Hot News on 21/09/2021

Fox News host says mandates are meant to identify ‘free thinkers’, and ‘men with high testosterone levels’

Vaccine mandates for the US military are meant to identify “sincere Christians … free thinkers” and “men with high testosterone levels”, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed on Monday night.

Related: Alabama population on course to shrink for first time ever as Covid takes toll


Analysis: As governments shield consumers against soaring prices, Russia and renewables are coming under scrutiny

The UK is far from alone in its energy crisis. Across Europe, governments are acting to shield consumers from soaring bills, with nerves growing about the coming winter. EU energy ministers will meet this week at an Alpine castle in Slovenia, where they will discuss global gas shortages and the union’s energy policy.

Since the start of the year, wholesale gas prices in Europe have risen by 250%, the result of a complex cocktail of economic, natural and political forces. Globally, demand for energy has shot up, as China and other major economies bounce back from the pandemic. In Europe, a cold winter and frigid spring depleted gas reserves, while a long spell of still days reduced wind power supply to the grid. Meanwhile, CO2 prices hit a record €62 this month and Russia, a big exporter, has declined to increase gas supplies. Now, across the continent, energy prices are only going in one direction: up.

People in poorer countries need a first jab much more than we need a third. By turning it down, we can all make a point, says Christopher Cheetham

As your editorial on sharing vaccines with poorer countries points out (19 September), we know that two doses do not guarantee protection against an infection, but we do know that they make a serious infection extremely unlikely. A first or second jab is of much greater benefit than a third one, protecting against serious illness, mortality and further transmission. Those outside the rich world are not being protected because of scarcity of supply. Their first or second jabs must have priority over our third.

Politicians may find this policy difficult, fearing critics who might accuse them of giving “our” benefit to foreigners. There is a simple solution. We should decline this third immunisation. I, a healthy pensioner who has had two doses, have refused the third jab, asking for it to be sent to those who will benefit more, and I invite others to do the same. This is not simply altruistic;limiting the extent of the pandemic is an advantage to all of us.
Christopher Cheetham
Yatton, Somerset

Record firm’s €40bn flotation is just beginning of new wave of music consumption, says Sir Lucian Grainge

The chief executive of Universal Music has said the hotly anticipated €40bn flotation of the world’s largest record company this week does not mark the peak of the streaming-led recovery of the music industry, with billions of dollars of growth yet to come from a new wave of digital listening on devices such a smart speakers, connected cars and services such as TikTok.

Sir Lucian Grainge, who stands to make a transaction bonus of at least $170m when the label behind artists such as Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber goes public in Amsterdam on Tuesday, said the listing provided the opportunity to build Universal into the “next generation music company”.

Far-right president peddled unproven Covid remedies and made baseless claims about Brazilian politics and the environment

The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, told the United Nations general assembly he had come to showcase “a new Brazil, with its credibility restored before the world”.

But in a 12-minute address, in which the far-right populist preached unproven Covid remedies, denounced coronavirus containment measures and peddled a succession of distortions and outright lies about Brazilian politics and the environment, Bolsonaro did little to repair his country’s mangled international reputation.

Delicious, versatile and good for you – there’s so much you can do with this ruby-coloured root vegetable apart from pickling it. Here are some of the best recipes to get you started

The beetroot has a long and storied history. Assyrian texts from 800BC describe beetroots growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The ancient Romans considered them an aphrodisiac and used them to treat everything from fever to constipation. In 1653, Nicholas Culpeper said they embodied the energy of Saturn. The Victorians used them to dye their hair. Even now beetroot is heralded as an incredible source of folate, manganese, iron and vitamin C. And to think I spent my childhood flicking it off my plate because I didn’t want it turning my potato salad pink. Here are 10 excellent beetroot recipes for your perusal.

Current modelling informing national reopening plan was conducted before all aspects of deadlier variant were known

Future pandemic modelling conducted in Australia will take into account the Delta variant of Covid being more severe and deadly, epidemiologists say.

In a briefing on the Doherty Institute modelling that informs the national reopening plan, researchers said on Monday that evidence pointing to Delta’s increased severity has emerged since the initial modelling was conducted.

The president said he wants global cooperation to meet challenges, but some allies and adversaries say his actions point to confrontation with China and unilateral action, belying his words.
Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

A Dublin-based company is promising zero-emission journeys across traffic-choked São Paulo, Latin America’s biggest city

The skies over Latin America’s largest city are set to witness a futuristic aerospace revolution after the Brazilian budget airline Gol struck a deal that could see it ferry commuters around São Paulo in hundreds of low-cost zero-emission electric air taxis.

