European Super League: government, FA and Uefa unite to denounce plans

  • Dowden pledges to do ‘whatever it takes’ to thwart plans
  • Poll finds 79% of football fans opposed to breakaway

The UK government and football’s authorities yesterday launched a furious counter-offensive against plans for a European Super League that threaten the entire structure of the club game.

The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, supported by Downing Street, vowed to do “whatever it takes” to thwart the plans which feature 12 “founding members” including six leading clubs from England. European football’s governing body, Uefa, also threatened to ban any players involved from next year’s World Cup.

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Home ownership unaffordable despite 95% mortgages, analysis shows

Many single thirtysomethings will still find large parts of England and Wales too expensive to buy

The government’s scheme to turn generation rent into generation buy will not help single thirtysomethings get on the property ladder in much of England and Wales, Guardian analysis has found.

The mortgage guarantee scheme, which came into effect on Monday, will support banks and building societies to offer 95% loans, meaning that buyers only have to raise 5% themselves.

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Thousands could fly to England from India before it joins Covid travel ‘red list’

UK government accused of acting too slowly as fears grow over new variant discovered in subcontinent

Thousands of people could fly from India to England before it is added to the travel “red list” from Friday, amid growing criticism that the government acted too slowly to restrict the spread of a variant which may be more resistant to vaccines.

In a move announced hours after Boris Johnson bowed to pressure to cancel a key trip to India to boost economic ties, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said most travel from the country would be banned from 4am on Friday. Only British citizens and residents will be allowed in, and all must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

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Derek Chauvin trial hears closing arguments as America braces for verdict

The Derek Chauvin murder trial heard closing arguments on Monday before the jury was expected to begin considering a verdict over the death of George Floyd that is anxiously awaited by millions of Americans.

Related: Daunte Wright and George Floyd: another chapter in America’s recurring tragedy

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Greensill scandal: lobbying inquiry could call all living ex-PMs

Committee overseeing investigation also likely to invite other key figures in previous governments

A full inquiry into lobbying rules could call as witnesses all living ex-prime ministers, as well as key figures in the Greensill scandal, including the company’s founder Lex Greensill, the former civil servant Bill Crothers and the former Cabinet Office chief John Manzoni.

Other key figures in previous governments, including George Osborne and Nick Clegg, could also be invited to give evidence, the Guardian understands.

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France ‘did nothing to stop’ Rwanda genocide, report claims

Report by US law firm commissioned by Kigali says France bears ‘significant responsibility’ for deaths

France “bears significant responsibility” for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 because it remained “unwavering in its support” of its allies even though officials knew the slaughter was being prepared, a report commissioned by Kigali claims.

The accusation is the latest in the continuing dispute between Paris and the small east-African country over the role played there by France before and during the mass killings.

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Boris Johnson drops plan for pre-election visit to Scotland

PM’s move, which emerged after Scottish Tories’ manifesto launch, suggests party fears his poor ratings will harm campaign

Boris Johnson has dropped plans to visit Scotland to campaign for the Conservatives before the May elections, heightening suspicions the party fears he will damage efforts to lure anti-independence voters away from Scottish Labour.

Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Tories, admitted that the prime minister would not be going to Scotland despite Johnson’s assertion in January that “wild horses” would not keep him from campaigning to save the union.

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Pub landlord shouts at Starmer for backing Covid rules

Video footage shows Labour leader being confronted as he campaigns in Bath before local elections

Keir Starmer has had a campaigning trip disrupted by the landlord of a pub who angrily shouted at him over his support for coronavirus restrictions.

The Labour leader was prevented from entering the the Raven in the centre of Bath by Rod Humphris, the pub’s landlord, who shouted: “That man is not allowed in my pub.”

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Author’s killer ‘thought victim was working with Putin to spread Covid’

Alex Sartain, previously detained under Mental Health Act, shot James Nash in the face, inquest told

A children’s author and parish councillor died after a neighbour with mental health issues shot him in the face and stamped on his head, believing he worked for Vladimir Putin and was to blame for the spread of Covid-19, an inquest heard.

James Nash, 42, was repairing the garden well outside his thatched countryside cottage when his neighbour Alex Sartain confronted him and accused him of spying on him.

