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The Guardian

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

Coronavirus live news: Tokyo cases hit all-time high as Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia see record infections

Tokyo reports 3,177 new cases; South Korea reports 1,896 new cases; Thailand reports 16,533 new cases and Malaysia registers 17,405 new infections

Prime minister Scott Morrison has called on Australians to channel its Olympians and “go for gold” in the country’s vaccine programme, after he previously insisted repeatedly that the country’s vaccine rollout is “not a race”.

Related: Scott Morrison announces extra financial support for locked-down Sydney

Related: Cautious welcome for rapid antigen tests to control Sydney Covid outbreak, despite reliability concerns

Japan’s vaccination minister has said the speed of the country’s vaccine rollout is less important than ensuring young people take up doses, as Tokyo recorded an all-time high number of cases.

Taro Kono, the vaccination minister, told the Associated Press that Japan is “overshooting” its goal of a million shots a day, so “speed doesn’t matter anymore.” Officials are getting an average of 10 million shots in arms each week after a late start to the campaign.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:27 am

Tom Jones review – still displaying stunning prowess at 81

Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Rejecting the hits to perform recent No 1 album Surrounded by Time in full, Jones explores its cover versions with bombast, heart and wisdom

“I just thought of something,” muses Tom Jones, halfway through a deft and moving set. “The last time I did a show, I was in my 70s. Now I’m in my 80s. How about that?” The roar of applause nearly takes the roof off.

He is, indeed, 81 now, but time has neither dimmed Jones’s lustre nor tamed his ferocious vocal cords. Having long ago secured national treasure status, this august showbiz icon now gazes out at a devoted crowd from a craggy visage that would not look out of place hewn from a mountainside.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:25 am

Joey Jordison, Slipknot’s founding drummer, dies at age 46

Family announce that metal musician, who had transverse myelitis, a nerve disease, died ‘peacefully in his sleep’

Joey Jordison, the drummer whose dynamic playing helped to power the metal band Slipknot to global stardom, has died at age 46.

His family wrote in a statement: “We are heartbroken to share the news that Joey Jordison, prolific drummer, musician and artist passed away peacefully in his sleep … Joey’s death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow. To those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart and his love for all things family and music.”

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:25 am

European shares bounce back, as UK house price growth cools – business live

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto has more than doubled its profits for the first half of the year as soaring post-pandemic commodity prices unearthed record revenues of $12.3bn for the company, reports Jillian Ambrose.

The miner’s better than expected profits for the first six months of the year more than eclipsed the company’s profits over the whole of 2020, following a boom in the market price for iron ore. The cash flow deluge will also hand shareholders in Rio Tinto a windfall dividend of $9.1bn, or $5.61 a share after a year in which the company prompted outrage by destroying the sacred Juukan Gorge rock shelters in Western Australia.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund has joined a consortium bidding for the Morrisons supermarket group, reports our retail correspondent Sarah Butler.

GIC, which has previously invested in UK retail property assets including the Bluewater shopping centre, will invest equity in the £6.3bn Morrisons bid alongside the US investment fund Fortress, the billionaire Koch family and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:24 am

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Fiji win rugby sevens gold again, Biles latest and more – live!

Tennis: Ashleigh Barty and John Peers are through to the second round of the mixed doubles after they beat Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska and Horacio Zeballos. They stormed through the first set, winning it 6-1 in just 19 minutes, but took 50 minutes to come through the second, 7-6. It was Barty’s second match of the day - she and Storm Sanders had earlier lost to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles.

Fencing: Bronze to Hungary! Aron Szilagyi reels off two successive points to wrap up victory to Hungary by 45-40. What an effort though from Max Hartung, against the 2012, 2016 and 2020 individual sabre champion!

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:23 am

UK Covid live news: Labour condemns ‘reckless’ quarantine lifting for those vaccinated in US and EU

Latest updates: Angela Rayner criticises Boris Johnson’s plan to let amber list arrivals who were jabbed in the US or EU avoid quarantine

And here are some more non-Covid lines from Boris Johnson’s LBC interview.

I don’t wish to comment on any of the sayings of any of my former advisors, who are now many ... I looked at it the other day; in the last year I think we’ve had about 220 people arrive in Number 10. I don’t know how many have left, quite a few, and I’m sure they’ve all got something interesting to say, but I have no intention of commenting on it.

It is a project that will ... help to revive the ship building industry in this country, drive immediate jobs and growth for young people in a sector in which this country used to lead the world.

When you consider the opportunity for the UK, as we compete now for inward investment in the UK, we need a place where the best of British business and industry can come together to showcase what we have to offer.

Related: UK royal yacht could cost taxpayer £50m more than initially said

No one would want to pay our fantastic police more than I would. We’re just going through a tough time financially for the government and I think most people do understand that.

Labour has described the plan to let people who have been fully vaccinated in the US and EU avoid quarantine if arriving from amber list countries, which are expected to be approved by ministers today, as “reckless”. This is what Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, told Sky News this morning when asked about the proposals. She said:

At the moment, everybody wants to go on holiday and get back to normal as quickly as possible, but this is reckless.

We know that the Delta variant came into this country and delayed the lifting of some of the restrictions and caused infections here. We need to make sure that we’ve got proper data-driven analysis, and that we look at an international passport for vaccines.

So therefore we believe that at the moment the government hasn’t done enough to safeguard our borders, and we haven’t got an internationally recognised vaccine passport, which is what the government said they were working towards. So it does feel reckless.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:21 am

Slipknot’s Joey Jordison corralled chaos with his explosive talent

In combining both pummelling impact and nimble speed, Jordison defied his short stature to become a hulking master of rhythm – and the finest metal drummer of his era

• Joey Jordison, founding Slipknot drummer, dies at age 46

To better understand the magnitude of former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison’s death at the age of 46 requires us to first recall the loss of another drummer. Praised universally for his technical wizardry and powerhouse style, Rush’s legendary Neil Peart died in January 2020 – a watershed moment for rock drumming. Eighteen months later, we now face the heavy metal equivalent.

While there’s a strong case for Slipknot as the greatest metal band of their generation, Jordison was almost definitively the finest metal drummer of his era. Born in the band’s native Des Moines, Iowa, Jordison picked up his first pair of drumsticks aged eight. He co-founded the nine-piece Slipknot in 1995 and spent 18 years behind the kit for the megastars. Slipknot developed their own lore: there were the obvious nods to horror in the terrifying face masks and boiler suits they wore for live performances, and each member was assigned their own number. Tellingly, Jordison was No 1.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:15 am

Sheffield Forgemasters nationalised after £2.6m takeover by MoD

State acquires defence manufacturer to secure of supply parts for Royal Navy’s ships and submarines

The UK government has nationalised defence manufacturer Sheffield Forgemasters to secure the supply of parts that are vital for the Royal Navy’s ships and submarines.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it would spend £2.6m to acquire the whole of the company, and planned to invest as much as £400m over the next decade to replace critical equipment and infrastructure required for the company’s military production capacity.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:15 am

Wizz Air expects return to pre-Covid passenger levels in August

Summer holiday bookings rise for Hungary-based but London-listed airline

Wizz Air has said it expects passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels in August amid a steady climb in summer holiday bookings despite Covid-19 pandemic restrictions across Europe.

In an upbeat statement to the London stock market on Wednesday despite a €114m (£97m) loss between April and June, the budget airline said it expected to operate at 90% of its pre-pandemic capacity in July and 100% in August.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:13 am

Simone Biles wins all of my medals | Maeve Higgins

My heart soars imagining how much anguish will be side-stepped by girls and women who pay attention to Simon Biles’ wise words

This week was not the first time I watched Simone Biles in action and thought “Wow, I wish I could do that!” It was, however, the first time I thought I might actually be able to. I myself am a writer, making me the natural opposite of an athlete. As I slump in front of my laptop and watch her flip and twist and fly through the air, I am dazzled. But when she tells a barrage of cameras and microphones that she is withdrawing from the women’s team final mid-competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games to focus on her mental well-being? I am awe-struck. I sit up immediately and listen carefully to what she says, on her social media and during press conferences, and I learn over and over that you’re allowed to step back when you need to. I see from her demeanour that it’s an extremely difficult thing to do, but that it is possible. No matter how much pressure you’re under you can simply state your needs, make your health a priority and fundamentally not feel you must do what everyone else wants you to do. Forget about the Yurchenko double pike vault, it is that move - the defensive retreat, the protective step back - that wins her all of my medals.

Of course that’s a corny thing to say, and in any case I don’t have any medals except a battered one from my summer of ‘93 read-a-thon. Besides, Simone Biles stopped needing to win medals to prove her greatness a long time ago, although that has not stopped her from winning them. During the 2019 World Championships she won five gold medals and became the most decorated gymnast in World Championship history. She is a once in a lifetime athlete, perhaps the best there’s ever been. Even in all this week’s furore, herself and her team won silver medals, an achievement as much hers as her three team-mates. The others were extremely clear on that, with one of her teammates, Jordan Chiles stating: “But at the end of the day, we did though,” she said. “This medal was definitely for her because if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be here where we are right now.”

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:11 am

Why is a big oil company investing huge amounts of money in Wyoming wind?

Anschutz Corporation, which made billions drilling oil, is building a 732 power line to carry renewable energy to cities including Los Angeles and Phoenix

Some days, the wind rips across Wyoming’s southern plains at 70mph. Cottonwood trees bend, tall grass lies flat and 18-wheel trucks tip over along Interstate 80. It only takes a breeze of about 6mph to get the long white arms of an electricity-generating wind turbine turning, at full speed they can power thousands of homes.

