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  • Why does Northern Ireland have fewer children in care?
    by Louise Tickle on September 19, 2018 at 6:29 am

    New research shows that councils in England could save £1.5bn by supporting families to stay togetherLocal authorities across the country are reeling at the cost of child protection, as care numbers soar to record levels: the Institute for Fiscal Studies recently found that half the entire children’s services budget is spent on the 73,000 children who are now looked after by the state. So when new academic research shows up very large differences between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the proportion of children removed from their families, it’s time for policymakers to take note. Related: Children used as 'bargaining chips' in foster care disputes Related: New study finds 4.5 million UK children living in poverty Related: Vulnerable children are on the new frontline of a crisis in social care Continue reading... […]

  • Children's yoghurts contain 'shocking' amounts of sugar, study finds
    by Nicola Davis on September 19, 2018 at 5:30 am

    While they are still a healthier choice than a chocolate bar or a biscuit, flavoured yoghurts are packed with sugarChildren’s yoghurts are packed with sugar, experts have found, warning that manufacturers and retailers need to do more to tackle the problem.Although yoghurt has long been considered a healthy food, experts warn that many of the products sold in supermarkets could contribute to child obesity, tooth decay and other health problems due to their high sugar content. Related: Food industry in England fails to meet sugar reduction target Related: Seven 'healthy' foods with high levels of sugar Continue reading... […]

  • Only 20% of rich Britons hold ethical assets, study finds
    by Rupert Neate Wealth correspondent on September 19, 2018 at 5:01 am

    UBS says Britons were second-least likely to buy into sustainable investments after AmericansOnly one in every five of the UK’s super-rich have even a tiny fraction of their assets held in sustainable investments, according to research which reveals that wealthy Britons are lagging behind Chinese and Brazilian millionaires in investing their money ethically.Research by UBS Global Wealth Management found that just 20% of British high net worth individuals (HNWIs) – classed as those with more than $1m (£760,000) in investable assets – hold at least 1% of their fortunes in sustainable investments. This compared with an average of 39% of HNWIs across the world. Related: Investing: It’s not that difficult to get the big things right Continue reading... […]

  • The US-China trade war is unlikely to be settled soon | Nils Pratley
    by Nils Pratley on September 19, 2018 at 5:01 am

    Trump needs a quick result but is unlikely to get one without drawing in other nationsJack Ma’s prediction that the US-China trade war could last 20 years sounds plausible. At the very least, the Alibaba billionaire’s opening analysis is surely correct: “If you want a short-term solution, there is no solution.”First, an immediate climbdown by either side is out of the question. Donald Trump’s imposition of 10% tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports was quickly followed by China’s retaliation – duties of up to 10% on $60bn worth of US goods travelling in the other direction. Beijing’s response was weaker than some had expected but could not be described as a step backwards. China seems to be saying that it has been drawn reluctantly into this tit-for-tat exchange but is prepared to keep going if necessary. Related: Donald Trump's reliance on Chinese restraint is risky Related: Time to regulate bitcoin, says Treasury committee report Continue reading... […]

  • Tom Watson: Labour would ban gambling with credit cards
    by Rob Davies on September 19, 2018 at 5:01 am

    Deputy leader says crackdown on betting industry necessary to tackle addiction ‘epidemic’Labour would ban the use of credit cards to place bets, affecting billions of pounds of transactions a year, as part of a crackdown on the gambling industry designed to tackle an “epidemic” of addiction.Deputy leader Tom Watson will this week publish the conclusions of the party’s year-long review of gambling regulations, which were liberalised under Tony Blair’s government in 2007. Related: Number of problem gamblers in the UK rises to more than 400,000 Related: Children ‘bombarded’ with betting adverts during World Cup Continue reading... […]

  • Large blue butterfly enjoys best UK summer on record
    by Steven Morris on September 19, 2018 at 5:01 am

    Hot weather and conservation drive help once-extinct insect make dramatic comebackA previously extinct butterfly, the large blue, has enjoyed its best UK summer on record thanks to the lovely weather and a determined conservation effort on hills in the West Country of England.The large blue, a popular specimen among Victorian collectors, was declared extinct in Britain in the 1970s but has since made a dramatic comeback. Related: The Guardian view on butterflies: elegant ambassadors for insects | Editorial Continue reading... […]

  • Time to regulate bitcoin, says Treasury committee report
    by Angela Monaghan on September 19, 2018 at 5:01 am

    MPs in UK say ‘wild west’ cryptocurrency industry is leaving investors vulnerableBitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “wild west” assets that expose investors to a litany of risks and are in urgent need of regulation, MPs on the Treasury select committee have said.The committee said in a report that consumers were left unprotected from an unregulated industry that aided money laundering, while the government and regulators “bumble along” and fail to take action. Related: The US-China trade war is unlikely to be settled soon Related: Bitcoin: is it a bubble waiting to burst or a good investment? Bitcoin is the first, and the biggest, “cryptocurrency” – a decentralised tradeable digital asset. Whether it is a bad investment is the big question. Bitcoin can only be used as a medium of exchange and in practice has been far more important for the dark economy than it has for most legitimate uses. The lack of any central authority makes bitcoin remarkably resilient to censorship, corruption – or regulation. That means it has attracted a range of backers, from libertarian monetarists who enjoy the idea of a currency with no inflation and no central bank, to drug dealers who like the fact that it is hard (but not impossible) to trace a bitcoin transaction back to a physical person. Continue reading... […]

