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The Guardian

Latest international news, sport and comment from the Guardian

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Resurgent Taliban escalates nationwide offensive in Afghanistan

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 12:47

Afghan forces defend western city of Herat and Lashkar Gah in south as Kandahar airport hit by rockets

The Taliban escalated its nationwide offensive in Afghanistan on Sunday, renewing assaults on three major cities and rocketing a major airport in the south amid warnings that the conflict was rapidly worsening.

As Afghan government forces struggled with a resurgent Taliban after the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces, hundreds of commandos were deployed to the economically important western city of Herat, while authorities in the southern city of Lashkar Gah called for more troops to rein in the assaults amid fierce fighting.

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Belarusian sprinter who criticised coaches refuses to be sent home

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 18:39

IOC says Krystsina Tsimanouskaya now with a Tokyo 2020 staff member at airport and ‘feels safe’

The Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to intercede after claiming her criticisms of the national team’s coaches have led to her being dropped from the team and taken, against her wishes, to Tokyo airport.

Tsimanouskaya, who was due to compete in the women’s 200m on Monday, told Reuters she did not plan to return to her country, adding that she had sought the protection of Japanese police at Haneda airport on Sunday so that she would not have to board the flight.

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Olympics: Lamont Marcell Jacobs becomes the new 100m king with glory for Italy

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 12:57

  • Silver for Fred Kerley and bronze for Andre De Grasse
  • Britain’s Zharnel Hughes disqualified after false start

Three weeks ago the sharpest casinos in Las Vegas, who know a thing or two about setting odds and plenty more besides, rated Lamont Marcell Jacobs as a 30-1 underdog to claim an Olympic 100m gold medal. Yet on a balmy and steadily more barmy Tokyo evening, they joined everyone else in being blindsided by a tattooed 26-year-old from Rome who inked his name permanently in the record books.

After Jacobs had powered to glory in 9.80sec, a European record, he unleashed a primordial roar and flexed his biceps, macho-man style. But it was his legs, and nerves, that made his impossible dream come true. This was the Italian’s first global final. But it was impossible to tell from his calm demeanour at the start, or by the way he tracked the American Fred Kerley before rushing past him like a bullet train 20 metres before the finish line.

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‘Parents are dressing up their children to be buried’: Syria’s war on young escalates

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 17:05

Mural artist Hussein Sabbagh, 13, one of 27 children killed in government attacks in north-west Syria in two months

Amid the rubble of bombed homes in Binnish, a town in north-west Syria, a brightly painted mural stands out. The image shows an intact house, with love hearts streaming from the windows. Overhead, however, the dark silhouettes of birds are accompanied by helicopters, warplanes and missiles, and the garden’s red and yellow flowers look like flames.

Related: Syria: Assad shells former opposition stronghold Deraa

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Israel supreme court decision expected on Sheikh Jarrah evictions

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 14:33

Verdict due in case that could lead to Palestinians being forcibly displaced to make way for Jewish settlers

Israel’s supreme court is due to make a decision on whether to evict Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in a final hearing in the controversial case that helped spark communal violence inside Israel and a new war with Hamas earlier this year.

A verdict in the deeply contentious case, which could lead to the neighbourhood’s current residents being forcibly displaced to make way for Jewish settlers in a decades-old dispute, is expected on Monday morning.

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Myanmar junta leader declares himself PM as election timeline stalled

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 17:35

Six months after seizing power, Min Aung Hlaing extends coup with promise of elections in 2023

Myanmar’s military leader has declared himself prime minister and said he will lead the country under the nation’s state of emergency until elections are held in two years’ time – vastly extending the timeline given when the military deposed Aung San Suu Kyi six months ago.

“We must create conditions to hold a free and fair multiparty general election,” Gen Min Aung Hlaing said on Sunday during a recorded televised address. “We have to make preparations. I pledge to hold the multiparty general election without fail.”

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‘Highly likely’ Iran was behind fatal oil tanker attack – Dominic Raab

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 16:54

Foreign secretary backs Israeli PM’s claims Iran was behind drone strike that killed Briton and Romanian

The UK has said it is “highly likely” that Iran carried out an “unlawful and callous attack” on a ship in the Middle East, which left a Briton dead.

The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said the government believed the drone attack on the oil tanker off the coast of Oman was “deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran”.

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A ‘safe space for racists’: antisemitism report criticises social media giants

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 15:38

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and TikTok failing to act on most reported anti-Jewish posts, says study

There has been a serious and systemic failure to tackle antisemitism across the five biggest social media platforms, resulting in a “safe space for racists”, according to a new report.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok failed to act on 84% of posts spreading anti-Jewish hatred and propaganda reported via the platforms’ official complaints system.

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Anger as Poland plans law that will stop Jews reclaiming wartime homes

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 07:45

Daughter of Holocaust survivor pledges to continue her fight for family property seized by Nazi occupiers

A few years ago, Shoshana Greenberg stood outside a building in Lodz, Poland, once owned by her family, with an old photograph in her hands and tears running down her face.

Greenberg, now 74 and living in Tel Aviv, was on a quest to reclaim property lost during the Holocaust. Her father was head of a prominent, wealthy Jewish family in Lodz that owned industrial buildings, residential homes and holiday properties.

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EU citizens who applied to stay in Britain facing threat of deportation

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 09:50

The Home Office appears to be in breach of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, says legal charity

European citizens who have applied for settled status are being detained and threatened with deportation, a development that contradicts assurances from ministers and appears to contravene the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The Home Office has served EU nationals with removal directions even though they could prove they had applied for settled status, which should protect their rights to remain in the UK.

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Sky News Australia banned from YouTube for seven days over Covid misinformation

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 04:40

Digital giant issues strike after channel posted videos denying the existence of disease and encouraging people to use discredited medication

Sky News Australia has been banned from uploading content to YouTube for seven days after violating its medical misinformation policies by posting numerous videos which denied the existence of Covid-19 or encouraged people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin.

The ban was imposed by the digital giant on Thursday afternoon, the day after the Daily Telegraph ended Alan Jones’s regular column amid controversy about his Covid-19 commentary which included calling the New South Wales chief health officer Kerry Chant a village idiot on his Sky News program.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Jacobs wins men’s 100m, GB golds and more – live!

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 20:43

It’s right up there with Robbie Fowler arguing against a penalty awarded to him at Highbury.

My moment of the Olympics and surely a contender for Nobel Peace Prize (don't ask me to justify it) was Barshim's offer of a shared gold with Tamberi. What a fantastic moment that was. Just about shades Kiesenhofer's road race victory with Worthington's realisation of a gold in that BMX freestyle a joyous bronze. Yours?

For those of you just joining us, here’s what you’ve missed over the last eight hours or so.

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Yulimar Rojas makes history for Venezuela with triple jump world record

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 16:37

  • Rojas wins first female Olympic gold medal for Venezuela
  • Italy’s Tamberi and Qatar’s Barshim share high jump gold

Yulimar Rojas became the first female Venezuelan Olympic gold medallist in stunning style as she shattered the 26-year-old women’s world triple jump record with her final jump – and then thanked Facebook’s algorithm for connecting her with the coach who guided her to glory.

Rojas, who is also a proud lesbian and prominent LGBT activist, jumped 15.67m to beat the previous world record of 15.50m, set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets in 1995 in Sweden.

