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  • Donors say they won’t support University of Newcastle after coalmining executive made chancellor
    by Luke Henriques-Gomes on June 18, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    In an open letter, 16 philanthropists said they could not support the appointment of Mark Vaile ‘who is determined to build new coalmines’Prominent philanthropists have said they will not donate to the University of Newcastle after coalmining executive Mark Vaile was appointed the institution’s new chancellor.Vaile, a former federal Nationals leader and the current chairman of Whitehaven Coal, was named the university’s new chancellor earlier this month, a decision that prompted a member of the university council to resign. Continue reading...

  • Covid live: EU loses AstraZeneca legal challenge; Delta variant cases in UK rise by over 33,000 in a week
    by Jedidajah Otte (now); Martin Belam and Helen Sullivan (earlier) on June 18, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Court in Brussels rejects EU request for more deliveries by end of June; Delta variant now accounts for 99% of all UK casesCases of Covid Delta variant in UK rise to over 75,000, says PHEA silent decimation: South America’s losing battle against CovidWales delays easing Covid restrictions by four weeksUK minister won’t tell workers to return to office when lockdown endsSee all our coronavirus coverage 1.44pm BSTSocial distancing rules in the Netherlands are set to be eased next week, allowing people to leave off their face masks on many occasions and for bigger groups to meet, broadcaster RTL reported on Friday, citing government sources. Reuters reports:Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is set to announce the further easing of measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic at a televised news conference at 1900 local time (1700 GMT). As of June 26, face masks will no longer be required if people can keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) between them, RTL said, limiting the requirement to wear one to public transport and airports. 1.40pm BSTThe latest R range for England is 1.2 to 1.4, unchanged from the range estimated last week, and the country’s growth rate for Covid-19 is now between 3% and 6% per day, also the same as last week’s estimate.An R value between 1.2 and 1.4 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 14 other people. Continue reading...

  • Boris Johnson says Tory loss in Chesham and Amersham byelection ‘disappointing’ – UK politics live
    by Tobi Thomas (now) and Miranda Bryant (earlier) on June 18, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    PM claims ‘particular circumstances’ behind Lib Dem victory as Lib Dem leader Ed Davey says party is threat to Conservatives now Lib Dems can topple Tory ‘blue wall’ in south of England, says DaveyByelection win suggests trouble for Tories in ‘blue wall’Lib Dems win Chesham and Amersham byelection in stunning upsetGlobal coronavirus updates – live 1.41pm BSTThe coronavirus reproduction number, or R value, in England remains unchanged from last week and is between 1.2 and 1.4, according to the latest Government figures.PA reports: R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking.An R number between 1.2 and 1.4 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 14 other people. 1.35pm BSTThe first minister of Wales has said that there are “really serious issues” to consider whether children should receive coronavirus vaccinations. Speaking at a press conference, Mark Drakeford said that health boards across the country were considering how a booster jab may be administered in autumn, as well as how children over 12 could be vaccinated. That is partly because there are really serious issues to be thought through on safety on the one hand, safety of the vaccine for children, and ethical issues as well - for whose benefit are children being vaccinated?Is it ethically right to vaccinate children - because there is always a risk in vaccination - not because it will do them any good but because it will protect adults? Continue reading...

  • Joe Biden’s foreign foray is all about shoring up democracy – in the US | Henry Farrell
    by Henry Farrell on June 18, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    The president’s visit to Europe isn’t about trade deals but repairing US domestic politicsDuring his first trip abroad as US president last week, Joe Biden kept telling Europe that “the US is back”. Before the G7 meeting, Biden signed a new Atlantic charter with Boris Johnson that agreed to protect democracy and open societies. After Cornwall, he went on to more meetings in Brussels with the European Union, as well as a Nato summit and a head to head with Vladimir Putin in Geneva. Past presidents have viewed the EU as an irrelevant bureaucracy or a sinister threat. Biden described it as an “incredibly strong and vibrant entity”. In his press conference with Emmanuel Macron, Biden seemed to promise that the US was returning to its normal role in international politics. After Donald Trump, some nostalgic politicians might even hope for a reinvigoration of the so-called rules-based liberal order which has purportedly prevailed since the second world war. Continue reading...

