The Scottish Prison Service has confirmed that it is contacting retired officers to return to work during the coronavirus pandemic as the Prison Officers’ Association in Scotland revealed it is facing staffing shortages of nearly 25%.
Scotland’s prisons had already seen a significant staffing shortfall with chronic overcrowding putting undue pressure on officers. The figure of 25% includes those off on sick leave and maternity leave, as well as those absent because they are self-isolating.
From our understanding, it will be three weeks at the earliest before the necessary secondary legislation to release prisoners can be considered. To leave prisoners waiting this long is to ignore everything we now know about this virus.
This inaction verges on being reckless: It will mean a death sentence for some.
The Hong Kong government has been accused of attacking the editorial independence of its public broadcaster after criticising it for asking a World Health Organization official why Taiwan had not been admitted as a member.
In an official statement, a spokesman for Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said Radio Television Hong Kong had “breached the One-China Principle” as well as its mission of “engendering a sense of citizenship and national identity”. The statement said:
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, has clearly stated in a press release issued by the CEDB on 18 February and at his media stand-up on 17 March that RTHK must uphold and abide by the Charter of RTHK in discharging its duties to provide public service broadcasting. In reporting their work to the CEDB, the Director of Broadcasting and RTHK management have repeatedly pledged to the Secretary that RTHK will strictly adhere to and at all times abide by the Charter.
The public purposes and mission of RTHK have been clearly specified in the Charter, which includes engendering a sense of citizenship and national identity through programmes that contribute to the understanding of our community and nation; and promoting understanding of the concept of ‘One Country, Two Systems.’
??WOW?? Bruce Aylward/@WHO did an interview with HK's @rthk_news & when asked about #Taiwan he pretended not to hear the question. The journalist asks again & he hangs up!
She calls back & he said "Well, we've already talked about China."
When you look at the interview done by the Pulse reporter, it is about the coronavirus issue, it is about health. I don’t really understand why when a reporter is asking something relating to health, she or he has to remember there is ‘one country, two systems’ … in line with the government or China.
I believe the government statement may come after some kind of pressure from the foreign ministry or the Chinese Communist party, I don’t know. But I think the statement is the biggest nonsense.
The Guardian’s graphics team has produced this visualisation of the rate of increases in officially confirmed coronavirus infections in several countries around the world.
Of course, with wildly differing testing regimes in different countries, and accusations that China is hiding the true extent of its outbreak, such comparisons ought to be viewed in context.
Frontline workers in pharmacists are being subjected to a wave of abuse ranging from violent attacks to verbal intimidation such as being told: “I hope you get coronavirus.”
Police patrols have been deployed to some outlets as deterrents amid mounting day-to-day tensions, scuffles in queues outside premises, which are limiting the number of entrants, and incidents including the theft of one Midlands’ pharmacy’s stock by masked raiders.
NHS nurses are turning to online crowdfunding to ask for donations of everyday essentials including sanitary products, bedding and hand cream as some hospitals run low on basic items before the peak of the UK’s coronavirus outbreak.
Medics are using online wishlists to request thousands of products for staff and patients, ranging from teabags to sleeping bags and including iPads and chargers so families can speak to loved ones.
All over the country, people turn the camera on their lives and show how Covid-19 has changed their experience of work. A medical courier at the heart of the crisis demands basic rights, a worker at an empty airport pulls together a union hardship fund - and people in a range of jobs try to navigate the buckling benefits system and the government's scheme to help people who are no longer working. What burns through is the sudden urgency of people joining together to avoid the worst
Countries have approached coronavirus testing in different ways, and in some places there was far earlier recognition than in the UK of the need to develop tests and kits and to have sufficient numbers stockpiled. Here is how some countries got ahead of the curve.
The independent brewer BrewDog is considering reformulating hand sanitiser made at its distillery in Aberdeenshire after it was turned down by a local hospital because it did not meet medical standards.
The firm said last month it would be giving away its “punk sanitiser” free to charities and to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, but a donation of thousands of bottles was turned down by the hospital.
Tens of thousands of film and TV production staff left jobless by the coronavirus shutdown must be included in the chancellor’s coronavirus support package, an influential group of MPs has argued.
The cross-party digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee has written to the Treasury urging a rethink on Rishi Sunak’s measures so that more self-employed people are eligible for income support.
A major NHS hospital almost ran out of oxygen for its Covid-19 patients on ventilators because it was treating so many people with the disease who needed help to breathe.
The incident, which occurred at a London teaching hospital last weekend, has prompted NHS bosses to urgently warn all NHS trusts in England to limit the number of people they put on mechanical ventilators and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.
Asian countries that started to feel tentative hope that their responses to the coronavirus pandemic were bearing fruit are now facing possible second waves, brought by a rush of panicked people racing home to beat border closures and quarantine orders.
US sees second major unemployment rise as millions working in retail, restaurants, and travel lose jobs
More than 6.65 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the US last week, the latest official figures to highlight the devastating economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the American economy.
The federal labor department announced that a new record number of people sought benefits after losing their jobs in the week ending 27 Marchas long lines formed at unemployment offices, phone lines jammed and websites collapsed under the weight of claims across the US.
Officials in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, have told the Guardian an agreement to allow two coronavirus-stricken cruise liners to dock in Port Everglades should be reached “within a few hours”.
The Broward County commissioner, Beam Furr, said that excluding a few logistical details, the county had reached an agreement with the cruise operator Holland America Line on Wednesday night to allow for the ships to disembark.
To the sound of a single tolling bell, the brothers of the Confrérie des Charitables de Saint-Éloi, in capes, white gloves and bicornes, lift the coffin from a wooden cart and lower it into the ground.
Standing over the grave they remove their hats, say “requiescat in pace” (rest in peace) in unison and bow their heads. It does not matter whether the deceased is rich or poor, the solemn ritual is the same and has been since 1188.
Thomas Harvey was a family man, a father of seven, but in his last moments he was forced apart from them.
