Hot News on 27/10/2021

Many households are being forced to adjust their shopping lists or seek assistance. But food banks, too, are feeling the pinch.

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The chancellor says it’s a package for the ‘new age of optimism’. Our panellists give their view

The chancellor came into the chamber with great optimism, but he needed to do three things to ensure this was based on more than just hot air: shore up the recovery with a big investment package, act on the climate crisis and protect struggling families. So did he do enough?

Miatta Fahnbulleh is chief executive of the New Economics Foundation

Despite the government’s injunction against us, we’re pressing on with our campaign to insulate all UK homes by 2030

  • Cameron Ford is an Insulate Britain campaigner

I was lost for words when a radio presenter, someone responsible for informing the public, recently told me that you can grow concrete. I had been invited on to talkRADIO to speak about being a part of Insulate Britain, and was instead asked about my job (I’m a carpenter), and whether cutting down trees is “sustainable” (I pointed out that, unlike concrete, trees grow back). The internet has erupted in laughter at the one-minute clip, but what’s not funny is the government’s pitiful support for home insulation.

Insulating homes is an essential part of our transition to net zero. This is why Insulate Britain is going ahead with protests despite the government’s nationwide injunction against our campaign. Today, campaigners blocked major roads connecting the M25. We have a simple demand: insulate all UK homes by 2030 to cut carbon emissions and end fuel poverty.

Cameron Ford is a carpenter and Insulate Britain campaigner

Retail sector will open to all Victorians from 6pm Friday as the state hits the 80% vaccination milestone, but will close to the unvaccinated from 24 November

Unvaccinated shoppers in Victoria will be able to visit retail precincts when the sector reopens on Friday due to a quirk in the government’s timeline that will see the same customers locked out just weeks later.

Victoria’s Covid testing commander Jeroen Weimar was forced to justify why it was safe for unvaccinated shoppers to visit non-essential retail when, in a matter of weeks when vaccine coverages increased, they would be banned from retail stores.

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Julia Pemberton was terrorised for 14 months by her husband before he shot her and their son dead. In the 18 years since, her brother has devoted his life to preventing similar crimes and supporting other families

The first time Frank Mullane’s sister Julia confided that her marriage was unhappy, that her husband of 23 years was controlling and abusive, and that she intended to ask for a divorce, Mullane responded in what he now calls “a John Wayne kind of way”. “I asked: ‘When can I give him a thump?’” he recalls. “My life is completely different now, but at the time I didn’t have a clue. I knew nothing about domestic abuse, but I felt 100% solidarity. I wanted to show I was on her side – the cavalry.”

Mullane and Julia were two of eight siblings from a close Irish family. Their parents had come from Cork to London, then Wiltshire, where their father built a house big enough for all of them. As adults, they stayed close. “We were a loving family, always in each other’s houses,” says Mullane. He was unmarried and had remained in Wiltshire as a business consultant for Nationwide. Julia had trained as a nurse before marrying Alan Pemberton, an accountant and businessman. She later retrained as a health visitor. They lived with their two teenage children 25 miles away, near Newbury, in a house they built – large, secluded, set in acres of woodland.

Rollout of Pfizer could be just weeks away for priority groups and government says there is ‘more than enough’ supply

Australians could soon be able to access a Covid vaccine booster shot, after the drugs regulator provisionally approved Pfizer third doses for those who are 18 and over.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration gave the manufacturer provisional approval on Wednesday, meaning Pfizer must continue clinical trials examining the efficacy of the booster shot, and to submit ongoing evidence from those trials for review by the regulator.

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With government-controlled quarantine spots in very short supply and long waiting lists for flights home, some stranded citizens are taking to the seas

New Zealanders stranded in Australia are sailing across the Tasman Sea aboard small boats with seasick strangers in a desperate bid to get home, saying the notoriously perilous trip is easier to navigate than the country’s fraught border system.

The country’s borders have been strictly controlled since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic – only citizens, permanent residents and a handful of essential workers can enter, and all of them must make a booking to spend two weeks in government-controlled quarantine (MIQ).

