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Walter Bernstein: blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter dies at 101

World news | The Guardian

Writer’s most acclaimed project, the 1976 film The Front, was based on his own experience of Hollywood’s anti-communist blacklist

Screenwriter Walter Bernstein, among the last survivors of Hollywood’s anti-communist blacklist, whose Oscar-nominated script for The Front drew upon his years of being unable to work under his own name, has died, aged 101.

HIs wife, the literary agent Gloria Loomis, said he died of pneumonia.

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January 23rd 2021, 11:29 pm

'Inevitable' Google and Facebook will pay for Australian news, treasurer says

World news | The Guardian

Josh Frydenberg says tech companies’ threats to pull services out of Australia did them a ‘big disservice’

Josh Frydenberg has warned the internet giants it is “inevitable” they will pay for news content and their threats to shut down core functions in Australia do them a “big disservice”.

At a doorstop on Sunday, the treasurer said the Morrison’s government intended to become a “world leader” in regulating social media and search companies, who he accused of shifting the goalposts in their opposition to the proposed bargaining code of conduct.

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January 23rd 2021, 10:14 pm

Chile 'regrets' panic caused by mistaken tsunami warning after earthquake

World news | The Guardian

Interior ministry had called for evacuation of coastal areas after a 7.1 quake in Antarctica on Saturday night

Authorities in Chile said they regretted spreading panic with a mistaken tsunami warning calling for people to get out of coastal areas following an earthquake in Antarctica.

The interior ministry said on Twitter that a tremor of magnitude 7.1 struck at 8.36 pm local time, 216 km northeast of the O’Higgins Chilean scientific base, and called for the coastal regions of Antarctica to be evacuated because of a tsunami risk.

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January 23rd 2021, 10:14 pm

Grant Shapps faces fury over mass Covid outbreak at DVLA

World news | The Guardian

Minister under fire for ‘shameful’ virus spread as staff told to work on with more than 500 cases at agency in Swansea

Ministers are at the centre of an explosive row over their failure to protect workers from Covid-19 as the Observer reveals the largest workplace outbreak of the virus has taken place at a top government organisation.

More than 500 cases have been recorded at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s offices in Swansea, where employees claim people with symptoms were encouraged to return to work while vulnerable workers have had requests to work from home turned down.

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January 23rd 2021, 7:54 pm

Chinese aircraft enter Taiwan's air defence zone

World news | The Guardian

Eight bombers and four fighter jets warned off as missiles deployed to monitor incursion

Eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the south-western corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Saturday, and Taiwan’s air force deployed missiles to “monitor” the incursion, the island’s Defence Ministry said.

China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has conducted almost daily flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in recent months.

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January 23rd 2021, 6:56 pm

US man charged with threatening to 'assassinate' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

World news | The Guardian

A Texas man who participated in the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January has been charged with threatening to “assassinate” the New York Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Related: Chaos of Trump's last days in office reverberates with fresh 'plot' report

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January 23rd 2021, 3:53 pm

Set up shop in Europe, government advisers tell Brexit-hit businesses

World news | The Guardian

Exporters advised by Department for International Trade officials to form EU-based companies to circumvent border issues

British businesses that export to the continent are being encouraged by government trade advisers to set up separate companies inside the EU in order to get around extra charges, paperwork and taxes resulting from Brexit, the Observer can reveal.

In an extraordinary twist to the Brexit saga, UK small businesses are being told by advisers working for the Department for International Trade (DIT) that the best way to circumvent border issues and VAT problems that have been piling up since 1 January is to register new firms within the EU single market, from where they can distribute their goods far more freely.

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January 23rd 2021, 2:54 pm

'The problem is Putin': protesters throng Russia's streets to support jailed Navalny

World news | The Guardian

More than 2,500 are arrested at rallies across the country as cities see huge turnouts in support of opposition leader

As riot police surged to retake Moscow’s Pushkin square on Saturday, all you could see of them from the crowd were their truncheons raised high, ready to strike. Then their black helmets came into view, and finally they pushed forward, driving waves of panicked Russians out on to the boulevards and side streets of the capital. “Respected citizens, the current event is illegal. We are doing everything to ensure your safety,” an officer repeated over a loudspeaker, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

For more than a decade, the Kremlin has used every tool at its disposal to keep Russians off the streets, wielding fear and boredom to make protesting against Vladimir Putin seem pointless. And yet in defiant scenes on Saturday in cities across Russia, from St Petersburg to Vladivostok and even in Yakutsk, where protesters braved temperatures below -50C, tens of thousands of Russians sent a message to a Kremlin that has squeezed out all opposition in Russia: enough is enough.

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January 23rd 2021, 2:54 pm

'We will go after aggressors': France to tighten incest laws, vows Macron

World news | The Guardian

President promises legislative changes after book accuses top commentator of abusing stepson

France will tighten its laws on incest, the president, Emmanuel Macron, said in a series of tweets on Saturday, after the publication of a book accusing a top French political commentator of abusing his stepson sparked outrage across the country.

Macron said on his Twitter account that France needed to adapt its laws to better protect children from sexual violence and that he had asked the justice minister to chair a consultation aimed at quickly making legislative proposals. “We will go after the aggressors,” Macron said.

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January 23rd 2021, 1:39 pm

Alleged drug lord on world's most wanted list arrested in Amsterdam

World news | The Guardian

Tse Chi Lop detained at request of Australian police investigating $70bn-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade

Dutch police said on Saturday they had arrested the alleged leader of an Asian drug syndicate who is listed as one of the world’s most wanted fugitives and has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian national, was detained on Friday at the request of Australian police, who led an investigation that found his organisation dominates the $70bn-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade, Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said.

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January 23rd 2021, 1:22 pm

New Covid infections pose challenge to China's growth and Xi's leadership

World news | The Guardian

The leader has declared victory over the virus, but a fresh outbreak is complicating the narrative

When Britain was in its second lockdown last November and the economy was contracting, China’s quarterly growth rate was hitting 6.5%. Figures last week showed that for the full year, the world’s second-largest economy could boast a growth rate of 2.3% while all its rivals in Europe and the Americas were going backwards.

The trend could be traced back to Beijing’s efforts to tackle the virus – albeit after a period of denial – and keep infection rates among the lowest in the world.

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January 23rd 2021, 11:22 am

Chaos of Trump's last days in office reverberates with fresh 'plot' report

World news | The Guardian

Ex-president, whose Senate trial will start in two weeks, reportedly planned to oust acting attorney general in bid to overturn election

Donald Trump was at his Florida resort on Saturday, beginning post-presidency life while Joe Biden settled into the White House. But in Washington and beyond, the chaos of the 45th president’s final days in office continued to throw out damaging aftershocks.

Related: Deborah Birx 'always' considered quitting Trump coronavirus taskforce

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January 23rd 2021, 11:09 am

Larry King, famed cable news interviewer, dies aged 87

World news | The Guardian

Broadcaster and celebrity interviewer had been hospitalized in Los Angeles with symptoms of the coronavirus

Larry King, the American broadcaster and cable news interviewer of celebrities and public figures, has died at the age of 87. He had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles with symptoms of the coronavirus.

