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EU rejects Boris Johnson request to remove backstop

Johnson says MPs who claim they can prevent no deal are to blame for hardline EU response

The European Union has rebuffed Boris Johnson’s attempts to tear up the Irish backstop, in a coordinated response that appeared to close the door on further meaningful Brexit negotiations.

In remarks shortly before the prime minister departed for a whistle-stop tour to meet European leaders, Johnson put the blame for the EU’s hardline response at the feet of Conservative rebels, claiming his negotiating strategy was being undermined by those who said they could prevent no deal.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 17:29:26 GMT
Italian PM resigns with attack on 'opportunist' Salvini

Giuseppe Conte tells Italian Senate that far-right leader has triggered political crisis to serve his own interests

Giuseppe Conte has resigned as Italy’s prime minister after blasting Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League, as an “opportunist” for triggering a government crisis that could have “serious consequences” for Italy.

Conte said he would formally resign his mandate to the president, Sergio Mattarella, after the close of the debate in the Senate on Tuesday.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 14:19:49 GMT
Labour told it may be 'going backwards on equality'

Criticism follows decision not to replace certain departing female MPs with all-women shortlists

Labour has been warned it could be “going backwards on equality” by two senior MPs who expressed their alarm at the decision not to replace some departing female colleagues with all-women shortlists.

The concerns of Labour MPs Gloria De Piero and Harriet Harman follow criticism of the party’s procedures by the Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis, who accused the Labour leadership of “trading” seats intended for female candidates in order to allow “favourite sons” to take up the safest Labour seats.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 17:52:18 GMT
Growing up in air-polluted areas linked to mental health issues

Correlation found between poor air quality and disorders including schizophrenia

People who spend their childhood in areas with high levels of air pollution may be more likely to later develop mental disorders, research suggests.

Air pollution has become a matter of growing concern as an increasing number of studies have found links to conditions ranging from asthma to dementia and various types of cancer.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 18:00:46 GMT
Asylum seekers crammed into rat-infested rooms

‘Guest houses’ provided by Home Office contractor unfit for habitation, say lawyers

Hundreds of asylum seekers have been crammed into a network of “guest houses” provided by a Home Office contractor that are overrun by cockroaches, rats and mice, the Guardian has learned.

Lawyers shown footage recorded by the Guardian – which reveals that families of four are sharing small double beds and are being crammed into spaces so small that they are barely able to walk around their rooms – said that the conditions could constitute statutory overcrowding and an environment unfit for human habitation.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 12:32:11 GMT
Man was sleepwalking when he sexually assaulted woman, jury finds

Judge says Dale Kelly may need treatment as jury finds he was not responsible for his actions

A 21-year-old man with a history of sleepwalking has been told he may need treatment after a jury found he was asleep when he sexually assaulted his friend’s girlfriend.

Dale Kelly was found not guilty of sexual assault by penetration by reason of insanity after he sleepwalked into the couple’s bedroom, got into their bed and touched the woman intimately.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 17:38:52 GMT
Detention of Muslims at UK ports and airports 'structural Islamophobia'

Dossier by Cage attacks ‘suspicionless stops’ under anti-terror laws and highlights minuscule rate of convictions

Muslims are being detained at ports and airports for up to six hours by law enforcement using controversial counter-terrorism powers so disproportionately that the practice has become Islamophobic, according to human rights group Cage.

The organisation added there is growing anecdotal evidence that Muslim women are being forced to remove their headscarves when stopped, even though the rate that such stops lead to a conviction is 0.007%, according to Cage’s analysis of 420,000 incidences.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 13:00:38 GMT
Facebook launches 'clear history' tool – but it won't delete anything

Feature ‘disconnects’ data from a user’s account and shows extent of tracking apparatus

Facebook has launched its “clear history” feature more than a year after it was first promised by Mark Zuckerberg as part of damage control efforts after the Cambridge Analytica revelations.

The new feature, part of a wider set of tools covering “off-Facebook activity”, will not delete anything from Facebook’s servers, instead simply “disconnecting” data from an individual user’s account.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 15:00:41 GMT
Nasa mission to Jupiter moon Europa moves step closer to launch

Mission that could shed light on possibility of life on icy rock is expected to lift off in 2025

A Nasa mission to explore the most tantalising of Jupiter’s 79 moons has been given the green light to proceed to the final stages of development.

Europa – which is slightly smaller than our own moon – has long been considered a possible candidate in the hunt for alien life. Evidence suggests there is an ocean below the moon’s thick, icy crust that might be tens of miles deep. Scientists believe this body of water could contain the right chemical cocktail for life and could even be home to some form of living organisms.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 17:16:52 GMT
No Time to Die: 25th James Bond film gets a title

Latest 007 caper, directed by Beasts of No Nation’s Cary Fukunaga, is set to to be Daniel Craig’s last outing as the superspy

It has been revealed that the 25th James Bond film will be called No Time to Die.

The news was announced via the franchise’s official Twitter feed and YouTube channel in a short video that sees star Daniel Craig walk onto screen. The latest 007 adventure has faced a number of problems throughout pre-production and during the shoot itself.

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Tue, 20 Aug 2019 16:41:52 GMT

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