Hot News on 18/03/2023

Releasing environmental water held downstream could help stem the spread of poor quality water, experts say

A “wall of dead fish” spanning tens of kilometres is moving along a stretch of the Darling-Baaka river near the town of Menindee, with temperatures forecast to reach 41C in the area on Saturday.

“The smell is just next level,” resident Graeme Crabb said. “Imagine the smell if you put a dead fish in your sink and let it rot for a few days – but we have millions of them.”

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Pharmaceutical company behind blockbuster diet jab Wegovy confronts crises on multiple fronts, amid scrutiny of UK activities

The maker of slimming jab Wegovy was facing crises on multiple fronts this weekend, with the UK medicines regulator announcing a review of its operations at the same time as an investigation is under way into the approval of its injections for NHS use.

In the last few days, Novo Nordisk has also been suspended from its pharmaceutical trade body and seen the loss of a key partnership with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), which said on Friday that it had cut ties with the company after breaches of industry code.

The promise of a better life recedes ever further under the Tories

You can order your own version of this cartoon

The European Super League project never went away and England’s two refuseniks now have cause to change their minds

Six years ago the German military launched Project Cassandra, a programme designed to predict disasters and black swan events by getting novelists, poets and hacks to write stories about them. What could possibly go wrong? After all, everyone knows writers are perfect in a crisis.

Admittedly Cassandra’s operational span has coincided so far with an unforeseen pandemic and an unforeseen war. Although to be fair the ministry’s in-house writers were probably still arguing about tone and leitmotifs and the pacing of the third act while all this was going on. You can’t rush the process.

Although Ukrainians excel at putting up a brave front, a tremendous amount of suffering is being kept bottled up and sometimes bursts out.

The travails of Credit Suisse and others have stirred up bad memories for a public still scarred by the financial crisis

No one in the Treasury had expected March to be easy. Last Monday’s economics-heavy review of defence and foreign policy, and last Wednesday’s budget, meant that a tough week for its mandarins was already priced in. But none of them had expected to have to sell a bank for £1.

That happened in the early hours of Monday, when Treasury and central bank officials eventually brokered a deal for HSBC to buy the UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB UK) for a nominal fee – following the collapse of SVB’s California parent when a disastrous investment strategy unravelled.

Poll finds ITV news is more trusted source of information and trust in BBC has slipped

The BBC has slipped behind ITV as Britain’s most trusted news source in the wake of the row over Gary Lineker’s suspension, according to a new poll for the Observer.

The corporation remains one of the most trusted providers, according to the latest Opinium poll. Two in five trust BBC News and 26% distrust it, giving it a “net trust” of +14%. ITV recorded a net trust score of +23%.

Ancient breeds will act as ecosystem engineers to convert commercial pine plantation into a wild wood

The UK’s first wild bison in millennia have been joined by iron-age pigs, Exmoor ponies and longhorn cattle as the rewilding project moves forward in creating a rich and natural new habitat.

The Wilder Blean project in Kent is deploying the animals to replicate the roles played by mega-herbivores when bison, aurochs and wild horses roamed prehistoric England. The animals will be closely monitored as they transform a former commercial pine plantation into a wild wood.

Murrell is the husband of the outgoing Scottish National party leader and first minister Nicola Sturgeon

Peter Murrell, the Scottish National party’s chief executive and Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, has resigned with immediate effect.

More details soon …

The action is aimed at expanding last year’s bipartisan Safer Communities act, which strengthened background checks

Last year the Georgia-based gun manufacturer Daniel Defense tweeted an image of a young child with a rifle – about the same size as the child himself – in his lap. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” the caption read.

The post came just eight days before an 18-year-old shot and killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas – using a weapon made by Daniel Defense.

Midfielder deserves football’s understanding for the kidnapping and threats that are damaging his life and career

It is seven years since Paul Pogba joined Manchester United from Juventus for a then world-record fee of £89m. He was 23 and had already won four Serie A titles. He had been named young player of the tournament at the previous World Cup. He was a star on the rise, the sort of player who might conceivably drag United out of their post-Alex Ferguson slump.