Related: Larry King: 'The secret of my success? I'm dumb'

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January 23rd 2021, 8:52 am

One winning ticket sold for $1bn Mega Millions lottery jackpot

World news | The Guardian

One winning ticket was sold in Michigan for the $bn Mega Millions jackpot, the third-largest lottery prize in US history.

The winning numbers drawn on Friday were 4, 26, 42, 50, 60 and a Mega Ball of 24.

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January 23rd 2021, 8:06 am

Jair Bolsonaro could face charges in The Hague over Amazon rainforest

World news | The Guardian

Exclusive: Indigenous leaders and human rights groups urge ICC to investigate Brazil’s president

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, could face charges in the International Criminal Court after being accused of crimes against humanity.

Indigenous leaders in Brazil and human rights groups are urging the court to investigate Bolsonaro over his dismantling of environmental policies and violations of indigenous rights, which they say amount to ecocide.

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January 23rd 2021, 7:21 am

Thousands of Alexei Navalny supporters join protests across Russia

World news | The Guardian

Demonstrators take to streets in eastern cities and towns ahead of rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg

Thousands of supporters of Alexei Navalny have begun to protest in cities across Russia to call for the opposition leader’s release from jail.

Demonstrators gathered in cities and towns in Siberia and the far east with rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg expected to begin at 2pm local time (1100 GMT).

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January 23rd 2021, 5:52 am

Rolling Stone seeks 'thought leaders' willing to pay $2,000 to write for them

World news | The Guardian

Emails from the ‘best-known entertainment media outlet’ invite potential members to pay for the opportunity to publish original content

Rolling Stone magazine is offering “thought leaders” the chance to write for its website if they are willing to pay $2,000 to “shape the future of culture”.

The storied magazine, which has published journalism by writers including Hunter S Thompson, Patti Smith and Tom Wolfe, approached would-be members of its new “Culture Council” by email, telling them that they had the chance to join “an invitation-only community for innovators, influencers and tastemakers”.

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January 23rd 2021, 3:51 am

‘Gondor has no king’: pro-Trump lawsuit cites Lord of the Rings

World news | The Guardian

Texas case offers baseless mix of allegations of electoral fraud but cites the imaginary kingdom of Gondor as evidence

Donald Trump’s diehard supporters are often accused of living in fantasyland, but one court case recently launched to try to reinstall him as president has surprised even the most hardened observers of Trumpian strangeness by citing as evidence a mythological realm from The Lord of the Rings.

Related: Pittsburgh official goes viral by rebuking Ted Cruz – and looking like Jeff Daniels

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January 23rd 2021, 3:51 am

Cheshire cheesemaker says business left with £250,000 'Brexit hole'

World news | The Guardian

Simon Spurrell says his firm lost 20% of sales and will switch £1m investment to France

A commercial cheesemaker in Cheshire has been left with a £250,000 Brexit hole in his business as a direct result of the UK’s departure from the EU on 1 January.

Simon Spurrell said he has lost 20% of his sales overnight after discovering he needed to provide a £180 health certificate on retail orders to consumers in the EU, including those buying personal gift packs of his award-winning wax-wrapped cheese worth £25 or £30.

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January 23rd 2021, 3:51 am

Hong Kong orders thousands to stay home in city's first Covid lockdown

World news | The Guardian

Officials plan to test everyone inside a designated zone of Kowloon Peninsula’s Jordan neighbourhood during two-day lockdown

Thousands of people in Hong Kong have been ordered to stay in their homes in the city’s first coronavirus lockdown, as authorities battle an outbreak in one of its poorest and most densely packed districts.

The order bans about 10,000 people living inside multiple housing blocks within the neighbourhood of Jordan, on the Kowloon Peninsula, from leaving their apartments unless they can show a negative test.

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January 23rd 2021, 1:50 am

Biden and Trudeau agree to cooperate on Covid and climate change

World news | The Guardian

In phone call, US and Canadian leaders discuss collaboration on vaccines and plan to meet next month

Canada’s Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden plan to meet next month, the prime minister’s office said, following a call between the two leaders in which they agreed to join forces to combat coronavirus in North America.

The White House said in a statement that the two leaders highlighted the “strategic importance of the US-Canada relationship” and discussed cooperation on a wide-ranging agenda including combating the Covid-19 pandemic and addressing the climate crisis.

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January 23rd 2021, 1:50 am

Prince Harry says social media misinformation is threat to democracies

World news | The Guardian

Duke of Sussex calls for more accountability and accuses platforms of shunning responsibility

Prince Harry has said that “time is running out” for social media companies to address misinformation which he believes is a threat to democracies.

He has called for more accountability for platforms, accusing them of shunning responsibility, and highlighted both the role that they played in the US Capitol riots earlier this month and the treatment of the Rohingya population in Myanmar.

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January 23rd 2021, 1:21 am

North Korea diplomacy is only used to advance nuclear programme, says top US official

World news | The Guardian

Washington’s top intelligence officer warns that Pyongyang is not intending to ‘find a way out’ of weapons development

The top US intelligence officer for North Korea has warned the country sees diplomacy only as a means to advance its nuclear weapons development, even as the new Biden administration says it will look for ways to bring Pyongyang back to talks.

Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday the new administration planned a full review of the US approach to North Korea to look at ways to increase pressure on it to return to the negotiating table.

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January 22nd 2021, 11:19 pm

What are my options if Google shuts down search in Australia?

World news | The Guardian

Losing Google search might be a shock. But there are plenty of alternatives to choose from

Google has threatened to “stop providing search” in Australia if the federal government continues with a new code to force big digital platforms to pay for displaying local news content. Google has confirmed that this wouldn’t affect any of the company’s other services, such as YouTube, Gmail or Google drive.

The threat came as Google’s Australian managing director, Mel Silva, told a Senate committee the new code would “would set an untenable precedent” and create an “unmanageable financial and operational risk” if it were to become law.

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January 22nd 2021, 10:34 pm

Boeing says it will make planes able to fly on 100% biofuel by 2030

World news | The Guardian

Aviation giant already staged the world’s first commercial flight using 100% biofuel in 2018

Boeing says it will begin delivering commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% biofuel by the end of the decade, calling reducing environmental damage from fossil fuels the “challenge of our lifetime.”

Boeing’s goal – which requires advances to jet systems, raising fuel-blending requirements, and safety certification by global regulators – is central to a broader industry target of slashing carbon emissions in half by 2050, the US planemaker said.

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January 22nd 2021, 10:34 pm

Icelandic man receives world's first double-arm-and-shoulder transplant

World news | The Guardian

Patient lost both arms in work accident 23 years ago and it took years to find suitable donors for the complex operation

An Icelandic man who got the world’s first double-shoulder-and-arm transplant is recovering well after the operation, two decades after the accident that cost him both limbs, doctors have said.

