The Guardian

Latest news, sport, business, comment, analysis and reviews from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Up to a million Britons use steroids for looks not sport

Health warnings as image culture drives usage of performance-enhancing drugs

Up to 1 million people in the UK are taking anabolic steroids and other image- and performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs) to change the way they look, public health experts and doctors have said.

This ranges from teenagers seeking the perfect physique to elderly men hoping to hang on to youthful looks.

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01/21/2018 07:04 PM
Government shutdown: Trump attacks Democrats and calls for 'nuclear option'

As the second day of the US government shutdown wore on, there appeared little sign of progress as both parties continued to blame each other and the White House went on the attack.

Related: US government shutdown: anniversary of Trump inauguration marred by chaos

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01/21/2018 08:06 PM
UK braced for more snow and ice

Five people injured in car crash as Met Office issues warnings after coldest night for almost two years

More snow is on the way in the UK after the coldest night for almost two years.

On Saturday, the mercury dropped to -13.5C in Dalwhinnie in the Scottish Highlands, the lowest temperature since February 2016.

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01/21/2018 07:38 PM
Ukip in chaos after leader Henry Bolton loses confidence vote

Embattled leader indicates he will not step down despite overwhelming vote against him

Ukip has been plunged into chaos after its leader, Henry Bolton, overwhelmingly lost a vote of confidence from the party’s national executive committee, but then indicated that he would not step down from the role voluntarily.

If he stays, the party will have to hold an emergency meeting of members in the next month to try to force him out.

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01/21/2018 07:46 PM
Kabul hotel attack: guests 'sprayed with bullets as they ran'

Witnesses describe scenes of terror at Intercontinental hotel during attack that killed at least 18 including 14 foreigners

Witnesses to a terrorist rampage at a luxury Kabul hotel have described guests being sprayed with bullets as they ran, whole floors engulfed in flames and a security team that fled “without a fight” from gunmen in army uniforms.

Thick smoke billowed from Kabul’s Intercontinental hotel on Sunday as Afghan and western security forces regained control of the building after a 14-hour siege involving dozens of hostages including foreigners. Some guests tried to escape the carnage and a later fire by using bed sheets to climb down from balconies.

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01/21/2018 02:16 PM
Thousands join Women's March in London for gender equality

Protesters hear speeches from activists at Time’s Up rally in support of equal rights

Thousands of women have turned out for the global Women’s March in London despite the heavy rain and sleet, one year after millions marched in seven continents.

Across the road from Downing Street and stretching back past the memorial to women in the second world war, protesters chanted “Time’s up” and “We want justice not revenge” on Sunday.

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01/21/2018 03:59 PM
Child sex abuse inquiry to query whether Gove asked about investigation

Environment secretary’s alleged interest in inquiry into priest suspected of abuse surfaced last month

The child sex abuse inquiry is to write to Michael Gove to ask whether he attempted to find out about the release of an investigation into a priest suspected of abuse at a prominent Catholic boarding school.

The alleged interest of the former secretary of state for education in a police and local authority inquiry into the priest surfaced during evidence given to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) last month.

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01/21/2018 05:39 PM
Girl stabbed to death near Walsall named as Mylee Billingham

Police have arrested a 54-year-old man on suspicion of murdering the eight-year-old

A man has been arrested after an eight-year-old girl was stabbed to death near Walsall, West Midlands police said.

Officers were called to an address in Brownhills at about 9.15pm on Saturday and found the girl, named by police as Mylee Billingham, with serious injuries. She was taken to hospital and died a short time later.

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01/21/2018 04:49 PM
Search restarts for area willing to host highly radioactive UK waste

Right geology and local consent are key in consultation due to be launched this week

The government is expected this week to begin a nationwide search for a community willing to host an underground nuclear waste dump to store highly radioactive material for thousands of years.

Britain has been trying for years to secure a site with the right geology and local communities which would volunteer to host a £12bn geological disposal facility (GDF), as a long-term solution for the most dangerous waste from nuclear power stations.

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01/21/2018 03:52 PM
UK's 'yes or no' Brexit vote was mistake, says Emmanuel Macron

French president says UK took risk in way it let voters decide ‘very complicated subject’

The French people would probably vote to leave the EU if presented with a similar choice to the Brexit referendum, Emmanuel Macron has said, arguing that the UK had taken a big risk by asking “yes or no on a very complicated subject”.

In an interview on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, the French president also criticised Donald Trump for calling developing countries “shitholes” and warned Theresa May her government could not cherry-pick benefits of EU membership.

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01/21/2018 01:27 PM
Fans pay tribute to Dolores O’Riordan in Limerick

Thousands gather at St Joseph’s Church to pay their respects to Irish pop star and Cranberries lead singer

Thousands have gathered in Limerick to remember the life of the Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan, who died last week in London.

Fans young and old, many clutching white roses and daffodils, streamed into St Joseph’s church in the city for a public reposal on Sunday.

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01/21/2018 04:14 PM
Double first: the twin sprinters with the Tokyo Olympics in their sights | Tim Lewis

Champion athletes Cheriece and Shannon Hylton only started running competitively five years ago. Now both sisters aim to represent Britain in 2020. By Tim Lewis

When the Hylton sisters were teenagers – they are now 21 – they were netball ninjas, terrorising the courts of southeast London. “It was our second favourite sport,” they say in unison, before combusting in a fit of giggles – a laugh that, since primary school they say, has been compared, pretty accurately, to a dolphin celebration.

Their main weapon was that they are twins and, to the untrained eye, identical. This made them devilish to mark. Shannon was a wing attack and Cheriece played centre but, to add to their opponents’ bemusement and frustration, they would fluidly switch position. “People would get so confused,” says Shannon, who is fractionally taller than her sister and has a tiny beauty spot on her left cheek. “And then they’d start shouting: ‘You’re marking the wrong twin! She’s over there! No, she’s there!’”

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01/21/2018 09:00 AM
The best signs from the Women's March in London – in pictures

Thousands of people gathered in London on Sunday a year and a day since Donald Trump took office as US president. We pick out some of the best signs from the Time’s Up march

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01/21/2018 04:02 PM
Whatever happened to the Jade Goody effect?

After the reality star died of cervical cancer in 2009, nearly 500,000 extra women turned up for smear tests. Now, the number of screenings has reached a 20-year low. Why?

When the letter arrives informing me that I am due a smear test, as it does every three years for women aged 25 to 49, I do what many women do: I recycle it. There will be a reminder. Or I hide it under a pile of papers to find in a couple of months’ time.

I know I am not alone in this, because the latest figures from NHS Digital show that the number of smear tests being carried out in England has reached a 20-year low. The overall decline may seem small – in March 2017, the percentage of women deemed to have been screened adequately fell to 72% from 72.7% the year before – but the figures mask a persistent decline in women booking tests.

