White House tried to hide records of Trump’s call with Ukrainian president and block whistleblower complaint, say Democrats
Democrats concluded the presentation of their case against Donald Trump at his impeachment trial on Friday, with the lead prosecutor Adam Schiff calling on Republicans to exercise “moral courage” and vote in favor of calling witnesses at the trial next week.
“Give America a fair trial,” Schiff concluded after three marathon days of argument. “She’s worth it.”
Secretary of state used the F-word and demanded host Mary Louise Kelly find Ukraine on a map, journalist says
Mike Pompeo is said to have unleashed a foul-mouth tirade at a well known US radio host after she asked him questions about Ukraine in an interview.
Mary Louise Kelly, a respected broadcaster on National Public Radio (NPR), sat down for a pre-arranged interview with the secretary of state on Friday, whose wrath was apparently triggered by a string of questions about Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine. Kelly asked Pompeo whether he owed Yovanovitch an apology for not defending her in the face of a smear campaign orchestrated by Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his associates.
Trump discusses concerns over Chinese telecoms giant’s role in Britain’s future 5G network
Donald Trump discussed the security of telecommunications networks with Boris Johnson, the White House said, as Britain closes in on a decision on Huawei’s role in the country’s future 5G network.
“The two leaders discussed important regional and bilateral issues, including working together to ensure the security of our telecommunications networks,” the White House said in a statement on Friday about the phone call.
The official twitter feed of China Global Television Network (CGTN), formerly known as CCTV, said: “Liang Wudong, a doctor at Hubei Xinhua Hospital who had been at the front line of the #CoronavirusOutbreak battle in Wuhan, dies from the virus at age 62.”
There are reports emerging that a doctor treating patients in Wuhan has died from coronavirus. Chinese state media has named the doctor as 62-year-old Liang Wudong. I’ll bring you more details as soon as I have them.
Officials confirm 18 people killed as rescue teams works to free trapped survivors
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 has killed at least 18 people in eastern Turkey.
More than 500 have been left injured and several are trapped in the wreckage of toppled buildings. Rescue teams from neighbouring provinces were dispatched to the affected areas, working in the dark with floodlights, and defence minister Hulusi Akar said troops were on standby to help.
The Associated Press said Vanessa Nakate was excised ‘purely on composition grounds’ after her video complaint went viral
Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate has called out racism in media after she was cropped out of a photo featuring prominent climate activists including Greta Thunberg, Loukina Tille, Luisa Neubauer and Isabelle Axelsson.
Nakate made the comment in a video which has since gone viral, adding that she now understood “the definition of the word racism” for the first time in her life.
Amsterdam primary among many schools in Netherlands suffering from a lack of staff
Parents of children at a primary school in the Netherlands have responded to a national teacher shortage by making a short video of their offspring asking for candidates to come forward and help make their dreams come true.
In the film the children talk about their plans to be a caretaker, pilot, plumber, acrobat or director when they get older. “But that is not possible without a good teacher,” the parents write on the website of Wereldboom school in Amsterdam.
Firm paid just £110,000 UK tax last year, despite selling £419m worth of chocolates in Britain
Giovanni Ferrero, scion of the Italian chocolate empire that makes Kinder Surprise, Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, is paying himself and his family a €642m (£542m) dividend in one of Europe’s biggest-ever paydays.
The huge annual dividend payment comes as the company paid just £110,000 tax in the UK last year, despite selling £419m worth of chocolates and other snacks in Britain.
US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin downplay risks posed by climate emergency
The US and Europe have clashed over the threat posed by global heating as Donald Trump’s finance minister downplayed the risks of a climate crisis during the final session of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Steve Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, said the debate should be about “environmental issues” rather than climate change, that the costs were being over-estimated and that climate was only one of several concerns that needed to be discussed.
Transport and manufacturing heads criticise paperwork needed to trade with GB
The “straightforward” document that Northern Irish businesses will need to complete to send goods to Great Britain after Brexit is a complex form that includes 31 data elements, it can be revealed.
The Freight Transport Association has raised concerns that hauliers could be fined if they get elements of the “exit summary declaration” wrong, and is calling on the EU and the UK to remove it during their negotiations.
