[plan9] hardtofindname » https://www.theguardian.com/world/rss Hämtat: 07:59

Flaco, New York City’s beloved owl, dies after striking building »»

The bird escaped last year after vandals damaged his enclosure at Central Park Zoo

The Eurasian eagle owl named Flaco, which escaped New York City’s Central Park Zoo last year, has died after crashing into a building in Manhattan, officials said late on Friday.

Flaco went down after striking a building on West 89th Street and people reported the injured owl to the Wild Bird Fund (WBF), a statement from the Central Park Zoo said. WBF staffers soon found Flaco unresponsive and pronounced him dead at the scene.

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Hollywood A-list directors band together to save historic LA theater »»

Jason Reitman, Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg among those leading charge to buy the iconic Village theater

This week, a group of A-list Hollywood directors, including JJ Abrams, Guillermo del Toro, and Gina Prince-Bythewood, took a group photo outside of one of Los Angeles’ historic movie theaters.

This wasn’t an Oscars event. Instead, the directors were announcing they were “the new caretakers of the Village Theater in Westwood”.

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Abandoned pipelines could release poisons into North Sea, scientists warn »»

Researchers say toxic chemicals pose a pollution risk as oil and gas companies are allowed to leave pipelines to rot

Decaying oil and gas pipelines left to fall apart in the North Sea could release large volumes of poisons such as mercury, radioactive lead and polonium-210, notorious for its part in the poisoning of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko, scientists are warning.

Mercury, an extremely toxic element, occurs naturally in oil and gas. It sticks to the inside of pipelines and builds up over time, being released into the sea when the pipeline corrodes.

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NHS tops poll of voters’ concerns as latest strike threatens further havoc »»

Junior doctors’ 11th walkout in England expected to add to backlogs in service a third of Britons say NHS is most pressing issue

The NHS has overtaken soaring prices as the issue most Britons believe is the biggest challenge facing the UK, new polling has found.

The NHS in England is bracing itself for the latest strike by junior doctors, which starts at 7am on Saturday.

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Welsh woman ‘who took on French invaders’ with pitchfork wins recognition »»

Plaque being unveiled for Jemima Nicholas, who is said to have led a band of women to thwart French troops in 1797

The bravery of a Welsh woman who, legend has it, armed herself with a pitchfork to help thwart an attempted 18th-century invasion of Britain is being celebrated this weekend.

A plaque is being unveiled in honour of Jemima Nicholas in the seaside town of Fishguard, south-west Wales, close to where she faced down French troops in February 1797. There will be songs, poems and speeches to commemorate her courage.

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No cheeze please: UK proposals could force dairy alternatives to change names »»

Concerns that ‘draconian’ plans, which are intended to prevent confusion among shoppers, would push up prices

Dairy alternatives such as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Alpro’s This Is Not M*lk may have to change their names if “draconian” new rules to prevent shoppers confusing plant-based with real dairy products are imposed.

With trading standards officials thought to be on the brink of issuing new guidance, including a ban on the use of words and phrases like “m*lk”, “cheeze” and “not milk” on labels, the Plant-based Food Alliance UK (PbFA) will next week make a last-ditch appeal to the environment secretary to intervene.

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Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 730 »»

Ukrainian military claims it shot down Russian spy plane; Ukraine marks second anniversary of war; Russian drones kill one in Odesa attack

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Sydney asbestos crisis: EPA ‘following up’ on whether second mulch supplier is involved »»

Agency says an unnamed supplier may have provided contaminated mulch at Cranebrook and Bardia

A possible second supplier of asbestos-contaminated mulch is being investigated by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority, as the number of contaminated sites rises to 61.

The environment watchdog said on Saturday it was “following up on a possible second supplier” that may have provided asbestos-contaminated mulch to at least two sites where the substance has been detected. The sites, both in western Sydney, were Cranebrook High School and Mont Saint Quentin Oval in Bardia.

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A train through Ukraine: a journey into the stories of two years of war »»

On 900 miles of track between the frontline and the edge of the EU, soldiers and civilians reflect on their experiences

The opening bars of the Cossack March rang out from the platform speakers at Zaporizhzhia-1 train station, jaunty trumpets transitioning into a rousing military march, heralding the departure of train number four, the 17.53 to Uzhhorod.

