Voting under way in Northern Ireland assembly elections

Following collapse of power-sharing executive in January, voters head to polls for second time in less than a year

Voters are going to the polls in Northern Ireland for the second time in less than a year.

Power-sharing arrangements between the two largest parties at the Stormont assembly – the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Féin – collapsed in January. If post-election talks cannot mend tensions between the former coalition partners then direct rule from London looks likely.

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Police question man over Melbourne factory fire that killed three people

Arson squad is investigating the suspicious fire that killed the three who are believed to have been squatting in the abandoned factory

A man is being questioned by police over a Melbourne factory fire which killed three people.

The arson squad is investigating the suspicious fire at an abandoned Melbourne factory, a day after new plans for the site were approved.

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Sophia’s parents are fighting for her life and fighting for support at every step | Frances Ryan

The disabled one-year-old needs vital help unavailable from the NHS or benefits system. The family are £30,000 in debt and fear her medical equipment will be repossessed

At the top of a flight of stairs in east London, one-year-old Sophia moves around the front room in a small, pink wheelchair. In some ways, she’s like any other toddler: her mum and dad, Victoria and Gennadiy, are teaching her the alphabet, colours and animals, and she’s proudly learned how to use an iPad. “Not as proficient as an adult, but better than her grandmother,” Gennadiy tells me.

But Sophia’s disability, spinal muscular atrophy type 1, is brutal – in 95% of cases it has a life expectancy below two – and the two-bed flat is full of signs that all is not well. There’s a blanket on the floor where Sophia lays for her exercises and a specialist play chair to prevent her spine from curving. The second bedroom is packed with kit – a standing frame, splints, another specialist chair – so all three of them share one room to sleep in.

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Donald Trump has made rookie mistakes – he must change his approach

The new president can’t change the rules of the game singlehandedly. He must learn to work effectively within the system

The first few weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency have contained what felt like a year’s worth of activity and rancour. The US media is “all Trump, all the time” – and they’ve had plenty of fuel. Amid Trump’s initial moves to “shake up” Washington, DC, including a five-year lobbying ban and approvals of pipelines that Barack Obama had blocked, he has made some serious – and avoidable – mistakes.

Trump is far from the first president to arrive in the White House planning to shake things up. Jimmy Carter tried, but immediately ran afoul of his own party’s leadership in Congress – and subsequently struggled to get anything accomplished. For example, Congress turned his proposed tax cut for dividends into one for capital gains.

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Dutch parliamentary elections: everything you need to know

After Brexit vote and Trump win, presence of anti-Islam, anti-EU Geert Wilders is drawing global attention to 15 March vote by Jon Henley

The Netherlands holds parliamentary elections on 15 March. Polls have long predicted that the anti-Islam, anti-EU Geert Wilders’ populist Party for Freedom (PVV) could emerge as the country’s largest party, although Wilders is thought unlikely to enter government.

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Winning hand? Bridge hopes court will declare it a sport

English Bridge Union hopes to qualify for tax relief given to sports on grounds that it provides mental health benefits to participants

Judges will be asked to decide whether the genteel trickery and complex calculation of bridge makes it - for tax purposes - a sport.

The case will be heard in Luxembourg by judges at the European court of justice, from which the UK will secede following Brexit. The court has been presented with the legal suit by British judges in an attempt to clarify EU financial rules.

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Pregnancy sickness can kill – why are doctors so uninformed about it? | Caitlin Dean

The agony of hyperemesis gravidarum can drive expectant mothers to terminate. That’s because the support they desperately need is still lacking

During my first pregnancy, I fully expected to glow and bloom. I was going to eat healthy, organic food, and exercise to nurture the life growing inside me. I never imagined that by week 10 I would look up the number for an abortion clinic from a bed where I had been a prisoner for two months, bar the days spent in hospital on a drip. I suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum and for me pregnancy is life threatening.

Hyperemesis is not just normal waves of nausea and occasional vomiting that most women experience in early pregnancy. It is nausea so intense and all-consuming you feel like you’ve been poisoned. It is vomiting so relentlessly that your throat bleeds and your stomach muscles tear. It is a sense of smell so powerful and warped that your partner can’t come near enough to offer comfort without making you retch. I could not swallow my own saliva without puking it back up.

Related: It costs £83 to treat postnatal depression. So why must so many women suffer? | Vonny Moyes

It’s not all doom and gloom – dedicated hyperemesis day units are springing up across the UK

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China accuses western media of ‘fake news’ about human rights

The Guardian among outlets to report on alleged torture of lawyer Xie Yang, sparking Trump-style rebuke from Beijing

China has launched a Donald Trump-style attack on foreign media, branding claims that a leading human rights lawyer was tortured by government agents “fake news”.

