John le Carré and Neil Gaiman join writers warning Brexit is ‘choosing to lose’

Letter to the Guardian signed by many of UK’s most celebrated authors urges voters to support the EU in Thursday’s poll – or prepare for economic damage

Some of the UK’s most garlanded novelists, including Robert Harris, John le Carré and Philip Pullman, have lambasted the promises made by Brexiters as being too unbelievable for fiction, writing: “We are the people who spend our lives making things that are not true seem believable, and we don’t think Brexit is even a good effort.”

Dozens of writers have put their names to a letter to the Guardian that urges UK voters taking part in Thursday’s European parliament elections to use their franchise to support the European Union, “unless they know what they are choosing to lose, for themselves and everyone they know, and are happy with that”.

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Jailed Catalan separatists take seats in Spanish parliament

Five on trial for 2017 secession attempt won office in election but are likely to be suspended

Five jailed Catalan separatist leaders elected to the Spanish parliament last month have been temporarily released from prison and escorted to the assembly to be sworn in as lawmakers.

The supreme court allowed the men – who are on trial for their role in Catalonia’s failed 2017 secession attempt – to leave jail to take up their seats, but they are likely to be quickly suspended because of their legal situation. They were taken back to jail after the session.

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Boeing dismissed chance of ‘bird strike’ that may have caused second 737 Max crash

  • US investigators believe bird collision may have triggered crash
  • Ethiopian Airlines crash occurred months after Lion Air disaster

Boeing officials, shortly after the first fatal crash of its 737 Max jet, played down the likelihood that a bird strike could impair the plane’s sensor equipment. Now investigators are exploring whether such a situation led to a second deadly accident just five months later.

Related: Boeing completes software update on 737 Max planes

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Lord Moore of Lower Marsh obituary

Conservative politician whose ascent to high office under Margaret Thatcher foundered on NHS and social security reforms

The former Tory cabinet minister John Moore, Lord Moore of Lower Marsh, who has died aged 81, had a brief, meteoric cabinet career in the last phase of the Thatcher administration, during which he was for a time seen – perhaps even saw himself – as a potential future prime minister. But if that was ever the case his timing and talent were awry – maybe his career could be better seen as soaring like a firework rocket and coming to earth like the stick – and when the time came, the poisoned chalice of succeeding Margaret Thatcher fell to Moore’s steadier former deputy John Major.

Moore, by contrast, left the Commons, all but forgotten as a former minister, at the time of Major’s greatest triumph in the 1992 general election and went off to make money in the City of London, consoled with a valedictory life peerage instead. He was perceived, even by his friends, to have been defeated in trying to reform both the National Health Service and the social security budget and his political reputation never recovered.

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Scotland will miss child poverty targets without vast cash boost – report

Report highlights ‘massive gap between scale of ambition and scale of resources allocated’

The Scottish government will miss its own child poverty targets unless it substantially increases investment, according to a report on last December’s budget published by the independent Poverty and Inequality Commission.

The report highlights “a massive gap between the scale of Scotland’s ambition to tackle child poverty and the scale of resources allocated to delivering that commitment”, according to the Scottish branch of the charity Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

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Garden feeders are supporting rising numbers of urban birds

More than half of British homeowners feed birds, maintaining 133 species

The increasingly appetising buffet provided for garden birds, from sunflower hearts to suet cakes, is supporting a rising number and greater diversity of species in Britain’s urban areas, according to research.

In the 1970s, half of all birds using garden feeders belonged to just two species, the sparrow and starling, but by the 2010s the number of species making up the same proportion had tripled, with goldfinches, woodpigeons and long-tailed tits soaring in number because of the food on offer.

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‘Exterminate’: man incurs wrath of council overlords with Dalek shed

Teacher in trouble over cyborg pied-à-terre at his sci-fi museum in Northumberland

A council in the north-east of England has been labelled “laughable, ludicrous and short-sighted” after it attempted to force a family-run sci-fi museum to destroy a Doctor Who Dalek shelter because it didn’t have planning permission.

Art teacher Neil Cole is embroiled in a planning row over the latest addition at his Museum of Classic Sci-Fi, which he founded last October in the cellar of his Grade II-listed, Georgian townhouse in Allendale, Northumberland.

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Far-right MEPs could threaten EU climate policy, experts warn

Fears that predicted influx of climate deniers would obstruct action on environment

An influx of climate-denying far-right MEPs could pose a “toxic” threat to EU climate policy after the European elections, according to senior MEPs and academics.

Populist parties are expected to take up to a third of the parliamentary seats in Thursday’s vote, with Matteo Salvini’s League in contention to be the largest single party, and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) overtaking Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche in some polls.

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