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Trade war: US claims China is ‘out of bullets’ after imposing new tariffs — business live


Powered by article titled “Trade war: US claims China is ‘out of bullets’ after imposing new tariffs — business live” was written by Graeme Wearden, for on Tuesday 18th September 2018 17.41 Asia/Kolkata

Is Wilbur Ross correct to claim that China is “out of bullets” to fight a trade war?

By one measure, yes. The US only exported $130bn to China last year, and already imposes tariffs on $50bn, so it can’t match America’s $200bn move.

But such a narrow view ignores the full interconnected nature of the global economy.

China can use other tools if it really wants to make things hot for America. For example it could:

  • Launch a currency war by letting the yuan tumble against the US dollar. That would counter the impact of higher tariffs.
  • Limit US firms from accessing China’s market. That would hurt manufacturers who hope to profit from China’s economic revolution, and the sharp increase in middle-class consumers
  • Stop buying US government debt, or even dump its huge stock of Treasury bills onto the market. That would force up America’s cost of borrowing, and potentially rock the markets (currently, China recycles some of the dollars it receives from trade back into US bonds, helping America to service its huge national debt).

President Xi might have other ideas to thwart America in the international sphere, of course (last week he was making a big show of friendship with Russia’s president Putin).

Wilbur Ross: China is ‘out of bullets’ in trade war

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is up early, appearing on CNBC to discuss the new tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports announced by Donald Trump last night.

Ross declared it is up to Beijing to decide whether to address America’s concerns over free trade and intellectual property rights.

He says:

“Our purpose is to have constructive negotiations with the Chinese to resolve the fundamental issues. So the question about whether or when to have a discussion is very importantly in their ballpark.”

Ross also argued that the tariffs (on everything from frozen turbot to bicycle speedometers) had been carefully chosen to create the smallest disruption to consumers.

Ross also dipped into the firearms metaphor bucket, denying that America was shooting from the him and claiming that Beijing was “out of bullets” (because it imports so little, relatively, from America).

GAM: Markets are too complacent over trade war

Larry Hatheway, chief economist at asset manager GAM, believes investors aren’t taking the trade war seriously enough.

Having seen markets rise in Asia and Europe today, Hatheway warns that the situation could deteriorate sharply, hurting the global economy.

“Without question, tariffs are economically counterproductive and create inefficiencies in supply chains, location of production and add costs to firms and consumers. Criticism of the new tariffs from key US business and consumer groups was immediate. Investors may also be hoping that the US mid-term election outcome might temper the Trump Administration’s willingness to escalate trade tensions.

“But risks remain. One is the unclear rhetoric from the US Trump Administration, which has put forward a variety of explanations for tariffs (elimination of bilateral trade deficits, measures to counter intellectual property right infringement, objections to China’s investment in new technologies, etc). That makes it difficult to know what the basis for an agreement to diffuse the situation might look like.

“In light of today’s market reaction, investors risk being overly complacent about the eventual outcome, which could still escalate with potentially very adverse spill over effects on broader economic activity.”

Europe’s trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, has criticised Donald Trump’s new tariffs, telling reporters (in Brussels, I think) that they are “very unfortunate”.

She also disputed Trump’s claim earlier this year that trade wars are ‘good and easy to win’ (if you’re running a big trade deficit)

The FT’s Jim Brunsden has the details:

This escalation is very unfortunate”, Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU’s trade commissioner, told reporters.

“Trade wars are not good and they are not easy to win”….

“We agree with some of the criticism the US has advanced vis-à-vis China”, Ms Malmstrom said. “But we disagree with the methods the US is using’.

Companies are starting to scramble to protect themselves from trade war damage, says Chris Towner, director at JCRA, a financial risk management consultancy.

He reports:

We are certainly seeing an increase in firms looking to review their foreign exchange exposures and put together hedging strategies to help them cope with the volatility.

In reaction to the trade disputes and follow-up actions, we have seen the Chinese yuan weaken by almost 10% against the US dollar, since the outset of this year. This will act as a buffer for Chinese exporters dealing in the international markets.

In other words, a weaker yuan makes Chinese imports more competitive in US markets. Not what Donald Trump is aiming for….

FILE PHOTO: An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Asian stock markets ended the day on a strong note, despite the latest trade war escalation.

China’s stock market gained almost 2%, Japan rose by 1.8%, and Hong Kong shrugged off its earlier losses to close 0.5% higher.

Shares have also risen in Europe with morning, with the FTSE 100 gaining 0.2% and Germany up 0.3%.

Arnaud Masset of Swissquote bank says traders have shrugged off trade tensions:

The renewed appetite for risky assets suggests that investors are getting tired of this situation and are paying less and less attention to Donald Trump’s tweets and public comments.

Analyst at ABN Amro suggest that a 10% tariff might not chuck too much sand in the wheels of global trade:


ING: Trade war will worsen

Donald Trump’s trade war has already impacted on 2.5% of world trade, says Timme Spakman, economist at Dutch bank ING.

And it could get worse, if the White House follows through on its threats to impose even more tariffs on China.

Spakman predicts that the trade war will intensify, writing:

As President Trump pulled the trigger on 10% additional tariffs on imports from China last night, the percentage of world trade affected by it all just went up to 2.5%. If the US acts on further tariff threats, this could go up to 4%

The new measures will cover USD 200bn worth of US imports from China, including jet engines, electronics, and fish.

These tariffs, which were announced in June, are a reaction to the tariffs imposed by China in August, which in themselves were retaliatory measures.

Given that, China’s ministry of commerce has already pledged it will ‘guard its interests’ and has announced retaliatory tariffs earlier in the year, we don’t expect a deal anytime soon and instead expect further elevation in 2019.

We expect the US to impose further tariffs on the remaining imports from China (worth $267bn) and China to retaliate further.


Jack Ma: Trade war could last 20 years

Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma.
Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

Newsflash: Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has warned that the US-China trade war could rumble on for decades.

Speaking at a conference for Alibaba investors in Shanghai, Ma warned that the dispute would be “a mess” for all parties, and could last for 20 years.

What’s on Trump’s tariff list, and what’s not

An Apple Watch.
An Apple Watch. Photograph: Picture-Alliance/Barcroft Images

The full list of Chinese products that will hit with an extra 10% tariff next week (rising to 25% eventually) is online here.

Nearly 200 pages long, the list covers almost 6,000 individual items. Some are quite dull, such as coal, printing ink, pneumatic tires and spark plugs.

Others are more exotic, from live eels and frogs legs to rail locomotives and chandeliers.

But some products have been removed, following public consultation, including devices that receive and transmit voice data. That’s good news for Apple, as CNBC explains:

Apple’s smart watch, wireless headphones, and smart speaker will not be affected by the Trump administration’s latest tariffs on Chinese imports, according to a list of affected products listed on Monday.

Some Apple products, including its MacMini, will still be affected.

Reuters points out that some consumer safety products made in China, such as bicycle helmets sold by Vista Outdoor and baby car seats and playpens from Graco Inc also were taken off the list.

Importantly, rare earth minerals have also been dropped from the provisional list. They’re used in a wide range of consumer electronics products, so an extra tariff could have hurt US manufacturers. More here.


Bloomberg has estimated that the trade war will knock around half a percentage point off China’s growth rate this year.

The impact could rise to almost one percentage point, though, once these latest tariffs rise from 10% to 25% in 2019.

China’s economy is growing at around 6.5% per year, so it could absorb such a hit.

Paul Donovan of UBS Wealth Management has a good take on the US tariffs:

  • US President Trump announced a staggered increase in US consumer taxes. A 10% tax on goods partially made in China now, a 25% tax after the year-end orgy of consumer spending. It will take some months for the tax to work down supply chains.
  • The burden of this tax will likely hit lower income US consumers. Trump threatened to tax all imports partially made in China if China retaliates. China will probably retaliate. The nuclear option of China selling US Treasuries is not likely at this stage. However, China might fail to appear at a US bond auction or two, to remind the US that the balance of payments is a two-way flow.
  • The tax will slow US growth. Raising taxes normally does slow growth. How soon growth is hit will depend on inventory levels, and the speed with which the tax is passed down supply chains. There may be a fear about “who is next?”. Once additional tariffs against China are imposed, there is nothing else about China to tweet. Something else will have to fill the Trump Twitter Feed.

Reminder: China can’t simply retaliate by slapping a 10% tariff on $200bn of US goods, because it only buys around $130bn of stuff from America each year.

And it already has new tariffs on £50bn-worth of those imports, meaning Beijing only has $80bn of firepower left.

Beijing isn’t out of options, though.

It could impose a higher tariff on US goods. Or it could announce curbs on US companies operating in China. But either step risks provoking another response from the White House.

There’s a flurry of activity in Beijing right now.

The foreign ministry is giving a briefing on trade, and accusing the US of not being sincere.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang is telling reporters that America’s ‘unilateral’ trade actions can’t be accepted. The only solution is to hold talks on an equal footing, Geng says.

Geng also confirms that China will respond, but doesn’t outline what these countermeasures might be.

China: We will retaliate

Newsflash: China has announced it will retaliate against America’s new tariffs….without saying how.

The Chinese commerce ministry says it has no choice but to respond to the new 10% tariff on thousands of goods entering the US.

And more in sorrow than in anger, the ministry adds that it hopes the US realises the negative consequences of its actions, and corrects its behaviour.

US industry cries foul over Trump’s ‘reckless’ tariffs

Macy’s in Herald Square, in New York.
Macy’s in Herald Square, in New York. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

America’s Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), which represents major tech firms, was quick to criticise these new tariffs.

ITI president Dean Garfield said Trump’s decision was “reckless” , and would hurt US communities:

China must change, but this is not the way to achieve the needed market access in China. More tariffs not only punish American consumers, manufacturers, and businesses of all sizes, they will also diminish the opportunity to negotiate with the Chinese and address longstanding trade issues.

If implemented, these tariffs will have both short- and long-term effects on the United States – from increased prices at the checkout counter to decreased leadership on the emerging technologies that will shape our future.”

The US Retail Industry Leaders Association also gave the tariffs the thumbs down.

It warned they would dive up the cost of more than $1bn worth of gas grills from China, $843m worth of luggage and travel bags, $825m worth of mattresses, and $1.9bn of vacuum cleaners.

Elsa Lignos of RBC Capital Markets believes Americans will soon feel the impact of Trump’s tariffs in the shops:

Market reaction was muted as the tariffs had been widely telegraphed (and some cling to hope that the delay of 25% tariffs until January will mean more time for negotiation and reconciliation post midterms – an idea we think is unlikely).

We have now reached a level of affected imports where it will necessarily start to impact consumer prices.

A pressure gauge sits on pipework near an oil pumping unit.

The oil price, which is often a good barometer for growth prospects, has dipped since the US tariffs were announced.

Brent crude has fallen to $77.78 per barrel, down 0.35% today.

Wang Xiao, head of crude research at Guotai Junan Futures, blamed the US-China trade war:

The growing trade dispute has hurt trading sentiment. The impact on economic growth is slowly dripping in, which again hurts oil prices,”

Somewhat surprisingly, China’s stock market has actually risen since Donald Trump escalated the trade war.

The benchmark Shanghai composite index has jumped by 1.7% today, having slumped to a four-year low on Monday.

There is speculation that Beijing could boost its stimulus programme to support the economy through the trade war, which could boost corporate profits.

Traders are also relieved that these new tariffs will start at 10%, not at the 25% level floated by Trump recently. And frankly, they may simply be pleased that the uncertainty is over; these tariffs were first floated in July…..

China: Trump has poisoned trade talks

A senior Chinese regulator has accused Donald Trump of creating a toxic atmosphere that could undermine efforts to reach a trade pact.

Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of China’s securities regulator, also claimed that China wouldn’t cave in to these latest tariffs.

Speaking at the port city of Tianjin, Fang criticised Trump’s negotiating strategy, saying:

“President Trump is a hard-hitting businessman, and he tries to put pressure on China so he can get concessions from our negotiations. I think that kind of tactic is not going to work with China.”

Fang added he hopes the two sides can sit down and talk, but warned that the latest U.S. move has “poisoned” the atmosphere, Reuters reports.

The agenda: Trump escalates the trade war

U.S. President Donald Trump delivering a speech in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, in November 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump delivering a speech in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, in November 2017. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

The trade war between America and China has escalated, fuelling fears that the global economy could be dragged down.

Overnight, president Donald Trump announced a new 10% tariff of $200bn on Chinese goods arriving in the US from next week. It will rise to 25% at the end of the year.

It’s the latest move in Trump’s push against “unfair” trade policies, which economists fear will prove counterproductive.

Trump hit out at China last night as he announced the move, saying:

“For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies. We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly.

But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices.”

And in a typical Trumpian flourish, he added:

“I urge China’s leaders to take swift action to end their country’s unfair trade practices. Hopefully, this trade situation will be resolved, in the end, by myself and President Xi of China, for whom I have great respect and affection.”

Thousands of Chinese products will now be more expensive in America, from fish, meat and vegetables to chemicals, furniture, metals and electric goods.

This will cut demand for these products (hurting the Chinese economy), and also probably drive up prices in US shops (hurting Americans).

The move will disappoint the City, where traders had been clinging to hopes of a peace deal. Instead, we are now awaiting China’s retaliation.

Trump’s move means that America will now have tariffs on roughly half of its imports from China (which totalled over $500bn last year). China only imports around $130bn from America, meaning it can’t simply announce a tit-for-tat retaliation.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will hold a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday morning to discuss the government’s response. China could decide to pull out of planned trade talks in Washington next week, if it feels Trump isn’t showing sufficient goodwill.

The agenda

8.15am BST: European Central Bank president Mario Draghi speaks in Paris

Updated © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Haryana has become a crime hub under BJP Government, CM Khattar must resign: Surjewala

Rajesh Ahuja


Demanding resignation of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, senior Congress leader and Congress Party Core Committee Member, Randeep Singh Surjewala asserted that the “insensitive and arrogant Khattar Government has totally failed to control crimes against the daughters of Haryana and he has no right to continue even for a day as the CM.”
Launching a scathing attack, Mr. Surjewala said that the high-headed attitude of Mr.Khattar on the CBSE topper’s gang-rape case in Rewari reflects his anti-people and anti-women mindset. The Chief Minister got angry and insulted a journalist for asking a question on failure to arrest the culprits. It is shocking that despite the national concern and loud claims by the state police, all the culprits of the heinous crime are roaming free for four days, he added.
“Haryana has become a crime hub under Khattar regime as the official figures given in the recent state assembly session prove that crimes against women have increased by 47 per cent since BJP Government came to power”, Mr.Surjewala asserted. As many as 1,413 cases of rape were registered in various police stations between September 1, 2017 and September 2018 as compared to 1,193 cases between September 2016 and August 2017. The number of rape cases during the same period in 2014-15 and 2015-16 were 961 and 1,026 respectively, he further added.
Revealing a startling figure from National Crime Record Bureau(NCRB) data, Mr.Surjewala said that in 2016 Haryana Police filed charge sheets in only 56.2 per cent of cases, which is the second lowest among all the states and Union Territories of the country. Such an unprofessional attitude and ineffectiveness of the state police encourage the culprits as the national average of filing charge sheets is much higher at 78.1 per cent, he further added.
Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, Mr.Surjewala said, ”The truth is that the state government, which vows to save daughters has made the state to witness the most number of rapes and gang rapes”. NCRB figures for the year 2016 are only available as NCRB data for the years 2017 and 2018 have not been released but Haryana reported 1,090 murders, 1,189 rapes, 191 gang rapes and 4,019 kidnapping and abduction incidents in the year 2016, which is three murders, three rapes and 11 kidnappings and abductions on an average day. It is a matter of shame that Haryana has got the highest average of gang-rape cases in the country now, he further added.


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Food and Drinks

An adult guide to eating more greens – even if you hate them


Powered by article titled “An adult guide to eating more greens – even if you hate them” was written by Dale Berning Sawa, for The Guardian on Sunday 16th September 2018 18.30 Asia/Kolkata

One in 20 Britons have not eaten any green vegetables in the past month, according to a poll by Organic UK. That number increases to 68% in the past week. This phobia of lush greens could be damaging to our health. GPs around the western world draw a line from the beigeness of our communal plate to our collectively expanding girth – and its related ills. So how can you eat green vegetables even if you hate them? Perhaps, as with toddlers, the answer is to sneak them into delicious things. Here are six recipes for grownups to get more veg.


