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The Guardian

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

Argentina 0-38 New Zealand All Blacks: Rugby Tri-Nations – live!

Much more like it from the All Blacks. Dominant from go to whoa.

Both sides keep the ball alive way after the final siren and with tired bodies staggered across McDonald Jones Stadium Patrick Tuipulotu dances through for one final try.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 10:46 am

Iran's supreme leader calls for 'definitive punishment' of scientist's killers

Ayatollah threatens retaliation after president blames Israel for assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

Iran’s supreme leader has called for the “definitive punishment” of those behind the killing of a scientist linked to Tehran’s disbanded military nuclear programme.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Tehran’s nuclear strategy, was assassinated on Friday on a highway near the capital, in a major escalation of tensions in the Middle East.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 10:34 am

Starmer prepares to reopen old Labour wounds over Brexit deal vote

Leader planning to throw weight behind a deal if last-minute negotiations succeed in coming days

Keir Starmer is preparing to risk a party rift by throwing Labour’s weight behind a Brexit deal if last-minute negotiations succeed in the coming days.

In what he hopes will be a signal to red wall voters that the party has heard them, multiple Labour sources said Starmer, and Cabinet Office shadow minister Rachel Reeves – who has been liaising with backbenchers on the issue – are minded to impose a three-line whip in support of a deal, subject to the detail.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 10:26 am

England hospitals risk Covid overload without tiers, Gove says

Senior minister urges MPs to take responsibility for hard decisions amid Tory rebellion

Every hospital in England risks being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases if the new, tougher tier system is not introduced, Michael Gove has said as the government faces a potentially 70-strong rebellion from within its ranks.

Writing in the Times on Saturday, the Cabinet Office minister urged MPs to “take responsibility for difficult decisions” to stop the spread of the virus. Backbenchers have expressed their anger at 99% of England being put in the top two tiers when lockdown ends on 2 December.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 10:10 am

Tilda Swinton with an army of ninja cyborgs! Try our random movie villain generator

With cinemas shut and onscreen rogues at a premium, the only solution is to build your own baddie with our handy widget

Are the bad guys winning? For a hellish moment that felt like the situation in both reality and pop culture. Never mind a harried hero defusing a nuclear bomb at the last second; in the age of Mindhunter, audiences are apparently more interested in analysing what makes evil-doers tick. You see it in Angelina Jolie’s ravishingly wicked Maleficent movies, or TV deep dives into knotty psychologies like Hannibal, Ratched or the soon-to-be-revived Dexter. It has become so normalised that Lucifer – the actual devil! – gets to headline his own slick, self-satisfied procedural.

Related: The Guide: Staying In – sign up for our home entertainment tips

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 10:00 am

Christmas trees: how the costs of real, fake and potted stack up

As garden centres report brisk trade during the lockdown, we looks at the options for the festive season

It will be a Christmas quite unlike any other this year. Yet putting up and decorating the Christmas tree remains one of our most treasured festive rituals and in the quest for “normality” we are buying them earlier than ever.

During the second lockdown, garden centres have been allowed to open and have enjoyed brisk business, while sales have soared for specialist “farmgate” sellers in England since the government last weekend relaxed restrictions and deemed them to be “essential” retailers.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 10:00 am

Both sides of Labour's internal war need to start focusing on a vision for Britain's future | Owen Jones

Starmer is wary of offering any concrete agenda. But with leftwing ideas still popular, there are good reasons to be bold

Even Britain’s worst crisis since the war cannot stamp out the flames of Labour’s seemingly eternal conflict. As constituency Labour parties defy diktats from the party’s general secretary that motions expressing solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn – a year ago, standing to be Labour prime minister, now not even a Labour MP – will be ruled out of order, the former leader’s team is beginning legal action to reverse the suspension of the whip, and to prove a deal was done to bring him back to the party. But while it is tempting to portray this as a clash between two internally unified groups – the Starmerites and the Corbynites – there are more complicated divisions at work.

Related: Jeremy Corbyn to start legal action over suspension of Labour whip

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 10:00 am

'Place of love': Gibraltar becomes marriage hotspot in pandemic

Couples flock to tiny British territory, which requires minimum bureaucracy to tie knot

Gibraltar was never on Bruno Miani’s list of places to visit. –But that all changed when the pandemic upended his plans to marry his girlfriend in Dublin, where they live.

With government offices closed due to coronavirus restrictions, the 40-year-old photographer and his partner, Natalia Senna Alves de Lima, struggled to get the documents they needed for a wedding licence and faced a long wait for an available time slot for the ceremony.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:58 am

Christmas travel tsar appointed to oversee Covid-hit UK networks

Sir Peter Hendy tasked with minimising transport chaos during five-day festive getaway

A Christmas travel tsar has been appointed in an effort to avoid transport chaos during the festive period.

Sir Peter Hendy, the chairman of Network Rail, will scrutinise whether train, air and road networks are ready for millions of people making trips over the five-day window when coronavirus restrictions are eased, the Department for Transport said.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:47 am

Steph McGovern: ‘My most embarrassing moment? Pulling up my tights in front of 1,000 people’

The Channel 4 presenter on ear-piercing, disappointing celebrities and swearing live on air

Born in Middlesbrough, Steph McGovern, 38, won an engineering scholarship at school and gained a degree in science communication and policy at University College London. After eight years as the main business reporter on BBC Breakfast, she moved to Channel 4, where she presents Steph’s Packed Lunch. She lives in Harrogate with her partner and daughter.

When were you happiest?
At the beginning of lockdown; it was just me and my new baby and my partner in the house. It was lovely.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:30 am

From stir-fry to pudding: Yotam Ottolenghi's noodle recipes

Three noodle dishes for maximum winter comfort: sambal crab, homemade biang biang and coconut and pineapple vermicelli

Everyone (still) sitting comfortably? Still eating well? November, hey? Eating-wise, the month has, for me, increasingly become about turning to food that comforts. Comfort food means different things to different people, of course. For some, it suggests something that can be happily slurped or that has to be eaten from a bowl. For others, it’s a meal that can be thrown together quickly or, conversely, that requires a bit of time to perfect. For others still, comfort food is always something sweet. My general answer to this search for comfort is noodles, and my specific answer is this week’s recipes.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:30 am

'It stretches the limits of performance': the race to make the world's fastest running shoe

With its supercharged sole, the Nike Vaporfly bounced on to the winner’s platform at nearly every major marathon last year, smashing world records. Can its rivals keep up?

Natasha Cockram never really cared about shoes. When the Welsh runner entered her first marathon in 2017, she wore a pair of two-year-old Nike racing flats that cost her £15 at an outlet store. And she was a talented athlete: a former junior cross country and middle distance champion, she had won an athletics scholarship to the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. She studied psychology and raced hard.

“What I’ve always loved about running is that it was so accessible,” Cockram, who is 27, says when we first speak in early September. “All you needed was a pair of trainers. It didn’t matter what they were – anyone could just do it.”

