Latest international news, sport and comment from the Guardian
Kamala Harris issues sharp rebuke of Israel over ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza
Mon, 04 Mar 2024 00:22:10 GMT

The vice-president called for a ceasefire and the immediate release of hostages, in comments that appeared to be the strongest yet by a US leader on Gaza

US vice-president Kamala Harris has bluntly called out Israel for not doing enough to ease a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza as the Biden administration faces increasing pressure to rein in its close ally while it wages war with Hamas militants.

Harris, speaking on Sunday in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where state troopers beat US civil rights marchers nearly six decades ago, called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and urged Hamas to accept a deal to release hostages in return for a 6-week cessation of hostilities.

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Trump confuses Obama for Biden again at Virginia rally speech
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 16:36:40 GMT

Richmond crowd reportedly went silent as 77-year-old mixed up the president and ex-president for third time in past six months

Donald Trump confused Barack Obama for Joe Biden at a rally in Virginia on Saturday, triggering further questions about the age of the likely Republican presidential nominee who has made a string of such gaffes.

It also comes at a time of similar concerns about Biden. At 77 and 81 respectively, Trump and Biden are the oldest people to run for the presidency in US history.

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Haiti jailbreak: thousands of inmates feared to have escaped after gangs storm main prison
Mon, 04 Mar 2024 01:42:18 GMT

Jailbreak comes amid outbreak of violence while PM is in Kenya trying to salvage UN-backed security force

Hundreds of inmates have fled Haiti’s main prison after armed gangs stormed the facility in an overnight explosion of deadly violence that engulfed much of the capital.

The jailbreak on Saturday night marked a new low in Haiti’s downward spiral of violence. It began on Thursday as gangs stepped up coordinated attacks in Port-au-Prince while embattled prime minister Ariel Henry is abroad trying to salvage support for a UN-backed security force to stabilise the country.

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Real horsepower: escaped horses found galloping down longest highway in US
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 23:24:11 GMT

Rogue pair temporarily slowed Ohio traffic after escaping Cleveland police stables and making their way to Interstate 90

Motorists in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday were met with two horses running free down Interstate 90, the longest highway in the United States.

The pair of horses temporarily slowed down traffic over the weekend after escaping the Cleveland police stables and making their way to the highway.

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Germany accuses Russia of waging an ‘information war’ after alleged military leak
Mon, 04 Mar 2024 01:31:47 GMT

The recording of call involving military officers included a discussion of weapons for Ukraine and a potential strike by Kyiv on a bridge in Crimea

Germany’s defence minister has accused Russia of conducting an “information war” aimed at creating divisions within the country, in his first comments after the publication of an audio recording of a meeting of senior German military officials.

Russian media on Friday published a 38-minute recording of a call in which German officers were heard discussing weapons for Ukraine and a potential strike by Kyiv on a bridge in Crimea, prompting officials in Moscow to demand an explanation.

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Snow is nonstop in California’s Sierra Nevada as major highway stays closed
Mon, 04 Mar 2024 01:17:22 GMT

A 70-mile stretch of the major corridor was nearly impassable as blizzard conditions continue and a second storm is on the horizon

Blizzard conditions in California continued to batter the Sierra Nevada mountains on Sunday, keeping a 70-mile stretch of Interstate 80 closed near the Nevada state line, even as forecasters warned of more snow on the way.

Sections of Interstate 80 to the west and north of Lake Tahoe were made impassable by blowing snow piling up in lanes, with no estimate for reopening, the California Highway Patrol said.

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US lawmakers present bill to fund government and avert shutdown
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 23:00:29 GMT

The bill sets a discretionary spending level of $1.66tn for fiscal 2024 and still faces opposition from hardline House Republicans

US congressional negotiators on Sunday revealed a bill to fund key parts of the government through the rest of the fiscal year that began in October, as lawmakers faced yet another threat of a partial shutdown if they fail to act by Friday.

The legislation sets a discretionary spending level of $1.66tn for fiscal 2024, a spokesperson for Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said. It fills in the details of an agreement that Schumer and Republican House of Representatives speaker Mike Johnson set in early January.

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Italian warship forced to shoot down Houthi missile in Red Sea
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 16:10:18 GMT

Destroyer Caio Duilio, part of the EU shipping protection force, took out weapon when it came within four miles of the vessel

An Italian warship participating in the EU naval protection force in the Red Sea was forced to shoot down a Houthi missile on Saturday in a rare engagement by the country’s navy, which has largely avoided direct action since the second world war.

The incident came as Houthi officials vowed to continue to attack British ships after the UK-owned Rubymar sank on Saturday having taken on water for a fortnight after being hit by one of the group’s missiles.

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US attorney general tells Bloody Sunday service ‘the right to vote is under attack’
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 19:04:33 GMT

Merrick Garland warns of efforts to disenfranchise Black voters and says court decisions have weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act

The right to vote in the US is under attack, with sustained efforts to disfranchise Black voters, US attorney general Merrick Garland told a Selma church service commemorating the 59th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday police attack on civil rights activists.

Garland said decisions by the supreme court and lower courts since 2006 have weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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About 170 people ‘executed’ in Burkina Faso village attacks, official says
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 13:18:59 GMT

Regional prosecutor says he received reports of deaths in three northern settlements as jihadist violence flares

About 170 people were “executed” in attacks on three villages in northern Burkina Faso a week ago, a regional prosecutor has said, as jihadist violence flares in the junta-ruled country.

On that same day, 25 February, separate attacks on a mosque in eastern Burkina and a Catholic church in the north left dozens more dead.

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‘We were constantly in terror’: Israeli hostage tells of captivity in Gaza
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 15:00:04 GMT

Taken from her home on 7 October with three of her children, Chen Almog-Goldstein recalls being held captive by Hamas

Chen Almog-Goldstein refuses to forget her eldest daughter’s last moments. Yam, 20, was gasping for breath, having been shot in the face by Hamas gunmen, who minutes earlier had killed her father.

Almog-Goldstein, 49, did not see Yam or her husband, Nadav, again because she and her three surviving children were bundled into a car and abducted. During the seven-minute journey across the border into Gaza on 7 October, their two captors smiled and took photographs of the traumatised mother and children.

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Florida is swamped by disease outbreaks as quackery replaces science
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 13:00:02 GMT

The state is in the grip of a measles outbreak, yet Joseph Ladapo, the surgeon general, continues to ignore medical science to stop it

Shortly before Joseph Ladapo was sworn in as Florida’s surgeon general in 2022, the New Yorker ran a short column welcoming the vaccine-skeptic doctor to his new role, and highlighting his advocacy for the use of leeches in public health.

It was satire of course, a teasing of the Harvard-educated physician for his unorthodox medical views, which include a steadfast belief that life-saving Covid shots are the work of the devil, and that opening a window is the preferred treatment for the inhalation of toxic fumes from gas stoves.

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Jerusalem ‘land grab’: Armenian community fear eviction after contentious deal
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 11:00:12 GMT

A developer has acquired historic land at seemingly bargain rates, amid claims of links to a settler group

Under the walls of old Jerusalem, black-robed priests and students lined up beside barricades, a ­bonfire and a mound of rubble just after midnight in mid-January to sing in their new year with dozens of other Armenians.

The community had marched out from the nearby St James Cathedral to say prayers in a car park, ­bracing themselves for a year of battles over the buckled tarmac where they stood, illuminated by the headlights of a circle of cars.

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Actor Noomi Rapace: ‘I came from a poor farm, I’m not educated, no one opened doors for me’
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 09:30:08 GMT

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star on playing an astronaut, the significance of her surname and the time Orlando Bloom broke her nose

Born Noomi Norén, the 44-year-old Swedish actor Noomi Rapace left home aged 15 to study acting in Stockholm. She broke through globally in 2009 when she starred in the film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She has since appeared in films including Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Ridley Scott’s 2012 Alien prequel Prometheus and the Icelandic folk horror Lamb. Rapace can currently be seen in Constellation, an eight-part Apple TV+ thriller in which she plays an astronaut, Jo Ericsson, who returns to Earth after a disaster in space to find parts of her life and her family subtly upturned. Rapace lives between London and Lisbon and has a 21-year-old son.

