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India set England 521 to win third Test on day three – live!

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “India set England 521 to win third Test on day three – live!” was written by Daniel Harris (earlier) and Rob Smyth (now), for theguardian.com on Monday 20th August 2018 22.31 Asia/Kolkata

2nd over: England 3-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 3) I’ve been digging a bit on Statsguru re: Phil Hawkes’ question below. In the last five years, England have bowled first and conceded 200 or more, never mind 300, in 23 Tests. Their record in those games is sadly abysmal: W2 D3 L18.

Meanwhile, Ishant Sharma goes straight around the wicket to Keaton Jennings, who is beaten by a monstrous delivery that angles in and straightens past the edge.

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1st over: England 0-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 0) Jasprit Bumrah opens the bowling to Alastair Cook, who pushes at a good delivery and is beaten. A maiden. India have a bizarre slip cordon, with first slip standing almost behind second slip. “I’ve never seen that before,” says Beefy on Sky Sports.

“When was the last time England won when the other team batted first and got over 300?” asks Phil Hawkes. “In recent times, as soon as the team batting first gets anywhere near a respectable total, the England batting just seems to fold. When the total is titchy, they come out all gung-ho and set about it.”

It’s only happened once since 2012, when Joe Root made that immense – and very aggressive – hundred at Johannesburg in 2016. But they are deadly when the opposition bat first and are bowled out for 60.

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England have nine overs to survive tonight, although India could claim the extra half hour.

INDIA HAVE DECLARED

110th over: India 352-7 dec (Pandya 52, Ashwin 1) Virat Kohli has put England out of their misery – well, the first part of their misery. They now need to bat two and a bit days to draw the match, or score 521 to win it.

WICKET! India 349-7 (Shami c Cook b Rashid 3)

Pandya reaches an entertaining run-a-ball fifty, his fourth in Tests, and then Shami slogs Rashid to cow corner. India are going to continue batting, for reasons that are not entirely or even partially clear.

109th over: India 344-6 (Pandya 45, Shami 3) FOR THE LOVE OF TOM’S DINER BY SUZANNE VEGA PLEASE DECLARE.

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108th over: India 339-6 (Pandya 44, Shami 1) Shami has been promoted up the order, which suggests Ashwin is still not fully fit. Meanwhile, Pandya swipes Rashid for a huge six over long on, the first of the innings. That takes the lead past 500, but there’s still no sign of a declaration.

“On the advice of an OBO-er earlier in the proceedings, I shelled out for Penguins Stop Play for my Kindle,” says Roger. “Laughed out loud by page two. Others might find it a welcome distraction during these difficult times.”

Oh yes, it’s a brilliant book, although after today’s play I’m in the mood for the relative frivolity of War and Peace.

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WICKET! India 329-6 (Rahane b Rashid 29)

Rashid gets another Test wicket, slipping a googly past Rahane’s outside edge and onto off stump.

107th over: India 329-5 (Rahane 29, Pandya 35) Stuart Broad replaces Ben Stokes and is belted for consecutive fours by Pandya, who has raced past his partner Rahane’s score. India lead by 497.

106th over: India 321-5 (Rahane 29, Pandya 27) Stokes is struggling with what looks like a knee problem. “If he was at Newmarket,” says Mikey Holding on Sky, “I wouldn’t be backing him.”

105th over: India 318-5 (Rahane 28, Pandya 25) A wide half-volley from the weary the weary Stokes is screamed over extra cover for four by Pandya, who is having a great time. This match might be a significant breakthrough in his Test career. Or it might not!

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104th over: India 313-5 (Rahane 28, Pandya 20) I assume/hope/pray Virat Kohli will declare when the lead gets to 500, but perhaps he’ll choose the old Allan Border approach of batting on and and on and on until a weary opposition barely has the will to live, never mind save a Test match. The lead is 481.

103rd over: India 310-5 (Rahane 28, Pandya 17) Rahane is beaten by an unplayable seaming lifter from Stokes. The ball has done plenty today, and it’ll do even more when England bat. That’s drinks.

“Just cannot believe all the negativity,” sniffs Tom Adam. “It’s all set up for Cooky’s glorious return to form with a majestic Daddy 200 over six sessions, plus the fairy tale of His Holiness’s maiden ton and a redemptive reincarnation of Stokes as the new Brigadier Block. Or it might rain for two days. Keep the faith, Rob!”

With India’s lead pushing 500, this is no time for banter.

102nd over: India 308-5 (Rahane 27, Pandya 16) An unpicked googly from Rashid almost gets through Rahane, and then Pandya blasts a spectacular four over wide mid off.

“Dear Rob and all other doom-mongers out there,” says Jonathan McCauley-Oliver. “Picture, if you will, the scene at half time during the Allies v Germany match in what can only be described as THE BEST FILM EVER – Escape to Victory. Having been on the wrong end of a first half drubbing, at one point 4-0 down, the Allies pulled one back just before the whistle which then led to a heated discussion in the dressing room as to whether to escape down the tunnel (helpfully dug by the French resistance) as was the original plan or go back out and try to win the match. If the OBOers are willing to face down the fervent exhortations of silver screen giants such as Bobby Moore, Russell Osman, Mike Summerbee, John Wark, and (lump in throat time), Pele then so be it. But we can win this. I’m off for a lie down.”

I’ll wake you up when India declare with a 12-0 half-time lead.

101st over: India 303-5 (Rahane 26, Pandya 12) A piece of filth from Stokes is slapped through the covers for four by Rahane to bring up the 300. England are taking one hell of a beating in this match. That said, there have been one or two more soul-crushing OBOs.

100th over: India 298-5 (Rahane 21, Pandya 12) Adil Rashid replaces the luckless Chris Woakes (22-4-49-1), and is dragged over midwicket for two by Rahane. The lead is 466, and I’ll wake you up when India declare.

99th over: India 295-5 (Rahane 18, Pandya 12) Ben Stokes replaces Jimmy Anderson and starts with a wide. Great stuff. Everyone is waiting for India to declare but there’s no sign of it, or of any declaration batting. Rahane has 19 from 69 balls.

98th over: India 292-5 (Rahane 18, Pandya 10) Woakes has bowled some superb outswingers today and produces another to beat Pandya, who then carts a short ball just short of the substitute Jack Blatherwick at third man.

“Considering we’re cartwheeling into abject humiliation (oh, that warm, comforting 1990s jacket), permission to say I’m pretty happy with India actually putting up a fight here, and not just Kohli’s superhuman skills being the reason?” says Guy Hornsby. “I love annihilation as much as the best man, but a whitewash here would’ve really been laughably unrepresentative of where this team really is. It’s funny how hot we can blow, only to collapse like an 18-year old in freshers’ week. ‘Twas ever thus.”

97th over: India 291-5 (Rahane 18, Pandya 9) Pandya improves Anderson’s mood some more by smacking two boundaries, one either side of the wicket. India lead by 459.

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96th over: India 282-5 (Rahane 18, Pandya 0) Woakes beats Rahane with a beautiful outswinger from wide on the crease. If the weather is like this tomorrow, England will do well to make 200.

“Surely time for the part timers…” says Charles Sheldrick. “I know the Yarksher brigade will say give them nothing, be miserly, bowl maidens, but to be fair on Anderson and Broad they can’t go on for ever, the runs are irrelevant, we won’t get them but the last thing we need is one of the to get an injury….”

Yes I agree. It’s not injury that would worry me so much as cumulative fatigue.

95th over: India 282-5 (Rahane 18, Pandya 0) “Rob, you have made a couple of observations over the years,” says Digvijay Yadav. “First was at Edgbaston 2015 when in the second innings you said that if Smith scored a hundred he’d make a lot of people eat cake. Does that apply here as well? And second was at Perth 2017, when you suggested that Smith was the best batsman in the world and the only people who disagreed were Indians. Does that still hold true?”

Yes and no. I think this series, and the two in South Africa earlier this year, put Kohli above Smith. During the 2017 Perth Test I just wasn’t able to see the future, and I accept full responsibility for that.

WICKET! India 282-5 (Pant c Cook b Anderson 1)

Jimmy Anderson finally has his first wicket of the inning s, and you should see the smile on his face . Pant pushes tentatively at a fine delivery and edges it straight to first slip, where Cook takes a comfortable catch. Anderson acknowledges the wicket with a few hard-faced high-fives.

Anderson after taking Pant for five.
Anderson after taking Pant for five. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

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94th over: India 282-4 (Rahane 18, Pant 1) The next hour could be fun: Rishabh Pant is the new batsman.

“As a purist I find Kohli’s technical brilliance quite unruly,” says Abhijato Sensarma. “He is tampering with the fate of the game – how can a person single-handedly reignite the passion many fans had seemingly lost for the longest format of the game? Many people might point out that he and I are on the same side of the fight for Test cricket’s development in the modern era, but they will be disillusioned. I would quite like to see how he explains the footage of his near flawless application of mind on the pitch in the press conference. He needs to apologise. And then face the two year ban he deserves!”

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WICKET! India 281-4 (Kohli LBW b Woakes 103)

Virat Kohli falls LBW to Chris Woakes. It was a similar dismissal to the one in the second innings at Edbgaston, as he played across the line of a delivery that was angled in from wider on the crease. Kohli reviewed but replays showed it was hitting the outside of leg stump. He walks off to a standing ovation from both sets of supporters, appropriate recognition of a preposterous genius.

Kohli is applauded as he leaves the field after being bowled lbw by Woakes for 103.
Kohli is applauded as he leaves the field after being bowled lbw by Woakes for 103. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

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93rd over: India 279-3 (Kohli 102, Rahane 17) A maiden from Anderson to Rahane. Anderson’s last 16 overs have gone for only 25 runs.

“If you were India,” says Richard O’Hagan, intriguingly assuming I’m not, “and you knew you had this Test as good as won, wouldn’t you be tempted to bat on until around lunch tomorrow? Most of your batsmen have spent little time in the middle these past few weeks and now seems an ideal time to knock off a few stress-free runs, especially for the newer players like Pandya and Pant.”

I’d definitely bat on, if only to enjoy the comedy of Jimmy’s meltdown.

VIRAT KOHLI GETS HIS 23rd TEST HUNDRED!

92nd over: India 279-3 (Kohli 102, Rahane 17) Kohli softens his hands to edge Woakes to third man for four and reach another immense hundred. After the misery of 2014, this series was always likely to settle his legacy one way or another; it has confirmed him as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket.

Kohli celebrates his 23rd test century.
Kohli celebrates his 23rd test century. Photograph: Matt West/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

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91st over: India 275-3 (Kohli 98, Rahane 17) Oh my goodness. Kohli edges Anderson straight through Jennings in a wide slip position. He must have lost sight of the ball because he didn’t even lay a hand on it. Anderson finds Kohli’s edge again with the next delivery, which lands just short of Cook at first slip. Anderson looks like he wants to chin someone, or everyone.

“Having recently been persuaded again that cricket is an exciting sport and well worth watching, albeit via the Guardian commentary due to living in France, the England collapse is staggering,” says Grahame Pigney. “Perhaps it has something to do with a monumental managerial faux-pas in messing with the team dynamic in order to accommodate a ‘star player’. Stokes enforced absence was a motivational factor for the team in the last Test, the same perhaps cannot be said for changing the line up to accommodate his return.”

There are many reasons why England have made a complete Horlicks of this match, but selecting Ben Stokes is not one of them. (In my opinion, etc.) And if it wasn’t for Stokes, they would be about to go 2-1 down in the series. (In my opinion, etc.)

90th over: India 270-3 (Kohli 93, Rahane 17) Chris Woakes comes into the attack after tea. He looks thrilled to be asked to bowl in these circumstances. England are 2-0 up, yet their faces suggest they are 4-0 down. Test cricket > everything else, ever.

“Kudos to David Jameson (88th over) for identifying the source of the ‘Jet’ Morgan nickname,” says Brian Withington. “The year of the great Chemistry lab evacuation at the Royal Liberty (Gidea Park) was in fact 1970 (my first). Our heroic master of the quick getaway had been in post for at least twenty years (possibly fifty!) and would already have been sufficiently long in the tooth by the 50s for the name to appeal ironically and be passed on to future generations with no knowledge of its origin.”

“Dear Rob,” says Robert Wilson. “Given Kohli’s one-man mission to destroy all hope and faith, I’ve got a notion for how to stop him. Am I the only one to sense something inexorably anti-Englishabout this cavalier crushing of a nation’s dreams? His grinding run-greed is faintly supremacist. His two hundreds per week dominance smacks of intolerance. And hey, lest you think that trying to get some random accusations of prejudice sounds pretty desperate, can I point out two things? First, work with what you got and secondly, nothing else seems to be working. Plus, we all know that being really, really good is tantamount to cheating.”

In the context of modern Test batsmanship, Kohli’s discipline, patience and technical excellence surely bring the game into disrepute. Two-year ban please!

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Tea: India lead by 438 runs

89th over: India 270-3 (Kohli 93, Rahane 17) This is a nice move from Joe Root: Adil Rashid comes on just before tea to see if he can tempt Virat Kohli into a rash shot. He can’t, it’s a maiden, and that’s tea. You’re welcome!

“If you’re in the mood for a wager, don’t bother with REDRUM because he’s dead and buried,” writes John Starbuck. “Instead, Graeme Swann is 25/1 to win Strictly Come Dancing. Or you could probably gamble on when the next century happens – it can’t be far off now.”

88th over: India 270-3 (Kohli 93, Rahane 17) A maiden from Broad to Rahane. Anderson is now picking some stuff off the sole of his boot. He’s got a monumental cob on! He isn’t going round shouting or anything, but has the facial expression of a man who’s favourite rug has just been micturated upon for the fourth time this week. His internal monologue for the last hour is the best comedy we’ll never hear.

“The chemistry teacher known as Jet almost certainly got his nickname from the leading character in the BBC 1950s radio series Journey into Space,” says David Jameson. “You have to be well into your 70s to remember listening to it.”

Or to forget listening to it.

87th over: India 270-3 (Kohli 93, Rahane 17) The puss on Jimmy Anderson! You can’t blame him, really. I still can’t believe the batsmen gave him only 38.2 overs’ rest. Kohli, who still hasn’t been dismissed by Anderson in this series, flicks crisply through midwicket for four to move into the nineties.

86th over: India 264-3 (Kohli 87, Rahane 17) Rahane is beaten, chasing a wide one from his nemesis Broad, and then flicks a boundary to fine leg. Rahane’s return to form really was fundamental to India’s legendaray 3-2 series win.

“Is it time to start taking bets on how many wickets down England will be before the close?” says Tom Van der Gucht. “My money is either on four, or for them to be all out. Although I’d wager a couple of outside tenners on Kohli batting on and smashing out a triple century before declaring after lunch tomorrow – again, England will be all out by the close of play if that happens.”

My money is on REDRUM.

85th over: India 260-3 (Kohli 87, Rahane 13) Kohli reaches for an Anderson outswinger and inside edges it back onto the pad. Nasser Hussain thinks India might bat on until tomorrow. You can understand why: the forecast is good and the pitch is already showing signs of uneven bounce, so India obliterate England by 400 runs or so.

84th over: India 258-3 (Kohli 85, Rahane 13) A lifting inswinger from Broad hits Rahane on the glove. It looked painful but he seems fine. Just one from the over. India are in the lovely position of being able to extinguish England however and whenever they want. ifting inswinger from Broad hits Rahane on the glove. It looked painful but he seems fine. Just one from the over. India are in the lovely position of being able to extinguish England however and whenever they want.

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83rd over: India 257-3 (Kohli 84, Rahane 13) A quiet over from Anderson to Kohli. India are in no hurry. There are two and a half days left, and they’re probably happy to let Anderson bowl more overs. There’s a slight break before the next Test, which starts a week on Thursday, but I still don’t really see the point of giving Anderson more work.

82nd over: India 256-3 (Kohli 83, Rahane 13) Now Jimmy is moaning at the other umpire, Marais Erasmus. “He’ll be talking to the match referee in a minute if he keeps this up,” says David Gower on Sky Sports. This has been a miserable day for England, who have to complete the formality of being absolutely stuffed. Trevor Bayliss should be allowed to throw a towel onto the field.

81st over: India 255-3 (Kohli 82, Rahane 13) England do take the new ball at the first opportunity. I don’t really understand that decision, but then I don’t really understand cognitive dissonance and that seems to be doing okay.

James Anderson is unhappy with the new ball and wants it changed before a ball has been bowled. “I didn’t pick this one,” says Anderson to Chris Gaffaney, who tells him to use it anyway. Anderson’s grumpometer is zinging furiously. And though a couple of deliveries swing nicely outside off stump, he has another moan to the umpire at the end of the over.

“Rob,” says Brian Withington. “Catching up on the various tales from the Chemistry lab, I recall our truly ancient teacher of Welsh origin, who was ironically called ‘Jet’ Morgan. His favourite catch phrase was to exclaim ‘Sit down and get out!’ whenever flustered by innocent student exuberance.

“During one memorable practical there was a sudden sheet of flame from Bunsen tip to ceiling in the middle row. Those scallywags at the back of the classroom bolted to the rear door that was, of course, bolted, creating the mother of desperate melees. Those of us more fortunately located at the front (aka swots) rushed to the front door, but none as quickly as “Jet” who lived up to his name in escaping down the corridor without a backwards glance. Happy days.”

80th over: India 254-3 (Kohli 81, Rahane 13) Rahane flicks the new bowler Root through midwicket for four. The new ball is due, and if England take it I’ll be ever so displeased.

“My six-a-side football team were called ‘Bar Stool Owner’,” says Ben Williams. “Our attack was a bit wooden…”

And you glassed anyone who got in your way?

Rahane flicks Root for four.
Rahane flicks Root for four. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

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79th over: India 250-3 (Kohli 81, Rahane 9) Rashid continues, and will hopefully bowl for the rest of the innings. No point putting unnecessary overs in the legs of the seamers. Kohli tries to flash a flighted wide delivery which beats the bat and turns straight into the hands of Stokes at slip. India lead by 418.

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Light relief

England fans need cheering up right now, so thanks to Richard Marsden for this comic gem from Aggers and Johnners. (No, not that one.)

