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Coroners in England issue rare warnings over avoidable deaths in pandemic
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Exclusive: at least 16 notices issued to prevent future deaths after inquests highlight care failures

Coroners in England have said lessons must be learned from failings made by overstretched services that struggled to adapt during the Covid pandemic, as details of inquests into deaths only now emerge.

At the height of the pandemic, everything from mental health and coastguard services to care homes had to quickly change how they operated, and coroners across England are highlighting failures made during this time through reports that identify avoidable deaths.

Azra Hussain, 41, who died in secure accommodation in Birmingham on 6 May 2020. Two months before her death, she had been due to begin electroconvulsive therapy, but because of an administrative error the treatment was cancelled and was then no longer possible because of Covid restrictions. The inquest jury concluded that had she been given this treatment, she would probably have lived.

Ruth Jones, a frail older woman thought to have caught Covid, who died in a care home after a fall in self-isolation. A coroner said the care home was not equipped to watch Jones during her isolation but she needed to be monitored because of her risk of injury if left alone.

Anthony Williamson, an experienced sea kayaker who died on his 54th birthday after getting into difficulty. The coroner said he was concerned there was a reduced level of coastguard cover around the Cornish coastline owing to the pandemic.

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Old UK oilwells could be turned into CO2 burial test sites
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Exclusive: Consortium of energy firms and universities says underground storage of hydrogen can also be investigated

Exhausted oil and gas wells would be turned into the UKas first deep test sites for burying carbon dioxide next year, under plans from a consortium of universities and energy companies.

There are hundreds of active onshore oil and gas wells in the UK. But as they come to the end of their lives, some need to be redeployed for trials of pumping CO2 underground and monitoring it to ensure it does not escape, the group says. The test wells could also be used to assess how hydrogen can be stored underground.

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Bank deputy expects UK inflation acomfortablya to exceed 5% by spring
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BoE monetary policy chief Ben Broadbent says pressures will include rise in energy price cap

The Bank of Englandas monetary policy chief has said inflation is likely to soar acomfortablya above 5% next spring when the energy regulator Ofgem raises a price cap affecting millions of households.

Record high levels of vacancies are also likely to persist for longer than previously expected as the jobs market adjusts to changes in the economy brought on by the pandemic, said Ben Broadbent, the central bankas deputy governor with responsibility for monetary policy.

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Boris Johnson fights off legal challenge over Priti Patel bullying claims
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FDA union brought judicial review after PM went against findings of his ministerial standards adviser

Boris Johnson has successfully fought off a high court challenge over his decision to back Priti Patel after accusations that she had bullied civil servants.

The FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, brought a judicial review after the prime minister decided last year to go against the findings of his then adviser on ministerial standards in order to back the home secretary.

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Investigation launched into brawl at French far-right rally
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Dozens detained after protesters attacked at campaign rally for presidential candidate Aric Zemmour

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into violence that erupted at the first major campaign rally held by the far-right French presidential candidate Aric Zemmour.

Shortly after Zemmour began speaking on Sunday evening, some of his supporters attacked a group of protesters from the campaign group SOS-Racism who had entered the rear of the venue wearing T-shirts reading aNo to Racisma.

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Stillborn babyas parents receive APS2.8m from Nottingham hospital trust
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Payout to Jack and Sarah Hawkins is thought to be largest settlement for a stillbirth clinical negligence case

A couple whose daughter died before birth after maternity staff failings have received a APS2.8m payout from the NHS in what is believed to be the largest settlement for a stillbirth clinical negligence case.

Sarah Hawkins was in labour for six days before Harriet was stillborn, almost nine hours after dying, at Nottingham City hospital in April 2016.

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Hundreds of calls made to UK helpline about sexual abuse in schools
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Demand for the Report Abuse in Education helpline means it will stay open, says NSPCC childrenas charity

More than 850 calls, many alleging sexual abuse and harassment in schools, have been made to a national helpline set up after the Everyoneas Invited website revealed widespread sexism, misogyny and abuse in education.

A total of 150 were so serious that they have been referred to police and other agencies for further investigation, according to the NSPCC childrenas charity, which runs the helpline.

Young people and adults can contact Report Abuse in Education on 0800 136 663 or email help@nspcc.org.uk

The NSPCC also offers support to children on 0800 1111, and adults concerned about a child on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adult survivors on 0808 801 0331.

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Almost $12,000 wiped off value of bitcoin in weekend athumpinga
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Cryptocurrency settles to just below $50,000 after record-high last month, in continuation of recent volatility

The value of bitcoin has suffered a athumpinga, losing more than one-fifth of its value at at one point over the weekend before settling below $50,000 (APS37,720), only a month after reaching a record high.

The value of the cryptocurrency rose above $68,000 in November and had been predicted to move even higher by the end of the year, amid concern about the value of traditional assets such as gold and government debt.

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Joey Barton found not guilty of assaulting former Barnsley manager
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aC/ Bristol Rovers manager cleared of assaulting Daniel Stendel

aC/ Barton was accused of pushing Stendel over in tunnel

Former Premier League midfielder Joey Barton has been cleared of pushing over a rival manager at the end of a match, leaving him bloodied and with a broken tooth.

When the Bristol Rovers manager gave evidence last week, Barton, 39, denied it was him who shoved then-Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel in the tunnel after a League One match between his Fleetwood team and the South Yorkshire side at Oakwell on 13 April 2019.

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Joni Mitchell: aIam hobbling along but Iam doing all righta
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Singer discusses health difficulties in rare public speech as she accepts Kennedy Center award

Joni Mitchell addressed her health difficulties in a rare public speech as she accepted her Kennedy Center Honor, one of the most prestigious awards in American cultural life.