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:30 am

Scottish independence never been so certain, Sturgeon to tell SNP

First minister to tell conference main focus is on Covid but independence ‘is in clear sight’

Nicola Sturgeon will open the Scottish National party annual conference by telling members she has “never been so certain” the country will achieve independence.

The first minister will declare Scotland is “now a nation on the cusp of making history” as she insists the SNP’s goal of independence is “in clear sight”.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:15 am

I’m in bed with a stranger – and finally getting some sleep | Hadley Freeman

I thought I’d tried everything for my insomnia, but then I found Tamara Levitt

You all know how much I love 80s movies, and the one rule of 80s movies is that there is always a sequel. So consider this a sequel column. It might not be up there with The Empire Strikes Back, but I reckon it equals the emotional drama of Ghostbusters II.

Back in March, I wrote about my lack of sleep, due to my sleep-resistant baby. Well, funny how that story turned out! The baby is now sleep-trained, but I have managed to un-sleep-train myself. “Is there greater hell than this?” I’d wonder, soothing a bawling baby at 4.13am, but if there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that the answer to that question is always yes. What’s worse than being kept awake by your baby? Being kept awake by your own fritzed-out brain, while that treacherous little baby sleeps peacefully. I’ve considered demanding she now soothe me – a bit of quid pro quo here, baby – but I’m not sure she can sling me over her shoulder.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:00 am

Tackling drunken students by night, teaching by day: PhD students say they are being exploited

Postgraduates have few staff benefits – but bear the responsibilities of the Covid frontline

Eleanor McDonald (not her real name) signed up to be a live-in warden in a student hall at St Andrews University because her PhD funding did not cover her rent and food. Meals and accommodation came with the job, but now so do abuse from drunken, unmasked students being told not to party, confrontations in narrow airless corridors, and students with serious mental health problems whom she has no idea how to help.

“We were told we would have minimal face-to-face contact with students,” she says. “That is not what has happened. We’ve been the only frontline Covid-19 policing force inside the halls of residence overnight.”

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:00 am

Best cookbooks and food writing of 2020

From mouthwatering pastries to simple one‑tin bakes … recipes to transport you around the world

Too many cookbooks have had a cushy time sitting on coffee tables and enjoying the quiet life. This year, things changed and they really had to earn their keep. They became life manuals and mood-lifters, helping us to travel when we couldn’t and show our love for people around us. More than anything, they allowed us to escape.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:00 am

Best books of 2020

A teenager’s nature diary, the race for a vaccine and the return of Lyra ... books have been vital in getting us through the year. Guardian critics pick 2020’s best fiction, poetry, politics, science and more

Fiction

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 9:00 am

‘Why did it take nine hours to go 130 miles in our new electric Porsche?’

A Kent couple love their new car – but their experience suggests there are problems with the charging network

A couple from Kent have described how it took them more than nine hours to drive 130 miles home from Bournemouth as they struggled to find a working charger capable of producing enough power to their electric car.

Linda Barnes and her husband had to visit six charging stations as one after another they were either out of order, already had a queue or were the slow, older versions that would never be able to provide a fast enough charge in the time.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:30 am

More than 2.5m people in England to get free vitamin D

Care home residents and clinically vulnerable to be offered four-month supply

More than 2.5 million people in England are to be offered a free supply of vitamin D by the government, officials have said.

Care homes in England will automatically receive supplies of the supplement for their residents in plans announced on Saturday. People on the clinically extremely vulnerable list will be sent a letter offering them the chance to opt in for a supply to their homes.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:23 am

Frank Lampard resists title talk but knows intensity of Chelsea demands

As Roman Abramovich racks up his 1,000th game, the Russian’s favourite player, now manager, faces José Mourinho’s Spurs with the owner’s support – but knowing he is hard to satisfy

Sunday’s game against Tottenham will be Roman Abramovich’s 1,000th as Chelsea owner. There probably won’t be a cake. Nor should we expect much in the way of a lavish presentation, given that the supreme leader himself hasn’t been glimpsed at a home game in two and a half years. And yet as Abramovich watches on from afar – presumably from his Moscow palace, surrounded by objets d’art and luxury snacks – he may reflect that this is a curiously appropriate fixture to mark the occasion. It is, after all, a meeting between the two men who have arguably defined his 17 years in English football more than any other. His favourite player, and his favourite manager.

Related: My Premier League team of the season so far | Barry Glendenning

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:22 am

Josh O’Connor: ‘I had to advocate for Prince Charles on set. He’s always told: shut up’

Ears aside, Josh O’Connor wasn’t the obvious choice to play the heir to the throne in The Crown. The Labour-supporting republican talks lucky breaks, lockdown and life after Charles

When we meet at 4.15pm on a Saturday in late October, Josh O’Connor is in the middle of one of those hot streaks that British actors occasionally enjoy when everything comes good at once. A new series of The Crown, in which the 30-year-old plays Prince Charles just flawlessly, is due out on Netflix. A day ago, he finished production on Mothering Sunday, an awardsy adaptation of Graham Swift’s novel that should reach cinemas next year. And first thing Monday morning, O’Connor is meant to clock in at the National Theatre to begin rehearsals on a filmed, big-ticket Romeo & Juliet opposite Jessie Buckley. As hot streaks go it’s sizzling, with no obvious end in sight.

At 4.16pm, O’Connor checks his phone and discovers the streak is over. “Hmph,” he says, hunching low over the screen and reading out the government’s announcement of an imminent winter lockdown. “Starting next week. So who knows what will happen now.” He looks up, neutrally – then the freckled face opens into a wide, goofy smile, the expression of somebody essentially good-humoured and easy-going taking life as it comes.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

John Bercow: I've changed my mind - grammar schools must go

The former Speaker and MP for selective Buckingham was an ardent defender - until his own children went to school and he drilled down into the stats

Until last year, I was the MP for Buckingham, in one of the few counties where education is fully selective. In the town there are two state secondary schools, a grammar and a secondary modern, right next door to each other. The Royal Latin, founded in 1423, the one grammar school in the constituency, seemed to me to be the embodiment of excellence and confidence. Next to it was the Buckingham school, the local secondary modern, less traditional, admirably serving its pupils who did not pass the 11-plus.

I was warmly welcomed in both schools. But the local political and civic establishment in Buckinghamshire was much more interested in the grammar school. There was a “them and us” attitude. Grammar pupils were encouraged to feel superior and many secondary modern students probably resented them. In later years, there was more collaboration between the schools’ headteachers – sharing of facilities and joint art and drama events, in an effort to bridge the gap in small ways. When I was elected in 1997, it seemed like an apartheid system.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

Streaming: in praise of new documentary platform True Story

This new streaming service raises the bar with a cleverly curated roster of films that will take you round New York to Kabul via a Brussels hair salon

Even with a larger captive home audience in times of coronavirus, launching a new independent streaming service is a challenge these days. With the best of artistic intentions, trying to get a suitably large subscriber base to support your niche programming amid the spangly distractions of Netflix and the like isn’t easy. Still, I recently encountered one that merits a second glance: True Story, a new-on-the-scene, UK-based global streaming service dedicated to documentaries.

