10 Dos and Donts Of Customer Services

Email etiquette is the key to help calm down anxious and impatient customers. People assume that once they press the "send" button that we will get everything sorted out in an instant! Of course we all know that this is not an accurate representation of how things work. However, you should prepare yourself for the occasional hot tempered emails, regardless of whether their comments are unreasonable or not.

Five Do's Of Good Customer Services

1. Thank them for contacting customer support in the opening sentence of your reply messages.

2. Ask for further clarification if you are unsure of their requirements. Suggest some extra details to answer their query more effectively.

3. Address the support question within 24 hours of receiving their message to avoid unnecessary confrontation and dissatisfaction.

4. Offer further support if they require it and provide a sincere thanks for their custom. Also confirm that their message has been received and when they should expect a response.

5. Be apologetic to their needs and offer complete support and reassurance. However if a customer is still unsatisfied with their order offer them a replacement or refund.

Five Don'ts Of Customer Services

1. Don't use abrasive words in your email. Always remain calm, courteous and professional.

2. Don't leave the problem unresolved or unanswered because you are offended by their tone or for any other reason whatsoever.

3. Don't neglect your customers by repeatedly delaying your response times. This will lead to negative feedback for your company and will inevitably cost you sales and damage your company's reputation.

4. Don't allow a customer to bully you into doing something irrational or unethical just to please them.

5. Don't lie to a customer about your product. Make sure your description and terms are clear and are easily accessible on your Sales Page, Thank You Page and receipts.


Provide valuable information about your commitment to providing high levels of support by supplying your dedicated email address, fax, telephone number and mailing address. Place your company's customer services details on your "Sales Letter Page" and the "Thank You Page" (after orders are paid for and completed). This helps to reassure the customer that they will be able to contact you for ongoing help and support throughout the order process and after sales.

Once you have established a customer services support details you must ensure that all enquires are handled quickly and efficiently. If the enquiry needs more time to look up an order then send a confirmation email to let customers know that you have received their message and will get back to them in good time.

Unreasonable delays in response times can irritate customers so it is important to address problems any questions within 24 hours to avoid negative feedback.

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In latest Twitter outburst US president makes terrorism link even though annual figures cover all police-recorded offences

Donald Trump has erroneously linked a rise in recorded crime in England and Wales to the “spread of radical Islamic terror” in his latest outburst on Twitter.

“Just out report: ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ not good, we must keep America safe!” wrote the US president.

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Lupita Nyong’o claims Weinstein harassed her when she was a film student, as police in three cities continue investigations and #metoo gains momentum

The Los Angeles police department has opened an investigation into sexual assault allegations made against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as famous victims continued to come forward, including 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong’o, who published a powerful personal essay detailing her alleged harassment in the New York Times.

An Italian actress and model, whose name has not been released, told the LAPD on Thursday that she was raped by Weinstein in a hotel near Beverly Hills in 2013, police confirmed on Thursday.

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Suicide bombings in capital Kabul and Ghor province leave at least 70 dead, the latest in a series of attacks across the country

More than 70 people have been killed in twin suicide bombings on mosques in Afghanistan, government officials said.

Related: The war America can't win: how the Taliban are regaining control in Afghanistan

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Islamist insurgents were also killed during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in the western desert

Armed militants killed at least 30 police officers in a shootout during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in Egypt’s western desert, security sources said on Friday.

Related: The dancing, beer-drinking woman who would be Egypt's next president | Ruth Michaelson

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Canadian prime minister responds to province’s law obliging niqab or burqa wearers to unveil on public transit or while receiving government services

Justin Trudeau has said it is not the government’s business to tell a woman what or what not to wear after the Canadian province of Quebec passed a law – believed to be the first of its kind in North America – obliging women wearing the niqab or burqa to unveil when riding public transit or receiving government services.

On Wednesday, Quebec’s Liberal government flexed its majority to vote in a law banning face coverings for those offering or receiving services from government departments, as well as municipalities, school boards, public health services and transit authorities.

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French president tells EU leaders’ summit that Theresa May has never raised cliff-edge Brexit as an option during any discussions

Emmanuel Macron has accused Brexiters of seeking to “bluff” the EU into softening its negotiating stance by championing a no-deal scenario.

In a dramatic intervention at a summit of European leaders in Brussels, the French president said such an outcome was “in no case” part of the discussions, in an apparent reference to reports that the Brexit secretary, David Davis, was planning to positively present a plan to the UK cabinet for Britain to strike out of the EU without a deal.

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Mariano Rajoy to hold emergency talks to decide exact nature of Spain’s intervention in Catalonia as crisis reaches ‘critical point’

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has vowed to return Catalonia to the rule of law as his government prepares to announce unprecedented measures to head off the independence crisis by imposing direct rule from Madrid.

Speaking at the EU summit in Brussels on Friday, a day after he confirmed that article 155 of the Spanish constitution would be invoked to begin the process of suspending key elements of Catalonia’s self-rule, Rajoy said his government had two clear aims.