Carriage attendants slammed shut the heavy metal doors, a few people on the platform waved forlorn goodbyes in the evening gloom, and the train clattered off on its journey across the entire breadth of Ukraine, a 900-mile ride from close to the frontline all the way to the border with the European Union.

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Apartment block fire in China’s Nanjing city kills at least 15, officials say »»

The blaze started on the first floor where electric bikes had been placed, according to officials, but the cause is still unknown

At least 15 people were killed and 44 injured in a fire at a residential building in eastern China’s Nanjing city, local authorities said.

The fire broke out early Friday morning, officials said at a press conference, with a preliminary investigation suggesting the blaze started on the building’s first floor, where electric bikes had been placed.

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Victoria fires: at least three homes destroyed as authorities warn towns still under threat »»

Warnings remained in place for a group of communities west of Ballarat as crews work to get blaze under control

At least three homes have been confirmed destroyed by a bushfire in western Victoria, with fire authorities warning that some towns remain under threat.

There were fears that as many as 10 houses may have been claimed by the fire burning west of Ballarat, and “watch and act” warnings remain in place for Bayindeen, Chute, Elmhurst, Mount Lonarch and surrounds, Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) said.

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Los Angeles socialite found guilty of murder for striking two boys with car »»

Rebecca Grossman was found guilty of two felony counts and gross vehicular manslaughter for hitting Mark and Jacob Iskander

Rebecca Grossman, a Los Angeles socialite accused of fatally striking two young brothers crossing the street, was found guilty of murder and other charges on Friday.

Prosecutors had said the 60-year-old was impaired and speeding in her Mercedes when she hit brothers Mark Iskander, 11, and Jacob Iskander, 8, at over 70mph. Grossman’s defense had argued that what happened was an accident and that the boys were first struck by another car.

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Four people dead after ute rollover in northern NSW »»

Police say three men and a woman died after vehicle left the road in Wardell, near Ballina, on Saturday morning

Four people have died after the ute they were travelling in left the road and rolled in northern New South Wales, in another horror smash amid a disastrous period on the state’s roads.

Police were called to Back Channel road in Wardell, near Ballina, at about 5.45am on Saturday after reports of a crash. Officers found that three men and a woman had died at the scene.

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US spacecraft on the moon ‘caught a foot’ and tipped on to side, says Nasa »»

Intuitive Machines CEO says Odysseus tipped over and ended up on its side as it landed on to south polar region

Odysseus, the first US-built spacecraft to touchdown on the moon in more than half a century, is tipped over on its side, according to an update from Nasa and Intuitive Machines, the company that built and operated the lander.

The robotic lander descended on to the south polar region of the moon on Thursday at 6.23pm ET. But several minutes passed before flight controllers were able to pick up a signal from the lander’s communication systems.

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Most schools in England facing real-terms cuts since 2010 thanks to Tories, analysis shows »»

Urgent investment of £12.2bn needed to reverse effects of 14 years of austerity, unions say

Almost three-quarters of schools in England are facing real-terms cuts since 2010 due to government funding decisions, analysis from a coalition of education unions has shown.

New data released from School Cuts suggests before the spring budget next month that £12.2bn of investment is needed to reverse the cuts 70% of English state-funded schools have faced in the last 14 years under the Conservatives.

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‘It’s been scary’: German bomb detonated in the sea off Plymouth »»

Residents tell of concerns and community spirit after discovery and removal of 500kg second world war explosive

Usually as the weekend approaches, the streets, shops and pubs around Devonport, the largest naval dockyard in western Europe, hum with life.

But an eerie hush fell over the area on Friday after more than 10,000 people were evacuated from homes and workplaces so a second-world-war bomb dropped on Plymouth by the Luftwaffe could be extracted from a back garden.

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Politicians standing unopposed in local Queensland elections bad for democracy, expert says »»

More prematurely victorious candidates in 2024 – 15 mayors and 46 councillors – than any time since 2012

A month out from election day, Queensland’s longest-serving mayor is confident he’ll get another four years in the top job.