Spelt, beetroot and kidney bean veggie burger stuffed with tomatoes, onions, avocado
Not just for meat eaters … you can make a burger from most vegetables. Photograph: Dorling Kindersley: Jodi Moreno/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley

You can make a decent patty including just about any veg – the key is to chop them finely, squeeze out all moisture and get the meat to greens ratio right. To 500g minced beef or pork (or a mixture), add an onion, a carrot or a red pepper and a courgette or a handful of green leaves. Mix well with one egg, a tablespoon of Worcestershire or soy sauce, a pinch of salt, black pepper and some chilli or grated cheese, and shape into rounds. Then flatten in a hot, oiled pan to fry. Serve with the usual trimmings.


Hide vegetables in a sauce for pasta.
Add extra vegetables to a sauce for pasta. Photograph: Mandy Mazliah/Sneaky Veg

Tom Kerridge extols the virtues of serving bolognese on a pile of steamed courgetti. But you can get the same amount of greens in the sauce itself – to serve on actual spaghetti – withpicky eaters none the wiser. Do as Mandy Mazliah of the website SneakyVeg does and blitz a trayful of roast veg (an onion, some garlic, a courgette, an aubergine, a red pepper and a wedge of squash or a handful of greens, drizzled with olive oil and oregano, and baked for 45 minutes at 180C/350F/gas mark 4) with a tin of chopped tomatoes and as much water as you need to get a sauce. Meat eaters can add fried-up minced pork or beef to the mix. And the basic principle is easily translated into lasagne, too.

Courgette lemon drizzle cake

Lemon drizzle cake with candied citrus
Have your cake and eat it too. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

Carrots are not the only veg to go undetected in a good bake. Thomasina Miers folds 200g grated courgette with the same quantity of flour, 70g roasted and blitzed pistachios, a pinch of salt and the zest of two lemons into a beaten mixture of 170g olive oil, 250g caster sugar and two eggs. Bake in a lined loaf tin at 180C for just over an hour – or until a skewer comes out clean – poke all over and drizzle with a lemon juice syrup.

Kale chocolate muffins

chocolate muffins with kale.
Healthy … chocolate muffins with kale. Photograph: Mandy Mazliah/Sneaky Veg

Mandy Mazliah works similar magic with muffins: mix 50g of finely shredded kale, 60ml milk and two mashed bananas with 50ml oil into which you have beaten 100ml maple syrup, and fold into a sifted mix of 160g flour, 40g cocoa powder, a teaspoon each of baking powder and cinnamon, and half a teaspoon bicarb. Divide between 12 muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes at 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Veggie croquettes

Croquettes are an easy way to add veggies to your plate. Photograph: Karen Robinson for the Observer

Into a batch of mashed potato, mix an egg yolk, some grated cheese, salt, pepper and a handful of finely chopped veg –broccoli, carrot, green leaves, cauliflower – all blanched until tender. Shape into fingers or balls and chill. When firmed up, roll in flour, dip in beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs or sesame seeds, before frying in oil until golden. Serve with lettuce and mayo.

Green chocolate smoothie

The beauty of a good blender is that the resulting slush is undecipherable. To a cup of the milk of your choice, add a tablespoon each of cocoa, nut butter and honey (or a few pitted dates), a pinch of salt, a banana (an avocado will work well, too) and a handful of kale or spinach. Delicious. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Sport, Women

I’m glad I started a debate, says athlete who breastfed on ultra-marathon


Powered by article titled “I’m glad I started a debate, says athlete who breastfed on ultra-marathon” was written by Jamie Doward, for The Observer on Sunday 16th September 2018 13.29 Asia/Kolkata

It was the image that triggered a global debate about motherhood. A little under halfway through one of the world’s most gruelling races, the 105-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), Sophie Power, 36, was photographed at an aid station near the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur breastfeeding her three-month-old son, Cormac.

Within days, the image had gone viral and was picked up by newspapers from India to Indianapolis.

Now back at home in Islington, north London, giving her first interview to a newspaper, Power, who until last week did not even have an Instagram account, said she had been ill-prepared for the attention she was to receive on social media, but was pleased about the conversation she had started.

“It has highlighted something that women feel really unable to talk about. There is this huge mother’s guilt that all the time you need to be 100% focused on your baby, and I’m saying that by not focusing on your own physical and mental health you can’t be the best mother. For me, personally, I need to be physically fit and have those mental breaks. Women really struggle to be open about saying that.”

Sophie Power
Sophie Power: ‘We shouldn’t have to lose who we were before we were mothers. Men certainly don’t.’ Photograph: Alexis Berg/AFP/Getty

She said she had thought little of the photograph when it was taken. “In the picture, I’m just focused on feeding Cormac, pumping the milk. Probably a metre out of shot is my husband, John, trying to convince me to eat an avocado sandwich and going through my pack, changing over my head torch batteries, putting the food in there. Alexis [Berg, a photographer with the online running community Strava] asked if he could take the photo and we thought nothing of it. We thought it might make a small Strava story about women doing something a bit different during the race.”

Considering she has run almost 50 miles, Power, co-founder of a company that tackles inner-city air pollution, seems relatively composed in the picture – especially compared with the exhausted male runner lying flat out on his back next to her.

“I’d gone through the first night with no sleep, as a lot of runners had. But as a mother I was really prepared for that. In terms of sleep deprivation, I was probably the best trained person on the start line. I’d had 20 minutes’ sleep over two nights. But I was taking the race really gently. Some people racing UTMB were pushing themselves to the limit. I had to do the opposite. I was trying to keep a lot of food down for my milk supply. I was almost refreshed when I got there compared to a normal race.”

Before the UTMB, which she finished in just under 44 hours, Power had run several of the world’s most famous ultra races including the Marathon des Sables across the Sahara and the 153-mile, non-stop Spartathlon in Greece.

“I started running in 2009 pretty much from scratch. I’d never run more than a mile in my life when I signed up for the Marathon des Sables not really knowing what it was. I signed up to an ironman barely able to swim a length of a pool.”

To enter the UTMB, she needed to earn points by running other ultras. Power had a place in the 2015 UTMB but had to give it up because she was six months’ pregnant with her first son, Donnacha, now three.

In contrast with injured athletes, the UTMB does not allow women to defer their places if they become pregnant. In 2018, having bagged another place, Power faced a dilemma: run or spend years amassing more points.

“This would mean missing out. I never set out saying I had to finish the course. I just wanted to be in nature, to see how it goes.”

It was the thought of running the final metres through Chamonix with Donnacha that had kept her going through the race’s toughest stages. “I had to tell him to slow down, he was too fast, my legs were too tired. I picked up Cormac about 50 metres from the finish and crossed the line with both of them.”

While the photograph has been well received on social media, there has been a backlash. A Twitter poll by a runner’s magazine asking if readers thought Power’s actions were “gross, a little selfish” or “it’s her business” was taken down after readers complained.

Overall, though, Power feels her 15 minutes of fame have sent out a strong and unambiguous message.

“This picture has allowed women to say: ‘When we become mothers our self-identity doesn’t change.’ We shouldn’t have to lose who we were before we were mothers. Men certainly don’t. You see all these great pictures of dads crossing finishing lines with their babies. Why do we as a society see that as different for the mother?” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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India to break record for world’s largest statue … twice


Powered by article titled “India to break record for world’s largest statue … twice” was written by Michael Safi, for The Guardian on Friday 14th September 2018 13.16 Asia/Kolkata

India says it will unveil the world’s largest statue next month, depicting the independence leader Sardar Patel.

However, the reign of the 182-metre structure as record holder could be short-lived, with work due to begin on an even larger statue of a Hindu king off the coast of Mumbai.

The two statues have strong resonance for the Hindu nationalist movement, which has been on the rise in India, and will cost a total of nearly £700m to build.

The Gujarat state chief minister, Vijay Rupani, confirmed the Sardar Patel statue, located about 125 miles (200km) south-east of the state’s commercial capital, Ahmedabad, would be unveiled on 31 October.

The 29.8bn rupee (£314m) Statue of Unity, which Rupani said is being built with iron, water and soil collected from across India, will be about twice the size of New York’s Statue of Liberty.

The planned height of the Mumbai structure, depicting the 17th-century Marathi ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, was increased this year. Officials made the change after they learned China had raised the height of the Spring Temple Buddha, which is currently the world’s largest statue at 128 metres, not including its base.

“It prompted us to revise our design and increase the height to 212 metres,” the Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, said.

Tall statues

The Patel statue was commissioned by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, when he was Gujarat’s leader in 2013.

Hindu nationalists have adopted Patel, who was born Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, as an icon. The “iron man of India” is revered for persuading, sometimes with threats of force, the more than 550 princely states that existed in the country during the colonial era to join the Indian union.

Modi has lamented that Patel was passed over for the role of prime minister after independence – he was the deputy to Jawaharlal Nehru. Modi claimes – wrongly, according to historians – that the disputed region of Kashmir would have been fully Indian had Patel become leader.

Historians say the reverence for Patel is an attempt to sideline Nehru, the proponent of a secular India which is at odds with the religious nationalists’ vision of a Hindu rashtra, or nation.

“They’ve been trying to appropriate Patel for years, because they don’t really have a position in the freedom movement themselves,” said Anirudh Deshpande, an associate professor of history at Delhi University.

The Shivaji statue is scheduled to be completed around 2021 at an estimated cost of nearly £380m.

Shivaji, shown in the statue on a horse with his sword drawn, fought wars against Muslim Mughals and other Indian and foreign rulers for years to establish his own kingdom on the Arabian sea.

A computer-generated image of the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue.
A computer-generated image of the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue. Photograph: Egis

Since his death in 1680 he has become a symbol of Hindu sovereignty and resistance to Muslim rule. However, many historians argue medieval Indians had a nuanced understanding of religious difference and did not relate to each other as monolithic Hindu or Muslim groups.

According to a security proposal submitted to the city authorities, the statue will stand on an island about 2,000 metres out to sea that will be patrolled by speedboats and ringed by a 14-metre fortified wall.

A complex attached to the structure will house a museum, food court, art gallery, viewing deck, amphitheatre and helipad.

The proposal has upset fishermen, who say the 6.8ha of land that needs to be reclaimed to build the statue will damage the environment. Residents have also questioned why, in a city of striking poverty and underfunded hospitals and schools, so much money is being spent on the structure.

“This is taxpayers’ money and I am sure we would all like this money to be spent on something better like education, infrastructure, and food,” said an online petition by a Mumbai journalist Krishma Upadhyay opposed to the project. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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England v India: fifth Test, day three – live!


Powered by article titled “England v India: fifth Test, day three – live!” was written by Adam Collins (at The Oval) Tanya Aldred (earlier), for on Sunday 9th September 2018 21.08 Asia/Kolkata

17th over: England 32-1 (Cook 13, Moeen Ali 5) Cook has to find a way to get out of this Shami shift or he won’t be adding to his 13 runs. His outstanding spell, running away from us at the Vauxhall End, includes two further deliveries that Cook plays out without making contact outside the off-stump. Granted, the second of those he could have let go comfortably but that’s the nature of the pressure that Shami is building.

“Jennings might start the series in Sri Lanka (even though I would drop him without hesitation) but England surely have to take a genuine third opener and not rely on Mo or Vince to do it once Jennings fails once more,” says Kevin Wilson “With a few Championship games to go, someone could really sneak in at the last moment.”

True. Burns is a certain starter, it would seem. But there is a bit of a race to the finish line for other openers around the country. A couple of big hits and they get to visit Kandy, which is one of my favourite places in the world. Incentive enough.

16th over: England 32-1 (Cook 13, Moeen Ali 5) Jas Bumrah’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble / Hey-la-day-la Jas Bumrah’s back. On theme, no? Moeen does a good job defending his first over back as the big quick works into the fresh spell. Maiden.

15th over: England 32-1 (Cook 13, Moeen Ali 5) Shami to Cook remains compelling viewing. By my count, he went by the champion’s outside edge six times before tea – as you do. And sure enough, he’s at it again this time around with a ball that Cook simply had to play at. The good news is that when Cook is getting bat on ball, it is hitting the middle.

“A bit unlikely, Boris Johnson actually singing the national anthem as if he meant it, when he’d want it to be something like God Save Me,” quips John Starbuck. “I understand Graeme Swann will be giving us his samba in a couple of weeks, providing analysts with a lot of data about using his feet properly. We already know he has some affinity for dance and music, being not only a famous Sprinkle Dancer, but also posing as Dr Comfort & the Lurid Revelations.”

My girlfriend had to school me on the finer points of Strictly last night as I’ve never watched it. My view on this, of course, means absolutely nothing. But does anyone who knows the programme have a feel for whether he’s going to run the table and win it?

14th over: England 32-1 (Cook 13, Moeen Ali 5) Moeen is away with a lovely sweep off Jadeja, nailing the timing. But he plays and misses his finger-spinning counterpart later in the set when giving the ball is given a fraction more air. Yep, this should be a good old stoush.

“My Shakira-fan wife approves of the Shakira references so far during this afternoon’s commentary,” begins Edmund King, “but suggests there are songs other than “Hips Don’t Lie” that we could use to serenade Cook’s particular batting genius. How about “Cut Me Deep,” which is clearly about all the runs Cook has scored over the years in the backward point area? And then there’s “23,” Shakira’s ode to Keaton Jennings’s test batting average.”

After that dismissal, Janice Ian might have the song closer aligned to KJ’s average.

13th over: England 27-1 (Cook 13, Moeen Ali 0) Andrew Samson tells us on TMS that Jennings concludes the series with 163 runs at 18.1. He’ll still get a gig in Sri Lanka – I can’t see them starting with two new openers – but he will arrive under immediate pressure.

WICKET! Jennings b Shami 10 (England 27-1)

Bowled not offering a shot! It has came back a mile but it doesn’t make it any better to look at on replay. The second time in as many Tests that Jennings has been dismissed shouldering arms. Shami, at long last, is into the book.

Jennings is bowled out.
Jennings is bowled out. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


IS COOK LBW? A carbon copy of the previous over, in that, Jadeja was turned down and convinced Vohli to push the button. And once again, IT IS NOT OUT! Ball tracking confirms that contact was made outside the line, just as it was last time. India, thanks to Jadeja, have burned both of their referrals in the space of six balls. Madness.

12th over: England 27-0 (Cook 13, Jennings 10) Cook defended the first five balls with a degree of ease, patting the spinner on the head out to cover time and again. The unsuccessful lbw shout came when he tried to cut off the back foot, but as the technology confirmed, he was quite right to do so.


11th over: England 27-0 (Cook 13, Jennings 10) Keaton’s turn to deal with Shami, which will be cool with Cook. And goodness me he’s done it again, this time beating Jennings with yet another beauty. It juuuust misses the off-stump after passing his blade, doing so much that it also gets through Pant’s gloves too. Four byes. Too good.

10th over: England 23-0 (Cook 13, Jennings 10) The usual OBO caveat for when Jadeja is operating: these will be brief updates as there isn’t a bowler in the game who gets through their overs quicker. Jennings gets the sweep straight back out again after it nearly brought him undone earlier in the set, connecting well to pick up two runs. He then keeps the strike from the final ball, carving a single to point.

IS JENNINGS OUT LBW? Second ball back after tea, Jadeja is convinced he has him! It has been given not out on the field they have gone upstairs. Stand by… NOT OUT! The ball was spinning back a long way, hitting the left-hander when missing his sweep, but it it made contact with his pad well outside the line of the off-stump. All told, a poor review.

Sandwich devoured, ready to go! Not quite Obamaesque as far as slogans go, but it’ll do ahead of this final session as the players return to the field. A reminder that Cook is seven runs away from having 12,345 in his career, which I’ll probably make quite a big deal of if/when it happens.

“Not sure if the the adagietto from Mahler’s 5th symphony was used in Gallipoli,” begins Pete Wood, “but it was famously used in Visconti’s dreadful overblown, Death in Venice. A film, which from memory, chiefly consisted of an elderly man sitting for hours at a time watching young men besports themselves, much like many of the members of the Oval cricket ground at present. The symphony begins in C minor, befitting, perhaps, the Chef’s final repast.”

