Our selection of some of the most striking news photographs taken around the world this week.
All photographs belong to the copyright holders as marked.
Our selection of some of the most striking news photographs taken around the world this week.
All photographs belong to the copyright holders as marked.
She was alone, separated from her children, without her home or work. But facing circumstances that could break even the strongest spirits, Majeda refused to give in. She turned to something she hoped would build her a new life – food.
The first big dinner Majeda Khoury hosted was a strange one – the menu was unappetising and the guests of honour couldn’t attend.
Though she had arrived in Britain just five months earlier, the long guest list she put together was one to be proud of.
Two speakers appeared on a screen via Skype in the comfortable London venue. When guests looked past the face of one, a mother of three, they would see grey, shell-pocked walls.
Live from war-torn Eastern Ghouta, Syria, the doctor and activist explained to their fellow guests what civilians there were living through – a five-year siege, hunger, destroyed hospitals, chemical attacks, and brutal shelling by President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Just leaving the house could get them killed.
As the diners listened, they ate a thin soup “because that’s all there was to eat in Eastern Ghouta”. Majeda, 53, remembers that she left the event happily carrying more than 100 letters asking the British government to take humanitarian action.
Though something as simple as a sharing a dinner table will not solve the refugee crisis, meals like this are how Majeda, a Syrian human rights activist who fled to Britain in 2017, finds a place in the hearts of strangers she meets.
Feeding people gives her a way to tell her story. It helps her continue the work for which she was persecuted at home.
Crucially, deprived of mothering the sons who adored her cooking and are now growing older in Damascus, food has helped Majeda build a second family, made up of new friends.
Majeda never wanted to live in Britain. Before the uprising in her country, she led a privileged life as a children’s counsellor running a family education centre. She took pleasure in raising her boys, Hadi and Karim, and together with her husband, they lived in a “beautiful home” in Damascus.
When pro-democracy protests broke out against President Assad’s rule in 2011, she joined them, but she stopped as the uprising spiralled into conflict. Instead, she worked to help victims of the war. But in 2015 she was imprisoned after helping to feed refugees arriving in her city from other parts of Syria.
The government, like other groups, was accused of using food as a weapon and preventing supplies reaching areas where people opposed it. “But as a wealthy, Christian woman, I could pass through checkpoints. And so I used to smuggle bread to feed people. I couldn’t watch them starve,” Majeda says.
Fearing for the safety of her own family, Majeda fled to neighbouring Lebanon, leaving her sons behind with their father. They were 13 and 15.
Being an activist in Lebanon was risky, but she persisted and in 2017 was invited to speak at a conference in the UK. While in Britain, Majeda got news that her colleagues were being arrested and, believing she was in danger, she sought political asylum. From working to protect refugees, she became one of them, dislocated indefinitely from family and home.
The first weeks in Britain were extremely difficult. But she quickly realised that the cuisine of her home, Damascus, one of the world’s oldest cities, had an audience in London.
Food is a cornerstone of Syrian culture and family life. It’s often elaborate and complicated, fiddly and full of rich and colourful ingredients – red pomegranate seeds that shine like jewels, purple fleshy aubergines, green fresh Aleppo pistachios, golden tahina sauce from sesame seeds. It is said that the “eyes eat before the mouth”.
Most women in Syria do not work – in 2013 14% of the workforce was female – and so they still do the vast majority of cooking and housework.
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“Our kitchen was twice the size of kitchens in the UK – it’s a very important part of a Syrian house. I cooked for my husband and my children – they loved my food, especially how I present meals,” she says.
Before war disrupted normal life, a wife or mother could spend hours each day chopping, peeling, stuffing, roasting, and rolling ingredients.
Kibbeh is one popular snack – a deep fried ball of meat and nuts that needs nimble and skilled fingers to prepare. One cookbook from Aleppo lists 26 varieties but it’s often just one of many dishes on a dining table.
“Syrian women are very patient because we have to make a lot of dishes. For example, we spend three hours making yebra [vine leaves] – and then they eat it in seconds. We don’t use measuring spoons – we just know what should go in,” Majeda says, laughing.
