One Nation disendorses candidate for not paying $2,400 upfront fee

Elise Cottam refused to pay the fee, saying her son would provide campaign and marketing materials

One Nation has disendorsed a candidate for the Queensland state election for not paying a $2,400 upfront fee to cover, in part, campaign materials.

Elise Cottam, the candidate for Callide, told Guardian Australia she had intended to have her son provide marketing material for “next to nothing” but the party had disendorsed her for failing to meet a Monday deadline to pay.

Continue reading...

The Guardian view on the Dubs amendment: a glowing ember of compassion | Editorial

The prime minister must not allow the light of decency in Britain’s asylum policy to vanish altogether

No one studying Theresa May’s record as home secretary and prime minister could question her commitment to border control. She has staked everything – her reputation, her authority and, by extension, the future of the country – on this one issue. She wants Britain to admit fewer foreigners, regardless of their country of origin or their motive for making the journey. This wins few friends on the continent, where politicians accuse Mrs May of lying to make her case.

The fixation with outsiders explains the government’s decision to abandon commitments made last year to give sanctuary to unaccompanied child refugees. When Mr Cameron acquiesced to the scheme – introduced as an amendment to a bill cracking down on illegal immigration – the universal expectation was that help would be provided for at least 3,000 children. To date, there have been only 350 beneficiaries of the “Dubs amendment”, named after the peer who proposed it – himself once a child refugee from the Nazis.

Continue reading...

The Guardian view on Donald Trump and Asia: allies are anxious too | Editorial

Destabilising the Asian-Pacific status quo and unsettling China is not an end in itself. Regional powers are unnerved by erratic and even contradictory signals from the US

Donald Trump’s first letter to Xi Jinping counts, by the US president’s low standards, as a successful stab at basic diplomacy. It tepidly anticipates constructive relations with the Chinese president. Sent almost three weeks after his inauguration, it wishes the Chinese people a prosperous Year of the Rooster, which began almost a fortnight ago. The 20 or so world leaders to whom the new president has spoken have not included the man on the other side of arguably the most important bilateral relationship.

Even if the letter precedes a phone call, China’s anxiety is understandable. Mr Trump’s manifesto described it as “our enemy”. He has questioned the status quo over Taiwan, a red line for Beijing. Peter Navarro, head of his national trade council, is author of the menacingly titled book Death by China. Last year, Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s chief strategist, said there was “no doubt” the nations would go to war over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson has said China should be blocked from using the artificial islands it has built there. On the other side of the scales – rather lighter at present – are defence secretary James Mattis’s observation that he saw no need for dramatic military moves and the Chinese ambassador’s reportedly “cordial” dialogue with Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law and adviser.

Continue reading...

Miriam González Durántez is right to object to being called ‘Mrs Clegg’

An invitation to speak on International Women’s Day was sent to the lawyer in her husband’s name. Why is there such a deep anxiety about women retaining their independence?

When lawyer Miriam González Durántez took to Instagram to lampoon the absurdity of being invited to participate in an International Women’s Day event with a letter starting “Dear Mrs Clegg”, it was immediately clear why she described the situation as one of “irony”. The organisers had chosen to define her by her husband (former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg) while asking her to speak at an event to celebrate women’s success.

But according to one study, many people might disagree with González Durántez’s right to continue using her maiden name at all. Researchers polling US adults found that 70% thought women should take their husband’s name when they marry and half felt women should be legally obliged to do so.

Continue reading...

The roles of parliament and the people in the Brexit debate | Letters

Gina Miller was of course wrong to get the supreme court involved in Brexit politics (Editorial, 9 February). She should have known that, after the referendum, the people not parliament are sovereign, because parliament’s record of berating voters for making democratic choices that it finds “abhorrent” to implement goes back a long way.

In the 1964 general election, Peter Griffiths, a Conservative, defeated his Labour opponent in Smethwick in the West Midlands by placing the issue of immigration at the centre of his campaign. Though Griffiths represented the collective will of his constituents on immigration, race and culture, the British parliament of the day would have none of it. He was constantly rebuked for his election victory. Harold Wilson, the then prime minister, even called him a “parliamentary leper”.

