GPs in England threaten industrial action over in-person appointments

Family doctors reject plan to force them to see any patient who wants face-to-face appointment

GPs in England are threatening industrial action in protest at the government’s attempt to force them to see any patient who wants a face-to-face appointment.

The British Medical Association’s GPs committee voted unanimously to reject the plan by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, which included “naming and shaming” surgeries that see too few patients in person.

Declining to comply with Javid’s insistence that they see patients in person who request it.

Visiting care homes less often to check on residents’ health.

Undertaking fewer or less regular medication reviews of the drugs being taken by patients with a long-term health condition.

Refusing to issue Covid medical exemption certificates, which will allow people who remain unvaccinated to continue working in environments such as care homes because they have a medical reason not to have been jabbed against the disease.

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The Queen spent night in hospital after cancelling Northern Ireland visit

Buckingham Palace says Elizabeth II is now back in Windsor after doctors advised a few days’ rest

The Queen spent Wednesday night in hospital after cancelling her visit to Northern Ireland, Buckingham Palace has said.

A spokesperson said the Queen went to hospital for “preliminary investigations” but returned to Windsor on Thursday.

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PM resists calls to activate plan B as daily Covid cases top 50,000

Boris Johnson says numbers of infections are high but ‘within the parameters’ of the predictions

Daily Covid-19 cases have risen above 50,000 in the UK for the first time since July, as the prime minister resists calls for the government to activate its backup plan.

Official figures on Thursday put the number of positive tests at 52,009 as cases have continued to rise. The last time cases were at this level was 17 July. Daily data also showed 115 people died within 28 days of a positive test.

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House holds Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress

  • Contempt citation for Bannon approved by 229 votes to 202
  • Strategist refused to comply with Capitol attack subpoena

The House voted on Thursday to hold Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress, over his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the 6 January Capitol attack.

The approval of the contempt citation, by 229 votes to 202 against, escalates the select committee’s efforts to punish Bannon for his non-compliance as they intensify their inquiry into whether then-president Trump helped plan or had advance knowledge of the insurrection.

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Laura Kuenssberg in talks to step down as BBC political editor

Exclusive: those with knowledge of negotiations say Kuenssberg could become presenter on Today programme

Laura Kuenssberg is in talks to step down as BBC political editor after six years and become a presenter on the Today programme as part of a major reshuffle of senior on-air staff, individuals with knowledge of the negotiations told the Guardian.

Although the deal has yet to be signed off and there is no confirmed timeframe, her departure would leave a vacancy in one of the most powerful positions in British journalism at a time when the government is still negotiating the future of the BBC licence fee and trying to shape its news agenda.

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English schools must not teach ‘white privilege’ as fact, government warns

Comments ahead of new guidance ‘simplistic and unhelpful’, say teaching unions

English schools should not teach “contested theories and opinions … such as white privilege” as fact, the government has said prior to the publication of new guidance outlining how teaching certain political issues could break the law.

Schools should avoid promoting “partisan political views” and must instead teach racial and social justice topics in a “balanced and factual manner”, according to the government’s official response to a report on the educational disadvantages faced by white working-class pupils published by the education committee in June.

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Suspect in David Amess MP killing plotted attack for years, court hears

Ali Harbi Ali visited Houses of Parliament, an MP’s home and another constituency surgery, say prosecutors

The suspect in the killing of the MP David Amess prepared terrorist acts over more than two years, it was alleged in court on Thursday.

Prosecutors claimed that Ali Harbi Ali, 25, visited the Houses of Parliament, an MP’s home and another constituency surgery as part of reconnaissance for a potential attack.

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UK agrees to end tax on US tech giants when global deal takes effect

Deal means US will not retaliate against UK for imposing digital services tax, Treasury says

The UK has agreed to phase out its tax on US tech giants such as Google and Facebook, averting the threat of retaliatory tariffs from the United States.

A deal between the two countries will keep the digital services tax in place until 2023, when it will make way for a newly agreed global tax system.

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‘School-to-prison pipeline’: youth justice services failing black boys

Probation inspectorate finds lack of curiosity behind inaction on youth offending disparities across England

The government has been urged to act over the “school to prison pipeline” after a report found black and mixed heritage boys in England received poor support from youth offending services.

HM Inspectorate of Probation found “significant deficits” in the quality of work conducted by youth offending services and partner agencies when dealing with black and mixed heritage boys.

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Mother charged with murder of five-year-old Logan Mwangi

Angharad Williamson is third person charged with murder after her son was found in a river in Bridgend in July

The mother of a five-year-old boy who was found dead in a river has been charged with his murder.