  • ‘Just don’t show her body!’ Netflix makes a true crime show with a difference
    by Zoe Williams on June 18, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    A Murder in West Cork delves into the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier – but this doc makes her more than a victim. Its creators discuss how they fused intrigue with empathyOn the morning of 23 December 1996, Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found murdered in a lane near Schull, West Cork. She was 39 years old and a regular visitor to Ireland from Paris, where she lived with her husband, a celebrated film-maker, and 13-year-old son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud. Her death transfixed the media in both Ireland and Paris, partly because it was just so jarring. The murder rate in Ireland was so low that there was only one state pathologist, and it took him 28 hours to reach the scene.It was close to Christmas. Sarah Lambert, the producer of Netflix’s new documentary, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, struggles to underline how big a deal this was. “More so in Ireland than a lot of other countries, Christmas is such a family time. I know a lot of married couples that will separate and go back to their parents. People were flabbergasted that she, a mother, would be there by herself so late in December.” The location was so remote, the community so tight-knit, that such violence seemed incongruous. It was expected there would be a swift resolution. In a place where you couldn’t buy a new cardigan without everyone knowing about it, how would anyone get away with murder? Continue reading...

  • In hunt for Covid’s origin, new studies point away from lab leak theory
    by Laura Spinney on June 18, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Amid the heavily politicised debate, a lot of evidence now points to a natural spillover event – but other causes cannot be ruled outCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe coronavirus pandemic has raised so many questions as it has continued its inexorable spread across the planet, but perhaps the first of them remains the most contentious: where did Sars-CoV-2 come from?In recent weeks there has been renewed focus on whether it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory. However, new findings strengthen the case for a natural origin, in what has become a heavily politicised debate. Continue reading...

  • Israel responds to incendiary balloons with airstrikes on Gaza – video
    on June 18, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip for a second time since a ceasefire ended May’s 11-day conflict with Palestinian militants. The strikes came after incendiary balloons were launched into Israel for a third day running. Israel's military reported that fighter jets struck Hamas 'military compounds and a rocket launch site'  and said its forces were preparing for a 'variety of scenarios including a resumption of hostilities'Israel launches new airstrikes on Gaza in response to incendiary balloonsContinue reading...

  • Why did Edwin Poots resign as DUP leader and who will replace him?
    by Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent on June 18, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Analysis: The leader of the Democratic Unionist party in Northern Ireland has quit after just 21 days in the jobPoots quit on Thursday night because colleagues revolted over a deal he had agreed with Sinn Féin and the British government about Irish language legislation. The deal clinched Sinn Féin’s agreement to revive the stalled Stormont executive and to install Poots’ protege Paul Givan as first minister. But DUP assembly members and Westminster MPs considered it a concession too far. Continue reading...

  • Why brutal protests have been sweeping across Colombia – video explainer
    by Joe Parkin Daniels Elena Morresi Katie Lamborn on June 18, 2021 at 11:53 am

    From the Amazon to the Caribbean coast, several weeks of protests have swept Colombia – dozens have died as demonstrators have faced sometimes deadly retaliation from police. The catalyst was a proposed tax hike, since withdrawn, in response to the coronavirus crisis. Demands expanded to calls to end inequality, economic disparity and police violence in Colombia – in almost two months, demonstrations have caused food and goods shortages.Protest leaders have temporarily suspended in-person demonstrations due to a rise in Covid cases, but Joe Parkin Daniels, reporting for the Guardian, explains why this widespread discontent is unlikely to end ‘This is a revolution’: the faces of Colombia’s protestsContinue reading...

  • Golden Globes: two members resign from ‘toxic’ Hollywood Foreign Press Association
    by Andrew Pulver on June 18, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Wenting Xu and Diederik van Hoogstraten cite resistance to change, watered down diversity rules and a culture of fearTwo members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the body that organises the Golden Globes, have resigned, denouncing the organisation as “toxic” in a letter obtained by the LA Times.In their letter, Wenting Xu and Diederik van Hoogstraten said that “staying inside the association is no longer tenable for us”. They list a number of reasons, including that “the majority of the membership resists deep change”, new rules to improved diversity have been “watered down”, and that “fear of retribution, self-dealing, corruption and verbal abuse” are still central to the HFPA’s culture. Continue reading...