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Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 17:21:57 GMT2017-10-17T17:21:57Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Winds have generated power for centuries | Brief letters

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:17:28 GMT2017-10-17T16:17:28Z

Walsall’s heyday | Wind power | Elon Musk’s Hyperloop | Today programme | Worst deal ever

“Walsall was never a pretty town”, according to Roy Boffy (Letters, 16 October); this may be true now but has not always been the case. Its handsome villas and public buildings were remarked on in 1834 by William White in The History, Gazeteer and Directory of Staffordshire and he believed it needed to yield to no other town in Staffordshire in beauty and elegance. During the 19th century, Walsall added more civic buildings, many built to help improve the life of working people. The 20th and 21st century have not been kind to the town but that is not a reason to forget its history.
Cathy Schling
London

• Regarding Paula Cocozza’s article on “the resource that could power the world” (G2, 15 October), let us not forget that wind has indeed already powered the world in the political and economic sense, powering the sailing ships of naval and merchant fleets that set up the European empires that dominated the pre-20th-century globe.
Beth Cresswell
Hightown, Merseyside

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Russian troll factory paid US activists to help fund protests during election

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:13:52 GMT2017-10-17T16:13:52Z

  • Investigation finds Russians posing as Americans made payments to activists
  • Revelations likely to put further spotlight on Russian meddling in US election

Russian trolls posing as Americans made payments to genuine activists in the US to help fund protest movements on socially divisive issues, according to a new investigation by a respected Russian media outlet.

On Tuesday, the newspaper RBC published a major investigation into the work of a so-called Russian “troll factory” since 2015, including during the period of the US election campaign, disclosures that are likely to put further spotlight on alleged Russian meddling in the election.

Related: How Russia used social media to divide Americans

Related: Did Russia fake black activism on Facebook to sow division in the US?

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BBC newsreader unmoved by royal baby announcement – video

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:53:00 GMT2017-10-17T15:53:00Z

The BBC newsreader Simon McCoy struggles to summon up much enthusiasm for the announcement from Kensington Palace that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third baby is due in April. News of the pregnancy was revealed in September

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ESPN host calls out Barstool Sports over sexism ahead of partnership

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:05:07 GMT2017-10-17T15:05:07Z

  • ESPN’s Samantha Ponder was called ‘slut’ by Barstool founder
  • Dave Portnoy also insulted host’s daughter and religion

ESPN’s decision to partner with members of Barstool Sports, a publication known for its crude humour and sexist jokes, has already been met with displeasure from one of the network’s hosts.

Samantha Ponder, the host of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, sent a tweet to Barstool’s Dan “Big Cat” Katz, whose new show will be broadcast on ESPN on Tuesday night.

Welcome to the ESPN family @BarstoolBigCat (& welcome to all ur minions who will respond to this so kindly) pic.twitter.com/AzgfdDx2FK

Related: Donald Trump targets Jemele Hill following ESPN anchor's suspension

@sam_ponder https://t.co/s6FxNyFrZy 8 minutes in, youre welcome

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Facebook is buying anonymous teen compliments app TBH

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:34:41 GMT2017-10-17T11:34:41Z

App that avoids bullying behaviour by offering pre-checked questions is latest popular social-media app owned by company after 1bn messages were sent

Facebook has acquired TBH, an app that allows teens to send anonymous compliments to each other. The cost has not been announced, but is reportedly less than $100m.

The app, launched this summer in 37 US states only, has received more than five million downloads in a short space of time, thanks to its unique twist on the anonymous-messaging model of previous viral hits such as Secret, YikYak and Sarahah.

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BBC axes Crimewatch after 33 years as trail goes cold for viewers

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:17:08 GMT2017-10-17T11:17:08Z

Former host Nick Ross blames ‘decay of linear television’ and trend of recording programmes for show’s decline

It has been credited with helping solve some of the country’s most notorious crimes. But, after 33 years, Crimewatch has served its time, the BBC has announced.

The programme was being cancelled to make way for other programming, the corporation said, though it would broadcast more of the daytime sister edition, Crimewatch Roadshow.