Civil liberties groups condemn move as ‘a breathtaking assault on our rights’
The Metropolitan police will start using live facial recognition, Britain’s biggest force has announced.
The decision to deploy the controversial technology, which has been dogged by privacy concerns and questions over its lawfulness, was immediately condemned by civil liberties groups, who described the move as “a breathtaking assault on our rights”.
Impeachment managers will finish presenting opening arguments today
Team has so far mostly used Trump’s own words about Ukraine
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The House impeachment managers will begin their final day of opening arguments at 1 p.m. ET.
The managers’ final conclusion today will almost certainly be the same one they drew yesterday: that Trump represents a danger to the country and should be removed from office.
The House impeachment managers will have to wrap up their opening arguments today, and then Trump’s lawyers will be given up to 24 hours, spread over to three days, to begin their defense of the president.
Because the Senate remains in session on Saturdays for impeachment trials, the president’s team will start presenting tomorrow, but there is widespread speculation that Trump’s lawyers will save most of their arguments for Monday and (if necessary) Tuesday.
Saturday’s session, we keep being told, is expected to be short. Reason? Well it’s the defense’s choice how to organize their time, and... https://t.co/UhDYRb6Ocg
Polish MPs vote through legislation just as top court rules its provisions unlawful
A confrontation between the Polish government and senior judges has escalated dramatically after the country’s supreme court and parliament issued conflicting rulings on the legality of judicial reforms.
The rival rulings, which concern attempts by the ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) to assume direct control over the judiciary, have thrown the country’s legal order into chaos, with judges now liable for prosecution for complying with rulings issued by their own supreme court.
In hospitals across Wuhan, the city at the centre of the new coronavirus outbreak, there is panic and despair. Patients wearing masks queue for hours, waiting to be called by nurses. Staff who have worked endless shifts are forced to turn many away. Pharmacies are running out of supplies.
A lack of diagnostic tests means lots of people don’t know for sure if their fever is the new strain of coronavirus, which has killed 26 people in China and affected more than 800.
Veteran war reporter will leave role as broadcaster’s Africa correspondent to aid recovery
The veteran war reporter Fergal Keane is stepping down from his role as BBC News’ Africa correspondent after several years of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, the broadcaster has said.
Keane, who has reported from conflict zones across the world over several decades, including the Rwandan genocide, has decided to move away from the role to help his recovery, according to an internal announcement.
Exclusive: US agencies believed kingdom intended to monitor Hatice Cengiz after journalist killed
US intelligence authorities urged British counterparts to keep a close eye on Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after they became aware of a plan by Saudi Arabia to keep her under surveillance in the UK last year, according to western intelligence sources.
The US believed the kingdom had the “ambition and intention” to monitor Cengiz in London last May, seven months after Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain papers so the couple could marry.
Eamonn Harrison, from County Down, is wanted in connection with 39 container deaths
A man who is wanted in connection with the discovery of 39 bodies in a refrigerated container in Essex, can be extradited from Ireland to the UK, a judge in Dublin has ruled.
British authorities are seeking Eamonn Harrison, 23, from Mayobridge in Newry, County Down, on charges of human trafficking and immigration offences, as well as 39 offences of manslaughter, in relation to the discovery of the bodies in October last year.
Palestinians ‘will act negatively at first’, US president says onboard Air Force One
Donald Trump said he will probably release details of his long-delayed peace plan for the Middle East before next Tuesday, after he invited the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the opposition head, Benny Gantz, to Washington for talks.
Speaking onboard Air Force One en route to Miami, the US president compared solving one of the world’s most intractable territorial disputes to a business deal.
Oscar-winning actor presents documentary retracing life of Jewish teenager killed by the Nazis
She has performed on countless film sets, but Dame Helen Mirren was “profoundly moved” by the latest one: a reconstruction of the claustrophobic Amsterdam apartment in which Jewish teenager Anne Frank hid for two years from the Nazis with her family until she was arrested in 1944 and sent to her death in a concentration camp.
The Oscar-winning actor is presenting a documentary, to be released in cinemas on Monday, in which Frank’s life is retraced through the pages of her diary, a classic of war literature.
Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel sign document seven days before exit day
A sombre Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the leaders of the European commission and council, have formally signed the withdrawal agreement as Brussels prepares for the UK’s exit from the EU in seven days’ time.
In photographs issued of the signing ceremony in the EU’s Europa building on Friday morning, the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, can be seen standing behind the two presidents.
‘There’s always some standard of beauty that you’re not meeting,’ she tells Miss Americana director Lana Wilson
Taylor Swift has disclosed her experiences with an eating disorder in a new documentary. In Miss Americana, which received its premiere at the Sundance film festival last night, Swift says that she would starve herself to the extent that she felt as if she might pass out during live performances.
As the country lurches painfully from one extreme weather to another, residents are fearful of what they will face next
In Australia this summer, talking about the weather inevitably leads to talking about the apocalypse.
“When’s the plague of locusts going to arrive?” jokes one Sydney resident after hearing reports that her city is to receive another storm of giant hailstones on Friday afternoon, just a day after it sweltered in temperatures of 40C and toxic smoke kept people stuck indoors, away from the respite of the beach.
Exclusive: Almost £2bn went to oil and gas despite a UK pledge to support cleaner energy in African countries
More than 90% of the £2bn in energy deals struck at this week’s UK-Africa investment summit were for fossil fuels, despite a government commitment to “support African countries in their transition to cleaner energy”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the summit on Monday, citing the climate emergency: “We all breathe the same air, we live beneath the same sky, and we all suffer when carbon emissions rise and the planet warms.”
Revealed: emails show Trump and appointees tried to craft a narrative that forest protection efforts are responsible for wildfires
Political appointees at the interior department have sought to play up climate pollution from California wildfires while downplaying emissions from fossil fuels as a way of promoting more logging in the nation’s forests, internal emails obtained by the Guardian reveal.
The messaging plan was crafted in support of Donald Trump’s pro-industry arguments for harvesting more timber in California, which he says would thin forests and prevent fires – a point experts refute.
Analysts say appointment of Ri Son-gwon suggests tougher stance on nuclear talks with US
North Korea has appointed a former army officer with a reputation as a hardliner as its foreign minister, in a possible sign that it is to adopt a tougher stance in nuclear negotiations with the United States.
After days of speculation, the KCNA state news agency confirmed on Friday that Ri Son-gwon – who has little diplomatic experience – had replaced Ri Yong-ho, an English-speaking career diplomat who took part in nuclear talks with Washington.
Public transport suspended in at least 10 cities as death toll rises and heath care centres struggle to cope with influx of patients
Hospitals in the Chinese city of Wuhan have been thrown into chaos and the movement of around 20 million people has been restricted by an unprecedented and indefinite lockdown imposed to halt the spread of the deadly new coronavirus.
At least ten cities in central Hubei province have been shut down in an effort to stop the virus, which by Friday had killed 26 people across China and affected more than 800.
The World Health Organisation described the outbreak as an emergency for China, but stopped short of declaring it to be a public health emergency of international concern.
Atmospheric concentration of major greenhouse gas forecast to hit 417 parts per million in May with bushfires contributing 2% of increase
Australia’s bushfire crisis is expected to contribute up to 2% of what scientists forecast will be one of the largest annual increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide on record.
The atmospheric concentration of the heat-trapping gas is projected to peak at more than 417 parts per million in May, and average about 414.2 parts per million for the year, according to the forecast by the British Met Office. It is a 2.74ppm increase above the 2019 average.
The white supremacist group the Base has been a target of FBI raids and its members accused of planning a race war. The Guardian can now reveal the identity of its secretive leader
The Guardian has learned the true identity of the leader and founder of the US-based neo-Nazi terror network the Base, which was recently the target of raids by the FBI after an investigation into domestic terrorism uncovered their plans to start a race war.
Members of the group stand accused of federal hate crimes, murder plots and firearms offenses, and have harbored international fugitives in recent months.
