Dominic Chappell to fight legal action forcing him to pay BHS pensions

The Pensions Regulator has halted action against Sir Philip Green, after he agreed a £363m settlement

Dominic Chappell, the former owner of BHS, has pledged to fight legal action by The Pensions Regulator designed to force him to pay millions of pounds into the failed retailer’s pension scheme, saying the black hole in the scheme was not his fault.

The regulator has agreed a £363m cash settlement with Sir Philip Green to rescue the BHS pension scheme and halted legal proceedings against the billionaire. However, it is continuing with legal action against Chappell and his company Retail Acquisitions and is understood be seeking as much as £17m.

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World’s oldest fossils found in Canada, say scientists

If correct, the microfossils, thought to have formed between 3.77bn and 4.28bn years ago, offer the oldest direct evidence of and insight into life on Earth

Scientists say they have found the world’s oldest fossils, thought to have formed between 3.77bn and 4.28bn years ago.

Comprised of tiny tubes and filaments made of an iron oxide known as haematite, the microfossils are believed to be the remains of bacteria that once thrived underwater around hydrothermal vents, relying on chemical reactions involving iron for their energy.

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Don’t fear maternity leave. Being replaced isn’t the worst fate | Catherine Shoard

The Replacement plays on the insecurities of pregnant women in the workplace. My advice is, rise above it

The warnings couldn’t have been clearer. About to go on maternity leave? Do not watch The Replacement. Step away from the set during the BBC’s swish new thriller about a Glasgow architect whose replacement might (or might not – maybe it’s just the hormones) be out to snaffle her position, her friends, her hubbie, her sanity and her unborn daughter.

Related: Tips on balancing your career with starting a family

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Unite urges PM to secure tariff-free single market access for car makers

Len McCluskey urges Ford to guarantee future production at Bridgend plant, saying workers had been ‘kept in the dark’

Len McCluskey, the head of the UK’s biggest trade union has urged Theresa May to guarantee car makers tariff-free access to the single market after Brexit, as Ford unveiled plans to cut 1,160 jobs over five years at its engine factory in Bridgend, Wales.

McCluskey, the Unite general secretary, also demanded that Ford provide “legally binding guarantees” of future production at the plant, saying that workers had been “kept in the dark”.

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Penicillin mould created by Alexander Fleming sells for over $14,000

Auction house Bonham’s sold the microbes, which were instrumental in the discovery of the world’s first antibiotic

The international auction house Bonham’s has sold a small, patchy disc of mould for $14,597 (£11,863).

The off-white, nearly 90-year-old swatch of microbes was first created by Alexander Fleming to make penicillin, a revolutionary discovery that brought the world its first antibiotic. Bonham’s sold the mould on Wednesday during an auction in London.

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Tens of thousands of pupils fail to get into first choice secondary school

Around half a million families found out on Wednesday which secondary school their children will attend

Tens of thousands of families have been left disappointed after not getting a child into their first choice of secondary school.

Around a third of children in London – where there has been a 2% increase in applications – have missed out on their first choice of secondary school, while local authorities in larger cities have also had to deliver bad news to disappointed parents.

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Courts are running out of qualified judges, peers are told

Vacancies for crown and high court roles being left unfilled because there is a lack of suitable candidates, committee hears

Vacancies for crown court and high court judges are increasingly being left unfilled because of a serious shortage of suitably qualified applicants, a select committee has been told.

The scale of the problem has been exposed in evidence to the Lords constitution committee, during which the justice secretary, Liz Truss, called on judges to speak about their roles more often in public.

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Cliff Richard accuses BBC reporter of ‘strong-arming’ police

Singer looking for substantial damages, saying officers cooperated with reporter after he ‘threatened’ to broadcast a story

Sir Cliff Richard has accused a BBC reporter of “strong-arming” South Yorkshire police into co-operating after he was accused of a historic child sex assault.

The 76-year-old singer said officers co-operated after reporter Dan Johnson “threatened” to broadcast a story. BBC editors deny the allegation.

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How have you been affected by air pollution?

If you are campaigning against high levels of toxic air or planning to relocate because of it, we’d like to hear from you

There are 802 educational institutions in London where pupils as young as three are being exposed to high levels of nitrogen dioxide.

The schools, nurseries and colleges are within 150 metres of nitrogen dioxide pollution levels that exceed the EU legal limit of 40µg/m3 (40 micrograms per cubic metre of air), putting tens of thousands of children at risk from lifelong health problems.

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Killing a man in a car accident is something I’ll always carry with me | Jonathan Bartley

When I was a teenager, my car hit a pedestrian. It has shaped how I think about life and the values I hold

This is an incredibly hard article to write, and it shouldn’t really be about me. It should first and foremost be about the student that I killed, the family and friends he left behind to grieve, and the devastation it caused them.

I was 17. I had been playing a gig with my band in north London and was driving home late at night. I pulled away from traffic lights, and as I accelerated a figure appeared in front of us, as if from nowhere. I wasn’t even sure which side of the road he had come from. He seemed to just emerge out of the darkness. What I did see was him lifted by the force of the collision and thrown by the impact on to the windscreen.