At a ceremony attended by Joe Biden a in a show of support for the arts after the awards were snubbed by Donald Trump a Mitchell discussed the issues sheas faced in the wake of an aneurysm in 2015 that left her temporarily unable to walk or talk.

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Fromage fictions: the 14 biggest cheese myths a debunked!
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Received wisdom says older cheese is better, you should pair it with red wine and wrap any leftovers in clingfilm. Here is what the experts say

aI hate to dictate to people. I donat like too many rules,a says Iain Mellis, a cheesemonger of 40 years, with cheese shops bearing his name scattered across Scotland. Mellis has spent his life trying to make artisan cheese more accessible; the last thing he wants is to be so prescriptive that people are put off.

Yet the world of good cheese is already mired in misunderstandings that, at best, detract from its enjoyment and, at worst, result in its ruination. Cheese stored incorrectly is easily marred, while the mistaken beliefs that you need red wine, specialist knives or even a cheeseboard to enjoy it only reinforce cheeseas recherchA(c) reputation.

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aPeople are fed upa: Tories anxious about losing Owen Patersonas seat
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Lib Dems are hoping for a spectacular upset in North Shropshire constituency that has long been a Conservative stronghold

If Boris Johnsonas decision to join the campaign trail in North Shropshire on Friday was a sign of Conservative jitters before the upcoming byelection in the constituency, then Chris Pierce is just the sort of voter to exemplify such anxieties.

aI feel taken for granted,a complained the self-described former Tory supporter, standing outside his house in a neat, modern cul-de-sac on the edge of Wem, a compact market town just north of Shrewsbury.

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Chris Noth on feuds, family and Mr Big: aI never saw him as an alpha malea
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The Sex and the City star is back for the reboot, And Just Like That a| He talks about bereavement, rebellion, the fun of acting a and the absence of Kim Cattrall

aIam not supposed to talk for this long. I told my publicist beforehand: aI need to keep this short so I donat give quotes Iall regret,aa chuckles Chris Noth.

Too late for that. Ahead of our interview, I had expected Noth a best known as Mr Big from Sex and the City a to be a reluctant interviewee, because thatas how he came across in past articles, especially when he was talking about the TV show that turned him from a jobbing actor into, well, Mr Big. But those were from back in the day, when he bridled at his sudden celebrity. Noth had been in hit TV shows before, most famously when he played Detective Mike Logan for five years on Law & Order. But nothing could have prepared him for Sex and the City.

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Adam Peaty: aYou have to be better than everyone else, thereas no sugar-coating ita
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The 26-year-old swimmer and father-of-one swept all before him at the Tokyo Olympicsa| but his exit from Strictly, he admits, was humbling

World champion swimmer Adam Peaty, the unbeaten world record holder of the 50m and 100m breaststroke, is friendly and engaged, but he makes no bones about being hypercompetitive. He once said that he felt like a agoda in the pool. He says now, aYou have to be better than everyone else, thereas no sugar-coating it.a

A swimming phenomenon (think of him as a kind of national Aquaman), Peaty has had a stellar year, even by his standards: he won two golds and a silver in Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics; he also signed up for Strictly Come Dancing, where he was partnered with Katya Jones. After seven hip-swivelling weeks, he went out on a jive that placed him bottom of the Strictly leaderboard; his mother was so upset, she thought it was a fix. Was it humbling to learn a new discipline? Peaty gives a kind of groaning laugh: aIt did humble me. Iam not used to getting last place, to be honest.a

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aI used every chord on the Casioa a How we made Manchild by Neneh Cherry
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aThe first verse came to me as I was going up the stairs of a double-decker bus with a hangovera

Neneh Cherry, singer and songwriter
I was seeing Cameron McVey [producer and now husband] and one day he suddenly asked me: aWhy are you not writing songs? You could totally write songs!a Iad been in Rip Rig + Panic, whose songwriter Gareth Sager had such an inventive way of writing about everyday stuff. Manchild was one of the first things I came up with.

The first verse came to me as I was going up the stairs of a doubledecker bus. aIs it the pain of the drinking / Or the Sunday sinking feeling?a I think I had a hangover. When I got home, I started to work out the music on a little Casio keyboard using the aauto chorda setting. I didnat know what I was doing. When my dad [late jazz trumpeter Don Cherry] heard it, he went: aWow, thatas kinda jazz. Youave got seven chords in the verse!a

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Emma Beddington tries a| being a mermaid: aIam more beached seal than beguiling sirena
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Being a beautiful watery creature is a challenge if you have no technique or breath control a and canat hear a word beneath your floral swimming cap

I am too old for Disneyas Little Mermaid. My sister was the right age, but our right-on 80s household was a princess-free zone (though The Little Mermaid is arguably one of the more subversive films in the canon, with its exploration of identity and conformity and nods to drag culture). I have, however, gleaned that the transformation from mermaid to human is a risky business; I believe a crab says so.

But what about the reverse? Because today, I, a human, am becoming a mermaid, thanks to Donna Rumney of Mermaids at Jesmond Pool, in Newcastle upon Tyne. Donna is booked out with childrenas mermaid parties but adult sessions are popular, too: everyone wants to be a mermaid now. There are mermaid pageants and conventions; people pay thousands of pounds for custom-made silicone tails. Something about that in-between state, the grace and fluidity, appeals when life on land feels so hidebound and joyless. I love the idea of achieving a state of otherworldly aquatic grace; what could possibly go wrong?

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aTheyall fight for youa: how Scotlandas guardians change young refugeesa lives
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Unique scheme offers arrivals continual support from navigating bureaucracy to grasping local slang

Joseph was just 16 years old when he arrived completely alone in Scotland a a country he had never heard of a seeking safety, after travelling across the world for six months from Vietnam to the UK, living in forests and being smuggled across the Channel.

