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The Guardian

Latest news, sport, business, comment, analysis and reviews from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Women’s Ashes Test match, day one: Australia v England – live!

That score is the same, whichever country you write it in. First wicket for England! Lovely piece of bowling by Brunt, the ball angling in and then swinging away sharply. Brunt had already beaten a little swish from Healy outside the off stump the previous ball. That doesn’t stop Healy chasing it again. Poor shot but good bowling, and safely taken by the keeper.

2nd over: Australia 1-0 (Haynes 1, Healy 0) Three slips and a gully for the left-handed Haynes as Shubsole commences from the Manuka Pool end. Angling across the lefty, lots of swing away, but taking the ball too wide to encourage Haynes to play. No run.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 5:38 am

What are the hidden costs of our obsession with fish oil supplements? – podcast

They may be one of the world’s favourite supplements but, according to a recent study, more than one in 10 fish oil capsules are rancid. Most of the oil comes from Peruvian anchovetas, a type of anchovy, which is also used to feed pigs, poultry and farmed fish. And despite catching more than 4m tonnes a year of Peruvian anchovetas to cater to the global demand, large industry players want to scale this up even further.

Madeleine Finlay speaks to environment journalist Richa Syal about why so many fish oil pills are rancid, and hears from journalist Dan Collyns in Chimbote, Peru, about how the industry is affecting the local environment and its residents

Archive: The Doctors, ICIJ, Frontline PBS

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 5:00 am

Tennessee school board bans Pulitzer prize-winning Holocaust novel, Maus

Author Art Spiegelman says decision by Mcminn county, which cited inappropriate ‘curse words’ and nudity, is ‘demented’

A Tennessee school board has banned a Pulitzer prize-winning novel from its classrooms over eight curse words and an illustration of a naked cartoon mouse.

The graphic novel, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by New Yorker Art Spiegelman, uses hand-drawn illustrations of mice and cats to depict how the author’s parents survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 4:28 am

Japan’s favourite snack falls victim to global inflation with first-ever price hike

Umaibo, a crunchy corn snack that means ‘delicious stick’, increases in price from ¥10 to ¥12 – the first rise in the face of higher import costs

One of Japan’s best-loved snacks is to go up in price – by a whopping 20% – for the first time since its launch more than four decades ago,

But Umaibo – literally “delicious stick” – will still be a steal for schoolchildren at just ¥12 apiece (US10c, not including sales tax), up from the current ¥10, when the change goes into effect in April.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 4:17 am

Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline won’t open if Russia invades Ukraine, says US

US and German officials signal hardening of position on controversial gas link

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany will not move forward if Russia invades Ukraine, the US state department has said, in a significant strengthening of the west’s previous position on the strategically vital gas supply.

As tension ratcheted up over Russia’s military buildup on its neighbour’s eastern border, state department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday night that the Biden administration was “working with Germany” to ensure it could withstand the loss of the pipeline.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 3:50 am

What happens if Russia invades Ukraine? – podcast

With diplomatic talks at an apparent impasse, Vladimir Putin seems prepared to start a war. Andrew Roth reports from Moscow

Representatives from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met in Paris on Wednesday with the goal of de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine. Russia has now amassed more than 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine, ramping up tensions in a conflict that has dragged on since 2014.

Russia’s key demand is that Ukraine and other countries be blocked from joining Nato – a concession the alliance has firmly ruled out. At the same time, Russian officials continue to insist the troop buildup is just part of military exercises, even as their rhetoric grows more belligerent.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 3:00 am

Stephen Breyer to retire from supreme court, giving Biden chance to pick liberal judge

Breyer, 83, had been under pressure from progressives eager to fill a seat on the supreme court while the Democrats hold power

Justice Stephen Breyer will retire from the supreme court, according to widespread media reporting on Wednesday, which, if confirmed by the court, will provide Joe Biden with the opportunity to fulfill a campaign pledge by nominating the first Black woman judge to the bench.

Such a choice would be a milestone and bolster the liberal wing of the bench, even as it weathers a dominant conservative super-majority achieved under the Trump administration.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 1:46 am

Ozzie, the world’s oldest male gorilla, dies aged 61

A ‘devastating loss’ to the Atlanta zoo, the gorilla’s cause of death has yet to be determined by officials

The world’s oldest male gorilla, named Ozzie, was found dead by his care team at the Atlanta zoo Tuesday, zoo officials announced. Ozzie was 61.

The cause of the gorilla’s death was not immediately known though Ozzie began showing signs of low appetite last week, the zoo said in a news release. The zoo’s veterinary team treated Ozzie for symptoms including facial swelling, weakness and inability to eat or drink fluids.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 1:07 am

Covid-stricken Australian aid ship makes contactless delivery to virus-free Tonga

Fears that aid missions could spark a Covid outbreak were highlighted when two dozen crew members were diagnosed with the virus

British and Australian navy ships have arrived in Tonga and attempted to deliver aid without making contact with anybody ashore to avoid spreading the coronavirus in a nation that has never had an outbreak.

The danger of spreading the disease was underscored when nearly two dozen sailors aboard the Australian ship HMAS Adelaide were reported infected on Tuesday, raising fears they could bring Covid-19 to the small Pacific archipelago devastated by an undersea volcanic eruption and a tsunami on 15 January.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 1:05 am

Saudi tourist trampled to death by elephant on safari in Uganda

The animal charged at the man after he got out of a car in the country’s largest safari park, authorities say

A Saudi tourist has been trampled to death by an elephant during a game drive at a popular park in Uganda, a wildlife official says.

The attack happened on Tuesday at the Murchison Falls national park when the man left the vehicle he was travelling in with friends, said Uganda wildlife authority spokesman Bashir Hangi.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:47 am

Two men taken to hospital after double shooting near Wigan

Shots fired at property in Hawthorn Grove, Leigh at about 5.45pm on Wednesday shortly before second shooting in Shadwell Grove

Two men have been taken to hospital after a double shooting near Wigan.

Gunshots were fired at a property in Hawthorn Grove, Leigh at about 5.45pm on Wednesday evening before a second shooting shortly after in Shadwell Grove.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:30 am

Powell and Pooran blast West Indies to 20-run victory over England in third T20

A match that offered fabulous entertainment, three marvellous individual innings, 31 sixes and the two highest scores ever posted in Twenty20 internationals at Kensington Oval ended with England falling 20 runs short of West Indies’ formidable total of 224 and falling 2-1 behind in what is proving a memorable five-game series.

On the pitch adjacent to the one on which both sides struggled to score in Saturday’s opening T20, neither was similarly inconvenienced. Tom Banton’s excellent 39-ball 73 kept England approximately on track to chase down their target, but unlike Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell, who had formed a formidable double act a little earlier, he did not find a teammate to help shoulder the burden.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:17 am

Record number of Black and Asian students accepted at top UK universities

Ucas figures show nearly 21% of students receiving free school meals also won a place on a course in 2021

Black and Asian students won places at prestigious UK universities at record levels in 2021, alongside increasing numbers of students from all backgrounds, and the chief executive of the Ucas admissions service has said there could be one million applications for places by 2026.

The number of Black students who accepted places at selective institutions, such as those in the Russell Group of leading research universities, rose by 19% in a year, from 3,775 in 2020 to just under 4,500, according to figures released by Ucas.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:05 am

Private rents in Britain rise at fastest rate on record

London rents hit record high due to workplace return and overseas students on hunt for housing

Private rents in Britain are rising at their fastest rate on record, piling more pressure on households feeling the strain of the cost of living crisis.

The average advertised rent outside London is 9.9% higher than a year ago as tenants making plans for a post-pandemic life jostle for properties, according to the website Rightmove.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:01 am

Ministers invest £100m in EDF’s £20bn Sizewell C nuclear power station

Government’s cash injection is designed to ‘maximise investor confidence’ while the company courts private investors

Ministers have thrown further support behind EDF Energy’s £20bn Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk with a £100m investment to help develop the project while the company courts private investors.

The government’s cash injection is designed to “maximise investor confidence” in the project while French state-owned EDF works towards setting out a funding plan which satisfies investors and UK ministers.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:01 am

What’s plan B if the government can’t attract investors willing to fund Sizewell C? | Nils Pratley

Development money for nuclear power station is an attempt to draw in investors that could replace China’s CGN

A sum of £100m is peanuts in the expensive world of nuclear power stations, so regard the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s funding for a round of development work on Sizewell C as a form of advertising. The cash is intended to send a message that the government is serious about getting the plant built in Suffolk. And it is an appeal for outside investors to volunteer to sit alongside developer EDF, the French state-backed group.

There was also a definition of a desirable investor: “British pension funds, insurers and other institutional investors from like-minded countries”. Note the nationality test. It is the closest we have come to official confirmation that China General Nuclear (CGN), originally slated for a 20% stake in Sizewell, will be kicked off the project. It remains to be seen how, legally, the government will rip up the 2015 deal with CGN signed by David Cameron’s government, but the intention is clear.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:01 am

MPs raise concerns about leak of hike in living wage in last budget

Rishi Sunak asked to investigate escape of market sensitive information and warned his policies are inflationary

MPs have expressed “deep concern” over the leaking of price-sensitive information before Rishi Sunak’s budget last year and warned the chancellor his package of measures risked adding to Britain’s already surging inflation rate.