The 57-year-old nurse, who had been self-isolating at home with coronavirus symptoms, was found by paramedics who broke down a bathroom door to reach him, but sadly he could not be saved. It is impossible to know where exactly he was infected. But Harvey, the fifth NHS worker to die during this outbreak, reportedly told his wife he had been treating patients at Goodmayes hospital in Ilford equipped only with “a flimsy apron, and no mask”. He had devoted his life to the NHS, his daughter Tamira said and she felt he had been let down.
The Covid-19 pandemic has its villain. And it’s not the virus. Even the most outlandish Hollywood disaster movie wouldn’t entertain the notion of a president who encouragesthe public to go out more during a public health emergency, as Jair Bolsonaro has done.
Change is coming to the UK, when this crisis is over. Unless progressives have a plan, they will lose out like they did in 2008
It can take a grave national crisis to fire a flare, revealing the ugliest features of a society defined by injustices that the wealthy and powerful would rather forget. It took the second world war to achieve what the Jarrow hunger marches of the 1930s struggled for: to illustrate the national shame that millions of people who were called upon to make grand sacrifices were afflicted by poverty and malnourishment. As child evacuees with hungry bellies arrived on the doorsteps of the relatively well-to-do, the other Britain could no longer be ignored. “A revolutionary moment in the world’s history is a time for revolutions, not for patching,” declared William Beveridge as he laid the foundations for the postwar welfare state. Unprecedented state direction of the economy meant that Labour’s ambitious programme of nationalisation no longer seemed quite so scary. The old order perished in the rubble of war-ravaged Britain.
Coronavirus has done two things: it has magnified existing social crises and has proved that the government can act decisively when the will is there. Millions are only ever one pay packet away from destitution; the self-employed and gig economy workers lack security and basic rights; private tenants are at the mercy of their landlords; our welfare state is woefully inadequate; and many designated “key workers” are desperately undervalued and badly paid. Who, in good faith, cannow blind themselves to these grim truths?
As I was lying in a hospital bed last July after complications arising from chemotherapy, my oncologist entered the room with my scan results. Hospital had become familiar to me but his next words weren’t. The treatment wasn’t working. There was little else that could be done. I pressed him to be more specific and was told bluntly that I wouldn’t last a year. I would be lucky to have half that time. This was nine months ago, before Covid-19, and I’m very unlikely to be alive to see the other side of lockdown.
Almost two years ago, as summer in London was just beginning, an ultrasound to investigate a bladder infection found a large tumour on my right adrenal gland that had spread to my lungs. I was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma, an extremely rare and aggressive cancer. It is in desperate need of research; when it is advanced there is very little effective treatment. This was not something I expected in my late 20s. Early on, after reading the bleak statistics, I started preparing myself for the inevitable. But treatment began positively and my focus changed to getting better. When death isn’t staring you in the face, it is easy to push back the difficult thoughts and conversations. Dying was something to address later.
“I could tell the nurses were as scared as me; they told me my coronavirus test was positive as if I was going to die,” says Ati, 41, who was admitted to hospital in Edinburgh after suffering from a fever, a constant cough, abdominal and chest pain, shortness of breath and the loss of her sense of smell and taste.
She had initially been told by 111 call responders to nurse her symptoms at home, but was instructed to go to hospital after coughing up blood.
Campers and open-water swimmers are coping with lockdown by going wild in their own homes and gardens. Are you doing the same? Share your virtual adventures at #guardiantravelsnaps
Desperate times call for creativity, and for cooped-up outdoor enthusiasts that means attempting to conjure up a sense of adventure at home.
Across the country, lovers of camping are pitching their tents in gardens or living rooms, complete with marshmallows for toasting and guitars to play around mock campfires. Emma Cuff of West Malling in Kent is among the small but growing group of indoor campers dusting off their tents. “We’ve got four camping trips booked this summer which may or may not go ahead, so for some fun we dug out an old tent from the loft.” She posted the results on Instagram with the hashtag #thevirtualcampsite – and won a tent from Cool Camping, one of several companies encouraging people to post their home creations on social media. This week Cool Camping is giving away a pair of hiking boots to the best effort. Outdoor gear specialist Cotswold Outdoor is hosting a virtual Easter camp on Saturday 11 April, inviting people to share photos of pitches, camp food and views (#campingathome), and offering tutorials and demonstrations. Go Outdoors plans to offer tips in its GO Indoors project. The upside? Rain can’t ruin an indoor camping trip.
There are plenty of ways to get involved. Many local charities will be keen to attract new volunteers – especially as older stalwarts are forced to stay at home. Or there are national schemes, such as NHS volunteer responders. Some bigger charities, such as the Trussell Trust food bank network, have set up their own onlineschemes to match volunteers with food banks in their area. Local volunteer centres and organisations such as Volunteering Matters and Do-it can link you up with charities close to where you live. Reach Volunteering will match people with specialist professional skills, such IT expertise, to charities who need their help.
Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland failed to comply with 2015 programme, ECJ says
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic broke European law when they failed to give refuge to asylum seekers arriving in southern Europe, often having fled war in Syria and Iraq, the EU’s top court has ruled.
The three central European countries now face possible fines for refusing to take a share of refugees, after EU leaders forced through mandatory quotas to relocate up to 160,000 asylum seekers at the height of the 2015 migration crisis.
Ex-government adviser says substances such as psilocybin could have medical value
Restrictions on the use of psychedelic drugs in research should be relaxed to help find new treatments for conditions including mental health disorders, the former government adviser Prof David Nutt has said.
They are already the scourge of the seaside day tripper, mounting mobbing raids on those enjoying fish and chips.
Now, with the coronavirus lockdown and all but essential travel banned, coastal residents are being warned seagulls could be more aggressive than usual because of a drop in their preferred food source.
Moving summit gives world time to respond to coronavirus and may allow a new US leader to join talks
Green campaigners and climate leaders have vowed to keep up the pressure on governments around the world to make stringent new commitments on the climate crisis, as a vital UN climate summit was delayed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cop26 talks were scheduled to take place this November in Glasgow, but the UK hosts won a delay on Wednesday night from the UN and other nations, after weeks of speculation the talks would be cancelled.
In 2019, 10,627 potential victims were identified meaning they were provided with specialist support
The number of potential modern slavery victims identified in the UK has risen by 52% in a year to a record high, official figures have revealed.