On his journey, he had learned not to trust people, so when he first met his guardian a an aon your sidea adult allocated to every unaccompanied young arrival a he had doubts. aShe was saying nice things but I wasnat sure she was going to help me,a he says.

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Happy queer Christmas! Drag kings and queens on their festive spectaculars
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LGBTQ+ performers are making sure that queerness isnat aswept under the carpeta this Christmas a and providing community, fun and celebration for audiences

Drag king Mark Anthony loves Christmas. He always has a itas a big thing in his family. Still, he says he found his Christmas ablighted slightlya in recent years since coming out as transgender and non-binary. aIt wasnat a big sob story of rejection,a Anthony, whose family fully accepts him for who he is, explains. aIt was a discomfort type thing, from both sides, where youare trying to work out how you fit into a different role. By this point, weare pretty much adjusted now.a (Out of drag, Anthony, performed by Isaac Williams, uses the pronouns they and them.)

Anthony knows how Christmas amight have quite negative associationsa for those LGBTQ+ people awho donat feel they can be authentically themselves at home with their familiesa. It is a time that aputs a spotlight on anything thatas changed and makes it feel really kind of awkwarda, for example, if someone has come out about their sexuality or gender identity.

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Covid news live: New York City to mandate vaccines for private sector workers; Poland to tighten restrictions
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Private employers in New York City will have to mandate Covid vaccinations for their workers; new pandemic restrictions set for Poland

The Johnson & Johnson booster shot may work well for those who originally had a Pfizer vaccine, a recent study has found.

Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston studied 65 people who had received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine. Six months after the second dose, the researchers gave 24 of the volunteers a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine and gave 41 the Johnson & Johnson shot.

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aTravel apartheida: Nigeria condemns Englandas Covid red list
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Nigerian high commissioner hits out as arrivals into UK face quarantine in effort to contain Omicron variant

Nigeriaas inclusion on Englandas red list after cases of the Omicron Covid variant were linked to travel from the country has been condemned as atravel apartheida.

People arriving in the UK from Nigeria have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine at a cost of APS2,285 and have two negative PCR test results, as part of measures that came into force from 4am on Monday.

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New York City sets Covid vaccine mandate for all private employers
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New rules will take effect on 22 December while vaccinations are already required for city employees

All New York City employers will have to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for their workers under new rules announced Monday by the mayor, Bill de Blasio.

The vaccine mandate for private businesses will take effect on 22 December and is aimed at preventing a spike in Covid-19 infections during the holiday season and the colder months, the Democratic mayor said on MSNBCas Morning Joe.

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Omicron wasn't part of our festive plan, but here's how we can stay safe this Christmas | Susan Michie
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From ventilation to lateral flow testing, letas try to minimise the risk of catching Covid


For months in the UK we have had 30,000-50,000 new Covid cases of the Delta variant a day and about 1,000 dying from the disease every week, and NHS leaders are saying the hospital and ambulance services are at breaking point. Now, to make matters worse, the Omicron variant has arrived. This new variant will probably evade immunity to some extent, but we donat know by how much. It may be more transmissible, but we are not sure. And we donat know whether or not it will cause more severe disease.

Faced with this uncertainty and contradictory messages, what are we to do? After the disappointment of last Christmas, many of us are desperate for socialising, parties and fun. We are also desperate to avoid lockdowns. So should we be making that one stitch now to save nine later; taking steps now to try to save Christmas? Steps such as wearing masks in all indoor public spaces, working from home where we can, only going shopping and travelling where necessary and engaging in only our top priority social events?

Susan Michie is director of the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change

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The Tories are waging a war on drugs a but there is cocaine all over the parliamentary loos | Zoe Williams
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Boris Johnson is making an all-out attempt to move the headlines on. But all I can think about is last yearas alleged Downing Street Christmas party

Itas a terrible thing, when you can hear a man sweat through the radio. The Home Office minister Kit Malthouse was being questioned by Mishal Husain on the Today programme this morning, about last yearas Downing Street Christmas party. If it was as described a two-score people at least, in the same room, drinking and playing party games a then how could it have been within the rules? aThis is hypothetical,a Malthouse kept saying, as if he was tapping into an ancient interview woo-hoo, the magic word you could say to make it all stop. Unfortunately, he was not. Finally, he executed his handbrake turn: he couldnat comment on the party, because he didnat know what had happened; he couldnat find out what had happened, because he was much more focused on the war on drugs.

Mired in terrible headlines, one story of corruption or incompetence after another, each untoward event reminding the world of some past promise that never materialised, the prime minister has seized the agenda by the throat. He has a new enemy (drug dealers); a new feral underclass (drug takers); a new initiative (take away all their passports and driving licences); a new slogan (itas a war on drugs); and a new load of old blarney. aDrugs a| are not going to make you cooler,a Johnson said. aTheyare bad news.a Not since Zammoas rap has such an unarguable message had such a counterproductive messenger. Nothing has ever made me want to take drugs more than this wreck of a man telling me theyare bad news. And Iam writing this at nine in the morning.

Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist

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British politics suddenly feels small a and the old order is ataking back controla | Julian Coman
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The insurgencies of Brexit and Corbyn are over, and a kind of restoration politics has overtaken both the Tories and Labour

The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci has become an oft-quoted point of reference for commentators struggling to read the signs of these turbulent times. During the political turmoil of the 1930s a we have read more than once a Gramsci observed that: aThe crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.a During the 2010s, the startling rise of the Scottish independence movement, the shock of the Brexit vote and the unexpected election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader cumulatively lent themselves to a similar style of diagnosis.