Six volunteer firefighters reportedly taken to hospital with ‘serious injuries’ in truck rollover, names of three US firefighters killed in C-130 crash released, and Sydney covered in thick smoke haze. Follow the latest news and live updates
Smoke from the Australian bushfires is making its way around the , interacting with global weather & distributing aerosols—UV-absorbing particles in the air—along the way.
What seems like the entire population of the south coast town of Cobargo showed up to farewell Robert and Patrick Salway, the father and son who died protecting their property from fire on New Year’s Eve.
The Cobargo cemetery was covered in a fresh layer of smoke after fires again loomed on the edge of this already devastated town yesterday, and the funeral was delayed to allow people stuck at road blocks time to arrive.
House managers make case for president’s removal from office
So far, all the signs are that Republicans are unmoved
Donald Trump put his personal political interests ahead of his country’s national security and free and fair elections, prosecutors at his impeachment trial on Capitol Hill said on Thursday, telling US senators: “This conduct is not ‘America first’. It is Donald Trump first.”
Democratic impeachment managers, who are acting as the prosecutors bringing the case for Trump’s removal from office, were spending a second day in Washington laying out their case against Trump in only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.
Philanthropist unveils plan for global network of institutions at Davos and attacks Trump as ‘ultimate narcissist’
The philanthropist and former financier George Soros has announced that he is to donate $1bn to fund a new global network of universities designed to promote liberal values and his vision of an open society.
In what he hailed as the “most important and enduring project of my life”, Soros said it was important to fund institutions that would help resist the drift towards growing authoritarianism in the US, Russia and China. He also launched a fresh attack on Donald Trump, calling the US president “the ultimate narcissist”.
‘Ultimate deal’ reported to be extremely favourable to Israel
Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader to visit next week
Donald Trump has invited Israel’s prime minister and leader of the opposition to Washington for talks on the “prospects of peace”, signalling that the White House was preparing to share details of its long-awaited “ultimate deal” for Israelis and Palestinians.
Mike Pence, the US vice-president who is visiting Jerusalem for a Holocaust remembrance forum, said after a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu that he had asked the leader to fly to Washington next week.
“President Trump asked me to extend an invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to come to the White House next week to discuss regional issues as well as the prospect of peace here in the Holy Land,” he said. Opposition leader Benny Gantz would also visit, he added, although it was not clear if at the same time.
Trump later tweeted: “Reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative.”
But Israeli media, citing unnamed officials, reported that details of the much-delayed plan could be released as soon as this week – and that they would be extremely favourable to Israel. Reports suggested the proposal would allow Israel to retain large parts of the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jewish settlements, and all of contested Jerusalem. The Palestinians would be granted statehood, but under tight conditions and restrictions.
The timing of the reported release was widely seen as a boost for Trump’s close ally, Netanyahu, who is battling three corruption charges and faces a fierce battle as he fights for re-election in a 2 March poll. Israel’s longest-serving leader has failed to form a government after two inconclusive elections but sought to play up his acumen with Trump and other world leaders to prove to Israelis that he can score big diplomatic wins.
In a packed courtroom in the New York supreme court in Manhattan on Thursday, the former Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra held her arms above her head, wrists locked, in a physical re-enactment of the moment she alleged that the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein forcibly pinned her to her bed.
“He took my hands and put them over my head to hold them back,” the actor said, staring straight at the jury. Some 15ft away on the defense table, the defendant looked impassively at her.
Applicants will be denied tourist visas if they are determined by consular officers to be coming to the US primarily to give birth
The Trump administration has published new visa rules aimed at restricting pregnant women travelling to the United States to give birth so their children can have US citizenship, a practice known as “birth tourism”.
Applicants will be denied tourist visas if they are determined by consular officers to be coming to the US primarily to give birth, according to the rules in the Federal Register. They will have to prove they are traveling to the US because they have a medical need and not just because they want to give birth here.
Five people in Scotland are being tested for coronavirus as a precaution, the Scottish government said.
A Scottish government spokeswoman confirmed that two people diagnosed with flu were now being tested for the virus while three others are also being tested on a precautionary basis.
Universities UK, the representative organisation for the sector, said: “UK universities with students in affected areas have been closely monitoring the coronavirus situation as it unfolds and will follow the latest FCO advice.