Related: What kind of journalism should the BBC do and not do? | Jane Martinson

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Murdered Panama Papers journalist's son attacks Malta's 'crooks'

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 09:47:24 GMT2017-10-17T09:47:24Z

Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed because she ‘stood between rule of law and those who sought to violate it’, says son Matthew

The son of the murdered Maltese investigative journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia has described finding parts of his mother’s body around the blazing car in which she died and attacked the island as a “mafia state” run by “crooks”.

“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists,” Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is also an investigative reporter, wrote in a moving and at times graphic Facebook post.

Related: Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

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Take it from me - British TV and film are rife with sexual bullying | Arabella Weir

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 05:00:05 GMT2017-10-17T05:00:05Z

We need more powerful females in our industry, and a new willingness from women everywhere to challenge sexist attitudes

Along with the rest of the acting sorority I’ve been reading with great interest the appalling allegations against Harvey Weinstein, who has apologised for his past behaviour but denied non-consensual sex. At the same time I’ve been reminded of the literally hundreds of times I, too, have endured varying degrees of sexual harassment in my nearly 40-year career. And I bet you won’t find a single actress who hasn’t got similar stories to tell. This behaviour was so commonplace it barely warranted comment except as “jokey” tales female actors would swap.

Related: It’s not just one monster. ‘Me too’ reveals the ubiquity of sexual assault | Suzanne Moore

Related: After Weinstein, let’s stop asking women to answer for their sex predator’s crimes | Laura Bates

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Same-sex marriage survey: help us track targeted ads on Facebook

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:26:18 GMT2017-10-17T00:26:18Z

Guardian Australia has teamed up with ProPublica to make it easier for people to report ads in their social feed

Organisations are paying Facebook to target Australians with ads about the same-sex marriage postal survey.

Guardian Australia has been tracking some of these ads with the help of readers, and has so far uncovered ads without proper authorisation, an ad from no campaigners instructing people how to change their vote, and ads that contain or link to misleading or homophobic material.

Related: Prominent marriage equality advocates' survey forms go astray

Related: Send us your reports of missing or diverted same-sex marriage postal surveys

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Lisa Wilkinson leaves Nine and joins Ten after pay battle

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 22:14:00 GMT2017-10-16T22:14:00Z

Sources say breakfast show presenter was asking for amount closer to that paid to her Today co-host Karl Stefanovic

Lisa Wilkinson has walked away from Channel Nine, where she co-hosted Today for 10 years, after the network refused to meet her pay demands.

Wilkinson announced the shock news on Twitter on Monday night, saying she had done her last show. It was a brutal end for a network star Nine has groomed for a decade.

I have some news. I'm sad to say that today was my last day on @the today show. The following statement is from Channel Nine... pic.twitter.com/B3IVDAfkSm

"Seeing is believing for young girls and what they see in Lisa is a strong, influential, fun and compassionate woman." #9Today pic.twitter.com/YQaWEXm6fu

Related: What Australia wakes up to: behind the scenes of the breakfast TV battleground

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Hillary Clinton praises NHS after broken toe prevents interviews

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:02:23 GMT2017-10-16T18:02:23Z

Former US presidential candidate says she received ‘excellent care’ from health service after having to rearrange three bookings

Hillary Clinton has paid tribute to the NHS after she was forced to rearrange a series of interviews because she fell and broke her toe.

The former US presidential candidate had been due to appear on Woman’s Hour, This Morning and the Graham Norton Show as part of a promotional tour for her book What Happened.

HRC on The Graham Norton Show, joking about how she caught her heel on some steps & twisted her ankle earlier today. Back to the book tour! pic.twitter.com/Fk30HLjNat

I’d read the book and everything. Apologies. #HillaryClinton @BBCWomansHour pic.twitter.com/Dh66CuYVph

Hillary Clinton finally arrives 1hr 40 mins later than scheduled for her live chat at the Cheltenham Literature Festival pic.twitter.com/ZWxep0TkfW

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Comparing Catalonia with Ireland or Kosovo | Letters

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:14:44 GMT2017-10-16T17:14:44Z

Sergio Bacallado de Lara says that unlike Ireland’s struggle for independence, Catalan nationalism has always had a helping hand from government, Rodney Atkinson says the EU has not recognised or supported the democratic wishes of Catalans, and Francis Humble thinks the Spanish media is misrepresenting the region

Dominic Keown (Letters, 12 October) compares Catalonia today to Ireland in 1916. This is beyond hyperbole. Ireland under British rule was a colonial society, impoverished and exploited, a Catholic country governed by Protestants. Catalonia, by way of comparison, is wealthy and largely self-governing with a Catalan-speaking political and business elite and schooling conducted entirely in Catalan. Far from being oppressed, Catalan separatists are making a selfish bid to keep more tax revenues at home, starving Spain’s poorer regions of investment.