As we celebrate the return of freedom thanks to our high vaccination rates, we must not ignore society’s other problems

As the pandemic appears to be in decline, with cases dropping in Australia and worldwide infections appearing to slowly decrease, it is tempting to cry victory and declare this the end of our interest in public health.

Even in the UK, where cases remain high, it’s encouraging to see the impact on vaccines with fewer deaths and hospitalisations than in previous waves. Australia has done well overall – our vaccination programs, while frustratingly slow to get going, have been an enormous success. The majority of Australians have had both of their shots, something that a year ago seemed like an impossibility. We’ve controlled a massive outbreak in New South Wales, and are (fingers crossed) going to see the same kind of reductions in Victoria as well.

Despite a lack of evidence, warnings about dangers lurking in treats have been an annual ritual for decades. The newest twist involves weed.

Glyn Razzel, who murdered his wife in 2002, first person affected by new law, named after woman who vanished in 1988

A prisoner has become the first person to be refused parole under a new law that makes make it harder for killers to be released if they refuse to reveal where they hid their victim’s body.

Glyn Razzell is serving a life sentence for the murder of his estranged wife, Linda Razzell, 41, who disappeared on her way to work at Swindon College in Wiltshire in March 2002. Razzell denied her killing but was found guilty by a jury and no trace of her body has ever been found.

Alonso Ruizpalacios’ film starts off as an addictive cop show, breaks the fourth wall and then rebuilds it in a film bristling with ideas

“Cops are like actors – you have to put on an act so people respect you.” The speaker is one of the police officers, or possibly actors playing police officers, in this startlingly clever and yet heartfelt docudrama about the contractual nature of power and authority from Mexican film-maker Alonso Ruizpalacios, who in just five years has established himself as one of the most potent talents in world cinema, with his new wave-style debut Güeros in 2014 and his true-crime heist drama Museum in 2018.

Now he gives us what looks at first glance like a conventionally gripping cop drama in chapter-length sections, about a couple of young officers, Teresa (Mónica Del Carmen) and Montoya (Raúl Briones), on the tough streets of Mexico City; they are partners, fall in love, get nicknamed “the love patrol” and then fall foul of the corruption higher up the food chain. Ruizpalacios gives his movie catchy music and bold graphics over the opening credits, making it look like an addictive TV cop show: but he also experimentally makes his characters talk direct to camera in a mockumentary manner and also lip-sync mid-scene to their own voiceover commentary on what’s happening in verbatim cinema style.

In the second episode of Guardian Australia’s new podcast, Alyx Gorman, Michael Sun and Steph Harmon bring in Rashna Farrukh to discuss how TikTok is leaching into every corner of the internet – and the algorithms that know more about us than we do. Later in the episode: Michael gets trolled by a homeware meme

Show notes:

A letter signed by more than 1,100 employees has called for change at the consulting firm, which has advised at least 43 of the 100 most environmentally damaging companies.

Tube came unglued during SpaceX’s first private flight last month, spilling urine on to fans and beneath the floor

SpaceX is facing toilet troubles in its capsules before it launches more astronauts into space.

The company and Nasa want to make sure the toilet leaks will not compromise the capsule launching early on Sunday from Kennedy Space Center, or another one that has been parked at the International Space Station since April.

Scott Morrison’s government is counting on businesses and households to reduce emissions almost entirely as a result of their own voluntary initiative

The Morrison government has now confirmed that it will target net zero emissions for Australia by 2050.

But, unlike Europe, the US and China, the Morrison government believes we’ll manage to reduce emissions to zero without implementing any legislation that either requires businesses to reduce their emissions or that of their products; or provides funding to pay these businesses to reduce their emissions at mass scale.

Experts called for stronger protections between North and South Islands after news that one case had recently arrived from Auckland

New Zealand’s South Island has recorded its first Covid cases in a major city in over a year, with two cases detected in Christchurch.

Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins has not ruled out a snap lockdown for the city, the largest in the South Island, if it is needed to contain the spread. He said that one of the cases may have been infectious in the community for almost two weeks.