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Eden Project to start drilling for ‘hot rocks’ to generate geothermal energy

If successful project will allow water to be injected down borehole to be superheated by rocks beneath

A drilling rig is about to arrive at the Eden Project in Cornwall to bore almost three miles down into the granite crust in search of “hot rocks” that will be used to warm the attraction’s biomes and other buildings.

The first of the lorries carrying a 450-tonne, 55-metre-high drilling rig will arrive on the outer edge of the site next week, and if all goes well the geothermal scheme will begin operating by Christmas or early next year.

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Morrissey hits back at The Simpsons over ‘hurtful and racist’ parody episode

Manager posts critical statement on singer’s behalf after Panic on the Streets of Springfield airs

The Simpsons has earned the wrath of Morrissey after it parodied the former Smiths frontman in an episode of the show.

The singer was satirised during the episode Panic on the Streets of Springfield, which aired in the US on Sunday night. In the episode, Lisa Simpson becomes obsessed with a fictional band called the Snuffs and befriends its frontman, Quilloughby.

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Britons working at home spend more time on job in Covid crisis, ONS finds

Official study finds home workers are less likely to take time off sick – but also earn above average

People working from home during lockdown spend more time at their jobs and are less likely to be promoted or take time off sick, but are paid above average wages, according to an official study.

Documenting the shift to remote work during the pandemic, the Office for National Statistics said the number of people who did some work at home in 2020 rose by 9.4 percentage points from a year earlier to 35.9% of the workforce – representing more than 11 million employees.

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Coronavirus live news: Greece suspends rollout of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; EU may not renew AZ contract

Greece halts J&J rollout pending EMA review; commissioner says AstraZeneca only delivered 30m doses of 120m ordered

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Ontario’s premier Doug Ford said on Monday the province expects to face a delay in the supply of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, dealing another blow to its efforts to contain a punishing third wave of the pandemic, Reuters reports.

“In addition to the delayed and cut Moderna shipments, the Premier was notified today by our officials to be prepared for delays to two shipments of AstraZeneca expected from the federal government later this month and next,” a statement from Ford’s office said.

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The US State Department said on Monday it will boost its “Do Not Travel” guidance to about 80% of countries worldwide, citing “unprecedented risk to travelers” from the Covid-19 pandemic, Reuters reports.

“This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said in a statement.

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Indian expansion of Covid vaccine drive may further strain supplies

All adults to be eligible from 1 May, making jab available to at least 400 million more people

India has announced it will soon open its vaccination programme to every adult in response to soaring Covid-19 infections – a measure that could further strain supplies in parts of the world reliant on Indian-made vaccines for their own campaigns.

From 1 May, Indian states will be free to administer doses to anyone aged older than 18, the central government announced on Monday as part of a package of policies to tackle a second wave that has overwhelmed hospitals and led to oxygen shortages across the country.

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Thailand and Cambodia rush to halt waves of Covid cases

Two south-east Asian neighbours face a challenge after keeping infection numbers low last year

After managing to control the coronavirus for much of 2020, Thailand is battling a fresh outbreak of Covid-19, with officials setting up thousands of beds in field hospitals and warning the public to stay at home.

A cluster of Covid cases emerged in Bangkok’s nightlife venues last month, just before the Songkran new year holiday, when many Thais travel across the country to celebrate with their families. Following record daily increases last week, tighter measures were introduced from Sunday, including the closure of schools for two weeks. Bars have been shut, restaurants banned from serving alcohol and the opening hours of shopping malls have been reduced in areas such as Bangkok.

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Wales to ease Covid restrictions on outdoor mixing and hospitality

Six people from any households can meet outdoors from Saturday and hospitality can reopen outside from next Monday

Six people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday and outdoor hospitality will be allowed to open from next Monday, the Welsh government has announced.

Under the current rules, up to six people (not including children under 11 or carers) from a maximum of two households can meet outdoors.

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Footfall in England up by almost 200% as Covid controls ease

Biggest shopping gains in cities such as Portsmouth, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham

The number of people visiting shops increased by almost 200% last week in England as non-essential retailers were allowed to open their doors to consumers for the first time since early January as Covid restrictions were relaxed.

Industry figures from the British Retail Consortium and separate data from Springboard, a research provider, revealed a sharp rise in footfall on high streets and at retail parks and shopping centres across the country.

