Trump’s info leak to Russians

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Good morning, it’s Warren Murray waking you up to the news this morning.

Donald Trump has been accused of leaking sensitive intelligence to the Russians after allegedly giving details to the Kremlin’s ambassador and foreign minister about an Isis threat to attack aircraft using laptop computers.

Trump met with the pair in the Oval Office last week and the White House has said that while the nature of specific threats was discussed, “sources, methods or military operations” were not revealed. However, this is not the issue – it is that some of the specifics given by Trump might have endangered an intelligence source for one of America’s allies. Julian Borger explains how key spying partners like the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand may now feel the secrets they gather are not safe with the US president.

Trump’s election opponent, Hillary Clinton, has meanwhile launched Onward Together, a political action group dedicated to pursuing progressive causesincluding criminal justice reform, millennials and women running for office, and the Democrats’ campaign to win back the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms.

Moors murderer dies – Ian Brady has died aged 79 at the high-security Ashworth psychiatric hospital in Merseyside where he was under palliative care. Brady’s lawyers have previously said he was terminally ill with emphysema. Brady and Myra Hindley sexually tortured and murdered five children, burying four of the bodies on Saddleworth Moor. They were jailed in 1966. Hindley died in jail in 2002, and the death of Brady means the fifth body, that of 12-year-old Keith Bennett, may never be found.

Any of this yours? The more than 18 tonnes of plastic washed up on a tiny island in the Pacific amounts to the biggest such dumping ground in existence. Local crabs have taken to living inside plastic bottle tops and even a doll’s head on Henderson island in the Pitcairns.

A crab living inside an Avon cosmetics jar on Henderson island in the Pitcairns.
A crab living inside an Avon cosmetics jar on Henderson island in the Pitcairns. Photograph: Jennifer Lavers

The tiny landmass is a burial ground for up to 4,500 pieces of pollution per square metre. Marine scientists say it shows the “grotesque” extent of contamination of the oceans and coastlines, with plastic waste posing a toxic threat to wildlife.

Leasehold trap – There is an outcry from home owners over extortionate leasehold clauses that double their ground rent every 10 years. Britain’s centuries-old tenure system of home ownership is being exploited by modern-day developers, leaving owners trapped with spiralling leasing costs and unable to buy or sell their way out, the HomeOwners Alliance says. One buyer told how he was promised he could escape the cycle if he bought the freehold on his property for a modest £4,800 – but the price went up to £45,000 after the freehold was sold on to an investment firm. Campaigners are calling for the kind of “commonhold” arrangements used for condominium developments in the US.

Our shame in Zimbabwe – Britain kept quiet about Robert Mugabe murdering thousands of dissidents after the 1980 election that put him in power, according to a study of Foreign Office files. In the years after Rhodesia’s bitter war to end white minority rule, Mugabe’s brutal, North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade tore through his opponents, killing, torturing and raping tens of thousands of unarmed civilians. Dr Hazel Cameron of the University of St Andrews says her freedom of information research shows the UK adopted a stance of “wilful blindness” to try and preserve British interests in the former colony and foster relations with its new ruler. With Mugabe still in power at the age of 93, no one has ever been brought to account.

Soaking the rich – The fat cats will finally pay, or at least their employers will, under a Labour plan to tax excessive remuneration. From City banks to football clubs, anything above £330,000 will incur a 2.5% surcharge, while going over £500,000 will mean a levy of 5%. The Conservatives are countering with election pledges like ensuring pay equality for minority ethnic workers, statutory unpaid carers’ leave and protections for employees with mental illness. But Polly Toynbee argues that whatever Theresa May says, the Tories are not a workers’ party.

On the continent, Emmanuel Macron, France’s new president, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, are talking about a “historic” restructuring of the EUincluding tighter integration for the eurozone – dispiriting for British politicians like David Cameron who, after failing to secure changes to the Lisbon treaty, led us into Brexit.

Don’t forget about the Snap, our daily election briefing. Read to the bottom for info on how to sign up.

Lunchtime read: Why Israel doesn’t want peace with the Palestinians

The Oslo Accords, the Wye River Memorandum, the Camp David summit, the “road map” … just some of the painstakingly brokered initiatives that have failed to conclude with a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Graffiti on Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Graffiti on Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Through it all the Palestinians have stuck to their longstanding parameters for statehood, with the backing of most of the international community. But for Israel, agreeing would mean serious upheaval. It has a massive vested interested in the status quo or “fallback option”, writes International Crisis Group analyst Nathan Thrall – so the only solution may be to make that fallback option more uncomfortable than going forward.


Eight of the professional football clubs contacted by the independent inquiry into sexual abuse have failed to respond and now risk disciplinary action unless they tell investigators what they know, the Guardian can reveal.

David Warner’s Ashes power play has struck a blow for those further down the ladder, writes Vic Marks. Roger Federer has confirmed he will not play at Roland Garros this month and instead prepare for grass and hard court tournaments later in the season. Ian Poulter has said he was “swimming at the bottom of an empty pool” during a tough year before his second-place finish at the Players Championship.

John Terry, who scored a late winner in Chelsea’s 4-3 win over Watford at Stamford Bridge, has suggested he could shelve plans to play on and retire from football altogether on his release from Chelsea this summer.


Asian stocks briefly climbed to a fresh two-year high on the back of an overnight rise on Wall Street, while oil extended gains after major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia said supply cuts needed to continue into 2018.

Overnight the pound was buying US$1.29 and €1.17.

The papers

The tabloids splash on Ian Brady with various headlines condemning his life and certainly not mourning his death.

The Mirror goes with “Burn in hell Brady” next to a picture of him as a young man and a caption reading : “Face of evil”. The Sun splashes with “Monster Brady is dead” and says he takes to the grave the secret of where he buried one of his victims, 12-year-old Keith Bennett.

The Daily Mail edition in Brady’s native Scotland splashes with “Monster of moors is dead”. The London edition has “Corbyn’s tax war on the middle class”.

The Times finds space for a picture of Brady but leads on the story that one of the world’s leading pharma firms is facing a £220m fine for increasing the cost of cancer medicines.

The Guardian

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