Hot News on 09/08/2022

App spares users the embarrassment of a blanket notification as part of series of updates over coming month

WhatsApp users will soon be able to avoid social awkwardness by gracefully – and silently – leaving annoying groups, the company has announced.

Currently, if you leave a WhatsApp group, every member is notified, which can be embarrassing for smaller groups and irritating for larger ones.

‘I fear that Australia will in short time be repatriated with the corpse of Mr [Robert] Pether’, say doctors of imprisoned engineer

Doctors for an Australian engineer jailed in Iraq have privately warned the Australian government of fears that Australia will be repatriating “a corpse” if his condition continues to rapidly deteriorate.

Robert Pether’s family have repeatedly raised fears about the 47-year-old’s health since he was jailed over a business dispute relating to the construction of a new headquarters for Iraq’s central bank, which Pether’s firm was working on.

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A representative for the actor has described her as being in an ‘extreme critical condition’ following the incident on Friday

Anne Heche has not regained consciousness since shortly after she crashed her car in Los Angeles on Friday.

Initial reports about the actor’s condition said she was “stable” and firefighters said she had spoken to rescuers as she was pulled from the wreckage.

Allow a budget of £4,000 to do-it-yourself, from the editing and design through to marketing

“A top-of-her-game literary agent tells us she receives about 3,000 submissions a year,” says Joe Sedgwick, the head of writing services at The Literary Consultancy. “Of those, she requests to see the full manuscripts of about 70. Of those writers, she will take on maybe five to 10.”

Faced with these odds, many people who dream of getting their writing into the hands of readers are turning to self-publishing.

State propaganda about China’s rise is stoking extreme nationalism. That could blind China to its problems, and could lead to conflict — perhaps over Taiwan.

Kate Greville told police Manchester United star ‘flipped’ when she saw him message another woman

Ryan Giggs kicked his naked girlfriend out of a hotel room in Dubai when she accused him of messaging another woman, his assault trial has heard.

The former Manchester United star was on holiday in Dubai visiting Kate Greville when the alleged incident occurred, a jury at Manchester crown court was told.

Cybersecurity expert Ron Diebert to testify to Canadian MPs about troubling spread of invasive surveillance tools

The mercenary spyware industry represents “one of the greatest contemporary threats to civil society, human rights and democracy”, a leading cybersecurity expert warns, as countries grapple with the unregulated spread of powerful and invasive surveillance tools.

Ron Diebert, a political science professor at the university of Toronto and head of Citizen Lab, will testify in front of a Canadian parliamentary committee on Tuesday afternoon about the growing threat he and others believe the technology poses to citizens and democracies.

Tensions high as Taiwan begins live-fire drills and China continues military exercises it started after US speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei last week

China used its military drills last week to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan, and its anger over US speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit was just an excuse, Taiwan’s foreign minister has said.

The minister, Joseph Wu, addressed the media on Tuesday morning, as China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continued with military exercises it began last week, and Taiwan started its own live-fire drills. Wu accused China of “gross violations of international law”.

Bill makes concessions to the fossil fuel industry as frontline community groups call on Biden to declare climate emergency

The landmark climate legislation passed by the Senate after months of wrangling and weakening by fossil-fuel friendly Democrats will lead to more harm than good, according to frontline community groups who are calling on Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency.

If signed into law, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) would allocate $369bn to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions and invest in renewable energy sources – a historic amount that scientists estimate will lead to net reductions of 40% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

Former US president angered by ‘unannounced raid’ as part of ongoing investigation into potentially unlawful removal of White House records

Hello and welcome to our coverage of the continuing reaction to former US president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate being raided by the FBI. We’ll also be bringing you the rest of the day’s US politics news as it develops. Here is a summary of where things stand at the moment:

Cold weather and gas shortages could force rationing of electricity to some firms or even households

Businesses and even consumers could face blackouts this winter under government crisis plans as concerns grow over power supplies, it has emerged.

