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Latest World news news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
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    Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday to weaken Obamacare by making lower-premium plans more widely available. Trump is relying on the executive order because the Republican-controlled Congress has been unable to pass a plan to repeal and replace the Obama-era healthcare law

    • Trump accused of sabotage after signing executive order to weaken Obamacare

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    • WARNING: this gallery contains graphic images of dead bodies

    For the Torajan people of Indonesia, death is part of a spiritual journey: families keep the mummified remains of their deceased relatives in their homes for years – and traditionally invite them to join for lunch on a daily basis – before they are eventually buried. Even then, they are regularly exhumed to be cleaned and cared for

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    As the north-eastern Spanish region continues the debate over its independence, we are in Catalonia hearing from people worried that the mainstream media is not representing their views. The fifth and final video of the series looks at the perspective of Isabel Muñoz Mitjana, who thinks using fear to influence people’s decision-making is wrong and just wants people to talk to each other

    Follow the series here

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    Donald Trump has to be reminded to sign his bill weakening Obamacare by the vice-president, Mike Pence, on Friday. Trump presents the bill and his intention to give Americans ‘great healthcare’ but then turns to leave. Pence stops him, and Trump jogs back across the room to write his signature 

    • Trump accused of sabotage after signing executive order to weaken Obamacare

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    The US academic’s behavioural research shows how to focus economics more decisively on real and important problems

    What is behavioural economics?

    The winner of this year’s Nobel prize in economics, Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, is a controversial choice. Thaler is known for his lifelong pursuit of behavioural economics (and its subfield, behavioural finance), which is the study of economics (and finance) from a psychological perspective. For some in the profession, the idea that psychological research should even be part of economics has generated hostility for years.

    Not from me. I find it wonderful that the Nobel Foundation chose Thaler. The economics Nobel has already been awarded to a number of people who can be classified as behavioural economists, including George Akerlof, Robert Fogel, Daniel Kahneman, Elinor Ostrom, and me. With the addition of Thaler, we now account for approximately 6% of all Nobel economics prizes ever awarded.

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    UK attorney general set out legal advice that allows such actions but strike raises question of whether UK is operating kill-list

    The targeting of Sally Jones, who is believed to have died in a CIA drone strike in Syria, fits neatly into a framework of legal justifications prepared by the government for such premeditated killings.

    Specific advance evidence of a terror plot threatening UK interests is not legally necessary before launching pre-emptive drone strikes against suspects overseas, the attorney general, Jeremy Wright QC, explained earlier this year.

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    The president took two decisions – expanding access to cheaper, skimpier insurance and scrapping federal subsidies – that may transform healthcare

    Donald Trump took two extraordinary steps to undo his predecessor’s signature health law on Thursday, measures that could fatally damage Obamacare despite the repeated failure of Republicans in Congress to repeal it.

    Having expanded access to cheaper and less comprehensive insurance– which experts predict will result in health plans for the sick becoming more expensive – with an executive order on Thursday morning, the president issued a surprise notice that night scrapping federal subsidies underpinning the system.

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    Analysis reveals 7.5 million illegal child marriages take place globally each year, with one in three girls in developing world affected by the practice

    Every day, around the world, more than 20,000 children are getting married, underage and illegally.

    New statistics show that in countries where there are laws restricting the practice, 7.5 million girls every year are married below the minimum age permitted, according to analysis by the World Bank and Save the Children.

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    Campaigners urge action on ‘global crisis’ as research shows 73% of girls in South Sudan – and 130 million worldwide – are missing out on school

    South Sudan has been named as the toughest nation in the world for girls to receive an education, with nearly three-quarters failing to attend even primary school, according to an index published this week.

    Central African Republic, where there is only one teacher for every 80 students, and Niger, where just 17% of women aged 15 to 24 are literate, followed South Sudan on the list compiled by the One campaign, which estimates that more than 130 million girls worldwide fail to attend school every single day of the year.

