Boris Johnson has been urged by more than 100 MPs from across the Commons to immediately recall parliament from the summer recess, amid claims of a "national crisis". The letter, signed by MPs representing every political party in Westminster apart from the DUP, claims that the country is on "the brink of an economic crisis" and that it is "unacceptable" for parliament to wait until next month to sit again amid the threat of a no-deal Brexit. The Commons is due to return from summer recess on September 3. The Speaker can only recall parliament at the behest of the government.Tory former ministers Dominic Grieve and Guto Bebb are among the signatories of the letter. The Westminster leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Change UK, and the Green Party's Caroline Lucas also backed the call, along with several Labour MPs.The letter says: "Since the Second World War, Parliament has been recalled multiple times in every decade for a wide range of political, security and economic reasons... This is a national emergency. There is no mandate for an undemocratic no deal Brexit. Reckless Johnson + unelected Cummings want to gag our democracy. We have written to the PM to demand he recalls Parliament. RT if you believe @BorisJohnson should RecallNow pic.twitter.com/VSiLl6sOTw — Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) August 17, 2019"Our country is on the brink of an economic crisis, as we career towards a no-deal Brexit which will have an immediate effect on food and medical supplies, damage our economy, jobs, the public finances, public services, universities and long-term economic security."A no-deal Brexit also threatens our crucial security co-operation to keep our country safe from criminals and terrorists." Pleased to join MPs from across the House in signing this letter to demand PM recalls Parliament This a national emergency. There is no mandate for a reckless No Deal Brexit. Johnson & Cummings want to gag our democracy RT if you believe @BorisJohnson should RecallNow pic.twitter.com/XIvjghuWg1 — Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) August 17, 2019They added: "We face a national emergency, and Parliament must be recalled now in August and sit permanently until 31 October, so that the voices of the people can be heard, and that there can be proper scrutiny of your government."A true democrat should not fear such scrutiny. The question is whether you are one."The letter also criticises Mr Johnson's approach to the Brexit negotiation and claims a "creeping and disturbing populism" is taking over Mr Johnson's discourse with the EU. Pleased to have signed this letter to @BorisJohnson \- there is no political mandate for a reckless no deal Brexit. It would cause huge economic damage to our country- please RT if you believe he should RecallNow https://t.co/xIdjFR1pJt — David Lammy (@DavidLammy) August 18, 2019It adds: "As prime minister you have made policy announcements to the media rather than at the dispatch box. Your plans involve the spending of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash to back up your reckless no-deal plans."You have failed to conduct any substantive negotiations with EU partners. And you have shown utter disregard for the crucial relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. These are grounds in themselves for a recall of parliament."After the letter was published, recallnow was trending on Twitter, as MPs shared the letter and made further pleas.
Neil and Katya Jones have announced their separation after 11 years together. The Strictly pair, who celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary earlier this month, said the decision to split was mutual. The couple were thrown into the spotlight ht last year when Katya was pictured sharing a kiss with her then Strictly dance partner Seann Walsh on a night out. The incident led to the pair performing a "dance of shame" on the following episode, as the media scrutinised another instance of the so-called Strictly curse.Neil and Katya, who stayed together after the scandal, have insisted the kiss was not the reason for their split. In an official statement released today, the couple said their relationship had mellowed into a friendship.In a joint statement they said: "As our fans and loyal supporters you are really important to us and so we wanted to let you know some news."After 11 years, we have made the mutual decision to separate."We will always love each other, just in a different way as friends. This will never change what a great team we make and we are really proud of everything we have achieved together."Our shared love of dance means we will keep working and dancing together as well as exploring individual projects. No matter what we do we will always support and respect each other."We wish one another every happiness and we will remain the best of friends. We are really looking forward to getting back to the ballroom and can't wait to keep on dancing."Lots of love from us both." View this post on Instagram ♥️ A post shared by Katya Jones (@mrs_katjones) on Aug 18, 2019 at 7:15am PDTA spokeswoman for the pair clarified that their decision to part was not influenced by the controversy surrounding Walsh. Stating that the decision was made recently, a spokeswoman said: "It would be incorrect and unfair to attribute their separation to one isolated incident."Many people make such a decision to separate when they realise that their relationship has become more of a friendship."They remain the very best of friends and will continue to dance together."The dancers added that their professional lives and their careers on Strictly would not be affected by the split.She said: "They're incredible close, they are still dance partners, will be dancing together and will work on joint projects together as well as being part of the Strictly team and will continue to give each other advice and support in any individual projects."Speaking in March 2019, the couple told Lorraine Kelly that they had moved on from the incident.Neil said regarding the public and media attention surrounding the kiss: "For me, I felt they overreacted."Katya said: "We're over it, I think everyone else is over it, let's just move on."In August 2019, the pair posted on their social media accounts celebrating six years of marriage.Neil said he was still "jumping with joy".But Seann's relationship with actress Rebecca Humphries broke down in the wake of the infamous kiss.Rebecca, who had been dating Seann for five years announced the split in an emotional Twitter statement.Revealing the incident had taken place on the night of her birthday, which she spent "alone at home", she insisted she was "not a victim".She said wanted to use her voice to appeal to any other woman who has felt “worthless and trapped with a man they love”.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been criticised for their carbon emissions during recent private jet trips.