You’ve been storing that up for a while, I suspect? On music, I caught the finale of The Proms on telly last night after Swanny did his thing on Strictly. Not having lived here for that many years, it was my first experience of it. All I could think of was Boris Johnson at home after his big day at the cricket, sitting on his couch in his pants singing along. Maybe a bit emotional during God Save the Queen? Welcome to my brain.

Tea! England lead by 60 runs.

9th over: England 20-0 (Cook 13, Jennings 7) Shami gets the ball in his hand at 3:39pm, so the plan has worked. And boy, it nearly worked big time with Cook beaten three times on the bounce from balls directed in at him from round the wicket before jagging away wildly off the seam. It’s truly outstanding fast bowling from a man who, somehow, is yet to claim a wicket in this Test Match. Cook gets the middle of his bat on the final delivery before the break, the crowd applauding as one. That’s tea! I’ll be back shortly.

8th over: England 18-0 (Cook 12, Jennings 6) While I was tending to your emails, Ravi Jadeja came on and raced through one of his 45-second specials in order to get Shami another chance to bowl another before tea. That’s clever captaincy from Kohli. Both batsmen picked up singles to midwicket along the way.

7th over: England 16-0 (Cook 11, Jennings 5) Shami is getting a chance with the newish ball from the Vauxhall End, for good reason given the way he bowled in the first innings. And he beats Cook immediately! It’s the first of three times in the over where the ball passes the veteran’s outside edge, with an enthusiastic leg before appeal in there as well – only turned down on height, by the looks. Between times, though, Cook drove a couple to cover before playing that famous tuck again, timed with ease to the boundary to move him into double figures. [WM Lawry] It is all happening. [/WM Lawry]

Think this is the Gallipoli music,” replies Brian Withington. “Also unbearably moving.”

‘What are your legs? Steel springs.’

“Brian Withington’s choice of exit music is surely far too morose,” adds Fraser Padmore. “I prefer to imagine Chef walking off (after a 200) into a setting South London sun to the gibberish music at the end of Gladiator, begloved hand brushing golden ears of barley. Presumably off his hips.”

Hips don’t lie. And yes, that is the second time I’ve worked that into the OBO this weekend, for the Shakira statisticians out there.

5th over: England 6-0 (Cook 4, Jennings 2) Jennings takes a singlewide of mid-off – the first runs off Bumrah today. But it is Cook the crowd are here to see and they respond in style when he gets off the mark with a shot we’ve seen him play a thousand times before: the clip through square leg for four. It races away too, beautifully timed.

“Why is it that bowlers are not alternated from one end during a session?” asks Mark Slater, noting that he has also been pushing for ‘keeper rotation session to session in this series. “I would suggest that, say, Anderson and Broad may be used in rotation at one end for their second spell – the ball will still be relatively hard – with perhaps the 5th bowler such as Ali operating at the other end. The quicker bowlers gets to rest for 3 overs, using sweaters to make sure they do not get cold, and then can put together a spell of 8 or more overs each, and the batsmen has to face a rotating attack of two different pacemen plus the guile of a spinner. Any thoughts?”

Only that with T20 cricket conditioning bowlers to operate for spells of one over routinely, I’m sure this sort of thing will becoming part of Test cricket soon enough.

“I would like Cookie to score 143 and end up with a total of 12,468… because it means getting a century!” Mark adds.

If he does, that will be his 33rd, taking him past Steve Waugh. But one thing at a time.

Cook gets his first four of the day.
Cook gets his first four of the day. Photograph: John Walton/PA

6th over: England 10-0 (Cook 5, Jennings 5) A nice clip from Jennings earns him three runs to start the new over, giving the strike back to Cook too. He’s in much better shape than in the previous over where he faced the bowler who has picked him up more than any other, defending with the middle of the bat then leaving confidently. Into the covers, he collects a single from the final ball.

4th over: England 1-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 1) In the air off Cook’s edge but not to hand! Ishant draws the false stroke, landing where a conventional gully would be if they were in position, Michael Vaughan says on TMS. With backward point doing the tidying up, he’s not able to get off the mark from it either. Earlier in the over Ishant beat the outside edge with a ball that hooped a long way from the left-hander from round the wicket. We’ve said it all series but how wonderful have these Indian seamers been? If England do get up here to win the series 4-1 it won’t do these visiting bowlers any justice.

3rd over: England 1-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 1) Bumrah gets his first chance at Jennings, a man he has dismissed plenty of times in this series. It’s a good contest from the get-go, the opener getting into position to play before leaving late by pulling inside the line on a couple of occasions. Lovely shape from the Indian attack-leader.

“Hankies at the ready,” emails Brian Withington. “Cue Barber’s Adagio for Strings (or the fourth movement from Mahler’s 5th). Very slowly.” I don’t have time to check this, but is that the piece from the final scene in Gallipoli?

2nd over: England 1-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 1) Cook is also within striking distance of Kumar Sangakkara, requiring 75 runs to overtake his career tally. All of this is not to forget Jennings, for whom this is a big afternoon as well. I think it is safe to assume that he is on the plane to Sri Lanka regardless, but what he would give for a meaningful contribution in the final innings of the summer. But he’s nearly edging the first ball with a nervous waft at a ball he did not need to have anything to do with from Ishant Sharma. With that out of the way, he deals competently with the rest, turning a single behind square to open his, and England’s, account.

1st over: England 0-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 0) He’s struck on the pad first ball! Half an appeal from the cordon but Bumrah isn’t interested. Blimey – imagine that? Cook deals with the rest in the usual way, defending then leaving with calm. He’s squared up by a good’un but plays with nice, soft hands. Take a breath, everyone.

No guard of honour. But wow, what an ovation from the crowd, lasting at least two minutes before the game can resume. A beautiful moment. Kohli shakes his hand. Cook is on strike, Bumrah has the ball. PLAY!

Cook walks out for their second innings.
Cook walks out for their second innings. Photograph: John Walton/PA


Pass the tissues? Cook will get himself another guard of honour, and rightly so. Ricky Ponting, if I recall correctly, had four in his final Test Match in 2012: on the way to, then way back from the middle in both innings. I looked at some of his numbers during the first session, which reinforced to me just how much he should finish with a 45+ average. To do so, the champion requires 50 in this final innings of his career. That’d be nice.

INDIA ALL-OUT 292! WICKET! Bumrah run out (Broad/Bairstow) 0.

At last, it is over. They had to go for the quick single being the last delivery of the Moeen Ali over but Bumrah never stood a chance. Broad’s throw to Bairstow had him short by about two feet. Alastair Cook sprints off the ground to pad up for England one last time.

94th over: India 292-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 86) Thank you, Tanya. Great stint. Hello from The Oval. Isn’t this fun? Perhaps not for Root and co, but I can tell you that the England fans sitting around our outside press box tribune are enjoying the contest as much as the Indian devotees. Well, nearly as much. But there really is something about the strike-milking/smashing process that brings people together at the end of an innings. It is Broad now from the Pavilion End in an effort to knock over Bumrah, who has the strike. The no. 11 gets himself in a tangle halfway through the over, hit on the pad with the ball landing at short leg, Broad appealing for both. They elect not to use a review and Bumrah plays a most competent forward defensive to finish the job.

93rd over: India 292-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 86) Root fiddles incessantly about with his field, infant-puppeteer, as Moeen floats the ball up and Jadeja potters it down. Some rip for Moeen with the fifth ball. And, at last, England prevent India taking the single from the last ball. And that, my friends is drinks, and Adam Collins will take you through the remainder of this Indian innings and the rest of the day. Thank you so much for all your emails and tweets, bye!


92nd over: India 292-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 86) Root turns to Rashid. Jadeja obediently pats the first four balls back. They scamper a single to the fifth, which Anderson fumbles at short mid-wicket. A huge cheer as Bumrah gets down the wicket, bats down the last ball like a spade patting down a sandcastle.

91st over: India 290-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 85) England’s wheels temporarily come a bit loose as Jadeja out-foxes them again. A couple down to long-on, a four down to mid-wicket and with the sixth ball of the over Anderson digs in a short one and Jadeja turns it off his ribs … and they run the single. Jadeja 1, England 0.

90th over: India 282-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 76) Superb play here by Jadeja. Broad digs one in short and Jadeja hooks behind square, like a rocket, for four. Again they get a single from the last ball. The deficit is now down to fifty.

I’ve just realised that I failed to mention that Bumrah was dropped by Keaton Jennings at silly point off his first ball( off Rashid) when the score was 260/9.

89th over: India 275-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 71) This time Anderson has the new ball. Jadeja steps forward hardly at all, swings the bat with elbow high and lifts Anderson back over his head and into the crowd for six. Root flaps about a bit from slip and brings the field in. Jadeja then nudges the ball down and they run a single from the last ball. This Indian innings is mirroring England’s. They trail by 57.

88th over: India 268-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 64) England take the new ball and Broad charges in. Short one, short one, short one, full one, short one (that Bumrah evades inelegantly, but with a smile), leave!

87th over: India 268-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 64) Anderson is back but the new ball isn’t taken. Jadeja drives, so, so crisply, for two. And that’s a classy bit of Anderson wind-up by Jadeja to the last ball of the over. He edges, with deliberation, past first slip and down to the boundary for four. India now trail by 64.

Steve Hudson has had a good lunch: “Jadeja always seems to cause England problems. Jadeja vu, you might say.” Bo-Booom!

86th over: India 260-9 (Bumrah 0, Jadeja 51) That wicket came from a loose Rashid over, Jadeja had beautifully dispatched a long-hop for four and all Shami had to do was defend for two balls.


Shami c Broad b Rashid 1

A heave by Shami is well caught by a tumbling Broad at long-on . That was a bit daft.

85th over: India 254-8 (Shami 1, Jadeja 51) A punch through cover point off Ali and that’s Jadeja’s fifty – and the drum majorette’s twirl comes out alongside a huge grin. His ninth Test fifty, 113 balls, seven fours. He’s a smashing little batsman.

Jadeja and India fight back.
Jadeja and India fight back. Photograph: Alex Davidson/REX/Shutterstock


84th over: India 250-8 (Shami 0, Jadeja 47) Rashid continues and Shami defends.

Patrick Phillips was listening to Ed Smith. “I heard his interview on TMS. Seems to suggest that cricket is a team game and that players must fit in. Should they ? A team game ? That old chestnut. Is it really ? Just one bowler bowling at one batsman. The others can scarcely influence that duel. I prefer watching the best batsmen and there best bowlers not just the nicest chaps.”

I’m not sure Patrick. I don’t think that Ed was always the most popular on the county circuit (though personally I’ve always found him kind) so it would be strange if he put popularity over skill.

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83rd over: India 249-8 (Shami 0, Jadeja 43) Jadeja had just survived an appeal for lbw, before Sharma pushed forward at one too many, and another wicket falls into the pocket of Moeen Ali, who now has 2-46.


WICKET! Sharma c Bairstow b Ali 4

A fractional edge from the thrust-forward bat goes through to the helmeted Bairstow.

82nd over: India 246-7 (Sharma 4, Jadeja 43) Sharma sticks his huge ham of a foot down the pitch and sweeps Rashid for one.

I don’t think you’ll have to wait long.

81st over: India 244-7 (Sharma 3, Jadeja 42) And England don’t take it, Moeen continues. Ah Jadeja’s got his cap on – I’m going to come over all wistful and 1980s. A squeezed outside edge to Moeen’s last ball squeaks through to the slips.

80th over: India 241-7 (Sharma 1, Jadeja 41) Rashid bowls an uneventful first over after lunch, a leg-bye comes from it, and the second new ball becomes available.



Gary Naylor is puzzled

-they need to watch some county cricket! Wickets-a-kimbo this year.

While Matt Burleigh points out that neither team has scored more than 400 in the hottest summer since 1976. “Except they didn’t schedule any tests during it.”

Ha! Though I think Lord’s was during the hot spell? Wasn’t it?

Ian Forth isn’t convinced by Ed Smith: “I’ve noticed people say “That’s a very good question” to play for time when they don’t have an answer. While the questioner is feeling smug, they haven’t noticed that their very good question didn’t actually get answered.”

Ian, that’s a very good point.

Re On a Ragga Tip: Tom/Tony – I feel a bit out of my depth here – can I leave you to fight it out between yourselves?

Ed Smith on TMS. He’s good on the radio, whatever you think of him, you have to give him that. Flatters his interviewer “that’s a very good question Aggers”, throws some crumbs to the purists, points out how much county cricket he is watching (I’ve seen him twice on the county circuit this year – at Old Trafford and Guildford – and he said how much he’d seen on his ipad. Is that as good as watching live? Probably?)

And this is what he said on Jos Buttler.

“I stuck my neck out and there were serveral parts to it. To me he is one of Englnd’s best cricketers, and everything that has happend this summer it is no surprise to me. I had a very high degree of confidence in him in a cricketer. I could see that not only did he have the capacity to learn but he was developing at a very very fast rate…. I was certain that he should be in the Test team.”

Interestingly, he had no say on Moeen batting at three.

Lunch Well, that was probably a session for the purists. Just a handful of runs squeezed off the bat as the Indian batsmen first saw off some clinical opening overs from Broad and Anderson, then nurdled, nudged and sometime cut and drove their way to reducing the deficit. Will we remember this maiden fifty of Vihari in our dotage? The figures suggest yes, and his temperament seems well suited. There was one drive, in particular, clipped and angular, which ticked every box that a box-ticker might tick. Jadeja was ever-present, and dangerous. Time for a quick sandwich, no crumble here, alas, see you in half an hour.

79th over: India 240-7 (Sharma 1, Jadeja 41) Moeen, who favours the baggy trouser and top combo, which tumbles in the breeze, wheels in, with four close fielders surrounding Sharma, Jennings practically up his nose at silly-mid off. And that’s lunch. A tight little session, 66 runs, one wicket.

78th over: India 238-7 (Sharma 0, Jadeja 40) Bairstow appeals for a catch behind as Sharma prods forwards to the Rashid leg-break, but no-one else, player or umpire, looks remotely interested. Jaedja crouches on the ground for some (strategic?) cramp.

Meanwhile, Brian Withington has his head in his hands. “Hi Tanya

“Good to see my brother unfurling another from his bounteous (bottomless?) store of Hornchurch Athletic anecdotes (69th over). Just don’t let him get started on craft gins and cheeky bourbons.”

Does he do motorways of the British Isles too?

77th over: India 237-7 (Sharma 0, Jadeja 39) A super little innings from young Vihari, who plunged throught the early thicket to emerge into the sunny uplands. And Ali does it again!

Wicket! Vihari c Bairstow b Ali 56

OOOh Vihari immediately reviews and it’s a tricky one – the ball hits the bat, the same time bat hits the pad – and the third umpire goes with the on-field decision. An important break through for England in their quest for first-innings dominance.

Ali of England celebrates taking the wicket of Vihari.
Ali of England celebrates taking the wicket of Vihari. Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock


76th over: India 234-6 (Vihari 56, Jadeja 36) Root turns to Curran who bustles in, high shoulders, short arms, but doesn’t immediately give the batsmen too much to worry about. They squirt a few runs and the deficit is down to less than a hundred.

75th over: India 231-6 (Vihari 55, Jadeja 34) Stokes puts everything into the last ball of the over, it rises, higher, higher, and Vihari bends and attempts to flick rather magestically. He misses, but it was still good to watch.

Tony Howard is thinking musically

74th over: India 230-6 (Vihari 55, Jadeja 33) Moeen’s second over. Jadeja steps to the side and cuts crisply for a single. Keaton Jennings, with the air of the ever-willing head boy, dons the helmet and crouches in at silly point. But the two short fielders don’t vex Vihari, who sweeps long, down to the boundary.

73rd over: India 224-6 (Vihari 50, Jadeja 32) Stokes delivers up an apple pie of a delivery, short(crust) and fat, and Jadeja cuts it for four. He then tries a bouncer which Jadeja swerves with impressive flexibility.

Robert Wilson is in despair over Rashid.

