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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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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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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Severe storm continues dumping snow and sleet across US southern states

Harsh wintry storm leaves dangerously icy roads and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity

Authorities have urged millions of people to stay home as a lingering storm keeps dumping immobilizing snow, sleet or freezing rain across five southern states, leaving dangerously icy roads and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.

More than 300,000 power outages were reported across the region, with North Carolina bearing the brunt of it, and nearly 270,000 remained without power Monday morning, according to poweroutage.us. South Carolina and Virginia, along with parts of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, also saw outages.

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Global super-rich bought 153 homes for at least £20m each in past year

Highest number of sales in Hong Kong as London’s ultra-prime housing market slips amid Brexit concerns

More than 150 homes around the world changed hands for more than £20m ($25m) each in the past year, as the “relentless creation of private wealth” fuelled the global ultra-prime housing market.

The world’s richest people spent a combined £5.2bn ($6.6bn) on 153 properties that each sold for more than £20m in the year to end of August 2018, according to research by the estate agent Knight Frank.

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Charlottesville: jury to recommend sentence for James Fields

White nationalist convicted of first-degree murder in death of Heather Heyer faces 20 years to life in prison

A man convicted of first-degree murder for driving his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia faces 20 years to life in prison as jurors reconvene to consider his punishment.

The panel that convicted James Alex Fields Jr will hear more evidence Monday before recommending a sentence for Judge Richard Moore.

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High court rejects challenge to ‘hostile environment’ NHS charge

Judge dismisses Windrush cancer patient’s claim regulations required public consultation

A judge has rejected a challenge by a member of the Windrush generation to the government requirement for the NHS to charge overseas patients for treatment.

A 58-year-old man identified as “MP” who required urgent treatment for blood cancer had sought a judicial review of the relevant regulations, which formed a plank of the hostile environment policy.

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Russia ‘paved way for Ukraine ship seizures with fake news drive’

EU’s security commissioner says Moscow spread false claims for at least a year before last month’s seizures

The Kremlin launched a year-long disinformation campaign to soften up public opinion before its recent seizure of three Ukrainian ships and their crews in the Sea of Azov, the EU’s security commissioner has alleged.

Julian King said Russia had paved the way for its decision to fire on and board two artillery ships and a tug boat through the dissemination of fake news.

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Humanity is on path to self-destruction, warns UN special rapporteur

On 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Nils Melzer says global community has failed to learn lessons of second world war

As those who lived through two world wars die out, taking with them real memories of past atrocities, the world is back on a path to self-destruction, a leading authority on torture has warned.

Human rights are facing a “worrying backlash” from a global community that has failed to “learn the lesson” of the past.

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Taj Mahal ticket price rises by 500% for Indian visitors

Hike is latest attempt to limit footfall after experts say flow of people causing irreversible damage

The ticket price for Indian visitors to the Taj Mahal has been raised by 500%, in the latest attempt to lower tourist numbers and reduce damage to the country’s top tourist site.

Indians make up the majority of the Taj Mahal’s 10,000-15,000 average daily visitors. Nearly 6.5 million people marvelled at the white marble 17th-century masterpiece in 2016.

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Theresa May postpones Brexit deal vote, reports say

Prime minister to make statement to MPs as pound falls to lowest level in 18 months

Theresa May has postponed the final vote on her Brexit deal, according to reports.

If the development is confirmed it will be seen as a clear admission by the prime minister that she does not believe she can get the unpopular withdrawal agreement through the House of Commons.

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Russia’s worst serial killer jailed for life

Mikhail Popkov raped and killed dozens of women in Angarsk over two decades

A court in Siberia has convicted a former police officer of raping and killing dozens of women, making him Russia’s worst serial killer in the last century.

Mikhail Popkov, 54, terrorised his home city of Angarsk for nearly two decades, luring women into his car late at night and then assaulting them with tools such as axes and shovels.

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