Asylum seekers in the UK are not allowed to work and Majeda spent her first year in London relying on the generosity of strangers, moving home five times.
In each place, she made sure no-one went hungry. Although, as any cook knows, adapting to someone else’s kitchen and habits is no mean feat.
She stayed first with an Italian-French couple. “They had a fantastic kitchen, small but full of equipment. We had a competition every night, taking it in turns to see who could cook better.” Realising she was separated from her family, Majeda’s host, a photographer, surprised her by framing pictures of her children.
In another place, she ate lunch every day with the host, who had retired while his wife continued to work. “We remain friends now and they send me messages about how much they miss my food.”
She also lived with another Syrian woman, feeding her children while she was at work. “I still send them food parcels when I make something I know they like.”
“I felt able to give something back to the people I stayed with.”
She also met old-timers and new arrivals in the growing Syrian community in London. “There are many students here alone, so I asked them, ‘What do you miss from your mum’s cooking?’ and I did it for them instead.”
But while Majeda cooked for other people’s children in Britain, her husband had arranged for someone else to make meals for their sons. Karim, the youngest, took an interest in food and sometimes called Majeda to ask for recipe advice.
“It made me feel very, very sad – I missed my children. They were without their mother – and here I was cooking for strangers. It was very emotional. I thought to myself, one day they’ll come here and I’ll be able to cook for them again.”
Majeda struggled to forget her fellow Syrians whom she felt she had “abandoned”.
“I had no right to leave. I feel guilty, because it was people like me that started those demonstrations [against the government] and then we left. I felt so far away from them and their suffering. I wanted to carry on my work” she says.
As an asylum seeker from a wealthy, urban background, Majeda is in a stronger position than many Syrian refugees in the UK. Most are eligible to come to Britain due only to disabilities or health problems, causing them to be selected for the government’s Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme.
Majeda speaks good English and her confident and commanding presence makes it clear she is used to people listening to her.
One of her early decisions in London was to join a refugee cooking group run by a charity. It brings together Londoners and refugees to learn recipes and share a meal.
She gives one or two classes a week, teaching simple but beautiful meals that can be reproduced at home. One of the easier dishes is mutabel, which is made by blending smoked aubergine with tahina (sesame sauce), yogurt, lemon, pomegranate syrup and garlic.
Another is tabouleh salad. Students must chop the parsley leaves “very very finely”, mixing them with bulgar wheat (a grain similar to couscous), tomatoes, and spring onions.
One meal that she says everyone loves is harra esbou, or “he’s burnt his fingers”, a nod to how tasty it is. A traditional Damascene dish with a “sweet and sour” taste that comes from strained tamarind and pomegranate syrup, it’s made with lentils and pasta, adorned with garlic, coriander and fried bread.
When she first arrived, Majeda wanted to tell everyone she met about the war, believing they didn’t understand the full picture. She found that it depressed or fatigued people.
But when she started to teach, she discovered the dinners gave her an opportunity to really talk and to continue her activism. Over food, she describes how civilians are targeted in Syria’s war and how the pro-democracy movement was “crushed by President Assad”.
A lesson in politics over dinner may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Majeda says that most people are receptive. “Food is very important. When you share food with people, they will care more about you and listen to you.”
Picking up on a trend in the capital for Syrian cultural events to raise money for refugees, she also started a monthly supper club. Some of the feasts mark events such as Easter or Eid at the end of Ramadan and they quickly sell out.
Cooking the food she is so familiar with is comforting and cathartic – but it also gives her dignity in the face of pity she feels from organisations or people who see refugees as “helpless” charity cases.
It’s a link to the home she never wanted to leave. But it’s also a lifeline, her way of meeting people and finding a purpose in exile.
In April this year, Majeda laid the dinner table in another unfamiliar house. After months of waiting for a family reunion visa, her sons were finally joining her.
London’s high rents made it hard to find a place for them to live but a Syrian-Irish couple invited them to stay for a few days for the reunion. “They knew I wanted to be prepared and to make a meal for my children. They have a very special kitchen. They took me to a Syrian store so I could buy what I needed to cook.”