“It’s going to be an absolute disrupter. We’re going to democratise air travel,” Dómhnal Slattery, chief executive of the group that will provide the aircraft to Gol, claimed in an interview with the Financial Times.

Health minister Greg Hunt says if Pfizer is found to be safe and effective for young children, Australia can commence vaccination ‘as a priority’

Children aged five to 11 could be vaccinated as early as this year after the health minister, Greg Hunt, invited Pfizer to seek Australian approval for use of its vaccine in younger children as soon as possible.

The move to potentially fast-track vaccinations for this age group comes after Pfizer announced it would seek to roll out the vaccine to under-12s in the US, and as the Australian Medical Association called for more children to be vaccinated before restrictions were eased.

Low wages and poor working conditions – as well as unruly customers – combine to keep the food service labor shortage going

After the traumas of widespread economic shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, America’s restaurant industry is largely open for business again as eateries ranging from high-end bistros to fast-food chains are serving hungry customers.

But behind the full tables and busy kitchens is a story of a sector still in trouble amid the impact of the pandemic, marked by staff shortages, low wages and fears that safety protocols are still not enough to cope with a virus that is still a threat as the more contagious Delta variant spreads across the US.

Paul Appleby and Conor Hanick presented a song program focused on cycles by Beethoven and Berg.


Self-amplifying mRNA jab aims to trigger immune response towards virus’s spike and non-spike proteins

The first trials have begun of a Covid booster jab that it is hoped will offer good protection against a wide range of variants, researchers have revealed.

Covid jabs currently used in the UK trigger an immune response towards the coronavirus spike protein, which helps the virus get into human cells.

Energy crisis could have been lessened if more had been done to shift UK market towards renewables

Renewable energy and low-carbon heating could do much more to alleviate the gas supply problems of the future – and could have done much to reduce the impact of this winter’s soaring gas prices, if the government had done more to shift the UK’s energy market sooner, industry experts have said.

The gas supply crunch has prompted a flurry of government meetings with industry, and reassurances in parliament on Monday from the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, that “there is no question of the lights going out” and that the UK is “highly resilient”.

He gained cult status in Harry Potter, despite not even wanting to audition, then matured in How to Get Away With Murder. What’s the actor doing now? Playing 1,000-year chess in deep space

At the age of 10, Alfred Enoch was cast as Gryffindor student Dean Thomas in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. While it wasn’t the most prominent role, Thomas was one of the few black or Asian characters in the third-highest-grossing film series ever – and this, allied with his boyish good looks, has lent Enoch cult status among Potterheads. “Not to downplay it,” says Enoch, “but I wasn’t an integral character. I’ve expressed that to people and they still say, ‘Yeah, but I saw you and you looked like me.’”

Enoch was cast after catching the Potter team’s eye during a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. However, he’d earlier declined the chance to audition when producers held an open call at his school. “I didn’t go for Harry Potter in the beginning because I couldn’t think of any black characters,” he says.

CQC inspection of nine struggling units suggests mothers and babies remain at risk from poor care and closed systems

Babies and mothers are at risk of injury and death because too many maternity units have not improved care despite a string of childbirth scandals, the NHS watchdog has warned.

In a highly critical report published on Tuesday, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) voiced serious concern that lessons are not being learned and that many incidents involving patients’ safety are still not being recorded.

Sales jump as US says it will allow fully vaccinated passengers from UK and some EU countries to enter from November

Virgin Atlantic has reported a 600% surge in flight bookings to the US and British Airways reported a jump in searches after the US said it would lift restrictions to allow fully vaccinated passengers from the UK and most European Union countries to travel to the country from early November.

Related: US to lift Covid travel ban for vaccinated passengers from UK and most of EU

Boasting the shark from Jaws, the robe from the Big Lebowski, and the slippers from Oz, the Academy museum is finally open. But the real story is its exposé of Hollywood’s racist, sexist past

In 1939, the Academy of Motion Pictures published its first “players directory”, which grouped actors into categories such as “leading women” and “comediennes”, but set aside separate sections for “coloured” and “oriental” performers. The Academy removed the segregated categories a few years later, but many of the actors of colour weren’t integrated into other sections. They were eliminated.

These racist directories are on display at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, which celebrates some of the most important film-makers in history while also attempting to confront head-on the dark legacy of exclusion and discrimination in the industry. The hope is to tell a much more complicated, and accurate, story of Hollywood through the years.

To step onto Montserrat’s volcanic beaches, 21 travelers (so far) with an income of at least $70,000 have agreed to stay two months. The goal: to keep cash coming in, while keeping Covid away.