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01/21/2018 03:00 PM
Davos – in avalanche country – conceals an overriding fragility | Larry Elliott

As global economy booms, crises in social, environmental and political landscape abound

There are more beautiful towns in Switzerland than Davos but the high alps that ring the valley in which it sits are picture-postcard perfect, especially when the rising sun kisses the mountain tops at dawn. But appearances can be deceptive and the snow defences that girdle the slopes are a reminder that this is avalanche country, stunning yet fragile.

This is something members of the 1% would do well to remember as they gather in for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum this week.

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01/21/2018 01:17 PM
Jordan Peterson: ‘The pursuit of happiness is a pointless goal’

Life is tragic, says the provocative Jordan Peterson, and we are all capable of turning into monsters. But this hasn’t stopped millions from watching his online lectures. Tim Lott meets him as he publishes 12 Rules for Life

It is uncomfortable to be told to get in touch with your inner psychopath, that life is a catastrophe and that the aim of living is not to be happy. This is hardly the staple of most self-help books. And yet, superficially at least, a self-help book containing these messages is what the Canadian psychologist Jordan B Peterson has written.

His book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is an ambitious, some would say hubristic, attempt to explain how an individual should live their life, ethically rather than in the service of self. It is informed by the Bible, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung and Dostoevsky – again, uncommon sources for the genre.

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01/21/2018 10:00 AM
I’m drunk, shrunk and still shunned by Virgin | Stewart Lee

‘Dear R Branson… now the Observer is tabloid-sized, would you consider stocking it?’

Last week’s research reveals that three in five of us drink to cope with the stress of everyday life. For others, the stress of everyday life serves as a respite from the relentless romantic demands of dame alcohol and her salty handmaidens, crisps.

Like many functioning alcoholics, I quit drinking on New Year’s Day, as usual. But when my rheumy eyes fell on the first tabloid edition of the Guardian last Monday, the paper’s proud eagle wingspan ignominiously clipped to sparrow size, my world and all its attendant certainties seemed to shatter and I reached for the morning’s first bottle of Baileys Irish Cream in a spirit of defeat.

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01/21/2018 10:00 AM
Losing its sparkle: the dark side of glitter

These days, no Instagram post or fashion show is complete without a liberal sprinkling of glitter. But questions surround its environmental impact – and role in child slavery. Is it time to stop?

Last year was the best of times and the worst of times for glitter. New York magazine’s fashion title, the Cut, declared: “In 2017, there’s no such thing as too much twinkle.” The managers of one London pub agreed, adding glitter to its Christmas dinner gravy and declaring it the “perfect way to spread festive cheer”. Teen Vogue gave tips on how to be the “new extra-glittery you” for New Year’s Eve, from transforming your hair with sparkly roots to “disco ball” eyelids. At London fashion week, designer Ashish Gupta sent one model down the catwalk in a top that read: “More glitter, less Twitter,” a pointed jab at Donald Trump.

In the digital realm, a glitter tongue trend swept Instagram sparking concerns about people swallowing it, while artist Sara Shakeel went viral for Photoshop collages in which she embellished stretch marks with glitter. An app called Kirakira+, which makes Instagram posts look like the insides of snow globes, became a vital accessory for the fashion set, from makeup artist Pat McGrath to model Bella Hadid. It was glitter’s year for letting its hair down.

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01/21/2018 02:00 PM
Hartlepool receive a helping hand from the neighbours to stay afloat | Louise Taylor
Middlesbrough fans open their pockets for the hard-up National League club and hopes rise that a new owner may soon take over

Maybe David Cameron’s “big society” does exist after all? It certainly seems to be alive and kicking in Hartlepool. A genuine sense of community, connectivity and cooperation filled the frosty streets surrounding Victoria Park as 3pm approached on Saturday and a bumper crowd of almost 7,000 filed in to watch Hartlepool United face Wrexham in the National League.

Most purchased a special match programme. Designed by David Carless, a local art teacher, its front cover depicted a Middlesbrough footballer holding out a helping hand to a Hartlepool counterpart. The pair were set against an abstract impression of a mountain of fans also linking hands as they supported each other during an arduous climb to the summit. An inspiring, evocative, image, it harked back to 1986 when a then deeply indebted Middlesbrough staved off the threat of extinction, partly thanks to their near neighbours lending them Victoria Park.

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01/21/2018 06:17 PM
The Aziz Ansari furore isn’t the end of #MeToo. It’s just the beginning | Sarah Solemani
Critics claim the movement has gone too far. But young women have already started to imagine a new reality of sexual equality

Strap yourselves in, kids: it’s about to get bumpy. The cautionary tale of Aziz Ansari has split the room. The comedian has become an emblem of something – whether that’s aggressor, hypocrite, bad shag or wronged man only Netflix can decide. Whatever your stance, it’s hard to deny the heterosexual boat has truly been rocked. Men are scared. What are the rules? Where are the lines? Who’s even in charge here? Women are getting cold feet: “The movement’s getting out of hand”, “She went too far with this”, and the real kicker – “What an insult to real survivors”.

No one said a sexual revolution was gonna be easy. But the Ansari fallout should be seen for what it is: collateral damage of a bigger, brighter historical movement, and not its final destination.

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01/21/2018 12:10 PM
Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s first year as president – cartoon
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01/21/2018 05:11 PM
Want to give your wallet a colonic? Head to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop summit
I am sad I will miss the website’s second live event – if only because it would provide test subjects for my study on the correlation between assets and stupidity

Do you think it is good Gwyneth Paltrow has largely stopped acting? Wait – let me finish the question. Do you think it is good she has stopped acting and now devotes her energy to flogging sex dust and vaginal eggs? If so, get to New York, which this week hosts the second Goop summit, provisionally titled Goop 2: Expensive and Expensiver.

Anyone #blessed enough to be unfamiliar with Paltrow’s lifestyle company and the range of wallet-colonic products it sells and promotes should check it out. Past highlights in a “ridiculous (and awesome) gift guide” include $956 luxury toilet paper and a banana guard that costs $395. In fairness, the site changed tack a while ago. It is now full of articles about whether underwired bras give you cancer and crystals cure infertility. You can buy lavish wellness unguents, plus spiritual aids such as reiki-charged aromatherapy mist ($28) and psychic vampire repellent made with sonically tuned water ($28). A steal.