“I made my sons’ favourite dish, shakriyeh [lamb cooked in yogurt with rice], with mutabel and tabouleh salad. It was really a fantastic dinner that we all shared together.”
The teenagers, who learned English at school in Syria, are shy but adapting to life in the UK. “My family like British food because it’s full of fat – they like fat,” she says. “I made English breakfast for them when they arrived but personally my stomach can’t cope with it.”
Majeda says she wakes up every day hoping that she can return to Syria. She doesn’t want the country “left in the hands of the government”.
But she is also hoping to start a catering business in London, renting a kitchen and offering employment to other Syrian women. She thinks her country’s food is growing on the capital.
When Majeda, Hadi and Karim finally moved into their own place recently, she held a housewarming party. Guests brought gifts to help them feel at home. Knowing their friend, they brought her pans and pots, knives and chopping boards, everything a good family kitchen needs.
Images by Emma Lynch
Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer.
In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous and failed to warn consumers.
It’s the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer.
Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling.
“The jury got it wrong,” vice-president Scott Partridge said outside the courthouse in San Francisco.
The claimant in the case, groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, is among more than 5,000 similar plaintiffs across the US.
Correspondents say the California ruling is likely to lead to hundreds of other claims against Monsanto, which was recently bought by the German conglomerate Bayer AG.
Mr Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. His lawyers said he regularly used a form of RangerPro while working at a school in Benicia, California.
Jurors found on Friday that the company had acted with “malice” and that its weedkillers contributed “substantially” to Mr Johnson’s terminal illness.
Following an eight-week trial, the jury ordered the agricultural multi-national to pay $250m in punitive damages together with other costs that brought the total figure to almost $290m.
In a statement after the ruling, Monsanto said it was “sympathetic to Mr Johnson and his family” but it would “continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective and safe tool for farmers and others”.
The use of glyphosate has long been controversial.
One UN study called the chemical “probably carcinogenic”, although other scientists have said it is safe to use.
Marks & Spencer is implementing the latest round of its store closure programme this weekend as it battles to improve its fortunes.
Seven more of the retailer’s clothing shops will be shutting their doors for the last time on Saturday.
The latest closures are in Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall.
In all, M&S plans to close 100 shops by 2022, as announced in May. It says the turnaround is “vital” for its future.
Profits at Marks & Spencer fell by almost two-thirds to £176.4m last year, following a costly business overhaul.
M&S has said the vast majority of the staff working in the stores closed so far have been relocated within the business.
However, it has warned that this will not always be possible and that more redundancies are likely.
Under its plan, M&S wants to move a third of its sales online and plans to have fewer, larger clothing and homeware stores in better locations.
It says it is facing competition from online retailers, as well as discounters such as Aldi, Lidl and Primark.
M&S is attempting to re-shape itself at a time when the High Street is under unprecedented pressure.
Since the start of this year, a number of retailers have collapsed, including Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld.
Other stores, such as DIY chain Homebase and clothing chain New Look, have announced restructuring plans of their own that involve closing large numbers of outlets.
On Friday, department store chain House of Fraser went into administration and was bought by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for £90m.
Mr Ashley said he wants to transform the 59-store chain – which employs 16,000 people – into the “Harrods of the High Street”. Administrators said some jobs could be preserved.
Meanwhile, speaking after the takeover, Chancellor Philip Hammond hinted at possible tax changes to ensure the playing field is “fair” between online and High Street businesses.
In an interview with Sky News, he said: “The European Union has been talking about a tax on online platform businesses based on the value generated.
“That’s certainly something we’d be prepared to consider.”
There has been a Marks & Spencer store in Northampton for 111 years. A short drive away in Kettering, there has been one for 86 years.
But Saturday’s final day of trading is the end of the road for the 154 members of staff, and hundreds of customers who will use the two shops for the last time.
Inside the Northampton shop, many of the shelves have already been stripped back substantially, causing the voices of the final few visitors to echo around what remains.
“I don’t know where it’s gone wrong,” says shopper Eileen Smith. “It’s very sad.”