As one of the US’s windiest states, Wyoming has enormous potential to help power the country’s green revolution, but renewable energy in the west has long been dogged by a fundamental problem of transmission. Wind and solar farms tend to be located in remote areas separated from populated cities by hundreds of miles of rugged terrain, a tangle of government regulations and resistance from landowners who don’t want power lines buzzing over their yards.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:00 am

‘We don’t deserve this’: new app places US caregivers under digital surveillance

Electronic visit verification systems make homecare more difficult, trap people with disabilities, and cost more than paper timesheets. So why are they rolling out across the country?

For years, LeDanté Walker set aside what little extra cash he could find so no matter the issue with his health insurance coverage, his caregiver was always taken care of.

Walker, who sustained a spinal cord injury when he was ejected from the back seat of a car in a 1997 accident, relies on a home care worker for many day-to-day functions, from moving from his bed to his wheelchair every morning, to helping him shower, get dressed, go to the bathroom and prepare meals.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 10:00 am

UK royal yacht could cost taxpayer £50m more than initially said

Defence secretary says Britannia replacement would cost up to £250m at event to launch project

Britain’s new royal yacht could cost the taxpayer an initial £50m more than previously indicated at a total cost of £250m, the defence secretary said at an industry event to launch the project.

The replacement for the long-scrapped Britannia, a brainchild of the prime minister, Boris Johnson, would be commissioned at “between £200m and £250m at a firm price”, Ben Wallace told a specially convened conference at Greenwich.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:48 am

Major heading restrictions agreed for English football at all levels this season

The amount of heading allowed by players in training across the adult game in English football is to be severely restricted from this season because of welfare concerns, under guidance agreed by the game’s main bodies.

The Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers Association issued recommendations on Wednesday amid fears that repeated heading may lead to dementia.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:40 am

‘Fishermen’s day’ must let women compete, German court rules

Female member wins appeal to be allowed to take part in traditional Bavarian summer event

A German court has ruled that women cannot be excluded from a traditional event in which fishermen compete to catch the biggest fish in a stream that runs through a Bavarian town.

The state court in Memmingen said the group that organises the town’s Fischertag, or fishermen’s day, must allow female members to participate in the climax of the annual summer event, which features people jumping into a stream with nets to catch trout. Whoever catches the biggest fish is crowned the “fishermen’s king”.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:40 am

Dire poverty in north-east England ‘driving many more children into care’

Directors of children’s services say region is in ‘vicious cycle’ after 77% rise in care population

The 12 directors of children’s services in the north-east of England have warned that “shameful” levels of poverty in the region are driving dramatic rises in child protection intervention and the number of children in care.

The north-east has the highest rate of referrals to children’s social care in the UK, significantly higher than the national average, according to a joint report by the directors of children’s services in the region.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:26 am

Another roaring 20s? We need to do better than that | Dan Davies

When the pandemic wanes, bold ideas and big investment could create a new economic miracle for the 21st century

Economic history isn’t like normal history – it doesn’t repeat itself as farce and it doesn’t rhyme. Technology moves on, political and legal systems develop, debtors turn into creditors and vice versa. But some economic structures remain stubbornly the same. As Karl Marx said, we make our own history, but not in circumstances of our own choosing. Using the past to guide decisions in the present requires understanding what has endured and what has changed, and taking a sober view of our history – not simply replicating the supposed golden ages of the past.

For that reason, we shouldn’t aim to repeat the “roaring 20s” just because the decade starts with a two and we’re (hopefully) coming to the end of a pandemic similar to the Spanish flu. Despite the name, the roaring 20s were not all that great for most of the population. Growth was sluggish and the falling prices of consumer goods concealed widening inequality by making everyone feel rich, much like the decade preceding the 2008 financial crisis. In the 20th century as in the 21st, a period of growth ended in a financial crash, a lost decade, the rise of rightwing populism and leading countries turning their back on trading blocs.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Spirit Untamed review – family animation is tamer than a sedated bunny

This sequel to the 2002 film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron may please very young children, but it is a much lesser beast

The 2002 family animation Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron told the tale of a noble stallion’s battle to stay free in the 19th-century old west. Now comes a sequel in which the truly wild creature is not a horse but a 12-year-old girl with a stubborn streak. She is Lucky (voiced by Isabela Merced), whom little kids may recognise from the Netflix spin-off series. This film is a sort-of origin story to the show, an account of how Lucky and Spirit the stallion meet. It’s a sweet, undemanding film that, despite the title, is tamer than a sedated bunny. That said, the four-year-old I watched with spontaneously yelped “this is the best!” 20 minutes in. So really, what do I know?

Lucky is travelling on a train when she first claps eyes on Spirit galloping across the prairie with his herd. After years living with her grandpa – and wreaking havoc on his plans to become governor, with her unladylike ways – Lucky is travelling out west to live with her widowed dad, Jim (Jake Gyllenhaal), who runs the family railroad business. She spies Spirit again in the town’s corral, captured by a vicious wrangler who is attempting to break him. Where the wrangler fails with brute force, Lucky succeeds with a good heart and a bucket of apples.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:00 am

Sajda Mughal: the woman who survived 7/7 – and began fighting extremism

After the tube she was commuting on was blown up, Mughal’s life changed for ever. A Muslim herself, she was horrified to hear Muslims been behind the attack. So she quit her job and started her own programme to take on extremism

Sajda Mughal was on her daily commute to her dream job in City recruitment on the morning her world was turned upside down. It was a July day in London, 16 years ago, one that throbbed with the summer heat, and Mughal was running late for work. She ducked into Turnpike Lane tube station in north London, as she usually did, and boarded the Piccadilly Line train. The one thing she did differently that morning was not getting into the first carriage of the train. “Every day until 6 July 2005, I would sit in that first carriage. Maybe it was a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or maybe I knew the first carriage was where I’d get a seat. But, on that particular day, I was late, so I rushed on to the platform and, instead of doing my usual thing, I just got on.”

This detail became all-important when, a few stops later, at King’s Cross, the 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay got on to Mughal’s train, boarding the first carriage, and blew himself up. “Twenty-six people died, most of whom were in the first carriage,” she says.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 9:00 am

‘Climbing fast’ – Scott Cooper and the football revolution in the Philippines | John Duerden

The Englishman on being national team coach in a country where boxing and basketball have traditionally ruled the roost

Until Lionel Messi, Paulino Alcántara was the top scorer in Barcelona’s history with 357 goals. But until the advent of the internet, many had forgotten that “The Net Buster” had been born in the Philippines and inspired the Asian team to their biggest win, a 15-2 thrashing of Japan in Tokyo in 1917. Alcántata’s history is talked about more these days in Manila and the provinces but it is the future that is really starting to excite.

It is not that surprising that his exploits were somewhat overlooked given the fact that the Philippines was an American colony at the time and that influence remains in a sporting sense. Basketball and boxing are still ahead of football but the beautiful game is catching up with a potential that is unparalleled in the region according to the national team’s English coach, Scott Cooper. “We can be competitive in Asia but we don’t know how far we can go and we are very excited.”

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 8:46 am

Barclays shareholders to receive £800m as Covid payout curbs scrapped

Bank’s pre-tax profits rise to £2.6m in second quarter after lifting of most UK lockdown restrictions

Barclays shareholders are in line for a payout of more than £800m from dividends and share buybacks after a rise in profits as the UK economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Barclays is the first major UK bank to hand money back to investors since the Bank of England scrapped the remaining Covid restrictions on shareholder payouts, which were introduced by the central bank at the start of the pandemic last year.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 8:43 am

ITV ad revenues rebound on back of Euro 2020 and easing of Covid controls

Broadcaster reports largest June advertising revenues in its 66-year history

ITV said it has put the worst of the coronavirus pandemic behind it, after the Euro 2020 football tournament and the easing of lockdown restrictions fuelled the largest June advertising revenues in its 66-year history.

The broadcaster said advertising revenue in June rose by 115% compared with the same month a year earlier as overall group revenues increased by a quarter for the first six months of 2021 to £1.8bn.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 8:20 am

Bob Odenkirk collapses on Better Call Saul set

Crew members called an ambulance that took the 58-year-old actor to a hospital where he remained on Tuesday night

Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk collapsed on the show’s New Mexico set on Tuesday and had to be hospitalised.

Crew members called an ambulance that took the 58-year-old actor to a hospital, where he remained Tuesday night, a person close to Odenkirk who was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter told the Associated Press. It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse or how long the actor might be in hospital.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 8:17 am

Countdown to the airstrike: the moment Israeli forces hit al-Jalaa tower, Gaza

First comes the warning call – then the race to evacuate. Residents of a Gaza apartment block recall the frantic minutes before their homes to were turned to rubble

Warning: this interactive contains audio, photos and videos that some may find distressing

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 8:00 am

Tattoo Redo review – Red Hot Chili Peppers lyrics, be gone!

Netflix’s new reality series is daft but wholly endearing, as artists work with couples and friends to replace much-loathed ink with joyous, meaningful designs

“I had a friend who had a tattoo gun …”

“I lost a bet.”

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 8:00 am

‘We have to pay the price’: Oslo’s plan to turn oil wealth into climate leadership

The mayor of the Norwegian capital argues that the ‘moral’ duty to cut emissions from burning waste can be met by carbon capture

The city of Oslo was built on wealth generated by the North Sea, which for decades has produced billions of barrels of oil and gas. But Oslo now hopes to lead Norway’s transformation from one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels to a global green pioneer.