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Boots to close majority of photo labs, with up to 400 jobs at risk

Retailer plans to shut 220 of 320 labs, saying it is adapting its services as fewer people want traditional photo processing

Boots is shutting more than two-thirds of its photo processing labs as demand for traditional photo processing falls, putting up to 400 jobs as risk.

The health and beauty retailer plans to close 220 of its 320 photo labs, which currently offer one-hour services on processing rolls of film or photo-based gifts such as calendars and posters.

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Viagogo ticket rip-off concerns reach parliament as May promises crackdown

Prime minister vows to fix ticket resale market after a surge in complaints against resellers over inflated prices and refunds

Ticket resale sites such as Viagogo and StubHub are facing a crackdown after the prime minister said they “cause problems” for genuine fans and vowed to fix markets that don’t work for consumers.

Theresa May said the department for culture, media and sport (DCMS) would “shortly” address so-called secondary ticketing firms, which have been accused of flouting consumer laws and inflating ticket prices for fans.

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Burglar jailed for eight years for £1m raid on Simon Cowell’s home

Darren February stole jewellery and passports from X Factor creator’s London home while he and his family slept

A burglar who stole almost £1m from the home of Simon Cowell, which left the music mogul in “constant fear”, faces a further eight years behind bars.

Darren February, who is already in prison for knocking down and killing a motorcyclist, stole jewellery and passports from his home in west London in December 2015 as he and his family slept.

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All change: how the Royal Mint is making the new 12-sided £1 coins

Inside the heavily guarded site where £1.5bn of coins – claimed to be the most secure in the world – are being made

It’s known as the Long Store and at first sight this draughty building – with endless rows of plain cardboard boxes stacked neatly on shelving from floor to ceiling – could be any distribution warehouse in the UK.

Only discreet red stickers reveal the valuable contents of the boxes, which every day will be driven by fleets of armoured high-security vehicles from the barbed wire-ringed site. Each is loaded with 85,000 gleaming new 12-sided pound coins which go into circulation in the UK on 28 March and are systematically being transferred to a network of top secret “cash centres” across to the UK to await final delivery to banks and other issuers.

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Literature report shows British readers stuck in very white past

Royal Society of Literature survey finds people place high value on books’ ability to promote empathy, but their choices are far from diverse

British readers may recognise the value of literature to encourage social cohesion – but the perspective they gain from novels remains overwhelmingly white, male and middle class, according to a survey of public attitudes to literature released on Wednesday.

A survey of nearly 2,000 people on behalf of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) found that despite 81% of respondents saying they liked literature because it promotes empathy, only 7% of the 400 writers they cited were from black, Asian or minority ethnic (Bame) backgrounds.

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Tower Hamlets council rejects Time Out Market development proposal

Media organisation expresses disappointment after plans for Spitalfields-based 17-restaurant site are turned down

Residents in east London have expressed relief after plans for a huge eating and drinking establishment in the area under the Time Out banner were rejected by Tower Hamlets council.

The proposal would have seen the development of a 17-restaurant, four-bar site with seating for about 450 people across four floors, on the site of former stables in Commercial Street, neighbouring residential properties.

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New Range Rover Velar model to be built in Solihull

Jaguar Land Rover boss says Tata-owned firm’s heart, soul and HQ will always be in the UK

Jaguar Land Rover’s latest model is to be built exclusively at its plant in Solihull as the luxury car maker pledged its “heart and soul” to the UK.

The new Velar is be the fourth generation of the 47-year-old Range Rover family and will be be available to order from this summer. The model will be sold in more than 100 markets globally.

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The Guardian view on refugees: don’t set them up to fail | Editorial

There is understandable concern for asylum seekers embarking on dangerous journeys. But the treatment they receive in their new home is just as important

To become an asylum seeker in Europe is to have overcome adversity. First, to have survived the dangers in your homeland and found a means of escape. Then to have survived the journey and reached your destination. Only this week, Unicef warned that women and children were being raped, beaten and starved in Libyan detention centres. Last year, more than 5,000 migrants died attempting to cross the Mediterranean, and Balkan countries shut their borders, blocking many who had hoped to reach northern Europe. To have your claim recognised, and to become a refugee, is harder still. It means negotiating a complicated, alien and unforgiving system which often gets it wrong; around 30% of refusals in Britain are overturned in the courts. So refugee status is a mark not only of suffering but of the ability to withstand it.

The attention already given to perilous journeys, and the populist backlash to the surging numbers of asylum seekers in Europe over recent years – though arrivals fell in 2016 – now needs to encompass what happens at their destination. Making a home in a new land is challenging even for those who move by choice and with plentiful resources. Now add in trauma and sometimes physical issues too; a language barrier; skills or qualifications that cannot be transferred. But as a Guardian series – The New Arrivals – beginning today shows, many of the problems they face are entirely unnecessary.

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‘Then the shooting started’: Afghan asylum seekers on the moment they lost their family – video

Said fled Afghanistan with his wife and seven children. Only he and his nine-year-old son Wali Khan made it to Britain. Their life in Derby is precarious and for Said, who is struggling to learn English, lonely. We will follow this family as they attempt to make a home in Britain and seek a legal right to stay here

  • This project is funded by the European Journalism Centre via a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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