The Guardian 5 April 2018

Yulia Skripal says 'everyone is getting better', Russian TV reports

Poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal said to be ‘resting, sleeping’, according to his niece A relative of the poisoned former double agent Sergei Skripal has said she has spoken by phone with his daughter, Yulia, who was making her first contact with the outside world since falling into a coma after the 4 March nerve agent attack.“She said everything is fine and she is doing OK,” Viktoria Skripal told the Guardian by telephone from Moscow. “That’s all I’m going to say.” Continue reading...

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EU centre-right bloc accused of sheltering Hungary's Orbán

Critics say EPP support for Viktor Orbán has blunted EU attempts to protect rule of law in HungaryEurope’s powerful centre-right alliance, the European People’s Party, has been accused of providing political cover for the autocratic rule of Viktor Orbán on the eve of Hungary’s elections.The EPP, a bloc that includes the parties of Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker, is accused of sheltering Fidesz despite Hungary’s democratic backsliding, hostile stance on migration, misinformation about Brussels and alleged misuse of EU funds. Continue reading...

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Brazil's Lula faces jail for corruption after supreme court ruling

Former president has plea to avoid prison rejected in move likely to end his political careerBrazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, could soon be jailed after the supreme court denied a request to allow him to remain free while appealing against a 12-year conviction for corruption charges. The ruling in the early hours of Thursday marked an extraordinary turn of events for Brazil’s most popular politician, who left office in 2010 with an approval rating of more than 80%. Continue reading...

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HSBC whistleblower Hervé Falciani facing extradition to Switzerland

IT specialist who exposed wrongdoing at HSBC’s Swiss private bank is arrested in Spain, where he has lived since 2013Hervé Falciani, the whistleblower who exposed wrongdoing at HSBC’s Swiss private bank, is facing extradition from Spain to Switzerland after he was arrested in Madrid this week. Related: HSBC whistleblower given five years’ jail over biggest leak in banking history Continue reading...

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Former Catalan police chief charged over role in independence bid

Josep Lluís Trapero indicted months after he was praised for handling of Barcelona attacks A former head of the Catalan police force who drew widespread praise for his handling of the Barcelona terrorist attacks in August has been charged with belonging to a criminal organisation for his role in the events leading up to Catalonia’s illegal declaration of independence two months later.Josep Lluís Trapero belonged to a “complex and heterogeneous criminal organisation” led by the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, the Spanish national court judge Carmen Lamela said in an indictment on Thursday. Continue reading...

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Mark Zuckerberg refuses to step down or fire staff over Facebook 'mistakes'

Founder says he takes full responsibility for data breaches and will not ‘throw anyone else under the bus’Mark Zuckerberg has rejected calls for heads to roll at Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying that he takes full responsibility.Speaking after Facebook’s fullest statement yet about the data breach, which the company now says resulted in 87m profiles being extracted from the platform, Zuckerberg insisted he remained the correct person to run the company. Continue reading...

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'Killer robots': AI experts call for boycott over lab at South Korea university

Academics around the world voice ‘huge concern’ over KAIST’s collaboration with defence company on autonomous weaponsArtificial intelligence researchers from nearly 30 countries are boycotting a South Korean university over concerns a new lab in partnership with a leading defence company could lead to “killer robots”.More than 50 leading academics signed the letter calling for a boycott of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and its partner, defence manufacturer Hanwha Systems. The researchers said they would not collaborate with the university or host visitors from KAIST over fears it sought to “accelerate the arms race to develop” autonomous weapons. Continue reading...

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Bollywood star Salman Khan sentenced to five years for killing antelopes

Actor says he will appeal against sentence after being convicted of poaching blackbucks in 1998The Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has been sentenced to five years in jail for poaching a protected species of Indian antelope, in the latest twist to an off-screen life almost as dramatic as the epics he has starred in.A court in Rajasthan state on Thursday found Khan, one of the world’s best-paid actors, guilty of illegally hunting the two blackbucks from his car window while filming in Jodhpur in 1998. Continue reading...