In Constellation, you’re often not sure, as a viewer, whether what you’re watching is real or not. How would you describe the show?
It’s all real… some sort of real. And that’s what Jo is trying to figure out: has she lost her mind? Is she psychotic? Is it a huge conspiracy? That’s what is so brilliant about Peter Harness’s writing: he doesn’t feed us easy solutions or truths. It feels like looking into a broken mirror. And I like watching films and shows that have that complexity, because it doesn’t treat me like I’m stupid.

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When my youngest child died, I had to find a way to move forward
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 12:00:11 GMT

Somehow I had felt a tragic sense of foreboding, but nothing could prepare me for the loss of Raphaël when it came

As a young mother, I was haunted by the terror that one day a child of mine would die. It took root after my first son was born, and by the time I was pregnant with my second, it was unbearable. Superstitiously terrified that if I told anyone, it might come true, I kept it secret. But it was killing me. And then one day I cracked.

In another place and time, I might have gone to a village wise-woman, or a priest, or a shaman. Instead, I booked an appointment with a therapist.

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‘Women have libidos too!’: Ethan Coen and wife Tricia Cooke on their raunchy new lesbian road movie
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 08:00:08 GMT

There’s a new Coen duo in town. Ethan Coen and his wife, film editor Tricia Cooke, have created a feature – Drive-Away Dolls. Here they talk about 70s B-movies, US politics, and the joys of their unconventional marriage

In the folklore that has grown up around the Coen brothers over the past 40 years, there are two siblings, Ethan and Joel, and Joel’s wife, actor Frances McDormand, who has been a regular since their first film, Blood Simple, and bagged an Oscar for her unforgettable performance as the pregnant policewoman in Fargo. Ultra-swotty groupies may remember that Ethan’s son, Buster, was credited as Matt Damon’s abs double on True Grit, though Buster was barely into his teens and Damon never displayed his abs.

But unbeknown to most, on seven of the Coens’ films, up until 2001’s The Man Who Wasn’t There, a fourth member of the clan was working away behind the scenes. Tricia Cooke joined the team as an assistant editor on Miller’s Crossing, which was filmed in New Orleans, rising to become their regular film editor. “At the time, I really didn’t know who Joel and Ethan were. I hadn’t seen Blood Simple or Raising Arizona, but I really wanted to go to New Orleans,” says Cooke. She and Ethan quickly hit it off, but there was just one problem: “He asked me out on a date, and I told him I was a lesbian.”

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Iris Apfel obituary
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 17:01:21 GMT

American interior designer, collector and stylist regarded as one of the great exotics of 20th-century fashion

Iris Apfel was finally recognised as a great, original fashion stylist in her 80s, when the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York had a sudden gap in its 2005 exhibition schedule. Many curators knew Apfel, who has died aged 102, as a collector stashing away clothes, especially costume jewellery, both couture-high and street-market-low, so the institute asked to borrow some of her thousands of pieces.

When Apfel wore them herself, dozens at a time in ensembles collaged fresh daily, they had zingy pzazz, so she was invited to set up the displays. There was no publicity budget, and her name was modestly known only in the interior decor trade, yet the show, Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection, became a huge success after visitors promoted it online. It toured other American museums, changing exhibits en route because Apfel wanted her stuff back so she could wear it.

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Great expectations and a bleak house: the promise and perils of staging Dickens
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 18:05:58 GMT

London Tide at the National Theatre is the latest in a flood of Dickensian adaptations. Few have captured the novelist’s surreal imagination – are solo shows the most successful?

Dickens and theatre are forever linked. The latest adaptation of his work is London Tide, based by Ben Power on Our Mutual Friend – with songs by himself and PJ Harvey – and opening at the National Theatre in April. Given that the novel depicts a London where money is the measure of all things and the Thames is pitifully polluted, it seems a timely venture.

But, keenly as I await it, I suspect it will raise all the old questions about the problems and pleasures of dramatising Dickens. What is extraordinary is the deluge of Dickens adaptations over the decades. In his own lifetime, pirated versions of the novels were rushed on to the stage even while they were still being serialised: one adapter, WT Moncrieff, even challenged Dickens to end Nicholas Nickleby “better than I have done”. I also have a cherished copy of a 1952 book, Dickens the Dramatist, which itemises all the stage versions of his books up to that point. The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist head the popularity list with more than 25 entries each: the former includes an Esperanto version played in Cambridge in 1907 and the latter, long before Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, yielded an 1891 operetta simply called Bumble.

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Henrik Larsson: ‘I have 106 caps for Sweden but I see myself as foreign’
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 08:00:10 GMT

Celtic’s ‘King of Kings’ on his tough upbringing, playing with Rooney and Ronaldinho, and falling out of love with the game

Henrik Larsson is standing in front of the patch of grass where he first learned to kick a ball. Behind him is the block of apartments where he spent his childhood, the balcony from which his mum would call him in for dinner. In front of him are the swings through which he would shoot, and the ponds on top of which he would play ice hockey in the winter.

Närlunda is an estate on the ­outskirts of Helsingborg, a quiet city near the most southerly tip of Sweden. Närlunda is a complicated place, an idyllic and green high-rise estate by English standards but also the scene of a brutal murder in 2021, where a man was shot dead in a nearby underpass. But then Larsson is a complicated person, devoted to his country but also unsure of his identity.

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Seán McGirr taps into 90s-era spikiness in Alexander McQueen debut show
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:10:27 GMT

New creative director says he wants to take fashion house in direction of ‘rough glamour’ and ‘anti-politeness’

Only at Alexander McQueen could a subterranean raw-concrete venue, as chosen by Seán McGirr for his debut show, feel like a respectful homage to the heritage of a fashion house. McQueen stands for savagery and for sentimentality, and old-timers love to reminisce about nights spent shivering in derelict car parks being outraged by the designer’s bumsters in the 1990s. In the event, a day of driving rain had left McGirr’s disused Chinatown food market bleaker than he perhaps intended, chilled to its raw bones and perilous with puddles. Which might have been a coincidence, or might – a certain witchiness being a strand of the McQueen DNA – have been the spirit of Lee McQueen dialling in from the afterlife with his distinctive dark sense of humour.

The models scowled, arms wrapped tight around their bodies, hurrying along the catwalk as if they were navigating a particularly sketchy street on the late-night walk home from a club. The first wore a dress in laminated black jersey, glossy and salty-sweet as liquorice, wrapped clingfilm-tight. It was a nod to a dress made of pallet tape from Lee McQueen’s collection The Birds, shown in a warehouse in London’s then-gritty King’s Cross in 1995. It was also a great dress. The McQueen language was strong in the silhouette. Shoulders were padded until the models hunched in statuesque coats; trousers were shrunken and bum-hugging.

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Sex, drink, football: the legacy of lads’ mags – by the women who (mostly) loved working for them
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 12:00:12 GMT

It’s 30 years since the first issue of Loaded and there is talk of a relaunch. While women who worked there loved its edgy chaos they then saw its copycats flounder in misogyny

In May 1994, Loaded ­magazine published its first edition, with the tagline: “For men that should know better”. Actor Gary Oldman was the cover star and the headline read: “Super lads”. With its heady mix of gonzo journalism, pub humour and knockabout swagger, the magazine was a hit.

In the first issue of Loaded, editor James Brown set out his vision: “Loaded is a new magazine dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit of sex, drink, football and less serious matters.”

