Michael Gove is due to enter the race for Tory leader. His candidacy will see him challenge his former Vote Leave ally Boris Johnson. Meanwhile, former Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, and former Commons leader Andrea Leadsom have launched their own leadership bids in the Sunday newspapers. Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart, Matt Hancock and Esther McVey are also in the race.Vulnerable elderly patients have NHS funding withdrawn
Pensioners with progressive and crippling diseases are having NHS funding for their care withdrawn as part of controversial cost-cutting measures. The Sunday Telegraph reveals that more than 7,000 patients whose care and nursing fees were covered by the NHS have had their funding revoked, despite national rules stating that they should have the fees paid in full.Ireland votes overwhelmingly for liberalising divorce laws
The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly in favour of liberalising divorce laws. A constitutional clause that states that spouses must be separated for four of the previous five years to divorce will be removed, allowing the Irish parliament to decide a new separation period before divorce is allowed. With two of 31 constituencies still to declare, voters had backed the change to the law by 82.1% to 17.9%.British man becomes 10th to die on Everest in nine days
A British climber who died on Mount Everest is one of 10 people who have perished there in nine days. As record numbers of climbers are taking on the challenge, Robin Haynes Fisher, 44, died during his descent in a low-oxygen area known as “death zone” after reaching the summit of the world's highest mountain. Guides have blamed congested routes for the recent death toll.Tom Watson calls for Labour ‘backbone’ on Brexit
Labour’s deputy leader has warned that his party will lose the next general election unless it quickly rewrites its Brexit policy and commits wholeheartedly to a second referendum. Writing in The Observer, Tom Watson argues that Labour must develop “backbone” on the issue. He calls for the end of the party’s “mealy-mouthed” backing for another public vote.Snapchat app is a ‘haven’ for sexual predators
Snapchat has become a “haven” for child abuse, claims The Sunday Times. There have been thousands of reported cases of child sexual exploitation involving Snapchat since 2014. These include predators using the app to obtain indecent images from children and groom teenagers, as well as cases in which under-18s have themselves spread child pornography through Snapchat.Review to call for university tuition fees to be slashed
University tuition fees and interest rates on student loans should both be cut, a report will recommend. The Augar review of higher education is expected to call for annual tuition fees to be cut from £9,250 to £7,500 and interest rates on student loans to be reduced from 6.3% to as little as 1.5%. The news comes after Damian Hinds, the education secretary, complained about “poor value” degrees.Real IRA founder dies in prison from suspected heart attack
A founder of the Real IRA, who planned a bomb attack during Prince Charles’s visit to Ireland in 2015, has died in prison. Seamus McGrane, 64, died from a suspected heart attack while serving a jail sentence for directing terrorism. He was one of the dissident republicans in the Provisional IRA who led a walkout from the organisation’s “army convention” in 1997.Police search for man who held knife to toddler's throat
Police in Middlesbrough are searching for a mugger who held a knife to a toddler's throat while robbing the child's grandmother. The man emerged from the bushes and demanded the woman’s purse. When she refused to hand it over the man placed a knife against her grandson's throat. The incident happened between 5pm and 6pm on Friday.Pope Frances compares abortion to hiring a hitman
Having an abortion is like “hiring a hitman”, claims Pope Francis. The Pontiff told an anti-abortion conference that a termination is never acceptable, even when the foetus is gravely ill or malformed. It is not the first time he has made such a strong claim. Last year, he was condemned after comparing an abortion to hiring a “contract killer”.
Boris Johnson says the UK must leave the EU by the end of October with or without a deal. The former foreign secretary is the front-runner to replace Theresa May after she announced her resignation yesterday. “A new leader will have the opportunity to do things differently,” he said of Brexit. As many as 20 other candidates are expected to stand against him, including Jeremy Hunt.Mother arrested after two children die in Sheffield
A mother has been arrested on suspicion of murder after two of her children died and the remaining four were taken to hospital. Police were called to a house in Sheffield at about 7.30am amid concerns for the safety of the occupants. A post-mortem on the two children is due to be carried out. A man, 37, and a woman, 34, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.NHS sparks row with ‘moneyspinning’ kits plan
The NHS is under fire for planning to sell consumer blood tests that look for signs of serious illness. In a move described by The Times as “a controversial moneyspinning venture,” a leading hospital lab hopes that online shoppers will pay from £24 for tests that assess people’s risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.John Bolton says North Korea has broken UN resolutions
John Bolton, the US national security adviser, says North Korea’s recent missile tests violated UN security council resolutions. In the first case of a senior US official making such a statement, he said: “The UN resolution prohibits the launch of any ballistic missiles,” adding that there was “no doubt” it was a violation. He also encouraged North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to return to negotiations.Police want 1,100 people charged for climate protests
The Metropolitan Police will push for the prosecution of more than 1,100 people arrested over last month's Extinction Rebellion demonstrations. More than 70 activists have already been charged. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said the Met wanted to deter other groups employing similar tactics. “We would like to see consequences,” he said.Four more die on Mount Everest as overcrowding fears grow
At least four more people have died on Mount Everest as concerns grow about the risks posed by the severe overcrowding on the world’s highest mountain. Kevin Hynes, 56, from Ireland, died in his tent at 7,000 metres, having turned back before reaching the summit. Crowds have grown after the launch of cut-price Nepali trekking companies offering Everest packages at half price.Washington to sent 1,500 troops to Middle East
The US will deploy 1,500 troops to Middle East amid growing tensions with Iran. The Pentagon has claimed there is an escalating campaign by Iran to plan attacks against the US and its interests in the region. Washington has also publicly blamed Tehran and its proxies for recent tanker bombings near United Arab Emirates and a rocket attack in Iraq.French police appeal for help after bakery bombing in Lyon
Police in France have released an image of a bombing suspect after seven people were hurt in a “low force” blast in Lyon. An investigation was launched after the attack at a Brioche Doree bakery at roughly 5.30pm local time. The mayor of Lyon's second district told local media that a man was captured on surveillance cameras dropping a sack or suitcase before it exploded.Rape victim watches attacker's execution in Florida
A woman who escaped a serial killer and helped bring him to justice has watched him being executed in Florida. Lisa Noland was 17 when she was repeatedly raped by Bobby Joe Long. “I wanted to look him in the eye,” she said. After watching him be executed by lethal injection, she said she began to cry. After confessing to the crimes, Long was given 28 life sentences and one death sentence.Duchess of Sussex to miss Donald Trump welcome ceremony
Donald Trump will be welcomed by the Queen on his first official state visit to the UK next month, Buckingham Palace has announced. A ceremonial welcome for the US President will be held in the palace's garden. Trump will meet the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex. The Duchess of Sussex will not attend.
Controversial technology that was a porn trend is now animating famous imagesIn Depth Friday, May 24, 2019 - 3:44pm
Researchers in Russia have created a video that shows Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa uncannily coming to life thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Samsung’s AI lab in Moscow produced a research paper that shows how works of art and images of celebrities can be turned into moving images, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The technology used to animate the Mona Lisa is commonly referred to as “deepfake”, the newspaper says. AI takes the facial expressions of a person in a video and merges it with another clip.
Video of Few-Shot Adversarial Learning of Realistic Neural Talking Head Models
But Mona Lisa isn’t the only work to be given the deepfake treatment. TrustedReviews says that the study also brings to life Marilyn Monroe and Salvador Dali, with all three characters “moving, talking and smiling”.
The tech site says Samsung is hoping that the research can help other tech firms develop “practical applications for telepresence”, where technology allows someone to participate in an event that they are unable to physically attend.What are “deepfakes”?
Simply put, deepfakes are videos that use AI to superimpose people in videos into another clip.
The practice and name come from a controversial pornography trend early last year, The Sun reports. A user on the chat forum Reddit who went by the name of “deepfakes” edited the face of Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot on to the body of a porn actor using “publicly available” software.
Before the Reddit user was outed by Motherboard and banned from the forum, the deepfakes channel amassed more than 15,000 subscribers who had created porn videos that featured the likenesses of Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson and Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams.
Adult video sites such as PornHub have outlawed deepfake porn videos, but companies are starting to explore the technology and what useful applications it may have.How was the Mona Lisa video created?
Previously, a convincing deepfake video required an AI that was “trained” using an archive of reference material consisting of tens of thousands of video, images and audio files, The Verge says. Generally speaking, the larger the dataset of reference material, the more “eerily accurate the result will be”
Samsung, however, has managed to create an AI algorithm that can turn a single photo or painting into a convincing deepfake video, the tech site says. The algorithm was trained using only 7,000 clips of celebrities, which were then mapped on to a still image to create a video.What are the ethical issues?
Experts argue that the technology could be used to create false videos of political figures to “fool entire populations”, the BBC says.
For example, a person could create a video showing a politician promoting rivals or policies that they do not support in real life.
The deepfake porn videos that circulated on Reddit last year also raised ethical concerns, as none of them was created with the consent of the celebrities that featured in them.
Speaking to the BBC, Dave Coplin, head of AI consultancy firm The Envisioners, said the technology is “something that could be really problematic unless we have this conversation. Members of the public need to know how easy it is to create convincing fake videos.”Science & Health AI Samsung
Her exit comes as no surprise now but few were anticipating failure back in July 2016In Depth Friday, May 24, 2019 - 3:57pm
Theresa May has announced that she will step down as leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June, as her three-year tenure as prime minister draws to a disastrous close.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush believes that history will not be kind to May. “She inherited a parliamentary majority with three years left to run and a comfortable opinion poll lead”, but will pass on “a deadlocked parliament and no obvious route to an overall Conservative victory”, he writes.
Although May was “hemmed in by hard-line Brexiteers and Remainers on either side”, she hardly helped matters by building “a reputation for making decisions via a tightly-knit group with an air of secrecy”, adds Bloomberg.