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Ine Eriksen Søreide joins prime minister Erna Solberg and finance minister Siv Jensen in rightwing coalition government

Norway’s defence minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, has became the country’s first female foreign minister, in a cabinet reshuffle that put the three most senior government jobs in the hands of women.

Søreide, 41, replaces Børge Brende, who is stepping down to take over as president of the World Economic Forum.

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Ibrahim Halawa’s release comes after court acquits him of charges including murder, arson and illegal possession of weapons

An Irish-Egyptian man detained in Egypt for more than four years on charges related to a 2013 Muslim Brotherhood protest in Cairo has been released.

Ibrahim Halawa’s release early on Friday, announced by his laywer, Darragh Mackin, came about a month after an Egyptian court acquitted him of charges including murder, arson and illegal possession of weapons.

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Youth minister Hassan Zaid proposes suspending classes in war-torn country and arming pupils and teachers

The youth minister in war-torn Yemen’s rebel government has proposed suspending school classes for a year and sending pupils and teachers to the front.

Hassan Zaid, the minister for youth and sports in an administration set up by Iran-backed Huthi rebels, suggested pupils and teachers could be armed.

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In highly unusual gesture from the Vatican, Pope Francis writes to say he is praying for journalist’s family and Maltese people

Pope Francis has sent a rare letter of condolence to Malta following the murder of the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, amid calls from her sons for the island’s prime minister to resign and mounting pressure for an international investigation.

Related: Daphne Caruana Galizia: We knew establishment was out to get her – family

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While expressing sympathy for victims of harassment, the actor has expressed doubts about the usefulness of social media outpourings and hashtag activism

Catherine Deneuve has become a rare dissenting voice in the sexual harassment scandal that has convulsed the film industry in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations.

Arguably France’s most celebrated screen performer, with nearly 60 years of acting behind her, Deneuve questioned the point of the internet campaign against harassment, which in France is coalescing around the Twitter hashtag #balancetonporc (“expose your pig”).

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Fund used to pay African countries to deter migration to Europe needs emergency injection of cash, officials say

The EU is running out of money to pay African countries to take action to stop would-be migrants travelling to Europe, diplomats have warned.

European Union leaders set up a fund in 2015 to pay for border security and other measures aimed at preventing African citizens leaving their countries of origin.

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Emirate’s drive for food security is symbolic of its determination to make efforts to isolate it ‘a blessing inside a calamity’

John Dore is off to Doha’s vast and luxurious Hamad International airport to greet the 8pm flight from Los Angeles via Liège, Belgium.

Wearing a straw hat with a small metal shamrock badge in homage to his Irish roots, his imminent visitors are neither family nor friends. Nor are they human at all, but rather a herd of 120 cows.

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Funding round led by CapitalG takes valuation of ride-hailing company up to $11bn

The US ride-hailing company Lyft has secured a $1bn (£760m) investment from a Google-led consortium, a considerable war chest that will help finance its challenge to Uber in the US – and possibly overseas.

The funding round was led by CapitalG (formerly known as Google Capital), the strategic investment arm of Google’s corporate parent Alphabet, and takes the valuation of Lyft up to $11bn.

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Ministry of Health declines to endorse proposals to tackle teen pregnancy rates, with distribution of contraceptives to 15-year-olds branded an ‘erosion of morals’

A row has broken out in Uganda over proposals to extend sex education to 10-year-olds and give some 15-year-olds access to family planning services.

The Ministry of Health has refused to endorse the guidelines, which were designed to tackle the country’s high teenage pregnancy rate, objecting that they are morally wrong and would encourage promiscuity and abortions.

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The Israeli artist Omer Fast has become embroiled in an argument over whether his exhibition – which resembles a Chinatown storefront – is racist

On Sunday, a group of protesters stormed an art gallery in New York’s Chinatown with signs that read “Chinatown lives are not poverty porn” and “Racist art has no business here”. They stood together to hold up a large, yellow banner that said “Racism Disguised as Art” written in English, Spanish and Mandarin.

The group was led by the Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB), a group of art activists targeting the James Cohan Gallery, where the Israeli artist Omer Fast has changed the outside to look like an old Chinatown storefront.

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Back in the public fray at a rally in Virginia, the former president delivered his views on the current political climate in his strongest terms yet

It was the night his supporters waited nine long months for. Barack Obama returned to the fray on Thursday with a fervent denunciation of Donald Trump in all but name, condemning the politics of division and rekindling the politics of hope.

The former US president earned deafening cheers at a rally ostensibly for the Democratic candidate in a gubernatorial election in Virginia. In championing Ralph Northam’s cause, Obama expressed his views on the state of the nation in the strongest terms since the inauguration of his successor and antithesis.

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Landmark study finds toxic air, water, soils and workplaces kill at least 9m people and cost trillions of dollars every year

Pollution kills at least nine million people and costs trillions of dollars every year, according to the most comprehensive global analysis to date, which warns the crisis “threatens the continuing survival of human societies”.