“64th over – ‘’He starts with his trademark googly’’. Rashid breaks my heart. That trademark googly is a fine one but it is utterly wasted on him. You don’t start with it. I’ve banged on about this forever but a great googly is the set-up for the dozens and dozens of wickets you get with the straight one (or the shooter, slider or strange quark of leggie fame). You build whole bowling sessions around a batter anticipating and dreading the googly and you accompany it with a mountain of bullshit, conning, double-talk and grifter’s patter. Warne was legendary at all that mystery-ball piffle (the zipper, the backer, the League of Nations). And it won him shedloads of neurotic and credulous scalps. Rashid’s goodly is an absolute gem. And he has no idea what to do with it. (Sob.)“

Robert, Robert. There is still time. But perhaps Rashid could be given a slice of guile for lunch.


72nd over: India 220-6 (Vihari 50, Jadeja 28)

71st over: India 220-6 (Vihari 50, Jadeja 28) And that’s a fifty on debut for young Vihari- congratulations! A nervy start, but he has grown in confidence with every minute at the crease. The batsmen punch gloves. It came off 159 minutes with 6 fours and 1 six. Is Root mulling over his decision not to review yesterday? Swings and roundabouts.

And a huge appeal off the last ball of Stokes’ over. The ball passes outside the edge of Jadeja’s bat . England look convinced and unanimously call for a review. But ultra-edge shows nothing at all, and air is visible to the naked eye between bat and ball. How strange. And England lose a referral.

70th over: India 219-6 (Vihari 49, Jadeja 28) Nothing much to report from that Rashid over, three runs and no threat. India have weathered the morning storm it seems.

69th over: India 216-6 (Vihari 46, Jadeja 28) Stokes complains about the ball, the umpires have a look and agree that it has gone out of shape. They pluck another from the box of tricks. And Vihari.. cover-drives him from four, elbow to knee, all right-angles of class. He moves to 46 and the new ball does nothing of any note.

John Withington is back, with kind words for Rob Key:

“Sorry to mix medias but I wanted to record my enjoyment of Rob Keys’ everyman style of commentating. Especially notable alongside Lord Gower. He just told a story about his mate “Nev” at Beckenham CC who was a great club man who’d volunteer for all the unpopular away games and field all day. Reminded me of similar ex players from my club days. One, let’s call him “Mark” got into the Sunday 2nds as a non bowling, non batting but, crucially, driving cricketer! Ferried bands of youngsters around Essex every weekend. Then a few years later, playing against a higher level club’s first XI he came striking out against us first wicket down. Proceeded to “drive” our bowlers all over the place, on the ground and in the air!”

I’m completely with you on Key – he’s great. Down to earth, yet knowledgeable. Friendly but not laddy.

68th over: India 210-6 (Vihari 41, Jadeja 27) Jadeja straight-bats a lowish full-toss from Rashid down the ground for a single, and they scamper a couple more and that’s the fifty partnership for the seventh wicket. Very well played by these two- careful, thoughtful and lucky – from 117 balls, 11 fours. It’s stopped the rot – can it do more? Young Vihari has a first-class triple century…

And for those who like that sort of thing, national selector Ed Smith will be on TMS this lunchtime.

67th over: India 207-6 (Vihari 39, Jadeja 26) Stokes replaces Anderson, and bowls a maiden, largely without incident.

66th over: India 207-6 (Vihari 39, Jadeja 26) Rashid continues, and Jadeja stretches and presses and sticks out his pad, largely untroubled. India trail by 125 and that’s drinks.

Kim Thonger has emergency advice for anyone contemplating stodgy puddings for Sunday lunch:

“Morning Tanya. I noticed discussion of crumble. Feel compelled to offer important health and safety advice. It is UNSAFE to eat this dessert without custard, cream AND ice-cream. I have solid scientific supporting evidence gathered over five decades.”

It’s cream for me Kim. Every time. Double cream. Lots of it. Custard is nice, but only served cold.

65th over: India 205-6 (Vihari 38, Jadeja 25) Anderson continues, and India remain watchful – still 128 runs in debt. A quick single goes to the sub-fielder, the magnificently named Fynn Hudson-Prentice.

Tom Bowtell has been thinking about Stuart Broad’s batting. – and in a good way.

“Have been meditating on Broad’s batting. That’s 2 Tests in a row that he’s dragged a first innings into the foothills of adequacy. I know he’s diminished from what he was, but he’s still a pretty decent number 10 – in fact, after yesterday, he’s the most prolific ever in that position:

The thing with Broad is that there is always the possibility, however unlikely, of fireworks.

64th over: India 204-6 (Vihari 38, Jadeja 24) And here, at over 63, comes Adil Rashid for his first over of the match. He starts with his trademark googly, on the money after all that grazing down on the boundary. A maiden, accurate, without threatening.

And the TMS link for overseas listeners: hope this helps, thanks Tom Morgan and James Simpson.

63rd over: India 204-6 (Vihari 38, Jadeja 24) Jadeja opens the face and eases Anderson down to the third-man boundary for four, and then again, next ball, edges past where fourth slip would be, followed by the batsman’s tell-tale panicked look behind him. Anderson effs and blinds his way back to his mark. Time for a change?

62nd over: India 196-6 (Vihari 38, Jadeja 16) Broad drifts wide and Vihari drives him beautifully, bottom-hand heavy, through the covers. Then four more, a soft-handed tinker, kind-of-controlled, between Stokes and Root at second and third slip, down to the boundary for four. A look of frustration passes Broad’s face. And in other news Mo Farah has won the Great North Run.

Mo Farah: Great North Run winner Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images for Nike

61st over: India 186-6 (Vihari 29, Jadeja 15) . Maiden, maiden another maiden. Jadeja leaves one from Anderson that brushes past his off stump. Then pokes again at one of a perfect length. This is stunning stuff from Anderson.

Some culinary thoughts from John Starbuck:Tanya, Blackberry and Apple crumble is indeed a traditional autumn dish for Britain, but there are pretty good alternatives too, like a Bakewell Pudding made with pears. Tasty.”

Mmmm, that does sound good. The only problem is Bakewell pudding is when it is over-eggy.

60th over: India 186-6 (Vihari 29, Jadeja 15) India patiently play this out, just a single off Broad’s over, one that wasn’t quite as potent this time. India are scoring at the rate of 1.33 this session – but they get a 10 for discipline.

I’ve had a couple of people asking me for the overseas TMS link, which I’m struggling to find myself. Have any readers please got it?

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59th over: India 185-6 (Vihari 29, Jadeja 14) Vihari gets a thick outside edge from Anderson, which falls short of Ben Stokes at third slip – perhaps he could nudge forward a littler there? And that’s another maiden. A complete test of Vihari’s fortitude here, which he is riding so far with a mix of lady luck and concentration. And a good luck message comes through to him on twitter, from Chris Drew.

58th over: India 185-6 (Vihari 29, Jadeja 14) Broad starts the over with a big booming inswinger which is carefully defended by Vihari and ball continues to have complete mastery over bat.

Brian Withington is feeling fruitfully wistful. “Can it really be the end of another summer? An early autumnal feel to proceedings at the Oval, interspersed with a soupçon of wistful, milky sunshine. Not sure I have sufficient emotional fortitude to cope with Jimmy surpassing Glenn McGrath and a farewell to arms swansong hundred from Alastair on the same day. Maybe there’s still time for an Indian summer revival, or Martinmas as Thomas Hardy would say?”

Brian, may I prescribe some blackberry and apple crumble? A brisk afternoon walk and perhaps a bonfire?

57th over: India 184-6 (Vihari 28, Jadeja 14) Ooooh, Jadeja leaves one from Anderson that jags back into him and just skims the top of middle stump. Anderson is finding swing, both ways, bounce and carry. India poke and poke and poke and hope. Surely they can’t survive much more of this?

56th over: India 183-6 (Vihari 27, Jadeja 14) Broad beats the bat again and again, with an edge falling short of Stokes at third slip. Then, ah, relief at last for Jadeja, a charming flick off the legs for four off the last ball of the over as Broad drifts a little south of leg stump.

55th over: India 178-6 (Vihari 26, Jadeja 10) Another maiden from Anderson – though not as accurate as the last, the left-handed Jadeja content to leave five of the six to their own devises.

And some thoughts from Jamie Gordon in Woking.

“Morning Tanya”! Morning Jamie and morning Woking, home of the Bedser statues, split between two sides of the main road, statues one side, bronze ball plonked the other side of the road on the Council building. It’s worth a look honestly. Anyway…

“We are odds on to beat the number one test side in the world 4-1. And yet England will leave me with a sense of unease at the end of this series. Am I being a miserabist, or is it the fact that we have problems at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, we have no world class spinner, and our a seam attack is based on two old war-horses who cannot be relied on for much longer? Or is it the effect of seeing Swanny in sequins last night?”

54th over: India 177-6 (Vihari 26, Jadeja 10) Phew, this is truly a Test for the Indian batsmen. Overcast conditions, a dancing ball from Broad too. A leg-bye nudged down to fine leg gives Jadeja temporary relief.

And some news from to tweed pocket of chief selector Ed Smith, who’d like to utilise the brain of Cook post-retirement. “ He’s a calm, balanced and fair person,” says Smith, who fancies Cook bending his ear next year.

53rd over: India 177-6 (Vihari 26, Jadeja 10) James Anderson on the money straight away, in pursuit of the three wickets he needs to pass Glenn McGrath. The ball swings away in various degrees, Vihari gropes till the last ball, an inswinger, which further befuddles him. A maiden.A beauty.

52nd over: India 177-6 (Vihari 26, Jadeja 10) A gusty wind is ruffling the shirts of the three slips, as Stuart Broad starts the first over. Young debutant Vihari nudges him off his hip for a quick single, then they scamper through for a couple more past Jennings at backward point. A handy snifter from Broad gives Jadeja a morning wake-up.


The players walk out and we begin…

On Sky they’re peering at the pitch, which looks pretty dry. Nasser has spoken. “The rough is a little bit wider compared to the Ageas Bowl.” The breeze is wrong too for Moeen. And there’s praise for Joe Root’s captaincy, for holding back James Anderson till the end of the innings, when the Duke ball began to swing.

Another stat, this time from Andrew Sampson on TMS, to tickle your fancy on a Sunday morning . “If Cook makes 20 in his final innings, he’ll finish with 12345 runs.”


Cracking little stat from Ali (but don’t show Jimmy Anderson.)

Jimmy Anderson was fined 15 percent of his match fee yesterday over his petulance over the Kohli lbw. Plus a naughty boy demerit point. It was an anomaly in what has otherwise been a remarkably good-natured series. The cross-cultural mixing in the IPL is a wonderful thing.

This is lovely, from Ali Martin on Cook:


Hello and welcome back to day three of the last Test of the summer. Sniff the air – there’s change afoot. Alastair Cook montages dominate the television, leaves drop, and sequins sparkle from Graeme Swann’s jumpsuit. (Did you watch it last night? Can’t believe the lucky thing got the best female dancer of the lot, the awesome Oti Mabuse.)

Swanning around: Graeme Swann and his Strictly dance partner Oti Mabuse Photograph: BBC/Guy Levy/PA

But over to The Oval, where England are on top, with only India’s brittle late-order between them and a sizeable first-innings lead – it is 158 at the moment. And today we will see Cook embark on his final Test innings – a hundred would be so nice…. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Serena Williams burns the house down as Naomi Osaka’s brilliance is forgotten


Powered by article titled “Serena Williams burns the house down as Naomi Osaka’s brilliance is forgotten” was written by Bryan Armen Graham at Flushing Meadows, for on Sunday 9th September 2018 17.58 Asia/Kolkata

The venerable boxing trainer Cus D’Amato used to say that emotion, particularly fear, is like fire. If you make it work for you, then it can cook your food, keep you warm and give you light in the dark. But if you let it go out of control, it can burn your house down.

Only Serena Williams herself knows whether her shocking meltdown at the end of the most controversial US Open final ever staged – in which she was beaten by the brilliant 20-year-old Naomi Osaka – was down to a surrender to emotion or, as she framed it in the chaotic aftermath, an impassioned stand against sexism. But what, to one of the sport’s fiercest and most unsparing competitors, could be scarier than being outplayed by a young lion who appeared more athletic, who was serving faster and returning everything fired her direction with metronomic consistency? What could be more unsettling for Williams, who turns 37 this month, than watching another opportunity to tie Margaret Court’s record for grand slam titles slipping from her grasp when there’s no telling how many more chances lie ahead?

Williams simply didn’t have answers on Saturday afternoon for the demands put forth by Osaka. At once the feelgood vibe of Serena’s much-publicized comeback following the birth of her daughter, celebrated in lucrative ad campaigns and a glossy five-part documentary series, felt like it was crashing down around her. It’s one thing to have the end of your career in sight, but perhaps Williams felt like her time was passing right in that moment.

Then one harsh call and boom.

The regrettable denouement of Saturday’s match is a Rorschach test for tennis fans: some think Williams was the victim of a gross injustice from an overzealous umpire while others believe her response was conduct unbecoming of a professional. The one thing everyone can agree on is that officials intruding in this way is unwanted, even if chair umpire Carlos Ramos was correct under the rules in all three code violations that prompted Williams’ outburst: the first a warning for illegal coaching, the second a point penalty for racquet abuse, the third a game penalty for verbal abuse. What’s most unfortunate is that Williams either couldn’t or wouldn’t let it go. And not just for herself: it means that the day afterwards we are talking about Williams rather than just how brilliant Osaka was in victory.

If you’ve watched Osaka for any length of time over the last year or two, but especially over the last fortnight in Flushing Meadows, you knew that Saturday’s match had the chance to be special. The pressure on Williams as the favourite meant Osaka was playing with house money and could swing freely. Had she been beaten, there would have been no shame in losing to the greatest player of all time playing before a partisan crowd.

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The only question was whether a 20-year-old playing in her first grand-slam final could hold her nerve. It wasn’t long before it was obvious she could. Even after Osaka broke Williams in her second and third service games and cruised to the opening set, it was inevitable the American would make her trademark surge. It was far less clear whether it would be enough. The genius of Williams’s late-career renaissance is her knack to shift her level seemingly at will. If the serve is betraying her or a few loose points cost her an opening set, she’s proven time and again capable of elevating her game: flattening her groundstrokes, putting more on her serve.

But against Osaka it wasn’t clear if third gear would be enough – or if fourth is even there anymore. Maybe that’s where the fear creeps in. And maybe that’s where you look for a way out, not unlike her infamous loss to Kim Clijsters in the 2009 US Open where Williams was called for a foot fault serving at 4-6, 5-6. Her reaction, to threaten the lineswoman while on a code violation, expedited a finish that had taken on a sense of the inevitable: the tennis equivalent of Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear. Now a rule is a rule whatever the score is, but Ramos’s call in context was dubious. On Saturday, Ramos might not have been wrong, but that doesn’t make it right (indeed, Williams is not the first player to clash with him: Rafael Nadal has also complained about Ramos’s exuberant adherence to the rulebook).

Serena Williams congratulates Naomi Osaka after the Japanese player’s first grand slam title
Serena Williams congratulates Naomi Osaka after the Japanese player’s first grand slam title.
Photograph: Icon Sport/Icon Sport via Getty Images

It can’t be said enough that we are lucky to be living in Williams’s time. The story of an African American woman from Compton teaming with her older sister to rewrite the record book of a sport predominantly owned, played and watched by affluent white people is the ultimate American folk tale – and it’s still being written in real time. Slights rooted in sexism or racism are for Williams not paranoid delusions but everyday realities. To hear a stadium of more than 20,000 spectators rain boos and jeers on the court surely evoked harrowing memories of Indian Wells in 2001. She is a superhero, but every superhero has their weakness – and Serena’s is the red mist.

You can acknowledge the twin burdens of racism and sexism that Williams has shouldered – and it is true that male players regularly argue with umpires and are not penalised in the same fashion – and still admit she could have handled Saturday’s final stages better. Her comments on court, during the trophy ceremony and in her post-match interview demonstrated her uncanny habit of conflating the good with the bad, mixing everything up to excuse her poor behavior. Consider her response to a reporter who asked if she would have done anything differently.

