Science

Donald Trump ‘joked that Mike Pence wants to hang all gay people’

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Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist of the White House, added: “I’m concerned he’d be a President that the Kochs would own.”

Since the inauguration, Mr Pence has orchestrated Bible study sessions for Cabinet members in the White House, attended by Betsy DeVos, the education secretary; Mike Pompeo, head of the CIA, and Jeff Sessions, the attorney general.

The meetings are led by an evangelical pastor named Ralph Drollinger, who wrote in 2004: “Women with children at home, who either serve in public office, or are employed on the outside, pursue a path that contradicts God’s revealed design for them. It is a sin.” 

Mr Drollinger describes Catholicism as “a false religion,” calls homosexuality “a sin,” and believes that a wife must “submit” to her husband. 

Alyssa Farah, Mr Pence’s press secretary, said: “The New Yorker piece is filled with unsubstantiated, unsourced claims that are untrue and offensive.

“Articles like this are why the American people have lost so much faith in the press.”

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Parsons Green stabbing leaves one man dead and two injured  

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A 20-year-old man has died and two others have been injured in a stabbing outside Parsons Green Tube station.

Police were called at 7.37pm on Monday to reports of an incident outside the Underground station, where 30 people were injured in a terror attack last month.

Scotland Yard said a murder investigation had been launched and one of the injured men had been arrested in connection with the incident.

The arrested man was taken to hospital and has since been discharged. He remained in custody, officers added.

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Donald Trump urges former rival Hillary Clinton to run for US presidency again in 2020

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US President Donald Trump on Monday suggested he would beat former rival Hillary Clinton in a 2020 rematch, encouraging the Democrat to try her luck against him in the next presidential campaign.

“I hope Hillary runs,” he said during a press conference. “Hillary, please run again! Go ahead.”

The Republican leader also suggested that Clinton’s words of support to protesting professional athletes – who in recent weeks have drawn the president’s ire by kneeling during the national anthem before sporting events, a statement against racial injustice – was one example of why she lost the 2016 race.

“Honestly, it’s that thinking and that is the reason she lost the election,” Trump said, after dubbing Clinton’s position on the issue “wrong.”

Kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” is “disrespecting our flag” Trump repeated concerning the issue he has reignited in recent weeks, after saying players who refused to stand for the traditional pre-game anthem should be fired.

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‘Big, bad wolf’ image flawed – scientists

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Wolf at the Wolf Science Research CenterImage copyrightRooobert Bayer
Image caption Wolves are good at working together to get food rewards

New research casts doubt on the idea that dogs are naturally more tolerant and friendly than wolves.

In tests of cooperation skills, wolves outperformed their domesticated relatives.

Scientists say the findings challenge assumptions about how dogs were tamed from wolves and came to live alongside humans.

Previous evidence has suggested that the domestication process may have given dogs a more tolerant temperament.

“We still have very much this idea of the big, bad wolf and the cuddly pooch on your sofa,” Dr Sarah Marshall-Pescini, who led the research, told BBC News.

“But, I think the simplest message is that the story is not quite as clear as that.”

Social bonds

Wolves are highly social animals. They live in close-knit family groups, raise puppies together and hunt in groups.

This sort of behaviour is not seen in modern dogs, despite the idea that domestication selected for dogs that were more tolerant and friendly, both of each other, and humans.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Wolves lavish care on their young

To test whether cooperation comes naturally to wolves and dogs, scientists carried out a classic behaviour experiment.

Known as the rope-pulling test, it involves two animals simultaneously pulling on a rope to pull a tray towards them to get food.

The animals are rewarded with a chunk of raw meat only if they pull the rope together.

The scientists found that dogs succeeded at only two of 472 attempts. Wolves, however, managed the task 100 times during 416 attempts.

Dr Marshall-Pescini of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna said wolves “did pretty well” at the task, performing on a par with chimpanzees.

“[Wolves] are incredibly cooperative with each other and they form very strong social bonds,” she said.

Dogs almost never worked together on the rope task, possibly because they wished to avoid conflict.

The experiment took place at the Wolf Science Center in Vienna, Austria, where wolves and dogs are raised from puppies in the same environment.

This gives an insight into the natural behaviour of both animals, away from the influence of humans.

Piece of the puzzle

Dr Krishna Veeramah of Stony Brook University in New York, who is not connected with the study, said wolves are the only big carnivore that has been domesticated.

”It is possible that their social behaviour was key to this process, and thus studies like this help piece together more of the puzzle,” he explained.

