Could Kamala Harris revive the fractured Democratic party for the 2020 election?

Powered by article titled “Could Kamala Harris revive the fractured Democratic party for the 2020 election?” was written by Lois Beckett in Washington, for on Saturday 22nd July 2017 12.00 UTC

In early July, Kamala Harris, California’s new senator, visited Chowchilla state prison, often called the largest women’s prison in the world.

Harris, the second black woman in history to be elected to the US Senate, toured the facility and sat down with incarcerated women to hear their stories. She later called the women “extraordinary”, and praised their optimism in finding a new life after prison. But the moment that she dwelled on most was a visit to the silkscreening room, where inmates were cutting rectangles of fabric and pushing paint through the material. The imprisoned women were manufacturing American flags.

Later, in front out of an audience of criminal justice reform advocates in Washington DC, Harris would share that story. She gestured out the window to the American flags flying above the nation’s capital, some of which, she suggested, may have been made in Chowchilla.

“Isn’t it part of who we are in America that we believe in second chances?” she asked.

Six months into the presidency of Donald Trump, Republicans are flailing amid efforts to erase health insurance for tens of millions of Americans. Democrats are already looking eagerly forward to the 2020 presidential race – and a new candidate to lead them.

However, the Democratic party, too, is riven with disagreement. Does its salvation lie in maintaining a centrist position, or taking strong shift left, toward Bernie Sanders’s unapologetic embrace of universal healthcare, a higher minimum wage, and tuition-free college? The party faces frustration from voters who feel it is too beholden to corporate interests.

Harris is seeing increasing presidential buzz, making headlines for her tough questioning of the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, during a Senate hearing, and then reportedly wowing big Democratic donors at an event in the Hamptons this month.

In an America of emboldened racism, where the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan recently held a rally in a college town and was confronted with more than a thousand furious counter-protesters, the Democratic party is also still negotiating its own racial politics. The party is caught between those who are moving to woo back white working-class voters who defected to Trump, and those who argue that it would be a smarter investment to focus on mobilizing African American voters, whose reported turnout dropped in 2016.

There’s a long list of potential 2020 contenders, many of them, including Harris, making the obligatory claims that they are focused on their current jobs and not thinking ahead to the White House. Sanders, 75, still has enthusiastic backers, and has been touring the country, as has Senator Elizabeth Warren, the progressive firebrand from Massachusetts. Warren has long been enough of a challenge to Trump that he gave her a demeaning nickname during his campaign: Pocahontas, a reference to her reported Native American descent.

The former vice-president Joe Biden, who chose not to run for president in 2016, has a new book out, Promise Me Dad, about the year after his son Beau’s death. He has been blunt in his frustration at what he sees as the Democrats’ failure to channel the economic anxieties of the middle-class: “You didn’t hear a single solitary sentence in the last campaign about that guy working on the assembly line making $60,000 a year and a wife making $32,000 as a hostess in restaurant.”

Harris is a comparative unknown on the national stage – one recent poll found that 53% of voters had never heard of her. But she offers an interesting solution to the problem facing the Democratic party.

Harris is a leader whose success inspires young women of color, who see themselves in her. At the same time, her rhetoric and positions are often scrupulously centrist. She likes to talk about how her civil rights activist family was appalled when she decided to become a prosecutor. Rather than try to challenge America’s continuing love of law and order politics, which fueled mass incarceration and helped Trump win the White House, Harris is trying to reshape that instinct, pivoting from “tough on crime” to “smart on crime”, the title of her 2009 book.

At Women Unshackled, a criminal justice reform conference in Washington DC this week, Harris was treated like a star. The conference, which planned for 300 attendees, attracted double that number and she was mobbed in the hallway by enthusiastic young women. Vogue magazine’s website ran a photo of the senator surrounded by jubilant young faces, with women crowding around her, arms outstretched to get a photograph on their phones.

Outside in the hallway after her criminal justice speech, Harris told a reporter for Yahoo news that Democrats needed to have a message “much bigger” than resisting Donald Trump.

“The issues are not simple, so the message is not going to be simple,” she said, rejecting any “monosyllabic” slogan, “but essentially it’s about telling the American public we see them.”

Criminal justice reform, one of Harris’ key issues, is also one of the Democratic party’s failures. Clinton was attacked for her role in boosting the Democratic party’s harsh, pro-incarceration policies, part of a push toward mass incarceration that devastated black families and that many Americans now see as a shameful mistake.


Young activists confronted Clinton over comments made in 1996 interpreted as an attack on young African Americans. She described “the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators’, no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Harris is pursuing criminal justice legislation focused on practical problems: encouraging states to reform their money bail systems, which trap low-income defendants in jail before their trials simply because of their inability to pay, and treating incarcerated women with more dignity, including providing them with free tampons and calls home to their children.

She and Senator Cory Booker, another potential 2020 contender, gave very different explanations of their approach to the same policies when they spoke at the conference.

Booker, another younger black Democrat and former high-profile New Jersey mayor, gave a high-toned speech studded with literary references to Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou.

How could this nation that professes freedom and liberty be the incarceration capital of the globe?” Booker asked, roaming around the small stage with his microphone.

Booker’s current response to the Trump slogan “Make America Great Again” was a loving lament: “I’m one of those people who tells you right now, ‘If your country hasn’t broken your heart, you don’t love her enough.’ We should all be broken by this system, hurting from it, we should not be comfortable.”

Harris’s speech was more relaxed and anecdotal, drawing on her time as a prosecutor and California attorney general. She also struck repeated notes that might appeal to a more conservative audience, noting: “I agree we must be talking about wasteful spending in our country … We must be talking about tax reform.”

Harris repeatedly emphasizing her willingness to lock up violent offenders and mixed moral and financial appeals for criminal justice reform. She highlighted her much-criticized approach to reduce truancy among children in San Francisco by “being the bad guy” and deciding “to start prosecuting parents for truancy”.

“I’m going to tell you, half the city threw tomatoes at me,” she said.

Harris made no fierce indictments of America’s racism, no attempts to grapple with the reasons America’s criminal justice system is so broken. Instead, she has directed tough jabs at Jeff Sessions, the attorney general with a southern drawl and a history of fierce opposition to criminal justice reform.

At one point, Harris referred to the attorney general as “this guy” and his policies as “crazy”, saying: “The war on drugs was an abject failure … with this guy talking about reviving the war on drugs, it’s crazy.”

Jamira Burley, a criminal justice reform advocate who worked on Clinton’s campaign efforts to turn out millennial voters, said that the young activists she trains enthusiastically share clips of Harris on social media. They appreciate her asking tough questions in public, and her simple presence in national office “allows women of color to dream bigger”.

“I would like her to talk more about the movement for black lives,” Burley said.

For some criminal justice reform advocates, Harris may not go far enough.

Andrea James, the founder of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, praised Harris’ focus on “very important” issues, but said that no national candidate had yet embraced the idea of ending the incarceration of women in a fundamentally violent, damaging system.

Harris’ description of her visit to the women’s prison in Chowchilla made no mention of one issue affecting the women there now: a “massive uptick in suicides”, James said.

“We have to end incarceration of women and girls,” she said. “We have to move beyond making prisons ‘better’ for women.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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All is not well with the functioning of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)

By Rajesh Ahuja


All is not well with the functioning of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), according to the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) laid in Parliament on Friday.

Financial management under the Mission was not satisfactory, with Rs.9,509 crore lying with State Health Societies as an unspent amount in 2015-16.

The CAG found a shortfall in the availability of physical infrastructure, non-availability of essential drugs, equipment lying idle/unutilized, and a shortage of doctors and paramedical staff.

The institutional framework was either not in place or was not effective in assuring the quality of services across all levels namely national, state, district and facility.

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched in April 2005 with the objective of providing accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural population, especially the vulnerable sections. The Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) programme is a primary sub-component of NRHM and a aims at improving the health outcome indicators— Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio, also mentioned in the Millennium Development Goals. The key features to achieve the goals of the Mission include making the public health delivery system fully functional and accountable to the community, human resource management, rigorous monitoring and evaluation against standards.

NRHM was earlier reviewed between April and December 2008 covering the period 2005-06 to 2007-08 and the audit observed various deficiencies in fund flow management, planning and monitoring, community participation, convergence, infrastructure development and capacity building, procurement and supply of medicines and equipment, IEC (Information, Education and Communication) activities, achievements in healthcare and so on.

The expenditure on the programme was Rs. 1,06,179 crore during 2011-16. Considering the substantial investment in the programme and as RCH indices were pursued under the Millennium Development Goals for laying the foundation for a healthy mother and child, it was decided to take up the performance audit of the Reproductive and Child Health under NRHM to review its progress.

This performance audit covered the period from 2011-12 to 2015-16.

Financial management at both Central and State levels was not satisfactory with substantial amounts persistently remaining unspent with the State Health Societies at the end of each year. In 27 States, the unspent amount increased from Rs.7,375 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.9,509 crore in 2015-16.

Funds amounting to Rs.5,037.08 crore and Rs.4,016.37 crore released in 2014-15 and 2015-16 to the State treasuries were transferred to State Health Societies with delays ranging from 50 to 271 days.

In six States–Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura—Rs.36.31 crore was diverted to other schemes.

The shortfall in the availability of Sub-Centres (SCs), Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs) in the 28 States/UTs, ranged between 24 and 38 per cent. The shortfall was more than 50 per cent in five States—Bihar, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Survey of 1,443 SCs, 514 PHCs, 300 CHCs and 134 District Hospitals (DHs) countrywide revealed that some of these were functioning in a unhygienic environment and/or were inaccessible by public transport. Other infrastructural issues such as poor condition of the buildings, non-availability of electricity and water supply, non-availability of separate wards for male and female beneficiaries, labour room not being functional and so on were observed in a number of SCs, PHCs, CHCs and DHs.

The shortfall in the construction of SCs, PHCs in 25 States and CHCs in 17 States ranged between 32 to 44 per cent. In four States-Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram and Uttar Pradesh, 400 works costing Rs.2,207.67 crore were awarded on nomination basis. In five States —Assam, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Manipur, 22 works were dropped/abandoned due to various reasons such as the absence of clear title of land, site issues etc.

In 20 States—Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala,Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Maharashtra,Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh,Uttarakhand and West Bengal—1,281 works, though completed, were not commissioned or made functional.

In 17 States—Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana,Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Meghalaya,Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, 428 equipment including ultrasound,X-ray, ECG, cardiac monitors, auto analyzer, incinerator, OT equipment, blood storage unit costing Rs.30.39 crore were lying idle/unutilised due to non-availability of doctors and trained manpower to operate the equipment and lack of adequate space for their installation.

In 24 States—Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana,Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya,Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal,instances of non-availability of essential drugs were observed.

In eight of these States, essential medicines/ consumables such as Vitamin-A, contraceptive pills,ORS packets, RTI/STI1 drugs, essential obstetric kits were not available in selected health facilities.

In 14 States—Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, medicines were issued to patients without ensuring the prescribed quality checks and without observing the expiry period of drugs, thus exposing the patients to health risks.

Mobile Medical Units were not operational in four States of Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Uttar Pradesh while these were partially operational in 10 States of Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tripura.

A high percentage of 3,588 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) surveyed did not have disposable delivery kits and blood pressure monitors.

Shortages of doctors and paramedical staff were observed in almost all selected facilities, compromising the quality of health care being administered to the intended beneficiaries. In the selected CHCs of 27 States, the average shortfall of five types of Specialists (General Surgeon, General Physician, Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, Paediatrician and Anaesthetist) ranged between 77 to 87 per cent. In selected 236 CHCs in 24 States/UTs, only 1,303 nurses were posted against the required 2,360.

In 13 States—Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, 67 PHCs were functioning without any doctor.

In 13 States—Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, ANM/Health Workers were not posted in 80 SCs (10 per cent).Similarly, Health Workers (Male) were not posted in 749 SCs (65 per cent ) in 22 States.

The institutional framework for implementation of National Quality Assurance Programme (NQAP) was either not in place or was not effective in assuring the quality of services across all levels–national, state, district and facility.

Out of 716 facilities in 19 States, internal quality assurance team was constituted in only 308 facilities (43 per cent). In 541 health facilities of 15 States, the system of periodic internal assessment was formulated only in 114 (21per cent) facilities.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were not monitored in 267 facilities of eight States—Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Mizoram, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.Out of 411 facilities in 10 States, only 79 facilities (19 per cent) monitored the KPIs.

In 18 States, against the requirement of Rs.132.83 crore, reflected in State Programme Implementation Plans during 2013-16, Rs.85.64 crore was allocated.

States were not able to utilise even the allocated amount with the spending remaining low at Rs.42.89 crore.

Shortfalls, ranging from 29 to 100 per cent, in holding of meetings by the monitoring committees at State level (State Health Mission and State Health Society) were noticed.

In 20 out of 28 States, non-maintenance of records of administration of Antenatal Checkups (ANCs) of pregnant women was noticed. Shortfalls in the administration of Iron and Folic Acid tablets were noticed in all the 28 States. Similarly, in four states (Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Meghalaya), less than 50 per cent of pregnant women were immunised with both doses of Tetanus Toxoid vaccine (TT1 and TT 2).

Against the target of Infant Mortality Rate (27 per 1,000 live births) to be achieved by 2015 as per the Millenium Development Goals, the achievement was 39. IMR was higher than 40 in the six States of Assam (49), Bihar (42), Chhattisgarh (43), Madhya Pradesh (52). Odisha (49) and Uttar Pradesh (48).

Against the target of Maternal Mortality Ratio (109 per 1,00,000 live births) to be achieved by 2015 as per the Millenium Development Goals, the achievement was 167. MMR was higher than 200 in nine States of Assam (300), Bihar (208), Chhattisgarh (221), Jharkhand (208), Madhya Pradesh (221), Odisha (222), Rajasthan (244), Uttar Pradesh (285) and Uttarakhand (285).

Deficiencies were noticed in the implementation of Janani Suraksha Yojana, such as non-payment of incentive to beneficiaries, delayed payment to beneficiaries, payment to 12,723 excess number of beneficiaries and so on.

During 2015-16, about 13,000 facilities did not report data on Health Management Information System (HMIS). In the absence of reporting by all the facilities, the overall position on health indicators remained unascertainable.

Audit observed significant discrepancies in the data as reported in HMIS vis-à-vis the information available as per basic records/registers in the selected health facilities of 14 States.

There was no adequate computerization, networking and human resources in the selected facilities. As a result, the facilities had to upload the reports on HMIS portal from the district headquarters or the nearest internet accessible area. This resulted in delayed availability or non-availability of data.