Yet few anticipated such an ending when, on 11 July 2016, May “emerged from the Commons as the new PM elect, surrounded by gushing sycophants, the darling buddies of May”, says The Times’ Patrick Kidd. Politics “seemed easy for her then,” he continues.
She looked even more at ease in the top job a week later when she invoked the spirit of Margaret Thatcher at her first PMQs - a move that “was like parliamentary Viagra to her honourable members”, says Kidd.
But after that, her leadership slowly began to unravel. Here are five of the moments that helped sink May’s premiership.Losing her majority
In April 2017, in what was to be the first of many U-turn, May called a snap election, despite having ruled out such a move on a number of previous occasions.
The campaign was something of a disaster, with May defying predictions that the Tories would win a huge majority, leaving her reliant on Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to cobble together a majority.
Indeed, The Spectator’s Rod Liddle described it as “the worst Tory election campaign ever”, while the BBC’s Laura Kuessberg noted that “May’s reputation crashed, arguably faster than any other in modern British political times”, in the aftermath of the vote.
One of the main things that hobbled the campaign was the Tories’ decision “to make it all about May’s personality, not realising she lacked one”, says The Times’s Kidd.
— Patrick Kidd (@patrick_kidd) May 24, 2019
In addition, May’s manifesto was “a politically toxic document that insulted the young, offended the elderly and alienated the middle-aged”, says the New Statesman’s Bush.
The loss of the Tory government’s majority all but sealed the PM’s ultimate fate, he adds.
“Not only did her maladroit conduct of the 2017 campaign cost their majority and the careers of their colleagues and friends”, it also “locks them into a Brexit trajectory in which the only available exits are ones that most Conservative MPs fear will be politically disastrous”, Bush wrote back in December.Reaction to Grenfell
In the aftermath of the disaster at Grenfell Tower that claimed 72 lives in June 2017, May drew ire for what HuffPost describes as her “infamous, almost inexplicable, failure to meet local people affected by the fire”.
The episode highlighted a major perceived failing of the PM’s personality - lack of empathy. Indeed, during the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015, The Daily Telegraph’s Cathy Newman claimed that May had “a serious compassion deficit which could be her undoing”.
May acknowledged that she had made a mistake in her handling of the Grenfell tragedy, in an article in the London Evening Standard a year after the blaze. “Residents of Grenfell Tower needed to know that those in power recognised and understood their despair. And I will always regret that by not meeting them that day, it seemed as though I didn’t care,” she wrote.Brexit deal defeats
The latter half of May’s time in office has been defined by successive rejections of her Brexit deal. The PM pulled the first parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal at the end of last year, acknowledging that it “would be rejected by a significant margin” if MPs voted on it. Instead, she hoped to avoid a humiliating defeat by returning to Brussels to seek to renegotiate the backstop.
As it turned out, when the meaningful vote finally did take place four weeks later, May suffered the heaviest parliamentary defeat of any British PM in modern history.
It was then that she made another grave error, says Sky News’ Lewis Goodall. “Even in January, she could have changed tack. She could have made a bold offer to Parliament. She could have compromised. She could have acted politically. Instead her strategy was to try and ram through the same thing again and again- to force MPs to bend through force of will,” Goodall tweeted.
Despite further record-breaking defeats, “she kept going, running on fumes, the slave of duty, insisting that she had been very clear about whatever it was she was clear about”, says The Times’s Kidd. But “it was seldom clear”, he adds.Losing the game of ‘no-deal’ chicken
That was not the end of her errors in the Brexit process. In February, May made “a grave mistake in not resisting Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin’s anti no-deal legislation more fiercely”, says The Spectator’s James Forsyth, who argues that this error “fatally compromised her ability to push her own deal through”.
“The only way to get a Brexit agreement through this hung parliament is to make either those who fear ‘no Brexit’ or those who worry about ‘no deal’ vote for the Bill,” he continues. “But that can only be done when MPs believe that not voting for a deal will lead to one of those outcomes.”
If the choice “had been between leaving with no deal and leaving with May’s deal on 29 March, Parliament would have taken the deal”, Forsyth concludes.Refusal to compromise
May pleaded for future compromise over Brexit as she announced her resignation at the Downing Street podium. But “her political opponents are already remarking that’s a plea she only heeded far, far too late”, says the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.
In her last roll of the dice, May attempted to win over Labour MPs with changes to her Brexit deal, yet “she seemed wooden and inflexible even in seeking the compromises she so desperately needed”, says The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins.
Many commentators believe that in the end, it was this rigidity that ultimately put paid to any hope she had of carrying on as PM until autumn. By refusing to accept until the last minute that the European elections would take place, she gave Nigel Farage a free run at the Tory membership.
“Farage has one signature manoeuvre: he uses electoral vehicles, political parties of his creation as enormous electoral pressure groups on the Conservatives,” says Sky News’ Goodall.
“It was only when the Conservative’s popularity plunged, vote-share gobbled by the voracious new Brexit Party, only when activists began to defect in droves, that the axe was finally swung [on Theresa May’s premiership].”
Goodall concludes: “Farage can, arguably, claim the scalp of a second Conservative prime minister in a row.”Politics Society Theresa May Conservatives Brexit
Lance Armstrong was involved in the biggest doping scandal in cycling historyCredits Getty Images Alt Text Lance Armstrong was involved in the biggest doping scandal in cycling history
Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 24 MayDaily Briefing Friday, May 24, 2019 - 12:40pm 1. ‘It wasn’t legal, but I wouldn’t change a thing’
Shamed former cyclist Lance Armstrong admits that he made mistakes over doping but says he “wouldn’t change a thing”.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
The 47-year-old American, who was stripped of seven Tour de France titles, told NBC Sports: “I don’t learn all the lessons if I don’t act that way. We did what we had to do to win.
“It wasn’t legal, but I wouldn’t change a thing - whether it’s losing a bunch of money, or going from hero to zero.”2. Joshua’s main objective is Wilder
Anthony Joshua only has his sights set on Deontay Wilder - not British rival Dillian Whyte. Providing he beats Andy Ruiz Jr on 1 June, Joshua then wants to face WBC belt holder Wilder in a heavyweight super-fight. The IBF, WBA and WBO champion told Sky Sports: “I’m not looking at Dillian anymore, I’m looking at Wilder, because he’s got the belt. Ruiz Jr? Provided I get past him, Wilder, that’s my main objective. Simple as that.”3. Poch motivated at Spurs
Mauricio Pochettino has told talkSPORT he is motivated to make Tottenham the best club in the world. Pochettino, who has led Spurs to the Champions League final, said: “Today Tottenham is, for me, the best club in the world when we talk about facilities. We need to make that step and of course we realise we can continue in this process and we can put Tottenham with the best teams in the world. There’s still a lot of work to do, but of course I am so motivated to stay with Tottenham and provide Tottenham with what they deserve.”4. Raptors one win away from finals
If the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks on their home court on Saturday evening they will seal their place in the NBA Finals for the first time. Raptors are 3-2 ahead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals series. The winners will face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.5. Baku ‘nightmare’ for Arsenal
The Guardian quotes former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who has called the Gunners’ Europa League final predicament a “bit of a nightmare”. Wenger has questioned the decision to host the final in Baku and expressed his disappointment that Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play because of fears for his safety in Azerbaijan. See today’s back pages.
Formula 1 championship leaders Mercedes once again set the pace with Lewis Hamilton fastest in both the first and second free practice sessions at the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday. On Saturday the third free practice session starts at 11am and qualifying is at 2pm. Sunday’s race in Monte Carlo starts at 2.10pm.7. ‘GOAT’ battle continues at the French Open
The big three in men’s tennis - Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - are the top seeds for this year’s French Open which starts on Sunday. All three players are considered as the greatest of all time (GOAT) and the grand slam in Paris could well be a defining moment for each of them.8. Rodriguez is a wanted man
A number of Premier League and European clubs are interested in signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. The Colombian playmaker has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, but it’s reported that he has decided against extending his stay in Germany. What next then for the 27-year-old? A move to the EPL could be on the cards with Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal all interested. However, the trio will face competition from Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. See the latest Premier League transfer news here.9. George Best statue ‘worse than Ronaldo’s’
What is it about footballers and statues? After the sculptural scandals that were those of Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah, now it’s George Best who could have done with some help from facial recognition software. The George Best statue has swiftly drawn scorn on social media.10. Big weekend for sport
It promises to be an action-packed bank holiday weekend for sport. The remaining promotion places will be secured when the three English Football League (EFL) play-off finals take place at Wembley Stadium.
Also on the schedule are six rugby league matches at Anfield, the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, Hearts vs. Celtic in the Scottish Cup final and the start of the French Open tennis grand slam at Roland-Garros.UK News Football Rugby Formula 1 Tennis Boxing Cycling The Decathlon Lance Armstrong Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham Anthony Joshua
Lightweight model to take design inspiration - and motor - from M3 and M4 CSNews Hub Friday, May 24, 2019 - 2:51pm
BMW is bidding farewell to its current M2 sports coupe by releasing a hardcore, lightweight CS version.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
The 2 Series, on which the M2 is based, has been on sale since 2014 and a new version of the entry-level coupe is due to arrive next year.
Before that, BMW is thought to be launching a track-honed M2 CS sports coupe that will adopt a number of elements from the more powerful M3 and M4 models.
Though the German carmaker has yet to confirm that the M2 CS is in production, spy photographers have snapped M2 development cars wrapped in camouflage testing at Germany’s 12.9-mile Nurburgring race track in recent months that all but confirm the car’s existence.
The latest shots show test cars covered only in a thin layer of camouflage, suggesting that it may not be long before the M2 CS is unveiled.
While we wait for the car’s reveal, here’s everything we know about the M2’s last hurrah:Release
According to a leaked document posted on the BMW chat forum Bimmerpost, production of the M2 CS will begin next March and run until December 2020. The short production period suggests that the model will be sold in limited numbers.