Unlike Ireland’s struggle for independence, Catalan nationalism has always had a helping hand from the highest echelons of government. This should be no secret to Professor Keown, who recently spoke at a widely publicised forum at CIDOB, a Barcelona thinktank whose president, Carles Gasòliba, resigned in 2016 citing pressures from the Generalitat to act as a mouthpiece for the separatist movement.
Sergio Bacallado de Lara
Cambridge

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The Weinstein Company in talks on possible sale

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:53:01 GMT2017-10-16T16:53:01Z

Film studio to take ‘capital infusion’ and discuss potential sell-off in wake of allegations against Harvey Weinstein

The Weinstein Company is in talks to sell to a private equity company in the wake of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder Harvey Weinstein.

The film production business has entered into an agreement with buyout firm Colony Capital to secure an “immediate capital infusion”, as the company fights for its future.

Related: James Corden 'truly sorry' for Harvey Weinstein jokes

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Social media bots threaten democracy. But we are not helpless | Samuel Woolley and Marina Gorbis

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 14:57:39 GMT2017-10-16T14:57:39Z

Ever-more sophisticated Facebook and Twitter bots can sway political opinions. We have the technology to counter this – we need the will to use it

Can social bots – pieces of software that perform automated tasks – influence humans on social media platforms? That’s a question congressional investigators are asking social media companies ever since fears emerged that they were deployed in 2016 to influence the presidential election.

Half a decade ago we were among a handful of researchers who could see the power of relatively simple pieces of software to influence people. Back in 2012, the Institute for the Future, for which we work, ran an experimental contest to see how they might be used to influence people on Twitter.

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No alternative: how brands bought out underground music

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:06:26 GMT2017-10-16T12:06:26Z

Timberland hosts rap gigs. Princess Nokia makes films for Maybelline. And Red Bull is the new school of rock. Have brand partnerships destroyed counterculture? Or are they all that’s keeping it alive?

Timberland hosts rap gigs. Princess Nokia makes films for Maybelline. And Red Bull is the new school of rock. Have brand partnerships destroyed counterculture? Or are they all that’s keeping it alive?

Kiran Gandhi (@madamegandhi stage name: Madame Gandhi) is an activist and electronic music artist. The former drummer for M.I.A. and the iconic free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon, she now writes music that celebrates the female voice. The womens #SUPERSTAR Slip-On is available now.

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Kevin Cadle, former basketball coach and Sky presenter, dies aged 62

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:32:41 GMT2017-10-16T10:32:41Z

  • American took charge of the British, English and Scottish national teams
  • Alongside his coaching career, Cadle was popular figure on Sky Sports

Kevin Cadle, the former Great Britain basketball coach and longtime NFL and NBA broadcaster with Sky Sports, has died at the age of 62.

The American coached the Scotland and England basketball teams as well as leading Britain’s team at the qualification tournament for the 1992 Olympics.

We are shocked & saddened to hear of the death of Kevin Cadle, a great friend of #NFLUK for so long. Our thoughts are with his loved ones. pic.twitter.com/yqX5vRe5PN

The worst news. I'm shocked & sad. He was a friend & sposed to do our show Sunday but was ill. Never expected this. Too big to go like that. https://t.co/4QVkb9UmW4

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'People are afraid to say a word': inside Ashgabat, Central Asia's closed city

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:16:34 GMT2017-10-16T09:16:34Z

When Stanislav Volkov began reporting for the Alternative Turkmenistan News, the secret service cut his internet and threw acid at him – all for daring to describe the harsh reality of daily life in this notoriously reclusive capital

When I was child, Ashgabat was known as the “garden city”. It drowned in greenery, canals gurgled with mountain water and trees cast a shady cool even in July and August. In the evenings, neighbours would gather around gazebos and drink tea.