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Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade wins historic vault gold as USA’s Skinner takes silver

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 10:05

  • Andrade wins Brazil’s first gold medal in gymnastics
  • USA’s MyKayla Skinner takes silver as Biles’ replacement

Rebeca Andrade was 13 years old when she first debuted her Amanar, one of the hardest vaults in women’s gymnastics. Between her age and background from a non-traditional gymnastics country, it was immediately striking. But even more notable was just how good it was. Andrade soared high above the vaulting table, her legs were squeezed tightly together and she seemed to have endless time to complete its 2½ twists. Those early vaults proved a small glimpse into one of the most talented gymnasts of her generation.

It has taken eight years for the Brazilian to finally reach a status in the sport that so many hoped she would one day attain, but one of the most uplifting stories of the Tokyo Olympics has been the sight of her finally doing so. After winning a silver medal in the women’s all-around final, on Sunday Andrade became an Olympic champion in her own right by winning the vault competition.

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Team GB’s Frazer Clarke gets boxing medal shot as furious opponent stages sit-down protest

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 06:53

  • France’s Mourad Aliev disqualified for butt in super-heavy clash
  • ‘There were a couple of heads going in,’ says Briton

There were controversial, bloody, but ultimately glorious scenes for British boxing at the Kokugikan Arena as Frazer Clarke secured a spot in the Olympic super-heavyweight semi-final by way of a disqualification, after being cut on both eyes during his bout with Mourad Aliev of France.

As the fight was stopped at the end of the second round, Aliev shoved a cameraman’s lens, stomped around the ring and then, in an extraordinary turn, ended up sitting against the ropes for more than an hour in protest at his disqualification.

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Raven Saunders throws up X on podium to represent where the ‘oppressed meet’

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 18:37

  • American pays tribute to black and LGBT communities
  • Silver medalist has spoken of struggles with mental health

Raven Saunders took silver in the shot put on Sunday and later made the first podium protest of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Saunders, who is black and gay, formed an “X” with her wrists as she held her arms above her head – to represent “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet”.

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Tokyo Olympics 2020: day nine – in pictures

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 16:16

The best images from the ninth day’s action in Tokyo, including athletics, boxing, gymnastics and table tennis

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Lilly King implies Russians ‘should not be here’ in Tokyo because of doping

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 13:09

  • Ryan Murphy appeared to complain about doping at Games
  • Russians cannot compete under own flag after state doping

American swimmer Lilly King doubled down on criticism of Russian athletes hours after the president of the Russian Olympic Committee said his teams’ medals are the “best answer” to critics who questioned why the country is allowed to compete following doping scandals.

“There are a lot of people here that should not be here,” said King, who won a silver and a bronze medal in Tokyo.

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Covid isolation, medals and strife: how US fencing became a nexus of controversy

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 15:16

USA’s fencers have found themselves in the news over protests, coronavirus and reports of an unwanted teammate. They still performed on the piste

Though soccer and rugby teams have taken a knee before matches at the Tokyo Olympics to protest racial injustice, how the authorities would react to a demonstration during a medal ceremony remains to be seen.

Should the American hammer thrower Gwen Berry finish in the top three later this week, it seems likely the question will arise.

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Leaders tackle global question of how to persuade people to get Covid jab

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 13:00

Spectrum of measures including incentives and hardline laws have met with responses varying from rise in uptake to wave of protests

Last week, the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, appeared on television for a late-night address.

The hardliner has previously pushed a shoot-to-kill policy against drug gangs, but had something else on his mind this time: the coronavirus pandemic and those refusing to be vaccinated, who he suggested should be compelled to stay at home.

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Coronavirus live news: UK reports 24,470 new Covid cases; Fauci rules out new US lockdowns

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 20:45

Latest updates: UK also reports 65 further deaths; US chief medical adviser says US won’t return to lockdowns despite rising Delta threat

Thousands turned out in Berlin on Sunday to protest the German government’s anti-coronavirus measures despite a ban on the gatherings, leading to clashes with police and about 600 arrests.
Local authorities had banned several different protests this weekend, including one from the Stuttgart-based Querdenker movement, but protesters in Berlin defied the ban, Associated Press reports. Berlin’s police department deployed more than 2,000 officers to try to disperse the protests, but it said officers who sought to redirect protesters or disband larger groups were “harassed and attacked”.

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Fauci backs new masks guidance as Florida reports highest one-day Covid case total

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 19:31

Florida’s ban on mask mandates came under increasing scrutiny from public health officials on Sunday as the surging Delta variant pushed new daily cases of Covid-19 in the state to a record high.

Related: US vaccinations rise but White House frustrated with media ‘alarmism’

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Is Covid-19 on the run in the UK?

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 06:00

A fall in case numbers last month raised hopes that Britain may be reaching herd immunity, but experts warn against complacency, given uncertainty about new variants and autumn’s return to school

John Edmunds has been at the centre of the unravelling of the Covid-19 pandemic since cases first appeared in January 2020. A member of Sage, the government’s scientific advisory group, and a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, he has consistently warned ministers about the threats posed by the disease.

These risks have often been clear in their nature. But today, 18 months after Covid-19 first appeared, he believes the nation stands at a point of maximum uncertainty about the future of the pandemic.

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Doggerland: Lost ‘Atlantis’ of the North Sea gives up its ancient secrets

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 08:45

The land mass that linked Britain to continental Europe was rich in early human life until it flooded

The idea of a “lost Atlantis” under the North Sea connecting Britain by land to continental Europe had been imagined by HG Wells in the late 19th century, with evidence of human inhabitation of the forgotten world following in 1931 when the trawler Colinda dredged up a lump of peat containing a spear point.

But it is only now, after a decade of pioneering research and the extraordinary finds of an army of amateur archaeologists scouring the Dutch coastline for artefacts and fossils, that a major exhibition is able to offer a window into Doggerland, a vast expanse of territory submerged following a tsunami 8,000 years ago, cutting the British Isles off from modern Belgium, the Netherlands and southern Scandinavia.

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Shailene Woodley: ‘Authenticity is my love language’

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 07:00

Despite being only 29, Shailene Woodley already has 25 years’ acting experience under her belt. Here, the star of Big Little Lies and Divergent talks about being free-willed, her hippy passions and her late-night calls with Kate Winslet

The one and only time Shailene Woodley beams during our time together – a long conversation over Zoom, on a bright weekday morning – is when my young son sneaks into the room in which I’m bent over a laptop, points at the stranger appearing on-screen, and asks, not quietly, “Who’s that?”

There is nothing to do but introduce them.

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Not all narcissists are grandiose – the ‘vulnerable’ type can be just as dangerous

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 11:00

The introverted narcissist is harder to spot and may be more sinister

We pretty much know what narcissism is by now. The description “narcissist” is a buzzword, a darling of amateur analysts. Those needy, charismatic attention-grabbers stride across the world’s stage, using and confusing those who fall for their charms. They have the perfect platform in a culture obsessed with both celebrity and social media. They rule countries, they mesmerise, they manipulate and wreak havoc.

But beyond the more showy and recognisable type lurks a lesser known and essentially more dangerous sub-species. Where your standard overt narcissist is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, the covert narcissist is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “The more silent and subtle variation is often more confusing and sinister,” says Dr Sarah Davies, psychologist and author of Never Again – Moving on from Narcissistic Abuse and Other Toxic Relationships.