That’s because John Wharton is the only candidate. By the end of his next term he’ll have been Richmond mayor for 31 years.

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Actor Judith Godrèche urges French film industry to face up to sexual abuse »»

Star tells audience at prestigious César awards that they need to challenge powerful and abusive men whatever the career risk

Judith Godrèche has urged the French film industry to break its omertà on sexual abuse in an unprecedented address to the country’s most prestigious awards ceremony on Friday evening.

Godrèche, who says she was groomed and raped as a teenager by an acclaimed director, received a standing ovation as she took the stage at the Césars – the French equivalent of the Oscars.

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Trump voices ‘strong support’ for IVF treatments after Alabama ruling »»

Republicans struggle to find a unified response to the state’s ruling that threw into question the legal status of human embryos

Donald Trump has voiced “strong support” for IVF treatments, days after a ruling by the Alabama supreme court threw into question the legal status of human embryos and several providers in the state cut off access to the procedure.

The former US president said that under his leadership, the Republican party “will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families”.

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Republican Josh Hawley’s anti-abortion arguments echoed in Alabama IVF case »»

Arguments that led to Alabama supreme court ruling that embryos are ‘extrauterine children’ similar to Missouri senator’s in 2013 case

Anti-abortion arguments made in the recent controversial Alabama supreme court decision, which led to the shut down of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in nearly half of the state’s clinics, echo those made by the Republican US senator Josh Hawley.

The Missouri lawmaker made similar arguments in 2013 and when he worked on the legal team arguing the “Hobby Lobby” case on contraception before the US supreme court.

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Final death toll from Spanish tower block blaze is nine, say police »»

Authorities lower count of victims in Valencia fire, with one more person considered missing

Spanish police have said the final death toll from a devastating fire that tore through a 14-storey block of flats in the eastern city of Valencia is nine, with one person thought to have died now considered missing and all others accounted for.

El País cited national police as saying that after forensic analysis of the bodies found in the charred building, they had lowered the number of victims from the 10 previously reported by the Spanish government’s representative in the region.

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‘Incredible failure’: KPMG rejects claims it assessed ‘the wrong company’ before $423m payment to Paladin »»

Exclusive: Firm’s denial comes after weeks of intense criticism, including accusations that it misled parliament

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Consultancy firm KPMG Australia has rejected claims it conducted due diligence on “the wrong company” before the federal government gave nearly half a billion dollars to a controversial company with no track record.

The firm’s objection to comments by a member of a Senate inquiry examining its conduct come after weeks of intense criticism and accusations it repeatedly misled parliament over its use of so-called power maps, which identify influential decision makers within departments.

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‘Virile’ exchanges expected as Macron heads to annual French farming show »»

President faces uncertain reception at Salon d’Agriculture after weeks of protests by furious farmers

Most politicians kiss babies; French leaders pat cows and make a fuss of lambs.

The Salon d’Agriculture, the country’s annual farm show which opens on Saturday, is a date presidents cannot afford to miss.

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Blinken calls new Israeli settlements inconsistent with international law »»

Secretary of state’s characterization of West Bank settlements signals return to longstanding US policy reversed by Trump

Israel’s expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank was inconsistent with international law, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Friday, signaling a return to longstanding US policy on the issue, which had been reversed by the previous administration of Donald Trump.

The Trump administration in 2019 in effect backed Israel’s right to build West Bank settlements by abandoning a long-held US position that they were “inconsistent with international law”.

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Canadian university vending machine error reveals use of facial recognition »»

University of Waterloo dispenser displays facial recognition message despite no prior indication it was monitoring students

A malfunctioning vending machine at a Canadian university has inadvertently revealed that a number of them have been using facial recognition technology in secret.

Earlier this month, a snack dispenser at the University of Waterloo showed an error message – Invenda.Vending.FacialRecognition.App.exe – on the screen.

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Russia-Ukraine war: US sanctions three Russian officials over Alexei Navalny’s death – as it happened »»

This live blog is now closed. For more on US sanctions against Russia, read our full report:

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday announced a fresh wave of more than 500 sanctions against Russia for its war in Ukraine and the death of Alexei Navalny, the White House said.