In 2019, 10,627 potential victims of modern slavery were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the official system through which victims of modern slavery are identified and provided with support. This was up from 6,986 in 2018.
Adam Neumann had been lined up to sell $970m of his own shares to Japanese investor
WeWork’s founder and former chief executive, Adam Neumann, has threatened to sue SoftBank, the office space company’s biggest investor, after it pulled out of a deal to buy $3bn (£2.4bn) of WeWork shares – including almost $1bn from Neumann himself.
The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld joins five other ‘expansively imagined’ novels contending for £50,000 award
Dutch author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has become one of the youngest writers to be shortlisted for a Booker prize, after their debut novel made the final line-up for the International Booker.
Rijneveld, a rising star in Dutch literature, is 28 – slightly older than British author Daisy Johnson was when she was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 2018, age 27. The author, who identifies as male and uses the pronouns they/them, was shortlisted after a six-hour virtual judging meeting for the £50,000 prize, which is shared equally between writer and translator, for The Discomfort of Evening, translated by Michele Hutchison. The novel, tells of a girl whose brother dies in a skating accident and draws from Rijneveld’s own experiences: when they were three, their 12-year-old brother was knocked over and killed by a bus.
The company has seen a 535% rise in daily traffic in the past month, but security researchers say the app is a ‘privacy disaster’
As coronavirus lockdowns have moved many in-person activities online, the use of video conferencing platform Zoom has quickly escalated. So, too, have concerns about its security.
In the last month, there was a 535% rise in daily traffic to the Zoom.us download page, according to an analysis from web analytics firm SimilarWeb. Its app for iPhone has been the most downloaded app in the country for weeks, according to the mobile app market research firm Sensor Tower. Even politicians and other high-profile figures, including the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the former US federal reserve chair Alan Greenspan, use it for conferencing as they work from home.
Would a comedy double act called McGinnis and Mead ever have come to be seen as the natural successors to Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise? That remains a counter-historical imponderable. But, when Edward Hugh McGinnis, who has died aged 78, changed his name to Eddie Large and teamed up with Cyril John Mead, who called himself Syd Little, the duo Little and Large did take the place of Morecambe and Wise – in terms at least of BBC One scheduling prominence from 1978 to 1991.
Large had mostly retired from the showbiz frontline in 2003, following a heart transplant. The immunosuppressant drugs necessary after such an operation put him in one of the highest-risk groups for the Covid-19 virus.
While still a cult concern in the UK, this Spanish thriller is the streaming service’s most popular foreign show. As it returns, its creator and stars explain how it became unmissable
You’ve rewatched The Wire, seen every episode of Friends at least twice and are starting to wonder if this is what it feels like to “complete” Netflix. But wait: there’s a world-changing, cultural juggernaut of a TV show that – while hugely popular – you may well have missed.
This week, Money Heist – or, to use its Spanish title, La Casa de Papel – begins another eight-episode run on Netflix, where it is the streaming giant’s most-watched non-English language show worldwide. The first season of the full-throttle thriller saw its gang – all code-named after major cities and memorably clad in revolutionary-red overalls and Salvador Dalí masks – break into the Royal Mint of Spain, taking 67 people hostage and literally printing money: 2.4bn euros, to be exact. It’s fair to say that the plot doesn’t quite go to plan, though it does result in three raunchy romances and an island escape. Season three, an even wilder ride, proved that for this gang loyalty is as much a motivation as loot.
How better to liven up lockdown than to stage the entire Shakespeare canon online? Our writer reports on his role in the webcam drama
‘Would you like to take part in a livestreamed performance of a Shakespeare play?” An innocent enough request, and tempting in these monochrome, locked-down times. At first I think I am being offered a part in Henry IV Part I, a very good play I dimly remember from A-level. Perhaps I could play the fiery Hotspur. But I realise it is actually Henry VI Part I – early Shakespeare, co-written with others, and reckoned by some to be the Bard’s weakest number. Oh well, you have to start somewhere. In any case it is too late. The die is cast, and so am I.
Keir Starmer continues to be the bookie’s favourite to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition, and enjoyed a bounce after the weekend’s hustings. Clive Lewis and Jess Phillips, meanwhile have withdrawn from the contest. Find out who’s in the running and how the odds are evolving
Anushka Asthana talks to Laura McClelland, a consultant anaesthetist in an intensive care unit at a busy south Wales hospital. She describes the impact the virus has had on her and her colleagues and the patients and their families she is treating. At a time when the NHS is struggling to cope, she urges people to stay at home, noting that this is not just a virus that affects older people – she is treating people ranging from their 20s to 80s.
The lockdown across the world has led people to desperately seek out new tools for maintaining their work and social lives online. But UK technology editor Alex Hern argues he’s been living this way for years
The sudden lockdown imposed on millions of people around the world has seen a transition of nearly every aspect of daily life migrate online. From business meetings to religious services and house parties, there are tech solutions which, if not quite as satisfying, have quickly become the new normal.
But for the Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, this has been no revolution. He tells Anushka Asthana that for as long as he can remember, he has lived and worked online.
Science writer and journalist Laura Spinney discusses the outbreak of Spanish flu, one of the worst virus outbreak of modern times, which is believed to have killed up to 100 million people. She believes there are lessons to be learned from that pandemic
The world of 2020 is vastly different from 1918, the year Spanish flu began to spread around the world. By 1920, Spanish flu is thought to have claimed the lives of up to 100 million people. But, as science writer and journalist Laura Spinney notes, many of the public health measures were similar to measures governments are taking today.
Laura tells Rachel Humphreys about the different ways authorities tried to slow the spread of the disease, and the impact that had.
As government critics pile on Boris Johnson and his team over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s one figure who’s notably pulling their punches: Sir Keir Starmer.
Barring a major political upset, the shadow Brexit secretary is on course to be crowned Labour leader this weekend. His fellow MPs are already working on the assumption that he is: Labour politicians are working to curry favour while the Tories are preparing for a “forensic” Starmer-led opposition.
Only by coming together will the world be able to face down the Covid-19 pandemic and its shattering consequences. At an emergency virtual meeting last Thursday, G20 leaders took steps in the right direction. But we are still far away from having a coordinated, articulated global response that meets the unprecedented magnitude of what we are facing.