Pogba had apparently only one fault: he seemed a player out of time, a box-to-box midfielder in an age that had outgrown them. Midfields had split into two bands, and he didn’t quite have the tight technical ability to play in the more advanced line, receiving the ball often with his back to goal, but wasn’t quite disciplined enough to operate consistently as a holder (which, anyway, felt a waste of his profound creative gifts). What he needed was to operate on the left of the midfield three as he had at Juve, but that was not how United played. That quibble, though, was only the start of it.

Growing opposition presents biggest challenge to Emmanuel Macron since gilets jaunes protests

Riot police and protesters clashed for a second night in Paris as a new demonstration took place against the government’s plans to raise the French state pension age.

The growing opposition to the policy, which has resulted in a wave of strikes since the start of the year and rubbish piling up on the streets of the capital, has left President Emmanuel Macron with the gravest challenge to his authority since the gilets jaunes(yellow vest) protests of December 2018.

US tech innovators have a culture of regarding government as an innovation-blocking nuisance. But when Silicon Valley Bank collapsed, investors screamed for state protection

So one day Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was a bank, and then the next day it was a smoking hulk that looked as though it might bring down a whole segment of the US banking sector. The US government, which is widely regarded by the denizens of Silicon Valley as a lumbering, obsolescent colossus, then magically turned on a dime, ensuring that no depositors would lose even a cent. And over on this side of the pond, regulators arranged that HSBC, another lumbering colossus, would buy the UK subsidiary of SVB for the princely sum of £1.

Panic over, then? We’ll see. In the meantime it’s worth taking a more sardonic look at what went on.

This year’s surprise quarter-finalists have previously gone further in the competition – to the semi-finals in 1936 and 1939

It’s hard to know what, in the year 2023, looks more far-fetched. That when Grimsby play Brighton on Sunday they will be attempting to reach the club’s third FA Cup semi-final, not the first; or that the previous runs to the last four, which included wins over Manchester City and Chelsea, had nothing to do with David or Goliath.

Grimsby’s semi-final appearances in 1936 and 1939 were highlights of the greatest period in the club’s history. From 1929–48, including a break for the second world war, they spent 10 out of 12 seasons in the top flight. All three of Grimsby’s England internationals were capped in that time: the inside-forward Jackie Bestall (described in this paper as an “artful dodger and constructive genius”), the goalkeeper George Tweedy and the inspirational centre-back Harry Betmead each made a single appearance between 1935 and 1937.

British singer was billed to perform on Saturday alongside Cyndi Lauper and New Zealand singer John Stevens

Sir Rod Stewart has cancelled a performance in Australia due to being told he has a “viral infection”.

The 78-year-old singer-songwriter, who has had six No 1 hits in the UK charts including Baby Jane and Maggie May, was due to sing at the festival A Day on the Green in Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong.

The incorporation of British Sign Language at the Emirates is life-changing for deaf fans. Every club should follow suit

The majority of football matches are middling to dull, and before the start of every season, the majority of fans know their team will spend it ensconced in mediocrity. So why do we keep coming back?

Max Parsons has been going to Arsenal all his life, since the Highbury days – “I used to go with my dad but he’s stopped, he’s an old man,” he says. “Arsenal’s like family to me. And it’s part of my love. I have a partner, a son, and I feel like I love Arsenal as well. That’s my life.” Because he is deaf, he has never felt quite fully welcomed – until now, thanks to the incorporation of British Sign Language into everything that happens on the Emirates’ big screens.

In her new novel, “Biography of X,” Lacey dreams up a larger-than-life, narcissistic artist, and rewrites American history to tell her story.

Discoveries that could help diabetics named in honour of activist and journalist murdered in Amazon

Scientists in Brazil have found two new species of fermenting yeasts and named them after journalist Dom Phillips and activist Bruno Pereira, the two men murdered last year in the Amazon rainforest.

The discovery came from four isolates of the Spathaspora species, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Citizens who worked with British government or helped army told to get necessary documents stamped by the authorities

The Ministry of Defence has apologised after an investigation found Afghan applicants to a resettlement scheme were told they could only come to the UK if their documents were approved by the Taliban.

The Independent revealed that the mistake affected applicants to the Afghan relocations and assistance policy scheme (Arap), which aims to relocate Afghan citizens who worked with the UK government or helped its armed forces in Afghanistan. The MoD decides which applicants – who may apply with their families – are eligible for relocation to Britain.