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Jos Verstappen wants Horner removed as Red Bull risk ‘being torn apart’
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 19:35:51 GMT
  • Father of Max Verstappen speaks out forcing team to deny issues
  • Wolff says he hopes F1 authorities will ‘set the compass right’

Christian Horner’s leadership remained shrouded in doubt on Sunday with a schism at the heart of Red Bull threatening to tear the team apart from the inside, while continued criticism from outside the camp only added to the pressure on the beleaguered team principal.

Jos Verstappen, the father of Max Verstappen, publicly called for Horner to be removed from his role, warning Red Bull is “in danger of being torn apart”. Red Bull were then forced to issue a statement denying any issues, claiming “the team are united and we are focused on racing”. Meanwhile Horner’s fierce rival, Toto Wolff of Mercedes, said pointedly that he hoped the F1 authorities would “set the compass right”.

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‘Absolutely not’: Ten Hag denies United are way behind City after derby defeat
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 20:12:43 GMT
  • Manchester United manager says ‘small margins’ decided game
  • Pep Guardiola claims Phil Foden is best player in the league

Erik ten Hag denied Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester City showed there is a gulf between the sides and claimed that, with different officiating decisions before each of Phil Foden’s goals, the visitors could have won.

Marcus Rashford’s eighth-minute strike gave United the lead and, though he spurned further chances, City dominated throughout. Foden’s finishes on 56 and 80 minutes gave the hosts the lead before Erling Haaland’s third in added time sealed victory for Pep Guardiola’s side.

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Jemma Reekie wins 800m silver after recovering from ‘a horrible place’
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 22:03:50 GMT
  • Scot takes world indoor championship medal in Glasgow
  • Britain’s women win bronze in 4x400m and set national record

The nearly woman of British athletics finally has a medal around her neck. But while it wasn’t the colour Jemma Reekie had long wanted, it at least carried a silver lining.

Afterwards the 25-year-old Scot talked bravely about how physically and mentally broken she had felt last year, due to a debilitating bout of glandular fever and a split from her coach Andy Young. And while she had no answer in the 800m final to the blistering finish of Ethiopian Tsige Duguma, she at least could reflect on how far she had come.

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Racism allegation mars NRL’s lavish Las Vegas showcase
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 23:36:05 GMT
  • Broncos’ Ezra Mam complains to referee during game
  • Five-eighth alleges Roosters player made racist comment

An on-field allegation of racism during the NRL’s lavish season launch in Las Vegas has marred an event that had otherwise been warmly received by the rugby league community.

Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam, a Torres Strait Islander, complained to referee Adam Gee during the second fixture at Allegiant Stadium, won by the Roosters 20-10, alleging opposing forward Spencer Leniu – a Panthers premiership player and Samoa international – made a racist comment.

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Caudery and Kerr set sights on Olympic gold after indoor triumph | Sean Ingle
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 22:30:11 GMT

Pole vaulter justifies her rising status with gold in Glasgow as Josh Kerr sends warning to rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen

Molly Caudery is an adrenaline junkie who loves surfing and jumping off cliffs near her home in Cornwall. But now she is chasing an even more spectacular thrill: winning an Olympic gold medal this summer. And the hugely likable and modest 23‑year‑old is starting to believe she can achieve it.

After twisting, flipping and soaring over a 4.8m bar to take the world indoor pole vault title on Saturday, she was asked whether she was the favourite for Paris. She paused, allowed what had once seemed like magical realism to sink in, and nodded.

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European roundup: Leverkusen go 10 points clear, Napoli beat Juventus
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 23:34:30 GMT
  • Bundesliga leaders beat Köln to capitalise on Bayern slip
  • Frenkie de Jong and Pedri injured in Barcelona draw

Bayer Leverkusen went 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and continued their unbeaten run with a 2-0 win at struggling neighbours Köln, who went down to 10 men in the first half of a hotly contested derby on Sunday.

Köln had Jan Thielmann sent off after 14 minutes for stepping on the back of Granit Xhaka’s ankle and Leverkusen took the lead through Jeremie Frimpong in the 37th minute. The home side were still very much in the game until Álex Grimaldo scored his ninth league goal of the season in the 73rd minute.

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‘Absolute disgrace’: LAFC coach criticizes MLS for playing in blizzard
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 16:55:42 GMT
  • Real Salt Lake beat LAFC 3-0 in blizzard-like conditions
  • Referee forced to carve lines into snow on free-kicks

Andrés Gómez had two goals and one assist to lead Real Salt Lake to a 3-0 win over Los Angeles FC in blizzard-like conditions in Sandy, Utah. Cristian Arango also scored as Real Salt Lake found the net three times in the first half.

The match was initially delayed two hours due to heavy wind and other weather concerns. Once it began, it was stopped just three minutes into the match due to lightning during a snowstorm. Play was delayed for nearly another hour.

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‘It was a rough week’: Kim finishes 32 strokes off lead in professional golf return
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 17:05:45 GMT
  • American had not played professionally in more than a decade
  • LIV Tournament in Jeddah was won by Joaquin Niemann

Anthony Kim’s first professional golf appearance in more than a decade went as well as many would have expected with the American finishing last at the LIV tournament in Jeddah.

Kim, who was once ranked No 6 in the world, disappeared from the game before he turned 30 but is attempting a return with LIV Golf. His round of 74 on Sunday included two birdies and was his best of the tournament, but he still finished 32 strokes behind the winner, Joaquin Niemann.

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Blurring the line between criticism and bigotry fuels hatred of Muslims and Jews | Kenan Malik
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 07:00:07 GMT

Racists often dismiss the charge of prejudice as an attempt to prevent debate

Where do we draw the line between criticism and bigotry? From the uproar over Lee Anderson’s remarks about the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, being “controlled” by Islamists to the condemnation of slogans used on pro-Palestinian demonstrations, it is a question at the heart of current debates about Muslims and Jews, Islam and Israel.

The distinction between criticism and bigotry should, in principle, be easy to mark. Discussions about ideas or social practices or public policy should be as unfettered as possible. But when disdain for ideas or policies or practices become transposed into prejudices about people, a red line is crossed. It’s crossed when castigation of Islamism leads to calls for an end to Muslim immigration. Or when denunciation of Israeli actions in Gaza turns into a protest outside a Jewish shop in London.

Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 250 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at observer.letters@observer.co.uk

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How do civilisations collapse? Ask Lee Anderson | Stewart Lee
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 10:00:08 GMT

The shameless smears against Sadiq Khan and the Conservatives’ mealy-mouthed refusal to reject them feel a lot like the start of the end of things

Last weekend, I stood on a remote Derbyshire moor with my flask and surveyed the romantic remnants of a once-flourishing society that faded out, forgotten, 5,000 years ago. Civilisations hang by threads and can collapse, as Hemingway said, “gradually and then suddenly”. Watching the Conservatives and their media allies dissolve objective notions of truth before my eyes daily these last two weeks I wonder if the Great Britain we loved is entering the “suddenly” phase.

Paul Marshall, the £680m financier and father of Mumford & Sons’ banjo-playing Jordan Peterson fan Winston Marshall, funds the libertarian-lite wankstains’ website Unherd, where Nick Cave is finally able to speak without fear of censure by the wokerati. And Marshall Sr also backs the inexplicably unregulated conspiracy-theory-and-saloon-bar-opinion funnel GB News. But Marshall, it transpires, has been sharing unambiguously, and now mysteriously disappeared, Islamophobic material online, like your shit Christmas-dinner uncle but with his own multimillion-pound media propaganda platform. Yes, Uncle Paul. Allah wants British people to be replaced. Yes, Uncle Paul. Winston is doing very well on the banjo at school. More sprouts?