The story of how dogs came to be tamed from wolves is complex and hotly debated.

Some time around 30,000 years ago, wolves moved to the edges of human camps to scavenge for leftovers.

The long process of domestication began to alter the behaviour and genes of wolves and they eventually evolved into the dogs that we know today.

New story for domestication of dogs

Why dogs are friendly – it’s genetic

Dogs and wolves are similar in physical appearance, although they have different instincts and temperament.

The research, reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests there is more to learn about the effects of domestication.

Follow Helen on Twitter.

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Two Catalan independence leaders taken into custody by Spanish national court

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The Spanish attorney-general had earlier asked the judge for prison without bond for the head of the Catalan police, Josep Lluis Trapero, also under investigation for sedition for allegedly failing to carry out government orders to stop the illegal referendum. 

He was ultimately released, though ordered to surrender his passport and report to a court every 15 days.

The rulings capped a day of rising political tensions as the Spanish government warned Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont he faced his final chance to relinquish independence within three days or it would trigger Article 155, the so-called ‘nuclear option’ which would override Catalonia’s autonomy. 

 

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Pound coin chaos as parking machines and shops fail to meet Royal Mint deadline 

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The withdrawal of the old £1 coin was mired in chaos on Monday after it emerged that thousands of parking ticket machines and shops have yet to fall into line with the new rules.

Car parks serving as many as one million motorists a day have defied the Royal Mint’s deadline for updating their machines to accept the new coin.

It means drivers who have already spent all their old £1 coins, as instructed by the Royal Mint, are at risk of having the wrong change. 

Meanwhile major retailers and food chains including Tesco, Holland & Barrett and McDonald’s were still handing the coins back to customers in change on Monday.

This is despite them having ceased to be legal tender at one minute to midnight last Sunday, after which time they became technically worthless.

Stores accused of handing out old coins as change said the incidents were “isolated” and put them down to human error.

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Kuwaiti migrant raped woman on a riverbank, court hears as judge asks for pre-sentence report on his ‘attitude towards women’

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A Kuwaiti migrant raped a stranger on a riverbank just weeks after being granted legal status in the UK, a court heard, as a judge asked for a pre-sentence report about his “attitude towards women”. 

Abdel-Aziz Al-Shamary’s victim had left a pub in Darlington, County Durham, when Al-Shamary beat her and raped her on the grassy bank of the River Skerne.

Arresting officer PC Jackie Mallows told the court: “He kept telling me not touch him and he also said “I will not speak to you, you are a woman – in my country we speak to men.”

A jury convicted Al-Shamary by a majority verdict after almost five hours deliberation.

Sentencing was adjourned for three weeks by Judge Sean Morris who told jurors: “I would like to see a report looking into his attitude towards women.”

He said an extended sentence may be an option he could consider.

Al-Shamary, 21, entered Britain illegally in 2015 over land.

He fought to be allowed to stay and received leave to remain as little as two weeks before the savage assault in May of this year.

Teesside Crown Court heard his bloodied and sobbing victim, a white British woman in her thirties, was found lying face  down with her jeans and pants pulled around her ankles.

Heavily intoxicated Al-Shamary was arrested nearby and refused to allow a female police officer to touch him.

In police custody he was heard to yell: “Do you know Saddam Hussein? I am Saddam Hussein, I will not talk to you, you are a woman.”

He also shouted on two occasions the words “Bitch country” while he was being taken into custody, the court heard.

Earlier in the evening he had left Gemma Stirling shaking with fear after confronting her as she walked along the street with a male friend.

He called her an “ugly bitch, ” adding she was “not worthy.”

Ms Stirling told the court : “As he walked away he said ‘Allah is going to get you.’ “

The complainant in the case gave a harrowing account of her ordeal, which she said took place as she left The Greyhound pub in Darlington on a night in May this year.

She told police officers in a video statement played to the jury: “I left the pub and he came over to me and pushed me over on the grass of the river bank.

“I fell face-down with my arms in front of me and I turned to look at him and he punched me in the face.

“He punched me again with his fist and hit me on the nose, when I put my hand to my face it was covered in blood.

“Then he got on top of me from behind, I could feel his weight on me. He pulled down my jeans and my pants and I could feel that he was raping me.”

She added: “He told me not to say anything or he would come back and hurt me. He made me feel horrible, scared and frightened.”

Two women passing in a car saw what was happening on the bank of the River Skern in the centre of the town and circled back to help.