The influential all-party Treasury committee called for Sunak to investigate how details of a planned increase in the national living wage to £9.50 an hour were disclosed in the runup to the budget in late October.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:01 am

Universal credit claimants face tough sanctions in UK job crackdown

Jobseekers will have just four weeks to find employment in their preferred sector under the government’s Way to Work campaign

Unemployed workers will be forced to take up a job in any sector or face swift financial sanctions under a crackdown designed to fill hundreds of thousands of vacancies in sectors from social care to construction, ministers have announced.

Claimants will be given just four weeks – down from three months – to find a job within their preferred sector. After that point, if they fail to make “reasonable efforts” to secure a job or turn down any offer, they will have part of their universal credit payment withdrawn under a tightening of existing Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) policy.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:01 am

UK car production slumps to lowest level since 1956

The SMMT said 2021 was ‘a dismal year’, with output down by more than a third on 2019

The lowest number of cars rolled out of British factories last year since 1956, as the industry warned that rising energy costs and further shortages of computer chips will plague its recovery.

Car production slumped across the UK and the world in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, but many in the industry had expected a rapid improvement. Instead, the disruption triggered a global shortage of semiconductor chips, leading to an even worse 2021.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:01 am

Rocketing demand for fossil fuels could deal blow to climate goals, report says

Soaring oil and gas prices may tempt investors to plough more funds into long-term projects, warns thinktank

Global oil prices have climbed to $90 a barrel, which could tempt investors to pile more cash into long-term fossil fuel projects, dashing the world’s hopes to limit carbon emissions in line with climate targets and wasting billions in investment, according to a report.

Recent price rises could mean more potential projects appear to be lucrative investments in the short-term, the report by the financial thinktank Carbon Tracker says. But the analysis suggests demand for fossil fuels could begin to dwindle by the time these projects begin, creating “a nightmare scenario” for investors and climate campaigners.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:01 am

Boris Johnson accused of lying as emails suggest he approved Afghan dog rescue

PM called claims he intervened to help evacuation of animal charity ‘complete nonsense’

Boris Johnson’s battered credibility was thrown further into question after new Foreign Office emails appeared to contradict his insistence he did not authorise the rescue of cats and dogs from a British charity in Afghanistan during the fall of Kabul.

The release of two emails by the cross-party foreign affairs select committee prompted claims the prime minister had lied, as he faces separate accusations about misleading parliament over the Downing Street parties scandal and awaits the emergence of Sue Gray’s inquiry.

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Posted on 27 January 2022 | 12:00 am

The new normal: New Zealand braces for shift from Covid zero to Covid acceptance

The nation accepts a big psychological change, one expert says, as people prepare for more cases than they have ever seen before

See all our coronavirus coverage

In New Zealand’s biggest city, the streets were calm. At an Auckland supermarket, shelves of toilet paper, wine, chocolate and flour – metrics of a population hunkering down for a marathon of self-soothing and banana bread – had been quietly restocked from any panic-buying flurries.

In an uptown cafe, a barista said things had been a little quieter since the announcement. Then again, she shrugged: “It might just be a Tuesday.” At Unity Books, a bookstore at the heart of the city, people were quietly browsing. “There’s always an element of eerie calm before the storm,” said bookseller Briary Lawry.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 11:33 pm

Spotify removes Neil Young music in feud over Joe Rogan’s false Covid claims

Musician condemned spread of misinformation on platform’s top podcast: ‘They can have Rogan or Young’

The music streaming platform Spotify is in the process of removing Neil Young’s music after the company refused to take down Joe Rogan’s podcast amid the musician’s objections that it spread vaccine misinformation.

Rogan has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most consumed media products on the planet”. His podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, is Spotify’s most popular. In 2020, Rogan signed a $100m deal that gave the streaming giant exclusive rights to his show.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:41 pm

The leading female contenders to succeed Breyer on supreme court

Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement allows Biden to make history by appointing its first Black woman

The liberal supreme court justice Stephen Breyer is retiring and Joe Biden has said he will stand by a previous promise to nominate a Black woman to America’s highest legal body.

At 83 years old, Breyer is the oldest justice of the court and his retirement will give Biden his first seat to fill on the supreme court, which is currently conservative-leaning by six to three. Replacing Breyer won’t allow Biden to change that dynamic but it does allow him to ensure the liberal contingent is not reduced further and make history by appointing its first Black woman.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:18 pm

Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51 review – a fascinating and unusually honest look at illiteracy

The Repair Shop presenter is one of 8 million UK adults who find the act of reading ‘pure pain’. Can six months with a new teacher change all that?

There was a programme, many years ago, about a specialist teacher and a class of mature learners who fell short of full literacy. It was extraordinary to watch as the teacher applied different teaching methods to help his students. The majority just needed reteaching in the standard way now they had matured and left childhood restlessness – or miseries – behind. Others needed more specialist help, which gradually winnowed the students down until there was just one left. She was desperate to be able to read, and convinced she never would. Her brain resisted all attempts to unlock the mystery for her, until the teacher realised the student was a kinaesthetic learner and had wooden letters made for her. She ran her hands over them and understood immediately what teachers had been trying to tell her for 40 years.

There was no moment of such high drama in Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51 (BBC One), but the punchy directness of the Repair Shop presenter and furniture restorer kept things lively. For people like him, Blades explained – one of the 8 million adults in the UK who struggle with reading – the process is “like giving yourself a headache … Pure pain.”

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:00 pm

Sparks will fly in Six Nations with crowds back and competition fierce | Robert Kitson

Captains and coaches agree a strong start is vital in what looks like a wonderfully poised and evenly matched tournament

The annual Guinness Six Nations launch, much like the first daffodil, is one of the traditional harbingers of spring. The world’s oldest annual rugby championship rarely disappoints and lends instant colour to winter’s grey canvas. This year its imminent arrival is more welcome than ever, with the widespread return of full stadia and travelling supporters already raising the spirits of players, punters and publicans alike.

Was an extra frisson discernible as the 2022 coaches and captains laid out their respective ambitions? It was hard to tell via the various video linkups but there was absolute agreement in one respect. Everyone involved is anticipating a cracking tournament, with hopes high that last autumn’s thrills and spills will be faithfully replicated when the fur starts to fly on Saturday week.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:00 pm

UK equalities watchdog urges Scotland to pause gender recognition reforms

Campaigners criticise letter from Equality and Human Rights Commission as ‘troubling’

The UK’s equalities watchdog has written to the Scottish government asking it to pause plans to simplify the legal requirements for gender recognition.

LGBT+ equality campaigners hit back at the unexpected intervention by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, describing its approach as “deeply troubling” and “failing to stand up for equality for trans people”.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 9:54 pm

Turkey: journalist ‘will not go unpunished’ for insult, says Erdoğan

Sedef Kabaş arrested for posting comment allegedly about Turkey’s president to her 900,000 Twitter followers

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has promised that a well-known television journalist would not go “unpunished” after she was arrested for allegedly insulting him.

Police detained Sedef Kabaş at her home at 2am on Saturday, just hours after she aired the comments and then posted them on Twitter to her 900,000 followers.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 9:53 pm

Female footballers in England get maternity cover after landmark change

Professional female footballers in England are to benefit from maternity and long-term sickness cover in a landmark change to their contracts.

The move was hailed as a “great step forward” by the Sunderland Central MP, Julie Elliott, after she convened a debate in parliament on women’s experiences of playing football in England. The change has been agreed by the Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:51 pm

‘It’s Russian roulette’: migrants describe nightmarish route across Florida Straits

Despite the dangers, migrants use the islands as a springboard into the US – sometimes with devastating consequences

Those who survive the perilous sea crossing between the Bahamas and the US describe a nightmarish odyssey of vomit, sweat and fear.

“It’s suicide – Russian roulette,” one Brazilian migrant recalled in a 2017 interview after at least a dozen fellow countrymen vanished while attempting the same illegal voyage across the Florida Straits.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:48 pm

Prince Andrew denies being co-conspirator of Epstein and insists on jury trial

Duke denies Jeffrey Epstein ‘trafficked girls to him’ and demands trial in Virginia Giuffre’s sexual abuse lawsuit

Prince Andrew has denied that he was a co-conspirator of Jeffrey Epstein, and insisted on a jury trial in Virginia Giuffre’s sexual abuse lawsuit against him, his lawyers said in court papers filed on Wednesday.

“Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint,” his lawyers wrote. The Duke of York also denies that Epstein “trafficked girls to him”, the attorneys said in their legal filings.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:33 pm

Tory MPs poised to send letters of no confidence in PM after ‘partygate’ report

Senior backbenchers to move as a collective to force no-confidence vote

A new raft of Conservative MPs are poised to send letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson when the long-awaited “partygate” report is published, as the prime minister was pressured by his supporters to oversee a complete clearout of No 10.

The Guardian has learned that senior backbenchers are to move as a collective to force a no-confidence vote in Johnson once senior civil servant Sue Gray releases her findings, which on Tuesday helped trigger a criminal inquiry.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:01 pm

Martin Rowson on claims the PM had a birthday party in lockdown – cartoon

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:00 pm

Robot successfully performs keyhole surgery on pigs without human help

Machine was ‘significantly better’ than humans at tricky procedure to connect two ends of intestine

The robot surgeon will see you now.