Stewart Lee’s Basic Lee is at Plymouth Theatre Royal 3 March, Truro Hall For Cornwall 4 March, Darlington Hippodrome 16 March and Portsmouth Kings theatre 21 March; see more dates here

Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 250 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at observer.letters@observer.co.uk

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For years, the Tories said austerity was over. But look around: it’s getting worse, and there’s more to come | John Harris
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:00:05 GMT

This week’s budget is certain to bring more cuts. Westminster is missing the stark fact that people simply cannot take any more

A few days before Rishi Sunak emerged from 10 Downing Street to warn of forces “trying to tear us apart” and his belief that our streets have been “hijacked”, there was a news story about a national emergency that has yet to spark any such theatrics. The Guardian reported the findings of a new study by the children’s charity Kindred2, in which 1,000 primary school teachers in England and Wales were asked about the developmental condition of kids starting school, and the widely shared sense that “school readiness” has long since fallen into decline. About one in four children entering reception year, they said, are now not toilet-trained. Nearly 40% “struggle to play or share with others” and 28% “incorrectly use books”: their instinctive response to being presented with one, it seems, is to swipe or tap it, “as if using an electronic device”.

Even if a lot of what sits behind those figures is confounding and complicated, it is not hard to join the relevant dots from these heartbreaking problems to the defining political fact of the last 14 years: austerity, and how long years of cuts have played out in millions of lives. Since 2010, England has lost just over 1,400 of the children’s centres that the last Labour government set up to tackle exactly the developmental issues that now seem to have exploded. If kids seem unfamiliar with books, that probably reflects the woeful number of public libraries that have gone, with even more set to close in the midst of local government’s latest financial crisis. Meanwhile, austerity’s most vivid manifestation – simple poverty – is surely at the heart of what is now evident in thousands of reception classes.

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Fertility rates are falling in the rich world. But there are still plenty of people to go round | Danny Dorling
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 08:00:06 GMT

A slowdown in global birthrates is a problem for states such as South Korea, but not for humanity and especially women

‘It’s funny, but it’s dark, because we know we could be causing our own extinction.” That was the sardonic response of one single 30-year-old South Korean, to a BBC reporter, to the data released last week that showed her country has the lowest fertility rate ever recorded. On average, women in South Korea are now having only 0.72 children. For a country to have a stable population, that number needs to be a little over 2. A little over because not all children reach mid-adulthood, anywhere in the world.

In South Korea, the fall in babies has occurred despite successive governments spending £226bn over the past 20 years trying to incentivise women to have more children. The BBC story focused on the trade-offs of having a career or a family, the excessive costs of private education and the competitive misery of growing up in South Korean society. However, not once, in the 2,500-word story, did the words “inequality”, “poverty” or “destitution” appear. It might be that such words are now no longer welcomed in copy for a public broadcaster that represents Europe’s most unequal large country (by income). Or it might just be that we tend to think of these issues as being the aggregate of millions of individual choices not to have children, rather than part of a wider story.

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Going through my father’s hoard now after his death, all I want is him | Dan Dixon
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:00:02 GMT

He would have had to out-age Methuselah to read all the books he accumulated

When someone dies, their residue – their presence – imprints upon the objects they once kept. A broken pen; a Christmas decoration; a jacket; a suitcase; a TV guide with shows of interest underlined. Previously ordinary things become possessed with the lost magic of their owner’s aliveness, if only in infinitesimal fragments. It is therefore difficult to throw them away. And yet this is what must be done.

My father, when he died two years ago, left behind an inaccessible office, the doorway blocked by magazines and documents, obstructing the path to a desk hidden under piles of boxes, books, photo albums and stationery. Towards the room’s walls, things were increasingly orderless. Stacks folded into one another, forming shapeless masses of paper and plastic, the floor completely concealed. It was the work of decades, and I do not doubt that if my mother had not been fervently committed to preserving the tidiness of every other room, much of their house would have looked like this.

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Millennials will be the richest generation ever, but who gets that wealth is down to luck | Martha Gill
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 09:30:08 GMT

While some will profit from inheriting their baby boomer parents’ property, others face an ever more unequal society

What have millennials been complaining about? Far from languishing in poverty as society’s lost stepchildren, they are on course to become the richest generation in history. That’s according to a report from the estate agent Knight Frank, which tells us that in the next 20 years there will be a “seismic” transfer of wealth assets from older cohorts to people born between 1981 and 2000.

Generational unfairness solved? Well, no, of course not. These assets will be distributed to millennials entirely according to how rich their parents are. This will make one of this cohort’s biggest problems worse. Which is that the determining factor of millennial success is, increasingly, whether or not you come from a rich background.

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Ski resorts’ era of plentiful snow may be over due to climate crisis, study finds
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 13:30:31 GMT

US ski industry is losing billions as average season has become five to seven days shorter in past half century

If you have been enjoying lushly covered mountains by skiing or snowboarding this winter then such an experience could soon become a receding memory, with a new study finding that an era of reliably bountiful snow has already passed due to the climate crisis.

The US ski industry has lost more than $5bn over the past two decades due to human-caused global heating, the new research has calculated, due to the increasingly sparse nature of snowfall on mountain ranges. Previous studies have shown that in many locations precipitation is now coming in the form of rain, rather than snow, due to warming temperatures.

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‘It makes me so sad’: church reemerges from reservoir as Spain faces droughts
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 06:00:22 GMT

Increased evaporation, shorter rainy seasons and less mountain snow cover are set to worsen water crises in the western Mediterranean

Magdalena Coromina tapped the hard ground with her walking stick and looked up at a church that was meant to be underwater. Six decades ago, when engineers had built the reservoir in which she stood, they had flooded the town of Sant Romà de Sau and drowned its buildings. The rains that slaked the region’s thirst had kept the ruins covered.

But that world no longer exists. Struck by a drought that has dried the reservoir to 1% of its capacity, the remains of the village have come back into view. Crumbling stone structures now sit on cracked soil among ashen plants. The church, whose spire used to poke above the surface during dry spells, today stands high above the waterline.

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Climate activists convicted of criminal damage after smashing glass door of JP Morgan
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 19:33:01 GMT

Activitists had used hammers and chisels to cause ‘many thousands of pounds’ of damage to the bank’s offices in London

Five climate change activists have been convicted of smashing a glass revolving door at JP Morgan’s European headquarters after a judge said their beliefs did not “afford them a defence”.

Stephanie Aylett, 29, Pamela Bellinger, 66, Amy Pritchard, 38, Adelheid Russenberger, 32 and Rosemary Webster, 66, used hammers and chisels to cause “many thousands of pounds” of damage during the Extinction Rebellion protest.

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El Niño forecast to drive record heat from the Amazon to Alaska in 2024
Thu, 29 Feb 2024 16:00:22 GMT

Coastal areas facing ‘enormous and urgent climate crisis’ as event supercharges human-caused global heating, scientists say

The current climate event known as El Niño is likely to supercharge global heating and deliver record-breaking temperatures from the Amazon to Alaska in 2024, analysis has found.

Coastal areas of India by the Bay of Bengal and by the South China Sea, as well as the Philippines and the Caribbean, are also likely to experience unprecedented heat in the period to June, the scientists said, after which El Niño may weaken.

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Majority of voters think Biden is too old to be effective president, new poll says
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 17:27:59 GMT

Results are latest blow to Biden’s election campaign which has faced a barrage of criticism over his age

A majority of voters in the US believe Joe Biden is just too old to be an effective president, according to a new poll by the New York Times and Siena College.

According to the poll’s results, 73% of all registered voters believe Biden is too old to be effective, in turn revealing spreading concerns about the 81-year-old president’s mental competency.

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Shehbaz Sharif elected as prime minister of Pakistan
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 11:07:46 GMT

Nominated candidate of eight-party coalition takes office after gathering of national assembly

Shehbaz Sharif has been appointed prime minister of Pakistan after a vote that was riddled with allegations of rigging and irregularities.

Sharif, of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) party, was the nominated candidate of a new eight-party coalition that was formed after no single party managed to win an outright majority in the election on 8 February.