“We can confirm that this afternoon Universities UK International was in contact with Public Health England to discuss how we can support them in getting communications to our members.”
Speakers and networks will miss out on security fixes and eventually stop working
Speaker company Sonos will cut off its most loyal customers from future software updates entirely unless they replace their old equipment for newer models, it has announced.
The policy is unusual even within the novelty-obsessed technology industry, for the scope of the impact: customers who have a range of Sonos products, including the Connect, Bridge and first-generation Play:5 speakers, will not only never be able to update those devices but will also be blocked from updating any newer device that is connected to them.
United front against rise of antisemitism is hindered by political tensions
Dozens of monarchs, presidents and prime ministers travelled to Jerusalem to remember the Holocaust on Thursday, and were given stark warnings not to ignore escalating antisemitism and violence against Jews in Europe and the United States.
Leaders congregated at the Yad Vashem remembrance centre on the western hills of Jerusalem for a three-hour event held by the fifth World Holocaust Forum. Organisers hoped the meeting would provide a united front against anti-Jewish hatred, including in countries run by many of the attendees.
Quentin Tarantino says ‘original movies’ are in a ‘war’ with superhero and Star Wars franchises, echoing Martin Scorsese’s attack on Marvel films
Quentin Tarantino has joined Martin Scorsese in voicing discontent at the dominance of franchise and superhero films, suggesting there is a “war for movies” taking place between “original” film-making and blockbuster “commercial product”.
Tarantino told the news site Deadline: “The commercial product that is owned by the conglomerates, the projects everybody knows about and has in their DNA, whether it be the Marvel Comics, the Star Wars, Godzilla and James Bond, those films never had a better year than last year.”
Draft law could see release of men jailed for child abuse if they marry their victim
Turkey’s ruling party has begun a second attempt at introducing a law to grant rapists amnesty as long as they marry their victim, four years after a similar bill sparked outrage at home and internationally.
The legislation, which was first debated by parliament on 16 January, would give men suspended sentences for child sex offences if the two parties get married and the age difference between them is less than 10 years.
Juan Guaidó says country facing refugee crisis on a par with Syria as millions flee
Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, has urged the world not to turn its back on his struggling country and the millions of people who have fled across its borders to escape poverty and political turbulence.
Addressing the World Economic Forum on Thursday, Guaidó said the international community had a duty to help those suffering in Venezuela and those trying to leave.
Democrats to continue prosecution on third day of trial
Republican senators unmoved after managers open case
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Good morning and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of US politics.
•The historic impeachment trial of Donald Trump enters its third day today, with Democrats continuing to build their case that Trump’s Ukraine conduct placed the very republic of the US at risk. Democrats will continue to present their case that Trump abused his power in withholding aid to the Ukraine, then obstructed Congress.
Charity says Athens depriving minors of adequate medical care for chronic illnesses
Greece’s government has been urged to order an immediate evacuation of more than 100 sick children from a notorious refugee camp on Lesbos.
Médecins Sans Frontières accused Athens of “deliberately depriving” at least 140 minors of adequate medical care for what it described as chronic, complex and life-threatening diseases and said it was urgent they were moved to the mainland or to other EU member states.
Pastoral guidance also calls for Christians in gay or straight civil unions to be abstinent
The Church of England has stated that sex belongs only within heterosexual marriage, and that Christians in gay or straight civil partnerships should be sexually abstinent.
Bishops have issued pastoral guidance in response to the recent introduction to mixed-sex civil partnerships, which says: “For Christians, marriage – that is, the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.”
Founder member had hoped to rejoin band after six-month hiatus caused by ankle injury
A judge has told the Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer to dream on if he hopes to rejoin the band as it prepares to perform and be honoured at Grammy events this week.
The Massachusetts superior court judge Mark Gildea denied Kramer’s request to order the band to let him participate in an award celebration in Los Angeles on Friday as well as Sunday’s primetime Grammy awards show.
No 10 source says it would not be viable to exclude Chinese firm despite US warnings
The government has hinted strongly that it will allow the Chinese firm Huawei at least some role in the UK’s 5G mobile network, despite warnings from the US that doing so could compromise security.