Under the government’s latest “reasonable worst case scenario”, officials believe the UK could experience blackouts for several days in January if cold weather combines with gas shortages to leave the country short of power.

Former US president described the incident as ‘an unannounced raid’ but did not specify what was taken

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments.

Record high temperatures in the Alps this summer have led to the discovery of two bodies and an aircraft that crashed in 1968

Soaring temperatures are prompting Switzerland’s melting glaciers to reveal their secrets, with hikers this summer chancing upon two sets of unidentified human remains and a plane wreckage lost for more than half a century.

Two French alpinists found human bones last Wednesday while scaling the Chessjen glacier in the southern canton of Valais, a police spokesperson confirmed on Monday. The skeleton was airlifted from the glacier by helicopter on the same day.

Spanish-born woman sacked from care home after being unable to prove immigration status

A Spanish-born woman who has lived in England for 45 years is still fighting to secure the right to work in the UK, a year after being sacked from her job in a care home because she was unable to prove she had a valid immigration status.

The 46-year-old woman, who arrived in Britain as an 11-month-old baby and who has never left the country, has been trying to secure EU settled status since her employers dismissed her last June, as they enforced post-Brexit right-to-work regulations.

Band frontman Shane MacGowan pays tribute to ‘nice guy and great friend’ who died in London on Monday

The Pogues’ bass player Darryl Hunt has died aged 72.

The punk group said on Twitter they were “saddened beyond words” to share that Hunt had died on Monday afternoon in London.

Singer had been sued by writers of 3LW’s 2000 song Playas Gon’ Play for alleged plagiarism, and the case is due to return to court

Taylor Swift has defended herself as the sole writer of her 2014 hit Shake It Off in response to a lawsuit claiming that she plagiarised lyrics from the 2000 song Playas Gon’ Play by girl group 3LW.

“The lyrics to Shake It Off were written entirely by me,” Swift stated in a sworn declaration filed on Monday. “Until learning about Plaintiffs’ claim in 2017, I had never heard the song Playas Gon’ Play and had never heard of that song or the group 3LW.”

Bipartisan group calls for new hearing over lack of evidence in case of Richard Glossip, 59, as state rushes to speed up executions

A letter signed by 61 Oklahoma lawmakers – most of them pro-death penalty Republicans – has been sent to the state’s attorney general calling for a new hearing in the case of Richard Glossip, a death row inmate scheduled to be executed next month.

Forty-four Republican and 17 Democratic legislators, amounting to more than a third of the state assembly, have written to John O’Connor pleading for the new hearing.

Welcome to our monthly roundup of the biggest issues in farming and food production, with must-read reports from around the web

The heavy concentration of mega farms, and millions of pigs, cattle and chickens in a small number of areas across Europe, has created a pollution nightmare, according to a new Guardian investigation.

Picture was among cache of messages inadvertently handed over by Infowars host’s lawyer to opposition legal team

Lawyers for the notorious American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones accidentally gave his legal adversaries a nude photo of his wife that he had texted to the conservative political operative Roger Stone, an attorney involved in the matter has acknowledged.

The seemingly farcical – but entirely true – development was the latest bit of fallout since one of the attorneys for a family suing Jones for defamation revealed last week that Jones’s own lawyer had inadvertently handed over numerous text messages belonging to the far-right provocateur and then failed to take steps to keep them out of court.

Exclusive: Independent report calls for mandatory training for all staff and review of complaint process

Mandatory training for all members of the New South Wales parliament and their staff will be recommended in a “disturbing” report on bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct.

The independent report on the parliament’s workplace culture, by former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, will also recommend a review of the way staff can lodge complaints and raise issues, and another into the Members of Parliament Staff Act, under which staffers are employed.