They said it was still uncertain how much mobility Felix Gretarsson, 48, will recover following the operation earlier this month in the southeastern French city of Lyon.

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January 22nd 2021, 10:04 pm

Italy blocks TikTok for certain users after death of girl allegedly playing 'choking' game

World news | The Guardian

Probe launched after girl’s sister reportedly told parents she had been ‘playing the blackout game’ before her death

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the accidental death of a 10-year-old girl who allegedly took part in a “blackout challenge” on the video-sharing network TikTok.

The probe came as Italy announced it had temporarily blocked access to TikTok for users whose age could not be proved definitively.

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January 22nd 2021, 9:03 pm

Trump impeachment trial set to begin the week of 8 February, Schumer says

World news | The Guardian

The House will transmit the article against the former president on Monday, giving his legal team time to prepare their case

Opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump are set to begin the week of 8 February, with the former president facing charges of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol.

The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, announced the schedule late Friday after reaching an agreement with Republicans.

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January 22nd 2021, 9:03 pm

UK weather: country due sub-zero temperatures as Arctic air sweeps in

World news | The Guardian

Freezing conditions could reach -10c and hamper clean-up effort after Storm Christoph

Britain is braced for sub-zero temperatures as a cold blast of Arctic air sweeps the country in the aftermath of Storm Christoph.

The Met Office said snow and ice would cause travel disruption in large parts of the country as temperatures drop as low as -10c in Scotland and -7c in parts of northern England.

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January 22nd 2021, 7:17 pm

Scottish parliament orders prosecutors to release Salmond leak evidence

World news | The Guardian

Holyrood makes unprecedented move to see private messages from SNP party officials

The Scottish parliament has ordered the country’s prosecution service to release key evidence in the Alex Salmond affair, in a dramatic escalation of a battle over the non-disclosure of legal papers.

In an unprecedented move, Holyrood issued an enforcement notice on the Crown Office instructing it to release private messages from senior Scottish National party officials and documents about the leak of allegations that Salmond had sexually harassed two civil servants – allegations he denies.

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January 22nd 2021, 2:58 pm

Facebook's 'supreme court' to rule on decision to suspend Trump

World news | The Guardian

Former president’s account to remain suspended until board returns a ruling, which could take up to 90 days

Facebook’s oversight board, the “supreme court” set up to have a final say on the social network’s moderation decisions, will rule on the decision to suspend Donald Trump’s account, Nick Clegg has said.

The referral will see the board, which is made up of more than 30 luminaries from around the world including former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, decide whether Facebook’s policies were correctly applied, and whether those policies respect international human rights standards more broadly.

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January 22nd 2021, 2:45 pm

Former general Lloyd Austin confirmed as Biden's defense secretary

World news | The Guardian

The US Senate has confirmed Joe Biden’s nominee, Lloyd Austin, to serve as secretary of defense, making the retired army general the first African American to lead the Pentagon.

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January 22nd 2021, 11:56 am

Quarter of known bee species have not been recorded since 1990

World news | The Guardian

Global study finds that species numbers reported in the wild fell sharply between 1990 and 2015

The number of wild bee species recorded by an international database of life on Earth has declined by a quarter since 1990, according to a global analysis of bee declines.

Researchers analysed bee records from museums, universities and citizen scientists collated by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, (GBIF) a global, government-funded network providing open-access data on biodiversity.

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January 22nd 2021, 11:26 am

UN warns most will live downstream of ageing large dams by 2050

World news | The Guardian

Global study calls on governments to step up maintenance efforts to prevent failures, overtopping or leaks

By 2050 most people will live downstream of a large dam built in the 20th century, many of which are approaching the limits of the useful lifetime they were designed for, according to global research.

To avoid the potential for dam failures, overtopping or leaks, the dams will require increasing maintenance, and some may have to be taken out of service. Many governments have not prepared for these needs, warn the authors of a new study by the United Nations University.

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January 22nd 2021, 11:12 am

Biden team in race against time as new strain threatens to intensify Covid wave

World news | The Guardian

Joe Biden’s new administration is faced with a monumental task in curbing the deadliest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic so far in a race against time before a new, more contagious coronavirus variant threatens already strained US health resources.

The Biden administration has mere weeks to speed vaccine deployment, and convince more Americans to wear masks, wash hands and social distance. And it must be done amid a rocky transition, critical supply shortfalls, widespread new infections, shaky public trust and a vaccine rollout that “has been a dismal failure so far”.

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January 22nd 2021, 10:56 am

Essex lorry deaths: two ringleaders jailed for total of 47 years

World news | The Guardian

Other members of people-smuggling gang also jailed over manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese people

The two ringleaders of the people-smuggling gang responsible for the deaths of 39 Vietnamese people who suffocated in a sealed refrigeration container as they were transported across the Channel from France have received prison sentences totalling 47 years.

Ronan Hughes, 41, who ran a haulage company and organised the lorries and drivers to transport the migrants, was sentenced to 20 years at the Old Bailey on Friday. He pleaded guilty last year to 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiring to bring people into the country unlawfully.

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January 22nd 2021, 10:12 am

German lockdown to remain in place despite drop in infection rate

World news | The Guardian

As deaths mount, health minister says measures are intended to prevent Covid situation worsening

Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, has called for understanding of a continuation of harsh lockdown conditions in Germany, saying they were necessary to prevent a “considerable worsening” of the current situation despite a slowdown in the rate of infections.

Germany’s death toll rose to over 51,000 on Thursday, having been increasing at an average of 1000 deaths a day for several weeks.

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January 22nd 2021, 8:40 am

Electric vehicles close to ‘tipping point’ of mass adoption

World news | The Guardian

Sales increase 43% globally in 2020 as plunging battery costs mean the cars will soon be the cheapest vehicles to buy

Electric vehicles are close to the “tipping point” of rapid mass adoption thanks to the plummeting cost of batteries, experts say.

Global sales rose 43% in 2020, but even faster growth is anticipated when continuing falls in battery prices bring the price of electric cars dipping below that of equivalent petrol and diesel models, even without subsidies. The latest analyses forecast that to happen some time between 2023 and 2025.

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January 22nd 2021, 8:40 am

Joe Biden to focus on economic recovery after Covid as 17.5m vaccine shots given in US - live update

World news | The Guardian

Calls to delay Donald Trump impeachment trial as former president appoints defense lawyer Bowers

We have this op-ed from David Sirota this morning – To achieve a real legacy, Biden will have to be more radical and ready to fight:

The fervor of the pro-Trump forces whipped up by the outgoing president could prove problematic for incoming President Joe Biden as he seeks to unite a divided nation.

Related: To achieve a real legacy, Biden will have to be more radical - and ready to fight | David Sirota

Stephen Collinson at CNN offers his analysis of what Joe Biden is hoping to achieve with the launch of his Covid strategy. First off, Collinson points out that this isn’t some radical option:

What is so striking is that Biden’s approach, while welcome, is in many cases implementing measures that a comprehensive pandemic response from the previous administration would have taken at the start.