More information to come …

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Taylor Swift Sydney Eras concert: superstar wows 81,000 crowd after huge storm delays the start »»

Thunderstorm prompts a short evacuation and axing of support act Sabrina Carpenter, but Swifties still treated to three-hour show from their idol

Taylor Swift fans were briefly evacuated from the floor and lower bowl of Accor Stadium in Sydney after a huge storm with nearby lightning strikes hit the area less than an hour before the show was to begin on Friday evening.

Accor Stadium posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, the start time had been delayed, and asked fans in the venue to stay undercover until “further notice”.

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Shamima Begum loses appeal against removal of British citizenship »»

Lawyers sought to overturn ruling last year that revocation of her citizenship was lawful

Lawyers for Shamima Begum have vowed to “keep fighting” to bring her home after they failed in a fresh attempt to overturn a decision to remove her British citizenship after the court of appeal ruled against her.

Three judges unanimously concluded that the then home secretary, Sajid Javid, had the power to set aside concerns she may have been a victim of child trafficking when she left east London as a schoolgirl and travelled in secret with two friends to live under Islamic State (IS) in 2015.

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Middle East crisis: Netanyahu presents first official post-Gaza war plan; MSF says ‘there is no health system left in Gaza’ – as it happened »»

Israel wants security control over all land west of Jordan, including occupied West Bank and Gaza; MSF says idea of humanitarian response in Gaza ‘an illusion’. This live blog is closed

The paramedics arm of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says two of its members were killed in an Israeli strike on a southern border village early on Friday, reports AP.

The Islamic Health Society identified the two as Hussein Khalil and Mohammed Ismail, saying they were killed when the group’s office in the village of Blida was directly hit, a day after an Israeli airstrike on the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Rumman killed two members of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Force, including a local official who was identified as Hassan Saleh.

Hezbollah later said it retaliated the attack on Blida by launching two explosive drones at an Israeli army post in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona, claiming it scored direct hits.

Since the Israel-Hamas war began on 7 October, the Lebanon-Israel border has been witnessing daily exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli troops. Since then, nearly 200 Hezbollah fighters and at least 40 civilians have been killed, say AP.

Israel plans to approve the construction of more than 3,300 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank, a senior cabinet minister from the far-right wing of the government announced, reports AP.

Approval of new construction is bound to elicit condemnation from the US at a time when the relationship between the allies is fraught because of disagreements over the course of Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

According to AP, finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said in a statement late on Thursday that the new construction is meant as a response to a fatal Palestinian shooting attack near Jerusalem earlier in the day. He said prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant participated in the discussion leading to the decision.

The homes are to be built in the settlements of Maale Adumim, Efrat and Kedar, Smotrich said.

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Biden officials play down report of US investigation into Mexican president »»

US looked into claims that Andrés Manuel López Obrador allies took money from cartels, according to a New York Times report

Officials with the justice department and the Biden administration have downplayed a report that US law enforcement spent years looking into allegations that allies of Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, were investigated for taking millions of dollars from drug cartels after the president took office.

López Obrador, who denied the report, also reacted to the New York Times report on Thursday by revealing the contact details of the journalist at its Mexico bureau, Natalie Kitroeff, including her telephone number – which Mexico’s freedom of information body (INAI) immediately said it would launch an investigation into.

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Weather tracker: Contrasts in cold and heat break records in China »»

Xinjiang in north-west recorded minus 52.3C, while Badu in south recorded 38C – the largest temperature contrast recorded in a single country

China’s Xinjiang region, in the far west of the country, experienced record-breaking low temperatures of -52.3C on 18 February, surpassing a 64-year-old record for the region. The figure was just shy of the lowest national temperature of -53C, which was recorded in the Heilongjiang region in January last year.

The extreme weather has caused big disruption after the lunar new year celebrations, with blizzards and ice leaving people stranded on roads and railways. On the same day, Badu in the south of China recorded a maximum temperature of 38C, meaning there was a staggering temperature difference of 90.3C across the country. This is the largest temperature contrast ever recorded for a single country, surpassing the US in January 1954 by a whole degree Celsius.

