The Guardian

Toxic and untaxed

Up to half of all alcoholic drinks consumed in countries across Africa and Latin America are illicit – more than double previous estimates – according to new analysis.

KAREN MCVEIGH, Jun 13 2018

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Eyes wide shut

Jamna Lal shifts uncomfortably on his ancient charpoy bed, seemingly unable to comprehend that he may have been responsible for the death of his two-year-old daughter. He thinks for some time and eventually nods his head. “Yes, I’m also responsible. I decided to take her to the bhopa instead of the hospital, and I must suffer the consequences.”

HELEN ROBERTS, Jun 13 2018

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Living on the moon

The history of all species is that our offspring tend to leave home in search of new habitations and locations in which to settle and live. That’s how bumblebees, ants and human populations have spread across the planet.

CHRIS HADFIELD, Jun 13 2018

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An abortion gave me freedom

When I was 23, my life forked. Until then, it had felt like one of those LA freeways with half a dozen lanes: I had options in terms of which path I took, but they were all going in the same general direction.

Hadley Freeman, Jun 06 2018

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A comedian who isn’t an antisocial

For someone who describes himself as “the only gay, Aspergic, quarter-Welsh comic on the British comedy circuit”, Robert White had already cornered a niche market or two. And thanks to his recent semi-final triumph on Britain’s Got Talent his career looks set to take off despite any prejudices that might exist towards his sexual orientation, disability or nationality.

Yousif Nur, Jun 06 2018

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Russia is killing stray dogs

With two weeks to go until the World Cup kicks off in Russia, death squads are targeting undesirables in the street. In what local authorities describe as an attempt to make Russia more media- and visitor-friendly, horrifying executions are taking place. However, the great purge is aimed not at man but at man’s best friend – they are coming for the dogs.

Chas Newkey-Burden, Jun 06 2018

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Halt laws that criminalise media

On the day the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers opened fire on unarmed Palestinian protesters who gathered at the border fence on the Gaza Strip.Sorry. That requires a rewrite to reflect “the truth” as promulgated by the Israeli government.

ROY GREENSLADE, Jun 06 2018

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Italy’s prime minister a gift to the far right

Italy should be doing well. Unlike Britain, it exports considerably more to the rest of the world than it imports, while its government spends less (excluding interest payments) than the taxes it receives.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS, May 30 2018

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I won’t cry for Homebase, but I fear for our high streets

I heard the news that Homebase was “closing down” on my way to buy some CDs in HMV – you see, I am one of those rare people who still goes shopping. The conjunction was appropriate because Homebase is not actually closing down.

Stephen Moss, May 30 2018

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The bloody truth about conservation

Everything eats to live, but some creatures compete with human interests. They eat our crops and livestock, attack the wildlife that we want to protect, or the game that we want to shoot. The most common predators we routinely cull are foxes and crows followed by stoats, weasels, magpies and rooks. But other species protected by law are increasingly under the spotlight – including ravens, buzzards and badgers.

Mary Colwell, May 30 2018

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Skyscrapers wreck cities

I love towers and hate towers. I love those of Siena and San Gimignano and the skyscraper clusters of Manhattan and Dubai. I admire the design of London’s Canary Wharf, and of the Shard, if only it had not been dumped on Bermondsey.

SIMON JENKINS, May 30 2018

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Fake feminist

On 16 May, France’s parliament passed an eagerly awaited bill meant to tackle sexual and gender-based violence. Vaunted by President Macron as a political victory and a step towards “making women feel safer on the streets”, the sexual violence bill has however been slammed by feminist organisations and children’s protection groups.

CÉCILE GUERIN, May 23 2018

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Why I filled a 50,000-litre aquarium with plastic debris

In 1999, I was in a Tokyo department store walking down a household cleaning products aisle and had what you might call an ecstatic moment when the pastel-tinted plastic bottles on both sides of the aisle temporarily froze my reptile cortex: pink, yellow, baby blue, turquoise—so many cute-looking bottles filled with so many toxic substances, all labeled with bold katakana lettering.

DOUGLAS COUPLAND, May 23 2018

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