A handful of similar nonfiction-focused platforms have popped up over the years, sometimes stymied by a library of films too small to encourage a monthly subscription, however carefully curated. True Story, smartly, offers punters both subscription and pay-per-view options: you can feast on their entire (and not insubstantial) selection of documentaries for £6 a month — following a free trial — or simply rent films individually at £3.90 for a week.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

Can dozens of new Republican congresswomen change the face of the GOP?

Moving away from a white- and male-dominated party is the only way for it to survive, pollster says

Kat Cammack was raised on a cattle ranch by a working class single mother. She was the third generation of her family to go into business as a sand blaster. And at 32, she is about to become the youngest Republican woman in the US Congress.

“I think a lifetime of experiences has shaped me to be a Republican and a conservative,” said Cammack, elected to an open seat in Florida. “There has been a stereotype about the Republican party, that it was the Grand Old Party, that it was your grandfather’s political party of choice. The election in 2020 has definitely helped push back on that narrative.”

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

My golden rule for social media: talk trash to your heart’s content, but do it in private | James Greig

The impulse to vent about others is hard to resist. The trick is to do it without hurting anyone

Some friends of mine, a couple working from home together, have reacted to the boredom of lockdown by turning their hairless cat into a workplace antagonist, muttering darkly about his behaviour from the other side of the room. The impulse to invent enemies runs deep. And now that our entire social lives have been reduced to the domestic and online spheres, there’s a lot of dark energy going around. And it has to find an outlet somewhere.

Related: Saying what you want without fear of offence sounds good... until you do it | Andrew Hankinson

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

Are we the baddies? Pop culture’s grand reckoning with good and evil

As film and TV deal with a rapidly changing world, it’s becoming harder to tell who the real villains are

If pop culture is any guide, we tend to be more honest with ourselves through our villains than our heroes. In crimefighters and caped crusaders, writers invest humanity’s most aspirational qualities, creating an ideal against which we can measure our own efforts to be and do good. In their antagonists, however, we see the flawed shadow-selves that we can’t help being. Jealousy, pettiness, vanity, selfishness: our commonplace mortal frailties undergird even the most megalomaniacal of super-foes.

Related: The Guide: Staying In – sign up for our home entertainment tips

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

Most expensive family feud in history to take the stage at London court

Acrimonious fight between Tatiana Akhmedova and her ex-husband and son centres on a £453m fortune

The most expensive – and acrimonious – family breakdown in history will be laid bare in a London court next week in a divorce battle over a £453m fortune that includes several luxury mansions, a superyacht called Luna, a helicopter, a private jet and an art collection including pieces by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst.

Tatiana Akhmedova will accuse her ex-husband, Farkhad Akhmedov, an oligarch and ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and their son Temur Akhmedov of hiding hundreds of millions in assets in order to avoid paying the blockbuster settlement awarded to her by the high court in 2016.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

HS2 urged to rehouse London council block residents over disruption

Construction making conditions in Camden flats ‘unbearable’, says Keir Starmer, the Labour leader

HS2 Ltd has been urged to fund the rehousing of 175 council households in London enduring “unbearable” conditions due to construction works on their doorstep.

Related: Cost of HS2 high-speed rail line rises by £800m

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

'Grain to glass' distiller hopes to put Wales on world's whisky map

In The Welsh Wind distillery already taking orders for 30-litre casks of ultra-local spirit

The barley has been grown in fields with spectacular views over Cardigan Bay and malted on a local farm. The all-important water comes from springs deep beneath the Welsh countryside.

A small distillery in west Wales is at the centre of what it hopes may turn out to be a quiet whisky revolution.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

New variety of apple discovered by Wiltshire runner

Archie Thomas stumbled across solitary windfall fruit that could be cross between cultivated apple and European crab apple

A chance find of an apple on a woodland run has led one nature lover to discover a new variety that he hopes to propagate and name.

Archie Thomas, who lives in the Nadder valley in Wiltshire, stumbled across a solitary windfall apple on a wooded trackway alongside a large area of ancient woodland near his home this month.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

Jacob Collier: 'weirdo' Brit to battle for Grammy album of the year

Better known in the US, the relatively obscure British pop star is set for wider recognition as he takes on Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and more for the top Grammys prize

He has been compared to Mozart by Chris Martin and likened to Bernstein by BBC Proms director David Pickard. Until this week, however, Jacob Collier was not a household name, at least not in his native UK. That changed on Tuesday when the 26-year-old was unexpectedly nominated for the Grammy award for album of the year – one of pop’s most prestigious prizes – alongside Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, and Coldplay (whose album Everyday Life he also contributed to).

Two days later, Collier is still reeling. “I think I’ve about 28% absorbed the news at this point,” he says over Zoom from his family home in north London, where he recorded the album in question – Djesse Vol 3 – during the first months of the pandemic. Even given the ongoing second lockdown, Collier’s celebrations were on the modest side. “I had a nice tall glass of water,” he says. “It’s such a 2020 project so I guess it merits a 2020-style introverted celebration.”

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

Few should have the stomach for farcical fight between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones | Kevin Mitchell

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr – both in their 50s – meet in Los Angeles in an unsanctioned exhibition bout

Nobody in the history of paid fighting has used the language of violence with as much undiluted enthusiasm as Mike Tyson. Iron Mike gave credible voice to the expression “bad intentions” and, from 1985 until 2005, he scared the pants off 50 lesser mortals until he began to rust and they started beating him up.

Yet, on his return to the ring at 54 in the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday night, the man who once threatened to ram an opponent’s nose bone into his brain and said he would eat Lennox Lewis’s babies (he didn’t), is being asked to collude with fellow 50-plus retired pugilist Roy Jones Jr in the biggest public love-in California has seen since hippies hugged in Haight-Ashbury in the 60s.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

Netflix to start declaring £1bn-plus UK revenues to HMRC

Exclusive: move likely to ramp up pressure on Google, Amazon and other tech giants over tax arrangements

Netflix is to finally start declaring the £1bn-plus revenues it makes from millions of British subscribers each year to the UK tax authorities, a move likely to ramp up pressure on tech firms such as Google and Amazon to stop funnelling revenues through overseas tax jurisdictions.

Netflix, which has funnelled UK-generated revenue through separate accounts at its European headquarters in the Netherlands since launching in Britain in 2012, is to notify its almost 13 million UK subscribers on Tuesday about the change, which starts from January.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 8:00 am

Dozens feared dead in Zimbabwe mine collapse as rescue efforts continue

Latest tragedy follows string of disasters as Covid worsens poverty and sparks rush to work abandoned shafts in gold-rich country

Dozens are feared dead and others still trapped underground after an abandoned goldmine collapsed in Zimbabwe.

