British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia

Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told. GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said.

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Russia sends warship to battlegroup off Syrian coast

A warship armed with cruise missiles has joined the Russian battlegroup off the coast of Syria as part of Moscow’s response to US cruise missile strikes on the Syrian airbase of Shayrat. Russia’s angry declarations, a world away from hopes of a rapprochement voiced in Washington and Moscow after Donald Trump’s election, have overshadowed US secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s planned visit to Moscow.

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China to create ‘giant’ giant panda reserve to boost wild population

China is planning to create a giant panda reserve three times the size of Yellowstone national park in the US, as part of efforts to boost the wild population of the long-endangered animal. The 10,476 sq mile (27,134 sq km) area will link up 67 existing panda reserves on six isolated mountain ranges.

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White House scrambles to damp down scandal over FBI inquiry into Russia ties

The White House made a messy attempt on Sunday to control public perceptions of a widening scandal over alleged contacts between aides to Donald Trump and Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 election, alleging that the FBI had dismissed reports of such links.

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‘Science for the people’: researchers challenge Trump outside US conference

Hundreds of scientists rallied in Boston on Sunday to protest what they call the “direct attack” of Donald Trump and Republicans on research, scientific institutions and facts themselves, as a community reckons, and argues, with a new era of American politics.

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Suspect in North Korea killing ‘thought she was taking part in TV prank’

An Indonesian woman arrested for suspected involvement in the killing of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in Malaysia was duped into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank, Indonesia’s national police chief has said, citing information received from Malaysian authorities.

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I work with child refugees in Calais. Theresa May’s deception is a cruel act | Benny Hunter

Call it shameful, call it cruel. The UK now has an effective refugee ban of its very own, targeting the most vulnerable of the vulnerable: unaccompanied children. In the House of Lords yesterday, the minister for immigration, Robert Goodwill, announced the abandonment of the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Act.

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Bill would sell off 3.3m acres of national land, unnerving outdoor enthusiasts

Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal lands.

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‘Extraordinarily hot’ Arctic temperatures alarm scientists

The Arctic is experiencing extraordinarily hot sea surface and air temperatures, which are stopping ice forming and could lead to record lows of sea ice at the north pole next year, according to scientists.

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FBI chief given dossier by John McCain alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts

Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, last month alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself. The material, which has been seen by the Guardian, is a series of reports on Trump’s relationship with Moscow.

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