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Latest World news news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Hundreds of worshippers killed in Egypt mosque attack

Scores more wounded after al-Rawdah mosque in north Sinai targeted in attack marking major escalation in battle with insurgents

At least 235 people have been killed and scores more injured in a bomb and gun assault on a mosque in Egypt’s north Sinai, in the deadliest attack in the country in recent memory.

A bomb ripped through the mosque as Friday prayers were finishing, before militants in four off-road vehicles approached and opened fire on worshippers, a military source told the Guardian. Some witnesses said they had seen around 20 attackers.

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11/24/2017 07:26 PM
Emmerson Mnangagwa promises 'free and fair' elections in Zimbabwe

Former vice-president vows to tackle corruption and reimburse farmers as he is sworn in to replace Robert Mugabe

Profile: who is the ‘Crocodile’ taking power in Zimbabwe?
Road to ruin: how the Mugabes’ time ran out

Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as the third president of Zimbabwe since the country gained independence in 1980, taking the oath of office in front of 70,000 people in Harare’s main sports stadium.

Mnangagwa raised a loud cheer when he pledged that “free and fair elections” would be held next year as scheduled and that the “people’s voice would be heard”.

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11/24/2017 04:30 PM
Ireland on the edge of turmoil just as a steady hand is needed most

Fianna Fáil’s threat to coalition’s future could weaken Ireland’s position as it goes into a critical phase of Brexit negotiations.

The timing of Ireland’s Fianna Fáil party’s decision to pull the trigger on the coalition government couldn’t be worse in terms of the nation’s post-Brexit future – and many will agree that it shows Westminster politicians do not have the monopoly on putting personal ambitions before country.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin insists he does not want a general election and will save the government if it gets its scalp – the resignation of the taoiseach’s deputy, Frances Fitzgerald.

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11/24/2017 10:32 PM
Trump lawyers believe Flynn poised to cooperate in Russia inquiry – reports

Former national security adviser’s lawyers have reportedly halted talks with Trump’s team, pointing to possible deal with special counsel Robert Mueller

Lawyers for Donald Trump believe the former national security adviser Michael Flynn is on the verge of “flipping” and cooperating with investigators into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, according to reports.

Related: 'Women are pissed': Trump protest turns to action – and surge in female candidates

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11/24/2017 07:54 PM
South African court doubles Oscar Pistorius's prison sentence

State argued athlete’s original sentence of six years for murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was ‘shockingly lenient’

A South African appeal court has more than doubled the former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s prison sentence for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The supreme court of appeal (SCA) increased Pistorius’s sentence from six years in prison to 13 years and five months.

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11/24/2017 09:18 AM
Germany’s SPD is ready for talks to end coalition deadlock

But party leader Martin Schulz, who is opposed to alliance with Merkel’s CDU, wants members to be polled on the issue

Martin Schulz, the leader of Germany’s Social Democratic party, has said he will not stand in the way of his party forming a “grand coalition” with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, signalling a potential end to a lengthy deadlock over the formation of a new German government.

Schulz, who has persistently expressed his opposition to the continuation of a leftwing-conservative alliance, insisting German voters clearly showed their opposition to it at elections on 24 September when they gave the SPD its worst result since the second world war, has said he wants party members to be polled on the issue first.

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11/24/2017 01:14 PM
Honduran president makes contentious bid for second term

Polls put Juan Orlando Hernández ahead in election campaign held under shadow of alleged corruption and crime

Allegations of election fraud, tyranny, drug trafficking and interference by communist provocateurs will cast a long shadow over Hondurans when they head to the polls on Sunday for a vote that threatens to plunge the volatile Central American country into fresh political turmoil.

Juan Orlando Hernández, the pro-business, pro-militarisation president representing the rightwing National party, is using a contentious 2016 court ruling to justify his bid for a second term in power, despite the constitution prohibiting re-election of sitting or former leaders.

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11/24/2017 06:15 PM
New York woman shot dead with pistol by hunter who thought she was a deer
  • Rosemary Billquist, 43, killed by single shot as she walked dogs
  • Shooting occurred after sunset, when it is illegal to hunt

A 43-year-old woman walking her dogs in a field in western New York was accidentally shot dead by a hunter who thought she was a deer, authorities said.

The Chautauqua County sheriff’s office said Rosemary Billquist, of Sherman, took her dogs for a walk in her home town near the Pennsylvania border around 5.30pm on Wednesday.

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11/24/2017 04:10 PM
Japanese politicians force colleague with baby to leave chamber

Yuka Ogata took seven-month-old son to work to highlight difficulties parents have amid acute shortage of childcare places

Weeks after Ivanka Trump lauded Japan’s progress on women’s participation in the workforce, a female politician was forced to leave the chamber after her colleagues objected to the presence of her seven-month-old child.

Yuka Ogata had taken her son to a session of the Kumamoto municipal assembly on Wednesday to highlight the difficulties many Japanese parents – particularly women – face juggling their careers with raising children, amid an acute shortage of nursery places.

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11/24/2017 12:09 PM
Saudi Arabia still barring aid to Yemen despite pledge to lift siege

Saudi-led coalition has failed to lift blockade on Yemen’s ports, leaving tens of thousands without food and medicine

Aid agencies said Saudi Arabia has not fulfilled its promise to reopen humanitarian aid corridors into northern Yemen, leaving the main aid lifeline closed for tens of thousands of starving people.

