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  • UK banks urged to justify 'staggering' level of branch closures
    by Kalyeena Makortoff Banking correspondent on November 16, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Which? survey finds 19% of population nearly two miles away from nearest bank branchBritain’s leading consumer group has called on banks to justify nearly 13,000 bank branch closures that have left millions of people struggling to access vital financial services across the UK.Figures compiled by the consumer charity Which? show that the UK has lost nearly two-thirds of its bank and building society branches over the past 30 years, from 20,583 in 1988 to 7,586 today. Related: Overhaul of UK's poor banking culture is slow, admits standards chair Continue reading... […]

  • Amazon and high street chains kick off Black Friday early
    by Zoe Wood on November 16, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Britons are expected to spend more than £10bn during November discount eventAmazon has fired the starting gun on Black Friday, the US tradition that has become a near-fortnight long £10bn shopping extravaganza in the UK.The web giant has been joined by other high street street names, including Argos and Currys PC World, in making an early start to the bargain shopping event on Friday 23 November. Related: Black Friday 2018: all the best UK deals and offers Continue reading... […]

  • Zuckerberg: I didn't know of Facebook ties to firm attacking George Soros
    by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco on November 15, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    CEO says he learned about relationship with PR company after it was reported in New York TimesMark Zuckerberg defended his leadership of Facebook on Thursday, claiming ignorance of the company’s relationship with a political consultancy that used an antisemitic narrative to undermine critics.“Look, I learned about this reading in the New York Times yesterday,” a defensive Zuckerberg said on a conference call with reporters that was ostensibly about Facebook’s content moderation practices. “As soon as I learned about this, I talked to our team and we’re no longer working with this firm.” Related: Facebook reportedly discredited critics by linking them to George Soros Related: How Republican firm's plan to defend Facebook by attacking rivals backfired Continue reading... […]

  • Spacewatch: landing site for ExoMars mission chosen
    by Stuart Clark on November 15, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    European-Russian mission’s rover will land on Mars in 2021 at Oxia Planum, north of equatorA preferred landing site for the European-Russian 2020 ExoMars mission has been chosen. Known as Oxia Planum, the landing site is just north of Mars’ equator.The 2020 ExoMars rover is being built in the UK by Airbus Defence and Space for the European Space Agency. It will launch on a Russian rocket in 2020 and land on Mars the following year using a Russian-built platform. Continue reading... […]

  • Wounded but still standing, Theresa May lives to see another day
    by Jessica Elgot Political correspondent on November 15, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Despite a gathering storm in Tory ranks over her Brexit deal, the PM doubles down on her determination to fight onFollow the latest Brexit news and reaction – live updatesWhen Theresa May delivered her statement in the dusk outside Downing Street on Wednesday night, she may have already known a storm was gathering.After the five-hour cabinet meeting, the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, had told the chief whip Julian Smith he was minded to go. Raab retreated to his office in No 9 Downing Street as May told the cameras that “the choices before us were difficult”. It was later into the night that Raab spoke directly to the prime minister. Related: Theresa May vows to see Brexit plan through on day of turmoil Related: Can you get May's Brexit deal through parliament? No-confidence proceedings Related: McVey and Raab quit as May addresses MPs over Brexit deal Related: What happens next if Theresa May's Brexit deal passes? Related: Theresa May’s Brexit deal demands a free vote by MPs | Simon Jenkins Continue reading... […]

  • Tariq Ramadan: Oxford professor facing rape charges granted conditional release
    by Agence France-Presse in Paris on November 15, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Paris appeals court rules in favour of Tariq Ramadan, who has been held since FebruaryTariq Ramadan, the prominent Swiss scholar held in France since February on charges he raped two women, on Thursday won conditional release as the allegations continued to be investigated, his lawyer said.A Paris appeals court ruled in favour of Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, after the 56-year-old academic had made an impassioned argument for release. His bail was set at €300,000 (£267,000) and requires him to hand over his passport and report to police once a week. Related: Tariq Ramadan admission sparks fresh row over rape claims Continue reading... […]

  • Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans wins Hepworth sculpture prize
    by Mark Brown Arts correspondent on November 15, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Artist who extended possibilities of sculpture with floating light installations takes home £30,000 prizeCerith Wyn Evans, the Welsh artist who was an assistant to the late film director Derek Jarman before establishing himself as a significant figure in contemporary art, has won the UK’s most prestigious sculpture prize.Wyn Evans has been a major art world figure for a number of years but is not well known among the wider public. Winning the £30,000 Hepworth prize for sculpture may go some way to changing that. Related: Cerith Wyn Evans: Forms in Space … by Light (in Time) review – an optical trapeze act Related: Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2018 – from messy misery to a dash of magic Continue reading... […]