The prescribed records for Health Management Information System (HMIS) were either not maintained or poorly maintained in most of the selected health facilities. As a result of inadequate reporting and poor record management across all states, the quality of data reported in HMIS was erroneous and unreliable.

Analysis of HMIS data revealed that for some major RCH parameters, the achievement shown was more than hundred per cent, such as the number of pregnant women who availed the benefit of ANC, immunisation, was more than the number of pregnant women registered. The data was, therefore, unreliable.

Fourteen to 64 per cent of the health facilities were not reporting infrastructure data on HMIS for 2015-16 due to which the MIS reports failed to present a comprehensive picture. Eight to 12 per cent of the data fields were not filled up by various health facilities making the data reporting under MIS reports unreliable.

The CAG has recommended that Funds flow management should be rationalised keeping in view the absorptive capacity of State Health Societies. The Ministry should monitor and maintain the details of interest earned on the unspent balances by these societies to ensure better utilisation of funds.The  Ministry may ensure that all civil works are reviewed by concerned authorities in all States in the light of extant rules for removing the delays /impediments and ensure faster completion and commissioning of buildings.

Availability of all essential drugs and equipment should be ensured at all health facilities. Mobile Medical Units and ambulances should be made fully operational and equipped with the required manpower and equipment. The Ministry should scrupulously follow up with States to ensure that the sanctioned posts of health care professionals are filled up to meet the NRHM requirements.

The Ministry and the States should secure compliance with the operational guidelines for quality assurance at all levels. Assessment of health facilities on the defined parameters should be documented and reviewed on a consistent basis for taking appropriate follow-up action. Provision for monitoring the implementation of National Quality Assurance Programme may be made in the Health Management Information System. The Ministry/state governments need to strengthen the monitoring mechanism at all levels. IEC activities should be improved so that the public is encouraged to adopt institutional delivery. Adequate distribution of IFA tablets and complete administration of TT vaccines to all pregnant women should be ensured by each healthcare facility.

The Ministry should formulate a clearly documented organisational structure with identified positions for data management responsibilities. A documented and structured training programme for the personnel involved in data recording, reporting, aggregation, verification and feeding should be put in place. The reliability of data in HMIS by providing for proper validation controls at all levels should be improved. A mechanism for verification of data before uploading on the HMIS should be incorporated.





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Turkey and Greece hit by strong earthquake: two dead and 200 injured – as it happened

Powered by article titled “Turkey and Greece hit by strong earthquake: two dead and 200 injured – as it happened” was written by Claire Phipps and Kevin Rawlinson, for on Friday 21st July 2017 11.02 UTC

One of those who died named as resorts expect more aftershocks

This blog is now closing. Here’s a rundown of what has happened since our last summary:

  • One of the two people who died in the earthquake has been named as Turkish national Sinan Kurdoglu by the country’s government. A Swedish man also died, but he has not been named.
  • The affected area is likely to keep feeling aftershocks for over the next fortnight, though these are unlikely to cause major problems.
  • The Greek armed forces were put on alert, with a 15-strong team from the country’s specialist search and rescue units, flying into Kos in the early hours.

You can read a summary of the events overnight here.


Sinan Kurdoglu named as Turkish man killed on Kos

Turkey’s deputy prime minister has named the Turkish national killed in the earthquake as Sinan Kurdoglu, the Associated Press reports. He provided no further details.

Speaking in the quake-hit town of Bodrum, Hakan Cavusoglu confirmed that another Turkish national was injured, adding: “All of our state’s institutions are here for our citizens.”

The country’s health minister, Ahmet Demircan, said 358 people were hurt in the earthquake. Earlier, officials said the injuries were mostly sustained as people were fleeing their homes.

Fraport, the German-led consortium managing 14 regional airports in Greece, says Kos airport is operating as normal and “only with slight delays.”

The consortium said both take-off and landing runways and all airport buildings had been “extensively checked” for possible damage after the earthquake. Slight delays in scheduled local and international flights were expected to be ironed out during the course of the day, it said.


Professor Ethymios Lekkas, who heads Greece’s antiseismic protection organisation, has warned that Kos is likely to experience aftershocks “for up to two weeks.”

But, speaking to the Guardian, the geology professor insisted the activity would be good because the tremors would gradually reduce tectonic tension.

They will be well under five on the scale and won’t cause a problem. I am not worried. Buildings on the island have shown great resilience because they have been constructed to strict anti-seismic criteria.

The professor also clarified that the tidal wave caused by the quake and witnessed in Kos port was much smaller than originally reported. “It did not exceed 70cm and was very small,” he said.


According to the Associated Press, Turkey’s foreign ministry has now also confirmed that one of the two people who died on Kos was Turkish. That follows similar information emanating from Greek authorities.

The ministry said on Friday that a second Turkish national was in a serious condition and was being evacuated to Athens for treatment. It did not identify the victim, saying authorities were still trying to reach his or her family members.

Turkish authorities have sent a 250-person vessel from the Turkish resort of Bodrum to Kos to start evacuating some 200 Turkish tourists stranded on the island, the ministry also said. It said Greek authorities had granted the ship special permission to approach a pier at Kos where the port and customs building was damaged.

Greek authorities have now listed the five seriously injured people who were flown to Crete by emergency services earlier today as: two Swedes; one Norwegian; a Greek man and a Greek woman. One is reported to have suffered extensive leg injuries. All are thought to have been in the bar, whose roof collapsed, when the earthquake struck.

Between 2am and 4am, about 95 people were either admitted, or admitted themselves, to the local hospital on Kos. First aid was administered to about 85 more, who then left.

The quake, the second exceeding magnitude 6 to hit Greece’s coastal region in recent weeks, has produced more than 100 aftershocks, seismologists say. A second tremor measuring 5.1 struck 26 km south of Leros, after the initial earthquake measuring 6.5 hit Kos at 1.53am. Three further tremors measuring 4.6, 4.5 and 4.7 followed.

The quake is also believed to have caused a small tsunami in the port of Kos which subsequently suffered extensive damage.

The tidal wave was described as being about 70 cm high. A similar phenomenon occurred on Lesbos, in the port of Plomari, when an earthquake measuring 6.2 occurred in June. In sharp contrast to Kos, the tremor caused devastating damage with hundreds left homeless, prompting Pope Francis earlier this month to make a donation of €50,000 to boost relief efforts.


Tourists and residents in Bodrum spent the night outside on beach loungers or in cars. Boat captain Metin Kestaneci, 40, told the Dogan news agency that he was asleep on his vessel when the quake hit.

There was first a noise and then a roar. Before I could ask ‘what’s happening?’ my boat was dragged toward the shore. We found ourselves on the shore.

A London-based student, Georgie Jamieson, who was holidaying in Kos with her family, has described being caught up in the chaos. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

We’re all a bit shaken up. We had been having a lovely evening down in the hotel and got up to our room an hour before [the quake] struck.

We were literally dozing off when the first tremor struck. From then on it was a bit of a surreal nightmarish experience.

I was semi-conscious. At first I panicked and I was a bit fear-struck, but then slowly trying to process what was happening.

Everything was shaking really vigorously. I’ve never felt anything like it before. Almost as if the ground was going to cave in.

Jamieson said she went to check on her sisters and they were initially unsure whether it was safer to leave the hotel room or stay.

We ran to the door to check there was nothing outside that had been visibly damaged. When we saw that that was all clear, we were coming to terms with the fact that we were experiencing an earthquake and we grabbed our stuff and made a run away from the building.

The Greek armed forces have been put on alert with a 15-strong team from the country’s specialist search and rescue units, flying into Kos in the early hours. An 11-strong government delegation also arrived on the island a little after 4am. It includes the citizens protection minister, Nikos Toskas, and the transport minister, Christos Spirtzis.

The search and rescue units are expected to wade through debris – along with officials from the local fire services – lest there are other victims throughout the day.

“Slowly, slowly life is returning to normality,” the government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told a local radio station, adding that, in contrast to a similar 6.2 earthquake that hit the island of Lesbos last month, the damage on Kos was limited.

Professor Ethymios Lekkas, who is Greece’s top geology professor and heads the anti-seismic protection organisation, says Kos should expect to be rattled by aftershocks for the foreseeable future.

“It was a big earthquake … aftershocks are happening and will happen,” he told the news portal, describing the tremors as “totally natural” and necessary.

For an earthquake of such magnitude, the damage had been very limited, he said:

With the exception of our two fellow human beings who died, the effects have been very small. We have had a very big earthquake … and only the port and two very big buildings have really been affected by it, which is very important and shows the level of construction.

Newly built hotel resorts had survived intact – testimony to their anti-seismic qualifications, he said.

Yiannis Glynou, who leads the technical chamber in the Dodecanese islands and is in Kos surveying the impact on buildings, told the country’s news agency:

The damage is limited to old stone buildings. New buildings on the island, including numerous hotel units, are showing almost none or no problems.


What we know so far

  • A 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit the Aegean Sea at 1.31am local time on Friday (22.31 GMT Thursday), rocking the nearby Turkish resort of Bodrum and the Greek island of Kos.
  • Worst hit was Kos, where two people – male tourists from Turkey and Sweden – were killed when a wall collapsed on to a bar in the old town area.
  • More than 120 people on the island were injured, with a number airlifted to larger hospitals in Rhodes and Crete. At least three are said by officials to be seriously injured.
  • No deaths have been reported in Turkey, but around 70 people are believed to have been treated for injuries in Bodrum. Some were treated in the garden of the city’s state hospital after the building was reportedly evacuated over fears of cracks in the walls.
  • A number of aftershocks have continued to shake the affected region, with several registering a magnitude of over 4.0.
  • Residents and tourists in Greek and Turkish resorts fled their homes and hotels, with many spending the night sleeping on the beach or on pool sun loungers.
  • With this weekend set to be among the busiest of the tourist season, holiday companies including Thomas Cook said they were checking with authorities about how to proceed. Some flights to Kos have been cancelled.
  • The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors earthquakes, said the strong quake was very shallow – only 10km (6.2 miles) below the seabed – and located off the south-western coastal city of Marmaris in the Mugla province of Turkey. The epicentre was just 10km south of the Turkish resort of Bodrum and 16km east-north-east of Kos.


The quake struck at 1.30am local time in the early hours of Friday (22.30 GMT Thursday). By daylight, the damage in both the Greek and Turkish resorts affected is clearer to gauge.


Damaged vehicles and flooding in Bodrum.
Damaged vehicles and flooding in Bodrum. Photograph: Yasar Anter/Dogan News Agency via DEPO Photos/EPA
Damaged boats at a beach close to Bodrum.
Damaged boats at a beach close to Bodrum. Photograph: Ali Balli/Anadolu Agency/EPA


A damaged church on the island of Kos.
A damaged church on the island of Kos. Photograph: Giannis Kiaris/EPA
A liquor store in Kos.
A liquor store in Kos. Photograph: Giannis Kiaris/EPA

Kos fire service rescue chief Stephanos Kolokouris has confirmed to Greek state television that the two people killed on the island were from Turkey and Sweden.

Both were men. They have not been named.

Kolokouris said both were tourists and died after a wall collapsed on to a bar in Kos old town close to the island’s main port. One of five people seriously injured was Greek, he said, but he did not give details of the other four.


Greek media are reporting that five people, three of whom have been “seriously injured”, have been flown by Chinook helicopter from Kos to Crete for treatment. Emergency services have rushed them to the island’s main University general hospital in Heraklion.

One of the injured is said to have suffered what are being described as “very severe injuries” to both legs.


Turkey’s disaster and emergency management presidency (AFAD) said it had observed a large number of aftershocks in Turkey and Greece following the 6.7 magnitude mainshock, several of them registering 4.0 magnitude or above.

Will Fell, a British tourist in Kos, told the Guardian:

It’s not fully stopped: there’s been lots of small aftershocks. Nothing as intense as the first mainshock that we had.

Two killed from Turkey and Sweden

Greek authorities have said that the two people killed in the earthquake in Kos were from Turkey and Sweden. They have not been identified.


Casualties latest

  • The mayor of Kos has confirmed that two people have been killed on the Greek island. Giorgos Kyritsis said the two – whose names and nationalities have not been revealed – were foreigners. They are believed to have died when a roof collapsed in a bar in the tourist resort.
  • More than 120 people on Kos have been injured, officials said. Some have been airlifted to the larger nearby island of Rhodes for treatment.
  • In Bodrum, at least 70 people have been treated for injuries sustained in the quake and its aftershocks.
Patients outside Bodrum state hospital.
Patients outside Bodrum state hospital. Photograph: Dogan News Agency Via Depo Photos/EPA


The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors earthquakes, said the strong quake was very shallow – only 10km (6.2 miles) below the seabed – and located off the south-western coastal city of Marmaris in the Mugla province of Turkey.

The epicentre was just 10km south of the Turkish resort of Bodrum and 16km east/north-east of Kos, which has been the area worst hit.

Greece-Turkey earthquake locator


The quake was also felt on the Greek island of Rhodes.

“We were very surprised. We were scared and we immediately went outside,” Teddy Dijoux, who was holidaying with his family at a Rhodes resort, told news agency AFP.

“That lasted a long time. I quickly gathered up my children to leave the hotel,” said holidaymaker Sylvie Jannot.

The 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey’s Aegean coast, but worst hit was the Greek island of Kos, where both confirmed deaths occurred, along with most of the injuries reported. So far, officials say more than 120 people have been wounded.

Associated Press reports:

Fallen bricks and other debris coated many streets, and the island’s seafront road and parts of the main town were flooded.

Giorgos Hadjimarkos, the regional governor, said four or five of the injuries were “worrying” and damaged buildings were being inspected, but the “main priority at the moment is saving lives”.

The Kos hospital said at least 20 of the injured had broken bones.

A wall collapsed on a building dating to the 1930s and crushed people who were at the bar in the building’s lower level, according to Kos mayor Giorgos Kyritsis.

“There are not many old buildings left on Kos. Nearly all the structures on the island have been built under the new codes to withstand earthquakes,” the mayor said.

Kos’s old town area, full of bars and other nighttime entertainment, was littered with broken stone in the streets. Hotels had shattered glass and other damage, leaving hundreds of tourists to spend the rest of the night outdoors, trying to sleep on beach loungers with blankets provided by staff.

Damage caused by the quake in Kos.
Damage caused by the quake in Kos. Photograph: Social Media/Reuters

Greece-Turkey earthquake: summary

A powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.7 has killed at least two people on the island of Kos and injured 200 in Greek and Turkish coastal towns.