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01/21/2018 04:00 PM
Why Facebook's news feed changes are bad news for democracy | Emily Bell

News organisations say they have seen a steady drop off in Facebook referred traffic

“Homepage. Even the word sounds old. We bring the news to your social feed.” A week ago this is what you would have found on the not-the-homepage of the millennial-focused video site Now This News. Icons for Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook guided viewers out on to the social web where the real action was. Click there now and it is a different story: social media icons have been relegated to the very bottom of the page, while stories like “Unicorn Noodles Are Now A Thing” and “Cape Town is Going to Run Out of Water” are plastered over Now This videos.

The homepage is back, and not just for those chronically old people over 40, but for every news organisation that wants to survive falling off the great Facebook cliff of 2018. Because last week Facebook announced it was changing its recipe for the news feed – the stream of posts anyone sees when they open up their account – and that the net effect would be to promote more things posted by family and friends, and fewer things produced by publishers.

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01/21/2018 12:32 PM
How best to leave the world of work behind | Letters
Readers respond to Andy Beckett’s recent Guardian article

Andy Beckett’s long read was elucidating and possibly prescient (Post-work: is the job finished?, 19 January). However, it’s not just a matter of whether workers can survive having the time and freedom of post-work but also how to manage the transition from one to the other. As a retiree of almost 70, most of my friends and I fill our days with meaningful activity alongside pleasurable family and leisure time. Nonetheless, some of them found it hard to make the switch.

Fortunately the health service allowed me to cut down my job to half-time working at first, and this helped the process of letting go. Then, when leaving the NHS, I was fortunate to still have a private practice for a further six years, for which some of my friends envied me. They told me of the near trauma of stopping work being like falling off a cliff before they found new roles with which to challenge themselves and utilise their talents.

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01/21/2018 05:39 PM
The Guardian view on sporting diplomacy: scoring not shooting | Editorial
The joint North-South Korean ice hockey team planned for next month’s Winter Olympics is a small win, whatever their fortunes on the rink

Will a flag and half a dozen ice hockey sticks solve the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula? Of course not. If, as planned, a joint North-South women’s team strides forth under a pro-unification flag at next month’s Winter Olympics in the South, it will be a very small step forwards. But that is one of the paradoxes on which all sports diplomacy rests – it matters because it does not matter. The idea of using sports to improve fraught relations dates back at least to the Olympic Truce reached in Ancient Greece, supposedly on the advice of the Oracle at Delphi. The monarchs of Elis, Pisa and Sparta agreed that the hosts, athletes and accompanying parties would be able to participate in the games without any risk. In the modern age, ping-pong diplomacy helped thaw cold war tensions between the US and China. Sport is powerful as a symbol of national identity and vigour that engages the public, often passionately. Yet set beside bigger conflicts it is comically irrelevant – and therefore much safer. A nation may feel embarrassed at a loss, but no one dies.

A second paradox is that sports are about both competition and cooperation. George Orwell, writing a few years after the 1936 Berlin Olympics, took an exceptionally bleak view of international contests. Serious sport was “bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting,” he concluded.

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01/21/2018 05:55 PM
Weirdest photos of Trump's year one, from the Saudi orb to a big truck's cab

On the anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration, we look back at some of the strangest photos from his first year as president

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01/20/2018 05:00 AM
Donald Trump's first year: in his own words - video

Donald Trump's first year as US president has seen a daily battle with the media, a federal investigation into his campaign team and a series of domestic and diplomatic bust-ups. In his own inimitable way he describes the events as he sees them

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01/18/2018 03:19 PM
Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino frustrated at Southampton despite Kane

For Southampton, nothing was more satisfying than the sight of Mauricio Pochettino hopping up and down on the touchline as Tottenham Hotspur’s final attack petered out. It is almost five years since they introduced Pochettino’s gifts to English football and their gradual decline has been dispiriting to watch. Yet this gutsy performance was a reminder of happier times, filling Southampton with hope in their fight against relegation, and they took pride from making their former manager let out his frustration so visibly at the end of this absorbing game.

If there was a disappointment for Mauricio Pellegrino after weeks of mounting speculation over his future, it was that Harry Kane’s 99th Premier League goal denied his team a first league win in 11 matches, keeping them in 18th place with 14 matches left this season. They might have nicked it when Michael Obafemi, a 17-year-old striker, spurned a glorious opportunity to score on his debut after replacing Manolo Gabbiadini in the 82nd minute. Yet it spoke volumes that Southampton’s efforts earned them applause from their crowd after the final whistle. Their commitment restricted Tottenham to few clear opportunities and they can be confident of staying up if they maintain this level.

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01/21/2018 06:13 PM
Real Betis v Barcelona: La Liga – live!

40 min: The returning Umtiti is coming on for poor, old Vermaelen. Thanks for coming, Thomas.

39 mins: Thomas Vermaelen is once again injured. But what a run he’s had without being crocked. The Belgian pulled up as Betis broke on Barcelona. Looks like he’s coming off.

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01/21/2018 08:26 PM
'I smile a lot more': Jelena Dokic finds strength after adversity

Former tennis star’s book documents abuse she endured from her father, but Dokic is finding support all around, including from Nick Kyrgios’s mum

Jelena Dokic has succeeded in getting the tennis world talking, on a topic people find notoriously hard to talk about.

Returning to Melbourne Park to commentate for the first time since the release of her book Unbreakable, which documents in harrowing detail the abuse she endured at the hands of her father, Dokic has been overwhelmed by the support she has received.

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01/21/2018 06:00 PM
Alexis Sánchez could be the man to restore Manchester United’s glory | Jamie Jackson
The Chilean has similarities to Carlos Tevez, a key man in the 2007-08 side, and may give José Mourinho’s attack an edge

In Alexis Sánchez, José Mourinho is about to acquire another world‑class player as he plots to make Manchester United an elite domestic and European force again. Manchester City hold a 12-point advantage over Mourinho’s team so a credible title challenge will have to wait until next season. Yet Sánchez’s arrival can help to propel United to a strong finish and light up the Champions League campaign that they will resume next month with a last-16 tie against Sevilla.

This is why Mourinho was hired: to make United England’s dominant side once more and return them to the rank of continental heavyweights. To achieve this the XI must be decorated with footballers who can consistently turn matches. Sánchez’s arrival – his switch from Arsenal to United is expected to be completed by Tuesday – completes a triumvirate of these, as he joins David de Gea, a near-peerless goalkeeper, and Paul Pogba, one of the game’s pre-eminent midfielders. Sánchez’s preferred starting position may be on the left but, as he will be United’s focal point, the Chilean’s arrival will mean the team have a formidable spine.

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01/21/2018 05:57 PM
Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots: AFC championship game – live!
  • Jaguars (12-6) and Patriots (14-3) meet for a place in Super Bowl LII
  • Tweet Hunter at @HunterFelt or email him

Jaguars 0-3 Patriots, 5:01, 1st quarter

They get to their own 49 and that’s as far as they will get as Malcolm Butler takes down lee. Jaguars end their first possession on a punt.