For Raymond Johansen, Oslo’s governing mayor, helping to lead global efforts to tackle the climate crisis is both a pragmatic economic response to Norway’s declining fossil fuel industries, and a moral obligation to provide solutions for a crisis it helped to create.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 8:00 am

Call for Hungarian ministers to resign in wake of Pegasus revelations

Orbán’s likely challenger demands action over claims journalists and politicians were potential targets

Hungary’s opposition has called for ministerial resignations from Viktor Orbán’s far-right government over allegations it selected journalists, media owners and opposition political figures as potential targets for invasive Pegasus spyware.

The allegations, published last week by the Guardian and other members of the Pegasus project consortium, were backed up in a number of cases with forensic analysis of mobile devices carried out by Amnesty International, which showed phones had been infected with Pegasus, sold by the Israeli company NSO Group.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 7:56 am

Simone Biles pulls out of Olympics all-around gymnastics final to focus on mental health

Simone Biles has withdrawn from the women’s all-around gymnastics final at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday after a further medical evaluation determined that she is not yet ready to compete. The news followed her dramatic decision to stop competing in the women’s team event on Tuesday after only one rotation on the vault due to mental health issues.

However, a statement from US gymnastics left open the possibility that Biles, who could still compete in four more finals, may return for the individual events at the Games next week.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 7:31 am

Graham Gooch recalls his masterful 154* against West Indies 30 years on

Gooch hit 154 runs from 331 balls in 452 minutes for England at Headingley in 1991. It remains one of cricket’s greatest innings

By Phil Walker for Wisden Cricket Monthly

It’s 8am on a blustery Tuesday and the emeritus professor of run-makin’ is out on the Devon moors rambling through the decades. After resting awhile at Headingley in 1991 and a few other points in between, he lands on 1981, and the memory of a hundred at Barbados in the shadow of Ken Barrington’s death which stops him in his tracks so suddenly that all I can hear is the whistling wind chasing the wisps of his voice. It’s already been a long and sprawling conversation. He pauses, apologises for his tears, and quietly and respectfully exits the call.

Barrington, forever draped in the union flag, was the “father figure and mentor” to a youngish, roguish bunch of England players on that West Indies tour, and Gooch loved him dearly. “A great man. We didn’t have a coach – technically he was our assistant manager – but he assumed the role of coach at the nets. He was a great guy to talk to, it was never about ‘his day’. He just gave you good nuggets of information.”

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 7:00 am

The Country of Others by Leïla Slimani review – a compelling exploration of the past

The bestselling author of Lullaby works her dangerous magic on her own family history in the first of a planned trilogy

The French-Moroccan author Leïla Slimani’s second novel, published in France in 2016 and translated into English as Lullaby, is about a nanny who works for a bourgeois professional Parisian couple, and murders the two children in her care. It caused a huge stir globally, won the Prix Goncourt (she was the first Moroccan woman to win the prize), and caught the attention of President Macron, who appointed Slimani his representative for the “promotion of French language and culture”. The novel is uncannily good at searching out the uncomfortable pressure points where class hurts and privilege excludes and crucifies. Interestingly, Slimani deliberately confounds the usual intersections of race with class – most of the nannies in the book are Maghrebi or African, but the murdering one is white, and her employer, the children’s mother, is a French-Moroccan lawyer. Lullaby is a shocking and affecting book, but in the end I think a confusing one. Sentences succeed one another in a suspenseful tension which depends too much on our helpless fascination with the facts of the crime; the novel’s penetration of the privileged couple’s unease and the nanny’s loneliness can’t finally deliver what it seems to promise, which is any explanation of what’s happened. That could only be a matter for psychopathology. The children’s deaths are pitiable and terrible, but have no political meaning.

Related: Leïla Slimani: ‘This book is a mirror to make the elite look reality in the face’

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:30 am

Andy Murray’s Olympics at an end after GB doubles defeat to Croatian pair

British tennis involvement at the Tokyo Games came to an end on Wednesday as Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury fell painfully short of competing for medals, losing in the quarter-finals to the Croatian pair Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-7.

They were joined shortly after by Liam Broady, the unlikely last British player standing, who put in a third solid performance against quality opposition but eventually lost 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 to Jeremy Chardy in another hot and humid afternoon. He will leave Tokyo after one of the most positive weeks of his career.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:28 am

Hear me out: why GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra isn’t a bad movie

The latest in our series of writers standing up for maligned films is a defence of Channing Tatum’s frenetic franchise starter

The year is 1641. We open in France, where confusingly, everyone is speaking English. A Scottish man has been caught selling weapons to enemies of Louis XIII, and as punishment is forced to wear a red-hot iron mask forever. Cut to “the not too distant future”, where the man’s descendant, Christopher Eccleston, is presenting a lecture about newly weaponised flying metal bugs to some Nato employees. “Originally developed to isolate and kill cancer cells, at MARS industries we discovered how to program nanomites to do almost anything. For example … eat metal”. It turns out “nanomites” can also be injected into rocket warheads, and thus the back story and premise of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is explained in less than a minute.

Related: Hear me out: why Predator 2 isn’t a bad movie

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:28 am

‘They stood firm’: Poverty and police violence in 70s Northern Ireland – in pictures

In 1978, Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins visited Northern Ireland to document the lives of Catholic communities from the inside: ‘I was not neutral and was not interested in capturing it so’

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:00 am

‘I have a scene to do, run!’: backstage at Minack Theatre

Our photojournalist explores the famed outdoor venue in Cornwall as it welcomes back full houses

“I knew of it from pictures I’d seen online and I thought it looked pretty, but when you arrive and see it yourself, it’s like, ‘Oh wow, this is insane,’” says actor Guido Garcia Lueches about the Minack Theatre. “It’s probably the best theatre I’ve ever performed in.”

Carved largely by hand into a craggy, granite cliff-face, the dizzying outdoor venue on the south coast of Cornwall looks magnificent in the summer sunshine. Tiers of subtropical foliage splash colour throughout the landscape and weathered concrete seats bearing the titles of past shows rise abruptly from the stage. The ocean, 100ft below, looks an enticing shade of turquoise.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:00 am

Threat over £115 customs bill charged for bracket worth £12

A debt collector has given me seven days to pay and I daren’t risk a black mark against my credit score

I’ve been threatened with bailiffs over a £115 customs and VAT bill for a plastic bracket worth £12. Last December, I placed a £460 order for home automation equipment with German company, Loxhome 24. The order arrived minus the bracket, which was sent on in January. Before it arrived, I was told it would incur £111 in import duties, which made no sense. Then I realised the charges had been calculated against the entire order. Loxhome promised to send an updated invoice to its logistics partner to sort out the problem, but when a UPS delivery driver arrived he demanded the £111 upfront so I refused the delivery. Loxhome then told me that due to Brexit a delivery was not possible, and the parcel had to be sent back for a refund. That same day, the parcel was put through my door by UPS. I asked them to collect it and it has remained unopened. Six months later, a debt collector gave me seven days to pay £114.95. It looks like I have no choice, as I don’t want to risk a black mark against my credit score.
WK, Cumbria

If the offending bracket had arrived with the rest of the order you wouldn’t be in this pickle, because the original shipment was dispatched before the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December. VAT and import duty did not apply. Nor should they apply to the bracket, since import duty is only charged on goods worth more than £135 and import VAT on items more than £39.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:00 am

A moment that changed me: my mother died – and I became my brother’s legal guardian

I had told my mum that I would look after Declan after her death. But standing in an airport car park, the ramifications began to rush through my head

It was in Stansted airport’s Pink Elephant car park that I realised all the adults were going home. It was early January 2007 and we had just returned from Mum’s funeral in Derry. I watched as uncles and aunts ambled over to their cars, and there the three of us were left: me, 25, my girlfriend, Jade, 26, and my little brother, Declan, who had just turned 16. I was now his legal guardian.

This moment shouldn’t have been a surprise. Mum had been ill, on and off, for eight years and, in her last 12 months, had made plans for what would happen if she didn’t make it. It was a no-brainer when she asked: “What about Declan?” “I’ll look after him,” I instantly replied.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:00 am

UNHCR’s seven decades of work with refugees – in pictures

As refugees in the UK mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the UN refugee convention, we look at the work of the UNHCR around the world since the 1950s

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:00 am

The ‘Boris effect’ is a symptom of Britain’s decaying political system | Rafael Behr

The prime minister’s unlikely alliance of voters can hold only because nothing has broken the country’s two-party mould

There is a growing feeling in the Conservative party that Boris Johnson’s performance as prime minister would be much improved by him being a bit less Boris Johnson.

MPs don’t express the thought in those terms. They praise their leader’s winning ways with voters but regret that his agenda is unfocused. They are thankful for the boost that Covid vaccinations gave to their poll ratings but grumble that the dividend is being squandered while tough decisions go unmade. They admire Johnson’s way with words but despair of the way he mismanages people.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 6:00 am

Thailand puts Covid patients on sleeper trains home to ease crisis in Bangkok

More than 100 patients have already been sent home as country faces its third and deadliest wave of coronavirus

Thailand has begun using sleeper trains to transport Covid patients out of Bangkok, where hospitals have been overwhelmed by a recent surge in cases.