Six men have so far emerged alive from the mine at Bindura, about 70km north of the capital Harare after the disaster on Wednesday. According to officials, nearly 30 miners remain unaccounted for.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 7:30 am

Russian Roulette: The Life and Times of Graham Greene review – addicted to danger

A new biography, by Richard Greene, insists there was more to the author than ‘sex, books and depression’

When Gabriel García Márquez, in the presence of Fidel Castro, asked Graham Greene if it was true that he’d played Russian roulette with a loaded revolver, Greene assured him he had, several times. Castro, one of several world leaders with whom Greene had audiences over the years (Gorbachev, Ho Chi Minh and Pope Paul VI were others), calculated the odds and said he shouldn’t be alive. Greene thought the same. He’d expected to die young (“I’d rather die of a bullet in the head than a cancer of the prostate”) but survived to the age of 86.

The Russian roulette story has been disputed; Greene may have played it with blanks or empty chambers. But Richard Greene (no relation) takes it as the central premise of his biography: the novelist as risk-taker and adventurer, with a history of self-harm and an addiction to danger. An early trip to Liberia, to investigate modern slavery, set the tone. Greene knew there were risks – being shot at by soldiers, bitten by snakes or infected by lassa or yellow fever – but they only spurred him on. He was accompanied by his cousin Dorothy, who found him frightening: “If you are in a sticky place he will be so interested in noting your reactions that he will probably forget to rescue you.”

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 7:30 am

Why stifado is ‘the best food in Greece’ – plus the recipe

This rabbit stew is a big fat Greek classic with many variations, none more memorable than on a summer evening on an Ionian island

The best meal I ever had in Greece wasn’t mine. It was my friend Nic’s; I tried a mouthful and abandoned my plate for his kouneli stifado – rabbit stew, an unfussy Greek classic that was probably a gift from the Venetians. We tend to think of dill, oregano and thyme as Greek flavours, but this dish, and others, use exotic spices – cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves.

I sailed to Greece; I’m still here as autumn turns to winter, when an aromatic stifado takes centre stage. Its gently warming spices and balance of sweet and sour make it a favourite Sunday family meal, a comfort food to beat all others. These flavours will forever evoke Greece for me – particularly Greece in winter.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 7:30 am

Joe Biden gains votes in Wisconsin county after Trump-ordered recount

Milwaukee recount, which cost Trump campaign $3m, boosts Democratic president-elect days before state must certify result

A recount in Wisconsin’s largest county demanded by President Donald Trump’s election campaign ended on Friday with the president-elect, Joe Biden, gaining votes.

After the recount in Milwaukee county, Biden made a net gain of 132 votes, out of nearly 460,000 cast. Overall, the Democrat gained 257 votes to Trump’s 125.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 7:05 am

Is it worth carrying on as a guinea pig, if a vaccine has already been found? Francis Beckett

I am 75 and taking part in the Novavax trial but the success of the Oxford jab has given me a dilemma

My third appointment with researchers this week, as a participant in Covid-19 vaccine trials, was overshadowed by the news that the Oxford vaccine will probably be available to older folk like me in the early part of next year – maybe as early as January or February.

The vaccine I am trialling – the Novavax one – will have test results in January, and probably be available in the summer. So what happens to us guinea pigs when the Oxford vaccine is available, I wanted to know. As a reasonably healthy 75-year-old, I’m likely to be – in the doctor’s words – “at the back of the front of the queue” for it. I have signed up to be in the Novavax study for a year. But if I have the Oxford vaccine, do I cease to be any use?

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 7:00 am

Heat pumps: have a cosy home without warming the planet

Home owners can get help from government schemes but but do they really cut costs?

When Graham Davidson and his wife, Pauline, retired to a bungalow in Norfolk three years ago they ripped out the old boiler and replaced it with an air source heat pump at a cost of £10,000. But this pricey replacement has turned into a moneyspinner for the Davidsons – and millions of British households are likely to follow suit in what is expected to be a revolution in home heating.

Davidson, 68, who used to work in the car electronics business, says it was financial gain rather than saving the planet that was at the forefront of his decision. But dumping the gas boiler has probably cut his household carbon emissions by more than half.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 7:00 am

Braised duck and baked squash: Ed Smith's winter dishes

An autumn/winter feast worth staying in for: madeira and quince braised duck legs, a whole baked winter squash with brown butter sage, plus pickled chicory

A trio of recipes to suit November’s produce – and mood. Each dish could sit next to a variety of sides and centrepieces, but they work particularly well together.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 7:00 am

Tim Dowling: something very weird is going on with my neighbour’s cat

A post from the neighbourhood forum says: Whoever put a collar on my cat, please don’t

I wake up in the dark, exactly three minutes before my alarm is meant to go off. There is something so crushing about this that I let out an exasperated moan.

“What’s wrong?” my wife says, rolling over.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 6:00 am

Blind date: ‘I thought she looked like Emma Watson’

Kate, 25, whisky marketing associate, meets Maz, 24, charity worker

What were you hoping for?
A lovely evening, or a funny anecdote.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 6:00 am

20 photographs of the week

The death of Diego Maradona, migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, the aftermath of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the enduring impact of Covid-19: the most striking images from around the world

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 6:00 am

‘Piles of cash at home’: Hong Kong leader says US sanctions mean she has no bank account

Carrie Lam says she is paid in cash and calls US sanctions imposed over security crackdown ‘unjustifiable’

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she keeps “piles of cash” at home because she has no bank account after the United States imposed sanctions on her in response to the crackdown on free speech and political freedoms in the city.

Lam was targeted, along with 14 other senior city officials, in the toughest US action on Hong Kong yet since Beijing imposed the new law on the territory in late June.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 5:18 am

Australia swelters under extreme heatwave as fire brigades on high alert

Temperatures reach into the mid-40s in some parts of Australia

Much of Australia is in the grip of an extreme heatwave with temperatures reaching into the mid-40s and total fire bans in force in parts of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

South Australia followed up a scorching Friday with a similarly warm Saturday, with temperatures hitting 46C in Port Augusta and Coober Pedy.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 3:43 am

Encrypted apps and false names: new Taiwan book club takes no chances

Amid Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong, publisher says joining clubs to discuss free speech and democracy has again become an act of resistance

In the early 1950s in Taiwan, 19-year-old Tsai Kun-lin was arrested and jailed after joining a book club. The young man spent more than a decade on Green Island, building the prison that held him as a political enemy of the authoritarian rulers who would hold Taiwan under martial law until 1987.

Decades later, a 90-year-old Tsai is living in Taiwan’s thriving democracy, but says a book club has once again become an act of resistance.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 3:27 am

Thai protesters flood street with rubber ducks in 'coup prevention' drill

Thousands block major Bangkok junction in continuing protests against government and monarchy

Thousands of democracy activists blocked a major junction in Bangkok for several hours on Friday to rehearse “coup prevention” strategies in the latest round of Thailand’s anti-government protests.

The country has for months been rocked by youth-led protests demanding a new constitution, reform of the untouchable monarchy and for the prime minister, Prayut Chan-O-Cha, to resign.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 1:46 am

'It'll upset a few fellows': Royal Society adds Jocelyn Bell Burnell portrait

Painting of astrophysicist joins male-dominated collection at organisation’s London HQ

A British astrophysicist who made one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th century but was overlooked by the Nobel prize committee has joined the male-dominated portrait collection of the Royal Society.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a 24-year-old graduate student when in 1967 she discovered a new type of star later called a pulsar. It was a sensational find, recognised with the Nobel prize for physics in 1974 that went not to her, but to her male PhD supervisor.

