Hot News on 22/09/2021


A fertile creative force, he wrote fiction and musicals but is best known for a breakthrough movie that heralded the genre known as blaxploitation.

Six companies warned not to put profit before lives as report shows less than 1% of almost 6bn doses have gone to low-income countries

Amnesty International has accused six pharmaceutical companies that have developed Covid-19 vaccines of fuelling a global human rights crisis, citing their refusal to sufficiently waive intellectual property rights, share vaccine technology and boost global vaccine supply.

After assessing the performance of six Covid-19 vaccine developers – Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax – Amnesty International claims that all are failing to uphold their own human rights commitments and warns they should not be putting profit before the lives of people in the world’s poorest countries.

Refugees, Russian sympathisers and half-dressed footballers: Germany’s forever chancellor had words for them all

Angela Merkel’s 16-year tenure at the top of German politics will leave lasting legacies in many fields, but the art of political oratory is unlikely to be one of them. When the chancellor addresses the public she is rarely snappy and quotable, and she has even admitted she didn’t believe in governance by speech-making. “The idea that a person can touch other people so much with words that they change their minds is not one I have ever shared, but it’s a beautiful idea nonetheless,” she told Der Spiegel in 2016.

And yet during her decade and a half in power, which is set to end after Sunday’s election, there have been numerous additions to German dictionaries that sum up something about her leadership, be it phrases she used herself or those that others used to describe changes in the country she has led.

Serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper had been warned by prison authorities that he was vulnerable

Peter Sutcliffe, the convicted serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper, refused to be shielded in prison in the months before he died from the coronavirus, an inquest has heard.

Sutcliffe had been warned that he was vulnerable to Covid-19 by authorities at Frankland Prison near Durham.

Analysis: Fear and uncertainty of the Obama years could return as Kim Jong-un revives nuclear ambitions

North Korea’s recent missile launches signal that the regime has reverted to familiar tactics to attract the attention of the US. Although the rest of the world will take little comfort from a return to “normality”, after a six-month pause Pyongyang last weekend launched what it claimed were new long-range cruise missiles capable of hitting Japan, followed hours later by the test launch of two ballistic missiles into the sea, apparently from a train.

Then came the clearest sign since its last nuclear test in 2017 that the North is not about to abandon its project to build a viable deterrent, with satellite images showing that it was expanding a uranium enrichment plant at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Lawsuit alleges Mary Trump and NYT ‘were motivated by personal vendetta’ against him and a desire to push political agenda

Former US president Donald Trump has sued his estranged niece and The New York Times over a 2018 story about his family’s wealth and tax practices that was partly based on confidential documents she provided to the newspaper’s reporters.

Trump’s lawsuit, filed in state court in New York on Tuesday, accuses Mary Trump of breaching a settlement agreement by disclosing tax records she received in a dispute over family patriarch Fred Trump’s estate.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of film-maker Derek Jarman’s canonisation by an activist group of gay male nuns known as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. At the time in 1991, Derek Jarman was the most prominent person in the UK living openly with HIV. He was outspoken, radical and unapologetically queer. The perfect antidote, in the Sisters’ eyes, to Ian McKellen’s acceptance of a knighthood in the 1991 new year honours

Former health secretary said ministers were worried if they paid compensation to haemophiliacs it might set a precedent

A push in the 1980s for compensation for haemophiliacs infected with Aids through contaminated blood was “doomed to failure” because of opposition from Margaret Thatcher and the Treasury, a former health secretary has said.

Norman Fowler, who was secretary state for health and social security between 1981 and 1987, told the infected blood inquiry that ministers were worried if they paid compensation to haemophiliacs it might set a precedent.

League One club head into Carabao Cup tie with specialist coaches in restarts, performance mindset and substitutions

It is Monday morning at AFC Wimbledon’s training base and as the squad filter up the clubhouse stairs to the sound of the 80s before a team meeting, it is hard to believe they lost their last match. An eclectic playlist of songs picked by all players and staff, from Rapper’s Delight to Bob Marley’s back catalogue, booms from the speakers and last week the head coach, Mark Robinson, added another hit into the mix. “I was listening to Heart 80s and Kool & The Gang’s Let’s Go Dancin’ came on,” he says. “In the office everyone just started dancing. I thought it might make a bit of an anthem, win a game, get that playing after. I want people to enjoy coming to work.”