It seemed plausible to maintain that in various ways a 40-year settlement, inaugurated by Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and broadly accepted by successive Labour and Tory leaders, was breaking down. From resurgent nationalism on the right to a renewed commitment to nationalisation on the left, a realignment away from an era of economic liberalism and high globalisation has challenged orthodoxies across the spectrum. Something new was struggling to be born. But as 2021 draws to a close, it might be advisable to put the Gramsci away and look up the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzscheas doctrine of the Eternal Return of the Same.

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Jack Dorseyas ditched Twitter for bitcoin. Has the social media bubble burst? | Richard Seymour
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With major platforms struggling to make a profit, Dorsey is following the money. Cryptocurrency may be about to go mainstream

Jack Dorsey is resigning from Twitter to spend more time with his other company, Square. In some ways, the choice between Twitter and Square is a straight choice between political clout and profit. Square, a payments platform co-founded by Dorsey in 2009, is worth almost three times Twitteras current value at about $97bn (APS73bn). But Square will never be credited with the equivalent of the aTwitter revolutiona, or make headlines by banning a former president.

Venture capital is pouring money into cryptocurrencies and payment platforms. Twitter, by contrast, having only started to become profitable since 2018, has always been more notable for its political impact than its commercial pull. However, Twitter, like the wider social industry of which it is a part, may be experiencing the limits of its growth. In terms of commercial reach, Twitter is no competition for industry giants such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram and TikTok, which each have well over a billion users. But even Facebook and Instagram are slowing down.

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An atmosphere of threat lingers over the arts - and itas created by the government | Charlotte Higgins
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A sign of a functioning society is its artists being free to create work that pushes against prevailing political tides

Public funding for the arts in Britain has, since it began in the aftermath of the second world war, operated at armas length from the government. The principle has a particular purpose in the cultural field. It shields the arts from ministersa direct intervention; at the same time, it prevents ministers from being answerable in parliament for controversial theatre productions or provocative exhibitions. aGod help the minister that meddles with art!a wrote the Liberal prime minister Lord Melbourne, wryly and wisely.

More broadly, the armas length principle is what it says it is: a principle, one that embeds the notion that a sign of a functioning society is the independence of its artists to create work that pushes against prevailing political tides. On a deeper level, it acknowledges that artists can a should a act as a nationas conscience, expressing truths that may be unpalatable or otherwise inexpressible.

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Christmas in Genovia: what exactly does Hollywood think Europe is?
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Netflix and Disney set their festive films in a made-up mishmash of France, Switzerland, Romania and everything in between. Is real Europe so hard to love?

Netflixas Christmas universe is an inescapable one, and two of its most successful franchises are The Princess Switch a which recently saw the release of the seriesa third film a and A Christmas Prince. Both these franchises take place in a particularly interesting non-place: their American heroines travel to a made-up country which is a perfect synthesis of a certain Europe as seen through certain eyes. This territory a whether itas named Belgravia, Montanero or Aldovia a does not exist on the map, and yet gets built again and again. It is a curious mishmash of Romania, Switzerland, Italy and everything in between, topped off with a healthy dose of bad British accent.

What are the characteristics of this strange enclave? Does it have national ambitions, and if so, of what nature? Can we understand its people? In investigating this potpourri Europeland itas best to shift away from Netflix and turn to another blockbuster franchise, The Princess Diaries. Based on a YA book series, the two Princess Diaries movies have introduced us to Genovia and its capital Pyrus. Anne Hathaway plays American commoner Mia Thermopolis, who, in Europelandish dialect, becomes princess Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi. The name alone distils a funky mixture of France, Greece and Monaco. aWhatever, itas Europe!a a we can almost hear the Hollywood executive growling in the back.

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Covid jingoism will not protect the west from the threat of Omicron | Nesrine Malik
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It has been proved time and again that thereas more to tackling the pandemic than shutting out the rest of the world

A friendas grandmother once told me a story about her late husbandas English golf club. It was the 1960s, and she was having a drink on the clubas terrace with some of the other wives. The men played golf on the links below, and one of them would swear loudly whenever he mis-hit a shot. The women complained to the manager, who promised he would address the matter. The next time the women went to go for a drink on the terrace they found a new sign. It read: aTerrace for male members only.a

I am reminded of this story as I watch western governments react to the new Covid variant. South African scientists alerted the world to Omicron and in turn, South Africa and several other African countries were promptly placed under travel and quarantine restrictions by the west. The first country to introduce a travel ban was, naturally, the UK. Thank you for informing us of the problem, our terrace is now closed.

Nesrine Malik is a Guardian columnist

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For truly ethical AI, its research must be independent from big tech | Timnit Gebru
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We must curb the power of Silicon Valley and protect those who speak up about the harms of AI

A year ago I found out, from one of my direct reports, that I had apparently resigned. I had just been fired from Google in one of the most disrespectful ways I could imagine.

Thanks to organizing done by former and current Google employees and many others, Google did not succeed in smearing my work or reputation, although they tried. My firing made headlines because of the worker organizing that has been building up in the tech world, often due to the labor of people who are already marginalized, many of whose names we do not know. Since I was fired last December, there have been many developments in tech worker organizing and whistleblowing. The most publicized of these was Frances Haugenas testimony in Congress; echoing what Sophie Zhang, a data scientist fired from Facebook, had previously said, Haugen argued that the company prioritizes growth over all else, even when it knows the deadly consequences of doing so.

Timnit Gebru is the founder and executive director of the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR). She was formerly co-lead of Googleas Ethical AI team

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Spider-Man: No Way Home Unmasks its Green Goblin
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Sony has released its new poster for Spider-Man: No Way Home which focuses on Tom Holland as Spider-Man, but also, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stranger and Zendaya as MJ. The poster comes after last weekas trailer release which confirmed the appearances of Sandman from Spider-Man 3 and Lizard from The Amazing Spider-Man. 

