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Government rejected radical lockdown of England's care homes
Exclusive: health officials put forward plan last month to stem soaring coronavirus deathsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coveragePublic health officials proposed a radical lockdown of care homes last month to stem surging coronavirus deaths, including staff moving in for four weeks and deploying NHS Nightingale hospitals – but it was rejected by the government, the Guardian has learned.An 11-point plan proposing “a further lockdown of care homes” was submitted to Downing Street on 28 April by officials at Public Health England (PHE), as fatalities peaked in care homes and the virus spread to half of homes in the worst-affected areas. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 19:00:38 GMT)

Boris Johnson brushes off Tory revolt over Dominic Cummings
PM also refuses to allow top scientific advisers to talk about chief aide at daily No 10 briefingCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBoris Johnson has brushed aside a growing revolt of almost 100 of his own MPs and defied ongoing calls for Dominic Cummings to be sacked, despite a police investigation that failed to exonerate him for a potential breach of lockdown.The prime minister was again besieged by questions about his chief adviser as the crisis overshadowed his decision to cautiously ease the lockdown in England, which will require millions of citizens to abide by the letter and spirit of new guidelines. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 20:19:27 GMT)

Groups of up to six people allowed to meet in England from Monday
Boris Johnson announces further easing of coronavirus lockdown measures including reopening of dentists Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageUp to six friends or relatives will be able to gather in parks and gardens from Monday, two metres apart, Boris Johnson has said in a cautious easing of lockdown restrictions in England.Dentists will also be able to reopen from 8 June, provided they take safety precautions including using protective equipment, and it was confirmed that schools can go ahead with plans to reopen next week. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:44:15 GMT)

Global report: Philippines opens up despite record cases, as outbreaks hit Asia
Manila’s 12 million residents to enjoy free movement as daily infections pass 500; Mumbai’s hospital close to collapse; South Korea records dozens more casesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe Philippines president has announced plans to ease one of longest and toughest coronavirus lockdowns in the world despite the country seeing its biggest daily spike in cases since the pandemic began.The Philippines reported 539 infections on Thursday, its highest daily tally, bringing its total to 15,588 cases, with 921 deaths. From Monday its capital, Manila, will allow gatherings of up to 10 people, free movement in and out of the city as long as people wear masks and keep their distance, and workplaces, shops and some public transport will reopen. Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 03:43:08 GMT)

Coronavirus latest: at a glance
A summary of the biggest developments in the global coronavirus outbreakFollow our latest coronavirus blog for live news and updatesKey developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include: Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 23:30:42 GMT)

'So much living to do': stories of the UK's coronavirus victims
The oldest is 108, the youngest just a baby. These are just some of the UK’s coronavirus victims, among them healthcare workers, teachers, councillors, war veterans, diplomats, comedians, musicians, transport workers, engineers and academics. Every single one of those included in the death toll had names, lives, memories and stories to tell Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 06:45:57 GMT)

How coronavirus restrictions will differ around the UK
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are taking different paths out of lockdownCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageGroups of up to six people can meet outside from Monday in public and private outdoor spaces, including gardens. Physical distancing including staying 2 metres apart must be observed if those meetings involve members of different households. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 17:35:04 GMT)

What does Durham police's statement on Dominic Cummings tell us?
Statement has elements that will be latched on to by adviser’s opponents and supporters Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe formal statement from Durham police on Dominic Cummings’ travels to the county during lockdown is sufficiently cautious that both the prime minister’s chief adviser and his accusers are likely to quote elements to support their arguments. Here we analyse key sections of the statement. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 15:36:37 GMT)

Johnson blocks top scientists from talking about Cummings
PM gags Vallance and Whitty when they are asked if Cummings breached lockdown Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBoris Johnson has blocked his two most senior scientific advisers from answering questions on whether his senior aide, Dominic Cummings, broke the lockdown.At No 10’s daily press conference, the prime minister twice prevented questions from journalists who wanted to know whether Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, believed Cummings had stuck to the rules. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:31:32 GMT)

Rishi Sunak to taper furlough scheme, forcing employers to pay 20% of wages
Labour wants hard-hit industries protected as employers warn of major redundanciesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe government will start tapering its furlough scheme from August by forcing those employers taking part to pay 20% of workers’ wages as well as covering their national insurance and pension contributions.Under plans to be announced by Rishi Sunak over the next few days, the support given by the furlough scheme will be cut back due to government concerns about its spiralling cost and the likely impact on the UK’s growing public spending deficit. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 19:15:54 GMT)

Clap for our Carers: the very unBritish ritual that united the nation
After nine extraordinary weeks the woman behind the event said Thursday’s should be the lastCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOn Thursday 26 March, Britons stood just inside their front doors, a little unsure if they would be the only ones taking part in a very unBritish ritual. It was three days since Boris Johnson had announced a draconian lockdown, and, in a horrifyingly fearful time, it was not difficult to feel immense gratitude to those health workers risking everything to save lives. But was anyone else really going to turn out to clap?Few can have predicted the wall of noise that followed that first Thursday night and every Thursday since – the applause rising from doorsteps, the smiles and waves between neighbours who had never previously spoken to each other, the new national ritual that, for many, became the clearest fixed point in the week. Isolated in our homes, we were speaking together as never before. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 20:37:41 GMT)

English schools' return could lead to new surge, experts warn
Independent scientists sound alarm over government plans to restart classes from 1 JuneCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOpening schools to more children from Monday could lead to a new surge of infections of Covid-19 in the community, a group of independent scientists has warned.The report, by the Independent Sage group, suggested that plans for whole classes to return to school in England on 1 June could increase the R-value of infections by 0.3 – potentially enough to put the country back on an ever increasing trajectory of infections. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 17:13:11 GMT)

Coronavirus live news: global deaths near 360,000 as Philippines has biggest daily spike in cases
Up to six people can gather in UK parks from Monday; Donald Trump says he would take hydroxychloroquine again; drug combination triples death risk in cancer patients Global report: France to ease Covid-19 travel restrictions and open restaurants US job losses pass 40m as coronavirus crisis sees claims rise 2.1m in a week Coronavirus Australia live news: Victorians ordered to continue working from home as NSW eases restrictions on weddings and funerals Coronavirus latest: at a glance 4.48am BST Graham Russell is too noble to put his byline on it. But he has compiled this most comprehensive global summary.News from, inter alia, the Philippines, China, South Korea, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, the UK, the US, and France. Related: Global report: Philippines opens up despite record cases, as Asia struggles 4.39am BST In Japan, there are fears of an emerging mental health crisis.The phones at the Tokyo suicide hotline start ringing as soon as it opens for its once-weekly overnight session. They don’t stop until the lone volunteer fielding calls from hundreds of people yearning to talk signs out early the next morning. Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 03:48:27 GMT)

Patients share beds as coronavirus cases overwhelm Mumbai’s hospitals
As India’s pandemic continues, in some areas the healthcare system is close to collapseCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIn Mumbai’s Sion hospital emergency ward there are two people to a bed. Patients, many with coronavirus symptoms and strapped two to a single oxygen tank, were captured lying almost on top of each other, top-to-toe on shared stretchers or just lying on the floor, in footage shared on social media in India this week.Mumbai, a city of more than 20 million people, is weeks into the pandemic, but with new cases showing no sign of slowing down the city’s already weak healthcare system appears to be on the brink of collapse. State hospitals such as Sion, overcrowded in normal times, are overrun. With frontline doctors and nurses falling sick with the virus in their droves, it is also leading to a shortage of medical staff. Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 02:00:47 GMT)

Trump campaign attempts to remove satirical cartoon from online retailer
Cartoonist Nick Anderson calls president ‘adolescent’ after work parodying bleach-injection claim sparked a legal manoeuvreThe Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Nick Anderson has described Donald Trump as an “adolescent wannabe authoritarian”, after the US president’s re-election campaign failed to pull one of Anderson’s cartoons mocking Trump’s inaccurate suggestion that injecting disinfectant could protect against Covid-19.Anderson put his cartoon The Trump Cult up for sale on the online retailer Redbubble this month. The illustration shows Trump with supporters in Maga hats, serving them a drink that has been labeled “Kool-Aid”, then “Chloroquine” and finally “Clorox”, a US bleach brand. The cartoon is a reference to the 1978 Jonestown massacre, where more than 900 people died after drinking cyanide-laced punch at the order of cult leader Jim Jones, and to Trump’s widely denounced idea of injecting bleach to protect against coronavirus. Trump has also been taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a protection against Covid-19, despite a study showing it has been linked to increased deaths in patients. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 12:46:36 GMT)