The first train left the capital on Tuesday, transporting 137 patients who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms to their home towns in the north-east of the country.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:34 am

A Worthy Farm camping trip isn’t quite Glasto, but it’s the best we’ll get this year

There’s less noise and fewer people, but a family trip to the Glastonbury site delivers enough of the festival experience to make great memories

There are some things every Glastonbury festivalgoer is guaranteed to experience. You’ll lose yourself in the endless fields and pathways (and your tent at least once). You will plot the perfect itinerary to take in your favourite artists and each area of the site, but only see a fraction of it all. And it will definitely rain.

This year, though, thanks to Covid, the Glasto experience is rather different. A mini online-only version of the festival ran in June (last year was cancelled), but owner Michael Eavis and family are welcoming people to Worthy Farm this summer by, for the first time, opening it as a campsite. For six weeks, visitors can stay in one of 750 pre-erected tents dotted across the site. There’s room for a total of 3,500 visitors at any one time – a smattering compared with the 200,000 of a festival weekend. Gone are the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, the music and the welly-stealing mud. Instead, there are resident cows (it’s a working farm), free children’s activities and a vibe so relaxed you could actually get some sleep, even with little ones.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:30 am

‘We walked 18 hours, no food’: Taliban advance triggers exodus of Afghans

As the conflict intensifies amid the withdrawal of US-led forces, a new wave of families are being forced to flee via perilous routes to Iran and Turkey

A weary Zebah Gul and her eight children are gathered quietly in a small room at a transit centre in Herat, north-eastern Afghanistan. Their six-month attempt to escape the war and find safety has failed.

They have just spent a week in Iranian police detention after being caught trying to cross the border into Turkey, and are beginning to make their way back to their besieged home province of Takhar, on the opposite side of the sprawling country.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:01 am

‘The Queen’s bank’ Coutts joins the ranks of ethical brands

Despite chequered history the 329-year-old private bank has secured the sought-after B Corp status

Private bank Coutts will offer carbon credits and green mortgages to its ultra-wealthy clients after becoming one of the largest UK banking brands to secure B Corp status.

Coutts, known as the Queen’s bank for having served every member of the royal family since George IV, is trying to bolster its environmental and social reputation after being dogged by a series of scandals in recent years, including sexual harassment allegations against its former star banker Harry Keogh, who was sacked in 2018. The bank was also fined by Swiss regulators in 2017 over alleged money laundering and for illegally profiting from transactions associated with the 1MDB scandal.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:01 am

Specieswatch: the truth about the pet shop mealworms

This heavily exploited insect is the larva of the yellow mealworm beetle, whose numbers are declining in the wild

Mealworms seen in pet shops everywhere are the larva of a species of darkling beetle, the yellow mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor. They are heavily exploited and easy to breed – sold live for feeding fish, reptiles, and as bait, and dried for wild bird food. People also eat them in restaurants, baked, toasted or fried.

In the wild, however, the adult beetles – pale brown to black and shiny – are in short supply. Like so many other insects, numbers are declining. The beetles are 12-18 mm long and can be found between May and September occurring over most of the northern hemisphere, although in pockets. For example, in the UK they can be found in the Midlands, East Anglia and the south-east and only occasionally elsewhere. They are attracted to light and fly so may be found in houses before disappearing into dark corners.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:00 am

How an RNLI training pool gave me an insight into crossing Channel as a migrant

Sitting in a small dinghy in darkness as it took on water was frightening enough in a sea survival exercise let alone for real

As I paddled through crashing waves in the darkness, stomach churning, I watched our small dinghy starting to fill up with water with a sinking feeling – it wouldn’t be long before we went overboard, and I was worried that at least one person in my boat was paddling in the wrong direction. But, then again, it might have been me: I was wielding an oar twice my size and it was impossible to tell in the frenzy.

Before we knew it the odyssey was over and the lights were back on. I emerged soaked through – with aching muscles and shot nerves – relieved to be out of the water.

This was the RNLI’s sea survival pool, used to train volunteers in the rigours of life-or-death aquatic rescue. All I had done was traverse a 25-metre swimming pool four times, but it was enough to assure me that repeating that at least 325 more times across the Channel would be a deeply traumatic experience. What’s more, it is a journey that would probably be much longer as a migrant is, in many cases, guided by only a smartphone compass.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:00 am

‘Totally fresh and weird’: Marshall Brickman on Jersey Boys, Dylan and Woody Allen

He wrote gags for The Tonight Show, won an Oscar for Annie Hall – and had a near-miss with the Manson family. As his musical Jersey Boys returns, the writer looks back on 82 years of sex, drugs and jokes

“When you describe it like that,” says Marshall Brickman, “it sounds like I’ve never been able to stick with anything I like!” I had given Brickman a quick run-through of his career highs, from scoring hits with folk band the Tarriers in the 60s, moving into comedy to become head writer on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, then winning an Oscar as co-writer of Annie Hall in the 70s, followed by a Tony in 2006 for co-writing the musical Jersey Boys. “My life,” he says, “is no example of how to plan a creative life whatsoever. My only philosophy is that I pick projects where I don’t mind having lunch with the people.”

When he was first approached to write Jersey Boys, based on the life of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Brickman turned it down. He only changed his mind when he met founding member Bob Gaudio, who told him about their colourful lives, which featured petty crime and encounters with the m afia. “They regaled me with all these stories, many of which were included in the libretto – and then I listened to their music.”

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:00 am

Are Covid jabs ‘Trump vaccines’? No, but I’ll call them that if it means people will take them | Arwa Mahdawi

Trump sycophant Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the ex-president deserves credit for the jab rollout. If that’s the price of herd immunity, so be it

Forget Pfizer or AstraZeneca, the hottest shot this summer is the Trump vaccine. Hang on, you might cry: there is no such thing. Well, Donald Trump’s former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders – a woman who has always had an unusual relationship with facts – begs to differ. Sanders is running for governor of Arkansas, a state with one of the lowest Covid vaccination rates in the US. She seems to want to change that: on Sunday, she published a column explaining her reasons for getting “the Trump vaccine” and arguing that Covid vaccines are safe and effective.

Are you wondering whether Sanders, a Trump sycophant, has turned over a new leaf? Is it possible she suddenly cares more about the public good than political gain? I’m afraid not. Sanders, you see, wasn’t content with using her platform simply to encourage her fellow Arkansans to get vaccinated; she also took numerous jabs at Democrats. The reason some people are scared that vaccines are not safe, according to Sanders, is Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s fault. If “the left truly care about increasing the vaccination rate … they should admit they were wrong to cast doubt on Operation Warp Speed and give President Trump and his team the credit they are due,” Sanders wrote.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:00 am

Leading the charge! Can I make it from Land’s End to John o’Groats in an electric car?

New petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK from 2030, and sales of electric vehicles are rising fast. But with drivers reliant on charging points how practical is the greener option? One writer finds out

Range anxiety hits hard on the A9 in the Highlands of Scotland. For the uninitiated, this is the fear that an electric vehicle (EV) won’t reach its destination before running out of power. I’m driving through some of Britain’s loveliest landscape – mountains, rivers, lochs and firths – but I hardly notice. I’m focused hard – on the road in front, but mainly on two numbers on the dashboard. One is how far it is in miles to where I’m going; the other is the range in miles remaining in the battery. Sometimes, especially on downhill stretches when what is known as “regenerative braking” means the battery is getting charged, I tell myself it’s going to be OK, I’ll make it. But going uphill the range plummets. Squeaky bum time.

Plus, I’ve read Michel Faber’s Under the Skin. I know what happens to men stranded on the A9. To range anxiety add the fear of being processed and eaten by aliens.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 5:00 am

‘Please explain what OG means’: delight as Fiji politician discovers Twitter

Pio Tikoduadua, president of the opposition National Federation Party, has won praise and followers with his faltering attempts to understand social media

A leading opposition MP from Fiji is delighting new social media followers with his wide-eyed discovery of Twitter, even as the country is experiencing heightened political tensions.

Pio Tikoduadua, who is the president of the National Federation Party, announced on Monday that while his Twitter account had been created a while ago, it had been run by his staff until now.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 4:59 am

Greenpeace criticises New Zealand Rugby deal with petrochemical company Ineos

Ineos has been accused of using sports to ‘greenwash’ its reputation

New Zealand Rugby’s decision to sign a six-year deal with global petrochemical company Ineos has been criticised by Greenpeace, who said it fundamentally goes against the country’s “clean, green” values.

NZ Rugby announced the company will become the official performance partner for its seven teams from 2022. Ineos is a UK oil, gas and petrochemical conglomerate – the third largest company of its kind in the world. Its main shareholder is billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, and the company has lobbied to weaken green taxes and reduce restrictions on fracking.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 4:20 am

Team GB men strike Olympic gold in pool again with stunning relay win

If you picture the greatest sights you have been lucky enough to see in your life, they almost certainly did not look as sweet as the view down lane four of the Olympic pool at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre did to Tom Dean, James Guy, and Matthew Richards as Duncan Scott came down the stretch on Wednesday afternoon. Scott had a body-length lead after the turn for the final 100m of 4x200m freestyle relay final, and was pulling further away from the field. “As soon as Duncan had 100m to go I was thinking: ‘Game over, he’s not letting anyone go past him,’” Guy said. “He’s Duncan Scott, he never does.”

Not that Guy could see too much of it, exactly, because he was already in floods of tears, overcome, for those final few seconds, by the knowledge that he was about to be an Olympic champion.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 4:08 am

Ariarne Titmus assumes swimming crown after another Olympic gold for Australia

A new queen of the pool has been crowned. Twenty-year-old Australian prodigy Ariarne Titmus emphatically took the women’s swimming crown from American Katie Ledecky at the Tokyo Games on Wednesday. Having conquered the five-time Olympic gold medallist in the marquee women’s 400m freestyle on Monday, Titmus was again too fast in the 200m freestyle final.

