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Who in Europe is getting it right on Covid?


Different approaches are having notably different outcomesA second coronavirus wave is sweeping continental Europe, with new infection records broken daily in many countries. There are wide variations, but almost no country has been left untouched – even those that fared well in the first wave.Across the 31 countries from which the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control collects national data, the average 14-day case incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants has multiplied from just 13 in mid-July to almost 250 last week. Continue reading... [...]

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Rush for results could lead to inferior Covid vaccine, say scientists


Push to roll out injections may see elderly miss out on effective coronavirus inoculations Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageScientists have warned that early adoption of a Covid vaccine with only moderate effectiveness could disrupt efforts to test and create improved versions. Immunising against the disease is not going to be a simple business of turning off the virus once the first vaccine appears, they say. In fact, there could be considerable confusion as researchers struggle to pinpoint the best versions for different vulnerable groups, such as the elderly.“The vaccines coming through fastest are the most experimental. It is possible they won’t be all that great and that others – created using more tried-and-tested but slower methods – might be better,” said Professor Adam Finn of Bristol University. “But to prove that point will become very difficult if lots of individuals have already been given the first vaccine. It will need vast numbers of people to demonstra [...]

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Frustration is rising as clampdowns spread across UK: are we in grip of Covid fatigue?


A sense of unfairness has dented public confidence and compliance with fast-changing restrictionsAs the people of Sheffield prepared to join Greater Manchester and the Liverpool city region in the premier league of Covid-19 restrictions – tier 3 – there were widely differing views on whether the tough new rules about to be imposed from London were welcome, or would even work. On the streets and in the city’s pubs last Thursday evening there was, however, one commonly held opinion – compliance would be some way short of total.“During the first part of lockdown I abided by the rules very strictly,” said Phillip, a 47-year-old gas engineer, as he waited for a pork wrap outside the Greedy Greek Deli. “We still are doing that, but it’s wearing thin. I think the economy and life still has to go on. But then it’s a balancing act with the NHS and the beds.” Continue reading... [...]

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Why China's dramatic economic recovery might not add up


The country seems to have rebounded, but some analysts believe that at the very least, there is sleight of hand at workBeijing prompted envy, admiration and not a little resentment when it released data last week confirming that it was the first major economy to start growing again after the devastation caused by Covid-19 in the first half of the year.China appeared to have achieved the V-shaped recovery being chased by finance ministers around the world, after pioneering mass lockdowns to contain the virus that had taken hold in Wuhan, then shutting its borders to stop it filtering back in from abroad. Continue reading... [...]

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Coronavirus live: Trump not following science, says Fauci; UK targets vaccine for NHS staff 'by Christmas'


Latest updates: Dr Anthony Fauci tempers expectation of vaccine breakthrough in 2020; France, Italy, Austria and Greece report record increases in casesUS coronavirus cases surge in final days before electionHow Australia is tracking where Covid cases come fromCoronavirus vaccine final-stage testing to restart in USSee all our coronavirus coverage 11.38am GMT A second firebreak lockdown could be required in Wales by January or February next year, Wales’ deputy minister for economy and transport has said.Lee Waters said the Welsh Government was trying to “flatten the curve” of the second wave of Covid-19 but could not stop the virus from spreading entirely. 11.21am GMT The government in Italy has now agreed on measures (see 10:01am) to limit the spread of coronavirus, Reuters said.Measures agreed between Giuseppe Conte’s government and regional authorities ordered bars and restaurants to close by 6pm and shut public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools. Continue reading... [...]

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Fighting tyranny with milk tea: the young rebels joining forces in Asia


Activists in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand have formed a novel international alliance to defy authoritarian ruleThe language, the demands and the backdrop were different, but the protests across central Bangkok last week would have looked familiar to anyone who followed the mass demonstrations that roiled Hong Kong for a year from June 2019.Crowds of young protesters, dressed in black and wearing hard hats, poured through the streets to locations announced at the last minute on social media. As the police closed in and the protesters prepared for confrontation, hand gestures and human chains ensured supplies including protective masks and water reached the front lines. Continue reading... [...]