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JetBlue ready to launch low-cost New York to London flights

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 16:39

US-based airline aims to tread where others have failed – and in the teeth of the Covid pandemic

A low-cost airline service with a brand new business class cabin, flying London to New York? As Frank Sinatra might have said: if you can make it there, in the teeth of a global pandemic when the US bars British citizens and advises its own to stay put … well, you can make it anywhere.

On 11 August, nonetheless, JetBlue will launch transatlantic flights that could rattle one of aviation’s normally most lucrative markets. The airline, one of the biggest in America but without the global presence of the “big four” US carriers, will launch its first services to the UK with the promise of driving down fares, particularly for the business traveller.

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Eimear McBride: ‘Women grapple with shame because we’re held to a higher standard’

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 08:30

The novelist on her first book of nonfiction – about women and disgust – and the complexities of prize culture

Eimear McBride, 44, is the bestselling author of three novels: A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, which won the Women’s prize for fiction and the Goldsmith’s prize, The Lesser Bohemians and Strange Hotel. Her first work of nonfiction, Something Out of Place: Women and Disgust, is the result of an invitation by the Wellcome Collection to explore its museum and library, housed on Euston Road in London. She lives in east London with her family.

How did your new book come about?
Wellcome was a place where I was a temp, back in the old days before I was a full-time writer. I worked in the library: I was the stack monkey. So when I was asked about doing this, I was very open to the idea; I’ve always been fond of Wellcome. I didn’t go to university, so I’d never had the experience of spending a lot of time just reading.

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Ana Raquel Nunes: ‘Extreme weather reveals the fragility of people and places’

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 11:00

The environmental social scientist and expert on the impact of heatwaves on why we must prepare for dangerous heat

Ana Raquel Nunes is a senior research fellow at Warwick medical school who studies the links between global heating and human health. She has leant her expertise to the World Health Organization, the intergovernmental panel on climate change, the International Science Council and more. Her interest in extreme weather was prompted by a family holiday in the Algarve during the European heatwave of 2003, in which tens of thousands of people died. This year has seen record temperatures, forest fires, melting glaciers and crumbling infrastructure.

We know that heatwaves are becoming more frequent, more intense and more prolonged both in terms of temperature and humidity. What can we expect?
The heatwave of 2003 was really, really bad. I was young and struggled to cope with the heat. I felt very hot, thirsty and tired. My mother and grandma struggled even more. People were getting ill, being hospitalised. The vulnerable were dying.

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When moral pieties get in the way of doing the right thing, children suffer | Sonia Sodha

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 08:00

The 1980s child abuse scandal reminds us that now, as then, being ‘on the side of the angels’ has to be backed with action

A council’s most important job is not emptying the bins or filling in potholes, the stuff most people see day to day. It has by far and away one of the most important jobs anyone could have: to be a parent. Local authorities, between them, have parental responsibility for more than 100,000 children in care in the UK. These are some of society’s most vulnerable children, removed from their parents’ care because they have experienced or are at risk of abuse and neglect. Anybody disinclined to take that responsibility seriously should come nowhere near elected office or senior management at a local council.

How, then, did Lambeth council in south London get itself into a position where members and senior managers, at best, looked the other way while children in its care were subject to the most depraved sexual, physical and emotional abuse and, at worst, were complicit? The report of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) into Lambeth, published last week, sets out the horrific scale and nature of what went on over several decades from the 1960s. More than 705 former residents of Lambeth children’s homes have come forward with complaints of sexual abuse; the inquiry says the true scale will be significantly higher.

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Brexit and Covid have created the perfect moment for the politics of crackdown | John Harris

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 13:09

We feel besieged and imperilled, and the Johnson government is seizing the chance to weaken our most fundamental liberties


If you were wondering when the widely predicted post-Brexit dystopia might move beyond the imaginings of TV scriptwriters and into the real world, we suddenly seem to be a lot of the way there. Supermarket shelves are either understocked or completely empty. The populist loudmouths who now try to make the political weather have been taking aim in the past week at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and its supposedly “woke” lifesavers.

Meanwhile, the Johnson government’s descent into whip-crack law enforcement continues apace. Last week’s announcement of a new “crime reduction plan” was centred around the permanent relaxation of restrictions on “suspicionless” (in other words, often arbitrary) stop and search, which had a clear performative aspect: ministers blithely batting away the fact that black people are a staggering 18 times more likely to be searched than white people under these specific powers, presumably to demonstrate a wretched kind of toughness. Johnson also launched plans for chain gangs dressed in hi-vis jackets.

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Tunisia shows that democracy will struggle if it can’t deliver prosperity

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 07:30

Political liberty has been overturned – with majority support. That will delight authoritarians everywhere

Implicit in US and western support for pro-democracy movements and transitions around the world is an assumption that, given a free choice, a system of elected, representative government is what people will always naturally prefer. But what if this assumption is wrong? What if a majority believes democracy doesn’t work for them?

Emerging testimony from Tunisia, the latest country to face a crisis over how it is run, suggests many citizens welcomed the forceful suspension of a democratically elected parliament that had failed to address people’s problems and was widely reviled as a self-serving oligarchy.
Mohammed Ali, 33, from Ben Guerdane, seems to typify this view. “I think what happened is good. I think that’s what all the people want,” he told the Guardian after last week’s surprise move by Kais Saied, Tunisia’s president, to seize power and impose a state of emergency. Local politicians and western critics called it a coup.

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Johnson’s scapegoating the young over Covid jabs is not a wise tactic | Larry Elliott

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 11:09

If the Conservatives want to win the hearts and minds of the under-25s they’d do better by incentivising vaccination

The Conservative party has a problem with young people. In the last general election fewer than one in six of the under-25s voted for Boris Johnson, and it is unlikely that the pandemic has improved matters.

While it’s the case that elderly people have been most at risk of contracting Covid-19 and dying from it, the economic cost has been highest for teenagers and those in their 20s. It is young people, whose jobs are disproportionately concentrated in the retailing and hospitality sectors, that have been most likely to be furloughed or had their roles made redundant.

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Adapt or die. That is the stark challenge to living in the new world we have made | David Wallace-Wells

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 07:00

We need to decarbonise and fast. But ‘adaptation’, the ways in which we protect people from the crisis, is not a dirty word

It won’t be enough. It can’t be. From here, even an astonishing pace of decarbonisation will still deliver us a warmer world than we have today, full of more eye-opening extremes and more deeply disruptive disasters of the kind, we are learning this summer, that even the wealthiest and most climate-conscious countries are unprepared for. No one is.

That is what Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, meant when he wrote, with the capital inundated, that the city was now on the frontline of the climate emergency and it is the central lesson of the Met Office’s annual report on the state of the UK climate, which found that mild British weather was already a relic of a bygone era. The Climate Crisis Advisory Group, led by Sir David King, recently declared that greenhouse gas levels were already so high that they foreclosed a “manageable future for humanity”. “Nowhere is safe,” King said, provoking a host of headlines.

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Dismissed as the unwanted Games, just how did these Olympics steal our hearts? | Emma John

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 06:00

Covid. No spectators. And yet Tokyo is not an absurd sideshow – it has only increased the awe we feel for the competitors

What’s been the image of the Games for you so far? Is it Adam Peaty, smacking the water with an explosive mix of adrenaline and relief after taking the breaststroke gold that is his by right? Bethany Shriever, moments after winning her BMX final, struggling to sit upright on the track because she can’t feel her legs? Or perhaps it’s Tom Daley, leaping into the arms of his synchro partner, Matty Lee – an Olympic champion at last, 13 years after we watched the cute-kid version of himself debut in Beijing?

