Winter freeze in Australia as bitter cold snap hits east coast

The UK may be enjoying some balmy temperatures at the moment but parts of Australia are experiencing a cold snap. Temperatures in the Northern Territory dropped as low as -3.7C on Tuesday, the lowest recorded in central Australia in two years. Image: Maree Hayes took these incredible pictures in Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory These incredible pictures of icicles were taken in Alice Springs where residents have been battling sub-zero temperatures. Southern Australia is being gripped by its coldest mornings in seven years while Sydney has been hit by…

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Recording captures children’s cries for parents at US border

The desperation and suffering of young migrant children separated from their parents at the US border appear to have been captured in an audio recording. “I don’t want them to stop my father. I don’t want them to deport him,” one child can be heard saying at the start of the clip, released by investigative nonprofit organisation ProPublica. Shouts of “Papa!… Mami!” can also be heard, while one child repeatedly pleads for someone to call her aunt, whose telephone number she has memorised and recites to officials. “I want my…

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Kim Jong Un begins two-day visit to China following denuclearisation summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is beginning a two-day visit to China, following his summit with Donald Trump in Singapore last week. He has been expected to visit the country to brief Chinese President Xi Jinping on his meeting with the US president. Although Chinese state media did not say if Mr Kim had already arrived in Beijing, a motorcade was seen leaving the city’s airport and roads were closed off near the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where senior Chinese officials meet visiting leaders. It was expected that Mr Kim…

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Water firms ‘let people down’ during Beast from the East

Water companies are in the dock over their handling of supply disruptions during the so-called “Beast from the East” cold snaps in February and March. A report by Ofwat found many households and businesses were badly let down – with just a few of the 17 firms across England and Wales being praised for their response. The regulator said more than 200,000 customers in England and Wales were left without supplies for more than four hours while over 60,000 customers did not have a water supply for more than 12…

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Debenhams issues new profit alert as trading remains tough

The chain says sales have not met already revised expectations, partly because of discounting by rivals on a tough high street. 07:34, UK, Tuesday 19 June 2018 Image: Debenhams says it has been hurt by discounting among rivals Debenhams has issued a fresh profit warning, admitting sales are falling short of already lowered expectations amid the crisis facing the high street. The chain said “increased competitor discounting and weakness in key markets” meant it endured “below plan” trading in May and early June, despite weak comparisons with the same period…

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Singles ‘more at risk of heart disease than married couples’, study finds

Married people are less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than those who are single, according to new research. Drawing on 34 studies across 52 years, involving more than two million people aged between 42 and 77, the research by a group of universities in the UK, US and Australia found that people who were divorced, widowed or had never married had a 42% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. They were also at a 16% higher risk of coronary artery heart disease and a 42% higher…

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Thousands of public buildings sold off annually by cash-strapped councils

More than 4000 publicly owned buildings and spaces are being sold off by councils in England every year, according to a Freedom of Information request by community charity Locality. It says parks, libraries, town halls and swimming pools are among properties being sold, often to private developers to build luxury flats. The charity warns that cash-strapped councils are making up for budget shortfalls by selling off assets which are vital community hubs for both young and old. It contacted all 353 local authorities in England and found a “consistently high”…

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Lord Hague says government should ‘be bold’ and legalise cannabis

Former Conservative leader Lord Hague has called upon the government to “be bold” and follow Canada in legalising cannabis for recreational use. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said the eventual approval by the Home Office for medicinal cannabis oil to be used to treat epileptic youngster Billy Caldwell was evidence that a hard-line stance on the drug had become “inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date”. The 12-year-old was made to wait almost a week before being allowed to use the drug his mother had brought home from Canada…

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Predicted grades should not be used for university offers

Offers of a place on a university course should not be made on the basis of “highly inaccurate predicted grades” according to the University and College Union (UCU). Currently, places on degree courses are allocated on what the student is expected to get at A-level, not what they actually achieve. UCU claims that the UK is the only nation which uses predicted grades, with research suggesting as few as one in six A-level grade predictions is correct. It says the system encourages the use of unconditional offers, which can lead…

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Trump threatens 10% tariff on $200bn of Chinese goods

President Trump has asked officials to identify $200bn dollars-worth of Chinese goods to be subject to a 10% tariff in what is becoming an increasingly bitter trade war. It follows last Friday’s decision to to impose 25% tariffs on $50bn of Chinese products. Beijing immediately retaliated, matching the US levy. That has prompted Mr Trump to up the ante once more in what he regards as an unfair balance in trade between the two superpowers. The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable President…

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