The quake struck near major tourist destinations around the Aegean sea in the early hours of Friday, Turkish and Greek officials said. Around 200 people have been injured, officials said, with at least 120 on Kos and 70 in Turkey.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors earthquakes, said it was a very shallow quake – only 10km (6.2 miles) below the seabed – off the southwestern coastal city of Marmaris in the Mugla province. The epicentre was just 10km south of the Turkish resort of Bodrum and 16km east-northeast of Kos.

The Turkish towns of Bodrum and Datca, and Kos in the Dodecanese Islands archipelago are all major tourist destinations.

George Kyritsis, the mayor of Kos, told Reuters that at least two people were killed in the Greek island and several were injured by the quake. “We have two dead and some people injured so far,” Kyritsis said.

He later added that the two dead were foreigners.

Read the full report:

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), which monitors earthquakes in the region, has issued advice for those affected by the quake and its aftershocks:

Many holidaymakers have been affected as the quake has struck areas in Greece and Turkey that are brimming with tourists in July.

Package holiday firm Thomas Cook has just issued a statement:

Thomas Cook is aware of the earthquake which occurred off the coast of Turkey and Greece, and we are working hard to support all our customers and staff in resort.

We will provide an update as soon as we have further information.

The two people killed in Kos were foreigners, the island’s mayor, Giorgos Kyritsis has told Greece’s Skai radio.

They have not been identified, but reports have said they were killed when the ceiling of a building collapsed on to them.


It’s now daylight in the affected areas – the quake struck at 1.30am local time – and many people are still sleeping outside, unable to return to their homes or hotel rooms.

Men asleep on the beachfront following an earthquake in Bitez, a resort town west of Bodrum.
Men asleep on the beachfront following an earthquake that rocked Bitez, a resort town west of Bodrum. Photograph: Ayse Wieting/AP

The quake has struck at the start of the peak tourist season for Kos and Bodrum, with many travellers expected to arrive from other European countries in the coming weeks.

This Saturday would typically be one of the busiest weekends for arrivals.

It’s not yet clear to what extent the quake will affect arrivals to and departures from the quake-hit areas. Ferries to Kos have been suspended.

Two arrival flights from Athens to Kos and two departure flights from Kos to Athens have been cancelled. However, flights later in the day are currently scheduled as normal.

Eleanor Ruddock and her 22-year-old daughter Naomi, who are holidaying at the Akti Palace resort in Kardamena, on the island of Kos, told Press Association they woke to their room shaking and immediately grabbed their phones and ran outside.

Naomi Ruddock told PA:

We were asleep and we just felt the room shaking. The room moved. Literally everything was moving. And it kind of felt like you were on a boat and it was swaying really fast from side to side, you felt seasick.

She said that while hotel staff had been pleasant, they had not received official information about what they should do.

The restaurant manager just said that he’s never seen anything like this ever happen ever around this area or ever in Greece. He said it was like something out of a film, and it was.

The people I have talked to on Kos all say there have been many strong aftershocks.

Rebecca Reeve, a student social worker from south-east England, is staying at the Mitsis Family Village beach hotel on the south of Kos. She told the Guardian:

Tremors are very frequent … last one a few mins ago. [It was] very strong.

In Turkey, Briton Graham W is staying two bays to the east of Bodrum, in the town of Bitez. He said the earthquake was “extremely scary”:

Everyone [is] asleep around the pool. Hotel handed blankets out.

He said the aftershocks there had been “violent but quick”.

Officials in Bodrum say there have been injuries but no deaths in the Turkish resort.

But many residents and tourists have fled buildings to sleep outside, or – as dawn arrives – wander the streets.

Mehmet Kocadon, the city’s mayor, told NTV television:

The biggest problem at the moment are electricity cuts in certain areas.

There is light damage and no reports that anyone has been killed.

There are reports via AFP news agency that the state hospital in Bodrum was evacuated after cracks appeared, with incoming patients being examined in a garden outside.

Bodrum’s Adliye mosque also suffered damage and has been cordoned off.

There was also flooding of coastal roads after the quake triggered high waves.

ITV News has some video of staff fleeing a restaurant in Bodrum as the quake hits:

Reuters reports that Greek authorities have dispatched helicopters to Kos to airlift the injured to the larger island of Rhodes for treatment, citing Yiorgos Hadjimarkou, the head of the South Aegean region.

“Our primary concern right now is [safeguarding] human life,” Hadjimarkou told Greek state broadcaster ERT.

Tom Riesack from Germany is staying on Kos in a resort called Astir Odysseus, with his wife and nine-year-old twins. He told the Guardian:

We were literally shaken out of our beds from deep sleep. The whole room was shaking and we fled the room into the open.

Thankfully I am staying in a newer hotel that has been built ‘earthquake safe’.

Smaller aftershocks have been felt since the first big tremor, he said:

We have just had another big tremor … bigger than the last aftershocks. [It’s] scary.

Riesack said he had walked down to the beach to see if there was any damage:

There had been some flooding of up to 1m, which moved some of the deckchairs and the like. [There was] no damage that I could see, apart from some flower pots toppled over.

Overall the hotel looks good compared to the photos from Kos.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors earthquakes, said the strong quake was very shallow – only 10km (6.2 miles) below the seabed – and located off the southwestern coastal city of Marmaris in the Mugla province of Turkey.

The epicentre was just 10km south of the Turkish resort of Bodrum and 16km east-northeast of Kos.

Turkey-Greece earthquake locator


Updated figures from Kos now suggest at least 120 people were injured on the island.

Earlier reports said around 70 people were injured in Turkey.

Two people have been confirmed dead in Kos.

Pictures from the scene show damage to buildings and, in some coastal areas, flooding after sea levels rose in the wake of the mainshock.


Damage and flooding are seen on a coastal road in Kos.
Damage and flooding are seen on a coastal road in Kos. Photograph: Uncredited/AP
Buildings in Kos were damaged after the strong 6.7 magnitude quake.
Buildings in Kos were damaged after the strong 6.7 magnitude quake. Photograph: AP


Buildings in Bodrum also suffered damage.
Buildings in Bodrum also suffered damage. Photograph: Osman Turanlı/Twitter
Roads near Bodrum blocked in the aftermath of the quake.
Roads near Bodrum blocked in the aftermath of the quake. Photograph: Jannis Sydney/Twitter

The quake has affected an area popular with tourists from many countries.

The UK foreign office has warned of travellers to be careful of aftershocks. A spokesman said:

We are speaking to the Turkish and Greek authorities following an earthquake off the coast of Bodrum and near the island of Kos.

Any British people in the areas affected should follow the instructions of local authorities.

A hotel worker at the 1-2-FLY Fun Club, on the western side of Kos, told the Guardian that the earthquake was the largest he had ever felt:

When the first shock came, everybody was scared. Guests immediately came out of their rooms.

We’ve asked all the guests to wait outside because there have been 11 or 12 aftershocks.

One of the hotel guests, Rolf Schwarz, 50, was on holiday with his family. Guests had been advised “it was better to spend the rest of the night outside”, he told the Guardian from the pool area of the hotel. The building appeared to have suffered no damage, he added.

At the beach, Schwarz said he had seen what he described as a “mini-tsunami”, where the water level rose temporarily.

The chairman of Turkey’s disaster and emergency management presidency (AFAD), Mehmet Halis Bilden, told broadcaster CNN Turk that people in the area needed to be prepared for aftershocks:

Our people should know that aftershocks are continuing, so they should refrain from entering damaged or vulnerable structures.

AFAD said it had observed at least 20 aftershocks across Turkey and Greece following the mainshock at 1.31am local time on Friday (22.31 GMT on Thursday). At least five of the aftershocks registered over 4.0 magnitude, with the largest so far at 4.6.

A magnitude 6.7 quake is considered strong and is capable of causing considerable damage, but the effects of this one would have been lessened by striking in the sea.

Michael Heckmann from Germany is on holiday on the Greek island of Kos with his wife and four children, aged 10, eight, five and one. They are staying in the Blue Lagoon hotel on the north of the island, about 4km inland. He told the Guardian:

It was very scary – the whole room was shaking when the earthquake hit. We were woken up when the beds were shaking and bending. When I stood up I was still being shaken and the whole room seemed to be moving around. It was really frightening.

I woke up all my kids and told them we had to get outside. It was my first earthquake and was very scary. Everybody got out of the hotel and we stayed outside the buildings for about an hour and then the hotel management told us it was safe to go back into the buildings.

There have been aftershocks – even a few minutes ago – but they are much smaller than the original quake.

Heckmann said he was thankful that he was staying in a solid building.

At this early stage – it is not yet dawn in the area – reports of injuries are still unclear and sometimes conflicting.

The mayor of Kos, George Kyritsis, confirmed that two people had been killed, telling Reuters:

We have two dead and some people injured so far.

The island’s main hospital said 20 people were injured, though other sources put the number higher at at least 30, including at least two tourists. There are reports that the roof of a bar in Kos collapsed, injuring several.

Damage has also been reported to the port of Kos; ferries would not be docking there, the coast guard said.

Opening summary

A strong 6.7-magnitude earthquake has struck the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece in the early hours of Friday morning. Here is what we know so far:

  • Two people were killed on the Greek island of Kos, reportedly when a ceiling collapsed in a bar.
  • At least 100 people have been injured, officials said, around 20 in Kos and at least 70 in the Turkish town of Bodrum.
  • The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors earthquakes, said it was a very shallow quake – only 10km (6.2 miles) below the seabed – off the south-western coastal city of Marmaris in the Mugla province. The epicentre was just 10km south of Bodrum and 16km east-north-east of Kos.
  • Some injuries but no deaths have been reported in Turkey.
  • Residents and tourists fled buildings as the quake – followed by several aftershocks – hit at around 1.30am local time on Friday (22.30 GMT Thursday). Many decided to spend the rest of the night outside.
Hotel guests sleep outdoors in Bitez, about 6km from Bodrum, after abandoning their rooms following the earthquake.
Hotel guests sleep outdoors in Bitez, about 6km from Bodrum, after abandoning their rooms following the earthquake. Photograph: Ayse Wieting/AP

Updated © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh on Thursday congratulated the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for being accorded No. 1 ranking among the state agricultural universities by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

PAU had also been ranked third best among all agricultural universities and research institutes.

In his congratulatory message, Capt. Amarinder Singh complimented the faculty and staff of PAU for achieving the feat with their utmost dedication, devotion and hard work. “With this honour, PAU, which pioneered the green revolution in India in the 60s, continues to bring glory to the state,” he added.

The Chief Minister assured all help to the university to further intensify its efforts to boost research in developing new varieties of crops, besides promoting crop diversification through allied farming activities to supplement the income of the farmers, who were passing through a grave agrarian crisis due to stagnated MSP and diminishing returns on their produce. He hoped PAU would play a vital role in motivating the farmers of the state to adopt crop diversification through its extension services.

Capt. Amarinder Singh also congratulated PAU Vice Chancellor Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon for his contribution that led to the honour being bestowed on the university by ICAR.

As many as 57 agricultural universities from across the country were selected in the ranking based on six broad parameters – student and faculty profile, placement of students, publications in high ranking journals and citations, patents, technologies commercialised and improvement of genetic traits in crops. ICAR has begun ranking of agricultural universities with the sole motive of enhancing the standards of agriculture education in sync with emerging agricultural research, technologies and new farm practices as propagated by world class universities.

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Punjab Chief Minister Capt.Amarinder Singh on Thursday met Union Minister of Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari here to discuss the proposed Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway as well as various pending Punjab road and highway projects.

The discussion on the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra highway, which was also attended by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal and Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh, focused on road alignment and land acquisition costs for the project.

Capt. Amarinder said the Centre should pay all the acquisition costs for the highway, because of the state’s poor fiscal health. The Chief Minister was in favour of aligning the road via Pathankot into Amritsar to Taran Taran to Moga to Barnala and Samana before moving into Haryana, in order to encourage the development of these areas, which were lagging in industrial development.

Though the NHAI has invited bids for the appointment of Consultant to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a DPR for the proposed expressway, the process is going on at a slow pace, Capt. Amarinder pointed out, urging the Ministry to expedite construction of the proposed Expressway.

Mr.Gadkari suggested the formation of a group of revenue secretaries from the three states as well as the central government to study and recommend the modalities of the acquisition process. Acknowledging the inability of the states to share the acquisition burden, he assured that he would find ways to save them from the cost. The states could instead provide government land for formation of logistic hubs, industrial parks and so on.

The Chief Minister also raised various issues relating to development of roads and highways in Punjab. He urged Mr.Gadkari to intervene to expedite the various pending proposals and projects. These included approval for connecting the remaining four district headquarters with 4/6 lane National Highways, besides declaration of Khanna-Malerkotla-Raikot-Jagraon-Nakodar as a new National Highway.

Pointing out that 18 of the 22 districts of Punjab were already connected with 4/6 lane National Highways, Captain Amarinder said only Ferozepur, Mansa, Sri Muktsar Sahib and Fazilka districts still continue to be connected with 2-lane National Highways. His request for connecting these to 4/6 lane National Highways through approval of 4-laning of Barnala-Mansa section of NH-703 and Dabwali-Malout-Abohar-Fazilka section of NH-10 was pending with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), he added.

Capt.Amarinder also requested that NHAI be directed to speed up the process of upgradation of Talwandi-Ferozepur and Sri Mukatsar Sahib-Malout sections, apart from declaration of Khanna-Malerkotla-Raikot-Jagraon-Nakodar as new National Highway as it connects NH-1 (Now NH-44) No.1 through NH-95 with NH-71.

He also sought entrustment of the four-laning projects to the State PWD (B&R), which had a dedicated staff to work on implementation of National Highway projects.

He further urged the Minister to resolve the pending issues related to 4-laning of Ludhiana-Talwandi Bhai section of NH-95 road, for which work was started in March 2012 by the NHAI through the consultant (M/s Essel Infrastructure) on BOT basis but was subsequently stopped. The suspension of work, he said, was causing a lot of inconvenience to the people.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, his Media Advisor Raveen Thukral and Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar.


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Stop the Stagnancy

Stop the Stagnancy

By Gena Biem



(of a body of water or the atmosphere of a confined space) having no current or flow and often having an unpleasant smell as a consequence.

“a stagnant ditch”

synonyms: still, motionless, static, stationary, standing, dead, slack; More

showing no activity; dull and sluggish.

“a stagnant economy”

synonyms: inactive, sluggish, slow-moving, lethargic, static, flat, depressed, declining, moribund, dying, dead, dormant

(Google Definitions)

~ If I had to pick just one word to describe myself lately this would be it, stagnant. No current or flow? Yes. Still, motionless, stationary, slack? Yes. Inactive, sluggish, lethargic, depressed, dormant? Yes, yes, yes.