The Tasmanian’s two victories in 48 hours – only the first and second time Ledecky has lost individual finals in her three Olympic outings – have seen her usurp the 24-year-old as the female swimmer to beat. Titmus can add to her medal haul in the days ahead; she will again face Ledecky in the women’s 800m freestyle, and the pair will likely face off during the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 2:09 am

The Republican backlash in Joe Biden’s America

It might seem like a post-Trump world, but in red states across the US his most hardline supporters are setting the political agenda. How much power do they have to shape the country’s future, even with a Democrat in the White House?

To a casual observer, Joe Biden’s victory in the last US presidential election, coupled with Democratic success in the Senate and the House, might have seemed to turn the page on the Donald Trump era and consign his hardline policy agenda to the past. But a huge amount of power in the US resides in its 50 state legislatures, and Republicans won a clear majority in 30 of them. In large parts of the US they are now using that power to enact a policy agenda that many observers view as being far more extreme than many voters would have supported. So why are they going ahead anyway?

Rachel Humphreys speaks to David Smith, the Guardian’s Washington bureau chief, about the politics that lie behind that move to the right, and how in the era of coronavirus it will further deepen the sense that there are two vastly different Americas. Smith reflects on what threat to Biden’s agenda the state Republicans will present and whether their strategy of appeasing their base could pave the way for a new Trump run at the presidency in 2024.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 2:00 am

‘No parallels’: 2,300-year-old solar observatory awarded Unesco world heritage status

Chankillo in Peru features 13 stone towers built in 250 to 200 BC that functioned as a calendar by marking the rising and setting arcs of the sun

The oldest solar observatory in the Americas has been awarded Unesco world heritage status and dubbed “a masterpiece of human creative genius”.

The 2,300-year-old archaeological ruin Chankillo which lies in a desert valley in northern Peru was one of 13 new global sites added to the list of cultural monuments.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 1:35 am

‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli’s $2m Wu-Tang Clan album sold by US government

The album, purchased by Shkreli for $2m, was bought for an undisclosed sum

An unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album that “Pharma Bro” entrepreneur Martin Shkreli forfeited after his securities fraud conviction was sold Tuesday for an undisclosed sum, though prosecutors say it was enough to fully satisfy the rest of what he owed on a $7.4m forfeiture order he faced after his 2018 sentencing.

The entrepreneur once boasted that he paid $2m in 2015 at auction for Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the 31-track double album the Wu-Tang Clan spent six years creating.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 1:23 am

Morocco authorities arrest Uyghur activist at China’s request

Supporters fear Yidiresi Aishan will be extradited and say arrest is politically driven

Moroccan authorities have arrested a Uyghur activist in exile because of a Chinese terrorism warrant distributed by Interpol, according to information from Moroccan police and a rights group that tracks people detained by China.

Activists fear Yidiresi Aishan will be extradited to China and say the arrest is politically driven as part of a broader Chinese campaign to hunt down perceived dissidents outside its borders.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 12:54 am

The incredible true story of the cancer patient who didn’t have cancer | Ranjana Srivastava

People deserve better than a never-ending stream of unproven practices dangled before them in the guise of hope

Ten years ago a desperate young woman walked into my office and declared: “I need your help. I am dying of cancer.”

Her story was incredible. At an integrative medicine seminar she had won a special blood test as a door prize. Thinking of having some bloods done anyway, she had taken advantage of the free offer, only to receive a call telling her she had cancer. It was only after an expensive course of intravenous vitamins that her sceptical cousin asked why no one had at least ordered a CT scan to find the cancer. She convinced her GP to order the scan, which detected two tiny lung nodules. The GP sent her to a surgeon who ordered a different scan, by which time the benign nodules had disappeared. The surgeon told her she did not have cancer but she did not believe him. Then she saw me.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 12:32 am

Critical measures of global heating reaching tipping point, study finds

Carbon emissions, ocean acidification, Amazon clearing all hurtling toward new records

A new study tracking the planet’s vital signs has found that many of the key indicators of the global climate crisis are getting worse and either approaching, or exceeding, key tipping points as the earth heats up.

Overall, the study found some 16 out of 31 tracked planetary vital signs, including greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content and ice mass, set worrying new records.

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Posted on 28 July 2021 | 12:00 am

Julian Assange stripped of citizenship by Ecuador

Authorities cite unpaid fees and problems in naturalisation papers relating to WikiLeaks founder

Ecuador has revoked the citizenship of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who is currently in a British prison.

Ecuador’s justice system formally notified the Australian of the nullity of his naturalisation in a letter that came in response to a claim filed by the South American country’s foreign ministry.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:08 pm

A third of middle-aged UK adults have at least two chronic health issues – study

Childhood poverty and health issues before adulthood all factors in decline in mid-life wellbeing

More than one in three middle-aged British adults are suffering from at least two chronic health conditions, including recurrent back problems, poor mental health, high blood pressure, diabetes and high-risk drinking, according to research that warned that health in midlife is on the decline.

The study of “generation X” adults born in 1970 found that those who grew up in poorer families were 43% more likely to have multiple long-term health conditions than their peers from wealthier households. Those who had been overweight or obese as children, who had lower birthweight and who had experienced mental ill-health as teenagers were also at increased risk of poor health in midlife.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:01 pm

RNLI hits out at ‘migrant taxi service’ accusations

Lifeboat charity says it is its moral and legal duty to rescue people at risk of dying as they cross Channel

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has hit out at accusations it is operating a “migrant taxi service” by rescuing people at risk of dying in the water as they cross the Channel in small boats, which the charity says is its moral and legal duty.

Responding to accusations from Nigel Farage that it is facilitating illegal immigration, the volunteer lifeboat charity said it was “very proud” of its humanitarian work and it would continue to respond to coastguard callouts to rescue at-risk Channel migrants in line with its legal duty under international maritime law.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:01 pm

UK ministers lay out ‘most ambitious’ plan for disabled workers

Strategy to improve conditions for disabled people labelled ‘thin’ and ‘flawed’ by some campaign groups

Ministers have announced plans to help disabled people in the workplace, part of a wider disability strategy billed as the most ambitious in a generation, but condemned by some campaign groups as notably thin in specific policies.

The 120-page strategy, led by the cross-departmental government disability unit, is intended as the first step in an annual process by which all departments will be assessed on how well their policies help disabled people.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:01 pm

Biden to announce vaccine requirement for US federal workers – report

Federal employees will be required to get Covid vaccine or submit to regular testing, according to CNN

Joe Biden says requiring all federal workers to get coronavirus vaccine is “under consideration” as the Delta variant surges.

Meanwhile, CNN has reported that the president will indeed announce a vaccine requirement for all federal employees and contractors, or submit to regular testing and mitigation requirements, according to a source the network said is close to the matter.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:46 pm

Labour says it will make flexible working the ‘new normal’

Angela Rayner announces policy to make ‘work fits around people’s lives instead of dictating lives’

Labour would legislate to make flexible working the default – including working from home or around the school-run – so that “work fits around people’s lives instead of dictating their lives”, Angela Rayner has announced.

Employees already have the right to request flexible hours, but Labour says it would widen the definition of flexible working and give employers a legal responsibility to accommodate it unless they can show it is not workable.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:30 pm

Tokyo Olympics 2020: day four – in pictures

The best images from the fourth day’s action in Tokyo including basketball, gymnastics,diving and fencing

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 9:00 pm

Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka highlight the untenable pressures of Big Sport | Barney Ronay

For those in sport today, pressures are untenable amid an endlessly hostile kind of unregulated social experiment

There are so many well-worn quotes about sport and pressure. Pressure makes diamonds. Pressure is for tyres. The greatest pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves. People often say cliches exist because they’re true. Quite a lot of the time they’re also bullshit.

Related: Simone Biles exits women’s Olympic team gymnastics final over mental health concern

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 8:01 pm

Trump officials can testify to Congress about his role in Capitol attack, DoJ says

Move declines to assert executive privilege for then acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, clearing path for others to testify

Former Trump administration officials can testify to Congress about Donald Trump’s role in the deadly January attack on the Capitol and his efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election, the justice department (DoJ) has said in a letter obtained by the Guardian.

The move by the justice department to decline to assert executive privilege for Trump’s acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, clears the path for other top former officials to also testify to congressional committees investigating the Capitol attack without fear of repercussions.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 7:50 pm

‘Weird and gimmicky’: police chiefs condemn Boris Johnson’s crime plan

PM’s attempt to grip agenda flounders amid criticism he has ignored evidence on stop-and-search

Police chiefs have condemned Boris Johnson’s high-profile strategy to tackle crime as “weird and gimmicky”, while plans to increase stop-and-search were criticised for ignoring the evidence.

The crime initiative was supposed to show the Johnson government gripping the agenda. But senior police officers, the rank and file, opposition politicians and even some in business rebuked it.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 7:32 pm

Team GB make best start to an Olympic Games in modern times

Four golds in four days plus further successes in the pool, gym, taekwondo, triathlon and dressage take overall medal tally to 13

Team GB have now made their greatest start to an Olympic Games in modern times after winning a fourth gold medal in four days in Tokyo. Further success in the pool, gym, taekwondo, triathlon and dressage on Tuesday pushed their tally to 13 overall – although fans were advised not to get carried away with thoughts of leaping beyond the 67 medals won at Rio 2016 quite yet.