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Posted on 28 November 2020 | 12:01 am

Dua Lipa: Studio 2054 live stream review – perfect escapist pop

The singer’s online show had a charming Top of the Pops vibe despite its – often star-studded – shortcomings

Of all the high-profile live streams that have sprung up in lieu of actual gigs in recent months, Dua Lipa’s is, by some considerable distance, the most star-studded. Its list of special guests encompasses everyone from Elton John to FKA twigs to Kylie Minogue: proof, should you need it, of the dominant position the 25-year-old singer currently occupies in pop.

By common consent, 2020 has been her year, thanks to her second album, Future Nostalgia, which has earned her six Grammy nominations and spawned a succession of global hit singles: the kind of success that even Madonna wants to get involved in, making an appearance on a remix of the single Levitation.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 11:45 pm

Belushi review – comedy, tragedy – but not much history

While poignant, this documentary about legendary comic John Belushi – who died in 1982, aged 33– was straightforwardly reverential rather than truly insightful

Watching Belushi (Sky Documentaries) – a two-hour programme about the man who rose quickly through the comedy ranks, from Chicago’s Second City troupe to National Lampoon and then Saturday Night Live, and became an all-conquering star before dying of an overdose at 33 – I realised something. Past a certain age point, you weary of the story in both general and specific terms.

Related: 'He was a radical': John Belushi remembered by his wife and fellow comics

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 11:10 pm

US surpasses 13m Covid cases as experts urge caution over Thanksgiving weekend

America’s coronavirus surge showed no sign of abating over the Thanksgiving holiday, as cases in the country surpassed 13 million on Friday.

Related: How Trump is destroying the presidential transition process

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 10:58 pm

Welsby's dramatic late try sinks Wigan and snatches Grand Final for St Helens

Sport possesses the most magnificent ability to transport us away from all of our worries and problems like nothing else and never have we been more thankful for that than this year. But not even the most creative of script-writers could have pieced this ending together to a Super League season which didn’t even look like it would finish at one stage.

This was, to put it bluntly, rugby league’s Agüero moment. Only in 2020, the wildest and most unpredictable of years, could a Grand Final have ever been decided in such a fashion. That will be of no consolation to Wigan Warriors of course, who will probably still be in shock for days to come when they try to comprehend how the Super League title slipped through their fingertips.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 10:14 pm

George Ford warns England to be wary of threat from wounded Wales

England are braced for a Wales backlash as they hunt a place in the Autumn Nations Cup final, with the returning fly-half George Ford warning their opponents will be a “different beast” because of the rivalry between the two nations.

Ford and co need only a bonus point in Llanelli to book their place in next Sunday’s final at Twickenham and are favourites for victory given the two sides’ contrasting form. England were dominant against Ireland last Saturday, racking up a sixth consecutive victory, whereas Wales’ win over Georgia ended a run of six defeats.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 10:00 pm

One-year-old boy killed after police open fire on alleged kidnapper

Officers in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario had been alerted to domestic dispute and suspected abduction

A one-year-old infant in Canada has been fatally shot in an incident involving police officers who opened fire on a pickup truck while responding to an alleged kidnapping.

Investigators have not yet confirmed if police gunfire killed the boy.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 9:20 pm

Visitors track down mystery desert monolith in Utah

Two days after a helicopter pilot revealed its existence, people began sharing their own shots of the unexplained piece

Some intrepid visitors have been flocking to a remote part of southern Utah in a bid to be among the first to see the mystery metal monolith.

The structure in the Red Rock desert was first discovered last week from the air by a helicopter pilot and wildlife officers who were carrying out an annual count of bighorn sheep.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 9:04 pm

Jonny Bairstow blasts England to victory in first T20 against South Africa

Jonny Bairstow’s long-established knack of responding to a challenge came to the fore once again as his unbeaten 86 powered England to a five-wicket victory in their opening Twenty20 against South Africa.

When the Yorkshireman launched Lungi Ngidi into the building site at an empty Newlands it saw a target of 180 knocked off with four balls to spare, putting the tourists 1-0 up before Sunday’s second instalment in Paarl.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 8:46 pm

Federal court rejects Trump election lawsuit in Pennsylvania

Trump’s legal team vows to appeal to supreme court after yet another defeat, as judge says claims ‘have no merit’

Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign’s latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.

Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the supreme court despite the Philadelphia judges’ assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit”.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 8:17 pm

Sir Alex Ferguson backs Marcus Rashford bid to end child food poverty

Sir Alex Ferguson has praised the efforts of Marcus Rashford as he teamed up with the Manchester United forward to tackle child food poverty.

Rashford was awarded an MBE for his recent campaigning – which also saw the government twice make a U-turn on providing free school meals during holidays. Now the 23-year-old has said the former United manager Ferguson is set to pledge up to £2million towards the FareShare charity for which Rashford is an ambassador.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 8:05 pm

Critics attack Pretty Little Thing's 8p Black Friday dress deal

Deep discounts spark outrage on Twitter as campaigners highlight environmental cost

Clothing retailers have come under fire for selling dresses from just 8p on Black Friday, with critics accusing them of encouraging “fast fashion” and unsustainable consumption.

Related: Boohoo hires Sir Brian Leveson to oversee supply chain overhaul

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 7:53 pm

Former Great Ormond Street hospital porter admits child sexual abuse over 35 years

Paul Farrell, 55, has pleaded guilty to 58 child sexual abuse offences starting in 1985

A former Great Ormond Street hospital porter has admitted sexual offences against six boys aged as young as six over 35 years.

Paul Farrell, 55, has pleaded guilty to 58 child sexual abuse offences carried out between 1985 and 2020, including attempted rape, sexual assault of a child under 13 and making indecent photographs of children.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 7:46 pm

Sir Philip Green: rise and fall of Britain’s ‘king of the high street’

Fashion tycoon’s empire is on the brink of collapse but his reputation was tarnished years ago

He was once seen as the king of the UK high street, but the likely demise of Sir Philip Green’s fashion empire comes long after that crown slipped to the floor.

Green’s image was tarnished irreparably when he sold his ailing BHS department store chain for £1 to Dominic Chappell, a former bankrupt with no retail experience.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 7:08 pm

'It’s just survival until spring': Lancaster pub owner on the trouble with tier 3

Despite its low case rate, city faces the harshiest restrictions in run-up to Christmas along with rest of Lancashire

This should be a boom time for Tim Tomlinson, whose three Lancaster pubs would normally expect bumper takings in December as families, friends and colleagues gather in the run-up to Christmas.