“There’s so much great stuff in there,” says Richard. “Aggers’ laugh and strangled ‘Berkshire’; Johnners’ valiant attempt to take the sting out of the joke beforehand; a full 16 seconds of dead air punctuated by strange muffled knocking noises; Trevor Bailey all censorious, taking over like a man who’s just walked back into the wrong film after going to the bog at the cinema; Aggers’ final ‘you’ve dropped your letter Brian’. It’s a delight.”

78th over: India 249-3 (Kohli 81, Rahane 8) A half volley from Stokes is pinged sweetly through extra cover for four by Kohli. He doesn’t want to win this game; he wants to marmalise England with the fourth Test at the Ageas Bowl in mind. And what Virat wants, Virat usually gets.

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77th over: India 243-3 (Kohli 76, Rahane 7) Thanks Daniel, hello everyone. Virat Kohli is so good that he can simultaneously put his foot on England’s throat while grinding their face into the dirt. He whips Rashid through midwicket for four, a majestic stroke, to move closer to the inevitable century.

“Is it too early to start debating who will replace YJB for the next Test?” says Richard O’Hagan. “The scrunched scheduling of this series gives him little time to recover. If we assume that Buttler will take the gloves, it can be a specialist batsman, but who?”

I don’t care who it is so long as they have a forward defensive.

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Anyway, that’s halfway in the day, halfway in the match and halfway in the series; RA Smyth is now flexing and swinging his fingers, and he’ll take you through the rest of the day – please email him on rob.smyth@theguardian.com.

76th over: India 236-3 (Kohli 71, Rahane 5) There’s a pause before Stokes’ latest over for the ball to be dried, then Rahane takes a single and Kohli thighs four byes to take the lead beyond 400. Sanga and Athers are wondering why England haven’t tried any short stuff – perhaps they can’t be arsed because why expend the effort? – and then Kohli adds one to point.

“Rapid faecal incontinence?” tweets Bill Hargreaves. “Is that the new team in Vienna?”

They’ve just been knocked out of the Europa League qualifying by Sporting Declaration. I once played for a team called Rapid Banta; anyone got anything worse than that?

75th over: India 230-3 (Kohli 70, Rahane 4) Kohli chases a wide one from Rashid and toes it, so Stokes reminds him of how he got out first innings. Great thoughts. Kohli takes one to deep square, then Rahane nurdles a googly into the pad and Cook, now at deep square, fumbles so they take two.

74th over: India 226-3 (Kohli 69, Rahane 1) It’s raining at Trent Bridge as Stokes begins again, and Kohli, who is seeking another ton, flicks him to deep square for a single. It’s the only run off the over, as we see the Masai in the crowd, looking cold.

“We didn’t have any chemistry explosions at school,” confesses Steve Hudson, “but the kinds of hazardous chemicals that were handed around for us to sniff would these days be banned under not only Health & Safety, but the Geneva Convention too (this was the 70s). I remember we often used phenolphthalein as a pH indicator, which wouldn’t happen now, given its carcinogenic effects, and its tendency to induce rapid faecal incontinence if ingested.”

Might England’s batsmen have been using this, do you think?

 

73rd over: India 225-3 (Kohli 68, Rahane 1) Sanga reckons India will want 45 minutes’ bowling tonight, but might hang on for more runs if Ashwin isn’t going to bowl. Er, have India seen England bat? maiden for Rashid.

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72nd over: India 225-3 (Kohli 68, Rahane 1) That was a decent innings from Pujara, not so much in the context of this match which was near enough over before it started, but in terms of playing him into form for what’s coming next. I’m wishing my life away, but I already can’t wait for the next Test. Rahane has work to do though, and gets off the mark with a a turn to fine leg.

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WICKET! Pujara c Cook b Stokes 72 (India 224-3)

England hold a slip catch! Stokes draws Pujara forward outside off, his rhubarb follows it as though magnetised, and Cook takes the snaffle easily enough. The lead is a mere 392.

Stokes celebrates taking Pujara for 72.
Stokes celebrates taking Pujara for 72. Photograph: Matt West/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

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72nd over: India 223-2 (Pujara 72, Kohli 67) Stokes into the attack. As it were.

71st over: India 223-2 (Pujara 72, Kohli 67) With Rashid going straighter, Pujara hops back and crashes him to midwicket for four. These are the only runs from the over.

70th over: India 218-2 (Pujara 68, Kohli 66) After a single to Pujara, Kohli sees Woakes’ inswinger coming and guides it past mid on for three, then Pujara edges an outswinger which he goes at hard, edging … and falling short of backward point. Obviously.

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69th over: India 214-2 (Pujara 67, Kohli 63) How many are India going to set England to win? They should go for a thousand, I reckon, and Kohli takes a single to raise the hunnert partnership. Athers notes that he’s now picking Rashid’s googly out of the hand, so maybe he should try bowling like Bedi. Three more singles follow, as Sanga tells us he’s sure Bairstow will be able to bat – the fracture is a small one – but how well we can’t be sure. Boom boom! Wahey!

68th over: India 210-2 (Pujara 65, Kohli 61) Woakes spirits one through Pujara and it catches something! But no one is quite sure what, so although there’s an appeal, there’s neither finger nor review. There were two noises, pad and elbow maybe, and the ball was going over the stumps; maiden.

Meanwhile, chemistry’s Hugh Maguire is back: “I got away with my flames in chemistry,” he says. “I had been squirting hexane through a Bunsen flame, which gave a nice flamethrower effect and left little puddles of fluid burning for a minute or so and no apparent damage. It looked lovely – a bit like the Ganges in Benares on a calm evening. But upon hearing the teacher’s footsteps I realised that this situation was not going to be greeted with Vedic chants but a more Christian response such as described in over 54. I threw my jacket over the flames sliding across the desk and dropping onto the floor below where more flamelets were dancing and luckily extinguished the lot. The teacher arrived, helpfully picked up my jacket for me with an uncharacteristically indulgent look and strolled up to the front of the class.

67th over: India 210-2 (Pujara 65, Kohli 61) Pujara drives one to cover, the only run from the over; Rashid is getting into a rhythm. Will Kohli try and clump him off it?

“Could this be the end of the ‘we’ll have a bowl’ experiment? asks Alex Roberts. “I imagine it has crossed captain Root’s mind since Saturday.”

Ha, yes – I can see why he put India in to maintain pressure, but you can’t expect quality players to keep failing and it was hardly a minefield.

66th over: India 209-2 (Pujara 64, Kohli 61) Kohli takes two to cover and then there’s a noise as he pushes at Woakes, and those in front of the wicket think it’s out but those behind do not … it was bat into pad. Ah – Bairstow has a fracture, we learn – we’re not told what that means in practical terms, but it’s the index finger of his left hand, which isn’t going to make batting easy.

65th over: India 205-2 (Pujara 64, Kohli 59) Rashid has a bat-pad man in, but when Pujara lobs one up, he’s not in the vicinity. He then drills one to cover, the only run from the over. The rain has stopped, and none is forecast, so England will have to sort this themselves. Ah ha ha ha ha.

64th over: India 205-2 (Pujara 63, Kohli 58) Kohli soft-hands one towards gully and they run a single, at which point ot starts to rain. Perhaps England have reanimated Choni HaMa’agel. Anyway, Pujara takes a further single, but there’s not much doing overhead – England need to daven harder.

63rd over: India 203-2 (Pujara 62, Kohli 57) It’s going to be a busy afternoon for Rashid if he had keep things tight, but after Kohli takes a single to mid on, Pujara hops down and forces a pull for four in front of square.

62nd over: India 199-2 (Pujara 58, Kohli 56) Woakes will have a shy from the other end as we cut to Poor Jonny Bairstow, wrapped up warm and scowling, finger dangling in cold water. That suggests no break, which is good, though doesn’t necessarily mean he’s got a better chance of batting comfortably. Pujara turns one to deep backward square, there, Kohli pushes to wide mid on, and those are the only scoring shots from the over.

61st over: India 196-2 (Pujara 57, Kohli 55) A single apiece sees our batsmen underway, which will, I imagine, be the way of things.

“Not quite the whole floor, but my friends and I did conspire an incendiary white ball of flame during chemistry by setting a metal pencil sharpener on fire,” emails Ben Dorning. “Think it was by directing four clamped Bunsen burners towards the ill-fated block of magnesium, which dropped out of the clamp, burned through a couple of flame proof mats and created a lunar crater in the surface of the desk beneath. Some trouble ensued. Don’t think I got to watch any cricket as a result but this would have been around 1996, so probably just as well.”

I did not set the whole floor alight, just a section of it. When the teacher arrived on the scene, he asked one of the boys what was going on. “Dunno Sir, a fire came up from the floor.”

The Bradford One will wheel away…

Bairstow is back from hospital, apparently, which is a pretty good advert for NHS waiting times.

Lunchtime email: “Batsmen get good by practice,” says Patrick Phillips. “Where do the English batsmen with their central contracts get experience, iron out faults and gain confidence ? Not just in the nets free of pressure and not by playing teams absent England’s supposed best bowlers.

Do away with central contracts have a revised County Championship programme with one Division and each playing each other but over two days only, 120 overs a day, with penalties for non-compliance. Have two major internal matches to replace the old Gents v Players: one England vs Not Yet Selected and one North v South. Reduce Test to four days minimum 105 overs a day and assessed per session.

I don’t understand how a fastbowler can still be bowling fast well into his 30s. Who is the last to have done so? England has often lacked genuine fast bowlers – most are at best fast medium. I recall Loader being selected for Australia having scarcely played more than a handful of county matches. Tyson too. Great effort should be made to recruit fast bowlers and dry pitches prepared to assist them. We can’t do much about when it rains but that’s not as often as people claim.”

I don’t know – England were pretty good at batting not that long ago, and all those who perpetrated good batting were centrally contracted. Flat tracks in the county game might help, but it’s easier said than done.

Right then, off we go again…

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So there we go – India will have enjoyed that, watching England charge in to zero avail. England bowled well, but Jos Buttler dropped the one chance they made, and they’ve an acrylic afternoon waiting for them on the other side of the break.

60th over: India 194-2 (Pujara 56, Kohli 53) The batsmen exchange singles, Pujara behind square on the leg side and Kohli to midwicket, and that’s lunch.

re: Over 54,” emails Scott Poynting, “when a Sunday school teacher used to do that, my Mum called it ‘bible bashing’.”

Paging Roger Mellie and his Profanisaurus…

The players leave the field for the lunch interval.
The players leave the field for the lunch interval. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

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59th over: India 192-2 (Pujara 55, Kohli 53) Rashid pushes a slider through and Pujara presses forward anticipating turn. There is not, so takes the ball on the pad but outside the line, and when it cannons the bat he’s relieved to see it pass off stump – just. Pujara then edges a single to leg, Kohli allows two behind square on the off side, and we might just have time for one more over before food.

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58th over: India 189-2 (Pujara 54, Kohli 51) Joe Root will have his first bowl of the summer, which tells you plenty about how teams have batted against England. And, I guess, how well England have bowled. Anyway, Root is milked for three singles.

57th over: India 186-2 (Pujara 52, Kohli 50) Rashid has bowled pretty well without threatening much, and cedes just a single from this latest over – to Pujara, who heaves towards cover.

56th over: India 185-2 (Pujara 51, Kohli 50) Sangakkara reckons Buttler not Bairstow should be keeping, and that seems right to me – Buttler is a bonus batsman and Bairstow is one to rely on, but he doesn’t play that way. Sure, they don’t want to wind him up by taking the gloves off him, but that’s captaincy and that’s sport. Sanga also reckons Rory Burns could do a job as an opener, and as a Peaky Blinders extra. Maiden.

“Student attempts at arson are one thing; misguided attempts at pedagogy are quite another,” emails Edmund King. “My most abiding memory of fifth-form chemistry is a moment in the dying moments of one lesson, sometime in the eternal 90s. We’d been making hydrogen and my teacher noted casually that he’d made some oxygen with another class earlier in the day and that ‘he’d always wanted to do this.’ I was packing my bag and preparing to leave when there was a massive explosion and heat flash and I lost my hearing for about 5 seconds. When the roaring subsided I could hear my classmates cheering our now sheepishly smiling master, as pieces of his shredded lesson plan wafted about the room and teachers from adjoining classrooms ducked their heads in the door to confirm that we were all still alive. My teacher’s name was Mr Fear. I do wonder what he is doing now.”

rory burns
“Tommmmmmaaaaaaaaay!” Photograph: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

55th over: India 185-2 (Pujara 51, Kohli 50) After one to Pujara, there’s Kohli’s 50, earned via single to cover. He is so ridiculously good, rinsing this series and its apparently difficult conditions just as he rinses everything else.

Kohli celebrates his half century with Pujara.
Kohli celebrates his half century with Pujara. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

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54th over: India 183-2 (Pujara 50, Kohli 49) There’s not much going on here now, but after two and one to Kohli, Pujara turns a single to deep backward square and that’s his fifty. If he and Rahane are in form, the rest of this series is set up.

“My father always used to tell the story of a pupil not paying attention in an (a?) R.E. lesson, was discovered day-dreaming and was beaten about the head with a copy of the bible in time with the immortal words ‘God is love’ reverberating through his brain. Education, huh?”

Now that’s irony.

Pujara celebrates his half century.
Pujara celebrates his half century. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

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53rd over: India 179-2 (Pujara 49, Kohli 46) It’s that time again: England are complaining about the ball. The umpires check – does that thing through which it is passed have a name? A sphereguage? – and it turns out to have been fine all along. Rashid delivers three dots, then Pujara takes a single into the covers and Kohli cuts three to backward point. The runs aren’t coming easily, but they’re coming.

52nd over: India 175-2 (Pujara 48, Kohli 43) Expecting a bouncer, Kohli chases a wide one and misses, then makes up for it shortly afterwards with a flowing push through cover. He’s quite good at cricket, it turns out, and add two more with a squarer push then four more with an inside edge. Naturally, Stuart Broad shakes his hand in congratulation, then collapses in mirth at the hilarity of it all.

51st over: India 165-2 (Pujara 48, Kohli 33) Rashid into the attack and it’s his bunny on strike, so he starts with a googly that Kohli sends to backward square for one. Then, after three decent dots, Pujara takes the width offered and cuts four.

“The non-sports section of the Guardian carried the story about Mitcham cricket club today,” emails Simon Levine, “at 333 n.o., the cricket green is the oldest in the world to have continuous cricket right up to today. Haroon Siddique’s article explained how the club’s existence is under threat from developers, who bought the leasehold on (under?) the cricket pavilion. Could I use your good offices, please, to advertise the Big Weekend at Mitcham Cricket Club on 8-9th September to all cricket-loving folk who want to come down and show support to the club? There’s a heritage open day on Saturday, comedy on the green on Saturday evening, and a game with the Lashing’s World X1 and a Celebrity X1 on Sunday 9th. www.mitchamcricketclub.org for details and see all you OBO-ers there!”

And here’s the piece:

50th over: India 160-2 (Pujara 44, Kohli 32) What do I know – the ball was trimming the middle and leg bail. Anyway, Kohli nurdles a single into the leg side, then Pujara has two to midwicket.

“As a teacher, all these tales of school-based arson aren’t making me feel any better about going to work today,” emails Mac Millings. “In fact, it’s my first day back after a long summer of preventing my own kids from tearing each other apart.Most memorable moment? 6-y-o daughter standing over her fallen 13-y-o brother, screaming, ‘That’s what you GET!’”

At least you raised them to like Radiohead.

50th over: India 157-2 (Pujara 42, Kohli 31) … it may have been, but we don’t even check because there was an inside edge.

50th over: India 157-2 (Pujara 42, Kohli 31) Broad cracks Kohli on the pad … not out … looked like it was going down to me … and England review…

Broad appeals for an lbw against Kohli.
Broad appeals for an lbw against Kohli. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

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49th over: India 157-2 (Pujara 42, Kohli 31) Kohli takes two via cover-drive, then forces what I suppose is a square cut through backward point for four. Bairstow is going for an x-ray, the ECB have tweeted – he looked in all sorts.

48th over: India 150-2 (Pujara 42, Kohli 24) Another maiden, this time for Broad. Thus are overs forced into legs.

“On the subject of Anderson’s brilliance, I’m convinced he doesn’t get nearly as many wickets as he deserves because the weakness of other bowlers allows batsmen to just try to survive and see him off,” reckons David Murray. “So many of England’s wickets by lesser bowlers are due to the pressure he creates and batsmen relaxing or trying to score when he goes off: Ali and Stokes particularly have got heaps of wickets with poor balls but you hardly ever see Anderson get a wicket with a poor ball.”

Stokes strikes me as that Botham-type character for whom things just happen, and the wickets at the other end was also a big perk of having Flintoff or Morkel in your team. They didn’t always attack the stumps, but they were different and brilliant to the brilliance at the other end.

47th over: India 150-2 (Pujara 42, Kohli 24) Two singles off the over. England are bowling pretty well here, but in so doing they’re ensuring that they’ll need to do so for longer. That’s pretty funny.

“In my long-ago school days one was not suspended one was beaten, by all manner of instrument, canes, rulers, rolled scarfs, shoes,” emails Anthony White. “I was once plimsolled by (sir) Norman Fowler, possibly for the dreadful crime of running in a corridor, I forget. But I wonder if this has left me psychologically scarred and averse to voting Tory.”

I just missed corporal punishment, though soft versions of it – the neck-grab, for example – persisted. My old fella had a teacher who would invite miscreants to “Bow your head in shame”. They would, and he would then zetz them over the top of it, with a telephone directory.

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46th over: India 148-2 (Pujara 41, Kohli 23) Anderson will not come back for one more, Broad appearing for his first charge of the morning. Kohli sends his first ball through cover for one, and I’m wondering if England can use Bairstow’s injury to snatch the gloves away and force him to earn his spot as a batsman. That’s nice of me. I hope he’s feeling better. Get well soon. Etcetera etcetera.