For years, the world of medicine has been steadily advancing the art of robot-assisted procedures, enabling doctors to enhance their technique inside the operating theatre.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:45 pm

Member of Labour’s ruling body resigns after failure to restore whip to Corbyn

Former MP Laura Pidcock says welcoming of Tory defector Christian Wakeford ‘crystallised unease’ over current leadership

The former Labour MP Laura Pidcock has resigned from the party’s ruling body, citing dismay at the continued suspension of Jeremy Corbyn and the defection of the Tory MP Christian Wakeford.

Pidcock, once seen as a candidate for leader by the left of the party, lost her seat in North West Durham at the 2019 election but was elected to the party’s national executive committee (NEC) in the following year.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:29 pm

Cost-of-living crisis: Jack Monroe hails ONS update of inflation calculations

Move by government statisticians follows analysis by UK poverty activist of impact on poorest families

Concern that rising inflation is having a disproportionate impact on people in poorer households in the UK has prompted government number-crunchers to provide a more detailed breakdown of the cost of living.

The Office for National Statistics said it accepted that every person had their own inflation rate and it would do more to capture the impact of price increases on different income groups.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:23 pm

Government denies claims it has scrapped crucial economic crimes bill

Ministers criticised for not tackling London’s reputation as Russian money-laundering hub

The government was forced to deny claims that it had scrapped a crucial economic crime bill on Wednesday, as MPs from across the house rounded on ministers for failing to tackle the UK capital’s “Londongrad” reputation as a money-laundering hub used by Russian oligarchs, criminals and kleptocrats.

The scathing comments in the House of Commons follow the shock resignation of junior minster Lord Agnew on Monday, who revealed in his departing letter that the government had only last week made a “foolish” decision to kill off the bill during the next parliamentary year.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:21 pm

Mohamed Salah’s nerveless shootout penalty takes Egypt past Ivory Coast

It ended, as it had for a long time seemed that it would, with penalties. And as has happened twice before at the Africa Cup of Nations in the past 24 years, Egypt beat Ivory Coast on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

Eric Bailly, who had had an excellent game, saw his dinked effort pushed against the crossbar by Egypt’s substitute keeper Mohamed Abou Gabal. Combined with Mohamed Salah’s decisive spot-kick, it was enough for Carlos Queiroz’s Egypt to progress.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:04 pm

First UK hairless French bulldog litter prompts ‘extreme breeding’ concerns

Exclusive: British Veterinary Association says some owners are prioritising novelty over health of pets

A litter of hairless French bulldogs has been branded a worrying example of “extreme breeding” by the British Veterinary Association, which has voiced concerns that some owners are prioritising novelty over the health of their pet.

The dogs are believed to have been bred in Scotland and to be the result of crosses between French bulldogs, Pugs and Chinese crested dogs. They are thought to be the first litter of hairless French bulldogs in the UK.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:00 pm

The Guardian view on a Tory resignation: a minister goes over government failure | Editorial

There could be £10bn of losses in Covid fraud. Was this seen as an acceptable price to pay to keep bankers safe from harm during the pandemic?

The hallmarks of this government have been its cavalier disregard for integrity, accountability and honesty. But there are exceptions; Lord Agnew’s resignation shows ministers can do the right thing. The counter-fraud minister decided to leave over the alarming scale of pilfering taking place under the government’s coronavirus support scheme, and colleagues’ apparent unwillingness to do anything about it. His departure should be a wake-up call.

Since May 2020, around £50bn had been lent out to firms under the government-backed Covid loan scheme. The National Audit Office last December warned it had “limited verification, and no credit checks on borrowers, which made it vulnerable to fraud and losses”. The government also chose not to disclose the companies in receipt of Bounce Back loans, leaving ministers open to accusations that there was something to hide. Lord Agnew agreed, saying “desperately inadequate” efforts were made to stop government cash being stolen. The Tory peer thought that Covid loan fraud ran as high as 26%, which suggests the state handed over £10bn to thieves. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, denied “ignoring” fraudulently claimed Covid support funds, saying he would recover looted monies. Lord Agnew thinks doing so would give Mr Sunak a “sporting chance of cutting income tax before a likely May 2024 election”. This is true under the Treasury’s fiscal rules. Labour says recouping such losses would mean hardly any need for a national insurance hike.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:59 pm

The Guardian view on remembering the Spanish civil war: the work must go on | Editorial

Pedro Almodóvar’s new film and a planned national museum both speak to the need to settle accounts with the past

In his latest film, released in the UK this week, Pedro Almodóvar breaks new ground in a career that began as Spain started to transition to democracy in the late 1970s. Until now, the great director’s work has virtually ignored the dark decades of dictatorship under General Francisco Franco. “It was my way of getting revenge on him,” he explained to the Guardian last week. “But it didn’t mean to say I’d forgotten.”

After Franco’s death in 1975, a “pact of forgetting” and an Amnesty Law largely drew a veil over the bloody atrocities of the Spanish civil war and the repressive era of dictatorship, allowing a traumatised population to move on. As the plot of Parallel Mothers reflects, this mood has given way on the left to a determination to bear witness to crimes never recognised or atoned for. The film stars Penelope Cruz as a photographer determined to exhume bodies from a mass grave near her village, where she believes her Republican great-grandfather lies after being summarily executed by fascist forces.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:57 pm

Labour had Boris Johnson over a barrel, but he could still scrape the bottom of it | John Crace

PMQs was in limbo in the absence of Sue Gray’s report, so we were subjected to more absurd excuses

That noise? The sound of the bottom of the barrel being scraped. Boris Johnson not only degrades himself but the Tory backbenchers falling over themselves to defend him. Not so long ago, Conservative MPs could just about kid themselves there were no parties in Downing Street and that Big Dog’s integrity was intact. Now the game is long since up and no one even bothers to defend the lies. Apart from Chris Philp. He’ll repeat any nonsense he’s been told to say.

Instead we get ever more improbable lines from Tory MPs, who seem to have forgotten The Suspect made the laws, The Suspect broke the laws and The Suspect lied about it. Mostly along the lines of “it was only a small bit of cake”, “it wasn’t really a party”, “it was a surprise so he couldn’t be expected to remember it” and “he’s done such a brilliant job we shouldn’t be too bothered if a little bit of law breaking went on inside No 10”.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:39 pm

Nearly 100 ‘potential human burials’ discovered at British Columbia school

Residential school operated between 1891 and 1981 and has history of abuse, becoming latest to face scrutiny in Canada

A First Nation in Canada says it has discovered 93 potential grave sites on the grounds of a former residential school.

The chief and council of Williams Lake First Nation said that a preliminary search of St Joseph’s Mission Residential School had revealed “potential human burials” in a small portion of the school’s sprawling grounds.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:38 pm

Polish state has ‘blood on its hands’ after death of woman refused an abortion

Family says young mother’s health deteriorated rapidly after the twins she was carrying died a week apart in the womb

The family of a Polish woman who died on Tuesday after doctors refused to perform an abortion when the foetus’s heart stopped beating have accused the government of having “blood on their hands”.

The woman, identified only as Agnieszka T, was said to have been in the first trimester of a twin pregnancy when she was admitted to the Blessed Virgin Mary hospital in Częstochowa on 21 December. Her death comes a year after Poland introduced one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:20 pm

BBC boss takes swipe at Nadine Dorries over BBC funding

Tim Davie says corporation facing £285m funding gap by 2027 and it is ‘not for one person to decide’ future model

The head of the BBC has said it was “not for one person to decide the funding model” of the corporation, in a swipe at the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries.

Dorries confirmed on 17 January that the licence fee would be frozen for two years, remaining at £159 until April 2024, after which it would rise in line with inflation for four years. The announcement was made in a Sunday newspaper and on Twitter.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:07 pm

‘It’s a joke’: left-behind Afghans despair at dog rescue revelations

Idea that Boris Johnson personally approved animal evacuation adds to hurt, say those who worked with British

Afghans who worked for the British but were not able to get on flights out of Kabul said the revelation that Boris Johnson appears to have personally approved the evacuation of animals last August added to their pain and despair.

“People have died in Afghanistan, because of their connections to the UK, but the prime minister was just allowing animals to get out of there,” said Asif*, a senior adviser to British aid projects for several years. “It is like a joke. I see now that animals have a higher value than us.”

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:06 pm

Exposing the big lie behind help to buy

The Tory belief that private home ownership can solve the housing crisis is deeply flawed, writes Mike Lambert, while Bernie Evans calls for more help for private sector tenants. Plus views from both sides of the buy-to-let debate.

Polly Toynbee (The verdict is in: George Osborne’s help-to-buy scheme has been an utter disaster, 25 January) further exposes the lie behind the government’s policies, that by encouraging private home ownership we will solve the housing crisis. Her article confirms that the origins of the crisis are in the right-to-buy policies of the 80s, compounded by the refusal to allow the proceeds to fund new council stock and dismantling the Fair Rent Act. The housing crisis results from failing to meet the housing “needs” of those unable to afford a mortgage. Help to buy simply boosted the market demand for private housing.