“[Umpire Ramos] has never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’. For me it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have [equality] – like Cornet should be able to take off her shirt without getting a fine. This is outrageous,” she said. “I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions, and that wants to express themselves, and want to be a strong woman. They’re going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”

This sort of self-exoneration through obfuscation undercuts the massive strides made by Williams over most of the last decade in sportsmanship, which for years was the only criticism you could lob toward an otherwise unassailable character.

Williams, who like all true icons is many things to many people, can still tie Court’s record in four months at the Australian Open, a tournament she’s won seven times, including last year while eight weeks pregnant. She will be duly celebrated if it happens, but there’s no question Saturday’s regrettable episode will be long remembered as the night Williams’s house went up in flames. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Chandigarh, Society

Good Samaritans in Chandigarh please save this poor dog!



Rajesh Ahuja and Meera Ahuja


This is an appeal to concerned pet lovers, citizens, the satraps of Chandigarh Administration and allied agencies besides the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), People for Animals (PFA) and other NGOS to wake up from slumber.
They must provide immediate medical aid and succour to this poor helpless dog having deep injuries who is fighting a lone battle between life and death in this rainy weather near the virtual “jungle” that has grown on a large chunk of vacant land adjacent to the New Light Society in Sector51 B opposite Burail Jail.
We had sent email recently to the Chandigarh Administration but there has been no response so far.


#Dog #Instadog #Instadog #Instadogbreeds #Instadogofficial #Puppy #Puppylove #Instapuppy #Puppypalace #Doglovers #Puppyeyes #Doglover #Instapuppies #Puppydog #Puppygram #Doggie #Puppyoftheday #Doggy #Doggylove #Cutedog #Cutedogs #Puppylife #Doggies #pfaindia#ChandigarhAdmin

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US NEWS, US Presidential Election

The US midterm elections are set to be the ‘year of the woman’


Powered by article titled “The US midterm elections are set to be the ‘year of the woman'” was written by Arwa Mahdawi, for on Saturday 8th September 2018 16.30 Asia/Kolkata

The Week in Patriarchy is a weekly roundup of what’s happening in the world of feminism and sexism. If you’re not already receiving it by email, make sure to subscribe.

Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday

Things look dire, but 2018 could be the ‘year of the woman’

America looks set to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, a man who seems to think birth control is an “abortion-inducing drug”, as a supreme court justice. It is, to say the least, terrifying. But there is some good news amid this patriarchal hellscape: a new analysis by NBC News predicts that the midterms could see more than 100 women elected to the House for the first time in history.

NBC’s race-by-race analysis predicts that between 30 and 40 new women will enter the House next year. This is way over the current record of 24, which was set in 1992. Known as the “year of the woman”, the surge of new women elected was largely attributed to Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony during Clarence Thomas’s confirmation for the supreme court.

Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 and the growing #MeToo movement have inspired a historic number of women to run for office, many as first-time candidates. And they haven’t just been running – they’ve been winning, too. This week Ayanna Pressley beat Michael Capuano, a 10-term Democrat, and will become the first African American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress. Pressley’s win followed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory over Joe Crowley in New York.

What’s interesting, if not exactly surprising, about the increase in female candidates, is that they’re largely Democrats. NBC reports that of the 254 non-incumbent Democratic nominees for the House, 50% are women, compared with 18% of Republicans. What’s more, the number of Republican women in the House is set to decline. This is despite the fact that the GOP is keen to inform us that they have binders full of women. Indeed, during the confirmation hearings this week Kavanaugh stressed that he knows a few women himself, and has even hired a few!

None of your monkeysplaining, please

In other completely un-related news, a new study has found female monkeys prioritize bonds with other females and dismiss male monkeys as untrustworthy. They’re even less likely to listen to the male monkey on the rare occasion that the guy happens to be right. Professor Andrew Whiten, of the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at St Andrews, explained: “[The females] may be less inclined to copy males, who are likely to have less reliable local knowledge.”

PSA: please don’t put rose quartz eggs up your vagina

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, purveyor of beautiful nonsense, is paying $145,000 to settle a consumer protection lawsuit about vaginal eggs. Basically, Goop was selling eggs made out of jade and rose quartz which it promised increased your sexual energy and toned your vagina muscles. (Spoiler alert: they didn’t.)

Women are going to the poles

Well, the north pole, to be exact. If you’re looking for some weekend reading that has nothing to do with the midterms, this Wired article about an all-female trek to the north pole is fascinating. Basically, a group of women from Europe and the Middle East are freezing their tits off, so to speak, in the name of science. While the women trek, scientists are measuring their vitals to learn about the effects of cold temperatures on the female body. I reckon they could have just used an aggressively air-conditioned office as a testing ground and saved themselves a lot of walking.

Is applying makeup on public transportation a war crime?

Some men appear to think so. A recent BBC investigation into the subject contains hilarious quotes from the likes of Michael, 59, who finds the sight of a woman applying makeup on the train so egregious he is often forced to change carriages. Frankly, I think anyone who can put on eyeliner in a moving vehicle should be awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant. I have a hard enough time applying makeup in my own bathroom. It truly is an art.

Please, brands, enough with the faux fempowerment

Sex sells, they used to say in advertising. Now, apparently, it is gender empowerment that sells. It seems like every brand these days is keen to flaunt their (often faux) feminist credentials in their ads. The latest example of brands treating feminism as some kind of trend is Harvey Nichols, a posh department store in London. Remember when Johnnie Walker switched its name to Jane Walker earlier this year? Well, Harvey Nichols decided to nick their idea and are rebranding as Holly Nichols for September. Because, feminism. Not only is this stunt derivative but it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Harvey Nichols was co-founded Anne Harvey and James Nichols. So the rebrand to Holly Nichols erases a real woman from the store’s history and replaces her with a fictional woman. Holly ridiculous, I reckon. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Barack Obama in California to rally Democrats for midterms House push


Powered by article titled “Barack Obama in California to rally Democrats for midterms House push” was written by Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles, for on Saturday 8th September 2018 17.39 Asia/Kolkata

Barack Obama’s dramatic foray into the midterm election season rolls into California on Saturday, as the former president headlines a rally to stir the Democratic party faithful and boost candidates in seven congressional races seen as key to winning control of the House of Representatives in November.

Having seized the limelight at the University of Illinois on Friday with an electric speech denouncing the divisiveness and resentment of Trump-era politics, Obama will address an invitation-only audience at the Anaheim convention center, a stone’s throw from Disneyland in the vast suburbs between Los Angeles and San Diego.

It is a part of the Golden State that is rapidly ransforming from rock-ribbed Republican to solid Democratic blue thanks to demographic shifts and a marked local distaste for the Trump brand of conservative politics.

Four of the congressional candidates who will share the stage with the former president are fighting for Republican-held seats less than an hour’s drive away. All seven are competing in districts that favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

In contrast to Friday’s event in Illinois, when Obama was addressing students and urging them to make themselves heard at the ballot box, the California rally will be aimed primarily at Democratic operatives and their key supporters. Despite some clamor for tickets after the event was announced two days ago, the event is closed to the public.

The former president remains broadly popular in California and has just had a street named after him in an up-and-coming, historically African American section of Los Angeles. While he visited frequently, both as a candidate and as president – Los Angeles in particular grew to fear the “Obamajams” his motorcade would invariably create on the freeways – he usually came for fundraisers and never held a major public rally because electoral logic tended to draw his attention elsewhere.

As Obama said in Illinois, though: “This moment really is different. The stakes really are higher.” And California, for once, is front and centre in the struggle to turn the House back to Democratic control for the first time in eight years.

The two most powerful incumbent Republicans in the contested districts – Darrell Issa, a former House oversight committee chair, and Ed Royce, chair of the foreign affairs committee – are retiring. Their seats are seen as particularly ripe for the taking.

Also seen as particularly vulnerable is Dana Rohrabacher, known for his close ties to Russia, who was recently featured in Sacha Baron Cohen’s TV show Who Is America? speaking in favor of arming schoolchildren. Rohrabacher’s opponent, Harley Rouda, took the opportunity to paint Rohrabacher as both gullible and extreme. Rohrabacher countered that the show was nothing but a “sick fraud”.


Democratic operatives believe they’ll need to win at least four of the seven seats if they are to stand a chance of reaching the net gain of 23 seats they need to take control of the House. Winning all seven appears eminently possible, and in a particularly good showing might extend that to three or four more seats in California currently scored as leaning Republican.

What haunts party leaders, though, is the historically poor showing of rank-and-file Democrats in midterm elections. While they are seeing evidence of far greater motivation than usual among their supporters, as well as a surge of new candidates for office, they will be looking to Obama and other Democratic stars to keep the faithful laser-focused on the task at hand – and reach out to disaffected Republicans and independents while they are at it.

Obama’s message in Illinois seemed designed to straddle the twin aims of motivating the base and appealing to a saner, more inclusive, less divisive style of politics. He is expecting to carry that message over as his campaign tour continues, first in California and then in Ohio. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Novak Djokovic handles Kei Nishikori to set up delicious Del Potro showdown


Powered by article titled “Novak Djokovic handles Kei Nishikori to set up delicious Del Potro showdown” was written by Kevin Mitchell at Flushing Meadows, for on Saturday 8th September 2018 07.39 Asia/Kolkata

Not long after Rafael Nadal hat to quit against Juan Martin del Potro with a knee injury, Novak Djokovic inflicted more conventional pain on Kei Nishikori in straight sets on Friday night to reach the US Open final for the eighth time.

Only Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras have been to the New York decider as often as the remarkable Serb, who lost on his last visit two years ago, to Stan Wawrinka, and has won twice, against Roger Federer in 2015 and Nadal in 2011, the best season of his career.

Arthur Ashe Stadium had not long emptied, stunned by the retirement of Nadal after two sets, when Djokovic put Nishikori under immediate pressure in the second semi-final. Nishikori had to save four break points before dropping his serve at the first time of asking. He gave what he had but Djokovic was pulling away at the end, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. It took him two hours and 23 minutes – only 22 minutes longer than Nadal kept Del Potro interested, before an emotional withdrawal in the first semi-final.

“I came out of the blocks with great intensity and focus,” Djokovic said immediately afterwards.

A couple of times during the heatwave that gripped this tournament in the first 10 days or so, he has looked to be suffering badly. But in the cooler conditions at the end, he has prospered again.

Djokovic has now beaten the gifted but physically fragile Japanese player 14 times in a row since losing to him in the semi-finals here in 2014, when Nishikori went on to lose to Marin Cilic in the final. Nishikori beat the Czech in their rematch in the quarter-finals this time.

Djokovic’s most recent win over him was in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this summer, on his way to winning the title.

It took Nishikori more than a quarter of an hour to get on the board on Friday, but, on a night when injury was the talking point, he pulled up dramatically mid-point in the ninth game, grabbing at his right leg, before holding to keep the set alive at 3-5. If there was a trophy for injuries, Nishikori and Nadal would probably make the final every time.

Djokovic looked well in command taking the first set before they then settled down to a string of close rallies until he broke again in the fifth game of the second, serving out the frame. Yet this was Nishikori’s best stretch: winning the point on 14 of 15 visits to the net and hitting 12 clean winners. It still wasn’t enough, and Djokovic finished it style, hitting a remarkable backhand winner into the corner from well out of court.

If Djokovic beats Del Potro to win his 14th slam, he moves alongside Sampras and will sit three behind Nadal and six behind Federer. After losing the first three matches of his comeback this year, he has gone on to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, lose to Nadal in the semi-finals in Rome and in the Queen’s final to Cilic, before beating Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon final.

He has resurrected his career impressively after minor surgery on his long-term elbow injury, which kept him out of the game for six months last year. This is not vintage Djokovic just yet, but he is still good enough to win at the highest level. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Arts Culture Books Features

Mac Miller: grizzled determination made troubled star a rap icon


Powered by article titled “Mac Miller: grizzled determination made troubled star a rap icon” was written by Al Horner, for on Saturday 8th September 2018 08.34 Asia/Kolkata

It was grizzled determination more than natural talent (though there was plenty of that too) that made a rap icon of Mac Miller.

When the Pittsburgh MC first exploded into hip-hop in 2011 with his first album, Blue Slide Park – a wide-eyed glide of airy boom-bap beats and youthful rhymes that his growing grassroots fanbase turned into the first independently distributed debut to top the US chart since 1995 – he became “the most Googled thing on the internet. It was like: diet, carrots [then] Mac Miller,” he laughed to Vulture in one of his final interviews.

The release was a commercial smash but dismissed by critics as “frat rap”, its success a reflection not of his talent but of an American mainstream listenership to whom white rappers were, depressingly, more palatable.

Miller’s moment, rap’s critical vanguard assumed, would soon pass. It didn’t. Instead, over the next seven years, the 26-year-old – real name Malcolm James McCormick, son of a middle class Jewish photographer and architect – took a dogged approach to pushing his sound and message to new brinks of sonic experimentation and lyrical neurosis-busting.

By 2013’s Watching Movies With the Sound Off, he’d evolved from playground show-off punchlines to trippy meditations on loneliness and addiction, zig-zagging clever flows in a cracked, cigarette-charred voice across beats from Alchemist, Clams Casino, Pharrell and more. It was a move that risked the fame and blockbuster sales he’d accrued by age 19. He did it anyway, disappearing into a hermetic existence until he felt his talent on the mic did justice to his new billing as a rap household name.

Mac Miller performs at Lollapalooza in Chicago.
Mac Miller performs at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Photograph: Amy Harris/Invision/AP

“It was a lot of shutting out the rest of the world and finding the inspiration inside of myself,” he told Noisey of that album’s hard-fought creation, describing its dives into darkness as “healthy and cleansing.” This was the party line, recited in interviews right up until his death, as Miller’s music began to increasingly resemble a window into the medicine cabinet of a man with deepening drug dependency issues, among other demons.

When fifth album Swimming arrived last month, following a recent DUI arrest over a hit-and-run incident and the very public breakdown of his relationship with pop star Ariana Grande in May, its artwork found Miller slumped in a suit against what could either be the inside of a private jet or a coffin, mirroring the lavish emptiness he details on songs such as Perfecto. “I’m treading water,” he warns on that track, amid troubling nods to feeling “my fingers slippin’/In a motherfuckin’ instant, I’ll be gone” on the song Small Worlds. “You never told me being rich was so lonely.”

There was playfulness, adventure and soul to balance the bleakness in Miller’s rap homilies too, though. 2016’s The Divine Feminine, in particular, was a gleeful, philosophical concept album that celebrated love in all its forms: sexual, spiritual and a more cosmic, general appreciation of “feminine energy”.

Grande was at the beating heart of that record, even if she only officially guested on one track, G-funk serenade My Favourite Part. Their two-year relationship thrust Miller into an online spotlight he found uncomfortable. Already the fallout from Miller’s death has caused the kind of internet ugliness you suspect the rapper would have despaired at: Grande’s Instagram comments have been turned off after her account was flooded with comments blaming her for Miller’s fate.

“You was Easy Mac with the cheesy raps/Who the fuck is Mac Miller?” Loaded Lux asked on Watching Movies cut Red Dot Music. The answer is an artist whose lyrical brute honesty opened the doors and debate needed for mental health-probing hits such as Logic’s 1-800-273-8255 to scale the charts. An MC who bridged old and new schools of hip-hop thought, a fact underlined by the company he kept: 70s funk-inspired bass master Thundercat, jazz futurist Flying Lotus and retro-soul revivalist Dev Hynes were just some of his regular collaborators.

A rapper who existed in the same league as Kendrick Lamar, Drake, J Cole and one-time tour support Chance The Rapper, not quite amassing the same cultural footprint as those behemoths, but rivalling them for critical kudos and radio hits. That determination paid off – Miller’s death is a tragedy whose tremors will be felt through hip-hop for a long time to come. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Business Economy Finance, World

China warns US over tariffs, as emerging market fears grow – business live


Powered by article titled “China warns US over tariffs, as emerging market fears grow – business live” was written by Graeme Wearden, for on Thursday 6th September 2018 18.00 Asia/Kolkata

Newsflash: American companies created fewer jobs in August than in July, and less than expected.

US payroll operator ADP has reported that 163,000 private sector jobs were created last month, down from 217,000 in July. Economists had expected a figure close to 190,000.

It may be a sign that Friday’s US jobs report (the non-farm payroll) will miss expectations.