Continue reading...

Brexit and Labour’s loss of moral compass | Letters

Labour’s failure to support the amendment protecting EU workers and residents already in the UK is shameful (Report, 9 February). The party has abandoned internationalist principles and eschewed solidarity with people who work across all sectors of our economy, including health and social care. Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer have ensured that EU citizens are negotiation pawns in the ghastly process of extricating the UK from 44 years of treaty obligations and laws that protect workers, citizens, consumers and the environment. Labour has joined the Ukip-inspired hard-Brexit bandwagon and lost its moral compass in the process. The party deserves oblivion.
Dr Simon Sweeney
University of York

• Like millions of people in the UK, my family is being subjected to mental torture by the government. My husband is an EU citizen and has lived and worked here for 40 years. But the UK government failed to implement EU rules designed to manage free movement and keeps no register of EU nationals living in the UK. To prove that he has a right to permanent residence here, my husband must complete an 85-page form and let the Home Office have his passport for months. Many EU nationals who’ve done this have had their rights refused on technicalities. But, in any case, this permission may be worthless if the UK leaves the EU. In contrast, my (UK citizen) sister has lived for 30 years in another EU country; if she needs permanent residence after Brexit she can simply apply online using her “person number” to become naturalised.

Continue reading...

Not enough charging points for electric cars; fracking in Scotland economically marginal | Letters

While it is good news for the environment that UK sales of electric cars are rising (Report, 7 February) this trend is unlikely to really take off while we have such a disjointed and shortsighted policy regarding electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

Boris Johnson sold the London-wide charging network to a French company that now runs the system as Source London. It has started to charge for charging, at rates that are unviable for many drivers, especially those with hybrid vehicles, where the cost of the electricity is more than the cost of petrol for the same mileage travelled. Furthermore, some London councils now make their own arrangements with other providers so there is no longer a functioning London-wide system.

Continue reading...

A lesson in blurring fact and fiction | Brief letters

Denise Brewster | The Archers | Didles | Tinned lychees | 35mm canisters and Weetabix

Denise Brewster’s supreme court victory (Report, 9 February) is one further step towards a more equal society. My partner and I have been together for a long, long time, happily unmarried. Gay couples have won the right both for civil partnerships and marriage, and quite right too. Unmarried heterosexual cohabitees deserve the same – and we all deserve the right for cohabitation to be recognised by law.
Jol Miskin
Sheffield

• Andrew Bailey (How did rape become TV entertainment?, Letters, 4 February) writes about the blurring of fact and fiction at Henry’s school in The Archers. As the real headteacher of the school where Happy Valley was filmed, after the scene in which the sinister new teaching assistant was introduced, I was inundated with suggestions that I attend safer recruitment and safeguarding training.
Judy Shaw
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Continue reading...

‘Go buy Ivanka’s stuff’: Conway’s TV pitch violates ethics laws, experts say

Top Trump aide broke rules for federal employees in giving ‘free advertising’ during interview for fashion line dropped by Nordstrom, ethics lawyers said

Ethics experts tore into Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Donald Trump, on Thursday after she appeared on television urging the public to buy the branded products of the president’s daughter, Ivanka.

Calling her remarks a violation of federal ethics laws “on several levels”, she was criticized for providing “free advertising” to Ivanka Trump’s fashion line.

Continue reading...

Members of Rochdale grooming gang face deportation to Pakistan

Four men who preyed on teenage girls may have British citizenship revoked after losing legal appeal

Four members of a child grooming gang are facing deportation to Pakistan after losing a legal appeal against their British citizenship being revoked.

The gang of men, who preyed on teenage girls in Rochdale by plying them with drink and drugs before they were “passed around” for sex, could be removed from the UK permanently.

Continue reading...

US commander in Afghanistan calls for thousands more troops – video

General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, tells the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that he needs several thousand more international troops in order to break a stalemate in the long war with Taliban insurgents, signaling the matter may soon be put before President Donald Trump. The general also explained that Russian interference in the country was damaging stability in the region

Continue reading...