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    Being openly trans in Colombia is dangerous. The country ranks fourth in the world for the murder of transgender people. Across Latin America, the life expectancy of trans women – due to violence, poverty and the risk of HIV – is estimated at between 35 and 41 years. Attitudes are slowly beginning to change, however, as trans men and women speak out against attacks and discrimination

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    Government accused of ‘dirty tricks’ as Hindus who fled to Bangladesh say army was behind massacre, only to blame Rohingya militants once back in Myanmar

    Two weeks after the bodies of 45 men, women and children were unearthed in mass graves in Myanmar, the mystery over who carried out the massacre in a Hindu village has deepened.

    Myanmar government forces reported finding the skeletal remains in three large graves – a further 48 missing villagers are also presumed dead – and flew out journalists to the site.

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    Experts predict fastest-spreading cholera epidemic since records began will affect at least 1 million people by turn of year, including at least 600,000 children

    The cholera epidemic in Yemen has become the largest and fastest-spreading outbreak of the disease in modern history, with a million cases expected by the end of the year and at least 600,000 children likely to be affected.

    The World Health Organization has reported more than 815,000 suspected cases of the disease in Yemen and 2,156 deaths. About 4,000 suspected cases are being reported daily, more than half of which are among children under 18. Children under five account for a quarter of all cases.

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    The success of a western-style radio station in Sudan, where 60% of the population are under 24, offers a sign that young people are embracing the glimmer of hope offered by improved global relations

    A decade ago it was possible to count the number of radio stations in Sudan on one hand. The north African country was flush with oil money; its capital, Khartoum, was enjoying a property boom; and investors from China, India and the Gulf were flooding in. But for young Sudanese it had little going for it. “They were all just leaving the country,” recalls Taha Elroubi. “All the smart kids wanted to get out of Sudan.”

    Elroubi, a Sudanese-Iranian, himself left for the US during Sudan’s troubled 1980s. First in Egypt, then in Britain and the US, he became a DJ and record producer, eventually returning in 2005 to a country that was almost unrecognisable to the one he knew as a young man. It was now autocratic, strictly conservative, and under US sanctions that aimed to dislodge the military regime of Omar al-Bashir, who would soon be wanted by the international criminal court for alleged genocide in Darfur. Pop music – along with western clothes, cinema and consumerism – had long gone, swept away by the Islamist “revolution of national salvation” which followed Bashir’s coup d’etat in 1989.

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    With social tensions high and unemployment rife, agriculture offers Tunisians a vital lifeline. But as vast swaths of countryside turn to desert, the race is on to ensure there is land left to cultivate

    The dusty Peugeot rumbles along the road, parallel to the ancient aqueduct that once delivered water from the springs of Zaghouan in Tunisia’s Dorsal mountains to ancient Carthage, about 57km north. However, the waters around Zaghouan have long run dry and, if action is not taken soon, so might much of the land around it.

    It is not just Zaghouan. “Ninety-five per cent of the [arable] land is in the process of desertification,” explains Sarah Toumi, president and founder of Acacias for All, a social enterprise aimed at checking the descent of Tunisia’s countryside into arid desert. “There is less than 1% of fertile organic material left in the soil, meaning it’s really poor and can easily become desert. By 2030, it will all become a desert if we do nothing.”

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    Conflict has raged in South Sudan since December 2013, when the country’s president, Salva Kiir, a Dinka, accused Riek Machar, a Nuer, of plotting a coup. The country subsequently divided along sectarian lines and, although Machar has since fled, the Nuer rebel youth remain armed, at war and hungry. The “white army”, now a disparate militia composed mostly of young Nuer, engages in armed cattle rustling and brutal violence against rival tribes and government troops. Photojournalist Olivier Jobard spent days in the remote east of South Sudan with Nuer rebels and civilians who have been forced from their homes

    All photographs by Olivier Jobard/Agence MYOP

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    Since the civil war, Liberians have known only one leader: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who helped transform the ruined capital. Now some observers worry that this month’s election could undo Monrovia’s progress

    For nearly 30 years, the city of Monrovia has lurched from crisis to crisis. The Liberian civil war culminated in a 2003 siege that destroyed much of the city centre, while riots during the Ebola crisis – in response to an ill-conceived quarantine of West Point, one of its poorest neighbourhoods – garneredinternationalheadlines.