Bill from Republican-controlled legislature comes as measures to crack down on abortion pills gather pace across the country

Wyoming has become the first US state to outlaw the use or prescription of medication abortion pills after the governor, Mark Gordon, signed into law a bill that was passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature earlier this month.

The crux of the two-page Wyoming bill is a provision making it illegal to “prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion”.

Drone footage filmed above a stretch of the Darling-Baaka River near the Australian town of Menindee showed millions of dead fish blanketing the water on Saturday. The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries said the deaths were related to low oxygen levels after the extreme flooding in the region in January had receded. It is the latest in a series of large-scale fish deaths that have prompted questions about the management of water levels in the Murray-Darling Basin

As the families seek more than $1.4 billion awarded by courts for Mr. Jones’s lies, a New York Times review shows he is transferring millions of dollars to family and friends, potentially out of reach of creditors.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada is battling critics and leaked intelligence reports that opponents say show he ignored warnings of Chinese interference in past elections.

Presenter will host live FA Cup match on Saturday evening in first appearance since his suspension

Gary Lineker will return to TV screens for the first time since his BBC suspension on Saturday after joking about having had a “quiet” week.

The broadcaster, 62, was taken off air last weekend for a tweet criticising the language used by ministers when discussing the government’s asylum policy.

In true hypocritical manner, the ex-president has quickly forgotten why the two sectors are in shambles

When a fiery train derailment took place on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border last month, Donald Trump saw an opportunity. The former US president visited East Palestine, accused Joe Biden of ignoring the community – “Get over here!” – and distributed self-branded water before dropping in at a local McDonald’s.

Then, when the Silicon Valley Bank last week became the second biggest bank to fail in US history, Trump again lost no time in making political capital. He predicted that Biden would go down as “the Herbert Hoover of the modrrn [sic] age” and predicted a worse economic crash than the Great Depression.

Italy’s new right-wing government put a strong emphasis on traditional family values during elections

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Milan in protest against moves by Italy’s new right-wing government to restrict the rights of same-sex parents.

“You explain to my son that I’m not his mother,” read one sign held up amid a sea of rainbow flags that filled one of the northern city’s central squares.

Prices for popular destinations could be up almost 60% on 2022, analysis carried out for the Guardian shows

People planning to hire a car abroad this summer face having to pay almost 60% more than they did before the coronavirus pandemic.

New figures for six popular destinations show average car rental prices are continuing to rise, with the average cost coming in at about £565 for a week’s hire.

Joe Biden says international criminal court’s arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin is justified, while Volodymyr Zelenskiy hails the ‘historic’ move

Exclusive: Apparent reversal of position adopted after invasion of Ukraine sends men fleeing Putin’s draft back to Russia

The Biden administration has quietly resumed deportations to Russia, an apparent reversal of the position adopted after Russia invaded Ukraine just over a year ago, when such removals were suspended, the Guardian has learned.

Immigration advocates were taken by surprise when a young Russian man, who came to the US fleeing Vladimir Putin’s efforts to mobilize citizens to fight in Ukraine, was abruptly deported at the weekend from the US back to Russia.

‘Drowning’ of village of Capel Celyn to provide water to Liverpool in the 60s remains an emotive issue

On a February night 60 years ago, three young men battled through blizzard conditions to plant a bomb at a construction site in a lonely Welsh valley. Their target was a dam being built by an English privatised water company to supply water for Liverpool.

To provide million of litres a day for the English city, the people in the small Eryri (Snowdonia) village of Capel Celyn were to be evictedand their homes, farms, post office, school, chapel and cemetery flooded to create a reservoir.

The Wildlife Trusts warn letting dogs loose in nature reserves in spring and summer can cause damage and disturbances to animals and plants

From scaring endangered birds on their nests to the mountain of excrement they produce each day, dogs with irresponsible owners are a growing problem in UK nature reserves, say conservationists, who are urging owners to keep their pets on a short lead.

The Wildlife Trusts, which operate more than 2,300 nature reserves across the country, say loose dogs are a leading cause of plant and animal disturbances in UK reserves and their waste carries diseases for wildlife, with growing evidence that the 3,000 tonnes of faeces and urine produced by dogs each day disturbs the balance of ecosystems at levels that would be illegal on farmland.