Angharad Williamson, 30, from Sarn, Bridgend, is the third person to be charged with the murder of her son Logan Mwangi, also known as Logan Williamson. The child was discovered in the Ogmore River in Sarn on 31 July.

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Language used to describe the climate becoming more urgent, study finds

Oxford English Dictionary found between 2018 and 2020 use of ‘climate crisis’ increased nearly 20-fold

When people spoke of a “climate refugee” in the 19th century, they would be describing someone who had moved to a place where the climate is healthier or more congenial.

But in modern parlance, the meaning has shifted to reflect current global crises – now climate refugees are those who are forced to move in response to extreme weather or rising sea levels.

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‘Never sold a painting in his life – but died worth $100m’: the incredible story of Boris Lurie

The difficult, devastating work of the Holocaust survivor turned painter is being celebrated at a new exhibition at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage

“He never sold a painting in his life, lived in hovels, yet died worth about $100m,” says Anthony Williams, chairman of the Boris Lurie Art Foundation, at a press preview for Boris Lurie: Nothing to Do but Try. “He was,” he later says with a sigh, “a complicated man.”

The paradox of Boris Lurie’s living conditions is just one contour in the tragic and fascinating life of this painter, illustrator, sculptor, diarist, co-founder of the No!art movement, and concentration camp survivor, whose work is on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in lower Manhattan.

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‘It seems impenetrable’: the trials of HGV training

Three HGV trainees relate the early barriers they’ve found on the road to a potential career change

The shortage of HGV drivers in the UK and reports of salaries of up to £50,000 has prompted some people to change careers and retrain to join the sector.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified HGV drivers in the UK.

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Oil refinery woes raise concern in Westminster over financial backers

Petrol crisis puts spotlight on little-known foreign supporters of Stanlow and Prax Lindsey plants

The panic-buying of petrol and diesel that gripped Britain in September served as an unwelcome reminder of how disruption to supplies can rapidly escalate into crisis. But while the long queues on forecourts have gradually receded, concerns persist about the finances of refineries supplying about 25% of fuel.

Financial difficulties afflicting two of the UK’s remaining oil refineries have raised concerns in government about their little-known ties to a Kremlin-allied oil business and a commodities trading house under investigation for corruption, the Guardian understands.

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Tory mask converts and holdouts witness an object lesson in disinformation | John Crace

By the end of the vaccines minister Maggie Throup’s Commons performance we knew less than we had at the start

Cometh the hour, cometh the woman. There’s a fair chance you haven’t heard of Maggie Throup. There again, there’s a fair chance that Maggie Throup hasn’t heard of Maggie Throup. She’s that forgettable, even her shadow disowns her. She has the permanently bemused air of someone harmless who is never quite sure why she happens to be in any one place at any one time or what she’s supposed to be doing there. Someone who would be out of her depth in a teacup. And yet, for reasons no one has as yet determined, she is the UK’s new vaccines minister during the worst public health crisis in 100 years.

Still, her complete unsuitability for the job made her the ideal health minister for Sajid Javid to send out to take the flak for him by answering Labour’s urgent question on the Covid pandemic. After all, the less she knew, the less chance of her accidentally revealing something potentially embarrassing. Like the fact that the health secretary hadn’t seemed entirely sure what government policy was during his press conference the day before. The Saj messing things up was not a great look. The Throupster sounding confused was no more than what most people anticipated. Expectation management and all that.

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A ‘non-cancellable’ community: the ‘truth’ about Trump’s social media platform

The presentation outlining the ex-president’s new company, Trump Media & Technology Group, is rich with hyperbole, but low on detail. Here’s the gist

The TRUTH is out there, according to known factualness provider Donald Trump. On Wednesday the former president, who has been banned from the major social media platforms since January, announced that he will be launching his own social media company called Truth Social. Although, in typical Trump style, it’s styled TRUTH Social.

The network, which from the Apple App Store screengrabs looks suspiciously like a clone of Twitter, will open to “invited users” next month and be rolled out to the public early next year. The app is apparently part of a wider media network called Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) that aims to take on the “liberal media consortium”.

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‘A form of mass portraiture’: 12-hour theatre event explores different jobs

12 Last Songs at Leeds Playhouse brings people together to talk about what they do

A caterer, a coffee roaster, an imam and a former drug dealer were among the first to show up at Leeds Playhouse on Thursday. On Saturday, they will be joined by fellow workers of the world including a midwife, a dog groomer, a bricklayer and an astrophysicist.

The somewhat mind-bending gathering was taking place in preparation for a 12-hour arts event that could be described as an epic documentary theatre performance. Or a live exhibition of people.

