We no longer have a functioning government. May must step aside | Ian Lavery

The prime minister has bottled it and pulled the vote on her Brexit deal. The country can’t go on like this

Theresa May has bottled it. She’s realised her deal is so disastrous that she has taken the desperate step of delaying her own vote at the 11th hour.

For weeks, she has insisted that her Brexit deal is the best possible deal, even though it’s opposed by most people in her party and across the country.

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UK man accused of importing 1.3 tonnes of cocaine goes on trial in Paris

Robert Dawes arrested two years after drugs transported on Air France plane in 30 suitcases

A British man believed to be one of Europe’s biggest drug traffickers has gone on trial in Paris, accused of importing 1.3 tonnes of cocaine into France.

Robert Dawes was arrested two years after the drugs were discovered inside 30 unregistered suitcases, transported on an Air France plane from Caracas to Charles de Gaulle airport. The cocaine had a street value of €240m (£217m).

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UN states agree historic global deal to manage refugee crisis

First international pact on mass migration reached between 164 nations, despite US-led objections

The first ever international deal on the refugee crisis was signed on Monday by a majority of UN states, despite vociferous objections led by the United States.

The historic, non-binding global pact seeking to better manage mass migration was approved by delegates from 164 nations following 18 months of debate and negotiation. German chancellor Angela Merkel hailed it as an “important day”.

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Russian Orthodox priest rebuked over Gucci Instagram posts

Vyacheslav Baskakov apologises after showing off luxury slippers, shoes and bags

A Russian Orthodox priest will be punished for his Instagram posts flaunting extravagant items from Gucci and Louis Vuitton, a senior church official has said.

Vyacheslav Baskakov posted photographs featuring luxury slippers, silver-buckled shoes and Louis Vuitton handbags and luggage worth hundreds of pounds. The photos were taken offline after they began to draw attention last week.

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Trump calls Cohen hush money payments ‘simple private transaction’ – live updates

You may have noticed Trump’s early morning tweets make use of the term “smocking gun”. Presumably Trump meant ‘smoking gun’, rather than some sort of firearm/billowy dress mash-up, but the president is yet to delete the tweet, so who knows what he’s up to.

Not sure what a Smocking Gun is, but pretty sure these aren’t the words of a Stable Genius. https://t.co/zTlIn6pRFg

“Smocking Gun” pic.twitter.com/zAhsDBOtFI

More bad news for Trump today: the man said to be his preferred choice for chief of staff has snubbed the president.

Nick Ayers, currently chief of staff for Mike Pence, had been linked with the role for weeks. But instead Ayers has decided to leave the White House altogether, and is moving to Georgia.

Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House. I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause. #Georgia

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Priti Patel’s Brexit comments showed ignorance about Ireland. She’s not alone | Bobby McDonagh

Since the Brexit vote, many in the UK have exposed how grossly they underestimate Irish intelligence and power

Priti Patel’s appalling comment about using food shortages to pressurise Ireland in the Brexit negotiations showed a breathtaking ignorance of history. However, while the boorishness of her remark is in a category of its own, misunderstanding Ireland has become a common feature of public discourse in the UK.

“Backstop” was listed by the Collins Dictionary recently as one of the new or notable words of 2018. It defines “backstop” as a system that will come into effect if no other arrangement is made. The concept became so current in the context of solving the Brexit Northern Ireland conundrum that negotiators came to talk comfortably about a “backstop to the backstop”. However, there are deeper challenges to mutual understanding than being able to agree on the meaning of a word. The two years since the Brexit referendum have witnessed a startling decline in the capacity of many in London to understand Ireland.

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Man found guilty of 1986 Brighton ‘babes in the wood’ murders

Forensic breakthroughs helped convict Russell Bishop of killing nine-year-olds Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway

A convicted paedophile has been found guilty of the ”babes in the wood” murders of two schoolgirls at the end of a retrial that drew on scientific breakthroughs in forensic technology 32 years after their deaths.

Russell Bishop had been accused of sexually assaulting and strangling Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in October 1986 in woods about half a mile from Moulsecoomb, the area of Brighton where both girls lived.

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Discovery of dead Himalayas pair brings ‘closure’ after 30 years

Friend Steve Aisthorpe told remains of Kristinn Rúnarsson and Þorsteinn Guðjónsson found

A Scottish mountaineer who spent weeks searching for two friends who disappeared in the Himalayas more than 30 years ago has spoken of finally feeling a sense of closure after their bodies were recently found.

Steve Aisthorpe, 55, was with Kristinn Rúnarsson and Þorsteinn Guðjónsson on an expedition to Pumori on the Nepal-Tibet border when he fell ill partway through the expedition and told his friends to go on without him.

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Indifference to sexual violence eats away at us all, say Nobel pair

We’re putting commerce before victims, argue Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad

Nobel laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have called on the world to protect victims of wartime sexual violence as they angrily criticised indifference to the plight of women and children in conflict in their peace prize acceptance speeches.

Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist and world expert on rape in conflict, and Murad, a Yazidi activist and survivor of Isis sexual slavery, said victims were sometimes valued less than commercial interests.

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Grenfell survivors call on inquiry to deliver ‘fearless reckoning’

Public inquiry told London fire brigade failed to plan for forseeable event of a fire

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have demanded “a fearless reckoning” from the public inquiry into the disaster, urging its chairman, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, to resist “obfuscation” by companies involved in the refurbishment and criticising the London fire brigade for remaining in denial about its failings.

Counsel for 200 of the bereaved, survivors and residents made closing statements to the inquiry on Monday in which they claimed the LFB breached its policies and legal duties in failing to plan or train for the foreseeable event of a fire such as that which claimed 72 lives at Grenfell.

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Scientists identify vast underground ecosystem containing billions of micro-organisms

Global team of scientists find ecosystem below earth that is twice the size of world’s oceans

The Earth is far more alive than previously thought, according to “deep life” studies that reveal a rich ecosystem beneath our feet that is almost twice the size of that found in all the world’s oceans.

Despite extreme heat, no light, minuscule nutrition and intense pressure, scientists estimate this subterranean biosphere is teeming with between 15bn and 23bn tonnes of micro-organisms, hundreds of times the combined weight of every human on the planet.

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