Some lunchtime reading: Joseph Stiglitz on how policymakers have failed to make the right decisions since the financial crisis a decade ago:

China threatens to retaliate against US tariffs

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle parked in front of a restaurant in Shanghai.
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle parked in front of a restaurant in Shanghai. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

China has warned that it will retaliate if America imposes fresh tariffs on its goods.

Economic ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing today that:

“If the United States, regardless of opposition, adopts any new tariff measures, China will be forced to roll out necessary retaliatory measures.”

Back in July, the US outlined plans for tariffs on $200bn of Chinese exports (on top of the existing $50bn of tariffs).

That includes literally thousands of products; machinery, IT, aerospace parts, paper, leather, chemicals, furniture, meat and fish are all on the list.

The consultation period on that plan ends today, meaning Donald Trump could sign them off imminently.

In August, China outlined plans for retaliatory tariffs on $60bn of goods if Trump does indeed press the button. This would see levies imposed on over 5,000 items imported from the US, including aircraft, soya bean oil, smoked beef, coffee and flour.

China only exported around $129bn of goods to America last year, while importing around $500bn. That means Beijing can’t match Trump’s $200bn threat in full.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s global economist, John Ferguson, believes emerging market tensions will continue to build over the next couple of years.

Here’s his take on the EM situation:

  • “Most emerging-market economies should be able to weather this pace of economic tightening, provided that their trading conditions remain favourable. However, investors are on the alert for financial, economic or political weaknesses.”
  • “The turbulence experienced by Argentina and Turkey in mid-2018 is a reminder of how difficult it can be for policymakers to regain market confidence where external imbalances are large and macroeconomic policy frameworks are fragile.”
  • “For now, a full-blown emerging-market crisis should be averted, but we expect the number of countries seeing their currencies come under pressure to rise over the next two years. It is likely that we will see periods of volatility as the global trade dispute interacts with the shift away from easy money.”

Emerging market currencies try to rebound

After days of losses, some emerging economy currencies are struggling off the mat.

The Argentina peso has gained 1.2% today, having hit a record low earlier this week.

The South African rand has gained almost 0.5%, and the Mexican peso is 0.35% higher.

Some relief, and perhaps a sign that the recent selloff is bottoming out?

Kathleen Brooks of Capital Index argues that the recent rout has been ‘indiscriminate’.

She thinks traders have been too quick to ditch emerging market assets. After all, EM isn’t the only part of the economy with economic and political problems.

The fundamentals didn’t add up: we would firstly like to add a caveat that some EM assets are at risk from political and economic pressures (read Turkey), however justifying the ZAR [South African rand] sell off when SA’s current account deficit is lower than the UK’s right now isn’t a good investment decision.

Also, political risk is not just the preserve of the emerging market space, take a read of today’s New York Times’ anonymous op-ed from a Trump cabinet member and you will see how close the US is to a constitutional crisis.

An investor checks stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing.
An investor checks stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing. Photograph: Andy Wong/AP

The EM selloff has pulled world stock markets down for the fifth day in a row.

The losses in Asia overnight, followed by the early dip in Europe, pulled the MSCI All-Country World Index down by another 0.2%.

The drop in German factory orders added to concerns that trade war rhetoric, and tariffs, is causing economic harm.

The MSCI All share index

Economists are also concerned that the problems in certain emerging market economies are now spreading across the sector, and beyond.

Kit Juckes of Societe Generale says:

As global monetary conditions slowly tighten, the global economic cycle rolls over and the US President disturbs the global trade cycle, there’s definitely more to the emerging markets sell-off than a few unrelated spots of weakness.

Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, agrees that contagion risks can’t be ignored.

Crashes in the Argentine Peso and Turkish Lira were first believed to be idiosyncratic risks that wouldn’t lead to any spillover. But now it looks like the concern over contagion risks are spreading to all asset classes. EM equities entered into a bear market, falling 20% from their January peak.

The Indonesian Rupee, Indian Rupee, South African Rand, and several other EM currencies are either trading at record or multi-year lows.

Investors who have been on the sidelines may think of the selloff as a good opportunity to start accumulating some oversold EM assets. However, the prospects of more U.S. interest rate hikes, and continuing global trade tensions make it difficult to jump in.

Germany’s industrial belt has taken another hit from the US-China trade war:

German industrial orders shank by 0.9% in July, new figures show, driven by a drop in overseas demand.

Economists had expected a rise of 1.8%, following a 3.9% slump in June. But instead, manufacturers reported another decline:

Although domestic orders rose, German factories suffered from weaker business overseas, as Destatis explains:

Domestic orders increased by 2.4% and foreign orders decreased by 3.4% in July 2018 on the previous month.

New orders from the euro area were down 2.7%, new orders from other countries decreased 4.0% compared to June 2018.


European stock markets have hit a five-month low this morning.

The emerging markets rout, and fears of an escalating trade war, drove the Stoxx 600 index down to its lowest since early April.

In London the FTSE 100 dipped to a new four-month low in early trading, at 7,357.

Indian rupee hits record low

National flag of the Republic of India.

Newsflash: The Indian rupee has dropped to an all-time low, as the emerging market currency selloff continues.

The rupee fell to 72.095 against the US dollar, breaching the 72-mark for the first time.

Last night, the Financial Times calculated that emerging markets are now officially in a bear market — defined as falling 20% from their recent high.

Capital Economics fears that the emerging market rout has further to run:

We think that the US Federal Reserve will press ahead with its tightening cycle, and worries about contagion from the crisis in Turkey may linger.

At the same time, we expect China’s economy to slow further, and are not anticipating a ceasefire in the US-China trade war any time soon.

This snapshot of the markets, from Bloomberg TV, shows how stock markets have lost ground (first column).

The second column shows currencies dropping against the US dollar.

Global markets today
Global markets today Photograph: Bloomberg TV

Today’s selloff has wiped more than 1% off the main Chinese stock index, the CSI 300.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down almost 1.5%.

Australia’s market has lost 1.1%. That’s it’s biggest one-day loss since March, taking the index to a two-month low.

Asian stock markets today
Major Asian stock markets today Photograph: Bloomberg TV


The agenda: Emerging markets feel the pain

The foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday.
The foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday. Photograph: Ahn Young-joon/AP

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

It’s a worrying time in the financial markets, as emerging economies across the globe come under pressure.

Emerging market stocks have fallen steadily for several days, hit by worries over global growth prospects, the strength of the US dollar, and the various trade disputes being driven by the White House this year.

Markets were a sea of red yesterday, with notable losses in China, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, as traders scurried for safer assets.

There are fresh losses in Asia today, dragging stocks in the region towards a one-year low (more on that shortly).

The dollar is currently at its highest level in over a year against a basket of emerging markets currencies, with some at a record lows.

That makes it tougher to service foreign debts, and drives up inflation. This forces policymakers to consider steep interest rate rises that will throttle growth.

With Argentina signing up for an IMF bailout, Turkey fighting a currency crisis, and Brazil gripped by a corruption scandal, there’s plenty to worry the City right now.

Another concern: Donald Trump could deepen the trade war with China, by signing off tariffs on an extra $200bn of imports. An announcement could come today.

Such an escalation could cause further harm to China’s economy, with ripple effects hurting other companies in the global supply chain too. That’s another reason emerging markets are feeling the strain today.

As Christophe Barraud, an economist at the Paris-based brokerage Market Securities, put it:

“People are looking closely at what’s happening in emerging markets, at the trade war and the fact that the United States is likely to implement another wave of tariffs against China.

If you look at global growth, more and more signs are that it will slow in coming months.”

European markets are expected to dip this morning, after the FTSE 100 hit a four-month low yesterday.

This follows losses on Wall Street last night, led by the technology sector, after Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey were grilled at Congress.

The session has raised speculation that social media could face tougher regulation, to crack down on fake news, harassment and interference by rogue states.

As Mike van Dulken of Accendo Markets explains:

Calls for a negative open come courtesy of downbeat trading on Wall Street, with the Tech sector sharply lower following testimony from Twitter and Facebook to US Congress.

The turmoil within emerging markets also continues, widening from Argentina and Turkey, dampening global sentiment even further all the while we await the US decision on additional China import tariffs.

The agenda:

  • 7am BST: German factory orders for July
  • 1.30pm BST: US weekly jobless figures
  • 3pm BST: US service sector PMI for August

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India, Judiciary

Indian supreme court decriminalises homosexuality


Powered by article titled “Indian supreme court decriminalises homosexuality” was written by Michael Safi in Delhi, for on Thursday 6th September 2018 12.05 Asia/Kolkata

India’s supreme court has struck down a colonial-era law that effectively banned homosexual sex in a landmark ruling for gay rights in the country.

The court announced the verdict in Delhi on Thursday morning drawing cheers from a crowd of LBGTI Indians and their supporters gathered on a lawn outside the building.

“It’s in our favour,” a young woman, Smriti, shouted as she embracing three others before they were mobbed by television cameras. They had seen a text message from a journalist inside the court. “That’s when we knew they had lifted it,” she said.

Ritu Dalmia, one of the five LBGTI Indians who put their name to legal petition that succeeded on Thursday, said the verdict made her feel “hope once again”.

“I was turning into a cynical human being with very little belief in the system, but honestly this has really shown once again that, at the end, we are a functional democracy where freedom of choice, speech and rights still exist,” she said.

The decision appears to mark the end of a fraught path to legalising homosexuality in modern India. Early cases filed in 1994 and then 2001 bounced back and forth for years between higher courts reluctant to wade into the issue.

In 2009, the Delhi high court struck down Section 377 of the Indian penal code, finding its ban on “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” breached the rights to life, liberty and equality enshrined in the country’s constitution.

That decision was overturned by the supreme court four years later, which argued the 160-year old law that came to be associated with homosexual sex had been used so infrequently — less than 200 times, according to the judgment – and against such a “miniscule fraction” of the population that it could not be said to violate Indians’ constitutional rights.

Activists were blindsided by the decision and thousands of Indians grappled with a fundamental part of their identity being suddenly restored as a criminal offence, punishable by life imprisonment. “It was surprising and a very strange verdict,” says Mohan, a lawyer in Delhi, who asked to use only his last name, still concerned by stigma he might face in the workplace.

Critics of the law say that though prosecutions under section 377 are rare, it is frequently used to blackmail gay and lesbian Indians and contributes to their marginalisation, while also inhibiting efforts to fight diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Lawyers have steadily worked to overturn the supreme court’s decision but had a major breakthrough in 2017.

“What changed everything was last year’s privacy judgement,” said Gautam Bhatia, a Delhi-based lawyer and legal scholar. “In August 2017, the supreme court held there was a fundamental right to privacy, and as part of that, five judges said the 2013 decision was wrong.

“It was unprecedented,” Bhatia said. “The judges commented on a completely unconnected case to say it was wrong. But once they said it, with the imprimatur of a full bench behind it, section 377 was gone, implicitly if not formally.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Education, Education Environment Health S&T

‘I’m $100k in debt. I’m drowning’: teachers share their stories – live


Powered by article titled “‘I’m $100k in debt. I’m drowning’: teachers share their stories – live” was written by Erum Salam, Francisco Navas and Rachel Obordo, for on Wednesday 5th September 2018 20.48 Asia/Kolkata

From Reno, 38-year-old David Zepeda said though he has declared bankruptcy he still tries to help with classroom supplies:

“The biggest challenge to teaching in Nevada is lack of funding and adequate resources to facilitate ‘21st century learning’. The school I teach in is 43-years-old and our heating and cooling systems are badly in need of repair. I teach US History and Geography and our textbooks were published in 2006. They are out of date and it will be a long while until we get new ones.

“Technology is in short supply with only a few laptop computer carts (that have to be checked out) available to our entire school of over 1,000 students.

Colorful school supplies, pink book on green. Top view, flat lay, copy space
David Zepeda regularly has to buy supplies and materials for his students. Photograph: Svetlana-Cherruty/Getty Images/iStockphoto

“The pay for teachers in our state is barely adequate. I recently had to declare bankruptcy despite having a full time job as a teacher! Despite this financial hardship I routinely purchase classroom supplies and materials with my own money. I have never totaled the figures but I would estimate I routinely spend about $300 to $400 of my own money for supplies annually.

“I am an active union representative for our state and local teachers unions. Though I have never had occasion to strike or protest as a teacher (yet) I have been a participant in many demonstrations over the past 20 years”.


About the Guardian US teacher takeover

As we listened to the riveting – and often devastating – stories during a national teachers’ conference in July, it became clear that no one could tell the story of the crisis in America’s classroom better than the teachers themselves. We hatched the Guardian US teacher takeover and invited a team of educators from across the country to collaborate with us on a project that launched today.

Over the last two months, our guest editors have helped us develop story ideas, photo essays, and written first-person essays that will unfold on our site this week. (Side note to Stephen Colbert: Our teacher-editors would like to interview you this week about your involvement with DonorsChoose, a fundraising site for teachers, if you have a few minutes.)

We will be partnering on the series with local publications in four of the states where teachers are paid the least, to extend the reach of the project in communities where teachers struggle most.

Teaching a country’s children is among the most important tasks in society. But what happens when a country fails its teachers? That’s the story we are telling in this three-day series.

With 20 years teaching experience, Christine from Florida thinks teachers are working with an outdated model.

“Personally, I strongly believe that most of the problems we face in schools are caused by the fact that we’re working on an outdated model. ‘Back in the day,’ as my students would say, college students were a fairly homogeneous bunch. Mostly white, mostly male, mostly middle-class, they expected to graduate in four years and go on to careers in business and the professions. This is still the vision of college that high schools work on, and it no longer matches reality.

“There’s a ‘silent majority’ of kids in our classrooms don’t see much point in school. What they’re taught seems to have little relevance to their lives, because no one has really shown them the connection. Some are beyond caring. They failed to learn to read in elementary school, and have fallen further and further behind their peers ever since. They sit through six hours of classes on hard chairs, restless with boredom, taking every opportunity to leave the classroom on some pretext or other; or they decide to create their own entertainment in the classroom by being disruptive.

Teachers placed protest signs around a statue of George Washington outside the state capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina
Teachers placed protest signs around a statue of George Washington outside the state capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photograph: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images

“And then there are those who simply march to a different drum. They include artists and musicians, woodcrafters and mechanics, and countless others whose hands do their talking for them. We expect the bearers of all these differences to magically anneal themselves into a single representative entity called ‘Student’.

“Some remedies for this sorry state of affairs have been known for years, such as preschool starting at the age of three or four and tiny class sizes through third grade to allow for individual attention. Unfortunately, our legislators, backed by us as voters, still buy into the one-size-fits-all industrial model of education: Push the kids through, like so many widgets on a conveyor belt, test for quality control at intervals, and spit them all out onto the same widget heap at the end of the belt. If the conveyor belt workers fail to get their widgets to fit the mold in the time allotted, throw out the workers along with the misplaced widgets.

“The legislators, and by extension, we voters, are still trying to quantify something that’s unquantifiable, paying lip service to diversity while attempting, and failing, to force all our children into the same mold. Society is not going to change back to the way it was in the fifties, and it behooves us to think up a new model of education that fits the future”.

From NY, J said low pay is the issue for new teachers –

“There’s very little institutional support and the state of higher education in general is not great. I am a graduate student and my university has a notoriously low TA stipend.

“I also have to design coursework and lead technical writing classes that I have no training for. It’s hard to know what kind of writing assignments science students need to improve their writing, and my department doesn’t give any help with syllabus design or lesson plans. Since we changed our composition program to suit STEM students, we basically eliminated literature teaching for graduate students. Basically I feel like I’m totally on my own, and that in a few years there may not be any academic jobs at all. So I’ll have been doing graduate work for six years for basically no reason at all. And no administrators or department chairs seem to want to do anything about this.”

Sanders and his colleagues tried to petition for higher TA stipends and “marched through the campus to the provost’s office but they sent armed police officers to meet us”.


Recruiting teachers from abroad

If you’ve not already seen it, take a look at our article on why some schools in Arizona are employing Filipinos to fill teacher shortages.

Terry Greene Sterling and Jude Joffe-Block write that some American public schools are turning to foreign teachers because Americans with college educations are increasingly uninterested in low-paid, demanding teaching jobs.

