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England v Australia: second ODI – live!

It’s not raining any more! The covers are being slowly and carefully removed, and we’re set on a gradual rumble up to actual cricket.

Here’s the rain radar, with the nasty clouds heading south and east. Not much heavy stuff about, and even the light stuff should be clear of St John’s Wood imminently:

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Tommy Hilfiger: Andy Warhol, incense-burning and me

The jovial designer has brought all-American style to the masses since 1985. On the 30th anniversary of his eponymous brand he talks about bell bottoms, rock star aspirations and why blazers matter

Hilfiger as hippy

Before the birth of the Tommy Hilfiger brand, the designer sold jeans in People’s Place, a store he founded, in his teens, in his home town of Elmira. “I painted the Elmira store black, burnt incense, played rock music and opened for business. I had long hair back then, bell bottoms. I couldn’t play the guitar or sing but I wanted to look like a rock star.”

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Press release: Minister for Europe calls for lasting ceasefire in Ukraine

Speaking from a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, Minister for Europe David Lidington said:

On the first anniversary of the Minsk Protocol, it is as important as ever that both sides implement a lasting ceasefire. Throughout the last year we have seen repeated violations of the ceasefire and repeated obstruction of the work of the OSCE monitoring mission. The withdrawal of heavy weapons that has been agreed must actually take place, and the OSCE monitors must be given full and secure access to carry out their crucial role. Russia must stop providing arms and equipment to separatist forces and must withdraw its own forces from eastern Ukraine. Without such steps, the appalling suffering of ordinary Ukrainians living in the Donbas will continue.

The Minsk agreements are not just a ceasefire. They are designed to allow Ukraine to regain control of its territory and border. They provide the path to a political resolution of the current crisis. I welcome the progress that Ukraine has made in recent weeks to take forward challenging and vital constitutional reform, including decentralisation. I hope that soon we will see local elections in the separatist-controlled areas of the Donbas. These must be held in line with Ukrainian legislation and in line with OSCE standards and with OSCE/ODIHR observation, as set out in the Minsk agreement. Any elections that do not meet these standards will be illegitimate, and likely to cause further instability.

The weeks ahead will be testing. I welcome the political commitment shown by the Government of Ukraine to implement the Minsk agreement. It is important that MPs and wider Ukrainian society continue to debate these and other critically important issues for Ukraine’s future openly, honestly and peacefully. There must be no repeat of the deplorable violence outside the Rada on 31 August. I urge all sides to engage constructively in the Trilateral Contact Group to ensure progress on the ground.

Further information

Follow Foreign Office Minister David Lidington on twitter @DLidington Follow the Foreign Office on twitter @foreignoffice Follow the Foreign Office on facebook and Google+

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Toys and teddies abandoned at Budapest station - in pictures

As migrants and refugees departed from Budapest station in a hurry, they left behind hundreds of toys, shoes and non-essentials. Photographer Antonio Olmos captures the poignancy of the discarded items

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My Name’s Not Friday by Jon Walter review – a superb teen novel about slavery and religion

With his tremendous feel for character, Walter vividly captures the events that unfold on a Mississippi plantation during the American civil war

It isn’t often I’m left lost for words, but that’s the way I felt when I finished reading this superb YA novel. I thought making a list of its good and bad points might introduce some balance: but its virtues are many, and the only flaw I could come up with is so minor as to be hardly worth mentioning – I’m not keen on the title. In the end I realised I had only one option, so forgive me while I gush shamelessly.

Virtue number one: Jon Walter’s courage in tackling a subject such as slavery. The story is set in the deep south during the American civil war, most of the action taking place on a Mississippi plantation. It’s familiar territory, and therefore difficult to write about with any originality. But Walter has clearly done an enormous amount of research, and the result is a story that feels entirely new because it digs deep into the period to find the human truth behind the history.

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Simon has the X Factor
UK media are tipping an Isle of Man contestant on tonight's X Factor programme to make it to the judges houses.After what has been described as a stand out performance of 'If I Were A Boy' by Beyoncé, 23 year old Simon Lynch, who works in marketing get his showbiz break on tonight's biggest UK talent show.Simon has not pnly been busy appearing on t...
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