It is rooted in a bet that throwing federal government expertise, money and scale at a crisis can turn the situation around and finally provide the leadership and coordination that has been lacking in the year since coronavirus struck.

It is one thing to come up with a strategy. It’s another thing for Biden and his incoming team to quickly turn around often sluggish federal government machinery. The White House will need states, some of which have failed badly in all aspects of the pandemic, to respond to the new federal effort. And while Biden can change policy with his pen, he needs massive, swift investment from a tightly balanced Congress to make his plan work.

Then there are the medical factors beyond his control. While hospitalizations are declining, many experts fear that it could be a temporary relief and new, more transmissible versions of the virus will quash hopes of a significant easing of the situation.

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January 22nd 2021, 8:40 am

James Bond film No Time to Die delayed again over Covid

World news | The Guardian

Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 hit by coronavirus disruption, along with Ghostbusters sequel and Cinderella

James Bond film No Time To Die has been delayed again as Hollywood grapples with the continued disruption caused by the pandemic.

Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 will now arrive on 8 October, the official Bond Twitter account announced. It had been set to be released in April following multiple pandemic-enforced delays.

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January 22nd 2021, 2:38 am

Dutch exhibition offers new insight into Berbice slave uprising

World news | The Guardian

National archives showcases unique letters sent by the leader of first organised slave revolt

The Dutch national archives are showcasing a unique set of letters sent by the leader of the first organised slave revolt on the American continent to a colonial governor, in which the newly free man proposed to share the land.

The offer from the man known as Cuffy, from Kofi – meaning “born on Friday” – is said to provide a new insight into attempts to resist the brutal regimes of the colonial period, often overlooked in histories of enslaved people.

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January 22nd 2021, 2:38 am

Russia detains Navalny aides and warns against Saturday protests

World news | The Guardian

Five held and media warned not to promote pro-Navalny rallies after poisoned Kremlin critic was jailed on return to Russia

Russian authorities have detained five aides of jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny and warned social media platforms against spreading online calls to stage weekend protests.

Navalny’s allies are planning to hold demonstrations on Saturday in around 65 cities across the country in support of the Kremlin critic who was arrested and jailed on his return to Russia over the weekend.

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January 22nd 2021, 2:38 am

Anthony Fauci describes 'liberating feeling' of no longer working under Trump

World news | The Guardian

America’s top infectious diseases expert had a tortuous relationship with Trump and was increasingly sidelined

Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert in the US, spoke on Thursday of a “liberating feeling” of being able to speak scientific truth about the coronavirus without fear of “repercussions” from Donald Trump.

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January 21st 2021, 11:03 pm

Tokyo Olympics: Covid putting 'real pressure' on Japan, says Australia PM amid cancellation rumours

World news | The Guardian

Scott Morrison says any leader must put population’s health first amid continued speculation about Tokyo 2020

The pandemic is placing “real pressure” on preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, the Australian prime minister has said, after a report claimed the Japanese government had privately concluded this summer’s Games will have to be cancelled.

“The situation in Japan, right now, in terms of the spread that’s occurred there more recently, is quite different to even when I was there in November,” Scott Morrison said on Friday.

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January 21st 2021, 11:03 pm

South Korea ex-Olympic coach jailed for 10 years for sexually assaulting athlete

World news | The Guardian

Coach Cho Jae-beom was sentenced for abusing gold medallist speed skater Shim Suk-hee for years, from when she was a teenager

A former national speed skating coach in South Korea has been sentenced to more than decade in prison for sexually assaulting double Olympic gold medallist Shim Suk-hee.

“The accused committed sexual assault by force, repeatedly using the victim’s inability to protest against her speed skating coach,” Suwon district court ruled on Thursday, according to Yonhap news agency.

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January 21st 2021, 10:18 pm

Mitch McConnell proposes delaying Trump's impeachment trial

World news | The Guardian

Senate Republican leader says former president needs time to prepare

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is proposing to push back the start of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by a week or more to give the former president time to review the case.

House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the 6 January Capitol attack have signaled they want a quick trial as President Joe Biden begins his term, saying a full reckoning is necessary before the country – and the Congress – can move on.

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January 21st 2021, 10:06 pm

Biden warns Covid will 'get worse before it gets better' as he unveils strategy

World news | The Guardian

Joe Biden began his first full day as president confronting a host of major crises facing his fledgling administration, starting with a flurry of actions to address his most pressing challenge: the raging Covid-19 pandemic.

At a White House event on Thursday afternoon, Biden unveiled a new “wartime” strategy to combat the coronavirus, vowing “help is on the way.”

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January 21st 2021, 10:06 pm

New Zealand eagle rays astonish aquarium with mystery births

World news | The Guardian

Scientists say pups may be result of asexual reproduction or that rays may have stored sperm from last encounter with males

Two eagle rays have surprised New Zealand aquarists and bemused scientists by giving birth without any males in their tank.

Nibble and Spot, both female and housed in the walk-through tunnel display at the SEA Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium in Auckland, had pups on New Year’s Eve despite not having been near a male in two years.

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January 21st 2021, 10:06 pm

Google threatens to shut down search in Australia if digital news code goes ahead

World news | The Guardian

As Google and Facebook face Senate committee, poll finds three in five Australians agree social media companies should prioritise news in feeds

Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia if a code forcing the company to negotiate payments to news media companies goes ahead, saying the proposal sets a “dangerous precedent”.

Last week it was revealed Google was testing removing news sites, including Guardian Australia, from search results for about 1% of its Australian users as the company continued to push against a code that would force it to negotiate with news outlets to pay for linking to news articles in search results.

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January 21st 2021, 9:21 pm

Patient dog waits for days outside hospital

World news | The Guardian

Boncuk returned each day to hospital in Turkish city of Trabzon where her owner, Cemal Senturk, was being treated

A devoted dog has spent days waiting outside a hospital in Turkey where her sick owner was being treated.

The pet, Boncuk, which means bead, followed the ambulance that transported her owner, Cemal Senturk, to hospital in the Black Sea city of Trabzon on 14 January. She then made daily visits to the facility, the private news agency DHA reported.

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January 21st 2021, 8:33 pm

Coronavirus live news: France to require tests for arrivals; South Africa to pay 2.5 times EU price

World news | The Guardian

South Africa to pay 2.5 times what Germany, Italy, Netherlands and France paying for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine; France introduces mandatory PCR tests for arrivals; Europe to designate ‘dark red’ Covid travel zones

Covid hotspots the European Union will be labelled “dark red” zones, and travellers from those areas will be required to take a test before departure and undergo quarantine, the chief of the bloc’s executive said on Thursday.

“A dark red zone would show that in this zone, the virus is circulating at a very high level,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference after a meeting of EU leaders.

“Persons travelling from dark red areas could be required to do a test before departure, as well as to undergo quarantine after arrival.”

This system would apply to travel within the EU, she said.

Von der Leyen said that with infections rising and contagious variants of the virus spreading fast, non-essential travel should be “strongly discouraged” within the EU but essential workers and goods must be able to cross borders smoothly.