  • Microplastics can spread via flying insects, research shows
    by Damian Carrington Environment editor on September 19, 2018 at 5:01 am

    ‘Shocking’ study reveals plastic contaminates our skies as well as the oceans, say scientistsMicroplastic can escape from polluted waters via flying insects, new research has revealed, contaminating new environments and threatening birds and other creatures that eat the insects.Scientists fed microplastics to mosquito larvae, which live in water, but found that the particles remained inside the animals as they transformed into flying adults. Other recent research found that half of the mayfly and caddisfly larvae in rivers in Wales contained microplastics. Continue reading... […]

  • Moment of truth: Labour's fraught path to MPs' crucial Brexit vote
    by Heather Stewart Political editor on September 19, 2018 at 4:00 am

    Dominant issue on conference agenda presents formidable challenge for Corbyn and partyJeremy Corbyn will kick off Labour’s annual conference at Pier Head in Liverpool on Saturday with one of the noisy rallies that have become a kind of political comfort zone over his three years as party leader: soundtrack from The Farm, an uplifting tirade against social injustice, cheering, optimistic crowds.But the dominant issue on the agenda is one that presents a formidable political challenge for Corbyn and the Labour party: Brexit. Related: Labour conference must debate Brexit deal vote, say local groups Related: Keir Starmer clashed with Corbyn on Brexit 'to brink of resignation' Related: Activists to use Labour conference to push for second Brexit vote Related: Keir Starmer clashed with Corbyn on Brexit to brink of resignation Continue reading... […]

  • Websites of Kinder chocolate banned over ads targeting children
    by Rebecca Smithers on September 18, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    UK advertising watchdog says firm broke rules on junk food promotion by using games and videos of toys for toddlersA series of websites, an app and a YouTube channel promoting Kinder chocolate and toys have been banned in the UK for aiming junk food advertising at children.The homepage of the Kindernauts website featured cartoons of a sun and rainbow, the promise of “fun activities” and prizes, a Kinder chocolate branded video showing children playing and a cartoon map leading to activities such as “becoming a bug detective” and “creating a butterfly feeder”. Continue reading... […]

  • UK survey finds sharp decline in happiness of young women and girls
    by Sally Weale Education correspondent on September 18, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Exams and social media blamed for finding that only 25% of respondents describe themselves as very happy There has been a sharp decline in happiness among girls and young women in the UK in the last decade, with the majority of them blaming exams and social media for causing stress, a major survey has found.Just one in four (25%) girls and young women between the ages of seven and 21 described themselves as “very happy” in the latest girls’ attitudes survey for the Girlguiding organisation – down from 41% in 2009. Continue reading... […]

  • Stormy Daniels' tell-all book on Trump: salacious detail and claims of cheating
    by Tom McCarthy on September 18, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Exclusive: pornographic actor says Trump ‘didn’t want to be president’ in her book Full DisclosureTrump’s insecurity and ‘bullshit’ hush money: key takeawaysIn a tell-all memoir, the pornographic actor Stormy Daniels details salacious descriptions of her time with Donald Trump, wonders if he is fit to be president and claims that he offered to cheat for her in his reality TV show. Related: Stormy Daniels: 'little girl from Baton Rouge' posing big problem for Trump Related: Stormy Daniels: I was told to 'leave Trump alone' in parking lot threat Related: Stormy Daniels has spoken. It doesn’t look good for Trump – or us | Jill Filipovic Continue reading... […]

  • Air pollution linked to much greater risk of dementia
    by Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent on September 18, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Risk in over-50s increases by 40% where highest nitrogen oxide levels exist, study showsAir pollution may increase the chance of developing dementia, a study has suggested, in fresh evidence that the health of people of all ages is at risk from breathing dirty air.People over 50 in areas with the highest levels of nitrogen oxide in the air showed a 40% greater risk of developing dementia than those with the least NOx pollution, according to the research, based on data from London. Related: The Guardian view on clean air zones: cities must be bold | Editorial Continue reading... […]

  • Sesame Street disputes writer's claim that Bert and Ernie are gay
    by Martin Pengelly in New York on September 18, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Children’s show responded that the characters are ‘best friends’ and are ‘puppets and do not have a sexual orientation’The Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie are not gay and in a relationship, the children’s show was moved to say on Tuesday after a former writer said they were.In an interview with Queerty, Mark Saltzman was asked if the question had ever come up when he worked on the show in the early 1980s. Related: Sesame Street accused of ageism as it cuts nearly all original cast members Related: Autistic Julia joins Bert, Ernie and Abby Cadabby in championing Muppet diversity Continue reading... […]