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UK ministers consider ban on MPs engaging with pro-Palestine and climate protesters
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 22:30:02 GMT

Plans call for ‘zero-tolerance approach’ to groups such as Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Just Stop Oil

Ministers are considering proposals to ban MPs and councillors from engaging with groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.

The plans, put forward by the government’s adviser on political violence, John Woodcock, say mainstream political leaders should tell their representatives to employ a “zero-tolerance approach” to groups that use disruptive tactics or fail to stop “hate” on marches.

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Jeremy Hunt has given over £100,000 to local Tory party in bid to retain seat
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 16:25:33 GMT

Exclusive: Records show extent of chancellor’s donations since 2019 as polling suggests he is on course to lose at general election

Jeremy Hunt has been forced to contribute more than £100,000 of his own money to his constituency Conservative party to bolster his chances of re-election, official records show, amid warnings that he is set to lose his seat.

Hunt’s Godalming and Ash constituency is a target seat for the Liberal Democrats, and a Survation poll projects that he is on course to become the first chancellor in modern times to lose at a general election.

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Police raids in Berlin fail to find two Red Army Faction fugitives
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 16:34:05 GMT

Over 100 officers joined operation, which will continue despite setback, as part of hunt for Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg in Germany

The renewed German police hunt for two alleged members of the Red Army Faction, previously known as the far-left militant Baader-Meinhof gang, who have been on the run for more than 30 years, will continue after an operation in Berlin failed to find the suspects.

Special armed police units launched raids in the Markgrafendamm area of Berlin at 7.30am on Sunday in a search for Ernst-Volker Staub, 69, and Burkhard Garweg, 55.

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Seven-year-old girl dies after makeshift boat heading to UK capsizes in France
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 15:31:53 GMT

Boat carrying 10 other children between seven and 13 years old, along with girl’s pregnant mother, father and three siblings, sank

A seven-year-old girl has died in a canal close to Dunkirk after a makeshift boat carrying 16 people from northern France to the UK capsized, the prefecture in France’s Nord department said.

The boat, which was carrying 10 other children between seven and 13 years old along with the girl’s pregnant mother, her father and three of her siblings, sank with all onboard entering the water.

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Forensic spray using jellyfish protein could speed up fingerprint detection
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 17:48:14 GMT

Dyes based on the fluorescent proteins are also water-soluble and low-toxicity so could replace solvents

Scientists have developed a forensic spray using a protein found in jellyfish that shows up fingerprints in just 10 seconds.

They say that the dye spray could make forensic investigations quicker and more effective. It is also water-soluble and has low toxicity. Traditional forensic methods either use toxic powders that can harm DNA evidence or petrochemical solvents that are bad for the environment, the sale of which is increasingly restricted.

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University of Maryland halts fraternity and sorority events amid hazing worries
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 22:00:45 GMT

College announces new member activities are suspended pending investigation of possible activities that threatened people’s safety

Program activities of fraternities and sororities at the University of Maryland have been suspended indefinitely, the university announced.

The University of Maryland’s decision comes after the University of Virginia suspended its Kappa Sigma chapter and all fraternity events following an alleged hazing incident last month which left a student injured.

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Germany to investigate Russia’s apparent interception of military talks on Ukraine
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 01:38:51 GMT

Chancellor Olaf Scholz describes as ‘very serious’ the circulation of a recording purportedly showing German officials discussing delivery of long-range missiles to Kyiv

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has promised a full investigation after a recording purportedly of confidential army talks on the Ukraine war was circulated on Russian social media, in a huge embarrassment for Berlin.

A German defence ministry spokesperson confirmed to Agence France-Presse that the ministry believed a conversation in the air force division was “intercepted”. “We are currently unable to say for certain whether changes were made to the recorded or transcribed version that is circulating on social media,” they said.

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Mental health leave offered to Taiwanese students as youth suicides double
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 09:00:07 GMT

Scheme allows three days off each term as high school stress and depression rates soar

Taiwanese high schools will begin offering mental health leave to students this month, to address rising rates of youth suicide and high levels of stress and depression.

Under the programme, high school students can apply for up to three days off each semester, taken as full or half days, without proof of need but with the permission of their parents. More than 40 schools have expressed interest in the trial run, according to the ministry of education.

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‘The slap’, protests and tears: what makes a memorable Oscar speech?
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 11:00:13 GMT

Daniel Kaluuya thanked his parents for having sex and Will Smith referenced slapping the host. Academy awards bring out the best and worst in winners, but is there a right way to do it?

If Da’Vine Joy Randolph is, as predicted, announced as winner of the supporting actress Oscar at the 96th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles next weekend, the actor from Philadelphia will have to stride up to the podium and come up with the goods yet again. She has already spoken well at both the Golden Globes and Baftas when honoured for her role in The Holdovers. Let’s hope she has something left in the bag.

For Wendy Shanker it is a familiar predicament. The American script-doctor is regularly called upon to write a few wise words for potential award winners and at this time of year her phone is red hot. “It can be difficult if you’ve already done acceptance speeches, like Da’Vine. She will want to have kept back something that’s unique for the Oscar. But then she might not get it,” she said this weekend. “So I often help clients find that fine balance between making the most of it and hanging everything on it.”

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Supermarket Times review – surrealist adventure in a store of secrets
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:00:01 GMT

Rabbit Hole Games; PC, Mac
On this delightfully silly journey your challenge is to explore the supermarket aisles, meet the staff – and freezer goblin – and buy alcohol for teenage loiterers. Cheers!

If challenged to design a game set in a supermarket, you might settle on a shelf-stacking puzzle game in which you slot Tetris-shaped products into appropriately sized gaps. Or, perhaps, like the TV gameshow, a timed dash-and-grab along the aisles in which you must amass the highest value trolley. It’s unlikely, however, that you’d arrive at Supermarket Times, a surrealist point-and-click adventure with the hand-drawn aesthetic of a 10-year-old child’s felt-tip art project and a sense of humour lifted from The Young Ones (the supermarket’s toilet paper is branded Cloud Arse).

There are few comparison points to this, the second game from the art-school dropouts behind indie studio Rabbit Hole Games. You explore the various districts of the supermarket – the freezer aisle; the mobile phone area, complete with zitty, over-knowledgable sales assistant; the cigarette booth; the recycling area; the forsaken bathrooms – interacting with staff and customers. You’re free to fill your trolley with whatever takes your fancy, while listening to the observations of two omniscient commentators whose remarks include surprisingly informative descriptions of mushrooms, and ironic takes on expensive fruit juices.

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Lisa Frankenstein review – lumbering teen zombie romcom by Diablo Cody
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 15:00:03 GMT

The screenwriter’s mashup of 80s teen horror tropes falls flat in Zelda Williams’s erratic feature debut

Cobbled together from the cleavered-off body parts of numerous 80s horror-lite teen comedies (I’m not sure I have ever seen a film that more desperately wants to be Heathers), this Athena-poster-hued, girl-meets-corpse romcom never fully reanimates. It’s a misfire from Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, who usually manages, at the very least, to inject a few solid jokes into her material.

Kathryn Newton stars as Lisa, an introvert even before her mother was murdered, her father remarried and she found herself with a new school and a judgmental, lemon-faced stepmother (Carla Gugino). Lisa finds it hard to socialise, so she spends her spare time in the local abandoned cemetery. But then a midnight wish backfires and a lumbering, malodorous corpse lurches into her life. On a poorly explained whim, Lisa hides him in her wardrobe; he becomes her confidant and her partner on a neighbourhood killing spree.