Now the pubs and restaurants can only operate as takeaways as the area faces the harshest restrictions when England’s second national lockdown ends next week.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 6:39 pm

The Guardian view on universal stories: the undoing of expectation | Editorial

Both the Booker prize-winning novel Shuggie Bain and Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock are exercises in radical empathy

Douglas Stuart’s debut novel Shuggie Bain, which was last week announced as the winner of the Booker prize, tells the story of a young boy growing up in the 1980s with an alcoholic mother, absent father and amid a climate of unemployment and prejudice. Set in Glasgow’s Sighthill, South Side and East End, the story could hardly be more specific to its time and place. The rhythm of the words, the cultural references, the vocabulary (sleekit and dreich, gallus and eejit) pin the novel firmly down to one city and one moment in history.

Stuart has spoken about not wishing to present readers with a kind of “poverty safari”. He has succeeded: the novel plunges the reader directly into the room with its characters, rather than loftily observing them from afar. It is the uncompromising exactitude of its depictions that, paradoxically, makes Shuggie Bain such a generous book. It presents a world so minutely observed that anyone may step into it.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 6:25 pm

Imran Khan thanks Cher for highlighting plight of Kaavan the elephant

Pop star meets politician before animal’s move from Islamabad’s dilapidated zoo to Cambodian sanctuary

The US pop star Cher met Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, on Friday before the relocation of an elephant from Islamabad’s dilapidated zoo to a Cambodian sanctuary.

The singer, who has for years campaigned for Kaavan the elephant and is helping pay for his move, arrived in the Pakistan capital this week to see the animal before the flight to Cambodia on Sunday.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 6:19 pm

Big fall in Black Friday UK retail sales despite online spending boom

Barclaycard figures show payments down by a 10th from last year amid Covid restrictions

Retail sales on Black Friday have fallen sharply despite a boom in online spending as non-essential shops remain closed on England’s high streets during the second coronavirus lockdown.

Retailers said online sales hit record levels on the pivotal discount day to soften the blow from the closure of stores. However, UK figures from Barclaycard, Britain’s biggest credit card provider, show payments made in physical stores and online fell by more than a 10th comparedwith Black Friday a year ago.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 6:18 pm

Iranian scientist's death only the latest in long line of attacks blamed on Israel

The Middle East is on edge as the Trump administration enters its final weeks

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh may be the most senior Iranian nuclear scientist to have been assassinated but he is certainly not the first, joining at least four others during the past decade.

In killings Iran said were aimed at sabotaging its nuclear energy ambitions – it does not acknowledge using the technology for weapons – the country has consistently pointed the finger at Israel, its regional arch-foe.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 6:11 pm

Grave issue: France bans discrimination against regional accents

Assemblée Nationale makes glottophobie an offence along with racism, sexism and other outlawed bigotry

In France, it’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it. When the prime minister, Jean Castex, opens his mouth, he is often accused of being “a bit rugby” – he comes from the south-west, where the sport is popular. Others with regional accents sound like “they should be reading the weather”.

Now the French have not only come up with a word for this kind of prejudice - glottophobie - but a new law banning it. The Assemblée Nationale has adopted legislation making linguistic discrimination an offence along with racism, sexism and other outlawed bigotry.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:55 pm

Judge's decision to free teenager due to Covid backlog overruled

Release of defendant held beyond custody time limits ‘was not open’ to Judge Keith Raynor, says high court

A crown court judge, who criticised the government for failing to fund the criminal justice system adequately during the pandemic, should not have freed a defendant awaiting trial, the high court has ruled.

Judge Keith Raynor’s decision in September to release a teenager who had been held on remand for almost a year – and beyond normal custody time limits – was one that was “not open to him”, the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, said.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:54 pm

Martin Rowson on England's new tier restrictions – cartoon

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:51 pm

Bristol zoo to leave its city site after 185 years amid Covid crisis

Clifton plot to be sold off and zoo will relocate to its Wild Place Project in South Gloucestershire

The world’s oldest surviving provincial zoo is being relocated from the prime location in Bristol that has been its home for almost two centuries as a result of the financial shock of the coronavirus crisis.

Bristol Zoo Gardens, a 12-acre plot in the Clifton area of the city, is to be sold off and animals and staff moved to its satellite Wild Place Project site across the border in South Gloucestershire.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:34 pm

Kent rebranded 'toilet of England' by anti-Brexit protesters

Activists deface dozens of road signs on county border referencing fears of unsanitary gridlock

Road signs at the Kent border welcoming drivers to the “Garden of England” have been defaced by anti-Brexit protesters to label the county the “Toilet of England”.

A group called EU Flag Mafia said they had used “scissors and stickers” to transform dozens of signs at 27 entry roads across the 90-mile county border.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:29 pm

Denmark could dig up and cremate mink killed in Covid cull

Fears nitrogen and phosphorus could be released in large quantities into soil at grave sites

Denmark’s government is considering exhuming and cremating the remains of millions of culled mink after decaying carcasses started to emerge from a hastily dug grave.

After a mutated version of Covid-19 was found in the animals, the prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, announced a cull in early November of the estimated 15-17 million mink in Denmark, the world’s biggest exporter of mink fur.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:28 pm

The week in wildlife – in pictures

The best of the week’s wildlife pictures from around the world, including desert-dwelling sheep and a plant that has evolved to hide from humans

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:20 pm

Where will you be doing your UK Christmas shopping this year?

We’d like to hear from people around the UK about where they’re shopping. Are you planning on going online - or using local or independent stores?

Where will you be doing your Christmas shopping this year? Are you making more of an effort to shop local, or through independent retailers? Perhaps you’ve decided to buy fewer presents this year, whether through choice or necessity.

Whether you’ll be shopping online or heading to the high street, we want to hear about whether the coronavirus crisis has made you rethink your Christmas shop.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:05 pm

Director Asif Kapadia: ‘Diego and Maradona were two different people’

Film director recalls the long and rocky road to meeting the mercurial subject of his film

Football is a huge part of my life. I was 14 when Diego Maradona scored the two goals against England – the hand of God and the wonder goal. Despite the first goal, I always thought he was the best player in the world. I’ve always been a fan of outsiders, rebels.

Everyone wanted to be Maradona. He was the global phenomenon. The pope wanted to meet him. Fidel Castro would sit and listen to Diego tell a story.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 5:03 pm

Share your experiences of miscarriage with us

We would like to hear from mothers and fathers in the UK about their experiences of miscarriage

Earlier this week, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex revealed her grief after she suffered a miscarriage. Writing in the New York Times, Meghan shared the deep sadness that she and Prince Harry felt after she lost a baby in July and was admitted to hospital.

In the article, Meghan also addressed the stigma around miscarriage saying: “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few.”

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 4:21 pm

'The buck stops with her': June Raine to make call on UK's Covid vaccines

Head of MHRA has ‘devoted whole life to public health’, says former colleague

In the summer of 2019, Dr June Raine seemed close to finally putting her feet up. At 67, she was director of the vigilance and risk management of medicines at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, a role that is roughly as important and impenetrable to the layperson as it sounds.

After an exemplary but obscure 35-year career in public health, she might have been forgiven for relishing the prospect of retirement and more time to devote to her passions of travelling and going to the opera. As it turns out, that wasn’t an option in 2020.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 3:32 pm

Inspectors moving between Covid-hit England care homes without tests

Leaks reveal fears of increased infection risk for residents and inspectors

Health inspectors in England have been moving between care homes with high levels of Covid-19 infection without being tested, raising fears they have put more residents at risk of catching the virus, leaks to the Guardian have revealed.