British tabloids ignore end of scheme to bring child refugees to the UK

Despite having covered immigration and the Dubs amendment endlessly, papers fail to note this week’s shift in policy

Those British tabloids most outraged by the issue of immigration barely noted the government’s decision to limit sanctuary for lone child refugees to just a few hundred, rather than the thousands hoped for by campaigners.

The Daily Mail put its story headlined “Child refugee scheme for 3,000 halted at just 350” at the bottom of page 6, while the Sun found space for just five paragraphs and the Express had nothing at all.

Continue reading...

Damning report slams firms who built fault-ridden Scottish schools

Failings by PFI contractors and Edinburgh city council highlighted by inquiry following emergency closure in 2016 of 17 schools in Scotland’s capital

An investigation into the emergency closure of 17 schools in Edinburgh built under the private finance initiative has revealed a series of other potentially fatal safety defects at PFI schools.

Prof John Cole, a construction industry expert, said brick walls at four other schools in Scotland fell down in high winds in very similar circumstances to the collapse of an external wall at Oxgangs primary school in Edinburgh in January 2016.

Continue reading...

Ed Miliband asks Ofcom for inquiry into Rupert Murdoch Sky bid

Former Labour leader joins cross-party group of politicians seeking ‘fit and proper person test’ for deal

The former Labour leader Ed Miliband is leading a campaign for the media regulator Ofcom to launch a full inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s bid for ownership of the satellite broadcaster Sky.

In a letter to Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, Miliband is one of several senior cross-party politicians to demand that the regulator carry out a “fit and proper person” test following 21st Century Fox’s bid for the 61% of Sky it does not already own.

Continue reading...

Amber Rudd outraged as MPs question her compassion

Most ministers take their hits in the Commons with good grace, but the home secretary was taking this personally

Amber Rudd blinked hard, hoping to squeeze out a tear. A bit of competitive compassion never goes amiss at times like these. None came, so the home secretary had to settle for outrage instead. How could the opposition even contemplate the possibility that the Home Office had tried to sneak out the news it was closing the Dubs scheme to take child refugees from Europe in a written statement while everyone else was busy with the third reading of the article 50 bill?

Very easily, it turned out. Labour’s Yvette Cooper was the first to put Rudd under the cosh. Why was the scheme being closed after just six months when parliament had been led to believe it would last for much longer and take in closer to 3,000 children rather than 350? “We are sending the children back to a life of mud and danger,” Cooper said. “We can do better than this.”

Continue reading...

Israel apologizes for detaining Jewish American non-profit executive at airport

Jennifer Gorovitz, vice-president of the New Israel Fund, said she was interrogated for an hour over her organization’s support of liberal groups in Israel

Israeli immigration officials have apologized over their treatment of a senior executive from a liberal Jewish American group who was interrogated for an hour on her arrival in Tel Aviv the previous day.

Jennifer Gorovitz, a vice-president of the New Israel Fund, said she was questioned about her non-profit group’s activities. The New Israel Fund supports a number of liberal, progressive groups in Israel, some of which have been criticized by the Israeli government.

Continue reading...

Winter migration of monarch butterflies to Mexico drops after one-year recovery

Experts say decline to coverage of only 7.19 acres of forest could be due to late winter storms last year that knocked down more than 100 acres of trees

The number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico dropped by 27% this year, reversing last year’s recovery from historically low numbers, according to a study by government and independent experts released Thursday.

The experts say the decline could be due to late winter storms last year that blew down more than 100 acres (40 hectares) of forests where migrating monarch butterflies spend the winter in central Mexico.

Continue reading...

L’Oreal considers selling The Body Shop as profits fall

World’s largest cosmetics company says it has not made any decision on the future of the ethical retailer, but is exploring all options

L’Oreal has confirmed it is exploring a potential sale of The Body Shop as the ethical beauty retailer reveals sliding sales and profits.

The world’s largest cosmetics company said it had not made any decision on the future of the Sussex-based retailer, which has more than 3,000 stores in 66 countries, but had decided to explore all strategic options in order “to give it the best opportunities and full ability to continue its development”.