Novelist George RR Martin has said he is happy Game of Thrones, the TV series based on his fantasy books, has come to an end.The author admitted the HBO programme had slowed down his progress writing the final two volumes of his A Song of Ice and Fire saga, which provided the source material for the show.In a rare interview with The Observer, he said: “I don’t think [the TV series] was very good for me.“The very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day … I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.’”The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones aired in May.The last few episodes attracted a large amount of criticism, with many fans and some of the programme's actors feeling showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss rushed the conclusion. Martin, however, said he paid little attention the controversy and preferred to "let fans have their theories".“I took myself out of all that,” he said. “Some of [fans' theories] are right and some of [the theories] are wrong. They’ll find out when I finish.”The most recent book in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance With Dragons, came out in 2011. He is yet to complete work on the sixth and seventh novels, titled The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.The author has also helped to develop a prequel TV series, starring Naomi Watts, which recently completed filming.Read more about the prequel project here.
The Isis fighter known as Jihadi Jack has been stripped of his British citizenship, prompting a diplomatic row between the UK and Canada, it has been reported.
The Government is seeking to downplay a secret Whitehall dossier on the impact of a no-deal Brexit, with one minister dismissing it as "scaremongering" and Number 10 insisting it was leaked to influence discussions with the EU. The leaked documents suggest the UK will be hit with a three-month "meltdown" at its ports, a hard Irish border and shortages of food and medicine as part of a series of "aftershocks" when it crashes out of the EU.According to the documents, published in the Sunday Times, petrol import tariffs would "inadvertently" lead to the closure of two oil refineries, while protests across the UK could "require significant amounts of police resources" in a no-deal scenario.A senior Whitehall source told paper: "This is not Project Fear - this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no deal. These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios - not the worst case."But when asked about the dossier, Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "I think there is a lot of scaremongering around and a lot of people are playing into Project Fear and all the rest of it."We've got to prepare for no-deal. In fact the previous prime minister created DExEU and she said that the mandate of DExEU last year, last summer, was to prepare for no-deal..."Now we've got a new Prime Minister who is very much focused on that and the scale and intensity of those preparations are increasing and we will be fully prepared to leave without a deal on October 31."A No 10 source also claimed a former minister leaked the dossier to try to influence discussions with EU leaders.Boris Johnson is heading to Berlin on Wednesday and Paris on Thursday in his first trip abroad as Prime Minister, when he will tell Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron that there must be a new Brexit deal. "The document is from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available," they said. "It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with the EU.“Those obstructing preparation are no longer in Government, £2 billion of extra funding has already been made available and Whitehall has been stood up to actually do the work through the daily ministerial meetings."The entire posture of the Government has changed.”Meanwhile, Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister responsible for no-deal planning, insisted Yellowhammer represented a "worst-case scenario".He tweeted: "We don't normally comment on leaks - but a few facts - Yellowhammer is a worst case scenario - v significant steps have been taken in the last 3 weeks to accelerate Brexit planning - and Black Swan is not an HMG doc but a film about a ballet dancer..."It came as Tory former cabinet ministers Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson claimed the leak was an example of the "establishment" plot to "sow fear in people's minds".In a joint statement, they said: "This Operation Yellowhammer leak is the version of what the contingency executive put together. We remember attending a briefing on privy council terms which they said was not worst case but reasonable worst case. Theresa May had asked for this to be done. It was obviously Project Fear dressed up."For example, on the delays at the port we asked if they had discussed their expectation with the port authorities of Calais/Pas du Nord who had already said that there would be no extra delays at Calais and they said, (after a great deal of shuffling of feet) 'no'."We asked why not and they said they had not been asked to do so. There were other areas where it was clear they had not been asked to get balance but instead dress up previous versions of other worst-case scenarios."The whole thing was an attempt to frighten us and didn't stand up to scrutiny. We have never seen officials look so uneasy under questioning."The fact that this document was 'found' in a Westminster pub tells you all you need to know about this continuing establishment plot to sow fear in people's minds. This is an abuse of the proper use of the Civil Service and must be stopped."
The presence of America and Britain in the Gulf region brings insecurity, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards navy, Alireza Tangsiri, was reported as saying by the ILNA news agency. Tensions have spiked between Iran and the U.S. and Britain in the Gulf after the Islamic Republic shot down an American drone in June and seized a British tanker last month for violating maritime regulations.
Two crashes in the past year involving Boeing 737 Max planes led to the deaths of 346 people.