If there’s one thing I’m great at it’s pointing out my own flaws and weaknesses. I should have a crown because I’m the Queen of some pretty bad characteristics in my own mind. Another weakness I have… stepping aside and letting others who have stronger, more dominant characteristics, take the reigns. I am not one for confrontation. I prefer to allow myself to be weak just to avoid having a tough conversation with someone. Knowing this about myself made it impossible for me to see myself as a leader.

What I didn’t realize is that there are different kinds of “leaders”. And we all lead in different ways according to where our strengths AND VALUES lie. We grow as we develop more strengths and continue to focus on our values. When we try to work with people who have different values than we do, it can throw everything into a tizzy.

When it comes to building your business it’s important to keep your values written down somewhere where you can see them regularly. Continue to remind yourself of them, because as soon as you forget you start to attract the wrong types of people into your business, YOUR Tribe.

In the past few months, I have been busy with constant self-development and I took a “Life-Coaching” class. I Loved the class because Coaching, rather than Leading, allows the person to create their own positive changes and figure who they want to be, without having someone tell them who they should be. But, the most significant change I have had recently was when we lost an employee at work. All of a sudden I was the only person there to do the work, all of it, plus the additional jobs that were thrown at me daily just because they still needed done. Surprisingly, as soon as that happened I instinctively went into action.

The “Leader” in me resurfaced. I worked day after day, on pile after pile of papers, I reorganized, reprocessed, simplified tasks, and dusted. Yes, I said dusted. I was always so busy at work that I could never find the time to dust my office area. I could see it, but I couldn’t remove it. Everytime I moved something and saw the dust I felt like I was incapable of doing everything I should, I can’t stress how significant it was for me to remove that dust from my focus.

Less than 3 weeks later our office is running smoothly. The piles of paper are gone, work is caught up, and even the patients have noticed a difference.

I should probably tie this altogether. First, I NEEDED to work on self-development and stop being stagnant. No one could do that except me. Then I had to re-evaluate my values and figure out who and what didn’t align with them. Those things and people had to be pushed at an arms length, which caused me to have a very difficult conversation with someone. Having that conversation dusted me off. It was hard and caused me to feel anxiety – the thought of it made me want to crawl right back onto the sidelines where I was – but I knew it had to be done.

Now that the dust is gone I don’t feel like I’m suffocating anymore.

Growth comes in surprising ways sometimes. It’s not always enjoyable and at times it even hurts you and/or others.

Do you need dusted off in any areas of your life? Is anything suffocating you and keeping you from taking a full breath? Are you feeling held back? It’s OK to do something about it, you’re worth it.

Gena Biem
Crazy Oil Life

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India beat Australia by 36 runs to win Women’s World Cup semi-final – as it happened


Powered by article titled “India beat Australia by 36 runs to win Women’s World Cup semi-final – as it happened” was written by Geoff Lemon and Adam Collins (now) Vithushan Ehantharajah (India innings), for on Thursday 20th July 2017 19.05 UTC

India will play England in a World Cup final at Lord’s

What a day. What a performance. What a contest that will take place this Sunday. Harmanpreet Kaur played one of the great innings: destructive, breathtaking, and full of class. She also had one of the most epic meltdowns when she thought her partner had been run out, which was less elegant, though I enjoyed the passion therein.

171 from 115 balls, though she also finishes with an injury. Was limping between the wickets, and didn’t field. I think the injury cae when she hit the ball into her own foot. Whatever the case, she pointedly avoids the questions from Alison Mitchell about whether she’ll be fit for the final.

Her effort catapaulted India to 281-4 in a reduced innings of 42 overs. The next best score was Raj’s 36. But the economical Australians were mashed. Schutt went at 7 an over. Jonassen went at 9. Villani bowled a single over for 19.

The Aussies were never really in the hunt. The top three went down for 15 between them. Villani then made a fine counterattacking 75 from 58 balls, but was starting from so far behind the pace that Australia needed twice that much. It was an unfair ask. Then Blackwell went huge at the end, but the game was already so far gone that it would have been an utter miracle to haul it back in with one wicket in hand. Pandey and Goswami were vital, where India’s spinners were expected to be key.

So the World Cup final is between India and England, two teams flying high. It’s a sellout. But head down and try to find a ticket, kiss a tout, find a TV set, switch on Test Match Special on the radio, and of course follow along on the Guardian OBO. Be part of history, because it’s going to be made.


WICKET! Blackwell b Deepti 90

It’s all over! Deepti Sharma on, who Blackwell climbed into a few overs ago. This time she spears it towards leg, Blackwell was already charging and trying to pull, and got in a tangle against the faster ball that bobbled through onto her stumps. A magnificent hand from Blackwell comes to an end, smashed in desperation, and it lost out to an even more magnificent one from Harmanpreet Kaur.

40th over: Australia 244-9 (Blackwell 90, Beams 11)

Poonam Yadav bowling, and good enough. Dot ball, driven straight to cover. Blackwell goes big down the ground, but Mona Meshram the sub fielder stops it on the bounce. Beams cuts a single, then the other sub Mansi Joshi can’t stop Blackwell’s punished full toss to midwicket. Harmanpreet and Pandey are both off the ground with minor injuries. Harmanpreet would have been bowling if not. Blackwell can’t get a run from the fifth ball, straight to cover, then farms the strike from the last. 36 needed from 12 balls.

39th over: Australia 238-9 (Blackwell 83, Beams 10)

Here’s a turn-up. Krishnamurthy bowling for the first time in this World Cup. With four overs to go in a semifinal. Raj going for the confusion technique? Blackwell could have garnered a wide first ball, but she gets bat on one down leg, and only gets two from it. Blackwell slams a single to deep midwicket next ball, then Beams cuts two. Flicks one more. Two balls to come. Theoretically they’re leggies. Realistically they’re loosies. Down the wicket Blackwell, pounds through midwicket for four. Single from the last ball. The over costs 11, the equation is 44 off 19.

38th over: Australia 227-9 (Blackwell 76, Beams 7)

Goswami back to try to finish things off. Instead, Blackwell slams a straight drive for four! Gorgeous strike, full power. Slams a similar shot straight to mid off. Then gets a full toss, pulls it for four more! That was so nearly a no-ball for height as well. Would have been an extra run, extra ball and a free hit. Luck with India on that one. Australia need 55 off 24. Another really big over and this could get interesting. Hell, it’s already interesting. And is there a ton on for Blackwell?

Alex Blackwell hits out.
Alex Blackwell hits out. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


37th over: Australia 218-9 (Blackwell 67, Beams 7)

Six! Massive six! Blackwell thunders one into the media centre, and we can feel the bang as it collides with a wall. Gayakward pitches another ball full, and it goes the same way. Not as long this time, but still clears the rope. It’s now 64 needed off 30. Nahhhhh. Right? Nahhhh…

Half century! Blackwell 52 from 36 balls

36th over: Australia 203-9 (Blackwell 53, Beams 6)

Boshed. Blackwell down on one knee and sweeps Poonam Yadav’s leg-break for another four. Her 24th ODI fifty, to go with three centuries. Another fine hand from the Australian veteran. Wants two to cover but only gets one. Beams sticks fat, even gets a couple more runs. But the equation is 79 needed from 36 balls. Not quite gonna make it… are they… ?

35th over: Australia 189-9 (Blackwell 48, Beams 3)

Blackwell nearly holes out to long off, but it lands just short. A single. Beams nails a cut shot, but straight to point. Harmanpreet is off the field, limping but beaming. Blackwell says, “Not done yet, mate.” Smacks four down the ground from Deepti Sharma, that clears Krishnamurthy on the bounce at long on. Then she goes again, bigger, over the rope at wide long on for six! Probably her last World Cup innings, so it’s nice that Alex Blackwell is having fun.


34th over: Australia 181-9 (Blackwell 37, Beams 2)

Blackwell’s flying, and might as well score while she can. Beautiful cover drive with Gayakward’s turn, gets four. Then a sweep that’s saved on the rope with a dive, and three more. Last of the over, Beams is back and cutting between the two fielders behind point, and gets off the mark with a couple.

33rd over: Australia 174-9 (Blackwell 30, Beams 0)

Blackwell finishes the over with a late cut for four. A bit of edge, very fine. But she’s batting with the No11 Beams, so that’s the only thing about this situation for Blackwell that’s fine.

WICKET! Schutt c Goswami b Deepti 2

Australia gallop towards oblivion. Not much Schutt can do other than swing, she comes down the wicket to an off-break and goes leg side. Goswami is at deep midwicket, and is a safe pair of hands.

Deepti Sharma celebrates the dismissal of Megan Schutt.
Deepti Sharma celebrates the dismissal of Megan Schutt. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters


32nd over: Australia 168-8 (Blackwell 24, Schutt 2)

Thanks Adam. Gayakwad to continue with the left-arm finger-spinning variety. Schutt gets off strike first ball, slapping one to leg. Then Blackwell does what she does, working two right into the midwicket gap. Genius at finding those spots in the field. When Gayakward errs down leg, Blackwell punishes her. Too many loose balls not taken for full value by Australian players today. This one pulled for four.

31st over: Australia 160-8 (Blackwell 17, Schutt 1)

Well what can you say? Blackwell keeps on keeping on, another straight drive follows the wicket. I admire that. Four added. But they probably two boundaries an over from here to be any chance. Which, I can assure you, they are not. With that prognosis, back to Geoff Lemon to drive this OBO – and Australia’s campaign – to the end.

WICKET! Jonassen run out (Goswami) 1 (Australia 154-8)

Oh my, when it isn’t going your way. Blackwell thrashes a straight drive with all the trimmings, but it is too straight. Fingers in the follow through, Jonassen backing up, back onto the stumps – you know how this one ends. Dreadful way to go, but no third umpire required here.

30th over: Australia 154-7 (Blackwell 12, Jonassen 1)

A couple of singles to end the over but the rare required is up to 11 an over and Australia will be lucky to bat out their overs, let alone seriously challenge that. Capitulation, nothing short of it.

WICKET! Gardner c Raj b Poonam 1 (Australia 152-7)

The leggie has got some turn, forced the mistake, and the captain takes the catch at cover! India are going to the World Cup Final! Australia have lost three wickets in three overs and this is done. Blimey. What a performance from the Indians.

29th over: Australia 150-6 (Blackwell 10, Gardner 1)

You’ll have to take my word for it that not much happened in the remainder of this set, because…

WICKET! Healy c Pandey b Goswami 5 (Australia 148-6)

Never a great time for the wifi to die when a wicket is taken, but I can report belatedly that Healy has also holed out, trying to clear the circle down the ground but only going as far as mid-on. Ugly way to end an unconvincing stay from the ‘keeper-bat. Australia in more trouble than the early settlers.

Alyssa Healy walks after being caught.
Alyssa Healy walks after being caught. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


28th over: Australia 147-5 (Blackwell 8, Healy 5)

Deepti to Blackwell, who gets off strike first ball. And that’s a sixth dot for Healy. The run ends there, she finds a single to cover. Away, belatedly. Blackwell immediately turns it back over. Encouragingly, Healy gets on her bike to the last ball, to the pitch and over extra cover for a pressure-release boundary. But the required rate climbs all the same, 9.64 needed now for the World Champs to stay in the comp.


27th over: Australia 140-5 (Blackwell 6, Healy 0)

Well, Healy isn’t a bad option. She’s looked good in limited opportunities. And she has a pop. But goodness me, how is it possible that Ash Gardner is coming in at eight when they need nine an over to win? Healy can’t get off strike though, absorbing four dots to begin. Make that five. Wicket maiden.

WICKET! Perry c Verma b Pandey 38 (Australia 140-5)

There it is! Pandey back and Perry opts to glide at the first time of asking, but it is an edge rather than the face, straight into the gloves of Verma. And with that, Perry’s run of five half-centuries on the spin is done. And maybe Australia’s hopes of a seventh World Cup as well. It’ll take an epic comeback from here with both set players falling in the space of three overs.

26th over: Australia 140-4 (Perry 38, Blackwell 6)

Deepti to Perry initially, but the pattern continues: five singles. Sweepers hit with a minimum of fuss, along the carpet throughout. Oh, I better hit send, because…

25th over: Australia 135-4 (Perry 35, Blackwell 4)

Poonam poses no issues for Blackwell, playing herself in with runs in front then behind the wicket. Perry takes singles to the long-on sweeper twice as well. Good start to the mini-consolidation period. For those playing along, 8.73 now the required rate. Gardner next on that basis alone, surely. (Probably not though).

24th over: Australia 130-4 (Perry 32, Blackwell 2)

Neglected to mention it is Adam again here for the next little while, returning just as that wicket fell. I’m great like that. Ask Mitch Marsh. Blackwell is the new batsman. Perfect time for her to come in an accumulate with Perry. The vice-captain runs, innovates and has eight global tournaments behind her. She knows precisely what is needed from here, both the maths and the tempo. Four singles follow the wicket to highlight the point; they won’t mess around.

Milestone for Perry, meanwhile. What a player. Never made an international ton, remarkably. No better day to set that straight

WICKET! Villani c Mandhana b Gayakwad 75 (Australia 126-4)

Oh no! Villani, from nowhere, holes out! 105-stand with Perry, where they really were cruising, is over. Just like that, Gayakwad has done it. Tried to go over the top again, a shot that has been very effective for her, but miscues into Mandhana’s hands on the circle. The 96-ball stand had Australia, oddly, back in control. But they were only ever a wicket away from stife again.

Elyse Villani reacts after being dismissed for 75.
Elyse Villani reacts after being dismissed for 75. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


23rd over: Australia 124-3 (Perry 30, Villani 75)

There is that hundred partnership, with five singles from Poonam Yadav. Milking the bowling much better. That with boundaries mixed in can do it. I’ll hand it back to Adam to see how it goes the next few overs.


22nd over: Australia 121-3 (Perry 28, Villani 72)

Perry finally goes. Short ball from Gayakwad, pulled for four. Singles from the voer as well. Partnership nearing 100.

21st over: Australia 114-3 (Perry 23, Villani 70)

There goes Villani. Down low against Poonam Yadav and reverse-sweeps four. Powerful. “Hard to add power into that shot,” says Ebony Rainford-Brent on TMS. Did that time. Singles too, eight from the over. That’s what they need.


20th over: Australia 106-3 (Perry 22, Villani 63)

Gayakwad drags it back the other way. Perry is the one struggling a bit today. Four dot balls she faces, against the left-armer, before getting a single away. Villani tries to compensate with a loft down the ground, but gets a leading edge towards long off. Mandhana could perhaps have made it or the catch had she moved more decisively, but she hangs back a bit and in the and can only stop it on the bounce, diving, and conceding two. Or saving two. Glass half full?