Several items given to the former president, including a life-size painting of him given by El Salvador, are still unaccounted for

Donald Trump’s White House failed to report more than 100 gifts from foreign nations worth more than a quarter-million dollars, according to a US government report, and several of those gifts – including a lifesize painting of Trump given by the president of El Salvador and golf clubs from the prime minister of Japan – are still unaccounted for.

The revelations came as part of a report on Friday from Democrats on the House Oversight Committee. The report details numerous unreported items, among them 16 gifts from Saudi Arabia worth more than $45,000 in all, including a dagger valued at up to $24,000, and 17 presents from India that include expensive cufflinks, a vase and a $4,600 model of the Taj Mahal.

The growing season has become completely reversed thanks to kerosene-burning greenhouses and the big prices paid for the earliest, best berries.

US president says Russian leader has clearly committed war crimes and move makes ‘a very strong point’

Joe Biden has welcomed the international criminal court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for the Russian president for war crimes in Ukraine.

The US president said Vladimir Putin had clearly committed war crimes and that the arrest warrant for the Russian leader made a “very strong point”.

Twenty years ago Iraqi women and girls were promised a new future of liberation and education by former US president Bush. The reality is different

Coming home late in the evening as a young girl in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, Zainab, then 15, feared each day could be the last time she could go to school. Living in a conservative district in Basra province, where females out alone in the evening are frowned upon, Zainab’s family were not happy about it. They were also concerned about her safety.

Her school, like many in Iraq, had been forced to divide and rotate pupils into morning, afternoon and evening shifts as there were not enough buildings available to accommodate all the students at once.

Produced in collaboration with Jummar, an independent Iraqi media platform

  • ‘I see only 11 players that play for themselves’ in 3-3 draw
  • ‘It is time to change this situation if Tottenham want to change’

The Tottenham manager, Antonio Conte, launched into his players after they blew a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Southampton, severely questioning their motivations and the club itself. The Italian, expected to leave the club at the end of the season, also brought his own immediate future into question by appearing to criticise the owner, Joe Lewis, and the club chairman, Daniel Levy.

“For me this is unacceptable,” Conte said, James Ward-Prowse having scored a penalty to complete Saints’ comeback in the dying seconds. “We are winning 3-1, in control and concede two goals.”

No matter who wins the election, the task of tackling clogged roads and Sydney’s tolling mess will be immense

Sydney has been treated to a boom in public transport and road construction over the past decade, but the so far timid transport policies of the New South Wales election raise concerns the foot is coming off the accelerator.

The main policy differences to emerge between the Coalition and Labor surround how each side plans to expand the metro network westwards, Band-Aid solutions to address the cost of commuting through Sydney’s tolling mess and support for a contentious tunnel.

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  • Kazakhstan’s Rybakina beats Swiatek 6-2, 6-2 in semi-final
  • Belarusian Sabalenka cruises past Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3

Elena Rybakina has knocked out defending champion Iga Swiatek with a 6-2, 6-2 semi-final victory at Indian Wells on Friday to set up a clash against Aryna Sabalenka in the final.

Two months after Rybakina knocked Swiatek out of the Australian Open in the fourth round, the Wimbledon champion once again put in an impressive display against the world No 1.

Stadiums are reopening but detentions of major football figures overshadow the sport, as scandal engulfs basketball

Sergio Agüero may be one of the greatest strikers of his generation, but he won an even rarer accolade in 2015, when he became the first – and last – Premier League footballer to take a selfie with Xi Jinping, China’s football-loving leader.

The photo, taken at Manchester City’s stadium – with then prime minister David Cameron – comes from an era when Xi was fostering warm relations with the UK and pushing China to become a world football superpower by 2050, both ambitions that seem distant possibilities today.

Swifts, swallows, bats and geckos all enjoy a ‘coexistence of mutual respect’ on the football stands, wildlife census shows

In the silence after the final whistle you can hear the blackbirds sing, or perhaps a chaffinch or a Sardinian warbler. Or, if night has already fallen, you may see the bats swoop low over the centre circle as the fans shuffle towards the exits. This is the Spotify Camp Nou, the home of Barcelona football club … but also of myriad creatures.