In recent weeks all care home inspections carried out in the north of England have been of infected homes, including a facility where 38 of the 41 people receiving care and 30 staff – almost half of the workers – had tested positive, internal documents from the Care Quality Commission show.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 3:10 pm

Covid tests and a hungry bird: Friday's best photos

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

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 1:01 pm

'A Christmas not like others': Europe wrestles with festive Covid rules

Shops due to reopen in France but Germany has tightened its restrictions on gatherings

It will have to be, Emmanuel Macron said this week, “a Christmas not like others”. Across Europe, governments are grappling with the same question: how to allow a little much-needed seasonal celebration without further fuelling the pandemic?

Some countries have yet to announce their plans, but several have already said tight restrictions can be eased for a short time over the festive period – providing people are responsible, and prepared to put up with tight measures before and after.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 12:40 pm

Huge wealth of Rishi Sunak's family not declared in ministerial register

Exclusive: Akshata Murty, Sunak’s wife, holds multimillion-pound portfolio making her richer than the Queen

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is facing questions over the transparency of his financial affairs after a Guardian investigation established that his wife and her family hold a multimillion-pound portfolio of shareholdings and directorships that are not declared in the official register of ministers’ interests.

Akshata Murty, who married Sunak in 2009, is the daughter of one of India’s most successful entrepreneurs. Her father co-founded the technology giant Infosys, and her shares in the company are worth £430m, making her one of the wealthiest women in Britain, with a fortune larger than the Queen’s.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 12:19 pm

Will everyone in the world have access to a Covid vaccine? – video explainer

The hunt for a coronavirus vaccine is showing promise but it is premature to say the end of the pandemic is nigh. Several rich countries have signed a 'frenzy of deals' that could prevent many poor nations from getting access to immunisation until at least 2024. Also, many drug firms are potentially refusing to waive patents and other intellectual property rights in order to secure exclusive rights to any cure.

Michael Safi, the Guardian's international correspondent, explains why 'vaccine nationalisation' could scupper global efforts to kill the virus and examines what is being done to tackle the issue

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 11:26 am

Climate ‘apocalypse’ fears stopping people having children – study

Survey of 600 people finds some parents regret having offspring for same reason

People worried about the climate crisis are deciding not to have children because of fears that their offspring would have to struggle through a climate apocalypse, according to the first academic study of the issue.

The researchers surveyed 600 people aged 27 to 45 who were already factoring climate concerns into their reproductive choices and found 96% were very or extremely concerned about the wellbeing of their potential future children in a climate-changed world. One 27-year-old woman said: “I feel like I can’t in good conscience bring a child into this world and force them to try and survive what may be apocalyptic conditions.”

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 11:00 am

Tell us: are you planning on going abroad on holiday from the UK?

We want to hear from people who have plans to travel outside the UK for a break

With the announcement of the new tiers in England which will come into place from 2 December, we would like to hear from those who are planning on travelling abroad.

Those living in tier 3 are unable to travel to other parts of the UK, other than where necessary, however there do not appear to be any restrictions on leaving the country.

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 9:23 am

Outdoor climbing in the second lockdown – in pictures

Photographer Murdo MacLeod’s project for our lockdown diaries series focuses on outdoor climbing;

‘Many of my favourite pastimes such as community ocean rowing and sea kayaking have been seriously disrupted by the pandemic but outdoor climbing has been mostly possible in one form or another. It has helped protect my sanity during lockdowns and extended periods of restrictions. It has flexibility in that it can be done in nearby quarries, crags or in the mighty mountains’ - Murdo MacLeod

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 8:00 am

The British Ecological Society photography competition – in pictures

The winning images of the 2020 British Ecological Society photography competition, taken by international ecologists and students, celebrate the diversity of the planet’s flora and fauna

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 7:00 am

Loving the crew: Prints for Music – in pictures

Music production teams have lost more than three-quarters of their regular work during the pandemic, leaving many in financial hardship. In an initiative set up by the photographer Ed Robinson, more than 100 prints have been donated for sale by celebrated artists, with the proceeds going to the Stagehand Covid-19 Crew Relief fund

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 6:00 am

Is former Elite boss Gerald Marie the Harvey Weinstein of the fashion industry?

Wendy Walsh was 17 when she moved to Paris to be a model. Within weeks of arriving, Walsh alleges, she was raped by Gérald Marie. She is one of 16 women who have spoken to the investigative reporter Lucy Osborne, who has spent the past year looking into whether Marie was a sexual predator

When Wendy Walsh moved to Paris in 1980 to work as a model, she was excited about what the future held for her. But within weeks, she alleges, the former Elite Models boss Gérald Marie had raped her. Walsh is one of 16 women who have made sexual misconduct allegations against Marie, who for three decades was one of the most powerful men in the fashion industry.

Marie was married to the supermodel Linda Evangelista between 1987 and 1993. Evangelista has praised the “courage and strength” shown by a growing number of women accusing her ex-husband of sexual misconduct and rape, saying she believed the women’s accounts of their experiences with Marie. “During my relationship with Gérald Marie, I knew nothing of these sexual allegations against him, so I was unable to help these women,” said Evangelista. “Hearing them now, and based on my own experiences, I believe that they are telling the truth. It breaks my heart because these are wounds that may never heal, and I admire their courage and strength for speaking up today.”

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Posted on 27 November 2020 | 3:00 am

How 'voodoo' became a metaphor for evil

'Voodoo' has come to represent something evil when it appears in popular culture. 'Black magic', witchcraft – it's always portrayed as something to be feared. But in reality, Vodou, as it's correctly written, is an official religion practised by millions of people. Why has it been vilified for so long? Josh Toussaint-Strauss looks back over the history of Vodou and its portrayal to find an answer

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Posted on 26 November 2020 | 2:41 pm

More than 3 billion people affected by water shortages, data shows

UN warns about consequences of not conserving water and tackling climate crisis

Water shortages are now affecting more than 3 billion people around the world, as the amount of fresh water available for each person has plunged by a fifth over two decades, data has shown.

About 1.5 billion people are suffering severe water scarcity or even drought, as a combination of climate breakdown, rising demand and poor management has made agriculture increasingly difficult across swathes of the globe.

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Posted on 26 November 2020 | 2:18 pm

Tell us how you will be celebrating Christmas in the UK this year

Whether you plan on wearing masks or self-isolating before mixing households, we would like to hear from you

With all four nations agreeing that families will be able to meet each other this Christmas with a maximum of three households mixing for a five-day period, we would like to hear what your plans are.

Will you be wearing masks or social distancing? Perhaps you will be self-isolating before meeting with other households.

