02 as 300m new cars’
    Labour study comes as UK government faces pressure from courts and councils

    The government’s fracking proposals would release the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as almost 300 million new cars, fatally undermining ministers’ obligation to tackle the escalating climate crisis, according to new research.

    Analysis by the Labour party shows that the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere if the government’s plans go ahead would be the same as the lifetime emissions of 286 million cars – or 29 new coal-fired power plants.

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  • One telling image: in a Brussels corridor, the EU takes back control of Brexit
    A photo of an ad hoc crisis meeting gives an insight into the efforts made to cope with a floundering British government

    As pictures go, it spoke volumes. On Thursday evening in Brussels, Bulgaria’s permanent representative to the EU, Dimiter Tzantchev, tweeted a photograph he titled “In the corridors of the European Council art 50”.

    In a play of light and shadow, as if in a Golden Age painting by a modern-day Rembrandt or Frans Hals, a tight cluster of perhaps two dozen figures, some standing, some crouched, pored over a screen: senior EU officials, member state diplomats, Europe advisers to heads of government.

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  • Blocked drains, mystery stinks – heads warn of schools repair crisis

    Headteachers tell of the damage caused by years of cuts to their capital and maintenance budgets

    In one of the classrooms of Gillotts secondary school in Henley-on-Thames, there is a mysterious, acrid smell. It is a school day but the room is empty because this “awful” scent, a mix of damp and chemicals, clogs children’s throats and clings to the teachers’ hair and clothes long after they go home.

    “That classroom is shut and unusable because of the smell – and I could really do with that classroom,” said headteacher Catharine Darnton. Her state school has 900 pupils and, like many other heads across the country, she has struggled to maintain her dilapidated building in the face of the government’s austerity cuts. As well as the stink, heating failures and electricity blow-outs have led to partial temporary closures of the school and blocked drains have threatened to leak raw sewage onto the playground. Darnton has been forced to take money intended for the education of students and allocate it to repairs and even capital expenditure. The low point came when, in winter, the building was so cold and dark she had to consider closing the school. “It was insane,” she said.

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  • Lizzie Kelly aims at Aintree with Tea For Two, her ‘horse of a lifetime’

    If Kelly wins the Grand National? ‘You probably wouldn’t see me for four days – I’d be drinking tequila in Liverpool somewhere’

    Something about the Grand National brings the child out in Lizzie Kelly for a few moments as she contemplates her first ride in the race on 6 April. Hugging a mug of tea in her family’s kitchen in north Devon, she says: “I was pretty obsessed with it at one point, read lots of books about it, knew lots of random facts, like having Red in the horse’s name has been quite lucky because there’s been Red Rum, Red Alligator, Red Marauder ... I took a massive interest in the Grand National and it was essentially the whole reason I wanted to race-ride. Without wanting to make it sound like a bloody fairytale, it really was something I desperately wanted to do as a child.”

    Then the adult reasserts herself as she considers how it would be if she managed to win the Aintree marathon. “You probably wouldn’t see me for four days because I’d be drinking tequila in Liverpool somewhere.”

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  • Hunt for bogus asthma cure threatens pangolins
    The most trafficked mammal on the planet is in dangerous decline

    One of nature’s most remarkable creatures, the pangolin, is being driven to extinction as hunting and trafficking have soared in recent years. Studies have discovered that hundreds of thousands of these distinctive, scaly animals are now being killed every year to satisfy markets in Asia, making it the most trafficked and poached mammal on Earth.

    The pangolin is hunted for its meat – and also for its scales, which are believed to have important medicinal properties as cures for poor circulation, skin complaints and asthma.

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  • Our hearts ache for the post-show reality of the Love Islanders

    The sad news that contestant Mike Thalassitis has killed himself reveals the dark side of TV celebrity

    What was it about Love Island that got you? Because, odds on, there was something. If not the girls, marinated in coconut oil, unfolded on sun loungers, then maybe it was the boys, sculpted and brown like pollarded mulberry trees. Or maybe it was the fantasy of the thing, as if, having been invited to list your Desert Island Discs, for your luxury item you’d chosen simply: “The eight fittest people in Dudley, shaved!”

    Maybe it was the romance. The oldest story, performed in swimwear, pleasingly drunken and fast, like love itself. Maybe it was the drama – the tears, the fury, the twists. Or the new language of attraction, cobbled together hastily from the internet. Was it the philosophical implications, or its irresistible political bonfires? The multiple occasions when intimate interactions between contestants exploded into mainstream commentary, in turn alerting Love Island’s young audience to truths about coercive control and the intersections of race and sexism? Or maybe it was the way on-show relationships became news, slithering into your daily scroll. Politicians tweeted about their favourite contestants, charities used them as case studies. Once home they were briskly wheeled out to talk about Brexit, and body image and the state of Britain. And then, what? Then, like a thousand before them, they were left alone to focus on their new careers, as “ex-reality stars”.