Global report: France to ease Covid-19 travel restrictions and open restaurants
Lockdown returns to Seoul; Trump calls 100,000 US deaths ‘very sad’; community transmissions rise in EthiopiaCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe French government announced a further loosening of coronavirus restrictions on Thursday, as officials in South Korea reimposed strict lockdown measures in the Seoul area after the country’s biggest rise in infections in almost two months.The announcements came as Donald Trump described the US’s 100,000 coronavirus deaths as a “very sad milestone”, and the World Health Organization said a significant proportion of the 159,000 excess deaths recorded cross Europe since early March were linked to Covid-19. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:35:47 GMT)

The Guardian view on easing the lockdown: putting politics before people | Editorial
Boris Johnson wants to lift the Covid-19 restrictions because of ideology and self-interest. The people deserve a more careful, evidence-based approach The United Kingdom went into the Covid-19 crisis as one nation. It seems likely to exit from the pandemic as several. At the outset, the UK’s different governments took similar approaches. Lockdown rules were observed by citizens in all parts of the country, with some infamous individual exceptions like Dominic Cummings. As the onslaught starts to slacken, however, differential approaches are likely to become more important. These differences have now been embodied in the radically contrasted announcements made in London and in Edinburgh this week about the next stage.In England, the government has always been keener to lift the lockdown early. The case for this has never been easy to accept. The virus has not been a lighter scourge in England. The driving force has been a volatile mix of ideology and window dressing. Boris Johnson and his ministers have announced arbitrary goals – often under short-term pressure – and have then battled, generally unsuccessfully and at human cost, to meet them. The approach has never been comprehensive, well explained or effective. Among the most shocking examples have been shortages of personal protective equipment, testing failures for nursing homes and the refusal to test at ports and airports. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 17:21:26 GMT)

After PPE and testing, contact tracing looks like the next UK shambles | David McCoy
The government’s zeal for outsourcing and centralisation has compromised its coronavirus strategy from the outsetCurbing the coronavirus outbreak involves a familiar mantra: test, trace, isolate. As of this week, the government will begin to roll out the second part of this strategy. In theory, contact tracers will call or text people in England and Scotland who test positive for coronavirus, asking them to provide a list of everyone they have met for longer than 15 minutes, who will then receive a message instructing them to self-isolate for 14 days. But already, the contact-tracing strategy looks set to be hobbled by the government’s reluctance to involve local authorities and regional public health expertise in its coronavirus response from the outset, and its dogmatic commitment to outsourcing health services to the private sector.   Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 16:32:44 GMT)

The Tories are losing the shires – this is a gift for Keir Starmer | Gaby Hinsliff
Voters got what they wanted in Boris Johnson: a rule-breaking rogue. But that was before coronavirus, and CummingsWhat Britain wants is a “strong leader prepared to break the rules”. Or at least that’s what it wanted a year ago, when a Hansard Society survey showed that 54% of voters were actively looking for a prime minister willing to play dirty if necessary.In retrospect, these findings predicted much about the rise of Boris Johnson last summer. His supporters were never so much blind to his flaws – who didn’t know the score by then? – as curiously attracted to them, or at least willing to see their usefulness in the circumstances. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 14:28:01 GMT)

Without government help for freelancers, coronavirus will destroy the theatre | Amy Hart
The self-employment income support scheme is due to end. This will be catastrophic for thousands of creative peopleCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageI love theatre. I love the people, the community, the buzz. But the future of this industry is under threat – a pain felt most deeply by the people who make it a fabulous business. On 16 March, London’s West End closed its doors. Regional tours followed suit shortly afterwards, leaving actors, musicians, technical, wardrobe, wigs and front-of-house staff unemployed overnight. Performers and musicians couldn’t be furloughed because they’re technically self-employed, despite many of them being contracted well into 2021. Of course, that was OK because of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s self-employment income support scheme (SEISS). Or was it?Unfortunately, for the thousands of people employed in the theatre industry, there were so many gaps to fall through. The help for self-employed people only lasts until the end of May, while the furlough scheme extends until October. Show business is notoriously unpredictable; there is no job security, so if you earned more than £50,000 in profits each year over the past three years but haven’t been able to find work since, you are not eligible for the grant. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 14:54:34 GMT)

The view from Barnard Castle: 'He's made a mockery of us'
Residents criticise police decision not to take action against PM’s aide for trip to beauty spotCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAt Barnard Castle there has been angry condemnation about the police decision not to take action against Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s most senior aide, after his 52-mile round trip to the beauty spot on 12 April, apparently to test his eyesight.Dan Goldsmith, 43, said: “To come here from Durham isn’t a short journey and it wasn’t an essential journey by any means. It’s clear to everyone that what he did was wrong – it was a breach – and if the police accept that they should be taking actions against him.“It seems to me to be – again – one rule for ordinary people and another for influential people. It’s a sham. The man is an arse and he should have been prosecuted and treated the same way as anyone else would have been in those circumstances.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 16:19:46 GMT)

Walk this way! How to optimise your stride to get the most from your daily stroll
Lockdown has reminded us of the pleasures of walking. But making small changes can boost its benefits to our health, mood and creativity, tooAs a form of physical activity, it is easy to dismiss walking as, well, pedestrian. But now its benefits, both physical and mental, are being appreciated once again. Under lockdown, daily walks became sacred. Now they are the safest way to commute, and, for those stuck at home, there is little place else to go other than to wander the streets, forests, towpaths, cemeteries and eerily deserted business quarters.We have become nosy tourists in our own neighbourhoods. We seek out less-travelled backwaters, eyeing curiously the fragments of human and animal lives that we pass, gazing on seasonal changes like besotted new parents. But are we walking to the best of our abilities? Possibly not. Sports scientist Joanna Hall has dedicated her career to coaching people in how to walk the way their bodies were designed to, which no longer comes easily in this sedentary, screen-based era. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 05:00:23 GMT)

A porter's story: 'The hospital in Covid-19 times reminds me of a disaster movie'
Parts of the hospital are like a ghost town, but I work with a great group of lads and they’ve helped keep my spirits upCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIn a hospital, the doctors and nurses are a bit like the star strikers. And behind them are the porters; we’re the midfield that keeps everything moving.We are living in a strange and difficult time. I’ve never been in a situation like this. It reminds me of a disaster movie with everyone wearing face masks. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 08:25:54 GMT)

Sport fans, what have you missed the most (or not at all) during lockdown?
What are you most looking forward to when sport returns to normal and will you be as passionate as before?In a parallel world, the FA Cup final was contested at Wembley on Saturday and attention is now turning to the Champions League final in Istanbul this coming weekend. The domestic leagues have been settled; the Football League play-offs have come and gone; and, instead of planning weekends around Premier League games and weeknights around European fixtures, sports fans are turning their attention to Wimbledon, the Open, Euro 2020 and the Olympics.But that will all have to wait. Sport is making a gentle, spluttering comeback – with managers in masks, substitutes sitting six feet apart and players reluctant to celebrate with their teammates – but sport as we knew it will not be back for some time. What do you miss most about the old normal? Gathering in the pub for a big Champions League night? That quickening walk to the ground as you hear the team being read over the Tannoy? Sitting down to watch Match of the Day with your family? Being part of an ongoing soap opera that punctuates your weekends, connects you to your friends and gives you something to talk about with people you have never met before? Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 07:30:24 GMT)

George Floyd killing: fires erupt in Minneapolis as third night of protests rock city – live
Minnesota governor has called on the national guard and Minneapolis has declared a local emergencyTwo officers involved previously reviewed for use of forceCoronavirus – latest global updatesGet a fresh perspective on America – sign up to our First Thing newsletter 4.51am BST The Minneapolis police have confirmed that at 10pm local time, officers evacuated the 3rd precinct station. “Protestors forcibly entered the building and have ignited several fires,” a spokesperson for the Minneapolis PD said in a statement. 4.41am BST The Guardian’s Chris McGreal is at the precinct. The 3rd precinct police station burns as protesters chant “no justice, no peace” #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/VIEWMgBzD1 Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 03:51:01 GMT)

Trump signs executive order to narrow protections for social media platforms
Move comes amid president’s feud with Twitter after it fact-checked him for the first timeDonald Trump has fired a shot across the bows of “big tech” companies by signing an executive order that aims to narrow their protections from liability over the content posted on their services.The move came as the US president stepped up his attacks against social media giants after Twitter fact-checked him for the first time over a false assertion that mail-in voting leads to widespread voter fraud. Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 00:29:19 GMT)