Many teachers, struggling for a toehold in the shrinking middle class, have switched careers. And fewer college students are choosing to become teachers. The need for mathematics, science, and special education teachers is especially dire in poor and rural schools throughout the country.

Melvin Inojosa, 29 (second from left) conducts a physics experiment at Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande
Inojosa (second from left) conducts a physics experiment at Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande. Photograph: Nick Oza for the Guardian

Melvin Inojosa, 29, from the Philippines is one of 12,000 foreign teachers who have come to the United States in the last five years on temporary J-1 cultural exchange visas. (The three-year visas offer no path to permanent residence in the United States).

Inojosa wishes he could stay but will teach in Arizona as long as he can. If authorities want him to leave, he’ll leave. No hard feelings. He respects American laws. He’ll find a job teaching someplace else in the world, and “make my own happiness”.

Shannon Ergun, is a single mother and teaches ESL at a public school in Tacoma, WA with previous experience in Turkey and Poland.

For her, teaching her students of different abilities in one classroom can be a challenge.

“I currently have 178 ESL students on my caseload. State law says I must provide each of these students services. However, I would have to have 35-36 students in each class to do that. I have a range of students from those who have no proficiency in English to those fluent in English who simply haven’t passed the state ESL exam. I have students who arrived in the US in the last few days to those who were born and raised here. To meet their needs I cannot simply put 35+ kids in a classroom. I need to be able to target my instruction so I have to be able to assign students to classes based on their proficiency and their age in some cases. No one is served if students are simply dropped in whatever class fits the rest of their schedule and then I’m expected to work miracles.

“Because of the challenges above I am active in my union. I have helped to organize rallies and protests related to high-stakes standardized testing, educator salaries, and lack of professional respect. I work directly with legislators and other local officials to improve the working conditions of our educators because that in turn improves the learning conditions of our students. My activism has often made me a target of district administrators and I have been reassigned to a new school, not told my teaching assignment until two weeks into the school year, and even told I would be assigned in multiple schools and multiple levels where I have no experience”.

What teachers want

As part of our teacher takeover, we’re inviting all teachers and educators to add personal stories and ideas to this manifesto for change. Submit ideas, anecdotes and thoughts via our form here.

We’ll compile your comments into a final manifesto next week – and the Guardian will hand-deliver it to Betsy DeVos, the education secretary.


Anna Burr, in Phoenix, AZ, said she struggles with debt –

“As a teacher, I was told I would love my job so the salary wouldn’t matter. That was true until this year. I’m $100k in student loan debt (the promise of more pay after obtaining a masters enticed me). I make $2,400 a month and half of that goes to rent alone. I’m drowning. I have 40 students in my class and some don’t even have their own desk. I used to be the cool teacher now I’m the mean teacher. They made me hate my dream, I thought I’d love this career forever now I just want to make enough where I don’t stress at night. My students come to school hungry and leave worried on the weekends. I have been apart of the Red for Ed movement here in Arizona but I feel like I can never do enough.”

One reader who responded to our callout is pre-K teacher Andrew Berg, from Boston.

Though his school is well-resourced, teachers are increasingly finding themselves doing things that are not typically expected of them:

“Nationally, there are serious problems around school funding because so much of this is derived from local (municipal) taxes. There is often an inverse correlation between a district’s needs and its ability to raise revenue.

“Feeding children, for example, is not the same as teaching, but since hungry children do not learn well, we have to do this.

“Providing clothing, helping families find housing or navigate child protection services, assessing and dealing with the effects of trauma are not, properly speaking, teaching, but we do these things because they are necessary precursors. These things have to be done before learning can happen. All this makes education much more expensive, and less efficient as instructional time is redirected. This is a societal problem. As a nation, we have decided not to deal with the problems caused by social inequality, and much of this has come down on schools.”

Mixed-race baby boy sucking his thumb
Sometimes Andrew Berg finds he has to feed the children in his pre-K class. Photograph: Bryan Hainer/Getty Images/Blend Images



September marks the start of the new school year for many US public schools. It’s a difficult time for teachers who are returning to overcrowded classrooms, decrepit buildings, precious few supplies and out-of-date textbooks.

This week we’ll tell teachers’ stories in a special series called the Guardian US teacher takeover. We’ve been working closely with a team of teachers from across the country who are serving as our guest editors Sept. 5-7 to highlight falling teacher pay, underfunded schools, and a new wave of activism.

In this live blog we’ll share the stories from teachers reading the project, and those who responded to our callout last week. If you’d like to share your experiences and join the conversation you can do so via the secure form below, and we’ll post it here, with your permission.

Let us know if you’d like to add your submission to our Teachers’ wishlist – a manifesto outlining the basic conditions that teachers need in order to address the crisis in schools. We’ll update the document with your contributions – and the Guardian will deliver the final version to US secretary of education Betsy DeVos.

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Education Environment Health S&T, Food and Drinks, Health

Get stuck in: four healing honey recipes


Powered by article titled “Get stuck in: four healing honey recipes” was written by Felicity Cloake, for The Guardian on Wednesday 5th September 2018 18.02 Asia/Kolkata

Medical trials tend to look at honey taken by the spoonful, which is frankly about as much fun as the cough itself, but unfortunately many of the qualities that make honey so valuable are heat-sensitive, which rules out taking it in the form of sticky sausages, root veg or a fluffy Jewish honey cake. Here are some recipes to try instead:

Overnight oats

Overnight oats
Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Whisk one tablespoon of raw runny honey into 100ml milk until dissolved, then stir into 50g oats and leave to sit for a few hours, or overnight. Grate in a small apple and top with chopped nuts or seeds to serve.

Honey peanut butter

Honey peanut butter
Photograph: Jamie Grill/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

You can, of course, just stir together honey and peanut butter, but for extra smug points, make your own by whizzing 500g roasted peanuts to crumbs in a food processor, then adding a tablespoon of oil (coconut and groundnut are both nice), a decent pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of honey. Process until creamy, then adjust seasoning if necessary … and ration. A dangerously addictive dip for apple or carrot.

Salad dressing

Salad dressing
Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Honey makes an excellent addition to salad dressings, particularly for crunchy autumnal ingredients such as chicory and walnuts. Shake two parts lemon juice or cider vinegar to one part honey in a jam jar until well combined, then shake in three parts oil and season to taste.

Warm – not hot! – toddy

Warm toddy
Photograph: bhofack2/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Heat 60ml water with a strip of lemon peel, a knob of ginger, a cinnamon stick and a few cloves, until steaming. Allow to cool to drinking temperature, then stir in one tablespoon of honey and the juice of half a lemon, plus a tot of whisky if you feel particularly grim. It helps, I promise. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Education Environment Health S&T, Food and Drinks, Health

From coughs to cakes: why honey is the bee’s knees


Powered by article titled “From coughs to cakes: why honey is the bee’s knees” was written by Joanna Blythman, for The Guardian on Wednesday 5th September 2018 18.02 Asia/Kolkata

Got a cough? Then before you pick up an over-the-counter medicine, or head to your GP, try a little honey. Who would have thought that in the 21st century, this folk remedy would become the first line of treatment? But it has. New proposed guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and Public Health England (PHE) say that there is some limited evidence that honey can help improve cough symptoms.

This official thumbs-up for honey is a turn up for the books. These days, the mere mention of “traditional medicine” or “home remedies” provokes knee-jerk howls of “Quackery!”. Yet modern scientific research validating the age-old view that honey has medicinal properties is stacking up. There is data to show that honey helps relieve irritation in the mouth or throat by forming a protective film, and soothes coughs caused by upper respiratory tract infections and alleviates symptoms more than certain common over-the-counter medicines.

Honey has a number of other well-documented health benefits, including encouraging faster wound healing and shortening the life of cold sores. New Zealand manuka honey can even inhibit the growth of MRSA, enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics and reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance.

So should we all get into honey? Its prodigious antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties are attributed to the trace enzymes, minerals, B vitamins and amino acids that it contains. But although it typically also contains about 20% water, the lion’s share of honey is sugar, mainly fructose and glucose. And aren’t we meant to be avoiding sugar in all its chameleon forms?

Honeycomb is one of the healthiest options.
Honeycomb is one of the healthiest options. Photograph: Lauren Burke/Getty Images

One of the interesting things about honey, even the blander types, is that it has a much more characterful, some would say obtrusive, taste than neutral table sugar (sucrose), and this makes it a self-limiting option for most. If I baked a sponge and “iced” it thickly with honey, I’d wager that very few people would be able to eat much of it. Top the same cake with sugary frosting and it would get eaten up much faster. It is actually difficult to overeat honey.

The pronounced scents and flavours of honey are one of the reasons why modern food manufacturers use it only in relatively small quantities. They tend to prefer glucose-fructose syrup, an industrial form of sugar, because it behaves more predictably in a factory than quirky honey and costs much less.

But if you want to take advantage of honey’s medicinal properties, what is the best type to eat? Honey that is still in the comb fits the bill, but if you prefer your honey without wax, what you want is “raw” honey: one that hasn’t been excessively heated or ultra-filtered to remove valuable “impurities”, such as traces of pollen and propolis, the resin from hives. This way it will retain its medicinally useful micronutrients.

Unfortunately, “raw” is a term with no precise legal meaning and honey, just like olive oil, is notorious for food fraud. Both are arguments for buying your raw honey as close to home as possible from accountable sellers who are transparent about where their bees get their nectar – is it from organic, wild, urban or pesticide-treated land? – and who can provide chapter and verse on their extraction methods. If you read the label on the more ubiquitous honey brands, you will see that they generally contain an anonymous mix of honeys from countries in and outside the European Union, blended to give a “consistent”, some might say dully sweet, taste.

Raw honey may crystallise more quickly.
Raw honey may crystallise more quickly. Photograph: Rawpixel/Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you have ever fallen in love with a fragrant, runny honey abroad and brought it home only to find that it solidifies in cool British temperatures, this doesn’t mean your honey has gone “off”. Honey’s shelf life is eternal – ancient Egyptians used it as embalming fluid – but all types of honey crystallise eventually. That said, commercial honeys obtained through higher heat treatment and fine filtering do remain runny for longer. Raw honey, on the other hand, tends to crystallise faster because the minute particles of pollen, propolis and wax encourage crystals to form. Moving the jar to a warm place or sitting it in warm water will restore raw honey to its liquid form without killing off its medicinal benefits.

There is a dazzling diversity of good raw honeys out there. As a general guide, chestnut and pine honeys have the strongest scents and flavours, heather sits somewhere in the middle, and acacia and clover come in at the milder end of the spectrum. Twelve honeys were awarded the top three-star rating in the 2018 Great Taste awards. These included pine and smilax aspera (a flowering vine) honey from the Greek village of Agia Paraskevi; ivy flower honey from County Limerick; multi-floral honey from Exmoor; a honey from rooftop hives and gardens in central London; and heather honey from high Peak District moorland. Judges tried to put words to the remarkable range of perfumes and tastes: “smoky and treacly” (honey from a Rwandan forest); “sharp, clean, almost grapefruit” (London honey); “earthy liquorice notes” (organic Greek chestnut honey); “evocative of walks in tropical woodlands” (Zambian forest honey from bark hives).

Shops and market stalls selling good raw honey usually encourage you to sample, so it is fun to work out your favourite. Raw honey is never cheap, but then a small spoonful of such a precious natural commodity goes a long way – especially, it seems, on a miserable winter night when you can’t stop coughing. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Business Economy Finance, US NEWS

US trade deficit hits five-month high, as emerging markets slide – business live


Powered by article titled “US trade deficit hits five-month high, as emerging markets slide – business live” was written by Graeme Wearden, for on Wednesday 5th September 2018 18.47 Asia/Kolkata

White House insiders might want to hide today’s trade data from the president…

Not only has the US trade deficit widened, but the gap with Canada has hit a 10-year high. This surplus widened to 5.3bn Canadian dollars in July, from C$4.1 billion the previous month,

This may make Trump even more determined to reach a new North American trade deal, as NAFTA talks restart in Washington.

Bloomberg says:

The figures released Wednesday in Ottawa are likely to play into the resumption of bilateral talks in Washington over the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump has signed a new deal with Mexico and has threatened to leave Canada out and impose stiff auto tariffs if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government doesn’t make concessions.

Even the metal products targeted by U.S. tariffs showed some resilience in the latest figures. Canadian shipments of steel climbed 16 percent in July after a 36 percent drop in June, while a 2 percent fall in aluminum still left those exports 8.1 percent higher than they were a year prior.

US trade deficit hits five-month high

Newsflash: America’s trade deficit has widened to a five-month high, in a blow to Donald Trump’s attempts to cut it.

US imports jumped by $2.2bn to $261bn in July, according to the latest trade data from the Census Bureau.

Exports shrank by $2.1bn, though, to around $211bn, due to lower sales of aircraft and soybeans (which now face tariffs when sold to China).

This drove America’s overall trade deficit up to over $50bn.

US trade data
US trade data

The White House won’t be pleased to see that America’s goods trade deficit with China surged 10% to a record $36.8 billion.

So what’s happening?

The Wall Street Journal’s theory is that tax cuts and higher federal spending “goosed up” domestic demand, while a cooling economy overseas hampered exports.


Mihir Kapadia, CEO of Sun Global Investments, blames trade war anxiety and the strengthening US dollar for today’s selloff:

“Global stock markets continue to be volatile as the trade dispute between the United States and China continues to escalate. Slowing Chinese growth has unsettled investors as the impact of the ongoing trade dispute continues to impact the Chinese economy.

Asian stocks are currently lower with all major markets recording losses. The Shanghai Composite index, Japan’s Nikkei and South Korea’s KOSPI all made losses in light on going spat between the two largest economies. The Indonesian Index is down 3.7% as downward pressure on EMs continues. European markets have also opened lower, due to the same concerns.

Emerging markets are also continuing to suffer as the likes of Turkish inflation are causing concern amongst investors. Most EM currencies are under pressure with today concerns being focused on Indonesia, Argentina and South Africa. As a result of these risky economies and markets, the dollar has become a safe haven for many, allowing it to surge to its latest high” It feels as if the dollar and Amazon stock price is the only asset going up!


Here’s Dean Popplewell of City firm OANDA on the losses across emerging markets today:

Soured sentiment has left several Asian stock markets with their biggest declines in a fortnight, at least since the bout of EM worries that were fuelled by the TRY’s plunge.

In Japan, equities held up better than most, perhaps helped by the overnight yen softness (¥111.47). Nevertheless, investors remain worried that Sino-U.S tariff war could escalate weighed on sentiment. The Nikkei share average dropped -0.51% for a fourth consecutive session while the broader Topix fell -0.77%.

Down-under, Aussie shares extended their losses for a fifth consecutive session overnight, closing down -1%, brushing aside a robust economic growth report (Q2 GDP +0.9% vs. +0.7%) as materials stocks slid on weaker commodity prices. In S. Korea, the Kospi plunged -1.03% as trade war fears intensify.

In Hong Kong, stocks posted their biggest loss in 11-weeks on growth and trade war fears. Overnight, investors’ dumped property, energy and tech stocks amid worries about China’s economy and the Sino-U.S trade war. The Hang Seng index fell -2.6%, while the China Enterprises Index lost -2.3%.

Emerging market currencies are also having a bad day, with most falling against the US dollar today:

Emerging market selloff picks up pace

Back in the financial world, the rout in emerging markets is gathering pace.

Emerging stock markets across the globe are in the red, as a nasty cocktail of threats hit equities.

The selloff in Asia overnight has now spread to the Middle East. Saudi Arabia’s stock market is the worst performer, plunging more than 4% at the last count.

Indonesia’s market has slumped by 3.7%, and there are losses from Shanghai and Hong Kong to Mumbai, Cairo and Johannesburg.

Emerging stock markets on September 05 2018
Emerging stock markets today Photograph: Thomson Reuters

Shares are being hit by several factors, including:

  • The slowdown in China’s service sector last month
  • The global impact of the US-China trade war, and the prospect that America implements tariffs on an extra $200bn of Chinese imports later this week
  • The strengthening US dollar, which is sucking capital out of emerging markets and pushing up the cost of repaying debts taken out in dollars

There are also isolated individual factors. South Africa fell into recession yesterday, while Argentina is pushing the IMF for a larger bailout to support its economy.