Memorable moments all and yet the sight that’s going to stay with me, from this first week at least, is that of taekwondo world champion Bianca Walkden face down on the sparring mat. Walkden’s just been through the battle of her life against South Korean Lee Da-bin. She’s come within a hair’s breadth of disqualification, seen two video replay decisions go against her and then, having clawed her way back into the lead, her opponent has kicked her in the head at the very last second and stolen her spot in the final.

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Legalising same-sex marriages made even the unwed happy | Torsten Bell

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 09:30

Anxiety and depression fell among those who were finally allowed down the aisle

Most people getting married think it’ll make them happy. At least I hope they do – it’s not worth it for the ring or the £5-a-week embarrassment of the marriage allowance.

Luckily, even if not everyone getting hitched reaches cloud nine, we have proof that changing who is allowed to get married does boost wellbeing. That’s the conclusion of research on the 2001 Dutch decision to legalise same-sex marriage. By linking data about people’s sexuality with a health survey, researchers are able to show that before 2001 there was a big mental health gap by sexuality: people in same-sex relationships had markedly higher levels of depression and anxiety than people in non-same-sex relationships.

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Daily cases can be falling while the number of people infected still rises | David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 08:30

Just think of filling a bath when you forgot to put the plug in

At present, confirmed cases in the UK are declining; by specimen date in England, they fell by 29% in the week up to 24 July. In contrast, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that over the same period the proportion of the population in England infected with SARS-CoV-2 continued to rise, to around 1 in 60. Is there a conflict between these trends?

The measures are somewhat different: testing data provides new recorded infections (the incidence); Public Health England counts some positives from rapid tests, as well as standard PCR tests. The ONS results are based on its large infection survey: a nationally representative sample is repeatedly PCR-tested for the virus and so estimates how many people would currently test positive (the positivity).

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How we all got hooked on caffeine

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-30 02:00

It’s the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug, it disrupts our sleep, it makes us grumpy when we miss it – and we give it to our children. What keeps us coming back?

When Michael Pollan was researching caffeine for his book about naturally occurring drugs, he decided to give it up for three months. The process was not easy: “I was still not quite myself, and neither, quite, was the world,” he writes. “In this new normal, the world seemed duller to me. I seemed duller, too.”

But through his research and his experiences, Pollan came to a view of caffeine that acknowledged its downsides but also embraced its considerable benefits. He tells Rachel Humphreys (who has bravely gone nearly a day without a coffee at the time of the interview and is already feeling the effect) the remarkable story of how caffeine became the world’s dominant drug, and the only one which we have incorporated into day-to-day conventional life – one we hardly think of as a drug at all. With 90% of us taking it regularly, as Pollan notes, “For most of us, to be caffeinated to one degree or another has simply become baseline human consciousness.”

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The lobbying push that killed off a fight to save the Great Barrier Reef

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-29 02:00

The successful campaign to keep the Great Barrier Reef off Unesco’s ‘in danger’ list has been greeted with dismay – and gloom about the reef’s chance of recovery. Graham Readfearn explains the fierce global effort to deny the impact of the climate crisis on a prized natural asset. This episode includes explicit language

The Great Barrier Reef is a habitat where global heating is not some far-off threat but a present-day catastrophe. Home to extraordinary biodiversity, it is about the size of Italy or Japan – and it has suffered three mass coral bleaching events since 2015, killing up to 50% of its shallow water coral, as a result of the climate crisis, with no reprieve from that process in sight.

That conclusion, supported by a wide scientific consensus, prompted a push to have Unesco, the UN’s science and culture organisation, to add the reef to its “in danger” list. It would have been the first time a world heritage site had been placed on the list primarily because of the effects of global heating. But last week the 21-country World Heritage Committee ignored Unesco’s scientific assessment and voted to reconsider the matter next year instead.

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The Republican backlash in Joe Biden’s America

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-28 02:00

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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Lewis Hamilton fears he has long Covid after Hungarian GP exhaustion

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 18:25

  • F1 world champion says he has not fully recovered from virus
  • ‘Everything got blurry on the podium,’ he said post-race

Lewis Hamilton believes he may still have not fully recovered from contracting Covid-19 after he experienced fatigue and dizziness at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The British driver finished third in a monumental effort to come back from last place at the Hungaroring but admitted he fears he may be suffering from long Covid.

After his immense recovery drive Hamilton missed the start of the post-race press conferences as he was being attended to by his Mercedes team doctor for fatigue. Afterwards he said that he did not feel he had fully recovered from the effects of the virus he contracted in December last year.

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Lions’ Kyle Sinckler cited for alleged bite on South Africa’s Franco Mostert

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 10:08

• Sinckler faces disciplinary panel on Tuesday

• Guilty verdict carries minimum 12-week ban

Kyle Sinckler is facing the prospect of a lengthy ban after he was cited for an alleged bite on South Africa’s Franco Mostert during the British & Irish Lions’ second Test defeat by the Springboks but several other controversial incidents have been overlooked.

Sinckler was the only player cited from an ill-tempered second Test – won 27-9 by South Africa – over an incident in the 64th minute. He will face a disciplinary panel on Tuesday and if found guilty he will miss the decider on Saturday and face a minimum suspension of 12 weeks. The maximum is four years.

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No fanfare: Raphaël Varane’s Manchester United arrival is typically low-key | Sid Lowe

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-31 19:00

The former Real Madrid defender does not demand attention but his skill set is a perfect fit for the Premier League

In the 10 years since Raphaël Varane joined Real Madrid, he hasn’t done much. Apart from win the Copa del Rey, three league titles and four European Cups. There’s the World Cup, too; 360 games at the biggest club of all, and 79 more for France. But that’s about it. In his first clásico, a Copa del Rey semi-final at the Camp Nou, he cleared one chance one off the line, stopped Lionel Messi taking another and scored a superb header; in the second leg he scored again, taking Madrid to the final. He was 19, and it was all downhill from there.

Varane is 28 now, has racked up 18 winners’ medals, and has gone. Which tends to be about the time people realise what they’ve got. Varane’s departure has been a story followed closely for months – the first hint he might leave came more than a year ago – but its conclusion has passed relatively quietly. Perhaps the most striking part of his move to Manchester United is that there has been little eulogy or lament, no tearful farewells nor fierce criticism that it came to this.

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Chelsea beat Arsenal in game that shows Arteta revolution a long way off

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 18:11

  • Friendly: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
  • Xhaka 69; Havertz 26, Abraham 72

Perhaps it was a way to make a 25,000-strong crowd feel at home. The goal that afforded Chelsea half-hearted bragging rights on an afternoon of rollicking entertainment felt like a tribute act to Arsenal failings past. In the present it rather demonstrated that, with a dozen days remaining until the new season, the unresolved issues around this part of north London persist in significant volume.

Related: Arsenal sign £50m Ben White and want Bellerín and Xhaka to extend contracts

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Wounded animal India await England side hurt by loss of Stokes and Woakes | Ali Martin

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 07:00

Joe Root is without several key players before a five-Test series against Virat Kohli’s dangerous-looking visitors

Tom Harrison admitted recently he had given up trying to guess the next bombshell to hit English cricket and it is fair to say the withdrawal of Ben Stokes from the marquee series of the summer – five Tests against the might of India – qualifies as such.

The chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board was speaking about the threat Covid-19 poses to the summer and though details of the mental health issue that, along with a finger injury, has led Stokes to rule himself out indefinitely are understandably light, the pandemic can only have been a contributing factor.