19th over: Australia 101-3 (Perry 21, Villani 61)

Thanks Adam. And thanks to Elyse Villani, who is playing a gem here. No one has been more critical of her struggles in green and gold, but she’s coming good so far today. First of all, Deepti bowls outside off and Villani slashes it through third man for four. No one behind the wicket really on the off side. Then a better shot, gets all of a ball on the sweep shot, and thumps it between the boundary riders for another one. That takes her to 60, her highest score in ODI cricket. Beating the 59 she made against Pakistan earlier this tournament. The Aussie hundred up too.

18th over: Australia 92-3 (Perry 19, Villani 52)

Well. Boom, BOOM. Villani likes what she sees from Poonam to begin, dancing and swinging cleanly over mid-off for her eighth boundary. The ninth comes next ball, pulled hard between the sweepers with timing that suggests that if anyone is going to do something special from here, it is her. No pressure. And her third boundary of the over caps it, bringing a half-century! A carbon copy of the first, dancing and driving high and strong, once bounce over the rope at long-off. Her tenth boundary. And only 41 balls to get to 50. Well. Do we have another rapid ton on the cards here? 14 from it.

And on that rather positive note, it’s one Australian handballing to another, Geoff Lemon taking the baton for the next little bit.

Elyse Villani hits out on her way to a half-century.
Elyse Villani hits out on her way to a half-century. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


17th over: Australia 78-3 (Perry 18, Villani 39)

Gayakwad on. Villani likes this, punishing a drive to the cover rope. She’s been heavily maligned in this tournament. And that’s a good thing – women’s cricket needs proper scrutiny and she had a nightmare against England. But that doesn’t mean she can’t seriously play. Feast or famine usually her go, needs to be the former today. Looks well set.

16th over: Australia 72-3 (Perry 17, Villani 34)

Run a ball 50 stand comes up. Has included seven boundaries. Can’t ask much more than that after the brilliant start India had in defence of their 281. Poonam on with her leggies from the City End this over, three comfortable singles taken to the sweepers before a nice bit of fielding on the ring at mid-on ensures that Villani can’t add a fourth. That’s the standard. Back to back tidy overs.

Tickner highlighting that India went at about ten an over from here. Australia have the power for that somewhere, but need to locate it quickly.

15th over: Australia 69-3 (Perry 15, Villani 33)

Gayakwad was yanked after her first over, but is back from the Racecourse End. Love a ground with a Racecourse End, me. Pins Perry back for the most of this over. And that’s cool for Aussie fans. This is what Perry does rather well. Under no circumstances does she hurry early on. Old-fashioned, plays herself in, then pushes up the gears. She collects three runs including a single down the ground to retain the strike.

14th over: Australia 66-3 (Perry 12, Villani 33)

Singles to both before Villani – Junior as they call her in the sheds – again times well, sweeping to the rope. She’s won a player of the match gong alongside a couple of golden globes in this comp. What she’d give for a significant contribution today. They break for a glass of cordial. The required rate is 7.71.

13th over: Australia 60-3 (Perry 11, Villani 28)

Deepti is back and she’s battling this time around. The young gun has 14 taken from the set. It includes one that slips past Verma’s gloves for five wides. Thanks very much. Villani, growing in confidence, goes dancing and makes strong contact over cover. A single behind square keeps her the strike again. Perry doing a lot of watching but that’ll suit. Massive job ahead of her from now until the bitter end, you’d think, if Australia are any chance of finding a way through this. Ash Gardner is going to be big as well. Expect to see her elevated.

12th over: Australia 46-3 (Perry 10, Villani 20)

Shika has been outstanding from the get go. On the money to begin again here, but Villani has enough time to open the face when she misses wide, gliding past point. Her best shot so far. There’s a crowd catch (won’t deny it, I was convinced) that goes down to the penultimate delivery. Villani keeps the strike, scoring again behind point. Boundaries in each of the seven overs. But they still need the better part of eight an over from here.

11th over: Australia 41-3 (Perry 10, Villani 15)

Goodness me, what have I stepped into here? Australia have one foot on QF2. Another wicket here – namely Perry’s – and it’ll be both. And there will be serious questions to answer. Gayakwad on for her first trundle today after a five-for last start against New Zealand. Left-arm orthos. Villani takes one through midwicket, Perry likewise. Villani dropped! Pandey should have taken that at mid-off. False stroke. Tougher on the replay than in real time, but still. Villani had a nightmare with the ball earlier, one over going for 19. Not really her fault – no way she should be bowling in a World Cup semi-final during the Power Play. But it was that kind of innings by Harmanpreet. A lot more on selection later, I suspect.

10th over: Australia 34-3 (Perry 9, Villani 9)

Similar deal. Dot balls, dot balls, then Villani gets a slash past point for a boundary. Single from the last, five from the over. Still too small for this team. I’ll hand you over to the gentleman below for the next few overs.

9th over: Australia 29-3 (Perry 9, Villani 4)

Hmmmm. Perry clips another boundary from Goswami through midwicket, but is otherwise scoreless off the over. Drives to the field, blocks to the bowler. They really need to make use of every delivery here. “Every dot ball they’ll be feeling it,” says former England captain Charlotte Edwards.

8th over: Australia 25-3 (Perry 5, Villani 4)

Elyse Villani next. Had a miserable tournament mostly, two golden ducks, a shocker against England as well, and some harsh assignments with the ball. Needs to stay positive, and she does second ball, skipping down to lift an off-break down the ground. Boundary. Need about 50 more of those.

WICKET! Bolton c&b Deepti 14

Australia in disarray! Deepti Sharma to bowl, having recovered from the rasping dressing-down she was given by Harmanpreet while they were batting. She cheers up immediately, sending down a flighted delivery, which deceives Bolton in the air, and her attempted flick takes a leading edge back to the bowler. Tumbling catch, thought Deepti had shelled it for a moment, but she’s held on. Load up the Good Griefification machine again.

Deepti Sharma celebrates after catching Nicole Bolton off her own bowling.
Deepti Sharma celebrates after catching Nicole Bolton off her own bowling. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


7th over: Australia 21-2 (Bolton 14, Perry 5)

Goswami continues, the batsmen trade singles. Then Gos gets a bit short, and Bolton cracks a pull shot for four. That’s her area: cut, pull, and that’s about it a lot of the time. Drives off the outside edge to third man.

6th over: Australia 14-2 (Bolton 8, Perry 4)

Ellyse Perry has had the relative luxury of being the backbone for Australia during this World Cup, making half-centuries at a relatively sedate pace. She can’t so much do that today, they’ll need a more dynamic showing. She starts with a boundary clipped through midwicket, but is tied down by Pandey thereafter.

5th over: Australia 9-2 (Bolton 7, Perry 0)

With apologies to Richie Benaud’s rule against hyperbole, a disastrous over for Australia. A disastrous start. They needed to be 40-0 after five. They… are not that.

WICKET! Lanning b Goswami 0

Bowwwwwwwlazo! Bowlazo! The best player in the world is gone for a duck! It’s Bradman at The Oval for a new era. Lanning remains on 2999 runs for two games running, unable to find that 3000th run in close to the toughest match situation of her career. Goswami has pace, she has accuracy, and a tentative push forward from the injured Lanning is not enough to stop that ball from bursting through onto the stumps. Goswami roars like a lion. India have played like them.

Meg Lanning is bowled for a duck.
Meg Lanning is bowled for a duck. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


4th over: Australia 8-1 (Bolton 6, Lanning 0)

Bolton is really struggling against Pandey. Falls over, pokes about, can’t connect, can’t beat the field. Finally a single from the fifth ball of the over. Pandey right on the spot. Lanning can’t score.


3rd over: Australia 7-1 (Bolton 5, Lanning 0)

Pressure. Australia needs a fast start, and Goswami only gives them a single. Beats the outside edge of Lanning with a snorter. Time to give this one another run.


2nd over: Australia 6-1 (Bolton 4, Lanning 0)

Lanning in at the crease already. The best player in the world, but hampered by that heavily strapped shoulder. Can she do it?

WICKET! Mooney b Pandey 1

Huge! The immediate setback for Australia. Shikha Pandey strikes, outswing delivery, Mooney plays the wrong line and off stump goes out of the ground.

Shika Pandey celebrates with wicketkeeper Sushma Verma after bowling Mooney.
Shika Pandey celebrates with wicketkeeper Sushma Verma after bowling Mooney. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


1st over: Australia 4-0 (Bolton 3, Mooney 1)

How will Australia approach this? Bolton and Mooney opening. Thought perhaps a pinch-hitter might have come up the order, but they’re trying to stay calm. Huge appeal, not given. But Bolton would have been out if Goswami had decided to go upstairs. Hitting the top of middle as Bolton was surprised by pace and tried to jam the bat down. Quiet over, they need a big start Australia. But a big slice of fortune there.

Wow. Wowwitty wozzitty wow. Wowselators. Good griefification. I don’t even remember English words any more. That was such a thrilling performance, adrenaline is filling my brain capsules. Adrenaline, nice name for a girl. She might grow up to bat No4.

The ground DJ greeted that innings with The Greatest, by Sia. Fair call. I’ve had the privilege of being there for Atapattu’s 178* against the Australians a couple of weeks ago, then this knock today. Can’t get a burnt match in between them: one a solo hand played with no support, the other done when the stakes could not have been higher. Well, they could be. In the final in Sunday. Which is where India will be going unless Australia can produce something (in the gravelly growl of Bruce Macavaney) speeeecialllll.

That’s it from me. I need a lie down. Geoff Lemon will be here soon.


42nd over: India 281-4 (Kaur 171, Krishnamurthy 16) Bit of finesse in case you forgot Kaur could do that. Carves one behind point neatly. Clouts a few down the ground, too, but is a bit crook and needs to jog those ones. Veda takes over though, slapping over point to finish things. FYI – when Kaur reached 50, her next 121 runs came off 51 balls (14 fours, six sixes in that). 81 runs from the last six overs! Charlotte Edwards – high queen of cricket – has just walked in, stunned. “I’ve not seen them [Australia] rattled like that!”


41st over: India 268-4 (Kaur 165, Krishnamurthy 9)

Two sixes in a row. Just don’t bowl there. Or anywhere. Take a break. Go for a walk. Sing the songs that you want to sing. Just don’t bowl to Harmanpreet Kaur. Two sixes, both picked up from outside off, both gunned over square leg and over the Indian squad sat a few feet from the adverstising boards. Slappage of the highest order.

150 UP FOR KAUR – 200 in the offing, surely…

40th over: India 249-4 (Kaur 151, Krishnamurthy 5)

An email from the mighty Rob Smyth: “Kaur was 41 from 61, so as I type she’s score 104 from the last 44!” FREAK. Power Play ends with an over without a boundary. WAH?

Harmanpreet Kaur celebrates reaching her 150.
Harmanpreet Kaur celebrates reaching her 150. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


39th over: India 243-4 (Kaur 149, Krishnamurthy 1) Oh my days. She’s still going. Elyse Villani into the attack – yeah, me neither – starts with a wide and Sharma runs a by to get Kaur on strike. Then a wide short ball is swept to square leg for six! It means she has 101 from the last 41 balls she’s faced in this partnership! Unreal. A four through cover and a dab to leg gets Sharma on strike and then out. Ends with Sharma slapping one through midwicket – full bunger, by the way – for four. That’s 50 off three overs. Kaur’s also more than doubled her tournament tally with this innings.

WICKET! Sharma b Villani 25 (India 238-4)

Ah well, Villani was always going to get one after we bagged her for coming in on the Power Play. Tonked by Kaur but gets Sharma. That’s 137 for fourth wicket off 87 balls. Kaur has 106 of them.

Deepti Sharma, bowled by Elyse Villani for 25.
Deepti Sharma, bowled by Elyse Villani for 25. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


38th over: India 224-3 (Kaur 134, Sharma 25) A 14th bowling change of the innings as Megan Schutt takes the second over of Power Play, from the Racecourse End. Sharma rushes to get off strike and is nearly run out at the bowler’s end. She just, just makes it in. Then it’s back to the Verbal Harman Monster. The Score Enhancer. Sick of phoney bowlers trying to control the Kaur. Two fours, one through extra cover, the other over it. Two overs of Power Play and that’s 31 off it.


37th over: India 215-3 (Kaur 126, Sharma 28) Right, Power Play taken. Just the four overs because this is a 42-over affair. The crowd bellow “WE WANT SIXER” – an IPL staple – and Kaur obliges. The first just makes it onto the sponge. The second clears it – both at square leg – to bring up the century partnership off 72 balls. Kaur has 77 of them! Gardner decides to bowl two wide of off-stump. So Kaur goes through extra cover. No matter. Finishes with two and that’s 23 off the over.

36th over: India 102-3 (Kaur 104, Sharma 23)

After 11 scoring shots, Schutt manages to get away two dots in a row to Harmanpreet Kaur. Doesn’t get a third though, as Kaur threads a drive through extra cover. Different gravy.

DELAY TO PROCEEDINGS – Middle stump at the City End is bust

A modern delay, this. Can’t replace it with a normal stump because it would break the circuit. So they need the flash new one, which they’ve had to call in from a safe somewhere.

In the meantime, the DJ is playing a few shots:

Harmanpreet; You will be Queen…


35th over: India 185-3 (Kaur 100, Sharma 20) What a way to get there! Ridiculous. First a shuffle and slap through midwicket for four. Then, last ball – her 90th – she scampers two. But Sharma’s not playing ball. But they’ve thrown to the wrong end! But Healy, smartly, has a glove off and throws down the stumps where Sharma’s desperately trying to get back. It’s thrown to the TV umpire and Harmanpreet chucks her gloves and bad down and sprays her partner. And then, confirmation… 100! What a damn fine knock that is. The last 50 came up off 26 balls.

Harmanpreet Kaur reacts by throwing her helmet off onto the ground after reaching her century.
Harmanpreet Kaur reacts by throwing her helmet off onto the ground after reaching her century. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Oh and she hit the 100th six of the Women’s World Cup!


34th over: India 175-3 (Kaur 92, Sharma 18)

Unreal from Kaur. What a RIDICULOUS talent. Skips down and pongos Jonassen, around the wicket, high over long on for six. Then, advancing again, she readjusts to wrist one behind square, beating fine leg in the circle and deep square leg. Magic darts.

33rd over: India 160-3 (Kaur 78, Sharma 17) Gorgeous from Kaur. Beams has no real place on the ball yet somehow Kaur square drives her through cover point for four. She’s playing for Surrey Stars in the Kia Super League, by the way. Go see her if you’ve got any sense.