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Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode: ‘Regret is a weird word. I don’t look back on my life like that’

The Depeche Mode frontman answers your questions, on his new covers album, taking early dance lessons from Mick Jagger and the right way to load a dishwasher

Did you accomplish everything you set out to on [forthcoming album] Impostor? MrBeelzebub

I was really burned out after the last Depeche Mode tour, then Rich [Machin, long-time musical partner in Soulsavers] and I started talking about songs and artists who had influenced us. Before we knew it, we were making a Soulsavers record with me as frontman that paid homage to those songs, but was almost a new piece of work. I realised that the choices were songs that put me where I am, suggested where I have been and where I might be. They are songs [such as Dan Penn/James Carr’s Dark End of the Street or Bob Dylan’s Not Dark Yet] that reflect on lives lived. I would not have known how to sing these songs when I was 18.

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How Hope Powell became a football legend: ‘I’m not afraid of anybody’

She was kicked off her school team for being a girl – then played for her country and became manager of the women’s team at 31. She discusses how she helped put women’s football firmly on the map

When Hope Powell reminisces about the childhood that she spent scurrying across the streets of south London, she thinks of football. Perhaps that is no surprise: over the past 40 years, it has given her a career of firsts – after a trophy-laden playing career, she became England’s first female coach, first Black coach and youngest coach. Today, the 54-year-old is the manager of Brighton in the rapidly growing Women’s Super League (WSL).

Over the course of Powell’s career, the women’s game has evolved beyond recognition. Her football education began in the late 70s, just a few years after the Football Association lifted its ban on women’s football, in 1971. She idolised Kevin Keegan and Ray Wilkins, but had no female players to look up to. She and her brothers would knock on the doors of their friends’ houses, then take to the football cages on her council estate for games of rush goalie to 3-a-side.

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UK’s neighbours criticise Covid policies as cases begin to surge across EU

Several European nations have questioned British response but there are growing signs of fresh wave across continent

For the past several weeks, many western European countries have been eyeing Covid case numbers across the Channel with mounting trepidation.

“Why does Britain have more than 40,000 Covid cases a day, and why is it the European country with the most infections?” asked Spain’s ABC, while France’s L’Express criticised “disastrous myopia” in London.

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Melbourne freedom day: world’s most locked down city takes first cautious steps to reopening

After 262 days, Australia’s second-most populous city is emerging from stringent Covid restrictions – battered but hopeful

Before the pandemic hit, Melbourne had topped the world’s most liveable city list seven consecutive times and was the fastest-growing urban centre in Australia.

But as major cities shrugged off lockdown restrictions with the arrival of the vaccine, Melbourne’s shops remained shuttered, residents were under a 9pm curfew, and the usually buzzing city earned a new title: the world’s longest lockdown.

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Coronavirus live: UK sees daily cases rise to over 50,000; WHO warns indoor socialising driving infections

UK PM resists calls to activate ‘plan B’ as new Covid cases top 50,000; lifting of restrictions also a factor in Europe, WHO warns

In the UK Labour’s shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens – she is MP for Cardiff Central – has been on Sky News, and has been highly critical of the government’s approach to rising Covid numbers in the UK, accusing the health secretary Sajid Javid of an “element of complacency” in his press conference yesterday. She said:

It’s a serious situation we’re in. Rising infection rates, rising hospitalisation rates, and suddenly rising death rates. And what we want to see and have pressed the government to do is to demonstrate their plan for dealing with this ahead of the winter situation.

The NHS is under pressure.

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Young women are sick of being told to stick together and watch their drinks | Gaby Hinslif

When a night out involves the risk of getting ‘spiked’, it’s male violence that’s the problem

A young woman, out for a night’s clubbing, suddenly feels the room begin to spin.

She blacks out and wakes up feeling terrible, with only vague memories of the night before and a mysterious throbbing pain in the back of her hand. And then, on closer inspection, she finds a pinprick in the skin. She thinks she remembers a sharp scratch, like an injection, before everything went blank.

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There are no real climate leaders yet – who will step up at Cop26? | Greta Thunberg

Like other rich nations, the UK is more talk than action on the climate crisis. Something needs to change in Glasgow

• Greta Thunberg accuses world leaders of being in denial over climate crisis

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, called the recent IPCC report on the climate crisis a “code red” for humanity. “We are at the verge of the abyss,” he said.

You might think those words would sound some kind of alarm in our society. But, like so many times before, this didn’t happen. The denial of the climate and ecological crisis runs so deep that hardly anyone takes real notice any more. Since no one treats the crisis like a crisis, the existential warnings keep on drowning in a steady tide of greenwash and everyday media news flow.