French President Emmanuel Macron told his European Union counterparts France would make PCR tests compulsory for all travellers into France from Sunday, including from fellow EU countries, his office said on Thursday.

Cross-border workers and land transportation will be exempt from that obligation, the French presidency added. The test will have to be carried out no later than 72 hours before departure, it said after a video summit of EU leaders.

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January 21st 2021, 7:33 pm

Canada’s governor general resigns after report finds workplace harassment

World news | The Guardian

Anonymous staff members say they were berated by Julie Payette to the point of tears, prompting an independent investigation

Canada’s governor general has resigned after an external report found that the Queen’s representative had overseen a toxic work environment in which staff were bullied to tears.

The report, which was to be released early next week, painted a damning picture of Julie Payette’s leadership and had raised concerns among senior government figures over her ability to continue in the vice-regal role.

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January 21st 2021, 6:21 pm

Jesuit order in Spain apologises for decades of sexual abuse by members

World news | The Guardian

Society of Jesus admits 81 children and 21 adults were sexually abused by 96 of its members since 1927

The Jesuit order in Spain has admitted that 81 children and 21 adults have been sexually abused by 96 of its members since 1927, and has apologised for the “painful, shameful and sorrowful” crimes.

In a report released on Thursday, the Society of Jesus, whose members often work as teachers, said most of the abuse had taken place in schools “or was related to schools”.

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January 21st 2021, 6:21 pm

Global nuclear weapons ban begins - without the world's nuclear powers signing up

World news | The Guardian

Treaty signatories include Africa’s most populous country and Europe’s least populated, but Russia and Nato on the sidelines

An international treaty banning all nuclear weapons that has been signed by 51 countries and that campaigners hope will help raise the profile of global deterrence efforts comes into force on Friday.

Although in some respects the step is largely symbolic because the world’s nuclear powers have not signed up, the treaty will be legally binding on the smaller nations that have endorsed it, and it is backed by the UN leadership.

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January 21st 2021, 6:21 pm

Mexico: witness to disappearance of 43 students alleges soldiers involved in attack

World news | The Guardian

Witness testified soldiers detained group of students, interrogated them and then handed them to a drug gang

A witness to the disappearance of 43 Mexican student teachers has alleged that soldiers were involved in the 2014 attack , the country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has confirmed.

The disappearance of the trainees from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College on 26 September 2014 rocked Mexico, sparking widespread protests and calls for justice, but the investigation into the case has been widely criticized.

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January 21st 2021, 3:19 pm

France passes ‘sensory heritage’ law after plight of Maurice the noisy rooster

World news | The Guardian

Senators approve law to protect the noises and smells of the countryside following high-profile cases

From crowing roosters to the whiff of barnyard animals, the “sensory heritage” of France’s countryside will now be protected by law from attempts to stifle the everyday aspects of rural life from newcomers looking for peace and quiet.

French senators on Thursday gave final approval to a law proposed in the wake of several high-profile conflicts by village residents and vacationers, or recent arrivals derided as “neo-rurals”.

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January 21st 2021, 2:32 pm

Woman who allegedly helped steal Pelosi laptop to be released from jail

World news | The Guardian

Federal judge directed that Riley June Williams be released into the custody of her mother, with travel restrictions

A Pennsylvania woman facing charges that she helped steal a laptop from the office of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, during the attack on the US Capitol will be released from jail, a federal judge decided on Thursday.

US magistrate judge Martin Carlson directed that Riley June Williams be released into the custody of her mother, with travel restrictions, and instructed her to appear on Monday in federal court in Washington to continue her case.

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January 21st 2021, 12:35 pm

Previously unseen dog painting by Manet to be sold at Paris auction

World news | The Guardian

Artist painted pet as present for Marguerite Lathuille, whose family has owned picture for last 140 years

A previously unseen painting of a pet dog by Édouard Manet will be sold for the first time at an auction in Paris next month.

The French modernist artist dashed off the small work in 1879 as a present for Marguerite Lathuille, the daughter of a Paris innkeeper whose portrait he painted around the same time.

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January 21st 2021, 11:34 am

Giant worm's undersea lair discovered by fossil hunters in Taiwan

World news | The Guardian

Scientists believe 2-metre-long burrow once housed predator that ambushed passing sea creatures

The undersea lair of a giant worm that ambushed passing marine creatures 20m years ago has been uncovered by fossil hunters in Taiwan.

Researchers believe the 2-metre-long burrow found in ancient marine sediment once housed a prehistoric predator that burst out of the seabed and dragged unsuspecting animals down into its lair.

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January 21st 2021, 11:16 am

Legal bid to stop UK building Europe's biggest gas power plant fails

World news | The Guardian

Plan has been approved despite environmental objections and criticism over climate leadership

A legal bid challenging the UK government’s approval of a new gas-fired power plant has failed in the court of appeal.

The challenge was brought after ministers overruled climate change objections from the planning authority. The plant is being developed by Drax in North Yorkshire and would be the biggest gas power station in Europe. It could account for 75% of the UK’s power sector emissions when fully operational, according to lawyers for ClientEarth, which brought the judicial review.

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January 21st 2021, 11:15 am

At least 15 more days to reach trapped miners, say Chinese officials

World news | The Guardian

Mineworkers have already been trapped for 11 days since explosion in Shandong province gold mine

It will take at least 15 more days to get through a massive amount of debris to reach miners already trapped for 11 days since an explosion in a gold mine in eastern China, authorities said on Thursday.

The mine-shaft is blocked 350 metres (1,000 ft) below the surface by 70 tonnes of debris that extends down another 100 metres, the Yantai city government said in a statement on its social media account.

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January 21st 2021, 11:15 am

Beckhams pay themselves £40,000 a day after strong image rights sales

World news | The Guardian

Profits from former footballer’s David Beckham Ventures Ltd rise to £16.2m

David and Victoria Beckham have paid themselves £14.5m – or nearly £40,000 for every day of the year – following the strong performance of the former footballer’s image rights sales.

The couple’s total dividends in 2019 were up £3.4m on the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House on Thursday. The 2019 accounts are the latest available, but they note that the couple also collected an additional £7m in interim dividend payments in 2020.

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January 21st 2021, 10:31 am

Russia committed human rights violation in Georgia war, ECHR rules

World news | The Guardian

European court of human rights: Moscow responsible for murder of civilians, and looting and burning of homes

Russia committed a series of human rights violations during its war with Georgia in 2008, the European court of human rights ruled on Thursday, saying Moscow was responsible for the murder of Georgian civilians, and the looting and burning of their homes.

In a landmark judgment, the court said the Kremlin was guilty of unlawfully rounding up ethnic Georgians and their subsequent “inhuman and degrading treatment”. This included the torture of Georgian prisoners of war and the expulsion of Georgian villagers from their homes in South Ossetia.

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January 21st 2021, 9:30 am

Thailand government files lese-majesty suit against banned opposition leader

World news | The Guardian

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit faces prosecution for criticising the role of a company controlled by the king in the national Covid-19 vaccine rollout

A prominent Thai opposition figure who was accused of breaching the country’s strict lese-majesty law after criticising the national vaccine strategy has said he is being targeted on political grounds.