But if that achieved little in helping those in real housing need, how much more morally reprehensible is it that we now subsidise private landlords and their buy-to-let mortgages to the tune of £22bn a year in the form of housing benefit? It is at this level because those without access to affordable social housing cannot pay private rents set to cover the cost of a mortgage and provide the owner with a return. This is revenue expenditure that could be better used to support much-needed public services. The government will only address the housing crisis by investing significant capital over a long period of time in new social housing and seeing it as an infrastructure investment that will produce both a capital asset and an income stream to the public sector, ultimately reducing the demand and therefore the cost of private rented housing. Surely this is what levelling up should be all about?
Mike Lambert
Aldham, Essex

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:04 pm

British judges have no place in Hong Kong

British judges are lending credibility to an increasingly anti-democratic justice system in Hong Kong, argues Siobhain McDonagh

The Orwellian reports coming from Hong Kong will come as no surprise to those of us who have been watching its legal system deteriorate (New Hong Kong barristers’ chief warns profession to stay out of politics, 21 January). Since the draconian national security law was imposed in 2020, Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong has been increasingly flagrant. As shocking as the attack on the rule of law in Hong Kong is, we should also be asking why British judges are still propping up a broken system.

British judges have sat in Hong Kong’s court of final appeal since the territory was returned in 1997. But the deterioration of the city’s legal system means they are now lending a false veneer of respectability to Beijing’s campaign against human rights and political freedom.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:02 pm

Russia-Ukraine crisis: where are Putin’s troops and what are his options?

A visual guide to recent troop deployments as tensions soar

Russia has forward-deployed hundreds of tanks, self-propelled artillery and even short-range ballistic missiles from as far away as Siberia to within striking range of Ukraine’s borders.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:50 pm

Six Nations chief backs struggling Italy and keeps door shut on South Africa

The Six Nations chief executive, Ben Morel, has denied that Italy’s dismal recent record is damaging the credibility of the tournament and kept the door shut on South Africa joining Europe’s premier rugby event.

Speaking at the launch of the 2022 men’s edition, which begins a week on Saturday, Morel rejected the idea of promotion and relegation in the Six Nations, but said the organisation is instead putting “all our resources” into plans for a new event within existing international windows.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:32 pm

Piccioli challenges catwalk’s last taboo by casting Valentino show with models of average size

Valentino looked dreamier than ever on more relatable bodies, which may prompt other designers to follow suit

Nothing is more radical in fashion than an even slightly rounded thigh or tummy. At Paris haute couture fashion week, Valentino challenged the catwalk’s last taboo by using models whose bodies were mostly close to average size, rather than super skinny. With the elegant understatement for which his dresses are known, designer Pierpaolo Piccioli observed simply that he “thought it was time for a change”.

The enduring hegemony of the size zero ideal in fashion has been obscured by the trend for using one or two token “plus size” models in a show – often dressed in longer, looser garments than their slender colleagues, lest their flesh offend. Here, by contrast, leather-look satin hugged normal-sized curves, and sharp thigh-high splits in silk faille skirt flashed glimpses of soft thigh. Bustier dress met skin with a hint of softly oozing flesh, rather than with the clang of zipper against shoulderblade.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:29 pm

‘External violence’ led to death of man, 78, detained in Israeli raid, autopsy finds

Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad, a Palestinian-American, was handcuffed, gagged and blindfolded in soldiers’ raid

A postmortem has confirmed that an elderly Palestinian-American man who died after being detained in an Israeli raid had a “stress-induced sudden cardiac arrest stemming from external violence”, after witnesses challenged soldiers’ accounts of events in the high-profile incident.

Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad, 78, was detained in his village of Jiljilya in the occupied West Bank at an impromptu road checkpoint on 12 January and “apprehended after resisting a check”, according to an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) statement. He was handcuffed, gagged and blindfolded for between 20 minutes and an hour, and his body was discovered by local residents and others detained in the raid after the soldiers left.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 5:18 pm

‘We are tearing open that wound’: the First Nations artists reclaiming Tasmania

For the island’s Mona Foma festival, public spaces ‘dripping in colonialism’ have been disrupted with screams, violence and truth

Launceston is one of Australia’s oldest and perhaps most characterful cities. It’s full of Georgian, Victorian and Federation-era buildings largely untouched by wrecking balls or developers, often bearing their year of construction a century ago or more.

With manicured lawns, flowerbeds and a classically inspired 1859 fountain, Prince’s Square pulls all that heritage charm together. But this week things are a little different. The bitumen around the fountain is painted with giant red letters spelling out messages of sin, theft and scars, while a foreboding soundscape envelops parkgoers.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:34 pm

Fish growth slowed by high temperatures and plastic chemical BPA, research finds

Scientists at University of Sydney found fish exposed to industrial chemical BPA in warmer waters need more food to reach a given size

Fish grow slower when exposed to higher temperatures and a common chemical in plastic, according to new research. It suggests that a combination of plastic pollution and global heating could have a concerning impact on marine populations.

Scientists at the University of Sydney have found that fish exposed to the industrial chemical bisphenol A – commonly known as BPA – require more energy to grow in high-temperature waters.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:30 pm

Tell us your experiences of paying for pet surgery in the UK

We would like to hear from vets and owners who have done or paid for unusual, arduous, or expensive surgery for their pets

Following the amazing dental surgery performed on Goldie the pufferfish on Monday, we would like to hear from vets and pet owners about unusual surgeryon pets.

Did an extraordinary operation save your pet’s life? How are they faring now? How much did the operation cost? And if you’re a vet we’d like to hear about any remarkable operations that you may have carried out.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:22 pm

Coronavirus vaccines may reduce risk of long Covid, ONS study finds

Observational study finds double-jabbed people 41% less likely to report Covid symptoms 12 weeks after a positive test

Vaccination could reduce the risk of long Covid, research by the Office for National Statistics suggests.

The study, of more than 6,000 adults, found those who were double-vaccinated had a 41% lower likelihood of self-reporting Covid symptoms 12 weeks after first testing positive.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:17 pm

Why are some people so comfortable being casually racist in front of me? Is it just because I’m white? | Adrian Chiles

A chance encounter in a car park was all the excuse a fellow West Brom fan needed to share his dispiriting views

I had an unpleasant experience on Saturday afternoon, just a fleeting moment with a nasty aftertaste I can’t shake off. I had parked in a municipal pay-and-display car park in Smethwick near West Brom’s ground. I was trying to make sense of the rules, regulations, charges, methods of payment etc, when a woman of south Asian heritage puzzling over the same things asked me in a strong Black Country accent if I had any change. I said I was afraid I didn’t. I busied myself on my phone looking for the correct app with which to pay the correct amount for the correct parking location.

As I was doing so, the woman approached me again with a question. She asked if you had to pay for the parking before you did your shopping, or afterwards. She had thought it was the latter, so had just bought a ticket that showed an exit time an hour away. I told her she had probably made a mistake. She said to me she was an idiot. I told her not to be hard on herself. She said I should use her ticket. I said I’d pay for it. She said there was no need. I insisted, then found a pound coin deep in my pocket, which was a mite embarrassing, given I’d just told her I didn’t have any change. She didn’t seem to make the connection. I gave her the pound and thanked her. She said she’d give me some change. I said there was no need, but she insisted. She gave me some change. We both laughed. I said that if all this went on much longer, I would miss kick-off. And off we went in the direction of the rest of our lives.

So far, so perfectly nice. Then, as I set out for the ground, the window of a car came down to reveal an old, genial-looking white man wearing a West Brom scarf. In his Black Country accent, he said to me: “You want to be careful you don’t catch something from her; they’re not vaccinated around here, that lot.” There is so much that is casually horrible going on there that I don’t know where to start. The words “catch something” and “that lot” are probably key. And there’s also the distressing truth that, although he was apparently familiar with my work on radio and television, he had concluded I’d be open to such talk. Or perhaps I am overthinking this: maybe simply being the same colour as him was green light enough for this gentleman to share his thoughts with me. After all, the colour of this nice woman’s skin had been as much information about her as he felt he needed to help himself to whatever assumptions he fancied. All I felt I knew for sure about her was that paying for parking wasn’t her strongest suit.

Adrian Chiles is a broadcaster, writer and Guardian columnist

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:11 pm

Are humans on the verge of ‘peace talks’ with the non-human world? | Barbara Ehrenreich

Covid-19 is a sharp reminder that our species could do with a bit of humility about its place in the natural order

Coronavirus has stopped us in our tracks and forced us to rethink our position as the rulers of the world. You could say it has done us a favour. An invisible enemy has challenged our treatment of the non-human world and the planet we share.

For about 2,000 years most humans have imagined themselves to be the Earth’s “apex predators” – smarter, faster and more deadly than any other creature with which we share the planet. An article in a 2018 special issue of Scientific American praised our species for “the richness of our subjective experience” and “better cognitive skills and bigger brains” – although elephants have bigger brains and no one has worked out how to measure the “subjective experience” of non-human animals.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the founding editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:11 pm

Astronomers discover mysterious pulsing object that may be new class of star

Experts say object is a match for predicted class of neutron star with ultra-powerful magnetic field

Astronomers have discovered a mysterious object emitting a radio wave beam that pulsed every 20 minutes.