Continue reading...

John Smyth accused of ‘heavy-handed leadership’ at Cape Town church

Church says it has removed Smyth from leadership position and urged him to return to UK to answer abuse allegations

John Smyth, the British former barrister at the centre of allegations of sadistic abuse of Christian youth, has been removed as a leader of his local church in Cape Town after claims of inappropriate behaviour and a “heavy-handed style of leadership”.

Elders at Church-on-Main have urged Smyth to return to the UK to cooperate with a police inquiry into allegations of beatings and whippings of young men in the 1970s and 80s.

Continue reading...

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson obituary

Television personality and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! contestant who rose to fame as an ‘It girl’ in the 1990s

As a schoolgirl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson dreamed – so she would later tell an interviewer – of riding in the Grand National or becoming a concert pianist. Instead she became a 1990s version of the “It girl” (the original was the silent movie star Clara Bow), famous for being famous.

Partying frenetically throughout the period, affluent and well-connected to the royal family, Palmer-Tomkinson rapidly became a gift for the media, and not just the tabloids. She was glamorous but friendly, accessible and witty with journalists: usually good for a quote and always willing to pose, usually in designer outfits, for photographers, however undignified they made her look.

Continue reading...

David to Picasso – stellar cast helps Ashmolean chart rise of Modernism

Ursula and Stanley Johnson’s remarkable collection of more than 100 works goes on public display whole for first time in Oxford

Drawings and paintings by artists including Degas, Cézanne, Manet, Monet and Picasso are to go on display for the first time in the UK in an exhibition telling the bumpy, complex story of the rise of Modernism.

More than 100 works by more than 40 artists are part of a show opening on Friday at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, all from the private collection of the Chicago art dealer Stanley Johnson and his wife, Ursula.

Continue reading...

Bank of England appoints Charlotte Hogg as deputy governor

Chief operating officer will manage Bank’s strategy during Brexit negotiations and sit on monetary policy committee

The Bank of England has appointed Charlotte Hogg as its second most powerful executive, in a role that tasks the former financier with keeping a check on Britain’s financial sector.

Hogg has been appointed deputy governor for markets and banking, while consolidating her position at Threadneedle Street by retaining her current role as the central bank’s chief operating officer. She replaces Minouche Shafik, who is becoming director of the London School of Economics.

Continue reading...

Walter Swinburn died in accidental fall from bathroom window, coroner rules

• Former jockey died as a result of head injuries in December
• No evidence he had intended to take his own life, says coroner

Walter Swinburn died in a fall from his bathroom window in what was ruled to be an accident by a coroner’s court on Thursday. Dr Shirley Radcliffe ruled the 55-year-old former jockey, made famous by his association with Shergar, died as the result of head injuries and said there was no evidence he had intended to take his own life.

“She confirmed he had fallen from his bathroom window,” a coroner’s officer reported. “The drop was estimated at about 12 feet and it was into a courtyard. It was confirmed Mr Swinburn suffered from epilepsy but whether or not he had an epileptic fit, which caused him to fall, was not possible to determine.”

Continue reading...

Guardian video on freeing trafficked girls wins Social Impact Media Award

Sima award goes to video on Princess Okokon’s tireless work with girls and women from Nigeria who have been forced into prostitution in Italy

The Guardian has beaten off competition from more than 140 countries around the world to win the Social Impact Media Aaward (Sima) for a video about sex trafficking. The film, headlined “Freeing girls trafficked to Italy for sex: ‘You will not be a slave forever’”, was directed by Clementine Malpas and produced by Claudine Spera and Annie Kelly. Focusing on the plight of thousands of women and girls forced into prostitution in Asti, Sicily and other parts of Italy, it tells the story of Princess Okokon, a former trafficking victim who now works tirelessly with her husband, Alberto, to help abused and vulnerable women escape their traffickers through Piam Onlus, an NGO that they set up together.

Sima is a US-based non-profit organisation that focuses on global awareness, social justice and human rights. Its annual awards, selected from entries from more than 140 countries, celebrate film-making that inspires social transformation.

Continue reading...