Wimbledon are on the fringes of the League One play-off places after an impressive start but have this week shifted their focus to their visit to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup third round. If they score at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday there is a good chance it will stem from a set piece. They have managed nine goals from set pieces so far this season – more than any other team in the top four tiers – and it is no coincidence. One of Robinson’s first decisions on taking permanent charge in February was to appoint the academy coach Andy Parslow as restarts coach, a role focused on throw-ins, free-kicks and corners, for and against.

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson, Suzy Wrack and Nick Ames to review each of Tuesday’s Carabou Cup ties in real time

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

It was the third round of the Carabao Cup and there were lots of penalties, with QPR and Stoke springing the surprises.

Quieter roads of lockdown thought to explain dramatic increase among traffic-wary group

The number of cycling trips made by women in England rose by more than 50% in 2020, official statistics have shown, as the quieter roads of lockdown seemingly helped to tempt a demographic known to be more wary of traffic danger onto their bikes.

While men saw a 12% overall rise in the average number of cycle “stages” – rides that formed part of a greater journey – made by each person in 2020 compared with the year before, for women the increase was 56%, Department for Transport (DfT) statistics showed.

Leader wants a return to an electoral college for leadership elections and a new party policymaking process

Keir Starmer is set to reignite a Labour party row over how its selects its leadership, seeking to rewrite the rules that led to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. Here’s the lowdown on the changes.

The playmaker has gone to Qatar after becoming an expensive spare part at a club both right and wrong to sign him

James Rodríguez has gone to Qatar in search of work, although unlike many others who have made the trip before him he can at least keep his passport and will be allowed to leave whenever he wants. The bewitching Colombian playmaker has signed a contract with Al-Rayyan, bringing down the curtain on his Everton career, and – you suspect – much else besides.

The first thing to be said is that this is probably for the best all round. Ever since the sudden departure of Carlo Ancelotti to Real Madrid Rodríguez had felt like an expensive spare part in a team increasingly based on hard running and well-organised defence. The new manager, Rafael Benítez, had no use for him. Rodríguez is not only 30 and at about £220,000 a week the highest-paid player in the club’s history, but highly injury-prone and last season ran the least of all Everton’s attacking players. There is a sense of inevitability here.

It’s not just anti-vaxxers. The themes of resisting power and regaining control of our lives have been cynically repurposed

It’s an uncomfortable thing to admit, but in the countercultural movements where my sympathies lie, people are dropping like flies. Every few days I hear of another acquaintance who has become seriously ill with Covid, after proudly proclaiming the benefits of “natural immunity”, denouncing vaccines and refusing to take the precautions that apply to lesser mortals. Some have been hospitalised. Within these circles, which have for so long sought to cultivate a good society, there are people actively threatening the lives of others.

It’s not just anti-vax beliefs that have been spreading through these movements. On an almost daily basis I see conspiracy theories travelling smoothly from right to left. I hear right-on people mouthing the claims of white supremacists, apparently in total ignorance of their origins. I encounter hippies who once sought to build communities sharing the memes of extreme individualism. Something has gone badly wrong in parts of the alternative scene.

Pupils will learn about footballer’s use of social media to highlight social and race issues he cares about

Marcus Rashford’s much-lauded use of social media to pursue his campaign against child food poverty and persuade the UK government to expand free school meals is to be studied by pupils as part of their GCSE media studies course.

The Manchester United and England footballer has won plaudits for his social justice campaigns, including tackling racist abuse and launching a book club to improve disadvantaged children’s reading, and his use of social media has been key to his ability to spread his message and influence debate.

  • Anfield Road stand due to have 7,000 seats added
  • Groundbreaking ceremony planned for next week

Liverpool will formally start work next week on a project to increase Anfield’s capacity to more than 61,000. The expansion, which was granted planning permission in June and has been undergoing enabling works throughout the off-season, is due to add 7,000 seats to the Anfield Road stand and is expected to be completed for the 2023-24 campaign.

The club said on Wednesday that work “will begin in earnest with an official groundbreaking ceremony planned for next week”.