The latter two movies are simply two of the many Spider-Man appearances that this comic character has had over the years. Spider-Man appeared in other movies such as Iron Man 2, in various TV series, comics, docuseries, one-shots, clothing merchandise, popular video games such as the Spider-Man video game in 2018, and even in online casinos as slot games such as Spider-Man: Attack of the Green Goblin by Playtech, the developer behind some of the best new slot sites out there.A

Albeit in arm form for Doc Ock, the three main villains also appear on the poster, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, and Electro. However, what struck fans the most out of this poster is the fact that the Goblin appears as a maskless Willem Dafoe. 

There is still so much speculation to be made on Spider-Man: No Way Home. It is still very unclear the roles that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will have in this movie. However, Sony is doing a great job at keeping the mystery for this movie which is further creating the necessary hype and tension. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home will also see the return of Marisa Tomei as May Parker, Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, and J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. What we know so far about the movie is that it will pick up from where Spider-Man: Far From Home left off, with Peter Parker trying to clear his name from the damage that Mysterio has done. He attempts to seek help from Doctor Strange, although this will backfire and cause other complications for Peter. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home will hit the theatres on December 17. 

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The apostrophe is dead – again
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apostrophe

The apostropheA is to become extinct, says the Telegraph, as language becomes less formal.

The Apostrophiser should find more work. The language fan been correcting the misuse of apostrophes in Bristol. He reacted to such horrors as aOpen Mondayas to Fridayasa, aAmys Nailasa and ‘Cambridge Motorasa.

We’ve been here before many times. The Telegraph has pressed f9 on the keyboard and couched up a regular filler:

Have we murdered the apostrophe? – BBC Culture – 2020

“Why the Apostrophe Protection Society has closed in disgust” – Guardian, 2019

“Do apostrophes still matter?” – BBC News, 2019

“Lets get rid of the apostrophe” [sic] – ABC News, 2018

“The apostrophe isn’t dead yet” – The Atlantic, 2014

“What is happening with the apostrophe is that it’s just dying out” – Globe And Mail, 2005

The apostrophe will die out when editors can find something to replace the news of its dying out. And when Waterstoneas bookshop – founder: Tim Waterstone – become Waterstones, the clock is ticking.

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aBoris Johnson look-a-likea jailed for theft in Yorkshire
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Boris Johnson ‘look-a-like’ Jason Watson has been jailed. Unless Jason is running the country and the Prime Minister is now giving her Majesty no end of pleasure for the next ten months…? No.

Watson, 43, a serial burglar, was found with 1,280 in cash stashed down the front of his trousers. He’d burgled the House of Panini in Hull, East Yorkshire, grabbing a handbag containing APS1,280.

Watson and his accomplice Adrian Awty, 45, also stole keys, bank cards and a pair of Vivienne Westwood earrings on September 28.

Watson then made his escape by concealing the money down the front of his trousers. However, he and an accomplice were later identified and arrested by police.

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Zac Goldsmith – look out, another elite posho wants to save the planet
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Zac Goldsmith is the UK environment minister. He’s chuffed to bits about the aunprecedenteda conservation deal by more than 100 world leaders to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. Sounds good.

“The market has been blind to the value of the environment,” he tells the Guardian. “The [current economic] incentives to deforest are 40 times bigger than the incentives to keep healthy forests, so changing that is difficult.a

It’s about the money, right? People need to eat and live. So trees get felled for farming and mining. Which brings us to Zac and how he got to be Lord Goldsmith and minted.

He’s the son of billionaire businessman and financier James Goldsmith. In 1998, his uncle Edward Goldsmith made him editor of The Ecologist magazine, a position he retained until 2007.

And he’s just the latest extremely wealthy posho to tell us how to live. Why are all these elites so keen to be friends with the Earth? Well, it is where you source diamonds and gold, right.

Prince Charles told the Cop26 climate summit that Earth is in athe last chance saloona and that athe future of humanity and nature herself are at stake”. We should be on a “war-like footing”, says Charles who employed a man to squeeze his toothpaste. Harry and Meghan take time out from their occasional use of aviation fuel to tell us about the urgent need to be carbon neutral and why having more than two children is wrong. The Queen wants us to cut down and protect the children – no, not from her son’s now-dead former friend Jeffrey Epstein – but from excess. We’re being lectured by the extremely wealthy to behave better by accepting less. If you could harness the power of eye rolling, we’d be carbon neutral by Friday.

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Where Satan Shops: Cathy Don’t Go To The Supermarket Today, a 1980s Christian pop video
From https:

In the 1980s, Heaven’s Magic were begging Cathy not to go to the supermarket. The Devil was waiting there for her with his ‘666’ scanner. The song was produced by a Christian religious movement Family International, previously known as Children of God and Family of Love.

The post Where Satan Shops: Cathy Don't Go To The Supermarket Today, a 1980s Christian pop video first appeared on Anorak.


The Hill regrets the error in probably the best correction ever
From https:

Website The Hill notes that anti-Semitic crime in Germany is at the highest level ever recorded. Not that it was a crime when the Germans were keeping count of the 6 million Jews the country had the key role in murdering, but you get the point…

The post The Hill regrets the error in probably the best correction ever first appeared on Anorak.


In times of increased power costs, British trains turn to diesel
From https:

Diesel is bad. Electric is good – well, so long as you don’t want to do anything it is:

Freightliner has confirmed that it will be withdrawing its entire fleet of electric locomotives in response to soaring electricity prices.

The company a which is the largest UK freight operator of electric locomotives a says it has been forced to replace its 23 Class 90s with diesel traction following a steep rise in wholesale electricity prices of more than 200% between September and October.

A Freightliner spokesman said: aAs a result of an unprecedented increase in electricity prices, FL has taken the difficult decision to temporarily replace its electric freight services with diesel-hauled services in order to maintain a cost-effective solution for transporting essential goods and supplies around the UK.