Hong Kong crisis: China pledges to 'support' territory's police as US warned not to interfere
Hardening of positions comes after international outcry over China’s parliament voting to proceed with controversial national security lawsChina’s public security ministry has pledged to “guide and support” the Hong Kong police force after parliament in Beijing approved a decision to impose a new national security law on the semi-autonomous territory.The move came as the Hong Kong government warned Washington to stay out of internal affairs and said withdrawing its special US status, which has underpinned the city as a global financial hub, could be a “double-edged sword”. Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 02:49:12 GMT)

Family of Harry Dunn to bring private prosecution against Dominic Raab
Foreign secretary did not have authority to allow driver of car that killed 19-year-old to return to US, relatives sayThe family of Harry Dunn, the 19-year-old killed on 27 August last year after being hit by a car driven by the wife of a US intelligence officer, intends to bring a private criminal prosecution against the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, the Guardian has learned.They claim that Raab did not have the authority to allow Anne Sacoolas to return to the United States after the incident, while there was an ongoing police investigation and while the issue of her diplomatic immunity had not been resolved. They also allege that Raab misled parliament in statements he made about Sacoolas’s return to the US.  Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 19:21:46 GMT)

Palace letters: high court rules Queen's secret correspondence in lead-up to Whitlam dismissal are commonwealth records
Historian Jenny Hocking wins landmark case after campaigning for release of secret letters between monarch and then Australian governor general Sir John KerrThe historian Jenny Hocking has won a landmark high court case in her bid to secure sensitive correspondence between the Queen and former Australian governor general Sir John Kerr about the dismissal of Gough Whitlam.The high court on Friday ruled that the commonwealth was wrong to withhold the so-called “palace letters”, a series of more than 200 exchanges between the Queen, her private secretary and Kerr, the then-governor general, in the lead-up to the 1975 dismissal of Whitlam, the then-Australian prime minister. Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 00:19:26 GMT)

BBC swamped with complaints about Newsnight intro on Cummings
Criticism has been levelled at both Emily Maitlis’ 26 May intro and the BBC’s responseThe BBC has received tens of thousands of complaints relating to Emily Maitlis’ Newsnight monologue on Dominic Cummings, both from opponents and supporters of the presenter’s comments.Many of the first wave of complaints were from people criticising Maitlis for stating at the start of Tuesday night’s programme that “Dominic Cummings broke the rules – the country can see that and it’s shocked the government cannot”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:31:40 GMT)

Man, 29, charged with murder of Hampshire teenager Louise Smith
The 16-year-old from Havant was found dead in woodland after disappearing on VE DayA 29-year-old man has been charged with the murder of 16-year-old Louise Smith, who disappeared on VE Day. Hampshire police said Shane Lee Mays, of Havant, has been remanded in custody and will appear at Portsmouth magistrates court on Friday.The teenager was last seen alive in the Leigh Park area of Havant at midday on 8 May. Her body was found in nearby woodland at Havant Thicket on 21 May. She was described by a family friend as a “lovely girl with a heart of gold”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 21:52:12 GMT)

Monsoon Accessorize on the brink, putting 3,500 jobs at risk
Report suggests fashion firm is ready to call in administrators as early as FridayCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMonsoon Accessorize is on the brink of calling in administrators, in a move that would put 3,500 retail jobs at risk.The fashion chain, which operates about 230 stores, is expected to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators – a legal process which gives the business 10 days’ protection from creditors – as early as Friday, according to Sky News. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:15:32 GMT)

New Zealand beaches turn red as lobsters dig in to the death
Swaths of coastline covered with squat lobster, which cling to the sand at high tide and then perishThe sandy beaches of Otago in the deep south of New Zealand have turned blood red after millions of squat lobster died in a mass stranding.Locals in the small coastal communities of Broad Bay and Edwards Bay, who have seen whole swaths of coastline saturated in colour, reported the phenomenon to the national broadcaster this week. Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 01:16:51 GMT)

Pills, mills and bellyaches: how Blackburn out-partied Manchester
Down the road from the Haçienda, an underground acid house scene was jumping. Now a new archive has restored its rightful place in the history of danceIn 1987, Nigel Gilmartin was working as a mobile DJ in Blackburn: weddings, engagements and birthdays at community halls; the shirt-and-tie scene at weekends. That summer, he fell under the spell of the Sunday-night shows on Key 103FM as DJ Stu Allen played early acid house and hip-hop across Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Gilmartin would meticulously note the name of every track and then scour east Lancashire’s record shops with his list. One record shop staffer told him about Tommy Smith, a hippy Glaswegian hedonist who was looking for DJs for a new type of party in Blackburn. The next day, Gilmartin gave him a call.Blackburn’s venues were uninterested in Smith’s designs on bringing house music to the town until Clitheroe Kate – a key figure in the town’s gay scene around Mincing Lane – rented Smith a room at a bar called Crackers. “You knew something was happening,” says Gilmartin of the first party. “It was absolutely bouncing.” After a few weeks, demand was wildly outstripping Crackers’ capacity. Smith decided to take the parties to the empty mills – relics of Margaret Thatcher’s crushing impact on the former textile town. For Smith, the parties were a vanguard against the prime minister. “She was saying there’s no such thing as society,” he says. “We were saying there is, we’ll show you – here’s 10,000 people. It was political, it was taking them on: people could come together and share collective hopes and aspirations.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 14:07:56 GMT)

Boris Johnson sacrifices top scientists on altar of Classic Dom | John Crace
PM turns Great Dictator as he silences Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance at daily briefingYesterday I wrote that the best way to understand the state the country is in was to consider it a banana republic. I’d meant it as a joke, but at the Downing Street press conference , Boris Johnson went out of his way to prove me right. The UK’s very own dictator might not have much of a reputation left to protect, but Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance most certainly did.Yet to save what now passes for his career, Boris went out of his way to trash the reputations of both the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser. Just as unbelievably, a plainly terrified Whitty and Vallance just stood there and took it. If either had a smidgeon of self worth, both would have walked out once the questions began. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 19:03:21 GMT)

Hong Kong: what are the implications of China's anti-sedition laws?
‘National security’ laws seen as Beijing signalling intention to put city firmly under its controlChina’s unprecedented plans to impose sweeping anti-sedition laws on Hong Kong have prompted mass protests and international condemnation.Beijing says the legislation is meant to stop subversion, terrorism and secessionism as well as foreign interference that could endanger national security. In the aftermath of the increasingly violent mass protests last year, China’s government has said such laws are urgently needed to plug Hong Kong’s “national security loophole”. The legislation will be written in Beijing and directly added into Hong Kong’s de facto constitution, known as the basic law. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 15:24:46 GMT)

The First Team review – a football sitcom fit for relegation
This new comedy from the writers of The Inbetweeners boasts Will Arnett and trademark ‘banter’ – but there’s only so long you can watch bored footballers playing FifaAs the new sitcom from the creators of The Inbetweeners, The First Team (BBC Two) comes with the weight of expectation on its shoulders. In this case, its dopey leads are a little older – in their early 20s, in fact – and they are peripheral players at a struggling Premier League football club. As a potential parking space for the banter bus, you would be hard pressed to find anything better than the dressing room of a football club. Plus, it has Will Arnett playing the club’s gruesome chairman, although his appearance is disappointingly brief. The First Team gets off to a slow start, though even the strongest sitcoms rarely find greatness in their early episodes. It inhabits a strange middle ground, as if it’s being stretched between all-out slapstick and the kind of earnest comedies that balance gags with wanting to make an important point. As you might expect from the talent behind it, penis jokes and toilet humour dominate the tone. There’s a running gag about an elongated foreskin. “Is that funny?” says the owner of said foreskin, the monstrous boiling pot of rage, Petey, though the answer appears to be that it definitely is, as we return to the punchline again and again.  Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 21:00:41 GMT)

Start slow, wear what you like, watch out for zombies: a beginner’s guide to running
There’s a replacement to your pre-lockdown workout right outside your door. Experienced runners explain how to get startedThe gyms, pools and squash courts are shut. Joe Wicks is showing you how to get fit in your living room, but really all you want to do is get out of your living room. Now is the time to go for a run.If you are worried you’re not a running type, don’t be. I wasn’t either until I decided that I didn’t feel safe going to the gym in mid-March. Eight weeks later, I finished my first half-hour run, covering an apparently respectable 4.83km in the process. Almost anyone can be a runner, it turns out. So why not give it a try? Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 10:30:28 GMT)