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Colombia vows to put nature at the heart of global environmental negotiations »»

The environment minister Susana Muhamad says nature is a ‘pillar’ of fighting the climate crisis

The next round of global biodiversity negotiations will put nature at the heart of the international environment agenda, Colombia’s environment minister has said, as the country prepares for the Cop16 summit.

Susana Muhamad, Colombia’s environment minister, who is expected to be the Cop16 president, said the South American country would use the summit to ensure nature was a key part of the global environmental agenda in the year building up to the climate Cop30 in the Brazilian Amazon in 2025, where countries will present new plans on how they will meet the Paris agreement.

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Huge cybersecurity leak lifts lid on world of China’s hackers for hire »»

Leaked files shows range of services offered and bought, with data harvested from targets worldwide

A big leak of data from a Chinese cybersecurity firm has revealed state security agents paying tens of thousands of pounds to harvest data on targets, including foreign governments, while hackers hoover up huge amounts of information on any person or institution who might be of interest to their prospective clients.

The cache of more than 500 leaked files from the Chinese firm I-Soon was posted on the developer website Github and is thought by cybersecurity experts to be genuine. Some of the targets discussed include Nato and the UK Foreign Office.

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Israel wants administrators ‘without Hamas or PA links’ to run Gaza »»

Israeli officials say they plan to trial scheme when ‘the right people’ come forward

Israeli officials have said they want to use local administrators without links to either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority to run Gaza, and will set up small scale trials of the scheme as soon as “the right people step up to the plate”.

The controversial plan, which would see Israel retaining security control throughout Gaza, comes amid a deepening breakdown in public order in the devastated territory as convoys of aid are repeatedly looted and local communities form self-defence groups, some armed, to protect against thieves or help find food.

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Claims of Israeli sexual assault of Palestinian women are credible, UN panel says »»

Experts report evidence of rape, sexual humiliation and threats of rape against girls and women

UN experts say they have seen “credible allegations” that Palestinian women and girls have been subjected to sexual assaults, including rape, while in Israeli detention, and are calling for a full investigation.

The panel of experts said there was evidence of a least two cases of rape, alongside other cases of sexual humiliation and threats of rape. Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said the true extent of sexual violence could be significantly higher.

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US intelligence casts doubt on Israeli claims of UNRWA-Hamas links, report says »»

Intel report says some accusations that aid workers participated in Hamas attacks credible but could not be independently verified

A US intelligence assessment of Israel’s claims that UN aid agency staff members participated in the Hamas attack on 7 October said some of the accusations were credible, though could not be independently verified, while also casting doubt on claims of wider links to militant groups.

The assault precipitated a full-scale invasion by Israel of Gaza that has killed upwards of 30,000 Palestinians. Earlier this year, Israel accused 12 employees of the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA) of participating in the 7 October attacks alongside Hamas. It also said 10% of all UNRWA workers were affiliated with Hamas.

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Repression in Venezuela intensifying ahead of elections, rights groups say »»

Fears Maduro government is trying to shut down scrutiny after lawyer is arrested and UN human rights office shut down

Human rights groups are calling for the Venezuelan government to halt a crackdown on civil society after it jailed a prominent lawyer and then banished a UN human rights office from Caracas for criticising her arrest.

The arrest of the 57-year-old lawyer and military expert Rocío San Miguel has shocked observers, who say Venezuela is entering a darker phase of state oppression intended to crush government opposition in the lead-up to elections expected later this year.

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Expensive toilets cause a stink at Japan’s world expo »»

Row over £1.05m amenities block comes amid growing concern over the cost of the event, which is taking place in Osaka in 2025

Visitors to next year’s world exposition in Japan could find themselves spending a penny in toilets that cost more than £1m to build, with recent construction estimates for restrooms sparking a row over the event’s spiralling costs.

Japanese media reported this week that some of the 40-plus bathrooms being built at the site in Osaka, a port city in the west of the country, will cost as much as ¥200m (£1.05m).

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Boss of Japan crime syndicate conspired to traffic nuclear material, say US prosecutors »»

Takeshi Ebisawa is being charged over a conspiracy to traffic uranium and plutonium from Myanmar, believing Iran would use it to make weapons

The head of a Japanese crime syndicate conspired to traffic uranium and plutonium in the belief that Iran would use it to make nuclear weapons, US prosecutors have alleged.