Rebecca Wynn and Natalie Curry found the victim lying covered in blood where she had been left by her attacker and dialled 999.

A recording was played to the court and the victim could be heard sobbing in the background as she helped the two friends recount what happened to the operator.

Ms Curry said that when she had driven past them, Al-Shamary had been pulling the women down the bank by her wrists.

She described what she saw when she returned to the scene, by which time the attacker had fled.

She said : “She was crying hysterically with blood all over her and she was screaming that he had said he would kill her if she told anyone.

“She said that he had been raped, that he had been inside her and that he would come back.”

Earlier in the trial prosecutor Paul Abrahams referred to sex videos Mr Al-Shamary had been watching on his mobile phone at about 7.30pm that day.

He said: “He was watching people having sex outdoors. It is relevant as when confronted with a lone female he raped her.”

DNA from the victim was found on Al-Shamary’s underwear, the court was told.

Al-Shamary said he fell into conversation with the woman and was “curious to know more about her, in a normal way.”

But she told him to go away and he raised a hand to her face, causing her to fall over, he claimed, adding that it was his efforts to help her up that led to her jeans and pants falling down.

Al-Shamary, 21, of Pensbury Street, Darlington, who had been drinking from two bottles of Jack Daniels whisky, denied rape and an alternative count of attempted rape around midnight on May 16/17 this year.

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Donald Trump says all sexual assault allegations against him are ‘fake news’

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US President Donald Trump on Monday dubbed all sexual assault allegations against him “fake news” after his campaign was subpoenaed as part of a defamation suit brought by a former reality show contestant.

“All I can say is it’s totally fake news. It’s fake and made-up stuff and it’s disgraceful what happens, but that happens in the world of politics,” he told reporters at the White House.

The lawsuit by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump’s TV show “The Apprentice,” says he made “numerous false, defamatory statements” in response to her allegations that he tried to kiss and grope her without her consent.

The subpoena, which was issued in March but filed on September 19, directs the Trump campaign and its affiliates to hand over documents on Zervos and her associates as well as on “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”

It also seeks documents on “any accusations” made during Trump’s election campaign that he “subjected any woman to unwanted sexual touching and/or sexually inappropriate behavior,” and on the president’s responses to allegations against him.

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Girls could be told to play rugby alongside boys following segregation case, says education chief 

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Girls could be told to play rugby alongside boys in the wake of a landmark school segregation ruling, the head of the Independent Schools Association has warned. 

Neil Roskilly, chief executive officer of the ISA, said that co-educational schools where boys and girls are separated for lessons, sports clubs or other activities could come under scrutiny following last week’s Court of Appeal decision that an Islamic faith school in Birmingham was being discriminatory by entirely separating boys and girls. 

He said: “It seems to come down to registration. If there are boys’ and girls’ grammar schools on either side of a main road, which are registered separately, that seems to be fine. 

“But if they are in the same school and happen to be under the same DfE registration number, that’s where it is a problem.

“The question is going to be asked as to where this might go. 

“In an afternoon club, where the children are separated out and the girls go off any play hockey and boys go off and play rugby, there is a concern that that could be seen as discriminatory.”

Last week Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of education at Ofsted, said there were around 20 faith schools in similar situations to Al-Hijrah, the school which judges ruled on last week. 

But in a letter published in the Times on Monday, Mr Roskilly said he was concerned that schools which use a  “diamond” model, where pupils are separated by gender in different classes at different ages, could be particularly affected. 

The letter said: “As well as faith schools that educate boys and girls separately, many state and private schools follow “diamond” models, where separation occurs at particular key stages, often to avoid the “distraction” of the opposite sex. 

“Inspectorates will be checking to see if these arrangements are discriminatory, by not allowing equal access to the curriculum and the wider education provided.”

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Pole dancing now recognised by international sports body – leaving the door open to inclusion in the Olympics

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It was was once considered a risqué pursuit, performed in front of a paying clientele at late night establishments.

However, now pole dancing has been recognised by an international sporting body, following an 11-year battle by a British competitor to make the event an Olympic sport.

For the first time, the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) has granted seven events “Observer status”, meaning they are now provisionally recognised as sports.

The historic milestone means that the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), founded by Katie Coates, 41, from Hertfordshire, is now able to apply for membership of the International Olympic Committee.

If accepted, it is hoped that membership will pave the way to poledancing becoming an event at the Olympics, which would see it join recently incorporated fixtures such as baseball, karate and surfing.

At a national level, the British federation for pole dancing is now eligible to apply for national sports recognition through the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport.

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