Hot News on 06/08/2022

Cheerfulness can boost your energy levels, even in tough times – as philosophers and writers have long recognised

“The surest sign of wisdom is a constant cheerfulness,” wrote the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne in the 16th century. “Be cheerful,” commands Prospero – arguably the wisest of all of Shakepeare’s characters – in The Tempest. Yet the impact of cheerfulness – and the power it gives us to get through difficult moments in our lives – is hard to define and easy to disregard or dismiss, even as we strive to be happy.

And that is one of the reasons Timothy Hampton, a professor in the department of comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley, decided to write a book about it. Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History explores how “cheerfulness” functions as a theme in the works of great philosophers and writers from Shakespeare to Jane Austen, and how it is portrayed in everything from 16th-century medical books to the Boy Scout handbook.

Parts of UK are preparing for emergency water measures despite country getting more annual rainfall than rest of Europe

Many parts of southern England and Wales are facing drought conditions and are preparing for emergency water measures, yet the country gets more annual rainfall than anywhere in continental Europe.

The long periods of drizzle Britain is renowned for mean we take water for granted in a way some hotter countries do not. But as the climate gets hotter and we become drier, this will no longer be feasible. So how did we get here and what can politicians, companies and individuals do to mitigate against drought?

Pedigree livestock breeders in Britain could be forced to spend millions of pounds to build facilities in France for ‘red tape’ checks by vets so their animals are allowed to enter the single market

British farmers are trying to set up red tape and border checks in France costing millions of pounds – and may even pay for it themselves.

Breeders in Britain are unable to export their pedigree cattle, sheep and pigs to the EU because no one has built any border control posts where vets can check the animals before they enter the single market.

The union’s secretary general, who used to fly superjumbos for British Airways, admires rail counterpart Mick Lynch but is steering his own course in negotiations

The general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) is a reluctant sabre rattler. Having been steered away from flying warplanes as a youth in the RAF, Martin Chalk now finds himself having to prime his union’s main weapon in the direction of his former employer.

Balpa members at British Airways are angry – and a second pilots’ strike in three years could be on the cards. After stepping down from BA as a captain of the world’s biggest superjumbo, the A380, at the start of the pandemic, Chalk must now guide a new set of charges through more turbulence.

A suspect already in custody likely leader of illegal fishing mafia based in Amazon region, police say

Brazilian police arrested another five people in connection with the murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous activist Bruno Pereira on Saturday, and said one of the suspects already in custody was likely the leader of an illegal fishing mafia based in the Amazon region.

Although they gave few details, police said three of those detained in operations near Brazil’s borders with Peru and Colombia were wanted for helping bury the bodies of Phillips and Pereira.

Health authorities in Palestinian enclave report 12 dead in Israeli attacks targeting Islamic Jihad

Israel has bombed the Gaza Strip for a second day in what it described as a “pre-emptive operation” against a Palestinian militant group, in the worst escalation of violence since last year’s 11-day war.

Israeli warplanes hit several sites in the blockaded territory on Friday, part of a surprise operation named “Breaking Dawn” that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said thwarted alleged planned rocket attacks by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. While it sometimes acts independently, Islamic Jihad is aligned with Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the strip.

UK’s Ministry of Defence says troop build-up could be in anticipation of Ukrainian counter-offensive or for a new assault

As we just mentioned, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has revealed there is a significant build-up of Russian forces in southern Ukraine.

However, the MoD said it was unclear whether these additional forces were for a new assault on Ukrainian territory of in anticipation for a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks, towed artillery, and other weapons continue to move away from Ukraine’s Donbas region and are headed southwest.

Equipment was also reported to be moving from Russian-occupied Melitopol, Berdiansk, Mariupol and from mainland Russia via the Kerch Bridge into Crimea.