Thailand’s government announced on Wednesday that it would file a lese-majesty complaint against Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, days after he questioned the country’s approach to producing Covid-19 vaccines, which involves a company owned by the king.

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January 21st 2021, 9:01 am

IOC chief declares 'there is no plan B' and that Tokyo Olympics will go ahead

World news | The Guardian

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach declared on Thursday that the Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as scheduled this year, reiterating that there is “no plan B” in place.

“We have, at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on 23 July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo,” Bach told Kyodo News in an interview just days ahead of the six-month countdown toward the games.

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January 21st 2021, 7:46 am

Two suicide bombers kill 28 shoppers in first Baghdad strike in three years

World news | The Guardian

Bomber in clothes market pretends to be ill before detonating device as people come to help

Two suicide bombers killed at least 28 people at a Baghdad market on Thursday by luring shoppers towards them before setting off the devices they were carrying.

The strike was the first in the Iraqi capital in three years, provoking fears of a resurgence of the kind of violence that the country endured in the years after the 2003 US invasion and the Islamic State (Isis) era.

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January 21st 2021, 6:58 am

Madrid's Prado museum to display more female and foreign artists

World news | The Guardian

Director says museum is reordering its permanent collection to make it ‘far more inclusive’

The Prado in Madrid has announced plans to make the museum a “far more inclusive” place by reordering its permanent collection to ensure greater representation of works by female and foreign artists.

Miguel Falomir, the Prado’s director, said “one of the few positives consequences” of the Covid pandemic had been the time the museum’s enforced closure had given staff to re-evaluate its treasures and how they were displayed.

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January 21st 2021, 6:28 am

UK insists it will not grant EU ambassador full diplomatic status

World news | The Guardian

Foreign Office argues EU should not be treated the same as a nation state, despite 142 countries granting status

A near-year-long row about the UK’s refusal to grant full diplomatic status of the EU mission to the UK has worsened, with the leak of letters showing the EU foreign affairs chief warning he had serious concerns about the status being given to EU officials in the UK.

The issue is likely to be discussed at EU foreign affairs council on Monday, the first such meeting of member states’ foreign ministers since the post-Brexit transition ended.

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January 21st 2021, 6:28 am

Honduras lawmakers seek to lock in ban on abortion for ever

World news | The Guardian

A constitutional reform would require a three-quarters majority in congress to overturn Latin America’s most draconian ban

Legislators in Honduras are pushing a constitutional reform through Congress that would make it virtually impossible to legalise abortion in the country – now or in the future.

Related: Argentina legalizing abortion will spur reform in Latin America, minister says

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January 21st 2021, 5:58 am

Northern Mozambique in crisis as thousands flee escalating conflict

World news | The Guardian

UN calls for help as cholera breaks out with the arrival of rainy season, compounding ‘dire’ situation in Cabo Delgado

Northern Mozambique has lurched into a humanitarian crisis as growing numbers of people have lost their homes amid escalating conflict.

Fighting in the northern province of Cabo Delgado displaced more than 500,000 people last year and on Wednesday UN agencies said they were deeply worried about the current situation and called for the international community to do more to help.

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January 21st 2021, 2:41 am

Shipwreck claims the lives of at least 43 migrants off the coast of Libya

World news | The Guardian

The UN calls for the resumption of state-led operations in the Mediterranean, as rescue groups’ vessels are detained in port

At least 43 people have been killed after a boat carrying migrants capsized off the Libyan coast, the UN said on Wednesday.

Ten people survived the shipwreck, which happened after the boat’s engine failed a few hours after departing the coastal city Zawiya, west of the capital Tripoli, on Tuesday morning.

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January 21st 2021, 2:10 am

Engineer who stole trade secrets from Google among those pardoned by Trump

World news | The Guardian

Anthony Levandowski’s pardon had the support of billionaire Peter Thiel, who donated to Trump’s 2016 campaign

In his final hours of office, Donald Trump pardoned a former Google engineer who was convicted of stealing trade secrets from the company before taking up a new role with competitor Uber.

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January 21st 2021, 1:25 am

Biden raises hopes of addressing climate crisis as Cop26 nears

World news | The Guardian

President has vowed to rejoin Paris agreement, cut fossil fuel reliance, and invest in low-carbon growth

Joe Biden’s pledges of strong action on the climate crisis have buoyed international hopes that 2021 can be a breakthrough year, resetting the world on a greener path to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate experts cheered the inauguration of the new US president, who has vowed to rejoin the Paris agreement, rethink US reliance on fossil fuels, and devote hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus spending to low-carbon economic growth.

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January 21st 2021, 1:25 am

Amazon Prime drama agrees to changes after Hindu nationalist pressure

World news | The Guardian

Director of Tandav agrees to remove scenes deemed to insult Hindu gods and office of Indian prime minister

An Indian political drama on Amazon Prime has been forced to edit out scenes that were accused of being an “insult to Hindu gods”, the first time that streaming platforms have been subjected to Indian government censorship.

Tandav, a gritty political drama made by Amazon Prime, one of the world’s largest streaming platforms, had faced growing controversy since it launched last week over allegations it had “hurt Hindu religious sentiments” and insulted the office of the prime minister.

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January 21st 2021, 12:53 am

South Korea gripped by trial of 16-month-old Jeong-in's alleged killer

World news | The Guardian

Calls for tougher child protection laws intensify as toddler’s adoptive mother faces court in Seoul

The video clip shows a healthy, happy child smiling from ear to ear, her milk teeth gnawing at a pink fluffy toy. Within months all of South Korea would know her name: Jeong-in.

It has taken the death of a 16-month-old, allegedly at the hands of her adoptive parents, to jolt South Korea’s government into what campaigners say is long-overdue action to protect the most vulnerable children, amid a dramatic rise in reported abuse cases over the past decade.

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January 20th 2021, 11:38 pm

China announces sanctions against 'lying and cheating' outgoing Trump officials

World news | The Guardian

Chinese foreign ministry announced sanctions against Mike Pompeo and 27 others as Biden was taking presidential oath

China has said it wants to cooperate with Joe Biden’s new US administration, while announcing sanctions against the “lying and cheating” outgoing secretary of state Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under Donald Trump.

The move was a sign of China’s anger, especially at an accusation Pompeo made on his final full day in office that China had committed genocide against its Uighur Muslims, an assessment that Biden’s choice to succeed Pompeo, Anthony Blinken, said he shared.

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January 20th 2021, 10:52 pm

Hash landing: New Zealand police ditch annual helicopter hunt for cannabis dens

World news | The Guardian

Decades-old tradition is grounded as priority shifts to tackling other drugs, such as meth

Helicopters that have for decades taken to the skies of New Zealand every year to search for cannabis-growing operations will stay on the ground this year amid a shift in policing priorities.