With this is mind, expect the M2 CS to make its public debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, which runs from 12 to 22 September. BMW may, however, wait until the Geneva Motor Show next March to unveil the sports coupe.Design
Judging by spy shots posted by Evo in October, when the car appeared at the Nurburgring with no camouflage, the CS will boast a more aggressive look than the regular M2 and M2 Competition.
— MOTOR1 (@Motor1com) 22 May 2019
The most notable changes are a larger rear spoiler sculpted into the boot lid and a more aggressive front bumper design. The magazine also notes that the car is equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and carbon ceramic brakes, neither of which are available on the existing M2 Competition.
The car also adopts the same wheels as the M3 and M4 CS. It is, however, common for carmakers to fit older wheels to its development cars, so the production version of the M2 CS may sport a different design.
Though Evo says the visual upgrades could simply be a part of a new “range of M Performance options” for the M2 Competition, the images match the leaked document on Bimmerpost and more recent snapshots of camouflage-wrapped test cars posted by Motor1 earlier this week.Engine and performance
It’s rumoured the M2 CS will simply be a reworked version of the current M2 Competition.
According to Evo, the M2 CS will be powered by the same S55-spec 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine as the existing M3 and M4. Though the M2 also uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six motor, it’s offered in the detuned N55 spec.
At the very least, the M2 CS is expected to match the M3 and M4’s power output of 425bhp - up from the M2 Competition’s 404bhp, the magazine says. However, fans will be hoping that BMW ups the M2 CS’s power even further to match the 454bhp output of the M3 CS and M4 CS.
Expect the M2 CS to “get the lightweight treatment”, says Motor1. This includes a carbon fibre roof, bonnet, rear wing, wing mirror caps and diffuser at the back of the car.BMW
SpaceX prepares for its global internet network by launching 60 satellites into orbitIn Depth Friday, May 24, 2019 - 11:44am
Elon Musk has laid the foundations for his new Starlink internet service by launching 60 satellites into orbit aboard a SpaceX rocket.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Musk’s aerospace firm vaulted the satellites into space using one of its reusable Falcon 9 rockets. The single-booster craft lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 10.30pm on Thursday (2.30am UK time on Friday), The Daily Telegraph reports
The Falcon 9’s main booster successfully landed on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after lift-off, before the communications satellites were deployed into low-Earth orbit less than an hour later, the newspaper says.
According to Reuters, SpaceX claims that it may take 24 hours before it can ensure that the satellites are operating as planned. Each of the 60 satellites weighs 227kg, making them the heaviest payload carried by a SpaceX rocket to date.
The satellites mark the “initial phase” of a cluster that will beam internet towards parts of the world where access to web services is limited, the news site says. It’s also hoped that the project will “generate much-needed cash” for Musk’s “larger ambitions in space”.What is Starlink?
Starlink is Musk’s new internet service provider that aims to “connect the globe with reliable and affordable high-speed broadband services” using a “constellation of satellites”, the Financial Times reports.
Though space-based internet services exist, the FT claims they are “typically expensive compared to surface-based technology”, lack worldwide coverage and are unreliable.
Starlink’s satellites, meanwhile, will orbit the Earth at a lower altitude, providing internet speeds “that are comparable to ground-based cable and fibre optic networks”, the FT notes.
After six more launches, resulting in around 400 orbiting satellites in total, Musk says Starlink will be able to offer some form of connectivity to users on the ground, ArsTechnica reports.
The service will have “significant” connectivity with a dozen launches, while 24 missions would bring internet access to almost every nation, Musk said.Are there too many satellites in space already?
It’s certainly becoming an issue, given that rocket launches are cheaper and therefore satellite missions are more frequent.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, a US-based non-profit science advocacy organisation, says there are more than 2,000 satellites currently in Earth’s orbit. Approximately 901 of those are from the US alone, though that figure is likely to be higher today as it was calculated five months ago.
Scientists fear that “congested orbital highways” could result in a collision that would send space debris hurtling in all directions at high speed, the BBC reports. This could be highly destructive, as even the smallest piece of debris could cause significant damage to critical structures, such as the International Space Station.
The Starlink satellites, however, can automatically “track orbital debris and... autonomously avoid it”, the broadcaster adds. Around 95% of the materials that make up a Starlink satellite will burn up when re-entering Earth’s atmosphere once decommissioned.Science & Health Elon Musk SpaceX
Colombia star James Rodriguez has spent two years on loan at Bayern Munich from Real MadridCredits Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images Alt Text Colombia star James Rodriguez has spent two years on loan at Bayern Munich from Real Madrid
EPL and European clubs are keen to sign James Rodriguez from Real MadridDaily Briefing Friday, May 24, 2019 - 10:32am Premier League transfer news and rumours Rodriguez on the radar
A number of Premier League and European clubs are interested in signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
The Colombian playmaker has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, but the Daily Mirror reports he has decided against extending his stay in Germany.
What next then for the 27-year-old? A move to the EPL could be on the cards with Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal all interested. However, the trio will face competition from Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.Asensio not for sale
Tottenham Hotspur have made contact with Real Madrid to start negotiations for Spanish international Marco Asensio. However, the La Liga giants have told Spurs that the 23-year-old midfielder is not for sale. (AS)Sane out, Felix in?
Manchester City are braced for a big-money bid to come from Bayern Munich for winger Leroy Sane. Should the German international leave the Etihad it would free up funds for City to move for Benfica attacker Joao Felix. (Daily Mail)£15m for Delph
Another player who could be on his way out of Manchester City is Fabian Delph. The 29-year-old England midfielder would be available for £15m and this will interest a number of Premier League clubs. (The Sun)City’s sheikh up
The Sun’s back page today says that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is planning a summer “sheikh” up of his squad. The treble winners are chasing Leicester defender Harry Maguire, Atletico Madrid’s Rodri and Benfica’s Joao Felix. City will have to break the £75m world-record fee for a defender to sign England star Maguire. See today’s back pages.
Manchester United are linked with two of European football’s hottest talents. Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot and Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt are both on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wanted list this summer. See more Man Utd transfer news here.Perisic plus cash for Lukaku
Inter Milan are keen on Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku. The Italians are poised to offer £30m plus Croatia winger Ivan Perisic to bring Belgian star Lukaku to Serie A. (Gazzetta dello Sport)Is Trippier Naples-bound?
Tottenham will allow England right-back Kieran Trippier to leave the club this summer. Italian side Napoli are in pole position to sign the 28-year-old in a deal worth £25m. (Independent)Sport Premier League Man City transfer news Man Utd transfer news Spurs transfer news Arsenal transfer news Arsenal transfer rumours Liverpool transfer news Juventus transfer news PSG transfer news Ajax transfer news Transfer news
The Week Unwrapped looks at the Alpine nation where firearms ownership is high but mass shootings are lowIn Depth Friday, May 24, 2019 - 11:02am
See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world yet also boasts an eviably low crime rate. In 2018, the Swiss authorities recorded 50 murders and 149 attempted murders, with guns involved in just 11% of the incidents, according to The Local.
So how has Switzerland - where nearly half of households own at least one firearms - developed a gun culture that seems to work?What happened this week?
Swiss voters have agreed to tighten their gun laws to bring the Alpine nation into line with EU regulations introduced in response to terror attacks across Europe.
The reforms will make it harder for Switzerland’s 8.3 million civilians to obtain assault weapons and make it easier for the authorities to track firearms.
Conservative politicians and shooting interest groups have protested against the changes, which they view as an attack on their national identity. Critics of the new laws point out that Switzerland has seen only one major mass shooting in the past century: in 2005, an angry citizen gunned down 14 people inside the regional parliament in the city of Zug, before turning the gun on himself.
In the aftermath of the massacre, many local and federal government institutions introduced tighter security measures, but most Swiss viewed the attack as a horrifying anomaly, with attempts to curb access to guns met with indifference or hostility.
However, voters have now approved the gun reforms by 64% to 36%, with many seeking to avoid conflict with the European Union and safeguard the nation’s Schengen Area membership.How do the Swiss control gun ownership?
Despite it often being said - correctly - that Swiss citizens are able to access firearms more easily than almost anywhere else in Europe, that doesn’t mean controls are lax.
Unlike in the US, automatic weapons are totally banned in Switzerland, as is military hardware such as grenade launchers.
Any firearm other than the single-shot and bolt-action rifles commonly used in hunting or target shooting requires a weapons permit, issued subject to a background check.
Citizens with a criminal record or a mental health problem that could make them a danger to themselves or others, including alcohol or drug addiction, are prohibited from owning a firearm, as are under-18s.
Firearms requiring a permit can only be purchased from licensed dealers, and all purchases or transfers must be registered with the cantonal weapons bureau and logged in a central database.
Gun owners are legally required to store their weapons safely, to prevent any access by unlicensed third parties.
Furthermore, all able-bodied Swiss men aged 18 must take part in 21 weeks of military training, after which they become militia reserves and must contribute another 21 weeks of service before the age of 34. Civilian soldiers are usually permitted to take their rifles home after they complete their training.
As a result, “many Swiss see gun ownership as part of a patriotic duty to protect their homeland”, says The Independent.
In addition, target shooting is one of Switzerland’s most popular sports, among both the young and old. “About 600,000 Swiss - many of them children - belong to shooting clubs,” the BBC reports.
Since this shooting takes place at licensed ranges, most Swiss have gun safety protocols drilled into them, often from an early age.
Hunting is another a popular past-time, and also comes with strict regulations to encourage responsible firearm use. To obtain a hunting licence, applicants must pass an exam that includes a demonstration of safe weapons handling.
The fact that the vast majority of gun use in Switzerland is associated with recreational activities in highly controlled settings has engendered “a culture of responsibility and safety that is anchored in society and passed from generation to generation”, concludes Time magazine.Why will we be talking about this for years to come?
Pro-gun groups in the US often use the example of Switzerland to argue that high rates of firearm ownership do not necessarily result in higher rates of violence and crime.