In low-income countries fewer than 2% of the population has received a shot

Joe Biden convenes a virtual coronavirus summit of world leaders on Wednesday under pressure to close the vaccination gap with poorer nations.

The meeting on the margins of the UN general assembly offers the US president a chance to exercise soft power and gain an edge on rivals such as China in “vaccine diplomacy”.

Shoppers sampling brand’s first white chocolate sweet welcome break with tradition

Christmas is, above all, a time for tradition. The smallest changes can send shockwaves which disrupt longstanding routines and cause worse friction than a post-dinner game of charades.

Throughout its 85-year history, minor tweaks to Quality Street have caused uproar or adulation. Old varieties are scrapped, new ones are introduced and, in an attempt to end family feuds, the brand recently began offering personalised pick-n-mix tins.


Ministers are trying to avert supermarket shortages through emergency deal that will cost taxpayer ‘millions’

Ministers have tried to avert a supermarket shortage crisis by using taxpayer money to bail out a private US firm that produces carbon dioxide.

The emergency deal was designed to stop the UK’s supply chains grinding further to a halt, but will only last for three weeks.

Hundreds of people were killed in Oppau in an explosion at a chemical plant. It ripped the roofs from houses and sent shock waves across neighboring towns.


JCVI chair also at Commons education committee to examine decision to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds

Turing away from the education committee, my colleague Jessica Elgot says the unions want to delay a Labour decision on changing the leadership election rules.

New - I understand Unite has won some consensus from other unions that party reforms should NOT be voted on this weekend and that there should be more time to consider. Source tells me Starmer said he would need time think about this and come back to them.

The Commons education committee is now taking evidence on vaccinating children.

The witnesses are: Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England; Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, his deputy; Dr Camilla Kingdon, presiden of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH); Prof Wei Shen Lim, chair, of the Joint Commitee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s Covid committee; and Prof Keith Willett, head of Covid-19 and flu vaccine deployment at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Leicester City eased their way into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, seeing off a game but limited Millwall at the Den thanks to a neat second-half finish from one-time local boy Ademola Lookman, and a late second from Kelechi Iheanacho.

This was a slow-burn cup tie, and a performance from Brendan Rodgers’ team that was notable only for its efficiency, and the two isolated moments of Premier League quality that decided the game. Leicester never really found much rhythm here, but they were also never stretched.

England is one of the last strongholds of this beautiful insect but it is at risk due to excessive pesticide use

Organic farming is probably the best hope for the survival of one of Britain’s least known but valuable wild creatures, the necklace ground beetle, Carabus monilis.

Once widespread but now on the red list as endangered because of excessive pesticide use and changing farming practices, it needs help to survive. Since it eats many insects that feed on farm crops and the seeds of weeds that farmers want to control any help it gets to thrive will be richly rewarded.

  • Collapse of ‘football stock market’ left £90m of stakes trapped
  • Independent report is heavily critical of two regulators

An independent review of the regulation of the failed betting site Football Index – the self-styled “football stock market” – has heavily criticised the actions and attitude of both the Gambling Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ahead of FI’s collapse in March, which left at least £90m of users’ stakes trapped in the platform.

Related: Football Index: customers' money trapped after platform is suspended

Moderna accepted $2.5 billion in taxpayer money to develop its Covid-19 vaccine. But officials in the U.S. and overseas are having trouble persuading the company to license its technology.

Ex-PM writes in Guardian that with prices of basics set to ‘rocket’, £20 a week cut is illogical and callous

Gordon Brown has called the government’s decision to cut £20 a week from universal credit the most “socially divisive and morally indefensible” policy he has witnessed in UK politics, saying it was being pursued with open disregard for its impact.

In a passionate comment article for the Guardian, the former prime minister said the cut next month showed ministers had in effect abandoned any pretence to try to tackle poverty, calling it “vindictive even beyond austerity”.

Xi Jinping’s promise reflects growing awareness of the climate crisis in China and falling renewable prices

Tuesday’s pledge by China’s president, Xi Jinping, to cease building new coal-fired power projects outside the country is welcome news to environmentalists around the world. It came on the anniversary of Xi’s unilateral pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. Last year, Xi also promised that China will peak its emissions by 2030.

“China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi said in his pre-recorded video address at the annual UN gathering.