“I was suspended until I was charged with affray for running a booze racket at boarding school with supplies shipped in on the community service minibus,” confides Hugh Maguire. “It didn’t allow me to watch any cricket though on my unscheduled return home, as we lived in Holland and terrestrial TV did not include cricket. And look at the Netherlands in the ICC rankings … That’s what Sky will do to us!”

You’re a victim of circumstance!

Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of today’s glorious cricket.

Updated

45th over: India 147-2 (Pujara 41, Kohli 22) Drinks is extended – are extended? – while Buttler replaces Bairstow, who looks fair crook, his left hand covered with his cap so no one can see. Buttler, meanwhile, looks most enthused. Can England maintain pressure? Pujara sees away a maiden, andI wonder if Anderson will come back for one more.

“Amateur,” chides Geoff Saunders. “You weren’t even trying. Back in the day, late 70s, I went on audit to a company in Stoke-on-Trent. They had a warehouse full of lighter fluid containers. A pallet of the stuff fell off the forklift and spilled lighter fluid on the floor. One guy says to the other “I bet I could throw a match on that and it wouldn’t burn”. 2nd guy replies “Don’t be stupid etc etc.” First guy, “No it only burns under pressure.” So they made their bet, and first guy throws a match on the lighter fluid. Biggest fire in Stoke-on-Trent since the war.

I think unintended consequences rather than psychopathy.”

Surely 2nd guy intended precisely those consequences?

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44th over: India 147-2 (Pujara 41, Kohli 22) Excuse me, but I’m just having a moment watching Anderson bowl here. The over itself is unremarkable, but he’s just so ridiculously good, so much of the time; you know what, it’s not exactly how good he is, but how expert he is. Meanwhile, his final delivery shoots away after Pujara leaves it, and diving to stop prevent four, Bairstow clatters his left hand and after treatment has to depart. They take drinks.

“In the interests of teaching OBOers to fish,” emails the heroic Tony George, “tell them to go to bbc.co.uk/sport, click on ‘England v India 3rd Test – Live’ and then on ‘Listen to TMS Overseas’.

I look forward to tomorrow’s requests.

Bairstow leaves the field injured.
Bairstow leaves the field injured. Photograph: Philip Brown/Getty Images

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43rd over: India 145-2 (Pujara 41, Kohli 21) This is turning into a decent passage of play. Stokes beata Pujara with a wide one – suddenly, he doesn’t look settled – then an edge doesn’t carry to Jennings at three. Another maiden, and if England can keep this up – if Anderson can keep going – there’s a wicket in the offing.

“Go on then, I’ll bite,” says Ben Powell. “Only last night, I was ‘regaling’ my sons with the tale of how in the Lower 6th we used to fill syringes (appropriated from the biology lab) with lighter fluid, hold lit Zippos (it was that era, too) in front of them and then fire the plunger down hard to send a short lived jet of fire across the floor of the kitchens at school. But it was not this admittedly stupid teenage prank that saw me and two mates being suspended: that was for being caught in possession of a skeleton key that opened all the internal doors of the school.”

That’s more like it. Though vanity forces me to add that it is only the real men who are still getting suspended in the sixth form (for more general high-spiritedness).

Updated

42nd over: India 145-2 (Pujara 41, Kohli 21) Jimmy Anderson is good at bowling. The cat sat on the mat. His first small canes Kohli on the pad; not out says the umpire, and England don’t review because they rightly apprise an edge. Two balls later, he beats Kohli who plays at one just outside off, and that’s another maiden.

“Interestingly, in Northern Ireland the pronunciations ‘aitch’ and ‘haitch’ are seen as religious identifiers,” tweets Ted O’Hagan, ‘Haitch’ being the Catholic form and ‘Aitch’ the Protestant. All due to segregated education of course.”

Updated

41st over: India 145-2 (Pujara 41, Kohli 21) We learn that Kohli and Cook are among the worst slip fielders in the world, both around 70% of chances taken; Du Plessis is the best at 97%, with Mendis and Holder next. Anyway, neither of these sides are good enough, but in the meantime, Stokes is on and Kohli has a single to backward point, then Pujara is beaten by some away movement off the seam – he plays a loose drive at nothing. Then he adds one to long leg, Kohli takes one more, and here we are.

Hold tight Dave Langlois, who has done the deed.

Michael has beef for Bullon: “When you say ‘And by the way, speaking as a grammar pedant, saying ‘haitch’ instead of ‘aitch’ is nothing to do with grammar, it’s pronunciation – a different field”; That isn’t grammar pedantry either, that is semantic pedantry.”

Updated

40th over: India 142-2 (Pujara 40, Kohli 19) You’ve got to laugh. Pujara fences at one and imparts a chunky enough edge to take the pace off the ball. Buttler, moving to his left at two, doesn’t get down properly so has to go with one hand not two, and the catch is unsnaffled. Maiden.

Does anyone have the TMS YouTube link, please? There are thousands hundreds tens units of OBOers seeking salvation.

39th over: India 142-2 (Pujara 40, Kohli 19) It’s not going well for England, Kohli leaning forward to leading edge four through point. These are the only runs of the over, and the lead is a venerable 310.

“Like James Whitehouse, I have two teenage daughters,” boasts Stephen Bullon. “Well, not quite like JW, just one actually. And he’s a son. Oh, and he left his teenage years behind a decade or so ago. But minor discrepancies aside, he too uses ‘’low that’ and it’s a straightforward refusal to accept something, or an expression of extreme unwillingness to do something. See also the authoritative (well, maybe not up there with OED) Urbandictionary: ‘another way of saying “allow that” which basically means “screw that”, to leave something alone.’

So like ‘nice’, which used to mean horrible, it’s assumed an almost opposite meaning.

And by the way, speaking as a grammar pedant, saying ‘haitch’ instead of ‘aitch’ is nothing to do with grammar, it’s pronunciation – a different field.”

38th over: India 138-2 (Pujara 40, Kohli 15) Anderson slants one into Pujara, who who angles the celery to help it to the midwicket fence. Anderson responds well, of course, bringing his man forward and again defeating the outside edge.

“No offence,” starts David Murray, “but surely setting fire to the floor for a joke IS psychopathic.”

It wasn’t like that, sweardown. We had some lighter fuel and a lighter – it was the era of the Zippo – so were just messing about, lighting ourselves and various objects. There was no intent to damage, only to pass the time of day.

37th over: India 134-2 (Pujara 36, Kohli 15) Woakes has one keep low but Kohli jams down on it, then shives two through cover. I wonder how long England will hold Rashid back – if they wait for Kohli to ensconce, that might be a problem.

Does anyone have the TMS YouTube link for today, please?

36th over: India 132-2 (Pujara 36, Kohli 13) Kohli takes one to long leg, bringing the lead up to 300, the only run of the over.

“It’s ‘aitch”, not “haitch,’ chides Adrian Morris. “Grammar pedants have at it!”

I agree – I was joking, and am currently have to convince my four-year-old that her nursery teachers are wrong. My mum used to work in haitch arr, and would underline the hatich in the name of anyone who spelled it for her using the incorrect diction.

Updated

35th over: India 131-2 (Pujara 36, Kohli 12) Pujara flips two into the on side, the only runs of the over.

“I’ve been using variations on allow since I was about 13/14 (now 23),” emails the disgustingly youthful Harry Borg. “Me and my friends have always used it to refer to something we don’t want to do/happen.”

Is this the real life? Or is this just irony?

34th over: India 129-2 (Pujara 34, Kohli 12) This pitch is starting to agitate, and Anderson finds lift that attacks Pujara’s midsection – he manages to evade, and is then absolute chleansed by one which moves away. He manages to get a single next up, though, as Athers shows us Anderson’s wide grip on the ball – he doesn’t think the ball is moving in the air, so is seeking to bang it into the pitch and let natural variation do the work. And Kohli is then beaten outside off, coming forward; does anyone in the world command their job as well as Jimmy-James?

33rd over: India 128-2 (Pujara 33, Kohli 12) Woakes has the globe at the other end, and after three dots he serves Kohli a straight one which is easily flicked to the fence, but just gently enough to force Anderson into a reluctant chase. I hope he did that on purpose.

“Having two teenage daughters constantly using the term ‘’low that’,” emails James Whitehouse. “Doesn’t it mean you don’t want something to happen or can’t be arsed? Ha, that’s me trying to be cool by watching the OBO at work.”

Cool by watching the OBO? Fonzie has nothing to worry about. As far as I apprise, allow that is something one wants to occur, but it may now has developed into irony.

32nd over: India 124-2 (Pujara 33, Kohli 8) Anderson’s second ball is decent, back of a length and lifting, passing Pujara’s outside edge, and he diddles him for pace a second time two balls later. Shami and Sharma will be taking note, and Athers also reckons the pitch has quickened over the last day. Maiden.

“You may not be aware,” says John Starbuck, our resident OBO historian, “but we’ve had this one before in the OBO, started by someone who sat next to Robin Smith on a train. Just dig that out, with all the associated stories, and today’s OBO topic is sorted.”

Ok, let’s try another: I got to watch Robin Smith’s 167 not out because I was suspended from school for setting the science lab floor on fire – as a joke, not out of psychopathy, I promise. Send in your tales of suspension! Or arson!

Here we go…

Out come the players … before the umpires. Whatever next!

“The cricket ball has its nicknames – ‘cherry’, ‘rock’, and, I’ve learned today, ‘meteorite’, but what about the poor old cricket bat?” asks Mac Millings. “It is, I’ll admit, fuzzily early in my neck of the Deep South, but I can’t think of as many. ‘Willow’. ‘Celery’? Do your thousands of erudite readers (or Phil Sawyer and Ian Copestake) have any suggestions?”

I’m afraid that I invented meteorite just this morning – earlier in the summer I tried a poorly-received riff asking for new synonyms. My guess is that the ball is so honoured because it’s a constant and regularly changed, whereas each batsman has his own celery.

Harbhajan reckons India will bat all day if they can. That would be fairly amusing.

“In light of the Indian resurgence, the best England can hope for would be a drawn series,” reckons John Starbuck. “India win this one and win or draw at the Ageas Bowl, leaving the Oval as the decider. From the general punter’s viewpoint, this has the advantage of a full set of tenterhooks. Unless weather.”

An Oval decider would be great. ’Low that, as people half my age say.

“I used to deliver Eddie Hemmings’ Sunday paper,” emails Richard O’Hagan, “something which I had completely forgotten about until I saw that clip. Funnily enough, he never seemed to be up at seven o’clock on a Sunday morning.”

Who can beat this yarn? I once sat opposite Mike Atherton on a train to Manchester – he assured me that Lanky would win the County Championship and United would win the league. Our survey says…

Email! “I think it was shameful to drop Curran after his very good performances and rush Stokes back. Surely everyone would have been better served for Stokes to wait a little? Earn his reprieve? As it is it turned out to be a very bad decision from a cricket perspective – we missed Curran as a bowler who is different, and provided no variation. Sowing and reaping. Can Stokes look Curran in the eye?”

One thing I think we’ve learned is that Stokes is good looking people in eyes. And I also think he’s earned the right to his spot in the side – he’s been brilliant, he is brilliant. I’d have left out Woakes, though – for the variation, as you say, because I don’t think Woakes is ever going to make it overseas, and though he scored a ton, I think Curran is a better batsman.

I’d like to see Jason Roy given a shy at Test cricket, but whether he can be chucked in at the top of the order I’m less certain – a chill at number five would make most sense. Except there’s no vacancy there and at least he has experience of facing top bowlers with the new meteorite. Otherwise, who is there?

And then there’s Keaton Jennings. I feel bad suggesting it, because who wants to get after a nice lad doing his best, but he just doesn’t seem to have the technique for Test cricket – there’s less a score around the corner, more one at the other end of Hampton Court. Can he survive another failure? How many is Cook allowed? So are England looking for two openers? And who’s next?

Though India are in command of this Test, it oughtn’t be so difficult to see a way for England. They have batsmen with the talent to bat time; the problem is that they have only two batsmen with the application to match, and neither Alastair Cook nor Joe Root look like settling in.

He was named man of the match in the second Test after making his maiden ton, but couldn’t collect the champagne because he was too young.

Oh ok, go on then: here’s 17-year-old Sachin taking a blinder to get rid of Allan Lamb off the bowling of Narendra Hirwani.

Nostalgia corner: those old enough to remember will find this deeply and distinctly unrelieving, but let’s go back to the first Test between these sides in 1990, at Lord’s. India need 24 to avoid the follow-on and Eddie Hemmings – Eddie Hemmings! – is bowling to Kapil Dev…

Preamble

Relief is a strange sensation. In the moment, there’s nothing better, but in the long run it can only be temporary because that is life, a serial not a series; we’re not Columbo, we’re Pauline Fowler. Relief in a sporting sense, whether in victory or defeat,is usually associated with culmination, but at the midpoint of this match and series, relief is where it’s at.

This is not simply thanks to the narcotising familiarity of an England batting collapse, but on account of a contest saved. At the outset, these looked like two evenly-matched teams: England are at home and have James Anderson; India are confident and have Virat Kohli.

And that’s how it looked through the first Test, but once England won that and parlayed it into a Lord’s degradation, it was hard to see a way back. In Test history, only one side has come back from 2-0 down to win a five-match series, but more than that, India’s batsmen seemed unlikely to improve their technique against the moving ball before a visit to Trent Bridge, so beloved of, er, Branderson. The summer was over.

Except that it wasn’t, and it isn’t. After enduring the worst of the conditions at haitch cue, India were inserted on a track that, surprisingly, is the best of the series, and after a doddering start imposed their class. They will spend much of today making England suffer, and either this evening or tomorrow morning, will skittle them in hilarious fashion to save our series and stave off the onset of autumn. Selah!

Play: 11am BST

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ENVIRONMENT, Haryana

YMCA University of Science and Technology, Faridabad launches “Adopt a Tree “ campaign

North India Kaleidoscope Bureau

CHANDIGARH:

YMCA University of Science and Technology, Faridabad has launched “Adopt a Tree “ campaign to promote and make the students aware about environmental conservation.

Launching the campaign,Vice- Chancellor Professor Dinesh Kumar said

the students would be encouraged to adopt and take care of plants.

 A target of planting around 1,000 plants has been fixed under this campaign. A student would have to get himself or herself registered online by August 28. The students interested to adopt a plant would then have to ensure the survival of the plant till it becomes a tree. After adopting the plant, the student would be required to upload and share their selfie with the plant.

 

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US NEWS

Trump invokes Nixon and McCarthy in NYT White House counsel report rant

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Trump invokes Nixon and McCarthy in NYT White House counsel report rant” was written by Martin Pengelly and Ed Pilkington in New York, for theguardian.com on Sunday 19th August 2018 21.43 Asia/Kolkata

Donald Trump went on the offensive on Sunday, invoking the spectres of Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy, starkly polarising figures from American history, in a frenzied attack on the New York Times.

The president’s rage was stoked by a bombshell report that said White House counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of Russian election interference, links between Trump aides and Moscow, and potential obstruction of justice.

The president both called the Times report “fake” and confirmed its substance.

Repeating a spelling mistake made in his initial response on Saturday, when the report was published online, Trump wrote: “The failing [New York Times] wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel [sic] Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel [sic], he must be a John Dean type ‘RAT.’”

Dean was White House counsel to Nixon during Watergate. He testified against the president, pled guilty to obstruction of justice and was held at an army base. He spoke on Saturday to Slate.

“Don McGahn is doing exactly the right thing,” Dean said, “not merely to protect himself, but to protect his client. And his client is not Donald Trump; his client is the office of the president.”

The Times said McGahn had spoken to Mueller’s team for a total of 30 hours, on the advice of Trump’s first lawyers in the Russia investigation. McGahn shared some information investigators would not otherwise have known, the Times said, about events including Trump’s attempts to fire Mueller.

In a separate report, Reuters said a person familiar with the matter did not believe McGahn provided incriminating information about the president and had not seen or heard anything that amounted to obstruction of justice by Trump.

Nonetheless, Trump said on Sunday that the Times “wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel [sic] had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite – & the two Fake reporters knew this. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!”

Dean tweeted a reply, saying he had “trouble using the title Mr President for someone installed by Putin”. He doubted Trump had “ANY IDEA what McGahn has told Mueller” and added: “Also, Nixon knew I was meeting with prosecutors, b/c I told him. However, he didn’t think I would tell them the truth!”

Trump has used the “enemy of the people” tag repeatedly, attacks decried by the media for potentially encouraging violence. Last month, Times publisher AG Sulzberger said he had asked the president to stop.

It didn’t work. On Sunday the president also claimed, without evidence, that “some members of the media are very Angry at the Fake Story in the New York Times” and had “actually called to complain and apologize”. He also complained about a “disgusting new Board Member” at the Times, apparently a reference to the writer Sarah Jeong.

Dean was not impressed by Trump’s behaviour.

“I see a lot of similarity in the bungling,” he told Slate. “Watergate was not a carefully planned crime and cover-up. It was one bungled event after another. I see the same thing happening with Trump.”

In his Twitter rant, Trump went 20 years back in time from Watergate to refer to another charged period in American history, the “red scare” of the 1950s. “Study the late Joseph McCarthy,” the president wrote of the Wisconsin senator who led efforts to criminalise “un-American” political beliefs, “because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby!”

The president has an acquaintance in common with McCarthy: the rightwing lawyer Roy Cohn, who worked for the senator before mentoring Trump as he rose to prominence in New York.

John Dean is sworn in by Senate Watergate committee in a photo from June 1973.
John Dean is sworn in by Senate Watergate committee in a photo from June 1973. Photograph: AP

Trump’s hyperventilation prompted responses from top national security figures. On CNN’s State of the Union a former CIA and National Security Agency director, Michael Hayden, expressed amazement at the “irony” that the president had likened Mueller, a widely respected former FBI director, to McCarthy.

“Joe McCarthy was a demagogue,” he said. “We haven’t a public syllable from Bob Mueller in more than a year.”

Trump aimed at other familiar targets, writing: “What about the Brennan, Comey, McCabe, Strzok lies to Congress, or Crooked [Hillary]’s Emails!”