Jaguars 0-3 Patriots, 6:01, 1st quarter

The Jaguars keep handing going to Leonard Fournette, putting together drives. On 3rd an 2 he passes to Allen Hurns for 3 yards and a first down.

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01/21/2018 08:23 PM
Steve Smith denies ball-tampering after Australia captain is seen wiping lip
• Video has led to speculation that he rubbed lip balm on ball
• ‘It’s the way I get spit from the side of my mouth and on the ball’

Steve Smith has quashed talk of ball‑tampering after footage emerged of the Australia captain wiping his lip before shining the ball in the 34th over of England’s innings during the one‑day international in Sydney on Sunday.

Related: Jos Buttler century inspires England to series-clinching ODI win over Australia

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01/21/2018 03:43 PM
Javi Gracia faces repair job as Marco Silva’s Watford affair ends in tears

The Portuguese coach forged a thrilling side at Vicarage Road but his courtship of Everton leaves a sour taste all round

Watford have announced the former Málaga manager Javi Gracia as their new head coach following their surprise decision to dismiss Marco Silva.

Gracia arrived in England Sunday afternoon – shortly after news of Silva’s sacking was confirmed – and has signed a contract until the summer of 2019 having been approached by club officials before Watford’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester on Saturday.

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01/21/2018 06:41 PM
Bloodied Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice as Real Madrid beat Deportivo 7-1

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice but had to leave the pitch with his face covered in blood as Real Madrid eased their domestic crisis by hammering Deportivo La Coruña 7-1 at home on Sunday to reclaim fourth place in La Liga.

Real had lost two of their last three league games and got off on the wrong foot against relegation-threatened Deportivo when the former Atlético Madrid forward Adrián López put the visiting side ahead against the run of play in the 23rd minute.

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01/21/2018 05:31 PM
One year on, has Trump kept his promise? A Pennsylvania county gives its verdict – video

Members of Donald Trump's base in Northampton County, which supported him in 2016 after twice backing Barack Obama, remain passionate – but some voters appear to be moving away from the president.

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01/20/2018 06:00 AM
Rally against sexual harassment held in London – video

Crowds gathered in central London on Sunday to protest against sexual harassment and support the Time’s Up movement that was launched in the US. Helen Pankhurst, a women's rights activist and the great-granddaughter of the suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, addressed the rally and called for 2018 to be the year that inequality is stamped out

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01/21/2018 04:54 PM
Jacinda Ardern is not the first world leader to be pregnant in office – video report

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, has announced she is pregnant. The last time an elected world leader was pregnant in office was in 1990 when Pakistan's prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, had her daughter Bakhtwar

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01/19/2018 04:58 PM
Rokhaya Diallo: 'As a black woman, my freedom of speech didn't have value'

Rokhaya Diallo is a French journalist and activist who was appointed to the CNNum, the national digital council at the end of last year. Her appointment sparked controversy due to some of her opinions about state racism and Charlie Hebdo, and the French government bowed to pressure to remove her from the board. She speaks with Iman Amrani about what happened, how she feels President Emmanuel Macron, and freedom of speech

Une version de la vidéo en français peut être visionnée ici

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01/17/2018 01:04 PM
Sucker punch: small town boxing in rural America is going mainstream - but who benefits?

Rough N Rowdy offers local hopefuls, most with limited skills and little training, the chance to win $1,000 and make a name for themselves in the boxing ring. The event is being broadcast by Barstool Sports, whose CEO, Dave Portnoy, refers to boxers taking part as 'rednecks' 

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01/16/2018 10:29 AM
Drone rescues swimmers in Australia in world first – video

Help came from the air for two teenage swimmers struggling in powerful surf, in what the local authorities called a 'world first'. A member of the public spotted the 16- and 17-year-old boys caught in a rip current in rough seas off Lennox Head, a New South Wales beach popular with surfers. A Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver drone was quickly launched and directed to their location, where it deployed a life raft then used by the pair to get back to safety. Australia, whose 24 million people live mostly on the coast, had 291 drowning deaths in the year ending 30 June 2017

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01/18/2018 05:46 PM
We Have Lift-off | Made In Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent residents are fed up with it being known as the 'Brexit capital of Britain'. After being swamped by negative media stories during the referendum and recent byelection, local people are fighting back against the stereotypes

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01/15/2018 07:33 AM
£1 for a house: made in Stoke-on-Trent

This is the Portland street estate, a community ravaged by years of cuts. The council made a bold move in an attempt to turn the estate around – but how did the £1 homes experiment turn out?

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01/15/2018 07:34 AM
Prevail | Made in Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent’s cultural quarter is growing fast, with an independent and DIY spirit, but how does this affect the rest of the city? An answer is found in the remarkable story of Vixta, an artist about to go public for the first time

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01/15/2018 07:34 AM
A Potted History | Made In Stoke-on-Trent

Paladin Works is a time capsule of a building that embodies the history of Stoke-on-Trent. It began life as a pottery factory, but since that went bust it has hosted manufacturing, sales teams and even a cannabis farm. Does it hold the key to Stoke's future?

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01/15/2018 07:35 AM
Ben Whishaw: ‘Julius Caesar is leading the Trump‑like revolution’
The actor on self‑doubt, being the voice of Paddington Bear, and what his latest play, Julius Caesar, says about politics today

Ben Whishaw made headlines in 2004, when as a recent Rada graduate he was cast by director Trevor Nunn in the title role of Hamlet at the Old Vic. He has worked extensively in film, television and on stage, and since 2012 has played the part of Q in the James Bond film series.

You’re about to play Brutus in a new Nicholas Hytner production of Julius Caesar – what’s your take on that role?
Well, I’m finding it really difficult at the moment. Shakespeare wrote the play just before Hamlet, and it’s got a Hamlet-like quality. What I’m finding quite difficult is that Brutus can make what turns out to be a bad decision – to assassinate Julius Caesar – and yet he never entertains the idea that he could have been wrong. He has such faith and self-belief. It’s interesting, because lots of politicians behave that way.

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01/21/2018 09:00 AM
The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind review: Bilbo Baggins with mulch and menace

Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Bruton
From grumpy goats to pitchforks … countryside wonders and terrors come to life in this chaotic survey of our relationship with nature

It is all going down at Durslade Farm, Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset art venture. There will be cheese-making. There will be baking and wood-fired oven demonstrations. Goats shall be milked. Fernando García-Dory’s Goat Pavilion project, devised with Hayatsu Architects, opens The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind. Curated by Adam Sutherland, director of Grizedale Arts in the Lake District, the show, with its theme of society’s contradictory relationship with the rural, is full of promise. The title itself is a migrant’s drinking toast, and encapsulates feelings of hope and longing.