Searching for Superman: why Henry Cavill deserves another chance as the Man of Steel
Cavill is expected to appear in Shazam 2 and Aquaman 2. But why doesn’t Warner Bros entrust him with a standalone film?Henry Cavill must sometimes wonder if his life might have turned out a little easier were it not for a certain illustrious forerunner in the role of Superman. Christopher Reeve nailed the dual roles of Kal-El and Clark Kent so splendidly in Richard Donner’s 1978 film that those who followed have often struggled to live up to the same standard. Superman is the film that all superhero films must compare themselves to if they are to aspire to greatness, the Citizen Kane of the genre. And Reeve could not have been more splendid in it.The American actor had some advantages over his English counterpart, it must be admitted. Donner’s light-hearted approach to the scenes in which Superman appears in his Clark persona allowed the Juilliard graduate to playfully carve out distinct personae for the two sides of his alter ego. In Man of Steel, Zack Snyder’s 2013 reboot, there is so little obvious difference between Kent and Superman that the screenwriters chose to make Amy Adams’ Lois Lane aware from the very beginning that they are one and the same. Gone is the bumbling overgrown schoolboy reporter of the 1970s and 80s movies; instead we see a serious-minded Kent, taken seriously by those around him. The question of Superman’s true identity, often at the centre of the Reeve movies, is brushed under the carpet. This meant the Englishman, who has played the role with quiet charisma, had considerably less meat to chew on than his predecessor. It is a bit like being asked to play Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as a single, fixed personality. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 15:02:16 GMT)

Good Girl review – one woman's quest to inhabit her body
Soho Theatre On DemandNaomi Sheldon fuses comedy with candour as she tracks a woman’s sexual journey from liberated teen to unfulfilled adult ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” Simone de Beauvoir asserted in The Second Sex, and this becoming is the subject of Naomi Sheldon’s debut show about learning to inhabit a female body that the world is intent on defining and confining to stereotype.Growing up is a diminishing process for Sheldon’s character GG (short for Good Girl) in this hour-long monologue, and it looks more like a kind of “un-becoming”, as she transitions from uninhibited girlhood, delighting in sexual desire, to an unhappy and sexually numbed, womanhood. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:00:37 GMT)

Donald Trump's move against Twitter factchecking could backfire
President’s planned weakening of social media law may not have effect he thinks it willDonald Trump’s apparent plans to punish Twitter for appending a factcheck to his claims that mail-in ballots would be “substantially fraudulent” could reshape the web – but not necessarily in the ways he or his supporters intend.Trump’s expected avenue of attack focuses on section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That law underpins much of how the internet is regulated in the United States, by effectively creating the hybrid publisher/platform model that has become the norm for social media companies worldwide. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 12:31:19 GMT)

Hong Kong: the end of one country, two systems?
Protesters have take to the streets again, this time over a national security law that is set to be imposed by Beijing. Verna Yu and Lily Kuo look at how the standoff compares with those of Hong Kong’s recent historyChina’s parliament has rubber-stamped a controversial national security law that is expected to be imposed on Hong Kong. The move follows a year of violent protests in Hong Kong and is unprecedented in its scope since the territory was handed over to China from the UK in 1997. Pro-democracy demonstrators fear the legislation will bring the semi-autonomous territory further under Beijing’s control.The journalist Verna Yu has been reporting for the Guardian in Hong Kong and describes to Rachel Humphreys the shock and despondency of Hongkongers as the new laws were announced a week ago. Lily Kuo, the Guardian’s Beijing bureau chief, looks at why China has decided to press ahead with this legislation – just as the Chinese government is desperate to recover from the coronavirus crisis and the international community is occupied with its own battle with the virus. Continue reading...
(Fri, 29 May 2020 02:00:47 GMT)

The scandal of Covid-19 in care homes
Why did so many people die in care homes? That may be the most urgent question of the likely public inquiry into the UK’s Covid-19 response. Rob Booth, the Guardian’s social affairs correspondent, on the government failures that led to thousands of care home deathsWhy did so many people die in care homes? That may be the most urgent question of the likely public inquiry into the UK’s Covid-19 response. So far, 16,000 residents of care and nursing homes have died compared with fewer than 3,000 in Germany and none in Hong Kong. The Guardian’s social affairs correspondent, Rob Booth, tells Anushka Asthana that despite the health secretary, Matt Hancock, claiming the government “threw a protective ring” around care homes, government failures have led to thousands of deaths. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 02:00:18 GMT)

Brexit: Is the UK headed for a no deal?
For the past few months UK and EU negotiators have been locked in talks trying to thrash out a trade deal before 1 January. But after the chief negotiators, Michel Barnier and David Frost, exchanged testy letters last week, the talks risk reaching a stalemate. Is the UK headed for a no-deal Brexit?The European Union and the British government are due to resume talks next week, the final round scheduled before a “high-level conference” in June to assess progress before the end-of-year deadline. After the chief negotiators, Michel Barnier and David Frost, exchanged testy letters last week, a senior EU official said there was a risk of stalemate if the EU did not see progress on its vital interests, including how to ensure fair competition, or a level playing field, between British and EU companies under a free-trade deal.Guardian Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll and Brussels correspondent Jennifer Rankin tell Rachel Humphreys about the latest round of talks and examine whether Britain is headed for a no deal at the end of the year. Continue reading...
(Wed, 27 May 2020 02:00:17 GMT)

County cricket may return in August with small socially distanced crowds
Plans afoot for reduced County Championship and T20 Blast ECB says fans may be allowed with season running into OctoberHopes for an English county season being staged this summer are on the rise despite the announcement on Thursday that no domestic professional cricket will take place before 1 August because of the coronavirus pandemic.While the England and Wales Cricket Board looks set to confirm an international men’s schedule for 2020, starting with the visit of West Indies for three Tests in July under biosecure conditions, the prospects for a county season had appeared bleak. But even though they pushed back the potential start date for the third time this year, the ECB has now confirmed that plans are being formulated by its Professional Game Group for a reduced domestic season that could run into October with first-class cricket and the T20 Blast played in three regional groups. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 16:29:23 GMT)

Running with deer in park helped Dina Asher-Smith to stay in shape
Sprinter trained over longer distances in lockdownAsher-Smith relieved when Olympics postponedDina Asher-Smith has described how running with deer has kept her fit during the Covid-19 lockdown, also admitting she felt relieved when the Olympics were postponed because of the near-impossibility of training sufficiently.If the Tokyo Games take place next year, Asher-Smith will be highly favoured to build on her 200m gold medal from the 2019 world championships. But that could hardly have felt a more remote prospect when the first British woman to win a global sprint title found herself making do with a complete change of rhythm, and surroundings, over longer distances in a deer park in recent weeks. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 21:30:42 GMT)

Silverstone set to host back-to-back closed-door F1 races in August
Meetings rescheduled due to quarantine restrictionsF1 season due to begin with two races in AustriaThe British Grand Prix is expected to be confirmed for August as part on the Formula One calendar next week. F1 is to shortly announce the opening eight European meetings of the season, of which Silverstone will host two back-to-back races behind closed doors, set for 2 and 9 August.It is understood the calendar is ready to be confirmed subject to the government providing clarity on travel restrictions for the teams. The season is due to begin with two back-to-back races in Austria, the first on 5 July. Silverstone was to follow with two meetings but the 14-day quarantine on entry into the UK forced F1 to reschedule their plans. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:16:37 GMT)

Premier League plans restart on 17 June with Manchester City v Arsenal
Full round of 10 matches to be played from 20 JuneAll 92 remaining fixtures set to be shown live on TVThe Premier League looks set to resume on 17 June, three months after it was forced into hiatus by the Covid‑19 pandemic.Clubs agreed the date at a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, although it remains provisional: the league must wait for, and then implement, government guidance on staging matches safely behind closed doors before any plans can be completed. It must also hope players and staff – and perhaps the public at large – hold coronavirus at bay. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 20:14:04 GMT)

Rúben Neves: 'It’s good to have back the sensations of football' | Paul Doyle
Wolves midfielder excited to be training properly alongside his teammates with the Premier League return finally in sightNews of the Premier League’s return is music to the ears of Rúben Neves, even if it means the guitar lessons he started during lockdown may have to fade into the background. The midfielder had just completed Wolves’ first contact training session in more than two months on Thursday when news broke that his team could return to match action on the weekend starting 19 June.Neves can already envisage repeating his pre-match routine. “Coldplay are my favourite band and that’s the kind of music I always listen to before a game,” the 23-year-old said. “Normally the last song I listen to before I take off my headphones is Fix You. I like the words and it helps me to get concentrated for the match.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 21:30:41 GMT)

British Masters the first of six straight UK events on European Tour's return
Opening tournament at Close House near Newcastle in JulyAll tournaments will be played behind closed doorsThe European Tour will resume on 22 July with a run of six tournaments over six weeks in the UK. The calendar has been wiped out since 8 March because of the coronavirus pandemic but a return date has now been set, with the British Masters at Close House near Newcastle the opening tournament in July.With the season to run through until December, all tournaments will be played behind closed doors and subject to strict safety and testing protocols. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 14:49:50 GMT)