Siblings Joseph and Lillian Kasese and their mum Sabena were celebrating getting their new home in Rochdale when racist graffiti was sprayed on a front window.
Greater Manchester Police is treating the attack as a hate crime.
Newsbeat went to meet the family, and got their views on discrimination and changing attitudes towards race.
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Boxing should be taught in prisons in England and Wales in an effort to improve discipline and boost education, an independent expert has said.
A report for the Ministry of Justice said ministers should consider allowing combat sports – with the current ban a “missed opportunity” to cut offending.
The author, Professor Rosie Meek, said boxing was already taking place “illicitly” but could be used for good.
The MoJ said it had “no plans” to allow boxing or martial arts in prisons.
In a report, which was commissioned by the MoJ, Professor Meek reviewed the current provision of sport in prisons, young offenders’ institutions and secure children’s homes.
She said her research found “some really exciting work going on in prisons”.
However, the psychologist and prison researcher said it was not widespread and there were “missed opportunities for using sport in efforts to reduce reoffending”.
She said “professional staff” from across the secure estate – alongside male and female prisoners – had expressed frustration that boxing-related programmes were not offered in prison.
Currently, there is a blanket ban on all martial arts and boxing in prisons in England and Wales.
Prof Meek said boxing programmes offered at some secure children’s homes and secure training centres were “well received and highly valued” for behaviour management.
She called on the government to “re-consider” its policy and pilot the introduction of “targeted programmes which draw on boxing exercises, qualifications and associated activities”.
Although the government accepted some of Prof Meek’s findings, it refused to reassess its blanket ban on martial arts in prison.
A statement from the Ministry of Justice said: “Our priority must be the safety and security of the custodial environment and the wellbeing of staff, participants and other prisoners.
“We have no plans to make boxing or martial arts-based activities permissible.”
Last month, the Observer newspaper reported that former justice minister Philip Lee – who commissioned the report – accused the government of “cowardice” following claims a cabinet member told colleagues to dismiss the findings.
Prof Meek told the BBC: “I was disappointed that there’s currently a blanket ban in public sector prisons on any martial art-related activities.
“I think there’s a really valuable place for boxing-related activities in promoting self-discipline, teamwork and building up positive relationships.”
She added that in community settings, children vulnerable to involvement in gang violence and drug use “have responded really well to [boxing]”.
Pedestrians were awarded at least £2.1m in compensation after tripping on pavements in the past year, research has revealed.
The AA found that 10,572 people made claims against local councils, but only 859 – just 8% – were successful.
While some councils paid compensation on more than 75% of claims, others made no payouts despite hundreds of claims.
Councils blamed “decades of underfunding by successive governments” for their damaged pavements.
The AA received responses to Freedom of Information Act requests from 365 out of 421 UK local authorities.
They revealed that there had been received 10,572 compensation claims for accidents on the pavement in the 12 months before May 2018.
Hillingdon Council in west London had the highest number of payouts, with 115 of 148 claimants (78%) receiving compensation and the council facing a bill of £346,596.
But Liverpool City Council managed to decline all of its 448 claims, and did not make any payouts.
Only one place reported no claims at all: the Shetland Islands.
A separate AA survey of 16,000 motorists found that 73% were concerned about uneven pavements and nearly two-thirds have come across paths encroached by overgrown trees and hedges.
AA president Edmund King said being a pedestrian can be “like negotiating a minefield”, undermining the government’s efforts to encourage people to walk instead of using the car.
“The state of the pavements means walkers are expected to run the gauntlet of pavement hazards that are just as dangerous as the potholes that can injure or kill cyclists and damage cars,” he said.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association – which represents councils in England and Wales – said councils did a “huge amount” to maintain pavements with limited resources.
“Councils know that the condition of pavements is a key priority for residents and want to make sure they are safe to use by all pedestrians,” he said.