Brave new world.

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Buy the Best Christmas Cards
From https:

Looking for Christmas cards, maybe ones without the robin dusted in snow or a turkey doused in cranberry sauce? Well, you’re in luck. Flasbak has a fabulous range of the best Christmas cards. There’s a great choice. I’ve picked out a few Christmas crackers:

Christmas cards – the best Christmas cards – are available at flashbak.

The post Buy the Best Christmas Cards first appeared on Anorak.


Lars Vilks, Mohammed cartoons and Batley is missing a teacher
From https:

Je suis charlie

Swedish artist Lars Vilks has died in a car crash. Vilks achieved an unenviable sort of fame – having sketched the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body in 2007, he was subjected to death threats. Al-Qaeda in Iraq offered a $100,000 (APS73,692) reward for his murder. The BBC responds to his death by asking: “Why does depicting the Prophet Muhammad cause offence?” It’s an interesting reads, and includes a few words about the British teacher who as far we know remains in hiding and in fear of his life for showing a class in Batley, West Yorkshire, an image depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad:

In Kirklees borough, where Batley Grammar School is located, the syllabus says children should be “give[n] reasons why visual representation of God and the prophets is forbidden (haram) in Islam,” by the end of Key Stage 2.

Pupils should also understand “key religious values including democracy, human rights, rule of law, secularism, freedom of expression and tolerance” – this is taught in Key Stage 3.

If they teach that, why then was the teacher suspended?

Is it everyone’s duty in a country that values free speech to cause offence – not to be rude for the sake of it, but to try to expand the human experience and challenge convention through a free and fair exchange of views?

Image: Pallbearers carry the casket of Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Bernard Verlhac, known as Tignous, decorated by friends and colleagues of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the city hall of Montreuil, on the outskirts of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

The post Lars Vilks, Mohammed cartoons and Batley is missing a teacher first appeared on Anorak.


E.A. Seguy’s Butterflies
From https:

Papillons by E.A. SA(c)guy (Emile Allain SA(c)guy), 1877-1951, was published in Paris in 1925. The work features 81 sublime images of butterflies (papillons) in 16 tableaux.

All 16 plates are now available as high quality prints in the shop aA HERE.

The post E.A. Seguy's Butterflies first appeared on Anorak.


Killer Sunglasses in a 1837 Portrait
From https:

That’s Nathaniel Olds in the killer sunglasses. They weren’t added by photoshop, but were as Olds wore them in 1837 he sat for his portrait by Jeptha Homer Wade (American, 1811-1890). According to the Cleveland Gallery of Art:

The green-tinted spectacles worn by Olds were designed to protect the eyes from the intensity of Argand lamps, a type of indoor light used during the early 1800s. These lamps burned whale oil, and many people worried that its bright flames might damage eyesight.The painter of this portrait founded the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1854 and soon became one of Cleveland’s wealthiest industrialists. His grandson, Jeptha Wade II, was a founder of the Cleveland Museum of Art and donated the land upon which it stands as a Christmas gift to the city in 1892.

You can buy a print of this fabulous picture in the Flashbak Shop.

The post Killer Sunglasses in a 1837 Portrait first appeared on Anorak.


The most batshit insane European Commission video ever
From https:

Did you already watch the video above from the European Commission? If not, look on and see if you can guess what it’s for before reaching the end. The European Commission’s role is to instigate and implement the EU’s policies, one of which seem to be create batshit insane adverts.

The post The most batshit insane European Commission video ever first appeared on Anorak.


Eco-labels, organic and green but only one thing matters: the price tag
From https:

The Guardian is interested in seeing which labels on supermarket and processed foods gets diners to change their ways and opt for the more eco-friendly product. It spots “a different type that calculates the environmental cost”, and “how it had a surprising effect on consumers”. The test was not carried out on shoppers at Aldi or Lidl, rather at the Birmingham headquarters of the UK division of the food services business Compass Group. You might have seen their lorries dropping off bland school dinners.

Itas lunchtime at a workplace cafeteria in Birmingham, and employees returning to work after months away during the coronavirus pandemic are noticing something has changed. Next to the sandwiches and hot and cold dishes is a small globe symbol, coloured green, orange or red with a letter in the centre from A to E. aMeet our new eco-labelsa, a sign reads.

Researchers at Oxford University have analysed the ingredients in every food item on the menu and given the dishes an environmental impact score, vegetable soup (an A) to the lemon, spring onion, cheese and tuna bagel (an E).

But organic and fair trade and all the other foods that have extra labels advertising their niceness cost more than those that do not. You don’t need a new label when you already have the price tag. The other solution, of course, is to tax things that don’t advertise their wellness factors and make everything more expensive, forcing us to go greener and ethical – and be more middle-class. And if you can’t afford it, well, that’s because you’re just a bad person.

The post Eco-labels, organic and green but only one thing matters: the price tag first appeared on Anorak.


Stephen Pinker on the closing down of rationality and open minds
From https:

In the Times, Professor Stephen Pinker, an experimental cognitive scientist, is talking about the rationality and its death on college campuses. He’s a new book out. Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters?. He tells the paper:

The good news is that we need not rely on our individual brains. We can outsource the work to institutions and professions we trust to be collectively rational. The bad news is that such trust is low and, Pinker believes, our institutions are uninterested in earning it back.

aScience is completely oblivious to that,a he says. aI found my fellow scientists, our scientific societies, for example, pretty much parrot the politically correct boiler plate on race, on inequality, on crime. You get no sense from the National Academy of Sciences or Science magazine that these are impartial arbiters of social issues. Their positions are indistinguishable from The New York Times and The Guardian, and this is a failing because itas branding the institution of science as part of the elite, left-leaning establishment. Itas inviting people on the right to reject them.a

Views are so polarised now that debate is akin to trench warfare. No longer do we debate in pursuit of truth and then go out for a drink together. He hunker down and find like minds to point at them and sneer.