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Brexit: Gibraltar keeps calm but is ready to play hardball

Shock of vote has given way to resigned pragmatism on the Rock, but sovereignty is not up for negotiationNot content with a list of daily specials – options on an overcast early spring morning include fried cheese-and-chorizo balls or scotch egg and chips – the cafe down the road from the headquarters of the Gibraltar government also dispenses advice.“Keep calm and eat British fish and chips,” reads one sign by the door. “Keep calm and drink tinto de verano,” counsels another. Continue reading...

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I’ve negotiated with the EU – and I know we can still stop Brexit | Steve Bullock

The final stages of the EU withdrawal bill are when events happen so rapidly realities can change in an instantShould remainers now “get behind” Brexit and turn their energies to shaping a close UK-EU relationship or to rejoining the EU post-Brexit? That is what some anti-Brexit campaigners (paywall) and respected Brexit commentators have started to accept. The essence of their point is that all the legal routes to stopping Brexit are now politically too unlikely and that, since the mandate from the referendum was only to leave the EU, all that happens afterwards is up for grabs.But for remainers to give up on the campaign to stop Brexit would be wrong on principle, and practically ineffective. Continue reading...

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Why a statue to Milošević? It’s all part of Russia’s Balkan bromance | Ivor Roberts

The proposal to honour the former war criminal in Belgrade reflects a wider power play in Serbia and the rest of the BalkansThe commission for monuments and naming of streets and squares in Belgrade will soon rule on a proposal to erect a statue of Slobodan Milošević, Serbia’s late president, who led his country into and through the collapse of Yugoslavia and a series of calamitous wars in the 1990s.This proposal, made by the youth wing of Milošević’s Socialist party (now back in government in Belgrade), tells us much about the state of politics in Serbia and the wider Balkans. To the west, Milošević – who died in 2006 while on trial for crimes against humanity at The Hague – was a war criminal; to many Serbs he was not only that but also the man who oversaw a collapse in living standards, the isolation of Serbia and the loss of swaths of territory that had once been majority Serb. Continue reading...

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We work for Google. It shouldn't be in the business of war | Open letter signed by Google employees

In this open letter to Google’s CEO, over 3,000 employees urged the company not to work on a Pentagon ‘AI surveillance engine’ used for drone warfareDear Sundar, We believe that Google should not be in the business of war. Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled and that Google draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology. Continue reading...

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The Masters 2018: first round – live!

Live updates on the first day’s action at Augusta NationalEmail [email protected] with any thoughtsFinau may miss debut after hole-in-one celebration injuryEwan Murray: Tiger-mania leaves field with ‘intimidation factor’ 2.49pm BST Well there’s how quickly things can go wrong at Augusta. Ryan Moore had flown out of the blocks, reaching -2 in short order, but now he’s crashed back to +1, following bogey at 3 with double at 4. He found the bunker guarding the front right of the par-three with his tee shot, then went over the back of the green with his splash out. A chip and a missed six-footer, and that’s how easy it is to make double bogey. There are 18 players out there right now, and nobody’s under par. 2.37pm BST The debutant Austin Cook has now played four holes at Augusta National, and he’s yet to register a par. His opening birdie was followed by a couple of bogeys, but he’s back on an even keel with birdie at the first par-three, the 4th. Ryan Moore is experiencing similar turbulence: he’s just bogeyed 3 to drop to -1. Nobody can blame the weather: it’s sunny and cool, with little in the way of wind. The temperatures are expected to rise a little during the day, while the breeze will remain benign. Continue reading...