Faced with stagflation, the Conservative leadership candidates have precious little to offer

You can order your own copy of this cartoon

For the first time in the technology industry’s history, combined real revenue growth is negative rather than positive and some corporations may yet be facing an existential decline

A speculative bubble, wrote Nobel laureate Robert Shiller in Irrational Exuberance, his landmark book on human foolishness, is “a situation in which news of price increases spurs investor enthusiasm, which spreads by psychological contagion from person to person, in the process amplifying stories that might justify the price increases and bringing in a larger and larger class of investors, who, despite doubts about the real value of an investment, are drawn to it partly through envy of others’ successes and partly through a gambler’s excitement”.

Observers of the tech industry are wearily familiar with this kind of irrationality. Throughout 2020 and 2021, as Covid-19 wreaked economic havoc on countries throughout the western world, the tech industry remained strangely untouched by what was happening on the ground. While the rest of us cowered in lockdown, the pandemic made tech bosses and owners insanely richer. Their companies grew faster and became even more profitable while other industries languished. Apple had so much extra cash that it spent $90bn (£74bn) – nearly the gross domestic product of Kenya – buying its own shares. Amazon laid out $50bn in 2021 on warehouses, hiring tens of thousands of employees, ordering fleets of electric vehicles and building cloud computing centres. And so on.

Incredible lineup of First Nations acts perform at the Amphitheater in Darwin’s botanic gardens

An emotional tribute to the late, much-loved Gunditjmara-Bundjalung songman Archie Roach was at the heart of the National Indigenous Music awards in Darwin on Saturday night.

Led by Emma Donovan and Fred Leone, a group of artists gathered on stage to pay tribute to their beloved Uncle Archie, who died last week after a long illness aged 66.

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Observer investigation shows how online platform’s algorithm pushed Andrew Tate posts to an imaginary teenage boy

An Observer investigation has revealed how TikTok is promoting misogynistic content to young people despite claiming to ban it.

Videos of the online personality Andrew Tate, who has been criticised by domestic abuse campaigners for normalising extreme and outdated views about women, are among those pushed by the algorithm to users via the curated For You homepage.

We conducted an experiment to get an insight into what young people are being shown on the platform, which allows users to join from the age of 13.

To ensure the findings wouldn’t be influenced by our previous search history, we set up a new TikTok account for an imaginary teenager, using a fake name and date of birth.

At first, the 18-year-old’s account was shown a mixture of material including comedy clips, dog videos and discussions about men’s mental health.

But after watching videos aimed at male users – including a clip from the Alpha Blokes podcast and a clip of a TikTokker discussing how men “don’t talk about their feelings” – the algorithm began suggesting more content that appeared to be tailored for men.

Without “liking” or searching for any content proactively, the suggestions included videos of Andrew Tate, including one from a copycat account using Tate’s name and picture captioned the “harsh reality of men”, which appeared to blame feminism for making men miserable, adding that the “majority of men have no money, no power, no sex from their wife”, and that their lives “suck”.

After watching two of his videos we were recommended more, including clips of him expressing misogynistic views. The next time the account was opened, the first four posts were by Tate, from four different accounts.

The algorithm also suggested videos from Dr Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist known for his rightwing views; men’s coaching programmes and videos from men’s rights activists.

But the Tate content was by far the most widespread. When opening the app again a week later, the account was again flooded with Tate content, with eight out of the first 20 videos being of Tate.

The clips included a video where he says most men’s lives suck because they have “no power” and “no sex from their wife”, and another where he describes his girlfriend as “very well trained”.

In another, he says people seeking mental health support are “useless”. He says: “If you’re the kind of person who feels like you need therapy, you need someone to talk to, do you know what you are? You’re useless. Because in the harshest realities of this cold world there are people in Syria whose entire families have been blown to fuck with a bomb from the sky.”

Another video recommended by the algorithm derided people for wearing masks during the pandemic, saying they were either “idiots or cowards”, while claiming that by choosing not to wear one, he showed “bravery and balls”.

Experts have raised concerns about the spread of content featuring Tate on the platform, where videos of him have been watched 11.6 billion times.

Callum Hood, head of research at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said: “The dangerous thing is that it is very eye-catching content, and the TikTok algorithm in particular is so aggressive that you only need to pause for a few moments before it will begin to recommend similar content to you again and again.”