Certainly it throws the England team into a degree of turmoil, in terms of the immediate challenge of India and looking forward to a winter with both a T20 World Cup and an Ashes tour. This four-month stint on the road is generating angst behind the scenes and a desire among players to have families join them in Australia will only increase after seeing a seemingly impervious colleague call for time out.

Their reaction to the loss of both England’s heartbeat in the dressing room and a keystone all-rounder on the field has typically been one of unwavering support, as was the case when Stokes missed the second half of last summer to be with his father, Ged, in New Zealand before he died from brain cancer in December.

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NHL’s Evander Kane denies wife’s allegations that he bet on games

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 13:51

NHL plans to conduct a full investigation after Anna Kane posts: ‘How does the NHL let a compulsive gambling addict still play?’

The San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane has denied allegations his wife made on social media that he bet on NHL games, including against his own team.

Kane responded on Sunday morning to allegations made the previous day from the Instagram account of his wife, Anna.

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Johnson faces rebellion over ‘intolerable’ hunger and poverty in home counties

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 19:32

Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe, urged ministers not to ignore the cost of living crisis in constituencies like his

Boris Johnson faces another backbench rebellion over the Treasury’s spending this autumn, as a high-profile Tory MP hit out at “intolerable” levels of hunger and poverty in his affluent home counties constituency, and urged ministers to abandon plans to cut universal credit.

Steve Baker, a leading Brexiter and MP for Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, called on ministers not to ignore the cost of living crisis faced by people “in real trouble” in constituencies like his who had been “tipped over the edge” financially by the pandemic.

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TikTok star Anthony Barajas dies after California movie theater shooting

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 17:23

  • Social media star was known as itsanthonymichael
  • Suspect in double killing eligible for death penalty

A young TikTok star who was on life support after he and a friend were shot at a southern California movie theater has died, police and his family said.

Anthony Barajas, 19, was watching The Forever Purge at a theater in Corona with Rylee Goodrich, 18, on Monday when they were both shot in the head. They were found by an employee after the last showing of the night.

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Hundreds demand reparations for Windrush generation

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 20:11

Event in Brixton marking end of slavery in British empire also hears calls for restored citizenship

Hundreds of people have gathered in south London to call for reparations and restored citizenship for the Windrush generation and their descendants.

The event, organised by a coalition of campaigning groups, was staged in Max Roach Park, Brixton, where the crowd listened to speeches backing solidarity with African people as they marked the end of slavery in the British empire.

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Oregon firefighters make progress in battle against largest US wildfire

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 19:34

  • Containment of Bootleg Fire was up to 74% on Sunday
  • 22,000 firefighters battling 91 large, active wildfires in US

Firefighters in Oregon have reported good progress in the battle against the nation’s largest wildfire, while authorities canceled evacuation orders near a major blaze in northern California.

Related: In the shadow of Paradise, nearby residents make uneasy peace with fire

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Tourists rescued from burning Med resorts by flotilla of boats

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-31 22:01

Six dead from wildfires raging across Turkey, Italy and Greece as temperatures hit 40C

Holidaymakers have been evacuated from beaches by rescue boats in Turkey after wildfires threatened hotels in the Aegean resort of Bodrum.

Coastguard vessels were joined by private boats and yachts to bring the tourists to safety, according to Turkish media on Saturday. Videos posted online showed people wheeling their suitcases along the road while smoke from forest fires billowed into the sky.

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Tulsa race massacre: 19 bodies reinterred as protesters demand criminal investigation

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-31 18:33

  • Bullet found with one set of remains that showed trauma
  • Anthropologist tells crowd: ‘We are not done’

The bodies of 19 people exhumed from an Oklahoma cemetery during a search for victims of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre were reburied in a closed ceremony on Friday, despite objections from protesters outside the cemetery.

Related: ‘I work with the dead. But this can help the living’: the anthropologist investigating the Tulsa race massacre

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A year after Beirut blast, Lebanon sinks deep into mire of corruption

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-31 16:11

The response to the explosion in August 2020 has been marked by chaos and paralysis in what is now a failed state

At ground zero of Lebanon’s apocalypse a stench of dead rats seeps from hulking piles of rotting grain. Broken silos teeter above, their sides ripped apart by the catastrophic blast that also broke the soul of Beirut; the contents that should have fed a nation still lie spilt over the gaping ruins of its main port.

A year ago this week, one of the planet’s gravest industrial accidents caused one of its biggest ever explosions, shattering a city that was already at a tipping point. The mushroom cloud of chemicals that soared above the Lebanese capital on 4 August 2020 and the seismic force of the shock wave that ravaged its homes and businesses were carried around the world in high-definition horror. Even amid the chaos of a country that had allowed this to happen to its people, this was surely a moment of reckoning.

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Evictions crisis: Ocasio-Cortez says Democrats cannot blame Republicans

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 17:41

Progressive is angry her party allowed the clock to run out on renewing measure that lapsed Saturday night

Democrats who control the House of Representatives cannot blame Republicans for a looming crisis over evictions, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, after a federal moratorium lapsed on Saturday night.

Related: Fauci backs new masks guidance as Florida reports highest one-day Covid case total

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Kinzinger: McCarthy and Jordan should face Capitol attack panel – but maybe not Trump

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 20:28

Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House select committee investigating the US Capitol assault, will support subpoenas for testimony from Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader, and senior members of the congressional GOP including Jim Jordan, a prominent Trump ally from Ohio.

Related: Trump tries to defend ‘just say the election was corrupt’ demand

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Ex-SpaceX engineers in race to build first commercial electric speedboat

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 16:44

LA-based Arc Boat company announces $4.25m seed fund to start work on 475-horsepower craft

A team of former SpaceX rocket engineers have joined the race to build the first commercial electric speedboat.

The Arc Boat company announced it had raised $4.25m (£3m) in seed funding to start work on a 24ft 475-horsepower craft that will cost about $300,000.

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Baked barnacles, scorched cherries: the disastrous impact of heatwaves on plants and animals

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 05:00

More than a billion sea creatures across the Pacific north-west perished in this year’s heatwave. And it’s just a taste of what’s to come

When forecasts foreshadowed the Pacific north-west’s devastating heatwave at the end of June, marine biologist Christopher Harley was alarmed and intrigued.

Then came the smell, and his feelings somberly shifted.

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A Malawian farmer visiting the US wants to know: ‘Why not do more on the climate crisis?’

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-30 12:05

New documentary The Ants and the Grasshopper follows Anita Chitaya’s journey from her drought-hit village to meet farmers and politicians in the US

What do we owe each other in the face of an existential crisis like the climate emergency? That’s one big question at the heart of The Ants and the Grasshopper, a recently released documentary exploring how power and privilege shape climate justice and food justice from Africa to America – and how we might move forward together.

Related: ‘It’s five years since a white person applied’: the immigrant workforce milking America’s cows

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How climate crisis made my British butterfly hunt a race against time

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 06:30

The naturalist Stephen Moss finally achieved his aim to see all 61 of the UK’s butterfly species. But those that thrive on the margins could vanish as temperatures rise

It was a long walk up the steep, rocky path, on an unexpectedly warm day – but well worth the effort. Along the banks of a stream, on the slopes of Ben Lawers in the Scottish Highlands, I finally came across my quarry.