Toxic air, water, soils and workplaces are responsible for the diseases that kill one in every six people around the world, the landmark report found, and the true total could be millions higher because the impact of many pollutants are poorly understood. The deaths attributed to pollution are triple those from Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

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While the explosion of sycophancy over China’s president may seem almost comical, his reign will have ramifications far beyond the country’s borders

They sounded like the words of a patient at a self-help group, but the addiction being discussed here was China’s president, Xi Jinping.

Related: 'A huge deal' for China as the era of Xi Jinping Thought begins

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Haçan-da Stanislav Volkov Alternatiw Türkmenistan Habarlar gullugyna habarçy bolup hyzmat etmäge başlanda, howpsuzlyk gullugy onuň internetini kesdi we onuň üstüne kislota dökdi – ählisi hem ýaramaz abraýa eýe bolan paýtagtdaky gündelik agyr ýaşaýyşy baradaky hakykaty beýan etmäge gaýraty çatany üçin

Meň çaga wagtym, Aşgabat “baglyk şäher” hökmünde tanalýardy Ol gök öwüsýärdi, kanallarda dagdan gelen suwlar akýardy, agaçlar bolsa iýul we awgust aýynda hem kölege salyp salkynlyk berýärdi. Goňşular agşamlaryna çaý başynda üýşerdiler.

Türkmenistan Sowet Soýuzyndan 1991-nji ýylda Garaşsyzlygyny gazanyndan soň Aşgabat ikinji gezek dörän ýaly boldy. Häzirki günümizde Aşgabat şäherine degişme hökmünde “ölüleriň şäheri” hem diýilýär, sebäbi ak mermerli täze gurlan ýerlerde adam görüp bolmaýar diýlen derejede. Şäher Gines rekordlar kitabynda dünýäň ýüzünde iň köp ak mermer bolan şäher hökmünde hasaba alnan. Aslynda onuň hasaba alnan ençeme ugurlary bar: dünýäň ýüzünde iň uly ýapyk karusel, iň uly fontan, iň uly ýyldyz şekli. Täze aeroportda ýolagçylaryň esasy terminalyny bezeýän dünýäň ýüzünde iň uly haly şekli bar. Ýakyn wagta çenli, paýtagtda dünýäň iň uly baýdak sütüni derejesini hem saklapdy. Ähli bu täze jäjekler, jaýlar, parklar we köçeler, hamala adamlar üçin gurlupdy. Olar munyň bahasyny dymmaklyk bilen ödeýär.


Men Aşgabat şäherinde 1987-nji ýylda doguldym we 1994-nji ýylda okuwa başladym Men birinji klasa gidenimde her gün geýmeli bolan tarketka bilen prezident Saparmyrat Nyýazowyň suraty bolan sagadyň berleni ýadyma düşýär. Şol ýaşda, men şahsyýet kultunyň nämedigine düşünmeýärdim, ene-atam hem maňa ony düşündirmekçi bolup baranokdylar.

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Guardian Cities readers on the rise of the shopping mall, rivalry between oil-rich Kazakhstan and its rural neighbours – and even a defence of dictatorship

We received many responses to our callout for readers’ contributions to our special report on the Stans – thanks to all who sent us words or images. While we read and appreciated each submission, we chose to prioritise the voices of those who are from Central Asia, or have lived there.

Guardian Cities is exploring in depth the oft-ignored – and exceedingly difficult to report from – cities of the five Central Asian “Stans”: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, a quarter of a century after they became independent from the former Soviet Union.

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Биноҳои даврони шуравии сохташудаи пойтахти Тоҷикистон мунтазам хароб гашта, ҷойи онҳоро хонаҳои истиқоматӣ ва мағозаҳои нав иваз мекунанд. Ин ба аксари сокинон қобили қабул аст

“Дар вақташ бинои мағозаи мазкур яке аз зеботарин биноҳои шаҳр ба ҳисоб мерафт” мегӯяд Неъматуллоҳ Мирсаидов ва тавре ки ӯ шоҳид аст, ҷойи мағозаи кӯҳнаро манораҳои нав гирифтааст. Баъди даҳ соли аз шимолиХӯҷанд ба шаҳри Душанбе баргаштан, ӯ аз тағйиротҳои ба вуҷуд омада дар ҳайрат монд, аммо тағйиротҳо аз ҷониби ӯ мусбӣ арзёбӣ шуданд. Ӯ қайд намуд, ки “Сохти меъмории шаҳри Душанбе хеле тағийр ёфтааст”. “Шаҳрвандони он бояд аз ин фахр намоянд”.