ECHR also finds ex-KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoy and another Russian, Dmitry Kovtun, carried out assassination

The European court of human rights has ruled that Russia was responsible for the 2006 killing of Alexander Litvinenko, who died an agonising death after he was poisoned in London with Polonium 210, a rare radioactive isotope.

“Russia was responsible for assassination of Aleksander Litvinenko in the UK,” the court said in a statement on its ruling.

Some nations fear an accelerated arms buildup in a region where larger countries have already ramped up their military spending or capabilities.

Italian Boxing Federation criticised for not acting sooner over Michele Broili, who has numerous Nazi tattoos

A boxing title match has sparked a row in Italy after it emerged that one of the contenders had several neo-Nazi tattoos.

The boxer, Michele Broili, 28, was defeated on Sunday night in Trieste for the super-featherweight title by Hassan Nourdine, 34, in a match that reignited the debate in Italy on the display of Nazi and fascist symbols.

They took RuPaul from obscurity to global fame – inventing The Adam and Joe Show along the way. As Drag Race UK returns to the BBC, we talk to Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

More than 20 years before Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato launched RuPaul’s Drag Race under the banner of their World of Wonder production company, they spotted the future drag superstar in the lobby of the Marriott hotel in Times Square, New York. It was the mid-1980s, and the 6ft 4in RuPaul Charles was sporting football shoulder pads, thigh-high waders, a loincloth and a mohican.

“We were, like: ‘Oh my God,’” says Bailey. “There was simply nowhere else you could look.”

World leaders are gathering for the UN general assembly in New York, with Joe Biden and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro among those scheduled to speak

The Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who is due to open the UN general assembly this morning, is having a torrid time in New York, where he has been pursued by angry protesters and reprimanded by senior politicians for snubbing Covid vaccination.

In the few hours since he arrived in the Big Apple on Sunday Brazil’s far-right leader has been scolded by the city’s mayor, Bill di Blasio, who said that those, like Bolsonaro, who refused to be jabbed shouldn’t “bother” to visit New York.

On Monday Boris Johnson also used an encounter with Bolsonaro, under whose presidency nearly 600,000 Brazilians have died from Covid, to push vaccination, telling Brazil’s leader he was double jabbed.

Brazilian protesters, meanwhile, have pursued their beleaguered president around New York to lambast his “murderous” response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo, was berated while trying to visit an Apple Store. On Tuesday morning Bolsonaro, apparently discomboluted by the attacks, tweeted a video in which he called such critics a “brainless” minority with “shit” in their heads.

After speaking broadly on the pandemic and the climate crisis, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres spoke on mistrust, which he called the other “disease [that] is spreading in our world today”.

“When people see promises of progress denied by the realities of their harsh lives, when they see their fundamental rights and freedoms curtailed, when they see grand corruption around them,” Guterres said, along with seeing billionaires going to space “while millions go hungry”.

My passport has been stuck with the courier for ages – I’ve missed my holiday and I need to open bank accounts

I recently applied for a passport renewal and this was processed quickly by HM Passport Office.

Now it is with its courier, TNT, to deliver, I have come to a dead end. For a week I have been trying to arrange delivery through the tracking service but it keeps pushing the date back by a day at a time. I have called the deliveries number three times, and waited an hour to be connected before being disconnected.

It came out of the blue – but the new military pact between Australia, the UK and the US could transform international relations for a generation. The Guardian’s defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, explains the Aukus deal that has enraged Beijing

When Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Scott Morrison announced a new deal that would provide Australia with the technology to run silent nuclear submarines as part of its navy, one phrase kept coming up: “stability in the Indo-Pacific”. The word the leaders of the UK, the US and Australia did not use may be more important: China. By striking the Aukus deal, an unprecedented agreement on defence cooperation between the three countries, the governments have moved to counter what they view as Beijing’s aggression – and prompted questions about whether the move is an ominous sign of a new ‘cold war’ mentality.

The unexpected announcement of the nuclear submarines – which are nuclear-powered, not nuclear-armed – has also prompted consternation in Paris, where the French government has expressed its fury at the resulting cancellation of a £65bn deal it had with Sydney to provide diesel-powered subs in the coming years.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau will stay in power but has not won the majority he hoped for after calling a snap election

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, will continue in office, but has not won a hoped-for majority in a snap election. Preliminary results suggest the new House of Commons will look very much like the old one.