The latest golden moment came in the form of swimmer Tom Dean winning the men’s 200m freestyle title after an epic battle with fellow Briton Duncan Scott, who claimed silver.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 7:16 pm

The Knowledge | Which footballers have competed at the summer Olympics in other sports?

Plus: missing two penalties in a shootout, more managers crossing derby divides and low-scoring Golden Boot winners

Mail us your questions or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“We all know of footballers who played cricket, but have any ever competed at the Olympics,” asks Harvey Mayne, presumably meaning in other sports.

Yes they have, Harvey – and in a variety of sports, too. We have already covered footballers at the Winter Olympics so we’re going to stick to the summer Games. Here’s Graeme Park with a former Welsh international you wouldn’t want to mess with competing in Japan on Wednesday. “I would nominate Lauren Price, who has earned international caps for Wales and won world kickboxing titles. She has already won a Commonwealth gold in boxing and is at Tokyo 2020 as the current No 1 middleweight boxer.”

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 7:00 pm

Ben Jennings on Boris Johnson’s crime plan — cartoon

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 7:00 pm

Bairstow leads Welsh Fire to win as Mandhana stars for Southern Brave

Jonny Bairstow might have been limited to only two appearances in The Hundred but he has certainly made them count. The Yorkshireman struck his second consecutive 50 in what was his last game for Welsh Fire men’s side before he departs for England duty and a Test series with India.

Related: England cricketers demand clarity over Ashes travel restrictions for families

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 6:33 pm

The Guardian view on a crime blitz: Boris Johnson won’t make you feel safer | Editorial

Many voters think the government handles crime badly. Unworkable but tough-sounding punishments won’t change their minds.

Boris Johnson was a journalist who wanted to be prime minister. Now in Downing Street, he appears happiest when supplying headlines for the rightwing press. On Sunday, his plan to “blitz crime” was on the front page of the Sunday Express. On Monday, his home secretary was telling readers of the Daily Mail that she’ll make “yobs clean the streets”. At best, the government’s proposals are an irrelevance to tackling crime or making people feel safer. More likely, they will create perverse incentives and make a bad situation worse.

The policies fail on their own terms. Chain gangs are not a good way of deterring criminals. They have not stopped them in the US. This silly stunt will stigmatise a generation of offenders. There is good evidence that stop and search has minimal effects on crime levels, so why persist with a tactic that lowers trust levels? Tagging those released from prison might help reduce recidivism rates. But why devote resources to tagging burglars and not violent offenders?

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 6:03 pm

The Guardian view on Viktor Orbán’s LGBT+ law: the same old playbook | Editorial

Hungary’s prime minister is once again stoking the politics of division ahead of an election

In his victory speech following a third successive election triumph in 2018, Viktor Orbán told jubilant supporters that the result gave voters “the opportunity to defend themselves and to defend Hungary”. For over a decade now, Hungary’s prime minister has skilfully galvanised his political base by cultivating a siege mentality. Three years ago, Muslim migrants were depicted as the enemies at the gates, whose entry would undermine Christian values and traditions. Other targets of choice have included George Soros, NGOs and, the Guardian’s recent Pegasus revelations appear to suggest, critical journalists placed under digital surveillance.

A new election requires a new threat. As Hungary emerges from the pandemic, Mr Orbán and his Fidesz party have entered campaigning mode ahead of a spring poll that is expected to be extremely close. Their baleful gaze has alighted on Hungary’s LGBT+ population and its potential to lead the young astray. Last month, MPs passed a law that prohibits depicting or promoting LGBT+ content to under-18s in Hungary’s schools and the media. The new legislation will heavily restrict the portrayal of LGBT+ people in the arts and entertainment, and elsewhere. Critics have compared it to Russia’s 2013 law against “gay propaganda”, which was duly followed by a disturbing increase in violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 6:02 pm

Tunisia’s political crisis greeted with indifference on streets of capital

There is little sign of anger against apparent coup, but some lament the threat to fragile democracy

Two days after Tunisia’s stumbling democracy ground to a halt, the streets of the country’s capital were quiet, even indifferent on Tuesday, with the presence of army troops near a TV station one of the few symbols of a new and unsettling normal.

Protesters who had raged on Sunday before President Kais Saied sacked the county’s prime minister and suspended parliament were absent from sites that days before had been febrile hubs of discontent. Instead, passersby seemed to go about their business caring little about the gravity of the moment. In some parts of Tunis, the mood was almost celebratory.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 6:00 pm

Team GB’s gymnasts hail ‘incredible’ first Olympic team medal since 1928

Great Britain’s women’s gymnastics team shocked the sport by becoming the first since 1928 to win a medal in the Olympic team finals as they came from behind to secure bronze in dramatic fashion on Tuesday.

“I cannot believe this, this is more than a dream come true,” said Jennifer Gadirova. “My dream was to make the Olympics and experience it and even being here is an achievement in itself. Our biggest aim was to make Paris 2024. Let alone coming away with a medal. It is incredible and there are words to describe it.”

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:59 pm

‘Teething problems’: visitors offered refunds for Marble Arch Mound

Council invites customers to return once the landscape has had time to ‘bed in and grow’

It was supposed to boast glorious views of the capital from a lush, human-made hill in order to tempt shoppers back to central London, but now refunds are being offered to customers who bought tickets for a trip up the £2m Marble Arch Mound.

Westminster city council confirmed refunds were being given out after the project suffered “teething problems” which left its artist’s impression looking nothing like the rather limp reality – leading to a torrent of ridicule on social media.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:57 pm

Galileo Project: scientists to search for signs of extraterrestrial technology

Team will search for evidence of extraterrestrial life by looking for advanced technology it may leave behind

A team of scientists will embark on a new international research project led by Harvard University to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life by looking for advanced technology it may leave behind.

The Galileo Project is led by the Harvard astronomy professor Avi Loeb. Loeb co-founded the project with Frank Laukien, CEO of Bruker Corporation, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of scientific equipment.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:49 pm

Frustrated Bianca Walkden forced to settle for taekwondo bronze

Great Britain’s Bianca Walkden said she felt “a little bit robbed” of the chance to win a silver or gold medal in taekwondo at the Olympics, saying it was “soul-crushing” to have to fight for third place.

Walkden overcame the agony of her last-second defeat in the Olympic semi-final to take bronze in the women’s +67kg category with a 7-3 victory over Poland’s Aleksandra Kowalczuk on the final day of the competition. Speaking after the fight, the 29-year-old told the BBC she believed her semi-final opponent, South Korea’s Lee Da-bin, should have been penalised for a grab before she landed her winning crescent kick in the last seconds of the fight.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:55 pm

Rassie Erasmus hits back at Lions for compromising ‘integrity of the game’

Rassie Erasmus has taken a swipe at the British & Irish Lions for compromising the “integrity of the game” by making their anger known at the appointment of the South African TMO Marius Jonker. In what appeared to be a thinly veiled return of fire, Erasmus then insisted he would never draw attention to the fact that Warren Gatland and Saturday’s referee Ben O’Keeffe are both New Zealanders.

In a remarkable press conference, Erasmus also denied that he was behind the Twitter account “Jaco Johan”, voiced his frustrations with World Rugby, again criticised Mako Vunipola for manhandling Cheslin Kolbe and delivered a withering putdown of Sir Clive Woodward. For, what at first felt like South Africa’s director of rugby facing the music swiftly turned into the Rassie Erasmus Show.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:48 pm

Hundreds of children abused while in care of Lambeth council, inquiry finds

Inquiry into child sexual abuse says abuse occurred over several decades on a scale ‘hard to comprehend’

Hundreds of vulnerable children in the care of Lambeth council in south London were subjected to horrendous cruelty and sexual abuse over several decades on a scale that was “hard to comprehend”, an independent inquiry report has found.

The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) found more than 700 allegations of sexual abuse against hundreds of staff and individuals connected with just three homes in the borough. The true scale of abuse was likely to be far higher, it said.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:41 pm

Low-paid NHS workers deserve better than this paltry offer | Letters

Karen Barratt highlights all those essential cogs in the health service who will not benefit by the government’s largesse, while David Hughes says nurses should take a leaf out of politicians’ greed playbook. Plus letters from Roger Cook and Jean Betteridge

I’ve stood on picket lines in support of junior doctors during the Jeremy Hunt years and am in total support of pay increases for all medical and non-medical NHS workers (Threat of nurses’ strike over 3% pay award for NHS staff, 21 July). Whenever pay scales are quoted, however, they invariably refer to medical pay grades and don’t highlight the harsh reality of low pay for other workers who represent the essential cogs in the NHS machine.

Along with cleaners ensuring the safety of all areas, and porters transporting seriously ill patients and taking the dead to the mortuary, there is rarely a mention of admin and clerical workers, who book clinics, liaise with sick and stressed patients when appointments are cancelled at short notice, chase up no-shows, arrange hospital transport etc.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:37 pm

Let’s ban the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2005 | Letter

The rolling cycle of health-destroying addiction can be stopped by this one simple measure, says Emily Marston

Having read that even Big Tobacco is now apparently willing to fall on its sword for the sake of our children’s future, or whatever (Tobacco firm Philip Morris calls for ban on cigarettes within decade, 25 July), I wish to put forward that the simplest way to approach this, instead of endlessly trying to warn people off the cigs with public health campaigns, would be to ban the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2005.