    Lost amid the bad news is the fact that the city has made a slow but impressive recovery. Today Monrovia is a fairly bustling place. The burnt-out high rises and shell-pocked roads have been substantially repaired. The streets are safer than they have been in a generation, and as the Ebola crisis recedes, the markets and cafes are returning to normal. Thriving music and food scenes suggest it is on the rise.

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    Before the earthquake, Mexico City residents lodged thousands of complaints about construction violations. Many of the buildings in question collapsed

    Many of the buildings that collapsed in the earthquake that killed 225 people in Mexico City last month were the subject of citizen complaints about safety, a Guardian Cities investigation can reveal.

    Since 2012, the residents of Mexico City have lodged nearly 6,000 complaints about construction project violations, with no public record of how many were followed up.

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    Political leaders on both sides try to calm nerves as Iraq’s prime minister insists he has no plans for an attack

    Kurdish and Iraqi government forces have squared off south of Kirkuk after rushing troops and armour to the oil-rich city two weeks after the country’s Kurds voted for independence from Baghdad.

    Peshmerga forces massed about 20 miles from Kirkuk’s southern limits on Friday after units loyal to the central government took positions on the city’s approaches, prompting fears of fresh violence in one of the most bitterly contested corners of Iraq.

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    More than half a million Rohingya refugees have flooded into Bangladesh to flee an offensive by Myanmar’s military which the United Nations has called ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’. Photographer Kevin Frayer is in Bangladesh to document the crisis

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    Boyle says in a statement after landing in Toronto that the Haqqani network in Afghanistan killed his infant daughter in captivity and raped his wife. The family were rescued, five years after they had been abducted by a Taliban-linked extremist group while on a backpacking trip

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    Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has said that Iran will not renegotiate the nuclear deal following Donald Trump’s speech. He added that Trump’s decision to decertify the deal would isolate the United States, as other signatories of the accord remained committed to it. Rouhani said Tehran would double its efforts to expand the country’s defence capabilities, including the country’s ballistic missile programme despite the US calls to suspend it. While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, he gave Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact


    Trump risks making US rogue actor as he condemns Iran nuclear deal

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    Bodycam footage from a Sonoma County police officer shows the rescue of a woman in Santa Rosa. Thirty-five fatalities have been recorded so far, making it the deadliest week in California wildfire history. The death toll could rise further as search-and-rescue teams are deployed to sift through the remains of 3,500 burned buildings. Hundreds of missing persons reports have been resolved, but stories continue to emerge of people who did not make it out alive

    ‘Just ash and bones’: California wildfire survivors mourn loved ones

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    Few expect any women to be appointed to China’s top political body when it holds its five-yearly meeting on Wednesday

    “Times have changed … today men and women are equal,” Mao Zedong pronounced more than half a century ago. “Whatever men comrades can accomplish, women comrades can too.” Unless, of course, you mean running the country.

    For not once since Mao’s communists took power in 1949 has a woman been appointed to China’s top political body, the politburo standing committee, let alone become the country’s top leader.

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    If the US imposes new restrictions on Tehran, Washington will find itself isolated – and without leverage to limit Iran’s nuclear programme, experts say

    The content, tone and style of Donald Trump’s speech about Iran on Friday was a reminder of how much the current president of the United States relishes conflict.

    With his domestic legislative agenda stalled and a federal investigation scrutinising his finances and his relations with Moscow, Trump has taken to finding enemies to rail against, including the press and black football players who kneel during the national anthem.

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    Perhaps that’s optimistic of me, but I really do feel like there’s something in the air writes Jessica Valenti in her weekly newsletter

    As more women come out with their stories of abuse and harassment by Harvey Weinstein, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. As someone who writes about rape and harassment quite frequently, even I was shook to the core after listening to the audio of Weinstein trying to bully a woman into his hotel room.

    The way he vacillated between yelling and shaming, trying to strong-arm her into joining him but then then playing on women’s desire to please by claiming she was making him embarrassed - it was seemed so practiced and easy for him, it was almost eerie.