But “the fundamental difference between Switzerland and the US when it comes to buying guns is not the ease of purchase - it’s easy in both countries - but the regulations that are associated with gun ownership in Switzerland”, says The Atlantic.
Another key difference is that while gun ownership in the US is often motivated by self-defence, either from intruders or from potential government oppression, in Switzerland owning a firearm is commonly seen as an act of civic duty.
Indeed, Martin Killias, head of the Criminology Institute at Lausanne University, told France24 that the notion of buying a weapon to defend one’s home or family from crime was “almost unthinkable” in Swiss culture.gun control
Government says it understands ‘frustration’ over admin errors but insists it is not responsible for voters’ issuesIn Depth Friday, May 24, 2019 - 11:22am
The Government could face legal action from EU citizens living in the UK after many complained that they were not able to vote in this week’s European Parliament elections.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Dozens of voters spoke to news outlets about their “devastation” at “finding their names crossed off the register due to clerical errors by local councils”, The Guardian says. Experts described the situation as a “scandal we knew was coming”.
Many of those affected were eligible voters who had successfully registered to vote and had been living and voting in the UK for years.
#DeniedMyVote began trending on Twitter as the platform was “flooded with accounts of EU citizens being prevented from voting”, with some EU citizens claiming they had ben told to go and “vote in your own country”, The Independent reports.
Some EU citizens also complained that they had received their UC1 form, which allows them to vote in their country of residence, too late to register on time.
The Electoral Commission explained that the UK’s decision to delay Brexit from March until October - which in turn confirmed the country’s surprise participation in the EU elections - left authorities with “very short notice” to organise the vote.
A spokesperson for the commission said the rushed nature of the election “impacted on the time available for awareness of this process amongst citizens, and for citizens to complete the process”.
“EU citizens’ right to vote in the election in their home member state remains unaffected by the change in the UK’s participation; in order to do so, they would need to be registered in that country in accordance with that country’s process and timetable,” the representative added.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson said ministers were “aware of the reports” but stressed that the Government was not to blame, claiming it “doesn’t have a role in the administration of the polls”.
“I do recognise that there is frustration,” the spokesperson added. “The running of polls is rightly a matter for independent returning officers. It is for them to put in place the necessary planning and contracts with suppliers to produce and deliver items like poll cards and postal votes.”
Anneli Howard, a barrister who specialises in EU law, told the Guardian that the denial of voting rights to these citizens amounted to a breach of multiple EU treaties, including Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. “If EU citizens are being asked to fill out additional forms that UK nationals are not, that’s discrimination,” she said.
Howard added that Article 20 had “direct effect”, meaning EU citizens could go straight to court over the matter and claim compensation.
The 3 million group, which campaigns for the rights of EU nationals in Britain, has demanded a full investigation into the incident.Politics EU elections
PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot is out of contract at the end of the seasonCredits Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images Alt Text PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot is out of contract at the end of the season
Adrien Rabiot could link up with fellow Frenchman Paul Pogba in United’s midfieldOne-Minute Read Friday, May 24, 2019 - 9:12am Rabiot on the radar
Manchester United are once more keeping tabs on Paris Saint-Germain star Adrien Rabiot.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
The Manchester Evening News (MEN) reports that the French midfielder is set to leave PSG shortly.
Barcelona, Tottenham and Liverpool are also interested in the prospect of signing the playmaker on a free transfer, but United are tipped to win the race to his signature.
Apparently the Red Devils are “keen” to sign Rabiot as a long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic, who is expected to leave Old Trafford in the coming months.
MEN claims that United gaffer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has “lobbied” the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to pull off a prominent midfield signing this summer. Rabiot fits the bill because “he is an early 20-something proven option with Champions League and international pedigree”.Pogba update
Meanwhile the MEN also provides the latest developments on the saga that is Paul Pogba’s United career.
The paper says that senior club sources have informed them that the French midfielder “will stay beyond the summer and keeping him is key to their transfer activity”.
Pogba and Rabiot are international buddies and the former’s presence has put them in the driving seat to sign the PSG star.Big deal for De Ligt
The Daily Express reports that United have offered Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt a “huge wage packet” to move to Old Trafford.
Dutch defender De Ligt has been heavily linked with Barcelona but Spanish newspaper Sport says that the Catalans’ hopes of signing the 19-year-old are “beginning to fade”.Werner hope
The chase is back on for Germany striker Timo Werner, reports the Daily Mirror, after the Leipzig star was told that Bayern Munich don’t want him.
Werner had been hoping to secure a move to the Allianz Arena this summer but Leipzig chief Ralf Rangnick has told the German press that Bayern can’t afford a deal after already spending heavily.
That, says the Mirror, has given “fresh hope” to United and Liverpool, both of whom have been scouting Werner in recent months.Donnarumma rumour
If David de Gea does depart Old Trafford this summer might his replacement be AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma?
The Sun pushes the theory that United are tailing the Italian gloveman in the event that De Gea does sever his ties with United. Spanish keeper De Gea is linked with French champions PSG.
It was suggested earlier in the week that Sergio Romero could be promoted from the wings to replace De Gea, but the Sun says that “the Argentine may not be the answer for Solskjaer”.
Instead the Norwegian is looking to the 20-year-old Donnarumma, who, despite his tender years, is regarded as one of the best shot-stoppers in the business.
Quoting Italian outlet Calciomercato, the Sun says that Donnarumma “could be sold by Milan if United came up with bid of around £55m”.No go for Fraser
The Daily Star reports that Arsenal will imminently announce the signing of Ryan Fraser from Bournemouth after United “backed out of the race”.
The paper says that the Premier League pair had been tussling for the signature of the Scottish international, both attracted by his £30m asking price.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery had always been in prime position to land the winger. The Star doesn’t explain why United have called off the chase for Fraser, although perhaps it may be linked to their renewed interest in Adrien Rabiot.Four set for the axe
United manager Solskjaer plans to overhaul his squad and he has identified the players he wants out.
The Daily Mirror says that Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku are all likely to leave Old Trafford this summer.Sport Man Utd transfer news Transfer news Man Utd Manchester United Premier League
Portrayal of the Belfast Boy is mocked on social mediaReaction Friday, May 24, 2019 - 8:26am
What is it about footballers and statues? After the sculptural scandals that were those of Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah, now it’s George Best who could have done with some help from facial recognition software.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
The statue that was unveiled on Wednesday to mark what would have been the Manchester United legend’s 73rd birthday has swiftly drawn scorn in the harsh world that is social media.
Located at Windsor Park in Belfast, the statue of Best - who died in 2005 - is the work of local artist Tony Currie.
But this is one Currie that isn’t to everyone’s taste with many people pointing out that the statue is more like Best’s former Northern Ireland team-mate, Pat Jennings, than the man known for scoring on and off the pitch.
Jennings was present at the inauguration and described his old friend as an “unbelievable and incredible” player. And the statue? “Beautiful”, the former Tottenham and Arsenal goalkeeper told The Belfast Telegraph.
A statue of George Best has been unveiled at Windsor Park on what would have been the Northern Ireland and Manchester United legend's 73rd birthday. %uD83D%uDC9A%u26AA%uFE0F
Read more and look at all the photos %u27A1%uFE0Fhttps://t.co/KgG44PCLC0 pic.twitter.com/IH3lk7WR5e
— Belfast Telegraph Sport (@BelTel_Sport) May 22, 2019Hello, is that Lionel?
Not everyone agrees. The statue has also been likened to the king of the soft soul ballad, Lionel Richie, while others see in the mullet a touch of Chris Waddle, circa 1990. Or is there even a nod to Kevin Keegan’s barnet during his days managing Newcastle?
Popular TV detective Columbo also gets a namecheck, as do Harry Enfield’s The Scousers and one or two are wondering if in fact it’s not the Irish footballing wizard but the White Walkers from Game of Thrones?
But Best is in good company and increasingly it’s a rarity to find a statue that does indeed resemble its original. When Maradona’s statue was unveiled in India in 2017 many people saw Dallas heartthrob Bobby Ewing and not the cheating Argentine genius.
Then there was Mohamed Salah’s sculpture, the spitting image of singer Art Garfunkel, and of course, the infamous Cristiano Ronaldo bronze bust.
When it was first unveiled at Madeira airport in 2017, Ronaldo’s tribute left British sports fans torn between those who saw lanky former Manchester City striker Niall Quinn and those who spotted more than a passing resemblance to ex-England fast bowler Darren Gough.
Whoever it looked like, it wasn’t a portrayal of the Portuguese superstar. Eventually the bust was replaced in 2018 after a request from Ronaldo’s family.
Best’s statue, reports The Guardian, is being rated as “worse than Ronaldo’s”, but for the moment his family say they are pleased. Perhaps Lionel Richie is, too. After all, it’s not often American singers get their own statue in Belfast.Sport George Best Manchester United Man Utd
What’s behind the khat epidemic in Yemen? Is Swiss gun culture on the wane? And is the C-word entering the mainstreamAnalysis Friday, May 24, 2019 - 8:08am
Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.
You can subscribe to The Week Unwrapped on iTunes, SoundCloud or wherever you get your podcasts. It is produced by Matt Hill and the music is by Tom Mawby.UK News World News The Week Unwrapped
Arsene Wenger was manager of Arsenal from 1996 to 2018Credits Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images Alt Text Arsene Wenger was manager of Arsenal from 1996 to 2018
A round up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 24 MayOne-Minute Read Friday, May 24, 2019 - 7:44am Baku ‘nightmare’
The Guardian quotes former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who has called the Gunners’ Europa League final predicament a “bit of a nightmare”.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Wenger has questioned the decision to host the final in Baku and expressed his disappointment that Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play because of fears for his safety in Azerbaijan.
The Daily Star calls next Wednesday’s Europa final “half baked” with both Arsenal and Chelsea sending back half of their ticket allocations. The stadium in Baku may also be half empty.Money grabbers
German football legend Lothar Matthäus believes that Manchester United have some really good players but they “don’t have a team”.