A small, unassuming, chocolate-brown butterfly, with a row of black spots edged with orange on its wings: the mountain ringlet. For me, this marked a natural history milestone: the last of Britain’s 61 regularly occurring butterflies which I had yet to see.

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Welcome 2 America by Prince review – sub-par album from the vaults

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 14:00

(Legacy Recordings)
This shelved collection from 2010 is not peak Prince – and he knew it

Every few months someone eagerly forwards me that clip of Prince’s majestic While My Guitar Gently Weeps solo at the 2004 Hall of Fame. It’s ages since anyone sent me an unreleased Prince song with similar enthusiasm. Recently discovered in Prince’s vault, this album won’t change that.

Recorded in a week by a scratch band, its songs went unreleased and unplayed on his 2010 Welcome 2 America tour. It’s not immediately obvious why. The intriguing title track takes some spiky if unfocused shots at America’s frailties, and Prince deliberates on race, politics and religion elsewhere, but there’s no controversy – or anything like 1981’s classic Controversy. Perhaps he realised that, after writing “Slave” on his face to protest about his multimillion-dollar record deal, his thoughts on that topic might not be well received.

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Lily Allen: from chart-topping handbag kid to the heart of London’s West End

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 06:15

The singer is back in front of a live audience this week, playing ‘a woman with a real point of view’ in a spooky new play, 2:22 – A Ghost Story

There, in the background, wearing drop pearl earrings, is 13-year-old Lily Allen dressed up as a little lady-in-waiting. Cinema audiences watching Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth when the film of that name came out in 1998 might have been concentrating on the queen’s courtly dancing in the middle of the frame, but yes, it really was Allen playing a mini royal favourite in director Shekhar Kapur’s lavish production.

Now, more than two decades later, the 36-year-old singer-songwriter is taking centre stage as an actress in the West End, appearing in a spooky new play, 2:22 – A Ghost Story, which opens this week.

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Dave: We’re All Alone in This Together review – a rival to his classic debut

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 12:00

(Neighbourhood)
With introspective but operatic rap, Dave paints pictures on an album that’s part confessional, part social critique

In 2019, Dave’s Mercury prize- and Brit award-winning debut, Psychodrama, became a classic overnight; now it has a rival for introspection, operatic quality and wordplay. Tender piano arrangements, unadulterated storytelling and sermon-like verses flood this topical album that is part confessional poetry, part social commentary. “I’m a young black belligerent. Child of an immigrant. Lifestyle frivolous,” he raps on opener We’re All Alone. The seeming juxtaposition of these realities means that while he can be bragging about Rolexes with Stormzy on Clash, he’ll peel away at his own materialism on Survivor’s Guilt with the admission that, behind the glitz and glamour, he is “cryin’ in the driver’s seat”. It’s not all about the self. “My Jamaicans, the entire party, you can’t see?” he proclaims, honouring the island’s enormous contribution to British culture on the violin-rich Three Rivers, a track about migration that discusses the Windrush scandal.

The highlight is Heart Attack, a glorious nine-minute stream of consciousness where his feelings spill out in abundance, on everything from knife crime to politicians doing cocaine. “Round here, the main way to provide for your kin is in a flick blade, little push-bike and a sim.” When Dave raps, he paints murals. James Blake production, Daniel Kaluuya cameos and Wizkid vocals are just surplus.

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Bad genes, not rock’n’roll excess, killed Elvis Presley, claims biographer

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 08:30

A new book by Sally Hoedel argues that the singer was a sick man supporting his family and friends

Elvis Presley, who died 44 years ago this month, was not a drug abuser in the typical rock’n’roll lifestyle sense, a new book claims, but he was medicating to address a series of congenital illnesses.

According to Elvis: Destined to Die Young, the singer’s downward spiral, punctuated by health problems routinely written off as the consequences of addiction, could have been caused by Presley’s maternal grandparents, who were first cousins. His mother’s family – including three uncles – were cursed by early death, the author Sally Hoedel says.

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Spirit Untamed review – a charming load of old pony

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 11:30

This handsome family adventure about a girl and a horse will be a long ride for some

Lucky Prescott went to live with her grandparents after the death of her mother in a riding accident. But a squirrel-based disaster sees Lucky and her aunt sent to spend the summer with the father she hardly knows, in a frontier town on the Mexican border. Against her father’s wishes, Lucky forms a bond with Spirit, a wild mustang stallion, and, together with new pals Prudence and Abigail, she sets out to rescue Spirit’s herd from rustlers. Handsome animation adds to the appeal of this sequel to the 2002 animation Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, but this is family entertainment that’s quite niche in its appeal – pony-mad kids will love it, but it may test the patience of parents.

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Old review – M Night Shyamalan’s beach thriller is all washed up

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 10:30

Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps are all at sea in this holiday-from-hell drama

There’s only a certain extent to which a director can flirt ironically with the clunky storytelling of a Tales of the Unexpected episode before it stops being ironic and starts being just ponderous and mannered. And with his accelerated-ageing mystery movie Old, M Night Shyamalan is long past that point.

Gael García Bernal and Vicky Krieps both seem ill at ease in the roles of a husband and wife hoping for one last family holiday at an elite and secretive resort. Not surprising, since they are constantly having the kind of conversations that are more about dumping exposition than they are about shaping credible characters. And if we can’t believe the characters, how are we meant to accept the film’s central premise?

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Nigel Slater’s recipes for ice-cream sandwiches, and aubergines with coconut

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 09:30

A gently spiced dinner and summer’s most fun dessert

It is the fleeting nature of ice-cream that appeals to me – the idea of catching something at its brief moment of perfection. In the case of ice-cream, that’s somewhere along the road from rock hard to milky puddle. They may bring with them a sense of peace and lazy summer days, but ices also come with a sense of urgency. I was the kid that would always choose a wafer over a cornet, fascinated by the way the fragile biscuits stuck to your lips, but also enjoying the race to finish before the block of vanilla ice-cream dripped down my shirt.

The ice-cream sandwich has come a long way since I was in short trousers. Its flavourless wafers have now been ditched in favour of crisp cookies that flatter the flavour of the ice. I made a lemon version this week – a simple no-churn job with yoghurt, cream and lemon curd – and held it between thin, crisp biscuits speckled with grated orange zest. Matching wafer to ice-cream can be fun: chocolate ice-cream and ginger cookies; almond wafers to raspberry sorbet; pistachio biscuits holding saffron ice-cream. You can make almond tuiles, ginger snaps or the one I especially like, a softer shortbread-style cookie that doesn’t go too hard in the freezer.

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I secretly hate sex and now fear I will lose my girlfriend

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 05:00

You don’t have to be sexual to feel love, but you do have to be open

The question I’m a guy in my mid-20s who also happens to be asexual. And no, I am not gay. I just can’t feel much, physically. I don’t see it as a problem, but people jump to conclusions online. No one other than me knows. I am in a relationship with this lovely girl and we have only been physically intimate occasionally (once or twice a month – been with her for four months), but it’s OK because she doesn’t have an insatiable need. But she doesn’t know the real me and I feel like I want to be honest with her. And I’m afraid she might leave me because she once said that sex solves all issues in a relationship – I disagree.

To me, sex is repulsive. I hate it. I also have problems with my erection, because I just don’t feel anything. She thinks it’s erectile dysfunction. I don’t want to lose her. I wish I could just be with asexual people, but that scene is pretty abysmal.