Cop26 is a chance for developed countries to take the lead in cutting emissions and making good on financial promises

  • Zheng Zeguang is Chinese ambassador to the UK

In the run-up to the climate conference in Glasgow, there are suggestions that without real participation and greater contribution from China, neither the conference nor the global response to climate change will get anywhere. The unstated worry is this: will China honour its pledges to reduce emissions?

This anxiety is unnecessary. Anyone who knows China well is sure that my country is serious about reducing carbon emissions and pursuing green development, and that we mean what we say.

Zheng Zeguang is the Chinese ambassador to the UK

If William Shatner’s foray into space got you interested, let Coxy fill in the gaps. Plus: DI Perez continues the case in Shetland. Here’s what to watch this evening

Analysis: No serious investment in UK’s green future means chancellor is hoping market will deliver

In failing to make any serious new government investment in the UK’s green future, Rishi Sunak has chosen to gamble that the market will deliver instead. That is a very high-stakes bet in the face of a climate emergency.

Four days before the UK hosts the crucial Cop26 climate summit, the virtual absence of the climate crisis from Sunak’s budget speech was startling. The most eye-catching announcement was the halving of taxes on domestic flights, which are already far cheaper and more polluting than trains.

The plan stakes out new territory by putting levies on unrealized gains in the value of billionaires’ liquid assets, such as stocks, bonds and cash.

Prime minister is flying to Europe amid global criticism of his plan for Australia to reach a net zero emissions target. Follow all the day’s news

The Morrison government is facing renewed calls to increase funding for low-income countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

With days until Cop26 in Glasgow, the aid organisation CARE Australia says Australia “should immediately double its climate finance commitment to AU$3bn over 2020-2025” as a first step.

The Guardian understands the funding is likely to be used to back the planned £20bn Sizewell C

The government will make its first direct investment in a large-scale nuclear reactor since 1995 after pledging to plough up to £1.7bn of taxpayers’ money into a new power plant.

Treasury documents published alongside the autumn statement did not name which nuclear project would be in line for the public funds, but the Guardian understands it is most likely to be the planned £20bn Sizewell C plant in Suffolk.

Bill would have made violence against LGBT people and disabled people, as well as misogyny, a hate crime

Italy’s senate on Wednesday killed off a bill that would have made violence against LGBT people and disabled people, as well as misogyny, a hate crime.

The 315-member senate voted by 154 to 131 to block the debate on the law, named after the gay centre-left Democratic party (PD) lawmaker and promoter Alessandro Zan and previously approved by the lower house of parliament in the face of months of protests from far right and Catholic groups.

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Guardian photojournalist David Levene has been following Little Amal since the 3.5 metre-tall puppet of a Syrian girl arrived in London. Little Amal has walked thousands of miles across Europe to raise awareness about the refugee crisis

A congressional investigation has laid bare the disregard with which the Brazilian president treated the lives of his compatriots

To describe the Brazilian senate’s 1,180 page report on Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the Covid pandemic as damning would be inadequate. Formally approved on Tuesday by a cross-party committee, the report chronicles not just bad leadership but wilful, lethal acts of folly, carried out by a Donald Trump mini-me who sacrificed lives on the altar of his own unfounded presumptions. It recommends that President Bolsonaro face criminal indictments for a catalogue of actions and omissions that could have led to as many as 300,000 avoidable deaths.

As Mr Bolsonaro presided over a death toll which is now the second-highest in the world (after the United States), the report finds he deliberately sent his citizens over the top without defences in the battle against Covid. Other countries scrambled to buy up vaccines when they became available; the president delayed for half a year while ruthlessly pursuing a herd immunity strategy. He himself claims not to have yet been vaccinated. When Brazilians suffered a record rise in deaths during a 24-hour period last March, their president told them to “stop whining”. The wearing of masks and social distancing was treated by Mr Bolsonaro as a kind of weakness in the face of what he described as a “little flu”, and he trolled regional governments’ attempts to introduce Covid restrictions. By presidential decree he tried to keep businesses such as gyms and spas open at the height of the pandemic. Emulating his political hero in Washington, Mr Bolsonaro has disseminated misinformation online and recommended quack treatments for the virus, in the teeth of all scientific evidence. This week, Facebook and YouTube removed a video by him which falsely linked vaccines to the Aids virus. President Bolsonaro’s guiding philosophy during the pandemic is best summed up by the comment he made to journalists a year ago: “All of us are going to die one day … There is no point in escaping from that, in escaping from reality. We have to stop being a country of sissies.”