Far from flattening the curve of infection, we are still well behind it. The disease initially took 67 days to infect 100,000 people; soon, 100,000 people and more will be infected daily. Without concerted and courageous action, the number of new cases will almost certainly escalate into the millions, pushing health systems to breaking point, economies into a nosedive and people into despair, with the poorest hit hardest.
We must prepare for the worst and do everything to avoid it. Here is a three-point call to action – based on science, solidarity and smart policies – for doing just that.
First, suppress transmission of the coronavirus.
This requires aggressive and early testing and contact tracing, complemented by quarantines, treatment and measures to keep first responders safe, combined with measures to restrict movement and contact. Such steps, despite the disruptions they cause, must be sustained until therapies and a vaccine emerge.
Crucially, this robust and cooperative effort should be guided by the World Health Organization, a member of the United Nations family; countries acting on their own – as they must for their people – will not get the job done for all.
Second, tackle the devastating social and economic dimensions of the crisis.
The virus is spreading like wildfire, and is likely to move swiftly into the global south, where health systems face constraints, people are more vulnerable, and millions live in densely populated slums or crowded settlements for refugees and internally displaced persons. Fuelled by such conditions, the virus could devastate the developing world and then re-emerge where it was previously suppressed. In our interconnected world, we are only as strong as the weakest health systems.
The past few weeks have revealed the worst and the best in human responses to the coronavirus crisis – from the supermarket hoarders clearing the shelves to the neighbourhood groups organising help for elderly and vulnerable people.
When it comes to the pharmaceutical companies, how should we judge their response? They, after all, hold the key to ending the pandemic. Yet in one vital respect their behaviour has more in common with the supermarket hoarders than the neighbourhood groups.
Wherever we look, there is a demand for data about Covid-19. We devour dashboards, graphs and visualisations. We want to know about the numbers of tests, cases and deaths; how many beds and ventilators are available, how many NHS workers are off sick. When information is missing, we speculate about what the government might be hiding, or fill in the gaps with anecdotes.
Data is a necessary ingredient in day-to-day decision-making – but in this rapidly evolving situation, it’s especially vital. Everything has changed, almost overnight. Demands for food, transport, and energy have been overhauled as more people stop travelling and work from home. Jobs have been lost in some sectors, and workers are desperately needed in others. Historic experience can no longer tell us how our society or economy is working. Past models hold little predictive power in an unprecedented situation. To know what is happening right now, we need up-to-date information.
When the parcel arrives, I will tear into it with the same joy as I did when I received my first one at university
The first care package I received from home was a few months into my first year of university in the US. I was 17 and it was my first time living alone abroad; homesickness came in waves and sat like a dead weight on my chest. So when the brown cardboard box came, battered from its flight from China, I tore into it as if it were a lifeline.
Nestled among the bubble wrap were mementos of the life I had left behind: beef jerky from the convenience store at the corner of our street, a small tin of green tea from our last family hike to a mountain plantation, a dog-eared Polaroid of my best friend and me that sat on my nightstand at home. It was a tug on the invisible thread that still tethered me to those who were thinking of me; a reminder that despite my immediate loneliness I was not, in fact, alone.
Whether creating wily pastiche or heartfelt hits, Schlesinger – who has died of Covid-19 – was driven by a purist’s devotion to old-fashioned songcraft
You got a sense of the breadth of Adam Schlesinger’s talent from the tributes. There were people from alternative rock: Ted Leo, Dashboard Confessional. There were people from Hollywood and theatre: Tom Hanks, Fran Drescher. There were TV personalities (Kathy Griffin) and politicians (New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy) and novelists (Stephen King). There was the superstar producer who summed it all up: “Adam Schlesinger took pop music writing to its classiest and most untouchable place,” said Jack Antonoff. “An honour to live at the same time he made his work.”
So many people, from so many different strands, because Schlesinger wasn’t one thing; he was a musical omnivore. He was the Grammy-winning rock musician with Fountains of Wayne; he was the pop sophisticate of Ivy; he was the songwriter providing faux hits for movies about musicians (That Thing You Do!, for which he was nominated for an Oscar, Hugh Grant’s 80s pop hit in Music and Lyrics); he was the writer who soundtracked a musical TV series (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and who wrote for Sesame Street. He even managed to pick up an Emmy for a song written for a different awards show – his musical pastiche It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore, for the 2011 Tony Awards – and then do it again with another song for the same ceremony the following year. There was seemingly no style he could not master. He was, genuinely, one of the pop geniuses of the past quarter-century.
From Arsenal to Wolves, we look at what the clubs are doing regarding pay for players, non-playing staff and casual staff
Arsenal continue to monitor the situation regarding player and staff wages and are playing an active role in the Premier League’s discussions. But there has been no decision taken and the focus has been on ensuring casual employees are looked after. All will be paid as normal until 30 April with the situation reviewed thereafter. Full-time employees were paid for the month on 27 March, as expected. For now there is little appetite to make redundancies. Nick Ames
Handful of national governing bodies face an existential threat
‘Sports like ours will find it very difficult to recover’
Some British sporting bodies, including those sending athletes to next year’s Olympics, fear they could go under because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Guardian can reveal.
A handful of national governing bodies have privately told UK Sport that they face an existential threat due to the crisis, while at least a dozen more say they are facing a severe financial hit with events being cancelled and other sources of revenue being slashed.
Richard Lewis, the outgoing chief executive of Wimbledon, hopes tennis can be “off and running again” by August, when the US Open is scheduled to begin, although he admits there may be “no more tennis this year”.
England will know by the end of the month whether the summer tour to Japan will go ahead having extended the contract of the head coach, Eddie Jones, until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Jones, who is in Japan where his wife is visiting her family, said he signed up for another three years because he had unfinished business with England, who were beaten by South Africa in the World Cup final last year.
The R&A’s chief executive, Martin Slumbers, has admitted postponement of the Open Championship this year is a possibility, but no final decision has yet been taken on the fate of the July event at Royal St George’s.