The goat man arrived with his goats, ready to install them on a specially designed climbing frame on a lawn between the buildings. The goats are meant to clamber about and socialise. But the pitch of the steps and ramps are too steep for the larger animals, and the goat farmer thinks they would churn up the lawn to a muddy morass in no time at all if given the chance. It was raining. Goats don’t like the wet and wouldn’t leave their trailer. Someone should have asked the farmer, a local top man in his field, or possibly the goats themselves, but they didn’t.

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01/21/2018 12:25 PM
So Many Reasons review – clever and candid coming-of-age tale

Camden People’s theatre, London
Racheal Ofori is a British-Ghanaian millennial reckoning with sex, spirituality and herself in this refreshing one-woman show

Headlining Calm Down Dear, an annual festival of feminist theatre at Camden People’s Theatre, is Racheal Ofori’s likable and refreshingly candid one-woman show. So Many Reasons introduces us to Melissa, a British-Ghanaian millennial who wants to take control of her body.

Growing up is always hard to do, but for pious Christian teenager Melissa it proves particularly tough. She transforms from a child accused of being a lesbian because she could run fast into a disillusioned young woman, pinned like a butterfly by the expectations of Ghanaian and western culture and by her religion.

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01/21/2018 01:25 PM
Saturday Night Live: time for #TimesUp but sketches sell Jessica Chastain short

The show took on the president’s surprisingly clean bill of health as well as the Women’s March, Stormy Daniels and Robert Mueller

Sarah Sanders (Aidy Bryant) is here, and she’s explaining the border wall: “It will be paid for by Mexico, with US taxpayer money”. Then she introduces Dr Ronny Jackson (Beck Bennett), to explain “just how not fat the president is”.

Related: Saturday Night Live: Bill Murray as Steve Bannon … but downhill from there

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01/21/2018 03:07 PM
The Tale review – stunning sexual abuse drama is the mother of all #MeToo movies

Laura Dern stars as a woman coming to terms with her own molestation in Jennifer Fox’s landmark film

I’ve attended the Sundance Film Festival for about a decade and, until now, there’s always been a constant. After a big premiere, the men’s room adjacent to the enormous Eccles Theater is brimming with chatter. As the credits rolled on Jennifer Fox’s The Tale there was stony silence. I’ve never seen anything like it - the hushed lavatory or, quite frankly, this film.

The Tale rattled me in ways I didn’t know I still could be rattled. This deliberately paced, remarkable exploration about sexual abuse, consent and way we second-guess ourselves is the mother of all #MeToo movies. Perhaps if I knew going in that I would see (simulated) child molestation and hear the phrases predators use to lure children into thinking that their bond is “too pure for regular society to understand”, I would not have had such a visceral reaction. Would Jennifer Fox and company take it as a compliment if I told them that their movie almost made me throw up? Because it did, but only because this remarkable achievement is so damn effective.

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01/21/2018 01:00 PM
Julie Fowlis/Celtic Connections gala review – Gaelic song in full force

Various venues, Glasgow
Gaelic singer Fowlis is flawless during a solo show, while the festival’s 25th-anniversary gala misses its chance to advance the genre

‘Because this is happening in a Gaelic song,” jokes Julie Fowlis, “we know it won’t end well.” Fowlis wears her tradition lightly and deeply. It’s a pivot that comes with assurance; the Gaelic singer/multi-instrumentalist is a seasoned TV presenter, a poster girl for Gaelic culture, a bonafide trad music star whose slick fifth studio album, Alterum, has just been released. Nothing to prove here.

On Alterum, Fowlis explores supernatural places and spaces – an orphic world of selkies, kelpies and whispering birds. And, like everything at her Celtic Connections show, she treats the theme with a gentle touch. Her voice is flawless, glossy and just a bit breathy. A Gaelic version of Paul McCartney’s Blackbird comes across as inescapably fey, but elsewhere the sound is edgier. “I’ll do something radical now,” she says. “I’ll sing in the other language.” A stripped-back Americana version of Anne Briggs’s Go Your Way gives her warble a touch of Emmylou Harris. Fowlis can sing like a diva, but she keeps it sweet.

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01/21/2018 11:55 AM
A new Nigella Lawson cake for our 200th issue – and other recipes for a celebration

To mark the 200th edition of Observer Food Monthly, top cooks and chefs offer treats fit to mark any special occasion

I had many run-ups to this cake before choosing the one that was fit to celebrate OFM 200. I wanted sweetness, light and beauty: a cake that felt special. And this does feel special, not just to eat and look at, but also to make. I felt encouraged towards a more whimsical creation than I might normally bake, but nothing too dauntingly difficult. This is not everyday baking – nor does it celebrate an everyday occasion – but the whisking of egg whites to make the marshmallow icing (inspiration for which I thank the ever-illuminating, ever-inspiring American baker-sleuth Stella Parks, author of the compendious BraveTart), the pulling out of the snowy spikes, and toasting with a blow torch brought such a smile-inducing element of playfulness to the kitchen that the very act of making it felt like an essential part of the celebration for me.

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01/21/2018 11:00 AM
Lord of the ring road: see Iceland through the windscreen

A driving holiday around Iceland’s Golden Circle and south coast gives a widescreen view of its cinematic landscape

We’ve only been on the road for 20 minutes and already the cinematic comparisons are flowing like lava. Game of Thrones. Lord of the Rings. Spaghetti western? “No, Narnia.” Frozen! It could be all of them, depending on where your gaze settles. One minute it’s all glacial rivers and snow-capped mountain ranges, turn the bend and you’re plunged into a desolate landscape of lava fields as black as coal dust; seconds later it’s Middle-earth, with moss-green meadows and cascading waterfalls. It’s widescreen Netflix on speed.

Related: Iceland on film: a road trip around the 'Hollywood of the north'

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01/21/2018 10:00 AM
My 18-year-old daughter is having a baby with my stepson | Dear Mariella

This may turn out to be the terrible mistake you foresee but you must get behind this young couple and support them, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma I have been with my husband for 13 years, married for 11. We have children but not together. My daughter was five when we met, she is now 18 and my husband’s only child is 22. He recently moved back home with us and he and my daughter formed a very close relationship with each other. Back in July 2017, it came to light that my stepson and my daughter were having a sexual relationship. This has been going on for six months now and I recently found out that she is pregnant. I have seen my daughter for a total of an hour in the past five months as she moved out with my stepson to his mother’s. We have tried to talk on the phone, but it never ends well. I know some people feel it’s OK because they are not blood related, but they were raised as family and my husband and I feel betrayed and our family circle is broken. I miss my daughter like crazy, but I worry that the more I try the more damage is being caused. I want us to be a part of each other’s lives, but I am too hurt and can’t accept this. My heart is just too broken and I’m confused, conflicted and at a loss.