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Britain’s Covid numbers show we need to move immediately to ‘plan B’ | Kit Yates

Our comparatively good position has been eroded and now, heading into the winter, the data looks truly alarming

  • Kit Yates is director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath

All the Covid indicators in the UK are going in the wrong direction. They have been for a while now. Cases are surging upwards; hospitals are feeling the strain of increasing numbers of Covid patients, and daily death tolls are rising. At the same time, vaccination delivery is slowing down.

On Monday we saw almost 50,000 cases reported. Only on 16 days throughout the whole pandemic have we seen higher numbers. On Wednesday we saw similar numbers. Our seven-day average is more than 45,000 cases a day, and the ONS estimates that one in 60 people are infected – the highest level since January. For comparison, Germany is seeing 165 daily cases per million of its population. In France, the figure is just 71, and in Spain 35. The corresponding rate for the UK is more than 650 per million.

Kit Yates is director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath and author of The Maths of Life and Death

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Most Britons want assisted dying legalised. Why are MPs too cowardly to do it? | Simon Jenkins

A debate in the Lords this week exposes the Commons’ failure to answer calls for choice and dignity

What are MPs for? The assisted dying bill, to be debated on Friday in the House of Lords, ranks with past laws on divorce, abortion and sexuality in the canon of social liberalism. It is unfinished business of the 1960s.

The bill also lies at the heart of how a free democracy should regulate issues of life and death, with deep significance for millions of Britons at a time of their maximum pain and despair. An overwhelming majority in the UK now want reform. Yet MPs lack the guts to give it to them.

Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist

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Ofgem must show it is awake as energy sector faces winter nightmare | Nils Pratley

Scottish Power boss has warned UK risks ‘sleepwalking into an absolute massacre’ of energy suppliers

“We are in danger of just sleepwalking into an absolute massacre,” Keith Anderson, the chief executive of Scottish Power, said dramatically this week, referring to the number of energy suppliers that could go bust before next spring.

His prediction is credible because a critical ingredient in an energy price crisis, from the point of the view of retail suppliers, is how long it lasts. Customers’ fixed-price deals come to an end as time passes and new arrangements have to be made, backed by purchase agreements and hedging contracts.

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The harsh truths of partition in Ireland can’t be avoided in the name of reconciliation | Brian Hanley

Bland ceremonies avoid the difficult questions of imperialism, power and class that have divided the country

Today in Armagh a church service is marking the centenary since the partition of Ireland. Though the event is hosted by the five main Christian churches on the island of Ireland, it has been shrouded in controversy since it emerged in September that the Irish president, Michael D Higgins, had declined an invitation to attend.

The president objected that the title and structure of the “Service of Reflection and Hope” to “mark the centenaries of the partition of Ireland and the foundation of Northern Ireland” were political in nature; though he insisted it wasn’t a boycott. Minister for foreign affairs Simon Coveney is now representing the Irish government, with Boris Johnson also attending – the Queen’s attendance was cancelled yesterday on health grounds. Members of the DUP, and former taoiseach John Bruton, were quick to criticise Higgins’ decision, but it was an entirely logical move. Partition was imposed on Ireland a century ago, against the wishes of the majority of its people. The border was opposed not only by republicans, but also by the so-called “constitutional” nationalists of the Home Rule party, the labour movement and indeed many southern unionists. The birth of the border came as part of a violent process with what was to become the minority community in the new Northern Ireland effectively battered into submission.

Brian Hanley is a historian and author of The Impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland

This article was amended on Thursday 21 October 2021. Simon Coveney is Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs, not the tánaiste.

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The NHS leads the world in green healthcare. But it faces a political roadblock | Polly Toynbee

Staff initiatives have successfully cut emissions, but without serious infrastructure investment there’s nowhere left to go

If news reflected the magnitude of the planet’s crisis, one story would splash the headlines every day, filling every column inch, airtime minute and swipe of TikTok. Writing about anything else often seems trivial. Cop26 will briefly ignite the news, but for how long afterwards? Be grateful to Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain activists, who don’t give up, though they too need to keep finding new ways to capture public attention.

With the climate summit less than a fortnight away, the government’s inadequate “plan” for net zero shines a flickering light on how much more needs to be done. Cop26 risks exposing the weak will of the world’s leaders to take action. Far from holding to the vital 1.5C heating limit, the UN says cuts volunteered by countries so far will heat the world by 3C above pre-industrial levels: certain calamity. Commitments still fall 60% short of the 2050 net-zero target, needing $4tn investment this decade alone.

Polly Toynbee is a Guardian columnist

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