Light aircraft and helicopters have mounted aerial surveillance operations searching for the banned class C drug since the 1970s, but police now say their resources could be better deployed, particularly in the fight against methamphetamine, known locally as P.

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January 20th 2021, 9:52 pm

Trump media chief who oversaw Voice of America purge resigns

World news | The Guardian

Michael Pack stands down minutes after Joe Biden becomes president, but not before making a slew of fresh appointments

Former President Donald Trump’s hand-picked chief of US international broadcasting has quit amid a burgeoning staff revolt and growing calls for his resignation.

Michael Pack resigned as the chief executive office of the US Agency for Global Media just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Wednesday. The agency runs the Voice of America and sister networks.

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January 20th 2021, 7:39 pm

Coronavirus live news: WHO says 'don't panic', all will get Covid vaccine; new US CDC director sworn

World news | The Guardian

New US CDC director sworn in; ‘No one needs to panic, because you’re going to get a vaccine’, says WHO; Biden pledge to vaccinate 100m Americans in 100 days faces test

In the US, a new CDC director is arriving to a mammoth task: reasserting the agency while the pandemic is in its deadliest phase yet and the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign is wracked by confusion and delays, AP reports.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, 51, an infectious-diseases specialist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, was sworn in Wednesday as the head of the CDC.

While the agency has retained some of its top scientific talent, public health experts say, it has a long list of needs, including new protection from political influence, a comprehensive review of its missteps during the pandemic and more money to beef up basic functions like disease tracking and genetic analysis.

Walensky has said one of her top priorities will be to improve the CDC’s communications with the public to rebuild trust. Inside the agency, she wants to raise morale, in large part by restoring the primacy of science and setting politics to the side.

The speed at which she is assuming the job is unusual. In the past, the position has generally been unfilled until a new secretary of health and human services is confirmed, and that official names a CDC director. But this time, the Biden transition team named Walensky in advance, so she could take the agency’s reins even before her boss is in place.

Walensky, an HIV researcher, has not worked at the CDC or at a state or local health department. But she has emerged as a prominent voice on the pandemic, sometimes criticising certain aspects of the state and national response. Her targets have included the uneven transmission-prevention measures that were in place last summer and a prominent Trump adviser’s endorsement of a “herd immunity” approach that would let the virus run free.

Nobody should panic about getting access to a Covid-19 vaccine because everyone who wants one will get one, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

AFP: The WHO’s assistant director-general Mariangela Simao said the UN health agency was working towards ensuring access to coronavirus jabs all around the world.

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January 20th 2021, 7:08 pm

Thousands evacuated as Storm Christoph hits Manchester, Wales and Merseyside

World news | The Guardian

Severe flooding and torrential rain forcing many residents into what No 10 says are Covid-secure facilities

Thousands of homes were being evacuated across Manchester, Merseyside and north Wales on Wednesday as Storm Christoph continued to deliver torrential rain across the UK.

Police and firefighters were working with Manchester city council to evacuate homes in East Didsbury, West Didsbury and Northenden on Wednesday evening.

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January 20th 2021, 6:50 pm

Von der Leyen: big tech firms need to be reined in despite Trump's exit

World news | The Guardian

Internet giants that spread hate speech and conspiracy theories should face ‘democratic limits’, says European commission president

The end of Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House was celebrated by the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday, as she warned that the former US president’s rise highlighted the need to confront the internet giants who helped him spread “conspiracy theories and fake news”.

The European commission president spoke of her relief at Trump’s departure, but warned that the outgoing leader’s movement still existed, and that the digital platforms used to spread hate needed to be tackled.

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January 20th 2021, 1:05 pm

Teenagers can 'catch' moods from friends, study finds

World news | The Guardian

UK study investigates impact of individuals’ moods within shared social network

Teenagers can “catch” moods from their friends and negative moods appear to be more contagious than positive, a study has found.

The study by Oxford and Birmingham universities investigates “emotional contagion” among teenagers, to see the impact of individuals’ moods within a shared social network.

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January 20th 2021, 1:05 pm

Madrid explosion leaves at least two dead

World news | The Guardian

Several people injured after blast but nearby care home residents and school children unharmed

At least two people have been killed and several injured after an explosion tore through a parish building in the centre of Madrid, raining masonry on the street below.

The cause of the blast, which happened around 3pm on Wednesday, has not been confirmed, but initial reports suggest it could have been triggered by a gas leak.

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January 20th 2021, 12:06 pm

Hungary orders LGBT publisher to print disclaimers on children's book

World news | The Guardian

Fairytale anthology Wonderland Is for Everyone must now carry warning that its stories contain ‘behaviour inconsistent with traditional gender roles’

Hungary’s government, which has made hostility to LGBT people a central part of its rightwing agenda, on Tuesday ordered a publisher to print disclaimers identifying books containing “behaviour inconsistent with traditional gender roles”.

The government said the action was needed to protect consumers, after Labrisz, an association for lesbian, bisexual and trans women, published a fairytale anthology titled Wonderland Is for Everyone, which included some stories with LGBT themes.

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January 20th 2021, 11:06 am

Facebook under pressure to resume scanning messages for child abuse in EU

World news | The Guardian

Half of referrals for child sexual abuse material could be falling under the radar after changes to EU ePrivacy Directive

The children’s charity NSPCC has called on Facebook to resume a programme that scan private messages for indications of child abuse, with new data suggesting that almost half of referrals for child sexual abuse material are now falling below the radar.

Recent changes to the European commission’s ePrivacy Directive, which are being finalised, require messaging services to follow strict new restrictions on the privacy of message data. Facebook blamed that directive for shutting down the child protection operation, but the children’s charity says Facebook has gone too far in reading the law as banning it entirely.

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January 20th 2021, 11:06 am

Germany approves draft law to end mass culling of male chicks

World news | The Guardian

Cabinet passes measure that is expected to outlaw practice from 2022

Germany is expected to become the first country to ban mass culling of male chicks in the poultry industry, the government said after approving a draft law ending the controversial practice.

The measure passed by the cabinet envisages a ban on mass chick killing from 2022 in “a significant step forward for animal welfare”, the agriculture minister, Julia Klöckner, said in a statement on Wednesday.

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January 20th 2021, 11:06 am

‘Palace Four’ drawn into Meghan’s dispute with Associated Newspapers

World news | The Guardian

Former employees of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could shed light on circumstances of her letter to her estranged father, high court hears

Four former employees of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could have evidence shedding light on the circumstances of Meghan’s letter to her estranged father, the high court has heard.

Any role of the so-called “Palace Four” required further investigation, and was one of the reasons the duchess’s privacy action against the Mail on Sunday should proceed to a full trial, the newspaper’s publishers argued.

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January 20th 2021, 10:06 am

'Absolute carnage': EU hauliers reject UK jobs over Brexit rules

World news | The Guardian

Freight company director blames new requirement for EU transport firms to provide financial guarantees

A British freight company director with more than over 20 years experience has told how EU hauliers and transport companies are turning their backs on UK business because they are being asked to provide tens of thousands of pounds in guarantees to cover VAT or potential tariffs on arrival in Britain.