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Coronavirus: Mike Pence continues campaign tour despite chief of staff's positive test


Vice-president’s most senior aide, Marc Short, has virus but Pence and wife test negativeThe White House has said the vice-president, Mike Pence, plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite several members of his inner circle, including his chief of staff, testing positive for coronavirus.A spokesman for Pence disclosed late on Saturday that Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, had tested positive for the virus. Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative earlier in the day and the vice-president will not alter his schedule, the spokesman said. The New York Times reported that several other members of his inner circle had also tested positive in recent days. Continue reading... [...]

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Possible Veronica Guerin murder weapon found in Spanish drug raid


Revolver recovered during police raid on Alicante villa of Irish trafficker John GilliganSpanish and Irish police are examining a revolver found during a raid on the Alicante villa of the convicted Irish drug trafficker John Gilligan to determine whether it was the weapon used in the murder of the journalist Veronica Guerin.Gilligan, whose gang murdered the campaigning reporter on the outskirts of Dublin in 1996, was never convicted in connection with her killing. He did, however, threaten Guerin and her young son when she investigated his wealth and lifestyle. Continue reading... [...]

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France recalls ambassador to Turkey after Erdoğan questions Macron's mental state


Macron’s office says ‘rudeness is not a method’ after Turkish president calls for counterpart to have ‘mental checks’France said it would recall its envoy to Turkey for consultations following “unacceptable” comments by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that suggested his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, needed a mental health check-up.In the highly unusual move, a French presidential official said the French ambassador to Turkey was being recalled from Ankara for consultations and would meet Macron to discuss the situation after Erdoğan’s outburst. Continue reading... [...]

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Australia demands answers after women taken from Qatar Airways flight and strip-searched


Thirteen Australians reportedly among women taken off flight at Doha and subjected to medical examination after newborn found abandoned in airportThe Australian government has registered “serious concerns” with Qatari authorities after women on a flight from Doha to Sydney were ordered to disembark the plane and subjected to a strip search and a medical examination.Flight QR908 to Sydney was due to leave Hamad International airport at Doha at 8.30 on Friday 2 October, but was delayed for four hours, apparently after a newborn infant was found dead in the airport. Continue reading... [...]

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Venezuela opposition figure López has secretly fled, family says


Leopoldo López left Spanish embassy in Caracas ‘of his own free will’ and on way to MadridLeopoldo López, a Venezuelan opposition figure who has sheltered at the Spanish ambassador’s residence in Caracas for 18 months, has fled the country, his father has said. “I can confirm he left the embassy of his own free will and left Venezuela in secret,” his father, who is also called Leopoldo López and who lives in Spain, told AFP. Continue reading... [...]

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The lynx effect: Iberian cat claws its way back from brink of extinction


A 20-year project to reintroduce the species across the peninsula has seen their numbers rise to 855Spotty of coat, tufty of ear, and teetering on the verge of extinction less than two decades ago, the Iberian lynx is continuing to claw its way back across Spain and Portugal.According to the latest survey, the lynx population on the peninsula has increased ninefold over 18 years, rising from 94 in 2002 to 855 this year. Experts say that if the current conservation and reintroduction efforts can maintain their momentum, the species could be out of danger by 2040. Continue reading... [...]

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Treaty to ban nuclear weapons made official with 50th UN signatory


Production, use and stockpiling of nuclear weapons illegal from January 2021 though nuclear-armed states have not signed upAn international treaty banning nuclear weapons has been ratified by a 50th country, the UN has said, allowing the historic though essentially symbolic text to enter into force after 90 days.While nuclear powers have not signed up to the treaty, activists who have pushed for its enactment hold out hope that it will prove to be more than symbolic and have a gradual deterrent effect. Continue reading... [...]