  • Grenfell Tower management company chief sent warning memo during fire
    by Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent on November 15, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Robert Black told colleagues that they needed to find answers about the cladding and refurbishmentThe chief executive of the company that managed Grenfell Tower warned colleagues they needed to find answers to questions about the cladding and the specification of the refurbishment even as it burned in front of him, it has emerged.At 6am – just over five hours after the fire started – Robert Black emailed senior officials at the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), saying there were “questions about the cladding and spec. Questions about how [the fire] spread”. Related: Met officer tells Grenfell inquiry of evacuation concerns Related: I survived Grenfell. There is enough pain, we don’t deserve to be mocked | Natasha Elcock Continue reading... […]

  • Labour: May should spell out contingency in case Brexit deal fails
    by Dan Sabbagh on November 15, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Starmer calls on PM to show how a no-deal Brexit can be avoided, amid growing hostility towards her planFollow all the latest Brexit news on our live blogLabour will press Theresa May to spell out how she is going to avoid a high-risk no-deal Brexit, arguing that the hostility from MPs since her final deal was unveiled demonstrates that she cannot get her plans through the Commons.Sir Keir Starmer said that Labour’s opposition to May’s plans had hardened in the 24 hours since they were published, and with so many Tories insisting they would rebel, the prime minister had to be forced to consider alternatives. Related: Theresa May vows to see Brexit plan through on day of turmoil Continue reading... […]

  • Thong protest in Belfast raises concerns over rape trials
    by Harriet Sherwood on November 15, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Case in Cork sparked outrage after defence barrister referred to complainant’s underwearIt was a mere scrap of fabric, deep blue and edged with lace. But when the legislator Ruth Coppinger drew it from her sleeve and held it up in the Irish parliament this week, the item of women’s underwear caused consternation among her colleagues.Elsewhere, women took to the streets carrying lingerie. In Cork, dozens of thongs were laid on the steps of the courthouse. In Belfast on Thursday, protesters tied knickers to placards and chanted: “My little black dress does not mean yes.” Continue reading... […]

  • Nothing has changed as the Maybot gets stuck in denial mode | John Crace
    by John Crace on November 15, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    PM survives by channelling her inner Geoffrey Boycott and boring everyone to death• Follow the latest Brexit news and reaction - live updatesCall it Westminster’s natural predisposition to entropy. The breakdown from a natural state of disorder into outright chaos. Shortly after eight in the morning came the first resignation. Someone who no one had ever heard of quitting a job no one knew he had. An hour later Dominic Raab resigned as Brexit secretary in protest at the Brexit secretary’s inability to negotiate a deal. The cabinet’s loss was geography’s gain.Après Dom, le déluge. Next to go was Esther McVey, hellbent on proving that an unemployed single woman could get by on universal credit. Then Suella Braverman, one of the dimmest of the dim. For the first time all morning, a wan smile passed across the prime minister’s lips. Maybe there was some light at the end of the tunnel. Though not for long, as further MPs, unknown even to their own families, began to make their excuses for leaving largely imaginary jobs.Hatred has its uses. She might hate her life, hate her job, but she hated the idea of anyone else doing her job instead Continue reading... […]

  • 'We put a remainer in to do Brexit': view from Lisburn, Co Antrim
    by Rory Carroll in Lisburn on November 15, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Constituents in DUP stronghold Lagan Valley voice frustrations at May and negotiators who have got it wrongFollow the latest Brexit news and reaction – live updatesThe constituency of Lagan Valley, a Democratic Unionist Party stronghold in Northern Ireland, voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum.As divisions over Brexit convulsed the government on Thursday, with ministers quitting and Tory rebels plotting, people on the streets gave an emphatic verdict: it’s a complete shambles, full steam ahead.A backstop is required to ensure there is no hard border in Ireland if a comprehensive free trade deal cannot be signed before the end of 2020. Theresa May has proposed to the EU that the whole of the UK would remain in the customs union after Brexit, but Brussels has said it needs more time to evaluate the proposal. Related: Theresa May's Brexit deal: everything you need to know Continue reading... […]

  • Lion Air crash victim's family files lawsuit against Boeing
    by Gwyn Topham on November 15, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Florida-based firm files suit on behalf of parents of Rio Nanda PratamaThe family of a victim of the Lion Air crash has started legal action against Boeing, after pilots and airlines said the manufacturer had not made them aware of new features in its 737 Max-8 aircraft that could be linked to the disaster.A Florida-based law firm has filed a suit against Boeing on behalf of the parents of Rio Nanda Pratama, a doctor who had been due to marry in Indonesia this week. His father, H. Irianto, said he was “seeking justice for my son and all of the people who lost their lives in the crash,” which killed all 189 people on board the domestic flight from Jakarta last month. Continue reading... […]