A Downing Street source said that while no decision had yet been made, it was not viable for the US to seek to exclude Huawei from the UK given the lack of alternative suppliers for the British market.
Residents in Wuhan, Ezhou and Huanggang hoard supplies and isolate themselves at home
Three Chinese cities with a total population of 20 million have been put on lockdown in an attempt to contain the deadly coronavirus.
Authorities banned transport links from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, on Thursday, as well as the nearby central Chinese cities of Huanggang and Ezhou, suspending buses, subways, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers.
Letter suggests oil firm pushed for changes whereby fewer projects would need impact assessments
BP has successfully lobbied US policymakers to weaken a landmark environmental law, clearing the way for major infrastructure projects to bypass checks.
US government documents show BP America lobbied in favour of Donald Trump’s decision to dilute legislation, which could make it easier for new projects, such as oil pipelines and power plants, to move forward with far less federal review of their impact on the environment.
Exit permits to be scrapped, but requirement for domestic workers to give employers 72 hours’ notice is ‘problematic’, say activists
Domestic workers in Qatar must give their employers advance notice before leaving the country, in a new policy that campaigners say raises concerns for those trapped in abusive situations.
As pressure mounts on Qatar to tackle labour exploitation ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it announced last week that it was abolishing restrictions on leaving the country for nearly all migrant workers, who previously had to obtain their employer’s permission.
Supermarket shelves are empty and face masks have sold out as residents of city at the centre of the deadly virus hoard supplies and retreat inside
A sense of panic has spread in Wuhan as the central Chinese city was put on lockdown in an attempt to quarantine a deadly virus believed to have originated there.
On Thursday, authorities banned all transport links from the sprawling city of about 11 million people, suspending buses, the subway system, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers.
Scheme to ship snow to Tokyo to keep spectators comfortable during summer Games in doubt after lowest falls for nearly 60 years
A lack of snow in parts of Japan that are normally blanketed at this time of year is forcing ski resorts to remain closed and threatening plans to keep spectators cool at Tokyo Olympic venues this summer.
Olympic organisers had planned to bring in snow from Minami-uonuma, a city on the Japan Sea coast, to help cool venues amid warnings of the health dangers posed by the brutal heat in and around the capital at the end of July when the Games begin.
Impeachment manager describes moment of historic national crisis
After rejecting fresh witnesses, Republicans say they heard nothing new
Some senators exit chamber despite trial rules
Striving to make himself heard across partisan lines, the lead impeachment prosecutor filled his opening argument against Donald Trump on the Senate floor on Wednesday with invitations, warnings and appeals designed to win Republican backing for a substantial trial.
Using flowing evocations of constitutional history, the global promise of US democracy, and the stakes should it all be allowed to slip, Democrat Adam Schiff framed his story of Trump’s wrongdoing as a national crisis demanding a non-partisan remedy.
ACT residents near bushfire south of Canberra told to seek shelter as contact lost with large water-bombing plane fighting New South Wales bushfire. Follow latest news and live updates
It’s quite a fluid situation here in Moruya on the New South Wales south coast.
The massive Clyde Mountain fire is approaching at quite a clip thanks to incredibly strong westerly winds, and the Rural Fire Service says homes in the town are at risk. RFS crews are currently defending properties to the north of the town.
Some more on the reported crash of the air tanker from AAP:
Five road ambulances and two rescue helicopters are en route after receiving reports of a plane crash in Peak View, a NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said.
Melbourne is coated in brown dust after 25-35mm of rain arrived loaded with dust from the north of Victoria
Temperatures have soared in New South Wales bringing renewed emergency bushfire warnings, while Melbourne has brown rain from dust in the air, causing pools to close and the Yarra River to turn brown.
Despite heavy rain in parts of NSW over the past week, residents were warned the “bad old days” of bushfires could return. By midday, emergency warnings had already been issued for the Adaminaby fire in the Snowy Mountains region and a fire burning near Rocky Hall in the Bega Valley.
Highest levels of PFAS in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, report by environmental watchdog finds
The contamination of US drinking water with manmade “forever chemicals” is far worse than previously estimated with some of the highest levels found in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, said a report on Wednesday by an environmental watchdog group.
