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Romance novelists pledge to confront abortion ‘taboo’ after Alabama ban

State senates near-total abortion ban prompts demand for genre to treat issue as a normal part of life, not a moral lesson Dip into the fast-moving world of romantic fiction and it quickly becomes clear that very few of the fictional couples Alabamas state senate passed a near-total ban on abortion, writers are asking themselves why none of these heroines ever considers termination. According to the Guttmacher Institute, an organisation promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, its a common experience for women in the US, with an abortion by…

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Why we are addicted to conspiracy theories

The long read: Outsiders and the disenfranchised have always embraced the existence of wild plots and cover-ups. But now the biggest conspiracy-mongers are in charge In January 2015, I spent the longest, queasiest week of my life on a cruise ship filled with conspiracy theorists. As our boat rattled toward Mexico and back, I heard about every wild plot, secret plan and dark cover-up imaginable. It was mostly fascinating, occasionally exasperating and the cause of a headache that took months to fade. To my pleasant surprise, given that I was…

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Anti-vaxxers are taking populism to a new, deadly level | Gaby Hinsliff

A distrust of elites and expertise is now becoming a public health crisis, says Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff The two men rode into the village on a motorbike, eyewitnesses said, and opened fire. They left one woman dead and another injured, and a trail of fear in their wake. Both women were vaccination workers trying to repeatedly been attacked amid rumours, gather intelligence. In Nigeria, too, the extremist group Boko Haram has murdered vaccination workers, attempting to frighten families out of having their babies protected. British parents dont know how…

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Student who carried heart in backpack dies from transplant complications

Rebecca Henderson, 24, was believed to be only person in world with total artificial heart as treatment for heart cancer A woman who carried her artificial heart in a backpack after her own was removed has died due to transplant complications. Rebecca Henderson, 24, from Bicester, Oxfordshire, had her entire heart removed and replaced with a total artificial heart (TAH) last year, after being diagnosed with grade 3 heart cancer in 2017. She was put on the heart transplant list in January after scans showed she had been cancer-free for…

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Salesforce CEO: tech billionaires ‘hoard their money’ and won’t help homeless

In Guardian interview, Marc Benioff calls out Twitters Jack Dorsey and others for failing to give back to city where they got rich Marc Benioff, the Salesforce CEO, has escalated his attacks on fellow San Francisco billionaires, saying they are hoarding money and dont want to help the homeless. In an interview with the Guardian on Tuesday, the tech entrepreneur intensified his efforts to call out ultra-wealthy business leaders has caused divides in the tech industry, which has typically been resistance to taxes that could income inequality. The CEOs unusual…

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Blood, spit and swabs: can you trust home medical-testing kits?

Is posting off your bodily fluids to a DIY health-testing company the future of healthcare or just too much information? On a dark February morning, I wake grainy with sleep and head to the kitchen. Before making toast or coffee, I unscrew the cap from a tiny test tube and spit into it. Over and over, but its surprisingly difficult to fill up a whole vial. It takes 10 minutes before my frothy deposit reaches the marked minimum line. My housemate sips her coffee. Are you ill? she asks. No,…

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Dublin’s homelessness crisis jars with narrative of Irish economic boom

Ireland is the EUs star performer, but almost 700 families have become homeless in the capital this year Jobs are bountiful, luring back emigrants and drawing newcomers. Property prices are soaring. Chic restaurants are fully booked weeks in advance. RT television is showcasing the top new entries to People in emergency accommodation in Ireland Its virtually an emergency situation, said Tommy Gordon, who manages Wicklow Homeless Five Loaves, a drop-in centre south of Dublin. Were supplying tents and sleeping bags to the homeless and food to those in financial difficulty.…

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Tearing our hair out: learning to treat compulsive hair-pulling

The long read: Trichotillomania is a blight on many peoples lives and until now there has been very little understanding of how to tackle this distressing condition Christina Pearson was 14 years old when she started pulling out her hair, creating bald patches on her head. She was taken to a psychiatrist, but in 1970 there was no name for her disorder, and certainly no treatment. The doctor issued a psychiatric discharge that removed Pearson from high school. At first, she felt relief. At school she had lived in dread…

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Modern myths about cancer from chemicals in food to wifi

The idea that lifestyle changes have made the disease more common is a gross exaggeration but increasingly prevalent. We separate fact from fiction Cancer is not up there with one species of dinosaur suffered from blood-vessel tumours and misinterpretations of some small studies and claims by self-styled wellness gurus that cancer is a man-made disease have fed the belief that cancer is modern. While that does not mean anyone concerned about cancer should visit their local natural history museum for information, thinking of cancer as a result of modern life…

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Think debate has turned toxic? I have the podcasts for you | Rhik Samadder

I get something close to high listening to opponents being civil, disagreeing with decency and humour. It is the only way forward in the this polarised age I got called viper-tongued by a total stranger on the internet the other day, which is quite something. I looked to see if I had defrauded any indigenous people of their lands, but I hadnt. Im not even sure what it was in connection with. Doesnt matter, I suppose; its just nice to check in with the fans. The way we talk to…

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Recognition at last for Gentleman Jack, Britains first modern lesbian

Anne Lister has been honoured in the church where she wed, and her tales of passionate affairs are now the subject of a TV drama She was a 19th-century pioneer in many fields: business, travel, mountaineering. But 178 years after her death, Anne Lister is best known for her string of female lovers, with their erotic encounters explicitly chronicled in a coded diary stretching to 27 volumes. Last week, the woman often referred to as the first modern lesbian was honoured with a blue plaque at Holy Trinity church in…

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Risotto, robotics and virtual reality: how Canada created the world’s best libraries

As libraries across the world battle for survival, one system has embraced the digital age and in Toronto, books take a backseat In the lobby of the downtown branch of Britain has closed hundreds since 2010, reduced hours in others and replaced many paid librarians with volunteers. In Belgium, an advocacy group called staff per visitor has fallen across the board since 2012, and circulation and visits are dropping. The disruption of Silicon Valley in which Uber replaces taxis, Airbnb replaces hotels and Netflix replaces video stores has many governments…

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An abortion at the age of 23 gave me freedom

During the Irish referendum, there was a lot of talk about abortion in extreme cases, but some like mine are banal but necessary 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. I was barely making a living in a job I enjoyed, and living in a dump with friends I adored. Lifewas wide open. Then…

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‘Social media has poisoned us’: young Britons on why they are unhappy

From student debt to loneliness, young people in Britain share their reasons for why the happiness of 16 to 25-year-olds is so low Research says that young Britons are unhappy and lack confidence in themselves and their future. But what are the reasons for this? According to the Princes Trust the results from its UK Youth Index shows that three out of five regularly feel stressed about jobs and money, with half saying they experienced a mental health problems, and that the figures should Guardian callout said their enormous student…

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Artist Nan Goldin stages opioids protest in Metropolitan Museum Sackler Wing

New York Big Pharma demonstration sees activists dump specially made bottles in moat around Egyptian Temple of Dendur The artist Nan Goldin and around 100 fellow demonstrators threw pill bottles into the moat surrounding an ancient Egyptian temple at the Metropolitan Museum in New York on Saturday, to protest sponsorship by the family that owns one of the largest makers of opioids. The pill bottles had been labeled by the protesters to say prescribed to you by the Sackler Family. The Sackler family Temple of Dendur stands. Goldin, who recently…

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