Xinhua, the government’s official news agency, accused the overseas media of “hyping” a series of “cleverly orchestrated lies” by publishing reports about the plight of attorney Xie Yang, who was detained in July 2015 at the start of a crackdown known as China’s war on law.

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This bus bill is just the ticket to create access to education and jobs

Londoners already have a great bus service. Parliament now needs to extend that option to the rest of the country

On 1 March, MPs again debated the bus services bill, a piece of legislation that is hugely important for millions of people across England in terms of access to education and employment or simply being able to get to local amenities such as the shops or a local hospital.

If you live or work in London this bill won’t apply to you because you don’t need it: Sadiq Khan has all the powers he needs to manage transport services in London and buses in the capital are a great success. This bill would give those same powers to city regional transport authorities across England, such as Transport for Greater Manchester or Merseytravel. They would be able to design and co-ordinate bus services in their area, including routes, ticketing, fares, and information: things everyone in London takes for granted.

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid review – magic and violence in migrants’ tale

A couple flee their war-torn city for Europe in a parable of love, displacement and the search for belonging

Saeed and Nadia meet at an evening class in an unnamed, presumably Middle Eastern city “swollen by refugees” but not yet “openly at war”. Saeed is “an independent-minded, grown man, unmarried, with a decent post and a good education”. Nadia is less straightforward-seeming: she doesn’t pray but wears a “conservative and virtually all‑concealing black robe”, works in an insurance company but rides a “scuffed-up hundred-ish cc trail bike”, has veered off from her parents and lives alone. Saeed quickly falls in love with her. Nadia, to begin with at least, is “not certain exactly what she was feeling, but was certain it had force”.

In previous novels, Hamid has used a heavily inflected narrative voice to filter everything through a personality that is not his own, but which he nevertheless owns as the author. In The Reluctant Fundamentalist we eavesdrop on a marvellously well-sustained dramatic monologue that reveals a great deal about its speaker, while also concealing precisely what he intends to do to his listener. In How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Hamid ingeniously adapts the form of a self-help book to create a tale-telling “you” who becomes intimately realised while remaining a nameless everyman. Exit West confidently adopts yet another kind of voice – a tone of radical simplicity that in the opening 50-odd pages borders on brutality, and makes every conversation, every detail, every scene feel at once vital and under threat.

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Stuttgart residents sue mayor for ‘bodily harm’ caused by air pollution

To highlight the dangerous air quality in the German city, which breached EU limits 25 times in January, two neighbours lodged a criminal complaint against city officials. Popular resistance to Stuttgart’s pollution problem is growing

On a frosty Friday evening at the end of January, after her usual walk around her central Stuttgart neighbourhood, Susanne Jallow felt an unusual cough and irritation in her throat.

Jallow, 54, lives in Neckartor, an area chock-a-block with residential buildings hugged by a busy road, B14, which handles around 100,000 vehicles a day.

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The NHS’s biggest challenge is convincing the public it has a plan

People blame immigration and cuts for the NHS crisis. The health service needs to communicate what is really going on

The British public has begun to talk of an NHS in crisis. This is a perception based on headlines decrying the state of the service; reports from healthcare staff (the NHS is the UK’s biggest employer; most people have at least one person in their social circle who works in it); and occasionally participants’ own bad experiences (although most still receive a great service – a tension that can give rise to “I was lucky” syndrome). Meanwhile, according to Ipsos Mori’s January issues index, 49% of respondents said that the NHS is one of the biggest issues (pdf) facing Britain today, a nine-point jump since December 2016 and its highest level since April 2003.

Public opinion abhors a vacuum. In the absence of a clear, concerted and disciplined message, people fill the gaps with their own assumptions, experiences and prejudices. Months of dire headlines have told them the NHS is in trouble, but the public are seeing and hearing little to tell them why, how, or what can be done about it. So they draw their own conclusions.

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Stuttgart residents sue mayor for ‘bodily harm’ caused by air pollution

To highlight the dangerous air quality in the German city, which breached EU limits 25 times in January, two neighbours lodged a criminal complaint against city officials. Popular resistance to Stuttgart’s pollution problem is growing

On a frosty Friday evening at the end of January, after her usual walk around her central Stuttgart neighbourhood, Susanne Jallow felt an unusual cough and irritation in her throat.

Jallow, 54, lives in Neckartor, an area chock-a-block with residential buildings hugged by a busy road, B14, which handles around 100,000 vehicles a day.

Related: 'You can taste it in the air': your stories of life in polluted cities

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