The team behind the discovery believe the object could be a new class of slowly rotating neutron star with an ultra-powerful magnetic field. The repeating signals were detected during the first three months of 2018, but then disappeared, suggesting they were linked to a dramatic, one-off event, such as a starquake.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:00 pm

Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster review – a rich survey

Exhaustive look at a remarkable career includes numerous starry interviews but loses some lustre with shonky production values

This assiduous survey of the life and career of the actor Boris Karloff gracefully acknowledges that he will always be welded in the public imagination to his role as the monster in the classic 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein. However, this documentary has a lot more to say about his long and quite fascinating acting career, which he began in the silent era as a handsome action man (“a French-Canadian trapper type,” the voiceover calls him, like that’s a thing) and saw him become a considerable box-office draw for the many horror films he made in the 1930s and 40s. By the end, he was a sweetly self-spoofing TV host and icon happy to do cameo roles in cheerful horror schlock despite his increasing physical frailty, and made an indelible impression on many generations with his deep, velvety voice as the title character of the 1966 animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

In addition to offering a solid biographical survey that traces Karloff, born William Henry Pratt, back to his troubled childhood as the son of Anglo-Indian parents, director Thomas Hamilton has assembled an impressive roster of interviewees with smart, perceptive things to say about Karloff’s work and the context of the times. The canniest comments come from film directors who either worked with him (including the very recently deceased Peter Bogdanovich, who directed him in one of his last films, Targets, in 1968) or deeply understand the nature of horror films, such as Guillermo del Toro, Joe Dante, and John Landis. In addition, Karloff’s daughter Sara remembers her father fondly, and a deep bench of film scholars (illustrious silent film expert Kevin Brownlow, walking film encyclopaedia Leonard Maltin) are on hand to dispense acute observations and trivia.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 4:00 pm

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection review – victory tour for feelgood blockbusters

PlayStation 5, PC (forthcoming); Naughty Dog/Sony
Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy get a joint re-release reminding us of the greatness of these bombastic action adventures

It’s been long enough since 2016’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End came out that I kind of missed Nathan Drake, the breezy, globetrotting, treasure-hunting star of the Uncharted series. In contrast to developer Naughty Dog’s other PlayStation series The Last of Us, a rather harrowing post-apocalyptic meditation on human darkness, Uncharted is a straightforwardly fun and light-hearted action-movie story. You never have to think too hard about what you’re doing or why, and as long as you can surrender your will to the game – for there is little room for improvisation in these climbing puzzles, shootouts and well-acted story scenes – you’ll have a good time.

Back then I was ready to see the back of Nathan Drake. His quips had started to feel predictable, the Indiana Jones setpieces of his global adventures – collapsing ledges, trap-filled tombs, cursed treasure – even more so. This game is a farewell to him, wringing a surprising amount of pathos from the cast and their relationships to each other (particularly Nathan and his wife, Elena, who share an adorable scene in front of a PlayStation in their front room in the opening hours that still hits just as well now). This series had run out of road, with no further far-flung corners of the world or secret character backstories to explore, and in retrospect it is easier to appreciate this as a victory tour for a developer that really mastered the blockbuster cinematic action game.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:54 pm

Why mathematicians sometimes get Covid projections wrong | Kit Yates

Modelling may not be as accurate as a crystal ball, but it remains the best tool we have to predict the future

Official modelling efforts have been subjected to barrages of criticism throughout the pandemic, from across the political spectrum. No doubt some of that criticism has appeared justified – the result of highly publicised projections that never came to pass. In July 2021, for instance, the newly installed health secretary, Sajid Javid, warned that cases could soon rise above 100,000 a day. His figure was based on modelling from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, known as SPI-M.

One influential SPI-M member, Prof Neil Ferguson, went further and suggested that, following the “freedom day” relaxation of restrictions on 19 July, the 100,000 figure was “almost inevitable” and that 200,000 cases a day was possible. Cases topped out at an average of about 50,000 a day just before “freedom day”, before falling and plateauing between 25,000 and 45,000 for the next four months.

Kit Yates is director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath and author of The Maths of Life and Death

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:43 pm

‘You can never totally overcome it’: harmonica legend Lee Oskar on his family’s Holocaust trauma

The ex-member of War has confronted his family’s harrowing experiences in the Holocaust for a new ‘musical memoir’

When harmonica legend Lee Oskar was seven years old and about to enter a new school, his mother gave him a stern warning. “‘If anybody asks what school you’re in, say it’s a religious school,’” Oskar recalled. “Never say ‘Jewish school’. There was always this intense fear about telling anyone I was Jewish.”

Her warning came in 1955, a full decade after the defeat of the Nazis, when Oskar’s family was living in Copenhagen, one of the most accepting cities in Europe. But, as the musician says, “that didn’t matter. The fear never goes away.”

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:30 pm

Low-carbon ambitions must not interfere with ‘normal life’, says Xi Jinping

President signals more cautious approach to climate crisis and says China must ‘overcome notion of rapid success’

China’s ambitious low-carbon goals will not be realised easily and should not come at the expense of energy and food security or the “normal life” of ordinary people, its president, Xi Jinping, has said, signalling a more cautious approach to the climate emergency as the economy slows.

China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, has been under pressure to “enhance ambition” and take more drastic action to tackle global heating. In the past two years, Beijing has also made a number of pledges to show its commitment.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:18 pm

A bearded dragon in St Leonards-on-Sea … Bob Mazzer’s best photograph

‘He looked quite forbidding – but I assumed anyone walking around with an exotic lizard would expect some attention. He told me it was a bearded dragon’

I was born in London but I’ve also lived and taken photographs in Wales, France and the US. I’ve now been based in St Leonards-on-Sea, on the south coast of Britain, for 33 years, which is the longest I’ve lived anywhere.

This picture was taken in 2006, on the seafront half a mile from my house. I’d just come out of the shop on the left of the picture when I saw these two. The guy was standing in the sun with his companion on his shoulder, as if they were both basking. I don’t remember spotting them on the way in, it was as if they’d just materialised.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:13 pm

Ava: The Secret Conversations review – Elizabeth McGovern captures Gardner’s Hollywood glamour

Riverside Studios, London
Director Gaby Dellal’s striking production splices film and theatre with finesse while McGovern as Gardner riffs on important moments and men in her life

Much like the Hollywood star herself, Ava: The Secret Conversations is a visually striking and enigmatic affair. It’s written by and stars Elizabeth McGovern and is based on Peter Evans’s biography, which Ava Gardner collaborated on, but wouldn’t allow to be published in her lifetime. McGovern is best known for her starring role in Downton Abbey but it’s her experience as a lyricist that tells in a production that feels more like an album than a play; poetic and playful and rippling with elegant riffs on Ava’s life and the men who framed it.

Director Gaby Dellal has worked largely in film and, alongside projection specialists 59 Productions, has created a show that splices film and theatre together with finesse. The play unfolds in Ava’s London flat, where Peter and Ava meet to discuss her life. As the two hit upon important moments and men (including Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra), the flat’s walls slide, shuffle or drop away completely, and projected film reels and atmospheric backdrops transport us to a flurry of memorable times and places, many of which shimmer with a mysterious (sometimes threatening) sort of glamour.

Ava: The Secret Conversations is at the Riverside Studios, London, until 16 April.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:11 pm

January design news: circular Levi’s and a Barbican birthday

Finnish feminist artists, award-winning art at the Collect Craft Fair and a fashion/homeware collaboration

Visiting the Barbican estate in London is like entering a slightly different version of reality. Few places open to the general public feel as hermetic as the estate created by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. If you visit to mark the Barbican Centre’s 40th anniversary next month, make sure you take it all in.

Singular vision is also celebrated in Helsinki this month with an art show celebrating modern Finnish female artists. These remarkable women helped change European art in the early 20th century, and deserve more recognition. Read this month’s news to find out more about them.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 2:59 pm

White tiger cubs and a map of the stars: Wednesday’s best photos

The Guardian’s picture editors select photo highlights from around the world

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 2:30 pm

Daniil Medvedev channels his inner Novak to reach Australian Open semis

For two long hours, Daniil Medvedev’s shoulders were bitterly slouched during the grand slam quarter-final he had entered as the heavy favourite. He struggled with his serve, double faulting on key points, and as his frustration boiled over he even spent long periods mimicking Félix Auger-Aliassime’s prolonged, breathy grunt during exchanges. As his opponent started brilliantly, it looked at times like he would rather be anywhere else in the world than the Rod Laver Arena.

But even then, as he fell down two sets to Auger-Aliassime and his presence in the tournament was moments from being snuffed out, such is the aura he has built for himself over the past year, it never looked to be over. As the clocks in Melbourne ticked past midnight, Medvedev completed his recovery from two sets down and saved a match point as he defeated Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (2) 7-5, 6-4 in four hours, 42 minutes to reach the Australian Open semi-final.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 2:09 pm

Britain’s cost of living crisis means that for some, ‘getting by’ will become a luxury | Frances Ryan

A different Tory leader will not save a failing social security system. We need a new welfare state from the bottom up

The thing about governments in crisis is that they have little time for governing. Boris Johnson – once king of the world, now lame duck – is a prime minister consumed with his own survival. Insiders say Johnson is motivated to hang on to power not to deliver a pressing policy agenda but to beat former Bullingdon Club chum, David Cameron: “He won’t accept the last Etonian PM having survived longer than him.” Meanwhile, in the real world, British families are about to endure the worst cost of living crisis for 30 years, and are left waiting for anyone in power to notice.

For many, the money going out is about to soar, causing that coming in to shrink in real terms. Inflation rose to 5.4% last month, driven by pricier food and clothes. Energy tariffs are escalating and tax bills are set to go up too. At the same time, the £20 universal credit uplift has been cut and unemployment benefits are about to hit their lowest real value in more than three decades, a rate that experts call “only slightly more than destitution”. Ministers can claim work is the solution but it is good jobs, not any job, that is a reprieve; the majority of people living in poverty in the UK last year were in working households. The official line may be that the pandemic is over, but this too is still hitting personal finances – just ask the clinically vulnerable pensioner shielding in a cold home. The result of all this is clear enough: simply getting by is increasingly going to become a luxury.