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    Joshua Boyle speaks about being held hostage with his family for five years by Taliban-linked militants. He says his wife was raped by the militants and his newborn child was killed. There has, however, been some confusion and questions about events following his release along with Caitlan Coleman and their three children

    Canadian held in Afghanistan says child was killed and wife raped in captivity

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    At least four people were killed when a cargo plane plunged into the sea near Abidjan international airport. The wreckage of the plane, which was carrying 10 people, was swept onto a beach where rescuers started treating survivors on the sand. The four people killed were Moldovan,and four French nationals and two Moldovans were injured. The crash occurred during a storm. Abidjan's airport is in a heavily populated area, but there were no apparent victims on the ground

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    Party leaders have allowed a massive state and private sector borrowing binge that the IMF sees as a threat to China’s stability

    There is a steel toboggan run offering rides down the side of the Great Wall of China that would fail the UK’s most basic health and safety tests. It could be a metaphor for the Chinese economy if, as many people believe, Communist party leaders allow a credit bubble to run out of control in a desperate attempt to maintain an electrifying 7% growth rate.

    The Chinese are not alone when they turn a blind eye to excessive borrowing. Most nations depend on large and growing amounts of borrowing to fund everything from investment to the most basic services. In China’s case much of the debt is being used to offset the transition from a state that manufactures iron, steel and cheap electronics, textiles and consumer goods to one that embraces hi-tech industries attuned to environmental concerns. This creates millions of losers in traditional smoke-stack industries, lots of them in the north and west of the country.

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    After three days of hearings, confidence is waning that government MPs will survive the challenge to their election

    The Turnbull government is preparing for battle on two fronts, as it moves to settle its energy policy debate while preparing for a potential worst-case scenario citizenship ruling from the high court, which could see Barnaby Joyce marched from the parliament.

    Both the Coalition and Labor are primed for another fight over the nation’s energy future, with the government’s energy plan expected to be finalised by cabinet on Monday, before heading to the party room the next day.

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    Ex-White House strategist refers to Shakespearean assassination in call for Senate leader McConnell to go and focuses fire on Trump critic Bob Corker

    Former White House strategist Steve Bannon declared war on the Republican establishment on Saturday, comparing Mitch McConnell to Julius Caesar and asking “who’s going to be Brutus” in the political assassination of the Senate majority leader.

    Related: 'He is failing': Trump strikes out solo as friends worry and enemies circle

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    Former prime minister says international community should have tried to pull militant Islamic faction ‘into a dialogue’ over its refusal to recognise Israel

    Tony Blair has said for the first time that he and other world leaders were wrong to yield to Israeli pressure to impose an immediate boycott of Hamas after the Islamic faction won Palestinian elections in 2006.

    As prime minister at the time, Blair offered strong support for the decision – driven by the George W Bush White House – to halt aid to, and cut off relations with, the newly elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority unless it agreed to recognise Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous agreements between its Fatah predecessors and Israel. The ultimatum was rejected by Hamas. The elections were judged free and fair by international monitors.

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    Critics say dredging of sediment could increase risks of contamination on Welsh side of Severn estuary

    More than 300,000 tonnes of “radioactive” mud, some of it the toxic byproduct of Britain’s atomic weapons programme, will be dredged to make way for England’s newest nuclear power station and dumped in the Severn estuary just over a mile from Cardiff.

    Related: Electricity consumers 'to fund nuclear weapons through Hinkley Point C'

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    Retailer Jigsaw, whose staff come from 45 countries, is latest to call for tolerance after the Brexit vote and US presidential election

    There is a new trend greeting shoppers this season but it’s not billowing cords or ruffle blouses: it’s the fashion industry’s attempt to counter hostility towards immigrants since the Brexit vote.

    Last week the high street chain Jigsaw put its head above the parapet as it filled shop windows and billboards with posters emblazoned with “ immigration”. In its accompanying “manifesto” the retailer says: “Without immigration, we’d be selling potato sacks,” adding that “fear, isolation, and intolerance will hold us back”.

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    • Official: ‘some language in the book makes people uncomfortable’
    • Story of racism in the US south has been removed from schools before

    To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic novel about racism and the American south, has been removed from a junior-high reading list in a Mississippi school district because the language in the book “makes people uncomfortable”.