This week, in a widely criticised move, Trump stripped former CIA director John Brennan of his security clearance. FBI director James Comey (fired by Trump in an event looked at by Mueller regarding potential obstruction of justice), fired deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe and fired FBI agent Peter Strzok are among those reported under threat of similar treatment.

Former director of national intelligence James Clapper told CNN on Sunday he had heard expressions of concern from within the Trump administration.

In classic pugnacious style, Trump’s current lawyer in the Russian investigation, Rudy Giuliani, accused Mueller of leaking the McGahn story as an act of desperation in the absence of hard evidence on which to hang charges.

Giuliani also told NBC’s Meet the Press Trump had encouraged McGahn to talk to Mueller, “is happy that he did, and is quite secure that there is nothing in the testimony that will hurt the president”.

The Times, however, said McGahn was in part motivated by fear of becoming a scapegoat if wrongdoing was discovered.

Slate asked Dean if McGahn should resign.

“More likely he would be fired than resign,” he said. “Trump does not like people doing the right thing.”

He added: “I think there is good reason for McGahn to believe that Trump would throw him under the bus, since Trump throws almost everyone under the bus …self-preservation is a real motive. At times, I felt it. When I first tried to go in and blow up the Watergate cover-up, I was really worried about the president and the office.”

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Features

Wild sea kayaking adventure in Sweden

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Wild sea kayaking adventure in Sweden” was written by Kevin Rushby, for The Guardian on Sunday 19th August 2018 15.30 Asia/Kolkata

We round the headland and see the island for the first time: a distant ridge of bare granite with a lighthouse on one end. At the same time we hit the swell and the wind sizzles spray off the wave tops, whipping it into our faces as we drive the kayaks forward. For a moment I wonder if this island might be a little far out for us, too far from the safe inner channels that we have been following for two days now.

Back at our starting point in a kayaking centre on the island of Tjörn, the owner, Patrik, had been very clear about our options, pointing out various camping spots on the 8,000 islands and islets that are scattered to the north of Gothenburg. Each had its advantages: this one was sheltered from easterlies, that one had a grassy flat area. But one particular island had caught my eye: Räbbe Huvud. It was far from any settlements and close to a nature reserve on a much larger neighbouring island.

Sweden map

Birdwatchers talk about recognising the “jizz” of a bird, the mysterious intuitive process of identification that operates beyond words. I reckon that certain configurations on a map can do that. Something about the shape, the position and the name reaches out and grabs your imagination. That place is calling. A journey is required.

The author’s son, Niall, warms up at the campfire on Grimsholmen.
The author’s son, Niall, warms up at the campfire on Grimsholmen. All photographs (except main image) by Kevin Rushby for the Guardian

Niall, my son, leads the way across the straits and into the lee of the island. It astonishes me how quickly we have adapted to sea kayak life, instinctively seeking shelter from the wind or zigzagging across open water to avoid getting side-on to the waves. Once in the shadow of Räbbe Huvud we relax and examine the place.

“It looks wild,” shouts Niall. There are no trees at all, just great piles of massive pinkish granite, all eroded and rounded and split by winter ice, each one a Henry Moore masterpiece. We spot a tiny landing beach and head in. The sea suddenly becomes dark and spits tiny silver fish. The sand sighs as it strokes the underside of the kayak. A cuckoo calls. We make landfall.

Kayaks Kälkerōn island
Kayaks pulled up on the east shore of Kälkerōn island

It was in the excellent book Wild Scandinavia that I had spotted a brief entry concerning the Swedish province of Bohuslän and its islands. I liked the idea of a multi-day wild camping adventure in what was described as a sheltered archipelago. Unfortunately, we had arrived as a period of good weather ended. Patrik had pointed out danger points, and escape routes: narrow ginnels between islands, some only a few metres wide.

“You’ll get through here at high tide and avoid that big bay.” For five days, Patrik insisted, we should forget everything except wind and tide. Nothing else mattered. All food needed to be bought before departure at the supermarket down the road. We stocked up, realising too late that no alcohol over 3.5% is sold in Swedish supermarkets (the state outlets, Systembolaget, sells stronger stuff). Then we had enjoyed a sumptuous final breakfast next door to Patrik’s kayak shop in a café called Lottas, a place that deserves its growing fame. Our own food plan was simple: new potatoes cooked in sea water, washed down with thin beer and black tea; fruit and biscuits for dessert, fresh fish would be a bonus. We prayed for driftwood and dry kindling.

The first night was on Grimsholmen, a lovely island, uninhabited but within sight of a village. Our prayers for dry driftwood were answered and a camp fire cooked the spuds. No fish were caught. Next day was a five-hour paddle, passingthe fishing towns of Skärhamn and Kyrkesund, where we stopped for coffee and made the decision to go for the remoter island.

Mackerel fish Räbbe Huvud island Sweden
Fish at last! … mackerel caught and cooked at the island of Räbbe Huvud

Back on Räbbe Huvud we erect our tent (a freestanding model helps as sometimes you might pitch on rock) and head off to explore. We swim in a fabulous deepwater creek, full of bronze kelp, schools of fish and sudden glimpses of crabs. (Our small lobster creel, set here overnight, catches edible and velvet crabs, two fish and a large eel, all of which we set free.) Above water the island is a miracle of survival: tiny plants make homes in cracks, and insects thrive. We leap across dark narrow gorges and shimmy up slabs of smooth stone. Later we catch mackerel on a spinner. I feel I could happily stay for weeks, but the wind rises overnight.

At dawn we sneak away, clinging to the coast, and slip into a sheltered channel, Stigfjorden, that leads into a vast area of sheltered sea and islands. One of them, Kälkerön, is another nature reserve, and we circle the island looking for the right camping spot. In one bay there are barbecue pits, grassy pitches and a little sea cliff hung with ropes to swing on. There are signs of other campers here, but in the entire trip we don’t encounter another person on any of the islands.

Taking in the view on Kälkerön island.
Taking in the view on Kälkerön island.

Despite all the attractions of this site, the wind has veered and we move on, finding a sheltered spot on the north shore. As the long summer evening stretches out, almost to midnight, we explore what proves to be a magical island: huge ramparts of rounded granite piled up in ridges then, hidden between them, deep canyons filled with emerald forests of birch, fir and bilberry. On the tops we find mysterious sundew ponds and magnificent views across the fjord.

That night the wind rises again and morning reveals a sea swarming with whitecaps. Stigfjorden is not as sheltered as we hoped. With some trepidation we bash across it, breathing sighs of relief when we reach a serene side fjord. Once again we find a great camping spot, paddling into a small bay flanked by granite cliffs, then drifting right up to deer grazing on the shingle beach. At night, our fire is the only light we can see apart from the stars.

Night falls after pitching camp.
Night falls after pitching camp.

On the fifth day we meet Patrik at the appointed place. We are weary – the last paddle was a battle against the elements – but elated. It has been a remarkable experience. Could anyone do this trip? Patrik is confident they can. “I chat to people and assess their abilities. For real beginners or small children we have a quiet lake. For experienced kayakers, there’s no limit.”

We finish with another of Lottas’ superlative breakfasts, not a cheap experience, but we have not spent anything for several days, so why not?

The trip was provided by Visit Sweden (visitsweden.com). Kayak hire is 490 krona (£42) a day, including lifejacket, map and safety instructions from Kayaktiv (kajaktivtjorn.se).Hav & Logi has simple twin rooms from £50 a night and holiday homes from £160 a night/£800 a week. There are flights to Gothenburg from several UK airports

Looking for a holiday with a difference? Browse Guardian Holidays to find a range of fantastic trips

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India, Politics

End of an era—former Prime Minister Atal Bihari passes away

vajpayee

vajpayee

Rajesh Ahuja

CHANDIGARH:

India was plunged into deep grief and shock on Thursday evening after doyen of Indian politics and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was 93, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi at 5.05 p.m.

As per the medical bulletin released by AIIMS, Vajpayee’s condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems and despite the best of efforts, “we lost him today.”

The veteran BJP leader was admitted to AIIMS on June 11 with a host of ailments including kidney tract infection and chest congestion.

President of India Ram Nath Kovind said, “Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true Indian statesman. His leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own. Atalji, the Gentle Giant, will be missed by one and all.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in several tweets said, “India grieves the demise of our beloved Atal Ji. His passing away marks the end of an era. He lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades. My thoughts are with his family, BJP Karyakartas and millions of admirers in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti.

It was Atal Ji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India.

Atal Ji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit.

It was due to the perseverance and struggles of Atal Ji that the BJP was built brick by brick. He travelled across the length and breadth of India to spread the BJP’s message, which led to the BJP becoming a strong force in our national polity and in several states”, the Prime Minister added.tweets.

National and international leaders, cutting across party lines, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, BJP President Amit Shah, veteran BJP leader, L.K. Advani, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and many more paid rich tributes to the departed statesman.

The mortal remains have been taken to his residence and will be taken to the BJP headquarters on Friday morning. The cremation has been scheduled at 5 p.m. at Vijay Ghat, near Rajghat.

A seven-day national mourning has been announced from August 16 to August 22.

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World

Facebook struggling to end hate speech in Myanmar, investigation finds

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Facebook struggling to end hate speech in Myanmar, investigation finds” was written by Olivia Solon in San Francisco, for theguardian.com on Thursday 16th August 2018 07.02 Asia/Kolkata

Facebook’s efforts to crack down on hate speech in Myanmar, which has contributed to violent attacks against the minority Muslim population, have been inadequate, according to a Reuters investigation.

The social media company has faced warnings from human rights groups and researchers that its platform was being used to spread misinformation and promote hatred of Muslims, particularly the Rohingya, since 2013. As Facebook has grown its user base in the country to 18 million, hate speech has exploded, but the company has been slow to respond to the growing crisis.

Reuters and the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law found more than 1,000 examples of posts, comments, images and videos attacking Myanmar’s Muslims – including some material that had been on the site for six years – live on the platform until it reported them to Facebook last week.

One post, published in December 2013, featured a picture of Rohingya-style food and the message “We must fight them the way Hitler did the Jews, damn kalars!”, using a derogatory term for the Rohingya. Another user commented on a blogpost depicting a boat full of Rohingya refugees arriving in Indonesia: “Pour fuel and set fire so that they can meet Allah faster.”

Other posts used dehumanising language, describing Rohingya or other Muslims as dogs, rapists and maggots and calling for them to be shot or exterminated. There were also pornographic anti-Muslim images. Facebook’s community standards prohibit pornography and posts that attack ethnic groups with violent or dehumanising speech or compare them to animals.

In April, shortly after a United Nations investigators condemned Facebook’s role as a vehicle for “acrimony, dissension and conflict” in Myanmar, Mark Zuckerberg told US senators that the company was hiring dozens more Burmese-speaking content moderators to review hate speech.

For many people in Myanmar, Facebook is the internet. It’s one of the primary ways people get their news and entertainment online as well as messaging. Its growth has been fuelled by the fact that it is zero-rated by some of the country’s mobile phone operators, meaning people don’t have to pay data charges to use it.

For many people in Myanmar, Facebook is the internet.
For many people in Myanmar, Facebook is the internet. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

Facebook typically relies on users reporting hate speech, but due to a technical quirk in the way most Burmese websites render their fonts, the company’s systems have struggled to interpret Burmese text. Also, Facebook’s reporting tools – including the text in drop-down menus on specific posts – were only translated into Burmese in late April and early May this year. Until that happened, anyone wanting to report a post would have had to do so in English.

Facebook doesn’t have a single employee in Myanmar, where it has 18 million users – roughly the same number as in Spain. The company monitors hate speech through a contractor in Kuala Lumpur, in a secret operation codenamed “Project Honey Badger”, the Reuters investigation revealed. The operation has about 60 people reviewing reported content posted in Myanmar.

In July the company announced a new policy to remove misinformation used to incite physical harm, starting with Sri Lanka where mob violence against Muslims has been sparked by posts on Facebook. The company said it would roll this out to Myanmar as well.

Facebook has identified and removed several hate figures and groups from the platform, including the extremist Buddhist monks Ashin Wirathu, Parmaukkha and Thuseitta, known for hate speech against Rohingya. It has also deleted pages linked to the monk-led nationalist group Ma Ba Tha – the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion.

In a blog post published 12 hours after the Reuters investigation, Facebook revealed that in the second quarter of 2018 the company proactively identified (rather than relying on user reports) about 52% of the content it removed for hate speech in Myanmar – up from 13% in the last quarter of 2017.

The same blog post revealed that the company would add 40 more Myanmar language experts to the 60 it has already by the end of the year.

“We have a responsibility to fight abuse on our products. This is especially true in countries like Myanmar where many people are using the internet for the first time, and Facebook can be used to spread hate and incite violence,” said a Facebook spokeswoman. “It’s a problem we were too slow to spot – and why we’re now working hard to ensure we’re doing all we can to prevent the spread of misinformation and hate.”

  • This article has been updated to include figures from a Facebook blog post. Contact the author: olivia.solon@theguardian.com

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World

EU concerned over detention of human rights lawyer in Iran

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “EU concerned over detention of human rights lawyer in Iran” was written by Saeed Kamali Dehghan Iran correspondent, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 15th August 2018 22.53 Asia/Kolkata

The European Union has expressed serious concerns about the continuing detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who is serving a five-year jail sentence.

Sotoudeh was arrested in June amid a crackdown on defence lawyers representing cases deemed sensitive to the country’s national security.

“The EU is seriously concerned about the arrest of the prominent Iranian lawyer and 2012 laureate of the European parliament’s Sakharov Prize, Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh,” an EU spokesperson told the Guardian on Wednesday.

Sotoudeh’s arrest comes amid an exceptionally tense atmosphere in Iran, where authorities are stifling dissent as they scramble to contain weeks of street protests over economic grievances, environmental issues and a lack of political and social freedoms.

“We have contacted the Iranian authorities on the matter to seek more information about her situation,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue following the issue closely. The EU attaches high importance to the human rights situation in Iran and has been raising concerns in the context of the High Level Dialogue, in bilateral meetings and in the UN framework.”

Sotoudeh, 55, is facing a torrent of charges, including espionage, after arguing a string of cases involving women arrested for defying hijab rules by taking off their headscarves in public and waving them on a stick.

At least 29 women have been arrested over the protests that sparked a nationwide debate about the rules that oblige women to wear head-to-toe coverings in public.

“My client was taken to prison some time ago based on a verdict that was issued in absentia,” Sotoudeh’s lawyer, Payam Derafshan, told the state news agency on Tuesday. “An [initial] indictment specified the charges against her as spreading propaganda against the ruling establishment and insulting the supreme leader, but the branch 28 of the revolutionary court has issued a verdict based on the charge of espionage.”

The Iranian judiciary, which acts with impunity in the absence of any public oversight, has been opaque about Sotoudeh. It is not clear if she has already been found guilty of the newly emerged charges of espionage, whether they are part of her current five-year sentence or if they are merely new accusations.

In 2010, Sotoudeh was sentenced to 11 years in jail for charges including “acting against the national security” and “spreading propaganda against the state”, but her original sentence was later commuted to six years by an appeals court. She was released in September 2013, a few months after the first election of President Hassan Rouhani, after serving three years.

Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, said: “Whenever the authorities think that keeping my wife in prison is too costly for them – meaning that the public is becoming sensitive about it – they release her, and whenever they think she’s becoming harmful for them outside jail, they take her back in.”

According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), at least seven human rights lawyers have been detained, charged or summoned. Among the other lawyers targeted is Abdolfattah Soltani, who is serving a 13-year sentence. He is currently on furlough to mourn the death of his young daughter.

“Iran is imprisoning lawyers for doing their job and depriving its citizens of one of the most basic human rights — the right to counsel of choice,” said CHRI’s executive director, Hadi Ghaemi.

Sotoudeh was publicly critical of new rules that dictated only 20 state-approved lawyers were allowed to represent cases deemed important to national security.

Rouhani, who ran on a pro-reform campaign, has been accused of shifting towards the hardliners as internal turmoil, exacerbated by renewed US economic sanctions, is putting his government under unprecedented pressure. The arrests of lawyers appear to have been spearheaded by Rouhani’s ministry of intelligence.

The new political climate has strengthened hardliners, including the conservative-led judiciary, which is behind the arrests of journalists, dervishes, student activists and environmentalists.

A number of environmental activists have been imprisoned on security charges for several months. These include Amirhossein Khaleghi, Houman Jokar, Taher Ghadirian, Sam Rajabi, Niloufar Bayani, Sepideh Kashani, Morad Tahbaz and Abdolreza Kouhpayeh.

Dozens of student activists have also been sentenced to lengthy terms in recent months, according to an MP.

Sotoudeh is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison alongside at least 16 other women also held on security charges, including British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi, who has recently been transferred to hospital due to her poor health condition.

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World

Financial Times boss returns pay rise after staff backlash

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Financial Times boss returns pay rise after staff backlash” was written by Jim Waterson Media editor, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 15th August 2018 18.23 Asia/Kolkata

The chief executive of the Financial Times has returned a substantial part of his £2.6m pay packet after a backlash from reporters who argued his high income was unjustified.

Staff had been due to hold a union meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss John Ridding’s pay, arguing that it had risen by 442% since he joined the company in 2006.

“John Ridding was paid 100 times the salary of a trainee journalist in 2017,” said one union email to staff, obtained by the Guardian. “His pay rise of more than 25% last year was more than double the median FTSE 100 chief executive pay increase last year, which, as we report today, was a greedy 11%.

“Please come and air your views about John Ridding’s pay and what you think should be done about it.”

Shortly before the meeting, Ridding sent an email to all staff announcing a climbdown, promising he would give up the equivalent of £510,000 of his salary. Since tax has already been paid on it, about half of that sum will be returned to the company.

He said the money would be used to promote women’s careers and reduce the gender pay gap at the organisation. The median pay difference between men and women at the FT is 18.4%, compared with 8.4% at Guardian News and Media.

“For now, I have decided to reinvest into the FT the increase awarded in 2017, which is £510,000 before tax. The first call on these resources will be a women’s development fund to augment and accelerate our efforts to support the advancement of women into more senior roles at the FT and reduce the gender pay gap,” he wrote.