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Commonwealth Games 2018 day one: England earn six golds – as it happened

It was a brilliant first day for Team England on the Gold Coast, with Max Whitlock among those to pick up one of six golds in Australia 1.26pm BST What a cracking first day. It rained medals – with England taking six for themselves and therefore leading the medal table. Max Whitlock got the ball rolling in the artistic gymnastics, Sophie Thornhill notched a win in the blind and visually impaired sprint before attention turned to the pool, where Aimee Wilmot, James Wilby, Eleanor Robinson and Thomas Hamer all notched medals. It was also a great opening day for the hosts, who earned four golds. Malaysia sit third, with two weightlifting golds. Related: Commonwealth Games: medal table for Gold Coast 2018 12.58pm BST The Aussies wrap up day one with a world-record time of 3:30.05 in the freestyle relay in the pool. Canada take silver while England earn bronze. Continue reading...

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Wild, furious, almost feral: from the Kop this felt like a collective triumph

The atmosphere inside Anfield helped Liverpool to victory over Manchester City. In an era of agents’ fees and expected goals it was a reminder of what football should be aboutFootball has increasingly become a sport judged on tangibles. This is the age of expected goals and big chances, of statisticians sitting behind laptops and pundits sitting in front of touch screens looking for definite reasons to explain why results happen. The discourse has changed and can be illuminating. Equally, it can be needlessly complicated and corrosive.Because, at its heart, football is just how Bill Shankly described it: “terribly simple”. Yes, there are laws and regulations but none so overbearing as to wreck the flow of a game should those involved be in the mood to put on a show. It is easy to follow and, crucially, open to being affected not only by talent but emotion. Continue reading...

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Masters moments, remembering Ray Wilkins and the best bicycle kicks | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features more NCAA drama, the evergreen Ichiro Suzuki and Football Italia nostalgia1) The Masters starts on Thursday, so let’s dip into the archive. Bob Goalby seizes the moment after a scorecard error by Roberto De Vicenzo’s partner meant the Argentinian signed for a 67 rather than the 66 he had gone round in. Tiger Woods’s return to form and prominence gives us an excuse, if one was needed, to relive that famous 16th-hole chip in 2005. And has a pressure moment ever been dealt with better than Sandy Lyle’s bunker shot at the last in 1988, which set him up for a remarkable victory? Two years earlier, Jack Nicklaus was on the charge, sealing victory with a back nine of 30. Masters lore has its share of meltdowns too, such as Jordan Spieth’s two years ago and Rory McIlroy’s in 2011.2) Ray Wilkins, who died this week aged 61, had a rich and varied career with some of Britain and Europe’s top clubs: here’s a delightful chip on a Stamford Bridge mudpatch against Hereford in 1977; a beauty for England in the 1980 European Championship; a cracking strike for Manchester United in the 1983 FA Cup final; here he is talking about his time in Milan; and even late in his career he was capable of scoring goals like this for QPR in 1993 against Liverpool. Continue reading...

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Larry Mize's life at the Masters: course worker, champion and 35-year veteran

Larry Mize spent his childhood around Augusta National, won a green jacket in 1987 and is now playing his 35th straight MastersBy Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports BlogYou can understand why Larry Mize feels so excited when he returns home to the Masters every year. “It’s very special to be here,” he said earlier this week. “I just can’t believe I get to come back every year. A childhood dream and I’m still living it.” Not only is Mize the longest serving champion in the field this week, but the 59-year-old is also playing in his 35th consecutive Masters. After making three of the last four cuts at Augusta, he is showing no signs of ending his love affair with the tournament.Mize grew up in Augusta and winning the Masters was always his “ultimate golfing dream” but he has often been denied the respect his achievement deserves. Before he won the tournament in 1987, Mize was known for the odd collapse or two, harshly nicknamed “Larry D. Mize”. And, when he did win his hometown major, he was derided as a lucky champion. Trawl the web for articles about the worst or luckiest players to have won a major and his name is usually mentioned. Continue reading...

