EU is losing patience with Britain, warns Dutch minister

Sigrid Kaag throws further doubt on Boris Johnsons claim he is seeking new deal with Brussels Boris Johnsons claims to be conducting a Brexit renegotiation have come under fresh doubt as the UKs closest EU ally expressed alarm at the breathtaking developments in Westminster and the governments failure to table alternatives to the Irish backstop. The Dutch minister for trade, Sigrid Kaag, described the scenes being played out in London as unbelievable and warned of the EUs waning patience given the impact on European businesses of the continued uncertainty. Johnson committed in early August in discussions with EU leaders to swiftly tabling an alternative solution to the Irish backstop, which would temporarily keep Northern Ireland in the single market and …

US blacklists Iranian tanker Mike Pompeo says is heading to Syria

Vessel was seized by Britain and held in Gibraltar for six weeks on suspicion it was delivering oil for Assad regime The US has blacklisted the Iranian tanker Adrian Darya, saying it had reliable information it was transporting oil to Syria in defiance of wide-ranging sanctions on the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Previously known as Grace 1, the vessel was seized in July by British marines and held in Gibraltar for six weeks, on suspicion it was delivering oil for Tehrans ally Damascus. The British territory released the ship despite US protests after it said it had received written assurances from Iran that the vessel would not head for countries under European Union sanctions. Tehran later denied it had made …

Bolsonaro launches Brazil week in bid to ‘revamp’ image over Amazon fires

President urged citizens to hit the streets and show the Amazon is ours amid sinking ratings and vilification over the Amazon Brazils far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has urged citizens to clad themselves in the countrys yellow and green and hit the streets as part of a populist push designed to shore up support amid sinking ratings and international vilification over the Amazon. Bolsonaro made the appeal before Saturdays annual 7 September independence day celebrations, for which tub-thumping and highly politicized displays of patriotism will be on show. Its to show the world that this is Brazil. That the Amazon is ours, Bolsonaro said on Tuesday as he launched what officials dubbed Brazil week a seven-day carnival of consumption that begins …

UK travellers’ phones could be checked at Hong Kong border

Devices may be examined at crossings to mainland China, Foreign Office says British travellers heading to Hong Kong have been told their electronic devices could be checked at the border with mainland China. The Foreign Office, which has updated its travel advice due to continuing protests, said: In light of ongoing protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong, there are reports of greater scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong. This includes reports that travellers electronic devices have been checked at border crossings. You should be aware that the thresholds for detention and prosecution in China differ from those in Hong Kong. Quick guide What are the Hong Kong protests about? Show Hide Why are …

John Bolton in UK to meet Johnson and Brexit hardliners

US security adviser expected to urge tougher line on Tehran and Chinese tech firm Huawei John Bolton, the hawkish US national security adviser, has started two days of meetings in London with key figures in Boris Johnsons government as the US pitches to steer a post-Brexit UK further away from Europe on a range of issues including trade, the role of the Chinese technology firm Huawei. Bolton is the most senior Trump official to visit since Johnson became prime minister, and the move is seen to have increased the chances of the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a withdrawal agreement a position more in line with the Brexit policy favoured by the US president. Bolton will be …

Protests, clashes and lack of trust: the new normal for Hong Kong

One of the worlds busiest cities has grown unusually quiet as more and more people stay at home It was the third night in a row that Biyanca Chus neighbourhood, Wong Tai Sin, a working-class residential district in Hong Kong, had been taken over by police and protesters. The ground was littered with plastic bottles, broken umbrellas and teargas canisters as the two sides faced off. Chu, 22, slight in an all-black outfit, climbed over a road barrier, took off her baseball cap and slipped a gas mask on. Are you ready to go to the frontline? she asked her companions and they disappeared. Within half an hour, the police began firing rounds of teargas and rubber bullets, charging and …

John Oliver on Trump’s rhetoric: ‘Something we cannot afford to get numb to’

The Last Week Tonight host connected the twin mass shootings to white national and anti-immigrant hysteria fostered by Trump After a weekend in which mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton killed at least 29 people and injured dozens of others, John Oliver opened Sundays episode of Last Week Tonight with pointed comments on the absolutely appalling anti-immigrant fuel underlying domestic terrorism. By the time of the shows airing, it was widely reported that the shooter in El Paso, a 21-year-old white man, had published an anti-immigrant screed online before opening fire at a Walmart on Saturday, killing 20. The shooting that targeted a prominent, multicultural city along the Mexican border a place frequently invoked in the presidents comments condemning …

Children in Pacific suffer ‘shockingly high’ levels of violence, report finds

Aid organisations call out dramatic underinvestment by Australia and other donors in tackling endemic problem Violence against children in the Pacific region has reached endemic levels, with children subject to brutal physical discipline in the home, as well as sexual violence, a new report has found. More than 4 million children across the region had experienced violent discipline in the home and in Papua New Guinea 27% of parents or caregivers used physical punishment over and over as hard as they could, the report by leading NGOs working in the region found. The levels of physical, sexual and emotional violence in the region are shockingly high and it is something that we all need to come together to work around …