Вақте ки деҳаи Душанбе соли 1924 пойтахт эълон гардид, он деҳае буд бо танҳо якчанд ҳазор нафар аҳолӣ, ки ҳаҷман хеле бо суръат афзуд ва ҳоло ҳам афзуда истодааст. Дар асосои барномаи нави стратегӣ оиди нақшаи рушди шаҳр, ки аз тарафи Ҳукумати Тоҷикистон қабул гардид, се маротиба зиёд кардани ҳудуди шаҳр дар назар дошта шудааст ва то соли 2030 аҳолии ҳозираи он аз 800 000 ҳазор нафарба 1.2 ҳазор нафар хоҳад расид.

Шаҳр васеъ ва бузург шуда истодааст. Биноҳои даврони Шуравӣ бо биноҳои истиқоматии нав ва биноҳои осмонбӯс иваз мегарданд. Боғҳои истироҳатӣ аз нав барқарор мешаванд, роҳҳо васеъ карда шуда, мағозаҳои ҳозиразамон ҷойи бозорҳои суннатиро иваз мекунанд.

Ба назари наслҳои оянда чунин мерасад ки, таърих аз ҳамин рӯзҳо оғоз шуда, дар гузашта мо ҳеҷ чиз надоштем

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ЛГБТ пропаганда Кыргызстандын борбору коп убактан бери Орто Азияда эркиндиктин байрагы болуп келген. Коомчулук, кол салуулар жана зордуктардан улам, коркуунун астында жашайт

Анара мурун сүйүүгө кабылган эмес. Ал жөн гана сезимдерге алдырбаганга аракет кылып, жакынкы мезгилден көрүп баштаган кыздын үйүнүн сыртында турду, эмоцияга берилип, этият болууну унутуп койду.

Жынысы бир болгон адам менен жолугушуу Кыргызстандын борбор шаары, Бишкектекооптуу болушу мүмкүн. Алардын, эми өөрчүп келе жаткан мамилелери мурунтан эле ушак-айрымдардын темасы болгон.

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Berdymukhamedov’s presentation of a puppy to Vladimir Putin is ironic, given the bloodbath of stray dogs and cats over which he has presided in Ashgabat

The Turkmenistan president’s present to his Russian counterpart last week suggested a twist on the oft-quoted saying: if you want a friend in politics, give them a dog.

At a much-documented meeting in Sochi, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov gave Vladimir Putin a Central Asian shepherd puppy for the Russian president’s 65th birthday (and perhaps to see if Putin might not feel like resurrecting Turkmen natural gas exports).

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The Kyrgyz capital was long a liberal beacon in Central Asia – until a ban on ‘LGBT propaganda’. With attacks and rapes on the rise, the community is scared

Anara had never been in love before. Pacing nervously outside the house of the girl she’d just started seeing, overwhelmed by emotions, she forgot the need for caution.

Dating a member of the same sex can be dangerous in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city, Bishkek. Their budding relationship was already the subject of whisper and rumour.

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The Tajik capital’s Soviet-era buildings are being systematically razed and replaced by multistorey apartments and malls. Most residents seem pleased

“Once this shop was one of the most beautiful buildings in the city,” says Nematullo Mirsaidov as he gazes up at an old department store now dwarfed by new towers. He has been struck by how much Dushanbe has changed since he started visiting from the northern city of Khujand more than a decade ago, but sees change as a positive. “Dushanbe’s architecture has changed significantly,” he adds. “Its residents should be proud.”

Dushanbe was a village of only a few thousand people when it was made capital in 1924 but it has grown rapidly since then and continues to do so at speed. The city’s territory is expected to triple in size and its population to grow from around 800,000 to more than 1.2 million by 2030 according to the new strategic urban development plan recently adopted by the Tajik authorities.

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In 1997 the Kazakh president launched a plan to protect his new capital from the icy winds of the featureless steppes with a ring of trees. Twenty years on, his scientists are still struggling to grow forests in a spot where no trees stood

“Do you know why women in Astana don’t get expensive haircuts?” asked television presenter Dinara Tursunova. “Because no sooner do you leave the beauty salon, the wind blows away your hairdo, and with it all the money you spent.”

Looking good in the capital city of Kazakhstan is hard work. When Tursunova moved to Astana three years ago for a job with a local broadcaster, what first struck her was the cold and the wind. “In winter I go around the city in skiing outfits and fur-lined sneakers. It probably wouldn’t hurt to put spikes on my shoes. When the wind starts whipping up, you will see people on the ice literally flying away,” she says.

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В городах пяти бывших Советских республик, “Станы”, доминировали личности их авторитарных правителей, но старинная столица Казахстана - Алматы - пытается развиваться, базируясь на нуждах своих горожан, хотя делает это упорядоченно

Из окна своего офиса на 20ом этаже одной башни в Алматы, Руслан Ассаубаев делится видением города нового типа. Новые пешеходные улицы, сеть велосипедных дорожек и автобусных полос, современный общественный транспорт - это часть пятилетнего плана, разработанного в сотрудничестве с западными консультантами и реализуемого Алматинским центром развития, правительственной организацией, заместителем главы которой является Ассаубаев.