Ridding said his pay had been independently assessed and benchmarked with substantial performance-related incentives when the Japanese publishing business Nikkei bought the newspaper in 2015.

“While our performance has been strong, I recognise that the size of the consequent jump in my own total reward in 2017 feels anomalous and has created concerns. Many key decisions rest with me as CEO, but collective hard work at the FT underpins our success,” he wrote.

The company’s most recent accounts, published last month, show the company made an operating profit of £5.2m, although the FT said the accounts underplayed the real profitability.

The FT’s transition to a digital-focused publisher has been seen as largely successful, and the chief executive appeared to suggest the company’s ability to hit targets was responsible for his bumper income.

“Last year was a particularly strong year in which we significantly beat our targets,” he wrote. “Subscriptions increased by more than 65,000 to reach an all-time high of more than 910,000 and take us a big step towards our goal of one million worldwide paying readers.”

Ridding said his new pay scheme should take into account his income before Nikkei bought the company, which was approximately £1.6m in 2015.

The FT newsroom has a strong union presence and some staff are understood to be angered that the returned money is not being reinvested in journalism.

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World

Turkish lira crisis: Turkey raises tariffs on US goods – business live

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Turkish lira crisis: Turkey raises tariffs on US goods – business live” was written by Graeme Wearden, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 15th August 2018 17.27 Asia/Kolkata

A 100 Turkish lira banknote is seen on top of 50 Turkish lira banknotes.

Crumbs. Foreign exchange firm International Currency Exchange (ICE) says it ran out of Turkish lira on Tuesday, after a surge in demand.

ICE says that orders for Turkish Lira to its UK website www.iceplc.com jumped by 24,000% compared to the average last month.

Most of its UK stores have sold out of lira, but you can still get your hands on them at London Luton Airport and Doncaster Airport.

This surge in demand indicates that many British tourists have decided to take a last-minute holiday to Turkey, which are much cheaper thanks to the currency crisis.

One pound is currently worth 7.7 lira on the international currency exchanges, up from 6 lira at the start of July.

Louis Bridger, general manager at ICE, says there has been “unprecented demand” for the lira.

We are working closely with our suppliers and the Turkish Central Bank to increase our stock however the demand is so high that it’s unlikely we will be able to sell Turkish Lira online until tomorrow morning. We apologise if any customers are experiencing delays when purchasing their currency.

For people travelling to Turkey who are unable to get their hands on Lira, they can take alternative major currencies such as US dollars and Euros which are easily exchangeable when they are out there.”

Turkish trepidation pulls markets down

European stock markets have all fallen into the red, as nervous traders pile into the US dollar.

In London, the FTSE 100 has slid by 75 points, or 1%, with hefty losses on other markets too

European stock markets today
European stock markets today Photograph: Thomson Reuters

Mining shares are leading the selloff in London, with Anglo American shedding 4.5%.

They’re suffering from falling commodity prices, with copper and zinc on the slide. That’s partly because the US dollar is rallying, hitting a 14-month high this morning.

Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, blames anxiety over the Turkish financial crisis:

Turkey is nowhere near fixed, so risk appetite is struggling to make a comeback.

European stock markets have steadily slipped into the red since the open, also leading a retreat by Wall Street futures.

Prospects of a smooth and sustained recovery for emerging market currencies had looked too dicey to Asia-Pacific investors, so markets there mostly fell as well. Turkey’s lira lost all Wednesday gains at one point, following Tuesday’s bounce of more than 8%. It is now firmer again, though clearly volatile. It’s uncertain whether the rebound will be sustained.

Comebacks by other currencies that fell sharply in recent days, like the rand, Russia’s rouble and Mexico’s peso, also falter.

Turkish trade minister Ruhsar Pekcan says the new tariffs will “protect the rights of Turkish companies”, as well as retaliating against America’s tariffs on steel and aluminium

Pekcan also insisted Turkey isn’t dependent on the US, saying:

The United States is an important trading partner, but it is not our only partner. We have other partners and alternative markets.”

(via Turkey’s Anadolu news agency)

Hiking tariffs won’t help Turkey tackle its key financial challenge — to keep servicing its foreign loans.

Turkish companies owe almost $300bn in foreign denominated debt. That includes a surge in borrowing by Turkish banks, who have tapped foreign wholesale markets to help fund its credit boom.

The slide in the lira in recent weeks has pushed up the cost of refinancing those loans (finding a new lender when an existing debt matures).

Jurgen Odenius, Economic Counsellor at PGIM Fixed Income, explains:

The root cause of the crisis lies in a leverage-financed domestic demand boom that increased the external financing requirement of Turkey’s corporations, banks, and government to an estimated $229 billion this year. Most of these liabilities fall on the private sector, mainly banks and corporations; the sovereign owes only $11 billion. What makes the problem worse is that the external financing requirement is trending up over the medium term, indicative of a long-standing over-reliance on foreign-funded leverage.

As the lira collapses, this lending boom now is undoubtedly grinding to a sudden halt. Foreign financiers, whether they exist as banks or bond investors, are re-assessing the outlook and related repayment prospects. Western European banks from Spain and France are particularly exposed, with over half of the debt owed to them. The trouble is that the Turkish financial system and the corporate sector are short dollars.

GAM’s Paul McNamara says the issue is crucial:

Turkish tariffs, the details

Turkey’s new swathe of tariffs are going to have a major impact on the cost of US goods.

The list, published on the country’s Official Gazette, shows that the levies on some products will more than double.

For example:

  • Rice: Tariff more than doubled to 50%, up from 20%
  • Spirits: Tariff more than tripled to 140%, up from 40%
  • Coal: Tariff raised to 14%,from 10%
  • Beauty and make-up products: Tariff doubled to 60%, from 30%
  • Certain types of paper: Tariff doubled to 50%, from 25%
  • Motor cars: Tariff more than tripled to 120%, from 35%

Back in Turkey, the government is preparing for show of support from Qatar.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, left Doha to travel to Ankara for a “working visit” with president Erdoğan.

The Gulf Times says they will discuss bilateral relations between Qatar and Turkey.

They will also examine:

“means of strengthening the existing strategic cooperation between the two countries in various fields, in addition to a number of issues of mutual interest.

Turkey and Qatar are close allies. There is a Turkish military base in the Gulf state, and Turkey was quick to send food aid to Qatar when Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade last year.

However, the wealthy Gulf state might be reluctant to anger America by providing Ankara with financial aid at this time.

UK inflation data

Just in: New inflation figures show that Britain’s cost of living squeeze continues.

The consumer prices index rose by 2.5% in July, up from 2.4% in June – the first year-on-year increase in 2018.

The wider retail prices index rose by 3.2%, down from 3.4%, and faster than basic pay (which increased by 2.7% in the last year).

Total pay, including bonuses, only rose by 2.4% in the last year.

This RPI figure is used to set UK rail fares, so commuters should brace for prices to increase in 2019.

Updated

Turkish media are reporting that a court has rejected an appeal for the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Hurriyet newspaper said the court in Izmir rejected the appeal from Brunson’s lawyer, but that a higher court would review the appeal.

If Brunson remains under house arrest, it’s hard to see US-Turkey relations improving….

Economist Jens Bastian fears for Turkey’s financial prospects:

Robert Ward of the Economist Intelligence Unit says Turkey needs a ‘decisive orthodox’ response to the currency crisis (ie, a chunky interest rate hike), rather than tariffs on US goods.

Updated

Bloomberg has calculated that Turkey’s new tariffs cover around $1bn of US imports.

That’s similar to the amount of Turkish steel and aluminium exports that were subjected to higher tariffs by President Donald Trump last week, suggesting this genuinely is a tit-for-tat response.

Updated

The lira’s recovery comes as Turkey’s financial regulators impose new restrictions on the country’s banks.

These rules make it harder for banks to buy and sell foreign exchange derivatives with overseas banks.

That will prevent some investors from betting against the lira.

Reuters has the details:

Turkish banking watchdog BDDK on Wednesday said it is cutting the limit for Turkish banks’ forex swap, spot and forward transactions with foreign banks to 25 percent of a bank’s equity.

The BDDK had said on Sunday that the limit would be 50 percent of the bank’s equity.

n a statement, the BDDK said the rate will be calculated daily and new transactions will not be performed or renewed until the current excess of the amount is realised at a quarter of a bank’s capital.

Paul McNamara, investment director at asset manager GAM, says this squeeze will have helped the lira recover:

Investor Martin Enlund points out that it will also make it harder for Turkish investors to protect themselves from the crisis:

Updated

Lira rallies back below 6 to the dollar

Boom! Turkey’s currency just dipped back below the psychologically important 6-lira-to-the-dollar mark, as this morning’s rally continues.

The Turkish lira has risen by 2.5% in early trading, after Ankara hit the US with fresh tariffs.

It’s currently changing hands at below 6.2 lira to the dollar, up from around 6.35 lira last night, extending Tuesday’s recovery.

That’s still an extremely weak position compared to four months ago, though, when one dollar was only worth 4 lira.

The lira vs the US dollar
The lira vs the US dollar Photograph: Thomson Reuters

Introduction: Turkey hikes tariffs on US goods

People shopping at an Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, 13 August 2018.
People shopping at an Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, 13 August 2018. Photograph: Erdem Sahin/EPA

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

Turkey has raised the stakes in its diplomatic battle with America by hiking the tariffs on some US goods.

Fuat Oktay, the country’s vice-president, says the measures are a retaliation for the US government’s “deliberate attacks” on the Turkish economy in recent weeks.

Under the plan, the tax on US alcohol will be hiked to 140%, the car tariff is going up to 120%, while tariffs on coal, cosmetics and rice are also being raised.

Oktay declared on Twitter that Turkey was responding to America’s decision to double the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium.

He tweeted:

“The import duties were increased on some products, under the principle of reciprocity, in response to the U.S.administration’s deliberate attacks on our economy,”

The move comes a day after president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a boycott on US electrical goods, encouraging Turks to shun iPhones and support local manufacturer Vestel instead.

Last night, the White House renewed its calls for Turkey to release the evangelical pastor who has been detained by Turkish authorities on espionage charges since 2016.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters:

“The president has a great deal of frustration on the fact that Pastor Brunson has not been released as well as the fact that other U.S. citizens and employees of diplomatic facilities have not been released.”

So with the crisis still swirling, investors around the globe will remain nervous. We’ll be tracking all the main events through the day….

The agenda

  • 9.30am BST: UK inflation for July
  • 9.30am BST: UK house price data for June
  • 1.30pm BST: US retail sales

Updated

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US NEWS

Trump campaign sues Omarosa hours after president calls her ‘that dog’

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Trump campaign sues Omarosa hours after president calls her ‘that dog'” was written by Lauren Gambino, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 14th August 2018 22.48 Asia/Kolkata

Donald Trump has escalated a bitter row with his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, praising his chief of staff, John Kelly, for “quickly firing that dog”. Hours later, the Trump campaign reportedly filed for arbitration, accusing Manigault Newman of breaching a 2016 non-disclosure agreement.

Manigault Newman, a former adviser to the US president and contestant on the reality TV show The Apprentice, has released three secret recordings related to her firing as she promotes her memoir, Unhinged.

In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, Trump’s campaign said that it had “filed an arbitration against Omarosa Manigault Newman, with the American Arbitration Association in New York City, for breach of her 2016 confidentiality agreement with the Trump Campaign”. It is the first legal action the campaign has launched since Manigault Newman revealed details in her tell-all book about her time as a Trump campaign adviser and senior White House aide.

Her TV appearances, and her claim to have heard a tape of Trump using the N-word and other racial slurs during filming for The Apprentice, have annoyed the president, who levelled another barrage of attacks at her on Tuesday, tweeting: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

On Tuesday morning, Manigault Newman revealed on CBS News a third tape that she says records a 2016 conference call among Trump campaign aides who are discussing how to address potential fallout from the release of tapes that allegedly show Trump using the N-word. The campaign aides had previously denied that any such conversations took place.

In the recording, then campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson can be heard saying: “I am trying to find at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it.”

Lynne Patton, who was then an assistant to Trump’s son, Eric Trump, says on the recording that she discussed the remark with Trump.

“I said, ‘Well, sir, can you think of anytime where this happened?’ And he said, ‘no,’” Patton can be heard saying.

“Well, that’s not true,” Manigault Newman says.

She continues: “He goes, how do you think I should handle it and I told him exactly what you just said, Omarosa, which is well, it depends on what scenario you are talking about. And he said, well, why don’t you just go ahead and put it to bed.”

“He said it. No, he said it. He is embarrassed,” Pierson says.

On Monday, Trump denied claims of racism and said Manigault Newman was a liar for claiming he used the N-word: “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary and never have. She made it up.”

When Kelly fired Manigault Newman in December in the White House Situation Room, she secretly taped it, in an apparent breach of security protocol.

In the recording, which she played on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Kelly told Manigault Newman the firing was the result of “significant integrity issues” and that she could face damage to her reputation if she did not make it a “friendly departure”.

On Monday, Manigault Newman released another recording in which Trump appeared to express surprise that she had been fired. “Omarosa? Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?” Trump says on the tape, played on NBC’s Today show.

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Health, Lifestyle

We can’t look away: the guilt-inducing spectacle of outdoor fitness

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “We can’t look away: the guilt-inducing spectacle of outdoor fitness” was written by Tom Lee, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 14th August 2018 11.30 Asia/Kolkata

Over the past 10 or so years the Australian fitness industry has begun to realise what the restaurant industry did a couple of decades earlier: the climate and natural amenity of our cities should set the tone for our pleasures and pursuits. Fitness enthusiasts have migrated from indoor gyms to parks, ovals and beachfronts, so that the ventilation and vantages afforded by these locations can be enjoyed to a maximum degree.

In wealthy democracies like Australia this increase in visibility has been combined with a massive explosion in the diversity of fitness activities. It is not uncommon to see a group of lycra-clad devotees flipping a large tractor tyre across a grassy expanse with a focus and dedication that suggest their lives depend on the task. Thickly braided lengths of rope are incorporated into regimented dance routines and people swing lumps of metal backwards and forwards like clappers orphaned from their bells.

One of the unintended consequences of the growth in outdoor fitness culture is that now other people – those who might define themselves as the dog-walking, ice cream-eating, drone-flying or pram-pushing public – have no choice but to be exposed to the spectacle of bodily redesign and the accompanying bootcamp antics that were previously undertaken in less conspicuous locations.

The North Bondi outdoor fitness gym is a hotspot for these assertive and restorative varieties of leisure. A place where the allure of gentle, beachside relaxation meets with the spectacle of buff, tanned, often exclusively male bodies, testing themselves on the fitness equipment.

A girl does a handstand on the wall in front of Bondi beach

When I first moved from the central west of New South Wales more than 15 years ago, I remember being awestruck by the bizarre displays of physical exuberance at this site, which I still find somewhat strange. It is a vision of some intensity; an expression of power that looks like a performance of physical aggression. It’s also hard to ignore the single, generic template of a sculpted V-shape to which most of these bodies conform. I understand how the assertive display of such a body might dominate a space, and impinge on the security of others whose physical forms aren’t celebrated in the mediascapes of our times.

But there is also something enduringly camp and fascinating about these fitness routines, a kind of lurid glamour that to some extent distinguishes this city, famed, among other things, for its stunning harbour and Mardi Gras parade. It’s certainly more disco than rock and roll, more Flashdance than Fight Club.

Absorbing the spectacle, I ponder how the mundane activities of Russian farmers (from whom the origins of the increasingly common kettlebell exercise routines can be traced), ancient gymnastic routines, military drills and the less intensive forms of aerobic exercise have all made their way to this beachside stage, where the explicit stimulation of muscle and the body’s chemical reward systems are a focus.

I was at once surprised by and sympathetic to the cynical responses to an Instagram video I recently posted of people working out at this outdoor gym. One response, in particular, articulated a view that is commonly held about groups of people redesigning their bodies through training: “These poor buggers who think they’re onto something. They look like sheep.”

Cover image for Coach Fitz, a novel by Tom Lee

What is it that stirs this level of agitation when we witness public displays of athletic pride? Is it simply that we feel guilty for not exercising ourselves? Is it the notion of a bodily standard that we sense is broadly damaging? Is it a mistrust of technique comparable to the mistrust we feel towards technology? As though physical augmentation through training was a departure from the authentic, physical self that we have been given, by God, by chance or by our genes?

The tension between cynicism and my still resonant reverence for outdoor exertion was at the forefront of my mind when working on my recent novel, Coach Fitz. I wanted to write about the self-discipline, power, physical exuberance and sensuality of such exertion, free from the elements of critique and the depressive emotions so common to works of literature written in the shadow of cultural studies. However, the spectre of the comic, and the negativity with which the subject is associated, was hard to shake off.

Like everything nowadays, self-improvement is an industry, the extremes of which easily inspire cynicism. But to run through a park or along the beach in the early morning or at dusk and join with the bodies in motion there – twisting, tensing, gyrating and stretching their flesh – is for me a reminder of something marvellous in our species: the desire to transform our bodies, to experience landscape through movement, and to enhance our feelings by subjecting ourselves to particular kinds of ritual.

One aspect of these displays of aspirational glamour that is not often considered is the change in inner experience sought by its practitioners through movement and balance, and the way this change in turn becomes a way to fully experience the potential of the outdoors. The role of more subdued forms of bodily motion, particularly walking, is increasingly claimed, by authors from Will Self to Rebecca Solnit, as a vehicle for political protest, the generation of ideas, and self-discovery. But what of the inspirational powers of burpees? The resistance to capitalism in a lunge matrix? The surreal inner journey of a plank? What great potential for existential revelation and political resistance they might contain!

• Tom Lee’s novel Coach Fitz is published by Giramondo

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US NEWS

Why US elections remain ‘dangerously vulnerable’ to cyber-attacks

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Why US elections remain ‘dangerously vulnerable’ to cyber-attacks” was written by Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles, for theguardian.com on Monday 13th August 2018 16.30 Asia/Kolkata

Sixteen months ago, Marilyn Marks was just another political junkie watching a high-profile congressional election on her laptop when she saw something she found abnormal and alarming.