Following intense pressure from western governments, Saudi Arabia agreed on Wednesday to lift a fortnight-long blockade of the port of Hodeida from noon (9am GMT) on Thursday, but in an update at lunchtime on Friday, aid agencies said no permissions for humanitarian shipments had been given.

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11/24/2017 07:21 AM
Amazon tribe saves plant lore with ‘healing forests’ and encyclopedia

In a bid to safeguard knowledge the Matsés in Peru have been planting “medicinal agroforestry” plots and written a 1,044-page two-volume book.

The seven indigenous Matsés elders were slowly meandering through the forest. They were explaining how different trees and plants are used for medicinal purposes, exchanging stories about how they had acquired their extraordinary knowledge and put it to good use. There were memories of an encounter with a jaguar and someone’s father struck by some kind of pain in the eye - “not conjunctivitis!” - while claims were made for successfully treating women haemorrhaging, snake-bite, a swollen leg and constipation.

The forest we were in was actually more of a garden - or “healing forest” or “medicinal agroforestry” plot - planted late last year by six young Matsés men under the expert guidance of elder Arturo Tumi Nëcca Potsad. “There are all types [of trees and plants] here,” Arturo told the Guardian, holding a spear made of peach palm and looking about him. “About 100 types, 3,000 plants.”

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11/24/2017 12:40 PM
Dutch wine joins the big cheeses on EU’s list of specialities

The Netherlands may be more famous for edam and gouda, but its winemakers are tasting success credited to climate change

A Dutch wine produced on the stony banks of the Maas river is set to join champagne, parma ham, and stilton cheese, among the European delicacies given protected status by the EU, in what is said to be the latest consequence of climate change to the geography of wine making.

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11/24/2017 02:26 PM
Would-be Obama assassin identified by cat hairs, authorities say

Fur on an explosive package was matched to cats owned by Julia Poff, accused of attempted postal attacks on former president and Texas governor

The person behind a plot to harm and possibly kill Barack Obama was identified, authorities said, when tiny cat hairs found on an explosive package were matched to cats owned by a 46-year-old Texas woman.

Legal documents filed in a Houston court this week detail the case against Julia Poff, who is accused of mailing homemade packages to the then president and to the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, in October 2016.

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11/24/2017 06:52 PM
Pentagon likely to announce US has 2,000 troops in Syria, not 500 – officials
  • Military set to acknowledge accounting system has underreported presence
  • After Trump-Erdoğan call, Turkish minister says no more US arms to Kurds

The Pentagon is likely to announce in the coming days that there are about 2,000 US troops in Syria, rather than the 500 the military has said are in the war-torn country.

Related: 'Facing disaster': children starve in siege of Syria's former breadbasket

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11/24/2017 09:55 PM
'Facing disaster': children starve in siege of Syria's former breadbasket

With a political breakthrough unlikely at upcoming talks, people in eastern Ghouta face shortages of food, fuel and medicine

The sight of a woman weeping as she drags her malnourished children into a clinic is not rare in eastern Ghouta, which is under siege by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad.

But when one mother told Abdel Hamid, a doctor, that she had fed her four starving children newspaper cutouts softened with water to stop them from screaming into the night, even he was stunned.

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11/24/2017 05:00 AM
French president to launch 'cultural war' on sexual abuse

Emmanuel Macron to set out emergency plan aimed at educating public and pupils, and improving police system for victims

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is to launch a “cultural war” against sexism and sexual violence with a five-year emergency plan including educating secondary school children about pornography and simplifying the system for rape and assault victims to go to the police.

When Macron won the presidential election in May, his centrist movement promised not only to overhaul the existing political party system, but to rethink sexual politics and gender equality – a campaign issue that Elysée officials said “pre-dated” the scandal surrounding abuse allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and others.

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11/24/2017 04:47 PM
Ireland faces possible snap election over police scandal

Fianna Fáil party threatens to pull support for government unless deputy prime minister Frances Fitzgerald, of Fine Gael, resigns

Ireland is on the verge of a snap election after the party that props up the country’s minority coalition government threatened to pull down the administration over a police whistleblower scandal.

The prime minister, Leo Varadkar, faces the prospect of going to the polls as early as next month, in the middle of a crucial summit on the EU, Britain and Brexit at which the stakes are high for the Irish Republic.

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11/24/2017 05:18 PM
Argentina: grief and anger after 'explosion' near missing submarine

Sound described as ‘abnormal’ was heard on day that contact was lost, navy spokesman confirms

The families of the crew of a missing Argentinian navy submarine have reacted with grief and then anger to the possibility that an explosion hit the submarine around the time it sent its last signal on 15 November.

An abnormal sound detected in the South Atlantic ocean was “consistent with an explosion”, the navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said. The navy did not have enough information to say what the cause of the explosion could have been or whether the vessel – the ARA San Juan – might have been attacked, he said.

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11/23/2017 07:08 PM
Road to ruin: how the Mugabes' time ran out

Grace Mugabe was returning home when she spotted soldiers in the streets. Within hours the army had taken power

As dusk turned to dark in Zimbabwe last Tuesday, a convoy of three vehicles drove fast towards Harare, the capital, entering the city from the north.