Speaking on the 20th anniversary of United’s Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, Matthäus has accused the current crop of Old Trafford stars of being “money grabbers”, the Daily Express reports.City’s sheikh up
Talking of Bayern, the Daily Mail says the German champions are on the trail of unsettled Manchester City winger Leroy Sane.
The 23-year-old could be part of a squad “sheikh” up at City, The Sun reports, with claims that Pep Guardiola is plotting a transfer spree this summer.
Theresa May has announced she will stand down as Conservative leader on 7 June, triggering a leadership contest that will have a profound effect on the direction of Brexit. Speaking outside No. 10 this morning, the PM said: “I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back [her Brexit] deal...sadly, I have not been able to do so.” May’s “closest allies” told the Daily Mirror that the PM accepted she has become a stumbling block to delivering on the EU referendum result.Will a new PM make a difference to Brexit? EU citizens ‘may sue over election fiasco’
The British government may face legal action from EU nationals living in the UK after administrative errors by local councils meant they were unable to vote in yesterday’s EU election, experts say. The Guardian claims to have been contacted by more than 500 people whose names were crossed off the register by mistake. Labour MP David Lammy said the election system amounted to “ugly discrimination” for people who had have been forced “to apply to stay in their own homes”.Why EU citizens were turned away from polling stations Petrol bombs thrown at Londonderry police
Petrol bombs were hurled at police officers in Derry City yesterday as they responded to reports of a suspicious device found near a primary school being used as a polling station. One of the bombs was thrown in Glengalliagh Park, near where children were playing. Two boys aged 17 and another aged 12 have been arrested.Assange faces new charges over WikiLeaks
The US Justice Department has filed 17 new charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in addition to the solitary charge brought last month. The new charges accuse him of publishing the names of US military sources, putting their lives at risk. The 47-year-old is serving a 50-week sentence in the UK for skipping bail.Global school climate strike to be biggest yet
Today’s strike by school pupils and other young people calling for action on climate change is expected to be the biggest yet, organisers say. Strikes are planned in 110 countries and 1,400 cities worldwide, with the total number of protesters set to top the previous record of 1.4 million people who took part in a strike in March.Trump to bring all of his children on UK trip
US President Donald Trump is to accompanied by all four of his adult children when he makes a state visit to the UK next month – and they will all be bringing their spouses. Donald Jr divorced last year but is expected to be joined by his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former newsreader on his father’s favoured Fox News.Verve singer Ashcroft ends dispute with Stones
Singer-songwriter Richard Ashcroft says his long-running legal dispute with The Rolling Stones is finally over, 22 years after his band The Verve were forced to sign over the rights to their hit Bitter Sweet Symphony to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The dispute began shortly after the release of the song, in 1997, because it samples an orchestral version of Stones’ song The Last Time. Jagger and Richards have now volunteered to sign all future royalties over to Ashcroft.Doctors warn of serious injury from dog leads
Surgeons who specialise in hands are warning dog walkers not to wrap leads around their fingers or wrists, in order to avoid the risk of sustaining serious injuries if their pet bolts. The British Society for Surgery of the Hand says potential injuries include lacerations, friction burns and even “de-gloving” - when a finger is stripped of skin and tissue.Royal Mint selling gold sovereign for £100,000
The Royal Mint is selling an extremely rare George III gold sovereign, one of only 3,574 struck in 1819, of which just ten remain extant. Purchasers have to enter a ballot for the chance to buy the coin at a fixed price of £100,000. The Mint said the coin had been sourced and verified by its own experts on historic coins and declared genuine.Briefing: is facial recognition technology safe?
The first major legal challenge to the use of automated facial recognition (AFR) surveillance by British police begins this week.
Supporters claim facial recognition technology “will boost the safety of citizens and could help police catch criminals and potential terrorists”, reports The Daily Telegraph. But critics have labelled it “Orwellian” and say police have not been “transparent” about how they will use the data.Is facial recognition technology safe?
PM faces pressure to go ahead of crunch meeting with 1922 Committee chairOne-Minute Read Friday, May 24, 2019 - 6:51am
After months of stubborn resistance, Theresa May is expected to bow to the inevitable today, naming a date for her departure amid a growing Brexit backlash from her own MPs and a disastrous European election campaign for the Conservatives.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Following the dramatic resignation of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom on the eve of yesterday’s vote in protest at the offer to MPs of a second referendum vote, the prime minister is due to meet Sir Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, this morning.
The aftermath of that meeting is likely to “shed some light on whether May will be forced out or able to go on her own terms”, says Metro.
Whispers tonight number 10 might be looking for a window btw polls closing tomorrow night and Friday mid morning when it turns into a public removal of PM - this is such a febrile situation that it%u2019s v v hard to know what%u2019s going on beyond simple truth that she%u2019s on way out https://t.co/ce1j9p4hLQ
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) May 22, 2019
But The Daily Telegraph says “her fate may have already been sealed by the committee’s executive members, who have held a secret ballot on whether to change the party rules and hold an immediate confidence vote on her leadership”.
The votes have aleady been cast and the results will be revealed “unless May agrees to specify a date for her departure”, says the paper. According to The Guardian, the committee has agreed in principle to change the rules if the prime minister fails to quit by 10 June.
“Two Cabinet ministers today told me that if she can hang on until the beginning of next month, she ought to keep going, and keep trying to move Brexit forward,” reports BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, “but others are now utterly convinced that she can’t last beyond this weekend’s European elections”.
The ongoing crisis “deepened after she was forced to shelve the publication of - and vote on - her Brexit bill”, says The Independent.
MPs were told the government now hopes to reveal the detail of the withdrawal agreement bill in the first week of June, not on Friday, as May originally promised.
“It suggests that rather than caving to the demands of her backbenchers, May will attempt to rewrite her Brexit deal in order to cling to power,” says the Telegraph.
She has “been obdurate through one of the most tumultuous premierships of recent British history”, says Reuters, “but had promised to leave office if lawmakers approved her Brexit deal.” Now she is “under intense pressure to name a date” regardless of what happens with Brexit.
One option is for May resign as Conservative leader on Friday to allow a competition to replace her, while carrying on as prime minister during the contest, which could last six to eight weeks.
“Such a competition is likely to favour strong Leave supporters such as Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom over former remainers such as Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock,” says The Guardian.
While some MPs have said May has not yet accepted that her tenure in Downing Street is over, one commentator suggested that the PM has a specific date in mind.
“I know this sounds a frivolous point but I don’t think it is,” Matthew Parris told Sky News. “She’ll overtake Gordon Brown on Tuesday. I do think that’s important to leaders. She doesn’t want to be right near the bottom. She’ll move one up.”UK News Theresa May Brexit Conservative Party
Think tank says UK would need to adopt a nine-hour working week in order to meet Paris climate targetsOne-Minute Read Friday, May 24, 2019 - 6:29am
Europeans need to work much shorter hours each week to help better combat climate change, a new study has suggested.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
A report by the think tank Autonomy has said that with the existing carbon intensity of our economies and current levels of productivity, the UK would need to adopt a nine-hour working week in order to cut emissions by enough to meet the Paris climate agreement targets and keep global warming below 2C.
Analysing two other European countries, it says Sweden would have to cut its working hours to 12, and Germany to just six in order to decarbonise their economies.
The research does not address the economic impact of such a dramatic reduction.
Nevertheless, says Fast Company, the reasoning behind its proposal is simple: “if companies produced less each week, and ran their offices for fewer hours, they would also emit less CO2”.
The paper focuses on the emissions produced per industry in each economy but does not take into account other environmental advantages of reducing working hours, from less commuting to fewer goods produced and resources used.
“With more free time, workers may also end up consuming less – they might have time to walk or bike to run an errand instead of driving, for example, or might be more likely to spend time socialising rather than shopping,” says Fast Company.
According to the report: “The climate crisis calls for an unprecedented decrease in the economic activity that causes [greenhouse gas] emissions, and this confronts us with… the ‘necessity to be lazy’,”.
The 20th-century economist John Maynard Keynes called for a 15-working week to help people live a better life, and the idea of working less hours has begun to take hold across many developed economies in recent years.
“There have already been calls to reduce working weeks as a means of improving productivity, but working less hours as a means of reducing economic activity is more radical,” says The Independent.
Automation and AI have “also led to increasing calls for a reduction in the working week”, says The Guardian.
In 2008, the Utah state government carried out a mass trial of a four-day week with 18,000 employees, in response to the financial crash and ensuing budget restrictions.
“By reducing the number of government employee commutes, it was estimated that the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with personal vehicle use – in relation to in-work behaviour – was the equivalent to taking a thousand cars off the road,” says Aiden Harper from the New Economics Foundation in City Metric. “This figure doubled when the energy savings from closing offices an extra day a week were taken into account”Environment Climate change
Lord Hain sets out further claims of sexual misconduct as he defends use of parliamentary privilegeOne-Minute Read Friday, May 24, 2019 - 6:13am
Fresh allegations of sexual misconduct against retail tycoon Sir Philip Green have been made public after a Labour peer revealed them in Parliament.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Lord Hain, who last year named the Topshop boss as the person behind a legal injunction stopping a newspaper publishing claims of sexual harassment and racial abuse, reported that staff had made hundreds of complaints against Green, including allegations he grabbed women’s breasts and slapped their bottoms.
Green has said he “categorically and wholly” denies all claims.
Hain said one staff member told him that victims had gone to an employment tribunal, but were told “it would not get anywhere” so settled their cases and signed non-disclosure agreements (NDA).
The MP said his source had told him: “Some were worn down with spiralling legal costs costing them a fortune. He broke some in the end. It was horrible... He is still doing exactly the same thing. It is rife, it happened all the time.”
His disclosures “came during a debate about the use of parliamentary privilege - which allows MPs and peers to speak in parliament without fear of legal action - and the obligation under the rule of law to obey court orders”, reports The Guardian.