Внизу яркие логотипы украшают белые стены центра “Открытый Алматы”, новый филиал мэрии, куда местные жители могут приехать для решения вопросов или подачи жалоб государственным служащим.
Попытка развивать город на основании нужд его жителей - это нечто новое для Средней Азии, где городское планирование обычно происходит сверху вниз. Но даже общественное участие носит упорядоченный, а не естественный, характер. “Мы поощряем участие горожан в развитии города в соответствии с указом президента,” - сказал Ассаубаев.

Казахстанский город Алматы - финансовый центр Средней Азии, регион, состоящий из пяти «Станов» - бывших советских республик, которые получили независимость в 1991 году. Регион находится вне поля зрения большинства жителей Запада, которые не участвуют в нефтяной отрасли, и в последние годы либо игнорируется, либо высмеивается.

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Toshklent-Sitida hashamatli mehmonxonalar, xonadonlar va ofislar joylashadigan kumushrang osmono’par binolarni qurishdan maqsad O’zbekiston poytaxtini ‘bizners uchun ochiq’ deb e’lon qilishdir. Biroq taraqqiyot shaharning tarixiy mahallalarida yashovchi aholi uchun qimmatga tushadi

Abdujalil Azimov stulda o’tirib olib, radiopriyomknigidan o’zbek estrada qo’shig’ini tinglamoqda, uning qo’ylari esa kunbotar payti O’zbekiston poytaxti Toshkent shahri markazidagi maysazorda bemalol o’tlab yuribdi.

Old tarafda muhtasham yangi xonadonlardan iborat ko’zni qamashtiruvchi oq marmar uylar qad rostlagan. Azimovning ort tarafida Olmazor mahallasi, uning betartib qurib tashlangan paxsa uylari ko’zga tashlanadi. Bu uylar bir vaqtlar Buyuq ipak yo’li manzillaridan biri bo’lgan Markaziy Osiyo shahrining ko’hna tarixini gavdalantirardi.

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The new PM turned down the Labour top job seven times before transforming her party’s fortunes with ‘Jacindamania’

Less than three months ago, Jacinda Ardern, preoccupied by home renovations, said the only way she would ever lead New Zealand’s Labour party would be if her entire caucus was hit by a bus and she was the “designated survivor”.

Now, she finds herself about to take office as New Zealand’s third female prime minister, and its youngest leader for 150 years.

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Shafiq Smith, 18, also faces charges of attempted murder and threatening a person with a bladed or pointed article

A second teenager has been charged with murder following a stabbing outside Parsons Green tube station.

Shafiq Smith, 18, of Brudenell Road, south-west London, also faces charges of attempted murder and threatening a person with a bladed or pointed article in a public place.

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Prime minister meeting cabinet to set out specific powers to be removed from region after independence referendum

The Spanish government is set to take unprecedented steps to seize powers from Catalonia’s separatist government after Madrid won backing from the king and the EU in its battle to keep the country together.

The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, was meeting his cabinet at 10am (9am BST) on Saturday to set out the specific powers that will be removed from the wealthy north-east region, which enjoys wide autonomy, including control over its own policing, education and healthcare.

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The father of the US soldier Humayun Khan talks about losing his son to the Iraq war and why it drove him to challenge the future president on live TV
Plus: An extract from Khizr Khan’s new book, An American Family

It remains a defining image of last year’s US presidential election. Khizr Khan, speaking at the Democratic national convention with his wife, Ghazala, by his side, produced a copy of the constitution from his jacket pocket, held it up for all to see, and offered to lend it to the then Republican candidate Donald Trump. It also remains the most eloquent response to Trump’s bigotry.

Khan, who grew up in a small village in Pakistan, was talking about the sacrifice his son Humayun had made for his country – America. Humayun was killed aged 27 in Iraq 13 years ago, protecting his men from suicide bombers. He is buried at Arlington cemetery, Virginia, alongside so many other war heroes, and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

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Zimbabwean president made ‘goodwill ambassador’ to promote health, despite dire health crisis under his rule

The United Nations faced criticism on Friday after naming Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a “goodwill ambassador” to promote health causes, despite the country’s dire health crisis under his rule.

The UN World Health Organization asked Mugabe to serve in the role to help tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa.

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President claimed he ‘called every family of someone who’s died’ as tensions flared with sergeant’s relatives and later gave himself 10/10 on Puerto Rico

Related: Trump feud continues as Florida congresswoman calls John Kelly a liar

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In a country where 343 LGBT people were killed in 2016, singer and openly gay drag queen Pabllo Vittar has become a symbol of resistance

Despite its permissive reputation and the wild, cross-dressing costumes seen at its street carnivals, Brazil is an increasingly dangerous country for LGBT people. According to the non-profit Bahia Gay Group 343 LGBT people were killed in 2016, compared to 260 in 2010.

Against this backdrop of prejudice, however, the country’s latest pop sensation is an openly-gay drag queen in a flowing platinum wig whose glossy pop videos have been watched hundreds of millions of times.