Frances Ryan is a Guardian columnist and author of Crippled: Austerity and the Demonisation of Disabled People

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 2:00 pm

‘I got 12 years and 74 lashes’: Confess, the band jailed for playing metal in Iran

After their songs were deemed blasphemous propaganda, the duo were forced to flee to Norway and claim asylum. Now a band, they are writing angrily about what they faced

For almost as long as it’s existed, heavy metal has been used as protest music. On Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, the first thing you’re barraged with is War Pigs: a seven-minute savaging of the politicians who instigated the Vietnam war. Iron Maiden once had their mascot, Eddie, murder Margaret Thatcher on a single’s artwork; Metallica and Megadeth spent the 1980s lambasting cold war superpowers that didn’t know whether to shake hands or nuke each other.

Nikan Khosravi, singer and guitarist of Iranian/Norwegian thrashers Confess, views his band as another protest act in the metal lineage. “I’m the kid who told the emperor: ‘You’re naked!’” he exclaims with pride and excitement on a call from Norway. However, the five-piece don’t write their brutish tracks about some faraway conflict, or satirise a government certain to ignore them.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 2:00 pm

South review – startling filmed record of Shackleton’s gruelling Antarctic odyssey

Frank Hurley’s 1919 silent footage turns Sir Ernest Shackleton’s gruelling expedition into a travelogue with cute penguins

Pioneering Australian photographer and film-maker Frank Hurley was the official witness to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s gruelling expedition attempting to cross the Antarctic landmass, which lasted three years from 1914 to 1917. For most of the time the crew were utterly cut off from news of the outside world and the expedition became an epic ordeal when, on the way there, their ship (aptly named Endurance) was crushed and sunk by pack ice. Shackleton and his men were forced to journey onwards in a lifeboat in the desolate cold, finally to South Georgia, then rescued and brought by a Chilean vessel to the harbour in Valparaíso where they were accorded a hero’s welcome.

This 1919 silent movie is Hurley’s filmed record of Shackleton’s voyage and what is startling about it is its weird tonal obtuseness: so often it feels like a home-movie travelogue in which the mood is bafflingly jaunty. Towards the end of the film, just at the point when their lives have been saved and disaster averted, the film spends about 10 minutes on the adorable behaviour of the penguins. This is at the moment when Shackleton’s victory was said to consist simply in his heroic survival, the expedition itself having, of course, been a failure, but the film simply sets aside the obvious poignant or tragic dimension.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 2:00 pm

Netherlands lifts toughest Covid curbs with Denmark and France set to follow

Many EU countries opt to reopen despite record infections as WHO suggests Omicron may signal more manageable phase of pandemic

The Netherlands has lifted its toughest Covid controls, Denmark is to remove all restrictions within days and France will begin easing curbs next week, as many – but not all – EU countries opt to reopen despite record infection numbers.

The moves come as data shows hospital and intensive care admissions are not surging in line with cases, and after the World Health Organization suggested the Omicron variant – which studies show is more contagious but usually less severe for vaccinated people – may signal a new, more manageable phase in the pandemic.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 1:54 pm

Welcome to the Winter Olympics. No hugging, but help yourself to the free condoms

The games are in a moral quandary: promoting safe sex – and social distancing. But will the athletes heed advice and treat their free contraceptives as souvenirs?

Name: Winter Olympics condoms.

Age: 34.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 1:19 pm

‘Her thunder would not be stolen’: Damian Lewis speaks about loss of Helen McCrory

Actor uses National Theatre tribute event to talk publicly for first time about wife, who died of cancer

Damian Lewis has spoken publicly for the first time about the loss of his wife, Helen McCrory, who died last year from breast cancer aged 52.

During an evening of poetry dedicated to McCrory at the National Theatre, Lewis paid tribute to the “one person whose thunder would absolutely not be stolen”.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 1:00 pm

Carbon offsetting is not warding off environmental collapse – it’s accelerating it | George Monbiot

Wealthy companies are using the facade of ‘nature-based solutions’ to enact a great carbon land grab

There is nothing that cannot be corrupted, nothing good that cannot be transformed into something bad. And there is no clearer example than the great climate land grab.

We now know that it’s not enough to leave fossil fuels in the ground and decarbonise our economies. We’ve left it too late. To prevent no more than 1.5C of heating, we also need to draw down some of the carbon already in the atmosphere.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 12:33 pm

Share your experiences of Covid boosters in the UK

We would like to hear why people might be avoiding or putting off having the Covid-19 booster vaccine

More than 36 million booster doses or third doses have been administered in the UK so far. However, the rollout has stalled since the Christmas period.

With this in mind, we would like to hear why people might be putting theirs off. Is there any reason you have so far avoided the booster?

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 12:30 pm

China’s go-to English bad guy Kevin Lee: ‘I’m happy to play a villain’

The English actor, who has worked with Chinese directors from Jackie Chan to Zhang Yimou, reveals how a chance meeting at the visa office in Beijing changed his life

If the Chinese film industry needs a stock foreign villain, I’m their first port of call. I was a Gatling gun-wielding mercenary in 2015’s Wolf Warrior, one of the first of the new wave of military blockbusters, and a hitman in Jackie Chan’s Kung Fu Yoga in 2017, among many others. And I recently played an American colonel in the Korean war in The Battle at Lake Changjin, the most expensive and successful Chinese film ever: it made $909m (£675m) last year.

It’s surreal – coming from humble beginnings in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire – to find myself in the middle of a massive field in Hubei province filming the likes of The Battle at Lake Changjin. You’d think you were in a real-life warzone – there were hundreds of tanks supplied by the government. I grew up watching Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Jet Li movies, which kickstarted my passion for China. I originally came here to study martial arts in 2004. Then I came back 10 years later to work as a financial consultant, which I didn’t really enjoy.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 12:23 pm

UK parents: share your experiences of Covid infections in children

We would like to hear from parents about infections in children and their views on vaccinations for them

While Covid cases in the UK have fallen in the past few weeks, there is a rise among children where vaccination rates remain slow.

Children between the ages of 12-15 are eligible for a vaccine, while vulnerable five- to 11-year-olds are also able to have a Covid vaccine.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 12:06 pm

How to make pea and ham soup | Felicity Cloake's Masterclass

A sturdy winter soup to make a batch of and freeze for a chilly day – cooking your own ham optional, but satisfying

Also known as pease pottage, or a London particular, depending on which century you hail from, this thick, smoky pea soup is a world away from the silky, vivid green versions of midsummer. Instead, it relies on dried peas, a staple starch of the medieval table before potatoes came along and still cheap as chips, and equally comforting on a winter’s day.

Prep 15 min, plus optional overnight soaking
Cook 3 hr 15 min
Serves 6

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 12:00 pm

Iga Swiatek shows steel in beating Kaia Kanepi to Australian Open semi-finals

The final point said it all. An 11-shot rally that started with a Kaia Kanepi serve and finished with Iga Swiatek’s racket somewhere other than in her hand. Poland’s world No 9 had spent the intervening 19 seconds stretching, sliding and almost slipping, but still somehow conjuring answers to each question set by her aggressor up the other end.

“Defensive” can mean all manner of things. An over-concern with self-justification. A means of driving a car safely. A negative way of playing football. In Swiatek’s case it was steely resolve, the bedrock of her three-hour passage to a second grand slam singles semi-final and first on a hard court.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 11:07 am

Gen Z are bringing back ‘indie sleaze’, and I suddenly feel ancient | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

It feels as if I was in Camden pubs wearing skinny jeans and drinking snakebite just a few months ago. How is this possible?

I saw a man in skinny jeans and winklepickers the other day, and found myself transported back to a time when I cared about men’s shoes. “I used to go wild for men dressed like that,” I told my bemused husband, who is older than me, and so didn’t buy into the early 00s indie scene and has never worn a pair of drainpipes in his life. Later that day I discovered that indie – or rather, the early-millennium indie aesthetic – is back, as popularised by the nostalgic Instagram account @indiesleaze and the TikTok trend.

This is being old, I guess. “Are you ready for the return of indie sleaze?” Vogue asks, and the answer is no, I am not, because it was what, five minutes ago? I suppose it comes for all of us eventually, that feeling, which my mother fondly remembers as being encapsulated by the day I appropriated her boots from the 90s, declaring them “vintage”. Friends ponder whether the internet has accelerated trend cycles and, while there is probably something in that, it’s also time for ageing millennials to accept that, like every generation, we will be forced to see our youth subcultures appropriated and sold back to teenagers. “They’re selling Nirvana T-shirts in H&M now,” I remarked a few years back, offering an unwittingly late-capitalist bastardisation of Withnail and I (“They’re selling hippy wigs in Woolworths, man”).

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett is a Guardian columnist

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 11:00 am

'A resort of ghosts': on the Ukraine frontline waiting for war again - video

The Guardian's Luke Harding travels to the eastern Ukraine coastal city of Mariupol to see how preparations are being made for a potential Russian attack. With tensions in the region high and Russian troops gathering on the border, Ukrainian soldiers remain defiant, despite their depleted firepower. And while the world's attention has returned to the region for the first time since Russia took Crimea in 2014, for Ukrainians the war has been ongoing

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:56 am

Living in Ukraine: how have you been affected by the current situation?