TikTok said: “Misogyny and other hateful ideologies and behaviours are not tolerated on TikTok, and we are working to review this content and take action against violations of our guidelines. We continually look to strengthen our policies and enforcement strategies, including adding more safeguards to our recommendation system.”

At his remote woodland home, Ben Green is trying to stay positive about a collapse of the food supply

Ben Green doesn’t have to worry that Vladimir Putin might cut off Europe’s gas this winter, fret about a seasonal revival of Covid-19, or panic about a looming global food crisis.

Green weaned himself off gas when he purchased the five-hectare (12-acre) grounds of a derelict East German army barracks three years ago: the previous owner, who used it as an outdoor museum for vintage tanks, had gutted the building of water and gas pipes. Green patched up the roof of the refectory and insulated the windows so that temperatures inside don’t drop below 5C at night. He bathes by pouring a bucket of cold water over his head and cooks on a wood-burning stove.

President, 79, to abide by ‘strict isolation measures … in an abundance of caution’, White House doctor says

President Joe Biden tested negative for Covid on Saturday but will continue to isolate at the White House until a second negative test, his doctor said.

Dr Kevin O’Connor wrote in his latest daily update that the president “in an abundance of caution”, will abide by the “strict isolation measures” in place since his “rebound” infection was detected on 30 July, pending a follow-up negative result.

Conservative leadership frontrunner insists on tax cuts despite claims they will fuel inflation

The Conservative leadership frontrunner, Liz Truss, has rejected “handouts” as a way of helping people affected by the cost of living crisis.

Truss said she would press ahead with proposed tax cuts despite claims they would fuel inflation and “kiss goodbye” to the Conservatives’ chances of winning the next election.

Daughter and ABC presenter Laura Tingle pays tribute to her father who she says was her ‘greatest urger-on, fan and critic’

John Tingle, a journalist, broadcaster and founder of the Shooters party, has died aged 90.

Tingle’s daughter and ABC journalist Laura Tingle posted the news of his death on Saturday morning and paid tribute to her father.

The Conservative leadership candidate has said taxes should be kept low, a day after the Bank of England issued a bleak forecast for the economy. Speaking at the Tory party hustings in Eastbourne, Truss suggested her plans for immediate tax cuts if she becomes prime minister could avert recession

Taiwan, Covid, “color revolutions,” the classroom: everywhere, China’s leader sees threats that foreign forces can exploit, and he has enlisted the whole nation to resist.

The meaninglessness of modern work – and the pandemic – has led many to question their approach to their jobs

Bartleby is back, although no doubt he would prefer not to be. This time, Herman Melville’s reluctant Wall Street scrivener has returned in the form of TikTokers who have embraced “quiet quitting”.

Rather than working late on a Friday evening, organising the annual team-building trip to Slough or volunteering to supervise the boss’s teenager on work experience, the quiet quitters are avoiding the above and beyond, the hustle culture mentality, or what psychologists call “occupational citizenship behaviours”.

Leadership candidate sparked outrage in Tunbridge Wells saying he helped redirect money to more prosperous towns

Former minister Andrew Mitchell has defended Rishi Sunak, claiming his comments on taking money from deprived urban areas and redirecting it towards more prosperous towns such as Tunbridge Wells were “misunderstood”.

The former chancellor sparked outrage after he made the admission while speaking to Conservative party members in the affluent Kent town on Friday.

Collision near the home of actor known for films including Donnie Brasco left her vehicle ‘engulfed in flames’

The US actor Anne Heche has reportedly been taken to hospital in a critical condition after a collision that left her vehicle “engulfed in flames”.

The incident occurred on Friday morning in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles, near to Heche’s home.

Reports of further incursions over median line in military drills, as US and allies condemn use of missiles

China’s military has pressed ahead with its largest ever military drills, targeting Taiwan with what the island’s government called a simulated attack, including further incursions over the median line and drone flights over Taiwan’s outlying islands.