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Country’s treasured avian species puff up their plumage as nation votes on who rules the roost

Bird of the Year leaderboard – check the pecking order

First there was the “Jacinda effect” and a government to cobble together. Then came the mania for the jade Kākāriki, the shining cuckoo and the stern Ruru.

New Zealand’s Bird of the Year Competition has kicked off, and it has galvanised voters with the same intensity as the recent election. Now in its 13th year, the poll pits the country’s rare and endangered birds against one another: the cheeky Kea versus the shy Kiwi, the dowdy Bar Tailed Godwit against the alluring Hihi.

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Six of seven men on board are believed to have drowned as tragedy leaves fishing community shaken

Authorities have recovered the bodies of two men from the wreck of the fishing vessel Dianne, which capsized and sank off the Queensland coast with six crewmen on board.

Police divers spent Saturday battling rough conditions and poor visibility in the waters surrounding the vessel, which was discovered late on Friday 30 metres below the surface.

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Jesse Norman wants to make cycling safer, but sees local authorities and charities like Sustran as key facilitators, not government

Jesse Norman, the transport minister whose brief includes cycling, has only been in the job for six months but has already prompted controversy by insisting that cyclists follow the Highway Code, something criticised here on the Bike Blog.

In his office at the Department for Transport in Westminster, he comes across as affable and open – and talks the talk when it comes to bikes for transport.

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US government has until 31 October to approve a sponsor who could help the 17-year-old obtain an abortion

A US appeals court on Friday prevented an illegal immigrant teenager detained by the government from immediately obtaining an abortion, although it left open the possibility she could undergo the procedure within days.

The decision by a US court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit panel gave the government until 31 October to approve a sponsor, who could help the 17-year-old obtain the procedure without the government’s assistance.

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Tests confirm body is Santiago Maldonado, an activist missing since a security forces raid in August

A body found floating in the icy waters of a southern Argentina river could determine the result of midterm elections seen as vital for the right-of-centre president, Mauricio Macri.

The body is that of missing backpacker Santiago Maldonado, whose disappearance 81 days ago caused a political storm as the president seeks a vote of confidence on Sunday to continue his economic austerity programme.

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Highways England suggests change to combat congestion and reduce impact of repairs

Speed limits could be raised to 60mph through roadworks as Highways England tries to combat congestion and reduce the impact of repairs.

The government-owned company, which has been testing different speed limits since September 2016, found motorists’ heart rates were lower when driving faster through roadworks.

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Attitudes to harassment may be changing, but there are still huge hurdles for women around the world wanting to take cases to court

Global fascination with the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein revelations has focused on Hollywood, as well as parallel scandals in international sport and the music industry, but the #metoo stream on Twitter has dragged attention to less glamorous workplaces, highlighting how difficult it is for women to raise these cases, even in countries with strong legislation on sexual harassment.

The outrage has already prompted women in all sectors to seek legal advice about how to pursue sexual harassment claims. “We’re getting many more calls since the recent scandals; women are standing up in solidarity,” said Silvia Stanciu, an employment attorney specialising in discrimination for New York law firm Phillips & Associates.

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In an updated extract from the bestselling Enigma history, we revisit the daring engagement in which two men gave their lives to make a breakthrough possible

The top-secret breaking of the German Enigma code by Alan Turing, and the codebreakers working with him at Bletchley Park, was one of the greatest British coups of the second world war. It helped ships delivering vital supplies to the UK during the darkest days of the war to evade the packs of German U-boats trying to hunt them down, and enabled Britain to rebuild its strength and re-equip its armies in preparation for its bid to expel the Nazi armies from Europe.

Related: Eisenhower letter praising UK code breakers goes on display

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Diocese of Hereford proposes motion to allow official blessing after civil partnership or secular marriage ceremony

The Church of England will debate blessings for same-sex couples for the first time after a motion to discuss the issue was put forward by the diocese of Hereford.

Related: Scottish Anglican church faces sanctions over vote to allow same-sex marriage

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Proposal to decriminalise the drug came after police raided a makeshift laboratory where a group of women made cannabis oil for their sick children

Lawmakers in Peru have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill to legalise medical marijuana, allowing cannabis oil to be locally produced, imported and sold.

With a vote of 68-5, Peru’s Congress approved the bill which will be written into law in 60 days, once regulations for producing and selling cannabis have been set out.

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March elections prefaced by misgiving as Ernest Bai Koroma’s failure to put party leadership to vote rekindles memories of former dictator Siaka Stevens

A unilateral decision by the president of Sierra Leone to choose his successor as leader of the ruling All People’s Congress has raised fears about the future of democracy in the country.

Civil society organisations, including the government watchdog group Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), have voiced concerns that Ernest Bai Koroma’s failure to allow party members to vote for their new leader echoes the actions of former dictator Siaka Stevens, who on standing down in 1985 ushered Joseph Momoh into office.