We would like to hear from people in Ukraine about events in the country at the moment

Amid concerns of a Russian attack, we we would like to hear from people living and working in Ukraine about the situation in the country.

What is the mood like at the moment? Are you making any plans in the event of a possible conflict?

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:37 am

From vaginal laser treatment to spa breaks – it’s the great menopause gold rush

Women have never had more products and services designed to help with the menopause. But does the new-found choice improve lives or is it just companies in search of the next profit?

From menopause calendars to menopause scented candles, and menopause supplements to menopause spa breaks, there is no shortage of products to help ease a woman’s transition into her post-reproductive years. If you’re after something stronger, how about vaginal rejuvenation laser treatment or bioidentical oestrogen? You could even try to postpone menopause for a decade or so – provided you are willing to freeze a slice of your ovary in your 20s and then have it grafted back on in later life.

Menopause is enjoying a moment. After centuries of enduring the rollercoaster of physical and emotional symptoms that often accompany it, middle-aged women have never been so well-catered for with products purporting to help. But is this sudden choice empowering, or just exploitative?

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 10:00 am

‘The biggest task is to combat indifference’: Auschwitz Museum turns visitors’ eyes to current events

Director wants visit to former Nazi concentration camp to spark reflection on ‘silence of bystanders’

Piotr Cywiński has spent a lot of time pondering a question that has exercised historians, philosophers and politicians ever since the end of the second world war. What lessons should we draw from one of the darkest pages in human history, the organised mass killing at Auschwitz?

A 49-year-old Polish historian, Cywiński has been director of the Auschwitz Museum since 2006. His office is housed in a former hospital and pharmacy built for the camp’s SS guards, and his windows look out over a crematorium and gas chamber.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 9:00 am

Bean burrito or beef burrito? Restaurants try messages on menus to help diners order less meat

Study finds diners who read ‘your small change can make a big difference’ on their menus chose a vegetarian dish 25% of the time

Simple changes to messages on restaurants’ menus can double the frequency of customers choosing plant-based options instead of meat, research on the impact of food on the climate crisis has found.

The production, transportation and consumption of food has become an increasing focus for climate researchers, with a recent study finding the food industry accounts for more than a third of the world’s total annual planet-heating emissions.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:00 am

‘I had this strong feeling that my face was disfigured’ – Kitty Wallace, the body dysmorphic sufferer turned campaigner

Her early life was blighted by the condition, until a TV documentary changed everything. Now, she works for the UK’s leading support group

Kitty Wallace remembers very clearly the first time she felt there was something horribly wrong with her face.

She was eight years old, in her downstairs bathroom with a friend as they washed their hands before dinner. “I just remember looking at our reflection and thinking how different I looked to her,” she says. “At that moment, I had this very strong feeling that my face was offensive or disfigured compared with hers, and then a sudden realisation that this must be as obvious to everyone else as it was to me.”

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 8:00 am

Climate change one day at at time - in pictures

Blipfoto members, or ‘blippers’, choose to record a single photo from their day. This unique community of photographers enjoy recording life as they see it. Perspectives on climate are often presented as ad hoc events so it’s not often we get to see a global perspective of public opinion and perception.

We look back at a selection of photos and snippets of day-to-day reflections on climate change from some of their 2021 journals. Questioning, observing, acting and responding - it’s a compelling insight into everyday views on climate change.

The gallery was put together at Blipfoto by Rebecca Cole and Richard Hunt-Smith.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:00 am

Single parent strength – a photo essay

Photographer Jonathan Donovan has produced a series of portraits focusing on the strength of single parents and celebrating their resilience and love. The project aims to raise awareness of Gingerbread – the leading national charity working with single-parent families.

An exhibition of his work opens in London’s Kings Cross from the end of January and will run until the beginning of April

Since 1918, Gingerbread has been supporting, advising and campaigning with single parents to help them meet the needs of their families and achieve their goals. Today, there are 1.8 million single-parent families in the country.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:00 am

Falling for it: Alex Prager’s flights of fancy – in pictures

The LA artist-photographer’s cinematic portraits of people in free fall arose from a desire to examine the human turmoil experienced during the pandemic

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 7:00 am

Smoke and ire: Invasion Day protests across Australia – in pictures

Thousands of people across Australia came together on Australia Day for smoke ceremonies, dance and marches in the streets to protest at Invasion Day rallies. In Canberra, people gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tent Embassy

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:15 am

‘Free Nichelle’: protesters want to liberate Star Trek actor Nichelle Nichols from conservatorship

The actor has been diagnosed with dementia but campaigners believe the legal arrangement is not in her best interest

In the wake of Britney Spears’ emancipation from her long-term conservatorship, some of Britney’s fans have turned their attention to the Star Trek actor Nichelle Nichols. Last week a dozen protesters, a mixture of Free Britney activists and fans of Nichols, demonstrated outside the Stanley Mosk courthouse in Los Angeles, chanting “Free Nichelle!”

Nichols has been living under a conservatorship since 2018. Her son Kyle Johnson successfully petitioned to be his mother’s conservator after her former manager, Gilbert Bell, was accused of abusing Nichols financially. Protesters believe that Nichols is of sound mind and wants to be released from the arrangement.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:00 am

Dogs, daily delights and ditching Twitter: could a ‘fun-tervention’ improve my life – in just one month?

The author of a new book says having more fun builds resilience and will help get us through the next stage of the pandemic. But can she get me out of my funk?

It speaks to the scale of the challenge that, in the month that I set out to have more fun, my Christmas and new year plans are derailed by Covid; I am relieved of half my savings by a phone scammer; and a man I’m meeting for a first date suggests that maybe I am depressed.

I get my money back, and my date is a supply chain consultant, not a doctor – but fun certainly seems like a faraway prospect.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 6:00 am

Will the police have the final word on ‘partygate’?

After weeks of damaging allegations of parties and rule-breaking gatherings in Downing Street the Metropolitan police have now opened an investigation. Could this spell the end for Boris Johnson?

When allegations of rule-breaking gatherings in Downing Street emerged in December, the Metropolitan police declined to investigate, citing a lack of evidence and resources. But the steady drip of leaks to the press in the weeks since have built up a picture of party after party. Every birthday, Christmas or leaving do now has been poured over by an outraged public with each new revelation prompting excuses from the government that they were technically “work events”. But on Tuesday, the chief of the Met said her force would be investigating some of the allegations of parties at the prime minister’s official address.

The Guardian’s political editor, Heather Stewart, tells Michael Safi that this new development could prove the most significant yet for Boris Johnson’s future. With the senior civil servant Sue Gray due to hand her report to the prime minister in the coming days, the matter could be heading towards an endgame.

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Posted on 26 January 2022 | 3:00 am

City of London returns to the office – in pictures

Photographer Andy Hall has been photographing the Square Mile as people gradually return to the office. Plan B restrictions are set to be lifted on 26 January in England

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Posted on 25 January 2022 | 2:52 pm

Life in the Arctic: how climate change is killing a culture – video

As the arctic warms four times faster than the global average, Europe’s only indigenous population is under threat. For centuries, the Sámi people have herded reindeer throughout northern Europe. Now, warmer winters are turning the snow the reindeer dig through to find food into ice, blocking their only source of sustenance. In the last two years, 10,000 reindeer died. If this winter is bad, herders fear up to half the herd could be lost

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Posted on 25 January 2022 | 11:30 am

Boris Johnson clings on, the scandals keep coming

Boris Johnson has been forced to order a new inquiry into allegations on Islamophobia in the Conservative party as his mutinous MPs await a verdict on Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street

The new year has brought with it significant policy decisions for Boris Johnson: how to respond to a worsening crisis in Ukraine? How quickly to lift coronavirus restrictions after the current wave of infections? Should he go ahead with the plan to raise taxes in the face of an acute cost-of-living crisis? But all these questions have been drowned out by a more existential one for the prime minister: can his premiership survive the coming days?

The Guardian’s political correspondent, Peter Walker, tells Nosheen Iqbal that adding to the febrile atmosphere around the investigation into Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street, there are now new allegations dogging No 10.

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Posted on 25 January 2022 | 3:00 am

Love jihad: India's lethal religious conspiracy theory – video

The mutilated body of a 24-year-old Muslim, Arbaaz Aftab Mullah, was discovered on a railway track near his home. His family believe he was murdered because of his interfaith relationship with a Hindu woman and that he is one of the latest victims of the 'love jihad' conspiracy theory, which has swept across groups of Hindu nationalists in India. The theory claims that Muslim men are seducing Hindu women and luring them into marriage in order to convert them to Islam. The claims are baseless, yet the consequences are real

• This video was amended on 24 January 2022 to correctly refer to [Narendra] Modi as prime minister rather than president.

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Posted on 21 January 2022 | 5:00 am

Why protesters are worried about the police and crime bill – video report

Amika George, an activist who founded the #FreePeriods campaign, shares her worries about the police and crime bill.  She started her non-profit campaign group in 2017 and two years later got the government to commit to funding period products in every state school and college in England.

Guardian reporter Damien Gayle explains what is behind the government's police and crime bill and what it could mean for protesting.  On Monday night, the House of Lords voted down proposed changes in the law that would give more powers to police over the way they treat protests. Sections of the bill have been condemned by human rights activists as a ‘vitriolic attack’ on the right to protest, freedoms to show dissatisfaction or to call for change.