32nd over: India 152-3 (Kaur 72, Sharma 15) Now Double J is taken downtown by Harmanpreet Kaur, who finds a gap between midwicket and wide longon (fielders in both positions, fyi. Class shot). Has she got another? Yes she has. Good work on the third man fence isn’t good enough. Awful shot from Kaur – hacked edge squirting awa. But they all count. That last 52 has come up in 45 balls, by the way.

Well done to all involved for this, by the way


31st over: India 142-3 (Kaur 63, Sharma 14)

Interesting turn of events… now the seamers are getting some tap. Well, singular: Perry. A few wides to Kaur – the left-right combination putting the bowlers off enough – then sees Perry dig one short which the right-hander larrups around the corner for four.

30th over: India 132-3 (Kaur 57, Sharma 12) Garnder picks up after drinks and his swept around the corner for her troubles. Straying a bit onto the pads but it’s still an excellent shot from Sharma, who moves to double figures.

29th over: India 126-3 (Kaur 56, Sharma 7) Spin is getting knocked about so Perry comes into the attack for her first bowl from the City End. Still, these two are hustling well to pinch six off the over with a well run two at the end.

28th over: India 120-3 (Kaur 54, Sharma 3) Just getting a bit ragged out there for Australia. India starting to put a bit back on them. Deepti Sharma, 19, precocious, gun – won’t wait around. Five skittish singles off the over.


27th over: India 115-3 (Kaur 51, Sharma 1) What a couple of deliveries. Beams bowls the worst ball known to humankind – out of her hand and over the head of first slip. No ball called and the free hit is slapped high and gorgeous over midwicket. Then, a square four takes Kaur to fifty off 64 balls. Safe to say the move to number four has worked:

Harmanpreet Kaur brings up her 50.
Harmanpreet Kaur brings up her 50. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


26th over: India 102-3 (Kaur 40, Sharma 0) Ashleigh Gardner runs through an over for just one as Kaur profits off a misfield at point.

25th over: India 101-3 (Kaur 39) The 100 is up but it’s not convincing and, perhaps, should have led to Raj’s demise. She pierced the hands of midwicket for the two that took them to three figures. No matter, Beamsly does it.


WICKET! Raj b Beams 36 (India 101-3)

Beams gets her woman! Googly? Perhaps. Certainly seemed to give Mithali Raj the impression she could cut just before it pitched. Instead, she gives it room to hit middle and off, which it does.

Mithali Raj, bowby Kristen Beams for 36.
Mithali Raj, bowby Kristen Beams for 36. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters


24th over: India 96-2 (Raj 33, Kaur 37) Gardner replaces Jonassen, though that might be for a cheeky change of ends as I reckon they’ll give Schutt a blow and bring back JJ, perhaps. Three taken.

23rd over: India 93-2 (Raj 32, Kaur 36) Real good from Kaur, who picks up her third boundary in as many overs with a ramp over her and the keeper off the returning Megan Schutt. Looks in the mood today, does Harmanpreet. Good afternoon to Peter Salmon: “Great to see that Raj has not only read the Hussain book, but absorbed it. Out for about 30 off 83 balls?” In that territory now, Peter. That being said, a single takes her ahead of Beaumont.

22nd over: India 85-2 (Raj 31, Kaur 30) Fifty partnership up in this over off 75 balls between these two. Raj also draws level with Tammy Beaumont as the tournament’s leading run-getter.

21st over: India 77-2 (Raj 29, Kaur 24) Suns out and, finally, the boundaries are too. We had to wait 45 balls for this four, smoked through midwicket with a slog sweep by Raj.

20th over: India 70-2 (Raj 28, Kaur 19) Jess Jonassen replaces Perry. Don’t mind this. Mix up the bowlers. Don’t ket the batsmen think they’ve got someone’s number. Only irritating thing is the constant changes in the field. Lanning doesn’t really seem to know what she wants. Might be worth getting a slip in for the sake of it?

Lanning, mid-over…

19th over: India 65-2 (Raj 25, Kaur 17) Good from Beams. Tentative from Kaur and Raj. It’s almost like they don’t trust the pitch which is actually playing pretty well. Might also be Beams’ gurn as she bowls. Could be quite off-putting.

18th over: India 63-2 (Raj 24, Kaur 16) Four singles to Perry is a better way to go about things. Both batsmen pick up two, as Perry serves up a few cutters to keep them guessing.

17th over: India 59-2 (Raj 22, Kaur 14) Beams equally as frugal. Just two from the over as both bats can’t decide how they want to play her. Probably could try and get her around the corner a bit more.

16th over: India 57-2 (Raj 21, Kaur 13) Perry back into the attack from the Racecourse End, hitting the bat hard. Kaur hitting the ball equally as forceful. Both times straight back at the bowler, both times stopped. Neat battle unfolding…

15th over: India 55-2 (Raj 20, Kaur 12) Over before the drinks break we’re treated to a bit of Kristen Beams. Three from the over, even with a full toss thrown in there. Dangerous delivery from leggies this World Cup.

14th over: India 52-2 (Raj 18, Kaur 11) Tidy from Gardner. Yet to concede a boundary and two overs worth of dots in her first three overs.

13th over: India 49-2 (Raj 16, Kaur 10) That’s the Harmanpreet Kaur we’ve heard about. Clean hitter, down the ground we heard – clean hits through cover and straight we see. Quality.


12th over: India 41-2 (Raj 16, Kaur 2) Gardner carrying on, three on the off side, hefty whack on leg. Single apiece. They do this, India. Strokemakers for days but do shut-up shop for no real reason. This isn’t a bad start.

11th over: India 39-2 (Raj 19, Kaur 1) Megan Schutt back on from the City End, ball still shaping but she’s got a bit more control on it. Kaur dots out after being given the strike by Raj.

10th over: India 36-2 (Raj 13, Kaur 0) A few in this box thought Garnder should have bowled ahead of Jonassen (knowledgeabe sorts here today). That’s a very tidy opening from her, not to mention the wicket with the second ball. Raj pinches the strike off the final ball.


WICKET! Raut c Mooney b Gardner 14 (India 35-2)

I mean, it’s a cracking shot. Ashleigh Gardner’s right arm offie is met with a skip and a thwack over the top of midwicket. The trouble is, there’s a fielder out there. Literally right there. A simple catch and Raut’s gone.

Ashleigh Gardner celebrates taking Poonam Raut for 14.
Ashleigh Gardner celebrates taking Poonam Raut for 14. Photograph: PPAUK/REX/Shutterstock


9th over: India 35-1 (Raut 14, Raj 12) Jonassen bowls a few darts, so Raj just treats her like a medium pacer. Uses her feet, down to the pitch, over the top of the bowler, for four runs. That’s the first Power Play done. Solid one from India, albeit for the loss of a gun. 39 dots in those 54 balls, by the way. Three wides, too.

8th over: India 30-1 (Raut 13, Raj 8) The floodlights are on as it’s got a bit dark here:

Raj’s first boundary is a beaut, punishing Perry for going at her and driving inside mid on for four.

7th over: India 23-1 (Raut 11, Raj 3) Schutt shot out of the attack and Jess JonassIN. The left-arm spinner as nine victims this World Cup and she fancies getting to double figures in this over as Alex Blackwell – elder stateswoman – puts on the helmet and comes into short cover. “Oldest Australian close-catcher since Chris Rogers?” askes more knowing voice.

6th over: India 21-1 (Raut 10, Raj 3) Very good from Perry, who has rediscovered her bowling touch at the perfect time. Wonder if she fancies the slope at Lord’s on Sunday? Pav End, skip. Meanwhile, this is excellent (context: Raj reckons she’d have a few more runs at a quicker lick if she had more proactive teammates around her):

5th over: India 21-1 (Raut 10, Raj 3) Schutt strays – short and angling down the leg side – and Raut helps her around the corner for four. Over-correction on the next delivery gives a wide on the off-side. When she’s able to bring her line in a bit, Raut sees out the over with a dab inside third man for four. “Wishing MITHALI Raj and the entire team unprecedented success today,” writes Kiran Mavani from Ahmedabad. Thanks for reading in, Kiran. Wouldn’t mind nothing but Raj drives for the next two hours.


4th over: India 12-1 (Raut 2, Raj 3) A fine bumper from Perry is followed bythe first runs in 12 balls as Mithali Raj drives through backward point for a couple. Could have been a couple more had the fileder at third man not whisked her way around and put in the dive. So does Raut, too, when she tips and runs to Meg Lanning at mid off. Lanning’s shoulder means she’s been underarming for the last two years (ish) and this under-arm is comically high over the stumps.

3rd over: India 8-1 (Raut 1, Raj) Really harsh wide against Megan Schutt, who serves up an away swinger to complement her regular innies. Seen a few of those this World Cup, notably in the South Africa-England semi-final against Marizanne Kapp. Well inside the lines, was Kappie. Would have meant five needed from the final over instead of the three England were asked. Still would have won with Shrubsole’s ping through the covers for four, mind.

2nd over: India 7-1 (Raut 1, Raj 0) Very tidy start from Perry, who a press box colleague informs me is opening the bowling for only the second time this World Cup. Good pace, better carry and just one run from the over as Raut nabs a single via an inside edge to midwicket. Mithali Raj, champion superstar, defends out.

1st over: India 6-1 (Raut 0) Megan Schutt with the new ball, Smriti Mandhana to face, with more covers in place than a post hotel bed. And it’s one of those four that ends up taking the catch. An uppish drive started us off, through extra cover for four. Then a stop at point was botched allowed two runs. Relative incompetence all round, to be fair.

WICKET! Mandhana c Villani b Schutt 6 (India 6-1)

Oh Smriti, that’s not pretty. In fact, it’s pretty rancid. Schutt’s swinging the ball away from the left-hander but that doesn’t really matter here: Mandhana’s trying to play this over midwicket and then gets caught in two minds and skews it high to cover. Junk shot, big wicket.

Nicole Bolton celebrates with Elyse Villani and Kristen Beams after Villani caught Smitri Mandhana for six.
Nicole Bolton celebrates with Elyse Villani and Kristen Beams after Villani caught Smitri Mandhana for six. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


Players on the way out. Adam Collins Tweet bunged in here simply for the use of “flogging”.

FYI: 42 overs breaks down into nine overs of Power Play up top and then a four-over batting Power Play to come.

India win the toss and bat!

It’s 42-a-side (overs, not players – this isn’t a madhouse) and we get underway at 1345. Australia are unchanged from their match against India back in the group stages, which means Meg Lanning plays. Shoulder still attached. Let’s take a moment of reflection for the undroppable Elyse Villani.

Australia: B Mooney, N Bolton, M Lanning, E Perry, E Villani, A Blackwell, A Healy, A Gardner, J Jonassen, M Schutt, K Beams

India: S Mandhana, P Raut, M Raj, H Kaur, D Sharma, V Krishnamurthy, S Verma, J Goswami, S Pandey, R Gayakwad, P Yadav

42 overs a side to start at 1345 (to be confirmed)

Bit of sun out, too. Absolute hashtagscenes.


So the sun is out and the the overs are off. The soppers are doing the business, so much so…

In other news, have a look at this England squad…

Still no room for Mark Stoneman. How?!

This is getting a workout as the rain returns:

Inspection at 1345

Yeah, really. I mean, it makes sene – this ground takes time to dry and there is a lot of surface water to remove. Plus, we can toss 15-minutes before play actually gets underway.

To reiterate, we can get a 20-over game in at 16:38 the latest.

In lieu of any cricket, allow me to be a bit self-indulgent.

Now, one of the very few downsides of this job is the Saturdays. Or lack of. It means my club cricket career has died on its backside. Just as I was learning to love. Anyway, it now means I live vicariously through my club’s Facebook page and WhatsApp group. I also find myself falling down YouTube wormholes of club cricketers netting and the odd side-on camera of some 70mph chancer gunning for a Northants gig. Then I came across Isfield Cricket Club. I want to say it’s their 3rd XI based on the chat. Basically, their keeper straps on a GoPro and puts the best bits online. Do as I do and get sucked in:

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Raf Nicholson’s work, I’d suggest following her on Twitter, especially if you want to brush up on all things women’s cricket. We call her the Oracle. She’s also an accomplished basoonist.

As well as writing for a range of outlets, she runs CRICKETher, a one-stop shop for her output. In this piece, she quantifies just how big a deal a sold-out Lord’s is for the Women’s World Cup final.

Strong tweet, this. Make it happen, weather…

The elements around that knock are really quite something when you look back on them. Agnew panning Nasser’s ODI record (rightly so, probably). There’s fascinating insight in his book about that period, not least the levels of doubt he was experiencing as his career came to an end. He’d wake up in the middle of the night and fiddle with his grip. Shadow batting relentlessly in his hotel room. Mithali’s got the right idea – go get it. Or watch this:

One and only ODI ton, by the way. Loses his proverbials after it. So good.


Unchartered areas: Nasser has good bant.

“This match will do well to rival Tuesday’s thriller,” writes Stephen Cooper. You’re telling me. I think I’ve just about recovered. I made the cardinal sin of welping when Jenny Gunn hit a shot through midwicket. Can’t be cheering in a press box. I need to undergo some form of penance. Maybe I’ll stay in Derby for another couple of nights (I jest, it’s been good to me on this trip). “I’m looking to India to raise their game today to match the occasion, and hopefully beat the Aussies…”

We’ve got a bit of an update by the way. Stick with me:

– The latest we can get a Twent20 game in is t 16:38.
– Whatever play is agreed upon (and started) is continued tomorrow if the rains return and wash out the rest of the day
– However, if play is agreed – say, 34-overs-a-side – but not a ball is bowled, we’d return tomorrow for the full 50.
– ITK: This ground takes two hours to dry. And it’s still raining.



Good morning from a very soggy Derby. There’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that we won’t necessarily need this reserve day tomorrow. The bad news is that not only is it still raining, no one has a clue what the exactly’s going on. We’ve been informed of three different sets of regulations, each slightly more nuanced than the last. It’s been a bit odd. The ground itself is very soggy. There are puddles, mushy bits and some mud pools that look like they’d do wonders for your skin.

If you’ve read Adam’s preview, you’ll know the score. Australia, favourites, in disarray with the dicky shoulder of Emperor Lanning. India, led by Chez Raj, destined for revolution but with less firepower but some of the craftiest players in the game. Should be a doozy. If, you know, we get a sudden heatwave that last a solid three hours and dries up this mess:


Vish will be here shortly. In the meantime you can read Adam Collins’s preview of the second semi-final … © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Scale of pangolin slaughter revealed – millions hunted in central Africa alone


Powered by article titled “Scale of pangolin slaughter revealed – millions hunted in central Africa alone” was written by Damian Carrington Environment editor, for on Thursday 20th July 2017 11.00 UTC

The true scale of the slaughter of pangolins in Africa has been revealed by new research showing that millions of the scaly mammals are being hunted and killed.