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Health officials struggle to contain spread of disease after virulent pneumonic strain infects 800 people across island since August

The first fatality of Madagascar’s deadly plague outbreak – which has now claimed at least 74 lives – initially went unnoticed.

In late August, according to researchers with the World Health Organization (WHO), a 31-year-old man was visiting the island’s central highlands when he developed what appeared to be the symptoms of malaria.

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Campaigners warn foreign workers continue to suffer abuse and exploitation in UK households after failure of safeguards designed to protect them

Campaigners have warned that thousands of foreign domestic workers remain enslaved behind the closed doors of some of Britain’s wealthiest neighbourhoods after the government failed to implement safeguards designed to protect them from abusive and exploitative employers.

In the past year, the Home Office has issued 18,950 visas under its domestic workers in private households scheme, which allows foreign families to bring domestic staff with them when staying in the UK.

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Research shows that, despite ‘remarkable progress’ on child mortality, many of the 5.6 million deaths last year among children aged under five were preventable

The number of children who die before reaching their fifth birthday has fallen to an all-time low, yet children around the world continue to die at an alarming rate, with 5.6 million deaths recorded last year.

In its annual report on child mortality, the UN said many of the deaths – which averaged 15,000 a day in 2016 – were from preventable diseases.

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With fewer slaves in the world today than there have ever been, it would cost just £650 a head to usher it into extinction – so why hasn’t that happened?

How much will it cost to end slavery? About £26.7bn, the cost of five and a half aircraft carriers or the current market value of Snapchat. That works out to about £650 for every enslaved person.

In poor countries, where most slaves live, the cost of liberation and reintegration can be lower than this; in rich countries, it can be much higher. Unfortunately, in 2014 the world’s governments were spending about £95m a year on anti-slavery. That is likely to be higher today, but still far below what is needed to achieve change. If we are serious about slavery we will need to bring three key tools to the job: money, people, and knowledge.

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Natalia Kanem vows to take fight for women’s reproductive health to boardrooms and beyond as she rues ‘faulty and erroneous’ Trump funding cuts

The new head of the UN population fund has vowed to be more aggressive in promoting the agency’s message to business that protecting women’s reproductive health not only saves lives, but can boost earnings.

On her first visit to London after taking up the post of executive director of the UNFPA on 3 October, Natalia Kanem said she would take the message of no deaths in childbirth, no unintended pregnancies and no violence against women and girls “into the boardroom, cafeteria, wherever it is, so people understand that life-threatening consequences multiply into societal and economic consequences”.

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Sita Chhaudry was sold as a slave at 10 years old. Starved, beaten and denied an education, she has since been elected to local government – and is determined to fight poverty and human rights abuses

Sita Chhaudry became a slave for the first time just after her 10th birthday. Almost every year over the next decade, her parents would sell her again and again to wealthy landowner families, for the small annual fee of $50 (£38), to clean floors, cook meals and look after children.

As a “kamlari” – domestic bonded labourer – Chhaudry was beaten, starved and forced to work 12-hour days for families across the country, many of whom had travelled long distances to “recruit” a young servant as cheaply as her poor, lower-caste parents would sell her.

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Critics say move cosies up to agribusiness lobby in a bid to build support for President Michel Temer before a crucial vote over making him face trial

The Brazilian government has been accused of reducing its ability to protect workers from slave-like labour conditions after abruptly changing the rules. Campaigners, commentators and prosecutors said the move was a “social regression” aimed at buying the support of a powerful agribusiness lobby ahead of a crucial vote in congress that could cost President Michel Temer his mandate.

A government directive by the ministry of labour published on Monday redefined what the government defines as “slave-like work” – even though Brazil’s efforts to stop abusive labour conditions were praised as recently as last year by the United Nations.

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#MeToo has women sharing their stories of sexual violence. Is this a social media blip or can it really be a watershed moment?

As I walked home through Melbourne last Friday night, two men harassed me on the street. It was nothing notable, just your garden-variety harassment that most women are used to. One denigrated my appearance audibly to the other, who turned to him, laughed, high-fived him. “Good call, man!”

My face burned and my pace quickened, and they watched, laughing, as I walked away. Thanks, mates. Good call.

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Actor Alyssa Milano’s online call after the Harvey Weinstein revelations became a conversation about men’s behaviour towards women and power imbalances

It started with an exposé detailing countless allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. But soon, personal stories began pouring in from women in all industries across the world, and the hashtag #MeToo became a rallying cry against sexual assault and harassment.

The movement began on social media after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s most vocal critics, who wrote: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

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The US president got the 13% right, but not the cause – and he risks contributing to another increase: in hate crime

A US study of Donald Trump’s tweets this week concluded they tell you about him more than they spark deep, insightful policy debates.

But his sudden interest in the annual crime rate in England and Wales and his conflation of this week’s 13% jump in offences with “radical Islamic terror” attacks in Britain is likely to fuel another ugly statistic published by the Home Office this week.