  • US researchers seek to end carbs v fat 'diet wars'
    by Sarah Boseley Health editor on November 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Review seeks to find common ground, arguing that what matters for most people is qualityA group of scientists is trying to end the “diet wars” raging over how much fat and carbohydrate we should eat, arguing that what matters for most people is quality.A review by US researchers with diverse perspectives on the fraught fat v carbs question attempts to find the common ground. Above all, they say, we should be ditching saturated for unsaturated fat and refined grains for wholegrains and non-starchy vegetables. And they list the unknowns, which need more research. Continue reading... […]

  • 'It’s a fudge – not what we voted for': the Brexit view from Shropshire
    by Steven Morris on November 15, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Theresa May served a cocktail of outrage and pity from Brexiters in the Wrekin constituencyFollow the latest Brexit news and reaction – live updates“I think they should just get on with it,” said Jo McAllister as she served customers at JP Fruits in the Shropshire market town of Wellington. “I voted out in 2016 and I’d vote out again if it came to it. I don’t know many people who would change their vote. We pay out too much money to the EU, we should be running our country ourselves.” Related: Theresa May vows to see Brexit plan through on day of turmoil Related: What happens next if Theresa May's Brexit deal passes? Continue reading... […]

  • John Lennon's killer says he feels 'more and more shame' every year
    by Associated Press on November 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Mark David Chapman told parole board members about his remorse at 10th hearing in August, according to transcript The man who killed John Lennon has told a parole board he feels “more and more shame” every year for gunning down the former Beatle outside his Manhattan apartment in 1980.“Thirty years ago I couldn’t say I felt shame and I know what shame is now,” Mark David Chapman said. “It’s where you cover your face, you don’t want to, you know, ask for anything.” Related: Not the only one: how Yoko Ono helped create John Lennon’s Imagine Continue reading... […]

  • Markets have woken up to Brexit. Will they also play a role? | Nils Pratley
    by Nils Pratley on November 15, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    MPs might look into the abyss, and at the level of sterling, and decide not to jump As the Brexit secretary Dominic Raab led the resignations, the pound plunged and shares in almost every big UK-dependent quoted company – housebuilders, banks and retailers – slumped. Prepare for more of the same if Theresa May’s Brexit plan is failing. Financial markets, having slumbered though the negotiations, are fully awake now. There is an interesting question of whether markets will play a role in events.Rupert Harrison, George Osborne’s former adviser who now works at the asset manager BlackRock, raised the idea earlier this month. “Starting to wonder if parliamentary vote will be like Tarp in the US in 2008 – voted down, markets puke, passes second time with small changes,” he wrote on Twitter. Continue reading... […]

  • 'Shouting at the seat of power': remainer gatecrashes 100 TV interviews
    by Simon Murphy on November 15, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    ‘Mr Stop Brexit’, Welshman Steve Bray, has demonstrated outside parliament every day since September 2017Millions of viewers will have witnessed his uncanny knack for gatecrashing live TV broadcasts brandishing pro-remain placards, and politicians leaving the House of Commons have become familiar with his daily bellowing.Dubbed Mr Stop Brexit, Steve Bray has built a reputation for sneaking into the background of interviews outside Westminster. Continue reading... […]

  • Theresa May vows to see Brexit plan through on day of turmoil
    by Heather Stewart and Pippa Crerar on November 15, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    PM says UK faces ‘path of deep and grave uncertainty’ if her efforts are derailedFollow all the latest Brexit news on our live blogTheresa May pleaded with her party not to plunge Britain into “deep and grave uncertainty” by rejecting her Brexit deal, as she fought to shore up her authority after a bruising day of resignations and backbench mutiny.At a sombre press conference following a dramatic day of turmoil, the prime minister said she believed “with every fibre of my being” that the 585-page agreement unveiled on Wednesday night was “the right one for our country and all our people”.No-confidence proceedings Pragmatic Conservative leader trying to govern in the national interest gets knifed by Tory Brexiteers - so familiar - exactly when does this end & we actually get on with governing for the whole country Related: Can you get May's Brexit deal through parliament? Continue reading... […]

  • Benefits system could be branded 'cruel and inhuman' by UN rapporteur
    by Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent on November 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Philip Alston has completed an audit into austerity in Britain and is preparing his reportThe United Nations’ expert on extreme poverty and human rights has said he is considering whether to brand the UK’s benefits sanctions regime “cruel and inhuman”, following a two-week audit into the impact of austerity in Britain over the last decade.The UN rapporteur, Philip Alston, is preparing what is expected to be a hard-hitting report following a months-long investigation of poverty in Britain which ended with a 10-day tour of some of the poorest areas of the UK. Related: UN rapporteur starts UK tour to examine impact of austerity Continue reading... […]