Related: Grace Mugabe: the rags to riches rise and fall of 'Gucci Grace'

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11/23/2017 06:59 PM
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards call for ban on Franco foundation

Petition filed in parliament says foundations glorifying Hitler or Mussolini would be unthinkable in Germany or Italy

More than 200,000 Spaniards have signed a petition filed in parliament on Thursday asking the government to ban the National Francisco Franco Foundation (FNFF), which glorifies Spain’s former dictator.

“In Germany or in Italy, it would be unthinkable to have a Hitler foundation or a Mussolini foundation,” read the petition, filed by a group that included descendants of victims of the Franco regime, in power from 1939 to 1975.

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11/23/2017 04:35 PM
The $3bn subway station – and other urban white elephants

From Alaska’s ‘bridge to nowhere’ to Pyongyang’s Hotel of Doom, via a €1bn arts centre that leaks, here are the world’s most high-profile wastes of capital

How much should one subway station cost? The city of Toronto has an answer. The plan to extend transit in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough winds back at least a decade: at one time the plan was a seven-stop light-rail line; later a three-stop subway. Today, Scarborough is preparing to replace its six-stop automated train with just one single, solitary subway station, for a mere C$3bn (£1.8bn).

Is that a wise investment? Time will tell, but in a recently unearthed 2013 assessment the transport agency Metrolinx calls it “not a worthwhile use of money”. Many voters in Scarborough feel differently, and Toronto’s mayor, John Tory, has no plans to change course.

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11/24/2017 07:00 AM
Bilbao on the prairie: why does tiny Saskatoon need an $85m art gallery?

Saskatoon’s awe-inspiring new Remai gallery has vast ambitions. But does the overspend and hype about indigenous art justify all the bluster?

‘This isn’t just a gallery, it’s an act of making a city,” says Bruce Kuwabara, founding partner of KPMB Architects, at the opening of the Remai Modern, a vast glass-and-steel art museum in Saskatoon. The C$84.6m (£51m) project would be a major event for any city, let alone a small university town of 250,000 in the wheat-filled Canadian prairies.

Saskatoon is on the cusp of something. It’s the third fastest growing city in Canada, has one of the country’s youngest demographics and its economy is growing (though not as fast as it was). The latter fact is thanks in great part to an oil and gas industry that, controversially, is charged some of the lowest tax rates in the world and has helped create more than 8,000 millionaires in the province of Saskatchewan. The Remai Modern – four horizontal cantilevered volumes in a raised position by the South Saskatchewan river – is also the recipient of one of the biggest philanthropic arts donations in Canadian history.

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11/23/2017 05:00 PM
The haves and have-nots: four cities in crisis

On the surface, Ulaanbaatar, San Francisco, Calais and Jerusalem could not be more different – but for the people squeezed out by political upheaval or prohibitive rents, the urban 21st century looks disturbingly uniform

More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities, but many people are residing in a state of limbo, leading a precarious existence on the margins, excluded from the promises of urban life. The world’s population is on the move more than ever before, driven by conflict and persecution, by the threat of environmental catastrophe and the lure of a better life, but cities simply aren’t prepared to receive their new arrivals.

Over the last two decades, Guardian photographer David Levene has documented the ways that people are living and working in cities around the world, how they make do with the bare minimum of resources to carve out space for themselves and their families in the most precarious of circumstances, and how cities are being polarised into places of haves and have-nots, with the right to the city relentlessly eroded.

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11/21/2017 07:30 AM
Behind the 'Medellín miracle': why the smart kids are going to hip-hop school

Every night across the world’s former murder capital, young boys and girls study the four elements of hip-hop to transform a generation – and rehabilitate a city

“When my family moved to Medellín, all I could see was drugs, violence and prostitution,” says Zuleima Pérez, 21. “My best hope was to get married, have kids and find some basic job. This school allowed me to think bigger.”

Around us, in the graffitied courtyard of a high school in Aranjuez – formerly the most notorious of Medellín’s barrios – kids of all ages mill about. Bass spills from the adjoining classrooms. In one room, an exasperated teacher is leading infants in a warm-up; in another, teens are being marshalled in breakdancing exercises with the intensity of a military drill. Upstairs, a group of twentysomethings contort to a remix of Notorious BIG’s Kick in the Door.

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11/20/2017 07:30 AM
Cycling downhill: has Copenhagen hit peak bike?

The share of trips taken by bike in Denmark’s capital has fallen. With ever more cars on the road and a new metro line about to open, can Copenhagen reach its target to have half of all journeys made by bike?

It’s 8am on a rainy weekday morning on Copenhagen’s Nørrebrogade street and the stream of cyclists making their way into city centre is already getting jammed.

Cyclists often have to wait through two or three rounds of green lights before they can get past. At Dronning Louise Bridge – one of the busiest cycle routes in the world, with 48,400 bikes crossing each day – newly installed information boards remind riders to pas på hinanden, or be aware of each other.

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11/17/2017 07:30 AM
Raze, rebuild, repeat: why Japan knocks down its houses after 30 years

Unlike in other countries, Japanese homes become valueless over time – but as the population shrinks, can its cities finally learn to slow down and refurb?

In the suburban neighbourhood of Midorigaoka, about an hour by train outside Kobe, Japan, all the houses were built by the same company in the same factory. Steel frames fitted out with panel walls and ceilings, these homes were clustered by the hundreds into what was once a brand new commuter town. But they weren’t built to last.