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New Zealand’s new prime minister is one of 13 female heads of government in the world

Almost one month after voting day in New Zealand, 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern has become the country’s new prime minister. Ardern’s victory, which was a surprising coup for the country’s left, makes her New Zealand’s third female prime minister and its youngest leader in 150 years.

Related: How reluctant leader Jacinda Ardern charmed New Zealand

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Spain’s government has said it will push ahead with suspending Catalonia’s autonomy after the region’s leader refused to abandon secession plans

A little more than two weeks after the Catalan independence referendum, which plunged Spain into its worst political crisis in 40 years, the Madrid government has announced it will take the unprecedented step of suspending Catalonia’s regional autonomy and imposing direct rule.

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Murdered investigative journalist’s sons tell of attempts on their mother’s life, and why they blame a ‘takedown of the rule of law’ in Malta for her death

Looking back, they had known – perhaps for a long time – that it might end like this. With hindsight, says Matthew Caruana Galizia , red-eyed from emotion and lack of sleep, it seems obvious. “This wasn’t an aberration,” he says. “It was a culmination.”

The air in the family home in the hamlet of Bidnija, half an hour’s drive from the Maltese capital, Valletta, is thick with grief and quiet anger. Police guard the entrance to the gravel driveway and the cast-iron gates in front of the house.

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This week, senators moved to salvage the Obamacare subsidies Trump cut – but Washington remains confused over which way the president is swinging

Chuck Schumer was at the gym when his phone rang, just over a week after the latest version of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act foundered. It was Donald Trump calling the most senior Democrat in the Senate with an idea.

Related: Senators reach bipartisan deal to salvage Obamacare subsidies Trump eliminated

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Chinese president channelled Hugo Chávez with marathon 65-page sermon setting out vision for Communist party

Some call Xi Jinping a Chinese Putin. Others a 21st-century Mao.

On Wednesday morning he was China’s Hugo Chávez, testing his comrades’ eyelids – and their bladders – with a three-and-a-half hour, 65-page sermon in which he outlined his brave new vision for the Communist party, and the world.

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French president says speculation that Theresa May could walk away from Brexit talks without a deal is ‘noise, bluff or fake news’. Speaking at this week’s European council summit, Macron says negotiations have not even reached the halfway point and there is still ‘a lot of progress to achieve’

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The white supremacist Richard Spencer took the stage at the University of Florida on Thursday after his supporters threatened to sue if he was not allowed to speak. But minutes after he began to talk, the majority of the crowd of hundreds in the auditorium stood together, raised their fists and chanted: ‘Go home, Spencer! Go home, Spencer!’

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Known as the Eye of Bamako, Malick Sidibé took photos in dance halls, soirees and his studio. The largest ever exhibition of his work, on display at the Fondation Cartier in Paris until the end of February, includes images taken in the years after Mali’s independence from France in 1960

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Drone footage shows bombed-out shells of buildings in the northern city. Entire neighbourhoods appear to have been turned to rubble, with little sign of civilian life, after Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced they have driven out Islamic State after weeks of fighting  

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Paul Ryan was the keynote speaker at the 72nd annual charity dinner for the Alfred E. Smith Foundation. The Republican House Speaker took multiple swipes at US president Donald Trump over his tweeting habits, among other things. 'Look at all the new jobs the president has created, just among the White House staff.'

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Former President Barack Obama, back on the campaign trail for the first time since he left the White House, has appealed for unity in America. Without mentioning Donald Trump by name, Obama said: 'Instead of our politics reflecting our values, we've got politics infecting our communities.' He went on: 'If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you won't be able to govern them.'

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The former president  spoke at an event held at the George W Bush Institute on Thursday in New York. Bush says bigotry seems emboldened in modern America, along with a climate of discontent. He added that US politics appeared more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication

• Watch the full schedule os speakers at the George W Bush Institute 

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Jacinda Ardern has become New Zealand’s youngest prime minister, 26 days after the country went to the polls. The kingmaker, Winston Peters, said on Thursday that his New Zealand First party would support Ardern’s Labour party to create a coalition, displacing Bill English’s National party.

Jacinda Ardern to be New Zealand's next PM after Labour coalition deal

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Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, celebrates the victory of good over evil and the triumphant return of Lord Ram to the city of Ayodha after vanquishing Ravana in the kingdom of Lanka

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Jacinda Ardern is the new prime minister-elect of New Zealand after Winston Peters announced that his New Zealand First party would enter into a coalition deal. Ardern confirmed that NZ First’s nine MPs would have four cabinet roles and one junior role outside cabinet, though details of portfolios will be published next week. She said Peters was considering whether to accept her offer to become deputy PM. The Labour/NZ First coalition government will be a minority one, with a combined 55 seats, and will rely on a confidence and supply deal with the Green party’s eight MPs

Jacinda Ardern to be New Zealand’s next prime minister after Labour coalition deal

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