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Instagram row over plus-size model forces change to nudity policy


Facebook amends code after deletion of black users’ photos sparks outrageAs campaigning victories go, forcing Mark Zuckerberg’s social media empire to admit a discriminatory flaw in its policy is no small feat.But following a campaign launched in this paper, the Observer can exclusively reveal that Instagram and its parent company Facebook will be updating its policy on nudity in order to help end discrimination of black women on its platforms and ensure all body types are treated fairly. Continue reading... [...]

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Chilling find shows how Henry VIII planned every detail of Boleyn beheading


Archives discovery shows the calculated nature of the execution and reinforces the image of the king as a ‘pathological monster’It is a Tudor warrant book, one of many in the National Archives, filled with bureaucratic minutiae relating to 16th-century crimes. But this one has an extraordinary passage, overlooked until now, which bears instructions from Henry VIII explaining precisely how he wanted his second wife, Anne Boleyn, to be executed.In this document, the king stipulated that, although his queen had been “adjudged to death… by burning of fire… or decapitation”, he had been “moved by pity” to spare her the more painful death of being “burned by fire”. But he continued: “We, however, command that… the head of the same Anne shall be… cut off.” Continue reading... [...]

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'Deep down, he's a terrified little boy': Bob Woodward, John Bolton and others on Trump


The authors of recent exposés, including Mary Trump and Anthony Scaramucci, on the president, his time in office – and what they expect to happen at the pollsBob Woodward is associate editor of the Washington Post and the author of 20 books on American politics. In 50 years as a journalist he has covered nine presidents. His reporting on the Watergate break-in and cover-up with his colleague Carl Bernstein helped bring down Richard Nixon and won the Post a Pulitzer prize. His latest book about Donald Trump, Rage, is based on 10 hours of interviews, spread over 19 taped phone calls, often initiated by the president himself, in which Trump proved “only too willing to blow the whistle on himself”, as the Observer’s review noted. Continue reading... [...]

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Police investigating Grenfell Tower fire make first arrest


Unnamed 38-year-old arrested on Saturday in SussexPolice investigating the Grenfell Tower disaster have arrested a man on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.The unnamed 38-year old was arrested on Saturday in Sussex and taken to a local police station, Scotland Yard said. Detectives released him the same day under investigation. Continue reading... [...]

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Gunmen kill at least six children in attack on Cameroon school


Attackers fired indiscriminately at schoolchildren in area where separatist insurgents are activeGunmen stormed a school in Cameroon on Saturday and opened fire indiscriminately, killing at least six children and wounding about eight more in a region where separatist insurgents operate, officials and parents said.Arriving on motorbikes and in civilian clothes, the attackers hit the school around midday in the city of Kumba in the Southwest Region, according to the accounts, including from one parent outside the school at the time. Continue reading... [...]

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Refugee advocates concerned for detainee held in Brisbane hotel for 16 months


Man transferred under Medevac to rejoin family has not been allowed to have them visit during pandemic and is now on suicide watchRefugee advocates have raised concerns about the welfare of a 37-year-old man who is under suicide watch at the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation after attempting self harm.The man, from Somalia, had been detained in a hotel at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane since being transferred to Australia from Nauru under now-defunct Medevac laws in June last year. Continue reading... [...]

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EU border force 'complicit' in illegal campaign to stop refugees landing


Evidence including footage of Frontex ship making waves near a migrant dinghy appears to contradict agency’s denial of involvement in pushbacksThe EU’s border agency has been accused of complicity in illegal and often dangerous pushbacks aimed at preventing asylum seekers crossing the Aegean Sea.Even as evidence of an aggressive maritime campaign by Greece has emerged, Frontex has denied knowledge of, or involvement in, pushbacks. But new evidence, including video footage showing a Frontex ship manoeuvring dangerously near a crowded dinghy full of people and creating waves that drove them back, appears to contradict the EU agency. Continue reading... [...]