The Daily Telegraph says they “are likely to reignite calls for rules governing the use of non-disclosure agreements to be tightened and the revelations about Sir Philip’s alleged behaviour are likely to lead to renewed questions over whether he should be stripped of his knighthood”.
The former Labour minister, said that he had identified Green last year for “moral reasons” and that by naming him in Parliament, he believed that he “exposed gross injustice… when the law was clearly failing to do so”.
There have, however, been questions about Hain’s motives in using parliamentary privilege to publicly name Green.
According to the BBC, the tycoon’s lawyers said the Labour peer had failed to declare his role as an adviser to law firm Ince Gordon Dadds, which had acted for The Daily Telegraph after Green had brought an injunction against the newspaper which prevented it publishing details of allegations of sexual harassment and racist behaviour.
In April, the House of Lords standards body dismissed a complaint that Lord Hain had failed to declare an interest when he named Green.
The much-anticipated plans for the restructuring of his retail empire were finally unveiled on Thursday. Under the plans, Arcadia will close 23 of its 566 stores in UK and Ireland and is asking for rent reductions and friendlier leases on another 194. Topshop and Topman will retreat from the US entirely.
“Things are already going badly for the former billionaire,” says the Financial Times. Talks with landlords have been rumbling on for months as Green and his wife Tina, who is the ultimate owner of Arcadia, try to cut their rent bill during a tricky period for the high street.UK News Business UK business Philip Green Peter Hain
New study reveals that majority of parents reject schools closest to their homes in favour of higher-achieving onesIn Depth Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 4:11pm
More than 60% of parents in the UK avoid sending their children to the closest secondary school to their home, according to a new study.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Bristol found that a majority of families opt for a school that is further away, usually because it is higher achieving.
The BBC says the study is the “most detailed examination of choices of secondary school places in England, using more than 520,000 applications from 2014 to 2015”.
“Contrary to a widely held belief, only a minority of parents choose their local school as their first option,” the researchers said.
Here’s what the experts say parents should look out for when picking a school:Exam results
Education news website The School Run describes attainment levels as “probably the biggest deal-breaker for parents”.
The Good Schools Guide recommends that parents view Ofsted reports, exam results and performance data, and check whether a good percentage of children get higher grades.
Angeline Tyler, co-author of Choosing a Secondary School and Getting In, says: “Whether your child gets those ultimately or not, it will tell you that the teaching quality overall is good.”Other students
The BBC suggests quizzing pupils selected to show families around on open days for prospective students.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former head of Ofsted, says that while “most of the hand-picked students will say nice things about the schools”, they may reveal more about the school if you “ask them if they've made progress from year to year”.
“All the data shows that when youngsters transfer from primary to secondary, their performance often dips,” he adds.
Although visiting school open days is a must, according to ParentKind, parents should also “make time for another visit on a normal school day so you get to see what it's like without the smokescreen of presentations and displays”.
The education charity says parents should ask themselves: “How do students and teachers interact in class? What's behaviour like at the end of a lesson and the end of the school day? Is there a welcoming and happy atmosphere?”Teachers
Last year, TES, formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement, surveyed thousands of primary school children about to enter secondary school to see which factors they placed the most importance on when looking for the right school.
The majority of children said that the teachers themselves, not their teaching, were the most important element of their school experience. Secondary pupils were recruited for the same task, placing “great and supportive teachers’ in second place”.Extra-curricular activities
The most important factor for secondary pupils was “a range of extra-curricular activities”.
Parents should assess whether or not their children love trying new things and staying busy, in which case a school with “tons of extra-curricular activities might appeal”, The Huffington Post suggests.
The Daily Telegraph says activities “reach different children in ways that other aspects of school life might not, and help to complete a child’s educational experiences at school”, adding that “a successful programme of extra-curricular is indicative of a head having the combination of genuine passion and attention to detail that is vital for a school to be truly great”.Facilities
Neat and tidy classrooms are a must, as are other communal areas. But be sure to look beneath the surface if you want a better idea of a school’s facilities, say the experts.
It may seem rather odd, but one of the best ways to accurately gauge the quality of the school’s facilities may be to use the toilets, they say.
“Schools are bound to spotlight their smartest classrooms and best facilities,” Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, tells the BBC. “But this is no different from what we do when we show would-be vendors around our houses.
“But you can get beyond this by asking to have a tour, and asking to see, say, the toilets that pupils use. Toilets, in my experience, tell you a lot about a school's values.”Education Schools Secondary school
Rumours are hotting up as Ferrari prepares to enter SUV market with its ‘FUV’News Hub Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 3:44pm
Ferrari is reportedly racing ahead with the development of its long-rumoured Purosangue, a supercar-inspired SUV that will go head-to-head with the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Dubbed an “FUV” by the Italian marque, meaning Ferrari Utility Vehicle, the Purosangue is expected to be a sleek, high-riding vehicle that the company hopes will be another lucrative revenue stream.
SUVs exploded in popularity around the start of this decade, although Ferrari had always insisted that it would never build its own crossover fearing that it may muddy its brand.
However, the company’s former chief executive Sergio Marchionne had a change of heart in 2017, saying that an SUV “will probably happen but it will happen in Ferrari’s style”.
Then, in October 2018, Ferrari executives confirmed that an SUV was in the works at the firm’s Capital Markets Day, says Auto Express.
There’s still a long way to go before the car makes its public debut. There are, however, a host of rumours and reports to unpick in the meantime:What does Purosangue mean?
The Italian word purosangue means “thoroughbred”, a nod to the prancing horse that adorns the marque’s badge.Release date
Ferrari has yet to announce a definite release date, though the car isn’t expected to arrive for several years.
According to Car magazine, the Purosangue will be unveiled towards the end of 2021, before customer deliveries get under way in early 2022.
That time frame is considerably later than Ferrari initially planned.
Before his passing in July 2018, Marchionne told Auto Express that the Purosangue would launch “probably by the end of 19” or “the beginning of 20”.
He added that he had “seen the car when I was in Europe eight days ago” and that Ferrari had created “mock up bodies” of the SUV, the magazine reports.
It’s believed Marchionne’s successor, Louis Camilleri, postponed the SUV’s launch shortly after taking over as Ferrari chief.Pricing
Given that the Purosangue will go up against the £160,000 Lamborghini Urus and the £182,000 Bentley Bentayga W12, expect a figure at around the £200,000 mark.Design
There are only a handful of spy shots showing Purosangue development cars, but they don’t offer us a clear look at the SUV’s design.
YouTube channel SupercarsNews posted a video in October that showed a high-riding Ferrari test vehicle at the company’s factory in Maranello, Italy.
Video of FERRARI PUROSANGUE SPY SPOTTED ! THE NEW SUV FERRARI MULE ON THE ROAD
While the tall ride height suggests that the vehicle is indeed a Purosangue test car, the vehicle’s bodywork appears to have been taken from a Ferrari GTC4 Lusso grand tourer. This is a common practice among carmakers who are looking to develop a new vehicle’s chassis before the design has been completed.
However, Motor1 claims to have used “information from insiders” to create a rendering of the Purosangue, giving us a better look at the car.
If the rendering is accurate, the SUV will take inspiration from the design of Ferrari’s 812 Superfast, including the wide grille and sculpted rear wheel arches. The vehicle also sports four doors, which seems to dispel early rumours that the vehicle will be a two-door model.Ferrari
There are now well over 100 zero-waste stores in the UKCredits Twitter Alt Text Zero-waste store
If you want to cut down your plastic use, these ten stores might be the best place to startIn Depth Friday, May 24, 2019 - 11:48am
Across the UK, a new trend is taking hold among those wishing to diminish their negative impact on the environment: the so-called “zero waste” store.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
According to Wearth London, these stores “help people to live a more zero-waste lifestyle by eliminating unnecessary packaging” by “stocking bulk products in large dispensable containers or jars”. Customers then bring their own containers and weigh out the amount they want to purchase, cutting down on both plastic and food waste.
“It's a more modern way of doing an older thing,” Sophie Rae, founder of Cardiff-based zero-waste store Ripple told the BBC, complaining that even recyclying-centric stores are not sustainable in the modern world. “We cannot keep up with recycling rates,” she said. “What if we just didn't have to recycle much at all?”
The Guardian describes the rise of these stores as something of a “quiet revolution”, reporting that over the past two years, well over 100 of these stores have sprung up across the UK, with some in the business putting the total number at close to 200.
If you want to cut down on wastage, here’s a list of the best zero-waste stores around the UK:BYO, South London
BYO, based in London’s increasingly trendy Tooting Market, offers customers to fill up their own containers with “pulses, pasta, seeds, spices, cereals and more”, Culture Whisper reports, adding that you'll “also find a great selection of toiletries, detergents and plastic-free accessories, like rose gold straws, KeepCups and totes”.
What’s more, you can also purchase containers on site to use, in case you leave home without your tupperware.Wastenot, Brighton
One of the most eco-friendly cities in the country - and the only with a Green Party MP - it probably comes as no surprise that Brighton has already hopped on board the zero-waste train.
Wastenot, according to Hip and Healthy, sells a unique range of “bamboo cutlery sets, steel lunch boxes and even reusable bamboo fibre makeup remover pads”, along with groceries in jars for refilling containers. Notably, they also offer delivery for online shoppers.Charlotte’s Cupboard, Sussex
Charlotte’s Cupboard is rather unique among the stores on this list, as it moves from town to town furthering the cause of zero-waste consumption.
Check out their website for their itinerary as they load up their zero-emissions electric van with package-free groceries and hit the road, setting up shop in the towns of Burgess Hill, Brighton, Cuckfield, Forest Row, Hassocks and Lewes, depending on the day. They can also be hired for delivery.The Clean Kilo, Birmingham
This massive store in central Birmingham has, according to Pebble Magazine, “already made a huge impact” in the city, with plenty of shoppers choosing to fuel their own personal eco-revolutions here.