The financial guarantee requirement did not exist before Brexit and EU transport companies who previously provided a shipping service for small and medium sized companies have decided they do not want the extra financial burden, said Colin Jeffries, who runs Key Cargo International in Manchester.

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January 20th 2021, 9:03 am

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma makes first public appearance in months

World news | The Guardian

Alibaba co-founder, not seen since Beijing began crackdown on his firms, says he has been ‘studying and thinking’

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has made his first public appearance since Beijing began a crackdown on his business empire.

Ma, a celebrity businessman and one of the richest people in China, had not spoken publicly since regulators blocked the flotation of Ant Group, the financial payment company he controls. His absence had fuelled speculation that he may have fled China.

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January 20th 2021, 9:03 am

Sweden to build bridges for reindeer to safely cross roads and railways

World news | The Guardian

Bridges will help reindeer roam further afield for food because of global warming

Sweden is to build up to a dozen bridges so reindeer can safely cross railway lines and major roads in the north of the country as global heating forces them to roam further afield in search of food.

State broadcaster SVT said the transport authority aimed to start work on the first of the new bridges, named “renoducts”, a portmanteau from ren (reindeer) and viaduct, later this year near the eastern city of Umea.

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January 20th 2021, 8:33 am

'Kleptocrats' will try to block Libya elections, says UN envoy

World news | The Guardian

Outgoing acting envoy Stephanie Williams also urges foreign powers to withdraw troops and mercenaries from country

A political class stretching across Libya’s east-west conflict lines is determined to maintain the status quo and privileged access to the coffers of the state, Stephanie Williams, the outgoing acting UN special envoy for Libya has warned.

The American diplomat likened many of them to dinosaurs, saying they were linked to pre-revolutionary forces.

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January 20th 2021, 7:03 am

Revival of Trans Europe Express 'key to EU's carbon neutrality'

World news | The Guardian

Campaigners say direct links between capitals could significantly reduce carbon emissions

The resurrection of a 1960s network of direct rail routes between major European capitals known as the Trans Europe Express is key to achieving carbon neutrality in the EU by 2050, according to a report funded by the German government.

Due in large part to the growth of short-haul flights, 149 of the 365 cross-border rail links that once existed in Europe were non-operational in 2018, with rail accounting for only 8% of passenger transport.

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January 20th 2021, 6:18 am

Limiting air pollution 'could prevent 50,000 deaths in Europe'

World news | The Guardian

World Health Organization estimates air pollution kills more than 7 million people each year

Limiting air pollution to levels recommended by the World Health Organization could prevent more than 50,000 deaths in Europe annually, according to research.

The WHO estimates air pollution kills more than 7 million people each year and is one of the leading causes of sickness and absence from work globally.

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January 20th 2021, 5:33 am

UK government rejects 'musician passports' as stars attack 'shameful' touring deal

World news | The Guardian

Minister says UK is not pursuing a touring waiver, as stars including Elton John and Sting say musicians ‘shamefully failed’ by Brexit

The UK government will not pursue a waiver scheme that would allow British musicians to tour the EU without the need for visas, carnets and work permits for each individual member state.

The announcement comes as over 100 artists including Sting, Bob Geldof and Elton John have signed an open letter published in the Times on Wednesday, calling on the government to negotiate paperwork-free travel for British musicians touring in Europe. The signatories say musicians have been “shamefully failed” by the government’s Brexit deal with the EU.

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January 20th 2021, 4:16 am

Far-right extremists take over UK land sales Facebook page

World news | The Guardian

A Facebook page with 40,000 members created for people buying plots of land has been taken over by rightwing conspiracy theorists

On 14 January, the 40,000 Britons who had joined the Facebook group Land for Sale UK awoke to find their newsfeed transformed.

Until then, the group had been a moderately sized message board for people looking to buy or sell small parcels of land. “We’d love a patch of land in the Falmouth and Penryn area to let the kids roam, grow fruit trees,” read one typical post.

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January 20th 2021, 2:45 am

Vogue to release new Kamala Harris cover after original sparks backlash

World news | The Guardian

Magazine plans limited edition with new photo after original was widely seen as disrespectful

Vogue will publish a limited print edition of its February issue, featuring Kamala Harris, with a new photo following widespread backlash against an original cover image widely held to lack respect for the vice-president-elect.

The limited edition, with a cover image previously used online, will be published after inauguration ceremonies on Wednesday, when Harris will become the first person of Black and south Asian descent sworn in as vice-president.

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January 20th 2021, 2:45 am

Furious Kent residents step up fight over Brexit lorry park

World news | The Guardian

Locals condemn lack of consultation over customs clearance site for 1,200 lorries

Residents of a village near Dover have mounted what they describe as a “David and Goliath” battle to try to reverse government plans to turn fields at the ends of their gardens into a giant Brexit customs clearance site for 1,200 lorries.

The local Anglican priest and former chairman of the chamber of commerce accused the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, and the transport minister, Rachel Maclean, of a “clear abuse of power” over the lack of notice and consultation over the consequences of their plans.

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January 20th 2021, 2:32 am

Syria's White Helmets awarded £1.17m to make PPE

World news | The Guardian

Civil defence service has already made more than 2m masks, protective gowns and face shields

Syria’s White Helmets, who rescue victims from the rubble of airstrikes, have added making personal protective equipment to their efforts saving lives in areas of the country outside Bashar al-Assad’s control.

The civil defence service’s uniform-making unit has recently pivoted to manufacturing PPE with the help of a £1.17m award from a nonprofit organisation funded by the UK, US, Canadian and Dutch governments.

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January 20th 2021, 1:02 am

US woman who tweeted about dream gay lifestyle in Bali to be deported

World news | The Guardian

Kristen Antoinette Gray accused of breaching Indonesia visa by promoting the island, selling her e-book and offering consulting

An American woman is being deported from Bali over suspected immigration violations after her tweets that celebrated the Indonesian resort island as a low-cost, queer-friendly place for foreigners to live went viral.

Kristen Antoinette Gray arrived in Bali in January last year and ended up staying through the coronavirus pandemic. Her posts on Twitter, including comparisons between Bali and Los Angeles, offers to advise on travel, and links to buy her e-book, began going viral in Indonesia on Sunday.

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January 20th 2021, 12:32 am

David Perry QC quits prosecution of Hong Kong activists

World news | The Guardian

British barrister was called ‘mercenary’ by UK foreign secretary for taking on case against pro-democracy figures

The British QC hired to run the prosecution of senior Hong Kong activists, including the media mogul Jimmy Lai, has pulled out of the case after widespread pressure, the territory’s government has said.

David Perry QC had been instructed by the Hong Kong justice department to prosecute 76-year-old Lai and eight others including the democracy figure Martin Lee and the veteran activist Lee Cheuk-yan. The group are charged with public order offences for organising and taking part in an unauthorised assembly. Lai, who is in jail on remand, is facing multiple separate charges including under the national security law.

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January 20th 2021, 12:32 am
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