Figure of £150-660bn to cut raw sewage discharges into rivers was quoted by Tory MPs and environment minister

Government claims that cutting the millions of hours a year of raw sewage being discharged into rivers by water companies would cost up to £660bn have been challenged by experts.

On Tuesday night, peers kept the pressure on the government to enshrine a duty in law on water companies to reduce the dumping of raw sewage into rivers and seas.

Boost for advocates’ group is step further in decades-long fight against mining pollution

Rita Capitan has been worrying about her water since 1994. It was that autumn she read a local newspaper article about another uranium mine, the Crownpoint Uranium Project, getting under way near her home.

Capitan has spent her entire life in Crownpoint, New Mexico, a small town on the eastern Navajo Nation, and is no stranger to the uranium mining that has persisted in the region for decades. But it was around the time the article was published that she began learning about the many risks associated with uranium mining.

Here we go again! After nearly 40 years, Benny, Björn, Agnetha and Anni-Frid are back together. We get the inside story of the greatest reunion in pop

It started with a mysterious image on billboards all over the world (and the internet). The sun rising above four dark planets; the only words Abba: Voyage. By the time an announcement was made on 2 September, it had fair claim to call itself the most anticipated comeback in pop history.

And the details exceeded expectations. Not only was there a new album, Voyage, the first in 40 years: 10 new songs that brought the original band together in the studio for the first time since a split that had been precipitated by the couples in the band divorcing. Not only that, but there was to be a new “immersive live experience”, in a bespoke stadium in London – nobody seemed to have noticed the planning application being published online – featuring futuristic de-aged “Abbatars” playing a potentially never-ending series of gigs. In the depths of a miserable year, it seemed, Abba were coming to rescue 2021.

Simon Clarke says condition ‘prevents me being comfortable in some open spaces’

Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, has said he would not take part in the traditional pre-budget photo with the chancellor as he is agoraphobic. He said the condition “prevents me being comfortable in some open spaces”.

His colleagues appeared without him on the front step of No 11 Downing Street after Clarke tweeted a photograph of himself indoors in Downing Street standing alongside Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, and explained why he was due to be absent.

Chancellor’s speech did not mention the climate crisis despite UK-hosted climate summit opening on Sunday

Rishi Sunak’s decision to make domestic flights cheaper, freeze fuel duty and spend £21bn on roads just before the Cop26 climate summit has prompted a furious reaction from green campaigners.

The chancellor’s budget speech did not mention the climate crisis despite the UK-hosted summit of 196 nations opening in Glasgow on Sunday. The UK’s cut in foreign aid funding has dented its climate credibility with developing nations but was in effect cut further by the inclusion of Covid vaccine donations.

Beijing furious at US call for island to have ‘meaningful participation’ in international body

China has insisted Taiwan has no right to join the United Nations, after the US increased tensions with a call for the democratic island to have greater involvement in the world body.

In a statement marking 50 years since the UN general assembly voted to seat Beijing and boot out Taipei, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday he regretted that Taiwan had been increasingly excluded on the world stage. “As the international community faces an unprecedented number of complex and global issues, it is critical for all stakeholders to help address these problems. This includes the 24 million people who live in Taiwan,” he said.

Then the most remarkable thing happened

Countdown to Glasgow. Elton John’s new album
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We have just a decade left to prevent catastrophic heating, so what happens over the next two weeks at Cop26 in Glasgow is of existential importance to us and to every creature on Earth. As world leaders and, more crucially, their teams of negotiators prepare for the UN summit, in our extended big story Jonathan Watts looks at what is at stake if determined action isn’t taken to make good on the promises of the Paris climate agreement. Greta Thunberg calls for honesty and clear leadership from politicians about what is at stake, while we also feature young activists from climate change frontlines and find out how they are fighting for their future. And a US report warns of the political and economic instability global heating will bring in its wake.

