Pollutionwatch: roads account for a lot of pollution so why do we need more?

While citizens curb car use and get on their bike, infrastructure policy still backs building roads – a source of inescapable pollution

Roads are not the largest source of many air pollutants but our everyday proximity to traffic means vehicles are responsible for a lot of the pollution we breath in. Some air pollutants from diesel vehicles have been out of control, with cars producing far more nitrogen dioxide on the streets than in official tests.

But there is good news. We are travelling less. The average person in the UK travels 10% fewer miles than in 2002. Young people are turning away from car ownership, the bicycle is now the most popular vehicle in the City of London’s rush hour, and a new survey reveals that 61% of us believe we should all reduce car use.

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A-level results: foreign languages suffer further slump

Number of people studying German fell 16%, while French also experienced steep decline

A-levels in traditional foreign languages have suffered a further slump, with the number of people taking German falling so steeply that it has been overtaken by Mandarin.

About 3,000 students sat German A-levels, a drop of 16% on last year and a 45% fall since 2010. French, the most popular modern foreign language, also suffered a steep decline, as part of a shift by students away from humanities towards the stem subjects of science, maths and computing.

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Aretha Franklin: Obama and Trump pay tribute – with very different words

Obama says singer’s voice offered ‘a glimpse of the divine’ while Trump remembers ‘a person I knew well’

When the death of Aretha Franklin was announced on Thursday morning, one US president paid tribute to a voice that offered “a glimpse of the divine”, in which Americans could feel “our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect”.

Related: Aretha Franklin: her greatest songs, from the church to the dancefloor

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Manchester police investigate arena bomber’s links to imam

Salman Abedi attended mosque where sermon was given about mujahideen

Police in Manchester are investigating claims that an imam at a British mosque attended by the arena bomber delivered a sermon advocating armed jihad six months before the attack.

Greater Manchester police (GMP) said they had been passed footage from the BBC purporting to show an imam at Didsbury mosque praising mujahideen fighting abroad – a term commonly used for Islamist guerrilla fighters.

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House of Fraser cancels online orders and refunds customers

Store acts on complaints as dispute with warehouse operator holds up deliveries

House of Fraser is cancelling all online orders and refunding thousands of customers potentially millions of pounds after a dispute with its warehouse operator held up deliveries.

In a tweet via its official feed posted late on Thursday, the company said: “Due to delays with delivering online orders, we have taken the decision to cancel and refund all orders that have not already been sent to customers. All customers affected will receive an email in the next couple of days. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

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Turkey buys time before day of IMF reckoning

Main elements of crisis remain unaddressed, with eventual bailout most probable outcome

Until reports came on Thursday night that the US was preparing to impose more sanctions, the Turkish government had had a decent few days. The currency crisis, which threatened to become chaotic on Monday, had improved. The lira had almost returned to its level of a week ago. During that time, the country had increased liquidity in its banking system, unveiled $15bn (£11.8bn) of direct investment from Qatar, announced a clampdown on short-sellers and on Thursday its finance minister, Berat Albayrak, talked the language of fiscal discipline on a phone call with investors. There have been worse fightbacks.

Yet there is a big difference between buying time and turning a corner. Turkey has merely achieved the former. All the main elements of the crisis remain unaddressed. The Qatari money was pledged at impressive speed but the external funding requirement is enormous – about $220bn during the next 12 months, economists estimate.

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Omarosa releases new tape of Trump campaign’s ‘hush money’ offer

Ex-White House aide says $15,000-a-month job offer from Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara was ‘an attempt to buy my silence’

The former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has released fresh audio recordings that she claims show she was offered “hush money” by Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

Manigault Newman has already made several serious and provocative accusations about Trump and the White House in her book Unhinged, including that there are recordings of Trump using the N-word. The White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said earlier this week she was unable to guarantee that any such recording did not exist.

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Most-polluting woodburner fuels due to get the chop

Michael Gove plans to phase out ‘house coal’ to curb harmful emissions

Michael Gove is due to confirm plans to ban the sale of the most-polluting fuels for domestic woodburners in an attempt to cut harmful emissions.

The sale of traditional “house coal” will be phased out, under proposals set out in the government’s draft clean air strategy in May, and expected to be confirmed by Gove’s department on Friday.

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Trinidad judge loses bid to halt legal inquiry into his private life

Chief justice Ivor Archie had tried to stop law association’s investigation which could lead to his removal from office

Judges in London have dismissed an attempt by the chief justice of Trinidad and Tobago to halt a legal investigation into his private life and alleged business dealings.

Ivor Archie had been facing mounting public criticism over his “close friendship” with Dillian Johnson, who was described as a “convicted felon” in a judgment issued by the judicial committee of the privy council (JCPC) on Thursday.

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