Major Russian mafia trial opens in Spain

A Russian MP, Vladislav Reznik, and 17 other suspects have gone on trial in Madrid accused of massive money-laundering for a Russian mafia gang. The alleged gang bosses Gennady Petrov and Alexander Malyshev are still at large, believed to be in Russia. Some suspects are alleged to have Russian government connections. Mr Reznik told the court he had turned up in order to prove his innocence. Five Spaniards are also in the dock, accused of helping Russian criminals. The case dates back to 2008, when Spanish police carried out “Operation…

Climate change spells turbulent times ahead for air travel

Phoenix gets hot. But not usually as hot as last June, when the mercury at the airport one day soared above 48C. That exceeded the maximum operating temperature for several aircraft ready for take-off. They didn’t fly. More than 50 flights were cancelled or rerouted. Thanks to climate change, soon 48C may not seem so unusual. Welcome to the precarious future of aviation in a changing climate. As the world warms and weather becomes more extreme, aircraft designers, airport planners and pilots must all respond, both in the air and on the ground.…

‘I love Rome, but Rome doesn’t love us’: the city’s new migrant crisis

Italy’s refugee crisis has reached its peak in Rome, where thousands of migrants are being evicted from squatting in the city’s abandoned buildings  Refugees protest after they were evicted from a building they were occupying in Rome, in August 2017. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/AP Mobile phones lie idle, drawers dangle from chests and documents scatter the rooms. On the walls hang photos of weddings and children, all left behind in the rush to leave when the police stormed in. Six months ago the former office block in Via Curtatone, overlooking Piazza…

Cashing out? Why notes and coins may become a thing of the past in Sweden

At a public toilet in a shopping centre in Gothenburg, a struggle is taking place between old and new Sweden. Last year, the the shopping centre installed cash-free toilets, forcing customers to pay with their mobile phones – a process new to most. “I was in a hurry, I really needed to go,” said Freda, 28, after a visit. “It was all a bit confusing, but I never carry cash, so I am just pleased I could get in.” A succession of older customers turned away in bewilderment or disgust. “It’s…

Myanmar government ‘bulldozing Rohingya mass grave to hide evidence’

The government of Myanmar is bulldozing over the site of a Rohingya mass grave in an effort to destroy evidence of a massacre committed last year by the military, according to a rights monitoring group. The claim follows investigations conducted by the Associated Press and Reutersnews agencies, which revealed evidence of other mass graves. The Arakan Project, which uses on-the-ground networks to document abuses against the Rohingya community in western Rakhine state, Myanmar, provided the Guardian with a video of the grave site before its destruction. The footage shows half-buried tarpaulin bags in a forest clearing,…

‘I put my head on her knee and cried’: what my 102-year-old friend taught me about grief

Edna lives just off the M4 in a tiny brick bungalow with a wheelchair ramp. I crawled to her front door. I didn’t knock; I went straight in and put my head on her knee, pushing the Zimmer frame out of the way. And I cried, and she was still and kind and said: “I think you will always miss him. You lost your son, dear.” On the way to Edna’s I’d had to pull the car over so the animal in me could thrash the air and grope for…

Welcome to Limassolgrad: the city getting rich on Russian money

Nearly five years on from Cyprus’s near financial collapse and bailout, Limassol is undergoing a property development boom fuelled by Russian money. In the marina of the island state’s second largest city, opened in 2014 by the president, Nicos Anastasiades, super-yachts are berthed in front of €15m villas along with their support ships carrying helicopters and other accoutrements of the super rich. Look to the marina’s east and the skyline is beginning to fill up with high-rise luxury apartment developments. Look west and by 2021 Europe’s biggest casino resort is…

Pakistan court sentences man to death for rape and murder of girl, 7

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has sentenced a suspected serial killer to death for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, a prosecutor said. The girl’s murder ignited nationwide protests over allegations of government inaction, and a media campaign led to his arrest after years of him being on the loose. Police found Zainab Ansari’s body on a rubbish dump in Kasur district near the eastern city of Lahore in mid-January, four days after she was reported missing. Residents of the area have said the murder was the 12th such…

Artwork hidden under Picasso painting revealed by x-ray

Wrapped in a mustard coloured blanket with a white scarf and her head on one side, Pablo Picasso’s La Misereuse Accroupie (The Crouching Beggar) is a study of forlorn resignation. But researchers say that there is more to desolate character than meets the eye. Beneath the mournful image lies another painting, a landscape, researchers have revealed after using non-invasive imaging techniques to examine the work. The study has also shed light on previously hidden features of Picasso’s early attempts at his desolate figure. “This is where technology allows us to get into…

French musician robbed of million-euro cello at knifepoint

An award-winning French musician was robbed at knifepoint of her 18th-century cello, worth more than €1m, outside her home in a Paris suburb on Thursday evening. The soloist Ophélie Gaillard told police her attacker also forced her to hand over her mobile phone before fleeing on foot in the north-eastern suburb of Pantin. “Help! My cello was stolen this evening in a red dark flightcase,” Gaillard wrote in a Facebook post, accompanied by pictures of the instrument. She said the cello, which was loaned to her by CIC bank and…