This week, activists and protesters across the UK have taken to the streets rallying against a bill that would limit their rights to protest and give tougher sentences to those who break the rules

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Posted on 18 January 2022 | 2:25 pm

Voices of Covid doctors: 'It was always about trying to save you' – video

Healthcare workers around the world have been on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic for almost two years, which put them through the darkest days of their careers. Five doctors who have worked in hospitals in Uganda, New Zealand, the US, India, the UK and Brazil told the Guardian about how the pandemic had tested them personally and professionally, but how they continue to find hope and resolve to keep working.

Thanks to Dr Peter Kavuma, Dr Dalilah Restrepo, Dr Yogesh Kalkonde, Dr Anne Menezes and Dr Megan Smith, who is also a spokesperson at the campaigning organisation EveryDoctor

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Posted on 23 December 2021 | 12:08 pm

How white mobs firebombed homes and decimated a Black community in Illinois – video

This is the final episode of Red Summers, a 360 video series by artist Bayeté Ross Smith covering the untold American history of racial terrorism. 

After the first world war, Black laborers moved to northern towns like East St Louis, Illinois, trying to escape Jim Crow in the south. In 1917, members of the White American Federation of Labor went on strike – and the company responded by hiring Black workers. 

Angry white workers began attacking Black people in the city. Eventually this leads to white mobs firebombing houses with Black families inside, while others outside waited to shoot and kill them. Historians estimate between 39 and 150 Black people were killed in the East St Louis riots.

Just months later, another race riot in Houston broke out after member of the all-white Houston police department arrested a high-ranking soldier in an all-Black army regiment – a group that had recently returned from war. Only the Black soldiers were penalized

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Posted on 18 December 2021 | 10:00 am

On the Ukraine frontline: 'Only the dead aren't afraid' – video

With tensions escalating along the border with Russia, Luke Harding visits troops in Ukraine's Donbas region to gauge the mood ahead of a possible invasion. The war here has continued since 2014, when pro-Russian separatists seized Ukrainian cities. But in recent weeks large numbers of Russian troops have gathered on Ukraine's border, while talks between Vladimir Putin and US president, Joe Biden, have not provided the diplomatic solution many had hoped for

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Posted on 16 December 2021 | 2:42 pm

Cuts, covid and community in Blackpool: 'There's no such thing as a hopeless case' – video

Mark and Abbie Butcher run Amazing Graze, a pizzeria that hands out free food and advice to people in Blackpool who need it. The town, one of the poorest in the UK, with jobs seasonal and dependent largely on tourist income, has been left reeling from the pandemic, and the restaurant is struggling to cope with heightened demand. As the government pursues its  'levelling up' policy, Mark and Abbie question what the slogan actually means as they deal with the effects of the £20 cut in universal credit on some of Blackpool's most vulnerable people, and prepare for the challenging winter ahead

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Posted on 14 December 2021 | 12:50 pm

Unsafe Passage: on board a refugee rescue ship racing for Europe - video

An overcrowded ship with asylum seekers leaves Libya bound for Europe – triggering a high-stakes showdown between a Doctors Without Borders vessel wanting to escort it to safety and the Libyan Coast Guard fighting to turn it back. As the Libyans issue armed threats the tension grows below deck. With European countries' responsibilities toward refugees once again in the spotlight, here is an inside view of the desperate hope that is the deadly race for Europe

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Posted on 2 December 2021 | 12:00 pm

Lithium mine pits electric cars against sacred Indigenous land – video

As the United States turns to electric vehicles, solar and wind for its clean energy transition, the demand for lithium – used in rechargeable batteries – is on the rise. In a remote corner of the Nevada desert sits Thacker Pass, the site of a planned lithium mine that would make a major contribution to domestic supply of the mineral. But the project faces opposition from members of nearby Indigenous communities, who say the area holds spiritual, cultural and historical importance and would be irreversibly damaged by large-scale mining activity

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Posted on 2 December 2021 | 8:04 am

Sign up for Pushing Buttons: Keza MacDonald’s weekly look at the world of gaming

Sign up to receive our video games editor’s unique insight into the most interesting goings on in the video games world, as well as a selection of the best games journalism from the Guardian and around the world

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Posted on 24 November 2021 | 4:02 pm

Why are all my weather apps different? – video

Predicting what is going on with the weather is important. It impacts every aspect of our life: from deciding what to wear and when we go outside to predicting natural disasters and managing a public health crisis. In this digital age, we have a vast array of different apps that can predict the weather to a decent level of accuracy. But there is a frustrating anomaly with weather apps: often they cannot seem to agree. Josh Toussaint-Strauss explores why there are regular discrepancies between weather apps and how to get the best out of them

Thanks to the University of Reading and its department of meteorology

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Posted on 18 November 2021 | 10:15 am

Sign up for Down to Earth: The best way to make sense of the biggest environment stories

Subscribe to receive an exclusive weekly piece from our top climate crisis correspondents, as well as a digest of the biggest environment stories

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Posted on 20 October 2021 | 4:04 pm

‘Creativity is about thinking differently’: an advertising trailblazer on the secrets of staying inspired

As part of a series on life hacks from highly creative people, Karen Blackett, UK country manager for WPP, tells us how she gets into the zone

When Karen Blackett was small, her parents used to tell her to get comfortable being memorable because at times she would probably be the only female, not to mention Black person, in the room.

Since then, Blackett, 50, has climbed to the top of the advertising industry, conquering imposter syndrome along the way. She is the UK country manager for the advertising giant WPP, as well as UK chief executive of GroupM, WPP’s media investment company, and chancellor of the University of Portsmouth.

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Posted on 27 September 2021 | 2:46 pm

‘Being dyslexic helps me get creative’: one tech entrepreneur on her sources of inspiration

As part of a series on life hacks from creatives, Pip Jamieson – founder of professional network The Dots – explains how rewilding her woodland and deleting some apps gives her the headspace she needs

Pip Jamieson is the founder of The Dots, a professional network for creatives. Describing herself as “delightfully dyslexic”, Jamieson couldn’t read until she was 11. Nevertheless, she picked up a first in economics from the University of Edinburgh before going on to blaze a trail in the creative industries.

Throughout her career, she’s had to be both highly creative and tirelessly productive. She started out in the civil service, where she worked for David Blunkett, the former home secretary, before going on to pioneer several key projects at MTV, including the launch of MTV and Nickelodeon in New Zealand. After living in the southern hemisphere, she returned to the UK and founded The Dots in 2014.

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Posted on 27 September 2021 | 1:33 pm

Be authentic: how businesses are driving sales through Pinterest

Rosie Mullender explores what makes ‘Pinners’ such as herself so passionate, involved and ready to shop

Like many people, lockdown has made me rethink my lifestyle. In my case, it means selling up my cramped London flat and moving to the coast. I’ll finally have access to a garden and be able to offer a dog a home. But big plans require lots of smaller decisions, inspirations and ideas. So in between house-hunting, I’ve been busy using Pinterest, saving ideas by creating a board labelled “small gardens” and another named “scruffy dogs”. I already know which bone-shaped dog bowl I’m going to buy for my future pooch, and how to use mirrors to make outside spaces look bigger.

For those who aren’t familiar with Pinterest, the platform allows users to express themselves visually by creating different digital boards on any subject under the sun. Pinners can search for and save videos, photos and articles, and inspire others by posting their content for them to save. Boards can even be jointly curated so friends and family can share their ideas, making tasks such as redecorating a room or planning a holiday infinitely more fun. I’ve shared access to my boards with my mum – also a keen Pinner – so she can suggest ideas from her home in Essex. It’s been a great way of connecting with her, beyond the usual Facetime chats.

Pinterest’s research has identified six types of user (from Left to Right): the Authentic Seeker, the Digital Doer, the Inspired Maker, the Design Maven, the Authentic Explorer, and the Conscious Go-getter

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Posted on 15 September 2021 | 1:32 pm

Find like-minded people, share joys: how Pinterest can help you lean into your authentic self

From inspiring ideas to creative collaborations, the platform gives users the freedom to curate their world

The internet isn’t always a pleasant place to be. Sometimes it can feel as though logging on is less about having fun or sharing experiences, and more akin to being crouched in a muddy trench as bullets whistle overhead.

When it works well, however, the internet can provide spaces for our passions and interests to flourish – fostering a genuine sense of connection and community. After all, one of the original and most magical aspects of our digital age was that, whoever you were, you could find like-minded people who shared your joys and passions – whether you were into maths, rock, wild swimming or Twin Peaks.

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Posted on 15 September 2021 | 1:31 pm

Sign up for TechScape: Alex Hern’s weekly guide to the world of technology

Starting 14 July, a weekly newsletter from our UK tech editor, that will offer a unique insight into the goings on in Silicon Valley and beyond

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Posted on 25 June 2021 | 11:00 am

Guardian Morning Briefing - sign up and start the day one step ahead

Whether it’s the latest manoeuvring in global politics or the ‘and finally’ story that everyone’s talking about, you’ll be bang up to date with the news that counts

The Guardian Morning Briefing breaks down the news stories of the day, telling you what’s happening and why it matters so you’ll be completely up to speed. Besides the main headlines, you can expect a fantastic lunchtime read to get your teeth into, and highlights of what’s on the UK’s newspapers front pages. We’ll make sure you don’t miss a thing. See the latest morning briefing here.

Or try our other emails:

Living in the US? Try First Thing to get the American view

Living in Australia? You may prefer Guardian Australia’s Morning Mail

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Posted on 24 March 2020 | 1:00 am