Why is the BBC bending to the government's definition of impartiality? | Owen Jones
The row over Emily Maitlis could have been avoided if the corporation aspired to greater editorial independence Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageImpartiality is a concept that is frequently lauded but rarely defined. It has long been hailed as a sacred guiding principle behind news reporting for the BBC. Impartiality is extolled not simply as a gold standard, but a religion. “The BBC is committed to achieving due impartiality in all its output,” declare the corporation’s editorial guidelines.The problem with impartiality as a standard for journalism is not simply that it eludes precise definition: hoisting it as your only standard sets a trap that is easily exploited by bad-faith critics who regard the reporting of unwelcome facts as self-evident proof of bias. What would constitute an “impartial” account of the government’s response to this pandemic? Does it mean that every report of Britain’s “world-beating” death toll must be accompanied by a reminder that ministers insist it is too soon to judge their record? Would it have been “partisan” to double-check Matt Hancock’s maths when he falsely claimed the government had achieved its testing target at the end of April?  Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 17:57:47 GMT)

Steve Bell on Donald Trump's social media threat – cartoon
Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:48:37 GMT)

Cummings is the symbol of a political class that knows consequences are for little people | James Butler
Why should we keep faith with democracy when our leaders bend laws and distort truth?There is a moment in all British political scandals when a prickly sensation creeps up the spine: “He’s going to get away with it, isn’t he?” It isn’t provoked by Dominic Cummings alone. I felt the same watching Michael Gove’s exchange with Nick Ferrari on LBC: Gove first starting to claim that he too took the occasional miles-long drive to test his vision before rowing back, perhaps dazzled by the scale of the lie. Smirks were exchanged. The same when Matt Hancock stared down the camera on 30 April and celebrated “achieving” his testing target; the reflux came two days ago, when revised testing figures revealed the target had, in fact, never been hit. It is not a sensation produced merely by lies, or the stench of hypocrisy in high places. It is the smirk, the assured belief that consequences are for little people, and that, in any case, anyone who really matters is in on the act. These people are open about it: to accept it is a mark of urbanity, to be disgusted by it is gauche. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 12:26:17 GMT)

Why Twitter should ban Donald Trump | Julia Carrie Wong
Trump has used and abused the platform for long enough. And his latest executive order is just another distractionThe president’s executive order on social media will kick off a heated debate over free speech on the internet that will, in all likelihood, lead to nothing. This manufactured dispute is a distraction for the media, and it will almost certainly be an effective one. It would be in everyone’s interest – including its own – if Twitter pulled the plug on this specious debate, banned Trump for repeated and egregious violations of its rules, and helped us all focus on what’s more important.More than 100,000 people in the United States have died of Covid-19, more than any other nation in the world. The figure is probably an undercount.More than 1.7 million people in the US have had confirmed cases of Covid-19, more than any other nation in the world. The figure is almost certainly an undercount.The US federal government completely botched the rollout of testing for the coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic, and continues to lag in providing adequate testing for its populace. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 19:46:35 GMT)

EasyJet's axe-wielding smacks of opportunism | Nils Pratley
Laying off ‘up to 30%’ of the workforce seems extreme if we all start flying againNobody can be surprised that easyJet plans to cut jobs – every airline is doing so. But a ratio of “up to” 30% of the entire workforce sounds extreme. Michael O’Leary at Ryanair, who rarely does things by halves, opted for 15%, and has suggested in recent days that the final figure could be lower.EasyJet explained that “levels of market demand seen in 2019 are not likely to be reached again until 2023”. That is possible, of course, but the prediction could also turn out to be too gloomy. The peak Easter and summer seasons of 2021 remain a very long way off. If they’re free to travel, would Brits, and Europeans in general, deny themselves a foreign holiday for two years in a row? Long-haul flights will probably be slow to recover, but that’s not EasyJet’s market. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:07:19 GMT)

Larry Kramer used his anger to force elites to respond to the Aids crisis | Moira Donegan
It’s largely because of his advocacy that US authorities finally responded to the Aids crisis decimating the gay communityHe put a giant yellow condom over the house of the arch conservative senator Jesse Helms, and he poured the ashes of Aids victims on the White House lawn. He interrupted live television broadcasts and shut down the New York stock exchange. It may be appropriate that Larry Kramer’s protest tactics with Act Up, the Aids activist group that he helped to found, were theatrical; after all, Kramer himself was a playwright. But the mood at the Act Up protests themselves was not so much mischievous as rageful and stricken. “Sure I have a temper, who doesn’t?” Kramer told Newsday in 1992. “It happens when you’ve seen so many friends die.”Kramer made an enemy of the elite and antagonized politicians, pharmaceutical executives and the medical bureaucracy who he thought were not responding with enough urgency to the Aids epidemic, accusing them in unflinching terms of genocide by inaction. He once wrote an open letter in the San Francisco Examiner calling Dr Anthony Fauci “a murderer” and “an incompetent idiot” for the inaction of the Reagan administration on Aids. His willingness to anger the powerful made him one of the most hated, most divisive and most effective activists of his generation.  Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 13:14:28 GMT)

How Covid-19 contact tracing can help beat the pandemic
If the UK government wants to start easing the country's lockdown restrictions, it needs to get contact tracing right. But what does that mean? What would successful contact tracing even look like? Josh Toussaint-Strauss tries to find out with a little help from Christophe Fraser, an Oxford professor and infectious disease epidemiologist, and Alex Hern, the Guardian's UK technology editor Continue reading...
(Fri, 08 May 2020 08:04:34 GMT)

How ministers have scrambled to defend Dominic Cummings – video
Since allegations first emerged that Dominic Cummings had flouted lockdown measures while ill with coronavirus symptoms, the prime minister and members of the cabinet have been floundering to defend the adviser from accusations that he broke government guidance he helped devise.Cummings has admitted to, but not apologised for, travelling to his family's home in Durham on two occasions between  27 March and 13 April, as well as making a separate trip to Barnard Castle, which he said was to test his eyesightTory anger at Dominic Cummings grows as dozens of MPs defy Boris JohnsonCatching the travel bug: Cummings's take on virus puts Shapps in hot seat Continue reading...
(Wed, 27 May 2020 19:26:02 GMT)

Battling through a deadly pandemic: Owen Jones meets the coronavirus key workers
For some, lockdown has felt like an eternity, but a lot of key workers have continued to go to work through unprecedented circumstances. Owen Jones asked four workers – a postal worker, a care home worker, a cycle courier and a security guard – to give insight to their working life during the pandemic. He questions if enough has been done to keep them safe from Covid-19  Continue reading...
(Tue, 26 May 2020 10:03:49 GMT)

Virtually anywhere but Westminster: 'We've found a new kind of sincerity'
In lockdown, our series is using footage sent in from around the UK to tell the story of the world outside the political bubbleThe day after the 2019 general election we were on an early-morning train from Stoke-on-Trent to London, feeling as if a long and messy chapter of recent British history had at last come to some kind of full stop. Brexit was a certainty, the Conservatives had won a big parliamentary majority, and the Labour party was more estranged than ever from its old heartlands. Having covered a country in mounting political ferment since 2010, we thought we could at least put Anywhere but Westminster on pause. Continue reading...
(Sat, 23 May 2020 11:00:51 GMT)

Why has Brazil been so badly hit by coronavirus? – video explainer
The spread of coronavirus has been catastrophic in Brazil, with the country now ranking second for infections behind only the US. The infection rate has been growing rapidly in Latin America and on Friday, Brazil's health ministry reported 20,803 new cases, bringing the total to 330,890 confirmed cases.From a sceptical president to a healthcare system on the verge of collapse, the Guardian's Tom Phillips explains the factors that have made Brazil a hotspot for the virusBrazil overtakes UK as country with third-highest coronavirus casesHospitals in Latin America buckling under coronavirus strain Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 May 2020 16:17:50 GMT)

Who do you trust on coronavirus? From Trudeau to Piers Morgan | A new normal
What do we want life after lockdown to look like? As part of a new series, A new normal, Guardian journalist Iman Amrani asks viewers what their hopes are for the future. While there are a lot of uncertainties and anxiety looking beyond Covid-19, there is also an opportunity to reshape the world we live in, from the environment, to working practices, to relationships. In this first episode, Iman asks who the most reassuring voices have been during this time, from Jacinda Ardern and the Queen to Piers Morgan, and what this might mean looking ahead Continue reading...
(Wed, 20 May 2020 10:53:20 GMT)