The date was 18 April 2017, and the election was in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, where the Democrats were hoping to pull off an upset victory against a crowded Republican field in the wake of Tom Price’s (short-lived) elevation to the Trump cabinet as health and human services secretary.

By mid-evening, Jon Ossoff, the leading Democrat, had 50.3% of the vote, enough to win outright without the need for a run-off against his closest Republican challenger. Then Marks noticed that the number of precincts reporting in Fulton County, encompassing the heart of Atlanta, was going down instead of up. Soon after, the computers crashed.

Election officials later blamed a “rare error” with a memory card that didn’t properly upload its vote tallies. When the count resumed more than an hour later, Ossoff was suddenly down to 48.6% and ended up at 48.1%. (He lost in the run-off to Republican Karen Handel.)

Was Jon Ossoff robbed, or did the system right whatever went wrong?
Was Jon Ossoff robbed, or did the system right whatever went wrong? Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Marks was not rooting for Ossoff – she is a registered Republican and lives in North Carolina, two states to the north – but she cared deeply about the integrity of the vote and she knew that Georgia’s 15-year-old all-electronic voting system was almost impossible to audit because it produced no independently verifiable paper trail to check against the computer-generated tallies.

Was Ossoff robbed, or did the system right whatever went wrong? The point, Marks felt, was that it was impossible to be sure.

Cybersecurity experts have warned for years that malfeasance, technical breakdown or administrative incompetence could easily wreak havoc with electronic systems and could go largely or wholly undetected. This is a concern made much more urgent by Russia’s cyber-attacks on political party servers and state voter registration databases in 2016 and by the risk of a repeat – or worse – in this November’s midterms.

“The moment the machines went down, that’s when I decided I was going to work in Georgia,” Marks said. And she didn’t know the half of it yet.

Access to voter data

The previous summer, about a month after Donald Trump publicly invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email server, a cybersecurity expert named Logan Lamb was conducting his own casual investigation into Georgia’s voting systems when he inadvertently downloaded a vast trove of confidential information that the state’s designated election security subcontractor had left on an open website.

Donald Trump urged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email server in 2016.
Donald Trump urged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email server in 2016. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The files, which had been open long enough for Google to cache versions of many of them, included the voter histories of Georgia’s 6.3 million registered voters; their personal information, including driver’s license and social security numbers; tabulation and memory card programming databases; instructions on managing election systems; and the passwords to get in.

Lamb, a former government cyber-consultant now in private practice, immediately alerted the subcontractor, the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University outside Atlanta, and assumed the problem would be addressed. Seven months later, however – just a few weeks before the sixth district special election – a friend of his visited the same website and downloaded much the same information.

When they raised the alarm a second time, the data was secured at last. But state officials still refused to acknowledge there had been a serious security breach and offered no evidence that they were checking to ensure the system was still functioning correctly after seven months or more with the doors left unlocked. Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp – himself a candidate in a keenly watched race for governor this November – insisted that his office had never encountered a problem and interpreted protestations to the contrary as the partisan bleatings of disgruntled liberals.

He’d taken a similar tack in 2016, when Georgia was one of just two states to refuse the help of the Obama-era Department of Homeland Security in locking down its election system against the threat of Russian attack. “Because of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] getting hacked, they now think our whole system is on the verge of disaster,” he told Politico at the time. “I mean, anything is possible, but it is not probable at all, the way our systems are set up.”

Marks teamed with a number of Georgia voting rights activists and filed suit against Kemp to demand an immediate switch to a safer voting system. “Virtually every American voter has come to understand that the nation’s election infrastructure is susceptible to malicious manipulation from local and foreign threats,” the suit reads.

“Yet, Georgia’s election officials continue to defend the State’s electronic voting system that is demonstrably unreliable and insecure, and have repeatedly refused to take administrative, regulatory or legislative action to address the election security failures.”

‘They can get us to delegitimize our own democracy’

‘Voters have unusually low trust that the elections are going to be fair or that the technology is reliable,’ says an analyst.
‘Voters have unusually low trust that the elections are going to be fair or that the technology is reliable,’ says an analyst. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

And Georgia is far from the only cause of concern this election season. Four other states still depend almost entirely on outdated electronic voting systems with no paper trail. Eight more states will be using such systems over at least part of their territory in November. And while Congress offered $380m in March to shore up election security systems for the mid-terms, that money has been spent unevenly, without expert guidance from the federal government, and is widely regarded as insufficient to address the full range of problems.

“The big picture is that US election infrastructure remains dangerously vulnerable to cyber-attacks,” said Alex Halderman, a leading voting security expert from the University of Michigan. “Many states are making progress, but the progress is patchy and there are major gaps … Forty states are using computer technology that is a decade old or more and often they are not receiving software updates or security patches.”

These vulnerabilities are only made worse by a rancid political environment in which the president himself subscribes to conspiracy theories of mass voter fraud. Several Republican-run states – including Georgia – have passed strict voter ID legislation and other measures to restrict ballot access, especially to minority voters, and both parties have gerrymandered congressional districts to distort voting outcomes in their favor.

In other words, just when fair-minded election administrators might feel most inclined to reassure anxious voters that their votes will be handled properly, they are being betrayed by the facts on the ground. And that is making fear of hacking almost as dangerous to America’s democratic well-being as the threat of an actual hack.

“The research is very strong that voters have unusually low trust that the elections are going to be fair or that the technology is reliable,” said David Becker of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, which works with state and local officials to find nonpartisan, nonpolitical solutions to problems of election administration. “That’s troubling to me … because talk of [voter roll] purges, vote rigging and hacking all feeds into a larger narrative that affects whether people are going to vote.

“The tough thing is that the Russians don’t have to be successful to achieve their goals. They don’t necessarily need to change the outcome or races or change voter records. What they can do is attack our systems and get us to delegitimize our own democracy.”

Activists like Marks believe that certain hyperpartisan state officials like Brian Kemp in Georgia and Kris Kobach in Kansas – who is also running for governor and may soon be embroiled in a recount of his own primary race – are doing a lot of that delegitimizing already by politicizing their offices and failing, in her view, to act in the public interest.

Four days after Marks and her group, the Coalition for Good Governance, first filed suit against Kemp last year, the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State wiped its server clean of election data – thus destroying what could have been vital evidence in the case and perhaps shed more light on the “rare error” in the sixth district. A month later, the case moved to federal court, and within a day the CES had erased the data on a backup server too.

Donald Trump greets Kris Kobach, who is running for governor of Kansas.
Donald Trump greets Kris Kobach, who is running for governor of Kansas. Photograph: The Washington Post/Getty Images

This was too much even for Brian Kemp, who abruptly ended the state’s relationship with CES last October, decrying its “undeniable ineptitude” and “reckless behavior”. (The center’s actions were also in apparent violation of a federal law which mandates that states keep election records for at least 22 months.) Kemp’s office then took oversight of election security in-house, while maintaining that the system itself was fine.

That has struck Marks and many other voting rights activists and political observers as a flagrant conflict of interest. Last week, the Georgia Democratic party and several not-for-profit advocacy groups called on Kemp to resign as secretary of state so he could run for governor free of suspicion that he might double-deal on his own behalf. Some, but not all, previous Georgia secretaries of state have stepped aside when running for higher office. (Kemp said he had no intention of resigning.)

“At least in other states, the counties do their own ballot programming and counting,” Marks said. “In this case, the software that controls the count and the ballots and the machines is all controlled right out of Kemp’s office, with no oversight. He’s running an election that is both unverifiable and has no outside controls on it. This is what they do in Cuba.”

‘Nothing has been decontaminated’

And there is more: in his indictment of 12 suspected Russian cyberspies last month, the special counsel Robert Mueller undid much of Kemp’s previous rhetoric that Georgia had never been targeted by cyber-spies by alleging that the Russians had scoped out counties in Georgia, Florida and Iowa on the eve of the 2016 election for possible computer vulnerabilities. Kemp’s office responded that the indictment mentioned only “visits” to websites, not actual penetration.

Discovery materials in the lawsuit, meanwhile, have highlighted a host of problems, including a precinct in north Georgia with 242% more votes cast than eligible voters in a local election in May and similar inconsistencies in other jurisdictions that the poll workers appear to have made no effort to investigate or reconcile. Logan Lamb’s discoveries seem to belie claims by Kemp’s office that election workers keep voting machinery “air-gapped” from the internet – he found instructions to administrators to go online and download vital software on a routine basis before election day. Similar questions about reliability and cybersecurity have dogged Georgia’s electronic system from the outset.

The stance taken by Kemp and resistant officials in other states concerns computer security experts, who say it would not be that onerous or expensive to secure electronic systems before November. Mostly these would consist of pre-existing best practices for computer security: backing up systems regularly so anomalies can be rectified quickly and painlessly, having paper backups not just for ballots but also for electronic poll books containing the names and details of eligible voters, and so on.

Likewise, there is little mystery about the safest available voting technology – optically scanned paper ballots, now used by about 80% of US voters. Some of the states that don’t have this technology, like Louisiana, would like it but don’t have the funds to switch. Others, like Georgia and South Carolina, simply aren’t interested in ditching their all-electronic systems despite the compelling reasons to do so.

“Unfortunately, the states who are pushing back often lack technical expertise or experience with being on the frontlines of international cyberwarfare,” Alex Halderman said. “The federal agencies do have that experience. We need more cooperation but also more leadership on a national level.”

Marks can’t help thinking back to last year’s special congressional election and everything she’s learned since about the troubling circumstances surrounding it. “I think there is more reason than ever to question the result of that election,” she said. “Georgia’s system was compromised, and it has not been decontaminated. We’ve got a national security issue going on, and nothing has been decontaminated.”

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SHOPPING

Looking back: shopping

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Looking back: shopping” was written by Richard Nelsson, for theguardian.com on Monday 13th August 2018 16.30 Asia/Kolkata

19 November 1956

Push-button shopping in the electronic store – the world’s first completely electronically-operated, model-type food store has been demonstrated in New York.

11 May 1959

The supermarket revolution – how to pre-pack highly perishable foodstuffs in an attractive, modern pack is a difficult challenge for retailers.

Shoppers look at foodstuffs on show in refrigerated cabinets at the newly-opened Sainsbury’s supermarket at Sutton, Surrey, 1960.
Shoppers look at foodstuffs on show in refrigerated cabinets at the newly-opened Sainsbury’s supermarket at Sutton, Surrey, 1960. Photograph: Tim Graham/Getty Images

19 February 1961

How to shop sensibly – impulse buying when out shopping can lead to big fashion mistakes.

15 September 1962

American-style shopping centres – these should not be confused with the so-called shopping centres of Coventry and Birmingham. Southdale Center: America’s first shopping mall.

The Bull Ring Centre in Birmingham, circa 1965. Built in 1964, it was demolished in 2001.
The Bull Ring Centre in Birmingham, circa 1965. Built in 1964, it was demolished in 2001. Photograph: Henry Kreuger/Getty Images

31 May 1964

How to stop murder in the dress store – if the department stores would only make up their minds about service we might see shopping reinstated as one of life’s pleasures.

4 April 1972

A hundred miles from Oxford Street – there are more out-of-London branches of famous London names. Miss Selfridge, for example, now has 18 branches.

Clothes boutique, January 1972.
Clothes boutique, January 1972. Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty Images

5 September 1985

Retail shops dress up to attract customers – how a shop looks can be as crucial to its success as the goods it is offering.

20 February 1986

The trials and tribulations of a first-time computer buyer.

30 March 2015

Paris’s Galeries de Bois, prototype of the modern shopping centre.

25 November 2016

Black Friday isn’t just about shopping– the term Black Friday has been used in Guardian reporting since 1866 – and not just in stories about retail.

Black Friday sales at Asda Wembley Superstore, November 1982.
Black Friday sales at Asda Wembley Superstore, November 1982. Photograph: Ray Tang/REX Shutterstock

11 April 2018

6,000 shops close in tough year for UK’s high streets.

29 March 2018

How to bring a high street back from the dead – one community in York has found a simple way to reverse the decline.

The decline of the high street Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, April 2018.
The decline of the high street Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, April 2018. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer

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Health

Doctors should avoid saying ‘cancer’ for minor lesions – study

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Doctors should avoid saying ‘cancer’ for minor lesions – study” was written by Melissa Davey, for theguardian.com on Sunday 12th August 2018 23.30 Asia/Kolkata

The word “cancer” should be dropped from some medical diagnoses because the term can scare people into invasive treatments they do not need, Australian and US researchers say.

An analysis published by the British Medical Journal on Monday described “cancer” as particularly problematic when used to describe some thyroid cancers less than 1cm in size, some low and intermediate grade breast cancers, and localised prostate cancer.

Medical technology is now so advanced that early abnormal cell changes and lesions, sometimes described as “pre-cancers”, can be detected at much smaller sizes than could never have been found clinically. However, for some types of cancers, these early changes or lesions will never go on to cause harm in the patient’s lifetime. But identifying these changes can cause distress and prompt patients to undergo treatment to get rid of them.

“The use of more medicalised labels can increase both concern about illness and desire for more invasive treatment,” the analysis said.

“For decades cancer has been associated with death. This association has been ingrained in society with public health messaging that cancer screening saves lives. This promotion has been used with the best of intentions, but in part deployed to induce feelings of fear and vulnerability in the population and then offer hope through screening.

“Although the label needs to be biologically accurate, it also needs to be something patients can understand and that will not induce disproportionate concern.”

The analysis was led by Brooke Nickel from the University of Sydney. Researchers from Bond University in Queensland and the Mayo Clinic in the US also contributed.

A prime example of the negative impact of using the word cancer was seen in low risk papillary thyroid cancer, Nickel said.

“Studies show that progression to clinical disease and tumour growth in patients with small papillary thyroid cancer who choose surgery are comparable to those who monitor their condition,” she said.

Similarly, in localised prostate cancer where active surveillance has been a recommended management option for many years, studies show that internationally most men still prefer radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy.

“While active surveillance is increasingly being recognised as a safe management option for some patients with cancer, there is still a strong belief that aggressive treatments are always needed,” a co-author of the study, Prof Kirsten McCaffery, said.

Cancer Council Australia’s CEO, Prof Sanchia Aranda, said the cancer label had already been removed from other tumours that evidence had clearly shown to be largely harmless. Alternative labelling of cervical abnormalities detected during a pap smear had led more women to follow active surveillance in preference to invasive treatments.

“We would support the authors’ call for a global round table to agree on the literature, and what the best term for some of these conditions should be,” Aranda said.

Aranda agreed that low and intermediate grade breast cancers, called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), were “one of the biggest problems” when it came to over-treatment and over-diagnosis.

“It was assumed when these lesions were first able to be diagnosed that they would all become invasive cancers,” Aranda said.

“It’s becoming clearer that they won’t. For every woman helped with prevention with a DCIS removal, more women will have had unnecessary surgery.

“Mammography is detecting smaller and smaller lesions, which has outstripped our ability to know what they will become and what to do with them.”

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Lifestyle

Observer sudoku

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Observer sudoku” was written by , for theguardian.com on Sunday 12th August 2018 04.31 Asia/Kolkata

Fill the grid using the numbers 1 to 9. Each number must appear just once in every row, column and 3×3 box.

Buy next week’s Observer Digital Edition to see the completed puzzle.

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Spirituality, World

Crumbling stone in the Wailing Wall exposes Jerusalem’s religious fractures

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Crumbling stone in the Wailing Wall exposes Jerusalem’s religious fractures” was written by Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem, for The Observer on Saturday 11th August 2018 19.30 Asia/Kolkata

It was an otherwise unremarkable occurrence – a lone stone, possibly weakened by erosion, cracked, slipped and plummeted to earth.

But this stone was not unremarkable. It had been placed there centuries ago as part of a long stretch of limestone blocks in Jerusalem called the Western Wall – known also as the Wailing Wall – which includes remnants of the Temple Mount, the holiest prayer site for Jews.

Roughly a metre thick, and weighing around 100kg, the slab crashed down in late July, narrowly avoiding a worshipper. It smashed into a wooden platform used by liberal-minded Jews who prefer a mixed-sex prayer space rather than the central plaza, where religious authorities require men and women to pray separately.

Lying in the rubble and splintered wood, the stone has exposed cracks in the Jewish community, especially between the Orthodox, who run the area, and the more progressive branches. Public figures have suggested that the location of the fall was pertinent, possibly signifying divine intervention. After the incident, deputy Jerusalem mayor Dov Kalmanovich appeared to blame mixed-sex prayers, saying worshippers should “examine themselves”. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the chief custodian of the Western Wall, said it was not his place to interpret signs but that the incident called for “personal introspection”.

Others have questioned the stability of the 2,000-year-old structure. A 2014 study had found that parts of the wall were eroding, and Joe Uziel, an archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that a full survey was now being proposed, which would call for scaffolding.

“We’re taking this as a sort of jumping forward point to say we need to do this for the entire complex of the Temple Mount walls,” he said.

Such an endeavour would add further complications. The Western Wall is part of a site revered by Muslims, which they call al-Haram al-Sharif; al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock lie above it.

The Waqf, a Jordan-funded Islamic body, administers Islam’s third holiest site under an extremely delicate status quo agreed with Israel. Work or excavations by either side are a sensitive issue, as they may be seen by the other as infringing on sacred land. In 1996, following the inauguration of Israeli-built tunnels alongside the Western Wall, riots broke out and dozens lost their lives.

The Dome of the Rock, left, in the al-Aqsa mosque compound, and the Western Wall, right.
The Dome of the Rock, left, in the al-Aqsa mosque compound, and the Western Wall, right.
Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Fouad Hallak, a Jerusalem policy adviser at the negotiations affairs department of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, said that Palestinians in and around the Old City area had long complained of damage to their houses “because the foundation is moving below us”.

Asked whether the Waqf should be consulted on any surveys and conservation efforts, Rabbi Rabinowitz said: “The Western Wall belongs to the Jewish people … we don’t do anything secretly, but we don’t have to consult anybody.”