    Related: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: a classic with many lives to live

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    The 45 people were jailed for between three and 31 years, while another 468 suspects were ordered to undergo de-radicalisation programs

    A Nigerian court has convicted 45 Boko Haram members in the largest ever mass trial involving the Islamist extremist group.

    The closed-door proceedings began early this week at a military barracks in northern Nigeria but have raised the concerns of human rights groups about whether the hearings of 1,669 suspects will be fair.

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    Broken by prosecutors and rivals, the Sicilian mafia has retreated to its rural origins, driving farmers from their lands with grisly intimidation campaigns

    The Napoli sisters keep their entire harvest in a glass jar, resting on a wooden table in the living room. Inside, there are only a dozen stalks of wheat. The rest of the crop – 80,000 kilograms – was destroyed by the Sicilian mafia, determined to force out these three women working in the land of The Godfather.

    For three generations, the Napoli family farmed wheat and hay in Corleone, the historic stronghold of Cosa Nostra. Their father, Salvatore, was a hard worker who, after much sacrifice in the fields, managed to send his three daughters – Marianna, Ina and Irene – to university.

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    More than 141,000 people visit the exhibit in Wuhan before it is eventually removed after sparking complaints from Africans

    A museum in China has removed an exhibit this week that juxtaposed photographs of animals with portraits of black Africans, sparking complaints of racism.

    The exhibit titled This Is Africa at the Hubei Provincial Museum in the city of Wuhan displayed a series of diptychs, each one containing a photo of an African person paired with the face of an animal. In a particularly striking example, a child with his mouth wide open was paired with a gorilla and other works included baboons and cheetahs.

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    Afghan officials say strike killed militants in Kunar province on Thursday but local MP claims victims were civilians

    A US drone strike has killed 14 Islamic State militants, Afghan officials say.

    The strike took place in a remote area of Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province on Thursday afternoon.

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    Russian trolls and bots focused on controversial topics in an effort to stoke political division on an enormous scale – and it hasn’t stopped, experts say

    For the past year, the world has reeled over escalating reports of how Russia “hacked” the 2016 US presidential election, by stealing emails from Democrats, attacking voter registration lists and voting machines and running a social media shell game.

    Such is the focus on Russian meddling that congressional investigators are increasingly aggressive in asking the big tech companies to account for how their platforms became the staging grounds for an attack on American democracy. Early next month that scrutiny will intensify, with executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter formally invited to appear before the House intelligence committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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    At least 20 people killed in busy district of Somali capital after truck being trailed by security forces exploded

    At least 20 people have died in Mogadishu after a truck bomb detonated in a busy district of the Somali capital that is home to hotels, shops, restaurants and government offices.

    Security forces were trailing the truck on KM4 street in Hodan district when it exploded on Saturday, police captain Mohamed Hussein told the Associated Press. It is believed the target was a hotel. At least 15 people were injured.

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    Militants including foreign fighters negotiate deal to withdraw as they run out of ammunition after three-month battle

    Islamic State fighters remaining in Raqqa, once the group’s de facto capital, have brokered a deal that would allow them to leave the city with a number of human shields, according to agencies in Syria.

    Omar Alloush, a senior official of the Raqqa Civil Council, told Agence France-Presse a deal had been reached to allow fighters out of the city, which is on the verge of being captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

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    Since it joined the EU in 2007, government economic measures and communist-era educational excellence have spurred rapid growth

    At a sleek new office in the heart of Bucharest, Fitbit co-founder and chief executive James Park explains why the smartwear giant is rapidly expanding its operations in Romania – and following the lead of a host of multinationals. “The tech talent here is amazing. Romania and other countries in central and eastern Europe have great existing talent, and also great universities,” he says.

    The US company, which bought Romanian smartwatch brand Vector Watches for a reported $15m (£11.4m) late last year, and has tripled its staff in Romania since, has just opened its largest research and development centre outside the US, in the Romanian capital. It’s not alone: in recent years, major global companies such as Siemens, Ford and Bosch have set up or expanded operations in Romania, boosting an economy that’s already growing at speed.