Fighting a locust plague amid Covid-19 in east Africa – video
The recent coronavirus pandemic is only exacerbating the problems currently facing herders, also known as pastoralists, in Kenya. They’ve seen their livestock devastated and crops destroyed after the worst locust invasions in 70 years and vlllagers are bracing themselves for another swarm, 400 times larger if left unchecked.  With less vegetation for grazing, herders can sometimes infringe on neighbours land, causing violent conflict.We follow Josephine Ekiru, a peace-builder, who is trying to help as economic insecurity caused by the pandemic fuels attacksKenya's pastoralists face hunger and conflict as locust plague continues Continue reading...
(Fri, 15 May 2020 07:00:08 GMT)

Coronavirus UK: should I be wearing a face mask? - video explainer
The UK government has told the public to wear 'cloth face coverings' in crowded places where it's not possible to comply with physical-distancing measures, but what does this mean? Why not face masks? Outside too? Should anyone avoid wearing a face covering? The Guardian's health editor, Sarah Boseley, answers these and other questionsHow to make your own non-medical maskCoronavirus live updates  Continue reading...
(Wed, 13 May 2020 15:38:54 GMT)

People in Scotland allowed to meet with another household as lockdown eased
Other changes from Friday include some sports being allowed and five-mile travel for recreationCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coveragePeople in Scotland can meet outdoors with another household in groups of up to eight, Nicola Sturgeon said as she proceeded with phase one of the Scottish government’s four-stage plan for moving out of lockdown.Scotland’s first minister insisted a continuing stay-at-home message remained “fundamental” to guidance, warning: “If we all start to go about our daily business too much, then we could see an increase in cases very, very quickly.” Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 15:38:16 GMT)

Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow will be delayed by a year, UN confirms
Date moved for Covid-19 travel reasons, but fears raised over delay to green recovery plansGlobal talks aimed at staving off the threat of climate breakdown will be delayed by a year to November 2021 because of the coronavirus crisis, the UN has confirmed.The summit, known as Cop26, which 196 nations are expected to attend, will now take place in Glasgow from November 1 to 12 next year, as reports had anticipated, with the UK government acting as host and president. They were originally set to take place from 9 November this year. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 21:09:58 GMT)

British car industry produced just 197 cars last month
Coronavirus lockdown reduces output to lowest level since the second world warCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe British car industry produced just 197 cars last month, down from 70,971 in April 2019, as the coronavirus lockdown caused every major UK factory to close.The output was the lowest level since the second world war, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Only a handful of premium, luxury and sports cars were manufactured, with some smaller factories able to put minor finishing touches on the vehicles. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 23:01:43 GMT)

World's oldest man dies in Hampshire aged 112
Family pays tribute to ‘witty, kind, knowledgeable conversationalist’ Bob Weighton The world’s oldest man, Bob Weighton, has died from cancer at the age of 112, his family have confirmed.The former teacher and engineer, from Alton, Hampshire, took up the title of the oldest man in the world in February after the death of the previous holder, Chitetsu Watanabe of Japan. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 16:45:38 GMT)

NHS staff 'not told when colleagues test positive for Covid-19'
Concerns raised at Weston hospital where coronavirus spike led to admissions being haltedCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageNHS staff at a hospital that has stopped taking new patients amid a Covid-19 spike have lodged a series of concerns, including that they are not routinely being informed of when colleagues test positive for the virus.The concerns were laid out in a letter from union representatives to management at Weston general hospital in Somerset, which is now testing all staff while carrying out a deep clean. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 15:24:06 GMT)

Jacob Rees-Mogg accused of bungling plans for Commons return
Move to reconvene parliament with no safe voting procedure in place decried as a jokeCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMinisters have been accused of bungling plans for MPs to return to parliament in person, after the government said this would happen next week despite the lack of any way for voting to take place safely.The move by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Commons leader, to end the interim part-virtual sittings, in which some MPs have been able to speak and vote remotely, had already been heavily criticised for discriminating against older MPs and those with disabilities or chronic illnesses, who do not want to put their health at risk by attending in person. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 14:21:42 GMT)

Police investigate woman's death after paracetamol overdose in Merseyside hospital
NHS trust admits failings but denies drug ended life of Laura Higginson, 30Police are investigating how hospital staff gave a 30-year-old woman an overdose of paracetamol shortly before she died, as a coroner began an inquest to determine whether it had caused her death.Laura Higginson, a mother with two children, from Widnes, Merseyside, died in Whiston hospital, in Prescot, on 19 April 2017. Her family said they were initially told she died from sepsis and organ failure, but several months later learned that she had been given too much paracetamol for two days in the fortnight before her death. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 16:01:55 GMT)

NHS will keep personal data of people with coronavirus for 20 years
Information including name, date of birth and contact details are collected as part of UK test-and-trace programmeCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe NHS will keep personal data about people with coronavirus for 20 years as part of the test-and-trace programme, according to a privacy notice posted by Public Health England.Information including full name and date of birth, as well as phone numbers and home and email addresses, will be collected and stored for people with coronavirus, or symptoms of Covid-19, alongside data about those symptoms. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 13:51:03 GMT)

Biden sets solemn tone as Trump waits 15 hours to mark Covid-19 milestone
As the toll of Americans killed by the coronavirus passed 100,000, the president was lashing out at Twitter for factchecking his postsFour hours after Johns Hopkins University recorded that 100,000 American lives were lost to the coronavirus, Joe Biden released a solemn speech.“My fellow Americans, there are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they are forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments,” said Biden, speaking directly to the camera from an office adorned with American flags. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 16:10:48 GMT)

UK court must decide which leader to recognise in Venezuela gold case
UK recognises Juan Guaidó as country’s interim president, arguing president Nicolas Maduro rigged 2018 electionA court in London has said that it will need to decide which of Venezuela’s duelling political factions to recognise before ruling on president Nicolas Maduro’s request for the Bank of England to hand over gold the country has in its vaults.For decades, Venezuela has stored gold that makes up part of its central bank reserves in the vaults of foreign financial institutions including the Bank of England, which provides gold custodian services to developing countries. But since 2018, the bank has refused to transfer the funds to Maduro’s government, which Britain does not recognise. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 21:24:42 GMT)

Climate crisis is making world’s forests shorter and younger – study
Rising temperatures, natural disasters and deforestation taking heavy toll, say scientistsClimate breakdown and the mass felling of trees has made the world’s forests significantly shorter and younger overall, an analysis shows. The trend is expected to continue, scientists say, with worrying consequences for the ability of forests to store carbon and mitigate the climate emergency and for the endangered wildlife that depends on rich, ancient forests.  Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:00:37 GMT)

US government is funding website spreading Covid-19 disinformation
State Department-backed Armenian project to promote democracy instead features false informationCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe US government is funding a website in Armenia which is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, including warnings that Armenians ought to “refuse” future vaccine programmes.The website, Medmedia.am, was launched with the help of a US State Department grant meant to promote democracy, but instead has been used to promote false information about Covid-19, according to an investigation by the British news website openDemocracy. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 18:13:27 GMT)

Virgin Orbit looks into cause of LauncherOne test failure
Malfunction caused rocket to shut down about five seconds after ignitionThe first launch demonstration of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket ended in failure this week.The California-based company aims to place small satellites into space using LauncherOne, which is carried under the wing of a converted 747 jumbo-jet aircraft. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 20:30:40 GMT)

Police in Ireland arrest four armed Brazilians over alleged drug feud
Gardaí received intelligence about planned Offaly murder and put men under surveillanceIt sounds like a scene from a Latin American gangster movie: police intercept four young Brazilian men with a submachine gun and a sawn-off shotgun – an alleged hit squad en route to assassinate a gang member over a drug debt.But the checkpoint and arrests on Wednesday happened not in Rio de Janeiro but in Clara, a town in County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 15:39:03 GMT)

Fears rise of ‘murder hornet' spreading in western Canada after sighting
Latest discovery suggests the species has reached far deeper into British Columbia than previously thoughtWhen officials in western Canada received the squashed remains of a hornet in late May they immediately knew trouble was in their hands. With its hulking orange and black body, the insect sent in by a concerned resident was unmistakably an Asian giant hornet – an aggressive predator increasingly known as the “murder” hornet. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 17:17:43 GMT)

Brother of George Floyd calls for death penalty for police involved
Philonese Floyd said: ‘They need to be convicted and get the death penalty’ while family could meet with prosecutor as early as todayThe brother of George Floyd, the black man killed by police in Minneapolis on Monday after an incident captured on video in which an officer knelt on his neck as he lay on the ground, has called for the death penalty for the police involved.Philonese Floyd sobbed on Thursday morning as he described the pain his family was experiencing and an urgent need for justice. The four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd, 46, on Monday have been fired, and prosecutors are investigating. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 12:47:42 GMT)