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TikTok jazz sensation Laufey: ‘It’s no longer about genre, it’s about feeling and mood’
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 10:00:10 GMT

As the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter begins a sellout world tour, she talks about how a ‘21st-century girl’ is making young fans nostalgic for a crooning jazz era they never knew

It’s six hours before showtime and a queue of teenagers already lines the street outside east London’s EartH arts venue. They are sitting patiently on the pavement and finishing their homework or playing Uno, hoping to get to the front of the stage for the first of three sold-out shows by 24-year-old singer-songwriter Laufey Jónsdóttir. Overhead, the grey February afternoon threatens to break into rain.

Inside, sitting next to the peeling walls of her dressing room in a pristine gingham dress, Jónsdóttir is unfazed by the levels of anticipation.

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Spaceman review – Adam Sandler is adrift in outer space with a comfort spider
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 11:30:11 GMT

Sandler plays a solo astronaut confronting the cracks in his marriage with help from an eight-legged alien voiced by Paul Dano in this disappointingly drab sci-fi drama

An astronaut who is just over six months into a solo mission to investigate a mysterious galactic phenomenon, Jakub (a tortured, reined-in performance from Adam Sandler) is ill-placed to deal with the breakdown of his marriage to his pregnant wife, Lenka (Carey Mulligan), left behind on Earth. Fortunately, an alien spider with the voice of Paul Dano and all the wisdom of the universe has stowed away on the vessel and offers Jakub ad hoc therapy sessions.

Jakub and his (possibly imaginary) emotional support arachnid drift aimlessly towards some kind of nebulous insight, accompanied by a score that sounds like the kind of formless ambient wafting that gets piped into a floatation tank. Spaceman is a fascinatingly odd premise let down by its drab, dispiritingly inert execution.

On Netflix

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In brief: Happiness Falls; In Memoriam; All the Lonely People – reviews
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 16:00:03 GMT

Angie Kim lives up to her award-winning debut with her gripping second novel, Alice Winn stuns with a powerful first world war love story, and first-hand insights into loneliness

Happiness Falls
Angie Kim
Faber, £16.99, pp400

When 20-year-old Mia Parkson’s father goes missing, her family search for clues as to his disappearance. Where Mia is headstrong and forthright, her older brother, John, is more amenable, while her younger brother, Eugene – autistic and nonverbal – was with their father when he vanished. Multilayered and intricately structured, Kim’s second novel is a philosophical and compelling examination of neurodiversity, measures of happiness and the intricate tapestry of familial relationships.

To order Happiness Falls, In Memoriam or All the Lonely People go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply

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Boursin omelette anyone? The TikTok chefs recreating TV food – from The Bear to Bridget Jones
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 15:00:03 GMT

Sharing recipes of the dishes cooked up in favourite films and TV shows is having a moment on social media

From Sydney’s Boursin omelette topped with crisps in The Bear to Bridget Jones’s blue soup and Carmela Soprano’s lasagne – recipes in film and TV can be almost characters in their own right.

So it is perhaps no surprise that a growing number of people are sharing recipes inspired by TV shows and films on social media, either to challenge their cooking skills or enhance the viewing experience.

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I crave connection with my siblings – but they are toxic | Ask Philippa
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 06:00:05 GMT

Spend time with people who make you feel good – and hold your theories about your siblings more lightly

The dilemma I feel very alone in my family. I’m in my mid-50s and happily married. My parents are both dead. I have five siblings.

My mother was a narcissist, which screwed us all up. I’m years into therapy and it’s been brilliant. My self-hatred is almost behind me, and I finally feel a lot more joy. My siblings are mostly toxic to varying degrees. Two of them are also in therapy, both still experience pain which can get dumped on to me, and I’m always having to tread carefully around their reactions. This has got exhausting. The toxicity from the other three siblings has been worse; they exclude me, tell lies about me, and can just be downright nasty.

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10 of the best British walking festivals
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 07:00:05 GMT

This year’s hiking events cover everything from vineyard strolls to foraging safaris and coastal routes with spectacular views

9-17 March

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Colour therapy gives an injection of personality to east London new build
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:00:03 GMT

A psychologist and his partner create a sanctuary with bold and bright hues

Inspiration is one thing, the ability to express your ideas in a tangible and functional way is another. Working room-by-room, Tom Lalande and Julian-Pascal Saadi have fused influences from their travels and heritage to bring warmth, energy and life into this east London townhouse.

“As a psychologist, I’ve always been very interested in the mind, our feelings and what we think about,” says Julian-Pascal. “I know that there’s a very strong link between architecture, colour design, and how we feel internally.” With this in mind, he was clear that he wanted each room to have a specific effect.

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Readers reply: is it possible to think about nothing?
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:00:03 GMT

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical concepts

Is it possible to think about nothing? Surely our consciousness is always whirring away. Paul Lambert, Southampton

Send new questions to nq@theguardian.com.

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Farmers in Europe: are you taking part in the protests?
Wed, 14 Feb 2024 16:22:29 GMT

We would like to hear from agriculture workers in mainland Europe and the UK about their views on the protests

Tractors have blockaded the Belgian port of Antwerp, as farmers continue their protests in half a dozen European countries.

Protests have taken place across a number of European nations in recent months including Greece, Germany, Portugal, Poland and France. Last week, some 40 tractors and other farm vehicles blocked roads in Dover, carrying signs with slogans like “No More Cheap Imports”.

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Tell us: share your experience of working out as a family
Wed, 21 Feb 2024 13:16:43 GMT

Whether you go to the gym with siblings or run with your parents, we would like to hear from you

Are you a family that works out together? Perhaps you go on runs with your kids. Or you’ve set up a home gym and do group sessions with your teenagers. Or you play an intergenerational game of padel tennis or football every week.

If you exercise with other family members, we would love to hear from you for a magazine feature.

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Teachers in Indiana: share your views on the Eyes on Education site
Wed, 14 Feb 2024 17:39:49 GMT

We would like to speak to teachers as unions call for the site to be shut down

Teachers’ unions in Indiana are calling for the state attorney general to take down a site that asks parents to report “potentially inappropriate materials” in classrooms.

The launch of the Eyes on Education site last week follows a similar tip line opened in Virginia in 2022 and comes against a backdrop of conservative efforts to censor discussion of race and sexual identities in schools.

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US men and dating: share your experience
Tue, 20 Feb 2024 13:00:43 GMT

We would like to find out more about the experience of dating for men in the US

Dating is hard. On that, it seems everyone can agree. Dating app fatigue, a loneliness epidemic and shifting relationship norms all make the modern romantic landscape tricky to navigate.

Dating is difficult for everyone – one report from the Pew Research Center found that 47% of Americans say dating is harder today for most people than it was 10 years ago. But according to a 2022 report, 63% of men under 30 in the US describe themselves as single, as opposed to 34% of women in the same age group. The survey also found that the number of single men who want to date has dropped from 61% to 50% since 2019.

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‘He believes in power and chaos’: alarm as Steve Bannon plots to propel Trump
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 12:00:12 GMT

The ex-White House chief strategist is no longer in daily contact with Trump, but his influence on the Maga right remains total

Wearing an olive green jacket over a black shirt, Steve Bannon blew the doors off a subject that most other speakers had tiptoed around. “Media, I want you to suck on this, I want the White House to suck on this: you lost in 2020!” he roared. “Donald Trump is the legitimate president of the United States!”

A thrill of transgression swept through the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the National Harbor in Maryland. “Trump won!” Bannon barked, pointing a finger. “Trump won!” he repeated, shaking a fist. “Trump won!” he proclaimed again. His audience, as if hypnotised, chanted the brazen lie in unison.

It was a blunt reminder that Bannon, an architect of Trumpism variously compared to Thomas Cromwell, Rasputin and Joseph Goebbels, remains a potent force in American politics as the 2024 US presidential election looms into view and the re-election of Trump looks a clear possibility.