Barcelona is probably the first major football club in the world to produce a guide to its stadium’s wildlife, after carrying out a census of its animal occupants. The guide is part of the club rethinking its role in the community and its environmental impact, says Jordi Portabella, an environmentalist and former candidate for mayor of the city, now in charge of developing the club’s sustainability policy.

Workers reported to have received payouts from ‘modest’ pool of £15m-£20m following takeover deal by HSBC

The UK arm of the collapsed Silicon Valley Bank is reported to have paid millions of pounds in bonuses days after it was sold in a rescue deal for £1.

Staff at Silicon Valley Bank UK (SVB UK) are said to have been given payouts from what has been described as a “modest” bonus pool of between £15m and £20m. The Californian-based bank collapsed eight days ago, triggering concerns of a new global banking crisis.

Privileges committee rebuffs lawyer’s request to give evidence alongside former prime minister

Boris Johnson may be the only witness called by the privileges committee for its investigation into whether he misled parliament over Partygate, as the inquiry has rebuffed his lawyer’s request to give evidence alongside him.

The former prime minister is preparing to appear at a televised hearing on Wednesday. The length of the grilling will depend on how much he says.

Labour says chancellor had time to draw up more targeted changes rather than including wealthiest savers

Jeremy Hunt previously backed Labour’s idea of giving a pensions tax break only to NHS staff, despite ruling out such a move in this week’s budget because it would not come into force quickly enough.

The chancellor was chair of the health select committee last year when members wrote a report calling for the NHS pension scheme to be overhauled to encourage senior doctors to stay in their jobs.

US president says international criminal court’s warrant ‘makes a very strong point’ while Moscow rejects move as ‘meaningless’

New research on critically endangered orange-bellied parrot finds 1mm difference in length of one feather – enough to reduce survival rate by 2.7 times

Breeding in captivity can alter birds’ wing shapes, reducing their chances of surviving migratory flights when they are released to the wild, new research suggests.

A study of the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot has found that in captive-bred birds, those with altered wing shapes had a survival rate 2.7 times lower than those born with wings close to an ideal “wild type” wing.

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Australia swelters through heatwave

Parts of NSW are forecast to reach the low 40s as several fires continue to burn across the state.

Environment secretary’s response to salad shortages suggests she was unaware vegetable farmer – in her constituency – was forced to quit due to costs

It wasn’t a cunning plan, but Thérèse Coffey sparked more interest in turnips than anyone since Blackadder when she suggested that people might eat them instead of tomatoes.

The environment secretary’s response to salad shortages attracted more ridicule than Baldrick – even from Vladimir Putin, who suggested last week that sanctions against Russia had backfired on the west. Turnips are good but they’ll probably have to get them from us, he said.

Thousands attended march through capital to condemn home secretary’s legislation, say organisers

Protesters marched against the government’s illegal migration bill in cities across the UK on Saturday, with organisers claiming thousands had attended.

Demonstrators carried signs and banners, some reading “no human is illegal”, as they matched towards Downing Street in central London.

Airline industry claimed science not ‘robust’ enough to implement new controls to combat climate warming caused by vapour trails

Airlines and airports opposed measures to combat global warming caused by jet vapour trails that evidence suggests account for more than half of the aviation industry’s climate impact, new documents reveal.

The industry argued in government submissions that the science was not “robust” enough to justify reduction targets for these non-CO2 emissions. Scientists say the climate impact of vapour trails, or contrails, has been known for more than two decades, with one accusing the industry of a “typical climate denialist strategy”.

From lawsuits to IT hacks, the creative industries are deploying a range of tactics to protect their jobs and original work from automation

No need for more scare stories about the looming automation of the future. Artists, designers, photographers, authors, actors and musicians see little humour left in jokes about AI programs that will one day do their job for less money. That dark dawn is here, they say.

Vast amounts of imaginative output, work made by people in the kind of jobs once assumed to be protected from the threat of technology, have already been captured from the web, to be adapted, merged and anonymised by algorithms for commercial use. But just as GPT-4, the enhanced version of the AI generative text engine, was proudly unveiled last week, artists, writers and regulators have started to fight back in earnest.