Pangolins were already known to be the world’s most trafficked wild mammal, with at least a million being traded in the last decade to supply the demand for its meat and scales in Asian markets. Populations of Asian pangolins have been decimated, leaving the creatures highly endangered and sharply shifting the focus of exploitation to Africa’s four species.

Pangolins are secretive, nocturnal and some species live in trees, making them very hard to count and the total size of the populations in Africa is unknown. But the new analysis, based on data collected by hundreds of local researchers at scores of hunting sites and bushmeat markets across central and west Africa, found up to 2.7m are being killed every year, with the most conservative estimate being 400,000 a year.

“The number is definitely shocking,” said Daniel Ingram, at the University of Sussex, UK, and who led the research team. “Pangolins have been hunted out of many areas in Asia and recent analyses show there is a growing international trade between Africa and Asia. If we don’t act now to better understand and protect these charismatic animals, we may lose them.”

Pangolins curl up into a scaly ball when threatened, which defeats natural predators like lions but is no defence against human hunters. The researchers found half the animals had been snared or trapped, despite wire snares being illegal in most of the 14 central African nations analysed in the research.

The analysis, published in the journal Conservation Letters, also found that almost half of the pangolins killed were juveniles, an indicator that the populations are being dangerously overexploited as animals are being caught before they can reproduce. This is particularly harmful as pangolins are slow breeding and produce only a single pup every year or two.

The new estimates of pangolins killed are likely to be minimum numbers as they included only three of Africa’s four pangolins, the giant, white-bellied and black-bellied species. The fourth, the cape pangolin, lives in southern and eastern Africa, outside the study area.

Furthermore, it is illegal to kill giant pangolins in all the countries, meaning not all the illicit trade in the animals will be included in the estimates. The giant pangolins are particularly sought after and the researchers found the price demanded in urban markets has soared almost six times since the 1990s. They also found hunting of the African pangolins in 2014 was 150% higher than in the 1970s.

Richard Thomas, from the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, said very little had been known about pangolin populations in central and west Africa. He also pointed the “remarkable regularity” of major pangolin seizures. In June alone, Malaysian authorities seized three big shipments of pangolin scales, each representing many thousands of animals and originating from Africa.

Seized pangolin scales displayed at a press conference at the Malaysian Customs Complex in Sepang. Malaysian authorities seized almost 400 kilograms of pangolins scales trafficked from Ghana for the second time in three days, an official said on June 16.
Malaysian authorities seized almost 400kg of pangolin scales trafficked from Ghana for the second time in three days, an official said on June 16. Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

A total ban on the international trade in any pangolin species was passed by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species in September. But Ingram said the enforcement of both international and national laws had to be increased to prevent African pangolins following their Asian cousins on the path to extinction.

The demand in Asia for pangolin meat and scales as delicacies and supposed medicinal uses is a major factor in cross-border trade but a significant proportion of African pangolins are eaten locally. Ingram said that measures are also needed to develop alternative livelihoods for African hunters of pangolin, but he believes there is still enough time left to act: “I am optimistic that something can be done.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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The Snowman: serious film by serious people – or least spooky serial killer thriller ever?

Powered by article titled “The Snowman: serious film by serious people – or least spooky serial killer thriller ever?” was written by Stuart Heritage, for on Thursday 20th July 2017 11.15 UTC

The Snowman, which is due for release in October, absolutely drips with pedigree. It’s based on a Jo Nesbø thriller about a serial killer with a disturbingly unique calling card: he leaves snowmen next to his victims. Originally due to be directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s a movie from film-maker Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) that stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, JK Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Toby Jones, with a score composed by Jonny Greenwood. The message is clear: this is a serious film made by serious people. As its new trailer demonstrates, The Snowman is intended to be taken very seriously indeed.

That said, it’s got loads of snowmen in it. Loads of them. Which is a risk, because it’s hard to make a snowman dramatically meaningful or ominous. Think of snowmen and you’ll think of Aled Jones warbling as a little boy flies through the air with his chilly best friend. Worse, you’ll think of the Michael Keaton movie Jack Frost. For The Snowman to work, it needs to employ some masterful production design: these snowmen have a lot to sell. With that in mind, here’s a definitive ranking of all The Snowman’s spookiest looking snowmen.

Still from The Snowman
All photographs: YouTube

9. This is not a spooky snowman. His hands are raised in what can only be described as surrender, he has the facial expression of someone who just received socks for Christmas and he’s wearing a silly hat. If this was a ranking of snowmen based on their innate disappointment with millinery, he would win in a heartbeat. But it isn’t. So he doesn’t. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 2/10

Still from The Snowman

8. A lonely snowman is not a spooky snowman. And so it comes to pass with this measly example. Look at him, all by himself on top of a hill. Who’s he going to spook? One of those rocks? Hardly. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 3.5/10

Still from The Snowman

7. This one isn’t even a snowman. It’s just a person with snow on their head. You know what would be spookier than this? Someone wearing one of those cheap-looking nylon snowman suits you can buy from third-party resellers on Amazon. At least those pose a relatively spooky fire safety risk. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 4/10

Still from The Snowman

6. On second thoughts, I’m disqualifying this one for being literally just a person in an animal mask. Not a snowman. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: N/A

Still from The Snowman

5. A nice idea – it’s a snowman that occupies negative space, which makes it half-snowman and half-ghost – but let down by poor execution. They’ve put it on top of a car, for crying out loud. Ask yourself: who are the easiest people to spook with a snowman? That’s right, children. And how many children are tall enough to see a car’s roof? Zero, that’s how many. A wasted opportunity. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 5/10

Still from The Snowman

4. Not to get all Red Pill on you, but this film is called The Snowman, not The Snow-Woman. To strive for gender equality by putting a dead lady’s head on top of a pile of snow and passing it off as a snowman is political correctness gone mad. The spookiest thing about this is the possibility she’ll steal your credit card and blow all your money on handbags – am I right!? Whatever next, a female Doctor Who? SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 5.5/10

Still from The Snowman

3. Seriously, what is it with all these surrender poses? I mean, sure, you’re a snowman, doomed to a life of miserable impermanence. And sure, a toddler could beat you in a fight by just kicking your head off. But you’re a snowman! Be spookier! SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 6/10

Still from The Snowman

2. On the surface, this isn’t a particularly spooky snowman – he’s a happy little chap in a nice hat – but he gets extra points for how The Snowman trailer sells him. Not only does Michael Fassbender introduce him by gravely intoning, “He’s been watching us the whole time!”, but he’s also the subject of a terrifying close-up crash cut accompanied by borderline apocalyptic drumming. Mess with this snowman at your peril. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 8/10

Still from The Snowman

1. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the spookiest snowman of them all. My God, it can actually talk. “HELLO MISTER POLICE” it says, like a ghoulish version of Manuel from Fawlty Towers. What will it say next? “MY NOSE IS CARROT MISTER POLICE, IS GO HONK HONK”? It doesn’t bear thinking about. Consider yourself nightmared until the very end of time. Brr. SPOOKY SNOWMAN RATING: 10/10 © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Thousands of mental health patients spend years on secure wards

Powered by article titled “Thousands of mental health patients spend years on secure wards” was written by Denis Campbell Health policy editor, for The Guardian on Wednesday 19th July 2017 23.01 UTC

Thousands of mental health patients are being kept in secure wards for years at a time when they should be being rehabilitated and preparing to leave hospital, a NHS watchdog has revealed.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) criticised both NHS and for-profit mental health providers for forcing such a large number of patients to endure what it called “outdated and sometimes institutionalised care”, often miles from home. The practice leaves already vulnerable patients feeling isolated and less likely to recover, the CQC warned.

More than 3,500 patients in 248 mental health wards are kept locked-in. In 2015-16 some stayed for 45 days, but others had been there for up to 1,744 days – four and a half years – the care regulator found.

“More than 50 years after the movement to close asylums and large institutions, we were concerned to find examples of outdated and sometimes institutionalised care,” said Paul Lelliott, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals.

“We are particularly concerned about the high number of people in ‘locked rehabilitation wards’. These wards are often situated a long way from the patient’s home, meaning people are isolated from their friends and families. In the 21st century, a hospital should never be considered ‘home’ for people with a mental health condition.”

The disclosure prompted a senior doctor to claim that some mental health patients were being subjected to Victorian-era care. Dr Mike Hunter, a consultant psychiatrist and medical director of an NHS mental health trust in Sheffield, likened the procedure to a “Victorian approach” to treatment.

Lelliott added: “We were surprised at just how many of these wards there were and how many were locked. We also had some concerns about the fact theat they weren’t that discharge oriented, they weren’t actively enabling people to return back to their home environments.”

Stays in such wards should be “a step on the road back to a more independent life in the person’s home community”, and not a long-term treatment option, he said.

Private providers of NHS mental health care lock patients in more often than NHS trusts. Two-thirds of the 3,500 beds are in that sector, despite them treating fewer people with mental ilness than the NHS. That may fuel suspicions among NHS mental health staff that private operators hold on to some patients longer than necessary in order to maximise profits.

Patients kept on locked rehabilitation wards are being denied their human rights, according to the mental health charity Mind.

“We have had many years of knowing that being in long-stay, locked accommodation is of no use to you, is expensive to the nation and is a human rights abuse, effectively to take away your liberty and to give you no therapeutic future,” said Sophie Corlett, its director of external affairs. “To see that there are 3,500 people in effectively institutionalised settings in 2017 is very worrying.”

The CQC revealed the scale of the practice in a major report that, while praising the quality of much mental health care, highlighted a series of concerns it has after analysing inspection reports into the quality of such care provided by both the NHS and private firms since 2014.

Too many patients are being forced to wait too long to receive many forms of mental health care, Lelliott said.

One in five (22%) of people referred to memory services, for a possible diagnosis of dementia, have to wait between 11 and 18 weeks for an assessment, while a further 20% face delays of more than 18 weeks.

Similarly, 18% of mainly young patients with an eating disorder have to wait up to 18 weeks and another 9% cannot see a specialist psychiatrist for more than 18 weeks, despite the risk that such patients can deteriorate quickly during delays.

One in five (19%) older people wait at least 11 weeks to be seen, as do 15% of mothers needing help with problems related to the birth of their baby.

Referral times

The CQC also voiced concern about the fact that:

  • Mental health services are facing serious shortages of both mental health nurses, whose numbers have fallen by 12% since 2010, and psychiatrists, though staff were praised for providing caring and compassionate treatment to patients.
  • Available inpatient psychiatric beds have dropped by 4% since 2014.
  • Detentions under the Mental Health Act have risen by 26% between 2012-13 and 2015-16.
  • Too many patients who become agitated are then physically restrained, often because poorly trained carers do not know what else to do.
  • Old and unsuitable premises can present opportunities for patients to self-harm and try to take their own life, unseen by staff.

The CQC report warned: “On too many wards the combination of a high number of detained patients who pose a risk to themselves and sometimes to others, old and unsuitable buildings, staff shortages and a lack of basic training, make it more likely that patients and staff are at risk of suffering harm.”

The findings underline the scale of the tsk facing NHS England, which has promised to transform mental health care by 2021 to cope with rising demand and cut delays in accessing treatment.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: “The evidence is overwhelming that mental health services are at breaking point in many parts of the country. Too many people are left waiting intolerably long for the treatment they need, while others get no help at all.”

The Department of Health said: “As this report identifies, there are many examples of excellent mental health care and nearly all services were rated as good or outstanding for having caring and compassionate staff.

“But we know there is more to do to promise everyone the very highest standards of care.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Pirelli’s all-black calendar: ‘Any girl should be able to have their own fairytale’

Powered by article titled “Pirelli’s all-black calendar: ‘Any girl should be able to have their own fairytale’” was written by Ellie Violet Bramley, for The Guardian on Wednesday 19th July 2017 23.01 UTC

‘I chop off people’s heads – and I like it.” Naomi Campbell looks up from her phone to tell a group of journalists about her role in the latest Pirelli calendar. It is inspired by John Tenniel’s original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, and Campbell is on set in a photographic studio in north London, surrounded by a twisted fairytale scene of mouldy jam tarts and scorched doll houses.

She plays the Royal Beheader – of course she does – and is joined by Lupita Nyong’o as a dormouse, Sean “Diddy” Combs as Campbell’s fellow beheader, South Sudanese-Australian model Duckie Thot as Alice, Whoopi Goldberg as the Royal Duchess and Sasha Lane as the March Hare. Fashion’s woke poster-woman and feminist activist Adwoa Aboah has been shot as Tweedledee. And RuPaul will also appear, as the Queen of Hearts.

RuPaul, Duckie Thot and Edward Enninful backstage at the shoot.
RuPaul, Duckie Thot and Edward Enninful backstage at the shoot. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/Pirelli PR handout

This is a staggeringly talented and eclectic cast. It is also all black, with the calendar styled by Edward Enninful, the newly appointed editor of British Vogue, the first person of colour to have held the post. That said, the concept is the work of a white photographer, Tim Walker, who explains his motivation by saying “it’s never been done before. Alice has never been told like this.”

This is not the first time Pirelli has featured an all-black lineup – in 1987, a 16-year-old Campbell posed topless for an edition that featured only black models. This time, however, the tone is wildly different. And it feels precision-engineered to strike a chord in an era in which fashion finally seems to be addressing its diversity problem, with Enninful’s appointment, the autumn/winter 2017 runway collections in just about every city featuring their most racially diverse cast ever, as well as Gucci’s recent campaign that featured only black models all being presented as green shoots of change.

Adwoa Aboah.
Adwoa Aboah. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/Pirelli PR handout

But reflecting, even leading, cultural conversations is what the Pirelli calendar does these days, which may seem bizarre given that it is essentially a promotional exercise for tyres.

This was not always the way. For much of its history the calendar, launched in 1964, was most famous as a place where supermodels took off their kit – sometimes artily – for photographers ranging from Terry Richardson to Herb Ritts.

Alpha Dia and King Owusu.
Alpha Dia and King Owusu. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/Pirelli PR handout

But in 2016 Pirelli commissioned Annie Leibovitz to shoot women known for their “professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishment”, including Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Serena Williams and Amy Schumer, without the male gaze in mind. Earlier this year, Peter Lindbergh’s instalment continued in the same vein, presenting portraits of women with their clothes largely on: Uma Thurman was snapped in a rib-knit roll-neck. Both calendars inspired thinkpieces aplenty.