A report in the United States has claimed the Open was on the brink of cancellation because of the coronavirus crisis. Last week it was clear the major would at least follow the lead of the Masters and US PGA Championship by postponing. Scheduling issues, television commitments, insurance and the fact St Andrews is due to stage the 150th playing of the Open next summer are all relevant factors.
Stokes and Charles Leclerc join lineup for second virtual race
McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz take pay cuts
The England cricketer Ben Stokes will take on five Formula One drivers, including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, in the sport’s second virtual grand prix this weekend.
Stokes, the World Cup winning all-rounder and BBC sports personality of the year, will team up with Thailand’s Alexander Albon in the Red Bull lineup. McLaren’s Lando Norris and the Williams pairing of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi will also be competing, along with the retired racer and TV pundit Johnny Herbert.
This week’s roundup also features a rugby league rumpus and a thwarted horse’s previous endeavours
1) While most of us are cooped up indoors, it’s a great time to dig out old games consoles from the attic to reaquaint yourselves with some old favourites. Or, indeed, to check out some that are … less classic.
Two Oslo bookshop owners choose to go delivery-only to keep their business afloat at the start of lockdown. Pil Cappelen Smith and Anders Cappelen deliver books wearing full hazmat suits and gas masks in order to raise local awareness of the seriousness of the situation. But as the global crisis worsens, they embark on one last delivery run before deciding to shut up shop completely
As Elon Musk's Starlink and Jeff Bezos's Project Kuiper race to create high-speed internet using satellites orbiting Earth, there's a small problem that could get in the way: debris. From dead spacecraft that have been around since the dawn of the space age to flecks of paint smashing windows on the International Space Station, rubbish is clogging up our orbits. And with objects moving as fast as 15,500mph (25,000 kmph), the satellite services we've come to depend on are at constant risk of collision. So how to fix the problem with junk in space? Ian Anderson investigates
How can a community keep in touch when it can’t physically be together? A group of performers have set up what they say is the first global cabaret to tackle the social isolation of coronavirus lockdowns. Getting ready for the show, activist Dan Glass says there is a lot to learn from his own HIV diagnosis, which left him socially isolated for years
With Donald Trump under increasing scrutiny over his approach to the coronavirus crisis in the US, the president has used his daily press briefings to lash out at the media. With more than 165,000 recorded cases, the US is now the worst-affected country in the world.
We're buying more clothes than ever, but it's not all fast fashion. More than half of 25- to 34-year-olds buy secondhand or vintage clothes, and resale apps such as Depop, Stock X and Vestiaire Collective are tapping into the millennial and generation Z market. But if people are buying secondhand they're not buying new. Grace Shutti investigates how the fashion world is responding
The best thing to do when trying to understand a new virus like Covid-19 is to look at the data. The Guardian's science correspondent Hannah Devlin uses the latest figures to explain who is most at risk of contracting this coronavirus, why men are more likely to die from the disease, and the reasons health workers could be particularly vulnerable
British Gas is bracing for a steep fall in revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, as households delay paying their bills and its business customers close their sites.
The owner of Britain’s largest energy supplier abandoned its cash flow forecasts for the year because it cannot predict how many households will be able to pay their energy bills, or how long they may defer payments to weather the coronavirus lockdown.
Air quality index peaks at three across England and Wales, but wood fires and farming continue to cause pollution
We think of spring as the time of blossom and fresh new green growth, but it is often the most polluted time of year in western Europe. Last week, as winds turned easterly, particle pollution once again spread across western Europe. Spring smogs can cause particle pollution to reach the top value of 10 in the UK air quality index, but four to nine is more typical.
With the lockdown in place, the increases were less than normal. The air quality index peaked at three over most of England and Wales. A few places in south-east England, Yorkshire and north Wales reached four, the level where health advisory messages are issued. After three days, a welcome change of wind direction at the weekend pushed the polluted air southwards.
British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh could be released from prison within days
A British-born Islamist militant facing execution for the 2002 kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl may walk free after a court in Pakistan commuted his sentence, and acquitted three co-accused.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was convicted of masterminding Pearl’s murder, and sentenced to death in 2002. He has been in jail ever since awaiting the outcome of a series of appeals and legal arguments.
Video by activists appears to show cruel treatment of weeks-old cattle transported on long journeys to Europe for veal
Footage which appears to show Irish calves being beaten and kicked at a French feeding station has been published by animal campaign groups.
The video, published by Eyes on Animals (EoA) and French welfare organisation L214, appears to show workers repeatedly beating calves that are a few weeks old with sticks. One is kicked and another is dragged away, unable to stand. The calf was euthanised by a vet, said an EoA observer.
More than a million Bangaldeshi garment workers have been sent home without pay or have lost their jobs after western clothing brands cancelled or suspended £2.4bn of existing orders in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, according to data from the Bangladeshi and Garment Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Primark and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill are among retailers that have collectively cancelled £1.4bn and suspended an additional £1bn of orders as they scramble to minimise losses. This includes nearly £1.3bn of orders that were already in production or had been completed, according to BGMEA.
The UN climate talks due to be held in Glasgow later this year have been postponed as governments around the world struggle to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The most important climate negotiations since the Paris agreement in 2015 were scheduled to take place this November to put countries back on track to avoid climate breakdown. They will now be pushed back to 2021.
Alek Sigley was studying in Pyongyang when he was blindfolded and taken to an interrogation facility where his handlers demanded he confess to his ‘crimes’
“Do you know what day it is?” asked the man as we sat in the black Mercedes-Benz that had whisked me from the foreign student dormitory at Kim Il-sung university, where I had been living in the North Korean capital Pyongyang. I knew full well, but he answered his own question: “It’s the day the US imperialists invaded and started the war.”
It was Tuesday 25 June, and the start of my nine long days of interrogation at the hands of the North Korean ministry of state security – or at least that’s who I believed it was, as they never revealed who they actually were.
Two Métis men were found shot dead in rural Alberta after what police believe was an ambush
Police in Canada are investigating the murders of two Indigenous men who they suspect were ambushed after returning from a successful hunt in rural Alberta.
The bodies of Jake Sansom, 39, and his uncle Morris Cardinal, 57, were found early on 28 March beside Sansom’s pickup truck on a country road near Glendon, a farming town 160 miles north-east of Edmonton. Both had gunshot wounds.