The shop stocks a wide range of fruit and vegetables, along with grains, nuts, condiments and toiletries.Preserve Foods, Bristol
Preserve Foods is one of the finest zero-waste establishments in the West Country, dedicated to working only with ethical suppliers, Hip and Healthy says.
Customers can pick up large variety of organic and vegan foods and non food products, including soap, deodorant, shampoo, and other toiletries.The Refillery, Edinburgh
Another zero-waste shop with a heavy focus on ethics and sustainability, Pebble Magazine reports that The Refillery stocks a “huge range” of products, most of which have been sourced locally.
This includes honey from third generation producers and loose-leaf tea from Eteaket both based in Edinburgh, as well as organic fresh fruit, veg, eggs, bread, chocolate buttons and chocolate covered peanuts, the culture blog adds.Sea No Waste, Arbroath
Sea No Waste, in the Scottish town of Arbroath, hosts 150 bins of plastic free-foodstuffs including herbs, spices, rice, pulses, nuts and a variety of flour.
The Courier reports that it also stocks other environmentally minded products, such as “stick deodorants in paper tubes, bamboo toothbrushes and shampoo bars”.
Owner Sammy Reid said that landmark BBC wildlife documentary Blue Planet was “pivotal in making everyone aware of the problem of plastics in the ocean”.Locavore, Glasgow
Locavore has gone a step further than most zero-waste shops, serving as both an eco-friendly store and an acclaimed restaurant simultaneously.
Patrons can indulge in an ethically-sourced open sandwich - at a reasonable price - while people nearby “fill bottles and tubs with milk from a huge shinily silver machine”, while “oils, lotions and organic washing up liquids are available in the same way”, The Herald Scotland says.Natural Weigh, Crickhowell
This zero-waste shop opened a just ove a year ago in Crickhowell in mid-Wales, The Guardian reports, and is “filled with pasta, grains, seeds and dried fruit served from hoppers to avoid plastic packaging”
“Washing-up liquid and laundry products that customers pump into their battered old squeezy bottles,” the paper adds, while “fair-trade coffee and chocolate, plus an array of environmentally friendly products, such as bamboo toothbrush holders, plastic-free dental floss and vegan leather snack pouches – looks lovely”.Ripple, Cardiff
On Cardiff’s Albany Road, you will find the city’s first not-for-profit zero waste shop, Ripple, opened by Sophie Rae in 2018. The walls decked with containers of nuts, seeds and coffee, this quirky little shop prides itself on its collaborations with Welsh creators and producers.
“Any products that cannot be sourced locally come from ethical companies who pay their workers better than the national average and source materials ethically,” The Tab reports. “For example, the company that makes the hemp backpacks pay factory workers six times the national average wage.”Zero waste Sustainability Environment
Former London mayor and foreign secretary has sights set on No. 10Profile Friday, May 24, 2019 - 5:25pm
Known for his platinum blond hair, dishevelled style and comic talent, which occasionally lurches into the offensive, Boris Johnson is a political star and the Tory grass-roots members’ top choice to be the next prime minister.
“His only obstacle is persuading enough of his fellow Conservative MPs to put him on the shortlist of two,” notes The Economist.
So what kind of PM would he make?‘Showy’ ideas
Johnson’s eight-year reign as London mayor, from 2008 to 2016, offers some clues to his leadership style.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Few Londoners are likely to have forgotten the grand launch of his self-service “Boris bikes”, his campaign for a new airport in the Thames estuary - dubbed “Boris Island” - or the image of Johnson stuck on a 20ft-high zipwire while celebrating Team GB’s first gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.
“Johnson delegated detail to others and allowed a series of very able deputies to do the ‘running’ of London while he did the photo ops,” write politics lecturers Ben Worthy and Mark Bennister in a review of his two terms.
He pursued “showy” ideas, from cable cars to buildings, and “constantly chased spontaneous events and opportunities and made headlines”, they add.
The Daily Telegraph’s Asa Bennett says the Tory MP’s “charisma meant he served as an excellent ambassador for the capital”, though Johnson spent much of his time at City Hall “badgering ministers for more powers” in a struggle to fulfil his mandate of building more homes, keeping taxes low and approving new academies.‘Multilingual maverick’
After campaigning for Leave in the 2016 EU referendum, Johnson had a stab at succeeding David Cameron, but was instead stabbed in the back by his colleague Michael Gove, and pulled out of the race.
May moved into No. 10 and appointed him foreign secretary, after siphoning off the responsibilities of Brexit and international trade to new departments.
“There was hope that his charm and intelligence could turn into statesmanship” and, at first, “diplomats warmed to this multilingual maverick”, says the BBC’s James Landale.
But Johnson’s “repeated gaffes and inappropriate remarks” frequently set him back, Landale continues. These diplomatic disasters included reciting a colonial-era Kipling poem at a Myanmar temple and mistakenly suggesting that detained Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe had been training journalists in Iran. Johnson also faced an angry backlash after reportedly dismissing corporate fears over Brexit by saying: “F*** business.”Private sector growth
After two years as foreign secretary, Johnson resigned in protest at May’s Chequers plan and returned to the backbenches, where he has been able to speak more freely - not only in the Commons but also in his Daily Telegraph column and on the fringes of the Conservative Party Conference last year, where he laid out his vision for the country.
He suggested he would prioritise home ownership and fiscal devolution for local councils, giving them incentives to build more houses and encourage more small private builders. He also called for more stop and search powers for policing, a “properly funded NHS” and a celebration of business.
“We Conservatives know that it is only a strong private sector economy that can pay for superb public services,” Johnson said. “We should set our taxes at the optimum rate to stimulate investment and growth, and we should be constantly aiming not to increase but to cut taxes.”
In addition, he has shown support for the values of One Nation Conservatism, which along with unlocking free enterprise, include defending human rights, active global leadership and conserving the environment.And what of Brexit?
Johnson has refused to back May’s latest bill, saying it is “directly against our manifesto”, and looks likely to make an appeal to Tories who have been wooed by Nigel Farage.
However, The Times’ Rachel Sylvester warns: “This is a man who wears his beliefs so lightly that he wrote two articles ahead of the EU referendum, one supporting Leave and the other Remain. There is every reason to assume he will pivot away from the hard Brexit position if it suits him politically.”Politics Boris Johnson Theresa May
Think tank says taxpayer-funded social care for over-65s would save NHS billions every yearIn Depth Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 3:46pm
Providing the elderly with free care would save the NHS around £4.5bn a year by 2030, according to a new report by a leading research group.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a centre-left think tank, says that giving older people in England free help with cleaning and eating would improve their health and cut the demand for hospital treatment.
The proposal “highlights the growing political consensus that personal care should become free for over-65s”, bringing England into line with Scotland, where such care has been free since 2002, The Guardian reports.
Harry Quilter-Pinner, senior research fellow and lead report author at IPPR, argues that funding elderly care would also help redress the balance in an unfair system, says Sky News.
“If you develop cancer in England, you are cared for by the NHS, free at the point of need for as long as it takes,” he said. “But if you develop dementia, you’re likely to have to pay for all your own social care - running up potentially catastrophic costs in the last years of your life.”
The IPPR say that the new system could be funding by an income tax rise of 2%.
Such proposals have triggered much debate in recent years. Last month, former Conservative cabinet minister Damian Green suggested that social care should be modelled on the state pension, with everyone entitled to a basic “safety net” of support to which they can add extra funding.
In a paper for free-market think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies, Green said: “Given you have this huge raft of wealth, particularly in housing, £1.6bn that people have in housing wealth - a sliver of that, frankly, used for social care would buy peace of mind in your old age and would get more money in the social care system.”
So what are all the main arguments for and against free elderly care?Pros Saving the NHS money
The IPPR claims that if its proposals were implemented, the NHS bill for providing “continuing healthcare” to those with high-level medical needs would “fall by £3.3bn, fewer hospital admissions would save £270m and improved end-of-life care in people’s homes would yield a further £267m saving”, The Guardian reports.
A fall in the number of patients who remain in a hospital bed despite being fit to leave would free up another £670m.Cutting costs for the elderly
Social care costs around £13,000 a year for support in the recipient’s own home, or up to £44,000 if they move into a care home, The Daily Telegraph reports.
And a recent report by charity Independent Age found that more than 143,000 elderly people, or a third of the 421,000 in residential care, are likely to face bills of £100,000 or more.
Calling for the introduction of free personal care, the charity said that “free personal care... will end the worry of losing everything to fund care. It’s simple, fair and affordable.”Public approval
Independent Age’s research found that 74% of people support free personal care for everyone who needs it, with 69% willing to pay more tax to fund such a scheme, reports the Daily Mirror.Creating jobs
According to Sky News, another major benefit of full-scale funding of elderly care services would be a major boost to employment, with as many 70,000 new full-time jobs created under the IPPR’s proposals.
The think tank wants a “joined-up” system of health and social care in which GPs, nurses, mental health workers and social care workers would work locally in integrated teams.Strengthening the welfare state
Welcoming the IPPR proposals, Sir David Behan, chair of Health Education England and former chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, said that the NHS should be free at the point of use for all citizens.
“In 1948, politicians were brave in making the NHS free at the point of need and funded out of general taxation,” he said. “We need our politicians today to be just as courageous and do the same for social care.”Cons Hefty expenses
According the IPPR, free care for the elderly would see taxpayer spending on adult social care for the over-65s rocket from £17bn per year in 2018-19 to £36bn in 2030 before NHS and other savings are factored in.
The think tank says £11bn of that increase would arise without the proposed changes, because of the growing elderly population - but this still leaves a hefty shortfall for the state.Unfair burden on the young
Some critics argue that forcing everyone to pay more tax to fund something that a relatively small portion of the population is using is unfair.
Steve Ellis, CEO of Legal & General Retail Retirement Living Solutions, insists that funding should not be the responsibility of everyone in the population, reports industry news site Care Home Professional.