  • Corbyn's proposals to transform Labour party parked for a year
    by Heather Stewart and Jessica Elgot on September 18, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Leader defeated in key votes over plans to increase the influence of the grassroots Labour’s ruling body agreed to park some of the most controversial proposals for party reform at a marathon 10-hour meeting on Tuesday, which saw Jeremy Corbyn defeated in a series of close votes.The national executive committee (NEC) set aside for a year plans for Labour councillors to be forced to defer to new “local government committees” before publishing their own manifesto, and for council leaders to be directly elected by Labour members.The NEC has formally agreed to defer any decisions on rule changes for local government until 2019, pending a longer review which will involve @LabourCllrs and @LGA_Labour in the next stages. A sensible and pragmatic decision that will be welcomed by many in Labour Local Govt. Related: Labour NEC braced for row over leadership election proposals Related: Labour 'dragging its feet' on tackling sexual harassment – activist Continue reading... […]

  • Housing associations to get £2bn investment over next ten years
    by Peter Walker Political correspondent on September 18, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Theresa May to tell housing federation it needs to take more initiative in returnTheresa May is to announce £2bn in extra money for housing associations over a decade, arguing that secure long-term funding for new schemes is one of the key ways to ease the housebuilding crisis.Speaking at the National Housing Federation (NHF) summit in London on Wednesday, the prime minister will promise longer-term cash for housing associations, asking in return that they take more of a lead in building their own large-scale developments. Continue reading... […]

  • Michel Barnier rebuffs UK calls for flexibility on Irish border
    by Jennifer Rankin in Brussels and Pippa Crerar on September 18, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Chief negotiator says EU ready to improve proposal but will not accept British ideas for compromise Michel Barnier has rebuffed British calls for the European Union to soften its stance on the contested issue of the Irish border and said a “moment of truth” was fast approaching on a Brexit deal.May will appeal directly to EU leaders at a summit in Salzburg to soften their stance over UK access to the single market and customs union. She is expected to tell them on Wednesday night that Brussels needs to shift. A senior No 10 official said: “To come to a successful conclusion, just as the UK has evolved its position, the EU will need to do the same.” Continue reading... […]

  • Danez Smith becomes youngest winner of Forward poetry prize
    by Alison Flood on September 18, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Chair of judges Bidisha pays tribute to collection Don’t Call Us Dead’s ‘passionate and very contemporary’ verseThe 29-year-old African American poet Danez Smith has beaten writers including the US poet laureate to become the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Forward prize for best poetry collection – and the first winner to identify as gender-neutral.Smith, who prefers the pronoun “they”, confronts race, police brutality and gender in their collection, Don’t Call Us Dead, as well as their HIV-positive diagnosis. In its opening sequence, “summer, somewhere”, Smith imagines an afterlife for black men shot dead by the police. In “dear white America”, a poem that went viral on Youtube, Smith writes: “i can’t stand your ground. i’m sick of calling your recklessness the law. each night, i count my brothers. & in the morning, when some do not survive to be counted, i count the holes they leave.” Related: ‘Every poem is political’: Danez Smith, the YouTube star shaking up poetry Continue reading... […]

  • Plantwatch: road could harm dozens of protected natural sites near Oxford
    by Paul Simons on September 18, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Environmentalists outraged at proposed road that would damage ancient woodland, meadows and rare fenland A £4bn expressway road has been proposed to link Oxford with Cambridge, eventually leading to a million new homes built around the road. The proposal, announced on 12 September, could damage 20 nature reserves and 51 other protected natural sites, including ancient woodlands, meadows rich in rare flowers, water meadows and exceptionally rare fenland. The increased traffic and pollution also threatens highly sensitive areas nearby, such as Wytham Woods just outside Oxford. The woodland is owned by Oxford University and has been studied continuously for 75 years, possibly the longest study of woodland in the world, and now invaluable for assessing the impact of climate change. The site has more than 500 species of plant, including herb paris (Paris quadrifolia), stinking iris (Iris foetidissima) and wood dog violet (Viola reichenbachiana) growing in ancient woodland.The exact route of the expressway has not been decided, but many other outstanding natural areas are under threat, including Bernwood, a former royal hunting forest, Rushmere country park and ancient woodlands near Calvert in Buckinghamshire. The plans for the route remain unclear, though the area around Oxford is a mosaic of prized woodlands, species-rich grassland and open water. Environmentalists are outraged and this has all the makings of a long battle. Continue reading... […]

  • UK employers condemn 'ignorant, elitist' Brexit immigration report
    by Dan Sabbagh and Lisa O'Carroll on September 18, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Business leaders reject need for income threshold, saying workers are needed at all levelsBusiness leaders have lined up to criticise the government’s migration advisory committee (MAC) after it proposed an “ignorant and elitist” ban on foreign workers earning less than £30,000 a year from obtaining visas to work in the UK after Brexit.Organisations representing hauliers, housebuilders and the hospitality sector were among those to sound the alarm after the committee said only “higher skilled” workers should be allowed visas, with no preferential access given to European Union citizens. Related: The part of Brexit everyone’s been avoiding is finally here: immigration | Gaby Hinsliff Continue reading... […]