This would prevent the uptake of smoking by a new cohort of young people, while tobacco products could remain available for another decade in which existing smokers would have ample opportunity to curb their addictions. A flat cohort ban like this would also make ID checks quicker (no maths involved), and harder to falsify, as the age discrepancy of new smokers would become more obvious over time.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:35 pm

Pegasus spyware is just the latest tool autocrats are using to stay in power | George Monbiot

From silencing opponents to spying on citizens, the world’s authoritarians are refining a strategy for perpetual rule

Democracy depends on an equality of arms. If governments acquire political weapons unavailable to their opponents, they become harder to dislodge. They now possess so many that I begin to wonder how an efficient autocracy, once established, might ever again be overthrown.

The Pegasus spyware, whose widespread use by governments the Guardian has helped reveal, is just the latest variety of asymmetric force. The ability to peer into someone’s life from a distance, to track their every movement, word and intention, grants autocrats an unprecedented power. It turns us into informants against ourselves. No one subject to this spying can now plan, however peacefully and democratically, to replace a government without those plans being known in advance and in all likelihood thwarted.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:22 pm

Video shows salmon injured by unlivable water temperatures after heatwave

A conservation group recorded the video after a heatwave in the Pacific north-west on a day when water temperatures breached 70F

Salmon in the Columbia River were exposed to unlivable water temperatures that caused them to break out in angry red lesions and white fungus in the wake of the Pacific north-west’s record-shattering heatwave, according to a conservation group that has documented the disturbing sight.

In a video released on Tuesday by the non-profit organization Columbia Riverkeeper, a group of sockeye salmon swimming in a tributary of the river can be seen covered in injuries the group say are the results of stress and overheating.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 4:00 pm

‘Like hell’: what former Lambeth children’s home residents told abuse inquiry

The report into sexual abuse in London council’s children’s homes heard from many who experienced it

Hundreds of vulnerable children aged two to 19 suffered sexual abuse, violence and intimidation in children’s homes run by Lambeth council in south London over several decades from the late 1960s, a report has found.

Here are three accounts from some of those who gave evidence to the inquiry of their experiences in the care of Lambeth council.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 3:55 pm

UK government backs scheme for motorway cables to power lorries

E-highway study given £2m to draw up plans for overhead electric cables on motorway near Scunthorpe

The government will fund the design of a scheme to install overhead electric cables to power electric lorries on a motorway near Scunthorpe, as part of a series of studies on how to decarbonise road freight.

The electric road system – or e-highway – study, backed with £2m of funding, will draw up plans to install overhead cables on a 20km (12.4 miles) stretch of the M180 near Scunthorpe, in Lincolnshire. If the designs are accepted and building work is funded the trucks could be on the road by 2024.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 3:55 pm

Smash hit: is potato milk the ultimate vegan option?

It’s white, milky, better for the planet – and even works in a cappuccino

Name: Potato milk.

Age: Brand new, although a powdered version has been available – although not very widely – for some years

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 3:54 pm

Unions could have helped to avoid this ‘pingdemic’ mess – but no one asked them | Frances O’Grady

Ministers have been more interested in placating libertarian Tories than talking to England’s essential workers

Last week, as the country was hitting peak “pingdemic”, I met key workers, in places ranging from food plants to care homes, in Manchester. They had been clapped and thanked many times, including by the prime minister. But they told me they still didn’t feel valued – and not just over their pay.

Time and again, ministers have launched schemes from their desks in Westminster that profoundly impact health, safety and lives without ever asking the views of workers and their unions. Dealing with the economic chaos caused by workers in critical sectors being pinged by the NHS app is just the latest example.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 3:09 pm

Warm salads for cool summer days | Kitchen aide

Even if the summer weather means it doesn’t feel like salad season, just heat things up a little. Here’s how …

• Got a culinary dilemma? Email

I need warm summer salad ideas for non-salad days.
Claire, Suffolk

“Salad’s the most important thing to have next to you at all times,” says chef José Pizarro, who agrees that when summer days suffer an identity crisis, Claire is right to warm things up. And she could do a lot worse than his current favourite: grilled ribeye and white peaches with bitter leaves and a sweet PX sherry vinegar dressing.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 1:00 pm

A sandstorm, an app for cats, and seized boats: Tuesday’s best photos

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

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:08 am

How can you prevent dogs jumping at children? How should I respond when it happens?

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical concepts

Whenever we go walking in the countryside with our three-year-old, dogs approach him and frighten him. He has never come to harm, but there is always a concern. It happens within seconds. Typically, the owners either airily tell us their dog is harmless, or they more aggressively say: “What are you afraid of?” Does anyone else have this problem? How can you prevent dogs jumping at children? How should I respond when it happens? Tracey Lewis, Diss, Suffolk

Post your answers (and new questions) below or send them to A selection will be published on Sunday.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:00 am

Nigel Slater’s recipe for a hot and sour summer soup

A sprightly, lively, vibrant dish full of piquant eastern flavours

Warm 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan, then add 2 tbsp of red curry paste. Let the curry paste cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in 750ml of vegetable stock until evenly combined, and bring to the boil.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 11:00 am

France’s last inhabited lighthouse gets Unesco status – in pictures

The Cordouan beacon is the last to be inhabited in France and only the second, after the Tower of Hercules at La Coruña in Spain, to be added to Unesco’s World Heritage list. Cordouan was built at the end of the 16th century and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean from the mouth of the Gironde estuary in south-western France

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 7:30 am

Cameroon with a view: portraits from the post-colonial era – in pictures

A new exhibition showcases three innovative Cameroonian photographers whose images embody the ‘golden age’ of studio portraiture in west Africa

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 6:00 am

Savour the flavour! Chefs on 20 terrific ways to tickle tired tastebuds

Lost your culinary spark after months of lockdown? From carrot-mel to celeriac sorbet, here are simple, surprising secrets to transform your home cooking

Some of us have thrived in the kitchen in the past 18 months, finding it a creative sanctuary. For others, trapped indoors, life on hold, busier than ever but with more meals to cook, it has been easier to fall into a repetitive routine of reliable dishes that, by now, are deeply boring.

The answer to this malaise? Fresh thinking from some of Britain’s best chefs. We asked for their most arresting ideas: revelatory hacks, unexpected flavour combos and daring dishes that will stir the curiosity of even the most jaded home cook.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 5:00 am

The pandemic enters a new phase

Freedom day, vaccine passports, a row over the ‘pingdemic’, and then a welcome drop in cases: it’s been a rollercoaster week in the coronavirus crisis. Science editor Ian Sample speaks to new Today in Focus host Nosheen Iqbal about whether have we turned a corner

A week after “freedom day”, a new pattern has given the UK good news on the coronavirus crisis: new cases fell for six consecutive days, the first time that’s happened without a lockdown in place. But at the same time, hospitalisations and deaths – the result of a previous increase in cases – were still up week on week. And the “pingdemic”, in which 600,000 people were asked by the NHS Covid-19 app to self-isolate in a week, has caused consternation in businesses and hasty exemptions for key workers in an attempt to keep crucial industries afloat.

The Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample, tells new host Nosheen Iqbal what the trend in case numbers could mean. And he looks at a series of questions raised in this new phase of the pandemic, from the likelihood of hospitalisation among people who have had two vaccinations to the prospect of new variants and the risk of long Covid, asking whether the evidence is yet in place to suggest we have turned a corner.

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Posted on 27 July 2021 | 2:00 am

Flash floods will be more common as climate crisis worsens, say scientists

Overhaul of UK infrastructure needed to ensure it is not overwhelmed by impact of extreme weather

Flash flooding of the type seen in London this weekend will become a more common occurrence as the climate crisis worsens, scientists have warned, and the UK government, businesses and householders must do much more to protect against future harm.

Dr Jess Neumann, a hydrologist at the University of Reading, said: “Flooding from intense summer rainfall is going happen more frequently. No city, town or village is immune to flooding and we all need to take hard action right now if we are to prevent impacts from getting worse in the future.”

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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 3:25 pm

The last king of Eswatini? Reporting on protests in Africa's last absolute monarchy

Cebelihle Mbuyisa is a freelance journalist who was beaten for covering pro-democracy protests in the kingdom of Eswatini. Formerly known as Swaziland, the country has been rocked in recent weeks by anti-monarchy protests calling for King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch, to have his powers diluted. 

Protests turned violent, with reports suggesting there have been more than 50 deaths and countless casualties so far at the hands of state security forces. The Guardian spoke to Mbuyisa, who described his experience of being beaten by the police after they accused him of reporting illegally, and explained why protesters are calling for more democracy in Eswatini.

In his first comments since the unrest began, the king called the protests 'satanic' and said they had taken the country backwards.

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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 12:01 pm

Tell us: what is your favourite rainy holiday activity?

We would like to hear about your suggestions for fun activities when the sun doesn’t co-operate

As more Britons spend their summers in the UK due to Covid travel restrictions, holiday plans can be at the mercy of our changeable weather.

With this in mind, we would like to hear about your favourite holiday activities to do in the drizzle. You can share your recommendations below.

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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 10:38 am

The truth behind corporate climate pledges

Facing a reckoning over their contribution to the climate emergency, companies are coming out with a record number of pledges

For climate campaigners, 26 May seemed like the start of a long-awaited reckoning for oil and gas companies.

Over a single 24-hour period, a Dutch court ordered Shell to dramatically cut emissions, shareholders voted to force Chevron to reduce emissions from the products it sells, and a tiny activist investment firm secured three positions on ExxonMobil’s 12-member board for candidates committed to climate action.