Ill-advised car journeys on film – ranked!
Dominic Cummings’ drive to Barnard Castle is unlikely to cut it as a road movie, but here are some nightmarish trips that did make it into the cinema The internet tells us that Sonic the Hedgehog can run at 362mph. In the film Sonic the Hedgehog, the eponymous hero has to travel from Montana to San Francisco, a distance of 1,200 miles. By rights, the film should be a maximum of three and a half hours in length. But no. Thanks to a tranquilliser-based misunderstanding in which he is mistaken for a racoon, Sonic the Hedgehog is temporarily immobilised and has to be driven the distance in a Toyota pickup truck. During this time, drunk hoodlums attempt to beat him to death and the truck is blown up by exploding drones. Sometimes it’s safer on foot. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 11:00:29 GMT)

Gary Busey: 'I passed away after brain surgery. Then I came back'
The star of Big Wednesday and Point Break on being the hardest-partying man in Hollywood, the motorbike accident that changed his life – and his new reality show, Pet JudgeGary Busey promises I won’t have come across anything like his new show, Pet Judge. He’s right; I haven’t. But, to be fair, I’ve never come across anybody like Gary Busey. He really is a one-off – Hollywood legend, coke fiend, brain-damage survivor, sobriety champion, spiritualist and reality-show winner. When he was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice in the US, Donald Trump concluded: “He’s either a genius or a moron and I can’t figure it out.” Well, I know which side I come down on.Pet Judge is a new Amazon Prime series, with Busey playing himself – only this Busey is presiding over a court in which litigants resolve quarrels about their pets. One couple are in dispute over the death of their cat; the wife wants it buried in the family mausoleum and the husband wants a Viking funeral, with the cat sent out to sea on a flaming boat. Then there is the woman convinced that her dog is her reincarnated husband – she’s at war with an insurance company that is refusing to include the dog on the family policy. Every so often, Busey bangs his gavel, barks: “PET JUS-TICE!” and brings the court to order. Pet Judge is a fake reality show, cast with actors, largely improvised, sometimes very funny and every bit as bonkers as it sounds. “None of the other judge shows hold a candle fire, bonfire or rocket to this Pet Judge show,” Busey says. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 05:00:23 GMT)

Andy Gill: Gang of Four to release guitarist's final recordings
Anti Hero EP will also feature new version of old classics with all proceeds going to NHSThe influential post-punk band Gang of Four are to release the final recordings featuring the group’s influential guitarist and songwriter Andy Gill, who died in February. All proceeds from the Anti Hero EP will benefit Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust, to “recognise, celebrate and support” those who cared for Gill during his hospitalisation.Gill’s widow, the author and Women’s Equality party co-founder Catherine Mayer, said her late husband was “was working on this music and overseeing mixes from his hospital bed until literally the last day when they put him under”. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 16:00:35 GMT)

'Why did white men get all the fun?': the long road to diverse travel writing
As a young Asian female travel writer, Jini Reddy entered a genre that was mostly white and male. But new and emerging voices give her hope for a different futureI was born in London, to Indian parents who grew up in apartheid-era South Africa. When I was seven we left Wimbledon for a tiny village in the Laurentian mountains, in Quebec, where our back garden was a wilderness. A year and a half later, we moved again to Montreal and the St Lawrence river flowed at the end of our suburban street. As a child, there was never a moment when I didn’t dream of becoming a writer, or of travelling abroad. But I never saw or read about anyone like me, a small, brown woman, going off and doing adventurous things. I’d see those men – and it was always men – in books and on TV and I’d wonder how they made these things happen. Why did they get to have all the fun? Becoming a travel writer was the dream, spending time in wild landscapes too – for me there is not a great schism between travel writing and narrative nature writing, at least the kind I now enjoy reading.Long before I even thought it possible to write professionally, I’d make frequent visits to the holy of holies, Stanfords Travel Bookshop. Here I’d trawl the shelves, desperate to read about someone, anyone, who looked like me, or looked at the world through a prism other than the prevailing one. I can still recall my delight when stumbling upon Eddy L Harris’s Native Stranger: A Black American’s Journey into the Heart of Africa. I was fascinated: here was a man with black skin who was seeking to know himself better while roaming in the land of his ancestors. As he put it: “There is a line that connects the place we come from and the place we find ourselves, those lives and our lives. And I longed to follow that line.” This was very different from the escapist, “hero lit”, travelogues written by white men who wrote about the people they encountered and landscapes they traversed as though mere backdrops to their adventuring prowess. Though Harris’s background and experiences were different from my own, they felt infinitely more relatable. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 14:51:10 GMT)

Jimmy Cobb obituary
Jazz drummer who continued to perform for half a century after recording Kind of Blue with Miles DavisThere are sublime moments in music that only the cognoscenti notice, plenty that millions love, and some that many sense without quite knowing why. Kind of Blue, the 1959 recording led by Miles Davis, had enough of all of them to become the bestselling jazz album ever.Jimmy Cobb, the drummer and last surviving member of that landmark session, who has died aged 91, was not just a crucial contributor to a jazz revolution unleashed by it, but the instigator of a split-second playing choice on one of its best known themes that seems to define the here-and-gone magic of the best of jazz. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 16:16:57 GMT)

Irm Hermann, star of 20 Fassbinder films, dies aged 77
The actor, who collaborated with the director on films including Fear Eats the Soul and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, also featured in Herzog’s Woyzeck Irm Hermann, one of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s closest collaborators, has died in Berlin aged 77 following what her agent called a “short, serious illness”. The actor, who was a staple of German theatre, TV and radio, made her name for her work with the uncompromising and virtuosic director, who she first encountered while working at the German automobile association. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 14:49:11 GMT)

‘Our staff are like family. They have to be looked after’: how a restaurant is keeping things cooking with government support
When Paul Elgee closed his family’s restaurant, Myra’s Kaiseki, he felt as if a ‘dark cloud’ was hanging over the business and its staff. But thanks to the furlough scheme and the Small Business Grant Fund he can now plan aheadSpringtime is generally boom time for the hospitality industry. The four-day weekend of Easter, plus Mother’s Day and two bank holidays in May, see many people celebrating with meals out. But this year in March, just as restaurants and bars began to get really busy, Covid-19 took hold.“We were on the crest of a wave,” says Paul Elgee, director of Myra’s Kaiseki, a restaurant in Dorchester. “We were fully booked, and with stock in ready for a big weekend, then we were told we needed to shut. The closure of the restaurant couldn’t have come at a worse time.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 May 2020 08:37:51 GMT)

From gourmet takeaways … to feeding a zoo: how a Scottish pub adapted to lockdown
As the owner of East Lothian gastropub the Mercat Grill, Graham Blaikie has had to adapt his business to survive. Here, he tells Sophie Goddard how he’s keeping not only his pub afloat, but is helping out the people – and animals – around him, too ...For thousands of small business owners, the global pandemic has flung their futures – and those of their staff – into uncertainty. That’s certainly true for Graham Blaikie, and his pub the Mercat Grill in Whitecraig, Scotland. “I’d been watching the news about Covid-19 since December and luckily we’d prepared,” he explains. “Even before we closed, we had contactless hand sanitisers and I was always wiping down handles and menus. I’d also removed items from tables, so there weren’t as many touch points.” But when Boris Johnson’s March announcement saw pubs and restaurants close to the public, the business that had taken Blaikie nine years to build was suddenly forced to adapt for survival.The first step was ensuring customers could still enjoy the food they loved. “Prior to the shutdown, we’d been talking about what our strategy would be – I bought containers and had our takeaway menu prepped, so we were ahead of the game”, he says of being ready for business the next day. “We had a lot of fresh food in the pub, so on the Saturday we started the takeaway system.” But it wasn’t without its problems. “It’s not as easy as you think doing takeaway food, especially restaurant-style. When people order with us they’re having haggis cigars, patties, fish and chips, pepper beef with rice and my mum’s desserts ... that’s six different containers at least. We spent about £2,000 on takeaway boxes initially, that’s a lot of money. But it’s hopefully keeping us going.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 May 2020 08:36:00 GMT)