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What England can learn from the Celtic renaissance | The Breakdown

Two sides from Ireland and one from Wales have made the semi-finals of the Champions Cup – Premiership teams are now playing catch-upA Celtic one, two, three in the Six Nations for the first time was followed by two sides from Ireland and one from Wales making the semi-finals of the Champions Cup for only the second year in which all the major European countries have taken part.The other occasion was 2009, when Leinster went on to win the tournament for the first time. They are the favourites this year after Sunday’s victory against Saracens and they will enjoy home city advantage over the Scarlets this month while Racing 92 have a 400-mile trek to Bordeaux to face Munster in the second semi-final. Continue reading...

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José Mourinho’s plea for time shines light on scratchy big-money signings | Paul Wilson

The Manchester United manager’s track record at the top end of the market is under scrutiny given the struggles of Pogba and Sánchez and with City aiming to clinch the title in Saturday’s derbyRegular readers of the Jeeves and Wooster stories will be familiar with the plot device which involves Bertie’s favourite aunt having to keep her rich husband sweet because she will shortly be asking him for a substantial sum of money to prop up Milady’s Boudoir, the perennially unprofitable women’s fashion magazine of which she is proprietor.“I thought you said Milady’s Boudoir had turned the corner,” Bertie observes on one occasion. “Yes,” Aunt Dahlia replies. “Until you have tried running a women’s magazine you don’t know what corners are.” Continue reading...

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Stanley Kubrick 'risked stuntman's life' making 2001: A Space Oydssey

Director refused to stop filming as stuntman Bill Weston lost consciousness, new book claimsStanley Kubrick is revered for pushing cinematic boundaries with his cult sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. But, for art’s sake and an obsessive pursuit of realism, the director was prepared to endanger a stuntman’s life, a new book claims.Bill Weston simulated weightlessness and zero gravity as an astronaut in the film’s extraordinary spacewalk sequences, but Kubrick refused to allow a second safety cable, despite the dangers of performing more than 30 feet above a hard concrete floor. Continue reading...

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Death Wish review – Bruce Willis on the rampage in a woeful remake

Eli Roth updates Michael Winner’s gory vigilante thriller in an unwholesome celebration of American gun cultureEven Charles Bronson, with his famously expressive face, would struggle to convey the range of my emotions at the news that Bruce Willis has chosen this moment to star in a remake of Michael Winner’s gamey 1974 thriller Death Wish – with loads of rip-roaring NRA second amendment thrills about how great guns and gun stores are, and how the readily available merchandise is very important in saving the day for the good guys.Death Wish was about the regular-guy vigilante who goes around blowing holes in bad guys because a couple of punks killed his wife and raped his teenage daughter and the wussy police can do nothing. This new version, with an adjustment to 21st-century sensibilities, changes it so the teenage daughter doesn’t get raped. Now Paul Dursey (Willis) is an ER surgeon, not an architect, and we also lose the conspiracy stuff about the authorities suppressing the news that his brave work is bringing down the crime rate. But it’s pretty much the same deal, and short of bringing back a CGI image of a handsome young Charlton Heston over the closing credits, hollering about his cold, dead hands, it couldn’t be more of an NRA promotional event. Continue reading...

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Bob Dylan sings about gay love on LGBTQ wedding songs collection

St Vincent, Kesha, Ben Gibbard, Valerie June and Kele Okereke also appear on the Universal Love EPBob Dylan is among six acts appearing on a new compilation EP that features “reimagined” versions of traditional wedding songs for same-sex couples. Universal Love opens with Dylan’s rendition of the 1929 great American songbook classic She’s Funny That Way, revamped as He’s Funny That Way. Rob Kaplan, the compilation’s producer, told the New York Times that Dylan was enthusiastic about the project. “And it wasn’t just, ‘Yes, I’ll do this’, it was, ‘Hey, I have an idea for a song.’” Continue reading...