Federal officials said Takeshi Ebisawa, 60, and others showed samples of nuclear materials that had been transported from Myanmar to Thailand to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA] agent.

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‘I hope he got the extended warranty’: US jokes about Russian car Putin gave to Kim Jong-un »»

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters in Washington he ‘didn’t know there was such a thing as a Russian luxury car’

A US spokesperson has mocked president Vladimir Putin’s gift of a Russian car to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as he accused Moscow of violating UN resolutions.

North Korean state media said on Tuesday that Kim was “presented with a car made in Russia for his personal use by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation.”

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Growth in CO2 emissions leaves China likely to miss climate targets »»

Carbon intensity of the country’s economy remains high, despite rapid improvements in clean energy output

China is off track on all of its core 2025 climate targets, despite the fact that clean energy is now the biggest driver of the country’s economic growth, analysis has found.

After years of extraordinarily rapid growth, China is now grappling with a slowdown that is causing ripples internally and internationally. The government has supercharged the growth of the renewable energy industry but it has simultaneously poured stimulus funds into construction and manufacturing, and continues to approve coal power.

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Pakistan election: coalition against Imran Khan says deal reached to form government »»

Shehbaz Sharif expected to become prime minister again after plans for coalition government announced between PML-N and PPP parties

Imran Khan’s political rivals have announced details of a coalition agreement, naming Shehbaz Sharif as their joint candidate for prime minister amid continuing concerns about the legitimacy of the recent elections.

Khan’s rivals said at a news conference of party leaders late on Tuesday that they had secured the required majority of votes to form a coalition government. The parliament will elect Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as the new prime minister when the inaugural session of the National Assembly is convened later this month, the party leaders said.

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UK minister says he ‘cannot disprove’ claims Afghans were unlawfully killed »»

Johnny Mercer tells UK inquiry of reports SAS had killed civilians between 2010 and 2013

The UK’s minister for veterans, Johnny Mercer, has effectively admitted in front of a public inquiry that he believed members of the SAS had engaged in dozens of unlawful killings of Afghan civilians between 2010 and 2013.

Mercer told the inquiry on Tuesday that at one point, shortly after first becoming a minister in 2019, Mercer said he told the then defence secretary, Ben Wallace, that “something stinks”. His boss replied: “There is no new evidence, Johnny,” and the cabinet minster chose not to take any further action.

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New trial in Rome of four Egyptians accused over Giulio Regeni killing »»

Defendants are being tried in absentia over kidnapping and murder of Italian student in 2016

Four Egyptian security officials have gone back on trial in absentia in Rome on charges related to the kidnap and murder of an Italian student in Cairo.

Giulio Regeni, 28, had been conducting research when he was abducted in January 2016. His body was found nine days later, dumped on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, bearing extensive signs of torture.

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Ex-Honduran leader praised by Trump faces trial in US for running ‘narco-state’ »»

Juan Orlando Hernández stands trial in a New York courtroom on Monday accused of taking millions in bribes from drug traffickers

Five years after he was lavished with praise by Donald Trump for “stopping drugs at a level that has never happened” – and two years after he was extradited in shackles to the US – the former Honduras president Juan Orlando Hernández is to stand trial in New York on Monday, accused of overseeing a “narco-state” and accepting millions in bribes from drug traffickers, including the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Hernández is the first former head of state to face drug-trafficking charges in the United States since another former US ally, the Panamanian strongman Gen Manuel Noriega, over 30 years ago.

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Cape Town hit by ‘unimaginable’ stench from 19,000 cattle on live export ship »»

Animal welfare groups say smell from the build-up of faeces and ammonia on the ship are indicative of the conditions animals endure

Authorities in Cape Town have launched an investigation after a foul stench swept over the South African city.

Officials inspected sewage facilities for leaks and an environmental health team was activated before the source of the smell was discovered: a ship docked in the harbour carrying 19,000 live cattle from Brazil to Iraq.