'I call furloughed staff once a week': how one company is coping during the coronavirus crisis
An estimated 1m businesses in the UK have been protected until October through the government’s job retention scheme. Here, Daniel Pillai, CEO of the Welsh solar roofing firm BIPVco, discusses how it has worked for himDaniel Pillai first realised that life was about to change when he arrived at San Francisco airport on a business trip in February. Queuing at passport control, he noticed masked biosecurity staff checking the temperatures of incoming passengers. “I realised this thing [coronavirus] was about to hit us, and it was only a matter of time,” says the CEO and co-founder of BIPVco, a Welsh solar roofing company. “Our business had all sorts of contingency plans, everything from fire to worst-possible scenario. But a health pandemic? That wasn’t even on the radar, especially not for a company of our size.”As at many small businesses across the UK, the Covid-19 pandemic forced BIPVco to reconfigure. The company had been manufacturing solar modules from its Newport factory since 2015, and currently employs 16 people. On 16 March, when the government advised that all non-essential businesses should cease activity to limit contagion, Pillai phoned his staff to tell them not to come to work the next day. At the same time, worries about his business started gnawing away. “We had many concerns: the welfare of our staff, letting customers down, plus the long-term viability of the business given that orders could disappear.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 May 2020 08:38:43 GMT)

‘Now I have a future’: how furlough helped a paddle-sports business stay afloat
With his business Beyond Adventure having to close its doors due to the coronavirus crisis, Ross Dempster was worried how his team would survive. He explains how the furlough scheme has given him hopeFor some people it can take decades to discover their true passion, but for Ross Dempster, managing director of Beyond Adventure, an outdoor adventure company in Perthshire, Scotland, he knew from the get-go that he wasn’t made for a life clocking up the hours in an office. In fact, it wasn’t long after university that he made the bold decision to switch his career.“I tried to work in an office for a short time,” he says, recalling a stint with his father at an Edinburgh-based financial services company. “I was described as the man who looked the most uncomfortable in a suit.” Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 May 2020 08:37:02 GMT)

‘We grieve’: the anguish of not seeing a new grandchild amid the pandemic
Coronavirus is keeping grandparents away from their newborn grandchildren for months, or more if a vaccine is not found“I hate it!” says Jim Clinton jocularly of the lockdown. “I hate not being able to see the grandchildren … not being able to see a newborn baby is one of those things as a grandparent you don’t really contemplate happening. You can’t imagine you won’t be there to experience those early days up close and personal.”Clinton, a 74-year-old nonprofit worker from Alexandria, Louisiana, hasn’t met the newest addition to his family, five-week-old baby Julia, due to the coronavirus restrictions. His son Ryan and daughter-in-law Sarah had baby Julia on 23 April. Julia is their third child, and under normal circumstances Clinton and his wife Susan would have visited as soon as possible after the birth. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 09:00:27 GMT)

Hair today: the rise and stay of the lockdown fringe
If ‘haircut’ has been the most Googled beauty treatment in lockdown, it is the fringe that has had the most attention. From Normal People to Angela Rayner, DIY bangs are the new normalAs our contact with the outside world shrinks to the size of a screen, once-private things have been pushed to the fore.Our bookshelves, formerly unseen by our co-workers, have become pregnant with meaning. Our tired faces, once optimised for the workplace with concealer and a fancy neckline, are beginning to crack after one too many Zoom meetings. For those of us working from home, headshots are the new hemlines. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 07:00:24 GMT)

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music review: a runner’s best friend
Practically every running stat, great battery life, offline Spotify and comprehensive health-tracking in a small and light sports watchThe Forerunner 245 is Garmin’s excellent performance running watch and sets a new benchmark against which the competition should be measured.Two versions are available: one which can download music and one which cannot at a recommended retail price of £299.99 or £249.99 respectively. It came out in April 2019 to replace the popular Forerunner 235. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 06:00:23 GMT)

‘Things have to change’: tourism businesses look to a greener future
While the pandemic has dealt travel a severe blow, some hope it can be an opportunity to introduce slower, fairer, more sustainable holidays No planes in the sky, empty hotels and deserted attractions: with the world at a standstill, tourism has been one of the industries worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. International arrivals this year could be down by 80% compared with 2019, according to the World Tourism Organization, and more than 100 million jobs are under threat.But as destinations slowly start to emerge from lockdown and borders tentatively reopen, many in the sector are wondering if this is a chance for tourism to rebuild in a greener, more sustainable way. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 05:20:41 GMT)

‘The best meal of my life’: readers’ travel tips
The most memorable eating experiences are often as much about the moment and the unlikely location as the food itself – as these delicious encounters provePortamarina Seafood is perched at the end of the jetty in Sorrento’s old marina. They cook whatever comes in from the family boat and it is stunningly good – and stunningly good value. A massive plate of flour-and-salt-dusted anchovies for €6 was a standout but pretty much everything is worth a go. A cold Peroni, the freshest fish perfectly cooked, and the sun going down over the sea. A cliche perhaps but of such restaurants are cliches made. No booking, so choose your time carefully or you’ll be waiting – but it is worth it. • On FacebookDerek Hill Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 10:00:28 GMT)

'Without it, I’d be lost': the unexpected joy of Zoom Shabbat
Shabbat for me used to mean a break from screens, but as I drop into synagogues all over North America, I’m reminded we’re all in this together Coronavirus – live US updatesLive global updatesBefore the pandemic, Shabbat for me meant a break from screens. My synagogue, housed in a century-old building on a residential street in a quiet Toronto neighbourhood, observes the ancient laws that prohibit the use of technology on the Sabbath. A few Saturdays a month, I used to dress up, walk to shul (synagogue), and leave the frenetic demands of the secular, wired world behind. Since the pandemic shut the doors to my synagogue, I reluctantly turned to online shul to fill the void. Shabbat by Zoom, it turns out, is unexpectedly nourishing. Last month, the leaders of the conservative movement of Judaism gave rabbis the green light to livestream on Shabbat. Thousands of Jews around the world are just now discovering the joy of virtual worship, known to more liberal Jews for years. In fact, Zoom Shabbat has some distinct advantages over in-real-life congregation. If a sermon is boring, I’ll hop over to a different one. If I don’t like the voice of one cantor, I’ll close the tab and find another. Attendance is anonymous. No one notices if you show up late or leave early. I’ve dropped into synagogues all over North America.Virtual shul helps me mark the passing of time. Because I no longer drop my kids off to school or ride the subway to work, the days tend blend into each other. Virtual shul helps make Shabbat morning feel special. On Saturdays, we sleep in. My husband works on a cryptic crossword. Mid-morning, I recite Shabbat prayers with other people, just like before the pandemic, only now I don’t dress up or leave the house. I open my laptop at my kitchen table in my yoga pants, or sometimes in bed. My seven-year-old daughter colours beside me, and the two of us sing along to familiar melodies. Continue reading...
(Thu, 28 May 2020 09:00:27 GMT)

Have you been fined for breaking lockdown rules for childcare reasons?
We would like to hear from people who have been issued fines for breaching lockdown rules for childcare reasons in EnglandMatt Hancock said he would look into penalties issued to families who have been fined for travelling for childcare reasons during lockdown, after being challenged by a vicar during a Downing Street briefing.We want to hear from people who have been issued fines for breaking lockdown rules. Continue reading...
(Wed, 27 May 2020 08:50:33 GMT)

What are your experiences of debt during the pandemic?
We’d like to hear from people about how they are managing existing debts during the coronavirus pandemicSince the lockdown thousands of people have found themselves grappling with significantly reduced finances. Following widespread redundancies, the number claiming unemployment benefits in the UK soared to more than 2.1 million last month. Many other households have seen big drops in their income due to being furloughed or losing contract or part-time work.We’d like to hear about your experience of debt during the pandemic. Have you been able to manage existing debts? Have you fallen into debt due to the loss of your income or another member of your household’s income? Continue reading...
(Tue, 26 May 2020 11:46:26 GMT)

LGBTQ+ community: how have you been affected by the lockdown?
We would like to hear from LGBTQ+ people about their experiences during the pandemicWhile the pandemic lockdown has raised significant concerns for everyone, we want to know whether it has brought additional difficulties for the LGBTQ+ community.Being able to embrace your sexuality or gender identity has a positive impact on wellbeing and resilience. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely to suffer low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues due to discrimination, social isolation, and rejection. Young LGBTQ+ people also comprise almost a quarter of the youth homeless population in Britain. Continue reading...
(Fri, 22 May 2020 07:53:50 GMT)

Share your photos of butterflies in the UK
We want to see your photos of butterflies you have spotted around the country during the sunny weather Due to a combination of warmth and sunshine across the UK, butterflies have been spotted enjoying the good weather.If you have seen any near you, we’d like to see your photos. Continue reading...
(Wed, 27 May 2020 15:51:45 GMT)

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