• The Leaving Neverland fallout: everyone who has dropped Michael Jackson so far

    After the release of the documentary Leaving Neverland, several artists, institutions and radio stations are wrestling with a difficult question: should his music still be played?

  • Mosque massacre: Anger at news reports 'humanising' Christchurch killer

    In the wake of the Christchurch massacre, families of the fallen anxiously wait to recover the bodies of their loved-ones. Australia’s Sky News was taken off the air in New Zealand following complaints that it was ignoring instructions not to broadcast video of the attack. Non-violent parts of the footage shared by Australian newspaper sites was slammed by readers demanding that it be removed.An article by one newspaper reporting on gunman Brenton Tarrant’s life growing up the Australian town of Grafton said he was a "dedicated” fitness instructor who ran free programmes for children.British press reports, meanwhile, published a photograph of Tarrant as a toddler - describing him as an “angelic child who grew into an evil far-right mass killer”.Countless people online have called out the western media for choosing to focus on the life of the perpretrator rather than the lives of his victims.Tarrant’s social media accounts have since been removed, and Facebook has taken down 1.5 copies of the video, which had been live-streamed on the platform.Official images of Tarrant's face taken during his court appearance were pixelated due to a court order, but a white-power hand signal he gave was not obscured.As the death toll rose to 50, a moving Haka war dance tribute was performed by the indigenous Maori community outside Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque, the scene of the worst of the two attacks.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugged mourners and laid a wreath outside a mosque in Wellington in tribute to the victims.Ardern, whose office was sent the gunman’s manifesto just minutes before the shooting, has promised changes to gun laws in New Zealand - where figures published by the Maori Council say roughly one in three people own the country’s 1.5 million guns.

  • The Guardian view on Theresa May's Brexit deal: third time unlucky

    ‘Less than a week after she heavily lost the second “meaningful” vote on her Brexit deal last Tuesday, Mrs May’s deal has come back from the dead.’ Photograph: Reuters TV/ReutersBack in February, ITV’s Angus Walker reported on a very public conversation he had overheard in a Brussels hotel bar. The person doing the talking was the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, who was chatting to colleagues over a drink. Mr Robbins voiced his view that the eventual choice for MPs in March would be whether to back Theresa May’s UK-EU Brexit deal or to extend the article 50 talks. The possibility that the extension might be a long one could focus the minds of MPs who had previously voted against the deal, Mr Robbins argued.In the vertiginous rollercoaster of argument over Brexit, few predictions have survived with much dignity for as long as five weeks. Yet, five weeks on, Mr Robbins’ prediction still looks shrewd. Less than a week after she heavily lost the second “meaningful” vote on her Brexit deal last Tuesday, Mrs May’s agreement has come back from the dead. She is now gearing up for one more heave, perhaps as soon as Tuesday. Over the weekend, Downing Street has been pulling out the stops to bring Tory Brexiters and the Northern Ireland DUP into line. Brinkmanship abounds, especially from the DUP. But there are unmistakable signs of life again in the prime minister’s my-way-or-the-highway approach to Brexit.She is only back in business because of what happened in the Commons last Wednesday and Thursday. In a series of votes, MPs unlocked a door to a very different Brexit future from the one that Mrs May is battling for. By voting to take a no-deal Brexit off the table, to support an article 50 extension, and by coming within two votes of taking control of the whole Brexit process, MPs have opened up a variety of possibilities, including a much softer Brexit and a second referendum. Mrs May is banking that her own MPs will be frightened back into the fold by these new uncertainties. Special alarm is being generated by the idea that the EU may insist on Britain taking part in this year’s European parliament elections as the price for the now almost inevitable article 50 extension. After many weeks of nonchalantly voting against Mrs May and her deal as though there would be no consequences of doing so, even hardline leavers are now under pressure to bank their Brexit winnings and not end up blowing the lot.Some of that pressure is coming from below, not just from above. One arch-leaver, the Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski, revealed on Saturday that his local farmers, his local chamber of commerce, most local Conservative councillors and many local Tory members want him to bend the knee and back Mrs May - so he will do so. Other Tories remain more defiant of reality. The DUP’s decision will shape the choice for many MPs before the whips do their sums and advise Mrs May whether to try again.This febrile mood prompts three conclusions. The first is that the pressure from remainers and soft Brexit supporters is having an effect. Their forces have the upper hand. When it has come to the crunch, it is they who have the stronger arguments, the more resilient support and, ultimately, the more political clout. The second is that these events could have been foreseen - and not just by Mr Robbins. Britain’s divisions over Brexit called out for compromises and choices, especially on alignment with the single market and the customs union, that should have been embraced, not spurned. Parliament has begun to redress a balance that should never have been upset but which Mrs May’s approach seeks to destroy.The final conclusion is that all this will continue. Brexit is not a single moment but a process. Neither 2016 nor 2019 is the last word. If Mrs May gets her deal through, that is not the end. Her deal is about leaving the EU. The future relationship remains to be negotiated. Her fanatics want that to be minimal. Supporters of a unified Britain need it to be strong. Brexit is a failing process because, above all, it is a bad idea. More people see that now than before. Win or lose the vote, Mrs May is losing the argument.