Daiwa House, one of the biggest prefabricated housing manufacturers in Japan, built this town in the 60s during a postwar housing boom. It’s not unlike the suburban subdivisions of the western world, with porches, balconies and rooflines that shift and repeat up and down blocks of gently curving roads. Most of those houses built in the 60s are no longer standing, having long since been replaced by newer models, finished with fake brick ceramic siding in beiges, pinks and browns. In the end, most of these prefabricated houses – and indeed most houses in Japan – have a lifespan of only about 30 years.

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11/16/2017 07:29 AM
Punta Arenas in the spotlight: Chile's oil-rich gateway city to the Antarctic

It once hosted Captain Scott and serves as a jumping-off point for expeditions to the icy wastes to the south. Global investment lies ahead – and better housing for the city’s indigenous population

When Robert Scott’s frozen remains were recovered 105 years ago this week, Antarctic exploration was a European-only affair. Now it’s a bustling global concern, poised to open up even more as the ice caps recede. Chile’s southernmost city, Punta Arenas, a wind-bitten port of nearly 130,000 on the Strait of Magellan, is jostling for position as gateway city to the Antarctic.

It welcomed Scott himself in July 1904 when the Englishman sent 400 letters announcing the safe return of his Discovery expedition at the post office on Plaza Muñoz Gamero. One of his officers pronounced the city a “wretched-looking place”. Not so much now, with Punta Arenas hosting the national Antarctic programmes of 20 countries and becoming one of Chile’s fastest-growing cities in the process.

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11/13/2017 11:52 AM
Sí, seniors: the Chilean city with grand plans to be the best place to grow old

Promising supervised flats, nursing homes and levelled streets, Valdivia’s Gerontological Hub project is tackling Chile’s ageing crisis head-on. Can it offset the country’s shockingly low privatised pensions?

Imagine a city that allows you to live your final years with grace and dignity. Where, if you’re alone and facing challenges but still physically and mentally independent, you can move into an apartment complex with a supervisor to provide support and organise workshops and gatherings in a community room. Where there’s an affordable transport system adapted to your needs, along with well-lit and maintained streets that won’t cause falls, as well as extended crossing times at traffic lights, roofs over the pavements to shelter you from the rain and attractive plazas and parks offering exercise equipment.

If your health is impaired, you can receive home visits from caregivers, priority healthcare at clinics and hospitals, and access to rehabilitation centres. Where there are flexible opportunities to re-enter the labour market if your pension isn’t enough. And if you can’t care for yourself and have no support network, there are well-equipped and staffed nursing homes.

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11/13/2017 07:30 AM
The stereo cycles of Sicily: Palermo teens pump up the velo – in pictures

Bici Palermo Tuning – a group of teenagers from the Sicilian capital – spend anything up to €1,300 customising their bikes with car batteries and multiple speakers to develop thunderous sound systems. The police are not impressed

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11/10/2017 07:26 AM
'If I'm stratum 3, that's who I am': inside Bogotá's social stratification system

Every district in Colombia’s capital is rated 1 to 6 for affluence, and its services subsidised accordingly. But is a laudable idea creating division and stigma?

“It’s good quality for the price,” says Carlos Jiménez, a construction worker, as he sips his coffee and leans against the polished counter in Tostao’, a coffee shop in Bogotá’s bustling working-class district of Tunjuelito.

Despite being one of the world’s biggest coffee producers, Colombia has traditionally exported its best beans, and the few chains that do sell it are expensive; Colombians have instead developed a taste for tinto, a sweet brew made out of leftover beans.

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11/09/2017 07:30 AM
'Sweet, innocent, good at ping pong? Screw that!' The new show savaging Chinese stereotypes

Tired of being cast as gymnasts or great table tennis players, the women behind new sitcom Chinese Burn shaved their heads and came out fighting

‘Chinese girls,” says the voiceover. “Sweet, innocent, submissive Chinese girls. Conservative and virginal – good at maths, ping pong and looking after men.” The voice is accompanied by a sequence of appropriate images: a gymnast, an engineer, a table tennis player. Then we suddenly hear the sound of a needle scratching across a record and an unruly voice spits: “Screw that! Here are three Chinese girls who kick that shit in the ballbag!”

Which is pretty much the premise of Chinese Burn, a caustic sitcom in the style of Fleabag. Its ballsy leads – Jackie, Elizabeth and Fufu – are on a mission to shake up the way east Asian women are perceived.

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11/22/2017 06:21 PM
Oxford Street panic triggered by tube station fight, say police

West End visitors ran and hid, two tube stations were closed and armed police raced to scene after incident during rush hour

An altercation between two men appears to have triggered the outbreak of mass panic in London on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, leading to people fleeing in fear, armed police being deployed and a section of the West End being evacuated.

British Transport Police issued a CCTV appeal for information about two men believed to be involved in a fight in Oxford Circus tube station on Friday afternoon as part of their inquiries into the cause of the panic.

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11/24/2017 11:28 PM
Richard Cordray quits as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director
  • Obama appointee attracted criticism from Republicans in Congress
  • Move to appoint deputy director sets up fight with Trump White House

Richard Cordray, the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), tendered his resignation on Friday.