Outside his office, in the blinding August sun, the main plaza was filled with a broad spectrum of Jews. Secular Israelis from Tel Aviv in T-shirts and sunglasses visited for the day while Orthodox Jews in black jackets and hats took their prayer books to the wall. Foreign tourists covered in sunscreen took selfies.

All had come through security gates, where bags are X-rayed. From there, they entered the open square, formerly the Moroccan Quarter, which was flattened after Israeli forces occupied east Jerusalem in 1967.

Many had come for bar mitzvahs, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony: cheerful families followed 13-year-old boys. By the wall, the sexes separated, and the boys moved into the male-only area for their first reading of the Torah. Their sisters and mothers peeked over a wooden barrier to get a look, throwing small wrapped sweets in celebration.With Rabbi Rabinowitz in charge, the site remains under Orthodox tradition. On their side, women are not allowed to wear prayer shawls or read aloud from Torah scrolls.

This practice has been challenged, most notably by the Women of the Wall, a group that has campaigned for equal rights in the plaza. In the past, they have flouted the rules, which has sparked protests and even arrests. Over the past couple of years, the issue has become one of the most contentious among diaspora Jewry, where there are large progressive populations.

Issak, a 57-year-old Orthodox Jew, visits the wall once a month. Reform Jews, a progressive branch, should not push for mixed prayer in the plaza, he said. “The people who are bringing the whole discussion of Judaism to the Western Wall, they should stop it.” Another Orthodox worshipper said that not every Jewish denomination had the right to make demands.

After decades of outrage over segregation, the Israeli government agreed in 2016 to open a mixed-sex space that connects to the plaza. But following pressure last year from ultra-Orthodox parties, it suspended the plan. For now, women and men can hold mixed services outside the plaza, at a section to the south where a temporary prayer space has been erected, and where the stone fell last month.

Rabbi Sandra Kochmann, of the Masorti branch of Judaism, which is seen as traditional but not fundamentalist, stands looking down at the cracked floor where the stone fell. Since it crashed to earth, the prayer space close to the wall has been blocked off, and she has officiated at religious ceremonies on a platform further back.

“We’ve had a lot of problems here in the past,” she says. Orthodox protesters have come down to the mixed area to disrupt her services by singing loudly in congregants’ faces.

She rolls her eyes when asked about the debate on the significance, whether geological, political or even godly, of the crumbling wall: “The Orthodox say this is because of the Reform. The Reform say this is because of the Orthodox. Others say it’s the Waqf building on top that damaged the structure.” Her own explanation is simpler: “It’s a stone that fell.”

For Jews, the Western Wall is the holiest site where they can pray and is considered to be the last remnant of a retaining wall that surrounded a Biblical temple.

For Muslims, the site is believed to be where Prophet Muhammed tied his horse at the end of his journey to Jerusalem.

The entire complex above the wall, including the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, is called the Noble Sanctuary, or Haram al-Sharif, but referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount.

While Jews are allowed to visit the site under supervision, they are not permitted to pray openly and so worship below at the Western Wall.

Until the Six Day War in 1967, in which Israel occupied and later annexed the Old City of Jerusalem, the area adjacent to the Western Wall was the Muslim Moroccan Quarter, which was razed by Israel to make space for the prayer plaza, which now serves as a synagogue.

The Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex has been a place of focused religious and political sensitivity. In 2000 a period of intense Israeli-Palestinian violence, known as the Second Intifada, began when Israeli politician Ariel Sharon made a provocative visit to the site.

 

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England v India: second Test, day one – as it didn’t happen

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “England v India: second Test, day one – as it didn’t happen” was written by Rob Smyth and Tim de Lisle, for theguardian.com on Thursday 9th August 2018 21.19 Asia/Kolkata

Play has been abandoned for the day

It’s over, you don’t need to tell me… The umpires have accepted the inevitable, and the ECB have confirmed that, no, we cannot claim the last seven hours back. Thankfully the forecast is much better tomorrow, so play should hopefully start on time. Thanks for your company, emails, XIs – and especially for your donations. See you tomorrow!

Updated

“I’d be the first to admit this team of Marks could do with some work in the bowling area,” says Jon Perry, “but you should get a few runs on the board: Taylor, Stoneman, Butcher, Ramprakash, Waugh, Ealham, Boucher, Wood, Craig, Ilott, Footitt.”

I always knew Mark Ealham would play Test cricket again.

“What about a team of Alis?” says Arun Narayanan. “It’s got everything: opening batsmen, elegant middle-order batsmen, dashing all-rounders, wicket-keeper, spinning all-rounder, and fast bowlers! Syed Mushtaq Ali, Azhar Ali, Basit Ali, Abbas Ali Baig, Ali Bacher, Syed Abid Ali (wk), Ali Shah, Moeen Ali, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Yasir Ali.”

“A team of Pauls with more tail than Merv Hughes,” writes our own Daniel Harris. “Horton, Collingwood, Coughlin, Farbrace, Allott, Reiffel, Keemo, Wilson, Adams, Grayson, Wiseman.”

No Paul Strang. You’re dead to me.

Update There will be a further inspection in 15 minutes’ time. I suspect they’ll call it off then.

The umpires have been out for a chat with the groundsman Mick Hunt. They have umbrellas; they are using them; they are now talking to Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss. I think that might be it for the day.

Updated

Our old friend Rob Bagchi has picked a team of Steves. “Bit light on the batting – but heavy on the captaincy: Cook, Smith (I), Smith (II), Fleming, Waugh, Elworthy, Rhodes, Finn, O’Keeffe, Watkin, Harmison.”

It’s looking a bit gloomy again. Play has to start by 6pm, or all our labour will have been in vain.

Jon Holmes has used his own name as inspiration for an XI “John (Jack) Hobbs, John Edrich, John Inverarity, John Hampshire, Jonty Rhodes, John Waite, John Murray, Johnnie Wardle, John Snow, John Warr, Jon Agnew.”

Wot not Trott?

Updated

“Update from the Compton Lower,” begins our man Nick Miller. “Couple of generously refreshed chaps have just broken through the crack security team & dashed out to do a couple of ‘Klinsmanns’ on the covers. Those of us who have stuck around enjoyed it, but when those lads sober up their pockets will be £1,000 lighter.”

At least they’ll still have their dignit- oh.

“Hi Rob,” says Richard Firth. “Your thread about teams with first names, and someone forgetting their team of Grahams/Graemes led me to do some thinking. So, I’ve got: Smith, Gooch, Fowler, Yallop, Pollock, Hick, Thorpe, Manou (wk), Swann. Onions, Dilley. It bats deep, and it’s probably short of another pace bowler, but it’s a full team. Perhaps it would do all right on the subcontinent.”

“I quite like Ian,” says Patrick Brennan. “Can’t possibly beat the Michael team but the lower middle order would be fun to watch: Ward, Bell, Chappell (c), Botham, Healy (wk), Smith, Harvey, Blackwell, Austin, Bishop, Salisbury.”

That’s quite a tail. You could always add Redpath and Craig to the top order, or just put Blackwell to No3 for the hell of it.

Anand suggests Mohammed and its various spellings: Yousuf, Azharuddin, Akram, Shami, Asif, Nissar. And five others!

I’ve managed to put together a decent team of Andys and Andrews, though we’re short of a spinner

Strauss (c), Ganteaume, Hudson, Jones, Symonds, Flower (wk), Flintoff, Bichel, Roberts, Caddick.

“What about Alan?” sniffs Ian Rogers. “Border, Lamb, Donald… Mullally? Actually I’m stuck there, but it’s got Mullally in it!!”

Ah yes, good one – you could also have Knott, Melville, Davidson and, er, four others?

Update There is still an irritatingly small amount of rain falling at Lord’s. I do think we’ll get some play today, but it might not be for another hour or so.

Updated

Thanks to Tim, hello again. Let’s crack on with some team-pickin’ fun.

“Emailing from Canada, where I can’t get TMS and I’m turning to you to distract me from a 5000-word masters essay,” writes Tom Bailey. “One the subject of names during the rain delay, challenge your readers for a Test team of players of the same first name. The nest me and my mate Paul could manage was a team of Grahams/Graemes who were great bowlers batsmen, spinners, quicks, openers and all rounders. No other name came close. I’ve contrived to forget the whole team now, and can’t get at my work email to retrieve it, because of this campsite’s stupid bandwidth restrictions.”

How about Michael? Slater, Atherton, Brearley (c), Vaughan, Clarke, Hussey, Procter, Findlay (wk), Kasprowicz, Holding, Selvey. Okay, no specialist spinner, but Vaughan bowled Tendulkar through the gate once and Clarke took six for nine in a Test, so they’ll do.

Updated

And with that exciting development, I’m handing back to Rob, the Kohli of the OBO. (But less of a showman.)

Another update from Our Man. “Umpires are out,” says Nick Miller. “They have umbrellas, one of which has blown inside out. But nonetheless they are inspecting…”

What’s in a name? Quite a long thread, it seems.

“I note with interest,” Ian Forth writes, “that the most popular boy’s name in the US is currently Noah; a name unknown to Test cricket, but curiously appropriate to today’s proceedings.”

“You all,” says Jon Pyle, “seem to have overlooked Australia’s former captain, Ricky Pontiff.”

“It’s a shame,” reckons Harkarn Sumal, “they didn’t give the lad Pope a game at Edgbaston last week. He’d have had the entire rowdy fancy-dress stand singing his praises. Also, if Jennings and Root are the first two English wickets to fall at Lord’s, we’ll be treated to the sight of a choirboy and a Pope together at the cathedral of cricket. Righto, I’ll get my pack-a-mac.”

“Of course,” observes Pete Salmon, “it is traditional for popes to change their names before ascending to office. Perhaps Oliver could confound us all and announce that he is playing as Urban IX, Pius XIII or Celestine VI?”

Updated

For the latest, it’s over to Our Man at the Ground. “The rain has slowed to a gentle spit,” says Nick Miller, who’s in the Compton Lower. “The maddening sweet spot between ‘not raining’ and ‘raining enough for the ground staff not to start taking the covers off’. At this stage you’d almost rather a downpour and everyone goes home, than this awful hint of hope. I did just see a bloke passed out with a pint pot in his hand though, so at least people aren’t letting a lack of cricket prevent them from enjoying the cricket.”

“Legal terminology,” says a subject line, ominously. “‘Ben ‘Stokes has taken the stand at Bristol crown court’,” it begins, quoting me from 13:57. “I highly doubt that Stokes is a defendant in an American court. He has gone into the witness box.” The signature says “Adam Roberts, sniffily”. It’s a fair cop – sorry, copper.

The law is a bit like sport, isn’t it? If you don’t know the lingo, the people who do may show no mercy.

Updated

“On the Pope front,” begins a Facebook message, promisingly. It’s from my friend Steven Lynch, of the celebrated Ask Steven column, which began on Guardian Unlimited (email immediately if you remember that) before moving over to Cricinfo. “Have you noted the fact that he’s not the first Test-playing Pope? George of Derbyshire won one cap in 1947.”

You won’t believe this, but it turns out that Ollie’s not even the second Test-playing Pope. “There’s also Roland Pope,” Steven continues, “who played one Test for Australia in 1884-85. He was basically the team doctor and cheerleader, but played in the second Test at Melbourne, one of 11 changes from the previous Test after a pay dispute. Batting at No 6, he made 0 and 3, so not a roaring success.” But still, a better debut than Graham Gooch.

“If you type ‘Pope’ into the Cricinfo Test stats thingy,” adds John Leaver, “you get directed to Mark Priest, which I think is pretty cool.”

Updated

Never mind the brollies, we’ve got the Ollies. “On behalf of our community,” declares Oliver Pattenden, “I’d like to express a enormous amount of pride in the young Pope.” That is the acceptable face of the papal pun.

“Ollie Pope may be the first Ollie to play for England’s Test team,” notes Steve Padley, “but I understand that Ollie Robinson of Kent has played for England Under-19s. I saw him make an excellent 115 for Beckenham v Tunbridge Wells last Saturday. Perhaps he could become the second Ollie to play Test cricket, given time.”

“A further Oliver tidbit,” offers Mike Bennett. “According to Harry Altham’s book A History of Cricket (vol 1), Oliver Cromwell was apparently a keen cricketer in his younger days, although as he died slightly more than 200 years before the first Test, he might find it difficult to qualify.”

It’s still raining at Lord’s. The dear old English drizzle is back from his holidays, feeling thoroughly refreshed. But Lord’s drains fast (it’s had plenty of practice) and there could still be some play after tea, so don’t go away. In fact, send us an email, especially – at the risk of sounding like the new supply teacher – if you haven’t put your hand up before.

An email comes in picking up on our photo of the two Indian-supporting umbrellas (above, as these words are written). “It is quite possible that the Indian Government may throw these two to the cellars,” says V Krishnamoorthy. “There is a long list of what you can’t do with the Indian flag, longer list than the ICC code of conduct probably.”

Updated

Ollie Pope’s name continues to dominate the conversation. “I couldn’t find a list of which are the most common names ever,” says Smylers, “so, going for those assigned to babies born in England and Wales the same year as Ollie Pope [1998], the only more popular name not to have played Test cricket is Hannah: https://www.babynamestats.com/popular_names_england_wales_1998.html Hannah Rowe is in the current New Zealand team, but they only seem to be playing limited-overs cricket: http://www.espncricinfo.com/newzealand/content/player/543550.html.”

“Got to love the fact,” adds Pete Salmon, “that, as of now, there have been more Test players named Mpumelelo, Eldine, Krishnamachari, Faf, Warnakulasuriya, Pommie, Srinivasaraghavan and Lonwabo than Oliver.”

“Cricketing Ollies??!” snorts Pat McGinley. “Colin Milburn, surely!” Nice one.

“Most common names never to play Test cricket?” wonders Don Wilson. “Without running it through StatsGuru, I can’t come up with a Boris, a Jacob or a Nigel. Wouldn’t the world be a happier place if those three had gone into cricket instead of politics?”

“International Ollies!” yells Mike Bennett. “Although Pope will be the first Oliver, there has been an Ollie who played Test cricket. Olive ‘Ollie’ Smith played 4 Tests for Australia Women: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/53570.html

That is superb. Especially as she made more stumpings than runs.

Updated

While his team-mates twiddle their thumbs, Ben Stokes has taken the stand at Bristol crown court. We can’t comment on this but we can report it, and here’s the latest from my colleague Martha Kelner.

“Afternoon Tim.” Afternoon, Simon McMahon. “The first Oliver ever to play Test cricket? ‘Knock Knock?’ Who’s there? ‘Oliver’. Oliver who? ‘Oliver clothes are getting wet, it’s pouring with rain at Lord’s’. I’m here all week, by the way.” Whatever you think of the joke, the single quote marks, ready to go within the double ones, are dead classy.

“Most common name never to play Test cricket?” says Hugh Maguire. “Zhang Wei – apparently China’s current most popular name… Or do you want a less smart-Alec response?” This is The Guardian. You’ll find no discrimination against Alecs here, smart or otherwise.

Updated

An email from Nick Miller, fellow OBOer and Our Man at the Ground. “Update from Lord’s,” he begins, ever the pro. “The gods are teasing us as the skies very occasionally look a bit brighter, causing us all to peer out to see if it’s stopped. But the relentless drizzle continues. At the moment it’s the sort of rain you might just about carry on in, but wouldn’t start in. Despair.” That’s the spirit.

It takes more than rain to stop Gary Naylor. “Re that 48-6,” he tweets, “you forgot to add Kohli 42*.” Ha. I didn’t want to presume that India would be batting, though it would be nice. In a perfect world, it would be against the rules for the same team to bat first in two back-to-back Tests.

This is frustrating, isn’t it? Especially after the thriller at Edgbaston. Test cricket is such a great leveller, it even brings itself down to earth. Still, it could be worse – cricket, even non-existent cricket, has nothing on the tedium of Transfer Deadline Day.

Time for some correspondence. “The OBO team are playing down in Brighton this coming Sunday,” says Joe Neate, “and due to a couple of injuries are looking a bit short for players. If anyone is around and fancies playing in a fun 4-team charity tournament with plenty of cricket, beer and potentially sun, feel free to reach out to me on joe.neate@gmail.com. All abilities welcome, we have a wide range, and it’s played in a great spirit. It genuinely is just about having a great day and all the teams play in the right way. We have equipment etc so all you’ll need is some white-ish clothes!”

“Good Afternoon from Bangalore!” Good afternoon, Saiprakash. “I was hoping to catch some riveting action only to see the match delayed. I am a bit annoyed that it is 3 days too soon for India’s hopes.. :(”

“Afternoon, Tim.” Afternoon, Bill Hargreaves. “Can’t be easy keeping waiting folks entertained, although I think Polly, Manuel and Sybil made a fine fist of it.”

We need to talk about Ollie. England’s latest 20-year-old, Ollie Pope, is a likely lad, and a likeable lad, but he’s going to be thrust in at No 4, when he has never batted there for Surrey (regular No 6) or even the England Lions (No 5). He seems quite relaxed about this. Are you?

Also, a bloke in a pub told me last night that Pope is going to be the first Oliver ever to play Test cricket. For any country. This seemed far-fetched, but has been confirmed by Stats Guru, which has various Olivers, none of them Test players. “Do you think,” Bloke in Pub went on, “there’s a more common name that has yet to make its Test debut?”

Afternoon everyone and thanks Rob. It’s looking bleak but not hopeless. I have this from no less an authority than Matthew Engel, who has a ticket for the Edrich Stand and reckons “we will get some play, very late – finishing about midnight”. The Met Office (sorry, Pete Salmon, 11:10) has the rain relenting after tea, which might give us 20 overs under the lights, with whoever has lost the toss having time to make 48 for 6.

1pm update

  • The start of the second Test at Lord’s has been delayed by persistent rain
  • An early lunch was taken at 12.30pm
  • Er, that’s it

The great Tim de Lisle will be your weatherman for the next couple of hours. You can email him or tweet @TimdeLisle. Bye!