Thando Hopa and Whoopi Goldberg.
Thando Hopa and Whoopi Goldberg. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/Pirelli PR handout

The cynical might question Pirelli’s motivations for using an all-black cast, and whether its nod to fashion’s vogue for diversity is a little too on the nose. With that box ticked, will Pirelli forget about diversity for its 2019 edition? Will the rest of the fashion industry, for that matter?

None of these concerns are at the fore on set, however, where models wearing vinyl skirts and platform shoes mill around to a soundtrack of Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Otis Redding’s (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher & Higher. The dark detritus of fairytale is strewn about – cakes with plastic hands erupting out of them, burnt toast and a looming, giant stuffed hare that refuses to stay upright.

South African Thando Hopa plays the Princess of Hearts. She is a law graduate who worked as a prosecutor specialising in sexual offence cases, and only got into modelling because she “wanted to have a greater level of representation for someone who looks so different” (she has albinism). Invested in the power of images – “you see someone portrayed in a particular way and it gives you inspiration and motivation” –

The March Hare.
The March Hare. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/Pirelli PR handout

Hopa describes, laughing, her reaction to finding out that Walker planned to make this all-black Pirelli: “I actually phoned him up and I was like: ‘Let’s sit down and talk.’” Walker laid bare his thinking: “He said … any person with a different colour should be able to see themselves in any way. So any girl, whether she is black or Chinese or Indian, they should be able to have their own fairytale.

“This is an important step in culture development – to push images that aren’t generic, that don’t conform to stereotypes,” she says.

Tim Walker shooting Duckie Thot, Slick Woods and Sasha Lane.
Tim Walker shooting Duckie Thot, Slick Woods and Sasha Lane. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/Pirelli PR handout

Hopa has considered the response the calendar might get, given that the fashion industry is still far from fully representative. “I hope that people see the intention of this. Personally I don’t find it controversial … I think people really should see the end goal and not obsess in the myopia … this is a unifying effort because now you have Alice looking differently from the way she does. Alice can be anyone.”

Let’s hope that this year’s buzzword – “diversity” – keeps sounding loudly into 2018 and beyond. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, spokesman says

Powered by article titled “John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, spokesman says” was written by Ben Jacobs in Washington, for on Thursday 20th July 2017 00.33 UTC

A spokesperson for John McCain announced Wednesday that the Arizona senator has brain cancer.

In a statement, it was revealed that a brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was removed from McCain along with a blood clot in a surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Friday. McCain’s office had only previously announced that the blood clot had been removed from above the 80-year-old’s left eye.

The Mayo Clinic said in a statement released by McCain’s office: “The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. The Senator’s doctors say he is recovering from his surgery ‘amazingly well’ and his underlying health is excellent.”

The surgery had forced McCain to stay in Arizona this week and miss votes in the Senate. It had led to a delay in the vote on the Senate Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was originally scheduled for Monday. Since the delay was announced, a sufficient number of Republican senators came forward to express their opposition to the bill and forced the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to shelve it and instead try to push a vote on a clean repeal of the ACA.

In a statement, the Arizona senator’s spokesperson said that “in the aftermath of his diagnosis, further consultations with Senator McCain’s Mayo Clinic care team will indicate when he will return to the United States Senate”.

An extended absence would likely make it even more difficult for Republicans to repeal or replace the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare. Senate Republicans have a narrow 52-48 majority and, with the tie-breaking vote of Mike Pence, can only afford to lose two votes if McCain is present. His absence means that two Republican “no” votes would now sink any legislation if all 48 Democrats are unified in opposition.

McCain, who was re-elected to his sixth term in the Senate in 2016, was the Republican party’s presidential nominee in 2008 and finished second to George W Bush in the 2000 GOP presidential primary. Prior to his career in politics, McCain served as an aviator in the US navy, and was held as prisoner of war for five and a half years during the Vietnam war. While being held captive by the north Vietnamese, McCain was repeatedly subjected to torture. He retired as a captain after earning a number of decorations including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The Arizona senator’s illness sparked an outpouring of support from both sides of the aisle. Barack Obama, whom McCain ran against in the 2008 presidential election, tweeted: “John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”

A number of McCain’s Republican colleagues in the Senate also expressed their well wishes. In a statement, Mitch McConnell said: “John McCain is a hero to our Conference and a hero to our country. He has never shied from a fight and I know that he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life. The entire Senate family’s prayers are with John, Cindy and his family, his staff, and the people of Arizona he represents so well. We all look forward to seeing this American hero again soon.”

In a statement, McCain’s daughter Meghan said: “He is a warrior at dusk, one of the greatest Americans of our age, and the worthy heir to his father’s and grandfather’s name. But to me, he is something more. He is my strength, my example, my refuge, my confidante, my teacher, my rock, my hero – my Dad.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Trump had undisclosed second meeting with Putin, White House confirms

Powered by article titled “Trump had undisclosed second meeting with Putin, White House confirms” was written by David Smith in Washington, for The Guardian on Wednesday 19th July 2017 06.15 UTC

Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin held a second, previously undisclosed meeting during the G20 summit in Germany, the White House confirmed on Tuesday.

There was much media scrutiny of the leaders’ formal bilateral talks on 7 July in which, the US president later said, Putin denied allegations that he led efforts to interfere in last year’s US election.

Later that evening, Trump and Putin met again informally, a White House official acknowledged on Tuesday – but only after it was publicly revealed by Ian Bremmer, the president of the international consulting firm Eurasia Group.

Bremmer said there was a dinner that evening for the G20 heads of state and their spouses, though not all of them attended. “There were a lot of empty seats,” he continued. “Donald Trump got up from the table and sat down with Putin for about an hour. It was very animated and very friendly. Putin’s translator was translating. I found out about it because people were startled.”

There was no one else within earshot, Bremmer added, and it is not known what the men discussed. Trump was not joined in the conversation by his own translator, which is thought to be a breach of national security protocol. The White House later said that the translator who accompanied Trump spoke Japanese, not Russian, and that was why Trump and Putin spoke through the Russian translator.

Bremmer added: “It’s very clear that Trump’s best single relationship in the G20 is with Putin. US allies were surprised, flummoxed, disheartened. You’ve got Trump in the room with all these allies and who’s the one he spends time with?”

Such was the level of concern that someone decided to bring it to Bremmer’s attention. He said he had expected the White House to go public. “I sat on this for days hoping they would talk about it. I knew last week. It didn’t happen. I’m an analyst; I’m not in the business of breaking news,” he said.

There is no official government record of the meeting and it was not previously disclosed by the White House, which is facing investigations into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties by the special counsel Robert Mueller and two congressional committees.

“During the course of the dinner, all the leaders circulated throughout the room and spoke with one another freely,” a senior administration official said in a statement Tuesday night, adding: “There was no ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd. It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a president’s duties, to interact with world leaders.”

Also on Tuesday night, the president tweeted to say the news coverage of the “secret dinner with Putin is ‘sick’”, insisting twice that the press was aware of the dinner. While it is true that the dinner was well known and covered by the news media, the press at large did not know about the private conversation between Putin and Trump.

Trump’s presidency has been overshadowed by allegations that his election campaign colluded with Russia. Last week it emerged that his son, Donald Trump Jr, held a meeting with a Russian lawyer and Russian American political operative with a view to receiving allegedly incriminating information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Trump Jr claims it led nowhere and denies wrongdoing.

Trump has consistently and mysteriously refused to criticise the Russian leader. Bremmer said: “I’ve never in my life seen a relationship between two major countries where the interests are so misaligned while the leaders are so buddy-buddy. It doesn’t add up.

“Trump has been inconsistent on his China policy, he’s been inconsistent on his Nato policy. On any foreign policy issue he’s been on both sides. Except Russia. It doesn’t make sense. The fact he was willing to do this in front of global leaders shows he just doesn’t care how America is perceived.”

The first meeting was scheduled to last 30 minutes but went on for more than two hours. During a flight on Air Force One last week, the US president said he raised the issue of election meddling twice and Putin denied it. “I said, look, we can’t – we can’t have – now, he said ‘absolutely not’ twice. What do you do? End up in a fistfight with somebody, OK?”

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Cornwall crackles in the summer sun

Powered by article titled “Cornwall crackles in the summer sun” was written by Virginia Spiers, for The Guardian on Wednesday 19th July 2017 04.30 UTC

Beneath the clearing sky, people gravitate from car park and cafe towards the life-guarded beach. By Roundhole Point, kayakers paddle and huddle around their instructor, and further west, low tide reveals the expanse of sand in Harlyn Bay.

Close to the shore alexanders along a track are clustered with an abundance of little stripy snails along the bare stems and among the umbels of black seeds. Perhaps these snails relish the celery flavour and thrive in the mild seaside weather, but (as with the tourists and sun-seekers) their numbers diminish away from the sea.

From higher land the ocean appears even more azure, like the sky now streaked with cirrus, but south-east of this haven of blueness, thick clouds linger around Bodmin Moor and shadow the distinctive outlines of Rough Tor and Brown Willy.

Here, overlooking Padstow Bay, pared back hedges along the narrow lanes are overgrown with honeysuckle and bedstraw, the summery fragrance temporarily offset by the smell of hot tar from a lorry filling in pot-holes.

Among the browns of dried-up vegetation stand out the pink and purple flowers of scabious, mallow, woundwort and creeping bindweed. Developing blackberries will need rain to form juicy fruits, but sloes are absent from thickets of blackthorn, shrivelled by earlier cold and salty winds.

Arable fields are edged in verges of rough grasses, burdock, nettles and thistles – grant-aided refuges for insects and a few fluttering meadow browns and gate-keepers. Ripe barley crackles in the sun; but the later spring-planted cereals are pale with silky ears. Brassica fields have been ploughed and sown with fertiliser, adopted as gathering places by an itinerant flock of rooks and jackdaws.

On this calm day the song of skylarks carries across from cliff-top pastures beyond Lellizzick towards Butter Hole and Stepper Point, but the shorter way continues between seeded red valerian and past the cool shade of the deer park opposite Prideaux Place. Downhill, the harbour at Padstow is thronged with chattering visitors and there are queues for speed boat trips towards Tregirls beach and the Doom Bar.

Follow Country diary on Twitter: @gdncountrydiary © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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A despot in disguise: one man’s mission to rip up democracy

Powered by article titled “A despot in disguise: one man’s mission to rip up democracy” was written by George Monbiot, for The Guardian on Wednesday 19th July 2017 04.29 UTC

It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century. To read Nancy MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is to see what was previously invisible.

The history professor’s work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan. She says the first thing she picked up was a stack of confidential letters concerning millions of dollars transferred to the university by the billionaire Charles Koch.

Her discoveries in that house of horrors reveal how Buchanan, in collaboration with business tycoons and the institutes they founded, developed a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich. The programme is now reshaping politics, and not just in the US.

Buchanan was strongly influenced by both the neoliberalism of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, and the property supremacism of John C Calhoun, who argued in the first half of the 19th century that freedom consists of the absolute right to use your property (including your slaves) however you may wish; any institution that impinges on this right is an agent of oppression, exploiting men of property on behalf of the undeserving masses.

James Buchanan brought these influences together to create what he called public choice theory. He argued that a society could not be considered free unless every citizen has the right to veto its decisions. What he meant by this was that no one should be taxed against their will. But the rich were being exploited by people who use their votes to demand money that others have earned, through involuntary taxes to support public spending and welfare. Allowing workers to form trade unions and imposing graduated income taxes were forms of “differential or discriminatory legislation” against the owners of capital.

Any clash between “freedom” (allowing the rich to do as they wish) and democracy should be resolved in favour of freedom. In his book The Limits of Liberty, he noted that “despotism may be the only organisational alternative to the political structure that we observe.” Despotism in defence of freedom.

His prescription was a “constitutional revolution”: creating irrevocable restraints to limit democratic choice. Sponsored throughout his working life by wealthy foundations, billionaires and corporations, he developed a theoretical account of what this constitutional revolution would look like, and a strategy for implementing it.

He explained how attempts to desegregate schooling in the American south could be frustrated by setting up a network of state-sponsored private schools. It was he who first proposed privatising universities, and imposing full tuition fees on students: his original purpose was to crush student activism. He urged privatisation of social security and many other functions of the state. He sought to break the links between people and government, and demolish trust in public institutions. He aimed, in short, to save capitalism from democracy.

In 1980, he was able to put the programme into action. He was invited to Chile, where he helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programmes of privatisation, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982.

None of this troubled the Swedish Academy, which through his devotee at Stockholm University Assar Lindbeck in 1986 awarded James Buchanan the Nobel memorial prize for economics. It is one of several decisions that have turned this prize toxic.

But his power really began to be felt when Koch, currently the seventh richest man in the US, decided that Buchanan held the key to the transformation he sought. Koch saw even such ideologues as Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan as “sellouts”, as they sought to improve the efficiency of government rather than destroy it altogether. But Buchanan took it all the way.

MacLean says that Charles Koch poured millions into Buchanan’s work at George Mason University, whose law and economics departments look as much like corporate-funded thinktanks as they do academic faculties. He employed the economist to select the revolutionary “cadre” that would implement his programme (Murray Rothbard, at the Cato Institute that Koch founded, had urged the billionaire to study Lenin’s techniques and apply them to the libertarian cause). Between them, they began to develop a programme for changing the rules.

The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential”. Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical “reforms”. (The same argument is used by those attacking the NHS). Gradually they would build a “counter-intelligentsia”, allied to a “vast network of political power” that would become the new establishment.

Through the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored, through their transformation of the Republican party, and the hundreds of millions they have poured into state congressional and judicial races, through the mass colonisation of Trump’s administration by members of this network and lethally effective campaigns against everything from public health to action on climate change, it would be fair to say that Buchanan’s vision is maturing in the US.

But not just there. Reading this book felt like a demisting of the window through which I see British politics. The bonfire of regulations highlighted by the Grenfell Tower disaster, the destruction of state architecture through austerity, the budgeting rules, the dismantling of public services, tuition fees and the control of schools: all these measures follow Buchanan’s programme to the letter. I wonder how many people are aware that David Cameron’s free schools project stands in a tradition designed to hamper racial desegregation in the American south.

In one respect, Buchanan was right: there is an inherent conflict between what he called “economic freedom” and political liberty. Complete freedom for billionaires means poverty, insecurity, pollution and collapsing public services for everyone else. Because we will not vote for this, it can be delivered only through deception and authoritarian control. The choice we face is between unfettered capitalism and democracy. You cannot have both.

Buchanan’s programme is a prescription for totalitarian capitalism. And his disciples have only begun to implement it. But at least, thanks to MacLean’s discoveries, we can now apprehend the agenda. One of the first rules of politics is, know your enemy. We’re getting there. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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