Hungary’s nationalist government announced measures to strip the country’s mayors of political autonomy, before appearing to ditch them hours later, the latest episode in a political drama in which the prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has been accused of using the coronavirus to mount a power grab.
On Monday, Hungary’s parliament passed a law that gives Orbán the right to rule by decree for an indefinite period and also criminalises intentionally spreading false information about coronavirus with up to five years in prison. The move was roundly criticised by Orbán’s domestic and international critics.
I first became aware of James Bond in 1989, which was not, I have since learned from Bondologists, a vintage Bond era. Two film posters were ubiquitous that summer: the first was for Batman, starring Michael Keaton, and the second was for Licence to Kill, starring Timothy Dalton. In the months leading up to the release of these films, I watched their trailers seemingly hundreds of times: they were both franchises about a superhero (because, really, what else is the ageless, unkillable Bond by this point?); both featured a good guy with a gun killing a lot of bad guys with guns; both lightened the bloodshed with a sprinkling of winking jokes. Yet while I queued up to see Batman the day it was released and have watched it about 3,000 times since, I not only never saw Licence to Kill but I have never watched a single Bond movie, ever. Honestly, the whole Bond thing repelled me then and repels me now.
Let’s get this out of the way: it’s not the sexism. I don’t care that the character is a tedious sexist anachronism who shags everything, especially, if he’s played by Roger Moore and said thing is 30 years younger than him. He’s from a different era – I get it. But he’s such a little boy’s idea of sexy machismo, with those absurd dinner jackets and perfect hair and all that wankiness about martinis. He’s an issue of GQ come to life, and you know he smells of terrible Armani colognes, just like GQ does. The comedy in Batman was genuinely funny and self-satirical: “Can somebody tell me what kind of world we live in where a man dressed up as a bat gets all of my press?”. But Bond’s humour is self-serving and self-satisfied, the kind beloved by people who belong to private members’ clubs. In short: “Let me tell you a joke that will make me look marvellous and all the rest of you stupid and little.” In his 2006 book on Bond, The Man Who Saved Britain, Simon Winder claims this is a reflection of Britain’s psyche after the loss of empire: a desire to believe that Britain – in this case, represented by Bond – was still the coolest cat in the room. I’m sure Winder is right, that Bond is basically Britain in breakdown mode. But like all breakdowns, it’s painful to watch.
The nightmarish tale of a house that is bigger on the inside than the outside still inspires devotion. Fans, and the author, share what it means to them
The origin of Mark Z Danielewski’s debut novel House of Leaves sounds like something from the book itself: a messy bundle of papers that circulated in an underground scene before being officially published by Pantheon Books in March 2000. The novel quickly gained a cult following, and was praised for its experiments with typography, labyrinthine design and strange story centred on one man’s discovery that his new family home is larger on the inside than the outside, by one inch.
They are happy to trash movies from the comfort of their typewriters, but what happens when critics put their money where their mouth is?
It was at the London premiere of Shakespeare in Love in 1999 that Henry Fitzherbert decided to seize his chance and make the leap from film reviewer of the Sunday Express to Hollywood screenwriter. Buttonholing the movie’s producer, Harvey Weinstein, he pitched him an adaptation he had written of Stephen Benatar’s amnesia thriller Recovery. “He told me to get it to his hotel suite by 6am and he’d read it on the plane home,” Fitzherbert recalls. “Then I got a call from his New York office saying he loved it and I thought: ‘I’m going to be an overnight success!’ I was summoned to a meeting with his senior exec in London, given ‘notes’, which I worked on for months – and never heard from any of them again. As people say, it’s not the rejections that kill you, it’s the hope.”
Nearly two decades later, Fitzherbert finally moved decisively from reviewing to screenwriting when two of his scripts – the historical drama Born a King and the horror-comedy Slaughterhouse Rulez, co-written with the former Kula Shaker frontman Crispian Mills – went into production in 2017. Though, as he points out, the career change was “not by choice but design: the paper had let me go”. Rather satisfyingly, the first day of principal photography on Born a King happened to coincide with his final one as a reviewer. “I left the screening room in Soho, drove to Hatfield House and walked on to the set of my debut film where a cast and crew of 200 were bringing my screenplay to life on an extraordinary scale. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better ‘fuck you’ to the paper.”
How did canal terminology become a word for enforced isolation?
Countries around the world have gone into “lockdown” to slow the spread of coronavirus, though some lockdowns are more permeable than others, and no one has yet been forcibly barricaded inside their homes. So why “lockdown” in the first place?
“Lock” is an old Germanic word for a lock or other fastening mechanism, or a space enclosed by such a mechanism, which is why a lock in modern English is also a barrier in a canal. To “lock in” (a person in a chamber) or to “lock up” (originally the chamber or door itself) date from the 15th and 16th centuries, but a “lockdown” is much more recent.
Available online Ahamefule J Oluo’s 2014 show about having an autoimmune disease is a moving hybrid of comedy, theatre and jazz
Since venues closed their doors because of the coronavirus, a wealth of online theatre has emerged and the industry is finding quick, creative ways to bring the stage to screen. But alongside the new, it is worth diving into the archives to find buried treasure.
Ahamefule J Oluo’s innovative show Now I’m Fine is one such gem. Originally staged at Seattle’s Moore theatre in 2014, and streaming at OntheBoards.tv, it has been dubbed a “standup big-band autobiography” for its original, hybrid form. It feels new in content too, speaking to our precarious times and bolstering the spirit.
From rewatching 1990s TV shows to replaying classic computer games, taking the safe option when it comes to entertainment can help audiences rediscover themselves
Never before has civilisation produced so much new pop culture. From the plethora of TV shows on competing streaming platforms to the seemingly infinite choice offered by online music and gaming services, the wealth of new material being released each month is staggering. Yet when it comes to cultural consumption, audiences are increasingly choosing to seek out classic, safe bets – forgoing the next big thing in favour of the last big thing.
