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European MPs targeted by deepfake video calls imitating Russian opposition

Politicians from the UK, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania tricked by fake meetings with opposition figures A series of senior European MPs have been approached in recent days by individuals who appear to be using deepfake filters to imitate Russian opposition figures during video calls. Those tricked in recent days include Rihards Kols, who chairs the foreign affairs committee of Latvia’s parliament, as well as MPs from Estonia and Lithuania. Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the UK foreign affairs se...

EU asks states to back legal action against AstraZeneca

Commission move causes concern about bringing case against key supplier of Covid vaccines Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage EU capitals have been asked by the European commission to back legal action against AstraZeneca by the end of the week over an alleged breach of its contractual obligations to supply member states with its Covid vaccine. At a meeting with commission officials on Wednesday, diplomats from some member states raised concerns about the wisdom of t...

New Oklahoma law targets protesters while protecting drivers who hit them

Law covers drivers who unintentionally injure or kill demonstrators while subjecting protesters to jail time and fines A new Oklahoma law protects drivers who unintentionally injure or kill demonstrators from any liability, while simultaneously subjecting protesters who block roadways to jail time and hefty fines. Oklahoma’s Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, signed HB 1674 on Wednesday , even as advocates excoriated their elected officials for undermining democracy. Continue reading...

Russia to pull back troops from Crimea and Ukraine border

Defence minister announces decision after military buildup led to fears of possible invasion Russia has said it will recall many of its troops from Crimea and the border regions of Ukraine , rolling back an aggressive military buildup that had sparked fears that Moscow was preparing an invasion force. The decision, announced by the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, came after video on social media and satellite imagery last month revealed a buildup of tanks, artillery, fighter jets and even sh...

‘No country immune’ from UK’s aid cuts, says Raab

Foreign secretary denies that aid organisations are scared to speak out or people are going hungry The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has told MPs that “no country is immune” from the impending aid cuts, but failed to clarify when specific plans would be made public. Speaking after the release of the first details of the £4bn cuts to international aid , which have been widely criticised as “draconian” and opaque, the minister confirmed “no stand-alone” impact assessment had been carried ...

Sharon Matola obituary

The founder of Belize Zoo and a champion of native species including the tapir and the scarlet macaw In 1983, after a wildlife film-making project she was working on fell apart, Sharon Matola found herself in Belize, Central America, with a menagerie of homeless native creatures. She scrounged some land, wrote a sign on a piece of wood, and the Belize Zoo was open for business. Suddenly, she be...

Trump delayed $20bn in aid to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, report finds

Funding was ‘unnecessarily delayed by bureaucratic obstacles, after hurricane killed thousands of people The Trump administration delayed more than $20bn in hurricane relief aid for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General . The efforts to deliver recovery funding to the island were “unnecessarily delayed by bureaucratic obstacles”, according to the 46-page report. The hurricane, which hit the island in 2017, killed thousands of people an...

Fourth officer allegedly fathered child after meeting woman undercover

Officer used alias Alan Bond while infiltrating the Socialist Workers party between 1981 and 1986, inquiry hears A fourth undercover officer who spied on political campaigners is alleged to have fathered a child with a woman he met while using a fake identity, a public inquiry has heard. The officer used the alias Alan Bond while infiltrating the Socialist Workers party between 1981 and 1986. Continue reading...

International Booker prize shortlist led by books ‘pushing the boundaries’ of fiction

Writers including Maria Stepanova and Éric Vuillard are up for the £50,000 prize, with the judges swaying for essays and autofiction over ‘good, straightforward, old-fashioned novels’ From Maria Stepanova’s family memoir to a historical essay by Éric Vuillard, this year’s shortlist for the International Booker prize for translated fiction is highlighting works that “are really pushing the boundaries” of fiction and nonfiction. The International Booker goes to “the finest fiction from around t...

Rausings targeted in protest against Berlin bookshop eviction

Sigrid Rausing denies financial interest in building, as court orders booksellers Kisch & Co to vacate Kreuzberg premises A UK-based Swedish multi-billionaire family known for their philanthropic donations to literature, libraries and other arts, has become the target of angry protests in Berlin over the eviction of a community bookshop from a counter-culture neighbourhood. The bookseller Kisch...

Girl in Red: ‘If my songs can normalise queerness, that’s amazing’

Whether her theme is desire or depression, Marie Ulven’s honesty, wit and willingness to share her secrets have turned the Norwegian musician into a Gen Z queer icon “I’ve never heard a song with people screaming they want to cut their hands off,” muses the Norwegian singer-songwriter Marie Ulven. Recently, she decided to rectify this with Serotonin, a joyfully effervescent pop-punk track about...

Was Nero cruel? British Museum offers hidden depths to Roman emperor

Nero: the man behind the myth brings together more than 200 artefacts from across Europe Nero, one of the most notorious Roman emperors of them all, murdered his mother and two wives, ruthlessly persecuted early Christians, including Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and even set fire to Rome itself – famously fiddling amid the flames – to make room to build himself a vast, luxurious palace. Or did h...

EU states begin using single-dose J&J Covid vaccine

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus jab rolled out after backing from European Medicines Agency Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage EU member states are starting to administer Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine after Europe’s drug regulator this week backed the single-dose shot, with several expected to impose age restrictions, as with the AstraZeneca jab. Spain’s regional health authorities began using the shot on Thursday for people aged 70 to 79, two days after t...

‘It was a torture chamber’: Ugandans abducted in vicious crackdown

Exclusive: victims and relatives describe suffering as repression intensifies under Yoweri Museveni Hundreds of ordinary people suspected of supporting opposition politicians in Uganda have been snatched off the streets by security services in the worst wave of repression in the east African country for decades. Many suffered systematic torture, detention in harsh conditions in often secret pri...

Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake: ‘My first band was the Spanking Newts’

Back with a new album, the Fannies frontman remembers his teenage years, from the kindness of the Specials to selling guitar strings to John Martyn – and trying to impress with his ice-skating skills I got my parents to buy me a bass, because I admired the Clash’s Paul Simonon and thought that would be the easiest instrument to learn. McCormack’s was a Glasgow institution: when the Beatles play...
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