Top story: PM says listen to the science
Morning. I’m Virginia Harrison and these are today’s top stories.
Boris Johnson has said it is time for humanity to “grow up” and “listen to scientists” in a speech highlighting the urgency of the climate crisis. Speaking to the UN general assembly in New York, he said the upcoming Cop26 summit must be a “turning point for humanity”.
In a colourful speech, Johnson compared humanity to an impetuous 16-year-old “just old enough to get ourselves into serious trouble.”
“We have come to that fateful age when we know roughly how to drive and we know how to unlock the drinks cabinet and to engage in all sorts of activity that is not only potentially embarrassing but also terminal.”
Climate has been a key focus of the UN meeting this week, with the US pledging to double climate financing to $11.2bn and China’s promise to halt the funding of coal-fired power stations overseas. Johnson welcomed those pledges while calling on all countries to act.
It comes as new analysis showed one-fifth of London’s schools are now susceptible to flooding and millions of people living in the capital are at “high risk” of suffering from the effects of the climate crisis.
Away from climate talks, Johnson ruffled feathers in the simmering diplomatic row over the Aukus defence pact, urging the French to “prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break”.
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Labour’s roadmap – Keir Starmer has set his party on a decisive course toward the centre ground in a 35-page statement of intent that emphasises the values of hard work, contributing to society and partnership with the private sector. Labour leftwingers are likely to see the 14,000-word document – entitled The Road Ahead – as marking a shift away from the Corbyn era’s radical spending promises, such as the large-scale nationalisations of the railways, water, Royal Mail and broadband providers. Writing in the Guardian, Starmer said Labour will build a better Britain for working people.
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Bill shock – Another 800,000 households fell victim to the growing energy crisis on Wednesday with the collapse of two more suppliers, Arvo Energy and Green. Seven energy companies have now gone bust in a little over six weeks, with more than 1.5m households shunted to a new supplier and facing higher bills. Ministers admitted they were now considering a windfall tax on companies profiting from record gas prices.
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‘Transformative’ discovery – Scientists have successfully used artificial intelligence to create a new drug regime for children with a deadly form of brain cancer that has not seen survival rates improve for more than half a century. The breakthrough, revealed in the journal Cancer Discovery, is set to usher in an “exciting” new era where AI can be harnessed to invent and develop new treatments for all types of cancer, experts say.
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Covid update – The devastating toll of the pandemic has seen record numbers of children and young people seek access to NHS mental health services, new figures show. The worrying rise in cases puts strain on an already stretched health system, while the government has said it is investing £79m to expand children’s mental health services. In the US, regulators have approved the use of Pfizer booster jabs for Americans aged 65 and over. And New Zealanders looking to get a fast-food fix could soon be asked if they would like a vaccine with their KFC.
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‘There will be exciting work’ – Black artists in the UK are producing the most “exciting” and “socially engaged” work at the moment, leading British playwright and curator Michael McMillan said. He also believes the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired a new generation of artists to produce cutting-edge work. Director Debbie Tucker Green and Michaela Coel are among his top picks. It comes as tributes flowed in for Melvin Van Peebles, the playwright, musician and movie director whose work ushered in the “Blaxploitation” wave of the 1970s, who died at age 89.
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Today in Focus podcast: The energy crisis no one saw coming
A cold winter, a windless summer, and a boom in business have combined to create an energy crisis that is hitting particularly hard in the UK. Our energy correspondent Jillian Ambrose explains how it happened – and what it will mean for people.
Lunchtime read: The smart toilet era is here
Scientists and entrepreneurs around the world are bidding to develop a smart toilet that they believe could become the ultimate health monitoring tool. The devices could provide analysis and tracking of stool samples and provide “information related to cancer and many chronic diseases”. Emine Saner finds out about this race to the bottom.
World Rugby will introduce fresh guidelines designed to reduce the amount of contact training done by players. The game’s governing body, which worked with the representative body International Rugby Players (IRP), hopes a six-point checklist will help to reduce training-related injuries and improve performance by limiting players’ contact load between matches. Pádraig Harrington, Europe’s captain, has claimed the US team will need to deal with the “pressure and stress” of being heavy favourites to reclaim the Ryder Cup in front of a partisan crowd.
West Ham gained revenge for defeat three days ago, eliminating at the first hurdle a Manchester United who have twice been Carabao Cup semi-finalists under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Although it will be a distant memory by the time the north London derby is dissected, Arsenal’s routine dismissal of AFC Wimbledon delivered enough to keep things ticking over, earning a fourth‑round tie against Leeds. The finishing was nothing like the standard of Jimmy Greaves, paid dutiful and deserved respect when hailed ahead of kick-off as the finest Chelsea striker of all. Sometimes, though, mistakes and gaffes make for great entertainment, as was the case in the penalty-shootout win over Aston Villa. Louis Lynagh has one major concern about his first England training camp this weekend: what to wear. The 20-year-old has made only 14 appearances for Harlequins but has developed a knack for try-scoring and is relishing the pressure of being the son of 1991 World Cup-winning Australia fly-half Michael. Uefa believes Fifa’s plans for a biennial World Cup create four significant “dangers” for the future of football, as it raised the stakes in its dispute with the game’s global governing body.
The Federal Reserve signalled last night that it may start cutting its enormous pandemic stimulus programs as soon as November and could raise interest rates next year. Fed chair Jerome Powell said the jobs market was “very strong” and that while the central bank was trimming its forecasts for economic growth it still foresees “rapid growth” in the economy. Markets in Asia responded positively in early trading today, helped by an easing of concerns about the debt-laden Chinese property company Evergrande. The FTSE100 looks like lifting 0.35% at the opening, while the pound is on $1.364 and €1.165.
The energy crisis continues to dominate front pages. The Guardian reports that “Another 800,000 households fell victim to the energy crisis yesterday”, while gas firms themselves may face a windfall tax. You can read our story here. The Times says that “1.5 million households face rise in energy bills”, while i leads with “Energy bill hike for millions of homes”. The Mirror says simply, “We’ll pay the price”. The Mail’s headline is “Britain faces winter of woe”. The Daily Express addresses Johnson directly, with “The heat is on, PM! Let’s raise winter fuel payments”.
The FT has “Biden makes peace offering to Macron after Aukus pact” while the Telegraph’s take on the story is “Johnson and Biden ‘astonished’ at Macron”. The Independent reports that Labour leader Keir Starmer is “facing the prospect of defeat or a U-turn over his plans to change Labour’s leadership election rules”. Starmer failed to secure union backing for his proposed reforms. Metro reports that climate protesters who sit on motorways “face instant two-year jail terms”.
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