The post Stephen Pinker on the closing down of rationality and open minds first appeared on Anorak.


Harry Dunn: Parents reach resolution in case against Anne Sacoolas
From https:

News is that the family of Harry Dunn, 19, are nearing the end to their legal fight. Dunn died when his motorbike was hit by a car reportedly driven by US citizen Anne Sacoolas near RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, in 2019. Her car was allegedly on the wrong side of the road. She jetted out of the UK, claiming diplomatic immunity. Harry Dunn’s parents buried their son. The US ignored them, protecting Sacoolas. The US refused appeals for her to be sent back to the UK.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) authorised Northamptonshire Police to charge Mrs Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving.

She has never returned to answer the charge. It’s been hideous. This is what happens when people are deemed not to matter – and others to matter more.

Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger says the outcome in the civil case against Sacoolas is “a real milestone”. But we do not know the facts.

He said: “The family’s courage and determination to see this through has been incredible.”

The post Harry Dunn: Parents reach resolution in case against Anne Sacoolas first appeared on Anorak.


Taliban Talc: Heroin rockets in price – but only in the Guardian and BBC
From https:

News in the Guardian is that heroin made in Afghanistan (it was packaged as talc) has rocketed in price:

Nearly three tonnes of heroin with a street value of $2.7bn (APS2bn) from Afghanistan have been seized from a western Indian port in a major bust, officials said.

That’s 3000000g of smack at APS667 a gram. In 2016, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said the average price of heroin in the US was $152 per gram – APS111.

The story is from an agency, posted on the Guardian, apparently without the need to check the numbers. So off iy goes around the web:

But the BBC has it as its own report:

Such are the facts…

The post Taliban Talc: Heroin rockets in price - but only in the Guardian and BBC first appeared on Anorak.


Covid-19: Robert Peston’s Double Fist
From https:

ITVas Robert Peston tweeted that despite being twice jabbed he’d still caught Covid-19. He investigated why? And having concluded his study, tweeted his findings:

According to new data from the governmentas Vaccine Surveillance Report, in the age group 40 to 79, the overwhelming majority of those infected have been double-vaxxed

Wow, indeed. Peston, of course, failed to realise the bleedin’ obvious that this was because most of the adult population has had two doses of the vaccine. of the vaccine.

The post Covid-19: Robert Peston's Double Fist first appeared on Anorak.


Georg Bartisch’s fabulous eye surgery illustrations from the 16th Century
From https:

In 1583, Georg Bartisch (1535a1607), a German physician, produced the first Renaissance manuscript on ophthalmic disorders and eye surgery. The book,A Ophthalmodouleia Das ist Augendienst, discusses ocular diseases, surgical techniques and instruments, and contained an ophthalmic atlas of 92 woodcuts depicting diseases of the eye. The pick of those illustrations are featured here, and be bought asA prints and even T-shirts in our shop.

The post Georg Bartisch's fabulous eye surgery illustrations from the 16th Century first appeared on Anorak.


The Kilroy supercut is must-see TV
From https:

In 1986, Robert Michael Kilroy-Silk (born Robert Michael Silk; 19 May 1942) left the House of Commons, where he’d served as a Labou a MP, to present a new daytime talk show, Kilroy, which ran until 2004. Kilroy Loops is must-see TV:

The post The Kilroy supercut is must-see TV first appeared on Anorak.


After Afghanistan and the War on Terror: US State Department works hard for US State Department
From https:

Fox News says the US State Department is blocking private rescue flights from leaving Afghanistan. Well, the government would, no? After all, it makes them look looks as though they’re in control and reinforces the need for bureaucrats. Why would the wonks let private companies do what they cannot?

As for the bigger picture, the War on Terror has been far from successful. If terror is the ability to foment mayhem, then the war achieved it better than the enemy ever could. What 9/11 did was to give the US a job – a mission. In 2002, then US vice president Dick CheneyA said the War on Terror was a “single, immediate, global threat that any roomful of experts could agree upon.” His boss, George Bush, would “rid the world of evil”. So off went the US on its mission to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. Bush said it “begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. [The War on Terror] will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

And then America tired of occupation and proxy wars and went home.

The post After Afghanistan and the War on Terror: US State Department works hard for US State Department first appeared on Anorak.


Jean Paul Belmondo – ‘Everyone wants to say heas flattened Belmondo.’
From https:

A bout de souffle, or Breathless in the English speaking world, shot Jean Paul Belmondo to international stardom along with the whole genre of the French New Wave movies. When Belmondo accepted the role that made him famous he was given a note by the 26 year old director Jean Luc Godard a it read: aHe leaves Marseille. He steals a car. He wants to sleep with the girl again. She doesnat. In the end, he either dies or leaves a to be decided.a a

Godardas movie was almost made up as it went along (from an original idea from Francois Truffaut) and it confused many contemporary critics who had seen nothing quite like it. Bosley Crowther wrote in The New York Times:

It goes at its unattractive subject in an eccentric photographed style that sharply conveys the nervous tempo and the emotional erraticalness of the story it tells. And through the American actress, Jean Seberg, and a hypnotically ugly new young man by the name of Jean-Paul Belmondo, it projects two downright fearsome characters.

The so-called ahypnotically ugly young mana (a short career as an amateur boxer helped cause the distinctive, idiosyncratic visage) put the French New Wave genre on the map and he went on to play many aanti-heroesa or tough guys over the next few decades. In France his aair of insouciancea became known as ale belmondismea but the gangster type roles caused problems in his real life:

aLots of times, Iad be out with a chick and some kid would want to give me a bad time, I used to fight it out with them. Itas the same now. Everyone wants to say heas flattened Belmondo.a

Jean-Paul Belmondo (9 April 1933 a 6 September 2021)

The post Jean Paul Belmondo - 'Everyone wants to say heas flattened Belmondo.' first appeared on Anorak.