Bluebell Capital takes stake in pharma giant and puts pressure on Emma Walmsley

GSK’s chief executive, Emma Walmsley, has come under pressure from a second activist hedge fund, Bluebell Capital Partners, which has taken a stake in the drugmaker to push for change at the top, including forcing her to reapply for her job.

The London-based Bluebell Capital Partners has joined the US hedge fund Elliott Management on the pharmaceutical giant’s shareholder roster, with a stake reported to be worth £10m. With £100m assets under management, Bluebell is a much smaller firm than Elliott, which snapped up an undisclosed stake in April. But the two-year-old UK firm has already made waves by unseating the chief executive of the French consumer goods group Danone earlier this year.

Arsenal will enter Sunday’s north London derby feeling relatively stress-free. A third successive win was, like their previous victories over Norwich and Burnley, the minimum requirement from this assignment but they ticked it off without alarm. Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty rocked AFC Wimbledon before they could really settle and, while much of Arsenal’s subsequent work amounted to huff and puff, Mikel Arteta’s players pulled clear late on.

They stepped up a gear after introducing Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka; the former pounced for their second goal before Eddie Nketiah, with an impudent finish, completed a routine evening’s work and safe passage into the fourth round.


Content deal over author of children’s classics such as Matilda and the BFG is firm’s biggest to date

Netflix has acquired the works of Roald Dahl, the author of children’s classics including Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the BFG, in the streaming company’s biggest content deal to date.

The deal struck by Netflix, which already has a three-year deal in place with the Roald Dahl Story Company to license 16 titles, will help it build its content arsenal in the streaming wars against rivals including Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

Train company said winning entry would receive £5,000 but cancelled prize due to ‘poor quality entries’

A train company breached advertising rules by cancelling a competition because of “poor quality entries”, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

In February, East Midlands Railway (EMR) asked members of the public to submit ideas to help them “build back better” and said the winning entry would receive £5,000.

Sharon Graham is believed to be first in the job to miss annual event but says it is ‘definitely not a snub’

The new leader of Unite will miss Labour’s annual conference, saying she needs to prioritise her job of sorting out industrial disputes.

Sharon Graham, who was elected as Unite leader on a promise to take the union “back to the workplace”, is believed to be the first in the job to miss the annual event.

Office for National Statistics cite internet access and less communication with teachers as factors

The youngest primary school children and those in the most deprived areas suffered the greatest loss of learning during the pandemic lockdowns that closed schools to most pupils in England, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS analysis found that schools with the highest proportion of children eligible for free school meals (FSM) faced the biggest struggles in teaching remotely during the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, which the agency attributed to lower levels of pupil engagement and communication with teachers, lack of internet access and “social problems” associated with deprivation.


Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their Covid vaccine is safe and effective for children aged 5-11. This is overdue relief for many American women

It was the news that parents had been waiting to hear for more than a year and a half: on Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children aged five to 11. The pediatric dose, administered at one-third the volume of the adult dose, creates a “robust” immune response that is predicted to protect child patients from severe disease and death from Covid. Crucially, the trials, in which the vaccine was administered to 2,268 children, found no cases of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that is a very rare but serious side effect of some mRNA vaccines in adults. The companies are requesting emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA) and if the FDA moves at the same pace that it did in granting emergency approval for the adult vaccine, that will mean that vaccinations of school-aged children could begin as early as Halloween – though logistical and political obstacles could still delay the shots.

The announcement is a light at the end of the tunnel for parents, who have seen their children’s lives unfairly warped by the coronavirus pandemic. Schools were closed, activities were shuttered, and opportunities to visit relatives or play with other kids were suddenly fraught with risk. During the long wait for child vaccinations, the commentary on the urgency of vaccine development has rightly focused on the pandemic’s devastating effects on children – medical, educational, and developmental.

Long queues didn’t deter Aucklanders hoping to get their first taste of takeaway food and coffee in more than a month

Thousands of Aucklanders who had been deprived of greasy fries, burgers and spicy chicken for more than a month have flocked to their local fast-food joints to celebrate the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Queues began to build late Tuesday ahead of the rule change at midnight. One eager customer pitched a tent to be first in line for KFC, while cars snaked around parking lots in anticipation of a McDonald’s fix. Throughout the day, the demand did not let up, with cafes reporting serving hundreds of takeaway coffees before 9am.