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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 7:00 am

The authority gap: why women still aren’t taken seriously – podcast

When journalist Mary Ann Sieghart set out to document the ways that women are held back by a cultural presumption of their inferiority, she found reams of data to support her case – and heard stories of how it affects even the most successful women in the world. She explains why the authority gap persists, and asks what we can do about it

From the very beginning of her career as a journalist in the 1980s, Mary Ann Sieghart found herself pushing against a set of assumptions which accorded her less authority than her male peers – and and led to her being viewed as bigheaded if she showed the same ambition and confidence as they did. When she came to write a book about how experiences such as hers still shape women’s lives, she found a huge range of empirical evidence that confirmed the existence of those prejudices. And when she asked some of the most accomplished women in the world – from Bernardine Evaristo to Hillary Clinton – she learned that they had all experienced the same “authority gap”, no matter how remarkable their CVs.

Sieghart speaks to Rachel Humphreys about why the authority gap remains a pervasive phenomenon, and what tactics women can use to try to circumvent it. We also hear excerpts from some of Sieghart’s interviews, featuring examples of the problem perpetrated by everyone from literary prize judges to restaurant staff to ... the pope.

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Posted on 26 July 2021 | 2:00 am

Plans of four G20 states are threat to global climate pledge, warn scientists

‘Disastrous’ energy policies of China, Russia, Brazil and Australia could stoke 5C rise in temperatures if adopted by the rest of the world

A key group of leading G20 nations is committed to climate targets that would lead to disastrous global warming, scientists have warned. They say China, Russia, Brazil and Australia all have energy policies associated with 5C rises in atmospheric temperatures, a heating hike that would bring devastation to much of the planet.

The analysis, by the peer-reviewed group Paris Equity Check, raises serious worries about the prospects of key climate agreements being achieved at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow in three months. The conference – rated as one of the most important climate summits ever staged – will attempt to hammer out policies to hold global heating to 1.5C by agreeing on a global policy for ending net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.

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Posted on 25 July 2021 | 7:45 am

What sparked the mass violence in South Africa – video explainer

South Africa has recently experienced its worst violence since the end of the apartheid regime 27 years ago. More than 200 people were killed and thousands arrested in a week of civil unrest during which hundreds of shops were looted, factories set ablaze and government infrastructure destroyed. The Guardian's Africa correspondent, Jason Burke, explains how the violence was sparked by more than just the jailing of the former president Jacob Zuma, and what impact it could have on a country where more than half of the population lives in poverty

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Posted on 21 July 2021 | 1:52 pm

UK key workers: how are you experiencing this stage of the pandemic?

We would like to hear from public facing workers such as retail workers, bus drivers and refuse collectors about their current experience

While most social distancing restrictions came to an end in England this week, and eased in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the number of coronavirus infections has continued to rise sharply. On Tuesday there were 46,558 new coronavirus cases in the UK.

We would like to hear from public facing workers such as refuse collectors, bus drivers, retail workers, hospitality workers, and postal workers about their experiences of this stage of the pandemic.

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Posted on 21 July 2021 | 10:39 am

‘We thought this was our forever home. We were wrong’: the joy of downsizing in later life

When Pauline and Alan Cathcart designed their family home, they assumed they would be staying there for good. But once their children had flown the nest, it was time to think about finding somewhere more manageable

Homes don’t come much more idyllic than the one designed by Pauline Cathcart, for her family in Cheshire. Spread across almost 465 sq m (5,000 sq ft), it featured a spacious living room, five bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and a large garden.

“My brother-in-law and I designed the whole house, choosing everything from the bricks and mortar to the design of the windows,” says Pauline.

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Posted on 20 July 2021 | 8:43 am

Pegasus: the spyware technology that threatens democracy – video

Pegasus spyware is capable of bypassing your phone's security and gaining complete access to your device – including emails, messages, GPS location, photos, video and your phone's microphone. A Guardian investigation can now reveal widespread abuse of the Pegasus technology by government clients around the world who purchased the spyware from its Israeli manufacturer, the NSO Group. People who were selected as possible targets include journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders

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Posted on 19 July 2021 | 7:30 am

How to give your kids more freedom: seven days in the life of a nine-year-old exploring independence

Empowering a child can cost parents peace of mind. So, what’s the secret to giving youngsters a bit more freedom over the holidays? Here, nine-year-old Amber takes her first steps towards parent-free play

When Daddy told me I was going to be getting a cool new Neo smartwatch and showed me some pictures of what it would look like I was really, really excited. It looked like the sort of watch a spy or secret agent wears.

This is my diary of the week I spent wearing my new watch during half-term.

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Posted on 15 July 2021 | 10:06 am

Tell us: have you been affected by flash floods?

We’d like to hear how people in England and Wales have been impacted by flooding

Over the weekend thunderstorms have caused flooding in various areas in England, with five flood warnings issued across London and southern England, and 19 flood alerts across other areas including parts of Wales.

We’d like to hear from people who have been affected by flash floods in their local area.

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Posted on 13 July 2021 | 10:05 am

How your mask protects other people – video explainer

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, many countries have brought in rules, and even laws, requiring people to wear face masks to help contain the spread of the virus. But as restrictions are being lifted globally, many governments are loosening the rules around mandatory face coverings. 

With the requirements due to be dropped in England on 19 July, the Guardian's science correspondent Natalie Grover looks at why masks are more about protecting others than ourselves, and where we still might want to wear them

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Posted on 7 July 2021 | 9:51 am

The Brazilian protest leader determined to bring Bolsonaro’s ‘genocidal’ government down - video

The Guardian follows Guilherme Boulos, who ran against Bolsonaro in the last elections, as he leads thousands through the streets of São Paulo, calling for the country’s president to be impeached. 

The pressure is mounting on Bolsonaro as he faces a scandal over allegedly corrupt Covid vaccine deals and public rage over his handling of a pandemic that has killed more than half a million people. 

Boulos has helped lead and organise two mass demonstrations already in the past month and will be at the forefront of a third protest this Saturday. Tens of thousands of people are expected to turn out. 

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Posted on 3 July 2021 | 9:33 am

How residential schools in Canada robbed Indigenous children of their identity and lives – video

In Canada, more than 1,000 unmarked graves have been discovered on the grounds of former church-run residential schools, where an estimated 150,000 First Nations children were sent as part of a campaign of forced assimilation for more than a century until 1996. 

A historic truth and reconciliation commission was conducted in the 2000s. In 2015 it concluded that the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide and that unmarked graves would be found in the former school grounds, but the recent findings still shocked many Canadians and prompted calls for a new investigation. Leyland Cecco explains how the discovery is just the tip of the iceberg in uncovering Canada's traumatic colonial past

In Canada, Crisis Services Canada can be contacted at any time on 1.833.456.4566, or via text on 45645 from 4pm-12am ET  

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Posted on 1 July 2021 | 12:53 pm

‘It can be very lonely’: confessions of a customer service agent

Using digital technologies for less complex tasks can improve the lot of call centre workers, increasing job satisfaction and making time for proper interaction with customers

“I really enjoy my job,” says Sarah*, a customer service agent working for a public sector organisation, “but we’re treated terribly.” This statement will not come as a surprise to anyone who has worked in a similar role. Customer service agents typically have gruelling roles and often bear the brunt of people’s anger when things go wrong – even if the fault had nothing to do with them.

The daily deluge of irate and even abusive customers can take its toll, leaving agents feeling anxious and lonely. We spoke to anonymous customer service agents about their experiences and the impacts of doing such a job.

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Posted on 30 June 2021 | 3:08 pm

Hacking enlightenment: can ultrasound help you transcend reality? - video

Can technology improve the way we meditate? At the University of Arizona, Dr Jay Sanguinetti and master meditator Shinzen Young are using ultrasound to improve our ability to achieve mindfulness – as well as enhance our cognition and wellbeing. They believe it could revolutionise the way we treat those with depression and trauma. But as investors from Silicon Valley become interested in the technology, the pair are fighting to make sure the device is used in the right way and for the right reasons.

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Posted on 29 June 2021 | 11:06 am

One Gaza street, 43 deaths: ‘The real war is the aftermath' – video

Omar Abu al-Ouf lost his parents, grandparents and two siblings when his building was bombed by the Israeli military last month, in a street where 43 people were killed. Two weeks after the 16-year-old was pulled from the rubble, he leaves hospital to visit his remaining family and return to what’s left of his devastated neighbourhood in Gaza City. Many of Omar’s neighbours also lost loved ones, and search through the rubble for possessions, after a war which killed more than 250 people in Israel and Gaza, the vast majority of them Palestinians 

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Posted on 10 June 2021 | 11:07 am

‘People want to be useful’: is the Covid volunteering boom here to stay?

The pandemic gave rise to a volunteer army of millions. Now, charities and other organisations are shifting their focus to retaining and developing these new recruits

From picking up shopping for neighbours to participating in vaccine studies, the coronavirus pandemic has prompted more of us than ever to donate our time to volunteering. Of the more than 12 million adults in the UK who offered their services during the last year, a third did so for the first time – and most volunteers plan to continue helping out in the longer term. Similarly, across Europe, organisations reported a surge in volunteer numbers.

In Ireland too, as elsewhere, people felt the need to do something, says Amy Woods, communications and advocacy manager at Volunteer Ireland. “The start of the pandemic was such a rare time, and more people felt compelled to do something to help. We saw a huge increase in the number of people wanting to volunteer, with 30,000 people on our database saying they wanted to help out with Covid-19. While some existing opportunities, such as volunteering in charity shops, fell away, a lot of new ways to volunteer popped up, such as grocery shopping for older people, or helping out at vaccination centres.”

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Posted on 26 May 2021 | 9:41 am