So investors are fretting that the global economy may slow, especially if more emerging markets follow Argentina and Turkey into financial crisis.

As Christoph Barraud, an economist at Paris-based brokerage Market Securities, put it:

“Until last month people were focusing on U.S. company earnings but now they are looking closely at what’s happening in emerging markets, at the trade war and the fact that the United States is likely to implement another wave of tariffs against China.

If you look at global growth, more and more signs are that it will slow in coming months.”


Cambridge, Oxford, Warrington, Reading and Swindon are all feeling the brunt of the worker shortage, apparently.

Jobs site Adzuna says each of these cities have more than 15 vacancies for every jobseeker, putting labour in a strong position (theoretically, anyway).

Despite the hiring struggle, the UK economy is on track to grow by 0.4% in the current quarter, Markit estimates.

That would match the UK’s growth rate in April-June, and beat some City forecasts.

But still, it would be fairly modest growth compared to the years before the EU referendum….


Morgan Stanley say they “continue to anticipate weakness in the economy going forward, as we enter the final stretch of Brexit negotiations.”


Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, is concerned that UK firms can’t find the staff they need.

Here’s his take on the PMI report:

“The services sector was a little more upbeat than the other sectors this month maintaining a steady level of activity growth, and the number of new orders ticked higher.

“Despite this, optimism was more subdued and lower than the survey average. With the weakest business optimism since March, uncertainty around the UK’s decision to leave the EU continued to dampen client operations. Struggles around securing talent and the right skills were also a drag on a sector highly-dependent on trained staff even though job creation rose to its highest levels for half a year.


UK business mood “darkens” as Brexit looms

UK firms are also suffering from uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the EU.

Business confidence about future prospects hit the lowest level since March, today’s PMI report shows.

That’s due to “political uncertainty and the unpredictable impact of Brexit on clients’ business operations.”

Chris Williamson of Markit adds:

“Business expectations for the year ahead meanwhile sank markedly lower, down across all three sectors to one of the lowest levels seen since the EU referendum, largely reflecting increased anxiety over Brexit negotiations.

“Given the increasingly unbalanced nature of growth and the darkening business mood, risks to the immediate outlook seem tilted to the downside.”

Good news for UK workers — the staff shortage is forcing some services firms to pay them more.

Markit says:

Difficulties recruiting suitably skilled staff contributed to higher salary payments in August.


UK service sector grows, but firms struggle to find staff

Breaking: Growth in Britain’s service sector rose last month…but firms are finding it harder to recruit the workers they need.

That’s according to data firm Markit’s monthly survey of Britain’s services companies.

Purchasing managers from large and small UK service firms reported that business activity rose at a faster rate in August, partly thanks to a boost in new work.

However, many also said that “a lack of suitably skilled candidates to fill vacancies had held back staff hiring”. That staff shortage held some firms back.

Markit explains:

Backlogs of work increased for the fourth month running in August, which pointed to sustained pressure on operating capacity at service sector companies. A number of firms linked rising volumes of unfinished business to difficulties replacing departing staff.

This may be a sign that EU workers are heading home ahead of Brexit, or that potential migrants aren’t coming over the UK at all. Last month’s unemployment figures showed a record annual decline in migrants from the European Union to the UK.

Britain’s unemployment rate is also at a 43-year low, so firms may simply be suffering from a tight labour market.

Overall, Markit’s UK service PMI jumped to 54.3 in August, up from 53.5 in July — the second highest level since February. That shows faster growth.

Today’s UK service sector PMI
Today’s UK service sector PMI Photograph: Markit

More to follow….


UK car sales rose in August

Just in: Britain’s car sales rose by almost a quarter in August.

Just over 94 thousand new cars were registered in the UK last month, a jump of 23.1% compared to August 2017.

That sounds impressive… until you remember that August is typically a quiet month for car sales (drivers who wait until September will get the new year’s number plate).

UK car sales in August 2018
UK car sales in August 2018 Photograph: SMMT

Despite this jump, registrations in 2018 are still 4.2% lower than this stage last year, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

But still, demand for hybrid and plug-in cars surged by 88.7%. One in 12 buyers chose an electric car – a new record.

The SMMT adds:

Demand was up across the board, with consumers and fleets boosting year-on-year registrations by 23.3% and 19.7% respectively, while the smaller business sector rose 166.4%, equivalent to an uplift of around 1,500 units against August last year.

Superminis remained the most popular buy, followed by small family and dual purpose cars, with the luxury saloon and city car segments recording the most notable growth, up 120.8% and 39.6%.

European companies are also worried about trade wars.

Markit’s new survey of eurozone purchasing managers, just released, show that business expectations in the service sector hit a 21-month low in August. It blamed “geo-political trade tensions”.

More encouragingly, the euro-area private sector kept growing last month. But as this chart shows, Italy moved worryingly close to stagnation (which would be a PMI of 50).

Eurozone servi

Commodity prices are also being hit by the drop in Chinese company growth.

The price of copper in Shanghai has hit a 14-month low, while prices in London are down 2.6%.

This is dragging down the share prices of mining giants, and thus pulling Britain’s FTSE 100 down by 0.4% in early trading.

Global stock markets are in the red this morning, as the slowdown across China’s companies worries investors.

The Shanghai Composite Index has dropped by 1.7%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index has shed 2.7%.

Most European markets have opened lower too, with the Stoxx 600 index of major EU companies down almost 0.5%.

Investors are fretting about trade, as Donald Trump could sign off an extra $200bn of tariffs on Chinese goods in the coming days.

US officials are also due to resume trade talks with Canada later today, as Michael Hewson of CMC Markets explains:

The main preoccupation for investors continues to be on whether the US is serious about arriving at some form of deal with Canada over NAFTA in the wake of President Trump’s tweets at the weekend, that it wasn’t and isn’t a political necessity to get a deal

In addition to that anxiety levels are growing ahead of the weekend and the possible imposition of another $200bn worth of tariffs on Chinese goods later this week.

Hong Kong’s companies are also feeling a chill from the US-China trade wars.

Growth across Hong Kong’s private sector declined in August, data firm Markit says. Output and new orders both shrank, forcing job cuts.

It adds:

Notably, export sales to China fell again amid escalating trade tensions. Companies remained pessimistic about future output, which was also accompanied by another drop in purchasing activity and input inventories. Consequently, firms reduced selling prices to support sales despite a further rise in input costs. Both employment and backlogs continued to decline.

Introduction: Chinese service sector growth hits 10-month low

The Central Business District in Beijing.
The Central Business District in Beijing. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business

Trade war anxiety is growing this morning, after China’s companies posted disappointing growth.

Business activity growth across China hit a five-month low in August, a new survey from data firm Caixin shows. The country’s service sector led the slowdown, with growth hitting a 10-month low.

Companies reported that new business growth was weak, forcing factory bosses to cut jobs. Business confidence was also subdued.

Dr. Zhengsheng Zhong, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis at CEBM Group, says China’s economic growth is on a “downward trajectory”, adding:

Inflationary pressures were pronounced as increases in both input prices and output prices accelerated. The future output sub-index went up after falling in August, which was likely boosted by the fine-tuning of macro policies. The employment sub-index was unchanged from July’s reading and remained in contraction territory.

“August’s PMI readings indicated that the effects of expansionary credit policy and active fiscal policy are yet to kick in. Signs of stagnation emerged as upward pressure on prices remained even though demand weakened at a faster rate.”

The report suggests that the trade dispute with America is hitting demand and confidence. The US has already imposed tariffs on $50bn of Chinese imports, with president Donald Trump threatening more.

Caixin’s Composite Output Index, which measures growth across Chinese companies, fell to a five- month low of 52.0 in August, with the services PMI hitting just 51.5 – the lowest since October 2017 (50 = stagnation).

Chinese service sector PMI

Here are the key points from the report:

  • Services activity growth edges down to ten-month low, while manufacturing output increases at faster pace
  • Composite new work expands at weakest pace for over two years
  • Steeper rises in input costs across both the manufacturing and service sectors

Reaction to follow….

Later today we discover how Britain, and the eurozone’s, service sector firms fared in August — as company bosses watched the clock tick towards Brexit in March 2019.

Also coming up today…

Ten years after the financial crisis, a UK thinktank is proposing some radical changes to fix the economy’s problems. The IPPR is calling for higher wages, more government spending on infrastructure, extra wealth taxes and more power for workers, to tackle growing inequality.

The report comes out later today. Here’s the full story:

The agenda

  • 9am BST: UK new car registrations for August
  • 9am BST: Eurozone service sector PMI for August
  • 9.30am BST: UK service sector PMI for August
  • 1.30pm BST: US trade figures for July
  • 3pm BST: Bank of Canada’s interest rate decision

Updated © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Arts Culture Books Features

Adventure Time: goodbye to the most inventive cartoon since The Simpsons


Powered by article titled “Adventure Time: goodbye to the most inventive cartoon since The Simpsons” was written by Stuart Heritage, for on Wednesday 5th September 2018 15.38 Asia/Kolkata

It’s weird to be sad when children’s shows end, right? It’s weird for adults to feel palpable regret when a series designed for people a third of their age shudders and stops of its own accord. Nobody ever held a vigil for the finale of Button Moon, did they? Nobody ever wrote a gushingly emotional thinkpiece to mark the end of Dog With a Blog.

But Adventure Time was different. As of this week, Adventure Time is over. And it’s strange to imagine life without it. When it debuted back in 2010, Adventure Time might have felt like another zany brain-rotter for kids to slowly grow obese to; there was a boy and a dog and a magical land and it was all very twee, like something Zooey Deschanel might dream up after over-indulging at an ironic vintage fondue revival night.

As the episodes rolled on, though, the show slowly built the confidence to show its true colours. Dark isn’t the word – dark can never be the word for a programme that created a character called Lumpy Space Princess – but Adventure Time’s increasing determination to reflect emotional truth wherever it was found certainly made it more mature than the normal fare.

Take the show’s primary antagonist. In any other show, Ice King would be a two-dimensional princess-stealing baddie who cackled to himself in a castle and never learned from his mistakes. But in the hands of Adventure Time’s creator, Pendleton Ward, he was one of the most thoroughly complex characters on all of television. Genuinely misunderstood, Ice King quickly became a lonely old man; a cypher through which Adventure Time could tell stories about social isolation and mental illness. He never learned from his mistakes because his memory was failing.

The Ice King … TV’s best baddie
The Ice King … TV’s best baddie. Photograph: Cartoon Network

One Ice King episode, I Remember You, is just outright devastating. In it, Ice King cries with loneliness, misreads social cues and is oblivious to several frantic reminders about who he was before he lost his mind. It’s a breathtaking piece of television – part Doctor Who, part Michael Haneke – that begins, develops and ends in the space of 11 minutes. And never once does it take on that off-puttingly portentous Very Special Episode stink, never once does it buckle under its own self-conscious worthiness. It is curious and empathetic and light-footed, and it blends with every other episode seamlessly.

Nor was Adventure Time stuck in the weird stasis that cripples most other animated programmes. Rather than follow the lead of The Simpsons – a show where a 10-year-old has been a 10-year-old for nearly 30 years – the characters of Adventure Time have all grown up with the show. Finn the Human, Adventure Time’s main character, was 12 at the time of the first episode. By yesterday’s finale he stood right on the cusp of adulthood, still voiced by the same person. Jeremy Shada has gone through puberty voicing Finn, and you have been able to hear his voice deepen with every passing year.

This was reflected in Finn’s character, too. Physically, he is ganglier than he was, but emotionally, he has gone through the wringer; we have seen him leave the warm hug of childhood and be confronted by the cold, hard light of adolescence, smashing into every painful notch along the way.

Adventure Time: Finn’s evolution

It was never hard to watch, but the show’s emotional complexity never made it particularly easy. To watch it back as an adult is to dredge up all the weird feelings of inarticulate alienation and confusion that you have long put behind you, so God knows how it must have felt to actually grow up alongside Finn. I suspect we will find out quickly enough; I wouldn’t be surprised if, as with Harry Potter, an entire generation of young adults will soon unfurl their devotion to Adventure Time, swearing their loyalty to the characters that helped them through a difficult time.

Now it’s over, it is easy to look at Adventure Time as a whole and see that it was a work of almost unparalleled artistic expression. And it was a cartoon. A cartoon about a dog, for crying out loud. This isn’t how things are supposed to work.

But it isn’t dead. Not really. The show has already produced a slew of heirs, including the equally inventive Steven Universe, whose creator Rebecca Sugar worked on Adventure Time; Over the Garden Wall’s Patrick McHale was creative director on Adventure Time for a spell. Soon its fanatics will have kids of their own, and they are bound to pass down Adventure Time like a beloved possession. Long may it continue. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Typhoon Jebi: thousands stranded at island airport in Japan


Powered by article titled “Typhoon Jebi: thousands stranded at island airport in Japan” was written by Justin McCurry in Tokyo, for on Wednesday 5th September 2018 09.17 Asia/Kolkata

Thousands of air passengers in Japan have spent the night stranded in an island airport as Typhoon Jebi created havoc that has led to at least nine deaths, dozens of injuries and evacuation advisories for more than a million people.

An estimated 3,000 people were trapped at the terminal of Kansai international airport, which stands on a manmade island in Osaka Bay, as the typhoon barrelled across large parts of western Japan.

Their flights cancelled and with seawater flooding the runway outside, all the passengers could do was sit and wait until they could leave safely. That moment came on Wednesday morning, when high-speed boats began transferring passengers to nearby Kobe airport.

“This storm is super strong. I hope I can get home,” a female tourist from Hong Kong told the public broadcaster NHK as the storm swirled overhead on Tuesday evening.

Another woman who was among the first to be taken off the airport island said she and other passengers spent a sweltering night in the terminal after its airconditioning failed. “I never expected a typhoon to do this much damage,” she said.

There was no indication when the airport, which operates more than 400 flights a day, would reopen, but an unnamed industry source told the Yomiuri newspaper it could remain closed for up to a week.

Cars lie piled up a day after powerful Typhoon Jebi hit.
Cars lie piled up a day after powerful Typhoon Jebi hit. Photograph: Jiji Press/EPA

At the other end of a road bridge connecting the airport to the mainland, the Houn Maru, a 2,591-tonne tanker, lurched as waves repeatedly slammed it into the side of the structure. The tanker was damaged, but its 11 crew were unhurt, according to the coast guard.

Unleashing torrential rain and winds of more than 200km/h (125mph), Typhoon Jebi left a trail of destruction as it passed over the western cities of Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto before heading into the Sea of Japan late on Tuesday.

Television networks showed dramatic live images of waves crashing over sea defences, roof panels being dislodged and blown away by the wind, and high-sided vehicles being lifted on to two wheels and toppling over.

In central Osaka, the wind sent a 100-metre-tall ferris wheel into a furious spin, even though its power had been cut off. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” an onlooker told the public broadcaster NHK.

At the height of the storm, evacuation advisories were issued for more than a million people, according to the fire and disaster management agency, while 16,000 people spent the night in shelters across 20 prefectures, Jiji Press reported.

About 10cm of rain fell on one part of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, in an hour. Several people were injured at Kyoto Station when part of a glass ceiling collapsed.

The typhoon brought widespread disruption to air and rail travel. Almost 800 domestic and international flights were cancelled, along with scores of ferry and train services, the public broadcaster NHK said. Bullet train services between Tokyo and Hiroshima were suspended – but resumed on Wednesday morning – while schools and factories were closed for the day.

More than 1.6m households remained without power in Osaka, Kyoto and four nearby prefectures late on Tuesday, according to Kansai Electric Power.

On Wednesday morning, details emerged of some of the casualties, including a 71-year-old man whose body was found beneath a collapsed warehouse. Another man in his 70s apparently died after falling from the roof of his house, NHK said, adding that more than more than160 people had suffered mostly minor injuries.


Typhoons are fairly common in Japan at this time of year, although they rarely cause serious damage. Jebi’s arrival followed a summer of extreme weather in the country, including floods and landslides in July in which more than 200 people died, and a record-breaking heatwave that killed dozens of people and sent tens of thousands to hospital.

Agencies contributed to this report © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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