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Under-30s less compliant with Covid rules, UK data shows

While most followed restrictions, one in seven admitted to decreasing levels of compliance

People under 30 were less compliant with Covid rules over the past year, according to survey data from more than 50,000 adults in the UK.

While the still to be peer-reviewed analysis suggests most people followed lockdown and social distancing rules, one in seven – about 15% – reported decreasing levels of compliance over time, particularly during the second wave.

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Pub and restaurant bosses launch legal battle over Covid rules in England

High court judge to consider whether venues should be allowed to use indoor seating

A “David versus Goliath” legal action gets under way at the high court on Monday as hospitality bosses try to force the UK government to bring forward the reopening date for pubs and restaurants indoors.

A judge will this week consider evidence in the case brought by Sacha Lord, the night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and a co-founder of Parklife festival, and Hugh Osmond, the founder of Punch Taverns and a former boss at Pizza Express. The case has been expedited.

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‘Semi-literate’: writers in bitter row over Bob Dylan books

Howard Sounes and Clinton Heylin clash over their respective biographies of singer-songwriter

No one can dish out an insult like a writer. That’s what two acclaimed authors of books on Bob Dylan are quickly learning, as they become embroiled in a bitter row over whose work is more authentic and accurate.

Howard Sounes and Clinton Heylin have lashed out at each other over their respective biographies of the Nobel-winning singer-songwriter.

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The ESL would destroy football as we know it – it’s almost as if they don’t care | David Baddiel

We all knew that eventually, money and corporate interest would mutate the game at the top level into something approaching Rollerball

In my children’s novel Future Friend, which I began writing in January 2020, the future is imagined as a dystopian universe where the presence of mutant viruses infecting the air mean that no one goes out. When it was published, in the midst of lockdown, I was therefore congratulated by some for my previously unacknowledged psychic powers. A not so noticed feature of the Future Friend world, however, is that football is still played there: but only in one stadium, above the clouds, and only the super-rich can go and watch games there. So, given Sunday’s Super League news, I say, just call me Nostradavidmus.

Or don’t bother. Because of course we all knew this was coming. We all knew that eventually, money and corporate interest would mutate the game at the top level, beyond what it already in so many ways has, into something approaching Rollerball.

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ESL achieves what few thought possible by uniting MPs and country | John Crace

Forget coronavirus travel lists, when it comes to football the UK was being put on code red

If the European Super League is too greedy a plan for an organisation as notoriously mercenary as Uefa, then it’s odds-on that it pretty much crosses the line for everyone else. Even MPs, whose tolerance for things venal has been known to be on the high side. So it was little surprise that not a single voice was raised in favour of the ESL following the statement by the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport in the Commons. It was one of those rare occasions when the house spoke as one. Clubs mess with our football at their peril.

“Football is in the national DNA,” Oliver Dowden began. “We invented it and it has helped to define communities. The six clubs that have signed up for the ESL had been tone deaf to this.” Which was a bit hard to take, given that successive Tory governments have done a fair amount to destroy communities over the past 11 years themselves.

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Mare of Easttown review – Kate Winslet triumphs in a moreish murder mystery

Alongside an able cast, the actor gives a defining performance in this perfectly conjured HBO drama set in a bleak and deprived corner of Pennsylvania

Mare of Easttown (Sky Atlantic) is a millefeuille of misery, as exquisitely layered and as moreish as the real thing. In rural Pennsylvania, we meet a small-town cop, Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet). World-weariness, the weight of professional responsibility and – we discover later, although the clues are there – family tragedy show in every line of her body, every heavy step she takes. She rarely smiles. She is not surly or grumpy – she just doesn’t have the energy for anything else, after doing her job and taking care of her family.

Life takes out of Mare more than it puts in – especially since 19-year-old Katy Bailey, the drug-addicted daughter of Mare’s high-school friend Dawn, disappeared a year ago. If you can have a defining performance this late in a career, this is surely Winslet’s. She is absolutely wonderful – and ably supported by the rest of the cast.

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How we made Christiane F – the shocking cult film about a child heroin addict

‘Filming was banned at the station we shot at. So the cinematographer sat in a wheelchair, concealed the camera on his lap, and I pushed him around, following Natja cruising’

The director Uli Edel and his team came to my school. I was sitting there eating an apple. Uli’s assistant came up and said: “We’re looking for girls for a film. Do you want to try out?” I said: “OK, since you’ve asked me, I’ll come.”