BBC iPlayer app on a laptop Photograph: Carl Court/GettyThe BBC has been accused of trying to strong-arm independent TV producers into extending the availability of their shows on the iPlayer from 30 days to one year without paying millions in additional licensing fees.Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, this month gave the green light for the biggest expansion of the BBC iPlayer since its launch in 2007, to enable the corporation to fight back in the streaming war against Netflix and Amazon.Independent TV producers argue that keeping their shows exclusively on iPlayer longer means that they are less valuable when they are eventually allowed to be sold on to other services, such as Netflix or other buyers, which they are currently allowed to do 18 months after they have aired on the BBC.Recognising this financial issue, Ofcom has said the BBC needs to “adequately compensate” producers and that it may have to look to pay a higher price for programming.However, Pact, the body representing the multi-billion-pound UK independent TV production industry, says it has been repeatedly contacted by members reporting that the BBC is trying to get them to sign off on using their shows for longer on the iPlayer without paying more.Pact says the tactics started in April, when the BBC’s proposal to extend iPlayer viewing rights to a year were first made public, and has prompted it to take the step of warning its entire member base about the issue.July 2007 The iPlayer launches as a basic downloading serviceChristmas Day 2007 First major relaunch as iPlayer debuts its catch-up streaming serviceJuly 2008 Second major relaunch, dubbed iPlayer 2.0, with integrated radio and TV player and features including simulcasting and an electronic programme guideSeptember 2010 iPlayer 3.0 unveiled, including integration with social media sites such as Facebook and TwitterJune 2017 BBC introduces a registration system forcing people to sign in to use the iPlayer to personalise it and help make sure only licence fee payers are using the serviceOctober 2018 BBC relaunches iPlayer Radio platform as BBC SoundsAugust 2019 Ofcom provisionally approves BBC iPlayer keeping shows exclusively on the service for a year after they are first broadcast, rather than the current 30 days“The BBC has consistently sought to strong-arm suppliers into giving the BBC these rights for no compensation and without a proper agreement,” said John McVay, Pact’s chief executive. “Pact has warned its members three times since April that the BBC has not yet reached an agreement with Pact for its ambitious plans.”In addition, the BBC is also planning a huge expansion of the iPlayer to make programmes available on the service for up to five years in total.Proposals to do this were not part of Ofcom’s assessment, which has agreed to allow only children’s content to be made available on the iPlayer exclusively for five years, as the corporation wants to keep shows for a further four years on a non-exclusive basis.According to production company executives, the BBC is offering a pittance for deals offering a further two packages of streaming rights to programmes lasting two years each – after they have been exclusively on the iPlayer for a year – to keep shows on the service.“The proposed payment structure for these periods is risible,” said one senior production industry executive. “Having shows effectively permanently available on the iPlayer will depress the price that anyone else will want to pay for it.”The BBC has also been accused of trying to give BritBox, its joint venture subscription streaming service with ITV due to launch this year, an advantage by being first in line to pick up shows after they leave the iPlayer, instead of services such as Netflix.Following the end of the one-year exclusivity window on iPlayer, the BBC is proposing that shows then only be allowed to be sold to a platform or broadcaster that “invests in and supports the UK creative industries” that also agrees to carry “prominent and approved” BBC branding and provide audience performance data. If producers want to wait to sell to anyone they like, they can do so only after 18 months, under the BBC plan.This has been viewed by the production industry as attempting to eliminate Netflix as a bidder for shows once they are first allowed to be sold beyond the iPlayer.Netflix prefers to brand shows it buys the rights to as its own in international markets – the BBC’s Bodyguard was known as a Netflix Original outside the UK – and is famously secretive about sharing any data on the popularity of shows on its platform.One production industry source said: “You could have a situation where a programme is being broadcast on TV by the BBC for free, is on the iPlayer for free but also on BritBox where you would have to pay for it.”Ofcom has said the extension of iPlayer rights to a year will have an “adverse impact” on the launch of BritBox, but ITV has dismissed those concerns and did not object to the BBC’s plans.However, Ofcom has estimated that the increase in viewing of BBC iPlayer content will mean an audience reduction at Channel 4’s All4, ITV’s ITV Hub and Channel 5’s My5 and other online platforms. The loss of advertising revenue as a result is estimated at almost £15m next year, although Channel 4 says it will be higher, with Ofcom estimating that losses will grow in subsequent years.“Both viewers and production companies win by making programmes available for longer on BBC iPlayer,” said a BBC spokesman. “This is about keeping up with viewer expectations and is long overdue. Audiences are choosing to consume content on demand and the value they receive from their licence fee should reflect that shift.“We continue to have conversations with Pact and production companies to make this happen. Longer BBC iPlayer availability does not reduce the opportunities for them commercially, rather, success on the BBC leads to commercial success for independently produced programmes.”• Sign up to the daily Business Today email here or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk.
A secret government report warning of food, fuel and drug shortages under a no-deal Brexit is out of date, Michael Gove has said. The cabinet minister in charge of co-ordinating Whitehall preparations for Britain to leave the EU on 31 October insisted it was an "old document" that only looked at "what the very, very worst situation would be". The dossier on preparations - codenamed Operation Yellowhammer by the Cabinet Office - was revealed by The Sunday Times, and detailed the "most likely aftershocks" of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement in fewer than 80 days.
Left-wing journalist Owen Jones has said he was kicked in the head in a "blatant premeditated assault".
Lord Carlile told parliament he was ‘somewhat biased’ towards controversial anti-terror programme, undermining his position, rights groups say. The appointment of Lord Carlile to review the UK’s flagship counter-terrorism strategy has breached the government’s code on public appointments, a coalition of civil liberties groups have claimed, because Carlile has in the past declared his “considered and strong support” for the Prevent programme The alliance of 10 organisations said last week’s surprise announcement to hire Carlile as the independent reviewer of the controversial programme had “undermined its integrity and credibility from the outset”. In a joint statement the groups said the key position had never been publicly advertised, no information about its select criteria had been published and Carlile had admitted to parliament that he “may be somewhat biased towards” Prevent. The Home Office announced the appointment last week, saying Carlile had a “strong track record of asserting and sustaining [his] independence of government”. However, groups including Index on Censorship, Liberty, the Runnymede Trust, Defend Digital Me, Open Society Justice Initiative, Cage and Mend said his selection meant the government had failed to follow its own code on public appointments. In June, the government assured parliament that its choice of Prevent reviewer would adhere to the Cabinet Office code on appointments. The coalition’s statement said Carlile could not be considered unbiased because of his declared support for the Prevent strategy and because he had been a member of the Home Office oversight board charged with “driving delivery”. Prevent has become a toxic brand for many with Muslim communities, with some viewing it as a state tool for spying on them. The joint statement said: “Carlile’s appointment to this vitally important position shatters the credibility of the review from the outset. The review should be comprehensive and wide-ranging in scope and not one that starts with the premise that Prevent should be continued and/or expanded, said the joint statement, also signed by the charities Maslaha, Medact and human rights group Just Yorkshire. Rosalind Comyn, policy and campaigns officer for Liberty, said: “Appointing a Prevent reviewer who is on public record admitting he is ‘biased’ towards the strategy is little short of the government marking its own homework. The Prevent strategy chills free speech, encourages discrimination and presses public sector workers into becoming unwilling agents of the police and security services. It has caused untold damage to the communities it targets. “The review should have been the chance for the objective and thorough scrutiny of the very premise of Prevent – but this appointment has made that impossible. We urge the government to rethink this appointment to ensure the review is fully independent.” Previously, Carlile was independent reviewer of terrorism legislation for the government between 2001 to 2011. Amrit Singh, Open Society Justice Initiative lawyer, said: “It makes no sense for a supposedly independent review to be conducted by a figure who is so closely associated with and has repeatedly endorsed the strategy that’s under review. It’s just not credible.”