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How to raise a boy: my mission to bring up a son fit for the 21st century

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 09:00

Increasing awareness of the price of toxic masculinity has led many parents to wonder how best to prepare the young men of the future. One father consults the experts

My little son has a gang he roots for. All boys, dudes everywhere – they’re his gang. I figured this out, recently, when we sat down to watch the Grand National. He’d picked a horse in the family sweepstake and his choice was out in front for most of the race. When it fell back, out of contention, my son paled a bit. Possibly he’d already spent the sweepstake winnings in his head (on stickers, sweets, toy balls) but he took the disappointment quite well, I thought, for a four-year-old. The race was won in the end by a female jockey. It was the only time a woman had ever finished first in a Grand National, the commentators shouted. And all at once my son did cry, real fat gushers, instant snot moustache, the works. Now this was too much, if a girl had gone and beaten all the boys.

Where does it come from, I wondered, this kneejerk allegiance that distances little boys from little girls and makes an us-v-them of gender distinctions, right from the get-go? Where does it lead, as those boys become men? These are questions I’ve been wondering about a lot as my son gets older. He’s a friendly, curious kid who adores his older sister but his sense of himself, just now, seems to come across most clearly when he emphasises the contrasts between them. Along with millions of other little boys he will be coming of age during a richly complicated time for young men, and I want to help him get this right.

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Time for tea: refreshing alternatives to alcohol | David Williams

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 05:00

Off the booze? Sparkling tea and kombucha make for an elegant change

JING Jasmine Pearls Sparkling Tea (£17.95, jingtea.com) The British have been reducing their daily intake of tea for decades – a long, steady decline that has coincided with the seemingly inexorable rise of coffee. But for all the inroads made by Starbucks and Costa, pods and AeroPresses into our daily lives, tea retains its place in our collective routines and imaginations: according to research carried out for National Tea Day a couple of years back, daily tea consumption still outstrips coffee by 165 million to 95 million cups. These days, tea’s competitors might be beer or wine as well as espresso or cappuccino – thanks to the arrival of high-quality products specifically aimed at adults looking for a low or no-alcohol alternative on evenings out and on special occasions. The latter would certainly not be disgraced by this typically stylish new product from organic, single-garden tea specialists, JING: a sparkling tea with a heavenly jasmine scent, it’s properly dry without being tannic, and has the texture and mouthfeel of a natural sparkling wine such as pet nat.

Copenhagen Organic Sparkling Tea Green (£17.95, greatwine.co.uk) The bottle and style of its sparkling tea isn’t JING’s only reference to wine: there’s plenty of wine’s obsession with terroir in the idea of the single-garden, and the cult of the winemaker is very much mirrored in the “master tea maker”. In fact, tea lovers could well argue that their own obsession with the connection between place and flavour has at least as long a history as that of wine appreciation – and a properly brewed cup of loose-leaf tea such as the company’s recent release, Organic Yunnan Breakfast from tea maker Yang Jian’s Da Hei Garden in Yunnan, China, yields a drink every bit as evocative as any Burgundy cru. JING’s extensive range of teas strikes me as being a perfect entry point into the enchanting world of fine tea, a journey which might well lead you to the ineffable small-farm teas imported by postcardteas.com. And if you want to explore more sparkling teas, some with a few degrees of alcohol, look for the various personality-filled cuvees from the Copenhagen range.

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It’s too hot for sleep, or anything except restless thoughts… | Eva Wiseman

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 07:00

Cardboard beds, norovirus, stinking wheely bins… summer’s heat brings agitated nights

It’s late at night on the hottest week of the year and the air is made of meat. I am lying in the dark thinking about the Olympians’ cardboard beds. A runner posted pictures of the beds – long boxes, creatively stacked – before they were installed at Tokyo Olympic Village, explaining they’d been designed to withstand the weight of a single person in order to avoid intimacy between those competing. Another athlete called them “anti-sex beds”. If I were an Olympian, which I’m currently not, I would take this as a challenge.

Wouldn’t there be some glory in travelling to Tokyo after all this, these years of dampened fright, and losing immediately? And then, enjoying the best holiday of your life, eating all the food you’d denied yourself over months of training, exploring a new country, and finding new and yogic ways to sleep with the fittest people in the world on beds that collapse when wet? Yes.

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Can my storytelling skills charm my young son? | Séamas O’Reilly

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 08:30

Something had better work. I’m in the doghouse right now

I’m straining to name a dragon and coming up short. My son is looking on impassively, beginning to lose respect for me. Storytime with my son has always been one of the true joys of parenting, but increasingly it’s becoming one of the only such pleasures. The hormone swings of toddlerhood have made him more, shall we say, spirited for the past few weeks (read: quite often just short of unbearable), so time spent in his special chair poring over his favourite books has taken on greater significance, both as a necessary top valve for his tantrums and a reminder that he does like us at least some of the time.

His recent favourite book is one in which a pigeon must find the lost glasses of the Irish president, Michael D Higgins

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‘It’s feasible to start a war’: how dangerous are ransomware hackers?

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 09:00

Secretive gangs are hacking the computers of governments, firms, even hospitals, and demanding huge sums. But if we pay these ransoms, are we creating a ticking time bomb?

They have the sort of names that only teenage boys or aspiring Bond villains would dream up (REvil, Grief, Wizard Spider, Ragnar), they base themselves in countries that do not cooperate with international law enforcement and they don’t care whether they attack a hospital or a multinational corporation. Ransomware gangs are suddenly everywhere, seemingly unstoppable – and very successful.

In June, meat producer JBS, which supplies over a fifth of all the beef in the US, paid a £7.8m ransom to regain access to its computer systems. The same month, the US’s largest national fuel pipeline, Colonial Pipeline, paid £3.1m to ransomware hackers after they locked the company’s systems, causing days of fuel shortages and paralysing the east coast. “It was the hardest decision I’ve made in my 39 years in the energy industry,” said a deflated-looking Colonial CEO Joseph Blount in an evidence session before Congress. In July, hackers attacked software firm Kaseya, demanding £50m. As a result, hundreds of supermarkets had to close in Sweden, because their cash registers didn’t work.

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‘Grandmas buying shotguns’: US dealers see ammunition shortage as sales surge

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 12:12

Gun store owners say bullets are selling out as pandemic fuels public fears around safety and crime

The coronavirus pandemic in the US has been accompanied by soaring gun sales attributed to fears around social unrest and crime and, in some cases, people having more time for hunting.

Related: ‘We have to break through that wall’: inside America’s battle for gun control

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Listen up: why indie podcasts are in peril

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 07:00

As big spenders such as Amazon and Spotify fill our ears with more commercial, celebrity-driven fare, can grassroots, diverse shows survive?

The British Podcast Awards were different this year. Held in a south London park, they had a boutique festival feel, with wristbands and tokens for drinks, an open-sided tent for the actual awards, and people lounging on blankets in front of the stage. There were also sponsor areas – those small, picket-fenced areas where invitees could drink and mix with brand bigwigs. Awards are expensive to stage, and to give any sort of a professional sheen, money is needed. In 2017, the BPA sponsors included Radioplayer and Whistledown, an independent audio creator. In 2021, the BPA was “powered by Amazon Music”. Spotify, Stitcher, Audible, Acast, Global, BBC Sounds, Podfollow and Sony Music also dipped into their sponsorship pockets. Clearly, podcasting has gone up in the world.

Over the past 18 months, podcasting has hit the corporate big time. Apple, long the most recognisable name in podcasting, its iTunes chart being the public measure of any show’s success, is attempting, clumsily, to move from being a neutral platform that hosts shows into one that makes money from podcasting (by, for example, charging creators for highlighted spots).