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‘The UK must change its position’: the wife of Briton jailed by Vladimir Putin on taking up her husband’s fight
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 10:00:09 GMT

As Alexei Navalny was buried, the wife of Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was in London to challenge foreign secretary David Cameron

Hours after Alexei Navalny was buried in Moscow, his body brought from a grim Siberian jail, Evgenia Kara-Murza, who is married to another Russian opposition leader serving a 25-year sentence in another grim Siberian jail, is perfectly composed.

On Friday, images of Navalny’s body in an open casket were beamed around the world, but if these scenes had brought home to Evgenia Kara-Murza the risk to her husband and her family, she wasn’t showing it.

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Entrance fees, visitor zones and taxes: how Europe’s biggest cities are tackling overtourism
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 09:08:59 GMT

From Seville to Venice to Amsterdam, Europe is learning to improve locals’ lives by curbing tourists’ enthusiasm

Originally built for the grand Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, Seville’s ­flamboyant neo-Moorish Plaza de España has for nearly a ­century been one of the city’s major ­attractions, an ornate ­showcase for Spanish architecture and ­decorative tiling.

But the several thousand visitors from around the world who throng the plaza every day, on foot or in horse-drawn carriages, may soon have to pay for the privilege, with proceeds from a planned entry fee going towards its upkeep.

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Out with the animal cruelty. In with … mushrooms? These farmers are leaving factory farming behind
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 16:00:03 GMT

Some farmers have turned from livestock to crops to avoid the financial pitfalls and thorny ethics of industrial agriculture

Farmer Tom Lim had been raising poultry for 20 years when the company he worked for as a contractor terminated him without warning, leaving him saddled with debt and unsure of where to turn. “My heart just dropped,” he said. “I didn’t know where to make money to pay off our loans.”

Lim was born in rural Cambodia, where his parents tended rice fields with water buffalos, raised a smattering of chickens and grew vegetables around their home. That lifestyle shaped his love of farming, but was a far cry from what he found himself doing as an adult, raising 540,000 chickens a year in North Carolina for Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the largest meat producers in the US that supplies chicken to Walmart, Costco and KFC.

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‘She moved me’: the UK dancers inspired by India’s 112-year-old environmentalist
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 11:00:09 GMT

Saalumarada Thimmakka’s story of planting banyan trees led to a determined quest to find her, and a show about her life

When she was a teenage girl, Saalumarada Thimmakka planted her first banyan tree just outside the remote Indian village of Hulikal, in the southwestern state of Karnataka.

She had married young, as was the custom, but had not fallen pregnant. Local folklore said that if a childless woman planted a banyan, the national tree of India, she would be rewarded with a child.

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‘We have a real impact’: oldest Black college newspaper in US turns 100
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 13:00:03 GMT

Howard University’s the Hilltop chronicles one of the US’s most storied HBCUs and is helping a new generation of journalists navigate institutional racism

“Malcolm X, one of the most evasive and non-specific individuals I’ve ever met (with his objectives and radical plans he would have to be), is perhaps one of the most clever artists of appealing to the emotions that I’ve ever seen. Bayard Rustin was ‘not’ in my estimation a fair match for Mr X. (Dr Martin Luther King would have been.)”

So begins an account of a debate between the civil rights leaders Malcolm X and Bayard Rustin that took place at Howard University in Washington. Along with a visit by the British anti-apartheid activist Trevor Huddleston, a student theatre production of Rashomon and an advert for Lucky Strike cigarettes, it is part of the mix in a 1961 issue of the Hilltop, the oldest Black collegiate newspaper in America.

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I saw my therapist weekly for two years. Then he let slip he’d been watching me. Had he crossed a line?
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 07:00:08 GMT

He said it lightly, but I was unsettled. The trust had curdled

Just under a decade ago, I began seeing a therapist who, for reasons that will become clear, I will refer to only as James. I was in my late 20s, living in London and more stably employed than many of my friends, but also sleeping on my sister’s sofa and eating rice noodles on her floor following a dismantling breakup. Work became my life while the rest of it quietly fell apart. Whenever something major like this happens to me, which is not often, I usually do one of two things: leave the country or return to therapy.

I have been in and out of one kind of treatment or another since I was eight: school counselling, grief counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, various forms of Freudian and Jungian psychotherapy – roughly in that order. I would almost consider myself a veteran. Not that it always works, of course. Of my six therapists – a coterie of old men, young women, and one who had seemed ageless until he died of old age – most were forgettable, their words, pauses and therapy rooms blurred and confined to memory. But I believe in psychotherapy as both a healing tool and an absolute social imperative. When I run out of money, it is one of the last things to go – somewhere between milk and the hairdresser.

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‘It feels like we’ve been lobotomised’: the possible sexual consequences of SSRIs
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 11:00:28 GMT

Long-term sexual dysfunction is a recognised side-effect for some patients who take these widely prescribed antidepressants, and can leave sufferers devastated. So why is there so little help available?

During Melbourne’s strict lockdown of 2020, Rosie Tilli, a then 20-year-old nurse living and working in the city, began to experience growing anxiety and depression.

Visiting her GP, she was quickly prescribed escitalopram, a commonly used drug from a class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medicines attempt to treat depressive symptoms by boosting the levels of the hormone serotonin in the brain and rank among the most widely prescribed drugs. In the first 11 months of 2023 alone, more than 80m prescriptions for antidepressants were issued by the NHS.

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Daniela Klette: dog walker, dancer – and Germany’s most-wanted woman
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 05:00:21 GMT

The last uncaptured woman of the Red Army Faction has been found living in plain sight in a bohemian Berlin neighbourhood

To Anna Spiering she was simply another friendly dog walker, who greeted her with a smile whenever their paths crossed in the neighbourhood, but from whose snappy crossbreed, Malaika, her dog, Harry, knew to keep a safe distance.

That was until she saw Daniela Klette’s face on TV earlier this week. “I recognised her immediately,” Spiering said, pausing on a walk with Harry down Sebastianstraße, a street in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district once divided by the Berlin Wall, adjacent to the former guard-patrolled death strip. She said it was “bizarre now to think I was swapping small talk” with an alleged terrorist.

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The man who tricked Nazi Germany: lessons from the past on how to beat disinformation
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 09:00:26 GMT

The story of the British man who took on Hitler’s information machine offers valuable insights into the fight against the rise of authoritarianism

Thirty percent of Americans claim, despite all evidence to the ­contrary, that the last presidential elections were “rigged”. Millions are sure that the “deep state” is plotting to import immigrants to vote against “real ­Americans” in the future. Meanwhile in Russia, the majority of people claim that the Kremlin is the innocent party in its brutal invasion of Ukraine. When Ukrainians call their relatives in Russia to tell them about the atrocities, all too often they hear their own kin parrot the Kremlin’s propaganda lines: the atrocities are faked, or false flags, or necessary in order to impose Russia’s greatness.

Across the world we see the growth of propaganda that promotes an alternative reality where black is white and white is black, and where truth is cast away in favour of a sense of superiority and ever more murderous paranoia. How can we defeat it? It’s easy to despair when fact checking is rejected by the millions who don’t want to hear the truth in the first place; when worthy journalism that preaches the virtues of “democracy” crumples in the face of suspicion, seeded purposefully for decades, that the media are actually “enemies of the people”.

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The Guardian’s new podcast series about AI: Black Box – prologue
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 08:00:24 GMT

We wanted to bring you this episode from our new series, Black Box. In it, Michael Safi explores seven stories and the thread that ties them together: artificial intelligence. In this prologue, Hannah (not her real name) has met Noah and he has changed her life for the better. So why does she have concerns about him?

If you like what you hear, make sure to search and subscribe to Black Box, with new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

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Weekend podcast: a Ted Bundy survivor on finding happiness, John Crace on the Tories’ Islamophobia problem, and the ‘worst film ever made’
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 05:00:20 GMT

John Crace watches the Tories tie themselves in knots to avoid calling Lee Anderson the ‘R’ word (1m48s); a Ted Bundy survivor tells Anna Moore how the moment changed her life (8m59s); and Fergal Kinney looks at how Sex Lives of the Potato Men broke the British cinema industry (25m59s)

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Black Box: the collision – podcast
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 12:00:06 GMT

The beginning of a new series that explores seven stories and the thread that ties them together: artificial intelligence. In this prologue, Hannah (not her real name) has met Noah and he has changed her life for the better. So why does she have concerns about him?