China’s sabre-rattling over President Xi Jinping’s desire to bring Taiwan back under Beijing’s control has ratcheted up over the past month, but Helen Davidson finds a quiet and defiant calm on the streets of Taipei where people have long been used to living with the threat of invasion and feel they have the measure of their dominant neighbour.

Canadian-born comedian who rose to fame in the 1950s credited with ‘yanking comedy into the modern age’

Tributes have been paid to the trailblazing standup comedian Mort Sahl after his death at the age of 94.

The Canadian-born comic was credited with revolutionising American comedy in the 1950s thanks to his acerbic political satire.

The UK’s flagship system to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 failed to achieve “its main objective,” committee says; Australians soon to get a Covid booster shot after regulator approval

Welcome back to our Covid blog where we’ll bring you all the latest news surrounding the evolving coronavirus crisis.

I’m Samantha Lock reporting to you from Sydney, Australia. Here’s just a quick guide on what you might have missed earlier.

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A new study re-emphasises the fact that oversleeping can be harmful for us – and especially for older people

Name: sleep affluence.

Zzzzz. Hey! This is a very interesting and very informative column!

State department official says ‘we need to make progress soon’ with Russia on increasing number of visas for diplomats

The US embassy in Moscow could stop performing most functions next year unless there is progress with Russia on increasing the number of visas for diplomats, a US official has warned.

The United States earlier this month stopped processing visas in Moscow, and Russians are obliged to travel to the US embassy in Warsaw.

Budget offered little detail on UK response to climate crisis, but city will be key test of success on green economy and ‘levelling up’

The UK’s energy revolution has a surprisingly artisanal feel. In the vast halls of a wind turbine blade factor in Hull, workers manually unroll layers of fibreglass and balsa wood into 81-metre moulds, before resins and paint are added. The blades are then shipped to the middle of the North Sea to generate clean electricity.

They also generate jobs – 1,000 on the Siemens Gamesa site, plus another 200 to come after an investment of £186m to make bigger 108-metre blades. The site is the epitome of Boris Johnson’s claim that green jobs can help to “level up” Britain’s neglected regions.

The Australian government's 2050 net zero emissions commitment has been met with a mixed response locally and abroad. Prime minister Scott Morrison's announcement and plan was criticised for lacking in details and modelling by international media, opposition politicians and political pundits. Australia's position as a large contributor to fossil fuels and the late timing of the commitment also drew comments, with the country labelled 'a laggard' ahead of the upcoming Cop26 climate summit.

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Rishi Sunak reassures Tory MPs that spending enabled by stronger than expected recovery will not be repeated

Rishi Sunak intends to cut taxes before the next general election, after limiting his budget help to deal with a winter cost of living crisis in order to start building up a war chest for the coming years.

The chancellor made clear that the boost to spending made possible by a stronger than expected economic recovery this year would not be repeated as he reassured Tory MPs that he would take action to reduce the UK’s highest levels of taxation since the early 1950s.

  • Adelaide United player announces news in video on social media
  • ‘It’s been a journey to get to this point in my life,’ midfielder says

A-League midfielder Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, making the Young Socceroo the only known current male professional footballer in the world to be out.

The 21-year-old announced the news in a lengthy and heartfelt social media post, which accompanied a personal video shared by his club Adelaide United, writing that he was “ready to speak about something personal that I’m finally comfortable to talk about in my life”.

The move by the Federal Communications Commission is the latest pushback against what the US sees as infiltration by Chinese tech firms

The US communications regulator has voted to revoke China Telecom’s licence in America over national security concerns in the latest pushback by Washington against what it deems possible infiltration of key networks by Chinese companies.

The decision by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) means China Telecom Americas must now discontinue US services within 60 days. China Telecom, the largest Chinese telecommunications company, has had authorisation to provide telecommunications services for nearly 20 years in the United States.

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In a budget statement aiming to move on from the coronavirus pandemic, the chancellor said he would launch changes to universal credit worth more than £2bn to soften the blow from the biggest overnight cut in benefits earlier this month. Sunak said: 'This budget levels up to a higher wage, higher skill, higher productivity economy. This budget builds a stronger economy for the British people.’ 

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said: 'Never has a chancellor asked the British people to pay so much for so little'

A major investor testifies.

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