Boris Johnson’s majority threatened in vote on coronavirus powers

Boris Johnson is facing the growing prospect of a defeat on his plans to extend the emergency coronavirus laws after Labour joined more than 40 Conservative MPs in indicating support for a rebel plan to force a vote on powers. Labour sources indicated on 25 September that it was likely the party will back a proposed amendment to the Coronavirus Act tabled by influential Tory Graham Brady who is trying to force greater parliamentary scrutiny for the restrictions. 1922 The backing increases the chances the prime minister could be defeated in a Commons vote during the six-month review of the powers scheduled for 30 September. Senior Conservatives and…

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Protesters dump horse sh*t on Serco’s doorstep

Protesters have dumped horse manure on the doorstep of Serco’s headquarters in Hampshire. The action has sent a clear message to the company, which is responsible for the UK’s test and trace system. The activists are part of the campaign group Protect Our NHS. They also unfurled a banner saying: “Serco Test & Trace Stinks! –  Corrupt & Deadly Incompetent – Give LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH TEAMS the Cash”. The action was timed to coincide with other protests against Serco in the UK, including in London. ‘Deadly incompetence’ Mike Campbell of Protect Our NHS Bristol said in a press release: We’re taking this action in the face of the…

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Lisa Nandy putting Britain first is a classic nationalist dogwhistle

Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy’s recent comments on ‘putting Britain first’ bring with them the weighty context of divisive nationalism and traditionally right-wing rhetoric. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on 22 September, Nandy heralded a policy change from Labour leader Keir Starmer:   Corbyn's Labour was demonised for championing internationalism and an inclusive collectivism, supporting migrant and minority rights. Now it seems Labour is going out of its way to disassociate from those values. — rachel shabi (@rachshabi) September 22, 2020 Starmer and Nandy have signalled a switch in policy direction that emphasises family and tradition. This is the first sign that Labour’s messaging is…

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UK’s £1bn in aid to Yemen is worthless when it’s sold £6.5bn of weapons to the countries bombing it

Campaigners have accused the UK government of having “dangerous and immoral priorities” ahead of a House of Commons debate on Yemen. The Saudi-led war on Yemen has created what is known as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. After five years of brutal conflict, 20 million people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition, while 2 million children are acutely malnourished. More than 112,000 people have died as a direct result of the war. Saudi Arabia was the world’s biggest importer of weapons between 2015 and 2019. By providing arms to Saudi Arabia and its coalition, the UK – and the private arms companies around the country creating…

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UK risking another disease outbreak through its massive trade in wild animals

A new report shows that the UK is putting itself at risk of another disease outbreak due to its vast trade in wild animals. Using data sourced through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, the charity World Animal Protection has revealed that the UK legally imported millions of wild animals between 2014 and 2018.The scientific community widely believes coronavirus (Covid-19) originated in wildlife and transferred to humans. This new report shows that the UK imports wild animals from almost half of the world’s countries, including those the charity described as “emerging disease hotspots”. In short, the trade is putting Britons at serious risk of further disease outbreaks.Legal tradeAs…

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Veterans slam Labour’s ‘blatant fence sitting’ as Starmer sacks ministers daring to vote against war crimes bill

Military veterans have condemned Labour’s mass abstention from a Commons vote on the Tory Overseas Operations Bill which critics say could decriminalise torture during military operations. Their comments come after a fiery debate in Parliament on 23 September which saw three Labour MPs, including the popular socialist Nadia Whittome, sacked for rebelling against party leader Keir Starmer’s orders to abstain:   Thank you all for your messages of support. My statement below: pic.twitter.com/7pZWFUYZzs — Nadia Whittome MP (@NadiaWhittomeMP) September 24, 2020 Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey argued that the bill: creates the risk that the very gravest crimes including torture and other war crimes go unpunished Defence…

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Net Zero Festival threatens to preserve profit over planet

Business Green’s “Net Zero Festival” will take place over 3 days from 30 September. It will be entirely online, presumably at a fraction of the usual cost of organising such an event. But tickets are still £150. And though there’s a limited number available for free for members of civil society, they come with a warning on the web form that “applications will be vetted”. So who will be attending and what will they be promoting as solutions to the climate crisis? Top sponsors of the event include Heathrow Airport, Shell and power company Drax as well as big investors in polluting power such as Boston Consulting Group…

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With a ‘game-changing’ pledge, China makes Donald Trump the pariah of the planet

Humiliating Donald Trump. Offering a rare piece of hopeful news for our ailing planet. What’s not to like about China’s “game-changing” announcement on climate action? New aspirations China’s president Xi Jinping addressed the UN General Assembly on 22 September. In his speech, he laid out new pledges on carbon emissions. Xi said: Humankind can no longer afford to ignore the repeated warnings of Nature and go down the beaten path of extracting resources without investing in conservation, pursuing development at the expense of protection, and exploiting resources without restoration. He noted that the 2015 Paris Agreement “outlines the minimum steps” countries must take “to protect the Earth”. As…

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Courts head apologises after Black barrister mistaken for defendant three times in a day

The acting head of the UK’s court service has apologised after a Black barrister was mistaken for a defendant three times in one day. Alexandra Wilson, a criminal and family barrister and author of In Black And White, tweeted that she was “absolutely exhausted” after staff at the court repeatedly failed to recognise she worked in the legal profession. Her tweets quickly went viral, drawing accusations of racism within the UK’s court system. Kevin Sadler, the acting chief executive of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service apologised to Wilson and said it was “totally unacceptable behaviour” and he would be investigating the role of his staff in the…

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Pepper spray proven not to reduce violence used throughout Covid-19 lockdown

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) is concerned about the use of PAVA spray on prisoners. Not only does the controversial spray not reduce violence, it’s also being used without pre-agreed safeguards in place and during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown. PAVA spray is a chemically concentrated version of pepper spray that’s been a controversial deterrent due to its £2m rollout expense and its proven misuse in pilot trials. IMB national chair Anne Owers stated: There were concerns about the use of sanctions, such as the roll-out of Pava spray without previously agreed safeguards, and about the hidden levels of distress and mental ill-health. These concerns were echoed by EQUAL—a…

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