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Croatia denies migrant border attacks after new reports of brutal pushbacks


Instances of alleged beatings and sexual assaults against asylum seekers continue to blight special unitsCroatia has dismissed allegations of violence by its border patrol after new reports emerged this week of border police allegedly beating, robbing and sexually abusing migrants.On Wednesday the head of home affairs for the European Commission, Ylva Johansson, said that she was taking the allegations “very seriously”. Continue reading... [...]

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The Nepalese play letting the crowd reimagine the ending – and their lives


Familiar issues of discrimination and child marriage are being taken to the stage through interactive theatre in remote villagesHigh in the mountains of a remote village in western Nepal – a region once home to a fierce Maoist insurgency – a large crowd is gathering.Women arrive with babies strapped to their fronts; children sit at the edge of the makeshift stage; local officials take up ad hoc seats. Not only is this the first time a play has been performed here – it is the first time a vehicle has ever reached the village. Whatever this travelling theatre group intends to perform, it is a spectacle not to be missed. Continue reading... [...]

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Nine weeks of bloodshed: how brutal policing of Kenya's Covid curfew left 15 dead


Violent enforcement of lockdown has led to legal action aiming to force police reform and accountability Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA nervous energy filled downtown Mombasa on the afternoon of 27 March. It was the first day of Kenya’s dusk-to-dawn curfew to curb the spread of Covid-19, and baton-wielding police were patrolling the streets of the coastal city as people rushed to get home. Confrontation was expected. Kenya’s police have a reputation for being heavy-handed even without the excuse of enforcing a nationwide curfew. But no one anticipated the brutality that was about to take place.The centre of the violence was the Likoni ferry terminal. Huge crowds had built up as commuters tried to get on ferries which were running at lower capacity due to new social distancing rules. Suddenly, hordes of police officers in riot gear appeared. They threw teargas into the crowds, lashing out at innocent men, women and children and forcing them to the ground. Dozens were made t [...]

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Progress in fight against child poverty could be wiped out by Covid, says report


UN and World Bank call for structural changes to tackle the effects of the pandemic on children, who make up half the world’s poor Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe world’s limited progress in tackling child poverty over recent years could be destroyed by the coronavirus pandemic, the UN and World Bank have warned.“Slow-paced, unequally distributed” progress meant one in six children were living in poverty even before the pandemic, according to a joint study. Continue reading... [...]

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'Power grab': how Republican hardball gave us Amy Coney Barrett


Confirmation of a sixth conservative on the nine-member court is due on Monday, the result of ruthless Republican politicsThe almost certain confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court on Monday represents a “power grab” by Republicans facing possible wipeout at the ballot box, activists and analysts say. Related: Revealed: ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse Continue reading... [...]

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From climate to China, how Joe Biden is plotting America’s restoration


The challenger aims to fix the foreign policy upheaval of the Trump years but such an agenda presents many challengesBy any measure, Joe Biden is old in the ways of the world. As Barack Obama’s vice-president, he met all the big international actors. As chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, he helped direct US foreign policy.After four years of Donald Trump’s manic leadership, the Democrat offers a steady, dependable hand on the tiller. Biden’s grand aim: a glorious American restoration, at home and abroad. Continue reading... [...]

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Biden gains as suburban women and elderly voters look to dump Trump


Nine days out from election day, polling shows the Democratic nominee with big leads in key demographicsJoe Biden’s hopes of reaching the White House could rest on two crucial demographic groups that appear to be deserting Donald Trump: elderly people and suburban women. Related: Trump assaulted American democracy – here's how Democrats can save it Continue reading... [...]