Global pushback on China’s live-fire drills, launched in response to a visit by the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan earlier in the week, also continued, with condemnation from senior US officials and foreign ministers from Australia and Japan.

Grant Shapps says the proposed law will be the ‘cycling equivalent of death by dangerous driving’ and aims to tackle a ‘selfish minority’

Cyclists who kill pedestrians could be prosecuted in the same way as motorists under a proposed government crackdown.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said the law is needed to “impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care”.

Condemnation as Beijing pulls out of climate change co-operation with US, while military exercises in Taiwan Strait continue

Taiwan has accused the Chinese army of simulating an attack on its main island, as Beijing continued retaliation for Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

Beijing on Saturday continued some of its largest-ever military drills around Taiwan – exercises seen as practice for a blockade and ultimate invasion of the island.

US, Australia and Japan call for China to cease military drills around Taiwan; China’s suspension of climate talks with US ‘punishes the world’, says John Kerry

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the Taiwan crisis. Here’s a summary of the latest developments as it passes 10.30am in Taipei.

Archaeologists are enriching our knowledge about those who were ‘vulnerable class during political crises and food shortages’

A trunk with its lid left open, a wooden dishware closet and a three-legged accent table topped by decorative bowls. These are among the latest discoveries by archaeologists that are enriching knowledge about middle-class lives in Pompeii before Mount Vesuvius’s furious eruption buried the ancient Roman city in volcanic debris.

Pompeii’s archaeological park, one of Italy’s top tourist attractions, announced the recent finds on Saturday.

Outage that affected services across system may not be fully resolved until next week, says IT provider

Ministers are working to coordinate a “resilience response” after a cyber-attack caused a significant outage across the NHS computer system.

The outage affected services across the system such as patient referrals, ambulances being dispatched, out-of-hours appointment bookings, and emergency prescriptions.

With offshoring now faltering, a US-led trend sees firms shifting manufacturing and more to countries with shared values. But this won’t be cost-free

Offshoring was followed by reshoring – and now US officials’ latest wheeze to deal with massive global supply chain disruption is “friendshoring”. The turbulent events of recent years – including Donald Trump’s trade wars, the Covid-19 crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – have called into question the vision of a globalised economy.

Many of the western companies that embraced offshoring – cutting costs by shifting manufacturing to countries with cheaper labour – have been encouraged by tariffs and pandemic supply chain disruption to bring production back to their home country, in a trend known as onshoring or reshoring.

London hospital halts treatment after parents lose legal fight to postpone withdrawal of life support

Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old boy whose parents fought a long-running legal battle to prevent his life support treatment from being removed, has died, his mother has said outside the Royal London hospital.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, in recent days made applications to the high court, court of appeal and European court of human rights (ECHR) to have him transferred to a hospice to die.

Breakthrough in the decades-old cold case comes after scientists conducted an isotope ratio analysis of the man’s bones

Perth scientists have breathed life into a decades-old German mystery of an unknown man’s body found floating in the North Sea, by using a new forensic technique that revealed he may have spent most of his life in Australia.

The man, dubbed “The Gentleman” by investigators in 1994 after his body was found by police off the coast of the Helgoland, a German archipelago, was weighed down by cast iron cobbler’s feet.

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Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of strikes at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant; Putin and Erdoğan meet; three ships carrying grain depart Ukrainian ports

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of strikes near a nuclear reactor at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant in the country’s south-east. Energoatom, the state-run operator of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, said in a statement: “Three strikes were recorded on the site of the plant, near one of the power blocks where the nuclear reactor is located.” Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the plant, saying a leak of radiation had been avoided only by luck.

Vladimir Putin has met Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for talks that were expected to focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine and that are being rumoured to include Kremlin efforts to circumvent western sanctions. The Russian president welcomed Erdoğan to Sochi, a resort city on the Black Sea, by thanking the Turkish president for help in securing an international deal that resumed grain exports from Ukraine that had been disrupted by the Kremlin war machine – as well as Russian foodstuffs and fertilisers – to world markets. They agreed to boost cooperation in the transport, agriculture, finance and construction industries, they said in a joint statement after a four-hour meeting.