Ode to a Highflying Bird – Charlie Watts’ Jazz Book
From https:

Charlie Watts left behind not just a catalogue of great music and performances but a book. The trained graphic designer and musician best known as the drummer with The Rolling Stones lovedA jazz. In 1960, he wrote and illustrated a childrenas book, a tribute to Charlie Parker calledA Ode to a Highflying Bird – aFrustrated with what life had to offer him in his hometown, he packed his whistle, pecked his ma goodbye and flew from his nest in Kansas City bound for New York.a As WattsA recalled, aThis guy who published aRolling Stones Monthlya saw my book and said aAh, thereas a few bob in this!aa The book was published by London’s Beat Publications on January 17, 1965, and cost 7 shillings.

Spotter: UDiscoverMusic

The post Ode to a Highflying Bird - Charlie Watts' Jazz Book first appeared on Anorak.


When and why Charlie Watts punched Mick Jagger, by Keith Richards
From https:

Charlie Watts has died. The coolest and best looking Rolling Stone by far. In Keithas autobiography, we get a bit of Charlie we can admire:

Spotter: Andrew Beasley

The post When and why Charlie Watts punched Mick Jagger, by Keith Richards first appeared on Anorak.


20 years of nailing it Afghanistan – watch four culpable US presidents bullshit the world
From https:

The US-led invasion of Afghanistan has been led by the US-led retreat from the country ruled by the Taliban, just as it was when the US went in. It’s been 20 years of waste, thousands of lost lives, many more damaged ones, hope destroyed and the dawning realisation that America is good at one thing: picking a president on the strength of their abilities in marketing. George Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden – you’d not want any of them in your corner in a fight. Now – get your war on!

The post 20 years of nailing it Afghanistan - watch four culpable US presidents bullshit the world first appeared on Anorak.


How to be good at body language and make other people listen and obey
From https:

I was once taught how to shake hands – by an idiot. His theory went that so long as you didn’t get too close to other person. stuck out your hand and make eye contract, the shakee would think you smart, confident and trustworthy. Until you opened your mouth. That was his mistake. But body language can matter. Body language does exist. Do not put your hands on your hips. Do not do the ‘fig leaf’. Try to avoid the power pose, so beloved by politicians. Keep your palms up. Be expansive. Take a look at aMake Body Language Your Superpowera, an address by students of Stanfordas Graduate School of Business. It’s worth a watch. You might feel nervous and clammy as you address a group, but you can mask it with a few tricks.

The post How to be good at body language and make other people listen and obey first appeared on Anorak.


Sudan's military coup and the stifling of speech | The Listening Post
From https:

Sudanas flirtation with democracy ends in a coup daetat - how far will its leaders go to control what we know about the story? Contributors: Mohanad Hashim - journalist Jonas Horner - deputy director, Horn of Africa, Crisis Group Yassmin Abdel-Magied, writer and broadcaster Raga Makawi - editor, Africa Arguments On our radar: As Myanmaras military courts sentence journalists arrested after the coup that removed democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi, producer Nicholas Muirhead talks Richard Gizbert about the release of American journalist Danny Fenster. Eric Zemmour: The political rise of Franceas far-right polemicist Far-right French journalist Eric Zemmour has yet to declare himself a presidential candidate - but has he already set the tone for next yearas election? Contributors: Rokhaya Diallo - contributor, C8 and The Washington Post newspaper Christophe Deloire - secretary-general, Reporters Without Borders Aurelien Mondon - associate professor of politics, University of Bath

Hate speech and misinformation in Ethiopiaas war | The Listening Post
From https:

As Ethiopia stares down the barrel of all-out civil war, a government-imposed communications blackout is allowing hatred and disinformation to thrive. Contributors: Berhan Taye - Digital researcher Nima Elbagir - Senior international correspondent, CNN Claire Wilmot - Research officer, LSE On our radar: This week, a routine news conference in Athens turned into a shouting match between a Dutch journalist and the Greek prime minister. Meenakshi Ravi tells Richard Gizbert about the media furore that ensued. War and PiS: An attack on Polandas biggest news channel: Back from the brink, still on the air - the Polish 24-hour news channel that remains in the governmentas crosshairs. Contributors: Brygida Grysiak - Deputy editor-in-chief, TVN24 Tomasz Lis - Former anchor, TVN & editor-in-chief, Newsweek Poland ElA1/4bieta Rutkowska - Journalist, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna Beata Tadla - Former anchor, TVP & host, Onet.Pl

Climate crisis: Can journalists make the world care? | The Listening Post
From https:

Climate change: News organisations, fossil fuel companies and audiences all need to do better on the story that could mean the end of us. Contributors: Meera Selva - deputy director of the Reuters Institute Genevieve Guenther - founder and director, End Climate Silence George Monbiot - author and columnist David Gelber - co-founder, The Years Project On our radar: A year after war broke out in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmedas government has declared a six-month state of emergency. Producer Flo Phillips joins Richard Gizbert to discuss the effect it is having on freedom of expression. The hate crimes going viral in India: Violence against Muslims, filmed by the perpetrators, is the latest ugly trend among Indiaas Hindu vigilantes. Contributors: Alishan Jafri - journalist, The Wire Hate Watch Angana Chatterji - anthropologist, University of California, Berkeley and co-editor of Majoritarian State: How Hindu Nationalism is Changing India Saba Naqvi - author of Shades of Saffron 00:00 Intro 02:15 The climate crisis 11:29 Ethiopiaas ongoing conflict 13:42 Violence against Muslims in India 23:48 End note

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