  • Shamima Begum's lawyer visits Syrian refugee camp where she is living, but is barred from meeting her by guards

    Shamima Begum's lawyer has been unable to get the Isis bride's permission to launch an appeal for British citizenship after he was blocked from entering the camp she is in by Syrian forces.

  • 'The damage is done': Disbelief in Europe at another lost Brexit week

    Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker hold a press conference at close to midnight on Monday night. Photograph: Thomas Niedermueller/Getty ImagesIt was the week in which the EU’s governments had hoped that British common sense might seal the deal, putting a painful first chapter of the Brexit psychodrama to bed.By Wednesday the French daily Le Monde had concluded that the hoarseness of the prime minister’s throat “symbolised the state of a supposedly pragmatic country left voiceless by its incapacity to accept compromise with its neighbours”.For all the forlorn hopes that things might be different this time, leaders across Europe and senior EU officials in their offices in Brussels, watched on with a sinking heart as Theresa May’s deal was rejected again on Tuesday evening, this time by 149 votes, the fourth largest defeat for a sitting government. The Commons subsequently voted to delay Brexit by at least three months.Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, who has described himself as Britain’s best friend among the 27 EU heads of state and government, was left asking reporters: “What’s the point of whining on for months on end while we have been going around in circles for two years?”There had never been great optimism among the British officials close to the negotiations that things would slot into place, given the EU’s refusal to make changes to the withdrawal agreement, and the over-optimistic goals set by the prime minister in the Commons for the latest talks. But there had been a plan.With just 24 hours to go before the ill-fated vote on May’s deal, the prime minister would make a dramatic last-gasp dash to sit down with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president in Strasbourg.The discussions in Juncker’s office on the sixth floor of the Winston Churchill building of the European parliament would last for no more than 30 minutes. May was to arrive at 9pm. A room for a press conference had been booked until 10pm. The prime minister would then fly back to RAF Northolt having unveiled the assurances on the backstop that she hoped would convince MPs to back her deal.In reality, the meeting, peppered with phone calls between Juncker and a concerned taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, back in Dublin, lasted almost three hours, as May tried to “squeeze the pips” and get the most she could from the situation, sources said.May and Juncker only got to finally sit down in front of reporters shortly before midnight. Yet, even then, few in the room had any doubt that the Democratic Unionist party, and the “Star chamber” of Brexiter lawyers assembled by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s guerrilla-style European Research Group of MPs would summarily reject it as insufficient.After the deal was voted down, the EU’s deputy chief negotiator, Sabine Weyand, who drafted the Strasbourg compromise papers, told the EU’s ambassadors that the commission had done everything it could within the political and legal realities it faced. Geoffrey Cox’s legal advice issued had changed almost throughout, she said. The assurances given to the attorney-general that the EU could not maliciously trap the UK in the customs union envisaged in the Northern Ireland backstop did their job. That showed how substantial the offer had been from the EU.And yet still it was not enough. “We’re well beyond frustration at this stage”, said one EU official involved in the negotiations.Using social media to vent her frustration, Weyand “liked” a tweet that claimed the vote in the Commons showed a “serious failure of a two-party system”.“With no opposition, DUP and Rees-Mogg group are holding the country to ransom,” the tweet claimed. “They are fringe groups and yet. It’s bizarre and quite scary.”Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian MEP on the parliament’s Brexit steering committee, briefed by the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, put it succinctly after the vote. “We know how May functions, that she is just running down the clock”, he said. “We know there are a number of lunatics in the House of Commons - but what can we do.”In the Berthom bar in Strasbourg, a favourite of MEPs and their aides, the beer flowed, along with expressions of irritation. “This is the most boring crisis ever,” said one Dutch Eurocrat. “It just goes on and on and on, about the same thing. And, you know, the British reputation will be ruined for decades - like France in the 1980s. That will be the UK. You can see it happening already.”Mockery of the British plight has increasingly become a staple of European media on the occasion that they choose to alight on a story that has many readers on the continent reaching for the sports pages or the remote control.On Friday morning the Francophone NRJ Belgique radio station devoted its comedy slot to British exceptionalism. “They drive on the left. The only fly the British flag outside Buckingham Palace. Qu’est-ce que c’est avec ces Britanniques (what is it with these British)?”, the comedian asked.Claude Moraes, a highly respected Labour MEP first elected in 1999, who chairs the European parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said he was approached on a daily basis by those offering their “pity and sympathy”. “People notice my nationality now,” Moraes said. “There is no doubt that there has been huge reputational damage. They watch the House of Commons and all these votes. There was a respect there - the mother of all parliaments - but the way MPs have conducted themselves, the level of knowledge of MPs, has been an eye-opener.”“The damage for the UK of all this is done,” added Lamberts, a self-confessed anglophile. “It is huge. I wish all those who talk about global Britain well. They will be mincemeat at the hands of the likes of Donald Trump and will be snubbed by those who used to be their colonies. How long this damage will last, I don’t know. I suppose it depends on whether the lunatics stay in charge.”

  • Prince William's near miss as beer cask explodes

    Prince William has a near miss when a beer cask explodes as he officially opens the Brains Brewery in Wales.

  • Born into al-Qaida: Hamza bin Laden's rise to prominence

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Years after the death of his father at the hands of a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan, Hamza bin Laden now finds himself in the crosshairs of world powers.