The National Trust is asking beach-goers to post pictures on Instagram to help monitor coastal erosion.
Britain’s low basic pension, combined with means-tested supplements, puts thousands of older people at risk. The proportion of elderly people living in severe poverty in the UK is five times what it was in 1986, the largest increase among western European countries, according to a new study. The rise, from 0.9% of the elderly population to around 5%, is attributable to Britain’s state pension system and its “low basic payments and means-tested supplements”, says the author of the report, Pension Reforms and Old Age Inequalities in Europe. Professor Bernhard Ebbinghaus, of the University of Oxford, will tell a European Sociological Association conference this week that the UK is one of five countries out of 16 that he has studied where there has been an increase in people aged 65 and over who are living in “severe poverty”, which is defined as having an income of 40% or less of the median average. “The United Kingdom is a good example of the Beveridge-lite systems that have historically failed to combat old-age poverty,” Ebbinghaus said. “These have rather ungenerous basic pensions with means-tested supplements, and this reproduces relatively high severe poverty rates among the elderly. British basic pensions are particularly low, 16% of average earnings, and require a long contribution period. Income-tested or means-tested targeted benefits are needed to supplement basic pensions and to lift them out of severe poverty – every sixth British pensioner receives such additional benefits.” Using data from the Luxembourg Income Study, which spans several decades, Ebbinghaus found that: . In the mid-1980s about 1% of those aged 65 and over in the UK were living in severe poverty, putting it equal-lowest in poverty rates of 16 western European countries. In France it was 12% and in Germany 6%. . By 2008, the proportion had risen to 6%, making the UK fourth-equal highest. Only Switzerland, Ireland and Spain were higher. . Over the following eight years, the proportion dipped slightly but remained at just under 5%. Ebbinghaus said the UK compared unfavourably with many other countries: “The lowest poverty rates among older people are found in the relatively generous Dutch basic pensions and Nordic welfare states, while the UK, but also Ireland and Switzerland, with basic old-age security, had the highest poverty rates.” Even when private pensions were taken into account, the UK continued to fare poorly, Ebbinghaus said: “The public-private mix puts many elderly at risk as they lack sufficient supplementary earnings-related pensions.” He contrasted the UK system, with its flat-rate basic pension, with the “Bismarckian” system used in Germany and several other European countries, where mandatory pension contributions are based on earnings. “A comparative analysis of poverty rates in old age reveals that Beveridge basic security is not always capable of effectively reducing poverty despite the explicit purpose of doing so, while some contributory Bismarckian systems are better suited to reducing poverty, despite focusing on status maintenance,” he said. Ebbinghaus also studied those aged 65 and over who can be classed as “better off”, meaning that they have an income of 60% or more of the median average. Around 20% of the UK’s elderly met this criterion, closer to the average for western Europe. The research found that, overall, those European countries that had made private pensions an important source of income for the elderly had seen a rise in financial inequality. “The comparison shows that the shift toward increasing privatisation amplifies the already existing level of social inequality,” Ebbinghaus said. “As welfare states have been challenged by the financial and economic crises of the 2000s, individuals relying on funded pensions have also faced volatile financial risks,” he said. “The adequacy of retirement income has often been neglected from current debate, partly because poverty in old age seemed no pressing concern in advanced welfare states – until recently.”
Some observers say the number of people who died in Elaine in 1919 could be more than 800, which would make it the deadliest massacre of African Americans in US history. Photograph: Albert Cesare/APCharlie McClain was surprised to learn that he was related to one of the Elaine Twelve.It came out when McClain, 58, asked his mother earlier this year about the largely forgotten mass killings in his Arkansas Delta home town a century ago, when white mobs murdered scores of African Americans, but only a dozen black men were ever prosecuted for any crime during the disturbances.“When I got off the phone, I went back and looked at my notes, and I recognized the name: Paul Hall,” McClain said.The Elaine Twelve were a group of black defendants sentenced to death for what transpired in the autumn of 1919, after an all-white jury found them guilty within eight minutes. Black witnesses later testified that they had been tortured into giving false testimonies and the 12 were eventually released – though no white people were ever charged for any crime. The lessons that we can learn from 100 years ago are relevant today as we navigate race relations in the 21st century. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office“It was a kangaroo trial,” said Audrey Evans, a retired federal judge, who is part of the planning committee for the Elaine Massacre Memorial in nearby Helena. They are now preparing to commemorate the town’s bloody and largely forgotten past.What happened a century ago is still a point of contention, but the general consensus today is this: a white mob, upset over African Americans organizing to demand fair wages, descended upon a church in the township of Hoop Spur, just up the road from Elaine, on 31 September 1919.A shot was fired – by which “side” is still up for debate – and a white man was killed. News of a “black insurrection” spread to neighboring communities and hundreds more white men poured in, including federal troops, the Arkansas governor, Charles Brough, and newly deputized soldiers from the American Legion.The violence spread beyond the church to more communities, and African Americans were killed in their homes and streets. There’s a commonly told story of a family who were off celebrating their son’s return from the first world war, who were pulled off of a train on their way home and killed.In the end, hundreds of African Americans were reportedly killed. The most frequently touted number is 237, but some observers say the number could be more than 800, which would make it the deadliest massacre of African Americans in US history.In this 1919 photo provided by the Chicago History Museum, armed national guard and African American men stand on a sidewalk during race riots in Chicago. Photograph: Chicago History Museum/AP“It’s hard without a number. A lot of people sort of gauge these, rank these by the number of dead,” said Brian Mitchell, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, explaining that they came toward the end of the Red Summer – a year where an unprecedented number of African Americans were attacked across the US, including dozens killed in cities like Chicago and Washington DC.“One of the things that’s fascinating about Elaine is so much of what we consider the Red Summer was urban, you know, big cities with immigrant communities and poor whites butting up against blacks for resources as blacks begin to migrate to the industrial north. Elaine is rural, and the dynamics are also labor, but it’s more controlling. Making sure things don’t change. That blacks remain in their position. That they’re not getting higher pay.”Despite the horrific story, the news of the mass killings has been largely absent from popular consciousness in Elaine – and indeed the Red Summer as a whole is little known across the US.Not only did McClain never hear about his ancestor’s role as one of the Elaine Twelve until recently, he also never learned about the massacre at all until he was in his 30s and had left Arkansas.“Imagine growing up in a place where something this tragic happens and you find out decades later,” he said.McClain isn’t the only one who grew up unaware of the tragedy that took place in a place he loved, that has shrunk to a community of about 500 to 600 people.Faye Duncan-Daniel, who grew up just down the road in Ratio, learned about the massacre when she got to college in Boston. There, she stumbled across it while researching another topic.“If it was mentioned, it was not given the kind of weightiness that would spark your memory,” Duncan-Daniel said, who is part of a small group of people gathering donations and resources for the future Elaine Legacy Center.With the centenary quickly approaching, more attention is being devoted to educating and investigating everything that happened so long ago.Next month, the Elaine Massacre Memorial will be unveiled and will sit directly across from the courthouse where the trials for the Elaine Twelve were held. The committee includes descendants of both the victims and perpetrators.A monument under construction in June, honoring victims of the Elaine Massacre. Photograph: Noreen Nasir/AP“The Elaine Massacre marked one of the darkest moments in our state’s history,” the office of Arkansas’s governor, said in an email. “The 100th anniversary is re-energizing a statewide conversation about a tragic event in our history. The lessons that we can learn from 100 years ago are relevant today as we navigate race relations in the 21st century. I’m grateful that we as a state are taking the opportunity to remember the history and learn from it.”The issue of reparations has also arisen, as victims’ descendants and activists start digging more actively into the past and demand justice, especially for the thorny issue of land allegedly grabbed from blacks by whites in the aftermath of the killings.Stories of stolen land have been passed down in families to the point where there are now calls to investigate the claims. Wendell Griffen, a circuit judge and pastor who chaired a truth-telling commission earlier this year, said a “false narrative” has been presented about what happened in Elaine.“That narrative has disregarded and worked to conceal and/or attempt to discredit reports that ownership of thousands of acres of land owned by black people in Elaine and South Phillips county mysteriously changed from black people to white people in the aftermath of the massacre,” Griffen wrote.But so far no documents have emerged to corroborate any oral claims of land theft, according to Brian Mitchell. Together with his graduate students, Mitchell has tracked down more than 10,000 documents, often going through attics and old office buildings.“In fact, we looked at the 1910 census to see if there was substantial land ownership there, and we didn’t see much black land ownership and we haven’t seen any documents that pull that narrative together,” Mitchell said.He also expects it to be difficult for descendants to claim reparations based on the fact that there is still no complete record of who was killed. While some estimates are high, some, including one former mayor of Elaine, maintain the number of those killed is much smaller, or never happened at all.“I did a presentation at the Arkansas Historical Association, and there was one guy who kept yelling, ‘Show me a body!’” Mitchell said.A mound in a field in Wabash, Arkansas that is believed by some to be a mass grave of victims of the 1919 massacre in Elaine. Photograph: Albert Cesare/APMitchell said finding bodies of those killed in 1919, especially in alleged mass graves around Elaine, would help answer a lot of questions. Mitchell and others are currently pushing for state officials to be more involved in conducting investigations into what happened and unearthing and marking gravesites.“Even if the numbers are at 100 or slightly above that, there would have had to have been burials of these individuals,” Mitchell said. “As it stands, even for the people we know who died there, no one knows the exact location.”Some Elaine and Helena residents interviewed for this article talked about visible mounds of earth that have changed in size, due to flooding and the Mississippi River shifting course over the last 100 years. Mitchell says there’s no certainty that’s where the bodies are buried.“If I did [know where they were], I would be out with a shovel. I’d be on the phone with archeologists right now, going out to excavate,” Mitchell said.As for McClain, he is more interested in getting answers than reparations.“I’m not out to get even with anyone, but just for my peace of mind, I’d really like to know what happened,” McClain said.
TEGUCIGALPA/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Three people were killed and at least 10 injured in riots Saturday night before a football match between rival teams after suspected fans attacked a bus carrying one of the two teams to the game, wounding three players, officials and the team said. Fans of the Olimpia and Motagua football teams, bitter local opponents, rioted outside Tegucigalpa's National Stadium after a crowd of people believed to be rival supporters intercepted and vandalized a bus transporting Motagua players, police said. Three of the injured adults are in critical condition," Laura Schoenherr, a spokeswoman for the state University School Hospital, told Reuters.
Three remaining cooling towers at a power station in Didcot, England were demolished in a controlled explosion on Sunday (August 18) - but witnesses who had gathered to watch fled in panic as power lines were brought down. Thousands of homes in Oxfordshire were left without power after the demolition and local residents who had gathered to watch said the explosion had appeared to affect electrical cables in the surrounding area. Video shows the moment of the demolition and then electrical cables in flames and eyewitnesses describing sparks "flying everywhere" as police and paramedics arrive on the scene. "All of a sudden it was like a big fireball above us," one local woman said. "We all started running. We had our children with us." Another man said: "I was stood underneath the pylon and then suddenly there were sparks everywhere. I'm burnt on my jacket. I even fell over and rolled out of the way." Another man said: "We were standing underneath it (a cable), there was a massive great bang and sparks, we looked up and the whole lot was in flames and sparking. Everybody was running everywhere. It burnt the bonnets of the cars underneath there. It burnt my jacket."
At £5,499 on the road, there's nothing quite like the Interceptor, Royal Enfield's first twin-cylinder motorcycle since 1970. "I sold two yesterday morning," says John Hogsden of Enfield dealer Hartgate of Mitcham. "There's nothing like it at the price."
On Aug 18 1979 at Papworth hospital near Cambridge, Terence English took a call from a friendly registrar at nearby Addenbrooke's and learnt two equally crucial facts.
Protesters, in London in May, demanding action to address the crisis in education for young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Photograph: Dinendra Haria/LightRocket via GettyThe funding crisis in special needs education is deepening, with council overspends on support for children with conditions including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder rising by 30% in just a year, the Observer can reveal.Figures sourced under the Freedom of Information Act from 118 of the 151 local authorities in England show that councils are expecting to overspend their high needs block budgets by £288m in 2019-20 – up from £232m in 2018-19. When money raided from mainstream schools budgets is included, however, these figures rise to £315m in 2018-19 and nearly £410m this year – a rise of almost 30% in the space of 12 months.The high needs block is government funding that supports children with higher cost needs. Children with moderate special needs are funded via mainstream schools budgets.The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said: “The government has slashed funding for schools and now we are seeing the consequences. This overspend reveals the stark reality that our children are not getting the support they need.“Ministers need to abandon any plans for tax cuts for the rich and invest in our pupils and schools instead – ensuring they have the resources to support every child, particularly those with Send [special educational needs and disabilities].”The huge council overspends are despite the government injecting £250m of emergency funding over two years into special needs education last December.The situation may get worse. Last November, the Observer revealed that 117 councils were forecasting a collective high needs overspend of £200m in 2018-19. At that point, Surrey council was expecting to achieve a balanced budget “on the basis that savings would be found”. Instead, it overspent by nearly £15m – the highest in the country. Its response to the Observer’s FOI request shows an overspend of £31m this year. A council spokesperson insisted that there was no forecast overspend this year – but this will only be after the council pumps in £29m to try to balance the books. Since 2014, councils have overseen an increase of nearly 50% in young people with education, health and care plans Anntoinette Bramble, Local Government AssociationGillian Doherty, who founded Send Action which campaigns for children with special needs, said: “Despite the increase in councils’ so-called ‘overspends’ we continue to see cuts to specialist support This is contributing to a growing attainment gap between disabled and non-disabled pupils.“There’s no doubt that government underfunding is having a negative effect on the educational outcomes and life chances of disabled children, undermining inclusion and increasingly raising serious safeguarding concerns due to inadequate staffing ratios.”Most councils have adopted plans to reduce the special needs deficits. This often takes the form of increasing local special needs provision to lessen costly out-of-area placements, but this will take time to have an effect. And some councils are considering direct funding cuts.Cambridgeshire council will consult on savings proposals this autumn to cut special needs top-up funding for mainstream schools and high needs units, review top-up rates for further education and cut other high needs spending such as after-school clubs.A Cambridgeshire council spokesperson said: “Despite a new formula, the high needs block funding is not reflective of the current level of need or costs for children in Cambridgeshire with special needs.“We have significant pressure in delivering specialist services across a large geographic area and we have faced year-on-year increases in both the number of children being supported and the complexity of their needs.”Anntoinette Bramble of the Local Government Association said: “Councils have seen rapid rises in demand for support following changes in 2014 which extended eligibility to the 16-to-25 age group. [Since then,] councils have overseen an increase of nearly 50% in children and young people with EHC [education, health and care] plans – or, in their previous form, SEN statements.“Councils are facing a high needs shortfall of up to £1.2bn next year, which we are calling on the government to address in the upcoming spending round.”
Police and paramedics have entered the 18th hour of a night-long operation to remove a man from a roof in east London. Officers were called around 8pm last night to reports of a man on the roof of a row of shops on Ilford Lane, amid concerns for his welfare. They have been working all night and today to safely remove him with the operation still going on this morning. The road is closed and a cordon has been put up around the area. A diversion is in place for public transport. IlfordLane is closed to traffic and pedestrians in both directions between Howard Road and Kingston Road while police deal with a person on a roof. Please find alternative routes. Barking Redbridge — Redbridge MPS (@MPSRedbridge) August 18, 2019A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Police were called at 20:06hrs on Saturday, 17 August to reports of a man on the roof of a property on Ilford Lane, Ilford."Officers are in attendance alongside the London Ambulance Service and are attempting to engage with the man."The road remains closed to traffic and pedestrians at this time."Transport for London tweeted: "INCIDENT: The A123 Ilford Lane in Ilford is closed in both directions between Windsor Road and Grange Road due to an emergency services incident."
Staff protest outside Google’s UK headquarters in London last year as part of a global campaign on the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty ImagesIf there was one thing that united the founders of today’s tech giants in their early days it was contempt for politics, manifested as suspicion of government and a pathological aversion to regulation (not to mention paying taxes). In part, this was a product of their origins in the counterculture of the 1960s. But the aversion endured as the companies grew. One saw it, for example, in the US poet and cyberlibertarian John Perry Barlow’s 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. “Governments of the Industrial World,” it began, “I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.” For many years, Silicon Valley companies didn’t even bother to have lobbyists in Washington. As late as 2015, Eric Schmidt, then the executive chairman of Google, was predicting that authoritarian governments would wither away in a comprehensively networked world, which made some of us wonder what exactly Dr Schmidt was smoking.During that period, governments generally played along with this myth of their irrelevance. Presidents and prime ministers queued up for invitations to the campuses of the Silicon Valley giants. And insofar as the tech moguls paid any attention to presidential politics, it was to support the Democrats. Schmidt, for example, played a big role in Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency.PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has challenged Google on patriotism. Photograph: John Lamparski/Getty ImagesUnsurprisingly, the valley was thunderstruck by the election of Donald Trump. One of his first acts as president-elect was to summon the tech bosses to a “summit” in the White House. And most of them came, slinking in like frightened schoolboys summoned to the headmaster’s study for smoking behind the bike sheds. The only attendee who seemed genuinely relaxed to be there was PayPal’s co-founder Peter Thiel, but then he was the only one of them who had actively supported Trump’s campaign for the presidency.From the beginning, Trump in the White House was bad news for the companies. Google, for example, was roiled by dissent among its staff, many if not most of whom abhorred the president. Last week, Wired published an extensive cover story chronicling three torrid years of culture wars inside a company that had resolutely projected an air of chippy, creative progress towards world domination. Over those years, the report claims, “the company would find itself in the same position over and over again: a nearly $800bn planetary force seemingly powerless against groups of employees – on the left and the right – who could hold the company hostage to its own public image”. Google’s bosses were running a secret project to build a search engine that would be acceptable to Xi Jinping and co. Eventually, it was scrappedFour issues in particular emerged to cause trouble, Wired claims. One was the discovery that among Google geeks there was a vocal minority of rightwingers who were unimpressed by their employer’s vaunted commitment to gender and ethnic diversity. Another was the revelation that Google had apparently given favourable treatment to senior male staff who were accused of sexual harassment. (One such was given a fond farewell and $90m to ease the pain of departure.) A third was the discovery that Google had entered into a contract with the Pentagon to apply machine-learning technology to military drone footage. How, asked outraged Googlers, did this square with the company’s “don’t be evil” motto?But the real running sore was China. It transpired that Google’s bosses were running a secret project to build a search engine that would be acceptable to Xi Jinping and co. Eventually, it was scrapped, but not before a lot of damage had been done to internal morale. And then, recently, Thiel put the boot in, via an op-ed piece in the New York Times, in which he asked why Google was starting a new AI lab in China while ending an AI project with the Pentagon. Whose side is the company on in the new cold war opening up between the US and China?This is the kind of overtly political question – about patriotism – that Silicon Valley companies are not accustomed to being asked. The fact that it is posed by the founder of Palantir, a $20bn big-data company that was set up with the help of $2m from the CIA’s investment arm, is ironic. Especially when one remembers that Palantir has a $38m contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that implements the Trump administration’s detention, deportation and family-separation policies.Interestingly, Thiel himself has so much faith in the US that he has become a citizen of New Zealand. “I believe in New Zealand,” he declared, “and I believe the future of New Zealand’s technology industry is still underrated. I look forward to helping it succeed long term.”Samuel Johnson was right: patriotism is truly “the last refuge of a scoundrel”. What I’m reading A troubling prediction DeepMind’s latest AI health breakthrough has some problems – that’s according to a sharp critique of the company on the OneZero website by Prof Julia Powles.Share with all “We handed a loaded weapon to four-year-olds.” So says Chris Wetherell, “the man who built the retweet”, in a sobering report on BuzzFeed news about the button that ruined social media.More haste, less speed And after 5G? 6G, of course. Read the speculative, though not entirely reassuring, paper by Razvan-Andrei Stoica and Giuseppe Thadeu Freitas de Abreu at arXiv.org.
