Philip Hammond sets out ‘brighter future’ for economy in budget

Chancellor forced to concede growth will slow next year and there is ‘no room for complacency’ as Brexit talks begin

Chancellor Philip Hammond set out a brighter outlook for the economy this year in his budget but was forced to concede growth would slow next year and he stressed there was “no room for complacency” as the UK embarks on Brexit negotiations.

As the growth forecast for this year was raised to 2.0% from 1.4% predicted in November, Hammond told the House of Commons he was presenting his budget against the backdrop of an “economy that continues to confound the commentators with robust growth”. He was also able to unveil a better outlook for the public finances thanks to strong tax receipts.

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Why my nude selfie is a feminist statement | Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

In a context where women’s bodies are heavily policed and Emma Watson is under fire over her Vanity Fair cover, a post on Instagram is deeply political

I was blissfully unaware of the Emma Watson controversy that dominated the news on Monday. While the actor defended her choice to show part of her breasts in a Vanity Fair cover, saying “I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it”, my partner and I were taking a much needed getaway over the long weekend that marked the 60th anniversary of Ghana’s independence.

On our first morning we lingered under the sheets. I picked up my phone, started browsing through my Instagram, and then felt a stroke of inspiration. “Let’s take a picture,” I said. “You’re going to post it,” he asked? “Yes,” I replied. I lifted my hand above us, he reached over to cover my breast and I clicked three times in quick succession. We looked at the results, and agreed on which image to post.

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When did you last hear live music? Stand up and be counted

The first ever UK Live Music Census is surveying a day’s worth of live music across the country. In a digital world with ever more ways to listen, is being there still the biggest thrill?

How many times have you heard music today? Maybe you’ve got a radio alarm clock. Maybe there was an ambient wash of sound playing in a shop. Maybe you streamed something at your desk, or had a CD on in the car, or were one of the innumerable people plugged into their smartphones on the pavement. Right now in the UK, music is more widely available than ever before. Anyone with an internet connection and a suitable device can access millions of tracks, the full gamut of styles from the entire history of recording.

This is musical culture in a digital age.

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May repeatedly denies ‘special deal’ with Surrey council over social care

Jeremy Corbyn sought to press the prime minister on the issue during PMQs but got the same answer each time: there was no special deal

Theresa May has repeatedly denied that her government made a special deal over social care with Surrey council following the release of a recording in which the council leader talked of a “gentleman’s agreement” with ministers.

In the secret recording of a Surrey Conservative group meeting last month, leader David Hodge described a series of conversations involving the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, before the council suddenly dropped a plan for a possible 15% rise in council tax to pay for social care.

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Fake news inquiry to review social networks’ complaints procedures

MPs will examine whether new offences should be created after Facebook’s failure to remove sexualised images of children

A parliamentary inquiry into fake news is to consider legislation forcing social networks to improve the way they handle complaints after Facebook’s failure to remove sexualised images of children.

Damian Collins, chair of the culture, media and sport (CMS) committee, said Facebook’s failure to remove all the images reported, as part of a BBC investigation this week, was “disturbing” and suggested its complaints systems were “inadequate”.

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Austria calls for less funding for EU countries refusing refugees

Chancellor to raise issue of contributions to Hungary and Poland at summit this week

Austria has warned that net contributors to the EU budget will refuse to continue paying unless beneficiaries in central Europe take their quota of refugees.

Austria’s chancellor, Christian Kern, said he would raise the issue of cutting EU contributions to countries such as Hungary and Poland at an EU summit this week.

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Rebels with a cause: the female biker clubs reclaiming Delhi’s public space

In India’s male-dominated capital where women are often in danger, a group of female bikers are taking to the road to reclaim women’s rights to public space

Stalled in a snarl of Delhi traffic, an auto-rickshaw driver cranes his neck to gawp.

Clad in tie-dye leggings, pot leaf earrings and a cherry-red motorcycle helmet, Leena Biswas zips her Avenger 220cc two-wheeler between two lines of drivers. At a red light, a car full of guys pulls up honking, their faces bunched into incredulous sneers.

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Lack of pension equality for same-sex couples ‘is sexual discrimination’

Lawyers for gay man seeking pension rights for his husband tell supreme court such exemptions breach his human rights

Denying equal pension rights to a same-sex husband – as opposed to a wife – amounts to sexual discrimination, the supreme court has been told in a case which could affect thousands of couples.

The equal rights claim at the UK’s highest court on Wednesday is being brought by John Walker, a gay man and one-time cavalry officer, who is determined to win pension rights for his husband.

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Wolverhampton stabbing: two people die in attack at block of flats

Woman thought to be in her 30s and male suspect die and another woman is airlifted to hospital with critical stomach wounds

Two people have died following a stabbing at a block of flats in Wolverhampton, including the suspected attacker.

Armed police and air ambulances were dispatched to Leasowes Drive, in the Merry Hill area of the city, where it is believed a man attacked two women at about 9.45am on Wednesday before stabbing himself, West Midlands police said.

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