Related: 'Women are pissed': Trump protest turns to action – and surge in female candidates

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11/24/2017 10:42 PM
Around Australia in a wheelchair: the four-month camping trip that almost broke us

Months after Kevin Hayley became a paraplegic, he and his partner Emma embarked on an 18,000km trip around Australia

“What the hell am I doing? This is completely insane,” I thought, watching as my boyfriend Kev vomited strenuously into a plastic tub. He slumped, shaking and exhausted, back on to a pile of fetid sheets, heated from within by his fever.

We were holed up in a motel room in Warrnambool, on the south-western coast of Victoria, on day two of a four-month camping trip around Australia. Beside the bed sat a shiny new wheelchair he didn’t know how to use.

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11/24/2017 09:21 PM
Tiger is shot dead in Paris after escaping from circus

Police tweet that ‘all danger is over’ after tiger is killed by circus staff near the Eiffel Tower, some time after it escaped

A tiger escaped from a circus and roamed the streets of Paris before being killed, French police have said.

The big cat was “neutralised” by a staff member from the circus near a bridge over the river Seine, about a mile from the Eiffel Tower.

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11/24/2017 07:56 PM
Briton held in Turkey on terrorism charges released on bail

Former soldier Joe Robinson was arrested while on holiday in July after spending a month in Syria with Kurdish militia in 2015

A former British soldier who was arrested in Turkey on suspicion of terror offences after he joined the struggle against Isis in Syria has been released on bail after four months in jail, his family confirmed.

Joe Robinson, 24, from Accrington, Lancashire, was on holiday in July in the town of Didim, about 62 miles (100km) north of Bodrum, south-west Turkey, when police raided the resort where he was staying with his Bulgarian fiancee and her mother.

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11/24/2017 07:16 PM
Florence court puts foot down over Michelangelo's David

Civil court orders tour firm to remove images of famous nude from marketing used to sell expensive tickets to museum

His are the most famous curves in Florence and adorn everything from aprons to fridge magnets, but images of Michelangelo’s David can now only be used with official authorisation, a court in Italy has ruled.

The 16th-century marble statue is the star attraction at the Galleria dell’Accademia, which took legal action against a tour company that used an image of the Biblical nude in marketing for €45 (£40) tours of the art museum, which normally costs €8 to enter.

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11/24/2017 06:40 PM
Irene, the south-London pensioner who sent sewing machines to Sally Mugabe | Letters
One day an official black limousine arrived at the door and it was Sally Mugabe herself who had come to see her friend Irene and to collect the latest batch of machines

As we reach the close of the Mugabe era in the life of Zimbabwe, I would like to share a story about Robert Mugabe’s first wife, Sally, who was loved by the people and is still thought of as the founding mother of the nation. Her early death in 1992 from kidney failure was one of the factors that marked a turning point in the life of the country. Sally is also remembered with affection by a friend of mine and an old friend of hers, an elderly lady now living in a care home in Croydon. Irene Owens, who is now 98, lived and worked In Zimbabwe in 1981. On her return home to London she found she couldn’t forget the country she had grown to love and decided to write to Robert Mugabe to inquire as to how she could help, an unusual letter bearing in mind that Irene was a pensioner in a small flat in south London. Mugabe passed the letter over to Sally, triggering the start of a firm and productive friendship between the two women.

Sally wrote back to Irene saying she was concerned for the welfare of the women of the country and requested sewing machines. Irene asked around and was able to find a few that had been tucked away unused in people’s cupboards. She didn’t have the means to ship them herself but arranged for Air Zimbabwe to fly them out at no cost. Irene continued to spread the word about the need for sewing machines and they began to pour into the tiny flat in Dulwich. One day an official black limousine arrived at the door and it was Sally Mugabe herself who had come to see her friend Irene and to collect the latest batch of machines. The two women enjoyed chatting over a cup of tea.

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11/24/2017 06:40 PM
Iraqi inquiry needed into Mosul killings | Letters
Kate Allen of Amnesty International says the cold-blooded killings of captives and civilians reported by the Guardian’s Ghaith Abdul-Ahad must be investigated

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad’s extremely disturbing report on Iraqi government soldiers torturing and cold-bloodedly killing captives after this year’s battle for Mosul should be urgently acted on (After the liberation of Mosul, an orgy of killing, 22 November). The authorities in Baghdad should establish an independent, impartial inquiry into all aspects of the conduct of its troops and allied forces – including United States and United Kingdom ones – during this cataclysmically bloody assault.

Deliberately killing fighters who have surrendered or who have been captured is absolutely prohibited under international law. Needless to say, killing civilians in these circumstances is also utterly unlawful – a war crime.
Kate Allen
Director, Amnesty International UK

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11/24/2017 06:39 PM
Judy El-Bushra obituary

My mother, Judy El-Bushra, who has died aged 73, was a bright star in the world of feminism, action research and development in east and central Africa and the Horn of Africa. Her long and varied work in gender and conflict studies has helped underpin peacebuilding in those regions. She worked on issues including community-based HIV/Aids response, micro-finance and pastoralism.

Her approach was to challenge assumptions such as “women are peace-loving” and “men are violent”, and recognise that women and men, girls and boys live with gender identities which are relational, and which are all subject to, and agents of, power relations. She firmly believed that violent conflict is anchored in an ordered, gendered structure, and that gender analysis expands our understanding of women and men, leading to improved conditions for all.

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11/24/2017 05:57 PM
'Politics is still a man’s game': can Nepal's elections finally bring stability?