According to UK media watchdog Ofcom, the single most-watched programme in the first quarter of 2019 was the 1990s sitcom Friends. In the US, the top Netflix spot has long been held by the US version of the Office, which first aired 15 years ago. Meanwhile at the box office, sequels and reboots abound. Last year’s top five grossing films in the UK included the remake of the Lion King, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2 and Star Wars: Episode IX – the Rise of Skywalker.
There’s no shame in doing something you know to be great. Alexi Duggins explains why playing it safe is a smarter step
Has there ever been a more underrated word in the English language than “safe”? For something that is fundamentally a good thing, people can be weirdly dismissive about it. Eyes are rolled at workplace health and safety as though it’s somehow uncool to not lose a hand to poorly maintained machinery. Romcoms lazily wield it as an unflattering cliche: “Oh, I don’t know. My award-winning humanitarian of a partner is perfect in every conceivable way – but they’re just so … safe, you know?”
Meanwhile, there’s no bigger cliche than being edgy just for the sake of trend-chasing. Over the past two decades, the fad for extreme sports has reached (and plummeted from) ever-crazier heights. Our fetishisation of high-risk, high-wire living has even spread to dining, with foodies flocking to increasingly ridiculous eateries simply because they look cool on social media. How many times have our friends told us they tried out a Hot New Place that wasn’t actually very good – while we pity their gullibility and coo soothing words such as: “Oh what a shame that insect-based menu wasn’t actually that delicious.”
Having once lived life as a high-stakes game, Nirpal Dhaliwal has turned his back on the lemming-like pursuit of high-octane moments. He explains the rich rewards of embracing safety
As a young man, I relished the sharp tang of risk; that piquant charge that accompanies the taste of a first, preferably illicit, kiss, or when stepping off a plane in an unknown city to find hazardous sport among strangers.
Life was a high-stakes game in which it was always best to twist – never to stick. True pleasure, I mistakenly thought, came always at the chance of a painful price. Relationships, money, even my health, were all things I was happy to wager in this endless pursuit of an explosive experience.
With lack of attention behind the wheel one of the major causes of traffic accidents, advanced driver assistance systems have become the focus of vehicle safety design. And these devices are already proving their worth
Who hasn’t found their attention straying behind the wheel? Modern life is riddled with distractions that fight tooth and nail for our attention – whether it’s noisy children, garish adverts, tiredness, traffic cameras, personal pressures, endless to-do lists or those digital devices and social media notifications that we forgot to switch to silent. We always seem to be spreading our attention too thinly or are exhausted from having to think 10 different thoughts.
Driver distraction is a major cause of road traffic accidents. According to the UK’s Department for Transport, driver or rider error or reaction (failing to look properly, loss of control and poor manoeuvring) was cited as a contributory factor in 63% of fatalities in reported road accidents in 2018.
Some places stand as monuments to recovery, others inspire our readers with their beauty – or the wisdom of the ancients
Ten years ago we were at Epidaurus, and each took turns to descend to the orchestra and read from Sophocles or Euripides – among the wisest writers of all time. It’s been a turbulent 10 years for Greece and for us. When the dust has settled it would be good to revisit and remind ourselves of some of the eternal wisdoms and pleasures. Mary O’Keeffe
We face, among other more existential challenges, a whole new set of rules. Coronavirus has turned etiquette on its head and what once were gestures of friendship are now acts of daring. Fundamentally, society used to run on the idea that we were all welcome in one another’s space; suddenly, civility amounts to how much distance we keep between ourselves, and how much we shield others from our presence. It is one hell of a gear shift. And it is also important not to overcorrect, not to judge one another from a thousand yards, not to needlessly insult one another in situations that are not, actually, that endangering. Courtesy has never been more serious: it is the way we signal that we still care about each other, when we’re not allowed to hug. So here are some answers to the questions that we are increasingly asking.
This social distancing thing: how should I walk down the pavement? In the middle? On the left? On the right? Or next to the street so I can get right out of people’s way?
Rihanna shows how it’s done with her durag on the cover of this month’s Vogue, while the #DontRushChallenge showcases black women’s makeup skills in all its diverse glory. I’m off to find a lipstick to match my slippers ...
Rihanna, the reigning queen of stay-at-home couture, made history yesterday, appearing on the cover of British Vogue in a durag, the choice of bedtime headwear for many black people. Way ahead of last year’s nightwear as a daywear trend, she previously donned one covered in Swarovski crystals at the CFDA awards in 2014. In 2013, she wore a doobie wrap – a common interim style black women use to keep freshly treated hair intact during the night – at the American Music awards. Her taste in headgear makes me feel much more chic as I work from home in a polyester durag and oversized shirt.
I miss going out, but I miss getting ready to go out probably just as much, if not more. And it’s not just me – as the #OOTD hashtag declines during lockdown, the @wfhfits Instagram account, which documents the showstopping outfits contributors are wearing to work from home, is now 18.4k strong. The #DontRushChallenge takes this to the next level. Started by Twitter user @lase_asoloo, participants go from drab to fab in the (slickly edited) tap of a makeup brush. Much like the DMX Challenge – which last year saw women showcasing various hairstyles synced to the 46 names the rapper lists on his song What They Really Want – the #DontRushChallenge is dominated by #blackgirlmagic and has been an utter joy to watch.
Who could have guessed that a mullet-wearing, polyamorous exotic animal owner would become TV’s most talked-about gay star?
In the early 2000s, the most popular queer characters on TV were Jack McFarland and Will Truman of the sitcom Will & Grace. Will and Jack were so beloved, Vice-President Joe Biden once theorized the show had played a major role in shifting views on marriage equality. The characters were also the start of a trope that would prevail on TV for years: the cosmopolitan gay male. The image would live on in shows such as Queer as Folk, Looking, and the reality competitions Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model. Who could imagine that 20 years on, a mullet-wearing, gay, polyamorous exotic animal owner from rural Oklahoma would become TV’s biggest talked about gay star?