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    Officials report 35 dead, 5,700 homes and businesses destroyed and 100,000 people evacuated, in deadliest and most destructive fires state has seen

    Strong winds in northern California overnight brought bad news for thousands of firefighters working to stop historically deadly and destructive wildfires that have devastated whole wine country communities, left at least 35 people dead and caused 100,000 to leave their homes.

    Related: 'She was the love of my life': survivors mourn victims of California wildfires

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    In an interview, Catalonia’s foreign minister Raül Romeva says the region is ready for dialogue but Madrid must acknowledge its right to decide

    The Catalan government has renewed its calls for dialogue to solve the independence crisis – but warned the rest of Europe that the issue will not disappear, even if the Spanish government makes good its threat to impose direct rule this week.

    In an interview with the Observer, Catalonia’s foreign minister, Raül Romeva, said the government was ready for unconditional talks to find a way out of the impasse. “What we need is dialogue with the Spanish state,” he said.

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    Deaths of three children and a woman highlight environmental impacts of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar into forested hills of Balukhali

    Wild elephants trampled sleeping Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in the early hours of Saturday, killing three children and a woman in the second such incident since the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Myanmar in just a few weeks.

    Many trees on the forested hills of Balukhali in southern Bangladesh, where the incident took place, have been chopped down to house the massive influx of Rohingya Muslims escaping violence in neighbouring Myanmar.

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    Former secretary of state tells Andrew Marr false claims of EU referendum campaign prepared the ground for Donald Trump win

    Hillary Clinton has said the vote for Brexit, and specifically the false claims made in the EU referendum campaign, were a forerunner of her defeat to Donald Trump in last year’s US presidential election.

    During an interview for BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, she said: “Looking at the Brexit vote now, it was a precursor to some extent of what happened to us in the United States.”

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    The Communist party prepares to hail mid-point of Xi Jinping’s 10-year term. But what do people make of their leader?

    Like most residents of the sun-kissed fishing village of Tanmen, Huang Jie will never forget the day China’s “chairman of everything” came to town. It was the afternoon of 8 April 2013 – just a few months after Xi Jinping had taken power – and he was using one of his first presidential trips to pay a morale-boosting visit to the sailors on the frontline of Beijing’s quest to control the South China Sea.

    “He was just over there,” reminisced Huang, the 45-year-old owner of a harbour-side equipment shop, motioning excitedly into the street to where Xi’s motorcade passed by. “The window was half open and he looked out at us and smiled. When he waved, it was as if it was in slow motion – he didn’t say a single word, but I felt so excited.”

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    • Mogul kicked out of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
    • Alegations from more than two dozen women include four of rape

    The disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in an unprecedented move after a special meeting held in Los Angeles on Saturday morning.

    Related: The Weinstein Company faces fight for survival with or without a new name

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    As a report says he hates ‘everybody at the White House’, the president has taken his own radical steps on Iran and healthcare

    Donald Trump’s decision to go it alone with rapid fire announcements on healthcare and Iran reflects his boiling frustration with the limits of presidential power, analysts say.

    The US president made a brazen move on Thursday night to halt payments to insurers under Barack Obama’s healthcare law. Democrats accused him of a “temper tantrum” and spiteful attempt to sabotage legislation he promised but failed to replace. Less than 24 hours later, he condemned the “fanatical” government of Iran as he decertified his predecessor’s nuclear deal, defying his own cabinet and disquieting European allies.

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    Joshua Boyle condemns ‘stupidity’ of kidnappers and says he hopes to build sanctuary for family after five-year ordeal

    A Canadian man who was held hostage with his family for five years has said that the Taliban-linked militants who abducted him and his wife in Afghanistan raped her and killed an infant daughter born in captivity.

    Giving new details of the family’s ordeal after arriving at Toronto airport following a rescue operation mounted on Wednesday by the Pakistani military, Joshua Boyle said they had been kidnapped while trying to deliver aid to villagers in a part of a Taliban-controlled region that “no NGO, no aid worker and no government” had been able to reach.

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