“Any deterioration of our roads and pavements is down to decades of underfunding from successive governments and recent severe winters.”
|US PGA Championship second-round leaderboard (* denotes still to finish)|
|-10 G Woodland (US); -9 K Kisner (US); -8 B Koepka (US); -7 D Johnson (US), C Schwartzel (SA), T Pieters (Bel), *R Fowler (US)|
|Selected others: -5 F Molinari (Ita), J Rahm (Spa); -4 J Rose (Eng), *S Lowry (Ire), *J Day (Aus); -3 M Wallace (Eng), J Spieth (US), *T Woods (US); -2 *J Thomas (US), *T Hatton (Eng), *E Pepperell (Eng), *I Poulter (Eng), *R Fisher (Eng); -1 T Fleetwood (Eng), R Knox (Sco); Level *R McIlroy (NI)|
Gary Woodland set a new lowest 36-hole score at the US PGA Championship to continue leading at Bellerive before a thunderstorm postponed Friday’s play.
The American, 34, shot a four-under 66 to become the fifth man to card 130 at the halfway stage of a major.
At 10 under he is one clear of Kevin Kisner, who had a six-under 64.
Half of the 156-man field had not completed their rounds when play was called off at 23:35 BST. They will resume at 13:00 on Saturday.
The third round will begin about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the second round on Saturday, with players going out in groups of three – instead of the traditional two – off the first and 10th tees.
Most of the leaders finished their second rounds earlier on Friday, with American Rickie Fowler – at seven under after 10 holes – the highest-placed player unable to finish.
Defending champion Justin Thomas, two-time winner Rory McIlroy and 14-time major champion Tiger Woods were also among the later starters.
The trio are playing together and Thomas was two under, McIlroy level and Woods three under for his round and the tournament when the storm halted their progress on the par-five eighth.
US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel both missed putts on the last for 62s that would have equalled the lowest round in a major.
American Koepka moved to eight under for the tournament with seven birdies in his bogey-free 63, missing a 20-foot putt on the ninth to match Branden Grace’s 62 set at the 2017 Open.
South African Schwartzel, who holed eight birdies, is a shot behind after climbing 44 places up the leaderboard on Friday.
It is only the second time that two players have shot 63 on the same day at a major, after Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf at the 1980 US Open.
World number one Dustin Johnson and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters are level with Schwartzel after carding 66s.
Woodland, who has never finished inside the top 10 at a major in 27 previous attempts, led after the first round on six under and extended his advantage with a birdie on the 11th after starting on the back nine.
However, the 34-year-old American saw playing partner Kisner surge ahead in a blistering start.
Open Championship runner-up Kisner holed six birdies as he played his first nine holes in 29 shots to move into the lead on nine under, while Woodland avenged a bogey on the 14th with an eagle three on the par-five 17th.
That left Woodland a shot behind Kisner going into the front nine – where the pair continued to exchange the lead in a thrilling battle.
Successive birdies for Woodland on the second and third moved him back into the lead at 10 under, a bogey on the fourth dropping him back alongside Kisner who strung together six consecutive pars.
Kisner birdied the seventh to move clear at 10 under but Woodland picked up a shot on the next to join him before Kisner bogeyed the ninth.
That meant the 34-year-old American missed out on a record-equalling round of 63 like Koepka and Schwartzel.
One person has been killed and another seriously injured in an explosion at a military hardware factory.
A fire broke out in a building where flares are manufactured at the Chemring Countermeasures plant in High Post, Salisbury, at about 17:00 BST.
Wiltshire Police said one person died at the scene and another was taken to hospital in a serious condition.
A spokesman said the fire had been contained and there was no risk to people living in the local area.
He said: “An initial fire on site has been extinguished. We have two casualties that have been identified.
“One of them sadly died at the scene and the other has been taken to hospital in a critical condition.”
Next of kin have yet to be informed, the spokesman added.
Chemring Group business director Andy Hogben said: “The site was immediately evacuated and the incident brought under control. Chemring has launched an investigation into the cause.
“The thoughts and support of Chemring Group are with the families at this time.”
Products manufactured by the company include flares, chaff, and decoys for use on aircraft and ships.
Wiltshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive are to conduct an investigation into the cause of the explosion.
Six fire crews, the ambulance service and police all attended the blaze.
Manushi Chhillar is using her fame to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene