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  • Gambling Commission 'is being outgunned' by betting companies
    by Rob Davies on February 28, 2020 at 12:01 am

    National Audit Office says regulator has not adjusted to the rise of online gamblingThe Gambling Commission is outpaced and outgunned by betting companies, according to a government report warning that the watchdog is struggling to protect people from gambling-related harm.The National Audit Office, which monitors the effectiveness of public bodies, said the regulator had not adjusted to technological change such as the rise of online and mobile gaming. It said funding constraints had hampered the commission, which has an annual budget of £19m but regulates an industry that took £11.3bn from punters last year. Related: William Hill gambling firm Mr Green fined for 'systemic failings' Continue reading... […]

  • New cars producing more carbon dioxide than older models
    by Jasper Jolly on February 28, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Demand for bigger cars drives increase in greenhouse gas emissions, says Which?New cars sold in the UK produce more carbon dioxide than older models, according to new research that suggests the industry is going backwards in tackling the climate crisis.Cars that reach the latest standards of emissions use cleaner internal combustion engine technology to combat air pollution, but the relentless rise in demand for bigger, heavier models meant that average emissions of the greenhouse gas rose, according to the consumer group Which? Continue reading... […]

  • Crystal Palace's lifesize dinosaurs added to heritage at risk register
    by Mark Brown Arts correspondent on February 28, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Historic England concerned that 166-year-old statues are cracking and losing toesDinosaurs are once again facing an extinction threat. Not a giant meteor this time but changing water levels threatening a Victorian Jurassic park that has fascinated and thrilled generations of visitors for 166 years.Historic England is announcing on Friday that it is adding the Crystal Palace dinosaurs to its heritage at risk register, worried by large cracks appearing in some of the 30 lifesize statues that were part of a pioneering project to educate and entertain people about natural science. Continue reading... […]

  • Coronavirus fears trigger biggest one-day fall on US stock market
    by Rob Davies , Richard Partington and Graeme Wearden on February 27, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    Dow plunges 1,190 points as analysts say virus could inflict as much damage as 2008 crisisCoronavirus – latest updatesFears over the spread of coronavirus have prompted a record plunge in the US stock market, as analysts warned the outbreak could wreak economic havoc on a scale not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.The Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst one-day fall – 1,190 points – losing 4.4%, as fears of a global pandemic hit investor confidence. Related: Standard Chartered to miss growth targets amid coronavirus fears Microsoft, PayPal and Standard Chartered all forecast disappointing profits.Facebook cancelled its annual developer conference in California where the company usually unveils new products to thousands of software engineers and entrepreneurs.Goldman Sachs warned coronavirus could wipe out profit growth at US companies in 2020.Aston Martin predicted falling sales and warned of disruption to its supply chain.Property firms pulled out of the industry’s annual Mipim conference, due to take place in Cannes next month.Budweiser beer owner ABInBev reported a $170m hit to profits.Advertising firm WPP quarantined staff returning from Asian countries.Cosmetics firm L’Oréal banned travel for its 86,000 staff.Shoemaker Crocs said Asian disruption would cut its revenues by up to $30m.What is Covid-19 - the illness that started in Wuhan? Continue reading... […]

  • Pollutionwatch: mild winter helps reduce diesel air pollution
    by Gary Fuller on February 27, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    The average diesel car produces nearly three times more nitrogen oxide pollution at 0C than at 25COur mild winter may have helped the UK’s legal problems with nitrogen oxides.In 2016, Department for Transport scientists made a chance finding when testing 38 diesel cars following the Volkswagen scandal. They found that exhaust emissions were far worse when vehicles were tested outside in the cold rather than indoors in the warm, as required in the legal tests. Related: Dirty lies: how the car industry hid the truth about diesel emissions Continue reading... […]

  • Market in turmoil over fears of a coronavirus-induced global recession | Nils Pratley
    by Nils Pratley on February 27, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Goldman Sachs is warning of zero US earnings if the outbreak becomes widespreadOn the Monday after Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, the FTSE 100 fell 3.9%, which we now know was a woefully complacent first take on events. London’s blue-chip index, then at 5,204, went on to shed another 1,400 points in the following six weeks.It’s a point to remember when looking at the coronavirus “carnage” on stock markets this week. Short-term share price movements, such as Thursday’s 3.5% decline in the FTSE, don’t tell you much when truly big global events happen. Even the 8% fall this week feels severe but could anyone claim to be surprised, given the current coronavirus news flow, if the decline soon became 16%? Continue reading... […]

  • Coronavirus: schools and offices could close for up to two months
    by Denis Campbell and Haroon Siddique on February 27, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Chief medical officer says UK could face ‘quite a long period’ of disruption if hit by pandemicCoronavirus latest – liveSports events and concerts may have to be cancelled and schools closed for more than two months if the UK is hit by a global pandemic of coronavirus, the chief medical officer has warned.Prof Chris Whitty said the country should prepare to face disruption to many normal activities “for quite a long period” and to pay a heavy “social cost” for efforts to thwart the virus. Related: Coronavirus map: how Covid-19 is spreading across the world The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine. Continue reading... […]

  • Minister criticised for not meeting evacuees on visit to flood-hit town
    by Steven Morris on February 27, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    George Eustice is whisked in and out of fenced-off compound in Ironbridge Are you affected by the flooding? Tell us your storyThe environment secretary has been criticised for not meeting residents of Ironbridge who were evacuated from their homes beside the River Severn after flood defences were overwhelmed.George Eustice spent 45 minutes in Ironbridge but was whisked in and out of a fenced-off compound and did not visit a hotel a few minutes walk away, where evacuees were being looked after. Continue reading... […]

  • Watchdog opens NMC Health inquiry amid accounting scandal
    by Joanna Partridge on February 27, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Investigation announced hours after shares in healthcare group suspended from tradingThe financial watchdog has launched a formal investigation into NMC Health hours after shares in the FTSE 100 healthcare group were suspended from trading amid a deepening accounting scandal.The news of the investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority came the day after Abu Dhabi-based NMC removed its chief executive and placed its finance chief on extended sick leave as its own investigation into its finances continues. Related: Healthcare empire NMC should be clear about who owns its shares | Nils Pratley Continue reading... […]

  • Mike Pence ‘not up to task’ of leading US coronavirus response, say experts
    by Adam Gabbatt in New York on February 27, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Trump’s pick met with outrage from experts who question vice-president’s record on health and say appointment ‘endangers us’As an aspiring congressman, Mike Pence once claimed “smoking doesn’t kill”. As governor of the midwestern state of Indiana, he faced heavy criticism for his handling of the situation when the state experienced the worst HIV crisis in its history.It’s a track record that meant Donald Trump’s appointment of Pence on Wednesday to lead the US response to the coronavirus was met with immediate outrage from health specialists, following days of criticism about the government’s handling of a virus that has spread to almost every continent across the globe. Related: Coronavirus could cause 'severe disruption' in America, CDC says Related: Five questions Donald Trump must answer on coronavirus Continue reading... […]

  • Biggest cosmic explosion ever detected left huge dent in space
    by Hannah Devlin Science correspondent on February 27, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Eruption in black hole 390m light years away punched cavity the size of 15 Milky WaysThe biggest cosmic explosion on record has been detected – an event so powerful that it punched a dent the size of 15 Milky Ways in the surrounding space.The eruption is thought to have originated at a supermassive black hole in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, which is about 390m light years from Earth. Continue reading... […]

  • Death toll from Delhi's worst riots in decades rises to 38
    by Staff and agencies on February 27, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    New citizenship law has triggered days of violence between Muslims and HindusThe death toll from Delhi’s worst riots in decades has risen to 38, as a political row broke out over the transfer of a judge who criticised the police and government’s handling of the crisis.Tensions remained high in India’s capital, as thousands of riot police and paramilitaries patrolled streets littered with the debris from days of sectarian riots.The new citizenship law provides a path to citizenship for religious minorities who have immigrated into India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before 31 December 2014. It explicitly lists Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians as being able to take advantage of the new provisions, excluding Muslims.  Continue reading... […]

  • Canada to stop providing security for Harry and Meghan
    by Caroline Davies on February 27, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Duke and duchess will not receive publicly funded security once they end royal dutiesCanada will not provide security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex once they step down as senior royals next month, the Canadian federal government has confirmed.The Royal Canadian mounted police (RCMP) have been providing protection on an intermittent basis since Harry and Meghan moved to a rented mansion on Vancouver Island in November. Related: For Harry and Meghan, Canadian media's respect for privacy is good news Continue reading... […]

  • Cancelled events and falling markets as Europe confronts Covid-19
    by Peter Beaumont on February 27, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    French president says ‘we’re only at the beginning’ as effects of the coronavirus bite across the continentCoronavirus – latest updatesThe French president, Emmanuel Macron, warned on Thursday that France was on the brink of a coronavirus epidemic, as countries across Europe rushed to confront the escalating numbers of cases.With new evidence of unexplained cases of transmission emerging in Spain, Germany and France, the mounting public health crisis on the continent forced the cancellation of public events from Geneva to Greece, including sporting events, carnivals and trade conventions amid further sharp stock market falls and disruption to European travel.Japan, which has announced it will close schools nationwide for several weeks from Monday.Iran, a major outbreak centre with a death toll of 26 out of 245 cases, where authorities announced domestic travel restrictions for people with confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus and restrictions on Friday prayers.Saudi Arabia, which has temporarily suspended visas for visits to Islam’s holiest sites for the umrah pilgrimage, an unprecedented move triggered by coronavirus fears.South Korea, the largest outbreak centre outside of China with 1,766 cases, where planned joint military exercises with the US have been postponed.Israel, which has denied entry to dozens of foreign nationals who landed on flights from Italy on Thursday. Continue reading... […]

  • UK to withdraw from European arrest warrant
    by Jamie Grierson , Jennifer Rankin and Lisa O'Carroll on February 27, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Government document reveals plans to ditch tool that allows for fast extradition of criminalsPolitics latest - liveThe UK is to abandon a crucial tool used to speed up the transfer of criminals across borders with other European countries.Acting against the warnings of senior law enforcement officials, the government said it would not be seeking to participate in the European arrest warrant (EAW) as part of the future relationship with the European Union. Related: What has the EU ever done for my … security? Continue reading... […]

  • Coronavirus: England only has 15 beds for worst respiratory cases
    by Rowena Mason Deputy political editor on February 27, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    NHS says system will struggle if more than 28 patients need artificial lung treatmentFollow the latest coronavirus newsEngland only has 15 available beds for adults to treat the most severe respiratory failure and will struggle to cope if there are more than 28 patients who need them if the number of coronavirus cases rises, according to the government and NHS documents.Ministers have revealed in parliamentary answers that there are 15 available beds for adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment at five centres across England. The government said this could be increased in an emergency. There were 30 such beds in total available during the 2018-19 winter flu season.The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine. Continue reading... […]

  • Condescension, false humility, divisiveness – welcome to Mikeyworld | John Crace
    by John Crace on February 27, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Michael Gove runs MPs through a maze of contradictions and doublespeak as he sets out stall for EU talksEvery Boris needs a Mikey. A minister who is every bit as morally bankrupt and spiritually dead as his boss. Someone untroubled by the past and whose capacity for mendacity and amnesia is almost limitless. So the prime minister is indeed fortunate to have Michael Gove as his deputy.Not that there haven’t been a few bumps along the way. Once, back in June 2016, Gove did exhibit a hint of conscience, when he declared he couldn’t possibly support Boris Johnson’s bid to become Conservative leader as he was so clearly unfit for office. If you are being picky, you could ask what took Gove so long as he’d just spent the past few months standing next to him as he told lie after lie. But hey, every sucker deserves an even break. Better one sinner that repenteth and all that. Related: Javid gives Cummings a good punching but fades out to sweet dissent Continue reading... […]

  • Covid-19: what we know and do not know about the coronavirus
    by Sarah Boseley Health editor on February 27, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Reports woman tested positive for a second time show there are still many unknownsCoronavirus – latest updatesReports that a woman in Japan has tested positive for the Covid-19 disease for a second time, after seemingly recovering, will alarm scientists and public health experts trying to control the spreading epidemic, and underlines how much we still do not know.There are a number of possible explanations for the second positive test of the woman, in her late 40s, a resident of Osaka who worked as a tourbus guide. She first tested positive for coronavirus in late January and was discharged from hospital on 1 February after recovering. She tested negative again on 6 February. Related: Coronavirus map: how Covid-19 is spreading across the world What is Covid-19 - the illness that started in Wuhan? Continue reading... […]

  • British military could be left depleted after £13bn shortfall
    by Dan Sabbagh on February 27, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Royal Air Force and the army have scrapped or downsized projects after budget issuesBritain’s military will have fewer armoured vehicles, aircraft and lose the use of its only naval hospital ship because of a shortfall of up to £13bn in its 10 year equipment budget, the government spending watchdog warned.The National Audit Office (NAO) said the inability of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to control its spending was starting to affect Britain’s military capability, and accused it of having a short term focus that risked making the situation worse in the future. Continue reading... […]

  • Manchester may get high-speed rail before Leeds, HS2 minister suggests
    by Helen Pidd North of England editor on February 27, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Transport department confirms plan to split northern spurs of HS2 into two stagesManchester may get high-speed rail before Leeds, the new minister for HS2 has suggested.In his first speech in the job, Andrew Stephenson said the next step for government was to “bring forward legislation to bring high-speed rail into Manchester as soon as practical”. There was no mention of Leeds in relation to HS2 as he addressed the New Statesman’s northern powerhouse-themed conference in Manchester.As of March 2019, £7.4bn had been spent. Much of the work done so far has been on paper: detailed engineering designs of the length of the route, years of public consultation, and legislation. Officially launched by Labour in 2009, HS2 was reviewed and tweaked by the coalition government and green-lighted in 2012. Related: Lib Dems demand transparency over HS2 college Ofsted report Continue reading... […]