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UK special forces blocked resettlement applications from elite Afghan troops »»

MoD conducts review but stands accused of conflict of interest while public inquiry investigates conduct of SAS in Afghanistan

Elite Afghan commandos who fought alongside the British military have had their applications to relocate blocked by UK special forces despite evidence that they had served alongside them in dangerous missions against the Taliban.

Documents leaked and shared with BBC Panorama show that Britain’s secretive special forces were given a veto power over resettlement, prompting claims that hundreds of Afghan veterans have been left in limbo or danger in their native country.

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Westminster Abbey agrees ‘in principle’ to return sacred tablet to Ethiopia »»

Carved wooden tabot has been at Abbey since British forces looted it at Battle of Maqdala in 1868

Westminster Abbey has agreed “in principle” to returning a sacred tablet to the Ethiopian Orthodox church, igniting a debate around restitution claims made by the East African nation.

The tabot – a blackened flat piece of wood featuring a carved inscription that symbolically represents the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments – has been at the Abbey since British forces returned with it from the Battle of Maqdala, where it was looted in 1868.

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Anglo American’s platinum arm to cut 3,700 jobs as metal’s price dives »»

Johannesburg-based Amplats says one in five jobs will be lost in South Africa amid plunge in profits

The platinum arm of Anglo American is to cut 3,700 jobs in South Africa as the British mining company attempts to improve performance in the troubled division.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said on Monday it aimed to cut jobs after a sharp drop in platinum metal prices, which had led to a collapse in profits last year.

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Hindu nationalists go to court over lion named after Muslim emperor in India »»

Controversy in West Bengal centres around Akbar and Sita, named for a Hindu deity, being placed in the same enclosure

An Indian Hindu nationalist organisation has launched a court petition to stop two lions named after a Hindu deity and a 16th-century Muslim emperor from sharing a zoo enclosure.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a prominent rightwing Hindu organisation, went to court in the state of West Bengal after reports a lioness named Sita had been put with a lion called Akbar.

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France should return much more looted African art, film-maker says »»

Mati Diop, the director of Dahomey, which charts the restitution of 26 objects to Benin, says the tiny number involved is ‘humiliating’

The first major return of looted treasures from Europe to Africa in the 21st century has left a lingering feeling of humiliation because of the lack of follow-up action, a French-Senegalese film-maker who accompanied a hoard of artefacts on their journey from Paris to their country of origin has said.

In her film Dahomey, which premiered at the Berlin film festival on Sunday, the director, Mati Diop, documents the 2021 journey of 26 treasures that the commander of French forces in Senegal looted from the royal palace of the kingdom of Dahomey, part of modern-day Benin, in 1890.

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Desperate Egypt sells off historic hotels as it dives deeper into debt »»

Amid biting austerity and rising inflation, the al-Sisi government is off-loading assets – some to a convicted murderer with Emirati cash

As dusk fell over the verdant grounds of the Marriott Mena House hotel, the reflection of the Great Pyramid of Giza grew darker in a pool built to reflect the last of the seven wonders of the world.

A band played a smooth jazz rendition of the Eagles’ Hotel California on the grassy lawns as guests assembled for dinner, while the staff attempted to project a sense of business as usual, despite the hotel’s recent acquisition by an infamous Egyptian real estate tycoon, Hisham Talaat Moustafa, and two powerful Emirati conglomerates.

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Senior Pakistan official admits election rigging as protests grip country »»

Confession by Punjab commissioner exacerbates tension over legitimacy of February general election results

A senior official in Pakistan has admitted to election rigging amid protests breaking out across the country over claims that its general election results were unfair.

The confessional statement throws further questions over the legitimacy of the 8 February elections, which were marred by controversies and allegations of rigging in Pakistan.

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Biden ‘privately defiant’ over chaotic 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal, book says »»

The Internationalists details how the president was determined to leave a country in which 2,324 US troops were killed since 2001

Joe Biden is “privately defiant” that he made the right calls on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in summer 2021, a new book reportedly says, even as the chaos and carnage that unfolded continues to be investigated in Congress.

“No one offered to resign” over the withdrawal, writes Alexander Ward, a Politico reporter, “in large part because the president didn’t believe anyone had made a mistake. Ending the war was always going to be messy.”

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