The tortuous journey from Hindu monarchy to secular republic has entailed 26 governments in 27 years, with Sunday’s elections exposing further political rifts

Voters in Nepal go to the polls on Sunday hoping to bring an end to the chronic political instability reflected in the rise and fall of 26 governments in the past 27 years.

No government has completed a full term since the restoration of multi-party democracy in 1990, and most have lasted less than 12 months, due to constant political turmoil marked by shaky coalitions and backroom deals.

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11/24/2017 02:02 PM
Rules of war 'need urgent review' as civilian deaths hit record high

Germany and Austria urge UN member states to tackle ‘devastating harm’ caused by airstrikes and bombs in urban areas

The record number of civilians killed or injured by explosive weapons in worldwide conflicts last year has prompted calls for UN member states to conduct an urgent review of military rules of engagement.

Germany and Austria have urged states to prevent and reduce the “devastating harm” to civilians from airstrikes and bombs in urban areas.

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11/24/2017 01:06 PM
Blood flows and rivers run dry as Honduras prepares to go to the polls – in pictures

With the country poised for Sunday’s elections, the murder of environmentalists in Honduras is being directly linked with water and food shortages, violence and migration. Photographer Sean Hawkey visited what has become a frontline of climate change conflict

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11/24/2017 07:00 AM
Canadian firm to face historic legal case over alleged labour abuses in Eritrea

Appeals court rules against mining company Nevsun Resources, clearing way for workers to have claims of human rights violations heard in Canadian court

A Canadian mining company has lost its bid to block a lawsuit accusing it of human rights abuses against miners in Eritrea after a ruling by an appeals court in British Columbia.

The decision, against Nevsun Resources, paves the way for a groundbreaking legal challenge that links the Vancouver company to allegations of modern slavery.

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11/23/2017 01:52 PM
British risk complicity in Yemen 'famine crime', says Alex de Waal

Africa analyst believes UN inaction makes security council members accessories to crisis in Arab nation gripped by cholera, hunger and violence

Britain is in danger of becoming complicit in the use of starvation as a weapon of war in Yemen, academic and author Alex de Waal has said.

“The UK and the US, and others on the security council risk becoming accessories to the worst famine crime of this decade,” said De Waal.

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11/23/2017 10:00 AM
'Sweet freedom': remarkable recoveries in a mental health project in Croatia | Tracy McVeigh

Lives that were dominated by medication and restraints behind the locked doors of an old-style asylum in Osijek are being transformed. Now many of its residents are enjoying greater independence in shared apartments in the nearby community, with carers to give them support when they need it

Photographs by Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change/The Guardian

Stjepan Getto, 83, lived in an institution for 27 years. He went in to tackle his alcoholism, the only help offered by social welfare. Getto could have left at any time, but there was never a realistic option where he could live outside but still have the mental health support he needed.

In 2014 he was given a flat in Osijek, eastern Croatia, where he lives with Jelica Getto, a woman he met in the mental health centre and married in 2016.

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11/23/2017 07:00 AM
'Famine as mass atrocity': in conversation with Alex de Waal – podcast

When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, they planned to starve 30 million people to death. Seven decades on, famine as a weapon of war is making a comeback, says the author of an authoritative new history

Twenty years after publishing an influential book on starvation as a crime against humanity, Alex de Waal returned to the subject to find that political and military elites continue to act with scant regard for human life. Yet since famine is manmade, political decisions could end it for good, says the executive director of the World Peace Foundation ahead of the publication of his new book Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine

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11/23/2017 12:01 AM
‘Screaming in terror’: teen survivor relives ordeal of Guatemala children’s shelter fire

Eight months after the fire that killed 41 girls locked in a room at an orphanage in San José Pinula, memories of the tragedy continue to haunt those seeking justice

There was so much smoke that Estefani Sotoj Hernández couldn’t see anything. But she could hear the screams as girls struggled to escape the flames that engulfed the Virgen de la Asunción children’s home.

“[The fire] was really small at first, and then it got really big and there was so much smoke,” says Estefani. “I was very afraid. Everybody was screaming in terror. You couldn’t tell what was happening to your body. It was really hot and many [of the girls] lost consciousness, others were burning.”

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11/22/2017 10:43 AM
'Shocking' political rhetoric on refugees aims to poison debate, UN official warns

Special representative Louise Arbour attacks politicians’ anti-migrant language and lack of awareness on issues such as remittances, worth $429bn in 2016

The language used to describe people caught up in the migration crisis has been attacked by a special representative of the UN as “deliberately invidious” and aimed at poisoning public debate.

Using terms such as “illegal” rather than “irregular” migrants, or “hordes, waves and swarms” rather than simply “large numbers”, conveniently obscures the vulnerabilities that come from being a foreigner, said Louise Arbour, the UN secretary general’s special representative for international migration.

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11/22/2017 07:00 AM
I escaped war in Syria and am now free to dream – but other kids aren't so lucky | Bilal Rwaeh

On World Children’s Day, the Guardian invited a young Syrian refugee now living in the UK to tell us the stories we should be covering. Unsurprisingly, Bilal’s focus was on refugees, and the need for children to catch up on missed education

I am Bilal and I am from Syria. I have been here one year. When I came to the UK I couldn’t speak English and it was very important to connect with people.