Legover department “You’re bang on about Johnners still raising a smile,” says Richard Marsden. “It’s the squeaky ‘he hit a four over the wicketkeeper’s head’ that always gets me. But from comedy to tragedy, the great shame about the whole story is that the epilogue is even funnier than the main event, but it’s been more or less lost as far as I can tell. This, from the Telegraph in 2001, summarises it:

“‘Johnston was somewhat embarrassed by his loss of control and refused to share the box with Agnew for almost a year afterwards, for fear that eye contact would cause him to do it again. And indeed he did. Together again in 1993, Agnew passed him a letter to read out, one written by the (authentic) Mr William H Titt. Once again the duo dissolved helplessly, just at the time the teams were coming out onto the field, but this time they were rescued by colleague Trevor Bailey. According to Agnew, Johnston ‘had to be led away, squeaking and wheezing pathetically.’”

“That clip featured in An Innings With Johnners but is no longer available on iPlayer, and I can’t find it anywhere else online. So here comes the appeal: Help me OBO Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

I think you can stream in on a popular electronic, commerce and cloud computing company website.

“If anyone does attempt a pun of the Papal variety (John Starbuck, 11:16),” says Bill Hargreaves, “it’s possibly best to rely on the practiced retort.”

Unsolved mysteries of the modern world, part 1

Why does Kumar Sangakkara call him David Malan?

“Afternoon Rob,” says Matt Emerson. “I have a ticket for today, but I have been forced to go to the office due to deadline pressures, so is it – to coin a phrase – cowardly to pray for this rain to last all day?”

I’m off to grab a coffee. See you in five minutes for more nothing.

Lunch

With light still falling, the umpires have decided to take an early lunch. And why not?

Spectators shelter under umbrellas as they try to have lunch in the rain.
Spectators shelter under umbrellas as they try to have lunch in the rain. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Updated

“It looks on my (pretty reliable) app that we will have play from around 3pm-4pm,” says Jim F. “As for the toss: at Lord’s as soon as it is overcast or there has been rain you have to bowl first. The wicket won’t give you much on days four and five and with lots of overs likely to be lost will have less wear and tear anyway. So the best chance of 20 wickets surely means making the most of overhead conditions and swing when present. We’re not always that good at this admittedly.”

Yes, a shorter game removes some of the risk of bowling first. That said, England will be conscious of the last Test against India on this ground, when they bowled first, bowled poorly and then batted even worse. If it looks like there will be at least 30 overs’ play today I might bowl first, but if it doesn’t start until tomorrow I’d probably bat.

Updated

“I work in Baker Street (just down the road from Lord’s),” writes Pauline Peel, “and I can confirm that there’s no change in the weather – although it may (just) be getting a teeny bit lighter over the Barley Mow (in Dorset Street). There are quite a few of us in the office willing the rain to stop. Not sure our credit with the Almighty is all that good though!”

“‘Precipitation is still occurring’?” sniffs John Starbuck. “Are you turning into Arthur Daley? It’s an odd kind of alter ego for a cricket writer but I expect it has some merits.”

You’re an invertebrate liar, Starbuck.

“Regarding Phil Sawyer’s description of post-married life,” begins Elliot Carr-Barnsley. “I can confidently assert, having also recently disappointed the remaining women of the world by getting engaged, that the scenario he describes is achievable at any stage of the relationship process.”

Legal disclaimer: Guardian Media Group does not encourage OBO readers to sit around in their undercrackers listening to TMS and trolleying booze if they want to remain betrothed for long

Update Precipitation is still occuring in the NW8 postcode area.

“Still sunny in Hereford and set to stay that way tillSaturday,” says Pete Salmon. “It’s a pig of a drive, but if the players and officials get the 13.03 from Euston they could be here by 16.14. The Edgar Street ground is just 15 mins from the station – play underway for 17.00 – we could get half a day in before it gets dark, make up time tomorrow, and then they can all catch the 19.50 back tomorrow. Sorted.”

Yeah, but the regulations won’t allow it. THere’s just no bloomin’ commonsense in cricket.

If you live outside the UK and prefer the audio version of ‘rain stops play’, Romeo has kindly sent in the overseas TMS link.

Seeya then. No it’s fine, I’m not offended. Yeah, have a nice life.

“While I agree that Duncan Fletcher was a genius of a batting coach, for me he also had an almost infantile obsession with pace bowling. Steve Harmison shouldn’t have played half the Tests he did while poor old Matthew Hoggard was unceremoniously dumped after a poor display in NZ.”

I think Hoggard was dumped under Peter Moores. I know what you mean – I wish Martin Bicknell had played more Tests – but Fletcher has so much credit in the bank, and his obsession with pace helped make England pretty competitive away from home.

“Congratulations to Guy Hornsby on his impending nuptials and all that,” says Phil Sawyer, “but some OBOers have blazed through the fiancée stage, screamed through the divorce section and are now well into the ten years and counting sat alone in our pants listening to TMS sucking on ice lollies and falling asleep at the bottom of a bottle stage. Erm, so I hear…”

“My dismay at the weather is being thoroughly tempered by the knowledge that my friend Nick is Ollie Pope’s bat sponsor,” says Richard O’Hagan. “Nick has been rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of his logo being flashed to the watching millions when young Ollie strides to the crease. The cloud of gloom that will be hanging over him at the moment is definitely making me happier than a rain delay usually would.”

On this day 27 years ago…

I defy anyone to listen to this, even if it’s for the 471st time, and not smile.

Updated

Musical interlude (it’s still raining)

“Morning Rob, what a day to be Oli Pope, waiting for the clouds to part to make your bow,” says Guy Hornsby. “Sat up in Manchester preparing for my imminent nuptials on Saturday (yes, an OBOer with an actual fianceé), by which time I’m hoping we’ll have skittled India out for 180 after a monstrous 580 for six declared, with tons for Pope, Cook and Root (finally). That’ll be a decent wedding present, thanks. I’m a realist, so perhaps just escaping abject humiliation is more achievable. And hope we play alright in the cricket, too.”

Oh crikey, I had no idea. Congratulations!

The captains will have a tricky decision at the toss, even if it’s delayed until tomorrow morning. I’m 99.94 per cent certain they’d have batted first had the heatwave continued.

There are only so many ways you can say ‘it’s still raining’. This isn’t looking good.

“I like the thought that Henry reads so violently that he breaks the spine of the books,” writes Mike Daniels. “He’s one of three talented brothers and there’s high hopes for the youngest, Ethan. Henry might end up being sledged a la Mark Waugh (Best all-rounder in the world? Not even the best all-rounder in the family!).

“Do readers send you cakes at all, a la TMS?” asks Bill Hargreaves. “I’d demand it.”

I think we’ve had a few in the past, though a lot of the OBOers work remotely these days, and I’m not giving out my address.

“11:16,” begins David Crowther. “‘Brookes is particularly exciting, though he’s out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture of the book.’

“What on earth is that, an injury known only to literary types?”

Oh dear. Spot what’s swimming around my subconscious.

“Sky have been discussing selection issues and Mike Atherton reckons that at this level the selectors are considerably more influential than the coaches,” says Brian Withington. “He feels that there is relatively little scope for technical development with Test players, so getting the ‘right ones’ on the pitch is the more important task. Interesting point, but not sure he is allowing sufficiently for the potential for a good coach (creating the right environment) to facilitate peak performance even with established players. Discuss.”

Well, he knows slightly more about Test cricket than us, and I do agree that identifying which players will cope with international cricket is the most important thing for a selector or coach. But I do take your point. Duncan Fletcher, a genius of a batting coach, is a great example of the technical influence a coach can have, while Trevor Bayliss’s success with the one-day team demonstrates the importance of creating the environment you mentioned.

“Can the captains change their final XI based on the conditions (drop the spinner for a seamer),” asks Saurabh Rye, “or have team sheets already been submitted?”

They sure can. You don’t submit the team until the toss takes place.

Prose, while u wait. Our old friend Steve Pye has indulged in a bit of masochistic nostalgia by looking at the highlights (sic) of English Test cricket in the 1980s.

“Good morning (which it is this far north),” says John Starbuck in Greenland . “The best scenario would be for England to win the first three matches, then use the last two to experiment. They could rotate Anderson and Broad and blood a couple of younger fast bowlers. But who might these be? The reserve pack, such as Plunkett, might still play a role in the short forms, but there’s a generational shift going on now. Also, capping Ollie Pope will introduce a big packet of puns for cricket writers; got yours ready?”

Oh lord no. My writing is bad enough without resorting to cheesy puns. As for young fast bowlers, there are a few with a lot of promise: Olly Stone, Henry Brookes, the Overton brothers, Matthew Fisher. Brookes is particularly exciting, though he’s out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture of the book.

“Aaaaaaaaaarghhh,” says Pete Salmon. “I want the cricket to start!!! Can’t you do something?! Blazing sun in Hereford. What the hell is going on. Bloody Met Office.”

I thought they only predicted the rain. They create it as well?

No news is bad news: it’s still raining, it’s still miserable. The forecast suggests we may struggle to get any play today.

Before play starts, if indeed it does start, please read this charity appeal on behalf of an extraordinarily brave 12-year-old.

The toss has been delayed. It’s not raining heavily – it’s mizzle at worst – but the covers are still on.

“A highish-scoring affair?” queries Richard Dennis. “Perhaps not. The average completed County Championship innings score at Lord’s this year is 225. It seems it’s a slightly different beast this season.”

Interesting, thanks. For no particular reason, I still expect the first-innings scores to be around 350-400.

Apparently the pitch is fairly green, which makes it more likely that England will pick Chris Woakes ahead of Moeen Ali as a replacement for Ben Stokes. India have a few things to consider: any of Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Cheteshwar Pujara could come into the team.

Updated

Gary Naylor is in the house! Well, the pressbox

“Looking like more off than on here today, even with the fabled drainage at Lord’s. If anyone is up for whiling away the hours between inspections with a bit of analysis of what made the first Test a great one (if not quite an all-time great one), I scribbled lots of words here.”

Whiling away the hours? How many words did you write?

Updated

Preamble

Hello. The addict knows all about guilt; about putting his cravings before the welfare of others. Was it not Trainspotting’s Mark Renton who said, ‘I appreciate what you’re trying to do, I really do, but I JUST NEED ONE MORE OVER OF ANDERSON TO KOHLI, YOU *!&*’?

No, it wasn’t, but had he done so he’d have spoken for many of us. With the possible exception of heroin, which I’ve yet to try, Test cricket is the most moreish drug of all. Yes, we know back-to-back Tests are a Bad Thing. Sure, burnout is one of cricket’s biggest problems. But never mind the bodies, minds and souls of 22 weary cricketers: there’s another Test match for us to enjoy!

The first Test at Edgbaston was the best in this country since 2013. This match should – should – be something completely different: a highish-scoring affair on a pitch that will take turn as the match progresses. The heatwave means the pitch is expected to be very dry, although that heatwave is no more. The forecast for today is pretty poor. Of all the gin joints in all the world, it had to rain on this one.

Play starts at 11am, with the toss at 10.30am.

Updated

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Health

How WhatsApp and SMS are being used to save the lives of babies in Africa

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “How WhatsApp and SMS are being used to save the lives of babies in Africa” was written by Emma Sheppard, for theguardian.com on Thursday 9th August 2018 16.33 Asia/Kolkata

Pregnancy should be an exciting time, but for some women in Kenya it can be a dangerous experience. Women in sub-Saharan Africa have a one in 38 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared with one in 3,700 in developed countries. It’s a situation exacerbated by limited access to quality, affordable healthcare for many low-income families, the geographical remoteness of some communities, which often means there is a lack of infrastructure, and a culture of mistrust for medical professionals, in favour of untrained community “midwives”.

When maternity-care provider Jacaranda Health was first established in Kenya in 2010, it was these women whom the organisation wanted to reach, running mobile clinics in tents before building more permanent facilities. Today, it runs an 18-bed hospital in Kahawa West, Nairobi, where it has provided maternal care to more than 30,000 women and delivered more than 3,000 babies. In 2016, the hospital reported that it had 66% fewer maternal and newborn complications than nearby facilities.

L1003479 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action
L1003690 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action
L1003702-2 detail shot of Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action

While chief innovation officer Sathy Rajasekharan does not consider Jacaranda a tech company, technology has played an important role in the facility’s success, and its ability to keep costs low. Prices are around a fifth of those of other private hospitals, with a normal delivery starting at 16,000 Kenyan shillings (£120). The company has developed digital tools to provide nurses with mentorship, feedback and training after each delivery, automated the hospital’s administrative systems so it can cope with rising demand, and invested in mobile technology to provide continuity of care from pregnancy and beyond.

Jacaranda, a member of UNDP’s Business Call to Action (BCtA), is one of a growing number of companies investing in improving the maternal health of low-income mothers through technology. In a country where mobile penetration is around 87%, Jacaranda uses tools such as SMS messages to remind mothers to attend their antenatal appointments (the World Health Organization recommends eight during pregnancy), watch out for danger signs such as headaches, swollen hands, or bleeding, and to vaccinate their children once they’re born. There are also WhatsApp support groups for mothers who can’t attend in person. The company has since worked in partnership with 25 public hospitals across three counties to reach more mothers. Rajasekharan estimates the text messages now reach 2,000 women a day.

L1003505 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action
L1003365 Sathy Rajasekharan Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action

“The results are pretty amazing,” he says. “Mums, as soon as they recognise a danger sign will go to a facility, they have better knowledge of two or more danger signs and they’re also taking up family planning postpartum.”

Working with a broader group has also provided valuable feedback and inspiration for Jacaranda’s next development. “While we were pretty explicit we didn’t want to answer clinical questions [through WhatsApp, text and on Facebook], because we couldn’t moderate effectively, they kept coming up. That’s what we’re working on now – providing a chat service, so women can ask [a nurse] questions … and we can escalate emergencies.”

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L1003671 John Ambulance driver using the Flare app for Ambulances Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action
L1003524 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action

It’s an innovative approach to a challenge that Kenya has struggled to overcome. The country fell short of its millennium development goal target to cut its maternal mortality rate by three-quarters by 2015. That year there were 510 deaths per 100,000 live births nationally, and in one rural county, 10 women died every day due to birth-related complications. But the Kenyan government has committed to reaching the sustainable development goals by 2030, one of which aims to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to fewer than 70 per 100,000 live births, and to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under five.

Pauline Irungu, a senior policy and advocacy officer from the non-profit Path, says she has seen growing interest in improving maternal, newborn and child health in Kenya in recent years. In 2013, the government introduced free primary healthcare for children and free maternity care to encourage mothers to give birth in health facilities, rather than at home. By 2014, 61% of live births (pdf) were delivered in a health facility, compared with 43% in 2008/9.

L1003206 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action
L1003095 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action
L1003710 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action

Path itself has been involved in introducing a number of innovative healthcare solutions to public hospitals, including a simple device that stops postpartum haemorrhage, and chlorhexidine (often used in mouthwash) for cleaning babies’ umbilical cords and preventing infection. “If anyone’s going to innovate [in this area], it’s got to be frugal innovation,” Irungu adds. “A lot of people are living on the lower economic bracket. Your tech must match what Africa needs, wants and can buy.”

For Felix Kimaru, the inspiration for setting up mobile-health provider Totohealth in 2013 came after his aunt died giving birth. Because she hadn’t seen a healthcare professional during her pregnancy, she hadn’t known she was expecting twins and hadn’t gone to a hospital to deliver. Kimaru, a computer science graduate, wondered if he could build something to remind mothers to attend checkups. Totohealth now reaches 39,000 subscribers via its SMS and pre-recorded voice messages (key for reaching those with literacy issues), and has attracted more than 6m Kenyan shillings (£45,000) investment to develop the product.

L1003587 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action
L1003605-2 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action
L1003260 Jacaranda Maternity Kenya for glabs in association with Business Call To Action

The service now covers advice in early pregnancy, through to the child’s fifth birthday. The team has added new languages (there are 68 in Kenya) and context for different regions or cultures (such as not recommending fish for women living in the landlocked north). Kimaru works with five counties, with another two in the pipeline, but would like to see more government support for innovation at an earlier stage: “We’re not good as a country at trying things out. It needs to be proved and proved for the government to take up [these ideas],” he says.

Rajasekharan agrees that government support will be key to improving maternal healthcare in the long term, particularly as the majority of women (pdf) in Kenya give birth in public facilities. But Irungu is heartened by the tech sector’s input, which continues to improve the situation through innovators such as Jacaranda Health and GiftedMom, another BCtA member soon launching in Kenya. “As Africans, we’re increasingly becoming aware of the need for us to step up and address our own challenges. For me, there’s really hope that maternal, newborn and child health is a space where partnerships between government, private sector businesses, NGOs and civil society can [work] … It’s one of the areas where people are starting to see value in working together.”

Photography: Roopa Gogineni/Panos for the Guardian

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World

Japan urges overworked employees to take Monday mornings off

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Japan urges overworked employees to take Monday mornings off” was written by Justin McCurry in Tokyo, for theguardian.com on Friday 3rd August 2018 16.21 Asia/Kolkata

Japan’s government is to urge companies to give employees Monday mornings off in its latest attempt to improve the country’s poor record on work-life balance.

The economy, trade and industry ministry believes that “Shining Mondays”, part of a wider campaign to address the punishingly long hours many Japanese are expected to work, will give employees a much-needed lie-in at the start of the working week, although similar schemes aimed at reducing people’s workload have been largely unsuccessful.

The idea is linked to the introduction last February of “Premium Fridays”, where firms are encouraged to allow employees to clock off early and go home to their families or help boost consumer spending.

The latest scheme envisages allowing employees to take the morning off on the Monday following the last Friday of the month.

The ministry tested the idea last Monday, allowing almost a third of its staff to arrive at the office after lunch. Officials said the absence of hundreds of employees throughout the morning had not negatively affected the ministry’s work, according to the Sora News 24 website.

It remains to be seen how many companies will follow suit, however. A survey conducted a year after Premium Fridays were introduced found that just 11.2% of employees had left work early on the designated day, with companies complaining they were too busy at the end of the month to give people extra time off.

Japan was forced to confront its work culture after Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old employee at the advertising firm Dentsu, killed herself in 2015. Takahashi put in more than 100 hours’ overtime in the months before her death. Authorities classified her death as karoshi, or death from overwork.

• In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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