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'Age can be a babe magnet': Spinal Tap's Derek Smalls on why old is gold

After a career with heavy metal gods Spinal Tap – and a battle with addiction to the internet – the bassist is back with a new album reflecting on the ageing process. As his cells degrade, he shares his hard-fought wisdomWe keep track of the passing years. Do they keep track of us? Life is like the ticketing machine at a car park: it gives something (tickets) and it takes something (cash or credit cards).These are among the thoughts I have had as I’ve been meditating on ageing during the recording of my new album, Smalls Change. Age, I say at the beginning of it, is just a number. Number is just a word. And word is just a thing. If I could say it better myself, I still wouldn’t. Continue reading...

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Alleged fraudster made €1m by 'recycling' bottles, German court hears

Court told man manipulated machines for deposit return scheme to make repeated claimsRecycling used bottles benefits the environment and is good for your conscience. But in Germany, criminals have allegedly found ways in which it can make you a millionaire.A 27-year-old man faced court on Thursday in Bochum on two fraud charges, after allegedly making €1.2m (£1.1m) through illegally manipulating machines used for the German deposit return scheme for bottles and cans. Continue reading...

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Man will not stand trial over British backpacker killings in Australia

Smail Ayad deemed mentally ill after stabbing backpackers Mia Ayliffe-Chung and Tom Jackson in Queensland in 2016A man who fatally stabbed two British backpackers at a north Queensland hostel will not go on trial for the killings, a court has ruled. Justice Jean Dalton discontinued criminal proceedings against Smail Ayad, from France, after finding he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attack, and was under a delusion that people wanted to kill him. Continue reading...

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'We go deeper': the artists spearheading the boom in Iranian art

Their works, which capture a different side of life in Iran, are shifting for vast sums. As the first gallery devoted to Iranian art opens in Britain, we go behind the scenesA giant canvas depicting the union jack overpowers the entrance to Cama Gallery in London. As you get closer to Fereydoon Omidi’s artwork, the Persian letters inscribed on the painting under the thick layers of red, white and blue become more visible. Here, at the first gallery in London to be dedicated to Iranian art, Omidi’s multilayered calligraphy was, he said, “a plea for peace and cultural understanding”. Continue reading...

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The apps that map violence – and keep Rio residents out of the crossfire

Rejecting official information channels, Rio’s citizens are navigating their city using crowdsourced data on shootings and robberies as they happen“A red spot on the map means gunfire, so I avoid going there,” says Leonardo Duarte, who works on the streets for a rehabilitation clinic in Rio de Janeiro. Shootings and violence are routine in his neighbourhood of Vigário Geral, a slum in the grip of conflict between rival drug-trafficking gangs. To stay out of danger when navigating the city he has a strategy: never go anywhere without checking his phone for live crime data.An increasing number of Rio residents are subscribing to crowdsourcing apps and following the social network pages of crime-watch groups such as Basta de Violência (No More Violence) and Realidade do Rio de Janeiro (Reality of Rio de Janeiro). Continue reading...

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'It feels like we're all dying slowly': Venezuela's doctors losing hope

With major shortages of medicines, many doctors are joining the exodus of people trying to find a better life abroadAfter six years of studying and working part-time jobs, Cristian Diaga, 24, will soon graduate from medical school in Caracas, Venezuela. But instead of continuing his training in a top hospital in the country, as he had hoped, he is taking a job in a fast-food restaurant in Argentina – a situation he says is much more preferable.“I do feel bad leaving. I think everyone would like to give something back to their country, but right now it is my life and future and all my possibilities to help my family to get out of this madness,” he says. Continue reading...

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Gaza masks and a poacher caught: Thursday's best photos

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

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Community police groups in Mexico – in pictures

In the mountains of Guerrero, illegal poppy fields flourish and the production of opium gum is on the increase, despite the efforts of the Mexican army. Conflicts between the small cartels that control production are also intensifying. As a result, community police forces have been established to protect communities and, depending on the circumstances, confront or negotiate with the crime groups in the area Continue reading...

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