The chemicals, resistant to breaking down in the environment, are known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Some have been linked to cancers, liver damage, low birth weight and other health problems.
Rapper died last month at age 21 after reported seizure following landing at Chicago airport
The rapper Juice WRLD’s official cause of death has been ruled an accidental overdose. The Cook county medical examiner’s office cited toxic levels of codeine and oxycodone in Juice WRLD’s system in the ruling, released on Wednesday.
“Higgins died as a result of oxycodone and codeine toxicity,” the office wrote in a statement. “The manner of death is accident.”
Scientists discover vitrified remains caused by immense 520C heat of disaster in AD79
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79, the damage wreaked in nearby towns was catastrophic. Now it appears the heat was so immense it turned one victim’s brain to glass – thought to be the first time this has been seen.
Experts say they have discovered that splatters of a shiny, solid black material found inside the skull of a victim at Herculaneum appear to be the remains of human brain tissue transformed by heat.
The weather forecast warned it would be raining reptiles and Floridians recorded encounters with lizards feeling the chill
It truly was the night (and day) of the iguana.
After the National Weather Service (NWS) sent an unusual alert to south Florida residents on Tuesday night warning them of possible “falling iguanas” in light of unseasonably low temperatures, residents were indeed treated to a show of rigid reptiles out of the sky (or, actually, the trees).
More than a dozen people outside Vancouver courtroom with ‘Free Meng’ signs were promised C$100 for two hours’ work on a movie
Protesters calling for the release of a senior Chinese telecommunications executive arrested in Canada have admitted they were paid actors, in the latest twist in a closely watched extradition case that has chilled relations between Ottawa and Beijing.
New York prosecutor describes allegations of the women, who she says were ‘groomed’ before Weinstein assaulted them
Harvey Weinstein was a savvy New York businessman and famous Hollywood producer who used his power and the promise of his largesse within the film industry to groom a succession of naïve and inexperienced women – who he went on to sexually assault and in some cases rape, state prosecutors alleged on Wednesday.
In an opening statement lasting over an hour, the New York prosecutor Meghan Hast delivered a devastating and at times shocking account of Weinstein’s alleged attacks on six women who will testify at the fallen mogul’s trial in Manhattan.
Report finds Indigenous over-representation in the country’s jails and prisons, likely caused by poverty rates and racism in policing
More than 30% of inmates in Canadian prisons are Indigenous – even though aboriginal people make up just 5% of the country’s population, according to new figures released by a federal watchdog.
In a scathing report published on Tuesday, the correctional investigator of Canada, Dr Ivan Zinger described Indigenous over-representation in the country’s jails and prisons as “nothing short of a national travesty”.
‘I heard they had headaches … but it’s not very serious,’ Trump said after 11 service members were treated for concussion symptoms
Donald Trump has downplayed the brain injuries suffered by US personnel in Iran’s missile attacks on bases where they were stationed earlier this month, as the military announced additional troops were being flown from Iraq for treatment for possible injuries and that more may follow.
Though the US president initially said no US troops were harmed in the 8 January attack on two Iraqi bases housing them, the Pentagon announced last week that 11 service members had been flown to medical hospitals in Germany and Kuwait to be “treated for concussion symptoms from the blast”.
President reprimands officer for trying to enter French-owned church
Emmanuel Macron reprimanded an Israeli security officer who apparently attempted to enter a French-owned church during a tour of Jerusalem, mirroring a similarly testy exchange in 1996 involving his predecessor Jacques Chirac.
Serial wildlife criminal Jeffrey Lendrum already serving three-year sentence in UK prison
The so-called “Pablo Escobar of eggs” is fighting extradition to Brazil for the attempted trafficking of endangered falcon eggs, even as he languishes in a British prison cell for a similar crime.
For three decades, Jeffrey Lendrum, 58, smuggled fragile eggs from the nests of birds of prey to wealthy international clients. The serial wildlife criminal has been arrested five times on three different continents, and in 2018 he was caught at Heathrow in possession of 19 eggs worth an estimated £100,000.
Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy are the overwhelming favourites to be the next Labour leader among senior party figures in “red wall” seats, a Guardian survey has found.
Interviews with 33 Labour leaders in the party’s leave-voting former strongholds revealed widespread concern about the prospect of Rebecca Long-Bailey winning the contest, with many describing her as the “continuity Corbyn” candidate.
It’s all in the grind, say mathematicians who turned to equations to solve mystery
What’s the secret of the perfect espresso? It’s a question that has long troubled cafe owners around the world, but now mathematicians say they have worked out the formula for achieving the perfect brew – and it all comes down to the daily grind.
“There is a common experience, particularly for people making coffee in their homes, and baristas as well, that you brew two espressos one after the other, you use the same ground coffee and seemingly you brew it in exactly the same way, yet the two shots can taste quite different to one another,” said Dr Jamie Foster at Portsmouth University, a co-author of the research.
Managers and Trump’s legal team to give opening arguments
Schiff reportedly mischaracterized text from ex-Giuliani associate
A new national poll found Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden essentially tied for first, representing a significant spike for the Vermont senator with less than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses.
According to the CNN poll, Sanders has the support of 27% of Democratic primary voters, compared to Biden’s 24%. This marks the first time Biden has not held a solo lead in the outlet’s polling.
Support for Biden in @CNN polling: Oct: 34% Nov: 28% Dec: 26% Now: 24%
Support for Sanders in @CNN polling: Oct: 16% Nov: 17% Dec: 20% Jan: 27%
Speaking to reporters in Davos, Trump mocked Lev Parnas, the former associate of Rudy Giuliani who claimed the president was fully aware of his personal lawyer’s efforts to have Ukraine investigate Joe Biden.
“He’s a con man,” Trump replied when asked about Parnas. “I don’t know him, other than he’s sort of like a groupie.”
Q Lev Parnas has come forward and said you knew everything he was doing in Ukraine. True?
Trump: “He’s a con man."
Q So that's not true?
Trump: “I don't know him. Other than he's sort of like a groupie. He shows up at fundraisers. Ok so I don't know anything about him.“ pic.twitter.com/09UVRjIAWq
Kings, presidents, premiers and dignitaries fly in to Israel to remember the Holocaust and speak out against antisemitism
Jerusalem is holding the city’s largest-ever political gathering as more than 45 heads of state and world leaders, including royals, arrive in the holy city to remember the Holocaust and warn of rising antisemitism.
The presidents of France, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine will be joined by kings from Spain and Belgium. Britain’s Prince Charles, as well as the US vice-president, Mike Pence, and speaker of the US house of representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will also attend.
UN experts are demanding an immediate investigation by the US and others into evidence indicating Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of the Washington Post, was hacked with spyware deployed in a WhatsApp message sent from the account of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
The special rapporteurs – Agnès Callamard and David Kaye – said in a joint statement they were “gravely concerned” by information they had reviewed about the “possible involvement of the crown prince in surveillance of Mr Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, the Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia”.
Jess Phillips backs Wigan MP and says Keir Starmer would be second choice
Lisa Nandy has become the second candidate to make it on to the final ballot in the Labour leadership contest, after picking up a nomination from Chinese for Labour, on top of the endorsements she has already received from the NUM and GMB unions.
Nandy, who joins Keir Starmer in making it through the nominations process, said: “As someone of mixed heritage, I’m incredibly proud that it is Chinese for Labour who have secured my place on the ballot paper.
Unsustainable use of resources is wrecking the planet but recycling is falling, report finds
The amount of material consumed by humanity has passed 100bn tonnes every year, a report has revealed, but the proportion being recycled is falling.
The climate and wildlife emergencies are driven by the unsustainable extraction of fossil fuels, metals, building materials and trees. The report’s authors warn that treating the world’s resources as limitless is leading towards global disaster.
Prosecutors’ decision to charge US journalist with cybercrimes decried as abuse of power
Press and internet freedom advocates – including Edward Snowden – have criticised a decision by Brazilian federal prosecutors to charge the journalist Glenn Greenwald with cybercrimes as a blatant abuse of power and an existential threat to investigative reporting in the country.