Minsk accused of abandoning migrants at frontier in attempt to put pressure on EU

Four people stranded on the border between Poland and Belarus have died in recent days, officials have said, amid continuing allegations that Minsk is abandoning migrants at its frontier in an attempt to put pressure on the EU.

Polish authorities confirmed that three people, including an Iraqi man, were found dead, of hypothermia and exhaustion, on the Polish side of the border on Saturday, while the body of a woman was seen lying on the Belarus side on Sunday.

With her naughty stories and cutting remarks, the comic actor spares no blushes – but her account is poignant too

I’m quite sure you picked up this book hoping I’d make you laugh,” Miriam Margolyes writes in her memoir, This Much Is True. She more than delivered. When I was reading it this book on a train, a stranger asked if I was OK because I was crying with laughter at Margolyes’s description of her interview to study English literature at Oxford (“‘Do you like Milton?’ the tutor barked. I did like Milton and could honestly say so. ‘DAMN GOOD POET,’ she boomed, slapping her thigh like a principal boy in pantomime. This convinced me Somerville College would not be the place for me”), and then, many decades later, acclimatising to global fandom after playing Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films (“Usually when Jews are mobbed in Lithuania, it’s to kill them, but this was because of Harry Potter”). And, of course, there’s the sex. “I am now better known for my naughty stories than almost anything else,” she writes, a little regretfully, although that then sparks a thought about the hilarity of penises (“Such an odd dangler to have”).

Margolyes is one of Britain’s most prolific actors, whose career began with the Cambridge Footlights in one of its more legendary phases, not that she has any sentimentality about it. She was the only girl in the show and the boys showed her “studied cruelty”: John Cleese, Bill Oddie and Graham Chapman were “total shits,” she writes. “My dislike of that whole, largely male, world of comedy has never left me.” The Footlights lot “thought I was a jumped-up, pushy, overconfident, fat little Jew”.

A series of studies found that the Moderna vaccine seemed to be more protective over the long term than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Here’s why.

Gladys Berejiklian has revealed a roadmap out of lockdown for the state, and an easing of restrictions for some parts of regional NSW. Here’s the full list of what you can and can’t do in NSW and the ACT

The premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has announced that a curfew in the 12 greater Sydney hotspots has lifted as the state hit the 80% single dose vaccination milestone. She announced on 19 September that from Monday 20 September restrictions would be “equalised” across all of Sydney including the western suburbs previously under a harsher lockdown.

Earlier this month, she revealed a roadmap out of lockdown for the state, and an easing of restrictions for some parts of regional NSW.

Senior official in Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s administration calls attack an assassination attempt

A volley of shots has been fired at a car carrying the principal aide of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in what a senior official called an assassination attempt.

More than 10 bullets hit the car near the village of Lesnyky, about three miles (5km) outside the capital, Kyiv, on Wednesday, wounding the driver, a police statement said. It said a criminal case on suspicion of premeditated murder had been opened.

The use of extra PPE since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated heat-related issues, significantly affecting those in menial roles

The Covid-19 pandemic and the necessity of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) has increased the effects of heat stress on workers in a range of low-wage industries, a new report has found.

Researchers from University of Technology’s Climate Justice Research Centre surveyed 795 workers nationally about their experiences working in and managing high heat, including during the 2019-2020 bushfires and since the onset of the pandemic.

As a child in Afghanistan, she pretended to be a boy in order to get an education, before starting her own women’s news agency. Now living in Britain, her fight continues

Just over a month ago, Zahra Joya left her house in Kabul to walk to her office, as she had been doing every day. From this small office, Joya, a journalist, ran Rukhshana Media, the news agency she founded last year to report on the stories of women and girls across Afghanistan. By the time she returned home in the afternoon, however, men with guns were on street corners and her sisters were shut inside their house, shaking with fear. In just a few hours, normal life had been obliterated.

“Right to the end, on that afternoon of 15 August, I couldn’t believe what was happening,” she says. “It was like a bad dream. Even on that day, it just seemed impossible that the Taliban could come to power so quickly, wipe away 20 years and drag us all back to the past.”