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Now that nuclear weapons are illegal, the Pacific demands truth on decades of testing | Dimity Hawkins


With a 50th nation ratifying it, the treaty outlawing nuclear weapons for all countries will come into force in 90 daysNuclear weapons will soon be illegal. Just over 75 years since their devastation was first unleashed on the world, the global community has rallied to bring into force a ban through the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.Late on Saturday night in New York, the 50th country – the central American nation of Honduras – ratified the treaty. Continue reading... [...]

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Donald Trump not following science, says US medical chief Anthony Fauci – video


Chief medical expert Anthony Fauci says President Trump is not following the science in suggesting that he is now immune and could 'come down and start kissing everybody'. In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US tempers Trump’s claims that there will be a vaccine by the end of the year, noting that a rollout will take 'several months into 2021' and that early use will focus on vulnerable populations and healthcare workersCoronavirus live: Trump not following science, says Fauci; UK targets vaccine for NHS staff 'by Christmas'US coronavirus cases surge in final days before electionCoronavirus vaccine final-stage testing to restart in USSee all our coronavirus coverage Continue reading... [...]

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Teargas deployed at anti-lockdown protest in Naples on day of new curfew – video report


Angry over a newly imposed 11pm to 5am regional curfew, demonstrators in the southern Italian city of Naples threw stones and bottles at police on Friday evening. The authorities responded with teargas. The stricter measures are an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, which has killed more than 37,000 people in Italy since the start of the pandemicCoronavirus news - live updates Continue reading... [...]

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Poland: scuffles erupt as thousands protest against abortion ban – video report


Police in Warsaw clashed with protesters during demonstrations against a constitutional tribunal ruling that imposes a near-total ban on abortion. Tens of thousands of people rallied across Poland on Friday, defying the country's tight coronavirus restrictionsPro-choice protesters march in Polish cities amid abortion ban anger Continue reading... [...]

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Coronavirus: European leaders tighten measures as WHO warns of pandemic juncture – video report


The World Health Organization has warned of a ‘critical juncture’ of the pandemic, particularly in the northern hemisphere, and urged heads of state to take action to reduce the spread of Covid-19.European leaders have increased restrictions as cases have continued rising. Wales has started a two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown and Portugal’s parliament has passed a law making the wearing of masks mandatory in many outdoor situationsCoronavirus live news: Wales ‘firebreak’ lockdown begins; Spanish PM says cases closer to 3m Continue reading... [...]

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Joe Biden: I'm going to 'shut down the virus', not the US – video


Joe Biden said he would not shut down the country in response to the coronavirus pandemic during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, reinforcing his answers during Thursday's presidential debate.Donald Trump had claimed Biden would force a nationwide lockdown if he became president, but the Democratic nominee has repeatedly said he does not believe that will be necessary to get the virus under controlUS election: early voting could reportedly fuel highest turnout since 1908 – liveBiden and Trump diverge sharply on major issuesTrump v Biden: the key moments of the final presidential debate – video highlights Continue reading... [...]

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'A good day for Libya': UN's Stephanie Williams announces permanent ceasefire – video


Stephanie Williams, the acting head of the United Nations mission in Libya, announced that rival forces in Libya had agreed a permanent nationwide ceasefire, including the departure of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from the country for a minimum of three months.'This is a good day for the Libyan people,' she said as UN chief António Guterres asked nations to respect the 'fundamental step towards peace and stability in Libya'Libya's rival forces sign permanent ceasefire at UN-sponsored talks Continue reading... [...]

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Trump v Biden: the key moments of the final presidential debate – video highlights


Joe Biden and Donald Trump have gone head-to-head for the final time before the US election on 3 November in the final television debate, helped by a mute button on the candidates’ microphones that prevented interruptions.Squaring off in Nashville, Biden had to field aggressive questioning about his son’s business dealings and when Trump compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, the challenger branded his opponent 'one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history'. Here is a look back at the key momentsThe final presidential debate – as it happenedTroubled Florida, divided America: will Donald Trump hold this vital swing state? – videoSign up for Fight to Vote – our weekly US election newsletter Continue reading... [...]

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