“With Britain’s over-55s owning £1trn in housing wealth, the lifetime mortgage market is well placed to help retirees cover the costs of social care,” he said recently. “In today’s retirement where a generation is approaching later life cash-poor but asset rich, lifetime mortgages can provide people with the capability to remain in their homes and maintain their independence for longer.”
Tory MP Green echoed those sentiments last year, when he floated the idea that over-65s who own their homes outright could release equity from their properties to fund a national pot.
Others take a more nuanced view. Fellow Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg has argued that although such care should be free at the point of use, the government should not impose an equal tax across all demographics.
Instead, he suggests a state-funded system where those receiving care pay an additional £5,000 a year each to help cover the costs.Society Elderly care care homes NHS
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel MacronCredits Michele Tantussi/Getty Images Alt Text German chancellor Angela Merkel greets French president Emmanuel Macron
The Continent appears more divided than ever as voters go to the pollsIn Depth Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 1:26pm
More than 400 million voters are exercising their democratic rights together this week in the world’s second-largest elections, yet Europe is a continent divided.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Although surveys suggest approval rates for EU membership is currently at a record high across the bloc, many commentators fear that support is set to crumble.
In 11 of 14 countries recently surveyed by YouGov and the European Council on Foreign Relations, the majority of respondents reported anticipating a possible EU collapse within the next two decades.
“For a project that once seemed like a beacon of hope for values-based global cooperation, this is a devastating reversal,” says Spain’s former minister of foreign affairs, Ana Palacio, in an article for global affairs commentary site Project Syndicate.
So what are the challenges facing the EU?C'est l'économie, stupide!
A decade after the financial crisis ripped through the Continent’s economy, throwing its political and social model into disarray, average annual growth remains at just 1.5%. And “there are strong signals that worse is to come: debt levels are rising fast and the European Central Bank has relaunched stimulus measures to stave off recession”, says Palacio on Project Syndicate.
Indeed, “Europe has plenty of world-class companies but unlike the US, none of them were set up in the past 25 years,” says The Guardian’s Larry Elliott. “There is no European Google, Facebook or Amazon, and in the emerging technologies of the fourth Industrial Revolution, such as artificial intelligence, Europe is nowhere.”
French President Emmanuel Macron is convinced that the answer to Europe’s economic problems is closer integration, with the EU appointing a finance minister in charge of tax and spending policy for the entire eurozone.
Macron also “envisions a two-speed Europe which would allow countries that want to work towards further integration to go forward with such measures while others can choose to maintain the status quo”, reports Deutsche Welle.
But to do that he needs the support of Germany, and Berlin “has been notably reluctant to support Macron’s proposal of pooling financial resources, in what many in Germany’s parliament believe would create a ‘transfer union’ that would likely see Germany provide more financial resources than it would receive from a collective fund”, the newspaper adds.
The German authorities are not alone in holding such fears. In March, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis described the two-speed system proposal as “totally divorced from reality”, says Reuters.
“I have noticed that when France says ‘more of Europe’, she in fact means more of France. But that is not the way. We are all equals in Europe,” Babis was quoted as saying.
All the same, Macron’s plan “has a logic to it”, says The Guardian’s Elliott. “The eurozone is a half-completed project, lacking the political structure that would give it a chance of working...What’s more, if Europe continues to underperform economically, the alternative to closer integration is disintegration,” he concludes.Popular populists
Another challenge facing the EU is the rise of those wishing to bring about its demise from within. Eurosceptic parties have always had a presence in the European Parliament, but traditionally they’ve struggled to wield substantial influence.
As Vox’s Jen Kirby notes, their “staunchly nationalistic views aren’t exactly a successful formula for cooperation in the pan-European political body”.
But Italy’s Matteo Salvini, France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Thierry Baudet are trying a new tactic: attempting to build a cross-continent alliance of anti-EU parties. Other far-right parties have joined the cause, including Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) and Austria’s Freedom Party, and “they’re betting that by working together, they can weaken - and remake - the EU from within”, says Kirby.
Macron has pitted himself as the leader of anti-populist forces in opposition to the group, while European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned voters against using the elections as a protest platform.
But the extremist parties are still expected to do well, so the European Parliament that sits in July is expected to be more divided, “raising the risk of paralysis as the old pro-European parliamentary coalition falls away”, says The Guardian.
Far-right Euroskeptics are trying to appeal to the dissatisfied with the status quo. “They’re positioning themselves as the parties of change but within still the bigger European idea,” Susi Dennison, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told Vox.
So what they represent is no longer opposition to the existence of the European Union - it’s opposition to the European Union “as it exists now, at least according to the far-right skeptics: too powerful, too progressive, too multicultural”, says Kirby.East meets West
An East-West divide has also emerged among the member states. Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, is pushing his vision of illiberal democracy and “has become a trendsetter for the centre–right throughout much of the Continent”, says The Spectator’s John O’Sullivan.
Over the past five years, “a crack has grown into a chasm, as Hungary and Poland have suppressed independent media, attacked NGOs, and undermined judicial independence”, adds Palacio on Project Syndicate. This has driven EU leaders to take the unprecedented step of triggering sanctions procedures against their governments for eroding democracy and failing to adhere to fundamental EU norms.
Although majorities in the European Parliament backed the sanctions, the support has been less than enthusiastic, “leaving the EU institution-driven process toothless”, according to Palacio.
In a move seen as a direct riposte to the bloc’s direction of change, the Polish government put forward a proposal this week to create a “red card” system allowing national parliaments to veto EU laws.
Alongside Poland and Hungary, Romania is also in the sights of the European Commission for failure to respect the rule of law. Meanwhile, Salvini, Le Pen and pals chose Slovakia as the site of a meeting earlier this month of the most prominent European far-right parties.
Fuelling fears of a lack of buy-in to the EU among those in the East is the fact that ten of the 12 countries with the lowest turnouts in the 2014 elections were from the former communist bloc. Voting in these nations is “a little less sacred” than in other European countries, French university professor Olivier Rozenberg told French news agency AFP.
“For us (Western countries), voting is synonymous with democracy, while this link is less clear in Eastern countries where there are still memories of non-pluralist elections,” he said.EU Emmanuel Macron Angela Merkel
Arsenal stars Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette look pleased with the Adidas shirtsCredits Twitter Alt Text Arsenal stars Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette look pleased with the Adidas shirts
Ten things from the world of sport on Thursday 23 MayDaily Briefing Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 12:43pm 1. Gooners swoon over new kits
A picture has been leaked of Arsenal’s “new” Adidas shirts for next season and Gooners are in love with the designs.See related Deepfakes: Reddit bans AI-generated fake celebrity porn How smart speaker AIs such as Alexa and Siri reinforce gender bias
Worn by star strikers Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette the home and away strips are being praised by Arsenal supporters on social media.
“Shut up and take my money,” said one delighted fan on Twitter.2. Ronnie’s rocket revelation
Snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan has revealed that he won’t play in next year’s World Championship. He told The Daily Telegraph: “This year I played 11 tournaments; next year I’m only going to have to play three. I only want to play a few games to keep a bit of interest. I’m bored at home. Maybe three or four tournaments a year. Low key ones, where there is no media and no press. So I will miss the Masters, I will miss the World Championship and I will miss the UK [Championship].”3. Fifa scraps 48-team World Cup plan
Fifa’s plan to increase the number of teams for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been scrapped. The Times reports that football’s global governing body wanted to expand the next World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, but political problems in the Gulf and Middle East have proved too big a challenge to overcome.4. Award double for World Cup hopeful Cipriani
After being named the Premiership’s player of the season Danny Cipriani now has his eye on a place in England’s squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The Gloucester fly-half, 31, had already won the Rugby Players Association’s annual award earlier this month.5. Poch and Becks
Former England captain David Beckham dropped in on Tottenham training yesterday ahead of their Uefa Champions League final against Liverpool. Beckham was pictured at the Spurs training session with current Three Lions skipper Harry Kane and Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Daily Mail reports that Kane has stepped up his bid for full fitness ahead of the final in Madrid on 1 June.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 22, 20196. ‘Back me or sack me’
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has issued an ultimatum ahead of next week’s Uefa Europa League final against Arsenal on 29 May. In a bold move Sarri has told the Chelsea board to “sack me now” if his future depends on the result in Baku. See today’s back pages for more.7. ‘Quadzilla’ quits athletics for rugby sevens
Sprinter Trae Williams has signed a two-year contract with the Australia rugby sevens team. The 22-year-old, who is nicknamed ‘Quadzilla’, has a personal best time of 10.10secs in the 100m, the fourth best time for an Australian.8. Inter eye Lukaku and Moses
Sky Sports reports that Inter Milan are expected to appoint Antonio Conte as their new head coach next week. Former Chelsea boss Conte, who will replace Luciano Spalletti, already has a wishlist of players that he wants at his new club. Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea winger Victor Moses are linked with a move to the San Siro. See more Premier League transfer news here.9. ‘Big three’ are the top seeds in France
The seedings have been revealed for the 2019 French Open tennis grand slam and in the men’s draw the “big three” of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer take the top three spots. In the women’s singles world No.1 Naomi Osaka is the top seed while Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep are seeded two and three. The French Open starts on Sunday at Roland-Garros.10. F1 teams pay tribute to Lauda
Formula 1 teams and drivers are paying tribute to Niki Lauda at the Monaco Grand Prix. The Austrian, a three-time world champion, passed away on Monday aged 70.
Lauda was the chairman of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and the team tweeted a picture of its tribute on Thursday.
“From today, the W10 will carry a single red star on its livery,” Mercedes said. “For our Chairman and for our friend.”
From today, the W10 will carry a single red star on its livery. %u2B50%uFE0F
For our Chairman and for our friend. pic.twitter.com/GsuFeoIPGi
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) May 23, 2019Football Rugby Formula 1 Tennis Arsenal Premier League Adidas Niki Lauda David Beckham Tottenham Mauricio Pochettino Formula 1 F1 F1 in focus