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Tehran denies Khayyam satellite will be under Russian control, despite reported admission by Moscow

Russia has launched an Iranian satellite from Kazakhstan amid concerns that it could be used for battlefield surveillance in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Iran has denied that the Khayyam satellite, which was delivered into orbit aboard a Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, would ever be under Russian control.

Unprecedented search of an ex-president’s home for official documents provoked outrage from supporters but proving intent will be key to any charge by the Department of Justice

The news that sent tremors across America broke at 6.36pm on Monday when the publisher of an obscure Florida politics website tweeted that the FBI had raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, adding with a pinch of self-deprecation: “TBH, I’m not a strong enough reporter to hunt this down, but it’s real.”

Eighteen minutes later another Florida resident responded to the news with more bombast. “These are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home … is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” the former president said in a rage-filled statement.

Oak said to have inspired Chronicles of Narnia among 12 contenders in competition now in its eighth year

An oak tree that is said to have inspired the Chronicles of Narnia is among those nominated for the Woodland Trust’s tree of the year competition.

The Kilbroney oak is located in Kilbroney Park, Northern Ireland, where CS Lewis holidayed as a child, later describing it as his vision of Narnia.

Western Australia’s Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove the top-earning area while five of the lowest are in regional NSW

Australia’s highest and lowest income suburbs have been revealed in new data released by the Australian Taxation Office.

The data, based on nearly 15m tax returns from 2019-20, reveals the median income and super balances of Australians in each postcode across the country.

Organisers say On Your Side set up in response to dramatic rise in hate crime directed towards ESEA people since start of pandemic

A free nationwide 24-hour helpline offering support for east and south-east Asian victims of racism and other forms of hate in the UK has been launched.

The On Your Side helpline will be run by specialist advisers to provide tailored and culturally sensitive support. Longer-term support from a trained casework advocate will be offered, with case workers helping people understand their rights and direct them to specialist support services.

The Swiss midfielder on his surprising longevity at Arsenal, his admiration for Mikel Arteta and why fans should be allowed to come and watch training

The behind-the-scenes documentaries so beloved of modern times are not known for their rough edges but, for Granit Xhaka, that was part of the point. He allowed the cameras into his home for the Amazon series that followed Arsenal last season and if it humanised him beyond the spiky, sometimes rash, often divisive but frequently highly effective character seen on the pitch then the film had done its work.

“For me it is fine because I have nothing to hide,” he says. “I am Granit here and the same at home. Only on the football pitch do I have a different mask: people have to accept that.”

Last week, debris from a suspected Chinese booster rocket made an uncontrolled return to Earth, reportedly falling just metres from villages in Malaysia and Indonesia, and triggering a rebuke from Nasa. This follows the recent discovery of SpaceX debris on a sheep farm in regional NSW.

Jane Lee speaks to ANU astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker and reporter Natasha May about why more space junk is falling to Earth, what risks it poses to our safety

Read more:

One person killed in Novofedorivka, 110 miles from frontline, after ‘aviation munitions detonated’ in storage area

A Russian airbase deep behind the frontline in Crimea was damaged by several large explosions on Tuesday afternoon, killing at least one person, although it was not immediately clear whether it had been targeted by a long range Ukrainian missile strike.

Multiple social media videos showed explosions and clouds emerging from the Saky military base in Novofedorivka on the western coast of Crimea, prompting questions about how a location more than 100 miles from the frontline could have been attacked. Later a senior Ukrainian official appeared to claim responsibility, without giving details.

Mario Fiorentini commanded a group of partisans who fought against Benito Mussolini and Italy’s Nazi occupiers

Mario Fiorentini, Italy’s most decorated resistance fighter against fascist and Nazi forces during the second world war, has died in a Rome hospital. He was 103.

The Rome chapter of the National Association of Italian Partisans announced his death on Tuesday.

Russia says sanctions mean it won’t restart arms inspection program; heavy fighting in east of Ukraine

The US believes Russia has suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties, either killed or wounded, since its invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February.

Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy official said: “The Russians are taking a tremendous number of casualties on the other side of the equation. I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians are probably taking 70 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months.”

After Lindsay Wright’s husband died suddenly, her grief was compounded by endless admin and a lack of communication

Lindsay Wright’s husband, Stuart, died suddenly at the beginning of the year, aged 46. Alongside the grief of losing her partner, and the father of their daughter Lily, 10, Wright had to deal with endless admin and a long list of companies, many of which she found unsympathetic.

She realised her Virgin Money credit card had been blocked when she tried to pay for some shopping. Her solicitor had informed the bank about her husband’s death but a miscommunication meant she was not told the account would be closed.

The animals cannot be blamed for the surge in cases in the country, World Health Organization says

The World Health Organization has stressed that monkeypox outbreaks are not linked to monkeys, following a number of reported attacks on the primates in Brazil.

“What people need to know is that the transmission we are seeing is happening between humans,” a WHO spokeswoman, Margaret Harris, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.

Actor says he was diagnosed with vasculitis two years ago but has recovered and the ordeal made him strong

Ashton Kutcher has said he is “lucky to be alive” after a he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that he says robbed him of sight, hearing and equilibrium.

The actor revealed his diagnosis with vasculitis – an autoimmune disease that inflames the blood vessels – during an episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls: The Challenge.

Five gargantuan oaks, one of which is said to have provided the inspiration for the fantasy land of Narnia, and a spectacular ‘portal rowan’ are among the unique specimens in the running to be crowned the Woodland Trust’s tree of the year for 2022

Our politicians have opted to protect profits instead of people. Even my own party isn’t doing enough

  • Zarah Sultana is the Labour MP for Coventry South

Every day brings bleaker forecasts of the depths of the cost of living crisis. Last week it was news that the energy price cap was set to rocket to £3,359 from October, and this week an estimate puts it at £4,266 by January. Then the Bank of England announced the biggest interest rate hike in 27 years. This week, another stark warning of the disastrous consequences of this crisis: a report predicting that 35 million people will be in fuel poverty by the end of the year.

Against this truly frightening backdrop, the public are owed solutions from politicians that match the scale of the crisis. But our political class has almost nothing to say. Behind the headlines are real people suffering, powerfully recounted in this paper’s recent Heat or eat diaries: parents who can’t put food on the table, private renters struggling to keep a roof over their heads, elderly people terrified of facing winter with no money to pay the bills. I see this in my constituency, with more and more people coming to me unable to make ends meet.

Zarah Sultana is the Labour MP for Coventry South

Launched on Friday, the conversational AI fueled by material found online spews uncomfortable truths and blatant lies

If you’re worried that artificial intelligence is getting too smart, talking to Meta’s AI chatbot might make you feel better.

Launched on Friday, BlenderBot is a prototype of Meta’s conversational AI, which, according to Facebook’s parent company, can converse on nearly any topic. On the demo website, members of the public are invited to chat with the tool and share feedback with developers. The results thus far, writers at Buzzfeed and Vice have pointed out, have been rather interesting.

Affordable ticket prices are key to giving football fans the live experience which can develop into a lifelong commitment

Football is bending over backwards to prove its relevance. From 60-minute matches to sin bins and throw-ins taken with feet, Fifa, the game’s governing body, is exploring every option in a bid to attract a newer, younger audience.

These ideas are not new. Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, used the claim of a growing army of disinterested youth to justify the case for the European Super League. The 75-year-old said on the Spanish TV show El Chiringuito that 40% of fans aged between 16 and 24 are not interested in football. “Why? Because there are a lot of low-quality games and they have other entertainment platforms,” he said. “It’s a reality. They say the games are too long. We have to change something if we want football to stay alive. Sometimes we don’t understand our children or grandchildren.”

Largest increase is among women aged between 35 and 39, ONS data reveals

The total fertility rate in England and Wales has increased for the first time in a decade, with the largest rise among women aged between 35 and 39, data shows.