Autopsy expected to identify the remains and determine a cause of death as investigators search Brian Laundrie’s home

Medical examiners in North Port, Florida were scheduled to conduct an autopsy on Tuesday on a body found in Wyoming, seeking to determine if it is Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old “van life” traveler who disappeared.

Related: Gabby Petito: Florida police search home of fiance after remains found

Charity says Covid policy is already having ‘devastating consequences’ for sector already in crisis

Some of England’s only holiday homes for disabled people in care are facing closure due to the policy that means all staff must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

The charity, Revitalise, said England’s vaccines mandate for care homes was having “devastating consequences” for a sector already in crisis.

Latest updates: PM dampens expectations of progress on UK-US trade deal and says Biden has ‘a lot of fish to fry’

Good morning. It turns out the UK has ended up near the “back of the queue” after all. For five years now, since the referendum, Brexiters have been talking up the prospects of a free trade deal with the US, which, according to the enthusiasts, was going to offer huge benefits to the UK and was just around the corner. Shortly after becoming prime minister in 2019, Boris Johnson even said he would like to see it concluded within a year.

But now Johnson has admitted, in terms, that Barack Obama was right, and that a trade deal with the UK is not a priority for Washington. Asked when it was happening, Johnson told reporters travelling with him to the US: “I wouldn’t hold your breath.” He went on:

The reality is that Joe [Biden] has a lot of fish to fry. He’s got a huge infrastructure package, he’s got a build back better package. We want to do it, but what we want is a good free trade agreement. And I would much rather get a deal that really works for the UK than get a quick deal.

Related: Johnson hails lifting of US travel ban but says trade deal progress unlikely

I don’t think it’s on the back burner, but I think what the prime minister said - in fact, I know that’s what he thinks and what’s what he said - is that it’s much better to take our time to get a really good deal with US than simply to rush the process and get a bad deal.

I’m hopeful that we can we can we can get there, but I can’t give you a time as to how long it will take. Trade deals can can take very different amounts of time and I can’t possibly guess how long this one will particular one will take.

The government had many years to do a wide-reaching trade deal with America under the Trump administration.

It could have been done by now, but May and Johnson completely blew it.

Related: Government hoping to reach deal to fix CO2 crisis, as food shortages loom – business live

Related: Coronavirus live news: UK welcomes end of US travel ban; American Covid death toll passes 1918-19 flu pandemic

Analysts predict a further 14% hike for spring 2022 on top of next month’s scheduled £139 rise

Millions of households could face a second record energy bill hike next spring, on top of the £139 increase due next month, as the global gas crisis continues to drive market prices to new highs.

An even larger energy bill rise is expected from next April following the steady increase in gas and electricity market prices, which could add between £178 to £294 to the typical price of a default dual-fuel energy deal.

If Chinese property company Evergrande sinks under its $300bn debt its failure would resound across the global economy

Evergrande Real Estate – or Heng Da Group in Chinese – owns more than 1,300 building projects in more than 280 cities across China.

Luxembourg: Schlime, Albert, Kremer, Berscheid, De Lemos, Marques, Abreu, Miller, Soares Marque, Dos Santos, Kocan, Estevez Garcia

Subs: Krier, Kremer, Becker, Schon, Mendes, Besch, De Bruyn, Derbisevic, Tiberi, Have, Raths, Thill

England started their World Cup qualifying campaign with an 8-0 win over North Macedonia last week and will be optimistic they can add a similar amount of goals in Luxembourg tonight. Despite the rampant scoring, there should have been more on the night as England has 48 shots, leaving head coach Sarina Wiegman very unhappy with her players.

Luxembourg will be hoping England do not make up for their failings in front of goal tonight. They shipped four against Northern Ireland on Friday but are a stronger side than North Macedonia, as they currently sit 122nd in the world rankings nine places above England’s previous opponents.

Biden’s new state-based distribution plan sparks backlash from some officials

Demand has been soaring for monoclonal antibodies – a treatment to lessen the severity of Covid-19 symptoms – especially among states with larger populations of vaccine-hesitant Americans, as the US continues to struggle with the highly contagious Delta variant in regions with lagging vaccination rates.

The demand for the treatment increased twentyfold in recent weeks because of the sharp rise in new cases accelerated by the Delta variant and lagging vaccination rates, and because of increased awareness of the treatment. But the distribution has, so far, been unequal.

Ageing population is putting strain on system that is a point of national pride for many

The churned-up garden of the clubhouse for pensioners is preoccupying Peter Klotsche. “It’s the raccoons,” he says. “They come at night and toss up the earth looking for worms and we really don’t know how best to stop it.”