Mariella replies Get over it. These kids are young adults now and about to have a baby. Whatever your reservations were and no matter how justified your misgivings, the horse has well and truly bolted and your only option is to get behind your daughter and stepson and give them your support.

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01/21/2018 06:00 AM
The Fordwich Arms, Fordwich, Kent: ‘A good first day in a new job’ – restaurant review | Grace Dent

The smallest town in the country is set for an influx of outsiders after the re-opening of this brilliant pub

Declaring in print that any new joint is a blissful find is probably a spurious blessing. Presently, Fordwich, three miles east of Canterbury and officially Britain’s smallest town, is gorgeously unspoiled. By this I mean Fordwich is unbesmirched by Londoners, who, as I write, lie a mere 63 miles away and are now reading that Dan Smith, an ex-Clove Club chef, has taken harness of a gargantuan country boozer in this tiny town.

Recall, if you will, the plight of the poor people of Seasalter in north Kent when Stephen Harris transmogrified The Sportsman into a restaurant-world sacred cow. Seasalter did not deserve the metropolitan elite washing up daily, in their peculiar trousers, whiffling on about keto-diet options and normalising £11 for a slice of salt-baked celeriac.

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01/20/2018 10:00 AM
The ugly truth about family WhatsApp groups | Nikesh Shukla

In the first of his new column, Nikesh Shukla reveals how a plan to make his WhatsApp group more interesting backfires badly

I f you have a family WhatsApp group, you can guarantee there’s a fringe group in existence, too. My fringe group is called “Family Moans”. Here is where we comment on annoying things said in the main family WhatsApp group. Usually, it’s how passive aggressive (name redacted) has been or why (name redacted) is mansplaining (name redacted)’s job to them given that (name redacted) works in (profession redacted) not (profession redacted).

The family WhatsApp group is an obligation, much like going home for Diwali or being the first one to text your parent a happy birthday. It’ll never be as fun as the groups you have with your mates. But you can never get annoyed and leave. Not if you want to be a good family member. When our one was first set up, I found it excruciatingly dull. It was often just my dad and sister making arrangements.

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01/21/2018 09:00 AM
Sarah Ferguson claims £45m in damages from Murdoch’s News Group

Duchess of York reportedly blames Mazher Mahmood sting for loss of business opportunities

Sarah Ferguson has reportedly demanded about £45m from Rupert Murdoch, claiming the now defunct News of the World wrecked a series of business opportunities for her when its former reporter Mazher Mahmood caught her in a sting.

The sum is significantly greater than the £25m the Duchess of York was said to have claimed when she initially sued News Group Newspapers, the former publisher of the paper, in 2016.

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01/21/2018 06:02 PM
Seven UK police forces report zero charges under anti-slavery law

Experts concerned that despite rising number of reports under Modern Slavery Act 2015 few cases lead to charges

At least seven police forces in England have not charged a single person under modern slavery legislation introduced more than two years ago.

The Modern Slavery Act was put in place in May 2015 to make prosecution easier and help protect victims. But despite a rising number of reports under the act, several police forces have not charged anyone while others have done so only in one or two cases.

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01/21/2018 08:23 PM
Theresa May: I will fine greedy bosses who betray their workers

• PM pledges tough rules to tackle pensions abuse
• Whitehall weighs up plan to target executives

Irresponsible company bosses who “line their own pockets” while failing to protect workers’ pension schemes are to be hit with huge fines, under plans to be announced by Theresa May’s government within weeks.

Writing in the Observer after a week which saw the collapse of Carillion, the construction and outsourcing giant, with a deficit in its pension scheme of up to £900m, the prime minister says her government will act urgently to stamp out “abuse”.

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01/20/2018 09:30 PM
New blue badge rules to benefit people with hidden disabilities

Changes to scheme mean people with autism and dementia could be entitled to parking permits

People with hidden disabilities could soon be entitled to blue badge car parking permits under Department for Transport proposals.

The DfT said the change would make it easier for people with conditions such as dementia and autism to travel to work, socialise and access shops and services in England.

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01/21/2018 06:04 PM
Labour warns of 'conflict of interest risk' with supplier oversight

Research finds those policing public sector contractors such as Carillion often sit on company boards

Labour has warned that the crown representatives who are supposed to police public sector suppliers such as the failed construction company Carillion face potential conflicts of interest, as its own research showed that several hold external directorships and one was a Tory donor.

A dossier produced by the party showed that the former admiral Sir Robert Walmsley, who is responsible to the taxpayer for monitoring the outsourcing multinational Serco, also sits on the board as senior independent director of two defence contractors, Ultra Electronics and Cohort plc.

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01/21/2018 06:18 PM
Better maternity leave could help universities retain women – study

Researchers say universities with generous policies employ twice the number of women professors

Better maternity leave could boost British productivity by encouraging qualified women to stay in the workforce, according to researchers who found universities with the most generous maternity leave employed twice the number of women professors compared with those offering the least.

Vera Troeger, a professor of economics at Warwick University, said her research found that the universities with the best maternity leave policies were better able to retain qualified women who went on to become professors and receive higher pay.

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01/21/2018 03:36 PM
Lloyd's of London to divest from coal over climate change

Firm follows other big UK and European insurers by excluding coal companies from 1 April

Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, has become the latest financial firm to announce that it plans to stop investing in coal companies.

Lloyd’s will start to exclude coal from its investment strategy from 1 April. The definition of what is a coal company and the criteria for divestment will be set over the coming months.

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01/21/2018 03:35 PM
UK courts service spending sees tenfold rise since 2010

Outsourcing and temporary staff costs rocketed over period when MoJ suffered deep cuts

The courts service spent £50m last year on agency and contract staff, a more than tenfold rise since 2010 when it spent less than £4m, while courts have been closing at an unprecedented rate.

The annual cost of temporary staff has rocketed over a period when the Ministry of Justice has suffered the deepest cuts of any Whitehall department and closed more than 220 courts across England and Wales.

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01/21/2018 02:29 PM
Drug violence blamed for Mexico's record 29,168 murders in 2017

Homicide rate surpasses that from peak year of country’s drug war in 2011, official figures show

Mexico recorded more than 29,000 murders in 2017, the highest annual tally in decades, government figures have shown.

The country has struggled with years of violence as the state has battled drug cartels that have increasingly splintered into smaller, more bloodthirsty gangs.