Women with children have an average of 1.61 each, according to ONS data from 2021, up from 1.58 the previous year.

Tory leadership hopefuls urged to set out emergency plans as parts of UK face driest conditions on record

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak must set out emergency water plans to tackle “immoral” wastage, the president of the National Farmers’ Union has said.

Farmers fear their crops will be harmed, or even fail, due to the recent dry weather. If there is not significant rainfall this autumn and winter, drained reservoirs and empty rivers will not refill sufficiently for a lot of farming to be viable next year. And next year’s potential drought could be more severe than this summer’s arid conditions.

Seven people remain missing amid fears of further damage with torrential rain forecast in some parts of the country on Wednesday

At least seven people have died in South Korea after record overnight rainfall hammered the capital Seoul, turning streets into rivers, submerging vehicles and inundating metro stations.

Rainfall of more than 100mm an hour was recorded in Seoul, surrounding areas of Gyeonggi province and the port city of Incheon on Monday night, according to the Yonhap news agency. Per-hour precipitation in the Dongjak district surpassed 141.5mm at one point, the heaviest hourly downpour in Seoul for 80 years.

Central bank must tackle inflation pressures that are gaining foothold in UK economy, says Dave Ramsden

The Bank of England will probably have to raise interest rates further from their current 14 year-high to tackle inflationary pressures that are gaining a foothold in Britain’s economy, the BoE deputy governor, Dave Ramsden, has said.

The spread of inflation was showing up in rising British pay and companies’ pricing plans, having originally been triggered by the reopening of the world economy from Covid-19 lockdowns and then by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ramsden told Reuters.

The blaze in Matanzas province raises fears that the damaged facility will worsen the island’s energy shortage

Flames have engulfed a fourth tank at an oil storage facility in western Cuba as a raging fire consumes critical fuel supplies on an island grappling with a growing energy crisis.

Firefighters and specialists from Mexico and Venezuela helped fight the blaze in the province of Matanzas with boats, planes and helicopters as they sprayed foam on the containers, a first for crews since broiling temperatures had prevented them from doing so earlier.

Analysis: Conservative contest has featured number of changes and clarifications by Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak

Party leadership races often involve candidates adjusting policies on the hoof, and so tend to have more than the usual share of U-turns. But the ongoing Conservative contest has featured a particular selection. Here are some highlights.

Liverpool sale will include net curtains, a brick and autographs from night that catapulted band to superstardom

“For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands,” John Lennon instructed the 1963 Royal Variety Performance audience at the Prince of Wales theatre in London. “And the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewellery.”

It was a brave joke greeted by laughter and applause, part of an important performance that helped to catapult the Beatles to superstardom.

End of restrictions has put paid to some pandemic lifestyle changes but other shifts remain in place, poll shows

Britain’s love for green fingers and blackened thumbs during the first Covid lockdown has since evaporated as people again find a “new normal” after the ending of restrictions, a survey suggests.

The amount of time people spent gardening and doing DIY soared in March and April 2020, with people spending 40 minutes a day improving their homes and gardens compared with just 15 minutes in 2014-15. But it plummeted back to 20 minutes a day in March 2022, Office for National Statistics data shows.

Centre-right National and libertarian Act could form government, according to latest survey, with Labour-Greens bloc trailing on combined 42% support

Jacinda Ardern’s chances of re-election are looking shakier, with new polling indicating that New Zealand’s right-leaning coalition has enough support to form government.

The latest 1 News/Kantar poll, taken as the cost of living soars in New Zealand, marked Ardern’s worst result in the preferred prime minister stakes since her tenure as leader began. Despite falling three points as preferred PM, however, she is still ahead of National’s Chris Luxon, 30% to 22%.

Social media companies have taken steps to restrict Russian state media accounts. But posts from those accounts still spread in Spanish, Arabic and other languages and in places outside the West.