On our journey from Syria we went into Turkey illegally with no passport. It was very dangerous because we didn’t know where we were going and on the way there were four mountains. Many families lost their children in this way. Children walk more quickly than adults and sometimes the Turkish army would catch the parents or the children separately and people would get lost. My family were very lucky – my mother, father and two brothers – that we all stayed together. I knew nobody in Turkey but we had to leave Syria.

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11/21/2017 04:28 PM
Trump's judicial picks: 'The goal is to end the progressive state'

Donald Trump is radically reshaping the same federal courts that have been the biggest bulwark against his agenda – by picking mostly white, conservative men

Donald Trump has sustained more than his fair share of political losses during the first 10 months of his presidency, mostly at the hands of the federal courts.

It was the federal courts that struck down his “Muslim travel ban” on three separate occasions, that blocked his ban on trans people in the military and that did the same to his attempt to defund so-called sanctuary cities.

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11/22/2017 12:14 PM
China turns its back on Comrade Bob to embrace change in Zimbabwe

Resignation of Robert Mugabe greeted with relief in Beijing, which for years was autocratic leader’s most powerful ally

Confirmation of Robert Mugabe’s ouster prompted revelry on the streets of Harare. “The Goblin has gone!” raved one.

Thousands of miles away in Beijing – for years Mugabe’s most powerful backer – there were no obvious signs of jubilation.

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11/22/2017 06:30 AM
End to Mugabe rule: other autocratic leaders may fear similar fate

As jubilation erupts in the streets at the resignation of Zimbabwe’s president how will the downfall affect the rulers of Uganda, DRC, Rwanda and Burundi?

The fate of Robert Mugabe, who ran Zimbabwe with iron discipline for more than 30 years, will send a chill down the spines of other autocratic African leaders who may have out-stayed their welcome.

General Constantino Chiwenga, the armed forces chief, kicked away the military prop supporting Mugabe’s presidency last week. Mass protests in Harare, Bulawayo and other cities showed the president had lost popular support. On Tuesday, Mugabe’s party comrades began the process of impeaching him, leading finally to his long overdue resignation.

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11/22/2017 03:57 AM
Zimbabwe's strange crisis is a very modern kind of coup

Historically, African takeovers have been seismic and violent, but now participants are more wary of international opinion

It looked like a coup from a movie: a convoy of armoured vehicles, the president under house arrest, and the general on the nation’s screens talking of “restoring stability” in the small hours of the morning.

But since the military takeover in Zimbabwe a week ago events have departed from the script. President Robert Mugabe has not been harmed and remains in power, at least theoretically. When he refused to resign on live television on Sunday night, there were no repercussions. To oust him, parliament are using a cumbersome process of impeachment.

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11/21/2017 05:00 AM
Australia will have its own Weinstein reckoning. It's just a matter of time | Van Badham

The local stage and film industry is small and speaking out carries bigger risks. But behind closed doors, a storm is brewing

Did you hear about the stand-up comedian? High-profile, well-known – and banned from several local venues because he touches up the female comedians. No one’s gonna talk about it – “not until he dies in an alcohol-fuelled car accident”, a friend from the scene has said. But the women don’t like him. They don’t feel safe when he’s around.

What about the young male theatre maker? Before he started getting main stage gigs he was still doing shows on the fringe, and became obsessed with a woman also working with one of the theatres. He got her number, would not stop calling her, told her that he was in love with her, and one night, when she was at work, he cornered her. She just started bellowing until someone heard and intervened. She told the artistic director what happened; the man agreed to stop calling her, and to stay away from her when his show was on. But that was it.

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11/21/2017 04:16 AM
Collapse of German coalition talks underlines Merkel's weaknesses

The FDP’s Lindner has been painted as the villain but the chancellor must bear some responsibility for other parties’ reluctance to work with her CDU

After exploratory talks to form Germany’s next government collapsed in dramatic fashion shortly before midnight on Sunday, the culprit was quickly found: Christian Lindner, the cocksure leader of the pro-business Free Democratic party (FDP) who had staged a well-orchestrated walkout, makes an all-too convincing villain of the piece.

But in the coming weeks German media will have to ask whether the real reason for the political paralysis in Europe’s biggest economy ultimately lies with another politician: Angela Merkel, the incumbent chancellor.

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11/20/2017 02:11 PM
The Guardian view on Brexit and the Irish border: Britain’s shameful dereliction | Editorial
From the referendum campaign onwards, Brexiters have ignored the dire implications for Ireland. The neglect is a political and moral failure alike

Throughout his career, Gerry Adams relentlessly singled out the British government for the blame in Ireland’s troubles. In truth, the responsibility for Northern Ireland’s miseries was widely shared, not least with the IRA and Sinn Féin, of which Mr Adams has been for so long the chief strategist. Yet it is ironic that the Sinn Féin leader announced his retirement from frontline politics at the weekend. For Mr Adams is stepping down at the very moment when a British government is unambiguously the sole cause of a massively hostile act against Ireland, north and south, in the form of a hard Brexit.

From start to finish, Conservative Brexiters have shown that they simply could not care less about Ireland. In the referendum campaign, few gave even a passing thought to the impact of a leave vote on the relationship between Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK and the republic. When the vote went their way – though they lost in Northern Ireland – the Brexiters then gave bland assurances that the decision would make absolutely no difference to the island’s soft border, the legacy of the peace process, or north-south and east-west cooperation.