Three ships carrying almost 60,000 tonnes of grain between them have departed Ukrainian Black Sea ports and are on their way to Britain, Ireland and Turkey respectively. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, said he planned “to ensure ports have the ability to handle more than 100 vessels per month”.

Russia says it is ready to talk about a prisoner swap with the US following Thursday’s nine-year jail sentence for US basketball player Brittney Griner. However, the Kremlin said any such negotiations should not be played out publicly.

Amnesty International has said it stands by its accusation that Ukraine is endangering civilians by creating army bases in residential areas to counter Russian forces, after a report from the rights group prompted a furious response from Kyiv. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, criticised Amnesty over the report published on Thursday, saying the rights group was drawing a false equivalence between Ukraine as the victim of aggression and the Russian invaders.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has raised concerns about the “security and safety” of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, saying Russia has “used artillery units based in these areas to target Ukrainian territory on the western bank of the Dnipro [Dnieper] river”.

A European Union plan to cut gas use and help Germany wean itself off dependency on Russia will come into effect early next week, the bloc’s presidency said on Friday. Last week, EU member states agreed to reduce their use of gas by 15% over the winter, with exceptions for some countries and despite opposition from Hungary.

Canada is sending up to 225 Canadian armed forces to the UK to recommence the training of Ukrainian military recruits, the Canadian defence minister has announced. Since 2015, Canada has trained 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel but in February paused aspects of the training.

A US official has accused Moscow of preparing to plant fake evidence to make it look like the recent mass killing of Ukrainian prisoners of war in an attack on a Russian-controlled jail was caused by Ukraine. Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame over last week’s strikes on the prison in Kremlin-controlled Olenivka, in eastern Ukraine.

A leading Russian hypersonics expert has been arrested on suspicion of treason, the state-controlled Tass news agency reported on Friday. Andrei Shiplyuk heads the hypersonics laboratory at the Novosibirsk Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, according to the institute’s website, and has in recent years coordinated research to support the development of hypersonic missile systems, Reuters reports.

Apparently underweight whale swimming towards Paris is refusing food and seems skittish, say French authorities

French authorities were planning on Saturday to give vitamins to a beluga whale that swam way up the Seine, as they raced to save the malnourished cetacean that is refusing food.

The apparently underweight whale was first spotted Tuesday in the river that flows through Paris to the Channel. On Saturday it had made its way to about 70km (44 miles) north of the French capital.

Former PM has warned of a financial timebomb awaiting families as Labour plans a major intervention to address crisis

Boris Johnson and the Tory leadership candidates should agree an immediate emergency budget tackling the spiralling cost of living, Gordon Brown has said, or risk “condemning millions of vulnerable and blameless children and pensioners to a winter of dire poverty”.

The intervention by the former prime minister comes as new figures seen by the Observer show that more than 4 million households are on course to spend a quarter of their net income on energy.

England women’s Euros triumph has created massive interest in the game, but elite success doesn’t necessarily benefit sport at a lower level

On Tuesday, the FA announced that tickets for the England women’s football friendly against the USA in October had gone on sale. Within an hour, its website had crashed from the demand. Gabby Logan had predicted as much when she signed off from the Lionesses’ victory at the European Championships last Sunday. “You think it’s all over?” she told viewers. “It’s only just begun.”

In the week since England’s historic win over Germany in the final, there has been understandable excitement about the future of women’s football in the UK. Even the Queen, not noted for her football punditry, has added her voice to the throng. “You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations,” she said in her congratulatory message to Leah Williamson’s side.

As the Tory leadership hopefuls clash over when to reduce taxes, the public are more concerned with maintaining funding

Most of the public are not demanding taxes are cut, and more than a quarter actually want them to increase in order to spend more on public services, a new Observer poll has revealed.

Despite a Tory leadership contest dominated by the timing of tax cuts, the latest Opinium poll found no great clamour for them, with concerns around the funding of schools and the NHS heading into the autumn.