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  • The latest trend in skincare: anti-pollution makeup sales soar

    As city air becomes more toxic, sales of a new type of product are booming

    Demand for anti-pollution beauty products is soaring as Londoners wake up to the impact of toxic air on their complexions. Microscopic particles are second only to the sun in terms of their ageing effect, and there is a growing trend toward skincare designed to combat them.

    At the department store Liberty online searches for anti-pollution skincare are up 73% since this time last year. “We’re right next to Oxford Circus” – one of the most polluted places in London – “so our customers are very attuned to the topic and definitely associate pollution with skin ageing,” said the store’s beauty buyer, Emily Bell, who predicts that in the future anti-pollution products will be as commonplace as sun protection creams.

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  • Jenny Lewis: On the Line review – gripping, subversive, bittersweet


    What do you do when you break up with your partner of 12 years? You leave your native California and crash at Annie (St Vincent) Clark’s in New York.

    Jenny Lewis is a songwriter’s songwriter, a dulcet and subversive chronicler of LA shammery whose often sombre subjects come wrapped in the sweetest of country-tinged deliveries. To her breakup we can add the death of her mother (who featured on 2006’s stunning Rabbit Fur Coat). More recently, Lewis tweeted her solidarity for the women accusing her former collaborator, Ryan Adams, of abusive behaviour.

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  • Is it the end of the pier for Hastings?

    The seaside town’s Sterling prize-winning pier seemed like a victory for community goodwill, lottery money and visionary design – until it went bust and was sold off for a mere £60,000. Now it’s shut…

    It all looked so promising. Hastings pier, fire-wrecked – seemingly doomed, like fellow structures around the seaside towns of Britain, to perpetual failure – was gloriously rescued. Public money joined forces with community enterprise in a pioneering and exemplary case of what David Cameron used to call the Big Society. The Heritage Lottery Fund put up £13m, and more than 3,000 individuals bought shares totalling £590,000. A handsome new deck and superstructure were installed, clear where it had previously been cluttered, described by its architects de Rijke Marsh Morgan as “a canvas where people bring the colour.” The 2017 Stirling prize, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects for the best building project of the year, went to the renovation.

    It was a great open space, pregnant with possibility, on which temporary constructions could be built to serve whatever events – music, markets, parties – might be desired. At the same time it was uncrowded, a place to wander, breathe the sea air and take in the sweeping views of a town which, tatty at the edges, doesn’t know how beautiful it is. It was to be sociable – the “town square that Hastings doesn’t have”, as dRMM’s Alex de Rijke put it. The style of the architecture was plain, relying on the beauty of the deck’s bare boards, with a few playful twists. It aimed not to obstruct the experience of air, view and sea.

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  • Edvard Munch: Scandi novelists on the master of misery and menace

    How is the great Norwegian artist seen back home? Ahead of a new British Museum show, Karl Ove Knausgaard and other Scandinavian novelists explain what Munch means to them

    Edvard Munch’s most famous creation is a bit of a scream: the funny little figure with its squishy bald head, hands to face as if edified by some particularly scandalous bit of gossip, and all against that glorious flame-red sky. Can Munch be entirely serious? The Scream is cherished across the world and only marginally less famous than the Mona Lisa herself. Yet the anguish compressed in that lightbulb-shaped face is very slightly comic, destined for the frat-house horror movie and the Halloween mask.

    People feel affection for this poor little creature, so alone, whose howl is empathetically echoed by nature but ignored by the callous passersby on the bridge. We are meant to identify with this solitary soul. The fact that he – or she, or they – is so appealing goes to Munch’s radical imagination. With The Scream, he invented one of the greatest archetypes in the history of art.

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  • Once more Balmedie prepares to fight Trump on the beaches | Kevin McKenna
    A record number of locals objected to the US president’s development near his Aberdeenshire golf course – to no avail. But the struggle goes on

    The word “douce” sits easily alongside a place like Balmedie, but would never be seen within a million miles of Donald Trump or any of his enterprises. Yet this pleasant coastal village a few miles north of Aberdeen is at risk of forever being associated with America’s pantomime president and the locals are aghast at the prospect.

    Last week planning officials at Aberdeenshire council signalled their assent for plans by the Trump Organisation to build a sprawling housing estate comprising 550 homes and golfers’ chalets on farmland adjacent to the US president’s exclusive golf facility a little further down the coast. The plans will now go before a full meeting of the council in April.

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  • Apple's crown is slipping – will news and TV shows be its next big thing?

    Tim Cook has made Apple the most valuable brand in the world – will this be a new success or a sign of the company’s problems?

    “It’s showtime,” reads the invite for Apple’s next big launch. It sure is. On Monday at the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theatre in Apple’s $5bn space-age campus in Cupertino, California, the company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, will unveil his big plans to become a modern media mogul.

    Details of the plans are sketchy but it appears Apple will be launching a new platform for news publishers with paywalls – the Wall Street Journal is in, New York Times and Washington Post are not – and announcing a series of new TV deals and original programmes that will put it head to head with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and their rivals in streaming media as they fight it out to be the new kings of Hollywood.

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