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From the archive (season 2): Dave Myers, hairy biker
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 10:18:12 GMT

This week, the world learned of the sad passing of a true British icon, TV cook and hairy biker, Dave Myers. To celebrate his life, we wanted to bring you this episode from January 2022 where Dave tells Grace about – ironically – losing all his hair aged eight, his years as a makeup artist, working in the steelyards of Barrow-in-Furness, and the comfort foods that have seen him through it all

We’ll be back on Tuesday with a new episode …

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Mitch McConnell steps down, Donald Trump wins again – podcast
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 05:00:48 GMT

Sometimes there are weeks when the news just keeps on coming. This week, the longest-serving US senator, Mitch McConnell, announced he would step down, the US supreme court agreed to take up the claim that Donald Trump has absolute immunity from prosecution in the criminal case over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Congress avoided another government shutdown and Donald Trump continued his winning streak in the Michigan primary.

In some ways, the Republican party is the exact same one we saw get behind Trump in 2016 and then again in 2020, but there are many out there who see major events such as these as proof that it has changed – irreversibly.

This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the former Republican strategist and legendary political operative Mike Murphy about the state of the party he once served

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Precipice of fear: the freerider who took skiing to its limits – podcast
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 05:00:46 GMT

Jérémie Heitz has pushed freeriding to breathtaking, beautiful new extremes. But as the risks get bigger, the questions do, too. By Simon Akam

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How the cost of living changed the way we eat out – podcast
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 03:00:43 GMT

Restaurants across the UK are struggling with rising rents, food prices and customers tight on cash. How can they attract loyal diners? Grace Dent and Tony Naylor report

“The problem we have right now in restaurants is that with the increased rents, the increased rates, the increased heating bills, fuel bills, the money ends up going into the price of the food,” the Guardian’s restaurants critic and Comfort Eating podcast host Grace Dent tells Nosheen Iqbal. “People are just getting incredible shocks now when they open up the menu.”

The restaurants that managed to survive the Covid pandemic lockdowns are now operating in a challenging economic climate – but so are their customers. How are restaurants adapting and what do consumers want from their eating out experience in 2024?

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Human or fake? How AI is distorting beauty standards – video
Tue, 27 Feb 2024 10:42:49 GMT

Images created by AI are getting exponentially better, to the point where many people are unable to distinguish them from the real thing. As this technology continues to develop, challenges to our perception of what is real are immense, and our trust in what we are seeing is eroded. Fakes are already changing industries such as modelling and marketing, but can they offer a more diverse reflection of humanity than has historically been available – or are they destined to reflect the narrow standards of beauty these industries have long been drawn to?

*With thanks to the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona

*Great British Brands is published by Country & Town House magazine 

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How will Russia remember Alexei Navalny? – video explainer
Fri, 16 Feb 2024 12:13:27 GMT

The prominent Russian opposition activist has died in prison aged 47. A tireless political organiser, he had personally angered Vladimir Putin, along with the president's closest allies, with his scathing investigations into government corruption.  The Guardian's Andrew Roth looks at Navalny's rise in politics, his legacy and how his death robs Russia’s beleaguered opposition of one of its most dynamic leaders

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Why no one is winning the war in Ukraine – video explainer
Mon, 19 Feb 2024 13:23:14 GMT

It has been two years since Russian troops invaded Ukraine, sparking a deadly war that many say is far from over. Western officials have estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have died in the conflict, which has evolved into what experts call the world's first full-scale drone war, with hundreds of drones firing explosives every day. But in the past 12 months, the frontline has barely moved and some say a stalemate has been reached. The Guardian's Andrew Roth explains why the frontlines seem to be frozen and why the war drags on

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The London ‘hell’ estate fighting back: murders, fires and broken lifts
Tue, 20 Feb 2024 10:25:55 GMT

Milford Towers is a social housing estate in Lewisham, south London, slated for demolition and described by its residents as 'hell'. The residents accuse the council of ignoring them and deliberately running it into the ground. There are frequent leaks, mould infestations, fires, stabbings and violence – and perpetually broken lifts. The Guardian's Adam Sich and Christopher Cherry spent a day there as residents announced that enough was enough, and united to challenge the council to finally start treating them as people.

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Ukrainian Factory: two years of war for a Mykolaiv key worker
Wed, 21 Feb 2024 10:43:33 GMT

The film offers a poignant glimpse into the life of Vitalii Velychurov, a key worker in the main bread factory of Mykolaiv, once a frontline city. Russian troops destroyed Mykolaiv's major infrastructure and most of the city's residents have left – including Vitalii's wife and children – but the factory has delivered bread to the besieged population every day since the full scale invasion broke out. Lost in memories of the past and an uncertain future, Vitalii finds solace in the continued rhythm of the factory

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Inside the youth anti-abortion movement in the US: 'Victory is on its way' – video
Thu, 08 Feb 2024 10:24:39 GMT

Since the US supreme court's overturning of Roe v Wade, 16 states have enacted stringent bans on nearly all abortions. But that is not enough for a new generation of organised and passionate activists intent on pushing even stricter laws across the country. Carter Sherman spends time with students and organisers at the annual March for Life in Washington DC and meets the influential woman spearheading the national movement

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Navalny mourners and Tokyo runners: photos of the weekend
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:33:25 GMT

The Guardian’s picture editors select photographs from around the world

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Kylie, Dua Lipa and a record-breaking Raye: Brit awards 2024 – in pictures
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 21:39:42 GMT

Raye created Brits history – and brought everyone to tears alongside her grandmother – as Tate McRae, Becky Hill, Ellie Goulding and more performed

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Iris Apfel: designer, model and fashion star – a life in pictures
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 02:22:14 GMT

The interior designer, tastemaker and fashion icon has died aged 102. Here are some of her most stylish looks from an extraordinary life

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Sydney Mardi Gras parade 2024 – in pictures
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 22:49:49 GMT

All the colour, costume and camp of the 46th edition of the Mardi Gras parade in Sydney

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The big picture: Christer Strömholm’s lovers in a Paris bar, 1960
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 07:00:07 GMT

The Swedish photographer was a fixture of Parisian cafe society, capturing intimate moments at all-night hangouts

The shared secret of after-hours love is one of the hardest things to capture with a camera. The Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm was a master of this kind of unaffected moment. After dramatic war years fighting with the resistance in Norway, he had settled in Paris and become a fixture in its cafe society in the 1950s and 1960s. For several years he spent his nights photographing transgender people in Pigalle for a series of pictures, Les Amies de Place Blanche. Often he would end up in Latin Quarter cafes, still with his Leica to hand. This picture was taken in La Methode, a bar famous at the time for its all-night opening hours, and a cast of regulars that included students from the nearby Sorbonne and artists and writers. Serge Gainsbourg was an inevitable habitué.

This picture of young lovers taken in 1960 seems to demand a Gainsbourg backing track, perhaps L’Eau à la bouche – “listen to my beating heart, let yourself be” – which was a hit that year. The couple are adrift and alone together among the drinkers we see in the mirror behind them. Their world seems to have narrowed happily to contemplation of the reflection of the glasses on the tabletop – in contrast to the blurred stare of the man in the mirror, a momentary voyeur, like the photographer himself.

Christer Strömholm is published by Dewi Lewis (£48)

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Observer Original Photography
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 11:23:33 GMT

From film-maker Wim Wenders on shooting a movie in 16 days to actor Matt Smith on friendship and fame: the best original photographs from the Observer commissioned in February 2024

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