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11/19/2017 07:14 PM
This is redistribution for Zimbabwe’s elite, not revolution in a ruined nation | Jason Burke

Comrade Bob and Grace may go, but little good will come if power is retained in the hands of Zanu-PF septuagenarians

Drive any distance anywhere in Zimbabwe beyond the upmarket Borrowdale neighbourhood in Harare, where Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are detained in their sprawling mansion, and the scale of the challenges facing what was once one of the wealthiest countries in Africa is evident.

In the capital, the roads are potholed, outside they are cracked and crumbling. Banks are so short of cash that people wait hours to withdraw even tiny sums. The only jobs are in government service, yet salaries are rarely paid. The best and the brightest have long fled abroad. Warehouses are empty, fields lie fallow. The busiest store in rural villages is the “bottle shop”, selling dirt-cheap spirits.

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11/18/2017 09:21 PM
Can Trump spare us his outrage on sexual harassment? | Jessica Valenti

This is a man who has been accused of sexual assault, harassment, groping, overt misogyny and more dozens of times over. His hypocrisy is galling

As if it weren’t enough that every day is bringing a new allegation of harassment or assault against a powerful man, the most powerful serial harasser in the country decided to weigh in over Twitter. This is a man who has been accused of sexual assault, harassment, groping, overt misogyny and more dozens of times over.

A man who has called his daughter a “piece of ass,” who walked into the dressing rooms of teenagers and who said he found Paris Hilton attractive when she was 12 years old. How dare he, truly.

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11/18/2017 04:07 PM
Emmerson Mnangagwa promises democratic elections for Zimbabwe - video

Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, acknowledges Robert Mugabe’s contribution to the nation and promises democratic elections in 2018 in his inaugural speech on Friday

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11/24/2017 01:18 PM
North Korean defector has nightmares about returning, says surgeon – video report

North Korea's latest defector, a young soldier known only by his family name Oh, is a quiet, pleasant man who has nightmares about being returned to the north, says his surgeon John Cook-Jong Lee. Video of Oh's escape, released this week, shows him stumbling over the border and South Korean troops dragging him unconscious through undergrowth 

• North Korean defector a 'nice guy' who likes watching CSI – surgeon

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11/24/2017 11:05 AM
Donald Trump tells coast guard the 'invisible' F-35 wins every time – video

In a Thanksgiving speech to the US coast guard, President Donald Trump hails the F-35 fighter jet, calling it an "invisible" plane that they "enemy cannot see". 

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11/24/2017 01:09 AM
'Explosion' detected near Argentinian sub's final signal – video report

An abnormal sound detected in the South Atlantic ocean hours after an Argentinian navy submarine sent its last signal last week was ‘consistent with an explosion’, a navy spokesman said on Thursday

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11/23/2017 07:16 PM
Backstage at the opera and pole vaulting: Wednesday's best photographs

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world including daily life in Honduras, politics in London, Libyan bikers and famine in Yemen

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11/22/2017 02:44 PM
Ratko Mladić, the 'butcher of Bosnia' – video profile

Ratko Mladić has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of genocide by a UN tribunal at The Hague. He ordered the murders of more than 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica during the Bosnian civil war in 1995 and then spent 14 years in hiding before his arrest

Ratko Mladić convicted of war crimes and genocide at UN tribunal

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11/22/2017 01:47 PM
'I came down here to be forgotten': life in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas – video

An estimated 300 people live in the flood tunnels underneath Las Vegas, and many of them struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Paul Vautrinot was one of them, but he now works for the community organization Shine a Light, which offers services including housing and counseling to people living in the tunnels. Vautrinot visits the tunnels regularly to try to help residents find a way out

  • Outside in America is a year-long series on homelessness in the western US. The project focuses on people on the frontline of a devastating crisis and enables readers to take action to help solve the problem. Find out more and sign up to our monthly newsletter
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11/22/2017 12:00 PM
Mladić removed from court after angry outburst – video

Ratko Mladić is removed from the courtroom of the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on Wednesday, the day of his conviction from genocide and war crimes

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11/22/2017 11:32 AM
North Korean soldiers shoot defector as he escapes – video

The UN command has released a dramatic video showing the desperate dash to freedom made by a North Korean soldier. The video released on Wednesday shows the defector driving a jeep past North Korean checkpoints before he crashes the vehicle, jumps out and runs for his life, pursued by North Korean soldiers who are firing on him. One of the soldiers gives chase as he crosses the border but turns back. The vision also shows the man collapsed after being shot five or six times before he is rescued by South Korean soldiers

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11/22/2017 05:19 AM
'Look, he denies it. He totally denies it,' says Trump about allegations against Roy Moore – video

Donald Trump finally weighed in on the sexual misconduct allegations that have engulfed the Senate candidate Roy Moore. Asked if he was ready to talk about Moore, Trump said, ‘[Moore] denies it. Look, he denies it. He says it didn’t happen. You’re talking about … he said 40 years ago this did not happen.’ Trump’s comments come as the Moore campaign has stepped up its campaign against the allegations. They have repeatedly described the allegations as part of a campaign by the ‘fake news’ and the ‘Republican establishment’ to defeat Moore

Donald Trump appears to back Roy Moore: ‘Look, he denies it. He denies it’

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11/21/2017 10:30 PM