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01/21/2018 07:25 PM
Technology will widen pay gap and hit women hardest – Davos report

Research into jobs finds men’s dominance in IT and biotech is reversing trend towards equality

The gulf between men and women at work – in both pay and status – is likely to widen unless action is taken to tackle inequality in high-growth sectors such as technology, say researchers at this week’s World Economic Forum summit in Davos.

A new WEF report on the future of jobs finds the dominance of men in industries such as information and biotechnology, coupled with the enduring failure of women to rise to the top even in the health and education sectors, is helping to reverse gender equality after years of improvements.

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01/21/2018 12:20 PM
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's risky gamble could quickly turn sour | Simon Tisdall

Turkish president defies Russia, the US and Bashar al-Assad with assault on Kurds in Syria

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Kurdish vendetta has taken a dramatic new twist with the cross-border ground assault on the Afrin enclave in north-west Syria.

Defying Russia, the US, and Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Turkey’s headstrong president is betting on a decisive victory over Syrian Kurd forces. But his risky gamble could quickly turn sour.

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01/21/2018 02:14 PM
Amazon's first checkout-free grocery store opens on Monday

Using ‘just walk out’ technology to end queues, Amazon Go fires a warning to the high street

Amazon will open its first checkout-free grocery store to the public on Monday, moving forward with an experiment that could dramatically alter bricks-and-mortar retail.

The Seattle shop, known as Amazon Go, relies on cameras and sensors to track what shoppers remove from the shelves, and what they put back. Cash registers and checkout lines become superfluous: customers are billed after leaving using a credit card on file.

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01/21/2018 05:04 PM
Germany's SPD gives cautious green light to Merkel coalition talks

Martin Schulz’s speech greeted with sarcastic applause and ovations for party leader’s critics

Germany has inched a step closer to forming a new government after the centre-left Social Democratic party (SPD) gave its lukewarm endorsement for a renewed Angela Merkel-led “grand coalition”.

At a special SPD congress in Bonn that welcomed a speech by the party’s leader, Martin Schulz, with sarcastic applause and saw standing ovations for his fiercest critics, 56% of the party’s delegates voted in favour of moving on to the second and final stage of coalition talks with Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

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01/21/2018 05:38 PM
Turkey starts ground incursion into Kurdish-controlled Afrin in Syria

Move follows intense aerial bombardment of enclave, with Kurdish militias shelling Turkish border province in response

Turkey said it had begun a ground incursion into the Kurdish enclave in Syria known as Afrin a day after intense aerial bombardment that signalled the opening of hostilities in a new phase of Ankara’s involvement in the war across the border.

Related: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's risky gamble could quickly turn sour | Simon Tisdall

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01/21/2018 11:20 AM
Tonga's shirtless Rio 2016 flag-bearer qualifies for Winter Olympics
  • Pita Taufatofua qualifies for cross-country skiing at Pyeongchang
  • Athlete gained fame after opening ceremony at Rio 2016

Pita Taufatofua, the bare-chested and oiled Tongan taekwondo athlete who carried his country’s flag at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has qualified for the Pyeongchang Games as a cross-country skier.

The 34-year-old, who went viral when he stepped into the limelight at the opening ceremony in Brazil, told the Olympic Channel that he had made it after a last ditch attempt in Iceland.

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01/21/2018 05:27 PM
Trump administration could be sued over pesticide threat to orca and salmon
  • Fishing industry and environmentalists mull lawsuits
  • EPA tried to delay report detailing chemicals’ harm to wildlife

Commercial fishermen and environmental groups could file lawsuits against the Trump administration, if it fails to follow a recommendation by one of its own agencies to protect salmon, sturgeon, orca and other endangered species in the Pacific north-west.

Related: Common pesticide can make migrating birds lose their way, research shows

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01/21/2018 01:45 PM
In depth: how millennials are making their way in a new and different world

Even if they could follow in the footsteps of their parents, young adults today have other ideas – driving political change, volunteering, and creating new kinds of community. A different set of priorities have emerged as the ‘new normal’

Earlier this year, while reflecting on the current economic situation during an interview with the television programme 60 Minutes in Australia, the luxury property developer Tim Gurner noted that you were never going to be able to afford to buy your first home when you were spending “$40 a day on smashed avocado and coffees”.

Gurner elaborated, saying that he’d only accrued his vast wealth by getting into the gym at 6am in the morning and working until 10.30pm at night. We see this kind of thinking all the time. If only young people could stop it with their coffees and their social media and their partying, then maybe they’d actually be able to get on and do the things that older generations did: get a job, get married, buy a house. Never mind the fact that, in the UK, house prices have tripled in the past 20 years; or that the average price of a house in London has risen from £55,000 in 1986 to £489,000.

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11/06/2017 04:01 PM
Inside the world’s largest co-living space: ‘You’ve got a whole community under one roof’

When Tjalling van den Burger accepted a job in London, he needed to find a place to live – and like a growing number of young people faced with sky high rents, he turned to co-living. So what’s it like sharing a communal space with more than 500 people?

“Searching for a flatshare in London while still living in the Netherlands was almost impossible,” says Tjalling van den Burger. He had accepted a job with a tech company in London and was faced with the daunting prospect of arriving with nowhere to live – until a friend recommended he try The Collective.

A sleek 10-storey tower in Old Oak, west London, The Collective claims to be the world’s largest co-living scheme, with about 550 residents. It aims to give tenants, whose average age is 28, a communal life, with every aspect – from utility bills to entertainment – taken care of. It’s much like a university halls of residence for young professionals, albeit a very luxurious one.

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10/18/2017 10:52 AM
Six simple tips to future-proof your finances

If you’ve told yourself you’ll get your money matters in order ‘later down the line’, you could miss out on some serious cash when you’re older. Follow these easy steps for a more secure future

According to the American playwright Tennessee Williams, it’s far easier to be young without money than it is to be old without it, and sadly we’d have to agree with him. Setting up your future finances sooner rather than later won’t just help you sleep more soundly, it should pay off in the long term too. And the good news is, it doesn’t take too much effort. Here are some ideas you might want to consider:

Be consistent
When was the last time you checked your credit rating? It’s a good idea to check it annually, since your rating can affect the options available to you, from which credit card is obtainable to whether you’re offered a mortgage. Experts say the key to having a good credit rating is showing lenders you’re a “stable bet”, so ensure you pay bills and credit card statements on time. Ensure you’re registered to vote (you can get on the electoral roll by visiting and aim to avoid changing your address too often. To check your rating, look up Equifax, Experian or Callcredit – they’re the three main UK credit agencies who send data about us to lenders.