After Turkmenistan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ashgabat experienced a second birth. Today, modern Ashgabat is jokingly called the “city of the dead”, because it is almost impossible to see people in the new districts of white marble. The city holds the Guinness Book of Records title for most white marble on Earth. It holds several records, in fact: the world’s largest enclosed observation wheel, the largest fountain, the largest mural of a star. The new airport has the world’s largest image of a Turkmen carpet, adorning the main passenger terminal. Until recently, the capital even boasted the world’s tallest flagstaff. All of these new toys, these buildings, parks and roads, were supposedly built for the people. They paid for it with their silence.

It is forbidden to open windows, install air conditioners or hang clothes on any street where the president might pass

Some areas spend days without water and electricity, while central fountains flow and lights burn brightly for no one

Related: A horse, a horse … Turkmenistan president honours himself with statue

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So long, Slumdog? Film studio chief says Brexit threatens British cinema

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 15:58:34 GMT2017-10-15T15:58:34Z

Lionsgate’s Zygi Kamasa fears hits such as Slumdog Millionaire will no longer be made as funding for UK films starts to dry up

The success of British cinema is being threatened by a loss of funding caused by Brexit, according to the chief executive of a major film company, who warned that hits such as Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech may no longer be made in the future.

Zygi Kamasa, the chief executive of Lionsgate UK and Europe, warned: “Between 2007 and 2013, over €100m [£90m] was invested in UK film. It is a big amount for indigenous British productions. The concern is that, with Brexit, we will lose that funding.”

Related: British cinema's gender imbalance worse in 2017 than 1913, says BFI study

Related: Fresh, diverse and earthy: 2017’s great debuts from UK film directors

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What kind of journalism should the BBC do and not do? | Jane Martinson

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 12:00:30 GMT2017-10-15T12:00:30Z

James Harding’s comments after announcing he is to quit as head of news may suggest the corporation is going through a crisis of confidence


What exactly is the sort of journalism that the BBC “can’t and shouldn’t do”? Of all the questions prompted by the announcement that the BBC’s head of news is to leave by the end of the year, this is the one that matters.

James Harding, in announcing his decision to leave the corporation last week, was effusive in his praise for the organisation he joined after falling out with Rupert Murdoch as editor of the Times. Yet explaining how hard that decision had been, Harding said: “There is some journalism that the BBC, for all its brilliance, can’t, and probably shouldn’t, do.” He plans to set up a new media company with “a distinct approach to the news and a clear point of view”. There followed much debate about why he is leaving and what exactly he will be doing next, of which more later.

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OFM Awards 2017: Editor’s Award – AA Gill

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 10:00:28 GMT2017-10-15T10:00:28Z

In recognition of a unique writing talent, OFM honours the late restaurant reviewer with this special award

No opening paragraph of a restaurant review has ever delivered as much shock and sudden sadness as that with which AA Gill began his Table Talk on 20 November last year. His account of a trip to Whitby, to the Magpie Café, “the best chippy in the world”, was also a heartfelt, clear-eyed farewell. He had cancer, “the full English” of the disease, the fact of which, of course, didn’t for a moment stop him from enjoying the Magpie’s proper “round-vowelled tea” and delighting in the fact that Whitby’s older residents appeared to be dressed as the home guard.

In the fortnight that followed, which ended with news of Gill’s death – news which coincided, ever the pro, with his final showstopping byline in a tribute to the better and worse of his experience with the NHS – it was hard to reconcile the life of his writing with the full stop and pending silence he described. Gill always said that he never wanted to be famous, only to be read. Bill Deedes, the Telegraph legend who wrote his own last column the week before he died at 94, was a hero. “I want to go on doing this for ever,” Gill used to say. That final unforgettable bit of Table Talk, and that last column, at the very least made good on that ambition.

Related: AA Gill dies weeks after revealing he had cancer in restaurant review

Related: AA Gill's best quotes

His column did for food criticism what Clive James’s had done for TV – he made it a spectator sport

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