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Posted on 26 November 2020 | 11:17 am

How the Covid-19 pandemic has increased Amazon's dominance – podcast

As high street rivals were forced to close this year, Amazon has gone from strength to strength. But reports of conditions in some of its huge warehouses have brought a new level of scrutiny, as John Harris explains

Before the pandemic struck, high street retailers were already struggling to stay competitive with online companies that offered low prices and rapid deliveries. When Covid-19 forced shops to close and consumers to stay at home, online retailers, particularly Amazon, were ideally placed to capitalise.

The Guardian columnist John Harris tells Anushka Asthana that having spoken to several Amazon workers in recent weeks and months, it is clear that rising demand is placing a huge strain on the workforce. While Amazon temporarily raised its wage rates, workers allege that only in April did masks become mandatory and warehouses over the summer were often uncomfortably hot.

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Posted on 26 November 2020 | 3:00 am

Revealed: UK supermarket and fast food chicken linked to deforestation in Brazil

Tesco, Lidl, Asda, McDonald’s and Nando’s all source chicken fed on soya from Cerrado tropical biome region

Supermarkets and fast food outlets are selling chicken fed on imported soya linked to thousands of forest fires and at least 300 sq miles (800 sq km) of tree clearance in the Brazilian Cerrado, a joint cross-border investigation has revealed.

Tesco, Lidl, Asda, McDonald’s, Nando’s and other high street retailers all source chicken fed on soya supplied by trading behemoth Cargill, the US’s second largest private company. The combination of minimal protection for the Cerrado – a globally important carbon sink and wildlife habitat – with an opaque supply chain and confusing labelling systems, means that shoppers may be inadvertently contributing to its destruction.

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Posted on 25 November 2020 | 3:00 pm

‘This will not break us’: Armenians flee Nagorno-Karabakh after six-week war - video

In surrendered areas of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian villagers like Martinios have five days to pack and leave before Azeri forces arrive. The district where he lives, Kalbajar, was given up by Armenia as part of a ceasefire deal, which brought a brutal six-week war with Azerbaijan to an end. War here has been generational, and in the 1990s it was the Azeris who fled these villages in a ceasefire handover. Martinios himself moved here soon after to escape the persecution against Armenians in Azerbaijan. Now that peace has been brokered, and after decades of bitterness and mutual distrust, can he bear to leave behind the home he built?


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Posted on 25 November 2020 | 2:13 pm

When you're not working you don't feel like a man | Modern Masculinity - video

Iman Amrani is back with Modern Masculinity, looking at the issues affecting men which relate to mental health in the shadow of Covid-19. In this episode, she returns to Leeds to speak to Neil, a barber who she met in series one, to find out how his business is coping with lockdown, what pressures his employees are facing and how they feel about the future 

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Posted on 25 November 2020 | 11:00 am

A vaccine revolution | podcast

Results from clinical trials have shown that the world has three apparently highly effective vaccines for Covid-19. With the race now on for regulatory approval, production and distribution, is the end of the pandemic within reach?

After a gruelling year of successive waves of Covid-19 infections and national lockdowns there has been a burst of good news this month, with three separate vaccine candidates performing extremely well in clinical trials.

First, Pfizer and Moderna announced that their vaccines were testing at an efficacy of around 95%. Then came the news that the AstraZeneca vaccine (the one pre-ordered in bulk by the UK government) was hitting 90%. It marks not just a new phase in the Covid-19 pandemic but potentially a revolution in vaccine technology itself.

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Posted on 25 November 2020 | 3:00 am

Why is Ethiopia facing civil war? – video explainer

Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands forced to flee their homes in Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous country, as federal troops battle rebels in the northern Tigray region. 

The Guardian's Jason Burke explains what sparked the conflict, why it threatens to destabilise the Horn of Africa – and examines how the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, the continent's youngest leader, has gone from winning a Nobel peace prize to presiding over a bloody conflict against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF)

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Posted on 19 November 2020 | 4:22 pm

Should robots have faces? – video

Many robots are designed with a face – yet don't use their 'eyes' to see, or speak through their 'mouth'. Given that some of the more realistic humanoid robots are widely considered to be unnerving, and that humans have a propensity to anthropomorphise such designs, should robots have faces at all - or do these faces provide other important functions? And what should they actually look like anyway?

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Posted on 19 November 2020 | 10:27 am

‘Why would I ever go back to shopping new?’: how vintage has become the future of buying ethically

As we become more aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion, both sellers and buyers are looking for a more sustainable way to shop

Thrifting is becoming an essential tool in a world that increasingly rejects fast fashion, and Ladi Kazeem is among those making a sustainable life work for him – a situation that came about completely by chance.

Kazeem is a celebrated seller on the online marketplace Depop, and has amassed a following of 181,000 people for his ability to procure high-demand vintage T-shirts from around the globe. There was never a dull moment in his world as he switched an unassuming hobby into a life-sustaining business.

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Posted on 31 October 2020 | 9:00 am

‘I want black women to be seen’: meet the designer whose clothes celebrate confidence

Fisayo Longe, founder of the luxury womenswear brand Kai Collective, is determined to make all shoppers feel included

Fisayo Longe started her fashion label Kai Collective to celebrate all female forms – not just the western idea of beauty. “I feel my clothes transform you into a woman who is more confident,” says Longe, 28. “A lot of women have said things like: ‘After I had kids, I was very insecure about my body. I wore this dress and I thought I was Beyoncé!’

“I think because they see other women like them – whether it’s ‘plus-size’ or whatever – wearing these clothes, looking and feeling so good, it kind of gives them permission to take a chance.” And it’s these words that hint at the community Longe has worked so hard to create through her brand.

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Posted on 31 October 2020 | 9:00 am

‘Sustainability is part of our fabric’: how an entrepreneur overcame adversities to build a successful business

William Adoasi launched the designer watch company Vitae London in 2016, beating the odds while championing a social justice-led approach

What do you think when you see a luxury wristwatch? They’ve long been masculine symbols of affluence; at the most lucrative end of the market they are appreciating assets that communicate to the world how much money you can afford to invest in a small, precious item.

But when entrepreneur William Adoasi launched Vitae London in January 2016, he sought to invert the relationship between watches and ostentatious displays of wealth by championing a social justice-led approach, from ethical manufacturing to community investment. “We’ve tried to disrupt the watch industry and create a statement piece that shows the world how much you can give back.”

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Posted on 31 October 2020 | 9:00 am

‘It’s about being proud of your heritage’: the friends tackling hair discrimination with a natural brand

Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate bonded over their shared passion. Now, they’re helping other black people embrace their natural hair

Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate agree that they couldn’t be in business with someone who wasn’t a friend. “It’s such an intimate relationship,” Mate explains. “I probably talk to Rachael more than my husband.”

They met at the University of Birmingham in the late noughties. “Rachael was the other black girl at university,” jokes Mate. Their idea for their natural haircare brand Afrocenchix, now in its 11th year, was sparked by an act of friendship: Mate shared a bottle of homemade hair oil with Corson, who realised the all-natural product could fill what was then a gaping chasm in the market, and the pair got to work. “We had a hair oil, a skin oil and we made 50 of each,” says Corson. “We put in £50, which paid for about 100 bottles of oil. And that’s where we started.”

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Posted on 31 October 2020 | 9:00 am