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Priti Patel v Facebook is the latest in a 30-year fight over encryption

Governments have been clashing with tech companies for decades over user privacy

Priti Patel has stepped up an international campaign to force Facebook to reverse its plans to merge its messaging apps and encrypt all communications between users, arguing such plans make it harder to safeguard children. But despite the intensity of the home secretary’s call for action, there’s little new ground broken in the encryption wars.

“We cannot allow a situation where law enforcement’s ability to tackle abhorrent criminal acts and protect victims is severely hampered,” Patel told an event organised by the NSPCC children’s charity on Monday afternoon. “Simply removing accounts from platforms is nowhere near enough.”

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Watch David Hare read new satirical poem about Boris Johnson – video

Playwright David Hare has written a new poem, Agony Uncle, about Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Written in the tradition of 18th century satire, the poem castigates the UK prime minister for his mistakes

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Did ‘eat out to help out’ cost lives? – podcast

Last August, Bob Pape and his family went on a city break to Birmingham, making the most of the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘eat out to help out’ scheme. The day after he arrived home, his Covid symptoms began. Guardian writer Sirin Kale looks at the links between the scheme and the rise in Covid numbers

Like millions of people, Bob Pape and his family took advantage of the government’s “eat out to help out” scheme last August. They took a mini-break to Birmingham and ate at a handful of restaurants. Upon his return, Pape fell ill, was put on a ventilator, and died a few weeks later.

As part of her Lost to the Virus series, the Guardian writer Sirin Kale wrote about Pape and his family, and reports here on the story of their ill-fated holiday. She talks to Rachel Humphreys about the links between EOTHO and rises in Covid cases, telling her about her conversation with the University of Warwick economist Thiemo Fetzer. He has published a paper analysing the impact of EOTHO on Covid infections. Fetzer found that areas with higher take-up of the scheme experienced an increase in Covid infection rates, with between 8% and 17% of new Covid infection clusters attributable to EOTHO.

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The ‘Tory sleaze’ of old is nothing compared to what the right gets away with today | Zoe Williams

The scandals under Johnson are a far greater threat than the accusations of hypocrisy that felled John Major’s government

To repurpose the old saw about the 60s, if you think you can remember 90s politics, particularly if you plan to turn them into a parable for today, you’re remembering the wrong thing. Relax, I’m lecturing myself more than anyone else: as the waves of Matt Hancock’s share ownership crashed over the fetid waters of David Cameron’s Greensill involvement, with the Arcuri affair standing unresolved and Robert Jenrick walking round like a human hyperlink (if only you could click on him, to find out more), my first thought was “here we go again”. More Tory sleaze, because leopards, spots etc.

In fact, John Major’s government and the scandals it produced could not have been more different to those of Boris Johnson’s government. It was backbenchers who were taking the backhanders – MPs Graham Riddick and David Tredinnick, who did the world’s memory that tremendous favour of rhyming like a riddle, were caught out in a newspaper sting in which they agreed to ask a parliamentary question for £1,000. No need to translate that into today’s money; it suffices to say that if a newspaper, a broadsheet at that, can afford to float it for a story, it is not huge beans.

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Lateral flow tests still have a vital role in the UK’s fight against Covid | David Hunter

The speed of LFTs make them an important part of the armoury alongside the more expensive, slower PCR tests

Infectious disease modelling shows that if everybody could do a coronavirus test twice a week and self-isolate if positive, the pandemic would collapse. Capacity for widespread PCR tests, which look for genetic material from the virus in samples, was built up through the UK’s Lighthouse labs, but initially limited to people with symptoms. Because they are relatively expensive, equipment-intensive laboratory tests, turnaround was often several days, by which point it would be too late to prevent onward transmission.

Then along came the apparent godsend of the cheaper lateral flow tests (LFTs) that use a swab twirled in both nostrils and the throat, seeking coronavirus proteins that bind to antibodies on the stick, and give an answer in 30 minutes. Epidemiologists suggested that, if combined with adequate income support for self-isolation, this could be a critical tool in Covid control. Six months later LFTs are still controversial, with some saying they are “a complete waste of money”.

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