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Jimmy Savile: 10 years on, what has changed in uncovering abuse?

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 05:45

As TV revisits the scandal, the author of an acclaimed play about it asks what the media and key institutions have learned – and whether survivors are now treated any better

Journalistic parlour game question: what are the most significant news stories of the past decade? Few would argue with the pandemic and Brexit. Not far behind, perhaps, is the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Not many stories change our world. This one did. It transformed how we deal with allegations of sexual assault. We reassessed our attitude to celebrity. We saw more clearly than ever how morally corrupt institutions could be. It was the harbinger of the #MeToo movement.

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Political journals ring the changes in a battle of ideas – and a fight for readers

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 09:30

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger’s arrival at Prospect is part of a trend that is raising the stakes of debate in Britain

The battle between Britain’s political magazines has intensified this summer as editorial changes at leading names on the newsstand mark a serious attempt to get ahead.

Last week, Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of the Guardian, was announced as the new editor at Prospect, the centrist magazine that was set up in 1995 by the author and social analyst David Goodhart.

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Big tech’s big week raises fears of ‘Blade Runner future’ of mega-company rule

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 07:00

Amazon, Google, Apple and Microsoft all reported record-breaking profits amid a pandemic bonanza but recent Biden administration moves suggest US tech’s easy ride is over

Big tech provided the world with some startling numbers this week. In the last three months Amazon’s sales have averaged over $1.2bn a day. It took the company less than four seconds to earn the $52,000 the average American makes in a year. Apple is now sitting on nearly $200bn in cash, more than this year’s expected sales of Covid 19 vaccines.

The coronavirus shook the world economy to its core but for the US tech giants it has proven a bonanza of historic proportions.

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Tell us: have you been affected by the spectator ban at the Tokyo Olympics?

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-08 16:14

We would like to hear from Olympics and Paralympics spectators from Japan who might be affected by the ban to games in Tokyo

Olympic organisers have decided to ban spectators from the Tokyo Games this year amid rising cases of the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19. The Japanese government has put the capital under its fourth state of emergency, starting on Monday – 11 days before the Games open.

We would like to hear from Olympics and Paralympics spectators from Japan who might be affected by the ban.

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Living in Israel: how have you been affected by the recent violence?

Permalink - Posted on 2021-05-12 13:25

We would like to hear from people living in Israel and those who are part of the diaspora on the situation in the region

In the worst violence since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, Palestinian militants and Israeli jets have exchanged airstrikes and rocket fire.

We would like to hear from those living in Israel and who are part of the diaspora on how they have been affected.

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Living in Palestine: how have you been affected by the recent violence?

Permalink - Posted on 2021-05-12 13:25

We would like to hear from people living in Palestine and those who are part of the diaspora on the situation in the region

In the worst violence since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel, Israeli jets and Palestinian militants have exchanged airstrikes and rocket fire.

We would like to hear from those living in Palestine and who are part of the diaspora on how they have been affected.

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Share a story with the Guardian

Permalink - Posted on 2015-09-02 14:21

You can send a news tip direct to Guardian journalists here. For stories that need a high level of security then contact us here

Get in touch with your news tips and stories by filling in our encrypted form below.

Click here for other ways to contact the Guardian securely.

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Climate crisis: what one month of extreme weather looks like – video

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-29 08:01

In the last month, devastating weather extremes have hit regions across the world. From flash floods in Belgium to deadly temperatures in the US, from wildfires in Siberia to landslides in India, it has been an unprecedented period of chaotic weather. Climate scientists have long predicted that human-caused climate disruption would lead to more flooding, heatwaves, droughts, storms and other forms of extreme weather, but even they have been shocked by the scale of these scenes


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Pollution turns Argentina lake pink – video

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-31 09:08

Drone footage shows the Corfo lagoon in the Chubut province, which has been tinted pink because toxic waste from fishing has been dumped into it. Experts and activists say the pollution is caused by a chemical used to preserve prawns for export. The colour is caused by sodium sulphite, an antibacterial product used in fish factories. Local residents have complained about the foul smells and pollution concerns around the Chubut River that feeds into the Corfo lagoon. In protest against the continued pollution, locals have blocked roads used by fish waste trucks from entering the area

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Germany floods: stranded residents rescued by helicopter from rooftops – video

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-15 19:29

At least 58 people have died and dozens more were missing in Germany on Thursday as swollen rivers caused by record rainfall across western Europe swept through towns and villages. Many of the victims died around the wine-growing region of Ahrweiler, in Rhineland-Palatinate state, police said, and dozens were still unaccounted for, after the Ahr river that flows into the Rhine broke its banks and brought down half a dozen houses

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Better than Schick? Player scores from centre circle in Ghana's top flight – video

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-14 20:15

James Bissue recreated Patrik Schick's Euro 2020 goal of the tournament – only from even further out. The midfielder struck from inside the centre circle in his own half for Elmina Sharks as they beat Legon Cities to keep their hopes of staying in the Ghanaian top flight alive.

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Greek police recover stolen Picasso after nine years, drop it in front of media – video

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-01 05:43

A Picasso painting stolen nine years ago from Greece's National Gallery and recovered by police has had yet another mishap after the valuable artwork slipped and fell from its display. Police were exhibiting the recovered painting - along with a Mondrian piece from 1905 - when it slipped from its display. It was hastily returned to its position by an official not wearing gloves. The paintings were stolen in 2012 and recovered after they were found hidden in bushland

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China releases footage from its Mars rover – video

Permalink - Posted on 2021-06-27 16:22

China’s National Space Administration has released footage recorded by the country’s Mars probe. The videos and photos taken by the camera installed on the Zhurong rover of the Tianwen-1 spacecraft show the lander deploying a parachute before touching down on the surface of Mars and the rover driving away from its landing platform. State broadcaster CCTV said Zhurong had been working on the red planet for 42 days and had moved 236 metres so far

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Dawn Raids apology and an injured cat in Turkey: Weekend’s best photos

Permalink - Posted on 2021-08-01 13:56

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

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National treasures: posters celebrating US parks​ – in pictures

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-31 16:00

The art director JP Boneyard ’s favourite park is Montana’s Glacier national park. “It’s breathtaking, I’m smiling just thinking about it ,” he says. For his screen-print project Fifty-Nine Parks, now collected in a book, he asked modern artists to reinterpret America’s classic national park posters, commissioned by the government in the 1900s.

“I hope they inspire people to visit the parks and connect with nature, but, heck, it’d be awesome if the book inspired folks to pick up a squeegee and start printing too,” he says.

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Original Observer Photography

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-31 10:00

The fastest British woman in history, the return of the music festival, and a collection of canines – the best photography commissioned by the Observer in July 2021

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Buried in concrete: mafia architecture – in pictures

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-31 13:00

Alessio Mamo has photographed the illegal, brutalist buildings and gaudy, now decaying, villas in the south of Italy that mafia bosses constructed

Words by Roberto Saviano and Lorenzo Tondo

Read more on how the mafia made a killing from the destruction of Italy’s south

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Tokyo Olympics 2020: day seven – in pictures

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-30 14:16

The best images from the seventh day’s action in Tokyo, including swimming, trampolining, judo and athletics

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Permalink - Posted on 2021-07-30 11:00

The best of this week’s wildlife pictures, including a released frog, rescued kestrel chicks and frisky sharks

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