The clubhouse, Stille Strasse, in northern Berlin, is abuzz with members wanting to put questions to local politicians before Sunday’s elections. The raccoons are a central talking point, as well as affordable housing and, not least, the future of the club itself, which remains at the centre of a struggle over attempts to turn it into luxury homes. A decade ago, its members squatted in it for more than 100 days to save it from developers.

US lifts travel ban for vaccinated UK and EU passengers; Covid has killed more than 675,000 Americans as average daily deaths reach levels last seen in March

Covid-19 has now killed as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu pandemic – more than 675,000.

The US population a century ago was just one-third of what it is today, meaning the flu cut a much bigger, more lethal swath through the country. But the Covid-19 crisis is by any measure a colossal tragedy in its own right, especially given the incredible advances in scientific knowledge since then and the failure to take maximum advantage of the vaccines available this time.

Related: Covid-19 has now killed as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu pandemic

The US will lift Covid-19 travel restrictions to allow fully vaccinated passengers from the UK and most European Union (EU) countries to travel into the country from early November, the White House has announced.

The move signals the end of a travel ban imposed by Donald Trump more than 18 months ago in the early stages of the pandemic, and comes after intense lobbying from Brussels and London.

Related: US to lift Covid travel ban for vaccinated passengers from UK and most of EU

Brazil’s far-right president, who has defied the U.N. General Assembly’s vaccination requirement, has downplayed the threat of Covid-19.

Key purpose of defence agreement is signal it gives to Beijing, Australia’s former defence minister tells MPs

A former Australian defence minister has told MPs that a key purpose of the Aukus defence pact was to tie Britain into the Indo-Pacific region at a time when Canberra is “in the midst of a tense relationship with China”.

Christopher Pyne, who held the post until 2019, told the UK’s defence select committee he believed the initial importance of the Australia-UK-US tie-up announced last week was in the messages it sent to Beijing.

Trade minister says Australia has a strong relationship with Europe and it is sometimes necessary to have ‘difficult conversations’

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The federal trade minister, Dan Tehan, insists Australia’s free-trade agreement negotiations with the European Union are “business as usual”, despite growing unease over Australia’s treatment of France during the finalisation of the Aukus deal.

Tehan’s trip to Europe early next month will now be partly spent trying to smooth over tensions with the European Commission which has asked for a “please explain” over Australia’s dealings with its key member state France, in both cancelling a $90bn submarine contract, and entering into a strategic Indo-Pacific agreement which excludes Europe.

The right says the German chancellor undermined EU security; Liberals say it was a triumph. But her legacy is far more mixed

When Angela Merkel steps down as chancellor after Germany’s elections later this month, the tributes will centre on her role as the figurehead of western liberalism; an island of stability, caution and openness in an era marked by turbulence and far-right reaction. She will be remembered “for serious work, stable leadership and having a gift for political compromise”, wrote Ishaan Tharoor in the Washington Post last week. When she faced off against Donald Trump after his inauguration in 2017, some newspapers dubbed her the new “leader of the free world”.

Fundamental to this image is the intervention she made in late summer 2015, at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis. “Wir schaffen das” – we’ll manage this – was Merkel’s public statement as thousands of people, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, were making their way through Turkey, Greece and the Balkans to western Europe. By declaring Germany – and, by extension, Europe – open to refugees, she was making a bold, pragmatic statement of intent.

In a revealing new biography, “The Contrarian,” the journalist Max Chafkin charts Thiel’s ascendancy in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., as a driven man drawn to far-right causes and beliefs.


Figures from EU monitoring service for August are highest since it began measurements in 2003

August was another record month for global wildfire emissions, according to new satellite data that highlights how tinderbox conditions are widening across the world as a result of the climate crisis.

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service of the EU found that burning forests released 1.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide last month, mostly in North America and Siberia. This was the highest since the organisation began measurements in 2003.

More than 1,900 people are dying in the US daily on average – the highest level since early March

Covid-19 has now killed as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu pandemic – more than 675,000.

The US population a century ago was just one-third of what it is today, meaning the flu cut a much bigger, more lethal swath through the country. But the Covid-19 crisis is by any measure a colossal tragedy in its own right, especially given the incredible advances in scientific knowledge since then and the failure to take maximum advantage of the vaccines available this time.

The group forecast that the worldwide economy would grow 5.7 percent in 2021, slightly lower than its previous estimate.

Production to resume after work paused because of gas price surge

Ministers have reached a deal with US firm CF Industries to restart carbon dioxide (CO2) production at its sites on Teesside and in Cheshire.

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, held talks with the company after it stopped work at its fertiliser plants because of the surge in gas prices.