Joe Exotic, the eccentric subject of the Netflix docu-series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, has amassed a fervent following in the short time since the show’s premiere on Friday. The rapper Cardi B live-tweeted her reactions and expressed a desire to start a GoFundMe campaign for Mr Exotic, whose full name Wikipedia gives as Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage (né Schreibvogel). Fans have taken to dressing up as Joe, slapping on fake handlebar mustaches and blond mullet wigs. And actors such as Dax Shepard and Jared Leto are pitching themselves to play the gun-loving zookeeper in a forthcoming scripted miniseries. Amid the anxiety of the coronavirus pandemic, we are finding humor and relief in an imperfect, self-described “redneck” queer who owns more than 200 tigers. He’s the furthest cry from the affable, anodyne queer men who typically win America over, such as Cam and Mitchell of Modern Family and the “gay best friend” cast of Queer Eye. But unlikely times call for an unlikely hero.
We would love you to share your photos of the wildlife you can see from your home. Did a fox just dart out into the road? Is there a bumble bee sidling up to your 10th floor flat? Can you see a rare flower pushing its way up in a crack in the pavement? Cities are full of flora and fauna and with the streets largely empty of traffic and people the signs of urban wildlife are more evident than ever.
If you live in the south-west England or Wales, we’d like to find out about the impact of coronavirus on you and your community. Share your stories
You can help us document about how coronavirus is affecting people in the South West and Wales by sharing your stories and news tips.
We want to hear from people working in the healthcare system in Wales and the south west of England, key workers, small business owners, teachers and anyone whose daily life is affected by the new measures.
Tell us about something you picked up on your travels that brings back great memories or takes you back in time
Given that we’re all stuck at home for who knows how long, our travel memories are especially poignant. So this week we want you tell us about a souvenir or memento you picked up on your travels that has a special place in your heart or still brings a smile to your face. It could evoke happy memories of the trip itself, or be all about the place you bought it – a magical shop, a colourful market stall or the even more colourful owner. Perhaps it’s a unique, beautiful artefact that now has pride of place in your home.
If you’re part of a grassroots community project to support others during the coronavirus outbreak, we’d like to hear from you. Share your stories
We’d like to hear from people who’re taking part in community action to help others during the coronavirus outbreak.
As Covid-19 spreads around the world it’s easy to get swept up in a sense of fear as multiple images of cleared supermarket shelves go viral. However many groups of volunteers are coming together to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Gabrielle Wilson was enjoying a walk with her children on a brisk spring afternoon, when she was overcome by an overwhelming feeling of weakness.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to sit down on the sidewalk,” said the veteran flight attendant. Throbbing muscle pains cascaded through her body, accompanied by an “eerie dry throat” that she had never before experienced.
Mass internment camps did not begin or end with the Nazis – today they are everywhere from China to Europe to the US. How can we stop their spread? By Daniel Trilling
At the start of the 21st century, the following things did not exist. In the US, a large network of purpose-built immigration prisons, some of which are run for profit. In western China, “political education” camps designed to hold hundreds of thousands of people, supported by a high-tech surveillance system. In Syria, a prison complex dedicated to the torture and mass execution of civilians. In north-east India, a detention centre capable of holding 3,000 people who may have lived in the country for decades but are unable to prove they are citizens. In Myanmar, rural encampments where thousands of people are being forced to live on the basis of their ethnicity. On small islands and in deserts at the edges of wealthy regions – Greece’s Aegean islands, the Negev Desert in Israel, the Pacific Ocean near Australia, the southern Mediterranean coastline – various types of large holding centres for would-be migrants.
The scale and purpose of these places vary considerably, as do the political regimes that have created them, but they share certain things in common. Most were established as temporary or “emergency” measures, but have outgrown their original stated purpose and become seemingly permanent. Most exist thanks to a mix of legal ambiguity – detention centres operating outside the regular prison system, for instance – and physical isolation. And most, if not all, have at times been described by their critics as concentration camps.
After years of exploitation, former fruit pickers set up a co-operative near Rome selling vegetables and yoghurt. Now they are working ‘twice as hard’ to get supplies to families under lockdown
Photographs by Giacomo Sini
Ismail bends over the vegetables in the middle of the field and shouts to his co-worker – “Lorè you’re doing nothing and your back already hurts?” – as he deftly separates a head of cauliflower from its long leaves and throws it into a waiting box.
His co-workers Lorenzo and Cheikh also get up, lifting boxes packed with produce after their morning’s work. Today the sun is shining here in Italy but there is no time to pause and enjoy it. Salad and spinach picked from other fields must be washed alongside the cabbages and cauliflowers; boxes for delivery have to be readied and loaded into the van.
There is ponding on nearly every field in the valley where the rivers Severn and Vyrnwy meet on the English-Welsh border. Swollen rivers have been sluggishly sitting in the valley for months. Inhabitants’ attempts to protect their homes from flooding are part of a losing battle played out across the country.
The UK’s flooding this year is a story of desperation – but also hope, says John Hughes, development manager at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, who works in the valley. Following widespread acceptance of the climate and ecological emergency, Hughes believes people are increasingly looking to nature for solutions.
Lockdowns have brought silence to some of the world’s busiest places. Transport hubs normally teeming with people such as New York’s Grand Central station or Istanbul’s Eminönü ferry docks are all but deserted. Reuters photographers captured the hush that had descended on some of the world’s best-known places on the same day, at noon
‘These girls from Qinghai in China got albino rabbits for their birthdays. But albino rabbits don’t like harsh climates. They didn’t last the winter’
My father is a Tibetan lama. When he was still just a baby, he was recognised as a tulku, a reincarnation of a Tibetan Buddhist teacher. He lives in the UK now. He met my mother in Dalhousie, India, when she was teaching English to Tibetan refugees. They fell in love and he gave up his monastic vows, but being a tulku isn’t something you can give up. It is who you are.
He is still the head of a monastery in Kham, Qinghai, so when we are there, it’s a busy time – we get invited to a lot of houses. I was seven the first time I went. As an adult, I started going back regularly, to see friends and family. I always take my camera. I have been photographing Lhamo Tsertso and Lobsang Chödron, the daughters of a close family friend, since they were two or three. I have made portraits of them every year that I’ve been back since. They’re 19 now.
Pictures of rainbows have begun appearing in windows up and down the country as families and households work to stay positive during the lockdown. The posters, many drawn or painted by children, often contain messages of support for the NHS. Further, inspired by the popular children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, teddy bears have also been on display. Photographer Murdo MacLeod went on a hunt of his own on the streets of Edinburgh