Boko Haram fighters kill dozens at funeral in Nigeria

Local official says extremists attack on mourners has left more than 60 people dead More than 60 mourners leaving a funeral in north-east Nigeria have been killed by the militant group Boko Haram, according to Nigerian officials and other sources in the area. Ten years after the groups founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was the kidnapping of female students from a college in Chibok in 2014. Islamic State. The UN estimates that at least 20,000 people have been killed in the conflict to date, but that is widely held to be far below the true number. At the peak of its strength it held territory equal to the size of Belgium Nigerias President Muhammadu Buhari and his generals have repeatedly declared that …

A$AP Rocky pleads not guilty to assault at start of trial in Stockholm

US rapper and two members of entourage accused of attack in Swedish capital on 30 June A$AP Rocky has pleaded not guilty to assault at the start of his trial in Sweden in a case that has strained international relations after celebrity entertainers rallied to the US rappers cause and Donald Trump on 30 June. The men, who say they were responding to harassment and provocations, have been in custody since 3 July and face up to two years in prison if the charges, for his 2013 debut album, Long.Live.A$AP debuted at No 1 on the US Billboard 200. Follow-up At.Long.Last.A$AP was also a No 1 album in the US, certified as a platinum seller, and featured A$AP Yams (Steven …

Six months on, Juan Guaid supporters hang on to fading hope in Venezuela

Fresh protests to mark half a year after he declared himself interim leader, but Nicols Maduro remains in power Sol Castro Snchez was a picture of elation as she took to the streets of Caracas in the days after Juan Guaid launched his dramatic bid to topple the retired professor enthused as she marched through Venezuelas capital with tens of thousands of jubilant protesters and a homemade placard that read: Enough is enough! We want them out! Six months later, that excitement and with it Castros conviction that change is nigh is fading. At that time, I felt you could reach out and you could grasp it, the 63-year-old caraquea admitted this week. I dont have that feeling any more. …

Air France could face trial over 2009 crash of Rio-Paris flight

Prosecutors say airline knew of problems with Airbus A330 plane that crashed, killing 228 people French prosecutors have recommended that Air France face trial for manslaughter and negligence over the 2009 The pilots were confused and unaware they had stalled the plane which was plummeting until seconds before it plunged into the ocean at around 200km/h.

US activists promote anti-birth control app in Nigeria’s ‘most vulnerable’ areas

The Femm app has received Catholic church backing but experts say its unreliable as birth control and does not help the vulnerable US campaigners who oppose the birth control pill have promoted a menstruation tracking app in the most vulnerable communities in rural Nigeria with the backing of the Catholic church, the Guardian has learned. Prominent anti-abortion campaigners in New York developed and funded the emm app, which collects intimate information about womens sex lives and sows doubt about hormonal birth control methods. The app has been downloaded more than 400,000 times globally, according to its developers, and appears to be the first ideologically aligned fertility tracking app. But leaders of the organization are also promoting the app and teaching …

Trump administration to continue deporting Venezuelans despite crisis

US as yet unwilling to grant temporary protected status but senators accuse Trump of having it both ways over Maduro The Trump administration has said it is not yet willing to grant temporary protected status to Venezuelans, meaning it will continue to deport people back to a country it says is being destroyed by a tyrant. The news comes amid a humanitarian crisis that could forcibly displace as many as killing thousands of its own citizens. In a Venezuela is now the leading country of origin for asylum336 Venezuelan citizens. At the same time the government is saying it needs to monitor the situation more, administration officials are calling the government of Maduro a thugocracy, and decrying the humanitarian situation …

Which is the world’s most vertical city?

You might think of Hong Kong, given its famous skyscraper skyline, but by different measures of verticality other cities come out on top Looking out from sky100, Hong Kongs highest observation deck on the 100th floor of the citys tallest building, the 494-metre-high International Commerce Centre, you get a 360-degree view of one of the worlds most famous skylines an urban jungle framed by mountains and the gleaming Victoria harbour, with endless clusters of high-rise buildings packed so closely together they resemble a game of Tetris. Its little wonder a city of such visible density has more skyscrapers than anywhere else in the world. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), Hong Kong has 355 buildings …

Dutch council forces playground to close over noise complaints

More than 4,000 sign petition to overturn decision, which aimed to appease neighbours A national debate has been sparked in the Netherlands after a council ordered a primary school playground to be shut for being too noisy. Questions have been raised in the Dutch parliament and a campaign has been launched to save the playground in the wake of the decision by Nijmegen council. Residents in apartments near De Buut primary school had complained that its pupils regularly exceeded a 70-decibel limit, which applies across the country for residential areas and is enforced by local councils. Official readings reached 88 decibels. The schools director, Janneke Colsen, said the school had been told to close the playground by the end of …