In 2010, as Virginia attorney general, the acting USCIS director tried to make his staff wear a symbol of secession. Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), is an aspiring literary critic as well as a revisionist historian. After issuing new draconian policies discriminating against poor immigrants resembling his Italian ancestors, he decided to show off the far-ranging interests of his multifaceted mind with his reinterpretation of the poem engraved inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, whose beacon welcomes “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore”. Cuccinelli insisted that the poem should be reworded to read: “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.” Then, when asked by the CNN host Erin Burnett to explain his reason for changing the language, he offered his superior knowledge of its history. “Well, of course,” he said, revealing a slight tone of exasperation, “that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class.” It’s not hard to imagine what the author of the poem would have thought of its mangling into a nativist credo. Emma Lazarus was born into privilege as the daughter of a wealthy New York family of German Jewish and Sephardic roots. The figure of Abraham Lincoln loomed over her childhood. One of her first poems was about the flight and death of John Wilkes Booth: “Thy brow is marked with the brand of Cain.” Her early literary efforts were encouraged by the great liberal spirits of the age, William Cullen Bryant and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The young Lazarus became a follower of the popular social reformer against monopolies, Henry George. Awakened by the plight of poor Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe, she became active in the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society and founded the Society for the Improvement and Colonization of East European Jews. Her poem The New Colossus, written in 1883, at the beginning of the wave of mass Jewish emigration of about 2.5 million people to the promised land, was inspired by first-hand experience with their hardships and horror at pogroms in Russia and eastern Europe. The plaque with the poem was affixed inside the base of the Statue of Liberty in 1903, 16 years after her death at 38 and at the same time as 49 Jews were murdered in the Kishinev pogrom in Russia. Lazarus’s close friend Georgina Schuyler, the art patron and the great-granddaughter of Alexander Hamilton, New York’s most famous immigrant, led the effort to install the plaque: “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Cuccinelli’s proposed correction of Lazarus’s poem was not his first attempt to alter patriotic symbols. Nearly a decade ago, he engaged in sleight of hand to shuffle in the Confederate version of the great seal of the commonwealth of Virginia. In 2010, when he was state attorney general, Cuccinelli distributed lapel pins to members of his staff. “Office of the Attorney General Virginia” circled what purported to be the image of the great seal, the Roman goddess Virtus wearing a breastplate and standing with one foot on a prone tyrant, his crown fallen from his head. Observers noticed that the real great seal features Virtus wearing a toga and with her left breast bared. Was Cuccinelli, a denizen of the religious right, simply covering up the goddess for modesty’s sake? He joked that he was making Virtus “a little more virtuous”. In fact, the image on his pin was a copy of the great seal adopted by Virginia in 1861 after secession and used on battle flags of Confederate regiments. After the local press caught the replication, Cuccinelli claimed his pin had been copied from another “antique” great seal. But the local “commander” of the Sons of Confederate Veterans praised him, saying: “The state is getting trumped by the federal government.” Under pressure, Cuccinelli withdrew the pins. In 2013, he was defeated for governor and consigned to the bin of forgotten provincial politicians … until he was retrieved by Trump. Cuccinelli’s imposition of a Confederate great seal and his chipping at the Statue of Liberty were of a piece. After Lincoln’s assassination, Édouard René de Laboulaye, a French jurist, historian and abolitionist, proposed the building of a monumental tribute to the US as an inspiration of liberal democracy throughout the world. During the civil war, Laboulaye wrote that “should liberty become eclipsed in the new world, it would become night in Europe”. Lincoln was a liberal internationalist of his time who understood the US as the “last best hope of Earth”, standing against the old regimes and autocracies of Europe. When the Hungarian revolutionary Louis Kossuth toured America after the failed democratic revolutions of 1848, Lincoln wrote the resolution passed by a committee in Illinois expressing its solidarity. In his first great speech, in 1854, against the extension of slavery, Lincoln warned: “Already the liberal party throughout the world, express the apprehension ‘that the one retrograde institution in America, is undermining the principles of progress, and fatally violating the noblest political system the world ever saw’.” He loathed nativism at home as a species of the repression he saw abroad. If the Know Nothings ever took over, Lincoln wrote, “I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy”. The Statue of Liberty was designed as a tribute to Lincoln’s Union. In her left hand she holds a tablet bearing the date of the declaration of independence, the document which proclaims “all men are created equal”, which Lincoln regarded as the constitutional framework for the nation. At her feet lie the broken shackles of slavery. In her right hand, Liberty holds aloft her light to struggling peoples everywhere. Emma Lazarus brought her vision to Liberty in its original spirit. Cuccinelli seeks to deface Liberty with his stealth Confederate hostility. Send him back to the classroom. Sidney Blumenthal is the author of All the Powers of Earth 1856-1860, the third of his five-volume biography, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, to be published in September by Simon & Schuster
The search has resumed for a missing six-year-old boy who fell into a river in Kent. Lucas Dobson fell into the River Stour in Sandwich on Saturday afternoon.He was said to be on a family fishing trip when the incident took place.The boy's father reportedly dived into the river but was unable to reach him.His aunt Maciee said Lucas's father jumped into the water after the child fell between a jetty and a boat but "the current was too strong, he had already gone". MISSING BOY: Specialist search and rescue teams have resumed the search for a missing 6 year-old boy around the River Stour. A public briefing will take place at 9am at Sandwich fire station to coordinate a plan for people to help as safely as possible: https://t.co/IwmdU3M2r8 pic.twitter.com/9o7DFgXhfl — Kent Fire and Rescue Service (@kentfirerescue) August 18, 2019She told the MirrorOnline: "He was with his dad and his dad's friends along with other children."The incident happened because our Lucas was on the jetty and tried to step from there on to the boat but he fell in between the jetty and the boat."As soon as he fell the three adults jumped in after (him) but the current was too strong, he had already gone in the short amount of time he could not be found."They fish and do this regularly as it is behind one of the men's houses, all the children play together here."Kent Fire and Rescue service said the search resumed at dawn.At just after 11.20am, search and rescue specialists in canoes could be seen meticulously probing the thick vegetation which flanks much of the River Stour.Officers on board a Kent Police search boat, which was carrying sonar equipment, also tracked up and down the winding, muddy water as the search continued.Officers had been called to Richborough Road at about 1.20pm on Saturday.Specialist search and rescue teams were joined by large numbers of public volunteers scouring river banks and waterways.The search was called off after 10pm due to darkness.Members of the public were warned about their own safety if they continued to search, including working in groups and using torches.KFRS assistant director Chris Colgan said: "We're all incredibly grateful to everyone who has given everything today to try and locate this little boy."Our thoughts are with him and his family tonight at this very difficult and emotional time."I would like to appeal to people who have come to Sandwich to join the search - if you continue overnight please make sure your own life isn't placed at risk."We have issued some safety advice about keeping clear of the river's edge, staying on the main tracks, working in groups and never alone, and please make sure you are equipped with a phone and torches."A number of different waterways, including the main river, make up the search area.A Facebook page called Search For Lucas said he was wearing a black and red striped T-shirt with white shorts.