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12/05/2017 02:30 PM
Money worries: how to deal with the stress of a sudden cost

If unexpected bills are inducing panic, take some time before you act, work on a strategy and share your worries. Two psychology experts reveal their tips for overcoming the emotional stress of a cashflow problem

When you’re hit by a sudden, unexpected expense, you can think about little else. It can happen in any number of ways: a broken boiler that needs replacing, a hefty bill you forgot to budget for, a sudden unexpected change in your housing situation. How can you avoid that stress spiralling out of control? Kim Stephenson, financial psychologist and author of Finance Is Personal, and Nigel Nicholson, professor of organisational behaviour at London Business School, suggest ways to help you cope with the ups and downs of dealing with bank balance panic. Here are six key tips.

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11/22/2017 04:46 PM
Anger that drove the Arab spring is flaring again

Riots in Tunisia echo the events of 2011, when unrest swept the Middle East

When the people of Balta wanted to protest, they had to leave town. “This place is so small that blocking the road is like sitting in your own hall – no one notices,” said Wathik Balti, a 19-year-old student.

So in December, they headed to the nearest motorway, where dozens of them blocked an important junction for hours and called on the government to do something about the lack of jobs, the chronic corruption and the faltering public services that blight the picturesque village.

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01/21/2018 07:00 AM
Zadie Smith: ‘I have a very messy and chaotic mind’

Zadie Smith has been a vital literary voice since her first novel, White Teeth, became an instant bestseller. Here she answers questions from famous fans, including Teju Cole, Philip Pullman and Sharmaine Lovegrove, and a selection of our readers

Zadie Smith’s second collection of essays, Feel Free, could be described as a tour through her enthusiasms punctuated with diversions. She writes with equal fervour about Jay-Z’s rapping, which “pours right into your ear like water from a tap”, as about Edward St Aubyn’s “rich, acerbic comedy”. Her early dislike of Joni Mitchell is used as a segue into a discussion of philistinism and taste. A booklet on early Italian masterpieces sparks an examination of the concept of corpses and the unthinkability of death.

Although the subjects may seem wide-ranging, she says, “they always seem very narrow to me. I’m very familiar with what I’m enthusiastic about, and it’s hard to see variety in your own tastes.” The only thing they all have in common is how passionately she feels about them. “I like to know I love something before I pitch it. For me, writing 3,000 words about something you don’t really like is a kind of torture.”

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01/21/2018 09:00 AM
A blueprint for British housing in 2028
Imagine this: in two years, riots force the government to transform planning, design and building – and make Britain a world leader in housing. A utopian dream? It’s not as unlikely as you think

It is 2028, and in the old mill towns of east Lancashire terraced houses once destined for demolition have been rescued and renovated by residents who bought them for almost nothing. In the garden towns that have grown up in Bedfordshire you can walk to work through natural landscape. In Somerset, as in other shires, the next generation no longer has to move out, thanks to additions to villages planned by and for the people who live in them.

London borough councils are jointly building tens of thousands of the homes the city needs each year. Luxury towers in London, Manchester and Birmingham, left empty after the Great Crash of 2019, have been colonised by squatters who have formed themselves into cooperatives. In the outer suburbs of the big cities, declining high streets have been revived through the construction of four- and five-storey apartment buildings.

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01/21/2018 09:00 AM
Elena Ferrante: 'I loved that boy to the point where I felt close to fainting'

In the first of a new weekly series, the novelist recalls her first love

Some time ago, I planned to describe my first times. I listed a certain number of them: the first time I saw the sea, the first time I flew in an aeroplane, the first time I got drunk, the first time I fell in love, the first time I made love. It was an exercise both arduous and pointless.

For that matter, how could it be otherwise? We always look at first times with excessive indulgence. Even if by their nature they’re founded on inexperience, and so as a rule are not very successful, we recall them with sympathy, with regret. They’re swallowed up by all the times that have followed, by their transformation into habit, and yet we attribute to them the power of the unrepeatable.

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01/20/2018 07:00 AM
On the Amazon’s lawless frontier, murder mystery divides the locals and loggers

The Ka’apor tribe fight a daily battle in Brazil’s Maranhão state to protect their forests

Sairá Ka’apor patrolled one of the most murderous frontiers in the world, a remote and largely lawless region of the Brazilian Amazon where his indigenous community has fought for generations to protect their forest land.

Armed with clubs, bows and arrows, GPS trackers and crude guns, he and fellow members of Ka’apor Forest Guard drove off – and sometimes attacked – loggers who intruded into their territory, the 530,000-hectare Alto Turiaçu Indigenous Land, which is roughly three times the area of Greater London and contains about half of the Amazon forest left in Brazil’s northern Maranhão state. That vigilante role came to an end last April when Sairá was stabbed to death in Betel, a logging town close to Ka’apor territory.

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01/21/2018 12:05 AM
Kate Moss: ‘I still get excited – I’m still shocked when I get a campaign’

The model talks wild times, heroes and her charity shop habit with photographer David Bailey

Kate Moss Right. We’ve been given some questions, and I’m going to ask you: “What is the wildest shoot or trip you’ve been on together?” We haven’t been on any trips together – but the wildest shoot?

David Bailey Every shoot we ever do.

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01/20/2018 09:00 AM
Sledging and dog sled racing: Sunday's best photos

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world

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01/21/2018 01:06 PM
Beehives, bobs and blow-dries - in pictures

A new exhibition dedicated to charting the history of hairdressing makes its international debut at The Civic, Barnsley, running from 17 February – 7 April 2018

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01/21/2018 12:04 AM
Your pictures: share your photos on the theme of 'gold'

Wherever you are in the world, this week we’d like to see your pictures on the theme ‘gold’

The next theme for our weekly photography assignment in the Observer New Review is ‘gold.’ Share your photos of what gold means to you – and tell us about your image in the description box.

The closing date is Wednesday 24 January at 10am. We’ll publish our favourites in The New Review on Sunday 28 January and in a gallery on the Guardian site.

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01/21/2018 09:00 AM
All eyes on the Australian Open – a photo essay

Marking 30 years of grand slam tennis at Melbourne Park, our photographer Jonny Weeks captured the opening days of this year’s tournament

Almost 750,000 spectators will flood into Melbourne Park over the course of the Australian Open to watch one of the showpiece events in the tennis calendar. It’s been the home of Australian tennis since 1988, when the facilities were purpose-built to replace those at Kooyong.

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01/20/2018 11:21 PM
Women's marches mark Trump's first anniversary – in pictures

On the anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration, women across America marched against his presidency

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01/20/2018 11:55 PM
Guide to the new season's bags: the wish list – in pictures

Top handle or crossbody? Studded or brightly coloured? This season’s gorgeous new bags are the perfect finish to every outfit

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01/20/2018 11:45 PM